Dan Margolis’ New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Popular music styles taken literally and exemplified by song titles:
- 17a. ["Hip-hop" song of 1967?] WHITE RABBIT. Jefferson Airplane. See also, 67a [It was dropped at Woodstock] LSD.
- 29a. ["Rap" song of 1966] KNOCK ON WOOD. Eddie Floyd. I have a special fondness for the quirky 1969 Harper’s Bizarre version.
- 45a. ["Country" song of 1971] AMERICAN PIE. Don McLean. A canonical country song posits the question, will the circle be UNBROKEN? (7d)
- 60a. ["Metal" song of 1950] SILVER BELLS. Bing Crosby. Couldn’t think of anything interesting to say about this one, so here’s a photo:
Mildly entertaining theme, fine for a Monday.
For paired entries, I much prefer UNBROKEN | SEA WALL to IT IS SAID | TELL A LIE.
Cute one-two of 20a [When a cock crows] SUNUP and 21a [Cock] ROOSTER, though it’s somewhat marred by the former crossing 4d [Abate] LET UP. See also 5d SNAP TO and 9d AS TO. I have a funny feeling, too, about 15a NANAS and 38a NANETTE, but that may be unjustified.
Dr PHIL does not pass my personal breakfast test, not at one-across on a Monday.
No real junk in the fill, A smattering of arguably slightly-beyond-Monday answers (NANCE, NCR, ILER), but overall pitched appropriately. Good crossword.
Gail Grabowski and Bruce Venzke’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Theme’s laid out down at the bottom right: [Kid’s response to “Who wants some?” … and a hint to what’s hidden in 17-, 33-, 41- and 61-Across] ME, ME. And thus those answers take the form of *me *me. While it’s an apt revealer, I don’t quite agree with the description of them as hidden.
- 17a. [AABBA, in limericks] RHYME SCHEME.
- 33a. [Evening TV viewing period] PRIME TIME.
- 41a. [Pass-the-buck accusations] BLAME GAME. Nice, succinct clue.
- 61a. [Words on a banner for returning soldiers] WELCOME HOME.
Standard, solid stuff. Two are rhyming, two are not. Found myself marginally distracted by both 25d [Actress Rogers] MIMI and 49a [Becomes foolishly passionate (over)] GOES GAGA.
In addition to 49-across, other augmentative midlength fill are BASE HIT, TAMALES (see also 39d AGUA, but not 36d MOLE), STAGE MOM, and ROMANCES. For TEXAS TEA [Crude from a well, slangily], see also 50d OILER [Crude carrier].
Partial, fill-in-the-blank A-RONI is not pretty, all the more so as it’s dead center in the grid, and anchors the row OOP | ARONI | BOL. yecch!
54a [Isn't feeling up to snuff] AILS above 60a [Winter bug] FLU; see also 6d [Scalp parasites] LICE? How is that, breakfastwise, by the way?
Modest highlight: USTA crossing Arthur ASHE in the upper left. Lowlight: partial “Son of A GUN!” (46d).
Alan Arbesfeld’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Gridiron Games”—Ade’s write-up
Good morning to you all on this Memorial Day!
Currently in Baltimore getting ready to cover the LAX (19A: [Negligent]) Division-1 championship game between Duke and Notre Dame (“lax” is short for lacrosse), so can’t stay too long here to blog this Monday edition by Mr. Alan Arbesfeld. A very slick puzzle, although a bit of a stretch (more on that in a second), with the theme answers inverting common football terminology to create puns. The reveal is the final theme answer.
- BACK RUNNING: (17A: [On the track once again?]) From running back.
- COACH HEAD: (24A: [Handbag honcho?]) – From head coach.
- PENALTY CLIPPING: (37A: [Item in a prison scrapbook?]) From clipping penalty.
- DOWN FIRST: (51A: [How L.L. Bean prioritizes its winter jacket ads, maybe?]) From first down.
- REVERSE PLAY: (62A: [Football maneuver, and the key to 17-, 24-, 37-, and 51-Across])
Liked the execution, although, in the football world, I’ve rarely, if ever, heard a reverse play actually be termed a “reverse play.” It’s just a reverse. A small nit to pick, but the other theme answers were either strong or very strong, with DOWN FIRST taking the cake!
I’ve heard a few football players, after bad games by themselves or their team, not want to address the media and answer some questions by saying NO COMMENT (3D: [Press conference reply, at times]) and staying pretty much SILENT (46D: [Like some auctions]). That’s very CHEAP if you ask this sports media member (22D: [For a song]).
Non-sports talk, right? Gotcha…well, somewhat. Loved the movie MUNICH (9D: [2005 Best Picture nominee]). Always knew about the terror attack at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, but unaware of the Israeli covert retribution plan until the movie was being seriously hyped.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ADIDAS (8D: [Reebok rival])- My personal footwear of choice when playing athletics. not too many people know that the word “Adidas” is a portmanteau, combining the first and last names of the company’s founder, German shoemaker Adi Dassler. In a serious case of sibling rivalry, his brother, Rudolf, who once worked with his brother, left the company and founded his own sneaker company, Puma. Not only is it my personal footwear choice, Adidas was the focus of a pretty famous song by the rap group Run DMC.
Thanks for your time, even though my time wasn’t so much on here. I will see you all tomorrow!
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”
I liked the good stuff in this puzzle, but a couple awkward plurals and some crosswordese put me off. First up, the goodies:
- 1a. [First NBA Hall of Famer who went straight from high school to the pros], MOSES MALONE. Good to pick up random trivia bits.
- 15a. [Extremely competitive], IN IT TO WIN IT. Great entry.
- 17a. [Split decision?], LEGAL SEPARATION. Good clue—also evokes the variety word puzzle called Split Decisions.
- 30a. ["xkcd" cartoonist Randall], MUNROE. If you like science, math, technology, language, and smartness in general, xkcd is for you. Here’s a recent language comic you’ll appreciate.
- 33a. [Trifle], SMALL POTATOES.
- 6d. [Of greatest importance], MOST OF ALL. Familiar, comfortable, yet not something that fills crosswords much.
- 12d. [French mathematician Henri whose conjecture was one of the great unsolved problems (until it was cracked in 2003)], POINCARÉ. In case you were wondering, the Poincaré conjecture states: “Every simply connected, closed 3-manifold is homeomorphic to the 3-sphere.” Got that?
- 24d. [Seminal punk band who took their name from a Paul McCartney pseudonym], RAMONES. I never knew their etymology.
- 30d. [Comic with the WTF podcast], MARC MARON. Now, the MARC/MUNROE crossing might be tough for those who don’t know either of these men, but what else will complete *UNROE or *ARC and form plausible names?
- 31d. [Sandy spot], UTAH. Sandy, Utah is a suburb of Salt Lake City; I’ve stayed in a motel there.
In the debit column, we have these:
- 22a. [Chatpati bhindi vegetables], OKRAS. A bunch of okra is still okra, no? Unlike carrot or apple, some foods—like broccoli and okra—don’t seem to take an S plural.
- 43a. [Ref. books with almost two million quotations: Abbr.], OEDS. Perhaps you could argue that the newest edition and the previous editions are all OEDs, but the plural is suspect.
- 11d. [Raison d'___ (national interest)], ETAT/36a. [Relating to a nation], STATAL. Not only is STATAL an uncommon word, it’s a cognate with ETAT.
- 4d. [French stage], ETAPE. How many French words beginning with ETA— can one English crossword hold? I had thought the maximum was one, but this crosswordese French snuck in.
Never heard of PLAYBOX, 47a. [Toy's container in a preschool]. Hmm, Merriam-Webster says it’s “chiefly British” and it appears only in the unabridged dictionary. Boo, hiss?