Ulysses star 1967 / MON 1-8-18 / Antlered Yellowstone denizens / Hypnotist's command / Michigan Ontario border river / Container for oolong chai

Monday, January 8, 2018

Constructor: Sam Ezersky

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (just a bit on the slow side, for a Monday, for me)

THEME: O, Hey! — themers all end in the with two-syllable "O [c] AY" sound, where [c] represents a consonant (or digraph, in the case of "sh")

Theme answers:
  • "IS THAT OKAY?" (17A: "Would you mind?")
  • GLASS OF OJ (22A: Informal breakfast beverage order) (we'll just ignore the fact that "orange" is in the grid (41D))
  • "YOU WILL OBEY..." (33A: Hypnotist's command)
  • MILO O'SHEA (51A: "Ulysses" star, 1967)
  • CAFÉ AU LAIT (57A: Cappuccino relative)
Word of the Day: KLATCH (11D: Coffee get-together) —
North American
noun: klatch; plural noun: klatches; noun: klatsch; plural noun: klatsches
  1. a social gathering, especially for coffee and conversation.
• • •
Hello, solvers. It's early January, which means it's time for my once-a-year, week-long pitch for financial contributions to the blog. The idea is very simple: if you read the blog regularly (or even semi-regularly), please consider what it's worth to you on an annual basis and give accordingly. To be clear—there are no major expenses involved in writing a blog. There's just my time. A lot of it. Every day (well, usually night), solving, writing, hunting down pictures and videos of various degrees of relevance and usefulness, chatting with folks and answering puzzle questions via email and social media, gathering and disseminating crossword-related information of various kinds, etc. It's a second job. My making this pitch means I'm all in for another calendar year of puzzle revelry with all y'all. I'm excited about the year. I've got my own crossword construction project I want to get off the ground, and I'm hoping to take a more active role (along with some crossword friends) in recruiting and mentoring new and aspiring constructors. But the bulk of my work will be the same as ever: I'll be here with a new post every single day. Solve, write, repeat. Despite my occasional (or, OK, maybe frequent) consternation with the State of The Puzzle, the crossword community continues to give me great joy, and I'm proud to run an independent, ad-free blog where people can find someone to commiserate with, someone to yell at, or, you know, someone who'll just give them the damn answers. Some people refuse to pay for what they can get for free. Others just don't have money to spare. All are welcome to read the blog—the site will always be open and free. But if you are able to express your appreciation monetarily, here are two options. First, a Paypal button (which you can also find in the blog sidebar):

Second, a mailing address:

Rex Parker c/o Michael Sharp
54 Matthews St
Binghamton, NY 13905

All Paypal contributions will be gratefully acknowledged by email. All snail mail contributions (I. Love. Snail mail!) will be gratefully acknowledged with hand-written postcards. This year's cards are "Women In Science"—Rachel Ignotofsky's beautiful cartoon portraits of women scientists from antiquity to the present. I've heard of a few of these women (mostly crossword names like ADA Lovelace, Marie CURIE, MAE Jemison) but most of these names are entirely new to me, so I'm excited to learn about them as I write my thank-you notes. Please note: I don't keep a "mailing list" and don't share my contributor info with anyone. And if you give by snail mail and (for some reason) don't want a thank-you card, just say NO CARD.  As ever, I'm so grateful for your readership and support.

Now on to the puzzle!

• • •
I like this theme a lot—I like Monday themes that are essentially loose, dopey, sound-driven things where the themers are bouncy and the rest of the grid is clean and interesting. But I really don't like crossword clues that can be many things, or several things, or two things and you have to wait for crosses ... and man did I trip over some of those today. Let's start with AHAS!, for which I entered OHOS! No, not OHOS! but yes, UHOH, and DODO, and (improbably) HIHOS! (plural??), to say nothing of ORTHO (which is a prefix or a mattress to me, not a branch of dentistry). So between AHAS and HIHOS I fell on my face like thrice, at least. But the real stumbling block was that central themer. Had the initial couple of letters, took one look at the clue—33A: Hypnotist's command—and immediately wrote in "YOU'RE SLEEPY..." Worse, even after I figured out that was wrong, and got the YOU WILL OBE- (!), I kept misreading it as "YOU WILL BE..." and I was like "you will be ... a single letter!? What will you be!?" Also, lastly, I would never have put "YOU WILL OBEY" with "hypnotist." Ever. What kind of creepy hypnotists are y'all going to. I just want to quit smoking.*

I find that the things I trip over most are colloquial equivalency clues; you know, the ones where the clue is a spoken phrase, in quotation marks, and the answer is another spoken phrase that's allegedly a match. So stuff like ["Would you mind?"] can drive me bonkers because lots of phrases present themselves, and sometimes little vagaries of phrasing—inclusion / exclusion of prepositions, contractions and what not—can send me sprawling. I don't dislike these clues; they can be fun. I just wipe out on them a lot. Also, I will never remember who MILO O'SHEA is. I remember his *name* fine, 'cause, you know, I've been doing crosswords for a million years. But I am a TCM addict—for real: over 200 movies watched in 2017 (yes, I keep track. What?)—and I could not tell you what he looks like. Also, "Ulysses"? That's a movie? Man, with some notable exceptions, that decade from like '57 to '67 is a trough, movie-wise. Flickchart gives you a bar graph of every movie you've watched by decade, and on mine there's this massive dip at the 1960s. 80% of what I watch is either '40s/'50s or '70s/'80s. Where was I? Oh yeah, Milo. Uh oh. Hiho. Goodbye.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

*jk I don't smoke please no letters

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Mark Tebeau 12:11 AM  

I believe "You will obey" was the creepy hypnotist line on Saturday morning cartoons of the 70s. Maybe Scooby-Doo?

Typical time. But zing for pizzazz? Not zest? That killed me.

mathgent 12:26 AM  

Pleasant solve. All the sparkle you can expect on a Monday.

We just saw the Golden Globes. I still can't believe that The Post got shut out. Spielberg, Streep, Hanks, woman publisher triumphing in a male-dominated profession, the press courageously defying the President: it pushes all the political buttons. But this is the foreign press. Maybe the Oscars will be different.

Harryp 12:29 AM  

Agree with @rex that it played slightly harder than usual. Didn't know zac, but inferred from crosses. good Monday puzzle.

Outside The Box 12:30 AM  

Wow. I have a totally different reaction than Rex. Thought the puzzle was easy and boring. Really boring. Terrible fill. I mean all those infantile answers with “ohs,” duo, dodo and Leto. Please.

Carola 12:57 AM  

Working down the left side, I wrote in GLASS OF OJ, YOU???, and CAFfe latte, obviously having no idea what was afoot. After OKAY, I caught on, and then the rest of the theme answers came quickly, as in: writing in MILO OSHEA with no crosses (like @Rex, I know him only as a grid denizen). I liked it that all of the theme answers have four syllables but wished they all had the accent on the final "A." That SLEIGH - bug or feature?

Larry Gilstrap 1:00 AM  

I find myself feeling happy in anticipation of a Monday puzzle. Sunday is, indeed, often that tedious.

I live mostly in the ARID desertlike climate of the SW, and it hasn't rained since Easter, if then. Not a good thing. Just another season of extreme weather, or lack of weather. Sure, many of you folks are freezing while we walk around in tee shirts, but things are haywire. Anthropogenic is still getting spell checked? Really?

Feel free to ignore this part, but folks voted for JILL Stein because she is Green, or she wasn't a tool of the Russians, or she was a woman candidate, or she was an alternative that didn't smoke pot? Don't bother to respond.

OTHELLO is one of Shakespeare's greatest plays and one with a unified plot, not necessarily the norm. It could have been subtitled A GLASS OF OJ, in the 90s to make it more relevant. My God!, that Iago is a lying bastard and racism fuels the jokers who believe his charade. Last night while on a dinner break from that Sunday puzzle,I met a young couple, friends of friends, Stephanie and Rodrigo. I asked him if he might be Roderigo from OTHELLO. but alas!, a vowel had moved out of his name. Great mnemonic connection for him, but Stephanie? Desdemona is much better.

Larry Gilstrap 1:06 AM  

Hey, @Loren. I prefer a snobby little clique. Could you make that happen? Perhaps, Thursday night?

Robin 1:06 AM  

Wait, what? There was a theme?

JOHN X 1:32 AM  

Speaking of answers that can be two things, I was going to confidently enter NYJETS for 21A but then I realized that LARAMS fit there as well. But that's not a Monday answer and I looked at the first cross and knew it was the Super Bowl Champion New York Jets, which is not a sentence you hear anymore ever. Also, remember when Johnny Unitas was a San Diego Charger and Joe Montana was a Kansas City Chief? That's just wrong. Or Brett Favre as a Viking and then a Jet; that was when I realized that Favre really had no idea how to do anything else except be a football quarterback, just like Louis Nye was on the Steve Allen show and would come out and say "HIHO Steverino!" which happened before I was born but I know all about it, and I once got drunk with Louis Nye and Buddy Hackett in a Chinese restaurant in Santa Monica which is a fact I will repeat each time Louis Nye's name comes up, like MILOSHEA. Now that dude was the judge in "The Verdict" which is the ONLY thing I've ever seen him in but I've seen it a bunch. Watch for the can of Coca-Cola placed ever so prominently on his desk you can't take your eyes off of it even though Paul Newman is standing next to the can. That can could have won the Golden Globe for Best Product Placement in a Court Procedural Dramatic Feature Film and it would have deserved that award if only it had ever existed.

chefwen 1:34 AM  

Was so busy getting ready for dinner guests I never looked for a theme, now that I know what it is I think it’s kinda cute, pretty much fun to say too.

Every time someone says WHATEVER to me, I want smack them.

Not TOO easy for a Monday, just right.

John Hoffman 1:51 AM  

I thought the puzzle was easy until I got to the Southwest. LETO, STCLAIR, MILOOSHEA? Not good construction that these three proper names were all next to each other.

evil doug 2:28 AM  
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evil doug 2:30 AM  

Mathgent: Too much fiction woven into the story. Also, how can you improve on "All The President's Men"?

Thomaso808 2:40 AM  

Average Monday for me, but the clunky grid made it interesting with those ginormous blobs of blocks across the middle.

It seems to me that constructing an “easy” puzzle is probably actually hard.

I never saw The Verdict. I only know Milo O’Shea as the character Durand Durand in Barbarella. Let’s just say he didn’t get a Golden Globe!

Anonymous 3:48 AM  

Personally I had a gripe with 35D here ("Nintendo Switch predecessor"), which should technically be the WII U (a separate console from the WII).

Lewis 5:40 AM  

This was more than okay; it was just ripping with fun. SILENT and SHH in the same grid, AVEDA/MALA/URBANA, lively answers like KLATCH and DEARGOD, plus IDO crossing DUO. But the most fun were the sing-song theme answers, which I started belting out to myself, using the opening of Beethoven's Fifth.

What can I say?
Hip hip hooray!

Have a nice day.

Anonymous 6:16 AM  


Paperandink 6:18 AM  


Paperandink 6:25 AM  

Yeah...it works! Am commencing my 55th year of nyt puzzle fun,frustration,fruitful brain strain, and just plain entertainment... so glad to have found this blog..cheers ..

Marcie 6:30 AM  

Elks makes me cringe.

Hungry Mother 6:36 AM  

Just a shade under average as I did more downs than acrosses.

Loren Muse Smith 6:48 AM  

Well. As @Carola points out, all the theme ends are IAMBs except OJ, so that ruined the whole experience for me. What a load of garbage.

Hah! I agree with Rex – fun theme with entries that are sound driven except, ahem, well – I liked it anyway. Rex – you said, So between AHAS and HIHOS I fell on my face like thrice, at least. But you’re, like, really smart, right?

@Mark Tebeau - me, too, for “zest” before ZING.

@Paperandink – welcome.

@Larry – we can do snobby. Will you be there Thursday night? I’m leaving WV Thursday, but my budget won’t allow three nights at the Marriott, so I’m staying in some nasty motel en route and arriving Friday around noon.

Last night, my husband was talking about some football player whose name is Tyrod. He said, who’d name their kid after a car part? I said every time I hear Trump’s lawyer’s name Ty Cobb, I wonder if his parents were baseball fans. Anyway - who knows – maybe the player’s name is actually Tyrone Rodriguez. I haven’t investigated.

So, with TY COBB in the grid, FLUBS, RASCAL, UH OH, DODO, LYES, HORSE’s/ASH, I noticed the symmetry between DEAR GOD and ORANGES.

THE CLUE FOR 56A got me for a minute. Three letter word that you don’t wanna see when you’re at/in the ocean. (*’mericans – slash mine – work with me here). Back in the ‘50s, Dad and his four other siblings were at Myrtle Beach sitting on the fence separating some kind of boardwalk from the sand below. There were all drinking beer, a big no-no in his family. Someone warned them that their mom was walking over. Dad said they all tipped backwards and fell off the fence down into the sand just in time. I always picture the maneuver as choreographed and graceful as synchronized swimmers rolling backwards and disappearing underwater. So my first though was MOM.

PERM – another story I’ve told before, but, well… When I was at Carolina, there was this grad student from Japan, Tomo M, who really, really wanted to land an American girlfriend. Short, stocky, friendly guy. He decided that the problem was his hair – this ends badly – so he went and got a perm. Even as I type, I’m laughing at how ridiculous he looked with this black Brillo pad abomination where his pretty, shiny, straight black hair used to be.

Perfect Monday fare, Sam. I’m wondering if your mom uses Oil of Olay? But that’s just an 8.

clk 7:14 AM  

@Robin. Exactly my reaction. I think I like it less now that I get the theme.

LMDS 7:24 AM  

The plural of Elk is Elk not Elks. Geez...

kitshef 7:33 AM  

Did Rex miss that the ‘ay’ sound has five different spellings, or just not consider it worth mentioning?

There is something that I can’t stand in crosswords that I have never had a name for – now I know, it’s colloquial equivalency clues. I think I’ll abbreviate that as CEC, if that’s OK.

Charles Flaster 7:37 AM  

Very easy and RASCAL was my favorite answer.
MILO OSHEA= accomplished actor with a beautiful pattern of speech.
Thanks SE

Anonymous 7:52 AM  

Yes! Surprising error on Mr. Shortz’s part

QuasiMojo 7:56 AM  

Ulysses was one of those movies, I think, that few went to see. So don't feel bad, Rex. Milo O'SHEA is much better known for being in The Verdict with Paul Newman and for starring on Broadway in Mass Appeal. He was an actor's actor.

TEA CADDY threw me because I was thinking of hot tea, not the leaves. That slowed me down. I agree with Rex. Good MonDAY.

Passing Shot 7:58 AM  

@Paperandink — wow! Congratulations. Agree with those scracthing their heads over ELKS; and had no idea there was a theme until I read the write-up.

Ipad solvers — anyone else still waiting for the Times to award them their gold star for yesterday’s technological cock-ups?

chefbea 8:00 AM  

Fun puzzle. My mom had a tea caddy...back in the day!!!

TomAz 8:05 AM  

The puzzle was fine. Average Monday.

ELKS is not fine. I mean yes dictionary.com says it's ok but god knows why. It makes me grind my teeth it sounds so wrong.

Rhino 8:10 AM  

That's no 'ESS'! It's the Kryptonian symbol for hope - and the family insignia for the house of El.

ArtO 8:14 AM  

I'm with ELK as plural of elk. Tougher than usual for Monday.

Unknown 8:22 AM  

My favorite Milo O Shea role is as the judge in The Verdict. Directed by Sidney Lumet with a script by David Mamet and starring Paul Newman in arguably his best performance. It co starred Charlotte Rampling, James Mason, Jack Warden and O Shea.

Bagelboy 8:23 AM  

My time was better than an average Monday, but looking back on it, it seems it should have been more challenging than normal. Agree on ELK- ELKS.

Two Ponies 8:38 AM  

Nicely done. Ole!

@ chefwen, Completely agree with slapping Whatever. I sometimes feign ignorance and try to get the offender to elaborate.

@ kitshef, I don't know if CEC will stick. I think of this type of clue/answer as conversational. There are times when I like a puzzle that speaks to me but other times it is too vague to be amusing.

Golden Globes are all about TV, right? What a circle jerk that show must be.

Anonymous 8:44 AM  

What @Rex wrote, "Man, with some notable exceptions, that decade from like '57 to '67 is a trough, movie-wise."

What he meant, "Ulysses? That was a movie from what? Like 50 years ago! No just no! Enough with the obscure movies from five decades ago. Milo O'Shea? Who???

Wrote, "I find that the things I trip over most are colloquial equivalency clues; you know, the ones where the clue is a spoken phrase, in quotation marks, and the answer is another spoken phrase that's allegedly a match."

Meant, "Would you mind?" Yes, yes I mind very much! I especially mind that the NYT keeps turning out crap!

kitshef 8:45 AM  

The real problem with ELKS is that there is a much better way to clue it - Benevolent and Protective Order members, or community lodge members, or similar.

Mohair Sam 8:55 AM  
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Rabbi Sharon Ballan 8:55 AM  

Earlier than scooby doo. Bugs bunny and Looney Tunes. But zing got me, too.

Anonymous 9:08 AM  

Had "skip to my LOO" at 58D. Didn't bother with crosses because, well, the downs were all gimmes. Never, once ever knew that LOO was LOU; figured it was gibberish. If anything, maybe the songwriter was English and had to use the bathroom. Now I have to look at the damn lyrics to that song to see if Lou is a person.

Stupid error took me over my average time.

jackj 9:18 AM  

Free Dictionary states:

"elk (ĕlk)
n. pl. elk or elks
1. A large reddish-brown or grayish deer (Cervus canadensis) of western North America, having long, branching antlers in the male. The elk is sometimes considered a subspecies of the closely related red deer. Also called wapiti.
2. Chiefly British The moose.
3. A light, pliant leather of horsehide or calfskin, tanned and finished to resemble elk hide

(and M-W, Online, et al agree)

Nancy 9:35 AM  

Missed the theme entirely. Don't think it was much of a theme.

I hate ELKS, too. And while my Webster's does accept PRICY, it prefers PRICEY. So do I. PRICY just looks wrong.

To the hypnotist: I was expecting: YOU ARE GETTING SLEEPY. And I have some bad news for you: If you don't put me to sleep first, I WON'T OBEY!

I Naticked at the 50 square, knowing neither the skin care brand nor the Monopoly cards. Do I feel embarrassed by a Monday DNF? Not really.

My favorite clue/answer in what I regard as a pretty tepid puzzle is FIN (56A).

@Larry Gilstrap (1:32) -- "You can't take your eyes off of it [the Coca-Cola can in "The Verdict"] even though Paul Newman is standing right next to it." ??? I doubt I even saw the can, Larry. I don't know how to break this to you, but it was Paul Newman I couldn't take my eyes off of!

Z 9:45 AM  

Why Oh Why are there two acceptable plurals for a deer species. Why does the singular “species” end in ESS? Screw it. ELKOPODES is going to be my preferred plural henceforth.

Sir Hillary 9:59 AM  


Good, solid Monday.

"The Verdict" is awesome. See it for Paul Newman's brilliant performance, a fine supporting turn by a very young Lindsay Crouse, and MILOOSHEA's hilarious haircut.

GHarris 10:12 AM  

Fun Monday with just enough erasures to make it slightly crunchy. Never saw the theme.Nancy, I think pricy is the cheaper version.

GILL I. 10:26 AM  

If you're into really big eyebrows, you'd never forget what Irishman MILO OSHEA looks like. He was a fine actor.
YOU WILL OBEY made me laugh. NO hypnotist worth his/her salt would say that. They want you in a relaxed state so that all your fears and phobias disappear. Hah! My sister went to one so that she could stop smoking. She tried pretending to be sleepy but she didn't OBEY. First thing she did when se got into the car was light up.
@mathgent...On the bright side, our crossword friend SAOIRSE Ronan won for my favorite "Lady Bird."
I like meat in my puzzles and this was Monday meaty. Lots of H's and tons of O's. HI HO, HI HO, it's off to work we go. I once took a SELFIE and the results scared me to death. Now everyone has one of those long sticks that hold your phone so that you look better.
@Loren...your PERM story made me laugh. I remember my first one. I had very long and very straight hair once upon a time and decided I wanted something "Elainish" from "Seinfeld." I ended up looking like a poodle. A pony tail it was for at least a year.
64A Should read Like the Amazon rain forest USED to be.

semioticus (shelbyl) 10:29 AM  

Huh, a Monday that felt like a Monday but retrospectively didn't but actually did maybe I don't know.

I didn't get the theme while solving. I figured it after reading the blog and I appreciated the thought behind it. I wish it were easier to figure out, but that isn't a legitimate complaint. The fill felt really fresh for a Monday. There were a couple rough spots; UHOH/HIHOS is a weird crossing, AVEDA/DEEDS and ELKS/KLATCH made me think for a few seconds and go through the alphabet, but yeah, except for a few glue words here and there a very solid grid.

Yeah I think this was a very good puzzle. I don't know why I'm still confused about it.

GRADE: A-, 4 stars.

JC66 10:38 AM  
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JC66 10:44 AM  


Just watched The Verdict last month for the umpteenth time and have to admit I'm embarrassed; that's how I know MILO OSHEA too, but I never ever noticed the soda can. I'll make sure to be on the lookout the next time I watch it.

Malsdemare 10:48 AM  

Hand up here for a groan at ELKS and PRICY. The whole "whatever" thing has gotten worse; it’s now "whatevs." Really. I loved "The Verdict," and yes, Nancy, never noticd the coke can. So let me channel Loren for a moment and tell a silly coke story. My mother's mother's family made a boatload of money owning a coca cola plant (and land where they found oil). But they were not, shall we say, the best relatives to have? Mom's uncle fleeced her of her inheritance and blamed his father (her grandfather), a true bootstraps sort of man who didn't deserve the maligning. But mom was a kind, gracious woman, and she didn't sue. Her method of getting even was to buy Pepsi, both the product and the stock. Coke really does taste better than Pepsi, but the story and the grudge were passed to me, so even though we have coke in the fridge, the coke memorabilia that my cousin gave to me has gone to a friend who loves everything Coca Cola. Mind you; the inheritance thingee happened 90 YEARS AGO, and I'm still carrying on the tradition. There's a grudge for you.

Hey, once again we're in the xword with URBANA. Our horrible subzero temps are gone and we're supposed to hit 50 on Wednesday. I don't want to think about what our gravel road will be like once the snow and frozen ground thaw. I always like a puzzle that acknowledges the existance of the flyover states.

Welcome @penandink.

chasklu 11:03 AM  

left LELO instead of LETO with L left over from LOGINTO even after fixing STCLAIR and MILOOSHEA.

Masked and Anonymous 11:15 AM  

AlwAYs a tricky kinda theme … U have to be extra careful not to let any extra "AY" sounds sneak in, within them other fillins. (yo, @SLEIGH.) Bidet, hAY … it's MondAY. Sooo … Let the chAYps fall where thAY meigh. [Aside: Otto-Correct just overheated to the point where M&A could warm up his hands on it. Niice.]

Also niice: weejects ESS, SHH, and WII. Triplet staff weeject picks, once again.

This MonPuz snagged old M&A's heart, at FLUBS. Also partial to: YEAHFINE. GOSOFT. DEARGOD. KLATCH. SELFIE. RASCAL. URBANA [where M&A once taught an advanced calculus class, way back when he was still real sure how to spell "calculus"]. Cool fun havin a MonPuz with wide-open FriPuz-esque corners.
Also, Scrabblier-than-snot lil monster. Like.

Obligatory moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz award-winnin clue: {Fireplace residue} = ASH. I mean, what's yer 3-letter alternative answer, here? WOO? [WOOD without the D] This wood of course require a double-?? clue, which the Shortzmeister just don't seem ready to saddle up onto, quite yet. mAYbe 2018 will be the year, tho… M&A feels it in his bones …

Thanx, Mr. Sam EZ. A MonPuz, huh? Goin for the cycle, and now just lackin the SunPuz, I see. hAY … Go for it, son.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


Masked and Anonymous 11:20 AM  

day-um. Shoulda went with "M&AY", in that first msg. Missed opportunity to be a contender.
M&AY is getting too slow, for this.


Anonymous 11:20 AM  

@Two Ponies: Yeah, it's sort of like this blog that way. Circle Jerk, indeed, with Loren pleading the role of the cookie.

Francis Scott Key 11:24 AM  

Oh say, this was a fun Monday!

jb129 11:41 AM  

Worst Monday puzzle (or ANY DAY for that matter!) ever.

Mr. Benson 11:48 AM  

"What kind of creepy hypnotists are y'all going to. I just want to quit smoking."

Funny you should ask, as I just watched a movie over the weekend where that's a major plot point. No spoilers, except to say that it was up for a couple of awards at last night's Golden Globes. And it should have won, but didn't.

Anonymous 11:50 AM  

That Coke can on the Judge’s desk was pre-Anita Hill too. :)

Lewis 11:51 AM  

My five favorite clues of last week:

1. Yelp alternative (3)
2. Something only I can go on (7)
3. Sticking point? (10)
4. Terminals at London Heathrow? (4)
5. Plane calculation (4)


QuasiMojo 11:54 AM  

@Two Ponies, I tried to watch the Golden Globes for like a minute and got so turned off by the self-congratulating braggadocio and phony bonhomie that I had to turn it off. These stars seem to forget it’s the audience that got them up there not the agents and moguls.

relicofthe60s 11:56 AM  

Not Monday level because of the clueing. Should have been a Tuesday. And I finished the whole thing without having a clue what the theme was. Even after reading Rex’s explanation it seems kinda thin.

Aketi 12:02 PM  

Well that was a fast solve. Didn’t even make it through my first coffee. I now have a bad combination of ear worms crashing together in my head as “HI HO, HI HO, itsoff to BJJ I go where I LOU, LOU Skip to my LOU”.

My FIN episode entailed diving off the Osa Penisula in Acosta Rica in an area so isolated that iIt would take at least a day if not more to get to a decompression chamber. Until that episode I trusted dive masters to know what they were doing. Little did I know that our dive master had no clue and my husband had forgotten all the emergency hand signals. First hand signal FLUB was when the dive master started go up and down too quickly which can cause an air embolism. My dive computer agreed with me so I desperately signaled to my husband to level out instead of following her. He was completely oblivious. Thankfully she settled down and started to maintain a level that didn’t cause my dive computer to beep it’s battery out trying to tell me the dive master is a dangerous DODO. Just when I got my breathing back under control so I wouldn’t suck down my air tank in minutes, a giant shark sidled by me so this time I signaled my husband with the shark signal and again total oblivion. Fortunately, the shark wasn’t hungry and left. Once safely on board the boat my husband confirmed he had no clue whatsoever that I was signaling him about the dangers. He never saw the shark even though it was only five feet away in crystal clear water.

@M&AY, I too, DO like the word FLUBS. I guess you showed the Borg like spell checker U WILL not OBEY. I blame my Dad for always hearing the words OBEY and COMPLY as a double dog dare to do they opposite.

As for the use of “whatwver”, I say “whatevs”. hAHA, couldn’t resist,

'mericans in Paris 12:04 PM  

Liked it. Zoomed through it on our IPAD but got bogged down a bit in the SE. Had "elan" and then "Zest" before "ZING".

Agree with the others that ELKS should have been clued as "Benevolent and Protective Order of __ " instead.

Aketi 12:12 PM  

@Gill I, I had the same thought about 64A. My son buys me LUSH bath bombs for Christmas.

As for PERMS, the best thing about becoming an adult was that my mother could never apply one to my hair again. My childhood was marked by repetitive PERM FLUBS interspersed with pathetically thin pig tails.

Hartley70 12:12 PM  

My rating today isn't easy, medium or challenging. It's a Monday colloquial. Do you speak English in the United States? You've got this. ISTHATOKAY? UHUH. This made for a better than average Monday, but a steady diet would dumb down the solving experience for me.

Hartley70 12:21 PM  

@Aketi 12:02. You never cease to amaze me in a good way when I learn of your escapades, and you just sent a shiver down my spine when you mentioned the Borg.

Nancy 12:21 PM  

@GILL (10:26) -- My nomination for quote of the day: "I once took a SELFIE and the results scared me to death." LOL. They do distort terribly, don't they?

Re your sister's unsuccessful use of hypnosis to give up smoking. I had a friend who had the exact opposite experience. She went to a hypnotist, was sure it wasn't working, that she was wide awake and in full control, but raised her hand anyway when he said she should do so. "Why should I fight him when I've spent $200 on this one session?" she asked herself. She went home, remembered that he had said she would throw out her carton of cigarettes, and she did so. "Why should I fight him when I've spent #200 on this one session?" she asked herself. She never smoked another cigarette. About a year later she said to me: "Maybe I was hypnotized after all."

I, who was sure then and remain sure now that I'm one of those people who can't be hypnotized (a pop quiz I took back then in some magazine had put me in the category of 95% un-hypnotizable) felt I didn't have that option and didn't want to squander $200. I successfully gave up smoking, though, in 1992 (albeit on my 3rd try) with my own method: the patented *@Nancy/Duggan's Dew Method*. (Duggan's Dew is/was an inexpensive Scotch that tastes somewhat like Dewar's, only not as smooth.) Every time you're sure that you absolutely cannot survive another minute without at least one tiny little puff on a cigarette, take a sip of Scotch instead. Straight. Breathe in deeply as you swallow. Feel the warmth right in the vicinity of your lungs -- right where you most need that "hit". Forget the nicotine patch on your arm -- your arm is not where you need that hit. You'll need a mantra. My mantra was: "Tomorrow I'll worry about being an alcoholic. Today I'm not smoking."

It worked. After three months, all my cigarette cravings had vanished. I sort of think my body simply got bored and frustrated. "Why should I bother to send her cravings if she's just going to bloody ignore them?" I have not had a single puff of a single cigarette since October 18, 1992. (And I somehow managed not to become an alcoholic either.)

Bax'N'Nex 12:24 PM  

Living in L.A., I did both the NYT and L.A. Times puzzles. (Guess living here is irrelevant what with this interweb thingy...)

Both puzzles had the answer "Mrs. C". Thought that was interesting, for what it's worth.

I realize that I have now left myself open to the rapier wit of Candy (my) Darling and other witty "anonymous" posters, so bring it on!

P.S. There is water falling from the sky here...is this the apocalypse??

Anonymous 12:31 PM  

Anonymous said...
Personally I had a gripe with 35D here ("Nintendo Switch predecessor"), which should technically be the WII U (a separate console from the WII).

it didn't specify "immediate" predecessor, so it's ok

Aketi 12:32 PM  

DEAR GOD, the autocorrect must have read my comments today as a double dog dare and made sure it would not OBEY my commands. Not that it ever OBEYS me anyway. Whatevs. I’m letting it’s insistent insertions stand today without attempting to battle it out.

Ben 12:37 PM  

It's actually comical how little correlation there is between the two. Last time I checked, I think there's maybe two individuals who get to vote for both. SAG and DGA Awards are a much better indicator of Oscar viability.

Ralph 12:57 PM  

Loved Colbert's joke that Trump has an additional button on his desk. When you press that one you get Fake Moos.

JC66 12:59 PM  

@ Aketi

Isn't diving with a spouse a lot like teaching her/him how to drive?

Teedmn 1:02 PM  

I thought I was going to have to confess to being a DODO today - after solving, I went looking for the theme. I circled the SS of GLASS, the LL of WILL, the OO of MILOOSHEA and the EAU in 57A and tried to make a case for 17A not being a theme answer because it wasn't giving me anything. A bit closer look at 17A and re-reading the rest of the theme answers let me see the O[X]A endings.

I agree with @Rex that YOU WILL OBEY was not the first thing that came to mind with the clue of "Hypnotist's command" but it does give me an image of some nameless black and white movie (maybe a SILENT) where the villain hypnotizes the heroine for nefarious purposes.

This did have a bit more ZING than the average Monday, which took me an extra minute over my average. Thanks, Sam Ezersky.

RooMonster 1:06 PM  

Hey All !
OLE! Rhyming enders. Cool.

I'm glad I don't frequent frou-frou coffee shops, because until this puz, always pronounced AU LAIT as LOT (as in parking lot).☺️ Har. Not up enough on my French to know it's AH LAY. Hurray!

Never heard of AVEDA, wanted AVEno there, even though I think it's spelled AVEeno. The Downs helped me out there. Hands up for Zeal, making that SE corner somewhat crispy. With that odd ORANGES clue, too. Um, YEAH FINE, whatevs. Liked FLUBS, RASCAL, KLATCH. Cool words you don't often see.

Agree with the DEAR GOD, ELKS? complainers. Are FISHES far behind? (Or FISHIES, as I like to call them.)

HIHOs, HIHOs, it's off to CES in Vegas I go. (Read: long hours this whole week)(But great for the paycheck!)


pabloinnh 1:34 PM  


Oh no. Not "shoulda went". This is what I hear athletes saying in the post game interviews, and I always think "He shoulda went to a better school".

a jazz listener's thoughts 1:42 PM  

Ulysses was a controversial movie. I was working theater in New Haven and when we opened it the police confiscated the print and we had to go to court to get an injunction to show it. Those were amazing times.

The Verdict was a great film with a great job by O’Shea and Paul Newman. Can’t recommend it more highly.

This was a very easy Monday puzzle and enjoyable.

Loren Muse Smith 1:48 PM  

@pabloinnh. Wow. Thanks for clearing up his mystifying statement. I had no idea what @M&A meant there. While you're at it, there are a couple of "it's" errors today, too, that I'm sure are rendering the sentences incomprehensible. Maybe you can correct those writers for us next?

RooMonster 1:51 PM  

Ouch! @Loren feeling a little spicy today? :-) 😋


Loren Muse Smith 1:56 PM  

I know, right? These people who come here and call people out on grammar make me so mad. And now they're picking on my beloved @M&A. Who I'll probably talk to at the ACPT and not even realize it.

Dick Swart 1:58 PM  

A footnote to "Ulysses" with the wonderful Irish actor, Milo O'Shea ...

The film was the first based on the Joyce seminal novel and has had a boisterous history:


O'Shea was bilingual, English and Gaelic. When my twin U,S. grandsons were at grade school in Cork, they were excused from the required Irish lessons.

JC66 2:35 PM  


I almost didn't recognize you. Way to go!

Unknown 2:41 PM  

Milo O'Shea? Friar Laurence in Zefferelli's Romeo and Juliet? Am I the only one who knows this?

GILL I. 2:44 PM  

@Nancy...Well Hah! Your cigs and whiskey story tops them all....
EVERY single person in my family smoked - both sides. My sister and I were the last hold-outs to quit. She and I both quit so many times I forget the date of my last sworn puff. She tried the hypnosis route - didn't work. I think, like you, she was one of the 95% who just refused to be swayed. I just sweated the cold turkey route and drank like you....!
I have a dear friend and neighbor with whom I share an evening cocktail with most nights. We've been doing this for over 8 years and still manage to talk about something new. One night we were trying a sip of some Talisker that my nephew had brought us. It was smooth as a babies bottom. She then pulled out a very old pack of Marlboro's and lit one up. My jaw dropped and I'm pretty sure so did some of my Talisker. She told me that no sane person on this earth would sip some fine whiskey without having a puff of a Marlboro. Well....she quit through HYPNOSIS years ago. She says the pack was as old as her quitting age. Being the good friend that I am, I shared a puff or two, almost gagged to death, coughed up a storm and loved every minute of it. I'll never start again, but damn, that old cig tasted delicious.
@Aketi: I've never been deep sea diving but I've snorkeled in Baja. Scared me silly. I had trouble breathing and kept seeing sharks every where with FINS - big FINS. I'd rather die sky jumping...;-)
If I've forgotten any apostrophes, please forgive my ignorance.

pabloinnh 2:45 PM  

@LMS-Yeah, I know. I taught school for a long time too, and I know this is an informal forum. I'm not sure why this particular one bothers me so much, but it does. Not really trying to be "that guy". No offense meant, as M&A's posts are always interesting, usually entertaining, and often funny. Mea culpa.

pabloinnh 3:32 PM  

Having said that, you're a real bitch, @Loren

mathgent 3:36 PM  

My post was the second one today so you may not have read it. It was about my surprise that The Post didn't get a single award at Golden Globes despite several nominations. The reason for my surprise wasn't that I believe it to be a great movie. It just opened in San Francisco Friday and I haven't seen it. I was talking about the powerful political pull it has.

I'm guessing that it isn't that good. Manohla Dargis gave it a rave review when it opened in New York and yet she didn't name it as one of the five movies she thought should be nominated. She gave those choices in Sunday's Arts section. A.O. Scott didn't pick it either.

Dargis and Scott both picked The Florida Project and Get Out. I've seen Get Out and will try to see Florida Project. We're going to see Molly's Game today. Phantom Thread hasn't opened here yet. Of the 2017 movies I've seen, Maudie may be the best. Sally Hawkins is the star. Netflix has the DVD.

Loren Muse Smith 3:36 PM  

@pabloinnh – you're right. As you posted that, I had just finished composing an apology to you:

@pabloinnh – no, man. My bad. It seems recently there’ve been a ton of people coming on here and calling out “mistakes.” (like/as, principle/principal, blah blah…) I’m just in a pissy mood, and I shouldn’t have been such a bitch to you. Sorry.

But, yeah. I deserved that.

Aketi 3:37 PM  

@Gill I, Im terrified of heights so you’ll never ever get me to jump out of a plane. In fact, the worst thing about skiing which I do like is being trapped up there in the air dangling from the chair lift. If it stops I always look down and think about whether there is enough snow to pad my fall so I could survive. The answer to that in the East is almost always no. The last time I skiied in Tahoe they had a bad year and the answer was still no. Even the rinky dink Sky Tram at the Bronx zoo terrified me. Of course I had that child that HAD to ride the sky tram every time he went. As we went over the baboons I’d wonder if they’d eat my face off if we fell. As we went over the lions’ hill I’d wonder which would be the faster death, ending up in their jaws or having all my limbs shattered and organs splattered when I SMACKED DOWN onto the concrete moat around their hill. Finally the Sky train was shut down for good when some poor pregnant woman was stuck up there for hours when it malfunctioned. I was so relieved that I never have to ride it again in my life.

JC66 3:38 PM  


Not nice. Did the wind/chill get to you?

Pdxrains 3:45 PM  

My mom’s side of the family is British and somehow that resulted in my pronouncing a soft D on Wednesday (“wedinzday”) like people in northern Britain due. The D is most definitely not silent and that through me!!

Unknown 3:51 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 1/2/2018 post for an explanation of my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio & percentage, the higher my solve time was relative to my norm for that day of the week.

(Day, Solve time, 26-wk Median, Ratio, %, Rating)

Mon 4:48 4:08 1.16 83.3% Challenging

Girish 4:03 PM  

@David Schinnerer 12:24 PM Hi, David. �� Sounds like both crossword editors had familiarity with The Fonz. (Fifties nostalgia in the Seventies.) DNF Sunday’s puzzle because of tedium but did get that far (in the innocuous fill.) Welcome back. I was worried. Invest in an ark? You can pair up the Anonymi. ����

tea73 4:19 PM  

I can't remember the last time I was done in by a Monday. I had elan, then Zest, before I finally got ZING. But still didn't know the river - I spelled it STCLAre sign. Never heard of this MILO fellow, though apparently I've seen him in at least two movies. Never saw the theme, not sure if it would have helped if I had.

TCProf 4:51 PM  

Strangely enough, there is a film version of Ulysses, and it’s surprisingly good. Stranger yet, there is a film adaptation of ”Finnegans Wake,” which is quite good. Certainly more comprehensible than the book (what isn’t?).

Joe Dipinto 5:11 PM  

There was a theme?

Bill Jones IRS 7:06 PM  

Ra's are dorm hall overseers. RD's are dorm overseers

nick strauss 8:41 PM  

zing zest. o'shea saved me.

pabloinnh 9:09 PM  

FWIW. the second "pablo in nh" was not written by me. Some stupid troll has it in for LMS, I guess. I don't, and always enjoy reading her posts.

My grammar nazi story happened when I was teaching in a local "academy" (bad idea, I've always been a public school guy). I was collecting papers and said that everyone could give me "their" homework. A parent who happened to be in the classroom informed me that in that particular institution the proper expression was "his or her" homework, and added that "their" was fine for some schools, but not this esteemed academy.

I was gone at the end of the year and finished my teaching career in an excellent, and public, high school.

GILL I. 9:51 PM  

@pabloinnh. Get yourself a nice little avatar. It's really easy. Go to Google, open up a free account and follow the bouncing ball. We will then know who you are.
You sound nice and this blog needs nice.

pabloinnh 9:57 PM  


Thanks for the good advice and kind words. I'll see what I can do.

Adam 10:38 PM  

I thought it was much harder than usual - on Mondays I can usually solve using just Across clues, but I didn't even get a toehold on the first few, so started with the Downs, then solved it using all the clues - and like @Rex, I needed some of them to get the others. I did enjoy the theme, but the fill felt like it skewed a little harder than the typical Monday.

Andrew Heinegg 11:28 PM  

Just so you know, the lawyer for the very stable genius, Ty Cobb, is reputedly a distant relative of the baseball Hall Of Fame player. Both Ty Cobbs are/were very unusual personalities, to say the least.

thefogman 10:14 AM  

I could not figure out the theme until I read Rex's review. Not much ZING to it if you ask me. DEARGOD, how can it be that OFL would GOSOFT on such a TULL puzzle? I think he FLUBS it - or else he LYES when says "I like this theme a lot."

thefogman 10:15 AM  

This new mod feature is delaying the posting of our messages I presume...

Comment moderation has been enabled. All comments must be approved by the blog author.

Burma Shave 10:16 AM  


SHH, you RASCAL, WII will do DEEDS in the loft, so ISTHATOKAY?


rondo 11:27 AM  

@foggy – UHOH. It appears we are again under the condition known as “moderation”. It may be because of spellcasters, but just as likely to rid the joint of personal attacks by the trolls who sometimes come to inhabit the blog. This happened a couple of years ago and YOUWILLOBEY. Hopefully it won’t last too long.

EZ puz at any time o’day. Not too bad even with DUO IDO DODO DOTE.

I’ll go with yeah baby JILL ST. John. ISTHATOKAY?

Let’s see if this post goes through anytime soon. I hate moderation. IDO DODO.

spacecraft 12:09 PM  

Moderation is a two-edged EPEE. These spell casters seem to come in waves, and when the wave hits it can wash over you for several feet of scrolling. So, wait a few to see your post? YEAHFINE.

I did get the -AY sound portion of the theme, but never noticed the preceding O- sound. That lifts it from the merely OKAY to a level of elegance not usually present in an early-week puzzle.

The fill does suffer a bit. One clue really bothers me: 19-across. I was thinking REs, short for resume, but REC?? What does that have to do with a letter accompanying a college application? Or have we invented a new, downbeat container called a TEA "SADDY?" REC could be short for, most commonly, "recreation," or receipt, or record, and that's about it. Record? With the accent on the first syllable? Here's my high-school rec. Um, no. That dog don't hunt. EXPLAIN!!

Amusing that we had to go all the way back to Joe Willie for a recognizable JETS hero. I second the nomination of the brainy and [yeah, you know]-y JILL ST. John for DOD. Birdie.

Diana, LIW 12:18 PM  

Hmmm - 2 things:

1 - I don't have the puz in front of me right now, and I don't remember a theme, so I'll go back and look. Only read a coupla posts, mostly Synders.

2 - they say moderation in all things is a good idea, but in this blog? Bad, bad. This too, me hopes, shall pass. Like farts.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for the Grapenuts to kick in in the morning

ronDODO 1:28 PM  

@spacey - at first I had REf, short for reference, maybe? I think REC might be for recommendation?

rainforest 1:42 PM  

No paper for me today (Family Day up here in British Columbia), so no puzzle, but it looks like a good Monday.

Just thought I'd suggest to @Spacey that REC may be an abbreviation for RECommendation, as from a reference. If that's it, it's dicey, but, as M&A would say, OK.

@pabloinnh - anyone attempting to correct M&A's grammar doesn't get the point.

@Burma Shave - LODGE USE: har.

leftcoastTAM 2:13 PM  

Nice Monday array of sound-alikes. Always gag a bit on OJ, but would be glad to have a CAFEAULAIT with MILOOSHEA.

kitshef 3:16 PM  

Sindilanders: As I understand it the moderation isn't for spellcasters, who have a certain charm in their fractured prose. It was for constant, vulgar, personal attacks. Speaking as a futurelander, the last time we went to moderation, I thought it was an over-reaction. This time, it was appreciated and overdue.

Z 3:35 PM  

Hey Syndylanders, here is what OFL posted in your future:

Hey everyone,

Comments are now being moderated by a team of five people, so delays in comment approval shouldn't be too bad at all. It's OK if you have feelings about this, but this is the way it'll be for the foreseeable future. Only comments being kept out are spam, totally off-topic stuff, abuse (esp. profane abuse), and personal fights between commenters that no one cares about.

Take care,

leftcoastTAM 4:15 PM  

Makes sense; glad to know it's happening. Crap clutters.

rondo 4:18 PM  

Thanks @Z and @kitshef for the update. The water was/(is) getting a little rough.

Diana, LIW 4:54 PM  

Okay, Okay!

I see the point of this moderation - but 'tis too bad it's needed. My gaseous comments aside.

And I see the point of the theme of this puzzle, now that I reviewed it. As a staunch defender of Monday madness, this puzzle has been approved.

Lady Di

thefogman 5:10 PM  


Moderation or "lagom" is quite fashionable right now.

In 2016, the Danish 'hygge' was all the rage. Now, the Swedish 'lagom' way of life is trending. Lagom means 'just the right amount'. It's making its mark on interior design but also has wider implications.


rondo 5:42 PM  

@foggy - as my late Swedish teacher would say, "Lagom är bäst." Literally "Lagom (just the right amount) is best". Figuratively "Everything in moderation."
Seemingly appropriate for the discussion.

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