"The Good Earth" author / MON 11-14-2016 / Hack (off) / Target competitor / Have because of

Monday, November 14, 2016


Relative difficulty: MEDIUM except for the left middle which was HARD

THEME: Animalistic (or [ANIMAL]ING [VERB] for the more serious) — Theme answers are sayings that take the form of [ANIMAL]ing [VERB].

Theme answers:
  • MONKEYING AROUND (17A: Goofing off)
  • MOUSING OVER (31A: Getting ready to click on, as in a link)
  • WOLFING DOWN (47A: Eating quickly)

Word of the Day: SHAMAN (9D: Tribal healer) —
Shamanism (/ˈʃɑːmən/ shah-mən or /ˈʃmən/ shay-mən) is a practice that involves a practitioner reaching altered states of consciousness in order to perceive and interact with a spirit world and channel these transcendental energies into this world.[1]
The anthropologist Alice Kehoe criticizes the term "shaman" in her book Shamans and Religion: An Anthropological Exploration in Critical Thinking. Part of this criticism involves the notion of cultural appropriation.[7] This includes criticism of New Age and modern Western forms of shamanism, which, according to Kehoe, misrepresent or dilute indigenous practices. Alice Kehoe also believes that the term reinforces racist ideas such as the Noble Savage.
• • •
Wow, what a week, huh? Yeah. That sure was a week that happened! Well, it's been a whole month and a week, actually. What did you guys go as for Halloween? I went as a zombie prom queen, or "the death of enforced femininity" as I introduced myself at a Halloween party. Majoring in women's and gender studies (and being a little bit pretentious anyways) will do that to a gal. I did win an honorable mention in a costume contest for it though!

my artist friend did the fx makeup, but trying to dance in the heels I was wearing was the scariest part, trust me

Anyways, the puzzle! Like I said, the left middle was super hard for me - an '80s legal drama, the author of a 1931 novel that I for some reason have not yet read despite my other major being English, and two Across clues as vague as they are short all bunched together? *shudder* The rest of the puzzle wasn't bad though. TORAH/ORATE has a nice slant-rhyme-y RING to it, and there's something cool going on with IGOR/BIGOT/SEGO! I also appreciated the nerd nod in DC UNIVERSE.

The theme was okay, can't complain. I was a little disappointed MONKEYING AROUND wasn't HORSING AROUND, because I've been on a huge Bojack Horseman kick recently (and you should be too omg it's so good). I had CHOWING DOWN for 47A for the longest time - isn't Chow the name of a dog breed or something? I think? Related question: who knew SQUIRRELING was spelled with one L, not two?

  • BIGOT (71A: Archie Bunker, notably) — A bit on the nose for this week, eh?
  • IGOR (48D: Dr. Frankenstein's assistant) — It's pronounced EYE-gor!
  • ERS (50A: Spot for getting stitches, in brief) — I JUST realized this is supposed to be an abbreviation for emergency rooms, d'oh! I was going to say I only ever knew ERS as Egyptian Rat Screw, that card game everyone used to play at camp. I can't read the abbreviation as anything else at this point. Man, those were some good times.
  • KENNY G (42D: Saxophonist with the #42 album "Miracles") — And now, some smooth tunes for your Monday.
With love, Annabel Thompson, exceptionally tired college student.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Trombone Tom 12:44 AM  

Always good to hear from Annabel! Having a couple of grandkids who are underclass(persons) here on the left coast, I can sympathize with the tiredness comment.

Fortunately Ms. Burnikel and I were on the same wavelength and I was able to zip through this one with relative ease and a good time. I would rate it toward the easy side.

Liked seeing KENNY G, but my own jazz preference tends toward Diz, Monk, Trane, Mulligan, Miles, and JJ Johnson. Yeah, I know that dates me.

chefwen 12:50 AM  

Hi Annabel, welcome back.

Super easy for me, but I think you can factor in age. Very familiar with Pearl S Buck, she was also kinda, sorta in Sunday's L.A Times puzzle. Although I never watched the show I knew L.A. Law from the actors and the many Emmy's it won.

Loved all the furry, little creatures scurrying around. Good start to the week. Thank you C.C.

Passing Shot 12:53 AM  

Pretty easy, liked it. Didn't notice the theme unril O'd finished and was looking at the answers. Thanks for the write-up, Annabel -- we need some lightness and cheer right now.

Unknown 12:55 AM  

Wonderful review, @Annabel.

Good to see the byline of my friend @Zhouqin Burnikel.

ERS today, ORS yesterday. Learned PEARL_BUCK has a middle initial, and KENNY has a last name. Apropos a recent lively discussion, yes I've heard of Batman and Superman and even DC Comics, but DC_UNIVERSE took some mental gymnastics to figure out. LA_LAW was appointment television way back when.

Today, it might be good to revisit PUTIN on the Fritz, especially in view of the "Young Frankenstein" (IGOR) allusion (and also note the late, great GENE Wilder).

Anonymous 1:03 AM  

Thanks Annabel! Will point out, though, that the second theme word is a preposition, not a verb.

John Child 1:23 AM  

Nice to have you here Annabel. And thanks for the Young Frankenstein clip. More than 40 years later, "What hump?" still slays me every time.

Fun puzzle, simple and quick. Just right for Monday.

jae 1:40 AM  

Yup, a fine Mon. Medium for me but I tried to stick Stan Kenton (yes I know he's a piano player) in where KENNY G was supposed to go. Let's just say current events have me a tad off my game. Liked it.

Larry Gilstrap 1:47 AM  

Decent consistent themers of animals turning into gerund phrases as clued. MOUSING OVER is a thing, I'm assuming, help me here. Lately, it seems I've done a lot more grOUSING OVER, but maybe it's just me. The others are definitely in the language I frequent.

Love to send and receive a text which begins SAFE and sound in... after having traveling from a loved one. Very reassuring.

I recently heard an interview with the legendary Norman Lear about his ground breaking TV programs, particularly All in the Family and that lovable BIGOT Archie Bunker. Is it possible we have regressed in forty years? We used laugh at Archie's buffoonery. Now he has a constituency.

One more ax to grind. I have maintained a home for many years in a rural area which, from time to time, falls victim to rodent infestation. Trust me, I hate those little bastards, but no longer will I put out poison bait. Sure, my neighbors' cats and dogs might feast on a rodent in the throes of death from an overdose of a superwarfarin, so keep your pets indoors. My concern is with the top of the chain predators; like a mountain lion, eagle, owl, or WOLF that generally show signs of toxicity when examined. There are safer ways to fight this scourge.

Anybody else remember when Dinah Shore used to encourage us to see the USA in a Chevrolet? MWAH!

Chim cham 1:49 AM  

Crushed this one! 3:30+ under my average for a Monday (and it was a fresh, zingy amalgam of cluing and answers to boot)! Then we get a long-awaited Annabelle write-up!!?? Talk about cruising into next week! I'm ready!

Chim cham 1:52 AM  

Pit a few episodes of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman against our edgiest TV fare of today and ask yourself if we've really come all that far...

Anonymous 5:46 AM  

Re: ERS. Anyone else remember the old clue for that answer? "Bitter vetch."

- Jim C. in Maine

Anonymous 5:53 AM  

Nice write up Annabel

-dave FL

Lewis 6:19 AM  

@annabel, welcome back, and that is a great Zom Queen.

Always a clean grid from Zhouqin (Which is more scrabbly -- Zhouqin or Gulczynski?), and the theme is consistent. I noticed IDO/ITO/IWO, and PUCK crossing BUCK, and that in-reverse Chevy NOVA crossing the Chevy AVEO. But what stood out in my explorations was -- and I'm obligated to report this as your resident alphadoppeltotter -- an extremely low double-letter count (3). Anything below five is highly unusual, happens two or three times a year. Only once was there a non-theme-related zero in the Shortz era. Hey, I've got the double letters; Jeff Chen has everything else.

And well yes, I'm PIGGING OUT on minutiae today. It happens.

Loren Muse Smith 7:04 AM  

@Lewis – “pigging out” – good one! And we can talk about Assange ratting out people maybe.

@Bob K – I was sure hoping you’d change your mind and return to the fold, as it were. It’s tough to lose quality posters here because of all the negativity, but I certainly understand. Anyway… see you at the ACPT!

@Malsdemare – I vote you name your dog Rodney. No particular reason.

@anony 1:03 – you sure those second words are prepositions? Where’s @Steve J when we need him? Probably with @joho and @Bob K…

CC – fun, easy puzzle. I enjoyed ferreting out all the themers.

kitshef 7:38 AM  

I think they are adverbs in this context.

In our family we have a 'thing' where for people whose names commonly use an initial, we state the full name for the initial, and make the regular name into an initial. Thus, Francis S. Fitzgerald, Henry R. Perot, and of course, P. Sydenstricker Buck.

Liked the theme. A fun Monday. Hope everyone is bearing up and wombating through.

Zwhatever 7:53 AM  

Interesting WOD. Speaking of "cultural appropriation," KENNY G.

Myself, I'm more in a Drive-By Truckers mood.

The past two days I had to wait on an A/E Whac-a-vowel finish. Today I waited to make sure it was KART, not cART. "Saxophonist" wasn't much help. I'll take my sax with a heaping spoonful of Clarence Clemons, thank you very much.

chefbea 7:59 AM  

Welcome back Annabel. Great write up. we missed you.
Great fun easy puzzle...guess I'll go wolf sown some breakfast....after I get back from Curves!!!

Ted 8:01 AM  

Mildly NATICK'd by PEARL _ BUCK crossing _EGO. Everything else was pretty clean and fun for a Monday. MWAH isn't a very common spelling for a kiss-sound where I come from, but crosses took care of it anyway.

Dorothy Biggs 8:05 AM  

This was definitely on the northern side of challenging for me. The long crosses, aka themers, needed lots of downs to get. But, true to Monday form, once the theme became obvious (which wasn't too long), then everything went quickly.

@Annabelle: I think we covered the Buck book in my junior year. I don't know why, because it isn't all that difficult of a read...maybe because there are just too many classics and well, you need something to read junior year. And quite honestly, while your Halloween costume was/is horrifyingly appropriate for our world today (and for the next 4 years at least), your posting of KENNYG's video was the clincher...I will now not be able to sleep for several nights. Call it 80s PTSD.

Speaking of appropriate, Archie Bunker would be mainstream today.

I had egypt before YEMEN, and wow before AWE.

I won't say that I loved the puzzle, but I didn't hate it either...so C+.

BTW, I may have mentioned this before, but if you want some fun (at someone else's expense), ask a native German speaker to say SQUIRREL. Evidently, for a non-English speaker (and Germans in particular), that procession of consonant sounds is very difficult to pronounce. If anyone knows a German, have them say it and then get back to us here and report your findings.

L 8:10 AM  

Mousing over?? I mean, I figured it out from the theme, but I've never heard that use before. That was weak. THE rest of ut, decent monday fill although I got tripped up over Yemen. I initially wrote Egypt.

Lobster11 8:14 AM  

Am I the only one who thought that PEARLSBUCK crossing SEGO -- specifically at the S -- was a terrible cross for an early-week puzzle? I mean, if you've never heard of that flower and you didn't know the author's middle initial, that square is is utterly uninferable: It literally could be virtually any letter in the alphabet. I correctly guessed S, which somehow had a vague ring of familiarity in both directions, but I shouldn't come that close to a Natick on a Monday.

Wm. C. 8:29 AM  

I'll chime in (as an engineering-and-business major, not an English major).

The pair of words are [present participle of Verb] [Preposition]. Yes????

Leapfinger 8:45 AM  

As I was snaking my way through the solve, I found myself worming to the theme, muling over nothing until I got to RING, which set me to quailing in my boots. So sad to have that little duplication invade theme territory. Without steering you RoNG, I think we could have made that RaNG, even if that made 21A "Prefix to a signal" be SEMAphore.

Nice extra bits of PUCK ORATion:
*Who am I TO Judge ITO?
*What was it students OWE TO SOWETO (1976)?
Remember? We just had a grid AFRica, even if it wasn't S AFRica

Am running on EX-Empty, am late to work. Happy Monday/ All

Tita 9:00 AM  

A mouseover is most certainly a thing. I hear it more as the noun. But MOUSINGOVER is okish.
Loved this on a Monday morning.
Even PUTIN horsing around in the grid.
People go batty, have cat-like reflexes, and are sly as foxes, but those critters can't become gerunds. Badgering the witness? Turtle get your sailboat? (I've done that.)

@Leapy...Well done! You should be crowing.

Now go to the insect world, and you can be flying to Rio, have a ticking time bomb...

Another fun theme. Thanks Ms. ZB.

Welcome, Annabel... For longer than I would care to admit, I thought that was a really amazing costume Rex had put together.

Mohair Sam 9:00 AM  

Is it just me or has the quality of early week puzzles improved lately? I really enjoyed this one. Lots of fun.

Annabel - I'd recommend gargling with heavily salted warm water every hour or so for a couple of days, your tongue will heal. You must have bitten the hell out of it de-Trumpifying your review today. A women's studies major at Wellesley, yikes, it had to be tough to stay mellow. You did great.

Nancy 9:14 AM  

Wasn't interested enough in this puzzle to finish it. And when a puzzle doesn't interest me, I'm not inclined to read about it either. But, whatever you said about it, Annabel, welcome back.

Mohair Sam 9:16 AM  

Forgot - Thanks Annabel for the "Careless Whispers" - George Michael was only 17 when he wrote the incredible sax riff for that song. Amazing.

Unknown 9:23 AM  

No real problems here. I'm not a comics person, but the crosses did the work for me. LA LAW has become a frequent enough presence in crosswords that I always assume that's the answer for Emmys and 80s. My one hiccup was SEARS. I think of Walmart as a Target competitor and as it started to fill, I put in STARS, as in shoot for the STARS? Target? I wondered why there wasn't a question mark. I'll just be leaving now and trying to untuck my tail.

Rick 9:59 AM  

"A bit on the nose for this week, eh?".....uh, no

Unknown 10:00 AM  

I think Kenny G would date you more!

Hungry Mother 10:16 AM  

Thanks, Annabel. Easy for me, but I'm a geezer.

Tita 10:23 AM  

*turtling* a sailboat.

Dear Product Designers and User Experience Directors...
turn a word orange (or underline it with dots) if you autocorrect it.
We can then stand more than half a chance to notice your helpful decisions made on our behalf.
If we hit Send/Enter, means we accept it - turn it back to normal text. THanks for your help with my fat fingers.
If we in fact prefer our original text, a backspace or click will restore it.
In fact, this part of the interface exists quite nicely already - easily reverting back to the original - it's quite good on Android.
Alls you need to do is make it clear that you have changed what we typed.

RooMonster 10:26 AM  

Hey All !
Hi Annabel! Always refreshing to see you. Loved your EYE-gor bit! That's always a great movie. But a question, if you're exceptionally tired, how did you find time to dress up and go out on Halloween? :-P

Puz was cool. Animal-ing things. Agree with Annabel about tough area, only my hang up was PEARL S BUCK. And only knew the S from SEGO from previous crosswords!

How odd to get crossing DC's. Liked MR. T in the middle.


Joseph Michael 10:57 AM  

A decent Monday puzzle without much drek.

Theme got me to thinking about the many ways we emulate animals. such as horsing around, worming in, snaking, dogging, parroting, crowing, goosing, etc.

Malsdemare 11:02 AM  

I thought this was unbelievably easy. I would have set a landspeed record if I hadn't had a typo (Hello, fat fingers!) at rAB and flunked the c/KARTS test. I don't see SEARS as a Target competitor, but that slowed me down only slightly. I thought we were going to have m-animals for a bit and was very happy to see some diversity.

@Tita during a run across open water in Belize, we got slammed by a sudden squall and my crew was new to sailing. We were in a 46 ft monohull and it took forever to get that puppy into the wind so we could drop sail. As we came through that last gust, turtling was a frightening possibility; one of my scariest sailing experiences. Crew thought it was normal😱 After that we chartered cats.

Thanks to everyone for the name suggestions; quite a few there caught my fancy. I'll report back. Tomorrow, my dominant girl, Rosie Woof, will meet a young man and determine if she'd like to share us with him. Fingers crossed!

Masked and Anonymous 11:03 AM  

CC Universe! One of M&A's fave constructioneers.

Had some slight trouble ferretingout MOUSINGOVER (?). Otherwise, NO PROBlemo. Hey, any varmintpuz U can walk away from, without PEWITINGUP the joint is 15x15 by m&e. Powerful hard puttin G's on all them -ING's, tho.

Admired the symmetric abbr-twerkin of D.C.UNIVERSE and PEARLS.BUCK, on the complimentary long down-answers.

fave random funky letter combo: MWAH.
weeject staff group pick: The I's have it: ITO, IWO, IDO. IOU, IKE. [Plus, close call: NES missed bein NER, by just one notch. So … one desperation point.]

Thanx, Ms. CC.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


ArtO 11:07 AM  

Quite a few days for ZB as he had the WSJ big Saturday effort just a couple of days ago.

Don McBrien 11:12 AM  

It's like ESTATE is wearing a really bad fake mustache and going, "What do you mean this is my second time in the grid? Why, that's preposterous, sir. How dare you!"

Sorry, I know that's a couple days old, but I'm just getting caught up from the weekend puzzles and I had to LOL about this somewhere. Just absolutely hilarious.

Not too much to say about today's puzzle. I enjoyed it as I do all of this constructor's work. Was on my way to a rare sub-5 minute time, but spent a full 60 seconds trying to suss out Pearl Buck's middle initial (I guessed right).

Zwhatever 11:27 AM  

@NCA Prez - "Call it 80s PTSD." LOL.

@Lobster11 - LEGO my SEGO. A SEGO PEGO Stick? I didn't notice it because my mom was a Pearl S Buck fan, but you're right. Any consonant is at least plausible there.

@Wm C - Except the "ing" formations here are not present participles of verbs. To MONKEY. To MOUSE. To WOLF. To SQUIRREL. These look more like compound verbs to me, where nouns (specifically animals) have been turned into verbs. I'm blanking on the term for making a noun a verb, maybe dnureg? Of the four, only WOLF spends time being used as a verb by itself. The other three have to have an the adverb to function as a verb in every example I can think of.

@Mohair Sam - Well, if by "lately" you mean today I agree.

Technical question - Anyone else having issues with previewing comments when you post a link?

Numinous 11:39 AM  

I really enjoyed this effort from CC B. I got the theme at the second long across and thought it was elegantly simple. MOUSING OVER took and extra second of thought but gave me NO PROB. All summer, as I've sat out on the rear deck, I've watched the SQUIRRELs SQUIRRELING AWAY the various nuts and things they've found. Now it's too cold to be outside, so I won't be watching them searching for their burried treasures.

@Tita, I've spent an afternoon in eight foot seas with winds gusting to 45 knots, sailing diagonally to the swell and terrified of turning turtle. Fortunately, the period betweent the swells was about four feet longer than the height of the mast.

@Larry Gilstrap, I've done my best to "See the USA from" one of my many Chevrolets. Thanks for the reminder of that commercial.

Since high school, I've known her as PEARL S. BUCK. Somehow, i have always equated her whith John Steinbeck. I've never liked KENNY G. I thought he was pathetically saccharin. @Trombone Tom, your preferences are similar to mine. I used to listen to KJAZ back in the day in Berkeley. I used to like their resurrection on the internet until it died. The thing that lacked was the exceeding clever commercials.

I found the puzzle so easy that there are several words that I never saw as I worked from the Acrosses. DC UNIVERSE was easy to infer, @M&A's U was the last entry. But in reviews of Marvel and DC films, their UNIVERSEs are almost always mentioned. I watched a few episodes of Jessica Jones but I don't recall which UNIVERSE she is from. Interesting premise for the character, interesting actress, lousy story arc,

CC usually makes very good early week puzzles. I gather this is difficult to do, keeping the dreck to a minimum. Thanks, CC.

Carola 11:48 AM  

Ms. Burnikel nicely on her game in this Monday treat. I had NO PROB with the solve - filled the grid from top to bottom on Acrosses with occasional glances for confirmatory Downs.

@Art O, ZB is a she.

@kitchef from yesterday - I'd have enjoyed taliking about "Interstellar" with you; I couldn't decide if I wanted to see it again immediately or stay away as far as possible.

@Annabel, thanks for the write-up + love the costume!

Numinous 11:57 AM  

By the way, I completely forgot to welcome back our lovely Zombie. @Annabel, I'm so glad you managed to take some time out for a mid-month Monday appearance. I always enjoy your write-ups. Today, you make @Rex's point about some puzzles skewing old. One of the problems I've had with my kids is coming to terms with the fact that they didn't know the stuff that I know. "What? You've never heard of the Beatles?" Sadly, that's the reason every generation is destined to make the same mistakes. Flat worms and willow flycatchers have it all over us.

Welcome back, Annabel.

evil doug 12:01 PM  

"BTW, I may have mentioned this before, but if you want some fun (at someone else's expense), ask a native German speaker to say SQUIRREL. Evidently, for a non-English speaker (and Germans in particular), that procession of consonant sounds is very difficult to pronounce. If anyone knows a German, have them say it and then get back to us here and report your findings."

Yeah, that's boffo stuff, NCA! Then try to make a Japanese speaker say, "I like you a whole lot!" Priceless party fun!

AliasZ 12:23 PM  

I found it fun snaking through this grid without much pussyfooting. I love all animals -- what else can I say?

I wonder if there are "platipusing", "koalaing", "kiwiing", "emuing", "llamaing" or "coelacanthing" phrases. I doubt it, but I know a few people who love their "roc-ing" chairs.

CC never disappoints -- she didn't today.

Carola 12:46 PM  

@NCA President, in return the German might ask the non-German speaker to have a go at the German word for SQUIRREL, Eichhörnchen - ch, ö, and r can all be difficult for English speakers. In searching just now for "pronounce Eichhörnchen," so that you could get the idea, I came across this apt video, in which a German takes up the SQUIRREL challenge.

Teedmn 1:14 PM  

@kitshef, I enjoyed your exposing Pearl's middle name. It reminded me of a post by @Diana LIW in Syndiland last week. She pointed out that Brian Eno's full name was B. Peter George St John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno (per Wikipedia).

@Leapfinger anticipated my "Who am I TO judge Judge ITO". And did anyone else notice that the answer to the question implied at 29D, "To whom do we OWE this TO?" is 24D's "IOU"?

Nice Monday effort, CC, and thanks, Annabel, for the write-up.

Anoa Bob 1:31 PM  

[NSFNN-Not Safe for Non Nerds] Solid Monday puzzle but I think the ING added to each themer was a case of letter-count manipulation (LCM), there to boost the overall number of letters in the themers. The basic versions---SQUIRREL AWAY, WOLF DOWN, etc.---would work as well, but would have resulted in 40 squares rather than 52 squares of theme material. Adding the ING to each themer bumped the total theme letter count a whopping 30%.

I agree with Annabel that HORSEING AROUND would be a better fit for "Goofing off", and associate MONKEYING with more purposeful behavior, like MONKEYING AROUND with the voter results or something along the lines of throwing a MONKEY wrench into the works. But, again, it's the letter count, with HORSEING losing out to MONKEYING by a nose, so to speak. It's always the tyranny of the letter count.

QuasiMojo 1:31 PM  

Annabel you look amazing in that pic. Hope you had a fun Halloween.

Whoever says "Mousing over"? Hovering maybe but I've never heard mouse used as a verb in that light. Then again, I dropped my mouse today and broke it so maybe I am biased.

I still don't know if Pearl S. Buck is a man or a woman but I loved "his/her" novels when I was a kid.

Anyway, glad we all survived last week.

thfenn 1:58 PM  

Fun start to the week, and in need of a week with a fun start to it as well. Apparently I'm one of the few that figured there must be some saxophonist I hadn't heard of named CENNYG since I had those mini racing vehicles as CARTS. And also had never heard of that EEGO lily in Utah, since it must've been PEARLE Buck (just never knew she spelled her first name with an E). Jeesh. CHOWingdown slowed me down a little, but not much longer than it took me to realize that Batman and Superman didn't both live in GOTHAMCITY (which it had to be since NEWYORKCITY didn't fit). Ahh, the DC Universe (and weren't we all there just last week...)

sean 2:03 PM  

set a record for fast monday ever (4:10), and my wife also had her fastest time on this one. hard cross for me was the S in SEGO (with PEARL S BUCK, which i had almost no memory of, though i'd read Good Earth in high school).

never have i ever had so many clues that i didn't even have to read until i was done. though i usually go pretty quickly through this constructor's puzzles.

tea73 2:05 PM  

Loved the DC UNIVERSE clue. Wasted too much time figuring out that it was KARTS not carts. Took me forever to see KENNY G - whom I loathe. I think SEGO is guessable as sounding Spanish. I don't think I've actually read any Buck, but I knew the initial without thinking twice about it.

jberg 3:23 PM  

Welcome back, Annabel! And thanks for the writeup.

It's an age thing -- when I was a lad, everyone knew about PEARL S. BUCK, a Nobel Prize winner, I think. Today her work seems dated. Anyway, I liked the theme, but would have liked it more with a snappy revealer. I can't think of one myself, though.

But clearly the big question is the parts of speech. If you think about it a moment, you see that AROUND and OVER can be prepositions, but DOWN and AWAY basically cannot. (When they are so used, it's clearly slang or dialect -- 'down the projects,' 'away South.') In any case, here they are used to modify the verb, and have no objects -- so they're adverbs.

I really wanted AQUA to be crossed with PUCe; isn't there an Institute of Electrical Engineering or something like that to clue 64D?

xyz 4:30 PM  



otherwise decent

beatrice 5:46 PM  

Nice work as usual from C.C. Burnikel - I continue to be in AWE of her facility at this endeavor, both having come to the U.S. as an adult, and as one whose native language is so different from English.

Speaking of English and its parts of speech - oy. The themers seem to be examples of 'phrasal verbs' (me neither), which are a sub-group of the 'compound verbs' @Z cites - specifically, 'a verb plus a preposition or adverb which creates a meaning different from the original verb.' Both 'DOWN' and 'AWAY' are always adverbs, 'OVER' is a preposition which can function as an adverb, 'AROUND' can be either adv. or preposition. And @Z - can't see why you say the phrases here aren't present participles. Also, unless there is a separate term for it, the term for turning a noun into a verb - a thing exceedingly common in English from always, apparently - is 'to verb', or 'to verbify'. I'd manage to forget it, too, perhaps I can again.

There was a very nice 'On Point' (NPR) today on Leonard Cohen. (The last call was an especially interesting and touching one.) I'll give the link to the show; if your station doesn't carry the show in the evening there are several other ways to listen to it.



DoesItinInk 6:08 PM  

Actually the second word is an adverb in that it modifies a verb.

Chronic dnfer 7:17 PM  

Dnf'd at pearlabuck/aego. Had to guess one letter and got it wrong. Had cart before cart and Egypt before Yemen. Inauspiciously start to the weak. Time to short the stock market.

Leapfinger 7:23 PM  

I, GORbachev, MEN,
Am PUT IN spot SI RED.

PEARL'S BUCKing the tide now,
The URNing's hard to swallow.
When you have them by the NUTMEG, MEN,
Their KARTS and minds will follow.

Fox in G'dansk.
With Fire-on-Liar's Pants.

Strunk White 7:49 PM  

Not that it matters this late in the game, but, of course the themers are present participle forms of a verb with a modifier or they are gerund phrases. Parts of speech are determined by their use in a sentence, non-existent in the context of a crossword clue. I'm going with the English major from 1:47 AM; as clued, labeling them gerund phrases is so much more elegant.

Zwhatever 9:52 PM  

@Strunk White - Uh, no. A gerund is a verb operating as a noun. Here we have nouns operating as verbs, or, more specifically, as parts of a compound verb or verb phrase. Again, except for wolf, these nouns don't operate as verbs alone. I don't mouse on my computer. You don't squirrel pecans preparing to make a pie. I mouse over, you squirrel away.

@Doesitinink - But not here. Here the second word is part of the compound verb/verb phrase. Of course, this is somewhat a matter of definition. I suppose we could just define them as the adverb part of the verb phrase. Do all/most verb phrases have an adverb embedded in them? Heck if I know.

@beatrice - You're correct, the whole verb phrase is a present participle. My intended point was that we don't have a present participle/adverb construction. I had also convinced myself that "verbify" was too straightforward to be correct. Besides, I sorta like "dnureg."

@Anoa Bob - Thanks for pointing out the LCM. Caused me to have a "why didn't I see that" moment.

AnonyMercyMe 1:26 AM  

It may be mere letter-count manipulation to some, but the YING-SING-FING-LING made it much funner for at least one common pro nominator.

How come old Z always seems to go for the Last Word?

Strunk White 1:39 AM  

Ahem, MONKEYING AROUND with the English language has been a big part of my professional life. SQUIRRELING AWAY bits of knowledge about grammar is my hobby. MOUSING OVER google sites reveals many insights about gerund phrases. WOLFING DOWN Cheetos has made my lips yellow. But, I could be wrong.

Tita 2:06 PM  

@Numinous and @Malsdemare - your turtling stories terrify me. Real boats, real swells, open waters... My turtling was on my 14.5' sloop, in the middle of Candlewood Lake in mid-October. A lake where it's hard to be more than 50 feet from shore.

Though over beers I'll tell you the time that I flipped a Lightning full of sailing students due to over-competitiveness, an unexpected gust, and just a shade too far off a run with that spinnaker up. (Long Island Sound, that was.)

Burma Shave 11:52 AM  


MR.T and KENNYG. were MONKEYINGAROUND with jokers,
while PEARLS.BUCK had some luck SQUIRRELINGAWAY money at POKER.


spacecraft 12:54 PM  

I don't know about calling PEARL S. BUCK "dated." "The Good Earth" is absolutely a timeless classic--and certainly on the must-read list for any serious aspiring college student. I don't quite understand how our guest blogger (bloggix?) could have missed reading it by this time.

But anyway, welcome back, @Annabel. MWAH! Today's offering was NOPROB. Pedestrian theme--once I filled in MOUSINGOVER I understood it, but didn't recognize it as a familiar phrase. I did love the word "judge" appearing in the clue for ITO. And finally: an IDO away from the altar!

Surely by now, whatever measure or proposal the Constructors' Congress has been voting on MUST have been defeated. Since I've been doing these I've counted at least 60 ANTIs, including three this week alone, as against only two PROs. As Oddball said in "Kelly's Heroes," "Always with the negative vibes." No more ANTIs for a while, if you please.

Rantlet over. I did this with great EASE. Any grid that contains POKER--especially the World Series of, earns my approval--to say nothing of DOD TERI Hatcher. Either one puts a "(:" on my report; both get a "D." Still though, just a par.

leftcoastTAM 1:19 PM  

PUTIN, MRT, a SHAMAN, and KENNYG walked into a bar, followed by a primate, a mammal and two rodents....

Diana,LIW 1:51 PM  

Surprised this would even get a medium rating - thought it Monday easy and quickly done.

Is CC MONKEYINGAROUND with the Jockey's strap clue? NYPD or LLAW will decide.

A monkey, a wolf, a mouse, a squirrel, and a buck. Animal house.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rondo 2:01 PM  

I too saw ITO with judge and thought, ”Har”. Too bad about the IDO and IWO that go with it. Filled this puz in with EASE.

I once had brunch with KENNYG, or at least in the same room at the same time. ESPN Zone in Times Square shortly before 9/11. KENNYG was in a rent-a-recliner down front while I was in the free seats. That morning I had to make a choice. Before I caught my train back to MN I had time to either walk down to the World Trade Center, or visit the world’s largest sports bar. Figured I could look at those buildings any old time, so I went to ESPN Zone for Manhattan clam chowder. A little more than a week later the WTC was no more and all I have is a memory of KENNYG. EERIE.

Again, one of the frequent yeah baby TERIs shows up. Seems like a TERI or Uma at LEAST once a week.

Nice little animal thing to do on Monday with NOPROB.

rain forest 2:50 PM  

A WOLF, SQUIRREL, MONKEY, and MOUSE walk into a bar...chaos ensues.

Easy puzzle which yet has its good points, as all CC's do. So, now reason to SLAG this one. YEMEN, and also yay women.

I'm not very good at working grid words into my comment, a la @Burma Shave, so I'll just quietly sign off, after saying I liked this and that it was a treat having Annabel lead off.

(Quietly signing off)

Sailor 3:08 PM  

Wow. It's always interesting to see dramatically different responses to a puzzle.

I agree with those who found MOUSINGOVER to be perfectly legitimate, but I also think it's a term on the way to obsolescence as we move inexorably from trackpads to touchscreens.

I also agree that The Good Earth is a legitimate classic, and I'm frankly surprised at those who did not know PEARLSBUCK's middle initial, since her publishers routinely used it.

I honestly never watched a single episode of LALAW - can't remember having time to watch much of anything in the 80's except Sesame Street when the kids had it on - and yet knew it immediately as a major cultural phenomenon.

All in all, I thought his was the the easiest NYT puzzle in recent memory; super easy even for a Monday. I barely got into the down clues because the acrosses were so obvious. Obviously, your mileage may vary.

rain forest 3:59 PM  

Sorry @leftcoastTAM your post wasn't up at the time I was commenting, or else I just missed it. Never want to be accused of plagiarism.

Diana,LIW 4:11 PM  

And...I just had to point out the obvious. Who doesn't know P. Sydenstricker Buck? Pay attention, folks!

(Well, apparently spellcheck hasn't heard of her.)

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for more middle names

leftcoastTAM 5:48 PM  

@rain forest:

Brilliant, witty minds think alike.

Blogger 9:31 PM  

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