Desert beast / MON 8-20-18 / Brand that "nobody doesn't like" / Person not getting credit for a brave act

Monday, August 20, 2018

Constructor: Peter Gordon

Relative difficulty: Easy


THEME: Meat entrees — Each theme answer is a different meat dish named after a city

Theme Answers: 
  • CHICKEN KIEV (17A: Meat entree in Ukraine)
  • VIENNA SAUSAGES (28A: Meat entree in Austria)
  • BEEF WELLINGTON (47A: Meat entree in New Zealand)
  • LONDON BROIL (62A: Meat entree in the United Kingdom) 
Word of the Day: LAHTI (51A: Emmy winner Christine)

Christine Ann Lahti (born April 4, 1950) is an American actress and filmmaker. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the 1984 film Swing Shift. An eight-time Golden Globe nominee and six-time Emmy Award nominee, she won a Golden Globe for the 1989 TV movie No Place Like Home, and won a Golden Globe and an Emmy in 1998 for her role as Kate Austin in the CBS series Chicago Hope (1995–99). She also had recurring roles on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (2009–11), Hawaii Five-0 (2012–16), and The Blacklist (2015–17).

• • •
Hi y'all! I'm Matthew, a recent college grad, newly-employed public radio producer and budding crossword enthusiast filling in for Rex as he rounds out the Lollapuzzoola weekend. I made my puzzle tournament debut at Boswords last month (s/o Laura Braunstein, whose guest blog appearance inspired me to sign up!), and I can say — if Lolla's musical guest was half as entertaining as the Boston Typewriter Orchestra, then it surely was a great weekend for all involved.

But on to the puzzle!

I started attempting the puzzle every day on my morning train commute last summer. And like all of us in our early days of solving, I really struggled with Wednesday puzzles onward each week. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays were complete no-gos altogether. So I really looked forward to Mondays: my weekly opportunity to rekindle any nascent excitement for puzzling that had been snuffed out by midweek discouragement.

In my humble opinion, this week's Monday accomplishes half of the Monday constructor's mission. On the plus side — the grid is clean, there's not a lot of obscurity to bog down novice solvers, and the crosswordese — ANKA, ALDA, ENE and company (7D: "My Way lyricist Paul / 57A: Alan who wrote the book "If I Understand You, Would I have This Look on My Face?" / Direction from Mo. to Me.) — are few and far-between.

On the other hand (that's OTOH, for you newbies) — the puzzle is just flat-out uninspiring. Little about it feels exciting or invigorating. UNSUNG HERO (11D: Person not getting credit for a brave act) crossing PHAT (35A: Excellent, informally) is nice. The cluing on AUTO (55a: Jam ingredient?) is interesting and requires some extra thinking (although "ingredient" seems a bit of a stretch). But IN TOTO (49D: Like members of the band who blessed the rains down in Africa)


 ... Ahem ...  I digress. IN TOTO (49D: Counting everything), this is a tepid grid anchored by a very straightforward, bland theme. There's nothing wrong with it, per se (except that VIENNA SAUSAGES is the only plural of the bunch for no apparent reason?). But there's no payoff. Filling in meat entree after meat entree (clued oh-so plainly as such, nonetheless) doesn't spark the feeling of triumph that completing a puzzle (especially as a beginner) so often brings.

This could be someone's only real shot at solving the puzzle until next Monday! This could be someone's first successful solve in their young, soon-to-be prodigious crosswording career! It feels like we owe it to all the aspiring solvers to be a bit more creative and dynamic to start off the week. *steps off soapbox* *hands microphone back to Rex*

Bullets:
  • INFIELD FLY (29D: Pop-up that results in the batter being called out even if the ball isn't caught) — As a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan and all around baseball nerd, this made me smile. Baseball answers seem to come up all the time (lookin' at you, ALOU) but this felt refreshingly original.
  • AT LARGE (46D: Like a prison fugitive) — Can anything else be AT LARGE besides fugitives? I'm drawing a blank.
  • STAR (32D: Symbol on the Texas state flag) — Yes, I'm a Dallas lifer, and yes, I believe this is the only way STAR should ever be clued.
  • WHALES (48D: Moby Dick and others) — Moby Dick, Shamu and Free Willy are the only three famous whales I can think of. Help me complete my cetacean Mount Rushmore!
Signed, Matthew Stock, CrossWorld rookie in for Rex

[Follow Matthew Stock on Twitter for podcast musings and Cubs fandom]
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

98 comments:

Graham 12:21 AM  

Yes, one other use comes to mind: legislative bodies can have members AT LARGE or district members. The U.S. Senate, for example, has members AT LARGE — the whole state votes for them. Members of the House of Representatives are elected by geographical (hah! call that politico-geographical) district.

There are some bodies (like some city councils) that have both district members and AT LARGE members.

chefwen 12:45 AM  

We have some nice UDON noodles as a side ending up with some SARA LEE cake for dessert, all washed down with a pint of ALE and we will probably have some LONDON BROIL left over to make TACOS with. Sounds delish!

Super easy and tasty Monday.

Anonymous 1:18 AM  

Committees can have members at large, who are on the committee by free appointment rather than by dint of the office they hold.

newspaperguy 1:31 AM  

Yes, other things can be at large. Directors, delegates, councillors, etc.

Anonymous 2:31 AM  

City Councilors can be At Large.

Larry Gilstrap 2:44 AM  

It's Monday and the puzzle didn't suck. Can't believe I'm endorsing this comment. Well, we get cities and meat entrees, only one actually being plural. Close enough for early in the week. I guess one sausage wouldn't be enough; those things are small from VIENNA. Austrians need to work on that.

I've already copped to being a Moby-Dickhead in this very forum, so I am happy to be reminded that he is indeed one of fraternity of great WHALES, hopefully still plying the oceans of this planet. They live many decades, at least before the climate became tainted.

I was just trying to explain that weird triple play that the Angels experienced recently. My wife nodded politely as I excitedly described the INFIELD FLY rule and why it mattered. I follow baseball and never watch a game until late Sept. and all of October. Ooh, look at the calendar! Better call the cable company. Boston is the best team going into this thing; so many other contenders just lurking.

Wow! ERIC Garcetti gets billing. Is it he or his father Gil who is the photographer of things LA?

jae 3:03 AM  

Yep, easy. Matthew covered it.

Loren Muse Smith 4:11 AM  

Hey, Matt – thanks for filling in.

Textbook Monday theme. And tight. All meats (sorry lacto-ovo vegetarians, vegans, fruitarians, pescatarians, beegans, and whatever new names are out there. I guess locavores can eat meat as long as it belonged to a neighbor? I dunno. Then there are reducetarians – basically yer Weight Watchers? And climatarians – people who eat climates.

In our culture, meat (used to be) the star – and these are entrees. I mean back in the day when I asked Mom what was for supper, she always answered just with the meat.

What’s for supper?
Pork chops


Not

Pork chops, green beans, pineapple ring with a dollop of mayo in the middle and cheddar cheese sprinkled on top and exactly 4 tater tots. And powdered skim milk.

So here’s the question: when you write, say, VIENNA SAUSAGE, do you capitalize the V? I can tell you I’ve looked into this a bit, and the jury’s still out. I think you can make an argument for either. But lots of grammarians say that the more mainstream a food becomes, the less likely that the place’ll be capitalized. So french fries, swiss chard, american cheese. But… Brussels sprouts.

Peter – loved UNSUNG HERO.

‘mericans in Ulster 4:51 AM  

I don’t know about the other cities, but in Vienna an “entree” is a starter, not the main dish. Somehow, in American English, the term “entree” got shifted to later on in the meal.

Anonymous 5:24 AM  

Fudgie the whale.

One wouldn’t serve a single Vienna sausage.

Lewis 5:56 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 6:03 AM  

To go along with its clean grid and mini-theme of EE's (6), it's a very tight theme. I'm guessing Peter would have put another theme answer where SARA LEE is if he could finagle it, but the only other answer that I can think of that belongs with this tight set is PEKING DUCK, which has an even number of letters and wouldn't work for the middle.

The puzzle provided for a lovely dash; once again, Peter served up a good one.

Cassieopia 6:38 AM  

Nice write-up, Matt, and I agree with you wholeheartedly. This Monday puzzle, while adequate, had no bite to it despite the toothsome theme. And easy easy easy even for a Monday. Best part of doing it was coming here and finding that Matt had the good taste to include the Toto clip. That’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do.

Dave 6:44 AM  

Nice writeup!

I'm old, so I don't know -- is PHAT still a thing?

Anonymous 6:53 AM  

and there are states with small enough populations that they only get one representative in the House. Montana, I think, and maybe Vermont and Wyoming?

Hungry Mother 7:07 AM  

I wish constructors would stop ruining puzzles with names that can only be filled-in by crosses. I don’t see the point.

michiganman 7:15 AM  

Good enough puzzle. I was bothered by 29D. The word rule needed to be in the clue. It was easy to answer but
was incomplete. The vast majority of INFIELD FLYS (flies?) DO have to be caught. It is only in the situation specified in the rule that it doesn't have to be caught. But..it was a baseball clue so I give it a pass.

Is it important that one theme answer is plural?

Also, the short loop videos are starting to be annoying.

kitshef 7:30 AM  

Shows that Mondays need not be INANE. Of course they’ll be easy, but you can still work in an interesting theme and some nice long downs in the fill.

Had CHICKEN KyiV before KIEV, and after fixing that, MAINmAst efore MAINSAIL, but no other overwrites.

Shamu and Willy are not, technically, whales. So Matthew needs three more for his Mount Rushmore (or two if he accepts Fudgie, as he should).

FLAC 7:32 AM  

FWIW, each city is its country’s capital. Nice touch.

Anonymous 7:39 AM  

learn something?

Anonymous 7:52 AM  

From: www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/photos/10-of-the-worlds-most-famous-whales/thar-she-blows


Shamu, Old Tom, Humphrey, Migaloo (albino humpback), Keiko (Willy), Delta and Dawn, Fail Whale (supposedly a Twitter thing)

Amy 8:20 AM  

haha nice write up. you got me on the toto cluing, i literally went back to my paper to check that clue again. LOL.

mmorgan 8:23 AM  

Not sure why, but I found this on the challenging side, for a Monday. FOR A MONDAY. It also made me hungry.

chefbea 8:25 AM  

@Chefwen...agree completely!!! What a yummy puzzle..the only thing missing was the beets!!! I have made all the theme answers..of course!!!

Bruce R 8:30 AM  

Am I the only one troubled by TACO being the answer to Carne asada holder? The answer should be TORTILLA. A taco is the entirety of the tortilla and the contents, in this case carne asada. It's like confusing sandwich and bread. Clue: Ham and cheese holder. Answer: SANDWICH. I don't think so.

Crimson Devil 8:33 AM  

Re: C/capitalization and pronunciation: been on many a fishin trip where vIenna(veye-enna)s, sardines and saltines were the fare.

QuasiMojo 8:33 AM  

I had no BEEF with this puzzle. I enjoyed the mix of food and city. I also learned something. I had always assumed that Beef Wellington was named after the Duke of Wellington, and I was all set to complain that it was an outlier here, but Wikipedia informs me that the jury is out as to its exact origins, and that it very likely was named after the city of Wellington in New Zealand.

At Matt, "editor-at-large" is a common job title in the magazine biz.
Sounds like you'd make a good one.

Sorry I can't think of a fourth famous "whale" for you. Maybe James?

Anonymous 8:44 AM  

Entries in athletic tournaments can also be at large.

GILL I. 8:44 AM  

Cute enough Monday but for some reason it grated a tad.
If I want to get pedantic (and I'm about to) then really, the only entree here that is valid in its origins is CHICKEN KIEV. When I got to LONDON BROIL I did do a bit of a "whoa Nellie"....That dish is American. Yup and now to get even more pedantic BEEF WELLINGTON is supposedly from the old Duke himself who, if I remember correctly, is from ENGLAND.
I realize that origins of food can be speculative but I stand my ground on LONDON BROIL.
Speaking of VIENNA SAUSAGES, not only are they the most vile things ever invented (probably in NYC) but in VIENNA they are called frankfurters.
Since I'm on a roll and because it has ALWAYS IRKED me, the entree of any meal means exactly that. "The Entrance" which means the first course you are served. Some people like soup.
Other than those little nits, I loved UNSUNG HERO. Mine is Irena Sandler. She should have many stgtues erected in her honor.

pmdm 8:51 AM  

Hungry Mother: Try constructing some puzzles yourself and you might get the point: ease of construction.

Alexander Cartwright 8:55 AM  

It seems that a ball hit up in the air and caught by an outfielder is called a “fly ball”. But one caught by an infielder is always called a “pop up”. So why isn’t the rule called “the infield pop up rule”?

Anonymous 8:55 AM  

whoa! "Pineapple ring with a dollop of mayo in the middle and cheddar cheese sprinkled on top." I never thought anything could be worse than Waldorf Salad (celery, so fabulous on its own let's put it in a dessert!)

But hilarious insight on the what's for dinner question. They DID always say meat.

Gulliver Foyle 8:56 AM  

Welcome, Matt. Pleasant and accurate write-up. Thanks, and good luck with your crossword and other careers.

pabloinnh 9:02 AM  

Re: WHALES-There's Baby Beluga, for all you Raffi fans (I always referred to him as "Baby Lechuga" in my Spanish classes), and Monstro, from Pinocchio.

Love the INFIELD FLY rule, which I can quote ver batim. Also always makes me think of the famous Dave Barry quote: "If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant's life, she will choose to save the infant's life without even considering if there are men on base."

Thought this was just fine for a Monday.

CaliMarie 9:10 AM  

Matt, you might enjoy the movie, "The Whales of August."

Anonymous 9:13 AM  

the picking is getting nittier but sometimes it's interesting

Crimson Devil 9:20 AM  

Re: sacrifice flies
Very knowledgeable ESPN baseball commentator Tim Kirkjean wrote two excellent baseball books: I’m Fascinated by Sacrifice Flies and Is This a Great Game or What?.

Suzie Q 9:55 AM  

Nice review Matthew, very articulate.
I associate Peter Gordon with difficult puzzles so when I saw his name I wondered what was ahead. Solid puzzle as I expected from a pro.
I second the motion to stop with those little video loops. It's hard to concentrate on reading with that constant movement distracting me.
That Alan Alda book title is pretty funny.

When cheeseburgers are for supper the answer to What's for dinner? is Ketchup! Just a little inside humor at our house.

gfrpeace 10:06 AM  

For those of you who get the Times for the puz and don't read the rest of the rag, Page 2 today has a write-up on the Times' crossword blog, Wordplay. Which I have never seen. Actually, until Trump got elected I never looked at page 2, either, but in November 2016 I stopped reading the first page for a while, so I had to start somewhere getting some value out of my 7-day print subscription, other than the puz, that is. Anyhow, Wordplay uis apparently very sweet and polite and supportive, sort of a Mr. ROgers' Neighborhood for x-word people. They do mentuion that there are other blogs out there beyond the times, that critique the puzzles and viciously attack puzzle makers.

Oh, today's puzzle. If I understand NAB for catch cold, I don't like it much.

Nancy 10:07 AM  

An easy, pleasant puzzle with no junk. I'll have the BEEF WELLINGTON, please, and hold the VIENNA SAUSAGES. If the BEEF WELLINGTON's anywhere near as good as I remember it to be (haven't had it in decades), the chef will be my --SUNG HERO.

Z 10:10 AM  

Best thing of the morning was Our Fearless Rookie's IN TOTO clue. I generally have no problem with Millenials as a group, but when it comes to Toto, Journey, Styx all I can do is cry, "Why?!? Why?!? Why?!?" I hope the love of overwrought '80's pop music is felt with tongue firmly in cheek.

@Bruce R - What else might a sandwich hold? Last night I made TACOs holding chicken, banana peppers, olives, radish slices, and tomatoes. No problem with the clue here.

I'm sure I mentioned this before, but WHALES of the great lakes is a site used by wife when she taught critical research methods. The number of students in Michigan who fell for this web site always astounds me. I assume they all love IN TOTO, too.

relicofthe60s 10:28 AM  

This could have been fixed with less-direct clueing;

Entree for a Ukrainian coward?
... for a pudgy Austrian?
... for a New Zealand complainer?
... for an English summer?

Cassieopia 10:37 AM  

@Bruce I too blinked at TACO, wanting tortilla instead. A taco is an entire dish; a tortilla is the “holder”. “Crispy carne asada treat” would have been a more accurate clue. Or, perhaps, “A —— truck on every corner”

jberg 10:38 AM  

I liked this theme, especially once I saw that the cities were all capitals, and even more when I looked up BEEF WELLINGTON and saw that it most likely was not named for the hero of Waterloo, but invented for a reception in NZ. I'm not sure how substantiated that claim is, though.

There's apparently some controversy whether Chicken Kiev comes from Kyiv, as well -- but they are all named for the capital cities of the countries named in the clues, so that's OK.

I think @Larry G answered the point about the plural sausages -- if they're going to be the entree, one is not enough.

A good revealer would have helped this puzzle, but I can't think of one -- "CAPITAL DISH" is too generic, I think.

Thanks, Matt! And welcome back (again) @Loren.

Z 10:39 AM  

@gfrpeace - Interesting. I don't normally read page two because I read the NYT's for it's slightly right of center news reporting and pages two and three are mostly just advertising for the rest of the paper, not news. What's most interesting to me is that all the communal events mentioned have occurred here, where we all "attack puzzle constructors." The meet-ups. The concern for missing commenters. The fund-raisers and charities. As I said, this sort of self-congratulatory puff piece is page two normal, so not a big deal. But I still found it sardonically amusing that other blogs were referenced as "attacking constructors."

WCTeacher 10:41 AM  

Apologies for not reading through the comments. Finish your cetacean MR? This is a crossword blog.....OMOO. Done.

Masked and Anonymous 10:51 AM  

Kinda makes yah wonder if the PO BOY was named after that Italian river, huh? Kinda.

Was off the past week at a far-off remote northern lodge, tryin to do watercolor paintings. Didn't do many crosswords, but did play an Exploding Kittens card game and a 25 Words or Less wordgame with fellow paint slappers, some evenings. Behold … M&A is the new Exploding Kittens lodge champ.

But, I digress (yo, @Matthew Stock). Nice blog write-up bullets, btw.

Peter Gordon MonPuzs are always a hoot. A lotta crossword-constructioneer-potency potential, descendin upon a fluffy, friendly little Monday puz slot. Sorta like killin an ant with an atom bomb. Always harder to spot the outstandin moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue, in a Peter Gordon MonPuz offering.
But … I will go with: {Houglass contents} = SAND ... even tho M&A wanted NSECS on that one.

staff weeject pick: ARF. Mainly becuz M&A painted 4 dog portraits for his friends, during the class.
fave fillins: UNSUNGHERO. INFIELDFLY. HAHA. YOYO. WHALES. ATLARGE. CINEMA. MAINSAIL. Public bathroom STALL.

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Gordon.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


**gruntz**

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

If you add chopped jalepeno to your Chicken Kiev recipe, what do you have? Chicken Chernobyl

gfrpeace 10:58 AM  

@Z - Sometimes page 2 is better than the actual article. Very variable. I agree with you totally about today's.

emily 10:59 AM  

Someone explain 55a jam? As in copy machine?

Nancy 11:00 AM  

@gfrpeace (10:06) -- I would have missed the article on p.2 of the NYT about the Wordplay Blog, so thanks for pointing it out. Yes, they do seem to be unfailingly nice over there, but they're a bit smug about it, don't you think? Moreover, they have a scrolling system that could only have been invented by the Marquis de Sade. Now that I've discovered that a comment can be cut and pasted from one blog to another, I might go over there regularly, in addition to continuing on the Rexblog -- same as @Lewis -- but I can't deal with their scrolling system. Maybe I'll head over there now and beg them to fix it.

Lewis 11:02 AM  

My five favorite clues from last week:

1. One giving you the aye? (3)
2. Geometric figure (4)
3. Primer finish (11)
4. Private leaders (9)
5. IV, to III (4)


PRO
AREA
Z IS FOR ZEBRA
CORPORALS
HEIR

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

And I thought Rex was a prick. Young Matthew, just what are the Monday constructor's objectives. I mean you tell us one was accomplished, but not what the other was.
And I think the reason Vienna sausages was plural because that the common usage. Surely the singular exists, but I cant recall ever coming across it. Have you?
You sound perfect for public radio. Condescending, self righteous and cock sure.

I liked the puzzle Mr. Gordon. Thank you.

Unknown 11:12 AM  

@jberg [Meal at which all the above dishes are served] CAPITAL TEA

*I'll get my coat*

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

@Z,
The Times's NEWS reporting is slightly right of center?! That is either the greatest troll of all time, or you truly are delusional. Either way, you win the interwebs today.

Anonymous 11:20 AM  

Members of national organizations who don’t belong to local chapters are members at large.

puzzlehoarder 11:24 AM  

Our guest blogger wants Mondays to be easy and still give him a sense of that
aha moment like he's uncovered something difficult. No wonder he's disappointed with this "meat" puzzle. He wanted some cheese to go with his whine.

I never thought of myself as a beginner even from the get go. My parents were puzzlers. Like most kids I've always considered myself smarter than they are and even though I didn't look at puzzles until I was 33 I seem to have inheireted their range somehow.

Anonymous 11:36 AM  

traffic jam - automobile

GILL I. 11:51 AM  

@Bruce R. et al....A TACO is a tortilla. The tortilla can be made of corn or wheat and is folded. You then insert your favorite filling. If you want it fried, then you ask for a dorado.
Please, though, do me a favor..... NEVER call a TACO a sandwich.

Warren Howie Hughes 11:57 AM  

The phrenetic Pussygatos pictured above pounding away at the Laptop positively doesn't possess any pause in it's paws! Heh Heh Heh

Anonymous 12:01 PM  

Monstro from Pinocchio is the obvious choice.

Nice job on your initial writeup. A breath of fresh air for a blog now almost always weighed down by snark and sanctimony.

Nancy 12:07 PM  

@Emily -- As in traffic.

That baffled me at first, too.

Anonymous 12:31 PM  

Traffic jam

RooMonster 12:36 PM  

Hey All !
@Matthew almost stole my intro!

Entree entries. Nice. But where are the Buffalo Wings? Har.

I AGREE it's a nice MonPuz. No OOFs. Was ABLE to finish with no TSKs. The long Downs were nice answers. Overall, a nice grid, light dreck, fun theme. A HOOT, or PHAT, if you will. HAHA. Yes, I'm a YOYO. :-)

Nice to have @M&A back. Missed your ETUDEs.

HYDRA should be clued as "GI Joe nemesis".

Three F's. inDEEDS. :-)

TACO LORE
RooMonster
DarrinV

chasklu 12:42 PM  

VERSE is not really a counterpart to chapter but a division of chapter;much like species to genus.

Teedmn 12:55 PM  

None of these theme meats would be found on my plate - in fact, I get a headache akin to an ice cream headache just thinking of Vienna sausages. I think they have a certain type of preservative in them that doesn't AGREE with me. They were served in some sort of potato dish in grade school-high school, ick.

I had a slight hitch with AUTO's clue - had to give it a second look before getting the clue.

And I can't remember running into "Freshwater polyp" as HYDRA previously. Post-solve Googling brings me to an article about immortality so if that's your ambition, try being reincarnated as a HYDRA magnipapillata.

Thanks, Peter Gordon. Always nice to learn something on a Monday.

Chick 12:55 PM  

Nice to see 50D getting it right regarding noon -- usually noon and midnight get assigned to be part of either PM or AM., (in the expression 12 PM or 12 AM) when noon and midnight actually separate the two. Of course the expressions AM and PM assume the "M" is noon, and completely ignore midnight. How long does midnight actually last anyway? It must be an incredibly short amount of time. Or maybe it's just a theoretical thing and not real anyway?

Rainbow 1:06 PM  

@relicofthe60s10:28 AM
I like your alternate clues for the themes, perfect for Fri. or Sat.

JC66 1:24 PM  

@Charles kluepfel

"Chapter and Verse" is an expression.

Aketi 2:27 PM  

HAHA, the poor little SAUSAGES from VIENNA just cannot compete with the status of the CHICKEN, BEEF, and BROIL from KIEV, WELLINGTON, and LONDON. My mother designated them as camp food. I don’t know how they are sold in VIENNA but she always bought them tightly wedged into small cans with some sort of gelatinous goo. She chopped them up and mixed them in with canned pork and beans, with Rice a Roni, and possibly even with mushroom soup. They even made it into scrambled eggs for breakfast. At home where she could bake, she’d wrap them I’m pillsbury dough for pigs in a blanket At least they were better than spam. Those camp meals did give us an incentive to fish for trout. I haven’t seen those little wieners in at least 40 years.

RobertM 2:43 PM  

There also are critics-at-large.

Blaize. 2:48 PM  

@Aketi. They were a key ingredient in our camp dinners when I first lived in Paris, though we called them Poet meals. Cheap and friendly with pasta, rice or eggs. We opted for the fresher (?) refrigerated 6 packs over the tin or jar variety. I guess our artistic daring only went so far. Thanks for the reminder of the versatile Knacki. 

Lundy 3:04 PM  

There was an operatic whale in a Disney cartoon from my childhood, sung by Nelson Eddy. I remember it mainly for the lovely aria he sang from Von Flotow's "Martha."

I used to read the Times blog but became weary of Deb Amlen's whimsy. She's a self-professed comedian, but I cant remember saying anything funny on the blog. And, unlike Rex, sh seldom said anything critical of the puzzle, being a Times employee.

ArtO 5:21 PM  

Our guest blogger must have spent his time since being nominated to take his turn by reading a raft of Rex's write-ups. His somewhat nasty criticism was totally over the top for a perfectly fine Monday puzzle.

I'm with @michiganman on the INFIELDFLY clue. Definitely needed "rule" in the clue.

JOHN X 5:40 PM  

This puzzle review was interesting. Here we have a self-described "rookie" explaining to us all what a Monday puzzle should and shouldn't be. Apparently it needs to be even easier, if I understand it correctly. My advice: go back and do some puzzles in the archive from 20 years ago. Do a whole month of puzzles from 1998 so you can get a good broad sample of what the New York Times crossword puzzle used to be like.

JC66 6:16 PM  

@ArtO

Read the clue for 29 D again:

"Pop-up that results in the batter being called out, even if the ball isn't caught."

What other kind of "pop-up" could it be, but an INFIELD FLY?

Crimson Devil 7:04 PM  

That’s actially a judgment call by ump: doesn’t actually have to be “infield”, can be short outfield but close enough so that fielder could intentionally drop ball and get multiple force outs: batter out, runners advance at own risk.

Anonymous 7:17 PM  

Not the point. Go back and read @Michiganman.

JC66 7:37 PM  

@Crimson Devil

Yes, but an INFIELD FLY with a man on base always results in an out...no judgment required.

Crimson Devil 8:34 PM  

Correct, but “infields”, cuts from outfield grass, vary from park to park, so umps might determine if close fly is “dropable” to generate doublin, thus call and batter out.

JC66 9:27 PM  

@Crimson Devil

The clue doesn't imply that the ONLY pop-up, but "A" pop-up results in an out. So although you're right that the INFIELD FLY rule can be called at the discretion of the umpire, it must always be called when the pop-up is in the infield.

If the clue was "Base scoring hit" and the answer was HOMER, you could argue that other types of hits might score a run if there were men on base, but that doesn't make the answer HOMER wrong.

And, it is called the INFIELD FLY rule.

Banana Diaquiri 9:38 PM  

@JC66:
Yes, but an INFIELD FLY with a man on base always results in an out...no judgment required.

well... not quite always. if there's just one guy on second or third (or both), then there's no call. the purpose of the call is to remove the force out(s) of runners due to letting the ball fall. with empty base(s) behind the runner(s), no force outs can be gained by not catching the INFIELD FLY.

JC66 9:52 PM  

@Banana

My mistake. I should have said "with a man on 1st, men on 1st & 2nd, or bases loaded." That being said. I stand by my argument that INFIELD FLY is a fine answer to 29D as clued.

Z 8:14 AM  

@Crimson Devil, @JC66, & @Banana Diaquiri - First, an “infield fly” is a fly ball that an infielder can catch with reasonable effort in fair territory. If there’s a shift on and the third baseman is in short right field something hit to them out there could be an “infield fly” but a short pop-up to third where no player is could not be. Second, it is a judgement call. Says so right in the rule. Thirdly, as @JC66 pointed out, crossword clues only have to right in one case, not all cases.

Dad 10:38 AM  

All the bids/invir
es to the ncaa basketall tourney who aren't conference champions are at large.

Dad 10:39 AM  

Not with just a man on first.

Dad 10:42 AM  

No and wrong, the umpire has to call it, could be a lazy looping pop-up to 2nd baseman, if he doesn't have time to camp under it it's not an infield fly.

Ibo 9:35 AM  

Monstro the whale (in Pinocchio). Scared the bejeezus out of when I was a kid. And whoever that whale was that swallowed Jonah.

Burma Shave 10:26 AM  

ONES EATEN

A LEAN LONDONBROIL is on the MAIN menu,
but we AGREE PHAT BEEFWELLINGTON comes first,
there’s CHICKENKIEV and CAMEL for you,
and these BAD VIENNASAUSAGES are wurst.

--- NOEL ANKA-ALDA

spacecraft 11:57 AM  

@ way-too-kind guest blogger Matthew: I nominate Gracie, the thankfully pregnant whale who saved the world in "Star Trek IV: the Voyage Home," best of the series and the only one directed by Nimoy.

Well, you can't say this one isn't meaty! I expect vegans to be offended. No but really...the big problem here is the cluing. I know we KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) for Monday, but geez! "Person not getting credit for a brave act" --you might as well just write UNSUNGHERO in the clue line. Many more like that.

And then we have the jarring exception--and it hits you right out of the gate at 3-down. WHO???? Of all the ERICs in the world, you pick: Garcetti? I bet 3/4 of CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS never heard of him! Didn't anybody edit the clue bank??

Uninspiring at best. Even the DOD, Christine LAHTI, wins by default. Bogey.

Diana,LIW 12:51 PM  

Back to the puzzle (I got hung up on the cat video for a while. That cat can TYPE!)

Good Monday all - a meaty morning. Not as easy as @Spacey said, but with Mondays it's hard to tell. Only one I wasn't sure of was HYDRA - always forget those polyps. OTOH, there she is, right in the middle, the meatiest and mightiest of all, SARALEE - what's not to like?

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

thefogman 2:25 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
thefogman 2:47 PM  

Some might say "Where's the BEEF?" but this was a great medium to introduce someone who is just beginning to solve NYT crosswords. That's a rare commodity these days. Well done Peter Gordon.

rondo 3:14 PM  

BEEFWELLINGTON would be the one I haven’t EATEN. And it’s been a loooong time since VIENNASAUSAGES; not too fond of meat in a TIN can. If ribs were involved in the puz you could meat me in St. Louis.

Yet another missed opportunity to clue HAHA as Packer Clinton-Dix. His career won’t last forever folks.

How about a few ENCORES from TV and CINEMA yeah baby Christine LAHTI?

I AGREE that this was one of the simple ONES.

rainforest 4:19 PM  

Straightforward, easy, and clean Monday puzzle.

I've had all the themers, and agree that Vienna sausages need something like melted Gruyere on them. Too bad that Nanaimo bar doesn't qualify...

OK, gather round folks and let's nail down this infield fly rule/thingy. Should be a lotta fun. Just use your discretion, though.

rondo 4:57 PM  

@rainy - I used to be an ASA certified umpire, so I know the INFIELDFLY rule inside and out. It's kinda like porn, you know it when you see it. And then proceed at your own peril.

rainforest 5:47 PM  

@rondo - not as, er, exciting as porn, probably.

I forgot to say that AT LARGE can also mean "in a general sense", viz. "The world AT LARGE tends to believe globalization is a good thing.", or words to that effect.

Anonymous 11:20 AM  

Monstro is the name of the whale in Pinocchio, if you still need actual whales of literature for your Mt Rushmore.

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