1968 AL MVP Cy Young winner / MON 5-21-12 / Large fishing hooks / Muscular actor with mohawk / Chinese-American virtuoso cellist / Beef jerky brand / Suspect in cop lingo / Biblical water-to-winer locale

Monday, May 21, 2012

Constructor: Ian Livengood

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: Ohio — Phrases that begin with the exclamation "OH"

  • "OH, BY THE WAY" 16A: "Incidentally..."
  • "OH COME NOW" (10D: "Let's be serious here ...")
  • "OH MY GOD!" (38A: "Holy cow!")
  • "OH, BROTHER" (32D: "You've gotta be joking!")
  • "OH, FORGET IT" (61A: "Never mind")

Word of the Day: RONZONI (42D: Packaged pasta brand) —
In 1881, a young boy emigrated from the small fishing village of San Fruttuoso, Italy, to the United States. His name would become synonymous with a kitchen cupboard staple and one of the most recognized brands in America: RONZONI. // Emanuele Ronzoni was in his teens when he got started in the macaroni trade in New York. Just eleven years after arriving in the U.S., he launched his own small macaroni company with a partner and, later, joined forces with two others to create the Atlantic Macaroni Company in Queens, NY. // In 1915, he went into business on his own, starting the company that still bears his name, the Ronzoni Macaroni Company. By the time World War I ended, RONZONI and its famous Genoa-style, or fancy-cut shaped noodles, had firmly established itself as one of the best-known brands in the east. [...] Today, RONZONI is part of the New World Pasta family of brands, a leading dry pasta manufacturer in the United States. New World Pasta brands include Ronzoni® Healthy Harvest®, Ronzoni® Smart Taste® and Ronzoni Garden Delight®. (http://ronzoni.newworldpasta.com/pasta_story.cfm)
• • •

This is good. Five fresh phrases, rock-solid fill. Not sure why this is so hard to do, but it is. Not much resistance, so having the solving experience punctuated by exclamations was a nice way to liven things up. A few answers might have posed some problems, however minor. I'm guessing a sizable contingent of you aren't terribly familiar with the work of DENNY McLain (36A: 1968 A.L. M.V.P. and Cy Young winner ___ McLain), though as you can see from the clue, he pretty much owned 1968, baseball-wise. Tigers (McLain's team) won the World Series that year in an epic battle with the Bob Gibson-led Cardinals (Gibson was the N.L. M.V.P. that year, and absolutely destructive that year—I mean, a 1.12 ERA???? Complete games in Games 1, 4, *and* 7 of the World Series!?!? There is a reason that man is my favorite pitcher of all time). Where was I? Oh (OH) yeah, DENNY requires being a baseball fan or being reasonably old for it to be a gimme. PRAT is not a word I've ever seen (I swear) outside crosswords (68A: Rear end). GAFFS is kind of a specialty word (51D: Large fishing hooks). And RONZONI is whatever RONZONI is—that's the only word in the puzzle that was a total mystery to me. But it's Monday and crosses were a cinch.

["There's more to me than you'll ever know / And I got more hits than Sadaharu ___!"]

So PRAT caused a wee slow-down, and I wrote in GAFFE for GAFFS for some reason, and then NO FAT for LO FAT (64A: Like much diet food, informally). Besides those issues, and RONZONI, there was only one breakdown—I wrote in TWOS for 30A: Pairs and immediately had this strange feeling of dread—didn't I just see this clue, and didn't I just write in TWOS? Yes. Crosses wouldn't work and so I had to do some writing over to get DUOS. I like PERP (43A: Suspect, in cop lingo), YO-YO MA (8D: Chinese-American virtuoso cellist) and TOO BAD in the grid (19A: Response of sympathy). I like "THE HELP" in the grid, too, though I really Really doubt I would've liked it in the theater. Not much else to say today. See you tomorrow.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Moe Howard 12:04 AM  

Ah, but you've laughed at many a prat-fall.

jae 12:10 AM  

Wow!  A very smooth grid.  OH, and a cute theme too.  Only erasures were axel to LUTZ and changing the J to an H in MOHAVE ( J is the preferred spelling according to my bride and wiki). 

I still have the Ray-Ban aviators I got back in the early 70's in Chambana, I'll.  Nice glasses and a very nice easy Mon. Ian.

Tita 12:31 AM  

Yes @Moe, while reviewing the grid, the light bulb went on for PRAT[fall].

This was fine and fun, super-easy.

Never heard of RONZONI? I find that much odder than knowing or not knowing DENNY McLain YOYOMA. Curious.

Was startled the first time I heard a German in Germany say "Gesundheit" in response to an ACHOO. Same with hearing a Frenchman say "Ooh la la!".
The phrases seemed like such cliches to me that I was surprised to learn that they are in common usage.

PK 12:42 AM  

Oh, oh, oh! Nice puzz! Rex, you might not like the film, but I think you might like the book. I did. Describes much of my childhood growing up in the South. May not resonate so much with people who grew up in other places.

Evan 12:50 AM  

I'm with Rex. There was a lot to like in this grid in addition to the theme answers (all of which were good, lively phrases).

There's SLIM JIM, for which I'm reminded of the old commercials starring the late Macho Man Randy Savage. There's the grid symmetry of DUOS and TWOS, and since I had the terminal -OS on both to start, it could have been either answer, so that slowed me up a tad. And for some reason, I'm a huge fan of the clue for STUMP. I'm sure there are quite a few things a lumberjack might leave behind (like a job as a barber), but STUMP at least made sense and felt more creative than I'd typically see on a Monday. My only write-over was JETE for LUTZ -- wrong form of dance.

A thumbs up for Ian Livengood for this fine puzzle.

Karl 1:08 AM  

Nice Monday. Other than MOHAVE (no Californian spells it that way), this was perfect.

Anonymous 1:42 AM  

Better than average Monday
Enjoyable and fresh

Achoo Cana Mojaves 1:49 AM  

I had --HA-- and actually put in saHAra...oops!

OHBROTHER, silly to think DENNY would be appropriate for a Monday for a non-boy, but whatever...OHFORGETIT...I'll just say good puzzle.

OHBYTHEWAY, it reminded me of Tom Pepper's cute GO this/GO that puzzle, but this time it's OH this/OH that. OH kay.

loren muse smith 2:17 AM  

Scrabbly (no Q and that’s it!). Currenty feeling- (THE HELP, YOYO MA)

As I wrote in OH MY GOD early on, I sensed it was the reveal in a way, and I was right. But I was thinking it would be some kind of “God” theme.

Wanted OH COME ON for 10D, but OH COME NOW is fair enough and actually fits. I, too, hesitated with the H in MOHAVE.

When I understood the theme, I was hoping that Horshack from “Welcome Back, Kotter with his “Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh!!”s would be included. Too bad it wasn’t “Oh, oh, oh, oh oh . . .”


OH well. Perfect Monday. Thanks, Ian!

Anoa Bob 2:18 AM  

I thought 24D JUDD crossing 27A AUTEUR was tough for a Monday, but the neighboring 8D YOYO MA crossing 23A SLIM JIM (and the rest of the puzzle) completely won me over. I'm with @Evan, as Randy "Macho Man" Savage says in the SLIM JIM commercial, "Oh Yeah!"

Steve J 2:18 AM  

This one's marred for me by one bit of serious WTF fill: I cannot find any record of an Oscar-nominated film called "THE JELP", from 2011 or any other year.

Seriously, MOHAVE is dirty pool without a (var.) indicator, especially on Monday. It's as wrong as ETAL for "and so on" last week was. Wronger, even. While there are some other things spelled MOHAVE (like the desert's namesake native tribe), the desert is spelled Mojave. Really baffled how this made it in. As someone over on the Wordplay blog put it, spelling it this way is like saying the MOHAVE desert is southeast of San Hose and north of Huarez, Mexico.

If I ignore that horrible bit, it was a better-than-average Monday. Good creative fill in many places, and I like when the theme is spread between across and down clues.

chefwen 3:25 AM  

Ian Livengood is turning out to be one of my favorite constructors. Had a good time with this one. love a Monday that makes me us my brain. Bravo!

acme 3:29 AM  

Is "makes me us my brain" an ironic paradox or an homage to Patrick Berry's last puzzle? ;)

Anonymous 4:47 AM  

Prat fall. I think

Geometricus 6:06 AM  

SE corner just would not come to me, probably because I stuck with MOHAbE for way too long. Probably because a student of mine has the last name Mohebbi. That prevented me from seeing AVILA which prevented me from seeing PRAT. The rest went well, thanks AA.

John V 6:22 AM  

From the tarmac. I had Mojave, too. I think the puzzle answer is wrong. More medium for me for all that @Rex said. Fun, fresh. Good one, Ian.

r.alphbunker 6:37 AM  

Liked PRAT which gave me pause until I thought of pratfall.

And it is in the bottom line of the puzzle.

A pratfall on asphault must hurt.

Z 7:00 AM  
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Z 7:01 AM  

I missed all the stumbles mentioned, although LOcAl hid MR T and GAFFS for a few seconds. I don't think we get RONZONI in the mitten, but I had all the crosses before I checked the clue so it was OH K in the end. I had THE HELP, so didn't stumble on MOHAVE, but I did wonder at the spelling.

@Achoo Cana Mojaves - DENNY was a gimme for me, being a devout Tiger fan, but I understand completely that a baseball clue from 44 years ago may be quite the Monday stretch. At least 54D wasn't clued as "Current Tiger catcher Alex."

I like that the four outside theme answers are all said in moments of frustration, while the central OH MY GOD is not.

jberg 7:26 AM  

OH MY GOD! Another puzzle with every letter but one! I hope we rune the alphabet with this trend!

I had no idea how to spell MOHAVE, so had to wait for AVILA. No idea about DENNY McLain, either, but it was either that or DoNNY.

@Rex, I guess either you never eat pasta or never do the shopping! Hard to miss RONZONI if you go down that aisle.

I rarely comment on the captcha, but this one includes "relasso" - i.e., "rope the calf again." That's bound to get into a puzzle.

dk 7:47 AM  

Today's NYT had a story about Micah True making the the MOHAVE trail clue poignant.

Paper arrived early today and joy of joys I did not have to solve on the puter (mom-speak).

I have been listening to old timey music so OHMYGOD and OHBROTHER took me "Down to the River" where I was not turned into a toad.

πŸ‘ΎπŸ‘ΎπŸ‘Ύ (3 Space Invaders)

Sister Cindy became rather talented with the HULA hoop. She would "hula" in the front yard much to the delight of the young lads driving by. My father suggested she was a Siren and Cindy put her hands on her hips and stated: "Everyone says I have a sweet voice." My father and I looked at each other and I commented that I was just going to turn up the amp for my Lyre. About 4 years later Cindy got the joke(s). Cute but a little S L O W if you catch my drift.

Airymom 8:01 AM  

If you grew up in NYC, you know "Ronzoni sono buoni, Ronzoni is so good." Ronzoni owned the pasta shelves.

Good Monday puzzle.

Also, @Rex--aleph, bet (or beth), gimmel, daled (or daleth), hay, vav, zayan, chet (or heth), tet, yud, kaf (or kaph), lamed, mem, nun, samech, ayin, pay, kuf, resh, shin, sin, tav.

joho 8:02 AM  

Only write over was the malapop at where I had DUOS then changed to TWOS, then, of course, wrote in DUOS again where it fit.

I wanted OHCOMEon and FORGEDDABOUDIT but liked the theme phrases, too.

Another fresh and fun puzzle from Ian Livengood!

Anonymous 8:02 AM  

Why did I think Rex lived in New York? In NYC (at least, can't speak for upstate) Ronzoni is in every grocery store.

orangeblossomspecial 8:11 AM  

Hmm..DENNY McLain, the last 30-game winner, appears in the puzzle, and @Rex gives the paragraph to Bob Gibson?

Frank Sinatra and Connie Haines do the vocals on Tommy Dorsey's "Oh look at me now".

16A OHBYTHEWAY is a line in "Yes sir, that's my baby". This version is by Lee Morse.

Alfred Apaka was a great singer from Hawai'i. Here he sings "Hapa Haole HULA gal" behind a group of budding dancers.

JenCT 8:37 AM  

Agree, very smooth puzzle, nice!


Completely off topic: my avatar today is the new rooster we adopted - I need name suggestions! Anyone?

Gareth Bain 8:43 AM  

"Zal and Denny, working for a penny/ trying to get a fish on the line"
Hmm, still stuck in '68, I think.

KRMunson 9:21 AM  

@JenCT - When I saw the pic, I immediately thought of "hunk". He's the cock of the walk, for sure! :-)

quilter1 9:23 AM  

MOjAVE is correct. That is what is on the road signs when I drive through. Liked seeing LUTZ instead of the eternal axel. My son's Cambodian MIL describes a poopy diaper as PRAT. She does not speak English.

@Tita: Gesundheit is the preferred response to ACHOO at our house.

@JenCT: Last week driving from the small town church to the country church I saw a chicken cross the road. I think it only wanted to get to the other side because it promptly went back. :)

I really enjoyed this solve. Thanks, Ian. But check out that desert.

chefbea 9:31 AM  

Fun easy Monday but had a Natick at Judd/auteur

Gotta go stir my Ronzoni

jackj 9:31 AM  

Loved Ian’s latest! The theme was fun and the fill was (mostly) contemporary and lively.

While the theme phrases all did start with “OH” they seemed to be more than just “Phrases that start with OH” and perhaps were better seen as “Phrases that start with “OH” and roughly hint at “Oy Vey”. “OH, say can you see….”, for example is an OH phrase that wouldn’t be one of Ian’s OHs. (Or, maybe at this point it’s just best to wonder, “Who cares?”, say OHFORGETIT and exit stage right.)

Favorite bit of fill (which might be anathema to Monday purists) was AUTEUR. There has been a battle raging in Hollywood for years between writers and directors over the word AUTEUR, as expressed through the use of possessive credits in film titles and advertising. Extreme examples would be, say, “Joe Blow’s Romeo and Juliet” (Joe being the director) or “Alpha Omega’s Casablanca” (Alpha being the writer). (A pox on both their houses, filmmaking is a collaborative effort).

Thanks, Ian; Mondays don’t get much better than this one!

Rookie 9:54 AM  

FWIW, this New York-to-Minnesota transplant (no Detroit connection) gal did know DENNY but completely missed RONZONI. So much for geography being a help.

capcha: ploplan

I actually did ploplan on my prat yesterday. Tailbone hurts today.

retired_chemist 9:57 AM  

@ orangeblossomspecial - Denny McLain had his 31 win season. However, his stellar performance at the beginning of his professional baseball career was a marked contrast to his personal life, where he became associated with organized crime and was eventually convicted on charges of embezzlement and served time in prison. (Wikipedia)

Bob Gibson OTOH was a hall of fame pitcher. Almost alone in the modern era among pitchers, he swung a mean bat and was used as a pinch hitter. In 1970 he hit .303 for the season in 109 at-bats (Wikipedia).

I'm for any mention of Bob Gibson, one of my heroes.

I'm not much for MOHAVE,however. Deserves an "alternate spelling" remark in the clue IMO. Not knowing what song _OLA (65A) was left me with THE JE_P for 44D. THE JEEP? EOLA? Considered NOLA and LOLA, and eventually the light dawned.

Other than that, a nice puzzle. Had AXEL for 56A, easily fixed.

Nice one, Mr. L. Thanks.

Matthew G. 10:25 AM  

Great Monday, Ian!

Only two brief slowdowns: Tried LO-CAL before LO-FAT, and thus had difficulty seeing GAFFS, a word whose fishing-related meaning I was unaware of. Also wasn't sure on the AVILA/PRAT crossing, as I know the word PRAT only as a (chiefly British) insult. Did not make the connection with "pratfall."

DENNY and RONZONI were both gimmes for me personally, but awfully obscure for a Monday to many, I imagine.

@acme: That's how I feel when a 1940s actress shows up in a Monday puzzle...

Lewis 11:20 AM  

@jae -- just like you, axel before LUTZ, and j to H in MOHAVE.

Two words -- CANA and AVILA -- I had no idea I knew. They just popped out of my head.

My Mac dictionary tells me it's spelled both ways, MOjAVE and MOHAVE, so even if the former is more common, the latter is apparently acceptable.

A Monday with spark -- just right.

Anonymous 11:43 AM  

Why is everyone up in arms about MOHAVE when the similarly less palatable spelling of NAVAHO is a crossword staple?

archaeoprof 12:03 PM  

@Ret_Chem: agree about DENNY McLain and Bob Gibson. I think @Rex knows that Gibson got the best of McLain in the 68 Series.

As the last 30-game winner, McLain is cross-worthy.

FWIW, I have excavated at the site of 13A.

mac 12:25 PM  

Excellent puzzle, Ian! Learned a new word, prat. Now to try and use it in a sentence.

Random Dweeb 12:28 PM  

@archaeoprof - Hey, I just won my 47th consecutive game of FreeCell - Does that make me crossworthy, or just dismisable for cause from my job where I'm supposed to be doing anything but posting on this blog or playing FreeCell?

r.alphbunker 12:48 PM  

Is Ian Livengood from Ohio?

archaeoprof 1:25 PM  

@RandomDweeb: well, was it major league FreeCell, or just a local desktop league??

Bird 1:39 PM  

A near-perfect Monday puzzle. Fresh clues. Fresh answers. Only two (minor) nits: 1) The spelling of the desert’s name. If you Google “MOHAVE”, it shows results for MOJAVE. 2) JUDD crossing DENNY might cause a few headaches, but the common D is easy enough to guess as it was the only reasonable one that works for both answers.

Thanks for the pleasure Ian, keep them coming. BTW – why not a ‘Q’? Afraid of Rex’s wrath?

George 1:40 PM  

Oh, Brother Where Art Thou?

Francis 1:41 PM  

Oh, say can you see

He 1:42 PM  

Oh, Holy night

Martin 1:49 PM  

@Steve J,

As someone over on the Wordplay blog put it, spelling it this way is like saying the MOHAVE desert is southeast of San Hose and north of Huarez, Mexico.
It's a little different. San Jose and Huarez are Spanish. Mohave is not. Mojave is how the Spaniards spelled Mohave.

The Spanish spelling wins in California. The Mohave spelling wins in Arizona and Nevada. The Random House Unabridged accepts both.

Martin 2:09 PM  

Juarez, of course.

John V 2:14 PM  

@Martin: Point granted on either spelling being acceptable. That said, MOHAVE to me does not pass the gut check, particularly for a Monday. Again, not to beat this to death, because this is a really cool puzzle.


lawprof 2:19 PM  

Re (more or less) Mohave/Mojave: As a kid I faithfully watched the TV series "Rawhide," an offbeat Western starring the young Clint Eastwood as a drover named Rowdy Yates. One of the minor characters was the camp cook, named Jesus, then, as now, a fairly common Hispanic name. When the credits rolled at the end, however, his name was spelled "Hay-soos," which left me wondering whether the show's producers thought that: (1) non-Hispanics might be confused about the pronunciation; or (2) some viewers might be offended by an overtly Christian reference. Fifty years later I'm still wondering.

Anonymous 2:24 PM  

Totally agree. Very nice, refreshing Monday puzzle. Great fill and being a Detroit Tigers fan didn't hurt with Denny.

Anonymous 2:33 PM  

Gibson--you didn't show him up or show off at all when he was on the mound.
Because the next one would come right at your head.

Z 2:36 PM  

@lawprof - It wasn't Hay-soos X, was it?

Lots of talk today in Metro Detroit about Denny's teammate, Mickey Lolich, the last Tiger to strike out 15 batters in a game until yesterday. Denny had the better season, but it was Lolich who beat Gibson in game 7.

Masked and Anonymous 2:51 PM  

Can't think of much to improve on, in this excellent Mon Puz.

Maybe if the phrases started with "UH..." ?

Martin 3:03 PM  

@John V.,

I agree that MOJAVE was the "Monday" answer, especially because the clue associated the entry with California, where "Mojave Desert" is the usual spelling.

But the crossing was easy and the spelling is in the dictionary, so the "how could this happen?" cries are a bit overblown.

BTW, calling a gaff a "fishing hook" bothers me no end. It's a spear that's hook shaped that you can can use to incapacitate a fish. A "fishing hook" is already a thing, usually called a fishhook.

Anonymous 3:08 PM  

@Martin - A GAFF is a hook used to pull a fish from the water into the boat. It's a hook, it's used in fishing, but is not a fishhook, which as you say, is a thing.

quilter1 3:11 PM  

@lawprof: Hey, I remember Hay-soos too. But I was a white bread kid in Iowa (before the waves of immigration) and had no idea it was really Jesus.

Now, who was the Chinese cook on Bonanza? Oh, yeah, Hop Sing

Anonymous 3:18 PM  

@mac You wanted to use PRAT in a sentence. If you reread your entry, you'll see that you just did so. :-)

John V 3:19 PM  

@Martin, agree on the easy crossing, for sure. THEJELP -- um, well, THAT would be a GAFF.

sanfranman59 3:48 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

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

Mon 6:30, 6:50, 0.95, 28%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:51, 3:40, 1.05, 76%, Medium-Challenging

mac 6:39 PM  

@DBGeezer: LOL! Now to use it showing its meaning.

JenCT 9:31 PM  

Thx for all the suggestions that were sent to me; the winner is: Russell Crowe.

dk 9:53 PM  

@jenCT, that is one handsome bird..

sanfranman59 10:04 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 6:32, 6:50, 0.96, 31%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:44, 3:40, 1.02, 63%, Medium-Challenging

For some reason, the number of online solvers was much lower than usual for a Monday (766 vs. 874 on average). I don't know if this means there were more DNFs than usual or if there were just fewer solvers, but it could help explain the discrepancy in the ratings in the two groups of solvers.

mac 10:38 PM  

@JenCT: beautiful bird and a great name!

Cathelou 11:04 PM  

Lived in Temnessee, NC, Wisconsin, and now Georgia. Have bought Ronzoni in each of those states.

Steve J 11:32 PM  

@Martin: Agreed that MOHAVE is an accepted variant, and I'm not saying it's not an acceptable answer. My argument is that it should have been flagged as a variant, especially on a Monday. As you noted, the cluing referenced California, where the spelling is Mojave. And your Random House citation has the main entry under Mojave, with MOHAVE as a variant. I've no objection to its being in a puzzle, just that it wasn't marked as a variant that it is.

Tita 12:51 AM  

Wow, Jen - great name!!! I was still trying to come up with something clever... ;)

Julie and Lisa 8:21 AM  

Am I the only one (well, dictionary.com, too) that does not recognize 'letat" as a word? Now, I know l'etat, but that doesn't mean "allow to attack." I was messing around with "legit" instead of "legal" because of that....

JenCT 8:25 AM  

@Julie and Lisa: it's LET AT (two words).

Julie and Lisa 8:41 AM  

Ohhhhh. Serious brain crampage. More coffee, please. Thanks, JenCT.

Dennis McLain 4:13 PM  

Hi, I am Denny McLain and I thank Rex for including me in a recent crossword.
On behalf of all of our older alumni, who changed the nature of the game and changed pitching rules and the "art of pitching and I thank you on every alumnus's behalf.
thank you

Jack P 11:34 AM  

Nice picture of Mickey Lolich on the Dennis McLain post. Mickey is the Tigers pitcher who won three games in the 1968 series, including game 7 against Bob Gibson.

NM Robin 11:28 AM  
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NM Robin 11:33 AM  

I thought it was a good puzzle and I liked it.

I had a few naticks though. I did not know JUDD, DENNY or AUTEUR. I guessed. My word-of-the day would have been AUTEUR.

I also do not like MOHAVE. It should be MoJave since it is referring to the desert in California. MOHAVE is correct when referring to the tribe who live along the Colorado River in Arizona. It took me a while to decide to change to "J" to "H" and get THE HELP.

Still a good puzzle. Great for a Monday.

rain forest 1:23 PM  

Mohave, Mojave: same desert. Quite dry.

Excellent Monday. Had "The Help" in before the clue for the desert, so no problem there, and no ire raised. Solving on paper, not timing, never Googling, just having fun.

When Germans sneeze, do they say "achoo"? Achtung? Or just "ach"?

OK, only syndi-cats read this, so just a grateful word to @SIS, @Dirigonzo, @DiGrandma, @Spacecraft, et al (not sure who you all are) because I at least know you have a good chance of reading this. I have to remind myself that the REAL blog commenters won't read my frequent disagreements about Rexstuff. So I'll demur.

Solving in Seattle 1:52 PM  

As someone born and raised in Southern California, I've got to weigh in on the MOjHAVE desert spelling and the baseball discussion.

It's spelled with a "J," not an "H." @Steve J (2:18am) said it all. At the very least, there should have been a (var.) in the clue. Otherwise, this would have been a 100% clean puzzle. So, a 99% thumbs up to Ian.

As for the best hitting pitcher in baseball, I've got to throw Don Drysdale's name in the hat. He was also often sent in to pinch hit.

And, in keeping with baseball and the "Oh" theme, it would have been nice to see Dave Niehaus honored with a "My OH my" answer. Simply one of the greatest announcers.

Mr. Livengood must have a plumbing problem at his house with two clues relating to drain cleaners.

Liked seeing Yo-Yo Ma in the puzzle. His treatment of Bach's cello suites will knock you on your PRAT.

Capcha: Saskip. What a Canadian prairie province kid does on her way home from school.

DJ Stone 2:06 PM  

Super easy puzzle, but I have a problem with the clue for 60A.

If the hallway is empty, how would there be any sound that would cause an echo? For that matter (and this is a bit of paraphrasing), even if the hallway did make a sound, but being empty so there's no one there to hear it, did it really make a sound?

Solving in Seattle 2:11 PM  

@DJ Stone, this is precisely what @Rain Forrest was talking about - If we Syndies comment does anyone else hear us, or are we just an echo in the halls of Rexville. Do we actually really exist or do we not exist in the (five weeks ago) past?

Spacecraft 2:27 PM  

Finished and wasn't at all confident I was right, but the letters PRAT seemed to force themselves into the last across. I've lived almost 72 years and have NEVER heard of that word. Only when I saw the completed grid on this site did I know it was right. Then someone mentioned pratfall, and I went: oh, so THAT's what that means. Live and learn.

What are the odds that OHBROTHER would appear twice in a row? Did Will do that on purpose? Weird.

Agree that MOHAVE should have been clued as (var.). And I was a bit surprised that the central expression was deemed OK to print. How Midwestern of me! Otherwise, a pretty clean puzzle.

I was a bit disappointed that OFL didn't include a video of the STROLL from the old American Bandstand show. OMG, those were the days!

DMGrandma 2:33 PM  

As a native Californian who has crossed it many times,I always pause when Mojave comes up in a puzzle. Same with Navajo. Both are "j" words that (east coast?) crossword constructors insist on spelling with an "h"- so one learns to live with i

Glad to see @DJStone echo my thoughts that a really empty hallway has no sound source, and, thus, no echo.

Also agree with @NMRo I that AUTEUR would have been a good choice for word of the day. It certainly isn't a part of my working vocabulary, so I was a little surprised when I filled it in. Then, ten minutes later, I find an article in today's WSJ about Aaron Sorkin that begins "most Hollywood auteurs..." Maybe now I'll remember it!

Now to puzzle the meaning of the Captcha: nstudda. Instead of what?

Anonymous 2:42 PM  

From Syndication Land

I just wanted to respond to Solving in Seattle. Yes we do hear you. Rex has thousands of readers, and I'm sure a lot of them are syndicated solvers like us.

As for the word "prat"...I'm sure it is well known to all the Harry Potter fans. The characters frequently use it as a derogatory sort of name-calling.

Ginger 3:46 PM  

@SIS a moment of synchronicity; Ann Meyers Drysdale was interviewed on the Tim McCarver show last night. She talked about Bob Gibson and of course her late husband, Don. She and McCarver agreed that neither would be allowed to pitch today. As you know, they were famous (infamous?) for throwing AT the batter. I remember DD being interviewed by Vin Scully and saying 'The batters box is MINE'. Hence the liberal use of the 'brush back' pitch.

Since I already had THE HELP, I knew it had to be MOHAVE. Thus the mis-spelling was confirmed. GAR

ARTEUR is new to me...surprised to learn a new word on Monday, but the crosses were fair.

captcha WOCWKC: whacky week to come

Anonymous 6:40 PM  

My mom loves the answers, and we use them on the puzzles when they appear in the Akron Beacon Journal

Texas Solver 7:36 PM  

Easiest. Puzzle. Ever. Only write over was STop for STAY. I love Mondays!!!!

Spacecraft 8:26 PM  

It was Gibson who said, "You [the batter] can have the rest of the strike zone--but the outside two inches belong to ME." i.e.: If you stand close enough to reach out there, you're gonna get hurt.

Dirigonzo 10:21 PM  

@Spacecraft - I was just doing "The Stroll" (by myself, sadly) in my kitchen a couple of nights ago. I love that song!

@Anoa Bob wrote, "I thought 24D JUDD crossing 27A AUTEUR was tough for a Monday...", and I agree. And not just because I ended up with lENNY (McClain) and (Apatow) JUlD. Surely there's a Monday clue that would have eliminated the ambiguity at that cross?

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