Monday, May 8, 2017

Monday, May 8, 2017, Zhouqin Burnikel


Here is an outstanding example of that difficult exercise: a fun and interesting Monday puzzle. I loved the theme, there's some great fill, and not too much crosswordese.

I did not see where the theme was going until I filled in the revealer. I often semi-intentionally leave the revealer unread and unfilled until as late as I can. If I see a clue light up multiple long answers in the app, I move on to another without reading it. I want to preserve the surprise for as long as possible!

Great theme answers: 24A: "Thanks, Captain Obvious! (GEEYATHINK) is easily my favorite, both in clue and answer, but the others are all familiar and common enough. I regularly get members of my family BEEBALM products as stocking stuffers, so that wasn't hard to find.

But the revealer, LGBTQ, repurposes each answer nicely. The first word is a homophone for one of the initials, in order from top to bottom. Thus Elle Gee Bee Tea Cue. Having the revealer in the SE corner (and crossing one theme answer) is very well done.

As is typical in a crossword, there are a number of other acronyms, five to be exact. I don't suppose it would have been possible to avoid these particular initials across those answers. In fact, there is one G and one L across the 16 letters, so that's pretty well done.

I found all four long down answers to be pleasing. My favorite may be ONIONSOUP because yum. But WINDCHIME, NEILYOUNG (extra points for full name) and TETEATETE are all good.

I'll put up with an ELMST and a BYS for the rest of the goodness.

Almost forgot! What a strange little minitheme there was with KITTY, ANTES, and STACKS. Strange that they didn't include SEE in there as well.

1A: 4.0 is a great one (GPA) - C- for starting with an acronym.
Fave: OHFUN (8D "That sounds good ... NOT!"). Such a delightfully up to date phrase clued with a passé version.
Least fave: MALIK (Pop singer Zayn formerly of One Direction). Who? And who cares?

- Colum


  1. 5:37
    I still haven't learned much at the few crossword tournaments I have attended. But one thing for sure is that on easy puzzles you can go for speed, or you can try to figure themes, but not both. Try asking a top solver after a puzzle what they thought about the theme, and the answer you get will be something between "Huh?" and "no idea". Given your 3:32 time, I can certainly understand that you did not work out the theme until getting to the reveal. The fact that I did the same, and still almost doubled your time; well, that is just my cross to bear.

  2. 8:09
    GEE I thought this ran slightly tough for a Monday, but I guess I'm the only one! Well done theme, though, as Colum mentions. And yeah, no one cares about MALIK.

  3. 12:02 but that's what happens when I solve it on a phone, in a train, interrupted several times, and finishing in a car bouncing all over. Even with all that, yes, ran difficult for a Monday.

    Had to run the alphabet for the ELLEFANNING (never heard of her)/OHFUN cross.

    Generally good fill. Liked SCOW, CLOTH (although I don't know why it took me a while to get off fabric, fiber, and other dead ends), and yes even IONIA (tough but gettable and certainly familiar once I had some crosses).

    I did like the theme and used it to help with the solve.

  4. I did this offline and the time didn't come down, but I think I was in the 8-minute range. And here's a funny thing - I filled it in again on my laptop so I could see it while reading the review, and even having done it completely once, my time was still slower than Colum's - 3:53. Hah!

    I, too, enjoyed it. Both times.