1968 hit song spawned 1978 movie 1981 TV show / MON 8-17-15 / Gucci alternative / Bit of textspeak unshortened / Mysteries starting with Tower Treasure House on Cliff / Pueblo brick /

Monday, August 17, 2015

Constructor: Andrea Carla Michaels

Relative difficulty: tiny bit tougher than your average Monday, but I've been drinking, so...

THEME: HARDY HAR HAR — first parts of the first three themers represent someone LAUGHING OUT LOUD (65A: Bit of textspeak, unshortened ... or a hint to the starts of 17-, 27- and 49-Across)

Theme answers:
  • HARDY BOYS SERIES (17A: Mysteries starting with "The Tower Treasure" and "The House on the Cliff")
  • "HARPER VALLEY PTA" (27A: 1968 hit song that spawned a 1978 movie and a 1981 TV show)
  • HARVARD GRADUATE (49A: Crimson alumnus) — pretty sure she meant "Crimson alumna"; she is one, after all
Word of the Day: XCI (21A: 91, to Nero) —
Roman numerals, the numeric system used in ancient Rome, employs combinations of letters from the Latin alphabet to signify values. The numbers 1 to 10 can be expressed in Roman numerals as follows:
The Roman numeral system is a cousin of Etruscan numerals. Use of Roman numerals continued after the decline of the Roman Empire. From the 14th century on, Roman numerals began to be replaced in most contexts by more convenient Hindu-Arabic numerals; however, this process was gradual, and the use of Roman numerals in some minor applications continues to this day. (wikipedia)
• • •

I can't really believe that "HARDY BOYS SERIES" (?!?!?) is a thing—by which I mean "a decent stand-alone answer"; the SERIES part feels forced—but it's Monday, so why not be a little loopy, if only to liven things up a bit? "Unshortening" LOL is kind of interesting, and the fact that all themers are 15s adds another unexpected (i.e. unMondaylike) dimension to the puzzle, so that's OK. The fill is living in the past, once again. Mostly short and old and boring. But I've seen much worse, for sure.

["And he can see no reasons 'cause there are no reasons..."]

Not much else to say about this, so see you tomorrow, I guess. Oh no, wait. Maybe I can talk about the awesomeness that was Lollapuzzoola 8, the crossword tourney I attended last weekend (Aug. 8). Sure, why not? So it's probably easiest to do as a kind of photo essay. I will keep it as short as possible (ed.: it's not short, iamsorrythatiamnotsorry). First we drove to our friends who live up the Hudson, and then took the train down into the city, only we started on the west side of the Hudson and then changed in NJ, which I would not recommend despite the early part of the trip which involved taking one of those awesome superhigh train bridges that get blown up in westerns. That was cool. But the ride over to NYC from Jersey was dire, in that it was all underground and eventually I was like "Why is everyone getting off?" because we'd never really picked up speed but that's apparently how one gets to Penn Station by train from NJ. Then we walked across town (we brought only backpacks) to the Hotel Chandler, which we stayed at 'cause we got a good deal and it was near where PuzzleGirl and Doug were staying and also I love Raymond Chandler, so all the stars were aligned.

 [I like being in New York *this* much...]

Our good friend Linda was in the city for some annual college reunion thingie she has with Carleton people, so we saw her for a drink, and then another drink and food, before heading out to meet up with crossword people. Angela (PuzzleGirl) likes Irish pubs so we went to one for dinner, and most people liked it but I thought it was meh. I left at some point to go drinking with my friend and future co-constructor Lena Webb at this place in the Bowery where her friend was bartending, a place called something "+" something ... gotta look it up. I want to say "Pork + Poutine," but that's not right ... aha, it's Saxon + Parole. Anyway, it was a lot of fun drinking whatever Lena put in my hand and talking crosswords with her and a few other people there (including Andrew Ries of Aries Puzzles).

[Brayden, me, Lena, in the opening credits of our new TV show, probably about lawyers]

The next day was the tourney. It was a gorgeous sunny Saturday and we got up early to blog the Saturday crossword in a crappy little Starbucks with Lena and her boyfriend Brayden (which, if you read last Saturday's write-up, you already know). Then we headed up to All Souls Church (home of the tourney), but not before dropping in on Oren's Daily Roast coffee shop, because ... well, Starbucks didn't cut it, and also, OREN! It's just so crossword-ish, I couldn't not go there on tourney day. The basement of All Souls was jammed—biggest attendance Lollapuzzoola has ever had at something over 200 competitors (!?). It's always overwhelming trying to say hi to all my friends and acquaintances and blog readers. Never enough time. But a great joy nonetheless. This year I decided to compete in the Pairs division (w/ my wife), which was fun even though we didn't win. I thought we just had to beat Karen von Haam and her mom, but there was this other couple that we didn't know about who had won the Pairs division the previous two years (Julian Ochrymowych & Marcia Hearst), and so even though my wife and I blew past Karen and her mom on the wicked hard Puzzle 4 and stayed ahead of them through the 5th and final puzzle, we still only came in 2nd, and (much to my chagrin) there is No Hardware for 2nd place in the Pairs division. Not even steak knives. Boooo! I want my trophy, Brian Cimmet!

 [Adesina Koiki (of "A Lot of Sports Talk") strikes a quintessential solver pose]

The puzzles were great. I mean, great. The easy ones, the brutal ones, all so thoughtful, so polished, so funny. Renewed my faith that crosswords can be awesome. Constructors were Patrick Blindauer, Anna Schechtman, Mike Nothnagel, joon pahk, Doug Peterson, and (for the final puzzle) Kevin Der. Final puzzle was back-breaking. Three of the very fastest solvers in the country solved it on stage, and only one of them actually finished—with less than 10 seconds to go, Francis Heaney pulled it out. Very exciting (moreso in the room than on video, but here's a taste anyway):

Then I had a lovely dinner out at Candle Cafe where I'm 73% sure Jonathan Franzen was at a nearby table, although it could've been just another bespectacled guy in his '50s. Then a long walk home because after a day of sitting and crossword-stressing and stress-eating, we needed it. Next day was the Blue Jays/Yankees game at Yankee Stadium after a nice morning walking around the Madison/30th area. Coffee at Birch Coffee where a nice man brought the his dog ("it's not mine, I'm dogsitting") in and chatted us up and when he found out where we were from cried, "Oh, BingHAMton ... with the balloons!" This was technically correct, as the annual SpiedieFest & Balloon Rally (a Binghamton summer staple) had just happened. "I read about it in 'Time Out New York.'" ANYway, went to the game with a bunch of folks and the Jays beat the Yankees, who couldn't score to save their lives and who were shut out at home two days in a row for the first time in like a billion years. Group of raucous, drunken Jays fans were the most entertaining part of the game. Still, there was beer, and a bright green field, and my friends, so the day was not a waste.

[Superfriends! Also dorks.]

After the game we ended up going down to the Union Square area for reasons I don't quite remember, and eating Brazilian food, and then wandering over to the Flatiron Building area in search of ice cream. We "settled" for gelato at Eataly (a terrible pun, but Great gelato and espresso). That was the most magical part of the weekend, sitting outside near the Flatiron Building, drinking coffee and eating gelato as the sun set. Who was there? PuzzleGirl, Brad Wilber, tourney co-organizer Brian Cimmet, Doug Peterson, Penelope, Erik Agard, and Mike Nothnagel. I think that's everyone. (Finn Vigeland ditched us after the game to be with people of his own hip, young demographic, and Sam Ezersky ditched us before the game even ended, in order to catch a bus back to VA.).

 [Penelope and Erik in the classic back-to-back defensive gelato-eating posture]

And that was my weekend. Nice leisurely Monday morning walk up to Grand Central, where I saw the fabulous Rachel Dratch (and tried not to stare/squeal in admiration) and also saw a yoga / athletic-wear commercial of some kind being filmed. Lots of different kinds of lean, muscular people standing around waiting for their turn on camera while an assistant kept adjusting and readjusting and rereadjusting the yoga mat in the middle of the station as the sunlight shifted. Nice leisurely train ride up the Hudson. Nice lunch with friend in Beacon (where I weirdly saw a member of my department walking along the sidewalk), then back across the river to Cornwall to retrieve our car and drive home. So, the upshot is, the tourney rules, NYC rules, people are nice, puzzles can be great if you treat them right, the Flatiron Building is beautiful at sunset, train rides along the Hudson are oddly soothing, and if you don't go to Lollapuzzoola next year (or Indie 500 in DC next May/June—a similarly entertaining and professionally-run tourney), then I don't know what to say. You better have a good excuse.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Whirred Whacks 12:02 AM  

Sounds like you enjoyed your weekend.

Fun, breezy puzzle. HAR, HAR, HAR or as Lao-Tzu put it: "As soon as you have made a thought, laugh at it."

Only one write-over:
had HELL before YALE for "Where Bill and Hillary met."

I saw Seiji OZAWA several times when he was the conductor of the San Francisco orchestra in the early 1970s. His father was a dentist, and yet Seiji had many of his of teeth pulled in his forties because he hadn't practiced satisfactory oral hygiene (as per Herb Caen who knew these kinds of things).

Music man 12:17 AM  

I haven't been drinking so I found this much easier ;)

I was thinking the theme was HARDY HAR HAR, but then I was thinking it was just HA HA HA, now I don't know what to think. I like HARDY HAR HAR the best, and if that's what was intended, I like the theme.

jae 12:19 AM  

Easy, smooth and cute.  Just what you want on a Mon.  Congrats on a fine number 50 Andrea.

I think the theme is HARDY HAR HAR.

Da Bears 12:33 AM  

I was curious what Rex would say about this puzzle by his onetime friend. I read today that Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck acted like awkward strangers at his 43rd birthday party. They never looked like each other. That's what Rex's blog seems like in critiquing the puzzle.

chefwen 12:42 AM  

HARDY, HAR, HAR! What's not to love there? Our Monday queen is back, yeah! Monday easy and lots of fun. Thanks Andrea.

@Rex - Loved the pictures and commentary, sounds like a great weekend.

Chaz 2:20 AM  

I think it's hardy har har, Rex. Have another cocktail.

Steve J 2:56 AM  

First of all, boo to Rex for putting "I Don't Like Mondays" in my head. Mondays are vastly preferable to that god-awful song.

As far as the puzzle: Perfectly fine Monday. Mostly. I could have done without one or the other of SEERED or SERE, let alone both. BAHS as well. But HAR HAR HAR was nice.

Meanwhile, I'm not sure whether to laugh or shake my head ruefully at today's WOTD.

Loren Muse Smith 4:23 AM  

I finished it and was thinking HAR HAR HAR, too, and vaguely thinking I would actually say HARDY HAR HAR… Wait! That's what it is! Cool.

HARPER VALLEY PTA was such a great song. I bet that mom was a HARD HEADED WOMAN, huh?

Considered help "pave" the way before IS ON. Dumb.

DRANO and Liquid Plumr are among the Wonders of the Supermarket shelf that never let me down. Note the UNPLUG right under DRANO. Yep.

When I got the reveal, I was thinking of phrases that began with LOL and then forgetting the wording of the clue, I was thinking maybe things like LABOR OF LOVE or LAP OF LUXURY.

This whole LOL thing fascinates me. A lifelong Creepy Walmart Line Eavesdropper, I've always noticed that people pepper their comments (always relating the riveting 20-minute long story of how they had to visit several doctors but then finally the physician's assistant (who moved here last year from Wheeling that their cousin Savannah recommended but had a full schedule but they fit her in anyway – another story) before the hernia/ulcer/sleep apnea/slipped disc was diagnosed)…anyway, they insert into the story these little laughs, even when what they're saying isn't really meant to be funny. I don't know if it's a nervous thing or the oral equivalent to the exclamation point, a softener, maybe? You just pay attention today, and you'll hear lots of laughs are not humor driven.

So now I notice the same phenomenon on FB comments – LOLs all over the place that come after comments that aren't meant to be laugh-inducing.

What did color did u finally decide on for ur classroom?
Yellow lol

Seriously? Why the lol?

Gotta go – running just a little late this morning lol. Thanks, Andrea!

jae 4:59 AM  

...and @Rex thanks for the tourney recap...delightful ...takes me back to your first ACPT narrative ...

Lewis 6:22 AM  

"But I've seen much worse, for sure." This amounts to a rave for an Acme puzzle from Rex, who's writeups of Andrea's puzzles usually sound as if there"s a "not" between "I've" and "seen".

I liked the silliness of the theme. Seeing the HARDY HAR HAR put a big smile on my face. Long live silly! So for me, it was a one-joke theme that was funny enough to work. The four 15s were nice to see on a Monday, and the puzzle was on the harder end of Monday, where I believe the Mondays should be. The puzzle started with a high BEAM (on that ALFA) and, at the end, GETS down. There is a mini theme of words ending with A (10). A special hidden hardy-har-har gift goes from East to West in row 9, where you'll find a backwards BEDPAN.

I wouldn't expect Acme, on her 50th NYT puzzle (congratulations!), to have anything less than a pangram and clean grid, and she delivered.

Dansah 7:17 AM  

ACME puzzle TIPTOP. Or is that TIPTOP puzzle ACME?

Unknown 7:41 AM  

I live part of the year in Colorado where there are lots of elk but no elks.

Anonymous 7:42 AM  

Agree with @Lewis, this amounts to a rave from Rex.

Smooth ACME fun! Congrats, Andrea!!

dk 7:53 AM  

🌕🌕🌕🌕 (4 mOOOOns)

The HARDY BOYS SERIES along with the Nancy Drew Stories. Both were products of the Stratemeyer syndicate written by ghostwriters at $125 per book -- about what constructors get paid for NYT puzzles.

Now that we have that out of the way. A solid theme as is Andrea's trademark. A laugh line punctuated with a few comediennes (25a, 38&44a) and ending with a little often nominated but never winnning self deprecation (69a).

One does not need to be a 49a to 73a this puzzle although it does take a 49a to construct it.

50 published puzzles: A round of applause.

Elle54 7:57 AM  

HARDY HAR HAR to @Whirred Whacks for your Bill/Hill comment. LOL LOL LOL!
Congratulations ACME! Miss you!

Will C 8:07 AM  

Rex, after reading your comments this morning I have come to a conclusion: You should drink more.

SylvieM 8:12 AM  

Not a single pause. Pretended I was Rex at the Lollapuzzoola,lol.

Lewis 8:12 AM  

Sorry, GN -- my "who's" should be "whose".

Wm. C. 8:13 AM  

Re: "Har de Har har:"

Here's a bit of Cramdenesque for you:


Which reminds me of "One of these days, Alice, ... Just one of these days ..." That always brought peals of laughter on the sound track, but it certainly wouldn't fly today.

Mine Entrance (4) 8:15 AM  

Have I done something to offend? If so, please tell me, as that was never my intent; In fact it's against my very nature. But I fear I must have - how else could you explain that I wasn't included in this puzzle? I mean every tired old 4-letter entry ever was included, but I wasn't. Ulee got invited, Etna, Aloe (though she's everywhere. She's a bit of a slut and gets invited to every party so that everyone gets a chance to get lucky) all made the, the eRat even showed up, and he's not welcome anywhere.


Leapfinger 8:19 AM  

@Lewis, love that you picked up the BED-PAN, but using it is apt to give you a ROID. (My 'pologies to the Early RISER Breakfast Club for terminally poor timing here.)

Liked seeing YALE placed above HARVARD (heehee), but it was SILly to cross EVIL, wasn't it?

"HARPER VALLEY PTA" (not covered by VALerie HARPER) and "SHE-ERRI, SHE-E-E-E-ERRI, won't you come out tonight?"... I got me all kinds of earworms going. All of them older than God, but making me feel like a teen again. Metalious before Metallica, Peyton Place before Peyton Manning, you know.

In Xanadu did KUBLA KERR
A Stately Pharmacy decree
Where ALF the Sacral River ran
Beside the Sunless Crevassee
And one can purchase Nupercaine*
To soothe the ROID that harrows thee.

*(eniacrepuN spelled backwards)

Hey, @AliasZ, you invoked "Tiny Bubbles" yesterday, and here we have Beverly SILLS! (No Hillbilly, she!!)

BEAM me up, ACMe, I thought it XCI-ting how your theme GETS across. I'm PRADA YER!!!

AliasZ 8:37 AM  

@Rex, funny write-up on Lollapuzzoola 8½ -- too bad Marcello Mastroianni and Claudia Cardinale were not invited.

Loved the HARDY HAR HAR theme, the way only Jackie Gleason and ACME can do it. I almost LOLed.

The first thing I noticed in the fill was the clusters of proper names: in the NE we have JESSE OZAWA, and JOE EZRA, in the W-Central we see ROSIE lie atop SHERRI and IRV across both of them. I saw no reason for OZAWA/EZRA unless ACME was shooting for a pangram right off the bat, which I think she was.

Then there were lots of ITO, ISON, ETTU, BAHS, SIL, LOS, YER, XCI, etc. which I guess would be OK for a Monday, but especially ETTU is starting to wear thin on me. In fact, it was thin 98 uses ago. Time to retire ETTU alongside ETUI and ENNUI? One can dream. Then ITO: I don't know which is worse, ITO as a partial, or as Judge Lance. Today we have both: "Who am ITO judge?" Very clever Acme, the funniest clue/answer pair today.

But who am ITO over-analyze a Monday puzzle? It was easy and enjoyable -- the only thing that counts. Hardy, har, har, for laughing out loud.

In Xanadu did KUBLA Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.

Poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), musical depiction by Charles Tomlinson Griffes (1884-1920).

Benko 8:47 AM  

I love Eataly by the Flatiron building and make a point to go there when I'm in the city. They make some seriously great pasta and have a wonderful wine selection.

allan 8:51 AM  

@ACME Nice Monday. Wish you had worked some reference to Jackie Gleason, who I think made hardy har har a thing.

@Rex talk about old and stale, Lalapuzzoola 8 is so last week! ;-)

Bob Kerfuffle 8:56 AM  

"Acme" only got into the clues; EVIL made it into the grid. So where is M&A? Har!

Should we blame the editor for 55D, ELKS awkwardly as Antlered animals when they could have smoothly been a fraternal organization?

RooMonster 9:12 AM  

Hey All !
Nice MonPuz! I see Andrea stuck her name in the clues! And the cheeky answer of TIPTOP! Nice. And a pangram, cleanly no less.

My query: Was this a custom puz made for M&A? You got his HARs in there, and 8 U's! He may have had a heart attack filling out the south!

I do have one little nit, the closed off NE and SW corners. Minor, I know, just threw it out there, lol (@Loren)

Enjoyable, found it actually slightly easier than a normal Monday, of course, wasn't drinking like Rex! To each their own, and such. :-)

DRUNKS and DEBTORS, oh my!

leah712 9:20 AM  

Nice Monday, but was SweePea really Popeye's child? Because I thought Popeye and Olive Oyl were still courting and SweePea was her nephew or something. Unmarried couples with children didn't exist on TV in the 60's.

chefbea 9:24 AM  

What a great fun puzzle..by our good friend ACME..and a pangram to boot. Loved it!!!

mathgent 9:30 AM  

A welcome bit of wordplay in a Monday. "Who am ___ judge": ITO.

As part of my lonely crusade to eliminate three-letter entries, allow me to present ORR (I think that it was in the first NYT puzzle I ever did), XCI, YER, ITO (although cleverly-clued), QUA (although it has one some Scrabble games for me), LOS. Fifteen of the little buggers today.

Bill Butler has this factoid in his blog today. KERR was the oldest Bond girl at 47; Casino Royale, 1967.

Dorothy Biggs 9:34 AM  

I liked the puzzle. No groans anywhere. I liked that BEAM/Broad smile was the entry answer/clue for a puzzle that laughs out loud.

There are a few answers in the puzzle that contribute to my typical "self-satisfied" feeling about what I happen to know after doing an NYT puzzle: my Latin (Sine QUA non, quad ERAT demonstrandum, ETTU Brutus), my knowledge of "dry" words (arid v. SERE), and longtime BSO conductor OZAWA (whose Mahler 1 is among my favorites).

And by self-satisfied, I don't mean "smug," because I don't really lord it over anyone that I know ridiculously useless latin phrases or niche words and names; I mean self-satisfied almost literally. I like that I know this stuff. As someone who is fundamentally curious about lots of things, it's just plain fun to know bits of this and that from all over the map.

Anyway, nice puzzle. I'm beaming.

Nancy 9:37 AM  

All I saw was HA HA HA, since when I LOL, I never say HAR HAR HAR or (even more cringe-making) HARDY HAR HAR. So I missed the full awesome power of the theme. (Can you detect a bit of sarcasm here?) But it was OK. It's Monday and it was perfectly fine and straightforward. High point of the puzzle so far? @Mine Entrance 4's 8:15 comment. Very funny.

Ludyjynn 9:38 AM  

Any puzzle that references one of my fave actresses, DEBorah KERR, is TIPTOP by me. If you Google 'Deborah', the number one hit is KERR. That should tell us something, eh? Although she never won 'best actress', she did receive a long overdue Academy Honorary Award in 1994, an Honorary BAFTA in 1991 and a well-deserved Cannes Film Festival Tribute in 1984. She had an enduring stage, film and tv career. She elevated any project in which she appeared, IMHO.

@WW, I was not LAUGHINGOUTLOUD at your 'hell' remark. Political snark is so uncalled for in this venue. Seriously, please refrain, SIL vous plait.

Thanks, ACME and WS. This was a nice way to EASE into the week.

pmdm 9:48 AM  

Very nice puzzle. ACME once again demonstrates that pangram puzzles need not require wretched fill to get in all the letters (despite what JC has to say in Wordplay today). I have to laugh out loud that the write-up never mentions the presence of a pangram except when fitting all 26 letters into one grid results in garbage fill. SO credit to ACME where credit is due.

Speaking of ACME, those fairly new to here may not be aware that at one time she contributed daily to these comments, much to many people's enjoyment. With the new policy of moderating the comments, I think many of us would like to see her return.

It's interesting that when most people think of Scrooge, they probably think of a character that persistently exclaims BAH at all around him. Interestingly enough, the exclamation BAH only appears twice in the story, at the very beginning. Movies certainly do influence our perception of literary characters.

Interesting that the three HAR words are proper nouns. I wonder if you would be able to do this theme with HAR words that aren't. Let me think about that ...

quilter1 9:50 AM  

Really, really enjoyed the ITO joke as well as the rest of the puzzle. Easy, yes, old familiar clues and answers, yes, but Monday shouldn't be stressful. I'm still working on BEQ's puzzle of last Thursday and enjoying the crunch. Contrast is good.

Anonymous 9:55 AM  

"most people liked it but I thought it was meh"

I am SHOCKED Rex could have a lukewarm attitude towards something everyone else liked.

Leapfinger 9:55 AM  

@Alias, one of us owes ST Coleridge an apology.

Looking around to make sure we aren't joined at the hip, lol.

Glimmerglass 9:57 AM  

I think the theme id HARDY HAR HAR, but that's not quite synonymous with LOL. HARDY HAR HAR is always ironic. It means, "That's not really funny." LOL, while anthing can be written ironically, is usually not.

GILL I. 10:05 AM  

ACME...the Queen of Nice, gets the ONYX award for this SWEE Monday.
ROSIE was really called the "Queen of Nice?" Glad Trump isn't showing off his coif in this puzzle.
DRUNKS is cute over LAUGHING OUT LOUD. Something @Rex might know about...I guess Saxone and Parole does sound like Pork and Poutine.
I too miss you Andrea - we need more MADCAP outings....

Howard F 10:07 AM  

Had such a great time at Lollapuzzocho (or whatever they called it?!). And it was nice meeting you again! I live in Brooklyn and it makes me proud that we have such a cool event.

For today's puzz, I solved it how Matt Gaffney suggested, by solving the themes first. Cool way to solve a monday.

Tita 10:08 AM  

Congratulations ACME! I LOL'd at the reveal. right on cue.

Liked the nautical theme too - the TAR uses the North Star in URSA Minor to SAIL his BEAMy ship, keeping his downhaul TAUT till he lies safely ALEE.

Once I was in a "regatta" at our little beach club. THese were always extremely laid back events - so laid back, that there weren't enough Lasers and Sunfish to make for an interesting race, so they let me and my windsurfer in to spice things up.
My board's alacrity enraged the inner Larry Ellison of one of the sailors, who stared shouting "Mast aBEAM!" at the top of his lungs in an attempt to disqualify me. He was overruled.

@Rex - we lunched at Candle too...completely unaware when we walked in that it was a vegan restaurant...! Food was delicious, but $33 for a small salad and glass of wine, without a shrimp or chicken strip in sight, is pricey even for the upper east side!!

Thanks Andrea - I wa sorta dreading dull-old Monday, but this was a fun start to the puzzle week.

Dorothy Biggs 10:18 AM  

@pmdm: there are lots of graduates from this blog's comments section that have gone on to do great puzzles. Hmmm...maybe Rex's rants-cum-teaching has paid off?

Joseph Michael 10:28 AM  

Fun theme and liked the ACME cameo in the cluing.

I believe the original phrase coined by Jackie Gleason was HAR HAR HARDY HAR HAR, so the puzzle is two HAR's short of perfect.

Could have done with a little less crosswordese like ALOE, ETNA, and ORR, but enjoyed the solve overall.

@Mine Entrance at 8:15am, I feel your pain, but perhaps you can take consolation in the fact thst it wasn't ULEE who was invited to the puzzle. It was his cousin ALEE.

Doug Garr 10:34 AM  

Drink less and write shorter.

Nancy 10:55 AM  

@mathgent and @quilter 1 -- I completely missed the ITO pun. Nice pickup, both of you, Also nice pun. It elevates the puzzle for me.

@Alias (8:37) -- Thanks for rescuing poor Mr. Coleridge from undeserved bad parody and providing to everyone here the accurate rendition of that wonderful KUBLA stanza. Is there any better sonority in poetry than just those 5 words: "Down to a sunless sea."? Sonority. That's what's gone missing from modern poetry, right along with rhyme and form. Coleridge was one of the most sonorous of poets; other masters of sound are Tennyson, Blake, Poe and Kipling. ee cummings is modern, but he's also immensely sonorous. It's called having a great ear and if you DON'T have it, stick to prose, that's what I say. And now, I shall climb down from my soap box. But as you may have guessed, poetry is one of my great passions.

mac 11:03 AM  

Perfect Monday, and congratulations on nr. 50, Andrea!

Cute theme, and very funny combos, ITO judge, Acme in the clues, Rosie and Sherri, colleagues on The View.

For a long time my husband thought LOL meant Lots Of Love....

jberg 11:22 AM  

@Joseph Michael, thanks for that -- I was going crazy trying to spot the ULEE that I'd missed.

I enjoyed the puzzle, and enjoyed ACME's correct self-characterizaion as TIP TOP. Maybe a few too many partials, and ideally you'd get the pangram without a Roman numeral, but those are quibbles beside SNOCAT, KUBLA, DRAN-O, and ROSIE.

I wanted HARDY BOYS Stories before SERIES, but I do think the latter is a thing. Nice work, @Andrea!

Aketi 11:35 AM  

@Rex, you seem to be BEAMing with enthusiasm in the first pic of your trip to NYC. Cafe Candle West across the street is our go to take out when we feel like eating virtuous vegan food. If you want to eat ELKS, there are other restaurants in NYC.

I am BEAMing for two reasons:
1) I hit a new record for my slow three fingered iPad typing. I insta-filled this one in under 13 minutes.
2) Initiating the colleges tours with my son and his friends is actually turning out to be quite fun, rather than the UGLY process I was afraid it might be.

Digression alert:
I'll divulge that we traveled to RexWorld which we seemed to have liked as much as Rex liked NYC.

SUNY Binghamton seems worthy of its status as one the TIP TOP "Public Ivies". The deliberately strategic slide in the info session comparing cost and value with the Ivies made me relieved that YALE was never on my son's radar screen and he has no intentions of becoming a HARVARD GRADUATE either. Much easier to avoid becoming DEBTORS at Binghamton.

All the boys loved the open green spaces on the tour. The campus was one of the few that I've seen that mingles the modern architecture of the new buildings with the older buildings in an integrated style. Our guide was a not so nerdy engineering student who volunteered as an EMT. In addition to making sure he explained details about the academics in air-conditioned spaces instead of in the hot sun, he also spent a lot of time on how to FEED yourself well on a limited budget in the various dining halls. He was clearly a foody so we were a little disappointed when the Lost Dog Cafe he recommended wasn't open.

Hartley70 11:44 AM  

I love seeing your name on a Monday, Andrea, and you didn't disappoint today. Your puzzles have a lightness that just make me smile. The theme was perfect.

Rex, thanks for more of the Lollapuzzoola experience. It sounds like a super weekend! If you get bored with the teaching gig, think sales.

old timer 11:49 AM  

Very good puzzle. Played a little slow for me (9 minutes or maybe 10) probably because I was not drinking (not at 8:30 a.m., that's for sure). I thought HARVARDGRADUATE was out of place, myself.

I loved Rex's Fuller Explanation of his experience in NYC. The Flatiron Building and its neighborhood is my favorite in Manhattan. Glad to know Eataly is still there, too, and I'll keep that place in the Bowery in mind.

Hartley70 12:08 PM  

Mmmm Eataly!!! Order your Christmas pannetone from them if so inclined. Delicious and so worth the cost of shipment.

@Ludy, and what can compare to "An Affair to Remember" oh and that scene at the Empire State Building. It might be why I moved to NY.

@Nancy, "sonority" is a gorgeous word in it's own right. I might try and use it several times today.

In re the last several days' comments: I lived in the same apartment building as Hermione Gingold and she was every bit as fabulous in person as she and Maurice appeared in "GIGI". Fabulous voice and fabulous hair!

The ELKS reminds me that my husband tried to convince me that B. P. O. E. meant "best people on earth" because his mother had told him that as a child and he never questioned it. She must have had a giggle. I know I did.

I also live near Westport and had several Newman, Woodward, Redford encounters. Lovely people with no pretensions.

L 1:25 PM  

I never comment on the theme and I guess I'm an outlier here today, but I hated it! I thought it was pretty lame, even for a Monday, and I was annoyed with the inconsistency of using both a full word (Hardy) and partials (Har x2) as the theme. I must be super cranky today. Apologies.

Leapfinger 1:51 PM  

@Nancy, 'undeserved bad parody'? That's HARSH. You don't catch other sonorous poets passing themselves off as ALF, Lord Tennyson, do you? Even though I never joined a sonority in college, I do appreciate it, but much more so when it isn't rooted in being higher than a kite.

btw, Wait till you hear what Canadians do to "Idylls of the King", the first thing being to pronounce it 'Iddles'.

With respect to e.e. cummings, you won't find me doing a parody of:
he was a handsome man
and what i want to know is
how do you like your blueeyed boy
Mister Death

or of:
“Bon Dieu! may I some day do something truly great. amen.”

or of the last line he wrote in one of his introductions:
"Always the beautiful answer that asks a more beautiful question."

umm, would you call William Carlos Williams-Sonorous?

Charles Flaster 2:05 PM  

Very EZ and cute.
Very little CrosswordEASE.
Thanks ACM

Wm. C. 2:25 PM  

@Aketi (and Rex). --

A bit OT, perhaps....

No disrespect intended, but Binghampton is rated by US News as number 38 among US public Universities Since there are only 8 Ivies, calling it one of the "public Ivies" seems a bit of a stretch. The 8 Ivies are all ranked in the national top 16, and 4 hold the top 4 slots.

To be fair, though, there are hundreds of public colleges and universities in the US, so being ranked number 38 is pretty good.

Interestingly (to me, anyway) six of the top 11 universities are in the California University System, and others near the top include the likes of Texas, Wisconsin, Michigan, Virginia, and William&Mary -- so there's a ton of very high-quality competition at the top.

Nancy 2:26 PM  

So, yes, here in NYC we have Eataly and the Empire State Building and Candela 79 and all that, but in Westport, everyone's running into Newman, Woodward and Redford and having close-up encounters and finding them lovely people. Sigh. I may have to move to Westport. I almost never see anyone famous in NY. (Of course, I usually am lost in my thoughts and not noticing much of anything around me.) One of my rare sightings was of Vladimir Horowitz on the UES maybe 15 years ago. He was with his wife. They were sitting on a bench outside The Jewish Museum. I'm awkward around celebs. I never know what to say. Despite that, I walked up and said hesitantly: "Excuse me, but by any chance are you--" Not letting me finish, he barked back: "NO, I'M NOT!!!"

Oh, and Aketi -- good luck to your son in his college tours and applications.

Nancy 2:40 PM  

@Leapy -- your comment hadn't appeared when I typed my last post or I would have answered you then, re Williams. The answer is, no I don't consider him sonorous. That doesn't mean he doesn't have beautiful and original things to say, nor does it mean he fails to say them beautifully and originally. But sonority implies a musicality that I think is absent from his work. (I'm sure one could find exceptions, but in general.) Both the lines you quoted are very arresting lines, very strong lines, very memorable lines, but neither would I think of as musical. That said, I can see why you love his work. Sonority isn't the ONLY measure of a poet; it just happens to be the one that matters most to me.

Wesley Snipes 3:03 PM  

Who says White Men Can't Jump? Rex has a good 2" vertical going there, maybe 3". Awesome!

Bob Kerfuffle 3:32 PM  

Oh, Nancy, as someone new to the blog, you must have missed the story of my dinner with John Travolta . . .

Aketi 4:54 PM  

@Rex: Feel free to delete this OT response to an OT comment, but its in defense of Binghamton.

I didn't make up the fact that Binghamton (without a "p") is actually classified as a "Public Ivy" on all the lists of "Public Ivies" I've seen. It is typically ranked as number 1 in New York State. It also has received a large amount of new research funding and has new equipment for many of its lab facilities.

There are two types of California Universities - the University of California system and the California State Universities. I would imagine you meant the former.

Music man 6:02 PM  

@rex I see you've edited your explanation of the theme :) makes me feel smart LOL.

Wm. C. 6:11 PM  

@Aketi --

Once again, I did not mean to denigrate, and apologize if it came off to you as such.

Sorry I mis-spelled Binghamton, thinking of "Hampton," I guess.

When it comes to public schools in NY, places like Stony Brook and several of Cornell's specializations come to mind, but frankly Binghamton -- to me-- just isn't top-of-mind. Among non-New Yorkers, I suspect I'm not alone. Sorry, just the facts, ma'am, didn't mean to offend.

Speaking of big research bucks for upstate NY universities, I seem to recall that Rensselaer recently got a several-hundred million dollar grant from an anonymous donor to beef up its biotech program, one of several such unrestricted grants totaling over $1b in the past decade.

I was unaware of the term "Public Ivy," so I just googled it. The first hit says that the term was originally coined by a guy named Richard Moll in a 1985 book, listing ten institutions and another 10 as "worthy runner-ups', one of which was SUNY Binghampton. Since that was the only NY institution in this 20, I guess it's fair to say it's the best NY Public Ivy, so you're right on that point; I stand educated.

And yes, I did mean the University of California System and was remiss in not so specifying.

bwalker 7:22 PM  

The streak continues! I enjoyed the puzzle, finishing in a little over twelve minutes. Thanks to the folks giving Kubla Khan attention. I love that poem, and would amaze students complaining about memorizing verse by quoting the first few lines which I learned in 1975, forty (!) years ago. That and "Annabel Lee" would leave kids slack-jawed.

"Yellow lol." Must have been an echo.

Teedmn 7:28 PM  

Lovely puzzle today. My LOL stopped at HA HA HA so finding the HARDY HAR HAR when I got here was a bonus.

I'm sure that someone else whose comment is in the posting wings will comment on this (my ITO aha was certainly spoken of way before I got here) but I liked ALF And ALFA, and ALEE, ALI and (V)ALLEY.

SEERED is a nice DOOK, the verb of what a SEER does?

The HARPER VALLEY PTA album by Jeannie C Riley was a hoot. Several songs on it featured the stories of the people called out as hypocrites in the PTA meeting that Momma crashed. My neighbors owned it and we wore it out when we were kids.

Thanks, Acme and congrats on the #50.

Mohair Sam 7:45 PM  

Wow! Mrs. Sam did the puzzle solo today so I almost didn't come here - would have missed Lollapuzzoola write-up. Neat stuff @Rex, felt like I was there with you - you should drink more. Golfers will recognize your Phil Mickelson leap, btw.

All this chatter about Binghamton State is actually theme related - as the school sprang from HARpur College, which still exists there.

Anybody here besides me and @Nancy who didn't know Newman, Woodward, or Redford?

Mike Rees 8:31 PM  

I only had one issue with this crossword. ELKS is not the plural of elk. ELK is.

Ellen S 8:31 PM  

Tiptop puzzle ACME; I smiled the whole time I was solving it, and then I came here (LOL).

@Leapy, I only consider William Carlos Williams-Sonorous when I have some extra money to spend on overpriced kitchenware.

Everyone (but I think especially @Leapy -- "I never joined a sonority" is wet-my-pants funny) thank you for the extraordinarily clever comments.

kitshef 10:08 PM  

Made my first ever attempt at a unidirectional solve. Probably a tactical error to go for across-only. Still, made a good showing but was undone by several proper nouns (OZAWA, ROSIE, SHERRI) and HARDY BOYS _____. Needed to go to the downs for those areas.

SILLS AND JOE gave me HARDY BOYS SERIES, but I still needed SWEE to gat OZAWA.

HARSH, ALOHA AND IRV gave me ROSIE, but still needed RISER to get to SHERRI - a definite WoE for me.

I found it an interesting exercise, and in general I think it will be a good way to inject some life into some duller Mondays. Don't think I'm up to trying it any later in the week.

Very cute theme. I missed the full extent - thinking it was just HAHAHA.

Burma Shave 10:16 AM  


It seems HARSH to be lumped in with those RASCALs, DRUNKS and DEBTORS,
So ALOHA, UNPLUG me, SARI, but I’ll see you in the future ORR the PASTURE.


today’s stream of unconsciousness brought to you by a non-HARVARDGRADUATE

rondo 10:23 AM  

What a surprise to have an Acme puz on a Monday. She even slipped her moniker into the clues. I suppose most solvers won’t get it. Except here. And of course OFL’s write-up does everything it can to disparage her, or at least divert attention. Finished with usual Monday EASE.

On this date in 1968 HARPERVALLEYPTA hit No. 1; heard that on the way to work. Nice coincidence.

JESSE James (Decker), country-pop super yeah baby. Married to former Cold Spring, MN Gopher turned NFL star wide receiver.

DEB KERR, yeah baby from here to eternity.

ROSIE and SHERRI not so much, but one atop another in the puz, paints quite a picture. LOL?

IRV Cross ended up working in MN after the NFL announcing gig.

HARmless Mon-puz from Ms. TIPTOP.

spacecraft 10:54 AM  

"Several" proper nouns? Let's break it down--across only:

1. actual word
14. brand NAME (partial)
15. place NAME
16. NAME
17. NAME (but to be fair, an actual word at the end)
20. brand NAME
21. RRN*
22. actual, but overused, word
23. see 22
25. NAME
27. NAME
35. NAME
36. foreign word
37. two-word run-on
38. NAME
41. foreign article
43. brand NAME
44. NAME......

OK, I'm getting tired. Talk about no-win: I finally find a puzzle I can finish--and I wish I hadn't. The theme was cute but not earth-moving, and the fill! Sometimes I don't understand OFL. He is obviously very good friends with the constructor or else he would have 62-down that fill to shreds. A Peppermint Patty special: D-.

* Curiously, that exact RRN, XCI, is found in yesterday's LA Times puzzle--as well as the written-out SWEEPEA. Did someone do that grid and then build this one?

Anonymous 11:49 AM  

Even with cluing SILLS and ADOBE (and perhaps BEAM and ITO) as common words, is there no limit on how many proper nouns are allowed in a puzzle??? And almost nobody finds that disturbing??

Because I guess that featuring puzzle words isn’t enough and a comment or two must be required.
It seems HARSH to be lumped in with those RASCALs, DRUNKS and DEBTORS,
So ALOHA, UNPLUG me, SARI, but I’ll see you in the future ORR the PASTURE.
today’s stream of unconsciousness brought to you by a non-HARVARDGRADUATE
And the faux author’s name(s) are only those ending in “A”. Doesn’t anyone care??? Will? Rex? Anyone??
I was actually making that point without saying it directly. Am I the only one who GETS it?

Anonymous 12:06 PM  

.....and all letters of the alphabet were used

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