Shady places / MON 6-4-18 / Boneless cut named for a New York restaurant / Brand that "nobody doesn't like" / Active types / Deborah of "The King and I"

Monday, June 4, 2018

Ciao! It's Annabel Monday.

Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Relative difficulty: Hard

THEME: DOUBLETREE INN — Theme answers each contained the names of two trees.

Theme answers:

  • 18A: "Nonsense!" (BALDERDASH)
  • 29A: Boneless cut named for a New York restaurant (DELMONICO STEAK)
  • 49A: Jet that avoids radar detection (STEALTHFIGHTER)
  • 62A: Hilton hotel chain...or what 18-, 29- and 49-Across each have (DOUBLETREE)

Word of the Day: GLADS (40A: Some showy blossoms, informally) —
Gladiolus (from Latin, the diminutive of gladius, a sword,[2]) is a genus of perennial cormous flowering plants in the iris family (Iridaceae).[3]
It is sometimes called the 'sword lily', but is usually called by its generic name (plural gladioli).[4]
The genus occurs in Asia, Mediterranean Europe, South Africa, and tropical Africa. The center of diversity is in the Cape Floristic Region.[5] The genera Acidanthera, Anomalesia, Homoglossum, and Oenostachys, formerly considered distinct, are now included in Gladiolus.[6]

• • •
Whenever I say a Monday is hard I always want to add "for a Monday!!!!" But still, with that caveat, I did have a relatively tough time with this puzzle. I got stuck on the left side for a while. I'm not really sure why, other than knowing I'll hold a grudge with the constructor for that clue for ARBORS (I was expecting it to be ALLEY or something, not "shady" in the literal sense!). LEWD is one of my least favorite words in the whole world--it's up there with "moist". I think I've expressed my frustration with seeing ERA and directions like NNE clued the exact same way in every Monday ever, but other than that, no real ISSUEs with the fill, other than perhaps a little blandness. I like to be learning lots of new words in my puzzles.

The theme, on the other hand, was the opposite of bland! It took me much longer than I'd like to admit to find the trees in each answer (and I'm still not 100% sure I got them all right, honestly). And I actually didn't know what an alder was.  Deb Amien in the NYT's Wordplay column commented on the weirdness of constructing a puzzle around a brand name. I think it was definitely worth it for the creativity, though, and it didn't feel like an ad at all.

  • DROOLS (54A: Slobbers) — Okay, with this right next to KENNEL I basically have to post a picture of my dog. Like, legally speaking. Her name is Juliet and I love her and she likes rolling around on her back and getting covered in grass. 

Image may contain: dog, outdoor and nature
look at this absolute baby.
  • BEE (23A: Flier from flower to flower) — Have I ever talked about my brief stint as a spelling bee star on this blog? I won my school's spelling bee, and made it to 12th place in the county bee before being defeated by the word TAIGA. Seven years later, I'm still mad that the girl who went after me only had to spell DREIDEL. I mean, come on, I'm Jewish, I totally would have gotten that one!
  • DR. DOOM (4D: Enemy of the Fantastic Four) — This is the most ridiculous name for a villain ever and I have no idea how this series has been going this long without them changing it to something else. But I love it. 
  • UFO (34A: Saucer in the sky, for short) — Appropriately, I've had this song stuck in my head for days for some reason. So now it can be stuck in yours!
Signed, Annabel Thompson, tired college student. (For one more year, anyway.)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

[Follow Annabel Thompson on Twitter]


jp flanigan 12:21 AM  

Insanely sexist answer and clue for 51D. I mean , really?!! Why not: "____ and the Maytals" or something?

Larry Gilstrap 1:23 AM  

Thanks Annabel. Always nice to get a fresh spin on the puzzles.

Not an easy Monday, but Monday enough, and I like trees. The themers fell into place, eventually and then it's time to go looking for names of trees. Unlike most ARBORS, a variety of species abounds. Could a TEAK grow anywhere near an ELM? Our local ALDER grows in the creek beds and can be a flood hazard. The common name for malaleuca is TEA TREE, eucalyptus like, an Australian import that has become a pest in Florida. They also are used as landscape varietals in Southern California, where continual drought slows them down. They have very thick, papery bark, which makes excellent kindling. The oil cures everything, or so we are told.

I have two places I live and both share the infamous distinction of having huge trees that do not belong. I'm looking at you pine, eucalyptus, and locust trees. Fire hazards in tender dry coastal canyons. And in the desert, sorry, palm trees are water dependent, high maintenance, and hazardous. An oasis requires water. End of rant.

Jesus curses a FIG tree in the Gospels and the tree withers, we are told. Exegesis is to follow, I assume. I curse my neighbor's trees blocking my views, still to no effect.

JOHN X-15 A-2 1:52 AM  

It's Annabel! And it's Annabel's adorable dog Juliet!

I finished this puzzle in a snap, with the last word being DOUBLETREE, and then I stared at the theme words wondering what the heck it even meant. I eventually found the trees but I'm not sure if it's TEA tree (I thought tea grew on bushes but what do I know) or if it's a TEAL tree (which might actually be a duck).

I saw 18 Across and just reflexively wrote in BALDERDASH with no crosses or nuthin. I just knew it was BALDERDASH. And you know what? I was right.

I would like a DELMONICOSTEAK and then drop some LSD and get in my STEALTHFIGHTER and go UFO hunting. That'd be pretty bitchin.' Actually, I don't think I've ever had a Delmonico steak, but it sounds really good. I bet it's just another well known cut that they renamed after themselves; that's how these things usually work.

Oh well. CIAO

Kendall 1:58 AM  

Had the exact opposite difficulty experience as I blazed through this in near record time. I didn’t get the theme until after and it wouldn’t have helped me anyway. The only gripe I have at all in this puzzle is DIF. Surely it’s diff, with twos F’s, right? That word with one F just looks so awkward to me. And it doesn’t google well at all, in particular as that phrase.

Harryp 2:17 AM  

I know it is a Monday, but I whipped through this in 8:19, as compared to my average Monday time now 11:57. Best Monday time 3:50, but that may be an anomaly, since I am a slow solver. Went for the ones I could get, and the rest followed suit. The big problem I have is thanking Zhouquin Burnikel for his effort, because I have trouble spelling his name!

jae 2:20 AM  

Easy and just about right for a Mon. Liked it a bunch! Did not know that TEA was a tree....learned something.

'merican in Paris 3:12 AM  

Hi Annabel. Cute pooch! Did you have to give it the command to STAY! while you took its photo?

Definitely a canine sub-theme going on, with KENNEL crossing DROOLS, along with ANTIC, EAT and ODOR.

I whizzed through this one, shaving off a couple minutes from my usual time. The TREES in the theme answers were something I paid attention to only once I got to 64D, AND wasn't sure what to enter at _ EL. I saw ALDER and ASH in 18A AND so "E" it was. Nature, or at least crosswords, ARBORS a vacuum, as it were.

Nothing really to take ISSUE with this puzzle. A bit high on the PPP count, it seems to me, but inferable from the crosses.

I spent 10 years (ages 8 through 18) in a suburb of MIAMI. Too hot and humid for my taste.

Questions, questions. Did DALI take LSD? Are all STEALTH FIGHTERS ARMED? Are the purported health benefits of ACAI a SCAM?

In any case, PROPs to Burnikel for a good Monday puz.

chefwen 3:49 AM  

@Harryp, Zhouqin in a she and a most impressive and prolific constructor of crosswords, especially since English is her second language.

Zipped through this one very quickly and had fun finding my trees. Questioned TEA also, like others I thought it was a bush and I took a plant science course. DOH!

Best DELMONICO steak is at Berns Steak House in Tampa FL, to die for.

Loren Muse Smith 4:31 AM  

Loved it! I’m glad they didn’t use circles, but it was hard to understand that TEA is a tree. So you could take your pick of TEA or TEAK in DELMONICO STEAK.

Annabel – what a cute dog. And a terrific name.

But soft! what ODOR through yonder ARBOR breaks?
It is the KENNEL, and Juliet is a Good. Girl.

I’ve always liked the idea of naming a dog Dammit.

Speaking of names, we have the DALI DELI. (I would name a restaurant I Don’t Care. Think about it.

So, where do you want to eat?
I don’t care.

I’ve said recently, DROOL feels a little different from “slobber.” It feels like the salivating guy is more of an active participant in a slobber event. In a drool event, he might not even know it’s happening. (I actually have a personal drool story that involves yellow cheetah print sunglasses, a nasty woman, and Novocain. I really do. And no, I didn’t know I was drooling. Which made the whole thing creepier.)

CC- great catch of DOUBLE TREE working for a theme. Nicely done.

Mo Pariser 4:33 AM  

The theme added nothing to this puzzle other than a post-solve word hunt. It was no help knowing that 2 out of who knows how many trees (60,000 species according to a quick Google search) would appear in 3 different answers. So what? One of the answers was DELMONICO STEAKS. What ISN'T hidden in there? Sesame Street character, Geometric ratio abbv, Coffee alternative, River in Germany, Overhead concern?, My name, My friend's name (hint: it's Nico,) A totally arbitrary cut of steak named for a New York restaurant... You've got it all.

On that subject, DELMONICO STEAKS belongs nowhere near a Monday puzzle. What even is it? Yuck. Is it safe to touch? It's grossing me out. Hold onto it until Thursday please. BALDERDASH should really be the upper limit of weird phrases for so early in the week.

Or maybe not. It's possible I'm just sour because I had a chance at my best Monday time today (Annabel, you're grading on quite the curve) before stumbling on DELMONICO. (I misread 'actor' as 'doctor' and originally wanted SpAz for SNAG.... It's 3am)

Or maybe ZB was a hungry puzzle maker (see TASTE, SARALEE, DELI, DROOLS, EATS, ACAI, corn HUSK, BARISTA) and just had to fit her favorite STEAK in the fill. To that I give PROPS. Well done, SIS. You did it.

P.S. Annabel, your dog looks exactly like mine. S/he's perfect.

Lewis 6:11 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
michiganman 6:42 AM  

It was fun that the grid was easy but finding the theme answers was the harder part. Regarding honeybunch/TOOTS. (see first comment) Calling this insanely sexist is over reaction. Honeybunch can be a term of endearment directed at either sex. Toots is just archaic. I don't think the terms are well matched, but offensive? Probably not.

Good ol' Joe 6:44 AM  

Her name

Hungry Mother 7:04 AM  

Once I started on the downs, it was easy, even for a Monday. The theme did nothing for me, nothing against trees.

Lewis 7:08 AM  

The puzzle felled in average time for me.

Clever idea for a theme, and difficult to execute, I imagine. Not only coming up with pairs of theme answers of equal length, but finding common words and phrases with two tree names embedded. I couldn't think of another one. It much easier to come up with words that effectively embed a tree name (spearhead, happiness, eyewitness, affirm), but it's a feat to double-tree.

As always, with CC, a clean and solid grid, and a very nice springboard for the week ahead. Thank you, CC!

Jamie C 7:13 AM  

So DELMONICOSTEAK has a triple tree, ELM, TEA, and TEAK, and then another answer has TEA? I call foul.

Alicia Stetson 7:15 AM  


kitshef 7:23 AM  

Having complained about Mondays that were too tough for beginners recently, I guess I have to accept a low-ohm puzzle.

Not a fan at all of the long downs although the medium ones (6-7 letters) were nice.

Liked having EMUS and RHEA – but where’s the ostrich?

Picturing the sandwiches they would serve at the DALI DELI.

kitshef 7:26 AM  

We get TEA tree oil from a different plant than we get the TEA we drink. Both plants are sometimes called a TEA tree - though the drinking TEA plant is a shrub.

chefbea 7:40 AM  

Fun Yummy puzzle!!! Hand up for having trouble finding the trees!!

Stayed at a doubletree hotel a few years ago. The warm chocolate chip cookies were delish!! I finally got the recipe for them

G. Weissman 7:54 AM  

Not a hard puzzle and not a good theme.

Gretchen 8:20 AM  

Hard? Cummon, Rex. This was a fill in the blank, right straight through. No challenge, no fun. Zipped through it while eating a bagel and sausage links.

Anonymous 8:23 AM  

I personally liked the King and I shout outs on TWO clues. Because Deborah Kerr AND the song the King sings
A girl must be like a blossom
With honey for just one man.
A man must be like honey bee
And gather all he can.
To fly from blossom to blossom
A honey bee must be free,
But blossom must not ever fly
From bee to bee to bee.

Which was what I thought of when I saw the Bee clue,

GILL I. 8:30 AM  

I think CC had another mini story going as well:
I haven't had a DElMONICO STEAK in an ERA.
Fun Monday. All to my TASTE.

RooMonster 8:30 AM  

Hey All !
Puz told me DONT BLOW IT, and I didn't. Found all the TREEs. Cause I'm a DOER. DARN TOOTin'. :-)

A typical (as opposed to atypical) CC MonPuz. We haven't had one in a while, no? Last CC puz I remember was a Friday or Saturday, or is my memory fuzzy. (Likely) Liked the DOUBLE TREEs. Even have some BEE ANTICs buzzing around them. UFOs in IDAHO, too. No ISSUE with the fill, either.

I'm going to start saying BALDERDASH when I know someone's un-truthing. Har. You know EMUS can fly, right?
Some people might think it's a CUSS.


Wm. C. 8:39 AM  

@Kitshef -- "... A low-ohm puzzle." Ha! Are you an Electrical Engineer? ;-)

I also found the puzzle a bit more difficult than the average Monday. Which is good. Typically, too easy is not much fun. I'd prefer Mon/Tues to be more challenging, and Saturday less so. For me Weds/Thurs/Fri/Sun difficulty is about right. I understand that they're trying to appeal to a full spectrum of solvers. But sheesh, I'd bet that the vast majority of us fall in that middle spot of the difficulty spectrum.

Nancy 8:44 AM  

Nice write-up, Annabel -- though I don't agree that this puzzle was Hard. I think it was the exact opposite of Hard.

I wish this constructor would just create the grid and get someone else to do the cluing. I'm damned if I can find a single interesting clue in the entire lot. The puzzle was a complete snoozefest for me and, after last week's wonderful collection of puzzles, it doesn't bode well for the week to come.

Anonymous 8:46 AM  

When you see "shady", think arbors. It is standard crosswordese. I raced through this fairly quickly though had to skip over delmonico steak at first. I did not see the trees until I was completely done and went back and looked for them. I thought it was clever. How many words of a certain length have two trees in them?

Missy 8:57 AM  

Cummon,Gretchen -- It's Annabel!

Charles Flaster 9:05 AM  

Quick solve but a beautiful theme.ACAI should be in everyone’s memory bank.
Thanks AT, nice review.

carlisle 9:08 AM  

Juliet is adorable!

Unknown 9:10 AM  

Close to my Monday best. A little delay because I erred on the direction clue. I read it wrong. (I must need new glasses) I knew the down cross answer didn't make sense.

I didn't get the theme at all. I got DOUBLETREE from the Hilton clue. It didn't seem especially hard for a Monday.

Z 9:14 AM  

A fine Monday offering. I liked that the theme didn't really help with the solve. This feature might bug me on a Wednesday or a Thursday, but strikes me as a positive on a Monday.

@michiganman - Maybe it is just me, but in my Venn Diagram "sexist" and "offensive" do not overlap 100%, and context matters on whether or not the term makes it into the circle. If I call my S.O. "honeybunch" it is a term of endearment. But if I call the waitress "honeybunch" I'm being sexist and probably don't understand why the service is so bad. "TOOTS" is archaic to my ears, but definitely has a sexist noir feel to it. Neither particularly offends me, but if I hear a man using them I'm confident I won't much like him.

GHarris 9:18 AM  

I'm not a time solver so don't keep track but this had to be one of my fastest times ever; never had to stop and think, just kept writing. Finding the trees, on the other hand, was a problem.. Quickly found one in each answer, then the two in Delmonico, but had trouble finding the alder and believed that the source of tea was a bush.

RJ 9:25 AM  

I had been thinking about the cluing for Deborah KERR - it seems to always reference "The King and I" - she was in so many other memorable movies that maybe it time for a change - especially after the song lyrics posted by @Anonymous

Yeah, Annabelle, LEWD is right up there with "moist". And Juliet is a love and you were right to post a picture of her. It’s probably a good thing that we can’t post pictures to this blog.

Anonymous 9:33 AM  

I believe you when you say that you probably wouldn't like a fellow who says toots. Just stunning to me that you find yourself so virtuous and others so wanting. And that you can infer so much from so little info. What a marvelous skill. Please, tell us a more about how the world should be. And what the 2018 midterms will bring. I'm dying to know. Maybe you'll do better than last time. I doubt it. But hey, who knows.

I think you can do better. If your mistress doesn't like "moist"--a spectacularly common term for dog food---you're almost certainly not getting the chow you'd really love.

jberg 9:46 AM  

Cute dog!

I liked the theme, but I was bothered by the hidden TEA in TEAK, especially with TEA in another theme answer. I can’t think of another possibility, though

Shouldn’t 34A have had a “legendary” qualifier?

Jean-Baptiste Frédéric Isidor Thielemans (Baron Thielemans) 9:49 AM  

You can call me Toots any time you want.

Stanley Hudson 9:50 AM  

As always, appreciate Annabel’s write-ups.

As for the puzzle, ZB’s work is typically stellar and today is no exception.

#Runnymede 1215

Harryp 9:50 AM  

Thanks @chefwen, I stand corrected, and will remember her name.

Anonymous 9:53 AM  

Close to your Monday best but you didn't get the theme. ?????

jberg 9:54 AM  

Yellowstone cartographer hopes to....


Hat tip to @Loren.

Chris 9:57 AM  

Put me down on the easy side--Monday record, as a matter of fact.

If you like The King and I, (or even if you don't) do yourself a favor and listen to Kelli O'Hara sing "Hello, Young Lovers." Her use of rubato is completely enchanting.

Outside The Box 10:13 AM  

Really? What else do you want to sanitize from the English language? Get a grip.

Suzie Q 10:14 AM  

I'm starting to warm up to this constructor. I thought this was clever. So what if it's a Word Search and crossword rolled into one?
I'll call this a two-fer.
I haven't seen a Delmonico steak in ages but it seems to me it used to be more common. Is that what is now a boneless ribeye? Love them both.
@'merican 3:12, I'd guess yes on the Dali LSD question but a definite yes on a lot of his fans.
My own Honeybunch sometimes calls me Toots. But it doesn't rhyme with hoots. I don't know how to describe it.

Aketi 10:42 AM  

@Annabel, nice write up. adorable dog.


Hahaha @Michiganman, just try calling me TOOTS in person. You too @Anon 9:33 am.

Unknown 11:07 AM  

Finished without help!! After was all finished I found the double trees in the answers,, this did did not help to finish the puzzle

GILL I. 11:16 AM  

@Toots Thielmans. RIP..... I'll always think of you and Midnight Cowboy....!
You can call me TOOTS as well.

jb129 11:25 AM  

Over before I knew it!

Hello Annabelle :)

mmorgan 11:27 AM  

Sheesh, Annabel, one more year?!? Weren't you just getting ready to start college...?

I enjoy these Annabel Mondays, though I often do wonder what Rex would say about these puzzles...

Bernard "Toots" Shor 11:28 AM  

Anyone who thinks TOOTS is sexist should stay the hell out of my saloon.

Lewis 11:41 AM  

My five favorite clues from last week:

1. Car nut (3)
2. It has a head and hops (3)
3. It contains dwarfs and giants (6)
4. Often animated greeting (5)
5. It may be in a sling (3).


mathgent 11:42 AM  

In yesterday's NYT, the excellent novelist Claure Messud reviewed Circe by Madeline Miller. Odysseus visited her island in the Odyssey and she bore him at least one son. I enjoyed learning about Circe's life in the Greek mythology but what got my attention most was the name of her island: Aiaia. I expect to see this clue for a five-letter word soon: "Circe's island."

Masked and Anonymous 12:01 PM  

Well, well … Long time no C.C.! [har -- Told yah. Prolific.]

Primo theme, but like others, ruled out TEA tree in my 49-A search, as already had it in 29-A. Sooo … really maybe need a new 49-A themer. SPRUCE LEE FIGHT? A pinch too desperate. Will have to work on it …

staff weeject pick: NNE. Has credentials: Patrick Berry Usage Immunity. Also, honrable mention to EAT, as it has a tree [actually, kinda more a shrub] hidden in it.

staff blog dog pick: Juliet. What dog-breed is she? Cute; watch out for roamin Romeos, tho. Or U may have lotsa lil juuls on yer hands.

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {180 from SSW} = NNE. Better clue, as per Blu'Bel's request: {Nine minus one??}.

This was a well-crafted MonPuz, with a lil extra kick and bite and scratch and bark to it. Like.
Thanx, CC.

Great write-up, Blu'Bel darlin … superb hi-lite bullets.
Masked & Anonymo4Us

p.s. FIGHT WITH SPEARS? Nope … one twig too long …

15x15-er alert:
**giant gruntz**

Unknown 12:04 PM  

The theme went over my head and the revealer didn't reveal much. I still didn't see the trees after solving.

NorGal 12:10 PM  

Lost a few seconds to STEAlTH BOMB(E)ER instead of FIGHTER - would have been best Monday ever. Read an interesting story on the Acai berry once - apparently not a hoax, but also a way to create demand for a product from the Amazon to help the indigenous tribes.

Used to see lots of "glads" when I lived in Chicago during farmers' market season - not so much here in CA.

@chefwen - I agree, Bern's in Miami has amazing steaks (and a jaw-dropping wine cellar.
@chefbea - those chocolate chip cookies are good!

I think Dali Deli sandwiches would have lots of melted cheese dripping off the sides.

Nancy 12:13 PM  

Guys -- I really wouldn't call @Aketi TOOTS, if you know what's good for you. Trust me on this one. @Aketi: You go, girl!

Anonymous 12:30 PM  

My fastest Monday time ever...

Anonymous 12:31 PM  

Re 37D, “doers.”

Whenever I see this word I laugh. When I was a pre-adolescent in Virginia in the later 50's and early 60's, there was, as with many pre-adolescents, lots of sexual taunting and sexual fear. A favorite taunt, at least where I lived, was “do me.” This would always be male-on-male taunting, and I honestly think no one know precisely what one did when one “did” someone. On the receiving end would be a penis, surely–on the “doing” end would be–I’m not sure, perhaps nothing more than a hand, but perhaps more. In those pre-internet years, and pre-sexually-driven TV years, no one know much about what sexual activity really meant, especially when the activity was near borderline with homosexuality or heterosexuality.

Our public schools had bible readings each day. The choices of text were allotted to whomever wanted to take on the assignment. Sure enough, one boy decided to read that passage of Paul where he says that we all have to become “doers” (I’m not sure where: I’m in Italy and didn’t bring my bible). From the boys in the class there were grins and smirks; girls knew something was going on and did their appropriate gestures–how can you boys be so gross!

The teacher knew that there was a “sub-text” to this biblical reading, and she was angry and didn’t know exactly how to react. I think the lesson learned was that these readings have no business in the classroom. When evangelicals and others speak of “restoring” the bible to the classroom, I think they should look at things carefully. I honestly think that where I lived the mainstream preachers (non-Catholic, non-Baptist) didn’t want these readings–they knew that the Baptists would try to convert everybody, and there are plenty of biblical passages supporting a Baptist position.

The “Beyond the Fringe” comedy group from England invited all to speculate on the biblical passage: “And my brother Esau is a hairy man, but I am a smooth man” (Genesis, I can’t look it up). As early as the twelfth century canon lawyers were objecting to the misuse of scripture. Nuns were told that it was inappropriate to send to the lovers the message, “Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me,” or “Give us of thy oil, for our lamps have gone out.”

Anon. i.e Poggius
in Florence, where it is raining!

Anonymous 12:43 PM  

I’m an across clues only solver on Monday. I’m only successful about six times a year. Chalk this one up as a win. Theme really helped, which is rare on a Monday

Francis 12:46 PM  

@Poggius 12:31PM

Too bad there aren't any bibles in Italy because that could have been a great story.

JC66 1:02 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
JC66 1:09 PM  

I thought TEAL might be a kind of tree and when I googled it I got this .

And, re: SHADY .

kitshef 1:12 PM  

@M@A - your link is to yesterday's 7x7.

Teedmn 1:13 PM  

I can't remember ever having been called TOOTS. I don't think I look like someone who would be called TOOTS except ironically. So I can't say whether I would feel insulted if it were applied to me.

I had a faintly slow start on this, with 1A being a total WOE, but soon recovered to finish under 6 minutes, so quite fast for a Monday for me. I did have a moment of panic when going back to see the forest for the TREES. 29A, I saw ELM in DELMONICO, but in STEAK I thought, "OMG, a DNF, it should be oAK..." But obviously STEAK was right and Deborah KERR confirmed the E so, panic over, I finally saw TEAK. Our office has a TEAK conference table which used to be my boss's dining room table. When he brought it in for our use, lo these many decades ago, it was rather beat up so I volunteered to strip and re-stain it. Wow, TEAK is hard to work with and doesn't take stain very well. So although it no longer has scars on it, the stain is slightly uneven in spots. Luckily, we don't have power meetings at work. No need for any $31,000 conference tables here.

Thanks, CC, for a nice theme and no BALDERDASH.

JC66 1:15 PM  


Please check your GIANT GRUNTZ link.

Masked and Anonymous 1:37 PM  

@JC66: yep. Wrong link again, M&A breath.

Try this toot-sweeter, instead:

**gianter than snot gruntz**

"No Refunds"

RAGING KOI FIGHT? ahar! Contender!

kitshef 1:42 PM  

@M&A - sorry to be a killjoy again today, but it's ginkgo.

Birchbark 1:48 PM  

When I'm in downtown New York for work, I often have dinner in the bar at Delmonico's. Good spot to work an archived puzzle on the app. I haven't had the DELMONICO STEAK, but I do like the steak frites there as well as their burgers. Sometimes I stay at the DOUBLETREE hotel a couple blocks away.

JC66 2:03 PM  


Got it. Thanks for today and a every other day you post a puz. Luv em.

JC66 2:14 PM  


I posted the above before doing "giantess than snot grunts". I swear. ;-)

Monty Boy 2:19 PM  

Easy for me, but that may be due to the 50 year difference in comment/solvers' ages. Cute Juliet. I’ll see her and raise a Baxter (new Sheltie pup). Photo available on request.

Great puzzle!! Great write up!

Banana Diaquiri 2:25 PM  

FWIW, TOOTS, when it was widely used in the vulgate, is gender ignorant. the most famous being Toots Shor. TOOTsie is another matter.

Masked and Anonymous 2:35 PM  

@kitshef: day-um. Well, hey -- "gingko" is an alternate spellin, at least. Gimme a break, sports fans.

How'bout this puppy, then: FIGHT WILDFIRES?

@JC66: yep. U definitely sounded more grateful than U were about to be, IM&AO.

"Tree and Out"

JC66 2:41 PM  


U're being way too modest. That's not what I meant & U know it.

Anonymous 2:56 PM  

Bee does not pass my breakfast test.

Sick 'o war and no peace 3:48 PM  

@Banana, Thank you. Any woman in an old B&W movie from the '30s referred to as Toots was one to be reckoned with. Insanely sexist? You'll find anything everywhere if you look hard enough.

'merican in Paris 3:57 PM  

@Anonymous 12:31 PM -- "there are plenty of biblical passages supporting a Baptist position."

I hadn't heard of that one before. Is it similar to the missionary position?

GILL I. 4:20 PM  

You know....I seriously don't mind any one particular affectionate nickname. My favorite uncle used to call me cookie and I loved that one. He could have called me Toots and I would not have minded. Now if some old geezer is leering at me and asks "What's up Toots?" I might do an @Aketi. I even don't mind some sweet old duck calling me "hon" when asking if I want ketchup on my grits. Just don't call me a fat cow.....

Anoa Bob 4:34 PM  

Sheesh. I don't recall seeing DOUBLETREE before. Must brush up on names of hotel chains.

Jeez. Since ARBOR is Latin for "tree" and 24A ARBORS is clued "shady places", is it part of the theme? And if it is, how does its symmetrical counterpart DROOLS at 54A fit into that picture. Or is it purposefully left dangling out there to create dissonance and lack of closure in the mind of the solver? Yeesh.

Another, more contemporary KERR is former Chicago Bull player and current Golden State Warriors coach Steve.

sanfranman59 5:26 PM  
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Anonymous 5:47 PM  

A DNF for me.
I couldn't see the forest.....

Normal Norm 5:51 PM  

I better not call @ Aketi Toots because she knows martial arts?
A word she is offended by allows her to threaten violence because she's a woman?
Something is not right with this.

JC66 6:14 PM  
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Anonymous 6:22 PM  

Don't encourage him.

Anonymous 7:53 PM  

Easiest Monday ever, for me. Didn't need the theme answers to get the clues. It's on to Tuesday . . .

Z 8:18 PM  

I’m thinking the headline writers of this article,4 Subtle Changes to English People Hardly Notice, don’t read these comments.

Anonymous 8:43 PM  

Let it go Norm,
Havent you heard? Women are victims and theyre not going to take it anymore.
Of course, put a gal to the test in the arena, and well...
Hell, search the archives. AKETI herself has admitted that she is no match for anyone over the age of 13 who possesses a Y chromosome.
She knows it. Tne Olympics know it. So does tne NCAA, and, well all of human experience until about 1972.
Its silliness. And she should be embarassed. So too Nancy.

Well-Adjusted Wilma 8:45 PM  

If you just keep your whiny, entitled male chauvinist piggy mouth closed, @"Normal", in the presence of women you don't know, you may yet escape bodily harm.

Anonymous 8:51 PM  

Youre wildly wrong,or at least the article is. Exhibit A
All Englishmen know how to use shall and shant, and no Irishman does.

sanfranman59 9:56 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. Your results may vary.

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

Mon 3:17 4:30 0.73 1.3% Very Easy

(Reposting ... in case anyone has interest in the numbers I post, I neglected to update them when I copied and pasted the stats part from last Monday's post)

This was my 5th fastest recorded NYT Monday solve time (467 puzzles) and the second lowest difficulty ratio of the last 159 Monday puzzles. I find nothing particularly noteworthy about this puzzle on either the plus or the minus side. The theme had no impact on my solve. It's a Monday. It took some time post-solve to realize that TEA is one of the trees, but a big demerit for it appearing in two of the themers (though it's part of TEAK in one of them). Boo to that.

Monty Boy 2:44 PM  

Really easy for me. About half my average time (not a speed solver). It’s interesting what makes for Easy/Medium/Hard.

My Bullets:
• I had a friend in high school who was a spelunker so I could get CAVER easily.
• I’ve heard the quip before so could fill it in with just a few crosses.
• I have worked in Minnesota on several Reservations, so OJIBWA came easily for me (maybe not others?)
• Saw WIZ and thought right away of training our new pup.
• Heard of CLOY before, but didn’t remember the definition.
• I liked the clue for COINOP

Hand up:
• Pod instead of GAM
• Haven’t heard of HOT STOVE baseball. I’ve even watched the Ken Burns documentary.

@LMS. Loved the lip reading videos. As one who has hearing aids, I hear things no one else does, kinda like the lip readers.
And to add to your trove of nasal stuff: I thought I had a bloody nose, but it’s not.

Unknown 9:33 PM  

Easy, went through it quickly. No crossovers.

thefogman 10:09 AM  

It was a fine puzzle, for a Monday.

thefogman 10:16 AM  

The Tea tree does not produce tea leaves. Tea comes from the camellia sinensis plant. The two plants are not related and tea tree oil is poisonous if ingested.

spacecraft 11:36 AM  

A very easy "do," but as I was zipping through I kept thinking: what is the DARN theme? Or would it be an actual Monday themeless? Then came the reveal, and of course I had to go back over to pick out the trees. Couldn't get TEA, though, because as @thefogman just said, potable tea comes from plants, not trees. The theme seemed just a bit thin, though; the first one was good with all but two letters given to trees. The others were long answers with short trees--a lot of extraneous letters. It seemed as though there were ANY number of ways to "do" that.

However, that's the only GLITCH in an otherwise excellent puzzle. @Annabel, I love your dog just from the photo. My aunt had a pug named Dutchie; every day of that spoiled dog's life she enjoyed a DELMONICOSTEAK for dinner. AMENTOTHAT!

DOD is Deborah KERR, rolling on the beach with Burt. I can't believe people are upset about TOOTS. Geez, get over it. Birdie.

leftcoastTAM 1:19 PM  

Classic version of a well-made, Monday-easy puzzle with a bite.

One tree got in the way for a moment: TEA tree sounded a bit odd to me.

And needed TRIO replacing magi to open the gate to the SW.

Nice piece of work,.

Burma Shave 2:10 PM  


TODD TRIES to STAY away from RHEA,
her ANTICs TEND to BEE LEWD AND we know it,
AND she’ll BEE DARN GLAD to see ya,
BUT just AVOID her or say, “SIS, DON’TBLOWIT.”


rondo 4:54 PM  

I had no idea where this was headed until DOUBLETREE. Don’t recall ever hearing of a TEA TREE, though.

I used to COACH Little League while I was still a teenager. I hope my attention span was better than those kids.

If a DELMONICOSTEAK is a thick rib-eye or NY strip STEAK, I make them all the time. Or sometimes a T-bone, which is just the strip STEAK on one side of the bone and the filet on the other. Didn’t realize there was a fancy name for certain cuts, DELMONICOSTEAK you say?

Agree on Deborah KERR. Yeah baby.

CC does it again. Pretty good Mon-puz.

strayling 6:15 PM  

This one was just about perfect for a Monday. Not exactly difficult, but interesting theme clues along the way to solving. Plus, I think I learned the origin of TOOTS:

Diana,LIW 7:29 PM  

Basically agree with @Lefty - a great-for-a-beginner Monday with a bit 'o bite.

Agree with all those TEA tree comments - I mean I've heard of the oil, but never thought about the tree.

Lady Di

thefogman 9:48 PM  

45D is wrong. Mrs. Foggy does NOT like Sara Lee.

Unknown 10:29 PM  

I know...its like when"afro" is an answer... Rex goes apeshit with the racist card...irs i a word

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