Monday bonus! An anonymous constructor has put together an adult-themed response to Sunday’s Jeff Chen NYT. To download the PDF, click this link. For the .puz file, this link. I haven’t solved it yet but have seen the grid.
Greg Johnson’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Hello, I must be going. That’s how this week starts off, at least if you begin it with the NYT crossword. 34-across, in the center, says simply [This puzzle's theme] with the answer GOODBYE.
- 17a. ["I'm outta here!"] SEE YA LATER.
- 50a. ["Adios, amigo!"] HASTA LUEGO. Clue’s missing one of these: ¡
- 11d. ["Godspeed, Bruno!"] ARRIVEDERCI.
- 24d. ["Farewell, Vladimir!"] DO SVIDANIYA. (edit – thanks, brucenm, I rushed through the write-up. Na zdorovie!)
Then, after the non-theme long acrosses of DOUBLED UP and SKI SLOPES, at north and south on the compass rose, are two more minithemers:
- 6a. ["Gotta go!"] CIAO. Perché no Italiano flavor?
- 58a. ["Cheerio!"] TA-TA.
Although they all appear as quoted exclamations, the clues are all over the place, with two shortcutting to the original language by including typical names, one is clued in the foreign language itself, one forgoes indicating the language entirely (which by the way duplicates the tongue of one of the other (non-English) goodbyes), and another drops a locational hint. Since these last two marginally problematic entries are also the four-letter themers, I feel the puzzle would have been stronger for simply eliminating them.
- 22a [They connect cooling units to rooms, in brief]. Typically, the more specific and tortured the clue, the worse the answer will be. Here, A/C DUCTS does not disappoint. Is it nice that the partner-in-row is B-MOVIE for an ABC combo? No, not really. But B-MOVIE is good fill.
- 27a [ __ longue (daybed)] CHAISE resonated with interference with 46a [Vowel sound at the end of 39-Across] LONG E. Am I alone in this? 39-across, incidentally, is ERIE.
- Briefly had DUPE for DOPE at 30d [Dummy].
A minimum of crosswordese, abbrevs., and partials. Cluing for the most part Monday-appropriate. A few interesting quotes and factual tidbits thrown in. Slightly subpar solving experience for the clunkinesses mentioned previously.
Patrick Blindauer’s CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword, “Off-Season” – Dave Sullivan’s review
A bit different as themes go, we have three phrases that have modified the word SPRING by one letter:
- As an aficionado of musicals, it’s perhaps not surprising that Patrick begins with a play on the coming-of-age Broadway play Spring Awakening with the clue [Realization during a quick run?] or SPRINT AWAKENING. I guess it could also describe the resurgence of one of our top US telecom providers.
- The phrase “no spring chicken” (which certainly refers to this reviewer) becomes [Poultry that shouldn't be trussed?] or NO STRING CHICKEN. I’m thinking Ina Garten would say that every bird you put in the oven should have it’s wings tied back to prevent them from drying out.
- Music again plays a role with Igor Stravinsky’s ground-breaking The Rite of Spring with the clue [Required reading for NSA agents?] or THE RITE OF SPYING. I don’t know if you watched 60 Minutes last night, but the interviewed head of the NSA certainly tried to defend US’s “right” of spying.
A creative theme with three nice 15-letter examples. One wonders if Patrick has three more of these up his sleeve to take on the other seasons. As one would expect from one of the pantheon of crossword constructing deities, the fill in this is superb. JACKASS crossing WHERE WAS I? along with ARGYLE, EATS RIGHT and AMNIOTIC were all excellent. I was a bit surprised in the spelling of SHADOE Stevens’ first name. I see here that his real name was Terry Ingstad, but Shadoe sounds so much better as a DJ name, doesn’t it?
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”
I found the northeast corner to take the longest to unravel. I was reading 13d. [What birthdays are terrible options for] as “what are terrible options for birthdays” and contemplating CUSS WORDS. Ah, yes. Using one’s birthday for one’s PASSWORDS is a bad idea, as anyone who knows your birth date might be able to hack your passwords.
- 17a. [Music subgenre whose lyrics contain a metaphor, pause, and a punchline], HASHTAG RAP. Didn’t know that was a thing, but Mariah Carey had a hashtag song title this year, didn’t she? “#Beautiful”? And I think I’ve seen another such title. #boredwithitalready
- 37a. ["Oh puhleeze!"], “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!”
- 58a. [Creature that can regenerate lost limbs], SALAMANDER. Cute critter, and its name is simply a great-looking word.
- 65a. [Monopoly place], ST. CHARLES. I don’t know who Saint Charles was.
- 15d. ["House" man], EPPS. Omar Epps was on House. Seen a zillion OMAR clues with Epps in them, but ["House" man] feels new.
- 31d. [In modern-day slang, guilt and lack of motivation after becoming rich], AFFLUENZA. I deplore it.
- 38d. [Editorial amount], TWO CENTS. In an editorial opinion column.
Not sure I get the clue for VOLUNTEER, 32d. [One with a game face, maybe?]. Meaning one whose face suggests “I’m game, I’ll do it” rather than an athlete’s neutral, focused “game face”? Or is it an overly general clue for a University of Tennessee Vol?
Gareth Bain’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Sorry for the very late posting of this everyone—had a busy day. This will be a perfunctory post.
Solved last night, did not realize until just now that it’s a puzzle by our very own G Bain! The theme, as conveyed by 39d [Beneficial activity that ends the answers to the starred clues] EXERCISE. Oof! Again, what a way to start the week. Oh well, up and at ‘em.
- 18a. [*Naval cereal icon sporting a Napoleon-style hat] CAP’N CRUNCH. I know there was some recent “controversy” about his stripes or insignia not being those of a captain, and perhaps whether he was a naval or coast guard officer? I suppose “naval” can be interpreted in a more general sense here.
- 28a. [*Nearly none, in slang] DIDDLY SQUAT. As immortalized by Billy Lee Riley and His Little Green Men in 1957. Well, close enough anyway.
- 48a. [*Venue for self-publishing] VANITY PRESS. VANITY PLATE is another option that would have worked. Good for a constructor to have some flexibility to exercise.
- 48a [*Arc-shaped, finger-staining snack food] CHEESE CURL. That description sounds to me like Cheese (Cheez?) Doodles, but perhaps that’s a proprietary name and the one in the puzzle is generic? Not really my area of specialty.
After dosing on the CAP’N CRUNCH and CHEESE CURLs, then loafing around doing DIDDLY SQUAT while “preparing” a manuscript for a VANITY PRESS—not to mention gorging on a HOT FUDGE sundae (symmetrically complementing the EXERCISE) you’d better believe that the protagonist of this crossword may need to multiple reps of crunches, squats, presses, and curls.
Just three things I quickly noticed:
- Repetition: 55a [Brown Betty fruit] APPLE, 57d [1998 Apple debut] IMAC.
- 14a [Stale smell] ODOR. I continue to be baffled by the consistently pejorative cluing of this word in puzzles.
- 65a [Myanmar, once] BURMA. And perhaps again, one hopes.
Good puzzle, toned and honed perfectly for a Monday. Sorry for the short shrift, Gareth!