Monarch renowned for his wealth / MON 10-1-2018 / Going off script / Yom Kippur War clash / Architect Frank

Monday, October 1, 2018

Constructor: Chuck Deodene

Relative difficulty: Medium


THEME: THE END IS NIGH — Theme answers end in homophones for "nigh." (I'm not sure if it's called a homophone when it's just a syllable but bear with me. I've spent my English major focusing on analyzing poetry, not on the finer points of grammar.)

Theme answers:
  • THE END (38A: With 39-Across, doomsayer's assertion...or a phonetic hint to 18-, 24-, 51- and 61-Across)
  • IS NIGH (39A: See 38-Across)
  • DRAMATIS PERSONAE (18A: Characters in a play, formally)
  •  SULTAN OF BRUNEI (24A: Monarch renowned for his wealth)
  • FIGHTING ILLINI (51A: College team from the land of Lincoln)
  • BATTLE OF THE SINAI (61A: Yom Kippur War clash)

Word of the Day: ARRAU (2D: Pianist Claudio) —
Claudio Arrau León (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈklau̯ðjo aˈrau̯]; February 6, 1903 – June 9, 1991) was a Chilean pianist known for his interpretations of a vast repertoire spanning the baroque to 20th-century composers, especially Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt and Brahms. He is widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century.[1] Arrau was a pupil of Martin Krause, who was a student of Franz Liszt.
 (Wikipedia)
• • •
So Rex apparently hated this one (he even called it a "clunker" on Twitter!) but I don't really get it? I think he said there were a lot of duplicates but I'm not sure what that means exactly. Were any of the words duplicated? I swear, I've been doing this for years but I still don't get all the lingo. I was admittedly a little disappointed by such pedestrian fill as NYSE, IRT and LAPD. But I thought it was cool how GENE XER ended up (sounds like the punchline to an extremely dorky joke), and some of the fill was okay; LADES is a neat word, for instance, and...okay maybe that's it. Listen, it's a Monday, let it live!   

I literally* did not understand the theme until after I finished the puzzle, but I think that's more of a testament to how I should probably go to bed than it is a reflection on the puzzle. It was actually one of the more interesting Monday themes I've done in a while, even though I have no idea how anyone should be expected to have heard of the "Fighting Illini." What in the heck is an Illini? Illinus? I can't really say anything, though, Wellesley's mascot is "the Blue." Like, literally just the color blue.  It would have killed them to make us the Bluebirds or something? We play pretty well, though! "...for a bunch of stinkin' girls," the antagonist in a '90s movie with lovable child stars might say.

Bullets:
  • GORP (47A: Trail mix) — Here's my recipe for Gorp: 
    • 1/2 cup M&M's  
    • That's it
    • Seriously who likes raisins anyway? Not me, that's for sure
  • IX-NAY (54D: No in pig latin)  — OMG. According to the laws of pig latin, "no" would be "oh-nay." Just saying.
  • HANG TEN (45D: Do a surfing manuever) — I actually learned how to surf when I was a kid. I did a lot of crashing into the beach, not a lot of hanging ten, though. But my sister is a pro at it! I forget how old she was when she learned but right now she's thirteen and could kick my butt in a surfing contest any day.
  • FUN (63D: When said three times, Beach Boys hit) — This is one of the nicest Monday earworms I've posted yet. So upbeat!
*speaking of grammar, please don't rules-lawyer me over the use of the word literally, that's my pet peeve and I will literally dissolve into dust

Signed, Annabel Thompson, tired college student.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

[Follow Annabel Thompson on Twitter]

122 comments:

Cory Calhoun 12:19 AM  

The duplicate I noticed (and it's called out over at Crossword Fiend):

35D - NEARFATAL
55D - NEARS

That is... yeah. Like, I'm sure the *meaning* varied ("almost" versus "approaches"), but still not OK.

Kyle Baasch 12:23 AM  

I too had ohNAY before IXNAY and suffered for a minute in the SE, what with ILLINI not exactly falling into place. IXNAY is pig latin for nix, not no. There are very few instances in which ixnay and no are interchangeable, and they are all extremely idiomatic, such as "ixnay on the SE" or "no on this theme."

Kevin Salat 12:24 AM  

I think the duplication was in 35D and 55D—at least that’s what stuck out to me!

Anoa Bob 12:35 AM  

I have always pronounced the AE at the end of a Latin word as a long E in English, so that the ending of 18A DRAMATIS PERSONAE would rhyme with "knee", not "NIGH". A quick check with both a hard-copy Random House and the online Merriam Webster confirms that as the first pronunciation. Hmmm.

Brookboy 12:46 AM  

Thank you for an amusing and entertaining review. I especially liked your idea of gorp. By your definition, my wife and I have gorp regularly.

I thought it was a rather challenging Monday, maybe more like a Tuesday.

I don’t know what an Illini (illinus?) is either. Seems a bit daft to aspire to become a “fighting Illini” (unless, I suppose, you’re from a family of “fighting Illini”, in which case I don’t think I’d want to go on a pub crawl with you).

I enjoyed the puzzle.

Larry Gilstrap 12:55 AM  

I've been reading Rachel Carson lately, who reported that THE END IS NIGH nearly 60 years ago. Chance she was wrong? The theme seemed fine to me, the long I-sound and all of that.

Growing up, I heard about foul-mouthed LENNY Bruce, but how does his foulness compare to recent Senate hearings? Asking for a friend. Maybe, I should check him out on YouTube, and decide for myself. I'm guessing his humor had more substance than just smut.

Note to Annabel: why read OFL on Twitter before you post your review? Also, you need to start watching some more Three Stooges, because IXNAY is Pig Latin for "nix." Might I suggest the episode where Moe becomes Dictator of Moronica. Nearly as scarily prescient as Silent Spring. Actually, just be you, the highlight of the first Monday.

GEHRY designed Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown LA. I raved about it once here and somebody called him a hack. Don't just look at pictures, go see a show and experience the space!

puzzlehoarder 12:56 AM  

A minute over average so slightly difficult. I've really got the SHTETL spelling down by this point. AFLAC and CORGI not so much. Ks had to be changed to C's for both. DRAMATIC had to become DRAMATIS but that's not so bad. GEHRY is back again but I spelled it correctly the last time too.

For the second half of 35D I could only come up with DEATH initially and left that part blank. GEL did'nt come to me on first try either. I had to come back to that section. Even as I filled it in I misread "below" as "under" until YELL went in from the crosses.

That E of AME is something I should know out right but in went in from the cross entry also.

jae 1:36 AM  

Tough. More like a medium Tues. Cute, liked it.

@Annabel - I went to grad school in Chambana so Illini was etched in my brain. Rex went to Michigan so he would know his Big 10 opponents.

...and Rex is right, the duplicate NEAR is annoying.

FUN fact, FUN FUN FUN has the same intro as Johnny B. Goode and Roll Over Beethoven. Louis Jordan did it first with Ain’t That Just Like a Woman.

AlexP 1:58 AM  

63D: When said three times, a Beach Boys hit. FUN FUN FUN. The song reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in March, 1964.

Larry Gilstrap 2:15 AM  

And another thing: UN NO! joins the list of grunting answers in the NYTX. Heads up fans of guttural responses.

chefwen 2:16 AM  

This has probably been answered 10 times already, but an Illini is someone from Illinois. Illinois University.

Pretty chewy for a Monday. 18A was the most difficult for me.

Liked it a lot.

Anonymous 2:44 AM  

Played like a pretty normal Monday for me, but I call a Monday foul on the SHTETL/SOBA cross. FIGHTING ILLINI also seems a little too obscure for a Monday. I've only seen all these words in crosswords so I expect they'll give people trouble given that they cross.

ZenMonkey 3:03 AM  

My experience was yours, telescoped: cute Monday, but oh-hell-nay on IXNAY. Should have been clued "Uh-uh" or something, quotes included, because as it is the clue's asking for the *literal* literal ;-) answer.

Loren Muse Smith 4:33 AM  

I tell you – our &^%$ spelling is a hot mess. To have all these ways to spell /naɪ/ - man oh man. I liked seeing all the combinations. And I’m so glad I learned about DRAMATIS PERSONAE and how to pronounce it (the second way listed - hey, @Anoa Bob). Never encountered that puppy, but I’ll keep it in my back pocket for when we do Romeo and Juliet. I have to teach Macbeth this year, too.

Ok. Here’s why I have dismissed Maya Angelou. A long time ago, she was on Oprah, and Oprah told the story of walking down the street with Maya. Fans would approach her and say, Maya, I love your work. Oprah said Maya would smile and say, Thank you. But it’s Dr. Angelou. I cannot get past this. Cannot. You’re a famous writer, you have to let people call you by your first name and not go all doctorate on anyone.

I’ve been up to my neck in homecoming stuff. I’m in charge of the float, which is a descent into hell. (Note for next year – need staple gun, zip ties, black plastic tablecloths, extension cord for glue gun.)

Chuck – cool to see the various spellings of NIGH. Annabel – a pleasure, as always.

Lewis 6:14 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 6:21 AM  

Very clever theme idea, riffing on "the end is nigh". It's a Monday theme for sure in a puzzle with a fair number of beyond-Monday words, which newbies might find frustrating. I learned that I've been mispronouncing "dramatis personae" in my head all my life (I don't think I've ever said this term out loud), and I liked all the theme answers -- they, in addition to ARRAU and GEHRY, seemed to class up the puzzle.

BarbieBarbie 6:55 AM  

Normally I don’t subscribe to the “LCD-only” worldview, but I totally agree on the Angelou thing (LMS 4:33). Even if trying to make some kind of point about dignity she should have used Professor, which trumps Doctor. But normally, you don’t slap somebody down with your dignity. I get it a little bit though- in professional correspondence I sometimes feel I need to include credentials and title in my signature to make sure I’m not going to be ignored, and to a great extent that’s because I’m female. (Not snowflake-ing here, just pragmatic.) Angelou may have felt the need to advertise for similar reasons. Too bad.

This puzzle was on the slow side of Medium for me, but felt Easy. I wonder if it would have gone more smoothly if I had started with the Downs. Anyway I liked it, and didn’t notice the duplicate. Good Monday!

Hungry Mother 7:12 AM  

Very easy here. The long theme entries almost filled themselves in. Winter is Coming. Cool here this morning. Leaving for Florida at the end of the month.

kitshef 7:20 AM  

Finally caught up after vacation. Some good puzzles, some not so good. Really liked the September 9 Sunday puzzle, but oddly hated the September 23 that seemingly everyone, even Rex, liked.

Surprising how many ways there are to get that sound. The puzzle uses:
NAE
NEI
NIGH
NI
NAI

But could also have used:
NYE (as in Bill)
NY (as in deny)
NEYE (as in Goldeneye)

Frank Birthdaycake 7:42 AM  

This was a decent Monday, and I liked the theme. Annabel is right on the money with her GORP recipe. I’m a GenXer, and I couldn’t stand hearing as a child that “Raisins are nature’s candy.” I’m happy to hear as a middle-aged adult that raisins are loaded with sugar – just like chocolate – and aren’t much better (or worse) for us than chocolate. My questions for Annabel are Is the “P” in your recipe silent? and Do Peanut M & Ms also count as GORP on their own? Are there any other variants I should know about?

Jeff 7:45 AM  

Thought this was really hard for a Monday, but Fighting Illini was the easiest of the themers for me--and any college football fan.

ghthree 7:51 AM  

I went to high school in Illinois, so Fighting Illini was a gimmee.
The Illini were an Indian tribe from which the state got its name.

In Latin class, we were taught to pronounce second declension feminine plurals
(such as PERSONAE) to rhyme with "sigh" so no problem with that.
And in pig Latin, we used ix-nay for nix.

@Loren Muse Smith: To me (as to you) Ms. Angelou's insistence on being addressed as "Doctor"
sounds a bit snobbish. But if I were black, having people address me by my first name might
strike me as patronizing. I haven't walked in her shoes, so I'll give her the benefit of the doubt.

chefbea 8:08 AM  

Tough for a Monday!!!

mmorgan 8:10 AM  

Much crunchier than the average Monday, given the diversity and depth of the themers. Not that I found it difficult... Maybe "meatier" works better than crunchier? Either way, I liked it a lot.

But what really struck me is the way Annabel's voice has changed over the years. I wasn't sure at first if it was really her write-up, despite the date. So much confidence and strength, growing far from the teeny-bopper-ish "Gee, wow, I don't know these words, puzzles are SO HARD" of earlier years (I'm paraphrasing for effect of course).

Great review!

tb 8:12 AM  

@Chefwen

A person from Illinois is an Illinoisan. Illini was a confederation of Native American tribes.

michiganman 8:23 AM  

Enjoyed the puzzle and the write up. Annabel, you sounded a little Rexian with your contempt for the FIGHTINGILLINI, wondering how anyone could know it if you did not know it. Also a question: Is your pet peeve misuse of "literally" or pointing out misuse of "literallly"? Thanks for your write-up.

The Illinois Fighting Illini football program represents the University of Illinois in college football at the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision level. Illinois has five national championships and 15 Big Ten championships and has the 8th most NFL Hall of Famers in college football history.

Anonymous 8:35 AM  

@Larry. You are right that Lenny Bruce was much more than a user of profanity. A good biopic, "LENNY", was done in 1974 with Dustin Hoffman in the title role.

Wonky is as wonky does 8:58 AM  

The University of Illinois Champagne-Urbana's mascot for a long time was Chief Illiniwek...he was retired as a mascot in 2007 for obvious reasons. I'm kinda surprised they didn't retire the "Fightin' Illini" name as well because it's basically the same thing.

Also, i pronounce most words ending in -AE rhyming with "day" as in, I dunno, SUNDAE. Maybe that is another of Rex's redundancy issues? If you're going to insist AE rhymes with "nigh," then why would you include it with a word so clearly contrary to that? I would say "persawn-ay" anyway...but that's just me.

This puzzle was wonky as all hell.

Anonymous 9:00 AM  

LMS gthree,

Actually Maya Angelou didn't have a doctorate. She was given many honorary degrees, you know to lure her to speak at graduation ceremonies for fame and money, but Angelou did not have any degree, not even an undergraduate degree.
I can't call her insistence on being addressed as doctor as an act of snobbery, but rather, but robbery. She was usurping a title she didn't have any right to. And of course calling someone with an honorary doctorate "doctor" simply isn't done. Dr. Glenn Beck? Dr. Big Bird? Dr. Bill Cosby? Come on? The list of folks w/ honorary degrees is endless. There is however no tradition of calling such people doctor. It's rank silliness. She spent years at Wake Forest; she knew full well that honorary degrees conferred no such title, yet she insisted on usurping it. Lousy. And shame on anyone who kow-towed to her nnonsense.

Rex Parker 9:03 AM  

I was put off by the ungodly amount of old-school fill. I didn't actually notice anything about "duplicates"—not sure what that means. The theme seems fine to me. Just wish the grid were polished.

RP

Nancy 9:07 AM  

Well, now I've learned to pronounce the ILLINI of the FIGHTING ILLINI. I thought it was pronounced ill-LEE-nee. But because of the theme, I now see it must be pronounced ill-uh-NIGH. So glad I've never once had any need to pronounce it at all.

An intelligent Monday puzzle that requires a bit of thinking and that has a cute theme. The fact that all the NIGHs are spelled differently is a plus. NIGHce job.

Hartley70 9:08 AM  

I spent double my usual Monday time on this puzzle so I call it challenging. It is a very worthy Monday successor to the marvelous Sunday yesterday. I didn’t know of the FIGHTINGILLINI or that there was a monetary alternative to the Japanese yen. I had to play around with SHTETL for a bit and kick out a C that wanted in. The theme had an unremarkable phonetic theme but it was executed in a more than usual sophisticated manner. I’m a fan!

Sir Hillary 9:12 AM  

Very nice theme. But a Monday puzzle with AME, LXI, IRISE, YAW, GRO, ANA, XER and ARRAU (among others) needs some more work.

Never realized his name was pronounce Len-NYE Bruce. ;)

Anonymous 9:22 AM  

It takes a lot of ego to “dismiss” a celebrated author just because she has standards. Throw your shade elsewhere.

Anonymous 9:38 AM  

I heartily endorse and readily filled in IXNAY. Yes, it’s an idiom, probably a dated one. But truly fun.

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

A clunker, and that's being kind.

Suzie Q 9:44 AM  

This was a lot more fun than the usual Monday.
Early in the solve I noticed sundae and personae so I wasn't sure where this was going. Turned out to be a red herring.
I had to go back through the theme answers to discover that yes, they all end in the same sound. I like a new twist on sound progressions.(or whatever this sort of thing is called)
Any college sports fan knows Illini but thanks to all for the background on the name origin.
I wasn't sure where Loren's story was going but I was expecting something about Oprah being jealous about not being the topic of admiration. Correcting a fan seems really snobbish.

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

@anon 9:22,

If you're referring to me, get lost.
I wasn't dismissing Ms. Angelou. I was castigating her penchant for self aggrandizement. It was her refusal to abide by the academy's standards that is the problem.
My ego doesn't enter into the discussion a whit.

Nancy 9:56 AM  

@Loren (4:33) -- I never saw Maya Angelou's behavior on the Oprah show you mention, but what you describe -- and the conclusions you draw from it -- doesn't surprise me in the least. Every time I ever saw Angelou on the screen, I just couldn't continue to watch. She struck me as chilly, pompous, humorless and enormously self-satisfied. She completely failed my "famous person test." The @Nancy "famous person test" consists of a single question: Is this someone I'd enjoy having lunch with? Or is this someone you couldn't pay me to have lunch with? And I think that having lunch with Maya Angelou would be an excruciating experience, at least for me.

Some of my choices might surprise everyone. Having seen both Justice Breyer and the late Justice Scalia interviewed on TV, I would much prefer to have had lunch with Scalia. Couldn't disagree with him more, but he had such a sparkling, entertaining wit. Breyer, even though I agree with his opinions, struck me as a dry, over-earnest bore. All my lunch companions would have to be warm, witty and capable of self-deprecating humor.

Dawn Urban 9:58 AM  

Yes, this was too easy.

In Moline, Illinois, the team mascot is the Maroon. It is a tiny person strutting along in a (maroon) "M" sweater. Weird. So I sympathize with you, Annabel.

In Dickens' THE PICKWICK PAPERS, the political rivals, are the Blue and the Buff. Don't know what a Buff is, either, except that it is only to be found in 19th-century England.

Anonymous 10:14 AM  

There are actually *three* "correct" pronunciations of *personae*. One, the classical, where the end sounds like *nigh*, which is what the puzzle-constructor obviously wanted. Second, a medieval or ecclesiastical, where the diphthong *ae* collapses into a long *e*, and the ending would sound something like *nay* (which is normally the pronunciation you want if you are singing hymns that have a Latin *-ae*, such as Dies irae). Third, a sort of modern pronunciation in English where the long *e* needs a long vowel but for some reason is neither nigh nor nay, but, knee, as in the traditional Anglicized pronunciation of dramatis personae. British English, and I think neo-Latin (especially legal Latin) on both sides of the ocean, will give the Latin *ae* a pronunciation rhyming with knee, as in Aeschylus (Latin via Greek) pronunced EASE-ka-lus almost always in Britain and often so in the US, although many Americans would go with ESS-ka-lus.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

GILL I. 10:24 AM  

Oh my God...You're dissing Maya Angelou? Please don't.
First of all, She's been misquoted up the ying yang. I'm not doubting someone heard the Oprah quote but, frankly, I don't believe it. Bet it was out of context.
I met Maya on a flight from San Francisco to Dallas. Brazen that I am, I went right up to her seat and told her how much I admired her. She asked me to sit down next to her. I did, but just for a while. She asked about ME and why I was going to Dallas. I won't bore with details. After the flight, I was heading to catch my ride into the city. She and her entourage approached me and asked if I needed a ride. I should have said yes. Her assistant called her MAYA not Dr. No matter
@Nancy, I can assure you, you'd find her one of the most charming, alluring women of all times. Her voice alone is enough to make you smile. She was smart, interesting to talk to and I promise, you'd be mesmerized.
I, too, Like mi AMIGa @Nancy, always thought it was pronounced Ill-LEE-nee. I guess I've also mispronounced PERSONAE. The NAE is the same as the last sound in SUNDAE. So, @Suzie Q and I had that same DOH slap.
I rather enjoyed the puzzle, two NEARS and all. It had some meat and I learned a thing or two.
I learned the word GORP on this here blog. It sounds like something you'd do after you ate it. I'll go with Annabel's M&M's recipe.

Nancy 10:40 AM  

You've thoroughly convinced me, @GILL and I'm quite chagrined. I guess there are some people who simply don't come across well in a TV interview. But your real-life experience has to be far more accurate. I find it very revealing and extremely appealing. So, let's all three of us have lunch, GILL -- you, me and Maya. Really sorry, Maya!

Lewis 10:41 AM  

My five favorite clues from last week:

1. Irony? (6)
2. Something you might kick after you pick it up (5)
3. Starbuck's order giver (4)
4. Store that should really have a spokesperson (8)
5. Collapsed red giant? (4)


FERRIC
HABIT
AHAB
BIKE SHOP
USSR

Anonymous 10:49 AM  

@Anon, 9:47, read the blog before casting aspersions. I was commenting on “Loren”’s earlier remark.

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

Gill,
Let me get this straight. You don't doubt that someone heard the story about Maya Angelou, you just doubt the veracity of the story?
That's a distinction without a difference. I'm sure Miss Angelou was lovely, and no doubt her personal assistant did use her familiar Christina name. But surely yours is just an anecdote. That's one data point. LMS's story is also a data point. Why does yours carry extra weight?
I have friends on the campus in Winston-Salem; I'll stick with the charges as leveled.

By the way, it's yin. Not ying.

CaliMarie 10:52 AM  

Rex, please get Poggius 10:14 to sub for you some time. He or she knows his/her stuff!

Anonymous 11:04 AM  

@anon 10:49,
Re-read my post. I specifically asked whether you were addressing me. owing to the fact You weren't the comments are moot. In any event there were no aspersions cast. Then. I'll cast one now. I think you're dim.

Z 11:05 AM  

I thought the theme was entertaining enough to compensate for any flaws in the fill.

Fascinating discussion on FIGHTING ILLINI. There are definite native American roots, but ILLINI is now a fairly common term for anyone from Illinois (sorry, @tb, but this Michigander has never heard anyone call anyone a “Illinoisan” - that may be “correct” but is #101 on my list of top ten names we call ILLINI).

@Anon9:00 - Methinks you don’t really understand why doctorates are awarded. Specifically, honorary doctorates are often (usually? always?) awarded with all the rights and responsibilities of any other doctorate. Meaning, of course, that if a university awards one an “honorary doctor of philosophy” that person is now formally addressed as “Doctor So and So.” This degree, like a research degree, recognizes original work.

As for @ LMS’s story, I think people are missing the point. It is rude to address someone to whom you have not been introduced by their first name. It is especially rude with undertones of racism to do so to an African-American. To focus on the title is to ignore that people were being incredibly informal and rude by addressing her as “Maya.”

Roo Monster 11:05 AM  

Hey All !
Rex, old school fill? What about WINGING IT, HANG TEN. LADES, IXNAY, FISHFRY and others? Seems fresh to me. Just sayin'.

Grid is 16 wide, in case anyone missed that. It's TRUE(R)! Did like the subtlety of the theme. Simple, focused. Speaking of FIGHTING ILLINI (we were, right?), I used that as a themer in a puz I made whose theme was 'Words (phrases) with five of the same vowel'. Got rejected on the U one, though. Sorry @M&A. :-)

The NEAR dup is OK. Tough to change, since the FATAL crosses three themers and 55D crosses two in close proximity. No SNUB from me.

ROOS! Need I say more?:-)
Liked the line of GORP SIBA LXI, close to OOXTEPLERNON.

YELL THE END IS NIGH NEARS ones EAR. LMAO
RooMonster
DarrinV

Peter P 11:08 AM  

@Nancy - "Illini" is pronounce ih-LIE-nigh. The stress is on the second syllable, although the third might have a secondary stress because of the long vowel. The first syllable usually ends up as a schwa for me in spontaneous speech, but anywhere from a schwa to an /ih/ (what is colloquially known as a "short i" sound, or /ɪ/ in IPA).

If all that is mumbo-jumbo, here it is on Youtube: https://youtu.be/2BuBPVtVqLU?t=12
"So the Illini strike first."

I live in Chicago and went to a Big 10 school, so that one is a rare long gridded gimme for me.

I'm embarrased to say, I finished 95% of the grid and then was stuck on the last few answers and had to ask the app where my error was. Turned out I had DuH/uBI instead of DOH/OBI. Completely moronic on my part, but I'm still learning all those common 3-letter crossword words. So, what should have been a quicker-than-average Monday for me turned into a DNF (assuming it is customary to count "check puzzle" as DNFs. I have no idea what the convention is here). :(






Anonymous 11:09 AM  

@gill,
Not only did Angelou insist on being called doctor, Salon famously defended that peccadillo. (National Review three days before the nonsensical Slate article published an article explaining why it was absurd that Angelou be called doctor).

It is a matter of fact; uncontested to my knowledge, until I read today's comments.

Three and out

SouthsideJohnny 11:12 AM  

What a stinker - no fun to solve. To much archaic PPP for a Monday - Arrau, Brunei, Gehry, Illini . . . YUK ! As for @Z - I disagree - if I were fortunate to meet someone like Robin Williams or Walter Cronkite, it would be "Robin" or "Walter". No one would say "Dr. Williams" or "Dr. Cronkite". More PC Snowflaking run amok, lol.

TJS 11:14 AM  

@Nancy, Illini is stressed on the second syllable, long "i". The state name is of course stressed on the third syllable with no "s" sounded. Sorry if I sound like @Z.
I have a similar mental test for celebrities, and even for people I meet for the first time. Spending 6 months of the year on a lake in Wisconsin, I ask myself "how would you like to spend 2 hours in a boat with this guy ?" Once my wife and I were invited to dinner by another couple. Their choice of restaurant announced your name when your table was available. This couple was announced as "Doctor and Mrs. So and So". I knew it was going to be a long night.
Annabel, nice write-up, and enjoyed your gorp recipe too. I think that, considering the history of our relations with Native American tribes, it is atleast a good idea to learn the names of the tribes that so many of our states are named after. There histories make for fascinating study.

Anonymous 11:15 AM  

@CaliMarie - why would someone who knows his/her stuff make a good sub?

Anonymous 11:20 AM  

@z,

Me thinks you've never been award a PhD, honorary or otherwise. I also am pretty certain you don't work in a university setting.
As for the all rights and responsibilities clause, yeah, it's the same words on the paper that real Ph.Ds. get, only, ya know, it's not real. And the folks who get honorary degrees, have neither rights nor responsibilities in the academy.
Why don't you defer to someone with some actual expertise for once?

Heck, let's ask rex. He has a PhD. Would say you Michael? Should Maya Angelou have been called doctor?

RavTom 11:31 AM  

Breyer agreed to speak (for free) at my daughter’s middle school class when the teacher (whom he didn’t know) invited him. That has earned him my undying gratitude. I’d say he’s not so much dry as shy, while Scalia was a real extrovert.

TJS 11:37 AM  

Good God, @Z, this is just one quick list of people walking around with doctorates:Bill Cosby, Aretha Franklin, Ben Affleck, Celine Dion, Diddy, Dolly Parton, J.K. Rowling, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Kerry Washington, LL Cool J, Meryl Streep, Morgan Freeman, Oprah Winfrey, Orlando Bloom, Robert De Niro.
Do you really "methink" they should be addressed as such? Any chance they received their "honor" to get them to show up at a graduation ceremony?

GHarris 11:40 AM  

Lenny Bruce was a brilliant social and political satirist whose language was tame by today’s standards. He was hounded by the Church and blue noses around the country. His multiple prosecutions deprived him of work and he died of a drug overdose an embittered man.

JC66 11:44 AM  

@Z

Not to pile on, but how would you address Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, LLCoolJ or Lebron James if you happened to run into them?

pmdm 11:46 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle, perhaps because it seemed more difficult than a typical Monday. I have more important things to do than to worry about the appearance of NEARS and NEARFATAL in the same grid, but for those who dislike that type of thing, I can see why they are upset. Perhaps needlessly, but justifiably (if that isn't a contradiction).

gtthree et al: When I was in first year HS Latin, my teacher pointed out that the pronunciation of AE in Latin is disputed. Normally, it seems to be pronounced as a long A as in dies irae. But there is a Latin word, quaero, meaning to ask. Quaero is the obvious word INQUIRE is derived from, so perhaps AE was pronounced in ancient times with a long I sound. I don't know and I must admit I really don't care that much.

Z: I didn't finish yesterday's puzzle till 9 PM (and have yet to finish Saturday's), so I didn't post a response to your question. I never watched any of the Star Wars movies, so I did not know Leia was a princess. I thought Anne was a queen, not a princess. I stopped watching Disney animated movies a long time ago, because they were getting too cute for me. (Others obviously disagree.) So I had no idea Belle was a princess. For some reason, I knew Xena was a princess even though I never watched the show, but that wasn't enough to let me get the connection. I guess I am an idiot.

Joseph Michael 11:53 AM  

This was one of the better Mondays I’ve seen. Like the wordplay in the theme and the challenge in the clues. And, though I have worked in theatre for many years, I discovered today that I didn’t know the correct pronounciation of DRAMATIS PERSONAE (a term that I have rarely heard used outside of a classroom).

I attended and later taught at U of I, so FIGHTING ILLINI was a gimme. Didn’t like the repetition of NEAR and there was some crosswordese I could have done without, but overall the grid was solid.

Still under the influence of yesterday’s puzzle, I see that ANA is lying on some GORP and GENE is over the SINAI. Meanwhile LENNY Bruce has nothing to rest on, but couldn’t be closer to TRUER.

Banana Diaquiri 12:04 PM  

there was a time, lasting through the 19th century where the reactionaries choose to live, that the Doctorate was awarded as the academy saw fit. no fixed requirement. I guess we should rid ourselves of Kentucky Kernels, too.

Anonymous 12:06 PM  

MIAMI MICE on the second row made this one for me

Anonymous 12:17 PM  

To CaliMarie (10:52): Many, many thanks for the very kind words. But I think Anon. (11:15) is right: I know some stuff but not that much, and I would not make a good sub.
Anon. i.e. Poggius

Hikin' Hank 12:24 PM  

The word gorp is actually an acronym for Good Old Raisins & Peanuts.
Sorry, no M&Ms involved.

GILL I. 12:25 PM  

@Anony 10:50...I didn't understand a thing you said. And by the way it's "Christian" not Christina.
@Nancy. Tongue in cheek? I don't think even God can resurrect the dead. ;-)

Anonymous 12:29 PM  

@ Z, Does everything said or done towards a black person always have to reflect on their race? Maya A. does not deserve respect any more or any less than any other person.

Georgetown Prep Alum 12:37 PM  

Thank god AME was clued as French for soul, as it actually hurts my soul to have to dredge up the African part of African Methodist Episcopal from the recesses of my brain.

Masked and Anonymous 12:56 PM  

Kinda liked havin both NEARFATAL and NEARS in the same puz. As in: "THE duplicate IS NIGH! Or at least a synonym!"

Vocab in this puz sorta blew the bark off the moo-cow. Started off with a nice ARRAU. Then went with DRAMATISPERSONAE and SULTANOFBRUNEI. M&A knew he was in for a fight, at his house. Then things settled down a dash, until we hit SOBA/OBI and SHTETL. I sorta knew all those last three, but worried about the entry-level solvers. Looks like the luvly Blu'Bel did pretty well, tho -- sooo … ok.

FIGHTINGILLINI: ILLINI have been in puzs a lot, often clued with the FIGHTING part. But appears it was not in Blu'Bel's wheelhouse, so maybe also nigh on to toughish for a MonPuz.

Luved the theme revealer. WINGINGIT & NIGHFATAL & CIRCUS & FISHFRY & HANGTEN were primo longballs.

staff weeject pick: AME. Clued as French -- *yikes*. Better clue: {Preceded by a runt-roll from out of the west: Burning like the dickens}.

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Like father, like ___} = SON.

Thanx for the nighs and nears, Mr. Deodene. Hey -- would ANEYEFORANEYE qualify? Outlier? … Yeah, kinda thought so.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


**gruntz**

Jean 1:00 PM  

Coming from the Midwest, I do know about the Fighting Illini. Coming from Wellesley (class of 1959), I have never heard of a mascot named Blue. I am familiar with the color Wellesley Blue. Do try to get enough sleep!

Off the grid 1:02 PM  

I suppose Mr., Mrs., Ms. could be used to convey respect and formality. When I was young (I'm 71) ALL adults were Mr., Mrs, Miss. No first names ever unless preceded by Aunt or Uncle.

pabloinnh 1:05 PM  

I liked this one just fine, a little tough for a Monday beginner, maybe, but I was a beginner many, many puzzles ago. Also, following the "personae" rule, I discover that alumni and alumnae are pronounced exactly alike. I guess.

There were several teachers with doctorates at the high school where I finished teaching (yeah, it was that kind of high school) but only one who preferred to be called Dr. ____. Others never mentioned it at all. Different strokes. In the small backwater town I grew up in way in upstate NY, a church finally hired a minister with a doctor of divinity degree. He liked to be called Dr. Hayward, but no one ever did, because he obviously did not practice medicine. I got over that one by going to college.

Agree that our guest reviewer is blossoming, which is fun to watch.

Anonymous 1:08 PM  

As in bits of corn?

Anonymous 1:09 PM  

Nice pick up.

Teedmn 1:19 PM  

I normally follow @Annabel's GORP recipe myself, but when my husband mixes his own, he uses golden raisins which I actually love. Though I have to admit, I will pick out M&Ms so that I have a 2:1 ratio of M&Ms to raisins (along with the peanuts he adds.)

Hand up for always pronouncing PERSONAE as ending similar to SUNDAE. (Don't tell me - it's SUN-DIE, har).

I was recently forced to wait 15 minutes after a vaccination to make sure I wasn't going to faint or something. I must have looked crestfallen at the pharmacist's announcement - when I bewailed that I hadn't anything to read, she got someone to bring a magazine. I had said that I didn't care what it was (Farm Journal, Popular Mechanics, bring it on). I was given People - the Royals edition. Argh, I didn't know before how much I don't care about the Royal Family - now I know all too much about the queen's CORGIS. 15 minutes has never dragged so slowly.

Thanks, Chuck, this was by no means a NEAR FATAL Monday.

Good ol' Joe 1:24 PM  

Uh, no

TomAz 1:25 PM  

1. I liked the theme a lot.

2. I know ILLINI mainly from college football. It was one of the easiest answers in the grid.

3. DRAMATIS PERSONAE was hard for a Monday. LADES was also un-Monday-ish. Combine that with the absolutely unknowable ARRAU and the NW was tough.

4. Never heard of ARRAU therefore I declare this puzzle invalid. How dare the constructor!

Fashionista 1:45 PM  

Buff is a color. Pale pale brown.

Jim Finder 1:45 PM  

Nancy, it's ill-EYE-nigh.

Fashionista 1:47 PM  

Enough already

Fashionista 1:51 PM  

Hello.

Dawn Urban 2:11 PM  

@Lewis, thanks for the memories (of last week)

If you do an annual Top Ten; Starbuck's order giver: AHAB; would be a serious contender, I hope!

JOHN X 2:28 PM  

Well this is the third day in a row that JOHN X had a DNF. it was DuH crossing uBI, which someone else above also did but that's little consolation to me. If I had any sense of honor I'd mercy-kill myself, but fortunately I have never been afflicted with a sense of honor so don't worry I'll be okay. It's after 11 AM so I guess I'll get drunk and blast the "Victory at Sea" soundtrack just like Dick Nixon.

jberg 2:29 PM  

When I took Latin in high school, we were taught that the feminine plural ending was pronounced eye -- or, with the n before it, nigh -- the first time I ever heard it as knee was when, 50 years ago, I was visiting a friend who was going to Wellesley, where there is a building called "Alumnae Hall," pronounced alum-knee. My hypothesis was that the pronunciation was changed to avoid any confusion with the masculine alumni. It's probably more complicated than that, though.

The U. of Ill. has, literally, 20 gazillion students and a huge research reputation, as well as a strong sports program. But it's in the Midwest, I guess.

As for Maya Angelou, maybe everybody could calm down and try to see other people's points of view. Also, I guess she is a celebrity, but mainly she's a poet.

Fun puzzle, fun theme, and good writeup -- thanks, Annabel!

Anonymous 3:05 PM  

When I earned my (real) doctorate, but not in medicine, I got two bits of good advice - a medical doctor dubbed me a NARD (Not A Real Doctor), and
my teacher told me: "Now, don't let me ever hear you call yourself Doctor So-and-so, unless you are calling a cab or reserving a table at a restaurant."

OTOH, LMS has made me sad for the first time ever, by not understanding the context of an African-American adult being called by a stranger by her/his first name. Maya Angelou was known to me personally, and she is knowable by reading her books and poems; anyone who mistakes her for some kind of vaunting Queen Mary II is really in need of reading her works in the context of Donald Trump's, I mean White Power, I mean Craptastic Coal-Mining MAGAAmerica.

Anoa Bob 3:16 PM  

"MIAMI is the place where neon goes to die." (LENNY Bruce)

Illannoyian 4:03 PM  

What power of 10 (Big?) is a gazillion.

Ed C 4:06 PM  

Change NEARS to NEAPS (as in tides), which also changes SOARS to SOAPS. It’s not great, but it avoids the duplicate.

Ed C 4:09 PM  

I had a Miami Mice t-shirt as a kid. Got it at the mall where you could pick out your own decal and watch it get pressed in front of you. Thought it was great at the time.

Trail Mixer 4:12 PM  

More on GORP from World Wide Words:


Gorp

Q I would be interested to hearing more about gorp. I was told that it stands for “good old raisins and peanuts”. I ate this regularly with a sprinkling of dark chocolate chips while I was working on my Bachelor’s degree. Given this is an acronym, perhaps the origin is spurious?

A This is a common term in the US for a type of high-energy snack, especially — as you imply — one containing raisins and nuts, plus chocolate. American hikers also know it as trail mix. The first example in the Oxford English Dictionary dates from 1972.

It’s said that it comes from the acronym you quote, but that’s certainly spurious. It’s just a well-meaning attempt to explain a word about whose origins the experts tend to shake their heads sadly.

Some dictionaries point rather uneasily to some appearances of the word as a verb from earlier in the twentieth century. In 1904, the publication Dialect Notes noted that to gorp was to eat greedily; this is backed up by other references recorded in the Dictionary of American Regional English. A possible link is obvious enough, though a direct connection isn’t recorded and etymologists have to be cautious.

In turn, that word may one form of an older English verb variously spelled as gaup, gawp, gorp, gowp, gawk, or gauk. One basic meaning is to stare in a stupid or rude manner. But an earlier sense was of staring open-mouthed in witless astonishment. This seems to have led to gawp up, meaning to devour (presumably from the open-mouthed bit of the meaning), which just might have led to the early twentieth-century American dialect sense from which our sense may have later derived. Sorry to hedge my language so heavily, but we really don’t know for sure.

Steven Milne told me after this item appeared in the newsletter that he knows another supposedly acronymic origin from the 1960s: “From my earlier Boy Scout days and canoe trips up the Gunflint trail on the Canadian border in Minnesota, gorp was understood to stand for Granola, Oatmeal, Raisins and Peanuts, and that’s what we mixed up to eat.”

Masked and Anonymous 4:17 PM  

p.s.
Forgot to mention … Really nifty-funky puzgrid layout. Central zone looks like it's doin a mambo chain dance, or somesuch. Different. Like.

While I'm here, let's talk NEAR#2 in the SE corner. Those themer endings down there make things real challengin for a constructioneer to build grid fill.
Problems:

1. 54-D has a I?N?? skeletal entry. Always harder, when U have vowel-something-consonant+etc.
2. And then U got 55-D right next door, with N?A??. Similar troubles to 54-D.
3. And then U got 56-D with an I?I?? base. Better than the other two, but still somewhat limitin.
4. Since we don't want 55-D to be NEARS, and if U won't buy off on the easy NEAPS/SOAPS fix, next best 55-D fill is NEATO. Unfortunately, U already have that there NEATER entry, pre-splatzed in at 46-A.
5. U *still* can get some sorta decent fills, if 56-D can be the swankier-than-snot ITISI. But then U get a duplicate IT and a duplicate IS [see 11-D & 39-A].

Anyhoo, I'd go with NEAPS/SOAPS.
Otherwise, best M&A could do [no way necessarily the best that can be done] down there is:
ILLINI
NE*XED
ESINAI
*SCALE
**EYED

But this produces raised-by-Wednesday-wolves stuff like NEALE and IDIED. Most famous NEALE is evidently Zora NEALE Hurston. She has shown up in a few MonPuzs before, but I dunno. IDIED is just plain desperate, if U ask m&e. Unless U can go with a classy ??-clue on it:
{Identified by despot Amin??} =IDI-ED.

M&A No Help Desk

Margaret 4:25 PM  

How interesting to run into people who don't recognize the "fighting Illini." No idea where it comes from but it refers to the University of Illinois football team (and maybe their other teams?). Though I don't waste much time on football I live where it is a big deal. Can tell you the Illini went down to Penn State a week ago and that Penn State then lost to Ohio State this past Saturday. The trivia in our lives.

Also did not figure out the theme, nor need to, until I checked here.

Why is it always the 'LAPD' and not SF, or Oakland, or some other?

Roo Monster 4:34 PM  

I literally just wrote this.

Har.

RooMonster

Joe Dipinto 5:06 PM  

"Oh Meryl, we love your work."

"Thank you. But it's 'Three-time Academy Award Winner' Ms. Streep. Or '21-time Academy Award Nominee with 3 wins' Ms. Streep. Either works for me. Just not 'Meryl'. Wait, where are you going?"

Monty Boy 5:32 PM  

I teach engineering part time. Sometimes students call me doctor and I tell them I don't have a doctorate, so call me Mr., Professor, Hey You or Teach, just don't call me late for lunch. I also tell them I have two master degrees, so they can call me Master (as in Igor in Young Frankenstein), but few do that.

Oh, and I liked the puzzle. Got FIGHTING ILLIINI with no crosses (from college football). HIGH CORGIS is an oxymoron IMHO.

TomAz 5:43 PM  

@Margaret "Why is it always the 'LAPD' and not SF, or Oakland, or some other?"

I actually debated LA vs SF in there for too long. esp since I didn't know ARRAU.

GILL I. 5:45 PM  

I'm going to end this string of comments on Maya Angelou on one last note. I'm not even sure why it even got started.
I, personally, would never ever presume to call someone of her stature or intellectual prominence by her first name unless she asked me. Would I say to Robert Frost "Hi, Robert, I love your work?" No, and I don't think most of you would either because it's disrespectful. I would also never tell someone at a dinner party to remove his elbows from the table.
Maya Angelous "earned" or, for lack of a better analogy, "racked" up over 70 honorary degrees. You can posit that prestigious universities liked to lure big names like hers and would bestow honorary degree upon honorary degree so that they had a star attraction at their ceremonies So be it.
If she wanted to be called Dr., then that was fine by me. She HAD the title; she EARNED the title.
She was a gracious, warm, human being, who moved many people with her words. Don't ever begrudge her wanting us to acknowledge her title.

Cassieopia 5:46 PM  

@trail mixer 4:12, yes, Granola and Oats for the G & O. Source: self, from backpacking Idaho in the 70s.

Cassieopia 5:56 PM  

Dr. Angelou’s poem “Phenomenal Woman” saved my sanity at a very dark time in my life, so she gets a pass from me. Poetry can change lives, who knew?

This UM alumna had no trouble with the Illini plus I learned a lot from today’s illuminating and educational posts (no snark intended).

Puzzle was great, writeup greatness matched the puzzle, with the two combining to make a marvelous Monday. Literal interpretation of “the end is nigh” was just such a happy thing. Has there been a “stuck in the middle with you” puzzle? Seems ripe for the taking.

Laura 6:17 PM  

Do crossword puzzlers not watch college football? The Fighting Illini (University of Illinois) play for one of the top 5 leagues in the country.

It never ceases to amaze that some topics considered are okay to be require some knowledge of (current music, all movies, classic literature), but obvious words to anyone who knows much about football, board games, science are often considered obscure.

Joe 6:23 PM  

I love the live version of “Fun, Fun, Fun”. Literally. Thanks Annabel!

UMass Amherst 6:32 PM  

After completing an MA in 1972, Bill Cosby earned a doctorate in education (Ed. D) here in 1976.

hannah 6:59 PM  

Hi Annabel -
I just want to amplify what @tb said. Too often in the United States, indigenous people have been made into sports mascots, and this is no exception. If a name sounds strange or doesn't seem to fit into a European naming scheme, chances are it has been inherited from an indigenous history that has long since been minimized or erased by American history books (Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Idaho, Hawai'i, Iowa...). Turning indigenous people into mascots is a pretty awful practice; not only does it dehumanize these people, but it does so in a way that reinforces the image of them as violent or savage.
Take care!

Anonymous 7:27 PM  

Dr.Diddy, paging Dr. Diddy...

Anonymous 7:35 PM  

Gill,
I'm afraid you don't decode when a conversation ends around here; the blog will do that.
What's more, the question wasn't whether to refer to Angelou by her first name, but rather whether it was necessary to accede to her desire to be called Doctor.
Im sorry that you fail to understand that she did not earn a degree. Thats why its called an honorary degree, as opposed fo a degree.

Try to get a PhD, then get back to me about she earned it.

JC66 7:42 PM  

I thought it all started out with @LMS's 4:33 AM post

"Ok. Here’s why I have dismissed Maya Angelou. A long time ago, she was on Oprah, and Oprah told the story of walking down the street with Maya. Fans would approach her and say, Maya, I love your work. Oprah said Maya would smile and say, Thank you. But it’s Dr. Angelou. I cannot get past this. Cannot. You’re a famous writer, you have to let people call you by your first name and not go all doctorate on anyone."

So, it seems to me that it's not whether Maya Angelou should be call "Doctor," but whether she should publicly correct people who don't.

Banana Diaquiri 8:00 PM  

@UMass Amherst:
After completing an MA in 1972, Bill Cosby earned a doctorate in education (Ed. D) here in 1976.

I got my MA in 1973, and it was 'well known' that Cosby's Ph.D. was almost wholly for 'independent study'. it was a sham, and everybody says so. :)

Anonymous 8:08 PM  

Jc,
So you at leat agree that the convefsation isnt ended? Ill take it....

BarbieBarbie 8:12 PM  

You guys do know she’s dead, right?

GILL I. 8:18 PM  

@Anony 7:35.. [sigh] obtuse, obtuse, obtuse.
Did not mean that I PERSONALLY was going to end the conversation, or that I was going to whack @Rex over the head if he didn't, I just meant I was through commenting on it and here you go and make me come out of my uneducated little cave again.
PULEEEEZE don't talk to me about trying to get a PhD or how I may have earned it. I won't get back to you but I just might make you call me Dr. Dr. Dr.

gfrpeace 9:21 PM  

Just for the record, Bill Cosby earned a real doctorate, from the University of Massachusetts.

Nancy 10:19 PM  

Thanks to all of you -- many too many to thank individually -- for telling me how to pronounce ill-EYE-nigh. I'm going to try to find a way to use it at the next cocktail party or dinner -- preferably as soon as possible, before I forget it. It seems a peculiar way to pronounce ILLINI, especially since it's nothing like the state, but what do I know, living in NY and rooting for easy-to-pronounce but often hard-to-watch Giants. (The less said about them right now, the better.) The more apt parallel to the FIGHTING ILLINI would be if I were rooting for Columbia, but who on earth does that?

@GILL -- It wasn't tongue in cheek. It was a hypothetical. There's a featured page in the NYT Book Review every week where various authors are asked: "What three authors, living or dead, would you invite to a dinner party?" (Perhaps some of you have seen those interviews.) Many people choose only dead authors. FWIW (since no one will ever ask me) I'd choose Oscar Wilde, Nora Ephron and Stephen Sondheim.

phil phil 12:37 AM  

Annabelle the antithesis of Rex. Thanksa for FUN writeup
I thought it was wednesday tough.
My ipad is spying on me in an eerie way.The keyboard suggestion as I was typing 'tough' was seggesting 'Gehry'. How did it know the puzzle had GEHRY in it.When you enter it in the app it is just individual letters??? The AA of the keyboard is based on typed whole words recognized from previos entries. Even if it was looking at the page, the tag is 'Architect Frank' no GEHRY

Burma Shave 9:50 AM  

NEARFATAL CIRCUS

How do DRAMATISPERSONAE know that THEEND for them ISNIGH?
When the SULTANOFBRUNEI says he’ll HANGTEN of them HIGH.

--- LENNY GEHRY

thefogman 9:53 AM  

Good writeup Annabelle. I was finding this one to be very easy at the beginning but it gradually creeped its way into medium/challenging territory as I worked my way down from the NE corner. It didn't take too long to solve the gimmick. But the SE corner was my downfall. I had eXNAY instead of iXNAY. Alas, pig Latin is not my forte. DNF for a Monday... Literally, this means THEENDISNIGH.

rondo 10:12 AM  

This was so easy. And how anyone can *not* know FIGHTINGILLINI is beyond me; it should be in the old brain pan by pure osmosis if nothing else.

LENNY Bruce may have been foul-mouthed for his time, but there have been multitudes of stand-up “funny men” since who make LENNY look like a choir boy. LENNY got a raw deal. His animated “Thank You Mask Man” is a classic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tjWYEMQ70w

Can’t believe there isn’t the usual outrage over the Glock PISTOL clue/answer. Probably due to the absence of OFL. I’ve shot various calibers of Glock PISTOLs; stick to the 9 mm, the others are cannons.

Go back in time for yeah baby GENE Tierney.

Pretty much INLINE for a Mon-puz. THEEND.

spacecraft 11:51 AM  

No way does a puzzle with the uber-obscure name ARRAU belong in a Monday slot. And that baby hits you right out of the gate. I had the first four letters on crosses, but had to wait until the SULTANOFBRUNEI came to light for that ending U.

This was just one of several fill problems caused by an overreaching theme. 72 squares? That's a lot, and it gives birth to pig-Latin (really?) and your RRN, not to mention the NEAR dup.

Then we have UH,NO. To me this is not a "You might think so, but--" response, but rather a "Obviously not" one. Sometimes with a "That would be a" thrown in, as: "Do you think the FIGHTINGILLINI have a chance to make the playoffs?" "UH, that would be a NO." So, stinky clue there.

As to the doctor thing, I would never presume to address a famous person by a first name--not even Oprah, who seems to be widely recognized by that name alone. I suspect that Ms. (or Dr., if she insists) Angelou has seen enough disrespect to last her a lifetime, and is just trying to set that right. Still, "Miss Manners" would observe that publicly correcting rudeness is itself rude. I'd say, be the bigger person: smile and say "Thank you." After all, you know what you earned.

Despite fill strain, I found much to enjoy here. (I like to get the "UH, NO"s out of the way first.) I don't recognize the byline; if this is a debut, it's certainly an ambitious one. 16 wide, and with plenty of longer fill. My only w/o, strangely enough, would have been the THIRD appearance of NEAR! Before copping to the theme, I spotted the ampersand linking 38&39 in the clue list, so put in THEEND ISNear. Quickly fixed, of course.

I missed GENE in the scarce DOD pool, so I stretched things to the utmost to give the award to one of my all-time great damsels: Gloria Estefan of the MIAMI Sound Machine. I told you it was a stretch. Par.

Diana, LIW 1:11 PM  

Oh, yes - the end was Near, ere it was NIGH. And yes, even I know the ILLINI and how they are FIGHTING - one of the first themers I filled in. Osmosis indeed.

True - 'twas hardish for a Monday, but only b the ish. And by me putting in LVI prior to LXI - DOH!!!! (LMAO)

Off topic - car parts, Part II. (You need to read the end of yesterday to fully grasp the following - you've been warned.) After storming out of the dealer's showroom, I called the Wash. DMV and got info on how to get a Wash Lic Plate (WLP) when buying an auto in Calif. Then called a dealer or two in Cal - finally one assured me they could 1) find my car and 2) get it properly licensed with a WLP.

Off we went to Calif, off to the dealer, drove the car, began signing docs, and then..."no, we can't help you with your WLP process. Why? Because. But we'll pay for half the Calif license process..."

Out of the showroom I walked, sans "BlueBell," whom I had actually named. I even have a photo of me smiling with her, the little blue cutie. All in all, a sad day. Then back to the phones to more local dealers.

TBC

Diana, Lady who Knows how to Wait

rainforest 2:03 PM  

Funny how these conversations about a crossword puzzle arise. I blame @LMS "dismissing" Maya Angelou. I mean, how could you? It's like dismissing (albeit in a different discipline) Einstein. Say Al, loved your work on Unified Field Theory.

GORP. Who cares whether it is an acronym; it's a fine snack. I don't think M&M's qualifies as GORP though.

NEAR FATAL, NEARS. Big deal.

You can't count me among the cognoscenti of famous pianists. My favourite is Glenn Gould, but I have listened to recordings by Claudio ARRAU, and I'd say he qualifies.

I liked the theme, especially the revealer. Nice to get a lesson from a crossword puzzle. Fill was OK by me. Liked it.

Dr. rainforest

leftcoastTAM 2:11 PM  

This is a Monday gem. Five NIGH entries, each with a different spelling of NIGH. Very ABLY done. Let's give credit where credit is due.

Speaking of which, didn't LMAO at LENNY's now-commonly used obscenities, but thought he was damn clever. We're way beyond the time to give him a break and drop the "foul mouth" epithet.

GEHRY SOBA ARRAU




thefogman 5:59 PM  

I'm not into football, so I guess I'm one of the few oddballs who doesn't know about the FIGHTINGILINI. My foggy old brain can only retain so much... Oh wait! Annabelle is in the same boat as me - figuratively that is..

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