Stabilizing part of ship's compass / MON 4-16-18 / Supporting nativist policies

Monday, April 16, 2018

Constructor: David Woolf

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (3:34) (slowish for a Monday)

THEME: EYE CONTACT (62A: Asset for a public speaker ... or a hint to 17-, 24-, 37- and 52-Across) — themers all have two "I"s next to each other (i.e. making "contact" in the grid)

Theme answers:
  • SUNNI ISLAM (17A: World's largest religious denomination)
  • SETI INSTITUTE (24A: Org. looking for aliens)
  • ANTI-IMMIGRATION (37A: Supporting nativist policies)
  • SKI INSTRUCTOR (52A: One teaching pizza slices and S-turns)
Word of the Day: GIMBAL (23D: Stabilizing part of a ship's compass) —
  1. a mechanism, typically consisting of rings pivoted at right angles, for keeping an instrument such as a compass or chronometer horizontal in a moving vessel or aircraft. (google)
• • •

So yesterday we had GOOK (well, GO space OK, but come on...) and today, right in the middle of the grid, the longest answer in the puzzle: ANTI-IMMIGRATION. And with an adorably innocuous clue, too. Oooh, *and* it's crossing NRA! Fun. Keep up the ... work, NYT.

[This is where the party ends / I can't stand here listening to you / And your 37A Friend!]

I think the theme is pretty clever, actually. You don't see "I"s next to each other very much in English, so having all the answers do that, and then punning on "eye," yes, that works. I got SUNNI ISLAM easy, but SETI institute was slightly tougher (knew SETI, from crosswords, of course, but ... never thought there was a word or term that followed it). Also slightly misread the clue on ANTI-IMMIGRATION—my brain was thinking Native American policies, not the racist white "nativist" policies, perhaps because my brain was wishfully thinking that racist garbage wouldn't be front and center in the puzzle again. Yeah, the problem is definitely with me. I also couldn't make heads or tails of the clue on SKI INSTRUCTOR (52A: One teaching pizza slices and S-turns). Like ... gibberish to me. Further, no idea what a GIMBAL is (needed every cross and still wasn't sure), no idea (until I got the very last letter) what 26D: Still uninformed was getting at (I stared for seconds at NOWISE- thinking that maybe the last letter was "E"??? NOW I SEE?), and weirdly this is the very first I'm hearing of either Daisy or RIDLEY or Daisy RIDLEY, despite having seen her in the role in question (48D: Daisy who plays Rey in "Star Wars" movies). Weird. So, yeah, allllll of that made me slower than normal today. Oh, and I somehow also totally misread 7D: Cartoonist Keane (BIL) as ... well, I don't really know, but I ended up thinking of an old Nickelodeon TV show and writing in KEL, that's how lost I was.

I'm sure YAO Ming is, in fact, "worth millions," but that's still a super-weird clue for him (63D: Ming worth millions of dollars). When I think of him, I think of basketball, not how wealthy he is. Lots of athletes are far wealthier than him (I mean, I'm pretty sure). I think the clue wanted to alliterate (??) but it should have resisted that urge.  And even then, why not just [Ming worth millions]??? I mean, I'm on record as hating cross-reference clues, but NBA *is* in the (damn) grid, so... if you wanted to annoy me with your clue, you had other, better options.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS "Dancing with the Stars" judge?? (29D) Once again, an LOL "no way" from me. So many absolute whiffs for a Monday. Bizarre.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


rutterj2 12:06 AM  

I think the "Ming worth millions" clue was a pun on Ming vase.

Anonymous 12:07 AM  

I think the “Ming worth millions of dollars” was trying to misdirect you into thinking of the clue was about a Ming vase, yes?

Token Millenial 12:15 AM  

DNF on a Monday (ugh) due to IDEA/DAN crossing...just as easily could have been IDEo/DoN, so I never saw it. But LEN was a gimme for me, since I’ve watched plenty of Dancing with the Stars, but never seen Roseanne.

Harryp 12:29 AM  

Quick solve, saw the double I's and got this Theme correctly. Good Monday.

Brian B 12:29 AM  

The clue on 63D was probably trying for a misdirect to Ming vases. If that's the case, putting a cross-reference to NBA would have blown it.

Dinesh Krithivasan 12:37 AM  

I think the Yao Ming clue is an attempt at misdirection - Ming worth millions of dollars might make one think of a Ming vase which routinely get auctioned off for 6 or 7 figure prices.

David Woolf 12:40 AM  

Whoa. I didn't even notice Anti-immigration. I submitted the puzzle with Anti-inflammatory. Crazy.

Larry Gilstrap 12:46 AM  

So we have to work a bit harder than usual on a Monday, well not that much, really. I enjoyed the theme, seeing eye to eye with the constructor. I really only know SETI from puzzles, but I know something about astronomy, and I know that there are endless opportunities for life in this cosmos, but why would they want to take the time and trouble to visit here? RIP Art Bell.

I love bikinis, not ever having worn one, but I always balk at calling the top a BRA. The beach is top-less not BRA-less, rarely having been to one. Help me here.

Certainly, ANTI-IMMIGRATION is a thing all over the world, but currently many of my friends are immigrants and anxiety is palpable in that community. You know, the people that do all the work in my town.

My Ming that is worth millions of dollars was a vase. I learned to make that association somewhere years ago. I'd call that a clever misdirect, but perhaps I'm alone on this like that Maryland fan from yesterday.

Hey, OFL! You're a college professor and you have no idea what a GIMBAL is. Haven't you ever been on a boat? Well had you ever been near the helm, you might have noticed a small articulated cage designed to hold a can of Coors Light. Going for irony there.

Attention all constructors: My idea for a theme is Sea to Shining Sea with all the themers beginning and ending with the letter "C." CATACLYSMIC, CATASTROPHIC, and lots of other words that end in "ic." You won't be seeing my byline on a puzzle soon, for obvious reasons.

David Woolf 12:50 AM  

And after checking my email... It was because I misspelled inflammatory. So, my bad, puzzle world.

jae 1:19 AM  

Medium for me. Smooth and fun, liked it.

smoss11 1:31 AM  

Had blob for ink problem and I have never heard of an etui so I guess it's a DNF. Knew gimbal from Navy days so I didn't have Rex's issue. Expected etui to be the word of the day...

Moly Shu 1:51 AM  

Yea, of course @Rex, only white people are ANTIIMMIGRATION. Probably only white males too, right? No other country on earth has people that are nationalists? And crossing NRA , double trigger. Can’t believe the LEWD/WENTSOFT cross didn’t make your blood boil. Hope your head doesn’t explode from all these crossword answers offending you.
GIMBAL is a great word. So is MOLT. I like MOLT. The double EYEs is (are?) a cool concept. I liked it, tougher than usual for a Monday. Now I’m gonna go sit in a corner with my gun and contemplate why I hate everybody, cuz that’s what us white males do, we hate.

Anonymous 1:58 AM  

I think 63D “Ming worth millions” was intended to misdirect toward Ming vases, not for alliterative purposes. As such I thought it was a clever one.

TomAz 2:05 AM  

There is no point in denying the opposition exists, Rex. It's not only futile, it's counterproductive. You and I may see the racist markers in ANTI-IMMIGRATION and NRA, but they are in the news, and if they are newsworthy they are crossword-worthy. Marginalization only feeds their furnace. Bring them out into the open air, where they can wallow and die in their own absurdity. Eventually. One hopes.

I also found this a tad on the hard side for a Monday. But that's a good thing, Mondays can sometimes be a bit dull, but this one was not. The revealer was clever... I had no idea what they were gonna do with I I.. aye aye cap'n? EYE CONTACT worked great.

Andy Piacsek 2:07 AM  

I think the "Ming worth millions" clue was trying to steer us towards vases. Not sure that succeeded, given that there are a lot more sports fans than history buffs doing the puzzle.

Greg Charles 2:16 AM  

I looked in up on the Intertubes and Yao Ming is worth $120 million, so comfortably millions. The clue was clearly a misdirect suggesting a Ming vase or something, so even if his millions aren't the first thing you think about him, the clue still works for me. Or not. I got the three crosses before I got back to it.

chefwen 2:56 AM  

I certainly had an easier time than Rex on this one and that’s a first. Only unknown was GIMBAL and the crosses there made it easy.

Is a pizza slice some kind of a ski maneuver? Just looked it up, it is. We used to call that snow plowing.

Good start to the week, easy but not too easy.

'merican in Paris 4:10 AM  

Note to commentators: No need to mention that 63D was a misdirect anymore. At least a dozen people have already made that point.

Funny that anybody would interpret this puzzle as right-leaning. With it starting out right from the start with LEWD and RASH, plus the clue for 5A ("Orange-yellow"), I assumed the theme was going to be OFL. No, not @Rex, but the other one.

NRA, ANTI-IMMIGRATION, SAD(DEN), O NO!, EDGY, ESSO, REALTY, HOUSES, WENT SOFT (after a tryst with Stormy?), ALIBI, NO WISER, SNEER, and BLOT (on our nation's reputation) would all be consistent with a a left-leaning subliminal message.

As for the puzzle's difficulty, it took me longer than normal for a Monday, at least 0ne minute of which was taken up correcting the letter at the TI_O and _YRA cross until I got the happy jingle. Also had SKIDED (yes, I know, a misspelling) in the SW, which slowed be down for a couple of minutes.

I agree with the others: GIMBAL is at the very least not uncommon crosswordese. It's also used with cameras, by the way.

Loren Muse Smith 4:15 AM  

EYE CONTACT – what a terrific idea for a theme.

I liked SKI crossing “glided on ice” SKATED. ICY ROADS. IGLOOS. I’m one of probably four people on the planet who lament the end of winter. Hot weather depresses me. (And I tried to figure out if lament should agree with one or with people and gave up. Sue me.)

And IGLOOS crosses HOUSES. Think CHICHI INUITS eschew igloos for regular houses?

David – I’m heartened to see that you filled a grid with a misspelled themer. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. (Hi, @Gareth. Remember VIOLINCELLO?) I’m also somehow glad that you didn’t resort to an island for a themer. Hawaii Island would’ve sounded wrong, but Fiji Islands… The set you chose is ok by me. So you have my permission to be relieved.

When my kids are taking a test, I admonish them not to leave their seats when finished. I just tell them to turn the paper over and make eye contact with me. I always ask them to make the eye contact kinda creepy. Seen some pretty startling faces.

ANTI-IMMIGRATION is as much in the language, especially these days, as EYE CONTACT, so I didn’t even blink at that one. Rex – you see NRA crossing that. I see NO WISER crossing it.

Great job, David. I enjoyed it.

sanfranman59 4:37 AM  

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 5:15 4:24 1.19 86.2% Challenging

I found this to be a crunchier than usual Monday, but not in a bad way at all. LEN and RIDLEY are unfamiliar to me. It would have been timely to see SIMONE clued as Nina, but her Rock and Roll HOF induction announcement probably came too late for the presses. GIMBAL was a complete mystery.

Lots of politico-cultural hot-button answers in this one: SUNNI ISLAM, "Baby's starting place" = WOMB, ANTIIMMIGRATION, NRA. Not passing judgment here. Just making an observation (as I was with my observation about yesterday's GO OK).

JOHN X 4:54 AM  

I think the clue for MING is supposed to be a misdirect for the vase.

GIMBAL is a great word and you should know it. Not only do they steady marine compasses they also allow rocket engines to swivel and steer. Didn't you ever see "Apollo 13?" They must mention GIMBAL-LOCK about a hundred times, which referred to the GIMBALS in their guidance system gyros, a different kind of compass sort of. All this was done with their LEM although it was actually a LM.

LEWD is another great word. Is IGLOOS offensive? I thought it was now.

Lewis 5:00 AM  

I love the cluing that didn't insult the intelligence, combined with the original theme, and all its pairs of eyes.

Anonymous 6:01 AM  

@sanfran - and some Christian dogma with the clueing of SON!

paperandink 6:32 AM  

david.. u r funny ty for a wonderful monday romp

Roo Monster 6:56 AM  

Hey All !
II CONTACT. Nice. The concept for a pin cushion? ETUI IDEA. Har.

Liked overall, not concerned with todays Rex complaints. One could easily be offended by BRA. So EDGY. :-)

Only hold-up for me today was accidentally putting RENE in at 68A. Liked the Chauffeur clue, maybe I'll change my name. One nit (of course), peanut butter is Crunchy or Creamy, not SMOOTH, right? Unless I'm NO WISER. (Very real possibility...)

Oh, Ming vases misdirect. (Ha! And you thought you'd get through a post without that being mentioned!)


kitshef 7:09 AM  

With WENT SOFT and DAN at 3D-4D, I somehow convinced myself meNNonites might be the largest religious denomination. In my defense, I’m sure they must be nipping at the heels of Catholicism and Sunni Islam.

Symmetrical LISA and OTTO nice tip of the hat to the Simpsons.

Surprising number of WoEs for a Monday: LEN Goodman. (Any non-zero number of WoEs on a Monday is surprising.)

Hungry Mother 7:10 AM  

Rashly wrote “ewer” instead of ETUI, which refused to get me to REFUSE, so much slower than usual on an easier than usual puzzle. Started the morning by misspelling an easy word on the mini. Onward and upward.

Dave 7:10 AM  

Henceforth, any constructor who defines Ono as something musical must listen to one hour of her shrieking with the volume up!!!

Calman Snoffelevich 7:13 AM  

Being anti-immigration or pro NRA makes you a racist?

Exubesq 7:21 AM  

Hey guys! Do you think that maybe, just maybe, that Ming clue was supposed to make us think of vases? No? Just me then.

...(sarcasm - don’t @ me)

kitshef 7:33 AM  

@Roo Monster - most major brands will label their jars 'creamy', but 'smooth' is very much in the language. See for example this important piece of reporting.

chefbea 7:45 AM  

Tough for a Monday!! But at least my ROGER was in it. Whenever he leaves a message he ends it with Roger over and out!!!

Anonymous 8:09 AM  

To presume someone a racist based on the color of their skin is to become one yourself.

michiganman 8:11 AM  

Went easily for me. The things I didn't know I got from crosses. I think all possible offenses to the thin-skinned have already been covered. Nice catch, @KITSHEF, with LISA/OTTO. Bird stuff-EGG, MOLT, Eagle, COOER. Have always loved ETUI.

John Child 8:12 AM  

Saw the I I thing early but had problems too sussing out SETI INSTITUTE. Was sure that GIMBAL was spelled with a Y.

ANTI IMMIGRATION is harmless as an answer, but yes, @calman, the idea is racist. America is what it is and as great as it is because of immigration and generations of newcomers making a better life for themselves and their children. Anti-immigration in this country today is based on concern about language and skin tone, both undeniably racist attitudes.

I live in a state with essentially no gun control and know lots of non-racist NRA folks. It’s guilt by association, but the worst of the bunch taint the rest.

Anonymous 8:27 AM  

87.6% of posters not put off by the cleverness of the "Ming" clue while Rex rants with a "Yeow!!"while bemoaning YAO.

Time for a sabbatical, Michael?

Anonymous 8:28 AM  

A concern about language is not inherently racist. It’s inherently cultural. Think carefully.

Roo Monster 8:32 AM  

@kitshef 7:33
Great article! I guess I'm a Communist, I prefer the Crunchy kind! I can see the Creamy/SMOOTH argument with mixing in recipes, but how can you not like chunks of peanuts in your peanut butter? Where are the Chunky comments in that article? Fair's fair. :-)

@Dave 7:10
LOL. That should be the clue from now on. "Shrieker Yoko" She definitely ain't no COOER.


Two Ponies 8:42 AM  

I'm glad gimbal was the WOTD. I knew what it was but couldn't remember the name.

Besides the obvious triggers here today I was expecting a discussion on the regional ways to pronounce Otto and why it doesn't work for everyone.

If Ridley is in my grid I prefer Scott to be the clue.

We have our moo and coo, where's the baa?

Agree with @ Dave 7:10 that "musical" in the clue for Yoko means the constructor has never listened to her.

I remember pizza slice as a term mostly used to teach children to ski since they ALL know pizza but might not know a snow plow.

Very funny @ Moly, I could just picture Rex wringing his hands in delight thinking of this chance to show off his moral superiority.

mmorgan 8:45 AM  

I think the MIng thing was a misdirect... Oh wait, everyone said that.

Super trivial nitpick: I'd say that EYE CONTACT was something the theme answers had in common, not really a "clue" to them.

Always nice when the constructor stops by. Thanks for a nifty Monday! But did you really not know that INFLAMMATORY was changed to IMMIGRATION until you saw it in print? If so, that's a fascinating statement on the editorial process.

Anonymous 8:46 AM  

“Note to commentators: No need to mention that 63D was a misdirect anymore. At least a dozen people have already made that point.”

You might consider that some of us comment before Rex approves any for the day, so unless anyone has a magical ability to see pending comments then there just might be repetition. Sorry to bother you.

RJ 8:53 AM  

My favorite Monday in a long time! I learned several new words/name including GIMBAL, LEN, & RIDLEY. Like most everyone else, VASE popped into my head right away. When this happened, I started trying to figure out how the 4 letter word can become a 3 on a Monday rather than thinking about another answer. I dub this Xword brainitis.

I've already seen at least two "Rex, you should have known this because you're a professor". I guaranty that the same could be said of all of you - "You should know X because you're a Y".

QuasiMojo 9:11 AM  

I'm certain MING was a reference to the debate the other day about whether FLASH GORDON is still in the zeitgeist.


Never heard of a PIZZA SLICE in reference to skIIng. But then I never got beyond the avant-ski lodge. That was fun. I guess not too many SKI INSTRUCTORs are multi-millionaires even though they spend a lot time with moguls.

Nate 9:15 AM  

I don't think I've ever heard the word GIMBAL, but it made me think of the Simpsons.

"Well, I guess Macy's and Gimbel's learned to live side by side."
"Gimbel's is gone, Marge, long gone. You're Gimbel's."

Hartley70 9:17 AM  

This was an enjoyable Monday. A start with LEWD bodes well for an interesting romp and the puzzle and theme kept my attention.
The double IIs looked so strange together as the solve progressed.

I agree with @Larry that bikinis have tops and bottoms. It would sound LEWD to call the pieces BRAs and panties. Those last two are very specific articles of attire.

Nate 9:17 AM  

I also wanted to express my surprise that the ANTI IMMIGRATION clue was submitted as ANTI INFLAMMATORY. Doesn't that mean a big chunk of the puzzle was wildly different than the puzzle that the constructor submitted? That's fascinating.

Just how much editorializing goes into these things?

pabloinnh 9:18 AM  

If I get RIDLEY as an answer, I want it to be in connection with Ridley Walker, which is one of the most memorable books I've ever read.

I'll leave it to others to comment on OFL's observation on Yao Ming's assets and lots of people being wealthier than him. There are lots of commenters smarter than me.

Anonymous 9:24 AM  

Fair point.

GILL I. 9:32 AM  

Is this going to be I"M OFFENDED puzzle? @Rex stirring the pot?
ANTI IMMIGRATION is everywhere - especially in Europe now. It's not just the "all white" racists of America's 1800. Some Spaniards are plain awful in their treatment of immigrants. If you want to toss the word racist around and aim it at whites only, talk to some South Americans who have lived here all their lives and whose parents have come here legally. Many will give you an earful on how the "new" ones refuse to learn English or integrate. You can talk to half a dozen people who are ANTI IMMIGRATION and they will give you "non-white" reasons why immigrants shouldn't be allowed in the country. Sad, but true. I don't like being grouped.

The puzzle had lots of meat and I will offend every Vegan by saying so and I'm a hypocrite because I love animals. I'm also offended that someone clued ELMO as a monster. He's not. It's the Cookie that's a monster.
I learned something new. I did not know that SUNNI ISLAM is the world's largest religious denomination. I always thought it was Catholicism. See how the world changes?
I liked you Monday puzzle, David. I doh't think you need to apologize nor seem to be aghast at a very common, in the news EVERYDAY phrase right dab in the middle of your puzzle. @Rex likes a good fight, methinks.

Anonymous 9:41 AM  

The problem with "NRA" was the cluing. The NRA is a civil rights organization, of which some of its members are gun enthusiasts. As the NRA will tell you, many of the members decline the magazine or other benefits, and only support the organization because they view gun rights as the canary in the coal mine of our freedoms. I happen to be a gun enthusiast. I also belong to Greenpeace, as to a lot of earth firsters who believe in defending the earth with firearms and whatnot, so 42 could also have been Greenpeace. Bad clue.

Jabberwocky 9:44 AM  

I thought the slithy toves did GIMBAL in the wabe...but I was wrong. They gimbled.

Suzie Q 9:48 AM  

My first silly thought for a 3-letter Ming was "Who calls a vase an urn?" Doh!
Yes, I remember Pizza Slice being taught on the bunny slope.

Nancy 9:50 AM  

I almost called @Aketi to find out what a nKI INSTRUCTOR was. It sounded vaguely Martial Arts-y. Then I realized I had to change inSURE or enSURE (I hadn't decided yet) at 45D to ASSURE in order to get SKI INSTRUCTOR. Like @chefwen and @Quasi, I didn't know that a "pizza slice" was a ski maneuver. Added to that, we had SLICER in its usual "deli" sense at 44A. Which reminds me...

I used to play doubles with an older man named Rudy who fiendishly and effectively sliced every single shot. The joke on Rudy: "He received his tennis instruction from the local deli."

Too many pop culture names in the SW. A Star Wars name (the less said, the better) crossing a Jetson's dog name (isn't there a better way to clue ASTRO?) abutting a gymnast (whose exploits make her sound like someone I should know, so maybe I haven't watched enough sports events recently. @Hartley is such a bad influence.) Anyway, hard for me in the SW and very easy everywhere else.

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

If 63D was changed to yau, we’d have RUGER, premier brand for all us evil white folk

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

I really didn’t need this on a Monday. Has Fox taken over the crossword department?

Chris Ott 9:58 AM  

Ming worth millions was a misdirect to CUP, not VASE. Three letters, eh? :-)

Ming Dynasty 'chicken cup' sells for record $36M

Aketi 10:18 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
semioticus (shelbyl) 10:18 AM  

A Monday theme that gets a chuckle out of me? Count me in. The II thing really rested on the revealer. With a lame one, this whole puzzle goes down the drain. EYECONTACT? Great pull. Congrats to David Woolf. The puzzle was also really smooth for me, Easy-Medium tops.

Unfortunately, the fill was a bit average. ICYROADS, NOWISER and WENTSOFT are very good entries for a Monday, but too many bad threes and meh fours didn't help it. COOER has always bugged me, amd GIMBAL seemed out of place.

Unlike Rex, I loved the way YAO was clued. Unexpectedly interesting. There were a few other good ones.

Overall, a good way to start the week.

GRADE: B+, 3.65 stars.

Anonymous 10:22 AM  

Being against immigration isn’t neccesarily racist. For one thing, I think this country is crowded enough with two-legged mammals of any lineage. Also, wanting to preserve one’s culture is culturist, not racist. Anyway, how can one be racist uf race doesn’t exist?

Anonymous 10:23 AM  

One step at a time

Nancy 10:24 AM  

Is "I never got beyond the avant-ski lodge" your coinage, @Quasi (9:11)? It's hilarious! Wish I'd used it. Except that I've never been anywhere near a ski lodge, either avant or apres. Too cold. Too slippery.

Also love @kitshef's 7:09 comment about the MeNNonites. And his "non-zero" WOES on Monday comment.

Agree with @Larry G and @Hartley on the top of a bikini being a top and not a BRA. I think I've seen BRA clued this way more than once in xword land. But you're right, @Hartley -- it is sort of LEWD.

Finally, I love your 7:11 SNEER at Yoko ONO's musicality or lack thereof, @Dave, along with all the vociferous agreement you got today from the commentariat.

TomAz 10:40 AM  

The only reason I knew (or rather, made an informed guess at) GIMBAL was because they talk about it in Apollo 13.

Not the movie but this is sort of interesting:

Malsdemare 11:16 AM  

I like a harder than usual Monday so i was a happy camper with this one. Catholocism was once the largest religion; fivethirtyeight reports today that just 39% of Catholics now attend Mass. not sure you can call yourself a Catholic if you're not meeting your Sunday obligation. i wonder how many went to Mass on Easter? I loved LEWD crossing WENT SOFT. i shall quible about AMBER; I think it’s more orange-brown than orange-yellow. My sole serious complaint is with COOER; I let that one fill with the crosses.

@Nancy, back when I played tennis, I would beat my husband in our first set and then he'd start that damn slicing thing, I'd get pissed as hell, and then, game, set, match to him. I finally quit playing against him. But he was a fierce doubles partner; at 6’3”, he had a phenomenal reach. And there was that slice . . .

Thanks, David Woolf, fo a slower, slightly tougher Monday. (My grandmother was a Wolf. I know we're not related, but I do love the name; i wear a Navajo ring with a stylized Wolf on it. In Navajo iconography, the Wolf is the teacher and the pathfinder. I like that. I was a prof, and given my lousy sense of direction, anything that helps me find my way is a blessing.)

Sorry for the ramble, folks.

Cassieopia 11:18 AM  

No one else had SuTI/uTUI? Tougher than usual Monday, I liked it.

Anoa Bob 11:29 AM  

Not sure what the ANTI INFLAMMATORY being changed to ANTI IMMIGRATION discussion is about. The former is 16 letters whilst the latter is 15, so maybe the original grid had a one-M INFLAMATORY? I'm reminded, painfully so, that in my first puzz submission (to CHE), I had PYRHIC rather than the correct two-R PYRRHIC VICTORY. The editor gently pointed this out---called it a hiccup!---and gave me a change to redo the grid, which then did get accepted.

ETUI is like an old friend, a flash back to when knowing stuff like minor European rivers, mythological deities, terms from heraldry, etc., was de rigueur for being a good xworder.

Honeysmom 11:34 AM  

Hardest Monday ever! No fair for non geniuses! You guys get to have your kind of fun later in the week!

QuasiMojo 11:35 AM  

@Nancy, I made it up myself. Lol. I never could get into skiing downhill. Once when I went to Copper Mountain I took the ski lift up to the top but had to get a rescue sled ride back down due to nerves. It was awesome! :)

Rick Asken 11:36 AM  

I am surprised about your struggle with Gimbal. Must just be one of those words that you blank out on. Your wording today is almost verbatim to your post from Feb of 2016.

old timer 11:37 AM  

@Nancy, it is pleasant, as a West Coaster, to see your comment(s) before I write mine. OFL accurately described the puzzle as medium-challenging (for a Monday) and we got delayed in the same place. I was not sure if it was "ensure" or "insure" and it took a while to come up with ASSURE.

In his snowflakish commentary, I have long felt that OFL likes to pull our chains in the interest of keeping the blog lively. Just as our other OFL, in the White House, likes to pull our chains with his often absurd twittery. I pay no attention to what That Man in the White House says, only to what he does. Which can sometimes be surprising, and actually, sometimes be surprising in a good way. If the Dems win either house of Congress this year (I hope so anyway), we will have an interesting 2019. The POTUS is not really a Republican, and certainly not really a conservative. But no matter what, his tweets will continue to provoke outrage.

Bob Mills 11:39 AM  

Rex, "MING WORTH MILLIONS" was designed as a fake out vs. a ming vase. Pretty cute, if you ask me. This was a little harder than the normal Monday puzzle. I liked it.

Lewis 11:42 AM  

My five favorite clues from last week:

1. Setting for Shakespeare's Julius Caesar (12)
2. iPhone 8? (3)
3. High Points? (6)
4. Opposite of stiff (3)
5. It's not in the bag (8)


old timer 11:44 AM  

@quasi, your downhill skiing experience reminds me of an Uncle Scrooge comic of old. Scrooge offers a ride up for, I dunno, a dime? When the skiers get to the top, they see the kind of downhill run that few people would willingly try. And a sign, "Awful drop, isn't it? Only a dollar to get a ride back down."

Aketi 11:52 AM  

@Nancy, had to drink a third cup of coffee and put on my glasses to see the unintentional typos. A nKI INSTRUCTOR is a dyslexic version of a Martial Arts Instructor who teaches you how to disable a male attacker with your nKI. Of course you can use a SKI as a defense weapon as well, but poles would work better.

WOMB SLICER could have been clued as obstetrical surgeon. No one warned me they use stapes to close up. I don’t think they use staples for surgical deliveries anymore.

Lots of other doubled letters, not just the EYES.

jberg 11:54 AM  

I liked the theme, but thought this was hard for a Monday, what with the vase misdirect and having to know whether the LOIRE was longer than the Rhone. I liked it, though, I don't care that much about the day of the week now that I'm retired.

But @Rex, I think you got the politics completely wrong! First we have SUNNI ISLAM; then the SETI INSTITUTE, which is specifically dedicated to expanding our interaction with aliens; and then ANTI-IMMIGRATION, clued NOT with "an adorably innocuous clue," but as "nativist" -- which has mean "racist" in the context of American politics since at least 1940. And then SKI INSTRUCTOR, and you know what they're like. I thought you'd love this one, seriously.

New clue for 2D: "with 25D, a SNEERing comment to a Berlusconi supporter, by someone who speaks Italian as badly as I do."

@Loren, I was about to file the lawsuit, but then I tried to diagram the sentence in question, and I guess you could do it either way. So it's a Schrodinger verb. (Btw, are the Hopi nativist? Or am I misinterpreting?)

Aketi 12:08 PM  

@Quasi, SKI INSTRUCTORS used to teach little kids to slow down and stop by turning the ski tips inward to make a pizza slice. I don’t know if the still do because the skis of my youth were so much harder to manuveur than the skis they have now. Little tiny kids now just seem to plummet straight down the hill with no fear at all. My son chose to learn snowboarding, which initially entailed a lot of time spent offering my ski pole to pull him up when he crash landed. I found getting off a ski lift in between two little kids on snowboards absolutely terrifying. Even worse was getting off a ski lift during the two years when I tried snowboarding before I gave it up. I had one perfect run at the end of my second season of trying out snowboarding. There was rare and beautiful powdery snowfall instead of the usual east coast ice skating rinks that the slopes become with manufactured snow. It was about two feet deep. Everyone else left the slopes but me. It was so soft and slow that I plummeted straight down the hill on the board in utter joy and never did it again.

John Hoffman 12:15 PM  

Fine puzzle! Challenging for a Monday!

Carola 12:16 PM  

Leading a sheltered existence as I do, I had no IDEA of what to write in for "Crudely sexual," so, averting my eyes, I proceeded eastward. Thus I backed into SUNNI via ISLAM, and those double Is were a big help in getting the other theme answers quickly. Loved the reveal.
My trouble spot was "Still uninformed," which I thought was going to start "NOt..., which made the baby's starting place a tOMB. I spent way too much time on what kind of wordplay....

Doug 12:17 PM  

I couldn't find an easy place to start so it felt more like a Wednesday for me when I finally finished it.

EdFromHackensack 12:24 PM  

I, too, refuse to believe ELMO is a monster

Masked and Anonymous 12:28 PM  

Nice, slightly feisty MonPuz. Was a SMOOTH solvequest, but had some tricky stuff here and there for a Monday, such as: BIL, ETUI, RIDLEY, LOIRE, GIMBAL. Maybe invite TYRA, LEN, SIMONE, and DAN along, too.

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Cow sounds} = MOOS. A no-brainer selection choice.
staff weeject pick: YAO. Mostly becuz of its feisty-for-a-MonPuz clue.

Admirable, subtle smidges of desperation: UTIL. BLOT-COM. SLICER. COOER.

Thanx, Mr. Woolf. Almost II good to be true!

Masked & Anonymo6Us


Charles kluepfel 12:37 PM  

had SNAP, then RUSH before RASH.

QuasiMojo 12:38 PM  

@Aketi 12:08. That sounds marvelous! Snowboards were still a rarity last time I ventured onto the slopes.

Joseph Michael 12:47 PM  

This puzzle was more than semI Interesting, but sure had a lot of stuff I didn't know.

To ensure my Monday DNF, I also settled for an nKI INSTRUCTOR and a dog named ESTRO (short for Estrogen, I assumed).

Loved EYE CONTACT as a theme.

Agree that RIDLEY Scott would have been a great reference since, as the director of "Alien," he ties nicely into the SETI INSTITUTE.

But how is OTTO a good name for a chauffeur?

Masked and Anonymous 12:59 PM  

@Joseph Michael: OTTO sounds a lot like "auto", so it has that goin for it, as a chauffeur name. RIDELY would also work pretty good.
ROADNY would probably be gettin too desperate, tho.

M&A Help Desk

Teedmn 1:17 PM  

So the ayes have it today. I agree with @Rex that it was a bit more toothy than the usual Monday but self-sabotage played a large part in being 1 1/2 minutes over my usual Monday time. If I could put in a wrong letter today, I did. Plopping in INc for INT at 18D and ETUe for ETUI, and starting ICY ROADS with ICc all needed cleaning up. And deciding 10D was assets before REAL[i]TY hit. So I had an "ink problem" as the 28A clue suggests.

I would use as my ALIBI the fact that I SKATED on very ICY ROADS this morning - the landscape looks more January than mid-April today with the over 15 inches of snow we got over the weekend. But I doubt any judge would buy it, not even LEN Goodman probably (who?, I said to myself on that one). And I just found my DNF of the day - for 55D, I put in TbN and never read the clue for 57A. Oops, I don't think the result of that error would go over well for the 57A clue. Sorry everybody.

I agree with @Gill I; when did ELMO become a monster? But I've seen him clued thusly around 4 times in recent puzzles, some NYT, some not, so it must be true.

Nice job, David Woolf.

John Ogrady 1:21 PM  

It is getting tiresome but it's worth trying again .........illegal immigration is what many citizens are against, not legal it?

Banana Diaquiri 2:19 PM  

"illegal immigration is what many citizens are against"

who are the many??? Trump has been explicit: he wants high-wage (legal) immigrants (shivving the Blue state effete intellectuals) by the boat load, but low-wage (legal) immigrants (who "take jobs" from the illiterates in the Red states) must be stopped at all costs. what's sauce for the goose isn't, by any measure, sauce for the gander.

Anonymous 2:41 PM  

Remember when immigrants had to be healthy, and show that they could support themselves.

Jeremy Smith

Anonymous 2:54 PM  

Re: 57A

Readers are worried about immigration, when this morning’s puzzle puts an end to almost 2000 years of religious controversy, over the nature of the Trinity. While I’ve agonized for years over hypostases, superexistences (superessentiae), and personae, we are at last informed that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are simply partners. The filioque controversy divided the Catholics and Orthodox (on whether the Son proceeded from the Father, or from the Father and the Holy Spirit together), and still divides them today. And to think that if all had just settled on “partners,” all that would have been laid to rest! The world would have been spared thousands of volumes of medieval treatises (and thousands more since), Servetus could have lived to a comfortable old age, and Erasmus could have been spared from accusations of meddling with Holy Scripture.

Voltaire ridiculed the whole controversy, when he imagined a Jesuit explaining the nature of the Trinity to the Emperor of China: The father came to earth in the form of a pigeon (i.e. dove, or Holy Spirit), in order to make love to his own mother, and from this union was produced himself. And he who does not believe this will be punished in this world and the next. (Voltaire, *On Why the Jesuits were kicked out of China*).

Once the NY Times’s solution to the riddle of the Trinity (i.e., that these superexistences are simply “partners”) wins general acceptance, I intend to intervene with 18-volume treatise proving that the three parts of the Godhead are not properly “partners” but “colleagues.” After all, I can’t imagine Christianity surviving without controversies over the Trinity, and it certainly cannot survive without my solution to it

Anon. i. e. Poggius

Reasonablewoman 2:55 PM  

Anonymous says the NRA is a civil rights organization. That's rich. The constructor was kind to use enthusiast instead of nut for 42D clue.

Anonymous 3:54 PM  

Hey Mods,

Why let Poggius's coments fly and not mine?
I say the clue for the Son of God is glib and a telling example of the just-about-institutionalized anti Christianity that flows so freely in the Times. And here. Moral cowards the lot of you.

Albert A. Barbieri, Jr. 3:55 PM  

I don’t see the NCIS team as “police”.

GILL I. 4:19 PM  

@Banana Diaquiri....I didn't understand a single word you said. Maybe it was the parens? Or not?

Banana Diaquiri 4:46 PM  


it couldn't be simpler: Trump wants low-information stopped because they threaten his base, but wants boat loads of high-information immigrants since they drive down the wages of American high-information citizens. clear enough? or should I use my crayons?

Mohair Sam 4:51 PM  

@jberg - Good post, I think you're the only person on either side of the ANTIIMMIGRATION controversy to notice it was clued as a pejorative. So what's all the fuss?

@Banana Diaquiri - "Who are the many?" - According to a Harvard-Harris poll the majority of Americans. More shocking is that the same poll found that most Americans would like a severe cut in legal immigration.

Anonymous 5:23 PM  

Rex’s liberal slant on everything is why I stopped donating to his site. Guess I’m an evil white man also.

GILL I. 5:25 PM  

@Banana. No need to get all lawyer on me. Yeah, use the crayons, but only if you know how to stay In the lines.
P.S....Is it time in your zone to have one of your name sakes? Try it.

Anonymous 5:26 PM  

I "became lenient" with my wife the other night. She was so sweet, told me not to feel bad, it happens to all men, probably stress, etc.

Joseph Michael 5:28 PM  

Ah, thank you @M&A Help Desk for your wisdom. Now it all makes sense.

Joe Dipinto 5:39 PM  

I liked it I guess, EYE CONTACT really describable as an "asset"? I mean, the ability to make eye contact is an asset for a public speaker, but EYE CONTACT, just by itself, is not a personality trait. That clue should have been reworded.

And I really wish the clue for 48d had been "Film director Scott".

Reasonablewoman 5:52 PM  

Why do men on this blog need to make jokes about their junk?

Anonymous 6:22 PM  

@Poggius -- Sort of thought the "partner of the Father and the Holy Ghost" clue would be by far the most controversial thing on the blog today. Really enjoyed your take on it. Very funny, tho' that's easy for me to say, not being a Christian or even religious. But Voltaire's not the only one who can be scathing about the concept of the Trinity. You might want to look at this.

Joseph Michael 6:58 PM  

Maybe I OTTO spend a little more time sussing these things out.

Monty Boy 11:52 PM  

II liked this one a lot. Finished in record time (even for a Monday) with no lookups.

My wife recently took up quilting so I can finally use one of the first words I learned in doing crosswords – what to call the place she keeps needles.

Is there a quasi-political theme here?
1A Crudely sexual
37A Supporting nativist policies
44A Device behind the deli counter
65D Item in a caddie’s bag
5D Accused line a judge might not believe
10D Property in buildings and land
26D Still uninformed

A question for the old-timers here. Is there a primer on how to do this BLOG? A place that answers the burning newbie’s questions:
How do I submit a comment? I think I’m following the directions but sometimes I submit and it shows up, sometimes not. Not sure what I’m doing wrong.
How do I insert a link?
How do I put in the personal info (Avatar, competitive arm wrestling …)?
Why do name references have an @ (hi @LMS)?
How do I know when the Syndies comments begin?
A jargon dictionary (green paint, dreck, nantick, etc)

It would be handy to have a link to a document with all this vital information.

Anonymous 8:58 AM  

@Monty Boy, 11:52 PM--Check out FAQ at the very top of the Rex Parker Home Page.

Burma Shave 9:58 AM  


going ALLOUT to get SIMONE to his loft.
now he’s NOWISER and he WENTSOFT.


spacecraft 10:56 AM  

Lots of folks weighing in on ANTIIMMIGRATION, not so much on that little abomination dangling from its end: the NRA. Rant follows.

Ten more dead yesterday; ten more futures obliterated. How many more, NRA? How many more must die before you relent? Just because you love guns, you hang on to an amendment that was written in the days when it meant something that no longer applies. It's SO STUPID! I saw a girl crying: "I'm AFRAID to go to school!" If that's not a tragic state of affairs, I don't know what is.

To the puzzle. Many SMOOTH areas; a couple of ICYROADS. A single TIDING? That would make me NOWISER. Give me TIDINGS, not sad as in the previous paragraph, but glad, as in the Golden Knights' win over Winnipeg to send them to the Cup final in their FIRST YEAR! You go, guys! Another ice patch (watch out, SKIINSTRUCTOR!) is COOER. Too bad that's not plural also; then I could order one, brewed from cold mountain streams. A Light, though.

Today's puzzle is crowded with primo DOD wannabes: LISA, TYRA and the awesome Daisy RIDLEY. But the sash goes to a beauty I get to see every day: "The Price is Right" model AMBER Lancaster. Only one glitch: I WENT easy before going SOFT. I thought the theme of finding expressions with abutting I's was a bit tortuous, but the reveal was clever. Nice open corners let it breathe. Birdie.

rondo 11:35 AM  

Got any ALIBI IDEAs? Us or Ys may be next. Youunderstand whyyet? I’ll bet there’d be more II combos if this was done in Finnish. Or Us or Ys. Kinda interesting, verging on green paintish. Let’s go traveling for a triple – “Hawaii invites you.” Anybody got four?

Someone above mentioned a Coor’s Light in a GIMBAL. Shouldn’t it have been COOER’s Light?

Interesting that LEWD and ACT are in the same corner. I’d not REFUSE if yeah baby TYRA offered one up.

I’m ALLOUT of things to say. I got I strain.

Diana,LIW 1:14 PM  

Aside from the obvious Hawaii I infiltrate? Hawaii III?

Et tu, ETUI?

'Twas a tad more difficult than other Mondays, but for the same basic reason it was for OFL - my own dern fault. Umber vs. AMER? You get the pic.

Once again, the theme escaped me until I was reminded here on the blog. Oh...of course. Aye, aye, eye - yi yi yi?

Was ASTRO an homage to Asta? Anyone?

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords, or Crossed Eyes

leftcoastTAM 3:17 PM  

Neat theme and follow-through. Recognized it after finishing.

Lots of tried and true crosswordese here. Some of it may be at or past retirement age, though still at work and doing their jobs.

Its words, appearing here, include ETUI, BRA, ESSO, ONO, ERA, OER, LEM, and IGLOOs.

ETUI was one of the earliest of the puzzle language words I learned, and it has earned a well-deserved rest. Yet it has staying-power, and more power to it.

BRA has held up well. ESSO still fires. ONO still sings, I guess. ERA remains useful, as does OER. LEMs are not very old, but subject to break-downs.

IGLOO is definitely out-dated, but it has strong arctic resonance, except among the Inuit, I believe.

Crosswordese is inherent in the game. Let's all give it its due. Agism be damned.

strayling 7:22 PM  

"BRA has held up well."

Thanks for that beer through nose moment.

I just came here to say that OTTO saved this one for me. A welcome bit of fun after a bland fill.

leftcoastTAM 9:09 PM  

@Burma Shave -- Smoothly sensual little story. Rated R and with positive reviews, at least from this quarter.

Anonymous 12:47 AM  

Note to spacecraft and to Mr Woolf (constructor): NRA members aren't necessarily gun enthusiasts, and don't necessarily love guns. But the greatest defense against state tyranny is an armed populace. An armed populace is the reason Hitler never invaded Switzerland. Practically everyone there owns a rifle or two and knows how to use them. And an unarmed populace is why Stalin and Mao and other butchers could hold on to power for so long. Red China, the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany etc had almost perfectly strict gun control with the result of tens of millions of political prisoners being executed.

As for school shootings in Houston, Florida, and elsewhere if the teachers could have legally possessed guns - which they could not - the result could have been different. The second amendment far from being outdated is needed more than ever today. It allows one to protect his home from intruders, as well as being a bulwark against private and state mass murderers.

Otherwise liked this Monday puzzle.

And is Esso the most clued answer of all time ?

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