Lebanese city that was once enter of Phoenician civilization / MON 1-16-17 / Penny Dreadful channel for short / Intestinal fortitude informally / Arrested suspect informally

Monday, January 16, 2017

Constructor: John Wrenholt

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: SIX WAYS TO SUNDAY (63A: Completely ... with a summation of 17-, 30- and 47-Across) — previous three themers start with ONE WAY, TWO WAY, and THREE WAY, respectively, for a total of "six ways":

Theme answers:
  • ONE WAY OR ANOTHER (17A: Somehow)
  • TWO-WAY RADIO (30A: Walkie-talkie)
  • THREE-WAY TIE (47A: Rare occurrence of "Jeopardy!") 
Word of the Day: SWAG (15D: Lavish party favors) —
The freebie swag, sometimes also spelled schwag, dates back to the 1960s and was used to describe promotional items. According to our files, early swag was everything from promotional records sent to radio stations to free slippers for airline passengers. In short order, this particular meaning of swag broadened and soon referred to anything given to an attendee of an event (such as a conference) as a promotional stunt. // This swag didn't gain much use until the 1990s, but it also didn't appear out of thin air. The newer meanings were based on an older, more established meaning that referred to goods acquired by unlawful means. (merriam-webster.com)
• • •

I do like the revealer phrase, and have been known to use it (or the "from Sunday" variation of it) from time to time. It is a weird idiom with a complicated history (read about it here). [Completely] is not how I use it. I think of it as meaning "all kinds of different ways," but I guess by extension you could get to "in every way imaginable" and thus "thoroughly." At any rate, "Completely" is certainly an accepted definition. But it's a wriggly phrase, in which (according to World Wide Words) the number "six" was only the most common number to be used (probably because of alliteration). All kinds of other numbers can be found in six's place over the years. One place I looked had "Forty ways to Sunday." It's a lively idiom. The theme is clever but also flawed. Adding up the numbers of the ways was strange (not necessarily in a bad way). I'm more concerned that the revealer has this totally non-thematic extra part to it, i.e. "to Sunday." It's fine for themers to have only one phrase part (first word, last word, etc.) involved, but a revealer is supposed to work from stem to stern. A good revealer snaps, and *all* of it is involved in indicating what the hell was up with the theme. This puzzle has zero to do with Sunday. If you want that phrase as a revealer, then it should mean something in its complete form. "To Sunday" just hangs out there ... left over. Unnecessary. Abandoned. Not great.

[Debbie Harry starred in a 1997 crime drama called ... "SIX WAYS TO SUNDAY"]

There was one hard patch in this where the cluing seemed both off and vague. The trouble started with SWAG, specifically a. the fact that the clue indicates a plural so I wanted it to end in "S," and b. the word "lavish." The fake-out on the plural is fair enough, but "lavish" ... ? I guess if you are an Oscar nominee and are at some party hosted by the MPAA, then sure, they'll give you an iPad or whatever, but SWAG is just slang for party favors. A gift bag. A bunch of promotional stuff. Anyone who's ever been given "a bunch of promotional stuff" (yeah, I just quoted myself), knows that ... "Lavish" doesn't enter in. Totally unnecessarily limiting adjective. Also, PEANUTS, in my world, needs "Packing" in front of it to make any sense in this context (4D: Alternative to bubble wrap). Also also, when I finally got SWAG, off of that initial "G" at 22A: Intestinal fortitude (GUTS), I wanted GRIT. I also was very tentative about the second vowel in DIVOT (32D: Golfer's gouge), and couldn't nail either ___ SAFE or GET ___ at first shot. Both of those were access points to other parts of the grid, and both required me hacking a crosses fill them out. Ended with a time slightly, but not significantly, north of normal.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 7:09 AM  

"Ok class, I can't devote the entire hour to explaining why everyone we don't agree with is a nazi. Please open your copy of X-Man to page 11 . . . "

Moly Shu 7:10 AM  

Any puzzle with PRO, TEE, and DIVOT is ok in my book. I thought SWAG stood for Stuff We All Get.

Unknown 7:12 AM  

What a perfect WAY for @John Wrenholt to make his New York Times debut. Thanks, @Rex, for your gracious review and the backstory about the revelatory phrase.

Yesterday, @Joel Fagliano taught us that SIX, when tripled, is a symbol of evil. However, I prefer to think of SIX as the first perfect number, i.e., 6 = 1 + 2 +3, the sum of its proper divisors.

Nice touch to put in @Will Shortz's favorite, PINGPONG--though I believe he prefers to call it table tennis. Also, interesting reminder of Robert FROST, who recited poetry at a presidential inauguration some 56 years ago. I do hope the roads won't be too ICY on my way to work on this Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, the day before classes resume.

Z 7:32 AM  

ONE, TWO, THREE,... SIX? Oh, "summation."

Liked this well enough. The fill is clean and the theme is nice if a little teetering. I'm not sure we needed a revealer. If anything the revealer almost knocks the theme off its moorings. I guess we need some explanation of why we jumped from THREE to SIX, but it seems a little post hoc, "I can't come up with a four way that works so I'll just toss on top that you add the first three and no one will notice."

Still, over all a nice debut.

Damn pigeon crap.

John Child 7:39 AM  

Congratulations to Mr Wrenholt on a nice Monday puz debut. Only a couple of mild grumbles in the south over EDUC and OTRA (can never remember the final vowel ... or is it gender dependent?). We got a WET THREE-WAY, and we're gonna GET BUSY. For the love of heaven do not venture into the darker corners of the web for a definition of TEA BAG.

I object to politics in this venue, but props to the good Reverend Doctor feel appropriate today. It seems impossible that anyone could take offense, but if you do my email is easy to find: click my name in blue above the post and contact me off-blog.

Lewis 7:45 AM  

A lovely debut with a simple yet enjoyable theme, clean grid, mini-theme of double E's (6), TOP-SECRET up where it belongs, a low-flying KITE, a TIE at the end of a themer to go along with TWIST, and a backward A_TIP to complement the PRO, who gives and takes them, as we learn in the cluing.

Speaking of Sunday, maybe one day well up the road, a constructor will use some mathematical and cruciverbal magic to conjure a similarly-themed Sunday offering whose final answer is Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover.

Loren Muse Smith 7:46 AM  

A debut! Congrats, John. Pretty straightforward Monday. @Z – yeah. I bet like a ton of solvers, I was looking for some kind of “four,” but I get that ONE + TWO + THREE = SIX. The TO SUNDAY part was a bit confusing, but I won’t overthink this. Hey! Change the W to D for six days to Sunday. And it is!

Cool to have longish entries stacked with themers: TOP SECRET (up top!), TREE STUMP, PING PONG, and WALL SAFE.

I noticed GUTS right next to ULCER. Speaking of which, FLOWERS is right next to EAT UP, going back to yesterday’s poisonous AZALEA clue. Hah.

Also fun to have PEANUTS crossing PECAN. I always used to do surreptitious surgical strikes into the mixed nuts can for all the pecans. By the end of its life, the can just had a bunch of Brazil nuts that no one wanted. I say “used to” because we don’t have communal cans of mixed nuts anymore. I have to by unsalted nuts now for my health-conscious husband, son, and daughter. Sigh. Where’s the joy in an unsalted nut? Sigh. Let them fight over their unsalted pecans.

ICY and I SEE in the grid. The roads are icy, I see; icu wards may be affected.

I think I’d scramble to get “a-listers” and not A-LISTS to come to my parties.

@Z –you could refer to that little piece of pigeon crap as a pigeon stool.

John Wrenholt – bask in your glory today. And get a copy to frame. Congrats again.

Z 7:49 AM  

Also, happy Martin Luther King Day. Let me recommend


or this

or this

or if movies are more your thing, this.

chefbea 7:55 AM  

What a fun easy nutty puzzle for golfers!!!

Saw that yesterday we had 170 comments. Is that a record????

CFXK 7:56 AM  

I'm not sure that "peanuts" needs "packing" before it. Back when I was in college (many, many years ago), my mom used to send me cakes. quick breads and cookies packed, literally, in peanuts (you know, the actual legumes in a shell). This was before long FedEx and Express Mail, so the parcel could take a week or more to arrive. Something about the peanuts kept the baked goods not only intact, but fresh and edible. Those styrofoam things we now call "packing peanuts" are descendants (and cheap knock-offs) of the original packing materials - real edible peanuts. Though no doubt those styrofoam things keep things intact, fresh and edible is not the first thing that comes to mind when I think about what the chemicals therein would do to my mom's baked goods.

So, yeah, "peanuts" doesn't need to be qualified with "packing." No way can you wash down those styrofoam things with some cheap beer before digging into mom's baking.

Glimmerglass 8:06 AM  

Ahoy, you ignorant landlubbers! In sailing, a "sheet" is a ROPE used to control a sail, not the sail itself. As in "Haul in the main sheet," which means "Tighten the rope conneced to the outboad end of the boom" (which in turn is attached to foot of the mains'l). Most other sheets aboard are also ropes (cf. jib sheet). One would not be likely to attach a bed sheet to a mast.

kitshef 8:17 AM  

@chefbea - 255 comments on 9/15/2016 is the most I can recall. Also got 244 comments on the 9/11/2014 puzzle.

Fun Monday puzzle with a cute theme, nice fill, nice cluing. Excellent start to the week.

While hiking, we've encountered bears, moose, coyotes and lions, but the most nervous I've ever been was when we came across a white-tailed deer in RUT.

pmdm 8:22 AM  

The constructor elsewhere lets us know that he previously submitted a puzzle whose theme, poison ivy, Mr. Shortz felt was too unpleasant for the Times crossword puzzle solvers. Perhaps. Or perhaps not. I for one would be happy to solve it.

As Jeff Chen remarked, the dearth of typical crossword glue found in a Monday puzzle is happily absent from this puzzle. So a hearty congratulations for a debut puzzle that was enjoyable for me to solve.

I agree with George Baraby's comment. Why don't you, Mr. Baraby, construct a puzzle whose theme is perfect numbers? I can't recall ever seeing a puzzle with that theme.

Anonymous 8:22 AM  

Nice puzzle. Easy enough, but with a little push back.

Thank gods there were no controversial figures embedded in the puzzle.

Phil 8:26 AM  

Repeating @Glimmerglass why misuse sheet in nautical terms. It's a little insulting to the solver essentially saying you're too ignorant to know what a sheet is on a ship. Aw sheet.

Anyway three sheets to the wind says it all.

Tita 8:27 AM  

@Glimmerglass - aye, matey!
Yer a landlubber fer sure if you call SAILs sheets or lines ropes.
Or did Will et al consult this:
"rope that controls a sail," O.E. sceatline "sheet-line," from sceata "lower part of sail," originally "piece of cloth," from same root as sheet (1) (q.v.). The sense transferred to the rope by 1294."

In spite of FAQ#14, seems like a rare actually wrong answer to me...

Good puzzle, in spite of the revealer being something I rarely hear. (But have heard)

BEECH give nuts? Oooooh....Beechnut - wasn't that a babyfood brand? Is it made from Beechnuts?

Lise 8:31 AM  

Swag is also a term used in geocaching for the "treasure" that is exchanged in a container large enough to hold actual items (some containers are terrifyingly tiny). This kind of swag is generally not lavish. ;)

I liked the puzzle! Nice and mathy, mostly in my wheelhouse, and a fun start to my morning. Nice debut, Mr. Wrenholt.

Tita 8:39 AM  

@lms...you're brave to admit to selectively foraging through the salted nuts. We all do that with our favorites. We don't all admit it... We'd get along great, as I like those giant brazil nuts!!
And brazil nuts are a great way to segue to a sequel from yesterday...

Laura, the parrot that adopted me, had another charming habit of nibbling gently at my little toe in the morning at breakfast - her way of begging for scraps.
Meals were served in a large open-air room, so she could fly in at will. There were huge trays full of all sorts of exotic fruits and nuts surrounding the tables.

I thought it was adorable. Til I saw her using that same beak to methodically power through a coconut.
Then I thought it was terrifying.

But what a missed opportunity not to teach her some new vocabulary...

Arlene 8:41 AM  

The FROST clue immediately evoked images of the JFK inauguration. Those who watched may recall that as Robert Frost read one of his poems, the glare of the sun made it difficult for him to see the words. I guess this made an impression on me - as that clue immediately brought back this memory.

Sherm Reinhardt 8:52 AM  

This was a personal best Monday time for me because for the first time I felt confident enough to use Rex's (and a bunch of other solvers') method of anticipating what the answers were before looking at the clues and thus just going through the puzzle at a fast clip. For example, I put LENS instead of UVEA but realized quickly that wasn't going to work and just did the others in that area. UVEA emerged, a new word to me.

I can't relate to Rex's fixation on SWAG because everything else in the NW was pretty easy, so SWAG just filled itself in. Or maybe I was thinking about SWAG because my wife recently went to a conference where the SWAG was a box of Kleenex with the sponsoring company's name plastered all over it. Hardly lavish!

r.alphbunker 8:53 AM  

I really liked this puzzle. How much? Let me count the ways.

1. Clean fill
2. Surprise ending (6 not 4)
3. On the Reagle test I got 52 right which is the highest ever
5. Entered YOYO for 5D. {Toy on a string} KITE
6. It is a debut puzzle.

Details are here.

@George. I encountered perfect numbers early in my programming career. In the first week of my first programming course (FORTRAN in 1968) I had the idea to try to find all the perfect numbers. I managed to find a way to bypass the normal time limit for student programs on the IBM mainframe and the operator had to cancel my job and I got a reprimand from the director of the computer lab. My program found 496 and 8128. It was cancelled before it got to 33,550,336.

RooMonster 9:03 AM  

Hey All !
Let me count the WAYS. Har. Agree about the TO SUNDAY. Once I got revealer, went back to see if the themers went TO SUNDAY. Um, nope, they just end. Weird.

Puz had a slight edge to it. Not completely Monday easy, couple misdirects/writeovers, elan-BRIO, yoyo-KITE, pbs-SHO.

Agree A LISTS is off-sounding. Needs the ER. Was snickering at the FLOWERS clued as flowers. If Fri or Sat clue would've been - Tigris and Nile. Liked answer EAT UP. I SEE GET BUSY. STOP! :-)

TWAS BRIO and the ICY TYREs...


Nancy 9:07 AM  

As I filled in 17A, I started singing the song and was hoping Rex would have a clip of Blondie singing One Way or Another so I could keep that in my head all day!

Tita 9:08 AM  

@r.alph...you biked across Montana?
And that was just one etape?

Great perfect number stories. If I had to pick who among us had written such a program, I would have picked you.

Airymom 9:09 AM  

After filling in "three way tie", I immediately jumped towards the squares where the last theme entry would be and filled in "four way stop sign". I was sure it was the answer. (And yes, it contains 15 letters). That held me up for a bit, but then I got to axis and knew the number was six. I am not familiar with the expression, "six ways to Sunday", but I view it as "hey, I learned something new," not "this is an obsolete or largely unknown answer."

I enjoyed the puzzle--easy Monday with a twist.

QuasiMojo 9:23 AM  

I had "Six Ways to a Monday." Duh... Never heard that expression but doesn't it make sense since there are "six days" before a Sunday? As in the original six days it took to make the universe? And then He (She, It) rested?

As for the plethora of comments yesterday, I liked the one that some anonymous guy posted (I think) about the egos involved in creating all those self-serving comments. Touché!

Nancy 9:26 AM  

I thought another theme for this puzzle could have been: "You're a real nut!" As for the actual theme, SIX WAYS TO SUNDAY is an expression I'm not sure I've ever heard anyone say in real life. Though I do know it exists. A perfectly pleasant, if very easy puzzle with no junk. The cluing, though, was much too straightforward for my liking. But perfectly fine for a Monday.

Nancy 9:33 AM  

@Kim from late yesterday -- For heaven's sake, don't leave, girl! (Boy?) If Rex's comments and attitude get your goat, don't read him. (I never do.) Stay here for the scintillating commentariat and the genuine community that's been created. Do we have a deal?

GHarris 9:36 AM  

Yes, Arlene I too remember Frost trying to deal with the glare as he read his inaugural poem, The Gift Outright. Wonder which poet will be reading at the upcoming inaugural..

Hungry Mother 9:37 AM  

Lots of memories of operators killing my computer jobs. The Eight Queens problem, done by brute force, was one of mine that earned me a call from the Computer Center.

Anonymous 9:50 AM  

I also have never heard the expression "six ways to Sunday". I wonder if it might be a regional saying. In any case, it did not slow down the solving and I find it acceptable as a solution. I think the cluing on "swag" is fine. It may have other definitions but I have only heard it in the context of the Oscars. So I have always thought of swag as expensive stuff rich celebrities get even though they don't need it!

Greg 10:13 AM  

i liked it. I didn't find myself groaning out loud.

L 10:35 AM  

I thought I was losing it - thank you for pointing this out!

L 10:38 AM  

Mo problem finishing this puzzle, but I too never heard of the revealer expression. And I originally had cart for PLOW - but quickly saw my error.

Mohair Sam 10:43 AM  

Another pleasant Monday puzzle, Will's on a roll. Debut? Congrats John Wrenholt, nice one.

Surprised a few of you don't know the phrase SIX WAYS TO SUNDAY - like @Rex I use it from time to time, usually when I'm well ahead in a board game or the like: "Hah! I've got your ass whupped six ways to Sunday!" And thanks for the origins link Rex.

@John Child - I strongly doubt your email will be busy today.

@Arlene - Nice memory jog on FROST at the JFK inauguration, that moment made the poet seem so frail and human to this teenager, thanks.

I am not a robot 10:48 AM  

Easy until that little SE corner. Had six ways to... got stuck in the that corner...finally realized stump, and arrived at Sunday. At that point, what Rex said.

Hartley70 11:01 AM  

@r.alphbunker, I'm sure I should know this by now, but what is the (Merl) Reagle test? it It's obviously not the Breakfast Test.

@Tita, like Dickens, you're giving us "The Story of a Parrot" in installments. Each is more intriguing than the last and I'm hoping that Laura has fame, and certainly fortune, by the denouement.

The puzzle was a fine Monday submission. Props to the debut constructor.

Numinous 11:05 AM  

I can't recall a context but I know I've heard multiple WAYS TO SUNDAY in the past. Or maybe I've read it. When it came up in this puzzle, I thought it was cute. I'm no math maven and I don't know what a perfect number is or why it might be important beyond being amusing for math mavens, but I saw instantly that ONE+TWO+THREE=SIX. Once I had SIX AYS TO the W and SUNDAY just popped into my head.

I liked seeing PIPPI Longstocking today. My second daughter, the one with the violent red hair loved that character and liked having her hair in pigtails the way PIPPI wore it. It seemed like PIPPI was everywhere in the late '80s and early '90s: books, live action and animated movies. I used to tease her by calling her Alexandra Longstocking. And, of course, we had to find her some knee-length stripy socks. My elder daughter obsessed on Queen Celeste but at least we didn't have to go out shopping for big ears or a trunk.

My normal Monday time is around ten minutes. I got this one done in about seven so I'm surprised this took @Rex longer than normal. When I was done, I had to tab through all the down clues to read what I'd missed on the way across. I thought this was a nice "piece of cake" to go with MiLK Day.

Malsdemare 11:05 AM  

I was hoping for a tribute to the good Reverend; alas, not to be, but this was a fun puzzle. I'm ashamed to say I completely missed the error on sheets; I wonder if this means we'll never be able to bareboat again? I just saw mast and dropped in SAIL. @LMS I, too, thought SIX dAYS TO SUNDAY would be great but sitting there by itself without some justification beyond this is Monday would have been odd. And then we get the ugly dET. I have no idea why I knew SIX WAYS; sometimes I think my brain leads a second, secret life, sneaking out at night to hang out with random people not like me. Maybe it's bored by my predictability and needs some variety to spice up its life.

I tried to do this with only the acrosses and got probably 75% so I guess this was easy. We had a nice range of names, from PIPPI, to FROST to STIEG and, Lord, love a duck, I knew them all.

Now to do something that pays the bills.

Joseph Michael 11:08 AM  

Congrats, John, on your debut.

Nicely constructed puzzle with an original theme and not much junk.

Was taken aback at first by the leap from THREE to SIX until I realized that the revealer was the sum of the themers.

Appreciated the fact that the grid was not glutted with proper nouns for a change and liked the mix of celebs who showed up: PIPPI, FROST, TRU, and STIEG as well as the famous IRENE of song.

But did I overlook a certain Jennifer hiding in the grid?

Joseph Michael 11:10 AM  

Congrats, John, on your debut.

Nicely constructed puzzle with an original theme and not much junk.

Was taken aback at first by the leap from THREE to SIX until I realized that the revealer was the sum of the themers.

Appreciated the fact that the grid was not glutted with proper nouns for a change and liked the mix of celebs who showed up: PIPPI, FROST, TRU, and STIEG as well as the famous IRENE of song.

But did I overlook a certain Jennifer hiding in the grid?

Malsdemare 11:10 AM  

Oh, the early days of the computer. I remember submitting the data for my master's thesis on cards, waiting 24 hours for the run, and returning to find that card 87 had been kicked and stopped the processing. So, fix the error, resubmit, wait 24, and now it's card 132. Then card 174, and on and on. It took over a week to run a simple ANOVA on a dataset with an n = 250. Good times.

@Tita, Laura sounds wonderful.

puzzle hoarder 11:14 AM  

I don't understand how you can spend years entering themed crossword gibberish then turn around and criticize today's theme for not quite making sense. SIXWAYSTOSUNDAY makes all the sense it needs to. The only phrase of that sort that I've actually heard is "Ten different ways to Sunday." It seems to be of the same ilk as a "Sunday go to meetin' bun." type of idiom.
This was a well thought out Monday and an excellent debut. The one flaw I could find was there wasn't a single entry I needed to brush up on. Then I spotted UVEA in the comments and realized I'd forgotten exactly what part of the eye it was. Obviously I just never read the clue while filling in as the explanation is right there.

Noah Webster 11:20 AM  

I am appalled, outraged, and otherwise discomfited by the egregious error in the clue for SHEET. I dedicated my life to providing people with the ability to find the definitions of words in one easy to find source.. If you want to find out the accepted usage of any word in the English language, say for example SHEET, you can just go <a href="https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sheet>here.</a>

Anonymous 11:40 AM  

I was expecting the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young album, Four Way Street. (The title actually used a numeral 4 rather than spelling it out.) Wrong number of letters, though.

jberg 11:48 AM  

I agree that SHEET was wrong, but I put it in anyway -- the misuse is so common. I'm not really a sailor, but got some instruction back at the U of Wisconsin 50+ years ago, and the first session was pretty much devoted to teaching me the names of everything. But that's more sailing than most people have done, so I'm not too surprised by the error.

I've always heard "SIX WAYS from SUNDAY," but now that I've learned about all the variants I've no objection to the TO. I've mostly heard it used as a sort of comical threat: "If I get hold of him, I'm gonna turn him six ways from Sunday."

This one was really easy, though I did have Tooth mark before TREE STUMP, and I had to let the crosses decide between STIEG and STeiG. I've read all those novels about Ms. Salander, but still can't keep it straight.

I wouldn't call a PLOW an "apparatus," but I guess you could; and I'd call a TREE STUMP a "stump," but the fill is remarkably clean -- even TEE is saved by the inclusion of DIVOT. Congratulations, Mr. Wrenholt!

old timer 11:49 AM  

Played very fast for me -- 9 minutes and could have been 7 if I had not checked most of the Downs.

Clearly *designed* as a Monday puzzle. The revealer reminded us there are SIX WAYS (starting today) for us to fail to finish, before SUNDAY.

Carola 11:56 AM  

Add me to those admiring this fine Monday puzzle. Cute theme (though I admit to spending some time looking for a SUNDAY connection in the grid) plus PECAN and BEECH and TREE STUMP, WET TEABAGS (story of my stained sink), TOP SECRET, GET BUSY - plenty of BRIO.

It occurred to me later that another reveal could have been the conveniently 15-letter Cincinnati chili.

Malsdemare 12:02 PM  

@Carola. Yes! Skyline chili (3-way for me) used to be the best chili in the world; not so much any more. Pretty watered down. But Skyline followed by Graeters? Bliss!

Carola 12:18 PM  

@Malsdemare - Back atcha with a Yes! to Graeters. My husband did a stint in Columbus some years back, and I discovered nirvana on Lane Ave. in the form of vanilla chocolate chip.

Anonymous 12:33 PM  

Let's thank our lucky stars we won't be looking at a pantsuit this Friday.

Vincent Lima 12:34 PM  

Wow! That was interesting!

Paul W 12:44 PM  

I like it that 63A could have been "completely, with a summation or PRODUCT of the numbers in 17-, 30- and 47 -Across." A perfect number puzxle would be great but there is only 1 one-digit PN, 1 two-digit PN, and 1 three-digit PN. They are very rare.

Cassieopia 12:45 PM  

Popping in to offer props on this puzzle, congrats debut constructor!

Thanks to all for pointing out that six is the sum of the other themers, as I had no idea why four wasn't there instead. Just proves I have a way to go when it comes to appreciating all of a puzzle's nuances.

Also as a non-beach non-sailing landlubber extraordinaire I thought SAIL was perfectly appropriate - good to know differently and now I won't embarrass myself among sailing friends.

Happy Monday and MLK Day!

Anoa Bob 12:47 PM  

Only a landlubber, that most miserable wretch, would call a SAIL a sheet (that includes you @Noah). The Sail=sheet error has happened before, and not that long ago. The way things nautical generally get clued makes me think that Will and staff are all landlubbers.

THREE WAY TIE and its clue have a whiff of M&A desperation to them, if you ask m&e. Has to be THREE WAY something with a matching letter-count to TWO WAY RADIO. Then you've got to wonder what in the world would actually have a THREE WAY TIE. I've watched a lot of Jeopardy over the years and don't recall even a TWO WAY TIE. Has there actually ever been a THREE WAY TIE? How about THREE WAY SEX? (That's a rhetorical question, not an offer.) It has the correct letter-count, and would add some spice to the grid, right?

jae 12:48 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jae 12:50 PM  

Medium for me too. SorrY before SADLY. Funny theme, liked it. Nice debut.

Anonymous 1:07 PM  

Glad I'm not a whiny lib - or fat.

Teedmn 1:21 PM  

This was a really nice debut, yet surprisingly easy considering it wasn't overly stuffed with crosswordese. I had an uncommon sub-six minute solution. My big writeover was plopping Troy in at 13D off the T even while my brain was saying "The site of Troy has yet to be determined conclusively but I'm pretty sure Lebanon was never in the running." But I got LUCKY so this definitely SKEWed easy, even for a Monday.

I'll be fighting @LMS for the PECANs and @Tita for the Brazil Nuts. Everyone else can go for the almonds and cashews. I bought mixed nuts for Christmas and paid a dollar extra for the label saying "less than 50% peanuts." I think maybe it was down to 49% :-(.

@Hartley70, if you solve online (but not on an iPad, it won't work) you might want to try @r.alphbunker's Reagle exam or his downs only or acrosses only options when you know the puzzle is going to be easy. The Reagle or cycle test lets you see how much of a puzzle you know as gimmes as the process moves you through all of the acrosses first, then the downs, but your answers disappear after you go to the next clue so you are never using the crosses to help your solve. At the end, you get a list of how many you got right. You then are shown the grid with navigation back to normal so you can finish up. It livens up the solve for the really easy puzzles.

Masked and Anonymous 1:37 PM  

Ahar. The intriguin metapuzzle of the Sunday appearance within the MonPuz. An enigma wrapped inside a box of packin peanuts. Different. Like Different. Way way way way coo l, in fact.

Very welldone debut. Great fillins (PINGPONG [yo, @Shortzmeister]. TOPSECRET. TREESTUMP. LUCKY. GETBUSY. PECAN roll into NUTS. Doin the TWIST. yadda more.) Desperation used only in moderation (EDUC+CAMO). A mere smatterin (12) of weeject material (staff 2-way pick = RUT & TRU).

yep. EAT-UP DIVOT on the TEE. Mark of an M&A-calliber golfer.

fave moo-cow MonPuz clue: {"___ the night before Christmas"}.

Thanx, Mr. Wrenholt. [Wrenholt means "hold the pewit", in middle-ancient German.] Great job. Come on back; bring the poison ivy.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


JL 2:07 PM  

SWAG- Scientific Wild-Ass Guess- A rough estimate made by an expert in the field, based on experience and intuition and what I sometimes resort to when trying to complete crossword puzzles.

Hartley70 2:14 PM  

@Teedman, I solve on my iPhone. I don't think I have access to those options or would be able to squint my eyes tight enough to see them if I did. I'll have to check it out when I'm at a computer, thanks!

The Skipper 2:18 PM  

Regarding "Sheet on a mast"

I too saw this but determined that, as the clue was written, there was nothing wrong with SAIL as the answer.

Rememember, the clue says "Sheet on a mast." Of all the various "ropes" and such used in a sailboat's rigging, the "sheets" are not on the mast. They are attached at one end to the clew of the sail (or a boom) and control inward/outward position of the sail. Shrouds, stays, halyards, and sometimes downhauls are attached at some point on a mast. A sheet is not on a mast.

Therefore, this clue works properly with the answer. If the clue had been "Sheet on a sailboat" there would have been a problem.

Brian 2:34 PM  

Six is 1+2+3 and is also 1 x 2 x 3 (3!)
I agree, would be better with four way stop sign
Wait, here's a theme
Winner, Repeat, Threepeat(TM), Fourplay

RooMonster 2:41 PM  

Holy Sheets!


Z 2:47 PM  

@Sailors - We've had this discussion before. That there is a specialized nautical meaning for sheet does not eliminate the more generic definitions. Specifically, "An extensive unbroken surface area of something" (from Oxford Online, definition 3.1)), so not "wrong." I would agree, though, that seeing the nautical meaning used in a puzzle seems remote.*

@Malsdemare - And how long would it have taken you to calculate that ANOVA (that's analysis of variance for the non-stat folk) by hand?

*Now that I said it the nautical meaning will probably show up Saturday in some nasty misdirection.

Pdxrains 3:21 PM  

Yeah the swag "Schwag" clue was bogus.

Swag is tote bags, t shirts, pens, and bottle openers from a trade show. It's not lavish by any stretch of the imagination.

Malsdemare 3:24 PM  

@Z. 'Bout forever . . . But using SPSS or some such? Once data entry was done, a nano second, and then you get to PLAY WITH THE DATA!! Also known as unprofessional, unjustifiable, unethical, but so much fun!

jae 3:36 PM  

@Z and Mal - I did a few ANOVAS by hand back in the late '60s/early 70's, so I have a deep appreciation for SPSS.

Crane Poole 4:33 PM  

I hope if I ever achieve a NYT debut of my own, it's as neat, clean, and complaint-free as this one.

Unknown 4:57 PM  

51 "Sheet on a mast" threw me. As any sailor knows a sheet on a sailboat is a line, a jib sheet, main sheet, etc. There are dozens of obscure names for these lines. I never expected a sheet to be a sail.

Anonymous 4:57 PM  

At least Zoe Saldana gets it.

Anonymous 5:35 PM  

Anyone care to guess Reverend King's political affiliation?

Nancy 5:37 PM  

I have this tendency to treat the blog as a smorgasbord and glom onto the subjects that interest me, while skimming -- or skipping entirely -- those that don't. And right now, I'm very, very angry with myself for doing so. Had I been paying strict attention today to a whole host of exquisitely detailed, occasionally baffling comments, I would, by now, know more than enough about sailing to enough to confidently enter the race for the America's Cup. Maybe, who knows, even win it!

Norm 5:52 PM  

Three-way tie in Jeopardy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72zn2KODSsY
But it actually can't happen anymore, since they changed the rules to provide for a sudden death round.

I still can't wrap my head around Rex's objections to the revealer, since I fail to see how "to Sunday" is any more removed from "six ways" than "or another" is from "one way," but I've given up expecting him to make sense when he finds something to dislike.

Joe Bleaux 6:27 PM  

Personal aside: You probably don't recognize my name, because -- as a retiree -- I rarely work the puzzle before noon; consequently, anything I might want to say has already been addressed by the commentariat. That (finally!) said, I noticed that in your Sunday comments, you mentioned your folks in Lilburn. Is that as in Gwinnett? If so, please let me know in your Tuesday comments. If not, do as the rest of the world is wont to do, and ignore me. Regardless, I daily look forward to anything you have to say; I'm especially anticipating tomorrow's comments. Thank you!

Anonymous 6:36 PM  

Dems just don't get it (thank goodness). Please keep making the same mistakes at least until 2018.

Z 7:06 PM  

@Joe Bleaux - I'm guessing that you are using an iPhone or somesuch to comment, making your comment a total non sequitur to anyone not using a smartphone. That's why we mostly include things like "@LMS" if we want to ask them a question. Also, some of us check off "email follow-up" so we see your posts.

Anonymous 8:04 PM  

Oh man you guys, I'm like physically aching in dread of what's going to take place this Friday. What should I do?

Anonymous 10:29 PM  

I'm another of those like @jberg who thought the phrase was SIX WAYS FROM SUNDAY. Held me up a slight bit when I couldn't fit that in.

SWAG is also something you collect after a running/cycling/whatever race, typically as the post says, a bunch of promo stuff. Perhaps referenced as, "Did you see what was in the SWAG Bag?"

Anyway, not bad for a Monday,

Anonymous 11:10 PM  

Start With A Gift?

Anonymous 11:47 PM  

No, we will be looking at a psychotic/near psychotic person swearing an oath. That should make everyone feel good.

Anonymous 11:51 PM  

Unlike DT, who is looking fat enough and is apparently sleeping 3 or 4 hours a night what with being so busy with Tweeting rants, it would be a terrible tragedy if he did not last long.

Anonymous 11:53 PM  

Yes, at least the Donald gets it regularly although it is apparently many times by force or he has to pay. So sad.

Burma Shave 9:56 AM  


SADLY, it’s TRU, I SENT FLOWERS to IRENE and her mother,


rondo 11:12 AM  

Quick Mon-puz with little resistance. Did have one write-over with RANge before RANCH. And how could OFL not include the Blondie video featuring yeah baby Debbie Harry?

It’s PIPPI L√•ngstrump in Swedish. Any student of the Swedish language has probably read one of Swedish author Astrid Lindgren’s books. Did I mention PIPPI was originally Swedish? So was STIEG Larsson, whose books I read and I was LUCKY enough to see all 3 of the original movies - in Swedish. Noomi Rapace was “The Girl . . .” Yeah baby.

The way this MN weather is going it won’t be long before I’m making DIVOTs. It’s supposed to be a holiday and out of the RUT, but SADLY, much work to do, so now I need to GETBUSY.

spacecraft 12:02 PM  

Like @Airymom, I was set up for the FOURWAYSTOPSIGN that never materialized. I thought, as I was (easily) solving, that this grid was coming together rather smoothly--for a name I didn't recognize. The fill did waver a bit near the bottom, but not inordinately. If this is indeed a debut, it's a most promising one IMO.

I guess it depends on which neck of the woods one has lived...to me it's always been six ways FROM Sunday. The idea being (I guess) "Any day of the week." Something "guar-ON-teed" to happen. I can beat you six ways from Sunday with one hand tied behind my back. That sort of thing.

"Fame" girl IRENE Cara takes DOD honors today. At least she's actually in the grid. A first-hole birdie, not uncommon at last week's tour event at Riviera, whose first is a reachable par-5.

Diana,LIW 12:43 PM  

I, too, forget the ending of the Spanish words. Thought "alas" was going to end up being "So dry," and wondered if that was a phrase that had escaped my notice. But then I fixed it, and SADLY happily showed up.

A few "tougher than Monday" words, but with the crosses, no problems.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoastTAM 1:40 PM  

From North to South, from easy to medium, good themers, and ONE+TWO+THREE=SIX.

'Nuff said.

rain forest 3:45 PM  

What @leftcoastTAM said - and I guess several others. Nice debut with hardly any stink-eye stuff. I've heard both SIX---TO and from SUNDAY. It's in the same category of saying as "He didn't know whether to shit or steal third", which could be a nice entry in some other puzzle.

You could call me a nautical guy (2 years in the RCN), but unlike @Rondo, not a naughty guy, and I had no problem with the SAIL clue. It works, and most people don't know the specialized vocabulary of sailing anyway. The answer was clear, QED.

Two days in a row I've had my comment rejected. Hoping it comes through today even though it's kinda late.

Oh, yeah, for the first time in twenty years, I bought some new golf clubs, and the weather here is starting to come around. Getting excited to TEE up and take DIVOT.

rondo 8:03 PM  

Har. Knotty.

rondo 8:05 PM  

Knot nautical

Blogger 10:23 PM  

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