Monday, January 6, 2020

Monday, January 6, 2020, Tess Davison and Kathy Lowden

6:00

My solve time is exactly 6 minutes on January 6. While that's kind of neat, one of these days I would like to get a sub-six time when it's my turn to write the review.

One bright facet of today's puzzle is its theme: birthstones, clued by the month they are associated with. There are five theme answers in all: the birthstones for April, May, June, July, and February. In the Times Crossword app, when the answer GEM at 11A is highlighted, the theme answers appear in bands o'er the grid. There was an additional theme-related answer UNCUT (Rough, as an 11-Across). Of the available gems, I like AMETHYSTS best both word-wise because it looks the most odd, but also looks-wise, although my favorite precious gem stone of all is sapphire. Interesting that crossword darling "opal," October's birthstone, didn't make the cut. :)

Other treasures in the puzzle included VACATE, GENT, ELASTIC, TUNIC, and GLUT.

RAISA

There were only a couple of features that I didn't take a shine to in today's puzzle. I never enjoy the inclusion of 3-letter partials, in this case ASA (___ rule, typically). The only other clouding for me was AILERON (Airplane wing feature) and SAG-AFTRA (Hollywood union) which, on their own, seemed like a bit of a stretch for a Monday, although the crosses were rock-solid. All in all, a fine way for me to ring in a new year of reviews.

~Frannie.

4 comments:

  1. 3:45
    Slow for me too, though. That AFTRA required all the crosses. That plus not being sure if ALLEN Ginsberg is with an A or an E, and not being sure which NY town they were going for without a few crosses. I did like that the constructors were able to spell out BIRTHSTONES in order across the five theme answers.

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  2. 4:35
    Yeah, me too. It looks like a fast time, and I guess it is, kind of, but it felt like it was putting up more resistance than a Monday usually does. The 6- and 7-stack corners were nice, and it seemed like there was a lot going on - five themers plus a revealer and a bonus, and then the circles... kind of fancy!

    Also, as usual with you, Frannie, the review was fancy, too. I enjoyed the "inclusion" of lots of gem- and jewelry-related words.

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  3. 8:29
    Really slow for me for a Monday. Even though I knew AILERON somewhere in the back of my mind, it took a few crosses to remember well enough to write in. I always need to wait for a couple of crosses to know which "Davis" is required, although it's usually GEENA. SCHNAPPS looks great in there, and nice catch, Frannie, on noticing that "opal" didn't make it. A dense Monday offering.

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