Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014, Ian and Katie Livengood


A solid Monday offerring, with a decent theme and some unusual fill.

Let's talk about the theme first. The "bait, cast, bite, reel" sequence makes sense, and the two-word phrases that house them are mostly fine. I'd rather have seen some kind of printing problem clue on COLORCAST (21A: Like most TV shows starting in the 1960s), but I suppose that would only appeal to a very small subset of solvers. The very idea of OSCARBAIT (17A: Film designed to attract Academy Awards consideration), too, is repulsive to me, but I guess it's normal enough.

In the fill we see such lovely things as CHECHNYA (23A: War-torn part of Russia), TOUCANSAM (9D: Avian Froot Loops mascot), DSTUDENTS (32D: Pupils who score in the 60s) (it's a bit unorthodox, but why not? I like it!), and STATESEAL (37D: Louisiana's has a nesting pelican with three chicks). I also quite enjoyed BLACKEYE (58A: Shiner). COACHESUP (5D: Instructs, informally)? Well… ok, I guess that's fine.

The clue for YARD (58D: One of 10 in a series of football downs) seems needlessly complex and, in the end, almost nonsensical. One yard in a series of downs? But I enjoyed the accuracy of the paired, foreign-language "goodbye" clues - 24D: Informal goodbye (CIAO), and 52D: Formal goodbye (ADIEU).

ASS (25A: Ninny) and ASSET (36A: Liability's opposite) looked a little too similar one on top of the other, but overall, a decent Monday.

- Horace

p.s. The embedded image is a fiction, and does not indicate endorsement by Toucan Sam, Mel Blanc, Kellogg's, or any parent company.


  1. 6:26. Not sure why this played a little harder than usual for a Monday. I liked the theme a lot, especially how much there is of it. And not at any real loss of quality for fill. I also liked all the long answers, fresh and interesting. I entered NAh for NAW, so that was the last letter entered, and I don't count it as a DNF, because that's a reasonable choice. In any case, AFISHOUTOFhATER is kind of interesting, n'est-ce-pas? Good Monday.

  2. 32:49
    We enjoyed this one, too. Jeremy got CHECHNYA and SEINE right away, but has no knowledge of TOUCANSAM. What have I done to this child? He seemed to know about ASSETs and liabilities, but is not old enough for a PELL grant. He knew Semper Fi as the USMC motto, but did not know of Hamlet's heritage. And he was completely stumped by (7D) How sloppy kisses are given. Hah!

    Oh, how about that wonderful clue: "Country whose name sounds like a Jamaican's cry." What a great twist on, if not a mocking of, a tired crosswordese answer.

  3. 10:06
    I agree with Icarus Fob on the great cluing for OMAN, but c'mon, Colum! A DNF is a DNF! Take it like a man! I starred WETLY because I thought that Frannie would've been quite partial to that clue/answer - was she? I agree with Colum that this played a bit hard for a Monday, but it was excellent quality overall. And what, is TOUCANSAM a Mel Blanc creation? Who knew?

  4. I like to call the early-week, typo-marred, non-"Well Done!" puzzle an FWOE - Finished With One Error.

  5. Also, Mel Blanc voiced the bird originally, and he used to speak in Pig-Latin. Now that I read that, I might have some dim recollection of hearing that on commercials, but I never would have come up with it on my own.