Old-time singer Julius — MONDAY, Dec. 7 2009 — 1970s Dodgers All-Star Ron / Modern locale ancient Sheba / Roebuck's partner in retailing

Monday, December 7, 2009

Constructor: Ed Sessa

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "(YO HO HO) AND A BOTTLE OF RUM" (56A: Words after the starting syllables of 17-, 29- and 43-Across) — three theme answers begin with syllables YO, HO, and HO, respectively

Word of the Day: MAGDA Gabor (3D: A Gabor sister) Magdolna "Magda" Gabor (circa 1915 - June 6, 1997) was a Hungarian-born American entertainer and socialite. She was the elder sister of actresses Zsa Zsa Gabor and Eva Gabor, and known for her habitual marriages and divorces. (wikipedia)


Seems a very thin basis for a theme. Only six of the thirty-nine theme squares in those first three theme answers have any relevance. There must have been a million (or slightly fewer) possibilities for the "HO" answers alone. I like YOGURT SMOOTHIES ... or rather, I don't, in real life, but I do, as an answer. Seems fresh. The "HO" answers (much as I love HOMER SIMPSON) do not. With hardly any relevant theme squares and with no other rationale holding them together, I expected more zing. The non-theme fill is pretty dull, and dated. I'm beginning to understand Arthur GodFREY's frustration with Julius LAROSA. I would fire LAROSA on air, right now, if I could. Seen him three times this year alone, at least, which is three times more than I ever remember seeing him before this year.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Blended fruit-flavored drinks (YOgurt smoothies)
  • 29A: "Jumpin' Jehosaphat!" ("HOly Mackerel!")
  • 43A: TV character who says "It's 1 a.m. Better go home and spend some quality time with the kids" (HOmer Simpson) — I do like this clue


  • 49A: 1970s Dodgers All-Star Ron (Cey) — gimme for me (a Dodgers fan in the '70s), but pretty marginal for a Monday, I'd say. Btw, the Dodgers once had a player named Rick MONDAY.
By 1981, Monday was mostly a utility player when the second moment occurred. In the deciding Game 5 of the NLCS at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, he smashed a ninth-inning home run off the Expos' Steve Rogers that proved to be the difference in a 2-1 Dodgers victory. Monday's home run dashed what turned out to be the Expos' only chance at a pennant in their 36-year history in the National League. Even today, heartbroken Expos fans refer to the fifth game of the NLCS as "Blue Monday." Los Angeles went on to win the 1981 World Series, defeating the New York Yankees 4 games to 2. As would be expected he proudly wears that World Series ring and is honored to be one of the few to have bumped off the Yankees in the fall classic. (wikipedia)
  • 19D: Squirter at an auto garage (oil can) — why is "auto" in this clue? Are we really likely to imagine some other kind of garage, and if so, is it a kind of garage that would not have an OILCAN? There was also once a pro baseball player named Dennis "OILCAN" Boyd (RHP, Red Sox)
  • 51D: Modern locale of ancient Sheba (Yemen) — Did not know this. YEMEN is common fill, so no problem. Weird how the NW and SW feel like the clunkiest parts of the grid to me. They're so small and unOBTRUDEsive. You'd think EDUCE-ing good fill from them would be a cinch.
I'm off to have a MAI Tai with IDI in HAITI ... or maybe SAY OK on a BRAE. Can't decide. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Parshutr 7:34 AM  

For the first time I was able to guess a Simpson answer (never seen the show).
Nice Monday offering. I too am tired of Julius LaRosa, and I remember the whole kerfluffle when Godfrey fired him.
Liked everything else about this one...an Eagle for a Monday.

ArtLvr 8:12 AM  

I second what Parshutr says about Simpsons... and I confess that my favorite baseball name is Darryl Strawberry, though I don't know what he looks like or what his record is... I even remembered CEY from his appearance here some time ago.

I thought this Sessa session was amusing, fine for a Monday. ARTFUL dodgers go nicely with crafty pirates making TROUBLE for TUGS in the harbor and the BARK of officials on their TAIL on the open seas. Timely theme for a new YULE game?

Couldn't help seeing an anagram of another ODDER political rogue in the PLAIN smack in the center too. It does OBTRUDE, and SOBERS one.


joho 8:20 AM  

HOLY HOTCAKEs, TONTO, this was anything but a HO HUM Monday puzzle to me!

Also DOGs BARK and wag their TAILs.

The festive theme cheers me up on a Monday morning with visions of Captain Jack Sparrow swinging from a ship's rigging.

Thanks, Ed Sessa!

fikink 8:25 AM  

Agree with Joho, A fun Monday.

@artlvr, Strawberry is my favorite baseball name, too. Always remember Niles asking Frasier to name a baseball player and when Frasier says Darryl Strawberry, Niles says, "No, c'mon - name a real one."

JannieB 8:38 AM  

Why not save this for the next "Talk like a Pirate" day? If you had to use it at all.

mac 8:40 AM  

Such a silly theme, it was funny! Of course I thought there would be a food theme after the first two long acrosses, but Homer spoiled that. Some interesting words: pooled, sobers, obtrude and artful. Very nice monday.

On to the first (trial) Sun puzzle Peter just sent, and of course the LAT.

Stan 9:03 AM  

A fun start to the week. Went well with my YOGURT SMOOTHIE. I SAY OK.

PIX 9:09 AM  

Took me forever for a Monday, although I'm not sure why.

Marie Curie did much of the original work with radioactivity, only she did not understand its dangers and as a result died "from aplastic anemia, almost certainly it was contracted from exposure to radiation"{Wiki}. oops.

I am tired of seeing the Simpsons in the puzzle. I am tired of seeing the Simpons in the puzzle. I am tired of seeing the Simpons in the puzzle.

nanpilla 9:12 AM  

Cowboy boots don't feature spurs. You wear spurs ON your cowboy boots.(or not, if your horse is sensitive to your leg and they aren't needed) That's like saying my head features a hat. I'll sometimes wonder why my horse is being so lazy, and then realize that I've forgotten to put on my spurs - he notices!
That said, I liked the punchline for the theme - actually made me laugh out loud. The puzzle was seeming pretty routine until then, but was redeemed at the end.

Elaine 9:23 AM  

I second all of that stuff up above. In defense of Madame Curie, NObody knew radiation sickness was a danger; she literally gave her life for her scientific studies.

Simpsons: bleah. Haven't seen it, and doubt it would help...but I did laugh at the line. Once, a line like that might have been Archie Bunker's.

Agree with nanpilla on the spurs! but maybe an "easy" clue was desired.
Rate this EASY and OVER!

PlantieBea 9:25 AM  

Agree with Mac--a silly, funny Monday. I liked the themed answer HOLY MACKERAL best.

@Nanpilla, I thought the same thing about spurs, which are strapped onto the boots.

Jim H 9:38 AM  

There are Montreal Expos fans? Brokenhearted or otherwise? IIRC, in their last few years, the Expos couldn't draw many fans. They regularly had attendance lower than the (then) AA Round Rock Express of (then) the Texas League. Since then, the Expos moved to DC and the express moved up to the AAA PCL.

Next up, we can talk about how places like Round Rock, Texas can be in the Pacific Coast League.

We now return to crossword discussions.

Joe 9:55 AM  

Gotta say, I loved this puzzle and it's nice to say that on a Monday.

Working down the grid, I thought, "What the hell is the theme? I hope it has nothing to do with MACKEREL SMOOTHIES. And I certainly don't remember the SIMPSONs episode where anybody ate/drank one. But maybe..."

Then I got to 56A. And almost peed myself a little. Very funny.

Charles Bogle 10:11 AM  

I feel sorry for Julius LAROSA. First, Godfrey sadistically killed him. Then, the constructors brought him back, and RP et al reminded us of what happened. Poor RP; probably you had to restrain yourself from posting that amazing clip again! I too say pls no more Simpsons (LAT, ok)...a somewhat disappointing start to the week..let's hope things pick up

slypett 10:12 AM  

While I didn't almost pee myself, I did enjoy this puzzle and was actually smiling when I finished it.

One quibbble: Should 'woof' and 'woofer'...? Nah. It was cute!

Bob Kerfuffle 10:16 AM  

It was just ten days ago, 11/27/09, that we had the previous puzzle from Ed Sessa, and at that time I said in my comment, "Don't make us wait a year for the next one, Ed." (He had had two previous puzzles in the NYT, spaced a year apart.)

I liked this puzzle very much, and had an actual chuckle when I got to 56A. The entire puzzle was super easy for me, with everything entirely in my mental database, except, of course, Ron CEY, just another obscure baseball player I never heard of!

Not to say we couldn't get a good argument going if we tried. For example, 37 D, Collect $200 in Monopoly, PASSGO. If you land on a property I own and pay me $200 rent, we don't call that Passing Go for me, do we?

Or 32 D, C-3PO or R2-D2, ROBOT? But they are Droids, much more advanced creations . . . .

As for Julius LAROSA, don't expect Alma Glück; it's just the letters!

PIX 10:20 AM  

@Elaine 9:32 You state: "In defense of Madame Curie, NObody knew radiation sickness was a danger; she literally gave her life for her scientific studies." You, of course, are absolutly correct. I did not mean to imply otherwise.

Martin 10:25 AM  

Why "auto garage"?

There are lots of two car garages in suburbia without oilcans. There are way more beer cans than oilcans in these garages.

But even google knows that "auto garage" means "service station," a place that fixes cars and almost certainly has an oilcan.

Without the "auto," people would have asked "how many garages really have oil cans?" No good clue goes unpunished!

Bob Kerfuffle 10:26 AM  

Dagnabit! Outsmarted myself! I went to some trouble to get that umlaut, and now, upon checking (which I should have done first, yes), I see the lady didn't use an umlaut.

Oh, well, let the lady speak for herself: Cheers!

Rex Parker 10:29 AM  

But even google knows that "garage" is used for "auto garage" all the time and no one gets confused.

Do you get paid to be the paper's apologist, Martin? You work hard enough at it.


HudsonHawk 10:30 AM  

@Joe, my question was whether a MACKEREL SMOOTHIE would pass the breakfast test?

Rex seems to be taunting Crosscan with the "Blue Monday" reference.

Rex Parker 10:31 AM  

Whoops, there was supposed to be a smiley-face attached to that comment to @Martin.

And @HudsonHawk ... you are perceptive.

Greene 10:36 AM  

Hi Fikink!

Cute puzzle. Between OBTRUDE, CEY, and EDUCE, that SE corner seems a little rich for a Monday.

Didn't we have OIL GUN as an answer a while back? That seemed to stir a little controversy as I recall. I actually had OIL GUN for a moment or two in deference to that former puzzle, but HOLY MACKEREL straightened me out.

archaeoprof 10:49 AM  

I remember watching on tv when Rick Monday hit that home run. Does CrossCan remember it?

Another sports memory: HOLY MACKEREL! Al McGuire, 1992, Ga Tech vs. USC.

Two Ponies 10:50 AM  

Nice amusing Monday.
I missed part of the fun by starting at the bottom and getting 56A before the other theme answers.
Did not know the baseball player or the Gabor sister.
I love the Simpsons and the quote.

Henrik Ibsen 10:51 AM  

@HudsonHawk - In Scandinavia, MACKEREL SMOOTHIES are generally served on summer afternoons, not at breakfast.

OldCar Fudd 10:57 AM  

I enjoyed this. A theme doesn't have to use up huge numbers of squares, especially on a Monday. It just needs to give the solver an extra smile, and this one did.

I photo the puzzle every day so my wife can solve it, too, and her comments to me about spur were almost exactly what Nanpilla said.

Glitch 11:02 AM  

@Bob Kerfuffle

I would add Mummifies = Embalms to the potential discussion --- depending which definitions you choose they can synonyms or opposites ;)


Actually, Martin sounds a lot like you did when you were a "test solver" :)


jeff in chicago 11:48 AM  

Fun Monday puzzle. ONDRAFT sounds a little clunky to me. OBTRUDE, EDUCE, ADHERE, ENTAIL - all kinda ugly words, but easy to get.

Baseball has all the good names. Milton Bradley. Coco Crisp. Gaylord Perry. Dick Pole. Bud Cheecks. Catfish Hunter. Harmon Killebrew. And for pure nicknames, The Unit wins hands down.

Anonymous 11:50 AM  

Rick Monday is famous for preventing a couple of protesters from lighting an American flag on fire at Dodger Stadium. He was playing for the Cubs at the time and saw the two jerks fumbling with their lighter, fluid or whatever. He ran in, snatched the flag up from the ground and raced away from them. If they had already soaked in and managed to start it, he could have been severely burned. All he thought of was to protect the flag.
Way to go Rick!

Shamik 11:54 AM  

More Simpsons! More Simpsons! More Simpsons! I don't watch the show, so I rely on the NYT to keep me up to date with this portion of pop culture. Shame on you all for not embracing this concept. Doh! ; )

Somehow I felt it was going to be a Christmas puzzle. Blended fruit flavored drink, YULE, HOLY, BARK (like tree), the RUM in the drink in the EWER and how out of shape my ABS would be after all that. The idea simply SOBERS me. I may need at least a TWO STEP program. Won't be able to eat a single HOTCAKE or I won't be able to PASS GO.

So I'll grab my ODDER reindeer: On BRIAN, on MAGDA, on ORMAN and ABE. LAROSA, and IDI and HOMER and BEN. This puzzle can SOON SPUR me to NICE ARTFUL poesy. Just a CURiE for my BLAHS. ITSME.

I SAYOK to this puzzle.

Rex Parker 11:59 AM  

Nearly posted vid of that Rick Monday flag-snatching moment — then realized that the vid (produced by MLB, a very straight-forward piece) had been posted to youtube by some hateful jackass who said the "protesters" were "muslims" (wrong — it was actually some sad, somewhat deranged guy and his 11-yr-old son — guy was "protesting" his wife's incarceration in mental hospital, from what I can gather. His name was William Thomas and I can't find any ref. to his being "muslim"). So even tho' the vid was kind of interesting, I left it out. No linkage for nutjobs.

william e emba 12:03 PM  

Well, I found this Monday-Challenging. Why? Because I speed-read the theme-reveal clue as "Words after the starting words ...". And since I don't do YOGURT in any form. Or kegs. And since I wasn't sure whether it was SPUR or SPat. And I couldn't think of anything positive to SAY other than yes. ("If you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all" meant I didn't get that crucial Y in place.) And having put off filling in Mauna (KEA or Loa?) I didn't finish it when I got the E as I was supposed to.

So this Monday debacle ended when I somehow dredged up MAGDA off MA--- Gabor. Bah humbug, no Yohoho, for simply getting a good Tuesday time.

On the other hand, Rex making a big deal about Ron CEY the last time he was here certainly helped!

It's downright bizarre seeing LAROSA early in the week with the least informative clue compared to past clues.

CoolPapaD 12:13 PM  

Wasn't there a Simpsons episode where Krusty fired Sideshow Bob on the air (a la Mr. LaRosa), or am having false memories?

I LOVE baseball names!

Randy 12:23 PM  

@JIC - It's The Big Unit. Ever so much better (and factual, I might add).

bill buckner 12:23 PM  

Thanks for trotting out the Rick Monday story, Rex. Seeing how its really unrelated to the puzzle today, it appears designed to draw attention to an Expos fan, and the team's unfortunate history in the post-season. I can relate.

Elaine 12:23 PM  

It's not your fault Wiki has these little...subtle errors... I don't know what to call 'em, but I don't use their dictionary, either. Not enough quality control.

@Bob Kerfuffle
Thanks for the link; too bad about the sound quality on YOuTube, but oh well. (I love our recordings of Alma Gluck, which we can hear on our wind-up Victrola...) We have not a single Julius LaRosa; you're right, he's only there as Fill.
Did you know Alma Gluck was married to violinist Efrem Zimbalist?...and I expect you know of their son. 77 Sunset Strip!

Oops; Codgerhood raises its old gray head again!

Anonymous 12:25 PM  

How come nobody is referring to Ron Cey's nickname of "The Penguin?" Have you all forgotten? One only had to seem on the field to figure out how got his nickname. V. easy puzzle, but I'm with the "no more Simpsons"

mac 12:28 PM  

@HudsonHawk: Poor CrossCan crossed my mind as well.... Isn't he at Disneyworld being earwormed by "It's a small world"?

Maybe Mr. Sessa wanted to break the record for smallest number of theme squares. Are we not counting 56A?

Greene 12:50 PM  

Hey everybody, lay off The Simpsons will ya? Sure it's a cartoon, but for 20 years it's been one of the best satires on television. It can be extremely silly true, but it is also highly intelligent and extremely sophisticated in many of its lampoons. Just about everybody of any import has done a guest appearance (including my idol Stephen Sondheim, not to mention Will Shortz).

What is most astonishing to me is the quality of the writing 20 years in. It's still fresh, trenchant, and outright hilarious. If you haven't watched, by all means take a look. You can always tell your spouse that you're improving your puzzle skills.

@CoolPapaD: I don't remember Sideshow Bob being fired ala Julius Larosa (any thoughts, Rex?), but I do remember an episode where one of his many attempts to kill Bart was thwarted by Bart persuading him sing the entire score to H.M.S. Pinafore as a stall tactic until help arrived. Priceless.

Anonymous 12:57 PM  

I had OILGUN for OILCAN, but fixed it to meet up with HOLYMACKERAL. No real problems, and definitely not a BLAH.

@jeffinchicago- I agree with you. On tap is a more common phrase.

benwdunn 1:03 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
benwdunn 1:05 PM  

MLB Network is showing a 1984 game between the Cubs and Cardinals that features Ron Cey as a Chicago Cub. Go Cubbies!!

sanfranman59 1:12 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

All solvers (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 6:47, 6:57, 0.98, 48%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:48, 3:42, 1.03, 66%, Medium-Challenging

Ron Cey's nickname ("The Penguin") has always been one of my favorites. As Anon @ 12:25 says, seeing him run the bases makes immediately clear how he earned it.

hazel 1:37 PM  

Glad to see at midday that I'm above the fold w/ respect to All Solvers. I got completely thumped yesterday.

Ron Cey fell within my decade of indifference to baseball, but I still knew his name, if not his nickname - which is a good one.

Would like to see a contest for best all-time nicknames. I like Catfish Hunter too @Jeff, and also The Splendid Splinter, and Fat Elvis (for Lance Berkman) although I think he might call himself the Big Puma, which I gather he prefers. But Fat Elvis is hard not to love. Andres Gallaraga was the Big Cat - and a great Brave when we had him.

Anonymous 1:37 PM  

There's an interview with the constructor on today's NYT blog.

Hallaig 2:12 PM  

There WERE Expos fans in Montreal. We had so many heart-breakers we just gave up. When baseball went on strike in 1994, the Expos were leading their division by 6 games. The next year the owners sold all the good players, and thereby the team's chances, to make money. That was the last straw for a lot of people, including my husband who refused to ever go to another game. What's the point if the ownership isn't trying to win?

Mind you, the Canadiens are sold out no matter who owns the team or how badly they're doing, so I have to admit Montrealers are better hockey fans.

That Blue Monday game has entered folklore - everyone says they were there. I even think I was. ;)

Enjoyed the puzzle today. Found it a little harder than the average Monday.

Hallaig 2:13 PM  

Forgot to mention, OILCAN Boyd was an Expo for a while too.

william e emba 2:29 PM  

I assumed that since we got the Ron Cey Penguin story last time he was in the puzzle, there was no need to repeat it.

More Simpsons! More Simpsons! Heck, I was a fan of Matt Groening Life in Hell in the 80s. And I was friends with Al Jean back in high school. We went to the same math camp. More Simpsons! More Simpsons!

On the other hand, I have never seen an episode, I have read only a few of the comic books, and I didn't particularly like the pinball machine. But if Thomas Pynchon guest-starred on it, it's got to be good.

retired_chemist 2:30 PM  

Easy here. My fastest NYT puzzle ever. Enjoyed the theme. Refuse to get worked up over oil cans, the Simpsons, baseball, Julius LaRosa etc. It's all good.

If Amy Reynaldo married Julius LaRosa would they call themselves Orange/Julius LaRosa?

Squeek 2:39 PM  

Greene you are so right about the Simpsons. If I can put up with the baseball clues and the seemingly endless chatter it creates then the anti-Simpson crowd can put up with my favorite satire of American life.

foodie 2:40 PM  

Before I came to the US, the only name of an American sports figure that I knew was "Meadowlark Lemon". I thought it was the coolest name ever. Then I came to the US and heard about Darryl Strawberry. As you might expect, I love it too. And wondered-- what is it with having a food name and being a famous American sports figure? I now can't think of another example. But of course I draw from limited knowledge (about sports figures not food names : )

Madame CURIE is my hero--I read about her when I was 10 years old and it changed my life. I thought it was amusing to see her in the same puzzle with HOMER SIMPSON. Puzzles make strange bedfellows. I really enjoyed this one!

Rex, it's interesting to see how prejudice can be retroactive!

lit.doc 2:41 PM  

My definition of a good NYT puzz: coming in under 9 minutes, like today. Obviously, my bar is still set reeeally low.

It was a welcome breather after being tortured by BEQ's excruciatingly fun Monday puzz. Now, like mac, I'm off to Peter Gordon's dry-run puzz (y'all have subscribed, right?...)

Sonya 2:43 PM  

I'm with you (as usual) Mr. Emba.
Life in Hell was great.
Tracy Ullman introduced us to the Simpsons on her brilliant show.

CoolPapaD 3:48 PM  

@ foodie - In addition to these, there was also a guy named Chris Hamburger, who played football for the Washington Redskins in the 60s and 70s!


Bon appetite!

Anonymous 3:53 PM  

Cey and Monday also played for the Cubsters!

Anonymous 4:03 PM  

@Rex (or anyone) - I know you have a word of the day, but what is the significance of the clues that you have in the "Title" of the daily write-up, just after the date? Are those just the clues that gave you the most trouble, the most interesting, or what....?

chefbea 4:24 PM  

Just got to the puzzle. Been busy baking xmas cookies.Yummm
Fun easy monday puzzle
Back to the cookies

Meg 4:36 PM  

So, too many clues about the Simpsons, but nobody complains about Seinfeld and The Sopranos? I NEVER watch The Sopranos, and yet I am asked in puzzle after puzzle to come up with names of characters and actors and you don't hear me whining! Present whine excepted.

Poor Julius. Is he still around? Does he know how he's been used?

I liked this puzzle mostly because I had to get to the last theme answer to get the theme. For a Monday, that's cool.

Steve J 4:46 PM  

Is it just me, or does the clue for OILCAN seem wrong? What kind of can squirts? An oil gun squirts. You pour from a can.

That wasn't the only hangup I had in what proved to be a tougher Monday than it really deserved to be. YOGURTSMOOTHIE just wasn't coming to me, as I've always heard them referred to as "fruit smoothies" (I wonder if that's a regional variant akin to soda/pop/coke). And I couldn't suss the theme for a bit, because I hear the syllable breakdown of HOMER as home-er, not ho-mer (which I realize violates the rules of syllable division in American English). Can't blame the constructor for my cockeyed syllable parsing, of course.

fergus 4:53 PM  

The OIL CANs that gave Mr. Boyd his sobriquet referred to a certain malted beverage that's often served ON DRAFT.

I was wondering why HAITI dosn't seem to show up anywhere nearly as often as, say, YEMEN? I liked seeing GHANA in yesterday's puzzle but can understand why its appearance is rare.

Two Ponies 4:53 PM  

@ Steve, I think the oil can is out-dated in a modern garage.
Oil can reminds me of the Tin Man in Wizard of Oz. Remember Dorothy having to give him a squirt from time to time?

retired_chemist 5:03 PM  

Bob Lemon, P, Cleveland Indians, forties; Deron Cherry, SS, KC Chiefs, eighties; gotta be more.

Steve J 5:13 PM  

@Two Ponies: Ah, yes. The Tin Man reference jogged that faint memory loose. I do remember those now. Well, seeing those in movies. And maybe in my grandparents' garage (auto or otherwise).

Glitch 5:47 PM  

@Martin & OILCAN "discussers"

After a bit more research (slow day), it appears that an OILCAN is different than a "Can of oil", and probably has only a small part in the AUTOmobile world (maybe oiling the hinges?).

More likely to be used in/on workshops, steam engines of yore, and classic movies. ;)

Definitions of oilcan on the Web:

•a can with a long nozzle to apply oil to machinery

•A container with a long spout, for containing oil and delivering it in drops or small quantities for lubricating machinery


Stan 6:08 PM  

Hmmm, Strawberry, Lemon, Cherry... where's @acme? We're just a few short of a theme (or a smoothie).

Anonymous 6:27 PM  

Why do we put @ before someone's name? I've not seen this before?

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 6:37 PM  

"On some online forums without proper threaded discussions, @ is used to denote a reply; for instance: "@Jane" to respond to a comment Jane made earlier."

Ulrich 6:45 PM  

My contribution to the acme puzzle-in-the-making: Chuck Knoblauch (German for "garlic")--my favorite food flavorer...

mac 8:56 PM  

@Ulrich: perfect! How about Mia Hamm?

Martin 9:00 PM  


I work on cars so my suburban garage does has an oilcan. Actually it has two. Oil doesn't come in cans anymore, so I'm not sure oil cans are found anywhere. Maybe China. I call the modern plastic containers "quarts," but maybe someone still calls them "cans." [I did type oil can for oilcan earlier. That's a typo.]

I have two because one is kept full with 30 weight oil and the other with automatic transmission fluid. I believe most "auto garages" (to distinguish professional repair shops from two-car garages) will have at least these two. In addition to lubing door hinges, there are lots of pivot points, control cables, throttle linkages, etc., etc. that need a drop of one of these lubricants now and then. Newer cars with drive-by-wire and high-tech joint materials use less, but even they need a shot now and then. I used to have an oilcan of penetrating oil around as well, but WD-40 has pretty much replaced it.

Of course repair shops are also called "garages," but in a discussion such as this one it's useful to be able to distinguish residential from repair garages. I still think that's what the cluer had in mind.

Ulrich 9:16 PM  

@mac: Yes, but I thought we were restricted to baseball players...

Sfingi 9:33 PM  

Quick and easy today, easier than LA for me.

CEY was the only sports clue, but it managed to create a personal Natick for me crossing EDUCE.

Some antique oil cans have terrific sieved funnels, which is all I care.

I would love to see LaROSA make a comeback in real life. He's a 79 year old Sicilian American "Irish" tenor and still singing in clubs.

I'm not a fan of the Gabors, though ZsaZsa (half a Gabor per crosswords) had some quotable quotes. But I sure felt sorry for the actor and suicide George Sanders who married both ZsaZsa (2nd) and Magda (4th).

I was doing the puzzle at the Home with my mother. She doesn't remember much personal, but when I said "Yo Ho Ho and..." she finished "a bottle of rum."

I think I'd better watch some Simpson 'toons. South Park is gus-dusting as they used to say in Al Capp cartoons, but I've heard good things about The Simpsons, so it's time to defogey a bit.

@Kerfuffle - or is it Kartoffel?
Viel Glück und viel Segen, auf all
deinen Wegen!

Clark 9:42 PM  

The simple old oilcans had a slightly convex bottom that could be pushed in with the thumb, making a characteristic clicking sound as it delivered a squirt of oil. The fancier ones had a handle and a little lever that you could push with your thumb to deliver the oil. That is the kind that Dorothy used to oil the tin man.

What's up Chuck? Get it, What's upchuck? 10:00 PM  

@Ulrich - Who would have thought that Chuck was German for garlic? Learn something new every day!

SethG 10:08 PM  

Or starches, with Jerry Rice, Spud Webb, Coco Crisp, and Akebono Taro. And, if you grew up where I did, this guy.

Ah, Mondays...

mac 10:19 PM  

You all find that website with edible athlete names?

foodie 11:33 PM  

@Ulrich and @mac the conversation started with baseball and @Artlvr mentioning Daryl Strawberry, but I then brought up Meadowlark Lemon, a basketball player, CoolPapa brought up Chris Hamburger, a football player. Retired Chemist's and Seth's nominees expand the list, including Akebono Taro, a Sumo wrestler...etc. So, Mia Hamm is, ahem, kosher...

We can have an entire buffet of garlic flavored, "edible athletes"!

I can't believe I'm part of a conversation about sports... Yes, Mondays : )

andrea nonfoodie michaels 1:16 AM  

@foodie, ulrich, et al
You're psychic!
I must alert Tony Orbach to the blog discussion today bec last year we spent HOURS trying to make a fruity person puzzle.
We had MEADOWLARKLEMON a perfect 15 across the center along with FIONAAPPLE, NENEHCHERRY
(DARRYLSTRAWBERRY is too long at 16 :( drag drag drag, if only he spelled his name DARYL with ONE R!)

ENDLESS discussion whether folks would know who NENEH was and on and on...looking ofr other entries...
Now that we know the German word for garlic, really, we must restart this puzzle!!!!

sanfranman59 1:34 AM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 7:00, 6:57, 1.01, 55%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:42, 3:41, 1.00, 56%, Medium

andrea oilcan michaels 1:35 AM  

what a touching story about your mom and the sweet ways a puzzle can connect folks!
With my 97 yr old grandmother, I'll start a song like "Tie a yellow ribbon..." and she'll join right in as tho her memory were fully intact.

(Altho the part that is not in"tact" is we will be sweetly bonding, singing along...and then she'll interrupt to tell me how horribly I sing off-key! I guess she still has her hearing!)

@Two Ponies
Far be it for ME to tell YOU how to solve/enjoy your puzzle, but now that four is the new three, we Monday constructors are COUNTING on folks to start at the top, so that the punchline is just that, a punchline!

(Solving from the bottom up is like my mom giving away a punchline by saying "Tell the one about the "Dwayne the bathtub, I'm dwowning"...
Not exactly whom I got my joke telling ability from! I think I had to write my own to overcorrect)

we are now officially one degree of separation! I went to college with Al Jean (his writing partner Michael Reiss remains a close friend and has popped by the ACPT...I introduced him to Natan Last and Kevin Der in an effort to up my cred with the young puzzle turks! I have the pic somewhere)

I recently parted with my much prized Simpson's cast poster having found the perfect recipient in a recently turned 40-yr-old...

"OILCAN!!!! OILCAN!!!" remains my favorite moment in the "Wizard of Oz".
One time when I subbed on this blog I was deconstructing my own puzzle that was "SILENCEISGOLDEN", "MUMSTHEWORD" "MYLIPSARESEALED"
(back when three was the new three)
I tried to say "Thank you" to Rex as if my lips WERE sealed a la the Tin Man and tried to approximate the OILCAN equivalent with spelling out how "thank you" would sound if my lips were indeed sealed
(Yes, it's as tortured as it sounds)
Rex responded with a parenthetical wtf was I talking about??!!! to a joke that had gone terribly awry...
(Hmmmm, come to think of it, it was not uncoincidentally the last time I subbed!)

Jeffrey 2:53 PM  

I'm glad I went away before reading this post. I was in London, Ont., skipping economics classes to watch the game.

And Rex - I hate you.

Nullifidian 12:28 PM  

Writing from syndication-land:

I don't mind this puzzle's theme all that much. It's pretty cheesy, but so are many other Monday themes.

The other parts of the puzzle kept me reasonably challenged, for a Monday. I liked 41D's "Reason for a 911 call", which was nicely vague. with TAIL and HOMER SIMPSON already solved, I was racking my brains for a seven letter criminal offense that began with TR. "Hello, 911? I'd like to report an act of treason in progress" didn't seem like a very plausible phone call, so I worked on the crosses and had no TROUBLE with that SW corner.

I don't follow baseball and wasn't even alive in the 1970s, so I had no idea who Ron CEY was, and I was hesitant to write down OBTRUDE and EDUCE because these seemed to be a bit more difficult than the usual Monday. EWER should also be more difficult than a Monday, but it's such a standard bit of crosswordese that I gave it a pass.

It was nice to see that Julius LA ROSA was clued without reference to being sacked.

And I also liked the cluing for 59D: "Duet number". I thought of trying to fit in some sort of song, and then I realized that it was TWO.

All in all, I'd call this a fairly enjoyable Monday puzzle.

Singer 1:29 PM  

I also liked the puzzle. I agree that the SPURS clue was not correct, but otherwise liked what happend. I did misread the theme clue as "starting word" instead of "starting syllable", which slowed me down briefly until I saw the answer with partial fill and went back and re-read it.

Anonymous 5:37 PM  

Hmmf. Not to split fibres, but I am paying for my daughter's BFA in textiles and I can tell you: Rayon is NOT a synthetic. It is made from cellulose. You can call it "artificial" but not "synthetic".

Anonymous 7:32 PM  

What? No penguin picture?

- - Robert

Anonymous 12:18 AM  

ouch on the Blue Monday thing. that still hurts, you know...

Unknown 1:32 AM  

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