Superman's birth name / MON 4-3-17 / __ Philippe (Swiss watchmaker) / __-CIO / "That sounds good - NOT!" / Cheri formerly of S.N.L.

Monday, April 3, 2017

I thought about doing an April Fools thing and saying that I was quitting Rex's blog, but then I decided that that would be too sad and also April Fools was two days ago. So instead I'm just gonna say happy first Monday of the month, it's an Annabel guest blog day again!!


Relative difficulty: HARD

THEME: BALLPARK FIGURES — Theme answers are two words; the second word is a person that can be found at a baseball game.

Theme answers:
  • BEER BATTER (17A: Coating for fish that you might think would make you tipsy)
  • PUMPKIN COACH (24A: Cinderella's carriage)
  • BALLPARK FIGURES (39A: Rough estimates...or, what the ends of 17-, 24-, 52- and 65-Across are?)
  • WATER PITCHER (52A: Waiter's refilling aid)
  • CEILING FAN (65A: Overhead cooler)

Word of the Day: AFL (___-CIO) —
The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL–CIO) is a national trade union center and the largest federation of unions in the United States. It is made up of fifty-six national and international unions,[3]together representing more than 12 million active and retired workers.[1] The AFL–CIO engages in substantial political spending and activism.[3]

The AFL–CIO was formed in 1955 when the AFL and the CIO merged after a long estrangement. Membership in the union peaked in 1979, when the AFL–CIO had nearly twenty million members.[4] From 1955 until 2005, the AFL–CIO's member unions represented nearly all unionized workers in the United States. Several large unions split away from AFL–CIO and formed the rival Change to Win Federation in 2005, although a number of those unions have since re-affiliated. The largest union currently in the AFL–CIO is the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), with approximately 1.4 million members.[5]
• • •

 Man, I don't know what it was about this puzzle, but I got stuck for ages! There wasn't even a particular corner that did it, there were just rough spots all over the puzzle. I'd never heard of RHEAS before, I had HON for BAE, and I even forgot Superman's first name. (I had CLARK instead of KAL-EL! I'm such a fake nerd.) Even SAP gave me a hard time, maybe because it was right on top of YAP so I kept thinking of that. Nothing to SOB about though; it's nice to be a little challenged on a Monday :)

The theme was cute, if a little predictable  - I figured it was something to do with baseball as soon as I saw BEER BATTER. Do you ever think about how weird it is that we're so obsessed with baseball in the US but everyone else is obsessed with soccer? Or maybe it's weird that we're obsessed with football but everyone else is obsessed with soccer. I dunno. The point is, baseball and football are weird sports, but they're fun to have watch parties for.

  • ALEVE (47A: Popular pain reliever) — Anyone else find this namedrop a little out of place? I dunno, maybe I'm just bitter because I guessed ADVIL and probably messed up that whole corner for a while.
  • AFLAC (37D: Quacky insurance giant) — I was about to post a video of the Aflac commercial, but I feel like I JUST did a few months ago. Deja vu or overused clue? *shrugs*  
  • PEARS (26D: Fruits that are a little grittier than apples) — Ex-CUSE me??? First of all, there are plenty of pears that are fresh and crisp, golden pears in particular. Second of all, there are plenty of apples that are gritty as heck and really gross. I think the duo of constructors owes pears an apology, because they're my favorite fruit. (Well, second favorite; the best one is kiwi.)
  • SLOTHS (13D: Tree huggers?) — This one tripped me up, but it was worth it in the end because sloths are cute.
Signed, Annabel Thompson, tired college student.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:18 AM  

Right in the middle of medium for me. Solid Mon. theme and a couple of excellent long downs. Liked it a lot! Nice debut Agnes!

Hi Annabel - Stick RHEAS in your crossword memory. It/they show up quite a bit.

Phil 12:25 AM  

Hmm yak made me squint at sak??

I finished rather quickly but then sat on KArEL for too long without even checking cross on that 'r'

He was born to his adopted parents in my home state KS in March.
Maybe he knew Dorthy

Phil 12:26 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phil 12:28 AM  

Not 'born' to his adopted parents, per se, ha ha.

And sp?? Dorothy

chefwen 1:22 AM  

Agnes aka Irish Miss and Zhouqin aka C.C. have had puzzles published before in the L.A. TImes. Agnes is a frequent commenter at C.C.'s Crossword Corner.

Cute Monday puzzle, a little on the easy side, but, after all it is Monday. Biggest difficulty I had was spelling RACHAEL, I didn't want that second A in there. Got the theme after BATTER And COACH and knowing C.C.'s love of the game, figured it out toot sweet.

Good one ladies.

Larry Gilstrap 2:20 AM  

Monday was a horrible thing for so many years of my life. and now it's just an easy puzzle. When my life was regulated by the academic calendar, strolling into a restaurant bar and seeing a green diamond on the TV screen brought peace to my soul; summer was impending. Seeing a gridiron; fall loomed. I grew up with baseball, and it's better than ever.

Every body loves Annabel and respects her fresh take on the puzzle. She is one of our own. Let me put my Rex hat on for a moment and question the themers. Baseball is rich with terminology both exclusive to discussion of the game and idiomatic to the language in general. Literally, hundreds of baseball terms could have been used in this puzzle. We get four that seem pretty random.

I saw ALEVE in Stamford, spoiler alert.

Ever notice that the quality of the fruit you purchase is generally an approximation of the ideal. I have lived in CA all of my life, so I know fresh strawberries, and citrus, and avocados, and grapes, and PEARS, etc. Rarely do they meet the standard of perfection. Such is life!

Does the clue for 42D mean that EPA is an abbreviation, or that they will be the "Pollution police" for only a short time? Asking for a friend.

Moly Shu 2:39 AM  

Favorite entry, SCRAG. Second was PUCKS. Give me hockey anytime. Baseball, football, basketball, soccer(football), they all take a back seat to hockey. However, I thought it odd that a hockey reference made it into a baseball puzzle, on opening day to boot.
Thx as always for the once a month respite @Annabel.

Charles Flaster 2:46 AM  

Easy and enjoyable to ring in the new baseball season. Old NY Giant fan here.
Puzzle was a "can o' corn " from the onset.
SKA and TOILE are my CROSSWORDease for the day.
Liked cluing for SCRAG and the misdirection of ART.
Since there were no baseball players mentioned in the cluing I found a few in the answers.
BERT Blyleven or Campaneris
Harry " the HAT" Walker
Preacher ROE
Freddie PATEK
ART Shamsky
Thanks for a fun solve to ZB and nice debut for AD.
Of course AT is always appreciated.

Mark 2:55 AM  

SCRAG crossing RHEAS feels way too hard for a Monday.

Loren Muse Smith 4:14 AM  

Hi, Annabel – I can’t believe it’s already April. Sheesh. Thanks for the write-up.

@Larry Gilstrap – I dunno. Sure, there are tons of baseball terms, but not a lot of FIGURES per se, especially figures whose meanings are so utterly different from their meaning in the themers. That’s my favorite thing about the puzzle: BATTER, COACH, FAN, PITCHER are

1) in phrases where they’re not people
2) separate words.

So something like FORREST GUMP or MONEY MANAGER wouldn’t work. My avatar doesn’t work.

I really liked the clue for OH FUN. Kind of a cousin of LUCKY YOU we had a few days ago.

When I’m in Kobe, I’m going to a Noh play.
OH FUN. Lucky you.

I knew KAL-EL because that’s what Nicolas Cage named his son. Hmm. Well that’s different, right?

Easy, fun Monday right across the plate. (Someone had to say that.) My only hesitation was waiting for the crosses to see if it was “royal” or REGAL.

Lewis 6:06 AM  

Just right Monday theme, and feel-good puzzle. The grid design itself is lovely, with lots of connection. And, speaking of that, some fun word connections:

And six Ks, very respectable for a PITCHER. Very nice delivery, from Agnes to Zhouqin.

Anonymous 6:26 AM  

Easy. Is bae really a word?

kitshef 7:20 AM  

I am firmly opposed to official censorship. But I do believe we should censor ourselves, because there are words so vile that to write them, to speak them even to hear, demeans us all.

Add 44A to that list.

Z 7:22 AM  

@anon6:26 - Shakespeare invented something like 1700 new words and phrase, so, yes. Ever word has to start sometime.

A full minute over my MPR* and almost 40 seconds over my Monday average, so definitely challenging (for a Monday). RHEA/SCRAG did not give me a problem, but if you don't have your Audubon's Guide to Crossword Birds handy I can see how that could be tough. Hand up, too, for YAk before YAP.

As for baseball, Hey Cub fans, we get it. Woo Hoo. Now put a sock in it. You're quickly going from adorable to insufferable. I'd almost rather listen to a damn Yankee's fan. Here's hoping for an 0-9 Cubs start, not because I hate the Cubs, but their fans need a cold bucket of water dumped over their heads for everyone else's sake.

*Monday Personal Record - Which stands at 5:38. Mentioned for comparison only. It is not a race with anyone but me.

kitshef 7:25 AM  

@Charles Flaster - surely AFRO is a tip of the cap to Oscar Gamble?

Unknown 7:44 AM  

This was a horrible Monday. SCRAG? RHEA? OH FUN?! BAE? Just awful.....

chefbea 7:51 AM  

Easiest Monday !!! except for Bae...never head of it...Bea of course!!! And never heard of scrag.
Love beer battered fish!!!

Passing Shot 7:58 AM  

"Hon" for BAE. RHEAS/SCRAG held me up for at least 2 minutes and takes it out of the Monday level. Love SLOTHS but was hoping Annabel would treat us to the Four Tops:

L 8:03 AM  

YAK/SAK had me confused... oh fun.

G. Weissman 8:18 AM  

Agree entirely.

Mordechai 8:37 AM  

Absurdly easy, chock full of gimmes NERO, KALEL, OREO, ITHACA, LATTER, NASA, etc. what day of the week comes between Sunday and Monday? This was too simple for a New York Times Monday puzzle. Also, I disagree with NASA as the answer for the organization that runs the Jupiter orbiter. All planetary probes are run by the JPL (Jet Propulsion Lab) in Pasadena, California which, although part of NASA, is a distinct organization. In fact, JPL is jointly run by NASA and Caltech so NASA, as an organization, does not have direct day-to-day involvement in managing the planetary probes. Basically, The probes are built and managed by JPL. NASA's job is to launch the probes. After launch JPL takes over.

GILL I. 8:41 AM  

@Kitshef. I know what you mean about BAE. It means poop in Denmark. And SCRAG - don't even get me started on that slutty word.
I rather enjoyed this sweet Monday romp. @Lewis, My word connections were seeing BEER perched atop SKOAL and then the REGAL/lager LEA/ale. Isn't BEER the national drink for you baseball lovers? Sweet PATEK PUCKS PEARS PEERS. Love me some Pees.
Big round head of hair is probably the funniest way I've seen AFRO clued.
Thanks ADZB and, of course, Annabel Monday.

Anonymous 8:43 AM  

Hard??? Wrote in the theme answers and then the theme without any crosses.

RooMonster 9:04 AM  

Hey All !
Always happy to see Annabel, but I was looking forward to a Rex melt-down on clue/answer SLAVE. Was ready for an epic rant. But, not to be. I did enjoy your write-up Annabel! I see you're still tired. At least you're not IRATE. :-)

Puz seemed normal Monday. Had a writeover, elmo-BERT. That's the default knee jerk action when you see a four letter muppet clue. BAE is a stretch. All the ___ clues @M&A's moo-cow EZ.

TOILE did seem like an un-Monday word, however. Overall it was a nice puz. I MEAN, OH FUN! So SAP your YAP. :-) (Talking to myself again!)


Alvinasarah 9:31 AM  

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Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 9:39 AM  

I was going to complain about VAPOR being clued 'moisture in the air', I thought you needed to call it 'water vapor. But then I thought again, 'moisture' does not demand to be H2O, it can be any liquid that's suspended in air, I mean in a gas. Not often a Monday puz makes me think!

Aketi 9:43 AM  

@Z, rating system for time taken to solve a puzzlr is dramatically different from yours. SCCS = Single Cup of Cappucino Solve, which is acceptable but still disappointing on Mondays and Tuesdays. Later in the week I savor the DCCSs. Best are the TCCSs that sometimes happen on the weekend. I have to fix the third one myself. My husband will only bring me two cappuccinos per morning, @Nancy and I concluded that we treat crosswords like a tasting menu in a restaurant where you savor every morsel rather than a Nathan's hot dog eating contest. : )

Fountains of Golden Fluids 10:12 AM  

Does anyone remember laughter?

Nancy 10:16 AM  

Not an interesting clue in the bunch, as far as I was concerned. I hate Mondays like these. I did have one minor snag -- AWFUL before OH FUN at 27D. (I have never said "Oh fun" in my life. Have you? I have occasionally said "What fun" sarcastically, but not often.) And that gave me the famous Cinderella carriage, PUMPKIN PATCH. But RACHAEL RAY straightened me out. I thought the theme was perfectly fine for a Monday; it was the cluing that was the real bore.

Lindsay 10:18 AM  

I have taken to solving early-week puzzles downs only: one advantage is I didn't notice BAE. On the other hand, I filled in PUMPKIN patCH despite having all the other theme answers and despite knowing that a patch is not a ballpark figure.

But fixed it, so all ended well.

jberg 10:22 AM  

My ex's mother called the back pieces of a chicken SCRAGs, and they sort of fit the definition, so I was OK with that one -- and I'm pretty sure BAE has been in the puzzle before. But I needed the theme to see COACH -- I mean, first it was a pumpkin, then it was turned into a coach, but it was always either one thing or the other, right? So that seemed a little off.

Thanks, Annabel! And thanks, constructors!

Leaving tonight for 3 weeks in Italy, so I shan't be back here until the 25th.

Nancy 10:33 AM  

@Aketi and I did discuss our crossword solving routine in person last week. I found out that
1) We both like to savor a puzzle, whenever possible

2) She drinks coffee during; I drink coffee before -- otherwise I would be neither compos nor mentis enough to solve

3) The exquisitely home-brewed espresso that she drinks is, I would imagine, infinitely more delicious than the instant Folger's crystals that I drink. (Although, if one is drinking instant coffee, Folger's is the absolute best!) I make it very strong with a heaping teaspoon of Folgers, a small amount of hot water a third of a way to the top of the cup, and the rest with almost-hot, but not scalded milk that I've heated in the microwave. I think it's delicious. Once my brother was staying with me -- my brother the coffee connoisseur who even grinds his own beans! -- and when I presented him with a strong, bracing cup of my beloved Folger's, he said: "I don't believe you, and stormed out to the nearest Starbucks.

Hungry Mother 10:54 AM  

Aslo had "yak" at first. I usually think of the usage, "Close your YAP!" No big deal, easy today.

puzzle hoarder 11:10 AM  

It's a good coincidence that this puzzle fell on the first Monday of the month. There are definitely some aspects to this puzzle that could be issues for a new solver. As a fairly experienced one I have some nits of my own. BAE sticks out like a big zit on the end of someone's nose. OHFUN isn't far behind. I study the clue lists at xwordinfo all the time so I'm well aware of how WS has retired an entire range of entries he considered over used and ready for retirement. That's all well and good but how do you then justify replacing them with this kind of crap? Wether old or new crap is crap. There are only so many words with so many meanings so you need unknowns to maintain some challenge. I don't mind a debut like PATEK on any day of the week. It gives me something to work around and does not insult my intelligence. That's a lot more than I can say for BAE and OHFUN.
One more thing, this is to whom it may concern, does Detroit have a professional baseball team and if so what are they called?

QuasiMojo 11:11 AM  

@Nancy, I am jealous you got to meet Aketi. My favorite instant used to be Medallgia doro but now I drink Via from Starbucks. It tastes better than the actual coffee made at Starbucks. Try the Italian Roast. It's like being back in Abruzzi (my first answer to the Jacuzzi clue the other day...) :)

Ken Wurman 11:13 AM  

Easy.. Very easy

chefbea 11:22 AM going to Rome where my daughter lives? You taking one of her tours?

old timer 11:28 AM  

I measure difficulty by coffee, too. I have a sip or two in the kitchen, then take the coffee into the living room and do the puzzle. The coffee is cold when I finish a Fri or Sat puzzle, sometimes almost still hot after doing a Mon or Tue. Today, more like "still warm". Like others, never heard of SCRAG or BAE. I see nothing offensive about BAE, but looking up SCRAG afterwards surprised me.

Always enjoy your comments, Annabel.

As for SLAVE, it really sets off no alarm bells as a verb. But these days, it is not PC to use it as a noun. "Enslaved person" (note, a verb) is required by some. Fashions change. In the great old song, "Acres of Clams" made famous by Burl Ives in my day, and used as the name of Seattle's once-most-famous fish restaurant, our hero says, "For two years I chopped and I n**gred, but never got down to the soil." The Lomaxes, who were very liberal, and who championed African-American traditional music, had no problems with it. These days, "Acres of Clams" is still performed, but the verse reads, "for two years I chopped and I labored, but never got down to the soil." Oh well. Our hero becomes an old settler, nothing can drive him away, and he thinks on his "happy condition, surrrrrounded by acres of clams. (And when I lived near Puget Sound, clams were plentiful and delicious).

Lewis 12:05 PM  

@jberg -- Have a terrific trip!

Masked and Anonymous 12:09 PM  

yo, @Blu'Bel darlin - excellent write-up. Agree that this played a bit hard-ball, for a MonPuz. Nice PEARS defense, btw.

moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Cut the lawn} = MOW. Notice that M&A had to dig down pretty deep to come up with today's poster cow.

staff weeject pick: BAE. Both of its appearances have come in 2017 puzs. Desperation luvs company. Sooo … honrable mention to INE.

Theme was fine and appropriate for an April Monpuz, even tho missin the crucial HOMERSIMPSUMP entry. Fillins was Tues/WedPuz smooth. A veritable PUMPKINCOACH-OH-FUN.

fave of the two long non-themer entries: ILLBETHERE. If ever combined together, SCRAGRHEAS could be a contender, tho.

Thanx, CC and AD -- and congratz to AD on yer debut. Always enjoy me a MonPuz with a little feist. Am kinda sorry it tuckered out our faux-geek Blu'Bel, tho.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


wordstorn 12:17 PM  

The best instant coffee brand is Bustelo

Nancy 12:21 PM  

@Quasi (11:11) -- Thanks for the recommendation. I've written it down and I will absolutely try Via Italian Roast instant from Starbucks when my Folger's runs out. Although I can tell you that the Via has some really BIG shoes to fill :)

Larry Gilstrap 12:24 PM  

@LMS, I see that the theme is indeed more focused than I gave it credit for in my previous comment. FIGURES, a nice touch.

TomAz 12:25 PM  

After ripping Sunday's puzzle hard, I was really relieved to see this one. This was a very good Monday puzzle. It made me happy. Yay baseball.

Anoa Bob 12:30 PM  

YAP (51A) could be clued as an island in Micronesia famous for its large stone money. Ones wealth could be measured by how many people it took to carry your stone coins around.

I once received a rejection from a puzzle ed. (not NYT) thanking me for my submission celebrating the baseball season opening but saying that this theme had been used so many times over the years that I literally needed to "hit it out of the park" in order to get another one added to that list. I guess mine only had warning track power! The themers contained HIT, FOUL & OUT with IN THE BALLPARK as the reveal. So maybe my thinking that today's themers were a bit scattered or arbitrary has a tinge of sour grapes to it.

I just googled OTERI. The first entry is an Italian bakery in Philly, the second our own Cheri and the third is a funeral home in Franklin, MA. If she could get royalties every time her name appeared in a crossword, she would be set for life. What a grid-friendly string of alternating vowel-consonant letters that is.

If @Alvinasarah is here, can the Spellcaster be far behind?

Johncape 12:49 PM  

Had to run the alphabet on bae - bab, bad, bag -- bae is not a word and should never ever appear again.

DigitalDan 1:04 PM  

@Larry Gilstrap: Will Shortz needs to stop allowing definitions for EPA that imply that the agency sees itself as having anything at all to do with pollution control or "green" anything. In fact, he'd be better advised to remove the acronym whenever it appears in drafts. This catches me up in an ironical snit every time it appears.

Teedmn 1:14 PM  

Typical Monday time for me today, even with a couple of writeovers. Fave was SCRAp for SCRAG - I thought it was a great clue: "One who's all skin and bones" referring to some meat SCRAp on one's plate. OH well, FUN.

And like @chefwen, I balked at RACHAEL for RACH[]EL plus I had her last name as RAe. I looked at my 50A eAP and thought "Ah, clue will be ' "The Raven" poet, initially' ", but had to rethink that upon seeing the "Talk, talk, talk" clue.

@Nancy, I'll go you one better (worse?). Not being a coffee drinker on a regular basis, I don't keep coffee on hand in crystal form because it goes stale. So I buy Folgers Coffee Singles, which comes in coffee "tea bags". And I have had coffee drinkers evince surprise that they are so tasty. I'm sure any connoisseur would want to storm out for something better but that would be an 8 mile drive from my house, so sorry - NOT!

I was talking with a crossword tyro this past weekend about her progressively more successful solving - she now finishes Monday NYTimes puzzles, once in a while. She was excited that she was starting to learn the regular answers, and was interested in knowing we refer to that as crossword-ease (ese, whatever). I was excited that there are 20-somethings out there still taking up the pasttime!

@LarryGilstrap, thanks for your last line, which elicited a snort from me.

Congrats, Agnes Davidson, on your NYTimes debut, and thanks, CC, nice puzzle.

Anonymous 1:14 PM  

Pears have a granular, or gritty, texture. It's not that they are inferior to apples.

Numinous 1:31 PM  

Funny, Mrs. N was watching "America's Worst Cooks" with Ann Burrell (sp?) and RACHAEL RAY this morning so I was pleased to see her, actually I'd rather see her than Bobby Flay any day of the week. HAR.

I 'a' come to acce't BAE e'en tho I disli'e it cuzza wer' is fro'. I live roun so man' I cain' unnastan' cuzza so man' drop consonan'. Drive' me craze'.

Oh wow, we just got a TORNADO WARNING! If we get blown away, oh well. Y'all won't have to read my comments any more.

I totally missed OTERI, MOW, and a few other words by solving the Acrosses only. I barely needed to check the Downs to verify my thinking. And I still finished in more than two minutes under my Monday Average. Thinking of BALLPARK FIGURES, it occurrs to me that stats like RBI, ERA, BATTing averages &c are FIGURES too. I'm grateful they werent used here. I liked the BATTER, the COACH, the PITCHER, and the FAN. I guess the Cubs game yesterday was the official opening day of the season but we got to watch the Braves beat the Yankees (8:5) on Friday night as the sort of official opening of Sun Trust Park, the.Braves new venue in Cobb County where we used to live.

Apparently this isn't Agnes's first published puzzle as she and CC have had a few published in the LAT. Sorry,@Anoa, this was at least a "ground-rule double".

Ok, now the sirens are going off. Makes me wonder a bit. At least the sky is still bright.

Good write-up, Annabel. I always enjoy reading what you have to say.

chefwen 2:26 PM  

@jberg, We will be following your footsteps this fall. Have a great trip!

@Anoa Bob, I misread your post as Large Stone Monkey, tapped on the link and thought "that doesn't look like a MONKEY" Oh money, never mind!

JamieP 2:28 PM  

@kitshef Great call on Oscar Gamble. Now that I look back on the puzzle, so much of it reminds me of Opening Day: HAT, NATL, SKOAL, EGOS, LONG (ball), (Preacher) ROE, BERT (Blyleven), SUMO (Terry Forster). OK, now I'm stretching. Play Ball!

Denis C 4:24 PM  

Ah Annabelle, the only reason I bother with the puzzle on a Monday.. love your write ups...

Mr. Fitch 4:43 PM  

I concur. Rheas aren't in my vocabulary and I've been doing crosswords daily for ages. OHFUN in that same area was original, at least.

Charley 4:47 PM  


Punctuated equilibrium 5:03 PM  

A very uneven solve, with dubious entries like BAE and OHFUN. Liked IRIS and SLOTHS.

Edac2day 5:23 PM  

About halfway through the puzzle I realized it was the first Monday of the month, so Annabelle. Yay!

Bill L. 5:47 PM  

If BAE was clued "_____ Systems, (defense contractor)" would people here get it? I know it 'cause they have a facility near me. Just curious if this would be appropriate on a Monday. Will probably wouldn't want a defense contractor in the puz anyway.

GILL I. 6:08 PM  

@Nancy...Instant coffee is like boxed warm white wine. It should be stored in your bomb cellar just in case the big one goes off and you have to hide for several years. The only time I've bought instant coffee was for my chocolate cheese cake crust recipe. Nescafe.
@wordstorn: I have a 30 year old Bioletti espresso maker and Bustelo is my go to coffee. That's my Cuban bean. I didn't know they ruined it with an "instant."
@jberg. Happy trails. I need an Italian fix some time soon....

Rug Crazy 6:45 PM  

My problem with it is PUMPKIN COACH, isn't a thing, except in Cinderella. Had PUMKIN SHELL to start, until the revealer. Ho-Hum

Anonymous 7:14 PM  

Z calling someone insufferable. LOL.
Oh, he was serious. Let me laugh louder!!!!!

Hey Mohair, I'm in a 2 story house. Is it bigger or smaller than a 1 story house? Hint v 6 sixes are not necessarily bigger or more powerful than 4 bangers.

AND wtf? Do you really think I mistook cubic centimeters for cubic inches? Twit.

Anonymous 7:33 PM  

Baseball has managers not coaches, so "pumpkin coach" doesn't really work

JC66 8:15 PM  

Who are those guys behind 1st & 3rd?

Andrew Heinegg 8:16 PM  

I'm trying to figure out how Nancy can be so unpretentious so as to pen the words/phrase: 'best instant coffee', an absolute oxymoron in food snobs language.

As for Anon. at 7:33, uh, baseball has many, many coaches as in pitching coach, first base coach, etc. Baseball is different in that the boss who is called the head coach in other sports is called the manager in baseball.

The puzzle, a tribute to what used to be the opening day of the season, is okay in that the theme answers do not require knowledge of the underlier to the theme but which, all in all, are a little, to use the 50¢ crossword word, ennui inducing.

It is Monday and you do have to allow for some ease of solving. The ones I didn't know, bae and Kalel were fairly simple from the crosses.

The highlight of the day besides Annabel's usual refreshing take was LMS knowing Kalel because of Nicholas Cage naming his son that. Can you cue the 'what were they thinking?' response. It makes me think of other stars names for their child:

Grace Slick -God
Kanye West and whichever Kardashian he is married to- Saint West -son, North West- daughter

Michael Jackson- Prince Michael and Prince Michael II. My Comcast blank screen tells me that the older son just got a big tattoo of his father put on his leg. To prove to doubters who he really is?

Penn Jillette and wife Emily - daughter Moxie Crimefighter.


Joe 8:54 PM  

I found this harder than usual for a Monday, too, Annabelle. Particularly, the RHEAS, OHFUN, SCRAG crossing. None of them struck me as terms I'd run across in ordinary English. So a little less fun for me.

Nancy 9:49 PM  

I chuckled over GILL's (6:08 p.m.) and Andrew Heinegg's (8:16 p.m.) instant coffee comments and have been thinking to myself: When you next play hostess, Nancy, make sure to stick to the wine and the liquor and stay the bleep away from serving anyone -- anyone at all -- coffee. Except there truly is a part of me that thinks: If I go to the kitchen and I don't let you watch me; if I make you my very special instant Folger's "latte" with its heaping teaspoon of Folger's, a minimum of boiling water and a generous supply of hot (but not scalded) milk, and I present it to you in the kind of beautiful bone china cup you seldom see anymore, and I smile sweetly and say, with an absolutely straight face: "I hope you enjoy my coffee; I made it especially for you," that you would drink it and think it quite delicious. (Because, in its own plebeian way, it really is delicious.) I can say this: I have over a lifetime drunk some absolutely vile swill in some very forgettable restaurants -- brewed coffee that managed to be both weak and unpleasantly acidic at the same time -- and that didn't hold a candle to my instant Folger's concoction. There's a lot of bad *brewed* coffee out there!

Anonymous 10:21 PM  

Phil Phil: Not 'born' to his adopted parents, per se, ha ha.

His parents are adoptive, not adopted. They are his adoptive parents. He is their adopted son.

GILL I. 10:51 PM  

@Nancy....Can I adopt you?

Wilma Shakespeare 10:55 PM  

@Z0722, new words arise when they fill an unmet need; BABE leaves no obvious unmet need for BAE to fill.

Anonymous 12:36 AM  

As a tea drinker, I am almost bored to tears with all the coffee comments. Surely, there must be a forum somewhere to discuss coffee?? Bae is part of the new crosswordese we must learn. I think this is the third or fourth time I have seen it now. Scrag seemed odd.

Oldflappyfrommississappy 12:44 AM  

I killed this puzz. I put the pu**y on the chain wax.

bellota 9:29 AM  

Have Trump voters started doing The NY Times crossword? Much to easy even for a Monday.

Burma Shave 10:03 AM  


I ITCH and LONG for RACHAELRAY, IMEAN I GREW to really dig her,
and I’LLBETHERE to call her BAE, and check out her BALLPARKFIGURE.


spacecraft 10:48 AM  

Not only "the guys behind first and third," but also pitching and hitting COACHes--the latter usually remaining in the dugout. On occasion, a pitching coach will emerge and go to the mound if he sees a flaw in the current hurler's delivery. Such trips are severely limited by rule, thanks be.

I am with @Rug Crazy, though, about that shell where Peter kept his wife very well. And, if you think about the thousands of peanut shells--to say nothing of the sunflower seed shells that the players CONSTANTLY spit out, that word works perfectly with the theme!

I liked this tribute to America's favorite pastime. Hand up for thumbs down on BAE and OHFUN, but the rest was fine. DOD, besides the co-constructors, is a gal who's been in many grids but had yet to don the sash: Cheri OTERI. I love a girl with a sense of humor. Easy-medium because of that pumpkin glitch (I was so confident that I wrote it in, so the NE looks like a tornado hit it). Par.

rondo 11:32 AM  

After that April Fool’s debacle it occurred to me, after seeing BATTER, that this puz was from the beginning of the MLB season, so knew the themers would have to do with baseball. Much appreciated.

This week our softball season begins, where for some of the players we could say, “Have another BEER,BATTER.”

I actually own one of the books by fully spelled out and ever so spunky yeah baby RACHAELRAY.

Nice baseball puz that I buzzed through without a SNAG.

Uke Xensen 11:43 AM  

Finished easily but thought I had made some sort of mistake since I had nonsense sequences like BAE and SCRAG among my answers.

Diana,LIW 12:54 PM  

Agree - easy but for the SCRAG/RHEAS crossing - not on a Monday! Especially after the last 2 days of puzzles I didn't even care to finish. Now that I'm done with Sunday - wow. Those mythtery people and the dopey New England Chodder sayings. Usually I'd like a theme like that, but yesterday's just didn't do it for me. So I was glad to see Monday coming.

And I have the world's largest blister on my right foot's sole. And the (finisher) t-shirt to brag about.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords, not Mythtery Names

(Had to laugh at the post that the "not a robot" quiz was more fun from yesterday.)

rain forest 1:10 PM  

Something about RACHAEL RAY make her the yeah BAE today.

Monday. Easy. Amazing, though, that someone thought that baseball had no coaches. My Little League, and Babe Ruth teams had only coaches - no managers. Also, as @Spacey pointed out, 1st base, 3rd base, pitching, batting, and water cooler coaches.

As a teenager, I heard the word SCRAG used often, and not in the best of senses.

Fun fact: instant coffee should be considered a separate hot beverage. You got coffee, tea, and instant coffee, which should be avoided unless desperate.

Not so fun fact: yesterday I was in a charity golf tournament - Texas scramble format on a course that was so muddy, windy, cold, and with terrible greens that I would normally have refused to play, but hey, it was for charity. So, I didn't solve Sunday's puzzle last night. Thought it wasn't so bad as others seemed to think.

Today's? Just fine for a Monday.

BS2 2:18 PM  

BTW that's Wolfgang PUCK

rondo 2:58 PM  

Forgot this one - my former dentist, when examining your gums, would tell you, "There's the three kinds of RHEAS - pia-, dia-, and gono-. Guess which one you have?" Dentist humor. OHFUN!

leftcoastTAM 4:27 PM  

Very nice review by Annabel, and I agree with her that this one was Monday hard, mainly because of one tough cluster:

SCRAG/OHFUN/RHEAS and the spelling of RACHAELRAY, all bunched together near the NE corner. Fortunately was able to untangle VIA mutually revealing crosses.

Too close to a rare Monday dnf.

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