MONDAY, Jul. 7, 2008 - Bob Klahn (RECURRING MELODIC PHRASE / PLAYFUL KNUCKLE-RUB)

Monday, July 7, 2008


Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: Skosh, smidge, tad - theme answers contain words (signified by circled squares) that mean "a tiny amount."

Once again, there's a Tuesday puzzle where my Monday puzzle should be. Today, however, I didn't really mind - every Monday should be this clever / challenging. Required just the right level of effort (i.e. some). I was a bit disappointed in OSTINATO (9D: Recurring melodic phrase), not just because I'd never heard of it, but because it felt painfully, egregiously un-Mondayish, especially compared to the rest of the puzzle, where the challenge was all in the clever cluing. If you play music, you know what OSTINATO is, I guess. If you don't, it's a mystery, and a long one. I've never seen it in a puzzle. In a late-week puzzle, I'd probably find it beautiful. Here, it's a sore thumb. On the up side, despite a preponderance of crosswordese (EROS, ST LO, IN A and ULA, ELIA, ERSE, OTTO, etc.), this puzzle felt fresh and entertaining. Some very Klahn-y moments at 16A: Genesis son (Enos), where ABEL (the more common Genesis son) fits so nicely, and 48D: It'll bring a tear to your eye (duct) undoubtedly led about half of you to fill in DUST at first. The puzzle has DUCT and PORE (10A: Sweat opening), which is a nice if highly bodily theme, and then there's a blast of Biblical stuff to go with ENOS, including IS IT I? (5D: "Lord, _____?" (Last Supper query)), ON HIGH (11D: Like angels we have heard?), and ISAIAH (47D: Book after Song of Solomon). I'm going to guess that the toughest part of the puzzle for most people (if they encountered any difficulty at all) was at the bottom of OSTINATO, where HIT AT (33A: Try to strike) seems completely counterintuitive, as "HIT" of course means "strike," so how can trying to do something and doing something be the same thing (they can, but this clue / answer pairing hurts my brain a little, nonetheless). And SHARP (28D: On the ball or on the dot), despite being an important word in my life, completely eluded me for a very long time (measured in Monday-puzzle time). Finished in just over 4 minutes, and was surprised I'd gone that quickly, considering all the snags I seemed to hit. Kind of clunky for a Klahn puzzle ... which is to say that it was a very, very good puzzle (this is what happens when you set the standard so high, Bob?)

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Antiterrorism legislation of 2001 (Patriot Act)
  • 20A: Proverbial saver of nine, with "a" (stitch in time)
  • 35A: "My Cousin Vinny" Oscar winner (Marisa Tomei)
  • 54A: Classic battles between the Giants and Dodgers, e.g. (pennant races)
  • 58A: 1986 world champion American figure skater (Debi Thomas)

Other answers:

  • 6A: Normandy invasion town (St. Lo) - one of the crosswordiest places in the world
  • 45D: Airline with a kangaroo logo (Qantas) - one of the crosswordiest airlines in the world. EL AL and SAS are more common, but you are going to run into QANTAS many times a year. How could anyone resist a U-less "Q" word for very long?
  • 25A: Playful knuckle-rub (noogie) - fabulous colloquial answer. If you have a ROOMIE (12D: Dormmate), you should give him/her a NOOGIE right now, if only because those two words go so well together.
  • 4D: Wind tunnel wind (air stream) - lots o' trouble here, mainly because I wasn't reading the clue correctly. Couldn't this answer have been clued simply [Wind]?
  • 34D: Pavarotti performance (tenor solo) - had TENOR PART for a BIT.

  • 51D: Equivalent of 10 sawbucks (C-note) - 100 bucks. Much more than a SOU (37D: Trivial amount) - for most people, anyway.
  • 41D: Diminutive suffix (-ula) - wife had horrible time with this, and I was no help explaining, as I couldn't think of a good example of its use. The only -ULA words coming to me are FORMULA and SCROFULA (!?). Oh, and HULA. Having OLLA in the cross didn't help my wife any (49A: Earthen pot). Another super-crosswordy answer. Enough to make you feel STUPID (46A: "Keep it simple, _____") on a Monday, if you aren't up on all the inside xword vocab...

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

60 comments:

Peter S. 8:54 AM  

This one led me astray on the first run-through, exactly as Rex predicts.

Ironically, I goofed both answers that refer to anatomical oozings and apertures. I put DUST instead of DUCT and also tried out FLOP instead of PORE (for “sweat opening”). Maybe I just don’t like to think about bodies.

I also agree on the tricky parts – seemed a bit much for Monday. Saint-Lô (ST. LO) crossing with OSTINATO? EXACTA and ERSE with EXETER? (As well as the ULA/OLLA cross Rex mentions.) It doesn’t quite seem fair, at least in a puzzle that also has NOOGIE and Beetle Bailey’s dog. Is an ultra-wide rhetorical and cultural range in one’s answers always a good thing?

Or maybe I’m just being obstinato.

P.S. In reference to Rex’s “Natick Principle,” Is “Saint-Lô” to the Normandy invasion as “NATICK” is to the Boston marathon?

P.P.S. The “ULA” in “spatula” is a diminutive – from the Greek, spathē, for ‘broad blade.’ How could you have missed it?!?

ArtLvr 9:00 AM  

Yes, a very satisying Monday puzzle -- I liked the NOOGIE! There were other fresh items too, including all of MARISA TOMEI, yet it was one of my fastest. Must be all the extra Xwords I've been enjoying lately. I'm sometimes not getting much else done.

Off to Michigan shortly, but I'll have the laptop with me -- I've become addicted to the Rex blog and hearing others' comments here...

∑;)

Rex Parker 9:01 AM  

Peter,

See, here's where the NATICK Principle gets tricky. ST LO would apply ... except it's such common crossword fodder that it's exempt. Presumably the NATICK Principle applied to ST. LO, originally, but over time, the word appeared so damn much, that its NATICKness just plumb wore off.

If you have no idea what we're talking about, see yesterday's write-up (now a link under "Important Posts")

rp

jannieb 9:05 AM  

Bob Klahn on a Monday? Are we in for another wacky week of puzzling? I liked this puzzle but had the circles not been on the grid, I'd have never seen the theme. There wasn't even an explanatory clue to help us find our way.

The more I read this and other blogs, the more I see the challenges for constructors in getting a puzzle to work on any given day. I'm told that this makes Klahn one of the few to have a puzzle accepted and run in the NYT on all seven days of the week.

Some nice fresh fill (noogie, roomie). Had I been able to spell Debi Thomas correctly, I'd have had a really good time.

Orange 9:40 AM  

I thought this felt like a Tuesday puzzle too, but saw that Dan Feyer charged through it in less than 2 minutes online...so maybe it was really an easy Monday puzzle after all.

Ulrich 9:41 AM  

I also didn't solve this one at my usual Monday speed (I think faster than I can write), but at a typical Tuesday speed (short pauses between writing as I'm thinking, but no serious hold-ups, i.e something always comes up somewhere after a few seconds).

As Rex said, the hold-ups occurred more b/c of the clues than the answers (I new all of them except for the Kentucky college). I do object to the clue for "tenor solo": I've heard this in the context of jazz, where "tenor" refers to an instrument, never in the context of opera, where these things are called arias-no?

treedweller 9:45 AM  

Not to be contradictory, but I believe you just wrote about OSTINATO a few weeks ago. Which is the only reason I got it here as easily as I did, despite 35 years playing piano and six years of jr. high / high school band. Last time, it was definitely not a Monday appearance.

As I said last night, I was in the middle of the Sunday puzzle when this one was posted last night, and accidentally switched puzzles midstream when I clicked refresh, so it was very disorienting. I barely remember it, but maybe my time wasn't as bad as I thought--if Rex says it's on the difficult side, my time was about right. But only because I remembered that recent OSTINATO.

chefbea1 9:46 AM  

did this puzzle in record time and couldnt figure out the theme til I got here. Very early in the day for me to do the puzzle but have a busy day ahead.

Did everyone know that IHOP is 50 years old today?
I'm sure Rex will be celebrating

opus2 9:50 AM  

My time was not bad (for someone as slow as me) but like other's I made a guess at the crossing letter of ULA/OLLA, neither of which are known to me. I was thinking "small" so I came up with UNA crossing with OLNA, which didn't seem any stupider than the actual answer.

OSTINATO is to musicians as ULA is to medical students. Is a scapula a small scap? Was Dracula a small drac?

We did see UVULA the other day. It was clued as the hangy-thing on your palate, but couldn't it mean a small amount of ultra-violet light?

/opus2

joho 9:51 AM  

The reason I love this blog so much is because I often feel like Rex is in my brain. I had "dust" and have never heard of "ostinato." I enjoyed the puzzle, even if harder than a normal Monday. It was fun!

opus2 9:52 AM  

*&#! Didn't mean to put that apostrophe in other's.

alanrichard 10:00 AM  

Debi Thomas & Marisa Tomei made the puzzle - and they're alive! I remember Debi Thomas in the Olympics in the Battle Of The Carmens with Katerina Witt. I believe she is a medical professional now. Last we my wife and I saw Marisa Tomei in Top Girls at th Biltmore Theatre. Surreal made the puzzle today and my wife and I went to the Dali exhibition at Moma yesterday. Anyway this was a very easy puzzle - but today is Monday!

treedweller 10:09 AM  

Incidentally, after filling in STLO with a grimace for years, today is the first time I've ever realized it should be parsed St. Lo (thanks to Rex, once again). Much easier to pronounce this way, I must say. I guess I should really bone up on my history.

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

ST-LO is doesn't quite represent the NATICK Principle:
It was very well-known in WW II, when it was nearly
totally destroyed during the Battle of Normandy, 1945.
And I see from Wikipedia that it now produces award-winning chopped liver. If that's not a stand-out, what is?!!

Sam

Joon 10:14 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
mac 10:18 AM  

Lex has a lot to celebrate today: a new puppy, an upcoming trip and IHOP's anniversary. Wonder if they allow dogs in the restaurant.

This puzzle started out as a Monday for me, with suddenly a few Tue/Wed clues thrown in. Still very quick and very much fun. Learned about "ula", thought only "ule" would fit, but I've learned never to question Will's spelling or parsing, and "ostinato" is a pretty word, I was looking for an Italian word for theme or motif.

Back to work after this loooong weekend.....

Joon 10:19 AM  

orange, it felt more like a tuesday for me, too. but it would be morally wrong to totally defang a klahn, so that's just fine by me. this one seemed hard in both clues and fill relative to other mondays: i didn't know BEREA and was only barely able to scrape up ARISTA given the last five letters. OLLA, EXACTA, TRAC, SETTEE, STLO, ANAIS... these all seem non-monday to me. speaking of ANAIS, it's kind of cute to see her sitting below her near-anagram SINAI.

OSTINATO (oh yeah, add that to the non-monday list) indeed recently made an appearance in the may 24 (saturday) puzzle by charles barasch. but TENORSOLO rubbed me the wrong way as well--i wanted TENORARIA. in fact, i put in more wrong answers today than i think i have ever done on a monday: TENORARIA, ESAU for ENOS (i had the E), LEG for HEM, ULE for ULA, GRAND for CNOTE (i plead temporary insanity for that one), PSALMS for ISAIAH, and MAJOR for MINOR. none of them took particularly long to correct, of course, but on a good monday there aren't any false starts and i can finish in 2:30 to 3:00.

i also had TOT for SOU, and actually am wondering why that answer wasn't tied into the theme.

Crosscan 10:26 AM  

Perhaps there is a conscious effort to mess with the days a bit and see if anyone notices. Or it is just a Monday on the Klahn scale.

Must be sleepy as I read PENN ANT RACES and thought it was some university prank event.
Hmm. Is there an extra hidden theme here?

PAT RIOT ACT - What Swayze reads when he is mad?

STIT CHIN TIME

MAR IS A TOME I

DEB IT HOM AS

ok that idea went south fast. This is why I'm not a constructor.

hereinfranklin 10:27 AM  

I fell into the exact pit Rex predicted with OSTINAGO and HIT AT slowing me down. However, living this close to Kentucky, I did sail through EXACTA and BEREA.

dk 10:45 AM  

OSTINATO arrived in the crosses, the rest was a challenging Monday.

This morning's handicap was not REPTILE but mammal: A bat. Followed the close all the doors and open a window rule, however, the bat did not.

He/she is now hanging from screen MESH to be released when I get back home (assuming he/she does not get cooked). A SURREAL start to the day.

Dali fans, head for St. Pete, FLA and the Dali Museum. Dine at the Black Palm in Pass-a-Grille (St. Pete Beach) and stay at the Don Cesar (pink palace).

Tony from Charm City 10:51 AM  

This also seemed Tuesday-ish, although I was able to get the first three theme answers without any effort.

Took a BIT of time to read the circled letters, which had me first thinking Greek letters from the IOTA in PATRIOTACT before figuring it out.

Almost put SUBWAYSERIES for 54A before coming to my senses.

MargaretR 10:53 AM  

A more interesting than usual Monday. When Normandy or D-Day appear, I check the crosses to see if it will be St.Lo or Caen. Someday I would like to see another Normandy word reach gimme status.

I got stuck on PENN ANT RACES too, thinking that it was part of the theme, a tiny competition that I hadn't heard about. Or maybe I'm just through with baseball for awhile after staying with yesterday's Phillies/Mets game, through a 3-hour rain delay to the sad 12th inning end.

steve l 10:56 AM  

-Ula is a Latin diminutive, not an English one. It can be seen in uvula ("little grape" hanging from the roof of the mouth), cannula ("little reed"--it's the oxygen tube a patient wears) and Ursula ("little she-bear.") Formula is a diminutive of the Latin "forma" (form), too.

Joon 11:11 AM  

for no particular reason other than my own amusement, here are the -ULA words that have appeared in the NYT crossword:

alula
arugula
ashtabula
bakula
blastula
calendula
caligula
copula
donshula
dracula
eula
fibula
formula
glandula
horseheadnebula
hula
incunabula
inocula
missoula
nebula
opercula
paula
peninsula
petula
scapula
shula
spatula
sula
tabula
tarantula
tula
ula
ursula
uvula
vistula

where, i ask, is count CHOCULA? (or for that matter, rex's SCROFULA?)

Peter S. 11:22 AM  

A NATICK Note

I see now that "ST. LO" is well known to crossworders and WWII buffs. Then again, NATICK is a name that students of colonial US history would probably know.

NATICK was the first of John Eliot's "Praying Indian" towns, where Christianized natives were brought to live in more "civilized" homes and dress, and under more Biblical modes of self-governance.

Prejudices prevailed, however, and many Puritans saw the Praying Indians as duplicitous, devilishly in league with the "savages" while pretending to be English. (See Mary Rowlandson's captivity narrative for this sentiment.) During King Philip's War, the Indians were forcibly transported from NATICK, their homes destroyed.

This is just a point of interest, about the relative nature of familiarity.

Of course, Rex's "Natick Principle" isn't relative at all, but absolute and empirically verifiable: "more than 1/4 of the solving public" must have heard of the name, etc. Hence -- even just as a form of crosswordese (as Rex notes) -- LO remains high, while NATICK is laid low.

Margaret 11:23 AM  

I recognized that it was trickier than a standard Monday even as I flew through this puzzle. (Seeing 2 X's and a u-less Q was a HINT.) I guess I was just in the zone today. I worked the top half of the puzzle just on the acrosses, then basically did the bottom half on the downs. My biggest stumble was DEBI THOMAS. She was completely gone from my skating consciousness; I only remembered her when I got the name from crosses. Very fun Monday puzzle.

My favorite bit of IHOP trivia: the CEO -- the one who negotiated the recent buyout of (much bigger) Applebys -- started out as a waitress!

jean 11:42 AM  

Did anyone else confidently fill in "subway series" at 54 across? Since the e and the final s were correct, it took me a while to fix it.

But a nice puzzle, even if a tad harder than the usual Monday puzzle.

Jean

Noam D. Elkies 11:43 AM  

Yes, another good but misplaced puzzle -- even Tuesday seems too early for many of the entries, including two theme entries, 35A:MARISATOMEI and 58A:DEBITHOMAS, as well as others that were noted here already.

Even the music mini-theme gave me some wrong turns. For 34D:TENORSOLO, my first guess was OPERAARIA, then (after getting the bottom from crosses) OPERASOLO. Indeed Pavarotti's typical "tenor solo" is an aria, but there are shorter solos, and also popular songs in his repertoire, that are not arias. I know 9D:OSTINATO (from the Italian for "obstinate"), but first thought of "leitmotif" or "ritornello", each of which is a letter too long (and also out of place in a Monday).

Nice to see 15A:EROS followed by 16A:ENOS. I like the clue for 11D:ONHIGH, but don't buy it as Biblical: the reference must be the xmas carol.
As for 47D:ISAIAH, I didn't remember that the Song of Songs/Solomon is followed by Ruth in the Hebrew Bible, so tried one of the other Megillot, namely ESTHER, which was "confirmed" by SURREAL; then the third letter suggested PSALMS before I remembered the English spelling of ISAIAH (which doesn't look much like the Hebrew Y'sha'yah)...

NDE

Anonymous 11:57 AM  

I've had years of musical training and performing. Never ever used the word "ostinato" (including in orchestras).

Use the technique all the time, though.

MargaretR 12:14 PM  

Oh, yes, Jean. I thought 'subway series' immediately, when I had the final 's', but hesitated because of the team names. And subway now, or then? Then I got pennantraces in place and couldn't figure it out!

Monday, Monday.

Anonymous 12:19 PM  

Speaking of the Bible, don't forget Christmas eve (23D)!

Jim in Chicago 12:33 PM  

Can someone please tell Mr. Shortz that there are TWO verions of the bible and that the books are in a different order? I hate the cluings that assume we're talking about the Christian bible!

Parshutr 12:35 PM  

I tried the subwayseries answer, but rejected it because the circled letters spelled SERIE...
My first guess for the BAA Marathon was, of course, Newton, where you have to make it over Heartbreak Hill...but that's way past 8 miles, about 19-20 into the race. Having grown up in The Hub, Natick was a familiar name to me, but it certainly can't hold a candle to St. Lo (or CAEN, the other 6/6/44 town).
I guessed TENORARIA, then went to SONG and finally SOLO.
Nice puzzle.
Still recovering from the disappointment of my DVR punking out in set 5 of the Nadal v. Federer final.

ronathan 1:15 PM  

@dk

Be VERY careful around that bat. My mother had one invade her house last year. I’ll spare you the details, but long story short it turned out that the bat was acting strange and would not leave the house. It also seemed disoriented and lethargic, and while bats are usually afraid of people and try to avoid them, this one tried to “divebomb” anyone who came near it. And it seemed unable to tell how to leave the house despite a door being left open for it. After waking up from a nap to find it sitting on the pillow next to her, my mom finally called an exterminator who caught it, but had to (by law) call the county health department because of its strange behavior. They had to treat the animal as a suspected rabies case, and even though it came back negative, they still gave my mom the first rabies shot in the series as a precaution until the test results came back (which, according to her, is VERY painful). It turns out that you can get rabies from an infected animal even by getting scratched or by coming into contact with its fecal matter. So word of caution, make sure you thoroughly clean any area that the bat was in.

Oh yeah, about the puzzle, don't really have anything to add that hasn't already been said. Pretty good for a Monday, I thought. Nice to see a theme, but wasn't really very hard. A 3.5 minute effort for me.

Cheers,
Ronathan :-)

jubjub 1:17 PM  

To me, this felt like a Monday for a while; I zoomed through the easy clues, accumulating a few blanks here and there that I figured I would fill in once I'd seen the crosses. Some of those blanks turned out to be very hard for me, but overall I really enjoyed this puzzle.

I struggled with the A at the crossing of ARISTA-BEREA. Never heard of either. ARISTO yesterday (was that yesterday?), ARISTA today...

I also had a mess in the southwest for a while, where Quanza and Aquinas kept popping into my head when trying to remember the name of the Australian airline.

Also never heard of SETTEE. According to Google, related searches are "antique settee" and "victorian settee", so I guess it is an older term :).

Of course, the ULA-OLLA crossing L was the last letter for me as well.

I got but didn't understand ONHIGH=Angels we have heard. Just googled it. In case you also didn't know, Angels We Have Heard on High is a Christmas carol.

Noogie!

John in CT 2:08 PM  

I thought it was tough for a Monday. I'd never seen OLLA before...

jls 2:23 PM  

musical theatre to the rescue again (rex, i can *see* you cringing...;-) ).

i thought i saw it posted here earlier, but "natick" is in fact bill finn's hometown (didn't i see that elegies reference here?) -- and also the hometown of alison fraser, his long-time friend and one of his earliest leading ladies.

then there's "settee" -- etched into my memory via oscar hammerstein's lyrics for "i cain't say 'no'" (from oklahoma!):

fer a while i act refined and cool --
a-sittin' on the velveteen settee.
then i think of that old golden rule --
and do fer him what he would do fer me!

such a happy surprise to encounter an early-in-the-week klahn. no doubt he and will are fattening us up for the kill!

;-)

janie

fergus 2:25 PM  

Along with Treedweller, I recall OSTINATO from sometime in the last few months, but maybe it wasn't from the NYT puzzle? Since I do a few other puzzles from time to time, I'm not sure of the origin.

MACE was the first thing that came to mind for the tear to the eye Clue. I liked the MIX and MESH combination, and the slightly devilish SEAT and ERSE pairing. I recently did an old Klahn Sunday puzzle that got buried and forgotten, which lends an even higher appreciation of the construction elegance and the quality of the clues, whether they be quirky, misdirecting or dripping with dry wit. They tend to have an extra measure of correspondence with the answer, so that you know you've got it when you arrive there.

miriam b 2:38 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
miriam b 2:38 PM  

@dk: I second ronathan's bat cautions. About a year ago a bat got into my bedroom somehow and did not follow the close-the-door-open-the-window protocol. One of several cats who were present levitated and clobbered the bat, killing it. I called the county health dept. and they sent a person known as a sanitarian (my new word for that day) wearing protective clothing and substantial gloves who placed the bat in a coffee can. The corpse was sent to Albany for examination and to my relief the bat tested negative for rabies. Of course, all the cats, indoor or not, have been inoculated against rabies, so I wasn't worried about them - only myself. When this happened, no one else was at home, and it was pretty alarming.

On Genesis sons: Cain, Abel, Seth, and ENOS. Better a Genesis son than a space monkey, I suppose.

Doug 2:45 PM  

Did no one else notice SHARP being right in the center of the grid, completely erect (not semi!) and holding the pieces of the puzzle firmly together? A very appropos parallel to the blog, I must say.

Even if it wasn't intentional I'd still frame it for the office wall.

Joon 2:49 PM  

while we're on genesis sons, we can't just stop at adam (who is occasionally called god's "son") and his immediate family--genesis keeps going and going. noah and his family (shem is also four letters) is in genesis. so too abraham, isaac and jacob (and his brother esau, four letters).

i second jim in chicago's call for the cessation of old testament clues based on book order.

imsdave 3:21 PM  

OSTINATO would have been a slightly easier solve if I hadn't misread melodic as melodramatic (don't ask), but I think the clue which is technically correct per the definitions I just read is slightly off. I think of an OSTINATO as an underlying repeated phrase that supports the melodic material above or below it. To me, a recurring melodic phrase is a motif.

Anonymous 4:13 PM  

Confirmed (from this blog, May 24):

"I should say that I liked this puzzle a lot, much more than yesterday's. It was tough and interesting and full of lively and clever answers. I liked it despite never having heard of five different answers (all Downs, strangely):

* OSTINATO (10D: Repeated musical phrase)
* UNIATE (2D: Certain Christian)
* SCHAEFER
* BLAS (48D: Gulf of San _____ (Caribbean Sea inlet))
* LOME (49D: West African capital)"

--King Rex

humorlesstwit 5:08 PM  

I thought today might be the day. For several months I've been wondering about constructors and whether they actively search for unusual words. All this was brought about by a magazine I've got sitting in my 'reading room', containing plans for building a Prairie Settle, a type of couch. I thought that was a great late week clue. Type of couch: SETTLE.

I tried my usual Monday solution process, downs only to start and see how far I get, and wondered if 6D might make my day. It didn’t.
Neither did 9D.

dk 5:11 PM  

@miramb and @roathan, thank you for the bat tips. I think this one just flew into the screen as it is tough to see. My meta issue is how did it get in, as I had batman in last year to do what they do.

On the old testament-new testament clues: When we have blog comments attesting to an erect sharp in the middle of the puzzle... we need all the salvation we can get. So go here and get some.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_EDkSbqavk

Need to find a church lady avatar or Reverend Ike... yeah thats the ticket.

alanrichard 5:28 PM  

I finished this puzzle in a few minutes and I never noticed the obscure answers like ostinato because I had everyting cross referenced and contexturally solved. When I read everyone elses blogs I thought it was pretty funny because I never even saw the "difficult" stuff.

karmasartre 5:49 PM  

I was able to get rid of an invading bat. I watched a bit, and saw it was seeking the dark rooms. So, I turned on all the interior lights, opened all the doors and windows, and it split lickety-slpit.

But if Miriam B is breeding levitating cats I am clearly out of my league.

Doc John 6:26 PM  

When I saw Klahn I knew this wouldn't be a typical Monday and I was right. This took a little longer than usual for me, as well. Had some trouble parsing PENNANT RACES but was helped when I realized that the S for dust didn't fit and changed the answer to DUCT and it fell into place.

DEBI THOMAS has forever burned herself into my psyche as a huge choke. Should have won the gold medal but missed a triple-triple combo and then more flubs after that. I was surprised to find from this puzzle that she was actually World Champ at one point. After the Olympics, she took time off from her medical studies and I'm not sure but don't think she ever returned to them.

Of course Michelle Kwan also choked in the Olympics- twice but her skating is so wonderful and elegant that I forgave her. Don't get me started on that gangly bum, Tara Lipinsky or Sarah Hughes, either, who were lucky at just the right time. The later Olympic competitions seem to go to the one who doesn't fall, no matter if the rest of her skating doesn't compare.

Bill from NJ 6:46 PM  

Klahn on a Monday reminds me that network sitcoms are often written by Harvard-educated writers. Kind of writing down but trying not to be too obvious about it. Like having NOOGIE and OSTINATO cross one another.

My grandparents had a settee in their parlor and a daybed in their sitting room. Sounded 19th century to me even as a child.

Everywhere there was a potential problem, I would find crosswordese crossing and the problem would fizzle.

Enjoyable, quick and easy, all that is required of a Monday puzzle.

Doc John 6:50 PM  

Oh yeah, I forgot to add this reference to NOOGIE.
(Unfortunately, I couldn't locate any actual SNL footage).

Leon 7:13 PM  

Great puzzle Mr. Klahn.

IS IT I spelled backwards is IT IS I.
An apt response from Judas.

Orange 7:47 PM  

Doc John, Debi Thomas's Wikipedia bio says she's an orthopedist in Urbana, IL.

fergus 8:14 PM  

Bill from NJ,

Where were the Murphy bed, the Chesterfield and the Davenport? In various living situations I've had all three.

Teresa 8:21 PM  

I solved the puzzle relatively easily except for getting caught for a minute on exeter/exacta.

Arista Records was the highlight of the puzzle. I remember back to the early 70s when Clive Davis started it up (through Columbia Records, according to Wikipedia). He had an incredible ear for talent, and signed less-popular, but stellar musicians/groups to the label. For the life of me, I can't remember the acts that he signed .... does anyone else remember this?

LoneStar 10:39 PM  

Can someone explain how the new Natick Principle is different from the Asok's Beak conundrum that was discussed back in January?

miriam b 11:01 PM  

@karmasartre: I don't actually breed levitating cats; I train them. In point of fact, all my cats are neutered. They levitate as a result of a stringent program of operant conditioning. Dinah is especially adept, as she's rather jumpy and began to levitate spontaneously one day when someone accidentally dropped a book.

mac 11:13 PM  

@miriam, you are funny! My late cat used to literally "climb the walls", jump as high as she could for no good reason!

william e emba 4:03 PM  

Sorry for the lateness of this response:

Like most of you, I got OSTINATO from the crosses and wondered what it could possibly be doing in a Monday puzzle, and I certainly had no memory of seeing it a few months back on a Saturday.

So here I am in the middle of reading Richard Powers THE TIME OF THEIR SINGING, and hahaha, the word pops up.

william e emba 4:15 PM  

As a followup, let me mention that not only is SAINT LO famous from WWII itself, its postwar reconstruction played an important role in Samuel Beckett's final development as a great writer, just before his great burst of creativity 1946-1949. Beckett went there as a bilingual volunteer with the Irish Red Cross, and was witness to enough ruin and hope to last him decades.

See Eoin O'Brien THE BECKETT COUNTRY, an absolutely gorgeous book.

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