Green condiment / MON 7-24-17 / George Rumble in the Jungle / Ke$ha TiK / Ouzo flavoring / Taj Mahal city / Muppet with wings / Milo Verdict

Monday, July 24, 2017

Constructor: Peter Gordon

Relative difficulty: Easy (4:17)

THEME: Morphological reduplication (as they call it in linguistics) — An idiom and the names of a person, a brand, and a Muppet repeat sounds (morphemes) in a rhyming pattern.

Theme answers:
  • 28A: Ramen product -- OODLES OF NOODLES
  • 56A: "Sesame Street" Muppet with wings and a magic wand -- ABBY CADABBY
  • 6D: Competing with the goal of victory -- IN IT TO WIN IT
  • 7D: Daredevil in the Motorcycle Hall of Fame -- EVEL KNIEVEL
Do you get enough noodles in your noodle soup?

Word of the Day: RUMBLE IN THE JUNGLE (from the clue for FOREMAN [13A: Boxer George who lost the Rumble in the Jungle]) -- almost a reduplication!
The Rumble in the Jungle was a historic boxing event in Kinshasa, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) on October 30, 1974 (at 4:00 am). Held at the 20th of May Stadium (now the Stade Tata Raphaël), it pitted the undefeated world heavyweight champion George Foreman against challenger Muhammad Ali, a former heavyweight champion. The attendance was 60,000. Ali won by knockout, putting Foreman down just before the end of the eighth round. It has been called "arguably the greatest sporting event of the 20th century". The event was one of Don King's first ventures as a professional boxing promoter. (Wikipedia)
• • •
Jeepers creepers! This super-de-duper puzzle was just chock-a-block with boogie-woogie. The nitty-gritty: Peter Gordon gives us a grid with left-right symmetry (as opposed to the standard topsy-turvy rotational symmetry), no doubt to accommodate a set of hodge-podge theme entries without symmetrical lengths. Add the hocus-pocus of crossing the 15-letter OODLES OF NOODLES with the two 11-letter down themers and that's evidence of some razzle-dazzle construction skills.
I wonder if there's a Goth Muppet named AVER CADAVER
The fill was neither fuddy-duddy nor hoity-toity. There's some kind of postmodern fusion cuisine suggested by WASABI (1A: Green condiment served with sushi), TACO BELL (42D: Fast food chain with the slogan "Live más"), and RONZONI (16A: Brand of pasta). You've got your Midwestern cities represented with ST PAUL (11D: Capital of Minnesota) and SHEBOYGAN (38D: Wisconsin city on Lake Michigan). And I have a teentsy-weentsy quibble with SLABBING (45D: Applying thickly, with "on") because it seems a bit hugger-mugger, but okey-dokey.
  • 44A: Milo of "The Verdict" (O'SHEA) — Poor Milo. A long career in British cinema, and you are known forever to crossword solvers as the judge from a 1980s Paul Newman legal drama. I propose that from now on we clue O'SHEA as [Rapper and actor ___  Jackson, better known as Ice Cube].
  • 70A: Molecule components (ATOMS) — Q: Why can't you trust atoms? A: Because they make up everything.
  • 63A: Punk rock's ___ Pop (IGGY) — I'll let Iggy sing me out.
 I see the stars come out tonight

Signed, Laura Braunstein, Sorceress of CrossWorld

[Follow Laura on Twitter]

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:12 AM  

Tough Monday for me, more like a medium Tuesday. ABBYCADABBY was a WOE, I'm never quite sure of the KNIEVEL spelling, stuff like ASSYRIA, SHEBOYGAN and RONZONI seem a bit hard for a Mon., SLAthering got in the way of SLABBING...not that easy.

That said, very clever, liked it a lot!

aaron 12:19 AM  

The clue for POBOYS (55A: N'awlins sandwiches) is written to imply that POBOYS is a slangy or abbreviated word (otherwise it could have just been "New Orleans sandwiches"). But po' boy is just what that kind of sandwich is called! It's not like it's really called a Poor Boy Sandwich but some people call it a po' boy for short. On the other hand I can see the argument for cluing it that way, since the name po' boy obviously comes from a drawled "poor boy." THIS IS BUGGING ME A LOT

Unknown 12:21 AM  

Nice sorcery, possibly abetted by ABBYCADABBY, comes to the fore in @Laura's review of @Peter Gordon's puzzle. For a moment, I wondered whether there was a pasta theme when RONZONI was followed by OODLES OF NOODLES, but once the theme emerged, it also helped resolve uncertainties in how to spell the daredevil's last name (as per @jae's comment, which posted while I was typing this).

Can someone confirm that SHEBOYGAN figures in the dialogue of "Some Like It Hot" (it may have been site of the Conservatory of Music that the protagonists claim to have attended)? Of course, ST. PAUL was very easy for me. The ATOMS clue (70-Across) checks out, and thanks @Laura for the timely joke about trustworthiness. Kudos for the brilliant (albeit slightly macabre) clue for HEARSE (12-Down).

aaron 12:24 AM  

Also! Is RONZONI a regional thing? It doesn't really ring a bell - the main dry pasta brands I recall seeing around here (Chicago) are Prince, Barilla, and De Cecco.

Mr. Fitch 12:28 AM  

Never heard of Ronzoni and had RONZORI (BARS vs. BANS). That was annoying.

Unknown 12:40 AM  

Lots of great fill, junker theme. Also frustrated when I found out ENDASH is a thing-- I had EMDASH and never heard of ENDASH. Theme was way over my head-- overly complex for a Monday. My solve time went from 9 minutes last Monday to 30 minutes today when I gave up.

Unknown 1:10 AM  

I'm going to have to call the reviewer on her definition of morpheme. A morpheme has to have an independent meaning or grammatical function. The word "noodles" consists of two morphemes: noodle, and the pluralizing suffix -s. The "oodle" inside noodle is not a morpheme, just a string of sounds that is contained in that word.

Larry Gilstrap 1:31 AM  

Tough little Monday effort, devoid of lots of dreck. Sorry, SHEBOYGAN, but that cross with ABBY CADABBY, left me with a guessing game. I've heard you folks in those parts are nice, try harder! I bought a 1987 Buick LE SABRE and loved it, until it done me wrong. Barely outlived the payments. Detroit iron, yet I loved my 1983 El Camino.

Sub theme: Onomatopoeic expressions of guttural utterances, not even fairly crossed. I'm looking at you 25A, but not so much 18A. Actually, I have heard TiK TOK. Why not put a $ in your name? Hell, Mathguy became Mathgent, why not Gil$trap? Somewhere at Oakdale Cemetery two bodies are spinning. Sorry, Mom and Dad!

Go to any restaurant in these United States and order an ARNOLD Palmer. Not a problem.

I often go to Taco Bell for a small snack. Bean burrito comes to $1.50. I could live on those. Breakfast, lunch, and a big dinner: seven bucks per diem. Ugly crowd there today. Large or mas, loud people and some kid with a horrible mullet. But the staff was great and I got my money's worth.

Ever see the movie "When We Were Kings" the documentary about the Rumble in the Jungle. Mind boggling. Mobuto Sese Seko, @constructors, was a tyrant. The stadium smelled of blood as he cleared the streets in preparation for the event. George FOREMAN was daunting. There's a scene where he turns a body bag into a pretzel before your eyes. Ali was afraid, who wouldn't be? As an aside, lots of scary stuff in 1974 that had nothing to do with boxing.

Robin 1:57 AM  

Yes, SLABBING was gross. (WTF is that, is it like planking?) But SLATHERING wan't going to fit.

Wasn't familiar with ABBYCADABBY, but on figuring out the theme realized ABBYCADABRY (which sounds better) wasn't going to work.

Hadn't seen that mention of ARI in relation to "The Exodus" in a while. Yes, it's crossroad-ese but I guess ins'tbeen overused of late.

"The Verdict" is a freaking great movie.

chefwen 2:10 AM  

Like George B. I thought we were going for a pasta theme with RONZONI & NOODLES. I could have nailed that theme, pasta should be my middle name. Speaking of food, I am addicted to WASABI coated peanuts,

Being from Cheesehead land, Sheboygan was a gimme. I'm waiting for Oconomowoc to show up, that'll be a HOOT.

Thomaso808 4:31 AM  

Solved this without grokking the theme til I came here. Wow, mirror symmetry. I have been a daily solver for several years but don't recall a puzzle where noticing the mirror symmetry made such a difference in recognizing the themers. I saw OODLESOFNOODLES and ABBYCADABBY and said, "what, just two themers?" The big Tetris piece blocks in the mid-south should have tipped me off.

@aaron, you spelled "po' boy" three times in your post with the apostrophe, so I don't see why the clue "N'awlins" with an apostrophe is bugging you so much. By now maybe you've gone to bed and will feel better in the morning.

I had the same RONZOrI / BArS problem as @Mr. Fitch, not being familiar with RONZONI. Took me several minutes to finally find it. I'm sure all of you have had that experience where everything looks right but the clock keeps ticking, right? BArS is a perfectly good cross, but eventually you dial into the soft spots like RONZOrI, which was unknown to me, and look for alternative crosses. BANS is also a perfectly good cross that finally made the clock stop!

Loren Muse Smith 4:55 AM  

Laura – great observation about Rumble in the Jungle. And I liked your ATOM joke.

This is an extreeeeemely tight foursome here. Each themer has only five syllables, so something like willy nilly won’t work. My avatar won’t work because it’s 6 syllables. And ANNNDDD, the first section has to have only the letters that are repeated at the end of the second phrase. So Milli Vanilli (five syllables – good so far) of lip sync fame still won’t work because of that initial M. If they were Illi Vanilli then it would work. (And this is the second reason my avatar doesn’t work: that initial H. Iggeldy Piggeldy would be closer, but it still has too many syllables.) The only other phrase I could think of was abra cadabra, and I wonder if Peter considered that instead of ABBY CASABBY. How's that for over-analyzing?

I just realized that my new strategy for avoiding exclamation points is to stretch words out. Peter, I loooooved this puzzle and reeeeeaaaally appreciate the tightness of the theme.

@George – I know, right? That clue for HEARSE gave me this delicious little aha moment. Very clever clue.

The clue for 6D is ambiguous. “Competing with the goal of victory.” I read it at first as you’re fighting against winning. Competing with the goal of victory. Not competing, with the goal of victory.

If there were a town in New Jersey called Shibergen, it would be pronounced SHEBOYGAN.

@aaron. Deep breath, buddy. Sit down and have some water. It’s gonna be ok. I like your passion for all this, though. You speaka my language.

Ok, so I’ve told this “co-op” story here, but I’ll tell it again because it’s a warning to all you word nerds out there who live in the boonies but still run your mouth about language to people who just don’t give a damn. I took my car into a body shop in Wirt County and was in the man’s office while he was on the phone, calling about something or other about my car. He was on hold. I was just standing there. That’s always uncomfortable, ya know? Like you have to fill the void. So in between us on the wall was a calendar that said Wirt County Farmers Coop. I figured that since we were both just waiting, and it was so quiet, I could share a fun fact, so I said English used to put two little dots over this second O (I put my finger on it a la teacher) so people would know they’re supposed to say co-op and not coop. Even before I finished, I saw that it was awkward. I can’t even remember how it went after that. I think we just looked at each other. Silent. Maybe he was nice enough to nod.

One more story - @Larry's mention of mullet made me think of it - but I don’t know how I can talk about a mullet without offending all the mullet-sporters who read this blog. Hmm. I probably can’t, but I’ll tell it anyway. There was a fight last year at school between two pretty good-sized boys during lunch, and Sherry, a woman about ten years older than I am, broke it up. I mean, she waded right in there with the two guys, got in between them, and got’em apart. She wasn’t even on lunch duty. I was on lunch duty. She basically did my job while I rushed toward them, wild jazz hands, and shrieking for kids to go get help. So afterwards, I was complaining to Matt W (a young former football-jock-turned-health-teacher with razor sharp insight) that I had dropped the ball. I said How is it that Sherry, who is even older than I am, can get in there and mix it up with those guys and break up a fight by herself while I go all panicky and flutter my hands and scream? He said, simply, She has a mullet and you don’t.

Conrad 5:22 AM  

@LMS: Is ABBY CASABBY what you get when you cross a Muppet with a melon?

Anonymous 6:18 AM  

Very fun Monday puzzle. Great name for a magician cat or puppet or whatever it was.

Lewis 6:20 AM  

@larry -- Great post!
@lms -- Great post, and there's also LEGGO MY EGGO. Also, not only five syllables with each theme answer, but the accents are on on the first and fourth syllable.

This puzzle met my vision of what Mondays should be. Usually the cluing is 100% direct and obvious; today we had a bit of fun trickery (STOLE, HEARSE, SOB) -- not so much as to overwhelm, but enough to give novices a taste of what's to come, and the cluing is not "Opposite of night" obvious. Also, usually the answers are very well known, but today some lesser known entries (ENDASH, ANISEED, ISLET, AGRA, VAUNTED). Again, not an overwhelming amount.

So, while the puzzle is still easy, it has a bit of bite, and it's still easier than Tuesday. More like this, Will!

Anonymous 6:27 AM  

As a former Wisconsinite, SHEBOYGAN was a gimme. I grew up in M'waukee, and it is just up the road. Anyone else remember the song "Don't mention my name in SHEBOYGAN, It's the sweetest little town in the world." My memory tells me there used to be an annual sausage fest there as well but as I have gotten older, my memory has gotten increasingly unreliable.

- Jim C. in Maine

Sugar Kane Kowalczyk 6:47 AM  

From the script:

Where did you girls play before?
Oh -- here and there -- and around.
We spent three years at the Sheboygan
Conservatory of Music.

(to Joe and Jerry)
Hey, Sheboygan -- you two -- what
was your last job -- playing square
No -- funerals.
Would you mind rejoining the living?
Goose it up a little.
We'll try.

Oh, yes. Quite. You know -- Vassar,
Bryn Mawr -- we're only doing this
for a lark.
Syncopators -- does that mean you
play that fast music -- jazz?
Yeah. Real hot.
Oh. Well, I guess some like it hot.
But personally, I prefer classical
So do I. As a matter of fact, I spent
three years at the Sheboygan
Conservatory of Music.

RooMonster 6:59 AM  

Hey All !
Man, after reading @Lorens post, I have a better appreciation for this puz. It seems the ole brain as of late refuses to see the complexities of these puzs. Maybe that's why Rex is so harsh on some puzs.

Originally I just thought, hmm, two themers, no wait, I guess there's four, but meh, just rhyming words. But now I see the four letters repeat thing, five syllables each. Wow. Thanks @LMS! And also, @Lewis for pointed out the stresses. However, @Lewis, your LEGGO MY EGGO wouldn't work because of the initial L.

So cool puz, albeit that ABBYCADABBY was kinda weird. Lived in PA, CT, and NV, know RONZONI pasta. BANS/BARS is one of those answers that I write in BA_S and wait on crosses. Like the Mauna ___ clue. Write in the last A and wait on crosses. Saves a write over!

No real dreck to complain about today. Good one PG!

Took my LESABRE to the SHEBOYGAN TACO BELL, doo-dah, doo-dah

kitshef 7:11 AM  

Two days into Rex’s vacation, and it is clear that Laura and I have VERY different taste in puzzles (though I enjoy her reviews very much!).

First of all … RONZONI? Oho, apparently, it’s a regional thing. The equivalent hereabouts is San Giorgio (which would also not be puzzle-worthy).

Then … SLABBING??? Not a word, at least not in that sense. Possible confusion with slathering?

Other than that – I guess it’s a normal, slightly dull Monday. Could have spiced it up with different cluing:
Cigarette tip – END ASH
Doing meditation – AT OMS
Deliver Chandler to the morgue – SLAB BING
Hairstyle guaranteed to set Rex off – FRO DO

Hungry Mother 7:15 AM  

I thought I knew all of the Muppets, but evidently not. Easy puzzle anyway.

Sydney 7:26 AM  

Slabbing? No.

kitshef 7:26 AM  

@Loren Muse Smith - another way in which the theme is tiiiight is that there are exactly three letters between the repeated set. So, Mark(y) Mark would not fly, but Mork (fro) mOrk would be OK (for the letter the pattern - syllables are still off).
(Also, you may have a DNF at CAsABBY.)

ghthree 7:27 AM  

I grew up in the Midwest, but I remember the slogan "RONZONI SONO BUONI"
(RONZONI is so good).

Loren Muse Smith 7:33 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loren Muse Smith 7:33 AM  

RONZONI is a reeealllly common pasta brand around here. I had zero trouble with it.

@kitshef – yup. Yes! I'll add the Three Letter Fact to the list of how tight this theme is. Good catch. And I didn’t even notice that I had SEEM for “regard.” Oops. I take back everything nice I said about this puzzle.

mathgent 7:36 AM  

Peter Gordon has written more than 100 NYT crosswords. He owns Fireball Crosswords. How did he come to do today's puzzle?
Maybe he was playing with this theme for Fireball and it didn't turn out hard enough.

I think that the last Gordon creation was last year's April Fool puzzle. The one that said that NYT was going to discontinue its crosswords.

A pleasing professional job. Certainly better than the average Monday.

chefbea 7:47 AM  

Had no idea what the theme was... never heard of morphemes!!! or end ash for that matter. Just thought it was all about food...what with Arnold Palmer, ronzoni, oodles of noodles, split pea soup, tacos, poboy and wash it all down with some ouzo!!!

clk 7:50 AM  

I liked it a lot, except for SLABBING, though the crosses made that easy. I don't see why RONZONI caused such problems. Ronzori doesn't even sound Italian.

three of clubs 7:57 AM  

Some day I will watch more TV. Struck out with DEEM/SEEM.

Glimmerglass 8:00 AM  

I'm guessing that one of the hardest tasks for a constructor is to write a NYT Monday-easy puzzle that has enough interest and zip to be a fun solve for the Friday-Saturday crowd. I think Peter Gordon has accomplished that today. Nice job, Peter. I've subscribed to the Fireball puzzles for several years. You get a challenging puzzle every Wednesday, and about once a month there's a meta puzzle embedded as a contest. @Laura: writing a snappy review for a Monday-easy puzzle must be hard, too. Nice job to you, too. @LMS The Harvard Coop in Cambridge rhymes with chicken coop, never pronounced co-op. Recently LMS' posts have been more interesting than OFL's. Thanks for playing.

RAD2626 8:03 AM  

Nice puzzle. Enough difficulty to make you work, even for a Monday. Embarrassing dnf: ABBYCADABrY with SLABrING, a cross between slobbering and slathering. My bad entirely.

RONZONI is distributed nationwide, as are SHEBOYGAN brats. SHEBOYGAN is also the home of the Kohler Company and Whistling Straits and Black Wolf Run golf courses where they have played both men and women's major events. All Monday worthy imo.

howard a. brenner 8:25 AM  

Liked the puzzle and loved the whine free review. Bravo.

Nancy 8:42 AM  

Agree with @Lewis, @mathgent and @Glimmerglass. This is much better than the usual Monday. Look at how obliquely such a simple word as ONE (30D) is clued. Look at the great clue for HEARSE (12D). Look at the delightful clue for EVEN PAR (17A). And 56A may be the only time I've ever liked a Muppet clue. ABBYCADABBY may not have been any name I've ever heard of, but it's certainly an amusing one. Maybe it's time to watch Sesame Street again? I didn't find this especially hard, but it was lively and fun to solve. Nice job, Peter Gordon.

Lewis 8:43 AM  

@roo -- Don't understand why the initial L disqualifies LEGGO MY EGGO.

Regarding SLABBING, it's hard to find in this sense in the online dictionaries, but it's definition 10 here: . Verrrrrrrry obscure...

Hartley70 8:49 AM  

I'm gonna go SLABBING this morning when I butter my toast and there is nothing I don't love about this most unique Monday puzzle.

The left right symmetry made finding the themers much more fun and the grid looked cool!

ABBYCADABBY (no S, guys!) is my new favorite name. I hope my new grandchild will be called this. I might use it even if he/she isn't. Why did I stop watching The Muppets when my kids outgrew them? I need more Muppet in my life.

I'm not even sure that I can pronounce what Laura is talking about. Morphemes sound like something we should keep out of the water supply. I'm glad @LMS is here to appreciate the linguistic complexities and the power of Sherry's coiffure choice. Really nice reviews girls!

When I read here that Ronzoni must be regional to the East, I got confused and thought it must be the pasta brand owned by NYU Law. Factoid: Nope, that was Muellers and it was a weird pairing and a super little money machine for the school.

SHEBOYGAN is a great word. TOK is a gift for the youngsters. I don't know Ke$ha, but I remember Joan Rivers hysterically dissed her all the time on her fashion show. I miss Joan.

@Nancy, the gal who remembers nothing (except her literary efforts, apparently), I wrote that in 1967! If only I had used carbon paper, but the desk drawer was empty during my midnight scribbling. I transferred over the summer, so I couldn't track it down in the fall. It will remain my lost "masterpiece" and that might be just as well.

Kendall 8:50 AM  

Liked the puzzle a lot, though I didn't pick up on all of the theme until reading here. I have only two complaints about the puzzle. SEZ needs to go away forever and no one actually says N'awlins other than people not from Louisiana who think it's fun to say what's on the t-shirt. It's pronounced with three distinct syllables and most certainly doesn't truncate the word "new."

Anonymous 8:54 AM  

Similar to yesterday, the theme is a non-theme and contributes nothing. SLABBING, and WOOHOO crossing OHO are both nonsensical. Apparently this puzzle was provided by a very well-respected and accomplished constructor, which seems sad somehow.

Arlene 9:06 AM  

"Ronzoni sono buoni" - that was the trademarked blurb from the 1960's. I thought everyone knew Ronzoni, but it seems it was regional.

Bill Feeney 9:11 AM  

And I thought it was just a bunch of rhymey words. But no! They have a name and rigid syllabication and three letters separating... Ay, caramba what an intelligent group inhabits this blog.

Birchbark 9:18 AM  

A guy who led one of our business segments used to say "I'm IN IT TO WIN IT." I thought it was sort of flashy the first time I heard it. But he didn't win, and he's somewhere else now.

I should talk -- I thought RONZONI was RONRONI, and was among those who thought ENDASH was EMDASH.

RooMonster 9:29 AM  

Mr @Lewis, as @LMS pointed out, the themers start and end with the same four letters. So, LEGGO MY EGGO woulg have to be LEGGO MY LEGG!
Which could be a command to Fido...


pmdm 9:42 AM  

Many decades ago, before I entered high school (the 50s or 60s) I think I remember RONZONI airing lots of commercials on TV Those were the days, before PBS, when CBS, NBX and ABC were the only networks and most stations in the major markets were privately owned Were RONZONI ads only regionally placed? I wouldn't know. I heard enough of the ads to result in the name being etched into my memory (if that's the correct verb) so I am surprised to learn it is a regional product.

Brian 9:42 AM  

Slabbing is as good (bad) as plating

Anonymous 9:54 AM  

Laity is a bit of stretch. It has nothing to do with going to church per se. It is simply to distinguish the religious e.g., nuns, sisters, oblates. priests, friars, brothers et al. After all plenty of those folks attend Church. You might say that makes them part of the congregation, but certainly not part of the laity.

Two Ponies 9:57 AM  

I was surprised to see Peter Gordon on a Monday.
This was great fun and I should not be surprised
that Peter can make a quality easy puzzle.
Heck, Abby Cadabby alone was worth the price of
admission. The clue for hearse was great.
I'll tell the kids next door the atom joke.
If I ever get another cat her name will have
to be Abby Cadabby.

Nancy 9:57 AM  

You could have knocked me over with a noodle when I discovered how many people on this blog are unfamiliar with RONZONI. In my neck of the woods it's in every supermarket and it's been there like forever. It's Everyman's Pasta -- a truly plebeian pasta. I happen to have a box of their spaghetti in my cupboard right now. It's made in Harrisburg, PA. I also have two boxes of Lidia's spaghetti, which says "Product of Italy". It costs around twice what RONZONI cost, but since the difference in actual $$$ is trifling, I'm splurging. Look, when you're not a cook, you need the best ingredients, right?

I thought WASABI would cause far more difficulty than RONZONI -- at least for anyone who doesn't eat sushi. I absolutely love WASABI. I didn't know there was such a thing as WASABI covered peanuts, @chefwen. I hope they're not only to be found in Hawaii. I plan to go looking for them very soon. Maybe even today.

Mr. Benson 9:58 AM  

I assume that the rhythm/meter being the same for all four theme answers was also an intended feature of the theme.

Joseph Michael 10:10 AM  

WOO HOO. A Monday with teeth. Thanks, Peter Gordon.

Liked ABBY CADABBY, even though I have never heard of her before, and the clever clues for STOLE and the otherwise grim HEARSE. Also liked the two-dollar word VAUNTED.

I have driven through SHEBOYGAN -- "The City of Cheese, Chairs, Children, and Churches" -- and always loved the name, which in Chippewa means "passage or waterway between the lakes."

Brings to mind a recent discovery that the Ohio city of Ashtabula owes its name to a Lenape term meaning "always enough fish to be shared around."

Most annoying entry in the grid: TOK (from the also annoying Ke$ha).

Lewis 10:29 AM  

@roo -- I got it! I didn't parse the theme as narrowly, but the theme answers do fit that criterion -- wow!

aging soprano 10:54 AM  

Great puzzle, outstanding review. I thought of SLOPPING on at first. Loved the clever theme. Played difficult for a Monday as I haven't lived in the United State for nearly 50 years, so the likes of OODLES OF NOODLES, ABBYCADABBY, RONZONI, had to be groked from the crosses. Had a heck of a time remembering ST.PAUL. Also got SHEBOYGAN from the crosses, although as a former midwesterner whose family used to vacation on the shores of Lake Michigan, I recognized it. My dad used to make jokes about it whenever we passed a sign with its name.
Lots of fun. Thank you Peter Gordon.

bookmark 11:06 AM  

En dash is a short dash.

Em dash is a long dash.

Aketi 11:13 AM  

Didn't we have a puzzle with OODLES and NOODLES in it recently?

I kind of got stuck contemplating the SHE SHE, BOY BOY crosses creating the SHEBOY before IGGY got me past my confusion about how a town could come to be named SHEBOY-something. IGGY helped me realize it must be a Native American name.

@Larry, I had not followed Mohammed Ali fights or known about the RUMBLE IN THE JUNGLE until I went to Zaire in 1980. Everyone mentioned those fights to me when they realized I was American. What was only whispered about was the stuff that Mobutu had done because talking about it openly could get you arrested or killed.

Masked and Anonymous 11:20 AM  

Same as other Comment Gallery folks: Heard here for the 1st time = SLABBING & RONZONI & ABBYunnormal.
Thoroughly enjoyed the puz, tho … another PG-rated MonPuz [PG=Peter Gordon]. Had some 'tude, dude.

Kinda neat hidden themers:
* AXE in AXEL.

staff weeject pick: TOK. As in: "Don't like it? TOK to the hand."

Thanx, PG. HEARSE clue was churse.

Masked & AnonymoUUs

Better version of the last one. Re-do, for a super fast solve time:

jb129 11:27 AM  

I use Barilla, but can't believe some never heard of Ronzoni...

Easy for me today

kitshef 11:28 AM  

BTW Kesha is now just Kesha - no longer Ke$ha - but she was Ke$ha when TiK ToK was released.

GILL I. 11:34 AM  

You start my puzzle with WASABI and I'll dance the watusi. WalMart has WASABI Pringles....I love that stuff. Snort it and it'll rid you of allergies.
I know everyone here is extolling the virtues of the HEARSE clue, but I don't get it. Opposite of a life coach? Wearing my dunce hat today.
Love me a meaty Monday and this was it. Thanks to whatever @Laura called this theme, I will now remember how to spell EVEL[kni]EVEL.
ABBY CAD ABBY is a sweet little fairy who comes from a broken home but she gets to evenly split her time between mom and dad. Such is life on Sesame Street.

ArtO 11:52 AM  

What an incredibly erudite, insightful group of bloggers. You are the perfect antidote to OFL and provide great reading when there's a@Rex sub. Thanks to all.

BTW, far above average Monday.

Masked and Anonymous 12:03 PM  

Congratz to @Laurasorceress on another primo write-up (with bullets).

WASABI is not to be swallowed in big standalone hunks, like M&A tried to do, one time at the Japanese restaurant over on the access road that got closed down a while back. M&A's tongue had a stroke. I figure the WASABI stored in the pantry ate thru down to below the floorboards, messin up the wiring and plumbing, and it all became too expensive to fix. But, I digress...

Not sure PG has a total grasp of the moo-cow eazy-E Monpuz clue concept, but this one sorta rose to the top, for this "regular": {Folk singer Guthrie} = ARLO.

Always luv the east-west grid symmetry. Unlike yer usual east-west situation, not gettin much of an artwork vibe from this particular grid pattern, tho. Needs a few more of yesterday's shady-square staph picks.


Masked and Anonymous 12:14 PM  

Hey … 16 rows. More for yer mon(d)ey. Almost snuck that fact by m&e.

ILLA IN MANILA? [Only if U partake of the Philippine WASABI.]

PG to a NYTPuz newbie solver: "How hard is the NYT MonPuz? If U have to ask, tooo hard for U." He would probably tack on a delayed "hard-ie har har", also.


chefbea 12:24 PM  

Am going to have sushi for lunch...with wasabi of course!!

Carola 12:28 PM  

@Laura, thank you for your delightful review of this light-hearted puzzle confection.
Favorite non-theme entry - VAUNTED, will have to try to find a way to use it.
Last in: ANISEED, resisted to the end, as I was sure it was two words.

@chefwen, too funny - I had the exact same thought about Oconomowoc, where, as it happens, we're now spending a week at a lake with the kids and grandkids.

Unknown 12:29 PM  

Slabbing? Slabbing? Slabbing? Really?
Wrong word or wrong clue.
Ruined a decent puzzle for me.

G. Weissman 12:31 PM  

This puzzle was pretty fine, except that the theme doesn't hold up. Oodles of Noodles, in it to win it, and Evel Knievel? "Things that rhyme" doesn't cut it. Nice write up, Laura!

Dick Swart 12:38 PM  

A great Monday morning. As soon as I saw 'oodles of noodles' I knew this was a fun romp!

JC66 12:49 PM  

@Lewis. Also, first letters are vowels

jberg 1:20 PM  

Nice write up, Laura! I think you meant phonemes, but we all knew what you were talking about. And thanks to @Loren for the in-depth analysis of the theme -- I missed half that stuff. So @Lewis, your idea would work if you reversed it, EGGO MY LEGGO. Course, then it's not a phrase.

I got OODLES OF NOODLES from the first OO, even though I've never heard of it -- but ramen, and that sounded themey. So it helped a lot.

I always thought a hyphen was the same as an EN DASH, so if you wanted longer you had to go with Em DASH.

I grew up about 70 miles North of SHEBOYGAN along the shore, but never made it to their famous Bratwurst Day. College friends who did said it was Bacchanalian, but I'm sure they were only seeing part of it.

However, there's only one TIK-TOK for me, and that's TIK-TOK OF OZ.

Teedmn 1:21 PM  

RONZONI is not common in ST PAUL. We're used to seeing Creamette pasta, (started in Minneapolis) whose website credits the original owner with inventing quick-cooking pasta. Barilla is also a brand I recognize. But RONZONI didn't DELAY me as much as wanting to be IN IT for the WIN, which didn't fit.

This is the second day in a row that I had to look at the puzzle a moment to get the theme. The two acrosses were obvious but I had to look a bit harder to see the INITs and EVELs. Nice job, Peter.

@Chefwen, Oconomowoc, hah! I stayed at one of the INNS there one weekend, for a science fiction convention in the 80's. I remember nothing about the town.

@Laura, great write-up, thanks.

Anoa Bob 1:21 PM  

Having lived in Japan in the 80s, I was embarrassed for not recalling KANPAI that was in a recent puzzle. Maybe if I had had a couple shots of Suntory whiskey chased with a Sapporo beer or two, it would have come back to me. Today I bounced back by immediately dropping in WASABI at 1 Across. I ate it several times a week while there and loved the stuff. Never did any SLABBING with WASABI, though. I would just mix a little bit of it into a tiny, shallow dish with some soy sauce and then dip the sushi or sashimi into it. Wow!

I see now that much of what gets sold as WASABI in the U.S. isn't WASABI at all but rather some mixture of horseradish, mustard, starch and food coloring. I think even real horseradish is becoming rare. So it pays to know the real stuff from the fake.

RooMonster 1:32 PM  

G. Weissman 12:31
It's more than just rhyming themers. As @LMS pointed out earlier (have to give credit where it's due), each themers has the same first and last letters, INITtowINIT, EVELkniEVEL, ABBYcadABBY, OODLESofnOODLES (which is kind of an outlier, as the others have only four letter repeats). And @Lewis pointed out all have stresses on first and fourth syllables. And someone else (forgot who, sorry) mentioned there's only three letters twixt each letter string.
Whew! That was what elevated this puz for me to Holy Cow status.

And @M&A, missed the fact is was 16 long! Doh! Nice catch-a-rooni (ronzoni?)


kitshef 1:40 PM  

Thinking more about the theme, as @JC66 says they all stat with vowels, and more specifically we have an A, and E, an I and an O. I think M&A needs to lodge a formal complaint.

Joe Bleaux 1:44 PM  

Easy PEAsy, as befitting a Monday, but sooo (hi, Loren) much better than expected. Quibbles: SLABBING is awful, but HEARSE more than makes up for it. I'm not sure, but I think the clue 7A, "Hyphen's longer cousin" is wrong. An en dash isn't longer than a hyphen, is it? But I believe an em dash (twice as long as an en) is. Oh, well -- all that morpheme eases the pain. @mathgent, thanks for the prompt on why I remembered Peter Gordon from long ago: That remarkable April Fool puzzle (which I solved unmindful of the date and so was, for a little while, upset by)!

RooMonster 1:47 PM  

@kitshef 1:40
Har! How about URNS not BURNS? Screw it, we can make our own sayings!

Rebel Roo

Charley 1:54 PM  

Ronzoni sonó buoni.
Slabbering is not a thing.

Mohair Sam 1:56 PM  

Looks like I'm the first to scream at @Laura for her hideous atom joke. Have you no pride?

Agree with all on the puzz, lots of Monday fun. Lady M polished it off alone and I got to review her genius - three words might have beaten me - TOK, ANISEED, and ABBYCADABBY. SHEBOYGAN one of my favorite city names, although nothing tops Kalamzoo. This Yankee has seen POBOYS so often in the puzzle that he finally ordered one, didn't care for it. O'SHEA so much fun to hate in "The Verdict" - arguably Paul Newman's best performance. Newman's other great one is "Cool Hand Luke" - imnho.

@jb129 and @Kitshef - We're offered RONZONI and Barilla and San Giorgio all side by side in our markets along with @Nancy's outrageously priced Lidia's. Of course Allentown, PA has long been the world's center of all things culinary.

Unknown 2:18 PM  


I'm waiting for my hometown to show up. Wayzata (Why-ZEH-Tah for the not-from-Minnesotans out there).

There are a whole bunch of Minnesota names that would make for a great puzzle. But so would state geographic names. Anyone wanna work on a 50 state puzzles compilation with me?


JC66 2:21 PM  


If you ever get over to the West Side, Fairway carries great wasabi peas (I'm eating some now).

George 2:55 PM  

Enjoyed the puzzle. Read the blog thinking, "Wow, Rex is on it today!! And he finishes it off with an Iggy Pop video." Thanks Laura for stretching out Rex's shoes while he is on vacay.

Nancy 3:00 PM  

@JC66 (2:21)-- Thanks for the tip. Finally, finally, we have a Fairway on the East side (E. 86th St.) We Eastsiders are no longer chopped liver. I'll look for your wasabi peas the next time I'm over there. But will they have the cachet of @chefwen's wasabi peanuts? That's hard to say, having never tried either.

@Anoa Bob (1:21) -- I looked at your embedded link in blue and I almost burst into tears. It was completely obvious from looking at the photos of real wasabi that never once in my life have I eaten the real stuff. Not even once. Then I thought: Why the hell should I care? Look, I love horseradish. And I love mustard. And if that's the combo that everyone's serving in all the Japanese restaurants in the U.S.,and calling it *wasabi* (not to mention most of the restaurants in Japan as well), it's not a problem. Chances are that if I ever had the *real* wasabi, I might not even like it as much. Who knows? But this is just the sort of info I come to this blog for. If it weren't for Anoa Bob today, I could have gone to my grave thinking that I was actually eating wasabi. Pay heed, @GILL, @chefwen, @M&A, @chefbea and @JC66. It seems we're all being flimflammed.

semioticus (shelbyl) 3:19 PM  

I had neither heard of SHEBOYGAN nor RONZONI up until a few minutes ago. Those are not words that I expect to see on a Monday puzzle. Or ever, actually.

Anonymous 3:33 PM  

Saying Newman's other great performance implies he had only two. I say Newman had half a dozen superb performances. I think he was often the victim of his looks. But He was a whole lot more than a pretty boy. And, besides being a hell of an actor, he knew what he was doing behind the wheel. The man could race. Best of all, and I mean this with whole heart, he didn't have a pretentious bone in his body. At Lime Rock he always, and I mean always drank Bud out of the can. And believe he, he had was more often than not hot footing some really pricey metal.

Joe Dipinto 3:39 PM  

Interesting to learn that some people here were unfamiliar with Ronzoni. Growing up in Queens back in the day, it seems to me Ronzoni was just about the only pasta sold in the local markets; or at least, it was the one we always bought.

The other pasta I remember was Prince, which also had TV ads ("Wednesday is Prince spaghetti night), with the nonna leaning out the second floor window calling "Anthonyyyyyy!" intercut with shots of Anthony running home to make it to supper. Apparently Prince is still around (distributed by the same company that does Ronzoni and San Giorgio) though I never see it in stores anymore.

GILL I. 3:54 PM  

I'm being snubbed for WASABI peas.
Pray tell why HEARSE is the opposite of life coach. That sure as hell doesn't Google.

Tim Aurthur 4:12 PM  

Laura, your writeup was funny, and not in an itty-bitty way. Also, to the point - no argle-bargle.

JC66 4:23 PM  


Think of a coach as a vehicle.


FWIW, the Fairway packaging lists WASABI as an ingredient, but who knows. They taste great.

Mohair Sam 4:25 PM  

@Anon (3:33) - I was baiting a hook with my Newman comment. I'm a huge fan of the late actor on every level. I agree that his good looks might have cost him a few early awards for films such as "Hud", "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof", and of course "The Hustler".

Business acquaintance of mine got to know Newman fairly well while he was filming "Fort Apache The Bronx" and will back up your statement that the man was totally unpretentious.

btw - If you're a big Newman fan rent the "Verdict" DVD and flip it over for the director's discussion on the filming - some interesting anecdotes about Newman there.

GILL I. 5:11 PM  

@JC66....You're a gentleman. Thank you. You don't have to answer but I've never heard of a life vehicle so I didn't know its opposite. And everyone liked the clue?
Thank you @Anoa for the WASABI info. We're having Sashimi tomorrow night and I can't wait to pass on this tidbit. Nobody will care, but it makes for a good story.

JC66 5:32 PM  


The clue is a play on words/misdirection/groaner pun in that a HEARSE is a vehicle for the dead. There is no such thing as a life vehicle. As you probably saw in your google search a life coach is something else entirely.

QuasiMojo 5:47 PM  

Great write up! I have no idea what the theme was today but I enjoyed filling in the answers. Never heard of that weird new Muppet. The great actor Milo O'Shea was also known for MASS APPEAL on Broadway with Michael O'Keeffe on stage, and I believe Matthew Broderick in the movie version. Ronzoni was very much a part of my NY childhood. I prefer de Cecco now. It makes the best al dente spaghetti, although Ronzoni now has some good vegetable pastas that fit more with my current diet. :) @Nancy, my villanelle isn't worth sending to you. It's a bit tortured. I was imitating Elizabeth Bishop and her brilliant poem One Art. When I write a better one, I'll send it to you.

beatrice 5:47 PM  

RONZONI pasta is here in SC, but per Wiki it seems to be a mainly east-coast brand, otherwise scattered about the country - other names elsewhere.

Re: EN_DASH - no expert here, but have read a bit - this is a typographical/type-setting issue: traditionally, at least - an en dash is the width of an 'n', an em dash the width of an 'm'. A hyphen is shorter, but I haven't found a spec. It's principally used in compound words of various kinds, i.e., a unitary word or expression. @LMS, please feel free to jump in...

Hi, @Nancy - I don't know if you shop at Trader Joe's, but they are the purveyors of WASABI Peanuts. They also have 'Thai lime and Chili Cashews' which my SO likes a lot (too hot for me). They are both in the nuts section. Hope this helps.

Since I'm here, several entries today - in particular SON and HENRY -
suggested a motet. The composer, Gombert, was a contemporary of Henry VIII.

Blue Stater 5:58 PM  

Brutal for a Monday. SLABBING? Please....

Hartley70 6:05 PM  

De Cecco is the only pasta I buy now, but thanks for the memory of little Anthony running through the streets of the North End of Boston on Wednesday night for his Prince spaghetti dinner. I loved that ad as a kid.

Bill Feeney 6:14 PM  

It was originally Newman -Haas racing. In his later years Newman was impatient with discussions of his film art. Buuut...get him talking about racing and his skills, and he was ready to talk your ear off. He was competitive and skilled into his seventies. How did we get off on this tangent anyway?

Thomaso808 6:24 PM  

@Bill Feeney, somehow a clue about Milo OSHEA got several fans off on a tangent gushing about Newman. How rude! I feel for Milo.

Joe Dipinto 6:33 PM  

@Hartley70 6:05 -- that really was a classic commercial. :-)

Mohair Sam 6:58 PM  

A lotta you folks are dating yourselves remembering that Prince commercial with Anthony running home for his Prince spaghetti - my grandpa told me about it.

Ronzoni makes a healthier and tastier spaghetti called Smart Taste - might as well get in that conversation (was there a puzzle today?)

@Bill Feeney & @Thomas808 - Blame me. I said something nice about old Milo (that he was fun to hate in "The Verdict", that's nice isn't it?) and mentioned that it was Newman's best movie imo. And off went the Newman conversation.

Anonymous 7:13 PM  

I grew up in Sheboygan Falls (yes, there really is a Sheboygan Falls, which is a different city than Sheboygan, and yes, there really are Falls). While I didn't attend the famed (non-existant) Conservatory of Music, I did play with the Sheboygan Symphony throughout my high school career.

Just to clarify, Sheboygan County includes the famed Johnsonville brats and Kohler Company, but both are found in eponymous villages, rather than in the actual city of Sheboygan. If you want a truly memorable and authentic WI experience, try to catch the Johnsonville Pretzel Bender, held every July.

Anonymous 7:24 PM  

At Mohair,
So glad I bit!!! I won't listen to any director talk about a film. Res ipsit loquitor and all that. BUT I love that you dig Newman.

AT Bill Freeman,
YES to all you say. Do you, ahem, run in the same circles as Carl?

Z 7:30 PM  

@Ethan Cooper - How is OODLE not a morpheme?

@anon9:54 - For this clue, the clergy don't "go to church," they "are the church."

Thanks all. I finished thinking this was awfully thin gruel for a Gordon puzzle. I see now I should have spent a little time looking more closely. Good stuff.

Teedmn 7:57 PM  

@Greg Baker 2:18, Kandiyohi has to be one of your seed entries for the MN puzz.

Anonymous 8:59 PM  

Who said anything goes about clergy?
Go look at some beaver in Windsor.

Bill Feeney 10:12 PM  

Carl Haas and I run in very different circles. He has money and fame. I think Newman used to pilot a Saleen Mustang around the road circuits. Apologies to anyone still reading these and wondering how a puzzle blog got hijacked!

G. Weissman 11:37 AM  

Thanks for the explanation, Roo. You are right, to be sure. But words that rhyme often end with the same letters: oodles/noodles, in/win, leaves/cleaves, etc. Could I think of other names or phrases that follow the pattern of 16 letters, etc.? Not without a lot of effort.

Tita 4:33 PM  

@Hartley...I can't stop laughing!! And will henceforth be rarin' to go, rather than approach with trepidation, the dreaded task of trying to perfectly and evenly slather butter on every goddamned nook-and-cranny of my morning English muffin.

But now I shall call it SLABBING, and delight in a wanton, careless "let the butter melt where it may" approach. I feel so liberated!

Hal 2:55 AM  

Chicago Manual does indeed say endash is longer than a hyphen.

It's an endash because it's the width of the letter n; it's an emdash because it's the width of the letter m.

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thefogman 9:26 AM  

DNF because I went with ABBaCABra instead of ABBYCADABBY. This Muppet is unknown to me and I rushed to complete without really looking at the crosses as closely as I should have. I disagree with OFL and feel this one is challenging for a Monday.

thefogman 9:36 AM  

Correction... It's Laura today. So I disagree on the difficulty rating with OFL's otherwise excellent understudy.

Burma Shave 9:55 AM  


'CAUSE SHE had no cash,
it AIDED her dine ENDASH.


BS2 9:58 AM  

must proofread - FOREMAN

rondo 10:26 AM  

WOOHOO! What a nice Mon-puz. Did not get through it without ERRORS. ONE w/o word at the IE combo in EVEL's last name. Shout out to STPAUL from where I would normally be posting.

During MN Twins radio broadCASTs you will hear ADS for SHEBOYGAN sausages.

Lack of a yeah baby so how about ANN-Margaret?

These Italian restaurants in Chi-town are killers, w know a sushi place here that's not shy with the WASABI.

Loved the HEARSE clue. Fine Monday.

spacecraft 11:00 AM  

As I read down the opening blog, I thought, this can't be OFL: he's having way too much fun with these "morphemes." I was right. Sorry, SHE's having fun. Nice writeup, Laura.

Interesting that despite Monday-ease, this puzzle taught me three words I didn't know: ENDASH, ANISEED and SLAB as a verb. I would have said "slathering," but that won't fit. WASABI I recognize, though not from personal experience--and I had no idea it was classified as a condiment. Don't ask me what I thought it was.

One beef with the guest blogger: why dis "The Verdict?" It's a great film, superbly CAST, intense enough to ALMOST forgive the protagonist for that punch. But if you want to clue OSHEA, why not the role that shot him to stardom: Leopold Bloom in "Ulysses?"

It's tempting to let a clue chanteuse, Ke$ha, be DOD, but my all-time girlfriend (I wish) is in the puzzle twice: ABBY Sciutto, so fetchingly played by Pauley Perrette.

A good start to the week. Can you get to SHEBOYGAN via AIRTRAVEL? I bet EVELKNIEVEL could've. Birdie.

P.S. What a nail-biting duel between Jordan Spieth and winner Dustin Johnson at the Northern Trust Open this week! Jordy had one too many of those darn squares!

thefogman 1:18 PM  

Q: Why can't you trust atoms? A: Because they make up everything.
Ergo, alternative facts are what all matter consists of.

Anonymous 1:41 PM  

Slathering,yes. Slapping (as in slapping it on), a stretch. Slabbing, never.

rain forest 2:10 PM  

I'm moved to wonder if either RONZONI or WASABI, or both, can be found in SHEBOYGAN. Here in Vancouver I've only seen Catelli, Unico, or Barilla pasta. And I had no idea that the WASABI offered in Sushi restaurants is fake, but I like it nonetheless. However, I refrain from SLABBING it on my dynamite roll.

What a bouncy Monday puzzle. Fun to do. Fun to just sound out the themers, morphemes or not.

I think The Verdict would be in my movie Top Ten, if I were to ever construct a Top Ten.

Nice to have a guest blogger who displays her enjoyment of puzzle solving, leaving out snark and bile.

leftcoastTAM 2:25 PM  

Morphological Reduplication--Now that's a theme!

And well executed too.

Odd balls: ENDASH, SLABBING(?), TOK.

Nice Monday work, Peter Gordon.

Diana,LIW 2:27 PM  

@Lewis said my exact reaction.

A darling Monday puzzle. Easy (for me) but with some winking and little-known words, fair with easy crossings. My only unknown was the ABBYCADABBY, but easily sussed. Adored the clue/answer STOLE. HEARSE was as clever, but, well, it ended in a HEARSE. Not quite as happy.

Thinking about my lack of actor-name knowledge, I realized I hadn't seen a movie in a theater since Titanic. Husband is hard-of-hearing, so the peaks and valleys of cinema sound do not work well with hearing aids. Thus, when I watch a movie on TV, it's easy to not notice the names of the cast. So when a friend says, "you know the Adam Driver character?" no I don't. I know Philip, the character he's playing. I do try to read the People columns in the paper in an attempt to learn something about this modern era we're living in. In fact, that's how I know Adam Driver's name - he was pictured in the paper the other day. I be you're thrilled. And I'm not making anything up.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for De Cecco

leftcoastTAM 2:53 PM  

@rainy--With you on "The Verdict". One of my favorites, too, along with the late great Paul Newman.

Nice to see you're back with us.

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Tarheeled 10:06 PM  

Mention my name inSheboygan,
Greatest little town in the world.
Mention my name,
I say, mention my name.
But just don't tell 'em where I'm at!

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