Old presidential dog whose name starts a Christmas carol refrain / MON 12-7-15 / Formerly top-rated show starring Mark Harmon / Muscat's land / Yemeni port city / mia Italian term of endearment

Monday, December 7, 2015

Constructor: Jason Mueller

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (2:45)


THEME: ILIAD (36A: Work hinted at by the starts of 17-, 26-, 42- and 56-Across) — all those first words / names are related to the "ILIAD":

Theme answers:
  • TROY AIKMAN (17A: He quarterbacked the Dallas Cowboys to three 1990s Super Bowl wins) — the "ILIAD" takes place in and just outside TROY, though does not include the fall of TROY (the fall, with the Trojan Horse and all that drama, isn't actually in the "ILIAD"; Virgil's got that covered...)
  • HOMER SIMPSON (26A: Animated TV character who cries "D'oh!") HOMER wrote the "ILIAD"
  • ACHILLES HEEL (42A: Key vulnerability) ACHILLES is the main Greek hero in the "ILIAD" (though the real hero is HECTOR, who could not be with us this evening...)
  • PARIS METRO (56A: French underground) PARIS is an asshole. Also, he stole / ran off with Helen, the wife of the Menelaus, which arguably started the whole Trojan War debacle.
Word of the Day: IRENIC (43D: Peaceful) —

• • •

This is pretty loose. I love HOMER (both HOMERs), but these ILIAD-related names are kinda arbitrary and not that well, uh, hidden. The connection between the poet Homer and the character of Homer has been noted / exploited numerous times on "The Simpsons," so there's no surprise there. Also, worse, ACHILLES HEEL is actually *named for* the Greek hero in question, so there's reeeeally no surprise there. PARIS METRO is probably the most interesting of the themers. But the theme as a whole is a bit of a shrug. Best part about this puzzle is that it's got those big corners (NE, SW), so even though the longer Downs aren't *scintillating*, they do at least add some interest to this Monday grid. Puzzle is weirdly obsessed with Meghan TRAINOR. Not sure how to feel about that.

[BERLIN METRO]

I jammed through this in somewhat less than average Monday time (that is, pretty dang fast), but I typo'd or otherwise screwed up FALA, which I had as LALA because I wrote in LOCI instead of FOCI at 38A: Centers of attention. [Old presidential dog....] is an appropriate clue, as FALA is some old-school crosswordese that you rarely see any more. See also ASTA. Poor dogs. I feel like IRENIC must've been IRONIC at some point (IRONIC being a much, much, much more sane choice for a Monday puzzle), but then maybe someone noticed IRON was in the puzzle (53D: Club that's usually numbered from 3 to 9) and got a little squeamish and so reworked things? Dunno. I just know that IRENIC is a serious outlier today, word-familiarity-wise. I know it, but it's not something I'd use. Ever. Whereas I use AVAST everyday.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


PS Annabel is taking this month off from first-Monday blogging because it's the last week of the first semester of her freshman year and she is buried. Hopefully figuratively. She should be back with the first Monday write-up of January, 2016.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

46 comments:

chefwen 12:45 AM  

The last few Mondays have been pretty much on auto fill, not so today. I actually had to put some thought into this one. I like that on a Monday. Meghan TRAINOR was a new one for me, the crosses were kind and filled in in nicely. Seems the older I get the fewer young talents I know. Gotta start hanging out with some younger people.

ELECTORAL and EXTENSION are not your typical early week fill and some of the clues were a little on the tricky side, but as I said, a welcomed change.

Good start to the week.

Pat Myers 12:46 AM  

Ooh, you're tough. I thought this was a pretty nifty, elegant puzzle for a Monday -- I thought the looseness of the connections to the Iliad in the theme clues made them funnier. "Irenic" did seem to be in the wrong puzzle, though -- way too arcane.

Then again, I found this past Sunday's puzzle delightful -- I liked both the clues and the puns, especially Just One Mower Thing but really the whole set. You didn't even need the "With Drawl" clue; they're valid puns in themselves.

Am I just becoming too sweet in my old age?

jae 2:00 AM  

Very easy, classical theme with zippy theme answers, smooth fill, liked it.

George Barany 2:40 AM  

I am in awe of @Rex for his solving speed ... doubt that I could get under 3 minutes even if I was just typing in answers with a key in front of me. Still, the fact that my solve clocked in at under 6 minutes means that, according to my personal calibration, the puzzle did not offer any resistance.

FALA goes with ASTA and TOTO as four-letter dog names that anyone of my generation will know without a moment's hesitation. Therefore, I never fell into the FOCI/LOCI trap. IRENIC, isn't it?

Click here for a "swing" cover, by @Kate Davis, of "All About That Bass" that I first stumbled onto after @David Steinberg clued the word ABOUT with respect to the @Meghan Trainor song for a collaborative puzzle that we worked on about a year ago. I subsequently wowed my chemistry students by referring to a reaction we were learning as being "all about that base" (as opposed to "all about that acid").

Then, click here for a fly-on-the-wall account of how @Will Shortz and @Joel Fagliano worked together on the 1-2 punch of clues for ACT_IV and VERDI. @Martin Ashwood-Smith and I had to go the samizdat approach on Opera Boxes, as further explained here.

Finally, I understand how @Annabel is swamped with end-of-semester stuff (trust me, it's not fun from the Professor's side either), but it would be nice if she could stop by in the comments sections for her take. Until then, good luck to all involved in the educational enterprise, and may crosswords provide you a means to relax ...

Aketi 3:24 AM  

I got the LEAD out of my iPad typing fingers and zipped through this one. Got the ILlAD theme from TROY without needing the assistance of HOMER, ACHILLES, or PARIS.

The MEOWing members of my family demonstrated their "you can't MAKEME eat that" behavior when they were offered the sample of IAMS cat food samples provoided by the ASPCA. Fortunately for us, they prefer the food that COSTS less. One basically eats merely because she has to in order to live. The other is so food obsessed that he has knocked cereal boxes down off the shelf and torn open the box.

PEROT always amuses me because I come from a family In which the genes for large ears are strong but our ears are not quite as large as his.

Meghan TRAINOR's tribute to those of us who are not GAUNT amuses as well. Having a solid bass with almost no treble is also a family trait. In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, good technique is "all about your base". I've learned the hard way from the experience of being toppled over and smooshed into the mat when I haven't maintained my base. At a recent conference, a group of lactation consultants presented a modified song and dance version that had a finale so hilarious that I can't listen to the original song anymore without my brain automatically inserted the word substitutes of breast and bottle used by my colleagues for bass and treble. Based on the principal of "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" my lips are sealed about the dance routine finale.

@z from a couple of day ago, I do know how to stretch and shrink the iPad screen, but when you do that to the comment box you lose the scroll bar. It's a question of motivation.

Anonymous 5:11 AM  

Quidquid id est, timeo Danaos et dona ferentes. My personal version of the 2:45 Rex humblebrag.

Missed Annabel's comments this morning. She would have brought a fresh perspective. Do they still teach Homer in school? Hope so. Latin's the key to learning the Romance languages. That program's probably dead and dusted, like art and PE. Sad.

I thought this was better than Rex did. Except for the run of "I"s. It'll, Id's, I mean. Ideal, Iliad, I'm hot, Imam, Iams, Idle, Iron. Really?


Zippy.

Charles Flaster 6:21 AM  

Exactly like Rex. In fact lOCI became FOCI was my only write over.
Liked ELECTORAL and CERAMIC cluing.
CrosswordEASE-- IMAM, ADEN, and SARI.
Thanks JM

Elle 54 6:24 AM  

You really can't see T he Great Wall from space? Next you're gonna tell me there's no SAnta Claus

NCA President 7:38 AM  

i got held up for a LONG time on the FOCI/FALA crossing. As is common, I finished the puzzle and no jingle :( . So I scanned through the puzzle for typos and found nothing. Scanned again: zip. Then I started looking for actual mistakes...and after about a day and a half (or so) I saw lALA the dog. My first thought was nALA? But no to nOCI. I drummed my fingers, got some more coffee, pet the cat, made some lasagna from scratch, called up Comcast customer service just to chat...and boom! FALA hit me. Was that FDR's dog?

So I finished the bulk of the puzzle in good time, but the aftermath of FALA destroyed my average. Ah, well.

As for the theme...I guess Monday puzzles, for whatever reason, require themes...and this one had to have one. It did. It didn't help me get FOCI, but it did help me to keep tabs on whether I was on the right track throughout. I figured it out pretty quickly...but then the answers themselves were pretty easy: TROYAIKMAN, HOMERSIMPSON, ACHILLESHEEL, PARISMETRO...all easy peasy, ILIAD connection notwithstanding.

Hungry Mother 8:22 AM  

Had "CASA" instead of "CARA" because it was Monday and I wasn't straining. This lead me to question "IRENIC" at the end, when I didn't get a tada. It took me a while to find my problem. Note to self: read clues carefully, even on Mondays.

kitshef 8:22 AM  

Very clean and interesting, with little junk, especially for a Monday. Yet for me a curiously joyless solve, possibly because there was no resistance. Only hiccup was putting in TRAyNOR at first (confusing male early 20th century baseball players with female early 21st century singers happens a lot with me), which led to ynkow instead of IMEAN, but that didn't last long.

High point for me was @Rex's link to Berlin's Metro. I saw Berlin at Wolf Trap National Park last summer -- the band sounded amazing and Terri Nunn is still totally fetch.

jberg 8:27 AM  

Like Zippy, I didn't much like the IM EAN/IM HOT combo; and like Rex, I thought ACHILLES needed to be represented by something other than his own heel. All I can think of, though, is A CHILL ESPIAL, and I have no idea how to complete that phrase. Better to go with AJAX, the foaming cleanser.

And to be really finicky, I don't think it's called the PARIS METRO either; just 'le Metro.' A quick image search turned up signs reading "Metro" and "Metropolitain" but no mention of Paris. I think the Parisians expect you to take that part as given (unlike, say, the Tokyo Metro).

I am fond of LAID UP, for some reason. As for IRENIC, i thought of it right away (once I saw idyllic wouldn't fit) but ruled it out because it was Monday.

Finally, a naive question: how do we know that d'oh is spelled with an apostrophe?

Lewis 8:32 AM  

This is one of those Mondays that have a bit of bite yet still stays at Monday level -- perfect for a NYT puzzle newbie, yet still holding interest for the more experienced solvers. The Mondayish theme is fine by me. I like the low COSTS, and a couple of crosses: CHILL crossing both IDLE and IRENIC, and MEOW crossing MAKE ME. Nice solo debut, Jason!

RAD2626 8:42 AM  

Totally agree with @chefwen. Not an easy Monday at all for me. Did not know IRENIC or TRAINOR and ACHILLES HEEL took a couple of crosses for aha so not a usual fill in the blanks fast as you can. Liked the theme and the cluing. Put in "whah" for MEOW so all in all just those glitches got me out of the 2:45 range. Darn.

Tita 8:52 AM  


When I first saw that the first helmer was football-related, I nearly put the puzzle down. Then I saw the next one was about that banal cartoon, and for a nanosecond thought "ugh", but realized at the same instant that it was actually going to be about *that* Troy, so kept going.

Thanks @George for pointing me to the conversation re: 1 and 2 down...must be fun.

Also liked 2 across, as it gives me a chance to use my word o' the week, that collective noun from yesterday.

Thanks, Mr. Mueller. I feel more eruditer thanks to this theme.

GILL I. 8:56 AM  

every time I see a clue "rich cake" I know the answer will be TORTE. If you ask a serious baker if there's a difference between a TORTE and a cake, you might get a mais oui, absolument....I make lots of TORTEs but I'm not a good cake maker.
Cute, innocuous Monday puzzle. What's a Monday without OMAN ADEN IMAM and IAMS...? Does anyone really have CEDAR shingles anymore? I know our first house had them a hundred years ago. Our closets were also made of CEDAR. Oh, just noticed CEDAR CESAR ...how cute!
See you next Monday, Anabell?

quilter1 9:33 AM  

Just finished "Cassandra" by Kerry Greenwood, a different look at that story and well done. It is from her Hellenic women series. Liked the puzzle.

chefbea 9:39 AM  

Fairly easy Monday. Love NCIS!!
Anyone watch the Frank Sinatra special last night?? Was great. He would have been 100.

thfenn 9:41 AM  

I enjoyed it. Beat my average (which the app says is 15:44) by several minutes but not my best (which I can only admit is in single digits - far from anything noteworthy here). Got the dreaded 'Almost there' for the reason Rex noted (having LOCI/LALA - despite being in the generation that should know better, tho DDE was president when I was born). Never heard of Meghan Trainor, tho was going to run off and see who was singing about a fish before reading the comments here. And could only get to IRENIC with the crosses, tho always fun to learn a new word on a Monday. Have never really warmed up to the SIMPSONS, basically still can't watch cartoons without having kids around - a major cultural gap for me, but all in all it was fun.

Roo Monster 9:46 AM  

Hey All !
Interesting puz today. Not a big reader (I'm sure y'all know by now), but have heard (you'd hope so!) of The Iliad, and it's places/characters. Except PARIS, that is.

Agree with IRENIC being a tough-for-a-MonPuz word. That was my one of two writeovers. Had edENIC at first. (Peaceful=Garden of Eden {before that conniving snake}=edENIC.) Other one was that blasted AXLE. Always mix up the E and L. Wheel AXLE, skating jump AXLE, AXel Foley. Ugh.

Had in _____LESHEEN_ for 42A, and without reading the clue, was actually thinking Charlie Sheen!Good stuff.

Liked the long Downs, good straightforward Monday clues, laughing at @Anon 5:11am "I" troubles! I MEAN, not the most IDEAL puz, but ITLL do!

AVON RANG
RooMonster
DarrinV

Nancy 10:06 AM  

ACHILLES HEEL was a nicely veiled clue with a colorful answer. Otherwise, very straightforward and ho hum. I learned that the Great Wall of China is not visible from space, but then I never knew that I was supposed to think it WAS.

mac 10:21 AM  

Good Monday, and smooth and easy. I also hesitated at Fala/foci, but I did remember the dog.

Yes, le Metro or Metropolitain, without the Paris, normally. Beautiful art nouveau signs at some of the entrances.

Hang in there, Annabel!

Bob Kerfuffle 10:28 AM  

"This puzzle is a classic." (Already been said? How about,)

"It's all Greek to me"? (Well, in a way, but actually was super-easy.)

Although I know that 25 D, "GILD the lily" is 100% "in the language," we should once in a while remind ourselves that the original quotation comes from Shakespeare's "The Life and Death of King John," Act IV, Scene 2:

SALISBURY.

Therefore, to be possess'd with double pomp,
To guard a title that was rich before,
To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
To throw a perfume on the violet,
To smooth the ice, or add another hue
Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light
To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish,
Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.

Andrew Heinegg 10:54 AM  

I disagree with the grandmaster on this one. I thought it was a very nice production for a Monday. There was a proper name (Trainor) that I had never heard of and the irenic word that I did not know/had not seen used. But, both answers filled themselves in from the crosses. In addition, it never hurts to be reminded of the classics of literature. Including them with the Fox cartoon character who is the antithesis of anything cultural and educational is, well, interesting.

Colby 11:06 AM  

Above-average Monday. Had some freshness, some zip, and a somewhat amusing theme. Not sure why Rex is hating on it. I notice most of the other reviews are positive as well.

old timer 11:08 AM  

Finals are why I had been hoping Annabel would have done last Monday's puzzle. I predicted that the first Monday in December would be impossible for her.

A thought the theme was clever. But my time was slow for a Monday, because there weren't a whole string of super-easy Acrosses for me to work with.

Carola 11:21 AM  

Epic puzzle! Well, fun on a Monday, anyway. I enjoyed this one a lot as a follow-up to yesterday's Priam real estate. Was hoping to see Hector (Berlioz, maybe) and Helen Someone. I knew I couldn't expect Agammenon to appear.

Coming here, I see I DNF: never checked the cross with lOCI. And I knew FALA, too. Grrrrr.

Hartley70 11:24 AM  

This was a light and breezy Monday and right up my alley. I only did a double take at IRENIC since I'd never seen it before. I used the L Instead of FOCI first, but FALA was a quick correct.

Jeff Chen was perhaps wrong to say that TROYAIKMAN couldn't be gotten from the crosses by non-football fans because that's just what I did. It sounded vaguely familiar but I would have guessed he was a Country and Western singer.

@GeorgeBarany, that was a post full of interesting links! I liked Kim Davis' rendition. I've got the earworm now for the rest of the day and I expect I'll be bouncing along.

This puzzle was a great mix of old and new, easy and less easy, and I thought it was a stellar debut Jason Mueller.

Teedmn 1:15 PM  

I wasn't really held up by the 5D-17A cross (two WOEs for me) but I felt disgruntled all the same. Actually, Meghan's name looked familiar as more of it filled in, and of course I've heard the song. But this seemed less IRENIC a puzzle than tough to me, even though it still took me just short of 7 minutes, so a bit over my Monday average. (@George Barsny, I've been practicing my skill of reading the next clue while writing in the last - it makes for messy grids!)

This was clued pretty straightforwardly, with just a little fun at 6A. But the theme worked for me (thanks @Rex, for explaining what the ILIAD didn't cover - I've never read Homer or Virgil so I assumed all of that stuff was in Homer's story).

Congrats, Jason Mueller, on your solo debut.

Numinous 1:20 PM  

I was going to mention the conversation between Will and Joel that @George linked to. It really is amusing and lends a bit of insight to the clue writing process. If you haven't already read it, run, don't walk, to xwordinfo.com and look up the solution to today's puzzle.

I thought this was rather easy, a fairly quick fill until I got to the end and no "congratulations" popped up. I looked and realized that I had TR_INOR and MA_EME in the downs. I've never heard of Meghan nor did I know Troy. The A was easy enough to figure out but getting the K just didn't jibe with "You and what army?!" for me. The answer for that clue seems to me to be more like you can't MAKE ME. AIKMAN rang some distant bell but didn't have any association with TROY for me. I"m just not that in to football.

I debated the l OCI/FOCI question and settled on the latter because I have a vague recollection of mistakenly thinking FDR's dog was named Fido in a puzzle once. I considered Idyllic but saw it wouldn't fit. I wached IRENe fill herself in as I continued filling in the Acrosses and was at peace with that solution. "Oh yeah, her!"

@GILL I.: there is an abundance of CEDAR shingles available on the net so apparently some people still have them on their houses.

Thanks @Rex for the link to the Berlin song. I didn't click it but that's because I have that entire album on my phone.

Looking forward to seeing Anabell in January and hoping she manages to get through her first finals with flying colors. Seems like only yesterday my step daughter was doing her finals finals at UGA. I now have to wonder if Patrick Berry ever grabbed a sandwich at the Subway where she worked.

Masked and Anonymous 1:31 PM  

Solo debUt, for Mr. Mueller. Also solo U, for Mr. Mueller.

Pretty solid fill, altho learned a new word thanx to IRENIC. Primo side-by-side 9's, in the NE and SW.
CESAR/CEDAR was a nice little whatever U call that …

Back to IRENIC. Interestin conjecture on the part of @Blu'Bel's sub, that it was originally IRONIC.
This would give us the extra-interestin crosser of ROMOO. So they musta had to do some furthermore rippin up of that there SW corner? Holy Romoo! Awful big corner, to do rip-ups on. I'da rather have ripped up that little Southcentral area, where IRON lives. Change AVON to ALAN, or somesuch.

Theme was pretty much breezy and fun, save for really wantin a BRADUS-PITTIUS themer. Seemed harstorically incomplete, without him.

fave weejecta: YEP/REP. Hey -- there it is again. We need us a name for this phenomenon. Sorta like "rhymers", but that don't quite get it, for CESAR/CEDAR. … Romoos?

M&A


**gruntz with autocorrect (yo, @Aketi)**

Masked and Anonymous 1:37 PM  

p.s.
EVAN would also work, at 59-A. As long as U ain't worried about PER conflicts with PER-OT and REP.
Then They could keep IRONIC, and whatever (theoretical) horse it was gonna ride in on.

Yo! ARON/AVON! Romoo Alert! har

M&A
"A Kid with a New Toy"

Mohair Sam 1:46 PM  

Hand up with the multitude who disagree with Rex on yet another Monday. This was a fine accessible puzzle with a friendly theme for new solvers, just what a Monday should be. Only gripes might be the football player (but I love the NFL) and IRENIC (somehow I know the word), but both filled fairly from crosses - and that's the idea, isn't it?

lOCI/FOCI for a second. Remember FALA from a WW II propaganda video I saw on AMC or the History Channel in which a busy war time White House was depicted through the eyes of a neglected (and under-foot) FALA.

@kitshef - Second your emotion on Berlin and Teri Nunn. Saw them two years ago in Philly. She paid homage to Gracie Slick (as every strong lady rocker should) with "White Rabbit" - great show.

Terrific debut Jason Mueller - congrats.

Anonymous 1:53 PM  

I got pretty hung up on that fala/lala problem, because loci seemed more right than foci.

I had a great example of a cognitive dissonance loop problem yesterday. First clue I figured out was Creative Rioters, but as the puzzle ran along, i realized that couldn't be right. I mean, who calls themselves a "creative writer." Someone might take creative writing, but they would call themselves an author, a novelist, an essay. There is no such thing as a creative writer. So it occurred to me that maybe the second word was typerioter, and then all I needed was a four letter brand name. so I erase creative rioter and put in typerioter and then spent an hour trying to make it fit, even though I knew, instinctively, that I was right the first time.

My point is, the NYT is getting way sloppy on things which simply aren't words and make no sense. And even though I've read the Iliad (in Greek) and don't know who Meghan Trainor was, the theme answers were just plain stupid. Yeah, I did this in under two minutes, but I almost got in to the same loop as yesterday simply fighting bad thematic answers.

Anonymous 2:04 PM  


So @Barany is back to promoting his own puzzles here again, "innocently" burying the reference among those to other puzzles.

Leapfinger 2:35 PM  

Despite the proximity of that AIK, MAN, there was nothing in this elegant Monday to MAKE ME "OW". Since many construct their themes to be hidden, keeping one out in broad daylight just looks oddest, see? In general, I'm in favour of the classics, even if grounded in Classic Comics, which I must admit are my source whenever ARN or ALETA are called for.

Figured out the focus/locus, reinforced by knowing FALA; I believe that FDR had almost as many dogs as Hoover -- including President, a Great Dane, so it seems we've already had a White House President that wasn't American. In both numbers and diversity of species, nobody came close to Silent Cal. Something fishy about finding another EEL hanging onto ACHILLES' calcaneus... IRENIC? No problem slapping on a suffix, though I'd probably balk if they RE-IRENED us.

PARISM: the attribute of coming up average on just about every parameter

@GILL, hope that each day is better than the previous.

After a fine solo debut, looking forward to more of Jason's challenges. Golden Fleas, anyone?

Paul Johnson 3:15 PM  

My first ever puzzle completed by solving only the across clues. Woo hoo!

Nancy 5:14 PM  

Hi, @Bob K (10:28 am)-- Like you, I say "gild the lily," even though I know perfectly well it's wrong. I'm afraid that if I say "paint the lily," people will either 1) think I'm pretentious or 2) not know what on earth I'm talking about. But I'm enormously happy you know that, and I'm hoping others do as well. Some other ubiquitous misquotes:

"Methinks the lady doth protest too much." (Actually, it's: "The lady doth protest too much, methinks.")

"Money is the root of all evil." (Actually, it's: "The love of money is the root of all evil."

"Theirs but to do or die." (Actually, it's: "Theirs but to do and die.")

And of course the "savage beast"/"savage breast" confusion as to what music has charms to soothe. But no one here makes THAT mistake, right?

Z 7:12 PM  

@Aketi - I usually use my finger to scroll. Biggest issue I have with the iPad is not being able to resize the comment box area. Annoying. There's always resizing smaller, too.

I thought this was a fine Monday. If it were Wednesday I'd want the themers more hidden. For Monday these served well. I never saw IRENIC until it appeared as WOD. Good thing.

If you had any doubt, Trump's newest idea should convince you that he and his ilk are fascists as described by Eco. I received two emails on this link off Rex, it's longish but I think well worth the read. Let me add, there is a big difference between the rhetoric of Trump and Cruz and conservatives like Kasich, Bush, and Christie.

Arphah Ligon-Ward 9:32 AM  

Hi, @Nancy! I don't want to be too smugly contemptuous about what's write or wrong, so I'm of the general opinion that people frequently just use a phrase that's in the language, with little or no thought to what may or may not be a quotation from a source that they either are or aren't familiar with. [Let it dangle.]

That said, while in college, I had a part-time job in a lab doing general factotum maintenance chores. There being at all times large quantities of glassware to clean, a catchphrase among us lower-echelon types was "Ours is not to reason why, Ours is but to wash and dry"

spacecraft 11:11 AM  

I had the same thought about ACHILLESHEEL. Maybe he could've worked in AJAXCLEANSER, if that's not too "old."

"Use AJAX (bum bum), the foaming CLEANSER (bububububum bum bum), floats the dirt right down the drain (bubububububu bum)!" IRENIC, ain't it?

Numbered 3 (?) to 9? Guess Jason's too young to remember Nicklaus. The Golden Bear would never be without his one- and two-irons. Hit many a glorious tee shot with THAT one. But I like PAR in the neighborhood; also AVON RANG (ding dong!).

I remember when an EXTENSION was a supplemental phone number to reach a specific desk in an office. And oh yeah, the Great Wall is, in FACT, visible from space now, via GPS satellite. Better examples of MYTHS are legion.

Clues once again bend over backwards with extra info not needed by any but the dullest of minds. "Old presidential dog" is plenty. "Decking" the clue with the carol reference is silly. Same thing with AIKMAN. We don't need a career resume. Actually, this Eagles fan doesn't need that name in the grid at all!

We didn't get off to the best of starts with ACTIV and ADOSE, but there's not an awful lot of other dreck. I agree that the long downs, while not very spicy, are a plus for Monday. I would hope that Mr. Mueller's SOPHOMORE effort improves from an OK beginning. C+.

Burma Shave 12:03 PM  

ROMEO SPOTS LEAD

IMEAN my ACHILLESHEEL is to get LAIDUP A LOT,
THAT woman on the PARISMETRO had no quarrel,
ALLATONCE she did SAY, “OMAN, IMHOT,
if you want to MAKEME, I ELECTORAL.

--- TROYAIKMAN

rondo 12:28 PM  

ITLL be a long time until another puz will MAKEME remember H.S. English class and the ILIAD. Seems like we spent ALOT of time on it. Probably more time than on some of the MYTHS or ROMEO and Juliet or Julius (sic)CESAR.

The PAR and IRON mini golf theme belongs there in the deep south as we are having the coldest days so far this winter here in MN.

Wouldn’t exactly call Ms. TRAINOR a yeah baby, but she had big success with that tune. We made it a softball TRAINing device, telling runners, “It’s all about THAT base.”

Decent Mon-puz. I,RON SAY a puz with ARON in it is OK.

rain forest 3:52 PM  

Pretty well acrosses only on this one, but that's OK by me, plus it evoked a few thoughtlets:

I've never found The SIMPSONs compelling or funny, but it's probably because my son liked it, and based on our comparative musical tastes at the time, I thought that I couldn't like it. Maybe I've missed something, but I liken it to Borat as a satirical attempt. Unsubtle, and lame.

When I got CESAR, having already entered CEDAR on the same longitude, I briefly thought the theme might be words differing only by their middle letters. That might have been cute.

Like someone up there mused, why does there have to be a theme on a Monday puzzle? Is it one of those arcane rules? I seem to recall a Lynn Lempel Monday puzzle that was a highly entertaining themeless, unless I missed the theme, which is certainly possible.

Anyway, did I like this? YEP

Diana,LIW 11:18 PM  

Diana,LIW
Spacecraft - loved your reminder of the Ajax ads.
I would this puz to be more of a "B" - kinda perfect for Monday newbies, with a couple of "post-Monday answers - you know what they were.
Mostly easy peasy with the exception of a few Thurs + clues/answers. And it was fun.
Diana, Lady in Waiting for Crosswords

Blogger 9:18 AM  

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