Nongovernmentally owned ship decked out for war / MON 8-13-18 / Jason's fleece-seeking ship / Cannabis variety used for rope / Gel producing succulent

Monday, August 13, 2018

Constructor: Lynn Lempel

Relative difficulty: Medium to Medium-Challenging (3:17) (though I stupidly fell into a hole that no one else will have fallen into, so maybe slightly easier?)

THEME: GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS (61A: Start of a mixed message, as illustrated by 17-, 23-, 39- and 54-Across) — themers are phrases that have a common meaning (largely GOOD), but that can be reinterpreted to have a different meaning (allegedly BAD):

Theme answers:
  • GO DOWN IN HISTORY (17A: Leave a lasting legacy ... or do worse at school)
  • MAKE PASSES (23A: Succeed on the gridiron ... or invite a slap in the face)
  • GET A RUN (39A: Score in baseball ... or ruin some hose)
  • DRAW A BLANK (54A: Be lucky in Scrabble ... or come up short memorywise)
Word of the Day: SARA Gilbert (70A: "Roseanne" actress Gilbert) —
Sara Gilbert (born Sara Rebecca Abeles; January 29, 1975) is an American actress, best known for her role as Darlene Conner on the ABC sitcom Roseanne (1988–1997; 2018), for which she received two Primetime Emmy Award nominations. She is also co-host and creator of the CBS daytime talk show The Talk and has had a recurring role as Leslie Winkle on CBS's The Big Bang Theory. (wikipedia)
• • •

This one was surprisingly wobbly. Grid is unsurprisingly clean and bright, but the theme just felt off to me. Forced. Specifically, the two middle themers seem off, for different reasons. MAKE PASSES is not a phrase you'd really use re: football. It's green paint-ish. Yes, a QB might, in fact, MAKE PASSES, but it's not a good stand-alone phrase. The phrase stands alone Much better for the "Bad" part of the clue: [invite a slap in the face]. But ... this raises an interesting question. Is making passes (in the sense of coming on to someone) inherently "bad"? I get that it's associated with unwanted attention, specifically from men, and that certain kinds of "passes" might in fact be sexual assault, or at least highly inappropriate. But aren't there such things as passes that are appropriate and potentially well received? I mean, the very phrase is kind of messed up, and it's probable that the connotations of the phrase are mostly negative. But it's not clear to me that allllllll passes are bad. Also, why is it only one slap that's being invited if there are multiple passes? Moving on to GET A RUN ... that's not a great standalone phrase in any context. Very EAT-A-SANDWICH. I also just don't like that the clues go Good-then-Bad, as opposed to Common usage-then-punny usage, which feels much, much more natural to me. Again, I know that the theme is literally GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS, so the progression makes sense, but I found the moving around of the more common usage (first part of clue here, second part of clue there) irksome. I think GO DOWN IN HISTORY works OK, and DRAW A BLANK works best of all, but those middle two just feel clumsy to me.

I fell into a TAR pit of my own making today while solving. I was humming along, at probably a better-than-average clip, but then I tried to round the corner at 35A: Times Sq. squad, to move into the SE, and the wheels came off. "Times Sq." felt specific, so, faced with NY--, I went with someplace specific: NYSE. Which, in my defense, *is* somewhere specific. Just not somewhere in Times Square. Things go much worse. The "E" from NYSE gave me ENDED for 37D: Brought to ruin (DID IN). And AIDE worked just fine with ENDED. So I really got BOGged down. At one point I ended up with SERBIA at 49A: One of the Baltic States (!?) and fleetingly considered ORLANDO for 46D: U.S. city with the world's busiest airport. But the rationale part of my brain was like, "psst, buddy, it's ATLANTA," and so I slowly put the grid into presentable shape. I also conflated BEET and LEEK, which I weirdly do a lot. Borscht is beet. Vichyssoise is LEEK. I will forget this almost immediately.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Brian 12:14 AM  

The too easy streak continues. Sigh.

Unknown 1:00 AM  

Explanation needed for 34D: "One giving you the aye?" (PRO) ???

chefwen 1:01 AM  

Like Rex, I got my soups mixed up which I shouldn’t have because I hate beets (sorry @chefbea) and have never made Borscht. I have, however made Vichyssoise, which is delicious. Other than that minor hiccup I flew through this one.

Love Lynn Lempel on a Monday, or any other day.

Brother Joscephus 1:05 AM  

Seemed like an average Monday to me. 1 minute faster than my average. The themers were tough to parse without a lot of cross fill, I thought.

It’s true you would never say “get a run” in baseball.

jae 2:33 AM  

Medium-tough. Needing to carefully read some of the theme clues slowed me down a tad. Plus, I had Pol before PRO. Amusing, liked it, but I agree with @Rex that some of the theme answers seem clumsy.

Unknown 3:17 AM  

Pro (and con) voters say "aye"(and "nay").

Loren Muse Smith 3:48 AM  

Oh. My. God. I really liked this one.

Ok. Here’s the deal about a puzzle like this: it’s an impetus to stare into space and marvel at aspects of human language - in today’s case, ambiguity. I’m a linguist, so I like ambiguity more than most people.

What I really appreciate about the pairs that Lynn chose is that they’re not just idioms and their literal counterparts. (Break a leg comes to mind.) No, these are different. Being asked to consider the two meanings of GO DOWN IN HISTORY – that alone was worth the price of admission for me.

Hard to think of other examples. Get ripped – your abs, good. Your $500 Gortex coat, bad.

Hootenanny – I knew it was a word that felt hick-ish, but I never really thought about what it was. I’ve googled it, and apparently there are dialects where it also means thingamajig. Hah.

ASS butts up to WIPE. You’re welcome.

'merican in Paris 4:39 AM  

I don't know why, but today's x-word took me 20% longer to complete than my usual time. Had to make numerous PASSES before I got the happy puzzle JiNGLE. I'd say the words were a bit more unusual than one sees on a Monday, and that's good.

BOSC straight out of the gate set the tone. I DReW A BLANK on that one until the end. For some reason, the pear varieties here in France (unlike the apple varieties) are very different from those in North America, or at least the ones I remember. My favorite on this side of the Atlantic is called "Conference."

In any case, kudos to Lynn Lempel for a crunchy (like a pear) challenge. GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS reminded me of the parable of the farmer (usually in the telling, a Chinese farmer), whose refrain is "GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS, who knows?" A wise librarian told me that tale at a point in my career when I though I had hit a really big pothole. She was right: the change it led to was for the better.

As @LMS knows, I am not a big fan of ambiguity in FACTual communication, but I do enjoy it when it is simply for fun, and there is no risk of BAD consequences, like in an x-word. (There is also "constructive ambiguity" aplenty in international diplomacy, but that's a different thing.) Here's a list of 14 contronyms that I'd be happy to see constructors weave more into their grids.

Edwords 5:47 AM  

Wow, surprised OFL didn’t like this one more. His criticisms of the themers seem deeply picky (make passes is the QB equivalent of the more generic football positive of “make plays” and “get a run” is something players say to each other, as in, “c’mon fellas, let’s get a run here!”), and the fill was snappy, sharp and clever to me. A top shelf Monday to me. Lurve me some Lynn Lempel

Lewis 5:52 AM  

Lynn had me after the first two theme answer came up; I was thinking "What a terrific theme idea, phrases with happy and sad meanings!" I wasn't expecting a reveal; just having the phrases would have been sufficient and plenty wonderful. Then the reveal showed itself -- adding a clever layer -- and I just had to shake my head with admiration.

I make little notes as I solve, and one of mine, regarding the overall grid, was identical to what Rex said: Clean and bright. Lynn's puzzles have spark. She has a knack for choosing a good number of interesting words for fill, a LEEK here, a VAMP, there, a PRIVATEER elsewhere. This puzzle also has a mini-theme of animals: LLAMA, IBIS, CROC, plus the ARIES ram, pelican's BEAK, and doggy's WAG. Then we have Stormy, and, to give new solvers a taste of things to come, a bit of later-week cleverness with the clue for PRO.

Another magnificent product of LL's bean.

Barry J. Williams 6:18 AM  

Even for a Monday, I thought the whole affair was ridiculously easy. I am pleased to actually be solving on the DAY of the puzzle.

I have been solving for years from my pile of OLD NEWSPAPERS and have collected an outstanding stack of carefully clipped, creased and folded NY Times puzzles that I do at random and stumbled across all of you here @Rex Parker a year or so ago. (I am all about the old-fashioned tactile sensation of the newsprint and paper experience--the electronic solving thing for me holds as much excitement as an e-reader--just not for me).

This column and Rex/Michael have become a mainstay in my life--but usually 6 months, a year after the fact. Many of you contributors are equally a joy to read so glad to be here with you front and center on THE DAY OF.

I love that the puzzle is really trying to keep us all CONTEMPORARY and IN SYNC with THAT WHICH IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW. Otherwise, there is no possible way we could have appreciated 63-Down's Stephanie Clifford AKA Stormy Daniels clue six months ago (well, at least most of us, lol). I am a big fan of "trusty companions," AKA SIDEKICKS. We can't have enough of them. I would also liked what Lewis referenced above about the onslaught of animals though I seem to have stumbled across a TON of LLAMAS, IBISES, CROCS (though shoe-clued here) and other crossword menagerie creatures that we seem to see a lot of. The Baltic States seem to having a recent run of popularity as well. Perhaps LATVIA is the new European destination place for late summer travel?

Finally, is 51-Across's "femme fatale" VAMP answer correct? I always thought of a VAMP more as a coquettishly-accessible woman who maybe sang and did burlesque. I would cast the steamy siren lead in "Chicago," Roxie Hart, as a "femme fatale" as a female character that finds herself plunged suddenly into a web of mystery and intrigue. A VAMP has more of a Charles Busch ring to it these days................

Good News is that it's the Dog Days of August. The Bad News is that it's 133 Days To Christmas.

Matthew 6:22 AM  

@lms: How cunning, linguist!

Jamie C 6:24 AM  

Best Monday in a long time, rex be damned.

Dave 6:51 AM  

RE: Borscht is beet. Vichyssoise is LEEK.

Thanks! Now maybe I can remember this since both borscht and beet start with the same letter.

Birchbark 7:07 AM  

MAKES PASSES -- Last night, I had the house to myself, ergo watched Star Trek TNG on Netflix. The episode where normally quaking Lieutenant Barclay gets zapped by an alien probe and achieves brainpower/creativity beyond any human accomplishment, fuses his mind with the ship's computer, etc. At one point, Barclay very smoothly asks Counselor Troi to take a walk in the ship's arboretum, but she demurs. She later describes it as "a good pass." I thought her pass on his pass was pretty good too.

Anonymous 7:25 AM  

" on third, If the Sox can GET A RUN here they'll tie the game"

Anonymous 7:30 AM  

@Matthew, NICE!

kitshef 7:32 AM  

Face slapping is a major thing in movies and on TV, but does it actually happen? I've never had my face slapped, and never seen it happen to anyone else in real life.

Agree with what Rex said that MAKE PASSES is an outlier - the BAD NEWS side is not inherent in the act.

SIDEKICK ... what a funny word. Looks like it should be a martial arts move.

Small Town Blogger 7:38 AM  

I solve on paper and don’t record times, but this felt like my fastest Monday ever. Flew through it, no erasures, no hesitations, didn’t fall into any traps!

Anonymous 7:40 AM  

Boys seldom MAKE PASSES at girls who wear glasses. Never heard that one before, Rex?

michiganman 7:43 AM  

Really great Monday. Not difficult at all but a little challenge here and there and fun to figure out. The theme answers came fairly easily and were cleverly clued. Pleased that puzzle was constructed TACTfully and provided no fodder for angst, hopefully resulting in mostly puzzle related comments. Liked this one a lot.

Unknown 7:55 AM  

Oh, duh. 🙄


chefbea 7:59 AM  

@chefwen..of course I never mix up beet for leek. I make both soups!!! Of course I mix them together when I make clean out the refrigerator soup...along with other veggies!!!

John Child 8:16 AM  

Fun and crunchy for Monday. Yay Ms Lempel!

pabloinnh 8:35 AM  

To add to the "get a run" examples, I've often heard announcers describe a play or series of plays (usually involving some minor chaos on the field)that has them saying "Looks like they'll get a run out of this!", usually with some degree of disbelief.

Great to see "hootenanny". I've been a regular at a local pub Monday hootenanny for years now. Always wondered what I was going to do with all those songs I learned in the 60's. Some of us will remember the tv show "Hootenanny" which tried to monetize the Great Folk Revival. Not a roaring success, as I recall.

Smooth fun puzzle, liked it a lot.

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

I'm more shocked we didn't get a comment about the AKA clue from OFL. Thought he'd love the subtle dig at Trump. Also fairly cute/topical cluing to have it overlap with SARA Gilbert from Roseanne.

GILL I. 9:06 AM  

I thought this was a very clever Monday. I even tried to come up with a few. DRAW A BLANK was my result.
I think Lynn could do an awesome MIXED METAPHORS as well.
I think a slap in the face because someone MAKEs a PASS at you is a bit much. I've never slapped a living soul although I can think of one I'd like to. You know, in the "wake up you idiot" type way.
Neat way to clue ATLANTA. It usually carries a Brave along side it. You have to be brave to navigate that airport - especially if your connecting flight is tight. In my day, it was Ohare that was the busiest airport in the world.
WOuldn't you say the CROCs are about the ugliest shoes ever made? Is that where you get the phrase "He's a CROC of shit?"
Monday goodness, Lynn. If you borrowed one of the L's from LLAMA and add it to your underneath POLO, you'd get POLLO. A pollo in Spanish is a good thing although it's really a chicken.

Nancy 9:10 AM  

Lively, imaginative, playful. No junk and no crosswordese. What a delightful Monday!

Anonymous 9:18 AM  

Basta with the scatalogical jokes, Muse.

TJS 9:21 AM  

Dear PHD of English, "rational" not "rationale". Two different words.

Anonymous 9:21 AM  

Draw a blank could be said during Scrabble, "I hope I draw a blank." But I can't think of how it would be used in the second example. It seems to be either drew a blank or drawing a blank. And here's something interesting the phrase originated during the 1500s when lotteries were done with slips of paper and drawing a blank was a loss.

Suzie Q 9:23 AM  

I agree that this played a little uneven.
Sport clues are usually a mystery to me but wouldn't "complete" a pass be more natural?
One giving you the aye made me think of something nautical of course but then we have tar in a more literal sense at 28A. Almost a malapop.
Shoe with holes was not obvious to me because when I see Crocs I don't think of the holes, just over-priced plastic to me.
37D just looks weird in the grid.
Privateer was the only word that actually required some thought.
Oh well, on to Tuesday.

Anonymous 9:55 AM  

Can we get a moratorium for at least one month on mentions of the prior president in the NYT puzzle. I realize Will is trying to explore all the possible clues that can arise out of the use of his name, but it is getting more than a little silly and more than a little annoying, as if, we can't have his name on the front page, but they can claim his name has never left the times. I don't care what your political affiliation is--its downright weird.

Mme Laffargue 9:59 AM  

Bosc is a French pear you will likely see it as beurré bosc at la grande épicerie when in season. Excellent in a tarte tatin.

Joseph Michael 10:34 AM  

Best Monday ever

Jim Lemire 10:36 AM  

Easy, but a Monday should be. I agree that MAKE PASSES and GET A RUN a bit forced, but I really liked GO DOWN IN HISTORY. Interesting that ELI abuts MAKE PASSES but not clued as NFL’s Manning. Amazing how often his name shows up in these puzzles.

Can someone explain why 64D: Jokester is WAG? Not a term I have heard before...or am I missing something?

Carola 10:44 AM  

Gosh, I was surprised reading @Rex. I thought it was ideally Monday-easy with a wonderfully creative and amusing theme and a terrific reveal.
PIPing UP on GET A RUN as a standalone phrase: as a decades-long nylons wearer, I can advise that if you GET A RUN and catch it in time (still hidden by shoe or garment) you can stop it with a dot of clear nail polish.

@Lynn Lempel, I'm always glad to see your name at the top on a Monday.

JC66 10:57 AM  

@Anon 9:21

If you ask my sister-in-law her google password,she'll DRAWABLANK.

@ Jim Lemire

A WAG is an old timey term for a jokester. Probably not in Urban dictionary but is #2 def in the OED.

Anonymous 11:00 AM  

@GILL I, "The one l lama, he's a priest,
The two l llama, he's a beast."
Ogden Nash

Fashionista 11:00 AM  

Same as with getting a drink thrown in your face. A bold reply to an insult that these days is probably construed as assault.

G. Weissman 11:04 AM  

MAKE PASSES is nonsensical any way you slice it. Getting a run (in a stocking) is a bad thing to the person who GETS A RUN, but making a pass is not a bad thing to the person who “makes a pass,” even if it’s met with rejection. It’s the rejection, not the “pass,” that is experienced as bad by the “passer.” Otherwise any event can be good or bad. Me getting a run is good; you, on the opposing team, getting a run is bad. Nice try, but it just doesn’t work. Drawing a blank is also not really “bad.” This theme just doesn’t hold. Easy puzzle, all the same.

Fashionista 11:04 AM  

Crocs are ugly but they are cheap and comfortable.

'merican in Paris 11:07 AM  

@Mme Laffargue at 9:59 AM

I believe you that BOSC pears can be found in France (and interesting to learn that they originated there), my point was simply that it is not a name that I typically see when I shop for pears. It's not even mentioned in this list of 45 poiriers. Also, I thought that tarte tatin was always made with apples, else it would be a tarte tatin aux poires, which I'm sure tastes GOOD, but I've never been served it.

Anonymous 11:17 AM  

Not only did the PhD misuse rationale, he misused conflate.
That numbskull didn't conflate the two soups he confused them.
He makes a lot of mistakes with language, which is funny given crossword puzzle and precision of language seem so connected.

FLAC 11:25 AM  

"And I will bet a silk pajama
There isn't any three-l lllama."

Excellent Monday.

Banana Diaquiri 11:32 AM  

Hootenanny – I knew it was a word that felt hick-ish, but I never really thought about what it was.

well... not necessarily Hicks, Dan or otherwise. as a precocious kid I watched 'Hootenanny' on the TeeVee around 1963 and got to see my mostest favorite singing group of all time, The Limeliters. only one is still alive, alas. BUT... the show was the antithesis of hick. in fact, the folk purists hated it because most of the acts, esp. The Limeliters, were saloon singers, not poor Appalachian strummers. Alan Lomax no where to be found.

Lewis 11:34 AM  

My five favorite clues from last week:

1. Prelude to a kiss (3)
2. It might be set with candles (4)
3. Move to the right, incrementally (3)
4. Simple business, frankly speaking (11)
5. Blarney stone? (11)


Banana Diaquiri 11:37 AM  

sorry pablo. went right to the comment box when reading LMS, where I am now. never in a million years did I think anyone here would have heard of, much less seen, the show. that was more than 50 years ago!!! kids today have no sense of history.

Della 11:43 AM  

Great start for the week. Had fun racing through this one.

Linda Vale 11:45 AM  

The NYT has been advertising BHO’s screed next to the puzzle for a while now. So even if his name doesn’t appear in the puzzle, it’s in your face anyway.

Anonymous 11:46 AM  

@Anon 11:17 - You seem to be be confused about the meaning of the word "misused". You seem to think it means "used in a way I don't prefer" rather than "used something the wrong way". C.F. Def 1.B of Conflate. I, too, would prefer that people restricted themselves to Def 1.A but I differ from you in accusing them of being wrong.

Jim in Chicago 11:53 AM  

Beet/Leek is one mistake I'll never made as I abhor beets. I'm one of the people who can only taste dirt. Don't try to fool me with those cute baby beets or the multicolored ones. They still taste like dirt.

Therefore I hate borscht, but love Leeks and especially in Vichyssoise, especially during the dog days, which we are in.

Anonymous 11:54 AM  

I'm at a loss. How did Rex conflate leek and beet. I read definition 1 b. did you?

Cassieopia 11:57 AM  

@anon 9:55 it’s all those tempting vowels that make him part of crosswordese, alongside ASHE and ISAO and those endless permutations of ELAINE. I expect his last name to appear in crosswords decades from now, solely on the strength of those vowels.

Mme Laffargue 12:00 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Reasonablewoman 12:40 PM  

@Anonymous 9:55 and @Linda Vale. Your hatred of Pesident Obama is your right to express. However, I guess you don't care for a president who respects the law and the constitution, was actually qualified to BE president, is a gentleman who respects others and their views, and is a loyal husband and father. I feel the need to state that the current president is none of the above.

Mme L 12:52 PM  

@Ricain a Paris. I think the PtB did not like that I included a link, anyway it was to an article about a new variety of Suisse pear called Fred that includes 4 types one of which is Bosc. You might also see it as Apremont. If you go to Burgundy in autumn then an upside down cake made with pears or apples or both can be savoured. We also do them poached in some local wine, Beaujolais, seek them out in a bouchon.

p 12:55 PM  

Hey B Daq--No apologies necessary. I'm also happy to find someone that saw and remembered the show. You're right about the schism between the purists and the newcomers. Just glad I was around when the revival was at its peak. So many good songs and at every local hoot I seem to run into or remember another one. Good times.

Teedmn 12:57 PM  

I thought I was ripping through this rather nicely but my slow up (slow down?) point was close to where Rex's was. I don't think of pelicans having a mere BEAK - they have a big ol' Bill! So 46A's Helper became "Siri" (and I thought that was a rather VAGUE way to clue something so specific). But a la Rex, I knew the busy airport was ATLANTA which fixed that and brought me in a tad over average, time-wise.

And PRIVATEER took all the crosses. When the 1% go to the hospital, do they get a PRIVATE ER?

This puzzle left me with a nice smile on my face, thanks Lynn!

Lindsay 1:27 PM  

3:17 for Rex? I felt like I flew right through this pleasant puzzle, but in about three times his speed. How is that even possible? Solving on a speech recognition device? Sheesh.

I tried to post a similar 'sheesh' yesterday, but must have failed to hit the 'publish' button. I wanted to share that one of our three cats (George) tends to mosey across my laptop when I'm not watching. I left my desk briefly while working on the puzzle Sunday, and when I returned, noticed that 106A read '5605ated'. Darn cat can't spell.

GILL I. 1:35 PM  

"But the rationale [logic] part of my rain was like...."
"I also conflated [confused] Beet and LEEK."

What's wrong with OFL's use of rationale and conflated? Just because you didn't like those particular words, doesn't make it incorrect.
Go feed the hungry!

RooMonster 1:40 PM  

Hey All !
Easy until I hit a wall in SW. Had PIPEsUP and couldn't get off MOpeY for MOODY. Plus alternating twixt an E or I in PRIVATE(i)ER, couldn't make sense of GOpsNEWSBADNi_S. That definitely-not-MonPuz-WAG-clue adding to the confusion. Finally saw a pattern (recognition) to be able to change to MOODY and PIPEDUP, getting me the GOOD NEWS part, and seeing the other part must be BAD NEWS. OK, so WAG it is. (How about [since it's a MonPuz after all], "A happy dogs tail" or some such.) Talk about DRAWing A BLANK. I blame being over-tired!

Very cool @'mericans list of Contronyms. Go back and click the link if you missed it. A good example of @LMS's ever-evolving-language argument.

English is a very weird language with all the -nyms. Take FAN (the line F in the puz!), could mean a Sports team cheerer, a breeze generating machine, to whiff at a thrown baseball, or to spread out something. Probably a few more meanings I'm missing. COOL, no?

ALOHA to @chefwen, the Hawaiians (with DOubleIS! :-))


Charley 1:40 PM  

Right. You COMPLETE passes and SCORE runs.

Anonymous 2:07 PM  

It's not a question of liking the words, it's his usage that's problematic.
My rationale for saying so, is that as a rational person I see that related words are not necessarily synonyms and cannot be used interchangeably.
Rex didn't conflate--meaning to combine two things; he simply got confused about which vegetable belonged in which soup.
Had me made the claim that he thought Vichyssoise contained leeks and beets he would have conflated the ingredients of vichyssoises with borscht. But apparently that's not happened. He simply screwed up which root went in which pot. The vegetables or ingredients were not conflated in any way.

Anonymous 2:10 PM  

I do feed the poor. Or at least give money to a charity with that very name. It is a corporal work of mercy and I'm bound by it. You'll note however that it is not a spiritual work of mercy. I wouldn't conflate one into the other. They are discrete.

Aketi 2:16 PM  

Can’t think about the BEAK or bill of pelicans without thinking of the poem my Dad aleays recited when he spotted one.

A wonderful bird is the pelican
His bill can hold more than his belican
He can take in his beak
Food enough for a week
But I'm damned if I see how the helican

Dixon Lanier Merritt

@kitshef, clearly you didn’t have a mother like mine, haha. She used it for sassing back, but it wasn’t really all that effective once we learned to outrun her. I think it was a generational thing that went ALONG with teachers that had wooden paddles in the closets (my third grade teacher).

Crimson Devil 2:29 PM  

The late great Harry Caray would routinely end his public rendition at Wrigley Field of Take Me Out to the Ball Game with the encouragement: Let’s get some runs!!

ZenMonkey 2:43 PM  

Usually I don't make too much note of Mondays because they're my speed-solving day, but today not only did I post one of my fastest times ever, I had a lot of fun doing it. Those two things are usually mutually exclusive. Brava, Lynn!

Anoa Bob 3:03 PM  

I agree that MAKE PASSES as GOOD NEWS is a little bit low and outside of the strike zone, so to speak, and is not something commonly heard on, say, ESPN. GET A RUN, however, seems right down the middle of the plate. I can easily imagine a Little League coach telling the upcoming batter "Remember, the bases are loaded, so if you get a walk, we GET A RUN".

To DRAW A BLANK is certainly GOOD NEWS in Scrabble. Coming in a close second would be to DRAW an S tile. They are super useful because you can tack one onto the end of an already existing word on the board and then drop in your own word ending in that same S. You then get credit for both words. It's so easy and convenient that it seems almost like cheating. I guess that's why out of 100 tiles, only four of them (4%) are S tiles.

The S "tile" is equally if not more useful and convenient in crossword grid fill. And since there is no set limit on its use, we often see grids that are veritable S-fests, where its frequency is way more than the 6% that it appears in standard English text.

Not so with today's offering. It is a model of constraint in leaning on the S to make it easier to fill the grid. And not a single two-for-one POC to be found. Most unusual. I think that is one reason why many have remarked on how clean and smooth the fill is, something that I think is a hallmark of today's constructor.

I'll second @Lewis, another good one (her 84th NYT) from LL's bean.

jberg 3:23 PM  

Fun puzzle, not too hard though I probably added 5 or 10 minutes to my time by musing about the concept of POLOS being a common shirt for playing golf. Not saying it's wrong, just saying that it's a nice irony. Do polo players wear bowling shirts, because they want the freedom of arm movement? Just asking.

Anyway, it's good to be back after a few days away -- though I may be too late in the day to get this comment through the approval process.

puzzlehoarder 3:49 PM  

This was about as Monday as it gets. I initially went with BILL but only with the awarness of BEAK being just as plausible. The first cross checked set me straight. SARA was about the only unknown. It probably went in off crosses without my reading the clue.

I'm surprised PRIVATEER is unknown to some. Base knowledge often depends on what interested you as a child.

@anon. 1:31 PM from yesterday, sorry I didn't see your question until today. My recovery is going well. I've adapted to my professional patient status. My flexion and extension range is ahead of schedule. I'm also not missing the firehouse one bit. Thank you for asking.

GILL I. 4:05 PM  

@Anony 2:07 & 2:10:
I'm no English major, as a matter of fact, I can murder the language at times.
There are two points here: The first is that so many anonys come here looking for nothing but blood (no pun intended) - usually by attacking someone's grammar or looking for anything at all that may make you go "gotcha, Rex..." It's tedious.
Second: My dictionary lists "conflated" as meaning confused and rationale as referring to logic. Punto final.
You write well. You get your point across well. You're not boring, so why don't you give yourself a little avatar so those of us who post regularly can put a picture to a moniker.
Join the group and sing all you want. @Rex allows most anything - even though it's his house.
I'm glad you feed the homeless. I thought, perhaps, you had too much time on your hands. I, personally, am the egg lady at Sacramento's Loaves and Fishes. ;-)

Anonymous 4:10 PM  

puzzlehoarder, that is good news on both counts. Keep up the good work!

pabloinnh 4:47 PM  

Off to the hoot. Seems like a good night for "Barrett's Privateers", a great Stan Rogers song.

Monty Boy 4:50 PM  

I wish I had @LMS's eye for juxtaposition, butt I don't. Sigh.

Monty Boy 4:57 PM  

I believe the pelican poem is by Ogden Nash, at least that's what Google says.

kitshef 5:01 PM  

@Aketi, for you

Daddy, what would a pelican do
If he swallowed a bottle of glue?
Would his beak get stuck?
Would he run out of luck
And lose his job at the zoo?

-Spike Milligan

Aketi 5:03 PM  

Agh, my post disappeared.

Too tired to reacreate it. But the BEAK and the bill both appear in the poem my Dad often recited when we’d spot a pelican in San Francisco Bay.

A wonderful bird is the pelican
His bill can hold more than his belican
He can take in his beak
Food enough for a week
But I'm damned if I see how the helican

Dixon Lanier Merritt

Aketi 5:05 PM  

Oh @Kitshef, I love it!

I guess the moderators just updated because I didn’t see my post. I just reposted the poem so now I’ll have to delete it if they don’t notice the repetition

Nancy 5:20 PM  

Weep for Rex, everyone. And for yourselves, too, if you're from the generation that doesn't know the difference between vichyssoise and borscht. But how can you, if you've never had either one? A great borscht can be a lovely treat, but a great vichyssoise is sublime. I used to order it all the time in restaurants, but I don't think I've seen it on a menu in forty years. Even the top French restaurants (which I can't afford, btw,) don't have it. They're all serving nouvelle cuisine these days and vichyssoise is considered ancien. I just Googled vichyssoise in NYC restaurants, and nothing is coming up. Borscht is still being served at the Russian Tea Room, where I see they're charging $20/bowl. $20 for a bowl of soup?????Still, I've always been someone who much prefers a great soup to a great dessert. And the great soups are disappearing -- maybe entirely gone. An incalculable loss!

Anonymous 5:35 PM  

To conflate is to confuse but in specific way and this by combining in error. Simply confusing lake Michigan for the Atlantic ocean is not to conflate the two, though it is an example of confusion. I say again, Rex did not conflate, he simply confused.
So did I. The charity is food for the poor.

Kyle in Brooklyn 8:01 PM  

Very true though I’d suggest “get a run IN” is more common. Still, I’m on board with ya.

Kyle in Brooklyn 8:03 PM  

Or that I doubt there’s anything in French cooking that’s beet-based lol.

Anonymous 8:55 PM  

Why is speed so important to you people.

ZenMonkey 9:45 PM  

@anon You are mistaking fun for importance.

SuTu 10:56 PM  

Dude, borscht is red from beets. Vichyssoise is white from spuds....and leeks, and there’s not much more to to it, other than glorious cream.

Fun puzzle!

Z 3:47 PM  

If one assumes the writer is using conflate to mean “combining in my mind two distinct things, treating them as one,” the sentences about soups make perfect sense.

thefogman 9:56 AM  

5A is incorrect. Today there is no difference between fact or fiction. The Donald told me so.
Overall, this was a decent puzzle. I had no writeovers but the bottom half took a bit longer than normal for a Monday. Rex is being a wee bit harsh in his critcism. This was a good start to the week. Thank you Lynn Lempel!

Burma Shave 10:21 AM  


It’s a FACT that SARA’s a VAMP, she’ll MAKEPASSES unsisterly:
What she DIDIN ABED at band camp will GODOWNINHISTORY.


spacecraft 11:12 AM  

I think I may have heard, once, some sports commentator say "He made 75% of his passes," but no. In football, you THROW passes, and if successful as the clue indicates, you COMPLETE them. This theme entry was strained to the limit, but let's say it had "LL immunity." Hey, why should PB be the only one?

Other than that it all worked for me; a nice, easy, fun Monday to warm up the week. I happened to be doing Downs in the SW, so had PIPEDin instesd of PIPEDUP. UNDiE looked okay (tee hee), but I never heard of EGYnT. A rare Monday writeover.

Clues are fair game for DODs, so despite only appearing as AKA in the grid, the Stormy one gets my vote today.

lol @the fogman for the FACT/FICTION confusion. I guess it depends on what your definition of "is" is.

I expect another TAR rant from @rondo, especially when it reappears in the exact center in "geTARun." BTW I have no problem with GETARUN; this usually refers to one that is scratched out as opposed to knocked in: "The home team got a run in the second on an error, a stolen base. a balk and a wild pitch." Hey, it's still a "1" on the ol' scoreboard. Now I GOTARUN. Birdie.

rondo 12:29 PM  

Yes, a bright Mon-puz. Except for you-know-what.
Please, please, please me. Just as turpentine is not gasoline, TAR is not the same as the asphalt that goes on your roofs and roads:

noun: bitumen
1. a black viscous mixture of hydrocarbons obtained naturally or as a residue from petroleum distillation. It is used for road surfacing and roofing. Asphalt, also known as bitumen, is a sticky, black, and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid form of petroleum.

noun: tar
1. a dark, thick, flammable liquid distilled from wood or coal, consisting of a mixture of hydrocarbons, resins, alcohols, and other compounds. It is used for coating and preserving timber.

Can’t we get it, and keep it correct? Please let us not wander in the desert of ignorance.

Different SARA. SARA Bareilles. Yeah baby.

Very nice puz, but, as usual, I had to toss in my two CENTS about TAR.

Diana,LIW 1:03 PM  

OKJ. What have the Synders learnt from x-word puzzles?

1 - Roofs don't have TAR. Please Rex, wake up!

2 - @Rondo played geTAR when opening for Cash. Johnny Cash.

3 - Mondays should be smooth and easyish, like today, and L. Lempel should edit all Mondays for funness.


Diana, Lady6-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Have we had a Synder rollcall lately? Are we all present and accounted for. Who belongs to this distinct club? I remember Kathy...

rainforest 2:56 PM  

@Lady Di - present. But where is leftcoastTAM?

@Rondo - OK,OK, but can you explain why roofing material that consists of gooey black stuff covered with small stones is called "tar and gravel"? I'm beginning to think that TAR is a myth.

TAR notwithstanding, this was a good Monday, smooth, devoid of dreck and "-ese", combined with a neatish theme and revealer. Typical Lynn Lempel.

an old TAR 4:08 PM  

Asphalt built-up roofs are made up of multiple layers of reinforcing plies and asphalt forming a redundancy of waterproofing layers. The reflectivity of built up roofs depends on the surfacing material used. Gravel (aggregate) is the most common and they are referred to as asphalt and gravel (or asphalt and aggregate) roofs.

Coal TAR pitch is a carcinogen, forbidden by code . . . Coal TAR pitch is often confused with asphalt and asphalt with coal TAR pitch. Although they are both black and both are melted in a kettle . . . that is where the similarity stops.

leftcoastTAM 7:28 PM  

@rainforest -- I'm here, but not as regularly as I would like to be. Thanks for asking.

spacecraft 7:39 PM  

I am TAR'd of all this. Let's just call it all black shit and move on.

Fiddlechick 3:54 PM  

Late to the game, but I enjoyed this one and found it fairly easy I'm surprised no one has mentioned that GOOD NEWS BAD NEWS has nothing to do with a mixed message. The only thing that bothered me, though I can't think of another way to clue the reveal that isn't awkward.

Kim Mackenzie / Kim Hubbeling 3:55 PM  

Late to the game, but I enjoyed this one and found it fairly easy I'm surprised no one has mentioned that GOOD NEWS BAD NEWS has nothing to do with a mixed message. The only thing that bothered me, though I can't think of another way to clue the reveal that isn't awkward.

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