Allan Parrish’s New York Times crossword
Hi, folks. Amy here. I’m able to pre-blog the NYT because I’m a Marbles crossword tournament judge with access to the PDFs of the Monday to Friday NYTs for this week. I solved this one in a hospital waiting room and it’s a little scribbly. I was thinking “test-solve” more than “make a pretty picture for the blog.” Ah, well.
Puzzle starts out with a bang! Boom, 1-Across, Roman numeral. (The bang was my head hitting the desk.) The theme is a “___ B*T” vowel progression:
- 18a. BASEBALL BAT, [Louisville slugger, e.g.].
- 24a. OFF-TRACK BET, [Wager that's not made at the site of the race].
- 37a. CENTER BIT, [Hole-positioning gadget]. Had no idea that a CENTER BIT was a thing, but it’s certainly aptly located in the grid.
- 56a. INTERNET BOT, [Automated Web program]. Not sure what I’ve seen modifying “bot” other than “Internet.” Search bot, Google bot, spambot?
- 62a. ANYTHING BUT, [By no means].
The corners of stacked 7s aren’t what we usually see in a Monday grid. Lots of 7s are appealing, but when the resulting crossings include MCC, AAA, RRR, ERST, AMAHL, REB, and NEB, the joy wears thin. My favorite of the 7s is 1d: MARLOWE, though I prefer Christopher (Doctor Faustus playwright) to [Philip __, "The Big Sleep" sleuth]; other crossword bloggers’ mileage may vary. WOE IS ME is also welcome.
Drew Banneman’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Disclaimer: That’s a groggy, wake-up solving time.
This puzzle’s theme feels like the complement of last Monday’s LAT offering, Patti Varol’s “Follow the Leader,” though the answers are more expansive and more loosely allied.
- 20a. [Behavior of a community] GROUP DYNAMICS.
- 30a. ["Star Trek" catchphrase] BEAM ME UP. Is this the line that is never actually spoken verbatim as dialogue? I leave it to the trekkers.
- 36a. [Storage items near outdoor faucets] HOSE REELS. Made me think of gag reels.
- 48a. [Military officer's ride] STAFF CAR.
- 55a. [Nurturing network of family and friends, and a hint to the starts of 20-, 36- and 48-Across] SUPPORT SYSTEM.
Supporting evidence (see also 56d PERP):
- Groggy me misread 1-across [Switchblade] as “Switchable” and plunked in ACDC, which certainly wouldn’t be out of place in that location.
- • 28a [24-hour auto race city] LEMANS, 67a [500-mile race, familiarly] INDY.
• 18a [Pro cager] NBAER, 43a [Sox player, e.g.] ALER (bonus: 13d ['60s–'80s Red Sox legend, familiarly] YAZ.
• 7d [Reddish horse] ROAN, 21d [Ford named for a horse] PINTO. Not a bean?
• 27d [Double agent] SPY, 45d [Double-cross] TWO-TIME. Had been wondering why the superfluous “double” was in 27d.
• 59d [Winter toy] SLED, 60d [Tackle the slope] SKI. Bonus: 39d [ __-Globe: shakable collectible] SNO.
- Vertical seven-stacks in the northwest and southeast: SMUGGLE, HURRIER, IT’S ON ME; TWO-TIME, ROPES IN, ON EMPTY.
- Least Monday-like answer: 4d [Calf meat, in Provence] VEAU. See also (twofold): 29d ["Oh" de Cologne?] ACH.
- Favorite fill: 49d FRUMPY.
On-target Monday puzzle.
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”
I have had zero crossword-blogging impetus today, hence not posting about the BEQ until now. The impetus is still gone, so…
Likes: LEMON JELLO (among the worst of all Jell-O flavors), IRANIAN OIL, ANNE BRONTË, ALFREDO, GDANSK, THE BEEB, MONTICELLO, IDIOT-PROOF, TEAR TRIPS, UP THE RIVER, those old retro GREEN STAMPs from my childhood, Emily LITELLA, BAR CODE, and THE STROKES. That’s an awful lot of excellent fill. (Maybe you don’t like GDANSK, but c’mon, how awesome are all those consonants?)
[Compost heap stones] are PITS, meaning peach pits, etc., and not rocks, right?
I hope this movie is a huge success because crosswords could use a boffo ENOS clue like ["World War Z" actress Mireille] (provided the flick is boffo).
39a. [Female fanfic character that is presumed to be the author], MARY SUE? No idea what that’s about. Don’t read (or write) any fanfic.