Ian Livengood’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
My solving was marginally impeded, and the reported time reflects that.
The revealer is over in the Virgina/North Carolina spot, 35-down: [Greek letter that sounds like the end of 16-, 22-, 47- or 58-Across] RHO.
- 16a. [Legal thriller author who wrote "Presumed Innocent"] SCOTT TUROW. Yes, ladies, he’s over 18.
- 22a. [Illustrious warrior returning from battle] CONQUERING HERO. All hail!
- 36a. [King Tut, e.g.] EGYPTIAN PHARAOH. As opposed to the other type(s). Funny, I was just thinking about χρ earlier today, but I guess that’s more of an Alexandria joke? Abu-Simbel-sis-boom-bah! See also 54d [Old VHS rival] BETA.
- 47a. [Four-time Daytona 500 winner] CALE YARBOROUGH. I am perennially amazed by the NASCAR-crossword nexus.
- 58a. [Journalist's office] NEWS BUREAU.
Much theme content. Too much? Nah, the conceit is loose enough to allow a lot of leeway. Still, it’s impressive and well-executed. Plus, we get the great GYMNASIUM and the pretty-darn-good US MARSHAL. I’ll take that any day, not just Monday.
- 14a/15a: SOLO/OSLO.
- 57a [ __ the Red Viking explorer] ERIC? Exkuse me?
- Repeating the clue from GYMNASIUM [Sporting venue], ARENA at 48d.
- 6d [Small Welsh dog] CORGI. How many other Welsh dog breeds do you know? Superfluous “small”?
- 12d [Name said before and after James] BOND; fast forwarding to 46d [Andress of "Dr. No"] URSULA.
- Worst fill: in the central-right section: it’s either the partial HAR or the geocrosswordese ELKO, your choice. Or possibly OH I at 19a.
- 43a ["Little" Dickens girl] NELL. Neither “Amy” nor “Dorrtt” have the proper amount of letters.
- Pseudo-bonus fill: ROAMS, SRO, ROWDY
Above average puzzle.
Peter Koetters’ Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Nursery Crimes! Characters that you might find in a Mother Goose collection imagined as outlaws on the lam. Up front, let me just say that although there’s no GOOSE in the grid, the class Aves is represented by a GULL, an OSPREY, a ROC, as well as a NEST at the bottom right.
- 17a. [WANTED: Dimwitted loiterer, for pie-tasting without intent to buy] SIMPLE SIMON.
- 23a. [WANTED: Boy on the run, for unwanted kissing] GEORGIE PORGIE. Unwanted? Unsolicited?
- 35a. [WANTED: Delinquent minor, for breaking curfew and inappropriate dress] WEE WILLIE WINKLE. See also 17d?
- 49a. [WANTED: Musical shepherd, for sleeping on the job] LITTLE BOY BLUE.
- 58a. [WANTED: Merry monarch, for smoke pollution with his pipe] OLD KING COLE. Smoke pollution? Air pollution?
Five lengthy theme answers in a meagre 15×15 grid, why that’s like fitting a lot of children in a shoe. How many? Uhm, “so many”? That is to say, it’s impressive. And the ballast fill doesn’t suffer for the effort. If it did, this wouldn’t be a Monday puzzle.
Along the way, we find some engaging longer fill, such as a desk’s KNEEHOLE; the non-fitb IN LIMBO; HOME GAME, with its made-me-read-it-twice clue [Dodger Stadium contest, to the Dodgers]. JOGGING and full-name HAN SOLO (not to mention fill-name AL HIRT) round things out nicely, with uncommon fill.
The tone of the crossword, as evidenced by the first and last acrosses, shows a bit of verve too. For ECHO and NEST, the clues are the rhyming [Rebounding sound] and [Digs made of twigs].
Nadir: 5d [Half a giggle] HEE followed by 6d ["Thinking, thinking …" sounds] ERS (see also 11a ["S-o-o-o cute!" sounds] AWS). Most mysterious clue; 56d [Break at the office] REST; seems a bit random, no? Spiritually linked: 54a [Dispenser of theater programs] USHER, 11d [Designate, as a seat] ASSIGN.
And Jill came tumbling after. Above-average Monday.
Sarah Keller’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Ex Out”- Sam Donaldson’s review
Today’s puzzle takes four common two-word terms where the second word begins with EX-. It then cuts out the EX from each term and clues the sleeker, more whimsical result. For ample:
- 20-Across: A “stock exchange” changes to STOCK CHANGE, perhaps a term for [Switching from cattle to horses?]. Not to be confused with STOCK SEX CHANGE, a [Run of the mill operation to address some gender identity disorders].
- 34-Across: The “Pony Express” trims down to PONY PRESS, a [Tout sheet printer?]. This was my favorite, if only because I could imagine a tip sheet at the race track being called The Pony Press.
- 42-Across: A “legal expert” switches to LEGAL PERT, the [“2 in 1″ shampoo and conditioner with FDA approval?]. I used to a Pert man. Now I’m a Garnier man and a Head-and-Shoulders man (whichever one’s cheaper when I go to buy shampoo). TMI?
- 56-Across: A “hair extension” becomes HAIR TENSION, the [Opening-night jitters at a famous rock musical?]. Well good morning, Starshine! That’s a fine clue indeed.
I’d never heard of Marisa BERENSON, clued here as someone featured in “Barry Lyndon” and “Death in Venice” (whatever they are). And I really, really wanted the [Designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.] to be I.M. PEI (the most famous three-letter-surnamed designer in crossword history) but it was Maya LIN. But other than those (and temporarily forgetting SPICA as the [Brightest star in Virgo]), the puzzle put up very little fight. And that’s fine for a Monday. Gimme some nice theme entries and a smooth solve and my week’s off to a fine start.
Favorite entry = WIRETAP, the [Eavesdropping device]. Favorite clue, I guess = the double use of [Brings home] for both NETS and CLEARS.
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Allow Me to Introduce Myself”
This one’s a rerun from the 2009 ACPT, and hey! I blogged it four years ago, so the rundown is right here. Brendan’s got another puzzle coming up this weekend at the ACPT—looking forward to it.
If you didn’t read Brendan’s post today, you should. Especially if you’ve always wondered what kind of music Will Shortz listens to.
Over and out.