Super 8 actress 2011 / MON 5-8-17 / Ancient land near Lydia / Pop singer Zayn formerly of One Direction

Monday, May 8, 2017

Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Relative difficulty: Medium (for a Monday)

THEME: LGBTQ (55D: Modern movement initialism ... or a hint to the starts of 18-, 24-, 40-, 52- and 61-Across) — themers start with words that sound like those letters:

Theme answers:
  • ELLE FANNING (18A: "Super 8" actress, 2011)
  • "GEE, YA THINK?" (24A: "Thanks, Captain Obvious!")
  • BEE BALM (40A: Flower that attracts pollinating insects)
  • TEA KETTLES (52A: Whistlers in the kitchen)
  • CUE THE MUSIC (61A: Order to get a soundtrack ready)
Word of the Day: ELLE FANNING 
Mary Elle Fanning (born April 9, 1998) is an American actress. She is the younger sister of actress Dakota Fanning. In 2011, Fanning starred in her breakout role as Alice Dainard in J. J. Abrams' sci-fi-drama, Super 8, for which she received a Spotlight Award at the Hollywood Film Festival,  and was cited as one of the film's best aspects by The Telegraph. // Fanning has received multiple nominations, including for a Saturn Award, a Young Artist Award, a Broadcast Film Critics Association Award, a Teen Choice Award, a Scream Award, an MTV Movie Award. // She is mainly known for her starring roles in Phoebe in Wonderland, Somewhere, We Bought a Zoo, Ginger and Rosa, Maleficent, and The Neon Demon. (wikipedia)
• • •

Hey, this is a nice Monday. Simple concept, cool revealer, snappy fill. I know I say "puzzles should be modern" and "colloquialisms are cool" but man I nearly got ironically torn up those sentiments today because Every Single Place I stumbled / hesitated (and there were like half a dozen) involved colloquialisms or the names of young people I don't really know. Dakota Fanning, I know, but ELLE FANNING, not so much. And I guessed MALIK off the "M," on a prayer, based on a gut feeling of its being his name—I think he just goes by "Zayn" now so ... that was weird (36D: Pop singer Zayn formerly of One Direction). Also, those Giant open NE / SW corners were daunting! 9 / 9 / 7, on a Monday!? Pretty eye-popping. Luckily they were fairly easy, except ONION SOUP, which I found baffling, even after securing the ONION part ... I spaced on what "au gratin" meant, because I associate it exclusively with potatoes, so ... I couldn't see how ONIONs had any necessary connection to potatoes ... again, weird. But I powered through.

But I'm not kidding about the colloquialisms—they add spice, but they are often hard to get because the correlation between clue and answer often seems tenuous. Clue is just a parallel phrase with an allegedly similar sentiment, and as such doesn't point specifically / clearly to a right answer as readily as a lot of other clues do (esp. on a Monday). [Not hold back] is a fine clue for GO BIG, but I still needed almost every cross. I did, in fact, need every cross for "OH, FUN!" (8D: "That sounds good ... NOT!"), partially because of that early-'90s clue (?), partially because said clue is actually a very bad clue. "OH, FUN!" and "That sounds good" are both things you don't mean. Thus, they are parallel. The "... NOT!" bit just muddies the waters. There's no reason "OH, FUN!" has to be sarcastic. I get that it can be and often is ... but ... something about alleging sarcasm in a not-inherently-sarcastic phrase confused me for a bit. It's fine.

That's all.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Brian 12:13 AM  

I've always wondered what Cheri Oteri thinks about crosswords. You see celebrities get referenced for the first time and be excited about it (Sarah Silverman was a few days ago, and she tweeted about it), but Oteri and Esai Morales must just be completely jaded at this point.

Anonymous 12:13 AM  

Has anybody noticed that Monday puzzles tend to be really easy ? I think that get progressively more difficult as the week wears on..

jae 12:15 AM  

Tough Mon. for me. More like a medium-tough Tues.


Tough for a Mon: ELLE FANNING (who was terrific in "20th Century Women"), IONIA, @Rex GO BIG and OH FUN, MCEWAN...

A fine tough Mon., liked it a lot!

Anonymous 12:17 AM  

I bet Rex solved this one without using Google. He's awesome.

Anonymous 12:33 AM  

My gender identifies with whichever has the shorter line for the rest room from now on

meg 1:14 AM  

this was good & yes my take on the puzzle is colored by my love for neil young & the lgbtq community <3

Larry Gilstrap 2:11 AM  

A bit of a sticky Monday and that is a good thing. Maybe, it was because of the delicious cookie and the vodka rocks. Anyway, I'm having trouble owning up to actually being Superannuated. But then again, so are Mr. MAGOO, Miss KITTY, ENYA (I assume), NEIL YOUNG (for sure), T.S. ELIOT, UMA Thurman is no spring chicken, and Cheri OTERI has a few miles on her odometer. Perhaps, MALIK is an outlier, don't know.

This whole Red State/ Blue State thing is really dumb. Everybody in TEXAS is a red neck and everybody in CA is LGBTQ? Ever been to Austin? Ever been to Bakersfield? And even then, smart folks embrace diversity.

I am a nature guy, but I see problems resulting from WIND CHIMES and bird feeders. Well, only when neighbors are involved. ELM ST. sleeps calmly at night until the breeze stirs and Freddy gets ugly. Folks set out feeders and cats get ugly. Check the STATS, native bird populations are decimated by domestic felines.

Anybody know a guy named IRA SAX? Is he OLD? For his sake, I hope not.

Randy 2:17 AM  

I saw Super 8 when it came out but I only just now realized Elle Fanning was the girl in it. Before that I think I'd only seen her in Babel, where she was quite young.

The Caltech clueing for INST was weird to me. Caltech is already an abbreviation that completely drops the "institute" part of the name. I feel like MIT might be a better clueing choice, for a Monday.

Never heard of BEE BALM, looking up pictures of it I don't think I've ever even seen it.

chefwen 2:40 AM  

@Anon 12:13 - GEE YA THINK.

I can't for the life of me remember how Mr. MAGOO spells his damn name, I always try to change it to Mc Goo and it NEVER works. Maybe someday I'll remember.

@Larry G. - We have a table on the lanai which has a little KITTY dish on it filled with kibble for her outdoor dining pleasure. There are a couple of Brazilian Cardinals that like to hang out and partake in the goodies. Miss KITTY likes to watch them and doesn't make a move to disturb them. Fun to observe the trio.

Monday easy, but not TOO easy. Thanks C.C.

Robin 3:18 AM  

Pretty good for a Monday. Finished in average time. Nice that I didn't have to figure out what the theme was until I was done and wondering what 55D was talking about.

The two poker clues were a little amusing. Now wondering when we'll see POT clued as KITTY or vice versa.

ELLEFANNING was great in "Super 8". I'm a bit weirded out to note that even today she's still under 20 years old. I feel real old right now.

Loren Muse Smith 4:09 AM  

I tell ya – CC is a fount of theme ideas. This is the little black dress of a Monday. Simple, elegant, classy.

Am I the only one who put in “blossom” before BEE BALM?

I got a kick out of seeing that OLD, BAD IN-LAW lurking in the northwest. Ahem.

Serendipity – My daughter, 13D, just moved to Raleigh and is trying to decide whether to join the area LAX team for grown-ups. Heck. They may even practice in APEX.

31A “industrious little marchers.” I tried “acne” before ANTS. Just kidding.

Liked TETE A TETE crossing YAK. Funny how we use French for a little talk but switch to Spanish mano a mano when words aren’t cutting it. (I guess going toe to toe with someone could be either with your tĂȘte or with your manos.)

Nice puzzle with the usual “TEA ELLE SEE” we’ve come to expect from CC.

Mr. B 4:13 AM  

For me, it's not MAGOO that I have a problem's that pesky Egyptian cross.
No matter how often I see this in a puzzle...I can't seem to remember the proper order of letters after the "A".

This one played just a tad harder than the usual monday for me with stuff like IONIA, MCEWAN, BEEBALM and MALIK...
but I enjoyed the solve !!!

I really love that NEILYOUNG song..."That keeps me searching for a heart of GOL...and I'm getting superannuated"
Have a great week all !!!

Anonymous 5:38 AM  

Hillary Clinton is NOT my president.

Lewis 6:10 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 6:17 AM  

Lovely Monday theme, and brava for coming up with it, CC! I liked GO_BIG and TETE_A_TETE, and the grit that brought this puzzle to the harder side of Monday. I like that LONE pointing to and the STAR right above TEXAS.

Double-you tea gee, See See!

Forsythia 6:47 AM  

Medium Monday for me and enjoyed despite not knowing MCEWAN and ELLE FANNING but got the cross anyway. I had to check to see if Annabel was doing the write up since it was so enthusiastic.

BEEBALM was new to me until a few years ago when my husband was hiking in New England. They can grow in the south but aren't native I think. Lovely flower.
I got the reveal early when the grid lit up and confidently put in LGBTQ as the first letters of the long answers, and wrote queue for the beginning of 61a...oops.
And thought they should have used Ga Tech for INST clue. Fun Monday puzzle. Have a good week everyone.

Anonymous 6:52 AM  

TEXAS in TEXAS position.

Anonymous 6:56 AM  

Yes, I think that's intentional. Meanwhile, smug dopes like chefwen leave snarky responses as though you were being serious.

kitshef 7:11 AM  

Having generally come to expect nothing but good things from Zhouqin Burnikel, I was pretty surprised at today’s offering. The lowlight of course is GEE YA THINK crossing OH FUN, but there is also an avalanche of crosswordese: OTERI, ENYA, IN OIL, INST, OBI, ENC, UMA, AYES, and IRA.

Of course, there are offsetting gems: CUE THE MUSIC, WIND CHIME (would be better plural), TEA KETTLES (would be better singular), ONION SOUP, TETE A TETE, ELLE FANNING, NEIL YOUNG – lovely.

Alas, that balance of teeth-gritters versus smile-bringers tilts the wrong way today.

Anonymous 7:19 AM  

Ho, @chefwen
Hey, you no get pigeons on de lanai fo eat de cat food? De pigeons smart buggers, yeah? De STILL come after my cat die dead fo one year.

chefbea 7:30 AM  

I'm back!!! Ashville was great!!! Especially The Biltmore...and the gardens..might have seen bee balm there. Oh the puzzle...found it a bit difficult..but I do make onion soup all the time...from a recipe one of our Rexites gave me

Never saw a NYT on our trip so haven't done a puzzle all week. !!! Now to get back in the swing of things and do puzzles and laundry!!

Anonymous 7:39 AM  

I'm crowdfunding for a cash prize to anyone who can provide proof that Michael Sharp has a sense of humor.

Joseph Welling 7:43 AM  

A quibble: doesn't "CUE THE MUSIC" mean to start the music, not to get it ready?

semioticus (shelbyl) 8:02 AM  

This was fun, it took me more than my average Monday time to solve this one, but if it weren't for the other clues I would've never gotten OHFUN. Rex's explanation makes sense, I guess, I wouldn't know.

Theme reveal came a bit late to me (hence the above average solving time), but I smiled when I realized what it was. A theme that makes me go "ah :)" is always a good sign.

Anonymous 8:16 AM  

Diversity is great. All of my like-minded friends and I agree.

QuasiMojo 8:17 AM  

@Loren Muse Smith -- especially if you're both tow-headed!

Not bad for a Monday, although my TEA KETTLE sounds more like a SAX than a whistle.

I'm a big fan of Paul ANKH.

Oh Fun was my last entry. I had Oh MUN for too long (thinking the actress was named Elle Manning... didn't she play in FUTBOL, the movie?) never heard of Ms. Fanning.

But I knew Neil YOUNG without too much trouble. I guess that makes me OLD.

Joseph Welling 8:19 AM  

"Superannuated man, look at my life, I'm a lot like you are. . . ."

Anonymous 8:21 AM  

Yes they all sound like the letter but three actually start with the letter and two do not - inconsistent.

Hybrid BEEBALM is usually red but the wild variety is often lilac or purple - also attract hummingbirds.

Sir Hillary 8:24 AM  

Solid fare, if a bit heavy on the short junk. I learned a new term -- BEEBALM -- which is always good.

@Lewis - Great spot on the LONE, STAR[K] TEXAS thing.

A YAK is a "Farm tower" in parts of Asia, no?

TAKETEN is a very good jazz album by Paul Desmond, with the title track a sort of sequel to the famous "Take Five", for which he got composer's credit.

I know it's spelled GOL, but has anyone ever heard a futbol announcer say anything but GOOOOOOOLLLLL?

With three girls who came of age in One Direction's heyday, I knew MALIK. What I didn't know was that he spells his first name with a Y.

Two Ponies 8:46 AM  

I guess the constructor is into poker.

@ Joseph Welling, Good one.

jackj 8:47 AM  

C.C. once again gives us the unique product of a fertile mind!

It is worth noting that the group initialism, in some circles, has been modified to LGBTQIA, with the I representing Intersex and the A signaling Asexual.

Anonymous 9:00 AM  

I must insist cee be added as well for cis.

Roo Monster 9:07 AM  

Hey All !
Slightly chewy for a MonPuz. Some different type clues and answers you don't normally see on Monday, which made for a nice, non-brain-turning-off-and-just-filling-in-puz. Convoluted explanation, but there ya go.

Had a writeover at 1D, GOfor-GOBIG. SW corner lots of T's and E's.

Gnu horn player that's a slacker? LAX SAX YAK


evil doug 9:15 AM  

"It is worth noting that the group initialism, in some circles, has been modified to LGBTQIA, with the I representing Intersex and the A signaling Asexual."

Wow, just a few more and we got us a pangram!

ArtO 9:24 AM  

Pretty sticky for Monday. Surprised to see "Medium" rating. Expected Med-Challenging. Far too much current stuff for this old timer. Finished in at least 50% longer than usual.

HumanBean 9:25 AM  

Who is C.C.?

Kim Scudera 9:31 AM  

Monarda didyma, aka scarlet beebalm, is a native, as are Monarda fistulosa and M. bradburiana, both lilac. M. didyma is a big hit with hummers.

Kim Scudera 9:32 AM  

@HumanBean, C.C. is the constructor's nickname.

mac 9:40 AM  

Good one, CC! Love a little resistance in my Monday. It was scary to have to skip the NW, finishing it last. In the end it worked out. Had to stare a bit at M/Fanning, run-ran, but thinking of her sister Dakota solved the problem.

Hungry Mother 9:46 AM  

Fun solve today. I did a lot of downs, indicating a bit of crunch. Yesterday, my wife asked me why Q was added to the yet non-pangram. The Golden Rule is still a good one, except for masochists, not that there's anything wrong with how they live.

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

Pitcher for the Yankees makes $25 million a year and has a 5.45 e.r.a. Not a great value play.

Carola 10:03 AM  

Ms. Burnikel + Monday = recipe for FUN. To me, this one was nothing but lively and breezy - somehow I overlooked the creaky entries @kitchef pointed out. The clues seemed to offer more wit than usual.

BEE BALM - My one attempt ended up as a mass of powdery mildew. Ugh-ly.

@Loren - About that OLD BAD IN-LAW: I even wondered if there was a hidden reference to G(ram)PA....paired with his eternal SCOW(L)S. I also "appreciated" the cross of OLD and ADDLE...I'm gettin' there.

Mohair Sam 10:08 AM  

"You're good Kid, but as long as I'm around you're second best" - Edward G. Robinson as Lancey Howard when he wins the huge "pot" (not KITTY) from Steve McQueen (The Cincinnati Kid) at the end of said movie.

In spite of the KITTY littering, this was a clever and enjoyable Monday. It played more Tuesday/Wednesdayish for us - some PPP we didn't know. We threw in sOlE for LONE, leaving us with BEEB-sM. Not knowing Zayn's first name I was wondering why the clue for 40A wasn't "Justin profundity." INST below eventually bailed us out.

Absolutely hate French ONIONSOUP. Absolutely love the sound of WINDCHIMES.
Nice to learn BEEBALM - it's Will's responsibility to teach me at least one thing a day.

(Yes, I know kitty is used - but not by Doc Holiday. Save it)

TMI 10:12 AM  

Can I please have my morning coffee and crossword without the constant relentless reminder of abnormal sexual habits?

r.alphbunker 10:16 AM  

Wow! Nice job. Lots of fresh stuff from Jeff Chen's word list! I am not surprised that he award this Puzzle of the Week over at

Details are here.

Anonymous 10:18 AM  

More normalization of LBGTQ. oh, fun!

Nancy 10:29 AM  

Funny comeback, @chefwen (2:40)!

I solved this with, as usual, without noticing the theme at all. Then I saw it and said: Oh. (Comment to be read with no affect, excitement or emphasis at all.) I did think the puzzle had a little more crunch than usual for a Monday, always a good thing. But I hate, hate, hated the clue: "Thank you, Captain Obvious." Has anyone ever said that? If anyone ever said that to me, I'd throw my puzzle at them.

In my day, the Q word was a slur. But I guess the times they are a changin'.

GILL I. 10:30 AM  

@Anony 12:33....Thanks for my morning chuckle. @evil....Thanks for the second chuckle. I'm trying to think of a "J" word.
I love this woman's puzzles. CC is so clever; her cluing is young and she certainly has a sense of humor. Perfect Monday with lots of teath.
I wonder if she STACKS the KITTY.
@Mohair....WINDCHIME is noise torture. There is nothing, nothing sweet about that incessant tingly noise. I had a neighbor who had about 20 of them and you'd get a little breeze and her yard sounded like 20 little children playing on their Christmas xylophones. I hate Pan Pipes as well.
Au gratin simply means sprinkled with breadcrumbs and some cheese. I don't sprinkle my ONION SOUP with crumbs. I load up on Gruyere and wait till it melts. Add a sliced baquette.
Can the SAX make a sound like the TEA KETTLE?

Malsdemare 10:42 AM  

Monday's are tough to love; they are over so damn fast! I want to struggle, erase, backpedal, have some genuine ahas, but usually they're about as entertaining as the puzzles in the airline magazines.

So thank you, C.C. for this fun, not-so-easy Monday. I haven't a clue who ELLEFANNING is and OHFUN took forever, but when LGBTQ appeared, I had to smile. May the rest of the week be as entertaining.

Nancy 10:49 AM  

Oh, GILL, your ONION SOUP sounds soooo good! Put cheese -- especially gruyere -- in or on anything and I'm happy. Maybe you should make some for Mohair; he might learn to love it. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to eat ONION SOUP for decades; it no longer agrees with me. And I do miss it.

VL 10:55 AM  

How is "Modern movement initialism" an accurate clue? LGBTQ is an initialism that represents an identity, or a set of identities; but in and of itself, it's not a movement. "Marriage equality" is a movement. More broadly, "pursuit of LGBTQ rights" is a movement. But "LGBTQ" in and of itself?

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

I thought Rex would hate this - I did - "BAD" & "PLANE" were certainly not up to NYT standards

Masked and Anonymous 11:35 AM  

C.C. is one of my very fave constructioneers, for reasons like this MonPuz. ELLEGEEBEETEACUE: AYEOHKAY, SEASEA.

Both Ends of the Spectrum Dept.
fave MonPuz crossin of death: MALIK/BEEBALM. fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Suffix with cigar} = ETTE.
All-in-oil, I would rate this puppy at a rough customer, for a MonPuz. Bet there mighta been some overturned furniture, at tired-out Blu'Bel's college residence, f'rinstance. M&A always enjoys a challengin MonPuz treatment, tho. He is pro-LOMOOMOYEW.

staff weeject pick: GOL. Better, more inclusive clue for non soccer followers: {Back log??}.

@RP: yep … NE and SW open areas are nice, but NW and SE weeject stacks are primo.

Thanx, C.C. Barrel OHFUN, as usual. With a Heart of GOL(d), too boot. ONIONSOUP … mm-mm.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


Andrew Heinegg 11:46 AM  

Nice puzzle for a little Monday workout. Like Mac, I had to finish everywhere else and come back to the NW. CC apparently has some interest in poker tables. I didn't have a problem with the short crosswordese stuff. It is Monday and, without it, this becomes a bit too challenging for the day.

I figured the LGBTQ reference would cause a verbal firestorm of reaction to the puzzle and to bring out the trolls in force. Ce' la vie.

Mohair Sam 11:49 AM  

@Gill I - Agreed on pan pipes, thoroughly agreed. And I suppose if I had a neighbor with 20 WIND CHIMES I might feel the same. My brother-in-law gifted us set of chimes meant possibly for Big Ben which we hung out only when he visited, so I do catch your drift.

mathgent 11:53 AM  

I don't expect much from a Monday puzzle, but I do expect a better clue for BAD than "Not good."

I'm trying to,understand why so many of us liked it. No wordplay at all. Unimaginative cluing. A boatload of trite entries.

I think that many of us know the constructor personally. She must be a real charmer.

old timer 12:09 PM  

I don't expect pizzazz from a Monday. I also don't expect the obligatory theme to be interesting, let alone clever. This is quite well done, and so not-BAD that OFL actually praised it.

My own pen-on-paper time was 13 minutes, a bit longer than normal for a Mon, and there were many names I only got on crosses.

P.S. Congrats to M. Macron over there in France. "Starting as a humble and somewhat obscure diacritica mark, he rose to a position of influence and a seat in the Cabinet. And when "la politique traditionelle" imploded, he rose to the Presidency,"

Anoa Bob 12:16 PM  

With KITTY, ANTES & STACKS all getting poker clues, an opportunity was missed to round out the mini-theme by using "___ Hold 'Em" for 70A TEXAS.

How about LGBTQIAR, where R stands for "Retired"? Or maybe a U for "Unassisted"? And then there's the S&M and B&D scenes. There we go, LGBTQIAUSMBD. If we're going to be inclusive, let's do it right.

Joe Bleaux 12:22 PM  

"I know I'm not normal, but nobody is." -- Willie Nelson

Joe Bleaux 12:28 PM  

And O! Omnisexuals get no respect.

Uke Xensen 12:36 PM  

As it happens I had the Monday puzzle from four weeks ago sitting around. I thought this had plagiarized that one. It had OTERI and OH FUN in the exact same positions. And with the exact same clues. I thought, "Didn't I already do this?" Then I saw Burnikel worked on both. Can you plagiarize yourself?

Anonymous 12:39 PM  

Don't forget pederasts

Teedmn 12:59 PM  

OH dUh: It was that kind of Monday. Ian and Zayn who? What number in Spanish starts with GO_ as a futbol score? Filling in the partial FLY___ with Boy. Don't ASK!

I got a chuckle from the clue for WINDCHIME, picturing the "tinkler on the porch" as the almost house-trained puppy just making it out the back door before going OUI.

And the very word BALM is soothing so it is rather jarring to have it juxtaposed with BEE, not very soothing at all.

As usual, a fun Monday, CC, thanks.

Groaner 1:01 PM  


jberg 1:17 PM  

@teedmn, actually a lot of people do find the buzzing of the bees soothing. Nice animals, as long as you stay out of their way.

What is the sound of one WIND CHIME?

Everything else has been said already.

Anonymous 1:21 PM  

@Andrew --

C'est la vie?

Naryana Gora 1:23 PM  

With all the coverage, news media, television and movies, you would think the LGBTQ community comprised a significant portion of the population. What is it, 3 percent?

Puzzle? Meh.

jessica cohn 1:26 PM  

Don't know who Malik, Elle fanning , or enra are but I don't care.Most likely no one will remember them in 20 years , unlike Neil Young! .( showing my age)
Could not finish this one

Anonymous 1:31 PM  

@naryana --

I think I heard once that the LGBTQ community is around 12%. But I don't know if that includes those not openly so, or if it does how many could be known or estimated.

If correct, this is a pretty significant slice of the population, and to term them "not normal" seems a bit condescending.

Joseph Welling 1:38 PM  

@ Joe Bleaux:

"Normal is just a setting on the washing machine." -Stuart Smalley

Anonymous 1:46 PM  

@Andrew Heinegg
Yep, anyone who doesn't subscribe to the utterly ludicrous position that modern gender theorists propose is a troll. You nailed it. Millennia of tradition, moral approbation and reason is being obliterated by smart folks like you. Thanks for helping us dummy trolls see the light.

Dick Swart 2:06 PM  

Loved it! Nice to have a Tues to start the week. GOBIG and OHFUN only through crosses. As a top-down solver, I really liked that the revealer was where a revealer should be.

And now: Uncanny! Coincidence? I think not...

This AM the handle on my electric tea kettle became separated from the pot. So I switched to my old tea kettle. All this BEFORE starting the puzzle.

Don't ruin my morning routine! 3:34 PM  

I love reading the comments section here after I finish the puzzle in the morning. It's fun to hear everyone's opinions about our mutual hobby while I finish my coffee and get ready for the day.

So everyone who wants to make a political statement about a perceived political agenda, knock it off and let the rest of us enjoy a freaking puzzle. Not everything in the world is about politics, I love my hippy west coast cousins and my Fox News watching uncle equally,

Don't be the OLD BAD IN-LAW that ruins thanksgiving because he can't stop talking politics when everyone just wants to catch up and have a good time. There's more than enough comments sections on the internet to make your point among people that are there to talk politics.

ultramet 3:35 PM  

This puzzle was not a Monday. More like a Tuesday. Some "yuck" fill along the way. Kudos, to the theme though. I respect the effort, for I can't construct puzzles. I just do them.

Peter Puzzler 4:05 PM  

@Joseph Welling: When I was a DJ on commercial radio, decades ago, we'd put a record (78,LP) on a turntable, and run it by hand until, off the air, we could hear the music start. Then, we'd rotate the turntable back a quarter or half turn, so that when we started it up on the air, the turntable would hit full speed exactly when we stopped talking and turned up the volume for the music.
So, to make a long story short, cueing is getting it ready, which is different from starting it up.

Roo Monster 5:26 PM  

@jberg 1:17,
WIND CHIME comment. Freaking awesome!

@Don't Ruin 3:34
Very, very well said. Simply stated, no malice. Hoping it takes.

@Peter Puzzler 4:05
Wow! 78's. No offense, but ... you're old! :-P Funny thing is, I think I might have one or two 78's somewhere . I have a box of 45's I haven't looked at in a long time, they might be mixed in.

We now bring you back to your regular blog...


Anonymous 5:55 PM  

A good puzzle, but that horizontal SEE kind of stuck in my craw, given the theme.

Anonymous 6:39 PM  

Just so I'm clear it's okay to comment on the comments, but once you proscribe speech, case closed? Good to know.
Here's a pro tip for you routine. Check out Bill Safire column on Our Mutual Friend. You'll learn all about how Dickens misused mutual exactly as you do. The word you mean is common. We have crossword puzzles in common, it's not mutual. Queer, rignt?

Mohair Sam 7:29 PM  

@Anon (6:39) - Safire - great reference. When replying to any one poster in this format you're always going to be strung out in time. That's why we reference the name in our comments.

@Don't ruin . . (3:34) - Dickens - good company. I tend to crash and burn with Bushisms.

Anonymous 7:38 PM  

True. But in all fairneess, I did reference the name, albeit uncapitalized and not where convention dictates.
I'll do better tomorrow. I hope.

Mohair Sam 8:29 PM  

@Anon (7:38) - I stand corrected. If you'd capitalized the "R" I would have caught it, but then he didn't capitalize it either.

I tend to mangle the language, but the mutual/common thing clanged when I read Don't ruin's post. Was a Safire reader for years, now I know where the "common" knowledge came from.

Andrew Heinegg 8:46 PM  

You're welcome!

Andrew Heinegg 8:46 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 10:46 PM  

Excellent puzzle for a Monday!

When I read (anon., 6:52 a.m.) that Texas was in its proper location (this I think was happenstance), I wondered if anything else had a particular place. It didn't take long: 1A, GPA. And I thought, "How nice to have a high GPA for a change!"

[anon. i.e. Poggius]

Naryana Gora 10:49 PM  

My apologies to CC. This was a decent puzzle, though challenging for a Monday. The subject matter triggered my earlier 'meh' response to the puzzle.

The world is changing, we have lost our mooring.

@anon 1:31 - It feels like 12% because of the overexposure and over-representation, but it's less than 3%.

Leapfinger 6:08 AM  

@Mr B 0413, Try some ANKHology

Nice. After ELLEsomething, GEE YATHINK and BEEsomething, I knew to plop in the TEA and the CUE. THE_MUSIC made a great theme entry, not at all cumbersome. Eye didn't think we really needed the LGBTQ revealer, it all ends with SECTS anyway.

I like a nice mellow WINDCHIME as much as the next person, and actually have two up, but I don't encourage tinkling on my porch. Last time was when the beagle in the family was still a puppy, and it was the mailman's fault.

Didn't the Beverly Hillbillies of ELLE AYE find TEXAS TEA IN OIL wells?

Good Monday, Ms CC, and I forgive you the HARES in my ONION SOUP.

Leapfinger 6:16 AM  

Did you know ALL GOL is divided in three parts?

And Ian MCEWEN would've been better on a Saturday.

Burma Shave 9:58 AM  


she’s the TYPE who’s not ADDLEd nor LAX
if it’s “OHFUN” and “CUETHEMUSIC” she’s planning
and her CONCERN is SECTS and the SAX.


rondo 11:08 AM  

ATTN: I am the 4th Greatest Amateur Crossword Solver in the Universe! And Rookie of the Year. (2017 Minnesota Crossword Tournament). GEEYATIHNK anyone else cares? Certainly not OFL. And I’m kinda OLD to be a rookie.

Today’s constructor CC was there yesterday as one of the contributing constructors. Got to meet @George Barany in the flesh as well as other constructors too numerous to mention. Played along with @teedmn and @Diana,LIW. Met @Kathy of the Tower afterwards as well as other Rex blog readers and potential future posters. A good time was had by all. Minnesota Nice.

To the puz – another nice one by CC. Never know whether it’s gonna by AYES or yeaS, so naturally I had the wrong one. Shoulda figured a Y didn’t belong in that square. So much for a perfect week.

NEILYOUNG a gimme. If you’ve never SEEn him live, you really must. CUETHEMUSIC.

Heavy t-storms here yesterday, so the LGBTQ folks had a real damper put on their scheduled Pride event just outside my office.

We were discussing yeah babies Cheri OTERI and UMA and ENYA over the weekend and their frequent appearances. Completely spelled out relative newcomer ELLEFANNING can take yeah baby honors today, being close enough to an actual baby.

When you can TAKETEN minutes and solve a puz like this, how could it be BAD?

spacecraft 11:53 AM  

OH, just PLANE OLD FUN. And the sockdolager is: there actually was a theme! Who knew? And who knew about BEEBALM? Not I, with 20 years' experience in the flower industry. Every day is a learning opportunity.

The DOD stage is crowded today. Ever-present UMA struts again, as does Ms. OTERI, but let's give the sash to ELLEFANNING, who may not reappear for a while--especially as a full name.

After entering GOBIG I anticipated finding OR STAY HOME somewhere, but the theme lay elsewhere. It's the very best kind of theme: one you didn't see till the reveal clue. Then it was: oh, yeah. Hey, how about that?!

Hey, don't you guys ever have a tournament out here in Las Vegas? I'd love to meet you all, but do not travel well. Right now I'm prepping to add some ANTES to the KITTY playing TEXAS hold'em at the World Series of Poker. Planning to GOBIG and have huge STACKS!

A few bits of HARSH fill (GOL, BYS) lip out the eagle, but it's still a tap-in birdie.

rain forest 1:37 PM  

There are solvers who will search out the theme revealer before they do the rest of the puzzle. They miss much enjoyment, in my opinion. In today's excellent puzzle, for a brief time, I was thinking the theme resided in the long downs. Filling in LGTBQ was an actual Oho! moment for me. Good one.

Good for you, @Rondo! I think your accomplishment is more significant than OFL's old-as-molasses 9th in some obscure t'ment in 2015.

It's pretty clear that CC has a knack for constructing, and her Monday puzzles are of a standard that others should strive for. Liked this one, obvi.

@leftcoastTAM - Have you gone back on your word? Please say it ain't so, Joe.

leftcoastTAM 2:24 PM  

Agree with Rex. Nice puzzle with bite.

@rain forest--Yeah, I'm still here. Just backing of a bit.

wcutler 6:29 PM  

The only think I don't understand are all the references to "CC" in the comments. Is that Zhouqin's nickname, which all you insiders who have met him know? If Rex hadn't given the name as it shows on my paper, I'd have thought the paper got it wrong again.

I didn't get the gimmick until I was all finished and reviewed the answers, was sorry about that - I like it when they give me a bit of a clue, but I didn't need the help.

rondo 7:00 PM  

Yes, that is HER nickname and she is a lovely person.

Diana,LIW 7:12 PM  

I've only done half the puzzle, but had to come here to say kudos to Rondo - 4th best puzzler in the galaxy. (I'm 35th) (And Teedmn is 4th!!!)

Rondo got a major award (no, not a leg lamp) - an Oscar-look-alike statuette. Hey folks - get thee to the tournaments!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting to see you at a tourny

Blogger 11:23 AM  

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