Old-fashioned music hall / MON 2-6-12 / Ruble Russia * Poland / Leave drawers in drawer say / Mannerly man briefly / Kind of day, grooming-wise

Monday, February 6, 2012

Constructor: Tom Pepper

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: GO ahead — five theme answers are two-word verb phrases that start with the word "GO"

Word of the Day: BAHA Men (1A: ___ Men ("Who Let the Dogs Out" group)) —
The Baha Men are the American singers in a Bahamian band. They play a modernised style of Bahamian music called Junkanoo. [...] "Who Let the Dogs Out?" also earned the band several awards: a Grammy Award in 2000 for Best Dance Recording; Billboard Music Awards for World Music Artist of the Year and World Music Album of the Year; and a Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award for Favorite Song. In 2002, they won another Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Band. (wikipedia)
• • •

Things looked bad after 1-Across, but thankfully they picked up from there. 3/5 of the theme answers are fantastic, and the others are fine, and I don't know what more I can expect from a Monday. I haven't heard the phrase "GO COMMANDO" since a late-'90s episode of "Friends," but it still feels contemporary. Certainly more contemporary than most of the slang you're apt to see in the NYT ("Nerts!"). "GO BELLY-UP" and "GO HALFSIES" are likely somewhat older, but both have a kind of timeless, shiny, colloquial quality that I can't help but admire. The other longer theme answers are solid, though BAD HAIR (45D: Kind of day, grooming-wise) is pushing tolerance limits. It's barely more of an answer than HAIR DAY. I'm not quite sure what "GO OP!" and "GO LF!" mean. Maybe "Go, Hammett protagonist!" and "Go play left field!" respectively. At any rate, good show.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Split a bill evenly with someone (GO HALFSIES)
  • 11D: Malfunction (GO HAYWIRE)
  • 39A: Flip out (GO CRAZY)
  • 35D: Fail financially (GO BELLY-UP)
  • 62A: Leave the drawers in the drawer, say (GO COMMANDO) — nice clue, too, btw

I'm writing this during the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. The Giants just intercepted Brady, if my Twitter feed isn't lying. As you can probably gather, I'm not terribly invested in the game, but people in this area certainly are. The diner this morning featured the typical mass of churchgoers, but today they were festooned in Giants gear. Entire families. Didn't see much of said gear back when the Giants were 7-7, but nothing breeds fandom like winning. As for the puzzle—blew through it (well under 3 minutes), which is mildly surprising given the sassy unexpectedness of many of the theme answer. My only hesitation was an odd 5-second paralysis at 51A: Natural barriers between yards (HEDGES). Something about the coincidence of "yards" and Super Bowl Sunday threw me off at first, and then when I realized the type of yards in question, my mind patiently reconstructed the topography of a typical yard. HEDGES! I don't think MOS Def's name is MOS Def anymore. I think I remember that he gave that name to Stephen Colbert because he had taken some new name ... "In September 2011, Mos Def announced that he planned to use the name Yasiin instead of Mos Def beginning in 2012" (wikipedia). No idea what that's about, but YASIIN looks very promising, crosswordwise.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


foodie 12:08 AM  

Really cute puzzle! Sort of cheeky...

What with GO COMMANDO and all...

Rex, I'm surprised, even I watched the 4th quarter of the game. I expected you to care. Always full of surprises!

jae 12:09 AM  

Ways to GO is the theme?  Pretty easy but zippy Mon. ...BAHA, COMMANDO, HAYWIRE, ORGY, BADHAIR...   I liked it.  Pretty smooth grid plus any puzzle with ZLOTY in it has my vote.   What I don't get are the two other GOs.  GOLF could have been WOLF and GOOP could have been BOOP??

Tita 12:13 AM  

First puzzle from Westport... I guess I need to go find some BEQs and Peter Gordons to do, though I think redoing these at my leisure will let me appreciate them more. I barely noticed themes when speeding through the puzzles.

Yes, Rex - GOCOMMANDO and its clue are definitely the highlight!
(Niece mailed me a pair of unmentionables that I forgot when I stayed with her - addressed simply to Commando Girl...)

Tobias Duncan 12:18 AM  

This took me twice my easy Monday time but I am sticking with the paper solving for another week at least.
Those stupid BAHA boys got me again. Never seen seen the LORNA Doone cookies.Liked BADHAIR way more than Rex did. Superbowl was fairly painless this year in Taos,not one person this year tried to get me excited about it. One of the nice things about my little town is main stream culture does not have as big an impact here.Could be why I stay.

andrea gogo michaels 1:32 AM  

LOVED this!
Think it deserves a rave and harder-than-easy rating,
as a newbie or young'un might have trouble with all the theme answers as well as ABOVO, LARA, BAHA, EDGAR, SOOEY, ACTV,BEGaN/BEGUN, ZLOTY.

So Scrabbly and bubbly!
Love the pairings of
KIWIS (that got no comment from @Rex??!!)

A bit sorry this one was critiqued while potentially distracted by the game, bec I think this one will last well after a Superbowl game has come and gone.

are all so much fun!!!!

What with five themes, and lots of difficult moments, I think it had Tuesday fill (EXACTA, ABOVO, BAHA) with a barely-there Monday theme, thus I'd rate it medium if I did that sort of thing!

Totally agree with your GOOP/BOOP,
GOLF/WOLF fixes!!!!!

Tom Pepper! You GO GO GO GO GO boy!

Noam D. Elkies 1:33 AM  

17A:GO_HALFSIES, really? Learn something new, etc. Looks like kindergarten talk, but what do I know. So I suppose if three people split the bill equally then they go thirdsies.

59D:GO_OP could be as in "photo op", but what's an odshow?

54D:SOOEY = like a canal, in Canada?

23A:NO_MORE from me,

santafefran 2:11 AM  

Hi Rexites, have been really busy lately reorganizing my kitchen among other things which leaves me lurking late in the day when it seems like everything has already been said so I have abstained, but wanted to say hi. Thanks,Tobias, for checking up on me.

Thanks @Tita for all the links to the pics of the tournament.

Everything @andrea gogo said. You can't top:GO COMMANDO for fun!

JenCT 6:25 AM  

Very easy; solved just using Acrosses, but really liked this - found it refreshing.

Thought GO DUTCH at first for 17a, and GO POSTAL for 39a.

I've ALWAYS been a Giants fan...

Z 6:29 AM  

The obviously correct BEGaN blinded me to UVULA. Combined with BAHA, the NW took me as longer than the entire rest of the puzzle.

I SEE we get ODEON today after just having odeum. This ODExx guess is one letter worse than Olaf/Olav wait for the cross answers.

Otherwise, everything @andrea gogo michaels said. A great Monday.

Congrats to you giants fans. We enjoyed the ads. Being a baseball fan I couldn't help but notice that there was more airtime for the ads than the game.

John V 7:42 AM  

From the tarmac at LGA. Never saw the theme on Saturday. Round one was a total blur. Tournament solvers also thought it was easy. Later.

Wood 8:24 AM  

@foodie: I'd say that with GO COMMANDO the puzzle was less cheeky than ballsy.

jbsnadb 8:25 AM  

MOS Def is definitely no longer Def. He was a guest star on this past season of Dexter. For the first few episodes, he was credited simply as "Mos" and for the final three episodes of his run was credited as "yassiin bey" (lack of capitalization his, not mine).

Spent my final 60 seconds on this puzzle figuring out the ABOVO/UVULA crossing, since I had no doubt that BEGaN was correct.

joho 8:26 AM  

This was so much fun!

@Rex, BADHAIRday is very much in the language especially for girls with naturally curly hair :)

I also agree with @andrea gogo that @Jae's fix is a GO!

This puzzle lived up to Tom's last name, "Pepper" with its kick.

This got me to thinking of some other GO phrases, too: go ape, go ballistic, go bananas, go bonkers ... fun theme!

Big Blue 8:31 AM  

Go Giants !

David 8:33 AM  

Loved this puzzle and 4 of its 5 theme answers (GO CRAZY, while still a decent answer, is a little lost compared to the beauty of the others).

Fortunately I left the NW alone until the end, not knowing BAHA Men and blanking on the 2 word Latin phrase for "from the beginning". Otherwise, zoomed thru this one and really enjoyed writing in the theme answers.

SethG 8:49 AM  

Zloty is my favorite currency. This was nice and peppy.

jackj 9:07 AM  

When BAHA, GOHALFSIES and ADEE were opening entries for this puzzle, my first thought was, “Oh boy, this one’s going to be nutso!”

But, by the time I said good-bye to Mr. Pepper’s puzzle at RUDY, I was a true believer and wished it hadn’t ended so soon.

Five fun theme entries, led by the wonderful, if surprising entry of GOCOMMANDO, (which was jarring enough on its own), but, when clued as “Leave the drawers in the drawer, say”, it was a masterstroke.

The fill was lively and clever, (even ORGY was so gently clued as to make it seem like nothing more than an unruly birthday party), M & A got to fill in his favorite “U” word, UVULA and we get to meet a real person, (Tom Pepper), who lives in that noted Minnesotan crossword entry, EDINA.

We shouldn't ask for anything more. Terrific debut, Tom!

acmeofepitome 9:07 AM  

Wish I had a buck for every time my woman said she has a BADHAIR day. Does @Rexie wear a rug so he doesn't have to worry about BADHAIR?

Gloater 9:21 AM  

The problem with BADHAIR isn't that 'bad hair day' isn't an ultra-common phrase, it's that 'bad hair' isn't a stand-alone lexicological chunk, it isn't a kind of day.

You could say that the Pats had a BADHANDs day yesterday, but that doesn't make BADHANDs a lexicological chunk which modifies day.

chefbea 9:23 AM  

Easy monday. Are there still xerox machines???

Great game!!! Very exciting!! Of course great food..especially dessert. Stadium cake filled with blueberries and strawberries...team colors.

jesser 9:38 AM  

My ex was the king of the GO COMMANDO movement, so I had to grin beeg beeg at that one. He also looked fabulous in DRAG, so to have those stacked (as it were) was delightful.

Only writeover was BAjA before HO HUM came riding down to rescue me.

Welcome back, SantaFeFran. Isn't Tobias amazing? He also checked in on me when I went quiet for a while there. He watches out for us. And I can attest to what he said about Taos being an independent little cuss of a community. I'm headed back up there in August for the 53rd anniversary of The Taos News, wwhich I edited from 1991-1995. Only Taos would say meh to the 50th and get around to a party on the 53rd. Loves it!

Tobias Duncan 9:42 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
quilter1 9:42 AM  

Laughed out loud at "throat dangler." The rest was fun, too. Never heard GO COMMANDO before but worked it out. I suppose people do that. Even for an old hippie, I'd feel too self-conscious.

Thanks Dr, er, Mr. Pepper.

baja 9:47 AM  

nice! lots of pepper @chefbea yes there are still xerox machines but most of their market is toner and the larger industrial machines.

Tobias Duncan 9:52 AM  

jesser we are going to play bar pool when you come, not "billiards" but nasty old fashioned coin operated whiskey soaked tiny bar table pool.Santafefran will have to come up as well.

@ Gloater.They gave you "day" in the clue.You are meant to put it together in your head and come up with the full stand alone phrase and a chuckle
What kind of day? BADHAIR day. Works flawlessly for me.
Seems almost like a fill in the blank clue.

santafefran 10:05 AM  

@Tobias and @jesser count me in but only if I can pass on the whiskey with perhaps a margarita up instead. I will not be GOing COMMANDO.

Had the same hang-up with BEGAN at first in today's puzzle. @JenCT, I also wanted GO DUTCH at first and thought we had a shout out to our own @mac.

ablotr--how you can get while playing whiskey-soaked pool.

Anonymous 10:09 AM  

Duh! Would someone please explain to this ignorant old duffer what the connection is between clue and answer for GOCOMMANDO

efrex 10:10 AM  

Like many others, began with BEGAN, which made UVULA more difficult than it otherwise would've been; otherwise, a fantastic Monday puzzle. Slight theme, but great answers, and the GO COMMANDO clue is just fantastic. Minimal three-letter gunk on the fill, and zippy clues and answers everywhere.

You GO, Mr. Pepper!

jesser 10:11 AM  

Whiskey-soaked, nasty bar pool, Check.
Whiskey for the boys and a margarita (or several) for SantaFeFran, Check.

I am so IN! Hell, I might GO COMMANDO just because it's Taos!

jesser, plum twitterpated

KRMunson 10:16 AM  

I may have missed previous blogs on this subject, but what the bleep is "abovo"??? Dictionary.com doesn't have it...

Shamik 10:18 AM  

@DBGeezer: Making your way in the world sans underwear.

And GOCOMMANDO surely was a surprise passing of the breakfast test, but it gave me a big smile just 'cause it was there.

I had GOHALVSIES because that's what it sounds like when spoken, but that would mean one ELV helps Santa. And that just won't work. Otherwise it would have been a medium for me.

BTW. It really IS ok to like both crossword puzzles and football. Or crossword puzzles and cooking. Or even UFC and crossword puzzles, or NASCAR and crossword puzzles, or competitive eating contests and crossword puzzles. Ok...I only like the cooking, football and crossword puzzles. But it is possible to have widely dissimilar interests within one person.

Two Ponies 10:21 AM  

Just loved this. If @jackj is right and this is a debut then double the love.
Going commando is SOP at our house so that was the best theme.
Fill was solid and I liked bad hair day.
@ DBGeezer, If your leave your (under)drawers in the drawer there you go, free as a bird.

Anonymous 10:25 AM  

@KRMunson - Ab Ovo is Latin for from the egg. It's come to mean from the beginning.

deerfencer 10:29 AM  

Ab ovo is Latin and literally means
"from the egg."

Going commando is dispensing with your underpants or panties, as in that classic Seinfeld episode where Kramer goes commando and screams to Jerry "I'm all out there, baby, and I'm lovin it!"

Excellent, joyful puzzle. Nice job TP!

KRMunson 10:31 AM  

Thanks to @deerfencer for the Latin reference for "ab ovo". I totally missed that - and I took 2 1/2 years of Latin in school...

GILL I. 10:51 AM  

What a terrific puzzle! The cluing is clever and refreshing. So many fun words for a Monday. It's hard to pick a favorite word since there were so many good ones but, ok, I'll go with SOOEY.
Speaking of OLE, I would say this was the week-end to meet many blog friends. Westport sounded like a fun time was had by all. @Tita - thank you for sharing pictures and letting us in on all of the activities you enjoyed.
I too was able to meet up with a blog friend in San Francisco! Andrea is as most would expect - amazing, lovely, funny and smart. We had so much fun traipsing through North Beach where we had a wonderful lunch and then off to China Town where we picked up lottery tickets ;) and I got my bowls. One of the highlights was walking back to the Ferry Building and seeing the famous "... parrots of San Francisco" right in the park at the Embarcadero Center.
Fun, fun day, just like this puzzle.....

archaeoprof 11:13 AM  

Liked it, too.

Had AR-- for 7D and way-too- confidently wrote "ARab."

This is a debut?! You da man, TP!

Anonymous 11:45 AM  


Since Rex brought up the Super Bowl, I think it only right I give you my analysis. Throughout the play-offs, including the SB, the Giants had a 12th Player on their side that affected all the outcomes. The Player was Mrs. Butterfingers. She caused all those drops by the Packers, the muff and fumble by Kyle Williams on the 49ers and all those missed catches by the Pats. Clearly Mrs. Butterfingers was an angel, an invisible force that is otherwise inexplicable....


Rudy 12:01 PM  


This Monday puzzle was fun but the above phrase has me amused, chuckling-- I suppose the juxtaposition of the phrase and the image it conjures--, thinking of the the oddness-- Commandos prepare for their mission with their shorts off?-- and the sheer bravado it represents. I suppose Bankers, Engineers & Doctors going accordingly does not have the same impact. Perhaps commandos have a package that would justify such an action? Does "going commando" also connote the consequent risks of exposure to danger? Does Go Commando also mean damn the torpedos, full speed ahead?

Oh, the possibilities!

Masked and Anonymous 12:36 PM  

Loved it.
Wanted GODADDY. Been brain-washed by too many Super Bowl ads.

Anoa Bob 12:40 PM  

Still ain't picking up on the connection between GO COMMANDO and not wearing underwear. Seems nonsensical to me. Wouldn't COMMANDOs want to gird their loins before going into battle?

The hot weather in the summer down here in deep south Texas has taught me the benefits of un-layering, but if I were about to rappel into some terrorist compound are storm some embassy, I think I'd want a bit more protection in that area.

I don't see how the circles in a Venn diagram here would have any overlap.

Lewis 1:02 PM  

This puzzle had an Acme-bright radiance, and, with only a few exceptions, if the answer didn't have pop, the clue did.

I am wondering why on the NYT puzzle page they still have the Patrick Berry puzzles from October!

Anonymous 1:05 PM  

Commando is evocative of a rapid strike (no pesky drawers to take off).

Tita 1:05 PM  

Amazing what you learn here...

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Going commando is the practice of not wearing underwear under one's outer clothing. The term is theorized to be related to the much earlier term "going regimental", which refers to wearing the kilt military style, that is, without underwear. (See True Scotsman.)
Puzzle spouse wore a kilt at our wedding)

In Chile, the act of not wearing underwear has been called "andar a lo gringo" (to go gringo-style) for decades.[1][2]

In Portugal, the expression used is "andar à caçador" (to go hunter-style).[3][4]
I never heard this, but I learned my Portuguese from my parents, who would not likely have discussed this with me!

Loren Muse Smith 1:08 PM  

@Tom Pepper - Minnesota is my very favorite state! Thanks for the puzzle.

@jackj - you nailed it. The cluing for GOCOMMANDO was a masterstroke.

I was so certain about UVULA that I just changed BEGaN to BEGUN.

With XEROX, SNEEZY, KIWIS, and (incorrectly) BAjA, I thought it was going to be a pangram.

I, too wanted GOPOSTAL and GODUTCH. Go figure.

Sparky 1:23 PM  

Great debut Mr. Pepper. Enjoyable Monday, just cruchy enough. Shout out to Sandy and thought about MAC.

Knew GOCOMMANDO from Friends episodes and have wondered like @Rudy and Anoa Bob if that isn't a foolhardy way to go with all their activities. I know an ex Red Beret and he loves to go without underneath his kilt and has skydived completely nude. Must be a guy thing.

But I digress. Blueberries and strawberries! That cake grows yummier @chefbea. Thanks for the photos @Tita. What fun.

Yesterday: too knicky knacky. Besides, I had to go see/hear Rigoletto.

r.alphbunker 1:35 PM  

Search for naked

Give a whole new meaning to the cheer "Go Celtics"

evil doug 2:07 PM  

At the coffee shop, the 'going commando' debate rages:

Kramer: Sorry I couldn’t get out of there, what did I miss? (asking his "intern")

Darren: Well, after ordering, Mr. Seinfeld and Mr. Costanza debated on whether or not Iron Man wore some sort of undergarment between his skin and his iron suit…

Kramer: Uh huh…

George: (Interrupts) And I still say he’s naked under there!

Jerry: Oh that makes a lot of sense.

George: Oh, shut up!
Personally, I prefer tread marks on my u-trou rather than on my slacks....


Word verification: 'rechuck': After you puke, you inadvertently swallow some and puke again.

Anonymous 2:54 PM  


BTW, I used my GINSU knife to cut the fresh pineapple. It's perfect for that.

Tita 4:41 PM  

Can't resist...
In looking back at my solve using Ralph's app, the infograph revealed that I Commenced by entering BEGUN, Finished with ENDED, and my only mistake was ERRata for ERRORS.


Anonymous 4:48 PM  

Dnf in the Nw - ego buster for a Monday. Very zippy puzzle. Felt tuesdayish to me.

Theoda3rd 5:02 PM  

Can u go commando under a kilt?

Wood 5:09 PM  

@Rudy said: Does Go Commando also mean damn the torpedos, full speed ahead?

I think in this context it means, damn the speedos.

Andrea gogo michaels 5:43 PM  

Echoing GillIP, HappyBirthweek by the way!!!
We had lots of fun...and for the record, so youcan find the film on netflix, it's "the Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill".

So happy everyone so delighted with this delightful puzzle and to hear Tom Pepper is from Edina, all the better...
Moment of synchronicity, tried out for this show called "Check, Please!" on Local PBSstation here, KQED, and the producer's name is Salter!
She was excited to have a crossword constructor on, but maybe she should have Tom instead!
(GillIP insisted on treating at my fave restaurant, somehow talking me into the fact that in Europe you treaton your birthday, instead of the other way around...which actually makes sense... We had such a good time, everyone should meet everyone on this blog, wouldn't that be wild?

Speaking of which, where are the pix Tita posted?

santafefran 6:15 PM  

@andrea gogo, Tita's links to the pics are on 2 posts from yesterday.

mac 6:50 PM  

What a great puzzle! I liked it on Saturday, and I did it again on the train to NY this morning, really, really fast. Nobody was looking....

Of course I also thought go Dutch, but after the fact. After Baja and ebon I worked mostly D in that area. The only word I had never seen but it just developed was "sooey". What?

An old friend told me that he went commando in college because it saved him a lot of laundry!

@Tita: I started with errata too, on Saturday. Thanks for the pictures!

@Andrea: yes, in Holland we also do the treating on our birthday. In class, at home, in the office, everywhere.

Two Ponies 7:03 PM  

@ mac, Sooey is an American thing that might still be heard at a hog calling contest at a county fair.
"Sooey, sooey, pig, pig, pig" is how I have heard it.
Sorry I missed your party.

skua76 7:09 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
skua76 7:23 PM  

A Monday with an error? Yup...I couldn't come up with AB OVO since I obviously didn't know BAHA men.

@Tita, what app are you speaking of and posting about? Gee, I enjoy solving crosswords, but I'm not sure if I want to see my stats digitized...

jberg 7:57 PM  

SOOEY is like OLAV, and, I guess, ODEON -- you can spell it any way you want to, so it's very useful in a puzzle.

Never heard of GO COMMANDO, but what else is new? A fun puzzle, even without the J and Q.

Sfingi 9:26 PM  

Since I tend to do the fill-in-the-blanks and 3 letter words first, I head BREAKDOWN crossing KOPEK instead of GOHAYWIRE crossing ZLOTY (which means golden, I'm told). When so many GO phrases popped up, I had to recompile.


BAHA crossing ABOVO was a bit non-Monday for me.

@Deerfencer - is GOCOMMANDO from the Latin?

@Santafefran - love the fat cat.

And, it's sooEEE!

@Theoda3rd - You know the song -
(sung to The Scotsmen are Coming)
What does a Scotsman wear under his kilt?
A w--g, a w--g.

Tita 9:36 PM  

@skua...one of Rexville's own (r.alphbunker) has built an app...
It's not about raw numbers, but about going back over the solve (Instant Replay) visually to see where you got hung up, what parts were easy, how you improve over time...
It's also fun, IF you want to use it in shared mode, to compare your solves with your friends... In that screenshot I can see that Ralph got flummoxed by BEGaN- what was my first entry was almost his last!

My favorite part is that I can tag and comment on answers. We use it to compare notes on our solves.

B4 Rexville, I never gave a finished puzzle a second thought...but now I really love diving in to see the cleverness of construction, appreciate the cool clues and fill...well, I could go on, but had better stop b4 Rex smites me.
Let me know if you want to try it!

foodie 9:48 PM  

@Tita and r.alph, great new features on this app! Terrific!

sanfranman59 12:28 AM  

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, 6:49, 1.00, 53%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:36, 3:40, 0.98, 46%, Medium

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Spacecraft 12:56 PM  

What @loren muse smith said. I was trying to fit BOYZ2 in there, figuring I might be dealing with some kind of rebus, but gave up on it and just went with the crosses.

Not much to be a curmudgeon about today; I guess that means ya done good, Tom. Again, ay puzzle that has references to both "Star" sagas (TREK, ARTOO) gets the thumbs-up here.


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