Andrea Carla Michaels’ New York Times crossword
Iconic commercial mascots for various food brands carry the day. AUNT JEMIMA starts us off with breakfast. BETTY CROCKER brings the cake mix for dessert. For lunch, you can have some JOLLY GREEN GIANT veggies with your can of CHEF BOYARDEE. And then we’ll all have a bowl of CAP’N CRUNCH cereal for supper, with shots of CAPTAIN MORGAN rum on the side. Okay, so that last one isn’t part of the theme. Not only does a 13-letter answer not fit in, but we’ve already got our “man of the sea” position filled.
Easy, breezy Monday crossword. There are at least nine Across clues I never saw, since I marched through the grid with mainly the Down clues, glancing at Acrosses to get starting letters for Downs.
The crossword world is ripe for the arrival of a fabulous new AIMEE. [Old-time evangelist __ Semple McPherson] is really old-time—she died in 1944. The Wikipedia capsule info showed that she was twice divorced, which struck me as odd for an early 20th-century preacher. Well! You have got to read her Wikipedia bio. What a colorful character. Don’t miss the lurid tale of her reported kidnapping.
Donna Levin’s Los Angeles Times crossword
A bowl of THREE-ALARM chili ties together the other three theme entries:
- 17a. [Exec’s perk] is a COMPANY CAR. Car alarms are annoying.
- 23a. PLAYS WITH FIRE means [Tempts fate, in a way]. Fire alarms come in handy, as do smoke alarms. (Are your smoke alarms’ batteries working?)
- 50a. Hey! Sue Grafton books get a lot of play in crosswords, but usually it’s a fill-in-the-blank A IS, B IS, or N IS, something along those lines. [Second in a Sue Grafton series] clues B IS FOR BURGLAR.
- 38a. [One in an extra-large baby carriage, perhaps] clues a TRIPLET. I was thinking we about a carriage for an extra-large baby here. (Whoops.)
- 5d. SPAMALOT is the [Musical with the song “The Holy Grail”].
- 10d. One tasty [Pita filling] is FALAFEL. Yum!
- 25d. [Country with a da Vinci drawing on its one-euro coin] is a great Monday clue for ITALY.
- 34d. [Barnes & Noble link?] is the AMPERSAND in the middle of the store’s name.
- 63d. [’70s TV boss of Mary, Ted and Murray] is the best clue I’ve ever seen for LOU.
Patrick Blindauer’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, “Meeting of the Minds”—Evad’s review
Tomorrow, constructor Patrick Blindauer announces the preliminary results of his sweeping 10 puzzle cum meta contest, I Know Where I Was Last Summer. I understand he had over 170 participants, unfortunately I don’t think we can discuss the contest until March as he is adding an eleventh puzzle (and another month to the deadline) to help those who haven’t figured out his final destination yet. (I wonder if next year we’ll be asked to find out where he and his now fiancée spent their honeymoon?) Today, his designs are much less broad in scale as he offers us three 15-letter phrases with the letters of MIND tucked inside.
- “Business sector that moves people” isn’t the publishers of Harlequin Romances, but instead the TOURISM INDUSTRY.
- “Mass that Mozart did not complete” is the REQUIEM IN DINOR. I believe the music from this requiem features prominently in Peter Shaffer‘s Amadeus. Can any movie buffs out there confirm?
- “Fare that’s rich in nutrients” is the somewhat forced feeling HIGH VITAMIN DIET. Too bad VITAMIN D is 7 letters 2 short and VITAMIN DEFICIENCY is 2 letters 2 long. Speaking of which, those of us in Northern climes are being advised to supplement our diets with up to 2000 IU of Vitamin D daily to make up for the lack of sunshine. Sheesh, if all the snow we’re getting isn’t bad enough, we have to shovel the stuff up in the dark!
A couple of longish entries, HAD A CAMEO (another forced phrase in my book) and the much better IT’S A SHAME seem placed to have a bearing on the theme, but damned if I can see how. Enjoyed GAS HOG and what the Swedish Chef (from The Muppet Show) wears, a TOQUE. Were we supposed to understand anything he said? I just recall a lot of incoherent mumbling.
I can’t help but close with this link which, in full disclosure, brings you to Rick Ashley‘s Never GONNA Give You Up, now with almost 30 million views. Wouldn’t it be cool if you’re number 30,000,000? That’s something to tell your grandchildren.
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”
So, Ben Zimmer sends Brendan a picture of an insane crossword grid from the back of an old record cover. Brendan renumbers the grid conventionally (because he’s nothing of not conventional, right?) and whaddaya know? It’s a 70-word grid so he can use it for a themeless. He’s got a crazy amount of cool fill in this one:
- CLIP-ON TIE, THE AUGHTS decade, the desert bush OCOTILLOS (don’t know how I got that one), the Greek pair of TSONGAS and ONASSIS, slangy “IZZAT SO?”, Chinese leader HU JINTAO, KNIEVEL instead of repeater EVEL, the SCREWY faux-zodiac constellation OPHIUCHUS, QWERTY, poet Anne SEXTON
Totally fell in the 16a trap. [Game seen around Christmas]? We used to have the Cranium kids’ game CARIBOO. That final O made it hard to figure out the name at 13d. HO- who? No room for HO CHI MINH. That was HU JINTAO’s spot, crossing a northern CARIBOU. Has anyone put Hu’s name in a crossword before? It’s a fearsome entry.
“You know Hu’s in Chicago?” I asked my husband the other week, when the Chinese delegation visited town. “Who,” he replied. “Yes, exactly,” I said. I slay me, I tell ya.
Hey, Brendan, have you even heard of the game called Cariboo?