Monday, October 28, 2019

Monday, October 28, 2019, Zhouqin Burnikel


Cute theme today with a perfect revealer, OUTOFDANGER (Safe ... or how the last words of 16-, 23- and 49-Across are made?), which explains that the last word of the other three theme answers are anagrams of "danger." Perhaps you already saw this, but it took me a minute to realize what was going on, so I thought I might as well put it in.

The day the Olympics died a little.
I like the theme. Not too much, not too little, and the three entries - TAKEAGANDER, ARIANAGRANDE, and COVENTGARDEN - are a good mix of standard, yet unrelated things, brought together by cleverness.

In the long Down slots we get the excellent PAVLOVSDOG (Salivating animal in a classic conditioning study), an ONIONBAGEL (Alternative to a bialy) (I kind of thought they were the same thing... but then, I'm not sure I've ever actually eaten either...), and a ROADRACE (Monaco Grand Prix, e.g.). I guess that is accurate, but I usually equate ROADRACE with a running event, not a Grand Prix event. Hmm... anybody else? I mean, you can't really deny that it's a road race, but does anyone ever call it that? Anyway, TIMELAGS (Problems with glitchy livestreams) is clearly the weakest of the four.

In other areas, I've never really noticed that BARBRA (10-time Grammy winner Streisand) looks like two three-letter words put together. At least it does when it's sitting in a crossword grid. IMO anyway... and I enjoyed the clue "Attacked by hornets" for STUNG. It's so... I don't know... accurate? I also enjoyed seeing cheetahs get in there twice, in the clues for 38- and 57-Down.

Ms. Burnikel is such a pro that I can't help but suspect her of baiting us reviewers with her last clue, but I'll still bite, and finish with "What's NOT to like?"

- Horace

p.s. This is my fastest solve ever, by quite a bit, and is within one minute (!) of Joon Pahk, who (I see on "Diary of a Crossword Fiend") finished today's puzzle in 2:08. Whether you choose to think of this gap as "less than a minute!" or "more than 45% slower," I will leave up to you. I've made my choice. :)


  1. 3:01
    Great time, Horace! I love Ms. Burnikel's puzzles. This is really near perfect for a Monday.

  2. 5:10
    Sheesh, amazing times up there! Nice theme, and great that ISAAC (clued as one of my two favorites) and the oft-seen ORION are both in there. I've had an ONIONBAGEL, but not a bialy. AND I'd never have spelled BARBRA properly, but I will from now on, if the need ever arises. I agree with Horace on ROADRACE.