Indian state known for its tea and silk / MON 5-2-2016 / Letter between sigma and epsilon / Émile of the Dreyfus affair / Vermont skiing destination

Monday, May 2, 2016

Hi, it's me, first-Monday-of-the-month-guest-blogger Annabel, and no crossword puzzle can ever cross me! OK, that's totally not true, I got stuck on the right side for awhile on this one, and finished it in 24:43. But that's only because I took a break to get ice cream from the dining hall. We have sundaes every Sunday...good stuff.

Ahem, the point is it's another Annabel Monday!

Constructor: Paula Gamache

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: ME TOO — Theme answers are two words, both of which end in "me."

Theme answers:

  • PRIME TIME (18A: 8:00-11:00 p.m., TV-wise)
  • RHYME SCHEME (23A: ABAB in a poem, e.g.)
  • ME TOO (41A: Copycat's comment...or, phonetically, a hint to this puzzle's theme)
  • WELCOME HOME (56A: Greeting to a returning soldier, maybe)
  • BLAME GAME (62A: What a finger-pointer "plays")

Word of the Day: LYNX (29A: Wildcat with tufted ears ) —
ok yes many of us know what a lynx is but i just
wanted the excuse to put a picture of this cute kitty
lynx (/ˈlɪŋks/;[2] plural lynx or lynxes[3]) is any of the four species within the Lynx genus of cats. The name "lynx" originated in Middle English via Latin from the Greek word λύγξ,[2] derived from the Indo-European root leuk- ("light, brightness")[4] in reference to the luminescence of its reflective eyes.[4]
Neither the caracal, sometimes called the desert lynx, nor the jungle cat, called the jungle lynx, is a member of the Lynx genus.
• • •

So, despite what I said about getting stuck on the right side, this puzzle went pretty smoothly for me! (Honestly, it wouldn't have been a problem if I had remembered any Greek.) I liked how the fill featured both YOWZA and YOWIE, although I must add that a YOINK or a YIKES would be the icing on the cake. (Future Monday theme: Exclamations starting with Y?) I wasn't super impressed by the rest of the fill - didn't learn any words, am getting very tired of seeing ALTO in every single puzzle because then I have to go listen to "Alto's Lament" like five times in a row -  but it wasn't bad enough to go all Rex on. LOOIES was funny, I definitely did not know that was a word.

The theme was OK, pretty Monday-ish for sure. It wasn't a lame theme, but at the same time, the constructor missed the opportunity to make a meme reference. ("I can haz the answers?")

  • ELF (40D: Santa's little helper) — The correct clue for this is "the third funniest Will Ferrell movie after Anchorman and Talladega Nights," but I'll let it slide. Ahem. Anyway:
  • PEPSI (1A: Coke rival) — OK, so, what's the consensus on Coke v. Pepsi in the crosswording world? Personally, I say Pepsi is better in general, but Coke is better out of a glass bottle, but Diet Pepsi is better than anything else because it just is. There's just soda many possible arguments you could make about this one. 
  • SHEEN (13D: Luster) — This one just makes me nostalgic for a really weird cartoon:
Signed, Annabel Thompson, tired college student.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 12:30 AM  

Easy? Really? I thought it was on the more challenging side (for a Monday). The inclusion of two words that are just barely real words (YOWZA and EWW), plus I'd never heard of YVONNE Strahovski (so, based on just the "Y" I guessed Yvette) were speed bumps for me. And even though I used to be a LOOIE, I still misspelled it.

Thanks, Annabel, for your always sunny write-ups.

jae 1:52 AM  

What a delightful Mon. Easy for me too.

@Annabel - you may have those Will Farrell movies in the wrong order.

Clark 2:28 AM  

Hi Annabel. Thanks for the lynx pic. Gracie (my avatar) is a seal point LYNX mitted ragdoll. She was happy to get a mention in the puzzle. It's about time, she says. Her compadre, OBI, gets way too much crossword coverage -- in her humble opinion.

chefwen 2:47 AM  

WELCOME HOME Annabel, we missed you.

Filled this puppers in sooo fast I never thought of a theme, didn't even see 41A ME TOO as it filled itself in. My only question throughout was at 31A, is it going to be EEW or EWW, good 'ol HOWIE fixed that for me.

My vote goes to Coke!

Loren Muse Smith 4:37 AM  

Hey, there, Annabel. I had forgotten it's May now. Sheesh. And you're almost a sophomore. Way to go!

Loved your "go all Rex on." I didn't notice the Greek, but I did notice all the words UTA would know: KAPUT, DANKE, and NEINS you could squint your eyes and add ELF. I think Dad will struggle with this one. There's the German and then there's also ZOLA, OKEMO, R-LESS, ASSAM, DHARMA, BILBO, and YVONNE. Tough ones for a Monday solver.

It took me a while to figure out the theme since I got PRIME TIME and BLAME GAME first and hadn't let myself look at the reveal. My first thought was some kind of vowel progression (dumb, considering PRIME TIME was first), and WELCOME HOME confirmed that. But then RHYME SCHEME flummoxed me, so I looked at the reveal. Hmm. Tough one to clue. ME TOO, phonetically, but only the last part is phonetic. ME (the letters, not the sound) TOO (ok - now the sound). I think I'd have preferred just reading it ME TOO with no mention of sound. That works, well, TOO. Or have it all phonetic, but I doubt there's much out there. SALAMI ENEMIES. Right.

That's why Paula gets paid the big bucks. I think I'll just go lie down now.

Like Annabel – I appreciated the YOWIE YOWZA pair. And OH MY MY. (And R-LESS always reminds me of @jackj. Cut the cods and potty on, Jack.)

Oh, And I'm a Coke Classic or Coke Zero gal. But PEPSI'll do in a pinch.

George Barany 6:07 AM  

What a lovely review of @Paula Gamache's Monday crossword by tired college student @Annabel. Here's one tired Professor who can relate to end-of-semester stress. DANKE schön! At least our local basketball team, the defending WNBA champions, made it into the puzzle at 29-Across. And what's not to love about Mr. October at 50-Down?

Furthermore, it was nice to see, at 73-Across, a shout-out to @SATAN, aka @Lucifer, who has been in the recent political news. For more about @Ted Cruz, see this Steve Sacks editorial cartoon, as well as this Larry Wilmore routine at the 2016 White House Press Correspondent's dinner (especially the portion starting at about 16:30 and going until about 19:00), and finally this puzzle entitled Craftily Run Zodiac. YOWZA! YOWIE! EWW!

One more thing. The incredible @Elizabeth Gorski has created a puzzle entitled Strong and True to commemorate the launch of this book by award-winning author Judith Dupré about a New York City architectural marvel. I recommend it highly!

Lewis 6:33 AM  

@annabel -- Never heard of yoink, but I love it and am going to use it, and yoink!, that word is now mine.

This is a good puzzle for newbies, with an easy winsoME theME that gently introduces the theme concept, along with a fairly easy solve with just a small touch of bite. Figuring out the theme was more of an "ah" to me than an "aha", but might be just right for a beginner. Though nothing particularly gleams, the grid is solid and clean.

I do like the AFRO right at the top, and I see that LEAH is working overTIME, and it seems appropriate for WMDS to be crossing BLAMEGAME. I think the puzzle would have been a touch more elegant if that non-theme ME in CAMEO weren't there (and a quick fix would be to change ESOS to EELS).

How can anyone dislike a puzzle that's all about ME ME ME?

Lobster11 6:38 AM  

Nice writeup, Annabel!

This puzzle must angling for some kind of PPP-count record. I'll be looking forward to Z's analysis. I'm fine with PEPSI, ELTON, HOWIE, and most of the others, but ZOLA and UTA and OKEMO and YVONNE? On a Monday? Yuk.

three of clubs 7:05 AM  


Glimmerglass 7:16 AM  

Hey, Annabal. Nice review of a puzzle so easy (even for a Monday) that finding stuff to say must have been hard. Coke? Pepsi? Diet Pepsi? None of the above. Sugary sodas are bad news; diet sodas, even worse. As a super-intelligent college student, you must already know that.

chefbea 7:32 AM  

Great write up Annabel for a fun easy monday puzzle.

As for ME...I'll take a diet coke.

jberg 7:49 AM  

Hi Annabel, WELCOME HOME, and thanks for the writeup! And I hope you enjoyed the ice cream -- it's been mostly too cold here for me to want any. Soon, though.

As for the puzzle, I got RHYME SCHEME first, so the MEs just leaped to my attention, and the revealer was nice. My only real problem was that I wanted me oh MY, then my oh MY, then my, MY, MY before I finally gave in to SOPH and put in that initial OH -- I don't think I've ever said that.

RPI is getting a good run this week!

@George Barany, I loved that Zodiac puzzle (John Child had put in a link to it yesterday). How do you think of these things? (I can't be more specific without spoiling -- but, Wow!)

Ryan 7:55 AM  

Slightly longer than my usual Monday, though I usually do them after I've already started to adult for the day.

Also, in the great Coke vs. Pepsi debate, it doesn't matter because they are both inferior to (Diet) Dr. Pepper :).

Anonymous 8:06 AM  

Yowza? Yowie? Eww? Yuk!

Tim 8:16 AM  

I liked the puzzle but it definitely felt more challenging than a typical Monday, with YOWZA YOWIE ZOLA LOOIES OKEMO ASSAM holding me up here and there. The YOWZA/YOWIE pair was a particular struggle: there are just so many YOW- interjections to fill in there. I confidently put YOWIE for the first and YOWCH for the second and lost a bit of time there.

Also, once I had -HYME------ for 23A, I immediately filled in RHYMEDPAIRS, which tripped me up that much more. My own fault.

I like the clue for AFRO here (6A: Popular hairstyle in the 1960s). I hope this signifies an attempt to be more thoughtful about how the NYT addresses race.

Z 8:23 AM  

Nobody else detects a winking dig at USA Today?

Imported Coke from Mexico (made with sugar, not corn syrup).

Pop Culture, Product Name, and Proper Noun Analysis

23/78, 29.5%

@Lobster11 - I think it feels higher because of all the foreign language, NEINS, KAPUT, DANKE, TAU, FORA, IBID, ESOS, PI'S.

Elon Musk and TESLA are quickly becoming overworked. Let's all pray that Brian and Yoko don't collaborate on TESLA's next ADS campaign.

NCA President 8:28 AM  

I got tripped only very slightly on the revealer and the WELCOMEHOME themer because I thought it had to do with a double rhyme instead of the ME-ME thing.

AFRO...?? Again?

"Alto's Lament" lol. I've played that a few times. Cute song, but probably not all that cute too many times in a row.

And Coke over PEPSI for me. It's spicier and not quite as sweet. But that might be, in part, because the place I've lived for the last 20 years has pretty much nothing else but Coke. In fact, in the south, soda is called "Coke." Some call it soda, some call it pop, some even call it tonic...southerners call it Coke.

I have a feeling Rex would hate this puzzle. Lots and lots and lots of the usual fill...including the aforementioned AFRO.

I did like the shout out to Germany with TWO (2!) Deutsche wörter included in this puzzle. Take that, France. ESOS might as well be English given the number of time it appears it puzzles any more.

This one took very close to my average time. Easy peasy. But with all the xword-ese it wasn't all that fun.

Nancy 8:43 AM  

Is DHARMA related to Karma? Didn't know it, nor OKEMO, but even so, an easy Monday that required almost no thought. Get some sleep, Annabel, enjoy the Sunday sundaes (yum), and good luck on finals.

Wm. C. 8:47 AM  

@Annabel -- congrats on a great first-year. Before you know it, you'll be rolling a hoop! ;-)

kitshef 8:53 AM  

1) 'go all Rex on' - hilarious.
2) love the MEME idea
3) Coke, caffeine-free coke, caffeine-free diet coke, but funnily enough, diet Pepsi

Tried an across-only solve but was undone RLESS and YOWZA. Had RHYMESCHEME, a tentative LOuIES, SIZE and a tentative SEeLY. Could make nothing of RL_SS, and of course the two spelling errors left me with Yu_Ze. So had to look at the down clues for that section.

Overall, liked it, but looking at the downs I think it would have been a different experience solving 'normally' - PIS, INAWEEK, NEINS, NEA, OKEMO (??? - way too obscure for a Monday), XYZ (as clued), those would have started to wear on one.

Monday WoEs: YVONNOE Strahovski, LEAH, OKEMO, but all crosses fair.

Hartley70 8:57 AM  

Cute puzzle, cute "lynx(s)" Annabel, although I have no idea what's going on with crazy Jimmy Neutron. It's always a good start to the week when you're around.

BTW, how do you pronounce "Yoink"? Does it rhyme with oink or sound like yo-ink? It's so awkward when old people get it wrong and people start to titter. You know who you are @Lewis. I'm just looking out for you.

Elle54 8:57 AM  

I love Sheen! Forgot about him! And my ranking of Will's movies is Elf, Stepbrothers, then the kids in Talladega !

mac 9:11 AM  

Easy Monday, the only answers I had to really look for were yowza, yowie, looie and oh my my.

Hardly any French today? I look for those clues in a Paula Gamache puzzle. More German today.

I learned something: leuk is the Indo-European root for lynch in reference to the luminescence of its reflective eyes. Leuk means light, fun, cute in Dutch.

Roo Monster 9:13 AM  

Hey All !
Always refreshing to get Anabelle's perspective. I miss that youthful outlook on life. I'm just a rutted middle-ager...

Though puz was easy. Knew YVONNE because I loved the TV show Chuck. And, she's a Babe! Schwing! :-)

No one mentioned yet, the MY MY to go along with the ME MEs. And not as enamored as most with the YOWZA, YOWIE pair. (Although I do like YOWZA.) Rarely see the alphabet run XYZ, so that was neat.

49A coulda been, "___ good time, call..." :-P

Let's see if this works, probably not... Irony


cwf 9:33 AM  

@Lewis: Yoinks and away!

Honeysmom 9:53 AM  

What a pleasure to have Annabel today instead of Rex ranting about how easy peasie this was. Relaxing and fun to solve as well as read sweet Annabel's comments!

Lou Giglio 9:59 AM  

What dining hall?

SUNY--B 1980

Mohair Sam 10:08 AM  

Disagree Annabel - thought this one played tough for a Monday. Disagree on her Ferrell movies too - 1. "Elf", 2. "Stranger Than Fiction", "Burgundy" flicks OK, beyond that I'm not a big fan (loved him on SNL however).

Surprising amount of PPP we didn't know for a Monday (YVONNE, ASSAM, UTA, OKEMO) - were it not for the easy METOO revealer we might well have had a Monday dnf.

Thankful @Rex has the day off, we're spared another AFRO rant. Weird clue for OREOS. RPI on a bit of a run lately, went to a fraternity party there many decades back - made "Animal House" look tame.

YOWZA brings to mind Gig Young's incredible Oscar winning performance in "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" many years ago, several scenes opened with his character chanting that word three times into the microphone - Jane Fonda terrif in that flick too.

Hey Annabel, you're not allowed nostalgia until you're over 30.

GILL I. 10:45 AM  

@George...thank you for my morning laugh. That Larry Wilmore clip is really funny - too bad the audience was lacking a bit of droll.
Anyhoo, METOO for liking the YOWZA YOWIE. I'm always up for some fun made-up words. ABBIE Hoffman, donning an AFRO, running through the BLAME GAME right next door to ENEMIES touching SATAN. Fun stuff...
I haven't had a drink of soda pop in EONS, but I used to like coke...

Charles kluepfel 10:55 AM  

only word I didn't complete was SOPH where Annabel had a psychological advantage (of course ASPIC and RPI didn't finish either.)

old timer 11:00 AM  

Great writeup, Annabel, but please stop drinking all that sugar. When you get older you pay for it. That said, when I was in college, I loved Coke and detested Pepsi (RC Cola was pretty good though). And much preferred Coke in glass bottles.

My time was very slow for a Monday (12 minutes). Didn't know YVONNE but guessed it. Also got RHYMESCHEME early, but didn't catch the theme. The revealer, METOO, was extremely helpful since it speeded up the rest of the solve with answers like WELCOMEHOME that just about wrote themselves in. I was surprised there were so few theme entries *sounded* like ME, but eye RHYMES are fair I thought. Just unexpected.

Howard B 11:16 AM  

Any coincidence this is the theme the day after the Timothy Parker punishment was doled out?

Andrew Heinegg 11:32 AM  

My inference is that this is a submitted-some-time-ago effort from Ms. Gamache. Her recent work has been of a higher quality than this one although I didn't think this was bad, just not up to her usual high quality work.

It is always fun to get an Annabel write-up for the puzzle. It is apparent that she enjoys the once a month workout. Her narrative gives the distinct impression that she is a high energy, positive person. And, it was probably a good time for her to do the review as one suspects that OFL would have had a few unkind words to write about the afro answer.

Warren HOWIE Hughes 11:38 AM  

METOO or not METOO, TOOME, that is the Question?

Martel Moopsbane 12:20 PM  


57D could also have been clued "Sandwich cookie formerly sold by Mondelez" (but not on a Monday).

Was ZOLA playing the BLAMEGAME when he wrote "J'accuse!"?

Carola 12:21 PM  

Cute theme. Love your MEME idea, Annabel. I thought the crossward stalwart "egotist" might appear as a bonus answer.

More than the usual number of entries ending in non-e vowels? PEPSI, AFRO, TESLA, ME TOO, ZOLA, TAU, FORA, ABA, AROMA, IDEO, BILBO, YOWZA, SALAMI, UTA, CAMEO, OKEMO, ALTO, DHARMA, NOT SO, NEA, and a couple of plurals: OREOS, ESOS.

Magpie 12:39 PM  

when i was in attendance at that college of yours, the diet cola drink of choice was TAB. that was back in the all-saccharine days - it was never the same after they changed the formula to add aspartame to the saccharine.

puzzle hoarder 12:40 PM  

Hi Annabel. Once again I've forgotten that it's the first Monday of the month. After seeing AFRO top and center I was expecting another PC rant. Your reviews are always fun to read. Now I have to go look up this "Like non-oyster month" clue and how it means RLESS. I have a vague memory of having seen it before.

Z 1:31 PM  

Will shoulda retired after this. Everything else just sorta pales.

Re: AFRO: Didja notice the clue?

Rug Crazy 1:52 PM  

This puzzle sucked in at least 8 places - Oh, my, my, eww. Yow!

Mohair Sam 2:34 PM  

@Z - Ah, the Cow Bell - thanks. I enjoyed his shtick with Cheri Oteri too.

Masked and Anonymous 3:10 PM  

Cool. A MonPuz about M & E.

@Blu'Bel: Sorry U R still tired. @indie009 works U too hard. A group of friends once did a blind taste test of New Coke, Original Coke, Pepsi, and RC Cola. We were fairly oblivious to the taste differences, other than we agreed that "New Coke" (a failed marketin ploy of yore) was hog PIS. But, I digress.

fave moo-cow MonPuz eazy-E clue: {D-E-A-D dead}. Actually, not sure how much it sings KAPUT at U, but sure is a great clue.

fave Lucifer in the Flesh clue: {One side of a Faustian bargain}. (yo, @GOP)

fave answer of mystery: OK, EMO.

fave indie009 sub: Blu'Bel!

Thanx PaulaG.
Thanx, Blu'Bel. Primo bullets. … Meme. har

Masked & Anonymo2Us

kitshef 3:10 PM  

I wonder if @Rex would have had a link to Ringo Starr's OHMYMY. Someone will have to teach me how to link, but anyway here's the url.

@Z - I agree you have hit on the apex of Will Ferrel's career.

Dr. M. 3:30 PM  

I agree. Too SOPHomoric.

Aketi 4:24 PM  

@ Annabel, love the LYNX, link. And SHEEN too.

I missed the theme until the very end despite getting ME TOO because I was on a RHYME hunt after BLAME GAME and PRIME TIME. All I found was LYNX and SYNCS and BIG and WIG. IRONY and EMCEE were clearly too much of a stretch.

@z, notched the clue, but I culturally appropriated the look for a very brief period in the early 1970s in yet one more futile attempt to force my straight hair into becoming something it was never destined to be.

As for the overuse of AFRO, I have decided is better to dedicate a tribute to an African American of note whenever it appears. I just returned from college tours in California and while at Berkeley I discovered I had not imagined that one of the teachers at my high school had one a gold medal in the 1936 Olympics. With the movie Race coming obour Jesse Owens I concluded that someone must have spread a rumor in high school about Archie Williams, confusing him with Jesse Owens. But there on the wall just outside the Admissions office at Berkeley was a photo of Archie Williams. I had no idea he attended Berkeley back in the 1930s when he must have been one of the few African Americans to attend. I had no idea that be became an engineer, nor a pilot, nor a flight instructor long before he taught math at my high school. He was a great teacher and a humble man. As students we were largely oblivious at that time to the struggles he went through to become as accomplished as he was at that time in history.

Lewis 4:34 PM  

@hartley70 -- Thank you for your concern. It's true that old folks use the young folks' incorrectly, but it's also true that old folks can say anything they want and get away with it. Unless, maybe they're running for office.

@cwf -- Thanks for that! I don't know how you found it, but it shot me right back to the the feeling I would always get watching Road Runner cartoons, made me smile.

Chuck McGregor 5:21 PM  

Penned this hours ago, was interrupted, and just realized I hadn't posted it.

@Annabel: “….go all Rex on.” This deserves a place honor for the @Rex blog as one of the best, most succinct, and multiuse review phrases ever. To wit and e.g.:

“Wasn't bad enough to ___ “
I’m not gonna ___ this one.
I’m gonna ___ this one.
Others will probably ___ , but….
I should ___ this, except…
How could anyone ___ this one?


My problem was the left side with LOuIE, although two consecutive Google hits from the same source ( say LOOIE and LOuIE are both are correct. I’ve always thought it was just LOuIE.

OH MY, MY. In my youth I skied OKEMO the first year it was open and often thereafter. The Poma “surface lifts” they had were a new thing. I liked them better than the other surface lifts in use at various other ski areas at the time, like the rope tows at Mohawk Mountain, J-bars at Bromley, and T-bars at Stowe.

Rope tows certainly improved one’s hand strength. While there were clamps that one could use to assist gripping the rope, they could be flat out dangerous if you didn’t know what you were doing.

In response to the Annabel’s soda question: I like Coke over PEPSI, however, if available, Moxie is always my first choice. However, as to the “diet” versions and any other “food” with artificial sweeteners, I am one of those who have a toxic (NOT allergic) reaction to them. For years I hated to brush my teeth as I always felt somewhat sick afterwards. About 25 years ago, I discovered one day that every toothpaste ingredient’s label I read said it contained some form of aspartame, except one: Tom’s of Maine Toothpaste. The founders, Tom and Kate Chappell, have a home only few miles from where I now live.

Of all major inventors I know of, Nikola TESLA is my favorite. Among other things, he conceptualized, invented, or developed to practicality were ac electricity, the ac motor, the generation and transmission technology for electrical systems the entire world uses today, radio (1943: the Supreme Court voided four of Marconi’s key patents in favor of Tesla's), fluorescent and neon lights, the laser, robotics, X-rays, radar, and wireless remote control.

There is lots of controversy about some of these, but he did delve deeply into all of them in one way or another from simply ideas to true inventions.

He also invented the AND logic gate, fundamental to the computer, though this was a sort of sidelight within another patent. However, that patent has thwarted the award of many modern, would-be computer patents as "prior art."


Leapfinger 6:52 PM  

@George, hafta re-echo the kudos on your "Craftily Run Zodiac" puzzle; fun to solve and to catch the trick of the theme. Not only entertaining, but an impressive turn-around time!!

Thoughtful of @Hartley70 to be leuking (thanks, @mac!) out for @Lewis. Don't want to be caught with yo-ink in the wrong spot.

@NCA_Prez, I'll take your word about Coke, although I thought some parts of the South (at least) were Pepsi Country. I remember being pretty astounded the first time I rode with someone who emptied a pack of salted peanuts into a bottle of Pepsi; that business of eating/drinking with one hand while having the other hand on the steering wheel struck me as uniquely Southern, though I may be wrong.

Still, I was surprised that you only allowed of 'TWO (2!) Deutsche wörter included in this puzzle', as I believe KAPUT, DANKE and NEINS have already been recognized by other posters. Perhaps one of those three hasn't been around long enough to be officially recognized in your German dictionary? Such are the Sorrows of Jung Wörter.

Thanks for posting, and hope you're honing your Cats skill .

Anonymous 7:02 PM  

For @Z

Amy S 7:36 PM  

The only ELF better than Will Ferrell is David Sedaris.

Roo Monster 10:28 PM  


Z 12:11 AM  

Thanks @anon7:02, but it was @puzzlehoarder who asked about RLESS.

Burma Shave 8:40 AM  


The FORTH line’s SIZE ain’t a foot,
and it’s RLESS as it ENDSIT when the BLAMEGAME DAMNS you.


rondo 10:00 AM  

I thought maybe it would be RHYME time after getting PRIMETIME, but the RHYMESCHEME showed me the MEME. Just for kicks (and because it conveniently fell at a good time), I timed myself today. Eleven minutes, but I had to answer a business email in there so more like nine or ten. Still three times as long as folks like OFL, but that’s about as fast as I can read ‘em and write ‘em. Good excuse (only one I’ve got) not to compete at the MN Xword Tourney come Sunday (approx. INAWEEK).

Speaking of PRIMETIME, that’s where you’d find yeah baby YVONNE Strahovski, who looks strikingly like another YVONNE whom I dated in the 80’s. That YVONNE was recently returned from the Marines. YOWZA and YOWIE! OHMYMY.

And a shout out to the as yet undefeated MN LYNX. The only team that can seem to win anything around here these days.

Didn’t OKEMO and the YOW words and a few others make this seem more difficult than just “easy” FORA Mon-puz? That would make me feel better about my TIME. IBID you adieu.

Sailor 11:05 AM  

@Diana, very much enjoyed your comments yesterday (in Syndication time) re solving style, experience and motivation. I’m curious to know what other syndicated solvers thought about the taxonomy proposed by @Chaos.

I wonder, for instance, if our willingness to wait weeks for the puzzle to come out in our local papers indicates a fundamental distinction in, shall we say, intensity - or perhaps orientation would be better - between us and those who pay the subscription fee to have the earliest possible access to the online version of the puzzle.

I certainly recognized some of my personal attributes in the Chaos classification system, but I don’t think I fit neatly into any of those slots. I’ve been doing the NYT puzzle for years, love it when it’s clever and challenging, miss it when other responsibilities keep me from it, and get crabby when I think it’s sloppy, boring, or contains (what I believe to be) inaccurate clues. And I enjoy exchanging thoughts and comments about those aspects of the puzzle.

But I couldn’t care less how long it takes to finish. I understand that this is important to others, God bless ‘em, and I’m glad that they enjoy the puzzle in their own way. But it seems to me that the tendency is, increasingly, to treat the puzzle as a sport, and that approach just has no appeal for me. A part of me laments the proliferation of solvers who don’t seem to actually read the newspaper, (I say this as one who gets most of his news online, but still reads the local paper) and for whom the speed of the solve takes precedence over delight in wordplay. I think that tendency has changed the NYT puzzle, not for the better.

I do accept the necessity of a certain amount of “crosswordese” to make the puzzle work. My favorite was a clue seen some time ago: “Sea eagle found mainly in crossword puzzles,” the ultimate gimme, and a delightful poking-of-fun at oneself on the part of the constructor. But when there is too much of it, it renders the puzzle uninteresting, unless there is a big payoff in a clever or challenging theme. Yesterday (Sunday May 29 puzzle) this was decidedly not the case. Quite a letdown after some very challenging puzzles late last week. The LA Times puzzle (Hybrid crossings) had a more satisfying payoff.

Haven’t done today’s puzzle yet, so expect I’ll be back later. Cheers!

spacecraft 11:41 AM  

The IRONY is that OFL was off today. As a known crony of PG, it's be fascinating to see how he'd handle this one. ME? Id say something like "Paula? Is that you? Say it's NOTSO!" We have come to expect way, WAY better from her. What fill: YOWIE HOWIE! That famous chroME doME does provide us with today's D'sOD: ANY ONE of his 26 "Ladies, please."

Question: What is OKEMO doing in a Monday grid? Is there really such a place? Talk about obscure!

Q #2: What in SATAN's realm is a "Mondelez," and why, oh why would you mention it in a Monday clue?

One fond memory was kicked up: ABBIE's bible, "Steal This Book." Now there's an author with some guts. I bought it. I'm so-o-o square.

CoME coME, Ms. G, you're better than this. Double-bogey.

Sailor 12:22 PM  

Now off my earlier soapbox, and on to the puzzle of the day: and what a pleasure to find it a superlative puzzle to start the week!

Experienced solvers will have no problem with this. Remembering, however, that the point of the Monday puzzle is to give casual and beginning solvers an entertaining, educational, and ultimately “doable” puzzle experience, it’s hard to see how this one could be improved upon. It requires a breadth of general knowledge, offers a taste of many crossword cluing techniques, features a simple theme, and has lots of entertaining fill. Perfect!

The earlier commentary (from the time-lapse solvers) was entertaining as well. Count me among those who were tickled by Annabel’s “go all Rex on.” A phrase for the ages! I was touched by @Aketi’s remembrance of Archie Williams, and laughed out loud at @Roo Monster’s photographic depiction of IRONY.

What a great Monday!

Teedmn 1:22 PM  

@Kathy of the Tower: if you have any plans to make it to the MN crossword tourney this coming Sunday, please email me by clicking on my avatar, where my address is available. @rondo and @Diana, LIW and I are planning on rendezvousing on Saturday and we'll all be at the tournament on Sunday. We'd love to connect up with you.

Diana,LIW 2:07 PM  

Day-yum! Had a dnf at the intersection of kHARMA iNkSIT, and OKiMO. Never heard of Okemo. Doubted the h in kharma, but shrugged it off.

I never heard anyone saying they were going to inksit - maybe sign the divorce papers? Who knows? Word(up).

Made one other error, too silly to admit to - you'd think I'm stew-pid. But you can just go ahead and laugh, or smile knowingly. Yeah, I can hear it now.

All sing - me me me me me.

Paula seemed to be in a fiendish mood with some of this language. The lady blushes, but shall not play the BLAMEGAME. (Mr. Waiting was attempting to fix an errant irrigation system in his garden this morning, so I've heard worse. It's like the dad in "A Christmas Story." "Where did you hear that word young man?")

Oh and Diet Squirt for me. Mr. Waiting buys liters of it by the dozens.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Z 4:12 PM  

@spacecraft - If you click on the constructors name at the bottom of the blog, next to the word "Labels," you will be taken to blogs about that constructor's previous puzzles. Rex has been less than complimentary more than once of Ms. Gamache's creations.

leftcoastTAM 4:23 PM  

Monday with a few bites along the way.

First time to meet this YVONNE or hear of OKEMO (Kokomo, yes, OKEMO, no). So, learned a little

Louies before LOOIES, and Serta before SEALY.

WMDS, trumped-up excuse for war; IEDs, deadly weapons of war. No ifs, ANDS, or buts.

rondo 5:08 PM  

@spacey - yeah, I bought that book, too. Think I left it in a car I sold, so maybe someone else was able to enjoy, take advantage.

Diana,LIW 6:44 PM  

Thanks for the response, Sailor. But the reason I don't do the puz online is I hate online solving. Every single thing about it. Everything. Including the timing issue.


rain forest 11:44 PM  

Before I get into the puzzle, let me say this:
Sorry for commenting so late. Picking up son coming from Kenya at the airport, followed by subsequent meetings with friends and relatives took up my day.

Also, I find the comments by @Sailor and @Spacey quite interesting. On the one hand, we have a "perfect" Monday puzzle; on the other hand, today's isn't up to Paula Gamache's standard. What is my opinion, and does it matter? Well, if we consider that the Monday puzzle is generally assumed to be set for the "beginning" solver, maybe the NYT puzzle isn't for him/her. Maybe, if they are truly beginners, they should start with an anthology or two of "easy" puzzles. But, you know, beginners aren't idiots, and sometimes I think the commentariat act as though they are, especially when they say, "that is NOT a monday clue". Hmm, what is a Monday clue? I don't know. I just know that when I decided about 15 years ago that I was going to do the NYT puzzle exclusively, it was truly an uphill battle, and you wouldn't believe how long it took me to see that the puzzle got progressively more difficult as the week went on. But I got better.

You see, "beginning" solvers don't remain as such; they get better. Some of the comments I have read would suggest that a beginning solver is always one. The only obstacles in their way are the beknighted opinions of those who comment, and of the blogmeister who believes it is his duty to criticize minutely every single puzzle he encounters. I don't think either of those opinions are helpful to the beginning solver. It takes a while to differentiate a "good" grid from a "bad" grid, "good" fill from "bad" fill (I am among those who have trouble with that).

At some point, a solver arrives at a place where he/she is comfortable doing all sorts of puzzles. Some of them delight in partials, in abbreviations, in obscure words, in trivia, and in word play. It's all fair game.

So, today we have a "Monday" puzzle by as competent a constructor as I have witnessed. Natch, this happens to be my opinion, as all of this comment is. Anyway, this constructor has created the best Sunday puzzle in my memory (and I still remember it though it was about 8 years ago), a wonderful Friday, a cute Thursday, and today's. Of course there are more, but I am old and stupid and can't remember everything. @Spacey was disappointed, and because I respect his opinion so much, I looked at the puzzle with "disappointed" eyes. @Sailor, whom I only recently met, thought it was perfect, causing me to regard the puzzled somewhat differently.

It doesn't matter who is right, and in fact neither, or both, may be. But let me say that this is a pretty good puzzle for the mythical "beginning" solver to tackle. If Paula Gamache wants to make things easier, she is entitled. Probably the challenge for the constructor is to understand the nature of the so-called beginning solver. I'll get my two-year old grandson out here, and see what he can do. Har.

Oh, by the way, I liked this one, but DHARMA, no idea.

leftcoastTAM 5:56 PM  

@rain forest:

Nice post, and I totally agree.

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