Athenian colonnade / MON 4-11-16 / Unfiltered unpasteurized brew / Poetic paeans / Hairy Halloween rentals / Double-decker checker

Monday, April 11, 2016

Constructor: Ron Toth and Zhouqin Burnikel

Relative difficulty: Slightly easier than usual for a Monday

THEME: POCKETS (53A: Keeps for oneself ... or features of the answers to all the starred CLUEs) — things that have ... them.

Theme answers:
  • CARGO / PANTS (1A: *With 9-Across, loose-fitting bottoms)
  • BOWLING LANE (24A: *Where you can hear a pin drop) (the "lane"??? ... I'd've thought the pocket was in the PINS ... which are in the lane ... which are in the alley ... which is on a street in a town on earth, presumably; the answer just seems odd / off / imprecise; that is, it's odd to say that pockets are a "feature of" bowling *lanes* ...) 
  • POOL TABLE (31D: *Where you might be behind the eight ball)
  • PITA BREAD (34D: *Falafel holder)
Word of the Day: Pocket (in bowling)

The 1-3 for right-handers and 1-2 for lefties. (The Bowler's Bowling Dictionary) (For Bowlers Who Bowl) (I made that last part up) (but not the first part)
• • •

Well, the theme is straight-up dull, but I really dig the shape of this grid, and the interesting long non-themers that result from it. WORLD CUP and ENCHILADAS and SOUR GRAPES and APE SUITS really steal the show here. The theme is not really NYT-worthy, and would never have made the grade without this cool-looking grid. It's just ... things with POCKETS. Random things. I got a little thrown off, because I assume SKI BAGS (whatever those are?) have POCKETS, but it's not a themer. I also got a little thrown off by the shorter fill, which is pretty rough for a 77-worder. If I were making this, the answers I would have RUED are: STOA, RHOMB (ugh), KEMO, CRU, ALLS, THUR, ATAB, CANTI, and ESTE. I'm not that thrilled with NUDIE either, since it's ultra-dated, but it's at least racy, so I probably wouldn't actually regret putting it in a grid.

A couple of weird coincidences are adding a small amount of delight to this solve, namely the crossing of the wine word CRU with the answer SOUR GRAPES, as well as the proximity of BRA to the CUP in WORLD CUP. BRAs don't have POCKETS. Well, some probably do. I always liked, in old movies, when women would just put things into / pull things out of their BRAs (usually money). It's a makeshift pocket. Of sorts. Wait, I'm just now seeing the answer REAL ALE and wondering WTF? That is, uh, something I've never seen before. And I drink. I drink ale. I like to think it's real. Wow. On a Monday, that answer? Well, it clearly didn't matter what day of the week it appeared on, as I never even saw it. Odd. My only hold-up in this puzzle came right off the bat, when, faced with SL- at 17A: Incline, I confidently wrote in SLANT. Nope. SLOPE. Otherwise, no problem.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


George Barany 12:12 AM  

Congratulations to @Ron Toth on his New York Times debut!

As regular readers of this blog surely know, @Zhouqin (C.C.) Burnikel is my Minnesota friend and neighbor. Perhaps less known, her husband Boomer is a rather accomplished bowler (find him in several of the photos compiled here), with numerous 300 games to his credit. I wonder if he influenced the selection of the theme entry at 24-Across.

thursdaysd 12:25 AM  

Surprised Rex hasn't heard of REAL ALE. I don't drink beer and I certainly know it. But maybe it's just a British thing? See:

chefwen 12:44 AM  

Like Rex, I wasn't thrilled with the theme, thought it was more of a non-theme so I just ignored it.

No hang ups with this one other than not knowing how KATHIE spelled her name so AWGEE and CANT I took a little extra thought.

Eyes messing with me again and I read 42A as Sounded like a crow. All set to fill in cawed but I already had the M in place so I had to do a quick double take there. AHA, a COW, well makes more sense now. DOH!

Other than not being able to read or spell this was pretty darn easy.

Diana,LIW 12:48 AM  

Hello, all Synders!

@DrJean - I'm from Philly too - where are you?

@Z - thanks so much for the PPP - agree on all fronts!

Teedmn - are you still thinking of Minn Tourney - where are you from? Let's meet up!!!

Any non-synders - wanna meet up in St. Paul in June for the puzzle tournement - let us know. A fun tourney awaits...

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for other puzzlers

jae 1:21 AM  

Medium-tough for me, probably because of stuff like RHOMB, GO POOF, ESTE, not quite knowing how to spell ENCHILADAS, REAL ALE being a woe, @Rex SLant before SLOPE...

Are SKI BAGS like Gym Bags for the Vail crowd?

Reasonably smooth grid, passable Mon. theme, liked it more than Rex did.

Loren Muse Smith 3:38 AM  

Rex – good catch on the CRU/SOUR GRAPES and the BRA- CUP combo. The one I saw was NUDIE/RODIN.

Me, too, on "slant" first.

Serendipity – last Monday on Dancing with the Stars, Carrie Ann Inaba told a contestant that he had been dancing "in the pocket" of the rhythm, and I kept trying to figure out what that means. I want to dance in the pocket of the rhythm, too.

I know Evil Doug doesn't comment here anymore, but I kept thinking of those "air pockets" we were flying through en route to the ACPT – I came off my seat multiple times.

This is definitely a time I appreciated the asterisks because ENCHILADAS and SOUR GRAPES would've made it harder to see the theme. REAL ALE (crossing LIT!) is a new one for me, too, as was SKI BAGS.

Favorite answer was GO POOF.

I agree – nice to see a different kind of grid on a Monday. My head is fuzzy terrible cold, so when it came out of the printer, I was momentarily thrown – had I somehow printed off the wrong puzzle?

All in all, a fine Monday imo. But here's hoping THUR comes fast.

Anonymous 4:47 AM  

BOWLING LANE is perfecly acceptable for a POCKET theme. If one hits the POCKET, one will surely hear pins drop. You're the one who decided to use the term "feature" when perhaps "aspect" might be more appropriate. Be careful about imposing an interpretation of a theme upon a puzzle one didn't construct.


Anonymous 5:57 AM  

Real Ale is English bitter - the yummy, non-carbonated, room temperature stuff you get in a pub across the pond. Shame, just shame, for not knowing this.

Christine Cozzens 6:30 AM  

The Real Ale movement revolutionized pubs and drinking in the UK many years ago. Pubs advertise themselves as "Real Ale" pubs when they serve this kind of beer. Love the blog and thanks!

Jon Alexander 6:58 AM  


From Wikipedia -

Real ale is the name coined by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) in 1973 for a type of beer defined as "beer brewed from traditional ingredients, matured by secondary fermentation in the container from which it is dispensed, and served without the use of extraneous carbon dioxide".[2][3] The heart of the definition is the maturation requirements. If the beer is unfiltered, unpasteurised and still active on the yeast, it is a real ale; it is irrelevant whether the container is a cask or a bottle.

Theme was weak, fill was pretty weak. Easy nonetheless. I saw the REALALE answer as well. Never heard the term, but having worked in a brewery I assumed it was in reference to Cask style beer (i.e. The traditional way to brew and serve beer - self carbonated and served at warmer temperature)

Anonymous 7:18 AM  

Check out CAMRA - the British organization, Campaign for Real Ale. A serious undertaking in the days before the craft brewing movement.

Geoff B 7:32 AM  

Just starting to get into crossword puzzles and this one was a little tough for me - 19:30 to be exact. I loved the NUDIE answer, it brought me back to the blurred premium chanel's on cable. I was hung up on RUED and a few others. Overall, a good puzzle.

Lobster11 7:57 AM  

I liked it. Not as much as I like REALALE, but well enough for a Monday. I don't see what the problem is with the theme.

If you're a beer drinker, you haven't lived until you've had REALALE: the apex of the brewer's art.

chefbea 7:59 AM  

Little bit tough for a monday. Hand up for not knowing bowling lanes have pockets.
I'll have to look up a recipe for making enchilada with pita bread and putting ragu on top...well maybe just a tsp. I could serve them with a tossed salad!

jberg 7:59 AM  

OK, now that 11 comments have cleared, we can stop telling Rex what REAL ALE is! It is more British than American, to be fair.

I loved the grid too -- but what is it up to? Those big black irregular blocks on the top edges, and the DIP ATE mini-tower in the middle -- I kept thinking it must be representing something visually, but I can't quite see it. Some kind of pocket?

@Rex, SKI BAGs are those long skinny things you see people picking up from the oversize baggage area after flights to or from Colorado. I suppose you could put pockets in one (to hold wax? mittens? goggles?), but I don't think they would be either a feature or an aspect (a distinction I don't grasp).

I loved the puzzle, for the reasons noted.

Hungry Mother 8:13 AM  

Agree with Rex's classification. I re-viewed "The Big Lebowski" last night and wondered where bowling has gone. Maybe I live in the wrong town.

kitshef 8:16 AM  

Soo... for the ignorant amount us ... what is so interesting about the grid? Just look like a grid to me. Is there some kind of 'pocket' visual I'm not getting? Or is this some subtlety you need to be a constructor to notice?

Extraordinarily difficult for a Monday. My entry on Monday is almost always 1A. Today it was 19A, meaning the first eight clues were not immediately obvious. That's a later entry than an average Wednesday, about average for a Friday.

Villa dESTE on a Monday? Never heard the term SKIBAG. Know REALALE but it's not something I'd expect on a Monday. Who makes a Legend?? How should I know. Crossing yuck CANTI and AWGEE with very difficult (but brilliant) clue for KING, and the aforementioned ESTE is no go on Monday. Hip-hop's ___ tha KYD? That's a Saturday clue.

Wife of Jacob? Athenian Colonnade? Okay, I'll stop.

Carola 8:16 AM  

I really liked this puzzle. The theme tickled me and it had plenty of sparkle scattered around the grid.
First thought for 1A: patio PANTS, but a non-starter because of CASK (which also goes nicely with the CRU and GRAPES). Speaking of PANTS, the PALACES reminded me of the palazzo PANTS in the back of my closet - so fantastic and so impossible to wear anywhere.
I also thought of BRA as a bonus theme answer: plenty of BRAs have POCKETS in which so-called cookies can be inserted to provide extra oomph, and nursing BRAS have POCKETS for the soak-up pads

Unknown 8:25 AM  

Reading comments from yesterday, tidbits of information about two of you caught my attention:

@Chaos344 – Also US Navy. Hmmmm. Now I have to watch what I say about the Navy. There’s another expert in the crowd. :>)

I don’t know if we ever operated with the USS Cobbler. Its history suggests not. As well, you sub guys didn’t exactly advertise your presence!! Only once in my 3+ years on the surface was I aware one of our subs was around. This was only because she was playing target for an anti-submarine torpedo exercise. Our ship was stationed in New London for a while, so I did see lots of them going in and out of port, but that was it.

@Aging Soprano – From your nom de plume, I had assumed you might be the real deal, but now I know you are (but don’t know WHO you are). My past acoustics work often involved opera and encounters with performers thereof. Notably for the former, I was part of the design team for Houston’s Wortham Center. As to the latter, I’ve met several famous ones, notables included Jesse Norman (regal), Kathleen Battle (actually had dinner with her, not alone, at a table of 8), and Kiri Te Kanawa (as a soloist for Mahler’s 8th with the Chicago Symphony).

You often never know the talents of people you meet. I once met a young woman in a hotel bar who said she sang opera (soprano). Now that is not something people just off-handedly mention, such as, “I like to do gardening.” We ended up going to the hotel’s fire stairwell (all concrete so it had good acoustics for this) where she sang, a capella, beautifully, and to my amazement, a well-known but one of the more difficult Mozart arias (I can hear it in my head but sorry don’t know its name).

@Chaos (again) – Your comment to @Blue Stater and @Gill exactly mirrors what I wrote to @Rex in a letter I just mailed to him (he’s said he likes “real” letters). As well, you had me into my dictionary with two words in said comment that I’ve never, ever seen! As such, I’d add that this is de rigueur for (I’d wager most) people here to “do the research” when needed about the words/names used in both the puzzles and comments. “Contumelious” and “patois,” indeed! I’ll see your patois and raise you with your lack of lallophobia. (Ha!)


Aketi 8:33 AM  

If you opened one end of a burrito or closed one end of an ENCHILADA don't you have a POCKET? But couldn't you have had crispy tacos as folders?

Seeing SLOPE and SKIBAG along with BRA reminded me of the tress you see on SKI SLOPES decorated with brightly colored BRAS. Not quite sure how that trend got started because I can't imagine wanting to remove any items of clothing in the cold, let along digging deep inside to remove a bra. Has there ever been anyone who dared try NUDIE skiing? Seems like going in the opposite direction of adding an APE SUIT would be more comfortable and add an extra cushioning layer if you fell.

@z thx for your PPP analyses. Also for explaining LFCs. l got LEVERET yesterday as an LFC and EROICA today.

Jon 8:44 AM  

While I did this faster than usual I felt it was slightly difficult for a Monday. Theme wasn't bad. I bowl so I liked it. Before I did the acrosses I did the downs and thought NUDIE was PORNO. And seeing ACURA made me change my mind. RHOMB I didn't like at all as never heard of the word without the —US or —I suffixed. Other than that I felt the long answers to have been pretty easy.

Tim Pierce 8:50 AM  

I was not familiar with the term REAL ALE either. We do have cask-conditioned beer in the U.S. but I'd never heard it referred to by this name. An "in England" qualifier might not have been out of line here, especially on a Monday.

I don't mind partials as much as Rex does, so the fill didn't bother me much, except for RHOMB. That is just not a Monday word. Between RHOMB and REAL ALE and SKI BAGS, this felt a little more like a Tuesday than a Monday to me.

Lewis 8:52 AM  

@lms -- I saw that RODIN/NUDIE too.

My favorite answers were SOURGRAPES, WORLDCUP, and GOPOOF. I loved the look of the grid and the non-traditional placement of the theme answers. I like the anagrams OATS and STOA. Easy and breezy.

The theme reminds me of a quote I like from Woody Allen: "I'm very proud of my gold pocket watch. My grandfather, on his deathbed, sold me this watch."

Z 9:05 AM  

Not in love with REAL ALE. I don't much care that it is a legit British movement, it's not much of thing here. It got the side-eye from me when I wrote it in.

Theme seems a little meh to me, but the grid design and long downs really pick up the puzzle over all. I do wonder if the plural of canto is CANTI.

Speaking of FOUL RAPS, the front page of the Arts section has a write-up on the "is RAP rock?" debate. If you care, I'm on "yes" side.

Anonymous 9:07 AM  

Definitely NOT easier than an average Monday, but not too bad. 30 seconds longer than my usual Monday, so it's not as though it was really a Tuesday. A couple of odd clues intersecting made it that way for me.

Unknown 9:38 AM  

I decided to try and sort of speed solve this with pen and paper. It took me a little over 5 minutes. That means either I’m a whiz at these things or it was easy, noting that I’m not a whiz, or maybe that was, in fact, a slow time.

Anyhow, AW GEE, it was over too soon that made it all kind of a BLUR.

Nothing UGLY or really to ABHOR that I ran aFOUL of to take A TOLL on my solve except I didn’t know REAL ALE is a thing. Does that mean a filtered and pasteurized ALE is a fake, false, or an imitation ALE?* I do call unpasteurized, unhomogenized milk “real milk,” but that’s not really a thing. On the other hand I think “real butter” and a “real McCoy”* are things.

* I’m not a beer drinker and know little about their many variations, but do know those in cans usually have A TAB for opening them :>)

A few, odd juxtapositions:

28a: Nice to have a reverse RAP clue - a name clued for the genre. However, some of them are FOUL RAPS.

BRA POCKETS (what holds the “girls” in place)

RHOMB POOL TABLE (not a thing. They are rectangular)

CLUE EROICA (and so the constructors did)


RooMonster 9:43 AM  

Hey All !
POCKETS. Do APESUITS have pockets? Different type of theme. Had to go left/right symmetry to get yer 9-9-10-11-7 themers in. Funky resulting grid. Isn't there some kind of unwritten rule about non-themers longer rhan themers? Always enjoy a CC puz, but still... Just sayin.

Liked it enough for a MonPuz. Debut for Ron. Congrats.

Hate The Matrix protagonists car? ABHOR NEO ACURA
Dirty JayZ lyrics? FOUL RAPS
Caught in a reef eddy? ATOLL DIP SWIRL
Eva cursed out writer Stephen? PERON LIT KING


Z 9:46 AM  

@kitshef - Today's puzzle has mirror symmetry. Fold it in half and the right side will line up with the left half. Most puzzles have 180° symmetry. Turn the page upside down and the grid is the same as right side up. You can look back at yesterday or Saturday for examples. Friday's was also an unusual shape because it had 90° symmetry. Turn the page 90° in either direction and the grid is the same. For themed puzzles you will almost always see the 180° symmetry with themers in symmetrical positions in the grid. It is also not uncommon in a rebus puzzle to have the rebus squares in symmetrical positions.

Honeysmom 9:48 AM  

Agree with Anonymous above -- a more medium Monday for sure! BTW, don't ever time myself -- enough real pressures in life! Just enjoy solving at my own pace -- even put down and go back to finish when in the mood.

Unknown 10:34 AM  

@jerg 7:59 am – Why, the distinction is perfectly clear :>)

From Google:
Feature: “a distinctive attribute or aspect of something.”
Aspect: “a particular part or feature of something.”

A distinctive aspect of the piano is it’s range of loudness, a particular feature of use to composers. Sorta different…or not.

Reminds me of the classic;

From anon (though accurate):
Magnet: something with a magnetic field.
Magnetic Field: a field around a magnet.


Leapfinger 10:35 AM  

Anyone on these boards do the Mini on a regular basis?

I freely admit that today I rang up an unheard-of 2:31 minutes. I chose the wrong starter in the Battle of the BULGE/ Battle of the SEXES duple, and was beguiled into pausing to muse over that dichotomy. My conclusion was that an essential component in the Battle of the SEXES is that a BULGE is largely considered a negative for one of the SEXES, but a positive for the other.

I'm not sure there's aught to be done.

AliasZ 10:52 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Child 11:04 AM  

@Z thanks for the reference to the R&R Hall of Fame story. I would have phrased the question as "Is rap music?" and answered with a resounding NO. It's poetry performed to a beat - nasty, vulgar poetry for the most part - but without melody it's not music IMO. YMMV

Ludyjynn 11:13 AM  

One of my favorite memories of Paris (as a college student) was meeting a young Frenchman in les Jardins des Tuileries who wanted to practice his English while I wanted to work on my French skills. We spent the day together, chatting in this bilingual fashion. Along the way, we visited le Musee RODIN and its picturesque gardens, filled w/ the master's sculptures and a lovely koi pond. One problem--for reasons unknown, photography was prohibited, according to signs posted en Francais. I carried a POCKET sized Kodak Instamatic camera (remember them; everyone had one?!) and figured I could surreptitiously snap some photos. Got away w/ it for a bit and then all hell broke loose when a security guard started blowing his whistle, waving his baton and screaming at me in French, while taking chase. Afraid he would confiscate my camera, we held hands and ran off (the advantage of youth) and escaped his wrath, laughing all the while. I still have those bootleg photos in one of my many albums and cherish them. Never saw my gallant companion again, but we shared a tasty cafe meal together before parting ways. ALLS well that ends well.

Thanks, RT, CCB and WS.

Tita 11:30 AM  

I looked sideways at BOWLINGLANE too, but the comments here have convinced me it is legit.

I smiled when I got the reveal. Then sniggered when I saw the Pocket Bowling image in Rex's writeup.
'Cause it reminds me of my least favorite deli of all time.

I was working on Canal Street in Stamford - a region, that at the time, was in the VERY EARLY STAGES of gentrification. (Ironically, the company was called GRiD Systems...!!)
The only place you could walk to at lunchtime was a deli whose real name I forgot.
But I can never forget the image of the guy behind the counter - he would be leaning back against the prep area behind him, with his hands inside his sweatpants, ala Al Bundy.
Needless to say, we never ordered anything that wasn't in a hermetically sealed container - no way was I gonna ask him to make me a BLT or Club - or even grab a banana for my yoghurt...

Anyway, from that moment on, it became the "Pocket Pool Deli". And that it will remain.

Thanks, Mr. Toth & CC.
(btw - that is definitely a pocket, with 4 single squares in it.)

GILL I. 11:35 AM  

@Z...Wow, thanks. Maybe I like this better now.
I'm kinda in the @kitshef camp. I didn't think it was all THAT easy. For the dumb part of me I had Amontillado wearing a MASK. MARGO PANTS sound just swell to me. When I see RHOMB I think of a noisy little vacuum picking up absolutely nothing.
ABHOR NUDIE UGLY RAT. AW GEE such SOUR GRAPE words for an innocent Monday.
@Nancy from yesterday....You are at the top of my list to call whenever I get back to NYC. You have to promise me, though, that you will take me to the best deli in town for a pastrami on rye. And for good time sakes, I'll take you to the bar at Tavern on the Green (is it still there?) and we can get drunk on Brandy Alexander's.....!
@Agingsoprano...What a great story.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:40 AM  

Nice Monday.

What jumped out at me was the anniversary tribute implicit in 46D, EROICA. Beethoven had originally dedicated the 3rd Symphony to Napoleon, although he later withdrew the dedication. And of course today, April 11, is the 203rd anniversary of Napoleon's exile to Elba.

Masked and Anonymous 11:46 AM  

Feisty and different-feelin MonPuz. thUmbsUp with guacamole or salsa on yer enchiladas. Also them 007 U's are looking mighty fine, Kemo Sabe.

Congrats to Ron Toth, on the debut. And yo, CC. Thanx. Right in the pocket.

Top reasons why APESUITS should have pockets:
* fake banana holder.
* wearers would look kinda silly, carryin the car keys around in their paw.
* place for I.D., in case tranq-darted by the authorities.
* {hairy Halloween rental} receipt storage.
* Crossword and pencil and bus fare, if no car.
* Tricker treat overflow.
* keep cherished picture of cheeta safe.

Masked & Anonym007Us

AliasZ 11:47 AM  

This puzzle wasn't exactly a pocketful of miracles, but it'll do for a Monday.

I've never worn one, but I am guessing that APE SUITS also have POCKETS, as do the IRISH, Jay LENO and KATHIE Lee Gifford. Evita PERON and Jacob's wife LEAH, I am not so sure. Yellow, black or chocolate LABS on the other hand definitely do not. Neither do NUDIES, especially the ones sculpted by RODIN.

You may enjoy the madrigal "Altri CANTI d'amor" from Book VIII titled Madrigali guerrieri et amorosi (1638) of the collection of madrigals by Claudio Monteverdi. Two versions: Raymond Leppard and members of the Glyndebourne Opera Chorus and English Chamber Orchestra, and Anthony Rooley with the Consort of Musicke.

You decide which one is more ACURA.

Anonymous 11:57 AM  

@Chaos, I'm not sure that you ought to be encouraged, as @Chuck McGregor is ill-advisedly doing, so I'll just say -- for starters -- a fatwa on your patois. As for t'other, I've heard of the nounish 'heaping contumely', but not until now the adjectival 'contumelious'. Since both are, in any case, archaic, it's arguable that there's a pressing need to revive either at present. I suggest your cleaving unto such archaicisms is merely contumacious.

Y'rs in continuing contumacy.
Graf Ito

chefbea 12:48 PM  

@leapfinger. I do the mini every day...usually in a minute or less

Jerry 12:51 PM  

21 Down??? What does it mean that there are 77 clues in this puzzle? Aren't there 69 crosses plus 63 downs = 132 clues?

Teedmn 1:10 PM  

My mARpO pants (worn by the Marx brothers, perhaps?) and having to TAlk/TAme/TAMP down my 29D because my lOwing bovines were MOOing too loudly cost me some precious time. And my 4D magically pOp(ped) OfF before it could GO POOF. But this was a fun puzzle and a bit of a bite for a Monday.

Congrats, Ron Toth, on the debut, and thanks to you and CC.

LindaPRmaven 1:11 PM  

Fun, easy puzzle. Took the wrong SLant like many of you. Knew REAL ALE either because I visited in England when the campaign had high visibility or through Inspector Morse. Anyone else remember a reference in the Morse series? Coming from Rochester NY - when I was growing up the highest per capita BOWLING city in the US, it's a long, cold, damp winter- 24A was a no brainer. Liked the many felicities cited by @Rex and others but so wanted marsupial to be worked in.

Leapfinger 1:12 PM  

This struck me as entertainingly non-Mondayish from the git-go. Like @Carola, a former denizen from the back of my closet fooled me into wanting HAREM PANTS. What with the elastics around the ankles, the whole dang construction was practically one giant POCKET. Or maybe a PANTSBAG.

No surprise with doing the slant/SLOPE, and as always, impassed the LOWED/MOOED decision, Cowardy Custard that I am. Only other pause was at SKIBAGS: I knew it crossed WNBA, but was seriously wanting SKITAGS, for the lift tags that are twisted into zipper-pulls and stay on skijackets from one winter UNTIL the next.

GO_POOF, GOP_OOF. Fun in more ways than won.
Count me as another who thinks the RODIN NUDIE pleasantly RUED.

I liked the theme since I come from a culinary tradition of Stuffed POCKETS, and after the reveal was on the WATCH for more. I'm another who admits a CUP as an in-keeper and thinks an APESUIT may have a POCKET for APEpapers. AdMittyng I Rued not finding Thurber's POCKETa-POCKETa. Also betting that Montrealers of a certain age remember Maurice "The Rocket" Richard, big brother to Henri The POCKET Rocket and Claude The Vest-POCKET ROCKET. For those who pooh-poohed the theme, they might for once have to POCKET change.

Nicely done, RT and CC! Time to see whether TRIG can calculate the SLOPE of a RHOMBicide.

Dick Swart 1:25 PM  

This puzzle was harder if you immediately filled in CAPRI for 1 across.

And since it is Monday and I had just received a vintage German pen with some flex to the nib, I thought I'd fill in the squares in cursive. I now know that cursive letters only seem to have mraning if they are in a context of other linked cursives ie handwriting. I looked at the squares I'd just filled in and couldn't read them.

Twas on the Isle of Capri that i found you. But you were wearing cargo pants.

Will F 1:30 PM  

I'm surprised no one picked up on the Pocket Pool theme answer.

Chaos344 2:36 PM  

@carola: And some bras now have a pocket between "the girls" that will accommodate a small pistol. Reminds me of the old Mickey Spillane style joke, "I opened the door and this blonde dame stuck two .38's in my face. She was holding a gun too!"

@Chuck McGregor: Yeah, We submariners never worried about being seen, but we were damned near paranoid about being heard! I left New London in 1970, so I don't know if we were stationed there during a shared time period. Went back for a three day reunion about five years ago. You wouldn't recognize the place anymore. The most noticeable landmark of the base, its 150 foot tall escape training tank, is long gone. So is the tailor and dry cleaning store that was directly opposite the main gate. I really miss my boat! I'd go back in a heartbeat if I could.

As to your second observation, yes, my mother's side of the family has long suffered from diarrhea of the maxillary orifice. I am also cursed with that affliction, so I definitely do not suffer from lalophobia. LOL! I'd be interested to hear what Rex had to say, should he opt to answer your letter. My e-mail addy is in my profile.

@Leapy: Mae said it best. "Is That A Pistol You Got In Your Pocket Big Boy, Or Are Ya Just Happy Ta See Me!"

Calliffy 2:44 PM  

I am not a fan of the crosswords with hardly any black squares, leaving answers of at least 9 to 15 letters long, and no clue as to how many words make up the answer. It seems to me it is just a shortcut for those putting the puzzle together for the paper. Thankfully, this is not always the case, and I have at times completed the entire puzzle. Just an observation.

kitshef 3:23 PM  

@Z Thank you for confirming. I saw the mirror symmetry (after reading Rex's review), but we just had one of those last week (with all the little top hats), so I didn't think it was anything unusual. I think it's one of those things, like associating certain constructors with certain types of puzzle, that you need more experience to start noticing.

puzzle hoarder 7:06 PM  

This was a fun little puzzle. My write overs were SWEAT/CARGO, SLANT/SLOPE, and SKIBIBS/SKIBAGS. The clue for king was very clever. My only real challenge was changing CLUB to CLUE. I'm not familiar with the terms REALALE and that ALAL had me seeing double. I'll have to try some on my next trip to England.
No score for today. I've been playing with that Sunday puzzle. The downs were what made it especially easy. One thing I did look at today was the theme. Debut words seem to be the make or break issue for publication. As a single entry CARGOPANTS has only been seen three times. The individual words are much more common. BOWLINGLANE has only appeared once before. This is the sixth use of POOLTABLE. Oddly enough PITABREAD is making it's Shortz era debut. Mr. Shortz may have really liked this puzzle and that one debut was enough to make the grade. Whatever the reason it was an excellent choice.

WhoisMark 7:41 PM  

Jerry said...
21 Down??? What does it mean that there are 77 clues in this puzzle? Aren't there 69 crosses plus 63 downs = 132 clues?

There are only 40 Across clues although it starts at 1 and ends at 69. There are 37 Down clues even though it starts at 1 and ends at 63. 40+37 gets the count to 77.

Chronic dnfer 7:49 PM  

Not easy. But no dnf. And learned that Evitas last name must be peron. Who knew?

jae - away from my own devices 7:56 PM  

@Z - I like what Ice Cube had to say.

Anonymous T 8:46 PM  

Thanks Rex for confirming each little square's pocket. I almost had the same SLAnT on SLOPE, but 5d fixed it. I enjoyed Ron & Zhouquin's pzl which made me think of this MIT paper re: Packets & POCKETS. Cheers, -T

Anonymous 10:20 PM  

Jerry 12:51 There are 77 clues. Not all numbers are used for across and down clues. Looking at the highest number for each is far more than the actual number of clues.

Anonymous 10:49 PM  

@Dick Swart, enjoyed your bringing up "Isle of Capri", especially with your twist on the lyrics.

Incidentally, it seems that a third nephew is planning to follow his older sibs to Williams.


Z 11:31 PM  

@Jerry - Look at the top row. Notice there are 13 down answers and only three across answers? Here's a trick that will save you counting all the clues: Start with the last across clue, #69 today, then count all the down clues that are also the beginning of an across clue (1, 6, 9, 21, 29, 24, 51, and 63 today). This will be the total clue count for the puzzle (or you can just check I don't know why this works, but it does.

Diana,LIW 11:54 PM  

Thanks, @Rainy, for yesterday's shout out to Syndielanders.


spacecraft 10:56 AM  

@Z: It works because the numbers in those two-way squares are doing double duty; 1-across and 1-down: two words, one number. One of those is accounted for by the number; the other has to be added to the total. You are intelligent; it's simpler than you're trying to make it.

A semi-pleasant little Monday romp; I too was a bit confused by what might have POCKETS or not...none on those APESUITS, most likely, but you never know. Of course I'm put in mind of "Trading Places," in which said costume played a key role--a most painful one for poor Clarence.

Don't know what a SKIBAG is; can't do anything requiring the least amount of ankle pressure. My foot would fold like an accordion. The BOWLINGLANE specifically does not have a POCKET. The arrangement of pins ON the lane creates the desired point of impact between two lead pins most likely to produce a strike: the "POCKET." Some lanes may have "grooves" which may or may not lead to the pocket. They shouldn't, but oftentimes they do.

Is PITABREAD green paint? Isn't PITA enough for that idea? Let us now consider RAT, used quite a lot lately, and for some reason invariably clued as the "fink" variety. This is disturbing. We are encouraging the public to withhold vital information from law enforcement. Criminals are loving this. It's the Code of Honor among thieves: "A real stand-up guy won't RAT his friends out." Guys, if you don't mind, if you must use RAT in your grid, next time give a little shout-out to the rodent in your clue. Better yet, give him a rest. The frequency of use is approaching plague levels.

That said, there's other good stuff to be found--though I spent three years in England and still never heard of "REALALE." To begin with, they drink at room temperature: ugh! Ice cold over here, buddy, or forget it. For the DOD, we must go to Damsel of the Day Gone By KATHIE Lee. Not exactly EROICA material, but cute enough in a wholesome blonde Dinah-Shore kind of way. Par.

Burma Shave 12:15 PM  


AW,GEE CANTI get into her PANTS?
It’s a CHORE for the SANE and ABLE,
UNTIL LEAH gives one the FOUL chance,
to sow OATS and TAMP on the POOLTABLE.

Sorry boys and girls, not feeling it today.

rain forest 2:01 PM  

Straightforward Monday puzzle, which is fine by me. Nice longer answers, and a few semi-tricky clues.

So this is a debut puzzle by Mr. Toth. However, CC is also mentioned. Does this mean that the idea was Toth's and that CC helped/modified, or what? Does this matter? Maybe I should come up with an idea, and get hold of Patrick Blindauer to just sort of make it work. Naw, I have no motivation to even come up with a xword idea.

rondo 2:20 PM  

Liked having a bunch of longish answers in a Mon-puz, but there was just something about it that seemed flat. Haven’t a CLUE why, maybe cuz the three letter answers number in the teens?

Hafta give TV star KATHIE Lee the yeah baby for today. Sure not UGLY, but the bits and pieces of her shows I’ve seen over the years . . . well, makes me glad I’ve been ABLE to hold a job and don’t need to watch that stuff. Unless she’d go without a BRA.

Have seen the RODIN Thinker in Philly. Also in K.C. Probably nearly missed others without knowing it.

Used to be pretty good on the POOLTABLE. Haven’t played much in recent years. Need the right partner.

NUDIE Cohn was famous for making those rhinestone studded cowboy suits for C & W performers (think Porter Wagoner, et al.) which became known as “NUDIE suits”. Had nuthin’ to do with nekkedness.

This puz may not have been exactly fun, but neither was it a CHORE.

leftcoastTAM 3:13 PM  

This was a solid Monday. I left the CARGO/RHOMB crossing till last.

CLUE (21D) was an apres-puz distraction. Forgetting that clues are not numbered in full sequences, I wondered how in the world can there be more clues (132) than answers (77)?!

Must blame on chronic Monday morning fuzziness.

Diana,LIW 4:43 PM  

Altho any puz I finish gets called easy, this one was SLIGHTLY harder than the usual Mon, IMHO. Took some going to get a firm toehold. But it finished easily.

Loved GO POOF. Will try to use it in conversation today. And biddle is now firmly in my vocab.

I, too, thought the ski bags could have pockets.

Fill rarely bothers me. What is an ENCHILADA or an Oreo or a cannoli without the fill? (Even easy, easy fill like "put C A T in 32A" has its place. Maybe.) (See one of 77 in puz)

BTW, @Rainy, I think my 11:54 post was aimed at a Monday a couple weeks ago. You mentioned several Synders in a post. Sometimes the deLorean's GPS gets confused. That woman yells out TURN RIGHT, NOW! and I obey she who must be.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Direction

Z 10:54 PM  

@spacecraft - Why does starting with the last across number work? There are not 69 across answers so what is that "69" actually counting? It's not counting down clues (look at 23A, for example). Is it counting only the non-double duty numbers? Then why can't I start at 63 (last down number) and do the same thing?

rain forest 11:46 PM  

@Spacecraft, @Z - Look at the last across answer number, 69 in this case. Find the closest square root to that number (8), multiply by the last across starting number (9), and add 5. That gives 77. Done.


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