Monday, September 5, 2016

Monday, September 5, 2016, Tracy Gray


A tribute to Labor Day in today's puzzle, at least JEANS is what I'll be wearing today on my day off! Mine, however, are not one of the five styles represented here - BAGGY, SKINNY, LOW-RISE, FLARE, or CUT-OFFS. At first I thought the revealer was a bit inelegant in the second-to-last Down slot, but it appears right after, and visually "cuts off" the last type of jeans. So I take it back, it's well-placed. The only complaint I have about the theme is that a few of the theme answers (CUTOFFSAW, LOWRISEBUILDING, and even BAGGYEYES) are not super common things. At least not to me. I mean, ok, I have heard of baggy eyes, and I suppose a low-rise building is a thing, but they're not super common. SKINNYDIP and FLAREGUNS, though, are both perfectly fine.

1A: Apparel (GARB) gets a B. Decently odd word. Not great, but better than average. I don't remember the first thing I put in confidently, but there were several possibilities right in that first NW quadrant - OBOE (14A: Double-reed woodwind) was very likely the one.

Some of the cluing made me smile, like "13D: Descriptive of some bills or hills" for STEEP, 71A: Not give a definitive answer" for HEDGE, and "68A: 'And ... ____!' (director's cry))" for SCENE, and I enjoyed some of the fill, like UPANDATIT (11D: Energetically starting one's day) and OPAQUE (34A: Hard to see through). I think the hardest clue for me might have been 65D: Jockey purchase, informally (TEE). I kept thinking - as I'm sure Ms. Gray wanted me to - about horse-racing, and not about the company called Jockey. Hah!

There was also, in this puzzle, a pretty substantial amount of oddities and banalaties. The _STAR answers never particularly thrill me (sorry Huygens), and ITSUS (57D: Couple's answer to "Who's there?") could maybe get away with being cute once, but we see a little too much "it is I" and "am too" type answers as it is, so I'm worried about introducing even more. And there's plenty of ALI, PER, ABE, QUE, ANTE, ARAL, USSR, and other very typical fill. Again, once is fine, but we see these a lot. But then, it is Monday... let's call it good.

- Horace


  1. 7:45
    No argument from me on the _STAR answers; I invariably require the cross for the first letter. DRECK is nice, as is GIRLY. A CUTOFFSAW is rather well-known to me, but I agree with LOWRISEBUILDING. Always nice to see a reference to Don AMECHE, especially from "Trading Places." I never heard of Georges ENESCO (or ENESCO Georges, as the case may be). Has anyone ever heard the word ENSUITE? And couldn't PORT have been clued for the liquid? Finally, I've always heard "Up and at 'em!," not UPANDATIT.

    1. "En suite" is common enough, isn't it? And I guess maybe "Up and at 'em" is more of a command, and "up and at it," is more of a state of being.

  2. 4:33
    As I entered LOWRISEBUILDING, which I've never heard of, I thought, isn't that more about a jeans style? Which shows how aware I was of the theme answers as a whole, because I didn't see it until the revealer. I'd like to move away from Georges ENESCO as a crossword standby. He's just not that well known. The letters are too inviting though.