David Steinberg’s NYT crossword — pannonica’s review
A little Monday appeasement, as the theme answers are all names and phrases starting with two initials, the first always “P.”
- 17a. [1964 Beatles hit] P.S. I LOVE YOU. Written by J.P. McCartney and J.W. Lennon. Not to be confused with the 1934 non-Beatles jazz standard (?) of the same name written by G.H. Jenkins and J.H. Mercer. (post script)
- 19a. [Part of school that includes push-ups and situps] PE CLASS. Interesting that push-ups is hyphenated and situps is not. (physical education, phys ed)
- 23a. [Showman associated with the quote "There's a sucker born every minute"] P.T. BARNUM. (Phineas Taylor)
- 44a. [Chinese restaurant chain] P.F. CHANG’S. Definitely American Chinese food, and “bistro” is part of the name, for good measure I guess. (Paul Fleming)
- 48a. [Acidity or alkalinity] PH LEVEL. (pH)
- 52a. [Rating of "Avatar"] PG-THIRTEEN. I am so tired of seeing Avatar references in crosswords, from NA’VI to ZOE to CGI, and so on. Good thing Esai Morales didn’t act in it. (parental guidance)
- 23d. [U.S. Mail holders] PO BOXES. (post office)
Seven themers, none particularly long, but all good. There must have been a lot to choose from, so the ones selected are strong. Smooth fill, low CAP Quotient™. Enjoyable solve. In other words, a typical Monday New York Times puzzle.
- 36a & 53d. Double-duty clue, [Gangster's gun] ROD and GAT. Are those too crosswordy? I’ve read them in books and heard them in films, so I usually give them a pass on that score.
- 59a. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the word OUTGO [Expenditures], but past research has told me it’s entirely legitimate, no matter how pidgin it seems.
- Favorite clue: 63a [Stable locks?] MANE.
- Welcome long fill: SKELETONS, ARBORETUM, SLOBBER. There’s a horror movie in there somewhere.
For what it’s worth, the second letters of the themers anagram to THE FOGS.
Gail Grabowski’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Tear Apart” – Sam Donaldson’s review
Each of the theme entries consists of two words, and you can find the word TEAR hidden between the words. In that sense, the theme is a “tear apart” of TEAR. Okay, bad explanation. The theme entries will show it much more clearly:
- 17-Across: The [Old time adjustable aerials] are RABBIT EARS. I remember when we had to adjust the rabbit ears on our old black-and-white TV when we changed channels. And we changed channels by turning a real knob. We were lucky to have four channels, all of which went off the air around 1am every night. Story time with Grandpa is almost over.
- 55-Across: An [Out-of-the-way place] is a REMOTE AREA. That’s right, kids, in our day we used “remote” as an adjective and not as a noun.
- 10-Down: [Take-home pay] is another term for NET EARNINGS. Now I get why my net earnings bring me to tears–there’s a tear hidden in the term!
- 24-Down: [One who was delayed] was a LATE ARRIVAL. I’m hoping I won’t be a late arrival on my flight home right now. But as Louis C.K. would remind me, who am I to complain if it takes an extra 30 minutes to travel clear across the country in just a few hours. Compared to our ancestors, we have it pretty good.
Favorite non-theme entries were MAIN DRAG and AIR DRIES (and I liked the clue for the latter, [Uses an outside line, say]). I also liked the [Daisy Red Rider, e.g.] as the clue for BB GUN. Good thing nobody lost an eye because of that clue! Speaking of which, it’s just about that time of year when we get to see A Christmas Story 40 times over the next few weeks, isn’t it? Maybe having only four channels back in the day wasn’t so bad.
Jeff Chen’s Los Angeles Times crossword
The first word of the first four theme answers make a song title, “Hit the Road, Jack”:
- 16a. [Strike gold] = HIT PAY DIRT. Lively phrase, that.
- 23a. [Mythical Egyptian riddler] = THE SPHINX.
- 37a. [Lane straddler] = ROAD HOG. Observing highway drivers tailgating or zooming across lanes yesterday, I introduced my son to that usage of the word tool.
- 48a. [Guy "nipping at your nose," in a holiday song] = JACK FROST.
- 58a. [Singer of the 1961 #1 song found in the starts of 16-, 23-, 37- and 48-Across] = RAY CHARLES. I don’t know the song in question, but of course Ray Charles is a legend and “hit the road, Jack” is familiar to me as a phrase.
Four more clues:
- 19a. [Canadian coin nicknamed for the bird on it] is a LOONIE, worth $1CD. The two-toned $2 coin is thus the toonie.
- 27a. [Smallest prime number] is TWO. My kid’s been working on prime factorization in sixth-grade math. I honestly don’t understand why 1 isn’t considered a prime number.
- 11d. A falling ACORN is a [Piece of the sky, to Chicken Little]. I was thinking LEAF at first, but that’s at 9a: [Fall faller].
- 45d. [Brittany brothers] are FRERES. Brittany and Dunkirk are place names that sound mighty British to me but are actually French.
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”
1a: WIZ KHALIFA is the name my son used in a sentence to illustrate the slang he’s hearing at school. “Wiz Khalifa is swagger,” he said. Though I’m not sure that’s correct usage. In hip-hop circles, I don’t know that “swagger” can serve as an adjective. Anyone?
29a: DEEP THREAT confused me. Is this a football term, that someone who throws the ball deep is a DEEP THREAT?
I wonder if 39d: WASHRAG is a regionalism. I say “washcloth”; “dishrag” is in the kitchen. My husband says “face cloth.”
Nice to see Mad magazine’s Mort DRUCKER in the grid. What were the four plumbing sounds he used as names in that one cartoon? Something, Blorp, Gleeble, something?
BOCA is ["A City for All Seasons," for short]? What, Boca Raton has a marketing catchphrase?
ZODIACS, plural? Meh.
I did this puzzle three hours ago and lack all inclination to blog it, so I’ll just get on with my day now. 3.6 stars.