Monday, February 29, 2016

Monday, February 29, 2016, Joel Fagliano


Well, I was hoping to end the month with a time in the threes, but a little bit of flailing on the keyboard put me just over four. Still, I'm not complaining, because although I may have frowned at my typos, I was not frowning (much) at the actual entries.

The theme today is inspired by today being LEAPDAY. Four recognized "days" from the calendar year are broken across a gap in the grid. Let's see if I can convey this somehow in text form... "46A: Gullibility" is NAI[VETE] and [RANS]OMS is "48A: Kidnappers' demands," and when you read the circled letters (here bracketed) you see "Veterans." That's a particularly nice one. Others rely on more questionable phrases like HERSTORY (18A: The past, from a feminist standpoint) and PHONEBOX (60A: Once-ubiquitous red fixture seen along London streets). As a theme, though, I like it. It's unusual and pretty cleanly done, but I can't decide whether it's helped or hurt by the inclusion of MAYDAY (69A: Call for help) in the very last Across spot. Often I like bonus material, but this is another day that doesn't leap any black squares... still, I'll give the theme a B.

I enjoyed the many paired answers today - RAM/EWE, SAGA/TROY, WAXES/WANES... and I also liked some of the longer Down answers - GROUNDZERO, ARMYANT, ODIUM, and IAMBIC.

1A: Apelike (SIMIAN) I will give a B+. It's a decent enough word. And my favorite clue/answer today is 53D: It's postal abbreviation is also an exclamation (OHIO).

Colum takes over again tomorrow for the month of March, and then Frannie and I will be back on April 1st, when, in addition to commenting on the daily puzzles, we will be issuing reports from the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in Stamford, CT!

- Horace


  1. 3:21
    Very smooth puzzle for the day in question! How long do you think Will and Joel had this puzzle waiting for today? So many words cross at least two theme answers and GROUNDZERO and SEXPISTOLS cross three! Only one down answer crosses zero theme answers. Quite well done.

  2. What's wrong with MAYDAY, other than its clue (it could have been clued referencing my birthday, for example). Anyway, greetings from Bali, and since I solved this on the tarmac, it's untimed. Nice theme, even though it includes a Canadian holiday. I starred BADTRIP, although I've never experienced one, and thought that SHAGGY (49D Scooby-Doo's pal) is a nice Casey Kasem nod. I'll now comment on Sunday's puzzle, and that will be it until at least 3/18 from old Huygens!