Flutelike instruments / MON 11-14-11 / Polymeric compoud in breast implants / Popular computer game with geometric shapes

Monday, November 14, 2011

Constructor: Mark Feldman

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (*for a Monday*)

THEME: Bowling — First words of theme answers have something to do with bowling

Word of the Day: JOB LOT (46D: Odds and ends for sale) —
  1. Miscellaneous merchandise sold in one lot.
  2. A collection of cheap items.
• • •

dell109spilljackpotWeird. Huge corners with very non-Monday words like SATRAP (2D: Minor despot) and OCARINAS (11D: Flutelike instruments) and WASSAILS (36D: Christmas drinks). I knew all those, but did Not know JOB LOT, which I declare a mighty stupid phrase. Where does the "JOB" part come in? ODD LOT would make much more sense. But I'm quarreling with the language now, which is somewhat pointless. This theme is old and musty—I *know* I've seen bowling themed puzzles before, where STRIKE and SPARE start off phrases (in fact, the very first "STRIKE" phrase I looked at on the cruciverb.com database led me straight to one such puzzle (must be cruciverb.com member to view, I think), which suggests there must be at least several others). SPLIT THE JACKPOT is not a phrase. I mean, it's a phrase one might say, but it's not A Phrase. The thematic words in the theme phrases are arbitrary and loose — a real JOB LOT, I'd say. You bowl a STRIKE and you bowl a SPARE, but you don't bowl a SPLIT. A SPLIT is a situation, it's not a score. Why BOWLED is in the past tense, and why we have it and not GUTTER or ALLEY or RESET BUTTON or some other vaguely bowling-related word starting the final theme phrase is beyond me. Less than enjoyable. Even with TETRIS, less than enjoyable (49D: Popular computer game with geometric shapes). Even with breast implants, less than enjoyable (38D: Polymeric compound in breast implants => SILICONE).

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Acquire sudden riches (STRIKE GOLD)
  • 29A: Help out a panhandler (SPARE SOME CHANGE)
  • 44A: What multiple winners of a lottery must do (SPLIT THE JACKPOT)
  • 61A: Absolutely amazed (BOWLED OVER)
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Tobias Duncan 12:12 AM  

OLDNICK is the devil? I thought he was Santa?
My time says medium Monday but it sure does not look like one.Puzzle had an odd feel but was fun.

Anonymous 12:17 AM  

Yeah, you need to be a member to see the puzzle. Which costs money. I remember this came up before but is it worth the bucks for non constructors who are just enthusiasts? I know xwordinfo is free but only has a tiny percentage of what cruciverb has. I also learned at the last ACPT that the bloggers all hate xwordinfo but I don't remember why.

pk 12:29 AM  

I don't bowl either. And I never heard of ocarinas. Did know job lot, but that's probably b/c I'm old. This puzz did not bowl me over.

Joel 1:32 AM  

I think there was a bit more to the theme. GOLD, CHANGE and JACKPOT as the last words can't be an accident. Even so, I didn't notice it during the solve (Deb pointed it out over at Wordplay), and it appears that neither Rex nor Crossword Fiend noticed.

If indeed that was intentional, it's not explained by the revealer, and seems like one of the more pointless theme wrinkles I've seen in a while.

chefwen 2:00 AM  

Thought this one was on the easy to medium side. Like Rex JOB LOT was new to me, I wanted odd LOT also. Not up on computer games so TETRIS had to be obtained through crosses. Only write-over was at 40A where I had filled in masts, thinking of a bridge on a ship. I knew the Father of Geometry wasn't mUCLID so it was easy to fix. Still wondering where my brain was when I put down masts, movin' too fast I reckon.

Del Taco 2:04 AM  

I didn't know what JOBLOT was either
tougher than normal Monday
I did know OCARINA due many thousands of wasted hours playing Nintendo's Zelda : Ocarina of Time

aces michaels 2:39 AM  

I would argue that SAUD, SATRAP, RIT(and its cousin LEGATO), APIA, OKEEFE, JOBLOT, OCARINAS, OLDNICK, nor DAMASK are Monday fare...but what do I know?

The GOLD, CHANGE and JACKPOT, which also went unnoticed by me, I suspect just made a tired-ish theme a little stronger and consistent, and perhaps then worthy of repeating?

6 Ks gotta be worth something!

jae 3:13 AM  

Been there done that. Not sure I buy the "bonus" theme. Seems like a stretch.

acme 4:51 AM  

well, maybe the bonus theme is bowling for dollars...

Z 7:22 AM  

TETRIS is the purist first-person shooter arcade game, ever. Wasted many a quarter on it in college. However, it was never as popular as Centipede, Asteroids, Frogger, Galaxian, or Joust. It is hard to believe that it is puzzle worthy.

Played medium for me, mostly because I didn't go with ASEA at first, not seeing a single cross. Pretty Crunchy for a Monday.

jberg 7:24 AM  

Hey, I enjoyed it - even though I had APuA, and didn't notice the SuLICONE cross. Like Andrea, I loved the Ks,. The fill may have been a little hard, but a lot of it was interesting. Too many partials, like 51 "Popeye's Olive ___" for Oyl (I mean, why do we need that blank to fill in?), but some fun clues like 25 A, "Groove" for RUT - literally true, but with opposite connotations.

My only major problem (and why I missed seeing SILICONE) was that I confidently wrote in UNCLE SAM for 37D, "Symbol of Americanism." It took me some time to work my way out of that.

Are OCARINAS flute-like? They don't have reeds, like flutes: but you blow straight into them, unlike flutes. So I'd call them "semi flute-like," but maybe the "-like" does that already.

Gotta love SATRAP, though, that almost makes the puzzle for me!

Matthew G. 7:43 AM  

While solving this puzzle, I murmured to my wife, "When I say 'Old Nick,' you think . . ."

"Christmas," she finished. So it wasn't just me who thought that was a nickname for Santa, not Satan.

On the other hand, I did know JOB LOT. I have no idea from where, but once I had __B LOT, I knew it. I think it may be from having seen these stores while driving around New England, which I've done a great deal of in the last two or three years: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_State_Job_Lot (they have a location in Athol, among other places). At any rate, it's a phrase that sticks in my head only because it makes no sense.

Overall, glad to see Rex's rating, because this was definitely a tough Monday, with my time well above normal, even after accounting for solving on paper.

@Z: I can't tell if you're joking in referring to TETRIS as a "first person shooter." A great game it is, but it's not a first-person shooter!

evil doug 7:46 AM  

It's a boy---male---preteens---ape---silicone---pelvic---bore---making it---ooh---eureka!

Old Nick

Z 7:48 AM  

@Matthew G - What part of "First-person shooter (FPS) is a video game genre that centers the gameplay on gun and projectile weapon-based combat through first-person perspective" (wikipedia) does Tetris not fit?

joho 7:50 AM  

I don't know, this was just an OK Monday for me. The whole time I was solving I kept thinking, "this smells of mothballs."

I also didn't get the extra layer of GOLD, CHANGE and JACKPOT ... which does add a bit to the theme but not enough to make it fresh.

I noticed EUREKA, EUCLID, IODINE and ION as being unusual with their double vowel openings.

Old Scratch 7:55 AM  

SATAN is an anagram of SANTA.

Rob C 8:00 AM  

@acme - Absolutely agree with you, a revealer like BOWLINGFORDOLLARS (too long though) would really have brought this puz together and made for a clever coherent theme rather than a "been there done that" theme with an (almost) bonus.

Matthew G. 8:00 AM  

@Z: Okay, you were joking, as I hoped. I just didn't get the joke.

SethG 8:05 AM  

If gold, change, and jackpot are part of the theme, it makes the theme weaker, not stronger. Because you wind up with nothing, some, and the as connective words, so that's inconsistent. And change is not similar to gold and jackpot, which are similar to each other, so that's inconsistent.

efrex 8:08 AM  

And yet again, I find myself on the opposite side of the fence. Enjoyed the open grid highly, liked the SATRAP and OCARINAS (okay, the former I only know from my old translation of the book of Esther, but still liked), and the theme was cute enough for a Monday. I got more irked by ESA, ENE, and RIT than anything else.

dk 9:02 AM  

Back in the day (horn rimmed glasses, chess club member and general dork about town) when we bowled at the Brunswick Center the terms "go for the gold" and "jackpot" were common place.

Also my Uncle Ed sold JOBLOTs. The JOBLOTs were a strange mix of "business stuff" including fire extinguishers, manila folders and pens that when you turned them the ladies clothes would come off.

Lastly, my mom would liberally apply tincture of IODINE to any wound and then watch us hop about in pain -- IODINE stings as big as any WASP.

In sum nice work Mr. Feldman -- a bit of a Monday challenge to get the little gray cells going.

**** (4 Stars) Although I wanted to put in NYCICON instead of OREO... I think I may bake some Black and Whites this week.

dk 9:07 AM  

I know you also want to know:

Pins left standing were known as spare change and when you missed them all it was a blow job.

I leave the interpretation of the latter to OLDNICK.

d(prefer duck pins)k

jackj 9:07 AM  

Bowling themes seem to be popular for crosswords of all stripes, from the NY Times to the most ordinary syndicated puzzle and none of them are especially distinguished. Case in point, today’s Times puzzle.

Some of the fill is quite good, especially for a Monday level, but the theme, oh, the theme, oh, the, oh, oops, sorry, the theme was a predictable yawner. Gutter ball!

Fill-wise, DAMASK, SATRAP and JOBLOT were semi-tough Monday entries, FIFI is fun on any day and the Times dalliance with vaguely off-color entries continued with SILICONE (“….. compound in breast implants”) and, finally, the clue for PELVIC prompted some highly questionable images (or maybe I’m just a dirty old man).

Whatever; not a puzzle for the ages.

John V 9:13 AM  

By far the easiest Monday in memory; rating 3 miles, Stamford to Cos Cob. Only adventure writing in DAISY at 15A, having not read the entire clue. Reading clues is generally helpful, I gather.

Had OCARINAS from the crosses, so that was a non-issue. Never saw 18D, 56D.

58D Davenport right next to 60D ___ Moines, Iowa is a nice bit of geographical correctness.

So, what I think happens is that the puzzles get harder as the week goes on but my solving synapses get used up during a normal work-week, making the puzzles that much harder. After a good weekend's rest, Monday's are even easier. @Rex, maybe this was a medium-challenging for you because your weekend constructing tapped you out a bit?

Maybe Will could run the puzzles in reverse one week, Saturday on Monday and so on. Now THAT would be interesting.

John V 9:19 AM  

Forgot: re JOBLOT, if I recall correctly, there was/may still be a JobLots store just North of the Trade Center, circa late 70s, maybe on Church Street? Anyone remember? In any case, that was not even a speed-bump.

Tobias Duncan 9:35 AM  

@Andrea said "I would argue that SAUD, SATRAP, RIT(and its cousin LEGATO), APIA, OKEEFE, JOBLOT, OCARINAS, OLDNICK, nor DAMASK are Monday fare...but what do I know?

And this is why you are the queen of early week puzzles. While I had fun doing this puzzle,now that it is daylight again and I have to print out a stack for my neophyte friends at the coffee shop,I am wincing a bit looking at your list.

Mondays are first and foremost for beginners. I am not saying they should be easy, but they should have little to no crosswordese.

@John V I think you would find a huge gap between seasoned solvers and newish solvers on this one.My time was average but looking at this grid I know beginners will have a great deal of trouble. I think Rex rated this one correctly.

mac 9:41 AM  

Odd job, this puzzle. Pretty easy, no write-overs at all, but I was surprised by satrap especially. I also looked at "spare some change", wondering if we were going to have a theme separating adj. and noun (spare change)? Then I forgot all about themes and found out here it was about bowling...

Good start of the week, though!

Janet W. 9:59 AM  

You called today's (11/14) medium- challenging? It was a kindergarten puzzle. Done in minutes. By the way, "Yenta" originally meant a non-stop gossip and was based on a female character in a popular Yiddish play from the old Second Avenue theatre era. The character's name took on a new life after the play disappeared and has been in use ever since to mean just that - a gossipy, out of control blabbermouth.

Lindsay 10:20 AM  

A SATRAP by the name of SAUD struck OYL. "EUREKA!" he shouted. "OOH! OOH! The WASPS will USE this ERE they EKE energy from an ATOM or an ION. I'll SPLIT THE JACKPOT with the AEC."

And then he went off to Circuit City to buy an IPOD, but it had been converted to a JOB LOT store.

Or at least the one around here has.


***unters = Cockneys in search of deer

archaeoprof 10:20 AM  

Harder than the average Monday for me, too.

Slowest in the NW, then I seemed to get on the right wavelength.

quilter1 10:27 AM  

Very easy Monday with nice fresh fill. I missed the BOWLing theme completely but it didn't matter because I was enjoying the solving so much. Made me smile.

Can someone name a modern day SATRAP?

hazel 10:31 AM  

@Janet W. - pretty funny, you yenta you!

@anon 12:17 - i think that xword info site is really cool, and can't imagine why anyone would "hate" it. Anyone?

Not a fan of the puzzle. Where's my Monday airtight theme? and then all the huh? words. Kinda disappointing.

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

Yenta (or yente) is Yiddish. The language existed much before the Second Avenue theater. She was named Yenta because she fit the definition.

BTW, no one mentioned St. Nick (Santa) the reason for the confusion with Old Nick (Satan).

Two Ponies 10:43 AM  

The theme was rather boring but any Monday grid that teaches me two new words is worth something.
No idea who the Michael guy is. My O'Keefe is Georgia.

John V 10:43 AM  


I had a good friend who once played a PARTASASATRAP, but is no longer active.

Lindsay 10:57 AM  

@Two Ponies --- Georgia is O'Keeffe.

Gill I. P. 10:59 AM  

Not too LEGETO; more of a BORE.
My favorite FIFI is "Fifi the Peke." She was Pluto's girlfriend in Mickey Mouse.
I guess I should find out why OLD NICK is Satan; although I have a pretty good idea.

jesser 11:13 AM  

For 15 years or so, I've been on a bowling league, so this one offered little resistance. I agree, however, that some of those downs were weird for a Monday.

Off to a morning of meetings. I am quoting Dave Barry in my brain. :-)

John V 11:44 AM  

My favorite Dave Barry:

Jon88 11:45 AM  

X, / and O (strike, spare and split) are the three symbols used on a bowling score sheet, so while split might not be a score, it is of a kind with the others.

Lewis 11:48 AM  

@jesser -- Dave Barry quote I like: "You can only be young once, but you can always be immature."

Related quote by Tom Stoppard: "I think age is a very high price to pay for maturity."

Related quote by Alice Longworth: "The secret of eternal youth is arrested development."

I never heard of Old Nick for Satan, and I had IRE for 34A, so ended up with OLDNICe for Satan, which made as much sense to me as OLDNICK, so ended with that error.

syndy 11:50 AM  

An OCARINAis not flute-like.It's sweetpotato-like.Looking at the puzzle now I see it's not as bad as it seemed doing it.sure seem yucky

mac 12:19 PM  

@Lewis: and who said: youth is wasted on the young?

JaxInL.A. 12:23 PM  

I think the OCARINA clue refers to the sound of the instrument rather than the appearance or method of play.

greg 12:47 PM  

So I did some research, and I can't figure out how an ocarina is not flute-like.

Cheerio 1:09 PM  

@Tobias Duncan - why should puzzles for beginners not have cross-wordese? Beginners should learn cross-wordese as soon as possible to help them get better. Since cross-wordese makes puzzles easier to solve, late week constructers should avoid it.

I figure that cross-wordese should only be allowed if it's necessary for construction- so that would mean late week puzzles should be allowed to have more because they are harder to construct, or so I gather.

Tobias Duncan 1:19 PM  

Crosswordese is an unfortunate reality.Its a dirty little secret that we should keep from the new kids until they are addicts and have no choice but learn it.
The Monday puzzle is our big chance to expand our ranks.Its the most important puzzle of the week.

John V 1:33 PM  

Re: Crosswordese: This solver came of age under Will Weng and Eugene Maleska and has been a daily solver since 1971. The pre-Shortz era was loaded with the stuff. I was never put off by crosswordese, but regarded it as part of the fun, part of the challenge. Today's challenge -- much harder for me, I promise, than learning the jargon -- is popular culture references, when they occur.

Not once did my Weng/Maleska days tempt me to abandon the puzzle and live the life of an essene.

DigitalDan 1:38 PM  

An oca, as I recall, is a South American vegetable resembling a sweet potato. Ocarina is a roundish instrument that makes its sounds the way a flute (or organ pipe) does, by blowing air over a shaped opening, although it does have a mouthpiece to make the process easier. Like a flute, covering holes changes the pitch. My father had a couple of these, which he in fact called "sweet potatoes," one of clay and one plastic. Very compact, very nice little instruments requiring little training to reach enjoyable levels.

Anonymous 1:38 PM  

I thought old nick was prison. in england.

TimJim 1:42 PM  

@Cheerio. Interesting take on crosswordese. I'd never thought of it like that, but I think you're right.

Sparky 1:49 PM  

Found it easy so maybe it does skew old and musty. Bea Lille did a funny routine involving Double DAMASK Dinner Napkins. @JohnV: JOB LOT was right there on Church Street. Gone now.

Thanks @600 for explaining DENT and @jackj for tip on LATimes puzzles. Did them both late last night.

Anonymous 1:58 PM  

Can someone please explain why Deuce follower, in tennis (4D) is ADIN? Is it a short-form of advantage (which is what I hear the chair umpire say) or the French version of it?

Earlier commenters had mentioned about the hate for xwordinfo. My perception of the site is it is very analytical, and very much in a Q&A format - how an engineer would resolve and explain a problem/solution. Most people are not engineers; they want their information in a story-telling format, not in a cut-and-dry, just-the-facts format. That is my take on the situation.

Anonymous 2:01 PM  

Human and apes are not cousins. Humans are apes.

John V 2:08 PM  

@Anonymous 1:58
ADIN is short for Advantage In, which means advantage to the serving side.

Anonymous 2:21 PM  

This is anon@1:58
Every time I had a question about a clue/answer, you (and many others too) have always been gracious to explain the nuance behind the clue/answer. Thank you for your kindness. I hope I can return the favor to others someday.

P.S.:I think this is another attribute of engineer/math types: They don't suffer fools gladly, but willingly (and go out of the way to) help others who need it.

P.P.S Now that the poll has closed, did anyone else notice how the percentages stayed consistent after a day or two, eventhough the voting population kept increasing?

quilter1 2:59 PM  

Forgot to say that JOBLOT was totally familiar to me. Not sure if it is age-related or a regionalism, but since there is evidently a chain store named JOBLOT it can't be all that obscure.

anoa carla makingit 3:32 PM  

I love that you had OLDNICe!!! I think that's really funny.

I recently saw some crazy Norwegian film where Santa was indeed a Satanic character, there were lots of them and they went around kidnapping and torturing and eating little children...
but for the life of me I can't remember the name. So I think in Norse myth there is a Santa/Satan connection that goes beyond an anagram...

Thank you for the compliment(s) as always...but if you can believe it, I semi-disagree with a few things, if that is not too ungracious!

First of all, of course Mondays are an introduction to the week, but I don't think of them for beginners, per se. I think of non-NY Times puzzles for beginners (TV Guide, those commuter ones, etc.) to get someone up to speed.
Monday NYT are still for sophisticated solvers, still, I;d like to think, a cut above others.

Nor do I think of them as the most important (!!??) even tho I love making them.
They may be easiER to solve, but not dumbed-down in ANY way.
So it's not a disaster to have SATRAP or LEGATO, lovely words, and I'm totally all for learning new words and the meaning behind words
(ie I found today's YENTA discussion interesting about which came first, plus I had always thought it meant "matchmaker" not "gossip")

Where we agree is if there is a buildup of too many + crosswordese, it makes the puzzle more impenetrable for the novices, and less bouncy and more likely to be abandoned than finished... thus defeating the whole purpose!

And, I'm embarrassed to admit, I'm a bit confused about what exactly "crosswordese" is.
To me, "tough" words or unknown to the general populace (eg OKEEFE, who used to be married to Bonnie Raitt, whom I always have weird awkward run-ins with, so I count today among them!) are NOT crosswordese...

Closer would be RIT, which I feel is only known to solvers bec of its having appeared in crosswords so you gotta know it (and is semi-desperation glue for the constructor, SST is another I have relied on) and old-fashioned words like ADIT ("mine entry" back in the day...ADIN is its new cousin)

So, pls don't confuse/lump together having words that are a bit of a stretch yet add to freshness and learning with those that are the weird obscure standbys of the bygone era (that non-puzzle folks point to when they want to make fun of crosswords, like ANOA)

The list I made last night @2:39am is the list I think I would have received from Will asking me if I could change to make it more accessible on a Monday (which is why it is tough to construct early week fare) which of course necessitates starting from scratch often.

But it's by no means a terrible puzzle...Those stacks of 8 are very sophisticated, there is a "Monday appropriate" theme, some interesting words, etc. it was just sort of a near-miss (SPLIT?) for reasons sometimes felt but hard to articulate, which makes me ever-thankful for this blog.

(I may have to duck-and-cover for one of mine in a couple of weeks, that I don't know how many of these semi-subjective (ie Will and the history of the NY Times and what has evolved thru the century) "rules" I have broken as well...
I will leave it to @evil doug and others to cite my specific hypocrisies!)

I still feel I'm having a bit of trouble explaining what I feel crosswordese is vs "hard-for-Monday" fill, they are two very different things in my mind...
What I'm trying to say, there is a difference between regular glue, tired glue, obscure words, fresh words that are unknown to many, fun to learn, random abbrevs, and just missed freshness...

but my bigger point is that Mondays NYT are not for novices, tho they serve that purpose too...
blech, I'm going to quit while I'm behind!

Weak Law of Large Numbers 3:42 PM  

@Anon 2:21 re: P.P.S Just as I am always telling you guys.

Captch: stedi. See?

M07S 3:55 PM  

sweet potato
3.Informal. ocarina.

@jberg...flutes do not have reeds

Just sayin.

foodie 3:56 PM  

@andrea, since I use food as an anology for everything, here's my take on what you're saying: that a NYTimes Monday puzzle is like a lovely appetizer to a sumptuous meal... Light, delicious, a little unexpected, but sophisticated. That does'nt mean either easy to make or obvious for the consumer. So if the beginner dish is mac and cheese, then there's no comparison. But I think using it as an intro to beginners is a great idea because it whets the appetite while raising expectations....

Bill 3:58 PM  

@ACME -- nice points.

Basically, crosswordese entries are words you never see outside of crosswords.

For example, ALOE is NOT crosswordese. ANOA, however, is definitely crosswordese. If you polled non-crossword solvers, very few would know what ANOA was, but everyone would know ALOE.

As for something like WASSAILS, that's just a tough word. Probably doesn't belong in a Monday puzzle, but if the crossings are fair (and I'd argue crossing it with AEC isn't fair), then it's okay.

REO Speedbagwagon 4:04 PM  


The Monday puzzle isn't for most people who comment on this blog, frankly.

The puzzle is intended to pull in new solvers. They idea is that the puzzle is easy and fun for the solver, and hopefully, they'll try the next day's puzzle as a result.

And Monday puzzles are very, very difficult to construct. It's hard to keep the vocabulary at a Monday-level difficulty, while still entertain. It's actually easier to construct Tuesday-Wednesday level puzzles because you can get away with more answers. And I might argue themeless puzzles are easier, too, since the constructor isn't burdened by fixed theme entries.

Jim 4:26 PM  

I don't know. I just don't know. This puzzle was...not fun. It didn't go down like a Monday, and that was before I got to WASSAILS (which I didn't get, by the way).

To get that, I would have had to know APIA and AEC, neither of which I did. I'm a reasonably intelligent person, but that was just not happening.

Um, this was a Monday?

Not even worth getting upset about.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but WARLORD was reasonably difficult (clued the exact same way) two Saturdays ago. Therefore...SATRAP?? On a Monday??

There hasn't been a kick in the balls like this for a real long time. Good to know Will is still willing to mess with us from time to time. Duly noted.

sanfranman59 4:26 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

All solvers (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 6:32, 6:50, 0.96, 33%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:41, 3:40, 1.01, 54%, Medium

I'm a little surprised that this one isn't more on the Challenging end of the Monday spectrum for all the reasons Rex notes in his blog post. It looks like there may be fewer than the typical number of Monday online solvers. So it may be that more folks gave up on solving it than is usually the case. This would skew the "All solvers" rating toward the Easy end of the scale.

That said, my solve time places this puzzle in my Easy-Medium Monday range.

jae 4:46 PM  

@andrea -- I know exactly what you mean but it's tough to articulate. Sorta like Potter Stewert on obscenity.

And, TV Guide puzzles are not for beginners. I can't do them. Way too much arcane TV trivia (and yes, I know I'm admitting to reading TV guide).

acme 4:46 PM  

@foodie, @bill, @REO, @jim,
yes yes yes yes exactly! thank you

archaeoprof 5:39 PM  

@acme: please add my name to the growing list of those who loved your comment.

I guess I'm a Saturday solver, in that I usually (but not always) finish every day including Saturday.

But I look forward to Mondays, because (and here I agree with @Foodie) the best ones are fresh, fun, and they set up the rest of the week.

And nobody does Monday like the Queen of Mondays.

Tita 9:00 PM  

I finished Monday in what felt like 3 minutes!

I am therefore quite flabbergasted that so many of you from whom I have learned so much thought differently.

Fridays and Saturdays (even some Thursdays) are still a struggle for me, though my completion rate has definitely gone way up in recent months. Because of that, I welcome easy Mondays. (Yes, I realize that you are comparing Mondays to Mondays...still, seemed easier than most.)

My only problem is that with the now daily chore of hauling fallen trees down my endless driveway has me struggling to stay awake for the 10pm Release of the Puzzle!

Sfingi 9:18 PM  

@andrea - What's crosswordese for some is every day stuff for others. RIT could be a cloth dye or the Rochester Institute of Technology in these parts.

Monday - "easy for me, deefeecult for you." as Senor Wences used to say.

ARENA was on 3 puzzles, today.

@MO7s (what does that mean?) - Here I have learned that saxophones are woodwinds and recorders are not. It's all about reeds.

Wassail, wassail all over the town
Our toast it is white and our ale it is brown.
Our bowl it is made of an old maple tree
And the wassailing bowl I'll drink to thee.

@2ponies - also prefer Georgia.

@dk - then there's candlepins and 10 pins.

Anonymous 10:33 PM  

@Sfingi Orchestral flutes are part of the woodwind section, and they have no reeds (and these days are usually made of silver or gold).

Anonymous 10:37 PM  

By the way this is barcelona guy, orchestral musician. Can't figure out how to comment with my google account.

Tita 11:00 PM  

To those nattering about the money theme...how about 54A - NABOB?

Bill's blog (www.nytcrossword.com), reminded me that it also means "person of wealth"...

syndy 11:07 PM  

I have a flute and an ocarina-I must say my ocarinamore closly resembles my nose than it does my flute-just sayin' my captha is MISDO-crosswordese

Anonymous 8:01 AM  

Am I the only one that found it amusing that the reference to silicone was 38D?

Jen in CA 1:17 PM  

I do the NYT crosswords; my husband bowls. So the theme was a no-brainer for me. But I thought this was a pretty tough Monday, where some answers were only gotten by the crosses. That's unusual for a Monday.

And I was hoping for one more theme answer, because if you don't get a STRIKE, and you miss your SPLIT and don't pick up your SPARE, then your frame is OPEN.

Oh, but I did appreciate 45D: X (which is, of course, the symbol for STRIKE, which means you knocked over TEN pins).

Dirigonzo 5:04 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dirigonzo 5:31 PM  

From 5 weeks later, it seems to me that any place where OLDNICK is Satan surely the Christmas drinks should be WhiSkeyS.

@Anony 8:01 AM - that's too funny. Do you suppose it was deliberate, or just lucky?

Nullifidian 9:22 PM  

Syndicated solver here.

I liked WASSAILS being part of the puzzle because for us syndie-land folks, it's nearly Christmas.

I agree with the medium-challenging rating. This was one of the first Mondays in months that I couldn't confidently start in the NW corner and work my way through in order. In fact, the NW was the last area to fall.

I started by remembering the ALAMO, then working my way toward the EASTS, then DAMASK and EUCLID took me down to the SW and then back towards the west and then north in a clockwise motion. BTW, Del Taco is not the only person who mentally associated OCARINAS with Zelda: The Ocarina of Time.

I had nothing but ARENA in the NW corner until I twigged to the bowling theme, so that gave me STRIKE GOLD and SPARE SOME CHANGE. Then I found ASEA for "sailing", and pulled SATRAP from some recess of my memory where words are stored that I've forgotten that I knew. Last to fall was SAUD because I had never heard of ADIN, and I was looking for some general category like EMIR or AGHA, and wasn't thinking about specific dynasties like the House of SAUD.

paleolith 2:37 PM  

Although flutes and ocarinas both have edges over which the air vibrates to form a pitch, a flute is a pipe resonator whereas an ocarina is a cavity resonator. This makes an ocarina very unlike a flute. One consequence of the difference is that on a flute both the size and placement of the holes is critical, whereas the holes on an ocarina can be placed almost anywhere and only their size matters.

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