The "A" in U.A.W. . MON 8-29-11 / Deborah of "The King and I" / Actor Jannings who won the first Best Actor Oscar / Capone henchman

Monday, August 29, 2011

Constructor: Andrea Carla Michaels & Michael Blake

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: Breakfast in New York — The last words of the first three theme answers are types of bagels. THE WHOLE SCHMEAR is an expression that means "everything" and a SCHMEAR is something that might be put on an "everything bagel."

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Legendary San Francisco music/comedy club where Lenny Bruce and Woody Allen have performed (THE PURPLE ONION).
  • 28A: Ali Baba's magic words (OPEN SESAME).
  • 46A: Bad place to live when the river rises (FLOOD PLAIN).
  • 52A: Everything ... or what might cover an everything 62-Across? (THE WHOLE SHMEAR).
  • 62A: Item whose varieties include the endings of 20-, 28- and 46-Across (BAGEL).
Good Monday morning, everybody. PuzzleGirl here. As some of you probably know, Our Fearless Leader got "stuck in Detroit" last night and sent up a flare that was pointed right at me. I could have said no. I mean, I'm pretty exhausted from the earthquake and then the hurricane this week. The earthquake — well, I know it wasn't a huge one, but it's the biggest one I've ever felt. And I know all you Californians think we're big wimps out here for getting panicked about it, but I just have to say that y'all didn't have people flying planes into your buildings just a short ten years ago. Around here when a building starts shaking, there's no way not to panic.

So anyway, Rex got all whiny and pathetic and when he does that I can't stand it. I'm such a sucker. I have half a mind to spend the whole blog talking about Rachel Maddow and my weight-loss program (two things Rex accuses me of obsessing about), but I won't do that to you. I mean Rachel is awesome, and yes, as a matter of fact, I have lost 20 pounds, but we have more important things to talk about. Like, say, the puzzle ….

I tell you what. A big ol' Q right in the very first square is an awesome way to start a puzzle, amirite? As it turns out, there was much more Scrabbly goodness to follow. You got your Xs, your Z, your J … as a matter of fact I'm pretty sure what we've got right here is a pangram, which can actually be kind of helpful. If it's starting to look like there's a lot of Scrabbliness in the grid, you start to look for it. So if you're having trouble coming up with an answer, you think about whether there's a word with a Q or a V or a K in it that might work, and sometimes that allows you to hit on something pretty quick.

I have mixed feelings about this theme. I think it's probably fine but, I guess I'm not much of a bagel connoisseur. I know there's such a thing as an "everything bagel" and I know that a "schmear" is something you put on a bagel, but I couldn't tell you any more details about either of those things. Can a schmear be cream cheese? Or maybe that's exactly what a schmear is. Can it be anything else? Answers, people! I demand answers!

Also I've never heard of THE PURPLE ONION or the phrase "THE WHOLE SHMEAR." I'm not saying that the puzzle is necessarily bad just because I've never heard of those things. I'm just saying that I've never heard of those things. The great thing about Monday is that not having heard of a couple things doesn't mean the puzzle is undoable. Chances are (especially if you're dealing with Andrea and Michael) the crosses are all solid and the cluing is straightforward. So, really, no worries.

Most of the time when I'm blogging a puzzle, I like to look through the grid and see which entries jump out at me as especially colorful. Typically, they're the longer non-theme entries — I like to see colloquial phrases and words that seem to me inherently awesome for one reason or another. In today's grid, I don't see anything particularly colorful jumping out at me, but the Scrabbly letters distributed throughout do lend a lot of sparkle to this grid. I'm liking PIXEL, ROLEX, LEVI, SLEAZE, and JUMP. Wait, did somebody say JUMP?

  • 1A: You can stick them in your ear (Q-TIPS). Ear doctors across the country are cringing en masse. But hey, if the average person has a GLOB (10A: Soft, thick lump) of something in there, they're gonna go for the Q-TIP. It's probably better to just accept it and move on.
  • 17A: Bolivian capital (SUCRE). I believe Bolivia has two capitals. Or used to have two capitals. Or something. The other one is … I'm trying to think of it myself instead of looking it up … LA PAZ? Yesss!
  • 24A: Extremity (END). I wanted this to be ARM but already had the E in place, which made me question the cross for a hot second, but I got over it.
  • 25A: Got rid of some tobacco juices, say (SPAT). Ew.
  • 42A: Poet/playwright Jones (LEROI). I once read a book by his first wife called How I Became Hettie Jones that, as I recall, was very interesting. I should probably say, though, that I also read Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose in that general period of my life and when I tried it again last year I found it unreadable. So who knows. It might be awesome, it might suck.
  • 61A: Group of birds (BEVY). Is it quail that come in a BEVY? Apparently, it can be any number of animals, but "especially" quail (according to Merriam-Webster online).
  • 68A: 45 or 78 (DISC). You whippersnappers out there probably don't even know what this means. Sometimes it pays to be old.
  • 22D: Minimal lead in baseball (ONE RUN). For some reason, I kept reading this clue as "Minimal lead in BASKETball" and couldn't think of a three-letter anything that would make sense here. D'oh!
  • 32D: What a murder suspect needs (ALIBI). Okay, this is funny. I had ALI in place and thought "A LIFE?" Like some accused murderer is at home preparing for trial and his snotty teenage daughter tells him to "get a life." Probably not her best move.
  • 47D: Examined deeply (PROBED). I cut a picture out of a newspaper many years ago because it really made me laugh. It was a guy sitting behind a desk and he was caught at just the wrong time for the picture. He had a dorky kind of surprised look on his face. And the caption said, "Joe Smith is the subject of a long probe." Someday I'll find it and share it with you. So you've got that to look forward to.
Love, PuzzleGirl


Gill I. P. 12:11 AM  

When the first clue reads "You can stick them in your ear," I just knew I was going to love this puzzle - and I did.
The answers are refreshing; not too easy and not too difficult - a perfect Monday puzzle and a pangram to boot - yay).
About the only thing I would top that BAGEL with would be an EXTRA SHMEAR of sweet marmalade! ;)
Terrific job Andrea and Michael. I'm saving this one for our 23yr old daughter who just started doing the NYT....
Thank you also PuzzleGirl for the fun write-up.
P.S. You're right. Those of us here in California did a wee bit of snickering.

retired_chemist 12:24 AM  

Nice puzzle and nice writeup. Well done, all!

1A was PLUGS and 1D PTS until I noticed that LOUT and UTCH made no sense.Easily fixed. 10A was CLOD until the end - probably spent a minute checking for errors before I found it.

THE PURPLE ONION was a gimme - went there a few times when I was a (poor) grad student.

Not a lot else to say, except thanks to PuzzleGirl, Andrea, and Blake.

santafefran 12:29 AM  

Very entertaining comments PuzzleGirl and congrats on the 20 lbs you lost! BEEN there, done that so I know it is quite an accomplishment.

Glad not to be living in a FLOOD PLAIN back East where the SILT is making quite a GLOB. I really enjoyed THE WHOLE SHMEAR of this puzzle, but now I am longing for a good bagel with a SHMEAR!

Thanks ACME and Michael.

foodie 12:31 AM  

I loved it!!!! I love bagels, and I like all the Jewish goodies thrown in to create a bagel atmosphere. I mean Levy (with an accent) is used to clue ETRE, and LEVI is just nearby, and of course SHMEAR! Fantastic! The whole thing makes me want to get myself to a NY deli. How about Nussbaum & Wu-- Just because I love their name- and they have good bagels.

Rex, you're in Detroit? Stuck? Why didn't you say so? I hope you're not staying in a hotel somewhere? I'm like 35 minutes away from the airport. I could have brought you guys home and fed you Zingerman's bagels for breakfast.

Thanks Puzzle Girl for stepping in after such a horrendous week! I know California people snicker at the quake and New Orleans people snicker at Irene, but the one-two punch is quite a lot to take!

syndy 12:50 AM  

I failed to see the author(S) so when I read 20 across I was all "come on sheer pandering to ACME" then I looked up to see who had done it. OOH! So of course it's a pangram-to prove you don't have to squeeze that hard.And it's got baseball and SHARI LEWIS and greek and obscure names -something for everybody and still monday easy! how do they do that? best twit out of NEW YORK "I think it's time to let the Isrealites go"

Tobias Duncan 12:54 AM  

Really really liked this puzzle.
When I say I want early week puzzles to be accessible, people think I want them to be easy.Nothing could be further from the truth.All I want is a puzzle that does not have a bunch of words in it that you only learn from doing crossword puzzles.When I give someone a puzzle and they get stuck on something like ETUI or OLEO I cringe and give them the crosswordese speech.I will not be giving that speech tomorrow at coffee.

ONERUN is a sports answer I will never complain about ,as even a Brit would know that one.
I cant even really complain about ASTROS because somehow despite my every effort to keep stuff like that out of my brain, I have known that team's name since long before I started doing crosswords.

A ton of proper nouns today, many I did not know, really slowed me down.
I watched the counter pass my easy Monday time then my easy Tuesday time.Am I the only one who thinks this should have been a Tuesday???

As some of you might remember, I like to print out early week puzzles and distribute them at my favorite coffee shop in Taos, unfortunately I am out of ink. One of my crossword buddies called up and offered to print them out for me and we got to talking , turns out his mother lives 10 min from Stamford and does not mind her son bringing home his hippy friends every once in while.You may just have a New Mexico bachelor contingent gumming up the works and drinking all the rye whiskey this year.

You do have rye whiskey at these things right?

chefwen 3:56 AM  

The Monday Queen strikes again coauthoring with Michael Blake. Well done. From one Jewish Princess to another, loved the BAGEL theme and it did, indeed, make me hungry. Now I really have to make the Bialys I threatened to make a couple of weeks ago. Might have to make some special SHMEAR to go with them with a little mango thrown in for special effect.

Great write up Puzzle Girl and congrats on your weight loss. It's a lot of work, been there done that!

Clark 5:52 AM  

Loved it, though I did not have my typical ACME monday experience. As I filled it in I was constantly getting stuff wrong PLUGS/PTS and or misspelling stuff (SHeRI, LEROy, ONEhit {ok I even knew that didn't make sense}, caRR, etc.). But, everything got put right lickety split, and the stuff I didn't know along with it (SUCRE, NITTI), and when I finished, there was Mr. Happy Pencil. So, instead of the typical ACME flowing through the grit I kinda chattered through the grid. Fun. But big surprise when I read the author(s).

Doris 6:41 AM  

We purists can accept only PLAIN as your echt bagel. And, in NYC deli-ese, SHMEAR (or SCHMEAR) is only cream cheese. These latter-day accretions do upset some of us. (The worst offenders are rye and raisin.)

We used to get our office-party birthday cakes from Nussbaum & Wu, a wonderful example of cross-cultural fertilization. Another time, I was able to discover Jewish fortune cookies, which I brought to one of Mom's birthday parties.

Z 7:07 AM  

Did this last night on the computer. For whatever reason, wanted swabS instead of of QTIPS, which slowed me down a little. Once I got rolling the puzzle went down easily.

Clean, crisp grid. Nice absence of crosswordese, a nice theme, a pangram, all the names gettable from crosses if one didn't know them. All-in-all a great Monday Puzzle.

joho 7:29 AM  

This is everything a Monday should be and more because it's a pangram, too!

I loved the New Yorkiness of the theme: a perfect fit for the NYT.

Plus apropos of Andrea and Michael there is a mini San Francisco theme: THEPURPLEONION, HUEY Lewis and the News and LEVI Strauss.

Nice seeing NTH right next to END.
Also FLOODPLAIN followed by SILT.

And don't you know that Ali Baba SPAT, "OPENSESAME!?"

This was such a great way to start the day and week, thank you Andrea and Michael!

joho 7:33 AM  

Oh, and I loved NITTI followed by ALIBI which, of course, he needed!

And lastly, thank you, PuzzleGirl, for stepping in to save the blog in Rex's absence. I, too, congratulate you for your weight loss ... it's not easy!

jberg 8:21 AM  

Nice puzzle, nice writeup. Once I've never hear 'the whole shmear' either, so I spent a lot of time trying to remember the word that seemed to fit the phrase - banana? tomato? shebang? Ah, yes, 'the whole enchilada!' Didn't fit though, and SHMEAR emerged from the crosses.

Aside from that, who is NITTI? Never heard of him.

I did like the pangram.

Brian 9:03 AM  


Other than that, it was a snap.

The clue for ROOTWORD seemed out of place or overly complicated for a Monday, but I thought it was the coolest of clues.

Best answer, I thought, was SAIDAH. How fun.

Also liked seeing NITTI; thought that was by far the most interesting fill.

As soon as I saw who the constructors were and that the first answer was QTIPS, I knew it was going to be a pangram — so no surprise there.

Overall, an example of dependable work!

exaudio 9:05 AM  

Loved the puzzle, and this was probably the quickest I've ever caught on to a theme, as it was smack dab in my wheelhouse. I used to bring in bagels for my coworkers every day and I'd keep the sign-up sheet on my office door. Like Foodie, I'm very close to the Detroit Airport, would have met Rex at the airport Chili's or whatever to pass the time until the east coast stopped a-shakin' and a-blowin'.

CFXK 9:07 AM  

Are there other products out there in addition to QTIPS and cigarettes that have an explicit warning on the package about the health risks of using the product in the way the manufacturer and marketer intends it to be used?

jackj 9:11 AM  

To draw on Acme's recent comments about other Monday puzzles, this "Tale of the Tori" shoulda been a Tuesday.

No matter; still enjoyed it, despite the strained cluing needed to achieve pangram status.

Teresa S 9:30 AM  

About Shmear – A Jewish friend once explained to me as follows. There are only three ways to eat a bagel breakfast: with cream cheese, with cream cheese and lox, and The Whole Shmear, which is cream cheese, lox and a thick slice of raw onion. Yum!

Sandy 9:35 AM  

Foodie, we finally made it on our plane and got home, but there were a couple of sticky moments when we thought we wouldn't make it. Rex called PG during one of those moments. Believe me, calling you was next on our list of things to do.


cw stewart 10:05 AM  

Creative puzzle Andrea and Michael! I like how smooth your puzzles always seem to be. It makes solving a pleasure. Nice write-up too, Puzzle Girl.

hazel 10:10 AM  

i really liked the bagel theme, particularly the word shmear. i can't remember the last time i had a really good bagel. sad. our go to spot closed down a few years ago (economy) double sad.

the reveal clues seemed a bit strangled - not as elegant as i've come to expect. agree also w/ @brian on ROOTWORD comment. im a fan of the peppy and terse, i suppose. i hadnt really thought of it before, but i guess terse is more of a late week thing.

after hearing last week from the newbie constructor about the incredible number of clue changes in his puzzle, would be interested to hear from the seasoned vets if many of their clues got changed?

slypett 10:19 AM  

What a load of...good stuff!

The bagel of today is soft. In my youth, you didn't reason with a bagel. You tore into it the way a front loader tears into a building to be razed.

ETRE is "to be." Vivre is "to live."

Noam D. Elkies 10:22 AM  

The 39D:ROOT_WORD for "calculus" makes more sense if you think not of the ∫ kind of calculus but of "renal calculus" = kidney stone. In Latin it would be the diminutive of "calx" = limestone, whence also "calcify" and "calcium". For the connection with "calculation", think about using pebbles as counters, as an abacus does more systematically. A "calculus", whether integral, differential, or otherwise, is a technique for calculating.


P.S. Spell SCHMEAR with a C and it's a letter bank for "cream cheese". (I don't know who first noticed this; it was the solution of an Enigma puzzle some seven years ago.)

archaeoprof 10:48 AM  

The Queen of Monday rocks and rules.

How about that layer of FLOODPLAIN and SILT right across the whole puzzle.

But SHMEAR without a C?? What's next? Joe Shmo???

@Puzzle Girl: congratulations on your loss!

DBGeezer 11:09 AM  

Is the other meaning of capital in 17a, more for a Tuesday rather than for a Monday?

capcha: hangst - what the condemned person with a noose on the neck feels before the floor drops out.

chefbea 11:55 AM  

What a great puzzle!!! and a great write up!! Congrats on your loss poundage PG.

and on another note...Just read that Usaine Bolt (surly everyone remembers him) just got eliminated from a race for starting too soon.

Matthew G. 11:57 AM  

Great write-up, PuzzleGirl. I've never heard the expression THE WHOLE S(C)HMEAR either, but it caused nary a speedbump with all this smooth fill.

Appropriate day for FLOOD PLAIN to appear, and my heart is breaking for Vermont, where many of the areas I frequented during my recent year there are now washed away completely.

Thanks also, PG, for defending New Yorkers over the earthquake. I'd go further: when we lower-Manhattanites were running out of our tall buildings, we didn't know it was an earthquake, and we were relieved when we learned that's what it was. So the narrative about New Yorkers panicking over an earthquake is way off base -- we were afraid it wasn't an earthquake, if you know what I'm saying. And we didn't know until we were outside.

John V 12:10 PM  

Fun puzzle. A very nice way to shake off the post-Irene Connecticut blues. No train-solving this morning because, well, there are no trains today :(

Just thinking that Irene+sissy quake gives a whole new meaning to THE WHOLE SCHMEAR, which pretty much describes the last few days in New York and the 'burbs.

So, how cool would it be to have a pangram where the theme was pans, metal and mythical types? If I had any constructor skill, I'd try it but, alas, just a humble solver.

Lewis 12:15 PM  

@d.b. -- lol

I kinda like SPAT HIS EXTRA PIT all right next to each other.

A lovely unjunky Monday...

Stan 12:26 PM  

Great way to start the week -- a puzzle dedicated to my favorite breakfast torus. I especially liked the SLEAZE, Schlock, SHMEAR corner, plus what others have noted. Nice to see 'sleaze' used with its original meaning -- shoddy goods, instead of what it's come to mean in American politics.

CoffeeLvr 12:28 PM  

@NoamD.Elkies, thank you for the thoughtful elaboration on the derivation of words we use without thinking about it.

@PG, I would have known it was you filling in for Rex based on the kitty pic alone! Thanks.

Enjoyed the puzzle last evening; smooth, mostly. I had "sTudS" before QTIPS (thinking earrings), and "half" before EVEN, plus mis-spelled LEROy.

Fun theme, makes me hungry for a toric treat. Thanks Andrea & Blake.

Have a great, safe week everyone.

Sparky 1:35 PM  

I'm sitting here in my shmata typing this. Enjoyed. Got it after ONION and SESAME. Had inn before BAR and tied before EVEN.

Thanks @Puzzle Girl for the sprightly write up. Good for you on the weight loss. Been there too. Your kitty looks just like my naughty LouLou. Oh, how he loved to wreck the TP.

Thanks @ Andrea and Michael for getting us off to a good start. Finally, thanks @Sandy for the update. Welcome home.

Oh 1:37 PM  

Is it wrong that I initially put "boob" for 10a: Soft, thick lump.

Dirigonzo 2:04 PM  

First, as self-appointed president of the ACME Fan Club (Syndication chapter), I'd like to say. "Hi, Andrea"

This is a rare opportunity for me to comment in prime-time rather than 5 weeks later because *somebody* sent the puzzle to me this morning (you know who you are - thank you!) so I thought I'd stop by to say hello.

Of course I loved the puzzle although I found the baseball mini-theme (I'd include SPAT in that) a little surprising.

I always enjoy the write-up whether it be by RP or someone filling in as today, and the comments by all of you are always entertaining and often educational.

So thanks to everybody for making the puzzle so much more enjoyable, and thanks for letting me visit.

And now back in time...

Shamik 2:10 PM  

Always happy to see my name smack in the middle of the puzzle....what will happen when everyone forgets SHARI Lewis? Well, maybe I'll no longer be around doing puzzles by then. Solid medium Monday.

Anonymous 2:18 PM  

Never heard of the term SCHMEAR. And I like bagels. Only reason I got THEPURPLEONION I happened to have heard it on a podcast I listened to recently.

Nighthawk 2:22 PM  

Great work from ACME and Michael, and zinging write up, @PG. Thanks for pinch running.

No quibbles on most of the comments. Breezy, fun, panagram, accessible. What's not to love about this one.

But I get the feeling that media-centric New Yorkers, seeing the theme (and understandably a bit freaked about the oddity of Irene coming up right up the spout of the Hudson) once again think it's all about ME! It's not. Maybe some, but I think it's really all about that other great city with another great harbor, San Francisco. Not only is that ACME's home turf, but home to HUEY Lewis and the News, LEVI-Strauss (making work clothes since the 49ers), and the PURPLE ONION.

But what, City Lights, the Presidio or cioppino too obscure for a Monday?

MargInAZ 2:42 PM  

Hey PuzzleGirl,

I read it as BASKETball too ... is it our age? Well I got off to a bad start because I had 'plugs' for what you put in your ear (again, an age thing?) so therefore 'PTS' for 1Down ... not a good way to start a Monday ... sigh

Anonymous 2:48 PM  

Too many 'fill in the blank' clues for my taste.
-Planet of the APES
-To the NTH degree
-The Seven Year ITCH
-HUEY Lewis and The News
-BEEN there, done that
-LES Miserables
-ACT IN self-defense
-LEVI Strauss jeans


evil doug 3:26 PM  



Top 10 Worst Car Names

4. Ford Probe

There are many borderline inappropriate jokes you could make about a 1990s sport compact named Probe, but we're far too classy for that. Even if you don't take into account the tasteless jokes, this is just a bad car name. There is nothing cool about a probe (the word, not the car). What thesaurus was Ford using where probe was synonymous with sleek and sporty?



Bob Kerfuffle 4:27 PM  

Tripped me up at 10 A with BLOB before GLOB.

Hope not too many solvers were on 46 A this weekend.

Tara 5:33 PM  

I, too, read that Hettie Jones memoir a few years ago, and remember it being interesting. No idea if time would be kind to that memory, but the book is the only reason I know how to spell LeRoi Jones.

andrea carla schmichaels 7:14 PM  

Hi everybody!
PuzzleGirl, thanks for the spiffy writeup and jumping in there...and esp for the pic of the cat!!!
(And I will laugh at your ALIBI line for months to come...)

Yay that you chose to forgo an anti-pangram diatribe! Love that you loved the Scrabbly-ness :)

And one day I will recover from your not knowing what THEWHOLESHMEAR is! Given you are from North Dakota and love them Iowa wrestlers, all is forgiven/understood.
(I'm guessing that is why you didn't kvell that SHMEAR sat atop the word BAGEL) ;)

The fact that this puzzle has been blogged by an Olson, a Gaffney, and a Reynaldo and was edited by a Shortz and maybe rewritten by a Longo (?) just goes to show that the media is definitely not run by my people! ;)

Asamatteroffact, the whole puzzle idea was Michael Blake's, a decidedly non-Jewish man from Ohio...
Granted, I had to disabuse him of including CINNAMON... and he was willing to trust me to add THEWHOLESHMEAR to unify the theme.
(If only THEPURPLEONION was 15 letters, we could have spelled it the preferred way with the C!!!)

We even had "Oy" as the definition of UHOH! but that's about all we can take credit for!!!

As you asked what was changed, all I can say is this puzzle really needs a third credit, tho we don't know who, if it was Will or Frank Longo or some other unsung hero/ it's the first time that at least 75% of the grid was changed!!!!
The only things intact are the theme answers, the NW corner and all but one letter of the APES/JUMP area!!!

And, according to my files, we had rewritten it entirely once after acceptance (to get rid of JAHR, LADIDAH and IGOTO) and submitted what looks to be our 6th draft!!!!

I'd say of the 30 or so puzzles I've had published in the NYT, this is by far the most rewritten. Usually about 90% of mine have not had a letter changed (altho I'm often asked to do at least one total rewrite to make it more Monday-friendly), so this is quite the shock.
(Not to be confused with Schlock!)

But I have to say, I liked what s/he did; S/he rid the grid of HUTU, AGRA, NEGRI (where NITTI now resides) and some uglies: NUL, KEL, ANKH, AGIRL.

To be totally honest, I didn't realize it had been rewritten till I got to SPAT. No WAY would I define it with tobacco juice (EWWW is right, PG!) It would have been "a small argument".

As for ROOTWORD, we had all the discussion about Calculus, etc. ain't got nothing to do with Mr. Blake nor me.

(and ETRE would have been "To be" not "to live"...
Our LAVA became LEVI, and HUTU became HUEY so we can't even take credit for the SF-ness!!!)

About the only thing that remains is Michael's spiffy "In your ear!" clue and his GRANDSON definition!

As for me, I really can take no credit except THEWHOLESHMEAR and THEPURPLEONION, neither of which our 20-pound-thinner fab blogstress knew!!!

Having performed at THEPURPLEONION, tho WELL past its heyday, meant everything to me as a standup... to try and follow in the sneakers of Woody Allen, Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl and the Smothers Brothers!
The club still exists, by the way.

As for FLOODPLAIN, Michael and I WILL take credit for being psychic!

So, thank you to all who loved the theme! Beyond that, we would love to give credit where credit is due but we don't know who due-d it!

Anonymous 7:25 PM  

Rachel Maddow is what?

hazel 7:25 PM  

@acme - wow, i swear i didnt think it felt like one of your puzzles. and now i see why. i did love the theme.

chefbea 8:00 PM  

@acme glad you stopped in for an hilarious explanation!!!

Will K 9:13 PM  

1a, I just went straight to elbow, couldn't help myself.

Sfingi 9:40 PM  

Cute, easy.

@PG - The theme is very NY, and I mean The City.

Also, an accused murderer would be in the slammer awaiting trial. They don't get out on bail. So maybe they're on the phone, or visiting.

Also love Rachel Madow, the smartest woman on TV.

Q-tips' (owned by Brit-Dutch Unilever) official policy is stated on the package: "Do not insert swab in ear canal. Entering the ear canal could cause injury." If people obeyed that there would be no sales.

In Utica, one cannot live in the flood plain, which contains the Utica Marsh and borders the Mohawk River, Erie Canal and Barge Canal, which are pretty much the same water. This solves a lot of flooding problems. In other parts of the county, this is not the case.

@Shamik - I will never forget Shari Lewis and Lambchop. I still remember Senor Wences. ("Deeficult for you, easy for me.") Or Blabbermouth, where the guy is upside down on a sofa with a face painted on his chin and a wig on top.

acme 9:48 PM  

suspicion confirmed...Frank Longo did a major cleanup (batted clean up?) on the puzzle and if the NYT awarded 3 bylines, his should surely be there.
Thank you, Frank (and Will) for making the puzzle much more appetizing!

I've never heard of these word banks, very very cool. So the word CREAMCHEESE only has the letters S, C,H, M, E, A and R!!!
Now I REALLY wish the name of the club was THEPURPLEONIONS!!!

foodie 10:02 PM  

@Sandy, glad I was on your call list. I will send you guys my home phone number, in case you're ever stuck again. Or you just want to chat...Not enough people talk to you guys ;)

@Andrea, that was very interesting! Is this like a new trend, this in house editing instead of sending it to the constructor? It's pretty remarkable. I did recognize your influence on the theme answers but I agree with those who said that some of the fill did not sound like you. But since this was a collaboration with Michael, I chalked it up to that...

Is SanFranMan on vacation? I missed my window of opportunity to calculate my QDI (quick and dirty index) to see if it falls more into the Tuesday range. But the new puzzle just posted and the old data are gone... we shall never know, unless of course SanFranMan materializes!

Michael_Blake 11:30 PM  

The first NYT crossword constructor I ever met was Manny Nosowsky. Nice place to start! I had written him a fan letter, and he agreed to meet me and give me some pointers. He later introduced me to other constructors, including Acme, who has taught me everything I know about Mondays, and more.

One of the things Manny told me is that Will is a terrific editor, and that when he rewrites a clue, it's almost always better. That was true today. I was proud of the clue I wrote for THEWHOLESHMEAR: "Covering everything. . . or everything covering 62-Across." Compare that to the final clue. Mine was good, but Will's was better.

The same is true of the fill. Thanks a million, Frank, for fixing this grid. Your fill was clean and fun, and you preserved the pangram without making it look like we were stretching to do so.


CFXK 9:28 PM  

I think "Rex" needs to learn how to separate his personal whines from good crossword construction critique. As brilliant and helpful as his commentary is, I don't think he is at a place that is helpful for people who want to learn and be challenged. Maybe where he is is where he wants to be, but a better blog would move beyond that. It would focus less on self and more on the product.

Anonymous 11:48 AM  

This was a good puzzle. The only thing I had a problem with was the yiddish phrases. Please have more puzzles like this not only on Mondays, but the rest of the week. I hate it when constructors take you around in circles with obscure, obtuse and unintelligible clues. Thank you.

Anonymous 2:35 PM  

"Got ready for a for a tongue depressor, say" = Saidah???? Come on!!

Anonyrat 4:28 PM  

@Anonymous 2:35 PM - Are you not parsing (Said "Ah!")?

DJ Stone 5:07 PM  

@CFXK: If your sole purpose for visiting this blog is to learn more about crosswords and constructing them, Rex has provided a slew of links to other sites that would probably suit your purpose.

I come here - and am certainly not alone in doing so - because I enjoy not just Rex's personal commentary, but that of his regulars as well. Anytime Rex starts his writeup noting "wacky" answers I'm already grinning.

So, CFXK, take it for what it is and simply enjoy.

One other reason to come here? Seeing how Andrea is rearrange her name. :)

Anonymous 5:32 PM  

I misread the first clue as "You can't stick them in your ear," and immediately thought of ELBOWS, because of an old TV commercial Burgess Meredith once did for...Q-Tips. Too many letters, though. Checked the clue for 1d and thought pints, so now I'm thinking of things you can't stick in your ear that start with P. Palms? Decided to cut to the chase and start filling in the theme answers. It wasn't until I was almost done that I realized I had misread the very first clue, so Q came rather late for me. This is how my week begins.

When THE HUNGRY I came up short at 20a I quickly switched to THE PURPLE ONION (been past that place a million times, never inside). With shout outs to HUEY Lewis, LEVI Strauss and Sharks goaltender Antero Niittymäki (31d) this felt like a hometown puzzle all the way.

Enjoyed the baseball references, from ONE RUN and ASTROS, right down to spitting tobacco and scratching that ITCH.

Anonymous 11:59 PM  

Interesting: Paul Anka, and NOT Van Halen. Hmmm.
At last: a clue for ANTE that does NOT involve poker pots (if we must have that way-overused word).
Who knew: Bolivia has two capitals--and I of course inked in the one I knew, LAPAZ--also five letters, and given the corner Q as a symptom of pangramitis the obvious choice. However, the rest of the NW would not behave. I really wanted ITCH for 3d, but a P was there. Again, hmmm. Forgot the acrosses and worked the downs. This gave SUCRE for 17a, so I just left it to Google after finishing the grid. Sure enough, there it was--see how much you learn doing this stuff? SUCRE. Go figure. Two capitals. One for most of the admin, the other "official." Only in (South) America, I guess.
Clue wish: that KERR be clued "John of South Pacific." I mean, I love Deborah and all that, but John sings a number in that musical that should be an anthem for humanity: "You've Got to be Taught." This song does not get NEARLY the publicity it deserves.
Awkwardness: EVEN crossing EVES.
Favorite fill: SAIDAH.
Nice one for a Monday.

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