Tim Croce’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
68-across [Professional org. ending eight answers in this puzzle] AMA, the Asociacion Mexicana Automovilistica.
- 18a. [Caribbean resort island] GRAND BAHAMA.
- 20a. [2008 Tina Fey/Amy Poehler comedy] BABY MAMA.
- 29a. [Many a 1930s soap opera] RADIO DRAMA.
- 34a. [Desert of Chile] ATACAMA.
- 36a. [3-D art project] DIORAMA.
- 43a. [White House girl] MALIA OBAMA.
- 54a. ["He's a priest ," per Ogden Nash] ONE-L LAMA.
- 58a. [First explorer to sail directly from Europe to India] VASCO DE GAMA.
All right, how about “theme-o-rama”? Eight entries on a Monday? Sure, two were only seven letters long, but that’s quite a lot, and the puzzle for the most part avoids CAP (crosswordese, abbrevs., partials) crap. The least Mondayesque fill includes 30d [One-named author of "A Dog of Flanders"] OUIDA, 21d YOGIC, 52d SLATY, and the themer ATACAMA. Curious that 37d RAVEL is clued as [Entangle, as yarn] rather than the French composer; is Maurice losing relevancy? Speaking of entangling, RAVEL is one of those words that can also function as its own opposite—called, among other things, contranyms, autantonyms, and enantiodromes. In my view this is another reason to have used the music-related sense for this early-week puzzle.
Long downs are the four-four names DUMB DORA and ALAN ALDA. The triple-six verticals in the northeast and southwest add some density, though their contents are not so exciting. The doubled sevens top and bottom center, along the longest themers, are more interesting.
Good puzzle, neither TOO EASY nor too crunchy (despite the ABS, PINE NUTS, and a lone DORITO).
Randolph Ross’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Half-baked Alaska” – Dave Sullivan’s review
Some real groaners featuring the 49th state to start your workweek:
- [Clarifying question to an Alaskan?] clues JUNEAU WHAT I MEAN. I guess “ju-knew” this was coming.
- [Alaskan eye doctor?] is an OPTICAL ALEUTIAN. The island chain is a stand-in for “illusion” here. I think these doctors help you to see Russia more clearly.
- [Ranking of an Alaskan politician?] clues the only Alaskan politician that comes to my mind, PALIN COMPARISON. “Pale in” is what the original phrase uses–we don’t often use “pale” as a verb, but it means to be deficient, or lacking (as in color). I think I enjoyed this one the most and it was hardly beyond the pale.
I thought this was good set of Alaskan puns–but I expected all three to be towns/cities after I uncovered the first entry. Guess there’s not much you can do with ANCHORAGE, eh? My FAVE entry was to see the classic New Yorker cartoonist Peter ARNO used to clue what typically is an aquatic entry. Even if you’re not a regular subscriber, I know you’d recognize his work. My UNFAVE today is something we saw just yesterday in the NYT as I remember: A HOOT, clued as [Really funny]. That indefinite article leads us down a slippery slope, methinks.
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”
A 62-worder? Eh. I much prefer Brendan’s looser grids jam-packed with zippy fill to low-word-count puzzles with more roll-your-own entries.
Favorite fill: SORE THUMB, KENDRICK LAMAR, WENT PRO, PAWN SHOPS, R.L. STINE (I tweeted him a link to the puzzle), IT GIRL (she works in I.T., right?), ATALANTA, and TEAM PHOTOS.
- 12a. [Outstanding person?], DEBTOR.
- 17a. [Had trouble wrapping things up], RAN LATE.
- 39a. [Places where people might exchange rings], PAWN SHOPS.
- 31d. [Afghan's home], KENNEL. Afghan hound, not Afghanistan person.
- 32d. [Things removed by pumps], GAS CAPS. By = near.
- 39d. [Diet that's been around a long time?], PALEO.
Dislikes: Plural TETS and SYSTS and GENOAS, EDDA, TERNS, ABATOR, ROPILY, GSOS. Blurgh.
C.C. Burnikel’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Accidentally untimed (the clock never started) for the LAT, added to my longer-than-usual solve for the NYT, which I ascribe to the fact that I woke up moments before staring in on it. It’s a banner day, for sure.
Noticed the numerical sequence of the themers while solving, but was wondering why it started with three and not one or zero. Turns out that the theme answers—all of them 15 letters long, incidentally—contain the typical (exclusive?) pars for golf holes, as explained by 58-across [As expected, or, golfwise, a hint to numbers found in 17-, 23- and 50-Across] PAR FOR THE COURSE.
- 17a. [1978 hit for the Commodores] THREE TIMES A LADY.
- 23a. [Safety feature at a dangerous intersection] FOUR-WAY STOP SIGN. Discussed just over a month ago in these very virtual pages, on the occasion of Martin Ashwood-Smith’s Saturday NYT puzzle.
- 50a. [False start punishment, in football] FIVE-YARD PENALTY.
All real phrases, and it’s very nice that each of the three have a different subject (music, daily life, sports). Not an issue to me that football and golf of the revealer are both sports-related (the latter only in part).
Pitched at the appropriate Monday level, but with a few bones tossed for the more experience solver: an echoed clue here, a cutish bit there, et cetera.
- 32d [Oft-sprained joint] ANKLE, 48d [Treats again, as a sprain] for the unpretty REICED. 14a [Legend automaker] ACURA, 66a [The stuff of legends] MYTH. 30a [Give one's word] VOW crossing 27d [Gave one's word] SWORE. 25d [New Haven sch.] for the ickily-written YALE U, 67a [25-Down student] ELI.
- Longdowns: AIR GUITAR, MARBLE RYE, THEATRIC, HASH OVER.
- 31a. [Business bigwig] TITAN. Not a clue I would have expected for this fill, especially early in the week. Phrase that comes to mind is “titans of industry.”
- 55a [Hush-hush maritime org.] ONI. Hush-hush enough for me not to have heard of it, for whatever that’s worth. Hmm… going to guess it’s the Office of Naval Intelligence, which I have heard of, so perhaps it’s just the abbrev. that’s unfamiliar.
- Not sure why I have this mindset, but not only did the idea cross my mind that 46d [Greek street food] GYRO could have pieces of of street (shaved asphalt?) in it, and 36d MARBLE RYE might be made with marbles, since it suffers the same abuse as “ice tea.”
Fine puzzle and—yes, that’s right—PAR FOR THE COURSE on a Monday.