Mathematician whose name sounds like fuel ship / MON 7-31-17 / Radioer's word after Roger / Pesters repeatedly / Liberal's favorite road sign

Monday, July 31, 2017

Constructor: David Steinberg

Relative difficulty: Challenging (so, like, 30 seconds north of normal)

THEME: SEATTLE (68A: City that's the subject of this puzzle) — things related to SEATTLE and then a child's menu-quality connect-the-dots Space Needle thingie...

Theme answers:
  • RAIN (2D: Common 68-Across forecast)
  • PIKE PLACE MARKET (17A: Downtown 68-Across attraction) (really thought PIKE'S ... cost me valuable seconds) 
  • MARINER (42A: 69-Across baseball player)
  • COFFEE SHOP (27D: Business on every block in 68-Across, so it's said) (there's a COFFEE SHOP on every block of every city in America; this clue is dumb)
  • PUGET SOUND (31D: Body of water that 68-Across is on)
Word of the Day: MOLESTS (42D: Pesters repeatedly) —
verb: molest; 3rd person present: molests; past tense: molested; past participle: molested; gerund or present participle: molesting
  1. 1.
    assault or abuse (a person, especially a woman or child) sexually.

    "he was charged with molesting and taking obscene photographs of a ten-year-old boy"

    synonyms:(sexually) abuse, (sexually) assault, interfere with, rape, violate; More
    informalgrope, paw, fondle;

    "he molested a ten-year-old boy"
  2. 2.
    pester or harass (someone), typically in an aggressive or persistent manner.

    "the crowd was shouting abuse and molesting the two police officers"

    synonyms:harass, harry, hassle, pester, bother, annoy, beset, persecute, torment;

    "the crowd molested the police"
(google) (emph. mine)

• • •

Hi everyone. Just back from the OBX, which you don't see in puzzles very much (in fact ... [checking] ... never in the NYT), though you do see it a lot on the rear windows of cars owned by people who want you to know where they've been on vacation. At least in the northeast you do. Nags Head (wheres the apostrophe!!!?) was lovely. Gorgeous. If you depopulated it completely: perfect. Populated, it's got a certain Horribleness that's like Southern "heritage" meets New Jersey. I mean, #notallOBX of course, but ... yikes. I tend to like my vacations Confederate-flag-clothing-free. I'm a coastal elite that way. But geographically, it was astonishing. Woke every morning before 5:30 to watch the sunrise over the Atlantic. Walked for an hour or two every morning on perfect beaches that went on forever. The key was being up when almost no one else was. Under those conditions, OBX is heaven. Under normal working-hours conditions, it's a lot louder / whiter / racister / drunker / cheesier. I mean, the first night we ate at a restaurant that was essentially venereal disease-themed.

So, all in all, a mixed bag, but the good was Very good. This puzzle, on the other hand, wasn't very good, *especially* for how Much was going on. Why are we celebrating SEATTLE? Because the Space Needle is, uh, 55 years old this year? RAIN? Really? You're tryna theme that one? Is TRIO themed? No? OK, then no. I love Seattle. My whole family is from the Pacific NW. My dad went to med school at UW. My niece starts undergrad there next month. My mom lived there briefly in the '90s. It's great. But this puzzle is blah. The payoff is ... well ... I mean, *this* is the payoff:

Are you happy? No, you're not happy. Nobody's happy.

Further, there is some serious ugh in the fill and clues. Clue on KEEP LEFT is corny dad humor (4D: Liberal's favorite road sign?). It's wrong and dumb and unfun. I mean ... who the hell has a "favorite road sign"? The very concept is idiotic. Further, let's talk about words and what they mean. First, "chivalry." There is nothing—literally nothing—"chivalrous" about PERMIT ME. See, chivalry relates to horses and horsemanship and (actual) knightly conduct; affected archaisms from goateed dudes in fedoras and cargo shorts Do Not count as "chivalrous." Also, anyone could say PERMIT ME? Also, No One Says PERMIT ME? Maybe, *Maybe*, ALLOW ME. That answer/clue was so bad I almost didn't notice the pitiful ELIE/ELKE cross. And the nearby ALAS BNAI ADMEN STPAT NEE make-it-stop. But back to definitions. Second, MOLESTS... look, I get that the theme kind of pens you in down there, but MOLESTS? With *that* clue?! (42D: Pesters repeatedly). Again, No One uses it that way. Dictionary says "Dated" for a reason. Disingenuous clue only serves to highlight the fact that you've got MOLESTS in your grid. 99% of solvers are going to have a moment of "Really?!?" right at the word MOLESTS? How, from a design standpoint, is that smart? Now it's not the SEATTLE puzzle, it's the MOLESTS puzzle? Are you happy? No, you're not happy. Nobody's happy.

Ah(h), it's good to be back. See ya tomorrow. And big, big thanks to Laura Braunstein (on Twitter @laurabrarian) for holding (down) the fort during my absence.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. ELKS 🙁 🦌🦌🦌

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 12:08 AM  

You molest one goat and suddenly you're forever the Goat Molester.

Anonymous 12:23 AM  

In Bend Oregon (soon to be my home), there is a summer baseball team (college players), called the Bend Elks. So it is possible to pluralize elk with an 's'.

Larry Gilstrap 12:57 AM  

The Emerald City, is it not? Every time I've been there, the weather has been warm and sunny, as have been Halifax, Nova Scotia and Anchorage, AK. Can't say the same thing for Stamford, CT. If you do ever find yourself in Halifax, the place is rich in history and artifacts of the TITANIC disaster. Many of the victims are buried in the city's cemetaries and the museum is great. The anonymous gravestones are haunting. Someone died in one of the most famous disasters of the century, and nobody knows who you are, or cares to find out.

I'm a fan of the band WILCO and think highly of the musicianship of Jeff Tweedy. Unlike Nirvana, I think they hail from Chicago.

OFL seemed as nitty as I remember, but I do agree that 4D clued Liberal's favorite roadsign seemed simplistic at best. By definition, politics have something to do with a strategy to develop public policy: taxation, reproductive rights, social programs, immigration, the environment, etc. We're missing a subtlety, a nuance when we brand sides. It's not just whether you are a Crip or a Blood. Blind loyalty to a group or cause seems juvenile. Go Dodgers!

Not a fan of grid art, but this SPACE NEEDLE was charming, for a Monday.

Z 1:13 AM  


Breaking 6:00 once seemed a pipe dream, now a 5:00 puzzle is in my sights.

I had a long twittersation (like a conversation with lots more misunderstandings) about political purity tests (I'm opposed) today, so the KEEP LEFT clue was particularly irksome. Compound it with the "corny dad humor" jibe and I'm feeling aggrieved. At least my Tigers aren't about to trade their only semi-reliable closer of this century to the Cubs... Ahh, shit.

Moly Shu 1:28 AM  

I wonder if the clue had been "conservatives favorite road sign" and the answer was KEEPright, would we have gotten the same hue and cry?? I'm guessing not. Seems a little -I can dish it out but can't take it- to me. But of course I'm a deplorable non-coastal elite racist misogynist. So what do I know?
Liked the puzzle, for some reason never really liked SEATTLE.

David W 1:31 AM  

Kinda nice to not see the NYC-centric clues I'm so used to. :-)
And for once Rex's "challenging" is my "easy". How's it feel? :-)

It is the market at the end of Pike St. Pike did help build UW, but he didn't get a Place, just a street.

And what a lost opportunity on molests, "what this city's mayor was recently accused of". I guess that would not age well....

Phil 2:15 AM  

PERMIT ME more often said by someone about to give their unsolicited opinion.

chefwen 2:22 AM  

Welcome home Rex, missed ya. If you would have filed in your Space Needle with straight lines it would have looked more like the real deal.

My favorite road sign is one I spotted that said ROAD HUMP AHEAD and some mischief maker added an ERS to HUMP. Made me laugh.

Of course, I didn't read the note so the most difficult part was figuring out what the damn circles meant. Other than that, pretty Monday easy.

Paul Rippey 2:25 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jae 3:14 AM  

A bit on the tough side for me too. Cross referencing is a tad off putting, especially on Mon. Plus, I got a parking ticket in Seattle. That said, liked it slightly more than @Rex did.

Johnny 3:26 AM  

Jeez Rex are you sure you were on vacation? Do you know what that word means? My goodness.

I think MOLESTS has many benign uses, and I am going to say it today.

I liked everything about this puzzle except for the SEATTLE part.

Thomaso808 4:04 AM  

Wow, Rex, go back to the OBX and stay there. This was a very good Monday puzzle. KEEPLEFT is funny -- yeah, I'm a dad but it's still funny. PERMITME is totally ok since one of the meanings of chivalrous is "courteous ". What's your problem? Seriously, you have a problem.

SEATTLE is as good a theme as any. It's a Monday, a theme is a theme. The tracing of the the space needle is as good as any other lame crossword tracing. Again, there seems to be a problem here.

No dreck. Good puzzle. David, more early week entries, please!

Greg Charles 4:37 AM  

Molest is used in the "dated" way by this San Diego Zoo sign:

At least I hope it's meant in the dated sense.

Anonymous 5:33 AM  

Keep left hasn't worked too well for Detroit the last 50 years, or many other major cities.

Lewis 6:14 AM  

Welcome back, Rex! Seattle has its Needle and we have our needler.

David Steinberg is so talented that he made a relatively clean grid to go along with such an abundance of theme (53 squares, not to mention the constraining effect of the Space Needle graphic). The puzzle felt too easy for me, even for a Monday, but I'm familiar with Seattle, whereas it might have been trickier for someone who had never heard of Pike Place Market, or connected the city with Puget Sound.

I thought KEEP_LEFT and the backward TATS fit in with Seattle as well.

clk 6:43 AM  

I found this puzzle easy but didn't even notice the circled letters, much less that they gave us a connect-the-dots Space Needle, until I came here.

Good thing Rex wasn't vacationing on the southern part of Hatteras Island this week. Construction crews building a second bridge to the island just south of Nags Head cut the underwater power cables to Ocracoke and southern Hatteras, leading to mandatory tourist evacuations. I feel so bad for all the local businesses who depend on July and August for the bulk of their income. They estimate 2 weeks for the fix. There will be some lovely empty beaches for those staying elsewhere to enjoy, if they're allowing day trippers.

Loren Muse Smith 6:49 AM  

I thought the puzzle was fine. And for me the clue for COFFEE SHOP is not dumb. I’ve heard that said a ton about Seattle. Circles and connect-the-dot art on grids are fun occasionally. My only “complaint” as Rex said, is why Seattle? Why today? But as @Thomaso808 says, it’s as good a theme as any.

And again, @Thomaso808 – I agree; I thought the clue for KEEP LEFT was funny, and I’m not a dad.

Rex – you argue, rightly so, that no one uses MOLEST to mean annoy. I completely agree. The icky connotation has eclipsed any vestige of a former meaning. Even so, the entry didn’t enrage me. I will not remember this as the “MOLESTS Puzzle.” (MOLEST was clued this way on both 7/17/10 and 6/1/12 and didn’t seem to cause a stir.)

As to PERMIT ME/chivalry… there are many times you’re kidding, Rex, and it goes right over my head. Your chivalry rant may be such a time. Are you really saying that chivalrous still nowadays pertains “to horses and horsemanship and (actual) knightly conduct; affected archaisms…”? Huh? I would argue that this meaning is about as dated as the molest-means-bother meaning. Maybe 1)I’m misunderstanding you, 2)This is yet another pc/feminist rule that I’m behind the times on, or 3)Its use is regional. I use the word chivalrous often enough to describe behavior: I’m schlepping a big box of grapefruit I bought from the band out to my car and Trent C comes over and says

Here, Mrs. Smith – I’ll get that for you.
Well, my my, Trent – aren’t you chivalrous. Thanks.

He did this and I said this. (And he had no goatee, fedora, or cargo shorts.) I don’t picture a knight on a horse when I say chivalrous just as I don’t picture lion’s teeth when I say dandelion or birds when I say aviator. I agree with @Thomaso808 –PERMIT ME as clued is fine – very good, actually. (I still have the feeling I'm missing some kind of tongue-in-cheek joke about this that Rex is making.)

In David's defense, given the right/left symmetry today, RAIN does have its sister themish entry: PIER.

Loved WANNA. I can’t wait for the day when I can use WANNA, gonna, oughta, kinda, sorta… without the fear that people will accuse me of being too folksy. I just wanna write the way I talk. In my every day language wanna is completely separate from want to:
There’s the person I wanna smack upside the head.
There’s the person I want to to sit down. (Can’t use wanna here. It’d sound weird.)

I’m reminded of this show from my childhood. Loved it. But there again, I had a Bobby Sherman poster on my wall.

ir 6:53 AM  

My personal favorite is SLOW HUMP AHEAD. Real sign on ECU's campus in Greenville, NC

Hungry Mother 6:57 AM  

Fastest ever at 6:11 for this usual slowpoke. It helped to have spent some quality time in SEATTLE a few years ago at the end of a 3 week Panama Canal transition cruise.

Glimmerglass 7:10 AM  

@ir: My favorite sign is CROSS CHILDREN WALK (cheerful children ride). The plural of ELK is ELK. The visual looks more like a mushroom than a needle -- must be all that rain.. Welcome back, Rex.

QuasiMojo 7:13 AM  

Too gimmicky for the Times. The only thing missing here was "etui."

kitshef 7:24 AM  

Never heard of PIKE PLACE MARKET, but it Googles phenomenally well so that’s just me.

Back in the day, I had a tremendous crush on ELKE Sommer.

KEEP LEFT is word play, nothing more.
MOLESTS is fine by me as used - @Greg Charles shows the classic example. @Rex seems to have chosen the one website that puts ‘dated’ on the definition that five of my seven dictionaries list as the first definition.

Anonymous 7:29 AM  

Those people in NC are deplorable. That may be generalizing, but that's how we libs roll. Keep left, and keep losing.

Bill Feeney 7:34 AM  

The little boy said to his parents, "I WANNA watch!" So they let him.

Debra 7:42 AM  

Fun Monday

AW 7:43 AM  

Perfect Monday puzzle: easy, fun, and just clever enough. PERMIT ME to say that,the lack of horses and lances notwithstanding, chivalry is not dead. :)

Lewis 7:51 AM  

I love the English language. A local news website ran a story this morning about the police looking for a "male wearing a black teeshirt with dreadlocks".

Anonymous 8:02 AM  

I'm in the 1%!

This indecision's bugging me (esta indecision me MOLESTa)
If you don't want me, set me free (si no me quieres me quieres, librame)
Exactly whom I'm supposed to be (digame que tengo ser)
Don't you know which clothes even fit me? (no sabes que ropas me queda)
Come on and let me know (me tienes que decir)
Should I cool it or should I blow? (me debo ir o quedarme)

chefbea 8:03 AM  

What a fun puzzle!!! Never heard of Pikes place market . Of course I have many spatulas...but haven't made pancakes in years

@Rex...You were in NorthCarolina and didn't come to see me???? Would have cooked you a good meal and shown you around Wilmington.

tkincher 8:14 AM  

Liked the puzzle, but MOLESTS did stand out. The clue for EULER was... interesting.

I do have a favorite road sign, though, it's "grooved pavement", mainly because of my love for Pavement, the band.

Welcome back!

kitshef 8:20 AM  

Oh, yeah. @chefbea reminds me. I think of a SPATULA as a flat implement, about an inch wide, used to ice cakes. You flip pancakes with a pancake-turner. Just me?

The Hermit Philosopher 8:22 AM  

Easy and fun!. Once I saw 68A I knew the shape was the Space needle, and RAIN, the iconic PIKE PLACE MARKET, MARINER, etc. fell right in place. Why a theme about Seattle? Why the hell not??

Yes @Rex should go back to OBX and stay there. What a grouch!!

Two Ponies 8:30 AM  

Were you there for the annual pony swim Rex?
I love NC and the culture as well. I have always felt very welcome there. Chivalry is common and refreshing there. New scenery and different ways of life are why we travel.
Very nice Monday puzzle as we would expect from Mr. Steinberg.
A few nits I found along the way-
Euler doesn't sound much like oiler to me.
Whiz as clued should be Wiz as in wizard.
Stair singular seems odd even though it might be correctly used.
Molest as clued evoked my rusty Spanish as bother. I think that is what Anon 8:02 was trying to say.
Urn clued as a tea container also seemed a stretch since there are other ways to clue this besides coffee, which was already used.
What is Wilco short for?
Is Elmer's glue named for a cow because it is made of hooves?
The political sentiments of the puzzle and Rex's review are 180 degrees from my own but I really don't feel like fighting today.

Anonymous 8:33 AM  

I'm a bit surprised that Rex didn't go off on ADMEN as well (shouldn't it be AD PEOPLE ?). One Natick is one too many for a Monday. We have two today (16A and 11D, as well as 47A and 48D). Crossing proper nouns should be out and out prohibited by the editors in my opinion, especially on a Monday.

PERMIT ME to suggest that someone familiar with horsemanship be Chivalrous and get ELKE a coat, lest she catch herself a cold:

Amie Devero 8:35 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amie Devero 8:37 AM  

What Rex said re: molests. Took a DNF due entirely to my incredulity at the L in molests/Euler. Simply could not wrap my head around it that molests was the intended fill. Still SMH.

Wm. C. 9:00 AM  

@Two Ponies --

WILCO means "WILl COmply."

Nancy 9:12 AM  

Darn. Rex said it first. I wanted to be the first to point out that if you PESTER me, I tell you: Enough already. If you MOLEST me, I go to the police. Big difference!

Have I been mispronouncing EULER all these years? I don't say OILER; I say YOO-LER. Am I wrong?

A pleasant Monday with a teensy bit of crunch. Perhaps a waste of DS's talents, though. I didn't bother to connect any dots or draw anything. I never do. But Rex's diagram was quite fetching, and more than enough for me.

Anonymous 9:28 AM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle. If every Monday puzzle were this good, it would be my favorite day of the week. Clever, fresh, and zippy. And some bonus art work! Steinberg is incredible.

Anonymous 9:28 AM  

When is Laura coming back?

evil doug 9:32 AM  

Pilots don't say "wilco" these days. "Wilco" became a problem when pilots would misunderstand a controller's instruction, and "complied" in error. So proper radio discipline requires pilots to first state their call sign (to ensure they're the right aircraft--not good when the wrong flight accepts a clearance meant for somebody else), followed by repeating the instruction itself.

But the band Wilco and Jeff Tweedy *are* outstanding....

Anonymous 9:33 AM  

Ah, Rex is back.... (I liked the puzzle.)

mathgent 9:34 AM  

There was a group of Texans who would solve problems in a mathematics journal I used to read. They called themselves The Houston Eulers.

jberg 9:40 AM  

I dunno -- I've always said "oiler" on the theory that he was German, but I could be wrong -- don't recall any of my math profs saying his name aloud (they probably did, I just don't recall).

Anyway, I thought it was a fun Monday. I saw RAIN and thought it would be San Francisco, but then came PIK... and I was done -- filled in SPACE NEEDLE from the CE and the shape. My only problem then was Skill before STUNT for fire-eating.

Sorry to hear that news about Ocracoke -- was gonna say @rex should have gone there, but I guess not.

@Loren, but that kid didn't say PERMIT ME, did he? I think Rex was serious about that part, but not the horsiness. Me, I thought it was a good clue. And good catch about getting the symmetry right!

As for COFFEE SHOPs, sure, they're everywhere now but they started in Seattle -- still the only place you're likely to be able to get a cup of espresso in a gas station.

My mother called both the long thin thing and the pancake/hamburger flipper thing SPATULAs, so it's good enough for me.

Aketi 9:42 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy 9:43 AM  

@Loren's comment sent me back to Rex to see what on earth his "rant" over "chivalrous" could possibly have been. I just read it, and I don't believe it. Are you kidding us? Yes, Rex, chivalry [occasionally] still lives in the 21st century, sans horses and armor. Perhaps it doesn't live in you, but that's another matter entirely. @Loren -- right on, sister, for calling attention to this. Remember Renee Zellweiger saying: "You had me at Hello"? Well, to all the men out there: You'd have me at "PERMIT ME". And I actually think there might be some chivalrous types right here on this blog who would actually say that. Of course I'd have to fight off Loren for their attentions. And she'd probably win -- being younger than I am...and blonder.

Tony 9:48 AM  

@ Nancy, yes, the name of the greatest mathematician is not pronounced as it is spelled. He had more luck with numbers than letters.

Not bothered by MOLESTS. Since when are dated meanings not allowed? And are we so PC that a word that can refer to wrongful/unlawful conduct can't be used?

Yes, crossed proper names are a problem.

Came in under 20 minutes. For a newbie, that feels good!


ps. Anonymous's remark about Detroit keeping left for 50 years is off the mark. Detroit's been Democrat, but it's policies have not been particularly liberal, compared for example, with NY or SF.

Anonymous 9:51 AM  

My best time ever in a Times puzzle (6:23) so I thought it was super easy. Surprised Rex found it hard.

Hartley70 9:58 AM  

You're wrong, Rex. Yup, I'm happy, pretty darn happy for a Monday. And that's because I'm from the NE! I'm not born in Seattle, never visited Seattle, don't care about their teams, and rain makes my hair too curly. All that made this a challenging Monday, just how I like 'em. Let's try Phoenix next Monday, Will!

While I like chivalry, gladiators, teenage kings and ELKE echoing ELKS, I was a bit peeved at ELKS. I thought two ELK were ELK like two deer are deer. MOLESTER was a surprise. EUclid felt right, EULER not so much, but then again Algebra II is where I departed the math train. I regret that every time I see SINE as an answer. STAIR had a silly misdirection for me because I love a good story anytime.

Did you just miss the massive power outage and evacuation of the OBX, Rex? That stroke of good luck would put me in a generous mood all the coming week.

Hartley70 10:01 AM  

ps. Loved the Space Needle, David.

RooMonster 10:03 AM  

Hey All !
Just to poke fun at Will, Why Seattle? Where did that random city come from? (If you've ever gotten a reject from Will with a 'Why that' response, you should get a chuckle out of that.)*

Didn't care for puz at first, but after reexamination have a better appreciation for it. To make SPACE NEEDLE design, all those letters have to be in exact spots, plus throw in all the other themers, and then try to fill without a bunch of dreck. DS pulled it off well. All the threes are actual recognizable words.

SPATULA City was a song by my hero Weird Al Yankovic from the UHF movie. Any flat wide flipping kitchen tool is a SPATULA.

Sleepy groom response? HUH? I DO.

*Happened to me recently, had what I thought was a great puz idea, dealing with chess, and a certain person named Schrodinger, and that was Will's response. Why chess? Not sure if I pissed him off somehow...


mathgent 10:19 AM  

Today's SFChronicle ran a chart titled "Coffee shops per 10,000 residents." Seattle was first at 8.5 followed by San Francisco (8.4), Boston (6.8), District of Columbia (4.8), and New York (3.3).

kitshef 10:23 AM  

Yes, @Two Ponies and @Nancy, Leonard Euler's name is pronounced as 'oy-ler'. On the other hand, I am told the biologist Carl Euler, for whom Euler's flycatcher is named, pronounced it yoo-ler.

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

@Nancy -- yes, sorry, but it is pronounced 'oiler'.

Ilana 10:27 AM  

ELKS and ELKE in the same puzzle? If I've learned anything from Rex Parker it's that this should be a no-no...

G. Weissman 10:28 AM  

Let's see ... you're imaging a scenario in which you get to take offense (because said scenario does not, in fact, exist) and based on that imaginary scenario you're charging someone else with hypocrisy? Kettle, meet pot.

Joseph Michael 10:32 AM  

Welcome back, Rex.

Decent puzzle. Guessed "Space Needle" after reading the introductory note and then saw that it would fit into the number of circles in the grid. So the solve turned out to be incredibly easy.

Had the same reaction to MOLESTS as clued, though I did not feel that the word dominated the puzzle or my thoughts once I had filled it in.

My biggest gripe is the clue for STAIR. One stair does not go from one story to another. Unless it were an enormous stair. And then it wouldn't really be a stair anymore since you wouldn't be able to step up on it. So, if you din't mind, I'll take the stairS to get up there. (or maybe the elevator).

KEEP LEFT is harmless wordplay, just as KEEP RIGHT would be. So no problem there. But since when has "dad" become a pejorative, as in "dad bod" and "dad humor"?

Not a huge fan of grid art and have a hard time seeing the Space Needle in the connect-the-dots construction, but was impressed by the base of the Needle fitting so neatly into SEATTLE.

Thanks @Lewis for the laugh. I enjoyed your dangling modifier (and wonder where I could get a shirt like that).

boomer54 10:33 AM  

Challenging ? ... No Way ! ...

Don't WHIZ on my leg and

Tell me it's RAIN ...

G. Weissman 10:37 AM  

I get it: your standards are low enough that you're pleased with what bores and annoys more critically engaged thinkers. And then you tell the person whose forum you're taking the time to visit, and participate in, that he should go away. You're a dad but you're still funny.

jb129 10:44 AM  

Easy for me

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

does anyone know what g weissman is blathering about?

Anonymous 10:51 AM  

Hey Rex,

New Jersey not only has the most white sand beach in the country but the highest per capita income to boot. So it's completely understandable why you would sneer at it from such rarefied heights as Binghamton, NY.


Mohair Sam 10:53 AM  

Spent five days visiting our youngest in Seattle back in September 2009. Every single day had blue skies with a high in the 70s, every night was clear with a low in the 50s. The answer for 2D (RAIN) is demonstrably wrong.

OFL is back with a vengeance. I haven't a notion what his problem is with the chivalry clue, seemed fine to me - anybody care to explain his rant? And Seattle may not be the only city with a COFFEESHOP on every block, but it sure as hell set the trend.

Well we liked the puzzle Rex, just as we liked SEATTLE - right down to the cheesy Space Needle. "Oiler" not "Uuler" huh? - learn somethin' every day.

@Loren - I'd mercifully forgotten that hideous song and TV show, how could you bring them back? And you shoulda added outta to your list.

There are no ELKS in LAO.

puzzlehoarder 11:07 AM  

While I waste no time reading our host's comments it is obvious from other peoples comments that he is trying to make up for lost time. This was a perfectly good Monday. I do enjoy some of the comments here. @lms that parsing of WANNA and "want to was" one of those nuances of meaning that's a gem hiding in plain sight. Unfortunately a lot of space was wasted today by reactions to one person's hysteria.

puzzlehoarder 11:12 AM  

That was supposed to be "want to".

TOCraig 11:20 AM  

A very easy cakewalk. No issues with permit me, molests, or liberal sign. All cute and/or east. Why the beef?

old timer 11:30 AM  

I agree with every non-Anon comment above, so will only say when you finally figure out how Mr. EULER pronounced his name, it kinda sticks with you.

One ELK, two ELKS. Yes, you will find ELK and moose and bear in Yellowstone, but unlike deer, ELK has an ELKS plural. Oh, and Seattle has an ELKS Club, as does Binghamton I bet.

When I was 25 and 26, I lived in Tacoma, SEATTLE's stepsister. It rained much of the time or at least drizzled. It is true that in the spring and summer you can often visit and have five or six days in a row of sunny weather. That's why Seafair, Seattle's annual celebration is always in the middle of summer. Being a beer guy more than a coffeehouse guy, I loved it when my good friend, then in UW grad school, would come with me to PIKE PLACE MARKET, where we would have a beer or three at the Athenian Cafe, at a table overlooking the waterfront. We would watch the ferries land and depart, but seldom saw ships at the PIERs below -- they mostly were at the more modern facilities to the South, where the Duwamish river came in.

Pike St. is a pretty major thoroughfare out of Downtown. It of course begins at First St. The short extension of Pike west of First is called PIKE PLACE. It has the famous MARKET of course, but several other little businesses as well. I highly recommend the hotel on the N side of PIKE PLACE. Gorgeous views from almost every room, and first rate service. If you have the money, and local friends to invite, or a family to house, I suggest you spring for a suite there.

A Grimwade 11:53 AM  

Roger wilco = Understood, I will comply. I thought this was only used in old British war movies, and said with an extra stiff upper lip.

Joe Bleaux 11:56 AM  

Off-topic, but thanks very much for your post (yesterday) about Tsotomu Yamaguchi. It prompted me to read more about a truly remarkable man.

Anonymous 12:00 PM  

Perhaps you would enjoy a vacation somewhere "less white" a little more next time. Try Camden, NJ or Detroit. Maybe the south side of Chicago. You'll love it. The sun comes up in the morning there too, go on outside and soak it up. I hear the Congo is beautiful this time of year as well, or maybe Haiti? Beautiful beaches. Not a confederate flag to be seen, that's for sure.

Aketi 12:08 PM  
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Aketi 12:23 PM  

This one was too easy for me since I once worked at PIKE PLACE MARKET on weekends at a falafel SHOP and also worked nights at a COFFEE/ice cream SHOP while attending the University of Washington. I was introduced to Russian spas by my coworkers at the falafel shop, discovered that the combo full cream organic honey saturated ice cream and expresso were great for all nighters long before bullet proof coffee was a thing, and played on a women's rugby team often in the RAIN. We had an annual mud bowl rugby tournament that was great fun. I also paid $40 a month in rent sharing a studio apartment in the central district long before it became diversified and gentrified.

Later when my father moved to a community outside SEATTLE on PUGET SOUND, we'd get together and eat the crabs that we'd pulled up from earlier in the day when he'd take us out in his boat to check his crab pots.

I was so sure that the silhouette in the puzzle was not proportional to the real SPACE NEEDLE. Actually it's very close vertically, just fatter horizontally.

@Nancy, the KEEP LEFT made me think of you and all the people who hurtle themselves through Central Park on wheeled things who scream "on your right". The chaos that ensues in my brain when someone yells that is unlikely to produce the desired reaction of my actually KEEPing to my LEFT.

Poopypants 12:23 PM  

I'm happy.

Ray Yuen 12:52 PM  

Bring Laura back--this guy's hate get to be too much sometimes. This was a fun puzzle that would give "oohs" to Monday level solvers.

Joe Bleaux 12:54 PM  

On the ELKS question, Professor Google doesn't help much. Those who say adding the "s" is legit can cite credible sources, but elks, like "deers," just doesn't look right to me. (ELKE, on the other hand ... ) Overall, though, I don't WANNA complain on a Monday about an easy puzzle with a yawner theme and ISTy, TAI-ish fill. So I'm not gonna. @Joseph Michael. I, too, have wondered just when (and why) "dad" became pejorative. It bothers me, despite a skin toughened by a lifelong status as that most sinister of beings, "big brother." (Some other older brothers, I imagine, can empathize.) @Rex. Laura filled in admirably, but I have missed you. Welcome back!

JC66 12:55 PM  

I was watching the Mets playing the Mariners while solving yesterday evening, so big coincidence.

One of the announcers happened to point out that it hadn't rained for over 40 days; not close to the record of 60, though.

Someone told me NYC gets more INCHES of rain each year, but Seattle gets more DAYS. I'm not sure that's accurate but it sounds good.

All you plural elk fans, check out BPOE (hi @old timer)

Anonymous 1:06 PM  

I kind of like it when Rex doesn't like the puzzle. Feels a bit like this:

Anoa Bob 1:07 PM  

When I WANNA beat the heat and have a cold one or three here in deep south coastal TX, I often head over to the WANNA WANNA Beach Bar.

Aketi 1:34 PM  

@JC66, I think you're right. I checked and found data that allowed me to rank order by days of rain.

Days = 167; Inches = 34.3 Buffalo, NY
Daya = 167; Inches = 34.3 Rochester, NY
Days = 164; Inches = 43.5 Portland, OR
Daya = 155; Inches = 39.1 Cleveland, OH
Days = 149; Inches = 37.7 Seattle, WA
Daya = 122; Inches = 49.9 New York, NY

18 other cities had more inches of rain than Seattle; New Orleans had the most = 62.7, but it only had 115 days of rain

Teedmn 1:38 PM  

SmUNT for fire-eating? Did I read that wrong and it's the name of a fire-breathing dragon? Oh, 54A isn't ISm, it's IST. STUNT. Also I "segue"d from one story to another before taking the STAIR. (Not a DNF, I caught my SmUNT).

This was fun (yes, a grimace for MOLESTS) and I figured out the SPACE NEEDLE without reading the note, so that was gratifying.

@Hartley70, I thought it should be ELK rather than ELKS also. I was recently reading a profile of George Strait in the New Yorker and they talked about the steer-roping contest he sponsors every year. They pluralized steer as "steer" and I realized that I've always said "steers". I usually trust the New Yorker for the best grammar so I was shocked that I had been saying it wrong all this time. Online dictionaries say "steers" is correct. The New Yorker quote is: "A cowboy preacher asked for protection: “We pray that no harm, in any form or fashion, comes near the horses, the steer, or the cowboys.” (In fact, many of the steer were destined to become steak, just not quite yet.)" Does that seem weird to anyone else?

Totally unrelated to the puzzle, my co-worker just told me a story which made me giggle; someone was spelling something for him over the phone: "S as in Sea". There's a head-scratcher!

Welcome back Rex and thanks, David Steinberg, for an interesting Monday.

Cassieopia 1:42 PM  

I hate to see such a nice Monday puzzle maligned. Imagine a novice solver, daring to tackle a NYT crossword puzzle for the first time, and stumbling upon this clever offering, especially the circles not only spelling out SPACENEEDLE, but forming the iconic shape as well! (Speaking of which, Rex's drawing is incorrect - the top is flat and the N in 7 is the little doohickey that sticks straight up - the tip of the needle.) New solvers would be delighted! And jaded Monday solvers (which I am quickly becoming - it's hard to make a Monday interesting) have the newness of a follow-the-dots visual theme as well as the name/word theme, alongside words not often encountered in Monday (or any day!) fare: SPATULA, ELMERS, WILCO, PERMITME.

Growing up, we used to say that Seattle was Alaska's biggest city, since so many of us routinely went down there for medical care, education, and other amenities of a lower 48 city. As an 8-year old, I spent a summer at UW Medical Center getting world-class care; I also lived on Bainbridge Island during my freshman year in high school, and my best friend and I often took the ferry over to Seattle and hung around the Space Needle area. There were funky little shops under the needle and also the monorail to ride. Pier One, Starbucks, and Ivar's were all little shops back then and an absolute blast to visit. So perhaps my enthusiasm for this puzzle is encouraged by all those happy childhood memories. But I don't think so. I think Rex is way off on this one - thank you Mr. Steinberg for a memorable and fun Monday!

Christopher 1:46 PM  

As someone who considers Seattle home, alhtough I haven't lived there for years, I found this puzzle disappointing. SANTA ANA winds? Couldn't there have been more local references? As for the theme of rain, thought these two were worth sharing, just in case:

Seattle had 50 of inches of rain by June this year, which is highly unusual. When we first moved there in the 70s, people used to say 'it rained a lot' as propaganda to keep the Callifornians away.

Carola 2:06 PM  

Having visited in-laws in Seattle a lot, I found the puzzle Monday-easy and a fine tribute to the city. I think it's a rare Monday that gets a bonus graphic, so the SPACE NEEDLE was a delightful extra treat. On my first visit in 1980, our first sight to see was the PIKE PLACE MARKET, including a stop into a then-exotic-to-me Starbuck's, followed by a ne'er-to-be-forgotten freshly toasted and buttered crumpet from The Crumpet Shop.

Favorite road sign: Road Closed 0 Feet, on a barrier across the pavement.

@kitchef, for me, SPATULA does triple duty: as a "rubber spatula" (now usually silicone and referred to as a bowl scraper, I guess); as the implement for flipping burgers and pancakes; and as a long, narrow, flat implement for loosening pie crust from the counter.

kitshef 2:14 PM  

@Teedmn - I have someone spell for me, apparently not tongue in cheek, using "M for mnemonoic".

Unknown 2:41 PM  

Peas are not vegetables; they are legumes.

Just sayin'.

JC66 2:43 PM  
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JC66 2:47 PM  

@ Aketi

Thanks for confirming my suspicions.

Idothecw 3:05 PM  

You really seem to hate the nyt cw so why is it the subject of your blog? I used to think this page was mildly entertaining. It's fine to dislike, or make fun of, some clues or puzzles, but you seem like you're almost never satisfied with them. I liked this puzzle. Sure it was an easy Monday..but don't you expect that when solving a Monday? Idk, this is probably your gimmick, being sour & grouchy but I literally thought you were 70+ years old because of your attitude (until I looked you up online). I think you're obsessed with your times, & when you go over time you take it out on the puzzle? Just a guess. I would like to see a puzzle you created :) seriously I'm curious, what is it that you believe makes a 'good' or 'satisfying' puzzle? Because Mondays are usually not themed at all, just a moosh of random clues. & Yes, I just made up the word moosh. I'll put it in a cw, just for you ;)

Anonymous 3:08 PM  

@Phil Phil,

I beg to differ; I've never heard @z say "permit me'.

Anonymous 3:12 PM  

Can someone please give me the prevailing definition of ELITIST?

Idothecw 3:13 PM  

The 1% who quote the clash ?? :)

Pdxrains 3:15 PM  

Portlander here and Long time Oregonian so this was easy as pie.

"Dirty dicks crab house".. ouch. Yeah I'll pass lol.

Anonymous 3:22 PM  


Are you kidding me!? Did you know about Euler's flycatchers or did you look it up? I have enough trouble with the North American empidonax boys.
No need to make me feel inferior on another continent!!


Thomaso808 3:26 PM  

My favorite road sign was one in Pasadena, CA that said SLOW DIP. I drove by it every day and could not help feeling personally insulted.

Hartley70 3:33 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hartley70 3:39 PM  

@JC66, we were driving past a newly constructed lodge in town recently, and my husband told me with a straight face that B.P.O.E stood for "Best People On Earth". He was positive this was correct because his mother had told him that as a boy. I have to give her credit. That lady had an answer for everything.

JC66 4:08 PM  


Yeah, one of the few things my sister-in-law and late wife agreed on was their "admiration" of my mother.

BTW, In an effort to be more transparent long term, I tried to change my Google nickname to JC39, but it's already taken.

Aketi 4:15 PM  

@Carola, I loved the crumpet shop. Used to frequent it all the time.

Teedmn 4:30 PM  

@Kitshef, har. Like "P as in pterodactyl".

Stephen Minehart 4:50 PM  

Naticked on a Monday by Elie/Elke.

kitshef 4:53 PM  

Anon@3:22. I have seen Euler's flycatcher in Trinidad. Now, when I say "seen", what I mean is I saw a bird, flycatchery in overall aspect, and the guide told me what it was. I have no reason to think he would lie as we were not a crowd to ooh and aah over a flycatcher. Now those blue dacnisses (dacnodes?) are another matter...

Anonymous 5:13 PM  

As for odd signs try "Slow children at play". I always wondered if it was to watch out for them because they were mentally slow, physically slow or a go-ahead and hit them for more points.

Joe Dipinto 5:17 PM  

@Joseph Michael -- "stair" can be used to stand in for "stairs" or "staircase", as in this lyric from the Bacharach-David song "A House Is Not A Home":

When I climb the stair, and turn the key
Oh please be there, still in love with me

Bill Harrow 5:23 PM  

ELITIST: Someone who masturbates, literally or figuratively, over a New York Times crossword puzzle. E.G., everyone on this blog.

Z 6:16 PM  

Elk, per Merriam-Webster, is "usually" pluralized as ELK when it's got four legs, otherwise it is ELKS. So, there you go. Perfect clarity.

As for PERMIT ME, I'll go with the dude with a doctorate in Medieval Literature. Specifically, PERMIT ME has nothing to do with actual chivalry and anyone using it is either putting on airs or, more likely, doing a version of mansplaining.

@Debra Pollack - Not, apparently, according to the U.N. All of this gets really messy. No parent ever has said "eat your legumes" while their off-spring push the revolting little green pellets around the plate, so it's a good enough clue based on usage.

@Evil Doug - Good musical taste.

@Moly Shu - "hue and cry?" I'm not sure calling the clue corny dad humor qualifies as "hue and cry." Although Rex is clearly wrong about people having favorite road signs. Apparently unintended sexual references are still funny. Or maybe not unintended, road sign design can't be the most interesting job in the world so I can imagine people taking joy in mounting a sign emblazoned with "Slow Hump Ahead."

Z 6:19 PM  

@Bill Harrow - You meant "i.e." which is short for "id est. "E.G." is properly used when you mean "for example," rather than "specifically."

Anonymous 6:20 PM  

Very cool. I figured it was first hand knowledge. Envious of birding the tropics.
I'm a fan of flycatchers, but like lots of folks, I often find making
the ID call in the field plenty tricky.

Anonymous 6:26 PM  

Anyone else think Z got the snot knocked out of him when he was kid?

Anonymous 6:42 PM  

Kevin Allred

Anonymous 6:51 PM  

If you're gonna reference rain and Seattle, you have to have some Mark Langegan.

Puzzler 6:53 PM  

@Unknown 3:05
ALL Monday puzzles are themed in the NYT. Factually, ALL Monday-Thursday puzzles are themed in NYT. Friday and Saturday are themeless, in the NYT. Now, other publications puzzles may differ, but NYT is that way. Whether or not you actually catch the theme is another matter.

August West 7:01 PM  
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August West 7:03 PM  

Nags Head is white trash honky tonk. You've got to go 12N off the bridge, pass Duck, and plant stakes in Corolla (Pine Island, Carova, Swan Beach). Duh.

Unknown 7:36 PM  

His best man, an accomplished cook, threw a "spatula" party before my brother's wedding. Claimed his misheard instructions. Every guest received one. LMAO.

Doc John 8:19 PM  

EULER is pronounced how it is spelled. If you say it like a German.

chefbea 8:37 PM  

In a repeat of wheel of fortune tonight...there was a question and the answer was euler...and the answer was pronounced oiler!!!!

Bohemian Rhapsody Fruitfly 8:40 PM  

OBX, great. But Nag's Head is for 7th graders who are old enough to drink. Go to Ocracoke next time. It's where Edith and the bears live.

Anonymous 9:48 PM  

It was teen jeopardy!!!! But yeah, how funny was that?! And it was incorrect, the answer was Descartes.

Anonymous 9:53 PM  

Wow, is there any reason for such a collection of idiots to be gathered in one place as happens here daily?
Read the blog; read the comments. Collection of idiots.

Anonymous 10:19 PM  

Anon 9:53. What a gutless wonder you are.

Anonymous 12:04 AM  

Well, Anon 9:53, if you read everything, that makes you an idiot.

Ellen at the Shore 8:56 PM  

Rex, if you think OBX is a "Southern 'Heritage' meets New Jersey", you've never done Jersey Shore. Big mistake on your part.

Unknown 2:17 PM  


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Burma Shave 9:36 AM  


the SPACENEEDLE just PLANE gigantic,
the MARINER's ARENA is near downtown,
and the PIERs could moor the TITANIC.


John T. Vian 11:14 AM  
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spacecraft 11:23 AM  

I had to Google OBX; had no idea. It is telling that OFL is pleased only when nobody's around. And "Are you happy? No. Nobody's happy." What a sad life. And he disses one of the true bright young minds of our time. Don't take it to heart, David; it's just OFL being OFL.

Makes you wonder how stupid WE are: the "leaders" we elect.

I thought this an eminently clever puzzle. As if the theme weren't dense enough, the added layer of the SPACE NEEDLE figure had to put huge demands on the fill--yet he escapes with a minimum of junk. The closest he gets to a violation is ELKS/DOD ELKE. I remember her in that movie with Paul Newman and Edward G. Robinson. They all seemed to think The Prize had something to do with an award; I said (at the time) "Never mind Nobel; I want ELKE!"

But since I am a lifetime member of the ELKS I like both entries, so immunity applies. The one place where I agree with Chief RAIN Cloud is the clue for MOLEST. I thought, man, that's a whole lot more than "pester." That wasn't enough to keep the ball out of the hole, though: birdie.

rondo 12:22 PM  

Back in the saddle, so to speak. Actually, a few days off of puzzling was OK.
Kinda tough review on the WHIZ kid. @teedmn - I had the same w/o at SmUNT. Good thing that's where I was finishing or I mighta missed it.

Ah, SEATTLE. Been there summer and winter. In Feb you'll get some RAIN, but nice compared to MN. The missus does her consular business in SEATTLE as they serve the northern tier of the U.S. plus Alaska. Please eschew the COFFEESHOPs and find the tea and crumpet SHOP near PIKEPLACEMARKET. Authentic hot crumpets fresh from the kitchen washed down with URNs of delicious tea. Yum. Then stroll down past the MARINER's stadium and near the Seahawk's ARENA you can buy some good SEATTLE smoke. Or catch the monorail to the SPACENEEDLE for a great view of the Olympic Mountains. It's a fair TREK from SEATTLE through the lavender fields of Sequimto get to the Olympics, or to Port Angeles if you WANNA cross north to visit @rainy.

Enough travelogue, yeah baby to ELKE Somer at, ALAS, the end of summer.

Happy Labor Day to all. Back to property rehab today and the RATRACE tomorrow.

Diana,LIW 1:31 PM  

Hey @Teed - we could make an entire alphabet, or series of mysteries?? A as in aeon. Your turn.

Didn't know this was a DS puzzle 'till nearly done, and I loved it. Lotsa theme going on - why not Seattle, indeed. I knew all this Seattle trivia 30+ years ago when I lived in Philly - all's fair. More likely people will know PIKEPLACEMARKET than the Greek god of toe jam, or the Urdu phrase for "PERMIT ME, let me get you COFFEE."

Lived for a winter in the "rain shadow" area west of Seattle - Port Townsend, a small Victorian town on the Olympic Peninsula. Most days had a bit of rain and a lotta sun.

MOLESTS reminded me of hotel "Do not disturb/ No molestar" door signs. They always make me think, yeah, please don't molest. Thanks, you're chivalrous.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rondo 1:54 PM  

@D,LIW - Went thru Port Townsend on return to SEATTLE. They had a cool public radio station as I recall.

leftcoastTAM 2:13 PM  

SEATTLE is the virtual capital of the U.S. PNW, consisting of Washington of course, Oregon, Idaho, and you could include Montana and Alaska as well. So it's quite a hub.

David Steinberg can make them easy or tough, and this one is easy (maybe especially for us residents of the region--Hi, Lady Di). Whatever, he also consistently makes them clever and enjoyable, like this.

Happy Labor Day.

leftcastTAM 3:57 PM  

Having just read over a number of posts from the top down, I'm struck (again) by the frequent anti-Rex rants.

Look, Rex picks and pokes at many puzzles. He provokes a lot of responses. He makes the blog lively and interesting with all of the controversy he generates.

What's not to like about that? Besides, if you don't like it, no one says you're required to read his critiques.

thefogman 4:26 PM  

I guess Rex and I have to agree to disagree. I give the constructor high marks for the image of the SPACENEEDLE formed by the circled letters and also for the beautifully symmetric themers that relate to SEATTLE. For me, it was a tad easy even for a Monday. I would have liked to see a reference to grunge, Nirvana or Kurt Cobain included in the themers, but it's not a heartbreaker.

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絹スミレ 3:51 PM  

Call it a flipper, but yah, agree about spatula being the rubbery implement used to scrape spackle-like substances out of a bowl and spread them onto something else.

絹スミレ 3:57 PM  

The accepted pronunciation is ‘Oy-ler’ in both in the States and Japan.

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