Monday, May 28, 2018

Monday, May 28, 2018, Alex Eaton-Salners


Today's theme may be all grins and good spirits - highlighted by the smiley face in the center of the grid - but I was not too happy with my time - very slow for a Monday. Heck, I did Friday's puzzle in under 18. Of course, it's not all about times or competition, it's about the fact that doing puzzles makes one FULLOFGOODCHEER, am I right?

There were some RUFFS areas that slowed me down, especially the cross of 14A: Hinged part of an airplane wing (AILERON) and 9D: Prince ___ Khan (ALY). I have added airplane parts and representatives to the United Nations to the list of things I need to learn to improve my solving abilities.

Things that made me BREAKINTOASMILE:
62A: Medium strength? (ESP)
63A: No-goodnik (SOANDSO)
10D: Ones whistling while they work? (REFS)
52D: Big top? (AFRO)

I also liked the DEB/REB cross in the bottom right corner. I was amused by the  parallel answers HADAMEAL and BIGMOUTH in the west and east. I happily entered flOaTie at 22A: Inflatable item for water fun instead of the correct POOLTOY because the clue made me think of Blue Floatie, my favorite swimming accessory at our villa in Italy.


There were a few YAWNS today: IDA, DSL, EPI, TIS, AAS, ESS, PDAS, and GOA. And I am inclined to GROWLAT 17D: Travel aid made obsolescent by GPS (ATLAS) because I love consulting a map, but if I were writing this review as a single emoji I would PUTONAHAPPYFACE. :)



  1. Yeah, not one but two tech answers for things which probably seemed hip when crosswords started using them but which are now for conpletely/mostly obsolete technologies (PDAS, DSL).

    I got AILRON off the clue (but that's because "flap" has a different number of letters). The technical and scientific answers are much more in my wheelhouse than celebrities or sports.

    Personally I'd prefer cluing GOA as something like "Indian tourist haven" (a bit more common in xwordinfo but cluing as "go a" also has precedent) but I suppose that's another case of what is familiar to me is obscure to others.

    Oh, and the difficulty. Took me 10:48 which is two or three minutes slower than Monday par. But I expected that as soon as I opened the puzzle and saw all the long answers. Yes, I did notice the smile pattern, but I more noticed the answer length. Which I might claim makes me a discerning crossword geek, but could also mean I should PUTONAHAPPYFACE more readily.

  2. 5:40

    I got AILERON off the clue, too, except I spelled it AeLERON, thinking, I guess, of the prefix "aer" instead of the French word for wing, "aile." Incidentally, "ail" in French means garlic. I'm guessing they have different roots.

    Anywho... I didn't notice the smiley face or the preponderance of long answers until after I was finished. I'm not sure what i was thinking about, but I did feel it was harder than a usual Monday as I was going along. I liked the challenge!

    Also, as I come from Worcester, I feel it is my duty to mention that the yellow smiley face that was so popular in the 1970s was drawn by fellow Worcester native Harvey Ball!

  3. 9:25
    I thought Horace is a Pennsylvania native. And isn't the yellow smiley face still relatively popular, or is that just around here, where we annually celebrate Harvey Ball Day? I'll add myself to those that thought the puzzle a bit harder than a usual Monday, and who got AILERON off of the clue. 19A Untagged, in tag (NOTIT) could have gone a very different way. I don't have many complaints here. I liked DACHA, DANG, PIANO, RATRACE and ATLAS (I, too, enjoy consulting a map). NEUTER is almost never welcome, though, nor are APHIDS. I tried SCHOOLevent where SCHOOLDANCE goes at first. Even though it took longer than usual, this puzzle was no SLOGS. TRUEDAT.

  4. 5:28
    Definitely hard for a Monday, Frannie! It wasn't just you. I too did not notice the smiley face arrangement of black squares until I'd finished the entire puzzle. I failed at 19A: Untagged, in tag (NOTIT) for quite some time, because I missed what the last two words were referring to. I was stuck in Instagram or Facebook world.