Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Wednesday, February 17, 2021, David Harris and Evan Kalish

I know it's most likely just coincidence, but I sometimes feel that there is a meta-theme running through a week's puzzles. I recognize this is probably due to the fact that I am scrutinizing each daily offering for things to talk about in the blog, when I'm on a week of reviewing. But come on. 

49D: The missing letters in _UDW_IS__ (BEER). Just like yesterday, there's a connection to the puzzle from the day before. I'm sure Mr. Shortz and Mr. Fagliano will deny it, but I bet they're sniggering into their sleeves.

Is that something people do? Hmmm.

In any case, today's theme is pretty straightforward. There's a visual representation of that old game of keepaway, MONKEY [INTHE] MIDDLE, where the second and third words are split in an arc from one word to the other. Who are they playing keepaway with? Chairman MAO? or MEL of the Spice Girls? Either one brings an amusing picture to mind, so IMCOOL with that.

No, the real monkey in the middle is the APE hidden in five answers throughout the puzzle. I can't claim credit for figuring this out: I had to go to because I felt there had to more going on than what I had recognized. Nicely, with the exception of the monkey in DIAPERS, each simian crosses over the two words in the phrases. Thus, RHEAPERLMAN (no relation, as far as I know, to my wife) and AMANDAPEET. Some might say the BANANAPEEL is a meta-theme answer, relating to the pleasure gorillas supposedly get from eating the fruit in question.

Not an OBOE

With all that theme material, it's nice to see things like EPHEMERA and HYENAS. I will be forever amused by 64A: General whose good name has been battered? (TSO). 

Nice debut for Mr. Harris. Keep up the good work!

- Colum


  1. Evidently you were concentrating on the downs, since 65A Animals found in 16-, 20-, 35-, 51-, and 58-Across (APES) kind of gives the theme away. Definitely an excellent debut, and at 11:40 for me, pretty good for a Wednesday. Also, I never heard the term PREGAMED, but I like it, and it goes along with BEER and KEG.

  2. This was almost a GUAN (gave up after 90%) for me due to the large number of proper names. But I did make it to the end with a bit of help from my avian friend (duck duck go, that is,).

    When I first saw the revealer I was wondering if there would be GORILLA, BONOBO, CHIMP, etc in those answers, but I guess APE is easier to embed so that's not surprising. And I did kinda slip (so to speak) on the BANANAPEEL in the sense of paying attention to the whole answer's connection to apes before I found the embedded APE.