Country below Hungary / MON 9-24-18 / Vegas hot spot / Alcohol that's transparent / Unattractive fruit

Monday, September 24, 2018

Constructor: Michael Black

Relative difficulty: Easy (2:44)

THEME: JEOPARDY (18-Across) and WHEEL / OF FORTUNE (34-Across) — each is a "Popular program shown back to back with" the other

Theme answers:
  • ALEX TREBEK (23A: Host of 18-Across)
  • VANNA WHITE (49A: Co-host of 34-/36-Across)
  • PAT SAJAK (54A: Co-host of 34-/36-Across)
Word of the Day: VIJAY Singh (49D: Golfer Singh who won the 2000 Masters) —
Vijay SinghCF (Hindi: विजय सिंह), IPA: [ˈʋɪdʒəj sɪ̃ɦ]; born 22 February 1963), nicknamed "The Big Fijian", is an Indo-Fijian professional golfer who was Number 1 in the Official World Golf Rankingfor 32 weeks in 2004 and 2005. Vijay was the 12th man to reach the world No. 1-ranking and was the only new world No. 1 in the 2000s decade. He has won three major championships (The Masters in 2000 and the PGA Championship in 1998 and 2004) and was the leading PGA Tour money winner in 2003, 2004 and 2008. He was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2005 (but deferred his induction until 2006). He won the FedEx Cup in 2008.
An Indo-Fijian practicing Hinduism,Singh was born in LautokaFiji and grew up in Nadi. A resident of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, he is known for his meticulous preparation, often staying at the range hours before and after his tournament rounds, working on his game. (wikipedia)
• • •

What is this? I'm not blogging this. This is not a theme. There's nothing here. Seriously, this concept is so rudimentary, so boringly straighforward, I sincerely cannot believe the puzzle was accepted. The grid as a whole is OK, but this theme is astonishingly substandard. Nothing in the execution of the theme causes it to rise above the most boring TV Guide trivia quiz. Sub-TV Guide, in fact. Actually, I apologize to TV Guide, even though I'm not sure it still exists—their puzzles are unpleasant and trivia-heavy, but they expect you to know much tougher answers. Why does this puzzle exist? Is there an anniversary? Did the TV shows offer financial consideration for this? If so, can they get their money back, because this is bad. Objectively.

Five things:
  • 49D: Golfer Singh who won the 2000 Masters (VIJAY) — knew it instantly, but spelling ... I think I got the MTV VEEJAY (?) spelling in there, and then I went with VEJAY, which is like a typo'd VE DAY ... this was the one moment during the solve where I felt like the wheels were gonna come off. For no good reason
  • 1A: Just one year, for Venus and Serena Williams (AGE GAP) — nice clue/answer to open. SERENA WILLIAMS was a long answer in a puzzle I solve immediately prior to solving this one, so she was on my mind, as she often is.
  • 43D: Ditch for cutting timber (SAWPIT) — this is the one WTF answer in the grid? I have never seen this term, ever. Why are you cutting timber in a ditch? Nevermind, I don't really care. I just know that this is a pretty technical / obscure term for a Monday. Not that it slowed me down much.
  • 9D: Onetime Apple product (iBOOK)— discontinued 12 years ago ... coincidentally (?), this blog turns 12 tomorrow (9/25/18)
  • 35D: Does one's taxes online (E-FILES) — it's how all the E-SPIES do their taxes 
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Larry Gilstrap 12:43 AM  

Monday, Monday! Let's give solvers an entry-level themed puzzle, without a lot of crappy fill. Notice, the themers are probably the most familiar TV personalities ever. Even non-TV people are aware of those shows. Seriously, if you were teaching a class called Doing the NYT Crossword, why wouldn't this puzzle work as lesson #1?

I remember seeing PAPER MOON. Ryan O'Neal could really fill up a screen. Has anybody seen it lately? Does it hold up?

I've had a few MRIS and, thankfully, I have some yoga training. It is so arduous that when I was done, I wondered why I wasn't cured instead of just diagnosed.

Just read a nice article about the history of South Asian assimilation in the USA, and it does not speak kindly of APU. Consult the recent National Geographic. Yep, that magazine.

Mike in Mountain View 12:56 AM  

Congratulations, Rex, on the 12th anniversary of your blog.

The constructor explains the theme over at XWORDINFO. Granted, it's not the most exciting theme ever, but the puzzle was a pleasant solve, nonetheless.

JOHN X 2:32 AM  

This was a great Monday puzzle. This was easy enough for beginners yet was a really good exercise in cross-clue referencing. And I'll bet everybody doing a NYT crossword has heard of Jeopardy! and it's pal Wheel of Fortune.

(Have you ever travelled and noticed that in different cities, Wheel of Fortune is on at 7:00 P.M. and Jeopardy! follows at 7:30 P.M., and in other towns Jeopardy is on at 7:00 P.M. and Wheel of Fortune follows at 7:30 P.M.? I'd like to think that there is some grand-unifying-theory of television programming that dictates this.)

Anyways, I liked this puzzle. Very well done.

I'd also like to thank Rex for yesterday's post, because he had a reference to a book called "Understanding Comics" by Scott McCloud, which I had never heard of. I bought it on-line and I love it. This is a great book. And Chapter 2 opens with an in-depth discussion of Magritte's "Treachery of Images" painting of the pipe (which it is) and explains the text and the title and the meaning very nicely. Rex teaches this book, so I'm sure he can tell you more about all this than I can. I highly recommend the book.

chefwen 2:48 AM  

A no brainer for me. We tape and watch Jeopardy every night, love it. The Wheel, not too much, but it’s on at a time when we’re getting ready for dinner, so what the hell, let’s watch Vanna strut to and fro. That lady does not age, damn her.

AWESOME (the most overused word in the English language) signifies something a little more than NEAT in my mind.

Loren Muse Smith 3:37 AM  

I didn’t bother because I don’t own a tv and spend my time admiring Magritte, sipping NEAT GIN, and feeling bad for anyone who does own a tv. Hah.

Actually, this unabashed Bravo fan never watches WHEEL. I’m a Capricorn, and the frantic enthusiasm of the contestants embarrasses me. (See WHEEL/CLAP/FAN crosses.) These people are heroically good-natured.

Rex - I like more trickery/wordplayery in my puzzles, too, but I guess no one died and made us King of Deciding What Gets to be a Theme. So it’s a list. A pretty cool symmetrical list of a long-standing tv duo. I’ll take it. No biggie. No FURY here.

Most appropriate advanced placement test – APTEST APTEST. Your day is now complete.

I would go out of my way to buy more than one onyx just to write that plural ONYXES. Same with ankhs.

@chefwen – I think amazing has overtaken awesome as the most overused word.

Rex – liked your EFILES E-SPIES catch.

Happy Monday. I’ll buy a fifth U for @M&A. My TREAT.

Anonymous 3:41 AM  

EFILIES is nearly selfie backwards.

frankbirthdaycake 3:54 AM  

It’s a Monday puzzle: easy, with a weak theme. Frankly, I didn’t pay much attention to the theme. I just filled in the answers until I finished.

JOHN X-15 4:08 AM  


Based upon reading this blog, I have determined that JOHN X and LMS are the same age age. (Hey LMS, JOHN X was born and raised in Virginia if that means anything to you).

Rex, you are 5-6 years younger. Bless you, m'bye.

Brookboy 4:56 AM  

Not sure I understand the rant about the theme, or lack thereof. I’m with @FrankBirthcake 3:54am. I just filled in the empty white squares with letters, didn’t care anything about a theme except for it making some answers even easier.

I thought the review was a little over the top, kind of vintage Rex.

Congratulations, Rex, on your blog celebrating its 12th anniversary. You have made it indispensable for a lot of crossword fans, many of whom I suspect tune in to see what your outrage level is from day to day😁.

Lewis 5:50 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 5:56 AM  

Nice little rhyming thing going on in this puzzle with STRIP/QUIP/DRIP, and even APU/AFEW.

Nice catch by the constructor that ALEX TREBEK and VANNA WHITE have the same number of letters, as well as PATSAJAK and and JEOPARDY.

I watch JEOPARDY regularly, and credit the knowledge I've gained from solving crosswords with steadily improving the number of correct answers I call out while watching. I like that my brain is waxing fuller rather than emptier as I'm getting more senior.

Dave 6:07 AM  

My brother lived in Sawpit Colorado for a while, so I got that one pretty easily!

Music Man 6:27 AM  

Re: 64A “Lyin’ Eyes” by the Eagles was the second single release from the album “One Of These Nights”. The song peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in November, 1975.

Smitty 6:32 AM  

SAWPITS were common during the Klondike Gold Rush. They were used for ripping timber with a double handled saw. One guy would stand atop a scaffold, while the less fortunate guy would saw from below where the sawdust would fall in his face.
The planks were used to build boats on the shores of Lake Bennett to get to the Klondike.

amyyanni 6:52 AM  

Congratulations on 12 years🤓.

Unknown 7:06 AM  

I SAWPIT(t) play Penn State a few weeks ago. It was disappointing.

Anonymous 7:09 AM  

Good on you Rex. Congratulations on 12 successful years.

michiganman 7:24 AM  

This was a pleasant Monday puzzle and more enjoyable than yesterday's. I agreed with Rex on the pipe puzzle but thought he was a little harsh today. Either way, I am not obsessed with what he thinks, as some seem to be. I try to learn what I can from reading him and the people who contribute to this forum. Thanks to all.

kitshef 7:34 AM  

Not a fan of I TO or I AM or the extremely made up WE GET IT.

I feel like we had SAW PIT in the last couple of months, but it may have been some other lumbering term.

Biggest slowdown in an easy puzzle was probably plugging in rostrum for SOAPBOX with great confidence.

kitshef 7:38 AM  

In case word did not get out, Eagles' Greatest Hits 1971-75 recently passed Michael Jackson's Thriller for best-selling album of all time.

Hungry Mother 7:46 AM  

Had to run the alphabet for the VIJAY/VANNA crossing and knew the golfer better. I’ve always felt that watching paint dry is much more enjoyable than the informercial game shows. JEOPARDY is not in that category, but I stopped watching years ago when I discovered rocking in my chair on the front stoop.

QuasiMojo 7:56 AM  

Am I losing it or was there a nearly identically themed puzzle somewhere else recently? Whatever you think of the three hosts mentioned their star power hasn’t grown FAINT.

chefbea 7:57 AM  

Loved the puzzle...We watch both shows every night during dinner.

We are finally back and I am doing puzzles. Didn't have much damage...but there is a lot around us. Thanks To @chefwen for telling you all we were safe . We got out of Wilmington for about a week. Took forever to get many roads flooded. Had to throw out all our food in the fridge and freezer, and restock. The first night back we had a fancy dinner....opened two cans of soup!!!!!

Z 8:16 AM  

Wow. If your puzzle is getting panned by our Muse (and if you are new to these here parts, trust me, that is as a savaging a post as Muse ever posts) maybe reconsider your puzzle.

If you are not a beginner let me suggest that you not claim that this is easy for beginners. Specifically, this puzzle has a specific problem that always causes some subset of solvers problems, a very high level of Pop Culture, Product names, and Proper nouns.. With 78 answers, the puzzle can have 26 answers before crossing the 33% threshold, the point where PPP plaints almost always happen. This puzzle has 31, a hefty 40%, including every theme answer and the central near grid spanner. QATARI/VANNA/SAJAK/VIJAY is a dense PPP cluster. While Pat and Vanna are practically their own Mt. Rushmore, if you don’t know them you are going to have difficulty in that section.
To be clear, I’m not saying this is Saturday challenging. However, any heavily PPP-laden puzzle will play wildly different depending on how well you know the trivia. So, yeah, easy leash here. But if you didn’t set a PR today it just might be the puzzle, not you.

Nice TV Guide cover. Remember when WHEEL included a little shopping spree after each solve?

Wm. C. 8:16 AM  

For some reason, this was a harder-than-normal Monday for me. I knew of the shows and hosts, but had trouble remembering them until several of the crosses were done.

I got reeCEs and trebeC, but mis-spelled them, which delayed iBook and soapbox (the latter a clever answer, btw) Oh, well ...

TSG 8:19 AM  

Stopped watching these shows sometime in the latter half of the 20th century, yet still no issues quickly finishing this puzzle. People still watch tv while eating dinner?

Z 8:21 AM  

And, as I was typing, the first PPP plaint appears about the exact area I predicted.

Anonymous 8:23 AM  

Sawpit...yet again if rex doesn't know it, it's unfair.

Days later I'm still shaking my head over people who thought Ammonia, Methane and Carbon Dioxide were obscure .

GILL I. 8:31 AM  

Is this a pangram? If it is, someone is going to be happy.
I like that there's a bit of bar lingo going on here:
Speaking of...Is anybody following VIJAY's trial? Have any of you ever tried deer antler spray? Can you imagine admitting to taking that?
Back to JEOPARDY. Staple in this family. After dinner, retire to the TV room, pour an after dinner drink and watch Mr. know-it-all TREBEK. I count all the times he corrects your pronunciation. Just try and watch one episode where he doesn't do that. Heaven forbid if you mangle his French.
I like VANNA WHITE. Before WHEEL, she liked posing in some very compromising naked positions. I can imagine PAT leering at the centerfold. Such is life. WEGE TIT.

QuasiMojo 8:41 AM  

@GILL, you are SO right. But very often his French is abominable. I never stop laughing.

Bruce R 8:51 AM  

ALES are not necessarily "Strong brews." They are not even generally particularly strong.

pabloinnh 8:55 AM  

There's a SAWPIT setup at the Plimouth Plantation reconstructed village of that early settlement in MA. They were used to turn logs into boards (not 2X4's). The person on the bottom was inevitably covered in sawdust, so not a job anyone wanted. A similar type of saw was used in these part to cut ice blocks out of frozen lakes, and the local humor has it that it was even worse to be the bottom man on an ice saw.

Any puzzle inclusive enough to have Nepalis and Qataris is OK by me.

Also, I finally know all the words to LYIN' EYES and can sing it in public without peeking which often reminds listeners of what a long song this is.

Monday is as Monday does, and this was a Monday doing, and just fine.

Lewis 8:58 AM  

My five favorite clues from last week:

1. Blue-green? (7)
2. Effect of surplus oil (4)
3. Core group (5)
4. They typically revolve around steps (10)
5. Go down or come up (5)


Nancy 8:58 AM  

What a great clue for 1A. It's been said that the 1A clue determines how you'll feel about a puzzle, so the Venus/Serena clue for AGE GAP predisposed me to like the puzzle more than maybe I would have without it. I was looking for SEASON instead of AGE GAP, but checked the crosses even though it's Monday -- and it's lucky I did.

The theme is a bore, but it's not a bore until it actually comes in. I had no idea ahead of time what all those cross-references were going to be. Some thoughts on my beloved JEOPARDY and the inane WHEEL OF FORTUNE which I just can't watch.

Don't you think the viewer demographics differ greatly for the two programs? Discuss.

Is *turning letters* a fit occupation for any woman in "The Year of the Woman"? Discuss.

Does ALEX TREBEK make you want to hurl him across the room when he obnoxiously says "Boo, Hiss" to a contestant who's just missed an answer? Does he make you want to hurl him across the room even when he doesn't say it? Discuss.

I thought this was clued better than 90% of Monday puzzles, and didn't mind it at all.

Johnny Whirlwind 9:06 AM  

This puzzle had a "theme" in the loosest sense of the word. Utter garbage.

Anonymous 9:12 AM  

Gill & right about trebek and french. His german is pretty laughable too.

But...altho i've never really liked him, i've come to appreciate the way he prepares thoroughly. Contrast with Steve Harvey, who thinks being ignorant is somehow cute. Gave up watching the feud because of him.

BTW am i the inky one whi finds the "i am not a robot" pictures murky?

Anonymous 9:28 AM  

Didn't feel like a Monday. Solid medium for me (hit average time on the nose) and completely forgettable.

ArtO 9:29 AM  

Oh, come on Rex. It's just a Monday puzzle. Not at all negative to Jeopardy fans of which I'll bet there are many in the crossword world. Opening 1a clue was a bit sticky (but timely coming soon after the Open) for Monday but readily gettable with crosses. While we love Jeopardy, we never watch Wheel.

Go Tiger!!! Hope this is just the first of many more. Would love to see him break Jack Nicklaus' majors record...which he surely would have done by now without self-inflicted troubles and knee and back injuries.

Z 9:40 AM  

@Anon8:23 - Is “I just know that this is a pretty technical / obscure term for a Monday,” the same as “unfair?” I see how that interpretation is legit, but I had no problem getting it and had the same reaction. I see several explanations of the term and they all seem pretty lumbering industry specific, fairly obscure and technical for most of us. When a solver who solved the puzzle in less than three minutes says am answer is “obscure” I don’t think they are complaining so much as observing. Maybe this is why Rex’s reviews bug me less than they bug others.

@Bruce R - Compared to Ice Tea or Iced Tea I would say all ALEs are “strong brews.”

@Nancy - I had the exact opposite reaction. No clue initially so I just went to DRIP, worked through the puzzle clockwise from there, and finished at AGE GAP. At this point I said to myself, “really? All this PPP and we went with a PPP factoid clue for AGE GAP?” That choice was actually what led me to tote up the PPP.
As for your discussion questions - I do think there is significant overlap in the viewership. She doesn’t even turn letters anymore, but I imagine it is a pretty good gig. “Boo, Hiss” doesn’t even register with me, but Gawd! I can barely stay in the room during those insipid meet the contestants “conversations.”

Suzie Q 9:45 AM  

The only onyx I know is black and looks like a solid color to me so agate is always the banded stone I think of.
Some nice clues today.
The critical word in the clue for 1A is "just".
Double green in the clue for 24D was a good hint.
The clue for 52D was nice as well. Almost slap-stick.
I agree this is probably a good Monday for beginners. We all were rookies at one time and needed a place to start.
Thanks Rex for this blog.
Sounds like Rex has a crush on Serena.

RooMonster 9:50 AM  

Hey All !
As some might know, I'm a limo driver here in Las Vegas. Bringing this up because I once drove ALEX TREBEK and VANNA WHITE from the hotel they were staying to the airport. Forget why they were in town. VANNA was very nice, quiet, demure. ALEX, on the other hand, was conversing most of the way with the third person in the car (a producer maybe?) and he was talking what seemed to me boastingly like he knew everything about everything. So it seems he's actually that way in real life. Pompous comes to mind. PAT SAJAK wasn't here with them, though.

As for the puz, no @Gill, it's not a pangram. Missing the Z. I think it could've been added at 52D. TAZE. 61A ZARE, 55D KEN. Maybe a couple of obscure words, but, isn't the pangram worth it? :-)

This was a nice, if PPP laden puz. Light dreck, some nice answers, mostly straightforward cluing. Don't think the REBA clue needed the twang reference, though. Neat how after the A in REBA, 10D could be any one of the bears, BABY, MAMA, PAPA.

So Rex, WE GET IT you no longer like the puzs in the NYT four out of five times (well, six out of seven, actually). I've more than likely have had more puzs rejected by Will than you, but 1) I keep sending them in, because you never know (he actually did accept one, but we couldn't come to terms on a couple of entries), and 2) I still like most of the puzs and enjoy solving them. You might say I'm a FAN. CLAP CLAP. :-)

5 F's today!


jberg 9:57 AM  

So, a QATARI and a NEPALI walk into a bar, and the bartender says "why is it always I, I, I with you guys?"

@Loren, a) welcome bacck, and b) I was thinking you'd probably post 2-tined or 3-tined fork as you avatar; as it is, I don't know who that guy is.

I'd have liked the theme better if the printed puzzle didn't abut the paid "Clue of the Day" ad from JEOPARDY. Too close to product placement for me.

Does "country below Hungary" refer to soccer standings, or is part of Serbia subterranean?

Oh wait -- @Loren, is that some guy named ITO?

And @Gill -- I don't really know what Vanna sells in the way of letters, I think only vowels -- otherwise we could buy a Z for the pangram.

My only real problem with the puzzle is that 'red-shifted' wouldn't fit in 36D.

Nancy 10:00 AM  

@Z -- AGE GAP flummoxed me for a while, too -- which is exactly why I liked it. I got it only because of the crosses. And I never, ever listen to the contestant blather on JEOPARDY -- I go off to Chris Matthews on MSNBC for the duration. If he's on commercial break, I mute.

@Loren -- I'm not a Capricorn, but the "frantic enthusiasm" of the WHEEL contestants embarrasses me too. Plus the fact I don't believe any of it -- I believe those people are GINned up by the producers. It they don't over-emote and act like complete idiots, they won't be selected for the program. And their public humiliation is precisely the reason I can't watch that show.

Sir Hillary 10:31 AM  

Yeah, not much to see here.

Where the hell are ARTFLEMING and CHUCKWOOLERY -- and especially MERVGRIFFIN?

Would have been cool to defy crossword convention with a 2-letter entry, so we could see it as it is spoken: WHEEL. OF. FORTUNE.

Congrats to @Rex on doing this for 12 years.

TJS 11:06 AM  

And to think I used to jokingly refer to "TV Guide" puzzles. I know its Monday, but Good God...

Music Man 11:08 AM  

64A: “Lyin’ Eyes” is included on that Eagles Greatest Hits album. The Eagles and MJ have been in and out of that top all-time album spot for several years now.

old timer 11:10 AM  

A perfectly satisfactual Monday. Can't see anything wrong with it. Rien a redire, as the French might say.

Speaking of which, I think Trebek is a fine French speaker, for an anglophone. He grew up in Canada and was required to learn the language. As all Canadians must.

LaurieRo 11:22 AM  

There’s a little town called Sawpit just down the road from Telluride, Colorado. When I see the sign, I always wonder where that name came from but hadn’t bothered to look it up. Fun to see it in the puzzle.

Preferred Customer 11:22 AM  

@Bruce R The more you know about a subject the harder it is to get a crossword answer. A medium to small amount of knowledge is ideal.

Music Man 11:31 AM  

The second musical reference in today’s puzzle, 58D, is the English band ELO, whose big hits in the USA, include “Strange Magic”, “Can’t Get It Out Of My Head”, “Evil Woman” and “Don’t Bring Me Down”. Despite moderate chart success here, they never managed to hit #1 in the US. ELO was inducted in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2017, and lead singer Jeff Lynne is currently on tour as “Jeff Lynne’s ELO”.

Anonymous 11:42 AM  


Is that embarrassment for other people a known Capricorn trait? I'm one too and I've had that feeling all my life (though not especially for WOF contestants)
Not sure Vanna did full on nudes. I think. I think maybe topless was as bad as it got. Mostly just lingerie iirc.

Mocking Trebek when he gets smug is just about a nightly occurrence at our house.

Thanks for the fine puzzle Mr. Black. Bonus points for putting Michael on tilt.

Lurker Librarian 11:44 AM  

I wanted SAWPIT to rhyme with pewit. ;-)

Odd Sock 11:56 AM  

One of the worst things, for me, about walking through a Vegas casino is hearing "WHEEL OF FORTUNE" blaring from nearly every bank of slot machines. It sounds just like the crowd yelling on the TV show and those machines are everywhere. So annoying.
Agree @Roo?

Learned what a saw pit is so I guess my Monday puzzle was worth it.

Unknown 11:58 AM  

Heehee, e-spies.

I got into Jeopardy as a kid around the same time as crosswords (my local paper syndicated Thomas Joseph). There was a point in my devotion when I’d have my dad tape the show for me if I wasn’t home. 20 or so years later, got into another Jeopardy phase with my mom and the dvr, and gradually awoke to the fact that Alex Trebek is pompous and terrible at stage patter. I’m better at crosswords now, too.

Amelia 12:00 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Hoffman 12:11 PM  

I disagree with Rex on this one. I thought it was an excellent on Monday puzzle. Little crossword-ese. Good theme, nice fill.

Teedmn 1:04 PM  

A fine example of a Monday theme - the fun is in the fill, as @Nancy observes. Looking at JEOPARDY in the grid, I wondered how the game got its name. After all, the contestants are in no physical danger. So I Googled it and got this from a U.S. Game Shows wiki:

The original name for Jeopardy!, due to how the format worked, was called "What's the Question?" It was an unexcitable title, and NBC executives confirmed it by saying, "Merv, there are no jeopardies in the game. It needs more jeopardies." Merv didn't completely listen; he kept hearing the word Jeopardy. "Jeopardy? WOW! What a word." So he told the network executives, "I heard what you're saying and we've decided to change the name; from this day on, the name of the show will be called 'Jeopardy!'"

Sounds like "jeopardies" are the game show equivalent of "cowbell", har.

I liked the crossing of FADE and FAINT. The "Poem of the Day" email I get every day was a poem that mentioned fading (here's a small snippet):

Adrift by Bao Phi

A shipping container of rubber duckies made in China for the United States washed overboard in 1992, and some of them had traveled and washed ashore over 17,000 miles over 15 years.

Let’s go ahead and assume it’s yellow.
What little of science I know:
its plastic skin invincible against salt water,
but not the sun–
we can only ask so much.
Will it fade or brown?

Thanks, Michael Black.

Uke Xensen 1:10 PM  

Disgusting puzzle. Who cares about this TV crap? Can we dumb this thing down any further?

GILL I. 1:13 PM  

@Quasi, Anony 11:42. My French step-mom says his accent is deplorable - a word she probably heard from Hillary. From what I know, he grew up bilingual and knows several other languages. Good for him. The problem is that he's a pretentious little so and so. When someone mispronounces something - especially in French, he loudly corrects them in his speech - followed by "Well, I guess we can accept that!"...meow.
@Anony 11:42. Oh, I don't know. When the internet just started to get popular and no one censored racy pics, she was featured in a few "oh lookiee there" shots. I say good for her as well. I think it beats turning letters all day long.

Dawn Urban 1:15 PM  

A hearty congratulations for your 12th anniversary (tomorrow)! Reading your blog each day, Rex, is my reward for finishing the puzzle. 😊

Is the word ONYXES truly correct? If so, are a pride of lynx called "lynxes". No, didnt look it up, just sounds wrong.

Marc 1:42 PM  

Sir Hillary said...
Yeah, not much to see here.

Where the hell are ARTFLEMING and CHUCKWOOLERY.

Watching those Jeopardy shows with Art Fleming on YouTube is exhausting. Rapid Fire Q and A's. And has anyone ever made a worse decision than Chuck Woolery and leaving the Wheel? I remember watching him on TV when I visited Grandma's and a few years later he's on the Love Connection (watch those YouTube clips for some cringe worthy moments).

I have taken the online Jeopardy contestant test 3 years in a row. Still waiting for my call.

Masked and Anonymous 2:10 PM  

Wheel of Jeopardy puz. Hey, why not?

Lots of cool fillins, plus SAWPIT. har

No obvious moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue stand-outs, but I'll go with: {Purchase at Citgo} = GAS.
staff weeject pick: KAN. Better clue: {Kale konfetti kontainer}. Primo weeject stacks, in the NW & SE, btw.

Nice, sizable black-diagonal slash gridart, in the center. Helps open up the grid, which is needed, since there ain't a lot of real long themers [Longest is VANNAWHITE or ALEXTREBEK, each length 10]. Yet, the long diagonal thingy also keeps any one Down answer from havin to cross too many of the cute lil themers. Good constructioneerin decisions, there.

Thanx for yer generoUs U-purchase, @muse darlin.

Thanx for the game-show-orama, Mr. Black.

Masked & Anonymo4/5Us

Cassieopia 2:13 PM  

@Smitty 6:32- Klondike Fever by Pierre Burton!!!

Cassieopia 2:20 PM  

A very close friend of mine was on Jeopardy many many years ago. He won for a day or two and got a washer/dryer and a LOT of Paul Mitchell shampoo out of the deal.

Puzzle - meh. Not a fan of TV topics. (Not a fan of baseball topics either - there, I’ve said it.)

Congratulations to @Rex on Twelve Angry Years! (Said with true affection from a true fan!)

JJ 3:16 PM  

Mr Singh actually spells his first name VEJAY when he’s using a REATA

Z 3:23 PM  

@Lurker Librarian - I think I like you.

@jberg - Judge Lance ITO of OJ Trial infamy.

As for Vanna - here's a nice story reflecting on her appearance on the cover of Playboy.

chefbea 4:15 PM  

Forgot to mention - I tried out for wheel of fortune a long time ago - met Vanna!!! I passed with flying colors but when all was over...I didn't get picked because I did not jump up and down enough when I got an answer right!!!

DigitalDan 5:52 PM  

Am I the only one who believes that the GRE is an undergraduate (on the way to graduate school) qualifier, not something one is exposed to in high school?

Unknown 6:38 PM  

What is MRIS and ESL?

Unknown 6:55 PM  

I just figured out that The MRI is short magnetic resonance imaging . The clue for pics made me think of photographs like the ones taken of newborn babies or two id photos of people visiting a hospital. No one refers to mri images as “Pics”
Or pictures

Anonymous 6:57 PM  

Magnetic Resonance Imaging

English as a Second Language

Z 6:59 PM  

@DigitalDan - GED is in the puzzle, not Graduate Record Examination. I think GRE made an appearance yesterday.

@jessica cohn - Magnetic Resonance Image, an even higher tech way than an X-Ray to peer inside a body, and English as a Second Language. ESL gets lots of adult ed/night school clues.

Peter P 10:04 PM  

I enjoyed it. Easy and exactly what I expect from a Monday as a relative newcomer. Finished it at my average Monday time (9 minutes.) SAWPIT was the only answer that felt a little forced to me.

Anonymous 11:21 PM  

Sun Aug 19, 2018
Sun Aug 10, 2014
Thu Dec 23, 1999
Appearances of "pitsaw" (a saw that is operated in a sawpit) in NYT puzzles.
Sat Apr 1, 2000
Previous appearance of "sawpit" (a place where a pitsaw is worked) in NYT puzzles.

Find a working mill near you:
This one is a good example of a pitsaw mill

(Celebrate learning something for a change instead of only proud ignorance, even if that is the motto of Rex Parkerland.)

Burma Shave 10:18 AM  


SIR, WEGETIT, there’s an AGEGAP,
but if FORTUNE TREATS you right,
a WISER FAN just won’t CLAP
after LYIN’ with VANNAWHITE.


thefogman 10:42 AM  

IAM beginning to think Rex doesn't see puzzles. He sees PINATAs he simply must smash to pieces just for FUN or to unleash his FURY. WEGETIT. It's a bit of an act. I'm a FAN but was hoping and thinking "NODONT SLAG this one Rex." After all, it's only Monday. This one did the job just fine. As usual, I got quite a few chuckles out of his review. Loved this one: 35D: Does one's taxes online (E-FILES) — it's how all the E-SPIES do their taxes On to Tuesday.

spacecraft 11:28 AM  

Love JEOPARDY!. Tried out once; didn't get picked. I was fine on the quiz part, but apparently didn't cut it in the personal interview. Not enough of a "live wire," I guess. It was so long ago I could've sworn the host was Bill Cullen--but no, that's one show he never did. It was Art Fleming. I remember the show's title contained an anagram of the announcer, Don PARDO.

WOF, not so much, but the ever-youthful VANNAWHITE is a shoo-in for DOD. I'd probably win if I ever got on, but...I just don't "jump up and down" enough. BTW, that's a stupid expression. One simply jumps. From a standing position there's only one way to go; as for the down, well, gravity takes care of that; you don't have to jump.

Digression over. I don't know what's so all-fired awful about a "list" as a theme; the explanation eludes me. They're all "lists" of one sort or another. I was more bothered by the fill, which seemed a bit awkward. In addition to the EFILES/ESPIES pair, we have QATARI and NEPALI; also APTEST and GED. Still, needing high-count letters for the hosts' names, Mr. Black did OK with it. He wisely didn't strain things further by trying to force in a Z for the pangram. Par.

Diana, LIW 1:11 PM  

I agree with @LarryG (first response) and @Foggy (first Synder?). I would never think to complain about such a Monday puzzle. Nae.

'Twas even not as easy as some Mondays, IMHO. Thank SAWPIT for that.

WEGETIT @Rex, you're gonna b*tch about your itch.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rainforest 2:32 PM  

I don't watch those shows even though I know who the emcees are. ALEX TREBEK is a Canadian about whom I do not brag. He's deathlessly, repugnantly, and disgustingly arrogant. Kind of the OFL of JEOPARDY.

Straightforward colour-by-number theme, but that's OK. It is Monday.

From the description of a SAWPIT, it sounds like the lower guy in there could easily get sawdust in his eyepit.

I think the AGE GAP between @Rex and me is about 30 years, and so he has time to get a little wiser and a lot more tolerant.

rondo 2:33 PM  

In this market JEOPARDY is on at 4:30 on the NBC affiliate and WHEELOF FORTUNE is on CBS at 6:30, so that cluing was of no help. And I wouldn’t exactly call yeah baby VANNAWHITE a *co-host*, she is one of “the *stars* of WHEELOF FORTUNE”, whose job has become obsolete as far as letter-turning goes, but she does make a new car look better.

I do watch JEOPARDY whenever possible. Don’t you just love when ALEXTREBEK gets to pronounce foreign words, especially French? I chuckle every time. Sack-ray-blue. And yes, I remember Art Fleming.

I’ll take Four-letter Yeah Babies for 800, ALEX. And let’s make it a true Daily Double with LARA and REBA. Double JEOPARDY indeed.

This puz was OK. But let’s not have one focused on The Match Game, Card Sharks, or Joker’s Wild; talk about dumb.

leftcoastTAM 2:52 PM  

Full of NEAT pairings of clues and answers besides the game shows and their hosts.

Starting with the Williams sisters. Didn't know that the AGEGAP between them was only one year.

Other of these more or less related pairings that help tie the whole thing together:


Any more?

With @Diana, SAWPIT was and outlier.

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