Racer Yarborough / MON 2-24-14 / Actor MacLeod of old TV / Newswoman Logan / 1957 Everly Brothers hit with repeated lyric Hello loneliness / Maryland home of Walter Reed medical center

Monday, February 24, 2014

Constructor: Adam G. Perl

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (***For A Monday***)



THEME: LOUISA MAY ALCOTT (39A: Author who created the characters named by the starts of 17-, 24-, 49- and 61-Across) — theme answers begin with names of the March girls

Theme answers:
  • JOKES AROUND
  • MEGABYTE
  • BETHESDA
  • AMYL NITRITE
Word of the Day: CALE Yarborough (41D: Racer Yarborough) —
William Caleb "Cale" Yarborough (born March 27, 1939), is a farmer, businessman and former NASCARWinston Cup Series driver and owner. He is one of only two drivers in NASCAR history to win three consecutive championships. He was the second (2nd) NASCAR driver to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated […]
His 83 wins places him at number six on the all-time NASCAR winner's list (behind Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip, who are tied for fourth with 84). His 14.82% winning percentage is the ninth best all-time and third among those with 500 or more starts. Yarborough won the Daytona 500 four times; his first win coming in 1968 for theWood Brothers, the second in 1977 for Junior Johnson, and back-to-back wins in 1983 and 1984. In 1984, he became the first driver to qualify for the Daytona 500 with a top speed of more than 200 miles per hour (320 km/h). Yarborough is a three time National Motorsports Press Association Driver of the Year (1977, 1978, 1979). (wikipedia)
• • •

The theme is interesting—I've seen the rough equivalent of this theme before, I think (and recently), but  I still generally like the way the girls' names are hidden inside other words at the beginning of the theme answers. The non-theme fill, however, was another story. It felt very stale, very phoned-in. Also, I can't tell you how badly NESTING SITE (?) tripped me up. Had NESTING- and then … nothing. Could not bring myself to accept SITE, as that did not seem like nearly a tight enough phrase to be a crossword answer. It's not a GREEN PAINT* answer (i.e. a totally arbitrary adj./noun pairing), but it just felt off. Also, while I like that there are four longer Downs, I don't like how much longer the Downs are than half the theme answers. Very strange to have four non-theme answers be longer than two of your theme answers. But the real problem here is the staleness of the fill. Ugh to CALE (never can remember if he's HALE or KALE or what, but since both of *those* are actual words, I should really commit the non-word CALE to memory right now), and OLIVA and ADELA (super ugh) and RAE. Then there's the randomest of Roman numerals, CMVI. And lots of crosswordese like ORONO and EZINE (super ugh). And more fill-in-the-blank clues than you can shake a stick at. Most cluing feels lifted from Cluing Compendium of Yore. So, yeah, the puzzle skews very old. And not old-interesting, but old-tired. Old-dull. Old-"please, not again." There's even "Old TV's" GAVIN MacLeod… see, there's just not *balance* here; bring on the old, the new, the whatever, just mix it up and (above all) show evidence of *care* and *trying*.


Here's what trying looks like:

BIDEN*
AZURE*
JOKES
ADE*T
***

Now it's not Great (I mean, it's still got ADE, so how could it be Great), and admittedly I *tried* for only about 30 seconds, but it's an undeniable improvement on the current NW, nonetheless. BAJA can stand alone, unlike DÉJA. ERE is crosswordese, but sure as hell beats INE. AZURE crushes EZINE. DUKE beats DIKE. I think BIDEN beats DIDIN, but even if you call that a draw (or a downgrade), the overall quality of my revision is better. And I am not a top-flight constructor, and I did not get paid to make this puzzle. So … buttons.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

Morning update: I read the clues to my wife as she cooked last night and she (a woman who knows her birds fairly well) couldn't get NESTING SITE to save her life. Even with NESTING in place. It was pretty funny. "NESTING … LIMB?"

65 comments:

Anonymous 6:59 AM  

As a birder, NESTING SITE did not bother me much, I may have uttered it in the past...

Anonymous 7:20 AM  

I agree with Rex's rating for a Monday--my first Monday over 5 minutes in a while, even if only by a few seconds.

Danp 7:22 AM  

The non-theme fill, however, was another story. It felt very stale, very phoned-

Does anything say stale like Little Women? I thought it was a good puzzle for beginners, with a nice mix of new and old, technical and pop culture, etc. But I was sure I would come here and find that today was Alcott's birthday, because why else build a puzzle around four names that I mostly know from Xword puzzles?

Mike in DC 7:28 AM  


My fastest Monday. Loved AMALGAMATED, SOUNDTRACK, BYEBYELOVE. Didn't bother me that they were long and non-theme. It wasn't as if this was random; themes were across. Why should quality long fill be a bad thing?

Andrew Morrison 7:33 AM  

I thought it was easy, but that's probably due to the lack of current-era entertainment clues. I don't know pop or hip-hop, so I am usually 'at sea' in such puzzles. There was a whole lot of Maleska in this one!

AliasZ 7:41 AM  

Very nice Monday puzzle, easy but with some teeth. It was fun figuring out the four little women's names after I was finished.

Being neither a chemist nor a popper popper, AMYL NITRITE was new to me. Besides concealing the names effectively in unlikely words and phrases, Adam Perl was also able to squeeze in some long downs: SOUNDTRACK, NESTING SITE, BYE BYE LOVE and AMALGAMATED -- all lovely entries.

I also liked SCALENE, the mention of the soccer team ARSENAL and the one-L LAMA who is a priest, but DIDIN, ITIN and ALLIN not so much. Then OBIT crossing OBI, really? However, the clue "News item of passing concern" was worth it. The huge number of proper names did not please me much either. ADELA who? LARA who? I counted 15 of them, not including TREAT Williams or GOD.

Speaking of names, whatever happened to Tommy CHONG? Is he still high?

Let me close with Hommage à Rameau from IMAGEs by Claude Debussy.

************

I missed yesterday's limerick competition, but I hope the jury finds it in its heart to accept my late entry:

A young man named Rex P. from Natick
Made puzzles and lived in an attic.
He sent them to Shortz
But bein' out of sorts,
The "NO!" that Will gave was emphatic.


Happy Monday!

chefbea 7:57 AM  

I started this puzzle last Friday when someone fouled up…I stopped when I realized it was a monday puzzle.Finished it this morning in record time!!! Very easy I don't time myself..but I haven't even finished one cup of coffee. Easiest Monday ever

@aliasZ..Great limerick!!! That wins the prize

Anonymous 8:11 AM  

Two thangs...Rex's commentary gets it right (nitrAte, not nitrIte as in the solution printed.
Worse yet...the clue refers to the incorrect term "spittin' image". It is "spit and image".

Mohair Sam 8:12 AM  

Easy/medium Monday for us. Liked it much more than Rex seemed to, probably because NESTING SITE made total sense to us and we liked the long downs. Thought AMALGAMATED was really neat, learned AMYL NITRITE and liked the theme in spite of the fact "JO" is the only Little Woman I remember.

But yes, this skewed very old - Everly Brothers, Gavin freakin' MacLeod, maybe CHONG. Of course any theme depending on Louisa May is gonna seem ancient.

Overall a solid Monday. Enjoyed.

Anonymous 8:14 AM  

For the etymological last word on 'spit and image' see http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1977/whats-the-origin-of-spitting-image

mac 8:16 AM  

Haha, my one erasure was the A in NitrAte!

Nice long words and an easy Monday. Do we think
"scalene" belongs this early in the week?? Quite a bit of crosswords, indeed.

Another thing: why this order of the March girls? Meg is the oldest, then Jo, then Beth and the youngest is Amy.

mac 8:20 AM  

Spell check doesn't like crosswords.

Z 8:29 AM  

Challenging here, mostly because I had to work out BYE BYE LOVE. CMVI is so random that it looks like the puzzle is cussin' at us, otherwise no real complaints about the fill from me. I do like all the long downs, especially AMALGAMATED. I've no idea where that word comes from, but you have to love all those alternating A's.

Beer Rating: DBC Radler - I didn't mind this puzzle and I thought it was a slightly above average example of the style, it had some some nice aspects that saved it from just being your average Monday. This puzzle had good drinkability.

jberg 8:32 AM  

Little problems for me were AMYL NITRaTE before NITRITE, YEs before YEA. and MEGAchip (which I didn't like but wrote in anyway) before BYTE. The big problem was guessing the vowel at the CALE/GAVIN crossing. Never heard of either one, and Cole seemed more likely, but Govin not so much. Got it right, but just by chance.

@Rex, thought you'd like the Nascar ref -- but now I see he's an OLD Nascar driver (older than I am!)--virtually a RELIC.

Anyway, I mostly liked this one, and short theme answers don't bother me at all.

But I'd probably like anything with Bye Bye Love.

Susan McConnell 8:33 AM  

@aliasZ Cute, but FYI Natick has a hard A (NAY-tick).

Puzzle was ok Monday-type stuff. I thought it would have been better for the first Monday in March to have another little tie in.

Z 8:39 AM  

I'm pretty sure the guy on the right comments here.

Norm C. 8:44 AM  

Had NESTINGarea in for a while, but fixed it once I had the S from LOUISA. I didn't find the puzzle overly hard. Even though I don't follow baseball, I've heard of OLIVA. Not so much ADELA.

Overall, liked it.

Thanks, Adam, and a good week to all.

WA 8:46 AM  

I am prone to kidney stones and kale is on the prohibited list. Same time as an average Monday, even though I had to fill in the words around the main clue.

Anonymous 8:47 AM  

As Anonymous mentioned, birders (and other nature lovers, I imagine) have no problem with NESTING SITE.

Kathy 8:52 AM  

Funny--I had Didit for 1 across, as in knocked off the to-do lost. That makes place to lay an egg into a testing site, to which my students can surely attest!

joho 8:56 AM  

My favorite answer was JOKESAROUND :)

The most difficult was finding AMY as I had AMiLNITRITE at first, but easily fixed.

Yes, very easy, but that's a good thing on a Monday, no?

joho 8:59 AM  

@Oh, and Tony OLIVA played for the Minnesota Twins .... bet that's a sports clue that Andrea got ... right, Andrea?

Anonymous 9:08 AM  

Probably too late to merit the mention, but Rubinstein made the front page of The Times today ( below th fold, but still...). Couple of the inmates in here were beefing his inclusion in a puzzle last week. As I said, old news, but it jumped out at me.

Some dulce mathematician

dk 9:10 AM  

���� (2 Moons) MEL Torme was known as the velvet fog. This puzzle may also be one and the same.

It is chilling (or chilin) to think that CHONG is dated fill. Happy to see AMES join ORONO in the college grid. Both have similar campus "settings" although one is in a corn field and the other aside estuaries. They are similar in they look not unlike Soviet Block buildings… particularly this time of year.

Frank Lloyd Wright and others will tell you that ample EAVES improve ones NESTSITE.

Oatmeal consumed -- off to the slopes

cascokid san 9:20 AM  

I was on track for this to be my fastest Monday until I hit [Tuckered out]. As [Tony] OLIVA was never on the Red Sox squad, I had to guess at his L, and as I'm not actually a chemist (I just play one 9-5), I had to guess at the L in AMYLNITRITE, so I was guessing at ALLIN for [Tuckered ou]. Let's see if we can use them interchangeably in a sentence, shall we?

"I had kings over fives, best hand in an hour, and with a dwindling chip pile I decided to make move move, so I TUCKEREDOUT." Nope, that doesn't work. Exactly backwards.

"Stacking a cord of wood is strenuous work, and when my cousin dropped a second cord in the driveway, I was ALLIN." Also backwards.

"Coach told us to leave it ALLIN the field, so we were plainly TUCKEREDOUT at the end of the game." That should be "all on" the field, and hardly interchangeable.

Here comes another DNF, I thought as I hit submit. But no., it was a 17 minute solve. 5 minutes longer than the actual solve. So that very familiar sense of being cheated morphed into a sense of cheating. Well. Happy Monday. I guess.

@Happy Pencil, welcome to Rexworld. If you sense that our host has troll-like moments, just remember that he is Our Troll, and we'll stick up for him! :) in the mean time you'll find that @Numinous, @Mohair Sam, @Z, @AliasZ, @LMS, @jberg, @jae, and several others are among the best people you'll never actually know. Makes you kind if wonder what Socrates would say, or rather ask, now . . . doesn't it?

UNPC Guy 9:28 AM  

"Chong"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCsTlPYWRQg

Little Allee Fo Chong played all day in an oriental way, In a swell Chinese Café,
But Allee loved his rag the same as you,
And ev'ry evening when his work was thru,
Allee layed his Tom Tom down,
Pretty soon you hear this sound:

(chorus)

'Chong, he come from Hong Kong
Where Chineeman play allee day on a drum,
Chong no likee that song,
Where Chineeman cry 'way up high,
Singee sungay, mungay, chick-a-lick-a-fungay,
Chong, go back to Hong Kong,
I betcha he teachee his China girl how to dance, like in a trance;
Teachee peachee Melican song,
All day long to his China girl in old Hong Kong.'

Anonymous 9:32 AM  


For AliasZ-

The disputatious Rex P. sent the Times,
A puzzle with clues based on rhymes.
But "Natick" and "attic" to Shortz
Were sure to make him plotz;
You see, they're discordant chimes.

cascokid san 9:36 AM  

Anyone notice that placing Walter Reed in BETHESDA is a very, very new thing. There has been a Walter Reed annex in Silver Spring for generations, but it wasn't until they closed the *real* Walter Reed in Rock Creek Park, NW, DC, and move its name to Bethesda in 2011, that Reed/Bethesda have had anything to do with each other. Hmm.

Op cit, a constructor recently alleged that Andrews is a USAFB, but it hasn't been since -- wait for itt -- 2011, when it's redesignation as a Joint Base was contemporaneous with the Reed reassignment. So one descriptor is grandfathered and the other isn't?THAT's inconsistent puzzle editing! And I say this by broad light of day, but @Z'd point out that it is in fact slightly overcast, grayish, with a chance of Vortex.

olderbutnosmarter 9:42 AM  

At the risk of beating a dead ...bird, while there may be no "nesting sites" in the Chemung Valley, or even Natick, without the benefit of limbs or crooks, shore birds have no where else to go.

ArtO 9:47 AM  

Totally agree with Rex. More a Tuesday. Shocked to see some finishing in record time.

quilter1 9:54 AM  

Very easy for me. I did not mind the NESTING SITES and was delighted with BYE BYE LOVE. Happy Monday.

Carola 10:07 AM  

I very much liked how the girls' names were hidden; I interpreted "starts" in the clue for 39A as the complete words, so I had ??? over my head as to how JOKES and MEGA could possibly be names. Yeah, DIM. It wasn't until I had LOUISA MAY ALCOTT filled in that I saw JO and MEG. I needed AMY to remind me of AMYL NITRITE. I thought the theme answers were all very clever, and also admired BYE BYE LOVE, SOUND TRACK, AMALGAMATED, SCALENE. Needed both S and T before I had the SITE to go with NESTING.

Other clusters - the French DEJA, VIE, AMIE, MME, and for travel BMW, ROUTE, ITIN.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:41 AM  

OK by me, though I had a feeling that many of the clues were longer than they needed to be (e.g. 11 A, 19 A, 21 A, 32 A, etc.)

Sandy K 10:49 AM  

Agree with @Rex that it played medium-challenging ***for a Monday*** and skewed a bit old-timey...but I loved it!

I adored "Little Women"- the book and the subsequent movies...so finding JO, MEG, BETH, and AMY was enjoyable.

I also appreciated that it wasn't too easy for a Monday- with entries like SCALENE, AMYL NITRITE, MEGABYTE, AMALGAMATED, and BETHESDA.

Altho CALE and NESTING SITE were not in my ARSENAL of cross-
wordese, they were gettable.

Mary Rivers 11:07 AM  

I thought it was fun and easy. I try not to overthink this stuff; nesting site made perfect sense, though I really liked @Kathy's "testing site" comment. Good chuckle there.
@AliasZ and others who add musical codas: is there a way to insert WAV files only? I have limited broadband and YouTube chews it up fast, so I usually pass on some lovely music.

@cascokid, you are dead on; best folks you'll never know. I read Rex, but I really come here for the comments.

Wade 11:26 AM  

Same as Kathy, I had DIDIT/TESTING SITE and didn't blink at it. (I was thinking a test site is a place you are free to screw up, or do your beta tests, which is to say I wasn't thinking at all but surfing that subconscious crossworld zone where all kinds of spooky shit goes on.) So I agree that this is a challenging Monday.

Parrallel Universe 11:45 AM  

@Rex - Per Google, "nesting site" most often refers to sea turtles (the clue didn't specify birds), so Sandy can be forgiven. You, not so much.

@Bob K (10:41a): It's a Monday thing. By Saturday 11A would be "Motorrad maker".

Nick 11:56 AM  

From ezine to gavin to a 14-year-old hint for Lucy Liu (who stars as Watson right now, AND there's a Sherlock Holmes clue in the puzzle) this whole thing feels so dated and tired. It's a dispiriting way to start the day, like reading a 1973 issue of Newsweek in a waiting room somewhere. Why, Rex, why?

Gill I. P. 12:15 PM  

I always thought BMW stood for Bob Marley and the Wailers.
A tad too many names for my liking but I like seeing LUISA MAY ALCOTT in the middle.
I want to spell Lucy's name "LOO."

Uncle John C 12:27 PM  

I may have mentioned this once before - but back when I was a bookstore clerk ('80 - '88) the saying was "Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women, Little Men and little else."

I think NESTING SITE is akin to something like "tool area" or "hat shelf" - a place where something goes or where something is happening - not exactly wrong - but doesn't feel right.

Numinous 12:43 PM  

It's a crossword by Adam G. Perl
For a Monday. Let's give it a whirl.
It's so suddenly done
Yet it still has some fun
And complaining would make me a churl.

Bye bye love
Bye bye happiness
Hello loneliness
I think I'm-a gonna cry-y
Bye bye love
Bye bye sweet caress
Hello emptiness
I feel like I could die
Bye bye my love goodbye

Bye bye my love goodbye
Bye bye my love goodbye

Now I have that Everly Brothers harmony bangin' around in my head. I heard it within two seconds (ok five seconds) of reading the clue and now it's stuck. I had to look up the lyrics so they wouldn't mondegreen. Just thought I'd share them with you in case y'all had forgotten.

A minor technical nitpick. When I looked at the clue then the crosses and filled in SOUNDTRACK I thought, "No it's not." Yes, I'm fully aware that they're called SOUNDTRACK albums but the sound track for a film includes the dialogue and the sound FX as well as the music when present. When mathematicians and chemists pick their nits I'm usually amused. I think it's fair for a film editor to pick one once in a while.

I almost missed the theme. I only half read the revealer and carried on filling stuff in. Later I looked up at that answer and it was so filled in with crosses that adding two letters gave me LOUISAMAYALCOTT. I've never read her nor have I seen the movie. Somehow I know they're the March family and I've heard of MEG, JO, AMY and BETH. So that was an "Oh, yeah!" moment but not an AHA moment.

I wouldn't call a NEST in a tree a SITE but when I see 3,000 penguins clinging to the rocks on a shoreline laying eggs, I call that a SITE. I watch National Geographic Channel sometimes.

I've written limericks, off and on, for 30 years. When you (General Yu) get that anapest thing going in your head, it's kinda hard to turn it off. 99.875% of my efforts would not be printable here or might make me some enemies. I sometimes have a Family Guy mindset which I mostly keep to myself.

Y'all came up with some wonderful limericks with several serious standouts. I won't name them nor would I pick any ONE to be a "winner" or even a favorite. The good ones are good, that's enough.

Thanks Adam G. for a nice quickie nooner.

I'm sure I'll find something else to blither about but for now:
BYE BYE my LOVEs goodbye

John V 12:45 PM  

Just fine for a Monday. I've not read any of the theme works, but whatever.

Thought the patch around SCALENE/CMVI/CAle was the hardest bit.

Always thought a SCALENE was on onion. I guess that's the leek's of my problems.

retired_chemist 12:57 PM  

Kind of a medium-challenging here. Don't know my time since I messed up my timer. It felt like the answers were tougher than average for a Monday, though well within the ken of experienced solvers.

AMYL NITRITE clued via poppers is fine. Not so sure of AMYL NITRaTE, but it does have some street currency.

Thanks, Mr. Perl.

Steve J 1:12 PM  

Never read "Little Women", so I didn't notice the names for a bit, but typical of a Monday, things fell together easily without needing the theme. Theme phrases were all solid, and like others mentioned, the way the names are hidden in the words is nicely done.

Liked the long downs. Didn't bother me in the least that they were longer than some if the theme answers. Fill definitely needed more zip and verve, and less crosswordese, but it was still a decent Monday.

Lewis 1:12 PM  

@kathy and @wade -- I did the same thing (DIDIt/tESTINGGROUND), using basically the same reasoning.

I have never heard of the phrase ALLIN, so I learned that. Glad to see a clever clue (the one for OBIT) which is rare on Mondays. Pleasant solve!

loren muse smith 1:44 PM  

@Steve J - I'm going to admit it here publicly: I have never read Little Women, either. I'm so ashamed.

However, this one came easily enough, and I agree with Rex – it's almost silly how much it pleases me that the names are disguised in bigger words.

Big, uh, four-in vibe going (aside from AMIE, VENI, MME, VIE, DEJA):
ALL IN
DID IN
IT IN
INN
Then you have GAVIN, INCA, and the bowl suffix INE. (I've been over the beauty of the bowline knot with all of you.)

Two college towns. I'll take ORONO over AMES any day. I'm probably one of twelve people in this hemisphere filled with a sense of impending doom at the sight of the daffodils blooming. There is no word strong enough for my hatred of hot weather.

@Mac -SCALENE – little known secondary meaning – the off-putting by-product that fills the house when my son and his friend prepare the day's catch from the ponds for a fish fry.

My gimme and toe hold was AMYL NITRITE. Yeah, rite. I thought "popper" meant those thingies you pull apart on New Year's Eve. My husband set me straight.

@Numinious – agreed – great limericks yesterday. Doubly agree they're *all* about the essential anapest.

Off to Planet Hollywood, as I call it, or PF Chang's, as my son calls it.

Hey, Adam – nice job!

Wendy 1:53 PM  

Oh, hey, we love Louisa in Massachusetts!
That being said, in other Massachusetts minutiae, you can't tell by looking at "Natick" that it doesn't rhyme with attic, which would be logical, but it's "NAY tick".
There once was a puzzler from Natick.
Poor fill always caused him to say "ick".
He'd tumble downstairs
Penning crossword repairs
On a grid neither illin' nor sick.

LaneB 3:04 PM  

Out of town this weekend visiting with one of my sons, a judge in Mendocino County, CA, so did the Sunday ( relatively easy because of all the movie titles) plus Sunday's acrostic plus today's. Big puzzle day but better than humiliating myself on the golf course, something truly inexplicable after several weeks of really decent play. Well that' golf, the metaphor for life itself.

TIme to regroup.

Anonymous 3:14 PM  

With the crosses I had at the time, somehow the logical thing for me was "Nesting... pits? Like, sea turtles laying eggs on a beach? Does that make sense?"

Guess not.

Amylnitrate Cale Megabytes 3:17 PM  

I got JOKESAROUND and saw the theme was going to be character names and thought Batman enemies, thinking JOKES was a mistakefor JOKER!

When it became clear that it was LOUISAMAYALCOTT I was thrilled that was
A) 15 letters
B) I wasn't going to be expected to know who wrote Batman
C) had a feminine vibe

Looked to see if constructor were a woman, but then noticed that all the feminine names were sort of masculinized for the phrases...
JO, BETH, MEG, AMY are all girls, but they transmorgrify ( or trans-something!) into JOKER, MEGABYTE, BETHESDA, AMYL NITRITE all sort of masculine-vibed things, compuers and naval bases and what not.
Loved it!

Not the most modern of themes , yes, but the WAY Adam Perl DID It is very modern.
Monday with FIVE theme phrases and to get all four girls in so smoothly (forgive me @mac but it's absurd to expect them in birth order, it's amazing enough there are other words that have them at the beginning, so phrase length and symmetry are going to dictate the order
And it's an extra sweet synchronicitous dollop that the author is 15 right across the middle!!!)

Old-timey would have been just:
LITTLEWOMEN 11
LOUISAMAYALCOTT 15
(another 11 letter phrase) 11

So don't confuse an historical writer with staleness in terms of HOW this puzzle is presented which is really not stale at all.
Could've been fun if
MEGJOBETHAMY 12 were 11 letters!

I loved BYEBYELOVE which is theme-worthy itself...

But I do agree with @Nick 11:56am (hey, @Nick is sort of an anagram of NATICK!!!) that it was a missed opportunity not to give Lucy LIU her more contemporary credit.

There were maybe a tad too many proper names, where GaVIN crossing CaLE might do in some newer solvers, but, in general, GREAT theme that was really well done!

To call it phoned in and other unnecessary knocks is like casting Perls before swine.

(and yes, @joho, I got Tony OLIVA (and Dawn)!

RnRGhost57 3:21 PM  

A pleasant, harmless Blue Monday.

sanfranman59 4:04 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 6:14, 6:16, 0.99, 46%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:27, 4:00, 1.11, 87%, Challenging

chefwen 5:39 PM  

Our neighbors property is a designated NESTING SITE for Albatross. It's great fun to watch them soar overhead riding the currents, almost like watching a ballet. Also, about 10 miles north there is a huge NESTING SITE at the Kilauea lighthouse where thousands of seabirds nest. A "must see" for visitors.

BYE BYE LOVE brought back old memories.

Fun start to the week.

Thanks Adam G. Perl

OISK 8:24 PM  

Very fast Monday for me. Too fast. I never got around to double checking "Nitrate" against the down clue.

Pat Berry made Friday a fun day
And I rolled through the puzzle on Sunday
But for all my good work,
Now I feel like a jerk,
With a big "Did Not Finish" on Monday !

Questinia 9:37 PM  

Sorry OISK, you had an audience. I think you have a good sense of rhythm and content actually.
This may lead to rapping!

Numinous 10:23 PM  

Have we uncovered a hidden talent? You know, OISK that we are now going to expect you to come up with one for every puzzle from now on? Well, maybe not, but I think we've found your fun side.

Tomorrow, can we expect a limerick in the post from @Rex?

sanfranman59 3:17 AM  

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 6:19, 6:18, 1.00, 52%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:19, 4:00, 1.08, 82%, Challenging

spacecraft 11:26 AM  

There once was a bogger named Rex
(Whose avatar just EXUDES sex)
But his real name is Sharp
And all he does is carp:
Inferiority complex?

OK, I'll stop. I was surprised to see anything other than "easy" atop today's offering. Only because I started with those Everly boys in their Beamer and working west did I have to write over giGA- with MEGA. Who counts in megabytes any more--that's so last century. (This was, of course, before I realized that the themers had to begin with the Marches' names.) Oh, and hand up for the w/o in the SE; I never did know my nitrates from my nitrites. DaVE even looked okay going down--lucky I daahble-checked the clue. Or, IS there a springboard move called "the Dave?" Guess not. I went with the I.

But everything else was gimme city. Even NESTINGSI__. What else could it be? SIlo? SInk? SIll? Grant you, it's not a "familiar phrase," but then neither are about 15% of the ones on "Wheel of Fortune." It is what it is.

Not too bad. Overly simplistic, but ya gotta love AMALGAMATED, don'tcha? And that image of Don and Phil tooling off in their BMW as they wave BYEBYE, like James Coburn in "Waterhole #3:"

"That's the way I am."

Little dinghy, 33344.

rain forest 1:16 PM  

Nice Monday which I finished quickly, ending with a @Diri OWS. I entered AMYLNITRATE, saw that the down was DaVE, and didn't bother to read the clue for 57D. Thought it might be a reference to the boy's name in a Dr. Seuss piece about a woman who named all her sons Dave. Disheartening to be so lazy.

However, the error helped me recall the quintessential limerick which begins:
"There was an old hermit named Dave"

I won't continue--breakfast test (whatever that is), taste issues, etc.

missed the first capcha, so now I can play poker: four 2s. ALLIN

Solving in Seattle 1:40 PM  

Liked the juxtapositioning of BYEBYELOVE & SOUNDTRACK. And if you stretch it, NESTINGSITE is where eggs are AMALGAMATED. (I'll stop now.)

Agree with @Spacy that MEGABYTEs get you nothing these days. We're ramping up to terabytes. Loved seeing Lucy Liu. Thanks Adam.

Nice limerick, @Alias Z. Do us a haiku next.

Shout out at 15A to @Diri.

Bracket in shreds - down to just the Gators in the finals.

Poker hand in shreds. Two pair folds to @Rainy.

DMG 2:11 PM  

Not much trouble with this one, though, like @ACME, I briefly thought I'd be expected to know who wrote Batman. As it turned out, the only word I didn't know, CALE, filled from the crosses. A good Monday.

Parsley gave us a SPRIG
SCALENE it came from trig
As for the rest
No real test
And nothing to rattle a prig

Not even a pair!!!

Dirigonzo 3:14 PM  

Had I not been able to dredge SCALENE up from some dark corner of my brain that CALE would have been a problem. Otherwise, I thought it was a lovely Monday puzzle, especially because it had ORONO which is most certainly NOT crosswordese despite the opinion of OFL: Orono is a town in Penobscot County, Maine, United States. It was first settled in 1774 and named in honor of Chief Joseph Orono of the Penobscot Nation. It is home to The University of Maine. The population was 10,362 at the 2010 census.

My boat is bigger than @spacey's little dinghy but goes down fast under the weight of the four deuces (is that the name of an old pop group?).

DMG 4:52 PM  

@Diri: I seem to remember the Four Aces.

Dirigonzo 5:38 PM  

@DMG - Four Aces it is!
I just did today's puzzle from the NYT puzzle-a-day calendar and in a bit of Syndi-synchronicity Adam G. Perl was the constructor. Coincidence, I wonder?

Dirigonzo 6:32 PM  

@DMG - Look what I found! The Four Deuces! This beats Four Aces in my book!

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