Monday, October 8, 2012

Wow - Monday again?  Time flies because it seems like we were just here.  That's right, it's Jenny and Liz, your favorite Replacement Rex, aka BFFs, filling in for Rex while he lives it up in beautiful Carmel, California. We are so happy to spend our Monday with you because we <3 Mondays!  New week, new possibilities, all that crap!  (ps - Rex, did you find us that alligator bread yet??)

Constructor: Dave Sarpola. Great puzzle Dave!

Relative difficulty: Super easy and fun!

THEME:  FLIES - All of the theme answers contain words that can be associated with flies.  You would think that we'd find "flies" to be kind of gross, but we <3 this puzzle and all the super cute theme answers!  Yay for flies!

Word of the Day:  "Happy go lucky" 
hap·py-go-luck·y (hp-g-lk)
Taking things easily; carefree.

You know how it goes, this word (or in this case, these words) are not in the puzzle, but we chose it/them, because let's face it, we're happy go lucky!  We would never use this space to complain or criticize anyone or anything.  Nope, not us!

Theme answers:
  • 18a - Casual Pants (DUNGAREES):  A snarky blogger might comment that no one has used the word dungarees since the 1970s, but not us!  We think Dungarees is a funny word! (Coincidentally, we both wanted the answer to be "Cotton Dockers" but, it was not to be...)

  • 26a - Vehicle with a compactor (GARBAGE TRUCK):  Aka, what has four wheels and flies?  Lol!
  • 42a - Where one might witness a hit and run (BASEBALL GAME):  We're both watching a baseball game as we write this. Let's go O's!

  • 53a - Fishing gear holder (TACKLE BOX):  We don't fish, so we've got nothing...
  • 63a - Skedaddles... Or, what 18, 26, 42, 53 across all have (FLIES):  Clever!  We loved this theme because it was fresh and original.  We had no idea how the theme answers would be tied together but once we got this clue, it all made sense and was super cute!  And aside from the fun theme, this puzzle lacked the typical crosswordese that might cause some people to complain. Way to go Dave!

  • 48a WINNIE-THE-BLANK (POOH) — This is our favorite clue in the whole puzzle!  All you Seinfeld fans will know why... 
  • 41d NUMEROUS (A LOAD OF) — Another thing we love about this puzzle, is that there are "a load of" related answers. Ewe and Oinks. Alice in Wonderland and Winnie-the Pooh. Wove and Loom.  Gobi and Arid. Penny and Lane. Good stuff!

We don't know when we'll be back filling in for Rex again, but since time FLIES when you're having fun, I'm sure it won't seem too long to us!  And now it's time to get back to the O's playoff game. It's a great time to be a sports fan in Baltimore!
See you next time!

Signed, Rex's BFFs, Jenny and Liz


C. Ross Word 12:17 AM  

Nice clean grid Mr. Sarpola, fun write-up by Jenny & Liz. Seems the BASEBALLGAME has taken a bad turn for our guest bloggers thanks to some long FLIES by the Yankees (go Russell Martin!!).

P.S. Yankees win!

jae 12:48 AM  

Nice smooth easy Mon.  Zippy theme and not much if any dreck.  Not sure I like  skedaddles for FLIES however.  Did like it overall. 

Garth 12:50 AM  

One more set of related answers: boor and crude

Breezy and enjoyable post

Apexes Cacti Megatons 12:51 AM  

Perfect write up for a near perfect puzzle!
breezy, easy, right amount of crunch: 4Ks, JX

Original, had you guessing till the end.

For it to be a PERFECT Monday, I'd have made APIA into APIE/BEG ("24 Blackbirds baked in ___") even tho some would scream about partials. Personally I think they make more sense than Samoan capital... That's a ???! for the majority of Monday solvers.

The other nit of nits is an editing one. Would not have had a clue with the word "Hitchhiker" crossing the word HIKE.

That's it, tho...peppy, cool, unexpectedly tied together with the reveal in the last space. Nice!

dmw 1:22 AM  

Yay Jenny and Liz, you are way more fun than Rex (no offense Rex. Wait a minute, how can that not be offensive? Oh well).

chefwen 2:44 AM  

Well, I feel like a total doofus, I had FLeES for 63A and couldn't for the life of me figure how flees fit into any of the long answers. Came here to be enlightened. OMNe directional seemed O.K. to me.

Foiled by a Monday, slinking off to bed now, head held low in shame. Fingers crossed that at least one other person made the same mistake as I.

Acme 3:22 AM  

Hand up for FLeES till it became clear when I caught OMNe.
Sleep well!

Brenda Ann Spencer 4:35 AM  

I don't like Mondays; you liven up the blog!
BTW do you watch derecho maddow show?

loren muse smith 6:04 AM  

What a great idea! Perfect Monday with scrabbly, fun fill.
WADDLE/WOMB – who walks normally when pregnant? PENNY/LANE, HIKE/THUMB, A LOAD OF/MEGATON, POOH/LOG (just kidding, EWE!!), and the other pairs that didn’t cross: AIM AT- NUKE, WOVE-LOOM, BOOR-CRUDE, GOBI-ARID, LAPEL-HOSES-DUNGAREES-SASH-TIES, CHIN-EYES, OINKS from an icky sty over FLIES –AND- in my book, HIGHTAIL it means to fly!

@Chefwen and Acme - I had "flee" first, too.


Time flies like the wind. . . Fruit flies like bananas.

PSS – nice one, Dave. ALOAD OF THUMBs up!

Clark 6:11 AM  

I am in the best of company: Chefwen, Acme, and Loren Muse Smith. I put in flee, didn't get the theme, checked the whole darn puzzle until I hit OMNe. Then I got it. Nice puzzle.

Milford 6:52 AM  

Lovely, mostly smooth Monday. A couple write-overs: STRipe before STREAK and TRACk before TRACE. Felt weird writing the plural APEXES (I would have gone with apices), but it's totally legit.

Thought the puzzle was going a whole different direction after DUNG(AREES) and GARBAGE (TRUCK), so the reveal was very witty. Are DUNGAREES the same as overalls? Seems like the pair I had a long time ago didn't have fly, but then again, I'm a girl.

Thanks, BFFs!

Anonymous 7:16 AM  

Great Monday puzzle...enjoyed the upbeat tone of the blog....didn't detect any facetiousness at all in the happy-go-lucky vibe!

John in Philly 7:22 AM  

Record time UNTIL I hit the SE -- flees for flies and just couldn't get it undone for several minutes.... Otherwise very fun.

Z 7:29 AM  

I had OMNI first, so avoided the FLeES confusion; I also avoided the TRACk confusion because I was pretty sure --PkL wasn't going to work.

How's this for the "worst" fill in the puzzle: MIN, IDS, EWE, PSS, ISTO? Quality fill can be done. Nice job Mr. Sarpola.

jackj 8:28 AM  

Can’t say I’ve been harboring a craving for someone to craft a puzzle about FLIES, be they fruit, dry, bloop or zippered, but Dave Sarpola, self-styled “Lord of the Flies”, gives us a different, if inelegant, theme starring a GARBAGETRUCK, with DUNGAREES as part of his supporting cast and two other theme entries joined together because they all have FLIES (of one sort or another). Be still my buzzing wings!

Despite its unusual topic, the theme is actually quite solid and the fill is also strong for a Monday challenge. HIGHTAIL, even without its “it”, APEXES, subbing for its fancier step-brother APICES and the guaranteed smile inducing WADDLE, were all pluses in today’s puzzle.

Seeing ROES reminds us that there have been a string of awkward plurals running through the Times crosswords lately and this one joins BASILS and ENNUIS as evidence of an apparent evolving multi-puzzle mini-theme that one day will no doubt be the topic of a Times crossword book, “Shortz’ Puzzling Plurals Puzzles”.

My favorite bit in today’s puzzle came with the clue “Duo + one” which, on a casual reading looked to be asking for the Spanish TRES until a combo of HOSES and a SIEVE showed that Dave had gulled us (me) with his clever cluing when he was only looking for a traditional group of three, a TRIO.

Thanks, Dave. Welcome to the fray.

Cheers, Jenny and Liz.

chefbea 8:43 AM  

Hand up for flees at first. Got the first two theme answers and saw GAR in each of them and figured it would be a fish related puzzle!!!

Very easy and fun and of course a great write up from the BFF's

JC66 9:00 AM  

The reason everyone had flees first is because that's what skedaddles means. The theme revealer could have had a better clue. IMHO

joho 9:05 AM  

Great, upbeat way to greet Monday with both the puzzle and the write-up!

Loved the theme because it was so unexpected and the aha moment when you get it is saved to the last minute. It's also very visual as I pictured each theme answer: fun!

Mini fishing theme with: REEL, ROE, FLIES and TACKLEBOX.

Thank you, Dave Sarpola ... more!

joho 9:07 AM  

Oh, and @jae ... I thought "Skedaddles" was fresh and fun!

Andrew 9:15 AM  

My DUNGAREES makes them hun-ga-ree

mac 9:33 AM  

Great Monday puzzle and fun write-up!

I did the SE area first, so I was looking for flies all along. I especially liked the fact that not just a part of the theme answers was related to it, although you can probably go both ways with dungarees. OTOH, would have liked "it" with hightail.

Theeeeeee Yankees won!

Anonymous 9:52 AM  

Just one small nit ti pic. Although you may find a fly in some tackle boxes, serious fly fishers will carry a fly box not a tackle box. I guess I'm a more of fly fishing purist than crossword one.

Sandy K 9:53 AM  

Hi Girls! Looked forward to seeing you again on this easy -DUNGAREE-zy Monday!

THUMBS up, Dave Sarpola, for a cute theme and A LOAD OF 'FLY' answers.
Could not find one OINK among them.

Fun Monday!

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

Gotta skedaddle= gotta fly

quilter1 9:56 AM  

What's not to like here? The puzzle is fun and fresh, the write-up funny and spot on. Thanks to Liz, Jenny and Dave.

Anonymous 10:25 AM  

Does anyone remember there was a song 'in ancient times' called "DUNGAREE Doll"?

Two Ponies 10:36 AM  

I love it when an easy puzzle is also fun. Great job Dave!
Is this a debut? Sarpola seems new to me.
You can add cacti to the desert theme.

I took the dung part of dungarees(great word BTW) as the theme totally overlooking the zipper.
Where I grew up dungarees were a synonym for jeans.

jae 10:36 AM  

@joho -- Skedaddle is a delighful word. My problem is the same as @JC66. I think the revealer should have been clearer, especially on a Mon. Something like, "More can be caught with honey," would have avoided the plethora of FLeEs errors.

Oh and, thanks for another amusing Mon. Liz and Jenny. Nice way to kick off the week.

John V 10:54 AM  

Yep, a perfect, very, very easy Monday, using virtually none of the down clues. Non-puz spouse will give it a try.

So, POOH is not a bonus theme answer? Who knew?

Happy Columbus to all.

Anonymous 11:10 AM  

Good Monday, but does anyone understand what "PSS" means for # 57 down? I got it through crosses but I have no idea what it means. Probably something silly, but it just won't come to me.

chefbea 11:20 AM  

@anonymous 11:10 when you write a letter...and and a PS or PSS

Bird 11:20 AM  

Great puzzle Dave. Clean, simple and fun. I only needed to correct WARHEAD to MEGATON. I liked the tricky cluing at 16A as I started to write TRES, but for some reason I looked at the clue again. One is not uno so the answer is not tres.

Puzzle reminds me of the old chant from scout camp . . .
There ain't no flies on us!
There ain't no flies on us!
There may be flies on some of you guys,
But there ain't no flies on us!

And a great write-up to the BFFs.30 condutda

jberg 11:37 AM  

Great, easy puzzle - I would have got here much earlier, but I was distracted by the thought of those TSA agents checking everone's id at 39A. Just how do they do that?

Like Milfored, I saw the DUNG in those pants at 14A, linked it with GARBAGE, and figured the theme would be "putrid things" or the like - BASEball game almost fit with that, but TACKLE BOX was too much of a stretch. Then I got to the revealer, and had DUNG on my mind (so to speak) already, and never realized until coming here that DUNGAREES also could have flies. So, until I read Milford, I was going to compalain that we had 3 whole words and one partial word for theme answers, and that we should not have had two different answers (DUNG and GARBAGE) with essentially the same flies buzzing about them. I was so wrong! It really is a perfect puzzle, I now see.

@Anonymous 9:52, yeah, I keep my flies in about 15 different fly boxes, stuck into every possible pocket of my vest - but if I were a more organized person, I'd have those I planned to use tucked neatly into a couple of those magnetic boxes, and would have those boxes, in turn, along with leaders, reels, and extra line packed in a TACKLE BOX. (And if I were a better fly fisherman, I'd tie those flies streamside after I saw what was hatching!) So it was OK with me.

Nerd alert: A meteor doesn't "look like" a streat - it IS a streak of like. The object causing the streak is a meteorITE.

retired_chemist 11:45 AM  

Add me to the list of fans of both the writeup and the puzzle. Easy-medium time here, but the puzzle seems more like easy in retrospect.

I particularly appreciated that the theme answers all represented different senses of the word "flies."

Had OMNI first so no FLeES issue. LOOM and WOVE both clued by a rug seems somehow inappropriate but that's just me. Debated KILOTON for 50A, had it waiting in the wings, but it didn't need to go onstage.

42a plus "Let's Go O's" in the writeup is kinda cold for us here in Texas this week. :-(

Isn't the plural of ROE just, well, ROE (he said SHEEPishly)?

Nice one, Mr. Sarpola. Nice writeup, Jenny and Liz.

Ulrich 12:16 PM  

Oh my--in my neighborhood, garbage comes exclusively in plastic bags--no flies around for miles--and so, it took me an embarrassingly long time to see the connection...

...still, great puzzle, incl. write-up!

dk 12:34 PM  

Flies was what my pen did across the grid. Seemingly the fastest puzzle ever for me. So of course I like it.

A throw back grid to the early sixties with DUNGAREES and MEGATON.

Local ski area (Wild Mtn.) opened on Sunday. First in the nation. woo woo

⛄⛄⛄ (3 snowmen)

Lewis 12:36 PM  

Joy all around on this Monday, distinctly unRexlike, and kind of a nice feeling!

mac 12:56 PM  

Congratulations on having a puzzle in the LA Times today as well, Dave Sarpola!

syndy 1:05 PM  

Well yes the plural of ROE is ROE and the plural of BASIL is BASIL and the plural of ENNUI is... But for the sake a argument( and filling puzzles)if one has more than one KIND of basil one might arguably say BASILS,and if One had many species of fish eggs or were multiple personalitied. Lively puzzle-much too interesting for a monday!one big THUMBS up!

Carola 1:10 PM  

A doubly nice Monday! Loved the puzzle, had a lot of fun filling it in (DUNGAREES, WADDLE, BECKON) and enjoying the "matching pairs" (CRUDE BOOR, PENNY LANE, etc.) but being in suspense about the theme until the very end - and I mean "very" - up to FLI_S. Great payoff. And - @BFFs, your write-up was an unexpected extra treat.

@jae and @Anonymous 9:56 - I say "Must fly!" when I've stayed too long and really have to leave.

@Milford and @Two Ponies - Your comments made me curious about DUNGAREES. I think of them as jeans (and it's the word my mother-in-law only ever used for jeans), but I wondered about the origin of the word. I learned that the etymology is Hindi and "dungaree" originally referred to a coarse Indian calico cloth. Now dungarees can refer to jeans or bib overalls.

@acme - I learned APIA from puzzles, and as I wrote it in, I wondered if its appearance here on a Monday was a sort of bonus answer, in that it was easy to get from crosses and could be filed away for future retrieval when solving a harder puzzle. Unfortunately, there's not a footnote for the novice solver saying, "Learn this one for your gimme file."

Sparky 1:43 PM  

Fun to fly though a puzzle. Phoo not POOH my only write over. I never can spell that.

Good puzzle, nice write up, thanks Dave, Jenny and Liz.

acme 1:48 PM  

For me, APIA will never be a gimme!
But the other thing I liked about this puzzle is that FLIES could be for both DUNG and DUNGAREES and for both GARBAGE and for GARBAGE TRUCK.
ANd I love that as @dk pointed out, everyone "Flew" thru this!

THat Dave Sarpola constructed today's LA TImes as well is totally "Fly"! (or is that just used for hot chicks?)

sanfranman59 4:16 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 6:07, 6:47, 0.90, 14%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:43, 3:41, 1.01, 62%, Medium-Challenging

Milford 4:40 PM  

Wow, what different ratings, @Sanfranman. Any thoughts as to why?
Do the the top solvers have such a narrower time frame between their easy and challenging, especially on a Monday?

Milford 4:46 PM  

My captcha on the last comment had one "word" and two separate numbers. Now they're just playing dirty!

jae 5:43 PM  

@Carola -- I'm not saying the clue is wrong, I'm just saying it's a bit off for a Mon. For Mon. clues the answer is typically the first thing that pops up in your this case FLeES, which is why so many folks had it wrong at first. A better Mon. clue would be one that elicits FLIES right off the bat.

@Milford -- apparently top solvers have a highly truncated bell curve on Mondays. Check out Sanfranman's stats. There is only a two second difference between medium and median-challenging.

jae 5:45 PM  

That would be medium not median.

Carola 6:29 PM  

@jae - I take your point. "Flies" was definitely not the first thing that occurred to me - I needed every cross.

Milford 7:21 PM  

Thanks, @jae, I hadn't noticed the mere 2 second difference. Perhaps the FLeES is is what drove up the rating?

Anonymous 9:00 PM  

The final clue sucks! The rest was fun.

Bob Snead 9:19 PM  

Fine, I'll complain. DUNGAREES is inelegant as a plural, one-word theme answer when the others are singular two-worders. Should have been sent back for a rewrite.

Good fill, though.

NM Robin 8:25 AM  

Super easy puzzle. I did it in only 11 minutes and that included saying good morning to my better half. Just flew through the answers. I do the across clues and down clues in a section at the same time. Might have been faster if I just did the across clues.

I liked the puzzle if no other reasons 1.)completed it so quickly 2.)did not google anything and 3.)no errors.

Great clues and answers. Beautiful puzzle Mr. Sarpola

Ginger 12:42 PM  

Fun Puzzle which I FLIEd right through. Only writeover was TRey for TRIO, but HOSES cleared that up.

@NM Robin - Good to see you back here in Syndiland.

I think the term DUNGAREES might be regional, much more common on the East Coast than the Left one. Also, somewhat dated. Now off to BEQ.

Spacecraft 1:12 PM  

Wow, did somebody put something in the water, that we're all skipping like schoolgirls on this Monday? This was a nice enough puzzle, easy to do and relatively clean, but I'm not transported on waves of ecstasy!

HIGHTAIL makes a return visit--again sans the "it." Hand up for wanting APicES; also for agreeing that APEXES is acceptable.

I, too, thought I had it figured out after the first two themers: trash/garbage/dung/some kind of detritus. When I got to BASEBALLGAME I did the old head-scratch. Wait a sec...GA! All the themers have GA! I was looking for something to do with Georgia on the reveal...BOY, was I surprised!

So in that sense, that a Monday entry could fool me till late in the game, this was pretty good. Forgive me if I don't dance, though.

It is, after all, a Monday.

The capchas continue to frustrate and madden me.

rain forest 1:24 PM  

Great Monday puzzle. Rarely do I consider the day of the week, but this one is the exception. Just a joy to solve, reeking of competence, nothing to complain about. @Acme-will Monday solvers (what are THEY?)never, ever be able to get Apia? It's been in the puzzle hundreds of times. @jae and @JC66-recall "Beauty School Dropout" from "Grease" when Frankie Avalon sings "...I've called the shots, get off the pot, I've really gotta fly (ie, skeddadle)..." Besides, there's "omni" staring you in the face.

Red Valerian 7:52 PM  

It took me a stupid amount of time to see MOVE not rhyming with WOVE!

Fun puz.

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