Monday, May 25, 2015

Monday, May 25, 2015, Jennifer Nutt


And on this day we celebrate those men and women who have gone to fight in wars, the New York Times publishes a puzzle about... fingernails. Seems a mite trivial, but even in the grand scheme of things, a hangnail can really ruin your day.

That being said, the theme was definitely not clear until I finished the puzzle, and then not even until I realized that INAILEDIT was not "in ail edit" but rather "I nailed it!" That made more sense. And then I got that the last word of each of the other five long across answers are things you do with finger (or toe) nails. I like CIRCULARFILE the best of these, and SOCIALPOLISH the least. I wanted "social skills" to answer the clue "What a boor sorely lacks".

Six theme entries are a lot for a puzzle of this size, but it's nice that the fill is not sacrificed too much. Just looking at 1D, 2D, and 3D: HAVOC, ALIBI, NADIR. Those are some nice words. I don't like PRIER at all, although I see how tough it would have been to put "prior" in there. INURE is pretty tired fill by now, and TRINI has to use the Wayback Machine to find its way into 2015. But otherwise, nice stuff.

I like BABYLON, COVEN, SPRITE, and QUIP, which doesn't feel like it's shoved in there so that a Q can be represented. SIZE across SEIZE is a little redundant feeling, but they're independent words. Glad to see NORA refer to Ms. Ephron, rather than Nick and...

I think this puzzle felt a little like a Tuesday, but it was a good fun grid to work through.

- Colum


  1. 6:59
    Just got in under the 7:00 wire, there. Does anyone count HANG (1A Put up, as a painting) as part of the theme? I thought 41A Chunks of bread for stew, e.g. (SOPS) was good, and Horace's dad could qualify as a TRAINBUFF (33A Visitor at a railroad museum, say). My brother just visited and claimed that he gets authentic MOONSHINE from a contact for around $35/quart, but I have my doubts, not about the price, but about the authenticity. Funny that SHOVE, RUNT and SIZE are in a row down at the bottom; they seem related somehow. I thought Colum would clock in under 5:00 on this one.

  2. 6:17

    I liked this one, too. Fun theme (over here in the Netherlands it's a holiday, too, but it's called Pinksterdag. It somehow sounds a better fit with the theme, but really, is something religious.) Not much to pick on here, except the few you mention. PRIER is definitely the worst, and am I the only one who has never heard the term "Nosy Parker" before?

    1. Definitely heard the term before. Never had an opportunity to use it in casual conversation, though.