David Kahn’s New York Times crossword
I’m partial to the theme—French-derived words with acute accents on the letter E actually use their accent marks in both the Across and Down answers—and a few of the long answers, but there was also some off-putting fill.
The thémé answérs aré as follows:
- 9a. PLIÉS
- 14a. NÉE
- 39a. RÉSUMÉS
- 69a. TÉA Leoni (not a French word—tea in French is thé)
- 70a. DÉCOR
- 2d. DÉTENTES
- 12d. ÉCLAIR
- 23d. SAUTÉS
- 35d. SÉANCE
- 42d. ATTACHÉS
- 48d. EXPOSÉ
- 31d. ACUTE [__ accent, mark used symmetrically six times in this puzzle's solution]
Less reliance on plurals (and that +S verb) would give the theme a more élégant mien, non? Do note, however, that the É appears in exactly symmetrical spots in the grid, so the two 8s needed the É in position 2 and position 7, for example.
I’ve believe I’ve seen this theme concept before, but with Ñ as the target letter + diacritical. Given the crossword convention of dispensing with diacriticals altogether, it’s fun to thwart that expectation and make use of the accents for a change.
Like: EXOTICA, BEACH BUM, HIT LISTS, LEAP YEAR, OVERLAP clued via [What circles in a Venn diagram do].
Could do without: HENIE/MII/RETIE, SHEENY/SAE, RAE/EATER/EWERS. CUTEY is also jarring to eyes accustomed to the cutie spelling.
Did you catch the grave accents in a couple clues? See 67a, 46d.
Gary Cee’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Gareth’s review
DJ Gary Cee is in the booth today. As explained in the clue for BADCONNECTION, [Phone line difficulty ... and what literally appears four times in 20-, 35- and 42-Across], the word BAD spans all the words in YABBADABBADOO, SCUBADIVER and WEBADDRESS (which sounds clunky.) The revealer is colorful, even if it reminds me of the woeful cellphone signal in my granny flat. It also cocks a snoot at a frequent nit leveled at this sort of puzzle, namely that some of the answers have more than two words, but only two are used for the theme. YABBADABBADOO is a 3-word phrase, but it has two BAD connections. If only it were the last phrase, it’d be perfect! It’s still a great find, and the seed of the puzzle, I bet.
I know Pitney as in Gene Pitney but [Pitney's partner] was today’s mystery man for me: BOWES. When I first started listening to pop music ca. age 5, Pitney’s partner was (Marc) Almond (although I think the song was already a year or two old)… I’m off to try and figure out who that is… not her. not him either. Hmm, let’s try googling Pitney Bowes. OK, it’s not Gene at all, it’s a company with 28,000 employees… Feel free to laugh at my ignorance and this rambling interlude.
Some other DJ shout-outs EPS are [Four-song discs, briefly]. I have EPs with other amounts of songs, not sure what’s with the specificity of the clue. If you aren’t familiar, they’re records longer than singles, but shorter than albums: extended players. We also have ["My Way" singer] Frank SINATRA, [J Geils Band record label] EMI, and NILS [Lofgren of the E Street Band]. If we really stretch things, we can include MAST, KNOB, EARS and STEREO into the mix.
There’s also a BIBLEBELT mini-theme going on in the bottom-left corner, with AMEN and DIOCESE as bonus answers.
That’s me out. Feel free to leave Gary your bouquets and brickbats in the comments!
Donna S. Levin’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Moving Parts”- Sam Donaldson’s review
Check out how the P-A-R-T letter sequence moves from left to right in these four theme entries:
- 17-Across: A PARTING SHOT is a [Snotty over-the-shoulder remark]. So the PART starts at the far left.
- 27-Across: A TEA PARTY RALLY is a [Gathering for Palin acolytes]. PART commences four letters in from the start.
- 47-Across: A SENIOR PARTNER is the [Likely denizen of a law firm's corner office]. Here the PART stops four letters from the end. Symmetry!
- 62-Across: Things [Separated by a wide chasm] are WORLDS APART. Fittingly, this one ends with the PART.
That added layer of symmetry and the fun clues for the theme entries really add to this puzzle’s elegance. I also liked the long Downs, NEARBY TOWN ([It's where someone in the sticks might go to buy groceries]) and AD ABSURDUM ([Latinist's "ridiculous degree"]). Other highlights in the fill included OIL RUB, THE PEN, SPUMONI, MAGRITTE, OOPS, and MWAH.
Favorite entry = TOP MODEL, [What Tyra Banks's competition winner is expected to become, per the show's title]. [Banks show, familiarly] would have been a more concise clue, but this one works well. Favorite clue = [Captain Hook's diving board] for PLANK. If I ever plank, I think I’ll do it on a plank. Can’t ask for a much easier way to get started.