Statesman Root / MON 1-2-12 / One providing nonmedical support for woman in labor / Old Detroit brewery name / George M Yankee Doodle Boy composer / Pulitzer-winning 1920 Eugene O'Neill play

Monday, January 2, 2012

Constructor: Paula Gamache

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: SIGHT UNSEEN (62A: Literal description of something that is 18-, 24-, 40- or 49-Across) — answers are all [preposition THE place] phrases describing locations that one cannot (yet) see.

Word of the Day: DOULA (58A: One providing nonmedical support for a woman in labor) —
A Doula is someone who provides non-medical support to women and their families during labour and childbirth, and also the postpartum period. (wikipedia)
• • •

Didn't care for this one. First it was supereasy and boring, then it got less easy but more annoying. Never heard of "BEYOND THE HORIZON," but it won the Pulitzer, so I suppose it's worth knowing. Doesn't seem Monday, but no big deal. Bigger issue for me was UNDER THE COUNTER—could not figure COUNTER out at all. Needed nearly every cross. Heard of paying someone UNDER THE TABLE. Don't know the COUNTER phrase so well. But again, that's mainly my problem. What's not my problem is the revealer. First, SIGHT UNSEEN, as far as I've ever heard it, is used in relation to something that has been bought or otherwise accepted. Literally, the answers in this puzzles could be described, I suppose, as UNSEEN, but SIGHT UNSEEN is discordant. Further, there's no reason I can't (literally) see under a counter. Depends on where I'm standing (same can't be said for other expressions). Further further, the corners on this thing look like they were filled by a computer. TKOS, ASSN, and LIRAS (pl!?) all in the same small corner. Lazy. ERITU crossing ELIHU!? (26D: Statesman Root) That's a black hole of crosswordese. Mildly cutesy idea, executed averagely. If a puzzle going to go 16 wide, there should be good reason, and the grid should be especially well filled. Neither of those criteria were met here.

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Elderly, so to speak (OVER THE HILL)
  • 24A: Soon to arrive (AROUND THE CORNER)
  • 40A: Pulitzer-winning 1920 Eugene O'Neill play ("BEYOND THE HORIZON")
  • 49A: Secret or illegal (UNDER-THE-COUNTER)
Remembered the [Old Detroit brewery name] (STROH) but had no clue about the "The Yankee Doodle Boy" composer (George M. COHAN). Thankfully, I have a cousin who's a midwife—though I probably would've known DOULA anyway. I've never seen it in crosswords. I have no idea how well known the word is. It's about the only thing interesting in this puzzle. Original. I though DSL was AOL (9D: Broadband inits.), but otherwise, nothing about the top half was very troubling. Oh, LISLE (13D: Smooth cotton fabric). Ugh. Fabrics. No idea what I had at first. I should've known there'd be gratuitous French somewhere.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


pk 12:08 AM  

Around the corner
And under a tree
A Sargeant Major
Once said to me

Who would marry you?
I would like to know
For every time I look at your face
It makes me want to go...

Tobias Duncan 12:18 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
retired_chemist 12:20 AM  

Easy-medium here. Happy with the theme, happy with most of the fill, less so with some. Letter sequences (48A LMN) turn me off. At least ABC (30D) had an OK clue. Some crosswordese.

Liked DOULA - new word to me. Earworm: Yale coeds giving birth singing DOULA DOULA, DOULA DOULA...

Thanks, Ms. Gamache.

Tobias Duncan 12:21 AM  

I have a friend who is a DOULA, nearly six feet tall,dripping with tattoos and is the spitting image of Zooey Deschanel.
This one was tough for me, easy Tuesday time.ERITU ELIHU is by far the worst non sports cross I have ever seen.

Tita 12:24 AM  

Well, I was just happy to finally have a fabric that I HAVE heard of!
Liked the theme fine, but a few more nits to add to Rex's:
42D coulda been Cloth leftovers, to avoid using "fabric" twice in clues.
Oh - and LMN is the epitome of lazy junk fill.

But seriously, Rex - you've managed to make it this long without seeing Jimmy Cagney in Yankee Doodle Dandy? It's not only aired 24/7 leading up to Jul 4, but randomly throughout the year. Watching him tap dance down the White House stairs is one of the greatest moments of filmdom!

And come now, no one who doesn't have a midwife cousin knows DOULA anyway.

(Oh - and you have to be OVERTHEHILL to have gotten SNERD with no crosses...)

chefwen 12:47 AM  

DOULE was a new one for me also, but easily gotten with crosses.

19D - Shout out to Dear Old Dad, who just turned 93.

Always love me some Paula Gamache on a Monday or any day for that matter.

Pizza just arrived, time to go.

Go Badgers!

andes cato michaels 12:54 AM  

That is the song my 99-yr-old grandmother, Maidie, always sings to me!!!!
She has begun to lose her short term memory, but ANY phrase you say to her, she is reminded of a song and begins to sing it...
Perfect recall of all lyrics.
And for some reason she always sings this song to me and gets a kick that it is a never-ending round song!
I have always assumed it was from the '20's and am shocked, shocked to find you have printed it here!!!

This puzzle might suit her perfectly, she could easily get COHAN and SNERD, I'm sure. And "be ADEAR", etc.

I liked the feminine slant to this (tho I've never seen DOULA and would have guessed maybe DOOLAH as the spelling).
LISLE, DOULA, ADEAR, NIVEA, EMERY, LASH (in relation to mascara instead of pirate whippings) gave this puzzle a nice balanced vibe to the sports-y TKOS, peewee REESE,
I like hearing a woman's voice, yet it doesn't have to be devoid of sports...
Racy little corner too with an AIDS drug and abortion ROE v Wade reference, that could have been Fish Eggs...
ANN Arbor is a shout out to @foodie.

I too have never heard of BEYONDTHEHORIZON and am a bit shocked...both by my ignorance and for its inclusion in a Monday.
(Totally tough for a Monday with fill like AMAIN (??!!) STROH, ERITU/ELIHU, LISLE, KYL...)

BUT I thought the reveal made the theme answers sing!
I thought it was going to be just OVERTHEHILL,THROUGHTHEDALE and end up with GRANDMASHOUSE (hmmmmmm!) or something, so I was pleasantly diverted by the SIGHTUNSEEN.

Eritu Elihu 1:07 AM  

There were some nasty crosses in this one for a Monday. Rex pointed out ERITU and ELIHU, and I also had quite a bit of trouble with SNERD and SARIS. Usually on Mondays the super-esoteric clues are positioned more kindly than in this grid.

pk 1:27 AM  

@acme - I learned the tune/round as a teenager performing in "Oh What a Lovely War" - apparently it is/was a WWI popular song - love it that your Maidie sings it to you.

I have some more in my WWI repertoire that Maidie may know as well...

Young Johnny Jones, he had a cute little boat, and all the girlies he would take for a float

santafefran 1:44 AM  

I know "Beyond the Blue Horizon" as a song, but it looks washed out without the blue. I think you have to be OVER THE HILL to know that song. Hope it's not OUT OF SEASON to be SELF RELIANT.

AROUND THE CORNER brings this song to mind for me: THE WEAVERS

syndy 2:23 AM  

Beyond the Horizon was a pretty familiar consept for me and my only problem with ERITU/ELIHU is as a crosswordese over dose ,but it is Monday after all.LMN however is the pitts.SIGHT UNSEEN tied the theme nicely with a bow.There are times that REX truely scares me but the YANKEE DOODLE thing? back slowly away.

Sarah @ Baby Bilingual 2:23 AM  

As I live near Boulder, Colo, it seems like there is a DOULA on every corner! When I was pregnant with my first child, DH and I went to a meet-the-doula mixer, which reminded me (unpleasantly) of speed dating. We met all types, all shapes, all ages, from granola to no-nonsense.

Some specialize in helping the mom (and her partner) get through the labor, suggesting lots of positions, strategies, and ideas, doing massage, keeping the nurses from monitoring you constantly, helping make informed decisions if things veer from your birth plan. Others work as postpartum doulas, helping mom learn to breastfeed, watching the baby overnight, etc.

We ended up hiring a fantastic woman who was present when my son was born four years ago and again with my daughter last year. It was so worth the money, especially since my first nineteen-hour labor spanned a shift change at the hospital. Having an expert there at my bedside the whole time was invaluable.

I highly recommend a birth doula, especially if you're aiming to avoid an epidural!

Er, I hope this isn't TMI from a reader who has only de-lurked twice before. I'm just so excited to see DOULA in the puzzle for the first time!

Deb 2:45 AM  

The crank is back! I have to admit I had the same thought about being able to see under the counter, but overall I thought it was a meaty puzzle for a Monday.

Sticking my tongue out at you, Tita (since I got SNERD with no crosses).

@Sarah - always fun to see a fellow Coloradoan, and from looking at your profile, I have to ask just how close to Granola Valley you are. ;)

Doris 7:25 AM  

Second verse of folk song by South African balladeer Joseph Marais. Popularized by him with his wife, Miranda. Also recorded by Jo Stafford and by The Weavers. Boy, am I dating myself! But this is a much better song than the aforementioned one. Google the Weavers' version on YouTube and see if Marais and Miranda are there also.

Around the corner, oooh oooh,
Beneath the berry tree,
Along the footpath, behind the bush
Looking for Emily.

SethG 8:03 AM  

Somewhat surprised that so many don't know DOULA. Not surprised that people admonish Rex for not being familiar enough with the 70-year old movie.

dk 8:24 AM  

@Sarah BB, Thanks for the DOULA story. Not TMI just interesting.

Well back from my road trip and I must say the trip through IOWA was interesting. Spent the night in at the Chief Lamoni Motel (Lamoni, IA) as my goal (realized) was only to stay in old motels with Indian themed names. It was a very nice place. Made the mistake of turning on the TV (a novelty in dk world) and was bombarded with attack adds. Sought refuge in an espresso bar in Des Monies (Java Joe's, also very nice) and found my self in the middle of a NBC telecast. Raced out the door and headed to Ames only to find The Grove (great breakfast spot) closed for New Years. All of this made me long for the sunny bench in front of the World Cup (truly great espresso bar) in Taos.

Where am I going? This puzzle was just fine. ELITHU elicited a hairball response only as it refers to a politician (who may be a fine man) and the whole Iowa experience has left a bitter taste. What I am happy to read is opinions with a basis in reality... even our dear leader's cranky pants reality.

All the theme clues were in my wheel house including knowing COHAN. A child hood filled with show tunes pays off once again.

** (2 Stars) The thought of LULU comics made me smile.

Last gasp on the trip. Want to have some fun? Follow the advice of Breakfast in America and take the long way home. And when in Iowa say hi to the Amish in Davis City and tell um dk sent ya. Just don't ask for UNDERTHECOUNTER deals on furniture (insert lame pun chortle about here).

Glimmerglass 8:26 AM  

Didn't know DOULA, but I never saw the clue or the answer -- the downs were so easy I never looked at 58A until I came here and saw the WOD. UNDER THE COUNTER makes sense to me -- if something is UTC, someone is hiding it, so you can't see it. OVER THE HILL, however, is not UNSEEN. When one is over the hill (as I am), he can see the back side of the hill very well indeed.

Days of Yore 8:57 AM  

At one time, drug stores kept "adult items" (e.g. condoms) UNDER THE COUNTER --- a common expression from my earlier days.

@SethG: It's not as if the movie hasn't been seen for 70 years. Oldies "It's A Wonderful Life", "Miracle on 34th St", "The Wizard of Oz" are equally obscure.

A Theatergoer 8:59 AM  

BEYONDTHEHORIZON was a play about Kit Columbus,s voyage to the New World. It was considered ground-breaking at the time because of its inclusion of many Spanish and Italian words. Despite the Pulitzer, it was not a hit with the Broadway crowd.

jackj 9:08 AM  

DOULA?..DOULA?...DOULA?... (Apologies to Ben Stein).

Silly me, I thought sure the clue was asking for the Lamaze COACH, who in my experience, is almost always the husband, (and usually the father), but, no, it’s some anonymous Grecian slave girl type acting as mother’s hired hand.

DOULA certainly is pushing the…. er, oops, sorry; DOULA seems a bit aggressive for a Monday, even though all the crosses easily complete it.

What say you, Acme? Are words of Saturday difficulty acceptable in Monday puzzles as long as the crosses needed to fill it in are Monday level gettable?

Paula’s theme was definitely top drawer, with an intelligent premise, and the long, non-theme entries in the puzzle were also commendable, especially SELFRELIANT.

With 51 more Monday puzzles to come in 2012, Paula has set the bar at a very high level.

Good for us!!

Rudy Shankar 9:12 AM  

Heres how the Pareto works for me. Had 80% of the puzzle solved in 15 min., 90% of the puzzle in 35 min.... and still working in stragglers. For a Monday some unique word as some have noted. Nice theme

santafefran 9:20 AM  

@Doris--If you click THE WEAVERS link in my first post, it will take you right to the AROUND THE CORNER song which you referenced.

dk -- glad you managed to escape Iowa without being caucused to death.

joho 9:23 AM  

My "Beyond The Horizon" is Bob Dylan's song on "Modern Times." Great album.

I didn't know DOULA. Reminds me of when a friend of mine was asked by his girlfriend "What's the name of the new plant you just brought home?" He answered, "It's a Medulla Oblongata." She called it that thereafter.

My favorite thing about this puzzle was the reveal because it added interest to the theme. I look forward to Tuesday which is just AROUNDTHECORNER.

imfromjersey 9:25 AM  

This one seemed more like a Tuesday to me and I really wanted ERITU to be Eres Tu. I thought Rex might have posted this video in his writeup...

I only learned the term DOULA when we were going to birthing classes before my first child was born 13 years ago.

chefbea 9:32 AM  

Found this very easy. Puzzle husband has a shirt that says "over the hill. What hill. I Didn't see any hill"

GILL I. 9:36 AM  

I have no nits to pick. Seems like a pretty straight forward Monday puzzle with an added bonus - never heard of DOULA (thanks @Sara BB and welcome!)so I had a look-up word on a Monday.

quilter1 9:38 AM  

I knew DOULA would be the WOD. Very familiar to me. This puzzle was very easy for me--I guess I'm a know-it-all today. I'll try not to be obnoxious. I owe it all to being OVERTHEHILL.

And just to add to the general obscurity, there is a famous (in some circles) depression era quilt called Just AROUND THE CORNER in which each block has a citizen of adifferent walk of life peeking AROUND THE CORNER of a building looking for prosperity to return. It is really cute.

Furthermore I can sing BEYOND THE Blue HORIZON. Officially old.

captcha of the day: anges, sil vous plait, stick around.

Tita 9:43 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tita 9:44 AM  

@Deb - but I got SNERD with no crosses!!! I definitely resemble 18A myself, which is why I can make such a remark..
(Though I only know him from reruns...honest...)

Z 9:44 AM  

The midwifery commentary reminds me of the birthing experiences of a friend of mine. He is a decade older than me and managed to experience a wide range of the medical profession's responses to fathers during birth. Child 1 - you wait in this room and we'll call you in when it is over. Child 2 - You can be in the room to comfort your wife until the actual delivery begins, then dad is shooed to the waiting room. Child 3 - "Would you like to cut the cord?"

OUT OF SEASON seems like it could be part of the theme, which made SELF RELIANT a little hard for me to see; I wanted a directional first word there. Otherwise, I agree with most of what has been said. REMNANT pretty much exhausts my fabric knowledge, so LISLE came from the crosses with the S being the last letter in. I have lived over half a century thinking that mascara went on the cheeks. So today I learned that mascara goes on the eye lash and lisle is a thing.

captcha - ahoism - seeing AHOY too many days in one week.

diane 9:51 AM  

DNF for me. I relibably finish Mondays, no Googling, and though I didn't Google today, ERITU/ELIHU/STROH/SINO were all unknown to me and I was guessing. When my iPad app re-loaded itself this morning, it had Xed out incorrect letters, so I was able to easily guess the couple I had wrong. So I cheated involuntarily; I hate it when it does that. (It doesn't usually show the Xs until the next day's puzzle is available and the solution is revealable, but this has happened a couple of times)

ArtO 9:53 AM  

I guess it's an age thing but I'm always amazed by the words/things Rex knows vs. what he doesn't - e.g. DOULA vs. COHAN (i.e. George M.)
Never heard of the former and figured the latter was pretty well known by most - especially one so erudite as our fearless leader.

Oh well. On the whole an easy solve but a head scratcher when it came to DOULA. The crosses all were gimmies so just figured DOULA was right and came here for confirmation. Had to be word of the day!!

archaeoprof 9:55 AM  

Fresh Monday. Liked it.

Didn't know DOULA but got it on crosses.

@Rex: on Thursday I start teaching 35 students in a January term class on the NYT xword, "Thinking Inside the Box." Reading this blog will be a daily assignment.

The Bard 10:00 AM  

Hamlet > Act II, scene II

ROSENCRANTZ: Both your majesties
Might, by the sovereign power you have of us,
Put your dread pleasures more into command
Than to entreaty.

GUILDENSTERN: But we both obey,
And here give up ourselves, in the full bent
To lay our service freely at your feet,
To be commanded.

xyz 10:16 AM  

UNDER THE COUNTER is a construct of crosswordese to satisfy the cutesy rules and grid commandments. UNDER THE TABLE would of course affect the grid symmetry and we all know how terrible that would be. It's knock the Earth a picodegree off axis

Word O'Day was between DOULA and KYL for me, but my ankle-jerks are stunted (bad back, you know), so I'm guessing that I should spend the day in the doghouse for not burping up KYL.

Funny, I found it super easy but since I got KYL, DOULA and ELIHU from crosses I failed. wah

Lindsay 10:24 AM  

Yawn. Like Rex said.

My mother used to walk around the house singing Yankee Doodle Dandy. No idea why. A real live nephew of my Uncle Sam. Born on the 4th of July.

Someone in this town has a license plate that says DOULA. Which to my taste is a little TMI if you're sitting behind her at a red light.

Homer (From Greece, Not Springfield) 10:27 AM  

Not long ago there was a discussion here concerning the idea that sometimes "even Homer nods."

It would seem that The Bard also nods at times, assuming that his 10:00 AM post with "dread" emboldened was meant to be a reference to 3 D, "drear."

ranman 10:30 AM  

Agree with where the redanman is going. UNDER THE TABLE is most applicable to the cluing of "secret or illegal." UNDER THE COUNTER would need a different clue implying objectionable but not per se illegal.

John V 10:30 AM  

Very easy here. DOULA new to me but I found its crosses to be so easy that I didn't realize I'd had it until done. It's exciting to find a non-Monday word in a Monday puzzle. Can't remember the last time that happened, so thanks for that Ms. Gamache.

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

Just didn't feel like a Monday puzzle. heard of doula but wasn't sure of spelling. Actually put in "linen" instead of lisle, but once saw lash fit, had to change the corner and it went quickly.

Sparky 10:52 AM  

Computer finally working and I seem to be out of my blue funk too.

Expected 11 and 25D to be theme also. In ancient times sanitary napkins were behind the counter, not under it, giving the pharmacist the chance leer at you (or so one thought). Thanks @santafefran, I heard that song too and, like @Doris, with the Hoo, Hoo after the first line. @dk he would row, row, row.

Little catch up: QTIP becomming my guiding principle, thank you @andrea.

Happy New Week.

Two Ponies 11:02 AM  

Any Monday that teaches me a new word is a good thing.
@ dk, You're a brave man to go to Iowa this time of year.

Anonymous 11:17 AM  

@Chefwen --Why do I have the feeling that Rex's team did not make the playoffs? 93 - part of the Greatest Generation. HB to him!

PS. Any chance you'll trade that 2nd string QB to the Bears?


Arundel 11:29 AM  

Easy enough, and remarkably satisfying for a Monday. Some too obvious gimmes (69a) but some amusing crosses (6a and 6d), and some irritating ones (26d and 44a).

But I'm curious - did everyone who was stumped by DOULA (58a) regard AMAIN (12d) as too obvious to even question? I can't say that I've ever heard that word. As with so much of this puzzle, it fell into place with the crosses, but it certainly wasn't familiar to me!

Another Bard who is not hungover 11:31 AM  

In Drear-Nighted December

IN drear-nighted December,
Too happy, happy tree,
Thy branches ne'er remember
Their green felicity:
The north cannot undo them
With a sleety whistle through them;
Nor frozen thawings glue them
From budding at the prime.

In drear-nighted December,
Too happy, happy brook,
Thy bubblings ne'er remember
Apollo's summer look;
But with a sweet forgetting,
They stay their crystal fretting,
Never, never petting
About the frozen time.

Ah! would 'twere so with many
A gentle girl and boy!
But were there ever any
Writhed not at passed joy?
The feel of not to feel it,
When there is none to heal it
Nor numbed sense to steel it,
Was never said in rhyme.

John Keats

Sarah @ Baby Bilingual 12:04 PM  

@Deb--I'm just east of Boulder in Lafayette, but lived in Fort Collins from 1998-2004 (and still return there to see plays at Bas Bleu Theatre several times a year).

Thanks for the welcome! I left a sort-of introduction on Sunday's blog post, but it was after everyone else had already posted.

Lewis 12:42 PM  

Very happy to see DOULA (pronounced DOO-la) in the puzzle. My wife teaches prenatal yoga and I've been familiar with doulas for years, and they perform a wonderful service for those giving birth. Their raison d'etre is to make the whole process easier.

There were quite a few words that seemed out of Monday's league, yet the puzzle went quickly.

mac 12:50 PM  

Crunchy Monday, always welcome. I too had heard of Doulas, just a few years ago, but needed the crosses to spell it. Really, really dislike the ABC and LMN and the blatant crosswordese. I like Paula Gamache puzzles late-week and themeless.

quilter1 12:57 PM  

@dk: sorry your Iowa sojourn was iffy. Java Joe's has been the media caucus hangout for a long time. Nice place and they have a little theater in the back.

Stan 1:06 PM  

Really liked the theme reveal, which made me realize that OVER THE HILL, AROUND THE CORNER, etc. were all visual metaphors. Unseen = Unknown.
Hmm, where am I on that hill? Up it, not over it.

DOULA was new to me, but I learned something.

Rookie 1:23 PM  

@Anonymous at 11:17. Wasn't Flynn amazing? Wow! And no way is he going to Chi-town. Now, on to rooting for Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl! Great weekend for Wisconsinites (although this one lives on the Minnesota border, so she has split allegiances.)

Since I am new at this, I was surprised to find this puzzle easy. I'm not a fast solver, but the process was smooth and steady, Encouraging.

Often you regulars refer to typical puzzles by day, e.g., "not a typical Monday." Is there a place where I could read a description of what is typical for each day of the week? I know the puzzles get harder, the clues more ambiguous as the week progresses, but I don't know what distinguishes Monday from Tuesday or Friday from Saturday. Any help, or will I just grow into feeling this?

Thanks for being kind to a rookie. So much to learn!

r.alphbunker 1:23 PM  


I have sent an email to your blogger address.

Anonymous 2:07 PM  

Pretty much agree with Rex. But there's a statue of George M. Cohan in Times Square so it seems fair for a NYTimes puzzle.

Numbers Guy 2:22 PM  

UNDER THE COUNTER is where a shop keeps things that they may be selling illegally (like alcohol during prohibition).
will isnt the amateur he is J'ACCUSEd of being. i dont know alot of words, but this clue is correct.
and Natick is also correct on the 100 year ago secretary of state that i refer to as ELIHA.

chefbea 2:45 PM  

@Sarah baby bilingual. I sent you an e-mail. Hope you received it and Welcome to Rexville

Matthew G. 2:59 PM  

My negative reaction was stronger than Rex's. I thought this was a pretty lousy puzzle. I know that Will says his stack of Monday puzzles is always the shortest, but I can't believe that in 2012 he couldn't find an early-week puzzle without LISLE/ERITU/ELIHU/STROH/DOULA/COHAN.

Never heard anybody say UNDER THE COUNTER, ever, unless they were telling me where to find the dishwasher soap.

Anonymous 3:10 PM  

can anyone explain why someone would leave a comment and then remove it? i am most interested in this because (rest of comment was removed by the author)

ksquare 3:20 PM  

Those who remember the GREAT Depression remember that prosperity was said to be "just AROUND THE CORNER" as it is today. Also, Maxwell House Coffee had an advertising jingle at that time that went
there's s rainbow in the sky,
so let's have another cup of coffee
and let's have another piece of pie.
So the phrase is not really unusual!

Bob Kerfuffle 3:36 PM  

@Anonymous, 3:10 PM - Usually a comment is deleted by the author because he/she has noticed a spelling/grammatical/logical error which he/she has made and wishes to post a corrected version. (As the author of a post, you will see a little garbage can in the corner which allows you to delete.) (And as someone has mentioned in the past, if a post is so vile or irrelevant that Rex decides to remove it, it will simply disappear and not leave a trace.)

Bob Kerfuffle 3:38 PM  

But the garbage can thingy may not appear if one posts as Anonymous.

Tita 3:41 PM  

Welcome Sarah!
Aas to your post from yesterday, you'll find many of us here who have learned immeasurably from this diverse and eccentric group - I absolutely have!

You'll also find that we are somewhat divided in terms of savorers and speeders...sounds like you want to be a speed(ier, at least) solver - so I wish you godspeed towards that goal...

I count myself among the savorers, thought the irony of having inflicted myself upon this blog is that I do hurry to finish in the same day so that I can come here!
No more leaving the Friday and Saturday, sometimes Sunday, laying aroud the house and picking it up at random moments till all the light bulbs have turned on.

@chefwen - Happy 93rd Birthday to your dear old Dad!

retired_chemist 4:35 PM  

@ Bob K and others - you are right - I believe the trash is available only if you have a blogger acct.

Anonymous 4:54 PM  

I must be the least sophisticated puzzler here. I thought this was a great puzzle for a Monday. I liked the theme and the revealer and have heard of all the theme answers. I do not know how anyone could describe one Monday as more boring than another. Mondays are for the uninitiated not for winners of puzzle tournaments. Rex is overly qualified to be analyzing Monday puzzles. His one quibble about 16 letters across might be valid if OVER THE HORIZON could be done in 15. Henceforth I nominate Acme, Queen of the Mondays, to do all of Rex’s commentary for Monday puzzles.


michael 5:23 PM  

Lots of doulas in my college town in caucusland. Siurprised so many people don't know the word. Liked the puzzle, but found in Wednesday-level difficult. Mondays I usually fill in without thinking, but not this one.

Anonymous 5:41 PM  

the redanman said...

UNDER THE COUNTER is a construct of crosswordese to satisfy the cutesy rules and grid commandments.

Nonsense. It's a common expression... and it's cited in Random House.

quilter1 5:42 PM  

@ksquare: hence a Prosperity is just AROUND THE CORNER quilt. :)

TJ 5:49 PM  

so, not a lot of "Gilmore Girls" fans here? The episode where a sweet but somewhat dumb character so enjoys the word "Doula" that he names the baby that is the first thing I thought of (though I already knew what a doula was--where have you people been?).

Anonymous 5:50 PM  

LISLE is also a town in Illinois and home to the Morton Arboretum

Stan 6:36 PM  

Sarah @ Baby Bilingual: I tried (twice) welcoming you to the blog following your post about a September puzzle. Got messages saying: "Comment moderation has been enabled. All comments must be approved by the blog author." I guess that after a certain time Blogger or Rex blocks all comments so as to prevent robo-spam, or whatever. Anyway, WELCOME!

@TJ: Liked 'Gilmore Girls' but missed that episode.

The garbage can is only available if you have a Blogger account. It's really useful if you submit duplicate posts, for example, or want to revise something you just sent. I encourage everyone who posts to get one: it won't threaten your anonymity!

ArtLvr 7:09 PM  

Happy New Year, all. If this appears, I'm back...


connie a 7:28 PM  

Three cheers for Elihu Root. It is good to know that there once lived an honest and decent Republican, back in the day when being a Republican meant simply respecting privacy and property.(None of this taking property by eminent domain to build stadiums in Texas stuff) About Root, Teddy Roosevelt said he would crawl on his hands and knees from the White House to the Capitol to see Root sworn in as president. Root felt that having once been a corporate attorney disqualified him. We've come a long way down the path of complete degradation. I guess.
Also, the Carnegie Institute of Peace was Elihu Root's brainchild.

Matthew G. 8:17 PM  

@Anonymous 4:54 p.m.: One Monday can be significantly worse than another by, say, using a lot more five-letter crosswordese than the other.

mac 9:15 PM  

@ArtLvr: nice to see you're back!

sanfranman59 10:01 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 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 6:49, 6:50, 1.00, 52%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:49, 3:40, 1.04, 70%, Medium-Challenging

chefwen 10:26 PM  

@ArtLvr - Welcome back, we've missed you, guess you finally received the promised new computer.

Wood 10:28 PM  

I had never heard of BEYOND THE HORIZON (I see it's an early O'Neill) but I have always thought his titles were beautiful: Mourning Becomes Electra. Strange Interlude. The Iceman Cometh. A Moon for the Misbegotten.

DOULA was new to me too. I'm always amazed at how one person's house pet is another's exotic species. Love hearing all the perspectives on this blog!

Anonymous 10:33 PM  

Matthew G @ 8:17 pm – Puleeze! Your previous comment to me (months ago) was why was I picking on you. I said I would leave you alone. But you succumbed.

A year ago you didn't do xwps. Now you are an expert? The trouble with lawyers is that they think they know everything. (I am a lawyer). Mondays are to Fridays what the pre-season is the NFL season or what spring training is to Baseball. Some are better than others but should never be graded like the Friday and Saturday puzzles. Rex claims he grades each day compared to that day's standard but IMHO that is not humanly possible for Rex. Rex has three puzzles published. His first was what he says this one is. His third was "not terrible." How do I know this? Because I am a lawyer. As for you, you have fallen into Rex's negativity. I warned you but you would not listen. I feel for you. Think positive. Be positive. Even when all is lost there is hope. There is even hope for Rex....


Guy who knows what "all" means. 11:55 PM  

@JFC - No, when all is lost there is no hope. It's kind of a tautology. When all but hope is lost there is hope. When all but popcorn is lost there is popcorn.

Karen from the Cape 12:09 AM  

@quilter1, thanks for the quilting reference. I found the image of the object mentioned, very interesting (and it looks like a lot of work).

Some things are sold Behind the Counter, like Plan B, which doesn't need a prescription for women of legal age. And Over the Counter is common too.

Anonymous 12:37 AM  

I don't see my last post to Guy et c.

Maybe I have exceeded my limit, though in the past Rex has allowed others to exceed theirs.

Rex has the singular abilty to encourage on this blog but his method of encouragement is sad. He can do so much positive good with this blog and he chooses to tear down. And what is more sad is that there are so many intelligent people here who encourage such negative thought instead of positive reinforcement.

Peace be with you.

Matthew G. 12:53 AM  

@Anon: If knowing that ELIHU crossing ERITU not so far from LISLE is crappy makes me an expert, then I am an expert. More likely, it's obvious.

I praise far more puzzles than I criticize, especially compared to Rex. This one was not good.

Anonymous 2:07 PM  

i just got to this one. i wasnt really a fan. im not a fan of paula g in general. i just think she gets some special treatment because she is will's intern - im not into that. if her puzzles were awesome - well thats one thing - but they arent - imo.

rain forest 12:55 PM  

I dunno. Seems like a pretty good Monday to me. Those who say that they can see under the counter are overlooking the fact that the phrase is a metaphor. Ha, inadvertent joke (overlooking under the counter, lol). I see Rex has his feisty back, so all is right in the world.

Nullifidian 1:23 PM  

In from syndication-land:

I knew Beyond the Horizon as a Eugene O'Neill fan, and if anyone wants to satisfy any curiosity they may feel about this work, they can download it for free from We also have Anna Christie, another early O'Neill play.

Frankly, I didn't think much of this puzzle. It's a pretty ordinary theme decked out with a lot of stuff that has the strong feeling of autofill. It was difficult without giving me any sense of accomplishment in finishing it. Mediocre and disappointing just about sums it up. But at least it gave me a chance to mention LibriVox.

Mighty Nisden 2:49 PM  

Pretty spicy comments for a Monday! I hated the ELIHU/ERITU cross because I guessed an 'a'. Oh well, overall it was an okay Monday. The reveal helped me with a couple of the long ones.

Thought the middle north was going to be tough until I got OVERTHEHILL, which happened to me a few years ago, then everything fell into place.

Dirigonzo 4:17 PM  

Others who didn't know DOULA said it was gettable (is that a word?) because the crosses were all easy, and yet right smack in the middle of is is that U from a freakin' French word, OUTRE, that was totally foreign (sorry) to me. DNF on a Monday. Oh, and the Patriots lost the Super Bowl. It is not a happy day for me.

Spacecraft 8:59 PM  

My WWI ditty contribution:
Dirty Gertie from Bizerte
Miss Latrine of 1930
OK, enough of that. I finished this with no problem, but couldn't help a checkback, as I'd never heard of DOULA. With non-proper names I usually just pick up my tableside Scrabble dictionary--and was surprised to NOT see the word. Could OUTRE be wrong? But I just left it there. Why would my Scrabble book not have DOULA listed? Troubling.
But has no one noticed yet? OVER
in that order! Pretty nifty arranging! Nice long verticals too. Is it enough to make up for HIREE, AMAIN (what millennium was that one last spoken?) and LMN? Or the hackneyed ERITU? Yeah, I guess. After all, we have a Mortimer SNERD sighting (@Rex, I totally expected a clip of the Snerdster in "action"), so, thumbs up (the dummy's right arm).

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