Hi all! It’s Cece, back for a third guest review.
I have to admit that I’ve really fallen off the crossword train since coming home from college. I haven’t even touched the NYT Games bookmark on my computer for a few weeks, so this guest appearance comes after a very RUSTY solve.
I filled in the grid without looking at the theme, so once I got AFRICA (Where this puzzle’s circled letters can be found) with the crosses, I took a look at the circled letters and thought, “True enough.” It’s a suitably simple theme for a Monday. I like how all of the circled words were formed with the end and beginning of two or three words, instead of being part of a single word. Does that make sense? If not, contact my editor (Colum) with complaints.
Which two of these guys were in the puzzle?
“Ill humor” (BILE) caught me off guard - I wasn’t expecting a pun there so it made me smile when I realized. I filled in TWERKED immediately afterwards, which was also very amusing. I appreciated the double whammy. The answer to 40A “Number that never goes down” (AGE) also caught me off guard; it’s not every Monday that the NYT Crossword makes you confront your own mortality. ...Any birthdays out there today?
Like I said, it was a choppy solve, and I found myself bouncing around the grid and getting stuck at clues that usually wouldn’t trip me up (JOIN, DUPE, and PENS, to name a few). But all in all, for my first puzzle back from a break, this one wasn’t half bad.
Thanks for having me back!