Like amoeba reproduction / MON 7-25-16 / Bart Simpson's siter / Harvard rival

Monday, July 25, 2016

Constructor: Kevin Christian

Relative difficulty: Easy like Monday Morning

THEME: HEY JOE — each theme entry begins with a familiar Joe

Word of the Day: CAMELCASE (28A: Style of "iPhone" or "eBay," typographically)
camelCase (also camel caps or medial capitals) is the practice of writing compound words or phrases such that each word or abbreviation begins with a capital letter (and omits hyphens). Camel case may start with a capital letter (called PascalCase or UpperCamelCase) or, especially in programming languages, with a lowercase letter. Common examples include: "PowerPoint" or "MySpace" and "iPhone" or "eCommerce" or in online usernames such as "JohnSmith"  -- Wikipedia

• • •

Theme answers:
  • (20A: 1899-1901 uprising in China) BOXER REBELLION
  • (28A: Style of "iPhone" or "eBay," typographically)  CAMELCASE
  • (45A: "Great!")  COOL BEANS 
  • (50A: Vacillate)  BLOW HOT AND COLD 
  • (1D/63D: With 61-Down, Jimi Hendrix's first single ... or a hint to the starts of 20-, 28-, 45- and 50-Across)  HEY/JOE
If you're like me, you filled HAHA in at 1-A, looked at the clue for 1-D, filled in HEY and then JOE at 63-D, and then once you had BOXER REBELLION you knew the puzzle's theme. This is why the revealer should go as low in the grid as possible. No credit for half of it going in the bottom-right, since "Hey Joe" isn't exactly an obscure song so a lot of people are going to have the reveal as their second and third answers in the grid. So a pretty big ding for solving experience there, like telling everyone who the murderer is on page 4 of the mystery. Only to be done with a good reason, which there isn't here. Granted, HEY JOE isn't an easy entry to fit as the last Across in a puzzle grid, but 1-D can't be the right solution.

The chosen Joes are good: none is a specific, real person, so that's interesting. No actual Joes. Tightens it up in a quirky way. The grid has some nice stuff (BAD LUCK, DUE NORTH, ASEXUAL, STEELERS) but also some unnecessary dreck, like ETUI, APER, and CANER, all of which could've been easily cleaned up.  CAMELCASE is undoubtedly a cool entry; because those capital letters resemble a camel's hump(s), get it? And sneaking those two J's into the lower-right was some fancy footwork as well.

There are 42 black squares in the grid, which is a lot. Normally 38 is considered the upper limit, with 40 only permitted in special circumstances, and anything over that should be rare and with good reason. This grid isn't really challenging enough (52 theme letters) to necessitate that; the two "cheater squares" on either end of the central entry D-PLUS should've at least been worked out, getting us down to 40.

Clues are dryasdust: EMILY is (Poet Dickinson), AIDAN is (Actor Quinn), ALLAN is (Writer Edgar ___ Poe), STEELERS is (Pittsburgh N.F.L. team), and so on. Perhaps I'm being harsh; let's find the three best clues. (Ride to an awards show) for LIMO, (One of 22 for Jon Stewart) is EMMY, and (Handled tunes at a dance, say) is DJED. Not sabotaging here, I really think those are the three best clues.

I'm grading the puzzles this week, and my first two grids have each had D-PLUS as an entry. Somebody trying to tell me something? This one had an OK but misplaced revealer, an unexciting theme per se but with a good set of theme entries, a reasonable grid, and clues that were rather stale. Sounds like a C+ effort in my book.

Not exactly off to a roaring start this week, but we'll see if the NYT squad can get us out of C-ville tomorrow.

Signed, Matt Gaffney, Regent of CrossWorld for 6 more days

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Z 12:25 AM  

HEY JOE is a really great song except for that murdering your girlfriend and running to Mexico to avoid execution thing.

Hard to argue with Our Regent. Two of the four JOE's are product related (underwear and cigarettes) and one is associated with Spokescartoonperson Snoopy, while JOE BLOW is pretty generic. This made the theme feel a little loose to me, but only a little. Otherwise, an okay Monday. I sort of feel like the crap fill today is training fill. No one knows what an ETUI is anymore, so new solvers have to learn about it in a Monday puzzle.

@Fellow baseball fans - Anyone have any retro White Sox uniforms for Sale?*

*@Martin Asbresch - Yep. Schadenfreude wrapped shade.

jae 12:42 AM  

Easy for me too but, unlike a beginner, I knew the crosswordese....ETUI, ALAR, ERAS, APER....

Unlike @Matt I did not know HEY JOE.

What happened to JOE College?

Reasonable theme, some NICE long downs, liked it.

Whirred Whacks 12:52 AM  

Hello everyone. This is my first post here since last year when Rex started moderating comments. It's his blog and he can do whatever likes, but I found that what I liked most about RP was the snappy back and forth of the comments. Thanks Matt for restoring realtime comments. Hope it continues.

Today's puzzle was fine. I learned a new term: CAMEL CASE. I found the Wikipedia definition Matt provided unsatisfactory (I found the same definition when I looked it up earlier). I think with the examples provided in the clue, eBay and iPhone, I got the image of a "camel sticking its nose under a tent," i.e., lower case (nose) and then capital (head). That's the way I'll remember it.

I'd like to give a shout out to (co-constructor) George Barany's puzzle from last Friday: I love quad-stacks! Fun stuff.

I've been doing a lot of the puzzles over at the WSJ. Interesting work being done there (Matt Gaffney is a frequent contributor).

Have a good week, everyone.

Da Bears 12:59 AM  

Matt, I thought you were a tad harsh. My expectations for Monday are not high but i thought this one more than met the bar. It was smooth and the theme solid. It's at least a B+ in my book.

PS. Remind me never to let you critique my puzzles.

Martín Abresch 1:11 AM  

In computer programming, the counterpart to CAMELCASE (duckDuckGoose) is snake case (duck_duck_goose).

I attempted to solve this one by using only the down clues, so HEY_JOE was the very first thing that I filled in. Even with this handicap, I still beat my average time. Very easy.

Heck, the only down entries that didn't go in straight away were NONO, _MEN (hesitated as to G- or T-), MEDIC, MAULS, AIDAN (tried Terry, thinking of Terry O'Quinn of "Lost" fame), AC/DC, GASOHOL, BLUR, and ABUT. That's 30 of the 39 down answers plopped down with hardly a second thought. From there, I deduced some of the across answers, and filled in the rest of the downs. Except GASOHOL. (I misspelled AIDAN as AIDEN, figured AGAVE was ALEVE, and couldn't make heads or tails of LA_OHO_.) So I read the across clues and finished the grid.

@Zs - I choose to read your comment literally and see no shade. In response to your question: no, I do not have any retro White Sox uniforms to give to pitcher Chris Sale.

chefwen 1:19 AM  

I agree with Whirred Whacks, I was pleasantly surprised yesterday when Matt switched to the old format. It's so much more enjoyable than the moderated format which is stifling and a lot less friendly. I know Rex said that he would never change back even if we begged, but I am hopeful that he will have a change of heart.

With BOXER first in I thought we were going to have a dog theme. This was just as much fun.

Loren Muse Smith 5:51 AM  

Hey, Matt! Thanks for subbing and for restoring the back-and-forth here. Even if it's short lived, I'll take it. (Also - my mother-in-law always gives us a subscription to The Week, and I enjoy your puzzles there.)

It's funny – I swear I think it was something you wrote somewhere, Matt, that suggested doing the fill-in-the blanks first. So my solve almost never goes northwest to southeast. I entered this one with URAL, ALLAN, and ADDER and jumped around so that the reveal didn't become apparent for quite a while. Then, Then, like @jae, I wasn't familiar with HEY JOE, so the alternate spelling of HAJJ threw me a bit, and I actually resisted JOE. Even with CAMEL CASE and BLOW HOT AND COLD in place, I wasn't seeing it and kept thinking "doe." When I taught in prison, they taught me the greeting, "What's up, doe?" as in "What's up, though." (Not "Sup, doe" or "Whattup doe." You had to say the whole "what's up." I always practiced in the car on the way. I was pretty good at it.)

Nice catch on the fact that none of the JOEs is a real person.

EMILY Dickinson – I just read somewhere that because of the meter, you can sing all of her poems to the tune of Gilligan's Island. Now I can't stop. How have I missed this little gem all my life?

We grow accustomed to the Dark -
When light is put away -
As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp
To witness her Goodbye

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

One other gem – you can bite most of the tip through of an AGAVE leaf, gingerly pull it up and off, and if you're careful, fiddle with it for a while, pull off extra threads, sharpen the sticker part, you'll end up with a kind of needle and thread to sew up holes in stuff when you're going it alone in the wilderness. Cool beans.

@Whirred – good to see you back. Maybe some more of the numerous people we lost here because of the problems with moderation will venture back, too.

Kevin – what's not to like about a puzzle with COOL BEANS and BLOW HOT AND COLD? Nice job.

Lewis 6:14 AM  

@matt -- Nice point about removing the cheater squares and reworking.

A relatively clean Monday, super-quick, and the theme wasn't necessary for the solve. I expect Mondays to go in a flash but not insult my intelligence, and this fit the bill. I learned CAMELCASE, remembered CANER after not thinking about it for a long time, and I got LADE. Who can complain?

Martín Abresch 6:48 AM  

@Loren Muse Smith - You can also sing Emily Dickinson to the tunes of "The Yellow Rose of Texas" and "Amazing Grace," among many others.

NCA President 7:05 AM  

@DaBears...I think MG's C+ means that this puzzle met the bar but did not much else. C+ is just a hair above average, which I thought was generous. I felt the puzzle was a solid C. Average. Nothing stood out as really great and nothing was terrible.

I missed Mr. Sixpack in a puzzle like this...he is most certainly one of the more famous JOE's out there.

And it's weird, or at least I was a bit surprised by this, but I'm a musician who grew up in the late 60s and early 70s and I really only know one Jimi song: Purple Haze (with the very famous line "'Scuze me while I kiss this guy"). Most guitar players I know, when Hendrix was mentioned would play that iconic intro. Oh, and the SSB...I know that recording pretty well. But otherwise, during the 60s I was solidly in the Beatles' camp with overtones of the Beach Boys and some Stones. Hendrix just wasn't on my radar...and later doing covers in bands, still not on the radar. So HEY JOE was a guess. So all of the themers were lost on me.

In my family a C-plus is a poor passing grade. I guess technically a D is still not failing. So I had a write-over there. Along with AgAR and the dreaded aRAL/URAL. Damn it. KILN and oast...I held off there. I thought HAJJ had a D in it?

Otherwise, this was probably one of the easier Mondays in a while.

kitshef 7:16 AM  

It’s rare to learn a new concept from a MonPuz, so CAMELCASE came as a welcome surprise. Loved that one, and the other longs, too.

ASEXUAL and ACDC in same puzzle was cute.

HEY JOE was the last song at Woodstock.

BIKO, which I think would make a cool Xword puzzle entry, was the last song at Woodstock II.

Last song at Woodstock 99 was a Hendrix cover, FIRE, performed by Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Matt Gaffney 7:43 AM  

@Whirred Whacks

I should mention that Rex turned comment moderation off, not me. Might've been easier logistically for him than transferring admin power to me for the week, not sure.

@Da Bears

If APER, ETUI, and CANER had been cleaned up (last one just make CANED and ENDED) and the clues punched up, this would've been a B-. Closer to a B if those two cheater squares had been excised.

pmdm 7:49 AM  

There was a reason, annoying to many, why these comments started being moderated. Those who were posting those offending comments probably no longer visit this blog, in which case there would be no justification to continue moderating the comments. So if the offending comments don't reappear this week, I agree with those who support returning to the non-moderated comments section.

I was never a rabid Jimi Hendrix fan. At least in terms of the sound of his music. I thought it needed the addition of a keyboard accompaniment to improve the overall effect, reflecting my musical bias. So, as on most Mondays, I solved the puzzle without realizing the puzzle's theme. For whatever reason, that doesn't seem to decrease my enjoyment of solving the puzzle, Guess I'm an outlier.

Mary Perry 7:58 AM  

Enjoyable quick solve for me. Have a nice week everyone!

RAD2626 8:01 AM  

I do not think HEY JOE is as universally known as @ Matt believes so while I totally agree with the criticism about too early revealers I think this was not a total giveaway. Generally a pretty typical Monday with a few decent clues and some good longer fill already pointed out. Liked that the JOEs were all fictional.

@Matt. As a non constructor I have learned a lot the past two days. Thank you. Why the limit on black squares at say 40? This puzzle seemed on its face to have enough words. Your Friday meta in the WSJ escaped me despite the very clever title. It was great.

Agree with @WW that the WSJ puzzles have been generally very good.

Finally, Chris Sale is a big talent and an even bigger jerk.

Unknown 8:17 AM  

Until this morning I have been happily humming the Hendrix lyrics, "Excuse me while I kiss the sky". Frankly, I prefer my version.

kitshef 8:19 AM  

@Matt Gaffney - I don't know if this is something you control this week, but the Syndicated Puzzle link has not been updating -- it still links to Saturday's puzzle. Not a big deal, but if it's an easy fix I'm sure the Syndilanders will appreciate it.

Hartley70 8:25 AM  

I thought this was an above average Monday, and a C+ still feels too low. Grading is so subjective in crossword school. I would have awarded a solid B with two star stickers added for CAMELCASE.

The theme density was great for a Monday and pleased me despite the fact that I don't know the song "Hey Joe". I think my ignorance was an advantage because it kept the reveal a secret if one solved top to bottom, as I did. I also noted while solving that while the fill wasn't condescending, sometimes it was painfully easy. Really, EMILY?

I can't give this solid puzzle an A because very rarely we get a Monday puzzle that has a humorous insouciance that really tickles me. Several ACME puzzles come to mind. I have to reserve my top grade for those gems.

Still and all, good job Kevin!

Nice to see "The Return of Whirred Whacks" on the small screen. The lead actor has been missed.

Nancy 8:26 AM  

I was about to join the chorus thanking you, Matt, for restoring the blog to its original state of spontaneity. But since you say it's Rex that did it, I'll thank him instead. And welcome back @Whirred Whacks. I was wondering where you'd gone, and I've missed you.

About the puzzle. COOL BEANS???? What a hideous expression. I'm so glad that I've never once in my life heard anyone use it. I also didn't know CAMEL CASE, nor did I know the song HEY JOE. But everything else in the puzzle was too easy for my liking and I found it pretty much of a bore.

I didn't notice the theme, as I so often don't. I wasn't looking for a theme and I didn't need a theme to solve. And anyway, the JOE of HEY JOE was just about the last answer in. When I came here and saw what the theme was, my response was: Oh. OK.

QuasiMojo 8:37 AM  

@Loren, didn't we have singing Odes yesterday? :) I prefer Hajj spelled Hadj but what do I know? Never heard of Hey Joe. And frankly I think giving Jon Stewart 22 emmys is a bit de trop. What for?

ArtO 8:38 AM  

CAMELCASE and COOLBEANS are not Monday-ish. Probably a Tuesday level puzzle but a fun solve anyway.

Hartley70 8:44 AM  

In reading @Matt's write up, I realize that I don't know what makes one black square a "cheater" and another an upright citizen. I'd like to understand the distinction so I don't hang with the wrong crowd.

Mohair Sam 8:56 AM  

Agree with Matt's grade but for totally different reasons. "Hey Joe" is not at all the gimme for most folks (see posts above) that it is for hardened rock fans and Matt - so the reveal is a tough one for a Monday. And CAMELCASE a new word for me, as is the phrase COOL BEANS (I hear COOL jets around here). That made 1/2 of the themers obscure for me - tough for a MOnday, anybody else? Like my HAJJ with a "D" too. But beyond that the puzzle played Monday medium because of Monday level crosses, and the fill was fine and the long downs nifty - so I'm good with Matt's final score.

Woke up in the middle of the night flicked on the TV and "LOU Grant" was on. Never watched that show back in the day, figure the odds.

@Paul Plotnick complained late yesterday that elhi was becoming the new ETUI. Apparently not yet.

@Whirred - Welcome back - stick around.

@LMS and others - Thanks for ruining EMILY Dickinson forever. Thanks a lot.

Don McBrien 9:11 AM  

Hartely, a "cheater square is one only shortens words in a grid, as opposed to spitting a line of squares in a manner that results in additional words. So, if you can remove a black square and not change the word count, it is a "cheater" square.

In today's grid, the 4 cheater squares appear after HEY, before JOE, after EMMY and before ACDC.

the redanman 9:15 AM  

There was a theme?

Matt Gaffney 9:20 AM  


The black square limit is arbitrary, but the idea is to keep the grids looking nice and uncluttered. Lately there haven been themelesses in the NYT with astronomical black square counts (like 45) which I find grating. Usually a crossword record (like lowest word count) will not be considered valid if the black square count is over 38.


A cheater square is a black square that does not affect the overall word count of a grid. So there are 76 entries in this grid, and if you remove the black squares at either end of the central DPLUS entry, you would still have 76 entries; those squares only shorten entries, they don't decrease their number.

The other two cheater squares in this grid are at the beginning of BOXER REBELLION and its symmetrical partner at the end of BLOW HOT AND COLD. Remove those two and you've still got 76 entries.

If you remove any other black square in the grid, you will decrease the overall word count.

Cheater squares are considered very slightly inelegant because the constructor was not able to fill the grid without them. But in moderation they are fine, especially when (as in the top and bottom pair here) they are used to fit in a 14-letter theme entry. But overuse (the DPLUS ones) looks clunky and a bit amateurish.

Some constructors who are not as rigid and doctrinaire as I am prefer to call these "helper squares," since they can be seen as helping a constructor improve the fill quality at a relatively small aesthetic price.

Roo Monster 9:22 AM  

Hey All !
Nice HOE MonPuz. Agree with the cheater squares. Get 'em out of there! Easier to fill with them, sure, but...

Had HAdJ in there, but have seen it as HAJJ, so once DJED spun around (:-P ) changed thr d to J. Only other writeover, kAPRA, k to C.

COOL BEANS cool to see! Agree that the non-specific JOES were enjoyable.

Would like to see an Energy Drink named GASOHOL! Might have to call a MEDIC if drank, though...

STEELERS Baby! (Watch out SB LI!)

Nancy 9:25 AM  

@Mohair -- I chuckled mightily over your EMILY Dickinson remark to @lms. Fortunately, I don't know the theme to Gilligan's Island, so the wonderful EMILY has not been ruined for me.

This reminds me of something a college friend did in regard to an especially unfortunate Wordsworth poem we were studying in the same 19th century English Lit class. She took an absolutely dreadful couplet and sang it to a pop song of the era. I can still sing it to that tune more than 50 years later. The only problem is that I don't remember what that tune was, so it will be hard for y'all to know how funny this was. But here's the couplet:

No motion has she now, no force, she neither hears nor sees,
Rolled round in earth's diurnal course with rocks and stones and trees.

That's from memory, folks. And, as a consequence, I have never been able to view Wordsworth as an important poet since then.

Pete 9:44 AM  

Is Joe Boxer really just the name of a line of underwear (replete with 'witty' iconography), on sale at KMart, Sears & Walmart? That's what the Google says. If so, I understand my ignorance of the phrase "Joe Boxer". Similarly, I refuse to believe the phrase "cool beans" had any currency other than a vanishingly short one among tweens at a time and place far, far away from my any place I've ever been. I've used 'Camel Case' for decades as a programmer, and never once heard it called that. Hungarian notation, yes; an industry standard, sure.

It's a bitch when life passes you by, leaving you alone with nothing to do but complain about kids on your lawn.

John V 9:46 AM  

What eveyone said about HAJJ. New spelling to me.

Z 9:49 AM  

@Martin Abresch - Thanks for the morning chuckle.

@NCA Prez - Re:Lyrics. Careful, people will believe you.

@Matt Gaffney - Interesting. It is nice to see posts appear when written and not 1 to 12 hours later.
As for Cheater squares, which is less elegant, a cheater or a plural? Sometimes the symmetrical word to the PoC is interesting, but often it is just as drecky, so it's a close call to me.

@pmdm - Unfortunately, I fear it is only a matter of time.

@unknown8:17 - I hope you are joking.

Call for Technical Help

See that comment at 7:10 a.m.? Neither do I. Yet it appeared briefly. I received an email from the poster asking for technical help (and worrying that they had been banned). I know this has happened to others (posted comments disappearing). If this has happened to you please share how you fixed it. Thanks.

jberg 9:49 AM  

Any complaints about grades of A- are laughed out of court, however.

Oh, the puzzle. It was OK -- I didn't know the song, and still don't know which poets can be sung to it. My biggest problem was remembering the L in ALAR, but finally it came back to me.

@Loren, thanks for the advice on how you can fill your ETUI with AGAVE.

And it's probably worth a reminder to everyone that the definition of 'cheater square,' along with many other things, can be found in Rex's FAQs. (Click on them in the menu bar at the top.)

GILL I. 10:01 AM  

Yow...I finished the puzzle without really realizing what I was doing other than plunking in letter after letter. I tend to do that on Monday. HEY JOE...HA HA. Never heard of ye.
What I did notice were lots of unhappy words. BELIE NONO BAD LUCK MAULS SLAVE DIS BAH USER RANK ADDER HATER. But...we do have NICE COOLBEANS HALO.
Because there were few three letter words, I'll give this a B+. Actually I hated that grade. I always wanted to know why I didn't at least get an A-.....

Nancy 10:01 AM  

@Matt G -- To me, creating the grid and fill of a crossword puzzle seems difficult beyond comprehension. (The cluing I COULD do, and I would find that part of it fun). I think that those who labor in the field are entitled to as many "helper" squares they require and that they are fully entitled to call them "helper" squares if they prefer. Or they might want to call them: "this-one-bloody-well-saved-my-sanity" squares. Or "YOU-wouldn't-do this-extremely-difficult-job-for-the-lousy-remuneration-offered, so-don't-bug-me-about-a-couple-of-extra-black-squares" squares. Whatever. And as far as calling them "cheater" squares is concerned, they (the squares) are certainly not cheating me. I wouldn't notice they were in the puzzle if I fell over them.

GILL I. 10:06 AM  

Oh, and Matt, thank you for the great moderation job. It's good to be back....Oh an @Whirred...glad you're back as well.

Roo Monster 10:19 AM  

I hate typos, (and always forget to proofread!)
Nice JOE MonPuz! :-)


Charles Flaster 10:20 AM  

Liked Matt's review but I would rate this a B.
CrosswordEASE--ETUI , ALAR, and HAJJ.
Creative cluing for LIMO, ADS, DJED, and NORTH.
Theme was easy to suss out and tried other JOEs as I solved but all mine were real--Besser, Flynn, Boyle, and BOLOGNA.
Thanks K C.

wgh 10:21 AM  

IMO any puzzle relying on the word "aper" (one who "apes") should get capped at a C.

Matt Gaffney 10:42 AM  


Well you're even more doctrinaire than I am

mathgent 10:42 AM  

Also a dropout since Rex began moderating. But wanted to express my appreciation for the Gaffney commentary this week. Great stuff.

I've continued to do the NYT puzzle every day and read the blog, I'm especially a fan of @Nancy.

I've also been doing the WSJ puzzle daily. I find it consistently more entertaining than NYT. I wonder why? I presume that the money is the same. Is Mike Shenk better-liked than Shortz?

WSJ has a meta puzzle every Friday. Last Friday's was by Gaffney. It was ingenious.

Joseph Michael 10:46 AM  

Didn't know JOE BOXER or COOL BEANS, so for me the theme was not as easy to decipher and did not yield much of a payoff when I got it.
So I agree with Matt's critique and grade.

Meanwhile OREO has been in almost every puzzle over the past week. Can we get some T MEN to lock this up in an ETUI and make it a NONO?

Really enjoying Matt's comments this week and the restored spontaneity of the grid. My theory is that most of the nasty comments way back then were the product of one HATER not many. If so, it should be easy to block him or her and let the rest if us have our fun.

Favorite grid entry: CAMELCASE, a term I didn't know and enjoyed learning. Also liked ASEXUAL and BAD LUCK.

Hartley70 11:02 AM  

Thank you @Matt for the tutorial on cheater squares. You gave an excellent explanation. By Jove, I think I've got it! I did, however, have to put on my squinty eye face and stare at the grid in concentration to see the distinction. It make take a while before I can cast this aspersion with ease. Thank goodness I can see a clunky grid with the best of them. Your tenure here is raising my crossword consciousness and I quite appreciate your effort.

@DonMcBrian, thank you also for your prior explanation. I was having trouble understanding the concept, but as I look back now, I see that you were absolutely correct except for the spitting. I only do that when the puzzle really leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Typos can be such fun!

Hartley70 11:11 AM  

@jberg, thanks for the reminder about Rex's FAQ section. I have used it in the past, and will again. It isn't an excuse, but it is not an option on the mobile version of Rex's blog. Those of us who use a phone can of course wait to get to a computer for an explanation, but the full site on an iPhone is just ridiculous to try and read. The immediacy of today's lack of moderation made me think an explanation would not be repeated a bazillion times, driving everyone crazy.

old timer 11:12 AM  

Technical DNF here. I wrote down "Hadj", glanced at the Down clue DJED and forgot to change the D to a J. But I think both HAJJ and DJED are bogus.

I raced through i a good but not great Monday time and as is often the case on a Monday had no idea there was a theme.

Ralph 11:40 AM  

Your Purple Haze lyrics joke made me laugh. Thanks

Masked and Anonymous 11:55 AM  

There is a copy of "Hey Joe" in M&A's 45rpm collection, but it is by the Leaves. Think I have the Jimi Hendrix version, but only on an album cut. Both are primo. Mid-60's vintage, as I recall. So … luv the theme idea. A 1-Down revealer *is* mighty unusual; perhaps becuz it is a MonPuz, and they wanted to make this an easier solve?

Seems like a pretty well-constructed grid, to m&e. Shoot, even Patrick Berry uses cheater squares, now and then. Maybe the trick is to start out yer pre-filled grid with fewer black squares (34 or so, say), and then introduce the cheater squares if U get real desperate? Then U might end up at 36 or 38 or somesuch. In my 15x15 crossword constructioneerin projects, I find that I often get real desperate real often, and end up with 42 or so, anyhoo. That's what I get, for tryin to cram in 7 themers and 10+ U's, I reckon.

@MG: This gradin system of yers has M&A slightly confused. Do U grade on a curve? Did this MonPuz get a C+ on a curve based on all NYTPuz MonPuzs? Or is the curve = all crosswords in the universe? Or, no curve -- just yer gut feel? My gut feel is that U do it by gut feel.

fave weejects: HEY & JOE. Always great to see them lil pups get a modicum of respect. (yo, @RP)
Honrable mention to LOU & UMA, tho.

yo, @Whirled.

Thanx, Mr. Christian. [har. Makes me feel like Captain Bligh]

Masked & Anonym007Us

Numinous 12:32 PM  

Hasn't JOE CAMEL been banned? I always thought he was amusing and never thought he would appeal to kids but what do I know about kids? I always kinda liked the blonde guy with the perm whom you see sitting on a fallen tree by a waterfall contemplating the wilderness as he puffed away. I switched from Lucky Strike to CAMELs in 1959 and, with but a few side excursions to other brands, still smoke them today.

In London, I bought "The Jimi Hendrix Experience" album and enjoyed it a lot, wondering how he managed to get all those sounds that seemed impossible. One night, I went with some friends from school to The Roxie so see some bands. It was a free concert. Among others, including Arthur Brown, was Jimi. I got to see how he managed to play the feedback on his guitar until it broke. He then tried to wrestle the bass away from his bassist. Finally, he grabbed the microphone to say he was sorry then threw it into the audience before trying to topple the six 4' tall speakers stacked near the wings.

I like puzzles that bring back memories. This one did fine, I'd give it a B- at least. I don't mind words like ETUI, I find them easy to fill in and I will never disparage seeing an OREO, especially the Double Stuff variety.

Thanks Matt for bringing back spontaneity. Nice to see you again, Mr Whacks.

Numinous 12:35 PM  

Neglected to mention that my Aussie wife used to think the lyric was ". . . Excuse me while I kiss this guy."

Tom 12:40 PM  

What would word constructors do without UMA Thurman? She pops up at least once a week. COOL BEANS? Where did that come from? Found a reference, to wit:

It started out in the US drug culture of the late sixties. Because their shape made them look kind of like beans, some people started calling certain drugs (ludes and acid) "cool beans." In the 70s and 80s, some people would say "Cool beans" as a positive response when asked how they were doing. (Snippets)

No wonder I didn't know it. Drug of preference is a good Bordeaux or Napa blend.

Never heard CANER used by anyone. Really a thing, eh? Likewise agree with all about the new and improved spelling of HAJJ. Always saw Hadj. Answer could have been DDED, with the clue reading "Made to look like Ike." Take that one you Bainbridge scholars.

Neil Nathanson 12:42 PM  

"Joe College" was disparaged as dated in a puzzle last week. Today's puzzle is the proof since it didn't make the grade despite the "Joe" theme. I wasn't sure if the Purple Haze lyrics comment was a joke. I had to look it up to confirm that it is "kiss the sky."

Nancy 12:46 PM  

Aw,shucks, @mathgent. You sure know how to flatter a girl. And it's great to see you once again on the blog!

Warren Howie Hughes 12:49 PM  

Hey Z, HEY JOE, isn't the Frankie Laine novelty tune from way back in the day, is it?

da kine 1:21 PM  

For anyone who wants to know more about cheater squares and word counts and black square limits, I highly recommend Patrick Berry's "Crossword Constructor's Handbook". I read it about a year ago and will hopefully use its lessons to get into the crucifaction game some time before I die, but even without having constructed a single crossword bigger than 4x4 (for my kids), it has a lot of good information. I bought the electronic version which, at $10, is well worth the price, never mind the fact that you're getting 70 (seventy!) crossword puzzles to solve and view as examples of what is written in the text.

Teedmn 1:22 PM  

Joe BOXER was a total mystery to me but the uprising in China wasn't so that was fine. And I started my solution just as @MG speculated with the HAHA leading to HEY to JOE but it didn't give the theme away too fast because as previously mentioned, Joe BOXER = WOE.

Funny that @LMS is putting poetry to a TV comedy theme song. I always have a hilarious time singing the Green Acres theme song to the tune of Hendrix's "Purple Haze". Even the middle part, "The chores, the stores, fresh air, Times Square" works.

Thanks, Kevin Christian!

Teedmn 1:31 PM  

And also, yesterday I was in the bookstore and the ambient music playing was Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" with the 'HATERs gonna hate, hate, hate, hate' lyric and I realized that I would not have recognized that song if not for solving crosswords. Fun to make the connection.

foxaroni 1:51 PM  

@NCA President--had a brain glitch (read: senior moment), so I couldn't figure out what you meant by "SSB." A quick Google check pointed me to his iconic Star Spangled Banner at the first Woodstock.

Add me to the "I hate APER" club. CANER isn'the far behind.

Great puzzle, K.C., and thank you, Matt, for excellent commentary, as well as reading and responding to comments.

AliasZ 3:30 PM  

Where have you gone, JOE DiMaggio? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

ETUI, OREO, TARA, LARA, ALAR, UMA etc. were a bit much even for a Monday, but COOL BEANS and BOXER REBELLION more than made up for it. ETUI also appeared on Thursday, as did BAD LUCK with walking under a ladder, the broken mir||ror and the black cat crossing your path.

(fender bender to remember),
HATER-baiter, come November.

Odds are, most people will be scared away from "Il canto sospeso" by Italian composer Luigi NONO (1924–1990), given his last name. But it never hurts to try something new and unusual.

BLOW HOT AND COLD reminds me to part with the hope that your AC blows cold instead of hot. There is enough hot air blowing from politicians to cause global warming.

Warren Howie Hughes 3:48 PM  

HALO, Kevin Christian, TRUCE be known, I'm a SLAVE to your Xword offerings, in fact,they're already OPART of my life, and DIS what the Doctor ordered!

Z 3:52 PM  

@WHW - Uh.... no.

[1st verse (Oo - backing vocals on each line)]
Hey Joe, where you goin' with that gun in your hand?
Hey Joe, I said where you goin' with that gun in your hand?
Alright. I'm goin down to shoot my old lady,
you know I caught her messin' 'round with another man.
Yeah,! I'm goin' down to shoot my old lady,
you know I caught her messin' 'round with another man.
Huh! And that ain't too cool.

[2nd verse (Ah - backing vocal on each line)]
Uh, hey Joe, I heard you shot your woman down,
you shot her down.
Uh, hey Joe, I heard you shot you old lady down,
you shot her down to the ground. Yeah!

Yes, I did, I shot her,
you know I caught her messin' 'round,
messin' 'round town.
Uh, yes I did, I shot her
you know I caught my old lady messin' 'round town.
And I gave her the gun and I shot her!

(Ah! Hey Joe)
Shoot her one more time again, baby!
(Hey Joe!)
Ah, dig it!
Ah! Ah!
(Joe where you gonna go?)
Oh, alright.

[3rd verse]
Hey Joe, said now,
uh, where you gonna run to now, where you gonna run to?
(where you gonna go?)
Hey Joe, I said,
where you goin' to run
to now, where you, where you gonna go?
Well, dig it!
I'm goin' way down south, way down south,
way down south to Mexico way! Alright!
I'm goin' way down south,
(Hey, Joe)
way down where I can be free!
(where you gonna...)
Ain't no one gonna find me babe!
Ain't no hangman gonna,
(Hey, Joe)
he ain't gonna put a rope around me!
(Joe where you gonna..)
You better believe it right now!
I gotta go now!
Hey, hey, hey Joe,
(Hey Joe)
you better run on down!
(where you gonna...)
Goodbye everybody. Ow!
Hey, hey Joe, what'd I say,
run on down.
(where you gonna go?)

Now, what am I going to do with this Purple Haze in my brain? (Anyone one know where to get a throwback shirt like in the clip?)

Anonymous 4:57 PM  

I think crossword puzzle constructors are also giving out grades presumably to crossword critics for Sunday and Monday reviews:

Sunday Grade: DPLUS (33 across -
Grade to be concerned about)

Monday Grade: DPLUS (38 across - Poor passing grade)

Mohair Sam 4:59 PM  

@Z - I think Frankie Laine did offer a "Hey, Joe" with the words something like "Hey Joe, we gotta go, mio-my-o . . . ". Jimi had a different vision I guess.

Between a screen shot of a video game on Sunday and a theme based on the murdering of unfaithful girlfriends on Monday I think Will has done sufficient penance for publishing a Saturday constructed by the distaff side (it was a gem, wasn't it?).

Warren Howie Hughes 6:05 PM  

Mohair Sam, Yes, Two entirely different song versions by Jimi H and Frankie L, the latter is a much less darker piece than the one Z has in mind, in fact, it's one that is exponentially sprightlier in nature by far!

Z 7:09 PM  

@Mohair and @WHW - I'm probably stating the obvious, but the puzzle references Jimi Hendrix (~50 year old pop culture), not Frankie Laine (~60 year old pop culture). Although, looking at the lyrics one can imagine the earlier song speaking to the same Joe as the latter:

Hey Joe
Where'd you find that pretty girly
Where'd you get that jolly dolly
How'd you make me wish that dish was mine

Hey joe
She's got skin that's creamy dreamy
Eyes that look so lovey dovey
Lips as red as cherry berry wine

Now listen Joe
I ain't no heal
But oh buddy let me tell you how I feel
She's honey she's a sheriff
I am warning you I'm gonna try to steal
Her from you

Hey Joe
Though we've been the best of friends
This is where that friendship ends
I gotta have that dolly for my own

Hey joe
See'mon let's be buddy buddy
Show me your my palsey walsey
Introduce that pretty little chick to me
Hey Joe
Lets quit that hesitatin'
Let me at her what's the matter
Your as slow as any Joe can be

Now see'mon Joe I ain't no heal
Let dance with her to see if she is real
She's the cutest girl I've ever seen
I tell you face to face I mean to steal
Her from you

Hey Joe
We'll be friends until the end
But this looks like the end my friend
I gotta have that dolly for my own
I gotta have that dolly for my own

Lyrics from

Numinous 7:20 PM  

@Z,, you really want a shirt like that? I'm willing to bet, even though it's a bit out of your way, if you took a walk down Melrose in Los Angeles, you could find one very like that. BTW, I first heard "HEY JOE (Where You Gonna Go?)" in December of 1965 at the Fillmore Ballroom in S. F. Performed by the L.A. Group, Love. After the show, they came back to Berkeley to party with us. Their bass player, Brian, and I share a last name which was in Saturday's puzzle as a suburb of DC. When I heard Jimi's version I thought it was inferior to the orig which I eventually found on Love's debut album, "Love". Brian and I got on well as I was a burgeoning bass player in those blissful smoke-filled days.

Mohair Sam 7:40 PM  

@Z - Yeah, we were havin' a little fun, the clue was very specific.

I'm thinking there should be a murder song Hall of Fame:

1. I Shot the Sheriff - Marley
2. Hey Joe
3. Tom Dooley - Kingston Trio
4. Delilah - Tom Jones
5. El Paso - Marty Robbins
6. Stagger Lee - Lloyd Price
7. Bad Man's Blunder - Kingston Trio

Personally I'd put "El Paso" at 2, but that's the country fan in me. Any additions?

Da Bears 7:50 PM  

Thanks, @Matt for the feedback. I speak only as a solver and the technicalities (lousy fill?) you cite didn't bother me. I'll add my voice to those who appreciate the fast post time of the comments, like the old days.

@Howie, good to see you are still twitching. I guess Suejean was right.

kitshef 8:01 PM  

@Mohair Sam - How about Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen (Mama, just killed a man, put a gun against his head, pulled my trigger now he's dead) and Folsom Prison - Johnny Cash (I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die)?

Nancy 8:11 PM  

@Mohair -- a few more:

"Mary Hamilton" - Joan Baez

"The Ballad of Booth" - from "Assassins" (sorry @NCA Pres, it's by Sondheim)

"A Little Priest" - from "Sweeney Todd" (sorry, @NCA Pres, it's also by Sondheim). Actually, I hate, hate, hate this song. I find it so...distasteful.

I was going to say "Folsom Prison", but @kitshef beat me to it.

Aaron Spanik 8:23 PM  

I was foiled by a bad square that took me as long to find as the rest of the puzzle did to complete.

I want to hate the CAMEL CASE clue because to my mind short ones like "iPhone" are the worst possible examples for getting the idea across (another commenter's "duckDuckGoose" is far superior). That said, clearly lots of other folks loved just being introduced to the term, and that wins out over any (potentially misguided) pedantry on my part.

Also "Hey Joe" is a brilliant song. Many people have a visceral reaction to the ascending turnaround after the chorus while having no idea that it's going on.

OISK 8:52 PM  

Never heard of Hey Joe , but I "Googled" "Songs if Jimi Hendrix," and the only title at all familiar was Purple Haze, although I have no idea how it goes. (and maybe "She's so fine.") Never heard of Joe Boxer either, so the theme meant nothing to me until I finished the puzzle. Never heard of "cool beans" or Aidan...that's a lot of "Wha??" for a Monday! Still, finished it in just over my average Monday time. ( I time myself only on Monday and Tuesday)

Teedmn 8:54 PM  

@Mohair -

"The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" sung by Vicki Lawrence

"Mack the Knife" sung by Bobby Darin

RAD2626 9:11 PM  

"Ode to Billy Joe" by Bobbie Gentry a truly horrid song.

Nancy 9:20 PM  

@RAD2626 -- I don't think he was murdered. Didn't he jump off a bridge?

Mohair Sam 9:31 PM  

Good God what have I started?! Great suggestions.

@Kitchef - Queen! Nice catch.

@Teedmn - I own a couple of Darin CD's and cannot believe I forgot "Mack the Knife" - I've also seen "The Three Penny Opera" twice. Shame on me.

@Nancy - "Sweeney Todd" a natural.

@RAD - Will need hard proof "Billy Joe" not a suicide, otherwise we'll have to include about half a dozen Pucinni arias.


Da Bears 9:32 PM  

Set em up, Joe...

Anonymous 11:48 PM  

@Nancy - a baby got thrown off the bridge.

Warren Howie Hughes 11:54 PM  

I say, Z, I want to thank you for posting the tender lyrics to the HEY JOE,I had in mind, as recorded by "Old Mule Train" hisself, Frankie Laine, back in 1952!

AskGina 1:06 AM  

Never heard the song. And, there was a theme?

Old White Guy 1:09 AM  

I've been telling you all for years that rap music does nothing but glorifying murder and being told in no uncertain terms I'm racist. Now you're making lists of your favorite murderous rap songs?

Anonymous 1:35 AM  

Very easy for me. Probably the fastest NYT puzzle ever for me. Forgot about the theme after HEY JOE until I got here.

Popped in HEY, JOE, HAHA, HAJJ, DJED and then worked my way back up. Finished with the P in APER, OPART -- never heard of OPART, so the semi-crosswordese of APER took a second.

About 5 minutes on paper, comparable to the AM New York puzzle today.

Z 7:08 AM  

@Martin Abresch - Is Old White Guy totally out of it or well played satire? My first impulse was no one could think Sondheim and Sweeney Todd were rap so it had to be satirical. And then I think of my Twitter feed and I'm not so sure.....

Anonymous 12:04 PM

(Or, how a song about a lady going to the bar to let off some steam got rewritten into a song about a dude fixing to blow his lady's head off, I'm just sayin'.)

George Barany 7:23 PM  

HEY everyone in @Rex-land ... thanks @Kevin Christian for this puzzle, @Matt Gaffney for his Regency, and welcome back, @Whirred Whacks.

Of course, I've heard of Jimi Hendrix, but not the specific song title that represents today's theme. Judging from some of the comments about Friday's puzzle, I kind of expected 61-Down to be COE.

Second time in less than a week that we're seeing ETUI, and glad to know that "case" in the clue is a different meaning from "case" in theme entry CAMEL_CASE. Also, second time in less than a week for OREO--as far as I'm concerned, those cookies are just as filling on a Monday as on a Friday.

Sadly, the top grade at the University of Minnesota is only A ("achievement that is outstanding relative to the level necessary to meet course requirements"), not A+. In over 35 years of teaching chemistry here, I have assigned my shares of C ("achievement that meets the course requirements in every respect"), C-, D ("achievement that is worthy of credit even though it fails to meet fully the course requirements"), and F ("failure not worthy of credit, even if work completed"), but have never ever assigned a DPLUS, because really, what would that prove?


Note, all of the above (with links) appeared at 7:10 a.m. on the Monday of the puzzle (I have a screenshot of it), but somehow vanished a few minutes later. Our working hypothesis is that it might have something to do with the html code used for links, so those have now been deleted. Let's see if it works this time (trying Wednesday evening) (same disappearing act happened after 7:03 p.m.; see now trying it with Google Account)

Burma Shave 10:28 AM  


Don’t HATER or USER like a jerk,
EMMY’s just DUNE it to get LADE.


spacecraft 11:16 AM  

For a Monday, this one had a lion's share of WOEs:

--> Who's Joe BOXER? I mean, Palooka I know; that's it.

--> CAMELCASE?? Congrats to you who knew that one. Both of you.

--> BLOWHOTANDCOLD??? For vacillate? Never heard of it. Doesn't even make sense.

But I haven't been living under a rock; I did manage to pick up COOLBEANS somewhere, and use it myself to register approval.

I do know the song, so the cat escaped the bag very early on. That criticism is legit. This whole puzzle has a depressing theme to it; starting with the "murder song." ALLWORK, SLAVE, MAULS, NONO, OMEN and especially HATER quickly dispel the opening HAHA. And the central DPLUS doesn't help. One upbeat spot: feel-good director CAPRA.

My #1 would be the Queen work. Genius. Showing my age: for actor Quinn I was flustered when Anthony wouldn't fit. DOD is UMA...again, but honorable mention to Julie Christie as LARA. Some COOLBEANS stuff here; call it a par.

Sailor 12:19 PM  

A really strange Monday puzzle. Easy enough, I guess, but really uneven as far as interest goes. Thought it might be a cut above the usual when I came to BOXERREBELLION, but that turned out to be the high point.

Like you, @spacecraft, I've never heard of Joe BOXER.

I suspect that those who knew CAMELCASE are spending too much time online, and need to get out into the real world more.

I've somehow managed to escape any exposure to COOLBEANS in spite of being of coming of age in the Jimi Hendrix era, whence that phrase originated, according to Urban Dictionary.

OTOH, I am very familiar with BLOWHOTANDCOLD, and with Joe Camel, Cool and Blow, so the theme mostly worked.

So: some interesting theme entries, and two nice long ones; but also APER, ETUI, NONO, TMEN, UMA, URAL, USER, ABUT, OMEN and of course OREO. Seems a high price to pay.

Musically, I'm with @Mohair Sam:
1. I Shot the Sheriff - Marley. Absolutely.

rondo 12:19 PM  

Same solve start as Matt. Exactly. Have had HEY JOE on album and eight track and CD, couldn’t have been a bigger gimme for starters. Good thing we didn’t repeat JOE College.

As for murderous songs, every second heavy metal or rap song out there qualifies. But I would go with Psycho Killer by the Talking Heads. Run run run run run run run run away.

UMA should get the yeah baby hall of fame award for making so many appearances. Is LARA Spencer too obscure?

Decent Mon-puz, I knew the JOEs, though COOLBEANS and CAMELCASE are unknown to me. I’d’ve preferred JOE Six-pack (of something).

rondo 12:55 PM  

Almost forgot - another opportunity to clue 1a as "Packer Clinton-Dix" since his first name is actually HAHA.

leftcoastTAM 1:28 PM  

I don't get Rex's "Easy like Monday Morning" rating. Mondays as a general rule are easier than the rest of the week. But any given Monday, like today's, can have some feature or features that make the puzzle a bit more of a challenge than an "average" or "medium" Monday.

ASEXUAL, COOLBEANS, HAJJ/JOE cross (if you don't go directly to the revealer), and the AIDAN/AGAVE cross.

Guess if you're a super- or speed-solver, any day of the week begins to look like an "easy" day, especially M-W.

leftcoastTAM 1:30 PM  

Oh, yeah, and CAMELCASE, as others have mentioned.

Diana,LIW 6:18 PM  

I knew the Joes, but solved like a themeless and didn't see them until I was done and came here. Back in the day (high school) I wasn't a Hendrix fan, and heard the song but didn't know the name "Hey Joe." So Hey Hoe (Hi Ho the deerie oh?) made sense.

Other than that it was pretty easy for me.

Murder songs? How about the old one, "Frankie and Johnnie"

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Sailor 12:40 AM  

@leftcoastTAM: Easy Like Monday Morning Crosswords

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