Ellen Leuschner and Victor Fleming’s New York Times crossword – Jeffrey’s review
- 20A. [1966 Johnny Rivers hit] – SECRET AGENT MAN
- 25A. [Create skid marks, perhaps] – SLAM ON THE BRAKES
- 43A. [One with lots of experience] - SEASONED VETERAN
- 48A. [Certain holiday mail ... or what 20-, 25- and 43-Across have in common] – LETTERS TO SANTA
Three solid phrases and a revealer. Light and easy for the holiday.
Fun fact: If you use the postal code H0H 0H0 in Canada, the letters get to Santa in Montreal.
- 16A. ["___ the other reindeer" (common mishearing of a Yuletide lyric)] – OLIVE. I’ve got issues with those reindeer and their reindeer games.
- 41A. [“Stop right there!”] – FREEZE
Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ crossword, “Spellbound” – Jeffrey’s review
Theme: Say the letters out loud and they make a wacky phrase.
- 16A. [Written test involving a sly prison breakout?] – KGSKPSA – Cagey escape essay
- 20A. ["C'mon, those sunglasses don't fool me!"] – EZPZICABDI – Easy-peazy, I see a beady eye
- 39A. [Statement from a codependent tent dweller?] – OKFURNATPIMNATP - Okay; if you are in a teepee, I am in a teepee
- 55A. [How quickly pachyderms get seen at the hospital?] – LFNTRXPDNC – Elephants are expediency
- 63A. [Help save people, like a trained dog?] – BRSQNML – Be our rescue animal
Um, not sure what to make of these. Please let me know if there is some deeper meaning here. I don’t see how all the suboptimal fill is worth these phrases.
- 65A. [Singer Carly ___ Jepsen] – RAE
- 13D. ["Upstairs at Eric's" band] – YAZ
- 27D. [Suzanne Vega song with the lyric "I live on the second floor"] – LUKA
John Lampkin’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jeffrey’s review
Theme: Where’s Santa?
- (17a, 26a, 48a) [Unexpected Christmas morning observation] – SOMETHING HUGE IS CLOGGING UP OUR CHIMNEY
- (61a.) [Goodies unclaimed as a result of this puzzle's predicament] – COOKIES FOR SANTA
Hey, who needs to figure out what to write about a puzzle when the constructor provides helpful information. Tell us about this puzzle John:
The puzzle is a reincarnation of a song I composed and recorded in 1996. Mara & Sue, a popular local kid-oriented duo performed the vocals and I myself performed all the instrumental tracks—keyboards, bass, drums and percussion. I recently remastered it. Watch it here:
Totally could have had Canadian clues department:
- 46A. [ExxonMobil trade name] – ESSO
- 2D. [Matty or Felipe of baseball] – ALOU
- 4D. [Underwater weapon] – SPEAR GUN
- 62D. [Ocean] – SEA
- 63D. [Ocean traveler] – SUB
- 68A. [Paul's partner in song] – ART
Patrick Blindauer’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “P’s on Earth”- Sam Donaldson’s review
It’s official: I was on Santa’s “nice” list! How else to explain receiving a Patrick Blindauer puzzle to solve on Christmas Day? Patrick’s gift to us today is
peace, er, Ps. Lots of them: 29, by my count. According to xwordinfo.com, the record for most Ps in a 15×15 NYT puzzle is a “mere” 19 (the record is shared by Paula Gamache and a puzzle co-constructed by BEQ and Ian Livengood). I don’t know about other puzzle outlets, but I wouldn’t be surprised if today’s puzzle sets the all-time record. More importantly, though, it was a fun solve throughout.
Normally I list all of the theme entries and discuss them in my review. But by my way of thinking, anything with a P in it would be a theme entry. And if I took the time to list them all out here, you’d quit reading much sooner. So I’ll just focus on the three long entries that traverse the grid:
- 17-Across: The [Equipment used in a tabletop game] refers to PING-PONG PADDLES, featuring three Ps.
- 38- and 41-Across: Something that’s [edenic] is PICTURE / PERFECT. It’s nice when a 14-letter entry can break in half since that allows for placement in the middle row.
- 63-Across: Two things about PEPPERMINT PATTY: (1) she’s got four Ps in her name, and (2) [Marcie calls her “sir”]. Ever wanted to know what happened to Peppermint Patty? Find out here.
I didn’t know Joseph PAPP ([…who started Shakespeare in the Park]), but given today’s theme it was pretty easy to figure him out. My only real error in solving was having CROCK POT as the [Specialty cookware item] instead of CREPE PAN. Silly me–I should have known there’d be another P in the correct answer. Oh, and I really wanted PAPAYA as the [Fruit also known as “prairie bananas”]. Yeah yeah, I know papayas aren’t exactly from the prairies, but when faced with PAPA- already in the grid, you can see why I was seduced into it.
Favorite entry = ALLSPICE, the aromatic [Pumpkin pie component]. Favorite clue = [Play thing?] for PROP. Indeed, many props to Patrick for this puzzle!