Satyrs' looks / MON 7-4-2016 / FedEx competitor / Instigation / Drug used to treat Parkinson's / N.B.A. Hall-of-Famer Thomas / Helpful theorem, in math

Monday, July 4, 2016

OH MY GOSH I'M SO EXCITED!!!! TODAY IS ONE OF THE BEST DAYS OF THE YEAR - ANNABEL MONDAY!!!!!!!! Oh, and I guess it's Independence Day or something.

Constructor: Jill Denny and Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Hard (for me! :0 )

THEME: FOURTH OF JULY — The first word of each theme answer spelled out JULY. Since it's a four-letter word, each letter was one-fourth of July!

Theme answers:
  • J EDGAR HOOVER (20A: Longtime FBI chief)
  • UHAUL RENTAL (26A: Van for moving day, maybe)
  • L DOPA (36A: Drug used to treat Parkinson's)
  • Y CHROMOSOME (42A: Male characteristic [yikes])
  • FOURTH OF JULY (49A: Holiday suggested by the starts of 20-, 26-, 36- and 42-Across, literally)

Word of the Day: DHL (21D: FedEx competitor) —
DHL Express[2] is a division of the German logistics company Deutsche Post DHL providing international express mailservices. Deutsche Post DHL is the world's largest logistics company operating around the world,[3] particularly in sea and air mail.[4][5]
Originally founded in 1969 to deliver documents between San Francisco and Honolulu, the company expanded its service throughout the world by the late 1970s. The company was primarily interested in offshore and inter-continental deliveries, but the success of FedEx prompted their own intra-US expansion starting in 1983. DHL expanded to countries that could not be served by any other delivery service, including Cuba, the Soviet UnionEastern BlocIraqIranChinaVietnam and North Korea.
• • •

Whoof, so much of this fill involved me mistaking answers for different ones! I had UPS for DHL, TONY for OBIE, VOWS for IDOS, and, um, something else for TRIO. (In my defense, the clue was misleading!!) There were also a few curveballs - I have to admit, I didn't know what a LEMMA was. That's humanities majoring for ya. Also, since when do satyrs have LEERS? I thought their "looks" were....GOATY. Yes, I thought GOATY was the answer to a clue in the New York Times crossword puzzle. You are welcome. You know, because they have goats for their lower halves...I thought it made sense!!

So...the elephant in the room. The Y CHROMOSOME is not a "male characteristic," and suggesting otherwise is dehumanizing to both trans men and trans women (as well as nonbinary people with Y chromosomes). I came up with some alternates on the fly: "smaller than X," "the X's counterpart," or pretty much anything other than a clue that implies that only men - and all men - have Y chromosomes. And the fact is, this is indicative of a bigger problem with the NYT puzzle. This clue comes only three days after the LOLITAS clue, which Rex wrote about here and here. Plus, honestly, I've seen plenty of slightly-racist clues in earlier puzzles but wasn't sure whether to write about them or not (it's easier to just babble about college life). The NYT crossword writes need to be more careful about using casually intolerant language in their puzzles.

Maybe you don't think this is that big of a deal, and that's fair, you're entitled to your opinion. And yet. North Carolina keeping people from something as necessary as using the bathroom in public is rooted in the concept that the Y chromosome is a male characteristic. The length of Wikipedia's list of unlawfully killed transgender people is rooted in the concept that the Y chromosome is a male characteristic. The high suicide rate of trans teens is rooted in the concept that the Y chromosome is a male characteristic. Language matters, especially the language of such a highly read newspaper. And it matters even if this was an innocent mistake.

Back to lighter subjects!

    His name is Valentine and I love him. Also, his eyes are open in this picture.
  • NAP (28D: Short snooze) — Who's the best at napping? Cats. And who is the cutest napping cat? Obviously my cat!

  • INK (56D: Newspaper coverage, informally) — About half an hour after finishing the puzzle, this clue hit me. Newspaper coverage. Newspapers are covered with ink. Now I have to scroll up and replay that Homer Simpson "I get jokes" clip!!
  • ICEES (33D: Slushy drinnk with a polar bear mascot) — Oh no, not another sweet food that I have a strong opinion abou- Slurpees are way better and nobody can tell me otherwise! Cherry with Coca-Cola is the best.
  • KOPS (63A: Keystone ___ of early film) — Can you believe I had never seen a Keystone Kops comedy? Obviously I had to change that right away. 
Anyway, happy 4th and be safe with fireworks and stuff! <3 

Signed, Annabel Thompson, very tired college student.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Elaine2 12:12 AM  

Thanks, Annabel, for your very thoughtful comments.

Luna 12:14 AM  

Thank you Annabel, well said.

da kine 12:15 AM  

Bismillah, you can't turn it off. One must always be offended. I thought the offense today would be something about MOM JEANS, but I missed the elephant in the room in the Y CHROMOSOME.

Should I be offended every time they link soldiers and PTSD? Lots of folks have PTSD and most soldiers don't have PTSD, yet the two things are linked. I'm not offended, and I'm a soldier, so I feel like I'm missing out by not being offended. Can someone else be offended for me? Thanks.

da kine 12:23 AM  

Dagnabit, I had to comment again. This is a perfect example of someone wanting to be offended. The clue isn't "exclusively male characteristic" or "cis-male only characteristic". The clue is "MALE CHARACTERISTIC" WHICH A Y CHROMOSOME IS. I'd draw a frigging Venn diagram to demonstrate the concept but I don't think the formatting would work on Blogger.

It must be rough going through life wanting to be triggered and reveling in offense. It seems empowering.

I want to come read about crosswords and see if other people got stuck in the same places I got stuck, or maybe someone noticed a theme that I missed. If I wanted a lecture about intersectionality I'd pop over to Salon or Slate and see one of the dozens of daily articles about just that topic. Oh, wait, I do read those publications and I like to take a break and do a crossword every now and then.

Unknown 12:46 AM  

"INK (56D: Newspaper coverage, informally) — About half an hour after finishing the puzzle, this clue hit me. Newspaper coverage. Newspapers are covered with ink. Now I have to scroll up and replay that Homer Simpson "I get jokes" clip!!"

Actually, while that is one way to look at it, a very common and long used slang term for the amount of write-up (coverage) given to a subject was to say "They sure gave that a lot of ink." And it survives, at least among people in the profession and people maybe 40 and older even if talking about a web only news page. I suspect that was the intent of the clue, but who knows.

I won't even get on you about your Y chromosome comments, because while I think there is more nuance to it than you are making it sound like, in essence recent findings are making it apparent that the Y chromosome and testosterone levels are but 2 factors among several that go into making a person what we classically call male. I think it is an easy mistake to make still, since one would have to be aware of these fairly recent findings, and I appreciate that you didn't go all ballistic about it. To me, at least, that seems like a much better approach when dealing with a crossword puzzle as opposed to a news story.

I will quibble with your description of the NC law (which I also find inhumane and neanderthal in its purpose). But it isn't keeping anyone from using a bathroom, it is keeping some people from using the bathroom of the gender to which they identify. I am a straight, traditionally defined male and I can (and have) used a women's bathroom once in an emergency (men's room out of order and no other room in sight). Clearly I am not the only one to have done so, and vice-versa for women. So just like you get on the NYT for inaccurate or insensitive cluing and answers, you should be more accurate in your descriptions.

Anonymous 2:05 AM  

If I think the Y CHROMOSOME *is* a male characteristics, I'm *not* entitled to my opinion?

jae 2:08 AM  

After reading Xwordinfo I now know why this was tough for a Mon. It was originally intended for a Thurs.

heX before POX and @Annabel vowS before IDOS were my MAJOR erasures.

Clever, liked it, nice one Jeff and Jill.

cwf 2:10 AM  

Doesn't Jeff Chen have a day job (outside of xwordinfo)? Anyway, always happy to see his co-byline; his collaborators seem to bubble to the top after working with him. Though in this case Jill Denny has six years of NYT puzzles.

This one was exceedingly cute, cramming a simple wordplay theme into an easy Monday. Not sure, Annabel, about your Rexish Y chromosome complaint, though I enjoyed your review. When it comes to mammalian reproduction, it takes and X and a Y. quibble with the labels, but there it is.

chefwen 2:24 AM  

Medium Monday for me. Had a couple of the same writeovers that Annabel had I DOS over vows and ups before DHL, easily fixed.

Annabel, my pretty, little, kitty Ricey also naps on her back with legs splayed. I'm thinking of changing her name to LOLITA.

George Barany 2:27 AM  

So nice to have @Annabel Monday ... and on a holiday, too! Reading between the lines of what they've written elsewhere, @Jeff Chen and @Jill Denny didn't expect this puzzle to run on a Monday, so it's a good thing we all have some extra solving time today.

Everyone brings different experiences to the party, but look at ENYA and ANKH crossing NYUK, and ORZO crossing CZAR and KOPS--didn't bother me but I could see these (among others) slowing some people down.

Extraneous initials like T.S. in 41-Down, X in 39-Across, R and V in 1-Down, and the full I.O.U. and D.H.L. at 3- and 21-Down, not to mention the single letter I in 35-Across, were also distracting. So, like these abbreviations, I'll keep this post short.

Unknown 2:51 AM  

Annabel, I appreciate your zeal, but sex and gender are not the same thing. Linking the two is one of the biggest issues that has to be overcome with the trans movement. The Y chromosome is biologically a male characteristic. That is not the same as a man characteristic. Please don't confuse the too. Part of the problem is that society continues to do so. Inferring that this puzzle links the Y chromosome to men because it says male in the clue is not correct. You shouldn't do that. Chromosomes have absolute nothing to do with men, women or gender stereotypes. Please don't confuse as such.

Liz Glass 5:08 AM  

This is your best post yet. You tell them Annabel!!

Unknown 5:31 AM  

While I appreciate your passion and sentiment on the Y chromosome clue, I respectfully disagree in that it does determine physical birth and therefore male genitalia. Whether or not it was correctly assigned is a question that isn't answered until the little soul inside that body identifies with their assigned gender or not. Hopefully they discover the mistake of their birth gender early on and have a loving family who can work with doctors to prevent the wrong puberty from occurring and complicating transition. Physically, medically, a body, a human being born with a Y chromosome is a male body. Perhaps you would've been more comfortable with the clue: Male body characteristic. I don't think we're going to come to a day where an obstetrician says, "It might be a boy!" We the exception of hermaphroditism, we are born in male or female bodies.

I thought the puzzle was easy and the theme didn't do much for me. It needed a little more Boom and Aah!!!

Anonymous 6:30 AM  

I agree with Annabel's point that the NYT needs to more mindful of racist/sexist clueing so good for saying so, but, as the poster above states, Y chromosome is directly associated with male sex, but not sexuality, so this clue is correct and should not be considered offensive.

RooMonster 6:38 AM  

Hey All !
Have a great and safe FOURTH OF JULY! Don't blow off any fingers.

Always happy to see Annabel. Our girl is definitely growing up (grown up), in college (albeit apparently very tired) and ranting about iffy clues/answers. Which is fine, everyone is entitled to their own opinions. Heck, that's what todays holiday is all about.

The puz was easy, if intended for Thursday originally, how many clues did Will change? Has a lot of blocks, 42, with 38 as the usual max. A W and Q from a pangram.

WOEs, LEMMA, ORU, MEINS. Had honORS for MAJORS as one writeover.

Liked it for a simple Holiday MonPuz. Maybe this will be the easy-er week of puzs.


Loren Muse Smith 7:10 AM  

Hah! I finished this quickly and sat there forever trying to see the second layer to the theme. I mean, c'mon – this is Jill and Jeff! It had to be more than just the first letters of the themers.

What's dumb is yesterday I joked that I'd wanted ESS to be clued as "a fifth of Stoli." So finally I got the theme's joke. Literal clues like this really float my boat. Now I'm staring around thinking about "pieces of eight…"

Cool that Jill and Jeff separated out the key letters so they're pronounced on their own. So, say, JACK IN THE BOX or JIGSAW PUZZLE would've fit for the J one, but they're not as elegant with the J set apart.

I know L-DOPA only from crosswords, but I swear it sounds like an insult from someone who doesn't really speak Spanish. (Should be "L-DOPO" or "La-DOPA")

Love VROOM. What a cheerful, bright word. And there are the other two onomatopoeiaments, NYUK and TSKED.

Believe it or not, my real take-away to day is the clue for 7D. I have never seen the word "Elvish." I guess it's a language family? Like "Germanic"? I immediately pictured Presley in green tights and pointy ears. Hah! Imagine the possibilities. doorish Day, boarish Karloff, looish Armstrong, pearish Hilton…

Like @jae, "vows" before IDOS.

Jill, Jeff – nice job. Happy Fourth, everyone.

Aketi 7:32 AM  

@annabel, your cat is adorable and looks a lot like our Charlie.
@ Disneland Documentary' has a good point about the differences between sex and gender. Even chromosomes are not as simple as XX and XY. To state the obvious, you can also have XO, XXY, XYY, XXX etc. you can even have mosaics where some of your cells have one combo and other cells have another.

@ Da Kine, I'm sure if someone clued PTSD as a disorder of "malingering cowardly out of control war vets", you would disputes that description even if you didn't find it offensive.. I am Only five feet tall and for a long time I looked younger than my years. So, I to fend off the scumbags that ere attracted to young girls who erroneously thought that my mere presence on this planet that I placed here merely to tease them. This is part of the reason why I chose to play rugby in college. Boys named Sue, according the the song, learn to be tough, but I'd argue that girls named Suzy Q learn to be tougher.

While I managed to slither out of their predatory advances, not all young women are so lucky, I don't believe in censorship, but I do think discussion on this topic is healthy, I think people who love words should be more precise. Not only was the clueing for LOLITAS offensive to many, it was extremely imprecise. Nabokov perfectly captured the insidious delusional thinking of the child predator, the coming in the puzzle did not.

Testosterone is not as simple a determinant of sex as it seems either. I found some of the discussion on testosterone in this article interestingly. In my line of work as a lactation consultant, I do encounter wide variations in hormonal levels and even chromosomal configurations some of theses can lead to breastfeeding problems.

As for the the term, PC, I think people now use it as a label out of complete laziness to denigrate someone who passionately holds a different opinion than their own. The irony is that you then have complainers complaining about the PC people who first complained, instead of a that useful discussion about the nuances of the issues.

chefbea 7:42 AM  

Tough for a monday...but at least we had a holiday theme!! Never hear of lemma . And didn't know the three stooges said nyuk, nyuk, do you say that word.?

Glad to have Annabel on first Monday!!!

jberg 7:50 AM  

Dear Anabel, thanks for your write up, your cat photo, and for having the courage to say what was impportant to you. Too bad some of the comments were so snarky, you don't deserve that. I do think the discussion of whether male is a sex while masculine is a gender is interesting--but I guess former men who have had a surgical transformation still have that Y chromosome. We all need to think this through further.

As for the puzzle-- fun and timely! I shared @George_Barany's view about TS Eliot, etc., and would rather not have seen the Hall of Fame in both a clue and an answer, but it was still good!

JJK 7:53 AM  

I'll join others in noting that the Y chromosome is, in fact, what makes a person a male - females don't have one. This puzzle would have been a nice Wednesday - I like Mondays that are really zippy and fast, which this wasn't - and LEMMA? Really?

MaryLou 8:41 AM  

Very good points you bring up about the Y CHROMOSOME clue Annabel. (And you're the first blogger to do so.)

Reminded me of an article I read in the NYT magazine yesterday, "The Humiliating Practice of Sex-Testing Female Athletes".

That aside, I did enjoy this timely holiday-themed puzzle by Jill Denny and Jeff Chen.

Anonymous 8:47 AM  

Hahaha, O MAN, now that I and others have TSK TSKED each other's opinions on gender identity, sex, chromosomes, and hormones, I think this puzzle may be a Rorshach test of our attitudes in the topic. We aren't actually giving each other fat LIPs or pouring HOT OIL over each other's heads when we disagree online, it is merely a discussion.

I just noticed that one level above the Y-CHROMOSOME, it is surrounded by an X to Far East and an X to the Far West. There is a duo of Xes, yet a TRIO of CHROMOSOMES. Do you consider the Y-CHROMOSOME the MAIN one because MAIN is on top? Or the Xes because MAIN is on the same level?

Or is the point to illustrate the existence of an XXY (which actually isn't that rare). Would this entitle someone in the state of North Carolina, to use both bathrooms? Or would they need to be a mosaic of XX and XXY?

I, for one, would prefer unisex bathrooms with stall doors that are peek proof. Then we'd all have equal waiting time and not have to worry about someone LEERing through the crack in the loosely fitting doors. Of course that might not stop curious toddlers peeking under the doors unless they were flush with the floor.

@David Kross, I too confess that I snuck into the men's room during a moment of desperation nearing the end of my pregnancy.

And speaking of MAN, if you choose to write womYn instead of woMAN, didn't you just replace the MAN with the MANly chromosome?

The there is IDOS, followed by XED just below it. So often those vows just don't last.

AND IM OUT to go enjoy the FOURTH OF Juliette, Uniform, Lima, Yankee.

Z 8:56 AM  

"The New York Times crossword puzzle need(s) to be more careful about using casually intolerant language in their puzzles." I'm always a little surprised at the vehement reactions such simple (and to me obvious) statements engender. I'm usually all about the "if it is correct in one case the clue is okay" position. But the complaint is not that the clue is wrong, it is that the clue is insensitive and promulgates an attitude that is harmful.

An interesting response I'm seeing in the little piece of NC where I occasionally spend time is the unisex bathroom. I always imagine a middle finger emoji on the sign directed at McCrory et al. when I see one. Unsurprisingly, men and women of all shapes, sizes, and preferences are able to use the same public restroom without incident.

Played like a Monday here.

Nancy 9:16 AM  

A zippier than usual Monday, with a cute theme. It can't be easy to come up with Fourth of July gimmicks -- so this, while hardly challenging, was imaginative. I had HEX before POX and VOWS before IDOS, but on a Monday, errors don't hang around long. While I took plenty of math in my time, and I haven't the foggiest idea what a LEMMA is.

Et tu, Annabel? Please say it ain't so. Please don't go around looking for things to be offended by. There are enough truly ghastly things going on in the world every single day not to trouble yourself with words and phrases in a crossword puzzle, yet. Please, Annabel! Being offended seems to be becoming a cottage industry in Xword Land. Don't hop on the bandwagon. Go cure cancer instead. Fight world hunger. Solve climate change. Focus your youthful passions on something that will actually make a difference.

Cathy Duncan 9:22 AM  

Rather seems like *you're* the one who's triggered and reveling in offense here.

Maruchka 9:28 AM  

Nice. Thanks, J & J. I missed the embedded JULY and 'fourth' cleverness. Thanks, Annabel. Very nice.

DHL hired travelers to carry packages and documents to many destinations, back in the day. The fee was your ticket and your job was to deliver the item(s) to their rep, usually at the airport. A very good deal, indeed.

ANECDOTE ALERT - My Lamaze coach was a natal nurse at Maimonides Hospital in a very Jewish Brooklyn neighborhood. She told us a funny-sad-true story about an ultra-orthodox man and his mother, who were bemoaning the birth of his eighth daughter. His mother was imploring him (in Yiddish) to divorce his wife and "marry a woman who can give you sons." My Yiddish-speaking coach overheard, turned to them. and said, "I'm afraid that won't make a difference. Your son's Y CHROMOSOME determines the baby's sex." They were gob-smacked. Oy, gevalt!

Erin Milligan-Milburn 10:08 AM  

I agree with Annabel's gender insights here. As for bringing a person's sex into it (as natal sex and gender are indeed different)...there are intersex individuals who may identify as male, female, or neither, and individuals with androgen insensitivity syndrome who have XY chromosomal makeup but can be born with a vagina and clitoris and thus be likely to be assigned female at birth. If an entry can easily be clued in a way that doesn't cause more exclusion to people who have likely experienced more than enough in their lives, then clue it that way.

Trombone Tom 10:12 AM  

Hand up for vowS before IDOS. Always refreshing to hear from Annabel. I've got grandkids in college now and I'm always impressed by the sincerity of their take on issues. However I do think the colleges have gone overboard on the PC thing. Everyone seems to be too easily offended these days. Although I certainly am offended by the NC law.

Nice puzzle from Jill and Jeff. I thought it was a little tough for a Monday and now understand why. Liked LEMMA (again!), TOKED, and ART DECO, served up in installments.

puzzle hoarder 10:16 AM  

Remember in the original "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" movie when the protagonists' partner falls asleep in the cave and when she wakes up he realizes she's become a pod person and in his voice over he says that was the first time he'd ever known real fear in his life? That's kind of what I felt reading Anabels' lecture this morning (minus the drama.) This is a perfect example of why I used the word brainwashed in my second comment yesterday.@da kine thank you for your sanity, there are other survivors out there!
About the puzzle. I haven't learned LEMMA yet either. Now I know there's no N in CHROMOSOME. That's right I spelled it -ONE. Otherwise this was as easy as any other Monday.
One more thing for all you PC cultists out there. When that big comet shows up think about what flavor of Kool-Aid you prefer. I'm partial to grape myself.

ArtO 10:16 AM  

I think the whole PC thing is getting out of hand here. And, I'm not one who generally scoffs at being PC.

thought the puzzle was tough for Monday but obviously necessary for timeliness.

Happy 4th!

Austin 10:29 AM  

I always enjoy your write ups, Annabel, and today was no exception. Rock on!!!!!!!!

Unknown 10:29 AM  

I wish I could "like" this post. I miss the days of being able to have intelligent conversations in which you can learn something and broaden your mind without pointing fingers at people and creative a divisive environment. That's for contributing <3

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

Gee, how patronizing can you be?

GILL I. 10:52 AM  

What @Nancy said.
Great Monday puzzle Jill and Jeff.
Happy FOURTH to all.

xyz 10:53 AM  

Oh, the irony of J EDGAR HOOVER on an "Independence" Day puzzle.

Lighten up on the Y-CHROMOSOME thing, people. There are far more egregiously bad clues weekly, it's a crud clue.

How about "Common Human Cellular DNA material asymmetry"? Nah, not "Monday-ish". Oh, Thursday? Then it's OK.

JD 11:00 AM  

I wish that comments on the evolving world views of just about anything that was once taken for granted could at least sometimes be colored with 'this is a good teaching opportunity' rather than constant internet outrage. And I say that with kindness and tolerance and a trans gendered grandchild and an ongoing delight in Anabel Monday. It isn't a rant. It's a sigh

Joseph Michael 11:13 AM  

Liked how J-U-L-Y is embedded in the grid, but don't see how the name of this month suggests the holiday that occurs in it. Am I missing something? How does "fourth" get suggested by this?

Never heard of LEMMA and had OSU instead if ORU, so couldn't figure out where those damn skyboxes might be. Rough Minday morning.

But liked the sense of humor that runs through the grid, from VROOM to NYUK to the clue for TOKE.

As for the Y CHROMOSONE controversy, "men" can have female characteristics and "women" can have male characteristics, so I don't see how the clue, as stated, is offensive. However, trans rights are close to home, so I appreciate the delicacy with which many if you approach the subject.

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

The whole gender/sex discussion is way too nuanced for any debater to land on the 'right' side. which means we should do our best to show common courtesy to all our fellow earthlings. For those critical of the NYT, see the cover article from yesterday's Sunday Magazine about female athletes having to prove their female-ity--physical exams, chromosome and testosterone tests--none of it definitive, but all of it humiliating:

Rex Parker 11:20 AM  

You have no idea the volume of vile, self-serving, sneering, spiteful, and (surprise) largely anonymous comments I've deleted today. You all are something else. I told friends last night, after Annabel told me she'd be discussing the Y CHROMOSOME clue, "all those people who think Annabel's just cuddly and adorable are going to turn on her so fast." And here we are.

It remains possible to disagree with your fellow human beings without being a sneering, mean-spirited waste of space. If you are incapable of this type of disagreement, please, there are other crossword blogs out there. They need your traffic. I don't.


msue 11:20 AM  

I missed the J-U-L-Y theme. D'oh.

Appreciate your comments about the Y-chromosome clue. It didn't bother me in the context of the puzzle, but your remarks about gender issues made sense to me. Don't let the negative comments dissuade you from stating your opinion. It is certainly okay to disagree with one another, but to suggest that someone's 'offense' is unjustified feels too close to the days when we were told to shut up and look pretty. (Yep, that happened. At work. More than once.) I was never good at either. The puzzle itself was mildly entertaining, but your remarks were thoughtful and well presented.

And happy 4th of July, people.

QuasiMojo 11:22 AM  

I wonder if creatures in the animal kingdom are offended when someone describes a Y-chromosome as male defining? We all got to lighten up!

I remember my first day in an English class at college, freshman year. The teacher wrote on the board "S/he" and said she was insisting that people use this instead of the general "He" in their writing. This was in 1975! Little did she know that by 2016 everyone would be using the word "their" anyway.

I agree with @Nancy. Focus on the positive. There is nothing worth being offended by here. Life is too short for such petty squabbles.

Anonymous 11:26 AM  

I groaned when I filled in Y CHROMOSOME, but not because the clue offended me (which, as we all know is the worst thing that can happen to a person). I groaned because I knew it meant another day of outrage on this blog instead of the witty, acerbic crossword commentary I've come to love. Fortunately Anabel didn't go full-Rexy and there's some delightful sanity in the comments section. I give this review 3 stars out of 5. Well done, everyone!

old timer 11:27 AM  

Ir's only a wee wee, so what's the big deal
It's only a wee wee, so what's all the fuss
It's only a wee wee and everyone's got one
There's better things to discuss!

(From the Peter Alsop song)

Ben Johnston 11:43 AM  

Annabel, I agree completely with your write-up. For a puzzle that is supposed to be celebrating wordplay and language, it's amazing how often the NYT is completely clueless about the (not so) hidden meanings and implicit assumptions that language carries with it.

Cluing Y CHROMOSOME as a male characteristic is tone-deaf and oblivious at best, and it's a totally unforced error -- as you say, there are plenty of alternative possibilities for the clue.

It's really not that hard to be conscious of language and meaning in 2016 -- crosswords like AVCX and Evan Birnholz's Sunday Post puzzles certainly manage it while still being entertaining. And when the NYT gets it wrong, we should be able to calmly, rationally explain the underlying assumptions, and why they're problematic. That's exactly what I do in my English classroom, and exactly what Annabel has done here, so if anonymous commenters have a problem with that, maybe they should consider the possibility that they're the ones with the problem.

Happy 4th of July (or as we call it in Canada, Monday).


Unknown 11:46 AM  

Good for you Annabel! Let's hear it for thoughtful, passionate, brave millennials who are willing to poke the grouchy entitled bear called "the older generations." Come on fellow Xers and Boomers -- this is how the world that we have come so close to destroying is going to be saved! By the Annabels!

JD 12:06 PM  

Rex, Again, not a rant, a sigh. While the tone of this great blog when applied to puzzles is a highlight of my day, when applied to controversial issues it invites those whose indignation cross the line into hate to respond in their own way. We each need to bring some civility to the discourse or continue to set the stage for a realty show president.The world has come to a dangerous place. Lead or follow?

Mohair Sam 12:10 PM  

@anonymous 11:16 "The whole gender/sex discussion is way too nuanced for any debater to land on the 'right' side. which means we should do our best to show common courtesy to all our fellow earthlings."
Well, somebody got it right.

I thought it ridiculous that Annabelle was offended by the clue at 42 across, which I think of as High School Biology. Far more ridiculous is that attacks on her for her stance have been so vile that @Rex has had to delete some of them. We have indeed gone mad.

@Rex - Been meaning to say this for a while - Respect the way you always post those who disagree with you no matter how vehemently (and sometimes nastily). They must be spewing some crap at Annabel to cause you to censor.

Dick Swart 12:15 PM  


Good review! Shows the complete young college student, teeth and all. Keep on truckin' *as we used to say in the olden days).

Masked and Anonymous 12:42 PM  

Happy all 4 Fourths of July, and peace on earth, to y'all.

This was a fun and feisty-ish MonPuz, with lotsa U chromosomes. Sparkly.

Masked & Anonym8Us


Anonymous 12:44 PM  

Annabel, please take a biology class. Love ya!

Hamish where the heart is 12:57 PM  

'Pearish' Hilton, @LMS?

You talkin' the Shitty of Lights, girl? I love Pearish in the Shpringtime, but that's a Poire dAngoisse you gave us

Aketi 12:58 PM  

@Rex, my 8:45 am comment was not intended to be Anonymous, it was a slip of the finger as were several of my typos in the first post and I'm glad you didn't find the tongue in cheek parts of it to be so offensive that you deleted it,.

I think the ETERNAL OPTOMISTS do a great job of infusing this blog with fun coversations about words, but there are also many who critique and judge the fill of a puzzle based on what they think is appropriate in music, the arts, sports, etc. Some of these discussions have actually been quite hearted at times, especially over sports and grammar. The PPP count itself one such tool for "judging" the worthiness of certain words. Criticism can actually be a great thing for any topic if it is handled in a civil manner. Without criticism we don't have an opportunity that learn and improve.

@Nancy, I hope you know by now that would defend your right to express your outrage about how you dislike rap music, noisy children, and horrible service from despicable phone companies, just as much as I would defend Annabel's right to discuss how the wording of a clue made her feel. Even if it is a bit of a leap from Y-CHROMOSOME for the reasons that @ Disneyland Documentary pointed out, it is obvious that the real source of Annabel's concern is discrimination against a vulnerable group.

@old timer, if everyone with a wee was treated the same no matter how wee the wee was, there would be nothing to discuss on the topic. Sadly, that is not yet the case.
@Annabel, thanks for voicing your opinion and for voicing concern about the high suicide rate among transgendered teens which is actually how I personally read your post. I think that reducing teen suicides is every bit as worthy a cause as curing cancer or fighting world hunger.

Numinous 1:09 PM  

I can't stand the concept of PCness. I actually believe it dilutes the language. If we must have PC, why can't it be more like PSness: Political sensitivity. That might mean something like prefacing comments with, "My language may be offensive to some . . . " That the Y chromosome is a male characteristic is about as true as saying that a beard is a male characteristic. Ever been to a carnival side show? If you look at the click bait that is currently going around there is one about a teenage girl who wants to become the strongest woman in the world; I wonder what her chromosomal make up is, she's buff and beautiful too. No beard though. I think it would be generally agreed that most males who were born that way will have the Y CHROMOSOME. How people feel about themselves is another matter and up to each individual and not a matter for the world at large to criticize. Who really cares if Bruce wants to Jennner-ate a Caitlyn? Well, maybe her family but his daughter says she likes her better now. But that was Bruce's business, not the rumor mangers and the paparazzis.

Have any of y'all seen The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert? The Terence Stamp character, Bernadette, a transgendered woman, is probably the most together character in the whole film.

Thanks to all of y'all who welcomed me back: @#1, @Hartley70, @Beatrice, @Z.

Thanks to whoever it was found the Ods Bodkins website yesterday. I used to love those cartoons and have just been reminded that I still do. In browsing, I found this <a href=">Marshmallow</a> for @cwf.

Thank you, Annabel, for your thoughtful comments today. Nice to see you "speak" from your heart about a touchy subject. I'm hoping to hear more of your maturing world-view. As it is now July, would I be correct to assume you are in summer school with the view to accelerating your progress? If so, "good on ya."

Have a bang-up holiday, y'all.

Roy 1:19 PM  

I originally thought Annabel's Y-chromosome comments were highly entertaining. Then I realized she was actually NOT mocking Rex.

Numinous 1:22 PM  

I can recall, back in the day, applying to DHL for a flight possibly to Sydney or London. Sadly, nothing ever came of it. I recall thinking, at the time, that it was too good to be true.

Orange 1:25 PM  

Memo to transphobic or anti-"PC" crossworders: You won't find a comfortable crossword-blog home at Diary of a Crossword Fiend, either. Team Fiend is diverse, welcoming, and forward-thinking, and we have no patience for transphobia, homophobia, sexism, or racism. Like Annabel, like Rex, we call out the bullshit because crosswords shouldn't be in the business of making some solvers feel excluded or demeaned.

People who are older than Annabel need to move beyond what we learned in high school biology. Sex isn't just about chromosomes (please read Dr. Erin Milligan-Milburn's comment for more info on chromosomes, hormone insensitivity, etc.). If a transgender woman has XY chromosomes, do you really want to be the one who tells her that the Y chromosome is a "male characteristic"? She's been fighting that her whole life. And a transgender man who is XX but sports a full beard, broad shoulders and pumped-up biceps—you want to tell him what he's lacking? It's churlish to want to limit people to what you learned in ninth grade. Are you still insisting that Pluto is a planet, too?

Michelle Turner 1:55 PM  

Loved LEMMA!

Anonymous 1:57 PM  

For what it matters, Annabel, your comments made a difference. Nancy, if they didn't to you, it must be because you don't see the difference made. Think about that the next time you tell someone to actually make a difference.

Anonymous 1:58 PM  

What Cathy said.

RAD2626 2:06 PM  

Posting so late nothing I can add to the overall discussion. Appreciate @Rex both deleting the vilest of the comments and warning us about our over the top co-posters.

I liked the puzzle and the theme but I am truly embarrassed that if I read all the posts correctly, no one else bombed on CsAR/ORsO. It looked so right, and to do it on a Monday. Yikes. A real blow to my Y CHROMOSOME ego.

Larry Gilstrap 2:19 PM  

Not one comment about J.EDGAR HOOVER? The Keystone Kops were merely incompetent, which seems preferable to the abuses of power and the hypocrisy displayed by the Director's policies and actions. My mother-in-law wears MOM JEANS and they look quite nice.

Carola 2:50 PM  

Happy Glorious FOURTH, everyone! I found the puzzle on the easy side - did it Acrosses only, and then stepped back to admire all of those nice Down answers. But I could not figure out how the FOURTH part of the theme worked!

I happened to do the puzzle just before reading the Times' Sunday Magazine article that others have mentioned. It was certainly eye-opening for me to learn, among other things, that there are XY intersex women who appear female their entire lives, despite their Y CHROMOSOME. I join other commenters in recommending this article. I don't really get why it's seen as eye-rolling-worthy "PC" to point out that the answer could have had a better clue.

Annabel, the FOURTH is my favorite holiday, and your write-up made the day even better.

Hungry Mother 3:06 PM  

I really thought most of the comments today would concern LEMMA. I had many of them in my Ph.D. thesis. Thanks to all who had illuminating comments to share today. As for the other comments, I have the option of ignoring them or pondering them.

johnnymcguirk 3:11 PM  

Typical Monday slightly slower than average here and that's 'cause I didn't know Ldopa and was staring at _ir for thirty seconds-serves me right for going through the alphabet backwards. As for the review, I've enjoyed reading Annabelle's in the past and while I disagree with much of this one, she seems like a happy, intelligent young lady and maybe the commenters should tone it down a notch or two in the future.

OISK 3:32 PM  

Gosh! A Y chromosome is a male characteristic. It doen't matter at all whether it actually defines maleness. If the clue read "Male characteristic" and the answer was "beard," would folks similarly object that some women have facial hair, or that some men don't? I agree (as usual) with @ Nancy, and disagree with Annabel, while respecting her point of view.

I found this VERY difficult for a Monday. I had "Hex" before "Pox." ( a pox on you and your ancestors. I used "pox" in a mnemonic that I created when teaching electrochemistry. "A pox on these electrolyses." = anode, positive, oxidation. Of course, I had to explain to my students what a pox is.)

I have never said "Oh snap." My students did, but usually to express disappointment at getting something wrong, not as a response to a "zinger." I am not contesting the usage, but it meant nothing to me.

I never actually noticed the spelling of "July." And I had to Google (after I was done) "lemma" despite having minored in math. Didn't know Raimi either. Still, this was a fine puzzle, as far as I am concerned,

Masked and Anonymous 3:49 PM  

@indy009/WHA: I still think Blu'bel is real adorable; can't speak personally to cuddly, but imagine probably so. I reckon I haven't been very chromosome-sensitive/knowledgeable in the past ... but it was educational to read her views. Thanx, VTC student. (That cuddlin can wear a person out.)

@Orange: I still think Pluto got pooch-screwed. It had been widely recognized for its planetary attributes, especially the all-important planetary U-chromosome. [Pause to consider: plUto, neptUne, UranUs, satUrn, jUpiter, venUs, mercUry, maUrs, Urth.]

I think Jeff & Jill are a supergreat constructioneer team. Assume they use a powerful computer-aided fill program. Just goes to show how desperately hard grid-fillin can be, when U still end up with a TSKED/HED finish. But, hey -- even self-driving cars ain't perfect. Actually, M&A recommends one of them "student driver" (or "inhuman driver") signs, on top of all such cars, so U can be on the lookout. But, I digress…

@Blu'bel: Keep up the good work. Nice bullets. Nice VTC* pic, also.


*Very Tired Cat.

Annabel Thompson 4:20 PM  

I also had heX, for the longest time! Lots of slip-ups in this one. :)

Doc John 4:20 PM  

As I've always said, the clue should point to the answer. In this case, it did. Maybe the words "classically considered" before the clue would have helped ease some tensions.
I might also point out that in every other mammalian species besides human, those individuals with Y CHROMOSOMEs are male.

Anonymous 4:50 PM  

I'm a member of the LGB community. I don't buy into the trans narrative. Not unreasonable on my part.

Z 4:52 PM  

@Ben Johnston - paragraphs 2 and 3 - EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's not about censoring. It's not about taking umbrage or being offended. It is all about learning that words have nuance and connotations beyond and going forward understanding that nuance.

And, again, everyone who disagrees with Annabel, please read all the comments. @msue and @anon1:57 really stood out for me.

Mohair Sam 5:33 PM  

@Orange - Nearly 20 years ago a gay friend of mine, Mike (a co-worker), and I had dinner together at a company function. It was at that dinner Mike told me he was gay - he knew me well enough to know I wouldn't care. Mike had met my wife, so he told me about his partner and the conversation naturally moved to gay marriage. Mike was in favor of it, I was against it - no surprise there. Our conversation on the subject lasted for maybe two hours, Mike made the case for gay marriage and I simply couldn't counter with anything better than "tradition". He held the argument and changed my mind that evening. I remind you this was in the 1990's, when politicians of both parties were embracing the "Sanctity of Marriage" Act.

I bore you with all this @Orange because I want to point out that when I let Mike know that I did not believe in gay marriage he did not tell me I couldn't play with him and his friends, nor did he call me a homophobe and suggest that I was guilty of making him or others feel excluded or demeaned, nor did he suggest at I was stuck in the ninth grade, nor worry about my feelings on Pluto (it was still a planet then). He used intelligent arguments that I couldn't refute and changed my mind - there's a lesson in there somewhere.

evil doug 6:40 PM  

No, I'm not one of those being censored. I've quit posting here because about 90% of my posts have been eliminated. I hadn't even read today's blog until a pal wanted my read on it. Not wasting my time anymore....

old timer 7:32 PM  

Of course I quoted the "It's Only a Wee Wee" song precisely because it makes Annabel's point. Sex roles should not depend entirely on what your wee-wee looks like. Boys can like pink. Girls can wear blue and live their life in cords and blue jeans (I don't think my oldest daughter ever wore a dress voluntarily until she went to her boyfriend's senior prom).

I do think Annabel's concern and outrage was way excessive. For almost everyone, the Y chromosome determines sex, though it need not define how people behave. Though, you know, having two male grandchildren out of three (after three daughters) certainly made it clear that boys are different!

But Annabel is not only a very tired college student, she goes to a New England liberal arts college where, according to the NYT, the professoriate of the region is way more liberal/progressive than is common in the rest of the country. The best thing this little discussion may do for her is to encourage her to challenge (at least silently) the assumptions here professors and peers may be instilling in her. I can tell you that my best college experience was to learn how to question authority on either side of the political spectrum.

Alex 7:51 PM  

I learned something very important today. I learned that I (not in my first blush of youth and with a pretty decent education) did not know how to spell CHROMOSOME. Now I do.
ALSO - FWIW - I know of people with Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, in which the body doesn't recognize testosterone. So someone can be XY and appear to be female. There are levels of this Syndrome, with results running the gamut from an undescended testicle to a baby appearing entirely female, but possessing testes instead of a uterus and ovaries. Now maybe you have learned something! (Because you probably already knew how to spell chromosome. I was pretty surprised to have the red "you messed up" signal, and that was the only word I could imagine having an error, as I didn't know LEMMA. Even though I enjoy math. Geometry, not as much as the rest of it, though.)

Warren Howie Hughes 9:17 PM  

Hello,UHAUL! "ICEES dead People, ORZO it seems? In the MAIN, I'm gonna raise CAIN,for as long as I have the MIENS and for as long as I'm still Abel!"

kitshef 9:25 PM  

Lost in all the hubbub is a very nice puzzle. Theme is just OK, but the longs are delightful and the fill is pretty darn good. Not all men have hairy backs, and not everyone with a hairy back is a man, but I would still call 'hairy back' a male characteristic.

Tita 10:06 PM  

Welcome back, @Numi!

I said it t'other day. The clue for ILLEGALS a while back was egregiously insensitive. The clue for MEN! was funny. Let's not knee-jerk.

@Annabel - I agree completely with the reasons for your concerns about the clue. And I genuinely admire your willingness to put your ideas out there and defend them. Brava!
But I don't agree that the clue itself is insensitive or wrong.

If we don't choose well our causes for outrage, and the opportunities to change/educate, we risk what is rampant now - people who need to be, and should be swayed, just roll their eyes and think "here s/he goes again".

And the chance to educate disappears.

@Rex - thanks.
And to the censored among us - you have just killed a little bit of the part of me that always marveled at the internet island of civility that I always thought our little blogville is.

@M&A - lovely PlUto rebUttal. Thank U.

@Z - I've read all the comments. I agree there are nuances. And I most heartfully agree with Annabel's core message. But I still think the clue/answer is OK.
See @Mohair Sam's thoughtful post.

Tita 10:19 PM  

There was a puzzle today.
A rare commemorative puzzle. I like those.
I needed to come here to let the "fourth" aspect of the initials sink in, though.
Thanks, JD/JC

Since you all asked, I will inject some tangential levity.
When my brother was at RPI, he lived in HALL HALL. He figured that it had been Mr. HALL's lifelong ambition to be willy successful that he could donate enough money to his school to get a HALL named after him.

BC - Before Cellphones - there was a single pay phone in the common room. When it rang, the nearest student would answer "Hall Hall. Who in the Hall do you want?"

You're welcome.

Tita 10:27 PM  

3 and out...

@Chefwen - I think that your kitty comment is what took the most guts to post here!
I'm still rotflmao - in spite of how guilty I feel doing so.

Anonymous 11:19 PM  

LMS @7:10 When I first heard of L DOPA I thought is was spelled el dopa until I saw it in crosswords. My grandfather had Parkinson's disease and participated in the human trials of the drug in the 1970s. When the trial was over his insurance company would not pay for the drug since it was not yet approved and continuing the prescription was very expensive for a retired couple. Fortunately it was approved within a year after the trial.

With all the attention to Parkinson's disease (eg: Michael Fox) over the years I am surprised you have not seen L DOPA in the wild. I agree it does sound like a term from a B grade movie about the drug trade.

Rational 11:26 AM  

The y chromosome is a male characteristic. If the clue was masculine characteristic you would have a point. But male and female are absolutely defined by chromosones. Ironic that this would come up in a forum related to words.

Ellen S 2:05 PM  

@Annabel - I missed your post yesterday, but went back and read it today. So very well stated. And lest that sound ageist ("Aww, how cute, look how well she advances an argument!") I'm remembering myself as a college student, and while I'll give myself credit that I would have agreed with your position, I could not have stated it as well.

Anonymous 11:37 PM  

Y CHROMOSOME is fantastic, as is its clue (116A: *Women just don't get it). ---Jan 23 2011

Z 8:36 AM  

@anon11:37 - And...? When I was growing up we chanted an "interesting" version of "Eenie Meanie Miney Moe." I'm older now and have learned a few things since I was 6, so would not ever repeat that racist chant. Likewise, five years ago I really hadn't thought much about gender (I'm pretty much a live and let live sort of person) so wasn't aware that there was an issue. I'm a little older now, I've learned a few things, and I incorporate that new knowledge into how I conduct myself. Personally, I don't feel guilty about my previous ignorance (there's lots I don't know) but I also don't take offense when someone points out my ignorance and suggests I might want to change.

Teedmn 11:54 PM  

RE: Saturday's Google account discussion. Google does see all! I woke up early Saturday morning (Aug 6th) and realized that I had forgotten to print my puzzle (future version). My browser home page is Google. The Google logo was a big cake and some smaller cupcakes and various sweets. Suspicious, I moused over it and sure enough, it came up "Happy Birthday Teedmn". And yes, it was my birthday. The first person to greet me wasn't a person, ick. I found it somewhere between creepy and hysterically funny.

So choose to sign up within your comfort zone. I'm just grateful I've never pulled the Facebook trigger.

Burma Shave 10:02 AM  


OHGOD, YEROUT of yer mind, if yer INON that YCHROMOSOME scene,


Anonymous 11:25 AM  

Wow. Classy.

BS2 11:29 AM  

@anon 11:25 - you must be new. I don't do classy.

Anonymous 11:34 AM  

I will be glad when we can get back to discussing what the crossword is all about, instead of always trying to talk about what offends us in the puzzle. That belongs completely in another forum. I am so glad that I have never bothered to read Orange's blog as she seems to think it is so important to call those things out.

rondo 12:16 PM  

“Characteristic” means “a feature. . . belonging typically to . . .” . So the clue seems correct to me. Next time the opening comment contains a hint of PCness or taking a stand, I’m skipping through all the rest of ‘em to do my post. I don’t need that re: a puzzle. Maybe this is all a result of this wacky election year.

Once again, syndiland gets to re-celebrate a holiday. Wish today was a day off since it is beautiful here. Maybe better than it was on the FOURTHOFJULY. I had no difficulty with this puz, it did not seem like a Thursday as was apparently anticipated.

A potential crossing of yeah babies with omnipresent ENYA crossing what coulda been Ms. ZETA-Jones. ENYA and Ed Asner and the Teris should be collecting royalties.

LEMMA was the outlier but was surrounded by gimmes. Good way to start the week, if it wasn’t for the FLAP.

spacecraft 12:25 PM  

Re taking offense I'm with @da kine and @anon. 11:34. As regulars here already know.

Well, here it is already, Thursday...what? It's what? MONDAY?!?? With LEMMA??? OHGOD, what a ZINGER! Ne. Va. Heardofit. VROOM NYUK.

Lotta problems with this one, culminating in the horrid XED. A POX on XED, I say! Also, I would NEVER clue "ABOVE" by saying "On top of." That connotes resting on a surface, not "ABOVE." Acceptable clues would be "Over," or "Overhead," etc. This is a BAD clue.

I must confess I didn't fully understand the "FOURTH" part of the theme until Annabel explained it--eliciting a groan from me. Each letter is a "FOURTH" of a four-letter word. Ee..okay. I guess.

DOD is without a doubt the ravishing Catherine ZETA-Jones.

LEMMA. On a Monday, yet. Bah. Bogey.

rondo 12:34 PM  

"Typically" does not mean all the time. That's enough qualification for me.

Anonymous 1:43 PM  

From Syndication Land

Wow! Who stole Annabel and replaced her with Rex?

leftcoastTAM 2:20 PM  

Monday simple, easy theme but some of the fill was not:

MOMJEANS (pause), YCHROMOSOME (another pause) , LEMMA (unknown), and ISIAH (odd spelling) Thomas.

With those, some good Monday bite.

JayLeigh 3:07 PM  

I'm coming late to this party as I don't get the NYT crossword until much later, in syndication. But what is all the hooplah about the Y chromosome? It is a male characteristic. Show me a male who does not have a Y chromosome.

On the whole I found this to be rather difficult for a Monday, but as someone pointed out, it was intended for a Thursday.

I hope you all had a great 4th of July.

rain forest 5:50 PM  

Whoever said that upon seeing a baby born with a penis and testicles, the doctor could say "Hey, it might be a boy!" - appropriate today.

There are people here who apparently are easily offended; there are those who are offended by those who are offended; there are others who are offended by those who think they should be offended, but aren't; then there are those who are offended because they just want to solve a puzzle and are made to wade through all the offended people's comments. Count me in this last group. @Annabel has a point of view - fine, although it didn't need to be stated in a crossword blog. But it is a blog, and that is the nature of blogs, I guess.

@Z - who made you the arbiter of which comments are good, bad, or indifferent?

I enjoyed doing this puzzle, easy as it was, and I thought it was a terrific start to the week.

Sailor 5:54 PM  

Sigh. I thought this was a pretty good puzzle until I came here and discovered it was a booby trap. (Oops! Hope that didn't offend anyone!)

Here's the thing: I am really, truly sympathetic to those who feel that they are stuck in the wrong body. I don't blame them a bit for taking whatever measures they find necessary to reconcile the disparity between their physical bodies and their sense of gender.

Simply put, however, biological sex and gender identity are two different concepts. The Y chromosome is passed down only from fathers to sons. In the purely biological sense, then, it is characteristically male, regardless of how those sons choose to express their inner sense of gender.

I am so hoping that tomorrow the conversation will be about the puzzle, rather than how the puzzle triggers our anger and existential angst.

Z 6:26 PM  

@rain forest - Huh? I did mention that a couple comments stood out for me, but I don't think I labelled anything "bad" or "indifferent." Heck, @4:52 I asked people to read all the comments.

Diana,LIW 8:33 PM  

#1 - The Puzzle. I thought (my opinion!) it was crunchier than the usual Monday, but not exactly "hard." Wasn't sure how to spell NYUK, so that Y was the last to go in.

Remember the gaff, "Harry, Herbert, Hoover, Heaver?" Well, I wanted Harry or Herbert until the J reminded me of EDGAR. Ha ha on me.

Mr. W has a Rolex; I have a TIMEX. Guess which one keeps better time? And keeps on ticking, without a watch winder. (Yes, that is a thing.)

LEMMA? Wha? And didn't remember ICEES. But all's well that ends well.

#2 - Opinions. Skip this if you've had too many. There are times I find opinions on this and other blogs to be heavy-handed. That's my opinion. But I still may agree or disagree with the underlying idea. Today, I disagreed for reasons already well-stated regarding the difference between gender and sex.

However, I support Rex and his subs for stating their opins. (Even tho I do think some are heavy-handed, and I fear for Rex's exploding head some days.)

I read both "liberal" and "conservative" opinion columns. Boy - do THEY have opinions!!! Two of my favorites are Kathleen Parker (conservative) and Leonard Pitts Jr. (liberal). (BTW - a week or two ago, they essentially wrote the same column regarding a current candidate for a high office in the US.) (Guess who.) (Yeah, well that's your opinion, huh?)

In my paper today was an opin column by Leonard Pitts, "How I got in trouble with 'ladies,'" which my paper retitled "Remember goal of PC language." He gives his personal reaction to being taken to task regarding his own language, with three different responses to three instances of said task taking. Very well written, in my opinion. I think he does a good job of explaining why we should critique each other - sometimes being right, and sometimes over/underdoing it. if you care to read it. My opinion is you oughta! It is about language, nuance, and other good stuff.

#3 - @Z - I agree with you - I don't believe you meant to be the arbiter of anyone else's ideas, comments, or opinions. Not sure how @Rainy was reading your comments.

#4 - Wow - you're still with me? On gender identity. If you're interested, Jennifer Boylan wrote 2 great (in my opinion) books about being a transgendered person. Helped me better understand her, and other's, situation. "I'm Looking Through You," and "She's Not There." Lots of musical references, as you might surmise, and a wry look at herself and life. With compassion. Speaking only for myself, AKA, in my opinion.

Diana, Opining

Anonymous 10:24 PM  

Not sure if I read every comment but I didn't see anyone mention that "pox" is a type of disease, not a curse! Unless we are generalizing to the concept of people being "cursed" with a disease in a sense that would include herpes, diabetes, polio or what have you. I know crossword clues aren't meant to be definitions, but that still felt wrong to me.

Fun puz anyway though.

Diana,LIW 10:49 PM  

@Anon 10:24

Yes, a "pox" refers to the disease of Small Pox. However, The Bard said (I believe 'twas Shakespeare) "A pox on both your houses," meaning a curse on your families. Hence, the clue's response. Not a definition, but an a"pox"imation.


Teedmn 11:17 PM  

@Diana, LIW, nice link to the Leonard Pitts Jr. piece, very timely. Sure, the PC thing can become heavy-handed, but as Mr. Pitts states, "But for all the (sometimes justified) criticism it receives, so-called political correctness has at heart an important goal: language that is more inclusive, respectful and reflective of marginalized lives."

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