Plato thought the universe was comprised of four elements. Later Aristotle added a fifth, æther, the divine substance which makes up the heavenly spheres but since this is a Monday puzzle, we only have the first four to deal with. Besides, it's not clear how to add that first-letter ligature into Across Lite. Platonic philosophy seems a little goofy now since we're so much smarter and even know the Atomic Number of Oxygen, but his world view turned out to be very useful for over a thousand years. What ideas have you had lately that will last that long?
The June 2 puzzle seems to be a NYT debut for Barry Boone. It's a solid crossword with four theme answers and an additional 15-letter theme explanation; a remarkable accomplishment at a Monday level. I'm always happy to see KAOS in any puzzle. Oh, and it's one Q shy of a pangram. As Max would say, "missed it by that much."
Monday is often the hardest day to blog about since, by convention, these puzzles can't be too adventurous. Not that they're all the same, exactly, but they vary within narrower parameters. Long-time readers have noted that in such circumstances I sometimes resort to a recitation of random statistics.
It struck me today that there is another class of commentators who face a similar dilemma — baseball writers. There's a new game nearly every day and, with apologies to the fans, of which I'm one, they're all more or less the same. Somebody wins, somebody loses, the heroes and the goats can be enumerated, blah, blah, blah. Here's a quote from an AP write up of a Mariners game played yesterday. Tell me if this doesn't sound like a JimH Crossword Blog paragraph only slightly tweaked:
The Mariners have won three of four. The Safeco Field roof closed in the second inning after a light rain started falling. It was the 11th time it’s been closed this season in 29 home games. The Tigers were held to two hits for just the second time in the last two seasons.
Just embarrassing. On the other hand, this blog is apparently good training for my next job at ESPN.
Can you keep a secret? Get Smart was mentioned at 10 Across and that's reason enough to include a clip: