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Monday, February 3, 2014

Constructor: Sean Dobbin

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: CANDY (33D: Checkout counter staple … or, when read as three words, what 20-, 31-, 47- and 55-Across have in common)— theme answers follow "C and Y" pattern, i.e. they're two-word phrases where first word starts w/ "C" and second word starts with "Y"

Theme answers:
  • 20A: January 1 to December 31 (CALENDAR YEAR)
  • 31A: First pilot to travel faster than the speed of sound (CHUCK YEAGER)
  • 47A: Area around a henhouse (CHICKEN YARD) [probably shouldn't have had "Area" in the clue, given the presence of SKI AREA elsewhere in the grid]
  • 55A: Bright color (CANARY YELLOW)
Word of the Day: Oscar ISAAC (28D: "Inside Llewyn Davis" actor Oscar and others = ISAACS) —
Oscar Isaac (born Óscar Isaac Hernández; March 9, 1980) is a Latin American actor and singer. […] In 2013, Isaac starred in the film Inside Llewyn Davis, written and directed by the Coen Brothers. Isaac played a talented yet unsuccessful folk singer in a drama set in Greenwich Village in 1961, and sang all his own numbers. The film won the Grand Prix at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. (wikipedia)
• • •
Pretty remedial stuff here. Seen this conceit before—it's theoretically replicable with a ton of revealers (PANDA, SANDY, LANDO, etc.), and the resulting theme answers here just aren't that exciting. Also, the grid is built in such a way that short, boring stuff is maximized. Fill is not that great, perhaps the result of the fact that all theme answers are crammed toward the middle: four long answers and the five-letter Down revealer, all bunched into nine rows. Would've been easier to fill if the shorter themers had been placed first and last, and pushed to 3rd and 13th rows, respectively, *but* then CANDY as the central Down would've been impossible. So—trade-offs. Anyway, this certainly isn't terrible, but it's forgettable, and ELIA, SYD, ERS, DINO, EDY, IMO, EKED, MDSE, PIA etc etc is really too much gunk for such a basic Monday theme. "Easy" puzzles should be doable by newcomers, and stuff like ELIA and SYD aren't really "easy." They're crossword-easy (i.e. easy for constant solvers). Short fill can be done cleanly. Just see virtually any Newsday puzzle. We've just grown accustomed to seeing gunk as "normal"—doesn't have to be that way. Again, this puzzle feels very average, in terms of NYT fill quality. But average here is below what average really should be, and can be.

I see the puzzle is trying to decrease its musty feel by having somewhat more contemporary clues. Or clue, anyway, as today we have an "Inside Llewyn Davis" clue on ISAACS. While I'm grateful any time the puzzle feels contemporary, I thought that clue was actually pretty hard for a Monday. I certainly didn't know the guy's name. I'm not by any means calling the clue unfair—I did this puzzle in 2:42, so his name was pretty easy to figure out. But he definitely felt like a 21st-century outlier shoved in there with your ALECs and DIORs and PIAs. "Inside Llewyn Davis" hasn't played where I live and isn't likely to any time soon. Gotta go to Ithaca to see most decent stuff, though I did manage to see "American Hustle" (which I keep wanting to call "Boogie Nights") and "Nebraska" (which we saw just this afternoon, actually). I really hope June Squibb wins for "Nebraska," both because she was Amazing and because her name would be a real boon to crosswords.

A million thanks to my friend Matt Gaffney for filling in for me this past week. I didn't really *need* a break, but he wanted to see what it would be like to blog a week at a shot, and since it was my first week back teaching, I was happy for the respite. But now I'm back for good—probably until July, excluding any sick days or crossword tournament days I might take. Speaking of the ACPT, you can register here. Also, if you are an upstater, the Finger Lakes Crossword Competition is coming up on Saturday, Mar. 1, in Ithaca, NY. Information here. I will be there in a non-competitive capacity before heading to Brooklyn the following weekend for the ACPT.

Oh, and lastly, since I wasn't around to announce it yesterday, I'll mention briefly that my Crossword of the Week last week was Neville Fogarty's "Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!"—think of it as a Super Bowl puzzle for people who don't really care about the Super Bowl. It violates a cardinal rule of crosswords, but … that's kind of the idea. Enjoy it here! Enjoy it here! Enjoy it here!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


The Bard 12:15 AM  

Macbeth , Act IV, scene I

[Thunder. Enter the three Witches]

First Witch: Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.

Second Witch: Thrice and once the hedge-pig whined.

Third Witch: Harpier cries 'Tis time, 'tis time.

First Witch: Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison'd entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights has thirty-one
Swelter'd venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot.

ALL: Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

Second Witch: Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and owlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

ALL: Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Third Witch: Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches' mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digg'd i' the dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Silver'd in the moon's eclipse,
Nose of Turk and Tartar's lips,
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver'd by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger's chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.

ALL: Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Second Witch: Cool it with a baboon's blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

[Enter HECATE to the other three Witches]

HECATE: O well done! I commend your pains;
And every one shall share i' the gains;
And now about the cauldron sing,
Live elves and fairies in a ring,
Enchanting all that you put in.

[Music and a song: 'Black spirits,' &c]

[HECATE retires]

Second Witch: By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.
Open, locks,
Whoever knocks!


Z 12:16 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve J 12:18 AM  

After I finished this, I looked at the revealer and tried to figure out what the theme was (like many Mondays, the puzzle fell quickly and I didn't really notice the them - and definitely didn't utilize it in my solve). I misread the "when read as three words" part as referring to the referenced answers in the clue, not to 33D. I couldn't figure out how to turn any of them into three words that alluded to types of candy. With good reason.

Thought it was but relatively unremarkable. Nothing really stood out for me, either good or bad. Just filled everything in quickly.

Thanks for the Phillip Seymour Hoffman clip. He was one of my favorite actors. Incredibly versatile, and he owned every scene he was in. Such a sad, tragic waste that he died like he did.

Z 12:19 AM  

I wanted Paul of the apostles. Otherwise, 7 minutes (about my top speed) and didn't read 60% of the down clues while ignoring the Super Bowl. I hear it was over two plays in. Watched How Things are Made and old Star Trek:TNG instead. The process for making tea is really complicated.

Alma Cork Martyred 12:22 AM  

I like this type of theme and think it just right for a Monday...
But have to agree the theme entries are a touch on the dull side (CALENDARYEAR/CHICKENYARD),
tho knowing CANDY got me CANARYYELLOW without crosses, and sans theme, that would never have occurred to me.

I can't do better tho...CY YOUNG
(look at me! TWO baseball references!)

To follow CALENDARYEAR by CHUCK YEA(GE)R, I honestly pondered that the theme was going to be adding letters to the word YEAR!

As for ISAACS...can not believe that got a complaint!!!
FIle under damned if you do, damned if you don't!

He has been all over the place, nominated for best actor left and right...and it's fun that his name is OSCAR. That alone should give him a nudge.

Then again, I'm gonna cheer for anything by a couple of Jewish boys from Minneapolis!

ACTS of the Apostle really threw me...funny, odd way to start a Monday puzzle, threw me for a LOOP.

I thought YAKYAK rather bold and PRIORS a plural that sang. MARTYRED was interesting too.

Re: Phillip Seymour Hoffman video...my god, what a sad sad state of affairs. :(

jae 3:07 AM  

What Rex said.   Easy-medium for me.  Very sad about Philip Seymour Hoffman, he was my daughter's age.  Loved his work.

Evan 3:21 AM  

The theme reminds me a little bit of September's CANDY-COATED (i.e. C AND Y COATED) puzzle. I'm not bothered by the similarity in the theme revealer, though I'm surprised the NYT would run the two so relatively close to one another -- five months seems like a short span of time to do both. Then again, I recall they ran two Titanic-themed Sunday puzzles within one month of each other in 2012, near the 100th anniversary of the boat sinking.

I sorta wish there hadn't been the extra Y in CANARY YELLOW, but it's not that big of a deal. @acme's right when she says that solid C* Y* phrases just aren't very common. I like COULD YOU, CALM YOURSELF, and CAMDEN YARDS as possibilities (even though the latter is only a shortened version of Oriole Park at Camden Yards).


Plugging this again in case people missed it -- I've got my own indie crossword website now, called Devil Cross! You can check out my first puzzle here, a 70-word themeless with a little bit of bite to it.

acme 3:31 AM  

COngrats on new indie site!

Fab that you linked to Michael Blake's clever puzzle... yes, both had CANDY involved in the reveal, but MB's was wildly different and inventive, he added a C to the beginning Y to the end

Both CANDY but totally different tastes!!!

AliasZ 8:02 AM  

Quick and easy Monday, but not too much so, the highlight being the Macbeth quote from yesterday right off the bat.

CutesY theme, but what impressed me more was the above-average long fill: SKI AREA, ORCHID, LEAD SHOT, SARASOTA and MARTYRED. I found the plethora of shorties a little MARSHY and I never heard of Oscar ISAACS.

Party invitation:

"A Connecticut Yankee party in my Colorful Yard decorated by Canada Yews. Comeas Youare but bring Candied Yams and a Cute Yapper, like a Chocolate Yorkie. Campfire Yarns will be told.

Confidentially Yours,
Cale Yarborough."

PLATO quote for the day: "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors."


Z 8:13 AM  

@AliasZ - My preferred Plato quote on politicians, loosely translated: "Never trust anyone who wants the job."

Unknown 8:19 AM  

Typical Monday. But I have to agree about ISAACS. I saw the movie and still had a hard time calling up the name. I liked Llewyn Davis but i was the only one of our gang who did.

Still stunned and saddened by the PS Hoffman news. He was always a favorite of mine and I was so thrilled to see him in Death of a Salesman a little over a year ago. What a horrible ending for a wonderful talent.

Unknown 8:27 AM  

Easy Monday for me. No googles. Several transient errors that evaporated quickly. 20 minutes. The theme passed me by.

PLiny for PLATO for about 3 seconds, and CHICKENcoop for CHICKENYARD for five minutes.

TENPM is NUIT not NOIR. That's
something I've learned here.

@AliasZ Copious yuks for invite, but I still don't see why.

joho 8:31 AM  

I like @Steve J at first went looking for CANDY to be hidden in the theme answer. Then the C & Y's jumped out at me and I saw the theme.

With CANARY and CHICKEN I wondered if there are other bird-related answers.

YAKYAK is fun!

@Rex, thank you for the Philip Seymour Hoffman clip: terrible awaking to such sad news. Plus you have Heath Ledger in the same clip, another brilliant actor gone too soon.

Anonymous 8:36 AM  

I still don't get "read as three words." Can someone clarify?

mathguy 8:56 AM  

I'm struggling with Out Of Order, the second Sunday puzzle. Put in quite a bit of time after the game and during Downton Abbey and still only have half of it done. The entries don't have to be words -- they can be phrases, abbreviations, or anything that can be in a crossword.

quilter1 9:19 AM  

I think a beginning solver would like this. If I was new and finished it I would be pleased. As a hoary old vet, however, it was just too easy to enjoy much. Gladly, I have BEQ next.

ludyjynn 9:27 AM  

"Monday, Monday; can't trust that day..." RIP, PSH.

Carola 9:33 AM  

Liked it - I mean, CANDY for breakfast - fun. Thought the theme was nicely done. Remembered Chuck Yeager from The Right Stuff, very entertaining. Like @acme, I got CANARY YELLOW from the reveal. Kind of funny to see CHICKEN YARD after last week's BALLYARD.

Otherwise, I found the grid sprinkled with lots of crossword CANDY - PARADES, ORCHID, YAKYAK, PRIORS, MARSHY, MARTYRED. "WOOL" and "PARKA" are words of the day around here - zero degrees at the moment.

Unknown 9:38 AM  

@clara CANDY read as three words is "C AND Y", hence CHUCKYEAGER, CHICKENYARD (not coop), etc.

Unknown 9:39 AM  

Easy. But never ever heard of Oscar Isaacs. I'm not one for movies or tv though.
Was completely befuddled by the checkout counter clue. 'Hmmmmm. Never heard of C and Y before. Some type of magazine, maybe?' Seconds later, the facepalm!!!
Could care less about PSH passing. What kind of jerk does heroin? And with young kids, no less! Selfish selfish selfish. Call me heartless but that's just how I feel about it.

JC66 9:49 AM  

@Andrew Morrison

That's why it's called an addiction.

mac 10:05 AM  

Nice Monday theme, easy-medium, but especially pretty long words. I like the look of canary yellow in the grid with the double ys.

I saw the film and know Oscar's name. We liked it, especially the very last shot!

So sad, PSH.

chefbea 10:14 AM  

Did not TOIL over this puzzle. Very easy. But I never interchange aroma with odor…What's that aroma coming from the kitchen? =something smells good.
What's that odor coming from the kitchen?=the garbage disposal must be clogged up.

dk 10:16 AM  

Dr. John does a great cover of CANDY IMO.

oo (2 moons) a little saccrine.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:36 AM  

Did this as Puzzle #1 at Westport this past Saturday. Discussion during the break was mostly re CHICKEN YARD, seemed strange. But no discussion today? Must have been convinced by BALLYARD!

Cherry Yogurt?

Since I had already done the NY Times, did the LAT this morning. Made me feel like going back to bed.

mac 10:41 AM  

As happens so often, a day after I learned about Melanie Klein in the puzzle, she showed up in a book by Alexander McCall Smith: 44 Scotland Street.

Notsofast 10:44 AM  

Four phrases "when read as three words describing candy" completely stumped my simple mind.

Melodious Funk 11:21 AM  

Don't miss Mary And Max. A stunning PSH movie. It's animated, Hoffman does the voice of Max. It wasn't mentioned in the NYT obit. A remarkable film.

"May you be in Heaven a full 30 minutes before the devil knows you're dead." Another extraordinary film, only to be watched once! Presaged his passing.

I believe the quote is of Irish origin, maybe the wonderful word "full" signifies that.

Anonymous 11:24 AM  

"what kind of jerk does heroin?"

answer: a heroin addict.

I've known many in my other (non-crossword) job, and I can assure you
that they're not all "jerks".

-Martin Ashwood-Smith

AliasZ 11:29 AM  

@cascokid, cute! I see your why and raise you a cool Yoplait.

@Z, I think it was Thomas Jefferson who said: "Whenever a man has cast a longing eye on offices, a rottenness begins in his conduct."

PLATO said: "Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something." But he also said: "He was a wise man who invented beer."

A Nonni Nonny 11:42 AM  

Tee hee.
Rex PARKA was in the puzzle!

Milford 12:56 PM  

Nice easy Monday. I also thought of the other C AND Y puzzle but didn't think it had been so recent. Didn't bother me, though.

Hoffman was so amazing, even in his smaller roles in Boogie Nights, The Talented, Mr. Ripley, Red Dragon. He was also in a movie I've only watched in part, Synechdoche, NY, which was in a Rexville discussion maybe a year (or two?) ago. It was spooky to see Heath Ledger in the same awards group. Sigh. Incredibly sad.

Loren Muse Smith 1:00 PM  

Wow. Serendipity. One of the entries today is the password for my mother -in -law’s laptop I’ll be using this month.

Perfectly serviceable Monday – I finished very quickly and of course liked the Let Us Reparse reveal. I just love this kind of manipulation. And, yes, like Rex says, there are other possibilities, but not as many as you would think. That Y, agreed, makes things tougher. So I chose (A SUNBURNED) PANDA to copy the idea: PRO AM, PALE ALE, POISON APPLE, PEANUT ALLERGY, PENNY ARCADE, PUT AWAY, PANDA

Agree with Andrea that the plural on PRIORS “sang.”

I was on my morning call with Dad reviewing the puzzle. He said, “Well, as usual, there was that one that got me – ISAACS. But I was pleased with myself to get “no ear.” I said, “No ear?” I don’t remember that one.” Wondering, did it have a seal clue? Van Gogh? Mom was laughing in the background, foreign language snob that she is. Dad was saying NOIR. He, but he got it! (And I have his permission to poke fun at him here about this.)

CHICKEN YARD? Since when? I always call it a “chicken park” or “chicken field.” ;-)

Sean – thanks for the start to the week! Rex, Bob, et al – uh, catch youse in Brooklyn!

Anonymous 1:07 PM  

C and Y aren't words -- they're letters.

Masked and Anonymo3Us 1:12 PM  

Yo, 4-Oh.
Welcome back, sunshine.

Let's be fair, here. If you sit yer coffee cup on the middle of the grid's left side, I see nothin at all wrong with this MonPuz's fill. Let's be generous: into most fills a little rain must fall. I know this, cuz most of my own grid creations come out all wet.

Sometimes a funky puz area can just give it a little character. A little spice in the candy. A little candy in the chicken yard. Gives folks at blogs somethin to hoot and highstep about. I can dig it. Nolo contendre.

"Inside Llewyn Davis" is a pretty good flick, btw. But what was with that endin? Put a coffee cup over that part, maybe? p.s. Schlock movie tip: stay the tarnation away from "Inbred". Gross. Does have a nice walk into the sunset endin, tho.

fave moocow Monday clue:
Had to dig a little! There are plenty of gimmes, dependin on your expertise area. But a moocow winner needs a certain purity, a certain transparency, across all genre and knowledge base boundry borders. Hey. How'bout that Super Bowl?! Man, the tension was palpable, for the first ten minutes. But I digress...
What were we talkin about?... Oh, yeah... moocow...
"Slip of paper in a poker pot" works, for me. Without even seein how long the answer's gonna be. What else could it be besides IOU? Deed to the chicken yard?

fave weeject: that little guy under that there coffee cup, of course.


Anoa Bob 1:41 PM  

Peewit sighting alert:

From Voyage Of The Beagle (C. Darwin), Chpt 5, Bahia Blanca to Buenos Aires:

"The teru-tero is another bird which often disturbs the stillness of the night. In appearance and habits it resembles in many respects our peewit.... As our peewit takes its name from the sound of its voice, so does the teru-tero."

M and Also 1:52 PM  

OK, so maybe "slip of paper in a poker pot" could have a few other answers, if any length answer is allowed...
* DEED TO (insert fave farm area here).
* WINNER CERTIFICATE ( see "Nebraska", for details)
* KIDDIE POOL THEMELESS #4. (Comin real soon. Have yer coffee cups ready, r.alph)

@Dobbin dude: thanx for the fun puz. Keep yer U count up.


Last Silver Pewit Slip 2:05 PM  

List addendum:

@AnoaBob: Day-um. U had to go and give us the bird...

Speakin of which: try this.

Contains stuff inspired by the "Walter Mitty" flick.

GILL I. 2:06 PM  

For the first ever I decided to time myself because I felt like it. Got out my egg timer and flew off. It took me 6 and 3/4 minutes...and it was like have sex with a drunk. Boring, boring boring - (the timing part).
The puzzle though, I liked it. I went back and leisurely looked at the CANDY and thought how cute...
What will happen when we find a Monday puzzle that hasn't "ALREADY BEEN DONE!!!"

Two Ponies 2:46 PM  

Fine Monday puzzle in my book.
No RRNs or popes or crappy abbrev.s
Isn't another name for a chicken a yard bird? If so then chicken yard is OK by me.

Bob Kerfuffle 3:00 PM  

@M&A - LOL!

Love those little puzzles, even if this one took me 14:32 and a few Reveal Words!

Sorry, only hoops game I could think of was Quoits, and I just couldn't nail down anything for 1 D.

But lots of fun!

Outlaw M and A 3:48 PM  

@Bob K . . . thanx. Actually, the Walter Mitty one is the next one. Wrong again, M&A breath.

sanfranman59 4:10 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak to my method):

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

Mon 6:05, 6:22, 0.95, 28%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:12, 4:00, 1.05, 72%, Medium-Challenging

Mike 4:14 PM  

A belated thanks to Matt Gaffney for a fine week of coverage. The best part of crossword blogging is learning about the many talented people who make and/or solve crosswords.

Size 5:21 PM  

Honestly thought the theme would be CYA for a while.

Anonymous 7:40 PM  

Yes, a wonderful talent, Hoffman. Not so wonderful that he shot heroin to prepare for visitation with his kingergarten-to-grade-school-aged kids.
But I enjoyed his movies, so just overlook that.

Z 8:22 PM  

De mortuis nihil nisi bonum.

Because you look like a compassionless jackass otherwise.

retired_chemist 8:46 PM  

Easy. I filled in 80% of the puzzle as acrosses before touching the downs. Was headed toward my first 3:30, but some of the acrosses were wrong and it took time to ferret them out. lanai => PORCH; gird => LOOP; sEven (the early Eastern time news) => TEN PM (why Central time in the NYT? In NY it's the 11:00 news, no?). By the time i found and fixed all this it was nearly 5 minutes. Still a time corresponding to an easy Monday for me.

Actually sussed out the theme from CALENDAR YEAR and CHUCK YEAGER, so 47A, 55A, and the reveal fell quickly.

Thanks, Mr. Dobbin.

Anonymous 9:00 PM  

Too bad to live somewhere where you can't see "Inside Llewyn Davis."

sanfranman59 10:04 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. 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 6:04, 6:22, 0.95, 27%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:01, 4:00, 1.00, 47%, Medium

Two weeks in a row with a new Monday low for the number of solvers: 371 this week vs 384 last week vs the previous low of 415 on 5/20/2013). This means that the All Solvers rating is most likely biased toward the Easy end of the spectrum. The Top 100 Solvers are making up a larger and larger portion of the All Solvers group.

JenCT 10:58 PM  

@chefbea: I agree; aroma and odor have different uses

Yes, we actually call our chickens' fenced-in area the CHICKEN YARD

@Gill I.P. : "...like having sex with a drunk." LOL

All of the papers I graded at Westport this past weekend got Puzzle #1 correct.

PK 12:01 AM  

Cute and easy and just right for Monday.

Re PSH: Why do you think we (as a society, as a culture) have such a bad attitude towards things like mental illness, addiction, alcoholism??? We seem to love judging more than helping.

Psst: @mathguy - best not to mention Downton Abbey in this crowd, even in passing. Trust me.

Anonymous 5:06 AM  

Really? I would hardly consider SYD crosswordese. He was a founding member of the most successful rock groups of all time. Hardly obscure trivia.

More obscure would be PIA clue. Being a huge fan of MST3K, that film is a regular Christmas classic. They make a lot of fun of the Golden Globe that she was bought.

spacecraft 9:54 AM  

...And still we have not listed probably the most famous piece of paper in a poker pot ever: a steerage class ticket on the maiden voyage of the Titanic! Sorry about that, Jack.

I agree that cluage for ISAACS is definitely NON-Monday, especially as it crosses SYD, whom non-Floyd fans (are there any?) might not know.

Is a CHICKENYARD a thing? Far as I ever knew, you called it a barnyard. And that crosses "SKIAREA." That's equally bothering. You just don't hear these terms. The flag came close to flying on that duo.

Finally, though, I have found a [letter]AND[letter] formation I can live with--because the whole thing is a word: CANDY. No flag. There's no such thing as a RANDR, or an AANDE, so: flag. This one? No. Play on. BTW, hand up for missing Cy Young.

The fill, though not horrible, does contain a pair of awkward entries in symmetry: NLCS and MDSE. And our old friend (?) EKED has awakened from hibernation, not that we needed to see that again.

Back to the start, and @M&A's "moocow" clue--of which he later thought better. There's an even "mooier" clue than that--and it's a themer! What else could January 1 to December 31 be but a CALENDARYEAR? And how else could you possibly clue it? This is an example of a locked-in forced gimme, and for a 12-letter theme answer that's quite a bit of gimme. Because of this single entry, no matter how tough you try to make the rest of the puzzle, it will never get out of Moo-o-onday!

My long captcha is only six digits, three of them 8's. If you let me use the single short side digit, I have quads!

DMG 3:17 PM  

Always love it when something inspires @The Bard to bring us aa little Shakespeare. That and a puzzle with Plato and Elia! How erudite can a puzzle get?

Solved this one without much pause. Always want anything early space age to be John Glenn, but already had too many crosses to make that error, so, finished without a write over after waiting too see if the swamp thing was an egret or a GATOR.

@Ginger: Don't get the Tennis Channel, so have to settle for drabs of info in the paper, and what they put on-line until ESPN starts airing things later in the week. Thus, the only part of Federer doubles match I saw was the last shot!

Took one look at my hand and tossed it in!

Dirigonzo 3:46 PM  

ALEC presiding over GOP - coincidence, I wonder?

Sixes full of fours.

Ginger 7:12 PM  

Got the theme early on with CALENDAR YEAR and CHUCK YEAGER. Read his book and found it interesting, if a little heavy with machismo.

I expected more sweet stuff in a candy puzzle. How about UNO? which I've only known as a candy bar. Or snickers??

To real timers, yesterday would have been the Super Bowl, yet only a couple of brief comments on our Seahawks.

@DMG, so sorry you're missing some good tennis. You're also missing some bad tennis too. They're advertising about a (free I think) Tennis Channel app for a smart phone. Might be worth checking up on.

Two pair, not my hand

sdcheezhd 12:08 AM  

The playoffs don't really count as part of the pennant "race" so the NLCS clue doesn't work.

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