TV warrior princess / MON 12-26-16 / Flexible Flyers / Scrubbed as NASA mission / Soviet premier Khruschev / Lobster diavolo / Literary critic Broyard / Theologican Reinhold who wrote Serenity Prayer

Monday, December 26, 2016

 Constructor: Jules P. Markey

Relative difficulty: Easy side of average

THEME: BOXING DAY (37A: Present time in England? ... or a hint to each set of circled squares) — December 26 is both the present time, that is, now (or tomorrow since I'm writing this on Sunday night) and a present time, according to the OED: "a holiday on which post-men, errand-boys, and servants of various kinds expect to receive a Christmas-box." Each set of circled (shaded on the iPad app) squares is shaped like a box and name-checks a certain kind of day: LEAP, ELECTION, SNOW, GAME, PATRIOTS, and HUMP.

Word of the Day: ETAPE (54D: Tour de France stage) —
L'Étape du Tour (French for 'stage of the Tour') is an organised mass participation cyclosportive event that allows amateur cyclists to race over the same route as a Tour de France stage. First held in 1993, and now organised by the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), in conjunction with Vélo Magazine, it takes place each July, normally on a Tour rest day.
L'Étape du Tour is normally held over mountain roads in either the Pyrenees or French Alps, up climbs such as the Col du Galibier, Col d'Aubisque, Mont Ventoux or the Col du Tourmalet. Around 15,000 riders participate - many travelling from other countries to compete - and the event takes place on roads closed by the police to other traffic, with refreshment stops and medical support provided along the route. (Wikipedia)
• • •
Laura here again, guest-posting for Rex while I drink an IPA (10A: Brewpub offering, for short). I just got back from a delicious Chinese dinner, where we had some EDAMAME (1D: Sushi bar finger food). I've also heard that we have lost yet another beloved POPSTAR (66A: Bruno Mars or Freddie Mercury) -- this time 80s icon George Michael. And since tonight is the second night of Hanukkah, I've been thinking a lot about freedom and faith.

Theme answers:
  • A note on PATRIOTS DAY: I'm curious as to how many solvers have ever even heard of Patriots' Day as a Thing; it's celebrated as a state holiday only in Maine, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts. It is also traditionally the day when the Boston Marathon is held, hence the name of the recently released (and controversial) movie about the 2013 bombing, starring local actor Mark Wahlberg. I had never heard of Patriots' Day until I moved to New England, and given its association with the Boston Marathon, I'd say it qualifies as a Natick.
This generally felt fine, went smoothly, and I had few problems, although there were a few proper names the obscurity of which pushed the fill into weekend territory. Lots of regular denizens: NIKITA (50A: Soviet premier Khrushchev), sure; UMA (64A: Actress Thurman), always; XENA (25A: TV warrior princess), welcome back. Even NASTASE (47D: Ilie who won both the U.S. and French opens) we've seen before. But some real rarities with ANATOLE (63A: Literary critic Broyard) and NIEBUHR (45D: Theologian Reinhold who wrote the Serenity Prayer). God grant me the serenity to solve the puzzles I can solve; courage to blog about the puzzles I can't change; and the wisdom to know the difference.

  • GET RICH (59A: Hit pay dirt) — I wanted this to be a proper name too. Some dude named Getrich. Maybe he's been nominated for Secretary of the Treasury.
  • MUSERS (27A: Reflective sorts) — Needed all the crosses for this one. Wanted MIRROR or MISERS or something else. Do MUSERS reflect? on themselves? Still musing.
  • SEABEES (24D: Naval engineers) — I'd vaguely heard of SEABEES, and I assumed there were engineers in the Navy, but had never made the connection. Per Wikipedia the word SEABEE is derived from the abbreviation CB, for Construction Battalion.
  • EARFLAP (40D: Batting helmet part) — Is that really an EARFLAP? I think of a FLAP as something, I dunno, flappier. I'd think the ear-covering thingy on a batting helmet needs to be more substantial, if it is to do its one job of protecting the ear.
Signed, Laura Braunstein, Sorceress of CrossWorld

[Follow Laura on Twitter]

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 6:38 AM  

I got the theme that they were "days" in the boxes from the top half alone, and even got BOXINGDAY right off the bat, but the theme answers were so random that I never solved the lower half boxes from the theme (which I like to do). Just running the acrosses was easy enough down there.

One exception to that "easy enough" comment: I filled in 66A way early with nothing filled in around it as I attempted to figure the lower-half theme boxes; instead of POPSTARS I filled in gayicons.

Also, I always get OSS mixed up with OSi. I always get the clue but I never can remember which is the proper answer. OSS is the agency that became the C.I.A., while OSi is the agency that the Six Million Dollar Man worked for.

Debbie Weissman 7:04 AM  

The word is Seabees. 31 across is esta.
Debbie Weissman

Moly Shu 7:19 AM  

We get a BOXING DAY themed puzzle on the actual day even though we don't celebrate it here in the U.S., but we get whatever that was yesterday??? NIEBUHR and ANATOLE both seem non-mondayish, and I'll take a pass on SILOING. I have heard of Patriot Day, here in Florida it is mostly celebrated by discounted golf rates and the flags on the pins are all Old Glory.
Thanks @LauraB for filling in, nice concise, balanced review

evil doug 7:46 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Z 7:46 AM  

Asked the 2 twenty year olds in the house the Reinhold clue. No Idea. Wife and I, both 50-something, also had no clue. I said "theologian Reinhold" to my 80 year-old father-in-law and he immediately spelled NEIBUHR for me. Ergo, Monday easy clue for the over 70 crowd, a WOE for almost everyone else. Granted, a small sample size so there will be some variation, but I'm guessing my conclusion is going to be more accurate than not. A little post-solve research shows that he died in 1971,

Otherwise, a fine little Monday puzzle.

evil doug 7:47 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
evil doug 7:48 AM  

I wanted Judge, but Niebuhr was my second choice.

Ward Cleaver was a Seabee.

I think it's fair to say Loren is a muser. Also a musing....

CFXK 7:51 AM  

Patriots Day a Natick? Because Natick is one of the 8 cities/town within the Boston Marathon route? Because about 5 miles of that 26 mile route are within Natick? Because minutemen from Natick fought in Concord in that opening battle of the Revolutionary War in Concord - the shot heard round the world that Patriots Day commemorates? Because one of those Natick minutemen, John Bacon, was one of the very first casualties of the Revolutionary War, having been killed in Concord on that first day of battle?

I could go on...

chefbea 7:59 AM  

Finally a holiday puzzle!!! Got it right away. Very easy and also caviar, edamame, lobster fra diavlo - could make a meal out of these foods.!!!

r.alphbunker 8:01 AM  

Hand up for CEEBEES. Details are here.

Anonymous 8:15 AM  

Great review. Thanks.

Lobster11 8:16 AM  

So, lemme get this straight. Boxing Day is the "present day" in the sense of both being the current day and a day of giving gifts (to certain kinds of people in certain countries). Those gifts are traditionally given in boxes. So, the puzzle contains boxes that contain the names of.... other days of the year? Um, what?

kitshef 8:37 AM  

All the animosity most people expressed towards yesterday's puzzle, I reserve for today's.

NIEBUHR? Crossing an pluralized initialism and an abbreviation with a ridiculous clue, no less. No.


So awful...

Anonymous 8:40 AM  

66A NOTSTAR; Mars nor Mercury.

AliasZ 8:45 AM  

@Laura, thanks for the fun write-up. You're right, GETRICH is a dude. His last name is Kwick.

There are perhaps thousands of words that can precede DAY, and the choice presented today is an odd mixture indeed. But I enjoyed the themeless feel of the puzzle. The overwhelming quantity of names, not so much. Some of these dudes and dudettes live in or near Natick City.

I can't for the life of me come up with a good reason for ANATOLE being Broyard (who?) instead of France. The latter definitely lives far from Natick City. Then there is film director Anatole Litvak, and conductor ANATOLE Fistoulari. My thinking is, of an ANATOLE lives in Natick City, at least give people a chance to find out about him through the gift of a bit of seasonal music.

-- I thought the proportional thing was "to" SCALE, not IN SCALE.
-- -ATION? Oof! Like cluing -IOUS as suffix with COP.
-- SEABEES are those radios in great vogue in the 1980's.
-- Similarly, SEE NOTE is a $100 bill.
-- First you walk into a big glass door, THEN--OW!!!
-- "Holy smoke!" Take S&M out and you get to HOLYOKE, right next door to Natick.


RAD2626 9:02 AM  

Puzzle and boxes were cute. Okay puzzle all around. Fully agree that beginners will certainly balk at ANATOLE and NEIBUHR but rest of puzzle was Monday easy.

Happy Boxing Day.

Wm. C. 9:09 AM  

Natick CITY, all?

Nope, it's a TOWN, population around 35,000.

Home of Doug Flutie and my daughter's family, who live down the street from the (large-ish) TOWN Hall.

I was there just yesterday, exchanging presents and enjoying a fine Christmas dinner.

Unknown 9:13 AM  

Thanks, @Laura, for the very cogent and interesting review of @Jules Markey's puzzle, though I'm kind of curious what @Rex thinks of it. According to notes posted elsewhere, the initial idea occurred to the constructor at the beginning of 2014, and it took a while to get everything together ... then there was the additional year of waiting for Boxing Day to fall on a Monday rather than a Sunday.

I had not caught the double-meaning of "present"--so thank you for that, @Laura. Lovely contributions from several of the early commentariat, too, particularly @evil doug, @Z, @AliasZ, and @chefbea. Happy (continued) holidays to all!

By now, I assume we're all caught up with @Reinhold NEIBUHR's prayer, which had to be invoked in order to wrap HUMPday into a box. I couldn't help thinking of a different homily, associated with another theologian, Martin Niemöller. Read, reflect, and act!

Hardy 9:14 AM  

First comment here. Very much enjoy reading this blog after having done the puzzles, so thanks to Rex and the regular commentariat. I thought this played on the hard side of average for Monday, and I briefly panicked that my new longest streak since using the app would be broken on the easiest day. Niebuhr and Anatole were rough for Monday, hence the brief panic in the SE. Also, I thought INSCALE (10D: Proportional to the surroundings) was off. I think you typically here "to scale" used.

jberg 9:22 AM  

I spent 5, maybe 10 minutes thinking things like "ELECTION box? Is that another way of saying ballot box?" and "What the heck is a PLEA box, anyway? And all this after I got the revealer, mind you! I think it was PATRIOTS' Day that finally enlightened me -- but then I live in Massachusetts. I also grew up in Wisconsin, and don't recall that we celebrated it there, but then memory is fickle.

Also, I'm 73, and knew the famous Reinhold NIEBUHR right away. If you young uns only listened to us, you'd have known him too.

Another way of looking at it is that this is the New York Times, ANATOLE Broyard wrote their book review column for years, and NIEBUHR taught at Union Theological Seminary. You on-line solvers need to read up on New York literary and cultural history.

I don't want to be smug, though -- I'd never heard of George Michael until notice of his death popped up on my phone last night. I've got him on Spotify as I write this.

@CFXK, you wouldn't happen to be from Natick, would you? Let me tell you about my grandchildren!

jberg 9:25 AM  

@cwf, thanks for the Gorski reference yesterday. As it happens, one of those fell off a lorry ... I'm gonna subscribe, though.

Teedmn 9:26 AM  

I knew of BOXING DAY but not what it meant. For me, December 26 in England is the Feast of Stephen, as referenced in one of my favorite Christmas carols (mainly because I have the whole thing memorized), "Good King Wenceslas". Thinking of this congruence of days made me wonder if BOXING DAY arose from the song's message, where the king and his good page go out to give gifts to a poor man. Next thing you know, everyone is BOXING up things for servants and tradesmen?

12D, ARMLESS. When I got to 40D, with EAR in place and not having read the clue yet, I was expecting a symmetrical EARless but when my musings proved wrong, I was not inclined to make a FLAP of it.

Seeing SWE and right after it, EWE (PER the order I filled them in) I was half expecting a word ladder in the bottom but RTE blew that theory all to bits.

ETAPE was ETAgE for too long (no, I didn't remember it was "floor" in French) but I was pretty sure neither Freddy NOR Bruno was a POgSTAR so I stared at it a little longer and the correct answer POPped out. Just another in a number of things that made this more of a Tuesday solve for me.

But it is certainly seasonal so thank you, JPM. And thanks, @Laura, for filling in for Rex.

Unknown 9:31 AM  

@Wm C, you and I posted essentially at the same time. I would love to hear your take on the upcoming PATRIOT Day movie. My wife and I were in the theater the other day, and saw a trailer. According to at least one review that I read recently, but can't quite put my finger on (i.e., it's not the New York Times review linked to above), the film is calibrated to appeal widely across the political spectrum.

Very soon after those horrific events of April 2013, my friends and I collaborated on this puzzle, which honors the city on the hill. The puzzle had the working title "Natick," in honor of @Rex's role in coining that shorthand for difficult crossings. Hope you find it to stand the test of time.

Anonymous 9:32 AM  

Rheinhold Niebuhr is a very famous American theologian. He also happens to have the same Christian name as the incoming White House chief of staff. So if you're not sure how to pronounce Reince Priebus's first name, there you go.

Mohair Sam 9:34 AM  

Very clever puzzle. Fun Monday, played tough for the day - but Will would have had to wait two years to get the day of the week right, so what the hell.

Never lived in New England, but have always known Patriot's Day - and with the movie advertising for the past couple of months I'm pretty sure darn near everybody knows the term.

Tip of the cap to your Pop on NIEBUHR @Z, new to me. ANATOLE rang an old bell, however. Nice to see @Lauren at 27A, missed her yesterday. Feeling old is when the blogger says SEABEES is something she "vaguely" knows, sigh.

Anonymous 9:36 AM  

Lawyers try cases, judges HEAR them. That is all.

QuasiMojo 9:36 AM  

I'm more likely to know of Clarence Day than something called "hump day." So I had a shocking DNF there. For the life of me I could not think of a PC other than IBM or Dell or Mac. Although I should have remembered Carly Fiorina's disastrous tenure as its head.

LAURA, I hope you come back often to comment on the blog. Your insights and sense of humor are refreshing.

Happy Boxing Day. Apparently the US of A has adopted it as a national holiday. Nothing in my town is open today. I wanted to call the City's Violation bureau regarding a rat-infested garbage pile outside an abandoned building here (apparently "get rich" landlords who flip buildings never have to walk down their own sidewalks.) But the darn office is closed today. Since when is the day after Christmas a day off? I swear if we continue at this pace, America won't have any days that are not holidays. And no doubt Patriots Day will become all the rage from coast to coast.

Dorothy Biggs 9:36 AM  

Trigger alert: ELECTION day.

Still too soon...

Speaking of theology, ONAN is one of my favorite characters in the Bible.

Easy usual Monday method of crosses then downs solving yielded a nearly full grid on the first pass through. In fact there were a lot of downs I got completely on that first pass through just the crosses. So this was a really easy puzzle. I liked it for the most part except for PATRIOT day, which I didn't know and SILOING, which, even having grown up in Nebraska where silos are the state tree, I'd never heard of.

It's Boxing Day...don't forget to tip your waiters and mailpeople!


Anonymous 9:38 AM  

Nice review but no love for this puzzle on a Monday, themed or otherwise. Old cold spaghetti served in a fancy hubcap. Humbug.

Anonymous 9:46 AM  

When Christmas is on Sunday and he legal holiday is Dec. 26th. LOL trigger alert for election. I was trying to figure out which word would offend the snowflakes and the only thing I could come up with was "stoles."

Diywriter 9:47 AM  

Obama has called Rheinhold Niebuhr his favorite theologian and favorite philosopher; John McCain praises him heavily; Martin Luther King cited him as a major influence; LBJ gave him the Presidential Medal of Freedom; Arthur Schlesinger called him "the most influential American theologian of the 20th Century." So he's hardly a minor figure. On the other hand, I will always have trouble remembering exactly how to spell both his first and last names.

Alex 9:49 AM  

NEIBUHR was really difficult for me - added to blanking out on HPS as computers and not catching that each of the boxes were, in fact, days - WOE here. I generally try to solve Mondays using onlly the downs. My ATTEMPT to do that did not get me very far today. This ranked as challenging for a Monday to me.
BUT - I liked it. I like solving crossword puzzles. That's why I solve crossword puzzles.

jackj 9:50 AM  

Patriots Day?--Take your choice:

In Massachusetts and Wisconsin it's a state holiday known as Patriots' Day. (Note the placement of the apostrophe).

In Maine it's a state holiday known as Patriot's Day. (Note the placement of the apostrophe).

In all three it had been observed on April 19 each year but now is observed on the third Monday in April, annually.

To complicate matters, September 11, of each year is Patriot Day (no "s") a National Day of Service and Remembrance of the 9/11 tragedy.

ArtO 9:51 AM  

Pretty damn clever theme for Monday and, I venture to say, would have rated at least Medium by OFL with entries like NIEBUHR and ANATOLE.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 10:07 AM  

I wonder whether silo is really supposed to be a verb. Maybe in the military, but for feed? Farmers singing 'I've been a while a SILOING among the leaves so green?'

Interesting thing happened at Christmas Eve Service. I had hired three musicians (violinist, cellist and trumpeter), but the minister had insisted the choir sing 7 (!) things, in addition to the 9 (!) hymns, so I really didn't have time to discuss with them what I wanted them to do, I was too busy before church going through things with the choir. So I gave the musicians each a binder with the hymns with counter melodies and descants and told 'em to do what they want. If you do this and there is, say, ONE musician, they generally play the melody on the first verse, maybe they rest on the second verse or play alto, then they try tenor up, they get to the descant on the last verse. But this time, well, maybe it matters that they were all male.... Anyhow, they got competitive. There were descants and counter melodies playing off against each other from first note to last of each and every carol. It was quite glorious. But I think the congregation just sat back and watched in awe, I think they may have stopped trying to sing, which is too bad.

Anyhow, never got to yesterday's puzzle, comments here seem to indicate it was not liked.

BAMstutz 10:10 AM  

Anyone else upset with the ANATOLE - ETAPE crossing?

Guy who's actually put stuff in a silo, and we all say we're just loading stuff into the silo. 10:23 AM  

Up until today I never thought there would be a word I hated quite as much as ensile other than enisle. SILOING now joins the group, perhaps leading it as ensiling has to be preferable then SILOING.

Moly Shu 10:24 AM  

@JackJ, thanks for the explanation. I knew of Patriots' Day because of the marathon and the Red Sox always play a home day game (it's common degenerate gambler knowledge to bet against them on this day) , but mixed it all up with Patriot Day.

Ellen S 10:52 AM  

Great comments today. I missed yesterday's blog because I abandoned the puzzle, second Sunday in a row, just thinking life's too short to keep on doing this, and I usually go do something else when that happens, rather than come to the blog. It's not cognitive decline, or not only that since I can still do Thursdays and Fridays. Not denying the cognitive decline: yesterday I spent hours trying to remember the name of the Honda luxury line, knew it started with an "A", because the logo is like an "H" with the uprights slanted inwards, but I had to look it up. I read somewhere that people with Alzheimer's don't even recognize the right word when someone tells them, and I recognized "Acura" so either what I read was wrong or I'm getting some other kind of senile decay.

Anyway, there is an upside to being old enough that you start forgetting things, because Reinhold NIEBUHR was a gimme. And thanks Anon 9:32 for the info on Priebus -- I've wondered for years what kinda name is Reince. (I would have never heard of him but a few years ago ol' Reince sent me a letter thanking me for being such a loyal supported of the Republican Party and would I send more money. ???? I'm rarely even registered Democrat. Now I figure maybe someone made a donation in my name just to annoy me. I learned yesterday that if you make a donation to the Satanic Society (sorry, the exact name is something I can't remember, Satanic something), they'll send a letter to Mike Pence cussing him out for his views on reproductive rights.

@Quasimojo, my calendar says today is "Christmas day (observed)" -- because the real holiday fell on a Sunday, denying a holiday to people who don't normally work on Sundays anyway. It's related to what @JackJ was saying, I think -- whenever possible we move
holidays to the nearest Monday, to give people three day weekends, instead of a, e.g., a random Wednesday off. Only exceptions I can think of are Independence Day, otherwise known as The Fourth of July, which makes moving it problematical, and Christmas.

@AliasZ, GETRICH Kwick reminds me of Daddy Warbucks, who probably would have been offered a cabinet position except that he was kind to orphans. One, anyway. Enough to disqualify him, I'm sure.

Tom R 10:55 AM  

I live in Wisconsin and its news to me that we celebrate Patriot's Day. I'm better the majority of Wisconsinites have never heard of it.

Wm. C. 10:56 AM  

@MolyS --

One interesting factoid about the Red Sox Patriots' Day game is that it's played in the morning, timed so that the Marathoners pass Fenway Park at mid-game.

And here in Concord it's ....

"By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flags to April's breeze unfurled,
There the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard 'round the world."

QuasiMojo 10:57 AM  

@Ellen. Thank you! I think Thanksgiving falls into that as well. I still think it's a mistake to turn the following Mondays into a holiday. But that's just my opinion. And hopeless. Btw guys. Be sure to google Anatole Broyard. His story is fascinating and was a scandal at the Times many moons ago.

bookmark 11:07 AM  

My husband was an architect in the SEABEES during the Vietnam War. His battalion built water towers, schools, small villages, among other things.

Snowflake 11:08 AM  

Trigger alert @NCA, it's not so easy to pivot gracefully between the Wicked Witch of the West one day and back to Elmira Gulch the next. Your digs are tiresome and your chippy veneer easy peasy isn't up to the task you burden it with. And, cackle, your flying monkey @Anon at 9:46 too.

RooMonster 11:15 AM  

Hey All !
Did Canada invade and force us to celebrate BOXING DAY?! Har.
Happy (official weekday) Merry Christmas! What whack-tastic things happen when Dec. 25 is a Sunday.

Puz was kinda all-over-the-place-themey, with Canadian BOXING DAY, and then American Days in "boxes", with one National Holiday, PATRIOT Day, one sorta Holiday, ELECTION Day, and then Random "Days", LEAP, SNOW, GAME, HUMP. The ole brain ponders...

Three City today.27 of those little buggers. Normally a NOGO by Wills standards. Something to MUSErs over.

Liked @Lauras FLAP on EARFLAP. LOL

Is there a MORER Antilles? :-)

Anonymous 11:25 AM  

Nie, Nie, Niebuhr. Not a hard name to spell, pronounce or remember.
I'm looking especially closely at our smug friend from Michigan.

Anonymous 11:27 AM  

FYI-Sushi is Japanese, not Chinese.

Carola 11:35 AM  

I liked this December 26th tribute puzzle with the clever play on BOXING DAY. Also liked the SNOW [DAY] with its SLEDS. Oldster that I am, I knew NIEBUHR and ANATOLE but needed crosses to identify the POPSTAR duo.

Joseph Michael 11:42 AM  

Thanks to Laura for an enjoyable writeup. Didn't catch the double meaning of "present" in the revealer clue until I came HERE.

Liked the puzzle and appreciated the fact that it was a little harder than the usual Monday. Tidy theme well executed.

Hand up for knowing the phrase as "TO" rather than "IN" SCALE.

Liked ARMLESS as a description of the VDM and CLAW as a way to join wolves and lobsters.

Didn't know ANATOLE, NASTASE, and NIEBER which sounds more like a law firm than Monday level answers, but all were easy to figure out from the crosses.

And a tip of the hat to Biblical self-STEAMER ONAN who has sneaked into the grid once again.

Masked and Anonymous 12:01 PM  

PLEA DAY! Better than flea day, I reckon.

Actually this was pretty good. Feisty for a MonPuz, which suits m&e fine. All the themers are days in boxes, and today is Boxing Day; all the box words start in their SW corner and rotate clockwise. Seems pretty airtight. If people think this puz played kinda hard, remember: it's not so much a MonPuz, as it is a BoxingDayPuz. So … the puz fought back.

fave boxing-cow MonPuz feisty clue: Country that's almost an anagram of its currency (RUBLES). har. Luv it. "Almost Anagram" clues. Primo+. More, please, Mr. Shortzmeister.

Thanx, Mr. Markey. Fun sparrin with U.
Thanx, Laura darlin. Nice subbin.

Masked & Anonymo2Us


Chronic dnfer 1:23 PM  

Fine puzzle. I'm happy because it didn't dnf. Squares helped suss out Anatole

foxaroni 2:24 PM  

I wordered about the definition of a MISER as a "reflective sort." (BELARIS looked sorta okay.) Figured the MISER reflects on his//her hoard, or perhaps his/her hoard is filled with reflective gold coins.

Don't overdo on the NOG-o on New Year's Eve.

foxaroni 2:25 PM  

Make that "wondered."

Leapfinger 2:43 PM  

It's a pleasure and an honour to share the NW BOX, even for a DAY, with one of the blog's foremost MUSERS.

Biggest surprise was the SE, where ONAN MEETS NIKITA. I'll BET ONAN is the one not pounding his shoe on the table.

Like the inclusion of the singular Santa CLAW and the focal EGG-NOG O.

I've heard that, at some point quite early during WWII, German theologians gathered to discuss what position they ought to adopt -- as a group -- to best weather the gathering storm. After much dieppe discussion of various scenaRIOs, preliminary consensus was reached. They opined the best course was to adopt the same premise as the classic Julian strategy of All Gaul being divided into three parts, because [as everyone knows] Good FRAnces make good NIEBUHRs.

Thought this MonPuzz was a Marquis effort with a terrific FRALAMAGE Quotient PER Solve.

Unknown 3:15 PM  

Boxing Day is British holiday. Christmas is a United States legal holiday so when it falls on a Sunday it is observed on Monday

Unknown 3:59 PM  

I liked this puzzle more than most. The theme idea was solid, and I liked the variety in the days. There's the slangy HUMP day, the official ELECTION Day, the tailgating GAME day, the rare LEAP day, the regional PATRIOT'S Day, and the don't-know-if-it-will-be-a-day-until-that-day SNOW day. I didn't know PATRIOT'S Day, but not knowing didn't effect my ability to solve the puzzle. No complaints from me there.

All of the days begin in the lower left and get spelled out clockwise. I'd be curious as to whether this was deliberate from the get-go or if, say, the first three worked best like that and so the constructor decided to continue the pattern.

Had no problem with NIEBUHR. I've seen that name before, though I couldn't tell you much about him. Like @George Barany I had him mentally mixed up with Martin Niemöller. ANATOLE Broyard is new to me. His Wikipedia article mentions that "He was often said to be working on a novel, but never published one." I sympathize. Both are tough for a Monday, but they were fairly crossed. Well, ANATOLE/ETAPE is a tough cross, but even that's mitigated by having a third cross in the form of PATRIOT'S.

Yesterday, FIRE SALE reminded me of a Tobias scene in Arrested Development. Today, the clue for NIEBUHR [Theologian Reinhold who wrote the Serenity Prayer] reminded me of Mock Trial with J. Reinhold.

Dorothy Biggs 4:01 PM  

Does anyone know what Snowflake's post at 11:08am means? I think it's meant as an insult but I can't be sure.

Karl 4:29 PM  

I even think you can ENSILE something.
But I will not believe that SILOING is a word even if I do find it in the dictionary...

Anonymous 5:14 PM  

@Karl B

There's an old-timey song,"SILOING, it's been good to know you".

Doc John 5:21 PM  

Bit of trivia: Ward Cleaver, Beaver Cleaver's father, was a SEABEE.

Leapfinger 5:38 PM  

Like @jberg, I'm 73, so maybe that's the critical factor in knowing Niebuhr, it I suspect it's more likely due to years of reading a range of things, from cereal boxes and dictionaries to Godel, Escher, Bach and points between.

@NCAPrez, I suspect you're right but I couldn't figure @Snowflake meaning either.

@EllenS, thoroughly enjoy your various Musings, when you've the time for them.

Guess I overthought 'Brewpub' as wordplay indicating TEA, but it certainly fit TO SCALE. First Wow, THEN OW.

jae 5:59 PM  

On the tough side for me. Did not know NIEBUHR (and I'm only slightly younger than @Z's dad) and ANATOLE, but @jberg I do know George Michael. TImely theme, we do BOXING at our place so the grandkids get 2 chances to open presents. Liked It.

mathgent 6:05 PM  

It seems to me that saying something or someone is famous to people who say they've never heard of it is rude. I'm old and know NIEBUHR from many references in my reading years ago, but I can't recall seeing his name in print during the last thirty or so years.

Z 7:29 PM  

@mathgent - Yep. The general rule we should all remember is "don't opine on my ignorance and I won't opine on yours."

What I find most curious is that in the 1960s a theologian was culturally prominent enough to be readily remembered 50 years later. I can name a half dozen of the used-car salesman style preachers running around (one of the few groups above the BBWAA on my shit-list), but can't think of one serious theologian with the same cultural standing of, say, Neil DeGrasse Tyson. This absence is not good, IMHO.

@Leapfinger, I was 4 when NIEBUHR received his Presidential Medal of Freedom. Somehow the event didn't register with me. I pegged the low end of being aware of him at ~18 in 1964, or ~70 and up today.

@NCA President - Remember the old adage, don't eat the yellow snowflake.

JC66 8:57 PM  

@NCA President

if you heed @mathgent's 6:05 advise, you won't have to worry about interpreting anonymous comments directed at you.

Anonymous 9:06 PM  

There's hope for you yet.

Anonymous 11:22 PM  


jaymar 1:26 AM  

What drink does IPA stand for. Got it filled because of surrounding words, but ?

Ellen S 1:47 AM  

@jaymar -- IPA = India Pale Ale. Brits traveling to serve in the colonies (India) wanted their beer but it would not survive the long trip unless made with a lot of hops, which it seems are a kind of preservative. People in this country turned out to like the taste. Except me, but it's just a matter of opinion, not any kind of value judgment.

Ellen S 1:49 AM  

Shucks, I only came here because I did the Tuesday puzzle but the RexBlog isn't updated. Without giving anything away (I hope) I'd say we got the Monday puzzle on Tuesday.

Tita 3:54 AM  

Fun puzzle idea, though I didn't get the. Connection until I stopped avoiding the revealer.

I've got my Presépio Christmas village in full swing now, where things are most definitely not INSCALE.

Saw NASTASE play at puzzle-friendly Iona College.

Bought myself a mink STOLE for $7.50 at the Salvation Army a couple of years back. I love to wear it with jeans and cowboy boots.

Happy Boxing Day to all.

Hartley70 4:26 AM  

It was a surprise to see ANATOLE Broyard in the puzzle. I haven't thought about him in a few years. I lived in his house one summer while he and his family toured Europe and as an added bonus he gave my family the use of his house in Martha's Vineyard that fall. He was a very generous man and my greatest delight was going to his mailbox each morning and emptying his enormous box of the many many books he received each day. As a NYT reviewer he was besieged by an endless supply of potential subjects. I could take my pick to read and it was a heavenly choice at the time.

@Quasimodo is correct as to his fascinating personal story which became surprising news after his death. His daughter wrote a book about her father which I can recommend to those interested in this talented and complicated man.

r.alphbunker 8:30 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
centralscrewtinizer 10:57 AM  

What happened to Nancy?

Burma Shave 11:58 AM  


In the HEAR and THENOW I GAPE into her AYEs,
EWE know UMA will ATTEMPT to give me ARISE.
IMHERE to ATTEST I’ MAT an AGE that’s affected,
LESSER men are just MUSERS, but I get ERECTED.


Aphid Larue 12:02 PM  

Statisticians and economists often solve the same problems, but publish results in jargon not understandable to one another. So, two silos full of good stuff, Inacessible to predators but also to those who might make productive use of it. The siloing
problem in research. FBI and CIA often accused of siloing their information.

Reince Priebus a boon to those who have problems with German diphthongs
E i. Pronounced aye
I e pronounced eeee

spacecraft 12:27 PM  

This just plain didn't work. You have about 90% your usual Monday gimmes--some over-the-top, such as "Pennsylvania city OR THE LAKE IT'S ON (emphasis mine)--and the rest are very NON-Monday WOEs. Yeah sure, you've heard of ANATOLE Broyard: both of you. I had an additional WOE: EDAMAME. But then, if sushi bars were the last eateries on Earth, I'd starve.

THENOW? Mediators try to live in "THE NOW?" Well, I suppose, generally speaking, we all would do well to follow that--but why, particularly, mediators? I don't get it.

My first reading of the first shaded area was "PLEA;" so I started on the wrong latter, so sue me. But the word stuck with me, and so I couldn't make sense of the others. SNOW really threw me, as having to do with BOXINGDAY. I was in England for three years; I remember when it snowed. Two inches. I was off that day, but couldn't go anywhere: the entire city (London) was paralyzed. Oh but then I remembered that Canada also celebrates the holiday--and they can get some SERIOUS snow. I just...of all the myriad DAYs I can think of, these seven are ALL far down the list.

Neither is the fill any prize. ONAN is a prime example of the adage: if your clue reads awkward, your answer must also be. The grid is full of onerworked Xwordese, two of the most overworked crossing in the center (ONO/OBOE). We're fast wearing out poor UMA, who by now has a closet full of DOD sashes. Let's honor one of the all-time beauties--even if she is a statue. Venus de Milo, take your bow. Or, I guess just stand there.

How many ROES can there be? Hand up for toSCALE, the proper phrase. Crutches abound: LESSER, ARMLESS, ESSES. This whole deal should have gotten the rejection stamp. Double bogey.

Diana,LIW 1:40 PM  

Didn't figure out what was going on in the boxes until I was done, since they don't have a consistent pattern.

@Spacey - It's mediTators - they meditate about being "present" or "in the now."

Pretty easy - fine for a Monday. Nice theme for the day.

Diana, LIW

rondo 1:41 PM  

The re-celebration continues with BOXINGDAY. Did I count 27 three letter answers? HOLYOKE tree! Good thing most of them made up some longish answers. Coulda had an Olympic scoreboard theme going with SWE, NOR, PER, and FRA. I’ve only ever used toSCALE as a phrase, but the I was in already. That SILOING/ATION cross may be over the EDGE.

I’d GETRICH quick if all the above commenters sent me a SEENOTE or two.

Until recently all of my home computers had been HPS. The cheapie Acer seems to be doing just fine though.

I remember the first time my dad showed me the magic of a TELEX back in the 60s. That was cutting EDGE stuff.

What would constructors ever do without yeah baby UMA. Or XENA, for that matter. ONO? Oh no.

Not an exciting puz, pretty hARMLESS.

leftcoastTAM 2:01 PM  

Like many, thought the theme was a bit of a stretch, almost to the point of breaking.
Certainly a random collection of DAYs, having little or nothing to do with BOXINGDAY revealer. (Possibly the shaded BOXes?? Nah.)

Nice to see the deathless goddess, UMA, again, as well as the ever-familiar ERIE. They will always be with us.

EDAME and ETAPE are relative newcomers.

Okay, but a bit on the weak side theme-wise.

Sailor 3:52 PM  

No problem here with NIEBUHR because: what @Diywriter said. I'll admit that it's not a name I've come across in a while, though. Prob'ly 'cause he died before Twitter was a thing.

I agree with @Z (for a change) that the absence of serious theologians in our public discourse is Not A Good Thing.

SILOING, tho? Nope. I'm with @Guy on this.

I'm aware of this word as a metaphor in organization-speak for creating operational units that are self-contained or isolated. I believe that meaning comes from missile silos, though.

On my Granddad's farm, where I once spent long stretches of time in the summer and fall, I baled hay and chopped silage. Both were stored by being "put up" (the former, in a hayloft; the latter, natch, in a silo). Never once, then or now, have I heard of anyone "siloing" their feed.

OTOH, I haven't been on a farm in a while, so who knows? Maybe this is now agribusiness-speak. But I have been unable to find it in any of the several dictionaries I've consulted. So there.

wcutler 7:31 PM  

Boxing day is a Canadian holiday too. But it's not today, for the syndicated folks. So we missed out on part of the pun, nice to have it explained for us.

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