Monday, July 12, 2021

Monday, July 12, 2021, Kevin Christian

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!


  1. I'm with you, Cece, this one didn't flow as smoothly as Monday xwords often do, and I didn't twig to the theme until afterward. Is BILE really a punnish answer to 'Ill humour'? I could go either way on that one. And speaking of being caught off guard, when I finished, the web page told me that I'd done it in 52 seconds, which I *KNOW* can't be right - it felt more like 3:30.

    How long will it be, do you think, before parents start naming their sons 'BART' again?

  2. Hiya, Cece! Welcome back! Yep, you and Philbo are right: this one played more like a Tuesday-Wednesday. Your recognition of word-spanning entries is's what adds elegance to the theme and what most editors not only look for but often insist on.

    Thanks for the review! (I think it was LOUIE.) :-)

  3. Hi Cece! I'll third the "difficult Monday" vibe. As it turns out, it took me about a minute longer to solve this than it did for me to solve tomorrow's. Weird to say, but true.

    The theme reminded me of a friend who would occasionally just belt out the chorus to TOTO's AFRICA while we were working on an archaeologic dig all summer. "I feel the rain, down in Aaaaa-frica..." Good times.

    In the opposite of good times, I'm with Philbo on thinking "Ill humor" is pretty much straightforward for bile. Both second definitions, but they line up.

    How's the summer going? Are you already looking forward to a more normal EDU year starting in the fall?

    1. Fine, fine, I concede, "pun" was not the correct word to use there.
      I'm working on a WWII destroyer escort-turned-historical museum this summer as a tour guide. It's called the USS SLATER. Come take a tour!
      Hoping next year will be normaler but since Amherst does not communicate with its students as a rule, I don't have any idea what it will actually be like. Can't wait to find out!

    2. How cool, Cece! The Slater's history is fascinating!

  4. Well, if one thinks of a "humor" as a fluid or juice and "ill" as causing suffering or distress, then "bile" as acrimony or vitriol, I think we could say there's a little twist there. Of course, as Horace mentions, it seems fairly straightforward, but there is more than one way to look at it. And this took me only 12 seconds shorter than tomorrow's to solve, which is closer than usual, so I'd say this ran more difficult than normal. I happened to notice that the circled letters were in AFRICA, so I sussed the theme fairly quickly, and do always enjoy the theme answers that span words. And I certainly don't know from the above photo which of the nephews pictured was the one absent from the puzzle. Will Cece reveal the answer? Inquiring minds want to know.

    1. The answer is that Huey wears a red cap, Louie wears a green cap, and Dewey wears a blue cap. Thus, the blue capped one was not in the grid.