Early Indus Valley inhabitant / MON 8-27-18 / Leveling wedge

Monday, August 27, 2018

Constructor: Susan Gelfand

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (2:58)

THEME: two first names of people in same profession make complete name of someone else in the same profession... —

Theme answers:
  • KIRK DOUGLAS (21A: Actor Cameron + actor Fairbanks = actor ___)
  • STEVE MARTIN (31A: Comedian Carell + comedian Short = comedian ___)
  • JAMES TAYLOR (40A: Singer Brown + singer Swift = singer ___)
  • BILL RUSSELL (50A: Basketball player Walton + basketball player Westbrook = basket ball player ___)
Word of the Day: MONOSKI (9D: Relative of a snowboard) —
monoski is a single wide ski used for skiing on snow. The same bootsbindings, and poles are used as in alpine skiing. Unlike in snowboarding, both feet face forward, rather than sideways to the direction of travel. Similar equipment includes the skwal and the teleboard, with feet in tandem formation (one ahead of the other). (wikipedia)
• • •

Quick write-up tonight. It's a mildly weird concept we've got here. Not a lot holding it together, but which I mean ... the professions represented are totally arbitrary. Also, taking the first name from another person's first name does not strike me as that interesting. You're really just looking for someone whose last name can be a first name. Is this hard? I'm not gonna try, but it seems like you shouldn't have too much trouble coming up with names that fit the bill for, say, authors, or, I don't know actresses (speaking of, this puzzle is Kind of a sausagefest—I guess Taylor Swift is in there as one of the clue names, but all the themers are dudes, and all the other clue names are dudes). Author Miller + author Baldwin = author HENRY JAMES. That took zero time. The theme just feels a little lackluster, is all. Also, the idea that Kirk Cameron (of "Growing Pains" and literally no other fame) is in this puzzle with all these legitimately famous, even legendary people ... doesn't feel right. Fill-wise, it's fine. Mostly clean. I don't get why anyone puts ARYAN in their puzzle when they don't have to (it's a Monday, the grid is not demanding, no need to put in a word that evokes Nazism—don't believe me, just google). Not keen on the idea of "ogling" a HUNK either. I get that you're trying to do a little table-turning here, but [Object of an ogler] is always a gross clue. Why introduce "ogling" into the equation at all? We get LEER and OGLE plenty enough as it is.

I floundered a lot on this one but still ended up under 3, which tells me it must've been pretty easy. As usual, I screwed up right away, in the NW, but putting in LOUT for LUNK (2D: Blockhead) and then REP (!?) for RTE (4D: Traveling salesperson's assignment: Abbr.). So much typing and untyping and retyping. Ugh. Once out of there, things got much easier. Botched the HUNK clue, and first wrote in POKES (?) for PRIES (29D: Gets nosy), but no problems otherwise until the very end, when I tried to get cute and guess the first name based only on RUSSELL. I guessed KURT. Wah WAH. This meant that I considered BITTEN (???) for 44D: Swindled (BILKED) and just generally lost precious seconds on the clock. Oh well. In the end, a pretty average experience on all fronts.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


puzzlehoarder 12:50 AM  

A quick and painless Monday. While solving I never bothered to figure out exactly how the themes worked. The names are quite famous so after the first one I didn't read any of the further theme clues. As soon as the fill made them recognizable I just filled them in.

My only issues with the fill we're a not believing a SAX is a woodwind, APEX before ACME and thinking SODA would be something more ice cream related. Also just off the Os I could not immediately come up with TODO. Weird. Other than that it was smooth sailing.

jae 1:18 AM  

Medium but it seemed tougher when I was solving it. This is not a good puzzle for beginners, that said, liked it.

TomAz 1:24 AM  

Yeah, so, no, Rex. No no no.

The theme was fine. It was simple, it worked, it's a Monday. "[T]he professions represented are totally arbitrary"? So what? they're clearly identified in the clue. It's not rocket science. You can do it. That's a dumb critique.

A better fault to find would be that the theme answers are all old.. yes a reference to Taylor Swift in the cluing but the answers are all considerably older than me, and I'm in my mid 50s. Would my 20-something daughters be able to suss all these out? I'm guessing no.

I sort of get the objection to ARYAN but mostly I don't. Yeah, I thought of Nazis too. But ARYAN is a real, factual, legitimate thing in the history of the Indian subcontinent that has nothing to do with its re-purposing by Europeans. It seems to me that part of dismantling the Holocaust infrastructure has to include giving this word back to the people it was stolen from. As clued, this works.

"Object of an ogler" is legitimately bad, though. Totally agree there.

An decent Monday puzzle that I liked for the most part. Liked it more than Rex's (mostly) obtuse write-up.

chefwen 2:06 AM  

Not a drop of Wite Out was sacrificed on this puzzle. Only one slow down was at 50A, stopped following basketball when we left Milwaukee about, well it seems like 100 years ago. Heard of BILL Walton, but not RUSSELL Westbrook, had to rely on downs for that one.

O.K. Monday, but kind off Ho-Hum.

Harryp 2:15 AM  

Got stupid on avers and

Got stupid on avers and AVOWS, so I had ENDOrS instead of ENDOWS, not to mention Mr. TALeR. Had to go over all to find this mischance, but otherwise easy fare with more PPP than I would like to see.

'merican in Paris 2:57 AM  

"So much typing and untyping and retyping." -- @Rex

Yep, that was my experience, too. This puzzle took me twice as long as my normal Mondays, thanks to many, many write-overs:

Rep > RTE
bArter > HAGGLE

I wasn't keen on the theme (I agree with @Rex that it takes little thinking to come up with examples), and it didn't help that I had no idea of the first names of Cameron, Carell, Short, Walton or Westbrook, nor do I care. Fortunately, the theme answers were very familiar names.

One thing that bothered me was all the corporate name or product placements: AMBIEN, GOYA, IHOP, IZOD*, OLAY. That's about three too many in my book.


*One of my funniest experiences when travelling was in 1991, when my wife and I visited Istanbul. We were walking back to our hotel, many blocks beyond the covered market. It was about 6:00 p.m. on a mid-September evening, and getting towards dusk. As we passed an ally, we heard a loud "Psssst!" We stopped and turned to the right to see a young man wearing a trench coat and a hat. Having gotten our attention, he thereupon swooped open his coat to reveal ... row upon row of white, deeply discounted, counterfeit IZOD athletic socks. We stood there in shock, trying to make sense of it, and trying not to burst out laughing. Finally I think I said, "Uh, no thanks. I'm full up on socks for the moment", and we walked on.

Loren Muse Smith 4:06 AM  

Never seen this exact trick before. Fun for a Monday! Very cool that Susan stayed within the bounds of a profession - three actors, three musicians, etc. So my avatar doesn’t work. I did think of Matt LeBlanc and Damon Wayans. Or Meg Tilly and Ryan O’Neal. Hah.

ASKS: (Raises a question) – sorry purists, but it’s only a matter of time that ASKS will be clued as “begs the question.” That’s a phrase that, when I hear someone use it the most common way nowadays, I quietly feel all educated and philosophy-wise and smug deep down. Funny that I champion language change but hang on to secret little pet phrases whose “misuse” makes me feel superior. I never say anything, but still - I feel like I have a tiny little advantage. So if I admit I’m a hypocrite, does that negate the hypocrisy? (Podium/lectern is another one, but I’ve pretty much given up using lectern. No one knows what the hell I’m referring to.)

It’s fun playing around with names. I’ve always liked the idea of marrying Peter Lorre and Errol Flynn to get Errol Lorre.

Big Jim Slade 4:58 AM  

Rex, you're always bitching about the lack of female constructors, and now do you see what happens? You let a dame make a crossword puzzle and they get all boy-crazy!

JC66 5:08 AM  

I went to high school with the constructor, and she made me proud with this puzzle. I thought it was terrific.


Love today's avatar, too.

BarbieBarbie 5:10 AM  

@LMS, do people use “begs the question” to mean ASKS? Weird. My own pet snark is “fulsome.” It’s used sometimes to mean something like “complete,” and it’s always distracting, because I read the sentence literally, go “huh?”, and then laugh when I figure out what’s just happened. Some lawyer, maybe Giuliani?, used it like that recently. You can see how it would be humorous.

Fun, easy Monday, lots of SASSY fill. The themers were more “oh. OK.” But if Monday is a gateway puzzle, the themers can’t be too tricky. Thumbs up on this one!

Lewis 6:03 AM  
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Lewis 6:13 AM  

I always love it when we see a theme that hasn't been done before -- not easy to do after yay these many years of crosswords -- and this one is just right for a Monday puzzle, besides being perfectly consistent. I like the cross of CIA and PRIES, the palindromic ABABA, and being reminded of what the L in LCD might stand for. And just throwing in that this is a pangram. The cluing was a little less direct than a typical Monday puzzle, and that is a good thing. While the puzzle is still easier than a Tuesday, solving it builds solving skills as well as pats the ego on the back.

SamStone 6:13 AM  

It was an interesting idea but some of the fill was a bit tough for a Monday. I have never seen Elaine Benes spelled out and it just looks wrong. Monoski also threw me for a curve. Otherwise, it was clever and had some fun clues.

Amber Waves 6:14 AM  

When I beheld *IRKD**GL**on the grid, I SOOO wanted the answer to be DIRK DIGGLER - but, sadly, knew it couldn't be so

Don't give Hitler the power to re-define. Aryan is a perfectly good word.

Anonymous 6:30 AM  


To form an idea of; imagine or conceive:
To conceive mental images; think.
i′de·a′tion n.
i′de·a′tion·al adj.v

mathgent 6:44 AM  

A meta puzzle is a puzzle about a puzzle. Metamathematics is mathematics about mathematics. It just struck me that this blog is often, but not so far today, meta criticism. Criticism about (Rex's) criticism.

emspop1 7:05 AM  

Offense meter - only 2? What about PUZO who wrote a book about negative Italian-American stereotypes and RUMBA which obviously suggests that Cuban culture is limited to dancing. Remember the most important think about a Xword is that it is PC

clk 7:08 AM  

I strongly disagree with Rex about ARYAN. One of the joys of crossword puzzles is picking up new little factoids you never knew before. I was aware enough of the connection to quickly get the answer but interested enough in how we got from the Indus Valley to the “master race” to go as far as Wikipedia, where I also learned that the name Iran means land of the Aryans in Persian. Such are the intriguing rabbit holes that even a Monday puzzle can send one down. Far more interesting than being asked to dredge up the name of yet another bygone baseball player.

michiganman 7:08 AM  

I enjoy the celebrity name swap game, whatever the format. In this case it puts a fun element into a very easy Monday. Enjoyable. My only quibble is that KALE should be plural. HA!

Reasonablewoman 7:16 AM  

Ogle and Leer can have creepy connotations. Substitute the word "admire" or the phrase "enjoy looking at". We all do this. There really is no harm done by thoughts. If it leads to objectionable or criminal behavior, then that's something else. I like that HUNK was the object of the ogling today.

kitshef 7:18 AM  

Guessed wrong initially on both aver/avow and ayes/yeas, but nailed it on rumba/samba.

Wondered idly if there was any way to get PUZO, BENES and HYDE out of there so that the only names in the grid would be the themers.
- HYDE is easy enough – clue it as HYDE park.
- PUZO could have been TAZO/STARS/HANK (HANK would have to be clued as a HANK of hair).
- Need to think more about BENES.

Hungry Mother 7:19 AM  

Quick and easy. Simple theme. Definitely a good starter puzzle for a NYT noob. No complaints here after last week’s slugfest.

Rainbow 7:22 AM  

For your enjoyment:


The saxophone is a family of woodwind instruments. Saxophones are usually made of brass and played with a single-reed mouthpiece similar to that of the clarinet. The saxophone family was invented by the Belgian instrument maker Adolphe Sax in 1840. Sax wanted to create a group or series of instruments that would be the most powerful and vocal of the woodwinds, and the most adaptive of the brass that would fill the vacant middle ground between the two sections. He patented the saxophone on June 28, 1846.

Unknown 7:33 AM  

Saxophone is definitely a Woodwind.

Hungry Mother 7:36 AM  

A bit of meta-criticism: I like and support this blog due to two features, relative difficulty (I don’t need the time) and explanations of the answers with whatever background is supplied. I don’t care about ANY opinions.

Justice 7:38 AM  

If...If you want to be upset about" ARYAN, be upset about the Aryan supremacy movement in the USA, land of the free and home of the brave. Google "Southern Poverty Law Center" for information.

Hungry Mother 7:40 AM  

A bit of meta-meta-criticism: I should have mentioned that I am interested in the insights and opinions of the commentariat. I would suggest that OFL make his opinions known as an ANONYMOUS commenter instead of in his blog.

Anonymous 7:56 AM  

All but one of the themers are dudes. Seriously? This PC attitude is ridiculous. The puzzle was constructed by a woman for God’s sake.

mmorgan 8:09 AM  

It was a fine Monday, but I kept hoping the resulting theme answers would have some twist or pun or bite to them. A lot to ask, I know..

Nancy 8:27 AM  

Triple the PPP, triple the fun???? Bet you're thinking I'm going to complain, but actually I thought it was a pretty cute idea. None of the celebs were especially esoteric and the gimmick made finding them more interesting. And if you didn't know some of them, there were the mostly easy crosses to help you out.

What a great clue for CIA (37A). Nice one also for INDEX (17A). But KALE again? Do you realize that I've spent my entire life not only not eating KALE but also never once thinking about KALE. Why are you making me think about KALE every single day, NY Times?

Other than that, a pleasant Monday.

G. Weissman 8:28 AM  
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Anonymous 8:29 AM  

I woke up this morning feeling great - my remodeling project has come together nicely; it's going to be a gorgeous day, weatherwise; and who cares that it's Monday - I'm retired.

But then my world crumbles as I discover by reading Rex that the NYT XWord has too many dudes in the clues and answers, and as a result it is a sausagefest.

What will I do? What will I do?

G. Weissman 8:31 AM  

This puzzle was very, very bland. Didn’t know if 50A would begin with a B (lucky guess) or W because it’s a Natick.

G. Weissman 8:35 AM  

Self-criticism is not meta-criticism. If you use Reply for follow-up messages then they’ll be read together—otherwise, not.

G. Weissman 8:38 AM  

You seem unaware of the history of eugenics in these United States.

Nancy 8:40 AM  

Very nice observation, @mathgent (6:44)! All I can say is: maybe not yet, but just wait. It shouldn't take long.

Anonymous 8:42 AM  

Great Monday. A little push back. Might have been better placed on Tuesday. Don't know why the NW corner was so tough for me.

@rex and @reasonable, oogling happens. It's a word that means a certain thing and the thing exists. Whether it's a momentary, unconscious result of evolutionary biology or something icky, there it is. It's unreasonable to try to police the language to conform to every single one of your personal sensitivities.

BTW, Rex coined the utterly gross "scrabble fcking" and let us face it, the f bomb wasn't invited by a woman.

Steve Taylor 8:42 AM  

PEKOE is not a variety of black tea. It is one word used in a tea grading system, the basis of which is Orange Pekoe. Pekoe by itself = not a thing.

Z 9:02 AM  

Speaking of PPP, this one is very different from our usual fare. If we count each theme answer as three Proper names, that gives us 12 PPP answers. The entire rest of the puzzle has 9, for a total of 21. Even counting the themes as triple PPP this puzzle is low. If we were to count themers only once then we have just 13 of 78. 27% is good. 17% is a record for as long as I’ve been toting up these numbers. I tend to think of each themer as 3 PPP answers, and I’m pleased that the rest of the puzzle is so clean. Which begs the question, why aren’t more puzzle freer of Pop Culture, Product names, and othe Proper nouns?*

Anyone else chuckle at KALE crossing FAVE?

*Just so @LMS can have that moment. I still get mine with who/whom and can/may.

Z 9:13 AM  

@Steve Taylor - Sure, except, you know, English is notorious for using single words in multiple ways.

@G. Weissman - Find a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer and go ahead and try to use the “reply” feature. Meanwhile, all three of your comments look like non sequiturs to most readers. If you want your posts to make sense to everyone try using the @poster convention. Otherwise you’re just babbling.

Anonymous 9:13 AM  

This was fun for a Monday. It held my interest.

GILL I. 9:15 AM  

@jae is right - not really made for a Monday beginner.
LUNK HUNK bring it on. @Roo should be happy today; he got his beloved PANGRAM. Thought for sure @Rex would do his rant about that. Today it's dudes and nazis. Moving right along....
@Anony 8:29 - Thanks for the morning laugh.
@'American. I also laughed at your IZOD story. Good thing he flashed some socks and not something we ogle at...
I like meat in my puzzles and this one had it. The idea was cute and different. The cluing was a bit hard for Monday, but so what. 37A was good. I'm watching "The Americans" on Hulu. Best friggin series I've seen in ages. Man, the CIA look like buffoons. I can't help but root for the Russian moles.
I might be dense, but the clue at 57A threw me off. "Flapjack franchise, briefly." Isn't IHOP the full name?
I enjoyed this, Susan Gelfano - especially because you have BRIT and BLOKE and KIRK DOUGLAS.

ArtO 9:15 AM  

"object of an ogler" is usually female but with a female constructor we get HUNK.

NW did not fall as quickly as usual for Monday. BLURB should have come from BRIT but didn't. OK overall but more M than E-M.

Anonymous 9:44 AM  

International House of Pancakes.

Larry 9:45 AM  

@reasonablewoman - I don't know which of the two words, OGLE or can, you don't know the definition to but it's certainly one of them. OGLE, by definition, has creepy connotations, no 'can' about it. Unless you think that 'can' have means does, which it doesn't.

@BarbieBarbie - If you look up fulsome, you'll see that the first definition matches the usage you're claiming is wrong, that your preferred definition is #4. Reading further you see the explanation - that its usage evolved over time, meaning offensively flattering for a century or two, meaning compete for another century or two, then back again, then controversy. Me, my nit was momentarily which I insist is "for a moment" rather than "in a moment". In my work I buy momentary switches (they're on only for as long as you push them, rather than on/off). My nitpicking led me to the dictionary, only to find momentarily meant "in a moment" for centuries before it meant "for a moment" for another century or two, then back. I now say "in a moment" or "for a moment" so I'm clear about what I'm saying, then leave it at that.

Rita 9:55 AM  

@G. Weissman In what app do you see a Reply option? It drives me crazy that some commenters on this blog seem to see replies grouped with the original comment. Others of us see everything in chronolgical order. While you think I see your reply in context, in my Chrome browser It hangs out alone and I can only guess who you are replying to. (Hence the @ convention to identify who you are replying to.)

A few days ago several of the commenters here complained about the comment interface on the NY times blog. I was baffled because at least there I believe everyone sees replies in context. The mixed experience here seem like nothing to brag about. Or am I missing something??

jberg 10:00 AM  

Fun and easy, except 41D should have been "inadequate." That wouldn't fit, though. Also, it seems to me that IZOD is a competitor of Ralph Lauren, Polo is a competitor of Lacoste, just to be consistent.

@Loren, I shall ignore all discussion of obsolete phrases and grammar; I believe you are just trying to stir up trouble!

@kitshef, samba is Brazilian -- mambo, though ...

Cassieopia 10:02 AM  

Nice Monday puzzle. Life is good.

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

I don't know if this helps or not.

About Orange Pekoe
Tea Type : Black Tea
Orange Pekoe is perhaps the classic black tea in the European tradition. Less astringent than our English Breakfast, our Orange Pekoe is ideal anytime one would drink black tea. Enjoy Orange Pekoe with milk and sugar, with lemon, or straight.

The term “Orange Pekoe” can be confusing. It is often misused to designate an unflavored black tea. Orange Pekoe does not refer to a color or particular flavor, or even to a specific variety or quality or tea. Orange Pekoe is nothing more than a designation basis of grading tea leaf size. When used as a tea description, Orange Pekoe refers to the leaf size and indicates a whole, unbroken leaf.

Reasonablewoman 10:14 AM  

Point conceded.

Suzie Q 10:14 AM  

I'm not a big fan of names in my puzzle but this was pretty cute.
Monoski reminded me of a scene from a Beatles movie where one of them is using a monoski with a seat on it. Very silly.
I do like kale...as a garnish on my relish tray. It's also lovely in the garden. When it first became fashionable to eat it I remember thinking it was just because someone accidently ate the decoration on the buffet table and tried to make their faux pas look fashionable by claiming it tasted good. Yeah right!
Claiming sexism today just doesn't work Rex.
Since the object of ogling today was a man I thought Rex would love the inclusiveness of women and gays.
By the way, I think saying "sausage fest" is very vulgar.

Anonymous 10:16 AM  


What a difference a letter makes.

RooMonster 10:21 AM  

Hey All !
LOL @Gill I., glad to see my Pangram-noticing is rubbing off!

This was a very nice MonPuz, Ogling be damned. A woman constructor, let her use a HUNK to Ogle at! I thought you were trying to be fair to both (many, now) sexes. Just my two cents.

Closed off NW and SE corners. Nice to sneak that Q in the SE. Sometimes pangrams just happen as you fill your grid. You end up with maybe a Q, J, or Z away from one, and start looking where you can shove one in, because why not? It's fun. It's even better when the fill is clean, like this puz.

We get - a BRIT BLOKE
ABABA next to MIMIC (AM, BI, AM, BI)
HAGGLing on a BOXKITE ITEM on e-Bay
And (gonna get Un-PC here, hide your eyes If warranted) an ENDOWS HUNK. SASSY!

If the SHOE FITS...

Carola 10:30 AM  

@TomAZ - Regarding the fault you noted - I'm 20 years older than you and had to rely on my knowing the theme personages, as Cameron, Short, and, Westbrook are unknown to me.

I liked the Downs, BOX KITE and ANTLERS, BRIT + BLOKE, and the parallel HAGGLE and BILKED.

TheguyinIdaho... 10:34 AM  

Triggered by "ogle" or "aryan"... smfh...

Anonymous 10:59 AM  

Strongly agree on last point! (I am a male. the term is degrading)

Lewis 11:00 AM  
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Lewis 11:03 AM  

My five favorite clues from last week:

1. Apple application that's now banned (4)
2. Stunning creatures of the Amazon (12)
3. You'd expect to see it before long. (3)
4. Hitchcock double feature (4)
5. First, second, and third place (7)


QuasiMojo 11:09 AM  

I love name games. This one is trickier than you’d initially think. I could only come up with one off the cuff: artists, Peter Arno and Max Ernst give us Peter Max.

Mr. Benson 11:17 AM  

Agree with Rex that the theme concept seems really easy. Baseball player Pham + baseball player Smoltz = TOMMY JOHN. Singer Idol + singer Crouse = BILLY JOEL. Anyone whose last name is also a first name can pretty easily become an answer here.

Music Man 11:19 AM  

If Kitty Carlisle married Conway Twitty, her name would have been Kitty Twitty!

Banana Diaquiri 11:40 AM  

@Steve Taylor - Sure, except, you know, English is notorious for using single words in multiple ways.

well... these days that's called 'alternative facts' - most folks don't know any tea but black tea, some of which is pekoe or orange pekoe. cheap tea bags are filled with fannings.

ARAYAN nation? interesting that the Nazi leaders took a word from dark skinned geography and applied it to, what is really, a Nordic ideal; tall, lean, blond, blue eyed. further, if you look up said leaders, most (nearly all) were short, fat, and swarthy.

about woodwinds. I just checked again, and yes, woodwind has nothing to do with the material of the body, but the use of a wooden reed. except for modern flutes, which are mostly metal, but sound by air over a non-vibrating reed.

GILL I. 11:43 AM  

@AlexP. Dang...that was a good one. I could only come up with:
If Justice Thea Beaver married Sen. Scott Weiner her name would have been Beaver Weiner.
Is that HUNKy enough?

G. Weissman 11:50 AM  

Rita, I’m just using Safari on my iPhone. Thanks for informing me that not all users have the Reply function.

Anonymous 12:04 PM  

Back in the day, ‘sodas’ were ‘ice cream sodas’.

Masked and Anonymous 12:55 PM  

Cloning! Pangram! HUNKs & LUNKs! Rodeo.
Weird MonPuz solvequest, cuz I didn't know a couple of the clonees [Cameron & Westbrook], so had to build them off their crossin DNA strands. Also helped, that I recognized all the resultin themer names.

FAVE moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Loafer or pump} = SHOE. Overall, the clues were nice and feisty, for a MonPuz, tho.
staff weeject pick: QUA. Mainly becuz them Q's often score a coupla U's. Better clue: {Equal parts??} = QUA.

Almost flamed out altogether at {Brand of beans}/{Early Indus Valley inhabitant}. I mean, M&A ain't hearin a whole lot of mooin, in that there Indus Valley bean factory. Lost many precious nanoseconds, and finished well behind @RP's solvetime. [But -- I do solve semi-groggy in the mornins, tho … which @RP says is a big mistake. Must try his "drunk as a skunk in the dark" method, sometime …]

Enjoyed this one. Better than yer average MonPuz. Had some 'tUde.
Thanx for the fun, Susan Gelfand darlin. … Now, how'bout a sequel puz that clones-UP the last names? [LOCKE+(UP)+TRUMP, etc.]
Thanx for the T-Rex, @muse darlin.

Masked & Anonym007Us


Teedmn 1:00 PM  

I didn't know KIRK Cameron in the 21A clue, nor did I recognize any of the basketball players but this was still an easy puzzle, just 36 seconds over average.

Beans play a large part in my diet and GOYA is a common brand in our local supermarkets. Where I went wrong in the NE was putting in maYAN before ARYAN but the crosses cleared that up.

Thanks, Ms. Gelfand, a fine Monday.

Anonymous 1:06 PM  

@lms. Your avatar works. They are all dinosaurs in a way and each extinct.
Liked puzzle, cluing and theme. How should you clue HUNK? ' O Cheese? I assume Stud is equally offensive as a clue?
While on annoying phrases "Waiting on line" and "Graduating college" are my two favorites.

catpez 1:11 PM  

The New Yorker recently ran a cartoon of a tombstone inscribed with "What was all the KALE for?"

That being said, I initially had NAPA for the cabbage in question. Otherwise, much of it was in my wheelhouse, so I enjoyed seeing Elaine BENES, GOYA and OLAY.

Loved the IZOD/Turkey story! Reminds me of 'Would you like to buy an 'O'' on Sesame Street.

Unknown 3:48 PM  

Thought it was Quite easy, though I did it on my lunch break instead of in bed just after waking, so a little hard to compare. As a Jew, not particularly bothered by Aryan, though also not bothered by those who are bothering.

Anonymous 4:16 PM  

One does not have to be in the victim group to be outraged by inhumanity.

Crimson Devil 4:26 PM  

Re double entendres
My fave, as I might’ve said here before, s’cuse if so, is “sanction”.

Anoa Bob 4:49 PM  

I knew all the names, but, wow, they're mostly blasts from the past. Must have been tough for solvers under the age of 60 or so.

Boston Celtic legend BILL RUSSELL is one of my all-time favorite basketball players. His 6'9 5/8'' frame combined with a graceful, cat-like agility made him a great defensive player. Asked how he was able to block so many shots, he said he often knew what the offensive player was going to do before the offensive player knew what he was going to do.

For those keeping score at home, today's grid features three two-for-one POCs, where a Down and an Across share a final S. Okay, the first one is at the end of SPAR/FIT.

Maxine Nerdstr√∂m 4:54 PM  

If anything, Kirk Cameron is better known for being a super duper evangelical christian than as an actor.

I liked the puzzle.

Puzzled Peter 6:40 PM  

Re: Begging the question


Sep 25, 2008 - I pointed out that in precise usage, it does not mean “to raise the question” or “to beg that the question be asked” or even “to evade the question.” Rather, it refers to a circular argument; it means “to use an argument that assumes as proved the very thing one is trying to prove.”

The misuse of the phrase comes as people try to say something like, "Provokes the question" or "Creates the question."

Getting most folks to recognize these facts and to stop misusing "Begs the question" is at best a Herculean task, and probably is an unattainable goal.

Ian 7:34 PM  

Something wrong with us in our 70’s? Are we chopped liver

Banana Diaquiri 8:42 PM  

@Puzzled Peter:



Unknown 9:14 PM  

I have to say I’m surprised at the lack of outrage over UNDO clued as “‘Erase’ on a computer.” What?! If you hold down backspace, then click undo, you *reenter* whatever was just removed.

Undoing and erasing are completely unrelated concepts. The former is about actions, the latter about objects. I *suppose* the clue could have been “‘Erase’ on a computer, maybe,” but even that feels weak.

That’s my only major gripe. I agree re: first and last names but it didn’t bother me as much as Rex. Seems solid for a Monday.

Puzzled Dave 12:17 AM  

Hi all. Quick question. I'm sure like many people (most?), I came across this blog after doing a Times puzzle lying around that I didn't have the answers to. This was months ago and I've come to really enjoy this blog and those of you who comment regularly, especially LMS. Heck, I even like cranky old OFL--even though we disagree on virtually everything in the world. (I even keep meaning to send a few bucks over for the blog but just never get around to it, but I will--sorry 'bout that, Rex.)

Anyway, my question, I live on the west coast and so I get the puzzle weeks after everyone else, and sometimes it's even later as I don't always get to them for a few days. I'll often want to comment or ask a question but I don't know if anyone would even ever see it. None of you would ever have reason to go back several weeks to look at an old, already discussed puzzle, right? I especially wanted to comment on a puzzle I just did from 7/18--the one with TYRANNOSAURUS REX spelled out with groups of two letters in various boxes. One of my clues in the paper said "What each shaded square in this puzzle represents." I know you guys got circles for that but I got neither! No squares were either shaded OR had circles. (This in the San Diego Union-Tribune.) Needless to say it was just a monster puzzle as I had no idea where to double up letters--which obviously was needed for many of the answers. I'm surprised I did as well as I did without that info--completing about 4/5 of it.

So anyway, back to the question, which is simply, if I comment on a puzzle weeks after you've all done it, will the comment/question likely ever even be seen? I don't mind just observing the rest of you from the sidelines, but I just want to know if I do have a question or comment if it would even be seen if posted. Thanks all--happy puzzling.

Z 11:18 AM  

@Puzzle Dave - Well, first, Rex sometimes doesn’t update that syndicated link at the top of the blog every day, so sometimes you have to go over to the “Blog Archive” on the right (in the desktop view) and click on the puzzle blog from five weeks ago (or last week if it is a Sunday puzzle) to get the correct blog. Second, there is a small but vibrant group of syndicated solvers who comment on a regular basis. If you solve the day the syndicated puzzle comes out that group is there for pleasant conversation (and the occasional well deserved side eye for the “real-timers”). Finally, Blue Commentarians have the option to get all follow-up comments delivered to their email. I know several do, thus getting all follow-ups, even comments on puzzles that are years old.

Unknown 11:44 AM  

I found this harder than usual for a Monday but appreciate the idea of the name game

Puzzled Dave 1:01 PM  

Thanks Z, that really helps. So far I've been pretty lucky that if I got some clue I had no idea how it tied to the answer (I'm looking at you, "Bay in the fifth"), if I search through the comments long enough, I'd find someone as clueless (pardon the pun) as me asking the same question I had. Good to know some devoted souls will still be standing by if needed.

Burma Shave 9:58 AM  


or ENDOWS what the SUMS RUNTO,
RELY on what the ANNUITY should EQUAL:
INDEX RATEs are hard to UNDO.


rondo 10:29 AM  

@Puzzled Dave – if you come here on the date the syndicated puzzle runs there should be at LEAST a half-dozen or so of us out here commenting. Glad to help if there’s something confusing about the puz. And as a bonus you’ll get a daily dose of verse from @Burma Shave.

As for this puz, I knew OFL would make a big TODO about all the male names in the themers. Even though it’s a female constructor!! I wish he wouldn’t fall all over himself to make such a point. He just goes on ANON . . . As for me, nice to be back from a weekend of golf in NW WI; almost ACED one of the par 3s.

@G Weissman – ABABA/BILLRUSSELL should not be a Natick. For anyone. You gotta know one or the other.

Julia L-D as Elaine BENES. Yeah baby.

Typically EZ Mon-puz at any RATE.

spacecraft 11:08 AM  

Hard to swallow MONOSKI. Silly me, I thought this was a "ski." No, a post-solve lookup informs me, there is such a thing, different than one of a pair of ordinary skis. Fine. I ain't about to strap on any of 'em. And don't try playing that one in a Scrabble game--'cause it's NOT A WORD!

Speaking of Scrabble, we seem to have a lot of 8-10-counters, along with a plethora of K's (5). Wait... is it a... why, yes it is. But the only painful reach there is XERS, which needs to be exorcized. Overall a good job with the biggies.

The theme, while not taxing, was enjoyable enough to do, and the only distaff member of that group, TAYLOR Swift, will do more than nicely as DOD. (I am SO not going to fuss about ARYAN, or the M/F count in the theme names. Come on, man! Scratch that: come on, peson! Oops: come on, perit! This is getting ridiculous.) Birdie.

thefogman 11:30 AM  

No erasures or writeovers this time. But I found it to be a little tougher than usual for a Monday. I groaned at MONOSKI thinking it was a word nobody uses to describe a snowboard. But it looks like it's a real thing, and quite different than a snowboard. I liked the two middle themers. The outside ones, not so much. Yes, there were a few imperfections, but it's still a decent Monday offering.

rainforest 1:50 PM  

Rejoice, fellow Syndies! @Z referred to us a "small but vibrant group". Why not small *and* vibrant? Anyway, we may be small, but we're little.

@Puzzled Dave Join us and help form a larger vibrant group.

I actually tried a MONOKSI once (also a snowboard, oncPe). Very lucky to not break a bone. Regular skis are tough enough for me.

Good Monday puzzle, offering a little resistance here and there, with a simple and consistent theme. Pretty good grid, too, with a smattering of gimmes among a few clues that required thought.

I will not HYDE from the fact I finished with no w/o's. OLAY!

Diana,LIW 2:04 PM  

A nice, if goofy, theme for a Monday. But the PPP made it a bit tougher than the usual Monday offering, IMHO.

'Course, I was listening to "news" whilst solving. 'Nuff said.

Almost had a dnf, but a last minute KIRt to KIRK resolved that.

Did I say I finally got a car? Or at least, a car deal. Should get the actual car in 2 weeks. If there is an inverse relationship of dealing adversity to driving fun, I should have a lot of driving fun in my future. Did anyone ever have a "good" car buying/dealing story?

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoastTAM 3:35 PM  

Smooth, neat and clean, and easy--as it should be.

Did Goya ever paint a GOYA bean?

Wouldn't it be KIRK+DOUGLAS=[equalS, not EQUAL] Kirk Douglas (and same for the rest of them)?

Bear with me, folks. It's Monday.

Diana,LIW 3:54 PM  

@Lefty - I equally questioned the EQUAL answer - a singular standout.

Lady Di

leftcoastTAM 4:05 PM  

Welcome to Syndiland, @Puzzled Dave.

Diana,LIW 6:57 PM  

@PuzzledDave - Ah, we're all puzzled now, aren't we? Yes, we Synderlanders are a fine and gallant group, waiting 5 blessed weeks for the NYT to arrive by Pony Express to our local papers. I used to read the Union Trib when I lived in San Diego in the 80s.

Most, or many, of us check the next day also to see if there were later answers. We are puzzessed!


Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

PS - Via the blog I've even met a Synder (hi @Rondo) and a Futurelander (hey @Teedmn) at a crossword tournament - in person. I take my deLorean (sic) to Futureland and have visited @Z and others. Oh, also met LMS at ACPT. Along with the Willmeister

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