Symbol like prayer hands heart eyes / MON 11-7-16 / Obsolescent place to go online / Player most likely to shoot a three-pointer / West African country whose name is usually rendered in French / Home office item that's surprisingly expensive to replace
Monday, November 7, 2016
Constructor: Bruce Haight
Relative difficulty: Medium
- INNER CHILD (18A: What might make an adult jump in a pile of leaves)
- INK CARTRIDGE (23A: Home office item that's surprisingly expensive to replace)
- ISLAMIC CALENDAR (37A: What Ramadan is an annual feature of)
- INTERNET CAFE (48A: Obsolescent place to go online)
- IVORY COAST (58A: West African country whose name is usually rendered in French)
- of, like, or relating to a celebration or festival.
"he appeared in festal array" (google)
• • •
I'M GAY is at least interesting, and at least a couple of themers are lively and fresh, particularly ISLAMIC CALENDAR. There's even an ironic freshness to INTERNET CAFE—an "obsolescent" place that feels novel as a crossword answer. But the theme is a bore and most of the grid a chore. Lots of word parts today (MAHI, GILA), or singulars that really wish they were plurals. A single, lonely MANDM.* [Half of a fireplace tool] says it all. This puzzle is half a fireplace tool short of a pair of TONGs.
Not sure about the clue on IVORY COAST (58A: West African country whose name is usually rendered in French). "Usually rendered in French." Where? That's a rhetorical question. My point is: Certainly not in English-speaking countries (i.e. where this puzzle circulates). Google returns more hits (when names are in quotation marks) for IVORY COAST than for CÔTE D'IVOIRE. I see what the clue is trying to do, but "Usually rendered in French" is meaningless without context, and inaccurate for the vast majority of the public solving this puzzle. Great to bring up the Frenchness of the country's name, but make sure the clue phrasing is accurate. "Usually" ... for whom? Everyone? No.
FESTAL is not good on any day, and super-not good on a Monday. Major sore thumb territory. You don't say it, I don't say it, we all don't say it, and it's only here because of constructor desperation. No one willingly puts FESTAL in their puzzle—certainly not their early-week puzzle. Maybe in a tough spot on Th, F, or Sat you can get away with it. But you can see that it doesn't belong here.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
*On Saturday I bought a pack of peanut butter MANDMs. They were entirely forgettable. I will bring you periodic candy news as it becomes available.
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