Psst: Constructors who like making Monday puzzles, send some of 'em to Rich Norris for the L.A. Times. He's been short on solid Monday contributions lately.
Bernice Gordon's New York Times crossword
The Notepad above the crossword says that this week is "Half-Century Puzzlemakers' Week":
All the daily crosswords this week, Monday through Saturday, are by puzzlemakers who have been contributing to The Times for more than 50 years. Bernice Gordon, 95, of Philadelphia, had her first Sunday crossword published on January 23, 1955. Her first weekday puzzle appeared three years earlier. She is the oldest known puzzlemaker in the newspaper's history.Can you imagine any 95-year-olds you've known constructing crosswords at that age? That's phenomenal.
The theme shifts the S at the beginning of four people's surnames to an apostrophe-S at the end of their first names:
I'm going to blame that glass of wine for the typographical impairment that (together with George Shearing) nudged me into a Wednesday-level solving time. I know a couple other people who landed in Wednesday World on this one. How about you? Was this a Monday puzzle?
Trickier bits for Monday solvers:
Updated Monday morning:
Martin Ashwood-Smith's CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, "No Standing"—Janie's review
is a traffic sign directed at motorists that used to baffle me. "No Idling" might be closer to the truth; or "No Standing Still"... No problem where today's puzzle is concerned, as Martin has given us three places to park it. Not your car, however—your butt. The last word in each of the three, colloquial 15-letter theme-phrases (all in gerund form) names a place where you can "put 'er down":
I love seeing 15-letter phrases in a grid, although I'm A TAD iffy on the "success" of the theme overall. That back seat is far more figurative in its meaning than the chair or the bench... Someone late to a gathering is asked to "pull up a chair"; the kid on the sidelines (or even the pro) does sit on the bench and therefore is known for "warming the bench." Still, the phrases themselves are lively—and look at the great, phrase-y 9- and 10-letter fill we get as well: MAKE A PILE [Get rich], TALK SENSE [Be reasonable], NIGHTLIGHT [Small bulb in the bedroom] and NEAT AS A PIN [Free of clutter]. A tidy collection indeed.
Also nice are those pairs of sevens stacked in the corners. In combination with the 15s at 17A and 66A, they do their part in giving this grid a lovely open feel at top and bottom. I especially like the four at the top: A.A. MILNE, STARE AT, NET LOSS and the poetic ESSENCE.
I'd love to see this puzzle with some twistier cluing. It's quite straightforward today, perhaps as a trade off for the healthy amount of longer fill—but it couldn't hurt. Something like [Result of a crash, perhaps?] would work for NET LOSS. I know it's a question of balance. Still, the pleasure of solving a puzzle with lots of stronger, longer fill (like this one) is only improved with a complement of edgier clues. Imoo...
Had never before heard of the spicy Spanish stew known as OLLA [___ podrida]. ¡Caramba!
Los Angeles Times crossword by Lila Cherry, or "really Rich" Norris
The theme here is a vowel progression theme with phrases that start with T*T. The vowel sounds that replace the asterisk are all long:
Highlights among the triple-stacked 7s in the corners:
Brendan Quigley's blog crossword, "Themeless Monday"
Ahh, I love a themeless puzzle spicing up my Monday morning.
Top six entries:
Favorite clue: The reality TV–inflected [Survivors?] for TRIBE.
I didn't know the CATALPA tree was also called the 12D: [Indian bean tree]. Those long pods are something else.
2D is "LIKE, HUH?" clued as ["Howzzat again?"]. Can't say I've ever heard anyone say that.
The entries that scored highest on the Meh-o-meter are AMERCER ([One who fines in a court]), OSIERED ([Made of certain twigs]), and the plural ANAS ([Literary miscellanea]).
September 13, 2009