MONDAY, Jun 8 2009 — Montreal baseballers 1969-2004 / Tray transporter / German-made car since 1899 / "Do Ya" group, for short

Monday, June 8, 2009


Constructor: Randy Sowell

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: Like a Dimwit — theme answers are all two-word phrases in which the first word can be a synonym for "unintelligent"

Word of the Day: HOOSEGOW (37D: Lockup) — n. Slang.

A jail.

[Spanish juzgado, tribunal, courtroom, from past participle of juzgar, to judge, from Latin iūdicāre, from iūdex, iūdic-, judge. See judge.]


A very tight theme with excellent, interesting theme answers. The non-theme fill, however, is kind of not great. It's almost all 4- and 5-letter words, so admittedly it's not going to be easy to make it all exciting, but this puzzle is just drenched in tired fill. The word, I think, is LAZY (10A: Indolent). Take that LAZY corner (the NE). Two proper nouns, both of which are not-very-famous people whose noteworthy achievements are long past, plus the suffix -AROO, all equals yuck. Too much crutchy stuff. I think ARIE is what really tips it to bad up there. YOST (13D: Dennis _____ and the Classics IV (1960s-'70s group)) and AROO (16A: Suffix with buck) put that corner at its compromise-fill limit. Actually, YOST might be just fine on its own, but the inclusion of ARIE makes the corner just too weird-namey. Plus, that ARIE clue reeks of mothballs (11D: 1997 Indy 500 winner _____ Luyendyk). There's a talented and reasonably popular singer named India.ARIE — using her wouldn't have fixed things completely, but it would have made that corner slightly more palatable.



Without much effort, I redid the NE a couple times:

LEWD
ALOE
BIKE

REST


and

LUTZ
ALOE

BEGS

REST


... neither of them great (who wants to see ULEE again? Answer: no one), but both of them better (IMHO). A quick trip around the grid shows more ETNA-ORE-AXLE-type stuff, everywhere. Some would say "who cares? Mondays are about good themes and this one's good." And that's fine. I disagree. Easy puzzles are harder to make (well!) than most solvers think, and the best constructors take the time to minimize the crosswordese and make sure the fill is smooooooth throughout.

Theme answers:

  • 3D: Crockpot (SLOW cooker)
  • 21A: Thick growth of trees (DENSE forest)
  • 29D: Tray transporter (DUMB waiter)
  • 49A: It's more than 90 degrees (OBTUSE angle) — I (obtusely) tripped over this one; had the "angle" part at the end and wrote in ... TRIANGLE.

Two more criticisms, a minor and a major. The minor — I admired the pick-up of the BARA / SILENT connection in 44D: Like 33-Down's films, just as I admired the NW intersection of the words in the phrase TASTE / TEST (1D: With 1-Across, Coke vs. Pepsi competition, e.g.). But is there a limit on the number of cross-references you can do? Because dear god you crossed (literally) DELLA (18A: Perry Mason's secretary _____ Street) with her creator (ERLE Stanley Gardner) and didn't mention the connection. Weird. That's not really a criticism, I guess, since a failure to cross-reference doesn't diminish the puzzle in any way. It's just a missed opportunity. So here's the criticism: the worst answer in the puzzle, for me, was "N.A.S." (45A: 1980s TV's "Emerald Point _____"). I don't know where to begin. How about the fact that I live and breathe 80s TV and have never heard of this. How about the fact that it ran exactly one season, and thus was on television for less than 6 months, from Sep. 1983 to Mar. 1984. How about the fact that (rightly, wisely) the NYT hasn't touched this clue for NAS in a decade. There is a super famous rapper named NAS, and he has largely taken over NAS duties. When the puzzle wants something a little less familiar, it will go for the "Naval Air Station" abbr., but only late-week, and never via this less-famous-than-"HEC Ramsey" TV show. Why not go with the rapper NAS here? If that's too much rap for one puzzle, then just reclue NATE Dogg (who is far, far less well known than NAS) to NATE the Great or NATE Archibald or something. Ugh. But if you find none of the above objections to "Emerald Point N.A.S." compelling, perhaps this one will stick — the "S" in "N.A.S." stands for "STATION" and in this puzzle, N.A.S. crosses ... STAS, the abbreviation for "STATIONS."

On the up side, HOOSEGOW is a phenomenal answer.

Bullets:

  • 2D: Montreal baseballers, 1969-2004 (Expos) — bound to make at least one north-of-the-border reader I know defend this puzzle to the death
  • 23A: Former Ford compacts (Escorts) — more obtuseness on my part, as I had the ESC- part and wrote in ESCAPES. Ford makes an ESCAPE. It is the Opposite of a "compact."
  • 21D: Beat badly (drub) – this is what I would call "Good 4-Letter Fill"; I like WREST too, as shorter fill goes; lively, active, vivid, real words.
  • 22D: German-made car since 1899 (Opel) — OPEL : OPAL :: OREL : ORAL
  • 57D: "Do Ya" group, for short (ELO) — let's round things off with a "Do Ya" / "Hey Ya" double feature:





Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

Today's LAT puzzle write-up is here.

75 comments:

retired_chemist 9:00 AM  

Easy easy easy.

My only overwrites were: TOONS -> SOAPS @40A and WANED -> EBBED @ 41A; I thought of both alternatives in each case, picked one, and waited for a cross.. Did not see the theme, such as it is, before solving the puzzle. No help, obviously.

No tricks, nothing interesting in the clues. I always felt before that the NYT puzzle even when easy was a worthy adversary. I do not have that feeling about this one.

My time was 5:41, which is almost as fast as I can type. Others (including some of the usual suspects) on Amy Reynaldo’s blog are reporting times in the 2-3 minute range – My hat is off to them, since I can’t even type that fast. To check that, I redid the puzzle, typing into AcrossLite from a correct pdf copy, and it took me 3:31. I have a daughter who flunked typing in high school. Twice. Perhaps that was genetic.

Denise 9:03 AM  

Darn it all -- I used the clock on the NY Times site again, and kept getting the error message -- I had LEBREA/EROO. I feel so slow, dumb, and stupid!!

Will I ever improve my time??

Blue Stater 9:07 AM  

For me the NE weirdness wasn't ARIE or YOST (though each of these wins a Natick), but "Thumbnail writings" (19A). Huh? I would expect, particularly on a Monday, the answer to be SKETCHES. But BIOS? Since when is a thumbnail a bio? Strange, strange, strange.

dk 9:18 AM  

Don't forget Buck OWENS and the Buck-aroos.

Old home day puzzle we are only missing Oreo of Oona for a reunion of old fill.

Great fun on a rainy Monday AM in Mpls.

Dough 9:18 AM  

This was a fine Monday, with a couple of areas that could easily have been made better. I concur with the NAS issue. It seemed likely to be an abbreviation, so crossing STAS or STNS was a toss up for me. However, @Rex, I don't think the easy fix for these problems is to replace them with the names of important or successful rappers. I don't know their names, except the few that ooze up into the commonsphere, and the often imaginative spellings just create more solving chaos for me.

nanpilla 9:33 AM  

When I finished this puzzle last night I felt angry. It took a few minutes for me to figure out why, and I realized that along with the theme being "stupid" synonyms, the clues were assuming the solvers were stupid, also! It felt like a lesson in crosswordese 101, with overly detailed clues just to make sure you got them. I liked all of the theme answers, along with drub and hoosegow, but the rest was just blah. Also, my car does not get tow. It might get a tow, or it might get towed.
Sorry, rant off.

joho 9:34 AM  

I was hoping for a Monday pangram but came up short a "Q" and a "V."

I don't think this puzzle was ABOMB but it's not a JEWEL either.

Brendan Emmett Quigley 9:38 AM  

It's a tough balance to get new fill in there and have a puzzle easy enough that everyone can get. So the constructor must weigh is YOST better than ZEST? ARIE vs. ULEE? Who's to say? One things for sure, there's really only so many words that are Monday-approved for the average solver, who, let's face it, are the ones who will indubitably enjoy these puzzles way more than the veterans. And frankly, most of those people aren't going to remember points of the puzzle so much, more so the fact that they finished the Time puzzle.

Anyway, this one did the trick.

Norm 9:41 AM  

Please, Will, don't listen to Rex. If there was never another rapper in the puzzle, that would be fine by me.

ArtLvr 9:44 AM  

Second Norm's motion!

PIX 9:48 AM  

Better an old TV show no one ever watched than another rap artist.

Never heard of hoosegow and "oaten" seems a bit crosswordese for a monday. Not my favorite puzzle.

treedweller 9:51 AM  

Once again, I never heard of the ELO song, but just reflexively stuck it in there because that's always the answer for a three-letter band. It doesn't have to be (cf. XTC from my rant yesterday), but it always is, especially on Monday. I have the same tired attitude as others toward crosswordese in general, but this one particularly rankles, for some reason.

But, after I had about half of HOOSEGOW and couldn't quite see it, I had to smile when it finally dawned on me. I also liked BARITONE (in your face, alto!), DRUB, WREST, and DUMBWAITER (had one just last night). So, maybe it's just that I'm in a good mood after another sub-5 time, but I'm giving this one a thumbs-up.

Ulrich 9:55 AM  

@Doug: I went for STNS and NNS, and since I do this on paper, no one told me that was a mistake. I believe this type of crossing should not occur on a Monday. And OATEN, really?

So, I wasn't pleased with this one. Opel BTW is in dire straits as a subsidiary of GM, and the German government is seeking a solution that weans it from the parent co. (I haven't kept track--it may have happened by now).

treedweller 10:00 AM  

I usually don't have time to watch the videos, but I just checked out the ELO clip. I retract everything. I do recognize the song, if not the title. And those guys deserve to live on forever just for amazing accomplishments in Big Hair. Those were some dos that any biddie at a Dallas country club could be proud of. Well, not style-wise, but size-wise, for sure.

As I listened, I had to wonder: Does WS know all these songs, does he only know the titles, or does he take what he gets from the constructor? It amuses me greatly to picture him at home evenings, solving Kenkens while jamming out to some 70's disco.

Anonymous 10:00 AM  

also noteworthy: juxtaposed "toreador" and "baritone" (a wink at "carmen," if you're an opera dork like me)

miguel 10:00 AM  

The Puzzle was okay, but my hope is that it generates a post by Wade since Buck Owens has made it to the NYT. My proposal for a cross reference is the 'Code of SILENCE' practiced by 'Cheating CADETS.'
I also think there is a restaurant pairing in the SLOW COOKER and DUMB WAITER. I guess Mr. Sowell has been to a Denny's.

chefbea 10:01 AM  

ciao!!! beautiful day here in rome. Got here this am and very tired but did the puzzle. Met a rapper at JFK - he was the bar tender where we were before take off. He gave me the link to oneof his songs? on utube.

Did yesterday's puzzle on the plane. Finnished it and had no idea what the theme meant. Finally i realized what it was. A cleaver puzzle.

Had great pasta for lunch at an out door cafe. - yummmc

Anonymous 10:10 AM  

The central across is certainly another theme entry.

XMAN 10:11 AM  

Maybe Monday constructors are just plain wore out by the strait-jacket they are forced to wear. As was pointed out today (and other days), the limitations in cluing are severe, perhaps so strict that they are beginning to lead to less than inteligent puzzles.

Rex Parker 10:13 AM  

@Norm

You're too late to plead with Will against Rap. The whole point was that NAS has been used, by Will, many many times before, and will undoubtedly be again. And I wasn't asking for more rap. I was asking for the better clue for "N.A.S."

I mean, far from asking for more rap, I suggested he take NATE Dogg out — are you even reading? The rap hatred among some of you is kind of intense.

Crosscan 10:16 AM  

I finished this wonderful Monday puzzle all by myself but I needed all five crossings to get 2 down. Can someone explain that one?

Ex–pos is the abbreviation for Executive position, right? What does executive position have to do with Montreal baseballers, 1969-2004?

Montreal is a place in Missouri, baseballers isn’t even in my dictionary and 1969-2004 equals minus 35. Missouri something minus 35 is executive position? I don’t get it. I came here to get an explanation but Rex justs talks about some awesome-sounding north-of-the-border reader. North of Missouri? Is that Iowa?

Help!!

Rex Parker 10:16 AM  

@miguel,

I think Wade's camping at the moment. Or he was last we spoke. But yes, any day would be a good day to hear from him, Buck OWENS or no.

rp

Z.J. Mugildny 10:24 AM  

Rex,
I agree with your Nas vs. N.A.S. rant whole-heartedly. I even momentarily second-guessed HOOSEGOW, because I couldn't figure out why, on a Monday, an obscure TV show would take precedent over a platinum album-producing, billboard-topping artist.

Otherwise pretty good, normal Monday puzzle.

Charles Bogle 10:25 AM  

totally agree w you Rex; fun puzzle; HOOSEGOW a terrific word; some of the fill tired and lazy

Liked INUITS; TOREADOR instead of matador....the theme of slow moronic activity fits me for this Monday...also enjoyed the juxtaposition of Theda w SILENT for her films.

A little bit of a lot of subject matters in here with a proper little Monday twist

Would like to see a moratorium on ERLE; ERL; ABEL; ORE; OGRE; ELO

Seems Rex has readily shown how some of these hackneyed puzzle terms can be replicated...

PlantieBea 10:33 AM  

@Doug and Ulrich, I put in STNS/NNS. I also thought that thumbnail writings could be BLOG with ARLE/YOGT--both Naticks for me. I did like the themed answers although not the "stupid" theme, which seems cheeky considering the quality of some of the fill.

The Outkast video was very cute.

Two Ponies 10:38 AM  

I'm not sure I have ever seen hoosegow in print so not having a clue about 45A I had to guess between a Z and an S.
I got lucky.
@ Anon10:10 Good one!
As for the puzzle overall-
what Rex said.
My favorite was drub although it looks odd standing alone as a verb. I prefer drubbing.
The only Dogg I know is Snoop. Who's this Nate guy?

Noam D. Elkies 10:47 AM  

...and there in the center of the puzzle is that paragon of dimwittedness 37A:HOMER :-)

NDE

Anonymous 11:24 AM  

Hey, dog. Check it out, this rapper goes by the name of Mr. Dogg

If HOMER is part of the theme, why is it clued as a B-ball term?

/mee

Paul 11:41 AM  

Cruised through the puzzle, except the NE- which took a while. Loved 'Hoosegow' 'wrest' and 'slew'. While I do not listen to much rap, what is the problem folks?

edith b 11:48 AM  

Re: Our attitudes toward Rap Music and Rap Artists-

I remember in the '60s when the Grammies were pretending that Up With People and Pat Boone represented what was "cutting edge" in music while ignoring the contributions that the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were making to Popular Music.

To paraphrase Walt Kelly, We have met our parents and they are us

Anonymous 11:57 AM  

For me, ARIE / YOST / BIOS was equally as likely as ARLE / YOGT / BLOG

Without resorting to facts, I am unquestionably correct.

Dough 12:09 PM  

Re rap music: I think it's terrific, but I just don't listen to it often. As such, I just don't know the names associated with it. And because of all the creative spellings, it's often hard to guess. So like many other things, for me they are a you know it or you don't, and there's no way, oftentimes, to take a best guess at them. Same goes for words in names of arias, foreigners of all stripes. So, I just think that the constructor has an obligation to cross them with entries that the average solver (of any age and interest) can get.

Nas reminded me of the fabulous Lord Buckley and "The Nazz" story of Jesus.

Noam D. Elkies 12:12 PM  

@Anonymous 11:24 — if 37A:HOMER is part of the theme then it makes sense that for that word, like slow/dense/dumb/obtuse, to be clued with another meaning.

NDE

mac 12:22 PM  

No help, pretty fast, lots of crosswordese but also some nice words/answers.

About 17A: is that a dog from a particular show?

I lucked out with the stas, but what does N.A.S. stand for exactly?
I know it's something Naval.
I also thought the dumbwaiter and slow cooker were good. Saw a dumbwaiter first at Monticello in Virginiam, Jefferson apparently designed that one.

@edith b: I sometimes say that to my husband....

mac 12:24 PM  

P.S. stop giving Arie a hard time! He is such a crossword staple, I wouldn't have known him otherwise.

fikink 12:28 PM  

@joho, I was looking for a Q too. The first time I considered a pangram WHILE doing the puzzle. Thank-you, ACME!
Also appreciated that I didn't see the theme until the puzzle was completed. That was fun.

@NDE:

I redid the northeast with:

C L E F
Z E A L
A S T I
R E S T

Is "______-majeste" too difficult for a Monday? It seems long-established crosswordese to me.

retired_chemist 12:35 PM  

@ fikink - LESE-majeste is to me borderline Monday at best, actually just south of the border to me. but what is CZAREA?

retired_chemist 12:44 PM  

@ crosscan 10:16 - LOL!

Noam D. Elkies 12:53 PM  

@fikink: why is this addressed to me? I didn't write about that corner or suggest alternatives. Like R_C I'm baffled by CZAREA. But indeed LABREA is not the only possibility, even for Monday, e.g.

S L A W
K U D O
O X E N
R E S T

S H A M
K A L E
O Z M A
R E S T

SKOREA is for instance "where to find Seoul food: abbr."; and yes, KUDO is legit, as we saw on this forum a few weeks ago.

NDE

fikink 12:53 PM  

@r_C, good point!!!! D'OH!
I am now officially part of the theme! Too funny!

I stopped at REST, with an eye on FOREST. (obviously)

CZAREA - The text message plural for Caesarean?

fikink 12:58 PM  

@NDE, only addressed to you because you like to rework areas of the puzzle and seem to know the appropriate level of difficulty of words.
Also, because Rex isn't always aware of questions addressed to him.(Didn't mean to offend or suggest something untoward.)

retired_chemist 12:58 PM  

yet another NE variant, favoring horticulturists instead of tar-pit enthusiasts:

STAG
POLE
IRES
REST

with GEST maybe being a bit off for a Mon.

100 (binary) and out.

Mike 1:21 PM  

I enjoyed this puzzle more than most, it seems, but then again I blazed through it real quick, so I guess I didn't even notice the meh fill. This puzzle did feature me making one of my better errors though: I had MIDAS instead of MINOS for a little bit, which for some reason seemed totally plausible to me. Sigh.

Also, in regards to rap, I'm in complete agreement with Rex. Rap/hip-hop is one of the most successful and popular musical genres around, and to not know anything about it/not want to see it in the crossword of a newspaper that writes about rap and that is based in a city that is one of the focal points of the genre seems a bit crazy to me. Also, on a related note, NAS is an extraordinarily good artist; his album Illmatic is not only one of the best of the genre, but one of the most intelligent, thoughtful, and intense albums ever made. Check it out.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illmatic

archaeoprof 1:23 PM  

@chefbea: benvenuti a Roma! A restaurant or cafe in Rome is the perfect place for solving a puzzle. Plenty to choose from, esp. near the Coliseum or around the Campo de Fiori.

Clark 1:30 PM  

@mac --

What a delightful question! I guess this dog is from a particular show, yes.

LADY MACBETH
Out, damned spot! out, I say!—One: two: why,
then, 'tis time to do't.—Hell is murky!—Fie, my
lord, fie! a soldier, and afeard? What need we
fear who knows it, when none can call our power
to account?—Yet who would have thought the old
man to have had so much blood in him?

* * * * *

And now you should recommend to me a Dutch play that I might enjoy reading.

PuzzleGirl 1:37 PM  

Wasn't able to get here until now but I did the puzzle last night and ... don't really remember much about it. Except that I wondered why NAS was clued with a show nobody's ever heard of when there's a perfectly usable rap artist with that name. :-) Off to enjoy the phenomenal linguistic gymnastics of Eminem.

joho 1:49 PM  

@mac ... I saw that same dumbwaiter at Monticello ... loved Jefferson's home!

@fikink ... don't you know, CZAREA is the dysentery of the Czars!

fikink 2:21 PM  

@joho, HA! as XMAN says, "Thanks for the fig leaf."

@Xman, now I am going to have that sausage with the egg on my face.

Rex, maintenant, je suis l'histoire ;)

treedweller 2:24 PM  

I think all the re-working of various corners only demonstrates the validity of the original. Is replacing ARIE, which I've seen 999 times, with ALEE, which I've seen 10,999 times, really an improvement? (and I realize nobody really made that specific suggestion, but the point still stands.)

None of the "improvements" above is without at least one or two been-there-done-that words. If people can't learn the bound-to-show-up-eventually fill on Monday, how will they ever gain the ability to finish the late-week puzzles.

Well, I'm all out of hyphens, so I'll leave it at that.

Rex Parker 2:43 PM  

@treedweller,

I would argue that ALEE beats ARIE upside-down, backwards, and sideways. A real word beats a marginal name (that's in crosswords only for its vowel-heaviness) any day of the week. I too have seen ARIE many times, but Never remember it because ... he's known for precisely one thing: winning the Indy 500, twice (1990, '97). OK, maybe that's two things ... but he Always gets the same clue, and my response is always "oh yeah ... guy w/ three vowels in his name."

ALEE is a word one might know, whereas no one but race fans and xword experts is going to know ARIE.

ELIE, on the other hand, won a Nobel Prize.

No one is suggesting that common / unlovable fill won't always be with us. My taste / preference, however (and perhaps it's idiosyncratic), is for actual words, or names noteworthy for something substantial. A suffix plus two proper nouns of marginal noteworthiness shoved in small corner on a Monday = too much for me.

mac 2:56 PM  

@Rex: is there a way to find out if Arie's last name was ever in a puzzle? Talk about vowels: Luijendijk!

Irfan 3:17 PM  

HOOSEGOW? I was certain is was HOOK EGOS.

Matt 3:29 PM  

it isn't pretty, but no obscure names:

L A B S
A X I S
B L OG
R E S T

imsdave 3:30 PM  

Personally, in honor of our favorite Monday consructer, I'd go with:

A P O P
N A D A
D V D S
R E S T
E
A

Ulrich 3:59 PM  

@imsdave: Inspired! You're the man.

@chefbea: I envy you--Rome must be lovely this time of year--buon viaggio!

andrea need AJOB michaels 4:32 PM  

Not a good sign when all the solvers spontaneously want to rework a corner!
I'm with Rex on this one, 100%

Instead of redoing the corners, I think it would be more fun/easier to reclue this whole puzzle with all musical...hip (or hip hop) references.
Randy Sowell could republish it in Billboard mag:

Along with BARITONE you have
NAS, NATE, YOST, ARIE, JEWEL, ELO, LEON (Redbone), JOAN (Jett)
(Buck) OWENS (belated Saturday bday wishes Wade!) and didn't DELLA Reese from "Touched by an Angel" sing too?
And AXL(E) Rose???
And LAZY-eye Lopez of TLC???
(ok, it was left-eye...but still!)

(Before I read the blog, I had actually made a list of all the words/names that could have been in a TV Guide puzzle circa 1986.
From Opie to Oleg)


But who am I to say? I've had my last 10 or so rejected! Or told that my fill was zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

One moment of joy in what felt like a negative theme to me:
I realized HOMER which could be Simpsons OR baseball...but I always think of him as that Odyssey guy!

(Have I told the story about going into the library here in Chinatown and asking if they had a children's version of the Odyssey?
The librarian asked who it was written by and I was shocked and said "Homer"! She then asked me for his last name!!!!!!!!!!!!)

It's ironic, by the time I read the blog now and all the comments, I no longer have time/energy to create a puzzle myself!

joho 4:59 PM  

@imsdave ... I definitely choose your ANDREA version! If we can't have Andrea contructing our Monday puzzle, at least she can be in it!

3 and out.

ArtLvr 5:40 PM  

@ mac and joho -- I loved Monticello too, most especially because of a favorite uncle who grew up near there and became a doctor, with a bent for unusual architecture on the side. He built at least three homes with an octagonal living room and a domed bedroom on the floor above! The one he lived in longest was near Bull Run in VA, off Route 66, and another was purchased by cousins near UVA when it came on the market after many years. Jefferson's octagon room was slightly truncated if you recall, but not those of Dr. Paul McFarlane... He didn't do a DUMBWAITER though. R.I.P.

∑;)

andrea aroo michaels 5:47 PM  

@imsdave
THANK YOU!!!!!!!! :)
What, no ACME???!

How about
A C M E
N O O N
D D D D
R E E S
E
A

(NOON is how I late I sleep so I always miss the first 50 comments...
The DDDD is in honor of the strippers, I mean ESCORTS, I just saw in Vegas...or were they tourists?
And the REES is for that actor no one knew last week!)

Oh wait! I just got it...was APOP for MALAPOP???!!!!!!!! David, that IS brilliant!

Wade 6:38 PM  

Thanks for good wishes, Miguel, Rex, Andrea, and sorry to miss Buck Owens's NYT debut. Maybe this is the paper's way of making things right with me after ticking me off so bad I unsubscribed. It's a good first step. After they do a Lefty Frizzell theme puzzle I'll reconsider.

I feel bad about commenting when not doing the puzzle. It's like showing up at a party without a present.

Geek 6:50 PM  

Lots of comments but nobody wants to call out the cross of ABEL and SLEW?? Just sayin.

Stan 7:09 PM  

And don't forget The Cadets ("Stranded in the Jungle")

retired_chemist 7:17 PM  

@ GEEK - raisin' CAIN, are you?

101 (binary) and out.

retired_chemist 7:25 PM  

@ ACME - DDDD goes delightfully with the theme - them's some REAL boobs!

LOVED the HOMER who? story....

110 (binary) and out, but WTH - after 7 PM it's the silly season....

Crosscan 7:26 PM  

EXPOS!!!!! How did I miss that?

Never mind.

Best puzzle ever.

andrea shakin' it like a polaroid michaels 7:29 PM  

@wade
Now that you've showed up, NOW it's a party!
Presence, not presents...that's what counts!!!

@retired_chemist
to be fair, she was probably a volunteer at the library (while the real librarian was tied up in the back)...but still!

Now, back to groovin' out to HEY YAAAAAA! Thanks, Rex!

Noam D. Elkies 7:35 PM  

@andrea 5:47 — alas REST cannot be changed, being the end of the theme answer's FOREST. Possibly this would work:

A C M E
N O I R
D N A S
R E S T
E
A

I'm not sure the plural DNAS is legit, but we may have constrained that corner too tightly for a fully satisfactory Monday solution...

Present company excepted, how would one clue ANDREA for a Monday puzzle? The Wikipage for the name lists dozens of people called Andrea, male as well as female, but I don't know whether any of them is widely enough known for this purpose.

11 (ternary) and out,
—NDE

imsdave 8:04 PM  

@nde - Andrea Doria should be acceptable on a Monday with good crosses (not to imply that OUR Andrea is a shipwreck - much more a Queen Mary II)

retired_chemist 8:04 PM  

@ NDE - How about SS ______ Doria, sunk in 1956? Well covered by the media at the time. 16th century Genoese Admiral ______ Doria doesn't seem to cut it.....

I can buy DNAS - "how homologous (similar) are the DNAS of the two species?"

OK, 21 (ternary) and out....

Orange 8:21 PM  

ANDREA Bocelli is pretty famous, isn't he? And ANDREA Mitchell from TV news?

jrmcconvey 9:21 PM  

For the record, INUITS is a cheat. The word "Inuit" is plural form of the singular "Inuk." A better (or at least more fair) clue would have been "Eskimo's."

mac 10:16 PM  

@Orange: I must be the only person in America who dislikes Andrea Bocelli's voice. I think it sounds raw, and is so much less beautiful than many other tenors I've heard.
There was a shop in Westport, CT that played his music only, and after two visits I stopped going there.

sanfranman59 10:31 PM  

Since there seems to be at least some interest out here in seeing average solve times, I'll try to keep this going for a few weeks to get some stable estimates for each day of the week other than Sunday. (I prefer to do the Sunday puzzle the old-fashioned way and am not in the habit of going to the NYT Premium Crosswords page that day.) This week, I'll post the median overall solve time and the median solve time for the top 100 times. The number in parentheses is the number of solvers.

Mon (all) 6:55 (856)
Mon (Top 100) 3:43

This week's Monday solve times (median time < 1 hr = 6:51) are quite a bit better than last week's (7:10).

edith b 12:12 AM  

@mac-

You're not the only one that doesn't care for Bocelli's voice. I find it not only raw but thin. All right for a Pop aria, I guess, but still . . .

Larry 3:44 PM  

My first two theme answers were:

SLOWCOOKER & DUMBWAITER.

I spent some time trying to fit CHEF and BUSBOY in the other two themes!

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