MONDAY, Dec. 8, 2008 - Sarah Keller (Swimmer Debbie who won three golds at the 1968 Olympics / Citizen Kane's estate / Polo who visited Cathay)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: JEWELRY (40A: What the starts of 17- and 62-Across and 11- and 34-Down may each be a piece of)

I blew through this in 2:16 just now. Granted, I had already solved it, just ten days or so ago, but still, I was surprised to know that it was physically possible for me to complete a grid that fast when I wasn't directly transcribing answers. I think this puzzle is quite wonderful - a model Monday in many ways. Tight theme, elegant arrangement of theme answers, and all the pieces of jewelry are clued in non-jewelry fashion. The answers themselves aren't exactly sizzling, but no matter. There's plenty of surprisingly scintillating non-theme fill on this Monday. Let's start with XANADU (25A: Citizen Kane's estate). Small deduction for not cluing this via the ELO-fueled roller-skating Olivia Newton-John musical of the same name (or via Coleridge, for that matter), but "Citizen Kane" will do. I just realized yesterday that I don't know where my copy of "Citizen Kane" is. In fact, it feels as if several of my DVDs are missing. Really time to clean house ... but back to the puzzle. As I was saying: XANADU!

MAKO (61A: Dangerous shark)! WANLY (22D: In a weak manner)! - not a word you normally see followed by an exclamation point, but here, its oddness excites me. I also love the word BAWD (28D: Madam) - smacks of Ovid and Chaucer, both of whom I adore. Thumbs up also to the OVINE NINNY at the bottom of the puzzle.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Many a mall outlet (CHAIN store)
  • 11D: A.T.M. access code (PIN number) - interesting ... PIN is an acronym meaning Personal Identification ... Number.
  • 34D: Five-card or seven-card game (STUD poker)
  • 62A: Place to keep a report (RING binder)
What else?:

  • 15A: Less cordial (icier) - goes great with its neighbor, RIME (16A: Hoarfrost)
  • 19A: Slaughter in the Baseball Hall of Fame (Enos) - the non-"Dukes of Hazzard," non-Biblical ENOS
  • 56A: Now, in Nogales (ahora) - see also the Arnoldized Spanish of 5A: "_____ la vista, baby" ("Hasta")
  • 60A: Polo who visited Cathay (Teri) - no, it's really MARCO. TERI is simply the more common Polo (in xwords, that is). Cathay reminds me of Kath Day - if you haven't seen the Australian (original) "Kath & Kim," you really, really should. It was one of the most memorable things about my 2002 NZ trip.

  • 68A: Swimmer Debbie who won three golds at the 1968 Olympics (Meyer) - a rare "WTF!?" moment in my Monday puzzle.
  • 2D: Possible reaction from getting a cold shoulder? (achoo) - I must be missing something obvious, because I don't know what "shoulder" has to do with anything here.
  • 18D: Verb accompanier (noun) - well, most of the time, yes. Not always. Want an example? Shut up. Imperatives hold up nicely without nouns.
  • 53D: Rapper with a professional title (Dr. Dre) - I'm tired of this "professional title" clue. His accomplishments are legion. "The Chronic" is such an important album in the world of hip-hop music that it should be Monday crossworthy all on its own, i.e. ["The Chronic" rapper].
  • 62D: What a "swish" basketball shot doesn't touch (rim) - take "basketball" out of this clue. The phrase "swish shot" is exceedingly well known, and the intervention of "basketball" is not only redundant but creates a phrase No One would would ever say.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


dp 10:41 PM  

Should one assume that 2:16 is two minutes and sixteen seconds? That would be more like two hours and sixteen minutes for the likes of me.

jae 11:12 PM  

Nice Mon. Seemed about right. I also don't get the ACHOO-shoulder connection. I suspect MEYER will be a WTF for many.

I checked out the U.S. version of Kath & Kim a while ago and it was pretty bad.

Anonymous 11:25 PM  

I suspect the cold shoulder clue was a result of trying to disguise the meaning of the term cold. Of course, there is no medical reason that a "cold shoulder" would lead to achoo.

Wait - maybe there is: cold shoulder leads to depression leads to immunosuppression leads to catching a cold leads to achoo; hmmm - I guess it's possible.

Jeffrey 12:16 AM  

Record time for me today @ 3:23 (the first time). No Malaswaps.

Shouldn't the clue for PIN Number be ATM Machine access code? There is one at the Redundancy Bank of Redundancy.

Hungry Bird 12:19 AM  

Maybe the idea is that if your shoulder gets cold you will catch ague and achoo.

Hungry Bird 12:19 AM  

Ooooooo! Malaswap! Oooooooo!

Neuf 1:07 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Neuf 1:11 AM  

Ha, I also clocked a record time for me @ 3:47. I have a hard time seeing this as easy-medium...this is probably the easiest monday I've ever done. I've never clocked below 5:00 before.

Alex S. 1:30 AM  

Having been on the receiving end before, I can only imagine that shortly we'll be hearing of a Will Shortz retirement as his only way of escaping the deluge of pedantic mail that will result from pin number.

Anonymous 1:31 AM  

Does anyone understand the cold shoulder clue?

Shanti11 4:00 AM  

It used to be thought that if you went outside and got cold, you'd catch a cold. Especially if your upper body got cold: "Put a jacket on! You'll catch a cold!" So I guess in that regard a cold shoulder is a serious health risk.

Also, if you sat on cold cement (like the verandah steps), you'd get hemorrhoids. There are lots more of these wonderful dire warnings, if anyone can think of some. I was also told that if I crossed my eyes, they'd stick like that, and never to put anything smaller than my elbow in my ear. I have yet to see anyone who has managed to get their elbow into their ear.

Anonymous 4:29 AM  

@catherine K
I was told if I didn't stand up straight I'd become one of those hunched back old women... I think it's already started from too many puzzles...

@Sarah Keller
Nice! I especially like AMOK
(and it's anagram MAKO)
BAWD is a bit hard for a Monday, no?
Maybe MEYER could have been with lemon?

XANADU! How impressive is that???!

I don't know a non-non-PC way of saying this, but I think that Xanadu video just turned me into a gay man!

JoefromMtVernon 5:39 AM  

So, I finished this in 5:20 and asked "What gives?" It should have said 4:20.

BAWD was my last word, and the word of the day.

Again, why is a Sunday theme answer a clue on the following Monday? It happened a couple of weeks ago, too.


JannieB 7:04 AM  

@catherinek - LOL - your post had me channeling both mom and grandma - we must have been related in a former life.

Very nice Monday - my fastest ever - but through no weakness in the puzzle. It had a very new words for me, but all were quickly gettable with crosses. Well done and informative too.

Guess "bawd" has a relation to bawdy house??

Anonymous 7:14 AM  

PSST, ARE we having fun yet?

Yes! Wonderful Monday puzzle. Fresh and fun.

@JoefromMtVernon: you took the word of the day right out of my mouth: BAWD!

Ulrich 7:30 AM  

I found this slightly harder than the usual Monday--is "Oreida" really monday-ish? But I'm no pedant, so I'm writing this on my PC computer

ArtLvr 8:04 AM  

I'm agreeing -- nice theme and execution! Maybe the Palin phenom is finally fading, since no one picked up on WINKS?


edith b 8:14 AM  

I don't time myself but I completed this puzzle in one continuous motion, i.e I never lifted the pen from the paper. One fell swoop, as it were. This is all figuratively speaking, of course, because I solve in Across Lite.

I never saw the clue for 2Down as I cross-ruffed the entire NW section as I sprinted into the South. I had RINGBINDER in place so I didn't have to choose between NET and RIM at 62Down which allowed me to get MEYER by default as I wasn't sure of the name.

I enjoyed the old-timey nature of this puzzle as XANADU is clued by way of Citzen Kane rather than the movie Grease. As Rex indicated in his write up, POLO is usually clued via TERI and BAWD is not a word you see much anymore,

And, if your bones creak in the winter, I'm sure you recognize the faithful Indian companion of the Lone Ranger.

Very sweet puzzle this morning

Anonymous 9:55 AM  


If someone gave me the cold shoulder, I might say "achoo" as a way of acknowledging their actions. Hence, my reaction to a cold shoulder would be "achoo."

I boycotted this puzzle after finding "PIN Number."

Doc John 10:00 AM  

My fastest Monday ever, too- six minutes on the dot using Across Lite (which usually slows me down). It helps that I got almost all the acrosses first so didn't have to stop to reposition my cursor, just keep hitting tab. My only holdup was putting in "net" for RIM which, looking back, doesn't really even fit.

Some nice cluing and fill in this one today. I agree with an earlier poster that "cold shoulder" was just a misdirection- yes, you might catch a cold from being chilly and thus sneeze or you might have a 5-letter reaction to having been given the cold shoulder by somebody.

@ andrea- Sssh! "Xanadu" is one of our secret recruiting tools! ;)

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

PIN Number makes more sense than PIN Umber. And PI Number is something completely different.

Did the puzzle acrosses only, consecutively, using the downs only in my mind to help get the acrosses. I usually do Mondays this way, and it's an easy Monday if I can get all the answers with no backtracking or corrections. I did have to backtrack once or twice, so this was not the easiest Monday ever in my opinion, but still fairly easy.

Anonymous 10:10 AM  

I loved this puzzle. This was my fastest Monday also at 4:47. With the exception of this Meyer chick, there weren't any obscure people, operas, dates, popes or rivers to hold me up. I like the un-google-able nature of this one.


archaeoprof 10:10 AM  

How did this puzzle manage to be both easy and enjoyable?? I too moved through it quickly, but loved it.

Debbie Meyer is a WTF?? Not for many of us...

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

But Steve, why not just say I lost my PIN or what's your PIN rather than add the redundant Number? I am not complaining about the fill because I hear it and others like it often. Unfortunately it is in the language as is the term President Bush. I won't be able to make either go away.


Anonymous 10:40 AM  

Solve the puzzle in the international herald tribune in Korea (so usually finish many hour before US types are awake). Today I started off in a confident Monday mood using blue biro, but they had stuffed up and put in Saturday's puzzle. Ended up ugly, but I got there in the end and nice to see a Saturday puzzle as we usually go from Friday to Sunday in the weekend edition.

Anonymous 10:48 AM  

At risk of being pedantic, the PIN debacle just made my blood boil. Sorry, Will. So, I just made myself a second cup of coffee and got past it.

Anonymous 11:03 AM  

@Miguel--If you lost your pin, I'd get down on my knees and help you look for it. I'd do the same with an earring or a button. But without the word "number," many people have no idea what you're talking about. ATM, on the other hand, is different, because you can call it a cash machine, and because the term ATM is spelled out and more "in the language," thanks to the commercial where the foreign boy says to the tourist, "ATM fix everything."

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

@Rex - Stan Newman claims the Guiness record for a NYT puzzle at 2:14. A little 3 second cheat seems appropriate.

Doc John 11:18 AM  

How about PIN code or ATM number, then?

Orange 11:50 AM  

@fpbear: The Guinness record is for an NYT puzzle on paper. However, several people have demolished that time when solving online or in Across Lite (below 2:00). Four-time ACPT champ Tyler Hinman solved an NYT on paper in 2:06 (YouTube video), but the Guinness folks weren't on hand.

Crikey, all you folks railing against "PIN number"! It's in the language, and you can't stuff that genie back into the lamp. Take a deep breath...let it go. You'll feel better. Honest. :-)

Shamik 1:10 PM  

Fastest time on a Monday puzzle for me...and on my birthday! Woohooo!

Vega 1:25 PM  

I'm so glad I wasn't alone about personal identification number number being in the puzzle. I'm trying really hard to let it go. But. It's the NY Times, you know? HA - Crosscan, yes, it should have been clued as "A.T.M. machine access code." That would have made me laugh out loud.

Definitely a fast puzzle for me, too. Even with my silly "net" instead of RIM (given that swish is nothing but net).

Anonymous 1:33 PM  

Anyone else think it might be a cold should-er? Like you should say ACHOO to someone with a cold? Eh, still a bad clue.

Anonymous 1:38 PM  

From the New York Times Manual of Style and Usage:

PIN: for Personal Identification Number. Thus PIN "number" is redundant.

The instructions for editorial matter are clear, don't include "number". I guess this doesn't count for the crossword!

DJG 1:41 PM  

Rex, on your point about the "'swish' basketball shot" I think the entire phrase "basketball shot" can be omitted. "Swish" is pretty stand alone.

I have no problem with the redundant PINNUMBER since that's what people commonly call it.

Anonymous 2:03 PM  

@Z.J. "What a swish doesn't touch" would be too tempting for the homophobes out there. I'm for leaving in the basketball shot.

mac 2:06 PM  

Happy birthday, Shamik!

Very easy, but very pretty puzzle this Monday. I like jewelry, am getting to work in a minute on a triple CHAIN and pearl necklace.
Don't do rings and pins.

I hear the term pin number, whether it is right or wrong. In Holland they made a verb out of it: pinnen, which means paying with a debet card and putting in your pin, or to "get money out of the wall". We also can eat out of the wall (automatieks with all kinds of snacks, including my favorite, kroketten).
Sorry, but we haven't talked food for a long time and I haven't used the b-word in a long time.

edith b 2:11 PM  

@Jim in Chicago-

The basic test for crossword inclusion is "in the language".

Both PIN number and ATM machine are "in the language" and are, therefore, fair game and don't come under the heading of editorial matters

As Orange said above, you can't put that particular genie back in the bottle as much as you don't agree with it.

chefbea 3:06 PM  

A very easy Monday puzzle. Had it done before I finished my lunch. Use to own a jewelry store where we sold pins, chains, studs and rings.

Meyer lemons are the best!!

Thought it weird that psst was in today's puzzle.

fikink 3:14 PM  

Easy breezy Monday.

@chefbea, I have tried to grow Meyer lemon trees inside and have never been successful. Have you?
(you can email me if you are more comfortable off-blog)

Hungry Bird 3:57 PM  

@ Catherine K: Wait 30 minutes after eating to go back in the water or you'll get stomach cramps and drown.

Unknown 4:17 PM  

Liked the word "junta." Not the most clever clue for it, but I'm not sure I've seen this word in a crossword here for ages,

Glitch 4:39 PM  

I ain't upset about *PIN NUMBER* irregardless of what the grammarians in the Department of Redundancy Department want.

I too subscribe to the "in the language" test or would be fighting such as BRO, NABE, MOLL, and XEROX as a verb.

In fact, if I had a nickle for every time I've heard *PIN Number* I, well, wouldn't need to find an ATM.

Orange 4:48 PM  

Wait, Glitch. I think NABE fell out of the language some years back, didn't it?

Anonymous 5:04 PM  

@Shamik: Happy Birthday!

PlantieBea 5:06 PM  

Easy puzzle. I don't time my puzzlings, but I thought this one was just finished too quickly.

Meyer clued by lemon would have been worked better for me. We just picked some this weekend at a local grove.

Shamik 5:11 PM  

Thanks for all the b'day wishes.

SethG 5:54 PM  

Russ Meyer, Urban Meyer, Lansky, Meyer. Ergo ego, all-righta?

Orange, I like totally say NABE all the time, dude. Weren't we talking about one just yesterday? What I don't talk about are ring binders, at least not without some reckoning as to the total number of rings in said binders.

I don't own a copy of Citizen Kane, but I do know where my roller skates are.

Anonymous 6:02 PM  

Why not call it a PIN umber?

chefbea 6:15 PM  

@plantiebea - finkink would have loved to have gone meyer lemon picking.

mac 6:21 PM  

@SCOTUS Addict and Catherine K: My German mother-in-law was told as a child that when you eat cherries and then drink water, you DIE! She swore she knew someone who did.

Did Glitch just join the blue/orange world or did I not notice before?

P.S. Scotus, do you like kroketten?

fikink 7:02 PM  

@chefbea, you betcha (wink!)
Grocers here only seem to know Sunkist.
Maybe Meyer lemons can be shipped like Harry and David ship pears.

Glitch 7:17 PM  


Been around a long time as a reader and sporatic poster.

Just recently moved my signature from the bottom to the top.


Hungry Bird 7:42 PM  

@Mac! Now I want broodjes! I had forgotten that I had learned to eat my fries with mayo in Holland. Never went back to ketchup when I got home. Do you remember a sandwich shop called "Broodjes van Coodjes" or something like that?

fergus 7:53 PM  

There's a Meyer lemon tree up the street, but it's usually the one I avoid, since I don't think they go well with most dishes, except deserts I guess.

Here's a great way to screw up the puzzle: put in TISSUE instead of TENDON; cross that with LESSEES, make a LOPE out of TROT, and you've got one fine mess. Yes, I was trying to go too fast, and crashed.

mac 7:57 PM  

@SCOTUS Addict: The only way to eat fat, crisp, soft inside patat! The place you mention is actually called Broodje van Kootje. Ever had a broodje tartaar? Very scary to most Americans, but good! Know kroketten and bitterballen?

Anonymous 8:22 PM  

Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!

In my therapist's office today I noticed a copy of her book "My Answer is No...If that's OK with you" has been translated into Dutch!

You're no longer a bottom!

I remember sophomore year in college, the second year there were ATM's (I think this must be circa 1978) and everyone used to angrily punch in his/her PIN (I'm not touching that discussion!) bec most folks had used the name of a girlfriend/boyfriend as a password...and now they were exes.

(That by the way, is the worst I've ever told ANY story...but it's true!)

FABulous Xanadu video has not worn off its effect yet...
ciao, darling!

fikink 8:24 PM  

@fergus and chefbea -just put my order in (the shipping was more than the lemons!!!!)
Oh, ferg, you must taste meyer lemons
Hot toddies all around on me! forget the Christmas eggnog and nutmeg...good bourbon and meyer lemons - oh my!

mac 8:39 PM  

@andrea carla: I think Holland is a great market for the writing and publishing industry: the Dutch spend more on books per capita than any other nation. I'm always discussing books with my friends and relatives in Holland, and my Dutch friends in the US. Two friends and I found out a few days ago we were reading the same book!

Orange 8:46 PM  

@SethG, my bro. Yes! I complained about the uncounted RING BINDER over at my blog. I even Googled in a huff to confirm that there ought to be an enumeration.

@Dutch food obsessives, if these kroketten are anything like Swedish chicken croquettes, I have to give a thumbs-down. Chicken + carbs + deep-frying = how could this go wrong? And yet I could not eat it.

@Andrea, LOL re: "bottom" remark!

mac 9:33 PM  

@O: yes, beef or veal, and carbs, and deep frying, but I miss them so much.... And I have one a day when I'm in Holland.

To be honest, when I still lived in Holland full-time, I liked them but ate them rarely. Of course, too fattening, unhealthy, junk food etc. Maybe because I can't get them anywhere but there, they have become my comfort food. I can actually get them, frozen, at the famous Dutch store in Norwalk. Usually get a big box of bitterballen for Christmas/New Years. My American friends love them too, and expect them now!

edith b 10:09 PM  


I don't know if its an urban legend or not but the 12th President Zachary Taylor supposedly ate alot of cherries and drank milk at a 4th of July picnic and died a few days later but poisoning was suspected by his political enemies.

Anonymous 10:10 PM  

I used to work with PIN numbers. The issue arises because you pronounced it as a word. If you said "P.I.N." then it would probably skip the "number". There must be other examples.

"Swish" is often referred to as "all net", which is to say "no rim". But if you miss the rim, then it's often an "air ball" -- no net, no rim, no nothing.

Tonto --
Where did you get your middle name? Maybe a long lost relative, or a mother's maiden name.
My middle name is Jay. I'm named after Jay Silverheels, Tonto on The Lone Ranger. It was my father's favorite radio/TV program. A few years ago, they had a tribute to Jay, and I wrote a little blurb for the program. HiYo Silver. Now for that urban legend about translation of "kamosabe" ...
-- Steve

dk 10:53 PM  

Happy Birthday @shimik

@doc john, if a certain acme is coming to XANADU @ulrich and I will suffer broken hearts and you and yours will never get a word in EDGEWAYS

As an early teen (and yesterday) I always tittered over hoarfrost.

WANLY was weak, but RINGBINDER woo woo

Andrea, we used old girlfriend and boy friend names when we tested our behavior modeling programs. I can assure we were not kind.

Marco POLO is a name I associate with swimming pools and annoying, happy children.

HASTA la vista

foodie 11:26 PM  

I did purchase AND read Andrea's therapist's book:" My answer is No... if that's okay with you". Very well done! It's already come in handy. When people ask me to do something, I just say to them: You know, I'm reading this great book called my "Answer is No, if that's Okay with you". They chuckle, they get where I'm headed, and it turns out to be a great way to put NO on the table, as your starting position. Even if your answer is Yes, I rediscovered what 2 year olds already know: Start by saying NO!

Andrea, please tell Dr. Gartrell that I'm very grateful, and every time I turned down someone, I put out an ad for her book.

Oh, the puzzle... very easy, fun and fast. But I literally cannot read the clues in 2 minutes, much less process the information and write anything down...Maybe it's one of those things like learning a language- there's a critical period and if you're past it, you can never be all you could have been.

Anonymous 12:35 AM  

The word "sate" does not mean to fill to excess. Sate is when you are full to satisfaction - as from a good meal. I didn't like this puzzle from the start.

Bill from NJ 6:08 AM  


Happy birthday - I always enjoy your posts amd you are a credit to our little (well, not so litle anymore) Community.

Anonymous 10:14 AM  

A list of acronyms that are commonly used partly redundantly (like PIN Number) can be found at the RAP phrase page. An analysis can be found at the Wikipedia entry for RAS syndrome, also called PNS syndrome. (RA stands for Redundant Acronym, PN for PIN Number, you already know the final P and S!)

Anonymous 10:38 AM  

I remember about 4 or 5 years ago, there was a NYT puzzle whose theme was in fact redundant acronyms.

Waxy in Montreal 3:27 PM  

According to Wikipedia "Oneida County may be regarded as the potato and dairy center of northern Wisconsin.". So naturally I assumed Oneida was a frozen potato brand (10D) and Nime was one of the many manifestations of Hoarfrost (16A), differentiated in some unknown-but-esoteric way from Rime. Hey, if the Inuit can have dozens of words for snow, why not a bunch for hoarfrost?

Ore-Ida, oh yeah!!

Harrison Mooney 3:34 PM  

I too got crossed up on the Ore-Ida/Rime crossing, and assumed it was Oneida. I guess I'm just not up on my hoarfrost.

I was impressed with Sioux. That's a great crossword word I don't see too often.

Rapper clues need to be more prevalent in NYT crosswords and not clued so simply. Hip hop is a mainstream discourse and deserves to be clued as often and as esoterically as everything else. That Dr. Dre clue was the affirmative action of crossword clues.

And how can you guys forget Debbie Meyer? I'm 23 years old and even I know who she is.

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