Daniel Raymon’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
I probably won’t be the only one to say it, but for this puzzle the ayes have it (despite 53a NAY). There’s even a nifty little two-part revealer in the first and last acrosses: [With 69-Across, childish taunt … and a homophonic hint to the answers to the asterisked clues] FOUR | EYES. In other words, each theme answer contains a quartet of letter number nine, and no other vowel. As I was solving, I noticed the exclusivity but not the enumeration, so the revealer was beneficial.
- 20a. [*Elated] IN HIGH SPIRITS.
- 32a. [*Believing in nothing] NIHILISTIC.
- 43a. [*Inflammation of gum tissue] GINGIVITIS.
- 54a. [*Eensy-weensy beach garments] STRING BIKINIS. Polka-dots optional, as are itsies and bitsies.
Good theme, and the single-word pair toward the center is quite spiffy indeed. Interesting how exclaiming “ay” in various multiples seems more natural than others. Specifically— “ay,” or —”ay, ay, ay,” or —”ay, ay, ay, ay, ay.” Is it an odd-even thing, or perhaps a prime number thing? I’m thinking it’s like plantings, odd feels right.
Okay, back to the puzzle sensu stricto. The longdowns are very, very good: UNHITCHED, [Stick it in your ear] HEARING AID, LINE DRIVE, INTENSIFY.
- 29a [One who goes a-courting] SWAIN. Don’tcha know that FROGGY didn’t fit, mac?
- Don’t care for the clue for ROAN, which is (very) frequently clued quasi-wittily as [Horse of another color]. Here, it’s rendered [Horse with more than one color]. While it’s true that ROAN implies and admixture of white hairs for a somewhat grizzled appearance, the coloring is overall is reddish. More likely such a clue would indicate a pinto, piebald, skewbald, paint, or—more esoterically—tobiano, overo, sabino, tovero, et cetera.
- Most non-Monday-like fill: AGHA, Val d’ISERE, ADELA Rogers St. Johns.
- Most transgressive clue and fill: 6d [Water pipes] BONGS.
Solid Monday, quite enjoyable.
Gareth Bain’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Five substantial them entries, including the revealer at 57-across: [Scary showing, and the first word of each answer to a starred clue] HORROR FILM.
- 17a. [*Auto wreck extraction tool] JAWS OF LIFE. Jaws (Spielberg, 1975).
- 23a. [*Princess Leia portrayer] CARRIE FISHER. Carrie (DePalma, 1976). Would have preferred a non-cinematic clue, perhaps referencing one of her novels or memoirs. Or better yet, why not CARRIE NATION?
- 35a. [*Was on the same page as] SAW EYE TO EYE WITH. Saw (Wan, 2004).
- 47a. [*Inappropriately used therapeutic jargon] PSYCHOBABBLE. Psycho (Hitchcock, 1960). What a lovely,
Point of minor contention: Jaws and Psycho I consider to be suspenses, thrillers, rather than horror films, but I realize it’s both subjective and that there’s a lot of bleed-over between those two genres. Speaking of which, it’s undeniable that all of the films contain memorable scenes involving blood.
Solid, Monday-level theme, replete with revealer and and asterisks and
lions and tigers and oh never mind. Overall solving satisfaction was improved by attention to detail and connections (admittedly, some of them are of my own making—or guided completion?) elsewhere in the puzzle, touches such as:
- 26a [Dueler's cry] EN GARDE! 24d [Blunt-tipped weapon] ÉPÉE.
- The German/Yiddish SPIEL and YENTA alongside each other at 48d and 49d.
- 32d [Fred and Wilma's pet] DINO, 39d [Wilma, to Fred] WIFE.
- 21a [Palindromic fool] BOOB. 33d [Germany's __ von Bismarck] OTTO. However, Kevin Kline’s OTTO in A Fish Called Wanda was another palindromic fool. And he won an Oscar for the performance.
- 1a ["Amazing" magician] RANDI. Ah, but he’s so much more.
- 45d [Spanish river] EBRO. Did you know it’s etymologically related to “Iberia”? Makes sense, doesn’t it?
- Some unappealing short fill, but not enough to spoil the thrill.
Donna S. Levin’s CrosSynergy crossword, “You’ll Pay for That!” – Dave Sullivan’s review
Let me add my thanks to Patrick Blindauer and Brian Cimmet and their squadron of volunteers at Lollapuzzoola 6 for putting on such a fun and well-organized tournament. Lest you think all of us who blog the puzzles here won some award or even placed in the top 10 of our division, I did neither and am likely squarely in the middle of the pack of the “Local” division, which were those of us who have never placed in the top 20% of a recent ACPT. (Final results will be posted later in the week, so I’ll let you all know how middling when I find out.) Some of us have to be mediocre so that others may shine, right? That’s my calling and I’m proud of it!
Today’s puzzle features four theme phrases that end with a type of payment, and also has what may be an extra short theme-related entry in the center:
- A [Security clearance prerequisite] is a BACKGROUND CHECK
- Methinks Bob Klahn had something to do with the next clue, [Putter's penny, perhaps] (can you say that three times fast?) which was a BALL MARKER – I think of casinos and pool tables when I think of “markers.” Are they used elsewhere?
- [Memory aid, of a sort] is a MENTAL NOTE
- Finally, we have [Congressional output] or LEGISLATIVE BILL – not so much in this legislative session, eh?
What I’m not sure about is if the central [Device that upchucks bucks, familiarly] for ATM was theme-related or not, I guess it’s up to us as solvers to decide. I felt the fill in this one was above average, full of GLAM entries like MOTORIZE, ED HARRIS, and pairs like CRAZE and AMAZE, and NO-NAME and NOT BAD. I’ll reserve my FAVE for both the clue [Foofaraw] and its answer, BROUHAHA, which both are a lot of fun to say. And my UNFAVEs are the trio of plural abbrevs., AMCS, LSATS and PTAS.