Indiana/Illinois separator / MON 1-2-17 / Invaded in large numbers / "I understand," facetiously / Classic Eric Clapton song about unrequited love / To be, to Tacitus

Monday, January 2, 2017

Hi Puzzlers!!! It may be a new year but it's the same old Annabel you get on the first Monday of every mouth! My new year's resolution is to not accidentally type "mouth" instead of "month" like I just did there. 

Constructor: Chuck Deodene

Relative difficulty: Hard!

THEME: PARTY DOWN — Circles hidden within Down clues spelled out synonyms for "party." Different ways to celebrate NYE, I guess!

Theme answers:

  • LI(FEST)YLE CHOICE (3D: Vegetarianism or bohemianism)
  • RADIO (GALA)XY (5D: Source of faraway X-rays)
  • WA(BASH) RIVER (25D: Indiana/Illinois separator)
  • SCHOOL CA(FETE)RIA (11D: Spot for a food fight)
  • PARTY DOWN (21D: Really revel...or a hint to the words formed by the circled letters)

Word of the Day: RADIO GALAXY (5D: Source of faraway X-rays) —

Radio galaxies and their relatives, radio-loud quasars and blazars, are types of active galaxy that are very luminous at radio wavelengths, with luminosities up to 1039 W between 10 MHz and 100 GHz.[1] The radio emission is due to the synchrotron process. The observed structure in radio emission is determined by the interaction between twin jets and the external medium, modified by the effects of relativistic beaming. The host galaxies are almost exclusively large elliptical galaxiesRadio-loud active galaxies can be detected at large distances, making them valuable tools for observational cosmology. Recently, much work has been done on the effects of these objects on the intergalactic medium, particularly in galaxy groups and clusters.
• • •
HOLY moly, this puzzle gave me so much trouble!! I was stuck in the center (around 29) and the bottom right corner for about a million years. I've never been good with US geography, and how am I supposed to know anything about DVD brands when they haven't been relevant since I was about eight years old?!? Oh well, maybe I'm just DENSE. I did like the double meaning of "web," and all the vaguely scientific words like GENE, ATOMS, IONS and of course RADIO GALAXY. It reminded me of the five seconds around the beginning of freshman year when I wanted to be a bio major. (Sorry, bio, but four years of reading eighteenth-century poetry mixed with emotional feminist texts won out.)

By the way, what was up with TOBACCOS? Is that really the plural of TOBACCO?

The theme was cool - I'm always happy when the theme includes Downs so the down-only solvers get to take part in the fun! Once I got LIFESTYLE CHOICE my sister and I were convinced the theme answers would be FEST / IVAL / OF LI / GHTS as a late Chanukah celebration. Oh well. What kind of FESTs, GALAs, BASHes and FÊTEs did you all have the other night? All I did was go to a friend's house to watch the ball drop, but it was probably the best party I'd been to in years because she had two big, droopy mastiffs which were absolutely adorable. Watching the ball drop paled in comparison to watching the big cute dogs play.

  • HAITIAN (14A: Port-au-Prince resident) — Tragically, I am no longer able to mentally pronounce this word correctly because of Clueless. However, I would like to remind everyone that it does not say R.S.V.P. on the Statue of Liberty! :p 
  • CICADAS (65D: 17-year insects) — I still think cicadas are about the coolest bugs ever. First of all, they have TWO separate Pokèmon lines based on them, so you know they have to be good...second of all, the latest cicada summer happened when I was a kid so I have all these memories of trees absolutely covered in cicada shells. I think we used to play with them like they were dolls. Kinda morbid, when you think about it now, but oh well.
  • NECK (56D: Part bitten by a vampire) — Am I the only one who thought this meant "partly bitten by a vampire"? Like a half-vampire or something? I was so confused and I spent about ten minutes racking my brain for all the vampire lore I knew, all the while wondering how being partly bitten by a vampire would even work. The vampire just bites you with one fang? You can turn into a bat but only on Wednesdays? You don't drink blood, you just eat really rare steaks?
  • LAYLA (39D: Classic Eric Clapton song about unrequited love) — Believe it or not (okay, you probably believe it, because I didn't even know the DVD thing) I actually didn't know this song. So here's some Eric Clapton to brighten up your day.
Signed, Annabel Thompson, tired college student.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Larry Gilstrap 1:35 AM  

I think Rex tweeted something about meeting his guest blogger of >1 years. I'm guessing it's been almost three. I have a friend whose daughter goes to Wellesley and she posts about it quite often, so enjoy the wonderful opportunities of the experience. In many ways, college is the best years of your life, if you do it right. I'm sure PARTY DOWN! is a common exhortation around the Boston area these days. Maybe not?

I did notice more than a few gratuitous plurals littering the area. Why buy one DVD player when multiple RCAS might be called for. And then we get OFF SIDE in singular? Correct me if I'm wrong.

That whole Branch Dividian thing in WACO TX was ugly in so many ways. Talk amongst yourselves.

I did this Monday solve in ink. It was just an experiment as per yesterday's conversation. I almost panicked a few times, but all in all, BFD. Tomorrow, I'm back to pencil.

Archie often told Edith, "STIFLE!" I'm not trying that around my house, ever. Particularly since my wife encourages me to continue to love beer ON TAP.

Finally, baseball has been revolutionized by METRICS. Can you think of any other places where greed and emotion could be replaced by cold, hard logic?

chefwen 2:03 AM  

Annabel, loved your write up and thank you for Layla, one of my favorite tunes.

Good puzzle, not too easy, not too hard, just right!

Stanley Hudson 2:10 AM  

Rare for me to solve at night, but this was a pleasant experience.

puzzle hoarder 2:44 AM  

This was one of your better Mondays. It played like an easy themeless. You could ignore what little theme it had and solve it like a themeless. I had a couple of good misreads. The first was "communication" tidbit at 2D. The other was "salutes" for statutes at 41A. This was after entering ENACT at 54D and knowing I should get something about law when I read the clue for 41A. The other speed bumps were needing WACO to get WABASH, not knowing TOBACCO has two Cs and the disconnect between RADIO and x-rays. The one "unknown" in the puzzle was Paese. I was disappointed to find that it's been a clue 7 times previously. That's just in the Shortz era and I've most likely done all 7.
There were a number of nice long entries and 7 stacks. Overall a pleasant surprise for a Monday.

Unknown 2:52 AM  

I liked the tv comedy Party Down. Lots of good actors who went on to bigger things soon afterwards.

John Child 4:22 AM  

You say TOBACCOS, I say TABASCOs...

Z 5:13 AM  

LAYLA reminds me that it was not Patti Boyd's husband playing on While My Guitar Gently Weeps which, of course, reminds me that Prince played it even better (feel free to skip ahead to 3:25 if you want), which, of course, reminds me that we lost Prince and Bowie last year. Good Riddance 2016.

Speaking of Patti Boyd, Has anyone else besotted this many guitarists?

Anti Cicadas Metrics 5:17 AM  

Technically FEST and FETE are the same word, no?
And three were in a single word while LIFESTYLE it crossed two.
I point this out bec I've gotten many rejections this week for dandy Monday puzzles for far less offenses than that...
Plus the odd plurals of RCAS TOBACCOS and III
I loved the idea of PARTY DOWN idea.

Although it pains me to think that LAYLA is as obscure to you as VCRs, I'm pleased it's not too late!
Your parsed FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS into four separate things made me smile... tho again unlikely theme approval for the SHORTZ/FAGLIANO gang.
(Btw I was with an Anabelle for the final night of Chanukah/New years Eve. She's six and we've done the menorah thing every year as I've tried to instill a little tradition into her life (daughter of mixed marriage... Catholic dad, secular Jewish Buddhist mom who wanted her to be exposed, but lightly...but this year I was hard pressed to dissuade her and her 4 year old brother from blowing out the candles)

My major holdup was Nape for NECK.
And RADIOGALAXY I'd never get away with on a Monday, but I'm glad someone did!

r.alphbunker 5:39 AM  

I solved this with no access to the across clues. It took 6 times as long as a normal Monday solve plus I had to google WABASHRIVER and required that eight wrong letters be highlighted near the end. It ended up feeling like a Saturday. I recommend losing half the clues for those of you who are bored by Monday puzzles. The site lets you do this in the Options dialog.

Details are here.

Lewis 6:23 AM  
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Lewis 6:24 AM  

M&A -- Condolences on this U-less puzzle.

This puzzle, with its long downs and cute theme, made for fine Monday fare. Two answers that appealed to me are STIFLE and LIFESTYLE_CHOICE, as long as you don't make the former your latter.

I cringed at the clue for DENSE ("Not the brightest bulb in the Christmas tree"). Blatantly put: Making fun of someone's lack of smartness smacks of being elitist and being rude. I'm sensitive to this because I used to do it all the time; it made me feel good about myself when little else did, but I'd like to think I'm past that now, for the most part. And I don't like seeing slights like this in puzzles or elsewhere. FWIW.

But otherwise, I found this to be a cool idea for a post-New-Year's-Eve theme, and well done. Thank you Chuck, and by the way, you in the plural were my first answer to Saturday's "Alternatives to rumps".

Leapfinger 7:11 AM  

GeORGY Porgy, pudding and pie
Kissed the girls and made them cry.
But when the boys came out to play,
That cRAVEn knave just ran away.

@A-bel, love what you did with the mouth of January. And thanks for explaining about blazars. Till now, I thought they were just those natty navy jackets. Good luck with your studies; I didn't begin to tamper with emotional feminist texts till I was well advanced in years and better able to handle them.

ps: My favourite of all the TOBACCOS is the Brightleaf, but I think you're right about the spelling should be TOBACCOeS. And maybe TABASCOes!

PARTY on, with the PARTY of your choice.

pps: @John Child, you say TABASCOS, I say "Rats!"

Loren Muse Smith 7:33 AM  
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Loren Muse Smith 7:34 AM  

Hey, Anna BEL. Nice to hear from you. Hope your break was restive and festive.

I laughed when I got the reveal. PARTY DOWN feels so, what, ‘70s? It brought to mind young guys running out to get perms, taupe polyester leisure suits, and platform shoes. Biting their bottom lip as they bob their heads looking around the gym for cuter dance partners.

What to we say now? That mysterious Par Taaay!? I don’t understand the vowel movement there. I do know I’ve been noticing my kids using DOWN to mean up for that.

Wanna eat at Red Lobster and then go to a movie?
Sure. I’m down.

For the record, I ate three THREE of those outrageously delicious cheesy biscuit miracle clouds in less than two minutes. My daughter eats much more sensibly than I do. She had broiled fish and broccoli. No starches. I took care of the starch, grease, and sugar. And salt. And an entire $4.75 box of Milk Duds during the previews.

I can’t be the only one noticing all the LAs in the grid recently. I’ve never told anyone this, but on my private little bucket list is to have some famous musician write a song about me. My life would be just about complete. Whenever it comes on the radio, it’s my plan to stare out the window with a little Mona Lisa smile and not be all braggy and stuck up about it. Anyway, LAYLA is so lucky, whoever she is. And that Sweet Caroline – let’s go Pitt! – only Panthers will get that. I read that Neil Diamond wrote that about Caroline Kennedy.

Little known factoid – Dylan was passed over for years for the Nobel prize because of his egregious grammar error in the title Lay Lady Lay.

So what is your No! NOT THAT!!! - ? Mine would be a John Cage concert.

Fun puz, Chuck. I liked the way the parties go down, down, down. Reminds me of that t-shirt One Tequila, Two Tequila, Three Tequila, Floor.

So now I wait for BEQ’s themeless Monday to show up. Free. They’re terrific. Do yourself a favor and start doing them. Send some money his way. And, no – he barely knows me and has not approved this ad.

And I always try to send some money to Rex, too. I’m grateful for all the work he puts into this site, this site that has connected me to people who speaka my language. And no, he barely knows me and has not approved this ad.

(Today’s avatar is my sensible-eating daughter who actually teared up when Sweet Caroline came on the radio on the way home from our NC Christmas visit. She’s looking to do a gap year working at a vet in Raleigh and then apply to vet school. Molecular biology major, chemistry minor, graduating from Pitt summa cum laude, published, and I swear this is the title, RNA Polymerases in Plasma Cells Trav-ELL2 the Beat of a Different Drum. And yes, this is a shameless plug in case there are any NC vets out there reading this. And, no, she has not approved this ad.)

Unknown 7:40 AM  

Super, super easy for me except that I spelled LAYLA Leila on initially. I little before my time but a great song that I know well, just not well enough to spell it. I finished the puzzle without looking at the circled words. Cute theme but I think they could've put in more.

Astronomy Buff 7:52 AM  

The clue for radio galaxy is wrong. While there are sources of x-rays in the sky, radio galaxies produce radio waves, not x-rays.

chefbea 7:56 AM  

Happy New Year Annabel!!! Great write up as usual.
Speaking of tabasco...made a bloody mary cheese ball for new years was yummy - all ingrediens found in a bloody mary..of course no bel paese nor vodka.

Thanks for the Layla it

Cassieopia 7:58 AM  

Easy peasy for me too, a 7 minute Monday when my avg is 10, but all the interesting fill meant I was never bored. Really loved this fun Monday puzzle.

Happy New Year, Annabel, love your cherry voice to welcome in the New Year!

TABASCO (awesome to find it in a puzzle!) always reminds me of my all time favorite ad:

Lovely puzzle, hoping for more like this in 2017.

Cassieopia 7:59 AM  

CHEERY voice, Annabel! :)

smalltowndoc 8:05 AM  

Annabel, I envy you. My years in College were some of the best in my life. Memories include blaring LAYLA onto the Quad via some things you've probably never seen: A stereo system with humongous Magneplanar speakers and, what's that word?...oh, yeah, vinyl!

I am not a robot 8:18 AM  

@loren, hilarious! As many others will tell you today Layla (Patty) was the wife of Clapton's best friend, George Harrison, and she dumped the Beatle for him.

I had a friend whose husband left her for her best friend. They remained friends. When I asked how she could do that she said "I can always find a husband, but best friends are hard to come by. Anyway, she'll learn." About years later that couple divorced.

Fun puzzle. Easy solve if you're the right age.

Dorothy Biggs 8:21 AM  

I liked the had a little more push back than an ordinary Monday.

I do agree with Annabel about the plural of TOBACCOS. I know there are different kinds of tobacco...just as there are different kinds of corn, wheat, and other crops. But you rarely say "corns." I don't know if it's a hard and fast rule of English to only express that variety as "kinds of corn," or "kinds of tobacco."

And, even if TOBACCOS is okay, it's rare...and by including that unusual word in the same puzzle as TABASCO is inelegant.

III...didn't we just have that a week or so ago? Maybe WS only allows III to be used once a year...but where in the year is less important. Hopefully, we won't see III again until sometime after next January 1.

RADIOGALAXY sounds like a David Bowie song title.

OFFSIDE is the correct use in all sports that use it: soccer, hockey, football, etc. Offsides is the sports term equivalent of irregardless. People say it, but it doesn't exist. And, like irregardless, people use it so often, it's become okay. But officially, in the rulebooks, it has no S at the end.

I will live to be a very old man and will probably still confuse PAT with PAd...fortunately, butter rarely comes in PATs anymore, but now it comes in little separate plastic containers. While, I'm suspicious of how environmentally friendly those are, at least when it's warm in the room you're eating in or outside at a picnic in July, when the butter melts in those containers, they are contained and don't just disappear into an oil stain like the old form of "pat" butter used to do. Progress!

For that reason alone I'm a progressive. And yet, as progressive as I am, I'm not happy that all of the New Year's Day bowl games are played today, and January 2nd. That, my friends, I think we can all agree is un-American.

Anonymous 8:35 AM  

Great job, Annabel!

QuasiMojo 9:16 AM  

Kinda creepy calling an "epitaph" a "message." But (RIP snort) this is the NYT and it has to be with it, right brah?

Welcome back Annabel!

Anonymous 9:16 AM  

Smooth easy puzzle. Always do them in ink. Liked it!

When an opinion is offered why do some of you have to nit-pick it? It's an opinion only. Vive la difference!

Nancy 9:23 AM  

What difference does it make if you actually have a pretty good grid, but the cluing is duller than dull?? Other than writing in aRf before GRR (and when are you going to stop tormenting me, Will S. with such answers as GRR and NECK bite and NOT THAT and I GOTCHA?), this puzzle presented no problem and no challenge at all for me. As for the theme? Completely ignorable and I ignored it.

Dr Scholl 9:27 AM  

@NCA President, there are, in fact, different types of corns, but you would likely avoid all of them if you merrelly wore the proper shoes.

Outside The Box 9:34 AM  

Happy New Year Annabel! Glad to have you back !

jberg 9:36 AM  

Rex's 1-A rule applied here; I put in the crosswordese AWL, and the rest followed easily. Less typically for me, though, I noticed that the next across answer was IRE before looking at the down clues (and I do mean down, not up, @Loren!). So now I was really hoping to see AWL IRE WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS MY TWO FRONT TEETH -- but TABASCO spoiled that.

Aside from that, the best parts were I GOTCHA and the type of water crossing the type of beer. Worst part was GOES BALD -- let's say no more about that!

FETE and FEST are the same word in different languages, which bothered me just a tad, but I guess there aren't too many 4-letter parties out there, so I'll let it go.

Annabel, thanks, and Happy New Year!

Numinous 9:50 AM  

I found this to be a piece of pie, easy as cake, I tell you. Very little thinking was involved in filling out this grid. A few times I'd look at a down clue to figure out where I was going in the across. One horizontal pass and I was done. When I went to xwordinfo, I had to read all the downs to see what I'd missed.

I used to know a guy who preferred Texas Pete in his Bloody Mary rather than TOBASCO. He always brought his own. I'm neutral on the subject but when it comes to TOBACCOS, I prefer Virginias. Smoked a lot of Dunhills, I did. Then again, if you smoked Gauloises for any length of time, everything else is flavorless.

@Annabel, some stuff in crosswords you have to learn from doing crosswords. Next time you see Eric Clapton and LAYLA or RCA DVDs you'll remember and feel smug . Cool write-up!

Teedmn 9:59 AM  

I did the downs only experiment today and it took > three times longer than a usual Monday, eek. Also, it makes it hard to get a feel for the puzzle as a whole - was it clever? Dull? I dunno, I was busy doing pattern recognition.

But doing downs only meant I got to revel in the cute theme. Only putting in SCHOOL lunchroom (yes, fits perfectly) kept me from seeing the theme right away. If you go to a NCHR party, you probably were following @LMS's t-shirt tequila rules.

And I tend to PARTY "hard", I guess. It was only after guessing 61A, off the _ARP was not cARP or tARP that DOWN filled in and I saw the literalness of the theme so that was a bonus.

Thanks for a fun solve, Chuck Deodene.

And thanks, @Annabel and @Cassieopia for the typos. I would like to have a cherry voice in the mouth of January also!

GILL I. 10:10 AM  

I'm still laughing from @Teedmn's post last night. I'd forgotten the "in the bank" and the Full Monty crazies....!
I like to PARTY hardy but I guess you get DOWN these days. TABASCO was the only hot sauce you could get in California when I got here. I was addicted to the sauce until someone introduced me to El Yucateco chile habanero. That'll grow some hair on the BALD spot.
Is YOWL really a mournful cry? I would think some pain would enter the equation.
@Loren...Hey proud mama. Congratulations to your daughter. I'd sing her praises everywhere - even at Red Lobster. Bright as her mom?
Oh...the puzzle. I thought it was cute for a Monday. And while @NCA has a problem with PAT/PAd mine goes to EPITAPH. I want to make it sound like a TH at the end. I'll add that word to the many I mispronounce. HATEIAN...Good one Annabel....

Unknown 10:28 AM  

So glad for another @Annabel Monday, with such a fresh outlook ... for example, to discover LAYLA for the first time! But why so tired, isn't this the holiday break?

I didn't recognize @Chuck Deodene's name (nor did spellcheck, which wanted to change his name to Duodena), but it is revealed elsewhere that he has been quite a prolific New York Times puzzle contributor, albeit with a long hiatus that is now ended in this new year. Certainly a reason to party, n'est-ce pas?

Of the numerous delightful comments that have accrued this morning, special shoutout to @Loren Muse Smith for her critique of the grammar in Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay," and to @I am not a robot for the cynically wise observation about best friends vis-à-vis marital partners. Thanks as well to @Z, for linking to @Prince's cover of @George Harrison's guitar anthem.

The appearance of NECK in the grid (and @Annabel's riff on it) reminds me of a quip attributed to Groucho Marx, i.e., "whoever called it 'necking' was a poor judge of anatomy." That's from memory, so maybe the quotation marks are optimistic.

pmdm 10:29 AM  

My suggestion to Astronomy Buff and NCA President is to semd your complaints to Mr. Shortz so (if you are correct) the particular clues will not be used again. I did that once by email, and he sent a personal reply, so I know he does read (and take seriously) complaints about the clues.

Word Nerd 10:44 AM  

Aw c'mon, you guys, the phrase is 'Party hearty'!

@GB, changing one's name to Duodena takes guts.

Unknown 10:48 AM  
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Anoa Bob 10:48 AM  

Annabel, you brought your A-game for this write-up. The bat bite bit was worth the price of admission!

I think BASH & maybe FEST would match the tenor of PARTY DOWN but FETE & GALA are tad too staid.

I've never seen a plural that can't be justified, awkward though the justification might be. For me it's always about the grid-fill convenience that the S or ES or IES provides and did the puzzle overdo it. Today we get IMPS, IONS, DRS, RCAS, IONS, LAWS, GOESBALD, CICADAS, METRICS, KEEPSTO, TAGS, WOES, ADS, TINS, ATOMS, & OATS. That's quite a passel of POCs, don't you think?

@Z, did a double-take on the last sentence of your first paragraph before deciding your "riddance" was referring to 2016 and not the aforementioned people.

Unknown 10:49 AM  

@Word Nerd ... hilarious!

A bureaucrat I had to deal with many years ago was described to me as a medical marvel ... "no brains and no guts."

RAD2626 10:52 AM  

Very nice Monday puzzle. No hiccups at all. Did not have Annabel's age constraints. LAYLA and DVD's constitute the modern era for me.

Welcome back Mr. Deodene. If all your puzzles are this smooth I hope you are a regular contributor again. Did not like the cluing for DENSE or AH SO. Lots of alternatives for former; not much for latter but latter pretty jarring to me. Not really cute usage.

William Occam 10:53 AM  

This seemed like a very easy Monday to me. Not meant as a brag as this is from someone who generally struggles with crosswords during the latter part of the week only to find Rex (and most commentators) describe them as easy.

Maybe I was just in sync with the creator...

RooMonster 11:02 AM  

Hey All !
Fun puz, great theme for a Monday! Some cringiness, TABACCOS, BEL, but overall very nice and smooth.

Always love an Annabel write up! The Vampire thing was awesome!

You like TABASCO? I GOTCHA. NOT THAT for me.

And well on my way to 42A. Must be in the GENEs. TSK. Maybe i'll call Bosley.


kitshef 11:03 AM  

Awful. Why mess up a reasonable grid with bottom feeder clues like "Um-hmm, O.K." and "Please! Anything but!"?

In what sense is AH SO used "facetiously"?

On the other hand, I'll stick up for TOBACCOS. Before it's a product, it's a plant. Just as you might have a garden of roses, or a grove of oaks, you can have a field of tobaccos. -os appears to be preferred over -oes.

Z 11:14 AM  

@Muse - You may want to avoid my second link which reveals both who LAYLA is, but that she got a Beatle, a Stone, and Clapton to write songs about/to her. It must be something in the way she moves.

Also @Muse - And they finally awarded the Nobel when they realized the lyrics were actually exactly grammatically correct. A good lie is golf, a good lay something altogether not golf.

@George Barany - It is not a big secret that the lead guitar part on the White Album original was done by Clapton, not Harrison (aka - the former Mr. Patti Boyds). I've never been clear on how much of the guitar part was written by Harrison and how much improvised in studio by Clapton.

@Numinous - We had lunch yesterday at a restaurant with a Sunday Brunch Bloody Mary Bar. They bring you the booze and you can mix up your own bloody mary. The waiter warned us that if we made ours too hot they would happily sell us another. I'm not much of a bloody mary drinker, so I passed, but had to take a peak at the offerings at the bar. I'm guessing a hot sauce called liquid stoopidity is probably one to be used lightly.

@Mohair Sam - Nice Pep interview. What I appreciate most is that he seems to understand that having players like Messi, Müller, and Robben helps. I also tend to agree that you can't make good improvised jazz until you have the basics of order and structure down, otherwise it is just noise. My old guy ultimate team could often defeat much better athletes because we understood the structure and dynamics of the game. They could and would make the great plays, but would be amazed to find themselves behind and have us exploiting aspects of the game they didn't understand or see yet.

Tita 11:14 AM  

@jberg...FETE and FEST being the same word totally ruined the puzzle for me too... Got me on to that whole "why did the French think it was important to do an officially legislated Global Replace of all their "eS"s with diacriticized "e"s like "é" and "ê"?" and that just used up all the cycles in my post-New Year's Eve brain.

Annabel - don't go into therapy over your once-every-seventeen-years childhood play. It's not morbid - it's the opposite - those CICADAS' moults signify growth.
(A little creepy, yes - playing with bug skins - but not morbid...)
Actually, I think it shows admirable fearlessness to be able to grab those tiny alien-looking objects and play with them as dolls.

Great write-up.

@LMS - Congrats to your daughter!

Puzzle was OK - seems like it must not be too hard of a constructor's feat, but that's easy for me to say. At least it had a very UPbeat theme!
Which offset the WOES at WACO and EPITAPH.

Figured Rex would have complained that the hidden party words were not consistently entirely within or spanning the phrases.
I would like to see @lms's T-Shirt as a theme - but it might be kinda hard to bury the word TEQUILA 3 times. Maybe the worm could be a rebus...

Happy New Year all!

QuasiMojo 11:15 AM  

I always assumed Lady was his pet chicken.

jae 11:18 AM  

Medium for me. Fun solve, liked it.

My 18 yr. old granddaughter occasionally does the Mon. puzzle and would not have known LAYLA either. Pop culture stuff from that long ago is not on the radar of most millennials. Now Taylor Swift, Drake, Bieber...

Word Nerd II 11:25 AM  

@Anoa Bob, I've noticed in the past that you tend to be over-enthusiastic in compiling your lists of POCs. Double-counting as single S, as in IMPS/TINS, IONS/OATS and and GOES/WOES, is just padding, and GOES_BALD/KEEPS_TO are terminal [in their respective words] but not plural. In the case of OATS, I offer the view that it's only marginally likely that a singular OAT would be the subject under discussion. OATS it is.

Truly, we understand your points about POCs, and appreciated them. However, as @Larry Gilstrap suggests in his closing, it doesn't pay to make your METRICS MEreTRICiouS.

Hartley70 11:26 AM  

Great write-up Annabel; great puzzle Chuck. I thought this was a cut way above the average Monday. And the comments...@I am not a robot, your best friend anecdote was perfection, if hard to imagine. This happened to women I know and the denouement involved bashing each other with objects at hand in the church aisle.

NOTTHAT would never be my choice of phrase if I could see once more the elfin Merce Cunningham and his troupe dancing to a John Cage composition. Maybe that's how you should take your Cage, @Loren. Good luck to your daughter. She has an impressive resume and a great PR person. I'd hire someone who can order just the broiled fish and broccoli and not wrest some milk duds from your greedy little fingers.

Hartley70 11:34 AM  

@Annabel, I think your cicada moult doll play is rather sweet. Now morbid is watching the "cicada killer" wasps drag those poor stunned cicadas into their underground wasp nests to serve as food for their young. It chokes me up every time.

Anonymous 11:45 AM  

Yep. Cliquish.

Mordechai 12:14 PM  

The clue for 5 down "source of faraway x-rays" is wrong. As my astrophysics major daughter just finished telling me a RADIO GALAXY emits primarily at radio wavelengths which are far lower energy than X-ray wavelengths. An astronomer would not consider a radio galaxy as an X-ray source per se. X-rays are generated by very high energy stellar phenomena that are found in hot regions of space which generally are not consistent with radio galaxies. An x-ray emitting galaxy is called an X-Ray Bright Galaxy.

Masked and Anonymous 12:23 PM  

Happy New Year, @Blu'Bel ! Primo write-up; superior bullets.

Thanx, @Lewis for yer heartfelt condolences. Crossword fans are the nicest peoples.

Just watched the sUrfin doggies float, in the Rose Bowl Parade. Now, there's yer day-um Party!

fave weeject: DRS. Abbr. poc. Has it all.

Thanx, Mr. Deodene. Well-crafted MonPuz with a dab of feistiness and questionable vowel-style choices.

Masked & Anonymo s


old timer 12:28 PM  

Always good to see Annabel first Monday of the month. If you are focusing on 18th Century poetry, I suppose you will one day be a tired young graduate student. Seems to me the poets we all know best, Shelley, Keats, Byron came along at the start of the 19th Century. Though I have come to like Samuel Johnson's "London".

BEL Paese I will never forget. When my stepfather's cousin came to visit, he always had a BEL Paese for her, and when I announced I loved that cheese, the cousin (who was like another aunt to me) said we were both "Sybarites". New word for me at the age of 10!

In French, the circumflex accent is there to remind you that there used to be an "s" after the vowel. I think at one time the pronunciation of the vowel changed a bit because of it. But it is useful for non-francophones who perhaps know Latin or Italian or Spanish: change "fete" to "feste" and you think "festa" or "fiesta". Change "hote" to "hoste" and you think "host". Change "cote" to "coste" and you see "costa" or "cuesta" and thing "coast".

You can make a good Bloody Mary with any strong hot sauce, but I do prefer TABASCO because I like the flavor. I used to go to a coffee shop with pretty good chili when I was a teenager, and that sauce has a unique flavor I have loved for decades. Though for shaking over fried calamari or the like, nothing beats Melinda's, also from Louisiana.

old timer 12:31 PM  

Oh. I meant to add that while LAYLA has some great guitar riffs in it, my favorite song from that era is about her cousin Lola (by the Kinks). A very early example of gender-bending.

emily 12:57 PM  

Stay with ink!

Mohair Sam 1:25 PM  

I believe there's a special talent in making Monday and Tuesday puzzles enjoyable for both the newbie and the old vet. Today's gem meets that challenge, this was a lot of fun, had a minimum of 'ese (ESSE), and a clever theme. Nice going' Chuck Deodene.

How about that Pattie Boyd? In addition to LAYLA (Clapton's best, imo) and "Something" (ditto Harrison), she's the face launched several other rock hits. About 998 on the Helen Scale I'd say.

@Lauren - Congrats to your daughter. I took advantage of your link, her work is just a wee tad over my head - Saturday cluing for sure. You gotta be super proud.

@Z - That's why I liked the interview, his thinking can be applied to all sports. Note how Bennett suggested with a grin that he take over the New York Knicks (Hell, anybody take over the Knicks, please).

@Annabel - Envy your New Year's Eve spent with two mastiffs. But I've got to admit you're the first person I've ever heard describe the big slobbering lugs as "cute."

Dorothy Biggs 1:35 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dorothy Biggs 1:46 PM  

@old timer: Lola is a great song! One of my favs...but what's interesting is that, the way the lyrics are written, Lola could be taken to be either. When he says, "I'm not the world's most masculine man, But I know what I am and I'm glad I'm a man And so is Lola," that twist at the end could go either way. Either, the singer's a man and so is Lola (the controversial, "fun" way to think of it), or Lola is as glad about the singer being a man as the singer is himself, (the boring, but still "fun" way to look at it).

Throughout the song, there are a lot of places that obviously allude to Lola being, well, mannish...but even at the payoff line above, there is still no proof. I love that. Always have.

I also think it's funny that they had to change Coca-Cola to Cherry Cola...evidently you weren't allowed to advertise products in songs in Britain at the time. The British release was cherry cola and the US version was Coca Cola.

That's probably TMI and certainly apropos of nothing at all, but at least it wasn't about Trump...amiright?

Greg 1:58 PM  

Wiktionary says that the plural of tobacco is either TOBACCOS or tobaccoes.

Carola 2:19 PM  

So nicely done! PARTY after PARTY, each more DOWN than the last. Loved the astral RADIO GALAXY balanced by the terrestrial WABASH RIVER.

@Annabel, your write-up was a treat.

Anonymous 2:41 PM  

@NCA President 1:46 PM:

U R Right!

Anonymous 3:08 PM  

George Harrison and Eric Clapton remained friends for life. See their multiple performances together on YouTube. Clapton was the musical director for the wonderful Concert for George (2003 in Royal Albert Hall).

Z 4:58 PM  

@QuasiMojo11:15 - Good one.

@Anon3:08 - So apparently the same holds true for wives as husbands, easier to find than a best friend.

Word Nerd II - Singular Verb of Convenience may be more technically correct, but the point is that number was manipulated to make the word the right length for the convenience of the constructor. And, yes, if number was an issue in both directions than you count the little s twice. For example, in asides if the first s was crossed with a plural it would be only one PoC, while the second would be 2.

@Mohair Sam - The problems with the Knicks aren't going to be solved by a coach, or a GM for that matter. Nothing is worse than being the fan of a team with a bad owner. Detroit has classic examples in all four major American sports.

@MordecaiBeizer & @Astronomy Buff - Of course a RADIO GALAXY emits x-rays, some even detectable from earth, since radio galaxies have stars and stars emit x-rays. So this is a fine clue for a Saturday or Friday. I don't think you can call the clue "wrong" (see FAQ#16). Still, I have to wonder if the misdirect was intentional given that this is a Monday. Or perhaps there just wasn't a better way to clue it.

@pmdm - @NCA Prez was pointing out that the term used in the puzzle, OFFSIDE without a terminal S, is the correct term. No need to point to Shortz that he is correct.

Tita 5:00 PM  

Bumper sticker we once saw:

"My wife ran away with my best friend...
I miss him."

Mohair Sam 6:19 PM  

@Z - Hold your tongue, you're talking to a Philadelphia fan - things could be worse.

Anonymous 6:32 PM  

@Tita, hahah!

Word Nerd III 6:39 PM  

@Z, (i)an extra S added internally doesn't just make things easier the way a final S POC does, because it shifts all subsequent letters over also, ie, it has an amplified effect;
(ii) two words that meet at a common S are indeed 2 POCs, but 1 S in 1 square = 1 instance, and you can't double-dip. If you give 1 lecture and 12 people attend, you still only gave 1 lecture, not 12, and you'll only be paid for that 1 class;
(iii) I go, you go, he/she/it GOES; we go, all y'all go, they go
Hmm, seems to me it isn't a matter of plurality but of singularity, but mainly it's a question of person. So verbifying the convenience won't cut it, Mister.

Give it up, and admit that you can't tar every terminal S with the POC brush, willy-nilly. There's rules, dammit.

Anoa Bob 6:44 PM  

@Word Nerd II, thanks for noticing. I try to restrain my comments about POCs, but sometimes can't help myself. One-trick pony, I guess. I suspect most folks could care less about them and I would hope they do the same thing when encountering a POC post that I do when I see a comment about something in which I have no interest, e.g. politics, and that is to skip right on over it and move on.

The shared S at the ends of TIN/IMP & OAT/ION is what I call a two-for-one POC. It's the equivalent of a helper square, or, less charitably, cheater square.

I don't think of a POC as a grammatical term, just a crossword term. The gist is increasing the letter count by adding an S, ES or dropping the Y and adding IES, even if it's in the middle of a phrase. Changing the base phrase GO BALD to GOES BALD ups the letter count 33% without adding anything of value or interest. Just fills up more grid space.

For the hard-core word nerd, I've posted comments on POCs and the broader issue of letter count manipulation (LCM) on my blogger site.

Why don't you get a blogger name, an avatar, and drop by more often.

PurpleCar 6:55 PM  

RAD2626 Thanks for mentioning AHSO. Ridiculously racist. We used to say this as ignorant children while we held our eyelids tight and bucked out our front teeth, trying to imitate the stereotyped Asian characters we saw in old movies. Yet another unacceptable entry in the NYT cw.

Charles Flaster 7:36 PM  

Thanks for the review AT.
Liked the puzzle.
Watching PSU go ahead of highly favored

Z 9:05 PM  

@RAD2626 and @PurpleCar - You might be interested in this or alternatives as mentioned here. I'm pretty sure there is a more recent discussion with a bit more knock-down drag-out in the comments, but I couldn't find it.

Anonymous 9:31 PM  

@anabel, for future reference: when you see TV, CD or DVD in the clue and a three letter answer, it is RCA. This not a rare occurrence.

Sorry you didn't choose science/technology. Lots of fun.

Anonymous 9:38 PM  

I had a teacher in college who told us about a prof he had in graduate school. The prof would fill the board with a problem statement and close to the end of the period step back and say "Ah so, answer is" and write the answer, and leave the room. By the end of the term when the prof stepped back he and his classmates would know everything necessary was on the board, they only needed the insight to see it. They would silently say "Ah so" and write the answer in their notes before or as the prof was writing it on the board.

Burma Shave 12:13 PM  


IGOTCHA! You’re OFFSIDE, and OVERRAN this BASH unwound,


this stream of unconsciousness sponsored by TOYOTA & TABASCO TOBACCOS

spacecraft 12:14 PM  

This is a new name to me. Debut? If so, he might be a diamond in the rough--VERY rough. The theme and execution are good; the centrally located revealer even contains "DOWN," the direction of the theme entries. This is a touch that holds promise for future efforts.

The fill, on the other hand, is the "rough." III is the crutchiest of all RRNs; ESSE of all Latinese. The grid is littered with the tired and true (note sp.). ASA--though that, at least, could have been clued as a name instead of a partial--and KEEPSTO are unlovely.

There are some good moments. OFFSIDE does not normally carry an ending S, either in football, football as the rest of the world defines it (soccer), or hockey. Think about it: you can only be off one side or the other...right? LAYLA (the poignant unplugged version, please; the wail by Derek and the Dominoes is awful until you get to the piano end) is a classic--and if only spelled differently would make a splendid DOD (Ali). But we do have one: GENE Tierney. Alan Alda as Hawkeye once said about her "I'm a sucker for an overbite." Yeah, me too.

Hit into the "rough" and you flirt with bogey--but sometimes the rough GOESBALD and you escape with a par. Besides, we have to encourage this new blood. [eschews biting rookie's NECK]

rondo 12:45 PM  

Welcome to the PARTY. I guess they’re all over if you only look for them. COLumns 4 and 9 are all threes, but lotsa long and longish answers for a Mon-puz give me HOPE for Mr. Deodene’s future.

I was right about Lady Gaga being the highlight of the Super Bowl, until the PATs woke up in the second half for a score-FEST. HOLY cow. That’ll be hard to TOP. Enjoy any of the ADS?

Since LAYLA was inspired by yeah baby Pattie Boyd, I’m ABLE to stretch that to years AGO.

NOTTHAT much to complain about, compared to normal Monday METRICS.

leftcoastTAM 1:30 PM  

PARTYDOWN? Okay. Let's also note the beer ONTAP, some who just SIT there, and the NECKing in the corner. Oh, and on the other side of the room, the beer-sotted YOWLer (though HOWL would fit the clue better) feeling his OATS. TSK.

It's all a matter of LIFESTYLECHOICE, it seems.

RADIOGALAXY is an interesting term, and maybe worth knowing. The other long downs are pretty good, too.

OH, and thanks, CD, for providing the music.

rain forest 3:16 PM  

Annabel, would that you were the "mouth" of the year.

Despite some trite entries, this was quite an interesting puzzle with a unique down-themer, er, theme, and a nice revealer. I never notice POCs and don't care unless they are egregious, eg, lints. Btw, why do we say, "eat your peas", but never "eat your corns"? Language, I guess, but even "corns" is legit if we're talking about those calluses you might get on your toe, something I have one of and have no idea why it is there and am hoping doesn't become plural.

Amazing Super Bowl, @Rondo. I'm a Pats fan but I do believe the Falcons just blew this one, wasting an impossible catch by Julio Jones in the process.

Nice Monday.

Diana,LIW 4:15 PM  

I thought this was just right for a Monday. Of course, easy, but also fun.

Speaking of fun, I guess yesterday's game inspired more than a few FEST, GALA, BASH, and FETE partaays. So half of our contractor's crew called in this morning, and our demo/reno loses another day.

I loved Melissa's commercial yesterday, even with a bit of a "three stooges" edge. And 4 years of bad hair? What can I say? That was a drink spitter for sure.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

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