Monday, August 24, 2020

Monday, August 24, 2020, David Alfred Bywaters


I thought today's theme was excellent. The five theme answers were common words that all start with "ex" but they were given new meanings wherein the "ex" refers to a former lover. I was amused by most of the answers, but my favorite might be "Former lovers' stances in photos?" EXPOSES. Ha!

At first, I didn't understand the final theme answer in the southeast corner. I hadn't read the clue carefully and just assumed it followed the same pattern as the others. However, it refers instead to one's "Current lover, who seems suspiciously occupied"? with the answer (EXPENDING). Exemplary! Extra points for its exceptional placement in the grid. 

The exultance of  X's in the across answers had a mixed result on the Down clues. NIXED and XENON are strong, but RXS less so. I guess the exigencies of this kind of theme mean we have to take a little medicine along with the fun. 

I have a couple of other axis to grind. Did I enter REUNE when I read the clue "What alumni do on important anniversaries"? Yes, dear readers, I did. Did I want to, no, no I didn't. And, can ETCH be used to describe writing with a chisel on stone? I GESSO, if the NYTX says so, but it seemed off to me.


Excuse me, I did not intend to get exercised by these minor vexations. I very much enjoyed this puzzle. C/A P's I particularly liked included "Busy, as a restroom" (INUSE), "Soup legumes" (LENTILS), and "Aptitude" (SKILL). Aptitude! BASSDRUM and SARCASTIC are good fill. Also funny to have both "Dragging behind" (INTOW) and "Halved" (INTWO) in the puzzle. 




  1. I really wanted "split pea" for the legume but I reluctantly said IGUESSNOT and later got enough crosses to remind myself there are other legumes known for their role in soup.

    Not sure I'm buying EXPENDING (I'm supposed to parse it as "about to be an ex?" Is that it?) But I'll forgive that because EXPOSES and EXCOMMUNICATION are quite fine, and the other two themers are good as well.

  2. 4:20

    I had a hard time with that one, too, Jim, but I think you're right. The "ex" status is probably imminent, thanks to the "suspiciously preoccupied" in the clue.

    Also, I first saw the word REUNE in a crossword, and I've never seen it outside of one. I haven't warmed up to that one. Somehow, it's not as charming as etui, for example.

  3. You know, I have to write a second comment, because last night I actually thought about this crossword puzzle again, and that does not happen often. The theme is so clever!

    Today, I went back to read the constructor's notes on xwordinfo, partly because I did not recognize the name and wondered if it was a debut. Well, it wasn't, but the notes are hilarious. I'll be watching for more from Mr. Bywaters in the future!

  4. 7:32
    I think that Mr. Kingdon should explore various legumes as soup protein. We here at the YBH don't take a meat, so that's all that we use. I make soups quite often, exspecially during the cooler months, and there are just so many tasty and satisfying possibilities with all of the great options out there. I quite enjoyed the theme and puzzle, also, especially since COSMOS is part of it, but then it's absolutely everything. TRUE dat.

    1. Sounds like a theme idea: NAVYBEAN, SPLITPEA, GREENLENTIL, DALMAKHANI (if we aren't insisting it be vegan), etc.

  5. 4:01
    Did anyone notice the self-reference at 67D: Smidgen (DAB)?