Sunday, January 19, 2020

Monday, January 20, 2020, Evan Kalish


Today Mr. Kalish starts with a doodle, works it up into a sketch, then a drawing, and finally he ends up with a puzzle that's pretty as a picture. Each of the four theme answers is perfectly cromulent, and they don't overload the grid so much as to compromise the other entries.


In fact, there's plenty to ENDORSE outside the theme - GINKGO (Chinese tree with fan-shaped leaves) is beautiful, GAGREELS (Collections of funny outtakes) is amusing, NACHOS are delicious, MELODY (Tune) is pleasing, and PARTYGOER (One attending a shindig) is fun. Any reference to Orwell (NEWSPEAK) is doubleplusgood, and that's not just duckspeak!

It's hard to find much to dislike in this one, so I'll pick on the clue for CARAT (A diamond that has one is moderately expensive). A diamond doesn't have one carat, it is one carat. Wouldn't the clue "A diamond that is one is moderately expensive" have been just fine? I mean, wouldn't you be wondering, "what else is a diamond but a diamond?" Oh, I don't know... sometimes I think I might be a bit too rigid about language. And for what?

Really, I like this puzzle a lot, and I think it's a fine start to the week.

- Horace


  1. 5:17
    Well, you're up early...or late. I always enjoy completing the Monday puzzle before 6:15 on Sunday evenings. Too bad all of the puzzles aren't available that early the day prior, but what does it matter, really? SNICKERDOODLE is excellent, and I dropped it right in. My mother would always make a variation of this cookie with any leftover dough for us which never failed to please. I don't love the lines of threes in the grid too much, but we shouldn't pick nits, I guess. SAMMY was overly-clued, I think, or do I think that just because I'm older and grew up watching him on the TV? GUSSY may be my favorite answer.

  2. I was wondering whether bitter and ACRID are synonymous enough to be clued that way. But upon browsing dictionaries, I guess so. I mean, bitter has one specific meaning about activating certain taste receptors - - but I'm not sure acrid has a technical meaning like that and even if it does, it can have other meanings too.

    As for SAMMY, probably is at least somewhat generational (very familiar to me) but I don't really know. Of course the more detailed clue only helps the person who is somewhat familiar, not the "who's that?" crowd.

    My favorite answer? Probably EEYORE. Six letters, lotsa vowels so if constructors GOBIG on this one it would be a NET win for me.

  3. 3:38
    A lovely and straightforward Monday puzzle. I've found that my wireless keyboard, while solving the puzzle, needs there to be a pause between repeated letters. If I go too quickly, only one will be registered. Oddly this doesn't happen when typing anywhere else. But it leads to brief difficulties like when I typed in SNICKERDOdle_, leaving me with one blank space. Even more annoying is if I am entering (for example) CARAT, and I already have the R in place, so my cursor skips to the next letter, the second A will also not be registered. Oh, the difficulties of a person who has enough leisure time to worry about how quickly one can complete the NYT xword...