French president's palace / MON 1-15-18 / Cruet filler at Italian restaurant

Monday, January 15, 2018

Constructor: Agnes Davidson and Zhouqin Burnikel

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "FREE AT LAST" (61A: Final words of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech ... or a hint to the endings of 17-, 24-, 39- and 49-Across) — "last" words of all the theme answers can also be verbs meaning "Free":

Theme answers:
  • NEW RELEASE (17A: Singer's latest)
  • TAX EXEMPT (24A: Like religious institutions vis-à-vis the I.R.S.)
  • "THE COAST IS CLEAR" (39A: "We can go safely now")
  • "BEG PARDON?" (49A: "Excuse me?")
Word of the Day: COSPLAYS (40D: Dresses up for a comic con, say) —
  1. 1
    the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga and anime.
  1. 1
    engage in cosplay. (google)
• • •

Thank God Almighty! A good puzzle! It's a holiday puzzle appearing *on* the actual holiday (holiday-adjacent holiday puzzles are always disappointing), and it manages to be appropriate to the day while still being playful and entertaining (instead of pious or somber). It was also easy as heck, so everyone will be feeling quite triumphant today. Fun for all! Nothing much here to irk or gall. From a constructing perspective, I'm wondering why *two* cheater squares were needed in the NW (and SE) corner (these are the black squares under 1D: SIN and after 1A: STP, as well as the corresponding black squares in the SE—black squares that do not add to the word count; they're generally used only to make a grid easier to fill). The grid doesn't seem that demanding ... theme's not that dense. But no big deal. I'll take a clean grid, however you get there, over an unclean one any day.

Not that many hesitations today. Briefly thought maybe 7D: Shout at Fenway Park was BOSOX instead of "GO SOX!" I don't really think about umbrella parts that much, so I was slightly more hesitant on RIB than I should've been, despite the fact that it's the word my brain threw up first. Took me a while to get GALLS (51D: Vexes) because my brain (stupid brain!) doesn't think "gall" and "vex" are synonyms. I associate the former with anger and the latter with frustration, which, I know, is splitting hairs, but that's what the brain does, what can I tell you? I hit that vacuum cleaner clue and thought "Ooh, you know this!" then with through ORACH and ORKIN and DYSON and the rest of my Rolodex of 5-letter things that start with "O" *or* are vacuum-related. Then I just got it from crosses. Yes, I've heard of ORECK, no, I would never have gotten it today without help. Also had BED for SPA (69A: Resting place?). Bed is more of a non-"?" answer. And thus ends my litany of trouble spots.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


JOHN X 12:45 AM  

Pretty good for a Monday although those two cheater squares really bugged the hell out of me. Who am I kidding I wouldn't recognize a cheater square if you circled it and drew an arrow to it and wrote "cheater square." That's probably an exaggeration.

Hey let's hear it for old retail petroleum product brands! I remember when STP was everywhere back in the '70s, from Richard Petty's racecar to bumper stickers to TV ads etc. Not so much anymore. CITGO is owned by the Venezuelan government I think, Fenway Park be damned. Sunoco is still sort of around. Let's get some Ethyl at the next Socony-Vacuum filling station, and that attendant better salute.

I thought the theme of linking FREE AT LAST to the synonyms for free was a little odd. It struck me like a mattress store having an MLK sale and using that quote. "Free at last? Our prices are so low you'll think they are!" Actually I would probably buy that.

Also, every Monday I get a DNF because I make some dumb keystroke error on my iPad. This is because I solve the puzzle in such a rapid manner that I am banned from competition because my speed is unfair to others, and because I always solve the Monday puzzle after smoking some drugs, which is perfectly legal here in California, dude.

I am not a robot. I passed the test.

Anonymous 1:45 AM  

6 down is an iffy clue—a crown is for royalty, and a tiara is a fancy dress accessory and isn’t circular like a crown.

ezra roenfeld 2:58 AM  

Gigabytes are a unit, not a measuring tool. They dont measure anything

Loren Muse Smith 3:05 AM  

I agree, Rex - nice to have a holiday puzzle on the actual holiday.

And, yes! Not preachy and reaching. Just some fun word play. For me, though, EXEMPT feels a little different from the others. RELEASE, CLEAR, PARDON – you’re changing someone’s situation. They’re already in an icky situation, and you’re saving them. EXEMPT – they never had to be there to begin with. But, well, it didn’t bother me that much.

In one of the opening scenes of Selma, Coretta Scott King is tying MLK’s CRAVAT. I remember being surprised; I had thought they were things men wore way back a long time ago. Maybe it was an ascot. I’ve just googled it and still don’t know the difference.

VID – I never say this, but I’m old. Here’s my most recent obsession.

Speaking of polar bears, I’ve just learned in another anthropology Great Courses lecture that the term ESKIMO can be considered a derogatory term.

I got a kick out of the INEPT/PRO cross, in a CNN/Fox News kind of way.

Here’s something I’ve never told anyone: I’d love to wear a TIARA to an event in a non-jokey way. Like I really pull it off, and people keep stealing glances to admire how elegant I am. It’s my plan to be regal but warm and approachable. I might add this to my George Clooney-Viennese Waltz dream.

I guess we all have a dream.

MLK’s was EXALTed.

Kimberly 3:37 AM  

I usually think of Mondays as throw-away puzzles and don’t give them much thought. Seeing Rex say positive things about it kind of gave me a little extra enjoyment after-the-fact.

Starting the week off on a positive note = woohoo!

Kimberly 3:45 AM  

@LMS- I just wore a tiara to the restaurant on my birthday a few weeks ago. A simple, understated little piece. It wasn’t a tiara kind of restaurant and we were a small party, but I wore it in all seriousness (you might even say I wore it defiantly... in fact I think my exact words upon leaving home we’re “it’s my damned birthday and im wearing a tiara”) and nobody batted an eye. There is a benefit to age. I might do it more often. I consider myself tiara-worthy at all times. We all deserve tiaras.

Lewis 5:14 AM  

This puzzle unexpectedly touched my heart.

One of my favorite MLK quotations: "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

mruedas 5:19 AM  

@ezra roenfeld - there's not really any way to measure things except using units. You measure out a cup of flour for a recipe, a cup is a unit AND a way to measure the amount of flour.

Not today 6:40 AM  

It doesn’t matter how much you say that you’re an egalitarian, how much you say that you are race blind, how much you say that you are only interested in people’s policies and not their racist polemics.

As the brilliant James Baldwin once put it: “I can’t believe what you say, because I see what you do.” When I see that in poll after poll a portion of Trump’s base continues to support his behavior, including on race, I can only conclude that there is no real daylight between Trump and his base. They are part of his racism.

Exubesq 7:04 AM  

I thought this was a weak tribute puzzle. “Free at last” is not what I would consider the best entry point for a little fluffy wordplay. The puzzle itself was fine but the theme left me a little irked. (There, I used irk in a sentence.)

BarbieBarbie 7:14 AM  

Coincidentally, I was cleaning out my file cabinet yesterday and found the yellowed newspaper clipping my mother had saved- the text of King’s speech, printed the next day in our little local paper. It was a big, big deal. Great starting point for a puzzle.

Now, King- HE was approachable.

Dick Sward 7:27 AM  

@LMS didn't think you'd care about what might be considered a "derogatory term," given the fact that you think words should mean whatever you want them to mean.

I have TDS 7:37 AM  

@ not today: Agreed. Six million Obama voters switched to Trump because they’re racist.

evil doug 7:37 AM  

"I can only conclude that there is no real daylight between Trump and his base. They are part of his racism."

The old broad brush...

I didn't vote for him--his alleged sexual behavior was the last straw for me.

His hamfisted words this week weren't helpful, although I agree with getting rid of immigration lotteries; of being smart, sensitive and careful in selecting new Americans; and in shoring up security. I believe Dreamers should be included in a final agreement.

I support beefing up our defense, and in backing off participation in that shell of its old self UN. I believe some of the tactics employed by BLM and Kaepernick supporters are counterproductive and wouldn't be appreciated by MLK--and have led to doubt in many long-term white supporters of equal rights that we're still valid voices in this war.

Even Andrew Young says calling people "racists" is unproductive. Cite individual cases of behavior among those sinners that we all are at times and work to correct it, instead of trying to build exaggerated cases that everyone who sees some value in a flawed president - - or that president himself - - must be an irredeemable racist.

So: Am I included in his base?
And: Am I a racist?

Arlene 7:44 AM  

I have to chime in on tiaras. They are transformative (for the ladies.) Yes, I have several. Even writing the word in a grid makes me smile.

QuasiMojo 7:51 AM  

I agree, the "Queen's crown" clue was INEPT. A tiara is not a crown unless in reference to a Pope. Maybe C.C. was making a little off-color joke.

I also agree that this theme sort of belittles the noble concept of freedom from opression. And the expression "free at last" is from an old Negro spiritual. I think it's a great quote but not one that particularly represents Martin Luther King since he had many fine quotes of his own.

CLEAR too does not specifically mean "free." A check "clears" but it is not free.

@LMS I am surprised that you only now have learned that "eskimo" is no longer an acceptable term for our friends up north? It's been on the non-PC list for a long time. Hence the frequency of INUIT in the NYT puzzle.

BEG PARDON or BEG your PARDON is not something one hears enough of these days.

I wonder if a GILA MONSTER practices climate change DENY-Zen.

chefbea 8:03 AM  

Easy puzzle...never heard of so splay!!!

Anonymous 8:19 AM  

Dr. Alveda King, a niece of MLK Jr., said a couple of days ago that calling Trump a racist is "outrageous. Racism is just a word that is being bandied about and thrown... at the president unjustly. President Trump is NOT a racist."

So: is she a racist?

Anonymous 8:21 AM  

Yes, she's a racist. Everyone is a racist.

Unknown 8:22 AM  

Y'all are overthinking the 'free at last' theme. If your name is cleared, you're free from suspicion. If you're exempt from a requirement, you're free from it. Lighten up guys.

TomAz 8:24 AM  

I liked the theme.

I thought the puzzle itself left a few things to be desired, however. Namely multiple examples of what to me seemed to be poor cluing.

- GALLS does not mean "vexes", as Rex noted.
- a TIARA is not the same as a "crown"
- REAL DEALS are not "super bargains". The phrase means "a person or thing considered to be a genuine or supremely good example of their kind."
- I have never ever heard someone say "BEG PARDON". I have heard them say "I beg your pardon?" when they mean "Excuse me?".
- a SLAB is not a "chunk". They are two completely different things. A SLAB is flat and typically rectangular; a chunk, to me implies a broken off piece, irregularly shaped.

These words are all close enough that they were gettable, but all in all I finished the puzzle with a bad taste in my mouth. Which is a shame, because the theme is great, and it's otherwise well done.

Hungry Mother 8:32 AM  

Quick and easy. No political thoughts while solving. Great Key West half marathon yesterday. Today I visited Southernmost Point for an overcast sunrise, remembering passing it twice in the race. I was the oldest person in the event, but not the slowest.

Nancy 9:01 AM  

Does anyone ever say BEG PARDON? I imagine they'd say "I beg your pardon."

VID made me say ICK. Actually, ICK also made me say ICK.

It's great to have a puzzle that celebrates MLK's MEMORY. It's great to EXALT him. But he deserves a much better puzzle than this very, very meh one.

Teedmn 9:03 AM  

I was doing pest-control with my vacuum today as I entered ORkin before ORECK came to mind. Other than that, this puzzle held no GALLS or IRKS, a nice MLK tribute puzzle.

Anonymous 9:08 AM  

Oh for gosh sakes, really? Tie the words Release, Clear, Exempt, and Pardon to the one of the most beautiful sentences ever spoken? Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we are free at last! Really?

Released at last, released at last...
Cleared at last, cleared at last...
Pardoned at last, pardoned at last ...
Exempt at last, exempt at last ...

I think free in this context has a much larger implication than those other words, one suggesting a HUGE meaning of the word "Free" as opposed to even freed as chattel and the others applying basically in a legal sense.

One is the exaltation of millions, the other the joy of a few. Except for possibly exempt, as when Republicans fall to their knees and cry, Exempt at last, exempt at last, thank God Almighty! We've tolerated this nitwit long enough to pass tax cuts.

Alert shtwits, I'm a Republican so back off.

jjpennyless 9:16 AM  

Queen's crown is a legit clue for tiara. Doesn't one use a tiara to crown a beauty queen?

Wm. C. 9:20 AM  

@Anon9:08 --

I too am a (lifelong) Republican, and not voting for the Trumpster is the first time I've voted Democrat for a major office -- though I must confess that it was done holding my nose while selecting Hillary. And ... Hard to believe, he's even worse than I thought!

(Sorry for the politics.)

mathgent 9:28 AM  

I don't consider a puzzle to be clean when it has 21 Terrible Threes.

I was expecting Rex to fuss about the Cosby reference. Channel surfing the other day I found a Cosby Show rerun.

@LMS (3:05), kimberly (3:37): My wife would love you two in your tiaras. She seizes every opportunity to wear one of her flamboyant fascinators out. When someone compliments her on it, I say "She used to be the lead stripper at The Follies."

Fountains of Golden Fluids 9:33 AM  

Does anyone remember Wyoming shitholes?

Cleared2Land 9:36 AM  

I was hoping Rex was going to go full on Dr. Seuss there for a moment.

"Fun for all. Nothing much here to irk or gall."

Should have kept it going "You'll finish even if your brain is small.
Simple as falling off a wall. And no more politics, y'all."

(Apologies to Dr. Seuss)

Anonymous 9:37 AM  

Why is there wordplay in a crossword puzzle? Why would wordplay involve ambiguity? Why aren’t crossword puzzles absolutely serious?

GILL I. 9:38 AM  

Can someone please tell me why 42A "Like food from a West African drive-through" becomes TO GO? Strange clue but maybe I'm missing something.
Anyway, I wasn't wowed like @Rex. This seemed pretty blah in so far as a tribute quote for MLK. And like @Loren, EXEMPT seemed out in left field somewhere - looking for home.
KALE is right up there with okra as far as I'm concerned - both green and slimy.
Seeing ESKIMO reminds me of an article I glanced through that said because of climate change, sea turtles are becoming female. Fertilized female turtles are only birthing females. What a world we live in.
I did an "O" thing like @Rex with the vacuum cleaners. The best vacuum I've ever owned is the Shark Rocket Ultra-Light. That thing can pick up a cannon ball. ORECK's weigh too much.
Liked seeing POWDER KEG and the fun COSPLAY. ASAP always confuses me. Doesn't it mean as soon as possible and not right now?
THE COAST IS CLEAR so I think I'll go walk the pups.

Candy Darling 9:45 AM  

The sumbitch is racist and so are many of his supporters.

Anonymous 9:46 AM  

Didn't you mean Fox/CNN?

kitshef 9:47 AM  

Very easy, even for a Monday. No overwrites. No holdups. No fun.

@Nancy, @TomAz - My grandmother said BEG PARDON exclusively - possibly skews British?

Yargh 10:13 AM  

ALL Republicans/Conservatives are racist. Period.

RooMonster 10:29 AM  

Hey All !
Agree with Rex on the corner cheater squares. I like CC's puzs, but that seems like something that could've been cleaned up. Just a nit. :-)

Did like the puz. CC usually has clean fill. Nice tribute puz on the actual day. SEE? It can be done. :-)

That TOGO clue I believe has a double meaning. Isn't TOGO a Country in Africa? I would've AXEd that clue.

Liked the XEXE run in TAXEXEMPT. Good K and X volume. Only one F. The constant equivalent of @M&A's U.

Next Sunday: GO jags! NO Patriots in the Super Bowl. Please.


Kushner Family Enterprises 10:48 AM  

@Evil Doug - Bless your heart for your thoughtful comments. I would like to take your suggestions re immigration one step further though - let's ban all immigration entirely save for the E1B visas. Buy a Kushner propertry for $500K, and come on in! We don't care what race you are, we only care that you can save us from bankruptcy with your money!

True Grits 10:52 AM  

This is the best crossword puzzle in the history of crossword puzzles. I know it. And you know it. And everybody knows it. It has words. Big words. Everybody is talking about how great the words are. They have never seen words like this before. And I'm not saying this just because I solved it in the fastest time that any crossword puzzle has ever been solved. I'm not going to tell you how fast that was. But I can say that it very very very fast. People that watched me solving this puzzle said they couldn't believe how fast I figured out all of those great words.

Anonymous 10:57 AM  

And today's Shtwitty goes to, envelop please, @Yargh! This is really very special ladies and gentlemen and others because Yargh isn't a member of the clan (see what I did there?)

Anonymous 11:01 AM  

I was going to respond to the "Ooh! Don't bandy about the term racism so lightly" theme in today's comments by listing some of the highlights of Trump's political career built entirely on his racist worldview and pandering to the white supremacists among us (full-page ad calling for death penalty for men ultimately exonerated by DNA evidence, lies about Obama--and his general animus against anything Obama-related, and some of the lovely things he's said in his campaign and since) but the NY Times beat me to it. Turns out they do more than publish a so-so puzzle:

Anonymous 11:03 AM  

See the Wikipedia entry for ESKIMO for a nuanced take on the word. Or just throw gasoline on the fire.

Aketi 11:04 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aketi 11:08 AM  

@GILL I, i justed figured that the TO GO in TOGO was rather sad attempt at making a joke about that country’s name. You can actually buy a book on Amazon called “Ein Coffee TO GO in TOGO.” Not kidding.

@Nancy, @TomAz, & @kitshef, my older female relatives always said “I BEG your PARDON” with a heavy emphasis on the BEG whenever someone was rude and they thought they were owed an apology.

I decided to crawl back into bed to eat my breakfast after going to BJJ at 6:45 am in the freezing cold this morning. Charlie the cat usually BEGs for food, but never BEGs PARDON for his misdeeds. This morning he clearly felt entitled to dispense with BEGging altogether and just dip into my cereal without asking. As usual, he did not ask for my PARDON either.

@Roo, only one U, too.

Z 11:10 AM  

A fine Monday. What I liked best was the Agnes/Zhouqin names in the byline. Something about the inclusiveness of an A TO Z byline tickles me.

@LMS - As far as I can tell CRAVAT is older, and I think Ascot now refers to a specific way to knot a tie, but I think both are now just ways to say “pretentious necktie.”

@Dick Seward - Seriously? That is what you think descriptivism is all about? No, words should not mean whatever you want them to mean. Not knowing the difference between “gangster” and “gangsta,” for example, might cost you on Jeopardy. However, thinking that words have singular fixed meanings is just wrong. Gosh, look at the misunderstanding of the word “queen” in the clue and then try to tell me that words have fixed, correct meanings that never change. Or consider “gosh.”

@TomAz - You’re thinking “Beyoncé is the REAL DEAL” while the clue is suggesting “how to find the REAL DEALs on Black Friday.”

@Evil D - We do a good job of hiding how systemic racism and sexism benefits us from ourselves, but if we look at our lives and opportunities objectively it is impossible to deny that being a white male is equal to starting life on first or second base. Yes, I did a lot to capitalize, but you and I both had advantages that our minority brothers and sisters did not. Does that make us racist? No. Insisting that I hit a double and blaming others because they didn’t is.

Ta-Nehisi Costes 11:16 AM  

@Wm.C. 9:20 AM: You voted against Barack Obama’s twice ? You’re a racist .

ArtO 11:18 AM  

In regard to the "racism" dialog, there's this wonderful song from Avenue Q "Everyone's a little racist." But...there are degrees and there's no doubt from his history and recent actions Trump fulfills the definition at its worst.

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

@Yargh 10:13. Definition of bigot from Merriam-Webster: “a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (such as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance”

So by your comment: “ALL Republicans/Conservatives are racist. Period.” that by definition makes you a bigot and ergo a hypocrite. Thanks for playing.

Adam 11:31 AM  

Every time I see STP (and to be fair, that's only in the crossword), I think of this ad from the '70s and the little ditty at the end. My brain is full of that garbage.

EXTOL for EXALT, but otherwise no issues - a good, clean, fun, holiday-appropriate puzzle - everything that @Rex said.

@Gill I, I thought the same (about KALE) for a while, but then found this recipe - ditch the salmon and just make the kale salad. It's a hit in my house (including my two children) and among our friends, and it's a nice change. I use homemade honey-roasted almonds, which add crunch and saltiness along with sweet, and they go well with the apples and dates. Mmmmm....

Anonymous 11:35 AM  

as a Boston fan, I liked the cross of CITGO (sign) and GO SOX - as most anyone who has been to Fenway will recognize.

Joe Bleaux 11:51 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy 11:52 AM  

@Z (11:10) -- While Wikipedia agrees with you and Loren that an ascot can be a wide tie as well as a scarf, to me it's always been a scarf. And on a really handsome man -- Cary Grant, for example -- an ascot is absolutely irresistible. Here is Cary in a drop-dead ascot -- the photo on the far left:

Sure looks like a scarf, not a tie. Is it/he irresistible or what? I rest my case.

Token_Millenial 11:59 AM  

Nothing sticky here except maybe plural REALDEALS...can there be more than one real deal? Does this imply there is a realest deal? Never heard of PRELL and I'm still waiting for STP to be clued for Stone Temple Pilots, and I don't think I've ever seen an AVIA shoe outside of crosswords. Reveal was satisfying re: the themers, which weren't overly exciting except in light of the reveal. Enjoyable Monday.

Britt Hume 12:02 PM  

MLK day a good time to remember the importance of his Christian faith in all Dr. King did, especially his belief in a central tenet of that faith: forgiveness. Our divided people need to practice forgiveness now more than ever.

Anonymous 12:04 PM  

Which is @Z, 1st or 2nd? Do the effects of failed liberal policies fall into the category of systemic racism?

GILL I. 12:13 PM  

@Aketi...yes, of course TOGO the nation. Dumb clue but I did look up its location since I wasn't sure. First thing that pops up : 39% of people in Togo don't have access to clean water. Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it!
@Adam Frank...Thanks for the recipe. Alas, I'm afraid it won't change my mind. Maybe if I changed the KALE to spinach, I'd enjoy the recipe. I've tasted KALE every which way. Raw just makes me think how gritty the stuff is. Sauted makes it taste and look slimy. Let's talk escargot!

Lewis 12:18 PM  

My five favorite clues of last week:

1. Thou (5)
2. Is appealing (6)
3. Dollars for quarters (4)
4. Where people may order pushups (15)
5. Field work (8)


Yargh 12:19 PM  

Anon 11:31
Yee Haw!

Mark Tebeau 12:21 PM  

@Evil D.
I won't call you a racist, although your sentiments put you in good company--both in the present day and historically.

Opponents of MLK often "disagreed with his tactics." In his day, he was viewed as a radical and was viewed unfavorably by a majority of Americans, especially after he moved his campaign for equality into Norther cities. It has been the same with Malcolm X, Frederick Douglass, and every other non-white leader of social movements. For a quick read (but it provides links back to sources) on King's popularity in the 1960s:

Sorry to hear that your support of equality has been shaken by the strident voices of BLM and Colin Kaepernick. On the other hand, you have good company. The majority of white Americans have never liked it much when black and brown folks protested the structural racism that exists and continues to exist in the United States.

King surely would have made present-day Americans (and white Americans) uncomfortable, including our President who is the "least racist" person out there (according to his protestations) and despite a very long and well-documented history of such actions and statements (

RooMonster 12:21 PM  

@Me 10:29
That would be consonant equivalent. Ah, tomAYto-tomAHto


Buggy Bunny 12:23 PM  

"Do the effects of failed liberal policies fall into the category of systemic racism?"

yeah, desegregation is such a bummer. ditto with voting rights.

evil doug 12:42 PM  


I didn't say I disagreed with MLKs tactics, because I didn't.

My support of the movement wasn't "shaken by strident voices". I believe the *tactics* of BLM have been counterproductive. Big difference.

You have a clever way of gently sidestepping my points, twisting them to your purpose, and then concluding you won't *call* me a racist while happily aligning me with them.

Suggest you do some reading of your own. It's a column by Shelby Steele in the WSJ last week. [I subscribe, but sometimes those who don't can't open the articles.]

Masked and Anonymous 12:43 PM  

Primo King of a collab from Agnes and CC darlins. Only a R-U-BBER away from disaster, tho.

Staff weeject pick: VID. Nicely mal-formed, overly-random Roman numeral.

Best moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Loch ___ monster} = NESS. Scholcky.

fave longish ball of interest: EAGLES. Go Vikes, tho.

Thanx for the fun, ladies. These constructioneers are the REALDEALS.
Very good write-up, @RP. Downright neighborly.

Masked & AnonymoUs


Nancy 12:44 PM  

Dedicated to @GILL (12:13), with whom I completely agree, and to be sung to the tune of Cole Porter's "I Hate Men":

Oh, I hate KALE!
And any dish you make with KALE will fail,
You put it in a salad, and the salad you diminish,
You put it in a casserole -- your family won't finish,
And then you'll know what others know: You shoulda cooked with spinash --
Oh, I hate KALE!

Andrew Heinegg 12:52 PM  

I hereby award you my personal tiara for your recounting of your birthday celebration. Nicely done!

Carola 1:07 PM  

Themewise, I thought MLK's MEMORY deserved better.

For the TIARA lovers in the grroup, please see here for much interesting lore. My favorite of those currently being worn by Queen Elizabeth is the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland. Diana was often photographed in the Cambridge Lover's Knot, and Camilla is frequently seen in the Greville.

@TomAz, thanks for pointing out that REAL DEAL doesn't fit the clue. Around here, super bargains are "a heck of a deal."

Airymom 1:07 PM  

My 24 year old son is in the seminary to be a Cantor, and it is still unbelievable to me since when I sing in the shower, the tiles beg me to stop!

Early on, people said that he had a great voice and would be a Cantor someday. Twenty years ago, I took him to a special MLK Day program. A boys' and teen choir from Baltimore performed the "I Have a Dream" speech as a cantata. It was a passionate performance and my son loved it, he was jumping out of his seat. Afterwards, there was a dessert reception and we walked over to the choir conductor to thank her. She was so pleased that this little boy was so excited about the performance. He asked her, "Excuse me, but did Dr. King really have that dream?" She replied, "Yes he did, honey." "Wow", my son exclaimed, "because all I ever dream about is scary monsters."
Well, I believe I turned as red as a tomato, but the choir director was actually laughing and said to him, "I hope that one day you will have a dream just like Dr. King." To which he replied, "and I hope one day everyone will be nice to everyone."

Something to think about today and every day.

GILL I. 1:24 PM  

@Nancy....You never fail to amuse me....I might frame the little ditty. ;-)
@Airymom. Wonderful story.

Andrew Heinegg 1:26 PM  

A decent enough tribute puzzle; you need only look back to when MLK was active in protesting to see that Black people have long been told the 'right' way to register dissent.

When MLK spoke, it was nearly always about two themes, racial equality and peace. And, he always emphasized that pushes for those two issues should be done peacefully.

When he participated in peace marches, he was roundly criticized by many, including the N.Y. Times, which opined that he should be a one issue person because it diluted his message.

If prejudice is occurring and, currently, growing, what sense does it make to be protesting such injustice at a time and place where it will receive minimal notice? And, why should people making the protests adhere to guidance from a President that you have to ignore every bit of evidence from his entire life to believe is not a racist himself?

As for his supporters, judge not less ye be judged yourselves. I have my strong suspicions but, human beings are complex creatures with many driving forces.

Anonymous 1:27 PM  

Buggy can’t abide the toothless deplorables in flyover country.

semioticus (shelbyl) 1:32 PM  

This puzzle is meh at best, and I'm surprised that some people loved it. To be fair, many tribute puzzles suffer from staleness, and at least this one doesn't try to be fancy, so that's a plus. That being said, I had problems with the execution. BEGPARDON is weird, and TAXEXEMPT doesn't really go with "free," but OK. It's not an unpleasant puzzle to solve.

But oh dear gods, the fill is not clean. I wouldn't call ARI FRI MSU OTB STP VID SRAS part of a clean Monday puzzle exactly. DARIN-ORECK next to each other isn't preferable on a Monday, MSU-OTB-RIB isn't a pleasant stack, and NW and SE corners could have been more fun. Yet all is not bad news, we had some cool long bonus entries to partly make up for that.

The cluing was mediocre as well, I wasn't particularly fond of "The lion in summer?" or "What gigabytes might measure."

GRADE: C+, 2.8 stars.
And now for some politics.

>Evil Doug, but also a general comment.

I'm amazed how successfully Martin Luther King's legacy is whitewashed in the US. This is a quote from him, dated 1963 (not when he was 20 or something, really late in his unfortunately short life):

"First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can't agree with your methods of direct action;" who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a "more convenient season."

To suggest that MLK would disagree with BLM or Kaepernick is therefore really weird to say the least. MLK wasn't a pacifist, order-loving, trust-in-the-system-there's-a-time-and-place-for-everything guy. I can't believe he's now generally portrayed in that light.

Kaepernick knelt during the National Anthem. He didn't organize a protest march, he didn't resort to rioting because it was deemed necessary to create awareness. He just knelt. Oh, and this is another MLK quote from 1967:

“Let us say boldly that if the violations of law by the white man in the slums over the years were calculated and compared with the law-breaking of a few days of riots, the hardened criminal would be the white man. These are often difficult things to say but I have come to see more and more that it is necessary to utter the truth in order to deal with the great problems that we face in our society.”

So there you go. It is unbelievable how much the Civil Rights Movement has been transformed in the historical narrative retrospectively. Un-fraking-believable.

Teedmn 1:52 PM  

@AiryMom, great story.

And @Nancy, love your poem, done with such pinash :-). I'm not a huge kale fan either. I made a kale tomato soup a while ago and no matter how small I chopped it, it just globbed up. I'll stick with spinach or chard.

Buggy Bunny 2:12 PM  

"Buggy can’t abide the toothless deplorables in flyover country."

well, were it not for 77,900 of such in three states, Crooked Hillary would be President. despite what Trump and his minions say, he didn't win a landslide mandate. just one of many thousands of lies. that they choose to elect state and local governments which don't educate or otherwise look after them, is OK by me. they'll remain toothless, mindless, and moolahless forevermore. just don't tell the educated elites how to run the governments. keeping a population barely alive at subsistence level to take care of the Dear Leader and his family is workable when you have an economy which is pre-industrial: you need many hands to make whatever there is to make. these days, not so much. in fact, capitalists are running out of demand for there stuff as Red State governance spreads. that's why growth has been so slack for so long. if only the 1% has any moolah, do you really think they'll spend all that moolah on stuff? they haven't of course. they've used it to buy stocks and bonds. all that rightwing inflation they keep screaming about has happened. just, and only, in the asset markets. Say's law is a crock.

Anonymous 2:18 PM  

> We all deserve tiaras.

Even if it were socially acceptable for me to wear a tiara, it'd likely keep falling off my balding pate.

Lewis 2:38 PM  

@nancy -- Hah! Spinash! Great one!

Mark Tebeau 3:01 PM  

@evil doug

Thank you for directing us to an opinion piece by Shelby Steele--one of the poster children for the conservative canard that liberalism is the root cause behind racial problems in America. Support for that dubious argument says all we need to know.

But, even if it did not, its basic logic. If you don't like the tactics of BLM or Kaepernick, then you surely would not the like the more strident tactics of their forebears. Or is it that you like their forebears tactics only after they are lionized and whitewashed? Embrace the end of racial inequality or don't. Pretending to be supportive of civil rights is just that a pretense.

Indeed, @semioticus has it right in quoting King, writing from the Birmingham Jail in 1963.. King was a radical. His protests were more radical than those of either BLM or Kaepernick. It's illogical to say that you are turned off by the tactics of direction action when those are the basic tactics of any contemporary protest. Of course, in sending a letter from jail, King also reveals the fundamentals of the American context, in which African Americans face (and continue to face) structural violence and disenfranchisement from the state: higher incarceration rates, higher rates of police violence, and systemic efforts to undermine their voting right. Stunning.

It is better to fess up to the fact that you don't agree with the political message of the movement.

By the way, to highlight the quote from King above. He argued that "the white moderate" ... "is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can't agree with your methods of direct action.""

Why do I care? I care because abetting racism leads to its continuation, which continues to harm both our nation and our fellow citizens (also fellow human beings.) So-called moderates are actively involved it. Moderates who support racists often claim that the people they support are not racists or protest that they are not racists because they support the politics of racists. With the flag of white supremacy flying in the white house, I'm inclined to believe its time that so-called good people stood up against racism instead of complaining that its victims are being to strident or direct in their action to topple hate.

evil doug 3:05 PM  

On the other hand, I don't recall King chanting:

"Pigs in a blanket, fry 'em like bacon!"


"What do we want?
Dead cops!
When do we want them?

Missy 3:07 PM  

A most sincere and heartfelt Thank You!

Missy 3:09 PM  

Why do you think that is the only thing you heard and remember? What was operating?

jberg 3:10 PM  

I think @Nancy and @True Grits are tied for the "best comment" award. Laughed out loud both times.

I've got a few suggestions for how to make this whole thing better:

--Realize that @Rex is probably pulling your leg.

--Don't argue with @Evil Doug -- he's much better when he's being funny.

--Don't argue with anonymous commenters, ever.

--Realize that @Loren is probably pulling your leg, only in the other direction.

--If we can have a light0hearted puzzle for Christmas, I guess it's OK to have one on MLK day. (I would draw the line at a crucifixion theme on Easter, though.)

OK, I'm outa here.

Anonymous 3:15 PM  

Sorry anonymous at 11:31 a.m. The definition of bigotry you so confidently list as proof of not today's bigotry doesn't fit. As the definition states and implies, it is a prejudice against a group, which group's members are determined by nature, as it were. The pejorative oomph to the word is for that very reason. It is despicable to be biased against someone for how they came into the world.

Thus, the people that are convinced that any member of the LGBT community is morally repugnant must convince themselves, and anyone else who will listen to them, that every person makes a choice of their sexuality and those that 'decided' to be non-heterosexual are 'perverted'.

If you want to claim not today exhibits close-mindedness, that is an opinion you could argue for but, I suspect that is not a strong enough term for you to express your feelings. Such is life.

Anonymous 3:36 PM  

@Mark Tebeau, You know why your man Kaepernick isn't on a team? Because he's a divisive figure on a team, and he's not a good enough QB to justify the trouble he's worth. And as a Northern Californian, please understand that I'm talking about his actions far, far and away before the kneeling moment.

I recall one press conference after a lost game when he almost completely refused to speak in whole sentences, answering 32 questions in 87 words. It was disgusting. After that the Niners showed some videos of a half-hearted K working with disadvantaged kids. Not convincing.

Make no mistake that if he was a fan-favorite, winning QB, who actually DID something for the disadvantaged, his career would look different. So he grew an afro and decided to kneel, what's he done to help anyone since? Maybe he has done something and the press is ignoring it. Dunno.

But I support and respect every player who's kneeled since, millionaires that they are and examples for young people that many of them aren't.

evil doug 3:41 PM  

"... one of the poster children for the conservative canard that liberalism is the root cause behind racial problems in America."

Yep. Every black who comes to a different conclusion than the liberal lie is a 'poster child'. Steele, Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Jason Riley--getting to be a larger and larger poster....

mathgent 3:42 PM  

@evil doug (12:42): I read the Shelby Steele essay in WSJ the other day. Brilliant! I was talking to a friend of mine about it and said that if it were written by a White guy, he would be labeled a racist. "Yeah," he said, "Instead they'll call him an Uncle Tom."

Andrew Heinegg 3:57 PM  

Evil Doug, I respect the integrity and honesty of your viewpoint. The problem, I fear, is that it is more complex than you would have it.

MLK was protesting in a time when racism was a huge problem as it always has been. In the current political climate, the President has seemingly given license and encouragement to people who are not only racist but are advocating for an all White Country.

MLK had to protest racist behavior but, a march like Charlottesville would have brought out widespread condemnation from virtually everyone from the President on down and there would not have been a qualifier. And, I can't imagine any of the Attorney Generals from that era suing universities for discriminating against White people. Nor can I imagine a President from that era announcing his support for a candidate for Senate who defied an order of the U.S. Supreme Court to the point where he had to be removed as a judge of his own state's supreme court and who opined that the best time in U.S. history was during slavery.

The point is, whether he intended to or not, Trump has emboldened people to voice and act on their racism and White supremacy views. When reacting to injustice and racism, the more radical the things done and said on behalf of the bigotry, the more radical the reaction is likely to be.

The pigs and bacon type of reaction is emblematic of the anger level rising and that that level of anger is not going to bring out the best in some people just as it is likely to bring some of the not best people out.

Trump seems determined to double down on everything he ever says or does and then lie about doing so. You have to expect that is going to bring an escalation of actions by people who will not tolerate not just bigotry but the continual promotion of it. It is and should be alarming.

Doug 4:01 PM  

I liked this puzzle and finished fast despite my never ever hearing the term COSPLAY. It just looks really like an ugly word.

Anonymous 4:13 PM  

If Alveda King thinks DJT is not a racist, it probably means she either doesn't know what he has said and done his whole life or chooses to ignore it for her own reasons.

That the niece of MLK doesn't think that Trump is a racist is not evidence that he is not. The people who do think he is racist have a whole lot more facts on their side than she does. Being related to Dr. King is not evidence of the correctness of your position on any issue, even racism.

JC66 4:13 PM  



Joe Dipinto 4:21 PM  

Is this where I pick up my FREE ATLAS? I can't wait to peruse it, mine is so out of date it still has Yugoslavia in it.

Oh, it's FREE AT LAST. Never mind.

Anonymous 4:22 PM  

No toleration for anyone expressing concern about the moral depravity of Mr. Trump, Ta-Nehisi Costes? Wm. C. need not defend himself against such drivel.

Anonymous 4:23 PM  

What’s unbelievable is the notion that MLK would say today what he had to say then. Times have changed.

Joe Dipinto 4:25 PM  

That published itself before I was done...weird. I had wanted to add that it was a very nice puzzle to commemorate the day.

GILL I. 4:27 PM  

Take your politics elsewhere ...all of you. Nobody is going to change their views because you know how to quote or you write well. At least on this blog. We're here for puzzles and for Nancy's ditties. Go find a political blog and let me come here to laugh and share recipes and hear stories of adventures... all puzzle related.

Buggy Bunny 4:46 PM  

"Take your politics elsewhere ...all of you."

in general, sure. but this puzzle is explicitly about a political topic. if it were about rutabagas, and dived into some political rat hole, then OK. but not this time.

Aketi 5:55 PM  

@Adam Frank, I have a recipe for a salad that makes it possible for me to sometimes swallow a few bitefuls of KALE if I manage to get enough of the other ingredients on my fork at the same time. It includes raddichio, warm roasted squash, warm roasted red onion, warm farro, parmisian and chopped nuts. Most of the KALE, however remains in the bottom of the bowl uneaten since all the other ingredients are supposed to be layered on top. I thank whoever wrote the recipe for designating KALE as the base layer because I can always claim I’m full by the time I get down to the KALE. .

@Nancy, loved your ditty, but I only do slightly better with spinach.

@Gill I, I never inhale anything if I can help it including nonsmokables such as perfume, essential oils, scented candles and frebreeze (which only adds an extra layer of odor on top of the odor that was already there). So if you put it in a pipe you’d have to rear naked choke me to get me to smoke it. On the other hand if you put it in a brownie I might eat it. I’ve heard from my friends that Togo has nice beaches. The trick to surviving when potable water is lacking is to drink alcohol instead. Humphrey Bogart apparently fared far better than teetotaling Katharine Hepburn when they were filming the African Queen in the Congo. I drank beer when I lived there and never ate a single green thing that was not fried thoroughly I’m palm oil, especially not spinach. Fortunately there was no KALE there, just manioc leaves which I actually love when cooked with peanuts.

Anonymous 5:55 PM  

anynymous @3:15, the comment made by anonymous at 11:31 was not referring to “not today’s” comments but rather to Yargh @10:13. Yargh’s gross generalization (ALL Republicans and conservatives are racist) personifies bigotry that goes beyond just simple close mindedness. It demonstrates hatred and ignorance towards the chosen beliefs of an entire group of people - approximately half the population of the USA. I can find statements made by certain individuals (politicians) as repugnant but still adhere to admirable conservative ideals such as personal responsibility, limited government, free markets, individual liberty and a strong national defense. Not all those that label themselves conservative or Republican necessarily are - it is an expediency towards an election goal. Like Bloomberg going Independent, Hillary becoming a New Yorker, or Trump switching parties from Democrat to Republican.

MidgeMidge 6:01 PM  

There are often interesting side discussions here. And on a Monday, why not? Especially when at least some of the contributions are thoughtful and represent different perspectives?

Please continue. As political as you wish. Thanks.

Anonymous 6:58 PM  


Uh, do you know that @rex calling you out as a racist is on the internet....and you haven't changed a bit.

semioticus (shelbyl) 7:06 PM  


I'm sorry but I will have to burst your bubble here. Your anti-politics comment is very much political in its own regard. (And I assure you, I'm not writing what I'm going to write to simply be contrarian. I think it's important to realize that politics is not a "side issue" that we can only remember when we want to. Imho, one way to avoid the ongoing polarization process is to realize that everything is political, and there are way more gray areas in life that certain politicians/media outlets would want us to think.)

You have claimed ownership of a semi-public space where everyone is welcome to write by suggesting that some should go away, when you clearly have the option to skip certain comments and just read the ones that you like. Such request can only come at the behest of the owner of this blog, or after a democratic process where the readers decide how to act. You want neither of those. You wish to have your comfort level at %100, and you do not care whether what you want from this blog is the same as what others want from this blog. And that behavior is so political I can't even. Some would argue it's borderline totalitarian.

Just saying.

GILL I. 7:11 PM  

@Buggy...It's not "explicitly" about a political topic. It's a very sorry tribute to MLK. I'd rather see something sing about his fight for civil rights than a fight here about the issues of the conservatives vs the liberals. We start throwing in the gays, BLM, Trump, Bloomberg, Hillary and a really bad QB. Inevitably we will get the "I'm right, you're wrong" group trying to outdo each other with political blather that belongs on another blog.
EVERY ONE of us here has political opinions - unless you only eat rutabaga every day. But this is NOT the forum.
@Aketi...You haven't lived until you've smoked hashish in a glass etched pipe in a back alley In Marakesh.

Buggy Bunny 7:28 PM  

"@Buggy...It's not "explicitly" about a political topic. "

last time I read the history, MLK and civil rights and voting rights and ... were played out in politics, not engineering or culinary arts.

Yargh 7:37 PM  


GILL I. 7:53 PM  

@Shelby...[sigh]. Yeah, you too...go away. I just exercised my rights and you don't have to read me.
We've lost some mighty fine folks on this blog because of the tedious uncalled for bickering that never should have escalated the way it did. @Rex never stopped it and I doubt he will now. None of us want it anyway. When he went into monitor mode, it was hell.
I have nothing - absolutely nothing - against discourse when something in a puzzle jogs a memory or thought. There are some rather interesting and intelligent posters that seem to ONLY pop up when politics becomes an issue. I wish they'd contribute their intelligence to the puzzle rather than fight about who's view is more important.
Please feel free to give me the finger. You can also skip my post. I promise you I don't care.

Buggy Bunny 8:35 PM  

for those that care about MLK, HBO is running "Hidden Figures" as I type this. you should watch, even if you've already seen it.

Aketi 8:59 PM  

@Gill I, I’m putting that on my bucket list, but only if you go with me.

CDilly52 9:00 PM  

Me too . . . I remember all the commercials “STP is the ra-cer’a
edge!” Age showing-again.

CDilly52 9:05 PM  

I agree that the puzzle was enjoyable, appropriate to the holiday and easy,
And also that EXEMPT is the weakest of the themers. Something EXEMPT is not necessarily “free” as one must meet the conditions to qualify for the exemption. And in the spirit of the enjoyable romp that this puzzle provides, I probably shouldn’t split hairs.

Anonymous 9:07 PM  

Sorry, but his attack on Yargh is still incorrect as an example of bigotry. Again, bigotry is prejudice against a group of people for what they were born as, not what they believe. Again, you can claim, if you wish, narrow-mindedness but not bigotry because that is not what bigotry is.

BratzBratz 9:16 PM  

You know how tennis ball coverings are abrasive and not really good for dogs’ teeth? That’s raw kale, for humans. Tastes good, though. If you cook it with some chewy grain like farro, in roasted-chicken bone-broth, either you don’t notice the slime or you think it’s the broth. It’s good.
Recipes, good. Nancy ‘s lyrics, best thing on this blog ever. Politics, fine. Loren’s Kickstarter, fantastic. Sharing opinion-space with others, whether newish or oldish, also good. SO much more interesting than the Wordplay blog comments.

Missy 9:22 PM  

Why do you think that is the only thing you heard and remember? What was operating?

Anonymous 9:28 PM  

You are simply wrong on the definition of bigotry. Unless you want to unilaterally redefine a word - look up OED, American Heritage or whatever. Bigotry is “intolerance towards those holding different opinions” (Oxford English Dictionary) . The American Heritage Dictionary defines a bigot as “One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.” Racism is just one form of bigotry. So if you say “All republicans and conservatives are racist” then you ARE a bigot. There is simply no arguing this fact, unless you wish to nullify every respectable publication that the English language relies on for word definitions. Now, you may try to argue that Yargh exhibits justifiable bigotry (as is your right) but that simply is pure hypocrisy.

Anonymous 10:28 PM  

@evil doug: if you have to ask...

Anonymous 10:38 PM  

@evil doug, your comments over the years have made it clear that you are a racist. But please, whitesplain us more about how MLK would have felt about current black protest movements.

Grammar Nazi (for LMS) 10:46 PM  

@ Andrew: "Attorneys general." Otherwise beautifully stated.

Anonymous 10:48 PM  

@evil doug: Yes, you're a racist.

Anonymous 10:50 PM  

@Gill: are you the moderator of this blog? If not, please kindly go fuck yourself.

Anonymous 10:54 PM  

@gill you are and arrogant, selfish piece of shit.

a.corn 11:33 PM  

Amen lady!

a.corn 11:48 PM  

LOL - thank you!

a.corn 11:49 PM  

LOL - thank you!

a.corn 11:51 PM  

Togo is a country in west Africa; little one sandwiched between Benin and Ghana.

Unknown 2:29 AM  

Is it normal that Rex hasn't posted the daily analysis at midnight?

Anonymous 2:57 AM  

Yup. Not all republicans are racist. But the president is. So if you voted for him, you voted for a racist. If you still support him, you are supporting a racist.

Anonymous 3:13 AM  

Good post. We are living in strange times. Times I thought were behind us but really they were just lying a little dormant. Awakened I can only presume by anger at having had a black president for 8 years, and a complete racist and moronic jackass who somehow re-legitimized their bigotry.

Anonymous 8:17 AM  

Both policies were ineplemented by Republicans with overwhelming opposition by Democrats.

James K. Lowden 10:56 AM  

@Evil Doug said, I believe some of the tactics employed by BLM and Kaepernick supporters are counterproductive and wouldn't be appreciated by MLK--and have led to doubt in many long-term white supporters of equal rights that we're still valid voices in this war.

I didn't have time Monday to answer this post, but it still rankles. Evil Doug exemplifies two popular ideas that hinder the progress of social justice in this country.

Many Americans, perhaps most, dislike conflict and are uncomfortable with protest. They are fine with protest as long as it's not inconvenient. We saw this at Trump rallies, when Trump promised to pay for any damages caused by injuring protestors. We saw it last year when state legislatures introduced bills (none passed that I know of) to prohibit protestors from blocking traffic. And we saw it during the Vietnam war, and during the Civil Rights movement: many milquetoast supporters of civil rights wanted MLK to give it time.

The truth of social justice is this country is simple and stark: no progress has been made without a fight. Not civil rights, not women's suffrage, not the right to strike, not the end of slavery. All required struggle. Power is never ceded unless blood is let.

The second misconception is the unfortunate whitewashing (pardon the phrase) of MLK in the popular mind. From Gandhi he learned that nonviolent resistance is active: it seeks out confrontation and welcomes conflict. No need to take my word for it, either. He famously made the point eloquently himself:

First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely
disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the
regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in the
stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Council-er or the Ku Klux
Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to "order" than to
justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a
positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says "I
agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can't agree with your methods
of direct action;" who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable
for another man's freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who
constantly advises the Negro to wait until a "more convenient season."

Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than
absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is
much more bewildering than outright rejection."

-- Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 1963

Syndiland Solver in Texas 10:59 AM  

About the PUZZLE - I've heard BEG PARDON a lot. Maybe a regional thing. Fun puzzle. I'll leave the politics out.

spacecraft 11:28 AM  

It seems a prerequisite for posting today to include a sentiment on racism. If you don't mind, I'd like to let Rodgers and Hammerstein do that for me (from "South Pacific"):

You've got to be taught to hate and fear;
You've got to be taught from year to year--
It's got to be drummed in your dear little ear:
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made
And people whose skin is a different shade:
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught before it's too late--
Before you are six, or seven or eight
To hate all the people your relatives hate.
You've got to be carefully taught!
You've got to be carefully, carefully, carefully taught.

Yes I know, I could have quit after line 1, but it's good to see the whole thing down in print, I think. Let it sink in. NOBODY is born with hate in his heart.

Now to the puzzle. Ms. Burnikel returns to form with a near-perfect offering. I do not recognize Ms. Davidson, but kudos must go to her as well. The theme is spot on for the day; a gimme, to be sure, but then this is Monday. No fewer than three X's enter seamlessly into the grid: that's what I'm talkin' about. Leave it to OFL to bring "cheater squares" to our attention; they escaped my notice and I don't care a whit about them anyway. So what? You have a black square instead of a letter. Big freaking deal. When the worst thing about a grid is SRAS, you're doing pretty terrific.

We even have a great DOD: Cristina RICCI. But here's the entry that ensured the score: EAGLES! Two under par, Glenn Fry rock band or 2018 SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS (!!!), EAGLES are all wonderful things--and two under par it is for today, ladies!

leftcoastTAM 1:18 PM  

A good MLK tribute, (even if the theme words EXEMPT, CLEAR, and PARDON don't really convey MLK's meaning of FREE as used by him in his famous speech; RELEASE may come closest).

COSPLAYS is new to me.

Burma Shave 1:26 PM  


IHOP on REALDEALS real fast,
and that GIRL'S ONE heckuva PRO,
you SEE now she's FREEATLAST,


rainforest 2:24 PM  

Someone up there, @jberg I think, said that Rex was pulling your/our leg, so I went and read his post. I think he was being sincere, at least that's what I hope.

Whoo, what a discussion about the elephant in the room/country! And now, following the Parkland shooting, another spectre arises. The source - the INEPT one. There, that was pretty bland, no?

As for the puzzle, the theme is air-tight, with a perfect and appropriate revealer.

I will look up COSPLAYS, a word I've never heard. Is it COS-PLAYS, CO-SPLAYS, or just a single word? Regardless, it seems a weird word. Other than that, I thought this was a clean and easy puzzle. Only the commentariat conversation grabbed me the wrong way. I think that the song from South Pacific (great musical, by the way), reprinted by @Spacey, is right on.

thefogman 3:07 PM  

Not much that IRKS and nothing to EXALT. Fine for a Monday.

Diana, LIW 4:26 PM  

As long as you're not a square cheater, I'm down with it.

Good Monday - all the right stuff.

ZZ/CC is tops.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rondo 4:27 PM  

Yes, a clean and easy puz by CC, as is her usual effort, even with help. A bunch of synonyms for FREE and each is the LAST word of the phrase.

@rainy - without looking it up, I'm pretty sure it's short for COStume PLAY. Some people never grow up.

@D,LIW has, or had, a TIARA. I saw it. It had to do with dental crowns as I recall. The GIRL'S got a sense of humor.

@spacey has already named yeah baby Christina RICCI.

BEGPARDON, but that's all @rondo has.

Diana, LIW 9:36 PM  

I doth, indeed, have a tiara or two. And 28 lovely crowns in my mouth - all in the matter of less than 6 months. I wore the tiara for the first time to the dentist's office. Laughter ensued.

Of course, I did wear it to the crossword Tourney where we found out that @Rondo is the 4th greatest CW solver this side of the Mississippi.

I'll be going to ACPT in March. We'll see who has the Eastern US title, but my crown shall go with me.

BTW - mehears Minnesota isn't going to have a tourney this year. Boo!

Lady Di

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