MONDAY, Apr. 28, 2008 - Gary Disch (SHADED PASSAGEWAY)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "NECKING" (41A: Making out ... or a hint to this puzzle's four hidden articles of clothing) - each "article of clothing" is hidden in one of the grid's long theme answers

I have never before seen an explanation of the theme in the header of the puzzle this early in the week. I can only guess that there was a huge oversight in the cluing of 41-Across, which tells you that the puzzle is hiding the clothes, but doesn't tell you (as it usually does) where they're hidden (either by naming the clues directly, e.g. "17-Across, 64-Across, etc." or by marking those clues with stars and then indicating that we should look at the starred clues). Major distraction. I kept thinking I was missing something, especially when two of my theme answers were such clunky hassles (see below). The distance between the meanings of the theme-indicating answer (NECKING) and the neckwear is pretty vast, so maybe that's why extra help was (it seems) needed in the puzzle's header. But maybe, just maybe, that's a sign that the puzzle simply doesn't cohere well enough. It either coheres or it doesn't - putting that huge explanation at the top of the grid is like putting a neon-colored band-aid on your face to cover a pimple, i.e it's not helping.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Boardinghouse sign (roomS TO LEt)
  • 11D: Favoring common folk (anTI-Elite) - ooh I do Not like this answer. This is not nearly strong enough of a phrase to be in a theme position. If you are going to go ANTI-, you need a phrase with some established credibility, like, I don't know, ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT or ANTI-IMMIGRANT or ANTI-WAR. Hell, ANTI-OBAMA gets you 365,000 hits to "ANTI-ELITE"'s pathetic 13,200. I know it must have been Death to split TIE across two words (or in this case, word parts), but still, if you can't do it, you can't do it. This puzzle's concept is very sound, but its execution - lacking.
  • 34D: Daytona 500 enthusiast (NASCAR Fan) - OK, OK, we get that you are ANTI-ELITE, which is a very bandwagony thing to be these days, what with all the ANTI-OBAMA sentiment in the air, but NASCAR FAN!? This is taking your ANTI-ELITism too far, and too deep into my puzzle. You could have at least had the decency to make the phrase a good one, like NASCAR DAD (which is the answer I had until the bitter end). I realize that a SCARD doesn't go around your neck, but I don't really care at this point. NASCAR DAD gave me ALDA at 63A: _____ Romeo (car) (Alfa), which is obviously wrong, but when you see ALDA in the grid, you rarely question it. HODE, however, set off a few bells when I finally noticed it (69A: Sharpen, as skills - HONE). By the way, do we really need the "car" part of the ALFA Romeo clue. This puzzle feels exceedingly dumbed-down. Is this part of some new plan to make the early-week puzzles more accessible to new solvers?
  • 64A: Halifax's home (NovA SCOTia) - I'd like to say "Hey, what's up?" to all my NOVA SCOTIA readers (there are a surprising number of them - Halifax sends more people to my site than any other place in Canada besides Vancouver and Calgary).

My biggest stumbling block in this puzzle, after I muddled through ANTI-ELITE was at the top of the NASCAR FAN region. I do not like or fully understand 32A: Many conundrums have them (puns). I thought a "conundrum" was simply a thorny problem or puzzling situation - thus I had RUBS, as in "Aye, there's the rub" (problem, conundrum). But apparently the first definition of "conundrum" is:

A riddle in which a fanciful question is answered by a pun.

I can't even imagine such a riddle, and given that this seems to describe the type of "humor" I favor least, I'm not sure I care to hear many examples. RUBS gave me the "R" I needed to put in the very wrong ROAR for 32D: Sound of laughter. Harrumph. Thankfully, I was bailed out by baseball, yet again - 40A: Pitcher's stat (ERA) forced me to change ROAR to PEAL and I fixed that little section from there.

Closing time:
  • 22A: Goes out in a game of rummy (gins) - this walks a fine line between icky and cool for me. I'm going to rule "cool," though [Mechanical devices] or, better, [Plymouth, Tanqueray, etc.] would have pleased me more.
  • 35A: Sneak peek: Var. (prevue) - could have bothered me, but didn't, as it owned up to what it was, i.e. a VARiant. I'll allow one of these per puzzle, no problem.
  • 43A: Pages that aren't editorial matter (ads) - somebody has to edit the ads, don't they? And ADS are often (usually) on the same page as editorial matter. No matter. It's not as if this clue was hard.
  • 44A: Open, as an envelope (unseal) - I have to TEAR OPEN most of the ones I receive, as the seal is too firm to UNSEAL politely.
  • 48A: Some creepy-crawlies (lice) - I balked at this clue, because I thought LICE hopped rather than crawled - then I realized I was thinking of FLEAS (which I have seen close up, unlike LICE, which I have not).
  • 2D: Lifted off the launch pad, e.g. (arose) - are you kidding me here? It's a spaceship, not a @#$#ing lark. AROSE? The rocket isn't getting out of bed, it's Blasting Into the Sky? AROSE, ugh.
  • 8D: Letter after phi, chi, psi (omega) - do you really think anyone needs "phi" and "chi" in this clue? I know it's Monday, but ... you could start at the beginning of the Greek alphabet and list all letters preceding Omega and it would do zilch to the difficulty level of this clue (low).
  • 31D: Lennon/Ono's "Happy _____ (War Is Over)" (Xmas) - this word is hilarious to me and my family now because of a single email I got the day after I put up my donation button (see sidebar). Most of the mail I got was kind, supportive, etc., but this one ... here. I'm going to reprint it in its entirety:
I would never donate anything to a person who uses an X in place of Christ as you did last Christmas season
  • Please keep in mind that I received this message in April! So he'd been holding all that anger and indignation in for four months. Dang. So I guess he'll hang out with Satan ... he just won't pay him for the privilege. Awesome. Truly one of the greatest letters I've ever received.
  • 33D: Language of Lahore (Urdu) - Lahore is the capital of Punjab province in Pakistan and the second-largest city in Pakistan after Karachi. Thus concludes today's geography lesson. Nope, I lied. Here's more, from Wikipedia:
Punjabi is the native language of the province and is the most widely-spoken language in Lahore and rural areas. Urdu and English, however, are becoming more popular with younger generations since they are officially supported, whereas Punjabi has no official patronage.
  • 45D: Shaded passageway (pergola) - really prevented my rounding the corner smoothly there in the SE. I get PERGOLA and GAZEBO confused in that I think of them both as sites unto themselves, not "passageways." In the case of PERGOLA, I'm wrong, though pics from a Google Image search don't look much like "passageways" to me.
  • 52D: Old piano key material (ivory) - now illegal. I have some IVORY sculptures that I pre-inherited from my mom. I would show you them, but you'd have to send the children out of the room.
  • 56D: Valley known for its chateaux (Loire) - I haven't been to France since 1987, but if I went again, this is somewhere I'd want to go.
  • 65D: Old prairie home material (sod) - not to be confused with "The Old Sod" (Ireland).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Ulrich 8:45 AM  

Amen to rex's reaction to the puzzle. When I saw the note at the top, it was my WTF moment.

I would be interested in an example of "conundrum" in the narrow sense quoted by rex (which I also found on the web):

A riddle in which a fanciful question is answered by a pun

GlennCY 8:48 AM  

In periodical publishing Editorial is seperated from ad pages - I assume that is the reference here. Funny letter about X-mas, and speaking of evil, got some ivory carvings as well.

GlennCY 8:50 AM  

Oh yeah, and I didn't notice the note at the top until I read about it here on the blog. That probably helped.

ArtLvr 8:57 AM  

Oh dear, Rex -- maybe it's a wrong-side-of-the-bed morning? I never saw a title, just zipped through, and after NECKING found the four theme answers readily enough. One of the easiest ever for me...

Looking back, I don't think the clue "slave" is quite right for 54-A, because I think mainly of the phrase "in THRALL to". The connection comes across though.

Hope the rest of the day perks up for you! And I'll look forward to responses to Ulrich's challenge.


GlennCY 9:03 AM  

A thrall can also be a noun (i.e a person)

Pete M 9:03 AM  

I thought the crossing of THRALL and PERGOLA was unusual for a Monday, but overall I liked the puzzle. I didn't even notice the note at the top.

- Pete M

ArtLvr 9:05 AM  

p.s. One ancient conundrum from Chicago was:

"Why does the duck cross Michigan Avenue?"

Response: "To get to the Drake".

Explanation -- Play on "Why does the chicken cross the raod? -- To get to the other side."

The switch to duck and Drake makes a pun of the Drake Hotel on Michigan Ave.

Does this riddle fit?

ArtLvr 9:07 AM  

oops, "road"

PhillySolver 9:30 AM  

When is a door not a door?

When it's ajar

What's the prize?

Bill from NJ 9:33 AM  

So-so little puzzle this evening. My only slipup was at 24D: I had ININK instead of INPEN but corrected it right away.

I thought THRALL was a little much for a Monday but that is just a minor quibble although crossing it with PERGOLA seemed to come on a little strong.

I think the reason for the explanation of the theme was that beginning solvers might associate NECKING with osculation rather that with articles of clothing.

Then again . . . Nah

PhillySolver 9:42 AM  

I always enjoyed NECKING and as I was solving I thought this was asking more from us than most Monday's, but my time was about average.

My Italian contribution today is the word ALFA, which is an acronym. I don't suppose you need the actual words, so the L represents the region of Italy where the plant opened (Lombardy) and the last A is automobile and the F is fabricated or manufactured and the first A is a word like Company or Enterprise so I think Association. Romeo was one of the first plant managers and led the company through WWI.

I thought I might see a picture of Fred Jones this morning since he has become the symbol for the ASCOT. Scooby Doo!

PhillySolver 9:56 AM  

From my grand daughter...

Q: Why is six afraid of eight?
A: 'cause seven (ate) nine.

I'm going to go see if I can make up a conundrum where the answer is 'the THRALL is gone.'

I'll stop now (had my three posts anyway), but only after I tell you I go to SYNOD meetings on occasion.

ArtLvr 10:12 AM  

Ah -- more puns! Probably enough?

I learned just one word in URDU and it's pronounced SHOE-cree-you. It means Thank You!


Anonymous 10:14 AM  

Gosh, that's kind of fun: Googling "anti-" this and that, and counting the hits. It's an interesting way of checking public opinion on the 3 front runners. I notice that there are no hits for "anti-Laubach," which is a relief.

Addie Loggins 10:15 AM  

Q: What's black and white and read all over?

A: A Newspaper!

BT 10:32 AM  

What's a newspaper?

Joon 10:34 AM  

augh, make it stop! please... they're getting worse and worse.

anyway, i didn't notice the "note" until after i had finished. it seemed odd, but at least it didn't affect my solving experience. yes, it would have been vastly better to just put stars on the theme answers.

i didn't mind NASCARFAN. ANTIELITE bugged me, though. is it really necessary to hide TIE across a word break? it's pretty well concealed in a word like IMPATIENT or NAUGHTIER.

i also don't think it's a very good clue. just because you're ANTIELITE doesn't mean you favor common folk. you might just be ANTI-everything. (i knew some kids like that in high school.)

PERGOLA is a new word for me. i had PORTICO off the P, then erased it when none of the crosses worked, and ended up with PERGOLA. other than ININK and some fumbling fingers, that was my only misstep. an average monday for me.

rex, your xmas letter is truly outstanding. you are truly an infidel for using X in place of christ!

BT 10:50 AM  

I've heard the term "NascarFan" used as a demographic on Madison Avenue. It's also a term used by Nascar fans.

Ladel 10:50 AM  

Traditional Jews never write G-d's name on anything, to do so would make that thing holy, thus requiring proper burial rather than disinterested disposal, so the name is always written as shown above. I am Jewish and always assumed that Christians wrote Xmas for the same reason, i.e., not to have G-d's name on something that might get discarded.

Anonymous in Texas 10:51 AM  

Isn't the "X" in Christmas a valid representation of the cross on which Christ was crucified?

I don't see a problem with using it as short hand.

Ben Hassenger 10:54 AM  

I haven't biffed it like this on a Monday in a long time. Ughhhhhh.

Anonymous 10:56 AM  

@ Ulrich
Why didn't the Israelites starve in the desert for those forty years?
Because the SAND WHICH is there.
OED dictionaries provide examples, but mass-market dictionaries skimp on them.

@ joon All puns are inherently grating.

@ REx I worked with some people who boycotted WalMart and Target for using Happy Holidays as there seasonal greeting rather than Merry Christmas. They also deny having evolved from monkeys, which may have been true since I didn't see much evidence of evolution among them.

Chuck from Lenexa KS

PuzzleGirl 10:59 AM  

I didn't have any of the problems Rex had today, but it took me something like four minutes to untangle the southeast. THRALL? Seriously? On Monday?? Aargh! Of course, not knowing PERGOLA and LOIRE (and always seeming to get my Gods confused) is my own fault. But still. Aargh!

I thought the rest of the puzzle was fine (except for "painterish"). Wish I hadn't seen the explanatory note because I don't think it was needed.

My kids used to be able to count and say "please" and "thank you" in Urdu back when they had a Pakistani babysitter.

jae 11:05 AM  

Tougher for me than the typical Mon. Also had ININK and thought the PERGOLA/THRALL crossing was more Tues./Wed than Mon. I Agree that ANTIELITE seemed clunky. I got it all from the crosses and had to stare at it to parse it. I guess I didn't really know what a conundrum was until just now!

Ulrich 11:15 AM  

I just remembered: Here's an answer to my challenge that Andrea posted a while back (for those who can count in German);

What's between fear and sex?

A: fünf

Martin 11:19 AM  

The "X" in xmas is a chi, the first letter of Χριστος (Christos). Tau or "T" would be a better fit if an allusion to the cross were intended.

Jane Doh 11:21 AM  

Crankiness in review is somewhat justified this time. Necking doesn't really "explain" the theme, but the language in the note is redundant.

I thought NASCAR FAN was legit, but didn't love ANTI ELITE, which has the faint smell of desperation. Yet, try breaking TI E. Cincinnati Enquirer, confetti egg, Infiniti EX? Tough one. Also, I thought stoles were shoulder garments, not neckwear. Hmm.

Still, solid grid made up for the theme flaws. Enjoyed the European tour:

Michelangelo's David -- ah, one of the most beautiful things I've every seen (three times and counting).

Loire Valley chateaux -- exquisite countryside, castles ... so much history.

Definitional challenges:

PUN Wasn't up on the pun part of conundrum. Thought it was merely a puzzling situation, dilemma ... first close encounter with conundrum was as the title of a Jan Morris memoir. It's also a California wine name.

PERGOLA Built a pergola and an arbor behind the house, and can never remember which is which. Love to say "pergola." Juicy word. Also love to say "chic."

Ulrich 11:32 AM  

As to pergola: originally, it was definitely a long and narrow structure meant as passage. Here's and example, my favorite pergola around Berlin.

Mike 11:35 AM  

I thought a la mode meant to have ice cream on your pie. Does it really mean CHIC? Or maybe having ice cream on your pie was CHIC in an earlier era?

I didn't mind ANTIELITE, and liked its symmetry with NASCARFAN.

Anonymous 11:46 AM  

Still getting the hang of this identity thing; sometimes I must hit the "anonymous" button without thinking, on the way to the "posting" button.

I think many devout Christians find the use of "XMas" at least slightly disrespectful, but most wouldn't make an issue of it. I'm not familiar with the use of XMas as a polite elision like G-d. High-church altars use the symbol "Chi Ro" for Christ (i.e., an "X" as a chi), which when done respectfully could be considered much the same thing. It's a question of the attitude.

imsdave 11:49 AM  

Not much to say, other then thanks to Rex for using the work lark in his mini diatribe about AROSE. This caused me to re-listen to Ralph Vaughan-Williams 'The Lark Ascending'. Now the oral surgery I had this a.m. seems pretty unimportant. Seek it out if you don't know it.

Joon 11:57 AM  

MULTIETHNIC? WHATIEXPECTED? ASHANTIEMPIRE? yes, all of these are awkward to grid, and perhaps only MULTIETHNIC is really "in the language" enough to be a standalone answer. that's why i'm not that keen on the idea that the hidden word absolutely has to be split.

marcie 12:03 PM  

I had total brain-freeze up at the Thrall-chic-creepycrawlie crossings. Ala mode meant nothing but ice cream to me, and I had no idea on thrall/slave. PERgola wouldn't come so there I was running on empty until I got here.

I am sooo amused when well-meaning but under-educated Christians find offense with "Xmas", as well as when not-well-meaning but equally under-educated atheists/antiChristian-antiChristmas people use Xmas as their personal anti-"Christ" statement.

Kathy 12:11 PM  


Your xmas e-mail tale reminded me of the best text message(s) I ever got. I had just gotten a new cell phone and took a picture of a friend holding my cat. Needless to say, my friend figured most prominently in the picture. Turns out I had her number in wrong so it went to who the hell knows who. Well, WTHKW texts me "who are you and who is cat you sent picture of???" No mention of the human being in the picture. Four months later, I got Another message to the same effect!

WTHKW, if you are reading these comments....ahhhhh....the cat's name was Nick.....


Phanatic 12:20 PM  

Thank you, Anonymous, for mentioning the chi-rho symbol. This was the symbol that Constantine used when uniting the Roman Empire under Christianity. While the "X" in Xmas and the Chi in Chi-Rho are used in decidedly different contexts there is at least well respected precedence for such abbreviations, and I can't help but find it a tad ironic.

The puzzle: I worked this one mostly clockwise until I hit PERGOLA/THRALL. I also had a lot of trouble with NASCARFAN. I was moving so quickly at the beginning that I was hoping for a personal best on the time, but those snags really tripped me up, and I ended up way below average.

kate 12:22 PM  

At the risk of sounding (ELITIST), I was taught at some early age that a conundrum, quite specifically, is a riddle that has a pun for an answer, and it always bugs me when I hear people use it differently (although I realize it is not the only definition.)

"What's black and white and read all over?".

Now there's a conundrum.

Rex Parker 12:34 PM  

marcie wrote:

"I am sooo amused when well-meaning but under-educated Christians find offense with "Xmas", as well as when not-well-meaning but equally under-educated atheists/antiChristian-antiChristmas people use Xmas as their personal anti-"Christ" statement."

My question, related to the second assertion: who does that? I've never heard of and can't imagine "Xmas" as an anti-"Christ" statement. That sounds like amazing paranoia. Is there really a group out there advocating the use of "Xmas" as a way to hate on Christ? Sounds like a completely invented enemy.

The alleged "War on Christmas" ... is hilarious to me. Talk about making @#$# up to be angry about. My guess is Christ would be more concerned with, I don't know ... let's say 'poverty' ... to be worried about how some non-believer somewhere is spelling his name.


Jim on the left coast 12:37 PM  

I sense we have had enough on the puns, but it is still early out here on the left coast. I think a conundrum has to have some reference between things quite unlike which is answered by a pun. One of my favorites came to mind: "why is a Hoover like a Harley?--"
A Hoover, by the way, is an English made vaccum cleaner, or originally it was English, and had a specific configuration, thus the response:
"The dirt bag is situated up on top."
If you are a Harley rider, don't be offended, I am one too.

PuzzleGirl 12:49 PM  

I'm not Christian but when I use XMAS, it's not because I'm trying to make a statement. I'm just lazy.

ds 12:57 PM  

I laughed out loud at your comments on AROSE and still laugh on repeated readings.

Didn't see the note on the theme until you pointed it out, and, typical for me, didn't even see the theme after completing all the theme answers. Oh well, that's why it's so great that you're here, Rex. Thanks

Teresa 12:59 PM  

@Jim loved the conundrum!

I liked the puzzle and did it quickly. I got the clothing first, and "necking" second - made me grin. I too was puzzled by chic, but was sure of thrall, and so went with it.

Barb in Chicago 1:00 PM  

Recently, I've become enTHRALLed by this blog and its community of Xworders. I suppose at some point that could feel like being enSLAVEd, but so far it feels more like being enTRANCEd. By the way, if using X in Xmas makes Rex the anti-Christ, then what am I for calling us X-worders?
Yours from a rainy Chicago, Barb

foodie 1:40 PM  

In French "a la mode" especially when followed by "de" means "in the style of". You cook something "a la mode" of Lyon or Bordeaux. So, the expression Pie A la Mode probably has skipped the last bit of info, e.g. " Pie a la mode de Paris"

"A la mode" also means "in style". Hence the use to clue Chic. I hesitated in the fill because I would actually dispute the nuance. A la mode in fashion is typically trendy-- the latest length of skirt or cut, etc.. A woman who is chic is often not trendy. She is elegant, has refined taste, a certain flair for making an impact through clothing. Jackie Kennedy was chic, and she did whether she was starting a new trend with hats or wearing classic all american clothing. So, not a good clue.. The question is whether there was a better way of cluing "chic".

Huda 1:54 PM  

PS. The word chic has also taken on another meaning which most closely resembles "cool"... an all purpose expression of admiration or satisfaction... may be classy cool. So, that angry letter sent to Rex about Xmas, ce n'est pas tres chic!

Rex Parker 2:00 PM  

I have not been plugging my paperback blog much here lately, but ... my latest acquisition is so incredibly great, so over-the-top absurd, that it would be cruel not to let you know about it. Nothing to do with crosswords ... though I would love to see EDWOODJR in a puzzle someday soon.


JC66 2:24 PM  


Funny, but maybe WTHKW thought the person holding the cat was you.

miriam b 3:04 PM  

LICE and LARD failed the breakfast test.

Crosscan 4:22 PM  

So should we call you Re-Christ Parker now?


Bill D 4:32 PM  

I never read the "instructions" either, just started looking for the theme when I read 41A. Assumed it would appear in the four longest answers, so that was no problem, but no real help, either. ANTIELITE bothered me for a second or two before I realized it had a hyphen - otherwise it looks like a small Civil War skirmish. Without the theme confusion to hinder me, I was able to finish handily. NASCAR DAD (to FAN) and the beginning of PORTICO were the only changes I had to make. (I only got the POR from Portico in before I realized it wasn't gonna fit, but I wound up changing only one letter anyway.) PERGOLA was a new one on me.

Hated the clue for TANGS - "Surgeonfish" would have been so much more elegant, but maybe not Monday enough.

Appreciated the attempt to clue AROSE less lamely, but somebody went overboard. Going from lifting your head off the pillow to lifting a rocket off into space was a bit of a neck-snapper, to keep with today's theme.

And speaking of space necking, I knew the noun THRALL from a Star Trek episode where the "away team" is enslaved. Kirk (surprise, surprise) seduces his scantily-clad blond thrall-master and the Enterprise and crew escape with only minor rending of the Prime Directive.

Many short automobile company names were actually acronyms; we recently had a discussion about SAAB, eg. FIAT is another one. It roughly means Italian Automobile Factory of Turin, the F for Fabbrica (factory) being the same as that in ALFA, I believe. I have heard from NASCAR FANS that FORD stands for either First On Race Day or Found On Road Dead; ya takes your pick...

Joon 5:35 PM  


no weekly wrap today? i was looking forward to it. now, even if it comes out later today, i'll only be able to waste my own time on it, rather than my employer's.

jannieb 6:14 PM  

No real problems, no real joy. A refreshing absence of xwordese, and a few challenges for a Monday. Didn't like the cluing for arty or the word antielite - it's just doesn't look right. I prefer Monday puzzles to be a bit more fun.

Barb in Chicago 6:23 PM  

Apologies if this is a duplicate post.

X-can I'm laughing aloud at your new name for Rex. As a one-time seminarian, I'll confess that the X was a useful tool for classroom notetaking: X, Xans, Xmas, etc.
Yours from a now snowy Chicago, Barb

Jim at the Savoy 6:58 PM  

Why is a cook's brain-pan like an overwound clock?

Actual cash reward for the answer.

fergus 7:24 PM  

I thought PERGOLA was a nifty scuff-proof brand of flooring, heavily advertised on local TV a couple of years ago?

Will have to be very careful in commentary, given Barb in Chicago's warning about using the frequent shorthand for Crossword. As well as spelling it out, better make sure to always capitalize the C, lest one offend the devout and pious.

When Rex is negatively critical of a puzzle, I wonder if he also gets annoyed when his critique is attributed to a bad mood?

mac 7:28 PM  

@jim at the savoy: is it hot-wired?
This was soooo easy - I never saw the note and the clue to 11 down. I wrote "in ink" but fixed it. I just never really stopped. The theme meant nothing until I read the blog. Even Nascarfan was easy because I already had -carfan through crosses - only Nas would fit.
I love Vaugh-Williams too, so lovely and mellow.....

ArtLvr 7:30 PM  

Too full of its toque? (its tock)

Can't keep track of the thyme? (the time)


Too many Jims 7:31 PM  

I know I would.

Orange 7:39 PM  

Fergus, the sham hardwood floor lookalike (well, it was a real lookalike, but a sham wood floor) is Pergo.

Yes, Rechrist Parker, where is your weekly wrapup?

Jim at the Savoy 7:42 PM  

Wow, you guys rock.

Mac, thanks but sorry, unless I just don't get it.

Artlvr, first answer seems a bit remote and I don't really see it. Second answer is the best I've heard, ever. [Did you recognize the source?] I guess I could quibble about whether or not "brain-pan" (skull) = "brain," but that's just a nit. Unless someone tops you, reward TBD.

mac 8:11 PM  

Artlvr and Jim - I agree that the second answer is almost there. Is it maybe "Thyme out of mind"?

ArtLvr 8:57 PM  

@ Jim at the savoy -- Thanks very much, good thing I stopped there... (I was working on tending to be baroque/brroke).

Would love to know what your answer was/ whether there was an answer?

mac 9:07 PM  

@jim at the savoy: Time out of mind like in Bobby Dylan?????

Michael 9:17 PM  

instructions on a Monday? Just weird, I think. Giving away the theme in an extra-crossword note seems to break some sort of convention, I think. I am sure it has happened before, though.

mac 10:42 PM  

I guess I made the mistake of assuming this was your conundrum, certainly never thought to Google.....

Savoyard Jim in NYC 11:04 PM  

Not a mistake! How could you guess I would be asking A Conundrum For The Ages?! Now, how about another: "OK, this sphinx goes into a bar, and says to the bartender, ..."

ArtLvr, even if you don't want a reward, let's make some kind of donation to commemorate this milestone in my life.

Larry 11:43 PM  

Of course I knew better, but for a moment I considered that the puzzle had gone profane:

My filled in squares were:

_ _ C K I N G.

And you have to admit that Necking is an old fashion term

Jim...whichever 11:01 PM  

Re-posting my original 10:33pm post after revision:

Jim in NYC but would rather be at the Savoy said...

Mac & ArtLvr, Hope you guys are still around. There is no right answer. Google "cook's brain-pan" and you'll hit a scene from Gilbert & Sullivan's "The Yeomen of the Guard." Jack Point asks the riddle, but the Lieutenant isn't interested Jack never gets to give the punch line. Personally I think Gilbert was playing around with us and never had an answer of his own. Generations of Savoyards have played around with this riddle over beers. ArtLvr's suggestion is the best I've heard. Mac's variation is good too, and as for me, I'll suggest "Because they both may lose the time/thyme." ArtLvr, email me at _____________.
10:33 p.m. 4/28/08

Jim in NYC 11:13 PM  

Mac, ArtLvr, I've just posted in Tuesday night comments. And for a good time, see this page:

andrea carla michaels 2:45 AM  

loved the picture of the giraffe's necking! Remind me to tell you the story of my overly literal 6 yr old niece and the tree I told her might be a giraffe...
Re: whole X thing, it's interesting that the clue was connected with John Lennon who himself, like Rex, was accused of being the antichrist, no?
And I agree, PERGOLA in a Monday is tough.
And a stole is not so much neckwear, is it? I think of a mink stole wrapping around shoulders and arms...but maybe if you are a giraffe...

CAlady 6:29 PM  

Out here in syndicated land there is no title (hint) for any weekday puzzle. Only on Sunday. From all the comments, maybe that's a good thing as I found this one easy to solve-except for a momentary pause at the ink thing-does anyone really say "in pen"? Also, the anti-elite thing seems so subtle that I wonder if it just happened rather than being part of a theme?
Also, I don't care if you say Xmas-but don't call my hometown "Frisco"-makes us natives cringe.

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