Othello evildoer / MON 2-9-15 / Tree that yields chocolate substitute / Typical prom concluder / German composer of Tristan und Isolde / Retired Brazilian soccer sensation

Monday, February 9, 2015

Constructor: Lynn Lempel

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (should've been a Tuesday)

THEME: Who Killed Waldo and Then Hid His Dismembered Body in Some Theme Answers? — rearranged letters in WALDO can be round in consecutive circled squares inside four theme answers, as indicated by the clue to the revealer, "WHERE'S WALDO?" (58A: Popular children's book series … whose protagonist is "hiding" in the circled letters)

Theme answers:
  • SUPER BOWL AD (17A: Expensive annual commercial)
  • COLD WATER (25A: What may be poured on a bad idea)
  • MEADOWLANDS (36A: New Jersey home to two New York teams)
  • SLOW DANCE (49A: Typical prom concluder)
Word of the Day: SEDONA (31D: Arizona city known for its red sandstone) —
Sedona /sɨˈdnə/ is a city that straddles the county line between Coconinoand Yavapai counties in the northern Verde Valley region of the State of Arizona. As of the 2010 census, its population was 10,031.
Sedona's main attraction is its array of red sandstone formations. The formations appear to glow in brilliant orange and red when illuminated by the rising or setting sun. The red rocks form a popular backdrop for many activities, ranging from spiritual pursuits to the hundreds of hiking and mountain biking trails.
Sedona was named after Sedona Arabella Miller Schnebly (1877–1950), the wife of Theodore Carlton Schnebly, the city's first postmaster, who was celebrated for her hospitality and industriousness. (wikipedia)
• • •

Well the grid is good—lots of interesting, lively fill—but the theme is botched completely, so I can't give this one a pass. Two problems make this theme D.O.A. First, Waldo isn't "hiding" in the "circled letters" (as the clue states). If anything, he's "hiding" inside the answers proper, and the circles are giving away his damned location. Seriously, worst hiding ever, Waldo. So, phrasing-wise, the clue is just wrong. Second, he's not hiding so much as he is dismembered. The axe murderer has "hidden" Waldo's body inside four different theme answers. If I accept this puzzle's premise, then the word "hiding" just loses all meaning. So, to recap—he's "hiding" in the answers, not the circled letters, and *he's* not hiding—his mangled body is.

Once again the puzzle is mismatched with its day of the week. Apparently last week was not an aberration. No idea what is going on at test-solving central, but there appear to be some quality control issues. The puzzle was certainly easy, in absolute terms, but the theme answers mostly took some piecing together (the theme type felt more T than M) and relatively open corners meant that slightly more exertion went into this than typically goes into a Monday (in time terms, this means about I was a good 30 seconds off my average—an eternity where easy puzzles are concerned). I liked the double-"Tootsie" clues (Dorothy's FALSIES and WIG) and FRUMPY and COVETOUS and DREAMY certainly pep things up adjectivally. I might've been slightly faster if a. I'd known CAROB was a tree (50D: Tree that yields a chocolate substitute), and b. I'd read that clue completely (eye just picked up "chocolate" and "tree" and thus went with COCOA and then CACAO (?)). Overall, the puzzle was funnish, but the theme's just broken.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    jae 12:06 AM  

    Tough Mon. for me too.  Rex is right, more like a medium Tues.  I had more erasures than I did on Sat.   pep before VIM, DEvilS before DEMONS and CAcao before CAROB because I failed to read the whole clue which happens when I'm timing myself.   Apparently, it also happens to Rex.

    What a fun Mon. with FRUMPY Mrs. Doubtfire in FALSIES and a WIG chewing on a TWIX.  The theme was fine by me....liked it!

    Steve J 12:14 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Steve J 12:15 AM  

    Most enjoyable Monday in several weeks for me. Lots of good fill - FRUMPY, PYRAMID, FALSIES, COVETOUS - and pretty free of the same-old same-old.

    I liked the theme. Agreed that the circles give away the plot too easily, even on a Monday. But, aside from that, it works. Waldo's hidden in that he's not just WALDO over and over again. His being "dismembered" is both macabre (amusingly so) and way too literal a reading of things (not so amusing). Maybe the clue could have been phrased a little better - and, again, it would have been better without circles - but it retains its internal logic. And it's clever and not yet another early-week rehash.

    (As far as level of difficulty, it was easy-medium here.)

    Unknown 12:18 AM  

    Clean solve in under 9, which I think is a personal record time. As fun theme as the theme was, the fill was better. Lots and lots of nice entries. They tell a story, even:
    A romantic progression by night: COVETOUS,VIM, DREAMY SLOWDANCE, LOVE, UPSURGE, EXERTS, PYRAMID, IDIDIT, LIVEIN, BRIDAL, PEALED, MER, LOLL, ISLE, capped off two great Romantics WAGNER & MAHLER (Gee, too bad that early Romantic Mendelsohn didn't make it!)
    A practical regression by the broad light of day: SYNAPSE, COLDWATER, MONOTONE, FRUMPY, WIG, FALSIES, (OF)LATE, DEMONS, REMORSE, OWE, HATE, EMT, CPR, ELBA, END.
    Huh. That's more satisfying than the theme, even.
    Question for constructors: do you count points against the non-symmetrical placement of the WALDO permutations? DOWLA dead center suggests the others should pivot around it, but with two above and one below, it seemed a bit haphazard. Wait. The final revealer/unpermuted WALDO may count, but it was not circled. Could/should have been? So . . . 5 themers? I suppose it would have been necessary if the other WALDOs had maintained some symmetry. Also, the strings began with each of the letters, except for A. Two O-starters (SUPERBOWLAD and COLDWATER) picked up the slack.
    SHADOWLESS would have given Lynn a fifth cross-friendly WALDO permutation starting with the missing A. At 9 letters in length, it would have swapped in fine for COLDWATER.
    Anyhoo. I liked the dueling fates more than that WALDO thing, anyway.

    Ritabel 12:30 AM  

    I've been reading this blog for a bit but am new to posting. I want to say that I thought this was a delightful, clever, and easy puzzle. My usual Monday time is about 20 minutes and I did this in 15. No sports. No pop culture. No obscure geography. The Waldo theme was a treat. What's not to like?

    Anonymous 12:44 AM  

    Fastest time ever for Monday (6:49) so for me, a definite Monday level. I enjoyed the theme (as I enjoy Where's Waldo) and the fill was generally quite strong.

    Clark 1:50 AM  

    This felt like a solid Monday to me. The trick with the theme was not to try very hard to sort out the jumbled letters. Who wants to spoil the reveal on a Monday? (ACME taught me to think of the reveal like the last pages of a detective novel.)

    chefwen 1:58 AM  

    Loved it. Easy to suss out and just downright fun for a Monday.

    Lynn Lempel is one of our two Monday mavens. ACME is our other and we all miss her imput.

    Ellen S 2:56 AM  

    What everybody here said. Fun puzzle theme was fine, no EELS.

    Anonymous 3:08 AM  

    "Hiding in the circled letters" is idiomatic, Rex, the circled letters being referenced as a group.

    You teach English? In what language?

    John Child 4:09 AM  

    I liked this and I adored @Casco Kid's comment. I nominate him for "second Monday of the month" guest host. Fearless Leader was off about the "dismembered" thing and the reveal clue: The circles are a Jumble for heaven's sake.

    The constructor notes at http://wordplay.blogs.nytimes.com or xwordinfo.com say that Will contemplated this without the circles too.

    Lewis 5:42 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Lewis 5:49 AM  

    I quite liked UPSURGE next to FALSIES.

    I greatly enjoyed Mr. Kid's review; Rex's not as much. I laughed when Rex described the theme as "Who Killed Waldo and Then Hid His Dismembered Body in Some Theme Answers?", crediting his acerbic wit. But then when I saw it was a complaint to be delineated in the review, I thought, "Oh stop it Rex. You are being far too literal."

    This had a clean grid with a cute and clever theme -- this theme hasn't been done before? Since the beginning of the year, Will has upped the difficulty of Mondays just enough to make them not an insult to the intelligence. So many Mondays had too many "Opposite of WNW" type clues. This, not so much, yet still Monday easy, IMO.

    And... only three double letters! This is the first time in quite some time that a puzzle has come along with either more than 12 double letters or less than 5, which I've just happened to take the unexplainable responsibility to monitor. I'm still waiting for that puzzle with absolutely no double letters.

    When I finished, I was thinking that Lynn's puzzles usually have more zip in the answers, but several posts have already convinced me otherwise. This is a well constructed, high quality Monday puzzle.

    Danp 6:02 AM  

    Waldo is slow-dancing with Jimmy Hoffa under cold water (snow?) at the Meadowlands. I know because the dog in the Budweiser ad told me. And yes! he was dismembered. Suspects include Axl Rose, Iago and the Mockingbird lady, but 47D is the meta answer.

    Lewis 6:03 AM  

    Factoid: OLEG Cassini was once a ranked Italian junior David Cup tennis player; he also was a professional harness racing jockey, winning races at well known venues, including the MEADOWLANDS Raceway.

    Quotoid: "Never trust the artist. Trust the TALE. The proper function of the critic is to save the tale from the artist who created it." -- D. H. Lawrence

    Lewis 6:40 AM  

    Just to clarify -- what other posts have convinced me of is that this puzzle has plenty of zip!

    Glimmerglass 7:01 AM  

    Easy and fun. Appropriately Monday. I wrote in the "revealer" without reading the clue. I can't explain Rex's 30 seconds. Downton Abbey?

    Aketi 7:12 AM  

    Since I tupe one handed on an iPad while sipping my coffee slowly in bed, it takes me a while even when I instafill. In fact, I tried the test with a puzzle I had already completed. Refilling it took 20 min. This took me well under 20 minutes to fill. A zillion times more enjoyable than the crossword puzzles in the free am papers stacked up at the subway station. With a pen and even clinging to the subway pole, I could have finished this in less than three stops.

    Whenever Rex thinks a puzzle is too hard for those of us who are cheating amateurs I inevitably find it to be easy.

    I'm going to be chuckling to myself all mornin about Rex's demented vision of dismembered Waldios. I now have visions of where's Waldo pictures being turned into jigsaw puzzles, which would add that extra layer ogf difficulty of finding Waldo.

    John V 7:18 AM  

    This was puzzle number one at Westport on Saturday. I came in under six which is wildly fast for me. The theme never entered the picture. For me this was one of those that simply filled itself in. I always have good luck with Lynn Lempel's puzzles. First class stuff.

    Aketi 7:20 AM  

    Of course, typing one handed led to a TYPO in TYPE, changing it to TuPE and added an i into one of my WALDOS and a g into OF, perfectly illustrating why I will never finish in under 10 minutes.

    John V 7:38 AM  

    This was puzzle number one at Westport on Saturday. I came in under six which is wildly fast for me. The theme never entered the picture. For me this was one of those that simply filled itself in. I always have good luck with Lynn Lempel's puzzles. First class stuff.

    Dorothy Biggs 7:38 AM  

    I kinda like that the easy to difficult line is becoming more blurry from Monday to the end of the week. And while I like a good race as much as anyone, the fact that they are becoming less routine for a Monday is part of the fun. This puzzle took a bit longer than a typical Monday,but I'm OK with that.

    I actually liked this puzzle...it had, for me, just the right balance of gimmes and misdirection...nothing too obscure and only a couple of tired xwordese answers.

    And not that I lose sleep over whether a newbie NYT solver might be turned off by a more challenging Monday, but I don't think this puzzle was that off putting as to turn away a newbie from ever doing another.

    FWIW, I liked it.

    Rhino 7:42 AM  

    Not much too add (but if that stopped someone from commenting we wouldn't have an Internet); I thought it was easier than Rex did which always makes me happy.

    And I think the circles messed with the theme. I agree with rex: if you circle Waldo, he's not hidden anymore.

    Dorothy Biggs 7:45 AM  

    @aketi: I've just started solving on my iPad. In my experience so far I would you won't break any speed records solving that way. Ergonomically, the iPad is clunky and just not suited to filling in anything quickly. If fast times are your thing, stick to pencil and paper or even the good old computer and keyboard...

    RooMonster 8:01 AM  

    Hey All !
    Enjoyable Wpuz, I thinkA just rightL for a Dgood MonPuzO! (Did ya find him?)

    I have to disagree with Mr. Rex in the fact it being a TuesPuz rather than Mon. The only holdup I had was pep for VIM, made the NE a slight tougher than it should have been. (Actually wanted to put zIp in there, but didn't). Had DeAl for DRAW, also, and first had COVETOrS until rSE for ___ your head! made no sense!

    49A clue, misread as "poem", so when it had to be SLOWDANCE, scratched the head and wah? Reread clue. Ah, now I see. Same with 48D, misread as FLends. I said, what the heck is a flend? Good stuff.

    Cool puz, amazingly wide open corners, with only the N & S centers constricted. Good clues, nice Puz Lynn! Didn't OBSESS or EXERTS myself! No REMORSE, as I PEALED about the DREAMY LOVE. ADLOW.

    SYNAPSEs firing

    JP 8:06 AM  

    At 13 and change this was for me an average time for a Monday. I agree that if you circle the letters WALDO is no longer "hidden". Perhaps jumbled. But that's nitpicking.
    What I found delightful about this puzzle is the almost complete absence of pop culture answers. What is not to like about this puzzle?

    AliasZ 8:22 AM  

    Lovely puzzle by Lynn Lempel, just right for Monday, in my view.

    Plenty of DREAMY entries: FRUMPY FALSIES, COVETOUS DEMONS, a PYRAMID of PRIMERS for ORATORS with an UPSURGE of REMORSE across the SYNAPSE. I will not OBSESS by over-analyzing the theme once again. What is the best way to hide WALDO? Dismember him and place his remains under one end zone (or both) of Giants Stadium in the MEADOWLANDS.

    Very cultured as well: Debussy's La MER, "Tristan und Isolde" und MAHLER der Komponist, IAGO, Harper LEE, and "For Whom The Bell PEALED" (although this last one sounds off...).

    But what caught my eyes immediately was John DOWLAND (1563–1626), the English Renaissance composer, lutenist, and singer, who shares a hiding place with WALDO in the MEADOWLANDS.

    DOWLAND is best known today for his melancholy songs such as "Come, heavy sleep", "Come again", "Flow my tears", "I saw my Lady weepe" and "In darkness let me dwell", but his instrumental music has undergone a major revival, and with the 20th century's Early Music revival has been a continuing source of repertoire for lutenists and classical guitarists. DOWLANDS's melancholic lyrics and music have often been described as his attempts to develop an "artistic persona" though he was actually a cheerful person, but many of his own personal complaints, and the tone of bitterness in many of his comments, suggest that much of his music and his melancholy truly did come from his own personality and frustration. (Wikipedia). But let's celebrate his life and work with his cheerful side with this lovely galliard called "The Earl of Essex, His Galliard". OK, I'll throw in a Fancy as a bonus.

    Have an equally cheerful Monday.

    Mohair Sam 8:29 AM  

    Played easy, maybe easy/medium for us. Enjoyed it a lot - and very surprised @Rex thought it was a Tuesday level.

    Maybe Rex's problem with the puzzles being presented on the wrong day lies with the solver and not the NYT editor.

    Fun Monday solve Lynn Lempel, thank you.

    pmdm 8:40 AM  

    Lynn Lempel is on record that her wording of the revealer used the word "camouflage" and not "hiding." Perhaps those of you who take issue with Mr.Shortz's clue would give the original clue a pass?

    Gene Sady 8:41 AM  

    I am surprised no one mentioned that CPR is generally not performed in an ER. Usually defibrillation is used. That was misleading but didn't slow me down too much.

    joho 8:44 AM  

    @Rex, what a gruesome take on such a lovely Monday romp!

    Great theme answers hidden in an excellently filled -- as usual -- grid. Fresh cluing, too. I especially liked "What may be poured on a bad idea" for COLDWATER.

    I also loved remembering Tootsie and her FALSIES ... she dressed meticulously and was anything but FRUMPY. This just added to the fun.

    Pitch perfect Monday puzzle from the fabulous Lynn Lempel!

    Gene Sady 8:48 AM  

    I am surprised no one mentioned that CPR is generally not performed in an ER. Usually defibrillation is used. That was misleading but didn't slow me down too much.

    Ludyjynn 8:50 AM  

    The NE quad, alone, was worth the price of admission: COVETOUS, PRIMERS, REMORSE, all lovely words, esp. on a Monday.

    Sometimes, OFLATE, Rex's quibbling can be more tiresome than amusing; in this case I did not LOVE the WALDO rant. I tend to solve as a themeless til I come across the reveal, so the circles did not faze me here.

    Favorite word was SEDONA, bringing back beautiful memories of my trip there and to neighboring Oak Creek Canyon. If you go, take one of the Pink Jeep tours which take you deep into the red rock canyons.

    Harper LEE was coincidentally front page news in today's NYT. Good timing, WS.

    @DanP, since you brought it up, my Jimmy Hoffa joke follows: Q--what did they find when they autopsied Jeffrey Dahmer? A--Jimmy Hoffa! (Hey, as a former Teamster, I'm entitled).

    I thoroughly enjoyed this thoughtfully constructed puzzle. Thanks, LL and WS.

    Unknown 8:58 AM  

    Interesting take on this puzzle from RP. I thought it was EZ. Like, solved it 25% faster than my average Monday EZ. Didn't notice the theme, and maybe that was to my benefit. I didn't have to overthink the long answers. Heck I didn't even notice the circled letters! I would have been disappointed to see this on a Tuesday. But that's me....

    Tita 9:02 AM  

    Solving in uncharacteristic (for me) speed-mode in Westport, I thought this was not the easiest Monday - I needed to check plenty of answers with crosses.
    But even that didn't always help - CPR/COVETOUS?
    Not a complaint at all - I thought the puzzle was an ideal Monday treat. Come on - who can resist smiling at WHERESWALDO?

    Spent a week on ELBA a decade back - full of natural beauty and history.

    Thanks Ms. Lempel!

    Leapfinger 9:11 AM  

    Sounds off (one, two)
    Sounds off (three, four)!!

    Maybe we should all just circle the wagons??

    Thought that this was a damn delight, inimitably Lempellian.

    Back tonight, to see if the BRIDAL party did indeed gather in the SYNAPSE.

    chefbea 9:18 AM  

    I disagree with @Rex...fun easy puzzle!! Have been to Sedona , which is beautiful so that was easy

    Unknown 9:20 AM  

    I thought this was cute, but that, given the revealer, the circles were unnecessary.

    dk 9:31 AM  

    🌕🌕🌕 (3 mOOOns)

    @ritabel, ah tne beginers mind. Agrre with your post and add praise for the appearence of the elusive Ms. LEE in the grid.

    Perhaps there is a puzzle vortex near Sedona.

    Gracie H 9:34 AM  

    I generally agree with Rex, but not today. Cute, crisp puzzle, perfect for Monday. Fine theme and solid fill, especially 7s. Like @Ritabel, I enjoyed a break from pop culture and sports. (I'm a bit new to posting myself - welcome!)
    Thanks Lynn for an enjoyable respite from another snowy morning in New England!

    Z 9:50 AM  

    @Aketi - "I tupe one-handed..." = TMI.

    I didn't time today, but it seemed fairly Mondayish to me. Had a good chuckle at Rex's theme (@Lewis - I'm never certain when OFL has removed tongue from cheek). Where's Waldo (and the similar I SPY books) did not make the "children's book we can't part with" collection, but we had a fair number of them as the boys grew up.

    @Casco Kid - I think GLOB fits between I DID IT and LIVE IN.

    A fine Monday. I'd have skipped the circles, too.

    Malsdemare 10:23 AM  

    I almost always forget to see if there's a theme, even when there's a reveal, so Rex really surprised me with his take. Personally, I think his revised theme is excellent, but I'm never as literal as he is.

    In answer to the question if the Grey Lady allows cuss words: I can't speak to swearing, but I can attest that certain words that refer to a rather sensitive area of the male anatomy -- words I suggested should be allowed if we're to accept NYMPHO -- mentioning those words got my comment deleted yesterday. So just days after the debate about the word "slut" in the NYT, we have NYMPHO in the xword, but my suggestion that we need to give equal time to, perhaps, a LIMP**** is Verbotten. Sigh!

    No SLUTS, SPAZZES, OR NYMPHOS here today. Just poor mutilated WALDO. Thanks, Lynn!

    mac 10:24 AM  

    This one took me a little more time than a Monday usually does, and this was on Saturday, in a tournament. CPR in the NE was one area that slowed me down, also "monotony" in the SW.

    All in all a very good Monday. Patrick Merrell mentioned in Westport that Lynn Lempel doesn't like pop culture clues, so I was surprised to meet Axl. Pant and Pantene?

    Another snow day in CT - apparently the roads are solid ice.

    JFC 10:30 AM  

    Who cares about the puzzle when this is Rex's funniest comment ever....


    Mr. Benson 10:37 AM  

    I thought this was great. Didn't think it was too challenging for a Monday; about average difficulty.

    It's rather exasperating to see Rex constantly harp on Will Shortz's apparent emphasis on theme over fill -- and then, faced with a puzzle with terrific fill, he chooses to bash it based on what sounds like a very minor nit in theme execution. I thought the theme was fun. This was as good a Monday puzzle as I can remember seeing.

    noone 10:56 AM  

    Fastest easiest Monday—or any day—ever. Only thing that slowed me down was the typo DEMwNS.
    With all those OWLs, I kept hoping there'd be a Pussycat.

    old timer 11:14 AM  

    Rex is totally off base today. That's a disappointment, since his observations in the last few days have been dead on.

    I do the puzzle by writing the answers in the newspaper. Time was 8 minutes, and I rarely go under that, so it was definitely a Monday puzzle.

    My only correction was to change "devils" to DEMONS.

    Anonymous 11:35 AM  

    Hi all,

    What's the group think about wade as opposed to ford for crossing a shallow stream? Doesnt wade typically take a ppreposistion--in this cae across-- while ford doesn't?

    @Joho. Yes, Rex's take was gruesome. Thank you.

    dogbreath 11:37 AM  

    Agree Rex must have had some nasty coffee this morning (or maybe watched some really bad sex last night on HBO, where there was plenty; seems to be becoming a motif there).

    Great fun puzzle, easy nuff. Even my daughter, who's a relative newbie, nailed this one with minimal help.

    Jisvan 11:40 AM  

    Agree with Easy, except I got snowed in for a few extra minutes in the NE. @GeneSady: CPR is sometimes done in the ER while waiting for the defibrillator to be applied, no? @CascoKid: your funniest post ever! And you beat my time! Liked the puzzle, love the comments! I vote no circles.

    Don McBrien 11:45 AM  

    Fun puzzle. Wish more Mondays fell into this difficulty level.

    Masked and Anonymo4Us 12:20 PM  


    Tough to get by old @63 intact, with them there circles in yer grid. Especially when the previous day SunPuz had em, too. Me, I luv the circles. Bring em on. Put em in the themeless puzs, too; the Stumpy Stumper occasionally likes to do just that.

    Where's Waldo...?
    * Ow Lad. Like what he is, after bein folded up all weird-like in the circles.
    * Old WA. Washington, DC is older than the WA state, so there's a good hint.
    * Dow LA. Or maybe he's at a chemical plant in LA.
    * Low Da. Nope. He's in the Kremlin's basement.

    A revealer of Where's ALDO woulda been slightly harder.


    moocow MonPuz easy clue winner: {Animals in a yoke} = OXEN.

    Anonymous 12:38 PM  

    I was fine with the theme since the rest of the puzzle was actually a lot of fun. I think Rex has a habit of being too critical of theme clues. Maybe he's just grumpy from having done too many crossword puzzles?

    If this puzzle had removed the circled letters and the theme revealer it would have been 100% solid. So the hidden WALDO was just an added benefit from my perspective.

    mathguy 12:42 PM  

    We need to take "hiding" to mean "scrambled." That's OK with me.

    For the last two months, I've been calculating what I call the MGI (mathguy Index) for all the non-Sunday puzzles. It's the number of squares covered by entries I didn't know minus the number of squares covered by gimmes. The higher the index, the more difficult the puzzle was for me. Monday puzzles have all had negative MGIs. Today's was -104, the lowest yet.

    I seldom agree with Rex when he says a puzzle is easy or hard.

    LaneB 12:54 PM  

    Always pleasant to quickly finish a puzzle any day considered"medium/challenging". Hasn't happened often recently.LaneB

    Where's Pewit 1:14 PM  


    For those confused by my Where's ALDO challenge, M&A should point out that U need to play a short round of Boggle (tm) to find the lil dude.

    If U think that was tough, try Where's M AND A on, for size. (Warnin: SatPuz level solve. U may need to pass thru walls.)

    fave weeject: The RIO-GEN-ESE stack.

    Cool grid layout, -- unusual for a moocow pen. Can almost trace out Waldo's "dismembered" face, in thar. (Har+day-um, @63... Did U have yerself a bad bourbon brownie hangover, or somesuch?)


    Sound our dishwasher just made.

    bwalker 1:17 PM  

    I finished in 13:08, about ninety seconds faster than average according to the app. I solve on my phone, and the circles are virtually invisible, so it went like an un-themed puzzle. Easy.

    Reminds me of a joke:
    "These dishes sure are clean, mister."
    "Clean as COLDWATER can get 'em. Here, COLDWATER!!! Good boy!"

    allan 2:10 PM  

    IMO This puzzle was to Mondays what last Thursday's puzzle was to Thursdays. I solve over lunch, and never go for speed. This helps prevent choking. I'm just sayin'.

    Anyway, there were only 3 or 4 acrosses that I needed downs to solve. Super bowl ad was just a gimme as was Cold Water and Meadowlands. Took way longer to read the comments than to solve, which is not always the case.

    On to BEQ's Monday Themeless.

    allan 2:16 PM  

    @Louis (5:49) It's the OCD of course.

    @ JFC(10:53) Absolutely!!! I'm glad someone else got that.

    @M AND A (12:20) I love them thar circles too.

    M and A Circles of Excellence 4:00 PM  

    @allan: BEQ's puz was pretty funny, huh? Inspired a runtpuz in me, to boot… with the circles.



    Doc John 4:14 PM  

    Sub 4 minute for me so definitely a Monday. One pass across and one pass down and done.
    So if she'd left out the circles, would that have sufficiently met your definition of "hiding?"

    Last Silver Bullet 4:46 PM  

    @allan: Thought the BEQ puz was great. It inspired an M&A runtpuz. With the circles, btw.

    @muse & @acme: Where's U?


    ** gruntz **

    Whirred Whacks 4:57 PM  

    Today's "Corrections" in the NYT addresses about the problem with the El Al clue in the Sunday puzzle regarding: אל על, and not לע לא.

    You need to scroll down to Crossword.
    Here's the link.

    Anonymous 5:02 PM  

    there is no substitute for chocolate!

    picture this...a formal portrait of hasidic jews, row on row, black beards, identical black hats and waldo sitting somewhere .....

    aging soprano 5:04 PM  

    When I completed this Monday in no time at all and ne'er a Google I thought to myself, well, either that was really easy or I am getting better at this.
    @ritabel I totally identified with everything you said. Started enjoying this blog about half a year ago, and just got up the nerve to begin posting OFLATE.
    Hey, @mathguy, how many possble combinations/permutations of W A L D O are there which could have been used?
    Bravo @ aliasZ for discovering the Dowland connection. Brilliant!
    I have a feeling Wagner would not have been too pleased at being in the same puzzle as Mahler, but heaven forbid if Mendelsohn had also made it in, or, worse yet, Meeyerbeer. Wow, look at all those eeeee's.

    aging soprano 5:05 PM  

    When I completed this Monday in no time at all and ne'er a Google I thought to myself, well, either that was really easy or I am getting better at this.
    @ritabel I totally identified with everything you said. Started enjoying this blog about half a year ago, and just got up the nerve to begin posting OFLATE.
    Hey, @mathguy, how many possble combinations/permutations of W A L D O are there which could have been used?
    Bravo @ aliasZ for discovering the Dowland connection. Brilliant!
    I have a feeling Wagner would not have been too pleased at being in the same puzzle as Mahler, but heaven forbid if Mendelsohn had also made it in, or, worse yet, Meeyerbeer. Wow, look at all those eeeee's.

    mathguy 5:52 PM  

    @aging soprano: 120. I wonder how many of them would fit into a nine- or eleven- letter entry? With two vowels and W the only uncommon letter, I would guess most of them.

    Carola 6:08 PM  

    Late to the party due to dealing all day with a Medicare Part D billing foul-up. Nice to have this delightful puzzle move that experience into my failing short-term memory.

    What kind of word puzzle am I worst at? Jumbles. So the reveal was pleasantly tough for me to get. Lots to like otherwise, too. @Casco Kid - I loved your scenario(s).

    Random memory: in the late 1960s we kept a magazine photo of OLEG Cassini taped to our medicine cabinet so my husband could trim his mustache to match. Style, man!

    Unknown 7:41 PM  

    About average Monday solve for me. I think the idea that the word WALDO is hidden in the circles is accurate since what we actually have in the circles are anagrams of WALDO. But, as with most Mondays, paying attention at all to the theme is a net loss in time to solve.

    Unknown 7:47 PM  

    Rhino said:
    "I agree with rex: if you circle Waldo, he's not hidden anymore."

    But what if you circle OWLAD? Isn't WALDO hidden in that anagram?

    GILL I. 8:14 PM  

    It was worth coming to the party late just to envision Aketi tuping one handed and @Rex assassinating WALDO...
    Had to do this on my iPhone since the printer died ...you iPoders are lucky
    Loved this puzzle... DREAMY FALSIES...my best friend Paulette told everyone in school that I stuffed them with yellow Kleenex.
    Thanks for the memories Lynn

    Numinous 9:36 PM  

    Had to do this at dawn, in bed, before driving 2 hours to Atlanta and without a keyboard. I still got this in a minute under my average Monday time. I never even noticed the four out of 120 possibilities for O LAWD. Yeah, according ot Miss Lynn, the circles were entirely Mr. Shortz's idea; possibly thinking that made the puzzle more Monday-ish.

    To fill a tire with air I have toinFLATE it. If it gets a puncture, it deFLATEs. To get more air in it, I have to reFLATE it but in the interim, is the tire O-FLATEd?

    I felt sympathy for the patient in the ER getting CPR from the EMT to reGENerate VIM in HIM. And I didn't mind the rest of the ESE since it went a long way in enabling the MONOTONE UPSURGE of FALSIES and the PRIMERS of REMORSE for COVETOUS DEMONS while MEADOWLANDS ORATORS PANT over the FRUMPY BRIDAL SLOW DANCE by A LIT PYRAMID. Too bad it was TWIX rather than the rabbit from TrIX, that DREAMY cereal cirminal.

    I guess I liked this a bunch more than @63. Or maybe he was "jest funnin' us." I wonder if themes of dismemberment pass the breakfast test.

    Larry 11:28 PM  

    This must be the first time I've ever seen Falsies in a crossword. Hell I haven't heard the word in probably 20 years.

    Polyushka Polly 3:35 AM  

    Vert nice puzzle, but l'd like to putin a good word for the other MEADOWLANDS.


    Every ruble has a B-side.

    Myuen88 4:12 PM  

    ANON: "ANA" I think is abbreviation for All Nippon Airways, a Japanese airline. Yea, weak alright.

    pfb 4:27 PM  

    A pretty fast solve, but a cut above a typical Monday. I liked with or without circled letters (which were quite unnecessary).

    Gracie H 12:43 PM  

    I knew most of the band names, but not some of their actual spellings, so the humor was a bit lost on me.

    spacecraft 10:11 AM  

    The hope or our "heroine" TOOTSIE
    Was for DREAMY PELE to play footsie.
    He saw FALSIES and WIG--
    So "up was the jig!"
    That's one thing up with which he won't put, see?

    I had a blast with this one. I do not think the theme is broken; after all, she did put "hiding" in quotemarks. It refers to the well-known pictures--and diabolically difficult jigsaw puzzles--in which our hero is hiding among a huge crowd of lookalikes. Of course he's not actually hiding in this grid.

    Nor do I agree that it's Tuesdayish. I zipped through this seamlessly; one of my smoothest solves ever. This is what happens when you have a constructor with some chops. Just look at all those great fillers: FRUMPY and SYNAPSE and PYRAMID and...you get the idea. Okay, maybe we slipped a RD in there, but even ESE could have been clued as a language suffix. A+! Thanks, Lynn, and please come visit more often.

    Burma Shave 1:30 PM  




    DMG 1:32 PM  

    Monday fun. When I hit the revealer I looked back, and there were all those Waldos waiting to be discovered-which I probably couldn"t have done without the circles. I seem to,be the only one who's impressed that the constructor found four hidden Waldo's for our pleasure. There must be a limited number of phrases that offer those letters in some permutation or other.

    WHERESronDO 1:41 PM  

    Forgot it was Monday. A really decent Mon-puz! Uncommon fill words were a nice surprise. FRUMPY FALSIES, huh?!

    @Spacey - nice verse.

    Nothing more to say - good one for Monday.

    WHERES saint urho 2:34 PM  

    Saint Urho's Day is celebrated on March 16th. One of the great promoters of St. Urho's day was the late Maynard Speece of WCCO Radio in Minneapolis. He was a great story teller from MEADOWLANDS, MN. He considered St. Urho's day to be a very important part of Minnesota lore.

    Anonymous 2:55 PM  

    From Syndication Land

    I think this would have been more fun without the circles. Then, when we got the revealer, we could have looked through the theme answers to find Waldo!

    KariSeattle 6:50 PM  

    Took me a bit longer than a normal Monday, glad to know I wasn't alone in that! Fun puzzle though! My only hang up was I entered covetors and couldn't figure out rse your head! (35 across) until I ironically used my head!

    Mark M 7:08 PM  

    Those that think it would be more fun without the circles, then it would have been a Wednesday at least. The circles were a big help to those of us not familiar with "VIM" and composers named Gustav.

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