## Monday, August 3, 2020

### Monday, August 3, 2020, Eric Bornstein

8:15

Today's puzzle took me longer than usual on a Monday. Maybe I had an off day, or maybe it was due to the range of matter covered by the puzzle. Each of theme answer started one of four phases of matter, for example GASSTATION, or my favorite, LIQUIDASSET. The hint for the theme was JUSTAPHASE. The terminology states of matter (rather than phase) is so embedded in my head that I removed the answer PCP ("Drug also known as angel dust") because with the A of NAAN and the E of TENS in place, PCP messed up what I assumed would be "state" at the end of 57A. I was blinded by science! Obviously, I eventually sorted it all out, but the muddle caused me to look up states of matter on the World Wide Web. Several interesting bits came to light. One was that the helpful, similar questions  Google shows in its results were entertaining. The first question read, "What are the four states of mattter?" The second one read, "What are the five states of matter?" The third one read, "What are the 12 states of matter?" And the fifth one read, "What are the 15 states of matter?" Not exactly relevant to my interest, but I thought it was amusing. Farther along, I saw that the term "phase" is sometimes used as a synonym for state of matter, but a system can contain several immiscible phases of the same state of matter," leaving me with the impression that "states of matter" is more precise. One of these days, I'll have to discuss the matter more thoroughly.

There were some good clue/answer pairs in here including "Keep everything for oneself" (HOARD), "'Charming' jewelry?" (BRACELET), which is cute, "Takes too much, in brief"(ODS), and my favorite RETORT as the answer to "'So's your mama!' for one." Ha. There was also a nice mathy clue that I didn't see during the solve, but enjoyed upon review: "12, or 1/3, 1/4 and 1/6: Abbr." (LCD).

Along with the god clues there was fun fill from DAISYCHAIN and DRAMAQUEEN to LANAI and OLMEC and from PINTS to GULLET. Delicious.

I found BOOER to be a little odd, but it made me think of the Simpson's episode when Mr. Burns is getting booed and Smithers tries to convince him the crowd is shouting, "Booourns," which is good.

I have to say IMDOWN on the clue "Opposite of NNW" and any of its ilk, even on a Monday. I have to suppose there's no other possible way to clue SSE, or constructors would use it, right? I sometimes feel I would prefer a clue that simply said, "Type SSE in the three squares."

I don't want to end on a low note, though, since I really enjoyed the puzzle. I'm already looking forward to SAMOA puzzles by Mr. Bornstein in the future.

~Frannie.

1. I thought the theme was cute but somehow it is the inclusion of plasma in addition to solid, liquid and gas which gave it a bit of spice for me.

2. 6:48
Took me a little longer than a usual Monday, too. I guess it's OK that the phases don't really follow a proper order. Nice that CABO is in there, and I've enjoyed a MARDI Gras in my day, so that's good, too. OLMEC slowed me down, but I learned something, which is a welcome development. The plural AQUAS isn't great, but there are some nice, meaty (as they say) answers in the grid, so I can't complain too much. I agree with Frannie about SSE, but I suppose all of the threes are just as bad, like SSN, OSU, LCD and MRS, not to mention the others. At least LCD crosses PLASMASCREENTVS.