Monday, October 2, 2017

October 2, 2017, Trenton Charlson


It seems appropriate today to give one of the possible five LETTERGRADES to 1A, as is the custom of my esteemed co-bloggers. I think FISH merits a C. :)

I like the theme, but truth be told, I didn't guess any of the theme answers from the clues. I got them all off the downs - always a risk on a Monday, I suppose. The theme clues, all groups of letters having something in common that is revealed by the answer, bring to mind one of my favorite puzzle types from old Games Magazine like 88 K on a P. Remember those? 39A's theme answer (CHEMICALSYMBOLS) is smack dab in the middle of the puzzle and goes edge to edge, which I think is very nice. Want to hear a joke about potassium? K.

I was spoiled for choice when it came to picking a favorite today. My first love was OHHI at 14A. When unpunctuated, it seems so casual. Horace and I used it all day during our Internet communications. Another strong contender is SHOTTOHELL at 3D (Utterly ruined, informally). And, last in this category, but not least, is the perennial favorite: EEL.

Other clues I liked were
OER - as the opposite of 'neath (27A)
TEEM - so evocative of too many unpleasant somethings (24D)
SASS - (32D)
TILE - for the reference to Scrabble (tm) (31D)
ECO - as a clued combo with freak ( )

There wasn't much of what we traditionally call Huygens material in this grid, but plenty of answers I think Huygens will have enjoyed including FERMI at 21D, (all the) MEATS at 41D, and BALI at 42D.

My least favorite answer in today's puzzle was the clue at 1D Centrally located for FOCAL. It didn't feel APT.

Overall, I thought the puzzle was AOK.



  1. 8:15 (typical for Monday)

    My first brush with the theme was filling in LETTER, partly from crosses but also from noticing letters in the clue. I didn't get the rest of that answer until after CHEMICALSYMBOLS which I got from crosses and that was enough to see how the theme worked (as opposed to, say, it being about which letters were missing from a consecutive run or something like that). At that point I didn't especially need crosses for theme answers although I did have some, this being a Monday and all.

    A few more than usual false starts, like esSo before HESS, agra before BALI (yeah, yeah, I was off on the definition of East Indies there), irr before ALT (too quick to reach for the crosswordese, evidently), and my favorite, HeP before HIP. Xwordinfo shows a pretty close race in puzzles over the years with 122 for hip and 158 for hep, with a slight trend in recent decades to be more hip (and clue hep as old).

  2. 3:54
    I liked the theme, and three out of four of the theme answers. But MUSICNOTES struck a wrong note, as it were. It should be musical notes. Otherwise I like the puzzle just fine. A good Monday.

  3. 5:08
    I did like FERMI and BALI, but not MEATS. Lots of esses on the eastern limb: HESS/SASS/SALSA. I agree with Colum on MUSICNOTES; all of the other theme answers were fine. No one has more than one HOES, does they?