Stefan influential Austrian writer of 1920s-30s / MON 10-3-16 / Alcohol per its effect at party / Server overseen informally / Little folk tale character with lazy friends / Twisted as wet towel

Monday, October 3, 2016

Constructor: Jacob Stulberg

Relative difficulty: Maybe slightly north of normal

THEME: London Bridge is FALLING DOWN (26D: Like the contents of this puzzle's circled squares, in a nursery rhyme) — circled squares in Down themers spell out LONDON BRIDGE, in three-letter segments, with each subsequent segment appearing lower in the grid:

Theme answers:
  • LONgstemmed (3D: Like some wineglasses and roses)
  • stanDONoneshead (5D: Perform an inverted feat)
  • socialluBRIcant (7D: Alcohol, per its effect at a party)
  • wentovertheeDGE (9D: Lost one's sanity)
Word of the Day: Stefan ZWEIG (49D: Stefan ___, influential Austrian writer of the 1920s-'30s) —
Stefan Zweig (/zwɡ, swɡ/; German: [tsvaɪk]; November 28, 1881 in Vienna – February 22, 1942 in Petrópolis) was an Austrian novelist, playwright, journalist and biographer. At the height of his literary career, in the 1920s and 1930s, he was one of the most popular writers in the world. (wikipedia)
• • •

This felt so much tougher than the clock said it was. Usually, I plow through a Monday methodically, without a lot of jumping around, but on this one, I felt like I was all over the map, and it took me a while to see a couple of the longer answers (particularly WENT OVER THE EDGE, which, perhaps because of the verb tense, feels the weakest of the bunch). I whiffed at more answers than usual at first pass, including RED HEN (could think only of "Red Riding Hood" and "Red Rooster" (?)) and JEAN ("Jean" means denim, so the extra words in the clue made me thinking there would be some *kind* of jacket, not just ... another name for "denim") (33A: ___ jacket (denim top)). Also, ZWEIG?! Whoa ... who? That dude is Not Monday-familiar. And crossing SUZI Quatro!? Her, I knew, and even knowing neither, I think the "Z" is inferrable, but yipes. And yet and yet and yet: my time was 3:02, i.e. only 10 seconds or so over my Monday norm. Weird. I'm not sure what I think of this theme, but I like SOCIAL LUBRICANT as an answer so much that other problems don't seem to matter much.

It's a low-for-Monday 74 words, so there are more longer entries than usual, and thus more opportunities for the grid to be interesting. I like RVPARK a lot, if only for that odd combination of consonants at the opening (31A: Locale for mobile campers). Do not like DIPSY Doodles (couldn't even tell you what they are), especially crossing EENSY. Icky. Enough bad fill down there (incl. plural EWOKS and RAE) that it seems like it coulda / shoulda been redone. But as I say, mostly I liked this. The grid was lively, with few opportunities for wincing. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to have my second hot toddy of the night, as I drown my baseball sorrows and try to keep this cold at its current mild level. See you later—oh, and those of you expecting Annabel today: she is Also sick, and so her appearance has been postponed for a week.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


GILL I. 12:06 AM  

Other than that, I loved it.

jae 12:08 AM  

"Maybe just slightly north of normal works" for me. Cute theme beats iffy fill or what @Rex said, liked it. And I'm with Rex on the SUZI/ZWEIG cross being pretty brutal for a Mon.

Warren Howie Hughes 12:11 AM  

Was a tad more challenging for a customary mundane Monday, was almost tempted to download the answers on my printer.

Z 12:16 AM  

Of all the SUZI Quattro videos on YouTube you pick that one? Can the Can.

Zweig? I think I need one.

Pete 12:23 AM  

@Z Amen.

Evan Jordan 1:44 AM  

DIPSY Doodles were new to me. It's nice to have a tougher Monday. I wish they were always like this. Beats dreading completing them just to keep a streak alive.

RAD2626 2:25 AM  

Thought this was hardest Monday in a very long time. Not sure SUZI is inferable. Could be SUsI/sWIEG. Filled in RVcAmp and STAND ON your HEAD so that ate up time, and thought circled letters were names so FALLING DOWN did not fall easily. In a memory lapse, had to get Miss ELLIE from crosses but that is on me even if I never watched Dallas. Actually with a few tricky clues this for me could have been a Wednesday. Time wise it was.

Martín Abresch 2:58 AM  

The clue for ZWEIG (Stefan ___, influential Austrian writer) reminded me of what @Loren said yesterday about the clue for DETECTO (Big name in medical scales). Obscure answers slipped by the solver with an honorific, "big name" or "influential."

Got stumped at SUZI/ZWEIG and ELLIE/XKES. In both cases, I tried S first. The only thing in my world that starts with XK is XKCD.

Despite those Monday stumpers, I enjoyed the puzzle. What a surprise to get three 15s on a Monday! What a great central answer in SOCIAL LUBRICANT!

After getting LON and DON, I feared that we were in for another word ladder.

My partner and I have PIECED together many jigsaw puzzles. We pick them up here and there, often for cheap at a thrift shop. Once finished, we pass them along to friends. We've earned a bit of a reputation for them, and friends and family now give them to us as presents come Christmas.

PODIA just seems wrong. "Mary loss 'er lamb today, the PO' DIA."

Loren Muse Smith 4:26 AM  

Well heck. I guessed S on the ZWEIG/SUZI cross.

Any snack name that screams gross preservative weird color goodness – I'm all about it. Just checked, and it seems DIPSY Doodles are like ruffled Fritos. I'm definitely going to look into this.

Cool to divide LONDON BRIDGE into little pieces and have their letters "fall" down as the foursome slowly "falls" down the grid. Nice, Jacob.

So would you rather be GLAREd at, GAWKed, or OGLEd?

And how 'bout that southeast DIP, DROOP, FALLING DOWN?

APSE has become quite the little grid upstart recently.

Martin A – the only note I have in my margin is PODIA. Over AWARD – nice! What a mess that whole PODIA, podium, lectern deal is. Sure, you stand on a podium. But now you also can stand behind one with your notes on that slanted surface. I feel like a jerk when I call the furniture one a lectern. People don’t even know what I'm talking about. But I keep using the word. I'll add this to the list of things that belie my belligerent stand on accepting language change.

Another one I just noticed last week – I hadn't realized that in my online education class, I've been ignoring the comments submitted by the people who don't capitalize their "I" pronouns. This was utterly sub-conscious. It's like I see that first little "I" and completely, summarily dismiss whatever the person has to say. I imagine in a few decades, we're not going to be capitalizing that pronoun (heck – we used to capitalize nouns. Just look at the Declaration of Independence. Looks like it was written when noun capitalization was on its way out, and it sure looks haphazard.

And yet I'm pretty much ignoring the INTR lie a lot of the time and just making lay my intransitive go-to guy. "Lay out in the sun" sounds much better to me than "lie out in the sun."

Anyhoo… I agree this played hardish for a Monday. But I really enjoyed the very nice visual. Thanks, JS

Lewis 6:06 AM  

This had the stamp of quality for a Monday puzzle. The cluing was intelligent in general, rather than embarrassingly easy, the theme was clever -- way to think this up, Jacob! -- and the long downs, every single one of them, are engaging. I like that FLOAT is up and DROOP is down (indeed, it crosses FALLING_DOWN). That NYU/EASY_A cross does not ring true (I have a son who has his Bachelors and Masters from there). I love it when a Monday has two or three non-Monday entries (PODIA, ADA, ZWEIG) to give new solvers a taste of challenge, while not overwhelming them.

The theme brings a certain Broadway musical to mind, and With A Little Bit Of Luck, this puzzle accurately reflects what the rest of the week's offerings will be like.

Charles Flaster 6:30 AM  

Very well-constructed puzzle with lots of zip.
Easily could have passed for a Wednesday.
Favorite answer was PIECED.
Nary a writeover but I did expect a word ladder.
Thanks JS

Z 6:32 AM  

@LMS - I love definition 1.1 at Oxford. I can almost hear the derogatory sniff as North American is added.

Alan Meckler 6:51 AM  

This one took me 24 seconds, which is well over my normal Monday time of 16 seconds.

pauer 7:27 AM  

What's wrong with plural EWOKS?

Oh, and ICYMI, I made a puzzly announcement in xword form:

chefbea 7:40 AM  

Found this to be very easy. Loved it

Where is Anabel??? First Monday of the month!!!

George Barany 7:41 AM  

Quick hello to thank @Jacob Stulberg for this puzzle which was a real downer, @Rex for his temperate review, and the first round of the commentariat for their numerous and varied, invariably delightful, insights. Congratulations to @Patrick Blinder for his puzzle announcement (I tried it yesterday, definitely worth it), and get well soon, @Annabel (and @Rex too). Finally, Shana Tovah to all my friends both within and outside of this community.

NCA President 7:45 AM  

This was way harder than a normal Monday for me. It was, I believe, on account of the SUZI/ZWEIG crossing and the PODIA/ADA crossing and because I did this earlier in the morning than usual and the sun was in my eyes and...oh, I don't just took forever and I'm not sure why.

Didn't care about the circled letters. Note to WS: I don't care about circled letters. Ever.

OGLES/GAWKS synonym might have tripped me up but it didn't...I did entertain "leers" at one point.

Just a tidbit of history: FANTA is a company that Coca-Cola started so they could still sell to the Germans during WW2. I don't drink Fanta to this day. Plus it's terrible, which makes it easier to boycott.

I actually liked the Monday "challenge."

Autrement 7:54 AM  

While the ZWEIG and SUZI cross was almost certainly too hard, I loved seeing Stefan Zweig up in here. Lively, creative, humanist, eminently interesting Old World writer who should be better known in Anglophone countries than he is. Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel was inspired by him!

doorslam 7:55 AM  

Just below average time other than the natick on SUZI/ZWEIG. Definitely not Monday familiar. Other than that, I liked the theme and enjoyed the long downs.

Wm. C. 7:58 AM  

Me too on the SUZIE-ZWEIG crossing, guessed correctly choosing Z over S. From the number of comments on this, I'd guess that the majority of solvers had to guess.

I enjoy a "challenging" Monday puzzle, but forcing a guess is NOT the way to create a challenge. I'm looking at you, Mr. Shortz.

Noticing Kind 8:11 AM  

@loren, doesn't one of the nicest co-respondents on this blog tend to lower-case the i's when whipping off some late night emails? It might be a case of making the first person sing, or simply a case of ERGonomics.


kitshef 8:40 AM  

Thought @Rex would savage this as dated, stale. Pleased to see he liked it, 'coz I sure did. Hand up for DIPSY doodle a WoE, for initially thinking word ladder, and for ZWEIG being too much for a Monday. Fortunately, I knew SUZI (not personally).

Solved as across-only and did finish, which I often can't, so theoretically on the easy side. inre/ASTO, DuI/DWI and ACTINGbad/ACTINGOUT were the significant overwrites. NYa/NYU was the only thing that made ACTINGbad not work, as USb and GAd looked just fine.

Oh, and XKES and GTO in same puzzle is pushing it. You are on notice Mr. Stulberg. Now that I think of it, SUzI/zWIEg/gTO looks like a potential triple-Natick.

chefbea 8:42 AM  

Didn't realize Anabel was sick...Guess it was announced. I haven't been visiting Rexville for a few days. Have my daughter and family visiting

Hope you are feeling better Anabel

Anonymous 8:43 AM  

1. More like a Tuesday
2. Very sparse on theme material
3. Excellent long downs

Best described as: "An easy themeless with a mini-theme."


jberg 8:52 AM  

I got LON and DON in the circles and was expecting a word latter, but BRI ended that. After a puzzled moment, I saw the theme and put in the DGE, which gave me WENT OVER THE EDGE--personally, I like id, nice colloquial feel to it. INTR., not so much.

@Loren, you've convinced me -- I'm going back to calling those lecterns what they are.

I had assumed that SUZI was a well-known pop figure, only not to me, and was feeling really nerdy to know ZWEIG but not her -- I'm very relieved to see that many knew neither.

I noticed callouts to @Bob Kerfuffle and @ROO monster.

@chefbea Anabel is sick -- see the end of @Rex's post.

QuasiMojo 9:05 AM  

I usually skip Monday puzzles, but I had nothing else to do this morning (knocked off the Acrostic from yesterday earlier) and I'm glad I did. I found this one had some teeth to it. Didn't get the theme until I came here. Quite clever, even if somewhat absurd. Thought @LorenMuseSmith's comments today were spot on. I don't like podia or the use of podium in that sense. I think of dais or rostrum or lectern. A podium is something you stand on. Although these days standing on anything traditional or of long-standing is like dipping your toe in quicksand. I'm a big fan of Stefan Zweig, primarily through his collaboration with composer Richard Strauss (who defied the Nazis to work with him.) According to Wikipedia (and history) his crosswordese-entitled novel "Amok" was burned by the Nazis. He came to a sad end in Brazil. Before I go over the edge myself, I just want to wish Annabel and Rex a quick recovery from their respective colds.

Jennifer Freeman 9:15 AM  

Liked the puzzle and kinda knew Zweig but misspelt it as Sweig anyway. When I see it written here Zweig looks much better.

I had an odd experience yesterday with The NY Times app. It gave me the happy music and I went to the blog. Later when I went back to do the Monday puzzle., the timer resumed running but when I tried to put in the full rebus got happy music before I could do anything. After that no prob.
I agree about the circles. They almost never help in the solve and when I try to use them, I have a terrible time seeing them in the app.

Mohair Sam 9:28 AM  

Well if Zwieback Toast was spelled "ei" instead of "ie" I would have guessed "Z" instead of "S" and not been naticked on a Monday. I hope that makes sense.

Excellent Monday, the way they all oughta be - they just shouldn't whup me. Cannot believe you guys are mumbling about PODIA, it's fine. @NCA President is right, FANTA tastes hideous - and his historical tidbit makes it doubly distasteful.

I see we're still talking about DETECTO from yesterday. Years ago I asked my doctor if DETECTO's were only sold to doctor's offices, I had never seen them anywhere else - and never seen any other brand in a doctor's office. He laughed and said he'd had the same experience. Said they had a reputation of being very accurate, lasted forever, and were damned expensive.

Hartley70 9:34 AM  

Took a drive to Natick this morning when I went with an S at the SUZI/Zweig cross, a most unlikely Monday occurrence. The long downs make this a very difficult puzzle for a beginner, I would imagine, but a satisfying Monday for everyone else. I liked it very much.

A PODIum is always a lectern when I'm in church, and if you do a scriptural reading you are the "lector".

EWOKS was redolent of my weekend. It was rainy and cold, so I rewatched the "Star Wars" movies on TNT. I can report they've held up remarkably well and I liked these little critters better the second time around.

Keep drinking, Rex. Don't Annabel. I hope you both feel better soon.

G. Weissman 9:34 AM  


Nancy 9:47 AM  

This filled in so easily and mindlessly at the top that I almost quit -- but I'm glad I didn't. It got harder, and therefore I got happier, as it proceeded south. I also thought the theme was cute. I didn't think the cluing was all that interesting, with the exceptions of RED HEN and SOCIAL LUBRICANT, and SOCIAL LUBRICANT was by far my favorite answer. I guessed right on the SUZI/ZWEIG cross. But I wasn't really thinking when I at first wrote in MAD HEN instead of RED HEN. I guess I thought the HEN WENT OVER THE EDGE. So, a nice Monday, as Mondays go. I hope everyone gets over their respective colds.

George 9:55 AM  

Sam Cooke videos two days in a row?? That's awesome!

Rex Parker 10:02 AM  

Sam Cooke videos every day this month. Why not? Just for you. Just for you.


Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 10:07 AM  

I didn't mind PODIA, what I minded was IOTAS. Which should not have been both in the same puzzle.

I got my dog Orion 22 months ago and I think this is the 7th time he's been in the puzzle. Don't know how to show you his picture, but he is getting pretty blaze about it.

Z 10:50 AM  

@Greater Fall River - Easiest way would be to make Orion your avatar.

@Mohair Sam - Zwieback Toast! Wow. I haven't thought about Zwieback Toast in 18 years (youngest turns 20 in a month). I didn't think anyone besides teething children ate it. Then again, I grew up eating Rusk , still made locally where I grew up.

Anonymous 11:01 AM  

A great solving experience for a Monday. Lively and fun with a cute theme. Cute's as much as I can take on Monday morning. Really enjoyed this.

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

I've never heard of "acting out" meaning "misbehaving." Normally misbehaving is acting *up*, no?

Anonymous 11:14 AM  

I've never heard of "acting out" meaning "misbehaving." Normally misbehaving is acting *up*, no?

Roo Monster 11:33 AM  

Hey All !
Thanks for the shout out, JS! I didn't know you cared! (He's probably thinking, "Who?") :-)

Different kind of MonPuz, three Down 15's unusual for a Monday. Agtee about the snappy answers, but still found the puz easy.

I used to love DIPSY Doodles! Do they still make them? SOCIAL LUBRICANT seems off to my ears. Like s non-thing. No one hsd mentioned the edge-of-iffiness clue for 1D. Guessed the SUZI Z!

Word ladder looking like most of youse. Wanted SOCIALLyDOsomething for the center, but then saw SUP, so that changed. GTO and XKES gimmies in my little world.


mathgent 11:37 AM  

Usually I agree with @Nancy and I expected her to pan today's offering but she didn't. I just looked it over again and I still can't find anything to like. So many of us liking it makes me think that I'm being grumpy. Oh well, put an asterisk on my D plus.

Masked and Anonymous 11:40 AM  

This was memorable: had 22-Down's YEW = "Tree whose name sounds like a letter of the alphabet". Yes! Special coverage, for U's. fave weeject of the month.

Also, of note becuz 24-Down's ARABIC had a different clue, dependin on whether U had the printed or online version of the puz. Does this get into meanin that it is hard to compare solve times, for the two puz versions? Probably not especially. The clues were both moo-cow easy. Speakin of which …

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {From ___ to riches}. Piece of cake, since Trump U. won't fit.

Sam Cooke. Supergreat voice, and lots of great songs. Glad to hear he is performin here, all month. Good Times.

Get well, @RP. Get well, @Mrs. RP. Get well, @Blu'bel.

Masked & Anonymo4Us

old timer 11:40 AM  

Two year olds (or really, 18-month-olds ACT OUT. Six-year-olds sometimes act up.

DNF here, thanks to Susi and Sweig.

Get better, Annabel and Rex.

puzzle hoarder 11:46 AM  

This was a very entertaining Monday puzzle. Seeing the grid while printing it the circled triplets made me think word ladder. If I'd paid attention while solving the first two would have convinced me. As usual I didn't that is until I entered FALLING DOWN at 26D. Then I read the first three and filled in the fourth. If anything a distraction like that just delayed the solve time.
I had a hunch XKES could be an issue for younger solvers. As general knowledge goes it's on a par with GTO. However as ese the XKE is far more obscure.
On the SUZI/ZWEIG crossing, I can't be sure if I was so confident of the Z due to actual name recognition or that it's so similar to SUZIEQ Either way I had only the slightest anxiety that S was correct. My theory on SWEIG is that people were subconsciously influenced by the common word SWIG.

Anonymous 11:50 AM  


Tom 11:50 AM  

Good one for Mondays, which are usually so easy a fifth-grader can do them. Knew SUZI was a Z—for some reason it was hidden deep in the recesses, and it helped that ZWEIG ist eine gute österreichische Name, not sWEIG. Had the same trouble as Rex with REDHEN, but crosses easy enough to finally remember the story. Don't remember what she was going to make, though. Pie? Bread? DIPSY Doodles?

Andrew Heinegg 11:53 AM  

I am still trying to figure out whether Gfrcpj had a spell check auto correct making blasé blaze. But, it is another example of how technology can be amusing.

I am in agreement with the not feeling so well OFL that this was generally a very good production for a Monday. I got the tester in Suzi/Zweig because I have never seen Suzi spelled with the s after the u and, although I never heard of him, I would presume that a German language name is more likely to be Zweig rather than Sweig.

I do have one idle question? Was this puzzle published today because the N.Y. Giants are on Monday Night Football?

Get well both Rex and Annabel.

AliasZ 12:39 PM  

A FANTAstic Monday puzzle by Jacob Stulberg. I enjoyed it a little more than the usual Monday precisely because of Stefan ZWEIG, Marquis DE SADE, OGLES and GAWKS, COMBO and DUOS, and the snow CAPT CRAG. The FALLING DOWN (DROOPing) LON DON BRI DGE was beyond cute, as was the EENSY ROO, the EWOKS and DIPSY Doodles.

Of all the JEANs in music from JEAN-Baptiste Lully through JEAN Sibelius and beyond, let me offer two very different composers, the only similarities being their first names and that they were both French.

JEAN (Jehan) Titelouze (1562/3-1633) is regarded as the first composer of the French organ school. His somber Veni, Creator is a set of variations on the old Latin hymn.

JEAN Françaix (1912-1997) on the other hand was an urbane composer of much delightful and lighthearted music: symphonies, concertos, ballets, film scores, solo and chamber works, etc. His Concertino for Piano and Orchestra (1932) is a prime example of his joie de vivre and sense of humor.


Numinous 12:44 PM  

"So, put another dime in the juke box, baby, come on take your time and dance with me!" Cute, funny, short, really short chick who plays bass, Suzi Quatro. I used to edit film on a show in Australia called GTK. It was a contemporary culture show that featured music videos interviews with people of interest to the young people of the '70s. We made two or three videos a week to accompany songs the producers liked (yeah, I was making music videos in 1970). Suzi Quatro came to Australia and we followed her around for a couple days. She was a treat. She thought the Sydney Opera House looked like a scrum of nuns.

I saw LON and DON and, after the revealer just knew the remaining six circles were going to be BRI and DGE. Didn't bother to fill them in until I got down there and did the Across clues. There has been some grumbling that the long downs might be too hard for a Monday-level solver. I thought they were very easy to get with the crosses. I didn't give them a whole lot of thought as I worked with the Across clues though I was keeping their clues in mind. I thought they were EASY As. ZWEIG was also very fair considering the crosses.

I was never too hot on Pontiac GTOs but back in the day, as a sports car nut, I had an absolute passion for XKEs. I even managed to get a car dealer to let me drive one once. For a while, I even owned a Jaguar XK 150, the car that won the 1957 Le Mans. The only straight panels on it were the doors, the bonnet and the boot.

As Mondays go, I thought this was fair and not too difficult. A new solver might need determination and persistence to solve this but it is doable. It took me a little bit longer than my average, only seconds, but it didn't seem at all difficult.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 12:59 PM  

Just seeing if Orion shows up here....

Gregory Schmidt 12:59 PM  

SUZI/ZWEIG on a Monday. No.

Teedmn 1:06 PM  

EENSY IOTAS. OFFED by a GAT. M&A gets a giant YEW. I was seeing ORION this morning as I rode my bicycle to work pre-dawn, which is always a fun constellation to see.

Squinting, I can imagine a bridge that is beginning to DROOP and SAG in the middle. Nice Monday with a little ZWEIG to it, thanks JS.

Masked and Anonymous 1:14 PM  

@RP: The M&A Foundation's Corner Rework Dept. has responded to yer urgent request, re: MonPuz SE corner. One of the staff chimpanzees (named Sweig, go figure) in our room full of typewriters has come up with a mighty "interesting" fill alternative. [Clues by another chimp named Detecto, go figure.]

55. Letters after Sen. Hillary Clinton's name, once
59. One dropping a bag full of toys down your chimney, sooner than you think
63. "Hello Dolly!" broadway director and choreographer Champion
66. Old lab devices, named after an active volcano in Sicily
51. IX prefIX, so to speak
52. Creatures producing red, white, and blue striped eggs?
60. Fridge biomass problem

M&A Help Desk.

Thanx, Mr. Stulberg. I thought yer original SE corner was pleasingly desperate, btw. Only so much U can do, with those two looong themers fallin into the SE, like a buncha bridge debris.

Carola 1:31 PM  

I ALSO thought this was a SHOWCASE Monday puzzle....except for the SUZI-ZWEIG cross, where it was all too EASY to go wrong. I'd left the Z space blank, not having heard of the singer, and worked my way back up from the bottom. When I had ?WEIG in place, before looking at the Down clue, I thought, "No way is that going to be Stefan ZWEIG."


Speaking of...the PODIA - lecturn discussion reminded me of my teaching days (come into classroom and move the lecturn off to the side out of my way) when we could actually use alcohol (beer) as a SOCIAL LUBRICANT, at least on the last day of the semester. Man, their German got so much more fluent, just releasing that little bit of inhibition. But then the administration cracked down....

Hungry Mother 1:51 PM  

What's the point of crossing two obscure names in a puzzle? Took me four guesses to get the Z. I enjoy crossword puzzles that have interesting wordplay and challenges to be figured out. I'd rather spend my time scrubbing toilets than taking wild stabs.

Mohair Sam 5:55 PM  

@Z - Our youngest is 30. But who can forget Zwieback? Bite into it once and you wonder why giving to teething kids isn't called child abuse. Holland looks downright idyllic - I'll bet the words "lake effect" have some meaning there.

@Rex - Good choice on the happy, silly "Stumblin' In" video, don't listen to Z - looking forward to the run of Sam Cooke videos. Professional help is available for the Jean Arthur fixation, btw.

Charles Tracy 6:32 PM  

Sorry- stupid me.

I can't figure out identity or relationship of the pictured femme fatale on the left in Rex' solution

thanks CT

Unknown 7:14 PM  

I didn't know Suzi or Zweig, but since I guessed the "z", I suppose it is not technically a Natick.

Anonymous 7:15 PM  

What a pleasure to have a more challenging Monday puzzle!

Mohair Sam 7:51 PM  

@Charles Tracy - That's Jean Arthur, see my 5:55 post. JEAN is the answer to 33 Across.

Z 7:55 PM  

@Mohair Sam - Compared to Buffalo, Holland is a lake effect slacker, but it starts snowing sometime in November and ends sometime in March or April. It's also a few degrees milder most days than points inland, so things balance. Still, if you're not a fan of snow and cold you might want to visit in May for the tulips.

As for Stumblin' In, I'm not overly fond of the song but my biggest complaint is that it isn't prototypical SUZI Quatro. Sure, it was her biggest hit, but it doesn't even rate a link on her web page. It's like choosing Love Hurts as your example of an Elvis Costello song.

@Charles Tracy - Pretty sure that's Stefan ZWEIG.*

*Or maybe JEAN Simmons. Maybe. Or JEAN Arthur - @Mohair Sam is probably correct. I'm sure it's not JEAN Harlow, though.

Alex 8:10 PM  

Much tougher than the usual monday! On Monday, I generally only do the downs, to make it a little more interesting. This was much more difficult! That is not a complaint. An observation.

webwinger 8:16 PM  

Late to comment, but have some unsaid things to say re the hot topic du jour, SUZI/ZWEIG. I actually knew Zweig, having read a couple his short stories in translation a few years ago at the suggestion of a friend who is much better read than I. No idea re Suzi. But--anyone the least bit familiar with German should recognize ZW as a common consonant combination (eins, zwei, drei?), which SW is not. And in my experience (with many many Susans including an ex-wife, and Suzannes) it's usually Susie with an s (oh, oh, oh what a girl!) and Suzy (or Suzi) with a z. So given 4 letters odds strongly favor z.

Leapfinger 12:58 PM  

A little-known fact: In his circle, Stefan ZWEIG was known to his closest friends as MM. On account of his name, you know, being ZWEI-G and all...

Just wanted to find out whether there was any love out there for multi-lingual RRN jokes.

spacecraft 11:44 AM  

Wow, no one noticed NYU/NYGIANTS? Has the dupe taboo been repealed? Bad enough that I, diehard Eagles fan, was forced as if by DESADE to write out the team that beat us yesterday.

I have no plans for LONGSTEMMED DOD JODIE Foster to be OFFED. As a certain doctor who WENTOVERTHEEDGE once said, "The world is more interesting with you in it."

There is a lot to like in this one--paid for with some pretty brutal short fill: INTR, DHS and the very un-Monday ZWEIG. I notice, as I have often done but not till now mentioned, that a wide variety of entries get bled over to the next day (viz. XKE), making me think that these constructors solve a puzzle, get an idea, and then dash one off using that idea in one day. I suspect that's not how it goes down, but the effect is there.

I was going to give this one a par, with the bad and the good cancelling each other out, but on a second lookover, decided there wasn't that much bad. Birdie.

And now I must go; I'm having a friend for dinner. F-F-F-F......

Burma Shave 12:00 PM  


she ALSO gets the AWARD for OGLES, GLAREs, and GAWKS.


Diana,LIW 2:00 PM  

I guessed Z. For some reason, ZWEIG was hanging around my memory banks. Definitely put this in the Wednesday camp.

DIPSY Doodles and ROLOS, pie ALA mode, FANTA, and quite a lot of alcohol - this puzzle has a bad diet.

Too bad some "dread" Mondays 'cause they are "too easy." This was a breather after some of the tough stuff last week.

Diana, LIW

rondo 2:16 PM  

I don’t think there’s any question that it was tougher than most Mondays, though I didn’t have the Natick that many did, SUZI a gimme due to Happy Days appearances.

@spacey – I saw the NY dupe right away, even wrote NY above the clues and circled it to remember for the comments. Maybe since it’s the NYT puz it gets a pass? Shouldn’t though.
I think Will bunches up the occasional repetitive stuff. Probably no coincidence ALA the recent “etoiles” and now the XKEs.
Can’t deny JODIE is a FOX, but rockin’ SUZI in her leather duds – yeah baby. And ALSO Carly RAE of more recent note gets an AWARD.

Maybe not a Showcase puz or an AWARD winner, but an EASYA.

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