____ Crawley, countess on "Downton Abbey" / MON 2-1-2016 / "Love Story" author Segal / Longtime N.B.A. coach Pat / Sleep disorder / Four-baggers

Monday, February 1, 2016

BRO, this puzzle was too much fun for Rex to do (because he's a no-fun-allowed type dude), so I, Annabel, am back to do some writing up! (JK. It's just the first Monday of the month, y'know, that's kinda my schedule. I just like to announce it at the beginning so nobody gets halfway through the article wondering why Rex is in such a good mood today.)

Constructor: Gary Cee

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: ROAD MOVIES — Theme answers are street names that are also the names of movies.

Theme answers:
  • WALL STREET (18A: Title locale in a 1987 Oliver Stone drama)
  • SUNSET BOULEVARD (26A: Title locale in a 1950 Billy Wilder film noir)
  • MULHOLLAND DRIVE (44A: Title locale in a 2001 David Lynch thriller)
  • ROAD MOVIES (58A: "Bonnie & Clyde" and "Thelma & Louise"...or a hint to 18-, 26- and 44-across)
Word of the Day: VIEIRA (29D: Meredith of daytime TV) —
Meredith Louise Vieira (born December 30, 1953)[1] is an American journalist and talk show and game show host. She is known for serving as the original moderator of the ABC talk show The View (1997–2006), and for co-hosting the long-running NBC News morning news program Today (2006–11). She is also known for being the original host of the U.S.syndicated version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, for contributing to Dateline NBCRock Center with Brian Williams, and for presenting Lifetime Television's Intimate Portrait series.
Vieira is a special correspondent for NBC News, contributor to TodayNBC Nightly News and Dateline NBC, and host ofThe Meredith Vieira Show.
• • •
MY, MY, this one was...um...interesting. I wish I were more of a movie buff - I've never seen any of those ROAD MOVIES, and on top of that, the fill felt more packed with references to characters than actors than usual. Oh well - you do crossword puzzles to learn, don't you? Not a whole lot else going on with the fill, though, tbh. SHOALS, LUAU, ISLE and ADRIFT made me think of a nice relaxing vacation.

Yeah, like I said before, I probably would've liked the theme more if I actually knew any of the movies. Or if they had thrown some musicals in there!!! So instead of talking about the MOVIES part of this theme, let's talk about the ROAD part. So I gOT THIS NEW CAR AND IT WAS REALLY AWESOME AND the best part is it doesn't have an audio jack which gave me an excuse to listen to the same two CDs ("Heartthrob" by Tegan and Sara and "How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful" by Florence + The Machine) like several dozen times over winter break. I'm not even kidding. I'd just pop one the CD slot and drive around with it playing over and over. It was awesome. Is that how they did it in the olden days when cars didn't have audio jacks for your phone?

  • COED (17A: Like most college dorms nowadays) — This one gave me a chuckle because my entire college isn't COED! It's nice to be able to just do super-girly things all the time, like rugby.
  • WALL STREET (18A: Title locale in a 1987 Oliver Stone drama) — Like I said, never saw this movie, so my mom helped me out with this one. 
  • BOBBLE (27D: Move up and down, as a doll's head) — Apparently this is Australian for "hair tie." Also, "thong" is Australian for "flip flop." You learn a lot of things at summer camp when half of your counselors are inexplicably from either Australia or the UK. Also, why do they all call flashlights "torches"? What do they call sticks that are on fire? "Torches: Classic"? 
  • AMFM (1A: Switch that changes bands on the radio) —  Is that like a PRNDL?
Signed, Annabel Thompson, tired college student. (Not as tired as my roommate though - she's got an 8:30 class tomorrow, OMG!)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 1:51 AM  

Even with a couple of entries in the wrong squares and initially misspelling VIEIRA this was easy. Solid Mon. theme, smooth grid, liked it.

Keep your eye on the prize Annabel, as somebody who @Z might recognize said "twenty years of schoolin' and they put you on the day shift."

Loren Muse Smith 4:42 AM  

Annabel – good idea to start off at the top reminding us it's you today. Though I have to say your voice is so distinct, I wouldn't have to read long to remember it's the first of the month – your turn. Good catch on the LUAU, ISLE, SHOALS, ADRIFT group. Oh, and in the "olden days," we only had an AM/FM radio to listen to! Next came the 8-tracks, then cassettes…

I noticed the political vibe: POLL, BUTTON, NEWEST PLEA (Hi, all you Iowans), DOPE, MAD, YELL, OPT, BEAT… I guess if you squint, you could stretch lots of other entries to fit.

Light, fun Monday. As soon as I put in EDDY and ALL NIGHTER, I erased the "road" I had at the end of 44a and changed it to DRIVE.

So at that point I was expecting another movie like, say, Thunder Road. Very cool that the reveal is ambiguous. They're ROAD MOVIES both in their plots and titles.

Favorite cross: CARVE/TREE. We have a tree on our farm with our initials carved in it. And this actually was carved in October, our anniversary.

Hey, Gary – I liked the long OUT ON BAIL and ALL NIGHTER. Nice puzzle!

Hungry Mother 7:07 AM  

Rugby? I'm impressed, Nice write up of an easy one.

Z 7:21 AM  

First, Never Ever EVER sign up for a class before 10.

Second, Did you ask for a CD carrier for your. Birthday. And a computer that can burn CDs, too (I just realized that only one of my seven super computers* can burn a CD).

Nine minutes. Not easy. Drug before DOPE, oh MY before MY MY, couldn't remember the vowel sequence in VIEIRA, maiden before DAMSEL (do DAMSELs play rugby?), read Cramer instead of CRAMMER so was thinking Seinfeld. MULHOLLAND DRIVE came to 15 years ago and is the most "current" of these movies, so a wee bit dated on the cultural frame of reference. Fine for anyone with a few gray hairs, but with 1950 and 1967 being 40% of your theme references... (I did not realize SUNSET BOULEVARD was that old).

Oh, And Third - get rid of the rugby ball and pick up a 175g Discraft Ultrastar.

*I started college half a decade before the original Mac came out. My iPhone is a supercomputer by 1979 standards.

OldCarFudd 7:39 AM  

Welcome back, Annabel, and thank you for the friendly write-up. It's always fun to start the month in a good mood!

I got a kick out of your comments about your "primitive" car. I'm an old retired geezer who enjoys primitive cars. I have four of them, all over 100 years old. (No, I din't buy them new, although I'm sometimes asked whether I'm the original owner.) They don't have CD players. Or air conditioning. Or electrical systems of any kind, except that the three that have gasoline engines have a bit of juice to fire the spark plugs; I start them with a hand crank. The fourth one has a steam engine, and I have to start its fire with a torch - not a British flashlight, but the kind that makes a flame.

These cars are better than walking a dog for meeting people without barriers or taboos. If a young woman like you says something like: "Oh, what a cool car!", I offer her a ride. She hops aboard, and off we putter, with big grins on our faces. If I offered her a ride in my modern car, I'd soon be in handcuffs.

I look forward to your March blog!

Roo Monster 7:43 AM  

Hey All !
Nice to see you again Annabel! Love your perspective on life, makes me harken back to my younger care free days! Now I just feel like an old fogey. (46 here, mid-life blues, I guess.)

Puz was fine, seemed 1% slighty harder than a typical MonPuz. 1A, initally thought AMFM, but then wrote in tune. Humph. Also, atOlLS for SHOALS. Like seeing MYMY, it was in one of my puzs that Will didn't accept. Nicely fits when letters start to wonkify.

Nice theme, good Monday material, got yer EEL today, an ASS UCH, coupla nice long Downs, and SHUL, to go with yer SHAL and SHOL. A BOBBLE head VESTAL virgin DAMSEL ADRIFT at sea, who BEGAN going to the LUAU, but ends up trapped on the SHOALS, BUB.


GILL I. 7:54 AM  

MULHOLLAND DRIVE gave me the creeps. I knew someone who lived there, right off of Topanga Canyon. She was a Pali High classmate who was a desperate wannabe actress and every time her parents left town (often) she would throw a party that would inevitably be raided by the cops. I went a couple of times only because I was just a curious bystander...
Easy, non thinking, puzzle. I don't know why, but BOBBLE and MY MY were my favorites. I would name a chic boutique "BOBBLE MY MY."
VESTAL Virgins are welcome.

chefbea 7:59 AM  

Great puzzle...great write-up. The only two movies I have seen are Bonnie and Clyde and Thema and Louise...great movies by the way

Now on to Ground Hog Day

Kitty 8:29 AM  

MARY not CORA is the daughter-heiress on Downton. Cora is the wife-mother. Ergo she inherits nothing.

jberg 8:32 AM  

Ruby, huh? Better learn to do everything with either hand, for when one of your arms are broken! never played myself, but know lots of stories. The beer is good, they say!

Anyway, great writeup, fun puzzle, now I've got one of those early morning appointments -- not a class, though,it's a one-off.

Profs teach fewer courses than students take, so for many years my version of that rule is 'never teach anything before 2:30 PM. Works for me.

Hartley70 8:50 AM  

OMG Annabel, didn't we just get to listen to music in the car through our phones 10 minutes ago? With a bookcase full of CDs, I'm feeling as old as @OldCarFudd's vehicles which do sound like amazing chick/guy/kid magnets. Who could resist a ride in one of those beauties? I bet the whole dorm would get up at 8:30am to tool around in one of those beauties for the day!

The puzzle was a little Monday gem for me because I remember all the movies. I was a little young to see SUNSETBOULEVARD in the theatre, though, so it was a television experience, a good one.

My only snag was the few seconds it took to unscramble the vowels in VIEIRA. I before E, except after E?

Nancy 9:01 AM  

I have two comments about this easy but pleasant puzzle:

1) Isn't CORA's last name Grantham and not Crawley?

2) When I saw the clue, "Campaign giveaway," and had a "B" as the first letter, my first thought was "Bribe." Does that say something about the state of our politics today or does it just say something about the state of mind of one jaundiced solver? :)

A better Monday than many, with no junk at all.

Matt Williams 9:07 AM  

The funny thing about PRNDL is that here in Detroit, in the auto industry, the engineers in fact to call it a "prindle." So ironically, the girl in the video is talking like a Detroit insider. :)

Kitty 9:18 AM  

Grantham is the title. Crawley is the family name. Mom and dad are Lord and Lady Grantham. Daughters are Mary and Edith Crawley.

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

CORA Crawley, Countess of Grantham, was, of course, an heiress in her own right.

Tita 9:35 AM  

VIEIRA is a Portuguese name - EI is a very common sound in Portugal - so spelling it was easy. I've got one in my full surname.
BTW - she pronounces it wrong - EI = ay (as in day).
Her parents are Azorean. I'm guessing they emigrated, as did my sister-in-law's family, when a volcanic eruption ruined the livelihood of the farmers there.

Welcome back @OldCarFudd! I echo @Hartley's assessment of your stable.
My dude magnet back in the 80s was a 1960 MGA. It's electrical system was designed by Lucas, which was nearly equivalent to having none. Whenever I was stopped on the side of the road, which was often, a helpful guy would stop to offer help. I would quickly size him up and either accept his manly help or deftly tap the fuel pump in just the right spot, jump back in, and motor away.

Welcome back, Anabel - today's is your best writeup to-date.

Oh - the puzzle. Was OK, but I thought maybe I was missing something. I have watched reruns of the old Bob Hope Bing Crosby ROADMOVIES. I thought the term was reserved for those..."The Road to Rio", "The Road to Zanzibar"... (Even as a kid in the 60s, I didn't much like them...)
So the more apt revealer is been "Crosby/Hope movie genre".
But I guess that would have made this puzzle even mustier, if that were even possible.

Thanks, Mr. Cee.

quilter1 9:35 AM  

What a day! Annabel, my grandson's birthday and we finally get to get the caucuses over. Go away, you guys and gals and leave us alone. Good easy puzzle. Sadly, the first guy I dated went to Hollywood to become an actor and drove his car off MULHOLLAND DRIVE and was killed at 19. He was in one movie. But at the time he could have gone to Nam and been just as dead.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 9:39 AM  

I too thought of bribe before button. Even though I myself only work for honest politicians. Mostly you have to buy the buttons these days, by the way.

Malsdemare 9:42 AM  

I think it's Lord and Lady Grantham, but Robert and Cora Crawley. I coukd google it, but that's too easy;). The clue asks for countess, not heiress, so I believe the clue is correct all around.

My brain said Uruguay was abbreviated URA and it's amazing how bizarre and indecipherable MaLHO--ANDDRIVE is early on Monday. I coukd not think of a single movie that was something on the order of Malh...and drive. But then I've never seen the movie.

I taught 8, 9, and 10 during my career -- department chair so I chose the schedule. I'd use my hour drive to campus to get in the proper frame of mind, and bounce into the classroom, to many groans. Students let you get away with the worst jokes at that hour. Having done my best to start their day with a bang, I was then free to tend the bazillion tasks that the overburdened chair at a small university bore.

In college, freshman year, I had an 8am SATURDAY four-hour chemistry lab. All I can say is I was ever so grateful that I'd had a superior high school chem course so a functioning brain wasn't required during tose labs. Oy!

Z 9:45 AM  

I don't watch Downton Abbey, but it took me all of 10 seconds to confirm that CORA is an heiress daughter. Still, that seems like more of a late week misdirect than a Monday clue. As for me, all from crosses - I would have dithered less with a Blondie clue.

@jae - Alice Cooper? How can anyone like a guy who ditches "Zimmerman," such a good Z name.*

*I figure we can milk this for another week before someone complains to Rex.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:46 AM  

Nice solid Monday, and a fun write-up, even if Annabel makes me feel 100 years old. Her post sorta reminds me of that annual list saying, "To today's college freshman, the laptop computer is an ancient technology seen only in museums, . . . etc."

Anonymous 9:48 AM  

You, Annabel! There's no need to be so cheerful. Monday puzzles are too easy. Sheesh! Or should I say, mooshu! P.S. Saturday's are too hard.

But what do I know?

archaeoprof 9:48 AM  

I'm with @Nancy: this puzzle was good clean fun. "No junk at all." Plus I learned how to spell Meredith VIERIERERIA correctly.

Anonymous 9:52 AM  

If one is going to pick nits about that obscenity that is the Downton Abbey phenomenon, at least be accurate. No, Cora Crawley isn't necessarily a heiress, but the clue said Countess, and that she is. Further, their name is Crawley, titularly they are Grantham. Mrs. Cora Crawley, Countess (of) Grantham.

I'd like this to come out as other than a condescending old person observation, but it likely wont, as it likely is. It's nice to see someone discovering the joys of CDs. Unlike the current Pandoraesque culture, you get to hear what is frequently an extended work, not just the one part of it that has the catchiest hook and was released as a single. What an artist intended, not what some algorithm decided that you would like to listen to. You get to hear that song that takes some time to really get, the one that never got air play (does air play even exist any more?).

Kim Scudera 9:53 AM  

Re: Downton (14-A) -- Family name is Crawley, title is Grantham. So Cora is Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham. Mary is Lady Mary Crawley, and that surname has always been Crawley, not a name she received upon her marriage to Matthew Crawley.

Fran in NYC 9:54 AM  


Grantham is the title, but Crawley is the family name. And the clue IS wrong, the answer should be MARY but that doesn't fit. Neither the constructor or the editor watch DA, it seems.

Fran in NYC

blinker474 9:55 AM  

I smiled at Annabel's grief at an 8:30 college class. My college is Holy Cross, and I graduated in 1956. At that time this Jesuit school required all students to attend Mass at 7am, Monday through Saturday (Sunday was optional). Attendance would be taken and if you were not present twice in a week, or five times in a month you would be grounded for a weekend. That meant that you had to stay on campus and check in with the Dean of Men every two hours on Saturday and Sunday, between 9 am and midnight. Repeated offenses would result in suspension or expulsion. Tough regime.

Liked the puzzle and, like others, had trouble spelling Meredith's last name. Still do.

Doug Garr 9:59 AM  

Nice that you have a sense of humor about Rex's usually dour mood on almost every puzzle. He would have said of this one though that he couldn't write fast enough to beat his best Mon. time. He might have complained about Bonnie and Clyde not being a real road movie. But he would have likely agreed that Sunset Boulevard, the Wilder classic, was a masterpiece. As far as early classes go, you have lived (or died) until you have an 8 o'clock in winter at Syracuse University, which I did as a freshman so long ago I'm embarrassed to admit it. But on the other hand, everyone went skiing in the afternoon. By senior year you didn't schedule anything after 1 p.m. so you could use your season pass as frequently as you wanted during the week.

puzzle hoarder 10:22 AM  

Hi Annabel. You're a nice switch from a steady stream of Mr. Grumpy. You couldn't have picked a better puzzle to review. This one's theme is the passage of time and your youthful perspective makes that even clearer. Maybe it's a sign of how many entertainment options there are these days but I think when I was in college I would have been more familiar with old movies. Reruns were a TV staple of my youth. "Sunset Boulevard" was one of those movies. The era it looked back on seemed like ancient history. The movie itself was old but it was about how much Hollywood had changed by the time it came out. At this late date the idea that it also depicted a long Span of time has become quaint.
I Googled that movie again and one of the actors was born in 1875! I'm developing empathy for how someone like that must have felt in 1950. Another thing I Googled was that Naomi Watts was 33 when she starred in "Mulholland Drive". I mention that because that's how old I was when I started doing puzzles. You've got a good head start. You also have good taste in music. I love "I Was Walking With a Ghost". I may be another boomer with a stash of Dylan records but I haven't lost my taste for new music. My favorite song for last year we as "Hollow Moon" by AWOL Nation. Hope to hear from you next month.

mac 10:41 AM  

Medium Monday puzzle, a little harder than usual. Only one write-over, though, Cora for Mary. The "daughter" part of the cue caused that. Just read a very funny recap of yesterday's episode of Downton Abbey in the WSJ.

Thanks, Annabel, very funny write-up!

Charles kluepfel 10:55 AM  

had ITSA before changing to ATTA (boy/girl)

kozmikvoid 10:58 AM  

@Z: I think it's safe to assume today's discussion on the topic of the week (month?) is obscure enough that few will get it. The truth finally comes out. You don't like him because he became Z-less ��

Andrew Heinegg 11:00 AM  

Having said some unpleasant things about the direction the NYT crossword was headed in recent times, it is only fair that we acknowledge the vast improvement that has occurred since Mr. Shortz (or his boss(es) began having a policy of using mostly professional constructors for the paper. Today's puzzle is another good example of this. It is a very solid effort and more enjoyable without nearly as much crossword junk as can be expected on a Monday. Annabel, as a sixty something, I am very familiar with the two artists that you listen to over and over again. Not!! When I was in college in NYC, I used to make regular trips to the Fillmore East to see some of the most famous rock bands of the time with seats at prices that would be laughable now. I was convinced I was seeing and hearing the music that would last forever, so to speak. But, my favorite concert experience was when The Who came out with the 'rock opera' Tommy. For reasons I never quite grasped, the Metropolitan Opera House 'permitted' The Who to perform the opera there. Everyone from the ticket takers to the ushers and concession people were obviously appalled at the dress and appearance (long-haired men!) of the attendees. It was something I will never forget.

Warren Howie Hughes 11:02 AM  

I've never been MOOSHU of a Monday Xword Puz as I was of this offering from Gary Cee! I RILEY loved the ROAD MOVIES theme, however, I was slightly disappointed there wasn't any room for Nathan Lane!

Madeleine Sann 11:16 AM  

The print edition asks 14. ____ Crawley, heiress-daughter, on "Downton Abbey." Online asks 14. ____Crawley, countess on "Downton Abbey." Heiress-daughter is Mary. Countess is Cora. Both surnamed Crawley. Weird...

old timer 11:22 AM  

A long, long time ago, some Stanford students came up with the idea of showing classic movies every week in, as I recall, Memorial Auditorium. It was there that I first saw the great movies that featured Bogart, Grant, Cagney .... The student who hosted the series told us his favorite movie of all was Sunset Boulevard -- worth seeing, Annabel, believe me. His second-favorite? The Magnificent Ambersons -- check it out.

Very easy puzzle for me -- 5 minutes pen and paper, which is my fastest time. I was sorry, in a way, that the third "road" was WALL Street and not some other Los Angeles road. But it may be no one ever made a movie called Sepulveda or San Vicente. Mulholland, in my day, was a famous place to "park", i.e., to sit with your date and "make out". The newspapers called it "necking" or "petting". Of course, the cops were regularly on patrol on Mulholland which tended to spoil the fun. A more PG rated place to take a date was the Observatory in Griffith Park, with its awesome view of the city lights spread out below you.

CORA Crawley was the daughter of a rich family from New York, thus an heiress. In real life, many American heiresses married the sons of dukes and earls, swapping money for a title. CORA would be called "CORA Crawley" very rarely, perhaps only when she went to vote, or was admitted to the hospital. At all other times she would be addressed as "The Countess of Grantham" or, in more informal settings, "Lady Grantham". Her husband, the Earl of Grantham, was likewise usually called "Lord Grantham".

I've been to Grantham. Not much to see, other than a very handsome old church and the Angel and Royal, which claims to be England's oldest inn. Possibly the oldest pub in England is the Trip to Jerusalem in nearby Nottingham.

Anonymous 11:47 AM  

Cora is an American heiress. Her money was the prime reason for the marriage

Chuck McGregor 12:34 PM  

MY, MY. Proper names. Sometimes you know them sometimes you don’t. Of NOTE, two in this puzzle most certainly RANG a bell: Mr. Segal* crossing Dustin. The former was one of my profs and I worked with the latter at concert of “Peter and the Wolf” where he and James ERLE [sic] Jones were the narrators.

(* A little voice is saying that, in spite of spending two semesters in his classroom, I may have misspelled his name(s) in some previous posts.)

As to that concert, that was where Mr. Hoffman earned my respect as a person, beyond that which I already long had for him as an actor. When the rehearsal began, I was with the sound operator at the “house mix.” When the two actors started speaking, he had Jone’s microphone volume way down in comparison to Dustin’s. We quickly surmised that the latter had been primarily doing movies recently where voice projection is usually not a big deal. I mean Jones was just blowing him off the stage with his usual, booming voice. The sound operator calls to the stage and says, “Tell Dustin he’s not on a movie set!” It seemed to me from Dustin’s expressions that he already knew what was amiss (he’s now on a “live” stage). I saw a tech go up to him and relay the sound operator’s message. A big grin came over Dustin’s face as he just shook his head. In the next moments I saw his face and neck get reddish and the veins stick out on the latter. Just as quickly his microphone volume had to be turned down to the same level as that of Jone’s. From Jone’s expression he seemed quite amused at Dustin’s ORAL BOBBLE as well smilingly ‘saying’ with it, “ATTA boy.”

Now, for a major actor to be told by some random stage hand that essentially he was not doing his job, immediately correct his performance, and laugh at himself about it, I saw as a complete class act.

Side Bar: I had specified the audio system to be used, based on what I was told would be an audience of a couple of thousand. It was to be a free concert on a Sunday in NY’s Central Park with the Brooklyn Philharmonic. OK. So I open that Sunday’s NYT in morning and there is a full page(!) ad for the concert in the entertainment section with the two famous actors’ names prominently displayed..….and it was to be a top-10, summer’s day! OMG!! Well, as no surprise to me after seeing that, around 10,000 people actually showed up. (Reminds me of, “You're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat.” [Jaws]). Fortunately we did have enough system to more or less do the job. It was a wonderful concert.

From this story, you might imagine what the sound people must have thought when almost half a million people showed up at Woodstock. They designed their system for around 150,000 people, noting that rock concert sound levels were significantly lower than (usually) those of today. To give you an idea, they had some 12,000 watts of amplifier power. One of today’s “mega-churches,” with 7,500 people (seats) or only 1.5% of the Woodstock audience, has a system with some 500,000 watts. This means, all things considered (and there a lot to), it can easily get over 4 times louder.


OldCarFudd 12:41 PM  

The Downton confusion comes from having two different clues, depending on how you do the puzzle. I solved it on line last night from the NYT website, where the clue is "countess". For that clue, CORA is correct. This morning my wife solved the dead tree version from our daily paper, where the clue was "heiress/daughter". Mary would be the correct answer for that clue; my wife was less than pleased.

We often see instances where the graphics differ between puzzle versions, such as whether shadings or circles or balloon strings show up equally for all solvers. I think this is this first time I've seen two different clues, one right, one wrong.

Teedmn 1:24 PM  

CORA and VIEIRA were WOEs for me today, but totally gettable from crosses. The only one of the three theme movies I've seen is MULHOLLAND DRIVE though I've seen both of those mentioned in the 58A clue. You would think having all the cable channels known to man (only a slight exaggeration) I would have seen more movies, but, I haven't.

VESTAL virgins makes me think of Whiter Shade Of Pale by Procol Harum, a song my band used to cover, with me on the keyboards. Fun to play.

I liked seeing SHOALS and SHUL. Saying them makes me think of the British pronunciation of "schedule" which is kind of a joke at our house, along with "tissue" without the "sh" sound.

I would rather be PELTed with FARM manure than be stuck in Iowa this past week. I can only imagine they can't wait for today to be over.

Thanks, Annabel, for the write up. No nostalgia from me for those olden days when my car only played cassette tapes. And thanks, Gary Cee, for a fine Monday.

Anonymous 1:38 PM  

Note on the Downton Abbey clue. The print version says "heiress daughter ." The electronic version says "countess."

Anonymous 1:44 PM  

Actually, when I was a wee lass (in the 80's) we called flip flops thongs right here in the good 'ol US of A. I don't know if thong underwear had been invented yet. Underwear was much more of a personal choice back then because jeans were made so women could bend over in them without displaying what they were wearing underneath and men could walk without having to hold them up by hand. (I realize neither of these things is the cutting edge of fashion right now , but I believe that is where having underwear that is "cool" began to be something folks have to think about.). My college roommate (in my every other door coed dorm) had a "thing" about panty lines so she just didn't wear underwear at all some days. But she probably wears thong underwear now.

Chronic dnfer 2:15 PM  

Cora is the heiress to an American fortune. Married to Robert so she could have a title. Dnf'd at vierra which have me ern. Also roadmaties which have me tip. Haven't dnf'd a Monday for a while.

I guess no one wants to explain why a chick magnet is a hen.

Chronic dnfer 2:16 PM  

55 here in ct. Going to the driving range.

Kate 2:29 PM  

Hey Annabel! If you're going to put one movie on your list from today's puzzle, make it Thelma and Louise. There had never been a buddy road movie with two woman leads like that before, and it was a big deal for da wimmins when it came out.

Grace Lee 3:06 PM  

I liked today's puzzle! It was fairly easy and the fill didn't seem that bad. Also, the clue about CORA--she is the current countess of Grantham, she is also technically the only heiress as entailment for Downton was through the male line. If Mary wanted to remain on the estate, she would need to marry Matthew as he was the next male in line to become Earl. And, since Robert is still alive and still Earl, Cora is the current countess. Whew!

Gary Holmes 3:32 PM  

Cora was not named Crawley when she was an heiress. It doesn't seem right to call her a married woman an heiress. Also, it doesn't seem right to identify her as a daughter when she's already a grandmother. This might be technically right in some nit-picky way, but it definitely violates the spirit of a Monday and is probably an error that no ones wants to admit to.

Nancy 3:52 PM  

Many thanks to all of you who straightened out my Grantham v. Crawley confusion. Perhaps I am not as well-versed in the subtleties of the English peerage system as I might be. But I'm a quick study. Offer me a REALLY nice title -- Lady, Countess, Duchess, I'm not fussy -- and I promise you I'll get myself up to speed in no time.

Mike D 3:57 PM  

1) The clue for SHOALS should have been "Muscle ______."
2) If rugby were easy, they'd call it your mom!

Masked and Anonymous 4:02 PM  

Honrable number of U's, today. The Cee-meister had me, at MOOSHU URU. Best Weeject honors, for URU, btw.

Another fine, cheery, bullet-laden write-up by Blu'Bel. Always a pleasure, to see yer bye-line, darlin. Take some Geritol, maybe?

Serious flick enthusiasts no doubt noticed a few glaring omissions from the puztheme …

* Night of the Living Dead End.
* To Avenue and Avenue Not.
* Highway Noon.
* Brooklane.
* The Big Shortcut.
* My Thoroughfare Lady.
* At the Earth's Court. (DVD has default Fr. subtitles, useful for learning some crosswordese)
* Altered Interstates. (Early schlock w. William Hurt!)

Fun theme, fun MonPuz with vise-like grid design.

Masked & Anonymo6Us

Next ACPT should feature runtpuzs. Might get the whole rodeo wrapped up, on Saturday.

Anonymous 4:05 PM  

I just checked the clue for a third time (in case I'm really missing something). My printed Times reads as follows for the Cora clue: Crawley heiress daughter (not countess). Or maybe I'm wrong. This is my first post ever. I'm so embarrassed--all of you are so on-the-mark!

Little brown bear 5:05 PM  

BTW, Annabe, the olden days were not that olden (8 tracks, cassettes, not CDs). Most of us olden folks who do crosswords remember the not-so-distant past when we regularly had to untangle reams of audiotape.

Bob Kerfuffle 5:17 PM  

@chronic dnfer - A HEN is a chick magnet because chicks are attracted to and follow their mother HEN.>

Z 5:38 PM  

So which clue got locked in first, Print or On-Line? The On-Line clue definitely seems more Mondayish, whereas the heiress daughter clue isn't wrong, but definitely not Mondayish. My guess is that the print version is harder to update at the last minute. Anyone out there know?

@kozmikvoid - I probably shouldn't tell you that nearly every male in my family but me (brothers, sons, brothers' sons but not my sisters' sons ) have been nicknamed "Ziggy." Also, it is exactly that obscure insideriness that gets people to complain to Rex. There's this impression out there that the Commentariat is some kind of exclusive club and people have been known to write OFL to complain about us actually seeming to sorta like each other.

Mark 6:37 PM  

With all the comments about Cora Crawley, we are ignoring one clue that was clearly wrong. Pat Riley is not an NBA coach now, although he was one in the past. He's the president or GM of the Miami Heat.

I did like the puzzle. Nice clean and easily flowing long answers.

Anonymous 7:01 PM  

CORA is a countess, and an heiress (to her parent's fortune, as a lot of heiresses are), and a daughter (to her parents, like practically all women are).

Charles Flaster 9:23 PM  

Thanks for the review AT.
Lots of CrosswordEASE--REL, LEM, and ERLE.
Smooth solve so thanks GC
BTW-- all bloggers here would love the GEORGE BARANY site and especially his current META.

Laura 9:39 PM  

Typo in print edition clue; online reads not "daughter heiress", but "countess".

d 10:03 PM  

Hey Tita
Several comments to you lately. Check 'em out ;-)

Lady Di

kitshef 10:20 PM  

Some of us still own neither cars that you can plug your phone into nor phones that can plug into your car, and we use that AMFM selector and/or play our CDs over and over (currently in mine: Hunky Dory).

First Monday DNF since, I think, ever. Done in by the VIErRA/ErN cross, both of which looked perfectly reasonable to me and in the case of VIErRA, way more reasonable than the correct answer.

Diana, LIW 10:23 PM  


Check out my responses to you in the past week or so...
Diana, You Know Who

Anonymous 11:14 PM  

When I was a kid (1950s) the only people that wore flip flops outside were the sailors going to the beach. They were not allowed to have civilian clothes on board so the only footwear that made sense was what they wore to avoid athletes foot from communal shower stalls. Thong and flip flop as terms came later when people adopted them as acceptable wear like people today wear pajamas as street clothes.

Anonymous 11:19 PM  

A torch is a light to find your way in the dark. Why would the term be changed just because an electric bulb replaced a flame? My flash light doesn't flash, it is simply on or off, so that is a misnomer in most cases.

kitshef 11:49 PM  

@Kim Scudera. I've been following this blog for a while but for whatever reason just noticed your name today. I'm pretty sure we know each other through Master Naturalists (kitshef = kit sheffield). Bet you got that fern clue the other day with no problem!

Chronic dnfer 9:57 AM  

Thanks Bob. Whew.

Tita 12:32 AM  

@Diana - Thank you very much, milady! Those are awesome resources.
It's all about YOU!

Burma Shave 10:28 AM  


He could hike ALLNIGHTER ELSE OPT to hail
a cab to reach SUNSETBOULEVARD alive.


spacecraft 11:07 AM  

Well, WALLSTREET is hardly a ROADMOVIE, plotwise. Much more so is Rain Man, mentioned in the HOFFMAN clue--and surely one of the ten best of all time.

Loved ALLNIGHTER, a memory-evoking term for me. I had this paper due, which I'd ignored all semester. It could be either a research paper on Greek playwrights--or a play in the style of, say, Aristophanes. I chose the latter, obviously, and clattered away at my typewriter (remember those?!) ALL NIGHT long. The prof gave me an A+ and made me read it aloud to the class!

I never knew that Meredith had an extra I in her name; I assumed it was simply Viera. But there it is in the WOD: VIEIRA. Still seems weird to me. Congrats to Mr. Cee for finding a non-Dithers CORA. A couple of amusing couples: SHUL/SHOALS, BUB/BRO. I liked it. A few points off for the RCD and poor overworked ERLE, but otherwise pretty darn clean fill. Let's set the bar high for the week. A-.

rondo 12:21 PM  

So this puz may not be super-sparkly, but surely OK for Monday. And besides that, I’ve actually been on all three of those roads. And I can tell you when – WALLSTREET in August,2010 and MULHOLLANDDRIVE and SUNSETBOULEVARD in July, 2012, both on road trips. Drove to and from NY; flew to CA, bought a car, and took a month to drive it home to MN. I have my own ROADMOVIES embedded in my brain for those trips, and others.

Does Bullwinkle wear a MOOSHU?

@rain forest – I will likely be the only 60+ player in the softball league I now play in (5th year in this league). Played in a previous league for 38 or 39 years, I forget exactly, the last 25 for the same team. In one stretch we won 16 league titles in 18 years, qualified for nationals at least 10 times, one state title, one runner-up, one third place. One year we played in our regular league plus an over 35 league and went undefeated in both. In all that time I’ve had plenty of BOBBLEs, but no HOMERS, ASSUCH, unless you count that one on the frozen lake that just kept rolling. Unofficial in my book – not in a league. Almost had a HOMER in league play 2 years ago on a field with no fences – thrown out at the plate. Had to try. Have pitched every pitch for my team for the last 4 years except the 2 games I missed in 2012 to see SUNSETBOULEVARD and MULHOLLANDDRIVE. In 1994 I also won a fourth place trophy in my golf club championship tournament.

Meredith VIEIRA wins the yeah baby (VESTAL DAMSEL?) vote today. Remember her mostly from Millionaire, the few times I got to see the syndicated version.

Enough about me, I’ll BET. A perfectly acceptable Mon-puz IMHO. But will we ever get “gonzo init.s” for HST?

leftcoastTAM 1:46 PM  

I'm with the consensus that this is a nice, smooth, and I'd say "middling" Monday puzzle.

It had a little bite in MOOSHU and some spice in VIEIRA. And the ROADMOVIES theme was well executed. (I'm a bit surprised that Rex hadn't seen any(!?)of them. They all are first-rate.)

(I understand the "Easy" rating but hesitate to tell friends who are new at this that any NYT puzzle is "easy." I think that may be more discouraging than encouraging for many beginning solvers. I say that early week puzzles are "easier" than the later ones, and they are always the place to start.)

leftcoastTAM 1:51 PM  

Oops! Not Rex, but Annabel who hasn't see any of the movies, and I can see why she hasn't. They're all pretty dated. Sorry, Annabel. Your review is right on.

rain forest 3:03 PM  

Yet another decent Monday puzzle which, along with Annabel's write-up evoked many memories. I've seen all the movies mentioned (all good ones, although MULHOLLAND DRIVE was weird/sleazy).

My first two cars had an AM-only radio. The third (a Vauxhall Viva) didn't even have a radio and my Dad bought me a cool one that could be mounted under the dash (thanks, Dad) and had AM, FM and two shortwave bands. I now have a radio/CD with a bunch of speakers, but I only listen to CBC 1, virtually no music. Times change.

Nice theme, clean fill, perky write-up. What's not to like?

The presidential primaries are well along from the Iowa caucuses at this time. Nice to see the GOP imploding, and I guess Hillary Clinton will yell her way to the Democratic nomination, but she is feeling the Bern. Release the Goldman Sachs transcripts, Ms. Clinton.

@Rondo - clearly you are multi-talented. I've only achieved a modest level of success in curling (won the Monday Night men's league title in 2000), and golf (won the Linn Teetzel trophy 4 times!). Shoulder issues preclude further success. So solving the NYT crossword puzzle is my primary diversion. Glad you asked...

Not a Downton Abbey fan 5:02 PM  

Chiming in from syndication land, my print edition today identifies CORA Crawley as ...countess on "Downton Abbey".

Cathy 6:53 PM  

A very nice mild Monday. Not much to mention. BUTT ON the other hand, I think I learned something about DOWNTON ABBEY. Maybe I'll watch it just to see who this CORA is.

One write over. I knew AMFM but my hand wrote AMpM. What a DOPE!

Always nice to read Annabel. My truck has a CD player yet I rarely turn it on. I have to pay attention to the ROAD.

Diana,LIW 7:41 PM  

She's my sister. She's my daughter. She's my sister. She's my daughter. She's my sister AND my daughter and an heiress. CORA got more action today than Lucy/Desi got yesterday. I certainly hope that all got straightened out to everyone's satisfaction. But this Lady doesn't gossip about other ladies. Of course, there was that time I saw the ERLE of APNEA on the ISLE of RILEY at the LUAU eating EEL with a COED. Tsk. MYMY.

Had a Natick in the LETO/LEM/URU/MULHOLLAND area - put in URg, and then...nothing. Made me MAD. (or whacked)

"gonzo inits" would be perfect! thx Rondo

Did several Phila/San Diego road trips in my younger daze. Now I don't like to be in a car for half an hour. Probably because I miss my 8-track so. Playing American Beauty over and over.

@Cathy - a Pow Wow - wow! I used to be the advisor for the Native American club on my campus. Actually, one of my students was the "force of nature" in that group. We had a Powwow evening where she recruited dancers, drummers, flute players, singers, fry bread, salmon, and even some fine Native art for a raffle/drawing. An amazing evening. The salmon, naturally, was amongst my favorite moments. wonder what the other Synders would bring. Of course, there will be poetry...

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for an ALLNIGHTER

BS2 9:47 PM  

@D,LIW - ATTA girl, I volunteer.Early and OFTEN my DAMSEL.

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