German prelate who was first person to be canonized AD 993 / MON 6-15-15 / Relative of wood engraving / Google's image organizer / Kingston Trio hit that inspired CharlieCard for Boston commuters / Where Magna Carta was sealed / tropical grassland

Monday, June 15, 2015

Constructor: Mike Buckley

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (**for a Monday**) (time: 3:09)

THEME: MAGNA CARTA (19A: Document issued on June 15, 1215) — theme answers are trivia relating to this document

Theme answers:
  • RUNNYMEDE (20D: Where the 19-Across was sealed)
  • DUE PROCESS (57A: Heart of the U.S. legal system, with roots in the 19-Across)
  • KING JOHN (38D: He sealed the 19-Across)
  • INNOCENT (10D: Pope who issued an annulment of the 19-Across)
Word of the Day: ULRIC (23A: German prelate who was the first person to be canonized, A.D. 993) —
Saint Ulrich of Augsburg (c. 890 – 4 July 973), sometimes spelled Uodalric or Odalrici, was Bishop of Augsburg and a leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Germany. He was the first saint to be canonized. [I like how ULRIC is not an option for spelling his name here … interesting] (wikipedia)
• • •

Not a Monday puzzle, difficulty-wise, and some of the fill was farcical—AS A TEAM? IN A SUIT? (picking up where IN A CAN and SIP TEA left off yesterday, I see). Still, I'll give this puzzle points for a. getting the exact publication date right (for once), and b. nailing RUNNYMEDE through two other themers. That's nifty. But there's a cost to pay, and that cost is ULRIC, WTF? That is about as un-Monday a piece of fill as you're likely to find. Outright obscure. But given the way the grid was constructed the "U" and the "C" were fixed, and good luck getting a decent five-letter word that starts "U" and ends "C"; I mean, what with the economy the way it is and everything … Big corners and occasionally not-famous fill (I'd put both RUNNYMEDE and ULRIC in that category) make the puzzle slow-going, but we can mostly ignore the difficulty expectations when anniversary puzzles are in play. The theme here isn't anything more than symmetrically arranged trivia, so it's dull, conceptually, and the fill is odd here and there, but mostly NYT-normal. OK. Shrug.

  • 6D: Cheeky (SAUCY) — I has SA--Y. Wrote in SASSY. That was fun.
  • 37A: Pig sound (OINK) — just givin' a little shout out to "PIGgin' IT!," my new favorite expression. I take it back, 8-Down in yesterday's Sunday puzzle; you are a totally for-real thing. I can't stop using you. You are Instant Klassic fill. So OINK OINK.
  • 25A: Movie critic, often / 30D: Broadcaster (RATER / AIRER) — two terrible tastes that taste worse in close proximity to one another. Constructor totally pigged it, right there.
  • 50D: Google's image organizer (PICASA) — this still exists? Why does it feel so 2008? 
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Carola 12:13 AM  

Liked it. I mean, how often does one have the chance to write out RUNNYMEDE? With MEDE meaning "meadow," I enjoyed the cross with MOOS and the nod to a grassland relative, SAVANNA. Nice mirroring of the two characters INNOCENT and KING JOHN and the cross of Pope INNOCENT with his arch foe OLD NICK.

jae 12:31 AM  

This was medium for me, but looking back over it, it seems tougher.  PICASA and ULRIC were WOEs ( very rare for Mon.) and stuff like INNOCENT, LE CARRE, SAMOVAR, LINOCUT...seem out of place on Mon.

That said, my time was medium.  Between the puzzle and Xwordinfo I learned (or maybe relearned)  a couple of things, liked it.

George Barany 12:45 AM  

This Monday puzzle went very fast, but it sure didn't hurt that within the past half year, three separate individuals pitched a MAGNA_CARTA tribute puzzle theme to me, target date mid-June 2015 [also, just before clicking on the link to the puzzle, I saw this headline on the home page of the New York Times website], Hats off to @Mike Buckley for getting there first.

@Hayley Gold offers her unique perspective in this week's webcomic/. Funny and insightful, with a zinger of a punchline in the last panel.

chefwen 1:45 AM  

Medium/challenging for me also. Finished with a mistake at RoNNYMEDE and oLRIC. So I guess I have to take a DNF on a Monday. Shameful! CABALS was a guess too. aiL before I'LL didn't help either. Oh well, such is life.

Ellen S 2:06 AM  

I thought Google discontinued PICASA. Rather more recently than the world stopped using ANNO DOMINI as a dating standard, but still.

I absolutely loved @Rex's writeup today. Now I have to go read about the MAGNA CARTA. I didn't know about the annulment; now it's getting interesting! But I've always thought Henry II inventing jury trials is a more fun story.

John Child 2:11 AM  

Agreed that the theme wasn't sparkly word play, but I enjoyed it. The puzzle seems very well-made to me, with nice fill. One little thing I often count is the number of thoroughly-used words (>100 occurrences) and the number of "fresh" words (<10 occurrences). Today there were twice as many fresh words as tired ones, so I'll let ULRIC pass. PICASA could have had a current clue, something about turning into Google+ Photos.


Loren Muse Smith 4:50 AM  

Pretty cool that today is the MAGNA CARTA's 800th birthday. Pretty cooler – like some other commenters, I just went back and reminded myself exactly what the thing was. I'm now ashamed that I had for the most part forgotten. Being the person I am today and learning that in college now, I would have truly appreciated its implications. But noooooo (sing-songy there please). Back when I learned that baby, I was mainly running around chasing Rotarian scholarship guys and gunning for my rote-memory-earned A's.

I sure wish I could go back and learn all that stuff over again. I think even the Krebs Cycle or finding a 3x3 identity matrix would affect me a lot more now. And of course I would finally study anthropology.

Magna Carta…has endured ever since as perhaps the world’s first and best declaration of the rule of law, a thrilling instance of a people’s limiting a ruler’s power by demanding rights for themselves

This puzzle, Dad's beloved Monday, is gonna slay him, ULRIC notwithstanding. Lots of entries that will frustrate him, and he'll just give up and cheat at Deb's Wordplay site. (I think he has this secret crush on her; he always says how nice and funny she is.) That SAMOVAR/APRES/PICASA/BMI area will be his undoing. I understand why it's published today, and I'm glad, but I do feel bad. Dad, promptly at 6pm every Sunday night, prints out his Monday, and boy do I get calls when there's a snafu. Both Mom and Dad on the line while I try to walk them through figuring out why some link is broken, neither very good hearers, Dad impatient and scared that we won't figure it out, Mom at the Computer Helm, calm, adeptly and ably following my instructions. . .So far we've always managed to figure it out.

FWIW, I have a collaboration in the queue at the NYT with an ULRIC. It's been sitting there for, gosh, over three years, maybe? I'm praying that Kim and Kanye name this new baby ULRIC, so by the time it runs, all will be forgiven.

@M&A – liked your INN OVATION! And @F.O.G. I had to look up solipsism, too, and had to go lie down after grappling with the definition. I think I'll wait around until its meaning morphs into simply what you feed a pig.

Anyway…AS A TEAM and IN A SUIT went right in, as did yesterday's SIP TEA and IN A CAN. I understand the red flag such phrases could be raising, but their green paintishness, as long as they're not themers and as long as they're *very* common phrases, don't offend my solving sensibilities. Yeah right. Like anything would. Seriously, though. If we allow IN A SUIT and SIP TEA, is there the fear that next year we'll see IN AN ADULT DIAPER or CHUG BUTTERMILK?

I have not one but two OEDS – those compressed ones. I bought an old used one on Ebay for my classroom because my one from college is too precious to me, but I tell ya – those kids get a real kick out of looking up a word and using the nifty magnifying glass in the nifty drawer. And for me, a happy observer of language change, the OED is great for demonstrating how words' meanings evolve. Last week I used the word enormity without thinking and then backed up, remembering that someone here took me to task for it because it was supposed to represent something bad. Said I should've used enormousness or some other weird word. Told my class to be careful with that word, even though I've decided to use it willy-nilly. Whoever you were who fussed at me, get thyself to an OED and look up the word nice. Then we'll talk.

Mike – the wordplay I love so much isn't there, but I'm so, so glad you did this and that I was reminded of the MAGNA CARTA. Thanks!

Danp 6:15 AM  

Magna Carta…has endured ever since as perhaps the world’s first and best declaration of the rule of law, a thrilling instance of a people’s limiting a ruler’s power by demanding rights for themselves

Actually, the original Magna Carta was annulled by Pope Innocent a couple months after King John signed it. It was revived, annulled and changed many times since 1215. Interesting that the same King John who couldn't/didn't raise hostage money to free his brother, Richard Lionheart, from the Austrians, got the pope to annul the Magna Carta because of his committment to raise money and armies for the Crusades. Meanwhile, the original Magna Carta gave protections to 25 Barons, not everybody.

Lewis 6:22 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thomaso808 6:24 AM  

Faster than average solve, but I agree it had some pretty obscure stuff for a Mon. But mostly good fill and very enjoyable.

Really liked the theme - wow, the actual 800 year anniversary of the Magna Carta! Yay, RUNNYMEDE. The theme prompted me to read up a little on the history. Not what I remember from high school. Not the king reluctantly agreeing with the leading barons to establish rights for individuals. More like the king saying what he had to in order to buy some time to appeal to his buddy Pope Innocent. Neither King John nor the Barons held up their side of the agreement. Still, it was a significant milestone.

Back to the puzzle -- right smack dab in the very center of the grid is NSYNC! That's what we get after 800 years of hard-fought progress in striving for rule of law, DUEPROCESS, and personal freedom. Oh well, it could have been worse - could have been Kim and Kanye (hi, @LMS).

Lewis 6:24 AM  

I like the down DRAFT, the upper NILE, and all's CALM on the Western Front.

Somewhere in the last week or two RUNNYMEDE was on Jeopardy, and that dropped right in. This is one of those Mondays with more bite, yet still easier and quicker than Tuesdays; so superior, IMO, to the embarrassingly easy Mondays before this year. Keep that up, Will. The bite came from answers like CABALS, OLDNICK, LINOCUT, ULRIC, REORG, ARS, SAMOVAR, PICASA, and BMI. And we had beautiful SAMOVARs and LECARREs to counter the RATERs, REORGs, and ARS's.

@Rex -- an enjoyable review with bite itself, but no annoying bark.

Rex Porker 6:42 AM  

I am a master of the backhanded compliment. Instead of just saying how great it is to have an anniversary puzzle on the exact anniversary it celebrates, I'll say "I'll give this puzzle points for a. getting the exact publication date right (for once)..." Sadly, this is the nicest thing I have to say about the puzzle. No wait, it also earns a "nifty." After that it's all downhill. I slide from there into some of my greatest hits: "wrong day of the week," "WTF" (didn't I have a whole mini-tantrum over "jackass" being to crass/coarse in public last week? [Oh yes, here it is: "It's sort of how I feel about public use of profanity. Like, go to town if you're at home..."] I mean, I suppose this blog is my home, but do you think I even know what "WTF" stands for? WTF?!), "odd fill," "NYT-normal," "shrug." Summary of my review today: Rex-normal. Shrug.

jberg 6:57 AM  

I've been binge-reading Rumpole of the Bailey, where our hero constantly reminds judges of MAGNA CARTA, so this one was easy despite my falling for the Urban misdirection at 23A. I had to wait for the cross to resolve EL NIÑO/a. So I'll RATER it thumbs up.

chefbea 7:11 AM  

I agree..tough for a monday. Had a natick at the crossing of picasa and BMI. Never heard of picasa...and the only BMI I know is body mass index!!

Watch out for sharks!!! Two children were bitten by a shark at one of our beaches here. Sure hope they are ok

Rug Crazy 7:12 AM  

Chefwan - I had the wrong vowel also: Rannymede/Alric.
enjoyed it anyway.

Pope Innocent III 7:30 AM  

Jill Lepore did a Magna Carta piece in a recent New Yorker. Worth reading: "That Oliver Cromwell supposedly called it “Magna Farta” might well be, understandably, the single thing about Magna Carta that most Americans remember from their high-school history class."

Anonymous 7:32 AM  

I was a minute and a half slower than Rex, but this was still faster than my usual Monday by a bit. Nonetheless I thought several clues were harder than the typical Monday. I wasn't seeing the last letter of LINOCUT and hadn't heard of the Kingston Trio song MTA, so that was a lucky guess on my part. Liked it overall!

dk 7:43 AM  

🌕🌕🌕 (3 mOOOns)

Day one of only an electronic NYT. My heart is heavy.

French 1 saves the day as I had no idea who/what deals with Google images.

ALTA seems to be the ski area of the month. Thinking of driving to Maine via Canada. in late July just to take a picture of an ESSO station.

Solid fill with only a couple of groaners that Rex has identified.

An exciting day ahead as I try to explain -- if one can not develop a descriptive model one's predictive model may be, well…. flawed. TV shows on profiling do not make my job easier: just sayin!

Lewis 8:20 AM  

Factoid: According to standard British usage, the document honored today is simply called MAGNA CARTA without the "the". (
Quotoid: "We must GUARD against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex." -- Dwight D. Eisenhower

Z 8:30 AM  

aLRIC and eLRIC of Melniboné were definitely options with the notion that Michael Moorcock named his antihero after a saint an amusing notion. I went with RUNNYMEDE but the Great Vowel Shift made it a three sided coin-flip for me (not because I knew aLRIC but because it seemed reasonable - oLRIC does, too, but I didn't go that far down the vowel list).

This was in medium Tuesday to easy Wednesday time for me. Only writevoer was RAvER to RATER, but lots of "I need some crosses" for a Monday.

So, maybe I will do Sunday's puzzle since it has gotten multiple runover comments today.

Ludyjynn 8:50 AM  

Would have liked to see 'apples' crossing ORANGES, but I guess PRUNES will do.

I found this to be a very easy solve because the theme was MOSTLY transparent, but I liked the inclusion of a few tougher than Monday words: LINOCUT, SAMOVAR, ULRIC.

OINKers and MOOerS and GNUs, oh my!

@Lewis, Thanks for the DDE quotoid which is more relevant than ever.

Thanks, MB and WS, for the history lesson.

Anonymous 8:52 AM  

Helped that i had just read the oped in today's paper, Stop Revering Magna Carta...

Roo Monster 8:53 AM  

Hey All !
800 years for this puz to come out! Wow! :-P
Thought it also med-challenging *for a MonPuz*. Some un-Monday fill. LINOCUT?? LECARRE? PICASA new (old?) crossing APRES, ouch! Had a M for the P, confusing my Spanish for my Google! Anyone else spell it RUNNYMEad? SAMOVAR is something I think I should know, but for some reason never leaps to mind at first.

The grid is nicely open, also not too common for a MonPuz. I wonder how many times Mike Buckley moved the themers around to see what worked. I'm begining to think ESSO is a monopoly in Canada!

Old Mike Buckley had a puz,
With an OINK OINK here,
And a MOOS MOOS there,
Here a GNU, there an ERE,
Everywhere a SO THERE!


Anonymous 8:53 AM  

oped is a dook.

Anonymous 8:55 AM  

@ROO, the puzzle was probably submitted in 1215 and will just got around to it.

NCA President 9:01 AM  

Toughish for a Monday for me. LECARRE/LINOCUT took a while. ULRIC just seemed the most German, and I've heard of a Sunnymead(e), so hell, why not RUNNYMEDE?

I might be completely wrong here, but I don't equate a SAVANNAH with the tropics...I equate it with Africa, which I equate with dry-ish grassland which I don't equate with "tropical." So, I was surprised that SAVANNAH fit there.

I was struck by how many ridiculously easy gimmes there were right alongside far more difficult entries. I'd slap in NSYNC, STANLEY, ARIEL, etc., and meanwhile get hung up on LECARRE, LINCOCUT, SAMOVAR, etc.

Overall I liked it.

Indypuzzler 9:07 AM  

@Lewis thanks for the actual DDE quote because somehow my brain had condensed it to "Beware the M-I complex". Pretty sure my brain borrowed from Jabberwocky....
I think this was tougher for a Monday but it was in my wheelhouse so I still finished in usual Monday time.
Had to laugh about @lms "rote memory A's" because I also feel that way. My husband was the opposite with his grades and has been tutoring my long term history knowledge our entire marriage.

Anonymous 9:13 AM  

I was ill and in bed yesterday when the puzzle came out on my phone app, but started it anyway, dozing off mid-puzzle without stopping the clock. Oddly enough, I woke with a start, and continued solving - and still managed to beat my normal Monday time by a few seconds. I know I'm not a speedy solver, but you shouldn't be able to take a nap mid puzzle and still beat your time. (solve time 7:22, embarrassing but there you have it)

RUNNYMEDE was in my wheelhouse (although I first tried RUNNYMEAD), MAGNACARTA was easy, as was most of the rest. I struggled a bit with LINOCUT and OLDNICK, and almost got sicker when I saw INASUIT. I made the same SASSY/SAUCY error, but that resolved itself with LINOCUT. ULRIC came from the crosses for the same reasons Rex mentioned.

To me it seemed OK for a Monday, and I enjoyed the Magna Carta theme. Not overly exciting (re: dozed off). Maybe I'll remember these clues for a future puzzle.

Haiku Nerd 9:17 AM  


Caryl Baron 9:21 AM  

Pop culture is all around but it doesn't make a dent. LINOCUT, SAMOVAR, SAVANNA(h), RUNNYMEDE, STANLEY were all snaps, and ULRIC slipped in after RUNNYMEDE. But NSYNC, ARIEL, PICASA? Not my cup of tea.

mathguy 9:30 AM  

Really enjoyed Rex's commentary today.

@Loren Muse Smith: I agree. It would have been nice if we had had the sophistication to understand the stuff we memorized to get good grades. Happy to have learned a lot about Magna Carta today.

In his blog, Bill Butler mentions that he uses Picasa in producing his material.

quilter1 9:38 AM  

Easy for me. @Lewis, yes RUNNYMEDE was an answer on Jeopardy last week. As an art minor 50 years or so ago LINOCUT was a gimme. No problems here.

Roo Monster 9:50 AM  

@Anony 8:55, Hahahahaha! That was freakin awesome! :-D LOL!

Hey, just thought about AS A TEAM and IN A SUIT as themers. Maybe the Barons wanted the MAGNA CARTA AS A TEAM? Or KING JOHN was IN A SUIT when he proposed it?
Just sayin... :-}


Z 9:56 AM  

@ NCA President - If you look at a globe and find Africa you will be reminded that most of it is between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. "Equatorial" or "Tropical" pretty much cover Africa. I tend to think Pacific Ocean when I think "tropical" but that's from watching too much Gilligan's Island as a lad. "Veldt," on the other hand is locked in Africa thanks to Ray Bradbury.

Nancy 10:11 AM  

Agree it was harder than most Mondays. Never heard of PICASA. Like others, I had SAssY before SAUCY. Hesitated between RATER and RAvER at 25A. Wrote down ALEE at 1D much too quickly, before checking the crosses and changing to CALM. And for LINOCUT, I initially was looking for LITHO-something-or-other. But I ACED the theme answers, which made everything else fall quickly.

NCA President 10:11 AM  

@Z: Yes to the Gilligan's Island definition of "tropical." Hey, if told someone you're going to take a "tropical" vacation, they're going to think more "palm tree" and less "baobab tree." You can also think rain forest when you think more "Amazon" and less "Congo Basin." OTOH, If I were to tell someone I'm going to vacation in a savanna (and not the one in Georgia, USA), they'd think safari and not Coronas by the beach.

So, yeah, I know that there is a circle of "tropics" around the globe, but in everyday parlance, a savanna is not particularly or immediately equated with "tropical." It's technically tropical, but overshadowed by the more common images of "tropical."

I could be wrong. Maybe the majority of you think "tropical" and immediately think only of the band around the globe near the equator. I wasn't challenging the classification as much as I was pointing out how much I didn't equate African savanna with the word "tropical."

Arlene 10:12 AM  

An anniversary puzzle on the correct date - I was so impressed and delighted when I filled in 19A!
(I actually filled in RUNNYMEDE first.)
Quite a bit of hoopla for a Monday!

Horace S. Patoot 10:16 AM  

this is long and boring so skip it if PICASA doesn't interest you. Since I use it almost daily, I can report that PICASA is alive, but ill. PICASA exists as a way to organize and tag massive numbers of photos on the computer. There was also a PICASA web mirror that maintained a copy of all the photos more or less seamlessly on the Internet and provided for sharing. Google bought PICASA and was of course their photo sharing platform. Google did a good thing by creating a web PICASA - Google + portal, and left web PICASA during a transition period during which features of Web PICASA began to disappear until it was no longer visible, like a certain cat. Now you can organize photos and tag them, and if you share them they will eventually show up on G+.

I'd love to learn a better way to manage, tag, backup and share my tens of thousands of photos, because there have been a lot of bugs and tens of hours of duplicated work --tags missing, old files written over new ones, lost files, etc. I apologize for being off-topic.

weingolb 10:17 AM  

Thought this was a nifty little puzzle until I started picking it apart...

INNOCENT is actually incorrect (courtesy the great Across and Down comic); so very many pluralized nouns; the green-paintish phrases, the ULRIC (?)!

But I was happy ENUF doing this Monday until something called an ascap ran up against a SAMOVAR (all signs point to Ascap actually being ASCAP so that just makes things more galling for me — is a mistake?) DNF. But diverting and fun. I'd rather DNF on a quick Monday diversion than after investing too much time on a Friday.

Anonymous 10:26 AM  

Haiku Nerd you've been nailing it the past few days.

Indypuzzler 10:35 AM  

Just to pile on with the geography and "tropical" take...I agree with the folks that I think of jungle like growth or palms and bougainvillea first BUT when grassland is mentioned I think of steppes, pampas, plains and...savanna, so I guess my "elimination processor" kicked in for the "easy" savanna result.

AliasZ 10:38 AM  

What a lovely and appropriate puzzle by Mike Buckley. It is refreshing to see that in today's world there is still appreciation for historical documents that provided the foundations on which modern societies were built: MAGNA CARTA, the Code of Hammurabi from some 3000 years before it, and the Hebrew Bible are three such documents.

The puzzle was a bit on the tough side for a Monday, what with entries like ULRIC, LINOCUT, SAMOVAR and CABALS which are not standard Monday fare, but OINK, MOOS, MOOR, RATER etc. were ENUF to countermand them.

And of course, what could exemplify "foundation" more than this composer, on whose life's work Western music as we know it was based, represented here by his Violin Concerto in EMAJ. Music changed forever because of J. S. Bach.

Enjoy your Monday.

Z 11:21 AM  

@Indy Puzzler and @NCA Prez - More on SAVANNA. I would have never considered Wisconsin when the word SAVANNA is used. I also noticed in my web surfing that "tropical" denotes "humid" while the Sahara and Saudi Arabia have the Tropic of Cancer running right through them. I am feeling less bad about my 10 minute+ time. I think I had -A-ANNA before I came up with SAVANNA. I'm predicting an appearance of "pampas" or "veldt" this week.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:51 AM  

@Roo Monster (et al.): Yes, my one write-over was RUNNYMEAD before RUNNYMEDE.

Good puzzle, but it is rather deflating to read the Op-Ed article in today's paper, as cited by Anonymous at 8:52 AM.

Masked and Anonymo5Us 11:55 AM  

@009: One just needs to be flexile, when dealin with fillin the likes of U???C.
Top suggestions, with clue provided for convenience purposes:
* UPDOC - {"What's ___?"}
* UNABC - {Hardly easy as pie??}
* UPTIC - {Putting yer X in one of the top three boxes}
* UEPIC - {Daily NYTPuz with twenty or more U's}
* UNIVC - {College in Chicago: Var.}

I could go on indefinitely, but I saw some spittle tricklin out, after that last one...

Always get real nervous, myself, when I see an entry start like 48-Across did. Especially after Pigit Sunday.

fave moo-cow MonPuz easy clue: {Cow sounds}. Now, that's what I am talkin about, Mike!

fave weeject = GNU.

M&Agna Carter


Tita 12:13 PM  

Saw an original edition of the MAGNACARTA at the Houston Museum of Natural Science earlier this year.

@lms - are you collaborating with our Ulrich? Or you have "ULRIC" as fill...?

@Horace - me too!! Why is it impossible for all those google brains to build a simple, elegant tool. I have about 4 products, each excelling at 2 or 3 key features, but completely screwing up the other one or two key features, with no useful overlap. OINK!

So Rex broke his own unwritten rule of never mentioning other days' puzzles so's not to spoil it for sequence-challenged puzzlers. SOTHERE!

My mom has a humongous Portuguese silver SAMOVAR. Oh the enormity!
We often SIPTEA from it. (Not!)

Fine tribute puzzle, Mr. Buckley. It spurred plenty of interesting research. (I feel moderately more superior researching MAGNACARTA than I do researching WOMBATS or NSYNC.)

Indypuzzler 12:14 PM  

Yes @Z you shouldn't feel bad at all. I think of humid also and perhaps since I only have a few "grasslands" in my tool box I went with savanna....because it fit!

old timer 12:19 PM  

INNOCENT is not incorrect at all. When I was a kid, there was an old man in Rome called "Pope Pius". He was succeeded by a reformer everyone called "Pope John". Right now England has a queen called "Elizabeth". No one uses the Roman numerals except in a historical context, or when the previous pope or monarch of the same name is still in recent memory.

I decided to do this puzzle all on downs, as much as possible. My time was no more than a minute slower than the fastest Monday. The one thing I did not know at all was PICASA. Oh, I had never seen ULRIC thus spelled, but since he was German, Ulrich came to mind, and no doubt the Latin version of the name has no "h" in it.

I thought it was entertaining, for a Monday

old timer 12:32 PM  

BTW it hardly matters that Innocent purported to undo Magna Carta. Magna Carta established that due process, trial by jury, no new taxes without the consent of Parliament etc. *had always* been the right of *all* English citizens, not just the barons. So even if the document itself was declared null and void, the principle remained, and since 1215 it has not been legal to take life or property without due process. Or at least the semblance of due process. Likewise, since that day, approval of a "great council" was required to levy new taxes, and this council soon became the bicameral Parliament, with representatives from towns and counties as well as the Lords.

John may have had the Pope on his side, but he was powerless, after 1215, to rule like a dictator. The barons had most of the land, which meant also must of the tenants who could officer an army, if needed. John was not only hated, he was weak -- his nickname "Lackland" is a clue.

GILL I. 12:47 PM  

I really enjoyed this. I'm so used to most Monday puzzles dumbing down for the novice, that this was a welcome change.
Funny, I read all about MAGNA CARTA and KING JOHN when I was about 15. I was fascinated to learn how it paved the way for the declaration of rights in the U.S. Then I promptly forgot about it and moved on to other vital things. Never forgot RUNNYMEDE though since I pronounced it readymedy. No one bothered to correct me.
To this day, I have trouble picturing sweet OLD NICK as Satan. I'm pretty sure I argued that one to the ground...
Thanks Mike Buckley for the fine puzzle and the reminder of the anniversary...

M and Also 12:52 PM  

* USOFC - {Trojans are common here, informally speaking}
* UNIWC - {Having only one loo in the flat??}

"If It Starts with U, I Want That"

Roo Monster 1:23 PM  

Hey @M&A, UPDOC my favorite! Funny funny!
How about...
UNHIC (Scare someone?)
UBLOC (Bunch of colleges close together?
UGLYC (Lower wnd of an average grade?)
USADC (White House locale?)
UTRUC (Move yourself?)

Feel free to amend as you wish!


Loren Muse Smith 1:30 PM  

@M&A and @Roo

URYIC - what you say, gratefully, to an gifted eye surgeon?

MDMA 1:33 PM  

anagram cat

nerdy menu

The sinister side of DUE PROCESS:

super coeds. pro seduces. crude poses. creeps do us. corpses due. rep sues doc. cursed peso. rescue pods. suede corps.

Charles kluepfel 1:38 PM  

today's op-ed deflates the due process clue.

Melodious Funk 2:04 PM  

Anon 2:45 approx from last Friday's DS:

"Classic New York Times crossword discussion board--a bunch of old white people hitting the trifecta: reminiscing about their travels to the Continent, showing off their knowledge of classical music, and speaking condescendingly about a young constructor. Maybe somebody should complain that the chardonnay isn't chilled correctly or that the service in this place has gone straight downhill."

This was perceptive enough to warrant an actual humanoid post. To which I would add, Bingo Bingo and Bingo.

Anoa Bob 2:13 PM  

Has anyone else besides me noticed that it is always the same time in Rex Parker Does The NY Times Crossword Puzzle world? It's a couple of minutes before nine, and I believe it's P.M., not A.M., because it's quite dark.

One of our regulars, Professor Barany I believe, recently revealed the source of Rex's avatar, so I'm hoping that someone will step forward and solve this chronological mystery. I've never seen it explained, nor even mentioned, in these pages and there's nothing about it in Rex's FAQ list. Stonehenge? Mayan calendar?

Nancy 2:22 PM  

@old timer (12:32 p.m.) -- You haven't shared any of your info with us, but you sound like a history professor to me. And a damned GOOD one, at that!

M and Also Also 2:56 PM  

@Anoa Bob: Surely @009 could somehow shine some light on why his banner pic has 9:00 (roughly) as its designated time? Ja? oder Nein? Ich tanke so. Vieleichtz?

@roo & muse: har. primo stuff. Inspirational. To continue...

* UBAMC - {What Vanna says to try to bolster Sajak's confidence?}
* UWISC - {Badger's home: Var.}
* URBIC - {From the city?}
* URNIC - {Worthy of a Keats ode?}
* URLIC - {}
* UNBIC - {Disarm a NYTPuz pen solver?}
* UACDC - {Sext message??}
* UDARC - {Props to Joan of Arc, informally??}
* UIMAC - {Steve Jobs's last known license plate?}
* USNIC - {Like a midshipman??}
* UGHIC - {Redundant cry of disgust?}


Roo Monster 3:07 PM  

UDARC!! *Tears*



Steve Rosenthal 3:08 PM  

Please read "Stop Revering Magna Carta" on the NYT op-ed page today, and you will realize that what you were probably taught about the Magna Carta is a myth, usually peddled to glorify English and US government and tradition. Due process? I think not? How about due diligence in taking note of the contradiction between what's in the crossword and the expose of historical myths and lies by U of Chicago prof on the oped page today, Will Shortz?

Z 3:11 PM  

So I went and read the OpEd. Let's just say I'm not impressed. Feel free to skip...


1. "Due Process" as a concept is there in the original Magna Carta. That's like saying that the US Constitution didn't provide due process until the 14th amendment passed. No, the idea that "due process" was "added" later is wrong in both examples. I'd have gone with "repeatedly modified and expanded." "Due Process" goes back to at least the Code of Hammurabl (1754 BCE give or take a month or two - what's 4,000 years between friends), with the general progression being to protect people more from arbitrary governmental intrusion.

2. I'm shocked, SHOCKED I SAY, to discover that progress is made through self-interested discontent with the status quo (psst - "All men are created equal" meant male property owners of European descent, women and "negroes" need not apply)(and if you didn't just cringe a little we need to talk). I have to wonder if the author thinks WalMart is raising wages because it's the right thing to do.

3. Seriously, The author is surprised that a 13th century European document picks on Jews? I mean, 20th century Europe was soooooo much more advanced.

I could go on (and on and on and on) but the biggest thing the author seems to be missing is context. No, we wouldn't want to live under the 1215 Magna Carta today. I'll also pass on the 1789 version of the US Constitution. However, the Magna Carta was a quantum change (in writing no less) in the relationship between the Ruler and the Ruled, it is worth learning about.


@anoa bob - I had barely ever noticed the background image in the banner so I was wondering what you'd been drinking. My first guess is that it was available as part of the blogger template when Rex was born.

Sue in France 3:43 PM  

With such a justifiable flurry about the Magna Carta, we have been overlooking a very funny song by the Kingston trio, the MTA, clued in 15D. I like this version best, as it includes the spoken introduction:

Norm 3:48 PM  

At the time Pope Innocent acted, he was the first & only pope by that name, so I'd say the clue and answer are fine. I do not know whether he styled himself Innocent I. It would seem rather presumptuous to assume that a future pope would style himself after you. It appears John Paul I did so, but he was honoring his predecessors by taking the combined name, so that would not seem to be improper pride. Note that Pope Francis is simply that (although this non-Catholic hopes that many more in the succession will follow his approach, whether or not they adopt the same name).

JTHurst 3:53 PM  

Easey Peasey. Agree with Anom earlier who said it gave she/he/it (shi) a boost up when 'shi' saw an Oped about the Magna Carta in the paper. I also saw the article today in the INYT (Is the MC relevant in today's world?) and this has happened several times before, which has assisted me in discovery of the theme answer.

Since our judicial lineage is primarily from England except for Louisiana and its Napoleonic Code background, we as Americans seem to extoll the MC as being a break through document. Though we had a more comprehensive code existing in this country prior to 1215 developed by the iroquois Confederacy, in supposedly 1142, known as the Great Law of Peace, from which it was rumoured that our founding fathers plagiarised several sections for the Declaration of Independence. And you have many religions that have developed moral codes in addition to their religious beliefs, one of the earliest being Zoroastrianism.

Pope Innocent III 4:55 PM  

Pope Innocent I, saint (401–417)
Pope Innocent II (1130–1143)
Pope Innocent III (1198–1216)

Antipope Innocent III (1179-1180)

MDMA 5:20 PM  


There is a powerful generalized revisionist tendency these days, because no one ever won acclaim by writing an article entitled "Things Are Pretty Much the Way We Thought They Were". Instead, you gain fame and notoriety by writing "Everything You Always Thought About X Is Completely Wrong".

And this is exacerbated by a) an ideological slant to dismiss anything that was ever accomplished by dead white males, and b) the clickbait-ification of everything on the Internet.

What does it matter if the Magna Carta's greatest fame and influence came later? I wonder if Van Gogh is dismissed as a myth because he wasn't such a big deal during his own lifetime. And Jesus Christ didn't really change the course of world history until three centuries after his death.

(PS to the NYT article author, using the article-less version of the name is just a little too precious)

chefbea 6:26 PM  

So no one has mentioned BMI=body mass index

kitshef 6:37 PM  

Tuesdayish, probably later if you don't know the historical references. I thoroughly loved it. I wonder at what point things stop being dated and become historical.

LINeCUT before LINOCUT, PhI before PSI, ENow before ENUF.

Thank you last Friday for giving me what was then a WoE that I could now put down confidently.

More like this, please.

Teedmn 7:09 PM  

I, too, had gimmes throughout this puzzle because I read an NYTIMES PIECE ON IT. OTHERWISE RUNNYMEDE would not have been anywhere in my brain - high school history of England just too long ago. But the piece I read was less dismissive of MAGNA CARTA than the oped piece.


This article reflects many of the comments today so I thought it balanced the oped piece nicely.

Tita 7:57 PM  

@Sue en France...merci bien!! THat is a great rendition - I always got such a kick out of that song, even though I'm not a Bostonian.

@Z and @MDMA - your perspectives are so far the best I've read...

The bbc has an interesting perspective on how it came to be an American obsession:
(Just 'cause I know y'all haven't had enough MAGNACARTA yet...)

jburgs 10:17 PM  

Anyone wishing to view one of the original copies of the Magna Carta can plan a visit to Canada this summer where the document is on a National tour. Google for details and locations.

Teedmn 10:41 PM  

Oh, and I forgot about the article I read today which shows @OFL is not alone in Hating the word Moist

Bob Kerfuffle 6:37 AM  

@Teedmn - That's the moist ridiculous thing I ever heard of!

Leapfinger 10:48 AM  

Alas for the Hoistess with the Moistest! Good to know the animus doesn't extend to cakes'n'turkey; it must have arisen from some prime evil use.
Thank you both, @Teedmn/MrKerfuffle.

Good puzzle that elicited a great range of responses; by my lights,the Gold Kudo Award goes to @HayleyG.

My solipsischtick contributions:
Oozy honey ferments into RUNNYMEDE
"I Don't Want ULRIC O'Shea Romance", Teresa Brewer,1954

Kate Mark 12:54 PM  

I am here to give testimony of how i got back my husband, we got married for over 9 years and we had two kids. thing were going well with us and we where always happy. until one day my husband started to behave in a way i could not understand, i was very confused by the way he treated me and the kids. later that month he did not come back home again and he called me that he want a divorce, i asked him what have i done wrong to deserve this from him, all he was saying is that he want a divorce that he hate me and do not want to see me again in his life, i was mad and also frustrated do not know what to do,i was sick for more than 2 weeks because of the divorce. i love him so much he was everything to me without him my life is incomplete. i told my sister and she told me to contact a spell caster, i never believe in all this spell casting of a thing. i just want to try if something will come out of it. i contacted traditional spell hospital for the return of my husband to me, they told me that my husband have been taken by another woman, that she cast a spell on him that is why he hate me and also want us to divorce. then they told me that they have to cast a spell on him that will make him return to me and the kids, they casted the spell and after 1 week my husband called me and he told me that i should forgive him, he started to apologize on phone and said that he still live me that he did not know what happen to him that he left me. it was the spell that he casted on him that make him come back to me. my family and i are now happy again. Thank you Dr. Aluta for what you have done for me i would have been nothing today if not for your great spell. i want you my friends who are passing through all this kind of love problem of getting back their husband, wife , or ex boyfriend and girlfriend to contact and you will see that your problem will be solved without any delay. He cast spells for different purposes like
(1) If you want your ex back.
(2) if you always have bad dreams.
(3) You want to be promoted in your office.
(4) You want women/men to run after you.
(5) If you want a child.
(6) You want to be rich.
(7) You want to tie your husband/wife to be yours forever.
(8) If you need financial assistance.
(9) Herbal care
(10) is the only answer to that your problem of winning the lottery
Contact him today on:

Leapfinger 1:33 PM  

[oop] Sorry, I must have left the door open for @Kate Mark.

Anyway, given sentence structure such as 'He cast spells for different purposes like ... [#10] is the only answer to that your problem of winning the lottery', it seems that what's needed isn't spelling as much as it is parsing.

Caitlyn 2:09 PM  

Kardashion clues NYT . Click on a date, you may get Rex.

Burma Shave 11:41 AM  


SOTHERE’s a GNU gal named SAVANNA, whom I just ADORE,
I’d RATER at LEAST a nine (INASUIT only four),
MOSTLY through DUEPROCESS she ALTARed that score,
NOW she is SAUCY and not so INNOCENT ANY MOOR.


rondo 12:13 PM  

Tougher than most Mondays, but that’s fine with me. Good to get a history brush-up. No write-overs so not too difficult all in all.

MEG Ryan, need I say yeah baby? Yes I must. Ever see “My Mom’s New Boyfriend” or “In the Cut”? SAUCY.
GLENN Close? Meh.

We have a Random Key for @spacey. MCCXV might have been a good answer as an RRN, probably tough to get crosses.

Can’t say PEW about this puz, can’t SNIPE at it, didn’t ADORE it, but pretty decent I thought.

spacecraft 2:07 PM  

Finished despite a 100% natick at BM_/P_CASA. Pure guess: I. Sometimes even a blind squirrel finds the nut. Crosses like that are, IMO, a construction no-no.

Cool ancient-history theme; I do not agree that it's dull. "Those who ignore history..." etc.

WOE is "LINOCUT?" Never mind about ULRIC; LINOCUT is the non-Monday answer for sure. And yes, the old RMK for me to growl at. Done.

I still liked it, liked doing it, and award a B-.

DMG 2:25 PM  

Nice collection of words and ideas in this one. Instead of @Ellen's loathed "eels", we get SAMOVAR, RUNNYMEDE, and APRES among others. Only hiccup for me was the BM?/P?CASA crossing, but I took a aucessful stab at I so finished with a smile.

Appreciate the salute to ELNINO, the storm god that just brought a weekend of record breaking rain to drought parched San Diego County. Maybe our trees will live a little longer. @Ron Diego: Hope you weren't,t washed off your hill.

Cathy 2:50 PM  

Ditto on the BM?/P?CASA. Chose "I" thinking it sounded close to Picasso.

@Burma Shave- Après bang..funny!

So it was El Niño that caused my 4 hour delay including 2 hours on the Tarmac arrggg. No cocktail service on Tarmac. Double arrggg!
Ah, but the trees..ha ha!

Seriously, rain is good:)

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