Monday, January 1, 2018

Monday, January 1, 2018, Matthew Sewell

Happy New Year!

Horace and Frances and Colum are all together in one place this morning, and we've been talking a little about how to shake things upon the old blog. Today, for example, we'll each be writing a paragraph or two in the same review. I hope we can do this more in the future, but I think we all realize that that would be very hard to pull off every day. Maybe we can manage to do that on Sundays.

Anyway, what we are definitely going to do is shorten up our turns to a week or two. We're hoping that will allow us to stay fresher when thinking/writing about the puzzles, and it might also make for some continuity between reviewers - following up on new ideas... modifications to new ideas... who knows? Anyway, that's what we're thinking.

Now about this puzzle... I finished in 7:43 with one error. I blame last night. I spelled CALAMARI wrong. Too many Is. And coincidentally, it crossed my least favorite answer: ATTHAT (33D: To boot). That doesn't work for me. I'm not even sure how it's supposed to work.

- Horace


Colum here, taking over for a paragraph. I finished today's puzzle in 3:59, slowed down in several sections. I don't have much extra to say about this fine Monday effort which has not been said elsewhere, except to note that AAAA is really not necessary. That is to say, it was probably quite necessary from a grid construction perspective, but I didn't need it in my life. But I would like to say that I've been thinking a lot recently about friends and traditions. I feel very lucky to have had Horace and Frances as part of my life for a number of years now. This blog is a daily reminder of that connection, and a celebration of puzzles, thinking, logic, and fun. Even on days when it feels more of a slog than usual to produce a review, it's worth it, and I am grateful to be included in the project. Colum out!


Today's puzzle has me all fired up to start writing the reviews, especially since it's only for a week this time. :)  There's fire on all side with five theme answers featuring fire words in song titles. My favorite, due to a deliberate misreading is BURNINGLOVE. We started singing, "hunk a hunk of burnin' glove." Ha. I am unfamiliar with the Bon Jovi and Bangles songs, but didn't have much trouble with them thanks to straightforward crosses. I was slowed briefly in a few places by confident but completely incorrect answers like "lard" where SUET belonged (55A Fat used in mince meat) and "pair" where SYNC was wanted (57A Match up). That, together with a more-populated-than-usual morning solve lead to a slower than usual Monday time 10:26. I liked BELEAGUERED and PIQUANT, but I also give AAAA an F.



  1. 4:49
    Nice to hear about the spice up to the blog. I'm sure it must be quite difficult to write these reviews for an entire month at a time, and stay fresh.

    I enjoyed the multitude of perspectives in today's post. I struggled a little today, but that's ok. In particular, the two hardest clues for me were each in the same relative spot in the grid - PALOMA and ATTHAT. I guess when you have an 11-letter answer next to two 7's along the edge of a Monday grid, it can be tough to connect that to the rest of the puzzle with real words.

    I look forward to seeing what combinations of Horace, Frannie, and Colum await me on these pages in the coming year!

  2. 7:49
    No one likes change. Decent theme today; hopefully the fire will last all year. MAKENOSENSE is nice, and I agree with Frannie about BELEAGUERED and PIQUANT. I happily knew PTBOAT from the clue, but GAGSTER? That's no good. I believe that "Inside LLEWYN Davis" is on our queue.

  3. Hard for me too (11:56). I'll give an A- to MARCO (or are letter grades for 1A so 2017?), just because it seems fresh and Monday difficulty.

    I too had lard before SUET. Oh and SsH before SHH.