Ed Sessa’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
The revealer at 65-across is particularly accurate. It reads [Classic advertising slogan … and a hint to 17-, 25-, 40- and 52-Across] and clues Campbell Soup’s M’M! M’M! GOOD! This addresses the four Ms in the theme answers, but not the maternal aspect of each, so it is very much just a “hint.” nb: The Wikipedia page reproduces the slogan as “Mmm Mmm Good,” but that isn’t supported by press releases I found on the company’s official website, nor by reproductions of print advertisements I also located via a web search.
- 17a. [Abba-inspired hit musical] MAMMA MIA! 50% Ms!
- 25a. [Movie starring Lon Chaney, Jr., with "The"] MUMMY’S TOMB.
- 40a. [Washington rally of 5/14/00] MILLION MOM MARCH. Not to be confused with the boycott-happy One Million Moms organization, a
wholly-owned subsidiarypart of the American Family CorporationAssociation.
- 52a. [Dogpatch matriarch] MAMMY YOKUM.
Aside from the theme, the most notable thing about this puzzle, for me, was the atypical early-week fill. The archaic ENORM and the awkward RETAB as bunkmates? KHMER, NCR (that ATM manufacturer), OMB (initialism for the Office of Management and Budget, not an abbrev. for ombusdsman—but either is odd), PANATELA, MYNAHS, and the meh SLIMLY. Not all of these are objectionable, but many feel out of place here.
- 45a: A mini Monday mild misidirection; with the terminal L in place, I instinctively completed IDOL for [False god] when it was in fact BAAL.
- 43d [Sir's counterpart, informally] MA’AM, not part of the theme. Unrelated etymologically.
- 14a [Media inits. since 1958] UPI, United Press International. Had no idea it was so young.
Okay puzzle, but (1) felt more like a Tuesday, and (2) there was a nagging sense of imbalance with the revealer, as if it should encompass both elements of the theme or that it shouldn’t be there at all; it fails to straddle the gap and plummets.
Jerry Edelstein’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
I usually enjoy parallax puzzles, where slight changes in aspect lead to new interpretations of what we usually take for granted. This crossword is no exception. The theme answers—all good long fill in their own right—are nouns beginning with the prefix DIS–. the SKEW is that the prefix has been unyoked and taken to mean dis, a slangy shortening of “disrespect” which has fully entered common usage.
- 17a. [Criticize gas and electric companies?] DIS SERVICES.
- 27a. [Criticize a modeling shoot array?] DIS POSES. “Modeling shoot array?” I’m kind of tempted to criticize that, myself.
- 46a. [Criticize stage shows?] DIS PLAYS.
- 60a. [Criticize awards?] DIS TRIBUTES.
- 11d. [Criticize college subjects?] DIS COURSES.
- 27d. [Criticize farmers?] DIS TILLERS.
Not sure why it’s all about plurals, but I do appreciate that it’s consistent throughout. A rather adventurous theme for a Monday, but still tame enough for the novice solver. So I say, good on you, LA Times.
Despite six theme answers (a couple of middling length, it’s true), there’s still room for zippy longer fill among the rabble: DUSTBIN, PREMISES, MEDICINE, and EYEFULS.
- 10d [Big name in chicken] TYSON, which also contains General TSO.
- Who? 48a [Former Bears head coach Smith] LOVIE. … visits Wikipedia … Oh, he’s recent, not historical.
- Little things: “Suff.” –IST, “Prefix” SUR– (why the orthographical dis-crepancy?); OJS, XER, URLS, BIV, DES, et cetera—a few too many for my liking.
- Favorite clues: 43a [Wranglers with wheels] JEEPS, 31d [Speak with a grating voice] RASP; fairly literal.
Good, fun crossword.
Gail Grabowski’s CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword, “Fat Chance” – Dave Sullivan’s review
I really enjoyed this take on phrases that all are a way of telling someone Fuhgettaboutit!:
All the following were clued as ["Fat chance"]:
- NOT GONNA HAPPEN – I’m glad Gail went with “gonna” instead of “going to,” which made the phrase more colloquial.
- DON’T YOU WISH
- WHEN PIGS FLY – also a popular name for BBQ joints.
- THAT’LL BE THE DAY – I think an earworm is in order, here, don’t you?
A couple of other options might be IN YOUR DREAMS and IT’D BE A COLD DAY IN HELL…, but the latter would require a larger grid. Nice medium-length fill in this one, too. I really enjoyed NIGHTHAWK (happily not clued to the F-117, but as an insomniac), CRIED WOLF and one of my guilty pleasures, ESPRESSO. Not as big a fan of the [Alphabetic trio] of GHI or the British spelling of [Sussex scent] ODOUR, but these are small nits on a fun romp.
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”
Oof! This one killed me. The central across answer and the entire northwest quadrant had horrible amounts of blank space with no letters. And the only answers I had in the NW were 13a: ANTHEM crossing 2d: ANNAN—both wrong!
I Googled the Bee Gees song; didn’t know I STARTED A JOKE. Who talks like that? Who “starts” jokes? Hmph. Also Googled the 4d. [Goldsmith of "The Comedy of Errors"], ANGELO. Then I was able to finish the puzzle.
Highlights: BIG PAPI is fun to say. “DON’T LIE” is colloquial speech (the clue was tough, though: 25a. ["Everybody knows what happened"]), as is “ARE YOU OK?” (although “okay” probably works better than “OK” here, outside of texting and whatnot). FIRE TRUCK doesn’t get into the puzzle much. Always liked the word SAPIENT. And JUJYFRUITS! Awesome.
- 15a. [Arboreal weasel], TREE RAT. Rats are rodents and weasels are mustelids.
- 20a. [New GI], RCT. Ouch. Wanted PVT. Didn’t know “recruit” had an abbrev.
- 22a. [Email precursors], TELETYPES. Are teletypes and telexes the same? We had a rarely used telex machine at the office in the late ’80s, being sidelined by the fax machine. Eventually email happened and sidelined the fax machine.
- 24a. [___ & Stucky Interiors (high-end furniture retailer)], ROBB. Regional? Never heard of it. And apparently it’s been liquidated by now, anyway.
- 39a. [Outstanding fellow], ONER. I had the grievous OWER, but it turned out to be the grievous ONER.
- 6d. [Classic Hammond organ model], B THREE. Wha…? No idea.
- 12d. ["I'll prove you wrong!"], “IT’S A BET.” Do people actually say that?
- 29d. [It's a trap!], IRON CAGE. Which traps are made of iron-barred cages?
- 33d. [Shop tool], CHOP SAW. Never heard of it.
Three stars from me. There wasn’t much fun here aside from JUJYFRUITS.