Deuce topper in cards / MON 6-17-13 / Bad-check passer / Plains animal that tunnels / Vehicular antitheft devices / Purchase from Google

Monday, June 17, 2013

Constructor: Johanna Fenimore and Andrea Carla Michaels

Relative difficulty: Medium 

THEME: POP UP (69A: Easy-to-catch hit ... or what 1-, 21-, 26-, 48- and 55-Across all do) — self-explanatory

Theme answers:
  • 1A: Breakfast bread (TOAST)
  • 21A: Plains animal that tunnels (PRAIRIE DOG)
  • 26A: Fast-food rival of Wendy's (JACK-IN-THE-BOX)
  • 48A: Vehicular antitheft devices (CAR DOOR LOCKS)
  • 55A: Purchase from Google (INTERNET AD)

Word of the Day: AARE (3D: Swiss river) —

The Aar (German Aare), a tributary of the High Rhine, is the longest river that both rises and ends entirely within Switzerland. // Its total length from its source to its junction with the Rhine comprises about 295[2]km (183 miles), during which distance it descends 1,565 m (5,135 ft), draining an area of 17,779 km2 (6,865 sq mi), including the whole of central Switzerland. (wikipedia)
• • •

I liked this one much more after I got to the revealer than I did before. Not that I was actively disliking it while I was solving, but CAR DOOR LOCKS didn't feel like ... a thing. I mean, obviously, they are a thing, but I've never heard of them referred to as an "antitheft device." That's a term solely reserved for alarms, or lojacks (do they still make those?), or whatever those bars are that go across the steering wheels ... something above the very ordinary, standard thing that is in every car door in every car ever made, at least in my lifetime. That answer is redeemed somewhat by POP UP, because the image is very specific and there's not a better way to describe what's popping up. I think it's the clue I'm objecting to. Also, the clue on INTERNET AD was really vague (I love the answer, though). Do Google Ads POP UP? Not to my knowledge, but I could be wrong. I don't think most INTERNET ADs involve paying Google, but rather paying the owner of some website or another. Again, the clue isn't *wrong*, just ... odd. The bottom was certainly the harder part of the puzzle for these reasons. Also harder because I couldn't spell AVOCADOS—I went with AVA- :( at first.

Overall I enjoyed this, and admired the attempt to make a Monday grid interesting, even beyond the theme answers. There's a *little* bit of Scrabble-f*cking going on in the NW and SW—where great answers w/ Scrabbly letters (SQUEAK and KOOKIER, respectively) are inserted into small corners, to the apparent detriment of all the surrounding fill. Constructors will sometimes pursue the high-value letters at the expense of overall grid smoothness. But — it's a Monday, and as I say, I appreciate the attempt to liven up the grid, and it's not like we don't get crap like ORIG. and OGEE and AARE and KITER and ON RYE and OTERI in far less imaginative puzzles than this one, so today I'm merely pointing out the phenomenon of Scrabble-f*cking (which is always a judgment call), rather than condemning the constructors for it. It's hard to stay mad at SQUEAK and KOOKIER.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    jae 12:04 AM  

    Impressively smooth grid!  Medium for me too.  Cute theme, a touch of zip...KOOKIER crossing COCKEYED is a nice touch... excellent Mon.

    Only erasure: Chic for COOL

    Nice one Andrea and Joho!

    Carola 12:14 AM  

    O, GEE, I found this ONE A very fun puzzle. The reveal made me laugh, as well as the TOAST in the top corner that had followed the order to POP UP. It looks ready to sail off into space after a too energetic sproing.

    I also liked the zany feel of HARPO along with COCKEYED x KOOKIER. I think I recall Harpo eliciting a SQUEAK from various ladies in the movies.

    Just a pleasure to solve all around.

    Benko 1:29 AM  

    I just liked seeing the cover of Iggy's The Passenger album.

    Benko 1:30 AM  

    oh, and also had chic for COOL.

    Anonymous 1:33 AM  

    Yeah, Google sells most of the ads on the Internet.

    Evan 2:31 AM  

    This felt tougher-than-normal for a Monday. That might be because of CAR DOOR LOCKS (which seemed weird because I usually just think of them simply as LOCKS). Or maybe it because of KOOKIER. First went with CRAZIER, then I wanted LOONIER, then LOOPIER. Finally settled on the right answer when I got COCKEYED. I also had some strange trouble when I couldn't give up PFCS for PVTS, but I got it after a bit.

    My one quibble is the clue for JACK IN THE BOX. I wouldn't mind it by itself -- I know of the fast food chain and I'm all for spicing up answers with modern clues, but it doesn't feel right in this puzzle. The other theme answers directly refer to the object/thing that actually POPs UP, whereas JACK IN THE BOX refers to the fast food restaurant rather than the toy -- for instance, TOAST is the bread and not a raising of a wine glass. Why not just clue the toy for JACK IN THE BOX? That would make it consistent with the others.

    Oh well. Nicely done, @joho and @acme!

    chefwen 2:32 AM  

    What a visual puzzle, I could picture the PRAIRIE DOGs popping their little heads out of their little hidey holes. JACK IN THE BOXES always scared me as a little kid. Maybe the still do, it's been a while since I've played with one.

    Loved ALOHA crossing OAHU.

    Thanks ACME and joho, loved it.

    syndy 3:24 AM  

    I hesitated to fill in ICET because somehow to me it just isn't a one word name.But that's a personal issue.I did not hesitate to throw Bagel in at one bIVO confused me.always a pleasure aandj

    Mike Ben-Ari 4:12 AM  

    a "z" shy of a pangram. lovely puzzle aandj, thanks for popping in on a kooky Monday

    DoubleCrossDoc 6:16 AM  

    Terrific Monday puzzle. Nice way to start the week. @Rex: I agree with your rhetorical question about 55 across. Ithought the advertizer pays the web site owner for the use of POP UP ads. Maybe Google is a "middle man" on some transactions?

    loren muse smith 7:02 AM  

    Yay, Andrea and Joho! What a fun puzzle! And here I thought I caught a sneaky extra themer – TOAST – until I came here and saw it was included in the clue for the reveal. Reminded me of David’s POP UP TOASTer last Thursday. You two must have really gotten a kick out of that entry!

    @chefwen – that Hawaiian cross was my first margin note.

    @Carola – I liked that COCKEYED/KOOKIER cross, too. Is that old COOT running around being COCKEYED and KOOKy or is he being a creep, TRODding around SLOwly and showing his PVTS?

    @Evan – I had to erase PFCS, too.

    @jae and Benko – me, too, for “chic” before COOL.

    @syndy- same hesitation on ICE T.

    @MikeBen-Ari – I looked for that z,too.

    Liked AMOK / TAME, TEND and HYDRATE that garden, and the three words that end in C but not ic: CALC, DISC, BLOC. I *always* go with “disk” first.

    I guess my “Reed” is the new “Rean.” I’m dead to the world when SNL is on, and I never TIVO it, so I had “Otere/Reed” crossing.

    (Never heard of “Scrabble f*cking. Uh, Will, could you seen a couple of those submissions back? Or at least understand that I felt like I had an obligation to do what I did? (Insert big ridiculous, obsequious smiley face here.))

    Fun, ORIG theme. Makes me want to go off and play an energetic game of Whac-a-Mole. Or reread my Eric Carle POP-UP books. Or examine my forehead for some bad news.

    Congrats, you two! Solid stuff, and I enjoyed it. Gotta go do some TENDing to a couple of rooms that have run a bit AMOK; we’re showing EYRE house at 10, and my daughter’s room looks like someone launched a GRENADE. . .

    Z 7:08 AM  

    "A "Z" short of a pangram?!?

    Fun puzzle. Solving using Crux on the iPad this morning, so no idea on relative time, so I'm going with medium.

    @Milford - he's a Hornet like mom and dad. The middle one is in NC. The youngest is thinking K. Middle children have to be KOOKIER.

    evil doug 7:21 AM  

    Speaking of pop-ups (Schwing!): Now that the military is going after sex abusers among the ranks, there aren't as many privates under sergeants as there used to be.


    Rob C 7:29 AM  

    Fun, smooth Monday. Great fill. Had a lot of zippy words as pointed out by others. I think we just had POP UP TOASTER about a week ago as a harbinger of this puzzle.

    Agree with @Evan on JACK IN THE BOX. I was curious to see if Rex would mention it, but no, it was Evan. @acme/joho - was that your clue or Will's?

    Also noticed the dreaded POC in a theme answer. Not too bad though because a car has more than one lock.

    Susan McConnell 8:04 AM  

    Loved it. Actually smiled when I got to POPUP, which was the last answer entered. I love Scrabble, and love when puzzles are rich in high point tiles, so this was right up my alley. Sometimes Mondays can feel kind of perfunctory, easy to the point of dull, or even insipid. This was definitely not any of those. It was Monday level in terms of ease, but still had lots of fun and interest. Great job, constructors!

    Catherine 8:17 AM  

    OGEE crossing AARE on a Monday?? That seemed a bit much. The rest was smooth as pie for me.

    jackj 8:48 AM  

    Joho and ASCRIBE COOT a-M-ok EGOS team up again to give us an excellent Monday offering, (though I can’t believe Acme didn’t have a word starting with “M” in the puzzle).

    Most interesting fun image of the popper-uppers in the puzzle is definitely the PRAIRIEDOG, who seems to mostly POPUP out of his hole for the right reason, to find dinner.

    In addition to the POPUP feature, joho and Acme also push(ed) the proverbial envelope by cluing the likes of ASCRIBE, COCKEYED, GRENADE and HYDRATES, words that work ok for this Monday puzzle, even though they seem poached from a weekender.

    HYDRATES has been heard far and wide of late by sports fans who are following the Stanley Cup playoffs, with a triple overtime in game one and another overtime period in game two, each triggering demands that the players HYDRATE fellas, HYDRATE.

    Go Bruins!!

    The first joho/acme puzzle ran in July of 2011 and I wonder if this one was submitted at roughly the same time, (did this one sit for 2 years?), but at least the Kelly RIPA clue was current and reflects Michael Strahan replacing Regis Philbin as co-host.

    Nice work from two of Rexworld’s own!

    Anonymous 8:58 AM  

    Google earns about a third of all internet advertising, cmpared to 5 percent for Facebook and 3 percent for Yahoo.

    Yay ACME!!

    Thoracic 8:59 AM  

    @Susan- my thoughts exactly. Mondays seem to often be an exercise in how to fit the same crosswordese into a different grid. Thought this was fresh and entertaining, but still nice and smooth solving in a Monday kinda way.

    Laurence Katz 8:59 AM  

    Agree with Catherine. Ogee crossing Aare is bad any day of the week, but especially bad on Monday.

    Milford 9:03 AM  

    Did not realize until coming here that I "know" both the constructors - congrats @Acme and @joho!

    Cute puzzle theme, nice and visual. The Detroit Zoo has a funny interactive POP-UP PRAIRIE DOGS exhibit where kids can POP their heads UP next to real PRAIRIE DOGS.

    COCKEYED, KOOKIER, AVOCADOS, HYDRATE, GRENADE are all great, interesting Monday fill. My EGO almost took a hit with that OGEE/AARE cross though - kinda tough. And I will never remember the correct spelling for HARA-kiri, because I pronounce exactly like Harry Carey's name.

    @Z - congrats on the graduate. We are a marriage made at K as well, with 3 kiddos. Oldest is only going to be a HS junior, so we will see if we carry on the tradition.

    Lindsay 9:05 AM  

    HARA-kiri passes the breakfast test? Blech.

    chefbea 9:09 AM  

    What a great puzzle!! fro Andrea and Joho. Saw it last night but waited tip this morning to so it. Hopefully we'll see another one from you two soon.

    jberg 9:28 AM  

    My emotions ran the gamut from A to ... Y while solving. Generally delightful, but is it really IceT, not Ice T? Well, maybe it is.

    As for the CAR DOOR LOCKS I liked the reminder that, yes, they are an anti-theft device; in a more honest world we would not have them. I'd agree with medium, especially when you count the time looking futilely for a Z.

    Writeovers: DISk before DISC, wacKIER before KOOKIER, and for some reason INTERNET iD before AD.

    Nice work, you two!

    More to the point 9:36 AM  

    Vendors buy ads from Google.
    Then Google presents the ads to the potential customer.

    I do not believe Google provides "Pop Up" ads tho ...

    Anonymous 9:49 AM  

    I had difficulty fitting KENYA into the four spaces allotted for 59 Down (Obama's birthplace). :-)

    mac 9:53 AM  

    Very good Monday, Acme and Joho! As @chefwen says, very visual, especially the prairie dog. Beautiful words: hydrates, cockeyed, squeak, ascribe, and I love aloha crossing Oahu. Did notice many plurals.

    Hand up for chic instead of cool and taking a little more staring in the kookier/Nair area.

    Good start of the week, congratulations you two!

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:25 AM  

    A missed opportunity? Given the cross of 59 D/ 66 A, OAHU/ALOHA, 65 A could have been clued as "Late, great Hawaiian singer, to Eliza Doolittle?", DON 'O.


    Sandy K 10:35 AM  

    Very COOL Monday puzzle!
    Really enjoyed all the visual POP-UPs!

    Those INTERNET ADs are quite annoying when they POP UP- but Not here!

    Agree that COCKEYED/KOOKIER and OAHU/ALOHA were SNAPpy crossings, and that it wasn't the usual GOOPy Monday fill- eg. ASCRIBE, DIGESTS, SQUEAK, GRENADE, HYDRATES, etc.

    Great JOB- Joho and Acme!!

    cw stewart 10:50 AM  

    Nice puzzle Andrea and Johanna!

    Sfingi 10:50 AM  

    As a non-sportsner, I had POsUP until the end (crosses GOOs), so didn't know the theme til the end. Too bad;it was cute. Asked Hubster to explain POPUP. He said it's a hit that doesn't go to far, so the outfielder catches it. I asked, "Why would you want to do that?" He said, "You wouldn't." Some day I'll get it. On my bucket list. (Ooops, wrong puzzle.)

    I love watching those Meercats on the INTERNET.
    Hate the ADS. Am still getting rid of them since I got my new laptop with Microsoft 8. Do like the photomix, since I have 7K pictures.

    Benko 11:25 AM  

    Also had the same hesitation about ICET being one word. I didn't realize that this nice Monday puzzle was done by 2 of the regular posters of this blog. Congrats on a good Monday NYT!

    Ulrich 11:25 AM  

    For a Monday, there were quite a few opportunities for initial guesses to go wrong w/o sufficient crosses--let me add TAPE for TIVO to the list b/c that's how I got started. This is not a complaint--it's meant to be a compliment b/c it makes solving more interesting. Plus, one has to wait till the last word to understand the theme (did anyone get it before the revealer?). The finishing touch: Inclusion of 1A in the theme--very well done indeed, ladies!

    ...and I still can't remember what that bar was called you were supposed to lock into your steering wheel some decades ago--"lojack" doesn't sound right...

    Steve J 11:33 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Steve J 11:34 AM  

    Re: the one-wordness of ICET: He goes by Ice-T, and technically the hyphen does make it one word. Still, I hesitated at first for the same reason others did.

    Re: Google and popup ads: Google does own DoubleClick, which is the largest online display ad-serving network. They source a significant number of the banner ads, ads that get in your way when trying to view a page, and popup ads. So, in a roundabout sort of way the clue is accurate. It's also a bit too esoteric for a Monday, imo, but at the same time it's not something ungettable.

    One thing I thought about when I got the revealer: I wonder if younger solvers will catch that CARDOORLOCKS pop up? I really don't recall the old plunger-type lock showing up on cars since the 1980s, maybe even earlier. For a long time, they've moved to switches/levers on the door panel. And for some newer cars (like mine, which isn't even that new anymore, as it's a 2006), there are no physical locks at all, just the electronic locking mechanism.

    Liked this one overall, even before the theme reveal provided a nice little "a-ha".

    Delaware 11:38 AM  

    Did exactly the same thing as Ulrich - started with tape instead of tivo. Otherwise - what everyone else said. Lots of different fresh answers and I laughed when I got to the reveal. Especially liked the toast answer. More fun and a little harder than the typical Monday - thanks Andrea and Johanna!

    Evan 11:42 AM  

    Also, I don't know if others have commented on this yet, but does anybody know why Diary of a Crossword Fiend hasn't been updated since Friday?

    Ellen S 11:45 AM  

    Yeah, same here, @anon 9:45: I kept trying to fit Nigeria in that four-letter space. Keep forgetting he was born in Kenya.

    On a less serious note, I liked the puzzle, but not sure about the themers. Pop-up toasters do still exist, though much TOAST is made in toaster-ovens, which don't POP UP. Likewise, CAR DOOR LOCKS don't pop up any more, for the last 20-30 years -- an anti-theft device that could be thwarted with a coat hanger wasn't really doin' it, I guess. (Oh, @Rex, so glad you also can't remember the name of those bars that go across the steering wheel. I bought one once, still can't remember what they're called.)

    Google may sell pop-up ads, but I have never seen one. On their site where they explain what kind of advertising they offer, pop-ups are not mentioned. They sell ads that appear on their list of search hits, but that is not the same as a pop-up ad. They also offer ways for people to allow advertising on their own websites, but again, not pop-ups. I would think pop-up ads don't provide a lot of revenue these days, since most internet security programs suppress them.

    But still a fun puzzle, and nice to find out who @Joho is! Thanks!

    Ellen S 11:51 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Evan 11:52 AM  

    Never mind, there was something wrong with my browser -- cleared the cache and now it's fine.

    Ellen S 11:53 AM  

    @SteveJ -- Google owns double-click? they should be shot, but it definitely justifies the clue. Except they don't market that crud under their own name.

    About the auto lock that fits over the wheel. Couldn't stand it, so I let Google do something useful besides serve up POPUP ads -- the original one (as seen on TV?) was called The Club.

    Lindsay 11:53 AM  

    @Steve J --- I have a 2011 Ford Ranger with old-style door locks that pop up, or, more accurately, that one pulls up. Although the truck hadn't been redesigned since the early 90s (which is why I bought it --- no modern electronics /gps /satellite tracking of my whereabouts that I'm aware of, take that James Clapper) and has since gone out of production.

    And, the bar is called 11:55 AM  

    The Club

    chefbea 11:56 AM  

    It is Lojack!!

    LaneB 12:18 PM  

    Sometimes you eat the bear; sometimes the bear eats you. Today it was the former. True, it is a Monday edition , but I completed in less than a 1/2 hour with no mistakes and no Googling. A rare occasion indeed. Thus, a surprise with the "medium" label. My thanks to Fennimore and Michaels. Made my day.

    Lewis 12:25 PM  

    A Monday SNAP and a smooth solve. All the dislikes in today's blog have been so picky it must be a good puzzle!

    Happy neighbors include DEPOT STAGS, ARLO ON RYE, and the description SAP: OTELLO GOOP.

    Anxious to hear who contributed what to this, and thank you two for a crackling fun puzzle!

    John V 12:27 PM  

    Congrats Andrea and Johanna. Always wonderful when good things happen to nice people!

    Classic Monday, albeit a tad crunchy, which is fine. Hand up for @rex's AVOCADO write over.

    Carola 12:46 PM  

    @joho - I didn't realize that was you teamed up with @acme. No wonder there was a double dose of wit today!

    Clark 12:56 PM  

    Mr. Burns has a comment. And, for those floating on the AARE, here it is in German.

    joho 1:05 PM  

    First of all, thanks everybody for all the positive comments! Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I see the results of what this community has brought to my life.

    I'll touch upon a couple questions and let Andrea handle the rest as she most surely will POPUP later today.

    @jackj, we submitted this about a year ago.

    @Rex , Our clue for INTERNETAD was pretty straightforward as "Computer commercial."

    Also at @Rex, our clue for CARDOORLOCKS was "Vehicular safety devices." What's more interesting about this answer, though, is that our first try was THUNDERSTORM but that was rejected because it's not a "thing" like the other answers. So then we got all excited about PINGPONGBALL but Will didn't buy it (and he oughta know!). Then we saw that CARDOORLOCKS do indeed have the visual POPUP that we needed. And for what it's worth, I drive a 2005 Mini Cooper and my locks most definitely POPUP!

    @LMS, I think Andrea and I were both afraid that POPUPTOASTER in David's puzzle would ruin the surprise in our puzzle .. but, gladly, I don't think that happened.

    Thanks, again, everybody!

    Masked and Anonymo2Us 1:24 PM  

    Fun stuff. Played out kinda like a Wed-ThursPuz, but with lots of moo-cow clues, and a pretty straightforward theme.

    Things that did Not POP-UP often, in this puz:
    1. 3-letter words. SLO day for weejects.
    2. U's. Joho had one, and Andrea darlin had one. At least one U had the honor of populating the reveal answer. Usually kindly ol' Q is good for a couple, unless IRAQIS bearing QTIPS show up, like today.
    3. Story Illustrations. My fave pop-ups. J and A may now need to consider a puz with pop-up story imbedded in it.

    fave moo-cow Monday clue: "Alice's Restaurant" singer Guthrie. Only way to possibly make this one any easier, is to hum (or moo) a few bars.

    Gill I. P. 1:30 PM  

    A bit late to the party but want to say "O GEE, TREY COOL."
    Congratulations @joho and @ACM...I so enjoy the whimsicality the two of you produce. After I finished I said to my self that I want to go POPUP in OAHU with my KITER and sing ALOHA
    More of these please....

    Bird 1:37 PM  

    A nice Monday puzzle. Maybe little too much of tired fill, but I like KOOKIER COOTS and JACK IN THE BOX. Didn’t like the plural ERICAS too much. Same thoughts on 48A as @Rex.

    @Evan re 26A – Agreed, but how do clue the toy without using the word POP?

    Doesn’t Google sell the ad space?

    Good job JOHO and ACME

    Anonymous 1:46 PM  

    @Bird - Hand-cranked toy that surprises

    Evan 1:48 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Evan 1:49 PM  


    To borrow some clues for Matt Ginsberg's database:

    * Item with a crank
    * Toy with a concealed surprise
    * Toy with a built-in surprise
    * Classic toy

    #2 and #3 could probably be fine for a Monday. Here's one of my own: Toy with a startling clown.

    MetaRex 1:53 PM  

    Like the short reveal in the SE w/ the matching short theme answer in the NW...there's creative pop in that as well as in the theme itself...

    Constructing CWPs is hard, in case any of us have doubts on that...spent part of my lunch hour at work just now messing around w/ the NW to see if ya could get rid of ORIG and OGEE and keep the scrabbliness and the best effort was FARUK for VIRUS, TIFF for TIVO, ORAL for ORIG, and FLEE for OGEE...okay...but then ya got TIK, maybe clued as "Ke$ha's debut single ___ ToK"...not good.

    Do acm and joho deserve nicer commentary from all of us in RexLand than other constructors given their own valuable roles in the community? Yep, I'd say so. Based on the pop of their puzz, do they also deserve comments that it is in fact zippier than the average Monday puzz? Yep.

    Hard to be both appreciative and truthful! A number of today's comments including OFL's strike me as excellent in that regard...

    Notsofast 2:39 PM  

    A well-made, beautiful little snack of a puzzle. Props!

    Bird 2:53 PM  

    @Evan - I like your clue. For a Monday anyway.

    retired_chemist 2:56 PM  

    Nice work, ladies! Medium-easy here.

    Wanted WHACK-A-MOLE somewhere, but, alas, no.

    Hand up for CPLS @ 44A, CRAZIER @ 51A, and for working across and getting nearly all the other non-theme answers on the first pass. A few judiciously chosen downs and the theme answers became clear. So, a relatively fast (for me) time.

    Thanks, @acme and @joho!

    OOOOOMG 4:08 PM  

    By my count there are 24 O's in the grid. That's gotta be some kind of record.

    Lurking, Just Behind You 4:31 PM  

    JeeZ but this waZ a fabulous puZZle.
    Chock full of raZZLe daZZle and fun.

    I love the Scrabble-F**king. I waZ hoping for a pangram, but alas, foiled.

    It was Zippier than your average Monday and the reveal waZ amaZingly satisfying. Good job and a pair of 'attagirlZ' for ACME and Johanna.

    andrea carla michaels 4:56 PM  

    Hi! Yes, time to POP IN!!!

    Joho had this wonderful visual idea...had the entries, I simply added the TOAST in one corner and the reveal below... eh voila!!!

    We were devastated when PINGPONGBALL wouldn't "fly" (from Will of all people!) bec we needed a new 12-letter entry as we didn't want to lose JACKINTHEBOX.

    So when Joho at last came up with CARDOORLOCKS
    (car I'm driving has them) we were thrilled...and it's not a fake plural of convenience bec that's the whole thing, esp on a rental car, key in and they ALL POP UP!!!

    I would have LOVED to include WHAC-A-MOLE but too close to sweet PRAIRIEDOGS and (@ret-Chem) it's trademarked sans K, so only 9 letters!!!!

    For the record only thing changed was the NW corner... "THEY" added ORIG/AARE/OGEE which I'd have never had in one of "my" Mondays, but truth be told, it was a slight improvement over our:

    T O A S T
    I R A Q I
    K R A U T
    I S H E
    A R E A
    J A C K I N T

    SO Will got rid of ORRS (ick) AAAH and the partial
    IS HE... but we inherited ORIG (yikes) AARE, OGEE.

    As the Japanese say, shigata ga nai
    (Roughly, it is what it is... I like it bec it sounds Yiddish for "shit happens"!)

    Anyway, pleased as punch that people seemed to enjoy!
    If the biggest criticism is putting in Scrabble letters when I spend 50% of my life playing, teaching, competing and dreaming about Scrabble, so be it! :)
    I didn't think it compromised anything, and I love
    Q, K, X, J, Zs galore!

    To tell you the truth, I like how JACKINTHBOX was defined and wish TOAST had been defined as "Cheers!", e.g. and have all six theme answers be defined by something that is not in their POP UP capacity to have made for an even more "springy" reveal... less list-y. But that would have been tough with PRAIRIE DOGS and CARDOORLOCKS.
    So, JACKINTHEBOX should have been defined as the toy for consistency, but I don't mind that there was a little diversion, so the reveal was more fun...just wish it was done for TOAST too!

    I hadn't seen the puzzle for over a year, so when I was filling it in, I too made the Tape/TIVO mistake and don't think of a hyphenated name as one word, that was a bit distracting...

    But I've gotta say, overall, I'm thrilled to have been a part of this. It never gets old to me. And sweet comments are the icing on the cake.

    I even like the proximity to the HYDRATES and FIREEXIT in case there is an emergency :)

    you brought up something I'd love to address!
    Out of almost 50 puzzles in the NYT I've put ACME in the puzzle a total of THREE times!!!! All by coincidence. Folks started giving me a shoutout when ACME appeared in other puzzles and the next thing I knew, I was being accused of all sorts of things by people who have a serious lack of whimsy in their lives...
    Same goes for having fun making up names to write in when I's to amuse myself, yet still identify more than the anonymice. Doesn't hurt anyone as far as I can tell, so the vitriol always feels like a cold hard slap out of nowhere, but I have a great therapist for that!!!

    Anyway, I hope Joho, whom I've still yet to meet in "real" life, will continue coming up with sweet, fresh ideas and allow me to be a part of their creation!
    Full speedo ahead!

    acmez 5:05 PM  



    For those missing sleep over the lack of ZZZZZZs in our puzzle, they could do today's Cross Synergy puzzle in the Washington Post and get a double dose!

    Anonymous 5:30 PM  

    I thought the crossing of 16-A with 11-D was a Natick for two reasons: (1) Like many others I couldn't see ICET as a one-word name that made any sense (2) I couldn't even make sense of the clue to 11-D because of my poor eyesight -- I was reading it as Turns Targets, whatever that might be. I even ran the alphabet and decided the only possible answers were ICET and ACIDS but I still couldn't see that they made any sense, so I did not finish a Monday puzzle (how disgraceful!!).

    sanfranman59 5:37 PM  

    Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak to my method):

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

    Mon 6:07, 6:12, 0.99, 43%, Medium

    Top 100 solvers

    Mon 3:49, 3:49, 1.00, 44%, Medium

    jae 5:40 PM  

    The locks on both my Toyotas POP UP.

    "...serious lack of whimsey in their lives...." love it!

    sanfranman59 10:07 PM  

    This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

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

    Mon 6:07, 6:12, 0.99, 43%, Medium

    Top 100 solvers

    Mon 3:42, 3:49, 0.97, 28%, Easy-Medium

    Tita 7:54 AM  

    I am in Sabaudia, Italy, for a very intense work project. (No - really...don't let the balcony overlooking the Tyhrenian Sea fool you), and so insanely busy that I only finished Sunday just now.

    While having lunch, I decided to take a quick stab at Monday.

    Andrea again - hurrah! Oh wait - isn't that Joho with her??

    You gals rock...this was very cute.
    Just love the many different types of Pop Up things!

    Loved COOKIER krossing COCKEYED.

    ANd lots of other stuff, but need to get back to work.

    Oh - I wanted to fit coo-coo in somehow for one of those Nutty clues...
    WHen stepdaughter was 2, she ran, dancing, out of the bedroom without a stitch on, and her 6 year old brother said "She's coo-coo." From then on, she thought coo-coo meant naked.

    (Well, not anymore, but she did. For a while...)

    Great job, y'all!

    Tita 8:06 AM  

    @Joho - I have a 2006 MINI Cooper S convertible! My CARDOORLOCKS POPUP for sure.

    spacecraft 11:29 AM  

    So, "Acapulco gold," eh? Is that what sent you to JACKINTHEBOX, After Cannabis Munchies?

    This was a fun do. The theme was clever and original--and because I sorta speed-read the revealer clue, I missed the "1-" in the list of theme entry numbers, thus totally missing the inclusion of TOAST in the theme till I came here. To me that's an extra little zinger (there's your Z!).

    Didn't we just have ONEA? That one's getting tiresome, and anyway, it violates my (personal) rule against partial abbr.; should read 1A. Still, it doesn't seem as bad as AANDE, I guess because the "A" does not stand for a word but rather a single letter designation.

    I had no quibble with 16a. Rapper-turned-actor (4) = ICET. (7) = LLCOOLJ. These are the only two rappers against whom I will not rant, 'cause they both do a great job acting.

    Yeah, CARDOORLOCKS sounds a bit greenpaintish, but whaddayagonnado?

    COCKEYED makes me think of that optimist Nellie Forbush, and KOOKIER evokes the "hipster" of "77 Sunset Strip," Edd Byrnes.
    [Kooike, Kookie, lend me your comb!] I like the crossing of the two, and of ALOHA/OAHU. Nice job.

    ahimsa-NYT 1:35 PM  

    Very cute puzzle, many thanks to @acme and Johanna Fenimore! And I agree with @acme that life could always use more whimsy.

    Did anyone think of the old Pop-up Videos from VH1 after doing this puzzle? :-)

    For those who don't know what I'm talking about there was a VH1 show (late 1990s?) that played videos while little text bubbles (trivia, behind the scenes information) popped-up on the screen.

    PS. I used to post as Syndi Solver. Not a very clever nickname, I know. When I picked it I thought I'd be posting quite rarely or I'd have tried to come up with something better.

    Now that I've subscribed to the NY Times puzzle I set up an account for making comments. I still have a few weeks of syndicated puzzles before I "catch up" to real time.

    rain forest 3:02 PM  

    Nice, smooth, easy Monday, with little schlock. I liked the idea of the theme and agree that had the theme answers not been clued as the actual thing that pops up, the revealer would have had more oomph. Maybe there is some obscure college whose teams are known as the Prairie Dogs. How about, for 48a, "What happens when you turn key?" Silly?

    Anyway, a good start to the week.

    DMGrandma 3:04 PM  

    Cute puzzle. My only slow down was putting CPL as the rank under Sgts. Grandson just came in and can't stop talking, so see you tomorrow!

    Captcha: bestMe. That's what I try to be!

    Dirigonzo 7:06 PM  

    @Spacecraft - Yesterday's Premier Crossword by Frank A. Longo had Edd Kookie Burnes as a theme answer and that sent me to youtube to see a video of the song by him and Connie Stevens. It doesn't get any KOOKIER than that.

    @ahimsa - We'll miss you when you become a former "Syndi solver in fact as well as in name.

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