Issa who stars on HBO's insecure / MON 9-11-17 / Titular California district in Steinbeck novel / Animal whose name is synonym of parrot / Pitchfork-shaped letter

Monday, September 11, 2017

Constructor: Erik Agard and Paolo Pasco

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: LALA / LAND (53D: With 58-Down, head-in-the-clouds place ... or a hint to each answer that has four circles) — two-word themers where both words contain letter pairing "LA":

Theme answers:
  • MALAY PENINSULA (16A: Kuala Lumpur's locale)
  • TORTILLA FLAT (22A: Titular California district in a Steinbeck novel)
  • LAKE PLACID (29D: 1980 Winter Olympics host)
  • WALLA WALLA (31D: Washington city with a repetitive name) 
Word of the Day: Dominque DAWES (30A: Dominique ___, 1996 Olympic gymnastics gold medalist) —
Dominique Margaux Dawes-Thompson (born November 20, 1976) is a retired American artistic gymnast. Known in the gymnastics community as 'Awesome Dawesome,' she was a 10-year member of the U.S. national gymnastics team, the 1994 U.S. all-around senior National Champion, a three-time Olympian, a World Championship silver and bronze medalist, and a member of the gold-medal-winning team "Magnificent Seven" at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. [...] She is also one of only three female American gymnasts, along with Muriel Grossfeld and Linda Metheny-Mulvihill, to compete in three Olympics and was part of their medal-winning teams: Barcelona 1992 (bronze), Atlanta 1996 (gold), and Sydney 2000 (bronze). Dawes is the first female gymnast to be a part of three Olympic-medal-winning teams since Lyudmila Turischeva won gold in Mexico City (1968), Munich (1972), and Montreal (1976). Since Dawes, Svetlana Khorkina is the only gymnast to accomplish this feat, winning silver in Atlanta (1996) and Sydney (2000), and bronze in Athens (2004). (wikipedia)
• • •

I mean, the *concept* isn't exactly wow, but on a Monday, I don't care that much. As long as the theme answer's not forced and fill is not garbage and puzzle is pretty easy, I'm happy. And here, the themers are actually great, just as answers on their own, and the fill is tight. I worry about the few of you who got Naticked at DAWES / SXSW — I figure there gotta be a few of you out there. Crossing two not-enormously-famous proper nouns at a not-terribly-inferrable letter is dicey. But at DAWE-, what else is gonna go there? And honestly both DAWES and SXSW are pretty well known at this point. You should know one of them, at least, probably. I probably wouldn't have risked this cross, but I knew both DAWES and SXSW, so I have no beef. I really dig the weird-sized grid (14x16), as well as the unusual mirror (as opposed to rotational symmetry). I'm not at all surprised that this is entertaining and smooth. Both these constructors are great on their own, so together ... how are they gonna miss? Unlikely.

Blew through this very quickly, with only SOSPAD (briefly) giving me any grief. I doubted AFROED for a bit, because ... well, that's a an adjectived noun that I haven't seen in puzzles before. But then I thought "these guys ... would do that." I think the whole idea of a PERFECT GPA has lost all meaning, esp on the 4.0 point scale. High-school-aged daughter gets number grades (out of 100) and then those usually get this ridiculous bump if they're advanced classes, so you end up with grades over 100 (?), which is ridiculous. I think in lots of places, you can technically have a GPA over 4.0, so from a contemporary accuracy standpoint, not sure about PERFECT GPA (Paolo is my daughter's age, so he surely knows all this). Please notice that there is no junk fill in this grid. None. Nada. Zip. If you want to know "What Does He Want?!" when I complain about all the mediocre to shitty grids I gripe about: this. This is what I want. Try harder, older folks, because the young are outcrafting you on a regular basis (I am older than these two constructors put together!!!!!!). Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Tom 12:37 AM  

Wow, left coaster checking in and no comments yet on the blog. Slowed at SXSW even though I watch Austin City Limits, but got it from crosses. A minute slower than my Monday average, but pretty much a breeze. I live near Elon, and have been surprised to see him in so many puzzles lately. Agree with Rex that it's a pretty clean Monday. Look forward to a good week.

puzzlehoarder 1:13 AM  

This makes me think of the Who lyrics "the kids are all right". It was quick and entertaining with nothing to grate on your nerves. DAWES was an unknown and the grid looks like a graphic of an animal face. Over all an unusually good Monday.

RAD2626 1:21 AM  

I thought this was great. I like both Grids These Days and Glutton for Pun by these two constructors although I find them quite hard. This was early week easy with not a single bad word in the entire grid. I thought the LAs were sort or uber-easy or almost silly until I realized they were all actual places or "lands". Great gimmick, theme and grid. Total pleasure.

Larry Gilstrap 1:34 AM  

The best Monday I have seen in a while. OFL fails in finding junk to gripe about: cool thing. I'm no constructor, so symmetry seems screwy, but what do I care? Rhetorical question. The grid spanner suggests a geographical theme, as does TORTILLA FLAT. but I'm still looking for PERFECT G, PA. Oh, Sh*t, I just noticed, WALLA WALLA, LAKE PLACID, and KENT STATE. Lots of stuff to think about and write about. Good job boys! Is that safe to say?

People ask me, what are you reading? Honestly? My phone. Podcasts, streaming services, Twitter, Blogs, and etc. are saving lots of trees, sad to say. My iPhone 5 gobbles power and it is driving me nuts. Charge anxiety is real, and Gawd help me if I ever owned an electric vehicle. No juice means you are DEAD. I saw lots of TESLA charging stations in the Bay Area, but not so much in the State of Jefferson. It's real, oddly enough.

Kendall 1:37 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle a lot, but "no junk fill" is a reach for me. I would have agreed if not for the western piece of the puzzle that had EGAD, AUK, RAE, and AGUA all mashed up together. None of that is terribly inspiring fill even if the rest of the puzzle is awesome (which it was).

jae 1:48 AM  

Medium for me. Excellent Mon.! It's got my grad school alma mater, a RAE that isn't Jepsen, a DAWES I actually vaguely remember, an oblique M*A*S*H reference, and what my grandkids call me...hard not to like. Plus, @Rex no junk!

tkincher 2:47 AM  

ILLINI was my only stumble, not in my wheelhouse at all, but gettable from the cross clues. Nice puzzle!

Seeing EUDORA Welty always reminds me of the old email program named after her :)

Thomaso808 2:50 AM  

Great puzzle. I love mirror symmetry -- always reminds me of Space Invaders.

Nice write-up by Rex. OK, constructors, Rex has finally explained what he really, really wants! Can't disagree -- it would be awesome if every grid could be as good as this one. Thanks Erik and Paolo, more please!

@kitshef, for LAKEPLACID are we supposed to pronounce it "Lake Plack-sid"? ;)

Cassieopia 3:05 AM  

Nice, smooth, fast, enjoyable. Disappointed to see "ice pad?" clue repeated after only 12 days (was in 8/30 puzzle). Otherwise a solid and fun Monday.

Loren Muse Smith 4:14 AM  

@RAD2626 – me, too, exactly. I was thinking Ok, this is ok until I realized that the themers are all truly LALA LANDS. Then I was thrilled.

@Larry - Good thought on the PERFECT G, PA. Hah.

Liked HICK crossing CHIC. And PROF crossing SMART.

Rex – I had the same experience with my kids’ GPAs in high school. 4.0 is the new 3.0. And same thought on AFROED. I don’t know Paolo, but erik has sported some magnificent ones.

Like I said, when it hit me that these were all places, lands, I was wowed. Great job, guys.

Lewis 5:08 AM  

With these two constructors, it had to be good, and it was -- clean as a whistle, with a bright feeling.

I smiled at the cross of LSD and DEAD (as in Grateful).

Anonymous 5:45 AM  

I agree with Mike. Nice job Mr Shortz.

La La Anthony 7:11 AM  

LA's in the clues and non-theme answers:

Anonymous 7:18 AM  

I have a theory that puzzles with two constructors are, all else being equal, harder than puzzles by a single constructor. A constructor will have a style, both in the words they use and the style of clues, and as you go you adapt to that style. But with two constructors, the you can’t get into the rhythm.

I have no idea if this puzzle supports that or not, but I will note that it has some utterly Monday clues (like ‘Odor’ for SMELL and ‘A pair’ for TWO), and some surprises like ‘Issa who stars on HBOS’s Insecure’ (who? what? Is it Friday already?) for RAE where you might expect a Charlotte or Norma, or ‘Setting for much of Moana’ for SEA, where you might expect our old friend Aral ___ or Red ___.

While I normally am not a fan of letters in circles, I think the trick of finding four geography clues (‘lands’) with the LALAs in them is neat and made for a fun puzzle.

Anonymous 7:25 AM  

Hated DAWES SXSW cross. Otherwise ok. In answer to what else the "S" could be, it's a proper name. The answer is "just about anything". Poor.

Hungry Mother 7:26 AM  

Fast one today, but stilled miffed about yesterday.

Anonymous 7:31 AM  

Two guys are riding on the same subway car. One is looking at the P/E ratio of a certain stock and researching future earnings prospects. The other is tweeting out from his phone how he only watches Fox News to see how insane they are. Which one do you think has the higher net worth?

QuasiMojo 8:00 AM  

This could have been a great puzzle without the commercial dreck. SOS PAD? TJ MAXX? ADIDAS, ARCO, c'mon! And AFROED is awful. OOPSIE and PERFECT GPA were lousy too. I am old enough to remember Dominique Dawes. She was an asset to her team both in skill and grace. @Nancy, I survived Irma without any issues. In fact I slept through most of it.

Hartley70 8:13 AM  

This was a terrific Monday! There was nothing tired about it and the DAWES/SXSW cross was not a problem. I rated it an easy, fun solve.

Aketi 8:15 AM  

Using some of those SOS PADs to scrub the OOPSIES off the floor when I drip paint from my let's paint the entire apartment all at once binge brought on by my newly acquired empty nest status.

LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA is how I hear my husband's suggestions about paint colors. He accused me of creating facts by progressively painting bigger and bigger patches of pale dusty pink in the bedroom until he shifted from "that's not a bedroom color" to "it looks OK".

There are two additional LA s unecumbered by circles.

AL AL AL AL AL AL AL and AL are also hidden in the puzzle. Eight free ALs to match the eight encircled LAs.

Only four A free Ls in the puzzle. They have their pick of lots of As.

Sorry M&A, only two Us.

Aketi 8:18 AM  

@Quasimojo, glad to hear you survived Irma with a good sleep.

John V 8:38 AM  

Hand up for Natick.

G. Weissman 8:38 AM  

AFROED? For a couple of decades only in a crossword puzzle.

Two Ponies 8:58 AM  

Best Monday in ages.

Today made me wonder about puzzles in general that have clues/answers that rely on my knowledge of animated movies for children.
If you do not have kids or grandkids why would this sort of information be important or common enough to justify being in a puzzle meant for adults? Just wondering because it happens all of the time.

RooMonster 8:59 AM  

Hey All !
Nice MonPuz. Didn't notice grid size @Rex. Usually do notice things like that. Oh well, brain still mad at yesterday's Bengals/Ravens game, as I bet on the Bengals, so naturally they lost. Only team to not even score a point. So everybody, if you want your team to win, tell me to bet on their opponent to win, and it's a sure lock your team will win. Whenever I bet, I lose. Sad, living in a City for betting. :-)

Overall, MonPuz easy, couple of tougher words, AUK, POMADE. Didn't we have SXSW in a puz last year some time? Or maybe there was just a discussion about it.

Some funny symmetrical pairs:
AGUA EXPO - Water show?
DIRK SIGH - Nowitski lament?
SMELL PANEL - Sniffers, Inc.?
POMP DEAD - Disappointing party?
AFROED SALAAM - Puffy haired respect?
TWO FED - Pair of G-men?


Famous Positive Quotes 9:29 AM  

Amazing post

Aketi 9:41 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sir Hillary 9:43 AM  

Good stuff, just what a Monday should be.
It didn't register until I came here that the themers are all pLAces.

jberg 9:49 AM  

@Rex seems to have missed the whole "LAND" part of the theme. I guess you could question whether the city of WALLA WALLA is truly a "land," but close enough for crosswords.

No junk fill if you don't count 1A -- but still, not a whole lot. And I was glad to learn that Nike's rival is not always AVIA.

AFROED is weird enough to be fun (What did he look like? Well, he was all AFROED.")

Hardest part for me was reading 52D, "rest atop," as "rest stop," and trying to figure out how to make the Britishism 'lay by" start with LIE.

Nancy 10:07 AM  

@Quasi -- I'm so happy to hear that you slept through Irma and emerged unscathed. May I have, or at least borrow, some of your enviable serenity? I could really use it. I also agree with your assessment of this puzzle. AFROED and OOPSIE are truly awful, and there's plenty of the usual crosswordese, too. Not to mention the annoying tiny little circles. I don't understand the enthusiasm for this puzzle, truly I don't. You slept through Irma and I slept through this. Yawn.

Nathan Shmalo 10:10 AM  

I see a big A in the middle surrounded by L's.

Anonymous 10:17 AM  

Rex is an ageist. If an old constructor had given us afroed Rex would have ripped it, but the kids are alright.

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

He's at least consistent in his hypocrisy.

Magpie 10:24 AM  

ILLINI crossing DIRK was the hard spot for me. Never heard of either of them.

Peter 10:26 AM  

Very nice Monday...however the clue for 54 across, not worth discussing, is, well, a moot point. The answer, "moot" means more like open to discussion or debate:
subject to debate, dispute, or uncertainty, and typically not admitting of a final decision.
"whether the temperature rise was mainly due to the greenhouse effect was a moot point"
synonyms: debatable, open to discussion/question, arguable, questionable, at issue, open to doubt, disputable, controversial, contentious, disputed, unresolved, unsettled, up in the air
"a moot point"
raise (a question or topic) for discussion; suggest (an idea or possibility).
"Sylvia needed a vacation, and a trip to Ireland had been mooted"
synonyms: raise, bring up, broach, mention, put forward, introduce, advance, propose, suggest
"the idea was first mooted in the 1930s"

However many use the term to mean not worth discussing. As I said, a moot point.

Joseph Michael 10:26 AM  

I did not like this until I realized that the themers were all LANDS. Would have liked it even better if the LA LAs were not circled, but I guess that's a concession to Monday-level solving.

Did not seem "easy" to me with entries like DAWES, DIRK, SXSW, SALAAM, AFROED (really?), POMADE, etc. Most were gettable from the crosses, but seemed more like late week fare.

My biggest complaint is that proper nouns account for one third of the grid. If this is what Rex sees as ideal, I guess I have yet another disagreement with him. I also wonder why he is always so obsessed with age.

Alas a SIGH from yesterday's puzzle seems to have found it's way in here.

@Quasi, glad you made it through Irma okay. After seeing all the devastation on TV, I got a chuckle out of the fact that you slept through most of it.

semioticus (shelbyl) 10:43 AM  

(almost) Perfect Monday puzzle. Entertaining clues, no bullshit for a theme, zero crosswordese (as far as I remember). If the theme were also interesting with a "haha" moment I would have given this 5/5 but this is as close as it gets to 5/5.

I love Pasco's puzzles. He's half my age sorta kinda but his references are never too wacky for me. I know some people had problems with his pop culture-y approach but beyond that, his fill is also always smooth as hell.

What a puzzle to start the week! (So I guess that means tomorrow is gonna bring us down.)

Kamil felxi 10:50 AM  

Post more than Great , Kindly Thanks

GILL I. 10:58 AM  

I'm glad @Nancy hadn't decided to leave her noisy building and post her dislike for the puzzle. I thought I was the only one. I didn't like it that much because there were far too many names for my Monday liking. Like @Oisk, I tend to groan when I see an abundance of product names and this went a tad over the top.
I've gotten my daughter to try Mondays and so, while they are easy for me, I want her to have a fighting chance. EGAD an AUK playing with DAWES SXSW.
I definitely like the theme conceit with the LALAS strewing amongst the LAND. That was clever. I think I'm getting tired of clever or maybe I'm still in a bad mood from yesterday's plain awful puzzle.
WALLA WALLA is a pretty City. It's also an onion. The wineries are worth a visit then keep heading east and visit the National Forests.
Speaking of wine, I loved Steinbeck's TORTILLA FLAT and I loved Danny and I wanted to visit Monterey after I read the book. That was a long time ago and I wonder if I'd enjoy the book now.
Glad you're safe @Quasi. I lived in Florida many moons ago and experienced several hurricanes. The saddest part for me was seeing all the dead little birds. I always thought they flew away somewhere safe.

TomAz 11:01 AM  

"The Kids Are Alright" is a fine theme song for Rex's write-up, but I think "Losing My Edge" is even more apt.

BarbieBarbie 11:15 AM  

I liked this one. It was lively. My only beef: Brillo/SOS or BrilloPad/SOSPAD, but not Brillo/SOSPAD. Thought Rex would go vallistic on that, but nary a peep.

BarbieBarbie 11:16 AM  

* ballistic, sorry

jb129 11:32 AM  

(Too) easy but it's Monday. I don't know why it took 2 constructors tho...

Hartley70 11:39 AM  

@Gill I, Nooo! I thought they flew away too. Could they be Dodos and cuckoos? I've never seen birdy corpses after a hurricane here.

skua76 11:42 AM  

What OFL and many others have said...when I saw the constructors' names I KNEW it would be good. And since it's a NYT Monday, I knew it would also be easier than Erik's standalone puzzles. Thanks, guys!

Esther Pfeffer 11:46 AM  

Mrs. George W. Bush, really? Because, you know, it's 2017, not 1957.

Doug 12:02 PM  

I got stuck at SOSPAD and DAWES, as Rex suspected. But eventually got them. It's nice when he actually likes a puzzle.

Joe Bleaux 12:19 PM  

Thank you.

Sam Field 12:30 PM  

AUK and ARCO don't count as garbage fill?

Joe Bleaux 12:32 PM  

Extraordinarily good Monday puz. Ditto all the kudos. Not a challenge, but ... must it be a "happy" accident to be a FLUKE (50A)? Say you're dangling from the edge of a cliff when a sharp piece of metal falls from the rescue copter and severs your rope. A fluke, right? But "happy accident"?

Joe Bleaux 12:34 PM  

(And, it seems, he's consistently damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.)

JC66 12:47 PM  

@ Quasi

Glad you're OK.


You, too.

Teedmn 1:15 PM  

As of Lollapuzzoola, Erik was AFROED so that clue seems accurate and timely. I found this puzzle easy but didn't notice the added dimension of the themers being "LANDs", which is nice and obviously not a FLUKE.

I noticed the mirror symmetry right away but not the 14X16 dimensions of the grid.

Thanks, Erik and Paolo, this was definitely more than a HALF EMPTY Monday puzzle.

QuasiMojo 1:23 PM  

Thanks everyone. We dodged a bullet here. luckily. I hope everyone in the affected areas is ok.

Adidas Chic Maxx 4:57 PM  

Oooh glad I checked in with blog today bec I totally missed the LANDS part of the theme!!!! Well done, Afroed one! (And Paolo)

@jb129 @11:32am
I'm not sure if you are asking a legit question, (or it's a veiled criticism like so many comments these days?, but it "takes two" to construct, bec prob one had the idea and the other helped come up with more theme ideas and then they shared the work load by having fun figuring out the grid together and egging each other on in the cluing...

As a regular collaborator, many puzzles take two, even if it's an "easy " puzzle (no such thing, btw, when it comes to the construction end! Even for a Monday!) bec the constructors are pals, or someone is mentoring the other, or you mention the idea in front of someone and they want in, or myriad reasons... usually good ones!
Sometimes it means half the work (and always half the pay!) but twice the fun (for both constructors and the solvers)

@Tkincher @2:47am
EUDORA was also in the Puns and Anagrams puzzle yesterday too! Interesting coincidence. Undoubtedly, the old program was named in honor of Ms Welty which is pretty cool.

Nancy 6:26 PM  

@GILL and @JC66 -- Thanks for your good wishes today, which are really appreciated. But the only reason I was calmly commenting at 10 a.m. today is that the renovation next door hasn't started yet. No one seems to know exactly when it will start, though I'd guess the absolute latest day would be next Monday. No one's said anything to me today, so I guess tomorrow is safe, too. I know for a fact that once it does start, I will not be posting calmly at 10 a.m., and if I do post, what I'll say will be pure gibberish. I don't, you see, have @Quasi's enviable serenity. In fact, I don't have anyone's enviable serenity. Given a choice of any attribute I now lack, that's the one I'd probably choose.

Mohair Sam 8:28 PM  

Note to self - If you ever get a puzzle published put it under your 12-year-old grandson's name and ALDA, ARCO, AUK, LSD, LPS, OMG, and AGUA will no longer be crosswordese. AFRO will not have racial connotations, the Chief ILLINI controversy will be forgotten, and Monday natick traps will be ignored.
Childish words like OOPSIE? Brilliant fill.

Actually enjoyed the puzzle, although I thought it ran a day or two too early - too much crosswordese for beginners, and some tough cluing (RAE for example, TORTILLA FLAT tough unless you know your Steinbeck). Theme was clever. Loved WALLAWALLA. Good thing I remembered DAWES or we'd have had the dreaded natick on a Monday.

OISK 9:05 PM  

Did not know Dawes, but I DNF last year on sxsw, so I remembered the acronym, but not what it stands for. Others have already mentioned the product clues. Never heard of Rae Issa, which reminded me of my fear that someone will build a puzzle around Game of Thrones characters...

Tim Carey 12:54 AM  

I am bummed. DNF a Monday... SOSPAD, POMADE, SMELL, PANEL, OOPSIE... wow, my brain just didn't go anywhere near anywhere near that, whole section blank... everything else easy... maybe fewer cocktails tomorrow?

Tim Carey 1:17 AM  

BTW, can anyone explain the rebus clues in today's mini? GLO results in lingo? TMY results in MINTY? Confused...

BarbieBarbie 6:15 AM  

@Tim, me too. Both are 4-1-5 in their respective word but... what's that? San Francisco's area code?
But, oops on you for posting tomorrow's answers in the blog where people can accidentally see them before they do the puzzle.

the redanman 3:14 PM  

SALAAM & SXSW BOTH crossing DAWES = meh-n-day. honestly.

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thefogman 9:43 AM  

Rather dull I found. Almost Naticked at the very end. I had to guess at the intersection of DIRK and ILLINI since I know little about basketball. Other than that, I completed at around the average time for a Monday. I'm surprised OFL did not criticize the puzzle makers for not injecting more actual L.A.-related answers in the grid. Sure they're youngsters but this puzzle was fLAt as a pancake.

Burma Shave 9:50 AM  


EUDORA SIGHed, “EGAD, ISLE never get FED like THAT,
SPLIT it in TWO, you SEA, I like my TORTILLAFLAT.”


rondo 10:29 AM  

Did you know THAT Los Angeles has the same number of letters as LAKEPLACID? But it turns out L.A. was the 1984 summer Olympics site. Inkfest. LAKEPLACID was the 1980 Winter Games site, where so many Minnesotans contributed to the Miracle on Ice, the downside of which is putting up with Al Michaels ever since. Anyway, I thought THAT Los Angeles might somehow fit the LA LA thing.

I was originally an American Studies major, so much of the Steinbeck stuff, like TORTILLAFLAT, comes along pretty easy. Graduated with a completely different major and a near PERFECTGPA.

SXSW a gimme for any serious music fan. Hope to go some day.

Dominique DAWES and Issa RAE can fit into the yeah baby mold, LAURA and EUDORA not so much.

Not a bad Mon-puz, but AFROED? EGAD! SIGH . . .

spacecraft 10:37 AM  

"Tight?" Oh yeah, this fill is tight all right--as in too tight for words so just stick acronyms in there: PSI LSD OMG LPS and fergodsake SXSW???? On a MONDAY? How LOW can you go? I filled that thing in on crosses; thank heavens I happened to see an ad for TJ MAXX or I for sure would never have gotten that second X. And really, AFROED? C'mon, man. If this is what you want, you can have it. Now THAT I google it post-solve, I see it's supposed to be some festival named after a compass direction, and then ridiculously shortened. And you throw this at me on a Monday. Add to all this the presence of ugly circles in the grid and I can only surmise that someone else is ghostwriting OFL's blog.

OH yeah, and PERFECTGPA. YULE pardon me if I don't do cartwheels--like DOD DAWES. Bogey.

rondo 1:23 PM  

BTW - one of the last bands I saw live was DAWES. Some early stuff:

rondo 1:32 PM  


Diana, LIW 2:03 PM  

I knew @Spacey would question OFL's critique, based on some of the "fill." And he usually has a cow when AFRO shows up.

Fine for a Monday - not much zip. I also thot more LA places etc. would have made a nice mix.

SXSW is way more in the news than any Greek god or pop singer with a small audience. And it has been in X-words before - last time it crossed with another 4-letter abbr.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoastTAM 3:20 PM  

A very fine Monday with just about everything in it from Monday (theme and familiar fill) to a touch of Friday (remove the circles and take your pick).

SXSW/DAWES caused a pause.

@spacey--You underrate Laura, me thinks.

leftcoastTAM 4:01 PM  

OOPSIE!, the LAURA diss was @rondo's not @spacey's.

wcutler 6:26 PM  

I guess I'm the only one truly naticked at DAWES SXSW. I decided Austin, probably Texas Southwest, tXSW was more likely, and names can be anything.

I also didn't know DIRK and ILLINI, but guessed right. I still don't know what Illini is, but if it's related to a team, I don't care.

And I thought EGAD was junk fill (since this is the only place I ever see or hear it).

But I liked it a lot, though I didn't really catch on to the theme answers being lands.

spacecraft 6:55 PM  

No calves born here over AFRO per se; it's when a noun is absurdly verb-ized. The AFRO is not my thing--but only because it requires something I no longer have: hair.

Diana, LIW 7:38 PM  

@Spacey - Sorry - I should have been more specific - OFL has a cow about AFROs, not you! But I totally agree with everyone's problem with its verbalization.

Lady Di

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