Monday, April 10, 2017

Monday, April 10, 2017, Lonnie Burton


Happy Monday! It's a beautiful day here in Boston. The sun is shining, the crocus are out in force, and we've got a James Bond tribute puzzle to review. So let's get right to it.

The "Note" that explained that, in the print version, the clue number 7 read "007" pretty much gave away the theme instantly. If it hadn't taken me so long to remember DANIELCRAIG's name, I would have been under four minutes on this. I'm expecting to see a number in the low threes from our colleague Mr. Amory.

But issues of time aside, I'm disturbed by the idea of unCORED processed apples (allowed by "some" in the clue for 15A). When would that be the case? And why? Do I also have to worry about bits of COB getting into my popcorn? Or FIN getting into my sharkfin soup? ... oh wait, nevermind that last one.

1A: Pay hike (RAISE) - C+. Yes, please.
Favorite: 53A: It's kept in a pen (INK) - This surprised me.
Least favorite: 59D: Alliance that keeps a wary eye on Russia (NATO). I didn't like the tone.

There are a few uncommon answers, like ARAMAIC (44D: Jesus' language) (was it his? or was it just those of those who wrote the bible?), CLENCH (49D: Tighten, as a fist), and, well... DEUCE, I guess, but overall, I thought the whole thing was a little thin. Sure, they've picked out the five men who have portrayed him most often in major movies, but it's an incomplete list. And I wished, also, for the full name "James BOND," or maybe even "BOND, James BOND." I suppose that would have been much more difficult to pull off, and we would have ended up with even more TAR like ICAN, RIA, EIN, ITO, DDS and CCS. And more unknown, un-Monday-ish names like STIMSON (26D: Henry L. ____, secretary of war during W.W. II).

But what do I want for nothing? The sun is shining, and they say it will shine again tomorrow. As long as that happens, and another empty NYTX grid appears like magic before me as I have my coffee in the morning, well then, I've got no complaints.

- Horace

p.s. This is a debut puzzle, and now I feel a little bad for giving it a lukewarm review. And because of information I learned over on, I feel even worse about dwelling on the beauty of the out-of-doors. If you're interested in finding out why, I suggest you pop on over there to read the commentary. I will add that this is the first time that I remember seeing a note from Will Shortz himself on that site. Enjoy. And congratulations, Mr. Burton! I look forward to seeing more from you.


  1. 4:47
    Thumbs up from me since I'm in under five. SCHMO is always welcome, and I think that most of the bible was written in Hebrew, no? I could be wrong...I've only ever seen the English versions, and I refuse to just Google everything. Anyway, nice debut puzzle, and I knew STIMSON.

  2. 4:39
    My best paper time.
    I wouldn't worry yourself about the outdoors comment - you had no way of knowing the backstory on the puzzle
    A few minor issues for me today:
    EIN (42D: German "one") I don't know any German but I thought this is usually EINS
    EDY (10D: Big name in ice cream) I don't know ice cream but I thought this is usually EDYS
    Will Shortz comment that it was "brilliant" to cross BOND with SEANCONNERY. I'm not sure I would go that far.
    Finally, I saw the note that "In the print version of this puzzle, the clue number 7 in both the grid and clues reads "007" instead. This does not affect solving." This just wasn't true for me. I looked at the print version two different ways and don't see 007, only "7". A confusing day for me, but still best paper time ever so can't complain.

  3. 3:28
    Straightforward puzzle, only slowed by inexplicable inability to remember these actors' names under pressure. If they had come faster... ah, but if wishes were horses.

    ARAMAIC is the language that Jesus would have spoken, and is likewise the language of all of the apostles, but most scholars seem to think the Christian bible was originally written in Greek. The Jewish bible of course is written in Hebrew.

    Happy Passover, everybody!

  4. Not especially quick for me but that was largely because I was stymied by SlIMSON crossing TIMOTHYDALlON and spent a few minutes looking for an error which wasn't going to be very easy to guess my way out of.