Tom Sawyer's bucketful / MON 7-7-14 / Beach town that's home to Cape Cod's oldest lighthouse / Celebrity chef Paula / Leon who was Obama's first CIA director

Monday, July 7, 2014

Constructor: Lynn Lempel

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

THEME: BEAUTY / PARLOR (22D: With 33-Down, where to go for the ends of 16-, 20-, 40-, 56- and 62-Across):

Theme answers:
  • WHITE WASH (16A: Tom Sawyer's bucketful)
  • PRICE CUT (20A: Lure for bargain hunters)
  • MIND SET (40A: General way of thinking)
  • EXTRA DRY (56A: Like some champagne)
  • HONEY COMB (62A: Sweet spot in a hive)
Word of the Day: TRURO (50A: Beach town that's home to Cape Cod's oldest lighthouse) —
Truro /ˈtrɜr/ is a town in Barnstable CountyMassachusettsUnited States, comprising two villages: Truro and North Truro. Located slightly more than 100 miles (160 km) by road from Boston, it is a summer vacation community just south of the northern tip of Cape Cod, in an area known as the "Outer Cape". English colonists named it after Truro in CornwallUnited Kingdom.
The historic Wampanoag Native American people called the area Pamet or Payomet. Their language was part of the large Algonquian family. This name was adopted for the Pamet River and the harbor area around the town center known as the Pamet Roads.[2] The population of Truro was 2,003 at the 2010 census.
Over half of the land area of the town is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, established in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, and administered by the U.S. National Park Service. (wikipedia)
• • •

Solid work from Ms. Lempel. What is a SET? I feel like this is dated, or something only older ladies get, or that ladies got many decades ago? Also, do you really go to the BEAUTY PARLOR to get a COMB??? I mean, of course the stylist might comb your hair, but that can't be the reason you went there, can it? Although I guess that's true of virtually all the theme-related words. Maybe all of them but CUT (because, again, I don't really get what SET is). So "where to go for the ends of…" really isn't the best phrasing on that revealer clue, is what I'm saying. "Place where one might get …"? The phrasing of the revealer should be exact, and something about "comb" as a noun is rubbing me wrong. In this context, I mean. Obviously, "comb" can be a noun. But you would not get "a comb" (the way you would "a cut" or "a wash"). Or would you? I'm out of my league here, as I completely did away with the hair on my head four years ago.

This one took longer than most Mondays, largely because of the grid set-up. The revealer is cross-referenced, so if (like me), you hit the second half first, you will get slowed down some. Also, the grid is super-choppy. Highly segmented. It is much harder to build up momentum in a puzzle where answers aren't grouped, where they're scattershot and the grid is honeycombed the way it is in the center. The answers can be just as easy to get, but there's a lot more back-and-forth, eye-skipping, looking around, that one has to do to make quick progress. This will affect speed solvers much (much) more than regular solvers. All Mondays are bound to feel roughly equally tough (i.e. not at all tough) to casual solvers. Unless, of course, there's some ridiculously out of place proper noun or something that really gums up your works. Speaking of...

  • TRURO (50A: Beach town that's home to Cape Cod's oldest lighthouse) — Like the ring around the rosy-type game or whatever it was from last week's Tuesday puzzle, this seems intensely regionally biased. Population 2,003?! I remember seeing this for the first time in a NYT puzzle many years and being dumbfounded. Gibberish to me, and (I guarantee you) to tons and tons and tons of people who solve this puzzle and don't live in the NE. I can handle the answer here—it's fairly crossed—but I would never want it anywhere near my Easy puzzle. Sore Thumb Material, for sure. 
  • LOCI (15D: Centers of activity) — I think of LOCI as meaning, simply, "places." I think of LOKI as being a Norse trickster god. But back to LOCI—[Centers of activity]? I like FOCI better as an answer for that clue. LOCI does not imply activity to me. At all. Second definitions of this word are giving it as a "center or source, as of activities or power," but all the examples have qualifiers that do not justify this definition, e.g. "locus of power" ("locus" still seems like it just means "place" in this example—adding "of power" doesn't change the meaning of "locus"). Weird.
  • 8D: Yankee who was the first major-leaguer to have his number retired (GEHRIG) — all over the news this past weekend because of the 75th anniversary of his famous "luckiest man on the face of the earth" speech (July 4, 1939).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Moly Shu 12:10 AM  

My homage to Lou GEHRIG.

I echo what @Rex said about TRURO and the puzzle overall.

NYer 12:12 AM  

To "set" one's hair is to put it up in curlers.

Blue Haired Lady 12:26 AM  

In order, you get a WASH, CUT, SET, DRY, COMB at the beauty parlor. You always get a comb-out after a set & dry.

jae 12:31 AM  

Medium-tough for me too.  dSl before USB, SOwS before SODS, and a slight misspelling of @Rex TRURO and probably something about a segmented grid moved this out of the easy-medium range.

ELISHA might be a bit obscure for a Mon.  She's not in the new 24 and was last seen on TV in Happy Endings, a short lived sitcom.

Pretty solid Mon. Liked it.

Steve J 12:47 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve J 12:49 AM  

Other than the fact that we both thought this was solid, my solving experience could not have been any more different than Rex's. Found this on the easy-average side (solving time bore that out). I've been losing hair since I was 16 (I haven't completely shaved it all off, but it's pretty close), and even I knew (as @Blue Haired Lady said) that this represented the order in which hair is done in a BEAUTY PARLOR (@Rex: It's a sequence, not a set of individual things). Had no problem with LOCI as clued; I've both read and written it in that sense. Never even noticed TRURO. Eminently fairly/Monday-crossed.

Lots of nice medium/longer fill: WHITEWASH, PRICE CUT, HONEYCOMB, CARHOP, RASCAL. Little to no dreck. Very good Monday.

Blue Owl 1:05 AM  

I am at the point where I am happy to finish ANY puzzle, so I don't bother about themes until they are pointed out to me. I am delighted to learn some new fact, and especially like the clever puns and wordplay here. As far as criticism of Rex goes, I simply appreciate that he does the blog, despite the carping here.

Brett Chappell 1:22 AM  

I felt a 70's theme in here: Yoda, Come to the Honeycomb Hideout, and my Granny at the beauty parlor.

Jisvan 1:34 AM  

This was not a good Monday to try to speed solve using only the across clues! I ASPIRE to that ability, but I have it not, and I really got myself into a mess with this one. Had to take out about half of it, which doubled my typical time. I kind of liked the WASH CUT SET DRY COMB sequence, with a REDYE thrown in for free. (As if that would ever happen!) My hair is not so well-tended, in fact, it is kind of WEEDY... But I'm not ready for the Rex solution!

chefwen 1:52 AM  

@Blue Owl - Who's carping, we love Rex.

I'm going with @Steve J on this, not the losing hair part, still have a ton of it, thanks dad, but I'm in the easy/medium audience. Did not know TRURO, but filled it around it. Actress Cuthbert was also a work around it, the rest was pretty easy, for me.

Missing our other Queen of Monday, ACME.

Winegrower 2:08 AM  

What @Steve J said.

Breezy Monday for me.

Lewis 5:46 AM  

Solid as can be, went down like a typical Monday. TRURO, I'm guessing, only went in because nothing else worked. I know that feeling -- and so do you, Rex! I remember you reviewing one of your own puzzles and apologizing all over yourself for an answer you didn't like, but had no other choice. The crosses were fair.

Whenever one of Lynn's puzzles shows up, my heart smiles. I know it will have been SET, polished, and lively, not simply CUT and DRY.

POST PUZZLE PUZZLE (PPP): Three of this puzzle's answers each can be used as a noun, verb, and adjective (and there may be more than three). Can you find them? Let be the final arbiter here.

One of the answers is archaic, so if you get two, that's something to feel good about. If you wish to post your answers, just write the third letter of each of your answers, so as not to give it away.

Magenta Crayola 7:12 AM  

I live in SC. The state as a whole has not progressed much past the 1950s, and my small town in particular is stuck in the Strom era.

On Fridays, still, should you drop into our last real department store, you'll be nearly asphyxiated by the heavy scent of hairspray in the air. Nicely dressed ladies with every blue hair lacquered in place (after their wash, cut, set, dry, comb) wander through the store visiting among themselves as they look at the sale items. I remember my grandmother participating in this end-of-the-week ritual, which prepared the ladies for Saturday night at the country club and Sunday morning at church.

While I don't especially look fondly at these 21 century ladies continuing the tradition, today's puzzle did make me smile at the memory of my grandmother and all that she did to maintain that hairdo at least until Tuesday's circle meeting.

jberg 7:39 AM  

I hope @ACME is reading this, so she can enjoy @Rex's discomfiture with the beauty-parlor-related terms. I didn't recognize the order, though -- I'd have guessed CUT before WASH, but I realize I don't know.

Nice hair-related central down column, too: WISP of hair that you reDYE, and the YOWL of the child whose mother has to COMB out a tangle.

Me too with fOCI first; also PLan and PLOt before I finally got to PLOY, Still very easy, and a fun theme. Thanks, LL!

dk 7:54 AM  

🌕🌕🌕 (3 Moons)

As a young dk I would have to sit and wait while my mom was "at the BEAUTY PARLOR." Thus I heard over and over: WASH, CUT, SET, DRY, COMB. And, the smell - ye gods.

We summered in Maine but knew of TRURO because of my sister's love of LightHouses. Generally all things Massachusetts were eschewed due to the presence of Mass-holes. A term of endearment Mainers used in reference to Bay Staters -- AKA bahstahhhds. Sadly as New Yawkers we were lower on the evolutionary scale - thus not spoken of.

I digress. Fine puzzle. Thanks Lynn

Hartley70 8:07 AM  

Clever Monday. Very easy for a girl of a certain age from the Northeast whose had a comb out in her day, back when salons were called "parlors". Where did those rooms go BTW and when did they morph into "living rooms" where we ah "lived" I guessed as opposed to what?

AliasZ 8:08 AM  

A solid, pleasant Monday puzzle, the likes of which we have seen many times before from Lynn Lempel. I enjoyed it immensely TRURO, LOCI, CARHOP, WISP and DOWSE notwithstanding. Or maybe because of them.

Thank goodness OTIC wasn't ear-related but instead, suffix for idi-, or was it psych-. Like yesterday's HEMIC, which instead of blood-related, should have been suffix for ant- to fit its anthemic subject.

Today's theme subject is totally alien to me, but the phrases are not. Perhaps FITTING could have been a theme word, as in toupée fitting. Otherwise my visit to a BEAUTY PARLOR could be best described as:

"Here ISIT broken hearted,
Hair and me long have parted."

THE IST thing noticed were the two adjacent words in row 52. I wondered how thin the YARN and how tiny one's fingers would have to be to knit a FLEA SWEATER. The BELATED 75th anniversary mention of the famous Lou GEHRIG speech was also duly noted.

BRAG: Second-rate tabloid
BELATED: Less than primo-joyful

Here is an example of some STATELY dance music by Tielman Susato (c.1510/15-c.1570).

'Ave a EPEE post-4th Monday!

Casco Kid 8:10 AM  

I revved up the road bike and gunned it down the straight-away, risking all to break the 10 minute barrier. Monday glory or a molten pile of DNF! Damn the crosses, full speed ahead

Then the grid became a blur, and no sooner did I speed through [Draft org.] with the indiscreet SSa, than I got t-boned by DOWaE. Didn't see it coming. Didn't see it flatten my bike under me. I catapulted across the finish line in 9:55. Without my bike. A smoldering DNF after all. No regrets! :)

Glimmerglass 8:12 AM  

I guess TRURO is the new Natick. I have fond childhood memories of floating down the Pamet River to the sea on the outgoing tide, then floating back home on the incoming tide.

Fred Smith 8:29 AM  

I used to own a vacation house on the Cape (as we say), so no problem with Truro. Easier Cape-speak woulda been Provincetown (or P-town, as we say), or -- of course-- Hyannis (for those of us of a certain age).

BTW, I was in Natick yesterday, visiting my daughter.

Anonymous 8:33 AM  

Truro is a gimme for me.

Then again, so is Natick.

Anonymous 8:35 AM  

Anyone who's ever been to Cape Cod should know TRURO.

Carola 8:38 AM  

Cute puzzle. After the first three steps in the BEAUTY PARLOR routine, I went looking for DRY, but honestly couldn't think of COMB without crosses.

I was sad to see that the SET had already started to DROOP, but that's not surprising in our July humidity.

Somehow I knew TRURO off the T - must have read about it at some point. ELISHA was the new one for me.

Anonymous 8:44 AM  

Rex, get a life! It was a great puzzle! Flowerlady

joho 8:59 AM  

I loved how Lynn tamed the "split ends" into a perfect sequence of submission, tying it all together with a bow in BEAUTY PARLOR ... isn't it neat that these two words just happen to be a perfect match in length?! Obviously Lynn saw that and ran with it to create this charming Monday puzzle.

I do have a very modern friend though in San Diego who often visits her salon to get a quick blowDRY and COMBout, so this concept is not as retro as some might think. Also, you always get a WASH before a CUT.

Loved it, thanks, Lynn!

Z 8:59 AM  

I recall there being a BEAUTY PARLOR in Holland when I was growing up. One. It closed before I got to high school. So, yeah, a very 1950's creeping into the 60's feel for this puzzle. As for me, I appreciate Rex's solution. My dad was bald before I knew him, but I inherited my mom's hair, thick and black. Waiting at the barber (interesting that growing up barbers were men, now they are almost always women unless they are old) while a gentleman has his 17 remaining hairs put in order is always a schadenfreude moment for me. I know I shouldn't take pleasure in saying, "Thin it out a little, please, it's getting too thick," but I do. I'd go to confession, but I haven't been a THEIST in decades.

Hand up for thinking TRURO and ELISHA are out of place today.

@Casco Kid - Ah, yes, when one speeds through the puzzle one must remember to check one's work. Many here have suffered the "never looked at the cross" Monday DNF (or "finished with an error" if you prefer).

Numinous 9:12 AM  

I smiled when I saw Lynn Lempel's name, I like her stuff. I sailed through this one, well, fast for me so I'm rating it easy! I did lose time hunting down a typo though. I have no idea how my champagne became EXTRADRe.

I spent one Christmas on Cape Cod and I've seen that light house. I did not recall the name however. Crosses filled it for me. I had to chuckle at the USA USA USB sequence. I noticed the revealer and saw WASH and CUT. I shrugged and carried on without paying attention. The clues were easy, the fill was good so I just forged on ahead until the typo was announced.

I saw the name Cuthbert and ELISHA just popped into my head. That seems to happen a lot to me, one name will trigger another without much thought at all.

All in all, Lynn, I finished with the smile I had at the start.

@Casco, good for you, Kid. The better you get at these, the better you'll get at Thursday – Saturday. For additional devious pleasure, you might try some of the runtz such as:

Shouldn't take you more than a few minutes.

Ludyjynn 9:12 AM  

Easy, peasy, bright and breezy Monday. Theme was a great tickler for my upcoming every 6 weeks "hair salon" appointment. My version of @Magenta's vivid weekly recollection goes like this: cap (for highlighting); color under dryer; wash, condition, comb; cut, style/dry/spray. Aye, aye, aye, but it does make me look 10 years younger! "Only my hairdresser knows for sure."

Thanks, LL and WS.

Arlene 9:28 AM  

Interesting that there are some people who didn't know what a SET was. Hair design has a long and interesting history - fascinating, actually. The invention of the salon hair dryer brought changes in how hair could be coifed. So rollers came into being, with which one would SET one's hair, and then go under a hair dryer.
With the 1950's, the highly "teased" bouffant look was in, and that required that it be SET on rollers. With the 1960's, the hippy look meant long straight hair, so for those with curlier locks, it required very LARGE rollers, or even frozen juice cans (do they still make those?) used as rollers. I could go on and on - but think, too, about Madame Pompadour, Marceling, pincurls, etc. etc.

And, by the way, hair is always washed first, as no beautician would work on dirty hair.

Some shows that relate to this - Steel Magnolias, Hairspray

Nice puzzle - highlighting a part of our culture.

chefbea 9:34 AM  

Easiest puzzle. When I had wash and cut I knew the theme. And all the food related clues and answers...What could be better

I have been to knew that

Now off to get my hair trimmed...go every 4 weeks.

mathguy 9:39 AM  

For those of you who did yesterday's cryptic, did you struggle to figure out how the clue related to DESPERADO? I knew it had to be DESPERADO from the crosses, but it took me until this morning to make sense of the clue.

Pretty easy Monday. My wife, who is an average solver, did all but four or five entries while watching the first hour of the Molly Cyrus special. I was doing the cryptic.

AliasZ 9:40 AM  

@Arlene, "...highlighting a part...": cute. Hair, hair! But I think a part is automatically highlighted when you forget to REDYE the roots.

John Turturro 9:44 AM  

I tried to live Truro on the Cape for a few years. I had to leave because the mail, UPS, FEDEX, etc. deliveries got fucked up in ways you can't even imagine.

Gill I. P. 9:45 AM  

Lynn's clues and answers are as good as melted white Callebaut drizzled over Ina Garten's Outrageous Brownies. You can't get much better.

Sir Hillary 9:48 AM  

Nice start to the week. Love how the middle down REDYE is also hair-related.

Leapfinger 10:08 AM  

Always a pleasure to see some 3-LLempel. I mean, a NW start sandwiching MALE between BRAG and WHITEWASH? Ha! La Lempel must have a LIMBER LIMBic system, and certainly stimulates mine! [Aside: if anyone has the neurosurge to point out there's really no such thing as the LIMBic system, don't bother. That name is just a lot prettier than, say, parahippocampal gyrus.]

Knew TRURO because a friend's kid attended school there. Seems small for a PA program but, whoomp, there it is.

I too left there was some LOCUS/FOCUS hanky-panky going on. That entry was out in felt liefd lor me.

But the theme absolutely Amazed and Bemused me. We still have the emporia for blue-haired ladies with lacquered coiffures, but mostly I've seen a sea-change. Not BEAUTY PARLORs, but Salons. Not BEAUTicians, but Cosmetologists. Lowlights as well as highlights. Not conditioner, gel or mousse, but cellophane, penetration and , oh yes, 'product'. They put "product' on your hair...When they ask me what 'product' I use at home, I'm always tempted to answer "Lysol". Most fascinating are the REDYEs capped in aluminum foil leaflets capable of picking up alien transmissions. At one place, they use the foil wrappers designed for fast-food burgers; it saves the time of cutting up squares by hand. ["Would you like fries with that?"]

The salons are tricked up to look like artspaces, and the staff [most of them the age of your average babysitter], wear black, often have tattoos and/or piercings, extreme hairstyles, and offer sparkling water garnished with a cucumber slice. In return, they can charge rates to rival the average plumber or psychiatrist.

Actually, I'm the bane of these establishments; I'm essentially a DIYer, and snip/tuck until that won't work anymore --- curly hair will hide a host of sins. I often hear "I wish I had your hair!". No, you don't. Curly hair is like a 3-year-old throwing a tantrum: it's going to do what it's going to do. It does save me one thing, however. When I finally do call for an appointment at the last minute, they regretfully tell me there won't be time for what they politely aLEWD to as a 'blow'. "Will you be needing a 'blow'?" No, I tell them, I'll just drip-dry. The two times in my life I actually did get a 'blow', I came out with a bad case of helmet-hair, not really bad-looking, but totally Not Me. Fortunately, around here, that lasts about a day; if the humidity is right, more like an hour.

So for me, the BEAUTY PARLOR is one big c---shoot. The one good CUT I had recently was when I visited my sister, but I can't keep flying to Florida just for that. For now, I'll just go to ShortCuts: whatever happens, it'll grow out in a month or so, and it's only 14 bucks.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:24 AM  

Working around the grid clockwise, entered 59 D as HOWL, but was conscious of the possibility that it might be YOWL.

After finishing the puzzle, was thinking 29 D, RE-DYE, had been accidentally left out of the reveal, but early comments cleared that up.

Leapfinger 10:27 AM  

@Arlene, Frozen OJ cans, what a hoot! Back in the 60s, I knew someone who would braid her hair after washing it. When undone, it looked like those Assyrian beards. She taught me the trick of using one OJ can roller on the crown, then brushing the rest of the hair flat, round and round the head, pinned in place to dry. I can't quite believe I ever spent some hours of my life with an OJ can clipped to my head!

jdv 10:29 AM  

Med-Challenging. I must have done a different puzzle because I didn't like this. Some of the cluing/fill felt off like PRICECUT; I had PRICE in place, but had no idea what the three remaining letters could be. I think of USB as a port, not a hookup. Had LAN then ISP before USB. The fill wasn't interesting; plain vanilla, no chocolate chips, oreos, cookie dough--just vanilla. I did like learning about Lou Gehrig and the first lighthouse, but overall, not a fun solve.

mac 10:52 AM  

Tough little Monday puzzle, but fun. It does seem old fashioned, I haven't seen those big standing dryers for a long time. These days you can shampoo your hair at home, then drive to the walk-in blowdry places that are popping up around town.

@mathguy: that's a funny slip, Molly Cyrus.

Karl 11:11 AM  

Isn't TRURO somewhere near NATICK?

Jerry K. 11:19 AM  

Actually I think Rex is being kind here, the puzzle is choppy and if there is a consistent theme I napped through it.

This has a hard time being called medium, easy is an understatement. Very little to give me pause during the solve.

Well, there is always hope for tomorrow, I have plenty of coffee left over.

allan 11:22 AM  

I loved this puzzle. What @Winegrower said about what @Steve J said. Solving in Across Lite I discovered USAUSA folled by USB. I expect to see this clue, answer combo soon: Patriotic cheer re computer entry at California school; "USAUSBUSC"

Sfingi 11:25 AM  

@Rex - re: SET, COMB; guess you're a guy. I need to comb my hair in the shower every time I wash it, or it would be snarly. But, then, I have hair.

TRURO - famous for 2 murder trials. One, in 2002, of a fashion writer, and the other, in the late '70s of a serial killer. Probably NE-centric, but the Zodiac killings didn't happen around here, yet we all have heard of them.

Andrew Heinegg 11:30 AM  

I thought this was a typically fine effort from Ms. Lempel. I have no idea why RP got so cranky about the beauty parlor terms. The clue told you where to go for all of those things. It did not suggest you would go for just one at a time. And, if you can pay the freight, it is best to have the barber/hairstylist wet your hair before cutting as suggested in the order of the themed answers. I don't hear the word set used anymore but, it was used for many years. Heck, since I have never been to a hair salon or whatever they call it now, maybe it is a term that is still used.

AliasZ 12:28 PM  

Our friend, constructress three-L Lynn Lempel
Designed a grid that won't fail to compel.

She offers champagne très sec (EXTRA DRY)
Perfect for the trans-Atlantic REDYE.

If you want to get into a true row,
You must visit Natick via TRURO.

The quaint little church there has quite a spire,
Climbing of which is to what I ASPIRE.

But if you want to remain more LOCI*,
You should follow your old pal, the OKIE.

To those who struggle to master their lisp,
I suggest they avoid "Will o' the WISP."

From WISP to Wasps we go, inspired by POTS,
The March of Kitchen Utensils, that's what's.

*I know, I know, "poke eye" rhymes with LOCI,
This is called "poetic license". L'Chai-

Lena 12:29 PM  

I have great respect for those who construct themed puzzles, and I do Mon-Thurs with a student's eye. I love solving and, so far, constructing themelesses-- but coming up with themes that work in a fun way and lead to a smooth fill, that's hard! Thanks, Lynn!

Living near Boston I had no issue with TRURO and got a kick out of seeing it-- it's a fun word to see/say. Same with DOWSE.

I also had fOCI and see where Rex is coming from on that one.

I like my bubbles EXTRADRY, but my martinis 50/50. I don't often keep track of my time, but I apparently did this one in 6 minutes. Probably would have been less if I wasn't so bad at solving on AcrossLite! Gotta LIMBER up.

John V 12:44 PM  

News you can use. Here' how to get from Truro to Natick:,+MA/Truro,+MA/@42.0071172,-71.2187195,9z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x89e387b35e1b2075:0xdf8c3f89ec5ca327!2m2!1d-71.35!2d42.283333!1m5!1m1!1s0x89fb5f8d605190e5:0x70889a56ace16faa!2m2!1d-70.0490107!2d41.99477?hl=en

Leapfinger 12:50 PM  

What can I say
Re tortured versed?
Too late to be buried,
But should have rehearsed.

dick swart 12:56 PM  


A lot of blahblahblah because you aren't old enough to have heard of a "beauty parlor" or the standard menu. Don't blame the sword creator for your obvious blank.

Also a lot of blahblahblah about the grid construction. If you start at the nw and work your way across, dropping down a few rows each time, and end putting the last entry in the se corner, their is no problem. This ia a usual Monday pattern. Again the complaint because it was a problem for you.

You art usually interesting and accurate with your reviews when they are difficult and obscure and the writer/editor may have caused some problems, but the column today was a 'poor me' whine!

AliasZ 1:03 PM  

@Leapy, LOL!

@John V, Thanks!

This however may be a little easier: Truro-Natick.

Over and out!

Mohair Sam 1:06 PM  

Enjoyed both the puzzle and @Rex's write-up today. Although agree with @steve j that the puzzle played easy-medium, not medium-challenging.

Never heard of TRURO, but not bothered by it - easy crosses.

Got a kick out of Rex's head-scratching about SET and COMB. My mother had her hair SET about once a month. This morning my wife announced she'll be home late today because of a haircut appointment. "Are you getting it SET?" I asked. "Am I getting it what?" said she. I guess SETs died with PARLORs.

Very nice Monday with a nifty theme - thanks Lynn Lempel.

Anonymous 1:41 PM  

I knew it wasn't right and I could see that it wouldn't fit, but there has been such frequent mention of the term in this forum that I immediately thought that Tom Sawyer's bucket contained GREENPAINT.

Casco Kid 2:15 PM  

@numinous I'll AIM, if you please, at your runt as soon as I can get back to a real computer. This ipad gave me a taste, and it's looked ABSolutely, doable. Maybe.

I played around with one of Master & CommAnder's runts, once. It was like being inside his head. Sooooo strange! Everywhere I looked, I saw John M&Alkovich. Bad dreams for weeks.

Casco Kid 3:06 PM  

@Numinous Your runt got me before I got it. 10 minute DNF. 2 googles (Jaguar model history ,giving me a wrong answer, word for 8 in French, which was not helpful). If you are on twitter, follow me @cascokid and we can carry on the convo without spoilers for Rexites.

My errors seem to be 1,3,6,7,9 D and 4, 7, 8, 10 A. Toughie!

chefbea 3:44 PM  

Occasionally I do the syndicated puzzle in our paper here in Wilmington, just to see if it's any easier the second time around...Well I did it today..One of the answers was PERM...and the puzzle was constructed by our wonderful friend Andrea!!

sanfranman59 4:37 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 6:28, 6:02, 1.07, 80%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:20, 3:55, 1.11, 87%, Challenging

Lewis 4:44 PM  


The words that can be nouns, verbs, and adjectives are XRAY, OIL, and BRAG. According to, brag is an archaic adjective meaning first rate.

retired_chemist 5:58 PM  

Nice Monday.

Knew TRURO was on the Cape but imagined there must be several other 5 letter towns. Put it in anyway and - bazinga!

Can't look at 4D without thinking it parses alternately as what you have done for you at a redneck restaurant. 21D IS SUED - similar.

Off to watch the evening news.
Thanks,Ms. Lempel.

Fugu 6:23 PM  

I want to thank the commenter who a few weeks back half-seriously proposed solving Mondays downs-only. I've been doing that and it has made Mondays so much more fun--a true puzzle to look forward to, rather than a rote exercise. Crosswordese used to be an obstacle to joy, but now it's an asset. E-EE? Must be EPEE, which gives me PITIED.

Today was unusual in that there was a down clue theme revealer. But I still lacked clues for the theme answers themselves, so I got to play the guessing game of plugging in the obvious endings like CUT--which is how I got PRICECUT and finished the NW. This was fun to do.

If you want a thursdayish challenge from your Monday puzzle, give downs-only a shot. You may want to conceal the clue bar when you load the puzzle or you'll see 1A. You could do across-only instead, but you'll see the theme clues, which will change the experience. So far I've never solved 100% downs-only. I get to a handful of blank cells that could each go a few ways and I have to check the cross. But it's fun to see how few crosses I can rely on!

I have tried Tues and Wed downs-only, and they are doable, but I have to check crosses sooner and more often. Give this a shot and comment on how it goes next Monday. (I'm posting this pretty late in Monday's comment cycle, so I may post this tomorrow as well.)

Numinous 9:32 PM  

@Casco, I would encourage you to email me from my profile, I don't twitter, I barely use my Facebook. I do encourage direct communication, hence my email on my profile. I may post this again tomorrow as it is now rather late in the day.

sanfranman59 1:28 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 6:27, 6:02, 1.07, 80%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:11, 3:55, 1.07, 80%, Challenging

DMG 1:24 PM  

Can this really be the first Syndieland post of this neat puzzle? Did have to change upFRONT and make a guess at the S in USB, which seemed like something I've heard of, but probably wouldn't recognize if you handed me one. Fortunately the New England town dropped from the crosses, and I was done.

55. Couldnt be worse!

spacecraft 2:48 PM  

BEAUTY PARLOR stuff is not exactly my bailiwick, Though I get what's left of my hair cut by a very sweet lady named "Z," who finishes my cut with a hot towel. Can you spell pampered?

Still, I thought this one was pretty good. I'm getting so I can FEEL the experience coming through. LL is a pro at this, to be sure.

But TRURO...on a MONDAY??? Yikes! As OFL says, that one's a sore thumb. Evidently couldn't be helped. As YODA would have said: "An A- it is."

148 won't win for this baldy.

Dirigonzo 4:52 PM  

Has any one said the puzzle was a real BEAUTY?

So is 216 - I believe that's what some call natural (i.e., not REDYEd).

rain forest 1:22 AM  

Hugely late because I attended a memorial service for a wonderful young man who passed away at the age of 44. Not fair.

I'm only commenting to mention that there is a very picturesque town in Nova Scotia, called Truro, which most likely fits the bill for the Cape Cod place, but of course, being a Canadian place, doesn't work her.

This puzzle itself is another example of why Lynn Lempel is an icon in the puzzle community.

Hey, @Diri 577, Cab we split?

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