Kitchen garment / MON 7-20-15 / Keats wrote one to autumn / Mink or sable

Monday, July 20, 2015

Constructor: John Westwig

Relative difficulty: Easy, but with some tricky names

THEME: "Morning person," as in a person with A.M. initials

Word of the Day: CAPRI (14A: Italy's Isle of ___ )

Capri’s single most famous attraction is the Grotto Azzura, a stunning sea cave illuminated by an other-worldly blue light. The easiest way to visit is to take a tour from Marina Grande. This costs €26.50, comprising the return boat trip, a rowing boat into the cave, and the cave's admission fee. Allow a good hour. -- Lonely Planet

• • •

Theme answers:
  • (17A: Sony co-founder) AKIO MORITA
  • (24A: 2013 Wimbledon champion) ANDY MURRAY
  • (50A: Longtime "Monday Night Football" sportscaster) AL MICHAELS
  • (61A: "Love Story" actress) ALI MACGRAW
  • (37A: Early riser ... or what each of 17-, 24-, 50- and 61-Across is? MORNING PERSON
There are several amusing ways to increase the difficulty level on easy crosswords: using only the down clues is an increasingly popular one, for example.

Another, which I used here, is to try to guess the theme from just the first theme entry. It took me two here, but when I saw AKIO MORITA and ANDY MURRAY I figured that that 13-letter entry across the middle was going to be MORNING PEOPLE. It was actually MORNING PERSON, which is the better way to do it, since you hear that phrase a lot more often in the singular.

So that's a decent Monday theme. A little surprise-spoiling when the revealer is in the center of the grid instead of at the end, but if you played the guessing game I described above then it didn't affect your solve.

A 13-letter entry across the center + four ten-letter theme entries means the constructor had to do some fancy stepping with the fill. Lots of fun stuff in the grid's 6- and 8-letter downs: ED HARRIS (not a morning person), OLD MONEY, AGE GAP, WAKE UP, ROBINSON, SKEWER and also IF I MAY going across.

But with five theme entries and the always tricky 13-across-the-middle, you're probably going to get some INO CLU PALO BRYN SIM OVA action as well. If you have not heard of ALI MACGRAW then the clue for CLU will not help.  Do the kids these days know who AKIO MORITA was? If not, tough entry.

Grading time, and this one gets a B-. The theme is on point for a Monday, but the fill gets RATTY (8D) and tricky name-heavy a bit much for the first day of the week. No one wants to get Naticked on Monday! Ruins your confidence for the week! So I would've scheduled this on a Tuesday. 

Signed, Matt Gaffney, Regent of Crossworld for five more days


Music man 9:21 PM  

Nice wrie-up! Those names absolutely killed me! Plus I finish and am looking at the theme answers and just couldn't come up with it, until I read your explanation, Doh!

Lewis 9:44 PM  

Cute theme, fill mostly okay, and as Matt points out, some zippy answers. I like the double-e mini theme: MEEK/GEEK/GLEE, and I like HUGE piled on top of FAT (and having PHAT so close by). Plus we have UPPER on the bottom with a SKEWER on the side. That C on CLU could be a genuine natick -- for some reason I thought his name was GLU, but that didn't last long. I'd give it a B+, Matt, and thank you John.

Z 10:01 PM  

I never saw the clue for CLU, so one less groan. ENZO and AKIO and BRYN and PALO, it's a weird first name fest.

I saw this earlier today, so ROMERO was a flat out gimme.

r.alphbunker 10:04 PM  
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r.alphbunker 10:06 PM  

I'd up the grade to an A.

Apparently the puzzle lost points for
It appears that MG does not like partials (SIM, PALO, BRYN, he missed INON) and TLWs that have been used infrequently in the Shortz era (INO, CLU).

What never seems to happen on blogs is giving some credit to three or four word answers. I have done so here and the +s outweigh the minuses.

Notice that three of the four theme names have never appeared in a Shortz NYT puzzle and ALIMACGRAW has only occurred 4 times. I'm giving the puzzle points for these also.

Finally on a personal note the ANDY MURRAY answer brought to mind last year's amazing Timothy Polin puzzle whose clues were all missing the letter N. I saw the trick on {Murray who's highly raked} cluing ANDY.

Lewis 10:13 PM  

Factoid: The filming of The Godfather was disrupted by actual MOB member Joe Colombo (head of Colombo Crime Family). Producer Al Ruddy met with him and reviewed the script, striking the word “Mafia” completely from the movie. Colombo and his pals also managed to elbow their way into casting and ended up as extras in the film.

Quotoid: "I was eating in a Chinese restaurant downtown. There was a dish called Mother and Child Reunion. It's chicken and eggs. And I said, I gotta use that one." -- Paul Simon

Jisvan 10:32 PM  

@lewis, I just love your quoteiods and factoids! Easy Monday with crunchy name factor as noted, but fair with crosses and whack-a-vowel techniques. Got some rain in drought-parched California, muggy gratefulness ensues. Happy Monday all.

NYer 11:25 PM  

All the names happened to occupy little-used corners of my brain, so quite easy for me.

Congratulations on your debut, John! Hope to see more of your work in the future!

@lewis, that Paul Simon quotoid left me in tears - happy ones!

mathguy 12:30 AM  

I just finished Ring Toss by Mark Halpin in today's magazine. What an amazing work! I started it this morning and got stuck on the first and third rows. Finished it when I got home late this afternoon.

In comparison, today's entry doesn't even feel like a puzzle.

chefwen 12:35 AM  

I'm in the liked it column. As stated, first names were a little on the tricky side and I had to rely heavily on crosses. ALI MACGRAW was my only gimme.

Mom used to wake me up with a cheerful RISE AND SHINE while Dear Old Dad would come in and rip my blankets off, that bordered on cruelty in the Wisconsin winters. Shoulda reported him.

Had CrU for the Gulager actor, have no idea where that came from. Was obviously incorrect when Summa cum rAUDE just looked all kinds of wrong.

Good start to the week.

Moly Shu 12:50 AM  

Didn't know which write-up to post to yesterday, so just skipped it. Caused all kinds of consternation and worry. Didn't want to favor one over the other. Thankfully, only @MGaffney today. Pretty good for a Monday, knew all the names (including CLU) so I'll go with mostly easy. WARDS took a little time to get and I ran a lot of metals through my head but couldn't come up with TIN without crosses. B+ from me.

Anonymous 1:37 AM  

I liked it.

jae 1:46 AM  

I did this in medium time but it seemed harder.  Two WOEs seem unusual for a Mon. : AKIO MORITA and INO.  Plus the names I did know are not exactly A listers.  I 'd bet your average 20 something would have problems with this one.

All that said, pretty smooth grid and an interesting theme, liked it.

jae 1:51 AM  

And CLU I knew from watching him play Billy the Kid in The Tall Man series in the early '60s.

Hartley70 4:43 AM  

A tough Monday is a delight, even at 4:30am. I have never heard of MORITA or MURRAY. I stopped learning tennis names after the Evert, Lendl, Borg, Agassi eras. That's the kind of tennis name-dropping I'm after. ALMICHAELS is really a stretch for me. I could picture his face, but I have never knowingly watched Monday night football, or any other day football except the one called "Super". ALI was a gimme. She played an ill-fated Rhode Islander. At that time Rhode Island didn't get much media play. Of course now that they've got an exploding beach, you can't get Little Rhody off the air. Kaboom!

I thought this was a fairly challenging Monday and I give it an A. I may be an easy grader, but I really enjoyed it.

Thomaso808 6:38 AM  

This is another great debut by a teen constructor. Congrats, Mr. Westwig!

According to xwordinfo, first time ever use in the NYT of the word MORNINGPERSON. I love it!

Leapfinger 7:29 AM  

Names can be a b****, and I don't mean 'bimbo'. My brain went straight to ANne MURRAY, got stuck, and needed a 'potch' to shake free. Had a session with how many ways it's possible to spell ALI, along with McGRAW. I thought for sure 17A was going to start with AxIOM, then plugged the last spaces in MORITA on the off chance that AKIO might be related to Pat. On the plus side, I seem finally to have caught on that it's CLU and not Stu Gulager, not Gallagher. LOL at gLU, @Lewis, you might be able to squelch that by remembering he's not Elmer. Any thoughts on whether it's halal to duple AL MICHAELS and AL I. MACGRAW?

What with HUGE, FAT and PHAT, are we in for more castigating Mr. Shortz about his obesity jag??

I always thought PUCE was a pinkish beige, having read some time ago that it was the colour of Pogo. To this day, that remains a CAPRIce that I will never outgrow.

Besides the theme and non-theme names, it's obvious that Mr. Westwig threw in even More Name Game:
Ezio PENZO, Alessandro VOLTa, SPENT Sir Tracy, Estee LAUDE (before she was LAUDEr), Jose LEMON, FUR-Lynn Husky, INO Balin, OVA Marie Saint, Anna m'ARRIVE Alberghetti, Tom BROKEN, HUGE Laurie, RATTY CHayevsky, BRYN Gumbel, DEAD Buttons, MOB Arker, PALO Pasco...
If there others, they're probably even more obSKEWER.

Will now see IF I MAY WAKE UP all the way with a second cuppa. I've been turned (against my will) into a MORNING PERSON. Tough scene, when circumstances also demand you be a late-night PERSON.

Thanks, John W. The Westwig was always a really good show.

Loren Muse Smith 7:31 AM  
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Loren Muse Smith 7:32 AM  
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Loren Muse Smith 7:34 AM  

Matt – thanks for filling in. I agree with your take on the 6 and 8 letter downs.

Unless I'm mistaken, no one has mentioned the sly WAKE UP at 2D. Cool.

@Lewis – good catch on the PHAT and FAT. I missed that. I like revised PH spellings for F words. We all get phished via email, right? I reported one once. Did I phink him out? What's next? could pheature news pheeds. My pictures on Phacebook are all phrumpy. A poppy field could be an opium pharm.

PUCE may indeed represent a purplish red color, but deep down I'll always picture a drab, cementy looking color. Someone needs to change that, seriously.

How wonderful that your daughter is getting married! I'm thrilled for you! What color is your dress?
It's puce
. (WAH WAh wah.)

Off the A, I considered "cougar" before AGE GAP, thinking that a May-December marriage maybe could swing the other way.

GLEE feels like a loud, in-your-face kind of utter happiness. "Bliss" (first thought for that clue) is a quieter, possibly secret kind of utter happiness.

IF I MAY – Where the heck is our politest, kindest friend, @Bob Kerfuffle? I don't think he's posted here in over a week. On the occasions that he (correctly) questions something I post, he always begins it with some kind of IF I MAYish statement. Hanging out with Bob in NYC is worth the price of admission to the ACPT, by the way.

I'm a MORNING PERSON if ever there was one, so this theme pleased me. John's debut? A teenager? With a morning theme? Hah! Coming soon, then: NIGHT OWLS: PAUL MCCARTNEY, PEYTON MANNING, PHIL MICKELSON, PENNY MARSHALL…

Excellent early-weeker – right over the plate.

Aketi 7:39 AM  
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Aketi 7:52 AM  

I didn't know some of the names but got them from the downs and shockingly (given all the names) finished in a new record time for me. Since I am decidedly not a MORNING PERSON. my record time is not likely to ever break the 10 minute mark.

Thanks to a previous discussion on this blog, I remembered that PUCE is not the shade of green that I was taught, but a pinkish brown which is close enough to purplish red.

@hartley70, you know more tennis names than I do. I'm sure Nancy will enjoy the names in this puzzle.

@Lewis, my son is going to love your Quotoid fir the day. He started frequenting Chinese restaurants in middle school when he and his friends figured out they could pool their money and spring for a taxi and make it back to school on time on the days they were allowed to go off campus.

I'm sure Evil Doug will have some thoughts on the combo of DE SADE, SKEWER, and REAR UP.

evil doug 7:56 AM  

I had some thoughts on whether you were drunk before you cleaned up your original post.

Carola 7:58 AM  

I agree - this puzzle was an UPPER, especially delightful perhaps for those of us who WAKE UP, make coffee or tea, and do the puzzle in the MORNING. Lots of PERSONal names, for sure (I counted 10 besides the theme answers), but I thought they were fairly crossed (though I see the point about CLU and ALI).

Many delightful TIDBITS have already been noted - I'll just add the vertical FURROW between MAYER and ED HARRIS.

@John Westwig - You and I are separated by quite an AGE GAP, but you didn't make me feel too OLD for this puzzle. Congratulations on your debut.

joho 7:59 AM  

Good catch, Loren, on noticing WAKEUP.
I was still too sleepy to see it. More coffee, please!

Love the reveal as it's so in the language and so relatable to so many people.

I was a little surprised at how old the names in the puzzle skewed finding how young our newest constructor is.

Congratulations, John Westwig, on your debut! Great start to the week!

And ty MG, nice write up!

Name that tune 8:05 AM  
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Greg 8:07 AM  

I enjoyed this one -- tho a chess board doesn't have rows (not in chess speak anyway) it has ranks and files.

Name that tune 8:09 AM  

Most puzzles have some good qualities and some bad qualities. How nice to have a reviewer who acknowledges that fact, and can point out both qualities without seeming like a sycophant or a tantruming toddler. For a change.

Dorothy Biggs 8:20 AM  

I knew only two of the themers: ALMICHAELS and ALIMCGRAW; the other two, not so much. However, the other two were easy gets because of the crosses and "relative ease" of sussing out the name. AKIOMORITA (Pat's brother?) was made easy by the clue and the fact that I was familiar with the name Morita. I haven't followed professional tennis since the 80s, so there's that. ANDYMURRAY was vaguely familiar, but he's not Rafa Nadal or Andy Roddick in the annals of my tennis professionals knowing brain.

Otherwise, decent puzzle, lots of names, but ultimately fairly clued and gettable.

OREO, btw, is rapidly joining random roman numerals and Tic-Tac-Toe scores for answers that need to be retired.

AliasZ 8:21 AM  

I wonder if CLU Gulager would be as well remembered, at least among puzzlers, if his first name were Joe. I have no clu.

I enjoyed the morning name game. It opened the floodgates for other AM people, but I won't bore you (Audy Murphy, Anne Meara) with them. I think it would have been a tighter theme if there were no other names anywhere else in the puzzle, but that would probably be nearly impossible to pull off. Even as it was, I did like the theme. On Mondays I rarely even look for the theme because it becomes quite obvious early on as I zip through it. This one revealed itself a little later than most.

The fill was excellent as well, I especially liked the NW and SE corners. Great work there. OLD MONEY is great if you can get it. ED HARRIS is forever emblazoned in my mind as John Nash's military man in "A Beautiful Mind."

Another excellent debut. Hearty congratulations to John Westwig.

Another morning person came to mind: André Malraux (1901-1976), the French writer, art theorist and Minister of Cultural Affairs during de Gaulle's presidency, the author of the novel La condition humaine. I remember reading about him in the 1960's, and about his efforts to clean and restore sooty historic French buildings, an initiative that gained wide attention and is now imitated the world over. He had an extremely eventful life, from the Spanish Civil War through WWII in the French Resistance, for which he was awarded multiple honors including the British Distinguished Service Order. Jacqueline Kennedy described André Malraux as the most fascinating man she ever talked to.

Happy Monday all.

Aketi 8:41 AM  

@evildoug, I don't type when drunk. It's hard enough to type on an iPad fully caffeinated. It doesn't help my typo search when I'm wearing dime store reading glasses either.

Ludyjynn 8:59 AM  

@Lewis, Your terrific Paul Simon quotoid jogged a most pleasant memory. Forest Hills tennis stadium, former home to the U.S. Open, also was a venue for a series of outdoor summer evening concerts. I saw Simon and Garfunkel perform there. As they finished singing the evocative "A Poem on the Underground Wall", the sound of a distant train going by filled the air, timed perfectly to the end of the song. Not missing a beat, Paul Simon stated, "We're home." I love how his brain works! ("Here's to you, Mrs. ROBINSON).

Favorite ALIMACGRAW performance was the spoiled NJ 'princess' in (Philip Roth's) "Goodbye, Columbus" opposite Richard Benjamin.

Thanks, JW and WS.

Nancy 9:07 AM  

You may notice that I'm posting considerably ahead of my usual time. I woke up early this morning and couldn't get back to sleep and, since I am emphatically not a morning person, this made my solving experience a bit confused. I found myself wondering:

Is ANDY MURRAY known to prefer early morning practice sessions and does he always want to be scheduled for the first match of the day?

Was ALI MACGRAW unusually chirpy and good-natured to the hair and make-up people when she arrived on the set at 6 a.m.? Did she start to get grumpy around 3 in the afternoon?

How could AL MICHAELS possibly have managed Monday Night Football, when it so often runs well after midnight? Did he still get up with the roosters the following Tuesday morning?

Then, slowly, (excuse the pun) the light dawned. Oh. They all have AM initials. I see. Maybe it's time to go back to bed, Nancy.

I enjoyed this puzzle much more than the usual Monday, in spite of the many proper names. All, except for the Sony guy, were in my wheelhouse. And I enjoyed your write up, Matt.

Anonymous 9:12 AM  

Odd that.

A number of people have WAKE UP in their comment, yet only one gets a "great catch" for it. I suppose it's a case of the Cabots speaking only to the Lowells, and the Lowells only speaking to @LMS.

Haiku Nerd 9:18 AM  


Billy C. 9:20 AM  

@anon@9:12: You have sussed this comments board. Certain people's farts here smell like roses.

Nancy 9:24 AM  

@mathguy (everyone else, please ignore). I've been struggling with Ring Toss for hours and can't solve it. Can you confirm if I'm right for the first 6 Rows and give me Row 4. Can't find the solution anywhere and it's driving me crazy.

4. ------H/SPIRO

Thanks, mathguy!

JFC 9:24 AM  

I wonder who I can threaten our insult today? It's hard when rex is away...

grammar nazi 9:27 AM  

@JFC: I think you meant "whom."

Sue Sylvester 9:28 AM  

It'n not often you see a GLEEK in the puzzle.

chefbea 9:29 AM  

Great puzzle!!! Got the theme right away even though I never heard of Morita. But I am a morning person and I do wear an apron...and puzzle husband retired from delivering mail!!

Billy C 9:32 AM  

@fauxBillyC9:20 --

Stay offa my turf, Dude!

Unknown 9:36 AM  

Holy Names, Batman! Solved it just fine, enjoyed it okay, but had a lot of 'who the hell is that and why is he in my Monday puzzle' moments.

Billy C 9:36 AM  


Stay offa MY turf, dude!

Billy C 9:37 AM  

Looks like there are TWO faux Billy C's this morning. I'm flattered.

grammar nazi 9:38 AM  

I haven’t been able to sustain an erection since president’s day (don’t ask me how I remember). Coincidentally(?), I haven’t left my mother’s basement in that time. She asks me why I don’t spend time with my friends any more. I don’t know how to tell her... Jake and Keeshawn and Bae? I made them up.

At least I still have the comment section of this blog. Criticizing others for minor mistakes drives away the loneliness and makes me feel, however briefly, like I’m still a man.

Donald Trump 9:44 AM  

The problem with trying to distance yourself from me, of course, is that I represent mainstream Republican ideals: racism, chicken-hawkishness, and good old-fashioned selfishness. Any publicity is good publicity.

quilter1 9:47 AM  

Very nice Monday. I didn't know all the names, but got them all from crosses. Good debut. Congrats.

Leapfinger 9:56 AM  

@grammar nazi,

Does one sustain or maintain an erection? Ink-wiring minds want to know.

grammar nazi 10:02 AM  

@Leapfinger: Either is acceptable (especially for your partner).

mathguy 10:05 AM  

@Nancy: Row 4 begins CARWASH. BEADLE is not correct. I needed to figure out the message spelled out in the circled squares. It told me where each ring was located.

Billy C 10:05 AM  

@BillyC9:37 -- re: Two Billys this morning (three counting you)

Hey, everyone wants to be me. -- the REAL Billy

JFC 10:08 AM  

I actually appreciate Mr. Nazi's input. Never a bad thing to use correct grammar.

Billy C 10:10 AM  

@grammar nazi must have a thing for the Abe Lincoln (look it up in urban dictionary).

Joseph Michael 10:17 AM  

Congrats on your debut, John. Liked the A.M. theme being more than just initial consonants and was impressed that you were able to come up with four 10-letter themers that fit the bill.

On the downside, there are too many names, especially for a puzzle where certain names make up the theme. I count total of 16 which means that names account for more than 20% of the puzzle. A little more word play would have added to the fun.

Favorite answers: SCAMPS and OLD MONEY.

Joseph Michael 10:28 AM  

Nancy, thanks for your explanation yesterday of DEUCE. Just read it. Guess I need to brush up on my tennis.

old timer 10:29 AM  

Very hard for Monday and I did almost Natick. Fortunately I remembered ANDYMURRAY and I knew that Sony guy was MORITA (though I went with Morito first)>

Bob Kerfuffle 10:30 AM  

Technical problem for me today. I was out most of the day on Sunday, and when I finally had time, I thought I would take a quick look at the blog. So I clicked on at 10:50 PM EDT, and instead of Sunday, I was greeted with Monday's solution with the reveal MORNING PERSON highlighted in orange. I immediately looked away and clicked away, but the mystery was gone, my Monday ruined, . . . (just kidding, but you know what I mean.)

On other weekends I have looked at Diary of a Crossword Fiend on a Saturday evening to check my results, because Rex never posts before midnight. Today's puzzle, however, was obviously posted early, even though it says "posted at 12:01 AM."

@lms - That brings me to one of the reasons I have been posting less frequently. I do my puzzle on paper, rarely finished before 9:00 AM of the nominal date. By that time, everything of significance has already been said on the blog, in the wee hours. As I got increasingly bored by the endless repetition of "the observation/complaint/reference of the day," I vowed not to add to the problem. I have tried to chime in only when I thought I had something at least marginally new to add.

Also, of course, the proliferation of personal attacks and general trollism has dampened my enthusiasm for keeping up with every comment.

But, IF I MAY, I would say that I thought I more often agreed with you than disagreed, and I love your insights into language. You, M&A, and a few others are always worth seeking out.

Word Nerd 10:34 AM  

The two aren't interchangeable,you know: they differ according to ownership. The bearer does the maintaining,the borrower does the sustaining. It's all very symbiotic.

Ellen S 10:35 AM  

This could be one of my favorite puzzles because of an ERRor I made. For 64A, Knucklehead, I confidently filled in shmO before putting in ALIMACGRAW. For 61D that gave me As_. Muscles that are crunched. Had to end in S, though I didn't wind up with a plural, but with the intriguing concept of going to the gym and working on my AsS muscles.

Reluctantly changed it to BOZO, but I liked the whole experience anyway.

mac 10:40 AM  

Good Monday puzzle. Getting the reveal with only one name filled in made me wonder: How do they know that?

Neutrino was new to me, cute word.

Congratulations on the debut!

Indypuzzler 10:43 AM  

I really liked this puzzle in spite of the names, ie. I always tend to think Erno instead of Enzo for Ferrari and I started to confidently put in Ali's too short...was there a Love Story remake? As for the Sony co-founder, I'm not sure that skews "older". In this new era of hundreds of Titans of business I must confess I only knew it would be someone (likely a man) from Japan.

Matt Gaffney 10:52 AM  


You know, I had typed that point out (something like "We call them ranks, not rows -- if you call them rows people might think you also call the knight a horse") but then I erased it. Didn't want to be pedantic chess guy for once!

RooMonster 10:53 AM  

Hey All !
My puz was made more challenging by my printer starting to run out of ink mid-print! So a bunch of clues were either very hard to read, or hidden altogether. Fun! No time this morning to change cartridges and reprint.

Ok puz, odd looking grid, 40 black squares (not that there's anything wrong with that). Good words despite lots of themers. Only had one writeover, BOob for BOZO. I think boob would've been better! Like the creative clues cropping up lately for OREO.


weingolb 11:07 AM  

INO and INON but no "ion," which I was expecting somewhere in either 29D or 11D. TIN and NEUTRINO instead.

Anyone feel the MAIL clue "Post office delivery" was so far-and-away the easiest NYT crossword clue that it actually gave you pause. A gimme so given that you suspect it might be a gotcha... even on a Monday, even for a MORNINGPERSON.

JFC 11:25 AM  

Apparently Gaffney gives this puzzle an A for all the old geezers like me, since we know all those people. I give it an A+ for a debut.

The previous two JFC posts were by the faux JFC, so grammar nazi please address your corrections to the faux JFC in the future. I would never make such an obvious mistake.

Maybe I'll stay away during Rex's absence, since faux JFC seems to want to post for me.


Z 11:42 AM  

BTW - My link includes a Saturday Stumper clue for crossfav Ida Lupino.

@Bob Kerfuffle - skipping comments helps. There's a whole raft of just ignore them posters these days.

AliasZ 12:04 PM  


Loved your list of names, esp. Ezio PENZO, SPENT Sir Tracy, and Eszti LAUDE(r).

The vihuela is a guitar-shaped string instrument from 15th and 16th century Spain, Portugal and Italy, usually with six doubled strings. The printed books of music for the vihuela which have survived are, in chronological order:

El Maestro by Luis de Milán (1536)
Los seys libros del Delphin by Luis de Narváez (1538)
Tres Libros de Música by Alonso Mudarra (1546)
Silva de Sirenas by Enríquez de Valderrábano (1547)
Libro de Música de Vihuela by Diego Pisador (1552)
Orphénica Lyra by Miguel de Fuenllana (1554)
El Parnasso by Estevan Daça (1576)

[Another AM person] Alonso Mudarra (c.1510-1580) was a Spanish composer and vihuelist of the Renaissance. He was an innovative composer of instrumental music as well as songs, and was the composer of the earliest surviving music for the guitar. (from Wikipedia)

Enjoy the lovely sound of the vihuela, similar to, but louder than, that of the lute, and warmer and gentler than the guitar.

Ellen S 12:16 PM  

Hijacked Evil Doug, fake Billy C's, faux JFC (really?) -- and with M&A and the real Evil both MIA, this is not the fun place it once was.

@Lewis, thanks for your factoids and quotoids. @Loren, I love your posts. I enjoy the posts from everyone else who is real (singling out Loren because some people, I don't know if they're real, are hypercritical). (hypocritical?)(just nasty?) @Z, yep, it's easier to read the comments these days when I can skip most of them.

Unknown 12:16 PM  

Or enjoy the less lovely sound of the vuvuzela: Similar to, but louder than, a rhinoceros fart.

Anonymous 12:18 PM  

Another puzzle in the under five minute solving time. I didn't even to bother reading the clues after the top half, which means that there is something wrong with the way this cascades. Never heard of any of the people who were the theme answers. Needed at least one river in Asia to save this thing.

RooMonster 12:41 PM  

M&A MIA? I swear I just saw him yesterday. Something about 17 U's?

Causing more of a Kerfuffle than Bob since 1983.

Leapfinger 12:57 PM  

@Alias, thanks. You know that's a trick I learned from you. I was thinking that, coming from Jacqueline Bouvier, that was quite a compliment. Re ED HARRIS, Apollo 13 and Pollock weren't exactly chopped liver, though I agree that Beautiful Mind strikes deepest.

To any who have doubts, despite some similarity in names, the vihuela sounds nothing like the vuvuzela.

@chefwen, I like the sound of Summa cum Rowdy.

There seems to be a minor groundswell of support for PUCE being a pale neutral pinky-brown cementy colour. I looked it up, and discovered the name has its roots in the flea, and that the colour itself is the most chameleon of hues. There is also a shade called PUCE green,which apparently has nothing to do with pure PUCE. [The word itself is very beguiling, just cries out to extend into puce-illanimous polecat...]

@Loren, subsequent to your dung beetle of yesterday, I thought you might enjoy checking out the Great Australian Dung Beetle Initiative. I hesitated to mention it, as it was conceived by a Hungarian scientist and sounds a little like a whack job. Not nearly as much of a whack job, however, as parachuting dead Tylenol-laden mice to control the snake population, and that idea was home-grown.

@Evil, I'm surprised you showed up today, after passing up on AILERON yesterday. Priorities?

RAD2626 1:22 PM  

@AliasZ. You fooled me. Thought for sure we would hear from Anna Moffo today.

Agree with the positive comments. Congrats to John Westwig on a fine debut.

Tara 1:52 PM  

I am a reasonably with-it 34 year old and I had not heard of a single one of those people in the theme clues.

JFC 2:14 PM  

I'm taking my ball and going home!

AliasZ 2:21 PM  


Glad to oblige. Here is Ms. Moffo with an exotic Brazilian "danza".

Three and out.

Masked and Anonymous 3:08 PM  

M&A is sorta like a mornin person, in reverse. But, what the hey -- I usually see three or four hours of each A&M. Not bad, when U stay up til 12 or 1. (Too stubborn to go to bed.) If I make it to 1 am, that's an am-hour, right there. But, I digress …

Congrats to another new little recent trickertreater-turned-constructioneer. (TTTC.) Nice job, and welcome aboard. Lookin good on yer U-count, kid.

Nice analysis of the actual construction considerations at work here, by The Amiearly Gaffneymeister. Woulda maybe emphasized the 5 U's and fine litter of (21) weejects a bit more, but still -- really primo analysis. Bullets also woulda been neat to have had, btw.

fave moo-cow MonPuz Eazy-E clue: 12-D's {Zig's opposite} = ZAG. (Anybody want GIZ, there? … No?!)

I believe Mr. Westwig snared up just about every credible-good 10-letter MORNINGPERSON for his MonPuz. There were a couple that M&A might known somewhat better than AKIOMORITA dude, tho. Top list:

Those definitely ABOVE the "Morita Line":
* ANNMARGRET. Anyone who co-starred in a flick with Elvis is in the High Country, imo.
* AMYMADIGAN. "Field of Dreams" gal.
* ALEXMCCORD. One of the original Real Housewives of New York City. (Spouse insisted I add this one)
* ALFMLANDON. 1936 Presidential Election (2nd place). Surely U see the intrinsick beauty of this entry, people. I mean A.M. Landon? Just sings, to be included, somehow.
* ANNEMURRAY. Cute Canadian singer. "U Needed M&e" made it to #1 on the U.S. charts, in 1977. Only problem there would be havin two MURRAYs in one puz.

Those probably BELOW (but close to) the "Morita Line":
* Anus Monkei. Kid I knew in junior high. Several really oafish students gave him trouble all the time, for some reason.
* ATMMACHINE. Inventor of the after hours bankin box.
* AHARMOMENT. Grandfather of Runt Puzzles.
* ALFIOMICCI. Made lotsa NYTPuzs. 102 total. No pangrams, tho.
* ABBYMILLER. American actress.
* AUNTIEMATA. Had a namesake niece who was a pretty decent dancer and spy. Also helped power warp engines for The Enterprise, or somethin.


**gruntz: but, too day-um hard; sorry**

Elephant's Child 4:07 PM  

With FURROW'd bROW, throwing a gridspanner into the works:


Teedmn 7:02 PM  

I A.M. a MORNING PERSON but I like to stay up really late also. So I do a lot of nodding off at embarrassing moments. Don't ever let a meeting drag on - I will be involuntarily getting some shuteye.

Mr. Westwig, I LAUDE your efforts. And thanks, @Matt Gaffney, for the write up.

Nancy 7:53 PM  

@mathguy -- Can't believe I scrolled by your post this AM by mistake. Saw it just now. Thanks for the helping hand. I'm picking the puzzle up again, and will let you know tomorrow how I fare. Or sooner, if it all falls into place easily, which I doubt it will.

Nancy 8:27 PM  

@mathguy -- Bingo, sort of. CARWASH helped me change BEADLE to SEXTON, giving me (for 2 of the rings) EXTRACTS (vanilla and almond) and STONE SAW. (I don't understand CARWASH as a "fund raiser" at all; I think of it as either a chore or a paid job. I think of telethon or charity ball as a fund raiser.) Still, I got DON'T WORRY, BE HOOPY for the message. But do I have the tire manufacturer? I've only heard of two: Goodyear and Goodrich. Is ROYAL UNI a tire co.? That's all I can make out of the letters I have.

Thanks again, @mathguy. Anyone who solves these things HAS to be smart!!!

RooMonster 9:02 PM  

@Nancy, ha! Good guess on the tire name, gave me a chuckle! Not sure what type puzzle you're doing, but I do know the tire is UNIROYAL (one word.) Oh, and sometimes people hold CARWASHes for money raising purposes, like school sports teams and such.

Let me know what the puzzle is again, ad I'm too lazy to scroll back through to your earlier comment!


Nancy 9:39 PM  

Hi, @Roo,
I'm working on RING TOSS, by Mark Halpin, one of the specialty puzzles in the 7/19/15 Sunday Times Magazine. It was really tough and @mathguy who did it, without any help, is really smart. Me -- not so much. But I did chuckle over UNIROYAL. The RING answers go around a central letter, in any direction, starting anywhere; hence my wrong answer. There are also ROW answers; it's all pretty complicated. Hope you can find it and get hold of it. Even having read some of the answers, you would still find it a challenge, I'm sure. Just DON'T read mathguy and my earlier posts, which provide too many spoilers!

JFC 10:01 PM  

In the future I will be posting as Anonymous and any JFC posts will not be mine but only by the faux JFC.

If Rex continues to allow the nonsense that is taking over this Blog, he will soon not have a Blog.


Anonymous 11:01 PM  

1) I wonder why @JFC capitalized "blog."
2) I wonder why @Nancy feels it is okay to use this forum as her personal email and communication system?

kitshef 11:13 PM  

@Tara - I am guessing you are a reasonably with-it 34 year old with no interest in sports, as ANDYMURRAY AND ALMICHAELS are both well-known.

@Nancy and @mathguy, I could not get the first three letters of the first row: tried waddle - so close!

Wonderful Monday puzzle, though better for a Tuesday given the number of proper names. Though no overwrites today, so maybe I should rethink that.

If we go to fictional people, Adrian Monk would fit nicely in there.

CatChef 12:24 AM  

@kitshef, good thought, but I don't think Adrian Monk would fit nicely; if I'm not mistaken, he's too claustrophobic for those little boxes. Besides, he'd be trying to line up all the black squares in straight ROWS.

the count 4:39 AM  

Anonymous is right on this one, @Nancy. Five(!) verbose posts--mostly having *nothing* to do with this puzzle--and generally only appropriate for personal
e-mail instead of this blog. Why not exchange some e-mail addresses with your pals and save your comments here for pertinent Rex stuff?

Anonymous 11:38 AM  

This is a test. This is only a test. Might pass today, though, because the Blog Author is apparently off this A.M.

I found this one to be a pleasing solve, even though I had to work in Mr. Morita (any relation to "Wax on, wax off" Pat?) letter by letter on crosses. No harm, because everything else is Monday-easy, but wow--are we really supposed to KNOW this guy? Fill is nice and lively; a few bumps necessitated by the theme density, but within acceptable parameters. PHAT and FAT stretch the limits of allowability. B.

This has been a test. Had it been an actual blog, it may not have appeared.


leftcoastTAM 3:23 PM  

Filled this one in as a none-themer--came here to see it--and finished in record Monday time! Go figure.

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