Author: Mark Feldman
Theme: Three descriptive phrases that include names of gems to describe a woman named Jewel, as follows:
- 3d: "I met a woman who has___..." (PEARLY WHITE TEETH)
- 10d: "...and ___..." (EMERALD GREEN EYES)
- 19d: "...and ___..." (JET BLACK HAIR)
- 59d: "...and her name is ___!" (JEWEL)
Nothing wrong with this for a Monday theme. Some may note that PEARLY seems a touch inconsistent, in that the other theme answers include the gem as its own word, but this is not a major flaw for me. Note that anytime the theme entries run down instead of across, you're probably looking at an irregular grid; sure enough, this one is 15x16, to accommodate the long theme phrases.
You don't see that many puzzles that start off with 9 straight 3-letter fills. But this one salvages some self-respect with a few nice clues, including:
- 7a: Ones who are neither het nor gay (BIS). A great, topical fill and a shout-out to the LGBT community. The mathematician in me wonders whether the clue is logically sound as is, or whether bis are both het and gay. I honestly don't know, but I like the clue. Perhaps someone out there can enlighten me.
- 10a: Pole worker (ELF). Let's be independent together!
- 13a: Microbrewery pint (ALE). Nothing fancy, but you know we love food and drink clues here.
- 14a: When repeated, Yogi's pal (BOO). Interesting twist for a boo clue.
- 16a: With 15-Across, Polo Grounds great (MEL / OTT). Nice to see his whole name make it in. And while you're thinking baseball, you've got:
- 24a: Homecoming result? (RUN). Nice.
- 29a: National Day of Commitment to Eliminate Racism org. (YWCA). Another socially-conscious clue, that I'm going to pair up with:
- 56d: "Star Trek" communications officer (UHURA), who shared a "ground-breaking" kiss some 40 years ago.
- 55d: Trash-talking Muppet? (OSCAR). Who doesn't love Oscar the Grouch? Good clue.
- 57a: Popular sandwich for kids, for short (P.B. AND J.). What do you mean for kids? Adults don't eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches anymore? I know I do.
- 39d: Back burner? (SUN)
- 64a: Eightball player's need (CUE). Love the pool references.
- 27a: Skiing maneuver (TELEMARK). I always thought telemark was a whole separate type of skiing, like a cross-country/alpine hybrid. But I guess it's a particular maneuver as well.
- 31a: High-speed skiing event (DOWNHILL).
- 49a: Leg exercise (KNEE BEND)
Other high points include:
There are also a couple of nice skiing clues:
And, to get you ready for both:
Other clues of interest:
Other clues of interest:
- 18a: Home of the NHL's Sharks (SAN JOSE)
- 34a: Darfur's setting (SUDAN)
- 38a: Sewing machine inventor Howe (ELIAS)
- 40a: Like flan (EGGY). Eggy is probably my least favorite word in the puzzle. Feels a touch strained to me.
- 41a: Dart along (FLIT). Flit, on the other hand is a great word.
- 43a: Soviet ballistic missiles (SCUDS)
- 47a: ___ pole (Native American carving) (TOTEM)
- 55a: 1997 film starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau (OUT TO SEA). I have not seen this one. Bet it's not better than "The Odd Couple". :)
- 65a: Kippered fish (HERRING)
- 69a: Ten-millionth of a newton-meter (ERG)
- 75a: "Weekend Update" show, briefly (SNL). "Saturday Night Live" has been around a long time, is sometimes great, and shows up a lot in puzzles.
- 1d: Latin music (SALSA). Knew it would end in A, but didn't know if it was going to be RUMBA, SALSA, CONGA, or SAMBA until I hit a couple of crosses.
- 2d: Distant (ALOOF). "Aloof" is a great word. It appears to be derived from sailing, meaning "toward the luff", which is the front part of the sail.
- 5d: Jacket flap (COATTAIL).
- 8d: What "ipso" means (ITSELF)
- 11d: Primate of Madagascar (LEMUR)
- 28d: Pout (MOUE). Another nice word that shows up a bit in puzzles.
- 33d: Easter fleur (LIS). That's French for Lily.
- 35d: Not fer (AGIN). I reck'n so.
- 45d: Belgrade citizen (SERB)
- 48d: Sponges (MOOCHES). Noun or verb, take your pick.
- 53d: TV pundit Stephanopoulos (GEORGE)
- 62d: Highway's counterpart in fuel economy (CITY). Which plays directly into:
- 66d: Pumped stuff (GAS). For some reason, I wanted to put GEL here.
Suns of Bitches:
No real problem spots, which is to be expected on a Monday, except for a mild hitch on:
- 7d: Baby sock. I knew what this was right away, but couldn't decide whether to spell it BOOTIE or BOOTEY, and decided on the former. Turns out this time it's BOOTEE. Apparently, it's a viable alternative, but it just looks weird to me. I feel like I've done this in puzzles before, too.
All in all, a decent Monday unless you hate 3-letter words. For me, it was fine.
Thanks for listening.
- Pete M.