Monday, November 6, 2017

Monday, November 6, 2017, Max Lauring and Benjamin Lauring


It's a NYT crossword puzzle double premiere! By brothers no less, one in college, the other in high school. And their pictures look so very young (see them on

I'm pretty impressed: there are no fewer than 8 theme answers today, each one of which is a standard phrase which combine a kind of animal with a body part, thus PARTANIMAL. PIGEONTOES and HAREBRAIN are both slightly off. In both cases, the most commonly used form is adjectival, such as "pigeon-toed" or "hare-brained". But all the others are standard.

The density of the theme material and the multiple crossings or parallel rows makes for a lot of potential strain on the grid. But you still get SILENTP, AMIDALA, STRUDEL, and my favorite, of course, NEURONS (with a fun clue: "Those getting excited when thinking?"). I'll ignore the reference to the pinstripes and to a certain New Haven school.

1A: Deals with a problem (COPES) - B. Pretty straightforward.
Least fave: 59D: Chick-___-A (FIL) - partial of a brand name. Oof.

Overall, it went smoothly, and I enjoyed all the theme material, so I give it a thumbs up. Hope we get to see more from these two in the future!

- Colum


  1. 5:51
    Boy, and I thought I was moving right along until I saw Colum's time. Anyway, I also enjoyed this debut with its strong theme. I agree with Colum on FIL, and liked seeing ACTONE spelled out instead of the usual Roman numeral. NOTHING terribly surprising for fill, and NOTHING to slow me down, which is typical for a Monday.

  2. Monday's puzzle, in which I discover the hard way that a STRUsEL is not a thing (streusel is, but that has the wrong number of letters). That took some time but as soon as I opened the puzzle I saw a lot of long answers, so I'm not surprised by my 8:57 time (longer than usual for Monday).

    Eight theme answers? I guess that's why we got ELI, ELOI, OPIE, OLIO, and some other questionable fill. On the plus side, liked NATURE, COTTAGE, and PLAT. And I'll agree with the positive comment on both answer and clue for NEURONS.

  3. 6:47 (FWOE)
    I spent a lot of time looking around, and finally, Frannie found the error at PIGEONTOEd. I have never heard the variant given in the grid. Oh well...

    Not surprisingly, this is the first time that PIGEONTOES and HAIRBRAIN have been used in the Shortz era. I'm hoping it's the only time.

    Not much more to say about this one that hasn't been said. Except, why has no one called out BEESKNEES? I liked seeing that.

    1. I meant to use it in the blog, but it slipped my mind.

  4. I had to sit this one out, as I had completed it the previous Saturday at the Arlington Puzzle Fest tournament.

    This was a happy day for me, as it was the first tournament that I made clean through without a mistake. (However, I must admit the puzzles were not too difficult.)

    1. Hey, a clean tournament is a clean tournament! Now let's all do that next spring in Stamford!

    2. I will be there to at least give it a try