Monday, March 4, 2019

Monday, March 4, 2019, Ellis Hay


I'll give myself a B for today's time, which is fitting, given today's theme.

How many different ways can you spell the sound of the second letter of the alphabet? I was off to a good start with 20A: Bach masterpiece, informally (BMINORMASS). I suppose I will just have to give in to Fate and declare this week a musical week. I had the great fortune to participate in a concert of this piece when I was still living in NYC. What a rush to sing this incredible work of art.

Still, things weren't a SHOO-in for me as the puzzle went on. I misunderstood the clue at 2D to imply that 2D and 54D would be a single phrase, rather than 54D (YALE) being another institution Clinton as an ALUM of. I had a hard time understanding either 9D: Buy the farm, so to speak (PASSAWAY), which I took too literally, and 38A: Ban alcoholic beverages (GODRY), which I wanted to be a single word.

And I also put cOrn in at 50A: Bread in Southern cuisine (PONE).

All of which made for an UGLI solve on this Monday.

On the plus side, I liked ISTHATOK and GINSBURG, of course. MATHLETE is good as well. 44D: Baseball's Gehrig (LOU) brought to mind an activity that Horace's brother is undertaking on FaceBook to have people name their favorite member of each team's roster through history. Mr. Gehrig would probably make my top list for the hated Yankees, but would not be number one.

I've decided that 65A: Baffled exclamations (GEES), which on first glance is probably the worst answer in the grid, must originally have been part of a revealer. For example, "British disco trio, with the starts of 20-, 32-, 40-, and 52-across."

What do you think?

- Colum

P.S. After finishing the review, I read elsewhere that all the clues start with the letter B. I did not notice this on my own, which I guess means that it was done well.


  1. 7:39
    I guess I'd have to give myself at best a B-minus, because this played very hard for me for a Monday. And I didn't notice that all the clues started with B, but I did notice that the editor was listed as "Bill Shortz." Hah!

    It's funny how obvious the Bs starting the clues are once you know it...

    I like a challenging Monday, so this was fine by me!

  2. Well! I'll B darned!
    Got thru this ok, no errors and a bit faster than normal...didn't notice a single thing, including the theme! Ha.
    Thanks for the great write up!

  3. 8:31
    Much slower Monday than normal for me, and like everyone else, I didn't notice the "B" thing. I like a challenging Monday, too, so this was fine by me.