Exemplar of masculinity / MON 8-29-16 / CBS spinoff set in SoCal / Clic Stic pen maker / 1990s fitness fad with infomercials

Monday, August 29, 2016

Constructor: David Steinberg

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (triviality of themers was only hold-up)

THEME: WYOMING (39A: Squarest of the 50 states) — uh ... OK. Some Wyoming things:

Theme answers:
  • OLD FAITHFUL (17A: Famous geyser in 39-Across)
  • DEVIL'S TOWER (11D: Noted rock formation in 39-Across)
  • JACKSON HOLE (24D: Skiing mecca in 39-Across)
  • FORT LARAMIE (60A: Historic trading post in 39-Across) 
Word of the Day: DEVIL'S TOWER
Devils Tower (Lakota: Matȟó Thípila or Ptehé Ǧí, which means "Bear Lodge" and "Brown Buffalo Horn", respectively) is an laccolithic butte composed of igneous rock in the Bear Lodge Mountains (part of the Black Hills) near Hulett and Sundance in Crook County, northeastern Wyoming, above the Belle Fourche River. It rises dramatically 1,267 feet (386 m) above the Belle Fourche River, standing 867 feet (265 m) from summit to base. The summit is 5,112 feet (1,559 m) above sea level. // Devils Tower was the first declared United States National Monument, established on September 24, 1906, by President Theodore Roosevelt. The Monument's boundary encloses an area of 1,347 acres (545 ha) // In recent years, about 1% of the Monument's 400,000 annual visitors climbed Devils Tower, mostly using traditional climbing techniques. (wikipedia)
• • •

Really? WYOMING? Because ... it's square (-ish). And crosswords are made of squares (-ish)!?!? That is ... not strong. NO FUN. A thematic FLOP. Grid is filled well enough, but Mars must really need Monday puzzles if this is passing muster, theme-wise. The only pleasure I got from the theme was the odd coincidence of solving it right after I'd (re- re- re-) watched "Shane" earlier on Sunday (part of Jean Arthur day on TCM). Watching the intro by Ben Mankiewicz, I learned that George Stevens was very particular about scouting the location for the movie, which ended up being somewhere around ... JACKSON HOLE. Beautiful (the scenery and the movie). But that's not much as theme pleasure goes. Maybe the bar for themes is super-low on Mondays as long as the fill isn't dreck. And the fill isn't dreck. So here we are.

I think I average somewhere in the 2:50s on Monday, and today was in the 2:40s, hence the relative difficulty of Easy-Medium. Would've been super easy but for FORT LARAMIE and DEVIL'S TOWER, both of which required lots of crosses before I got them. MAN'S MAN (nice answer) was also slightly hard to parse (50A: Exemplar of masculinity). Speaking of MAN'S MAN: Shane! That movie is about nothing if not Being A Man. Removing Stumps! Getting in Barfights! Making Hot But Respectful Eyes at Nice Married Ladies! Making Young Boys Worship You! Van Heflin and all those homesteader ("sodbuster") guys are just limp until Shane rides into town and stands up to that terrible Riker gang! (I'm talking about "Shane" so I don't have to talk about this puzzle, about which I have no more to say) Gonna go admire Jean Arthur some more now. Good night, everyone.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Dr. Bunger 12:07 AM  

"I knew what was threatened, and off it came," leaving only a STUB. But, Captain Boomer saw me as a "solemn rogue" and bore it well. Not at all like that Nantucket whaler's captain.

Unknown 12:19 AM  

My fastest Monday to date! Probably because I live in Montana. Never had heard of TAEBO though... must've been before my time :)

Ellen S 12:29 AM  

@Dr. Bunger, what's that? Moby-Dick? Two Years Before the Mast? Peter Pan?

Anyway, as to the puzzle, this was for me the easiest NYT puzzle ever. Not a single "check entry" let alone Google. I don't turn on the timer because I'm always being interrupted and don't know how to turn off Puzzazz's timer, and no, don't tell me how because seeing my times would be too depressing.

I read about the theme on xwordinfo, and that made it slightly more interesting, but mostly it was just fill in the blanks (what the good solvers are always complaining about). I think I had less trouble than @Rex, since I knew JACKSON HOLE and FORT LARAMIE were in WYOMING, and, oh, I think I knew the state is square-ish. Never heard of the DEVILS TOWER (or DEVIL STOWER, as the case may be) but didn't care, it filled itself in.

Nits: 41A: to be sure, OVA are "lab eggs" but aren't all eggs OVA?
16A: yes a political period is an ERA, like the "post-Depression ERA" or "ERA of Good Feelings", or "Pre-Trump ERA" (jeez I hope not), but other stretches of time are also ERAs. Like geological.
Those two looked like an attempt to make the clues more interesting for old crossword friends, but I found them somewhat -- what's that M&A always says? A hint of desperation about them?

Dr. Bunger 12:43 AM  

Peter Who? Dana's narrative is well-loved, but he was on a merchant ship. Cow hides vs. barrels of sperm oil? Full disclosure, I am a beloved character in Moby-Dick, hyphenated per NYT's standards.

Tita A 1:01 AM  

A bit ho-hum, hot on the heels of the National Parks Service tribute puzzle.

Liked those stacked SPORTY MUSCKES cars. Agree about the odd clue for OVA, and why not throw in the odd clue for FIT..
Liked DINE crossing SALAD, But a little too close to ECOLI. Does Gold MEDAL flour have a GLUTEN-free variety?

FLOP/PENCE....does Mr. Steinbergbknow something?

Tita A 1:04 AM  

That would be "stacked SPORTY MUSCLES cars", of course.

Jeff Lewis 1:04 AM  


Sheryl 1:13 AM  

Very easy puzzle except for not having heard of JENGA before, but readily got it from crosses,

I live in NYC and I know it's terrible and makes me the worst kind of stereotypical New Yorrker, but my opinion of the theme was, Wyoming?? Who cares? Apologies to all those from the beautiful State of Wyoming.

Anonymous 1:52 AM  

Workmanlike. Boring. Would have preferred "Valet" as a clue for MAN'S MAN. Next.


P.S. No grade, Michael? I thought the precedent had been set.

anthonyrome 1:59 AM  

As a completely non stereotypical rock ribbed Wyoming liberal, I can only say how disappointed I am with many of the comments here. Why shouldn't you care about open country and unblemished skies? When you walk Broadway next you should remind yourself that it traces the line of an old cattle trail. Out here where time moves slower we're afforded those luxuries.

anthonyrome 2:04 AM  

As a completely non stereotypical rock ribbed Wyoming liberal, I can only say how disappointed I am with many of the comments here. Why shouldn't you care about open country and unblemished skies? When you walk Broadway next you should remind yourself that it traces the line of an old cattle trail. Out here where time moves slower we're afforded those luxuries.

Martín Abresch 2:35 AM  

This smile brought a smile to my face, but I lived in (FORT) LARAMIE for over a decade.

JACKSON_HOLE might be the best-known town name in Wyoming, but there is no town of that name. The ski resort is named JACKSON_HOLE; the town is named JACKSON. Referring to the town as JACKSON_HOLE is a dead giveaway that you're from out of state.

My memory of DEVIL'S_TOWER is of my family scrambling over the boulder field at the base of the tower. My little sister, about 5 at the time, made her way over the rocks with a single-minded resolve. "I can do it," she repeated. My parents kept a close eye on her, but her determination never flagged. In this regard, the years have not changed her much.

I have many friends from and fond memories of Wyoming, but god spare me from the kind of sentimental self-righteousness that @anthonyrome expresses. Gag me with a spoon. Reminds me of why I escaped the state and moved to Seattle.

jae 2:41 AM  

Easy, solid grid and what @Rex said even after reading David's comments at Xwordinfo.

Anonymous 2:43 AM  

Devils Tower, Walden Pond, anything related to Boston or New York or that side of the Rockies (the Midwest?), American pop culture icons, why bother caring? Knowledge for its own sake? The pleasure of pulling out a long shot allusion, picking one of many possibilities... so?
I thought those were inside thoughts

chefwen 2:46 AM  

Wasn't too sure David knew how to construct an easy puzzle, but this one proves that he can. TEJANO and NEBULAE not you usual Monday words, but they filled in nicely as well.

Dear Old Dad made sure that my brother and I saw most of the National Parks while we were growing up. Mind you, not a great experience, sitting in the back seat of an un-air conditioned Rambler in the middle of summer fighting with ones sibling. "You're on my half, NO you're on mine, MOM!!! DOD saying "don't make me stop this car"! Ahh, memories. Anyway, that made this much easier, thanks to my father trying his best to educate his ungrateful children.

Anonymous 4:11 AM  

@Martin - Sentimental, sure. But nothing self-righteous about the post you refer to. Possibly self-satisfied. Possibly.

George Barany 5:09 AM  

Why oh why WYOMING? As my friend @David Steinberg explains elsewhere, the four theme entries appear in the approximately correct geographic locations, and the overall standard 15x square grid size approximates the more-or-less square shape of the state. Nicely done!

Side note: I first heard of JACKSON_HOLE not from the ski resort in Wyoming, but as the name of a popular hamburger joint in New York City a hop and a skip from my alma mater, The Rockefeller University. A quick Google search confirms that the original location (64th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue) still thrives (click here) but it has expanded into some sort of franchise (still family owned).

Jeff Anderson 5:37 AM  

If Rex had watched "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" yesterday instead of "Shane" he might have found Devil's Tower easier to get. Just sayin'

Hungry Mother 6:01 AM  

Very easy and about a state I love to visit.

Aketi 7:30 AM  

I found it EASY, a new personal record with this one. I would have finished faster if I hadn't put NONPC stubbornly into 1a knowing full well that it was IMACS for a second.

@George Barany, ditto on JACKSON HOLE

Liked the CAMEL crossing WYOMING. Turns out there are CAMELs in WYOMING,

Andrew Goodridge 7:40 AM  

Mr. Feeny briefly retired to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, before Corey talked him into coming back to Philadelphia. Everybody knows that.

Jordan Silverstein 7:54 AM  

"This means something."
The only reason I know anything about DEVILS TOWER...

kitshef 8:01 AM  

I thought it was a great theme on a Monday. There's only so much trickeration you can spring early in the week, so having the grid be a learning experience about one of our fellow 50 seems a great idea.

Corners positively stuffed with threes, but they hold up surprisingly well.

Besides the themers, a TIBIA here and a CAFTAN there added some spice.

chefbea 8:06 AM  

Good easy Monday puzzle...of course loved the foods..flour, KFC, and salad

Hand up for watching Shane yesterday...what a movie!!!

Hartley70 8:17 AM  

I'm delighted to see Wyoming get some attention today and to learn a little something along the way. Who knew it was the squarest of the square and that Broadway was a cattle trail? Is that second part true? And David Steinberg...is he cute or what when he says he knocked this off over spring break in several hours and after placing the themers, "whipped up the fill"? He makes it sound sooo easy, like the white, fluffy fill in the ubiquitous OREO. Oh right, oreo. It was on a break today. Thanks for that, David.

As an insular Northeasterner, I found this theme refreshing, and not a bit boring anywhere. In fact, I could do all 50 states and Guam as long as they were spaced out appropriately. Now there's a BADGE and an Eagle Project for David!

aging soprano 8:17 AM  

Easy and fun. And thank all the posters last week who brought me up to date on the difference between a SOUNDTRACK and an ORIGINAL BROADWAY CAST ALBUM. Now I know.
Since I have lived out of the USA for over 40 years, there are many products, fads, TAEBO for one, and just contemporary stuff I don't know. But I'm learning. I did know JENGA, but not TEJANO. But everything fell in with the crosses today. Is SAMOSA an Indian Indian pastry or an American Indian pastry? Would one eat it in WYOMING?

aging soprano 8:17 AM  

Easy and fun. And thank all the posters last week who brought me up to date on the difference between a SOUNDTRACK and an ORIGINAL BROADWAY CAST ALBUM. Now I know.
Since I have lived out of the USA for over 40 years, there are many products, fads, TAEBO for one, and just contemporary stuff I don't know. But I'm learning. I did know JENGA, but not TEJANO. But everything fell in with the crosses today. Is SAMOSA an Indian Indian pastry or an American Indian pastry? Would one eat it in WYOMING?

Z 8:22 AM  

I guess the squarest state requires the squarest puzzle.

I started toting up Pop Culture, Product Names, and Proper Nouns because they are inherently lesser answers in a crossword puzzle. Sure, we all get that tickle of pride when the trivia is trivia we know. We also get the tickle of irked annoyance when the trivia is something trivial to us. IMACS, JENGA, Hoover DAM, Gold MEDAL Flour, E. COLI, OLD FAITHFUL. That is SIX of the first seven answers. Personally, if you're going to do a state tribute, make an album.

Dilly, just because.

Roo Monster 8:26 AM  

Hey All !
Colorado is also square, no? Is Wyoming squarer? Maybe less interesting stuff in Colorado...

Good ole DS, dipping his toe into the easiness of a MonPuz. Thought it was a good puz, was easy, with a couple of crunchies thrown in for good measure. Odd clue on VET, to add to the previous commentors odd-clue list. ACHOO missing first H? How it looks to me, anyway.


George Barany 8:50 AM  

Quick ps about JACKSON_HOLE -- front page news, insofar as it is the site of the current annual meeting of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Janet Yellin et al. BTW, fellow constructors, get to work: YELLIN has yet to appear in the answer word list of the New York Times crossword!

evil doug 8:50 AM  

Where E.D. diverted when his 757's left engine just up and quit: CASPER.

Kept hoping for that irritating kid in Shane to get shot. And Jean Arthur was too old for that part. I think the producer threw her a bone (perhaps more than just metaphorically)....

Mohair Sam 9:19 AM  

Jeezuus! What is wrong with you people? A nice Monday salute to the state of Wyoming and you're all pissed off. How dare we acknowledge life west of the Hudson River! Next Monday maybe a salute to Mayor Lindsay, you'll all feel better.

@Rex - Erstwhile movie buff - Next time "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" shows on Turner take a note that the weird thing Richard Dreyfus and all those other folks are drawn to throughout the flick is DEVILS TOWER. Pay attention.

PENCE: Love the Cockney slang for being broke - "Ain't got tupence 'ap'nny"

Shane a favorite in this house too. Great moment when Jack Palance makes his first entrance into the saloon and the mongrel dog sitting by the swinging doors slinks in fear across the set. Apparently the dog's reaction was unscripted, but boy does it ever define Palance's mean character.

But I've digressed - Great Monday, as good as they get. Re-read @Rex's review and take out the part where he's not happy with Wyoming, he liked the puzzle. So did I.

jberg 9:32 AM  

I was surprised to come here and find no one screaming in terror, "There's GLUTEN in the puzzle!" Maybe we're moving on from the overdoing of that dietary exclusion - necessary for some, but not for most.

Anyway, I got OLD FAITHFUL right off and thought "not again!" - but was happy to see that the theme was completely different. I've been in Wyoming quite a bit; if you ever go, you're sure to take in Yellowstone and the Tetons -- my suggestion is to leave Yellowstone by the east entrance and stop in Custer to see the Buffalo Bill Center of the West; surprisingly good.

I thought it was a fun Monday; certainly an easy one.

booksell 9:44 AM  

Agree with @Hartley70's last paragraph. Having each state as a Monday or Tuesday theme would be fun and educational, appropriately spread out, of course. Now that would make America great again!

ArtO 9:45 AM  

Spent only a few days in Wyoming years ago on a "business" trip. Beautiful Tetons and plenty more to love in that quiet part of the country.

Much unnecessary ado over the theme for a typical Monday. I guess OFL has to maintain his rep for being a middle aged curmudgeon. Surprised to find DS early in the week.

johnny stocker 9:55 AM  

FORT LARAMIE and DEVILS TOWER required multiple crosses for you? Sounds like two gigantic holes in your knowledge base. I've only been within 500 miles of Wyoming once in my life, and I dropped those right in. My quickest Monday of the year, of course I was about 45 seconds slower than you because it is physically impossible for me to fill a crossword quicker than 3:30. I'm not sure how anybody does it.

Incidentally, I liked it a lot. Thought it was a really nice Monday.

Nancy 9:56 AM  

Re: 60D. No, David. If it goes on too snugly, it really doesn't FIT. Ask any woman in a dressing room with a three-way mirror. Ask Johnnie Cochran.

Other than my FIT nit, I thought this was "crunchier" than many Mondays. TExANO, before TEJANO (wha that?) slowed me down a bit. A nice puzzle.

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

Wyoming was the first state where women could vote. Only wish the constructor had worked that in. NYC geography of considerable obscurity often provides answers and clues... well, it is the NYT. Once NYC had a fascination with the west, eg, The Dakota.

GILL I. 10:26 AM  

My husband and I drove from Salt Lake City to Cheyenne. I so wish we had taken 15 north and headed for OLD FAITHFUL. As it turned out, we drove the southern route and it was dang awful. Nothing to see, nada, nyet, not even a tumbleweed. When we got to deserted Cheyenne in mid Oct. it was cold, empty, and nary a saloon to be found. In our dreary hotel room, I found a list of things Wyoming was famous for. It was the first state to give the women a vote and that's were JCPenny got started. My bucket list includes seeing the Tetons. I want to see a live cowboy....
I thought this was just a real fine Monday puzzle. Speaking of TEJANO music, one of Mexico's hottest singers died yesterday. Juan Gabriel was the love song crooner of all the crooners ever to love love songs. I listen to Latino music from time to time and he was always on. I would play the radio as loud as I could and sing along. I'd get stares...long stares....EPA and RIP.

Chaos344 10:38 AM  

@Martin: Seattle? Who cares!

Floregonian 10:42 AM  

When my wife and I moved from Portland, Oregon to Fort Lauderdale, Florida 15 years ago (the wrong direction, I know but it is what it is) we ended up skirting the SW corner of Wyoming. That was a heck of a long drive overall, but that drive through Wyoming was particularly dry and monotonous. Which is too bad, since there's so much beautiful stuff in Wyoming, right? But we had two cats in the car with us and no reasonable way to stop and explore. Summer heat + cats in a car without the A/C running = trouble. We named that chunk of Wyoming—and that part of the trip—"Wyoming forever." Compared with what we saw coming through eastern Oregon, it was a little plain—like this theme. Maybe apropos?

I don't feel particularly self-righteous about it, but I was glad to spend some time in the middle of the country while solving this. And it was a nice, clean puzzle, to boot.

Joseph Michael 10:43 AM  

I guess it's kind of interesting that the shape of the puzzle resembles Wyoming and that the landmarks are geographically accurate, but I agree with Rex that there was not a lot of FUN in solving this puzzle.

Did appreviate the general fill quality and liked the close proximity of MAN'S MAN, MUSCLES, and SPORTY.

RAD2626 10:44 AM  

Thought this was an odd puzzle. Unusual Monday entries such as JENGA, TEJANO, and DEVILS TOWER, juxtaposed against some easier-than-Monday clues like "Note after fa", and "Eggs over _____". But all in all, clean and fun and I learned something.

I think I wrote this before, but one of the funniest film scenes ever is the corral commotion in Shane where the cows try to climb the fence. Just a hoot. "Cue the cows". I hope they did it in one take.

Wm. C. 10:51 AM  


Broadway originally a Cattle Trail, who knew. I did know that what is now central and upper Manhattan was a forested outback above the wharves on the battery into the 1800s, though.

And speaking of Cattle Trails, so too were the rambling network of streets in downtown Boston. The orderly Back Bay's layout of blocks only occurred because it WAS, in fact, originally a Bay in Back of John Winthrop's "City on the Hill," the "Hub of the Universe" (attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes, referring to the State House dome). The Back Bay was filled in increments in the 19th century, by gravel brought in by rail cars from a quarry 20 miles west.

More than ou wanted to know?

Go Sox!

old timer 10:55 AM  

Walkin' down through LARAMIE with Snag-Tooth Sal! Fine old cowboy song and glad to think of it again.

Super-fast Monday, or would have been, but LARAMIE did not come to mind, nor DEVILSTOWER. JACKSONHOLE and OLDFAITHFUL did of course. Been there, rode the Gondola and timed the Geyser. Though only in the summer. Jackson is a fun town and the Tetons are lovely. A bonus would have been to find room for Thermopolis in the middle of the puzzle. Stayed there with our kids 15-20 years ago. It's where the hippies went to grow old and hang out in bars (and hot springs).

I don't know why our Grouch-in-Chief didn't like the puzzle, I liked it a lot.

Anoa Bob 11:08 AM  

Nice grid design that allows for four, eleven-letter themers plus a reveal that has only two of its letters, the Y & N, crossing only two of the themers. This opens things up for some better-than-average Monday fill, such as TEJANO & NEBULAE (hi @chefwen).

We hear lots of TEJANO down here in TexMex land. It ranges from Spanish to the south to TexMex Honky Tonk to the north. One of my favorite performers, who is at home at either end, is the Squeeze Box King, Flaco Jiménez. Here he is at the southern end of the spectrum with El Mojado Sin Licensia, The Wetback Without a Driver's Liscense.

Andrew Heinegg 11:14 AM  

I am with the thumbs up folks. While this was more Tuesday-Wednesdayish to me, I liked it. I also think it is ironically amusing that one of the most exclusive recreational areas is in a State (which I have driven through many times) that has one of the most stark looking landscape that you could ever see rivalled only by Eastern Montana and parts of North Dakota.

I have no idea why the Wyoming theme got so many people sideways. Why not?

Masked and Anonymous 11:20 AM  

For some inexplicable reason, M&A was subconsciously compelled to sculpt a gigantic mountain-shaped monument, out of his mashed taters.

Wyoming is a beautiful, square state. This was a beautiful, square puzzle. Folks shouldn't be Cheyenne away from it. har

Weeject stacks in every corner! DAM! Now, that's what M&A calls a beautiful state.

Thanx, Mr. Steinberg. Lookin forward to a Texas-shaped puz, after things settle down, a little bit.

Masked & Anonymo5Us

Tita A 11:37 AM  

As far as this New Yorker knows, and what I can "verify" via google, Broadway was a thoroughfare from its earliest days- a major trade route used by the Lenape. Cows were introduced by Europeans, long after the route was already established.
And if cows were traipsing about Manhattan, wouldn't they have generated the same type of warren of criss-cross streets that Bostonians now enjoy?

Fun NY fact that IS true...

Wall Street is named for the wall that was the northern border of New Amsterdam in the 17th c.

GILL I. 11:47 AM  

@Anoa....Can you see my feet tapping and my hands clapping?

Numinous 12:05 PM  

This took me a bit longer than usual but I wasn't going for fast, I was just loafing along. I've crossed the country by bus via I 80 a few times in the distant past and have driven it a couple times too. The last time, heading west from Minneapolis to S.F., I remember sleeping in the back of my Vega station wagon while my passenger watched a movie across the street in Cheyenne. I believe I drove that whole way with only one nap. The other thing I recall about Wyoming was the "blizzard" I drove through. Several times, in order to pass a semi I had to grit my teeth, pull along-side and watch the side of the truck because the snow thrown up by its wheels completely blocked any forward vision. Gotta say, that was pretty scary. Had to chuckle though at one point. On the west side of Donner Pass, the CHP was making all the cars put chains on and rent them if they didn't have any. When they saw me with my Minnesota plates and snow tires on the back, they waved me right through. Now here is the chuckle. The road was dry and snowless the entire way up and down both sides.

There are a lot of DEVILS in the US. Let's see, there is of course TOWER, but then there is Punchbowl, Pool, Den, Postpile, Hole, Spring, Slide, Pass, and Peak, to mention a few. I'm not sure how many of those are in Wyoming other than the one.

I was surprised to see David's moniker on this Monday work. Along with others here, I wouldn't mind if he took the banner and ran for more Monday or Tuesday state puzzles. This had good fill, some very nice longer entries (as have already been mentioned) and very little ICK. I enjoyed this. Nice to see David broadening his horizons and getting away from his flashy attempts to impress with his erudition. My step-son and his cronies used to do that when they were in high school too.

Good work, David, you're becoming the "Real Deal".

Carola 12:11 PM  

I thought it was a really good Monday puzzle, kept me interested the whole way. Mostly EASY with just enough nuggets of not-so-easy.
Watching "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" years ago, I assumed that DEVIL'S TOWER was some made-up movie thing, so on a subsequent airline trip across the Plains my eyes widened and jaw dropped as I saw it looming up from the landscape.
Speaking of airlines, @Tita, your comment about DINE x SALAD and its proximitiy to E COLI - and its cross with AIL - reminded me of the results of a SALAD eaten on a plane from Mexico City in 1969. It was that bad.
I liked the SPORTY area of the puzzle: AT SEA witih OARS, a MANS MAN with ACHY MUSCLES.

Wm. C. 12:31 PM  

@Numinous --

Re: CHP stopping you on the Donner Pass --

Similar things happened to me in Colorado skiing at Vail a couple of times.

The second time, State Cops were stopping people heading east in a blizzard up Vail Pass on I70. But when they saw me in my 2-ton Suburban (filled with me, wife, 3 kids, 2 grandparents, the family dog, and assorted luggage), they just smiled and waved me through. I got home with no problems.

The first time was not nearly as fortuitous. We had just moved to C/S from Mass and bought the new Suburban there. Turns out there was a recall on the vehicle, for a faulty clamp that holds the plastic fuel line into the bottom of the fuel tank. The high altitude caused extra suction and vibration in the line, causing it to gradually rise from the tank bottom to a higher spot in the tank. So there we were heading up Vail Pass in a blizzard, car full, with a half tank of fuel indicated on the dashboard, when the engine cut out.

Pulled over to the side, but no traffic to assist us for about a half hour until a state cop finally came and radioed for a tow truck. It hooked us up in the rear. Normally there would be no-one in a towed vehicle, they'd ride in the truck's crew cab. But no room for all of us, so there we were riding backwards in a tilted Suburban, The front wheel were locked straight, but with a little sway that caused the front end to swerve rapidly left and right in the blizzard. Needless to say, we were traumatized by the time we got to the garage in Silverthorne.

They had to drop the gas tank and empty I before replacing the clamp. Had to stay overnight to wait for the replacement part. I tried to get the dealer to reimburse for the expenses. When he refused I sued in small claims court and won.

Cassieopia 12:37 PM  

Married in Idaho, honeymoon was a camping trip in Wyoming. Overheard in the women's bathroom at Jenny Lake campground: "I thought the mountains would be bigger." My guess was an easterner, as she was also busy blowing out her hair. In a campground restroom.

On that same trip, we accidentally locked ourselves out of our pickup in the middle of nowhere, decades before cell phones. What to do? A car pulls up with Jersey plates, the driver discovers our predicament, and yells over to his buddy, "hey, Vince, I gotta small job for ya!" We were back in our car within 60 seconds, so the east coast population redeemed itself.

Puzzle was easy and fast and brought back a lot of very happy memories. I especially enjoyed "where the bouys are" - cute pun with a Monday-difficult answer, very well done overall, I thought.

puzzle hoarder 12:37 PM  

It's ironic that after scrapping his original idea of a picture puzzle the constructor made ONE anyway. This one creates a puzzle version of those souvenir plates and trays that you see in the antique shops where a state's landmarks are represented as little pictures in their approximate locations on the map.

OISK 12:39 PM  

I wouldn't mind a puzzle themed around any state - geography over hip-hop pop any time. And since we are planning a trip to Wyoming next year for the total solar eclipse, it was very apropos. Never heard of Jenga, which slowed me down, but this was an apt, solvable Monday puzzle.

Masked and Anonymous 1:07 PM  

@RP: Is that Jean Arthur, shakin her booty, in yer little b/w blog pic? Is that from that flick where she lives in DC during the WWII era, and (sorta unintentionally) rents out part of her apartment to a couple of dudes? [That plot then got remade, as Cary Grant's last flick.]

Puz related ort: {Question from Flash Gordon to his arch enemy, about that Mongo Emperor's surprising taste in magazines??} = … ? [answer way down below].

Jean Arthur had real good taste in which flicks to star in. Really enjoyed about all of em. I mean, shoot -- "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town", "The Talk of the Town" (Cary Grant!), "Shane", that booty-shakin one above that M&A couldn't remember the name of, etc.


answer: WHY O, MING?

Grace Lee 1:11 PM  

I really liked this puzzle as Wyoming is one of my favorite places to visit! I've been to what's left of the Shane homestead...pretty wrecked but the views are still spectacular! Another great Wyoming movie: Spencer's Mountain with Henry Fonda and Maureen O'Hara!

UncleJohnC 1:14 PM  

@Anon at 10:04 AM
It's been my understanding that The Dakota was so named because at the time of its construction, nothing else was being developed for miles around. It was being built in the middle of nowhere hence "as far out as Dakota-itself".

Further [Spoiler Alert]
I also enjoyed Shane yesterday and recalled how, growing up in NYC, whenever Channel 11 would run the movie, the commercials on the preceding days would announce, "Wednesday night - Alan Ladd as Shane" followed by a clip of Alan Ladd shooting Jack Palance. They'd show the climactic ending in the friggin' commercial!

BTW - the puzzle was O.K in my book.

Teedmn 1:17 PM  

Nothing like shooting oneself in the foot to make Monday complete. Not that I didn't finish successfully but I added 30 seconds to my usual Monday by starting with @Nancy's TExANO, seeing zAC forming at 24D so it became TEzANO where finally JACKSONHOLE gave me the J and, yeah, it's TEJANO, silly!

Then there's I'M fine but actually I'M just OKAY. Edsel and New Coke were Fads and I was even thinking to myself, "New Coke a fad, not likely!" The very SAaAD entry I got at 33A helped clear that up.

I suppose there were TROOPs stationed at FORT LARAMIE but not likely any HYENAs.

Nice theme idea, David Steinberg, thanks!

Anonymous 1:17 PM  

@jberg: You mean Cody, not Custer (for the Buffalo Bill Center of the West)

JC66 1:21 PM  

If Broadway was, in fact a cattle trail, where was it heading to? Or coming from?

JC66 1:26 PM  

@Tita A

Sorry. I posted before reading your comment.

Andrea Ojeda 1:55 PM  

Agreed! I tire of all this newyorkcentrism too.

Bill L. 2:12 PM  

I agree with the earlier commenter who said they would like to see a puzzle for each of the states. Sorry, I’m too lazy to go back and search for your name. Why not a year’s worth of Monday puzzles with a different state/territory each time?

I spent a year in Meeteetse and a year in Pinedale and had a great time. Meeteetse with a population of about 360 is mostly a ranching town so I was amazed when the good folks there, having invited us to a barbecue at the fire station, provided veggie burgers for my vegetarian bride.

I have to chime in on the clear skies the Wyomingite mentioned earlier – mostly yes, but sadly, not always. While I was in Pinedale fracking for shale gas in the Pinedale Anticline and Jonah Field was in full swing. The soot from all the diesel engines and the flaring of wells obscured the Wind River Mountains quite regularly, forcing DEQ to issue ozone alerts. It’s my understanding that the boom has busted, at least for now, so it may no longer be a problem.

Grocery shopping was always a trip, literally. In Meeteetse the closest grocery store was in Cody, an hour away by car. And, while Pinedale has a small store, I usually drove 75 miles to Jackson or 100 miles to Rock Springs for a better selection.

BTW, is Meeteetse in your wordlist constructors? Meeteetse (Wyoming town where the black-footed ferret was rediscovered after having been listed as extinct two years earlier)

Mexgirl 2:14 PM  

What now, snobby intellectuals can't be bothered with states outside the thirteen original colonies? What a big waste of time it is to talk about a state that is home to one, if not the most important, National Parks, where bison, elk and moose roam, where there's no end to its natural beauty, home of at least four great tribes, a state that was first to extend rights to women voters, first to have women serve on juries and the first state to elect a woman governor, a state where skiing is phenomenal and, yes, its shape is perfectly and comically rectangular.
But no, Wyoming is not New York so we find it boring. Honestly, the arrogance.....

Nancy 2:39 PM  

As a lover of nature and scenic beauty, I'm a New Yorker who does not sneer at the wide open spaces of the rest of the country. I've been to JACKSON HOLE and I've seen OLD FAITHFUL erupt. But, sorry, @Bill L (2:12), I just take any place called Meeteetse seriously. I just can't! It's pointless for me to even try. If the town had its own song, would it be a cross between "Meet Me In St. Louis" and "Toot, Toot, Tootsie, Goodbye"? Who named that absurd-sounding town, anyway?

Nancy 2:41 PM  

I was trying to type "I just can't take...seriously."

evil doug 3:00 PM  

"I just can't take any place called Meeteetse seriously. I just can't! It's pointless for me to even try.Who named that absurd-sounding town, anyway?"

I'm guessing it was Native Americans, Nancy. You know, those folks who came up with Yaphank, Queechy Lake, and Patchogue--all in, whaddya know, New York. Oh, and also Manhattan. I have trouble taking *that* place seriously....

Z 3:01 PM  

The issue isn't WYOMING. It is that the theme is Trivial Trivia. Make it NYC. Make it Hawai'i. Make it Michigan (well, that grid might be kind of cool). I don't care. If I want state trivia, or National Park trivia, or European River trivia, or any other geographic trivia I'll go to the bar on trivia night. Or maybe National Geographic. I prefer Crossword puzzles, not crosstrivia puzzles. Are there people who will like this puzzle? Sure. I am not one of them. That says nothing about my liking or disliking WYOMING.

Anoa Bob 4:17 PM  

Yeah @Gill I., hard not to get caught up in that music! Jiménez has won many awards, including induction into the Austin City Limits 2015 Hall of Fame. Un Mojado Sin Licensia is also the title of one of his albums, available on YouTube.

chefbea 4:34 PM  

Just saw that Gene Wilder passed away. RIP

evil doug 5:00 PM  

Mel Brooks - - >The Producers - - >
Gene Wilder=

Nancy 5:04 PM  

I thought the fact that I was joking would have been obvious to one and all. My deliberately over-the-top language. My use of italics.That you of all people, Evil, would take umbrage and see it as -- what exactly? --a put-down of Native Americans [of all things] is simply astounding to me. Most Native American place names are actually quite euphonious: Pensacola; Sarasota; Ottawa -- they just roll off the tongue. But I don't care if Meeteetse was named by Chief Sitting Bull, himself -- it's a very funny name. And that's all I was saying. Please don't go looking for insults where there aren't any.

Anonymous 5:09 PM  

Why are you apologizing if you don't care? I like it when the puzzle takes us (New Yorkers) out of our little bubble.

evil doug 5:19 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
cfxk 5:22 PM  

Got DEVILS TOWER early. And then got waylaid because I was sure the theme had something to do with mashed potatoes.

Z 5:28 PM  

@Nancy5:04 - italics are no replacement for body language. I must confess that I thought you were serious, too. I've resorted to adding footnotes when I think I might be taken seriously inadvertently.

joerossm 5:34 PM  

Definitely not called for. Jean Arthur was, what, 53 when she made Shane (because George Stevens asked for her!). She looked 35. A great actress.

Mohair Sam 5:38 PM  

@Nancy - I knew you were in trouble when I read your post. Had to know you live in Manhattan to get the joke. Laughed when @Evil Doug pulled out Patchogue, I was born and raised there.

Best named town in America IMO is Show Low, AZ. The town was won in a poker game between two partners who owned the land. After hours of playing for rights to the town they agreed that the player with who could show the lowest card in the next hand would win the town. The winner showed the two of clubs, named the town Show Low, and the main street Duece of Clubs. Yes I've been there,it borders the White Mountain Apache Reservation with which I've done some business. Beautiful part of America.

joerossm 5:39 PM  

Definitely not called for. Jean Arthur was, what, 53 when she made Shane (because George Stevens asked for her!). She looked 35. A great actress.

Ed 5:40 PM  

Nancy, again, you're too smug for me. No explation need.

Michael 5:54 PM  

I liked that the puzzle was about Wyoming -- a nice change from the daily dose of New York and California and the Simpsons. But in truth I'd be happy with a puzzle about any state that is often either ignored or derided -- why not Delaware or New Jersey or Nebraska? I wonder if the constructor has ever been in Wyoming...

I almost got Naticked on a Monday. I kept looking at the _enga and -ete until finally jete came to me. Never heard of Jenga.

Cassieopia 7:52 PM  

I'm a Blazing Saddles gal myself. RIP Waco Kid.

Anonymous 11:30 PM  

Grand Tetons would have fit as well, but then someone would translate from French and be offended. It would not have been much a challenge to DS to find crosses given six of them are 3s and 4s.

Burma Shave 10:11 AM  


if one AILs, NURSE CLEO has the power
to rub every SPORTY MANSMAN’s tissue
and make that DAM STUB the DEVILSTOWER.


spacecraft 10:34 AM  

Don't know what OFL is on about; it's a theme like any other. The key element is smack in the middle, there are across AND down long themers--only four, but that allows for the fill to "go on snugly." It's a good, polished puzzle. Maybe he's going to do all fifty, which would make an interesting travelogue.

Everybody seems to have found a WOE; mine was SAMOSA, but as we all said, easily gettable from crosses. This grid was nothing if not 43-down. DOD is the fantastically hot Daniela Ruah of NCSILA: all you have to do is mention the series title and that's enough excuse to include her. I would include her...period. Field goal.

rondo 12:00 PM  

One state down and 49 to go. Seemed perfectly acceptable to me; don’t see why OFL finds it boring. No tall buildings or something. I’ve been to and thru WYOMING several times and have been to all the theme answers. WYOMING has that open sky and beautiful scenery. Stayed in JACKSON a coupla years ago as a base to see Yellowstone and of course OLDFAITHFUL. When in JACKSON, be sure to visit the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar; sit on the saddle barstool and have a local beer. Saw Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown perform there in 1975. Tremendous. Drove through LARAMIE once out of necessity, maybe bought gas there. Have been to DEVILSTOWER a number of times. You might remember it from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”. Had some vacation film developed once and only the DEVILSTOWER photos did not develop. You make the call.

Have eaten homemade SAMOSAs. Delish.

DAM @spacey, you beat me to it yet again. Don’t care for these episodes where such a SPORTY yeah baby merely lies in a coma.

There will be a party this weekend where we will play Giant JENGA. All of the pieces will be made from 2 X 4s. Huge FUN drinking game.

IMOKAY with doing a puz for each of our states, even in reverse alphabetical order. You can’t tell me learning such stuff is NOFUN!

leftcoastTAM 12:36 PM  

Nice theme and themers, evoking good memories of visit to Wyoming attractions.

Some bite with "J" words: JENGA, JETE, TEJANO, and the non-J SAMOSA, and sufficiently clean fill over all.

Must be a Steinberg!

Diana,LIW 7:37 PM  

Fine Monday, and fine Wyoming theme. Can't understand why "Wyoming" being a theme was a problem to some. Let's fight. Put 'em up!

A bit crunchy for a Monday, with the J answers being among the most obvious crunchers.

If I timed myself, this could have been near the fastest Monday. But I don't. 'Cause I've been to those big western states that give you long pause...

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords and wide open spaces

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