Monday, September 21, 2015

Monday, September 21, 2015, Bruce Haight



So, I'm obviously going to take an immediate dislike to this puzzle when 1A: 1969 and 1986 World Series champs (METS) reminds me of one of the most painful moments of my sports-watching life. That only escapes a failing grade because of the inclusion of the 1969 Miracle Mets.

Without looking anything up on the Interwebz to see the creator's purpose, all I can say is that today's theme answers are two-word phrases which both start with S. The fact that there are 12 theme answers is impressive enough, I suppose, although it becomes slightly less impressive because of all of the Ss involved. Of all of the answers, only STEEPSLOPE feels like a random pair of words, so the puzzle gets points also for genuine phrases.

On the other hand, we get both ESAI and ESAU. ENOW, already, with those names. And seriously, we get CSIS?! That's just not an acceptable answer. There are some abbreviations that I don't love (PCT, I'm looking at you), but otherwise the fill is not too bad.

I liked LISZT, but I really wanted RAVEL to be clued to the composer, rather than the never-used "Get tangled up" sense of the word. You know, like: "When I do the laundry, I hate how my daughter's leotards and tights get all ravelled up." And speaking of Ravel, Maurice, I really love Bolero, love it to death. But it annoys me to no end when a conductor puts an uncalled-for slow-down in the last few iterations of the theme. It's meant to go straight through, metronomically, and the excitement comes from the inexorable accretion of orchestration.

Anyhoo, I guess if I'm talking about that, it means I don't have enough to say about the puzzle.

- Colum


  1. 9:10
    I've had a busy few days. My favorite theme answers were with the double Ss in the middles, as in SEESSTARS, or STOPSSHORT. This ran a bit long for a Monday, but I had no slowdowns that were obvious. LOLA above SADSONG wasn't too appropriate, and I loved the crossings of LISZT/ZENO and WACO/TACO. Sorry to hear about your METS troubles.

  2. 5:37
    Damn METS... There's an amazing amount of theme in here, and so that's neat. Otherwise, it's kind of Mondayish. KOLN is a nice city, and I love a MALT!

  3. Insipid "theme." This is awful, even for a Monday. I did immediately think of you Boston fans when I filled in 1 Across. SWEEP is wasted here too. Would be much cooler two rows below the answer to "2004 and 2007 World Series Champs," am I right?? (Just trying to cheer you guys up.) If I had my grading system up and running, this would certainly fare no better than a D. And that step up from an F would be based on "volume of theme," which, I suppose is dubious when the theme is this bland and pointless. But there's no humor here, no cleverness, no quality word longer fill; and there is plenty of crap and crosswordese: MSNBC crossing CSIS, LAO crossing AAA, TKOS crossing SOS, SPCA crossing PCT, and TVS crossing TSARS. Dreadful.