2008 campaign personality - MONDAY, Apr. 27, 2009 - J Krozel (Politico Paul / Norman Rockwell painting subject W.W. II)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "_____ the _____er" - three theme answers follow that phrasing pattern

Word of the Day: IONIC (51D: Kind of column, in architecture) - n.

One of the three main orders of classical Greek architecture, characterized by two opposed volutes in the capital.

(tomorrow's word of the day - VOLUTE ... actually, I think that's just the name for the scrolly things)

Not much of a theme, and considering the non-theme fill was less than stellar, I have to give this one a thumb's down. There's something to be said for having such a contemporary theme answer in JOE THE PLUMBER (35A: 2008 campaign personality). But then again, there's something to be said for not forcing me to contemplate this moron and his absurd fame on a Monday before breakfast. Nothing against conservatism per se (shout-out to RON Paul - 27D: Politico _____ Paul - who makes many other self-described conservatives look like craven, spineless fools), but I don't think of JOE THE PLUMBER as "conservative." I don't know what he is. I'm just glad I haven't had to hear about him for months. Until today. He does not go well (if at all) with the other theme answers - in fact, the "theme" coheres quite poorly. Why these three? What's the point? Where's BOB THE BUILDER? SAM THE BUTCHER? MANDRAKE THE MAGICIAN? MOTT THE HOOPLE?

Theme answers:

  • 24A: Animated TV character whose best friend is Boots (Dora the Explorer) - seen her several times as a grid-spanning answer. Moratorium!
  • 35A: 2008 campaign personality (Joe the Plumber)
  • 50A: Norman Rockwell painting subject of W.W. II (Rosie the Riveter) - this was the hardest of the three for me to get, especially given that I went with HAH and HAW before I hit on HAR (40D: Part of a guffaw), which provides the "R" in ROSIE.

Not Good:

  • 39D: The year 1406 (MCDVI) - it's a Monday. Your Roman numerals should be three squares tops, if you even have to resort to them at all. Actually, I'd like to extend that rule to all puzzles. Special dispensation if the area around the long Roman numeral is particularly sparkling. Dispensation in this case is Not granted.
  • 1D: High-priority item (must-do) - something can be a "must-see," but a "must-do" ... maybe, but it feels iffy. Don't like it.
  • 15A: Not appropriate (unapt) - always hate this word. I think INAPT sounds better.
  • 10A: Get an _____ effort (E for) - bah. Why all the cruddy fill on a Monday? Partials and abbrevs. and what not ... So you've got a few Scrabbly letters ... they are not worth having to endure this low-rent stuff. Never mind the slew of ugly crosswordese (EMIR, ADE (42A: Fruity cooler), ADEN, EPEE, ST PAT (21D: March 17 honoree, for short), ESE, IDE, EWER (26D: Fancy pitcher), SAC and SEC, etc.) I mean, -ORY? Where are my Monday pros? Bring back the smooth, professionally filled puzzle. I did this in 3:20, like any other Monday, but between the bad fill and having to endure the "personality" of JOE THE PLUMBER, I kind of wish I had my 3:20 back.
The rest:

  • 5A: Rich soil component (humus) - add an "M" to get a delicious chickpea and tahini spread. Other earth-related words you might see in the grid include LOAM and LOESS.
  • 16A: Duo plus one (trio) - not liking this phrasing. Makes it seem as if "duo" and "TRIO" are part of same language as opposed to just sets of two and three.
  • 54A: Fix permanently, as an interest rate (lock in) - this, I liked. Fresh, colloquial, recognizable, in-the-language. Nice.
  • 38D: Like the Beatles' White Album (untitled) - thought it was just called "The Beatles."
  • 36D: Minimum pizza order (one slice) - this one is also pretty good, in that I didn't know what to make of it, but couldn't dispute the answer once I had it.
  • 32D: Beer blast centerpiece (keg) - I like how "centerpiece" does not really go with the image of a KEGger at all.
  • 8D: Coming immediately after, as on TV (up next) - more decent colloquialness.
  • 45D: "Don't let it get you down!" ("chin up!") - ditto. HUSH HUSH (5D: Top-secret) and FREE RIDE (11D: Something for nothing, as what a hitchhiker seeks) aren't bad either.
  • 32A: Casey of "American Top 40" (Kasem) - one of the most important and familiar voices of my childhood.

  • 40A: Like paintings and some juries (hung) - right under JOE? And next to SAC? Seriously, breakfast.
  • 60A: Idiot (dope) - went with DOLT. DODO would also have worked.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

Beautiful Monday puzzle in the LAT today - write-up here


ArtLvr 8:18 AM  

I'm not sure why this is rated as a medium, even for a Monday? Not that I really care... No Hum.

retired_chemist 8:21 AM  

Easy even for a Monday. A few writeovers (INAPT -> UNAPT @ 15A, KEPT -> HELD @ 19A, FOOL-> DODO -> DOPE @60A).

First name THE occupation is a nice Monday theme, with a wonderful variation in frames of reference for the answers: DORA – contemporary kids, JOE – recent politics, ROSIE – us geezers. A cripple over the center of the plate, compared to the curve balls and sliders of late.

chefbea 8:26 AM  

Easy Monday. Finished before I finished my cereal!!

Hummus yummm!!!!

Crosscan 8:30 AM  

Agreed. Odd combination of theme answers.

Chris Kern 8:32 AM  

Well, I liked this puzzle -- it made me smile a few times. I thought JOETHEPLUMBER was funny enough.

I liked "minimum pizza order" (ONESLICE), "part of a guffaw" (HAR), and HUSHHUSH.

chefbea 8:36 AM  

Does any one know whose birthday is today???

Go to google...very clever.

Raul 8:42 AM  

Casey Kasem rant

Anonymous 8:43 AM  

You had a breakfast problem? Probably due to the poison pill you took.

nanpilla 8:45 AM  

Agree that this theme doesn't really hold together very well. I kept looking for some kind of connection. In addition to those words already mentioned, also liked:

Any Monday effort was going to have trouble following yesterday's tour de force.

Brendan Emmett Quigley 8:45 AM  

UNTITLED pissed me off to no end, becuase, frankly, it most definitely does have a title. It's self-titled! That clue is just factually wrong!

joho 8:45 AM  

I usually love Joe Krozel puzzles but today, not so much. I wanted a Von Gogh clue for STARRY. Had a few missteps: Storms for STOMPS. At ease for AT HOME. Imam for EMIR. But they were shortlived and so was the puzzle.

On to Tuesday!

John 8:49 AM  

HUSHHUSH reminds me of Danny Devitos role in L.A. Confidental.

Dora is just plain annoying!

XMAN 9:00 AM  

This was so easy I didn't even get to my coffee before I finished.
Got "stuck" at TINHAT. the correct term is TINPOT.

PIX 9:02 AM  

@65A: speed and velocity are not the same. Speed is a scalar; it has only magnitude (eg 60 miles per hour). Velocity is a vector; it has magnitude and direction (eg 60 miles per hour due East). Just in case you find yourself taking a physics exam today.

edith b 9:04 AM  

I read in Jim Horne's "Wordplay" that Joe Krozel needed a Monday puzzle to have one for each day of the week. Not a very good effort as it is full of oddball things such as partials,abbreviations, Roman Numerals, etc.

I am reminded of the Harvard graduate who writes screenplays for sitcoms - you are never sure of just what he is doing.

Chorister 9:04 AM  

My all time, top of the list, A-One, most hated crosswordese was also in this yawner: the opposite of any given direction.

Frieda 9:54 AM  

Looking for distractions around this puzzle: BE MINE? MAYBE SAY NO.

PuzzleGirl 10:04 AM  

Nothing to add. Rex said it all.

@Raul: Funny Casey Kasem rant. Warning for others though: NSFW!

HudsonHawk 10:15 AM  

Sounds like someone's got a case of the Mondays--not that I disagree. The only real highlight was the stacked Hs in HUSH HUSH, which made me pause for a second. My other favorite: MCDVI. RIVETing fill.

fikink 10:24 AM  

@PIX, thanks again for the vector reiteration - you are quoted in this house often from some months ago: "Velocity is magnitude AND direction."
Agree with BEQ (BEQ, did the original cover really "sport" dead babies or is that myth?)
I did learn something - All this time, I thought his name was Casey KASEN - sheesh!
Rex, actually laughed out loud at your comments about where the paintings were hung - You boys!

Anonymous 10:47 AM  

Wow - Joe K. has now managed to disappoint us on every day of the week. What an achievement. This guy must've signed some sort of pact with Shortz: publish all my substandard puzzles, and I'll help you with the mail. This particular puzzle was dated before it was even postmarked.

-O. the G.

Greene 10:48 AM  

Not quite sure why there is so much venom aimed at this puzzle. I thought it was perfectly fine for a Monday. Not elegant perhaps, but certainly professional. I thought the theme was fine as well. I'm guessing the puzzle was built around the JOE THE PLUMBER entry.

I'm not sure where I know the image of ROSIE THE RIVETER, but I had no problem with the entry. I recall that George Gershwin's Second Piano Rhapsody (a fine piece incidentally, and far more harmonically adventurous than "Rhapsody in Blue") was originally subtitled "Rhapsody in Rivets."

PlantieBea 10:50 AM  

I agree with Rex's writeup. Not much more to say except that I buzzed through the puzzle, didn't bother to check the crosses, and ended up with ATHNO centric because I had A FOR EFFORT intead of E.

Ulrich 11:01 AM  

The best I could come up i.t. of coherence for the theme answers is "none of them is for real", but that's not saying much. Which is another way of saying that I pretty much agree with the majority opinion on this theme.

And as far as geezers go: I got Rosie the Riveter from just three crosses, one of them wrong (I also started with HAW at 40D)!

@O: "dated before it was postmarked" has now entered my book of phrases--thx.

Denise 11:02 AM  

A better word for "unapt" is "inept."

Did the puzzle quickly and liked the feeling of easy success. Isn't that what we all need once a week?

mac 11:25 AM  

I agree with Greene, too much venom. It was an easy Monday, not the best, but some good words, like hush hush, hence, up next and I love Rosie the Riveter, it is my nickname for a fix-it lady at the gym. I also wrote in A for..., isn't that the point?

I have to say that I have always liked Joe Krozel's puzzles so far, but he must be much better at late-week ones. Was it some sort of dare to be published every day of the week?

mccoll 11:31 AM  

So much for Mr. Krozel of the trashed reputation. Cheer up gang. It snowed here to-day! Rats! I was going to call for a tee time.
Oh yes, the puzzle. It was sure a break from the toughies, but your commments were more fun than the solve. I love Rosie the Riveter because I remember that cover! That may be the only thing I liked.

archaeoprof 11:36 AM  

Bob the Builder! Love that idea, Rex, because he backed the winning candidate in the presidential election: "Can we fix it? Yes we can!"

BTW, my godson Benedict loves Bob the Builder. In German, it's "Bob der Baumeister."

Ladel 11:36 AM  


You know, in my world all knowledge is good, and little refinements to distinguish between speed and velocity are delicious tid bits, especially to brighten a dull puzzle.
Now on to acceleration!

Anne 11:53 AM  

Um, er, I still haven't finished Sunday's puzzle due to life intervening into my more favored activities. And my rule is I can't blog if I haven't finished the puzzle.

So I finished today's first and I think it was fine. I don't know why I know Dora the Explorer, but I do. And I resent that Joe the Plumber has now been added to all that other useless information in my head. I do like Rosie the Riverter. Some picture that I must have seen pops up in my head whenever she is mentioned.

Bill from NJ 11:57 AM  

To quote Luke 12:48

For those to whom much is given, much is expectedJoe Krozel is one of my favorite constructors and I found this puzzle to be solid, yes, but just a little routine for my taste. I liked HUSHHUSH and ONESLICE but way too much awkwardness from one I have come to admire.

JannieB 12:22 PM  

I liked it - thought the theme was straightforward, and much of the fill had energy. Didn't like "unapt" - never do.

I don't think Joe was trying to win a dare. It takes versatility to be able to construct for all seven days of the week. This might not have been his best effort, but I liked it much better than many recent Mondays.

Shamik 12:28 PM  

Agree with Greene and mac...too much venom. Solidly easy puzzle.

But it's MONDAY, folks. Monday. Monday is the beginning of the work week with enough attached angst. Monday's puzzle is the copy of our home game for all the other problems that Mondays bring. It's a puzzle for which we need no high expectations.

If this puzzle appeared on a Wednesday...that's another matter. Bring on the venom. jk

Alex 12:38 PM  

Norman Rockwell painted Rosie the Riveter?

You learn something new, even on a Monday.

Anonymous 12:41 PM  

Why all the hatred against Joe the Plumber. He was just an average guy thrust into the spotlight. Not his doing. Not a "moron" either

allan 12:56 PM  

@Rex & BEQ: Doesn't the original album cover clearly state in white on white embossed letters that the album is in fact titled The Beatles?

@fikink: I never heard that about the album. I don't think it's true

Ben 1:36 PM  

Boring retread puzzle today. The exact same three theme entries appeared in the L.A. Times (Monday Dec. 29, 2008 by D. Kahn). Amy reviewed that puzzle on her blog. Kahn's was first, fresh, timely

dk 1:49 PM  

I always thought it was A for effort. Otherwise an ok Monday puzzle. Last weeks fill is a tough act to follow. I think we may be a bit spoiled.

If my mom (RN) finds the clue for NURSE Mr. Krozel is in for a world of hurt.

Much has been written about the White Album, the first Apple recording, the title is "The Beatles." The back stories chronicle the beginning of the end of the Fab4. If you had the original Richard Avadon photos (copies came in the Album) you might be able to take a year or two off.

Happy birthday Mr. Morse dit dah dit dah

Jim in Chicago 1:54 PM  

Meh. Nothing exciting in either direction today. Just, meh.

I don't mind the "Duo plus one" clue. I think of it as adding one person to a duo (think of a duet) and getting a set of three, which is then a trio.

jeff in chicago 2:35 PM  


(must be a Chicago thing)

imsdave 2:41 PM  

I did this puzzle in a tournament on Saturday. Never noticed the theme. Didn't feel like the fill was THAT bad, but that is in a different circumstance. The good news is that it was quick.

p.s. I hope to be the first commentor on Wednesday...

fikink 2:57 PM  

@alan, I think you're right - I think someone was pulling my hippie leg.

@imsdave, nice avatar!!! Rose-breasted GROSBEAK - very crosswordese!

treedweller 3:15 PM  

The Beatles did produce a cover that had them dressed as butchers with doll parts scattered about, but it was Yesterday and Today. The white cover was conceptual and intentional, according to wiki.

And that's about all I have to say about this puzzle.

retired_chemist 3:57 PM  

@ dk's mom - I had the same reaction to NURSE as your son.

@ the physics mafia re vector vs scalar - true, but the inaccuracy wouldn't stop ANY of us from getting it with no crosses needed, would it? As might a more correct clue such as "the magnitude of a velocity," or (worse) something involving vector algebra and a dot product. (no, I am NOT seriously suggesting...)

Vega 5:00 PM  

I got unduly excited when I saw Joe Krozel's name at the top of the puzzle and unduly disappointed as a result.

And agreed: the White Album was self-titled, not untitled

Bob Kerfuffle 5:39 PM  

@retired_chemist - What do you get when you cross an elephant with a grape?

|elephant|•|grape|•(sin Theta)

Sorry, I'm not good with notation online.

retired_chemist 8:34 PM  

@ Bob K - cute! :-)

Fritz 10:32 PM  

What IMSDAVE failed to mention is that he got a trophy for his performance in the tournament Saturday (and I promised to post!) It's kind of strange doing a puzzle a couple days before it is published!

peninhandinga 11:31 PM  

Forgot to get married and have kids; would have come in handy. Never saw Little Mermaid or Nora/Dora the Explorer. Feel child-challenged, as in no pitter-patter.
A few write-overs, but managed to keep my chinup.

Orange 12:39 AM  

Meh x 3 from Chicago.

@Anonymous 12:41, Joe the Not-a-Licensed-Plumber may have initially been thrust into the spotlight by the McCain campaign, but nobody forced him to embark on a new career as a "journalist" reporting from a conflict zone for a right-wing website and to begin a public-speaking career. Why, he's working hard to earn my scorn! It is not merely thrust upon him.

andrea carla michaels 12:53 AM  

I agree with Retired chemist...re: Monday theme.
More forgivable if you look at the theme answers spanning the grid, being across the board sex/occupation, age-wise, all fictional to an extent (but better if they all HAD been cartoons, etc, or were all occupations in the plumbing, riveting mode...it was like which one doesn't go with the other two)
but NOT forgivable not to check the database and have the EXACT theme entries that appeared but four months ago in the LA Times...
If your theme is that straightforward, best to check if it's been done!!!!!

I think this "going for the cycle"
to publish every day of the week DOES show versatility,
(which is why some constructors have approached me to collaborate on a Monday) but it has added a needless boy/jock element (why does baseball have to be so super-imposed over crosswords?!) and you end up with substandard fare.

My heart actually sank when I saw it was JoeK halfway thru the first puzzle during the LA comp... and sank even lower after not getting the bonus, as I had 56D -INE as suffix for "Chlor-" and was going too fast to check the 61A to see I had put NECI for "tenth"!
Damn, that N for D cost me 200 pts the way the scoring works!

I don't know about a pact between Will and JoeK, but Will has said publicly that JoeK's LIES puzzle is his fave...so slack has been cut! (maybe that's why they call it slack?)

And yes, Rex, I'll try and do a write up about LA...but I'm just back home now.
Suffice to say that Elissa Grossman was phenomenal...funny, cool, hardworking and pulled it all off!
Plus unbelievably generous in terms of prizes, free lunch, practically free t-shirts, Dell books and on and on (and it was a fundraiser!)
SO I don't know how she did it for a $25 entrance fee, but that just goes to show...
(what exactly, I won't say!)

Anonymous 2:11 PM  

Orange - Was unaware of Joe's post-limelight career(s).

boardbtr 3:12 PM  

Five weeks after the fact -- I have to say I have been completely blown away with the fact that Google shows 26,600 entries for "get an e for effort" and only 21,600 for "get an a for effort". Needless to say I went the the "a" and never even looked at the down. I have never heard any one say "e for effort", probably because in my experience, "E" was a worse grade than "D", surpassed on the downside only by "F".

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP