Dadaist artist Jean / MON 9-22-14 / Appurtenance for Santa Sherlock Holmes / Coastal land south of Congo / Sweet rum component / Bank heist group / Company downsizings

Monday, September 22, 2014

Constructor: Ian Livengood

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



THEME: Picket line — first words are all narrow, stiff implements

Theme answers:
  • STICK-UP MEN (17A: Bank heist group)
  • CANE SUGAR (24A: Sweet rum component)
  • POLE CAR (37A: Indy 500 leader)
  • STAFF CUTS (47A: Company downsizings)
  • ROD STEWART (57A: British rocker with the 1979 #1 hit "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?")
Word of the Day: Bobby RIGGS (27D: Bobby who lost 1973's Battle of the Sexes tennis match) —
Robert Larimore "Bobby" Riggs (February 25, 1918 – October 25, 1995) was an American tennis player who was the World No. 1 or the World co-No. 1 player for three years, first as an amateur in 1939, then as a professional in 1946 and 1947. He played his first professional tennis match on December 26, 1941.
At the age of 55 he competed in a challenge match against Billie Jean King, one of the top female players in the world. "The Battle of the Sexes" match was one of the most famous tennis events of all time, with a $100,000 winner-take-all prize. (wikipedia)
• • •

So I looked up "rod" in my giant J.I. Rodale Synonym Finder, and sure enough, there were "cane," "pole," "staff," and "stick" all listed as possibilities. Still, somehow "stick" and "cane" feel like different animals to me, the former redolent with the aroma of tree-ness, the latter inseparable from its specific status as a walking aid. "Pole" and "rod" seem less organic, more generic. "Staff" seems somewhere in between—probably wooden, but not as arboreal or sculpted as "stick" and "cane," respectively. Am I over thinking this? Of course. It's not like I noticed a theme at all when I was solving. I'm just saying I've seen tighter themes. I mean, why not have a series of answers that start "alpenstock," "quirt," "crosier," "stanchion," and "caduceus"? I mean, aside from the practical consideration that there are no phrases that start with any of those words? Rodale says it's OK! Quirt! Do it!


Why was this measurably harder than your average Monday? I finished in 3:20 (about half a minute slower than average) and noticed that my time would have put me near the top of the leader board at the NYT puzzle site—not a place I should be anywhere near with that time on a Monday. Both the long Downs (the 9s, I mean) were tough for me to get, the first  ("COME GET ME") because of the unusualness of the clue phrase—11D: "I'm stranded and need a ride"—as well as the SPAM / SCAM trap I can't be the only one to have fallen into (10A: Almost any "Get rich quick!" offer); the second (PUTS ASIDE) because the clue carries the suggestion of moving something to the "back burner," and ASIDE is a fundamentally different direction than "back." I get that we're working in figurative language here, but try telling that to my brain.


Do not like the OLE-over-OLE (from POLECAR) in the middle of the grid. STAFF CUTS strikes me as a real thing, but not a very lovely, clean, or tight thing. A [Fight between late-night hosts, e.g.] is, in modern parlance, a BEEF. A FEUD involves Hatfields, McCoys, Clampitts, or Families. I have no idea what "late-night hosts" could have to do with FEUDs, since it's no longer the early '90s. Cross-referenced STATE clue slowed me down, as did the "Where's my dang globe?" quality of 54A: Coastal land south of Congo (ANGOLA). Side note, and true story: my wife bought a globe today. "I saw it at Target … it was $14." Not the strongest rationale, but countries have been invaded for flimsier reasons, so we left it there.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

76 comments:

Anonymous 12:07 AM  

In short: felt like a lot of Non-Monday answers were in this crossword. Several weak entries. Very bad.

Don't like AWEEBIT/ATAD in the same crossword, and surprised that we're still using bizarre definitions for INKED that just about no one uses.

Steve J 12:13 AM  

Nice, clean Monday. Didn't grasp a theme even after looking at it, so this felt like Monday-level themeless for me (which there's absolutely nothing wrong with; I'd like to see more of that). Liked STICK-UP MEN (Rex, sticks aren't just things from trees; think yardstick), STAFF CUTS (well, I don't like staff cuts, but it's good fill), and COME GET ME.

Didn't like CANE SUGAR as clued; all rum comes from cane sugar, not just "sweet" rum. Agreed that the FEUD clue didn't make much sense.

Fill's nice and clean throughout, with just an ACH and an OLE that I noticed from the realm of crosswordese. Nice Monday.

Anonymous 12:39 AM  

(Cough) Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon, even if it was a joke (Cough)

Z 12:42 AM  

Got Wood?

jae 12:55 AM  

Medium for me and mostly what @Steve J said except I did get the theme after staring at the grid a bit post solve. That said I'm still pondering the Neville Fogarty meta...

So, echoing Steve...Nice Monday.

Anonymous 12:57 AM  

2D -- Really!
What the hell's going on here. My Firefox is not working.

Rube 1:02 AM  

Had to go back to IE to get a decent page.

George Barany 1:13 AM  

It's always great to see @Ian Livengood's byline on a puzzle. I write from the great state of Minnesota, a place of great sadness currently because our great running Adrian Peterson has been suspended from the NFL Vikings pending resolution of certain legal matters involving a ROD or STICK or equivalent. So much better to be reminded of Bobby RIGGS, a colorful character on the peripheries of the tennis world, whose exhibition match against Billie Jean King, 41 years ago almost to the day, was a watershed moment of sports spectacle.

Virginia 1:50 AM  

My guess is that FEUD was clued with the talk show host reference because the Johnny Carson-Joan Rivers feud came up in so many of the articles published about her after her passing this month.

Count me as another who didn't notice the theme at all, so thanks to Rex for pointing it out!

chefwen 2:50 AM  

I must be the odd person out, got the theme after STICK and CANE and I thought the puzz was super easy. Two write overs - 21A elite before AGATE and spelled SUDOKU with an O at the end before U. @M&E, sorry if I tried to steal one of your U'S, thus messing with your U count. Mia Culpa!

Thought it was a fun start to the week. Ian never disappoints.

obat jantung untuk ibu hamil 4:08 AM  

I really like it

Anonymous 4:51 AM  

didn't know Santa smoked

Lewis 5:41 AM  

I was fine with the theme, all the answers have the same sort of shape, and it's Monday. I did like ANGOLA/AKITA/AVILA. What I especially noticed was the refreshing lack of grid gruel. The puzzle didn't feel rusty, yet could have used a touch more pop. Overall, a solid puzzle making for me a satisfying Monday solve.

Factoid: After the 2nd century BC, the TOGA was a garment worn exclusively by men, and only Roman citizens were allowed to wear it. After this time, women were expected to wear the stola; to distinguish prostitutes from respectable women, prostitutes were required to wear the TOGA.

Quotoid: "Instead of getting married again, I'm going to find a woman I don't like and just give her a house." -- ROD STEWART

Glimmerglass 7:03 AM  

"The stump of a PIPE he held tight in his teeth/And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath." I guess by chance, this was very easy for me. I filled in answers as fast as I could write. Even so, this was a fun Monday.

Anonymous 7:11 AM  

I've been watching auto racing for quite awhile and have never heard "pole car". "Pole sitter" or "on the pole" but never "pole car".

John Child 7:12 AM  

“Santa Claus wears a Red Suit,
He must be a communist.
And a beard and long hair,
Must be a pacifist.
What's in that pipe that he's smoking?"

The Pause of Mr. Claus - Arlo Guthrie


chefbea 7:14 AM  

I agree with @Chefwen - easy puzzle. . Got the theme right away. These are all items I have seen people walking with (sorry I ended the sentence with a preposition)

Love Rod Stewart!!

Mohair Sam 7:29 AM  

Fun easy/peasy Monday, disagree with @Rex on almost everything (except the globe thing of course).

@Lewis - thanks for the delightful Rod Stewart quote.

The Leno/Letterman thing was a FEUD for sure, not just a beef; as was Carson/Rivers. Any other late-night disagreements matter naught (whatever decade they occur in).

NCA President 7:34 AM  

I think I've calibrated the degree of challenge with Rex's pretty well. When he says a puzzle is "challenging," I pretty much know what that means for me. In this case though, not so much. This was an easy (for a Monday) puzzle and I blew through it quickly (my cat slowed me down because she kept wanting to lay on my computer in my lap, or I might have had a record time).

My thoughts go out to you LSU Tiger fans whose team lost at home to MSU. Tough break.

I think FEUD is a consistent issue among late night talk show hosts. The Leno/Conan thing from a few years ago was pretty well everywhere in the media. Seems every few years something pops up for them all to fight about. Egos. Ugh.

I don't know anyone who actually says WHEE on a roller coaster unless they say it ironically or they are a parent with a small child on a very small roller coaster. Source: when I am on a roller coaster I flat out scream bloody hell usually accompanied by a string of expletives...none of which sound like "whee."

I don't like AMEX because they canceled my card once because I was a few days late on a payment of a different card entirely. I always made their payments on time, didn't carry a large balance ever, and was a card member for several years. Then --BAM-- canceled. Not that it matters...I don't have credit cards any more and am much better off as a result. AMEX can kiss my bottom.

Finally, agreed that the clue for CANESUGAR was off. Rum actually uses molasses...cachaça, on the other hand, uses sugar...making it a lighter liquor. But yeah, all rum is made from cane sugar in some form or fashion. And I don't know what distinguishes "sweet" rum from the others...all rum is sweet.

LHS 888 7:40 AM  

I gave downs-only a college try... and failed. Needed several across clues to fill in the holes. Write overs were zIp to VIM and wAgeWAR to GANGWAR. Otherwise, it was a straightforward puzzle.
I never noticed a theme until I came here. Thanks, Rex!

RAD2626 7:49 AM  

Fun puzzle. Good interesting fill and not much misdirection, all great for a Monday. But lots of different stuff and no EELs or SNLs.

When reading Rex' commentary, and in thinking about the theme, I was struck for the first time about why it takes both a ROD and a STAFF to comfort me in Psalm 23?

Leapfinger 8:17 AM  

WHEE! for some Monday fun, with a cute little OLE/OLE in the middle.

WHEE played all kinds of TAG in school at recess, but never TOETAG!

FEUD for thought to have ERICA Jong and Anita LOOS in the grid. Could be a theme extension with SLATtern.

ALOE! It's time to go to work, C U!

joho 8:17 AM  

The theme came to pretty quickly when I was done but POLE seemed out of place to me. All other answers are walking aids. You fish with a POLE, fly a flag on it or a fireman slides down it but I don't think you walk with it. I must be over thinking this, right!?

Assuming it's just me, I'd say it's a fine Monday theme and early puzzle level puzzle. And if you don't agree, COMEGETME! 😊

Susan McConnell 8:25 AM  

@RAD2626 Many sermons have been written on the rod and staff of a shepherd as relates to Psalm 23.

I thought this was a crunchier than normal Monday, and I enjoyed it. I plopped in FEUD with no hesitation, and for sure would have stumbled if the puzzle wanted "beef" there. I also plopped in SCAM with no hesitation. I associate "spam" with email or electronic get rich quick schemes.

Sensed no theme as I was filling it in, but once done I went back and saw it, though I have to admit, it is a pretty dull one.

Kris in ABCA 8:26 AM  

TOETAG crossing COMEGETME was a bit morbid and sad.

Leapfinger 8:34 AM  

@Anon 4:51 - Like a chimney!
@Lewis, love yer ROD Quotoid; @JohnChild, thnx for those lyrics, too!
@NCA Prez, is it too early in the day for a caipirinha? Will try to muddle through...

Ludyjynn 8:36 AM  

RODSTEWART would have been more aptly clued by: "co-author and singer of hit song, 'Maggie May'"...Wake up, Maggie, I think I got something to say to you. It's late September and I really should be back at school...

A FEUD implies hostilities on both sides. Carson/Rivers was a one-sided affair. According to Joan, her attempts to communicate with/reconcile with Johnny were met w/ silence til his death!

Easy, peasey Monday puzz. Thanks, IL and WS.

jberg 8:50 AM  

Pretty easy for me, maybe because there weren't any birds at my feeder, so I could put the answers in without interruption. I think AGATE was the only thing I didn't know right off. I did hesitate over STICK UP MEN, as it doesn't seem rightly clued.

What I learned: J.I. Rodale took time off from organic gardening and food supplement fads to write about synonyms. I guess the book is well-known, but at first I thought @Rex was making some arcane joke by mis-typing Roget.

Nice to see SUDOKU in a crossword; now I'm waiting for the Sudoku constructors to reciprocate.

AliasZ 8:51 AM  


Baton, shaft, pin, dowel, stave and wand were missing, but otherwise this was a fun Monday puzzle. Oh yeah, and stalk. And PIPE could have been a theme answer as well.

WHEE WHEE WHEE is how this little piggy cried all the way home. Or was that wee wee wee? How can you tell the difference between WHEE and wee? Maybe WHEE is pronounced hwee, I don't know. WHEE the people need to know. The difference is the number of times you say WHEE. If once, you must be on a rollercoaster. Twice, it's an onomatopoeic phrase for what is heard in LOOS. Thrice, you are a piggy. In France the little piggy cries "Oui, oui, oui, Enesco!" all the way home. When in France, and all that horse shaft. WHEE, WHEE, I gotta go.

Enjoy your Monday with a WHEE light fare by ASTOR Pizzaolla.

Elephant's Child 8:52 AM  

@ludyjjin, one of our dogs was named "Maggie Mae", but "Mandolin Wind" remains my favorite.

POLLSTER, POLLS, POLECAR... Any POLymorphorous in the POLE vault?

Arlene 9:15 AM  

I didn't see the theme until coming here either. Also had PACECAR before POLECAR - it was the LOO that gave that away.

As for cane materials, I've always been intrigued by glass canes - the product of glassmakers, who were allowed to create whimsies at the end of the work day with leftover materials. They were only for decorative use, of course.

quilter1 9:16 AM  

Played easy for me. I can't agree that stick and cane are not synonymous. Walking stick is pretty common in my book. That's maybe a little British, but still the same as a cane (got one in my closet). I thought of COME GET ME immediately and appreciated the phrase, felt instinctive. Just liked the whole thing.

quilter1 9:23 AM  

@RAD2626: The rod represents obedience, the staff (the hooked kind) rescue. For a person of faith both are comforting. When I was a chaplain this was the most requested psalm at a deathbed.

Anonymous 9:27 AM  

Rexhole's write-ups have become an embarrassment. Nice Monday puzzle.

JTHurst 9:28 AM  

@George. Bobby Riggs during his prime was not on the periphery of tennis. He was the World's number one, three different times. He won the Wimbledon and the precursor to the US Open championship two times. If Bobby was on the periphery then Andy Murray would be considered on the farm.

Georges comment, though not thoughtless or unkind, needles me to pontificate. As we age, our heroism and deeds decay almost as fast as yesterday's blogs. Our heroic love affairs, grandiose statements and creations wither in the frosty glare of the 'NOW'. Rex once pooh-poohed the original seven astronauts as not really being heroes with which I took umbrage.

If Joseph Heller were eating a hot dog in Coney Island and a young man came up to him and said, "Pops, what have done with your life?" And Heller said "Catch 22" and the kid said, "You invented that word, cool." I guess that is why God invented grandchildren to listen to the poetic eddas of this shaky old tenor.

@Steve J Great idea, more themeless puzzles might lead to tighter and better fill.

@Rad2626 I think the staff with its crook is used to pull yourself out of the morass and the rod is used to cudgel those would try to keep you there.

As far as the puzzle, I liked it and did not find it that difficult except for agate and the SE corner. Avid F1 watcher and attendee and the term 'polecar' though feasible is just not used to identify the front runner.

JTHurst 9:28 AM  

@George. Bobby Riggs during his prime was not on the periphery of tennis. He was the World's number one, three different times. He won the Wimbledon and the precursor to the US Open championship two times. If Bobby was on the periphery then Andy Murray would be considered on the farm.

Georges comment, though not thoughtless or unkind, needles me to pontificate. As we age, our heroism and deeds decay almost as fast as yesterday's blogs. Our heroic love affairs, grandiose statements and creations wither in the frosty glare of the 'NOW'. Rex once pooh-poohed the original seven astronauts as not really being heroes with which I took umbrage.

If Joseph Heller were eating a hot dog in Coney Island and a young man came up to him and said, "Pops, what have done with your life?" And Heller said "Catch 22" and the kid said, "You invented that word, cool." I guess that is why God invented grandchildren to listen to the poetic eddas of this shaky old tenor.

@Steve J Great idea, more themeless puzzles might lead to tighter and better fill.

@Rad2626 I think the staff with its crook is used to pull yourself out of the morass and the rod is used to cudgel those would try to keep you there.

As far as the puzzle, I liked it and did not find it that difficult except for agate and the SE corner. Avid F1 watcher and attendee and the term 'polecar' though feasible is just not used to identify the front runner.

JTHurst 9:29 AM  

@George. Bobby Riggs during his prime was not on the periphery of tennis. He was the World's number one, three different times. He won the Wimbledon and the precursor to the US Open championship two times. If Bobby was on the periphery then Andy Murray would be considered on the farm.

Georges comment, though not thoughtless or unkind, needles me to pontificate. As we age, our heroism and deeds decay almost as fast as yesterday's blogs. Our heroic love affairs, grandiose statements and creations wither in the frosty glare of the 'NOW'. Rex once pooh-poohed the original seven astronauts as not really being heroes with which I took umbrage.

If Joseph Heller were eating a hot dog in Coney Island and a young man came up to him and said, "Pops, what have done with your life?" And Heller said "Catch 22" and the kid said, "You invented that word, cool." I guess that is why God invented grandchildren to listen to the poetic eddas of this shaky old tenor.

@Steve J Great idea, more themeless puzzles might lead to tighter and better fill.

@Rad2626 I think the staff with its crook is used to pull yourself out of the morass and the rod is used to cudgel those would try to keep you there.

As far as the puzzle, I liked it and did not find it that difficult except for agate and the SE corner. Avid F1 watcher and attendee and the term 'polecar' though feasible is just not used to identify the front runner.

JTHurst 9:29 AM  

@George. Bobby Riggs during his prime was not on the periphery of tennis. He was the World's number one, three different times. He won the Wimbledon and the precursor to the US Open championship two times. If Bobby was on the periphery then Andy Murray would be considered on the farm.

Georges comment, though not thoughtless or unkind, needles me to pontificate. As we age, our heroism and deeds decay almost as fast as yesterday's blogs. Our heroic love affairs, grandiose statements and creations wither in the frosty glare of the 'NOW'. Rex once pooh-poohed the original seven astronauts as not really being heroes with which I took umbrage.

If Joseph Heller were eating a hot dog in Coney Island and a young man came up to him and said, "Pops, what have done with your life?" And Heller said "Catch 22" and the kid said, "You invented that word, cool." I guess that is why God invented grandchildren to listen to the poetic eddas of this shaky old tenor.

@Steve J Great idea, more themeless puzzles might lead to tighter and better fill.

@Rad2626 I think the staff with its crook is used to pull yourself out of the morass and the rod is used to cudgel those would try to keep you there.

As far as the puzzle, I liked it and did not find it that difficult except for agate and the SE corner. Avid F1 watcher and attendee and the term 'polecar' though feasible is just not used to identify the front runner.

JTHurst 9:30 AM  

@George. Bobby Riggs during his prime was not on the periphery of tennis. He was the World's number one, three different times. He won the Wimbledon and the precursor to the US Open championship two times. If Bobby was on the periphery then Andy Murray would be considered on the farm.

Georges comment, though not thoughtless or unkind, needles me to pontificate. As we age, our heroism and deeds decay almost as fast as yesterday's blogs. Our heroic love affairs, grandiose statements and creations wither in the frosty glare of the 'NOW'. Rex once pooh-poohed the original seven astronauts as not really being heroes with which I took umbrage.

If Joseph Heller were eating a hot dog in Coney Island and a young man came up to him and said, "Pops, what have done with your life?" And Heller said "Catch 22" and the kid said, "You invented that word, cool." I guess that is why God invented grandchildren to listen to the poetic eddas of this shaky old tenor.

@Steve J Great idea, more themeless puzzles might lead to tighter and better fill.

@Rad2626 I think the staff with its crook is used to pull yourself out of the morass and the rod is used to cudgel those would try to keep you there.

As far as the puzzle, I liked it and did not find it that difficult except for agate and the SE corner. Avid F1 watcher and attendee and the term 'polecar' though feasible is just not used to identify the front runner.

JTHurst 9:30 AM  

@George. Bobby Riggs during his prime was not on the periphery of tennis. He was the World's number one, three different times. He won the Wimbledon and the precursor to the US Open championship two times. If Bobby was on the periphery then Andy Murray would be considered on the farm.

Georges comment, though not thoughtless or unkind, needles me to pontificate. As we age, our heroism and deeds decay almost as fast as yesterday's blogs. Our heroic love affairs, grandiose statements and creations wither in the frosty glare of the 'NOW'. Rex once pooh-poohed the original seven astronauts as not really being heroes with which I took umbrage.

If Joseph Heller were eating a hot dog in Coney Island and a young man came up to him and said, "Pops, what have done with your life?" And Heller said "Catch 22" and the kid said, "You invented that word, cool." I guess that is why God invented grandchildren to listen to the poetic eddas of this shaky old tenor.

@Steve J Great idea, more themeless puzzles might lead to tighter and better fill.

@Rad2626 I think the staff with its crook is used to pull yourself out of the morass and the rod is used to cudgel those would try to keep you there.

As far as the puzzle, I liked it and did not find it that difficult except for agate and the SE corner. Avid F1 watcher and attendee and the term 'polecar' though feasible is just not used to identify the front runner.

JTHurst 9:38 AM  

Damned capchas

Norm 9:42 AM  

I think Ian may have conflated "pole position" and "pace car."

Steve J 9:59 AM  

Re POLE CAR: Agreed with others that it's off, but I did find at least one citation of its use as clued. As we've learned from the NYT in many other cases, that's all that counts for clue "accuracy".

@NCA President: Not all run is made from molasses (which is a byproduct of the refining process and thus still all cane sugar). Some's made from pure cane sugar juice, some's made from demerara sugar (partially refined crystals). But all, of course, are from cane sugar. There's really no difference between rum and cachaça.

@joho: Have you ever seen people hiking with what look like ski poles? They're called trekking poles. So, yes, one can walk with a pole or two.

dk 10:05 AM  

🌕🌕🌕 (3 mOOOns)

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for xwords art with me; ROD and STAFF they comfort me. Thy CANE and STICK scare me. POLE: Bada-Bing.

So sayeth dk (eroder of enamel and morals since 1950)

optionsgeek 10:09 AM  

On a side note, has anyone tried the recently published New York Times Crossword App for Windows 8? It works best with tablet style devices like the Surface. What's unique is that it has bonafide handwriting recognition. With the exception that I needed to learn how write "I" and "L" so the app will reliably detect them, I feel that for the first time ever there is an app that is better than good 'ol pencil and paper. I'm interested whether anyone else has tried and has an opinion.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:26 AM  

Good puzzle. Had to study the grid a minute or two after finishing to get the theme.

I am going on vacation. See you in two weeks . . . unless Rex, in his (I hope humorous) search for the perfect puzzle (maybe one in which every grid entry is the same word?) collides head-on with the never-ending vitriol of the anonymi, and the whole blog disappears in a nuclear blow-up.

Everett Wolf 10:36 AM  

Late night feuds are a very much talked about topic. Resurrected by Conan/Leno. Very much different from a beef, which would just plain be the wrong answer in this case.

mac 10:43 AM  

Good Monday puzzle. Nice that we didn't get a reveal, although it probably means that novices never noticed the theme.

Only write-over was pipe for cape. Any answers I might have a problem with appeared effortlessly through the crosses.

I have to relay the Rod Stewart factoid to my SIL! And @dk is in great form this morning!

Lovely day in Washington.

Masked and Anonymo6Us 11:45 AM  

Hey. As long as we didn't get the shaft, I'm good with this.

M&A

Maurice 12:51 PM  

Clearly you've never read the 23rd Psalm.

Carola 1:01 PM  

Liked it - a perfect Monday in my book, easy and interesting. Like @chefwen, I saw the theme after STICK and CANE, which helped me with ROD STEWART.

CUES could also be a member of the STICK family.

Random grid connection: ERICA Jong's Fear of Flying and the RIGGS-King tennis match both DATE from 1973.

joho 1:02 PM  

Thanks, @Steve J.

@mac, I agree, @dk: hilarious!~

@optionsgeek, I can't wait to try it but last time I tried to load the app it wouldn't ... I need the upgrade to 8.1.

Psalm 23 1:06 PM  

"I will fear no Evil"?

King David 1:24 PM  

Psalm 23
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy ROD and thy STAFF they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

M and Also 1:59 PM  

Yo, King D.
Well, hey, @Maurice -- Now I've read it all, evidently. Always kinda thought all those Big "He"-words got capitalized in the scriptures, tho.
Comforts m&e, that verse 4 didn't get the shaft, either.

fave moo-cow hard MonPuz clue:
"The S in 36-Across" = __ __ __ __ __.
Was hopin this was a trick question, with answer "ENDER", or "TWINS", or some such. (Cuz A-C-R-O-S-S ends with an S or two).

fave moo-cow easy MonPuz clue:
"Animal foot" = __ __ __.

fave U-usage:
SUDOKU.

M&A
"She Got the Gold Mine, and I Got the Shaft"

NCA President 2:10 PM  

@Steve J: Not to put too fine of a point on it, but most rum is made from molasses, and while it is a byproduct of sugar, it has a flavor which is then imparted to the rum. You might be able to substitute cachaça for rum, but it doesn't usually work the other way around. Rum not made from molasses (I've never come across it) probably will taste like cachaça.

Cachaça is light and delicate, maybe even slightly sweeter than rum.

Source: too many liquor tastings in my past.

bookmark 4:02 PM  

@M&A: Discovered a new word for your runtpuzs in The Bone Clocks, p. 335... quokka.

retired_chemist 4:12 PM  

Medium. Enjoyable.

AGATE only after eliTE. ANGOLA - lucky first guess. No problems elsewhere.

Thanks, Mr. Livengood.

bwalker 4:17 PM  

Cane sugar is a sweet component of rum.

M and A Goes Global 4:27 PM  

@63: List of Best Features of a $14 Target globe:
1. You get the shaft, free of charge.
2. Has yer nostalgic single Pangaean continent.
3. Deflates for easy storage.
4. All 1,916 Target locations are shown, using cute little red bullseye dealies. (World appears to have a sorta rash.)
5. Coated with trademarked "simulated pollution".
6. Each Target Globe has been previously shot at by a Kardashian.
7. Draw yer own equator!
8. Batteries are optional.
9. For two bucks extra, Customer Service staff will give yah the Moon.
10. Green Paint.

M&A
"No Thanx Are Necessary"

Anonymous 4:41 PM  

It boggles the ole brain how many people don't know there is a theme. Solve the puzzle any way you choose, but for anyone who has done at least one week of nyt puzzles, should know monday-thursday are ALWAYS themed!!

stevensenger 4:54 PM  

I'm confused by 1-down. Do they mean 'antonym' here?

Norm 5:51 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Norm 5:54 PM  

@stevensenger. Nope. Synonym. Think "to worst" as a verb. Means the same thing as "to best."

George Barany 6:11 PM  

@JTHurst, looks like you got "captcha"-vated ... perhaps I didn't choose my words about Bobby Riggs carefully enough. By the time Riggs played King, he was basically a hustler, certainly at tennis but mainly at golf. As you correctly state, he was a top flight player in his youth. Why don't you check out Love Forty which Brent Hartzell and I wrote for an auspicious anniversary, and then communicate further about this topic off-Rex via regular e-mail to barany@umn.edu?

Outlaw M and A 7:03 PM  

@bookmark:
Day-um... What a coincidence! (See below)

M&A

**gruntz**

Tron 7:05 PM  

Almost solved it- couldn't for sure figure out the A in agAte or Astor. Agute Agete, Agote, Agite Istor, Ustor, Estor all seemed somewhat possible to me

JFC 9:26 PM  

Remember me, Rex? As Telly would say, Who loves you, baby? Well, I went to Matt Gaffney's meta puzzle of the week contest. I didn't have a aha moment. I didn't even feel I had accomplished anything. But I did it. All I felt was relief that I did it.

JFC

sanfranman59 10:04 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 5:57, 6:03, 0.98, 42%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:56, 3:57, 1.00, 43%, Medium

Steve J 10:35 PM  

@bwalker: Thanks. Don't know how I missed that the "sweet" adjective applied to the component, not the rum. Duh.

@NCA President: The source materials for rum vary. For whatever reason, the areas that were primarily under English influence use molasses as the base, while the French- and Spanish-influenced areas use primarily cane juice. The cane-based rums can have the same delicate flavor you noted with cachaça.

stevensenger 5:19 PM  

Thanks! I had no idea you could "worst" someone. Thanks for the tip :-)

spacecraft 12:12 PM  

Just sightly confusing was the dress code thing; I was thinking suit, tie, etc. but had to work out the "NECK" part. We so seldom use it; a tie is a tie.

Otherwise I found little resistance. OK, AVILA--and not (!) clued as baseball's Bobby--is AWEEBIT un-Mondayish, but fell readily on crosses. For a Monday, I'd CALL it no worse than medium.

OFL didn't like the twin OLEs; I did. Was it deliberate? Only the builder knows for sure.

Captchas seem to have returned to the old "easily legible real word plus weirdly illegible nonsense word" format. Guess our numbers game will have to be PUTASIDE.

West Coast Pete 12:40 PM  

This theme reminds me of an Uptown Puzzle Club offering by Harvey Estes more than a decade ago titled "Support Group." Theme entries were
STICK TO YOUR GUNS
BAR MITZVAH
POLE STAR
ROD LAVER
BEAM OF HOPE
SHAFT OF SUNLIGHT
POST OFFICE BOX
STAFF SERGEANT

DMG 1:05 PM  

A good start for the week! As usual, never saw a theme, but that's not unusual for me. fortunately had POLEC.. In place before I got, to 37A, otherwise would have written PaceCAR. But then, as so,often obvious, sports is (are?) clearly something with which I have no familiarity. Look, avoided ending with a preposition!

@Spacecraft: sorry you missed the deal, maybe my 186 has a chance of holding up! (Oops, prepositional ending!)
Hey, as I write, it just jumped to 2905, even better!

rain forest 1:52 PM  

Had to finish my notes on rum-making before I could comment on the puzzle...

Pretty easy with a trivial theme today, but the fill was good even though I've never heard of the verb "to worst". I was thinking of the phrase "give 'em your worst" which of course means the same as "give 'em your best".

Possibly rhetorical question: how come, in the 23rd Psalm, "he" and "his" change to "thou" and "thy" halfway through? Smacks of a second author.

I got numbers.
107 Even better than DMG

Dirigonzo 7:33 PM  

As the parent of two sons I've had a few late night calls of the "I'm stranded and need a ride" variety, so COMEGETME came easily. I was always glad they called and I always went to get them. A YESNO questions has only one of two "possible" answers, not "only two answers" as clued - yes? no? what?!

1411 - even with an extra digit I can't beat rainy.

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