Andrea Carla Michaels’ New York Times crossword — pannonica’s review
What’s that? 36a [Start of a Ray Bradbury title … or a hint to the ends of 17-, 26-, 49- and 62-Across] SOMETHING WICKED. The rest of the title, which to this solver is sorely missed, is This Way Comes. Unfortunately, I don’t see how it could have been done: it doesn’t divide evenly, and it doesn’t have a central letter in common (namely an N) to cross this revealer vertically. Further, it’s twelve letters to the eleven of the author’s full name. The phrase is of course originally a line from Shakespeare’s Macbeth; “Shakespeare” is eleven letters—the same as “Ray Bradbury”—but that gets us nowhere, and is farther afield…
So what do we have?
- 17a. [Leona Helmsley epithet] QUEEN OF MEAN.
- 26a. [Words under a monkey with his hands over his ears] HEAR NO EVIL. Those “monkeys” are typically chimpanzees (4a APES), but I’m sure you knew that.
- 49a. [One of the Sex Pistols] SID VICIOUS.
- 62a. [1956 #1 Elvis hit] DON’T BE CRUEL.
The end of each is a synonym for WICKED. Fair enough.
It’s a teensy bit distracting that there are two nonthematic across answers—ALTERNATIVE and IN DISREPAIR—that are longer than two of the themers, and of equal length to the others (excepting the spanning revealer), not to mention that they have a certain preëminence, appearing before the first and after the last theme answer. On the other hand, good long answers in a puzzle are always welcome. So, I reiterate, a teensy bit distracting.
Factette: Something Wicked This Way Comes is also the name of a series of anthology volumes of EROTIC (47d) stories. You can look it up at Amazon or somesuch.
I refuse to say anything unequivocally bad about this crossword.
Melanie Miller’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s review
Quick write-up here, because I can aptly do so.
- 18a. [Little vehicle] COMPACT CAR.
- 23a. [Little time] SHORT TERM.
- 40a. [Little role] CAMEO APPEARANCE.
- 51a. [Little break] BRIEF STOP.
- 60a. [Little type] SMALL PRINT.
Minor theme, done ok.
nb: Abbrevs.: 5a METH., 17a TRIG., 33a APA, , 11d ETC., 37d EPA, 47d TBSP; add’l short’nings: 5d MAC[Vie], 6d ECO-, 27d SHAN’T, 28d MEDCO.
Bob Klahn’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword – Sam Donaldson’s review
The work week begins with a quip theme from Bob Klahn. Bob gives us a quotation from Max Lucado, a man Wikipedia describes as “a best-selling author and writer and preacher at Oak Hills Church (formerly the Oak Hills Church of Christ) in San Antonio, Texas.” The quotation is about leadership: A MAN WHO WANTS TO / LEAD THE / ORCHESTRA MUST / TURN HIS / BACK TO THE CROWD.
Quip themes make for a difficult round of Name That Puzzle, the game where I try to guess the puzzle’s title. Heck, it could be anything. Knowing Bob’s penchant for devious clues, though, I’m expecting something especially clever. So I think I need to come up with some twist on “leadership.” Leadership Style is as dull as dishwater. Leadership Vision isn’t much better, though it does refer to the conductor’s line of sight. Playing to the Masses is interesting on a few levels, but it assumes the solver knows Max Lucado’s occupation as a preacher. I better stop now before I spend hours on it only to be trumped by Bob’s better title.
Yep, he did it. “Heading Heading” is a much better title, and perfectly Klahn-ian to boot. We know to expect clever clues in Bob’s puzzles, and here are some of my favorites from this offering:
- [How to mail a fish?] for COD, or C.O.D., or both.
- [Post-mark tender] for the EURO, the currency that replaced the mark.
- [Draft status?] is not ONE-A or FOUR-F but ON TAP, as in ale.
- [Double negative?] for UH-UH.
- [Bar room?] for CAGE. (A cage is a room composed of bars.)
- [Group of toads] for KNOT. I like those “group of <animal>” clues, even though I rarely remember them.
- [Those you duped, briefly] for CC’S, as in those to whom you sent duplicate messages.
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”
Okay. I generally solve the puzzles under the “AV Club” umbrella at Crosswords by PuzzleSocial about a week in advance, which means I’m never blogging them fresh. I don’t suppose any of you BEQ fans are good writers with a broad knowledge of crosswords and free time to blog on Monday mornings? I feel the puzzle reviews are best when the puzzle is still fresh in the blogger’s mind. Shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’re interested.
Today’s freshest answer is DINESH D’SOUZA, who got his neocon start as a Dartmouth student and now has an anti-Obama documentary in theaters. Apparently he is fixated on “anti-colonialism,” so I imagine that we are mere weeks away from American Samoa, Guam, and Puerto Rico being set free as independent nations. Hawaii will probably also become autonomous. Luckily, Obama’s anti-colonial bent means that we probably won’t have to switch from “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” to “God Save the Queen.”
Today’s Retro Special is SIDE THREE, [It begins with “Birthday” on “The White Album”]. CDs and downloads lack sides.
You see the French newspaper LE MONDE, sitting there looking like LEMONADE? Or Greg LEMOND. Or LEMON, LEON, LEO, LO, O.
- 43d. [6-inch wieners], HOT DOGS. Unless they’re bun length or foot-longs.
- 65a. [Source for Crusoe?], ANAGRAM.
- 47d. [Beachwear with a thong], THONG. I cannot abide having a thong wedged into my toe-crack.
Other COLORFUL answers: MEN ABOUT TOWN (hello, Doug Peterson), GO “PFFT,” FRITOS, and THE SMITHS (who, it bears noting, have sold a lot more records than the Joneses, who are not keeping up with The Smiths).
Underwhelmed by plural IODINES and UNES, RETASTE, and verbed GUILED.
3.5 stars for this 72-worder.