Thomas ____, "Rule, Britannia" composer / MON 2-5-2018 / "Yeah, right!" / Actress Falco of "Nurse Jackie" / Apple on a desk / Fixes, as shoelaces

Monday, February 5, 2018

Ohmygod I can't believe we're a month into 2018. What in heck happened to January? Anyways, it's Annabel Monday!


Relative difficulty: EASY

THEME: MOON PHASES —Theme answers started with phases of the moon.

Word of the Day: ELKS (38D: Civic-minded group) —

The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE; also often known as the Elks Lodge or simply The Elks) is an American fraternal order founded in 1868 originally as a social club in New York City. Today headquartered at Elks National Veterans Memorial in Chicago, Illinois, it is one of the leading fraternal orders in the United States, claiming nearly one million members.[3]

• • •
Theme answers:
  • HALF (1D: 50%)
  • NEW YEAR'S EVE (18A: Traditional night for partying)
  • CRESCENT ROLL (29A: Curved Pillsbury item)
  • QUARTERBACKS (47A: Ones calling the plays)
  • FULL TIME JOB (61A: 40-hour-a-week work)
  • MOON (60D: It has phases that are represented by the start of 18-, 29-, 47- and 61-Across...and by 1-Down)
For a good while I was wondering why there weren't more Super Bowl clues in this one, since I was doing it as the Super Bowl was playing...and then I remembered it was the Monday puzzle, not the Sunday puzzle. D'oh! It's all the same to me though, I don't really follow football so I flipped over to the Puppy Bowl as soon as I could.

Image result for moon gerty
"Good Morning, Sam!"
Anyways, I think I've gotten off track. The puzzle was okay! One of my fastest Mondays yet (which is to say a little over twelve minutes - I'm still no Rex), and I didn't really get stuck anywhere for once. I wasn't super impressed with the fill, but at least it didn't feel like I had to sacrifice a LAMB to an IDOL to figure anything out, although now I am kind of hungry for CEREAL and ORANGE juice, and breakfast doesn't open for another twelve hours. Oh well...

The theme was okay, and pretty timely - did anyone else see the blue super blood moon? I thought it was really pretty. I kind of just went outside and stared at it for awhile TBH. It was nice! Oh, and MOON was also a really good movie that came out in 2009.

  • YANK (37A: Pull hard) — Just wanted to say that as a Bostonian it really should not have taken me this long to get this one.
  • WERE (34A: "The way we...") — As in WEREwolf? Or as in THEREwolf?
  • OREO (59D: Nabisco snack since 1912) — OHMYGOD THIS IS THE MILLIONTH TIME I'VE HAD THIS AS AN ANSWER. Which wouldn't be a problem but every time I get it I want to start how-to-eat-Oreos discourse again. Lately I've just been dipping 'em in milk and letting them get soggy...
  • CLAM (29D: Tight-lipped sort) — "Mmm, steamed clams."
Also: a belated Happy Birthday to my dad!! His birthday was on Groundhog Day. :)

Signed, Annabel Thompson, tired college student.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

[Follow Annabel Thompson on Twitter]


BrucieK 12:11 AM  

As usual, I’m posting a few days behind -- but this is just a fast message to @Oldfatbasterd in response to the gratuitous, unprovoked and mean-spirited swipe he took at Loren Muse Smith on Saturday (1:15 PM). I’ve lived long enough, Oldfat, to know that bullies are typically deaf to censure, mostly because they don’t have the emotional bandwidth to recognize their own unkindness. That said, pls. know that there was zero value in your dickish remark about Loren -- no one found it clever (as you might have imagined while typing it), nor ironic, nor pointed, nor even especially well written. All it did was take up space. And the fact is, a lot of us are grateful to LMS for her consistently engaging posts here -- and for the enthusiasm, humor and heart she puts into each and every one of them. So moving forward, try to keep that kind of shit to yourself.

Bruce Kluger

TomAz 12:27 AM  

Nice writeup by Annabel.

This played super easy for me as well. The NYT xword app/website says my record Monday time was in 2009, and I don't quite remember.. was there a NYT xword app in 2009? I suspect it is an error. The app also says my record Thursday time is just under two minutes, which I can guarantee you never happened. It also has me as just over two minutes for a Saturday .. it's buggy. So I don't know what my record times are really. Today's I did watching the Super Bowl and doing it on my iPad and I came in just a few ticks over 6 mins. So yeah, super easy for a Monday.

I liked the moon theme. I thought the puzzle was fairly smooth. And easy, did I mention that?

I do quibble with the clue for 26D. Those Borg-like "you will be assimilated" ONE EAR headsets seem like a thing of the past to me. I haven't seen people using those any more. Me, I connect to my phone on a set of two-ear headphones (or two-ear earphones if I'm being active) via Bluetooth. Is that a "headset"? Beats me.

Also is CONTAC still a thing? It also feels dated. I can't remember seeing it at my local CVS in the past, oh, decade or so. Maybe I'm just not looking hard enough.

But I pick nits. Both of the above were easily inferrable, and everything else was pretty much read clue, put in answer.

I am glad the Eagles won and (for different reasons) I am also glad the Patriots lost. I thought the Tide ads were the best, but I sort of stopped paying attention to the ads at around halftime. I hope my Cardinals can manage to get Nick Foles for next season.

Candy Darling 12:29 AM  

Goodness. Brucie certainly needs a chill pill.

Oldfatbasterd 12:31 AM  

Heh heh. Heh heh. Brucie said “dickish.”

Anonymous 12:32 AM  

I see the trolls are out tonight. Or, this morning.. what time is it in Moscow?

Oldflappyfrommississappy 12:35 AM  

Maybe Brucie needs to YANK his crank. Heh heh. Heh heh.

Anonymous 12:57 AM  

The hell is my eye

Thomaso808 1:04 AM  

If you have a friend who’s just starting crosswords, this is about the easiest NYT Monday that I’ve seen in forever. Plus it has an easy theme. I’m going to look out for the print syndicated version in about 5 weeks in the Honolulu Star Advertiser and grab some copies for my kids to try. I could print some copies now but they enjoy solving the published version.

I think I’ve said it before but I suspect it can’t be that easy to actually construct an easy puzzle, so thanks, Alan Arbesfeld!

One thing that caught my eye is that there is an unbroken diagonal from the most NW box to the most SE box. That’s gotta be somewhat rare, right?

puzzlehoarder 1:05 AM  

Damn this was one easy Monday. I got all the way down to the second themer just using the across clues. After that I started checking the downs. From the clue all I could think of was CROISSANTS and it didn't look like that would fit. Still a super easy puzzle.

@lms, how did contacting your new pen pal go? I read all of that person's comments and they sounded pretty unbalanced to me. That term "sheeple" really got under their skin. It wasn't like you said West Virginia is the kind of state where the men are men, the women are women and the sheep are all nervous. I'd expect that from a snobbish city slicker like myself. The really ironic thing is that you care so much about your students and by extension their families. As far as giving your personal information out to nut cases on the internet goes is Russian roulette just too boring?

Thomaso808 1:14 AM  

Also, Annabel, great clip from Young Frankenstein. Marty Feldman!

Stanley Hudson 1:22 AM  

@puzzlehoarder wrote: “As far as giving your personal information out to nut cases on the internet goes is Russian roulette just too boring?”

This concerns me as well. Be careful LMS.

sanfranman59 1:39 AM  

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 3:32 4:13 0.84 7.0% Easy

Zipped right through this one. Not a lot to say about it. It's pretty unremarkable but not in a bad way at all. I didn't care much for the clue for ONE EAR, but that's a minor nit. Seems like an excellent Crossword 101 puzzle.

Larry Gilstrap 1:45 AM  

Back to the puzzle, that was a beefy Monday. Most of the little stuff is stuck in the corner where it belongs. The theme is about the phases of the MOON and in the dark skies of the desert, we get it. I'm not quite sure why HALF is stuck up there in the corner, but at least the others are in sequence. Take away: the MOON is always where it's supposed to be.

I love my Bluetooth headphones! They are the two EAR variety.

I had the pleasure of being the student of many great English teachers, high school and college, and studied many plays. I learned the concept of the "Naive persona": POLONIUS spouting drivel like "To thine own self be true." Shakespeare didn't say it, one of his characters did, and he was a fool. Ever experience the Seven Ages of Man monologue given by Jacques in As You Like It? "At first the infant, MEWLing and puking." If all the world is a stage, when do we get to the deus ex machina?

When the moon's surface is HALF illuminated, is it a FACET?

Addressing a topic I have been ignoring; I dig @Loren, claim her as a friend, and look forward to seeing her. Trolling in Rexworld is mostly ludicrous, have you noticed? Some guy even went after me once about an apostrophe or some such. Let's keep comment sections alive and active. It's easy: from now on, just comment about the puzzle. I just violated my own rule.

The best part of a TAMALE is the masa. Hey, waiter! My TAMALE is empty. I'm good.

chefwen 1:49 AM  

Super easy Monday puzzle, was sorry it was over so quickly. I was trying to take my mind off of the most violent Thunderstorm I had ever been through, and I grew up in the Midwest so I have witnessed my share. Puppies were cool but it scared the living you know what out of Miss Kitty and me.

Liked the mini football theme to go along with today’s game.


Harryp 2:10 AM  

At Thomas808. Good observation. We are both from the same area code, by the way

Loren Muse Smith 4:14 AM  

I agree – really easy Monday, and, as @Thomaso808 says – good one to give to neophytes who claim they could never do one.

Only glitch was that I had “Sad Caesar” first ‘cause I didn’t read the clue carefully. ARI spelled backwards is also a man’s name. Ira Glass is my second-hero-first-removed since he discovered David Sedaris.

FULL TIME JOB is terrific. 40 hours. Snort. I guess it’s because I’m still so green, but I get into school by 6am, leave around 5:30pm, (50 minute drive each way) and work several hours on the weekends. My choice. I just don’t know how others do their plans and grade and stuff so quickly. I did calculate my own personal hours once, I dunno, about 65-70 hours a week and did the math with my salary. I learned that I make way less than minimum wage. Way less. Again – the hours are my choice, but still. I imagine the idea of a 40 hour work week for anyone with a computer or smartphone is but a distant memory or even something they heard about from their parents.

Because of my phobia of balloons (fear, really, of being startled), I can’t open one of those Pillsbury rolls of dough because sometimes it pops open before you can whack it on the counter. I used to just give it to my daughter and leave the room while she dealt with it. (It’s a weird phobia that is constantly expanding. Now, if I’m on the phone with my husband, and he suddenly says, Hey, I have another call coming in. Let me call you back in a minute, I sit there and stare at the phone, dreading the ring that will make me jump. I’ve taken to putting the phone down and trying to busy myself with something, but I always start when it rings. I know, right? Who cares about my phobia?)

I can’t believe that CRESCENT ROLL ends in TROLL. Jeez Louise how timely. I learned a while back that the best, most absolute greatest, optimal way to deal with a troll is to utterly and completely ignore him. Not. One. Word. @Larry is right. I’m grateful to those who’ve jumped to my defense. But my thought is that to engage this pitiable person, to give him air time, is just giving him all he’s wanting: a reaction. A troll is a coward who hides behind anonymity and posts nasty stuff. He’s a mouth-breather who could probably use a breath mint or two. I bet that if we give no rebuttals- zero - to the likes of @Flappy Fatso, he’ll slink off to find some other blog to pee all over.

As to @Hypocrisy Hater… @Barry Frain, thanks for your defense, but I have pronounce him officially Not A Troll. At least for me. He did email me. @Gill is right; man, that guy can flat write. We both calmed down and explained our positions. Mine – that I harbor no disdain for West Virginians. His – that my sneaky, weenie little potshots at our current leader are cowardly. He’s right; I should either totally own my hatred for Trump and man-up… or just stop already with the little thinly-veiled insults. Off blog, he was sincere and reasonable. He’s not a nutcase.

@Stanley Hudson and @Thomaso808: my email has been copy-and-pastable since my very first day here. I don’t think I’m in any danger. But if I’m wrong… watch for me in the headlines!

@BrucieK – thanks, man.

Alan - a Monday offering right over the plate. Annabel drew my attention to 34A WERE. It would’ve been fun to clue it as the furry FULL MOON morphing guy.

Thomaso808 5:07 AM  

@Harryp, nice to hear from a fellow 808-er. @Chefwen is over on Kauai and frequently posts in the wee hours NY time. I’ve seen a few others from here, one even posted with an okina. See you around!

@LMS, I think that was @puzzlehoarder concerned for your safety, not that I’m not. I’m glad your exchange with the @Hypocrisy guy went well, but I still think he should have been more civil in his comments yesterday if he didn’t want to be taken as a troll.

'mericans in Venice 5:10 AM  

Thought I had finished the puzzle in record time (for me: 16 minutes), but I had a few errors, and it took me another 7 minutes to find them all.

Easy yes, but not the easiest for me. Had lots of write-overs: IcOn > IDOL, winD > REED, tOON > MOON, VAn > VAL. You get the picture. But I agree it was a very clean puzzle.

Theme seemed a bit old -- so hold it harked back to my youth. I spent the first eight years of my life on a farm in rural Maine, and one of my favorite activities was to go out into the woods and construct a simple LEAN TO. My father hunted, so most of our meat was doe or HART. And of course we had a SEE SAW in the yard. An ORANGE in those days was a treat, but I ate my share of breakfast CEREAL. Rather than TAMALE, we were very familiar with ToMALley -- i.e., the roe from female lobsters -- which we'd spread on crackers. Yum.

Agree about OREO being about the most common answer in puzzles at the moment. Nary a day goes by when it isn't an answer. Timely for us, though, as yesterday we were in a nice but not expensive restaurant on an island in the Venice lagoon and ordered a typical Venetian dish -- creamed dried & salted cod, with polenta. Except that the restaurant had added octopus ink to the polenta, and cut it into rounds, like big cookie halves, and filled the middle with the cod. Served on a plate on edge, it looked just like an over-sized OREO!

TonySaratoga 5:20 AM  

Hear hear.

Glimmerglass 6:45 AM  

Football coaches use one-ear headsets, because they also need to hear what players, officials, etc., are saying to them. Bose (who make NFL headsets) had to work hard to make their noise-canceling technology worked with a one-ear model.

Two Ponies 6:55 AM  

Very smooth Monday from a pro.

My favorite part was the revealer with the "...and 1 Down".
It looked like an after-thought as if he realized that Half had crept into the puzzle without being seen until after it was completed.
"Oh, better add that to the list before some Smart Aleck points it out." It struck me as funny and endearing. Thanks Alan.

That full moon eclipse was beautiful reflecting on the snow.

kitshef 7:16 AM  

Pillsbury in the clues made me think of the chess player Harry Pillsbury, who would play a dozen or more chess matches simultaneously … without seeing the boards … and while playing cards.

Solved across-only. Filled in correctly, but had no clue what the theme might be so an LMSDNF.

Don’t think MY EYE is colloquially equivalent to ‘Yeah, right’. The latter stands on its own, but the former is more of an add on.
- “The Eagles won because of their great defensive line”. ‘Yeah, right’.
- “The Eagles won because of their great defensive line”. ‘Great defensive line my eye’. Picky? You bet. But on that type of clue, and on a Monday, precision is desirable.

kitshef 7:24 AM  

Oh yeah ... and where is the missing themer? I'm sure Rex would have ranted about that. Suggested clue: Stayin' Alive and I Just Want to be Your Everything, for example: GIBBOUS MUSIC.

George 7:28 AM  

MYEYE? Of course I wanted 'MyAss,; but only had MYE__ and was thinking, who the hell says "MyEar'? I guess in Rex's old TCM movies some forgotten Hollywood starlet says MYEYE, but I haven't heard anyone actually say that, well.. ever.

Regardless, it was a pleasure to read Annabelle this morning

chefbea 7:34 AM  

Yummy puzzle...and easy...lots of food. Gotta clean up this morning...great Super Bowl party and great game!!

RJ 7:41 AM  

I often don't see the themes - either because the online puzzle doesn't show theme in the title or I just don't get it. When a puzzle is easy, I usually look for a theme after solving. It makes me think (again) about printing out the puzzle and solving it on paper. I think this would speed up my times - like today, the biggest slow down for me was making typos. I think I could have shaved a minute off my time if I didn't have to search for my mistakes.

How many people here solve on paper?

No complaints about any of the cluing. The answer slowing me down the most was, like many, "oneear". I knew it was that from the fill but kept hesitating because it took me a bit to get it - not earphones but like the headsets I've had for hands free talking.

Birchbark 7:43 AM  

ELK + HART. Non-Van-Gogh ONE EAR + MY EYE. The QUARTERBACKS SCORED aplenty last night.

HALF and MOON make a bracket, which if an afterthought is serendipity.

Two ENYAs in the space of a week, but still waiting for Egyptian pharao-deity AMENHOTEP in 2018.

Y = VI, ergo sum.

clk 8:03 AM  

Love it! Gibbous is one of those terms I know on paper but wouldn’t be able to identify in real life if it smacked me in MYEYE.

Suzie Q 8:15 AM  

The way I remember which elk or deer is the hart and which is the hind is by thinking of Hartford Insurance and their logo of the antlered animal standing on a rock. Dumb, I know, but that's how I keep them straight.

Z 8:24 AM  

About what I expected. I’m not sure what to make of Shortz mooning us.

Ah, the perils of plain text and the web. I’m glad he’s not a nutcase. Most people aren’t.

@puzzlehorder - Your comment made me wonder if @Muse had said, “W.VA tends to be patriarchal and is very comfortable with remaining that way” if it would have gotten as much of a reaction.

Ol' Zeke 8:25 AM  

This dadblasted puzzle didn't make a lick of sense to me. You call this a sudoku?

Seamus O’Hooligan 8:33 AM  

Welcome back Enya.

QuasiMojo 8:36 AM  

Phew! I was worried that there might have been an offstage blowup between @LMS and that other poster but all seems to have gone well. It would be a shame to lose Ms. Smith here. We've lost so many other interesting contributors lately. That said, I have to throw out something that she triggered in my mind when she said balloons and Pillsbury containers cause her to "start." Every time I click on the puzzle to open it up, I get a little window or thingie that says "READY TO GET STARTED?" Well, yeah, Mr. Thingie, DUH! Of course, I am. I wouldn't have hit the stupid button if I hadn't been. Plus shouldn't that be "READY TO START"? (Although there isn't a Yes/No answer to the question.) Do people actually sit there and debate amongst themselves. Gee, I wonder if I'm actually "ready" though to "get" started. Maybe I'm only ready to GET READY TO START. I mean, I've got my coffee steaming in a mug next to me, I've cleared my keyboard of pens and paper clips and extraneous papers, and I've cleared my mind of any apprehensions that the word OREO might pop up again for the gazillionth time, or that maybe there'll be a misuse of the English language, and I'll throw my two cents in only to be chastized for being so "literal" all the time. Well, I guess I'm "ready to get started" after all.

So glad to see you Annabel again. Although I am COVETOUS of your ability to have seen the Triple whatever MOON. Are you on the West Coast?

Last night I was OVER THE MOON, while watching the SUPER BOWL (of GRAPE-NUTS?) I listened to Justin Timberland's halftime "Song for a Diva." I couldn't understand a word he was saying! So I tried to get the Caption thing on my remote to help me out. Not even Lewis Carroll could have come up with such Jabberwocky.

Maury 8:44 AM  

I challenge that most Bluetooth headsets are one ear. I just went to Amazon the top sellers all go over both ears. You can’t believe anything you read in the New York Times anymore.

Fey Fop 9:00 AM  

I’m prancing!

Two Ponies 9:09 AM  

@ QuasiMojo, I solve on paper but first I bring up the puzzle on line so I can print it. I see that Ready to Start? thing every day. For me it's a fork in the road between solving on my PC (which I rarely do) and going through the printing process. I guess it's your chance to go do something before the clock begins.
I would solve on my computer more often if I didn't have to scroll through the clues. What a pain! On paper I can just glance back and forth without touching a thing.
Besides, I'm a dinosaur.

Enya 9:16 AM  

cead mile failte

mathgent 9:25 AM  

I had only two red plus signs in the margin, the lowest in months, and one of them was about Bluetooth headsets which might not even be correct. What a dismal effort.

Jeff Chen's column outlined the stages of the moon including "gibbous." I seldom learn anything from a Monday but, like today, I often learn something from the blogs.

Seeing CLAM in the grid reminded me of the variety puzzle in WSJ Saturday by Mike Shenk. "Clam" was the clue for SMACKEROO.

The Eagle defensive line only got to Brady once, but it was enough to get the win. What a marvelous game.

Nancy 9:27 AM  

As soon as I realized I was just mindlessly filling in letters to this absurdly easy puzzle -- which was almost before I started -- I dropped it to pick up the Sports Section and relive that wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful game. What a game! I hope that the preponderance of people on this blog are as happy as I am about the outcome.

Glimmerglass 9:30 AM  

I very much enjoy comments by LMS. If I don’t have time to read all the comments, I’ll scan through to see if there’s one by her. Some days, she makes more sense and says more interesting things than @Rex. If a dissenter finds her prolix, that’s his problem —doesn’t hurt me (.or her.) at all.

Nancy 9:45 AM  

@Loren: I, too, thought you had lost your everlovin' mind when you put your personal info, along with your photo, for heaven's sake, up on the blog for all to see. While I thoroughly agree with your conclusion that @Hypocrisy Hater is rational and not at all dangerous, I do believe that there are trolls on this blog who are potentially dangerous. Anyone filled with that degree of blind, completely unprovoked hatred of complete strangers is mentally unbalanced. So I join @BrucieK and @puzzlehoarder in urging you to be careful. You're a really nice person and we wouldn't want to lose you :)

kitshef 9:46 AM  

@Quasimojo - THAT is why I'm so glad you stayed with the puzzle/blog. I literally laughed - just not out loud.

RooMonster 9:46 AM  

Hey All !
@QuasiMojo 8:36
Har! I've thought about that myself. There is a logical reason for it, but your rant was so funny that I'm not sure if telling it will diminish your post. But . . . It's there so the Speed Solvers don't waste precious (nano)seconds (Yo,@M&A) when they open the app. Cause if you open it and the time starts right away, it can ruin your time. At least that seems logical to me.

Go @Eagles! WooHoo! Not an Eagles fan, but an Anybody-But-The-Patriots fan. :-) This was their first ever Super Bowl win.

Oh, the puz . . . :-) Very MOONy. Snuck in the HALF as the symmetry to MOON. Could've tried to get it in the middle row, HALF WAY or something similar. Minor nit. Is a HALF MOON only showing one cheek?

I have a ONEEAR Bluetooth. I need it for my job. In Las Vegas, it's illegal to drive while talking on your phone, so the little device that sits on/in your EAR is necessary. Mine is a Plantronics with the EAR loop thing. You know, in case you cared!

HART is actually a new one on me. Haven't heard it,ceven from growing up in Pennsylvania, where the deer (and the antelope [har]) played. Or maybe I just plum forgot it.

Nice MonPuz with hardly a dreck. Alot of QUARTERBACKS don't call there own plays. Re: Rothleisberger of the Steelers. They wouldn't even let him QB sneak on those two 4th and 1's! Bitter? Nah . . .


RooMonster 9:51 AM  

I wrote "their", really! Auto-corrupt got me!


chefbea 9:52 AM  

@RJ I print out the puzzle ...thus solve on paper

Don't Be Mean 9:55 AM  

Anonypuss here.

Yeah, what @Glimmerglass said.

Puzzle was smooth, fun and fast (3:11), 30 seconds short of my average.

Hats off to Mr. Arbesfeld. And to the Philadelphia Eagles.

TomAz 10:00 AM  

re ONE EAR vs two ear .. @several of you:

The issue is not do ONE EAR headsets exist. The issue is the clue -- the claim that most Bluetooth headsets are ONE EAR. That's the part that rings false to me. "Hey I've got a ONE EAR headset" misses the point.

Also -- the clue on 47A is generally not correct. Quarterbacks call the plays only in very limited situations any more.

Airymom 10:22 AM  

I nominate LMS for POTUS! Can I get a second?

GILL I. 10:28 AM  

Can't be a Monday without the OREO or OLE or ENYA or EDIE. Perfect for someone just picking up a NYT puzzle for the very first time. The rest of us Schmo's get to go over to the WSJ.
Here on the left coast, we had some beautiful shots of the MOON. Luckily the night was clear. Tule fog In the early hours made the moon look eerily crazy ORANGE.
@Loren...standing up and clapping. I'm drawn to good writing like a dog with two Richards. Doesn't matter if I agree or not. I'll read you [ALWAYS} if you sound interesting, have some sense or humor and can reason without insulting. Even if you insult, it has to be brilliant. I would scan a paper and if Christopher Buckley, Mike Royko, Art Buckwald or Herb Caen should appear, I'm going to read you even if it makes me late for my non-existent FULL TIME JOB. Civility - always civility. It makes a smart person grand!
@'American world travelers. Your squid OREO story is right up there with @Quasi's. Nothing like a good morning laugh.
Now, how can we get flappy and bastard to up their IQ's?

jb129 10:30 AM  

Very very easy - didn't like 35 across - "My Eye" tho

Anoa Bob 10:38 AM  

SID CAESAR was the highlight of the puzz for me. His pioneering live-skit comedy show, "Your Show of Shows", has been called the original "Saturday Night Live". Here's a brief tribute upon his passing in 2014.

One of his shticks was a rapid-fire, sounds-like-a-foreign-language routine that was mostly gibberish. Here's a clip where he "speaks" French, German, Italian & Japanese. Even some native speakers thought he was really speaking their language, but in a dialect they couldn't quite make out. I used to try to imitate him, but never could get even close to his level of "linguistic" ability.

I always think it's a fly in the puzzle's ointment when one of the themers is a letter short of its assigned, symmetrically matching theme slot, and the remedy is to just tack on a gratuitous S to give it a balancing letter count. Here it's QUARTERBACK. POC to the rescue.

Malsdemare 10:54 AM  

I try to do Mondays with just the acrosses, and this is first time I almost succeeded. I will admit that, once or twice, I peeked at a down clue in order to suss out the initial letter in an answer. Sadly, I did need downs to get TASTED. Schade!

This was a real rarity for me, to fill in those long acrosses without any help, so I'm feeling smug. But I could use a little more of a challenge so I'm off to try the WSJ.

Malsdemare 10:59 AM  

Oh dear, a friend just sent me an article from the Chronicle of Higher Ed and I learned a new word: snollygoster. In the interest of harmony,I will let those who are curious look it up.

Snollygoster needs to be in the puzzle some time.

thfenn 11:00 AM  

Plenty of the Super Bowl in here today, as in Nick Foles is ADEPT at his FULLTIMEJOB as a QUARTERBACK having SCORED enough to YANK the championship from the Patriots and MERIT a STRUT now that he's an IDOL for many who are over the MOON with the Eagles win. I suffered through this won following ESPN's play by play narrative on my phone, being somewhere the game wasn't televised.

But enjoyed the puzzle - set a record for a Monday, on the heels of a week in which I not only turned 60 but also managed to solve every puzzle Mon-Sun without help for the first time in my life. Bring on Tuesday.

Malsdemare 11:04 AM  

Oh goodness! And more!

“His followers warmed to the theme, averring that our halls of powers also contain quislings, fopdoodles, throttlebottoms, scalliwags, lickspittles, blackguards, “mountebanks who I believe have been dabbling in laudanum,” ultramaroons, gulla-bulls, and nin-cow-poops (the last three all come from a 1938 Bugs Bunny cartoon).”

The best words, indeed. We can only hope that one of our illustrious puzzle masters will create a puzzle using these glorious terms.

Mark Tebeau 11:33 AM  

Easiest Monday in a while. Great write-up Annabel.

GILL I. 11:46 AM  

@Nancy...There are a lot of safe-guards in place now. You can red-flag someone for whatever reason you want and they won't be able to enter into your life!.
I've never had a problem. If I hadn't included my E-mail address, I wouldn't have been able to become friends with you nor many others on this blog.
The very first person who contacted me was our friend ACME. We became cyber friends and then decided to meet up in San Francisco. It was on my birthday - which, coincidentally happens to be today - and I had so much fun. Lunch in North Beach, some window shopping, and talking non-stop. She is funny as hell and a delight to be with. Had it not been for my posting my address, I would have missed on meeting some fine people.
The only time I was scared was years ago when I was the Manager for Mexicana Airlines here in Sacramento. There had been an awful earthquake in Mexico City and KCRA came to do a live interview. My picture was shown on the 8 and 10 o'clock news along with all the info pertaining to that awful disaster. Later in the early morning someone called me and began the panting act. I only remember answering the phone because my husband was out of town and I immediately thought emergency! When he finished panting I laughed and asked him if he was through. Then I hung up. In those days there was no caller ID so I was at his mercy. He kept calling. When he started to sound like high IQ flappy and bastard, I called the police. They put some sort of tracer on the phone and after that I never got my
phone sex again. It is scary though, but today you do have a lot more control!

John Hoffman 12:21 PM  

Such a good puzzle. Nice construction. Sorry to see this one finish! We’re off to a good start this week. I’m loving the NYT puzzles and this frequently *unorthodox* blog with cranky Rex and various supporting characters.

Anonymous 12:27 PM  

@Bruciek: Oh, the chivalrous blog defender of women. You can find them on any blog, every day. What a fucking hero.

Anonymous 12:40 PM  

Please forgive a belated comment about yesterday's puzzle; I tried to post yesterday, but the site defeated me.

When I had a job as a nursing home aide, I told people, "I work in the perineal area."

In 1975, my parents gave me an 8-track player for Christmas, along with two Peter Nero tapes. They didn't understand why I wasn't delighted with the tapes, as they said they had asked my girlfriend what music I liked. I finally figured out that my girlfriend had told them that I liked Laura Nyro.

Mohair Sam 12:42 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oldfatbasterd 12:43 PM  

By god, that's giving the snowflake what for!!

Mohair Sam 12:44 PM  

Fly Eagles Fly
On the road to victory
Fight, Fight, Fight
Fight Eagles Fight
Score a touchdown 123
Hit 'em low
Hit 'em high
And watch our Eagles fight
Fly Eagles Fly
On the road to victory



Nancy 12:50 PM  

@GILL (11:46)-- I have at least 15 Rexblog friends (including you, GILL), that I email, phone or see in person, and I am so grateful to all of them for putting their email on their profile so that wussy me doesn't have to! For the first two years I was on the blog, I would click on their email and it didn't work, so I would call @Hartley and ask her if she could find me their email. Which she did over and over again. Finally she asked me: "Are you sure you're clicking on their email the right way?" and I said: "There's a wrong way???" and she told me that you have to double right click on the email and then a menu drops down and then you click on the 2nd item in the menu and then a window opens up on the top of the left hand side of your screen and there is the email address in the window. Voila.

Who on earth could possibly know that without being given copious instructions????

Anyway, it's how I found you, GILL, and mathgent and Teedmn and Mohair and Aketi and kitshef and Malsdemare and jberg and JC66 and OISK and too many others to list. And all without having to put my own email online. I'm a lot more comfortable that way. A lot.

semioticus (shelbyl) 1:12 PM  

Fastest Monday ever. I guess it's also my fastest solve ever.

Nothing mind blowing, but a good puzzle for a Monday. Some good answers like SIDCAESAR and BRIBED and SLEUTHS, a lot of short answers but they are not the sort that makes you want to gouge your eyes out. Crosswordistan-dense puzzles are OK if they don't give you headaches. This one didn't give me a headache (I mean, on top of the one I already had thanks to my hangover from Super Bowl)

Jeff Chen had problems with the theme because it skips moon phases or whatever I don't care. Does it work? Yes. I would rather not see something like GIBBOUS pseudo-cleverly hidden in an answer on a Monday.

GRADE: B-, 3.2 stars.

Teedmn 1:23 PM  

A super MOON easy puzzle today. I thought it was fine as is. Even with a couple of write-overs, I still came in under my average. Hind before HART at 41D (does Hind denote a gender in deer? Apparently it is a female red deer if you believe the first thing that popped up on Google.) And I had my pickle on a bun before I even got it out of the JAR.

I was briefly left wondering what equivalent of "yeah, sure" started with MY. I'm amazed that "MY ass" didn't even come to my mind since that is equally as likely as MY EYE to come out of my mouth, depending on whether I'm talking to my husband or my mother-in-law. Actually, MIL wouldn't blink at "MY ass". I agree with @kitshef's parsing the phrase as more of an add-on than the clue leads you to believe.

@LMS, I was watching "Chopped" on the food network recently (maybe last week's episode) and one of the chefs, upon receiving CRESCENT ROLLs in their basket, had the same reaction as yours, not wanting to bang it because it sometimes opened on its own. Me, I hate when you bang it multiple times and then still have to tear the cardboard apart in strips to get it to finally open up. My startlement issue is with the constant shocks the dry weather gives me in the winter. Get in the car, get out of the car, turn the light on or off, brush the side of my stainless steel sink, grab my husband's hand, ACK!. I tend to slap at things so the shock is absorbed into the slap that I'm in control of. (Except the husband, no slapping there.)

Two Ponies 2:10 PM  

Supposed to be a true story:
Cop approaches woman at stop light, her hands gripping the wheel, face immobile, but she's crying.
What's the matter lady?

A biscuit or crescent roll package in her bag of groceries in the back seat had exploded and covered the back of her head in gooey dough. She thought she had been shot or something and it was her brains oozing out!

True or a story from the Onion?

FrankStein 2:18 PM  

Someone above asked about the availabity of CONTAC these days. I too have not seen it in stores for a long time. Apparently it was pulled off shelves by the FDA for having some bad ingredient (PPL, I think) but it is being sold on Amazon (The BOA?) in a new version.

Teedmn 2:24 PM  

@Two Ponies, I could believe that story. I was at a party about a month ago and a guy was telling how he and his daughter were in the car when a loud sharp sound scared them and the driver's side window was covered in an oozing mess. He wasn't sure if he or his daughter had been shot or if someone else's gore was oozing on the outside of the window. After ascertaining it wasn't either of them, he realized it was slushy orange soda that had exploded in the cold from a container that had fallen under the seat. It took them a bit to recover from the shock and then they went hunting and found a second frozen "bomb" getting ready to go off.

jberg 2:34 PM  

I liked the theme -- for once I figured it out midsolve, after I had the first three answers, and saw immediately that the last one must be FULL-TIME wOrk .. well, I was close.

@Roo Monster, take a look at this hymn. Scroll down for the embedded youtube of its being sung. It's from the 42d psalm; there are also Latin madrigals of the same thing in Latin, "Sicut Cervus." P.G.Wodehouse liked to use the image for comic effect, which is how I first came to know it.

Happy Birthday, @Gill I! And nice writeup, Annabel.

Carmela DeAngelis 2:38 PM  

Any truth to the rumor that Oldflappy and Oldfatbasterd are one and the same?

I would like to have his baby!

Anonymous 3:11 PM  

@ Carmela, Are you sure your name isn't Rosemary?

JC66 3:13 PM  

Back in the day, QUARTERBACKS would call all the plays. Then some coaches would alternate linemen to send in the plays. This evolved into the use of elaborate hand signals. Today, QUARTERBACKS' helmets are equipped with Bluetooth headphones (probably 2 ear), but QUARTERBACKS always have been, and still are the ones to call the plays in the huddle.


Are you really twins who, for some unknown reason, have a need to hide the S?

Happy Birthday, @Gill I!

BrucieK 3:27 PM  

So interesting that you’ve determined my defense of LMS to be somehow gender-related. That tells me more about you than you probably understand.

Anonymous 3:34 PM  

Heh heh. Heh heh. Brucie said "gender." Heh heh. Heh heh.

RooMonster 4:03 PM  

@jberg 2:34
Um, was that hymn directed at me accidentally? Or do you think my soul needs saving? (Which is probably true!)
Anyway, scratching the ole head. Let me know. :-)


Anonymous 4:18 PM  

Nancy, glad to read that you were able to relive the Superbowl in the NY Times. Those of us in the boonies, who get the "national edition," get a copy that goes to press about 9 p.m. This makes coverage of things like the playoffs and other post-season events *really* interesting. The sports' editors have unhappy choices: they can pretend the events never took place; they can send the reader to a website; or they can sort of "make do"--which the NYTimes did in this case, producing a photograph from the first quarter. Sometimes they pretend something happened which didn't--as in presidential speech, where they have an advance copy. I think they're now fearful of "covering" something that hasn't happened, like the half-time show, since on occasion there are surprises.

Speaking of phases of the moon (!), does the English language have a didactic-type verse which tells us if the moon is waxing or waning, depending on the direction of the points or the hump. I've seen them in Italy but can never remember them.

Anon. i.e. Poggius
ps: to anon. 8:41 p.m. Sunday, I think. Thanks for the apology, but not necessary. I *was* disrespectful, but I think not precisely where you indicated!

Chronic dnfer 4:45 PM  

Ok. So I’m in Florida for the winter. I usually pick up a copy of the Times digest at the equinox gym. Love to solve on paper. Never tried on line but I hate computers after 30 years On wall st. Solution: subscribe to the nyt crossword for $39 a year. Problem: you can’t print it out from uuur smart phone. Only a pc or tablet. Frustrating but another example of the nyt being so far behind the technology eight ball. Frustrating.

Puzzled Peter 4:47 PM  

@'mericans in Venice 5:10:
'Scuse me, but tomalley is the green stuff in every lobster -- it's the beast's digestive gland, which turns green when cooked.
The female lobster roe is the red stuff. Much rarer, and much prized. (Never could figure out why when we got 5 lobsters for the whole family, there'd be maybe one female, maybe none. Are the lobster ladies better at avoiding traps?)
You're welcome, from a former Bostonian, raised on lobsters and Ipswich steamers.

Puzzled Peter 4:59 PM  

Just remembered:
My mother referred to the red roe in female lobsters as coral.
Looking it up, I find:
It's the roe, the unfertilized eggs of the female. Lobster eggs were once considered a delicacy, like caviar. The roe is also called "coral" because of its bright red color.Feb 24, 2012
Gulf of Maine Research Institute: How to Eat Lobsters

American Liberal Elite 5:12 PM  

"One-ear" grates - "monaural" is a real word for that. Good opportunity for a Van Gogh clue, though.

Biaural Mammal 5:56 PM  

@libeal elite: or John Paul Getty III if it were later in the week. For a Monday how about. “In _____ and out the other.”

Nancy 6:02 PM  

@Mohair (12:44) -- Congratulations! I don't know the Eagles fight song, but it's obvious you're very happy. You should be! You've got a young, exuberant, unselfish team that seems as likeable as they are talented. Maybe you'll let me adopt them, since life for the NY football fan is less than wonderful right now. Plus beating the hated Patriots was just the icing on the cake. And in an absolute thriller to boot. I've been to Philly, have a good friend from college living in Ardmore and am happy for the entire city. Enjoy the many celebrations!

Anonymous 7:43 PM  

Will I be seeing you on the Parkway Thursday?

Larry Gilstrap 8:48 PM  

As I implied earlier, observing the MOON is a part of my life, mostly because I live in a place with clear, dark skies. The MOON is NEW when it is closest to the sun. That's why we can't see it. It first appears as a sliver of light in the sunset sky. She waxes throughout her month, becomes HALF, then begins waning down to a sliver which is seen just before sunrise, soon to be appearing in your neighborhood. That has been my experience.

Two Ponies 9:04 PM  

@ Larry G.,
I live where there is no light pollution either.
I thought the new moon was when it was between the earth and the sun so did not reflect light. I didn't know it had anything to do with it's proximity.
My favorite thing is seeing the moon during the day. Magical.

Anonymous 10:27 PM  

Uh, you don't know that taking and keeping the lady lobsters is a no no, right?

Banana Diaquiri 10:59 PM  

just a note about OREO. they were devised as a cheaper, less healthy (although I don't know if that was intentional) alternative to Hydrox Cookies. the latter made with vegetable oils.

nick strauss 12:02 AM  

Hiccup with REIGNS rather than REALMS, but tasted and crescent roll cleared that up. 9:39 AM  

Norton Security is the another name of the most recent and upgraded security programming suite ready to take a shot at countless like Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Android, iOS and numerous others.

Burma Shave 9:42 AM  


Going HALF-sensed to a MOVIE is SLY,
though ONEEAR hearing is RAW,
but if I WERE to LOSE MYEYE,
TRUST me I couldn’t SEESAW.


rondo 10:24 AM  

The way a puz ought to be. The MOON getting bigger all the way to the end and the revealer hidden in the bottom corner. Very ADEPT construction.

Can’t believe nobody mentioned “Earache MYEYE”: a Cheech & Chong classic.

I recently won a prize in a cooking contest making Danish out of CRESCENTROLL dough, cream cheese, and peach preserves, etc. Yum.

A generational take your choice deal with either EDIE or ELLIE. Yeah baby either way.

A fine Mon-puz, let’s see if a quality Tues-puz AWAITS.

spacecraft 10:28 AM  

For difficulty rating, see the clue for 58-across. I had a momentary "Wha?" over MYEYE; that expression hasn't been used since Hector was a pup; but everything ELSE just dropped in. A pleasant little Monday with a good, simple theme and nothing horrible in the fill. Any of the E-girls--ENYA, EDIE or ELLIE--would serve as DOD, but why not go in-theme and pick MOON Unit Zappa? Besides, I just love saying her name. Birdie.

(Sorry, Tiger, maybe next time)

leftcoastTAM 2:36 PM  

Brief slowdowns:

Spelling of the great Sid CAESAR's name.
CRESCENTROLL--didn't see theme yet.

Neat and clean.

Diana, LIW 2:59 PM  

Eye won't bee the FRIST to say, "Earache MYEYE, how would you like a butt ache?" (Cheech and Chong forever)

Ya got love a reviewer who can't wait to switch channels to the Puppy Bowl.

Good Monday morning. Mr. W comes back from the Amelia Island car show today, so I'm already in a good mood. (He told me last week that I WON a cooking contest for suggesting we eat at Bistro Giovanni - if you're even in Carmel...) (Two words - lamb shank)

And Good Monday puzzle. Anyone else remember the last three full moons? The Super Moons?

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for the next celestial event

rainforest 4:29 PM  

I hope my commenting isn't interrupting the many commentariat conversations going on...

An easy yet entertaining puzzle that reveals careful construction and a certain coherence on a Monday.

I liked it, as I did the big Sunday yesterday. That was a puzzle that vaulted to the non-slog category with the elegance of the theme.

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