Underwear for tycoons / MON 4-30-18 / It goes from about 540 to 1700 / Silvery hair color / Furry sitcom alien

Monday, April 30, 2018

Constructor: Bruce Haight

Relative difficulty: Challenging (3:42, solidly Tuesday time)

THEME: underwear — wacky theme clues all start [Underwear for ...?], resulting in ordinary phrases where the last word is underwear-related:

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Underwear for judges? (LEGAL BRIEFS)
  • 24A: Underwear for Frisbee enthusiasts? (DISC JOCKEYS)
  • 34A: Underwear for beginners? (AMATEUR BOXERS)
  • 47A: Underwear for actors? (MOVIE SHORTS)
  • 55A: Underwear for tycoons? (CASH DRAWERS)
Word of the Day: HUMPH (32D: "Well, I never!") —
  1. used to express slightly scornful doubt or dissatisfaction. (google)
• • •

My god this theme is botched. Let's start with the fact that this is obviously a Tuesday puzzle, not a Monday. "?" clues on the themers almost certainly takes the difficulty level up a notch from regular Monday puzzles, and in this case, the theme answers were so odd and shaky much of the time that figuring out what the "?" clues were getting at was not especially easy. MOVIE SHORTS in particular felt off and odd. Short films, short subjects, or just "shorts," I hear all the time. MOVIE SHORTS is tin-eared. Does not google (in quot. marks) well at all. Weirdly, theme clues sometimes take the answers out of their normal frame of reference (e.g. DISC JOCKEYS clued in relation to Frisbee), but sometimes ... don't (e.g. LEGAL BRIEFS clued in relation to judges). The real wobbly part, though, is the fact that the "underwear" words are related to (men's) underwear in different ways. You've got, in order, underwear type, underwear brand, underwear type, underwear synonym, underwear synonym. Shaggy as heck. This set of themers starts off with the most hackneyed of puns (how many times have I seen some dumb-ass winky "LEGAL BRIEFS" joke in my life? please don't answer), and then rambles and trips and ends. No. EWW (which is itself a truly horrible answer).

Few words are INANER than INANER. The world is tyrant- and conspiracy theory-driven enough without IDI and FAKED (as clued) gumming things up. The answer that took me the longest to get was HUMPH (ironic, as I am H(arr)UMPHing at this puzzle right now). There is no way that HUMPH achieves "Well, I never!" levels of pique. HUMPH is way, way less offended. The definition (above) even says, "slightly"—"slightly scornful doubt or dissatisfaction." Truly bad clue. Laura vis-a-vis Rob Petrie = WIFE. They are both already on TV. You could say MTM* was DVD*'s TV WIFE—that would make sense. But Laura is just Rob's wife. Oh, and OH YAY was, like HUMPH, hard, because it was, like HUMPH, badly clued. No one says "OH YAY!" unless they are saying it ironically. "Woo-hoo!" doesn't cut it, and it's just not a great answer to start with. Trying too hard and botching the works. Not my idea of a good Monday (I usually like Mondays better than all other themed days ... HUMPH!).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

*Mary Tyler Moore / Dick Van Dyke

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


David Steinberg 12:04 AM  

I thought today's Monday was unusually lively—thanks for a great start to the week, Bruce! And for those of you who also solve the Puzzle Society Crossword I edit, be sure to check out our new blog: https://crosswordcrossing.blogspot.com

Pete 12:26 AM  

Why should we care whether or not women author their fair share of puzzles? Example A right here.

Paul Rippey 12:57 AM  

Yeah, what Rex said.

Does anyone ever say EKGTEST? Heart TEST, sure, or just simply EKG. An EKG already is a TEST. Oh well.

I had a moderately fast time (for me) only three times as long as Rex!

phil phil 1:28 AM  

MOVIE SHORTS is a phrase to describe a definitive something.

I thought AMATEUR BOXERS was green paint

chefwen 2:15 AM  

After I saw Rex’s rating I asked puzzle mate who works on his own copy M - W how he would rate this one, he replied “easiest ever” and I would have to agree with him.

Other than the INANE INANER which I hated, but got, had No hiccups with this.

I wish he could have fit tightly whities in somewhere.

alexa shortbush 2:25 AM  

Whenever I see this constructor's byline I just want to finish fast and move on with my life and my solving streak. Yeesh.

Harryp 2:31 AM  

Very challenging for a Monday, almost double my average time. I only got the underwear Theme after the solve, but if anyone saw it, and was able to to use it, I am only in awe. I am keeping track of the puzzle constructors, and I will certainly remember Bruce Haigt. Good one.

Loren Muse Smith 3:01 AM  

My inner immature adolescent boy is alive and well, so any theme regarding unmentionables is ok by me. To follow Rex’s gripes about theme tightness, I had to go back and read that part a couple of times. So I over-read it after he overthought it. Sheesh. Not a thing wrong with this set imo. And if you’re gonna take regular two-word phrases and reinterpret them, this is about the only set you have to work with. Well ok, my avatar has “bloomers,” but that’s pretty musty. And there’s nothing worse than old, musty bloomers. We do have other terms for underwear – skivvies, tighty whities - but they can’t work this way. Now there’s diphthong. But it’s one word. Too bad it’s not diph thong because diph is actually an old Sanskrit word meaning father of the mother of all wedgies.

The issue with the clue for TV WIFE: I was already over my limit of over-reading some overthinking.

I agree that MOVIE SHORTS is the weakest here, but I liked all the others. CASH DRAWERS could be G-strings. Kinda.

I rather like the word HUMPH. For some people, every day is humph day.

And Rex’s problem with the clue for OH YAY surprised me. Both clue and entry could be sarcastic or not in my speech.

I think I’m not supposed to refer to yesterday’s puzzle on this page, right? Well, ahem, without giving anything away, I was going to make a “pantry raid nightmare” joke yesterday – having only the 12 pack of sensible utility Sherman tank underpants that Aunt LaVerne gave you left in your drawer when the Sig Eps show up to carry out some shenanigans.

And then I started thinking of the phrase Put on your big-girl panties and deal with it. What an odd phrase if you really consider it. Big girl as in non-pull-ups? Or big girl as in Victoria Secret lacy ethereal tiny painfully beautiful lilac ones that I could never dream of wearing?

Bruce – it’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of your puzzles. This was just what the doctor ordered after a marathon weekend. Nice job!

I’ll post a separate post about DRESSY so that you can skip if you want ‘cause it’s not so much about the puzzle as about our prom. I’ll try to work in other grid words to make it seem relevant. Hah.

Loren Muse Smith 3:20 AM  

DRESSY – I’ve been MIA because me* and the two other Junior sponsors and about ten kids spent, literally, 8 hours straight Friday transforming the cafeteria to a wonderland for prom. Out in rural WV, prom is it. The be all and end all. Everyone goes. Picture the requisite beginning of any movie about a poor, rural place – the dirt roads, shacks, house trailers, old trucks – that’s my demographic.

K and I worked on a little candy display; she had seen me in Walmart buying the glass containers and stuff and was beyond excited about because she had never seen anything like a candy bar. When we finished, it looked so cool. (See avatar) Then her boyfriend, G (older and from another county) showed up after working on the pipeline to take her home, and he cheerfully helped do some of the heavy lifting. Skinny guy. Here's an exchange we had carrying out trash.

Me: So did you rent a tux?

G: Nope. I bought everything this year. Had to go DOWN to Ripley for my pants 'cause of my size, but then we got the jacket and shirt at, well, we had to go to the expensive store - JC Penney.

I tell you, it's an honor to be in these people's presence. A kid who was proud because his jacket was from JC Penney. A girl who was excited because all the glass containers on the candy bar were so exotic. I told her she could borrow the containers when she and G got married, and she almost cried. Said she had wanted to ask but didn't dare.

My prom, my kids' proms, didn't mean nearly this much to us. Somehow being around the people here always leaves me feeling like the joke's on me.

*Oh. Hell. Yes, I will do this now that y’all crucified Annabel for using me and blah blah as a subject a few days ago. Go off now and find some other way to publicly embarrass people. And before you pontificate about clarity and precision, I’ll ask again please explain to me how

A. John and I went to the mall.

Is any clearer, more precise, than

B. Me and John went to the mall.

You can’t explain that to me because A is absolutely not clearer and more precise than B.

Man. I’m still angry about that Annabel abuse.

Aketi 4:48 AM  

@LMS, My inner tween had a similar reaction to the puzzle. FYI, some of us prefer leopard prints to lilac. The phrase “big girl panties” however strikes me as girding yourself for battle. So I think of the indestructible boy SHORTS that many women wear under their Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Gis for rolling. Great care goes into the selection of colors because the baggy pants of the Gi do tend to slip down when you partner is grabbing onto them trying to hold you in place while they climb to a position of advantage. Of course there is a huge controversy over wearing thongs. Rumor has it that some of the Brazilian men were going commando they instituted a rule that you get disqualified from competition if you don’t wear your LEGALly required BRIEFS.

As for the MOVIE SHORTS, my favorites were of the squirrel that prefaced the Ice Age movies. My son went for the movies and I took him to watch the squirrel SHORTS.

And then there are “longs” too. When I was in Peace Corps, the Belgian nuns at the Catholic school where I taught used to receive bags of discarded cloths. I’m not quite clear why people donated their long underwear to a country that was on the equator. But the teenage girls put them to good use turning them into legging before leggings were a thing in the United States. It was illegal for women to wear pants, but leggings under a wrapped skirt was the height of fashion in that little town.

Lewis 5:49 AM  

So, class, are we all clear on what the AM in AM DIAL stands for?

There was a little drinking thing going on in the puzzle, with THIRST, SHOTS, TIPSY, and ALE. And, if it weren't focused on men's undies, Bruce might have gotten in a FREUDIAN SLIP ("Underwear for psychiatrists?"). As it was, credit him for making a mockery of the word "unmentionables".

Glimmerglass 6:29 AM  

I agree with @LMS that @Rex was seriously overthinking this. Overthinking may have slowed his time. I found this ridiculously easy, even for a Monday. My inner 11-year-old boy found some amusement in the underwear gags, but that was about it. If there had been women’s underwear, my child would have been titilated, but feminists might have complained. TEE SHIRT (golf jersey?), TRAINING BRA, TEDDY (sleeping companion?), CAMISOLES (disguised shoes?), LONGLINE (sleepwear for the RMV?).

Anonymous 6:58 AM  

Consider me stunned!
Fasted Monday ever! Inaner was inane, but awfully common at the NYT so hardly unexpected.
Usually more or less in sync with Rex, but found this a quick, amusing puzzle.

paperandink 7:04 AM  

loved the puzzle ... got the theme right off...tighty whities...underwear for sots(just to keep with the drinking "thing")...

ty for the prom descriptions... brought tears to my eyes...i love this generation of teens.. tbey will change this world for the better be they at an ivy or in wva..

paperkin 7:06 AM  

I entered MOVIESHOOTS and just assumed OUDDY was a crossword word (and also “shoots” as an underwear synonym I suppose.)

Anonymous 7:10 AM  

"Me went to the mall" is clear in meaning. Would you use that phrase?

Hungry Mother 7:18 AM  

Quick and easy, but I did a lot of downs. Struggled in the mini however.

Rita Kelly 7:19 AM  

Agree with David Steinberg at 12:04 a.m. Great start to the week. Thanks Bruce !

kitshef 7:25 AM  

Well, I agree with almost everything Rex said, except that I loved the theme and think his criticisms of that are hilariously nit-picky.

But the fill … INANER, TOLD YA, EWW, OH YAY (which in my head means the opposite of Woo-hoo), AAH, HUMPH, EKG TEST - not all terrible, just irritating.

The thing that really got my goat, though was TV WIFE. As Rex notes, on the Dick van Dyke show, Laura was Rob’s WIFE, not his TV WIFE. Mary Tyler Moore was Dick’s TV WIFE.

chefbea 7:33 AM  

What a great fun Monday puzzle. Of course I knew 1 down. and I liked having slew next to few!!!

Anonymous 7:34 AM  

I wonder if Rex would have been kinder if he had not seen the byline first. He really does not like Haight's puzzles. I thought it was fun and saw no problem with the theme. EKG test is not really a thing, though. It is EKG full stop.

chefbea 7:38 AM  

@David Steinberg..cant find your blogspot!!!

Two Ponies 7:55 AM  

I just strolled through this and never noticed the things that irritated Rex. What really surprised me was his comment about there being no women's underwear. He's really digging deep for that observation. Victimhood must be exhausting.

TV wife could easily be a puzzle theme if you wanted to go the pop culture route.

@ LMS, I really enjoy every story you tell about life in WVa.

Anonymous 8:02 AM  

Slightly below average time.

QuasiMojo 8:08 AM  

@David Steinberg, congrats on the new blog. I enjoyed the LOL puzzle too.

As for today's NYT, well, it seemed substandard to me. Sophomoric. AMATEUR BOXERS was very weak.

Yes, @Nancy, The 39 Steps line! One of the best analog "digital" thrills.

Z 8:15 AM  

@LMS - love Love LOVE your footnote.

@Lewis - Har! My first chuckle of the day.

Which tells you my feelings on the theme. Underwear puns. OH. YAY. My father-in-law is an inveterate punster and retired lawyer and he never, ever, ever stoops to the LEGAL BRIEFS pun. Hence, no chuckle, no groan, no smirk. Just a cringe to open up the themers. The next four all have potential but fail in the cluing. If you’re going to do puns go whacky big or go home. I suspect if this had been published by an indie site with fewer constraints than the Grey Lady that the cluing could have made the puzzle entertaining. As published, though, meh.

Wow, I see @Deb Amlen stopped by yesterday. Nice. I’d say the same about @David Steinberg stopping by today but shameless self-promotion wasn’t how I wanted to start my morning. I don’t really object to him promoting his puzzles here, it just hit me the wrong way this morning.

Why do we need gender equity (or any sort of equity) in puzzle construction? What a fascinating question. Asking it is known as “telling on yourself.”

Z 8:20 AM  

Steinberg’s new Blog about the puzzles he edits.

Kodak Jenkins 8:22 AM  

Tuesday hard for me. Interesting that while Rex, myself and others struggled many of you zipped right through it?!

I agree with much of Rex's critique today, though he over-nitpicks a little. TVWIFE threw me off even after I had T_WIFE.

I thought several of the clues felt rushed or just odd, like not in the normal NYT mode. "Nasty Amin", "genetic stuff" and a few others just seem off.

INANER is a crummy answer.

ANTWERP, OSHEA, ARA make this a Tuesday.

Victoria Secret 8:28 AM  

Love the puzzle. The best thing about it is that it caused Rex to get his big girl panties all in an uproar.

bookmark 8:29 AM  

Anthony Bourdain and his Part Unknown on CNN last night was from West Virginia. One of the segments was on the prom, which he attended. It was a fascinating look at the state.

Passing Shot 8:30 AM  

Usually I agree with OFL’s Haightred, but not this time. Didn’t realize it was a BH puzzle ‘til I got here. Yes, we’ve all seen the LEGAL BRIEFS pun a thousand times (maybe BH should take a look at @Glimmerglass 6:29 fir some good themers), but other than INANER, this was a fun solve. Thanks, Mr. Haight.

@LMS — thank you for reminding us of the beauty of gratitude.

jessica cohn 8:33 AM  

Happened again. I thought this was one of the easier puzzles I’ve seen in the New York Times . I get hung up on how the spelling of the non word answers like aah , itd and humph . Also what is oh yay? Never heard of it

Roo Monster 8:43 AM  

Hey All !
There were some mega-easy clues in this here puz. (Har, grammarian aggrevating sentence there.) NOR, ALE, OWN, DOWN, IDI, SKY.

Funny theme. Underwear. Who knew that could be a theme? Might elicit an EWW from some. OH YAY is one of those either happy "Woo-Hoo" shouts, or sarcastic "Oh, great" groans, so it works as clued. And put in HUMPf first, maybe thinking of Trumpf? :-)

Liked the SLEW/FEW clues. TREE clue odd.

Overall, a good what I think Monday-level puz. So there.


Maria 8:52 AM  

This puzzle is a harmless, pretty easy and fun start of the week and does not deserve the super critical, humorless response from the "serious" puzzle experts.Lighten up, some of you!

puzzlehoarder 8:58 AM  

I did yesterday's puzzle but had no time for visiting here to read or comment.

Today I have time and the puzzle is a routine Monday concerning men's underwear.

Knittering 9:06 AM  

Great Monday puzzle! More like this (but no inaner, use of it should be a misdemeanor).

@Pete, I'm confused about your comment. Are you suggesting that you would have had a better solving experience if a woman had constructed the puzzle?

I'm confused about the push on this blog for more women to construct "their fair share of puzzles." Outrageous I know because I'm a woman. But if I want to build a puzzle, the only thing stopping me is the fact I don't want to. Do women really need men to go so gallantly forward and tilt for them? It feels like some kind of reverse (inverse?) condescending discrimination, like "the ladies need my help."

If someone here can explain how women are systematically excluded and can back it up with data, I'll get on board. And don't just tell me that x percentage of published puzzles are constructed by men. It needs to be how many women are submitting them and being rejected. And while you're at it, how about some stats on men who are systematically blocked from knitting?

It's a complex and beautiful endeavor and I want to see more men involved in it.

Missy 9:15 AM  

Love your posts! Fun fact, or not - dipth(a) in Sanskrit means:hot, ablaze, inflamed, stimulated,etc.

Stanley Hudson 9:17 AM  

A bit of harmless amusement to kick off the work week.

Rosey Grier 9:19 AM  

I, for one, knit and I am all man.

Anonymous 9:21 AM  

For those of you who felt this was easy, as a fairly seasoned speed-solver, I will say that it was frustrating and didn't lend itself to a fast finish. Long theme word play with some borderline fill will do that. I actually beat Rex's time by a few seconds, but his averages are off-the-charts.

Like OFL, you really need to remember to couch designations of easy/medium/hard relative to something. Yes, this was a sub-four minute puzzle, i.e., "easy," but that does not make it "easy" compared to typical Monday puzzles that trend sub-three minutes.

Nancy 9:29 AM  

A moderately cute theme and clean fill with almost no junk. OH YAY to that. But then STIR in the most boring, on-the-nose cluing imaginable. And you end up with a puzzle that gave me very little in the way of diversion or pleasure.

For once I agree with one of Rex's nits. Why clue FAKED in a way that gives any credence at all to these nut jobs? Who knows -- there may be new generations coming along who are fortunate enough not to be remotely familiar with the views of these "conspiracists." Lucky them. FWIW, here would be my clue for FAKED: Describing a "Dali" that's not a Dali.

My Award for Best and Cleverest Pun today goes to @Quasi (8:08). It's brilliant!!!! But those of you who didn't see "The 39 Steps" won't get it, I'm afraid.

Suzie Q 9:50 AM  

A puzzle with an underwear theme! Where is Evil Doug when we need him?
@ Rosey, I thought it was needlepoint but either way I'll bet you get good customer service at the yarn shop.
@ LMS, Love G-strings as cash drawers!

Fashionista 9:51 AM  

I am so charmed by your description of prom. This is what makes our country great and I am happy you are in it.

GILL I. 9:55 AM  

Underwear. Wow. I'm impressed. On a Monday.
Where's Long John's Silver? We need a female constructor who will find a way to clue Scanties and Dainties. That should do it.
Easy, fast Monday and yeah, I think @Rex over thought this one.
I thought FAKED as clued was interesting. It's a puzzle to me what people will or will not believe even given all the evidence in the world. Conspiracy theory indeed. The one that still blows me away is that there are people who believe that The Holocaust never took place.
On to happier things. @Loren's avatar should be the picture taken at the prom standing with her husband. She looks just like Grace Kelly. Husband is eye candy as well.
Love your story. And I, too, believe that this generation will make some positive changes. It's teachers like @Loren that can propel them in the right direction......

Marie’s the Name 9:56 AM  

@Z 8:15 a.m: In crosswords as in life, it is wrong to discriminate on the bass of gender or race.

jberg 10:00 AM  

They didn’t deliver our paper yesterday, but promised to bring it today. They did, but no magazine and no puzzle. Humph.

Anyway, I’m here today. Amateur boxers was weak, and movie shorts weaker, but it was all good fun.

I guess people do say ROAD WIN, but it’s a little lame. But, Monday!

Mohair Sam 10:04 AM  

Delightful Monday. Easy, light - ideal puzzle for beginners. We're given a choice today to go with OFL's opinion or that of David Steinberg - easy call for me. We chuckled at the silliness of the puns, and yes we'd heard a couple of them - but so what? But I will agree with Rex that TVWIFE was badly clued.

@Lewis - "Freudian Slip" - awesome.

On the push for more female constructors. I'm all for it - I figure if we had a lot more puzzles designed by the distaff side we'd have a lot less Star Wars clues.

Speaking of which - Come back to the Times Liz Gorski.

Abigail 10:13 AM  

I am 100% with you on the Laura Petrie/Rob Petrie clue. I was so mad when it was TV Wife -- took me SO long to figure out because she's NOT his TV wife. Laura is his WIFE. Would've been a way better clue if it were "MTM vis-a-vis DVD."

kidsgrownnow 10:19 AM  

I've never before known of a *teacher* who pushes so relentlessly to turn the use of bad grammar into a goal. Not only isn't she helping those whose language skills need improvement, she makes fun of anyone who uses grammar correctly and wants others to do so too. She harps on the subject endlessly, even when, like today, no one else has mentioned it. She can't stop bringing it up. Glad my kids were never taught by her.

Bob 10:23 AM  

As usual, Rex doesn't like a nice puzzle. It's almost a guarantee...the more likable a construction, the less complimentary Rex is.

Carola 10:23 AM  

Easy and cute - I thoroughly enjoyed this inventory of the underwear DRAWER.
Thanks to @Lewis and @Glimmerglass for the FREUDIAN SLIP and CAMISOLES.
It doesn't really work with the theme, but the last words in HAMLET are spoken by Prince FortinBRAS.

Priscilla Howe 10:34 AM  

I liked this one. It did seem like a Tuesday. It also reminded me of the Barry Louis Polisario song "underwear", posted here for your pleasure. https://youtu.be/vDibLB_aCdg

JC66 10:38 AM  

I think it would be really interesting if @Rex agreed to review puzzles for a month without knowing who the constructors are.

Would the results surprise us?

Mr. Benson 10:46 AM  

The theme might have worked better (and been more appropriate for a Monday) if the themers had been clued more literally, followed by an "underwear" revealer somewhere near the end. But overall I liked this just fine.

ArtO 10:48 AM  

Loved this puzzle. Some usual nit picks by @Rex are certainly warranted but not the over the top criticism this one got today. Am I wrong but doesn't the criticism seem to ratchet up with the longer than usual time it takes for OFL to finish a puzzle? Just sayin'. Sorry if you're so time obsessed it affects your judgment.

Anonymous 10:59 AM  

Underwear for ESTATE document writer - Will Shortz (OK kinda weak)

Masked and Anonymous 11:05 AM  

Theme had a solid foundation of garments. Only way I can think to feminize it a little more for poor @RP would be to slip in an extra Down answer, like: REFILLING ERIE.

Maybe {Underwear for lady pirates?} = MAINSTAYS, if U allow for a little extra desperation?

staff weeject pick (from a very solid list of 21 respectable candidates): EWW. Mainly becuz it got chomped down on and whipped around, snarlin-like, by the @RPmeister, for some reason. Also, hard to beat a good sound-effective weeject.

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Neither's partner} = NOR. Hard to find much controversy meat, in that puppy.

Thanx, Mr. Haight. I guess all blog reviews of yer puzs are apt to be Haight-filled, by default. Anyhoo, thUmbsUp from m&e.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


jessica cohn 11:09 AM  

When I say easy I’m not talking about the time it takes me to finish. I’m just talking about whether I can finish it without looking up information on google or asking a friend for help.

Banana Diaquiri 11:17 AM  

Anthony Bourdain and his Part Unknown on CNN last night was from West Virginia.

hands down, the best show on the TeeVee. he was almost too forgiving this time.
1 - coal mining employment started falling like a rock in 1946, not during Obama or Crooked Hillary
2 - they're plight is clearly due to their perpetual voting for rightwing government that hands all power to Blankenship and such
3 - what help they've gotten has been from leftwing Softies, without which they'd still not have water or electricity and such

he let them off the hook.

what did stun me, while I was watching, was the amount of mixed race coupling, both old and young. not what I would expect from that part of the country. I began to wonder whether this was due to biased editing. may be, but at the end of the episode when he does his outro narration, he explicitly comments on how much he saw. not sure what to make of it.

‘mericans in Paris 11:18 AM  

What @chefwen said. Played easy for me. Only hang-up was slotting in panTS early on at 47A, which cost me a few minutes to correct.

Two Ponies 11:18 AM  

All of this crap about women constructors is ridiculous. Crosswords, college applications, job resumes, etc. should be judged without knowledge of the personal data. Let the cream rise to the top and accept the results. How can there be any pride in accomplishments that are handed to you to meet a quota?
I don't believe in the bias that is claimed to keep anyone down. I spent much of my life in a career that was mostly men but never once did I feel coddled nor did I feel I had to try harder just to prove myself capable among a group of smart masculine coworkers. Like any good team, we worked well by making the best use of each others' strengths. If you need help swallow your pride, ask for it, and learn something. That's how you earn respect.

Z 11:19 AM  

@kidsgrownnow - I think I found that point you are missing.

@knittering - No, that’s not the only thing stopping you from having as many puzzles published as Mr. Haight.

Joseph Michael 11:20 AM  

I see London
I see France
But I'm getting tired
Of Rex's crossword rants

Fun puzzle, Bruce.

Masked and Anonymous 11:24 AM  


{Underwear for hatchet ladies?} = *

While I'm here … Waddah'bout that ball gown pic, @muse darlin? Enjoyed the other party-related stories a whole lot, tho. U would make a good novelist! Plus now U maybe got a good dress for the book-signin gigs.



old timer 11:43 AM  

A-HA! I did not know this was a Haight puzzle until I came here. @Rex usually has his panties in a twist whenever he is the constructor. Though there was a very favorable review a few months ago, which was a real surprise for me. And really, INANER needs to be retired.

My time pen on paper was 13 minutes, which is an average Monday. Maybe a little slower than average, but certainly not faster than a typical Tuesday for me. What did slow me down a bit was not knowing DRAWERS right off.

What a great prom report from @LMS. Nice to have you back on a more regular basis.

Lewis 11:44 AM  

My favorite clues from last week:

1. Ever rising number (3)
2. Book of legends (5)
3. Square figure (6)
4. Inclined to stress (6)
5. Bar that might be dangerous (5)


GILL I. 11:46 AM  

@kidsgrownup...@Lauren is talking clear and precise NOT correct grammar. Go back and read her carefully. I also found that point you're missing. Thanks @Z.

David Stein (no berg) 11:51 AM  

@Two Ponies: As the father of three daughters I am well aware how much the college admissions discriminates against high school girls. I think if they didn't discriminate, the top schools would be about 60-65% women. At least we’re not Asian. There is a real injustice in the college admissions process against Asian Americans. Those people really get the shaft. The Ivies used to cap the number of Jews accepted. Now it’s Asians.

Banana Diaquiri 11:52 AM  

@Two Ponies:
Let the cream rise to the top and accept the results.

easy to say. now, walk some miles in the shoes of blacks from say, rural Mississippi. ain't no level playing field, and never has been.

jb129 11:54 AM  

I had enjoyed this a lot - thank you, BH & was glad that it was Monday "Challenging" instead of Monday Easy for a change.

Ann K 12:31 PM  

Thought it was more light hearted and fun than most Mondays. Underwear clues made me laugh. No humphs here.

Debra 12:53 PM  

Very fun Monday, best in memory.

Teedmn 1:17 PM  

I bemusedly barely skimmed Rex today - I found, while reading other people's comments, that I had missed most of his rants because I just couldn't believe he found so much objectionable in a puzzle I thought was quite delightful. After solving, I looked for the constructor's name and actually thought, "Oh, a Bruce Haight creation that even Rex won't be able to complain about". Boy, was I wrong! Maybe the difference between my solve and Rex's is that I may have set a personal record - it went fast.

Thanks to those who came up with some women's undies that worked - I tried but couldn't come up with any that could be interpreted as anything other than underwear. And M&A, REFILLING ERIE, nice! It took me a couple of looks to get it.

@LMS, regarding prom - yesterday I was at a bridal shower held at a winery - the bride-to-be works there. At the end of the shower, she thanked everyone and mentioned the wedding would be at the same venue. She pointed over to the large room next to where we were and said it would be where the reception would be held but right now it was really messy due to the local prom having been held there the night before. I immediately compared the space to my prom, held in the high school gymnasium, and wondered why prom had to be such an over-produced affair these days. As for candy bars, the first one I ever saw was at my niece's wedding reception. A crazy but fun little addition for those of us with sweet tooths (sweet teeth? Ha.)

Thanks, BH, for a fun Monday. And @Lewis, your first line had me laughing.

Monty Boy 1:30 PM  

Easy, fun puzzle for me. None of the nitpicks OFL has. The clever and playful nature of Xword should allow for some elasticity in theme and clues.

With others, I thought “long johns” (the pastry kind) could be a candidate: Underwear for over heated pastry chefs – Frosted long johns.

I have a grandson who is into Ultimate Frisbee – look it up, it’s a real thing. I’ll ask him about Disc jockeys.

For @LMS: I was going to make a “pantry raid nightmare” joke yesterday – having only the 12 pack of sensible utility Sherman tank underpants that Aunt LaVerne gave you left in your drawer when the Sig Eps show up to carry out some shenanigans.

I am a Sig Ep and we never went on panty raids but I might start. Where is your sorority again? I would like to see Sherman tank underpants.

Knittering 1:41 PM  

@Z, I don't want to publish puzzles. I don't have any desire to construct puzzles. That's my point.

I wouldn't go quite as far as @Two Ponies, but she's right about a lot of things. Construct some great puzzles and submit them.

Joe Bleaux 1:56 PM  

Some may neither
want nor need 'em
But no one is forced
to read 'em

emily 2:04 PM  

Because we can and should.

Ben Silver 2:07 PM  

"Abuse?" C'mon, she goes Yale, she should know the difference between "me" and "I"

Larry Gilstrap 2:39 PM  

Recuperating from back surgery has resulted in a bit of crankiness, so be forewarned. I'm bored out of my gourd, and I hate to admit that, and a Sunday languidly following Twitter certainly did not help my mood. I vowed: Gonna give it up for ever!

Last thing I see last night was a post from OFL, something about he was going to "Haight" this puzzle, in the future tense. That's a solid basis for journalism right there. Ok, nothing new. Even juiced up with muscle relaxers, I experienced a fitful night in anticipation of the review, not really.

He did not disappoint. Some nice people noticed some over-thinking and commented on that. My spin: The themers were solid and consistent, not just for a Monday. MOVIE SHORTS are a thing and have been a thing ever since I used to attend the Village Theatre in Claremont while I was a student at CAL POLY. Somebody has a problem with AMATEUR BOXERS? Remember the Olympics? While at jury duty, I sit snickering about the Judge's undergarments? Give me a break!

HUMPH! is clued perfectly as "Well, I never...!"

Saving the best for last: I loved Laura Petrie and give credit to that show and Dick Van Dyke for what ever skills I have as a heterosexual male. What a warm loving relationship! Of course, she was his TV WIFE. They slept in separate beds!!! Do you think that any man married to her in real life would not want to, at least cuddle more than occasionally?

@LMS, I used to go to school dances, and back in the day my wife and I would dance for hours, rarely with each other. The kids loved seeing their teachers in that format.

JC66 2:55 PM  

@ Larry Gilstrap

Great post. Hope you're fully recovered real soon.

kidsgrownnow 3:04 PM  

@LMS sets up a straw man argument: that the only thing that matters in the use of grammar is "precision and clarity". Then she knocks her straw man down: Well, I can understand "me and my friend" just as well as I can understand "my friend and I", so it makes no difference. Some of us think that the beauty and elegance of language matters too.

To @Z and @GILL -- If it were YOUR child who came back from school one day saying "me and her" did whatever, would you be happy? If a teacher's standards are not high enough for your child, they're not high enough for anyone else's child. Otherwise, aren't you being condescending in setting the bar so low?

Well said, @Ben Silver!

Larry Gilstrap 3:08 PM  

Sorry for the screaming.

Pete 3:14 PM  

@Emily - You missed my point, which was that I can't believe a woman would make a puzzle riffing on common phrases where the last word is a synonym for mens under-pants. That's why we need more women puzzle authors, to spare us puzzles such as this. Actually, I would have thought that was pretty clear.

My wife asked me last evening if I liked the puzzle and my response was that it was awful, and when I explained the theme to her she couldn't believe it. Her response was that only a man who's never washed his own underwear would think that it was suitable as theme material. So, @Knittering, this puzzle wouldn't have been better if written by a women, it would have been better had this puzzle had not been written in the first place, and women would be less likely to have written it than would a man. That's the point.

I believe it's well documented that Will Shortz's criteria for selecting a themed puzzle is "does the theme tickle his fancy". In fact, when you submit a puzzle you do it in several parts, the first one consists of just the theme elements. If this one passes muster, on to the rest of the process, if not hard stop. So, who believes there's not chance that there are perfectly good puzzles with female facing themes which don't tickle Will's fancy and hence don't get published? Who denies the likelihood that the Venn diagrams of themes generated by men overlap Will's Fancy to a greater extent that do themes generated by women?

Glimmerglass 3:33 PM  

“She’s a big girl now”. SPORTS BRA

Anonymous 3:44 PM  

Forget LMS's grammar woes, how condescending can she get?
From her lofty perch she thinks its an honor that someone takes pride in JC Penney goods. Get over yourself.

Give up. Z will white knight LMS forever. No matter how wrong she is. So will Gill. That you are completely correct doesn't even enter into the equation.

Nice puzzle Mr. Haight. Thank you

Mohair Sam 3:50 PM  

@Ben Sliver (2:07) - You're insulting either the wrong girl or the wrong school. The sinner who shocked half the blog by going a tad colloquial in one sentence studies at Wellesley.

@Larry Gilstrap - I agree with JC66 that yours was a great post, but I'd like you to take your time recovering - cranky suits you.

@Banana D (11:52) - Usually disagree with you when you get political - but well said. On the other hand I can't stand the haughty Bourdain (in spite of his favoring Donkey's Place in Camden for his cheesesteaks - they are to die for.)

Mohair Sam 4:04 PM  

@Pete (3:14) - I got ya the first time. But did you notice that the great majority of women here liked it, and a few "loved" it (as did my wife)? Just sayin'.

Anonymous 4:06 PM  

I got Donkeys as overrated ( Bourdain too). But the next time you're across the bridge, do yourself a favor and hit Chick's deli. Incredibly good cheesesteaks. I'm a lifelong Philadelphian, went to school in west Philly, ( Yeah Wm. C. that's Penn) and I have Chicks as better than any of em/. It's in Cherry hill ( don't laugh); on the upside it's a real hole in the wall, and hard to find, so its had those bona fides at least.
Seriously, I wouldn't give a Phillies fan a bum steer.

Loren Muse Smith 4:07 PM  

@kidsgrownnow – here’s the point that you’ve missed and that maybe I didn’t make clear enough – my primary issue is with the public shaming of someone’s grammar. My secondary issue is with grammar “correctness.”

I absolutely teach my students not to write Me and Johnny went fishing. I teach all kinds of “correct” grammar. (And feel like a &$#@ hypocrite the whole time.) I return papers with certain errors and assign an F until they rewrite the offending sentence 10 times. I’m in fact the strictest English teacher in my high school. Some of my students spend a lot of time correcting things like We seen that movie last year. and My parents wasn’t to happy about that.

The point….. is that all this pedantry and rulery occurs inside the walls of my English language classroom. That’s where it belongs. It belongs nowhere else. Ever. Period. Because when the correction leaves the confines of the classroom, it becomes an exercise in public shaming.

My degree, however, is in linguistics, not English. You say you think that John and I laughed. possesses a “beauty and elegance of language” that Me and Johnny laughed. does not... what I’m hearing is actually “the beauty and elegance of a properly-educated person.” That’s code for Everyone look, see, admire how smart and educated I am.

Hey – I have always freely admitted that I want people to look at me and see how smart and educated I am, too. So that at least we have in common.

Are you disgusted by people who use the wrong fork or who butter all their bread at once? Do you announce this to your entire dinner party? Bet that’s a real hoot. Point out that they’re wearing brown shoes with a black belt? Tell someone congratulating a newly-engaged woman that he should have said, best wishes and not congratulations? Lots of ways to stay busy, huh?

@Ben Silver - yeah. What Mohair said. You missed the point, too.

Bruce Haight 4:14 PM  

@Loren Muse Smith
You rock! What kind of underwear are you wearing?

Aketi 4:42 PM  

@Larry Gilstrap, hope your back heals quickly. I totally understand the post surgery crankiness.

David in CA 4:49 PM  

@ kidsgrownnow
Damn! LMS beat me to it. I was just going to ask you how "My friend and I" was more "beautiful and elegant" than "Me and my friend".

@LMS - PLEASE stop doing that! Coming up with diphthong was bad enough, but thank goodness I had finished my lunch when I read your definition of "diph", which otherwise would have and me spewing soup all over my keyboard. Almost fell off my chair (OK, it is one of those "kneelers") as it was.

Puzzle great. Rex a jerk as usual. To the "it's his blog and he can write whatever he wants" crowd - do you feel the same about radio commentators who spout lies? How about "fake news" sites?

Anonymous 5:05 PM  

@jb129 11:54 wrote: Thank you BH (meaning Bruce Haight) - but I did a double take while trying to figure out the joke: BH (Bustenhalter) is the German for "bra."

Normal Norm 5:13 PM  

Larry's cranky from back surgery but what is ya'lls excuse?
Woo-hoo and Oh Yay!
You even brought Bruce Haight out to play.

sanfranman59 6:18 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 5:27 4:30 1.21 87.7% Challenging

A Medium Tuesday ... I think I may need to take Rex's suggestion of doing a warm-up puzzle before doing the NYT. My Monday solves have been terrible of late.

michiganman 6:51 PM  

Lots of anger today. The comments took a nasty turn somehow. More than usual.

Shawesome 7:29 PM  

Wow, what a day for comments!

Just came to say that I thought it was a fun puzzle, and my fastest Monday, but now after reading all the comments I feel the need to let you all know that I’m a female liberal who enjoyed the men’s underwear clues, and also thinks there should be more female crossword authors- it’s a worthy cause to champion and bring up often until a level playing field is the norm. Also, it IS Rex’s blog, and he CAN say whatever he wants- an opinion about a crossword puzzle is not “fake news.” I don’t understand all the grammar bullying- why people do it, and why people bother engaging with it.

Such a weird vibe today. Guess everybody has a case of the Mondays. For me, this puzzle made by day end better.

Joe Dipinto 8:29 PM  

y’all crucified Annabel for using me and blah blah as a subject a few days ago.

@LMS -- A few days? That column was *one month ago.* This is the *third* time you've brought it up since then -- dinner forks and buttered bread included -- the latter two times having been completely unprovoked. You are happy to denounce regular posters here as pedants, grammar snobs, "crucifiers", without seeming to realize that your own posts come across as smug, self-satisfied, holier-than-thou lectures. Pot-kettle?

We get how you feel. With an anvil. Now GIVE.IT.A.REST. Everyone's moved on, please do the same.

Winnie 8:34 PM  

A little late in the day for this, but if you read Rudyard Kipling’s Just So stories, you will recall the camel got his hump, by saying humph, humph in answer to any question — “o best beloved”.

@Loren I agree with you in not correcting a person’s grammar when it might embarrass them, but I have to bite my lip when so many supposedly well educated people slaughter English.

GILL I. 10:27 PM  

@Joe Dip. Feel better now?

JC66 11:49 PM  

Tomorrow's another day.

Graham 1:41 AM  

I was within 31 seconds of Rex’s time! Ain’t that a kick in the pants!

Anonymous 8:19 AM  

My vote for the winner would be “Inclined to stress”. Loved it!

LaurenCNM 9:27 AM  

I read this blog almost every day but almost never comment. Unlike many who comment here I usually agree with Rex and enjoy his biting commentary. But not today so I had to say something. I loved this puzzle and thought it was an absolutely perfect Monday puzzle. Funny and doable for a beginner or advanced beginner which is what I am. (yes I did this one a day late). More like this please!

spacecraft 10:06 AM  

What bee flew into OFL's bonnet? B.H. is not usually a favorite of mine, but I think he did today proud. Nothing wrong with either theme or execution, IMHO; he picks nits. If the question "Name another word for a man's underwear" appeared on "Family Feud," ALL of these answers would no doubt be on the board. Especially that last one; Steve loves to call them "draws."

I do have issue with some of the fill, mostly casualties of the fairly dense theme set. One in particular: EKGTEST. This is green paint at its worst: the EKG is by definition a test. Also I do agree that OHYAY sounds much more sarcastic than genuine, though I'm perfectly fine with HUMPH. I even like the twin-clued SLEW and FEW, and if they form EWW so what? It's in the language.

Knights fans here are really hoping for a ROADWIN tonight. ARIANA Grande could sing the anthem in her DRESSY SHORTS: DOD. Birdie.

And no, he's not back.

Burma Shave 10:24 AM  


to take a FEW DISCJOCKEYS to courts,
but her SUITORs had their OWN SELF-beliefs
to get DOWN in her MOVIESHORTS.


rondo 12:05 PM  

If you’re gonna have an underwear theme, these kinda gotta be the answers. I didn’t see much in the way of alternatives offered up. I s’pose stuff like animatedSHORTS or dresserDRAWERS might work, but so what?

There’s a SLEW (21 I think) of threes, but I’ll give a Mon-puz a pass on that.

A THIRST to DOWN SHOTS chased by ALE would make you TIPSY.

Pop tart ARIANA Grande really JAMBS. Yeah baby.

I’d SAY this was better than SOSO.

rainforest 2:46 PM  

What fun, this puzzle. What fun, the comments.

We have the gender issue re puzzle constructors. We have the colloquial vs "correct" grammar. We have people piling on @LMS. There's no resolution to any of these, other than: people need to see the essential beauty in @LMS who finds beauty pretty well everywhere, before they comment.

Also we have @Rex (dammit, I read his post today) who has it in for Bruce Haight who produced an admiral Monday puzzle with an amusing theme and managed to include INANER with nary anyone getting scathed.

Good Monday.

Diana,LIW 3:22 PM  

As a staunch defender of the finest of Monday puzzles, those with a funny/punny theme and are absolutely doable, I dub this quite mentionalble (not unmentionable, as it were).

So HaaaaaarUMPH! Is this merely a Haighter's reaction? Why else would one get one's knickers in a twist? 'Praps our leader is going commando today, and something rubbed him the wrong way.

But I digress. I found the puzzle, as noted, easily doable, the theme quite funny, and only missing a thong - thanks to LMS we are saved.

There used to be a local guy who hung out by the lake (sorry) in a Crayola-flesh-colored thong. Gave rise to the adage that one should not eat before going into the water.

And whilst I do not take much note for the DODs oft mentioned here, I must say that MTM was the last person I ever saw who actually looked good in capri pants. All others ought to forego their use, IMHO.

Erin go bragh!

Diana, Lady

thefogman 4:05 PM  

I'll be brief. I liked it. Why are some people getting their knickers in a knot?

leftcoastTAM 5:50 PM  

Thought all the themers were good except CASHDRAWERS. Just doesn't seem to have a "tycoon" association, and "cash" doesn't do it. Very fine Monday puzzle otherwise.

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