B C F H I K N O P S U V W Y / MON 10-2-2017 / Longtime Time magazine rival, briefly / Lecherous figure of myth / Play and film about a 1977 series of interviews with a former president

Monday, October 2, 2017

Guess who has two thumbs, is turning 20 on Tuesday and is doing the writeup today! It's Annabel! Woohoo!

Constructor: TRENTON CHARLSON

Relative difficulty: EASY



THEME: ALPHABET STRINGS — Theme clues are strings of letters, leaving it up to the solver to find what each string represents.

Theme answers:
  • MUSIC NOTES (18A: A B C D E F G)
  • LETTER GRADES (23A: A B C D F)
  • CHEMICAL SYMBOLS (39A: B C F H I K N O P S U V W Y)
  • MOVIE RATINGS (52A: G R X)
  • BLOOD TYPES (62A: A B O)

Word of the Day: RIA (38A: Narrow inlet) —
ria (/rə/ or /riə/)[1] is a coastal inlet formed by the partial submergence of an unglaciated river valley. It is a drowned river valley that remains open to the sea. Typically, rias have a dendritic, treelike outline although they can be straight and without significant branches. This pattern is inherited from the dendritic drainage pattern of the flooded river valley. The drowning of river valleys along a stretch of coast and formation of rias results in an extremely irregular and indented coastline. Often, there are islands, which are summits of partly submerged, pre-existing hill peaks.
(Wikipedia)

• • •

This one was really fun! Mostly because I loved the theme. I dunno if it was just me, but it actually took me a while to put most of them together, and it was really satisfying when I figured out what each of the sequences meant. Except "chemical symbols," because I'm still confused - are those just the only letters that stand for an individual element? Eh. Also I totally had HIJKLMNOPQ clued for the 18A for an embarrassing amount of time - I thought it was one of those finish-the-pattern things! Hmm, that would be a pretty cool concept for a puzzle...

The fill was pretty cool too, but has anyone seen that FROST/NIXON? It's one of those things I feel like I heard of somewhere and probably shoooould know but didn't. Between LOFTS and BALES, I guess Trenton had hay on his mind. Maybe he was at a farm, or just really likes Monet paintings? And I liked seeing LOUNGE and RECLINE reclining vertically across the grid, that was a neat little detail.

None of the cluing really stuck out, but that was more than made up for by it being a well-balanced Monday! The clues for the three-letter words felt lazier than usual, but ALAS, TIS difficult to clue them better, I guess. The one exception: for AHA I definitely first had WHY, then WHA? Kind of ironic that that clue in particular turned out to be the "tough crossword clue." :P 

Bullets:
  • HESS (13D: Company famous for its toy trucks) — Experienced crossword puzzlers: is this one obscure, or am I just too young? Cause, like, I never heard of this company at all. I just remember having Tonka toy trucks. Also a million Thomas the Tank Engine trains. And Hot Wheels. Man, what is it with little kids and vehicles? 
  • EEL (28A: Slippery 1-Across) — "Could you show me how to tie my shoes?"
  • EARL (67A: _____ of Sandwich) — So um...which came first? Sandwiches or the Earl of Sandwich? Like, I know of him and I know he's some historical figure who conquered some islands but like...did he invent sandwiches? Did his ancestors just really like sandwiches? I know I could just Google this but it's so much more fun to have it be this eternal mystery.
  • FERMI (21D: Physicist Enrico) — In high school we did this musical called Zombie Prom (I had like three lines in it I think?) that was basically "Grease, but halfway through Danny - er, 'Jonny' - falls into a vat of nuclear waste and dies before coming back as a zombie." Because that makes sense? Anyway, the name of the high school in the show was Enrico Fermi High, and the point is now I tragically can't read the word "Fermi" without the entire show getting stuck in my head. I can hear the lyrics now: "I wish I could stop ya / But I know I can't / Jonny, Jonny, Jonny don't go / To the nuclear plant!" ...Somehow they made this into a movie starring RuPaul and the whole thing's on YouTube if you're interested. 

Signed, Annabel Thompson, tired college student.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

85 comments:

zevonfan 12:03 AM  

Refreshing to see an Annabel Monday!

Fun puzzle. Trenton's first submission was great too.

Highly recommend Frost/Nixon.

Hope college is going well for you!

Trenton Charlson 12:11 AM  

Hi Annabel! From one tired college student to another, thanks for the fun write-up! Glad you enjoyed the puzzle.

I actually don't have much of an opinion on hay one way or another, but it's probably not the best for my allergies. Funnily enough, though, I was also in my high school's production of Zombie Prom! I was in the dance corps and our choreography was insanely complicated. I'm sure it didn't help that I'm a terrible dancer. Good thing I'm a half-decent singer.

It's another day... It's just another day at Enrico Fermi High... something something pi r squared and two by fours...

Mike in Mountain View 12:15 AM  

Hess toy trucks aren't as iconic as Tonka, but they are a thing, and not just back in the day. https://hesstoytruck.com/

Great idea for a puzzle theme, and well-executed. Liked it a lot. And another fun Annabel Monday. A fine way to start the month.

Tom 12:21 AM  

Slowed down by Esso for the gas truck instead of HESS. Must be an east coast company because I had all the toys with wheels when I was a kid and never heard of HESS. Didn't give up on the wrong answer until the end, so the next cost me an average Monday time. Liked the alphabet strings. What would constructors do if Jessica ALBA never existed?

Tom 12:24 AM  

Not "...next cost me..."!! Stupid self-correct. Nw, as in the northwest corner.

Larry Gilstrap 12:35 AM  

Why do I look forward to the Monday puzzle? Yet, I do. And this one had a consistent, interesting theme.

Anybody else look at 1A and say it's gotta be FISH? and then leave it blank and move on? And, when I laid eyes on those files of capital letters, I glazed over. I was a teacher, so 23A broke the ice. Grading papers, recording LETTER GRADES, filling out report cards, etc.

Annabel seems at the top of her game. I was worried this summer. Any way, I also balked at the CHEMICAL SYMBOLS, and was proud of her for balking as well. Chemistry should be left to those who care about such things. Nice review!

Hawaii was known as the Sandwich Islands and the EARL was quite a gambler and devised a way to eat and hold cards. Who doesn't like a good sandwich?



Anonymous 12:51 AM  

Did this one right after finishing that awful Sunday and it was a light, refreshing chaser. Just enough interest to keep Monday fun without raising the difficulty.

jae 12:57 AM  

Easy-medium for me. I needed to fill in a couple of theme answers to see what was going on, but then on Mon. and Tues. I'm going for speed, not theme sussing.

Got to agree with Annabel, a couple of fine long downs plus a clever theme, liked it.

Robin 2:33 AM  

Basically a Monday. Not bad, not terrible. The theme ws okay.

I'm just going to throw out there that Annabel, and anybody else who hasn't, should watch FROST/NIXON. Great performances, great movie.

Ron 3:33 AM  

You are seriously a breath of fresh air. Please do keep posting - you are a blogger whose posts I look forward to reading every month!

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Loren Muse Smith 3:50 AM  

Hey, Annabel. You speaka my language. That RECLINE LOUNGE pair jumped right out to me.

And I noticed all the farmsome stuff, too – BALES, LOFTS (symmetrical), HOES, COOP, STY(e), CUD.

I noticed parts of a VET’s world: ARTERY, FEMUR, BLOOD, BODY, HIP.

Briefly thought of “most” or “some” before ‘TIS.

I loved OH HI. That’s what you say after you’ve ducked around several corners, squatted to study an RDA label, dug into your purse, leaned way in to find the best grapefruits… all to avoid the person who’s going to corner you with updates on their health issues. OH HI. Hey! Wish I could buy grapefruit, too, but I just found out that it interferes with the medicine I have to take for my cholesterol. But that’s ok ‘cause Bobby had to give it up, too, since the doctor - well a different doctor; his main one is visiting the Tah Majal can you believe that - has him on sildenafil - Hey, Siri, add batteries to my list - did I tell you that combined we take 37 pills every morning? Yeah, crazy, right? They just tweaked my thyroid medication, and I have to take 300mcg of Levothroid now instead of 88mcg of Synthroid but now I have a bit of diarrhea – hey Siri add Charmin Sensitive toilet paper to my list – sorry, anyway, I have to tell you I just got my DNA results back and I couldn’t believe that I’m part Croatian and part Cherokee but mainly Balinese. And here all this time I thought I was German and have all these dirndls, so I’m going to the consignment store next to try to sell them and check out their squaw stuff, you know, ‘cause it’s so fun….

It’s not lost on me that I do the same thing here, just a different topic. At least here you can jump past exhausting comments, so I rationalize that I’m not cornering anyone…

I liked this theme. Cool to think about the things we label with letters. Wonder what the guys do whose language has no alphabet. Inquiring minds and all that.

Congrats, Trenton, on the terrific write-up and the positive comments. I leave you with an old crossword blog blessing: May your puzzles always run on the first Monday of the month.

Thomaso808 4:28 AM  

Trenton Charlson, you take the word RECLINE, a word that has never appeared in the Shortz era, and you put it right in the middle of the grid and make it VERTICAL?!!

Just kidding. Great Monday puzzle. Loved the theme and very clean grid. Keep 'em coming!

Annabel, nice write-up. It seems to me you're not as tired as before. I really liked the Sponge Bob video for a fresh take on eel. Reminds me of all the under 10 year olds I deal with as a soccer referee.

@Anoa Bob, late comment here on yesterday's puz. I thought every one of your "alternate phrasings" was very clever!

Johnny 5:41 AM  


Speaking of FROSTNIXON, one of David Frost's many BBC programmes was "The Frost Report" of 1966-67, which featured almost the entire Monty Python troupe as unknown and unheralded staff writers prior to their teaming up and creating their own show. In one episode of Monty Pythons Flying Circus they do a scathing parody of Frost, called "Timmy Williams Coffee Time," with Eric Idle (remember him?) as Frost; on "The Frost Report" Idle's job was to write all of Frost's supposedly ad lib jokes.

https://youtu.be/Evc8KTGdF7E

BarbieBarbie 6:50 AM  

I liked this one a lot. After enough crosses to reveal the skeleton of the first themer, there was a mini-aha, followed by the others. I didn't use chemistry to get 39A, just the crosses and the knowledge that the periodic table is full of letters. So, perfectly fair for a Monday.
Annabelle, I hear you on Sandwich. I think the Earl came first. But if that's the case, where did his title come from? What kind of title is that? I guess it's like Ipswich, if "ips" has a meaning. (And, before anyone says "look it up," no. Writing a blog, or a comment, shouldn't require research. It's called "conversation." Look it up! Har.)

Keep Las Vegas in your hearts, prayers, and intentions today. There's too much anger.

Anonymous 6:51 AM  

There’s an Enrico Fermi High School in Enfield Connecticut.

kitshef 7:11 AM  

This was a hoot and a half. Great theme, nice long downs, couple of nits (OHHI, NYC) but nothing to get upset about.

Felt unduly hard for the day of the week. Maybe last week’s cakewalk was an aberration.

Hungry Mother 7:24 AM  

Very nice theme and an easy puzzle, but I did a lot of downs.

evil doug 7:27 AM  

[GEORGE is in Warden Betsy's office at the prison. He's upset to learn Celia is up for parole, because he enjoys knowing where she is at all times--no chance for the dreaded 'pop-in'--and the idea of someday participating in a conjugal visit....]

BETSY: George, Celia has listed you as a character reference. Whatever you can tell us would certainly be helpful in her getting paroled.

GEORGE: Well, anything I can do to help, um...she's a wonderful girl. Very smart. Very...crafty.

BETSY: Does she have any plans after she's released?

GEORGE: Plans. SCHEMEs. She keeps talking about getting back together with her old friends - "the gang," as she likes to call them, you know. Yeah, they're hatching something, you can count on that....

QuasiMojo 7:31 AM  

Hey Annabel, thanks for the cheerful post. My high school used E as a grade, so I was thrown off at first by that list of letters. As for ALBA, I keep thinking of the sexy Duchess of Alba. I have no idea who Jessica Alba is.

The Hawaiian Islands were indeed named after the Earl of Sandwich (the 4th one), aka John Montagu, who sponsored James Cook's travels and invented the sandwich, or so we're told. It seems unlikely someone hadn't thought of it before. But he may have popularized it.

@Anoa Bob, re yesterday. The more I read the comments the more I came to agree that your puzzle was not bad at all. But I think Theodore Roosevelt's childhood nickname was "Teedie" not THEO.

kitshef 7:32 AM  

So in order - the town of Sandwich, which comes from the word sand, and the suffix wich, which along with wick is a common ending for UK towns (Ipswich, Norwich, Dunwich, Alnwick). It originally indicated a place with a market place (most often).

The first Earl of Sandwich was named for the town. His third successor was the 4th Earl of Sandwich, after whom both the food sandwich and the Sandwich Islands were named.

ghthree 7:38 AM  

I thought Rex was mellowing. Should have known. It's Annabelle!
So Rex isn't mellowing after all. Wonder what nits he would have picked.

ghthree 7:43 AM  

Sorry about the spelling, Annabel.
Maybe I'll remember next time.

Glimmerglass 7:44 AM  

Yay Annabel. You find fun in an easy puzzle -- unlike OFL. I know you're way too busy to do more than one Monday a month, but I,wish .@Rex would find three more like you.

semioticus (shelbyl) 7:49 AM  

What a nice recovery after yesterday's abomination of a puzzle. It's a puzzle that's aware that it's a Monday, and goes for execution instead of some weird gimmick. Nicely done.

chefbea 7:51 AM  

What a great puzzle...also what a great write up!!!
Love Paul anka...Also salsa and meat

Have a very happy birthday Annabel...I of course will bake you a cake!!!

Chance 8:02 AM  

I thought the clues on this one were too boring and straightforward; definitions instead of subtle hints and wordplay. Like "rough on the eyes or ears" for HARSH, and not "what an uptight square might do to a hippie's mellow" or "like a crow's song."


I enjoyed the theme, though.

I also enjoy hearing from other voices on this blog.

Brian B 8:07 AM  

The Earl of the Sandwich was the inventor, so the food is properly called Sandwich's Monster.

Keen Observer 8:09 AM  

I think Evil Doug is parking his plane in Loren Muse Smith's hangar, if you know what I mean.

mathgent 8:10 AM  

Don't miss @LMS (3:50). Excellent!

Also check out the constructor at 12:11. Like Annabel, he's a college student who was in the same high school musical.

The puzzle was a cut above the usual Monday.

Passing Shot 8:17 AM  

An entertaining write-up for an enjoyable puzzle. Thank you Annabel and Trenton. @Loren Muse Smith — that was hilarious. My favorite move is to bend down ato the bottom row of the cereal aisle and study all the crap brands made for kids.

Kim Scudera 8:33 AM  

Thanks, Annabel! Loved the writeup, especially your take on the EARL of Sandwich: "I know I could just Google this but it's so much more fun to have it be this eternal mystery." Would that we could all do more of this!

I'll pick a nit that I bet Rex would have picked: some pretty un- Monday fill and cluing going on: I'm looking at you, PSI and ALONSO.

However, those are some small nits for a puzzle that I enjoyed and finished in slightly below average time. Plus the bonus of Annabel's fine post. Happy birthday, Annabel! And thanks, Trenton, for a fun theme in a very good puzzle!

RAD2626 8:34 AM  

Sort of a perfect early week puzzle. Cute theme, pretty direct cluing, no junk. Very well thought out and constructed. Only nit would be missing the AB from blood types but that would have been too obvious a giveaway.

NIce writeup from Annabel as always and truly an unreal coincidence that the puzzle triggers an anecdote about a pretty obscure musical that both she and the constructor were in.

pmdm 8:49 AM  

Tom: I've always lived in the NYC area. I recall many Hess stations, so you may be correct. I recently drove across country and noticed how, for example, Sunoco stations seem to have vaporized in the middle of the country. Given that Hess sold its gas station business, I'm not sure the clue is a Monday clue for younger crossword solvers.

Today's comments, as often is the case when the write-up is composed by a guest blogger, include numerous positive comments seemingly prompted by the more upbeat nature of the write-up than usual. According to previous write-ups, these guest bloggers are reimbursed for their efforts. So, from an economical point of view, I doubt anyone should hope that the practice will be expanded. As I have pointed out before, I don't think it's so much the negativity as the overall tone that turns people off. Jeff Chen can be negative but never in an over-the-top manner.

Interesting that PRNDL did not make the cut.

Z 8:55 AM  

@keen observer - if “I’m a fucking asshole” is what you mean, then yes, we know what you mean.

Two Ponies 8:55 AM  

Much more fun than the usual Monday. Well done Trenton.

Scheme is one of those words that confused me while in England.
Here it has a devious feel but there it just means a plan.

This is the sort of puzzle that I hope will encourage new solvers.
The SW was the most interesting with embody, solder, and satyr.

Very funny @LMS. How awful to actually be that person who makes people want to run and hide.

Joseph Michael 8:56 AM  

Best Monday puzzle in EONS.

Tita A 9:13 AM  

Fun twist for a Monday. I guessed 4 out of 5 with no crosses, but had no idea what G, R, and X were.

Hey, ,Annabel, nice writeup. And thanks for the word-of-the-day - I learned that RIAs are submerged riverbeds - had never stopped to wonder what makes a ria a thing.

@lms - dirndl is such a great word. Though I wonder why they left the "i" in place. Seems like the word would be pronounced exactly the same were it removed. Come on - try saying "drndl". See? Same thing.

I made a dirndl skirt once. As a kid, my mom and I made lots of clothes. One outfit consisted if a deep blue dirndl, with a white bolero, and an organza high-neck blouse trimmed with lace and mother-of-pearl buttons.

The bolero closed with frogs. Boy did I think I was hot stuff when I wore THAT! Does anyone wear clothes with frog closings anymore??

iseattle3 9:28 AM  

Hey Annabel - check out Class of Nuke 'Em High (1986). It's the non-musical movie version of the story. My wife auditioned for the lead role but ended up as an extra in the movie. Bad campy fun.

Cassieopia 9:32 AM  

This was exactly what a Monday should be! I would steer any newbies to the NYT xword to this particular puzzle. It was easy, but not in a stupid way, and the string of letters was mysterious but not TOO mysterious. I thought this was a Magnificent Monday.

@lms - ha ha ha ha ha ha - I know that person too!!!

Soooooo nice to have you back, Annabel! I love your writeups, they are so cheerful and breezy but also very focused on the puzzle's construction. And happy birthday!

Frayed Knot 9:34 AM  

HESS, which as noted above is an oil/gas company, not a toy company, used to give-away replica of one of their delivery trucks every Christmas season which was accompanied by heavy advertising at that time of year so lots of folks do/did know about it whether they cared about toy trucks or not.
From the reaction of some of the posts above, this sounds like it may have been a regional thing rather than national.


"Except "chemical symbols," because I'm still confused - are those just the only letters that stand for an individual element?"

Those are, I believe, the only single letter symbols that indicate an element. The other elements are represented by two-letter combos.

Hartley70 9:42 AM  

This was a wonderful Monday. The theme was clever and right away FISH made me laugh because it was just too head-slappingly basic to be correct. Add to that a cute Annabel review and a front row seat to a new college friendship and what a way to start the Rexworld week!

@Tita, Try the continent of Asia for those frogs and better yet, who's wearing the dirndls? Mine had multicolor, horizontal stripes. 'Nuff said. I bet we wore them at the same time. There was a very small window of dirndl popularity.

Nancy 9:52 AM  

Nice Monday. Based on the 1A rule, I took one look at that clue and thought the puzzle would be insultingly easy. But I hung around and am glad I did. And it actually fooled me briefly in one spot: I saw GRX (52A) and thought it was a sOVIEt Agency of some sort like the KGB. I had actually written in sOVIEt, but ARTERY (50D) straightened me out. As Mondays go, I found this pretty lively and enjoyed it.

jberg 9:54 AM  

I was going to explain the chemical symbol thing, but @frayd knot beat me to it. So now I've got nothing to say, except thankks, @Annabel, and @Loren, I would NEVER skip over any little bit of your posts. Once or twice I've skipped a little bit by accident, only to realize from later comments that I had missed something phenomenally witty.

Wait, I just remembered two things:

1. Is the FEMUR really stronger than the skull? Serious question, I have no idea.

2. Wouldn't it be fun if all the letter strings were replaced with their Greek equivalents, and 55D became the revealer? Probably no longer a Monday, though.

Anonymous 10:00 AM  

re: Hess trucks - Frayed Knot got it all right except for the phrase "used to" - the Hess Truck ads run from Thanksgiving to Christmas every year on TV.

GILL I. 10:01 AM  

@Annabel Monday and a @Loren supermarket story. Can't get much better.
Just noticed BLOODY if you use the EMBODY part. ALONSO can go both ways too.
Before I knew some French, it would be GREEK to me.
Lots of Esses today. Kinda like the HESS SASS SALSA corner. Would a butcher offer anything but MEATS? I think all butchers should have a cheese counter.
Nice Monday TC.

Anonymous 10:07 AM  

This blog & posts always feature folks proud of their ignorance, but today is taking the cake. @Kim Scudera's 8:33 post, paragraph one, sums it up. Proud of ignorance and unhappy to learn. Yippee for the eternal mysteries!

Hartley70 10:07 AM  

Am I the only one here who has a closet full of Hess trucks still in their boxes? My grown son started collecting them as a kid hoping that someday they would make his fortune. Not happening yet.

RooMonster 10:16 AM  

Hey ...
Good puz, but too upset today to comment positively.
Sorry for this brutal post, but ...
Have lived here in Las Vegas for 10 years now, and sure, we have crime just like any other city. But when one Devil-asshole licker decides to do a mass shooting at innocent festival goers, it really makes you upset.
Shooter is dead. I hope he gets ass raped in Hell every day.


RooMonster
DarrinV

Nancy 10:24 AM  

I had always heard the sandwich story thusly: The Earl of Sandwich, not wanting to leave the gambling table to dine, instructed his valet to bring him a piece of meat stuffed between two pieces of bread. But upon googling, I see there's a 2nd version of the story: either the valet or the cook came up with the brainstorm, and never received credit for it. At any rate, the Earl continued to sit at the table and both gamble and eat at the same time. Wiki says he was playing cribbage.

Anonymous 10:25 AM  

Yesterday, "Chance" made a comment about people who ask about clues on this blog, and Chance asked why they didn't just use Google I wanted to answer that. First, there are folks who still do the puzzle with pencil and paper. Second, there are people in this country who still have very limited access to the internet, so texting answers like "lmao" are gibberish Third, there are a huge number of people in this country who have internet, but who have limited access to certain sites, either because of parental controls or security. There are over 300,000 people serving in the us military who can access Rex Parker, but not Google. I also know that prison inmates who have computer privileges have limited access and only to certain sites. As weird as that may same to some people, RexParker is an approved blog site, but Google is not. And I suspect that a lot of prisoners and military folks and people in fire towers, folks with a lot of time on their hands and no access to the internet, do the puzzle as a time killer. so if someone wants to ask on this blog what a clue means, maybe Chance could be less smug about why they not everyone has the good fortune to be able to use Google. And for what its worth, the captcha feature on this blog also makes it difficult for limited access people to participate.

Malsdemare 10:43 AM  

I will echo all the praise; my only complaint is that it was over too quickly.

@lms. That woman you're hiding from is my #2 sister.

Phone call

Me: Hi, Jane.
J: Hi, calling to see how you're doing, know you had surgery. I'm good, just fell down twice last week, only lay on the path for an hour or so, such nice neighbors, so helpful, don't know what I'd do without them except the ones who think that tiny accident I had where I killed my dog, broke my foot, and totaled my car was caused by my drinking! I haven't had a drop in twenty years, that alcohol smell was the rum balls I had in the back from Jenny's party. Jenny is just wonderful, she hired a great attorney for me, but I'm paying for it, no way I'm sponging off my kids. . . . Thomas just finished playing with the Reno orchestra, isn't that a kick? And the other grandson ... um, Randy, he did something too, love Thomas to death, he calls and says "Love you, gramma!" I think Chuck still lives in Grand Fork, that's in Montana, rights? Annie and her guy just came back from a gambling junket, can you believe it, the cruise line pays their way and Big John wins thousands, I think they're going to redo their deck with the innings, no not that house, that was foreclosed on, the new one. Oops, gotta go, Hatchi needs to go out. Glad to hear you're doing well . . .

Clunk. Gotta love her. Keeps everything in perspective.

I cannot believe that the guest blogger were in the same obscure play. What are the odds? Thanks, Annabel and Trenton for a fun Monday.

Johnny 11:01 AM  


To the various commenters wondering why people ask about clues on this blog instead of just using Google:

Perhaps, due to the somewhat social nature of the comment section, they wish to share their question with others who may also be confused, and therefore receive a shared answer that benefits everyone. Also, instead of an algorythm-generated series of choices each of which must be investigated further, when someone asks a question here they get a personalized response from an actual real person who actually read their question and actually took the time to reply and help them, often with an interesting story attached. Like the time Howard Cosell kicked me out of the Monday Night Football booth when I was ten years old just because I asked a question.

Why did you even post a question here asking why people post questions here instead of using Google when instead you could have just used Google instead of posting a question here? You need to ask yourself that question.

Charles kluepfel 11:09 AM  

Hess operated in the East plus California according to Wikipedia. TV commercials "The Hess truck's back" to the tune of "My boyfriend's back".

Nancy 11:09 AM  

To add to my 10:24 comment on the derivation of the word *sandwich*: Evidently, all the other gamblers looked around and said: "I'll have what he's having."

Michelle Turner 11:10 AM  

Anonymous @10:25 makes a good point. Thank you for the reminder. I know that I sometimes I forget that not everyone has access to the same resources as I do. I suspect I am not alone in this regard.

Happy Birthday, Annabel!!

Malsdemare 11:21 AM  

Please excuse all my typos. I wish it were possible to edit our comments.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 11:55 AM  

US News and World Report -- I tried to abbreviate it USNawr. I don't remember anybody calling it USNEWS. I don't remember anybody calling it anything, to be honest.

HESS tried to put a Liquid Natural Gas terminal in Fall River MA a decade or two ago, on the theory that we were too poor and desperate to contest it, even though it's a location where anything going wrong would have affected an awful lot of people. I was only involved in the Stop LNG movement briefly: I suggested we should have a rally that everybody walked or bicycled to. I stood next to my bicycle all alone with my fold-up sign for half an hour or so and pedaled home, went back to protesting nuclear weapons. But the LNG terminal did get stopped.

GILL I. 12:05 PM  

I love sandwiches...I could probably live off of them and I love the stories on how they came about.
Sandwich recipes evidently didn't appear in American cookbooks until 1815. The story goes that American cooks didn't want anything to do with the Brits because of the memories of the Revolutionary War...!
With time, we cottoned on to its deliciousness and began inventing all kinds. The most popular was tongue! Who'd a thought that?
The Po'Boy came about during the Great Depression. 2 young brothers opened a sandwich shop next to a streetcar in New Orleans. During that time, there were a lot of starving striking workers. The brothers took pity on them, offering free sandwiches, and would yell out "Here comes another Po'Boy."....(I like that story).
Then if you believe all the wonderful claimers, the one I like the best is the Reuben. There are several jumping on that bandwagon (kinda like who really made the first Caesar salad) but my favorite is that it was first discovered in Omaha, Nebraska - not some NYC Deli. Mr. Reuben Kulakofsky belonged to a weekly poker party and he and his friends gathered in a hotel for the game. They all liked sandwiches and didn't want to bother getting up and going to the dining room. So Reuben ordered up his favorite combination goodies, the cook complied and the rest is history. It won The National Best Sandwich and went on to Europe to be adored as well.
Now, if only we could run this country the way the sandwich has... I wish I knew the story of the Sloppy Joe.

Anonymous 12:11 PM  

Fun puzzle for a Monday. Vis a vis "Frost/Nixon," I was fortunate enough to see it on Broadway. One of the most fascinating nights I've ever spent in the theater. Of course I'm old enough to remember David Frost and Nixon (though I missed the TV interviews.) I highly recommend it, and I'll bet the film version is almost as good. Frank Langella is an old pro and Michael Sheen is quite good, as well.

old timer 12:30 PM  

I always look forward to your first-Monday writeups, Annabel. And if you have a record player (vinyl is back, you know) do acquire the early Firesign Theatre albums. Waiting for the Electrician, I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus, and especially Don't Crush that Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers, which Rolling Stone calls the greatest comedy album ever made.

The story starts with a takeoff on the old Archie and Jughead comics, and features Georgie Tirebiter and his friend Mudhead. There is a song about him:

Georgie Tirebiter, he's a spy and a girl delighter
Georgie Tirebiter, he's a student like you,

Georgie goes to Morse Science High. On the day in question, the entire school has disappeared! It is suspected that the school was stolen by their rival, Communist Martyrs High. Hilarity ensues (well, the hilarity starts with the opening scene actually).

I thought of this reading your writeup,

Anonymous 1:11 PM  

If you’re looking for a captain of the ringball team
You can bet he won’t be there.
You’ll find him p-popping up at Pop’s Sodium Shop
To turn in a red... with red hair.

Doo bee doo wah.

Teedmn 1:21 PM  

Congrats, Trenton Charlson, on your sophomore puzzle in the NYTimes. It had some zing to it, for a Monday.

At first, I thought the letter subsets would just keep getting smaller (from ABCDEFG to ADCDF to BCD to AB) but 39A certainly set me straight on that idea.

Per @LMS's supermarket story, my Dad is that person. When he launches into what AILs him with some poor stranger, I try to use my PSI powers. "Run away, run away" I blast at them mentally. Since I am psychically "dead" as far as I can tell, I usually have to intervene when I see the victim's eyes rolling back and I'm afraid they're about to RECLINE on the floor from boredom. "Dad, nobody cares", is my usual attempt at halting the RIA of health issues. (I'm such a bad daughter). (It sometimes works.)

Thanks Annabel, nice write up!

OldCarFudd 1:46 PM  

Happy Birthday, Annabel! And thanks for the sunny write-up. I always look forward to first Mondays.

Re: little kids and vehicles. It's not just little kids. I'm an 81-year-old big kid who plays with four vehicles, all full-size, that range from 103 to 110 years old. And most of my friends in the hobby skew old, too, although my son is only 52 and plays with a 1913 car. But we're worried that the next generation of kids isn't car-crazy. A week ago I asked my 15-year-old step-granddaughter, who lives in Virginia, when she could get a driver's license. She said: "I dunno." When I was her age, I'd already been counting the days for, maybe, seven years! Does our hobby have a future?

I enjoyed this puzzle. But then, I enjoyed yesterday's, too. And most of the others. They're just a pleasant diversion, unrelated to the end of the world.

Laura 1:48 PM  

I grew up in NYC in the 80s and 90s and will never forget the Christmastime jingles... "The Hess truck's back and it's better than ever, hey nah hey nah, the Hess truck's back!"

Charles Flaster 1:58 PM  

Liked whole puzzle.
Love the enthusiasm of these 2 bright collegians.
Enjoyed cluing for OH HI and AHA.
Thanks AT and TC.

Anonymous 2:14 PM  

The Earl of Sandwich did not invent the sandwich, (although he might have popularized them). Rabbi Hillel is mentioned in the Passover Haggadah as making a "sandwich" from matzoh and the meat from his Passover sacrifice.

Dick Swart 2:21 PM  

20 ... out of the teens at last!

Happy birthday wishes to you, Anabel. Your peppy persona lprose is always a relief from the screed-worthy postings of the owner.

edlor 2:33 PM  

Did any other compulsive people get stuck on which chemical (element) symbol is W? I did. Turns our to be tungsten! Its chemical abbreviation is W because of a confusion of terminology IN THE SWEDISH LANGUAGE. Their name for tungsten was VOLFRAM, from which the W(!) was taken, because they had another mineral called tung-sten (Swedish for "heavy stone"). Not coincidentally, their Tungsten was an ore of VOLFRAM. So they swapped the names, making tungsten the element and volfram the ore. You can't make this stuff up.

John aka Wm. C. 2:51 PM  


@Annabel --

Stop by and say hello to my daughter Lisa (Wellesley '99) in the Alumnae Relations Department. It won't be too long until you're a client of hers.

P. S. Get some sleep!

iamjess 4:33 PM  

So, any puzzle with the answer SHOT TO HELL is going to be a winner in my book.

That said, I'm going to channel my inner Rex and say that 1) I thought Gretel dropped the crumbs, not HANSEL. Right??? 2) I have a problem with MOVIE RATINGS because the other themers included *all* of the base letters, and any other possibilities are a variation on a theme: D- grade, F# music note, blood type O-, etc. If there was such a MOVIE RATING as just "P", then it would all be okay for me.

Joe Dipinto 5:00 PM  

This was a fine Monday effort -- seeing those letter strings in the clues provided an immediate air of mystery. Very nicely executed, imo.

I can also recommend the movie Frost/Nixon. Excellent performances by Michael Sheen and Frank Langella.

Two Ponies 5:38 PM  

@ oldtimer is right about Firesign Theater. They are available on CD as well. Good times.
Shoes for industry!

Anonymous 5:43 PM  

@Z
Stay classy.

Keen Observer 5:47 PM  

Ooh somebody is a little jealous! Love triangle?!

Mr. Benson 6:36 PM  

Oh, if it's true that Gretel dropped the crumbs, or even played a part in dropping the crumbs, Rex's outrage over the sexism in the clue would've blown the site up today. In fact, even if it's accurate that Hansel dropped them, Rex would have had a bone to pick with the Brothers Grimm. Either way, he'd probably also complain about HANSEL being in the grid along with FROST and NIXON and Paul ANKA and the EARL of Sandwich and ALONSO and Enrico FERMI and all those SATYR-bros.

Guest bloggers are sometimes a welcome relief, is what I'm saying.

Tita A 6:50 PM  

@teed...my mom, who turned 94 last month, has a rule...each friend gets only 10 minutes to talk about your health issues.


BarbieBarbie 7:38 PM  

@twoPonies, Anon, and @oldtimer, would have answered sooner but I had to stop to eat. Because defoliationg a victory garden certainly works up an appetite. Great stuff! Now we need a constructor to find a way to use it all as themers.

He's done it again, it's coming up... it's coming up....!

(Actually, I was fortunate enough to see the total solar eclipse last month, and it turns out the sun IS pink, and green, and electric blue. Who knew?)

@Johnny, was that real? Can you tell us about even getting INTO the booth, as well as getting kicked out? Also thanks for the Frost/Python info. Completely new to me.

Chance 8:30 PM  

I wonder why you don't Google the answer to why I don't Google the answer to why people don't Google the answer to questions that they post on the Internet.

Hello, prisoners and military people!

Tita A 9:31 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
PoopyPants 9:42 PM  

OMG, doesn't the Rexblog explode or something if someone says in the writeup that they love the theme???

JamieP 10:20 PM  

I'm going to swim against the current here, but my comment is buried anyway. Just as many of you say you like some "crunch" in your puzzles, I like some in the writeups. I love how OFL does not stoop to grade inflation. I hope he holds his students to the same exacting standards as he does Will.

Speaking of which, Annabel, it's one thing to fall back on "like" as a verbal tick, but to write it out three times feels very high school journaling.

Now everyone off my lawn.


Anonymous 11:18 PM  

You are a condescending, pedantic asshole.

kitshef 11:28 AM  

@iamjess - all the themers include all the one-letter examples of their set. So, elements don't include Sn or At, blood types don't include AB, movies don't include PG.

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