Monday, November 25, 2019

Monday, November 25, 2019, Daniel Mauer


I couldn't figure out today's theme based only on the first theme answer, SNACKATTACK, but I got the knack by the time I completed the third one, CRACKISWACK. BACKONTRACK, and the cool-looking YACKETYYACK complete the pack.

I solved the puzzle in the usual top-left-to-bottom-right order, and found I enjoyed it more as I went along. In looking over the puzzle for this review, I noticed that most of my favorite fill and clue/answer pairs were in the Downs - to wit: SARTRE, DRIP (Insipid one), BATIK, SABOTAGE, CHARMS, ROVERS, and CHAT. Coincidence? I don't think so.


I can't pinpoint the particulars, but this played a little slower for me than many a recent Monday. NADIR didn't leap to mind for "Very bottom" at 1A. It didn't help that I dunno who IDINA Menzel is. Nor did I know that PINETAR was a "Batter's grip-enhancing goo." Perhaps those lacks contributed to my slower PACE.

Not to give Mr. Mauer too much flack, but there was quite a stack of not-so-NEATO abbreviations through which to hack - ATA, AKA, MRI, NOS, and NES, and MRI - plus more tucked inside longer fill like ETCETC and SAIDOK. Also, if there are any AYE votes for 50A: "Muscles used in pull-ups, informally" (BIS) I'd be surprised. You can count me as ONENO on that front.



  1. Took me longer than usual too, and to the extent I have a concrete explanation, I'd say the proper names. Which of course I find terribly unfair. Except of course ALEXIS de Toqueville who is different because.... well I'm tempted to write a great paeon to democracy and a great thinker, but perhaps it is no deeper than "I knew this dude's name".

    Or maybe the answers are longer than usual for a Monday? (People usually look at black square count or answer count, don't they? Not that I know how many is a lot).

  2. 7:56
    Count me as the third with a longer-than-usual Monday solve. I dropped NADIR right in, but it didn't help me to set a nice fast pace for the rest of the puzzle. I've never called my biceps "BIS," so I agree with Frannie on that front, and in general with the remainder of her excellent review. I know the name IDINA Menzel, but that's only because "Frozen" is so popular, not because I have ever seen it or know the person. The other names weren't much of a problem, either. YACKETYYACK is clearly the best looking of the themers, but CRACKISWACK is the funniest sounding.

  3. 4:24
    Definitely a relatively tough Monday. Even if you don't know Idina Menzel from her outstanding performance in Wicked as the eponymous Witch from Oz, or from her performance in Frozen, you should probably recall her as the person John Travolta for some reason called "Adele Nazeem" at the Oscars.

  4. 5:13

    I agree on the difficulty front, but I think SNACKATTACK is my favorite themer. I've got to start using that more. It's a NEATO phrase. :)

    And I remember Travolta butchering somebody's name at the Oscars, but since I didn't know her before (and I didn't read anything about the event), I never learned the correct name, or how far off he was. ... but now I'm probably just going to remember "Adele Nazeem." ... sigh.