Venerable London theater / MON 1-30-17 / Summer in soissons / Card with two pips / Items on Indian necklace / Whirrer on muggy day

Monday, January 30, 2017

Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Relative difficulty: Average Normal Everyday Monday time (in the 2:50s)

THEME: MALE LEADS (57A: Certain Hollywood stars ... or an apt title for this puzzle) — answers begin ("lead") with MALE animals:

Theme answers:
  • STAGNATED (18A: Got stuck in a rut)
  • COCKTAIL HOUR (20A: Time before dinner for socializing)
  • BULLETPROOF VEST (37A: Protection for a police officer)
  • BUCKEYE STATE (53A: Ohio's nickname) 
Word of the Day: OLD VIC (24A: Venerable London theater) —
The Old Vic is a theatre located just south-east of Waterloo Station in London on the corner of The Cut and Waterloo Road. Established in 1818 as the Royal Coburg Theatre, and renamed in 1833 the Royal Victoria Theatre, in 1871 it was rebuilt and reopened as the Royal Victoria Palace. It was taken over by Emma Cons in 1880 and formally named the Royal Victoria Hall, although by this time it was already known as the "Old Vic". In 1898, a niece of Cons, Lilian Baylis assumed management and began a series of Shakespeare productions in 1914. The building was damaged in 1940 during air raids and it became a Grade II* listed building in 1951 after it reopened. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is in many ways an elegant puzzle. Reminded me of some of the best Mondays I've done: smart, simple, clean. Lynn Lempel-esque. And there's very little way in the way of junk fill, which so often mucks up early-week puzzles. So it's a definite thumbs-up today. One minor but noteworthy issue with the theme: STAG and BUCK are not only the same animal, one (the former) is really a subset of the other (the latter). Stags are just big bucks ("buck" referring to any adult male deer). To have only four "males" and then have half of those be the same animal, that's a bit of a glitch. Would've been cooler to be able to spread the theme more widely across the animal kingdom, but that might simply not have been possible. Actually, RAM-. That would've worked, right? I mean, very few things start with DRAKE- or STALLION-, but RAM-. Or BOAR-? BOARD-CERTIFIED!? I'd've ditched STAG, is what I'm saying. Still a lovely little puzzle, but thematically perhaps not as ambitious / exacting as it ought to have been.

Don't like LIE TESTS at all (33A: Polygraphs).  They are called "lie-detector tests." They are not called anything else. Also, the (much more) common phrase is EPIC FAIL. No -URE (3D: Huge blunder). I fear these answers came from some bloated but not very discriminating wordlist. Oh well, I guess if the upshot of that wordlist is that the grid comes out overwhelmingly clean, I should be grateful. I had no real trouble today, though I did go with THE VIC (?) instead of OLD VIC at first (24A: Venerable London theater). If it's a London theater, shouldn't it be a "theatre"? One other mistake was writing in MARX for 54D: Marx who wasn't one of the Marx Brothers (KARL). Yeah, yeah, I know. I know.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:10 AM  

Very easy Mon. I do the puzzle on paper in pencil using block capital letters and I try not to write outside the squares (neatness counts, hi @lms). This results in somewhat slower times than those who solve electronically. So, if I finish in under six minutes it's pretty easy (I only time myself on Mon. and Tues. the rest of the week I asses difficulty by how much resistance the puzzle puts up which, of course, correlates with time).

I'm with @Rex on this one, solid theme with some zippy answers, light on dreck, liked it. Nice work C.C.

Cassieopia 12:21 AM  

Had cadenzaS before REFRAINS, but otherwise smooth and pleasant sailing for a Monday - 8 mins so a bit below my novice Monday average of 10:30 and tons of fun with the long fill. 15 letters for BULLETPROOFVEST - super awesome for a Monday

BUCKEYESTATE also a gimme but the clue needed a "with 'the' " in it. It's The Buckeye State. And there's even a cookie to go with the name; check it out. As a former botanist, I wish Rex's exposition had gone with buckeye rather than Old Vic, but I remedy that omission here: The tree species Aesculus glabra is commonly known as Ohio buckeye, American buckeye, or fetid buckeye. Glabra is one of 13–19 species of Aesculus also called horse chestnuts.

So there you go.

Wonderful Monday fare. Thank you, Ms Burnikel!

Anonymous 12:43 AM  

Male rabbits are bucks but not stags.

chefwen 12:44 AM  

C.C. Strikes again with a winner of a Monday-puzzle. Easy, as Mondays should be and fun.

Thanks to the time difference we are fortunate to be able to solve the puzzles during COCKTAIL HOUR, a lovely time to solve.

Moly Shu 12:51 AM  

Very good Monday. Liked it a lot. Maybe BOHO and OLDVIC a little un-mondayish but no problem getting them. Thought maybe EXPAT would get @Rex going, and in turn the blog. A man can dream.

CDilly52 1:01 AM  

One of those Monday's to enjoy. With @Rex on LIETEST. I use polygraphs and polygraphers regularly and in 35 years have neverr heard "the box" called a LIETEST (and now since we use computers, it is no longer a "box"). Other than that, a spiffy little Monday.

John Child 1:10 AM  

I had noticed all four-letter male animals and liked that consistency. RAMBLED ON fits where STAGNATED is and might be a more interesting answer, but it's not a four-letter animal. I think the BUCK / STAG complaint is a lot of COCK and BULL. Lots of male animals other than deer are called BUCKs, including gerbils and rabbits.

Epic fail does out-Google EPIC FAILURE, but not overwhelmingly. And the ngram viewer that's part of Google Books only knows EPIC FAILURE, even when restricted to American English.


Unknown 2:06 AM  

Always nice to see @Zhouqin (C.C.) Burnikel's byline, and not that common to see four theme entries and a reveal in a Monday puzzle.

EPIC_FAILURE brings back fond memories of the hey-day of google-bombing -- it's hard to duplicate now (try it with "miserable failure" and with "French military victories"). But Google made it into the puzzle anyhow, in the consecutive clues for 31- and 32-Across.

My personal hold-my-breath moment: BOHO crossing HAR and OREIDA.

RAD2626 5:29 AM  

Ms. Burnikel is a prodigious constructor and her puzzles are always elegant. I look forward to her byline. To have long downs like EPIC FAILURE and VIP ENTRANCE and still have the puzzle be Monday easy is a real trick. And I did not have the theme jump out until the revealer, also either a real Monday accomplishment or an indication I was being dense. Agree with everyone that LIE TESTS was jarring and in my view the only blemish.

Loren Muse Smith 6:30 AM  

I totally agree with Rex this morning – all the good comments as well as the thoughts on EPIC FAILURE and LIE TESTS.

Anyone else notice the two other male animals in the grid? COLT and BOARD. Har.

I liked COCKTAIL HOUR crossing ASS. Been there, done that.

So if some free-spirited, off-the-grid chick cries, that could be a boho boohoo. Your day is now complete.

Gotta go scrape snow.

CC – terrific Monday right across the plate. I agree with Rex – it’s Lempel-esque, which is an epic compliment.

Passing Shot 6:46 AM  

What @RAD2626 said. This puzzle, with its lovely long answers, looks wonderful and yet played like an easy, straight-forward Monday. I'm sure pulling that off as a constructor is no easy task, so well done, Ms. Burnikel.

Hungry Mother 7:25 AM  

When I plod my way to a sub-10 minute time, it's very easy. Rarely happens for this slow guy.

kitshef 7:30 AM  

I liked the theme a lot.

I have more issues with the fill than @Rex, APAL, IPASS, ANAT, HAR (sorry, M&A), MST, TRE,
ASOF ... but overall, it's just fine, and more than offset by the theme.

Male Kangaroos are BUCKS.

ASS, APE PAS and PAL are more often applied to male humans than females. Not sure what to make of PAT.

Nice avoidance of any lie/LAY confusion.

Anonymous 7:38 AM  

George Barany

You penned a FUN USA Today puzzle today !


Anonymous 7:43 AM  

It was a lovely puzzle, a delightful start to the week.

How can you not love a puzzle with COCK and BULL and EPICFAILURE in it? Along with LIETESTS, BLOAT, EXPAT and ABHOR? It's almost like this puzzle knew what was going to be happening in the last couple of days. One of the more current puzzles from the last several months.

Dorothy Biggs 7:49 AM  

My favorite part was SPAS and RUB (massage) separated by a TRANCE in the SE.

The upstate New York clue reminded me what a New Yorker pointed out..."upstate" is a New Yorker term because, from New York City, everything is upstate since NYC is the southernmost part of the state. So technically, every city in New York state is "upstate."

Teedmn 7:49 AM  

A nice puzzle where I had to wait for the reveal to see the theme. A few writeovers, like "fOal" for COLT and "EXalt" for EXTOL.

I liked the clues for 38D ORATE and 39D FAN, which only the F of PROOF kept me from entering "bee" as the whirrer on a muggy day (cicada being way too long.)

A sweet, Monday-easy solve, thanks, CC!

chefbea 7:57 AM  

Easy fun Monday puzzle. Never heard of sysop or boho....I of course knew what color beets are!!!! Had some yesterday as a matter of fact, in my salad

GHarris 8:20 AM  

Truly enjoyable and very fast for me.First put down bet for wager but quickly corrected when lasik appeared. Also had to make an informed guess when boho crossed oreida.

Z 8:22 AM  

I liked this less than Rex (how often does that happpen?) mostly due to LIE TESTS and -URE. EPIC FAILURE is what your mom says when she's trying to be all cool and hip in front of your friends and which good friends kindly ignore because their mom would say the same thing. Like @kitshef, I noticed a lot of ese. I doubt that you can fault it too much though, this is an easy Monday so a goodly number of 3's. No German number crossing a German color so no serious complaints from me on the fill.

Also, learned that it isn't "Skip to my loo." Who knew?

@Moly Shu late yesterday. I used to, but it takes me about five words to decide that Mr. Anonymouse isn't actually saying anything, and off to spellcaster land he goes.

Happy Pencil 8:33 AM  

Got the revealer, looked back up at the theme answers, saw COCKTAIL HOUR, and thought we were venturing into a whole new territory for the NYT.

Anonymous 8:35 AM  

some beets are golden.

jberg 8:53 AM  

I guess I'm the only one here to have put in 'full metal jacket' (off the ULL) before BULLETPROOF VEST. I thought while I was writing it in that the clue was a little off -- but that didn't make me hesitate! So it was a little slower for me.

It's obvious, but still worth remarking that four of the five theme answers are in continguous pairs, which has to increase the challenge for the constructor, so nicely done!

Ted 9:01 AM  

I must be broken, because I stumbled a lot on this (for a Monday)

Started bad with SEEMS instead of DEEMS (Views as), continued bad with BET instead of LAY (Place, as a wager... though I figured it out and fixed it shortly), the SEEMS made DEUCE impossible, so I was all messed up in the NW for a little while.

But the cluing... too awkward at times. What chess is played on... well, it's played on A BOARD, not BOARD. Valuable mine rock: ORE, sure, but the cluing made me think we wanted a specific type of rock. Some ORE is not particularly "valuable" (see iron).

LIE TESTS I got quickly, but agree the phrase is nonsense. I'm tired of seeing I BAR and I BEAM and L BAR and L BEAM interchangeably... pick one.

I mean, fine, I got it all, came back and figured out my slips on the crosses, but this could have all been smoother with some cluing that actually flowed. :(

Mike Pence 9:15 AM  

"Calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional." I tweeted this on Dec. 8, 2015. The tweet has since been deleted.

George Washington 9:17 AM  

"For happily the Government of the United States gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens..." I wrote this to the leaders of a synagogue in 1790.

Ronald Reagan 9:24 AM  

"After 200 years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm And she's still a beacon; still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness toward home." I said this 1/11/1989.

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

Yup, and now six dead and eighteen wounded at a mosque in Quebec City, which is what happens when irresponsible people use race-baiting and xenophobia to advance themselves politically. Useless POS.

L 9:50 AM  

Great monday. I had choruses for REFRAINS but quickly saw my error.

As a member of a rabid U Michigan family, I tried to fit WORST STATE EVER for Ohio's nickname but alas it didn't fit. It does remain my son's all time favorite t shirt. As a native NYer with zero interest in college sports, I was fine with BUCKEYE STATE.

Z 9:54 AM  

@L - "Flat desolate wasteland between Lake Erie and the Ohio River" didn't fit, either.

Leapfinger 9:55 AM  

So we've been CC'd a fine little COCK and BULL story with nothing aboveBOARD about it. Probably my favourite Burnikel puzzle to date.

Full of nice little touches, like having 'rut' in the clue for STAGNATE. That COLT was sly (asper @lms), and it's just lucky it wasn't clued at 45. I suppose a case could be made for having MALE next to BLOAT. Then just take a gander at Does look at the OLD VICtoria and Albert, but BUCK EYES TATE. Now that's museum-quality, and there's almost bound to be an interesting back-story.

Apropos of nothing, I enjoyed VIP_ENTRANCE the most, but that comes of the quirk of always seeing that sign on doors as reading ENTRANCE. You see people getting that far-away look in their eyes...

Enough Tom-foolery. Monday's work-day.

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

@George, @Ronald, Brunhilde Pomsel, Goebbels’ secretary, has died at 106. The NYT reports that she was consistently unrepentant for her work with the Nazis, once saying in an interview “No, I wouldn’t see myself as being guilty. Unless you end up blaming the entire German population for ultimately enabling that government to take control. That was all of us, including me.”

Trump's doing everything he said he would do. As much as it pains me, there's no hiding behind "this is a crossword blog and it shouldn't be politicized." Please keep it up @rex.

QuasiMojo 10:07 AM  

While the puzzle may have been clean of a lot of dreck, there was plenty of crosswordese to make it less than stellar, even for a Monday. One gets tired of seeing "spas" and "cels" and "ore" (twice) and "rio" and "anat" and "stat" (with "state" no less, alongside "utter" and "orate") and the endless "été."

Plus I think the final reveal, "male leads" is a let-down. I was expecting something along the lines of "men's club" or "males only" or some such trick. Perhaps "Stag Party" would have been more fun (if the across were changed) but it raises PC issues, I suppose. But male leads is just okay as a theme.

I also agree with Rex about "buck" and "stag" even if there are a few gerbils running around thumping their chests. How easy it would have been to add "Tom" or "Billy."

Lie Tests and Epic Failure underscore the forced nature of the whole shebang. I would add VIP Entrance. Ho-hum.

And R-rated movies are for people 17 and over, so I am not sure, legally speaking, that you can say they are intended just for adults.

Then again she spelled Niña correctly. Brava!

wgh 10:19 AM  

Good Monday puz.

RooMonster 10:21 AM  

Hey All !
What no ROOSTER? :-) Rooster Cogburn...

Breezy CC MonPuz. Agree with off-ness of LIETESTS. Light dreck, which is nice. Looking at you, SYSOP.

Nice diversion for a few minutes, don't time myself if I don't do puz online. But went quickly. I actually like to slow down my solve on a Monday so it isn't over too fast. All these comments by the same Anon are getting old.


Malsdemare 10:55 AM  

I will never, ever figure out what REX likes. Generally I like the puzzles he hates and since. I enjoyed this --though over too soon ( which reminds me of the Madeleine Kahn song in Blazing Saddles "men keep coming and going and going and coming, and always too soon!”), I was sure he'd hate it. I winced at EPIC FAILURE and LIE TEST, but it was all so smooth and just thoughtful enough.

@distancia Here in Illinois, everything is downstate. I live 80 miles south of Chicago, so I'm downstate, even though the state extends another 200 miles or so to the Missouri border. For all I know, Rockford, to the West of Chi-town, is downstate. I'll ask my son who loves there. Arrogance, huh!

I really like that there are BUCKs that aren't deer because I enjoyed filling in those answers. Thanks, ZB.

Masked and Anonymous 11:05 AM  
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Anonymous 11:05 AM  

@QuasiMojo - How does "men's club" or "males only" represent an improvement over "Male leads" as a reveal where the theme was that a term for a male animal begins the phrase?

@All bunny lovers - How does that fact that rabbits are bucks / does negate the crossover between BUCKS and STAGS? Rex already established that not all bucks are stags, even among deer, but still all STAGS are BUCKS.

Joseph Michael 11:07 AM  

YEAH, I did like the theme and didn't see it coming until I got to the revealer. So there's that.

I know it's Monday and it's supposed to be easy, but some of the clues -- such as "where clouds are" and "color of beets" -- feel like they were ripped out of a Highlights for Children magazine.

Then there's LIE TESTS. Is that where you stare at a chart across the room and tell your doctor which alternate facts you can see in each row?

My only writeover was "I'm out" which became "I fold" which became IPASS. Which is actually what you use on tollroads in Illinois to pay tolls electronically.

Perhaps the most UTTERly amusing part of all this was Rex raving about the puzzle because it reminded him of himself.

Masked and Anonymous 11:08 AM  


But, hey … BUCK's passable, also. Male rabbit, among other critter dudes.

Slick and fun MonPuz. CC is one of my fave constructioneers. She knows how to have a good laugh [HAR].

fave moo-cow MonPuz eazy-E clue: {Where clouds are} = SKY. [This could be a harder get, tho … if it was talkin about computing clouds. Nobody knows where *they* are.]

LIETEST. Delicious debut.

CC has both 38 black squares and 38 NYTPuzs. Congratz, darlin. Them black squares are sure gonna start to mount up, if this trend continues.

Thanx, CC, for the massive shot of testosterone.

Masked & Anonym007Us

… Whether tis nobler to Detect, or … [Yo! There it is!]


Anonymous 11:19 AM  

So predictable from yesterday,

Thank you!!! Your approach was the perfect way to shut that overbearing Z's gob. well played. Keep up the good work.

QuasiMojo 11:23 AM  

@anonymouse-- because "male leads" as a thing, as a concept, as a subset in the world of entertainment is green paintish and flat. I'm not saying my suggestions are much better but that the constructor had more options to choose from and could have come up with something new and fun rather than plain and dull.

puzzle hoarder 11:35 AM  

There's a theater here in Chicago called The Vic so that was a foregone write over. Otherwise little confusion for a faster than average Monday.
SYSOP and BOHO are both entries I could use a little more familiarity with.
@Malsdemare it's geography not arrogance.

Greg 11:40 AM  

Agree that LIETESTS and EPICFAILURE are not correct.

Anon 11:05 11:53 AM  

@QuasiMojo - First, I disagree that "male lead" is green paintish, but if it is, is due solely to the patriarchy wherein the lead is assumed to be male. Female lead certainly isn't green paint, so how is male lead otherwise?

You are entitled to find "male lead" plain and dull, but it's 100% apt, unlike what any alternative suggested so far.

Numinous 12:05 PM  

I liked this one and found it pretty easy for a CC puzzle. Mostly I find her clues opaque @Ted but maybe I'm finally getting on to her wavelength. Hang in there.

"Polygraph", what is it? When the cops in the "interview" room suggest it they say, "Will you take a LIE detector TEST?" What are they asking you to do? They are asking you to take a TEST that will indicate if you are Lying ergo a LIE TEST. I object and always have to the notion that puzzles should be examples of direct synonyms even when they include things that are directly "in the language" or googleable. If the answer says what the clue asks, the answer is fair.

@z, Have you never been in England? Have you never drank so much coffe, tea or beer that you needed to "Skip to my LOO?" I know that I have had that problem in the past.

I'm not going to say I was on fire and blazed through this like @Rex but eight plus minutes is decently below my average. I moved through this so fast that I missed a bunch of the downs. Maybe I'll go back and look. BUCKS and STAGS not withstanding, CC imposed a four letter constraint on her MALE LEADS. I think she did well.
Now I'm going to tell a very non PC story. You will have to remember that this took place in 1969 and it will use terms common then. To top it off, this is about my Australian mother-in-law who had different sensitivities partly because of Australian immigration laws at the time. She told me how thrilled she was, when visiting London, to see "Big BUCK negros" about. To her, they were truely exotic since there were none in Australia. Aboriginals are not the same, What invariably threw me in those days was thier accents. I would always expect to hear "southern" and wound up hearing perfect London English. As a nineteen year old California boy, I was unnerved.

Another minor shock: hanging about in Trafalgar Square, I met some university boys about my age and got to know them. One day, lounging about, we were approached by an older man who chided us for our idleness. He suggested we should be off doing something productive and that lollygagging disrespectful and wasteful and we shouldn't be doing it. It was that point I heard a phrase that I thought was exclusiively American. One of my mates replied to this geezer, "Why not, this is a free country." All of my prior indoctrination in shcool led me to believe that I lived in the only free country in the world. What I'm learning now is that this was less true than I had thought and is possibly becoming less so.

AliasZ 12:52 PM  

I see a few commenters already jumped on this cock-and-bull story, so I must take a different route. How about a COCKer Spaniel BULLetin?

I was on the BOARdwalk in Atlantic City on my way to see DR.AKErman who always wears a smoking JACKet with belt and BUCKle when he STUDies the design STALL IONizers to improve air quality in stables, when I saw a street musician with a TOMahawk in his hand play a RAMeau piece on the DRONEd zither. Odd sight indeed.

Does this pass LIE TESTS?

No music suits today's theme better than Le coq d'or by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.


Darryl 1:32 PM  

I am totally in genius mode these days. Not only did I crush this one last night, bettering my previous Monday best by 20%+, but merely by watching a rerun of 60 Minutes last night I now know more about the existing vetting process for Syrian Refugees than POTUS and all of his minions. It turns out that every.single.fucking.US.Intelligence.Agency has to approve them for immigration.

I think I should set my hand at creating controllable thermo-nuclear fusion for electricity generation this afternoon I'm on such a roll.

Anoa Bob 1:44 PM  

I thought this looked a bit familiar. From 3-11-13, the themers were TOMFOOLERY, STAGFLATION, BUCK NAKED, BULL SESSION & RAMSHACKLE. No reveal though.

After seeing DEEMS coming out of the gate, I flipped on the old POCometer to get a read on the rest of the grid. Several more POCs, including some of the two-for-one variety, e.g. the final S at the end of BEAD & SEER, put the final the meter reading on "POC Assisted".

Where can I get one of these LIE TESTS machines? Sure would come in handy at the poker table.

Larry Gilstrap 1:55 PM  

I ended up solving on an iPad Mini, which I had not done before. I have a lot to learn about negotiating that cursor around the grid. I can see why clever folks would like the experience. It's nice to know when the solve is truly complete.

We once had a male Blue Dutch rabbit who answered to the name BUCK Bunny. Not really, he actually seemed oblivious to anything you said to him. He suffered from the condition of having too much testosterone and a very small brain. Yes, he was large and cantankerous at times; those hind feet were loaded with sizable nails, so handling him required some caution.

Mohair Sam 1:58 PM  

Great Monday, as good as they get. Not at all bothered that a STAG is also a BUCK. Both terms are male animals, and BUCK refers to several species. OFL is just wearing his "pick, pick, pick" hat.

OLDVIC was perfectly accurate as clued. I won't try to defend LIETESTS however.

I wonder if Mondays aren't tougher to clue for professionals like Burnikel?

foxaroni 2:42 PM  

I can't believe I am writing this, but it is something I noticed. Three of the four theme answers break at a logical place: stag-nate, cock-tail, buck-eye. However, the fourth one does not: bull-et? Seems as if something like "bull-market" or "bull-dozer" could have finished my (picky) symmetry.

Concur about "lie tests" needing "detector." I've never heard of "boho-chic." I don't think we have that in Kansas.

Despite all my grousing, I enjoyed the puzzle a lot. Thanks, Ms. Burnikel!

Dana 2:52 PM  

The puzzle has BOAR - so 5 themers

Unicorn Slayer 2:54 PM  

Unicorn Slayer said...

Snappy little puzzle, blasted right through it.

Read some of the late comments from yesterday. Very spicy! LMAO at some of them.

@ Andrew Heinegg from late yesterday:

You stated that you are "one who is terribly upset with the state of politics worldwide." I'm guessing you're a political junkie, so I thought you might be interested in this article.Especially in light of the fact that Iran just tested another balistic missile. I'm sure you won't like the source of the article since its not written in a bible from your church, but I'm guessing you're probably open-minded enough to read it? The choice is yours. Like the man said, "You can lead a horse..."

thfenn 3:10 PM  

Very much enjoyed today's puzzle. Might have recorded a 'best' (confess that means 9+ minutes) but got the dreaded 'crazzle popper' at the end for having PINTo/BEoDS instead of PINTA/BEADS and couldn't quickly find what was wrong. Held up a bit, like others have mentioned, with BET before LAY and CHORUSES before REFRAINS, but both quickly resolved. Fun and entertaining, made me work a little, but went quickly - just like, i suppose, a good COCKTAIL.

Anonymous 3:48 PM  

@Unicorn Slayer
ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

iamjess 4:37 PM  

I appear to be the only one with a DNF in the northwest. Never heard of "Mack the Knife" and unfamiliar with Utica. Went through the alphabet: MAsK? MArk? Alas!

Z 4:43 PM  

@Larry Gilstrp - I've never heard the president described as a Blue Dutch rabbit before. Are they also known to have stair phobias?

Warren Howie Hughes 5:34 PM  

Rex, I dare say, Old Top, How the DEUCE can you DEEMS this Monday offering from Zhouqin Burnikel, as merely "Average Normal" when I, a FAN of hers since she submitted her very first Xword Puz to the pages of the Grey Lady! This is my UTTER and ONUS opinion and I know I'm not by my 'ELF in regarding the lady so! In fact,IBEAM each and every time I hear her GOOD name mentioned! I suggest you make an Appt. RIO soon, to have a 6 down performed,like imMEDIAtely! AVIA nice day! :-)

Anonymous 5:54 PM  

Same constructor did today's WSJ puzzle. Be interested to know how the critic compares them.

G. Weissman 6:22 PM  


Numinous 6:45 PM  
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Numinous 7:02 PM  
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Numinous 7:04 PM  
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Numinous 7:05 PM  

@iamjess, this would be just for you:

<a href=">Mack the Knife</a> sung by Louis Armstrong and Lottie Lenya. This is from Kurt Weill's Threenny Opera. Lottie Lenya was his wife and was the first person to sing the song in German on the stage. I much prefer this to the first version I posted.

This song has been popular since the 1950s and has been covered by the likes of Bobby Darin, Maryanne Faithful and many others. It is regarded as a Jazz Standard.

Anonymous 7:20 PM  

A perfect Monday!

Dick Swart 7:22 PM  

A perfect Monday. But I must admit it is 4:20pm. Recovering from a trip.

mac 9:44 PM  

Very nice Monday! Enjoyed it, CC!

Andrew Heinegg 11:14 PM  

The article is a nice piece of right-wing fiction in the vein of boy prostitution rings in D.C. run by Hillary. If you think Trump is going to help this country and the world, I hope you are right but, to put it politely, I doubt it. Pyschotic people generally don't make good world leaders and, make no mistake,Trump is a several cards short of a full deck.

Sexistratariet 2:02 PM  

Where be all the feminists? Thought for sure that the distaff side would voice their profound Regret that Sir Barton is getting all the glory here?

Liked the puzzle. Pretty easy for and older solver.

iamjess 4:45 PM  

@Numinous Last night when I got home, I was commiserating this clue with my husband (who had also done the CW on his lunch break at work and also got hung up on this clue). We googled, we you-tubed, we Wikipedia'd, and decided that this song was, in fact, popular enough for a Monday. Why NEITHER of us had hear of it....?

spacecraft 11:15 AM  

Curious. Lots of folks mentioned BOARd as an extra themer--and ignored the poor COLT. Let's hear it for Kentucky Derby entrants! (YEAH, I know, there's the rare filly that gets in)

I liked this one. The key words are suitably buried in the expressions; even "COCKtail" with its murky history doesn't seem to refer to a male fowl but rather to the upraised tail of a horse (of either gender).

I do agree about the URE-less 3-down, crossing the DETECTOR-less 33-across. But with the unfortunate MST, these are the only impure entries. Pretty doggone GOOD. Way to go, ZEEB!

We don't get much of a choice for DOD, but there's AMY Schumer, and she'll do just fine. Hard to squeeze a female in amongst all those macho critters. Birdie.

Burma Shave 11:41 AM  


is it EPICFAILURE, ORE GOOD for FAN attendance,
if ALL the MEDIA are UTTERLY BOARD with the tricks
when one REFRAINS from using the V.I.P.ENTRANCE?


leftcoastTAM 1:44 PM  

First rate Monday. Had a little of everything: clever theme, good long entries, good fill, some gimmes, and some misdirects and crunch.

Among them catching my eye were LASIK (HAR), OREIDA, SYSOP, MALELEADS, and COCKTAILHOUR.

All good, but don't think I've ever heard polygraphs called other than LIE detector TESTS

rondo 1:53 PM  

Now that’s a nice puz. But so MALE oriented poor AMY Schumer is all alone and I’m not really a FAN (isn’t a “lower back tattoo” just a tramp stamp?). IPASS.

@jberg – a full metal jacket is not an item of protective apparel, it is a type of BULLET with metal harder than lead, surrounding the lead in said BULLET. And much more likely to pierce that “BULLETPROOF”VEST than an unjacketed BULLET, which will expand upon impact. I suppose you could buy those BULLETs for your COLT .45 but they’re usually used by the armed forces. Hence the movie title.

APTLY, ADULTS can get loaded on COLT .45 during COCKTAILHOUR. It’s ONUS.

Can’t be much more to say OREIDA said it.

Diana,LIW 3:29 PM  

Steve Martin also sorta' covered MACK the Knife on SNL. Shark biting hands and all.

Kind of perfect for a Monday. Easy but clean, mostly. Does anyone actually used the word SEERS?

@Lefty from yesterday - I solve on paper with a pencil and eraser. I did some online solving a few years ago and hated it. The colors telling you that you made a mistake, the sounds - yuck. I don't know what the Times app is like, but I think holding the puzzle and pencil (with cat in lap) gives one the purest experience. At times I do "fact check" an answer, but I always label that a dnf.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for true Crosswords

rain forest 3:42 PM  

I dunno, and it probably isn't worth the trouble to explain, but the term LIE detector TEST sounds to me like a procedure to discover whether the LIE detector is working properly. If so, let's try it on this guy by giving him a LIE TEST. Yeah, definitely not worth the trouble, but plausible, no?

And anyhoo, the meaning is transparent. Also, EPIC FAILURE is perfectly OK by me.

The puzzle itself is an EPIC success in my book. Perfect for a Monday with a solid theme and revealer, nice cluing in spots, and clean in the fill. Doing acrosses only, I put in CHORUSES which needed to be corrected later, but I got it ALL.

CC, or Z (oops, maybe can't say that), nice job, as usual.

rondo 3:43 PM  

YEAH, always on paper, sometimes with the pencil L,DIW gave me, most often in ink. Fri-Sat-puz correct completion rate +95%, inkfests included. I'll tell when I get an actual DNF. Have never tried on a device.
COCKTAILHOUR approaches.

rondo 3:47 PM  

Apologies, finger dysfunction - D,LIW is of course what I meant.

rain forest 6:25 PM  

@leftcoastTAM Missed your question yesterday.

I always solve with pen on the newspaper. Never Google (that would be a dnf) or look in a dictionary (same). Also never time myself.

Those who use devices seem to be pretty quick solvers, and so more power to them, but if they get error alerts, that is also a sort of cheat. My error alerts come come when a cross doesn't jibe with a previously-entered answer, resulting in a write-over. However what others do does't really concern me.

Chacun a son gout, n'est-ce pas?

leftcoastTAM 6:42 PM  

@rain forest:
Oui, I guess, but like Brando ("On the Waterfront"), I've always thought "I coulda been a contenda".

Diana,LIW 8:27 PM  

Aha, @Lefty. It's he "contenda" part I don't care for. I'm certainly not against it, except for me. I like a slow, leisurely solve, with reflection on the words and ideas. And pets to the cat. So let them cheat away - I know when I'm honest, and that's what counts. OTOH, I do know I've become faster in the last few years of daily solving - going from hours to minutes is pretty obvious. And rewarding in the "non-dnf_ scores.


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