1948-94 in South Africa / MON 11-28-16 / Letter-shaped metal fastener / Southern corn breads

Monday, November 28, 2016

Constructor: Kristian House

Relative difficulty: Easy


THEME: DUCK, DUCK, GOOSE (58A: Children's game ... or the circled words in 20-, 28- and 48-Across)  — embedded in each themer is (in order) a duck, a duck, and a goose:

Theme answers:
  • TRIBUTE ALBUMS (20A: "Bowiemania" and "Come Together: America Salutes the Beatles")
  • APARTHEID ERA (28A: 1948-94, in South Africa)
  • SWORN ENEMIES (48A: Bitter rivals) 
Word of the Day: NADINE Gordimer (50D: Literature Nobelist Gordimer) —
Nadine Gordimer (20 November 1923 – 13 July 2014) was a South African writer, political activist and recipient of the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature. She was recognized as a woman "who through her magnificent epic writing has – in the words of Alfred Nobel – been of very great benefit to humanity". // Gordimer's writing dealt with moral and racial issues, particularly apartheid in South Africa. Under that regime, works such as Burger's Daughter and July's People were banned. She was active in the anti-apartheid movement, joining the African National Congress during the days when the organization was banned, and gave Nelson Mandela advice on his famous 1964 defence speech at the trial which led to his conviction for life. She was also active in HIV/AIDS causes. (wikipedia)
• • •

Well I thought this was lovely. Very simple, but perfectly executed. Those are, indeed, a duck a duck and a goose, respectively. Plus the theme answers themselves were fairly novel. Clever, neat, easy—I really don't expect much more from my Mondays. Actually, scratch that last sentence, as it implies that doing this sort of thing is easy. If it were, I'd be writing something sunny like this every Monday. The truth is, coming up with a neat Monday theme concept, and then executing it cleanly, is really quite hard. There aren't that many people I trust to do it on a regular basis. Writing easy puzzles of high quality is, in fact, tough. So while I don't expect more from my Mondays than "clever, neat, easy," that actually ends up being a reasonably high bar.


I could've done without ABORC (which I always read as a single word—like some discarded Tolkien creature), and EDUCE (a word that always makes me want to egest my lunch), and ENACTOR (it's a word, but just barely) and PONES (OK in the singular, but somehow grating in the plural). Everything else is clean, though. I have a weird lot of admiration for CROP UP (54A: Appear, as problems). It's just a nice, crisp phrase, and, yeah, it duplicates the "UP" from GUSSIED UP, but that's a pretty minor dupe. Nice to have NADINE Gordimer (anti-apartheid writer) to offset the downerness of APARTHEID ERA. I also like NOGOODNIK. How do you not like NOGOODNIK? It's among the best of the -niks, along with refuse and beat and peace.  I am going to beat it now, so I can eat some more birthday cake. Peace.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

51 comments:

chefwen 12:41 AM  

Cute and very easy Monday puzzle

Puzzle partner was working on his own copy and suddenly got on his high horse and blurted out "there is NO WAY a NENE is a duck. I said "have you finished 58A yet?"
A few seconds later he put on his Emily Litella glasses and said "well, O.K., never mind". That made the puzzle for me.

jae 12:54 AM  

What @Rex and @chefwen said - Loved the Emily Litella reference - we use it quite a bit.

Mr. Fitch 1:09 AM  

More medium for a Monday. EDUCE alone is enough to take it out of easy Monday territory.

andrea carla michaels 1:18 AM  

Of course would lose my Minnesota visa if I didn't mention that there it's DUCK DUCK GREY DUCK!
Kristian is a total Goodnik!
Nice to see a right on Monday puzzle and review ... Happy bday REX!

Larry Gilstrap 1:57 AM  

OFL is in a buoyant mood about a Monday puzzle, or is it despite a Monday puzzle. I find it amusing when folks complain about his crankiness on this blog; ever follow him on Twitter? I heard that he solved this thing in nearly record time, so I printed out the puzzle, sharpened my pencil, started my chronometer, and had a stressful 9:23. To each his own.

I actually saw a NENE on the road at Waimea Canyon. I'm a birder, but not obsessive like most. I've only seen a TEAL or an EIDER in crosswords, more than once.

I'm a supporting member of an NPR station, in my case KCRW, but listen and stream wherever I find myself. I am familiar with and can identify most of the voices of newscasters, anchors, announcers, deejays, or correspondents. Ever hear Ofeibea Quist-Arcton end a byline with her iconic pronunciation of "DAKAR."? It's worth the price of a totebag or coffee mug.

Loren Muse Smith 6:02 AM  

Rex – glad Nadine Gordimer was the WOTD. We just finished her "Once Upon a Time" short story in my 9th grade classes. Cool to clue NADINE that way with APARTHEID ERA in the grid.

I liked ATRA right under RAZE. Although razing your face feels like a much bigger job than shaving your face.

I had the same thought on ABORC. Looks like an unfortunate name. Aborc, go raze your face now before our company gets here. And raze that back, too. Nasty.

Also liked NO GOODNIK crossing ROGUE. And AMIGO. I have some of those.

No one has mentioned the other DUCK DUCK GOOSE theme puzzle we had a while back. Spoiler alert – this link shows the solution. I tried to figure out how to link the blank puzzle but couldn’t figure it out. The date was August 2, 2012.

I used to love me a good game of DUCK DUCK GOOSE. It’s “Drop the Handerkerchief,” just louder. Nice puz.

Lewis 6:15 AM  

@Hi Andrea!

Cute theme, clean grid, with a bit of fowl language. CROP_UP and GUSSIED_UP, despite the dupe, tickled my fancy, along with that BLEW up over RAZED. Apt cross of ROGUE and NOGOODNIK.

The theme being a sweet reminder of a simpler time, sitting in a circle with little friends and shouting, running and laughing unabashedly.

Fearless Leader 7:03 AM  

Boris Badenov:
Sex: Male
Occupation: No-Goodnik
Home: Pottsylvania
Education: Degree at U.S.C. (The University of Safe-Cracking)
Tag Line: Must capture moose and squirrel.

kitshef 7:23 AM  


Agree fully with @Rex's almost Annabelian review.

Puzzle doesn't even need the theme to be cool. PETUNIA, GUSSIED UP, SWORN ENEMIES, NO-GOODNIK, SLICKERS, TRIBUTE ALBUMS, APARTHEID ERA, DUCK DUCK GOOSE. That's some awesome stuff.

@Aborc - don't listen to Loren; there is nothing wrong with back hair.

Roo Monster 7:30 AM  

Hey All !
SmOOTHE puz today. It SHOWS. I didn't BLEW through it, though. Was a touch ROGUE when the CROP UP of the BERG clue, had floe in first. Said OHOH when I saw BULB. I see PETUNIA and ADAM GUSSIED UP, but not part of the BRAT PACK. When I ran into ABORC, it EDUCEd a smirk HERE, as it's an ABLE DOOK. We have TRIBE USED CLAY, PONES USURP PETEY, MORSE SHOWS NOGOODNIK, an AMIGO NEAR HERE, and a GUSSIED UP ARENA, NASTY!

That's all the silliness I have today. I think reading @Leapy is starting to get to me!!

ELK ELK HUR
RooMonster
DarrinV

pauer 7:44 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
chefbea 7:52 AM  

What a nice easy Monday puzzle...and nice to have @ Andrea comment. Loved aborc!!! also noticed the two hp's.
Had cornbread stuffing for Thanksgiving...was great!!!

John Child 7:55 AM  

Wait a minute. Did the pod people take away Rex and replace him with a cheerful clone? What of our often grumpy commentariat? Is this Calvin and Hobbes' backwards world?

thfenn 8:29 AM  

Perfect Monday puzzle. Enjoyed what others have already noted, including the fact that Nadine Gordimer and the apartheid era were, well, SWORN ENEMIES.

Same beefs others have already noted as well, tho would add I didn't really like OHOH as "I know! I know" - those just don't feel like similar expressions to me.

As a birder, or at least someone that fancies being one, I'd just quibblingly say that a Nene is actually a particular species of goose, found only on the Hawaiian islands, whereas teals and eiders are types of ducks. If you say you've seen a teal, you're probably referring to a Common Teal, and if you've seen an eider, you're probably referring to a Common Eider, but there are other teals and other eiders, whereas there is no other Nene. You can't on your life list, record a teal, an eider, and a Nene and say you've seen three species...

Nonetheless, loved this one - no cheating, beat my average, and enjoyed seeing it all fall into place...

NCA President 8:36 AM  

I do puzzles by doing all the acrosses and then doing the downs. I keep spiraling around like that until I get most of it filled, then I go back in and do the spot fill. It's a system that ensures I read every clue and don't miss anything. It's not the fastest way to do it, but it works for me.

Today, I did one pass of the acrosses and one pass of the downs and I was done. I don't remember the last time I did just one pass of each. I didn't necessarily do it in record time, but it went fast.

I got the first two large crosses cold...I just knew what they were. TRIBUTEALBUMS and APARTHEIDERA, so that gave me the first two ducks...I had no idea what the third large cross was, but when I got to the revealer, I immediately saw DUCKDUCKGOOSE. So when I got to the downs, a lot of the puzzle was filled in already.

I like Mondays, not because they're easy, but because they're usually cute and a little like eating a fun-size Snickers bar. You grab it, you get the sugar rush, and you're done. Nothing serious about it, nothing particularly challenging or even nuanced...you get what you get for the short burst of enjoyment in one bite. Mondays: the fun-sized NYT xword puzzle.

I know those mini puzzle are supposed to do that, and they sorta do, but they're more like what happens when you ask your child to share some M&Ms...you're lucky to get three or four.

I liked the puzzle too...but more because it was a Monday, and less because of the theme or any of the things Rex mentioned. It was a nice, easy, no-groan Monday. Can't ask for more than that...well you can, but then it would be Tuesday.

jberg 8:48 AM  

Hey, put me in the puzzle (49D) and I won't complain about ABORC or PONES. I'll just ask why "code" (32D) is in quotation marks.


Toughest part for me was the UMA/DUNST cross. I didn't know the latter, and didn't know the song either, so figured maybe it could be "I'm a Thurman," or something like that. But then I figured it was Monday, and everyone was going to put in UMA without thinking, so I went with it. Close call.

Hi Andrea, nice to see you here!

Z 8:50 AM  

@kitshef - Duck Season*


@thefenn - Think Horshack.

"Clever, neat, easy." Reminds me of my HS choir teacher asserting that singing "big" is actually not that hard - the best singers are the ones who can deliver the quiet passages. The duel constraints of a clever theme and easy cluing makes a quality Monday puzzle a real challenge. Kudos.




*Nice of Shortz to play into this game.

Z 8:55 AM  

dual/duel/renault, whatever. BTW on yesterday's discussion, France is big enough to have dialects. OUI is "we" in the north and "way" in the south. I imagine there are multiple ways people say the vowels in Renault.

Tita A 8:55 AM  

GUSSIEDUP worth the price of admission. Sounds very old-timey to me, but google ngram shows it to have a sharp steady rise in usage since 1940's.
What everyone else said about all the other great fill.

Cute theme.

Anonymous 8:57 AM  

@Fearless Leader, don't forget Sexy sidekick: Natasha. She reported to you too.

Anonymous 9:01 AM  

I don't know if this puzzle needs more praise but I'm throwing in a pat on the back. A nice way to start the week.

QuasiMojo 9:03 AM  

I too thought Annabel or Laura was back. Nice review, Rex. I liked this puzzle and swiftly executed it. I thought Dreyer's was Breyer's on the other coast. And "educe" was a tyrant. JK. I am not a fan of this trend to add "era" to any old word to fill out the line. Anything can be an "era" if enough people remember it. How about the "ERA era"? Loved seeing Nadine Gordimer and Nogoodnik. Reminded me of Bullwinkle for no reason, although we had an "elk" in the grid rather than a "moose."

Leapfinger 9:13 AM  

@Roomie, yule be fine soon!
@jberg, I saw that and happy for you; too bad about the J.

I thought Kristian House constructed a real nice PAGAN plACE. Still have mem'ries of the interconnecting tunnels in college: the overhead pipes had cautionary scrawls: DUCK...DUCK....GOOSE. No humour too low for those Northerners. At McGill, so musta been a Canada GOOSE, right, @Pauer?

Making the long drive home today.

SCRIMP shampi, y'all

Lojman 9:18 AM  

Yes, yes, YES! I rarely have the need to utter the word Dakar, but when I do I always try to channel OQA. She kills it every time.

Happy birthday, @Rex! Hope you got to enjoy it properly. This puzzle couldn't have hurt.

Cheers,
Lojman

Hartley70 9:22 AM  

How much sugar do you think Rex has had in the last two days? I'm hoping it's a big cake.

I thought this was a very nice Monday and appreciate that the constructor played it straight and still got a rave review here. I particularly liked NADINE and APARTHEID ERA. To be a stratospheric Monday for me, however, I'm looking for wit in the cluing. It's rare, but it does happen, like an appearance by Haley's Comet.

Nancy 9:25 AM  

Since this took no time or brainpower to solve, I put my effort instead into trying to imagine what a game of DUCK DUCK GOOSE might look like. I failed. I have no idea. Well, actually, I did come up with one vague-ish idea of such a game, but it would be rather rude. Particularly for children.

I suppose I should praise this for the pure silliness of the theme. While there was no playfulness at all in the cluing, the embedded theme answers were silly, indeed. And while I hate tiny little circles, there was a silliness payoff in these tiny little circles. And there were some colorful non-theme long answers: BRAT PACK; NO GOODNIK and GUSSIED UP. Look, it's Holiday Season. I'm trying to be generous.

GILL I. 9:29 AM  

@chefwen...I had to Google Emily Litella glasses just to see what you were talking about and there you are - right on Mr. Googles page!
@Loren...I remember that crossword only because I had never heard of that children's game. I was more of the musical chairs era.
I really liked this Monday puzzle. @NCA Pres. said it perfectly with his reference to a yummy Snickers bar although I'd choose a Milky Way.
I don't know how old GUSSIED UP is but my mom used to use it all the time. Great word.
One day, I'll try an EDY'S ice cream - just to make my puzzle memory happy.
Good job Kristian House - fun puzzle and it brought us back ACME!

Rex Parker 9:54 AM  

Andrea,

Thank you!

Full disclosure: I know and like Kristian House. He lives relatively nearby and owns a toy store. I really gotta get over there this Holiday season.

RP

thfenn 10:03 AM  

@Z, LOL, tks. Can't believe Welcome Back, Kotter didn't spring to mind. OOH! OOH!.

Anonymous 10:06 AM  

Just a minute. This Northwest Iowa native says Duck Duck Grey Duck.

Alex 10:26 AM  

I liked this. I thought the theme and the revealer were cute, and I, also, loved NOGOODNIK. It played a little more difficult for me than a usual Monday. I don't time myself, but I do try only the downs on Monday, and there were quite a few I needed acrosses to figure out. But, yay!

Malsdemare 10:46 AM  

So I had to go look up Emily Litella (How could You have forgotten her, I asked my brain with annoyance) and then had to reread the comments to refresh my memory of what had been said, and well..... then got lost. So here I am, clueless about what others have said, so am doomed to repeat it. I thought the puzzle was fun and easy. I'm not too crazy about ROGUE, though reminders of Ms. Palin aren't as scary as they used to be, and of course, NASTY has taken a turn for the better, so there's that. Loved the NOGOODNIK, especially when it dropped in almost of its own volition.

I don't know the game either but I filled that in as well, once I had TEAL and EIDER. Such a nice puzzle on a dreary, rainy Monday. Thanks, Ms. house.

Hi, Andrea!

Malsdemare 11:03 AM  

Oops, MR. House. That's even better than owning a bookstore!

GUSSIED UP was a fav of my mom's; it often appeared accompanied by "If you can't come clean, come smelly." Mom disapproved of anything ostentatious. Today's McMansions and bling would have her wretching in the ladies' room. Poor mom!

dramawritcomp 11:17 AM  

Never heard of DUCK DUCK GOOSE until it appeared in the NYT crossword a few years ago. So this felt a little redundant. But I enjoyed the quick easy solve and especially liked NO GOODNIK crossing SWORN ENEMIES.

It was also a surprising and welcome change of pace to read such a glowing review from Rex. Must have received some good presents for his birthday.

And, by the way, the clue would have been too hard for a Monday, but Aborc Johansson was a Swedish rapper with a Grammy nomination for his album "Oh Oh, Amigo."

dick swart 11:19 AM  

Very nice to find three feathered xword friends in expanded contexts!

old timer 11:32 AM  

It was a clever puzzle, and DUCK DUCK GOOSE made my fast solve a little faster. It's a fun game for toddlers and for a few years was regularly played at my older daughters' BD parties. Always nice for the little kids to have something to do before cake and presents.

GILL I. 11:48 AM  

Hey @Rex...Belated Feliz cumpleanos..The day after Thanksgiving no less. Bet your mom was happy not having to cook the turkey...

Tom 11:50 AM  

@Malsdemare, thanks for the picture that brings a smile to my face remembering my Giant Alaskan Malamute who went to dog heaven a year ago.

Only improvement would have been if NADINE could have crossed APARTHEIDERA. Would have been a neat trick. I am Tired of UMA appearing at least once or twice a week. At least we haven't seen IDI lately.

As a hunt and peck typist, slows me down solving on the computer, but still a fast Monday. Off to Cyberland for the deals!

mathgent 12:01 PM  

How old are kids when they play DUCKDUCKGOOSE? Five? I seem to remember that our grade-school teacher had us play it a couple of times but we didn't like it. Reading the rules, it seems that if you aren't tapped, you just watch other people run.

I'm with those who would put OHOH on the forbidden list.

Fighting through the cobwebs made it worth doing but I just checked the joy meter. C.

Masked and Anonymous 12:27 PM  

A-23
E-23
U-11 (!!)
O-10
I-9.
Yes!
Har. I and O musta forgot to dUck, or somethin. Poor I also failed to get gOOsed up.

Superb MonPuz.
Primo write-up, @RP. Like others, hoping that B-cake holds up for quite a spell … M&A is concerned it might not last long, tho, if it's even takin hits around midnight.

yo, @acme!

staff stuffin picks, by the numbers:
3 (weeject length) - TUM. Sorta like the opposite of a partial answer. Impartial answer?
4 - TNUT. M&A feels more like a UNUT, however.
5 - USURP. M&A just luvs him some USURP on his puncakes. Too syrupy? … thought so.
6 - SCRIMP. Nice. It scrimps on vowels.
7 - ENACTOR. Luvly dash of desperation. This puz has somethin for every masked one.
8 - BRATPACK. fave member: whatsHURname.
9 - GUSSIEDUP. Indeed.
10+ - DUCKDUCKGOOSE. Clever little theme idea.

Thanx, Mr. House. Made M&A's day. TEAL EIDER NENE, dude. That's Hawaiian for "May yer toy store thrive beyond yer wildest dreams".

Masked & Anonymo11Us


**gruntz**

Carola 12:49 PM  

Dismal and rainy outside but all post-puzzle sunshine in here. Thanks for the laughs to 1) the reveal, 2) @Fearless Leader, and 3) the ABORC back hari discussion. @acme, I add my greetings from next door.

Teedmn 1:06 PM  

I was a bit disappointed that my anticipated "color" theme (inferred from TEAL) turned into a waterfowl puzzle (though totally appropriate for our weather today - multiple inches of rain have fallen in the last three hours along with a bit of hail, so perfect weather for ducks and geese if they haven't all flown south already).

I have to go along with ACME, though - in Minnesota, we have DUCK, DUCK, grey duck. When playing, the trick was to come up with interesting colors before finally choosing the grey one - I don't think TEAL was ever used (nor cyan nor puce!)

A sweet little Monday on the easy side of average, thanks KH.

Charles kluepfel 1:20 PM  

Yesterday's Double or Nothing variety puzzle's MOTHER MAY I, primed me for today's DUCK DUCK GOOSE. Must be kid's game week.

Numinous 1:29 PM  

@Chefbea, round my house we differentiate. If it's made with cornbread, it's dressing, If it's made with white bread, suitably dried, it's called stuffing. Either can be stuffed into the bird but here usually neither is. Mrs. Numi is from the south and eschews the white bread stuffing I grew up with and still love. Chaque un, a son gout.

I'm not sure I'd call this Monday Easy. It just seemed like there were a few things that wouldn't have been an a new ceoswoorder's lexicon, APARTHEID ERA and NADINE, BRAT PACK, GUSSIED UP, and ENACTOR might be examples. Not that these answers gave me any trouble and, in fact, EDUCE was my very first thought for "Draw out". though they wouldn't fit, I can imagine thinking sketch, limn, or even prolong. I haven't seen BRAT PACK used in at least ten years, GUSSIED UP in rather longer. I just don't think i considered, when voting, that I was voting for my ENACTORs.

Nice to see @Andrea back.
Nice to see @Rex in a good mood.

r.alphbunker 1:37 PM  

When I entered NENE I should have gotten up and run around the room! Very cute theme.

I have put a comparison between @pauer's Piece of Cake Crossword today and today's NYT here. I will leave it up to you to decide which is easier.

Mohair Sam 2:06 PM  

Terrific Monday. I'll say again that early week puzzles seem to be getting better and better - and this was one of the best. Also glad that OFL pointed out the difficulty of creating a smooth "easy" puzzle - no mean feat.

This one stirred nothing but happy memories in this house - Boris Badenov, Jubilation T. CornPONE, the game of DUCKDUCKGOOSE, and thanks to @Chefwen, old Emily Litella.

Heck, any puzzle with GUSSIED UP is a winner in my book. Great Monday Kristian House, thank you.

Happy Pencil 3:21 PM  

@Lewis, your "fowl language" comment made my day! (And the puzzle was a close second.)

Chronic dnfer 4:13 PM  

Had LPGA for too long. Also wrote in nemisies before correcting. Took forever but no dnf. Thanks god. Played golf today all good.

Cynthia Baumann 7:34 PM  

So good to have you back!

Aborc Carts Morse 8:08 PM  

Hi back, everyone! I am going to push my luck and share two more things.
First of all, thanks @Loren for posting that other puzzle, now I remember it, but happily significantly different... Diff between a Mon and a Thurs! So prob a lot of folks did one or the other (except this crowd!)

No idea what I would have said 4 years ago, but I'll risk repeating myself.
On "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" "Duck Duck ____" was one of the $200 easy questions and the four choices involved Goose (which he said) and one choice was Duck, which would have been correct if the guy had been from Minnesota, North Dakota, (or as someone mentioned, Northern Iowa)

Here's how I learned it's a regionalism. This gal I met would NOT believe that I was really from Minneapolis. She kept insisting I seemed more like a New York Jew (Ahem, my parents are...) but then she said "Duck, Duck..." and I shouted, "Grey Duck!"
Finally, she believed me, donchaknow.

(It was a scene out of one of those old movies when the captured the nazi spy is tested by being asked who played shortstop for the Yankees in the 1939 World Series)

I think ABORC is what they are doing to that nice Supreme Court nominee.

Leapfinger 8:55 PM  

Downright heartwarming to read so much positive commentary.

TEAL EIDER NENE comes home to roost,
ABORC 'n' PUPORC will give us a boost.

Only one teensy little disappointment: since this is a MonPuzz, no way could there be a rebus, but I sure would've loved TRIBUTEALBUMS to glue a [GL] in place of the 1st B. TRI[GL]UTEAL_BUMS has such deep-seated potential.

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