Cry of triumph / MON 12-31-2018 / Quarry / Spirited horse / Make a goof

Monday, December 31, 2018

Hello! Happy almost New Year! It's Clare again, switching it up this month by doing the last Monday of the month instead of the last Tuesday. Hope everyone is having a happy holiday season. I'm spending my break chilling at home spending endless amounts of time doing jigsaw puzzles and sleeping, while still recovering from all that studying for finals!

Constructor: Brian Thomas

Relative difficulty: Pretty easy

THEME: Another name for O3 (as appropriate to 17-, 25-, 44- and 55-Across?) — The theme answers were all phrases that have three O's in a row.

Theme answers:
  • IM TOO OLD FOR THIS (17A: "You young people go ahead!")
  • HAVE NO OOMPH (25A: Lack in energy)
  • BOO OFF STAGE (44A: Force to exit, as a performer)
  • ITS A ZOO OUT THERE (58A: Traffic reporter's comment)
Word of the Day: ST ELMO (16D: Patron of sailors)—
Saint Erasmus of Formia, also known as Saint Elmo, was a Christian saint and martyr, who died c. 303. He is venerated as the patron saint of Sailors and abdominal pain. St Erasmus or Elmo is also one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, saintly figures of Christian tradition who were venerated especially as intercessorsSt. Elmo's fire is a weather phenomenon in which luminous plasma is created by a coronal discharge from a sharp or pointed object in a strong electric field in the atmosphere (such as those generated by thunderstorms or created by a volcanic eruption). The phenomenon sometimes appeared on ships at sea during thunderstorms and was regarded by sailors with religious awe for its glowing ball of light, accounting for the name. Sailors may have considered St. Elmo's fire as a good omen (as a sign of the presence of their patron saint). (Wikipedia)
• • •

Overall, I thought the puzzle was good. It had some fun theme answers, with parts like OOMPH (25A) and ITS A ZOO (58A). I jumped around the puzzle some and, after getting the first theme answer, knew right away the theme was three O's, which helped me get some answers. I also liked the longer answers; they gave the puzzle a slightly odd shape, though, and there were a lot of crossword-y fill words as a result, like LOL, OMG, ERR, EMO, ERS, IPA, IDO... (I could go on). It seemed like the rest of the puzzle might have suffered some as a result of the constructor trying to make the theme work. I was also not a fan of SISI (51D: Enthusiastic assent in Mexico) and HIHO (11D: Cheery greeting) (this sounds like it would have been at home in 18th century London! — HI HO, cheerio).

I got a bit slowed down by 39A: "Don't leave this spot" because I wanted to make "stay here" work instead of WAIT HERE. I also paused for a bit at 61A because I thought it definitely would have to be stegosaurus and not STEGOSAUR. I googled it afterward, and, while the dictionary definitions do refer to stegosaur, I felt slightly vindicated by my belief, because Google did ask me, "Did you mean Stegosaurus?"

I had no idea what SINN was (54A: __ Fein (Irish Political Party)) but didn't even see it until after I finished the puzzle, because the downs there were quite easy. I've also never seen Ahmed (2D: Man's name related to the name of Islam's founder) in a puzzle before, so that might be slightly odd, especially for a Monday puzzle. LEAF, GENE, and LOPE elicited a chuckle from me. I also don't know why, but I really love the word TOE RAG and the expression GEE WHIZ.

  • I knew that it was EUGENE O'Neill Theater because I got to see "Book of Mormon" there (which was hilarious and fantastic).
  • 6D as ALLEGE — You would not believe how much we use this word in law school.
  • Definitely because of the movie "Frozen," I originally tried to put Olaf instead of OLAV at 18D.
  • This is off-topic, but what kind of sound does a poodle actually make? I imagine poodles as more dainty, and ARF doesn't quite fit. I think of poodles as yipping or something.
Signed, Clare Carroll, a relaxed 1L

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:15 AM  

Medium. Kinda cute, with a couple of OOMPHy theme answers. Liked it, but...TOERAG?

Z 12:34 AM  

A fine Monday. I did the OLA-wait for the cross thing. Never saw TOE RAG while I solved. No real hold-ups. I like the themers fine although BOO OFF STAGE is missing a duh.

mmorgan 12:49 AM  

This puzzle allowed me to fantasize what it must feel like to be a speed solver. WhOOOsh! But it was lots of fun and I enjoyed it a lot. Happy NOOO year!

Outside The Box 12:53 AM  

Agree. Toerag????

Tom R 1:30 AM  

Arf is widely used to indicate a dog noise, but does a dog really make an arf sound? Does a cat meow? Neither one is a good imitation. As to poodles, they come in all sizes and while a miniature might yip, a full sized poodle sure doesn't. Just sayin...

Brookboy 1:34 AM  

Good Monday puzzle. Didn’t present any real obstacles, was mildly challenging (for a Monday) and amusing. I enjoyed solving it.

Thank you, Clare, for yet another entertaining and thoughtful review. Hope you did well in your finals.

Happy New Year to one and all. Another year that seemed to poke along yet also fly by. My wife and I watched a show tonight on National Geographic about the 1980s. This particular episode recalled the American ice hockey victory over the Russian team in 1980 and it really hit home that this was almost 40 years ago.

Let’s all hope for a healthy, happy and peaceful 2019.

chefwen 1:41 AM  

Had nooo problem with this cute Monday puzzle. I did finish with an error, though. Not up on my dinos and ended up with a STEtOSAUR instead of a STEGOSAUR. TOERAt made as much sense as a TOERAG or me.

He last couple of weeks have taken the OOOMPH out of me, but I refuse to say I’M TOOO LD FOR THIS.

Happy New Year to everyone.

Anoa Bob 2:16 AM  

I'M TOO OLD FOR THIS and HAVE NO OOMPH hit a little TOO close to home, thank you.

BOO OFF STAGE looks like it could be a play script direction: [As Snidely Whiplash ties Young Nell to the railroad tracks, a loud BOO, OFF STAGE, is heard.]

When I informed my folks over the phone that I had landed a TENURE track position, they were puzzled why it was limited to just ten-years.

'mericans in Paris 2:56 AM  

Happy New Year's Eve everybody!

I'm not somebody who normally gets excited by the turning of the calendar, but as I solved this puzzle I thought for sure it had a New Year's theme -- one based on the old, bearded, stooped-over guy passing on the world to an infant in diapers. "I'M TOO OLD FOR THIS" is just what you'd expect him to say, no? But 58A put paid to that.

Much to like in today's puzzle none the less. Doesn't @Lewis have a term for these three-letter smash-ups?

A few reactions:

-- Putting a QTIP in my ear makes me cough, every time. I know: TMI.

-- 4D brought to mind Duh Orange One's repeated claims that "There is no DROUGHT" in California.

-- My teenage years were spent in southern Florida, and I was told at the time that the glow of phosphorescent algae was called ST. ELMO's fire. Is that an ERRor?

-- I thought that burlap was normally made from jute. I guess it could be made from HEMP, though.

Thanks for the nice write-up, Clare, and for the pleasant puzzle, Brian. See y'all next year!

Coniuratos 5:02 AM  

A full-size poodle probably ARFs, a toy poodle yips.

Lewis 5:44 AM  
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Lewis 6:06 AM  
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Lewis 6:09 AM  

@'mericans -- Not that I recall, sorry to say!

I was charmed by the colloquial theme answers, and impressed with the clever theme, involving O-3 and O-ZONE. There is also a sub theme involving the letter O: Nine answers end with O, only two of which end in one of the triple-O's.

The cross of HEMP and EGYPT tripped off something deep in my memory that said there was a relationship between the two, and indeed, hemp was used in ancient Egypt -- with records going back to 2,000 B.C. on this -- for medicinal, religious, and cultural purposes. I love how crosswords revives age-old tidbits in the brain.

Wishing the griderati -- that is all of us here -- much peace and happiness in the coming year, with gratitude for the oasis you have brought to my life!

'mericans in Paris 6:10 AM  

@Z -- Ah, OK. Sorry for my faulty memory. I suppose one could call sequences of three Os "OTRIOs, which is also the brand name of "an excellent 2-4 player head-to-head strategy game that will fire up your competitive side."

Forgot to mention, is it Kosher to include both GENE and EUGENE? With regard to the latter, assuming that Brexit goes ahead, in a few months a large number of Americans of British decent will no longer be able to say that they have EU GENES.

Loren Muse Smith 6:12 AM  

Ok. So I had a dnf with “toorag/ors. Pfft. I’ll live.

Clare – I had “stay here” first, too. Oops.

I really liked the little vignette of I’M TOO OLD FOR THIS ‘cause I HAVE NO OOMPH. IT’S A ZOO OUT THERE. Every Christmas my extended family has a touch football game in a park across from my sister-in-law’s house. People seem to think it’s a real game, and tempers flare. My 6’5” husband is the only one who can cover my 6’8”son, but he has to pretty much cheat, hold, grab, foul – whatever – and still can’t keep him from scoring. Son gets testy, husband gets old-shamed. Husband reviews every single play later on, wanting reassurance from me that he didn’t look stupid. (Fwiw, I can always catch a pass in a textbook breadbasket, but then I just squinch over, close my eyes, and wait to be tagged.)

Next year, we’re playing this game. I’ve researched it, and if we all chip in, it’s pretty affordable. I will not be fulfilled until I play this.

Anyhoo, outstanding theme that pushes the envelope with a kind of how many blah blahs can I…..? ! Very cool to learn that OZONE is a trioxygen with three atoms of oxygen. What a perfect reveal.

So how can the inquiring mind not look into the possibility of a tetraoxygen? Seems someone back in the day proposed it as a sassy little liquid who refused to obey Curie’s Law. Wonder if there’s a bamboo oolong tea…

You know those people who append this nervous little laugh after every statement? LOL is the written equivalent. Texts peppered with LOLs bug the bejeezus out of me. Here is an article on the nervous laugh I found from 1909 in the NYT.

Can’t help myself- look back up at sister-in-law’s house. The possessive s goes at the end of the whole phrase. But if I have more than one sister-in-law, the plural s goes on sister: sisters-in-law. Your day is now complete.

Cockatoo offended by cockatoo on fleek. Your day is now completer.

'mericans in Paris 6:13 AM  

OOOps, I meant descent.

kitshef 7:24 AM  

This really should have been sent back to get rid of HAVE NO OOMPH, which is as painted as green gets. The other themers, and the revealer, are all top-notch.

Also … equating Ares with ODIN??? No. Really, ODIN has no equivalent in Greek mythology, but if you had to pick one it would be Zeus. Just yesterday we had a blurb in the Times called How to Write a Crossword Clue. The very first thing was “be accurate”. Bah!

amyyanni 7:28 AM  

This puzzle and zorba soccer before coffee! Thanks LMS. And I bet Claire has considered the plural/possessive s as it pertains to attorneys general. Lively write up for a matching puzzle. Happy New Year all.

ghthree 7:43 AM  

@Loren Muse Smith
Your example of plurals and possessives reminded me of the following classic:

"She's the man who borrowed my wheelbarrow's wife."

And I loved your soccer game video. That made *my* day!

michiganman 7:47 AM  

My miniature poodle definitely ARFs. It is certainly not a yip. The nice thing is he rarely does it. He is an 8 yr. old rescue and was home with me for two days before I knew what his bark sounded like. He alerts me to someone at the door and that's about it. I liked the puzzle. Like LMS I am put off by LOL. But then I am put off by a lot of textese and made up language therein. I wanted WTF for 27D (Holy Cow). GENE and EUGENE are OK in same puzz but not if GENE had been clued "Cowboy Autry". Love TOERAG and can't wait to use it.
@'merican-I know the sensation. Ear swabbing requires a certain finesse to avoid going too deep.

Joe R. 7:50 AM  

Since Rex is off today, I'll sub in to provide moderate outrage at the use of the racist icon AUNT Jemima. I don't want it on my breakfast, I don't want it in my crosswords.

Rainbow 8:17 AM  

I knew this would come up. Yes, the early depictions of AJ are cringe worthy. The modern (1989) image lines up with changed attitudes and awareness. In its current form the AJ brand is no more offensive (IMO) than Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines.

Unknown 8:34 AM  

Yes — because case is a characteristic of noun phrases, not nouns. It’s why people say “everyone else’s” instead of “everyone’s else.” Thanks as always for your thoughtful and funny contributions to this blog.

Suzie Q 8:45 AM  

I loved this if for no other reason than toe rag. Then @ chefwen topped it with toe rat! Even better.
I'm not sure how I would re-write it but the clue/answer to "have no oomph" doesn't seem to match grammatically. Maybe it's just me.
The clue for "hit on" doesn't sound right either. "Hit upon" seems a better fit. To me, hit on would be more like "flirt in hopes of scoring".
As far as revelry on New Year's Eve is concerned "I'm too old for this".
Thanks Brian and Clare.

thfenn 8:49 AM  

@JoeR, point taken, but only here can I twice in one year recall:

Aunt Jemima Pancakes, without the syrup
Is like the spring, without the fall
There's only one thing worse, in the whole universe
And that's no Aunt Jemima, at all

The last time it came to mind was in some debate here on the merits of 100% pure maple syrup. Which is why, thanks @Lewis, I'll toast the 'griderati' here and wish all a Happy New Year. This blog is like the maple syrup on my puzzle solving...

@Brookboy, the 'looks back' (as opposed to the look backs I guess) this year that have grabbed me have been those reminding us that 1968 was 50 years ago now, nearly as daunting as the Miracle on Ice approaching 40. What a year that was.

Hope everyone here has a great 2019

pabloinnh 8:51 AM  

I liked this one just fine, SISI, I'll have another IPA! The ooo phrases and the revealer all made me smile.

As for the question "Do dogs say ARF?", I would say, only in English. In Spanish (Hola Gill I) most dogs say "guau guau". My favorite is the rooster saying "quiquiriquiri", along with some others. These are the sorts of things I tried to point out as fascinating to my Spanish classes but was mostly met with eye rolls and as LMS has pointed out on some previous occasions, succeeded in amusing only myself.

Good luck to all of us in 2019. Always fun to check in here and compare reactions, and fun is where it's at. Hope nobody has to wish for un ano nuevo in the coming year.

Z 8:59 AM  

@‘mericans - Je ne suis pas @Lewis. Although it did seem appropriate for you to mistake me for him. It’s like Z-tag and @Lewis is it.

@LMS - I saw a mixed team playing ultimate in those this fall (you’ll have to scroll down).

@Joe R. - Yep. That’s the way you’re going for the otherwise innocuous AUNT? For anyone interested in the history, here’s a good article. I can hardly wait for the “it’s not racist” replies.

Z 9:02 AM  


Aketi 9:11 AM  

Hah, a puzzle filled with 23 cheery Os to wake up to on a MOnday mOrning. 4 triples, 1 double crossing a triple and 10 singles. Plus 12 other double letters.

I usually don’t think I’M TOO OLD FOR THIS, but sometimes I should and occasionally I do. Next week I am choosing to ski, not snowboard. I will also be wearing my fancy knee brace.

Sigh, I for one, am glad for the THIRD O that kept BOO OFF from being a term I really feel I didn’t need to know. Sadly, I do know thanks to the news coverage of a certain recent Supreme Court appointee. Doesn’t mix too well with cheery Os

GHarris 9:15 AM  

Overall quite easy. Only uncertainty came with my toe in the water and had to choose between rag and rat. Happily went with the g; “stego” just sounded more authentic.

Nancy 9:28 AM  

The fill of this puzzle has all the elements of a compelling misadventure story:

GEE WHIZ! This is the THIRD RANGE we've climbed this week! A TRIO of misery. And this one's as HIHO as the MATTEhorn! It blocks out the whole HORIZON. I'M TOO OLD FOR THIS!!! I HAVE NO OOMPH!!! Please, please, please let me WAIT HERE!!! Don't make me say I DO, because I don't! I want to be LAID ASIDE right now!!! I don't want to fall and be HIT ON the head! I've IMPLORED you for hours!!! Please let me lie here and NURSE the aches and pains I've fallen PREY to. If you can, leave me a nice, frosty IPA. I'll just WAIT HERE until the nice Saint Bernard comes and says ARF.

(As you can see, I found the puzzle, if not the mountain, a lot of fun.)

Anonymous 9:34 AM  

Why is discussing arf “off-topic”? It’s in the puzzle.

GILL I. 9:45 AM  

Blimey...the Brits do have such colorful words. I've heard TOE RAG used to refer to a hobo's sock. Wrap something around the feet and just leave it there until even the rats don't want to come near. I guess you could be called a scoundrel for not changing your smelly socks.
I don't mind LOL; I do the GOL. My sister is the ROL and my brother did a FDL until he grew up.
@'mericans....Sometimes a QTIP brings on a sneezing fit for me. Tickling my fancy, I suppose.
Lots of goood stuff here and I liked it all. IMTOOOLDFORTHIS made me crack a smile. I'm more in the "You're never too old camp."
2019....another year looming on the HORIZON. Hope it's a good one for all.

Lewis 9:50 AM  

My five favorite clues from last week:

1. Range for yodelers? (4)
2. Tin or glass (9)
3. Prepare for a bomb, say (6)
4. Pair that clicked in film (12)
5. Two stars, maybe (4)


CDilly52 9:55 AM  

While I have never, ever had a dog that made a noise anything close to “ARF” I presently have a big Torby cat (mix of tabby and tortoise) whose vocabulary includes several variations of MEOW. There’s one hungry one that technically says “May-YOH” and then a sweet waking up “MEEE-ow” and a very clear plain old MEOW. But they all are spoken with definite feline inflection and accent. We are merely transliterating to replicate as closely as we lesser humans are able.

burtonkd 9:57 AM  

@thfenn - who could possibly take the con side of a maple syrup debate? I don’t only say this bc my wife is québécoise. Would make her TOOORNERY

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

Excellent puzzle, Mr. Thomas (if a little on the easy side). Thanks very much for closing out 2018 with a good one!

RooMonster 10:07 AM  

Hey All !
I like combined-letter things like this. I once submitted a puz with four of the same letters in a row, called it Bunched. Since it will probably never be seen, the themers were KAZOO OOMPH, DECREE EERILY, BOYCOTT TTOPS, STALL LLOYD. Wacky, right? :-)

Liked @Nancys story (where does that danged apostrophe go?). @LMS always tells a good school story, too bad her students don't know her type of humor. Question, though @Loren, the other day you said 'stinger' had no G sound. Huh? It's sting-er, same as finger. Do you pronounce it stine-r? Is that just WVA dialect? Serious question, BTW.

Liked the long non-theme Acrosses. Fun to start puz out with an ampersandwich. QANDA sounds like a country somewhere.

4 F's, and even with all the OOO's, no ROO's.

How about me finishing up? ROO OFF AND RUNNING. :+)


Hungry Mother 10:23 AM  

Best part of being in Vegas is watching the ball drop at 9pm, then off to bed. My wife and I make a habit of flying home on New Year’s early morning. Fun to watch people staggering home as we’re getting out and about. Nice and easy puzzle this morning with a very cute theme. A very good way to end the year.

JC66 10:37 AM  

Naticked at the TOERA?/STE?OSAUR cross.

A happy, healthy & peaceful New Year to everyone.

Anonymous 10:59 AM  

Nono NYT, Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador replaced NIETO on 12/1/18.

Pamela 11:03 AM  

Flew through this one. Stopped to chuckle at TOERAG on the way, which I knew from watching Brit detective shows- got a kick out of seeing it here. The theme was cute. Happy New Year, everyone!

Mary McCarty 11:07 AM  

Loving all the language talk today. My cat always said “mrao”, but then she was always in a bad mood.
@Roo Monster: coming to @Loren’s defense (tho she certainly doesn’t need any help from me.) does sound different from At least where I live.
@Nancy: just to mess us up, there’s also Attorneys-General (pl) vs. Attorney-General’s, ( poss.) but the abbreviated plural is AGs. And I guess the plural possessive would be AGs’.
Thanks @paoloinnh, for illustrating that Spanish can be as crazy as English. Check out these dog sounds

Back to the theme, thanks @LMS for research on tetra-oxygen. Here’s the scoop from Wikipedia: “The tetraoxygen molecule (O4), also called oxozone, was first predicted in 1924 by Gilbert N. Lewis, who proposed it as an explanation for the failure of liquid oxygen to obey Curie's law.[1] Today it seems Lewis was off, but not by much: computer simulations indicate that although there are no stable O4 molecules in liquid oxygen, O2 molecules do tend to associate in pairs with antiparallel spins, forming transient O4 units.” Looks like chemistry can be as goofy as language.

tommydif 11:21 AM  

@'mericans in Paris said...

"Putting a QTIP in my ear makes me cough, every time. I know: TMI."

Little known fact that came back to me from first year medical school anatomy class, many decades ago: The vagus nerve supplies sensation to the ear canal, and also branches into the phrenic nerve, which provides motor function to the diaphragm. Stimulation of the sensory portion to the ear fools it into thinking that the phrenic needs to be stimulated, and so causes the diaphragm to contract, making one cough.

Same thing happens to me all the time.

Sue Jo Williams 11:23 AM  

Eugene O’Neill wrote Emperor Jones which is a racist play. Since we’re ridding the puzzle of racism let’s expunge him too.

Masked and Anonymous 11:30 AM  

This MonPuz had lotsa coool stuff. ST. ELMO. ST. EGO SAUR. The list goes on.

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Loch ___ monster} = NESS. [Anyone else want 'ER UP?]
staff weeject pick that woulda been fabulous: XXX. Coulda been a revealer contender. And … sooo easy to fit into the grid. har

Admirable symmetric fill: NITRO & NIETO. The "N-O Twins!"
Other noteworthy fillins: WAITHERE. GEEWHIZ. DROUGHT. EGYPT. DOGTAG/TOERAG [poetic].

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Thomas. It had some primo OOOMPH.
Thanx for the excellent 2018-finale subjob, Clare darlin.

Masked & Anonymo5Us
"Haaappy Neeew Yeeeaaar!"

speakin of which … it's a zoo out here:

Masked and Anonymous 11:38 AM  

@muse: U do very good avatar work, all year long. Thanx, with a "U" for thUmbsUp effort.
… A Pegasus pic on the tattoo-ointment box? Kinda makes U wonder … is the brand name "Horse Flyin Ointment"?


Anonymous 12:14 PM  


Anonymous 12:16 PM  

I agree. I don’t want imitation syrup on my foodstuffs, either!

Joseph M 12:25 PM  

My British scoundrel was s TOE RAT so I ended 2018 with a Monday DNF. ASIDE from that, I enjoyed the puzzle and thought the themers were fun, especially I’M TOO OLD FOR THIS.

As I look at the grid now, I see that EUGENE, after getting BOOED OFF STAGE, is heading for the WINGS. Perhaps he is thinking "IT’S A ZOO OUT THERE."

In my neighborhood, HIT ON has a really different meaning than "discover by chance" and REFS are not something you read. As for AUNT Jemima, no pancakes for me, please. I’d rather have an EGG.

Anonymous 12:26 PM  

PEONS of the World unite, because Urine for it in 2019! LOL

thfenn 12:28 PM  

@pabloinnh, a friend of mine used to insist this joke was as funny in spanish as it is english (being of a mind, like me, to find it funny at all):

What's the difference between a drinking establishment and an elephant's fart? One's a bar room, and the other's a BAROOM! Apparently "one's a taverna and the other's a TAVERNA!" is just as funny...

@burtonkd, I know! How is that possible? If I remember right, there were some just flat out anti-syrup, but some of the discussion was NY vs VT vs ME vs Quebec, and of course Fancy vs Amber vs Dark. I don't believe anyone actually preferred the Aunt Jemima/Log Cabin varieties to pure maple...but could be wrong.

Bruce Banner 12:29 PM  

Sinn Fein is the political wing of the Irish Republican Party. You remember the IRA. They’re the guys who used to bomb innocent women and children. I’d rather not have Sinn Fein in the puzzle.

Charley 12:41 PM  

If you use allege in law school you know the clue is incorrect. As a prosecutor I’d never allege something without proof.

Anonymous 12:43 PM  

HIHO Steverino! The first and still the bestest host of the Tonight Show! RIP

chasklu 12:50 PM  

Know stegosaur better than differentiating ER from OR, so had TOORAG. Never heard of toerag.

Banana Diaquiri 12:59 PM  

isn't, by convention, the hint to the themer in the answer, not the clue? i.e. OZ, or ZONE, or somesuch ???

Crimson Devil 1:00 PM  

Toerag unknown to moi, rest Mondayish.
LMS is correct re crooning cockatoo.

Rabi Abonour 1:03 PM  

SHARI and ERS crossing TOERAG should have justified rewriting that corner. DNF.

Unknown 1:04 PM  

Isn't it time to drop "Aunt Jemima" from crossword puzzles?

OffTheGrid 1:22 PM  

Anonymous said, "Nono NYT, Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador replaced NIETO on 12/1/18".

The clue says nothing about being current president. One could clue Truman as "American president Harry"

@Mary McCarty, I found this:

In American English, attorneys general is the correct plural form. The British prefer attorney-generals (the Brits have long hyphenated the phrase).

Generally, a compound noun made up of a noun and a postpositive adjective (one that follows its noun) is pluralized by adding -s to the noun, as with heirs apparent and causes of action. But we add -s at the end of closed compounds, as with all words ending in -ful {spoonfuls, handfuls}. And how do you make the plural phrase attorneys general into a possessive? You don’t, preferably.

Anonymous 2:25 PM  

Yes, it’s a little green paint-ish, but HAVE NO OOMPH was my favorite answer because it’s so silly. Different strokes, etc.,,,

Nancy 2:36 PM  

@Anon 12:41 -- I'm totally befuddled by your comment. It looked as though "Steverino" had just died--possibly in the last hour. But who was the Steve who was the first host of the Tonight Show? Aha, Steve Martin, thought I, wrongly. But there was no death notice for Steve Martin. So then I took the trouble to look up the first Tonight host and it was Steve ALLEN! Of course it was! How stupid of me! I knew that! So now I looked for the Steve Allen obit. And I found it all right, all the way back in 2000. So why are you telling him to R.I.P. now? I've wasted a lot of time today looking up famous dead Steves, @Anon, just so you know.

Chris 2:40 PM  

Just so you know, I see that somewhere in these comments, the answer to the NPR Sunday puzzle is lurking.

Obligatory x-word comment: Surprised that so many knew TOERAG. New one to me and I am both a long time puzzler and mild Anglophile,

JC66 2:48 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loren Muse Smith 2:53 PM  

@thfenn- I infinitely prefer the cheap-ass fakey Aunt Jemima syrup to pure maple syrup. I think it may be that it has more sodium?

@roo- singer, stinger, ringer, clinger ... no hard g sound

finger, linger ... hard g sound.

ginger- brother from another mother

JC66 2:58 PM  


If, like me, you were old enough to have watched the original Tonight Show when it was first broadcast, you probably would have remembered Louis Nye's famous greeting "HI HO, Steverino" whenever he entered and knew which Steve ANON 12:41 was referring to.

pabloinnh 3:03 PM  

@OffTheGrid Thanks for "heir apparent". The only other postpositive (thanks for that too) adjective I could come up with, besides "general" is "galore" as in "falsehoods galore".
Are there others out there I'm unaware of? (Spoiler alert-I'm sure there are.)

kitshef 3:05 PM  

Another plural that adds to the fun: femme fatale / femmes fatales.

jberg 3:13 PM  

@Banana daiquiri— this one does double duty— O3 in the clue, O ZONE (which each themed has) in the answer.

Fling to England in a few hours, I’ll keep my ears peeled for anyone saying TOE RAG; never heard it til now.

Happy New Year, I’ll be back the 12th.

Ahmed 3:13 PM  

Pleasantly surprised to find both my name (Ahmed) and country of birth (Egypt) in the puzzle. Woot!

Nancy 3:18 PM  

Thank you for explaining, @JR66. Unfortunately, I am old enough to have seen Steve Allen hosting the Tonight Show. But it was on very late and I was just a tiny little child, (LOL), so I'm sure I didn't stay up late to watch it very often. However, if you think I remember that "HI HO Steverino" was the catchphrase, much less by whom it was said, you're giving my powers of recollection much too much credit. I can barely remember what I had for dinner last night.

Blue Stater 3:47 PM  

I'm married to an Englishwoman, have lived 3+ years in England, have a Ph.D. in English literature, taught English language and literature for 45 years, have seen many a British detective, etc., film/video, and have *never*, never ever, heard the word TOERAG. Guess I've led a sheltered life, but didn't expect to find that out on a Monday. Sheesh.

DevoutAtheist 4:06 PM  

Here's my favorite thing about Steve Allen---From Wickipedia

Allen, a freethinker and humanist, became an outspoken critic of organized religion and an active member of the scientific skepticism movement. He worked to promote critical thinking with such humanist and skeptical organizations as the Council for Media Integrity, a group that debunked pseudoscientific claims,[22] and the California-based group The Skeptics Society. He wrote many pieces for their publication, Skeptic, on such topics as the Church of Scientology, genius, and the passing of science fiction giant Isaac Asimov.[23]

Working with Paul Kurtz, publisher of Prometheus Books, Allen published 15 books, including Dumbth: The Lost Art of Thinking with 101 Ways to Reason Better and Improve Your Mind, which was reissued in 1998. He produced Gullible's Travels, an audiotape with original music and script that was read and sung by him and his wife "in order to introduce youngsters to the brain and its proper use." Wishing to counter the influence of the American religious right, Allen wrote both a 1990 critique of the Bible (Steve Allen on the Bible, Religion and Morality) as well as a sequel.

Banana Diaquiri 4:11 PM  

if your old enough, yule remember the odd segue from Allen to Paar. more jarring than from Paar to Carson.

albatross shell 4:38 PM  

@ Charley 12:41 pm
Having been a mathematician and occasionally at the wrong end of the law, I disagree. Everybody you put on trial was guilty? I am amazed. You may have never alleged without evidence, but to me proof means true and certain. Besides myself I know several people put on trial for crimes they did not commit. And at least 2 who were innocent and convicted. But maybe the law has a different definition of proof...

pabloinnh 4:41 PM  

@JC66-Hiho from Louis Nye for sure. Wasn't he part of the "Man in the Street" interviews that included Tom Poston and Don Knotts? Poston and Knotts both went on to more fame. As far as I know Louis Nye disappeared, at least from my three channels.

Chloe's Dad 4:45 PM  

Fifth successful Monday “Across Only Clues Solve” this year. Second this month. Hope for a better average in 2019. Try it, you’ll like it.

GHarris 5:08 PM  

An allegation is an assertion that remains to be proven. You may have the proof to back it up but until you produce it it remains an allegation.Brings to mind the old saw about the witness who declared “I deny the allegations and I defy the alligator “

RooMonster 5:28 PM  

As I know you're a school teacher, and I really like and admire you and your posts, but...

All those words are pronunced the same (well, ginger, no.) Car maker Kia just came out with the Stinger, rhyming with finger. Are you saying them with J sound? Like stinjer?

Curiouser and curiouser


Z 5:30 PM  

Pure maple syrup is awful. If you think otherwise you’ve been brainwashed by the Maple Mafia.*

*I’m only kidding about the second part

JC66 5:30 PM  


Yep, I think you're right That was the "bit." I checked IMBD, and he did a bunch of stuff after, but nothing as iconic.

Kiki 5:32 PM  

I should think Rex wouldn't like TOERAG. I did some research: convicts, the impoverished, the down-and-outers would wrap rags around their feet as they had no shoes. These rags would rot and stink. And so it evolved into a derogatory term. I don't like it a bit. I'm okay with it in the puzzle but sad that it doesn't have the word "archaic" modifying it because that must mean it's still in use.


Gene Rayburn 6:23 PM  

The recurring “Man on the Street” sketch was part of Allen’s Sunday night variety show, not part of the Tonight Show.

CDilly52 7:11 PM  

Yes!!! So few of us (seemingly) who were raised on grammar. As someone who works with attorneys general, I am acutely aware of the paucity of actual grammar instruction in schools today. Sad. It’s why so many of our young folks cannot write!

CDilly52 7:14 PM  

Thank you one and all for a perspicacious 2018. I send my admiration to the community as a whole for contributing to my entertainment and enjoyment of cruciverbalism. Best wishes for a happy and health 2019! Hopefully, I will continue to learn and grow.

JC66 7:42 PM  

@Gene Rayburn

Per Google:

Louis Nye, 92; Comedian Coined Phrase 'Hi-Ho, Steverino' During .. › Collections
Oct 11, 2005 - Comedian Louis Nye, who created a national catchphrase by belting out "Hi-ho, Steverino!" ... On "The Steve Allen Show," which ran until 1961 under various names, he quickly endeared himself to audiences as Gordon Hathaway, the effete country-club snob who would welcome Allen's ...

Warren Howie Hughes 7:43 PM  

CDilly52, Thanks a ton for your admiral and equally perspicacious post along with the shelf-contained pic of your pretty kitty and all beaucoup best wishes to us all in health and happiness for 2019.

Warren Howie Hughes 7:50 PM  

CDilly52, Please forgive the misspelling in my previous posting, as I meant to say "admirable" instead of "admiral" as I was evidently at sea with the latter.

Brit solves nyt 7:50 PM  

Just for those who are curious, toerag is a bit old fashioned so doesn’t really get used anymore here in the UK, though I would say everyone British would know what the word means. It would certainly be considered inoffensive nowadays.

Warren Howie Hughes 8:39 PM  

The Yeast I can say is that "I'M TOO MOLD FOR THIS" LOL

JC66 8:49 PM  


You should use smell check.

Warren Howie Hughes 8:56 PM  

JC66, You're not out of ODOR with that retort, in fact, it surely makes a whole lot of scents...Touche! LOL

Gene Rayburn 9:57 PM  

@JC66 - Exactly. The Steve Allen Show which aired in the early evening on Sunday was a different show from the Steve Allen hosted Tonight Show which aired week nights after the late news.

CDilly52 8:38 AM  

Thank you one and all for a perspicacious 2018. I send my admiration to the community as a whole for contributing to my entertainment, enjoyment and understanding of cruciverbalism. Best wishes for a happy 2019!

OlyL 1:34 PM  

Devout Atheist 4:06 - You’re comments about Steve Allen reminded me of his son Brian’s membership in the Love Israel cult and Steve’s attempts to get him out. That may have inspired all of Steve’s anti religion treatises, or Steve might have inspired Brian to join Love Israel. Love Israel said he saw Jesus in Brian’s eyes, but later Love’s wife said anyone with a beard and long hair looks like Jesus. Happily, Brian finally left the cult and became a real estate mogul. Apparently, Love doesn’t conquer all.....

Toe rag reminds me of the infection my son got in junior high when he wore his nasty gym socks over a cut on his foot. Red lines up his leg and everything.

Finger/stinger - hard g/silent g.

Hi, ho, Moderator.

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

Didn’t Louis Nye play Cheryl David’s father in an episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm?”

spacecraft 11:26 AM  

Two very jarring events accompanied this solve:

1. You're going to hit me with an ampersandwich RIGHT OUT OF THE GATE?? AT 1-ACROSS???? POOOr Brian Thomas. "He don't know me very well, DOOO he?"*

2. The printed grid in my paper was 15x13 (!). Yep, the bottom two rows were simply not there, so I had to finish the solution like a diagramless.

As to the rest of the puzzle, I enjoyed the theme, and the cleverness of even finding four familiar triple-O expressions that fit into the grid. Those were cOOOl. The fill is another matter.

Besides 1-a, I have no idea what TOERAG is; it sounds like...I don't even know, but don't hit me with it near mealtime. And I spent three years in England. Surely not something that belongs in a Monday puzzle.

Scanning the comments, I came across a discussion of Steve Allen, seemingly way off-topic. Yet there is a connection! Louis Nye, one of the three Men in the Street (Don Knotts, Tom Poston) interviewed at the top of Steve's late night show, always greeted him with "HIHO, Steverino!" Now you know that IMTOOOLDFORTHIS!

So, definitely a weird experience, not what one would expect on a Monday. Unfortunately, 1a is like Ricky Fowler's performance on hole #11 yesterday (triple-bOOOgey 7). However, despite that fiasco, he still won the tournament! What to score? I dunno...par, I guess.

*A cartoon character's catchphrase: Barney Bear, I believe.

The amazingly talented puppeteer SHARI Lewis wins DOD.

Burma Shave 11:28 AM  


and IMPLORED for THIRD base, that goof.


rondo 12:31 PM  

Saw the OOO thing right off and thought maybe it’s a tic-tac-TOE (not TOERAG) thing, but no, it’s an OZONE thing. Wasn’t expecting that layer. I was expecting an AUNT Jemima rant from OFL, but Clare is here today; I see others have filled in that blank for Rex.

As a kid I used to think SHARI Lewis was pretty, so, yeah baby.

HIHO, HIHO, it’s back to work I go. OK Mon-puz.

Diana, LIW 12:44 PM  

I cannot believe moderation ate my post. It had to do with the first chapter of my first grade Dick and Jane Reader. Which went, "Look. Oh look. Oh look. Oh oh oh." Which helped with the solve, coming in handy at last. Where could it have gone? Surely it couldn't be censored??? It was only a tad more fun than yesterday's S-Bowl.

Diana, LIW

leftcoastTAM 1:45 PM  

OZONE theme is a good one. Liked it, and moved happily along.

Then got T-boned on Natick street at the TOERAG/STEGOSAUER crossing. Guessed TOERAt and STEtOSAUR.

Take me to one of the town's ERS, if there is one.

thefogman 2:37 PM  

OOOh! Another nice one. THO IDO feel it was a bit more challenging than your average Monday. It played more like a Tuesday or even a Wednesday for me. Bravo to Brian Thomas and thanks for the review Clare Caroll! Sometimes you feel like saying "Careful with that axe EUGENE" to Rex's fill-in but you were right on the DOT. In fact you scored in the high NINES. Now, time for a glass or two of SHARI...

rainforest 3:13 PM  

Easy puzzle through which I flew, pausing only at HIHO which, like for others here, recalled Louis Nye, along with Tom Poston and Don Knotts. There was another guy who used to say "Why not!?" in a funny voice. Who was he? Loved Steve Allen, a brilliant, talented and truly funny man.

Good theme well-executed except for the clue for the revealer. I think "O3, by name" would have sufficed without any reference to the themers.

STEGOSAUR is just fine, as would be it's name: STEGOSAURus.

Gimme more anpersandwiches! Nice Monday puzzle.

retired_chemist 1:54 PM  

Claire: a poodle is pretty much a real dog, despite the frou-frou grooming you see if you watch the dog shows on TV. They are allowed to compete in Retriever Hunt Tests with Labradors, Goldens, Flat-coats, etc. and they can be as successful as any Retriever-named breed.

Jentaps 4:43 PM  

Haha! I had to read this at least twice. She's the man... Right off the bat, it didn't make sense. Thanks!

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