Monday, April 25, 2016

Monday, April 25, 2016, Betty Keller


Another odd theme today, where the letter M ends the first word of a two-word phrase, and the letter R starts the second. The first three theme answers are all fine - BOTTOMROW (18A: 64-, 65- and 66-Across, in this puzzle) (Odd clue. And if you're not going to use the Oxford Comma, why put one after "66-Across?" That isn't really necessary, is it?), STEAMROLLER (20A: Heavy vehicle that smooths a road surface), and PALMREADING (55A: Means of fortunetelling). The last one - AMFMRADIO (58A: Audio feature that comes standard on cars) is a little less strong, because "AMFM" is an abbreviation, or at least it started out that way. I doubt many people could tell you off the top of their heads that it stands for "Amplitude Modulation/Frequency Modulation." I couldn't have, anyway. Good ol' Google.

And one last thing about the theme, when I got to the centrally-located revealer, I spent a lot of time wondering how I was going to spread "Jim" out across all those spaces. Silly me, though, because one doesn't mess around with Jim, and that clearly was not included.

So anyway, one thing I noticed as I solved this puzzle was a lot of things like MMLI (29A: The year 2051), OBI, ELS, OEO (24A: Antipoverty agcy.) (?), EDY, OZS, AMO, MRE, SRIS, and LMN (54A: K-O connector). That seemed like kind of a lot of short glue. And it starts off with a weird-ish partial ABANG (1A: Go out with ____). I probably would have liked this a little better if it were the final Across clue instead of the first, but as it is the first, I think I will give it a D.

On the bright side - and we always do prefer to "accentuate the positive" - I liked seeing fun words like GIZMO (5D: Thingamabob), FLUMMOX (39D: Discombobulate), and KABOOM (6D: Explosion sound). And the two-word, descending three-stack of TOREOPEN (11D: Ripped the wrapping off), INORBIT (12D: Circling the earth, say), and NOWAIT (13D: "Oh, hang on a minute!") was strong.

There's almost enough to "eliminate the negative," but not quite. Today, I'm afraid we're going to have to mess with MRINBETWEEN.

- Horace


  1. 5:43
    On a Monday, to have ARNESS crossing LANTZ seems unnecessarily severe, to quote the Mikado. That's a Natick waiting to happen. I suspect it was because of GIZMO. And it also makes that partial at 1A unavoidable. It wouldn't have been too hard to make that go away, it seems to me. The theme is fine but nothing special. Definitely a down Monday in my book.

  2. 8:24
    I'd never heard of MRINBETWEEN (I'm a bit behind on posts, by the way), but I've known what AM and FM mean since I was very small. Not the greatest Monday. I mean, who likes the ESTREET Band? Nice stack of RILED, ANTSY and HASTE down there in the SE. I don't like TWEEZE, though it's a fine word for a grid, and BEHOLDER is also nice. But there's a good deal of rubbish in there.