Philosopher who tutored Nero / MON 10-17-16 / Shootout site involving Earp brothers / Infographic with wedges / Bill also called benjamin / Athlete who rides pine

Monday, October 17, 2016

Constructor: Damon Gulczynski

Relative difficulty: Medium (normal Monday)

THEME: NON-STARTER (54A: Plan that has no chance of working ... or the answer to each starred clue?) — each theme answer could theoretically be described as a NON-STARTER:

Theme answers:
  • MAIN COURSE (17A: *Serving between appetizer and dessert)
  • DEAD BATTERY (11D: *Reason for jumper cables)
  • BENCH WARMER (24D: *Athlete who "rides the pine")
  • LAST LAP (36A: *It's signaled by a white flag on the racetrack) 
Word of the Day: "I Am CAIT" (6A: "I Am ___" (Jenner's reality show on E!)) —
I Am Cait is an American television documentary series which chronicles the life of Caitlyn Jenner after her gender transition. The eight-part one-hour documentary series debuted on July 26, 2015, on the E! network. The series focuses on the "new normal" for Jenner, exploring changes to her relationships with her family and friends. The show additionally explores how Jenner adjusts to what she sees as her job as a role model for the transgender community. // In its first season, critical reception of I Am Cait was generally positive. Critics particularly praised the series approach to the social issues of the transgender community and its influence on the way Americans see and understand transgender people in general. The show's informative and serious tone was also noted, and how it differed from Keeping Up with the Kardashians, a reality series that Jenner has starred in together with her family. In October, the show was renewed for a second season, which premiered on March 6, 2016. // On August 16, 2016, E! cancelled the series after two seasons, due to low ratings. (wikipedia)
• • •

"I Am CAIT" got canceled in August. Clue should reflect bygone-ness. Clues should be current. Editing fail. Beyond that, though, I thought this Monday theme worked just fine. I think LAST LAP is kind of an outlier in its not-good-ness—the "LAST" anything is not a "starter," and is it called a "starter lap?" and etc. The answer just doesn't hit the bull's eye. The others, however, are on the mark. Fill was somewhat above average, with PIE CHART, SWAP OUT, LUCKY ME!,  OK CORRAL and PAGEBOY adding a little bit of spice. I was wondering when ILANA Glazer was gonna show up in a puzzle (23D: Glazer of "Broad City"). Amazingly, there has never been an ILANA in the puzzle before Ms. Glazer. I once dated an ILANA. It's not that uncommon a name. Weird. Anyway, I love "Broad City," so good for her. You might also wanna look out for her show co-creator / co-star, ABBI Jacobson. Seems like ABBI's name can't be that far behind.

I had several missteps but still ended up with a normal Monday time (which, btw, is somewhere in the 2:50s). Had MO- at 13D: Putter (along) and wanted MOTOR. Had CSP- at 31D: Bill also called a benjamin and didn't even bother looking at the clue: wrote in CSPAN. Ugh. Needed several crosses before I got RATIO (1A: Ten to one, for one). Wanted ODDS, then ... SCORE, or something like that. Also forgot how to spell CAIT. And yet it all worked out to perfect Monday-level easiness. There were maybe a *few* too many names in this grid (CAIT, ADAM, O'LEARY, SENECA, CAAN, OTTO, SAHL, IRENE, ILANA, O'DAY, ANNA—is that a lot? Feels like a lot), but nothing unfigureoutable.

Off to watch Dodgers/Cubs.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. you probably should've have "rides the pine" in a clue (24D) when RIDE is in the grid (15A). Just as a matter of elegance.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:59 AM  

Medium-tough for me. Putting in BENCH sitteR before WARMER did not help. Erasing eats up precious nanoseconds (@M&A).

Cute theme/reveal, liked it.

Jared 1:46 AM  

Pageboy? That's a new one for me. Nice puzzle overall though.

chefwen 2:35 AM  

@Jared - I spent my youth sporting a pageboy, so that was a gimme.

Easy medium for me, only glitch (where are you @Glitch?) was at 48A trade in before SWAPS UP. I like trade in better.

The theme was a little muddled for me.

ZenMonkey 4:12 AM  

Fun breezy Monday with enjoyably long answers, but I still broke 5:00. This is my idea of a NYT Monday

George Barany 6:13 AM  

Fun puzzle by @Damon Gulczynski, with a surprising and satisfying reveal. In addition to @Rex's review, I enjoyed reading the constructor's own take on the puzzle.

Lobster11 7:04 AM  

Agree with Rex across the board on this one, especially with respect to LASTLAP -- which seems especially unfortunate for a themer that sits smack-dab in the center of the puzzle.

And yes, too many people's names. Mostly they were sufficiently well-known to not be a problem, but the ILANA/OLEARY cross seemed wrong for a Monday.

evil doug 7:41 AM  

PAGEBOY? Just the latest in a long line of bigotry-laced hairdos here. Classist and sexist.

kitshef 8:21 AM  

I was all set to complain about the amount of non-Monday stuff in here (CAAN, SENECA, ODAY, and most of all ILANA - never heard of Broad City, let alone anyone associated with it).

But the theme won me over, delivering that little jolt when you finally get it. Just lovely.

trAdeUp before SWAPOUT was the only serious detour along the way.

A quick check of ILANAs of the world seems to indicate that I have never heard of any of them. I do know the fictional ILANA Verdansky from LOST. Really miss that show.

Anonymous 8:45 AM  

There's nothing in the clue for CAIT to indicate either present or past tense. It's correct. It doesn't need editing.

Hartley70 8:49 AM  

This was a very easy Monday. I found that I knew each answer before looking at the grid. I was only wrong on Cnote instead of CSPOT. The Santa CLAUS answer was painful. The theme was fine. I just need a little more oomph on a Monday to get going. This felt a bit like a NONSTARTER to me.

Nancy 8:56 AM  

The theme was cute and the theme answers nicely varied, but when it's an after-the-fact theme that I don't even notice until after I've finished the puzzle, there's a limit to how much enthusiasm I can muster up. I would also challenge people to use FLUS in a sentence. For me, this was no more challenging or interesting than any typical Monday puzzle. And there was very little thinking required to solve it.

Hartley70 8:58 AM  

Thanks to @George for the link to the constructor's comments. They make me appreciate Damon's point of view on the puzzle and agree with his point of view on the world.

QuasiMojo 9:03 AM  

I put in "Cris" instead of "Cait" having never heard of that reality tv show (I don't own a television) and having vaguely recalled someone named Chris Jenner, wife of a former decathlete. So that slowed me up! A crunchy puzzle with a clever theme ("for a Monday"); definitely not a "non-starter."

evil doug 9:05 AM  

Also, I think sexual appropriation of hairstyles is wrong. Women in pageboys? Men in buns? Elizabeth Warren in a Mohawk? Nonono.

...Oh, except for transgender identifiers, of course. Then it's okay.

jberg 9:29 AM  

I'm with @Nancy on FLUS. I mean I could do it: "We've had swine flu, bird flu, Spanish flu--too many FLUS altogether." But it's ugly.

I noticed the theme because of the stars, but needed the revealer to understand it. That's fine.

Can we call Bismarck OTTO VII?

Charles Flaster 9:37 AM  

Agree with Rex especially about theme.
Liked cluing for SAT UP and DUST.
Thanks DG.

chefbea 9:42 AM  

Lots I didn't know but got them with the crosses. Didn't get the theme until I came here. Use to wear a page boy...way back when

Airymom 10:07 AM  

I moved to Baltimore in 1978 and knew one person. It was pretty scary for a 22 year old. My first day of social work school, a fellow student, Susan, introduced herself to me. To this day, I can't explain it, but I knew that she would be my best friend for life. It's 38 years later and she is.

Her daughter is named Ilana, so I was thrilled to see that answer in the puzzle. And then I got further along in the puzzle, and Irene popped up, which is her mother's name.


I liked 'benchwarmer" a lot. That's where the starters of my beloved (and right now pathetic) Ravens belong.

DJG 10:20 AM  

I agree with the criticism of LAST LAP. I really wanted a fourth themer and that was the best I could come up with. My thought process was that the start of the race is indicated by a *starter* pistol, and the last lap is, in a sense, the counterpart of this. It's not perfect, but it doesn't bother me too much.

Anyway, George already linked to my blog above (thanks!), but I'll do it again: extended constructor notes can be found here for anybody who's interested.

Mohair Sam 10:21 AM  

Nifty theme, made Monday fun - hard thing to do.

Z 10:22 AM  

@Evil - Har.

@Anon8:45 - On a scale of 1-10 editing errors, this is probably a 2, but the clue suggests currency, so would be improved by something suggesting it is no longer being aired. Of course, it's probably still on NetFlix or Hulu, so maybe the fact it isn't being produced is moot.

Having been to some post season games in the past decade, BENCH WARMER should take on a whole new meaning. As a point of reference, the 1968 World Series game 7 was won by the Tigers on October 10.

Life in a Minor Key

Nancy 10:23 AM  

Is someone's tongue in one's cheek? Or is someone actually serious? How can a PAGEBOY hairstyle possibly be controversial in any way? Either in the wearing of it or the putting of it in a puzzle? Nor would it be possible to clue it in a more bland, boring and completely inoffensive way than it's clued here. I really don't get it. Unless, of course, someone is kidding.

Carola 10:24 AM  

Witty theme and so much else to like: ADDLE, PAGEBOY, Mrs. O'LEARY teamed with SENECA, WALLOP, SWAP OUT, LUCKY ME, OK CORRAL, PIE CHART, ART DECO. Superfine Monday, I thought.

Joseph Michael 10:29 AM  

Had no idea what the asterisked entries had in common until I got to the revealer and then had a satisfying aha! moment.

Agree with Rex that LAST LAP is the weakest themer, but the rest were good. Some nice fill as well with little dreck. So a very pleasant Monday puzzle.

But is a business chart now really an "infographic"?

Tita A 10:52 AM  

Thank you Mr. Gulczyinski...I always appreciate the constructor stopping by, and getting a peek behind the scenes.

I'll join the @Chefs in being a former, and yes, occasionally current, PAGEBOY wearer. nephew flies a C17, and often, his mission is to accompany Airforce 1.
So add into your story the costs associated with a C17 carrying a medical emergency room, a SWAT team, a helicopter, and all the vehicles for the president and entourage.

Tita A 11:08 AM  

LASTLAP tangential story... I would occasionally take my VW Rabbit GTi up to Lime Rock race track. Part of our rudimentary training was to learn the meaning of each flag used during the race.
During the paractice runs, they would test us by waving the colored flags that warn of various things like debris on the track. Now, debris could be anything from a crumpled up newspaper to a flipped-over car. Not only was the color of the flag important, but how it was being waved.

I was always so focused on the fun I was having, and on not becoming one of those flipped over cars, that I usually forgot to be aware of those flags. The flag I dreaded most was black with your car number in an orange circle...that meant pull into the pit asap. I got that once or twice because of my flagrant disregard for the flags. And yes, I would ignore that one too.

Maybe that is why my career as a Grand Prix driver never really took off?

Roo Monster 11:12 AM  

Hey All !
Nice MonPuz theme. The center looks like a bonus themer, as the four longest ones would've seemed sufficient. Snuck out of the cluster of CS crossing CP in the center. Although it's Cnote, who says CSPOT? Maybe SPOT me a Cnote? LUCKY ME...

Could've moved the blocks in Rows 4 & 12 to Rows 5 & 11 to get more 4's and less 3's. Just sayin.

Laughing at @evil 7:41 post. Add to that - LIBERAL? Sacreligious.

MOSEs away

Mike Rees 11:36 AM  

Super easy for me, just seconds over my Monday best. Skipped anything that didn't come immediately to mind and had it done in two passes of across/down in clue order.

I didn't get the theme until I figured out the revealer. Very clever for a Monday puzzle.

Thumbs up!

MattG 11:39 AM  

Weird choise of Anna. Annas who are more relevant in 2016 than Kournikova: Kendrick. Faris. Wintour. Karenina.

old timer 11:42 AM  

I need to write better letters. On Mondays I'm going for speed so the E in my LOSES kind of looked like a B and therefore I thought I had "bcc" crossing "Alaca". i figured that must be someone's name and left it there when I needed ALANA and ENC.

I was really slowed down in the center because I wanted "Cnote" instead of CSPOT. No one ever has said CSPOT though I wrote it in finally. "lanelap" seemed very improbable, while it seemed a LASTLAP might be signaled by a white flag. In fact I think I have seen that flag waved on TV. That being the case, then the white flag and by extension the LAST LAP can fairly be called a nonstarter, because the first lap is always signaled by a checkered flag.

Hartley70 11:54 AM  

@Tita, you are too cool for school!

Numinous 12:16 PM  

We bitched about multiple uses of UP yesterday. How come nobody is getting on about ART DECO and PIECH ART?*

Lots of players have moved from being starters to BENCH WARMing in a single game due to injury which may lead to several days on the BENCH.

Enjoyed the shout-out to RENO. There is, or was, a sign above the road proclaiming "The Biggest Little City in the World". That always brought a smile to my face as I drove through.

I have to wonder how many TARTS wear PAGEBOYs. I also have to wonder at the coincidence of SANTA's LAST LAP today after his SLAP, yesterday.

As Monday's go, I found this neither too easy nor too difficult. I suspect it might ramp up newbie thinking a bit but I found this to be pretty average for a Monday. According to Jeff, but for the white flag, this puzzle could have been a contender.

Numinous 12:23 PM  

@old timer, the first lap is signaled by a green flag. And @Tita, I used to work corners at motorcycle races. Can't tell you how often I've seen riders completely ignore flags. Usually there was no penalty. Eventually, I graduated to being a starter, In long races with slower riders being lapped, it can be very difficult to determine which riders are on the last lap and which ones are on the second or third last lap. Makes waving the white flag a bit difficult when you have the leader surrounded by slower riders. I would usually try to point to the rider in question. Never knew if that made a difference. Most of the slower riders seemed to know when they had to go around two or three more times in order to get the checkered Flag.

gregg 12:40 PM  

There are two types of flus this season- bird and swine.

foxaroni 12:49 PM  

Very enjoyable puzzle. I had no write-overs, which is VERY unusual for me.

I found the "view from an airline pilot" and @Tita A's additional comments to be interesting and thought-provoking. They were things I never knew about or considered. However, "airline pilot" destroyed his credibility with me with his last two sentences.

Of course the President is "totally-biased." ALL Presidents are totally biased. Almost every one of us is totally biased in one way or another. And I reject out of hand that Mr. Obama's "anti-American philosophy...hasn't worked the entire 7+ years he's been President." Mr. Pilot's comments, in fact, p&#$ me off. /end Rant

@MattG--I've never heard of your first three Annas.How is Anna Karenina, written in 1875-77, more relevant in 2016 than Kournikova?

Finally, @Z, what did a bench warmer have to do with game 7 of the 1968 World Series? I Googled it, but didn't find the answer.

Teedmn 1:19 PM  

The aha of the theme was a definite smile-elicitor today, thanks DG. It was an easy puzzle and my one write-over was down in the SE where "ole" went in first at 56D because I was solving right to left at that point. In fact, I just saw the double "stadium cheer" clue now and the OLE at 55D. I was solving acrosses in the bottom central and never saw OLE fill in. Cool!

I'll agree with @Rex about LAST LAP seeming a bit off, theme-wise, but the constructor's notes, courtesy of @George Barany and the constructor himself, make clear what thought was behind it.

I've seen a couple of "Broad City" episodes and I agree they were very clever, but I didn't watch beyond the first few - TV just isn't my thing.

@Tita, cool car-driving story - you must have some nerve :-)!

MattG 1:19 PM  

@foxaroni - Kournikova would have been a topical reference 15 years ago, but even then she was mainly known for her looks rather than tennis-playing ability. From a tennis perspective she is not very notable and hasn't really done anything since then.

Kendrick and Faris are actresses current as of this decade. Wintour is a pretty famous fashion editor and supposedly the basis of The Devil Wears Prada. (Coincidentally, her Wikipedia page opens, "With her trademark PAGEBOY bob haircut and dark sunglasses..."

Karenina is still considered a classic work of literature. It remains more relevant in 2016 than Anna Kournikova.

My point is all these things are more relevant to current culture than a hot tennis player from 2000. I'm not really complaining, it's just an odd choice.

Andrew Heinegg 1:22 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mohair Sam 1:23 PM  

@Tita A - Phew! I was gonna make a wisecrack about the PAGEBOY clue needing an asterisk and Lady Mohair said, "You'll regret that." She was right.

@Matt G - Yeah, I'm with @foxaroni, Kournikova and Karenina are the only two I've ever heard of as well. And Karenina's been around a long time.

Andrew Heinegg 1:29 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chaos344 1:33 PM  

@Evil Doug:

LMAO! So glad that you recently returned. IMHO, the top three posters on this blog are as follows:

Best wordsmith and wordplay:
Leapfinger = No contest

Best wit and homespun humor with a total disregard for Political Correctness:
Loren Muse Smith = Hilarious, even when she isn't trying to be.

Best obvious sarcasm regarding topics being discussed on this blog:
Evil Doug = By a mile!

@William C: Great post, and I agree with you 100%. Went back and read your post yesterday. Thanks a million for the link. Spent the next half hour or so watching approaches to the world's most dangerous airports. Although I've never piloted anything larger than a Cessna 310, I can really appreciate those sphincter tightening crab landings at Kai Tak. Back in the 70's, I used to fly in Columbia airport in the Sierra Nevada foothills. We used to call it cross-wind city. Very crabby place!

evil doug 1:35 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Masked and Anonymous 1:42 PM  

Nice MonPuz. Coulda also been a later-week puz, if each of the themers had been clued as:
{* See 54-Across}.
Entries urgin the puz on, later into the week:
* ILANA. Didn't know. Don't watch enough tv. Glad that @RP got to recognize someone he admires, tho.
* ODAY. Didn't know. Don't listen to enough jazz.
* CAIT. Didn't know. Don't indulge in enough reality.
* SENECA. Didn't know, but sounds vaguely familiar. Don't philosophize enough.
* ENC. fave weeject. Knew it. Was just relieved, that this wasn't PPS or PSS, as can never remember which one is correct; M&A always goes with P.P.S.S., to be on the safe side.
* {Stopped lying?}. Ahar. Sneaky 29-D clue in a MonPuz. Like. M&A had a nice selection of NON-right-STARTERS, on this puppy.

Fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: 30-A's { ___ Claus}. Seems like this would be a gimme, even for non-believers. Begs the question: Does Mrs. Claus have a known first name, perhaps 5-letters long? (Thereby giving the answer at least some element of doubt.)

Thanx, Mr. Gulczynski. Fun, but hardest thing about this whole exercise was spellin out yer name correctly, just now.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


AliasZ 1:45 PM  

LAST LAP is just plain silly. In the Indy 500 for instance, they drive 200 laps. Is the last one any more of a NON-STARTER than the second or the 97th? Perhaps something like UNDERSTUDY, ACTII, COOL CUSTOMER, etc. would have served as a batter themer. No only that, LAP also appears in LAPTOP. It shouldn't be allowed.

A reasonably clean and pleasant solve otherwise.

SANTA reminds me of Accademia Nazionale di SANTA Cecilia, Rome, the oldest musical institution in the world, founded in 1585 and dedicated to the patron saint of music, St. Cecilia. There are many works dedicated to St. Cecilia, by Purcell, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Handel, Gounod, etc., but one of my favorites remains the Hymn to St. Cecilia by Benjamin Britten.


MattG 3:10 PM  

@Mohair Sam - they are the top three auto-suggestions when you type "anna" into Google, I didn't just make them up.

Masked and Anonymous 3:13 PM  

M&A Research Dept. finds that Mrs. Claus's first name is a mystery, altho she has been referred to with all of these 5-letter names: LAYLA. AHOOP. SEEKI. KASEY. EMILY. ANWYN. GOODY. MATHA. None of these ___ Claus names gets anywhere near a thousand Google hits, tho. The outright non-starters are AHOOP and SEEKI CLAUS, which get no Google hits, at all.

To put this into perspective: "masked and anonymous" gets 108K Google hits (K=1000). "rex parker" gets 273K hits. "pewit" gets 231K hits. "natick" gets 7,800K hits. "GrOPe" now gets 13,700K hits. And "santa claus" gets 27,000K hits.

M&A Help Desk.

Mohair Sam 3:31 PM  

@Wm. C. 3:11 - Nicely put.

@Matt G - Google schmoogle, our Anna choices embrace literature and tennis - they get priority here. (Help me out here foxy)

Tita A 3:38 PM  

@AiryMom...personal relevance in a puzzle, like yours today, always increase my enjoyment of said puzzle. It's totally irrelevant to the "quality"of a puzzle, but maybe that extra dimension is why I love crosswords so much.
I hope you send this puzzle to your friend and her mom.

@Numi...the pointing (along with the wild, angry gesticulating), is what would finally get my attention.

@foxaroni...I hadn't notice the weird right turn our @WmC took on that last paragraph.
I didn't intend to endorse that paragraph. My only intention was to show off that I am so cool because I am related to someone who does what I described.
I had written, but then erased, this...
If I were able to define and regulate unnecessary travel, I would limit that to the 100‘s of journalists and their entourage who travel to disaster sites to show themselves standing thigh-deep in flood waters, all the while consuming desperately needed resources...fuel, hotel rooms, food, evacuation routes...
Stay home, roll that stock footage, and send the red cross some cash.

MattG 3:58 PM  

@Mohair - No worries, I'm sure Anna K. is the top result on Alta Vista ;)

(I'd much rather debate Annas than politics!)

GILL I. 4:30 PM  

Wow...all this prose because of scary airport landings. I'm impressed.
@Tita...I just might send you another drawing ;-)

Rex Parker 7:48 PM  

Had fun deleting about a dozen stupid comments from trolls, trollees, and the generally tiresome.

Stay on topic, i.e. on-puzzle. You may not see them / hear from them, but readers Hate your self-indulgent, clubby, off-topic nonsense. Got my first batch of comment-section complaint emails in months today. And you all were doing so well...

If you wanna yell your political beliefs angrily at each other or bore the hell out of your "Friends," try Facebook. It's tailor-made for that crap.


Chaos344 8:12 PM  

Thank You Rex!

Z 8:45 PM  

Dang! I missed some politics. Now what?

Oh, @foxaroni - My point was that back in 1968 the World Series was done a week before October 17. Now we're looking at the possibility of a World Series game taking place at night in Cleveland (with a nice breeze off Lake Erie) on November 2nd! They will have BENCH WARMERs in the dugouts, but the fans will be in their winter gear. I've been to a few Tiger playoff and World Series games in the past decade and froze my sweet boopie off. Hot chocolate sales are not supposed to exceed beer sales at a baseball game. Get rid of the wild card. Get rid of extra rounds. Get rid of TV mandated breaks when rounds end early. Play games in the late afternoon instead of at 8:00 p.m. Fans should not be wearing wool socks and ear muffs to a baseball game. /rant

@DJG - Many more in the hopper?

Leapfinger 4:01 AM  

My MAIN reaction today is "O SE COUR!!", y'all. Frankly, I can't see how an issue as fraught as the PAGEBOY has been lowered to the petty status of a hairstyle discussion. It completely overlooks the tawdry origins of the term, being as they are grounded in the effete habits of bibliophiles too lazy to PAGE through their  tomes themselves. How often those unfortunate PAGEBOYs had to LAPTOPS (and who knows what else!) and wished they'd SAT UPon their LAST LAP? Their feeble protests of LEGO my FITB did them little good. DEAD or alive, it's simple BATTERY, and  still it took centuries until society  became sufficiently  LEARY under LIBERAL practices of this kind and SAT UP to announce that we must all turn over a new leaf ourselves.

My residual protest to this sad history is that I personally will never wear a PAGEBOY. Besides. I have naturally curly hair.

Y'all can see why I just had to enter DE FRAY.

E.D., we'll talk about men with buns another time.

Elephant's Child 4:12 AM  

Two thumbs up @foxaroni1249, para 3. You're my Maine coon cat.

I like to make FLUS rhyme with PLUS.

Grand Prix! Now there's a phrase you can sink your teeth into!

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP