Bond girl Adams / MON 9-12-16 / Crankcase attachments / Modest swimming garment / Remove as currency from fixed rate

Monday, September 12, 2016

Constructor: Victor Fleming and Andrea Carla Michaels

Relative difficulty: Normal Monday, maybe slightly easier than normal (so ... Easy-Medium?)

THEME: homophonic verb phrases

Theme answers:
  • POLLS POLES (17A: Asks Warsaw residents their opinions?)
  • HEALS HEELS (11D: Cures the backs of feet?)
  • SELLS CELLS (27D: Finds buyers for smartphones?)
  • ADDS ADS (39A: Increases the number of commercials?)
  • PARES PEARS (62A: Peels some fruit?)
Word of the Day: MAUD Adams (24D: Bond girl Adams) —
Maud Solveig Christina Wikström (born 12 February 1945), known professionally as Maud Adams, is a Swedish actress, known for her roles as two different Bond girls: in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), and as the eponymous character in Octopussy (1983) as well as making a brief uncredited appearance in A View to a Kill (1985) . (wikipedia)
• • •

Sincerely, objectively, this is not good. This is far below the quality of puzzle the NYT should be putting out on a regular basis. Yes, even on Monday. Not only is the theme stale and corny, the fill is mediocre to bad in a way that shouldn't be acceptable any more, especially in an easy Monday puzzle. LOOIE RRS ASSN PEDI AND EMDASH ISDUE MAH AMIS ESAI UNPEG SACS ERTE ASIS SSGT ... for starters. It's an avalanche of the common, awkward, tedious. Virtually all clues are oriented toward some time roughly 30-50 years ago. I can't believe the NYT needs Mondays this badly. S.O.S.

[29D: Bette who won a Golden Globe Award for "Gypsy"]

But back to the theme—come on. If this is a theme ... you can make another just like it without much effort. SEARS SEERS, BARES BEARS, HAULS HALLS (Transports cough drops?) etc. And the themers we get today aren't even wacky. They do not even have the questionable virtue of Wackiness. I mean POLLS POLES, as clued, Does Not Require The "?" That Is Attached To It. It's literal. It's not even an unimaginable cuckoo kind of a thing. Just a thing. That rhymes. Homophones. Again, ugh. No real imagination here. As for solving problems, there were none except at the very end, when I had [Baby back ribs source] as PIT (as in "barbecue PIT"). I stood outside a barbecue joint while drinking a vanilla malt earlier today, so that may have had something to do with the error.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Ellen S 12:10 AM  

It's just a little hard to credit @Rex's trashing of an @ACME puzzle as sincere and objective. But, since he sincerely and objectively pretty much doesn't like any of the puzzles, maybe it is sincere and objective, not personal.

I don't know how to think about Mondays. They're supposed to be the least challenging, so it doesn't feel wrong when they're not challenging, and I thought the theme seemed okay for a beginner-level puzzle. And nice to see @Andrea's byline even if she's absent from the blog. Thank you, @Victor and @Andrea.

David Krost 12:21 AM  

I agree with @Ellen S. It isn't that anything Rex said about the puzzle is wrong in some absolute sense. It is just that Monday, and for that matter Tuesday, puzzles just aren't meant to be judged like the ones for more advanced/professional solvers. You have to remember, Rex, that on any given Monday there might be dozens or even several hundred people that are solving their first crossword or in the very early stages of their crossword solving life. For them it is fresh and new and probably challenging. For you and most of us on here, there is probably no real reason to ever look at a Monday or Tuesday puzzle save for our obsessive need to keep up our continuous puzzles solved streak.

Just saying it seems silly to keep bashing them week after week when clearly Will and the NYT have a different objective in mind than whatever it is you want instead.

Dr. Bunger 12:46 AM  

Bless my soul and curse the foul fiend's, this man's blood - bring the thermometer - it's at the boiling point! - his pulse makes these plank beat! - sir!

Larry Gilstrap 1:17 AM  

I might have to agree with OFL that this Monday effort is a bit lackluster: Ho hum homophonics. I'm not sure anyone from Glasgow would think of himself as being a BRIT, or am I wrong? Little known fact: Brian ENO was the producer of the Yardbirds' I'M A MAN. I made that up. I was convinced, for some reason, that paring and peeling were two different things, and it seems I was wrong. Living in the desert, I must corroborate the warning concerning CACTI and just about any other native plants in this area are armed with stickers, thorns, or spines. Of course, it depends upon how you are traveling.

Clark 1:22 AM  

Well I sure enjoyed this puzzle by two constructors I like. Thanks ACME and Judge Fleming. I had a pianist friend who hated Mozart. He thought that all of Mozart's themes were stale reworked versions of the same old thing ... that you could make more like them without much effort.

I pared some pears today for a pear tatin. I'm starting to like the pear version better than the apple one. Ah the tatin: familiar, classic, but not stale or corny.

jae 2:30 AM  

Medium for me. Got slightly hung up in the MAUD/I AM A MAN/EM DASH area and had luLl before CALM.

The MIDLER clue seems a tad obscure. Maybe Beaches, or the Johnny Carson finale, or @Rex Friends...

Not bad for a Mon., liked it better than Rex did.

Anonymous 2:42 AM  

If there is one word I despise when hearing descriptions of crossword puzzle clues/answers, it is:


I also loathe comic books and the Medieval era. No one above the age of 12 years old should read a comic book and nobody cares about the dismal Middle Ages, unless you dig Renaissance Faires and/or horrible theme restaurants in Anaheim, CA.

Plus, all the important American history happened before 1972.

Other than that, I really love this blog.

Martín Abresch 2:57 AM  

Personal status: bored.

Looking for interesting answers or clues, but all I see are ONE-PIECE, IRISH SEA, OIL PANS, ASH HEAP, and EM-DASH. There isn't one lively answer in this entire puzzle. There are only two non-theme clues ending in question marks, and neither is the slightest bit interesting: AHAB (Mariner in a whale of a novel?) and ASPCA (Abbreviation on a pound sign?).

The only thing that this puzzle has going for it is the theme. Perhaps you're the kind of person who smiles at SELLS CELLS (Finds buyers for smartphones?) or PARES PEARS (Peels some fruit?). I am not.

@David Krost - You remind Rex that Mondays are more important to new solvers than to us veterans, but it's you who is failing to look at this puzzle from the perspective of a new solver. If you did, you would criticize the stale fill: that's the stuff most likely to put off new solvers. It's exactly as Rex put it: "the fill is mediocre to bad in a way that shouldn't be acceptable any more, especially in an easy Monday puzzle.

Numinous 3:08 AM  

I think a complete novice might get a kick out of this puzzle. I didn't think that @Rex would. A Monday/Tuesday line must be a difficult thing to straddle. Simple enough for a newbie but interesting enough for a old solver. Trashing this puzzle seems a little like taking away a one-year-old's graduated rings and cone or graduated building blocks saying, "Oh, these are so trite," then replacing them with some of @Whirred Whacks's toys.

I was a bit bored by this and was not at all surprised finding another PARES clue. It was easy enough to do though I didn't time myself. I'm getting distractions here, it seems like, any time I try to do a puzz. I wouldn't even bother with commenting on this puzzle but the mother of my step-daughter has asked me to make this plea. Today SD entered Navy OCS in Rhode Island. For the next six to nine weeks she will be unable to have any interactive communication with her friends and loved ones. She is welcome to recieve snail mail encouragement from friends and acquaintances. If any of y'all would be willing to send on your good wishes, my email is available on my profile, contact me and I'll give you the details.

Loren Muse Smith 3:46 AM  

I'm with @Ellen S and @David Krost – there's room in the crossworld for straightforward, easy Monday themes. This one is a good one for beginners new to both the idea of a theme and to some guys who will show up again and again in this new endeavor: ESAI, ENO, ERTE… Aside from the area @jae notes, all the crosses are pretty easy.

Anyone else notice IMAM right under EMIRS?

I get that there are hyphens, n-dashes, and EM DASHes. But I don't get all the nuances of when to use which, and even if I did, I never know what my laptop is going to give me when I use that button. Sometimes it stays short and hyphenlike, and sometimes it mysteriously elongates into something dashlike. So if I have a dash when it should be a hyphen or vice versa, I admit it's pilot error. But I'm not losing any sleep over it.

GENT crosses PIG – hah!

Andrea, Vic – now I'll think about other theme possibilities all day… and marvel at the huge spelling mess our language has. Thanks!

Mike in Mountain View 4:25 AM  

Add me to the @Ellen S, @David Krost, @Loren Muse Smith list.

A puzzle like this one goes by so quickly, I wonder if anybody who didn't blog about it could dislike it very much. No, it doesn't hold up well under analysis, but most solvers of this puzzle will not be analyzing while (or after) they solve it.

Also, I don't buy into the idea that the existence of alternate theme answers undermines the theme. GALLS GAULS would have been fun, but I don't mind having the opportunity to think of coulda woulda answers after the solve.

Aretha Cacti Midler 5:03 AM  

"Some unexcited solvers on blog?" BORED BOARD.

"Acme took a glance, and now is sorry she did?" PEAK PEEKED ...PIQUED!

JudgeVic and I bonded at Merl's Memorial and this was the result.
I miss Merl madly. I do not miss this!

Anyway, proud of it. Hope some enjoy. :)

Jeff Anderson 6:01 AM  

I noticed right off the puzzle conflates people from England and people from Scotland as Brits. I think some Scottish solvers out there might have a word or two for Shortz & co. when they see this. Last I heard they don't take well to being conflated with all.

r.alphbunker 6:14 AM  

Let's get creative here instead of mean.

For example, each Monday Rex Parker could find a novice solver from among his students and have them solve the puzzle and email him their experiences which he could then annotate with solving tips for a new solver. Or he could adopt some constraint to his solving style. For example some solvers only write in answers from across clues (although they might look at down clues).

I filled in 1A and then only looked at clues for which there was at least one letter already entered in its answer. So for 1A I only looked at the clues for 1D - 5D. I also wanted to proceed in a more or less clockwise direction around the grid and not linger too long on any clue. I failed to do this because of the {1965 Yardbird's hit at 28A} which offered the only direct route into the NE corner. Fortunately I got {Crankcase attachments} OILPANS which was the only other answer available to me which sent me down into the center of the grid. The details are here (click the Fast link). Next week I am going to modify the program so that it randomly selects clues to solve and keeps track of how many times I have to pass on a clue. Another possibility is to randomly drop one word from each clue.

I close with a Scott Nearing quote "Do the best that you can in the place where you are, and be kind." My impression of Vic and Andrea is that they subscribe to this philosophy; this makes today's post particularly galling.

Joseph Welling 6:22 AM  

Tangential observation: when someone uses "sincerely" this way, it doesn't mean with sincerity. It is just a generic intensifier, because otherwise it would suggest the speaker normally is not sincere. The same goes for "honestly" or "to be honest" or "frankly": https: //

I suppose even "really" (as in, for example, "really important news") originated the same way. It doesn't mean exceptionally real (or more real than other things)--it just means something like "very."

I have no problem believing that all of Rex's puzzle reviews are equally sincere.

The "objectively" part is also interesting. I think what it means here is that although a review is essentially one person's opinion, in this case, everyone ought to agree that the puzzle is not good. Or maybe that what's wrong with the puzzle is not just a matter of taste. (In which case it's just false because there are certainly going to be people who like "stale and corny" themes and lots of crosswordese.)

Lewis 6:43 AM  

@loren -- Great IMAM/EMIRS catch!

I do not like puzzles that are boring, feel too ugly, or are unfairly difficult. This was neither. It set me off trying to think of new theme answers, and it was not easy to come up with good ones (maybe @aliasz will produce a list). The one I thought of that is sticking with me (and it's not good because it doesn't strictly fit the theme answer format) is something @rex does not regularly do: OOZE_OOHS.

I did catch a rare Monday sighting -- a non-direct, clever clue! The one for ASPCA ("Abbreviation on a pound sign?"). More of these please, Will! Just one or two on a Monday to introduce new solvers to this type of cleverness. And there is a sub theme: Words that start with A (16).

A pleasing early-week jaunt. No BILE here. A KISS to the two of you!

Tim Pierce 6:45 AM  

@Martin Abresch: I don't understand why a new solver would be put off by "stale" fill. The fill feels stale to veteran solvers because we've seen it a million times. New solvers, by definition, have not. I remain unclear as to why entries like AS IS or ASSN or MAH are off putting to novice solvers.

(I enjoyed the puzzle, even if it doesn't appear to be an instant classic or hall-of-fame material. Nothing particularly wrong with it.)

Hungry Mother 7:17 AM  

Had to use the downs more than a usual Monday, but still a quick solve.

Aketi 7:18 AM  

I didn't ABHOR it. It didn't raise my BILE. I wouldn't throw it in the ASHHEAP. But it didn't ring my chimes.

@Z, regarding your post yesterday at 10:30 pm, look at my avatar at 6:54 am yesterday and this morning. I threw our the lint bunny and reinstated Popeye just for you.

Greg A. O. Barney 7:20 AM  

@George Barany: "... will spend the rest of the day with preparing for this week's chemistry lectures at the University of Minnesota."

Do you teach chemistry at the University of Minnesota (thanks for the link)!!!?????

That is fascinating!!! We did not know that!!!!

Thanks for providing that information!!

Carola 7:37 AM  

I was happy to see a pair of my favorite constructors' names at the top of the puzzle, but as I filled in the grid the air kind of went out of my ""Yippee" speech balloon. I just don't think this was one of their best efforts. Was it the bee's knees of Monday puzzles for novice solvers? Well, easy theme, allowing for long fill-ins that help get the rest of the answers. And, as @Loren notes, an EZ intro to crossword stalwarts ESAI, ENO, and ERTE, whom you have to know, for better or worse. I was expecting more sparkle.

@Larry Gilstrap, re: encounters with thorns in the desert - I highly recomment Karen Russell's "The Bad Graft".

Aketi 7:45 AM  

@lms, leave it to you to find the entertainment in a puzzle that makes me want to SAWLOGS.

@z, I made a special effort to do a link to a too lengthy clip that shows Popeye's roaming bulges. These include his BICEPs filled with volcanos, atom bombs (see avatar), and dynamite all of which are bigger than his forearms. Some of the anvil bulges are smaller than his forearms.

DLK 7:59 AM  

Really? A vanilla malt with barbecue. I diagnose indigestion. And as a printmaker, I like to see EMDASH. Although I think of them more as parenthetical than semicolonic.

chefbea 8:04 AM  

What a fun easy Monday puzzle.....I knew Rex would not like it...Thanks Andrea and Victor.
Oh and thanks Aretha Cacti Middler for chiming in.

NCA President 8:06 AM  

@r.alphbunker: On Mondays and Tuesdays I do exactly that. I try to find weird ways to solve the puzzle that make the solve interesting. Today I did only accrosses and then downs, alternating between the two. In the past I've done it in reverse of that, starting with downs. It definitely keeps things interesting that way.

As for Rex hating the's a Monday. This seemed to be a normal Monday...not too hot, not too cold. As for the theme, I've said it before, but themes like this aren't meant to change the xword world, they are just there to keep things together.

Did I like the puzzle, you ask? I liked it like I like my oatmeal in the morning. I make it pretty much the same way every morning with only slight variations here and there...but it's oatmeal. Does anyone really LIKE oatmeal? But I like it well enough to eat it most every day because it's comforting comfort food. It just isn't going to win any culinary awards...Rex probably wouldn't like it because peanut butter again? So, Monday puzzles = oatmeal for me.

Sometimes a puzzle just has to be good enough.

Airymom 8:09 AM  

@Loren Muse Smith--I wish we were neighbors! I always enjoy your comments and would love to have a pal who likes to do puzzles. I guess I need to convince a friend to give the NYT puzzle a try. It seems that it's not a Baltimore thing. Thanks for always brightening my day.

Aketi 8:10 AM  

@Tim Pierce, I still consider myself a relatively new solver, definitely amateur and often a cheater. @Rex's "for starters" list pretty much summed up the fill that I did not find amusing and would not have found amusing even before I learned that these were common fill in crosswords.

@z, I didn't out the Popeye link up yesterday because each new bicep bulging scene is repeated twice with a slight variation like today's theme answers and I found the repetition a little tedious.

joho 8:20 AM  


Alicia Stetson 8:26 AM  

Average Monday puzzle. Not great, not awful. Surely not deserving of the Wrath of Rex. One giant quibble: Rex includes EMDASH in the list of subpar fill. As a human who loves language--and puzzles, and grammar, and writing in general--I cannot abide by this libelous trashing of such a beautiful word.

Leapfinger 8:28 AM  

Can't worry about grumpypants Monday reviews -- they've become AHABit with @Rex.

My only serious issue was with [Modest swimming garment]: ONEPIECE is a FALSE premise.

The genius of this kind of theme is that it almost inevitably sucks the solver into joining in the hunt. Anyone out there stodgy enough not to be thinking of other possibilities, either during the solve, or in retrospect? Personally, I would've given an eyetooth to have seen the variant entry:
Increases the number of hatchet-job commercials

Then there's the intrepid LOOIE LOUIE LEWY; I guess threesomes appeal toomey.

Do you see where this is going? Aretha Cacti Midler and Judge Vic have seeded the grid with theme partials (weejects, perhaps?). Besides LOOIE, there's TAIL/TALES, ISLE(I'LL), SICK(SIC), BLOC(BLOCK), ROLE(ROLL), MAUD(MOD), SACS(SAX), MAH(MAW) and, if you're out there wool-gathering, there's aways ASHHEAP.

It's just more fun to look at things with an AYE EYE. If I CON, yukon too.

Nobody puts Baby in the corner. Thanks, ACMe & Judge Vic!!!

Roo Monster 8:29 AM  

Hey All !
Always enjoy your puzs Amis Cigar Mah! Hell, they keep getting accepted by Will, so good on ya! (As the BRITs would say!) (Or is that Australians?)

Easy here with one writeover, pIstoNS-OILPANS, getting the AND and ABHOR straightened me out. Got an EEL today, good ole ENO and ERTE, MAH instead of MEH, and a CALM KISS. So, unlike Rex, liked puz AS IS.

IM A MAN (GENT if you will, but not a BRIT) who would SEE TO the FINEST CIGAR being DOLEd out to my AMIS, if a BOAST IS DUE.

I HAD A GO with that IRON PIG LOOIE, now my TAIL is in the brig. TIS SICK over it. AND how.

Did AHAB cover his FLESH with a ONE PIECE on an ISLE in the IRISH SEA? SICK FALSE TALES, that one.

Don't BLOC me over those! :-)

chefbea 8:35 AM  

@Joho...good one!!!

Anonymous 8:39 AM  

I made a comment about Barany's profession (University Professor) being overpaid and underworked, and a few minutes later it's gone. I guess OFL hates the truth.i wonder how long this will be here?

Anonymous 8:40 AM  

Several years ago, I started doing crosswords, specifically NYTimes. Mondays and Tuesday were the way into the puzzles and a good way to learn some of the crosswordese that inevitably works its way into a puzzle. I know it's probably hard for someone of such powerful puzzle intellect and expertise to believe, but I once had no clue who ESAI Morales was, that an OBI was a belt, and that ERTE was an Art Deco artist. Who the heck is ASTA, I asked my parents. They began to chastise me and tell me it was horribly outdated crosswordese and sent me to Rex's blog (kidding, they explained patiently and I smiled as I learned something). It's hard to fathom that POLLSPOLES might be something that a new/novice solver wouldn't pick up on instantly, because really, why should people do crosswords if they're always evolving and therefore constantly baffling newbies? I used to come to this blog for solving advice and read the blog to get some explanation. Now, it's become a daily downer to read, nothing but bashing of talented constructors who have the audacity to use fill "mediocre to bad in a way that shouldn't be acceptable any more, especially in an easy Monday puzzle." POLLSPOLES made me cuckle, but apparently we're supposed to approach every clue answer as some type of mind-blowing, never-before revealed bit of ingenuity. Ugh, so done reading this. . .

AliasZ 8:40 AM  

@Abhor Calm Maud, I admire your serenity and willingness to offer your comment, even though one person here would consider it a return to the scene of the crime. I would also modify[EMDASH]slightly[EMDASH]your homophones: "a miffed Acme looked" PIQUED PEAK PEEKED.

My fun with this ACMe & Judge Vic co-creation was that it start me thinking of the thousands of homophone or near-homophone PARES PEARS pairs in the English language. If I restrict my search only to words that appear in this puzzle, it becomes even more fun. Here are a few, some more tortured than others:

ROLE roll -- End-of-movie sight?
Alters ALTARs -- Redesigns shrines?
TALE'S TAILs -- Morals?
ABHORE a boar, a bore -- Despise a wild PIG who's a dullard?
Mawed MAUD -- Bigmouth Adams?
I'll aisle ISLE -- My seat on the flight to Bermuda won't be by the window?
Sax SACS -- Wind bags?

CALM Sea and Prosperous Voyage to you all, and a happy Monday!

Anonymous 8:43 AM  

Oops, my bad. (Comment about above Barany post being deleted. It wa on yesterda's blog that I did that. [Blush!]

Tita A 8:45 AM  

Hi @joho!! Where ya been??
ANd what a post to come back with - hilarious.

I'm in the liked it camp. Plenty of clues that were really wow...what I highlighted while solving...
It had a definite animal vibe to it...

Bushy part of a squirrel... I smiled out loud with this one. In spite of puzspouse calling them rats with bushy TAILs, I think they're beautiful and funny denizens of my little corner of the wood.

@Ellen S - I hope you SEETO that SICK dog - did you get him at the ASPCA?
(Love the ASPCA clue/

I grew up playing MAH-jongg...and news flash - I'm not Jewish... it's popular in Portugal. I can't corroborate this, but I guess that the Portuguese brought it back from their colonies in China during their heyday of seafaring.
I always loved the Chinese characters and drawings on the tiles, and the sound of the tiles. I liked playing the game almost as much as using the tiles as building blocks.

I do agree with Rex about the Scot half of that Brit clue. Although, to be fair to the clue, the Scots DID vote to stay BRITs - so there's that.

@ACME & @Vic - thanks for a fun MOnday.

And thanks for stopping by here - great post Andrea.

Hartley70 9:02 AM  

I've come to look forward to an @Acme puzzle any day of the week. Sure this was an easy offering but's MONDAY! Think of it as a kindness to those new solvers and some oldsters who had too much fun this past weekend. Is it possible that the orange slice in a Blue Moon makes it a "health" drink?

"Curses, foiled again" says Snidely Whiplash and me. I'm completely ignorant of the EMDASH. Logically it would be a small letter M suspended between two words, which doesn't sound elucidating. I prefer to play fast and loose with my punctuation but I'm dealing with enough symbols already, so I won't be using that anytime soon. I'd rather learn the Greek alphabet, the periodic table, and then move onto the Monopoly board if I have time. The crossing with IMAMAN shared the random letter M, and since I've not heard of the song, I was happy to imagine a number of other possibility. FAN was my favorite, giving us the EfDASH which I also prefer because it sounds a little naughty.

I thought the theme was Monday appropriate and made me appreciate the difficulty of learning English as a second language. I enjoyed this @Acme and thanks for stopping by. It's always gratifying when a constructor takes note of our opinions.

Tita A 9:11 AM  


A resounding YES to the highlighting of one of the many foibles of the English language, and thanks so much to the clever folks adding even more. (A vibrant example of a successful puzzle.)

Did I ever mention my friend who deep-fries squash blossoms? She FLOURSFLOWERS.

(Oh frabjous day - I did it!!)

Nancy 9:11 AM  

Nice one, @joho. Good suggestion, @Ralph Bunker. Sometimes I try to do the same thing, @NCA Pres. But it's not all that easy to use one's little gray cells on an easy Monday, which I continue to see as a real shame.

Tita A 9:12 AM  

@r.alph "Let's get creative here instead of mean." Amen - words to live by.

And let us know when you've got that new version out.

@Aketi = thanks for that BICEP pic - lol.

@NCA Pres - I love oatmeal - actually enthusiastically love it.

@lms - in Word, if you type a word, a space, the DASH next to the "0", a space, and another letter, it turns your EnSASH into an EMDASH. What @Alicia said in its defense.

Nancy 9:26 AM  

@Brutus, er Bluto (very late on yesterday's blog) -- Thank you, thank you for the BICEP picture link. I'm not a comic book reader, but even I know that Popeye's BICEP was often drawn as humongous. I didn't get into the BICEP back-and-forth yesterday because seldom has there been a discussion that I've cared less about on this blog, but I'm glad to know that the long-ago images from my notoriously foggy memory are actually correct.

Marcie Watts 9:27 AM  

@r.alphbunker thanks for that wonderful quote by Scott Nearing.

pmdm 9:31 AM  

Based upon reading the above comments, most approve of the puzzle, so I think ACME worries needlessly about who most solvers will react to the puzzle. Monday puzzles are supposed to be easy for the newcomer, and that's not a particularly easy requirement. This puzzle took 14 revisions before Mr. Shortz accepted it. Obviously he does requires a puzzle is up to certain standards before the puzzle gets published. And obvious not all here agree with his set of standards. I thought today's puzzle was a perfectly fine puzzle that achieves exactly what the primary requirement for a Monday puzzle mandates. What I would be perturbed over is that ACME's feelings about this site are understandable, which is most unfortunate because most of those who comment here post entertaining observations that are smartly insightful.

Mr. Benson 9:34 AM  

All the criticism of the clue for BRIT is confusing terms, I think. Scots are not English, but they're British. Britain is the name of the island that includes England, Wales and Scotland. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the political entity in which the Scots recently voted to remain (probably to their regret, after the Brexit vote) -- but they could have seceded and still been British.

Z 9:35 AM  

@Aketi - Way to step up to the challenge! Here's my question (and it is a question not an assertion): Do the biceps ever stay big? If they don't is the clue still wrong?

@Leapy - Is that you in the ONE PIECE?

Another question: Why do we presume Rex's review is personal when it comes to ACME?

Ms. Michaels oft avered here that theme > fill. Rex oft avers that excessive excessively used fill wrecks themes. I thought the homophonic theme was fun and fine for a Monday, but I hardly find it shocking that someone that often hurls jibes at punny themes would find the homophones "corny." ACME loves this kind of puzzle. Rex doesn't. This happens. I do wish the rest of us would quit taking it personally.

GILL I. 9:35 AM  

Dear deer, this one won my pee pea brain over. I liked SEE TO IRISH SEA.
Andrea's crosswords always get the nay neighs going but I enjoyed this. Yup, it got me looking for other homophones.
I don't know the judge but I like his puzzles. I know Andrea and I like her puzzles. No matter what, she will get you thinking of something fun to do. Hear here, sweet suite... I'll take more moor.

GILL I. 9:39 AM  

@Tita...does she use DOH DOUGH?

Z 9:42 AM  

@pmdm - 14 revisions‽ I wonder how many of them didn't have ENO, EEL, or ERTE. In other words, what was the fill that was revised out?

Lewis 9:45 AM  

@rex -- I nominate Greg A. O. Barney's post for the type of mean spirited comment that should be removed by the moderator, with a warning to the poster.

wgh 9:49 AM  

I'm OK with the well-trodden homophone theme as long as the clues are somewhat clever. I am suspecting they were edited for Mondayness.

jberg 10:03 AM  

I saw POLLS POLES almost at the start. Aha, I said to myself, I bet CHECKS CZECHS is in here somewhere -- but what else? WRENCH FRENCH is hard to clue, and FRENCH WENCH, whichever meaning you give it, reverses the order. I guess RUSHIN' RUSSIAN works, or REEKS GREEKS -- but my idea was probably too ambitious. As a result, the theme felt a little flat to me. If I had started with PARES PEARS, I probably would have liked it more.

I notice that AHAB is carrying his hunt for the great EEL over from yesterday -- he probably needs it to pay his RENT. Actually, that could have been clued as "what was left of 10A's leg after his first encounter with the whale."

Have to EM DASH out of here now.

Linda 10:05 AM  

This puzzle was a fun Monday solve. I found it easier than most Mondays but also more clever. And like a lot of others, I think it's a great puzzle for beginners.

@LMS @Tita A - In Word, autocorrect is usually set to turn a hyphen with space around it into an en dash with space around it if you: type a word (or even just a letter), a space, a hyphen (next to the zero), a space, a word (or even just a letter), then a space.

Autocorrect will turn two hyphens with no space around them into an em dash with no space around it if you: type a word (or a letter), two hyphens, a word (or a letter), then a space.

QuasiMojo 10:31 AM  

Defending a boring and stilted puzzle by saying it's good for neophytes borders on inanity. It's like giving a trophy to someone who loses a race or a game just to make them feel better. And where are these legions of eager, ignorant, unsophisticated people desperate to get started doing the New York Times puzzle by tackling a Monday? How would they even know they get harder as the weak progresses? Give them quality and a challenge the first time they happen to try a puzzle and they will cherish the experience and come back for more.

rachelrauch 10:35 AM  

I also stumbled for a moment on PIT vs pig, but other than that this filled in easily. The theme didn't exactly feel inspired, but I didn't dislike it as much as a lot of people seem to have....although SELLSCELLS stuck out like a sore thumb for not having both words start with the same letter, as all the other clues did. And as Rex pointed out, there are so many possibilities for theme answers–it seems like it shouldn't have been a problem to keep that consistency throughout.

Alec Schwartz 10:48 AM  

Clearly, based on the majority of the 55 comments, Rex must be wrong about this puzzle.

old timer 11:18 AM  

If the ladies were blackbirds and the ladies were thrushes
I'd lie there for hours in the chilly cold marshes
If the ladies were squirrel's with high bushy TAILS
I'd fill up my shotgun with rock salt and nails

Fell in love with that song in the summer of 1969 when I used to hear Steve Young sing it in a little place in San Francisco. Bruce (Utah) Phillips wrote it when he was in the service and got a "Dear john" letter from his girlfriend. "Rock Salt and Nails" is in his first songbook, but in the last decades of his life, Bruce refused to sing it.

I too thought the puzzle was pretty good. Actually pretty hard for a Monday though if you got the theme at POLLS POLES the other themers helped with the solve.

puzzle hoarder 11:41 AM  

@Gill I. Thanks for pointing out SEE TO IRISH SEA.
I actually enjoyed solving this puzzle. This has a lot to do with thinking very superficially so I can go "fast" and pretend I'm speed solving. This forces me to deal with my own mistakes and misreadings giving the puzzle an added dimension. Another thing is that even with early week puzzles I always seem to find something "new." EM DASH is something I've managed to not learn. I think part of @Rex's problem is he's virtually eliminated these kind of holes from his knowledge base and is bored out of his mind.

Amy 11:47 AM  

agree with Rex and I'm a bit always Wednesday Thursday in a blue moon at best solver - and this felt like a junior high grid you might come across in a waiting room. terrible !!!! can be easy without being dumb if you know what I mean.

Amy 11:47 AM  

*not always Wednesday

Andrew Heinegg 11:51 AM  

Some days I get amazed when I read the comments on this blog. The virulence of the comments are what strikes me. OFL is a hard taskmaster in assessing these puzzles. That is a given. But, when some folks comment in that, they seem to slip into ad hominem attacks. C'mon people, this is a crossword. It is

foxaroni 12:01 PM  

Anyone notice that MIDLER is in the middle of the puzzle?

@QuasiMojo, I know, it was a typo, but I had to laugh about how new solvers wouldn'the know about increasing puzzle difficulty " the weak progresses." That's me as a solving skills are weak, but they're progressing (I think).

Andrew Heinegg 12:03 PM  

not a presidential election. I don't agree with many things Rex writes, including today but, I am pretty sure he is not nearly as bad a person as some writers infer on the blog.

As for today, yes there are a lot of inane clues and answers but, I still think it is kind of a fun puzzle. I am inclined to think as a non-constructor that making a truly interesting Monday puzzle may be harder than constructing a Friday or Saturday one. You need to make it easy and I believe it may be hard to do that if you don't use a fair number of words that are crossword tired, so to speak. But, I don't expect Rex to give that wiggle room. It is his sworn duty to state his honest opinion and the reasons therefore. So, I don't see the sense of getting mad at him for having the opinion that all the bloggers tune in to read. Just sayin'.

Andrew Heinegg 12:07 PM  

not a presidential election. I don't agree with many things Rex writes, including today but, I am pretty sure he is not nearly as bad a person as some writers infer on the blog.

As for today, yes there are a lot of inane clues and answers but, I still think it is kind of a fun puzzle. I am inclined to think as a non-constructor that making a truly interesting Monday puzzle may be harder than constructing a Friday or Saturday one. You need to make it easy and I believe it may be hard to do that if you don't use a fair number of words that are crossword tired, so to speak. But, I don't expect Rex to give that wiggle room. It is his sworn duty to state his honest opinion and the reasons therefore. So, I don't see the sense of getting mad at him for having the opinion that all the bloggers tune in to read. Just sayin'.

Andrew Heinegg 12:09 PM  

not a presidential election. I don't agree with many things Rex writes, including today but, I am pretty sure he is not nearly as bad a person as some writers infer on the blog.

As for today, yes there are a lot of inane clues and answers but, I still think it is kind of a fun puzzle. I am inclined to think as a non-constructor that making a truly interesting Monday puzzle may be harder than constructing a Friday or Saturday one. You need to make it easy and I believe it may be hard to do that if you don't use a fair number of words that are crossword tired, so to speak. But, I don't expect Rex to give that wiggle room. It is his sworn duty to state his honest opinion and the reasons therefore. So, I don't see the sense of getting mad at him for having the opinion that all the bloggers tune in to read. Just sayin'.

Masked and Anonymous 12:11 PM  

Two of my fave constructioneers, gangin up on a MonPuz. Let the fun begin.

Well, the theme was pretty straightforward, I'll give @RP that. I looked at the first themer, and guessed POLLSPOLES immediately. Didto for all the other themers, right after that. Took me a coupla extra precious nanoseconds to figure out HEALSHEELS, for some reason. Ergo, all the themers filled in, and haven't had to do any other fill yet. BUT BUT … This is unquestionably a solid theme, and it has evidently never been done in another NYTPuz, and it's a fun one, becuz U immediately start tryin to dream up all 271.5 of its themer cousins. So … ok.

M&A woulda cherry-picked out the themers with more U-bell, but I know that's kinda a personal problem. RUINSRUNES, or somesuch.

Astonished that @RP didn't give this puz credit for not Scrabble-twerkin at all. One measly lil K. That's it, for big-ass Scrabble tiles. Woulda gone for the pangram, just to see if U could get @RP to drool up a spittle of that there barbecued malt. har

Yo, @joho!

fave moo-cow Monpuz clue: {Bushy part of a squirrel}. Say, now! Just told one of them TAILSTALES.

fave weeject: AND. Can't believe @RP singled this lil guy out, to rag on. Day-um, @Sunshine.

Thanx, Victor Carla Michaels. Always a double-pleasure. Preciate y'all each chippin in a U.

Masked & Anonymo2Us

QuasiMojo 12:57 PM  

@foxaroni -- haha. Good catch. I guess I'm losing my eyesight in my old age. Missed that one. "My bad..." :)

Andrea Ojeda 1:07 PM  

Couldn't agree more.

Wednesday's Child 1:12 PM  

Like @David Krost said.

I've been singing Ireland the Beautiful all morning - "And crown thy good with brotherhood from SEETO IRISHSEA!"

Anonymous 1:24 PM  

My sympathies lie with OFL today, but I notice two of his theme samples don't represent true homonyms in all American dialects.

Masked and Anonymous 1:31 PM  

Improvements on RUINS RUNES, which maybe was the ".5" part of the 271.5 themer choices…

1. {Really regrets buying all those hopping Australian furballs?}
2. {Runs a car rental outfit into the ground?] … Outlier alert.
3. {Edits Road Runner shorts?}
4. {Plunders the Renaissance faire?}
5. {Manages the bouillabaisse rationing?}

M&A Help Desk


Teedmn 1:40 PM  

HEALSHEELS - I filled this in without the clue, then checked it out. I was disappointed that it wasn't "Makes jerks feel better"!

I had quit doing Mondays and Tuesdays before I found this blog. Maybe I would solve it in my head, aiming to suss out the theme but they didn't seem to be worth my time. Having spent time on this blog now, I appreciate the easy puzzles and the theme variations much more. And I take my Monday and Tuesday times seriously so that adds the extra motivation. Today was a sub-six minute time so I was happy.

@Leapfinger, nice finds on the rhyming potential of the rest of the grid. And Gill I, thanks for the SEE TO IRISH SEA.

My ONE PIECE of advice is to stay CALM. We can't aDORA every puzzle but we sure can appreciate the effort and skill that goes into it. Thanks ACME and Victor Fleming.

Anonymous 2:27 PM  

@r.alphbunker, Intelligent? Solution oriented? Creative instead of mudslinging? Have you considered running for president for God's sakes!

Hartley70 2:48 PM  

@r.alphbunker, aw gee. You've given us yet another reason today to think you're terrific.

Anonymous 3:03 PM  

Dashes aren't akin to semicolons they are akin to commas

Unknown 3:23 PM  

As a novice solver, I look forward to Monday's and Tuesday's puzzles immensely....and I have looked to Rex for guidance when I am this point, I'm used to his surly nature and him lambasting almost everything that comes his way.........I do love when Anabel "does the NYT Crossword Puzzle" Bring us more Anabels!

Pete 3:31 PM  

I usually don't post when I have nothing to say about a puzzle other than it wasn't good, but I have to counter those who think counting supportive/damning posts is a measure of the consensus about the puzzle. Many, like me, won't bother, or choose not to, to pile on. It doesn't mean we don't exist - just maybe we couldn't express our dismay at the theme without excessive profanity.

Alexandra 3:59 PM  

"Relax" is all I can say to the haters of this puzzle. It's a Monday puzzle. Why not let some puzzle newbies have the thrill of solving success? This is how many of us got started with crossword puzzles ourselves. I did think some of the homophones were a bit lame but not something to get all worked up about. Tomorrow is another day and another level of difficulty. There should be something for everyone interested in solving crosswords. Even in the NY Times.

Aketi 4:21 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mohair Sam 4:37 PM  

My vote's with OFL today. The less pizzazz in the theme, the more perfection demanded from the fill.

evil doug 5:19 PM  

Look - - this is the New York Times. Even Monday should be a cut above newbie level. Neophyte puzzlers should buy one of those easy collections at the grocery store--or stick with Word Search and Connect the Dots--and work their way up to the Times. Will has been settling too much in an apparent effort to draw more subscribers and broaden the base. I'd take the opposite tack and make the NYT puzzle truly elite. Michael's right on this. ACME can still be Queen of Monday in the Weekly Shopper.

Masked and Anonymous 5:39 PM  

I know I'm an old fart who's been around the crossword block a lot, but not quite sure what's in this MonPuz that would be so all-fired tough for a beginnin solver. (I know the desperation-level of the stuff might be a separate issue, tho.) I can see one problem spot, I'll grant.
@RP's list of grievances was:

* LOOIE. Maybe not a universally-obvious term for lieutenant, but its crosses are pretty fair.
* RRS. Std. RailRoad abbr.
* ASSN. Std. ASSociatioN abbr.
* PEDI. Cutesy version of PEDIcure. Seems fair game.
* AND. If this here is difficult, I'll eat my such-AND-such.
* EMDASH. Has Patrick Berry Immunity, but might be more TuesPuz level. Debatable.
* ISDUE. IS and DUE are pretty easy words.
* MAH. MAH-jongg, as clued, is pretty well-known.
* AMIS. Plural French. I know that sucks, but has PB1 Immunity, and has been used a lot in MonPuzs before.
* ESAI. The Moralesmeister. Has only been used 111 times, but is a name. Awful easy crosses, tho.
* UNPEG. My staff pick, for worst problem spot of the litter. Plus it crosses the SSGT grievance item. Best bet for Nat-tick fever, in this MonPuz.
* SACS. Mark down for grossness, maybe. So ... is awful fare, but awful fair.
* ERTE. Name, again. Pretty famous artist, tho.
* ASIS. Yard sale-famous term. AS and IS are pretty friendly words.
* SSGT. Staff sergeant. Other half of potential Nat-tick fever, for a beginner.

I dunno. De busta gut, I reckon. But that hit-list just didn't get me all that riled up.

Peace on earth, good will toward constructioneers.

M&A Help Desk

Martín Abresch 5:56 PM  

Most commenters are saying that they enjoyed this puzzle, but very, very few give concrete examples of enjoyable non-thematic material.

@Loren Muse Smith identifies IMAM under EMIRS and the GENT/PIG crossing. @Lewis likes the clue for ASPCA (Abbreviation on a pound sign?). @DLK and @Alicia Stetson like EM DASH. @Tita A and @Masked and Anonymous like the clue for TAIL (Bushy part of a squirrel). @Tita A also reminisces over MAH-jongg.

That's it.

Rex gave more examples of poor fill in one paragraph than everyone else gave of good fill in 82 comments.

aging soprano 6:07 PM  

My kids always make these funny errors when they write emails in English using spell checker.

Roo Monster 6:08 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roo Monster 6:08 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Henry West 6:16 PM  

I was bugged about the forearm thing too, up until I finally got bicep from crosses. The I remembered what happened to Popeye's biceps when he would finally get that can full of spinach down. Volcanoes of biceps.

Masked and Anonymous 6:37 PM  

@Martin Abresch:
HADAGO and ARETHA were nice. Also, IMAMAN is a cool song.
Liked ONEPIECE and IRISHSEA just fine.
OILPANS and ASHHEAP, not as excitin; more MIDDLERs-of-the-road.

Nothing here quite as primo as yesterday's BEERPULL IN BED, I'd grant.

Outlaw M&A

chefbea 7:07 PM  

anyone watching Jeopardy??? Solving crossword puzzles!!!

Anonymous 7:19 PM  

Thanks for the nice comments.

When I read “Sincerely, objectively, this is not good,” I thought Donald Trump was guesting the blog. I credit ACME’s co-authorship with keeping me from being called a “pathetic loser.”

If a puzzle’s solvers are extending its theme by coming up with additional answers on their own, that’s a total success for ACME and me! Because anybody who's doing that is having fun!

We used five theme answers featuring the pattern [singular verb] [plural noun]. Each creates a concrete visual with a reasonable tie to the real world. The theme clues parallel one another, starting with an active verb and including its object. There is more to this than “homophonic phrases.”

If a puzzle with this formula has been previously published, I didn’t ting it. PARESPEARS was in an anagram-themed puzzle in 2007 (with SPARESPEAR and others). HEALSHEELS was in a 2003 crossword somewhere, but I couldn’t track it down. CHECKSCZECHS and OOZE OOHS were in puzzles in 1996 & 2002, per the Ginsberg database, but I couldn’t locate them.

The first fill that ACME and I signed off on still looks better to me than the one Will ultimately approved. That said, with 5 theme answers covering 47 letters, getting 10 ILSA’s in the grid was a real feat! ASH HEAP, AS IS, EM DASH, HAD A GO, I’M A MAN, IRISH SEA, IS DUE, OIL PANS, ONE PIECE, and SEE TO are all legitimate Monday fare.

Judge Vic

Anonymous 7:24 PM  

"ting" should be "find" in my note up above.

Judge Vic

Anonymous 7:29 PM  

Well maybe they should start with the TV Guide puzzle before tackling the NYT?

Alex 8:56 PM  

Geez. I liked it. I thought the themers were fun.

Da Bears 10:04 PM  

I have actually thought about this all day. Not really, just off and on.

Rex has little credibility when it comes to ACME.

The two constructors are both accomplished in their own right.

Will and his staff cannot be that poor.

My reaction to this puzzle was a big fat “MEH.”

I think Rex is correct about the fill and I think the theme seems trite, even if it hasn’t been executed.

As for newbies, I say that should be the least of concerns. They are newbies for a reason and I do not believe lowering standards for those who have no standards.

In a way Rex is so honest that he is being contrary to his natural Liberal instincts. Wordplay loves this puzzle but, being as cynical as I am, I cannot tell if that is an honest assessment or just Wordplay bloggers doing what they do best.

So, my apologies to the constructors, but I have to side with Rex. The theme is weak and the fill does not make up for that. As for being worthy of the NYT, the Platonic Ideals seem not to matter anymore. The Ideals are what pleases the Editor.

Having said that, I admire the constructors’ attempting a tribute to their Idol. That forgives everything and Will was right in publishing the puzzle.

Anonymous 10:42 PM  

Well, we loved it. Signed, two people in Berkeley with a dog named Otto

Anonymous 11:17 PM  

@ Da Bears

Loved your post but I would like to ask a few questions.

"As for newbies, I say that should be the least of concerns. They are newbies for a reason and I do not believe lowering standards for those who have no standards."

Should that apply to:
Military physical requirements?
Fire Department physical requirements?
Police physical requirements?
College enrollment regarding grades?

"In a way Rex is so honest that he is being contrary to his natural Liberal instincts."

Isn't honesty what we all want?

Z 11:42 PM  

@Martin Abresch - Yep. Give me some evidence or you're just blowing smoke. Maybe it's just people like psychoanalyzing Rex more, but I expected more homophonic joy today. They're not my thing, but I know others love them. The corner downs are also nice in a not nice sort of way. ALPO/BILE/AS IS/SICK reads like a puppy adventure. Eliminate the E names and the fill really isn't that bad given the number of 3 and 4 letter answers in the grid (I don't mind UNPEG or IS DUE from Rex's list).

@Judge Vic - thanks for stopping by. I wish you'd provided more of the fill history.

Anonymous 11:50 PM  

I'm beginning to find reading these comments more fun than either the NYT crossword or the Rex blog itself. Such a cross-section of people and opinions. It's fascinating in the way watching ants relocate a nest is fascinating.

Anonymous 12:02 AM  

And ants are "stronger together" and they are always of the mindset that "I'm with her", the queen.

A.C. Ronim 12:28 AM  

AS PER Judge Vic, what's a ILSA?

Leapfinger 1:28 AM  

@Z, of course. Would I lie?

@Martin Abresch, I think it's a tribute to your dedication that you took the time to make that analysis, but I'm not sure it earns high marks for validity. @Charles Flaster has a framework for his comments, but not every commenter includes specifications for likes and dislikes in an orderly and (more importantly) quantifiable way. As a minor example, your comment fairly quickly elicited a list, broken down by category, from @MnA, that hadn't made the cut for his initial comment. [I, MAMAN, personally thought A_SSHEAP was better than MIDLER-of-the-road, and also liked 35D because HADAGO, HADAGO, HADAGO onward, Into the valley rode the four hundred; I have an inexplicable weakness for anapaests.]

Text of the kind found in these blog comments requires more reading between the lines, so I submit that your argument of 5:56 is FALLACIOUS. I freely admit the latter as a POC.


Ant Leap

WritesRites 2:08 AM  

Yesterday's BRIDE
Her AFTERplan

Tim Pierce 1:06 PM  

@Martin Abresch: gosh, I didn't realize we were supposed to justify our enjoyment of the puzzles. Let's see.

HAD A GO: very nice colloquialism, very familiar but a little off-center for a clue like "Tried"
ASH HEAP: also a well known phrase that's nevertheless a little less common as a crossword answer
IRISH SEA: I've seen the NORTH SEA and the RED SEA and the CASPIAN and many other seas often, but this is the first time I can recall seeing the Irish Sea in a crossword
EM DASH: nice bit of typography geekery
ISLE - cute to see this immediately following IRISH SEA
ALTAR, IM A MAN, CIGAR and APSES all together; is there a wedding sub-theme here? TALES of an ASSN of the FLESH!
ARETHA crossed with MIDLER - it's like a reunion of the great pop singers of the 20th century!

There, those are some things I enjoyed about this puzzle. Is that enough for my opinion to be taken seriously?

kitshef 6:35 PM  

Attempted as a down-only, and failed spectacularly. I did figure out the theme, but put in POLesSPOLES and PARESPaiRS. The real issues was OILPANS, which I could get nothing on, and without seeing across clues LOO?E and ?ND could be lots of things.

NM Robin 10:16 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
NM Robin 10:18 AM  

@ACM: I know you will probably not read this post. As soon as I saw your by-line I was sure Rex would trash it. I liked the puzzle but I like homophones. They're cool. I am NOT a newbie. I have been doing puzzles since 2009 but prefer M-W, can't do the others most of the time.

@Evil: tongue in cheek? Perhaps!

Post a Comment

Burma Shave 10:36 AM  


GENTs, nothing HEALSHEELS like the BILE of FALSE TALES of the FLESH,
AFTER the BOASTs by those EELs about a KISS and some TAIL do not mesh.


rondo 12:29 PM  

Take a deep breath AND CALM down, it’s a Mon-puz. ‘TIS nothing to get out of joint about. Complain about the puz they hide in the want ads if you like; none of those pairs pairs (har) of homophones, or has any theme for that matter.

Singular SSGT today, see yesterday’s (10/09 puz) comments re: my dad AND uncles.

With all the due r-e-s-p-e-c-t that ISDUE to ARETHA AND the divine Ms. MIDLER, I’ll go with yeah baby MAUD Adams, perhaps the FINEST Bond girl of the Roger Moore era, AND maybe any Bond era. Insert joke here about Don Trump AND the film Octopussy.

@teedMN your clue suggestion has apparently been addressed. Now maybe a private prison that SELLSCELLS, or do they RENT them?

One must OILPANS if they are cast IRON.

AFTER I ACEd this puz I should BOAST about my time, but I can’t. I like that there’s both a AND d themers. Give the GENT and lady each a CIGAR.

spacecraft 12:40 PM  

@BS: "ARETHA MIDLER: Now THERE's a voice I'd purely love to hear!

To the puz. I have learned what to expect from this byline; it is what it is. There's gonna be some fun, AND there's gonna be some subpar fill. Not too bad this time around though. We have our abbrs. and our tired stuff (ESAI, ERTE, etc.). Whaddyagonnado. Not knowing that particular Yardbirds number, or ever having heard of--real word--EMDASH, I had a strange Monday natick there. When I hear "IMAMAN," my mind wants to continue: "AND so is Lola..." I know, that's the Kinks, not the Yardbirds. AND can somebody please type an EMDASH so I can see what it looks like?

DOD = WOD today, how about that? MAUD is one of those names that sound ugly. Talk about your misdirect! Let's call it five yards.

leftcoastTAM 12:44 PM  

Good Monday-level homophone theme. Last letter in was the M in the EMDASH/IMAMAN cross, demanded by the Yardbirds. EMDASH is new to me.

Fitting start to the week.

rondo 2:32 PM  

@spacey: If you have Word, try Ctrl + Alt + minus sign (from the numeric keyboard) for an EM DASH.
Ctrl + minus sign will get you an en dash

Neither seems to work in the comment box text editor.

rondo 2:39 PM  

But — they – do seem to copy- : — – -

rain forest 2:48 PM  

Kind of proved my point today. I didn't read @Rex's post - as soon as I saw ACME's name, I knew - but the commenters filled me in admirably (@Spacey, those were supposed be EMDASHES, but this format doesn't allow for them.

When I first ventured into trying to solve the NYTxword around 1997, I think I selected a Thursday. Big mistake! I eventually discovered that the puzzles had increasing difficulty Monday to Saturday, and so I religiously do the early week ones because in the beginning, they were the only ones I could regularly solve. It was a wonder to discover themes in the puzzles, word play,and then rebi, and then puzzles where letters were to be written outside the grid, and other stuff. I think because of my experience, easy Monday puzzles play an important role in drawing new solvers to the NYT puzzle. They are clearly superior to most other puzzles; they appear every day (even though you-know-who trashes them every day); and for me are a routine in the morning, or whenever I get to them.

Thanks to people like M&A, LMS, Leapfinger, jae, Lewis, and others for having a sensible perspective about something which is basically a diversion--not literature.

So, today was a fine Monday. Easy, but tight in the theme and with acceptable (in my opinion) fill.

Diana,LIW 5:25 PM  

What @Rainy said. Mondays are easy for me now, but they weren't always.

But who knows, @Rainy? Maybe the NYTPX will win a Nobel for Lit? And if that happens, I'll take the dark out of the nighttime and paint the daytime black.

Diana, Waiting to look back

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