Stepped tower of ancient Sumer / MON 10-23-17 / Online source of film trivia / Campus sanctuary in modern parlance / Kerchief worn as headgear

Monday, October 23, 2017

Constructor: Timothy Polin

Relative difficulty: Challenging for a Monday (3:38) (that's 40-ish seconds longer than average, an eternity on a Monday)

THEME: Periods — ordinary words ending in -AGE are imagined as phrases where the second word is AGE:

Theme answers:
  • ANCHORAGE (17A: Period dominated by the likes of Dan Rather and Peter Jennings?)
  • WRECKAGE (26A: Period when every car was a junker?)
  • BONDAGE (39A: Period known for its 007 movies?)
  • PILLAGE (41A: Period of fuzzy sweaters?)
  • COVERAGE (50A: Period when tribute bands thrived?)
  • SHRINKAGE (64A: Period when psychiatrists ruled?)
Word of the Day: MOUE (34A: Sour expression) —
noun: moue; plural noun: moues
  1. a pouting expression used to convey annoyance or distaste. (Google)
• • •

This puzzle has a few things going for it. Sadly, none of those things have to do with the theme, which is kind of [Period associated with clothing?]. There are lots of words that end in -AGE. You can do this dumb theme all day long and then some. The clues are corny, and the gag wears out quickly. A "?" theme on a Monday is unusual, and unusually tough, though all the -AGEs made up for that somewhat, but then much of the rest of the grid was harder than usual to solve, so the overall result was a Challenging puzzle. Not off-the-charts hard for a Monday, but definitely on the hard side. But I don't mind that. I mind AGE AGE AGE AGE etc ad infinitum ad astra forever and ever. I also mind the tame clues. [Period of fuzzy sweaters?] for PILL AGE!? Wow. Lots better options on the table, there.

Oh, but back to the few things this puzzle has going for it: all the flashy long Downs. On a Monday, those are pretty nifty. Abutting long answers like that definitely opens things up (and generally adds to difficulty). Nice to have so much colorful fill early in the week. In general, the fill is decent. Not sure how we're getting OWIE *yet again*, but here we are. Actually, the more I look at the shorter stuff, the less decent it becomes, so let's just look at DUCK BLIND and BEHEADED and ZIGGURAT et all. Major hangups for me today:
  • Totally forgot IMDB existed. I just blanked. I never go there any more, so it went totally off my mental radar
  • IMAC, IPOD, IDUNNO (at 1-Down)
  • AMEN for AS IF (15A: "Yeah, right!") (note: "AS IF!" and "PHAT!" are both in "Clueless" (1995), which I just rewatched yesterday.)
  • TEENAGER for TEENIDOL (22D: Elvis in the 1950s or Justin Bieber in the 2010s)
  • I spelled ZIGGURAT all kinds of ways before the crosses helped me out with the vowels (25D: Stepped tower of ancient Sumer)
See you Tuesday.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Trombone Tom 12:25 AM  

Well the blogger hiccuped and ate my comment. I think I said that I didn't encounter the difficulties @Rex met with. ZIGGURAT was a gimme because there is a stepped building across the river from downtown Sacramento locally known by that name.

I didn't think this should get a challenging rating, but it was nicely crunchy for a Monday. I enjoyed it.

Johnny 12:33 AM  

I thought this was an outstanding puzzle; challenging for a Monday but gettable all around. I figured out the theme by the WRECKAGE and went and searched for the rest and started solving them (that's fun for me) and then I had the whole grid filled except for the entire SW corner. I had no crosses there. But I went in and got it, and then had to correct SAFEplACE to SAFESPACE.

I give this an A+ and the -AGE part is great.

Paul Rippey 1:29 AM  

Mulan has a cross dresser in it? Makes me want to see it...

jae 2:29 AM  

Medium for me. Some fine long downs. Liked it.

chefwen 2:37 AM  

One writeover, CAKED over CAKEy. No biggie. Super easy and a fun theme, loved it.

ZIGGURAT was a learning moment, Googled it after finishing, interesting. I’m amazed I had never come across it before.

Hartley70 2:46 AM  

I nominate ZIGGURAT as word of the day, not cute little MOUE. I see little French red lips making a MOUE. ZIGGURAT has some serious heft and came to me on a wing and a prayer. I have no idea it's point of origin, perhaps junior high "Ancient History" class.

I'm late to yesterday's party, but for the life of me I can't understand the trolls here. The week before last they were harassing the blog with offensive political posts. I guess they weren't getting enough attention so they have moved on to @Z and now @Nancy. Both of these regulars are well able to weather the ridiculous insults and frankly the troll attacks just make the rest of us value their contributions to the legitimate daily dialogue even more. May I suggest that the trolls consider joining a gym and venting their spleens in exercise. At least they would be accomplishing something beneficial to their health and, hopefully, ours.

chefwen 3:04 AM  

@Hartley70 - Hitting the like button for your comment.

Blog Rule Number 1 3:27 AM  


Loren Muse Smith 4:11 AM  

Weird. Saturday my husband had some college football game on, and an announcer said blah blah blah stoppages blah blah. I said, why can’t we just say stops? Why do we have to say stoppage?

Mr. Parcels taught me at Georgia Southern that usage was specifically for grammar stuff and use for everything else, but lots of people seem to have missed that memo.

And… I made a joke here awhile back about our adage – the commercials on tv, their length and frequency – are beyond ridiculous.

So I loved this theme. Loved revisiting _ _ _AGE words for a fresh take. I liked every themer. Especially PILLAGE because I have bought one of those sweater shaver gizmos that was supposed to shave off those pills. It worked in a haphazard, anemic kind of way.
Like most of my 6th period.

You absolutely can do this “ad infinitum ad astra forever and ever.“ That makes for an enjoyable little think session.

Roughage – seventh grade
Mirage – ‘60s
Sewage – ‘50s
Message – now, everywhere

Liked SHRINKAGE crossing (interfering with) EGOS. Helloooo cold ocean.

evil doug 4:52 AM  

George: How do women know about shrinkage? (They see Elaine walking down
the hall) Elaine! Get in here! (She enters) Do women know about shrinkage?

Elaine: What do you mean, like laundry?

George: No...

Jerry: Like when a man goes swimming... afterwards...

Elaine: It shrinks?

Jerry: Like a frightened turtle!

Elaine: Why does it shrink?

George: It just does.

Elaine: I don't know how you guys walk around with those things.

Thomaso808 4:59 AM  

@LMS, as usual, your post made me think. Yeah, Stoppage, why?

How about Dotage - era of pointillism

COVERAGE is the best solution to SHRINKAGE.

AlexP 5:50 AM  

I love that scene! One of the all-time best from Jerry & the gang.

Anonymous 6:12 AM  

Hey moron Dougie cut and pasted again. Didn't see that coming!

BarbieBarbie 6:22 AM  

@LMS, extra syllables are everywhere. People just like to hear themselves talk.” Dependency” always makes me cringe. And mercifully I’ve forgotten the one that’s my pet peeve (weak coffee, again). But the best one comes fron a ton of technical papers: “methodology.” A whopping three unnecessary syllables, and used incorrectly at that.

I don’t have a good way to judge Monday puzzles, but based on my time it was easier than average, yet not screamingly easy. Some of that time was spent mulling over the themers, which I enjoyed because they needed to be mispronounced to make sense. And, as Rex points out, great long Downs. Two thumbs up and a big thank you!

Two Ponies 6:51 AM  

I got the initials of IMDB wrong giving me buck blind and deheaded. Both kinda worked but I caught it and fixed it. There are deer in marshes and be- is more common but de- is still technically correct.

Shrink Age crossing safe space is appropriate. Pill Age could be tied in as well with those two.

I guess Mulan was a cross-dresser like Joan of Ark but hard not to think of it without some sort of sexual connotation.

Who is Bobo??

@ evil doug, Just yesterday that classic scene was part of a conversation I had with the mother of a 13 y/o girl. We were talking about things we learned as young women that we wished someone had warned us about. Shrinkage was one of them!

kitshef 7:12 AM  

I’m guessing that MOUE is a word other folks know, but I sure didn’t. With IpAd/Ipod/IMAC all in play for 1D, and bAKED/CAKED in play for 20A, that NW corner played like an easy Friday for me.

On the other hand, GESSO went right in (hi, @Z).

Theme is brilliant, of course.

Lewis 7:30 AM  

@evil -- I was waiting for the shrinkage dialogue and you did not disappoint.

This was a fun Monday with a trey of un-Monday words (moue/ziggurat/gesso), which is perfect for new solvers, if crossed fairly, and I believe they are. For some reason, I liked the cross of BALD and BEHEADED.

And, to riff on LMS's history lesson, a different take. Past the 8th century, the MoorAge, we skip ahead to the time when the Beatles and Rolling Stones reigned, the BandAge, the era of Cheech and Chong (the PotAge), and the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage, the Outage, which brings us to the present, our blessed WreckAge. Can't wait for the next one.

Aketi 7:34 AM  

@BarbieBarbie & @LMS, my son and his friends are going the opposite direction of chopping out the vowels when they insert text speak into conversations. I have even caught myself using BRB when I go out for a quick errand which befuddled my husband. TGIF and BYOB and RSVP were precursors to the languAGE SHRIKAGE that is accelerating in the text AGE.

ShortAGE (lifelong condition for @Nancy and I)
BandAGE (something parents always carry during the OWIE phase of childhood)
DamAGE (according to my mom, this addition to my vocabulary lasted from the time I was presented with a plate of peas at the age of one until I started kindergarten, but parental ignorance of what their children say when they're not around is bliss)

GHarris 7:41 AM  

Love it when I sail through a puzzle Rex deems challenging. Anyone notice this morning’s news article reporting that an exhumation suggests Pablo Neruda was poisoned?. Anyone care?

chefbea 7:56 AM  

Fun easy puzzle!!! Never heard of IMDB. I'll have to google it...and find out what the letters stand for.

Anonymous 8:03 AM  

BEHEADED passes the breakfast test? Not for me.


Aketi 8:15 AM  

I had SAFE haven before SAFE SPACE. The former seems to be accepted as something people deserve, while the latter is denigrated as a place for wimps, often by the same people who seem to have developed Tourette syndrome with their overuse of the term snowflake. Face it, we all live in the bubbles of our own experiences. Some strive towards expandAGE of their bubbles and while others strive towards SHRINKAGE of their bubbles. If the bubble expands too far it might pop (making connections impossible) and if it shrinks too small then there will be no more room for anyone.

mathgent 8:36 AM  

My favorites. DOTAGE (@Thomoso808, 4:59), MESSAGE (@LMS, 4:11), GARBAGE (@Aketi,7:34).

I expected some discussion of SAFESPACE. I hadn't seen that before. According to Huffington, it is somewhat controversial. It has more than one meaning on campuses.

@Evil Doug: Thanks for the Seinfeld. Like a frightened turtle. Intriguing follow up by @Two Ponies (6:51).

If I read Rex correctly yesterday, he's not watching the NFL because they are conspiring to keep Kaepernick out. That's the first I've heard of a left wing movement.

QuasiMojo 8:43 AM  

I typed in ANCHOR ERA and bulldozed on (but never dozed) then when I got the theme I had a happy A-HA moment, fixed my "mistake", and finished the puzzle with no regrets. Nice job Mr. Polin! This was a good one. I'm trying to figure out a funny clue for DECOLLETAGE.

As for IMDB, it used to be a goldmine of information and a fantastic forum. But when Amazon bought it they added pop-up ads for movies they are selling at their store, and removed overnight the entire forum, including years worth of fascinating posts by experts, fans and often featured players. An invaluable resource was laid waste. The reason given was TROLLS. Let's hope that doesn't happen here.

evil doug 8:52 AM  

"Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called 'trigger warnings,' we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual 'safe spaces' where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own."

John Ellison
Dean of Students
University of Chicago
...and now one of my personal heroes.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 9:02 AM  

I'm wondering about flees equalling LAMS. I had only heard that word in the phrase 'on the lam'. Which I would have thought meant it was a noun?

I also have never heard of BOBO the clown.

I'm home to post early in the blog, normally I have been taking Orion, Wonder Dog, to the dog park before doing the puzzle but he has gotten middle-aged and cranky and no longer plays with dogs, so I decided 'why bother'. He is annoyed at me. One of us will win this.

Tita A 9:03 AM  

Internet Movie DataBase. Pretty easy to surmise.
@Quasi...I didn't realize they got bought by Amazon. Makes so much sense for them. Now I know the ADAGE of when those pop ups hit.
I'm good at ignoring the bombardment of advertising, so they are only a mild irritant.
I go there all the time to verify a cast member or check comparative ages of the stars, and filming locations. the only other thing I read there, and avariciously so, is "Trivia".

I also loved reparsing these words into phrases. I don't care that there re lots of fac, I was count Not on the clever folks here to come up with more, and young unhavent disappointed!

SABOTAGE...period dominated by wooden shoes in Brittany?
RAVAGE...period in the early 21st century where every 3rd car on the road is a Toyota SUV?
Ugh...I better leave this to the pros.

Thanks, Mr. Polin. Great fun guessing your AGEs from the clues. Made Monday more interesting.

Nancy 9:06 AM  

What a wonderful Monday -- filled with delightful wordplay, a bit of crunch, and absolutely no junk. I loved the themers, and I also enjoyed the many contributions from the blog -- especially @Aketi's "shortage" and @Thomas808's "COVERAGE is the best solution to SHRINKAGE". Thanks, @Evil, for embedding Elaine's dialogue: that's one of my favorite Seinfeld scenes ever. And thanks to Timothy Polin for demonstrating that Mondays don't have to be one big yawn. Wish they all could be like this.

RooMonster 9:12 AM  

Hey All !
Had a busy day at work yesterday, so no time to comment, but did like the interesting 'Selfie-description' clue/answer mash-up thingies. (Say that fast five times!)

Today's puz was fine. Seemed to be a lot of W's and K's. Some tougher words for a MonPuz, MOUE, GUYANA, BAEZ (as the young-uns might not know her), ZIGGURAT, GESSO (even though we had that a few days ago.

Agree about the nice long Downs. Nice clue on AFRO, actually didn't get Rex's hair in a bind. :-) Funny that Diana Ross is now performing out here in Las Vegas. And our hockey team is 6-1!

Interesting to read about adding syllables to words. I think it makes people seem more educated when they lengthen words. More edumacationalcy. :-) It's also funny how some things get shortened, mostly by younger folks. Example: Years ago was "See you later", then "See ya later", eventually just "Later", now it's just "Late". Pretty soon we'll be saying "L". Or all just one syllable words. You smell nice. I need beer.


Sir Hillary 9:20 AM  

Wish Mondays were always like this.

Nothing really to add, other than I happened to notice that if you start in square 3 and move like a chess king, you end up a G short of what an Anon troll usually is.

Period when a certain chili was oh-so-popular...ANCHO RAGE.

Anonymous 9:22 AM  

All round us in Anchorage was the result of its horrific pillage. The people, recently released from bondage, were in despair. With the shrinkage of all resources, they were weakly staging a riot. Smoke rose from the char. The people, caked in muddy ash from soggy coal embers, were clearly in need of rest. They were in the midst of their Alaska's Mess Age. I gulped.

But I was there to report. No time to allow myself a few tears. As if! But how to deal with the coverage appropriately?

And then I had it, the spark of insight, the test of my abilities. Take my hobby and go pro (I turned off my GoPro ... no video needed).

I'd take it all and make the most depressing crossword puzzle ever conceived. A new career! Wow. Phat. I'm going to construct puzzles!

Ida done it sooner but I had a mental owie. Now, with Joan Baez softly piping through my earbuds and scads of crosses running through my head, I covered my afro with a dorag that I'd found in the remains of the Museum of Far Distant Pop Culture and took pen in hand.

Where to begin? Ah yes. Lams.

Taffy-Kun 9:24 AM  

GHarris - I'm not sure if your Neruda comment was sarcastic. Many people have always believed he was murdered by Pinochet - starting to look like we may get an answer.

Joseph Michael 9:39 AM  

Kudos to Timothy Pollin for making Monday interesting. With entries like ZIGGURAT, MOUE, BOBO, GESSO, and MULAN, this puzzle had some moxie.

I like the theme concept, but only SHRINKAGE and BONDAGE hit the mark for me. However, the solid fill made up for what the other themers lacked.

Liked the clues for CLOCKS, OIL UP, and ALIBI. Also enjoyed @evil's Seinfeld clip.

A friend just had the pleasure of meeting Joan BAEZ recently and was amazed to discover that she's...short!

Mohair Sam 9:50 AM  

Hand up with those who just knew as they filled 64A that @Evil would not disappoint - thanks Doug.

Fun Monday, played challenging for the day for us too. Rex hated PILLAGE, we loved it. Awesome long downs.

@Quasi - Now I understand why, when I go to IMDB, I get information for another movie in front of the one I'm researching.

@Evil (8:52) - A touch of sanity, thanks for that too.

kitshef 9:51 AM  

Folks were shorter in those days: MICROMANAGE

2001-2009: WAGE

Two Ponies 9:59 AM  

@ Anon 9:22, I'm not sure if you're ready to Go Pro but keep trying.

The last week or so has been a riot of wonderful gonzo posts from left field. All the same person? Whoever he/she/them is/are I am extremely entertained.

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

Two all-nighter clues? Is there a hidden sub-theme?

Aketi 10:11 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
RAD2626 10:23 AM  

Agree with all the positive comments. Only gripe is with editing in the SW corner. Did not like clues for OILED, ALIBI, MULAN, SPARK or RIOT. Thought all were sort of icky. I must be turning into a snowflake.

DECOUPAGE - period when all juntas were repelled.

Malsdemare 10:31 AM  

Loved the puzzle. And @Aketi, kudos for your thoughts. Those were mine as well, without the Peace Corps experience. Throughout my life, non-religious though I am, I've snuck into chapels and churches when the world is pressing in. Nothing wrong with SAFESPACES as long as they make reengaging possible.

Aketi 10:33 AM  

TMI alert, violating the principle of the U of C letter.

@Evil Doug, I do remember the University of Chicago letter and it was very well written. The one nit I can pick from my experiences with the use of social marketing research for international nutrition programs is that you cannot get truly valid data from group discussions without creating a SAFE SPACE of people who have very similar beliefs. That I would argue is a completely defensible use of SAFE SPACEs for research. You can't study attitudes towards infant feeding and put mothers and grandmothers in the same group and extract useful information.

I also think that the news media overplays and exaggerates and cherrypicks the academic discussions of two clashing and highly verbal and sometimes physical minorities. They feed outrAGE. Among the young people I am exposed to there is a huge willingness to listen to many points of view and discuss issues in more depth while also trying to be polite to each other.

The real place for SAFE havens not as the media portrays it, but as how people actually use it. One cannot deny that it's helpful for victims of violence acts to have protection from further violence. On a verbal level, who doesn't sometime want or need to have a place to return to that is familiar and comfortable when you are weary from explaining your different points of view to those who are so close minded that they cannot tolerate dissention?

Putting this issue in an entirely different setting, I experienced a huge adjustment when I joined Peace Corps. I repeatedly had to explain why I wasn't part of the CIA, why an actor was elected president, why Americans killed Lumumba, why women wore pants and exposed (gasp) their thighs, and adapt to the fact that everything I did and said was followed with the utmost scrutiny and profuse commentary. We had one official volunteer reunion and it was such a relief to be around other Americans and complain about some of the food that was hard to adapt to or cultural practices that were difficult to accept without causing offense to members of our host country. This reunion enabled us to go back into the fray with renewed vigor and understanding that we were not dealing with the imaginary exotic wonderland we had envisioned would bring us closer to a perfect human past, nor some hopeless wasteland of primitative brutes that we were uplifting from their savagery, but a culture and people with as much complexity and nuance and annoyances and attributes as our own. We needed that retreat.

Fraternities, Sororities, Clubs, and Coops can both be safe havens of shared community and siblinghood or bastions of exclusion depending on how they are run. I am hearing from the sidelines as my son decides where he wants to live next year when he is released from the confines of campus housing is that many of the members of these varied types of "safe havens" are actually having fairly sophisticated conversations about the very issues that the media portrays them as not addressing. It is the most extreme examples that are typically portrayed in the media, not the common daily interactions that still occurs between college kids from very different backgrounds that find common ground that don't hit the news.

Also, I think if most mature adults are honest with themselves and have any sense of self awareness, they can remember some cringeworthy smug attitudes they may have held when they were young. When I first returned from Peace Corps I regrettably treated my mother to a tirade about how absurd it was for her to complain about not being able to afford a new couch and how she should be grateful she lived in a house with piped water and a flush toilet, instead of a mud hut with a pit latrine and a well.

Anonymous 10:37 AM  

I'm sure he's thrilled, you self-absorbed asshole.

Doug 10:37 AM  

This may be the first time I finished a puzzle so quickly and predicted that there'd be an "easy" designation. I just started with IMDB and went easily through the grid. Usually, my take is the complete opposite of Rex. sometimes you're just tuned in and lucky.

Anonymous 10:42 AM  

I hope the dog (Orion) doesn't have meteors coming out of his ass this week!

Masked and Anonymous 11:38 AM  

This MonPuz was like fine wine … extreme-ly well-aged.

yo, @Evil Doug: Our local TV showed the Seinfeld rerun of my fave "Soup Nazi" episode last night. Always admired how Kramer and the Soup Nazi related to each other extra well. While George got no bread and then later a "Don't push it, little man". Elaine also stood out, in her Armoire Nazi role. Great show.

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {"___ Lisa"}. Not many other herd members roamin loose today, tho. This puz had some extra feist to it. fave wordy clue: the one for CLOCKS.

staff weeject pick: EOS. Roman dawn darlin equivalent is AURORA. That there kinda stuff makes some darn chewy ROUGH-AGE, for a MonPuz.

fave long-ball: ZIGGURAT. Honrable mention to TEEN(AGE, anyone?)IDOL.

@RP: "Period associated with clothing". har. Wanted DRESSAGE, at first. Primo hangup bullets, btw. Thanx.

Thanx, Mr. Polin. U scared off most beginners at IMDB. But, tough cookieages to them -- it was clearly worth it, for DUCKBLIND and BEHEADED.

Masked & Anonymo4Us

hard than snot, I'm told, so no refunds:

Two Ponies 11:45 AM  

@ evil doug, He's my new hero too.
Sad that having common sense is so rare now that when it appears it is extraordinary. Such is the state of our "higher" education.

I knew when I saw Safe Space that we were headed for trouble.

Ethan Cooper 11:57 AM  

Oh, I don't know that the theme was [Period associated with clothing], more like [Period associated with crosswordese for "assert"].

Z 11:58 AM  

I liked the puzzle and the theme. Sure, it can be done and done and done, but so what? A fine little play with words with more challenge than we usually get on a Monday. Nicely done.

Regarding “stoppage,” I do think it serves to distinguish between action on the field or court (a defensive “stop”) and a break in play, a “stoppage.” Sports broadcasters are infamous for mangling the language, but in this case I think they get a pass.

Speaking of football, @mathgent - I think Rex stopped watching about the same time as I did. My reasons centered around the concussion issue (primarily the response by the NFL - all too reminiscent of the tobacco industry’s response to lung cancer), the player pay issue, the “man this game is really boring unless you’re too drunk to notice” issue, and a general sense of fundamental amorality amongst the owners and the league. Things like the Brady suspension, the Greg Hardy signing, and the Kapernick collusion just serve to prove to me that I am right to ignore the NFL. I don’t know Rex’s exact reasons, but I suspect they mirror mine at least in part. I also forbade my sons from playing football, but that was long before any of this. When you learn that 1994 was the first year in over 50 that no kid had died on a football field in America it’s pretty easy as a father of young children to decide that other sports will do just fine. Soccer, baseball, basketball, ultimate, ..., no other sport has that kind of destructive history.

Warren Howie Hughes 12:01 PM  

Oh! SOOT! Where is your CHAR? I'm gonna have to MULAN that over?

Carola 12:13 PM  

I'm with those who found the puzzle delightful. It's true that once you had the idea it was easy to write in all of the AGEs, but unlike yesterday with its repeated MEs, today we were treated to the kind of wordplay that was missing yesterday. SHRINKAGE is a real gem. One do-over: I wrote in pOUt without checking crosses.

I retired from teaching before trigger warnings were something I had to think about. I'm not sure one would be able to predict what responses any literary work might trigger in an individual reader. Rather fancifully I was thinking of how I might have introduced Kleist or Kafka: "May lead to existential despair" or Brecht: "May cause loss of faith in capitalism." More seriously, the works we read included incidents of rape, suicide, child abuse, murder, and other sorts of cruelty, all upsetting, as (I believe) they are intended to be. I don't think our class discussions were hampered by my not having considered trigger warnings, but perhaps that's a blind spot.

old timer 12:14 PM  

Anon@9:22, please get yourself a name you can re-use. I was amused!

I loved the puzzle and my only regret was they didn't repeat the theme in some of the Down answers. Though like OFL I was grateful for ZIGGURAT.

puzzlehoarder 12:31 PM  

I'm surprised that ZIGGURAT was unfamiliar to some of the regulars. One of my favorite subjects is archaeology (wow spell check says I spelled that right) so my only issue was whether the G or the R was doubled. This made me check 39A and allowed me to correct my ANCHORERA writer over. This also gave me the theme and since the ZIGGURAT spell check was my first hesitation this turned out to be a fast Monday solve.

I didn't have to read the clues for SHRINKAGE or PILLAGE. That helped compensate for the PIESHOP and SAFESPACE hesitations. I needed some crosses for those two but almost everything else was read the clue and write in the answer.

After solving I looked up the definition of IMDB to reaffirm what those letters stand for. I discovered that it's owned by Amazon. Then I read @Quazi's comments and now I know why I so prefer Wikipedia for my movie trivia.

Teedmn 1:09 PM  

Eng AGE Period when an alternative to Fr. or Ger. was common

Broker AGE Period when most people had less money in their pockets

Leak AGE Current White House period.

Ramp AGE Period before stairs.

@M&A, I'm still stuck on "dressage" for Rex's little joke. Help!

Fun today, thanks Timothy Polin.

Anonymous 1:19 PM  

SEWAGE for the clothing era reference?


BarbieBarbie 1:41 PM  

Anon @9:22, that was great! Thanks.
Thanks also to your namesake @1:19. Sewage, HAR!
@LMS: post-coffee my pet peeve returned in full force: “prevenTAtive.” Although the good thing about that one is that if you really want to take up space it will accommodate many more extra syllables. I kind of like to use “preventitative” in a sentence right after someone else has used “preventative.”

Taffy-Kun 1:55 PM  

Does no-else else have a peeve with "Pressurize"? Pressurize is to inflate something. To apply force is to "pressure"

Victor 3:01 PM  

@BarbieBarbie: Where do you come down on -al suffixes? Obstetric vs. obstetrical? Electric vs. electrical? Etc. Mostly, to me, an extra syllable to try to sound erudite. It fails.

Anonymous 3:04 PM  

Great work by Anon 9:22. You turned my moue into a smile

Joe Dipinto 3:40 PM  

I really didn't remember Diana Ross ever wearing an afro, but it's there in some web images. It certainly wasn't her signature look, either with the Supremes or after she went solo.

PIE SHOP always reminds me of "Sweeney Todd."

BarbieBarbie 3:58 PM  

@Victor: depends on the word, for me anyway. Electric work is work done via electricity, or possibly just very exciting work. Electrical work is work done by unspecified means but ON an electrical system. I guess we’ve dropped the word “system” over time? But for the others, yeah.

iamjess 4:27 PM  

As a current resident of ANCHORAGE, I was pleased to see it as the first themer. Understandably, I was expecting the rest of the themers to be city-based. But after I got over my mild disappointment, I thought the puzzle was fine. Bit hard for a Monday.

Joe Dipinto 5:30 PM  

PILLAGE: period dominated by the bloggings of Rex Parker.

Masked and Anonymous 6:06 PM  

My op three possibilities:

M&A Help Desk

Shelby Glidden 6:09 PM  

Quite possibly good advice, ignoring those who aren't actually here for the puzzle and, perhaps, were yet to be born when Michael started this blog with wit and humor in his ambition to win the NYT national crossword puzzle competition. My mind won't work that quickly but exercising it, anyway, seems to have its uses. Michael will be sorely missed (at least, by me) if he decides not to continue this site next year. So, "troll, troll, troll our boats,
gently through the blogs..." is definitely one solution.
Is it futile to hope that (could we offer a prize?) that we model funneling our energy into wit and humor?

thfenn 7:10 PM  

Surely we could've had some fun with SUFFERAGE. Even MANAGE. BROKERAGE? Agree PILLAGE could've been clued much more amusingly.

SEER for CHAR and drawing a blank for a long time on SCADS held me up in the NE, but enjoyed this one.

@Paul, I think it's Mulan herself that's the cross-dresser. Watched it with the kids way too many times. Hope all's well.

Anonymous 7:57 PM  

Hey!I'm no JohnnyComelately. I've been critical of that bloviating dimwit from Detroit for a good while now. @Z is a gasbag. And while being windy isn't a crime--- I breeze right by the sagas @Aketi and @LMS insist on treating us to🤤--@z is smug. Again not attractive, but not a deal breaker. But Z goes further and pretends to possess knowledge he doesn't have and offer advice that's not needed. I point to his ridiculous post in Attic Greek as a example of the former, and his absurd offer of advice to Republicans on how they could win National elections as an example of the latter.
Z is a jerk. A loudmouth. A know-it-all armed with little more than a pea brain and a predeliction for Wikipedia.

Hungry Mother 9:23 PM  

Nice one. Easy but interesting.

Adam Frank 10:48 PM  

SERF before PEON with the E from PILLAGE, and LOADS for SCADS; otherwise mistake-free (well, BOZO instead of BOBO because I didn’t read past “Classic clown”). And DORAG again, huh? That said, I liked it better than @rex did. Medium for me

RAD2626 10:52 PM  

I assume someone responded by now. Garbage.

Joe Dipino 11:43 PM  

@AnonymAss 7:57 -- You may not be a johnnycomelately, but you are certainly a notworthpayingattentionto.. Why, nobody even gave you a name, poor thing. I assume the vast empty space at the bottom of your post Is a self-portrait?

Hal 12:03 AM  

It's the main plot point. Spunky heroine pretends to be a boy to fight in the army, and save the country.

Hal 12:09 AM  

Yeah, the only Bobo I know was the gorilla in Seattle that Mr. Cosby did an early routine about.

Anonymous 11:54 AM  


You seemed to have paid attention....

Joe Bleaux 10:09 PM  

It's Tuesday night, and this will no doubt go unread, but, as if you could possibly care, I write for the first, and quite possibly last, time, "Thank you, Anonymous. That was well written and quite amusing. I enjoyed it."

Blogger 1:21 PM  

Ever wanted to get free Google+ Circles?
Did you know that you can get these AUTOMATICALLY & ABSOLUTELY FREE by using Like 4 Like?

Burma Shave 10:36 AM  


and TEENIDOL during IDOs, ASIF they’re wedded,
he’ll say, “I’ll OILUP for BONDAGE ASAP and take her
to a SAFESPACE, get BALD, and if she OPTS, BEHEADED.


Scott McLean 11:08 AM  

Seems to me “SAFE SPACE” used to mean exactly the opposite of what it means now. As in, “Here you’re allowed to say whatever you want without fear of being ostracized. All opinions welcome.” When I went to college in the 80s it was SAFE to express an unpopular view, as that’s how people get exposed to ideas other than their own. Honest conversations started and sometimes minds even got changed.
Nowadays SAFE SPACE means your world view cannot be challenged in any way. To me that’s a lot more dangerous than safe.

I’m surprised so many people are unfamiliar with IMDB. It’s my go-to app whenever I have a “where have I seen him/her before?” moment, which is often.

Solid theme, good crunch but not overly hard for a Monday. Had IpAd and DeerBLIND in the NW, and don’t know a MOUE from a cluck, so a kind of rough start. But working it out after a rough start is what makes it fun! Good stuff, Timothy!

Diana, LIW 11:42 AM  

Kinda figured @Rex would grouse about the theme being too repetitive.

If you start at the bottom, or mid-way, you'll often have a faster time of it. Always relying on the NE is bad strategy, in my book. So this seemed as fast and simple as any Monday I can remember. At least for ages.

A few moments of fun and then, VOILA. No MOUE.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rondo 12:01 PM  

Not much trouble to get through this puz, and certainly no WRECKAGE. ASIF there should be any today.

Gimme IMDB to start it off; isn’t that where one goes to look up stuff about stars like Alec BALD WEAN?

Probably not PC to have Kool-Aid in a clue for GUYANA? Too soon?

HIGHWAY is right up my alley. Har.

No reason not to give a yeah baby to Joan BAEZ.

Decent enough Mon-puz even with all the reminders of my AGE.

thefogman 12:10 PM  

It was easy peasy for me. I zipped through it by solving all the themers first after noticing the question mark pattern in the cluing. The only glitch with that approach was putting down reportAGE before ANCHORAGE. Aside from that it was smooth sailing. BONDAGE was the best themer. My favourite 007's are Sean Connery, Daniel Craig and Roger Moore - all 100% ALPHA males. The others - Pierce Brosnan, George Lazanby and Pierce Brosnan - just lacked a certain SPARK.

thefogman 12:19 PM  

That's Lazenby. George Lazenby. (NOT Lazanby)

spacecraft 12:37 PM  

Who'd a thunk? I went through this like Grant through Richmond, and OFL gives it a "challenging." AND: it's not because it skews old, either! It was just a fill-in. Very smooth and free of crossword WRECKAGE.

In particular, 10-down was an instant gimme for this Las Vegan. The two musts for casino design: no CLOCKS, no windows. They don't want you to experience the passage (period when NFL QBs threw a lot?) of time.

Rug cleaners are here; gotta go. Concur re BAEZ DOD. Eagle.

rainforest 1:02 PM  

A fine Monday puzzle. I thought the themers were, at least, cute, and I laughed at PILLAGE. Simple, yes, but entertaining.

The entire puzzle was enjoyable actually with good non-theme entries, and little dreck. Good start to the week.

Breakage - a time when vandalism was rampant
Peerage - when equality reigned
Steerage - a period when everyone herded cattle

leftcoastTAM 1:32 PM  

Nice Monday send-off with a few challenges:

IMDB, needed crosses.
OWIE, spelling alternatives.
ZIGGURAT, writeover of ZIGGaRAT.
GUYANA, needed a couple crosses.
SAFESPACE, writeover of SAFEplACE.
PILLAGE, pause followed by "aha".

Kept it interesting. Liked it.

thefogman 2:33 PM  

Potage - 2018 and beyond in Canada

strayling 7:52 PM  

Learned something new about casinos from this one. I never clocked it before, but the constructor is right.

PILLAGE was good for a laugh too. All in all this was a cute, breezy start to the week.

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