Monday, November 20, 2017

Monday, November 20, 2017, Peter Gordon


ALLITERATION is the name of the game, to quote ABBA. Except it's hidden examples today, where the sounds are in fact the same, but the spelling is different. Ah, English!

I didn't know General Burgoyne's nickname, but it came easily enough based on the crosses. GENTLEMANJOHNNY is a much happier 15-letter answer than its symmetric opposite. I suppose KELLYANNECONWAY was due to show up in the NYT at some point, but the less said about her the better.

Meanwhile, PHOTOFINISH is excellent. CAESARSALAD is also good, although the classicists among us (Horace?) might complain that the initial C should be hard rather than soft. I know, I know, it's a common English phrase. But again, if we can't nitpick a little, what's the point of this blog in the first place?

Wait, don't answer that question. I don't want to put us out of business.

I really like the revealer running right down the middle of the grid, crossing all four theme answers. That's some nice construction there.

In the fill, there are a number of answers that cross multiple theme answers, including ABNEGATIVE (I initially had ABposiTIVE there, which I suppose I should have known better - turns out it's almost six times more likely than the actual answer). Better even is IVORYTOWER, which is where I work, almost literally. Okay, not literally, but it is an academic institution. Yeah, but who wants to live in an institution?

Thank you, I'll be here all week. I mean, all month.

Favorite piece of trivia: Henry SHRAPNEL. Least favorite answer, and it will be every time it's in the puzzle: STYES.

1A: Three-syllable foot, as in "bada-bing" (ANAPEST) - A-. It's the poetic foot used in limericks. Such as:

A very sad poet was Jenny:
Her lim'ricks were not worth a penny.
In technique they were sound,
And yet somehow she found
That whenever she tried to write any,
She always wrote one line too many.

- Colum


  1. 6:42
    Excellent Monday, but I wonder why the "minus" on the A for 1A. I'd have thought that is the definition of an A. Lots of great non-Monday-ish answers, like RUBELLA, MARIACHI, TETCHY (fantastic), MENLO (boy, Edison really took some hits on this week's "The Big Bang Theory"), MOLIERE and LOSTARTS. Of course, HEINIE and, dare I say, 15A were among my favorites.

  2. I thought today's solve was going swimmingly, answers falling into place, theme emerging nicely, great long downs. Then I looked up at the crossword app’s clock and it said 10:17 and I looked at the calendar and it said Monday. And I said, well, there we have it. Back to the recreational leagues and no need to worry about crossword stardom.

    Anyway, wonderful puzzle. Look no further than the top left: ANAPEST, RUBELLA, ARGO, NUEVE, PETROL. All first rate. It isn't until ELL that you get a dud. Lots of fun stuff elsewhere in the grid too, although I didn't remember the spelling of Uriah HEEP’s name right at first and it took me a while to remember that Sonic Hedgehog (a favorite game among developmental biologists, incidentally) was from SEGA not Sony. Maybe that's why my time was slow. Not that I'm bitter about that. Not at all bitter.

  3. Looking at my puzzle on the NYT crossword website just now, it shows my time as 0:00, but I think it was actually closer to 4:58. I'll have to verify that once I get back to my own machine...

    Anywhooo, I support the minus, and might even have dropped to a B+. Sure, I love an ANAPEST as much as the next fellow (and that's a fine limerick! Sort of a corollary to "There once was a man from Verdun."), but when I give out an A for 1A, the clue or answer, or both, will be at least a little bit funny.

    As for "Kaisar" salad, I do occasionally refrain from making a nuisance of myself (that's "newzankeh"), although I probably have said it once or twice in my life. Makes me think of the "Travel Agent" sketch where the patron can't say the letter "B."

    This is a lovely grid from a veteran constructor. Reading his write-up just now over on xword, I learn that it is a 15x16. Interesting.

    1. Well, now that I'm back home, my computer says 36:46:16 for Monday's puzzle. Anybody else having trouble with the timer?...

    2. For what it is worth, My time mentioned above was from the Shortyz Android app, so it wouldn't in any way be related to times from the website.