Country singer Williams / MON 11-2-15 / Finnish tech giant / Auto pioneer Ransom E / Prefix with pathetic

Monday, November 2, 2015

Constructor: Loren Muse Smith and Andrea Carla Michaels

Relative difficulty: Medium (normal-ish Monday time)

THEME: BOOBY TRAPS (58A: Dangers for the unwary ... or a hint to the starts of 17-, 23- and 47-Across) — first words are also bra types:

Theme answers:
  • PADDED CELL (17A: Place to put someone who might hurt himself)
  • MIRACLE WORKER (23A: 1962 film about Helen Keller, with "The")
  • PUSH UP DAISIES (47A: Baby grand, e.g.) 
Word of the Day: LUCINDA Williams (25D: Country singer Williams) —
Lucinda Williams (born January 26, 1953) is an American rock, folk, blues, and country music singer and songwriter. // She recorded her first albums in 1978 and 1980 in a traditional country and blues style and received very little attention from radio, the media, or the public. In 1988, she released her self-titled album, Lucinda Williams. This release featured "Passionate Kisses", a song later recorded by Mary Chapin Carpenter, which garnered Williams her first Grammy Award for Best Country Song in 1994. // Known for working slowly, Williams recorded and released only one other album in the next several years (Sweet Old World in 1992) before her greatest success came in 1998 with Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, an album presenting a broader scope of songs that fused rock, blues, country, and Americana into a more distinctive style that still managed to remain consistent and commercial in sound. It went gold and earned Williams another Grammy while being universally acclaimed by critics. Since Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, she has released a string of albums that have also been critically acclaimed, though none has sold in the numbers of her 1998 breakthrough. She was also named "America's best songwriter" by TIME magazine in 2002. (wikipedia)
• • •

Seemed a pretty ordinary Monday puzzle for a while. Then I got to PUSH UP DAISIES and thought, "Ooh, I like that answer" (even though, as my wife points out, the only version of that phrase anyone ever actually uses is "pushing up daisies"). Then I got to the revealer, and ... mixed feelings. Very mixed. I love the whole bra concept, but don't love the juvenile slang "BOOBY." It's like an 8-year-old boy came up with the revealer. I see that various breast cancer awareness groups are using the word "boobies" in their names, but this doesn't make me like it any more. Grown women don't, as a rule, call them BOOBIES. None that I know, anyway. Weirdly, "boobs" seems fine. Normal. Grown women use that term. There's something about that added "y" that takes it into kiddie-language territory. So, to sum up: Love the idea of a crossword about bras / breasts, do not like BOOBY TRAPS as a revealer because of the implied tee-hee tone. Like I said. Mixed feelings. Conceptually, I think the theme works quite well.

I was a little slow today because of a series of mistakes. Had PADD- and went with PADDY WAGON (it fit!) for 17A: Place to put someone who might hurt himself. Also, I own many (most) LUCINDA Williams albums, and still needed many crosses to get her name. I would never clue her as "country," though that's certainly a genre in which she sings. But as you can see from the wikipedia description above, it's not primarily how she's known, despite the fact that she routinely wears a cowboy hat in promotional photos. I saw her in concert a decade or so ago, in Manhattan. The very special guest that night was not a country music star. It was Elvis Costello. So, yeah, "country" is not inaccurate, but not spot-on. I also had LOAN for LEND (38D: Furnish temporarily), which caused a surprising amount of trouble for such a small-seeming mistake.

The fill is stale and generally not good, but no one's really gonna notice that.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. Annabel was feeling under the weather tonight, which is why she's not blogging the first Monday puzzle of the month (as she normally does). She'll be here next Monday. Or tomorrow. Or whenever she can fit it in her busy college schedule.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Da Bears 1:17 AM  

I wonder why Rex omitted Andrea as one of the two constructors?

I agree with Rex's wife about pushing up daisies.

Puzzle is fine for a Monday with a fine adolescent theme.

jae 1:37 AM  

Easy Mon. for me and delightful, just delightful.  POnd before POOL was the only bump in an otherwise smooth solve.  Liked it a bunch, made me smile.  

chefwen 2:14 AM  

I hope this doesn't show up twice. They tell me there was an error and to refresh the page and try again. I would love to do just that if I knew how and the brains of the family is already 10 toes up, so no help there.

Loved this one by Andrea "Queen of Mondays" and Loren Muse Smith. Made me laugh out loud when I got to the reveal and back tracked to go over all the long answers. Good stuff.

23A brought back fond memorirs. I played Hellen Keller in The Miricle Worker when I was a sophomore in high school. Actually won an award for Best Supporting Actress. Oooh, that fit right in with the theme. Hah!

Fun puzzle, thanks Loren and Andrea.

chefwen 2:15 AM  

Rex, if my comment shows up twice, 86 one of them please.

Anonymous 3:16 AM don't know the constructor and it's a shit puzzle. Got it.

Anonymous 3:46 AM  

I like to imagine that some of the grown women OFL knows would use the word "boobies" in his presence but don't because, well, they know how he gets. Was paddy wagon offensive to any of you Irish?

Whirred Whacks 3:54 AM  

This is the best NYT Monday puzzle ever! My congratulation to the constructors.

LMS mentioned that it is "cheeky," and I'd have to agree that it's right up there with Anna Schetchman's use of SHTUP in May, 2014.

I'm looking forward to LMS/ACME's next effort:


The fans will go "nuts" over it!

Anonymous 4:11 AM  

Disappointed that we did not have a write up, by the young girl whom used to do the first Monday puzzle

Anonymous 5:14 AM  

Filled it in with just the across clues until I got to the very bottom. Had "hated" instead of "awful" and "testy" instead of "antsy" so had to resort to using the downs to finish.

Was wondering what Rex would say about "Booby." It does seem a little juvenile for an NYT puzzle, as related to breasts. Missed Annabel's take on this subject. She's younger and fresher so would probably have brought a different opinion.

"Push up daises" reminded me of a terrific TV show from a few years back. "Pushing Daisies."


Lewis 5:53 AM  

A bra puzzle authored by a lovely pair!

I expected this puzzle to produce spark and a smile, considering the constructors, and it did just that. I think the level was just right for Monday, with a touch of grit. There is even a related sub-theme of TOTE/SHARE/YOKED (and it would have been grand to have Eric HOLDER in the puzzle). I like the HAL WENT SLYLY column, because in the movie, it did. I wish ODDSMAKER was one column to the left, then it would have been over-UNDER. And the puzzle made my crossword mind wonder if there is an Eton-style bra.

Answers that especially appealed to me were PADDEDCELL, FRESHEN, and ROCOCO. This is a very good partnership -- please, more to come!

Charles Flaster 6:16 AM  

EZ Monday.
Loren-- I miss your comments on Rex.

Katherine 6:30 AM  

With that revealer, I was at least a little relieved(?) to see the puzzle was created by women and not one of the old dudes who took a quick break from "thug" cluing to giggle about "boobies".

Glimmerglass 7:17 AM  

@Rex: Despite a common confusion in substandard speech, LEND is the verb; *loan* is a noun.

Lewis 7:24 AM  

I tried to think of another themer, and what popped into my head -- and I know it's too long and I know it's inaccurate -- was STRAPLESS IN SEATTLE.

Warren Howie Hughes 7:41 AM  

The teaming of Loren and Andrea on this Perky Monday XWP was welcomed like Abreast of Fresh Pairs!

rorosen 7:48 AM  

Have you folks seen the hot art on the covers of Vintage Paperbacks and Other Cultural Detritus? There is even a label for Boobs in the archive! I don't see how Rex can condemn the playfulness of Boobies as a puzzle notion while collecting such titles as Treasure of the Brasada and Rented Wife. Well, I do because we are creatures of paradox. Perhaps he still expects a higher standard from the Times. To me, the news itself is a kind of soft porn you can't turn away from. But I don't quite understand how his Puritanical expectations aren't offended by the soft porn covers and their obsolete depictions of women as predators or prey? Must be a matter of what belongs where,..

Loren Muse Smith 7:50 AM  

Thanks, all, for being good sports on this one! Taking a few Oh How Immature hits on other sites, but that was to be expected.

Hey, Rex – Glad you added Andrea’s name up at the top of the grid, too! I had the idea of the play on the word BOOBY TRAP, but without her, this never would have seen the light of day. She did the hardest part, the part I struggle with, of filling the grid.

On another note, I guess the old adage “be careful for what you wish for…” has reared its head. I was thrilled that Rex exterminated this place, but now that comments are (mercifully) being moderated, the format doesn’t fit my schedule as well. I used to be able to pop by between classes and read the couple of new comments, enjoy seeing some back-and-forth, and go back to my job. Now, though, I find I just don’t have the time to pop by and read a whole slew of new comments all in one fell swoop. For me, it’s taken on more of the feeling of just a big list of comments and not a conversation. I miss this place a lot; maybe over Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks I’ll have the time to participate more.

‘Til then…. Happy November!

Chuck McGregor 7:50 AM  

Cool! - An @LMS puzzle!

@Lewis: "A bra puzzle authored by a lovely pair!" = Big time 'Coffee Nose'!!

Took a few moments to figure out how the theme worked after a successful, no-cheat finish. When I figured out the bra theme, I sort of couldn't believe it, wondered who managed to "get away" with it, looked at the constructor's names, saw LMS, shook my head with a laugh, and said, "It figures." :>)

A fairly extensive (about 15% of the answers!) personal theme emerged:

I know a IRISH woman who has a PIANO; used to drive an OLDS; (at the risk of TMI) is an INNIE, uses two of the three bra types and Oil of OLAY; likes ROCCO; lived in France OFT using ORLY, LES, and S’IL; loves ODISTS; has a NOKIA phone; eschews DIETS; is a MIRACLE WORKER with special needs adults; has a nickname of Lambchop (BAA); and used to work for AIRBUS.

The forecast portends a lovely week here on the Maine coast: sunny in the 60s. Leaf colors have been gorgeous and still hanging on.

Nancy 8:09 AM  

I read every theme answer five times and I STILL couldn't see how it was related to BOOBY TRAPS. (What I was looking for were such words as MORON, IDIOT, DUNDERHEAD, etc., politically incorrect though they might be, being "trapped" inside the theme answers. But they were nowhere to be found.) The BOOBY meaning used here never crossed my mind for a single moment. And how do I feel about the puzzle now that I know? Well, I suppose I find it more PLAY(tex)FUL than I did before. But also a bit distasteful? Like Rex, I hate the word BOOBY, and have never known a single woman to utter it. To me, it smacks of 5th-grade boys' locker-room talk. So while I always like playfulness in a puzzle, this really isn't my kind of playfulness. But for those who have been well and truly amused, I say: Glad you enjoyed. If nothing else, this is really thinking out of the box. Or out of the bra, as it were.

aging soprano 8:13 AM  

Loren, since I always enjoy your comments on this Blog, I was pleased to do see and solve your puzzle.
I remember MIRACLE WORKER about Susan B. Anthony, Helen Keller's teacher.

Lobster11 8:13 AM  

I don't usually care for Mondays because they just go by too quickly to be any fun, but this one put up just enough fight to be interesting. Too bad I never saw the theme, or even noticed there was one: By the time I got to the revealer, I had so many crosses that I filled in BOOBYTRAPS without reading the clue.

Hartley70 8:16 AM  

I loved this!! I got such a chortle when I saw the revealer! "Cheeky" is exactly the right word and just right to wake one up on a Monday morning. I've come to really Lo ok forward to an Acme puzzle and Loren's sense of humor is so evident in the puzzle and sorely missed here. Congrats to you both and thanks for the fun!

AnnieD 8:18 AM  

So enjoyed a puzzle written by women with a theme for women that is literally near and dear to our hearts!

Went down like a standard Monday for me. Only major overwrite was, I immediately wrote in "rubber room" instead of padded cell.

While I hadn't heard of Lucinda Williams, it did remind me of Car Talk's Director of Guaranteed Repeat Business: Lucinda Bolts.

Anonymous 8:21 AM  

My ex-wife used to call them boobies ... that was the least of our problems ... I very much enjoyed this puzzle and the revealer gave me a smile as it was unexpected.

cwf 8:24 AM  

The revealer brought a grin to my face. That almost never happens. Must be the eight-year-old boy in the forty-eight-year-old me.

Tita 8:29 AM  

Bravi to the Queen of Monday and our own linguist/storyteller/soulbarer/wordplayer Loren.
This was a hoot to solve!

Guessed the theme after PADDED and MIRACLE - tittered out loud when I got the the revealer.

Liked the YOKED oxen crossing a HOOF, and the international flare...
S'IL vous plait, may I take the AIRBUS from LES Etats-Unis to ORLY? And can I stopover in Country Clare to visit my IRISH in-laws? Don't think I'll have time to hit RIO and INDIA in the same trip, though... Oh - and the isle of MYST.


@Chefwen - congrats and lol on Best Supporting Actress!
@Whirred - I sense a collaboration coming on...
@Lewis - clever.

I gotta believe that Rex's BOOBY rant is just one of the grenades he occasionally lobs here into Commentville. Come on - he goes to Comicon, he laughs at fart and nut jokes. You believe he can ding BOOBYs for being too peurile?

Bravi, LMS and ACME - Muy SYMpaticas! Thank you SO much for this hilarious Monday!
(Commentville is, of course, less sparkly and educational without you both.)

Questinia 8:34 AM  

A Monday bustier of a puzzle designed to boost your yays.

wino 8:42 AM  

i thought this was fun. minor nit, is "sap" the source for maple syrup or the tree itself?

Feeling the Ouch 8:45 AM  

Boys, cover your ears. Girls, listen up. The worst mammogram I ever had performed was done by a radiology technician with a face that would have stopped a clock. She squeezed me within an inch of my life on every picture she took, and she took longer than any technician I've ever had to release me from the pressure. But what made the experience even more intolerable were her fatuous words (coming from a place of pure, sadistic delight, I'm quite sure). "Oh your poor BOOBIES! Have I hurt your poor BOOBIES?" Over and over again. I called the mammography place the next day. "Make a note on my chart," I said. "You are NEVER, EVER to assign me to that woman again! Never! If you can't guarantee me that, I will find another radiology center." The next year, my request was honored. The year after that, the woman was gone.

Hartley70 8:51 AM  

Annabel, in the spirit of the marvelous LUCINDA, "Are You Alright?" Get well soon!

Mary Watts 8:57 AM  

Definite LOL moment when finished. I too miss LMS comments; her explanation made sense.
Great puzzle Loren and Andrea.

Ludyjynn 8:58 AM  

What Rex said about BOOBies. In the wild, the only women I have ever heard use the term are "The Real Housewives of Orange County", whose breasts appear to be largely surgically enhanced. The terms 'ta-tas' and 'titties'are two more sophomoric expressions that actual women not cast on a reality tv show would not use in casual conversation.

That said, two words came to mind as I solved: 'cute' and 'clean'. No AWFUL fill, FRESH clueing 'for a Monday'and well executed theme, but which should have been more aptly run during October, breast cancer awareness month.

@Chefwen, your "supporting" actress comment made my day, so far.

Thanks, LMS, ACME and WS.

Gracie H 9:02 AM  

I agree with Rex that a bra/breast themed puzzle would be fun, but this missed the mark. Cluing for ROCOCO is off, and CONKING is awkward. Liked SPORK and INNIE. I'm getting tired of the OFTen used fill such as PSAT, APEs, HAL, and anything relating to odes (ODIST).

Da Bears 9:07 AM  

@Jamie C, posted my few simple rules for understanding Rex late to the Sunday comments. I will leave it to you how they apply to today's puzzle. Hint: I think it might have to do with snap fill.

Caryl Baron 9:12 AM  

Fastest time ever for a puzzle, but I never did get the bra theme, being relatively flat-chested.

Malsdemare 9:16 AM  

Before I read anything, I gotta say that one has me giggling. Funniest puzzle in a loooong while. Thanks, "girls".

Malsdemare 9:28 AM  

I gotta take issue with@Rex. Yup, to kids these puppies are BOOBIES, but once a female is past the embarrassed to have "em stage, past the 'you must genuflect to my bodaciousness" stage, past the "crap, where do I stick these things in THIS outfit stage, they are "the girls." And my girls think boobies is just fine.

This puzzle will have me smiling all day. And my Irish da says PADDYWAGON is fine.

GILL I. 9:28 AM  

Or, as my husband calls them, "Humpty Dumplings!"
Is this the long awaited crossword? I remember you two collaborating about a year ago and since then I've looked for you both to make a showing.... and you sure did.!
PUSH UP DAISIES is fine to my ear. The spousal support likes to say "He just popped his socks."
Congratulations Loren and of course Andrea (I hope you come here to make a comment or two? This was a fun puzzle and put a smile on this face.

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

Why do the comments stop at 8:37? @aging soprano, anne sullivan was Keller teacher. Kudos to lms & acm for a crunchy mon. I needed rex to explain the theme.

chefbea 9:35 AM  

What a fun puzzle. Couldn't figure out the theme until I wrote down padded, miracle and push up and came to me.
Thanks Andrea and Loren for a great puzzle..hope to see more
@Anabel..hope you are feeling better

mac 9:37 AM  

Easy and fun Monday! No surprise when it's done by Andrea and Loren, and they must have enjoyed the process to no end!

I have to admit that I did not get the theme right away, but in hindsight it is hilarious. Worth forgiving "booby" for. Congratulations!

Doesn't "necessary" look pretty at 34D?

MRE's are going to be much improved, I saw on the news. As from 2017 there will be pizza.

Lewis 9:40 AM  

@annied -- RUBBER ROOM is one of the theme answers to Loren's next puzzle.

Z 9:50 AM  

I'm not sure people really processed Rex's BOOBY TRAP comment. "So, to sum up: Love the idea of a crossword about bras / breasts, do not like BOOBY TRAPS as a revealer because of the implied tee-hee tone." It seems as though some of you think he was criticizing the theme, when all he was criticizing was the revealer, really just one letter of the revealer. My first thought on realizing the constructors was wondering if they had joined the #freethenipple movement, I wasted nary a neuron on the TeeHeeness of the reveal.

The notable thing here was not BOOBY TRAPS, they're not called "boob traps" so the Y is sorta necessary. No, it was the NYTX upping its non-CC female constructor count by two in one puzzle. It still counts as one in my tally. The dearth of any voice other than white-male (generally 1995 white-male) has been amazing.

@Da Bears and @LMS (and @ACME if you're reading this) - I noticed the omission at 1:00 a.m., but checked the labels at the bottom and noted that ACME was included there. I presume it was a last minute late night oversight since the scheduled blogger was under the weather.

@Anonymous3:16 - Are you trying to be ironic? If so, it didn't work. If not, Huh?

Mohair Sam 10:00 AM  

Oh lighten up @Rex, this was a fun Monday. Thanks for giving us all a silly grin this morning Loren and Andrea. Heartiest congrats LMS, miss your daily comments.

@Rex - the cross-genre LUCINDA Williams always brings thoughts of country to many of us because of the cowboy hat and the twangy first name. And performing in Manhattan does not a rocker make - we saw blue grass star Gillian Welch just a block from Times Square a few years ago.

Surprised YOKED wasn't a themer.

Mike D 10:01 AM  

Hey Anon @ 8:21: She still calls them boobies. I'm looking at them right now :)

quilter1 10:11 AM  

@ aging soprano: Susan B. Anthony was a suffragist. Annie Sullivan was Helen Keller's teacher.

That said, I really liked the Acme and LMS collaboration. Fun to do, clever theme answers. Hope they do it again soon.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:16 AM  

Let's see, must be something to complain about . . . Is it proper to have SHARE as an answer and "Sharapova" in a clue? :>)

@aging soprano - Is there some humor in substituting Susan B. Anthony for Anne Sullivan?

Howard Flax 10:26 AM  

It's funny cause I love the work of Lucinda Williams and I couldn't figured that out til the end. As a matter of fact, two of her CD's were right next to my couch.

RAD2626 10:30 AM  

So all very weird. Jeff Chen gives it Puzzle of the Week ( congrats LMS and ACME) and Rex pans it, each for the same reason (blue footed Boobies) and neither says diddly about the fill which was to me pretty dicey. I did think theme and long fill were great. All in all fine offering.

Masked and Anonymous 10:31 AM  

An uplifting site for sore eyes … both ACME and @muse!

Great foundation for a theme, and very shapely fill. Fun solve with mighty few sagging moments.

Got yer supple UU and another nice UU pair and one U left out on its own (wardrobe malfunction!)

fave weejects: SYS. (boob.) BAA.

fave cup ratings: A-STAR. C-LINT.
I'm all cup's half full, on this puz. knockersUp.

The fill has 42 of 76 answers with Patrick Berry Usage Immunity. High. Good.
The fill has 16 of 76 answers with M&A Usage Immunity, Low. Even better.

To honor what @muse usually does at this point in a comment, started thinkin about other possible bra-themers, a lot. WONDERDRUG? TRAININGTABLE? BURNINGBUSH? SPORTSDRINK? VICTORIASSECRETPANEL? …

This puz is likely to get the coveted BOOBY Prize, at the next annual I Fink U Freaky Awards Ceremonies.

Thanx, @muse. Miss U. See U for the holidays.
Thanx, @acme. Miss U. See U some fine MonPuz down the road.
Get well soon, @Blu'Bell.
yo, @009.



pmdm 10:44 AM  

For those of you who only read this blog, ACME wrote a couple of interesting comments published elsewhere.

First, the puzzle was submitted and accepted 3 years ago (!), which delay forced the need to redo some of the fill. Second, the answer to 37A was originally CHEST, which was deed-sixed in order to improve the fill. So sad.

Did we puzzle addicts notice the subtle error in the clue for 67A? Myst is actually not "set on an island" but "set on 6 islands." I recently complained about what I thought was an error and actually got a response from Will Shotz saying that clues don't need to be "true 100% of the time." By that criterion, today's clue is OK.

Because I was away for a good deal of time recently, I have not been reading the comments. (Is the absence of Evil Doug a result of the policy change or have I just missed his posts?) Since others have started commenting on the negative results of the new policy, I might as well add my two cents.

Sometimes I found some of the comments disrespectful towards others, and I preferred those types of comments be removed. But I never thought those types of comments appeared that often. The comments take took aim at the write up (particularly those attributed to Rex Porker) I often found more hilarious than offensive because the over-the-top quality of many of those posts resulted in my not taking the posts serious at all. So the new policy for me corrects a problem that never bothered me and results in severely reducing banter between those posting comments (and even seems to result in some eschewing the posting of comments). And that makes me very sorry. There has to be a better way. Too bad I can't think of it.

Joseph Michael 10:44 AM  

Took me a while to figure out the theme after I had finished the puzzle. Then had an amusing aha moment when I finally got it. A great way to FRESHEN up a Monday morning.

Acme and LMS, it's a MIRACLE you were able to SLYLY slip this past the PC Police at the NYT. Please keep 'em coming!

Roo Monster 10:53 AM  

Hey All !
A MonPuz by LMS and ACME? Awesome.
A "BOOBY" theme? Awesome!

Any male, regardless of age, probably got a good kick out of this one! Sure, we're mostly immature when it comes to female parts, but that's okay! Right, gentlemen?

And now to be completely immature, BOOBIES! :-P

Easy Monday, only hung up in the E center for a bit, having LoS for LES, deciding twixt INNIE or outIe, CONKING or CONKout. Finally erased LoS, and sussed it out.

Not to much SPAM in this puz. Fun, fast, firm (get it? :-D )! Liked AWFUL ANTSY under BOOBY!


Andrew Heinegg 10:54 AM  

Well, I filled it in as fast as I could write in the dead tree version. I have a slightly different take on the boobs/boobies discussion. I have certainly heard both sexes refer to them as boobs. I have no recollection of an xy person calling them boobies but, I have heard xx persons (more than one and more than one time) refer to them as boobies. My recollections are that, when boobies was used as a term by women, it was intended as a asexual term, e.g., 'this bra does not hold up my boobies well enough', a sort of informal name. Boobs as a word has always had a sexual innuendo to
me and I believe most people, especially the American male.

AliasZ 11:22 AM  

Any puzzle about boobies can't be all bad. I am glad Will allowed LMS and ACME to push the brassiere as it were, even if at this playfully titillating and sophomoric level. I totally support our lovely pair of constructresses for busting out, keeping us abreast of things and providing this uplifting entertainment to avoid sagging and pendulousness. It will not soon be forgotten. Lift and separate, I always say. Or was that for butts? Who cares? I needed to get this off my chest, cross my heart. I'll stop now.

I didn't even mind that seemingly half of all entries were proper nouns (people's names, brand names, geographic names, etc.) as they were all Monday-easily clued. I liked the colorful ODDS MAKER and CONKING, but I am not sure about FRESHEN all by its lonesome. Usually it's FRESHEN up, isn't it? The best part of the fill was that there was a SAP but no 'sag' anywhere in sight.

I would like to offer these two ROCOCO works to demonstrate the ornate style of the era as represented in music: Les barricades mysterieuses by Francois Couperin (1668-1733) and La poule by Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764). And last, a modernized version of the hen as orchestrated by Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) in his The Birds -- no, not the Hitchcock version!

Happy Monday!

AZPETE 11:29 AM  


Bark 11:42 AM  

As someone who has followed Lucinda Williams from the start, and watched her collect her country music Grammies, I think it is accurate to clue her as a “country singer”. Wikipedia can be a very poor source, but it doesn’t even seem to be making the claim (about how she’s primarily known) that Rex suggests it does. The Wikipedia paragraphs quoted on this blog are not at all properly sourced (as they’re supposed to be — according to Wikipedia’s own guidelines. The footnote at the end leads to a webpage that is not sourcing anything.) They could be anybody’s opinion who wants to type onto the Wiki page and who ignores the guidelines. And Lucinda’s entry could even be already changed by the time anyone goes to click on it — Wikipedia’s a slippery fish. I.M.H.O. I think it’s regularly over-relied on here. Now you can tell me to M.Y.O.B.

The revealer was a big surprise and made me laugh. Fun puzzle, congrats to Loren Muse Smith and Andrea Carla Michaels.

old timer 12:12 PM  

My coffee was still warm when I finished. Which means I raced through the puzzle at warp speed, stopping only for a second to glance at and fill in the occasional Down answer. 6 minutes, on paper, in ink, which is as fast as I ever can do it.

As I wrote in "6" at the top of the puzzle, I saw the byline, and said to myself, "Loren Muse Smith"! I know her from the blog." Of course I know Andrea too, but by her nom de blog, not her real name. I thought the fill was just fine, myself. Excellent job, you two, and I'm sure Annabel, ailing young college student, would say the same. Looking forward to her return.

The last time I heard "boobies", meaning breasts, was in 1991, at an outdoor table at the Palace of Versailles with my wife and three daughters, 7, 10, and 11. Next to us was a group that included two American moms with their two American boys, about 11 years old. We chatted about how to keep kids interested at museums, and one of the moms explained how they had helped their boys stay interested at the Louvre. They had a contest to see which boy could count the most "boobies". The number counted must have been very high: indeed at the Louvre if you only counted the unclad breasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary the number would be pretty high, and when you add in the Greek goddesses and Rubens models, the number would be enormous.

Numinous 1:04 PM  

Serendipity. My wife just saw this yesterday and told me abouut it. My inner fourteen-year-old chortled at the revealer.

@chefwen, was Best Supporting Actress the BOOBY prize or is that more like someting won at a wet t-shirt contest?

Delighted to see @LMS and @ACME in the by-line this morning after I solved the puzzle three minutes faster than my average for a Monday. Only writeover was CONKED for bONKED. Didn't have to read but two or three of the down clues so I didn't see LUCINDA.

I agree with @Pmdm and miss the conversational banter of the comments as they were. Somehow Rex had managed to create a lively community like no other; one that I was pleased to be a part of.

Z 1:23 PM  

@Malsdemare - Your stages cracked me up, especially the "you must genuflect..." stage. Best comment of the day, and there have been lots of good ones today.

Chaos344 1:26 PM  

@Warren Howie Hughes:

"The teaming of Loren and Andrea on this Perky Monday XWP was welcomed like Abreast of Fresh Pairs!"


Well said Owie! I just recently started to follow and post on this blog again. I'm done with posting on Wordplay, and it appears you are as well? I still peruse Wordplay often, but there are too many "politically correct" and priggish sorts over there, and they rub me the wrong way. I also hated having to dance around the Emus, although it was gratifying when I successfully thwarted them.

Having said that, I recognize some of my favorite posters also comment here, albeit with different screen names in some cases.

I finishing today's puzzle in typical Monday time, and howled with laughter when I realized the theme. I solve for speed on Monday thru Thursday, so I don't always pay attention to the theme until I've completed the puzzle I immediately went to Wordplay to see the "Chaos" caused by such an egregious breach of etiquette. I was looking forward to some good laughs and some major whining from the denizens of said blog. Actually, I was kinda disappointed. Except for the usual suspects, most posters were very positive about the theme. Some even made uncharacteristically risque puns. Perhaps all my years of suggesting that "they pull the stick out of their collective asses" has finally borne fruit? Probably not!

You remember Nina? I haven't seen her post on Wordplay in ages. I'm thinking that if today's puzzle didn't bring her out of the woodwork, she's most likely dead? Remember how she would go totally apoplectic any time the word "bra" was used as either a clue or an answer? I always theorized that she hated the word bra because she never had the need to use one? Of course, I could be wrong?

Over and out Owie!


Leapfinger 1:28 PM  

re yesterday:

@Da Bears, I read your 'few simple rules for understanding Rex' last night, and not long after was astounded by how SLYLY they fit with today's grid. Nice job of prescience ... ON CUE very much.

@oldtimer, yes indeed, 'Isle of MAHON' was zee little joke, but your extra knowledge was appreciated. Some other confusion was 'engendered', however: we're probably even on old-timedness, but I have only a pair of XX's, while I suspect that you're harbouring Y's.

@Gill, whatever it was that elicited your comment, Juan thanks you.

Teedmn 1:39 PM  

Not even 1 PM ETD and 54 comments already. Either everybody got up early with that extra hour FRESHENing everyone's sleep or you were all as happy as I am to see the LMS-ACME constructor combo.

I don't use BOOBY to refer to any of my anatomy but I certainly appreciate the wordplay.

And I like seeing LUCINDA Williams in the grid; I only have one of her albums but it is great. She has a MN tie - her husband is from here so she plays at First Ave or the Dakota every couple of years. One of these days I'm going to have to see her in concert.

Thanks for the Monday laugh. Hoping Annabel is well and back soon.

Numinous 1:45 PM  

I dreamt she constructed a crossword in her Playtex Living Bra.

I'd far rather look at then PUSH UP DAISIES' it's always better to be seen than viewed.

A frined of mine who was taking classes at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles worked up a routine where the punchline had to do with the MIRACLE Bra violating truth in advertising.

My spirits are sagging as not everyone here found today's puzzle as elevating as I did.

the redanman 1:47 PM  

U.S.A. very hung up on breasts, no surprise that booby causing a relative uproar, get over it, y'all, welcome to century 21

Mark Handel 1:50 PM  

Heidi Klum (an adult woman) refers to boobies all the time on Project Runway

John V 1:53 PM  


May I suggest it may be time to go back to the unmoderated format and see how it goes? I agree that the moderated format eliminates the "conversation" aspect of the comments and, for me, makes them less interesting.

Wm C 2:02 PM  

Let me make this clear: Rex is clearly a boob, not a booby.

thfenn 2:33 PM  

This was a great Monday puzzle, thanks. That we have a puzzle noting that PADDED, MIRACLE, and PUSHUP are hints to BOOBYTRAPS is just plain fun. Thought the fill was fun too (don't make a fuss dear, I'll have your SPAM, I love it!). ADEN NEAR AWFUL AREA and NEAR AWFUL AREA ORLY also pretty good. SPAM and SPORK good. Enjoyed OUTER, UNDER, INNIE, YOKED, CONKING, FRESHEN, SHARE, INTEL, and TOTE in theme related ways that just don't bear elaboration. And hey, am going to add Car Wheels on a Gravel Road to my music library right now. Lots of fun, thanks.

aging soprano 4:53 PM  

Thank you. I knew I had it wrong but was too occupied to look it up. Yup yup yup, Anne Sullivan was the Miracle Worker.

aging soprano 4:55 PM  

Just a Boo boo, instead of a BOOBY. Thanks for setting me straight.

Leapfinger 5:26 PM  

This would have been a good time for some grid-art.

@Rex has a thing about moist and damp words, and I'm about the same about most things glandular. Heck, I'll even say Duck tape instead of Duct tape. That makes it a bit hard for me to milk this theme for all that it's worth.

Mainly, it's nice to see a constructor at the acme of her game collaborate with one still "kind of" in training, and together (at 17A) they run the gamut from A to DD. No suggestion about running optional, and only a woman's perspective would know it's know NECESSARY at 34D.

Enjoyed all the bouncy bits, and appreciate the absence of owlets. I think "The Girls" did a swell job.

A Friend 6:31 PM  

@GracieH, you think the clue for CONKING is awkward? Given yesterday's blog-ferall, what say you to 'Treatment for straightening kinky hair"? Be grateful for relatively minuscule awkwardnesses.

kitshef 7:48 PM  

Loved it. Mondays are so oftern dull affairs. THIS was a puzzle worthy of the Times, and of the times.

jberg 8:06 PM  

A little on the hard side for me -- maybe because of all those BOOBies on display? Nah, forget I said that. I'm far too old and dignified to say anything like that.

But anyway, I couldn't work right through the puzzle -- kept being taken for big leaps by long downs that I couldn't cross right away.

Knowing that it's three years old explains the NOKIA reference, I guess. I hear they're still around, but not so much.

Like several others, I read the revealer, looked at the theme answers again, said "huh?" looked some more -- and then saw the theme about 5 minutes later. That was after thinking maybe there was some 'ADDled' person hidden in that cell, etc. Nicely done!

@Loren, thanks for coming back here, if only briefly. Wish @ACME would do the same, but I hope you're both reading this to get all the accolades.

There must be something you can make out of a racehorse being in MAIDEN FORM, but if so, I can't figure out what it is!

Annabel, hope you feel better soon!

Teedmn 8:36 PM  

@Leapfinger, your milking comment put me in a funny mooed!

And to all the rest of you with variations on the theme (@AliasZ, @Numinous), I won't make the obvious play on "thanks for the memories", you can do that yourselves :-).

GILL I. 8:50 PM  

@AliasZ and @Leapster...You two are related, no?
Boy I need a good laugh at the end of the day....;-)

Clark 9:02 PM  

I loved this. Puzzled over the revealer, read over the theme answers a few time — then it hit me. Hilarious. Andrea and Loren, I hope to see more from you guys. Thanks!

AZPETE 9:10 PM  

Guess u didn't get it: (.Y.). They're Boobs.

old timer 10:22 PM  

I wonder if @rex could just open the comments up without moderation and see if this time, the backbiting does not become poisonous. I could always live with the weird promoters of psychic knowledge. If it doesn't work we could always return to "moderated" as it is now. But I find it quite frustrating to post my observations and have to wait 7 or 8 hours to see them and to see any responses. Yet, OFL has a life beyond the blog, and I can understand that some days it is hard to update the comments as much as we (and he, I'm sure) would like.

spacecraft 11:29 AM  

Synchronicity for Syndiland: this puzzle appears to coincide with the (now thankfully annual!) Victoria's Secret TV special. The inconsistency of the theme answers is a tad troubling: MIRACLE is a brand name while the others are descriptive.

Besides IKE, I like the tie-in with HAL and DAISIES; his deteriorating song as he was being unplugged made him a SYM-(really? a prefix?? I don't think so)-pathetic villain.

Best all-time racehorse name ever: HOOF Hearted.

I had an aunt Lucinda, but I've never heard of Ms. Williams. Made more sense than LUbINDA/bONKING.

Interesting that NRCESSARY as a noun ("She just packed necessaries in an overnight bag") would include the subject of this little exercise, though bra-burners of yesteryear would disagree.

A smile-bringing romp when I was already in a great mood: my Eagles beat the Pats yesterday, confounding the ODDSMAKERs! Always nice to see contributors to this blog (present and/or former) get a puzzle byline. What the heck, I'm euphoric: A!

Burma Shave 12:08 PM  


The MIRACLEWORKER spy was locked inside a PADDEDCELL,
he’ll PUSHUPDAISIES if he talked about the BOOBYTRAPS INTEL.


rain forest 12:20 PM  

A fine, perky Monday complete with an unexpected and funny revealer. Caused me to hoot. I hope ACME and LMS continue to collaborate, and maybe get Lynne Lempel in on it as well. Nice to start off the week with a sparkling Monday puzzle.

Thanks for the mammaries, gals.

rondo 12:30 PM  

That’s a long way to go to get to second base in a puz by the nice pair of Loren and Andrea. I changed the PADDywagon twice, first to PADDEDroom , then to the CELL. So I’ve got unexpected Mon-puz write-over.

And it’s teeming with yeah babies like favorite tennis star MARIA, acting cutie KATIE, and alt-country great LUCINDA (I have several of her CDs).

Took a while to “get” the TRAP, like that it was BOOBY.

leftcoastTAM 2:48 PM  

Liked the cutesy risqué theme and answers.

I'm not a speed solver; I like to amble through puzzles rather than try to tear 'em up. Without really trying, I can't write in answers any faster than I did today. Must have been inspired by surge of testosterone.

BS2 2:51 PM  


OLAY me down and I’ll LEND a NEAR
about how AWFUL HENRY’s been to ya.
Then FRESHEN up and SHARE this SMEAR,
tell him, “HENRY, I’m just not INDIA.”


centralscrewtinizer 5:15 PM  

Nina Simone uses the term boobies in this great song.

Chamorga 6:27 PM  

anyone else have a problem with SHARE instead of SPARE?
I've never heard of a stock item referred to as a share.

Bob Kerfuffle 2:51 PM  

@Chamorga - A unit of stock, like those traded on the stock market, is a SHARE, as a share in a company's ownership.

Blogger 4:33 PM  

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