Iconic U.S. cabinetmaker of early 1800s / MON 6-12-16 / Spinal cord cell needed for muscle contraction / Four Corners-area tribesman

Monday, June 13, 2016

Constructor: Lynn Lempel

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (i.e. above-average difficulty For A Monday)

THEME: FOOL AROUND (64A: Engage in some horseplay ... or a hint to the words spelled out in the circles)  — circles on either end of the themers (so, "around" the edges of the answers) spell out words that are (allegedly) synonymous with "fool"

Theme answers:
  • DOUBLE PARK (17A: Leave one's vehicle in a traffic lane, say)
  • DUNCAN PHYFE (24A: Iconic U.S. cabinetmaker of the early 1800s)
  • CHEST BUMP (37A: Physical expression of victory)
  • MOTOR NEURON (55A: Spinal cord cell needed for muscle contraction)
Word of the Day: DUNCAN PHYFE
Duncan Phyfe (1768-16 August 1854) was one of nineteenth-century America's leading cabinetmakers. // Although he did not create any new furniture style, he interpreted fashionable European trends in a manner so distinguished and particular that he became a major spokesman for Neoclassicism in the United States, influencing a whole generation of American cabinetmakers. (wikipedia)
• • •

I have a few things to say about this puzzle, but honestly there's just one thing anyone's going to remember, and that's DUNCAN "what the" PHYFE. I needed every. Single. Cross to get that name. This is literally the first I'm seeing it / hearing of it. The idea that that is a Monday name is hysterical. I kept waiting for that last name to become a recognizable brand or ... recognizable anything, really. But no. "Iconic"? Well, to be fair, I couldn't name *any* cabinetmakers, iconic or not. But I'm going out on a limb here and saying that That answer, far far far beyond all the others, will be the big "?" of the day for most solvers. I don't mind him in a crossword; I mind him at least a little in a *Monday* crossword. Maybe there is some reason older solvers will know it? Maybe cabinetmaking is like horse-racing in that people used to care about it? I don't know. All I know is there is only one "iconic" Duncan and that's Duncan Hines.

Without some interesting kind of twist, this whole "around"-type concept (an old one) doesn't  do much for me. I don't really recognize the circled words as synonyms, and DORK in particular feels like a real outlier.

I see that the first two things listed in this definition are "dull, slow-witted," but the only context in which I ever heard it growing up was as the next meaning in the list: "socially inept." Perhaps this was because social ineptness was my own particular problem, so that was the context in which I heard it. Certainly that's how I believe my sister intended it when she used it to describe me. I know the reverse is true. However you slice it, it seems far from FOOL.

What made this somewhat harder than usual, besides the cabinet dude, was SNIFF AT (wanted SNEER) and the generic NATIONS as an answer for the specific-sounding 43D: Slovakia and Slovenia. Those SW and NE corners in general were odd—grid overall is super duper choppy, but those corners are big and open, and as such are somewhat tougher than normal (for a Monday) to fill. I still broke 3 minutes, but just barely.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Da Bears 12:10 AM  

I guess Lynn isn't one of Rex's friends.

kitshef 12:15 AM  

@Rex's SNIFFing AT DUNCANPHYFE is completely justified, but he should have saved some wrath for that bottom row: ASSN ETTE SERE.

Is FERRARIs a luxury carmaker? I'd call them sports cars...

Looked at the wrong clue at one point and started filling in Grant for 56D, having looked at the clue for 66D: Ginger ____. When I was a lad, I always had a crush on Mary Ann. Now, I think Ginger is much more attractive. In another twenty years, am I going to consider Mrs. Howell the hot one?

jae 1:00 AM  

Medium for me, but I knew DUNCAN PHYFE, who was pretty iconic as I was growing up. And, I had the same take on DORK as Rex did.

Solid Mon., liked it.

chefwen 1:06 AM  

I'll buy into the medium but not challanging. I've heard of DUNCAN PHYFE but was certain it was spelled Fife, so that had to be filled in with crosses, thankfully they were fair. MOTOR NEURON needed some thought also, thank you again crosses. Other than that I thought it was pretty Monday easy.

Thank you Lynn Lempel (Queen of Mondays)

George Barany 1:34 AM  

I appreciate your point of view, @Rex, and am still in awe of the sub-3-minute solving time you achieved despite your stated reservations. Congratulations to @Lynn Lempel for her 75th New York Times puzzle!

I do wonder whether it's a coincidence to find both AMOROUS and FOOL_AROUND in the same puzzle.

Congratulations to @Chris Adams for winning the Amateur division at yesterday's Fifth Minnesota Crossword Tournament. Enjoy his Complex Fruits, a smaller-than-usual, far-from-complex offering that might bring back fond memories of college math classes.

kelen 5:37 AM  

agree. Duncan who???? and didn't help when it crossed with CSA (nooooo idea, and for some reason didn't see "palm" for a looooong time)

Loren Muse Smith 5:37 AM  

Oh, wow. I had the _ _ HYFE in place and immediately wrote in DUNCAN PHYFE, wondering about the weird spelling and about how the heck I knew that. It just slithered forth out of the reptilian Ye Olde Cabinet Makers part of my brain. I swear. Maybe the few episodes of Antiques Roadshow I've seen? I dunno. But it went in lickety split. Then I saw DUNCE and was off and running.

I would've had a much harder time coming up with MOTOR NEURON, but since I had _ _RON in place and was looking for a dope, I got that initial MO easily.

Rex – I see your point about DORK being an outlier, but if you, as you talk about, use the list as things a sister would call you… then boom. Ok. I could add LOS ANGELES LAKER and JELLYSTONE PARK. PIRATE FLAG

1D doesn't even begin to describe Orlando.


I didn't know you could inhale SNUFF. So then it's cool to have SNIFF AT there, too.

And then there are DIP and NIP. Both _ IP words that indicate a smaller version of something else. Interesting.

Swim – dip
Bite – nip
Drink – sip
Deluge – drip
Movie – clip
Bark - yip
Fall flat on your face at Charlotte Russe and slide three feet (Hi, Sage) – trip
Flash – blip
Unbelievably mean backtalk during 7th period (Hi, Alexis) – lip
Cut – snip

This is not a scientific experiment and no animals were harmed while coming up with this list.

Lynn – always a pleasure.

Lewis 6:10 AM  

@rex -- I did pull DUNCANPHYFE out of some dark annex in my brain, but I think all the crosses are even Monday-fair, except for LEDA, and that may be a Natick that people talk about; it will be interesting to see. In general, I think a long, difficult word provides a good lesson for newcomers on Mondays if the crosses are fair, and brings some satisfaction. The name, by the way, Googles fairly well.

I LIT up when I saw Lynn's name above the puzzle, because she has become a Monday favorite for me. She has a way of putting in answers with spark and interest. Here we have USURERS, TARMAC, RUNE, CHESTBUMP, FLAIL, IDSAYSO, and ASARULE. I know that a Lempel puzzle on Monday won't be a forgettable throwaway, and it wasn't.

Interesting how many synonyms we have for FOOL in our language, but how few antonyms we have for it. Sage? Genius? What does that say about our society?

Looking in the grid, I did find more theme answers. Outright, we have DIP. And Boggle-style, we also have "rube" (using the r in TREE), "ass" (the a in EASE or ASK), "oaf" (the o in LOOTS), and "sap" (the s in SPUR).

Thank you, Lynn, for a terrific springboard for the week; once again LL is on the bean.

Anonymous 6:33 AM  

Cabinetmaker = furniture maker. Duncan Phyfe is synonymous with fine furniture - highly sought-after antiques. One needn't be old to know this.

Hungry Mother 7:10 AM  

I concentrated on the downs and finished in a reasonable Monday time.

Aketi 7:12 AM  

@Rex, thanks for the music.
I associate FOOLING AROUND with fun, like boys CHEST BUMPing each other. CHUMP is just plain SAD as are all the other hidden so-called FOOLS. Perhaps if the FOOLS werent hidden they could get appropriate help to overcome either the social or academic challenges that led them to be labeled.

I did get PHYFE from the downs but kept thinking it was wrong. I can't understand why someone DUNCAN changed his last name from FIFE to something harder to spell. I find it as incomprehensible as the current trend in baby names to convert a name that was easy to spell and make it as hard as possible for the kid when they have to learn to spell it in school and explain to their teachers that it really is spelled that way. There are now websites that offer up such options as Dafydd and Cydnee as a good idea. But then again, there are some common names like Catharine that already have a zillion alternate spellings.

Anonymous 7:31 AM  

@Rex is right that DORK is not close to a synonym for fool; that was annoying.

But @anonymous had it right when he said that Duncan Phyfe is synonymous with fine furniture.

Rex has a tendency to fulminate about how obscure an answer is simply because he happens not to know it -- that's an annoying blemish on an outstanding blog.


Aketi 7:34 AM  

@rex and anonymous 6:33am. Rather than a question of age, I think it is a question of whether or not you can afford to buy furniture at someplace other than IKEA.

chefbea 7:46 AM  

What an easy Monday puzzle. Had no trouble at all. I of course am old enough to know Duncan Phyfe!!
What does STEM stand for? had no problem with engr..got it from the crosses

I have many Utensils in my kitchen...and I know someone is going to be very happy with all 10 U's

Glimmerglass 7:52 AM  

This was Monday-easy for me. Of the four theme-containing long answers, two were super-easy and two provided a bit of friction. DUNCAN PHIFE was not exactly a word common in my household (too pricey for me), and while I've heard of a MOTOR NEURON, I needed most of the crosses. However, not only were the crosses fair, the circled synonyms for FOOL also provided help. I think it's perfectly okay -- even a desirable bonus -- to include unfamiliar "big" words in an easy puzzle, provided that the solver, especially a beginner, has a way to correctly solve the puzzle. @Rex, don't lose sight of the "cross" in "crossword." That's how the puzzle is SUPPOSED to work.

Zwhatever 7:55 AM  

Hadn't done a puzzle since Friday and was pleased to see Ms. Lempel's byline. Unfortunately, not her best work in my opinion. I am mildly surprised at the number already who did know Barney's older brother. The Baker family, Herman Miller, Laz E. Boy, ... Yep, that's it in the Z furniture maker database. I have to agree with Rex, that there is at least a Wednesday answer, maybe even more Friday or Saturday. Makes me wonder if one of our Queen of Monday's is being typecast a wee bit.

Also, I really had no particular need to wake up to another reminder of how people are mean to one another, thank you very much. Most days this puzzle would have tickled my schadenfreude loving funny bone. Not today.

@Da Bears - Seriously? Please click on the constructor's name at the bottom of the post and read a few previous reviews of Ms. Lempel's work.

Barry 8:16 AM  

Hi Rex,
There's an episode of The Andy Griffith Show where Barney is researching his family tree and decides he is a distant relative of Duncan Phyfe. Andy explains it can't be, because Barney spells his lat name Fife. To which Barney replies "I can't help it if he spells it wrong."

Tita 8:26 AM  

@Aketi @ 7:34... Spot on... Or that you have ever watched Antiques Roadshow, which might in fact be an olderly demographic.

Wait a minute...it's right here in the dictionary... DORK is fine in this context. CHUMP too is not precisely equal to fool.
How much analysis does this really need...good grief.

I paid big bucks to have my passport rushed through getting new pages added...I had so many VISAS and other stamps that I had run out of room for new ones. The DORKS at the State Dept. ovenrighted me the passport of some nice lady in New Jersey. I called her, hoping she had gotten mine, but no such luck. The DUNCEs told me that if they did find it, they would simply destroy it. Whaaaat!?

Count me in as as being AMOROUS of this exact type of visual wordplay.
Very fun Monday, Ms. Lempel.

Barbara 8:41 AM  

Duncan Phyfe was a gimme for me, because I'm a decorative arts fan. His work us in most museums with decorative arts collections. Much easier for me than the usual hall of famer clues.

kitshef 8:43 AM  

@George Barany - thanks for the link. I often complain that there is too much classical music/opera and not enough math in puzzles.

Leapfinger 8:48 AM  

@Rex, I have a few more for you: Heppelwhite. Chippendale (other than the dancers). Gustave Stickley. (Granted that Spellcheck rejects two of those three.) Yup, Antiques Roadshow helped, but sEames most of that is the detritrus of daily living.

@Aketi, I think that Duncan F was a canny Scot, and knew that he could probably charge his American customers quite a bit extra by changing the Fife to Phyfe.

Thought these were great themers. DOublepaRK and CHestbuMP are lively, DUNCanphyfE is inspired, and MOtorneuRON put me in spasms. The fill was definitely UP TO SNUFF (even if most of us aren't USURERS of the substance). Very satisfying to have all those lovely 7s, and a FERRARI is bever something to SNIFF AT. AS A RULE.

Once again, La Lempel DOesn't overDO, but shows us what CREative wriTIN' is all about. The themers are a shining example, not to say a SHifty deMO, that never sink to the level of anything like, say, DINGo_comBAT. For my TWo bIT, Lempel is the SItting chaMP of Mondays.

PS. It might be noteworthy that we're built to SNIFF AT SNUFF.


That place on the wrist between the extensor pollicis brevis and extensor pollicis longus is the "anatomic SNUFFbox" (unless you got chubby wrists), where you can dip (no, sprinkle) the snuff; then you SNIFF (no, snort) it up one nostril (naris). After you're done with the cis-naris, you repeat with the trans-naris. Then you sneeze. Can't say I get what that was all about; could just as well use DrPepperSpray.

Right back atchoo, and have a great Monday, all.

John V 9:01 AM  

Quite surprised to see MORORNEURON on a Monday. FWIW, got DUNCAN PHYFE just fine.

orangeblossomspecial 9:14 AM  

Here are a couple of songs following the theme 'horses'.

'HORSES don't bet on people'


Dorothy Biggs 9:24 AM  

Maybe from watching TV in the 70s, but I think I knew DUNCANPHYFE from furniture commercials in that time.

I finished the puzzle, came to this blog to read Rex's take on it, and didn't give the theme any thought whatsoever from beginning to end...not until I read about it here. First off, circled letters are hard to find and keep track of, especially if they're spread out all over the place. Second, this puzzle was so easy I didn't need the theme's help. And third, the only long cross that was "difficult" for me was MOTORNEURON because I don't know what that is and the clue wasn't helpful...but I got it completely by filling in the downs. So even when the theme might have been helpful, I didn't need it.

In fact, my Monday system to do the acrosses and then double back and do the downs. I'm usually still bleary eyed from waking up when I do my first pass of acrosses, and then gradually wake up in the downs. Today, after my initial pass and filling in a normal amount of acrosses, I hit the downs and pretty much filled the rest of the puzzle in from there. So there were a lot of clues/answers I completely missed...MOTORNEURON being one of them...FOOLAROUND being the other.

I agree with @kitshef that FERRARIs, while expensive, are not what I would call a luxury car. Luxury cars seem like they would be more stately or elegant or, you know, luxurious.

I laughed at Rex's 3 minute mark. It took me 30 seconds just to do the mini.

Nancy 9:43 AM  

I'm relieved to see that, so far, no one has been STUPendously livID over the puzzle's insensitivity to intellectually challenged people. As per usual, I ignored the annoying tiny little circles and did this as a themeless. I knew DUNCAN PHYFE, so why did I immediately write in DUNCAN HINES in heavy, dark ink? (Because I wasn't really thinking, that's why.) I realized my mistake immediately, but the letters P H Y F E thus became hard to see. An easy puzzle anyway, but better than many other Mondays.

Jlb 9:44 AM  

Well, I'm 80 and I knew Duncan Phyfe immediately because the furniture in our dining room was Duncan Phyfe style with the harps in the chair backs. Eventually they all broke out and we were left with open back chairs. The rest of the puzzle was equally easy but I had a typo I had to hunt down so it took a bit longer than my usual Monday.

GILL I. 9:56 AM  

My bugaboo was LEDA and the Swan. DUNCAN PHYFE wasn't much of a problem other than remembering how to spell it. My grandmother had a hall table she claimed was a PHYFE. I hated that thing. He was into lots of Rococco and Gothickey type furniture that overwhelms a room. Even so, he got lots of copy cats since there seems to be a ton of reproductions. I'll take an Eames.
I actually thought this was pretty neat. She's got all this symmetry going on and the FOOL words all fit in a nice pattern. This could not have been easy to construct.
Hey Diddle Diddle....

Zwhatever 10:13 AM  

@Tita A - I thought picking at the fine shades of meaning was at least 25% of the fun. I'm #TeamRex regarding DORK. Socially inept, but more nerd than FOOL. I also see and hear "adorkable" used more or less as a compliment. In that regard, DORK is actually a little closer to FOOL than the others since both FOOL and DORK can have positive connotations (I'm thinking of the role of the fool in Shakespeare or in Being There). I can't come up with any uses of MORON, DUNCE, or CHUMP that are in anyway positive. So definitely an outlier to me. That's not to say it is wrong, just not quite the same as the rest of the set.

@Glimmerglass - Good points. I still would be happier to see this on a Wednesday with the cluing turned up a notch or two, but the crossings were fair.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 10:31 AM  

I get exactly the same reaction to the mediocre pop songs and movie references in puzzles, which Rex seems to consider a great sign of modernity, that Rex has to DUNCAN PHYFE. Which I put in easily on about two crosses. Enjoyable puzzle. My only quibble is cluing Simplicity for EASE. Nothing easy about simplicity in many fields.

Mohair Sam 11:01 AM  

Very much in agreement with OFL today, although I didn't think it played quite as tough as he did. Mr. PHYFE new to me too. Agree with the multitude here that FERRARI is expensive sporty, not luxury.

@Betseeee from yesterday - Welcome aboard. So you take the occasion of your first post to move my beloved Patchogue to Montauk Point? Spiritually no less! Nah, Patchogue is actually less than half way between Manhattan and Montauk. I commuted daily from Patchogue to Hicksville one summer, so I can see why it seems a long way off spiritually - but there's a lot of Long Island east of there. And I'm betting Mid-Island Plaza refers to North/South - there are Mid-Island businesses from Queens to the Hamptons.

Am I the only NBA fan here who thinks the league is trying to give the title to the Cavs?

Andrew Heinegg 11:03 AM  

I guess I must reside on a part of the planet where no other solvers have been to. Duncan Phyfe furniture is a long time favorite of antique hunters. So much so that it is a style and there have been many fake pieces made to pawn off as Duncan Phyfe furniture. Anyway, I guess because that filled itself in for me immediately, I breezed through this. I do think Ms. Lempel is a skilled constructor.

Hartley70 11:06 AM  

I did this puzzle last night, right after completing yesterday's around 11pm. I probably got the last post in under the midnight wire yesterday. I imagine Sunday was a tough day for all of us after hearing the news from Orlando. While I really look forward to Ms Lempl's constructions, this puzzle's theme made me sadder at the end of a sad day. I don't really consider the circled words synonyms for FOOL. They are insults hurled at those we have contempt for or dislike. There's more than enough of that going around lately. You know what I mean. By the end of the puzzle I was imagining myself a kindergarten teacher explaining the importance of kindness to five year olds and why they should never use these words to hurt another person, although CHUMP would be a long shot at that age!

If one has any interest in antique decorative arts then DUNCANPHYFE is an easy get from just a few letters. It was my favorite entry and much easier in my book than a baseball player from the Detroit Lions in 1953. That's a joke @Nancy! Wait, do I have to google that team?

Joseph Michael 11:06 AM  

I kept wondering if DUNCAN Hines also made cabinets. Perhaps for his restaurants? But the crosses eventually led me to MR. PHYFE, whom I had never heard of.

Overall a good Monday puzzle in spite of the OR SO/SAY SO repetition and the ugly bottom row.

Congrats to Lynn on her 75th.

jack 11:28 AM  

FWIW: 23A has the Ute as Four Corners residents. A few days back we had the same clue but with the right answer: the Navajo.

WhoisMark 11:48 AM  

Duncan Phyfe was easy for me as a loyal viewer of a certain answer and question show: http://www.j-archive.com/search.php?search=duncan+phyfe&submit=Search

Masked and Anonymous 11:49 AM  

Well, shoot -- I reckon that there dictionary definition pretty much lets DORK off the hook.
Had heard of DUNCAN PHYFE, but would've probably botched it, at a spelling bee event.
For some reason, I was as content as a bunch of dogs bein read to, while solvin this MonPuz.

Nice, open corner areas, as @indieWHA009 points out. All that open space, and yet it hit the high-water
78-word limit? Funny, how that stuff works out. Then again, I notice that everything non-themer is 7 letters or less.

Speakin of high-water, we have some interestin vowel counts, today:
A =23

Thanx, Ms. Lempel. Congratz, on yer 75th anniversary.



RooMonster 11:49 AM  

Hey All !
This puz didn't FOOL me! (Get the double meaning there?) Again getting revealer first, then going back and seeing the rest of the FOOLs. A bit of a funky grid, but twas handled with EASE. Count me amonsgt the (what looks like small) group of peeps who don't know DUNCAN PHY-WHOSA-FACE. But, Downs fair. LOOTS to like in this puz.

LL gave M A 11 U's. Wow!

HAIR cloe to ROCK, 80's Baby!

Congrats to the Penguins! Stanley Cup! (FistPUMP)


Donkos 11:52 AM  

This was close to a best for me at 6 minutes. I like that Rex posts his times ( from time to time) because it provides a benchmark. Would be curious to know average time to solve this one for us amateurs.

old timer 12:15 PM  

Fowler has a great section on metaphors. Some are dead and some are zombies, seemingly dead but ready to return to life if the context is right. I have never heard anyone refer to a penis as a "dork". But I know that in the distant past "dork" had that meaning -- kind of like "putz", no? So when AMOROUS came up, "dork" rose zombie-like from its linguistic grave. (BTW, my Webster's Collegiate has only the klutzy or stupid definition, with no anatomical reference at all).

Perhaps because of the circled letters, my time was just a little slow -- 9 minutes. I did know DUNCAN PHYFE. MOTOR NEURON I got only as a logical deduction and CHESTBUMP was actually the one that was hardest.

Carola 12:25 PM  

Not my favorite Lynn Lempel puzzle - it just seemed too close to a barrage of insults.
I knew DUNCAN sounds-like-fife and used the Downs to get the spelling. MOTOR NEURON I knew from long-ago days when as a wife of a med student I imagined I had every exotic fatal disease described in the textbooks.

Anonymous 12:26 PM  

Thought embellishment would be aa better clue for dye than embellisher. Didn't notice it was harder than usual until i came here . Somehow knew the name of phyfe altho didn't who he was. Agree that dork is an outlier and felt the theme was rather meanspirited.

xyz 12:43 PM  

VERY easy save PHYFE, SERE, USURERS. BUT .... I think it OK to need crosses on a Monday.

xyz 12:45 PM  

Sorry for second post, I don't see DORK as an outlier.

Teedmn 1:29 PM  

Except for having a "leaky" OAKEN bucket to start, this thing filled in smooth as sELK. Sure, I kept my eye on the HYFE as my 24A developed, not having an acquaintance with that gentleman's work but the crosses said it was so.

I have seen SNUFF offered around at German restaurants but have never been tempted to try it. If I want to clear my sinuses, there's always horseradish, less publicly shared in my opinion.

And is 38D suggesting we use Rapunzel's HAIR in place of paper towels or is that something only a DUNCE would do?

Thanks, LL.

Anonymous 1:31 PM  

Surprised no one picked up on the Book of Moron joke at the Tonys last night... New Trump musical

Marie 2:15 PM  

If you've walked through a museum that shows early American furniture, you;ll at lease recognize the name Duncan PHYFE. Spelling it, now .... Marie

jberg 2:21 PM  

On the one hand, if you pay any attention at all to furniture, or even to crafts in general, you probably know DUNCAN PHYFE. On the other hand, the ratio of said group to those who listen to rap music is probably very low. But then again (lacking another hand), that ratio may well be reversed among readers of the New York Times. (I don't have any sense for what you online solvers who don't read the paper are like.) So I liked it, but I can see the objection.

LEDA and the swan, though -- adding the Yeats poem only makes it harder. The image of Leda and said swan getting it on in a painting at the Courtauld Gallery is burned indelibly into my visual cortex..

As you can see, I'm back from my 10 days of travels, and happily back into the puzzle. I did Sunday's this morning (it was delivered despite my vacation suspension order), and will just not that we had two 'Four Corners tribe' clues on successive days. Maybe HOPI tomorrow?

Cassieopia 2:23 PM  

8:20 for me using an iPhone and without being obsessive about the time (that is, I put the phone down once or twice without stopping the clock). This was over 2 minutes faster than my Monday average. I found the puzzle quite easy and I have no clue how Duncan Phyfe emerged intact from my memory banks but it did. Anyway, now you have a rank amateur's benchmark :-)

hollasboy 2:24 PM  

The SPUR clue ("Spike on a cowboy boot") is not accurate. A SPUR is a loose-fitting wheel on a pin that protrudes out from the heel of the boot. The wheel has multiple 'spikes' on it, made by cutting out triangles from the edge of the disc. I have seen many SPURs, but never any with a single "spike." In addition, down here in Texas, when you refer to "a spiked boot," you are talking about the exceptionally-pointy toe of the boot, not the heel.

Penna Resident 2:27 PM  

smirk at
sneer at
snark at

at least writing in TAFT allowed me to correct this to scoff at.
those 7 squares were almost solid with graphite by the time i finished. just because many people know duncan phyfe does not make it fair on monday.

GILL I. 2:48 PM  

I will whey in on the FERRARI debate. Try splaining to the tax man that your FERRARI isn't considerd a luxury car. It's taxed as such. I personally am a Maserati person although my budget runs into used VW's, that run on diesel.
@Leapy...My favorite of yours today: SHifty deMO.....;-)

Mohair Sam 3:05 PM  

@jack - You might be able to fill a 15 x 15 puzzle with four corners tribes. @jberg mentioned the Hopi, I once did a business deal with the White Mountain Apache, there are the Mojave, and the list goes on.

Anonymous 4:26 PM  

I never cease to be amazed by the things that Rex confesses he has never heard of. Do we have a common culture in the US anymore? Today's puzzle was as easy as any Monday I've ever done.

da kine 4:57 PM  

Ha! DUNCAN PHYFE! What a load of bollocks for a Monday. I normally (well, maybe 45% of the time) disagree with Rex, but this is a shit entry for a Monday. I finished in slightly sub-4:00 time which is pretty normal for me on a Monday, but that was pure luck in getting every cross on DUNCAN [effing] PHYFE. Also, MOTOR NEURON, PLOTTER, IDSAYSO, and SNIFFAT on a Monday? Are they trying to drive away new solvers? If Buzzfeed wasn't sorta trying to appeal to a younger demographic (and he's trying over there), I'd say our hobby would be dead in 10 years. Well, except the indies, but nobody gets into indies unless they try the NYT, USA Today, etc. first, and those are all usually rubbish. WSJ and LA times are doing their part.

Proud Mamma 5:20 PM  

Easy as pie. Duncan Phyfe filled easy as it rang a bell. Not a big fan of "around" as hint.

Anonymous 5:38 PM  

@Lewis - That we calls 'em as we sees 'em? ;)

Tom 6:17 PM  

I've driven three FERRARIs in my lifetime, a Dino, a 328GTS, and a 360 Modena. None of them were luxurious, just so damn fast they can be a BLUR as you streak by the CHP that patrols my highways and byways. They don't FOOLAROUND if they catch you doing a hundred ORSO. Dredged up DUNCANPHiFE out of somewhere in my NEURONs, maybe because the FERRARI MOTOR was singing in my head. IDSAYSO got the spelling correct. Don't know what all the complaints are about. Easy Monday because the downs or crosses help get the sketchy ones. Didn't even slow me down. Foot to the floor. LIT up the TARMAC.

Did anybody answer what STEM refers to? Science, Technology, Engineering, Math...

Annette 6:40 PM  

I'm so surprised at the number of posters who thought this a bad puzzle! Yeah, it wasn't perfect, and the circled letters thingy I completely ignored, but I came close to my record time smiling the entire way. A fine Monday, the good (USURERS, SUMATRA, FERRARI, TARMAC, AMOROUS, DUNCANPHYFE, UTENSILS) far outweighing the not-so-good.

Annette (oh, and I liked ETTE, for obvious reasons)

Ian 7:13 PM  

Duncan Phyfe? You gotta be older than than Rex. For an old-timer like me (+70), its a gimme.

beatrice 7:27 PM  

This is quite late, but this piece just floated into my consciousness a short time ago, and then it took my mind a few minutes to trace it.

I first encountered Schubert's Sonata in A, D. 959 as a teen, when I borrowed a recording from our local library's small but excellent selection of classical LPs (Columbia, SC!), and it has ever since been my personal favorite among piano sonatas, and one of my top 10 favorite pieces of music, period. Indeed, that Peter Serkin performance was one of the few full-priced LPs I ever bought. Though it has been many years since hearing it, this andantino movement came unbidden as I was listening to the second day of discussion of our country's most recent national 'SADness'.

I hope that someone interested will see this, and perhaps hear it for the first time, or simply be reminded of it.

The first video is the Andante, played by Uchida.


Amazingly, YouTube has a Serkin recording of the entire work, but I don't know whether it's the same one. Not that that matters.


elibativa 8:20 PM  

Too bad 37 across answer wasn't TREESTUMP

jack 11:14 AM  

A note on Four Corners: I've been to the site and it is in the Navajo reservation. If you want to say who lives in the region where four southwesterly states meet, that is something else.

spacecraft 11:54 AM  

A humorous example of the double meaning of DORK can be found in John Hughes' "Sixteen Candles:" in the opening scene the protagonist asks her father, "Daddy, am I a DORK?" [socially inept] Later, commenting on Long Duc Dong's name, someone says he's "named after a duck's DORK" [NA vulgar slang]. I think Hughes just loved to hear the word.

All these theme terms are different; DUNCE is one who fails in school, CHUMP connotes the victim of a joke or con game ("Will you wait until the CHUMP is played?"--line from "The Sting), MORON is a clinical--and slang--term for one with very low intelligence. But FOOL can easily be a synonym for all of them, which is an extra nice feature of this theme, so full (see what I did there?) marks on that.

No name stands out for the DOD...until I noticed Lt. DISH, dishily played by Jo Ann Pflug in Altman's classic M*A*S*H. She could rescue me from suicide any time.

The cabinetmaker was no problem for me: ah, youth is ever wasted on the young! That's the trouble with this generation: A beanbag and a futon and you're good. *sigh* Anyway, birdie--and congratulations to Henrik Stenson, who blew away mere mortals with a blistering 63 (!) in the final round of the Open--even laying to waste a remarkable 6-under 65 by Silver Salver winner Phil Mickelson.

leftcoastTAM 12:22 PM  

Yeah, let's warm up for a tough week at work or wherever with a good round of name-calling. It may come in handy and show we're not just FOOLingAROUND.

DUNCANPHYFE is a pretty well-known name of quality woodwork. It's just the spelling of that last name that's a bit elusive. Needed the crosses to get that right.

Let's call this a lively start of the week and leave it at that.

Diana,LIW 4:24 PM  

I found this relatively easy, but agree that DUNCAN and LEDA were a bit crunchy for a Monday. Wow - I bet you're glad to know that.

My only trouble was putting in "smoke" instead of SNUFF. Eventually my NEURONs figured it out.

M&A's comment about "I was as content as a bunch of dogs bein read to, while solvin this MonPuz." made me howl. With laughter.

But I was saddened to read the 5-week-old comments about the Orlando shooting. When I saw the most recent one on TV at the gym yesterday, I briefly wondered if the younger generation will ever get to see a flag at the top of a flagpole. Beyond words.

I'll be in LaLa land for a few days - Hollywood Bowl, the Getty (might see some DUNCANPHYFEs) peppered with driving on the 405, which could be one of my least favorite things.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for some Gershwin at the Bowl

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