American Progress muralist / MON 7-13-15 / TV journalist O'Donnell / Rapper with Harvard hip-hop fellowship named in his honor / Bygone cross-Atlantic jet for short

Monday, July 13, 2015

Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Relative difficulty: Slightly harder than your average Monday (for me, 3:14)

THEME: FACEBOOK BUTTONS (62A: What the first words in 17-, 29- and 48-Across are) — They are Facebook actions. Buttons ... well, two of them, sometimes. Not "Comments." Not a button. Not.

Theme answers:
  • LIKE WHITE ON RICE (17A: As close as close can be)
  • COMMENT ÇA VA? (29A: "How's it going?," in Paris)
  • SHARE PRICES (48A: Stock quotes)

Word of the Day: NORAH O'Donnell (28D: TV journalist O'Donnell) —
Norah Morahan O’Donnell (born January 23, 1974) is an American print and television journalist, currently serving as the co-anchor of CBS This Morning, a position she has held since July 2012, when she replaced Erica Hill. Before that, she spent one year as Chief White House Correspondent for CBS News in Washington, D.C., after moving to the network from NBC. She is also the substitute host for CBS' Sunday morning show, Face the Nation. (wikipedia)
• • •

"Buttons" didn't sit right with me, and it turns out there's a reason. So, if you're on FB, these actions (Like, Comment, Share) aren't "buttons"—they're simply links. They do appear, in that order (nice), at the bottom of most FB posts, but as links, not "buttons." "Buttons," appear on non-FB sites, and connect some article or post to Facebook. Like ... yeah, here. Take this article about Natick, MA that I've randomly chosen from the Boston Globe. You can see a bunch of "buttons" at the top (also at the bottom). The FB one will allow you to "Share" the article (you should share it—it's got a great opening paragraph). Anyway, if you go around the internet, you will see "Like" buttons and "Share" buttons. You will not see "Comments" buttons. Buttons connect your site to FB. Comments, on the other hand, generally appear right on your site, and even when they're powered by FB, there's generally no "button," per se. Just your typical hyperlink, or maybe not even that. Just a "Comments" box. "Comment" is odd man out here, is what I'm saying. A huge outlier, compared to LIKE and SHARE. Here's an experiment. Google the following three phrases (in quotation marks): ["Facebook Like button"], ["Facebook Share button"], and finally ["Facebook Comment button"]. Now compare the numbers. Prosecution rests.

Fill was typical, old, tired. NEWSBOY I kind of like. The rest, excessively familiar in the short stuff, dullish in the long stuff. ARLO ACLU ROIS GIL ODIE HAI ATIT ORES SERT (ugh) OLE SST (ugh) ACTI LAOS ASIS ETD EMIR and that's just the tired stuff I picked up on a first scan of the grid. I did appreciate the NAS trivia, though. Otherwise, I think PEORIA is probably more exciting than this puzzle's non-theme fill. LIKE WHITE ON RICE is the marquee answer of the day—maybe the bar is so low on Monday that one winning 15 is good enough. Not sure. It's coolness is totally offset by SHARE PRICES, which you would be hard-pressed to surpass in boringness. Not too thrilled that LIKE and SHARE retain their pronunciations in the theme answers but COMMENT, yikes, way different. But they are all repurposed, meaning-wise, so maybe that's enough.

[18-Down: WILCO]

Also, I've seen Facebook action themes before. This just didn't strike me as special or clever (or smooth, or tightly executed) enough for the NYT.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on FACEBOOK and also Twitter]


Steve J 12:08 AM  

Interesting idea foiled by inaccuracy (as noted, they're not buttons on Facebook). Non-interesting puzzle, foiled by non-interesting fill and clues (I'm assuming foiled, as I'm guessing the constructor didn't set out to create a dull puzzle), even by Monday standards. Big ol' bag of blah.

JFC 12:09 AM  

@AA, I liked this puzzle. I don't do social media and could care less about buttons or links. The only quibble I have is with SHARE PRICES which seems a bit forced. Otherwise for a Monday puzzle, this is about as good as they get. And that includes the fill. As I've said before on a number of occasions, Rex should just not comment on Monday or Tuesday puzzles but delegate those to someone less anal.

PS. If you do't know who AA is, read my penultimate post yesterday.


jae 12:48 AM  

On the tough side of medium for me too.  I don't do Facebook (Instagram and Twitter,  yes because Grandkids) so I have no idea about buttons.  This seemed  fine/average for a Mon., however, given Rex's COMMENTs, the theme has problems.  That said, liked it.

Not even close to having heard of it or how to parse it(WOE): COMMENTCAVA.

Hays 1:00 AM  

Facebook is terrible and crosswords based around Facebook are doomed from the start.

chefwen 2:26 AM  

I don't FACEBOOK,, TWEET or twitter, so FACE BOOK BUTTONS was fine with me. What do I know? My biggest goof was filling in LAGO at 3D thinking we were heading in an Italian direction, shoulda know better. Loved LIKE WHITE ON RICE.

31D GIL I, where are you?

Music man 2:48 AM  

I just may be the only mid 20-year-old that tells you they "don't Facebook" (which rain Wilson has compared to the modern version of not having a tv. I had a Facebook about 10 years ago, when, if you didn't have a college email address, you could not be on Facebook. Once 12 year olds and their pets started joining, I was out, for good.

Even so, this puzzle was ridiculously easy for me. Our sense of difficulty really varies, yours and mine, Rex.

I vote we get rid of the super easy Monday. Or, how 'bout we keep Mon-Wed, but make them diagramless!

Music man 2:49 AM  

*edits* you know what they are *edits*

Z 3:44 AM  

I thought foreign languages were to be avoided.

I really, really, really, don't like the phrase "LIKE WHITE ON RICE."

I haven't had a Facebook account in years.


'Nuff said.

Hayley 5:54 AM  

Billy C, let me know if you have any edits for my comic today, I can always use a proofreader!

Lewis 6:40 AM  

@rex -- So if they were called "links" instead of "buttons" then COMMENT would not be an outlier at all, is that right, Rex? Then I think the outlier issue is a non-issue; the issue is the accuracy of the word "button".

I liked SUNSETS and PEORIA, and that UPTON is up, the mini-theme of words ending in A (10), the mostly clean grid, and the DOOK (USERID). While I am overall grateful for the brain wakeup, I found the solve "frustrating for a Monday". Some answers were too hard for a Monday (SERT, EILEEN, LAKEGENEVA, NORAH, and I've never heard of ALMONDROCA and LIKEWHITEONRICE). And there were too many clues that were just simple giveaways, too easy even for a Monday, with not a hint of subtlety (a great example of how Monday cluing should be, see Lynn Lempel's sparkling Monday last week). So it was the hard and the soft, kind of a bumpy ride.

Anonymous 6:48 AM  

@jae: COMMENTCAVA = "comment ça va", French greeting. I think it literally means "how is it going" but it's a pleasantry like "how are you." When my daughter was in high school, she was on Facebook for a few years so I joined. Being an old fogey, I never really used it. I only checked in on occasion to see any new pictures. She has since pretty much abandoned Facebook for philosophical reasons. She's another mid-20's person with considerable computer expertise (she programs and maintains web pages) who has no interest in Facebook or any other similar social media. I therefore no longer use Facebook at all so the "button" reference neither confused nor annoyed me. Like others, I thought there was a little too much bad fill to make the puzzle enjoyable.

- Jim C. in Maine

chefbea 7:08 AM  

Nice puzzle to come back to!! Had a great time with family..too bad I couldn't connect with some of the Rexites while in Connecticut.

Never heard the term - Like white on rice - wanted Like two peas in a pod.

I do Facebook but not twitter or instagram.

r.alphbunker 7:20 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
JTHurst 7:21 AM  

How can you DNF on a Monday puzzle. Well it is easy when you cross two French terms and snag a Rap artist at the end.

Maybe I shouldn't make my 'Comment caca'. Maybe I should 'et coi la' and not plunge into bathroom humour but this puzzle is as 'black as the ace of spades'.

Nuff Said!

Glimmerglass 7:23 AM  

Not a Facebooker, Rex? After every post, the three choices appear just before any comments. If you click on LIKE, the button changes to "unlike" which gives you a chance to change your mind. COMMENT opens a box (like the one I'm typing in now). SHARE eventually puts the post on your own Facebook page. Facebook is an evil time-waster. Or perhaps just a harmless way to kill time. I keep getting invitations to join other social media (Linkedin, etc.), but FB is already too much for me. The clue in today's puzzle is accurate.

Rhino 7:45 AM  

@glimmerglass is right. Rex is entirely wrong. Just grabbed my phone, went on Facebook, checked the first post, and at the bottom were three buttons: like, comment, share.

This doesn't make it a good puzzle, though. I found it fairly dull.

Rex Porker 7:46 AM  

I don't like Mondays. I don't like Mondays. I don't like Mondays.
I'm gonna shoot the whole day down.

r.alphbunker 7:48 AM  

Do the following experiment
1. Open facebook in Chrome
2. Ctrl+Click the Like button and choose "Inspect Element" (on a PC right click instead of Ctrl+Click)
3. Observe <a class="UFILinkLink" href="#" role="button" ...
4. Ctrl+Click the Comment button and choose "Inspect Element"
5. Observe <a class="comment_link" href="#" role="button" ...
6. Ctrl+Click the Share button and choose "Inspect Element"
7. Observe <a class="_p_share_action_link" href="#" role="button" ...

Since the <a> element is commonly called a link, technically the buttons are all links. But they are certainly button-like because the href attribute is "#" and not some URL to another page. Therefore the current page responds when the link is clicked just like when a button is clicked.

dk 8:00 AM  

🌕🌕 (2 mOOns)

Following the bouncing ball is what this solve was like pour moi. I always like being able to call upon my considerable skills from French 1 (took it twice). And, in this solve I got to travel the world, surf the "internets," identify the team from Charm City, and on and on.

As posted at least once above FACEBOOKBUTTONS is a common enough perception so it seems fine to me. Actually it seems more like a tempest in a teapot than a white whale.

For those who wish to ban earlier week puzzles: consider the Zen concept of a beginners mind. The joy of discovery, a feeling of accomplishment and a hint of confidence. My sister has simply stopped doing the early week puzzles. I, after nearly 5 decades of solving, enjoy the thrill of victory even if it I only share it with the Happy Pencil.

Jim C from Maine - flying to Bangor on Friday, a night in Ellsworth then off to Eastport and Grand Lake Stream. I wind up in OOB a mecca for salt water taffy & poutine.

Charles Flaster 8:02 AM  

Fun, EZ puzzle.
Mostly agree with Rex.
I do not use Facebook but appreciate the theme weaving.
Thanks ZB.

NCA President 8:07 AM  



What's funny about Rex's write up is the length at which he goes to say that "COMMENT" is not a "button." But, if you go to FB, it sorta is. The only point he made that is relatively true is that all three, (LIKE, COMMENT, and SHARE) are technically links. "Buttons" are old timey website fixtures. You still see them now and again, but at least on FB, you don' just see links. And yes, I do the FaceBook. I still can't believe there are people who don't. I'm just going to take a stab and say you probably don't do Reddit either.

My nit with the puzzle is the French, COMMENTCAVA. I think this falls outside the range of normal, everyday acquaintance with the French language. Numbers, various random words like "here," or "she," or "mister," or abbreviations of "madam," and an occasional phrase like "good night," or "happy new year," are okay. "How's it going?," aka "que pasa?" is beyond the French pale. It's admittedly a nit because it was easily inferable...but still.

And one other thing about Rex's entry on Mondays...I agree with most of you above who say that he needs to take a rest on Mondays thru Wednesdays. The puzzles are supposed to be easy, which means that the fill is going to be well-known, which means it's going to have been used before a few times, which means it's probably going to be "tired" in some respect. But the case could be made that by now xword puzzles themselves are tired...and he doesn't go that far...yet. So pointing out how simple a puzzle is by saying it's simple is, um, simplistic.

Truth be known, Rex's Monday write-ups are tired. Any editor worth his salt would know that.

r.alphbunker 8:14 AM  

This was a fine Monday puzzle.

It's analysis shows that it introduced five new words and 14 answers had not been used for over a year (including NEWSBOY). I especially liked the clue for NPR {Broadcaster that relies on user contributions.} where contributions can be either money or call-ins. Also it was fun learning that a goalie's shirt number is often ONE.

Lewis 8:18 AM  

Factoid: What looks like an elephant's front KNEEs are actually its wrists; the same holds true for horses.

Quotoid: "ONE forgets words as one forgets names. One's vocabulary needs constant fertilizing or it will die." -- Evelyn Waugh

jberg 8:27 AM  

To me, it's not a BUTTON unless it's set inside a little colored frame that looks like something you would push in. I wanted opTiONS or acTiONS. But not really a big deal. The meaning of LIKE WHITE ON RICE seemed a little off to me, but maybe that depends on what you mean by 'close;' and it was pretty clear once I had LI_E. (I was holding off on the K in case the lake was French).

I haven't heard a French person say COMMENT CA VA (can't type the cedille under the second c) for years -- more like 's'va?'

This puzzle would have been a lot harder for me if I had only been able to remember the name of John Gast, who painted the famous American Progress. Fortunately, I couldn't remember, and got SERT from the crosses. Something he did for Rockefeller Center after the Rivera mural was rejected, I gather. I used to live in an apartment building designed by SERT, but that was Jose Lluis, not Jose Maria, who did the mural. You can see my confusion!

Anyway, those are all quibbles. I thought the theme was OK, clues no vaguer than normal clues. But maybe we should put AHAB on a one-way SST ride. OLE!

Hartley70 8:41 AM  

Yada Yada Yada to Rex today! Buttons/anti-buttons? Puhleeze. I liked this Monday. I like Facebook. I like Instagram even more. Long live social media! Woohoo! Oh, and the mini tickled me too with PANTS. @Chefbea, I'll see you online sometime :-)

As an aside, my son went to Antarctica with Kate Upton and thought she was an American beauty inside and out. Brrrrrr is all I can say!

Bronxdoc 8:46 AM  

Agree completely re the phrase. Cringe producer. There have to be 100 others that begin with the word 'like'.

Tita 8:46 AM  

They are too buttons. Sheesh.

A case of a puzzle where the subject is banal to me, so the puzzle is therefore banal.

My hiatus from Rexville this spring was in large part spent on 3D and its environs. Beautiful place. Lesser-known Lake Constance is a wide spot in the Rhine.

Thanks Mr. Burnikel.

Hartley70 8:50 AM  

Lol Hayley Gold! Speaking of black and whites...I had the BEST one EVER this weekend from Orwasher's on East 78th. I was never a fan, but Orwasher's has made me a convert. And no, that is not my last name.

Z 8:53 AM  

@NCA Prez - I did Facebook. Too many gun nuts for my tastes (that they were all my relatives didn't help). It was fascinating to see how my high school class broke out on politics. Basically, those who left Holland tended to have politics like mine, those who had stayed in Holland (West Michigan in general) are far more conservative. Anyway - I had had enough of the shouting and cat videos and invasions of privacy (not that you can do much about preserving your privacy unless you go live on top of a mountain somewhere) and now just do Twitter. It serves as a decent news feed, it's easy to block the Twitter equivalent of anonymice, and my relatives aren't on it.

Re: COMMENT ÇA VA - I'm not sure where the foreign language line is for me, but a foreign language themer is definitely on the wrong side of the line regardless of how easy the crosses are. Agree that it is generally just something close to "S'va," the full phrase being reserved mostly for beginning French class, with the class replying in unison, "Ça va bien."

@Leapy late yesterday - "fallacy" is way better than "You're wrong you moron." Personally, I just liked the chance to pull SCOTUS into the debate. I always worry, though, that people can't see the tongue planted firmly in my cheek.

joho 8:59 AM  

There you go again, Rex, focusing in on the themers not being buttons and getting all negative. Too literal by half! At least you acknowledged that they are in order which is a nice touch.

Of course Zhouqin would put them in order as all of her puzzles are well thought out.

This also fits the bill perfectly for a Monday as I had no idea about COMMETCAVA or ALMONDROCA but all crosses were easy and fair just like they need to be today.

Loved LIKEWHITEONRICE! And FACEBOOK, while not the newest form of social media, is still a current theme with millions of people still pushing the buttons.

I click on LIKE. Thanks, C.C.!

ArtO 9:02 AM  

Much ado about nothing, folks. It's just a Monday puzzle. It makes less skilled solvers work as hard as many who come here do on late week entries. And it gives them just as much satisfaction when they complete early week entries as skilled solvers get late in the week.

pwoodfin 9:06 AM  

Putting Maine on the map here in Rexville! Bar harbor here.

Carola 9:15 AM  

I liked the little French area with COCO CHANEL and her couture SALON, COMMENT CA VA, et VOILA. Also was interested to learn the phrase LIKE WHITE ON RICE, which according to this site is first documented in 1951. Otherwise....I dunno - SERT, OTERI, AT IT, AS IS.... I just didn't think it was among Ms. Burnkel's finest.

@Music man - I'm not on FACEBOOK and don't have a TV, either :) I prefer other time sinks.

Billy C 9:18 AM  

PW --

C'mon, pronounce it correctly.

Comme ca: "BAH HAH-BAH" ;-)

pwoodfin 9:22 AM  

Oops, you're right. Ayuh!

Roo Monster 9:27 AM  

Hey All !
Buttons, scmuttons, let's call the whole thing off!
Cool MonPuz. Agree with the Rexster about his rating. A few chewier answers for Monday. Nice CC. I'm often curious how many puzzles that people like CC, PB1&2, et. alii, have in the hands of editors. I don't do other daily puzs, but do do the LAT SunPuz, as we have a weekly mag here that has it in it, so not sure the frequency that these constructors get published. I do see CC in the SunLATPuz quite a bit, though.

Random rambling thought aside, I liked this puz. Surprised more have never heard LIKE WHIT ON RICE. Not saying it's a PC comment, but has been around for quite a while. Only one writeover, after getting ACTI, put nuTs in for INTO. I see she snuck in a Twitter reference as well, plus TVS. Only thing missing is radio! Actually, NPR is in, so I think we got the trifecta! Eye rhyme (@LMS) ATIT-ASIS, HAHA-NAPA. Liked I MEAN IT, WILCO.


Jamie C. 9:30 AM  

LIKE FLIES ON SHIT fits as well. Just sayin'.

Tita 9:31 AM  

Well said, @ArtO

And there goes my gender bias again...apologies to Ms. Burnikel...
(@Carole...I hope you got get gender right, even though you typoed her name wrong...!)

Joseph Welling 9:34 AM  

Rex said: "'Buttons,' appear on non-FB sites, and connect some article or post to Facebook."

But aren't those still FACEBOOK BUTTONS? Nothing about the revealer said the theme was limited to things that appear on Facebook pages only.

Nancy 9:37 AM  

LIKE WHITE ON RICE is a phrase meaning "as close as close can be"???? Really???? Well, if you say so. I could find a more felicitous phrase for "close as close can be" blindfolded, with a hat pin. Other than that, the puzzle was a snap. I didn't need to know anything about Facebook to solve it (and I don't.) I was delighted to see how many other people here are indifferent to all things Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Made me feel I haven't been left all alone in the 20th century. As for the blog today: Button, button, who's got the button? Seems like much ado about nothing.

For anyone who's interested in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, don't miss the fascinating portrait of Harper Lee's editor, Tay Hohoff, and her major contribution to the novel in today's NY Times' article: "Invisible Hand that Nurtured an Author and a Literary Classic". (I actually knew one of the people quoted in the piece: Ed Burlingame, when he was at NAL, before he went to Lippincott.) It's an inside look at what the great hands-on editors do. And there aren't too many of them any more, alas.

Joseph Welling 9:37 AM  

Steve J. said: "Interesting idea foiled by inaccuracy (as noted, they're not buttons on Facebook)."

Ditto my last. There's only an inaccuracy when you add in something that's not there. The revealer, which referred only to the words in the puzzle, was FACEBOOK BUTTONS (which as Rex pointed out are things that appear, for example, on newspaper article on non-FB site linking the article or comments to Facebook). It was not BUTTONS ON FACEBOOK, as you have it.

Ludyjynn 9:38 AM  

Typical Monday solve. I don't use FACEBOOK, TWITTER or any social media except e-mail and this blog, but I don't live in a cave, either. That means I am familiar with how they work in order to decide whether they enhance my life in some way. For me, privacy issues and time constraints outweigh the benefits.

Once again, my h.s. French came in handy. Agree that COMMENTCAVA may be pushing it 'for a Monday' for many solvers.

Enjoyed seeing EILEEN Brennan in the puzzle. I liked her in "The Sting" as the brothel madam playing opposite Paul Newman. SHE was ONE terrific actress.

Thanks, ZB and WS.

Joseph Welling 9:39 AM  

Ironically, there's a Facebook SHARE button right at the bottom of Rex's blog post each day. Yes, it's a FACEBOOK BUTTON even though it's on and not a Facebook page.

quilter1 9:42 AM  

No problem here. I don't do social media either so all the button stuff didn't matter. I am impressed with the number of Rexites who don't bother with that stuff.

Pete 9:45 AM  

RE: "They are so buttons" - No they're not. Buttons are distinct things, with their own HTML specification, attributes, functionality, etc. Further, on Facebook on a browser, they do not look like buttons, they look like what they are, links. You want to say that an image with a hyperlink is indistinguishable from a button without inspecting the HTML and I'll not argue with you, but these aren't images with a hyperlink.

RE: Rex shouldn't do Monday reviews - Nonsense. Do movie reviewers not review Bachelor Party III, and tell you it's a tired retread of the theme? That the jokes are stale, the actors are phoning it in for a huge paycheck, that it was just plain bad? Compare today with last Monday - Last Monday's puzzle had a tight theme, minimal drek, good long answers - a very good Monday Puzzle. An educated critique would have pointed out how good last Monday was, and why, and how bad today's was, and why.

Joseph Welling 9:45 AM  

Just to complete my rant against Rex's incorrect quibble: here's an example of a newspaper article comment page that uses Facebook. It comes complete with a COMMENT button and LIKE buttons on each comment already posted.
link to St. Louis Post Dispatch article comment page

Joseph Welling 9:47 AM  

Pete said:

"RE: 'They are so buttons' - No they're not."

No--they really are buttons. (There are also links, but that doesn't make the buttons stop being buttons.) See my previous posts where I provide examples.

Indypuzzler 9:59 AM  

Just to pile on the FB comments...Rex is sooo wrong. Plus, I think of the outlier as being SHARE because it allows to share internal link in an external venue. @Z, no argument about many bad things, i. e. time sink, with respect to FB but patrolling your settings can get rid of gun nut comments. You don't even need to unfriend your relatives! I am a reformed FB user that still checks for birthdays and postings of people I care about but spend very little time on it.
@NCA president. Reddit is wonderful!
Generally, hey this was a Monday puz. Quick and easy.

Mike D. 9:59 AM  

@Pete: Correct: Try to find a review of "Bachelor Party" in The New Yorker. Good reviewers don't waste their time on such crap. They know their audiences. Rex does, and doesn't.



-didn't sit right with me
-odd man out
-huge outlier
-Prosecution rests.
-excessively familiar
-tired stuff
-the bar is so low
-not sure.
-coolness totally offset
-not too thrilled
-didn't strike me as special


Young Turk 10:03 AM  

Finished this puzzle and just couldn't wait to come here and watch old people debate the relative merits of Facebook and argue over whether they're called "buttons" or not. I was not disappointed.

Carola 10:04 AM  

@Tita - There seems to be a typo imp afoot, tripping me up with Ms. Burnikel's name and you with mine. :)

Anonymous 10:15 AM  

Satyagraha said...

Every morning I awake
I urinate into a clay vessel
I then drink my piss
I proceed to do the NYT xword puzzle
After which I peruse this blog
Life is beatific

Joseph Michael 10:20 AM  

BUTTONS or not, I would like to COMMENT that I SHARE the opinion of those who LIKE this puzzle in spite of its imperfections.

Mark Zuckerberg 10:21 AM  

Yes they are called BUTTONS.

Here is an excellent list of Facebook BUTTONS that don't exist, but should:

Facebook buttons that should exist

weingolb 10:46 AM  

I go out, buy the NYT and do the crossword on paper to escape Facebook. It knows no bounds.

Leapfinger 10:53 AM  

Hmm, the hoo-hah is starting early today...

So the first themers filled in were 17A and 48A, which had me curious about what kind of theme would revolve around RICE. LIKE WHITE ON RICE??? What do you say about that, Condy? When it turned out to be about les Boutons FB (with a supporting cast of TWEETS and TVS)... well, I'll just say I have other timesinks I find more interesting. Everyone has their own gout, nessy paw?

In the absence of a c-cedilla, the 29A question becomes "Comment, Cava?". By way of a small anatomic joke, the answer becomes "Superior, Vena!"
Ah, Ça Rira

I'm always pleased to have PEORIA crop up. In "The Night the Ghost Got In", there's all the usual Thurberesque uproar, with cops busting in and guinea pigs sleeping in zithers. The neighbour in his nightshirt, irate at being woken yet again, slams down the window and shouts, "Hilda[?], we're packing our bags and going back to PEORIA!" After 40 years or so, I still love that line.

The solve was decent with 2 interesting themers, but I'm not RAVEN about it. The last row kind of sums it up: somewhere between DANDY and LAOSy, just kind of TAME.

Now re-echoing the question: Where's GIL?

Haiku Nerd 10:57 AM  


Arlene 10:59 AM  

I do Facebook. I do Twitter @aromoff and I do LinkedIn.
They're all very useful tools beyond trivia - so you can take a look at what I post - it all relates to hearing loss - my books and articles, advocacy issues and events, advising others, etc.
Very powerful to reach so many.
I "unfollow" anyone posting about personal trivia (dead pets, recipes, etc).
You're all welcome to take a look at my sites.
As for the crossword - links or buttons - it's fine.
And I never heard of LIKE WHITE ON RICE, but filled it in anyway.
Interesting Monday - a little more intricate than usual.

Karl 11:02 AM  

I am sorry, but ARLO is/was not a folk legend. His dad, Woody, was.

Anonymous 11:05 AM  

NPR isn't a "Broadcaster that relies on listener contributions" it relies on YOUR tax dollars and is federally funded. And oh how I wished "Comedy's counterpart" was OBAMA. That kind of cluing for the Golfer in Chief I can handle.

cwf 11:09 AM  

I would just like to note that on the iOS interface (and likely the Android interface), at the bottom of an individual post display, there are indeed three tappable "buttons": see here. These are not anchor tags. Quite possibly more people access facebook on their phones than on non-mobile devices.

cwf 11:16 AM  

(Also, I agree with @Karl re: Arlo. Had exactly the same thought).

old timer 11:18 AM  

FB has the words Like, Comment, Share in that order at the bottom of every post in your newsfeed. These are *not* links, because they don't take you out of FB, the enable you to perform a FB action. So they work like buttons. Moreover, *everyone* refers to the "Like" word as the "Like" button. I reflexively click the Like button whenever I see a picture of one of my grandchildren.

But here's the thing: a lot of regular FB posters never click the "comment" button. They just start typing in the box underneath the comment. Probably Rex does this, and to tell you the truth, I did not even remember the Comment button (or word) was even there, so seldom have I ever used it.

I would advise my friends who try Facebook to like freely, comment carefully, and share with great caution, because you really should know that the link you are sharing is somehing the friend you are sharing it with would like to have on his feed.

The puzzle played hard for me -- 13 minutes instead of the usual Monday 7, in ink on paper. I thought it was an OK puzzle, but just OK, and deserved OFL's criticisms for the most part.

I think I have to forgive COMMENTCAVA, though. You had to have a long answer beginning with COMMENT, and that almost forced a move into French. Of course it is true that the usual response to "Bonjour" when you meet a friend on the street is the simple "CA VA?" (the c has a cedilla at the bottom meaning the c is pronounced like an s). But you can see a friend and say with delignt, "Bonjour, Pierre! Comment ca va?" (However, back in the dark ages when all my school friends were learning French, but I was taking Latin, followed by Spanish, the little French I boys used to say, "Como tally voo?" which I learned was "Comment allez-vous?" Either phrase basically means "How's it going?"

Barack Obama 11:26 AM  

"CBS White House reporter Mark Knoller is the unofficial but widely trusted chronicler of data on presidential travels and other day-to-day White House goings-on, so we turned to his calculations.

On Aug. 8, 2014, Knoller tweeted that Obama had taken 19 vacations totaling 125 days so far while in office. Those numbers have risen a bit due to the Martha’s Vineyard vacation, but that’s still many fewer than George W. Bush’s 65 combined trips to his Texas ranch and his parents’ home in Kennebunkport, Maine, which totaled 407 days at the same point in his presidency.

Not included in this data are trips to the Camp David presidential retreat in western Maryland, which Knoller doesn’t count as "vacation." Knoller told Yahoo! News that, through Aug. 12, 2014, Obama had made 33 visits to Camp David for all or part of 84 days, while Bush had been there 108 times for all or part of 341 days."

I guess Bush was the vacationer-in-chief.

Anonymous 11:42 AM  

Why is it Obama supporters can't talk about Obama without talking about Bush? Get over it. Bush isn't in the White House.

Nancy 11:43 AM  

@Arlene (10:59): Social media reminds me of those Army posters: UNCLE SAM WANTS YOU! I might have gone to Twitter out of curiosity to look at your posts, but I dare not. Because I cannot access anything on Twitter without JOINING Twitter. Same with Facebook, Linked In and I assume all the others.

Last year, I was obliged to sign up for Linked In in order to correspond with a writer I was thinking of pitching for a musical I'm working on. THERE WAS NO OTHER WAY TO CONTACT HIM. I did it very reluctantly. Within my first 6 hours as a "member", I got at least 3 emails from Linked In, telling me, by name, who my friends are (I already KNOW who my friends are) and that they're also on Linked In and that they wanted to hear from me. On Linked In, of course, not on my normal email. I was incensed. "Let me off this thing, you creepy, creepy people" is what I emailed them back. "How dare you look into my private emails to see who my friends are! I'm leaving RIGHT NOW!" I then clicked furiously on all the buttons that would let me OUT of this membership. I had been joined up for all of six hours.

Finally, finally, my screen revealed that I had successfully de-membered myself (but was I really sure I wanted to do something so drastic and so foolish?) and I said yes, I was VERY sure. But it didn't matter. Member or not-member, I continued to be sent emails about all my Linked In friends who were drooling, simply drooling to hear from me. This went on for about 7 months. And meanwhile, the writer whom I was trying to pitch never responded. All of this sturm und drang for nothing!

BTW, I hear that Facebook is even worse.

What's ironic is that all these sites want me so badly as a member. I'd be the worst member they can possibly imagine. I'm not a shopper. I seldom buy anything in real life and I CERTAINLY don't buy anything online. Not ever. Anyway, them's my reasons for being so social media averse. (And please don't hassle me about this post, youthful Anonymice. I'll be out all day and probably won't get a chance to read your put-downs until much, much later, if at all.)

pannonica 11:48 AM  

Anonymous (11:05): "NPR isn't a "Broadcaster that relies on listener contributions" it relies on YOUR tax dollars and is federally funded."

Congratulations on uncritically being a consumer and disseminator of blatant propaganda.

"While NPR does not receive any direct federal funding, it does receive a small number of competitive grants from CPB and federal agencies like the Department of Education and the Department of Commerce. This funding amounts to approximately 2% of NPR's overall revenues."

"The bulk of revenues coming from programming fees, grants from foundations or business entities, [listerner] contributions and sponsorships."

These statements come from the Wikipedia entry, though they are ultimately sourced from NPR itself. I suppose you'd be inclined to dismiss it as outright lying, though.

Anonymous 12:06 PM  

I don't do social media. I don't do google. I do the puzzle on paper. I'm lucky I can find this blog. I know my rivers in Asia and am baffled when folks can't get that filler. So this was humbling for me. 9 minutes and 12 seconds instead of usual under 4 minutes for a Monday.

mathguy 12:06 PM  

If I were Rex, I would be quite pleased with my critique today. He had nothing significant to say about the puzzle so he wrote about the difference between buttons and links. And it provoked some knowledgeable feedback from the techies among us. I learned something from it all.

@Lewis. Great quote from Evelyn Waugh. One way I evaluate a puzzle is to count the number of words in two categories. Words (or phrases) I didn't know and words which haven't seen the light of day for a long time. Waugh said they needed to be fertilized. I'd like to have a term for words like these. Undernourished? Neglected? Give me something better, please.

Speaking about Waugh, I'm going to see if I can get one of his novels on my Kindle. I want to remember what good writing is like. Precise use of language, especially. Based on a recommendation in a NYT review, I just finished Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King. Sloppy writing, sloppy storytelling.

Roger Ebert 12:10 PM  

@Mike D - So, I'm not a "good reviewer"?

Leapfinger 12:10 PM  

Anony11:05,if you pay attention, you'll know that the Federal contribution to NPR has been reduced every year for the past several. Ergo, reliance is increasingly on listeners' contributions. I'm aware of this, because it's unfortunate to have regular programming interrupted that much more often by more frequent fund-raising periods.
(TY, @pannonica, for your specifics, not seen till after I wrote the above.)

Seems to me that BUTTONS are like pornography: I know 'em when I see 'em.
To BUTTON up or not to BUTTON up, is that now the question?

@Anon1015 -SatyagraHaHa!

One more vote for Woody; ARLO doesn't hold a candle.

Indypuzzler 12:37 PM  

@Nancy, there are many, many reasons not to Facebook or LinkedIn but they do have app versions that cost a few bucks that do not have advertising. Before I did the app I was at once infuriated and amused at the ads on my page. Usually about weight loss which I am sometimes described by the dreadful word "skinny". It was obvious my ads were due to my demographic (mid to late 50s, female, from "midwest", of course I need to, want to, HAVE to lose weight!)

AliasZ 12:45 PM  

Comment ça va, y'all?

Is anyone here willing to talk about today's puzzle, or are we spiraling into the bottomless abyss of nastiness, misstatements, innuendo and everyone's political bias? I for one am not interested.

We had such a nice puzzle today with a simple, straightforward theme, didn't we? Little did C.C. know that she was opening a Pandora's box. I MEAN IT. Wow!

I loved BEETLE RETORT, the sexist and condescending NEWSBOY, and LAKE GENEVA where CERN's Large Hadron Collider is located, under the Swiss-French border in a NW suburb of Geneva. SHARE PRICES is more often "price per share," but I get it.

@Leapy, your phallus-y comment late yesterday was priceless.

Happy ALMOND ROCA to you all.

Steve J 12:54 PM  

@Indypuzzler: Neither Facebook not LinkedIn offers ad-free apps or paid versions of their apps. I'm not sure what you installed, but they weren't official apps.

@Nancy: LinkedIn wasn't reading your private emails. One of two things happened: You clicked on something giving it access to your address book, or, more likely, friends of yours had done that and the system matched you based on the email address you used to register with. And if you don't want to receive their emails, there's an unsubscribe link in each one. You need to click that. The odds of getting a human to even read your messages to them are dim, let alone the odds of them actually doing something in response. Pretty much everything is automated.

Doug Garr 12:57 PM  

I've heard of Almond Joy but not Almond Roca. That a newscaster I've never heard of is the word of the day, um, oh well. I've never heard anyone use the like simile in the theme. Ever. Not once. And I'm three times older than the young solver who is in his twenties commented on leaving FB after the kiddies and granddads hopped aboard. This was the easiest puzzle I've solve in months, and I'm about half the level of skill of someone like Rex. I knew who Kate Upton was -- how could you not? -- but I'm wondering if they considered cluing it as author Sinclair? As for the griping over the theme, would it have been better if said, FB screen options instead of buttons? This puzzle's comments seem to span the universe, pro and con, who knows what, and who doesn't know what. Is that what a puzzle is supposed to do in the first place?

Charles kluepfel 1:18 PM  

Never thought of VOILA, having been fixated on VOICI.... even thought of OLE but somehow didn't get it.

Masked and Anonymous 1:18 PM  

I'm startin to lose track. Do we have a Haiku Nazi yet? That'd be kinda cool.

Maybe some of @009's grouch is rubbin off on M&A today, but I'm callin it, on this MonPuz:
French Nat-tick! (29-A vs 32-D. Kinda suspicious of 31-D, too.)
Day-um, C.C. U R almost in PEWIT-territory, with that lil jewel.

ET'D now be my pleasure, to introduce the fave moo-cow easy-e MonPuz clue:
{Folk legend Guthrie} = ARLO. (Wanted WUDI.) Always a crowd pleaser, to hold yer Grand Opening in the MonPuz with ARLO. Raises folks' expectations a notch or two. U just know that you've maybe got a SERT-viewin opportunity, waitin in the wings...

Almost lastly, M&A does not do FaceBook. Masked dudes are just not joiners. So, buttons/shmuttons/shbuttox ... U could fool m&e. Theme didn't push my buttons, this time. C.C. remains one of M&A's fave constructioneers, in anyhoo case. Did put a notch on my pencil, tho.


fave weeject: Tie, between HAi and KEA. Both sound kinda neat and exotic. Like ARLO.


Indypuzzler 1:25 PM  

@Steve J, hmmm. I DO seem to have an Apple app that is ad free. Same for LinkedIn. Maybe there are no PC apps. My daughter who was working for Google at that time (and did FB when it started for a small group of college students) told me about it when I complained. Dunno where our disconnect lies.

Anonymous 2:11 PM  

So, we're agreed - Cuff links = buttons, 'cause they kinda do the same thing. Zippers = buttons because they're occasionally interchangeable. Hook & Eyes = buttons because they also kinda sorta do the same thing, right?

OISK 2:14 PM  

Took me 10 minutes, which is very slow for a Monday, but that is a good thing. More interesting than the average Monday. Never heard of "white on rice" , NAS, Almondroca (Product clues. Ugh) But I do speak French, "Voila" Comment ca va? No problem. I initially thought that anyone with even a passing acquaintance with French would know "ca va," and thought it was appropriate even on a Monday. But on second thought, I would never expect to see "WIEGEHTS" in the puzzle, even on a Wednesday, (the German equivalent) so I understand the objections.


Anonymous 2:16 PM  

Anon@ 11:42, I suppose it's for the same reason you're talking about golf.

Tita 2:18 PM  

@Nancy - what @Steve J said.

Use social media or not, just remember that these companies are there not to enable oppressed peoples, find lost pets, or share pics of your baby. They are there to make money. From advertising and selling your data.
Not a knock - it is a legit business model.

Simply keep that in mind when using.

@Indy - I too am curious about ad-free facebook access. If you have it on your phone, would you mind sharing the name/company?

Anonymous 2:21 PM  

@Roger @12:10: You were a good guy. You were once a good reviewer. Then you became an empire and a useful tool for media companies, and more of a cheerleader than a critic. Your reviews became less salient, and you chose your films and your words less carefully. There's nothing wrong with that, but in my view you lost credibility as a critic.

Tita 2:25 PM  

Ha ha - I just checked my mail, and I have a "friendly reminder" from LinkedIn that Katie AREOLA's invitation is waiting for me to accept...
Are they micro-targeting me that carefully that they know to even change the name of the annoying person to crosswordese??

I'll report back in if I ever get a friend request from Dook Pewit.

3 and out

Indypuzzler 2:56 PM  

@Tita, yup Steve J right! I have an authentic app, installed about 3-4 years ago. I checked it now and in settings the ad tabs are all set to "no one" but that appears to be with respect to sharing. Perhaps FB only had ad free for a short time but I have NEVER had an ad on it. Very spooky but I'm way ok with me being wrong, just sorry it no longer exists (or that a good fairy cast a spell on my iPad)

Anonymous 2:58 PM  

@Tita, Katie AREOLA sounds like a stripper name. A whole new purpose for LinkedIn.

Roger Ebert 2:58 PM  

@Anon 2:21 - Exactly when did I loose my credibility? 'Cause we're talking a 1984 movie review here, and that's 30+ years ago.

Oh, and I always reviewed all the movies my paper gave me room for. You know, because that's the job description. That is until my last years when I was, you know, dying, and thus had to reserve what energy I had for things that were likely to please me most.

MIEinMA 3:26 PM  

This is my first comment on this blog. I have been doing the NY Times xword randomly for a long time, but have only recently started doing them daily.

I thought I would add to the Maine theme today as I am a Mainer in Exile in Mass. My sister and I will be heading up to our old stomping grounds on the St. Croix river in a couple of weeks, not far from where @dk is going in Grand Lake Stream.

I agree with the comments about Arlo vs. Woody Guthrie. I immediately thought of that when I saw the clue. But Arlo's "Alice's Restaurant" might be legendary. I once had the opportunity to hear him sing that from backstage at Tanglewood. Pete Seeger was also there and listened to Arlo sing while lying on the stage floor.

They look like buttons to me on Facebook.


Anonymous 3:48 PM  

@Roger: No need to get defensive. You were never a great writer or a great critic, and you should be proud that you weren't discerning in what you choose to review. Yes, that was your job. You were a reviewer for the masses, and we need those.

JFC 5:47 PM  

@AliasZ, I prefer a free fall over spiraling. Saves time.


kitshef 7:08 PM  

The Natick article made me wonder where the original cross was: at the N, the T, or the C. The N is looks like the one that would have been particularly unguessable.

Hard for a Monday - much slower than usual for me, though only one overwrite (RETuRn before RETORT).

jae 8:13 PM  

@kitshef - The original cross was at the N with N C WYETH who is no quite as well known as Andrew.

jae 8:14 PM  

that should be "not quite"

Z 8:25 PM  

@kitschef - I believe the clue for Natick referenced its mile in the Boston Marathon. If you had all the crosses you were left with -CWYETH crossing -ATICK. SInce the across is an initial it can be any of the 26. The down is a New England town so you might be able to rule out a vowel or two, but all 20/21 consonants are in play.

Z 8:29 PM  

Oops, flipped the across and down, but got the clue right, "1A: Town at the eighth mile of the Boston Marathon"

The blog that coined the term.

Teedmn 9:16 PM  

Hand up for not being on any social media except this blog and email (and more business on email than social). Husband is on FB and I find the likes meaningless and the comments inane ("awesome", "beautiful", etc.). True cleverness, as often is found on this blog, is not something regularly seen on FB, maybe just due to husband's choice of friends? :-)

I can't say if this puzzle was hard or not. It seemed like I was slowing a bit as I got further down but a phone call interrupted my time and I ended up solving at my leisure. As are many here, I am indifferent to the accuracy of the term "button" but to me, it looked like @r.alphbunker's comment made a decisive determination. No one else noted his comment and I don't look behind the interface curtain enough to know for certain. (Non-eye rhyme).

@Leapfinger, my edification at your metaphorical KNEE continues. Since "guinea pigs sleeping in zithers" could have been a direct quote or one of your elaborate puns which went over my head, I had to Google it and found the reference and read to the end of the chapter. Guess I have to add Thurber to my list of things to dig into, along with Prufrock, etc.

Is ALMOND ROCA made in ROCA Baton, Fla?

Thanks, CC, for a nice, controversy-stirring Monday.

PS: Welcome @MIEinMA

PPS: Anon 11:42 It's just that everything is relative...

Leapfinger 1:34 AM  

@Teedman, You've made my metaphorical knee very happy. I hope you enjoy your forays into Thurber country. He had a wonderful facility for slipping between quiet and noisy desperation. And thanks a ton for Roca Baton. Now 'fell swoop/ swell foop' will not be the only phrase I have to think about before I commit to saying it aloud...

@Alias, you read me like a book! Was it the dactyls tipped you off? It occurred to me that, after the Isaac Albéniz, here was a golden opportunity to follow with some
Manuel de Falla, see?

Pam 10:41 AM  

On the buttons/links thing on facebook: absolutely, definitely not links. These are the three preset options for how to respond to someone else's post, which appear below all posts: like, share, and comment. They don't take you to other content like a link does. Like is a toggle, and easily works as a 'button', I have no problem with the other two as buttons- if you want to use those options you need to press that button to share on your own feed (either automatically, or with additional option, with added text), or to enable comment. Options best, buttons ok, links no, not.

xwords and footy fan! 1:04 AM

spacecraft 10:40 AM  

Not my cuppa. And for Monday, full of WOEs: SERT? ALMONDROCA?--and that one says "popular." Popular where? Is it all one word? ROCA isn't even a word at all. Never heard of it. And then of course there's the resident rapper; where DO they come up with those names? NAS??? What kind of name is that? Is it supposed to be short for "nasty?" If so, why would I want to listen to him? What does he call his ride, the NAS CAR?

Tech, tech and more tech; French, French and more French. This one may have played in PEORIA, but it closed here after ACTI. D.

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

Not much DRAMA in this puzzle. Like @spacecraft said, tech and French, not for me.

The NEWSBOY had a SNACK with Ms. UPTON, and said her ASSET was nice,
if SHE DAREs let him see her REAR he'll be on it LIKEWHITEONRICE. TAME PHOTO by ARLO DANDY.

I have no COMMENTCAVA on the ALMONDROCA. Had to cross both to solve. VOILA!

sdcheezhd 2:49 PM  

I'm with those who think LIKEWHITEONRICE isn't accurately clued. Would it be a good clue for stuck to like glue? It means you're on it, you've got it covered, you're all over it. It does not mean you have a close relationship with something.

Cathy 4:32 PM  

Ha ha funny @spacecraft- NAS CAR.

@sdcheezhd- I thought the same about LIKE WHITE ON RICE. LIKE your clue.

Surprised how many people depend on FACEBOOK etc. I use to get hounded at work to sign up, just so I could send free coins, life's ect. for their games. And how much fun for me to receive all their baby's, grandkids, family vacation photos.....How we could text all the time.

I have a cell phone and (gasp!) land line. A television and Internet for local and world news. Stamps if I'd like to send a picture or two to distant relatives/ friends. and (thank you) they do too. I'm on REX PARKERS blog so I can't be too anti social eh?

Sorry bout the rant. I'm an ole stubborn 53 year old. Off to WRITE some checks for my bills:)

Later gators!

leftcoastTAM 5:26 PM  

Yes, a little tougher than an average Monday. Potential double Natick for me at the ALMONDROCA/BUTTONS/NAS crosses. (So Harvard offers a NAS-funded a hip-hop fellowship?!)

Has anyone else been struck by what a fine job @SteveJ (first in line today) usually does of paraphrasing, summarizing, and softening RP's reviews?

rondo 12:10 AM  

OLE again shows up, and not clued as "Sven pal".

And HAHA not clued as "Packer Clinton-Dix".

And both of them in the same puz. Will any of the constructors DARE to take my suggestions to heart? Then I could quit railing.

Kate UPTON, SHE is a DANDY yeah baby. I suspect bs got cut out because of DRAMA concerning a certain ASSET. EILEEN Brennan, well, maybe at ONE time.

Vacation is killing me. Need to TAME it down.

rondo 12:20 AM  

BTW - just read comments. NO, I don't do Facebook, nor Reddit,nor any of those other things people play with on their toy phones or other devices. I actually spend real time with real people doing real things. All that other stuff is a time-suck; I stop with the NYT puz with that.

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