Monday, December 9, 2019

Monday, December 9, 2019, Ellis Hay


It is still fall, technically, but its oranges and reds faded weeks ago to browns, giving many the blues. Maybe that's what Mr. Hay was getting at with his colorful theme today. Then again, maybe I'm reading too much into what might instead be just a colorful theme. Four theme answers, two pluralized for the puzzle, two naturally occurring as plurals. It seems a little unusual (and fancy!) to have four grid-spanners on a Monday, but I'll take it.


Why can I never remember the names of people in the movie "Frozen?" I even saw the film, but when confronted with 57A: Queen in Disney's "Frozen," I froze, and went straight to the Downs. CRUELLA De Vil, on the other hand, dropped in without a second thought! Why? NOIDEA.

Enjoyed seeing the complete EDHELMS in the grid, and MAINSTAY (Chief support) and SMITTEN (Completely enchanted) are nicely uncommon. The partials ACAR (Rent-____ (Hertz or Avis)) and IASK ("Can ____ you a question?") look inelegant to me now, but I can remember that when I was just starting to do crosswords, it was these easy "fill-in-the-blank" clues that I would scan for first, so I could get a quick start somewhere. So maybe on Mondays we should give these softballs a complete pass? NATAL (Birth-related) and EBAN (Abba of Israel) on the other hand, seem slightly inappropriate for the day of the week.

The theme is simple and colorful (unless I'm missing something again, which is entirely possible), and the fill is reasonable. I don't have much else to say.

- Horace

p.s. I did, again, miss a subtlety of the theme. Each color is preceded by a "place." I'm not sure my mind is fully on the puzzles this week. I shall endeavor to correct that tomorrow.


  1. Wonderfully breezy yet tight theme today! Color me SMITTEN! I've heard others balk at words like NATAL -- or, at least, the word NATAL in a Monday puzzle, but don't quite get me it's a common word, and one we can all relate to. I agree with you on the appropriateness of having some FITB entries in a early week puzzle. Nice job!

  2. 3:49
    I like to think that I beat Horace's time by a split second, but who's splitting hairs here? The theme is... fine. I don't know, it doesn't do much for me. In part it's because two of the theme answers could just as reasonably been Cincinnati Reds and Saint Louis Blues. So why is one a team? 15 letter length? Anyway, it's fine.

  3. Not just the 15 letter length, Colum o' mine, although that does play into it from the constructors viewpoint. But see here! Only one is a team, only one is a fruit, only one is an animal, and only one is an emotion...or a nickname for a profession. Yet ALL are pulled together by (1) a place name precede the colors, as you've appreciated (2) the colors are plural, as you've also appreciated, and (3) all are different uses of the color word...gee, as you've also appreciated. :-)

    I guess my take on it is that, if there were two themers as, say, an animal, or two as a team, or two as a fruit or emotion? I have a feeling Will wouldn't have accepted it.

    This is such a nice blog! It's really relaxing! Thank you!

    1. Thanks, Kelly, that's nice of you to say. We're glad you like it, and we appreciate you taking the time to comment! :)

  4. 4:46
    I wasn't particularly SMITTEN with this puzzle, but since I finished it in under five minutes, I'll color myself a fan regardless. I've not seen the associated film, but due to its ubiquity in crosswords, ELSA always drops right in for me. I noticed that SNOW is its symmetrical entry, and right across from that we have ICIEST and its symmetrical entry in the SW, ASPENS. Also, ALOHA and LAVA happen to be located across from each other. I suppose all of these could be coincidences, driven by construction necessity. I'm with Kelly on NATAL; that's usually one of the first (if not the first) words of which I think with that type of clue.