Folk legend Pete / MON 3-12-18 / Monster outsmarted by Odysseus / Two-time Oscar-nominated actress Lanchester / Two mints in one sloganeer / Saint known for translating bible into latin

Monday, March 12, 2018

Constructor: John R. O'Brien

Relative difficulty: Normal Monday


THEME: ONE / EYE (39A: With 32-Across, what the answers to the starred clues each have) — pretty self-explanatory

Theme answers:
  • POLYPHEMUS (18A: *Monster outsmarted by Odysseus)
  • SAMMY DAVIS, JR. (26A: *Rat Pack member who sang and danced)
  • JACK OF SPADES (42A: *Black face card whose face is seen in profile)
  • BAZOOKA JOE (54A: *Comic character on a gum wrapper)
Word of the Day: BAZOOKA JOE (54A) —
Bazooka Joe is a comic strip character featured on small comics included inside individually wrapped pieces of Bazooka bubblegum. He wears a black eyepatch, lending him a distinctive appearance. He is one of the more recognizable American advertising characters of the 20th century, due to worldwide distribution, and one of the few identifiable ones associated with a candy.
With sales of Bazooka bubble gum down, Bazooka Candy Brands announced in November 2012 that they will no longer include the comic strip in their packaging. The new wrapper will include brain teasers, instructions, and codes that can be used to unlock videos and video games. The company stated that Bazooka Joe and other characters will occasionally appear on the new packaging. (wikipedia)
• • •

SEWING NEEDLE or something that would've taken the EYE away from human beings might've been nice here, as Sammy and Bazooka both have the same kind of one-eye-ness. POLYPHEMUS was a cyclops ... and Odysseus ends up putting out his one eye, so does POLYPHEMUS have *any* eyes, really? I found the theme concept a little odd, a little bleak. I had no idea BAZOOKA JOE had only one eye. Wikipedia can say he's "one of the more recognizable American advertising characters of the 20th century," but I could not have picked him out of a line-up. I think my parents' generation might've been more familiar with him. Just like they were more familiar with SAMMY DAVIS, JR., and *their* parents were more familiar with MODEL TS (the puzzle skews toward times of YORE, is what I'm saying. YOREward, it skews). SEEGER, also parents' gen. ELSA Lanchester. The Lone Ranger. EERO Saarinen. And it's not just that all the pop cultural answers are old, it's that the fill in general is very old-school crosswordy. "ERES Tu?" There's really no excuse for EGAD and ERES in such a tiny section, in a non-demanding grid. OSAY? ATEN? HEMAL, on a Monday? The fill should be much, much, much cleaner than this. More current would be nice, but cleaner is pretty much required.


Pretty fast, which is pretty typical for this day of the week, but HADJI gave me pause (around here, I only ever hear that term used racistly), and I couldn't get ICKY off just the "I" (37D: Highly off-putting), and I got the verb tense wrong at SAW TO (wrote in SEE TO) (40D: Handled, as a task). And then there was the ITEM clue (58A: Part of a list with bullets), which ... why is the "bullets" part there? Our shopping lists, which always contain ITEMs, never contain bullets. And my bullet lists almost never contain ITEMs. Usually tasks. The whole "bullet" thing was weird—added info that only created confusion, not clarity. Overall, this was dry, and I'd like to send it back. Come on, Tuesday!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

111 comments:

Brian B 12:05 AM  

Ain't no woman like a one-eyed goth.

puzzlehoarder 12:22 AM  

I wasn't planning on staying up this late. A little while ago I realized I hadn't adjusted my watch all day and thought it was an hour earlier.

A typically easy Monday. Oddly POLYPHEMUS went right in. While it is a debut under Shortz, as an entry, it's been used 7x as a clue. HEMAL gave me more pause. I figured after HEM_ it would go somewhere weird, and it did.

APPEND certainly wasn't going to be ADD-something so I let the crosses point the way on that too.

TomAz 12:24 AM  

Pretty much what Rex says, but for different reasons.

Pete SEEGER I know mainly from Dylan and Springsteen. EERO from crosswords. ERES because that song was a hit right when I was listening to America's Top 40 pretty religiously (Casey Kasem, transistor radio under the blanket on a Sunday night. Yeah, it really was that way kids. I'll take Spotify any day over that, thanks). MODEL Ts I know, sure, they were a cultural phenomenon I learned in 8th grade history.. but i only know them as "tin lizzies" from crosswords. BAZOOKA JOE I knew with little hesitation, got it off the B. SAMMY DAVIS JR, yeah more my parents, but he was still prevalent enough (on Carson a lot, that is) that I got it. A NEW HOPE also skews to my demographic (I was 15 in 1977).

So yeah this looks back, way back, but it worked for me, subjectively. I thought Sunday's looked back in a much more malevolent way.

Other observations:

- I never saw the themer til I read Rex's writeup, and I didn't need it.

- 56D has to be the simplest clue in the history of clues. I actually literally chuckled out loud. COL.

- I have never heard HADJI as a slur, and for that I am thankful.

- Rex complains about HEMAL, but it seems less a Monday outlier than POLYPHEMUS. I got HEMAL quickly but our boy POLY took me some crosses. Neither particulary hard though.

- I recognize "bullet lists" as a thing. Didn't bother me one bit.

All in all: an acceptable Monday xword that happened to skew a bit to my age. Possibly unfair to others.

Harryp 1:29 AM  

Had SEaGER instead of SEEGER, So I was slowed down slightly during the solve. Still Monday Easy. Looked to play a little harder because of the one-eyed mythical Greek monster. They had so many of them.

Larry Gilstrap 1:30 AM  

Ok, new solvers to the NYT better realize that stuff from way back is fair game to be used as fill, and that the moldiness of the answer doesn't affect the Mondayness of the puzzle. I'm thinking the most current thing here is a Star Wars reference. I feel your pain.

That being said, AGORA is one of the first bits of crosswordese I learned to embrace, plus more than a few others featured here. I try to go to a public gathering place everyday. I think it is important for me and my community.

Having ONE EYE seems like a serious enough disability. I liked SAMMY DAVIS, JR. and wish that I had never known that he had a prosthetic EYE ball. TMI.

"Noman has blinded me!": the plaintive refrain of POLYPHEMUS.

Adam 2:07 AM  

MARE right above and leading into MERE was pretty satisfying.

Robin 2:52 AM  

I spend way til much time reading IMDB trivia, so I grokked reasonably quickly that SAMMYDAVISJR has lost an eye. And yes, the JACKOFSPADES is a one-eyed jack And yet no clue about the other 2 themers.

Nevertheless.. Monday. No complaints abut the overall clueing as I finished in reasonable Monday time. Not too fast, not too slow.

JOHN X 3:57 AM  

The mid-Atlantic was the last part of the puzzle I filled in, so I knew the themers had "ONE-something" in common, but when I filled in EYE... Holy Moly, I thought, that's hardcore! Sammy Davis Jr clued with ONE-EYE! This puzzle ain't dainty. I love it!

In fact, with a little tinkering PETERFALK and SANDYDUNCAN could've been used instead of the monster and the comic. Keep the JACKOFSPADES for style points. Now THAT would have been a puzzle. No quarter given, and none asked.

Carola 4:09 AM  

The puzzle won me over with POLYPHEMUS, and with SAMMY DAVIS, JR, I saw where we were headed. I expected the JACK, but BAZOOKA JOE was a surprise, depite my having chewed many a wad of that gum in days of YORE. Apart from the theme, I also liked the parallel placement of SUPERMAN with I CAN HELP.

Loren Muse Smith 4:20 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loren Muse Smith 4:21 AM  

Ok. So the stage is set for missing body parts with 1A. Hah. If Venus had two prosthetic arms, would we still say she had no arms? I get that Sammy Davis Jr. has only one Real eye, but technically he does have two. Does Oscar Pistorius have no legs? Interesting to think about how we talk about someone with prosthetics. I’ve never thought about that before. You don’t get to claim a body part unless it’s the original one…

I had this misguided sense of serendipity this morning with the one-eye idea because Sandy Duncan was Peter Pan on Broadway, and I always thought that one of her eyes was glass. Turns out that’s not true. Then I thought that Captain Hook had an eye patch. Again, not true. Oh well.

@Adam – good catch on MARE MERE.

@TJS from yesterday – welcome! Don’t be a stranger.

Liked DIRTY crossing ICKY. And since I had a hamper-full of clean clothes that need to be folded, I object a bit to the clue for DIRTY. (I folded them with Bridesmaids on in the background, and I stopped to investigate the song playing during their tennis match – DIRTY Deeds Done Dirt Cheap by AC/DC. I think my all-time favorite comedienne has to be Wig. ;-)

Lewis 6:12 AM  

MODELTS is a DOOK.

While the theme is just right for Monday, I'm wondering how this will play to new solvers, with lots of answers not so common outside of crosswords, plus others that are just plain uncommon. My list of both: AGORA, EERO, POLYPHEMUS, RANI, UVEAS, ESAI, NENE, COZEN, JEROME (as clued), VERSO, REY, HADJI, HEMAL, ERES, and ELSA.

For me, it did wake up my brain. Never heard of Polyphemus, forgot about Sammy Davis Jr. having one working eye, didn't know that the jack of spades was the only one in profile (don't play cards), and while I heard of Bazooka Joe, when I saw a picture of him, it was unfamiliar.

I also liked the corner of DIRTY and ICKY (hi Loren!). Also, MARE over MERE (hi Adam!), and one column over, a lovely upside down MORE in JEROME. And I loved picturing Sammy Davis Jr. in my mind's eye, which I haven't done in ages, and which thrust me momentarily into my childhood.

Lewis 6:17 AM  

By the way, Rex, the constructor says in his notes that he originally had SEWING NEEDLE as an answer, but it was deemed unacceptable.

Hungry Mother 6:43 AM  

Verfy fast, but I did a lot of downs today. I worked in a bubble gum factory in Philadelphia one summer, so loved seeing BAZOOKAJOE.

Jonathan Alexander 7:18 AM  

A little surprised Rex let the staleness of this puzzle slip by. There is literally nothing in here referencing culture, lingo, etc. that is post 1980s.

That being said, played normal for me, with the only hiccups being around POLYPHEMUS, with REi (can never figure out if it is the I or the Y) and my other eternal spelling problem with SEaGER, making a weird looking POL(I)PH(A)MUS.

Jonathan Alexander 7:21 AM  

Oops, forgot the Star Wars reference (again, though given the scope of Star Wars time frame as a franchise even this is clawing to go back in time). Begrudgingly I will give it a 1 for...

kitshef 7:33 AM  

Could not figure out the theme for the longest time.

Very easy, but probably not a Monday puzzle. I think of Monday as being the day for beginners … someone you know who has been reluctant or intimidated to try the New York Time Crossword. But words like EERO, AGORA, RANI and VERSO are easy only for veteran solvers, and probably complete mysteries to new solbers.

@Harryp – my SEEGER initial spelling was SEEGaR.

Sammy Davis jr. is one of those performers who, to people slightly older than I, were like Gods, but to my age group were simply not worth watching. We also don’t get why Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band always pops up on ‘best album ever’ lists, or what’s so scary about Psycho.

chefbea 7:48 AM  

Thought the theme was going to be one...letter. Thought it was going to be Y....but then jack of spades and Bazooka Joe had no Y. Then I got it!!!

ghthree 7:54 AM  

1A (Parts missing from the Venus de Milo) brought back a memory of the first time I saw the statue in the Louvre. Since I was in Paris, my mind was in French mode, and I immediately saw a connection between its two distinctive features, leading to a bilingual pun. She has no arms (pas de bras) and she's bare-chested (no bra).

Two Ponies 7:58 AM  

The theme might be Monday-ish but he vocabulary used seemed quite unusual for a Monday.

@ Lewis 6:12, Your comment was perfect for today (intentional?) and got me wondering why a mind has just one eye.

Folk legend had me thinking along the lines of Paul Bunyan. "Oh, folk music, now I see."

Hadji always makes me think of Jonny Quest.

I never liked the tiny comic in the Bazooka bubble gum.

QuasiMojo 8:26 AM  

Boy this one skewed old! Polyphemus?? That is way before my time, man. Before my parents' time! How do you expect me to know who he is??? haha. Just kidding.

My favorite one-eyed Jack was "The Hathaway Man" --sexy and sophisticated. A MODEL Tease.

Sammy Davis, Jr. was popular because he had been an amazing child star. That always sticks in people's minds as the star ages and yet seemingly never changes. Even with the missing eye. The generation that grew up with him never shakes the image of the little guy they came to love. At least that is my theory.





webwinger 8:42 AM  

We tend to take symmetry in X-words for granted, but I think it’s pretty amazing how the letter counts in the themers balanced here. One disappointment: Joe and Jack had left eye and right eye respectively, befitting their places in the grid; Sammy had right eye but abuts the left edge. Poly obviously gets a pass.

Bagelboy 8:49 AM  

crossing COZEN and NENE seems pretty obscure for a Monday. Other than that no problems.

Calman Snoffelevich 8:56 AM  

What's the riddle in 50D?

Roo Monster 8:58 AM  

Hey All !
Had my one letter DNF, SEaGER/POLYPHaMUS. EVIL cross, on a Monday. Either never knew, or just forgot SAMMY DAVIS JR had just ONE EYE. Have our Star Wars clue, but we're spared a Frozen clue on ELSA. Some familiar -ese we haven't had in a while, EERO, NENE, ESAI, ERES. How many ways are there to spell Danish kings? REI, REX, REY...

COZEN is a new one on me. Sounds like the past tense of Cozy. ATEN is suspect. O SAY can you ABCS?

JOE JACK JR
RooMonster
DarrinV

Lobster11 9:03 AM  

I thought this was one Ott or Orr shy of being a parody puzzle....

Nancy 9:04 AM  

So I've been on this blog for at least 4 years now, and you've never known me to be *offended* by anything. Ever. Not by AFRO or IDI or TRUMP or GUN. But I'm afraid that I find this puzzle in extremely bad taste.

If you're a monster like POLYPHEMUS or a face card like the JACK OF SPADES or a bubble gum character like BAZOOKA JOE, your ONE EYE is fair game. When you're a flesh-and- blood person like SAMMY DAVIS JR., it's really objectionable. Having one eye is a most unfortunate handicap and should not be the basis of constructing a crossword puzzle. I'm sure others have probably said something of the sort already, and I'll go back and look.

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play? With the exceptions of POLYPHEMUS and COZEN, I found it very easy and pretty meh.


Nate 9:06 AM  

I don't know if I've ever struggled this badly with a Monday. I think it was a combination of the "moldiness" of the puzzle with things that just were not in my wheelhouse. I DNF'd on multiple places. On a Monday!

I thought the cyclops in Odyssey was named... Cyclops. Uh, oops.

I know of the phrase "tin lizzy," mostly from the band Thin Lizzy, but could not tell you what it meant. I misspelled the crossing HADJI as HAJJI and would never have guessed that I was wrong, so I was doomed on the whole MODEL T answer.

The SW corner is where I totally fell apart. BAZOOKA JOE did not come to me whatsoever, mostly because I was missing a few important letters: the riddle clue left me... clueless... so I just had A_AR. I have absolutely no idea what COZEN means, so I was missing the rather important Z. I plugged in COVET and didn't think twice. NENE and RABIN... again, no clue on either of those answers, though I did stumble upon RABIN because it just sounded right (makes me feel kinda bad writing that).

Honestly, I forgot that Bazooka Joe comics even existed. As a kid, I thought the gum was horrible and the comics unbelievably dumb, so I saved my money and spent it on something tolerable.

Oy, on to Tuesday...

mbr 9:13 AM  

Nate & Calman: "When is a door not a door?"
...this from "1001 Riddles" that I must have memorized as a child.....

pabloinnh 9:17 AM  

50D is "When is a door not a door", he explained, no doubt being the first of many.

Have been dealing with about an eye and a half since eye surgery almost a year ago so this one was a little, uh, uncomfortable. Felt about right for a Monday for us vets, maybe a little tricky for newcomers, but I think they would pick up some valuable crosswordese in this one.

Anonymous 9:18 AM  

Not a Monday. Sorry. Too much ICKY fill. More like a normal Tuesday.

Airymom 9:26 AM  

I agree completely. I was planning to comment about the offensive reference but you said it all.

clk 9:30 AM  

Agree with Nancy about the unpleasantness if using a real person on this theme. Sewing needle would have been much less distasteful.

This puzzle does make me feel like a crossword oldtimer because a lot of the fill would’ve been a complete mystery to me before I started solving daily. EERO, ESAI, ERES, RANI, NENE, UVEA are all complete crosswordese. Also, HADJI instead of HAJjI gave me pause but I’m guessing that’s a NYT style guide thing.

HEMAL is a word I have never seen before although I work in a medical-adjacent field and see words like hematological all the time. Im genuinely curious—who uses this word and in what context ?

M. Night Shyamalan 9:35 AM  

@ Anon 9:18 You just gave me the germ of an idea for my next movie - When Mondays Tuez. Time starts shifting in subtle ways, and in discrete segments, so no one notices at first. Like having a Tuesday puzzle on Monday - everyone thinks it's just a mis-slotting on the part of Shortz. But no, you actually had 10 minutes of Tuesday on Monday, and your mis-slotting isn't my mis-slotting, and some people don't experience this particular mis-slotting at all. This process grows and expands until no one has any trust in time, and no one's time is the same as the next guy.

Thanks! You get no credit, of course.

Anon 9:39 AM  

I have only one functioning eye as a result of an accident when a child. Prosthesis ever since. Not offended in the least by this puzzle.

Colby 9:41 AM  

Better than your average Monday.

wgh 9:45 AM  

Excuse me while I kiss this guy

ArtO 9:45 AM  

POLYPHEMUS crossing HEMAL not Monday stuff. Readily gettable with crosses but...

Agree with @Rex on the dated stuff but I'm dated so it's in my wheelhouse.

GILL I. 9:46 AM  

@Brian...I always thought it was a one-eyed glot.
OK....So now we're talking ONE EYE. I'd rather see fake teeth. Constructors could have a field day with famous people and their fake teeth. I don't know any ONE ARMS other than Venus de MILO....but we could have a fun with peg-legs. Hey, I'm missing my gall bladder and my appendix. I bet there are tons who could show up in our crossworld...Hah!
First thought when seeing AGORA was O SAY, I bet this is going to be an oldy moldy. Yup. Still, I did love BAZOOKA JOE. The Cubans loved to import anything American like bubble gum and Wheaties cereal. My brother would beg my mom to buy anything that had freebie comics or baseball cards. His favorite gum was Topps. Remember that chalkboard sweet smelling gum that came with baseball cards? He always prayed he'd get a May's....He never did.
All I can say, is that James Joyce looked quite dapper with his eye patch but he's dead.

JOHN XX 9:57 AM  

Why do pirates have eyepatches? Because mariners of the day would cover one eye starting at dusk to preserve their night vision in that eye. This would only be done by deck officers and lookouts who used spyglasses. On modern ships the bridge is "rigged for red" with dim red light illumination and control panels, which also preserves night vision. The modern pop-culture depiction of pirates is based almost entirely on the Disney movie "Treasure Island" of the 1950's.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 10:01 AM  

POLYPHEMUS was quite current for me. You see, I'm a church organist, and for quite a while recently we had an interim minister whose sermons were not only boring but irritating. So one Sunday morning I had to go to the basement to do something with the blower and spotted a box of moldy books left over from a long-ago rummage sale, and right on top was The Odyssey, in a rather bad translation for schoolkids from 80 or so years ago. so I brought it up to the organ loft and took to reading it during the sermons. Reminded me of lots of things I had forgotten, such as Mr.Cyclops's first name. I still haven't made it to the homecoming, with the long lost dog and the archery competition, and we now have an interim minister whose sermons are interesting, so my reading has slowed.

I do, by the way, know organists who do the puzzle during the sermon. And I am told that E. Power Biggs always went out for a smoke -- and when a minister wanted to fire him for it, a rich parishioner paid to build a little door behind the organ so he could sneak out without being seen. We also joke sometimes about having a new stop added to our organs: the Cancel to Pulpit.

QuasiMojo 10:11 AM  

That awful door joke reminds me of one I sent to Boys Life years ago. “What does a dandy donkey sleep in?” The answer: “An ascot.”

burtonkd 10:26 AM  

@Quasimojo - interesting comment. Michael Jackson could be a (more) current example.

TJS 10:43 AM  

@LMS, Thanks for the welcome. I've been following this site for about two years now , been a crossword addict for about 60. Nice to meet folks who share my obsession. Now if I can just figure out how to add a picture...

Chris 10:45 AM  

Played hard for me for a Monday, mostly b/c I did not know UVEAS. I do the NYT pretty much every day and have gotten to where I can almost always run the week, but that was new to me.
Also initially put in SCRUB for ABORT, but that was quickly shown to be wrong.
And thanks, @JohnXX for the tidbit about pirate eyepatches. Didn't know that, but it makes sense. Hope it's true!

Z 10:50 AM  

My first thought on finishing was, “Wow, pretty dark.” I’m not sure dead guys can feel offended, but I take the point. This is the kind of thing where a bunch a friends are standing around yucking it up and then that friend shows up and an uneasy silence falls.

Spend 18 years in a school district servicing the largest Arab-American population and you end up knowing and working with a HADJI (or is it HAjJI - can’t we all just pick one and stick to it?) or three. When I was a HS assistant principal one of me fellow APs was a HADJI. Perhaps the most moral individual I have ever known. I still remember the dad who had gotten nowhere with me regarding some issue with his son going to Al and asking him to lie to me for his son. Al was polite but firm with the dad, then came into my office to rant for a good 15 minutes. Some semblance of, “How dare he ask a HADJI to lie,” came up a few times. I still laugh at the the dad thinking Al would lie for anybody.

@Jonathon Alexander - A NEW HOPE was released in 1977. Your original point stands.

If @mohair sam calls it my best link ever I guess I better bump the Bowie wedding picture to today

buzzheart 10:52 AM  

Would have been better to lose Polyphemus. Then all the theme answers would include the letter "J" as well the subjects having one eye. The two-part solving answer could then also be "one jay", which would suck out whether the solver was obsessed with letter repetition or just missing body parts.

Z 10:52 AM  

@TJS - You have to log in to your google account to have a picture.

ghostoflectricity 10:55 AM  

Rather surprised you didn't reference the fine 1961 anti-Western "One-Eyed Jacks," starring Marlon Brando (also his directorial debut (and the only film for which he received that credit), after original director Stanley Kubrick and screenwriter Sam Peckinpah, best known as a director, left the project after disputes with the producer- the eventual screenwriter was Guy Trosper) as an outlaw betrayed by his former partner, Karl Malden. The latter, having bribed his way to respectability with his ill-gotten gains after leaving his partner out in the cold (including a five-year term in a Mexican prison), has emerged as the sheriff of Monterey County, California (the film includes the most beautiful shots of the Monterey area and the neighboring Pacific Ocean that filmgoers would see for a decade, until Clint Eastwood's 1971 directorial debut, the thriller "Play Misty For Me," also set in the Monterey area). The film also features the legendary Mexican/U.S. actress Katy Jurado and the tragically short-lived Mexican actress Pina Pellicer (who committed suicide three years later, age 30), as well as Slim Pickens (as a sadistic deputy sheriff) and Ben Johnson (as a no-good outlaw who also betrays some of his comrades).

Anonymous 11:10 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
semioticus (shelbyl) 11:12 AM  

Some problems fill-wise, but a fine puzzle.

I have seen people get into the specifics of the one-eyedness both here and at other places, so I guess there are some problems with the execution but you know what, it's fine. Works for a Monday, but not the best.

The fill was really rough in NE region though. Luckily I got it done fast, but I can picture people getting quite frustrated with POLYPHEMUS/SEEGER/HEMAL/MODELTS/HADJI. That's not a Monday appropriate cluster, methinks. Also we see some long-time Crosswordistan residents in EGAD NENE EERO ESAI but not to a frustrating level.

I also really liked the effort put into writing the clues. A Monday puzzle doesn't allow for much trickiness, but my solving experience started off with Parts missing from the Venus de Milo and then came Hero who's neither a bird nor a plane. That's good stuff. Not super original or anything, but there are a zillion ways to clue those -some very simple- but the puzzle tried to do something different.

GRADE: B, 3.4 stars.

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

@anon 9:39 yeah, right.

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

@anon 9:39: pictures or it didn't happen.

Nancy 11:13 AM  

@Z (10:50) -- I missed your link yesterday, so thanks for re-posting. @Mohair's right: for us crossword solvers, it's screamingly funny.

@TJS -- I saw your delightful Whole Foods anecdote yesterday and remember thinking: I think this guy (or gal) is a new arrival. Would be a great addition to the commentariat. Hope he or she sticks around. I'm glad you plan to. But @Z -- speaking as a Luddite, your instructions to TJS on getting a profile up are much too vague. Someone here gave me far more detailed instructions on that: what sort of Google account do you need to have? How do you get one if you don't yet have one? How do you link it to this blog? I did as I was instructed -- I think it was my gmail account that made getting a profile possible. But I don't remember any of what I did, alas, and almost certainly couldn't do it again. @Z or anyone else -- can you give TJS detailed instructions?

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

I suspect that the Wikipedia entry on Bazooka Joe describing him as "one of the more recognizable American advertising characters of the 20th century” was written by someone from the company’s advertising department. I’m 72 years old and bought my share of Bazooka bubble gum as a kid but, as Rex said, I couldn’t pick him out of a lineup.

semioticus (shelbyl) 11:17 AM  

A note on the breakfast test thing:

Sammy Davis Jr. was teeing off on the golf course one day when his opponent asked him what his handicap was. "Handicap?" wisecracked Davis. "Talk about handicap—I'm a one-eyed Negro Jew."

Davis Jr. joked about it, so I guess it would be OK to put him in a crossword in that context.

Two Ponies 11:26 AM  

@ GILL I., The only one armed person I can think of off the top of my head is the drummer from Def Leppard. That always amazed me.

G. Weissman 11:29 AM  

I was stumped by COZEN / NENE cross. Am I the only one?

old timer 11:39 AM  

The point of bubble gum was not to have a tasty piece of gum, it was to blow gum bubbles. It did taste awful in comparison to many regular gums.

I was hoping OFL would explain why HADJI is an insulting term in Binghampton, I can think of lots of insults to Muslims and Arabs but that is not one of them. And you don't meet that many folks who are HADJIs and brag about it to non-Muslims, Going to Mecca is one of those bucket list items if you are of that faith but would be meaningless to most of the rest of us.

BTW The Boss's SEEGER Sessions has some of the best music Springsteen ever sang. In his version of "Erie Canal" you can see in your mind's eye the place the boatmen have tied upd and almost smell the whisky they are passing around.

jberg 11:45 AM  

Damn, @Semioticus beat me out on that handicap joke. I thought it was from the Jack Paar show, but maybe he repeated himself, as one does with a good joke.

If this was a seminar rather than a Monday puzzle, I'd argue that SUMO is still a Shinto ritual (that's what all that salt-throwing is about), and that the truly classic paintings were tempera -- but what the heck, it's crosswords.

Like @Rex and many others, I had no idea that BAZOOKA JOE lacked an eye -- in fact, in MY mind's eye I was actually seeing Joe Palooka. But I knew his name right off from the BA.

@Lewis, yeah, you could clue MODELTS as "reason to go to the gym."

But the real issue is whether this puzzle dwells too much in the past. Those complaining: would you really prefer to see ELSA clued as a Frozen character? And the clue for ATEN was at least more-up-do-date than some reference to Egyptian religion, which I think we've seen occasionally.

@Rex, nothing racist about HADJI, it's a title of respect. But it's always a little annoyig to have to guess J or D for the third letter.

I didn't like RACEWAY, as I thought it was the Indianapolis Speedway, but it turns out that they are two different places. You learn so much from crosswords!

The clue for 10 A could also be "what hairy dogs do in the summer -- or autumn -- or winter." At least, my hairy dog does.

GILL I. 11:50 AM  

@TJS @Nancy...First, welcome @TJS. Anybody who is a fan of Whole Foods, is my fan as well. I'm currently a Sprouts go to.
This is how I did it. I went to Google and wrote in "How do I open a Google account?" It's very easy, it's free.
Once you have one you can insert a blog picture. Rather than explain step by step, Google is really your friend and you can ask it all kinds of questions. I did, and he's very polite.

Anonymous 11:55 AM  

One-eye? Why stop there? There are other body parts that people lose to cancer that come in pairs.

I'm sure Sammy Davis, Jr. would have loved being in a puzzle calling attention to his eye issue, so why not find current celebrities who have lost body parts and give them an opportunity to shine?

Now that the puzzle is just as bad as the rest of the paper I'm going to follow Evil Doug's lead and stop annoying myself. It's been a tough decision but the wall-to-wall stupidity has finally gotten to me.

Lewis 12:01 PM  

My five favorite clues from last week:

1. Something you might come across at a river (6)
2. D as in dates? (6)
3. It can give drivers a lift (3)
4. Rail center (5)
5. Changes keys? (10)


BRIDGE
DOMINI
TEE
MARSH
ISLAND HOPS

Joseph Michael 12:06 PM  

If I were Sammy Davis Jr., I would not want to be remembered for having only one eye.

When I realized what the theme was, I had to stop eating breakfast for a few SECS and get the ICKY image of a missing eye out of my head. Thanks, John and Will, for making my cornflakes soggy.

Didn't know POLYPHEMUS from Adam and had no memory of Bazooka Joe's disability. Did he eat too much bubblegum or what?

Kind of creepy that UVEAS is floating under SAMMY.

EGAD. A weird start to the week.

mathgent 12:12 PM  

They gave us a free copy of the LAT here at the hotel. Its Sunday puzzle caught my eye, like the NYT, a 21x21 monster. I've never done one of these so I gave it a try. I had a few gimmes like ILIE for "Tennis player Nastase," but its slot had six squares. And its number was not at the beginning of the slot. The title was Commercial Break so I thought that ILIE "broke" the word AD to make the entry AILED. Aha, I crowed. But I couldn't get get that gimmick to work anywhere else. Finally, I quit feeling quite dumb. Then I looked up the solution online. It was for a different grid! My edition of the LAT had printed the wrong grid!

I presume that they corrected the error in its later editions, but I just had to whine about it. I thought that you folks might feel for me.


Nancy 12:14 PM  

Thanks, @GILL. Very simple, very clear.

JC66 12:25 PM  

Love the puzzle because of the call-out at 42 D.

Another bad joke that fits today's theme:


A pirate walked into a bar, and the bartender said..

"Hey, I haven't seen you in a while. What happened? You look terrible."

"What do you mean?" said the pirate, "I feel fine."

"What about the wooden leg? You didn't have that before.”

Well," said the pirate, "We were in a battle, and I got hit with a cannon ball, but I'm fine now."

The bartender replied, "Well, OK, but what about that hook? What happened to your hand?"

The pirate explained, "We were in another battle. I boarded a ship and got into a sword fight. My hand was cut off. I got fitted with a hook but I'm fine, really."

"What about that eye patch?"

"Oh," said the pirate, "One day we were at sea, and a flock of birds flew over. I looked up, and one of them shit in my eye."

"You're kidding," said the bartender. "Can you lose an eye just from bird shit?"

"It was my first day with the hook."

Jackie 12:25 PM  

@Lewis @6:12
I always enjoy your comments!
I thought you’d like to know that there are two one-eyed jacks in a deck of cards - the jack of spades and the jack of hearts. (The king of diamonds is also shown in profile.
Jack(ie)

Gorelick 12:30 PM  

Contrary to popular belief, Sandy Duncan does not have a prosthetic eye. [True that she has no vision in her left eye]

Calman Snoffelevich 12:48 PM  

*groan* Thanks

Masked and Anonymous 12:51 PM  

Misspelt SEaGER, ergo misspelt POLYPHaMUS. Misspelt REi, ergo further misspelt POLiPHaMUS. ergo D-N-F-M&A-Brth.

Sooo ... this MonPuz was kinda almost as good as a poke in the eye.

fave moo-cow MonPuz eazy-E clue: {Things learned in "The Alphabet Song"} = ABCS. Always appreciate it, when they let the "moo" rip, early on. Encourages the Mon-level solvers.

staff weeject pick: ONE + EYE. Weeject respect. Weejects get to participate centrally in the theme mcguffin. Primo.

Desperate moments of delight: ATEN. REY. HEMAL. ERES. OSAY. VERSO. Am on the fence, but leanin, on ICKY.

SUPERMAN & ICANHELP & FANOUT were real good long-balls.

Thanx, Mr. O'Brien.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


**gruntz**

chefwen 1:02 PM  

When I was quite young my father showed me a picture of the Venus de Milo and told me that was what I was going like if I didn’t quit biting my nails. I knew he was just messing with me but I never bit them again.

Tried to solve with crosses only, got as far as POLYPHEMUS. Not far at all. Oh well, maybe next Monday.

Joe 1:14 PM  

I've been doing the puzzle regularly for about two or three years, so I don't know if that makes me a novice or veteran or what, but I found the crosses between EERO and HEMAL and MODELTS for tin lizzies (WTF?) eventually do-able but hard for a Monday, and really just no fun at all. How about a few words that actually appear in conversational English?

Teedmn 1:16 PM  

An average Monday, difficulty-wise, @Rex rates it and I agree. And @Brian B, thanks for starting off the comments by giving me an out-loud laugh that I had to explain at work. I would like to know if anyone actually ever misheard the words to that song in that way, har.

Of course I had a write-over, don't I always? Today I tried to AddEND something into the puzzle - thank you, toilet paper PLIES for helping fix that; I can't be sure that I wouldn't have been satisfied with dOLYPHEMUS if 15A hadn't been obvious. And although an AddENDum is something added on, AddEND only seems to refer to numbers being added together based on the two dictionary look-ups I made.

Could you clue HEMAL as "Regarding the bottom line?" ? Nothing like making an annoying word even more excruciating.

And why does COZEN rhyme (sort of) with lOZENge and not dOZEN? Though dOZEN is actually the outlier there. I'm assuming here that everyone's dOZEN pronunciation, like mine, rhymes with "cousin". Yes, no?

FrankStein 1:19 PM  

Some day just once I’d like to see ELIEL Saarinen in the puzzle.

Bama Bob 1:32 PM  

@Joe 1:14PM
I'm with ya' brother, I hate all that egghead crap too. Give me a People Magazine xword any day; those folks know what's what.

Joe Bleaux 1:37 PM  

Not the way I heard it:
An awestruck kid asks a pirate why he has a peg leg. "Aaarrggghhh, a shark bit off me real one." And the hook hand? "Cut off at the wrist in battle." Wow! What about the eyepatch? "Because I looked up and a seagull pooped in me eye!" And that blinded you? "Aarrgghhh, no, lad. It happened the first day after I got me hook hand!"

Mohair Sam 1:58 PM  

@JC66 (12:25) - Great joke - thanks.

Tough Monday for us, otherwise agree with Rex's sentiments. Except for his thought that HADJI might be racist. Always took HADJI as a term of respect for a person who is true to their religion, never heard it used as a pejorative.

A lot of folks know that JACKOFSPADES shows only one eye. Fewer know that the King of Diamonds is the "Man with the ax" - all the other Kings hold swords. I know this from watching a guy literally lose his shirt playing a seven card stud poker game called "Deuces and Jacks, man with the ax, pair of natural sevens takes all." I do mean literally - the guy who won it was too big for the loser's shirt, but sold it right there and then to a guy across the table for more than its value in the pot. Cold.

Ugly Kid Schmoe 2:29 PM  

What about the one-eyed snake?

Stanley Hudson 2:33 PM  

From Urban Dictionary:

"hadji" used as slang by troops in Iraq to describe an Iraqi citizen. Usually used in an offensive context. Also spelled Hajji, because no one can make up their minds which is correct.
Hadji is actually a term of respect for muslims who have made the piligrmage to Mecca and completed the "Hajj." Those who have completed the Hajj often have Hajj added as a prefix to their name when being formally addressed.

Willie Garcia 2:44 PM  
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Lewis 3:24 PM  

@teedm -- Your HEMAL thought is very funny!

Paperback Writer 4:06 PM  

COZEN crossing NENE seems a little tough for a Monday. I don't think I've ever heard of that bird, and if you Google COZEN most of the hits are for a law firm in Philadelphia. Whether that firm's name is apt or not is hard for me to say!

Z 4:11 PM  

I didn't think Rex said HADJI was racist, only that he hears it used that way, HADJI gave me pause (around here, I only ever hear that term used racistly). Thanks @Stanley Hudson for the Urban Dictionary definition. Any perfectly okay word can be converted to a pejorative. I am reminded of the successful West Michigan coffee shop franchise that finally changed it's name from "Beaners" because that is an offensive reference to Mexican-Americans and not just a cute reference to people who make their living working with coffee beans. I frequently had to discipline kids for using the term "boater" because they were not discussing the new kid's knowledge of knots and how to tack against the wind (and by discipline I mean, "What would your mother say if I called her and told her you were bullying kids and calling them names" - amazing how often that tactic worked).

GILL I. 4:26 PM  

Aw jeez, @Z...What's wrong with boater? I don't even want to look it up or know.
It's getting pretty silly. Common sense out the door. Oops...I better look up door in the Urban dictionary.....!

GILL I. 4:31 PM  

I will agree with @Nancy, though. I did a teensy wince at including SAMMY DAVIS JR in the ONE-EYE category. Imagine him looking down from heaven and saying "Dang, I finally got in the NYT puzzle and I'm going to be remembered only because I was a Rat Pack and I lost my eye."
I'm not sure the constructor wanted it that way....!

Roo Monster 4:33 PM  

@Joe 1:14
The answer is MODEL T'S, as in Henry Ford's first massed produced auto. Are you relatively young? Not a dig, just curious. He also said of the car, "You can get any color as long as it's black."

@Frank Stein 1:19
I've seen Eliel in puzs before! Whenever ___ Saarinen is a clue, it's either EERO or ELIEL. I believe there wasn't another sibling!

RooMonster

Nancy 5:00 PM  

ELIEL Saarinen??? Oh, please, no, @FrankStein and @Roo! It's taken me at least four years just to get EERO into my memory bank. I'm pretty sure it resides there most times -- at least on those occasions when I'm not confusing him with the Cube Guy. So, @Frank and @Roo, please don't go complicating my puzzle life with this ELIEL person, okay? Do we have a deal?

Z 5:22 PM  

@Gill I - Only because you asked - A pejorative for someone “fresh off the boat.” The irony, of course, is that it was often second or third generation kids using the term so their parents or grandparents often had faced the term, too (besides the fact that no one arrives by boat anymore - just shows how old the term actually is). I’m sure this is part of the reason the “mom” line worked so well. Unless you are a HS student in a school with a large immigrant population you’re probably safe using the word.

sanfranman59 5:24 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 1/2/2018 post for an explanation of my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio & percentage, the higher my solve time was relative to my norm for that day of the week. Your results may vary.

(Day, Solve time, 26-wk Median, Ratio, %, Rating)

Mon 4:32 4:09 1.09 74.8% Medium-Challenging

This seemed about 95% Easy Monday, plus POLYPHEMUS, COZEN, St. JEROME and HEMAL, all of which seem decidedly un-Monday-like to me. Mythology is one of my weak areas, but I usually at least recognize the names. Not so with POLYPHEMUS. Add in some ICKY fill (I'm looking at you SECS, A TEN, O SAY, NENE, REY, ERES, EGAD and, of course, ICKY) and I'm calling it a meh Monday.

Joe Dipinto 5:36 PM  

The first place I ever saw the word POLYPHEMUS was in the Golden Nature Guide to Butterflies and Moths, when I was a kid. There's a Polyphemus Moth, which has spots on its wings that look like eyes.

I didn't find the reference to Sammy Davis's one eye offensive. There's no implication that's the main thing he's remembered for; he just happened to have that in common with the other theme answers. No biggie. But I'd have to agree the puzzle skewed kind of old, in general.

GILL I. 5:45 PM  

@Z...Phew

FrankStein 6:09 PM  

@Nancy, you got a deal! Just one EERO, ERKO, ELIEL and ELIHU ROOT (or YALE) at a time from now on! :) @Roo, Eliel was Eero's father btw.

Mohair Sam 6:39 PM  

@Z - Our middle son has two kids in a school in Maryland (suburban DC area). The town has a large immigrant population. The elementary school was having some problems with bullying of immigrant kids. A new Principal came in a couple of years ago and added flags of every different nationality represented in the student body to the walls around the American flag as you come in the main entrance of the school. It made being an immigrant a cool thing, something to be proud of, and yes - bullying over nationality is now almost unknown in the school.

Stanley Hudson 7:33 PM  

@Mohair Sam, great story.

BarbieBarbie 8:10 PM  

@Z, I thought a boater was a hat.
My memory of Sammy Davis is that he had two eyes. Maybe only one of them sent signals to his optic nerve, but two eyes. So I call foul on that themer. Though I did love SD (and no other Rat Pack member).

PeteFan 8:17 PM  
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JC66 8:26 PM  

@barbieBarbie

Why are you nitpicking something that's a fact? He had a glass eye.

If i have an ersatz $1,000,000 check in my wallet, it wouldn't make me a millionaire.

Joe Dipinto 8:32 PM  

@Barbie -- and actually, on reflection, I see another problem. The other three themers are a mythological character, a graphic representation of a character, and a comic strip character. None are, or were, real. But Sammy Davis Jr. was -- WAS, past tense -- a real human being, who has been deceased since 1990. Yet the revealer clue (39A) says "What the answers...each have" -- present tense, as if Sammy is still alive. So that's pretty clumsy.

BTW, the album called SD Jr. Sings, Laurindo Almeida Plays (guitar) is pretty great.

Anonymous 10:06 PM  

I'm 30 years old and this was really hard for me. First Monday I couldn't finish in a long time. Harder than usual Tuesdays in my opinion.

Anonymous 12:18 AM  
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Alex Wright 8:09 AM  

The really bizarre thing about SHED/HEMAL is that you can change one letter to get Sked/Kemal, which is way better.

Sara Frederic 10:36 AM  
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Diana,LIW 11:50 AM  

Have not done the puz yet, but wanted to respond to @Rainy from yesterday (Sunday).

@Rainy - as to your "friend" who snores when you tell a story of interest to you (but not him) - next time, I will bite him. P'raps I shan't be there in person, but in your mind, you'll know. Like Peter Pan's Tinkerbell, I'm there. Giving him a bite on his snorer. Chomp!

Lady Di

spacecraft 12:08 PM  

The stuff you learn! I never knew about SAMMY's EYE--and I actually met him! Shook hands with the man! Never noticed: because it wasn't central to his "SAMMY-"ness.

Neither did I know the name of the beast. I was missing "CYCLOPS" as a themer till I read OFL's blog, not realizing that that was the beast named in 18-across. Gee, you'd think "Monophemus" would be more appropriate, wouldn't you? Well, I guess "-PHEMUS" doesn't mean "EYE." HEMAL, though, does mean "blood," though I've never seen that actual word. HEM-, HEMO-, HEMA- as prefixes, or HEMATIC as the adjective, but never HEMAL. That M was the last letter in.

This one was otherwise Monday-easy, but imparted little joy. All the other stale crosswordese mentioned, plus ESAI, that otherwise obscure actor whose parents must have thought: let's give him a name that will make him a crossword constructor's delight, so he'll be famous in some way at least.

ONE amusing quirk: homophones MARE and MERE (as clued!) in a direct stack. Nothing really objectionable here; it's a refreshing change to have @M&A's "weejects" participate in the reveal. (I have finally figured out that a "weeject" is ANY 3-letter word. Including ANY.)

DOD ELSA will guide this Golden Knights' FANOUT of here. Par.

leftcoastTAM 2:05 PM  

Good theme, nicely followed through.

Pausers: POLYPHEMUS and ANEWHOPE (haven't seen Star Wars movies in years).

Is it REY or REI? It's AJAR (ha).

Burma Shave 2:10 PM  

ICKY ABCS

Though BAZOOKAJOE and GLORIA plan,
they ARE SCAREd it’s EVIL and complex,
but, EGAD, ICANHELP SUPERMAN
with ANEWHOPE for DIRTY SECS.

--- ELSA SEEGER

rainforest 2:50 PM  

Monday-easy, but OK. Never heard the term POLYPHEMUS. Gorgon, Troglodyte, yes. I was briefly afraid that there'd be a minion in there. Thankfully, no.

Until I read an explanation above, I had thought that a HADJI was the trek, not the person on the trek. Or is that a Hegira? I should look it up.

@Lady Di - the next time that guy snores during my telling him about something, I'm going to tell him that Diana is going to bite him on his considerable schozz. That'll be fun.

Diana,LIW 4:07 PM  

As the keeper of all that is holy about Monday puzzles, I must post a protest.

Whilst it was neither difficult nor hard, some of the answers were out of the wheelhouse of most people you would meet walking down the street. Most people who would be first-time solvers. Most people who would pick this up and think, "yes, the NYT puzzles are too hard for me" and never return.

For examples, one needn't go further than reading @Lewis' post from the future.

And it's not even polymorphous perverse, like Annie. (Hall)

Peace, out...

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords, Guardian of Mondayness

rondo 4:44 PM  

This puz is ONE EYE finished without a write-over. Did not know POLYPHEMUS by name, only by crosses.

As a kid, I used to buy that BAZOOKAJOE gum all the time. Those tiny comics were real knee slappers; at least as funny as “Nancy”.

Anyone who can pass muster in a bunny outfit (even as a sort of FRAUD) gets a yeah baby, so there you go GLORIA.

Decent Mon-puz, but I wouldn’t rate it ATEN.

Diana,LIW 6:43 PM  

Ooh ooh, Nancy. And Sluggo! Gosh - they don't make them like that anymore. Unless you count Hagar - sometimes Dennis the Menace. Those were the days...

As Cathy would say, "Aaacl!!"
Lady Di

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