Muzzle-loading firearm / MON 8-25-14 / Lipton alternative / Rice-shaped pasta / Second-rate prizefighter / Big pollinators / All-American Soap Box Derby city

Monday, August 25, 2014

Constructor: Greg Johnson

Relative difficulty: Medium (for me … seems to be leaning harder-than-normal for others)

THEME: first mistake — first part of compound word can also mean "error" (wait, can "bumble" mean "error" (n.)? … yes. Not common, usually a verb, but yes. Maybe they're all verbs, but "bobble" is transitive, unlike the others, so … I dunno.

Theme answers:
  • BLUNDERBUSS (20A: Muzzle-loading firearm)
  • BUMBLEBEES (11D: Big pollinators)
  • STUMBLEBUM (29D: Second-rate prizefighter)
  • BOBBLE-HEADS (51A: Promotional ballpark giveaways)
Word of the Day: TETLEY (25A: Lipton alternative) —
Tetley is a British beverage manufacturer, and the world's second largest manufacturer and distributor of tea. Tetley's manufacturing and distribution business is spread across 40 countries and sells over 60 branded tea bags. It is the largest tea company in the United Kingdom and Canada and the second largest in the United States by volume. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Global Beverages (formerly Tata Tea). (wikipedia)
• • •
Thought for sure I'd end up with a well-above-average time as I stumbled all over this grid, but then I finished and the clock said 2:57. That's normal for a Monday. So … maybe I just did the fast parts Real fast, because there were a number of parts where I got stuck (Monday-stuck, but still). Something about the weird "it" in 4D: Had it in mind made me refuse to pull the trigger on the full MEANT TO (I had MEANT …). Then I couldn't come up with TRAYS based on that clue (24A: Surgical instruments). Had the BLU- in BLUNDERBUSS and still needed many crosses because I thought there was some firearm I'd never heard of that started BLUE-. BLUE- something, I thought. Couldn't come up with the tea company right away, despite having the T-. Couldn't come up with the GAME part of GAME TABLE because … well, come on. That's some generic b.s. right there. What Kind Of Game!? I was lucky enough to see that [Self-confidence] led to APLOMB very quickly (even though I don't think I knew they were synonymous … I think I thought APLOMB and ALACRITY were synonyms …). I also knew Lady Gaga played the PIANO. So I made up some time on the back end, but still felt slow. Checked the times at the NYT site and they are ridiculously high. Like, I beat my normal time cohort by about a minute. On a Monday, that's an eternity.

As for the theme, it feels pretty wobbly to me. Or arbitrary … something doesn't quite gel. I see there is a kind of internal logic (words that mean "error" inside words that have nothing to do with "error"), but there seems to be some desire to unite the answers based on sound, specifically "B"s. They all start with "B"s … except one. They all have "-BLE" as their second syllable … except one. Their third syllables all start with "B" … except one. So the theme doesn't really come together that well. In another, alternative-universe version of this puzzle, there are SLIPCASES and GOOFBALLS and BONERPILLS.

In unrelated news, I saw this today, and found it quite compelling. You keep thinking it's going to retreat into cute, quirky Irish comedy, because it is very funny in places, but then … uh, no.

    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    Z 12:07 AM  

    OK, it wasn't just me. Typical Monday (when I time myself) is 7 minutes. This took me nearly 11. I've no idea why, since I didn't have any typeovers. Just a lot more thought required than is typical for a Monday, I guess. Post-solve I pondered how GAME TABLE and CAMERAMAN might fit the theme. Nada. Hand up for looking at the theme and thinking "arbitrary."

    jae 12:25 AM  

    Medium for me too.  I also was looking for more than error synonyms in the theme.  Probably been doing too many metas lately. 

    Liked the bonus Oops clues.

    Almost DNF at the ABNER/LETT cross.  Remember LETT from previous puzzles other wise would have gone with LaTT.

    Pretty good Mon., liked it.

    Steve J 12:28 AM  

    Played tough for me, too (typical Monday is about 4:30 for me; this took me a hair over 6 to finish). Don't know why, exactly. Cluing seemed a touch less blatantly obvious compared to most Mondays, so maybe that was it.

    Didn't get the theme even after solving. I liked the themers (particularly BLUNDERBUSS), but I didn't pick up on the error connection. Like @Z, I tried to figure out how GAME TABLE (covered in green paint, no doubt) and CAMERAMAN fit. Obviously (in hindsight), they don't. Agreed, wobbly theme. And not because of BOBBLEHEADS.

    Would have loved to have seen Rex's BONER PILLS as a themer. Pity this didn't run as an AVC puzzle.

    George Barany 12:38 AM  

    Very fair analysis by Rex of Greg Johnson's puzzle. I'm no speed solver, but managed to clock in at just under 6 minutes despite not quite glomming onto the theme, and a couple of amusing stumbles along the way. Like 32-Across, with TABLE in place, PING_PONG wouldn't fit, but POOL looked good, and I happen to know that almost every Y has a POOL. Whoa, slow down. Fixed that, and good thing too, since both POLO and BOLO elsewhere in the grid. Briefly considered STUD_MUFFIN for 29-Down. Not sure why two theme answers are singular, and two plural. Perhaps later commentators will enlighten.

    Interesting recent developments in pro basketball inspired my friend and neighbor Steve Bachman to collaborate with me on Hello Loneliness .... We hope you like it, including the "midrash."

    Fugu 1:29 AM  

    Downs only report: Alas, I needed across clues to solve the north. The rest went like a typical downs-only solve. Inferring the unfamiliar term STUMBLEBUM was fun, and made possible by a neighborhood of guessable crosses like AP-O-B. Not a lot of ambiguity there. But in the center north I had BLUNDERBUSS, SLOBS, DREW, and...?????

    ZESTER seemed unlikely to be a thing. I expected ZESTED, and so wanted ATTEND for APPEAR. But TRN-S??? Once I'd surpassed a normal Thusday time threshold I caved, read the across clues, and finished with a limp.

    Fugu 1:32 AM  

    Oh and i definitely spent the whole puzzle wondering how the across theme clues would tie it all together... Bit of a letdown.

    Anoa Bob 1:44 AM  

    Hand up for not seeing the theme. The BB's in BLUNDERBUSS and BUMBLEBEES were enough misdirection to throw me off at first and I never recovered from that. MY BAD.

    Just came in from a session of poker, so DREW (21D) & ALL IN (46D) were timely.

    With _I__O in place at 47 Down, went for DILDO til further crosses ruled that out.

    ZINC or KLUTZ would be a nice ZESTER for any puzz. Liked APLOMB, though I think of it more as being composed or unruffled than self confident. Guess those aren't really all that far apart.

    Moly Shu 2:20 AM  

    Solved while playing poker, hi @AnoaBob. Normal time, got the theme and liked the overall feel. nEstEa before TETLEY, sAMBa before MAMBO and like @Jae, LaTT before LETT. Thank you Mr. Doubleday. Also wanted more N's or L's or something in PANELED. Still doesn't look right. Hmmmmm.

    chefwen 2:47 AM  

    I was also looking for a BB theme and was a little taken aback when BOBBLE HEADS appeared. But, I let it go. Easy Medium for me.

    I will NEVER get 40D on my first try, is it EEO/EOE, changes every time. PApErED before PANELED at
    43D a really dumb mistake, wasn't thinking.

    Good start to the week, thanks Mr. Johnson.

    Lewis 5:54 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Lewis 6:13 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Anonymous 6:18 AM  

    Hey @AnoaBob, how many Oops!es does it take to start suspecting a mistake?

    Admit it's sometimes a good idea to go for the DILDO.

    Lewis 6:22 AM  

    BLUNDERBUSS is an M&A kind of word.

    I think Steve J nailed it when he said the cluing wasn't as blatantly obvious as usual on Monday, and I see this as a good thing. And we had Monday worthy yet not-so-common answers, like ZESTER, APLOMB, ORZO, DAIS, NOMAD, ALLIN.

    And while the theme answers didn't in-a-perfect-univers sync up, they most certainly tightly fit the theme requirement, all being errors; in addition, the error words all have two syllables, accent on the first, and the theme answers all have three syllables (accent on the first). That is plenty good enough. I see it as going beyond the theme requirements rather than something clunky.

    There were many double consonants (10), and I see five words that could have been crossworthy if altered like yesterday's theme required (EAT, LIE, ERIE, DAIS, and INTOW), and perhaps there are more.

    Danp 6:25 AM  

    Nothing says It's Monday like fumbling, stumbling, and falling down on the job.

    There were so many "inept" answers, including the Oops clues, that it's almost a shame Greg Johnson felt the need to add words to the themers. I would rather have had more clues suggesting ineptitude, such as

    SLOBS - slurpers and spillers
    UPEND - knock over (as a table)
    STAB - nice try

    Anyway, I enjoyed the puzzle and BLUNDERBUSS made me chuckle.

    Gill I. P. 6:40 AM  

    This puzzle ruBBed me in all kinds of smiley ways. Like @Steve J though, I had to skedaddle over here to see what theme was lurking about.
    BOBBLE BEADS couldn't be right. MY BAD looking for BB's like the rest but SORRY SLOBS and all the EAT food references made me smile. Sometimes fun words on a Monday are all it takes for me to enjoy an easy puzzle.
    I remember the first time I saw this incredibly handsome, very tan, blond haired lifeguard looking like a ZINC God in Malibu. He was sitting way up in his throne, his nose and lips covered in this white glob, looking like he would throttle a shark with his bare arms if one should dare RAMBLE upon his beach...Do they still wear that stuff?
    Thank you Greg Johnson. Maybe next time you can leave out that horrid PABST?

    Leapfinger 6:51 AM  

    TRAYS jolie little puzzle. All those errors were kinda IN USE face. Enjoyed the BOLO POLO and remembering 'Tetley's tiny little tea leaves', but thought something was GRATER than my ZESTER. Saw STEED, but couldn't find Emma Peel, though I was all ready with my grater/ZESTER. MY BAD.

    @Lewis, there's something ephemeral about you this a.m., I think. If I'm right, the response is not glass-eyed as much as glass-nosed, but I may be rushin' things.

    Did I drop the ball? Oh, well, LETT it be; I wasn't BLT for speed.
    Some DAIS you get the b'ar,
    Some DAIS the b'ar gets you.

    I was just LANE around, so:
    Here's a berry,
    Make it cobble.
    BUM the BEES
    And BUSS the HEADS,
    We blew the berried
    Cuz we've been Feds.

    This round's ONUS. KENYA dig it?

    Anonymous 7:26 AM  

    Loved it! It felt trickier than the typical Monday, but my time was still on the quicker side of my typical 4:30-5:30 Monday range at 4:31. I really liked the long theme answers.

    Glimmerglass 7:41 AM  

    You guys all demand too much of a theme. Yeah, it doesn't have the consistency Rex wants, but they're all long answers beginning with a word for "mistake," and all full of B's. Plus, there are the bonus "Oops." That's plenty for me. Must I quote Emerson again? "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."

    evil doug 7:44 AM  


    I don't appreciate your Pabst smear.

    Good brew, and $10 will buy you a 12-pack....


    RooMonster 7:50 AM  

    Hey All!
    Fairly easy to medium here. Some neat difficult clues *for a Monday* (hi @Rex!) Almost a DNF, had ZiSTEl in, but looked again, and said it couldn't be right, so spent a few more secs and managed to get it all. First read 11D as polluters, had _u_bl__ees, said Huh?, then went back through clues and read pollinators, and laughed. Good ole 40D, always put in the first E then wait for the crosses for either EEO or EOE. I thought the theme was going to be B-B words, but BOBBLEHEADS took care of that.

    Nice clue for 35D. And @Anoa Bob, you,re 47D answer had me LOLLLing!! Awesome...

    ALLIN with this puz, I DREW no blank, and RAMBLED on. I BLUNDER PABST the UHOHs, UPEND the ONUS, and MAMBO through the puz. I'm SORRY, I MEANTTO not have NOMAD at me. ENYA FACE! :-)


    Anonymous 8:02 AM  

    Once again Barany is using this well-travelled blog to promote his site. @Rex, pls delete his entries

    AliasZ 8:11 AM  

    A light and airy Monday. I stumbled on to the theme early and thumbed a ride through this grid without much trouble. Didn't fumble the ball once, neither did I rumble like a freight train, nor make a jumble of things, nor tumbled down a flight of stairs. I just bumbled through it like a mosquito. The griderati didn't grumble much either, and I certainly was not humbled by the experience. And that's the way the cookie crumbles. OK, I mumbled long enough.

    How about some rumballs for breakfast?

    Nah... Let's go instead with the PRESTO movement of "Summer" from The Four Seasonings by Antonio Vivaldi.

    Have a cheerful Monday.

    joho 8:11 AM  

    KLUTZ is such a great reveal!

    I loved finding the ways to be a KLUTZ with BLUNDER, STUMBLE, BUMBLE and BOBBLE (which seems just fine to me, I BOBBLE the ball all the time!) I, too, at first thought the BB sequence would be consistent for all themers, but in the end really appreciated how it wasn't because it raised the difficulty a bit. BOBBLEHEADS is my favorite because it gives me a great visual.

    Love the word APLOMB.

    ZESTER is fun, too.

    Thank you, Greg Johnson, for getting us off to a great start this week!

    Z 8:16 AM  

    @Evil - PBR is now a hipster beer. Who knew? For the style, mass produced pilsners, it's a fine example. There is a reason this style dominated the post-prohibition American market. Just be careful not to go around in skinny jeans while drinking one.

    @Lewis - being a little less straight forward on a Monday is fine by me, too. The theme, OTOH, still strikes me as a little loose. Maybe it is that the bar has been raised unfairly, but the longish non-themers bugged me. And Rex is on point with his "one of these things is not like the others" observation. To my pattern-seeking mind, two pairs is better than one loner out of four.

    Hey, two words for a captcha.

    Mohair Sam 8:18 AM  

    Played very easy here, and we found it a lot of fun - unusual for a Monday. Didn't catch the theme until KLUTZ crossed BOBBLE . . and got us looking around.

    PIANO filled itself with the crosses so I never saw the clue until I read @Anoa Bob's solving adventure. Now I can't stop laughing.

    BLUNDERBUSS one of my favorite words ever, totally non-descriptive of what it is - sounds like a seventeenth century undergarment. Have a cuppa TETLEY green every morning. APLOMB a nifty word to find in a Monday crossword. And we completed this puzzle with it.

    Only complaint - A ZESTER creates zest, not peels. Peelers peel - and never the twain . . .

    chefbea 8:20 AM  

    It was harder than the usual monday puzzle...and I didn't get the theme at all, until I heard Rex's explanation.
    Loved the food items and the shout out to me and the Post Office again

    Anon and On 8:21 AM  

    @Anon 8:02, some of us like getting links to other sites.

    Whoever it was linked us to Erik Asgard's puzzle yesterday, Thanks! It was awesome.

    mac 8:30 AM  

    Good Monday, it felt a little harder than normal.

    I had babbled for rambled for a moment, and bubble head before bobble, all those Bs!

    Very cozy feeling with the paneled den and the game table; all we need is a big screen and tv trays to hold the Swanson frozen dinner.

    Nice puzzle, George!

    jberg 8:33 AM  

    The symmetrical"Oops!" Answers were part of the theme, right?

    Leapfinger 8:38 AM  

    I don't see the point of setting the mosquitoes among the BUMBLEBEES.

    @joho, this one's for you: He stuck in his thumb and pulled out APLOMB.

    And @Gill: I ZINC, therefore I am. Sure liked your Lifeboy image.

    Susan McConnell 8:50 AM  

    Stopping in mid-vacation while I have signal. This seemed normal for me. I popped in BLUNDERBUSS and STUMBLEBUM pretty easily. Rex did a good job of describing why the theme feels off. I stared at it for a long time trying to see if there was more. Why all the BBBs???

    Didn't do a single crossword last week and the World Did Not End!

    I did read Bob Mankoff's book about editing the New Yorker's cartoons and it is pretty funny.

    Casco Kid 9:01 AM  
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    Casco Kid 9:03 AM  

    I was on North Haven island over the weekend, so I have a bit of catching up to do. First, today's was nice and easy. Good to be back in the win column. I was defeated yesterday in the NE (BEDEW? ALTO Clef??)

    The Saturday n-less didn't drop. That didn't prevent me from spending lots of time trying to suss the n-less answers as written. Extremely abusive experience.

    On Friday night I misread the Murray-who-is-raked clue as Murray-who-is-ranked, and put in ANDY. When I reread the clue on Saruday morning, I realized I'd misread it and took out the only correct answer I had mustered.

    As far as I can tell, there was no way of knowing the n's were missing. The revealer could not be revealed from the crosses, naturally. Yet everyone of you detected it. I've never seen a puzzle with such a serious mechanical defect. It puts me en garde for all future puzzles. What letters will be missing tomorrow? Is this going to remain a fun experience?

    Arlene 9:05 AM  

    Since everyone's reporting times - this came in at 7 minutes for me, just about as fast as I can go.
    I never saw PIANO either - was filled in from the crosses, so that spared me time with Lady Gaga - no loss there!

    quilter1 9:06 AM  

    Very fast Monday for me. I hadn't heard STUMBLEBUM in reference to a boxer, just a drunk. Enjoyed it all.

    Lindsay 9:07 AM  

    UHOH. Monday and I couldn't figure out the theme.

    So the centrally located MY BAD is a revealer?

    quilter1 9:13 AM  

    Yes, ZESTERs do exist. I own 3 of them. But @MohairSam is right, they don't peel. Also, true LETTs are getting rare, like the Ainu, kind of a special tribe. Most Latvians are tossed salads like most Americans.

    dk 9:31 AM  

    🌕🌕🌕 (3 MOOONS)

    Chuckled through the whole thing. Many times in Little League I BOBBLED the ball as I awoke from left field revery to find someone got a hit and it was arcing left.

    Random musings

    Utica Club now there was a beer.

    They have BLT parties now, and I am invited to one. I am going to try to replicate the praline bacon from Elizabeth's in NOLA couple it with my backyard tomatoes and some sourdough bread…. I may have a winner.

    The reference to a game room reminded me of Jamie C. Best high school girlfriend relationship I ever screwed up. I only wish….

    RooMonster 9:45 AM  

    Speaking of beer, what used to be Pennsylvania only, Yuengling (it's a family name) is an Awesome one. Then there's Iron City in Pittsburgh.


    Anonymous 9:47 AM  

    Hey @dk, got an escort to that party? My favorite's a BBBLT.

    Send me directions.

    [Let's keep this under wraps.]

    Bob Kerfuffle 9:53 AM  

    Seemed a Fine to Above Average Monday to me.

    Respectfully, I think @Rex made the wrong choice to think of the theme words as nouns. He suggests they could have been verbs (but, horrors!, one is transitive!) and dismisses that possibility. I felt that as verbs, they all hang together perfectly -- unlike the lack of grace they suggest. For me, the theme is very tight.

    Melodious Funk 10:34 AM  

    jberg and quilter sussed it out I think. The revealers or the themers were symmetric down, and across the center: SORRY, KLUTZ, MYBAD. Nice piece of construction.

    Hartley70 10:52 AM  

    Gee, feeling kinda special with a pure Lett bff. Like STUMBLEBUM and BLUNDERBUSS so I give this a thumbs up for Monday. But the theme is too much of a stretch for me so Im considering this a themeless Monday.

    Hartley70 11:23 AM  

    @Chefwen, Laiki is a beautiful name. Can't wait for the avatar!

    Doug Garr 11:42 AM  

    If I didn't put in POOLTABLE instead of GAMETABLE, I might have finished this reasonably quickly. So the whole middle of the grid was hard for me until I figured out the mistake.

    Mohair Sam 12:37 PM  

    @dk - Good old U.C., slaked my thirst thru college. Best ad campaigns ever, btw. I remember touring their brewery decades back and being given a hearty mug of beer at the end. Toured Yuengling this summer and got a lousy 4 oz. cup. Sheeze. (although the Yuengling tour is like going back 100 years in time).

    sanfranman59 12:41 PM  

    @Rex ... FWIW, to antique collectors, GAME TABLE refers to a specific type of furniture and not just a generic table on which games are played. My family has a flip-top table that's been in the family for generations. They also come in drop-leaf, tilt-top and folding versions and often have an inlaid chess/checker board.

    retired_chemist 1:05 PM  
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    retired_chemist 1:06 PM  

    Hand up for POOL TABLE - easily fixed once GYMS and ABA became obvious. Roared through this one but with a mistake that took over a minute to catch. UPset @ 42A was fine until I checked the downs. When I got BUMBLEBEsS I didn't see that the previously inserted s was wrong. Checked acrosses from 1A, then downs from 1D, and had to go all the way to the SE to fix it all. Bah. 37A.

    Overall a nice puzzle with some fun words. No complaints here. Thanks, Mr. Johnson.

    chefbea 1:31 PM  

    Everyone here in Wilmington drinks Yuenling!! Never heard of this brand until I moved here

    Lewis 1:34 PM  

    @Z -- that is a good point, and I feel the same way, two and two or unanimity is easily superior to three and an outlier. The puzzle would have been sweeter had that been honored.

    I see the theme as "sorta wacky words, the first part being a synonym of 'error'", and I believe the theme was met, so while the theme answers could have been sweeter without those outliers, they're still plenty sweet for me. But I respect your point of view on this.

    RooMonster 1:48 PM  

    @chefbea, I'm jealous! Can't get it way out here in Las Vegas! :-(
    Send some my way!


    Anonymous 2:16 PM  

    Instead of memorizing the world capitals, some people need to get out more. We have a table in our living room on which you can play chess, checkers, or backgammon. Everyone calls it a GAME TABLE, including the company that made it. If it was so generic we would just call it a table.

    And no complaints about MAN crossing MAN? MAN is the base word here so it isn't an insigificant little "to" or "on".

    Anonymous, of course. 2:30 PM  

    STUMBLEBUM was kind of an outlier, as the STUMBLE there referenced actual stumbling. Others not so much.

    As we're all sharing favorite intoxicants, I can't recommend Game Over heroin here in NYC too highly. It's a little bit more expensive per gram, but actual heroin content is so much higher it's worth the price. We give tours of the packaging factory and free samples daily from 10-4 on the hour. Meet Noddy Joe at the nort entrance to Washington Square Park for further information.

    Z 2:53 PM  

    @Lewis - I always worry when someone says "I respect your opinion." On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is something I made, 10 is anything Patrick Berry ever made, and most puzzles are 4, 5, or 6, this one is definitely in the 6-7 range. The fill is super clean for a puzzle with this much theme real estate, the central reveal (thanks whoever pointed that out - I'd missed it) is great, and the plethora of B's is to be commended. If the themers had one more connecting feature this would go over into the great puzzle zone for me.

    All this to say that I hope it didn't seem like I was being super critical of this puzzle. This puzzle is roughly on a par for a Monday as yesterday's was for a Sunday.

    @Casco - regarding Saturday - that part of my brain that can now detect rebuses was chirping from 1A but it still took me quite awhile to listen to the alarm. That part of my brain has developed from doing puzzles. I am certain that the puzzle would have bamboozled me in 2010.

    chefbea 3:17 PM  

    @RooMonster wish I could senr you some

    Moly Shu 3:35 PM  

    @Casco, thx for your post today. I did the N-less Saturday, and when I finished, my first thought was " I wonder how the CascoKid did on this one" I assumed not very well, but you have surprised me in the past, so I scoured the blog on sat. and sun. looking for your write up. You seem to solve using a straightforward approach to clues and answers, while I'm always looking for a misdirect. I think we could both use a bit of each other's style to help in solving. I know I could benefit from entering more straightforward answers instead of looking for a trick in every clue. Sometimes blue = sad. Anyway, congrats on the Sunday almost solve, I got hung up in the same area. And thanks for keeping me entertained with your insightful updates.

    @AnonOfCourse, if I wanted more than a free sample of Game Over, would you consider trading for some genuine South Florida Peruvian Flake? I'll hook up with Noddy this weekend. Thx

    Anonymous 4:38 PM  

    My best Monday time ever while hanging upside down from a door jamb and reading my stopwatch in a circus mirror. I do one down, then one across, then two sit-ups before checking my watch. My favorite brew is called Cut the Crapola, which may be an intransitive verb in Ob. Is it allowed to post ads for electroshock therapy on this blog?

    Carola 4:45 PM  

    Checking in late just to say I loved this puzzle, if only for the sound of BLUNDERBUSS, BUMBLEBEE, and STUMBLEBUM. As @Rex mentioned, BOBBLE didn't seem to fit with the rest, exactly, but then that's redeemed by its cross with KLUTZ. I also liked MAMBO x APLOMB, which is something I'll never be able to do.

    Nice to see everybody again after 4 days without Internet - road crew keeps tearing down our line.

    Martin 6:08 PM  

    Actually, when a head bobbles, the verb is intransitive. English doesn't really have reflexive verbs, the special category of intransitive verbs that would be very useful here.

    I agree with the KLUTZes, that "error" isn't really the theme. But for things a klutz might do, blunder, bumble, stumble and bobble seems airtight.

    mathguy 8:00 PM  

    @sanfranman59: No times?

    Leapfinger 8:58 PM  

    Hi, @Evil D!

    How about I meet you half-way? I'll agree that few outright 'enjoy' a Pabst smear, but as for appreciating it, it's still one of the most effective screening tests around.

    Nice one, btw...

    Questinia 9:08 PM  


    Numinous 9:32 PM  

    There was a young thing named Ann Huiser
    Who swore that no man could surprise her
    Until dirty old Pabst
    Found a Schlitz in her pants,
    And now she is sadder Budweiser!

    Anonymous 9:46 PM  

    Simply smashing, ole boy!

    Wikipedia 10:16 PM  

    In case anyone was wondering what @Martin was talking about, here's the definition:

    In grammar, a reflexive verb is a verb whose semantic agent and patient (typically represented syntactically by the subject and the direct object) are the same. For example, the English verb to perjure is reflexive, since one can only perjure oneself. In a wider sense, the phrase refers to any verb form whose grammatical object is a reflexive pronoun, regardless of semantics; such verbs are also referred to as pronominal verbs, especially in grammars of the Romance languages.

    Wait, now I'm wondering WTF Martin was talking about!

    Martin 10:58 PM  


    "Bobble" can be transitive, as in "bobble the ball." But a bobbling head isn't bobbling anything but itself. And that's where you come in.

    Because "bobble" can be transitive or intransitive (look in a dictionary) it's different than the other three. But because it's the intransitive (reflexive) sense that's clued and fits the theme, it's not different as far as this puzzle is concerned.

    The Romance languages make reflexive verbs obvious via grammar. "Je m'appelle Martin" is "My name is Martin." Literally "I call myself Martin," it is not cumbersome in French because "s'appeller" is a different, reflexive, verb meaning "to be called" with different rules of grammar than the transitive "appeller" (to call). In English it's all implied by context, leading us to sometimes miss that a verb has both transitive and intransitive senses.

    Wikipedia 11:06 PM  

    I think what you need to explain in greater detail is not what is or is not a reflexiver verb, nor how it is used and translated to or from Romance Languages. What needs explication is what "English doesn't really have reflexive verbs" means in Martin'sville.

    Jumping on the Bandwagon 11:19 PM  

    reflect. introspect.

    muhammad yasir bawani 11:33 PM  

    Find home based jobs of link building, facebook marketing, add marketing, add clicking and much more jobs.

    Max Schnell 12:13 AM  

    Funny, that verb didn't really look semantic. It isn't so much intransitive as it is intransigent, Leman, right?

    The real Question remains with the Pabst participle, tense though that may be.

    Max Schnell 12:18 AM  

    Great God of the Ghotis, why add marketing when we should be subtracting marketing!??!

    Martin 12:18 AM  


    I thought I did. In French, reflexive verbs and transitive verbs are distinguished grammatically. You form the past tense of reflexive verbs with être (to be) as an auxiliary verb but avoir (to have) for a transitive verb. Reflexive verbs are a grammatical category in French.

    There's nothing like that in English. Reflexive verbs are an implied semantic category in English, but not an explicit grammatical contruct. That's all I meant.

    The takeaway should be that "bobble" in not always transitive. Feel free to ignore the rest.

    Wikipedia 12:55 AM  

    @Martin - See sentence "The English verb to perjure is reflexive". Contrast this with the sentence "English doesn't really have reflexive verbs". Reconcile the two statements.

    Martin's Backup 2:08 AM  

    Wiki, don't be obtuse. Or obdurate.

    The English verb 'to perjure' is made reflexive by the addition of the word 'myself' or 'oneself', since a perjurer does not perjure any party other than him/her self. The stand-alone verb is not reflexive.

    Etiquette Wiki 10:09 AM  

    Heading: Offering Gratituitious Grammar Lessions
    Subsection: When to jump in
    Item 3: When the subject of the lesson is a joke where the grammatical object is fundamentally irrelevent to joke, it's douchy to point out the error.
    Subsection: Acccuracy When offering unsolicited Grammar lessons, it's always preferable to be accurate. It's not a requirement, but definately preferable. If and when caught in an inaccuracy, there's no honorable way out but to simply say Touche

    DMG 1:46 PM  

    Enjoyed this Monday after throwing in the towel on Saturday's offering. Just not my cup of TETLEY's. As for today, only one correction. My original dance was the tAngO, easily corrected. Loved BLUNDERBUSS. Don't think I've ever has the occassion to write it down before. In my mind it is not only a weapon, but also a know-it-all who loves to hear himself talk, and does so loudly, all the time.

    Alas, 642 puts me out of the running.

    spacecraft 1:52 PM  

    I didn't have a bit of trouble with this. Easy-peasy. GAME seemed the obvious prefix for -TABLE, and though I do not know Lady Gaga's instrument (yes, I HAVE been living under a rock, now you ask), but PIANO went in easily on crosses.

    I actually missed the theme till coming here. I thought it was just, very loosely, four long words that had at least two B's in them. Poor B! Why is that letter so intimately involved with ****ing up? I must counter: Brilliant! Beautiful! Booyah! There, B, I hope you feel Better.

    3490; in Baccarat, that would earn a B, as does today's offering. 'Bye!

    Dirigonzo 6:20 PM  

    I'll add to @Spacy's accolades with Bravo! Solving in my usual methodical, by-the-numbers way produced a completed grid on my first run through the clues so I can't say it was hard, but there were, as many have noted, a of fun words in the grid. As a retired T-MAN it was nice to see that shout-out appear in the puzzle. Of course I had to come here to discover the unifying theme, but that's MY BAD, not the puzzle's.

    990 - well I'll be, that's a winner!

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