Monday, May 22, 2017

Monday, May 22, 2017, Gary Kennedy


How cool to have all the various tools on your SWISS / ARMY / KNIFE open out in various directions, just like in real life. I always took great delight in the way the TWEEZERS came out and went back into the tiny hole on the end of the knife. The toothpick wasn't nearly as exciting. And now, as an adult, it strikes me as more than just a little unsanitary.

I never used the CORKSCREW because I was too young to be carrying bottles of wine around with me while camping, but the CANOPENER did come in handy. I recall the SCISSORS not being all that useful.

So, great theme. The grid itself is very compartmentalized, but that's not much of an issue on a Monday when getting traction in a new area will never be that difficult. The corners are nicely chunky, and there are some nice long non-theme down answers, including EXORCISM and NOAHSARK. I like how that last one matches up symmetrically with SHIPLOAD, a less sparkling word, but which has more meaning in this context. So many animals!

Digression: I like kimchi. Yum KOREAN.

Back to the review: Speaking of symmetry, it's amusing to have PARTD opposed by NSYNC. Two entries with single letter portions.

1A is a theme answer, so no grade today.
Fave: WOTAN (2D: King of the Gods in Wagner's "Ring" cycle). Opera reference good.
Least fave: AVES (64D: Madison and Fifth in Manhattan: Abbr.). Plural abbreviation, but I really had to work to find something I actively disliked. Most of the less interesting fill was completely acceptable.

Overall this is a nicely done Monday. I approve.


  1. 4:31
    My one complaint about this one is that 1A is cross-referenced, and therefore almost impossible to get without help. (See also, 43A and 76A.) It's a finicky complaint, perhaps, but I make it. Would it have hurt the theme terribly if 1A were clued with "Neutral European?," 43A with "Horde," and 76A with "Shonen ____" or some other, better clues? The tools could have brought the theme together just fine.

    OK, rant over. Overall, I liked it too. Except maybe for ARCTAN.

  2. 6:57
    What's wrong with an ARCTAN?!?! Anyway, I have no complaints, except that I, unlike Colum, seem to remember finding uses for the SCISSORS, but agree on his CORKSCREW assessment. I wonder how it would be opening a fine bottle with it? My favorite may be GALL (35D Chutzpah), mostly for the clue. Definitely a well-done Monday. Nice to have SPOCK in there at 1D, but that's three proper names adjacent to each other in that corner. Also, NOAHSARK crossing CHRIST is a deft touch, bringing together the Old and the New.