First woman to sit in British House of Commons / MON 8-20-12 / Help for newbies / Parisian girlfriends / Caustic alkalis

Monday, August 20, 2012

Constructor: Robert Cirillo

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: LUCK (52D: Word that can follow the starts of 20-, 26-, 43- and 52-Across)

  • BEGINNER'S GUIDE (20A: Help for newbies)
  • DUMB QUESTION (26A: There's no such thing as this, according to a saying)
  • TOUGH AS NAILS (43A: Really strong)
  • LADY NANCY ASTOR (52A: First woman to sit in the British House of Commons)

Word of the Day: LADY NANCY ASTOR —
Nancy Witcher Astor, Viscountess AstorCH, (19 May 1879 – 2 May 1964) was the first woman to sit as a Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) in the British House of Commons.[Note 1] She was the wife of Waldorf Astor, 2nd Viscount Astor. (wikipedia)
• • •

I say all of the following in the context of having finished the puzzle in roughly 3 and a half minutes.

Of all the ladies in the world, dear lord. No idea who LADY NANCY ASTOR is, so that alone made this tougher than usual. DUMB QUESTION is a good answer, but not Monday-easy to get to today. But I could've just been in some kind of Pimm's & Cider stupor because I couldn't see BEGINNER'S GUIDE until I had about 12/14 of it filled in. So it was on the tough side for a Monday, theme-wise. Otherwise, fairly normal I guess. Several long Downs, none of them interesting. Ordinary fill all around. Adequate, but a bit subpar as "Word That Can Follow" puzzles go.

I have to get back to enjoying the public roasting that Todd Akin is getting right now on all social media. His comments about "legitimate rape" were abhorrent, but the resulting push back has been tremendous, not to mention hilarious. Heartening to know there are apparently *some* limits to the nonsensical shit you can say with impunity. Here's a pic (re-)tweeted by actress Rashida Jones earlier this evening, marked "Akin's knowledge of science extends to this..."

  • 5D: Former German chancellor Konrad (ADENAUER) — "der ALTE" to crossword aficionados everywhere.
  • 57A: Home of Lima and Toledo (OHIO) — I was the sucker whose first thought was "they're in totally different countries!"
  • 60A: The Who's "___ Get Fooled Again" ("WON'T") — embarrassingly, I waffled between WON'T and DON'T for a while. I knew the lyric was WON'T, but ... bah. I have no excuse. 
  • 63A: Caustic alkalis (LYES) — had -YES and ... and ... wanted DYES, I think. OK, now I'm starting to think it was damn miracle I finished this as fast as I did. Clearly at least one cylinder was not firing. Ah well. Tomorrow is another day and all of that.
Reminder: still reviewing the grids / theme ideas of aspiring crossword constructors thru Aug. 25. No charge. Got a nice little team of constructors helping me out. We've fielded submissions from somewhere between 15-20 constructors so far. They seem pleased with the feedback. Submissions to rexparker at mac dot com.

OK, bye for now.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Incipently Violent Man 12:11 AM  

You want to know what I want? I want people operating two ton vehicles at 75mph to actually pay attention to what they're doing. Not to whom they're calling, not to what they're eating, not to their apparently over-riding need to smack their kids. Just pay attention to the act of driving.

I want young people to open doors for old people. I want people to quit smacking kids.

Seem an absurd goal? Not to me. Yet I don't get this, yet M&A gets a puzzle full of Us.

I'm warning you all, No Justice, No Peace!

Anoa Bob 12:31 AM  

Uomo hmos otoe snl. Soiree dys lts ukr, dre ums. Pupu Adenauer. Amies aar atria eros.


retired_chemist 12:33 AM  

Challenging as Mondays go. Nothing strikes me as tough in retrospect but my time was a good two minutes too slow for a Monday. Thirty seconds looking for a typo isn't enough to explain it.

Rex has it right. Adequate. Not exciting and only LADY NANCY ASTOR as a point of interest.

Adenauer Curvy Michaels 12:38 AM  

wow, U are right, 11 Us! M&A will rejoice...or rejuice or whatever he does...
DumbLuck, I imagine.

There is also no such thing as a freelUnch(eon?)

My mistake besides AoRtA, which I seem to do once a puzzle, was BARNcat...till those with NINE lives showed up next door.

I liked it, tho I thought the first thing was going to be a pun or change-a-letter for BEGINNERS LUCK as BEGINNERS GUIDE didn't seem to be a thing...

I love seeing DUMBQUESTION in a grid!

I thought this was cool...lots o" Zs (well two) many Ys (half dozen which is unusual), along with the aforementioned Us made this a nice sophisticated Monday.
I totally wouldn't PUPU it!

jae 12:58 AM  

Tough Monday for me too. Typo problems (almost never happens with my trusty Bic .07), plus remembering that somewhere I heard THATCHER (which didn't fit) was the first woman something (and no, it was not the PM), plus what Rex said about BEGINNERSGUIDE and what Andrea said about LUNCH...

OK Mon., pretty smooth grid, tough theme answers.

Anonymous 1:46 AM  

#1 Adenauer?!??!?! F@&$#%*€ seriously!?!?!

#2 Lady Nancy Astor?!???!!?! Correct me if I'm wrong but I'm willing to bet the only person that hasn't heard of Lady Antebellum is the constructor since that fits perfectly.

#3 When Call a Cab is the best looking thing in the grid, maybe it's time for a redesign.

Tobias Duncan 1:57 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Davis 2:03 AM  

Definitely more like a Tuesday as far as difficulty goes, though I guess my time would've been good for a Tuesday for me. (I'm starting to hit a hard time limit due to the fact that the NY Times iPad app won't work with my external iPad keyboard — I just can't type fast on the screen keyboard.) I would have no complaints about the difficulty if I thought the theme justified it, but that was simply not the case here.

LADY NANCY ASTOR was neat because I learned something new, but that doesn't really seem like a Monday-ish theme answer. And INSURABLE just felt a little dirty somehow — maybe just because it's a bit of a stretch for a Monday. Other non-Monday fill in my book: AAR, ADENAUER, UOMO.

On the upside, I'll agree with ACM and say that I think DUMB QUESTION was nice. For some reason ROAD SIGNS pleased me, too — maybe just because it's one I don't remember seeing before. And PUPU makes my inner 13-year-old giggle.

Finally, am I imagining things, or are SNL, HMO(S), and GTO getting a lot of play in puzzles recently?

chefwen 2:16 AM  

Was totally surprised at our leaders rating. I printed out a copy of the puzzle for my Monday and Tuesday solving husband to do and he almost aced it. Only asked me a couple of questions to which I replied either yes or no. No hints no clues. He chuffed when I told him the difficultly rating (been hanging out with the pups to much) My only Hmmm was at 15A with UOMO.

My BIL says 22D UMS to the point of distraction, I love him dearly so I overlook it and zip my lip.

acme 2:26 AM  

On second thought, I'd say the fill definitely leaned towards Tuesday, but I feel I don't know what's what any more!
But, as anon 1:46am pointed out, you may need more than a BEGINNERSGUIDE to get ADENAUER, AAR, OVATE, UOMO and LADYNANCYASTOR.

Atria Cue Michaels 2:38 AM  

ps @Tobias
Maybe she was lactose intolerant? ;)

You are not alone...I was tempted to leave mid dogwalk date when this otherwise interesting man admitted to being a member of the Bohemian Club.
(In my brain, a neon sign flashed "Game Over" while I tried to control my facial muscles)

Last night with an adorable "uomo" from Roma (some things never change) who had asked me out for a drink, casually mentioned he lives with his girlfriend (about two hours into the evening). Um.


jae 3:47 AM  

@Tobias -- Todd Akin is running for the senate two states to your right.

Rashida Jones is the daughter of music impresario Quincy Jones and mod-squad actress Peggy Lipton. She is currently a regular on Parks and Recreation (on of the best sitcoms currently on TV IMHO) and has been in a number of movies.

jae 3:58 AM  

...including an uncredited movie within a movie in Friends With Benefits. And, I should have capitalized Mod-Squad.

Z 5:13 AM  

Seemed very Tuesdayish. OVATE, UOMO, AAR, ADENAUER in the north, LADY NANCY ASTOR in the south, and all those annoying 3 letter "words" in between (UMS, UKE, UKR, DYS, LTS, GTO, SNL - not actually words at all).


John V 7:37 AM  

Hello from LGA C41. NW was at least Tuesday and thensome. More wide open than a typical Monday. 75 words, if I count right. Density 52, so this pushes the Monday boundary.

Theme okay, nothing more.

Off to Charlotte.

dk 7:38 AM  

Block for PLAZA demonstrated there is dumb fill.

Busy truck shopping. Car dealers negotiation tactics are a hoot. "Do you love the truck?" "Do you want to take her home?" When I suggested the truck would have to buy me dinner first and then asked what gear would get me to second base....

Tobias, rice goes in the mail today I hope. Perhaps it will help at your next dinner. Otherwise you can see my truck on the side if you wish.

State Fair season is here along with Swine flu warnings. My favorite event is the racing baby pigs. This year may bring some added excitement as the event may be deadly.

** (2 Stars) Solid Monday

Milford 7:39 AM  

Definitely not your average Monday, with two names that were only getable with crosses. Probably didn't help that I read 20 across as "help for newborns".

I liked SUPERB - I feel like it's a word that isn't seen much in crosswords. Same with QUEEN, oddly enough. But I'm relatively new at this.

@Davis - I thought the exact same thing about precisely the three words you mentioned. Even if cleverly clued, SNL, HMO and GTO are getting pretty stale.

@Tobias - not that you asked, but anyone who can't graciously leave a date with a non-sociopath sounds like someone you might want to let go anyway.

Rob C 8:27 AM  

Hi everyone, this is Rob Cirillo, your humble constructor for the day. Some of you may recognize me-I post here under the name Rob C occasionally. Hope you all enjoyed the puzzle and it brightened your day a bit (even though I see a few 'mehs' already). Just a bit surprised on some of the comments on the fill - I thought it was pretty smooth.

If anyone is interested in the inside inside workings - we all know the boss (Mr S) changes a (sometimes) significant number of clues to adjust the difficulty of the puzzle to the proper day level and to correct clues that are simply wrong. When I submitted the puzzle, I had in mind a Tues. Some of my original clues that were changed to be less difficult were (doing this from memory):

58A CURVY Like a model with an hourglass figure
7D POUR Act like a jerk? (My favorite but I suspected it would be changed in an early week puzzle)
8D UMPS Calls out, say
27D QUEEN Bloody Mary, for one
38D CALL A CAB Bartender’s good advice

Also, there was a change made to the grid. I originally submitted 31D as SIFT, making 40A FTS (forts). Was changed to SILT and LTS. Not sure why this change was made-it seems both were about equal on the difficulty scale. I went with the F b/c it's scrabblier.

I have to say, I've been dabbling in constructing for a few years now and I consider myself a blind squirrel who occasionally (twice now) finds a nut. I'm thoroughly impressed by those who come up with good, solid themes on a consistent basis like some who regularly comment here. Acme, Gareth and others.

PS - I see none of you picked up on the mini-theme in the SE corner. CURVY, AMIES, CALL A CAB, TRYST, BOAST - Quite a night! - I'm too embarrassed to say where the SUMO fits in though ;-)

orangeblossomspecial 8:55 AM  

I guess I had beginner's luck; no problems here.

Chet Baker sings 'LOOK for the silver lining' on TCM.

Although Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers did 'BEGINNER'S LUCK', this version is by Ella Fitzgerald.

'Down by the OHIO' by the Andrews Sisters.

chefbea 9:11 AM  

I found this very easy. Knew Adenauer and got Nancy Astor from the crosses

My only pupu is 11 down. Seems like it should be singular SIGN cuz it has "or".

Thanks for stopping by Robert C

Miette 9:12 AM  

My time: 2 minutes, 30 seconds.

mitchs 9:16 AM  

@rex: any chance you could publish before and afters of one or two of the best puzzles submitted for advice and detail the changes?

jackj 9:21 AM  

The theme was fun and the theme answers were cleverly constructed but the accompanying fill was rather strained, with answers like DYS, LTS, and UMS stirring irritations and except for ADENAUER, AAR and UOMO there wasn’t much else to challenge the abilities of an early week solver.

Perhaps the poster known as “The Bard” will chime in but when TRYST was shown as the answer for the “Meeting for Romeo and Juliet” clue, it seemed to reflect a distortion of the nature of the teen’s star-crossed romance, making it seem like a seedy assignation instead of the true love so memorably presented in the play and universally accepted as such, (teen age girls I’ve seen sobbing during viewings of Franco Zeffirelli’s film version of “Romeo and Juliet” would be outraged at even a hint of an improper relationship, for sure).

An excellent theme, diminished by unexciting fill; a common affliction round these parts.

Z 9:23 AM  

@Rob C - For me the Meh-inducers were the 3-letter fills in the middle.

The north and south strike me as definitely Tuesday, but that isn't up to you. I suspect Sanfranman's numbers will confirm this. Looking at those regions again the only real issue for me was UOMO (which I wanted to be SUMO off the --MO before I read the clue, sort of a pre-malapop). The rest is pretty good, especially for a Tuesday.

I also noticed that the three letter fill in the corners (ERE, SKY, CUE, ACT) are actual words and not problematic. It is that mass in the middle that's the issue. I definitely believe that the fill detracts from the theme.

I do like SIFT/FTS better than SILT/LTS. Keeping looking for the nuts.

quilter1 9:33 AM  

I guess it just depends on age, experience and whatever else one has collected along the way. I found this puzzle quite easy. ADENAUER and LADY NANCY ASTOR were gimmes, the rest was pretty much in my store of common knowledge. I don't time as I usually solve while having breakfast, but it went fast.

@Tobias: gosh, I'm married and all, but if you made me ice cream I'd hang around for seconds.

Becka 9:34 AM  

@chefbea - agreed on the "or" = singular.

Sfingi 9:36 AM  

Smooth puzzle, but very surprised to see UOMO. Not common in America. When bathrooms are labelled UOMini, many here would guess it a word for women.

Never heard of LAZY Sunday. Have had some.

Wanted LATCHkeys, for some reason. Wanted fARmcat.

There's been a rash of radio personalities telling everyone what good questions they ask. Sorry, some QUESTIONs are DUMB, but ask up a storm, please.

I remember one of my inmate/students asking, "But girls won't get pregnant if they don't have an orgasm, will they?" DUMBQUESTION, but needed to be addressed.

GILL I. 9:41 AM  

I really like the puzzle today. It was different than most Monday fare and not at all difficult.
I'd say it was worth "five boxes of ziti." and nary a pupu.
Ciao all' uomo caldo' to you Robert Cirillo.

Loren Muse Smith 9:43 AM  

Hi, Rob C! I always appreciate it when the constructor posts. Interesting to see it from your perspective.

Maybe I was just on the right wave length because I flew through this with nary a hiccough. I agree with Chefwen, Chefbea, Gill I.P.,and Miette -really, really easy. Ok - one hiccoough: I misinterpreted the BARN OWL clue and briefly searched my brain for
a rodent who hunts in a barn. Jeeze.

And, Rob, I picked up on the mini theme and was going to point out the CURVY AMIE'S TRYSTs in both ATRIA and COVES and then she BOASTED about it!

Ulrich 9:44 AM  

@Rob C: I admire the equanimity with which you took the editorial interventions, none for the better as far as I can tell--I would have been furious. I'm furious anyway since I did not get to see those great clues--yes, they were un-Mondayish, but who says the puzzle had to be a Monday?

...and I went to the same grammar school that Adenauer went to--remember him showing up when we celebrated the school's 100th anniversary.

Grammar Enforcer 9:44 AM  

Shouldn't the 11D clue use and as the conjunction, not or, since the answer is plural?

Glimmerglass 9:51 AM  

Easy for me. There's a lot of luck in this kind of thing, and I managed to avoid Rex's braincramps. Didn't know Lady Astor's first name, but it sure as hell wasn't Anteb.

Jjoho 9:59 AM  

@Rob C, thanks for sharing your thoughts we us. It's always nice to get the inside scoop (is this phrase ice cream related???) I enjoyed your puzzle and especially because I didn't get the theme until I read 51D ... so that was a nice surprise. My favorite is DUMB(LUCK).

Nice that both ROADSIGNS and INSURABLE involve cars.

Fun to see CURVY after we just had CHESTY!

mac 10:00 AM  

Yes, crunchy for a Monday, but you will not hear me complaining about that.

No such thing as.... I was also looking for "lunch", thank you Acme!

I've seen Lady Astor in the puzzles a couple of times, but I did need a few crosses.

Really good catch, chefbea!

Anonymous 10:10 AM  

@Tobias - If your specific knowledge of female anatomy was involved in her eating ice cream, I don't blame here for leaving in a rush. It was more likely specific knowledge of the female psyche you're referring to, and you'll never get it. Never.

I was inspired to look up the Todd Akin's thing, and found the rest of the interview more enlightening than the "highlight" of stupidity. He ended with the statement that "someone must be punished, ...". I fear that's what all those men who think they have a right to determine whether a woman carries to term or not, that "someone must be punished". There aren't the words, or space, to describe how wrong this is.

Sandy K 10:30 AM  

My first surprise of the day was reading Rex's rating. I had no problem filling in LADY NANCY ASTOR or Konrad ADENAUER or PUPU platter- my personal fave...

2nd surprise- how quickly I was able to finish...

3rd surprise-@Rob C...thanks for your input. I join those who enjoyed your puzzle!

Tita 10:40 AM  

@Tobias - you didn't mention Rexville and crossword obsessions, did you??

@Rob C - thanks for stopping in. Unable to construct myself, I love to construct vicariously through those who can, and always like to see editing changes.

I liked seeing LADY LUCK at 52. Kinda liked UKE/UKR in hte middle. Is a ukr someone who plays the uke?
Overall, enjoyed my 1st Monday back.

Mel Ott 10:40 AM  

LADY ASTOR to Churchill: "Winston, if you were my husband I would poison your soup."

Churchill: "Madam, if I were your husband I would drink it."

Masked and AnevendozenUs 10:44 AM  

Double-darn-digit U-counts. Magnifico. Standing thUmbsUp. Tie me down, lest I float away.

Har. analysis of this puz shows a bar graph of letter counts, with the U bar (soaring to a height of 12) highlighted. Highlighted. The R. Dangerfield of crossword vowels has come a long way today.

I believe the countdown count is now at 6.

Sounds like this Akins dude is trying to take the GOP to new depths. Earth's core or bust.

syndy 11:00 AM  

LADY ASTOR was a gimmee but needed the crosses for NANCY,I thought this was a cut above the usual blah monday.I WAS wondering if those TASSELS were originaly on a mortarboard?The one thing that always struck me about a SUMO wrestler was his 39 down ;>

Carola 11:03 AM  

Nice Monday - a more challenging for me than usual, liked having to work at it. Didn't see the theme until I got to the reveal, and that little bit of suspense --->jollies.

Liked NAME next to ADENAUER, HAY next to BARNOWL and the CURVY AMIES. Favorite clue was for that owl: "Nocturnal rodent hunter on a farm" - the specificity tickled me.

@Tobias Duncan - sorry about that date and good LUCK on the next ones! It seems to me a person has to be TOUGH AS NAILS to date these days.

@Acme - your capsule summary is fabulous!

Bassetwrangler 11:10 AM  

I incorrectly guessed Dame Nancy Astor and uomo just doesn't seem like a word in any language (uomo iapiens?).

Matt 11:39 AM  

Here's a DUMB QUESTION: Why isn't 11D ROADSIGN? The clue is "Stop, Yield OR No U Turn." Shouldn't it be "Stop, Yield AND No U Turn" to make the plural?

chefbea 11:41 AM  

@Matt many of us have noted that

Joe The Juggler 11:41 AM  

I thought a couple of these were just a little bit sloppy.

TOUGH AS NAILS isn't really the same thing as strong. The DUMB QUESTION answer should technically have been A DUMB QUESTION or DUMB QUESTIONS.

Otherwise, I have no complaints.

Lewis 12:01 PM  

@anoa bob -- loved your post

Tobias, meet Acme, Acme, meet Tobias. Let's get this over with.

Robert -- I really like your original clues a lot. Keep them in reserve! You made a fun puzzle, by the way...

Anonymous 12:15 PM  

"Or" is not necessarily exclusive.

Anonymous 12:24 PM  

Last Friday's grid was TOUGHASNAILS
Solve time? Had to ADENAUER!
But LADYASTOR made it faster-
So I WON'T be LOOKing sour. :)

Noah 12:52 PM  

WHAT?? No Lazy Sunday video? (19 across)

paul 1:04 PM  

LADY ASTOR to churchill in parliament: 'sir winston, you are drunk. you are very drunk. you are very, very drunk.'

churchill: 'madam, you are ugly. you are very ugly. you are very, very ugly. and tomorrow i shall be sober.'

Sparky 1:26 PM  

Found it easy though it took 12 minutes and I was trying for speed. I just can't read and write that fast. I am going back to my acrosses first, then downs pokey way.

Knew LADYASTOR thanks to PBS viewing habit. Of course too short. The NANCY came later. Had casa before OHIO, ovoid/OVATE.

Thanks for the Chet Baker @orangeblossomspecial. Thanks for coming by Mr. Cirillo. That's, an innteresting behnid the scenes glimpse.

Bird 1:35 PM  

Easy here. IMO not a bad puzzle from Mr. Cirillo (and thanks for stopping by). I slowed a bit at 10D because I wasn’t sure if Billy’s last name was ELLIOT or ELIOTT and for some reason HMOS did not come to mind the first time around. A few answers I didn’t know, but crosses were all easy.

Enjoyed the mini-theme in the SE. Maybe there is a meta-theme puzzle that has 4 mini-themes in each corner. Anyone?

@Chefbea – I agree. I circled that clue because is has “or” instead of “and”.

Re Tom Akin – I saw the headline, thought “WTF!?” and read the 1st paragraph. Then I thought “What an ASS****” and turned the page. Maybe this is a dumb question, but what the hell is “legitimate rape”?


Bird 1:37 PM  

I posted before I proofed . . .

Maybe there is a mete-theme puzzle that has a mini-theme in each corner.

Todd Akin - enlightened Man 1:48 PM  

@Bird - You know - as opposed to those times where she's asking for it.

r.alphbunker 1:49 PM  

@Rob C

No partials and only DRE had to be clued using a FITB.

Good job!

@dead tree solvers
Have any of you with iPads tried googling lately? In the latest iPads you now have the option of using your finger (or a capacitive stylus) to write your queries. If there was an iPad crossword puzzle app that let you write your answers using a stylus which could do OCR to check your answers would you consider using it instead of paper?

JFC 2:02 PM  

@Rob C - Thre change from SIFT to SILT avoided making the puzzle a pangram and Will probably wanted to avoid one of Rex's rants against pangrams.

@Rex - Sometime I have the impression that you are very frustrated....


Anonymous 2:13 PM  

Yes, Lady Astor and Churchill hated each other, but she told him she would poison his tea.

the missing JFX 2:13 PM  

@JFC - Careful or your poetic license will be revoked.

Bird 2:27 PM  

@r.alph - I would be willing to try that App. As long as there is the option of waiting until I hit the "Check my answers" button and there is a link to this blog.

@Tom Akin - Oh, of course. You have my vote; which Super PAC do you prefer I send my check to?

Let's see if the third time is the charm for reading the captcha (I think it says "doofts" . . .

Rob C 2:29 PM  

Thank you all for your kind words and opinions. I always enjoy the posts here - I think we strike a good balance between taking the puzzle seriously and recognizing that it's still a puzzle simply meant to be enjoyed.

@ Anoa Bob - I was simultaneously PO'd and entertained by your post - very funny
@ Z - thanks, point taken
@ LMS - she wasn't the one boasting
@ Ulrich - history buff here, great story on Adenauer
@ Masked and Anon - Us were all for u
@ r.alph - definitely had that in mind when putting this together
@ JFC - the change from SIFT to SILT - I guess we can say Will got the f out of there.

Acme 2:52 PM  

Am enjoying the Lady Astor vs Churchill quips, keep 'em coming...are they real? Seems so Groucho vs Margaret Dumont.
Tho super interesting (to me) that LADYANTEBELLUM is same number of letters...would have definitely made it fifty years more contemporary, but definitely a Tuesday.

ha! Most things better left in cyberspace!

Always love background intentions, changes...My guess is LTS is slightly more known than FTS...and more open to a fun clue (people vs places) but I agree with you more Scrabbly!

ANON B 4:31 PM  

Please explain "no partials and only DRE had to be clued using
a FITB."

r.alphbunker 4:41 PM  


It refers to a thread that Rob C, John V and I had last Tuesday:

Anonymous 5:22 PM  

Winston Churchill to Lady Astor:

"NANCY, you ignorant slut!"

Mel Ott 5:23 PM  

@acme: the poison soup/tea one may be true (some versions differ as to the beverage).

I like the "ugly" one cited by @paul even better. Alas, if Winston said it at all it was probably to another politician named Bessie Braddock, but even that is questionable. It's an old joke, used at least once by W.C. Fields and with several earlier citaions in the 19th century.

In both cases one could say that if Churchill didn't say it, he should have.

ANON B 5:24 PM  


Thanks a lot! You could have mentioned that in your post so
I wouldn't have spent a lot of time
trying to figure it out.

mac 6:11 PM  

The quip about Churchill I remember best is:

A woman (famous actress?) said to him at a cocktail party: With your brains and with my looks, we would have a wonderful child. His answer: But what if it would have my looks and your brains?

Tita 6:57 PM  

@r.alph...handwriting with a stylus, erasing, plus tagging and all the other cool stuff from crucimetrics, would make me ruin, not walk, to my nearest apple store.

Michael O’Donoghue 7:54 PM  

The Churchill Wit.

Anonymous 8:05 PM  

Rex, thanks for including your time in this week's post! I'm a newbie at crosswords and have found it challenging to tell what's a "fast"/"tournament-worthy" performance (and to gauge the meanings of "easy"/"medium"/"challenging" on each day of the week). It would be great to see your time in future posts as well.

ack!me again 11:50 PM  

interesting Freudian slip there @tita!
Maybe you have mixed feeling about getting to the Apple Store!

I know I've over posted today, but just wanted to remind folks this is only the second puzzle, I think, from this constructor who gave us the fabulous LISBONBONBON, BOTTOMTOMTOM.

Alison 1:12 AM  

Excited to see a Momus song!

Anonymous 3:52 PM  

I did not like ROAD SIGNS because the cluing is singular (A, B, -or- C).

Ginger 11:16 AM  

Good start to the week, fun, easy, workout. The processes of constructing, and editing is fascinating. Thanks for stopping by (5 weeks ago), Robert C.

Lady NANCY ASTOR was born in Virginia, so she was not only the first woman in parliament, she was an American.

I miss @Sanfranman and his statistical analysis. I hope he's merely on vacation, and that we'll see him back soon.

@SIS should be a good game tonight!

Spacecraft 12:04 PM  

I did this OK with usual Monday ease...but was sorely bothered by the impossibility at square 15. Across, it must be H for HOMO, but down, it has to be U for SUPERB. So I'm left with either SHPERB or UOMO. I was sure it was a constructional mistake, as I gave neither of those a chance of being right. Having to fill in something, I picked the longer word--but I was positive that there was something I was missing.

Come on! UOMO? Really? Gad, how would anyone even PRONOUNCE such a ridiculous conglomeration of letters? And this is a MONDAY???

The rest of it is pretty interesting and fairly well done, save the oft-mentioned plurality goof in the clue for 11d.

Here's my favotite Winston quote (re UOMO): This is the kind of nonsense up with which I shall not put!

DMGrandma 4:47 PM  

A smooth Monday. Like others, I was perplexed by UOMO, but nothing else fit the crosses, so I left it. Sometimes puzzles have words like that.

Nance Astor was one of a bevy of American heiresses who went to England in search of a titled husband as their nouveau riche families tried to add class to their status. In those days money was considered crass if you actually worked for it!

Dirigonzo 5:16 PM  

I made more than my ususal number of Monday mistakes, starting from the git-go with bLocks at 1a, and I wanted my BARNcat (that ignorant slut) to be my nocturnal rodent hunter. When I got to 44d, Stop working, as a car battery, I knew it was GODEAD but I refused to wrire it in until all of the crosses produced that dreadful phrase. (In a case fo synchronicity, when I got in the van to drive vets to the VA Medical Center this morning, I discovered that the battery was dead - happily I had jumper cables in my truck and I was able to get it started- but at no time did I say, oh gee, the battery has GO(NE)DEAD).

GTO may be getting stale but it still makes me smile every time I see it in the grid.

@Spacecraft - what you said about UOMO.

I wish @Tobias hadn't deleted his post - the replies to it make me want to see what happened.

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