Monday, February 3, 2020

Monday, February 3, 2020, Michael Schlossberg


It's a real menagerie in here! Well, if you count three animals and an insect as a menagerie. I'm trying to figure out if there's a deeper layer of meaning in this theme other than four well-known phrases which have a living creature preceded by the definite article. When I first finished it, I thought, well, we just had the Chinese lunar New Year: they're all animals of the Chinese Zodiac, except for the bee. So I guess not.

In any case, I've always loved the phrase THEBEESKNEES (look at all of those Es!), and THEMONKEYSPAW is a perfect little thrilling story. I have never partaken of THEHAIROFTHEDOG, despite having a perfectly good dog in the house. And EYEOFTHETIGER is iconic, so a good set of theme answers.

The rest of the puzzle is reasonably smooth, with a few notable exceptions. I'm always going to raise an eyebrow at something like 49D: Suffix with direct or deposit (ORY). That's a real stretch, but I can see how the choices were limited. Other short fill like EEO and ITO are more acceptable to help a puzzle come together.

On the positive side, 11D: "I know you think this is a ludicrous idea, but ..." (HEARMEOUT) is excellent, as is MYMISTAKE. Also, I've always been fond of AIMEE Mann.

Anyway, that's ENOS of that.

- Colum

P.S. For some reason, I missed that each theme answer also has a body part. Also, it's a debut, so congratulations to Mr. Schlossberg!


  1. I liked this puzzle! I found your NYT crossword blog today. It was a pleasure to read about the NYT crossword without having to put up with toxic remarks (like the ones from another NYT crossword reviewer). I stopped reading that blog. Life is too short.

    1. Welcome! Glad you found us, and thanks for commenting!

  2. 4:42
    I agree with Anonymous that there is no need for toxicity; this is the only blog that I read. Excellent debut, and NEATO theme. Not too much junk in here. Nice that the threes include ZIN, at least. I have, indeed, taken some HAIROFTHEDOG on occasion, but really, I don't generally have any problems along those lines, so it's more of a empathetic thing to share with my BESTIEs. I seem to remember watching a short-lived variety show starring SHANANA; it must have on the heels of the run of the referenced movie. Shout out to THOMAS!

  3. Not to be a "ditto" poster, but DITTO to what Anonymous said! :-)

  4. Awwww! Thanks guys! It's so nice to have positive vibes.

  5. 3:57
    Dad read THEMONKEYSPAW to us kids when we were young. I don't know what I thought of it then, but I reread it somewhat recently and found it terrifying.

    Also, that picture of MACAU looks like some futuristic painting. Weird!