Monday, May 26, 2014

Monday, May 26, 2014, Dan Margolis


Kind of an interesting theme of putting songs into genres that they clearly do not belong in by taking their titles literally. WHITERABBIT (17A: "Hip-hop" song of 1967) is the only one requiring a slight "leap," if you will, by using the fact that rabbits "hip-hop" along. KNOCKONWOOD (29A: "Rap" song of 1965) is more of a 1:1 relationship, and the last two use actual words in the titles. None of the songs was written fewer than 40 years ago, but still, I enjoyed it.

The puzzle as a whole, on the other hand, felt kind of stale. When's the last time "38A: 'No, No' woman of Broadway" (NANETTE) was in production? And "1A: Afternoon TV's Dr. ____" (PHIL) might still be doing a show (I have no idea, really) but his cultural significance has long been in decline, hasn't it?

Furthermore, the AMISH (32A: Mennonite group) are not Mennonites, are they? I thought they were distinct groups? Sure, they're both religious, but I think it would be like calling Congregationalists a Baptist group.

ITNO, AONE, TETRA, OKIES… it didn't have much to grab onto but the theme, and even though I liked it, it wasn't enough.

Favorite clue: 22D: Fictional Tom or real-life Diane (SAWYER).

- Horace


  1. After a bit of research--Hello Wikipedia!--I am fine with the answer of AMISH for "Mennonite group." It seems that the Amish, led by semi-eponymous leader Jakob Ammann, split from the Mennonites back in 1693. For a time this new group was referred to as the "Amish Mennonites." It gets more complicated as we move closer to the present. I guess some sects of Amish re-integrated with the Mennonites, some hardliners maintained a separate identity. They both descend from Swiss Anabaptists. Anyhoo, I like this puzzle well enough. Cute theme. I would have preferred the theme clues without the quotation marks; would've been cooler. Interesting tandem dropping from the top row: ITISSAID and IDOTOO. Interesting in that they are both formalized versions of much more common phrases: "It's said" and "Me too." Incidentally, I did this in 5:57, which is close to the limit of how fast I can fill these things in. I really tore through it, never thinking for more than a few seconds about any one answer.

  2. 4:56. Yeah, this one left me flat. The theme is really light, especially on a holiday associated with remembering those who died in wars. But leaving that aside, way too many compound answers: ITISSAID, SUNUP, LETUP, SNAPTO, ASTO, IDOTOO, AONE, ITNO, and I haven't even gotten out of the top half of the puzzle. UNBROKEN was a nice answer. But I agree heartily with Horace: this puzzle would not have been out of place in 1984.

  3. 13 mins.
    That's a very long time for a Monday, but I was hung up in the mid-south because I put SandbagS in for 37D Coastal defenses against flooding (SEAWALLS); I was thinking way too small. I also had whiteLIE instead of TELLALIE for 39D, but I fixed them both eventually and everything got straightened out. I liked the cross of LETUP/SUNUP, but 67A It was dropped at Woodstock (LSD) seemed like too obvious a clue/answer, even for a Monday.

    1. Do you ever think that our sense of whether a clue is hard or not has been skewed by the amount of puzzles we do? I just ask because in Wordplay, that very clue was singled out as being a misdirection clue worthy of a Monday.

    2. Do you refer to the LSD answer? I suppose that clue could be considered as a misdirection, but it just seemed obvious to me. I mean, what else would be dropped at Woodstock? Trou?

    3. That is the answer to which I refer. I actually never saw the clue or the answer while solving the puzzle.