Sleep extender / MON 6-2-14 / Cubs slugger Sammy / Absinthe flavor / Founding father who had beer name after him / Nearsighted Mr of cartoons

Monday, June 2, 2014

Constructor: Andrea Carla Michaels

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



THEME: ESSAY (66A: Kind of test … or a phonetic hint to 17-, 25-, 36-, 47- and 55-Across) — theme answers are two-word phrases where first word starts with "S" and second word starts with "A"

Theme answers:
  • SHEER AGONY
  • SNOOZE ALARM
  • SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
  • SAMUEL ADAMS
  • SMART ALECK
Word of the Day: ANISE (22D: Absinthe flavor) —
n.
  1. An annual, aromatic Mediterranean herb (Pimpinella anisum) in the parsley family, cultivated for its seedlike fruits and the oil obtained from them and used to flavor foods, liqueurs, and candies.
  2. Anise seed.
[Middle English anis, from Old French, from Latin anīsum, from Greek annēson, annīson.]


Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/anise#ixzz33R9VceUp
• • •

Was going to write:

Blah blah pangram blah blah I WANNA is a terrible six-letter partial that is here only to complete the pangram, a phenomenon most solvers never even notice and that is irrelevant and/or deleterious to puzzle quality blah blah IN NO over NO IDEA wtf? blah blah blah.
Then I noticed there wasn't a "V." That *has* to be due to editorial intervention. You can smell the pangram-attempt here from miles away. Hell, if you're this close, why not go SUV / PERV? Works for me. Theme is pretty dull. I was shocked it hadn't been done before, but I checked the cruciverb database and it seems to have at least originality going for it. SNOOZE ALARM is an interesting answer. I've already forgotten the rest of the puzzle. Where is that cleverness of old? This puzzle makes me kind of sad. That said, it is a perfectly serviceable puzzle.


The problem with blowing through a Monday puzzle at speeds approaching that of light is that the wheels can really come off if you make a little mistake. Had -EL ADAMS and without even looking at the clue wrote in ANSEL. Check cross check cross check cross. Nothing. Realize "hey, it's Monday, there's no way you check *three* crosses and come up with nothing on a Monday." Actually look at clue for ANSEL ADAMS. Realize ANSEL ADAMS was probably not a founding father. Remember SAMUEL ADAMS. Aaaaaaand … flat tire repaired. No idea how long that cost me, as I still managed to finish in 2:46. Maybe the rating should be "Easy" after all. Normal people are never going to do something as stupid and negligent as writing in ANSEL ADAMS there.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

111 comments:

Brian B 12:04 AM  

What I want to know is how one writes ANSEL ADAMS into an 11-letter space and doesn't notice anything amiss.

My time was only 12 seconds slower than our host's. First time that's ever happened (and my time is a 13-second PR). This is definitely on the easy side.

Anonymous 12:08 AM  

Changing MAMET to MAVEN would have made it a pangram. An easy
tweak. Or was it that originally?
I suspect you're correct ... you have a keen sense of smell.

Steve J 12:12 AM  

@Brian B: I got a good laugh at your Ansel Adams/11-letter space comment.

I liked this one. The theme's as simple and straightforward as they get, but the answers were all solid (SHEER AGONY being my favorite). At this point, that's all I ask out of Monday themes. Monday isn't the day to be looking for original theme concepts.

Outside that, I liked the lack of dreck and some nice, lively cluing. While this one flew by, it was an enjoyable few minutes.

jae 12:17 AM  

Medium for me, and pretty much what @Steve J said.  A solid Mon. theme, a low dreck grid...ESS, SSE...,  just a V short of a pangram,  about what you'd expect from Andrea.  My only issue is that the NE corner might be a little tough for Monday level solvers.  Liked it. 

yAHOO before WAHOO.  Last time Y was right.

Z 12:33 AM  

Not quite sure what golden age Rex is remembering. Five themers, a grid spanner, clean fill, a SAMUEL ADAMS KEG, a nice Monday all around. I went back over the past month and this is the best theme in the bunch (some will prefer the Seinfeldesque Lynn Lempel, but I'm not a member of that nihilistic cult). If one has to complain I guess the POCs are viewed as a weakness, but Mondays are entry days and POCs are great access points.

I've said before that I'm a pangram agnostic, but if it were MAVEN/ALVA/SSNS what exactly would be the harm? JIFF/JUS seems fine to me, QATAR/QUEER is nice, the Z is in a themer, the X is natural. If the complaint is that the pangram leads to forced/bad fill it doesn't seem to fly here.

Leapfinger 12:35 AM  

I did the same. Without thinking twice, I put in SMOKE ALARM.

JTHurst 12:59 AM  

I do not understand why any self respecting super solver would even do this puzzle (I understand why Rex does) and then regale us with their times, trumpeting how easy it was. Though, I can see how the super solver can become befuddled by this puzzle as they are looking at the non-intuitive 'tellings' of a clue whilst, schmendrick that I am, I saw 'Samuel Adams' right away.

As a Monday-Thursday solver I enjoyed this puzzle but had some tie-ups with 'I wanna' and 'wahoo'. I thought we clarified this a few months ago that a Wahoo is a delicious eating fish from the Caribbean or in obscure usage shouted from the back of a bucking bronco and Yahoo is "yippee".

I wish to praise Ms Michaels for her disregard to the current obscurantists, who dictate so much of today's language usage. Her answer for 21a was refreshing. Maybe I can now go outside and smoke a 'fag' and later this evening have a 'gay' ole time hangin' with my 'guys' and 'dolls'. Hell, maybe I can start calling myself a 'liberal' again.

JTHurst 1:02 AM  

Echoing Z's comment, do solvers actually count up the letters to see if the puzzle is a pangram?

Mark 1:11 AM  

Over at xword, the constructor tells us that Will's intern Joel's changes in one corner removed the pangram.

Moly Shu 1:12 AM  

I smiled when I saw @ACME was the constructor, and kept smiling until I was finished. My fastest Monday ever, and by a full minute and a half. Theme was good and dense, sure did like it.

Sure , it's got ESS and SSTS and EPEES and ARIA, but it also has TABBY, SUPERB, and my childhood friend FRED MAGOO, as well as the theme answers.

We miss you here, @ACME. If you don't come back, that's OK. Just keep making puzzles. Please

Anonymous 1:23 AM  

My quickest Monday, and an enjoyable puzzle to boot. I've never heard SNOOZE ALARM, it's always been "snooze button," but otherwise no complaints. Especially enjoyed SYDNEY AUSTRALIA for both it's grid-spanning and evocation of (hazy) memories of my six months of misspent youth in that wonderful city.

Now here's a question for the regulars . . .

Any time a Monday is not "easy," Rex always reminds us that his rating is *For a Monday*. I think most readers know the puzzles are graded on a curve, and Rex never qualifies any other day of the week, so what's this all about? Rex has always seemed a little insecureISH, so I'm wondering if it's just his way of reminding people that he wasn't *actually* challenged by a Monday.

Anybody know what that's all about?

Mark 1:32 AM  

@Anonymous 1:23 Rex writes "for a Monday," because if he just writes "medium," on a Monday then he gets blowback like,"that was easy easy easy!! what's the matter with you!?!" By writing "for a Monday," he avoids such nitpicking (or does he?).

Steve J 1:47 AM  

@Z: Agreed that this doesn't seem any less tight and clever than Andrea's past puzzles. Less agreed regarding POCs. I count two instances of crossing plurals. All the other plurals terminate in letters that are at the start of or in the middle of words. Which is fine. (To me, the real issue is forced/unnatural plurals, of which there are none in this puzzle.)

@JTHurst: WAHOO is indeed a fish. It is also an exclamation Just like "yahoo" is both an exclamation and word to describe a boorish person. (Incidentally, WAHOO is also apparently a tree.)

@Anon 1.23 a.m.: Rex qualifies other days too (most frequently when he rates a Friday or Saturday easy). As @Mark said, there's a long history of comments here that show that a lot of readers don't know that the ratings are relative to the day's difficulty.

chefwen 2:28 AM  

@Andrea - For someone who doesn't drink alcohol, this had a very beery sub-theme. I liked it and I love Sam Adams, not so much O'DOULS.

I thought we bid adieu to ALARM clocks yesterday.

A lovely start to the puzzle week.

Danp 6:30 AM  

I'm beginning to think the way to judge difficulty of a Monday puzzle is to count the clues you had to read. A more enjoyable way to do the puzzle might be to read only the DOWN clues, guess the letters missing in the ACROSSes, and then see if you can find a theme. Bonus for the revealer. Otherwise, 2:46 only answers the question, "how much time did Rex waste on this one?"

Gill I. P. 6:30 AM  

Perfect Monday. Perfect for my newbie puzzle solver daughter. Fun and smooth as silk.
Loved QUEER...Every time I see it, it reminds me of my favorite spoonerism: "Three cheers for our queer old dean."
If it had been a pangram I wouldn't have noticed nor cared. I personally like them as I do with stack puzzles.
Yes Andrea, more Mondays or Tuesdays please.

James Dean 6:33 AM  

"Snooze alarm" is made uo bs just to fit the puzzle. Google it and you get zero references to anything but a snooze button. Atrocious puzzle making.

Average time for me today - a little under 7 minutes - and a mostly enjoyable puzzle, except as noted. Getting a little more comfortable with the new app - using it in portrait mode makes a lot of difference - but paying quadruple last year's subscription price is not going to happen.

Gareth Bain 6:40 AM  
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Gareth Bain 6:45 AM  
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George Barany 6:46 AM  

I am in awe of anyone who can complete this (or any other) puzzle in under 3 min. I don't think that I could fill in the grid that fast even with the answer key in front of me. As it turned out, I quickly filled in YAHOO and had to backtrack when the crossing down was a head-scratcher. Still, with no other resistance, I clocked in at a leisurely time just under 6 min.

As earlier commentators have already pointed out, it is often worthwhile to consult the constructor notes over at xwordinfo.com for added insights. Here, ACME thought she was writing a Tuesday, and tried to have some extra fun with it by going for a pangram. Certainly, five longish theme answers plus a solid reveal is a lot for a Monday. Yet, as has been discussed elsewhere, such is the dearth of well-constructed Mondays that Will Shortz clearly judged that this particular puzzle should be run today instead, and edited it accordingly. Or perhaps ACME is being type-cast?

Gareth Bain 6:47 AM  

The opinions stated by Rex/Michael are perfectly reasonable, but I can't say I like the tone in which they were expressed.

Z 7:00 AM  

@James Dean - sheesh, Target even has a whole page of them. Yes, SNOOZE button did show up in my search results, but hardly "made up bs." O'DOULS on the other hand... let's put out a non-alcoholic beer and pretend it is Irish...I know I prefer my marketing to weirdly misappropriate stereotypes.

@Steve J - There are still Saturdays when the crossing POC is the only letter in for me on first pass through. I get the point but it takes a lot of POCs to bother me.

Anonymous 7:00 AM  

Gareth -

With Andrea, he's usually unnecessarily snide and insulting. This is on the mild side. Mostly, it seems as he doth protest too much.

Lovely puzzle, ACME! (And Google Schmoogle' James Dean -- I say snooze alarm.)

Glimmerglass 7:26 AM  

This morning, I ate breakfast in 3:17! Best time ever. Wahoo! Time is my god.

Bob Kerfuffle 7:36 AM  

Always a pleasure to see ACME's byline.

jberg 7:40 AM  

Lovely puzzle, @ACME, keep up the good work! SNOOZE ALARM was my first theme answer, so I was mildly disappointed when it didn't turn out to be "Hidden ZEAL." But that would have been hard for either a Monday or a Tuesday.

"The Ancient Mariner turns the tables: CRAZE ALBATROSS" doesn't quite work. Or "High wind speed: BREEZE ALACRITY."

Anyway, the zippy revealer makes up for everything, including sadness evoked by 55D, remembering a time before Dutch Elm Disease.

I usually do check for pangrams, but this time, somehow, I had forgotten that there was a Q, so I didn't bother.

Another thing for my list of what you have to know to solve puzzles: all the books of the Bible, in the correct order. Fortunately, today I had the H already, making it much easier.

Come back soon, @ACME

RAD2626 7:44 AM  

I hope somewhere in the world (certainly not in this blog) someone made the same stupid mistake that I did. I blithely figured the plural of the Broadway award must have been TONiS and even sadder SiDNEYAUSTRALIA looked just fine. In fact even knowing my glitch SYDNEY still looks weird. {sigh}. An error on Monday does not bode well for the rest of the week.

JTHurst 7:48 AM  

@SteveJ I don't mean to be "that" guy but I was referring to the extensive dialogue/postings on 'wahoo' on the April 2, 2014 puzzle which used 'whoopee' instead of 'yippee', see my post at 12:36 AM for more details.

Eight out of ten internet dictionaries will define wahoo as a fish and/or a shrub and no sub meaning of exclamation.

chefbea 7:48 AM  

I usually do the puzzle after I get back from Curves, while having my cereal. But when I saw that it was @Andrea's puzzle I had to do it right away.
Great fun puzzle as usual!! I agree - keep them coming!!

Elle54 7:48 AM  

Hi ACME! Great little puzzle!

r.alphbunker 7:48 AM  

Perfect Monday puzzle. Saw the SA theme and thought South America. The revealer was a nice surprise. I swear I heard a little popping noise when I got it.

RP's review brought to mind Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog.

NCA President 7:53 AM  

It's my little game I play when I do these puzzles...especially Monday (with AcrossLite)...but I start at 1A and do all of the acrosses then I tab on and do all of the downs. Once I've gone through the puzzle this way, I may continue that way, or I might just go through and fill it in old timey style. I know, it isn't the fastest way to do it, but I don't care about speed...just the fun of it.

Anyway, this particular puzzle was weird and very interesting because I went through the acrosses and filled in very few answers. Since it was a Monday, I was intrigued by this little development and thought sure it was one of those puzzles that gets placed on the wrong day.

But then I went to the downs...and I went on a tear. Once going on the downs, I nearly filled in the puzzle just completely on the downs alone with very few exceptions. I finished the puzzle in just under 5 minutes, which for me is about a minute shorter than my usual Monday time.

So my question is, did anyone else notice that the down clues were easier than the across clues...by a lot?

AliasZ 8:18 AM  


Self-Assured, Sultry Acme Succeeded in Assembling a Savory, Adorable & Supremely Appealing Stumper. All Should Articulate Suitable Accolades (for her) Superior Accomplishment, (even) Seldom Accommodating, Slightly Astringent (Mr.) Sharp (with an) Acerbic Spirit. Amen.

Salud, Amiga!

Larry 8:19 AM  

Can someone tell me why Top-notch = SUBER B? Thanks

Ludyjynn 8:30 AM  

Just for yucks and chuckles, since it's Monday, and I never plan to finish any puzz. in less than three minutes(!) like OFL, I decided to solve from South to North. As I did, I noted the beautiful clueing "for a Monday". @GeorgeB., your insight that the constructor wrote this as a Tuesday, makes perfect sense.

Nice to see the timely TONYS entry, as the awards will be televised Sun. eve. on CBS w/ Hugh Jackman back as host. Worth watching. IMO.

The entire Mr. MAGOO cartoon series was just released on DVD. per yesterday's NYT. I adored these as a kid, esp. Jim Backus' voiceover work.

Surprised a bit that the PC Police/censors let QUEER in the grid. Shtup, pussyfoot, now queer and SMUTTY. Hmmm...what to make of this development?

Thanks, ACM and WS (and intern?). This was an enjoyable Mon. or Tues. puzz. for me.

chefbea 8:36 AM  

@Larry that would be superb!!

@alias Z - Great Accolades for @Acme!!

Mohair Sam 8:36 AM  

Excellent Monday, if a bit on the easy side. If I were to construct a puzzle for a Monday I would hope it would be as good as this one. Love the tag @ACME, btw.

Hand up for never paying attention to pangrams. And hand up for wondering how Rex fit Ansel into six spaces. Must have misnamed and misspelled.

Troublemaker 8:36 AM  

@anonymous 1:23

"Rex has always seemed a little insecureISH"

Rex is beyond insecure-ish. He's a vindictive twit who can no longer look at these puzzles objectively. He's got a bug up his butt about Will and, obviously Andrea. (Why do you think she no longer participates in this blog?) Witness his comments the last several days: Anna Shechtman (Thursday 5-29 puzzle) disagreed with Rexy in their reading group so he "considered [exacting] some petty passive-agressive vengence." Why stop now Rex? That's who you are! Or... Sunday's comments: "Be grateful that I ate dinner and got a gin & tonic between when I solved this and when I started writing about it -- my mood is actually much improved." So, in other words, if you're grumpy, you're going to write a scathing review? That's not objective! That's the epitome of letting your mood (or your relationship to the constructor, or anything other than the actual content and quality of the puzzle) sway your comments. It wreaks of This Is About ME!

It occurred to me recently that Will Shortz has been successfully "turning out" puzzles that are enjoyed every day, day in, day out, by millions of people. He's giving people pleasure, has been for years. He has almost single-handedly created the enormous interest in and current popularity of crossword puzzles. But grumpy ol', insecure Rex can't resist slamming Shortz again and again and again. It just gets tiresome. Especially because Michael is evidently not that bright. I can't believe the things he admits to not knowing. (Always admitted with emphatic one word sentences as though his is the last word on the subject.) Will Shortz = joy. Rex Parker = vindictive bile.

This blog reminds me of the kid who's not terribly good at baseball but who owns the bat, so the other kids let him play. This little community is great! Amazing! We can credit Rex with that much. It's just too bad he's such a crank. Imagine if OFL were actually someone we looked forward to spending a few minutes with every day. The rest of the bloggers, you bet. In a heartbeat. Rexy-pooh... not so much.

Insecure indeed.

AnnieD 8:41 AM  

Yes @NCA Pres, I too noticed that the downs were much easier and I was able to fill the grid in quickly once I got to them.

@Larry, the word is 'superb' which means excellent.

@r.alphbunker, you reminded me of my old boss who had a very heavy German accent...he always pronounced it "Souse America". Who was I to argue?

Re Wahoo, it's what Albert Einstein (Walter Matthau) yells as he's riding a motorbike in the movie "IQ".

I thought it was a fine Monday puzzle and I wish it was a pangram...I mean, why not? Fie on the editor for screwing it up.

Anonymous 8:44 AM  

Coming in after the rant, wow. 'Vindictive' 'Bug up his butt' here's a commentator that may not be particularly self aware.


Anyway, I was just wondering what a pangram is.

Edac2day 8:45 AM  

How many people under 50 remember AT&T as a "long-distance" company?

pmdm 8:51 AM  

NCA President: I do the same, but with two additional restrictions. I avoid looking at the grid and try to guess the answer without knowing exactly how many letters it consists of. And I try to completely fill in the theme answers by filling in the crosses (that is, neither reading the theme clues or the theme answer until the puzzle is complete). Perhaps odd, but it works for me.

lawprof 8:52 AM  

Hand up for wAHOO before YAHOO. Same moment of consternation as @RAD2626 at the TONY/SYDNEYAUSTRALIA crossing. I do know how they're both spelled (honest, I do), but the longer I stared at them, doubts began to creep in -- to the point where the "Y" became a guess (a correct one, as it turned out).

Thanks, Andrea, for a nice single up the middle, just what we need from our leadoff hitter.

Joseph Welling 8:55 AM  

Larry wrote:
"Can someone tell me why Top-notch = SUBER B?"

You're misreading the answer. It should be SUP ERB. Everyone knows that dining on ERB is a top-notch experience.

;)

Joseph Welling 8:57 AM  

"Anyway, I was just wondering what a pangram is."

A puzzle whose solution uses every letter of the alphabet.

Danp 9:00 AM  

Larry, don't listen to the others. But it was suPer-B, not suBer-B. Did you think Cleopatra was killed by Anti-Social-Behavior? And Super-B only applies to classes where the profs are really tough graders.

mac 9:02 AM  

Excellent Monday. I liked "I wanna", and I like the song too.

I was a little confused in the SE: I didn't expect that K after Alec. I'm sure it's all been checked out, but I needed the keg to make sure.

Leapfinger 9:12 AM  

Yay @Glimmerglass! Time is my All, too. I even have a watchdog.

Did anyone out there catch onto my SMOKE ALARM? It was supposed to be a takeoff on ANSEL ADAMS. Bad news when you have to provide Cliff Notes.

Love most anything EAU JUS, and like @molyshue and Taj Mahal, this puzzle put my face in a PERManent smile. The whole grid crackled with ACMe energy: WAHOO, SMUTTY, YELL,STORM, QUEER/QATAR [excuse the cough].. And that SHEER AGONY when the SNOOZE ALARM goes off.

Shall admit, however, to thinking it a bit anthropomorphic to have [Earthlings] turn out to be only HUMANS.

Just to SPLIT nits: SYDNEY AUSTRALIA was way cool, but should have been put South of the Equator.

Also, next time, the SEATS need to go *above* the AXLES. Much better construction.

Dredging up poor old OSLO probably kept this from being SUPER-A, but still definitely SUPER-B. SUPERB ATT ETUDE, ACMe!

loren muse smith 9:14 AM  
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Anonymous 9:14 AM  

Sam Adams was a cousin of john Adams. John is clearly a founding father. Sam is not generally so considered

Mark 9:14 AM  

When watching the winter Olympics, you might see a race called the SUPER-G (which means super grand slalom). The SUPER-F is a bit shorter and a bit less grand. SUPER-E is even shorter. SUPER-B and SUPER-A slide by in the blink of an eye.

loren muse smith 9:16 AM  
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loren muse smith 9:18 AM  
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loren muse smith 9:20 AM  

Yeah! I like the play on phonology here and the themers. I agree with others -SNOOZE "button" is what I hit (maybe hebdomadally, if that), but SNOOZE ALARM feels just fine to me, @James Dean.

I'm with @Steve J – SHEER AGONY is great.

@RAD2626 – Fear not. I'll come stand next to you in the Sidney/tonis gang. Morning, @lawprof.

@JTHurst - yes, ahem, some of us check very carefully so make sure it is or is not a pangram. I really do see Rex' point a lot of the time that the constructor pays a dear fill price. But. . . for some inexplicable reason (because I'm not really a regular scrabble player) I do like them. Maybe it comes from the part of me that gets a kick out of seeing some small gi-clad girl break 12 boards, the part of me that appreciates the spectacle of the tableside flames of a Bananas Foster. The showy aspect appeals to me. But I'm learning here.

So listen to this, y'all - if you look at the top 100 scrabbly constructors at Xword Info – guess whose name is not even in the top 100. Maybe if PB practiced karate, he'd do a style that didn't break boards. If he were a chef, he'd eschew the Bananas Foster for a simple cake with a perfect butter cream icing. I dunno.

I thought Acme did a good job on the fill: SMUTTY/SUPERB (Pick one. The movie was at once smutty and superb.), TABBY, I WANNA, NO IDEA, USER/FEE, TEENS/HUMANS (well, the jury it still out on that) – all great!

Anyway – I enjoyed the puzzle and of course looked for other possible reveals/themes:

IN NO - Noblesse Oblige, Naval Officer, Night Owl, New Orleans, National Anthem, Number One, Nadhypothiocyanite Oxidoreductase. . .

EAU – Obesity, Oklahoma, Open-minded, Oceanography. . .

ROSE – ρόμβος, ροδόδενδρο, ρόδιο. . .

@Benko, Bob, Carola - glad my second Runt was easier. They're really quite fun to construct. Thanks for working it!

All in all, a fine offering, Andrea! Now to deal with the hot day ahead of me.

Mark 9:20 AM  

I kid you not, I've seen more than a few college students write their discontent about having to take "S.A. tests" instead of short answer.

quilter1 9:27 AM  

Good to see and solve an ACME puzzle. Yes, wAHOO before YAHOO but I didn't know the song so forgave myself. With @Gareth I also did not like the tone of @Rex's remarks. One can critique without sneering.

retired_chemist 9:36 AM  

Nice puzzle. Not much to add to what has already been said. C section on a pug at 1 AM and up every 2 hours feeding.

Thanks, Andrea.

Anonymous 9:49 AM  

As a constructor, I doubt if Will would have changed the corner to avoid the panagram. My guess is that he slightly preferred the alternate (new) fill.

(You can see Andrea's original fill if you read her notes at Xword Info)

-MAS

Casco Kid 9:53 AM  

SMUTTY crossing SAMUELADAMS. Mini beer theme, anyone? @Z, are you familiar with Smutty Nose brewery in Portsmouth, NH? Surely, @jberg and @dirigonzo are.

A blistering 21- minute solve on a beautiful early summer Sunday evening in New England, with an Allagash White at my side driving the mini beer theme. Solved with Mrs. Kid in true @Mohair Sam fashion. :)

Leapfinger 9:54 AM  

@Mark -- lol, SUPER-Z has to be interminable!

re S.A. tests: Probably inevitable, because texting.

@loren -- I braved up and tried it also; bummed out at the end because the clock kept running...7 min, 8 min, 9 min. How to stop time?

And what does OFL stand for? Too OFL for words?

Fred Smith 10:00 AM  

@Anon9:14

Re Sam Adams, Founding Father.

Several of the " FFs" went on to be president, and SA didn't make that club. Also being a FF may imply a certain amount of decorous behavior, and ole Sam wasn't known for that! But these facts hardly disqualify him from being one of the FFs.

He is a signatory of the Declaration of Independence, one of the drafters of the Articles of Confederation, an attendee of the Continental Congress, and an elected
Massachusetts legislator and governor. True, he was a rabble rouser, but the above also qualifies him as a statesman.

So unless one wants to restrict the group of FFs to a VERY small handful, I think SA was one of them.

Arlene 10:01 AM  

This puzzle started a little rough for me for a Monday, as the NW didn't fill in until later. I did see the SA theme emerge, so was waiting for the ESSAY reveal. Nice to see that happen! As for times - 7 minutes - and I never used to look at a clock. OY!

RnRGhost57 10:06 AM  

Samuel Adams was the most important leader of revolutionary activity in Boston, the early hotbed of the movement for independence. He served in both Continental Congresses and, after expressing some reservations, helped convince Massachusetts to ratify the Constitution. Certainly Samuel Adams was a Founding Father.

Benko 10:22 AM  

Nice, easy breezy Monday.
Sine time is being mentioned so much, did this one in about two minutes on the iPad. But it's not like I was trying to race through it. That's just how fast I happened to do the puzzle. Some people seem to be threatened if you mention your time and it's fast. No one ever complains if you mention how long it took you to do a puzzle slowly.
@leapfinger: "our fearless leader"

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

Expected another boring (yawn) Monday puzzle. SHEER AGONY.

Nope! A Snazzy ACME creation- with JIFFs and WAHOOs, ESSAY EXAMS, SUPERB AXELS and SPLITs.

I WANNA DO some more!
A perfect Monday!!

Rex, don't be a SMART ALECK!

Hartley70 11:11 AM  

My thought (single) on this puzzle before I visited here this morning was one word "serviceable". I was surprised to see exactly that in OFL's write up. I didn't mean it as an insult because I would be thrilled to create a serviceable Monday.

Carola 11:19 AM  

Agree with the smiles for this fiine Monday puzzle and with "easy-medium" - like @NCA President and @Annie D, I found it tough to get going on the Acrosses and needed the Downs for my then SUPER-B descent through the rest of the grid. However, I missed the last gate, as at the reveal, I read "es - say" instead of "ess-ay" so I tried out saying "ess" at the beginning of each theme answer. Uh-huh. Finally saw the SAs.

ANISE - the new "eel"?

In the KEG department...I noticed DO NOT paired with the undrinkable O'DOUL'S. I recommend St. Pauli Girl NA or Clausthaler Amber. Be sure to drink it ice-cold, as otherwise NA beer tends to taste, as my daughter says, like oat pop (given the price of the imports, I like to think of it as "haute pop").

Hartley70 11:20 AM  

I just checked my email and found that my iTunes account has been charged $16.99 for my NYT puzzle renewal. I expected the annual dues in June, but this is a bargain compared to the $40 that was mentioned yesterday. I have avoided updating my app since it still shows the old grid logo. It was a nice surprise.

Hartley70 11:24 AM  

Another surprise is to find that everyone doesn't love a warm O'Doul's as much as I do ;-)

Andrew Heinegg 11:31 AM  

Be careful about praising a puzzle that can be completed in record time. Just because it was in your wheelhouse does not make it a good effort on the constructor' s part. I sped through this like most but I found it to be a snooze. Constructing a puzzle that fits into the Monday requirement of easy while staying interesting is not easy to do. I thought this one did not succeed in achieving that balance.

Casco Kid 11:31 AM  
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Casco Kid 11:33 AM  
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Casco Kid 11:35 AM  

@Hartley70 I would drink an O'DOUL'S or a CLAUSTHALER with you any time! Even a Sharp, but that one is often pretty bitter. ;-} But beverage in this class is tastier and more refreshing than a SODAPOP, to which this class is properly compared.

But make mine cold, thanks.

Hartley70 11:53 AM  

Casco Kid, my fellow New England newbie here, anytime warm or cold! I don't give a fig for soda or pop. If pressed a ginger ale is as far as I can go.

John V 12:22 PM  

A perfect Monday.

Lewis 12:34 PM  

Andrea with sports clues! This was easy and fun, as always with Andrea. And the reveal made me smile. Thanks, Andrea.

I see three words that when read backward make another word -- DON, STAB... and can you find the third?

loren muse smith 12:45 PM  

@Lewis - well there's that Annawi tribe whose members eat all those gnus.

(And in the same grid, you have ESS and SSE!)

r.alphbunker 12:48 PM  

@Lewis,
I find three:
GNUS, NEET and PSA

Numinous 12:48 PM  

We've found the wildebeests, but have we noticed the stoa?

r.alphbunker 12:52 PM  

@Loren,

I missed your second runtpuz (I did the "unless" one). Could you post the link again.

BTW, did you know that the domain name runtpuz.org is available. I am seriously thinking of buying it so we have a place to post all the runtpuzzes.

CUDDLE
FUDDLE
HUDDLE
MUDDLE
PUDDLE

Revealer: PARODIES

JFC 1:03 PM  

I’m not always here, probably to Rex’s indifference. But I recall a previous Acme puzzle when Rex was even more personal and nastier than he is today and I expressed the thought that I did not understand why she would regularly subject herself to such abuse. Apparently, she decided not to any longer and I say good for her.

This was a typical, perhaps classic, Monday puzzle with a nice revealer at the bottom. I always looked forward to Acme’s review of a Monday because she understands what it takes to make a Monday. Rex is complicated so maybe he has little patience for Mondays which are not supposed to be complicated.

JFC

loren muse smith 1:15 PM  

@ralph – love the PARODIES idea!

What an idea to get our own site. Would that make it easier to solve/post?

Clark 1:19 PM  

My solve of an ACME puzzle usually flows effortlessly through the grid. This one was a bit bumpier but a delightful Monday nonetheless. S.A.? S.A.? S.A.? what could the theme be (without thinking too hard about it, in keeping with the whole Monday thing)? Ah, ESSAY. A chuckle, not a groan.

I, too, looked at SUPER _ and wondered what could possibly fill the blank. SUPER B didn't make any sense to me. I had to get it from the cross.

Glad the PC police aren't out in force today complaining about PERM and MAGOO!

Lewis 1:23 PM  

@loren -- great answer, and I had a feeling you wouldn't be able to resist the challenge.
@ralph -- you have better eyes than I!

AliasZ 2:15 PM  
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AliasZ 2:17 PM  


I guess SMART ALEC & SMART ALECK are interchangeable, depending on the need for 9 or 10 letters. They are neck-and-neck in Google search at 548,000 for "Smart Alec" and 529,000 for "Smart Aleck".

@JFC,
I truly wish your Hawks won last night. I think the Rangers would've had a little easier time with them than with the Kings.

@Katica,
Your clever posts raised the bar in this here blog by a few notches, albeit mostly unnoticed and/or unappreciated - a familiar feeling. Your personal notes in code do not go unnoticed either. Túrós gombóc. Laci.

In the Khulture Khorner let us enjoy today's STORM, the forth of the Four Sea Interludes by Benjamin Britten, from his opera Peter Grimes.

Z 2:25 PM  

@Alias Z - Habs/Hawks would have been a series to watch. Kings in 5.

Ellen S 2:26 PM  

Getting late for me to add something, so I will just say @ACME, I was pleased to see a puzzle from you. Would like to see you here in the blog but understand why you would be tired of the abuse.

On the other hand, we are not going to change @Rex. He is what he is, and until we find some other place to be, this here is what we got.

Hmm, the Captcha is just a photo of a house number. There is no image other than that. Well, here goes.

Ellen S 2:30 PM  

Captcha update. I typed in the house number from the photo and it worked. The one for this post is a combination of a photo (usually optional, but who knows now), and a regular text string.

I tried typing in just the house number on this second post and it didn't work. Now for my retry, again only a photo.

retired_chemist 3:51 PM  

I think they are experimenting with the captchas, presumably to study the tradeoff between the security and the annoyance factors.

sanfranman59 4:12 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 5:16, 6:04, 0.87, 3%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:44, 3:56, 0.95, 22%, Easy-Medium

@James Dean ... 700,000 Google hits for "snooze alarm" vs 372,000 for "snooze button". That term is perfectly reasonable and definitely not "made up bs".

Like so many others here, while I really miss ACME's contributions to our little web community, it's not at all surprising that she's chosen not to contribute to a blog whose blogger clearly has some kind of personal bone to pick with her.

Ray J 4:19 PM  

Yep. All of the cross checking in his review makes me think Rex watched the hockey game last night too.

@ACME – Terrific puzzle. I think you’re a bit of sunshine yourself.

Doc John 4:33 PM  

I also enjoyed the puzzle- interesting theme answers and very little iffy fill. Good job, ACME!

Benko 4:51 PM  

Other semordilnaps:

In addition to DON/NOD, there is also DONOT/TONOD.
"To nod or not to nod..." --a bidder's dilemma at the auction.
And the plural MUS from SUM. A desperate MU-cow weeject, as one would have it.

Benko 5:05 PM  

dyslexia on the last post
SEMORDNILAPS
Is the correct spelling.

Colby 5:12 PM  

Had SAMUEL ADALS before correcting to ADAMS. I like SLUTTY better than SMUTTY...

JFC 5:28 PM  

@AliasZ - That's how I felt when the Kings beat Anaheim. I felt whoever won the West will win the Cup and I still do. Now I am as indifferent to who wins the Cup as Rex is to me commenting on his blog.

Troublemaker 5:34 PM  

I agree with your comment about d%#khead Parker's personal beef with Andrea. When her puzzles come up he should politely recuse himself. Pffft!! What am I saying?! Rexy-pooh polite? And he'd have to recuse himself from about 90% of the puzzles he "critiques." The man is burned out and should just get out of the way and let someone else takeover. You're useless Parker. As you so eloquently put it... Blah, blah, blah. (Now there's some meaty criticism.)

Joseph Welling 8:48 PM  

Leapfinger said:

"...SUPER-Z has to be interminable!"

Not really. But you're required to make really really sharp cut backs at each gate.

Z 9:16 PM  

Speaking from experience, the SUPER-Z has to include at least one yard sale.

sanfranman59 10:13 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 5:14, 6:04, 0.86, 3%, Easy (6th lowest ratio of 230 Mondays)

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:33, 3:56, 0.90, 5%, Easy (12th lowest ratio of 230 Mondays)

Tackyjacky 10:23 PM  

My husband and I went out to grab a bite to eat the other night, after the lacrosse team he coaches lost the section championship game. He had been consoling himself with a few ( or more) beers before we went out. It was a particularly difficult loss, so I was the DD and hoped a good meal would cheer him up. After he ordered a second beer, the waitress told him they were out of his brand. He asked what else they had...... She suggested O'Doul's. I dont think we will be returning.

Leapfinger 10:30 PM  

@JosWelling: Excellent riposte! And now we'll switch back to our regular programming! ;D

@sanfranman: as mentioned, nice to see more than just the data. At a loss, though; thought I knew all 206 bones in the body, but can't put my finger on the personal one. [No pun too lowly...]

@Benko: No need to stray so far. The lowly field of taxonomy gives us MUS musculus, aka Mighty or Micky. Can have hours of fun, both generic and specific, with Linnaeus and his cohort. Admittedly, it's an acquired taste.

Anonymous 10:55 PM  

@Laci
I'm way ahead of you. There are always cross currants down in the deeps of the log-jam. And if I'm mixing a metaphor or two [Saints preserve us!], so be it.

Just about the time you disappeared, I had pulled out my Gundel Karoly Cookery Book (great illustrations), was going to regale you with excerpts about 'Sullo in the Peasant Way' and 'Balaton Fogas'..."First, you catch a 24-pound fogas"... Love those bits about robbing boiled potatoes through a sieve, instructions like 'stew a filet in white wine sauce'.Have done the first, not the second.

Does that world even exist any more? I hear that there's a new McDonald's every day.

(ps, insert umlauts as needed)

Kati

Anonymous 5:39 PM  

As a novice solver who truly appreciates Mondays, I frequently find RP's comments insulting.....but I've also come to accept that that is who he is.....I have an anecdote to illustrate what I believe RP's true character to be.....a couple of years ago when I first started using this site and when RP made his annual plea for financial support, I sent a check with a note asking for any assistance he could give me to help me improve at crosswords (I just felt I wasn't getting any better....)......well, he cashed the check and never gave me a single response of any kind......that said it all......I think calling him "burned out" is putting it nicely...

spacecraft 11:54 AM  

First thing I noticed here is that our talent-challenged captcha photog has apparently found a flashbulb: the number is clear, focused, and bathed in light...

But on to today's offering from one whose upbeat blogs are sorely missed here. If you stay away, Absent Cute Missy, it means ol' Grumpo wins. Don't give that to him!

IWANNA like tthis one unequivocally, 'cause there's a ton of great stuff in it, but a few too many cliches take the edge off. She hopped into one of her SSTS and flew SSE just to STAB me with her EPEES. Seems a tad on the lazy side. And didn't we just have SMARTALEC--sans K--the other day? First one to that particular chair gets the SEAT; our erstwhile blogette is left standing.

Still, though, a grid with the zesty stamp of the buikder; one cannot NOT like that.

I will not pile on OFL this time; one might as well ask Oscar the Grouch to like Big Bird. Not gonna happen. (No, my dear, I would NEVER call you Miss Piggy!)

...and that number is: 225=9! Hah! Take that, you dirty rat! HI-YAH!!

rain forest 1:52 PM  

Glad to see that ACME continues to construct, if not comment.

The puzzle was a quintessential Monday which I enjoyed, even if DO NOT, and DO IT break some sort of rule, as perhaps IN NO and NO IDEA also do.

If memory serves, and at my age, that isn't always the case, I think that Evil Doug shares responsibility for ACME's absence.
I'm with @Spacey here. Don't let them win. They can be the twits they usually are, and you can just be YOU.

Bah! 523

DMG 2:01 PM  

Good Monday puzzle, only pause was wanting sleepALARM, which wouldn't fit. In a bit of a rush this AM, so only breezed through the comments, but read enough to wonder why this supposedly crossword centered blog has seemed to become a clash of personalities?!

237. No comment

Solving in Seattle 3:53 PM  

Nice to see Andrea's byline on this center cut monpuz. Thanks, ACMe. I second @AliasZ's plaudits.

Only nit was the SNOOZEALARM issue. It's button in our house.

Nice clue for 3D.

Liked your shout out to SYDNEYAUSTRALIA. Wasn't ACMe vacationing down there reccently?

101. Rats.

Dirigonzo 5:48 PM  

I was having a sense of déjà vu until I remembered that I really had seen the puzzle before, as someone emailed me a bootleg copy when it originally appeared. I liked it then and I liked it again now, and I'm pretty sure I had the same write-overs both times (yAHOO and Tiger/TABBY).

250

Maineman 12:39 PM  

I think the "Saturday" designation is just that -- a designation to set the Jewish Sabbath apart from when Christians generally celebrate the Sabbath, on Sunday. When do the Jews observe the Sabbath? Saturday. It's not a "thing," it's description.

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