Monday, February 1, 2021

Monday, February 1, 2021, Soleil Saint-Cyr

Rabbit Rabbit, Readers! It's February already. Where does the time go?

Today's puzzle is all about the HIVE MIND. Workers, drones, and a queen are found in the grid-spanning answers. And I thought it was great to see ESSENTIALWORKER in the puzzle. My own sister is one such worker. She came down with a bad case of COVID last April, I think it was, but she went right back to work when she could, and now, even though she has received both her shots, she still works all day in uncomfortable, full COVID armor. Here's to you, Sue!

And there's another woman I'd like to mention. The constructor of this puzzle, Soleil Saint-Cyr, has today become the youngest female constructor to be published in the New York Times. She's just 17. She is also kicking off "Black Constructors Week" at the NYTX. Making history in Black History Month.

And a good Monday puzzle it is! I like BEARHUG (Tight embrace) (remember those?) and MARIANAS (____ Trench (deepest point on earth)) (one of my cousins used to terrify me by talking about how deep it was just before we went to sleep), and I'm sure most Democrats will have enjoyed seeing the names Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff (GEORGIANS) in the grid. I was surprised by OCULI (Circular windows), but luckily, I was able to come up with CUZ (Since, informally) to avoid disaster.

Congratulations on the debut, Ms. Saint-Cyr. I look forward to seeing more from you.

- Horace

p.s. Before I go I just want to put in a plug for the good folks at, who put on a one-day tournament called the "Winter Wondersolve" yesterday. Frannie and I competed in the Pairs division and had a lovely time doing it. We were this close to a perfect tournament, but while panicked and trying to power our way through the final puzzle by Joon Pahk, I made an orthographic error by spelling "lycopene" with an I instead of a Y. Sigh. We still ended up 16th out of 200+ in our division, so we did great, and we still have our "perfect tournament" to look forward to. And fortunately, the Boswords folks have announced another multi-week affair (Mondays, I think) in March and April, so we'll have another chance to try for perfection. If you enjoy crosswording (and if you don't, what are you doing at the bottom of this review?!?), I recommend you consider signing up for it.


  1. I was still debating whether to cancel my usual Sunday plans to participate in Boswords, and then was like "oh wait, that was today?"

    As for the puzzle, didn't quite realize how much I was speed solving until I finished, looked at the themers, said to myself, "oh bees, nice, the only way to improve this theme would be a revealer" totally forgetting that a few minutes earlier, I had read the first part of the HIVE MIND clue, filled in the answer, and told myself "oh after the solve I'll read the rest of that clue".

    Near finish-with-one-error on CUZ/WIZ, because on "since" I was just thinking of time, not causation. I was pretty sure about OCULI, having been to the Fulton Street and World Trade Center transit stations, which are both proud of their oculi even if neither one is precisely circular.

  2. Congratulations on your very respectable performance, Horace and Frannie, and to Ms. Saint-Cyr on her debut (to say nothing of her beautiful name!). Like Jim, I FWOE at the CUZ/WIZ spot, and for the same reason.

  3. From the name, I'd think of something OCULI-shaped to be more oval-ish, but fine. I was hoping to keep my "streak" alive: 5:00, 5:01, 5:02 for the last three Mondays, and now...5:23. Oh well. And nothing really slowed me down. Never heard of this WIZ fellow, but I was able to get the crosses eventually.