Cleopatra biter / MON 3-30-15 / Paint company whose name sounds like animal / Chicago airport code / Stone key to deciphering hieroglyphics / Literary Jane who says No net ensnares me I am free human being with independent will

Monday, March 30, 2015

Constructor: Bruce Haight

Relative difficulty: Challenging (*for a Monday*) (time: 3:36)

THEME: GOOSE (18A: Flier in a V formation) — black squares form little geese, I think, though they aren't exactly flying in "V" formation. Three theme answers sort of relate to the GOOSE theme.

Theme answers:
  • BIRDS OF A FEATHER (13A: Ones that are alike)
  • FLOCK TOGETHER (30A: Gather as a group)
  • CLEAR FOR TAKE-OFF (49A: Give the go-ahead from the control tower)
Word of the Day: CECE Winans (46A: Gospel singer Winans) —
Priscilla "CeCe" Marie Winans Love /ˈwnænz/ (born October 8, 1964) is an American gospel singer, who has won numerous awards, including ten Grammy Awards and seven Stellar Awards. She has sold twelve million records world wide. Cece is also the best selling female gospel artist of all time. (wikipedia)
• • •

I want to start by giving this a "V" for effort. I like the weirdness of it, particularly the axial-symmetry grid and the rough visual approximation of a flock of geese. Again, that is not a "V" formation, and geese do not fly in the formation pictured by the black squares, but … horseshoes and hand grenades, close enough, I think. Those long (non-theme) Downs are lovely. A nice added bonus on an early-week puzzle. The puzzle is misplaced on a Monday (it's a solid Tuesday), but that's also not a big deal. Two things that are kind of big deals. Or at least medium-sized deals. Deals of some sort. First, the theme answers … it is highly weird to split BIRDS OF A FEATHER / FLOCK TOGETHER and treat them, clue-wise, as if each were a stand-alone phrase. Neither stands alone that well, particularly FLOCK TOGETHER. If you google that phrase, you get mostly hits referring to the whole saying. When would you ever use FLOCK TOGETHER on its own? And the third themer … is related to flying, I see, but I don't see anything else about it that makes it appropriate to the whole bird formation thing.

The second deal is, of course, the fill, which is ouchy. IRED is possibly the worst crossword answer of all time. You never see it any more, because it is terrible and virtually indefensible. EASEFUL, you never see, but for good reason. And on and on. Actually those are the worst, and there's just a lot of blah stuff otherwise. So I admire the spirit of this puzzle, but once again (I want to say "for the third time in the last week…"), a decent idea is not given the execution it deserves.

Congratulations to Dan Feyer on winning his sixth straight American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. He beat five-time winner Tyler Hinman in a genuine nail-biter. As close a one-two finish as you're likely to see in any competition. Here's the video:

    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    jae 12:03 AM  

    Medium for me leaning slightly towards tough.  For some reason I put in aero before HELI (I know it only makes sense in France) which nudged this up a jnd in difficulty. 

    Interesting puzzle.  Stared at the long downs for a while trying to see how they might fit the theme...a tad loosey  GOOSEy, but I liked it. 

    Whirred Whacks 12:20 AM  

    Very nice puzzle, Bruce Haight. Liked the V-shaped blocks. "Birdman" would love it.

    Sunday's discussion of which words are inappropriate for crossword puzzles made think of George Carlin, a man who knew a thing or two about language and also the limits some people try to impose on other people's usage.

    This short video from more than 45 years ago, The Seven Words You Can't Say on Television, is still relevant (and funny) today. As George would say: "It's always somebody else's list."

    One of my favorite Carlinisms was his discussion of how important context is to a word's usage. His example: "How come it's okay to say I pricked my finger, but not I fingered my pr#ck?"

    @Casco @Benko and others: thanks for your updates on your experiences at ACPT. Sounds like a good experience.

    Enjoy your Monday!

    Steve J 12:34 AM  

    Interesting grid, with stealth bombers all heading off to the northwest. The big downside of the unusual grid construction is what felt like 100 three-letter answers (it was "only" 30, according to the constructor notes over at Xwordinfo - where Bruce Haight also notes the sealth bombers). It made for a very choppy solving experience.

    IRED and EASEFUL aside - not that they're easy to skip over - the fill wasn't as tortured as that many threes would usually indicate. So credit for that. And credit for trying something different. I'm not sold on how well it works, but points for not just doing the same-old, same-old.

    Brian B 1:07 AM  

    You'd think someone at the Times would bother to go actually read the Sixth Amendment, but apparently that's too much work. It says nothing about a JURY OF YOUR PEERS; it does guarantee an impartial jury, but that is not the same thing.

    That's a much bigger offense, IMO, than IRED and EASEFUL put together.

    Anoa Bob 1:13 AM  

    BIRDS OF A FEATHER over GOOSE suggests an avian spin on the grid design while CLEARED FOR TAKEOFF over AIRMAIL tilts it toward some sort of flying machines.

    Not sure how or if the two-block chunks at the ends of 4D & 30A figure into the visual scheme.

    BY HOOK OR BY CROOK put a smile on my mug because it called to mind this rendition by Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks.

    Carola 1:50 AM  

    I really liked this light-hearted puzzle with its distinctive grid. Besides GOOSE, and AIRMAIL, I thought PROP plane and HELIcopter also fit the flying theme, as well as ORD and maybe even the "sounds like" pun of EYRE. I got a kick out of ORD crossing JOY - as if!

    At first I was relieved when I saw how far the FOX was separated from the GOOSE, but then I noticed its head is right in the FLOCK. Uh-oh.

    Thanks, Bruce Haight, this was a lot of fun.

    @chefwen - CLEAR FOR TAKEOFF was apt, as in a few hours we'll be heading back to the mainland. It's been wonderful as always. Aloha!

    chefwen 1:58 AM  

    Maybe the vitimin B12 shot I got the other day made me smarter, I thought this was super easy. No write overs, no pauses. It would have been nice to sneak a Nene into the puzzle, but I'm not complaining.

    Cute one Bruce, just right for a Monday.

    Ellen S 2:49 AM  

    I thought it was super-easy too, but not as cute as @chefwen did. The long acrosses didn't all go together as a theme, as OFL notes, and the downs were unrelated to both. In addition to the error at 1D, the short fill seemed to be made out of not only old crosswordese, but slightly out-of-focus. IRED is bad enough, but clued as "Furious" seems not quite right. But who knows, I mean, nobody uses IRED in any context so what if it's a verb or an isotone. Same for EASEFUL. Is that a portmanteau word? A combination of trite and unheard-of?

    My fave was GNUS, as in, "the sad GNUS is,my final rating is: 42 Down."

    chefwen 2:56 AM  

    @Carola, sorry to see you go, one of these times we must get together. Hope you had a great time here.


    John Child 3:20 AM  

    Love to see something different! Grid art is fun too, but I'm squarely with @Steve J today about the minuses that come along with it.

    I thought the 15-letter downs were distracting today. They look like theme material but aren't. (And so do GOOSE and AIRMAIL, but they apparently aren't either.)

    Easy way to tell the real John Child from the fake one should you, for whatever reason, care [grin]: Click the blue name and look at the profile's history. A faker will have a very recent profile or one that's hidden to try to disguise the fact that it has been recently created.

    "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."

    Loren Muse Smith 4:32 AM  
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    Loren Muse Smith 5:19 AM  

    I love the way the grid looks and thought maybe salmon swimming upstream first. I finished fairly easily but certain that I really *hadn't* finished because I hadn't fully cottoned to the theme; I kept trying to make the long downs part of it. And I was panicked that I wasn't seeing something everyone else was. Ah me.

    Thanks to how much I've learned since joining this group, I put in "jury of one's peers" off only the J and felt all "yeah, uh huh" smart and jaded by the "ones" in a 15. Sigh.

    Wanted "careers" for CAREENS. ;-)

    I agree that EASEFUL is odd.

    Little known fact – there are these experimental pneumoencephalographic rodents, nasty things, who have been programed to prey on geese who are in repose by the pond. Trust me – you don't want to tangle with a pee rat.

    @Carola – Badgers all the way, baby!

    Ya gotta pull for the ones who beat ya! (Unless, of course, it's Duke)

    Just a thought about TAKE OFF. Now I can't stop thinking about particles and prepositions:

    Tonight she'll TAKE OFF for Bali.
    Tonight she'll TAKE OFF her Bali.

    Nice easeful start to my day, Bruce. To quote a great, "Liked it."

    pfb 5:19 AM  

    @LMS - I guess I can serve on a jury at your trial because I also went with "ONES" and "CAREERS" at first. Are we BIRDSOFAFEATHER. or "PEERS".

    Lewis 6:39 AM  
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    Lewis 7:02 AM  

    What is FOX doing on the left?

    I love the out-of-the-boxness of the grid, and even the strangeness of the collection of theme answers. It felt Monday easy to me, but not embarrassingly easy -- that is, just right. PLIANT is a beautiful word, and the grid is clean overall. Quirky memorable puzzle!

    Dorothy Biggs 7:41 AM  

    Once I got past that it was Monday and this was the puzzle that should have been on Tuesday, I liked it. Weird that this puzzle follows so closely on the heels of the Utah puzzle, though.

    Count me in as one who noticed EASEFUL. I said it out loud a few times to see if it was even a word I'd heard before. Nope.

    Other nits: PLAYAT. That doesn't Google well. ONEHOUR. TV dramas aren't really one hour as anyone who's streamed video's somewhere in the 52 minute area put in an hour time slot. BEY. I got this entirely from crosses, I wouldn't have gotten it otherwise.

    "Sch. in Columbus" should have added "with The" to the clue. Everyone knows it isn't just Ohio State University. It's The Ohio State University, or tOSU for short.

    I've missed GNUS in the used to be a pretty common word, IIRC.

    joho 7:48 AM  

    First thought: odd grid. EASEFUL: odd word.
    And lastly:odd theme!

    The theme answers seem disjointed. I had to really try to make total sense of it. But I did love the flying geese and the oddness of the concept and the grid.

    We always get something unique and interesting from Bruce Haight and today's puzzle fits that "bill."

    Rhino 8:17 AM  

    I enjoyed solving this puzzle, and found it appropriate for a Monday.

    Now that I see the geese, I guess that's... something, but the theme added nothing to the solving experience except for confusion (that continues to now).

    @whirredwacks I always find it funny when people censor a word on the Internet by replacing one letter with a symbol, as if that makes a difference, so I loved that you censored your second prick but not your first. Beautifully done.

    Lewis 8:18 AM  

    Factoid: CECE Winans has a brother named BeBe.

    Quotoid: "My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it's on your plate." -- Thornton Wilder

    Rhino 8:21 AM  

    Also, I cringed at IRED and the in EASEFUL was not only last to fall but since I had a typo elsewhere I studied its crosses a long time (relatively) convinced it was wrong.

    Z 8:21 AM  

    A nice change-up for a Monday. Looking at all those short answers I was thinking this was going to be an ese-fest. It's not that I like IRED, it's that I think it's a small price to pay for all those fresh longs on a Monday. 4 15's and 2 13's on a Monday and relatively few tired short answers. I'll take an IRED and a CSI if they make it work.

    @Whirred Whacks - I feel empathy if you prick your finger. I don't want to know if you finger your prick (TMI). But please don't call me a prick. Further, I really don't care what language anyone uses (I've been known to drop more than the occasional F-bomb at the negotiating table) but I reserve the right to think less of anyone who thinks insulting people with "kooks" or "redskins" is okay behavior. As I used to tell middle school students who had learned some interesting new words, "Just because you can doesn't mean you should."

    @John Child - Even that won't work. As long as this faux-person is around we are going to have to use our critical reading skills to identify regulars. Fortunately, that isn't too hard. My youngest served as the OpEd editor for the school paper last year. He received a plagiarized piece, he identified it immediately and confirmed it through Google in about 5 seconds. I think if a high school senior can identify fakes this estimable crowd can do the same.

    @Brian B - The clue doesn't ask about the actual wording, it asks about the right. It's well established that an impartial jury has to be a jury of your peers to be impartial.

    RAD2626 8:25 AM  

    No one has yet said they flew through this puzzle. Thought it was a fun solve but was not sure about EASEFUL since I was not sure about the "e" in ABBES. Only letter that fit but EASEFUL is an odd looking word. Fitting for an odd looking grid.

    The Supreme Court has since at least 1880 in Stauder v. West Virginia held that the Equal Protection clause of the Forteenth Amendment applying the Sixth Amendment to the states requires a jury of one's peers, a phrase consistently used to interpret the Sixth Amendment's requirement of an impartial jury. So while I would have preferred the word "afforded" in the clue rather than "guaranteed" I think the clue passes the smell test.

    Moly Shu 8:27 AM  

    Like @SteveJ, I noticed the sheer number of 3 letter answers, but still enjoyed it. Agree with the weird disjointed vibe. I also tried to get the long downs to fit into the theme (hi @LMS).

    Just got back from my first ACPT, where I had the pleasure of meeting @GeorgeB (he handed out and collected my puzzles, I lucked into sitting in 'his' section), and @CascoKid. They couldn't have been nicer. Prof. Barany, ever the facilitator, even pointed me in @Casco's direction. I had a nice conversation with Casco and Mrs. Casco, where we lamented our mutual struggles. Thank you @GeorgeB and @Casco for being nice and engaging.

    @Tita, sorry I missed you, I'll try to do better next year.

    Bird 8:42 AM  

    Liking the V formation, but also wondering (as Anoa Bob) what the 2-blocks are doing. 1D sorta fits if the theme was GROUPS but no way to get 7D to do anything. This would have been much better without the aforementioned IRED and EASEFUL.

    If you consider the letters around v-blocks for the count, there are an additional 69 theme letters. Impressive.

    Knitwit 8:57 AM  

    Loved this. Escher came to mind. IRED and EASEFUL were the last to go in as my least favorite.

    jberg 9:07 AM  

    Ok, someone has to stick up for EASEFUL. Perhaps I'd feel differently, but on the plane(s) back from New Orleans yesterday I was idling away the time with a collection of John Mortimer's Rumpole stories, in one of which Rumpole is feeling really tired of practicing law,and keeps musing on the sixth stanza of Keats's "ODE to a Nightingale"

    Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
    I have been half in love with EASEFUL Death,

    Call'd him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
    To take into the air my quiet breath;
    Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
    To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
    While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
    In such an ecstasy!
    Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain—
    To thy high requiem become a sod.

    Fortunately, our hero snaps out of it at the end; but anyway, if a word is memorable enough for Rumpole to quote it, it's good enough for the NYT puzzle.

    IRED, though -- even were it a word, it would be transitive.

    That said, I completely failed to understand the goose thing, or even to detect that there was any symmetry at all in this puzzle, until coming here. Now that I see it, I like it.

    Arlene 9:09 AM  

    I also thought this was more like a Tuesday puzzle. And having just gotten back from the ACPT (my first time competing), timed puzzle-solving will never be the same! There's nothing quite like solving puzzles surrounded by hundreds of other like-minded people, all working to beat that clock. I thought I'd be stressed and terrified, but it was actually fun. I ended up in the top 70%, which I thought was great! And it was also wonderful to meet some of the folks on this blog and others in the crossword community - and witness that finale in person.
    And this was the first time I've solved in pencil in decades. Glad to be back to pen this morning!

    RooMonster 9:10 AM  

    Hey All !
    Well, bizarre puz. Grid broken up, didn't see the "Geese" till I read Rex. Plethora of black squares, 43, high limit is usually 38, and the 30 threes! Threes are "traditionally" less than 20 (more like 16 is top limit). Of course all that is up to the editor, WS, to decide upon. If a puz tickles his fancy, I guess all is well. If he doesn't like a puz, then these things become issues. Just sayin'.

    Puz itself was OK. Agree that the themers seemed disjointed somehow. Do have to give credit to Bruce Haight, though. This couldn't have been easy to fill with fairly clean fill considering the grid restraints, so there's that.

    Do people watch a BBQ on the BBC?


    Hartley70 9:27 AM  

    Thanks Rex for the "Finale" video! I'm feeling Tyler's pain. Great fun to see how fast they can work.

    My first thought on seeing today's puzzle was "Is that Utah in REPOSE?" I thought it was an easy Monday. My only change was YOUR for "ones". The longs were so readily apparent that it made the completion quicker and me feel smarter, a lift I need to get me out of bed on a gray Monday with snowflakes floating around. Enough is enough.

    chefbea 9:44 AM  

    Easy Monday puzzle but I kept trying to figure out how the long downs fit the theme. I figured they would all have an OF in the answer

    Now to watch the video

    Tita 9:45 AM  

    @Carola - you share with @lms the throne of finding relevance - today it's the EYRE homophone. Thanks!

    I've been IRED into submission for that word as fill, but EASEFUL is just awful.

    Except that it completed the relaxed trifecta with REPOSE and REST.

    Thanks a lot @jberg for making me feel bad about hating it.

    @Moly - me too! Though I only stopped by to crash dinner and mingle a bit in the lobby...

    @Lewis - lol re: FOX.

    I liked the puzzle until I came here, then I loved it! I missed the GOOSE under FEATHER (wait - that's "down", no?)
    And, I missed the visual - fabulous!

    On the Cliffs of Moher one "soft" day - Irish euphemism for drizzly and dank - a billy GOAT calmly walked over to his nanny and their kid, who were nestled together on the grass, gently head-butted them, then curled up into their warm spot.

    Thanks for the reminder that the geese are flying back north, Mr. Haight!

    Anonymous 9:48 AM  

    Exactly. If we considered everyone's "list" in today's pc world everytime we spoke our language would be ground down to the lowest common denominators.

    Ludyjynn 9:52 AM  

    Too much repetition for my taste(buds): PEERS, PEERAT, PEEK. Why? I found it distracting. You could even say it made me IRED!

    Like @Knitwit, I appreciated the grid's pictorial Escher GOOSE reference, but that was about all which brought me JOY.

    EASEFUL...what the HAL is that?!

    Not much ELSE to say about this one.

    Thanks, Rex, for the ACPT finals video; a real nail biter.

    Jerry Seinfeld 9:52 AM  

    All of you who say this felt like a Tuesday are sadly mistaken:

    Tuesday has no feel

    Unknown 10:04 AM  

    Maybe the easiest x-word I've ever done!

    Joseph Michael 10:09 AM  

    Thanks. Great routine!

    Leapfinger 10:15 AM  

    A little sauce from the GOOSE (written early one morning in Newfoundland):

    I, Gander,
    Lonely in a cloud
    That floats on high
    O'er FEATHERed bill,
    When all at once I spied a clowd-
    er of cats, in ambush for
    Some meaty fill.

    So then my stealth
    Divebombed those clucks.
    I CAME to save those daffy ducks.

    @lms -- So, Bali? Hi from Olga!
    Saw the PEE RATS, but didn't know their backstory. Way to go, girl!;)

    I also like EASEFUL, so thankyou, @jberg!

    @WWhacks and @Z, would prefer not to have my name bandied about. Even half my name. Carlin had a special dispensation.

    @Rex, there's a kind of florid interior decoration that requires a group of specialty wallpapermakers FLOCK TOGETHER.

    BruceHaight, love what you did for Monday. Can't wait to see the grid art oyster.

    Anonymous 10:15 AM  

    Why did Will bother calling out the guy got a letter wrong? He finished in third place regardless jeez. Way to kick a guy when he's down.

    Joseph Miichael 10:29 AM  

    Like the look of the grid and at first saw a labyrinth with two creatures about to enter. Then was pleasantly surprised to discover a flock of birds in flight.

    Cringed at a couple of answers, such as EASEFUL, but enjoyed the puzzle overall and found it super easy even for a Monday.

    Lost clues:
    Nights devoted to joy riding - CAR EENS
    Comedian Foxx autobiography - I, RED
    Rodent with urination issues - PEE RAT

    Nancy 10:31 AM  

    Easy, except for EASEFUL, which didn't come to mind immediately. But then it did, and with it, the snippets of subconscious memory that someone (was it NCA Pres?) wrote about last week. I sort of remembered someone being "in love with easeful death" in one of literature's great lines, but thought it was Shakespeare. Would have Googled before citing, would have learned it wasn't from Shakespeare, and would have also learned that the speaker of the line was only HALF in love with easeful death. But all of this became unnecessary when @jberg beat me to the punch. Thanks @jberg.

    Doris 10:34 AM  

    Thank heaven SOMEONE else knew the Keats line "half in love with EASEFUL death." Can't believe that people educated enough to do the NYT puzzle, especially early in the week, would never have heard this. Knew that our schools weren't teaching much cultural material anymore, but this is the absolute end. Grrr! Illiteracy triumphs once again. And Rex, you CERTAINLY should have been familiar with it!

    Z 11:00 AM  

    @Doris - to defend my ignorance almost as much as Rex's - To think that someone with a doctorate in medieval lit would have the 18th century English Romantics at their fingertips is a bit too much to ask. Us poor souls who studied other areas of human knowledge may have run across Keats work enough to have had it stick (this group does tend to have a broad general knowledge base), or not. I have said it before and will probably say it again, the gap between what I know and what I don't know continues to grow at what seems to be an exponential rate.

    Bob Kerfuffle 11:03 AM  

    Very interesting grid; good puzzle.

    Seems most ACPT attendees have already reported in, so I can only agree it was a wonderful time, great to be among people who take crosswords seriously.

    Always good to see old friends among the current, occasional, and former commenters from the blog, especially imsdave, mac, (the two folks who got me to go to my first ACPT five years ago), Karen & Julie, Lindsay, Tita, JenCT, Ulrich, et al. (Apologies to those I have forgotten.) And wonderful to meet Casco Kid and Mrs. Kid; barely got to say hello to Arlene. Sorry I didn't connect with Moly Shu or others who were there. Spoke with Evan Birnholtz, and rubbed elbows with so many constructors of note. Biggest surprise, as noted by Moly Shu, was the active role George Barany took in bringing people together; he was the one who introduced me to Casco Kid, and was the intermediary in other meetings. Thank you, George.

    David Steinberg's performance in winning the Division C playoffs was astounding!

    Personally, I finished in 275th place at the latest posting, just above the middle, which is what I have come to expect. Puzzle 5 killed me, which was its mission. In another puzzle, I had a faux-hold (thank you, LMS), an answer which Just Couldn't Be Wrong, but was, and cost me two wrong letters. But, beware and benefit from my suffering, I also lost 190 points on another puzzle because I turned in a grid with a blank square. It wasn't a Natick, it wasn't difficult, it was something I knew and I thought I had filled in, but I was in such a rush to turn in my paper that I failed to take the few seconds to review it.

    Not that I'm going to lose any sleep over it. :>)

    old timer 11:13 AM  

    I finished the puzzle with a Tuesdayish time, told myself this was the funnest Monday puz ever, and sped over here to see what Rex could possibly snark at. You know when he writes "not given the execution it deserves" he's got nothin'.

    I have no problem with EASEFUL It's a word, easy to suss out in context. IRED, I agree, is inexcusable. I'm glad someone came up with an acceptable clue for it (I, Red). Another might be "Emerald Isle with one field still in bondage" -- i.e., Eire with it's first letter missing, but you'd probably need to know the song "Four Green Fields" to get it.

    Darryl 11:17 AM  

    @Doris - I may well be insufficiently educated to have Keats flowing from my lips at all times, but at least I'm smart enough to know that the early week puzzles are geared to people such as I, while puzzles appearing later in the week may require such knowledge.

    Redd Foxx 11:20 AM  

    Before you heap too much praise on "I, Red" you might want to learn how to spell my name.

    Redd Foxx 11:20 AM  

    How come people call one another idiots for not knowing Keats, but no such ire for people not knowing how to spell my name?

    Second (fake) Redd Foxx 11:21 AM  

    @First Redd Foxx - Quit posting under my name.

    ArtOu 11:34 AM  

    Wonderful puzzle. Definitely not a Monday. Decent criticism by Rex...especially why not tie in BIRDS OF A FEATHER With FLOCKTOGETHER.

    mathguy 11:59 AM  

    @Anoa Bob, @Bird: I, too, was skeptical that the blocks were symmetrical. So I took out my red pen and drew the segment from bottom right to upper left. All the birds and the two rectangles all perfectly reflect across it.

    @jberg: Thanks for quoting Ode to a Nightingale. I hadn't seen it since high school. I wish that I could appreciate poetry more. When I see a promising poem in The New Yorker, I try it. But inevitably, no cigar.

    Danield 12:03 PM  

    Agree with The Rexster.

    Hey Lewis--Fox=good one!

    Masked and Anonymo5Us 12:16 PM  

    13 flyin birdies... One GOOSE and a jury of his peers.

    Oh, man... I just let this weird lil gem of a puz flow over me, and it felt super great. Not just MonPuz thUmbsUp. One of the best MonPuzs of All Time. Regardless of yer home galaxy or planet. Pulitzer. They don't give em out for crosswords? Start here and now.

    Almost hate to pull old Bossy out of the barn on such a solemn occasion, but here goes...
    fave moo-cow Monday EZ clue: "Easy as ___".

    Are U kiddin m&e? All this, and 30 weejects to choose from, too?!! Nobel Weeject Prize. This puz is trans-cinnamon roll good. [sputter] [gurgle]
    fave weeject: KEA. But... Not clued as a bird?! day-um.

    Ooooooh... PEE RAT. (were U serious about those varmints, @muse? Will remain inside, until I get word back.)

    Thanx, Mr. Constructioneer. M&A has a luv Haight relationship with yer puz, today. Primo! Bravo! Encore! Standin Wing Flap! har


    y'all have an easeful day, now.

    ** 3 gruntz **

    Nobel Pulitzer Oscar Emmy Audobahn 12:26 PM  

    Clearly, that KEA non-avian clue was one of them editing-time fowl-ups.


    AliasZ 12:31 PM  

    REST assured, your avatar today was an EASEFUL gimme.

    Thanks for coming to the rescue of EASEFUL. You saved me the work.

    Darkling, EASEFUL, soft names, mused rhymes, seems it rich to die, pouring forth thy soul abroad -- what beautiful words and images! Too bad to modern ears they sound "odd". If you feel bad for having skipped the English class in which "ODE to a Nightingale" by John Keats (1795–1821) was taught and analyzed, don't. A whole generation skipped that same class.

    It reminds me of Mao's Cultural Revolution, when Western Music (the likes of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven) was outlawed because they represented the bourgeois remnants of an evil culture that became irrelevant to the communist revolutionary realism of the day. Thus entire generations of Chinese musicians were robbed of the very building blocks of music. If you have not seen the documentary "From Mao to Mozart" with Isaac Stern, you should. I would especially like to direct you to 17:40 of the video. After this nightmare of a policy was abandoned, hundreds of thousands of Chinese youngsters FLOCKed [see what I did here?] to music education, and the pursuit of music has become a most prestigious endeavor in China ever since.

    My wish is that similarly, the beauty of the English language soon become the focus of such movement in this country.

    Oh there was a bird-themed puzzle today. I love grid art, of which Bruce Haight alongside Liz Gorski has become a major exponent. The theme was a little lop-sided, JURY OF YOUR PEERS, WRAPPING PAPER and BY HOOK OR BY CROOK having been left out in the cold. Oh wait, the ernes get their fish by their HOOKed and CROOKed talons then fly off in V-formation, perhaps. And the WRAPPING PAPER can be origamied into crane shapes then fly off in V-formation. JURY OF YOUR PEERS -- I got nothing. Wait, maybe: the old ways of a male defendant being judged by an all-male jury who hold their birds and PEE the same way? Naw....

    Nice one Bruce, I like.

    Whirred Whacks 12:45 PM  

    @Z @Leapfinger I cannot imagine anyone calling either of you that. You're both so polite in this forum! :-)

    @Rhino Thanks for the compliment.

    M and Also Grammy Obie Clio Orca I Fink U Freeky Golden Globe DSC ... 12:46 PM  

    First eyes-on-grid thought, out of the gate: Lil Utahs!
    Anybody else?


    GILL I. 1:15 PM  

    I thought this was just what a Monday doctor would order. It didn't feel cutesy or dumb downed.
    @Loren, you had me checking out twice this puzzle looking for the PEE RAT.
    I'm not IRED by EASEFUL words. All are welcome as long as I can figure out what you mean. You know what I mean? It is what it is....
    Sounds like ACPT was loads of fun. Thanks for the updates...always a JOY to read.

    Billy Shakes 1:22 PM  

    KING EDWARD IV: Thus far our fortune keeps an upward course,
    And we are graced with wreaths of victory.
    But, in the midst of this bright-shining day,
    I spy a black, suspicious, threatening cloud,
    That will encounter with our glorious sun,
    Ere he attain his easeful western bed:
    I mean, my lords, those powers that the queen
    Hath raised in Gallia have arrived our coast
    And, as we hear, march on to fight with us.

    Not Really Hartley70 1:38 PM  

    @M&A - At 9:07 AM, I said, "My first thought on seeing today's puzzle was 'Is that Utah in REPOSE?'"

    grammar nazi 1:52 PM  

    Gill: Did you mean "dumbed down?" "Dumb downed" is not a thing.

    No Chamberland am I 1:57 PM  

    @grammar nazi = why don't you just stop being a prick? It's a damned mis-type.

    grammar nazi 2:00 PM  

    @ No Chamberland: I don't think so. It's not like autocorrect would make those changes. It's especially funny because the person who posted was commenting how happy they were that the puzzle was skewed towards intelligent people, then looked like a fool. Sorry to respect the English language.

    Anonymous No Chamberland am I 2:04 PM  

    There's a huge difference between respecting the English language and making it yoursole business here to point out other's errors, be they structural or accidental, or, perhaps, intended as amusement. The latter is simply being a prick.

    M and Unreally 2:08 PM  

    @notreally Hartley70: excellent!

    Notreally M&A

    Tita 2:14 PM  

    @grammer nazi - our dearest Gill is often known to purposely bait us from time to time - it keeps us on our toes.
    Of course, it mighta been brutal ignorance - English is her 2nd language, after all.
    I hope you're as perfect in every other language you speak as you are in English.

    Damn - I just broke my rule of answering anons & GNs.

    But as long as I am on a roll, to the Anon's that come here and ask about clues, I DO read you, but get annoyed when a) you haven't done a "Find" to see if "HILT" has already been explained, and 2- you don't spell out the entire question - how lazy can you be to ask "can somebody explain 62A?" I know your all in awe of our superiority, but we don't memorize every clue/answer pair. At least, not on Sundays.


    grammar nazi 2:14 PM  

    @No Chanmberland:
    A true Englishman with command of his language would not call someone else a "prick." Maybe an "arse," or a "pratt," or a "todger," but definitely not a "prick." You, sir, are an impostor.

    Anonymous 2:15 PM  

    I thought it was: "A jury of ONES peers"

    All anonymice 2:16 PM  

    @Tita: If you get annoyed, then we have succeeded in our mission.

    Anonymous No Chamberland am I 2:50 PM  

    @Grammar Nazi - I thought it was pretty clear that I am not Chamberland. You know, by saying I'm not Chamberland, nor do I share his willingness to tolerating Nazis. And, it's not Chanmberland, it's Chamberland. Further, isn't the "else" in '... not call someone else a "prick."' unnecessary, a futile attempt to inject some specificity where none is needed or warranted? Finally, wouldn't an Englishman not "call anyone a prick" rather than someone?

    See, this can go on forever and ever, which is a good reason to never start.

    Paul Simon 2:52 PM  

    Now I sit by my window
    And I watch the cars
    I fear I'll do some damage
    One fine day
    But I would not be convicted
    Still crazy
    Still crazy
    Still crazy after all these years

    grammar nazi 2:55 PM  

    Oh, you meant "No Chamberlain?" A WWII reference having something to do with nazis?! Why didn't you just say so? Because nobody knows who the hell "Chamberland" is. Your are a poor grammarian, a poor speller, and a poor historian, it seems.

    GILL I. 3:12 PM  

    @grammar nazi....yes, you are a prick - but, a nice one if not a bit too pedantic. You also remind me of my dear grandmother who, at every opportunity, corrected my god-awful English. English is just plain horrible to learn to speak and to write. Give me Spanish, Italian, French and because @Tita es una senhora do destino, Portuguese any time....;>)

    Pete 3:17 PM  

    @Grammar Nazi. Not to put too fine a point on it, but faux Neville can be accused either of being a bad speller or a bad historian, but not both. As to his being a bad grammarian, he was raising issues of style, not grammar.

    grammar nazi 3:27 PM  

    My point exactly. He/she/it was indeed raising issues of style, but pretending they were issues of grammar. A pretty dumb downed argument, indeed.

    Z 3:42 PM  

    If everyone would read Rex Parker's 6:38 pm comment here and take it to heart it would be much and widely appreciated. If you are too lazy to click on the link and scroll down, here is what OFL had to say:

    "This is not a grammar site. Occasionally issues of grammar are of interest, but not when they arise in the form of anyone's correcting my or other's (others's's's) grammar. Nobody but nobody but Nobody likes that, and we (editorial we!) generally find unsolicited grammar correction to be in poor taste. Some might suggest we think this largely because our grammar has been known to suck on occasion. That may be so. Be that as it may. Nevertheless. Insofar as. Hereunto. Etc.


    And let me end in agreement with @Tita,


    Pete 3:47 PM  

    @GN - Where exactly did faux Neville specify he was addressing grammar? That is an assumption you made, not anything he asserted. My reading was of an example of how easy it is to be a prick by correcting someone who didn't ask for your opinion in the first place, and wouldn't it easier to just not do it.

    ps - Expert elision regarding the "can'
    t be both" point. I'm in awe.

    grammar nazi 3:57 PM  

    Mr. Nevel Chamberland is clearly a cunning linguist, an excellent historian, and a perfect speller. He has appeased more than his doppelganger, which is no easy feat.

    Anonymous 4:05 PM  

    Ha! I wonder if Mr. Chamberland was succeeded by Wilson Churchall?

    Nancy 4:46 PM  

    @GILL I & @Tita: English is NOT GILL's first language? You sure coulda fooled me; she uses English as well as anyone on this blog and better than many. Quelle surprise. (I'd say that in Spanish, but I don't know how.)

    Unknown 4:51 PM  

    First they're 19th century romantics. Second everyone ought to be familiar with Keats's most famous poem.

    dk 4:51 PM  

    🌕🌕🌕 (3 mOOOns)

    Just flew through this one. Never needed to deICE my wings.

    Just plain fun.

    On the subject of stealth bombers: One of my early projects brought me to a hanger somewhere in Southern California. I saw a black plane in the midst of three concentric circles. I was told that if I entered the inner most circle I would be shot. Seemed a little intense to me but you know you give people weapons and they feel compelled…. guess things never change.

    Honk Honk! Geese are returning to WI sure sign of spring.

    Z 5:31 PM  

    @Stan Bowker - You are correct on "19th century." I would beg to differ on "most famous poem" and whether anyone "ought" to know it. Beauty may be truth, truth beauty,— but if that is all you know on earth you really don't know much, IMHO. Or something like that.*

    Unknown 6:49 PM  

    I did today's puz by hand with the mission finishing before 15:00 ticked off a countdown web clock. Clearly ACPT had an effect on me. Sure enough: 12:12. I would have finished THIS puzzle in Stamford.

    It was great to meet @George and @Moly and @MAC and @Arlene and @Bob and @Tita and @IMSDave, who is known to many of you here. Dave finished in the top 100 solver!

    Did anyone hear where Dr. Fill finished?

    I also met Amy Reynaldo, who is not remotely orange, as I'd been led to expect. She saw my name tag "cascokid, First Grade, Mr. Parker's Class." Rex Parker? she scowled, and turned away. Boy, Rex sure is popular. Everybody seems to know him. I did finally catch up to her and thanked her for writing up the AVC puzzles, which are usually opaque as hell thematically as well as clue-wise. Ben Tausig won't take Twitter questions anymore. "Go Ask Amy" is his official response. She provides a real service, there.

    I told Peter Collins and Evan Birnholz that I liked their puzzles. I didn't get the chance to tell Byron Waldron that his puzzles beat me every time. Indeed, I worked on Byron's playoff puzzle (using group C clues) and was unable to solve it. Damn. Oh-for-eight.

    Conspicuous by their absence: PB1, PB2 and @Rex.

    The Sunday morning talent show was extremely painful. But the Division C, B and A show downs were thrilling, especially that photo-finish in Div A.

    Mrs. Kid had a great time. I did too. I did my level best on every puzzle. No remorse. Just awe at the massive talent around me. I officially finished 20th from last. I was beaten by lots of people who only turned in six puzzles. Well, there's a goal for next year: beat the highest scoring six-puzzle solver!

    joho 7:03 PM  

    @Casco Kid your accounts of this event are priceless!

    Leapfinger, for real 7:48 PM  

    Can someone explain Divisions A, B and C in the ACPT?
    Thanks, and thanks for your various accounts.

    Unknown 8:09 PM  

    @Leapy (Eritu?) Wikipedia seems to have the clearest ACPT division delineator.

    ACPT Divisions
    A Everyone
    B Contestants who have not won a Division A or Division B prize during their last seven tournaments
    C Contestants who have not finished in the top 20% during their last three tournaments
    D Contestants who have not finished in the top 40% during their last three tournaments
    E Contestants who have not finished in the top 65% during their last three tournaments

    Teedmn 8:35 PM  

    Easy puzzle for me today, at double @ Rex's time. A few write-overs due to my quest for speed. I saw "Clan of the Cave Bears" peripherally and threw down Auel, but seeing BLESSED, had to change it almost immediately.

    Hand up for JURY OF one's PEERS. I smiled, imagining the comments "one's" would solicit. Then saw EYRE and smiled again. In fact, Mr. Haight evaded several common sources of mislikes, including avoiding the pangram, (two letters short) and no "one's". But still many were IRED by 36D. Hopefully the Keats and Shakespeare quotes made this answer more EASEFUL to the many. (I'll admit to PEERing AT it funny on first glance also.

    @LMS, liked the REST avatar, which with some squinting could have joined in with the FLOCK of GOOSEs (incorrect plural done on purpose!) fun puz, let's see what Tuesday brings.

    @Tita, from yesterday, I don't do the OÖ but The New Yorker used to, (and still might but I couldn't find an example with a quick skim) so bring it on, IF SO you choose.

    Okay, I'm done, goodnight all.

    Nancy 9:04 PM  

    @Casco -- I join @joho in finding your descriptions of the tournament wonderfully entertaining and your self-deprecating remarks quite charming. I wish you all the best of luck next year. And I hope you'll continue to provide "color" commentary to the gang.

    Leapfinger 9:30 PM  

    Hi, @CascoK! Si, sono io. Thanks for the info proffered. I shouldn't have been surprised that it's all on Wiki. However, if ACPT is going for the big tent, I think we should agitate for a Division F, for the avid non-combatants who are dedicated, but measure their solves in hours rather than minutes.

    I don't think that 'brutal ignorance' is correlated with ESL. Au contraire, I think some of the most well-spoken (umm... best-spoken?) commenters around have English as their third, fourth or maybe sixth language.

    So they're.

    Teedmn 10:06 PM  

    ps: liked to see ORD. It's the Swedish word for....."word". Always nice to see a language other than Fr., Sp., etc. :-)

    Tita 12:00 AM  

    @Leapy...that phrase was to highlight where the true ignorance really, lies... I know that my friend @Gill took it in the spirit I intended.

    And I agree with you that non-native speakers can really enrich a language.

    @Nancy...there are several of us*'d be surprised!
    *Full disclosure...while *technically* English is not my first language, I have to admit that I was born and raised in the USofA, and I have an American accent in every other language that I stumble through - even my "native" one.

    And if anyone thinks simply writing in an adopted tongue is hard, try solving a crossword. I can't do that either.

    Oh...and so glad that I have fulfilled the Anons' mission... Now they'll go away.

    Marco Esquandolas 1:58 AM  

    JOY, BIRDSOFAFEATHER and REBA are all songs by Phish, a rock and roll quartet from Vermont. I do not think this is a coincidence.

    Only now am I noticing that the constructor's last name is Haight, the name the street on which the Grateful Dead once lived. Throw in the fact that we also have ICAME as an answer (I can't have been the only one who giggled), and this puzzle was clearly constructed by a phan.

    Marco Esquandolas 2:16 AM  

    I was searching for any other signs of Phishiness, when I noticed that ALTOS is an answer, and Charlie Parker, who often went by the nickname, Bird, played the alto sax.

    spacecraft 11:02 AM  


    I tore off the WRAPPINGPAPER to PEEK in the box:
    Who should I find but Queen BEY--what a FOX!
    I said, "We are really just BIRDSOFAFEATHER;
    Why don't we, you know, FLOCKTOGETHER?"
    So we started to PLAYAT a sweet loving game,


    Well, it ain't BS, but I thought I'd try one. This was an amusing way to TAKEOFF the week. Once again I was thinking Tetris at first sight. Perhaps getting rid of the central diagonal series of V's might have looked more like a GOOSE formation. It would also have cut down on the 3-letter word count--an astonishing 30!

    The overall word count looks low if you read the highest number, 55, till you add in the 19 (!) two-ways and get a total of 74. This is pretty choppy weather to be CLEARed FOR TAKEOFF.

    I note the discrepancy in the language of 1-down vis-a-vis the actual amendment, but the spirit of the thing is there. I also note that, for a welcome change, the constructor eschewed "one's" in favor of YOUR.

    Whaddya know, EASEFUL is actually a word. After replacing this grid in its proper (IMO) Monday spot and giving it a B--because I was also IRED at IRED--I shall retire to an EASEFUL REPOSE.

    Burma Shave 1:29 PM  

    Oh @Spacey, you nailed it, don't think I can top that one today!

    rain forest 1:51 PM  

    How could one not like this beauty? Really revved up Monday, which is a bit of a feat.

    My first thought when seeing the grid layout was "geese!" Thirteen little V's flying diagonally up the grid. Regarding all the long answers:

    If you've seen a very large flock of geese, you'll see many V's within that flock, much like the puzz.

    Wrapping paper has repeating patterns on it, just like this grid does.

    Those V's can be thought of as hooks, and when one crooks one's finger, that't the shape one makes.

    Jury of your peers: there's the jury of 12, with the accused sitting lower left in the dock.

    It all works, and I'm not retracting one FLOCKing word.

    2726 = 8 I think that's good enough.

    BS2 2:34 PM  

    But try I must without using any of @Spacey's words.


    It was CLIO WHO did LURE me to the nudist center,
    BYHOOKORBYCROOK, I would TRI to enter.
    IFSO, I could PEERAT nudes in states of REST OAR REPOSE,
    Then CLIO said, “You’re CLEARFORTAKEOFF, remove all your clothes.”
    HELI looked FOE a towel, in LIEU of a PROP,
    I could hardly BEHR to GOAT it with CLIO ATOP.
    YES, as if on CUE, I FIT in PLIANT and peaceful,
    TRI to find something ELSE, BRER, to make you so EASEFUL.

    --- HAL HOLA

    rondo 3:17 PM  

    Gotta love dueling poets. @Spacey puttin’ the pressure on @Burma Shave.

    I think this puz was superior to most Mondays, not Mondayne at all. Thought at first the theme might be something to do with groups having something in common, having the long JURYOFYOURPEERS and BIRDSOFAFEATHER in before the others. But then things changed, but not for the worst.

    I’d put REBA in the yeah baby category. Anyone remember that red dress!? My AGE, too, or nearly.

    Other than one write-over at PEruse instead of PEERAT, a clean grid. Nice long words. A fine Monday IMHO.

    Ginger 6:33 PM  

    @Spacey and @BS You two made my Monday!

    Teedmn 7:17 PM  

    Two poems with no crossover from the same puzz and still sexy. Way to go @spacecraft and @ Burma Shave!

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