Monday, February 10, 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014, C. W. Stewart


An enjoyable Monday puzzle, with a nice clean theme. RECCENTER (62A: Gym locale … or feature of 17-, 24-, 38-, and 50-Across) reveals that "REC" is to be found in the exact middle of all the theme answers. And they're all perfectly normal things, which is good. 

The non-theme has some highlights, too, such as SOUSCHEF (10D: Second-in-command in a kitchen) (and no, it's not perfect that "SOU" is also in the grid, but, well...), ADORABLE (39D: So darned cute), SNARK (26D: Cattiness), and SKEET (55D: Sport with clay pigeons). I don't know why they de-pluralized "25D: Hyundai and Kia" for AUTOS, when it didn't seem necessary. All they had to do was change the "or" in 4D: Like Hyundais or Kias (KOREAN) to an "and." Well, now that I think of it, "'Like' Hyundais and Kias" wouldn't really be "autos," it would be "like autos," which wouldn't be right. OK, forget all that. It's a nice pair of clues.

I found the cross-referenced clues less offensive today, too, because the first pair actually crossed one another (LENDA (33D: With 42-Across [HAND], help out)), and the second two were on the same line/row - ALEUT (57A: Native of 58-Across) and ALASKA (58A: The Last Frontier state). 

In short, it delivered as much as I ever ask of a Monday.

- Horace

p.s. The one-A spelling of ARON caught me by surprise, as I didn't remember it that way, and the Crossword Fiend blog (sidebar) links to a Wikipedia citation arguing that there is some debate, but that Elvis himself, as an adult, preferred the two-A spelling. It also appears with two As on his tombstone. I think that's probably enough reason to try to think of another clue for that in the future.


  1. 7:31
    This was no problem, of course. I enjoyed seeing ASSES in the grid, though the clue could have been more racy. TERRY robes can be found hanging in the Three Season Room (part of the Cosmos Room Suite) right now. And a shout out to MYRTLE (a friend's African Grey Parrot, no doubt fondly recalled by Horace and Frances).

  2. 5:01. Beyond standard Monday fare, I would say. Some very nice words in here, such as AZALEA, SOUSCHEF, ENRAPT, HYDRA, STROP. MYRTLE reminds me of Moaning Myrtle from the Harry Potter series. The RECCENTER theme was well carried out, although it was strange that three of the four answers were a 5-letter word starting with S followed by a 4-letter word starting with C, a pattern obviously not kept up in the long central answer. Still, it was a nice surprise when the reveal came up. I'm not sure what an alternative for the Elvis clue would be. One that comes to my mind, but which is probably not a Monday clue is "Moses und ____, opera by Schonberg." Surprised you didn't give a shout out to NASH, Ogden. Always reminds me of Katherine and Jack's wedding.