1997 Bruce Willis sci-fi film / MON 11-23-15 / Lyft competitor / Repeating film snippet online / Cube maker Rubik / Journalistic profession

Monday, November 23, 2015

Constructor: Parker Lewis

Relative difficulty: Medium Mondayish level


THEME: fractions — a fraction progression where the numerator remains "1" throughout but the denominator moves from "5" to "1"; so one FIFTH, one FOURTH, one THIRD, one HALF, and finally one WHOLE

Theme answers:
  • FIFTH ELEMENT (17A: 1997 Bruce Willis sci-fi film, with "The")
  • FOURTH ESTATE (23A: Journalistic profession)
  • THIRD TIMES A CHARM (38A: Saying about persistence paying off)
  • HALF MARATHON (48A: Race just over 13 miles long)
  • WHOLE SHEBANG (60A: Entirety, informally)
Word of the Day: OCULUS Rift (54A: ___ Rift (virtual reality product owned by Facebook)) —
The Rift is a virtual reality head-mounted display developed by Oculus VR. It was initially proposed in a Kickstarter campaign, during which Oculus VR (at the time an independent company) raised US$2.5 million for the development of the product. (wikipedia)
• • •

This theme has definitely been done over and over again where FIFTH, FOURTH etc. are ordinals, but I guess the surprise fraction twist is new. It's also mildly awkward, in that you have to imagine "a" or "one" in front of the first words for the progression to really make sense, and WHOLE is not really the correct finale. Should probably be ONE something. And why is this 16 wide—totally unnecessary. All that having THIRD TIMES A CHARM in here does is open up the classic THIRD TIME'S A CHARM vs. THIRD TIME'S THE CHARM debate, and no one wants to open up that can of worms. That controversy tends to get real ugly, real fast. I'm definitely team THE, but I've learned to live with my A neighbors. Coexist, man. But seriously, THIRD BASE? THIRD DEGREE? You're going 16 wide ... why? I'm not a fan of breaking the rules for no good and possibly even bad reasons. But I guess I did get about 20 extra seconds of Monday puzzle today. Maybe that was worth it.


Puzzle gets pretty chock full o' crosswordese at times, especially over there in the east where "ERNO and the T-MAN"® climb Mt. ETNA in search of the fabled ODEON of Apolo (Ohno). It's a pretty epic adventure—they even wrote a SESTET about it. But I guess most of the fill is OK. I messed up my Biblical verb and wrote DOEST instead of DOETH. I also totally blanked on the MASAI, even though I did this whole report on them in 7th grade Geography (27A: Native Kenyans). Actually, the report was on Tanzania, but they were in there. Sorry, Mrs. Stevens. Got very confused by [Center of a place setting], especially when I got it down to PLA-E and was like "... uh ... PLACE?" I think that's all I have to say about this puzzle.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

56 comments:

jae 12:06 AM  

Medium for me too.  A fine Mon.  Lively theme answers, not much dreck, and some current stuff...APP, ÜBER, GIF, OCULUS, DIY...liked it.

Music Man 1:19 AM  

I was super confused and appalled at first when it wasn't second and first, until I got it, ahh MATH. Funny, I was thinking the same thing, "isn't it third time THE charm??" I cannot, like you, accept third times A charm, however. It's THE or bust. Some nice long non-themers for a Monday though. All in all, I enjoyed it.

ghkozen 1:27 AM  

Not to open up the can of worms you mentioned, but this is literally the first time in my life I realized there was a controversy. I've never heard anyone use "the charm" before, ever. Odd I've made it this long thinking it was, not settled on "a" but... just accepted.

chefwen 2:09 AM  

Took me a little while to get rolling with this one. Started off with twelve at 5A, didn't know the Bruce Willis film, so decided to go with the downs. DEMOTE got me squared away with 5A which was an easy fix and my only write over. After that bumpy start things started moving a lot more quickly. After FIFTH, FOURTH and THIRD I was looking for second and first, guess again little one. Downs to the rescue again and I was finished.

NICE ONE (how many people are going to say that?) Mr. Parker.

GILL I. 6:04 AM  

ALOHA HELLOS, AMIGO. UBER NICE ONE for moi, Mr. Parker Lewis.
GEE, @Rex, me thinks you DOETH protest too much. Or is that doth?
I had SHE BANG in the little downstairs area and I entertained the thought of William Hung crooning to Hulk HOGAN.
Just last night, I listened to 60 Minutes talking about "The Future of Money" in Kenya. The M-Pesa is the way to go folks. Just whip out the cell phone and pay for your food, electricity, well, you name it. I'm sure Google is taking a closer look. By the way, I always thought is was MAASAI (two A's)...
I enjoyed this Monday romp. Nothing made me SIGH....

Aketi 6:27 AM  

@Rex, if you read the puzzle from the bottom up and think about avoiding being accused of eat me the last piece of pie, the progression from a WHOLE to a FIFTH makes much more sense. It's much easier to slice ever thinner pieces from a pumpkin pie than from an apple pie, but apple gets better with ICE CREAM. Of course you can als drink SHOTs from a FIFTH while eating your pie, but your precision in slicing might suffer.

Lewis 6:29 AM  

Any time in Crossworld when a theme is done for the first time, that's worthy of praise, so bravo there, Mr. Lewis! I learned OCULUS, and liked the answers WHOLESHEBANG (a debut NYT puzzle debut), NICE_ONE, MISSUS, and STILL_LIFES. When else can we ever say the word LIFES instead of "lives"? I thought of another example of where a noun with an "f" that normally gets turned to a "v" in the plural, can keep the "f" in the plural, and I'll put it at the end of this post.

I don't know how NOS snuck it's way into the puzzle, given that it's underAGE, and we also have ONCE upon a block, which might begin a mason's fairy tale.

A quick, enjoyable sprint to the end. NICE ONE, Parker!



("That Nissan dealer has many Leafs on display...")

Old Lady 7:31 AM  

Both OMIT and EMIT bothered me a bit. Wife, informally, is really THE MISSUS to her husband, not just MISSUS, which is quite formal to all.

Mohair Sam 7:37 AM  

I don't think Monday's get much better than this, sorry @Rex. Welcoming to new solvers with lots of 21st century stuff. Simple yet clever theme. And enough of what we call crosswordese for easy entry, but not so much as to make it distasteful for us regulars. Liked it a lot.

Didn't know there was an "A/the" controversy, but I'm in the "the" camp and it held us up for a second at 38a.

@Gill I - Saw that M-Pesa thing on 60 Minutes last night, neat stuff. Indeed the Uber of the banking world. I have an 88 year old aunt who won't give up her rotary phone - how the heck will she survive if we all go to an M-Pesa world? She insists rotary dial is making a comeback, btw.

blinker474 7:41 AM  

"Third times a charm" at least for me. Never heard 'the'. Maybe it's regional; I'm from New England. Very pleasant puzzle; a bit difficult for a Monday, but that's good. My view on the fill in this or in any puzzle is that it's going to be there, so why complain about it.

Anonymous 7:42 AM  

I'm definitely team A. I'm sure I've heard "the" CHARM, but I didn't remember there being any controversy. I was also surprised to hear the phrase read as a straightforward call for persistence. I've always thought of it more as benignly superstitious or, ironically, as a reference to something along the lines of trial-and-error. If you're going to imagine introductory a's (a THIRD, a HALF), then a WHOLE fills the bill, no? Speaking of a-holes (see what I did there?), how about that ODIE? (Really, captcha? Patios?)

Joseph Welling 7:56 AM  

GILL I said: "GEE, @Rex, me thinks you DOETH protest too much. Or is that doth?"

Second person would be doest or dost, wouldn't it?

Roo Monster 8:01 AM  

Hey All !
Fun, interesting, fractionally MonPuz! Actually failed here on picking up the meaning of the theme. Fractions. Ah, thanks Rex. Cause I was like, 5th, 4th, 3rd, half...? Wha?

Puz wasn't UNFAIR, got most in one SHOT, had to utter RATS though, as spelled STAcHES with the UGLI C. SIGH. YET still thought it a NICE ONE.

Haven't heard of SESTET, only know septet or sextet. Clue seems off for ODEON, IMO. Had aNon for ONCE, only writeover.

The constructor's name sounds like it could be our @Lewis in disguise!

EMIT OMIT
RooMonster
DarrinV

Tim 8:32 AM  

Rex, WHOLE is absolutely the correct word to use for a number that is not divided into fractions. There is no ONETH. :-) Though I can see how it would spice the puzzle up a bit to throw that in there (ONE THROUGH 100, perhaps?)

Z 8:49 AM  

Team "The" are the spawn of Satan. The definite article.

Saw LIL Wayne appear and immediately thought, "A rapper a day keeps senility away."

Anyone else wonder what cup size the WHOLE SHE BANG wears? I'm guessing D.

A fine Monday.

ArtO 8:57 AM  

A perfectly fine Monday. I'm with the A crowd.

Chuck McGregor 9:20 AM  

ghkozen 1:27 AM

Exactly my take. Controversy? What controversy? Who knew?

Wrote in "a" without a SECOND (or THIRD, FOURTH, FIFTH,....nth) thought. I "never" have heard "the charm," at least that I recall, "ever.".

A few words about "crosswordese" words. Crossword puzzles are games, so...

À propos to football season, it's THIRD down and one HALF yard to go. Oh my! It's a quarterback sneak. How "footballese!!" Can't they come up with a more up-to-date or less tired play to "fill" that situation?

It's a lob shot. Oh my! She/he returned it with an overhead slam. Same old tired shot. How "tennisese."

Seems this might be the same for most (all?) games. It's (ahem) just a? the? part of a? the? game.

Out of curiosity as a precocious kid in FIFTH grade or so, I bought a book at a tag sale (probably all of 10 cents) titled The Fourth Estate (. (read the WHOLESHEBANG with some modicum of comprehension). With that STASHED away, my brain did the MATH and FOURTH ESTATE popped right up with the 23a clue and a bunch of letters to fill.

The overall puzzle? I agree it was a NICE ONE.

My only quibble is the clue for SPEC. Guideline? As a SPECialist, I've written a lot of SPECifications for contractors, (many for ODEONs) and have seen many more. “Guideline” (“an indication or outline of future… conduct,” M-W) is not how I would characterize virtually any of those SPECs. In my experience, they are neither “indications” nor “outlines.” SPECifications SPECify SPECifically. Those that did not were usually not very good ones. I could provide many SPECimens from a wide SPECtrum of disciplines as to their SPECificity.

I suSPECt I’ve made my point :>)

Cheers

thfenn 9:22 AM  

I started out with SEVENTHSENSE, thinking that wasn't quite right, got FIFTHELEMENT when I started the downs, but turns out Seventh Sense is also a sci-fi movie...also wanted SECOND and FIRST, never really got the whole '1 as a numerator' idea, not even with MATH.

I just had the same medical procedure done a third time, trying to fix the same problem. Everyone who knew about it kept saying THIRDTIMESACHARM. If someone had said THE CHARM I would've thought they didn't quite have it right...

Nice fun Monday in under 10, which I realize is ridiculously long for most of you, but below my average.

chefbea 9:32 AM  

Fun puzzle. Didn't realize all the themes needed an A or THE before them. No ice-cream for me today ...it's in the thirties here today Brrrr

quilter1 9:43 AM  

As I zipped through this I thought it was way too easy even for Monday. And I am in the A camp. That's how I've always heard/said that phrase.

Pete 9:46 AM  

There was a minor riot in my head about the correctness of "THE" vs the ignorance of "A", until I remembered one of the few useful life-lessons I've learned over my 60+years: When in disagreement with someone, if I've explained the glory of my opinion and the ignorance of theirs 3 times and fail to convince them, I just give up. Maybe I'm right, maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'm just not explaining it well, I don't know which. What I do know is that it's not worth going back for a fourth try. I don't know which charm (winning, losing, just letting go) comes from the third time, but that one certainly does.

Rainy Days and Monday's 9:50 AM  

@Mohair Sam: For the love of God, man! The plural of "Monday" is "Mondays." No apostrophe.

jberg 10:02 AM  

@Lewis, I'm pretty good at the cannonball, but my jackknifes need work.

I didn't know the movie, and cleverly decided the revolutionary musical device was a 'fIFe,' as in the American revolution. That gave me FIFTf, which only made sense if we were looking at some Thursday-level wordplay; so I went on to NERO and his friends and eventually worked around to the MASAI, which made it all clear.

I liked it more than @Rex.

Nancy 10:08 AM  

Smooth, pleasant. I liked WHOLE SHEBANG and THIRD TIME'S A CHARM. The theme answers were a lot more colorful than they might have been. Like @Lewis, I was thinking about the "F" in STILL LIFES, also. I'd use this for an Intro puzzle for a novice, if I had to pick one.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:20 AM  

Has DIY become American? I remember a time, around thirty years ago, when I was visiting in England, and drove past a big store with D I Y on it. I had to ask my hosts what was sold there!

As they say, the third time's the charm. (That is, it is the third attempt which is successful. If they said the third time's "a charm,", we would have to read some mysticism into their belief system.)

Nancy 10:24 AM  

@GILL & @Mohair -- I, too, saw the M PESA thing on 60 Minutes and I shuddered. I have much in common with your 88-year-old aunt, @Mohair. I don't have a cell phone, much less a smart phone. I gave up my rotary in 1995 when I moved from my old apartment, but only because they couldn't tear the ringer out of the wall and the rotary would have been ringer-less. I replaced it with the AT&T 100, the very next phone that was made after the rotary -- with push buttons, but everything else was the same, except the color. You didn't have to have black. The idea of using cyberspace money that exists only in your phone makes me break out in hives. Things in cyberspace tend to DISAPPEAR. I don't want my money to be one of the things that disappear, thank you very much. (The irony of this message is that two whole sentences I had already typed, beginning with "The idea of using..." and ending with "thank you very much" DISAPPEARED in the middle of typing them and had to be re-typed! THIS HAPPENS TO ME ALL THE TIME! Imagine if it were my money, rather than my comments!) Now do you understand why I want nothing to do with M PESA?

Google Fight 10:27 AM  

Google Fight - "a" vs "the"

mac 10:39 AM  

This one went by really fast. Whole shebang went in without crosses, but I too learned about Oculus.

Stilllife looks great in the grid!

@jberg: I wanted "fife" as well.

Slow Motion 10:54 AM  

Northwest messed me up after I confidently wrote SPCA instead of PETA, and FIFE instead of HIFI. The rest of the puz was Monday easy. The math progression surprised me -- I expected SECOND and FIRST -- but it was a nice surprise, which is more than you usually get on a Monday. Good puzzle!

AliasZ 10:54 AM  


What I liked about this theme is that, instead of being a countdown as one would expect with FIFTH followed by FOURTH and THIRD, it is turned on its head and with each step, the imaginary slices of the pie become a larger and larger portion of the WHOLE. Neat twist! I don't remember seeing this variant before.

I wouldn't exactly call OCULUS or even RIFF average Monday fill, but they at least added a little extra spice. I can't find fault with ERNŐ and the T-MAN team up UBER ETNA, while the LAMA UNIT OOHS and aahs below, because how else would a novice learn about crosswordese?

Is the opposite of OCULUS innoculus?

Glad to see the three-L STILLLIFES, two-L HELLOS and one-L LAMA, but I can't for the life of me figure out why STILL LIFES aren't STILL LIVES. Maybe because unlike the hard-to-kill vampire that still lives, the English language is full of life's hard-to-explain mysteries.

I enjoyed AIRLIFT, ALOHA STATE, EDIT ME NU, and the other long downs, rare to see so many of them in an across-themed Monday grid. Maybe I'll have ICE CREAM for breakfast with MISS US.

NICE ONE Parker, just like this SESTET by ERNŐ Dohnányi. Enjoy!

Joseph Michael 10:55 AM  

NICE ONE

SandySolver 11:10 AM  

A all the way.

Joe Bleaux 11:55 AM  

The "a" and "the" controversy came as news to me. Put me down as a "the" guy, I guess. I've always heard it in the context of "If at first you don't succeed ... " Swing and miss on the first two pitches? Don't worry: Third time's THE charm(ed one). NEVER heard "A charm." Maybe it's a Southern thang. Where were we? Oh, yes -- the puzzle. Fun romp, nice for a Monday. GIF was a new one on me.

old timer 12:36 PM  

"Third time's a charm" says this California boy. Who was liking for the WHOLE enchilada, and not SHEBANG. Slower than usual for a Monday, and lots of answers that were not Easy, though their crosses usually were.

I've seen the MASAI on both sides of the border, having visited Amboseli, which had many water-loving elephants when I was there. And very attractive, sexy girls who were selling beads, etc. to the touring visitors -- and were *way* underage -- though I believe the MASAI girls are no older than 14 when they marry. They marry men who are at least 20, or older, because it takes a while for a boy to become the proud owner of cattle, and (so we were told) the price of a bride is a cow or steer, payable to the girl's parents. Traditionally, a boy's first job was to guard the cattle, with no weapon other than a spear to drive away the lions (the British, who have no Second Amendment, made a law that the MASAI may not possess firearms -- though other tribes are armed.) Nowadays, more than a few MASAI of both sexes complete their schooling and some of them to to University.

That's a very jolly SESTET there, @AliasZ.

Teedmn 1:13 PM  

It was fun to see HALF and WHOLE rather than the expected "second" and "first" but I was in a musical frame of mind, thinking intervals of a FIFTH, FOURTH and THIRD, but then there was a change-up and the theme switched to HALF and WHOLE notes? I have strange dreams that change in midstream but usually crossword themes are more consistent so it was good to find out the theme was MATH and fraction related.

Plopped in "twelve" for MIDDAY and my PLAcE morphed into PLATE ALA @Rex. Other than that I got the WHOLE SHEBANG.

Thanks, Parker Lewis.

Bond 1:38 PM  

Rather than digress on the PIVOT to Asia, let’s go to “gifted hands.”
After the pious brain surgeon’s career was OVA (only five malpractice suits) the lord gave Ben a HI-FIve and said, “DOETH politics now. You can be the Republicans’ answer to the half-white president * from the ALOHA STATE.” (Not paternal MASAI though; Luo tribe…not only the first Head president, the first Luo prez lol…) Carson replied to his personal god (you know, the silent, mysterious rather distant non-gender specific character with an absolutely uproarious sense of humor who, according to the doctor and his fans, created the WHOLE SHEBANG five –or was it six?- thousand years ago, but being creative was able to make some things look millions of years old, as in, the Palisades on the Hudson and wild turkeys and the Burgess Shale, to name but a few.
Gifted Hands replied, “GEE. I’ve got nothing on my PLATE at the moment. I’ll give it a SHOT.” And lo and behold, we had ACT I, the equivalent of Saturday Night Live every night! RIOTS of applause from the evangelicals in Iowa, and others who had hithertofore passed for sane. Lots of OOHS! Until that nasty ol’ FOURTH ESTATE, through unusually assiduous research revealed that the doctor’s bio was just a whole bunch of FABLES, carefully constructed to support the idea that this god-buddy had redeemed gifted hands and his wild temper. (There is even a portrait of gifted hands and Jesus, together, in the doctor’s home. Jesus is laying His Hands on gifted hands’ shoulder.) After the revelations, um, in the news, Ben murmured between semi-comas, How UNFAIR. But RATS! It’s only HALF MARATHON time. Does anyone have a COT so the illustrious doctor can take a nice MIDDAY nap?
Whenever is there an AIRLIFT a k a RAPTURE when you need one? SIGH.

*Prez from Aloha state, whose competent administration of Mr. Bush’s 700B TARP-Troubled Assets Relief Program- is now earning American taxpayers cold hard TOFU, I mean lettuce.

Roo Monster 1:45 PM  

Dang, Rex, see what your innOCULUS (and I'm presuming wrote in so this debate wouldn't happen) comment wrought? If you hadn't said anything about it, there probably wouldn't have been a dust-up about it!

Or maybe you just wanted to start a little somein' somein'. :-)

Just so ya know (doubtful, though, that ya care!), I'm "the". :-P

RooMonster

Mohair Sam 2:04 PM  

@Rainy - Ooops. I'm properly chastised, although I wish you hadn't brought God's love into the equation.

@Nancy - Be glad they took your rotary - My Aunt June's rotary phone is a shrine to the duct tape industry.

Ludyjynn 2:16 PM  

Bruce Willis' filmography includes: 1980 The First Deadly Sin; 1990 Die Hard 2; 1993 Loaded Weapon 1; 1995 Four Rooms; 12 Monkeys; 1997 THE FIFTH ELEMENT; 1999 The Sixth Sense; 2000 The Whole Nine Yards; 2004 The Whole Ten Yards; 2004 Ocean's Twelve; 2006 16 Blocks; 2011 Catch 44; 2012 The Expendables 2; 2013 Reds 2. Weird, huh?

I cracked myself up after I had filled in ALOHA STATE and misread the hastily written 'H' as an 'N', making my drink appear to be SnOT instead of SHOT. Doesn't take much to make me silly on a Monday.

Re the A v. The THIRD TIME controversy, you say potato, I say potahto. Either way works for me. 3 happens to be my lucky number.

@Tita, I never got around to posting Saturday, but I was thrilled to see you also wanted BRIs before BRIM. It was Cher's wonderful quote that brought the writeover. But I was sorry to see it go...!



Numinous 3:09 PM  

"Just the place for a Snark!" the Bellman cried,
As he landed his crew with care;
Supporting each man on the top of the tide
By a finger entwined in his hair.

"Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
That alone should encourage the crew.
Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
What I tell you three times is true."

What A CHARM. Parker Lewis and I are both in the A school. I don't believe I've ever heard the CHARM. The little exerpt from The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll is dedicated to @Pete who also believes what he tells you three times is true.

I romped through this on the Acrosses with barely a look at the downs. I too was expecting second and first but the fractions notion works better for me. I"m happy enough that Jeff thinks this is the POW but don't think that bodes all that well for the coming week.

O Mit! 3:13 PM  

Nice to see that Ernő Dohnányi made the list with a charming SESTET and none of the usual bar talk.

Once again, @old timer proves that, if you snooze, you come in second. Or THIRD.

Jamie C 3:16 PM  

I am so OVA this puzzle!

Masked and Anonymous 3:28 PM  

Say now. 44 of 79 words have Patrick Berry Immunity. The Force is very strong, with this one.

Plus overall if this had been my puz fill, I'da been pretty proud to turn it in to the Shortzmeister for triage. All that with five fun themers and MonPuz-level difficulty word constraints. And 5 U's, for yer icing. Nice constructioneerin, Parker Lewis dude. thUmbsUp.

@009: Think I woulda tended to make my grid 16-wide, too, since THIRDTIMESACHARM themer is 16-wide.
OTOH, THIRDTIMESACHAR woulda been a mighty interstin phrase to clue, I gotta grant. (Something about tryin to get a steak well-done for a persnickety guest, on yer hot outdoor grill?)

M&A


**gruntz**

kitshef 6:33 PM  

Paws up for tougher than your average Monday, for an excess of crosswordese, for 'the' but with a live-and-let-live attitude towards the 'a' team. Paper AWOL today, so solved on a cramped printout of a screenshot. Not fun.

Numinous 7:56 PM  

Talk about a match made in heaven: I asked the Mrs. and she's in The camp. Keeps life interesting.

@M&A: if the THIRD TIME'S A CHAR, who were the first two? The Avon lady and someone offering an issue of The Watchtower? Did you ask the CHAR, "Do you sweep around?"

old timer 8:10 PM  

My paper came, but the puzzle page was ruined by a big black splotch. But it didn't cover the puzzle or the clues, so I carried on without complaint.

I enjoyed Bond's little piece, though I still think 'mericans in Paeris do it best, when the spirit moves them.

THIRDTIMESACHAR would of course be an English police procedural where two potential heirs to Lord Bubblenose's estate would have died under mysterious circumstances, and then his charlady (house cleaner, to you Yanks) was found brutally murdered, conked on the head and hen shoved into the Aga, to be killed by inhaling the gas from the oven.

GILL I. 8:33 PM  

@Nancy...Hah! I remember when my husband switched our bill paying process to an online paying system. I haven't written a check for our bills in about 5 years, except to my primary care physician who is about 80 and will only take checks!. (I know you're not 80...!)
I also remember giving up our land line and almost wailing. I got us an iPhone and I think I'm the only person I know who forgets it, leaves it at home or never answers it!

James Kaplan 9:47 PM  

Isn't the expression "third time's THE charm?"

Anonymous 10:01 PM  

Three time's a charm is an Air Jordan 8 shoe from Nike. With his airness in the a camp, who am I to argue?

Nancy 10:52 PM  

I'm not sure what inspired your 1:38 pm riff, @Bond, but I loved it. Especially the line "...and others who had hithertofore passed as sane."

Playforfun 11:14 PM  

I'm in the camp of A. Never heard 'the.'

Who the heck cares if a puzzle is 15 or 16 wide? Why does there have to be a standard width?

Burma Shave 10:15 AM  

MIDDAY COT SHOT

I went for the WHOLESHEBANG with the MISSUS,
ICECREAM and SIGH and ACHE to be in her arms,
STILLLIFE’S UNFAIR and UGLI if you OMIT the kisses,
so don’t do it just ONCE, the THIRDTIMESACHARM.

--- LIL OCULUS ODEON

spacecraft 11:07 AM  

Sign me up for the THE team. Never heard of A till today. QUARTER-something (such as HORSE) would have been cooler. STILLLIFES is intriguing: it allows the triple L, is a rare instance of "LIFES" being correct instead of "LIVES," while resting right next to LIFT.

I had a friend in school who had a lot of trouble with algebra. Used to say on quiz day: "I feel lousy. I have a MATH ACHE." NICEONE, jostling that memory. BTW, I don't like the clue for NICEONE. It means somewhat better than "Yeah, that's good," which sounds like you're saying "when" while someone's filling your glass. "Oh, you've poured the exact number of drops I prefer. NICEONE!" And there, folks, lies the ONE that we were looking for on the revealer line.

As a WHOLE, this puzzle was okay; a little too tech-y for my taste. GIF and OCULUS went in entirely on crosses (as did LIL, which I had via downs before even seeing the rapper clue, though I think I could've managed THAT one). Two STATEs crossing is another defect. C.

rondo 11:25 AM  

So if we use THE, then the grid’s 18 wide and we might as well go all Sun-puz on it. I think the phrase is usually spoken so quickly and slurred over that you really can’t tell if it’s A or THE, either works for me.

Like others, I was expecting “second” something, but knew HALFMARATHON was correct. Well, the answer’s right there at 27d, MATH with fractions. Duh.

Bought a console HIFI at an auction while in high school for like $10. Played records and FM radio better than some of the junk kids could afford back then and looked mighty nice in my bedroom, for the time.

It used to be LIL Abner or Diamond LIL, but these days it’s got to be “fresh” with one of the many LIL rappers. GEE.

Not a great puz, but not bad. I suppose for Monday a NICEONE.

rain forest 1:14 PM  

Yeah, a NICE ONE, Mr. Lewis. One of the better Monday puzzles to come down the pike. It would have been kind of neat if you had submitted two earlier puzzles before this one was accepted. By the way, up here in Canada, I've only heard A, never THE, but what does it matter?

My son, who teaches in Nairobi, has visited the MAASAI (note the spelling), and noted that they are great leapers. As a volleyball coach, he harbours dreams of gathering six of them together to form an UBER team.

What was nice about this puzzle, aside from the 5 'u's, was the intelligent use of crosses for every single place where I was momentarily stuck. Well played, sir.

leftcoastTAM 3:57 PM  

Slow-downs at OCULUS, fIFe before HIFI, GIF-FIG.

Hifi didn't seem revolutionary to me, but the fife was a prominent Revolutionary War music device. Misdirect and a NICEONE.

Finished it, but a medium-challenging Monday for me

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