Puppeteer lewis / MON 5-21-18 / 1960s-70s Ford named for Italian city / Popular Cartoon Network programming block

Monday, May 21, 2018

Constructor: Hannah Slovut

Relative difficulty: Easy (2:42)

THEME: baby steps — first words of themers progress from BABY to ... GHOST (!?!?!)

Theme answers:
  • BABY ALBUM (17A: Holder of some precious memories)
  • CHILD PRODIGY (22A: Wunderkind)
  • TEEN VOGUE (30A: Fashion magazine spinoff)
  • ADULT SWIM (41A: Popular Cartoon Network programming block)
  • SENIOR MOMENT (47A: Temporary mental lapse)
  • GHOST TOWN (59A: Place where no one lives anymore)
Word of the Day: Lorena OCHOA (16A: Women's golf star Lorena) —
Lorena Ochoa Reyes (Spanish About this sound [ˈlore'naˈocho'a] ; born 15 November 1981) is a Mexican professional golfer who played on the U.S.-based LPGA Tourfrom 2003 to 2010. She was the top-ranked female golfer in the world for 158 consecutive and total weeks (both are LPGA Tour records), from 23 April 2007 to her retirement in 2 May 2010, at the age of 28 years old. As the first Mexican golfer of either gender to be ranked number one in the world, she is considered the best Mexican golfer and the best Latin American female golfer of all time. Ochoa was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2017. (wikipedia)
• • •

Flying high off my fastest time since I started recording them five weeks ago. That kind of success always makes one predisposed to like a puzzle, and ... yeah, I didn't hate this one, so maybe the drug of speed is having its way with me. Well, not the actual drug of speed—not sure what that would do to me. I didn't really notice the theme as I was solving, and I *certainly* didn't notice that I ended up not just in the grave but Risen From It. What the hell is up with that last themer? It was bad enough to have the "senior" answer be the horrible phrase SENIOR MOMENT, a godawful never-say-it-in-my-presence euphemism for just spacing, which honestly I've been doing since forever. I put the crackers in the fridge, like, 2 weeks ago. I'm only 48. Don't SENIOR MOMENT me. Anyway, it's the only life stage here represented by a lapse or weakness, boo. But GHOST, man, what the hell? Why you got me undead? Dang. Were there no good WRAITH or ZOMBIE phrases? VAMPIRE BAT was one letter too long (though you coulda gone BABY ALBUMS plural and made it work). Or, you know, CORPSE POSE, that works too. Not sure if the last themer is trying to be funny or what? It's bizarre. Eerie. But it's Monday and the theme is otherwise kinda dull so bring on the dancing mummies, I guess, sure, why not?

Hardest thing about this puzzle was parsing the longer Downs, specifically PILE IT ON and HOTFOOT IT. The former moreso than the latter. How do you feel about repeated small words like "IT"? Normally I don't mind much, but somehow the fact that "IT" shows up in both of the marquee non-theme long answers up top ... highlights the duplication more. If the second "IT" phrase had been GOT IT, and that answer had been buried somewhere near the bottom of the grid, I probably wouldn't even have noticed the duplication. Besides those longer Downs, the only answers that gave me pause were TORINO (29A: 1960s-'70s Ford named for an Italian city)—I had TURINO ... because the city is Turin, and also there's a video game series called Gran Turismo ... which I don't play, but I must know the name somehow. Anyhow, the "U" thing messed me up, which then made LOG weird (23D: Item in a grate). I also had trouble with NO MSG (12D: Request to a waiter), since the type of restaurant where one might actually say that phrase was inconveniently left out of the clue. I had the "G" first couldn't think of any words that would work. I got ROOD easily, but only because I'm a medievalist who teaches a poem called "The Dream of the ROOD" on a regular basis. Seems hardish for normals. Crosswordese all up and down this thing (NE and SW corners particularly stuffed). Haven't seen AIWA in forever, perhaps because it now requires the word "Onetime" in its clue. So let's just say kinda stale but mostly solid, with a final themer that, love it or hate it, at least takes the puzzle out of the realm of the mundane.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Brian 12:09 AM  

Whoa! I couldn’t copy the solution into the grid in 2:42 — yikes!

JC66 12:14 AM  

Loved GHOST TOWN. Made a meh Monday much better. And another female constructor!

Anonymous 12:20 AM  

Senior Moment crossing with the Bernie Sanders clue is pretty pretty clever

Calman Snoffelevich 12:20 AM  

Horrible,anticlimactic, erection-killer final themer. Ruined a fine puzzle.

TomAz 12:29 AM  

Since Rex has been posting his times lately, I'm going to state mine relative to his: I finished this in 2.74 Rexes. IN real time, this was average for a Monday.

In my world, jeans are made of denim, but Google tells me JEAN is a legit word. Whatever. Never heard of DRU Hill, but, again, whatever. Didn't even see the theme til Rex pointed it out, and again I'd say whatever, but when I read it, GHOST made me smile. It's a cute wrap-up. No need to be so literal, Rex. C'mon, man!

Anonymous 12:35 AM  

@Calman Snoffelevich: Was it SENIOR MOMENTS that gave you the erection you reference, or one of the earlier ansewrs?

Anoa Bob 1:00 AM  

With the G of 59D GTO as the first letter in 59A "Place where no one lives anymore", I confidently dropped in GRAVE YARD. It's a tad morbid but it's the right number of letters and it seemed like the logical next step in the progression.

The next time you're by a GRAVE YARD, ask your companions "Do you know how many dead people there are here?" When they admit that they don't, in your best PEE WEE Herman voice say "All of them".

Harryp 1:47 AM  

NSYNC and ABBA in tandem. Both are familiar to long-time solvers, and they make a good pair. Good Monday puzzle with no complaints from me. The Theme escaped me altogether, it was just to deep. Baby Steps, who knew.

Larry Gilstrap 2:06 AM  

Shakespeare had his Seven Ages of Man monologue, but our puzzle only gives us six, or actually five because of the whole GHOST thing. I vehemently do not believe in GHOSTS, but I have a great story involving a visitation from Bill, but even I try not to believe it really happened.

OFL is right on the money about that whole SENIOR MOMENT cop out. Ageism is just as discriminatory as any ignorant prejudice. Sure, some lose mental acuity with age, while some young minds never acquire it. Look around!

Very happy to see a SIMILE in full display in the cluing. A specific type of figurative language is worth knowing when distinguished from a metaphor in the English classroom, I guess

English learners struggle with idiomatic expressions. Exhibit A: SLEEPS IN means to linger in bed to native speakers. SLEEPS is a form of an intransitive which, for some reason, then is followed by a preposition which should be followed by an object. Similar examples: turn up, turn off, hang up, shut down, get up, lie down, wake up, lock up, lock down... Everybody wants to speak English, but it is so difficult, particularly when folks are judging your legitimacy. When I confront language learners, I speak slowly, make eye contact, and avoid idioms. Seems fair.

jae 2:11 AM  

Easy, mostly smooth, delightful last themer. Liked it! A fine debut.

chefwen 2:45 AM  

Typical, easy Monday puzzle with a kinda cute theme until you arrive at SENIOR MOMENT, I could write a book on those. I have about 10 of them each day, usually, when I very purposely walk into the panty and wonder what he hell I went in there for, it comes back to me when I return to the kitchen and say “OH YEAH” and have to go back. Frustrating, but good for a laugh.

Gordo 3:15 AM  

I'm glad to see MODULE in the grid and not some namby-pamby word.

alexa shortbush 3:49 AM  

I solve all puzzles on iPhone 6 and I have yet to ever break 4 minutes, (4:49 today) even when I know the answers. I suspect a full minute goes by from me deleting and retyping letters and trying to target the square I want as I read the clues.

Sunday grids are even smaller on the screeen. Suspect that most super fast times are done on PC?

Harryp 3:50 AM  

@TomAz 12:29 has a great idea about relativity. My solve time computes to 4.15 Rexes, which is Easy Monday time for me.

sanfranman59 4:13 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 5:19 4:24 1.21 86.6% Challenging

My poor day of crossword-solving continues with this late-night NYT solve. There was lots of really bad typing and I just wasn't really on the same wavelength with this one.

HASN'T (9A) and it's clue didn't land well with me. The clue for PILE IT ON (5D) seems unnecessarily confusing. I wasn't crazy about A FIRST (21A) or its clue.

Interesting theme choice for the last stage of life. Will might have generated a lot of discussion had he required embryo or fetus as the first themer.

Loren Muse Smith 4:16 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loren Muse Smith 4:18 AM  

@Calman Snoffelevich – I hope you solve puzzles alone or at least pulled up close to a table to hide your happiness. Ahem.

Rex – I’m with @JC66. I rather liked the GHOST TOWN themer; it made me laugh. Zombie movie, corpse pose, cadaver dog, stiff drink… those would have been gruesome imo. But GHOST – I smiled. I can’t be the only one who, after losing a friend or family member, wonders if they’re hanging around watching me drink straight from the oj container or sing Me and Bobby McGee at the mirror into a comb mic?

I dunno. Maybe ANGEL DUST would offend non-Christians? Can you be an angel after death if you’re a Buddhist or Muslim? I guess if you believe in reincarnation, you could have COCK ROACH or DALAI LAMA there.

I noticed the SENIOR MOMENT right over PEEWEE. Hah! Whether you’re buying Hush Hush absorbent panties for those monster sneezes or getting up every hour and a half during the night, it’s, well, the number one problem as you age. The number two problem is a whole ‘nother story. (I’m reminded of David Sedaris comparing eating while “backed up” to packing a musket.)

SENIOR MOMENT also crosses SAGE.

Rex – I had no idea that a SENIOR MOMENT remark could be offensive. I’ll have to add it to the list of potential offenses I’m learning here. Sheesh - I’m older than you, but it wouldn’t bother me at all if someone accused me of having one. Honestly, I’d be relieved to chalk up a stupid moment to my age and not my ditziness. (But if I had a legitimate gripe and my husband chalked it up to pms, boy howdy we had a problem.)

NO MSG next to TASTY – someone told me that the way MSG works is that it just makes you salivate, and so you enjoy the food more. I just glanced in google and immediately lost patience trying to back this up.

Hannah – so this is your NYT debut! Cute theme. Enjoy the limelight today.

John 4:26 AM  

Hey, at least you’re still walking into panties. But it’s a little worrisome that you can’t remember why you do it.

Kendall 4:28 AM  

I wonder what happened to me during my solve to make my reactions so different. This played brutally challenging for a Monday to me. The theme part was pretty easy to get, and I was done with the bottom half of the puzzle in just a few minutes, but it took forever to finish the top half. Something about sHari crossing ocHoa required running the alphabet. As did dRU/toRino and arN/turiNo making the word TORINO by itself really tough to figure out. I’ve never heard of the car, and it wasn’t even obvious to me we were talking about Turin. I’ve heard of Turin but didn’t know it’s Italian name was different (hence Torino).

Overall it was better than the disaster that was last Monday but I really wish there would start being some more modern stuff happening every Monday instead of stuff that could have been printed verbatim a decade ago. Or at least maybe start spicing up the clues a bit more. I double checked and there isn’t a single thing here that would need to change had this been printed in 2004. Bernie Sanders might have been tricky but he was still very much a VERMONTER even then. Here’s to hoping for hoping for some maybe 2010s content tomorrow.

Gus 4:34 AM  

I'm with @Gordo 3:15. This man is talking a lot of sense.

'merican in Paris 5:18 AM  

Congratulations to Hanna Slovut for her debut (A FIRST), but this puzzle definitely wasn't in my wheelhouse. Took me, I'm embarrassed to say, 11 Rexes. And even then I DNF!

It all started off badly with my refusing at first to countenance JEAN as the answer to 1D. The usual answer would be "denim" (which comes from the French, "serge de Nîmes", or "serge (a sturdy fabric) from the city of Nîmes"). JOBS made me change it (and "crouCh" for 20A), and then I had ERgo before ERAT.

19A ("Transports between airport terminals") also blocked me. I wanted "shuttles", "buses" or even "TRAinS", but never TRAMS. A TRAM, normally, is a conveyance that runs along the street, drawing its electricity from an overhead cable -- i.e., a streetcar. Mr. Google indicates that there are some cities that now run TRAMS to their airports. But I have never heard of one within an airport. Could somebody please provide an example?

Like @Rex, it took me awhile (tens of seconds, rather than noanoseconds) to figure out NO MSG. ACRID is a good word, but didn't spring to mind. Knew of the Lambchops puppeteer (who was big in the 1960s and died 20 years ago, for cripes sake!), but couldn't recall the spelling of her first name, and didn't know OCHOA.

And so it went, as I CAREENed through, and back, EBB and flow, trying to get purchase. ROOD was definitely not Monday-ish.

Loved @chefwen's and @LMS's HUMORous commentaries on SENIOR MOMENT. Brought a S[I]MILE to my face. Count me among those for whom the phrase has entered my vocabulary and isn't seen as offensive. My SENIOR MOMENT in this puzzle was misreading "Inquires" (67A) as "Inquiries". Sheesh.

GHOST TOWN was a nice ending, IMO. Just finished reading Lincoln in the Bardo which gives a totally new perspective on what those specters get up to in the dead of night. Had this been a Sunday, and there had been room, it would have been funny to add ZOMBIE COCKTAIL, or suchlike.


RJ 5:56 AM  

I'm with @kendall - this was the slowest Monday for me since I've been doing these and a total disaster. The NOMSG/OCHOA crossing kept me guessing for a while. Part of the problem is that I couldn't remember her name and my brain kept sending me elsewhere - I had a real SENIOR MOMENT here. I got ROOD through the fills but don't ever remember seeing it before....SENIOR MOMENT. Yeah, and JEAN. Checked down and had the J but the closest I can come is JEANS skirt. Had to change TURINO to TORINO. Had a SENIOR TWO MINUTES staring at GO_AT because my brain wanted a single word there. Took me 11 plus minutes to finish and correct and as usual I didn't even see the theme.

Is it almost Friday?

BarbieBarbie 6:12 AM  

Liz Gorski has this week’s New Yorker puzzle.

I liked this one a lot. Great debut!

Lewis 6:16 AM  

Six theme answers, taking up 60 squares, is impressive, debut or not, and any price in the glue holding it together was worth it, to me, due to the GHOST answer, which, as a punchline, brought out a terrific "HAH!". At first I thought that post-life answer should be balanced with a first answer like EGG SALAD or ZIPPO LIGHTER, but no, that would have been overkill. This was just right, perfect timing, and a promising debut.

Alexander 6:27 AM  

I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who threw in GRAVEYARD for that final themer.

My initial thought was “Kind of dark, NYT, but I like it!”

Hungry Mother 6:45 AM  

Nice sunny day here in the Mid-Atlantic for a change. Very easy puzzle, but I did a lot of downs. ROOD was a blast from the past.

QuasiMojo 6:49 AM  

I had a swell time filling in the grid without analyzing anything. Easy as PIE Charts (something I only see in crosswordland). But when I contemplated the theme, the GHOST thing did sort of give me a pause. Un ange passe. Kind of creepy to think of all the babies, children, teens, and adults who never made it to their SENIOR moments. I'm going to hold my breath and say a little prayer until we're past this one. Not sure I needed a little Black HUMOR on a Monday morning.

But I will add that it always stuns me what Rex claims not to know. TORINO? Isn't "Gran Torino" the name of some recent Clint Eastwood movie? And a famous car? Give us a break, Rex. Haha. Congrats on the super-fast time today. But man, Speed kills.

Odd Sock aka Dancing Mummy 6:52 AM  

Questions, questions.
If the woman golfer isn't Michele Wii I don't know her. Even then I might be spelling her name wrong.
Do we really need a whole paragraph to clue ABBA? Swedish pop group is enough.
Does my waiter have any say in whether the food has MSG or not?
Worker for the day made me think of those crowds of men who hang around the plant nursery parking lot hoping you need them to dig a hole for you.
Tetra not clued as an aquarium fish? That's a shock.
I think the Las Vegas airport has trams.
I must not be parsing the cartoon network right. Adults Wim or Adult Swim? Neither one has any meaning to me.
Senior moment seems like a lame excuse for just being stupid. If it's a real senior moment do you realize it?
As I saw the age progression thing I wondered how it would end. Ghost is pretty funny way to do it. That was the only saving grace to this boring puzzle.

Hungry Mother 7:01 AM  

I had “one way” for the Mars voyage after reading about the plans. “The Villages” wouldn’t fit for GHOSTTOWN, neither would “Florida.”

Andrew 7:02 AM  

The theme was alright, but the NE corner just about killed me.


All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms;
And then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Anonymous 7:05 AM  

Interesting. This puzzle had aroused you?.

Anonymous 7:14 AM  

SENIOR MOMENT is not offensive but PMS moment would be offensive?

Anonymous 7:20 AM  

Clint Eastwood-Gran Torino, 2008, Very Good movie

Woman Solver Lorena 7:21 AM  

Senior moment isn’t a euphemism it’s a dysphemism.

kitshef 7:27 AM  

I do sometimes try to talk non-solvers into trying the NYT puzzle, recommending they start with Monday puzzles, which are generally good for beginners.

I was therefore dismayed to see DRU, ROOD and ARN in there.

I was more dismayed by the implication of the reality of GHOSTs. Body surfs, maybe?

Ricky Gervais starred in some odd and unlikely romantic comedies in the late 2000s that are pretty good. GHOST TOWN is one of them, also starring crossword-friendly Tea Leoni.

Mary Ambridge 7:29 AM  

What the heck is ADULTSWIM?

Reasonablewoman 7:36 AM  

I am 70. Call me an old man. Call me an old fogi or fart. Please do not call me a senior (that is a 12th grader or a 4th year college student) Most importantly do not call me 70 years young. That has caught on in recent years, and while considered clever (too cute by 2/3rds) it is actually quite patronizing.

Puzzle was slightly hard in spots but fun. Didn't peruse after completion so didn't see theme-wish I had. I don't think I'm a prude but it was nice to see a smut-free grid. So I guess I'm a bit of a prude. When I read 52D I thought of Tippi Hedren and "The Birds"

Anonymous 7:40 AM  

Did not know this word. Love it.

mathgent 7:40 AM  

I liked the progression ending with GHOST.

I've never heard SENIORMOMENT used as an insult. Old folks like me use it as a comment about themselves when they have a memory lapse. Not insulting themselves, more like an apology.

I'm reading The Only Story by Julian Barnes. The lead character is a nineteen-year-old in a London suburb in the sixties. He observes that most of the older people in the town do cryptic crosswords from either The Times or The Telegraph. He doesn't do them and conjectures on why the elder villagers do.

1) the desire to reduce the chaos of the universe to a small, comprehensible grid of black-and-white squares.
2) the underlying belief that everything in life could, in the end, be solved.
3) the confirmation that existence was essentially a ludic activity.
4) the hope that this activity would keep at bay the existential pain of our brief sublunary transit from birth to death.

FLAC 7:45 AM  

Three comments about this excellent debut puzzle:

1. I'd rather be a GHOST than ASHES or DUST.

2. I thought doing crossword puzzles was supposed to protect us from SENIOR MOMENTS. Some of the posts today give the lie to that.

3. @Lewis - Your reference to "Egg Salad" somehow triggered a memory of the great Gene McDaniels singing "A Hundred Pounds of Clay." Now that's the kind of SENIOR MOMENT I like.

Marcie Watts 7:53 AM  

I translate my Senior Moments into “ cognitive overload “.

Wm. C. 8:17 AM  

OFL says it's easy, as Mondays should be, but for me it played late-week hard. TeenVogue/Careen?/Humor crossing Beau/Berm/Neo got me for a while. In the NW I filled in Shari quickly, and vaguely remembered Ochoa, but the rest of the block was tough going. Finally the W crossing AIWA ans AdultSwim was a total Natick for me.

Hey, Monday is usually my least favorite day, too easy, so a challenging Monday is welcome. But this one was very unsatisfying. Oh, well ...

Tony 8:27 AM  

ROOD is rude on Monday. The other bad cross was the proper names in the northeast.

Elle54 8:39 AM  


Anonymous 8:56 AM  

Christians don’t believe that people become angels when they die. The phrase risen from the grave doesn’t refer to being a GHOST.

booksell 9:09 AM  

@mathgent: I just finished Julian Barnes' The Only Story. Thanks for posting his character's interesting take on crossword puzzles. Loved this book.

jberg 9:10 AM  

I loved many of the things @Rex didn’t— PILE IT ON, ROOD, and especially GHOST. I got the theme with CHILD, and liked it, but was dreading a lame revealer. A reference to the melancholy Jacques would have required two more themes, a lot to ask for. GHOST solved that problem beautifully. GRAVE is a place, not a person.

TORINO is Italy’s Detroit, where they make gadzillions of Fiats. Odd choice for a Ford model name— but the only crossworthy 6-letter Italian city starting with T.

I liked the IRATE/ELATE crossing; I liked a couple of other things, too, but I can’t remember what they were.

And Why 9:16 AM  

Levi material - jean. Burlap bag material - bag.

Mark 9:22 AM  

Much harder than a typical Monday. Had to stop and think several times instead of loping through without effort.

Z 9:23 AM  

I like my beer bitter. I like my coffee bitter. So, yeah, I love a little bitter in my xword puzzle. Nicely done.

@LMS - I’m with @Reasonablewoman here. Mostly fine when it’s used by a person of a certain age, but otherwise patronizing and rude. Myself, my spouse, my in-laws - all okay. Anyone else, boy howdy.

Speaking of @Reasonablewoman - Gender fluid?

I had many far less charitable thoughts at the Bernie clue (sexist, bigot, ineffectual, NRA shill). I agree with many of his policy positions but he has always rubbed me the wrong way just a little, and then the more I learned about him it grew from rubbing me the wrong way to full blown chafing.

8D was getting a lot of “hetero-normative” side eye on Twitter last night. On the one hand, “not every case” and “don’t use part of the answer in the clue” seem prohibitive barriers, but tossing in a “maybe” would definitely bring the clue into the 2nd decade of the 21st century. It really was just 15 years ago that a lot of anti-gay marriage ballot initiatives were passing. How quickly things can change sometimes.

Z 9:31 AM  

@jberg - Once in a Great City, about Detroit in 1963, shares quite a bit about the development of the Ford Mustang, including that it was going to be called TORINO but wasn’t because a certain Ford was having an affair with an Italian and didn’t want to call attention to that fact. A fine book that I recommend to anyone with even a passing interest in recent American history.

Blue Stater 9:32 AM  

ADULTSWIM [what can that possibly mean?] crossing AIWA? On a *Monday*? Huh? First Monday I have ever, in more than 50 years, DNF'd. Or first I can remember, anyway, speaking of SENIOR MOMENTs.

Andrew Heinegg 9:35 AM  

What I know from my own life experience is that, if I suggest to my wife or she suggests to me that she or I are having a senior moment, there will be no problem and perhaps a laugh. When she was of a pms age, were I to 'accuse' her of behaving badly because of pms, I would know within seconds of the words leaving my mouth that it was the wrong thing to have said. Of course, her reaction to the accusation would only convince of the correctness of my assessment. Battle of the sexes and all that;

Anonymous 9:42 AM  

I used to do the USA Today puzzles, but there was a stretch of what felt like 5 in a row (it was probably 5 within two weeks) where the lower-rightmost down was ENDS clued as "some eligible receivers." I got so pissed at seeing that over and over again that I stopped doing those puzzles entirely. And here it is again (though with a different clue, thankfully).

GHarris 9:43 AM  

Perhaps I misread but I fail to understand Rex’s aversion to ghost as being undead. and his preference for vampirehood or zombie status.
Those are undead states; ghost is an emanation of the dead returning for a brief visit. Nice to see the return of careen, a word I used growing up. Then, somehow, it was replaced by careered, a change I never understood nor warmed to.

Ellen S 9:57 AM  

So, conversations with mother’s sister had always been circular - she would go downtown, come home and report on exactly what she had for lunch. She’d find a question, like “Does [fill in the female unmarried relative’s name here] have a boyfriend?” She’d ask that every few minutes, interspersed with some other not very meaningful questions, which, once answered, were repeated often. But as she aged it became markedly worse, she would become confused about who we were going to visit (e.g., my sister, her other niece). My mother took her to a gerontological nurse for an evaluation. What the nurse said was chilling. She said you can tell how bad a person’s cognitive decline was going to be by how frequent the lapses were when younger.

I was in my late thirties or forties at the time, and like @Rex had been putting the ice cream in the refrigerator and fresh produce in the freezer forever; and blocking on words and of course forgetting names. People tell each other “Well, everybody does that,” but what if those lapses are portents, as the nurse suggested? Now I am in my mid 70s and I have enough brain left that I know I am losing A LOT MORE words than previously. I used to joke that the last thing I would be able to say would be “aphasia.” The other day I tried to make that joke and I couldn’t remember the word!

Anyway, I found this puzzle a little tough for a Monday, but I like that a lot better than ho-hum fill in the blanks. (Ho-hum fill in the blanks puzzles are *not* supposed to help your brain, by the way.) Other than JEAN, I like this one even though as usual I didn’t see the theme until coming here. I resisted JEAN until the very end but nice debut, Ms Slovut!

Nancy 9:59 AM  

GHOST was the piece de resistance of this puzzle -- the thing that showed off the constructor's wicked sense of HUMOR. Best of all, I never saw it coming. Did you?

Until then, I was finding the puzzle easy, serviceable, and perfectly pleasant, but nothing more.

Happy to say that I never had a single SENIOR MOMENT. I knew and remembered the few proper names. There was one clue/answer though that I don't understand at all: ADULT SWIM. But then I don't watch the Popular Cartoon Network. (Don't know if I even have it.) I would have clued 41A: 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. at your local pool, maybe. That's what they do at all our local pools, making it impossible for a late-riser, non-morning person like me to ever swim with the grownups and not the kiddies. Sigh.

Loved HOTFOOT IT and PILE IT ON. Thought this a much better than average Monday -- even though it was quite easy.

Stuart Showalter 10:01 AM  

Although I don’t object to “senior moment,” I like “cognitive overload” a lot and will start using that expression.
I maintain that the occasional momentary lapse—by whatever name—comes from having a mental thumb drive so full of information, experience and wisdom that it takes awhile to access the data.

ArtO 10:02 AM  

Great debut puzzle. GHOST. Wonderful if you've got any sense of humor.

As for SENIORMOMENT, I loved it. Gives me a cop out at least a dozen times a day!

Anonymous 10:05 AM  

I know cars aren't your thing but Gran Turmiso Omlogato is something you might want to know. It was used by Ferrari for one of the most coveted cars of all time-the 250 GTO. So important is that name, and by extension initials, Pontiac coopted it for a car. A much loved thing called simply a GTO. (Not in the same league as the beauty from Maranello.) One Ferrari 250 GTO was sold not to long ago for north of $50 million-- the highset price ever for a car.

As for Grand Torino, Mr. Eastwood's movie is world's better than the ford ever was.

And as for Ford having hard feelings over things Italian. The all-time example is the Ford GT 40. Created specifically to beat Ferrari at LeMans. It seems Mr. Ford ( Henry the second) was epically pissed at Enzo Ferrari for walking away from a a proposed merger at the elenth hour.

If anyone is still reading. Prodigies are children. The child part is redundant, no matter how elastic language is, that is simply wrong.

GILL I. 10:07 AM  

I never know how long a puzzle may take. While I'm buttering my toast, I'll enter a word or two. Then it's pouring the coffee; take a sip or two, enter another word. In between looking in the fridge for my favorite marmalade, dipping sweet strawberries in cream and putting napkin to mouth, I've finished. A most delightful finish.
I loved this age progression. Haven't many of us been through them already? I'm in the SENIOR MOMENT category and I wear it like a badge of honor. I've earned EVERY SINGLE SCAR its taken to get there and wouldn't change a thing. GHOST is my next finality. I most certainly do believe in them. Not the mean kind that come back to tsk tsk you for drinking out of the oj carton, but the ones that are there when you don't have the foggiest idea of why you walked into your panty and suddenly it appears and shows you the way. I'm sure you all have experienced that halo spiritual effect. I have. I've also seen my life flash in front of my eyes.
Loved this debut HS. Fun Monday.

'merican in Paris 10:07 AM  

@Odd Sock aka Dancing Mummy -- Thanks for the answer regarding airport "trams". That does seem to be what the Las Vegas airport calls their inter-terminal monorail, but that is stretching the normal meaning of "tram" IMHO. In any case, too obscure a usage for a Monday, I'd say. Could have been clued a 100 other ways.

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

re: adult swim folks. In case you wanted to know instead of simply register ignorance:

The Cartoon Network repurposed the phrase "adult swim" - well known from YMCA and community swimming pools as the part of the hour when kids are evicted from the pool so adults can enjoy the water unmolested - to name their late-night programming block of animated shows with adult language and themes. It started almost twenty years ago. The Beatles are a new thing too, for some.

Anonymous 10:18 AM  

I've almost always, if not always, heard the expression SENIOR MOMENT spoken in a spirit of humorous self-deprecation by my elders. But please press on with your efforts to expunge all possibility of offense from the language. Let me know how it works out.

Roo Monster 10:21 AM  

Hey All !
Maybe a morbid end, but as I read the themers post solve, I got a chuckle out of GHOST TOWN.

Liked the puz. Congrats on the debut, Hannah. (Palindromic name, hers.) I'm sure @Nancy is among the others here who haven't heard of the TORINO. It was a Ford model in the 60's-70's. Sporty, although it did have four-door and Wagon models. Remember "Starsky and Hutch"? Yep,TORINO.

Isn't NO MSG the kitchens responsibility? You can request it to the waiter, but I doubt they will even write it down.

@mericans - Here in Las Vegas, we have two trams (four, technically, as two tracks for two gates) that take you to and from C & D Gates. The D Gate one starts elevated, then goes underground, the C Gate one is all elevated. Even the signs say "Tram to C/D Gates".

ADULT SWIM is a block of cartoons aimed at, well, ADULTs. On The Cartoon Network, maybe? Not 100℅ on that. I also think it's on late night? Anyone confirm?

ULM reminds me of this Monty Python sketch. :-)


Anonymous 10:22 AM  

Sort of. Torino was considered, as was thunderbird II, cougar and a couple of others. Both Torino and Cougar had marketing plans developed. I don't think T-Bird II did--it was just junior's personal fave. Anyway, rumor has it that lead stylist John Najjar was a fan of the P51, hence the name.

Roo Monster 10:24 AM  

Oh, also wanted to point out the 12 threes Down center of puz. Weejects heaven for a certain poster.
And seems alot if I'd today.
Now I'll HOT FOOT IT out of here.


Nancy 10:33 AM  

So I'm planning a big, lively, fun party. It will be filled with lots of people "of a certain age", like me. And who do you think I'd rather have at this party? The people who cop to their own most indelible SENIOR MOMENTs and joke about them, sometimes trading WAR STORIES with one another? Or the people who are offended and *shocked, shocked* by the very phrase SENIOR MOMENT. Take a wild stab at my answer.

If a sense of HUMOR doesn't help keep aging people youthful, I don't know what does. Once again, I'm GOBSMACKED by the ability of so many people to be offended by just about anything.

Amelia 10:45 AM  

I don't usually comment on Mondays except maybe to remind you of the New Yorker puzzle. (If one more idiot on my Facebook page says what do you mean I do the New Yorker Times puzzle every day, I may scream.)

But I must, upon learning this is a debut.

It's terrific! I actually had some minor trouble with it (on a Monday!) and I loved the theme.

A woman constructor, a terrific puzzle and a death theme! Loved it.

The Clerk 10:45 AM  

Would have bet on more comments on here regarding CAREEN/CAREER

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

@Anon. 10:05 you cray cray. Prodigy - prodigious - is applied to children but it is most certainly not limited to children.
Here's Wiktionary on "prodigy"
You have to get half way through definition 5 before finding a child.
Get over it.
Prodigious, dude.

Lorena Bobbitt 10:46 AM  

Of all the countless times I’ve seen Els in crosswords over the years I can’t recall it ever being clued as “Men’s Golf Star Ernie.”

Sgt. Hulka 10:52 AM  

I agree with anonymous at 10:16. I’ve only known “senior moment” to be used humorously, never pejoratively. Lighten up Rex.

old timer 11:12 AM  

Very slow for a Monday. Almost a DNF thanks to the NE. HOTFOOTIT simply did not come to mind at first, and I forgot about TRAMS, which in my experience are buses that look like trams, though in some cities there are indeed tram-like vehicles with no driver -- Heathrow comes to mind. However it did all come together.

VERMONTER was easy. My wife is a VERMONTER by birth, and I have been to that state often. And I have always liked and admired Bernie Sanders. You do have to understand that Vermont is a very pro-gun state. People like to hunt there. Anyone who lives in the country is likely to be armed, and even city folks (Vermont has two cities that count, and a few that don't) are likely to have a camp by some lake, complete with a set of rifles and shotguns. You don't win re-election to Congress and the Senate by being anti-gun, which explains Bernie's position. OTOH you certainly can support reasonable regulations, which Vermont has. Vermont has the most reasonable legislators you are likely to see anywhere, and even if you live in Burlington, you very likely personally know the folks you elect to office.

jb129 11:21 AM  


Malsdemare 11:32 AM  

Oh this was fun. I was just a skosh over my average, about 4 Rexes. I got the theme halfway through and nodded knowingly at GHOST. Just a few months after my dad, a doctor, died, his brother had serious surgery. The surgeon, a close friend of my dad's, told us later that as he made the first incision, my dad showed up, in scrubs, by the door. He stayed during the entire operation, left as Uncle John was sutured up. The story still gives me goosebumps. So, yeah, GHOST works for me.

PILEITON went in almost at once, although I initially wanted just PILEON. JEAN struck me as off and ADULTSWIM took forever. I had ADULTS—IM and had to run the alphabet for the W. Good Catholic girl, I knew ROOD, I have a friend Lisa Ochoa so Lorena was easy, a rare moment when something current was in my wheelhouse.

@Anoa Bob. My great Aunt told me that joke when I was14, so it’s been around a lot longer than Peewee. I can't pass a cemetery without smiling.

I took Malsdejay to the airport this am and in the 45 minutes I was gone, the 90 lb Malamute perched himself on the kitchen counter, moved the food processor out of his way (to the floor), ate a loaf of bread, and then proceeded to open a box of 9 Penzey's spices. He managed to get the lids off of three. Last time we left him, he carefully removed the lid from the compost canister, placed the canister in the sink (standing up), and then gorged on recycled banana peels and slightly rotting onions. I have ordered two Scat Mats.

Gotta love Mondays.

'merican in Paris 11:37 AM  

@Roo Monster: Thanks, but @Odd Sock already pointed that out. My point is that, whether or not a few places (in my view, erroneously) call their monorails "TRAMS", only those who have been to such places would ever know of that usage. Perhaps fair for a Friday, but not for a Monday, is my point. For a Monday, the constructor or editor should use a clue that is closer to the more common usage.

Banana Diaquiri 11:45 AM  

for those not around at the time, the Ferrari GTO name wasn't just for yucks:
The Ferrari 250 GTO is a GT car produced by Ferrari from 1962 to 1964 for homologation into the FIA's Group 3 Grand Touring Car category. It was powered by Ferrari's Tipo 168/62 V12 engine.
the wiki

the car was intended to be raced, and needed to meet certain requirements, thus the name.

Malsdemare 12:01 PM  

@Stuart. Yup, jam-packed thumb drive! I have a magnet on my fridge that says, "In my next life, I'll have more memory installed." My theory about SENIOR MOMENTs is that we've always had these lapses, usually when we've a lot on our minds. But now, with grey hair and wrinkles, they've been recast as signs of cognitive decline. Horse hockey!!! Stress, depression, diabetes, certain drugs, all can contribute to having more lapses. Worry only makes it worse. Trust that your sensible, loving others will let you know if there's cause for concern. And exercise; recent research suggests that 30 minutes a day actually contributes to the creation of new cells in the brain, a finding that contradicts what's been believed for forever.

Isn't there a TRAM at Dallas-Fort Worth?

Nice debut, Hannah.

Lewis 12:01 PM  

My five favorite clues of last week:

1. Bolted down (3)
2. It contains M.S.G. (3)
3. Hog's squeal? (4)
4. Industry filled with press releases (10)
5. Ham go-with? (6)


Joseph Michael 12:11 PM  

Congrats on the debut, Hannah. Enjoyed the evolution from BABY to GHOST. Also liked the use of descriptors that are universal since they are not gender specific. I just wonder what TOWN that gender-fluid ghost is headed for.

With answers like OCHOA, ARN, and DRU, this did not play easy for me. Thought the clue for BEAU was a little off since to me it suggests a steady flame rather than the indiscriminate flirtations of a "lover boy."

Mohair Sam 12:20 PM  

@Hannah - Every now and then I do a puzzle and wish I'd constructed it. Today was one of those days - terrific debut, keep 'em coming.

SENIOR MOMENTs aren't a problem until you walk into a room and yell to your wife "Honey why'd I come in here?", and she yells back "I forgot".

I do agree with Rex on Zombie for GHOST - at least zombies are real. I have actual watched some ADULT SWIM on the Cartoon Network (it's cartoons that don't bother with double entendres), it was funny stuff. But I've "cut the cord" and Cartoon Network was one of those I sliced. @Z - Same Bernie experience here.

Was at the Betsy King Classic in nearby Virginville, PA about 15 or 20 years ago when Lorena OCHOA won her first tournament. While Betsy was giving her speech and readying to introduce the winner Lorena was off to the side on her cell phone. When Lorena was awarded her trophy she was laughing openly. Betsy asked her why the giggle and Lorena explained that she had just called her mother and mom had hollered at her because she was watching on one hour tape delay in Mexico City and Lorena's call had spoiled the exciting finish.

@Anon (7:20) - Yeah, "Gran Torino" an ace flick.

Joe Bleaux 12:28 PM  

Thank you! And enough with the "Sweetie," too. (Which, I suspect, I get from the same clever clowns who address you as "Young lady.")

Teedmn 12:47 PM  

GHOST TOWN - as my sister-in-law is wont to say, "Good HUMOR!"

My mom had a BABY book for me - I don't know if she bothered doing one for my younger brother. So I ignored the plural lack in the clue and plopped in BABY books at 17A but MOM helped me change that to ALBUM (sweet irony?).

I liked this, thanks and congrats on the debut, Hannah Slovut.

fiddleneck 12:55 PM  

Isn't it a tram to terminal 5 in Chicago? ORD.

Z 1:12 PM  

@Anon10:22 - You might enjoy Once in a Great City. The chapter "The Vast Magnitude" tells the story about the naming, including the reason for ditching TORINO. Maraniss does urge "...to consider the reliability of that account in the context of who was telling it:...."

tea73 1:36 PM  

Felt slower than usual today. 3.7 Rexes. To my surprise my time today equaled my average according to the NYT. Mind you that probably includes a few longer times when I forgot to pause the app when I answered the phone - a disadvantage of doing the puzzle midday. One of these days I'm going to remember OCHOA - I have several clients currently with that last name.

I always forget to look and see what the theme is on Mondays since I don't generally need it to help solve the puzzle. I thought it was cute. Nice debut!

Check your spelling 2:00 PM  

@chefwen and @ gill i. both have their pantries in a wad.

'merican in Paris 2:23 PM  

@fiddleneck -- This official ORD website doesn't use the word TRAM once. The conveyances are referred to as ATS or "people mover", or TRAins.

puzzlehoarder 2:27 PM  

I did this on paper last night and it was a good puzzle. It was harder than the average Monday for reasons others have pointed out. How much longer it took is hard to say. By the time I got into the lower half I kept falling asleep. You could say it was all one big SENIOR MOMENT but I was just that tired. At least I've reached the point where I can solve a Monday in my sleep because that's virtually how I did it.

Matthew G. 2:30 PM  

This was the best Monday NYT theme in a dog's age. I really laughed when I got to GHOST. This had a daring darkness to it that you rarely see in the NYT, especially in an early-week puzzle. Two thumbs way up on the debut, Hannah.

jberg 2:49 PM  

@Z, thanks for the book suggestion, I'll put it on my list (which is longer than I like to admit).

@Loren, I think I finally figured out your avatar! It's the stage before the stage before BABY, right? Brilliant, as usual.

@'mericans -- as I understand it, TRAM is a generic term for robotic cars than run from terminal to terminal on tracks that are up in the air. I think they took the name, though not the cables, from cable cars that run up, down, or between mountains. At least, if I'm in an airport and you tell me the best way to my gate is to take the train, that's what I'll look for. Many airports don't have them, however.

Banana Diaquiri 3:21 PM  

TRAM is a generic term for robotic cars than run from terminal to terminal on tracks that are up in the air.

it's the generic term for an electric rail street car (currently USofA term is light rail), mostly used in Europe.

Deke 3:25 PM  

What Gus@4:34 is saying is what needs to be said, again and again, with fierce conviction.

LHS 888 3:28 PM  

DTW has a tram.

Z 3:33 PM  

@'mericans - Detroit Metro calls its in terminal train a TRAM.

@jberg - It's an entertaining and easy read. My father-in-law, who worked at Ford as a young lawyer and so knew many of the principals, read it in a single sitting. Also, no fair spoiling @LMS's avatar. ;)

Joe Bleaux 5:18 PM  

@Loren (from yesterday): Before "Here, hold my beer" was what it has become, the redneck's last words back home were "Hey, y'all, watch this!" (And next thing you know, Johnny Knoxville is a star.)

Bryce 5:35 PM  

Another hand up for GRAVEYARD. I nearly clocked a Rex-level time and lost a minute sorting that out.

old timer 6:23 PM  

'Merican, few if any airports have monorails. Might be one somewhere, but really the monorail that counts is in Seattle. One of those tourist attractions that are useless to everyone one, with the exception of those who are staying in one particular part of Downtown, and have a mysterious desire to see the Space Needle in person.

Now if you become a 'merican in Seattle, the best place to stay is at Pike Place, one of the few public markets that rival the ones in Paris, and the incredible market in Lyon. Capitol Hill just east of Downtown is worth a stroll. But really for me once you have seen Pike Place, the only rival for a tourist is the Government Locks up in Ballard. In fact, I don't know of a place in Paris that can compare. You can spend hours watching the ships come in an go out through the locks. Where to eat? Seattle has great restaurants, but for my money, Ivar's Salmon House on Lake Union can't be beat. Good fish, but the view from the outside tables is about as good as you will find anywhere, and you get to watch those same ships that went through the Locks.

GILL I. 7:48 PM  

"Americans.....I'm adding my two cents because I always do. I'm going to add to @old timer's observation.
Sea-Tac in Seattle is probably the finest (in my estimation) airport in the Pacific Northwest. You get off the plane, walk a few paces and get on the monorail to your luggage area. Then you get on the Monorail which comes every 6 minutes or so, to Seattle Center. I won't even begin to tell you what hotel to stay in - I'm sure you can get a list. BUT...If you're in town, and want to splurge, got to the Palisade Restaurant overlooking Elliott Bay. Skip it if you don't like seafood.....My mouth waters thinking of scallops as an appetizer.......
@Check your spelling: That was the whole idea... :-)

katherine catmull 8:18 PM  

ugh my times have been getting better and better but this one SLAYED me. In fact I had a DNF (on a MONDAY) because I could not get past NO MUG for NO MSG. Cleary it was wrong but I just couldn't imagine what else it could be.

Anonymous 8:22 PM  

That upper right corner was brutally hard for a Monday! Got tasty and that's it and it was just a lucky guess.

Unknown 11:00 PM  

Oh please.

G. Weissman 11:48 PM  

Hey Lewis, what were your five favorite clues from last week? People have been dying to know.

Kimberly 1:10 PM  

It’s only Turin to Americans. To Italians, it’s Torino. Like Florence=Firenze and Rome=Roma and Naples=Napoli. Not sure why we Americans in our grandiosity choose to rename and Anglicize everything. To say “the city is Turin” is false. At best you can say “We call the city Turin.” Because the city isn’t Turin. At least not to any of its residents.

Burma Shave 9:45 AM  


SHARI and JEAN are gonna PILEITON him:


thefogman 10:58 AM  

I found the answer to 47A a bit offensive - i.e. ageist. That's probably because I'll soon be just one step away from the GHOST level. All kidding aside, hats off to Hannah Slovut for a creative and fun debut puzzle.

spacecraft 11:04 AM  

Now I KNOW that OFL can't count. "--since I started recording [times] five weeks ago." So, weeks:years::seconds:minutes. Pretty close. OK, now I understand.

A no-revealer life progression, omitting zygote and embryo, and winding up with? GHOST. Hm. Well, that's one way to achieve a non-ending. She blinded me with...not science.

I would never presume to accuse a 48-year-old of a SENIORMOMENT...but wait. There's that counting problem. Maybe he's really 84. Who knows? I don't refrigerate MY crackers, and I'm 78 tomorrow. Just wait a while, @Rex. Those SM's will become more frequent. Deal with it.

An OK puzzle, some iffy fill but also some that's zippy. Lotta weejects, but for a debut, passing fair. TERI Hatcher is a many-time DOD; she adds to her collection today. Par.

rondo 11:29 AM  

Wow, CAREENing from the cradle past the grave. Don’t necessarily want to HOTFOOTIT there. But I suppose the nine letter GHOSTTOWN answer is better than a mausoleum.

Since I got Sling TV last fall I have ventured to ADULTSWIM a few times. So I do know it is a thing.

I did get a chance to see yeah baby Loren OCHOA play in a tournament in person in 2006, but chose to follow then number one Annika Sorenstam on Sunday for a come from behind win; even had a brief conversation with her – in Swedish. Wish I coulda retired at the ages those gals did.

Gotta like a puz that starts with my middle name. Before I have a SENIORMOMENT and forget - Happy Birthday tomorrow @spacey!!

rainforest 2:07 PM  

Nice lively, well, deathly puzzle, elevating Monday to fun status. While not actually complete, the progression from BABY to GHOST was enjoyable to watch unfold. For years, I would frequently "imagine" my Dad's ghost lurking near me, which was comforting. Hard to accept that I am 14 years older than he was when he died. Maybe I'll be a ghost, too, and just hang with him.

My wife and I had three kids. For the first, the BABY ALBUM achieved the size of a coffee table book; the second's was more like magazine-size, and poor daughter, the third, was memorialized in a nice post-card sized tome. Stuff happens.

Really liked the puzzle during which I'm sure there was not one SENIOR MOMENT.

Diana,LIW 2:28 PM  

I suppose we could have ended with GRAVEdoubts or a GRAVEsituation. More personal than the entire TOWN.

And how about the old "eye glint?" You get the picture.

Golly gee - here I thought SENIORMOMENTs referred to the wacky way you feel during the last few weeks of senior year in high school. Nothing, no nothing, gets done.

Thought it a bit pushy for a Monday. I knew ROOD, but only after seeing it. Wouldn't have run thru my vocabulary and found it.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoastTAM 2:44 PM  

It's all been said, but....

Yes, neat progression. Pauses at AIWA/...SWIM and ROOD. The SWIM thing was the only unknown, the other two vaguely known, but fully revealed with crosses (crucifixes?).

Pretty good Monday stuff here.

thefogman 6:07 PM  

Before I become a GHOST, I'd just like to add...

Not bad for AFIRST. In her blurb on Chen's page she says she's only been solving xwords for "about a year and a half". Hannah must have been a CHILDPRODIGY. She surely has good JEANs. A TOAST to Hannah!

Pat 6:44 AM  

puzzle for 6/26, if you connect the letters, A-G you a picture of the Big Dipper

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