Steve Salitan’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s review
Two flanking down entries tell the story: 28d [With 37-Down, what 17-,24-,47- and 58-Across are all said to bring]: GOOD | LUCK.
- 17a. [Mickey Mantle wore it] = NUMBER SEVEN.
- 24a. [One who's an overnight success] is a sometimes-deceptive SHOOTING STAR.
- 47a. The BLARNEY STONE is a [Much-kissed rock]. It’s also probably terribly unhygienic.
- 58a. A RABBIT’S FOOT is a [Common key chain adornment] which is, as frequently pointed out, not particularly lucky for its original owner.
Decent theme. Some nice fill, including (10d) FINAGLE, the symmetric long-downs (11d) POINT COUNT and (30d) MASS MARKET (surprisingly not clued as “paperback size”). Unexpected-for-a-Monday crosswordese on hand, namely SMEE, OISE, OONA, OTO, and the unannounced variant GISMO for “gizmo.” A sizable helping of uninspired abbrevs. such as ISL, IMS, ARR, ENE, HTS, and ARG.
Was fazed by the clue for 18d, [Amazon and Orinoco, to natives], which primed me to think not about the Portuguese inhabitants who call them RIOS, but the various tribes who were already there.
And what, what, are we to make of the inadvertent imagery in Row 12: “LARGE ARR SOLE”?
Randolph Ross’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword, “Movie Night at the Weather Channel” – Sam Donaldson’s review
Sometimes you just fall in love. There’s no explaining it, it just happens. Everyone around you will question it, and sometimes you’ll even say to yourself that it won’t last, that it can’t work out. And yet you can’t resist.
What a perfect description for this crossword. Is it a flawless puzzle? Oh, goodness gracious, not at all. Does it have a subtle theme or an original take? Uh, no. But this one had me at hello, so to speak. I fell for this puzzle the second I saw the title. Movies + basic cable = pure entertainment. Ross lists five movie titles with weather conditions in their names:
- 17-Across: The [Movie based on a book by Sebastian Junger] is “THE PERFECT STORM.” I didn’t realize a book had come first. I also didn’t realize this movie is 11 years old already. Good grief, where does the time go?
- 27-Across: The [1992 black-and-white Woody Allen movie] is “SHADOWS AND FOG.” The only other black-and-white Woody Allen movie I can think of is “Manhattan.” Are there others?
- 37-Across: The [Movie for which Dustin Hoffman won an Oscar] is “RAIN MAN.” This was the movie that taught me three things: (1) always fly Qantas; (2) learn how to count cards in blackjack; and (3) make it home in time to see Judge Wapner.
- 47-Across: “DAYS OF THUNDER” was the [Movie starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman]. There’s also “Eyes Wide Shut” and “Far and Away,” but neither would really fit the theme.
- 61-Across: The [Film classic set in 1860s Georgia] is “GONE WITH THE WIND.” But I’m guessing that by this point, frankly, you don’t give a damn.
As I said, the theme entries are not consistent. In four of the five titles, the weather condition appears at the end, but in RAIN MAN it comes at the start. Four of the five movies are not about the weather condition referenced in the title, but THE PERFECT STORM is, in fact, about a storm. There’s an argument that this second inconsistency could be overlooked if THE PERFECT STORM had been the “punchline” entry at the end of the grid (because then it could be clued with reference to the weather patterns referenced in the other four films). Alas, THE PERFECT STORM is the lead-off entry instead of the closer. But, dang it, I still liked this puzzle.
If you get past the inconsistencies, there are some nice attributes. The long Downs, FEELS SILLY and FILM RATING, are fresh, and the six- and seven-letter fill entries are nice: LOSES IT, NO STARS, and ONE-WAY, especially. And you’re sure to find the first name of someone you know in this grid, whether it’s ABE, LEA, LISA, ELLA, ARTIE, LYNDA, REX, LARA, LOLA, SHIA, or, most importantly, SAM (I suppose there’s even the Cockney Viking, ‘AGAR the Horrible).
Victor Barocas’s Los Angeles Times crossword
Five-minute post. Go!
Theme: “Before-and-after” answers combine two phrases that share a common word. First part begins with a color; second part is a forensic evidence term.
- 20a. [Evidence against an aristocrat?] = BLUE BLOOD STAIN.
- 40a. [Evidence against a gardener?] = GREEN THUMB PRINT.
- 56a. [Evidence against an Oscar attendee?] = RED CARPET FIBER.
I didn’t love the theme, but appreciate the tightness of its formation. Also nice that the three colors go together well. A theme with, say, green, red, and gray would be weird.
Best fill: DUST STORM.
Oddest answer combos: BOILED EBOLA, EARWAX SPASM. Travel guide summary: ALOOF FAVOR SWEDEN.
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”
Eh, I did not enjoy this puzzle. A few clues seemed to be just plain broken:
- 8a. Why is STOMACH the answer to [Bay window]?
- 58a. Why are [Snow caps?] BEANIES? What does “snow” mean here?
- 57d. [Pack away] should be in the past tense if the answer is ATE.
- 48a. [Aluminum foil] clues EPEE. Except that the épée and foil are two different swords used in fencing. I don’t know that either is made of aluminum.
- 20a. Maybe this clue isn’t broken, but I don’t get why ENL is [Like one in a mil.?].
Words I just plain didn’t know:
- 1d. SHOEPAC.
- 26a. FLAM.
- 35a. INES Sainz.
- 14d. HYPE MAN.
- 44a. HOB.
- 42d. BERGERE.
STRYPER was vaguely familiar but I had STRYKER first. That whole corner was tought to put together, as I didn’t know the punch line for 37d, didn’t know if 39d would be ABETTOR (yes) or ABETTER, didn’t recognize that 38d would be a spoken phrase, and had issues with HOB, EPEE, and ATE. Blurrgh.
The good stuff (AVENUE Q, HAN SOLO, ANTWERP, UXORIAL, THE METS, COQ AU VIN, and CLOONEY) was outweighed, for me, by the demerits. So 2.5 stars from me.