Taboo alternative to beef / MON 12-24-18 / Dry region covering most of Botswana / Alternative to YouTube

Monday, December 24, 2018

Constructor: Brendan Emmett Quigley

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (2:54)

THEME: HITCHING A RIDE (55A: Getting picked up by the side of the road ... or what 20-, 30- and 39-Across are literally doing?) — the letter string "RIDE" is ... hitching together two words, i.e. it's spread across the words in a two-word phrase:

Theme answers:
  • HYBRID ENGINES (20A: Features of some eco-friendly vehicles)
  • KALAHARI DESERT (30A: Dry region covering most of Botswana)
  • GENDER IDENTITY (39A: It may or may not correspond with one's birth sex)
Word of the Day: VIMEO (52D: Alternative to YouTube) —
Vimeo (/ˈvɪmi/) is a video-sharing website in which users can upload, share and view videos. It was the first video sharing site to support high-definition videoVimeo was founded in November 2004 by Jake Lodwick and Zach Klein. It focuses on short films and movies sold with Vimeo On Demand. (wikipedia)
• • •

Nice grid overall, despite the HORSEMEAT (WHY?!? Why would you give That much real estate to That answer?). I don't think the revealer really works, though. You hitch one thing to another thing, but here, RIDE *is* the hitch, so saying that the answers are "literally" HITCHING A RIDE seems off. Wobbly at best. Also—and this is admittedly irrational—something is bugging me about ALI and IKE running through ALIKE. Like ... (!) ... both three-letter answers precisely intersect their identical three-letter strings inside of ALIKE. I mean, it's not bugging me as much as HORSEMEAT (dear lord, why?), but it's weird. It's distracting me. It looks like some kind of theme trick. But it's ... not. Another thing, about VIMEO—so, I am aware of this site and thus did not trip over it at all. Still, it feels weirdly marginal and gratuitous to me. Gratuitous VIMEO. It's a B-team video-sharing site, and a proper noun of no great fame, and it's not like this corner Needed it in order to be good. I mean, you've got ADMEN in there. No one likes ADMEN. I think you get more mileage out of VIDEO (or any actual word). Tear that corner out. I get you want to be Now and Hip or whatever, but no puzzle is improved by VIMEO. Fine when you need it, but if you absolutely don't, no point to it. Go with a more interestingly clueable word, every time.

Oh, hey, did I mention I love the clue on GENDER IDENTITY (39A: It may or may not correspond with one's birth sex). NYT often fumbles this kind of thing, but this is pretty spot-on.

I might've been ten seconds or so faster, but I ran into issues in the south. Sometimes, problems are entirely a function of the direction from which you come at a section. In this case, I came into the southern section from the east, dropped GREY down (56D: ___ Poupon mustard), and then tried to get 65A: In a pouty mood off just the terminal "Y." I wrote in MOPEY. That's pretty much the story of that section. Between that error and all the semi-odd five-letter Downs (who is NICOL Williamson? No, really...), and BY CAR :( :( :( I had a minor mess on my hands. But it's Monday and I got upright again pretty quickly. Managed to come in under three for the first time in almost two months. I expect my speed skills to slip as I age, but not so fast.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. I looked up NICOL Williamson and nope. Been solving nearly 28 years and never heard of him, never seen him. And here he (he!) is. On a Monday. Bizarre.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Harryp 12:04 AM  

Like a whole bunch of us I am willing to bet, I never heard of VIMEO, so tracking this puppy down took a while, but EDMA is obviously not a name.

jae 2:05 AM  

Easy-medium seems right. Cute, clever, and clean. Liked it!

Anonymous 2:07 AM  

VIMEO ain't a fringe thing. It was founded a year before YouTube. It had high-def video before YouTube. Visual artists prefer it for showcasing their work. 100s of millions of users a month. I've used it for a decade. It is--wait for it!--a popular thing that's more popular than you think it is.

gourmand 3:24 AM  

Nicol Williamson is great in Excalibur. Worth a watch.

Anonymous 5:32 AM  

Evidently, Nicol Williamson is my favorite actor I did not know. Absolutely loved his portrayal of Merlín.

Z 5:59 AM  

@Anon2:07 - Everything you say is correct, but it’s not YouTube, Twitter, or Facebook. I had no problem with it, but Ithink Rex is correct that it is relatively niche and I will not be surprised to see plaints about it today.

Am I the only one who thinks seafood every time they have to write KALAHARI DESERT?

Can we call a moratorium on words where I and Y are both correct variations? Whac-a-vowel is annoying enough without being required to wait on the crossing word. And, yes, I looked up SLIER and SLyER is listed first at Merriam-Webster followed by “also SLIER.” Irksome.

@aketi yesterday- Yep. Scolds deserve their own ring in hell IMHO, so I probably should have refrained from responding. I was a bit gobsmacked, though, since I specifically looked it up and found my usage as an example in the OED. BTW, I’m forswearing the n-word from now on and going with “grammar scold.”

'mericans in Paris 6:07 AM  

HORSEMEAT? Taboo? Where? Here in France, it's a much-appreciated food. The normal reaction, if offered it at a meal, would more often be "YUM!" than "A ... A ... A." I admit, though, that it's a pretty funny word to include in a puzzle with the theme of HITCHING A RIDE. BEQ clearly has a wry (or should that be rye?) sense of humor. KEELS over SESSIONS also suggests an impish impulse.

Lest my above comment unleash some VENOM or SNARK from the commentariat, consider this: for several years, starting in fiscal year 2006, Congress annually prohibited the use of federal funds to inspect horses destined for food, effectively prohibiting the domestic slaughter of equines. Numerous studies, including one by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, looked at the effects on the welfare of horses following the cessation of domestic horse slaughtering, and concluded that one of its unintended consequence was "a rise in investigations for horse neglect and more abandoned horses since 2007. For example, Colorado data showed that investigations for horse neglect and abuse increased more than 60 percent from 975 in 2005 to 1,588 in 2009."

What annoys me in more is the cluing for 20A, "Features of some eco-friendly vehicles". Vehicles with HYBRID ENGINES may emit fewer air pollutants than CARs powered BY traditional internal-combustion engines, but "eco-friendly" is going too far. As I've argued before, the only "eco-friendly" product of humans is compost. A better clue would have been "Features of some high mpg vehicles".

Speaking of HORSEs, DALE makes me think of my former boss, a man. He had a hard time as a kid in the '50s, as the most well-known DALE at that time was the wife of Roy Rogers, Ms. DALE Evans. Are baby boys given the name DALE any more?

Ironically, I had watched "The Thin Man" on a flight only two weeks ago. But the dog's name, ASTA, did not stick. It was inferable from the crosses, thankfully.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good NITE!

Anonymous 6:11 AM  

@Anon. 2:07 Exactly! Vimeo is a superior-quality experience both in presentation and in content. I'm always happy to see a link for Vimeo instead of YouTube.

OffTheGrid 6:55 AM  

I tend to scold on misuse of "literally". If somehow the RIDEs in the 3 theme answers were cleverly attached to a phrase I might buy it. But RIDE just sits there in the middle of a 2 word phrase. None of the letter strings on either side of RIDE is a word. Nothing is hitched. It's just a mess (unless I'm missing the obvious). Also, as I understand it (someone clarify if I'm wrong) a hybrid car has an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. I do not know of a hybrid engine. GENDERIDENTITY is fine but really just a very easy gimme. I'm not sure why Rex thought the clue was great. I didn't notice ALIKE, IKE, ALI crossings 'til I read Rex but I like it. Otherwise I found the puzzle slightly hard but OK, except for the theme.

Anonymous 6:58 AM  


NITS 7:12 AM  

How is HORSEMEAT an alternative if it's taboo?

I never took a course called "EASYA"

I would prefer that agent orange not be in puzzles, because Gross.


QuasiMojo 7:39 AM  

This was a bear! Well jk. I found it challenging. A ton of write-overs. Some of the clues were blah. “Jane Austen title woman.” Why the woman? Title is sufficient. How many four letter book titles did she publish? But overall a fun solve. Fear not! I bring thee tidings of Horse Meat. What’s wrong with that? It exists and from what I recall during my schooling in Paris a popular choice in France. I saw Alice Cooper once at MSG. And no, he did not bite off the head of a snake in that concert. As for Nicol Williamson, he shone (or is it “shon”?) in Excalibur. He also started in a movie called Snake Poison, I mean Venom. But watch him in Graham Greene’s The Human Factor opposite Iman. Very moving performance.

Z 7:47 AM  

@OffTheGrid - I’ve read defenses of using “literally” to mean “figuratively,” claiming that people do it intentionally for emphasis or humorous effect. My response to these defenses hasn’t changed, big stinky piles of male bovine excrement. I’ve never heard or seen “literally” ever used to mean “figuratively” except when it was abundantly clear the user did not know the difference. Unfortunately for us, language evolves and we’re going to need some other way to convey actuality, because now it is impossible to tell if “literally” literally means “literally.”
As for HYBRID ENGINES, my thought, which is a stretch, is that ENGINE can mean the whole power train in common usage. Since the electric motor and the internal combustion engine both make the car move they are part of the car’s ENGINE. I don’t much like it, either, but I think it is sufficient as a crossword clue.

chefbea 8:03 AM  

Merry Christmas everyone!!! maybe I should make a horseman roast for tomorrow night's dinner!!!

mmorgan 8:32 AM  

Nice Monday BEQ puzzle. Anybody complaining about anything is a poopyhead.

Rob 8:35 AM  

It's been YEARS since I had a DNF on a MONDAY of all things. Crossing MOORE and NICOL(????) was a Natick for me at least. I wanted 50D: Sarcastic comments to end in an S so I never ended up in a position where I had anything so plausible as MO-RE to guess at.

No trouble getting it, but SLIER instead of SLYER is a needless variant and when I am king it will be banned from crosswords.

Teedmn 8:43 AM  

Tough section in the middle bottom and I see I join Rex there. I couldn't bring to mind the author of "Night Before Christmas", had no idea who NICOL Williamson was, put an S at the end of 50D so I had SNA_S and was completely blank, with S__SY in place, as to what a pouty mood could be. SasSY is not pouty but I momentarily put that in. One last look at what 50D must be gave me SNARK and suddenly SULKY seemed obvious. WHEW.

As usual, BEQ provides an interesting puzzle. The themers are about as disparate as one could imagine. WHEEZES and HORSE MEAT and ANNIE HALL. IMARETS next to VIMEO. And I was ON A ROLL until I hit the bottom, so I liked it.

GILL I. 8:44 AM  

Here in the States, we don't eat HORSEMEAT because it was once banned. I think slaughter of horses has been lifted once again; Texas has slaughterhouses.
If you've owned and loved horses, the thought is discomforting. Having said all of that, in Europe, particularly France and Italy, they eat it. Although the trend is in decline, you'll find it on menus. I tried it once and it's too tough for my palate. I know pigs are cute now, but please leave my bacon alone.
BEQ is always fun and a bit of a challenge at times. He usually fills his puzzles with a ton of proper names and that is always a downer for me. However, NICOL wasn't my unknown, it was trying to remember ALICE Cooper - of all things! How could I forget the weirdest man alive? Or is he dead?
@Rex's dislike for the ALI IKE ALIKE was the opposite for me. I wrote IKE LIKE ALI in my little notes and beamed. I'm pretty sure BEQ did that on purpose.
I like that this felt like an adult Monday rather than a cutesy one. VIMEO is a real thing that's out in the wild and HORSE MEAT is not taboo in civilized countries.
HITCHING A RIDE BY CAR should be the taboo.......

Aketi 8:48 AM  

Just noticed BY CAR right under HITCHING A RIDE.

@NITS, maybe since cow MEAT (aka beef) is taboo in some cultures and HORSE MEAT is taboo in others it could be seen as an alternate taboo. I ate HORSE MEAT once at a conference where most of the breakfast options involved lots of cheese. I like cheese, but not in such quantity every morning, so I tried the sausages and only later realized they were HORSE MEAT. Fortunately, I had been desensitized to eating “taboo” foods by my Peace Corps experience.

@Atook me a while to understand the connection between KALARHARI DESERT and seafood. Squid DESsERT makes me think of all the weird food HYBRIDs that are combined on the reality food shows. Didn’t someone use squid ink to color their fondant icing for an octopus cake on the British Baking Show?

@Nancy, I hope my son’s version of Frosty that he made at age five is less offensive than Moogie. Moogie was kinda growing on me, though. The character violated the Feringi taboos for females by wearing clothes and making a profit.

Happy holidays everyone, I, the very much non chef, am making a second batch of cocoa cream cheese cupcakes for DESsERT tonight since I managed to hit a sweet spot in between Nailed It and the British Baking Show with my first attempt.

'merican in Paris 8:49 AM  


"Maybe I should make a horseman roast for tomorrow night's dinner!!!"

Good one! That reminds me of the tourist who sits down at a restaurant in Madrid. As he is contemplating what to order, he sees a waiter bring a delicious looking meat plate to another customer. "I'll have what he's having," he tells his own waiter.

"I'm sorry, sir, but that's criadillas de toro -- bull's testicule. It's only available the day of the bull fight, and there is much demand for it, so you have to order it ahead."

"OK," says the man. "I'll have a T-bone tonight, but could you put me down for a bull's testicule next week."

"Very good, sir."

The next week the tourist shows up, sits down, and eagerly awaits the dish he had ordered ahead. After a few minutes, the waiter presents him with his plate.

"Huh?!" the customer asks, "this is much, much smaller than the piece I saw served to another customer last week."

The waiter just shrugs and says, "Sir, sometimes the bull ... he wins."

Lewis 8:53 AM  

My five favorite clues from last week:

1. Ahab's inspiration? (6)
2. They measure miles in meters (4)
3. They operate around the clock (5)
4. Hides in a cabin, perhaps (9)
5. Traveler's boarding areas? (4)


Robert A. Simon 8:57 AM  

The problem with expert crossword solvers is that they are--or become--know-it-alls. And when they don't know something (or are more than marginally familiar with it), the thing must be bad or wrong, not them. All the support of Vimeo is well-justified. Their "Best Of" or staff picks are well worth your time.

I don't know about you, but I'd rather be the director of a film on a Vimeo list than a constructor of a puzzle that makes the NYT.

Odd Sock 9:07 AM  

I was surprised to see a BEQ puzzle on a Monday. Actually, I wish he would do more early-week puzzles. This one is pretty good. Later in the week I only remember that his difficulty factor only can be raised by obscure pop culture and other ways he uses to remind us of how hip and cool he is. Today is better than his usual junk.
I think the revealer works because "ride" is what hitches the two words together. Also, the progression moves down the grid in order.
rid e
ri de
r ide
That part shows some style.

RooMonster 9:08 AM  

Hey All !
DID OK YesterPuz, SAY OK today. And we all know DO OK. What else goes with OK? WAS OK, AM OK, OKLAHOMA CITY OK. (Har)

Speaking of Har, it's hidden in THAR and KALAHARI, forming a HAR L. Nice.

Liked puz, don't know the foofaraw about the Revealer. The RIDE is HITCHed to both words of the themers, and HITCHING A RIDE is a play off of that. *mic drop*

Anyway, that South Center was tricky in a Monday. Two not too common names crossing, MOORE and NICOL, and SULKY not the first word to jump into the ole brain. But had a WHEW moment when everything worked out. One writeover, SLyER-SLIER, And I do it Everytime. Actually had a wrong letter DNF (ad in Finished, but one wrong square)(these DNF discussions are getting murky) at ErMA/VIrEO, 1) because add me to the list who haven't heard of VIMEO, and 2) VIrEO sounds better!

Didn't have a problem with HORSEMEAT. Not that I'd like to eat it, and not condoning horse slaughter, but it's a thing, and as clued, IS OK by me.

Now, to continue my job, taking people BY CAR here and there. OH YOU!


chefbea 9:09 AM  

Darn autocorrect!!! Should have been horesmeat!!!

Chef Melange 9:10 AM  

Doing this puzzle felt like going through the fridge and combining unrelated leftovers into a oddly edible dish that you know you'll never make again.

Overwrought ingredients:
How do you get to work? I have a long commute so I have a car with a hybrid engine. I like hybrid engines.

And you? I commute by car. I used to commute by horse but he got old so we had him for lunch. We know horse meat is taboo but we ran outta tuna.

Name salad:
Ivana, Sessions, Moore, Nicol, Alice, Emma. Poor Clement Moore, a brave little Christmas clue in an otherwise nonholiday puzzle (not that I was looking for one but geesh).

Anonymous 9:12 AM  

Your talking out of your hat. The term drivetrain is used specifically to exclude the engine. As for liberally and figuratively, why would the language need a new word? Why not just use those two properly?That's lunacy to rival the idea of gender identity.

Merry Christmas all.

David 9:17 AM  

Yeah, Americans are squeamish about horse meat; many are about eating rabbit as well. And they constantly going into paroxysms of rage that dog is eaten in some places. They don't much pay attention to displacing and/or killing many of their fellow human beings, however. We're a strange lot.

Yes indeed; Vimeo over YouTube any and every day.

@Z, thanks. I never could figure out why it's absolutely verboten to characterize a politician with clearly fascistic polices a nazi but it's perfectly acceptable to call a person who likes to use correct grammar one. Another American strangeness.

ArtO 9:21 AM  

@Robert A. Simon...well said. Precisely my thoughts about much of @Rex's commentary.

And, thanks to @Old Sock who points out the error of @Rex's criticism of how RIDE is placed.

Anonymous 9:26 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nancy 9:50 AM  

My first themer in, HYBRID ENGINES, led me to believe that the embedded word would be BRIDE. So I was disappointed. Embedded BRIDES are a lot more fun than hitched RIDES, don't you think?

I was so sure that "Really cookin'" (4D) was AT A BOIL. LAIN made the "T" impossible. So could it be IN A BOIL? ON A BOIL? Both were terrible. Finally, finally saw ON A ROLL.

Two of the best movies I've ever seen referenced in this puzzle. You've all seen ANNIE HALL, of course. But if you haven't seen "Green Book" (32D), this year's best movie by a landslide, go see it now!

Re the 12D clue. My response would be "Not any more." Let's have a good draft this year!

BEQ at his least proper name-iness (a very good thing!) and at his absolute easiest ever (not such a good thing and extremely surprising). I mean, yes, it's Monday, but it's also BEQ.

Teedmn 10:19 AM  

Ha, @Nancy, embedded BRIDEs who got hitched.

jberg 10:23 AM  

I noticed that BEQ had the Sunday puzzle in the Boston Globe yesterday (which is usually all-plagiarist Parker all the time), but I forgot to do it and unthinkingly threw out the paper before I remembered, alas.

As for the theme -- I took the revealer to mean that you were HITCHING A RIDE together from its components when you combined the two words in the answer. I liked it a lot - and i liked the little central minipuzzle with the two themers to close to each other. Like @Gill, I thought it was nice wordplay.

SAYOK sounds so much like an Indonesian weapon that I searched for it -- nope, but there is a guy named Sayoc who makes knives for knife fighting.

I've never eaten HORSE MEAT, but I probably would if you put a nice steak in front of me. I'd try to avoid dog of whale, or cat, but I love rabbit -- I used to raise, slaughter, and cook them myself, but they started to stink up the basement. Also, the experience made all my kids turn vegetarian.

OK, VIMEO -- I don't post on it, or on YouTube, or on Instagram, or on anything but Facebook and Twitter -- but unless you don't click on links out of general principle, I don't see how you can avoid ending up there sometimes. Certainly better known (in the US0 than its neighbors, those IMARETS.

That's it for me -- have to go to the store and pick up the goose for tomorrow

Nancy 10:23 AM  

A big, big, big improvement, @Aketi! Thank you! And I'm glad you understood @'mericans KALAHARI DESERT/seafood connection. I still have no idea what he's talking about, and now I can ask both of you. You didn't really explain it, @Aketi, even though you may think you did.

You watched THe Thin Man a mere two weeks ago and then you still don't remember ASTA? Everyone's favorite crossword puzzle dog. I knew ASTA even before I started doing puzzles. Why, he's as famous as Toto and Lassie and Snoopy. And with better xword letters. Just how long have you been in Paris, anyway, @'mericans?

Hungry Mother 10:27 AM  

Quick and easy, even though I’ve slowed with age.

Suzie Q 10:31 AM  

Pretty good Monday and a BEQ too. Surprised me.
@ 'mericans is(are?) spot on about horse meat. I've had it and liked it. But mostly I agree that, from what I've read, our rush to ban horse slaughter resulted in a lot of misery for the horses we thought we were saving.
I'm thankful that the review skipped the political fodder but why such absolute glee at gender identity?
One small nod to Christmas and that's OK since a true Christmas theme might be too corny. We'll see what tomorrow brings. Besides presents, that is. Don't forget to leave Santa some milk and cookies tonight!

Anonymous 10:36 AM  

Can we please stop the propaganda of referring to hybrid cars as eco friendly. What happens when you plug your car in to the wall socket is that you charge your car with energy created elsewhere, so instead of coming out of your tailpipe, which scrubs the exhaust, you are using, almost certainly, coal generated power that is dumping particulates likely on some poor black family 1000 miles away. Stop already. Just because you can't see the energy generation doesn't mean it is eco friendly. My audi is probably more eco friendly than your prius.

Anonymous 10:38 AM  

Jberg 10:23

Recycle your newspapers! Don't throw them in the trash.
To @Everyone-Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! You all know better.

Unknown 10:39 AM  

Agree. Knew 60A had to be Emma but Vimeo was a mystery.

Tim Aurthur 10:40 AM  

Don't know if this is still true, but horse meat was the default ingredient for steak tartare in France.

CaliMarie 10:52 AM  

Who knew “Manhattan” and “Annie Hall” has the same number of letters!

Hungry Mother 10:55 AM  

On safari in 2015, we spent some time in the KALAHARI DESERT.

During my senior year in high school I cut my daily last period study hall to HITCH A RIDE home until the Vice Principal and I had a talk in his office. When I was in the Army in Georgia, I HITCHED A RIDE home to Philadelphia for Christmas.

I’ve rented some very cool movies from VIMEO.

QuasiMojo 11:04 AM  

@Nancy, I think it’s a bad pun on “calamari dessert.”

Crimson Devil 11:07 AM  

Autocorrect and spellcheck very dangerous crotches to rely on.

Mme Laffargue 11:19 AM  

@Tim Arthur. No it is beef. You might see tartare de cheval on a menu but this refers to the rider - an egg - placed on the dish. There is also steack à cheval, same deal. I am sure equine versions did and do exist but are not the standard fare. Bon app.

Aketi 11:21 AM  

cALAmARI is squid and very close in sound to KALAHARI. Then there’s the DESERT, which is a letter away from DESsERT.

Glad you approve of Frosty.

Anonymous 11:26 AM  

anon 10:36.
Don't even try. This crowd doesn't get it. As you note, they've mistaken zero emission at the tailpipe for something "green".
And of course the reason the Prius gets great gas mileage, or at least major reason, is the size of its gas engine. Its a teeny thing. The electric motor is actually for performance more than mph. Of course, folks don't understand and frankly don't want to hear. Heck, @z thinks the engine is part of the drive train. LOL.
Months ago I tried to explain that engine configure-- a v-6 versus say an inline 4 told you nothing, per se, about size or or performance of the engines relative to one another. That's as basic a fact as there is. You should have read the responses. Oh my.

foxaroni 11:31 AM  

@Nancy, there probably have been a gazillion answers posted by now, but I think the Kalari/seafood comment is based on the similarity of Kalahari/calamari. That's what I saw, anyway.

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas--if you celebrate it. If not, at least enjoy the spirit of the season

oldactor 11:31 AM  

While on tour in Japan, our Japanese crew invited me to dinner after the show. Raw horse meat was served sliced very thin like carpaccio(sp) with a very tasty sauce for dipping. There was no way I could avoid it. It was delicious.
The next course was some whole fish, head and all, about 8 inches long and deep fried. I couldn't figure out how to eat one with chop sticks. When I asked how to eat it, someone picked one up and bit the head off.
With that I looked at my watch and said "Oh, it's getting late I have to get back to the hotel."

Later I learned that because this took place in the "Japanese alps" far from the sea, horse meat was a major source of protein. The horses were quite small and raised for food. Bees were another popular source, but I managed to avoid them.

JOHN X 11:37 AM  

HORSEMEAT is taboo in these great United States of America because we frown on eating anything that had a name. Trigger, Secretariat, Mister Ed, it doesn't matter. Same rule applies to dogs, cats, hamsters, and parakeets. People have names, but it's OK to kill them as long as you don't also eat them (e.g. Jeffrey Dahmer).

EXCEPTION TO THE RULE: It's OK to give names to live lobsters and crabs just prior to steaming them.

Aketi 11:48 AM  

@Anonymous 10:36 am, some of us just RIDE bikes or subway trains. Not everyone travels BY CAR.

Frog Prince Kisser 11:52 AM  

@Nancy 10:23
@Aketi went from KALAHARI to discussing squids because “in English, the culinary name calamari is often used for squid dishes, notably fried squid.”

Anonymous 11:57 AM  

Nice Goldilocks puzzle — not too hard, not too easy. Just right for a fun start to Christmas week. Thanks very much (as always) Mr. Quigley.

GILL I. 12:03 PM  

@Tim Aurthur: Yes are right.
The French invented steak tartare and it was originally made (and still is) with HORSE MEAT. The French, being very wise, figured out that eating raw eat was delicious and the meat from horses had less parasites in it. A little fun fact is that Freud ate it every morning for breakfast along with a boiled egg. Jews didn't eat raw meat then but he set them straight....Biftec Tartare became all the rage!
Speaking of food: I'm off to take my 2 dozen famous deviled eggs to our Church for the Christmas dinner. Every year we do this for the homeless. I used to only take a dozen but the crisis here has grown so badly that the food kitchen is asking for double donations. Count your blessings and hope that you don't ever lack in food. Merry Christmas from me.

Preferred Customer 12:16 PM  

@David I guarantee that when you get to know the inconsistencies of any nation or person you will find equivalent lapses to the ones presented above.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to see our own inconsistencies.

Swallowing the camel and straining at the gnat. Seeing the mote in another's eye and missing the beam in one's own.


Joseph M 12:36 PM  

The theme didn’t do much for me, but the puzzle offered a pleasant enough solve, with GENDER IDENTITY being my favorite entry.

I don’t identify with the age that corresponds with my birth, so I would like to make it known to the world now that I am trans 27.

4x4 12:39 PM  

To the anonymice:

@Z certainly needs no help from me, but he wrote POWERtrain which does include the engine. Don't be so eager to snark.

From our friends at Wiki:
The drivetrain of a motor vehicle is the group of components that deliver power to the driving wheels. This excludes the engine or motor that generates the power. In contrast, the POWERTRAIN is considered to include BOTH the engine or motor and the drivetrain.

Anoa Bob 12:49 PM  

There are two bands circling the globe at around 30-35° N and 30-35° S that are characterized by long periods of calm (little or no wind). Sailing ships ferrying horses from Europe, mostly Spain, to the New World, would get caught in these areas, sometimes for weeks, even months. They would run low on food and would have to resort to eating HORSE MEAT. Theses areas came to be known as the HORSE LATITUDES.

FGS (36D)? Really? Pluralized, oddball abbreviation? Not willing to SAY OK on that one.

Speaking of plurals, this grid LEANS pretty heavily on POCs, including a couple of two-for-one POCs at the bottom of the grid. I figure about one third to one half of all puzzles will have an S in the bottom right-most square. They rarely add anything of value to the puzzle, they just make it easier to fill the grid.

The POC that stood out the most for me was in one of the themers that needed that uber-handy S to boost its letter count to get it done. Too convenient, meideates, and a major demerit in my book. It's like throwing in a gratuitous syllable to get a 5-7-5 syllable count for a Haiku poem to work.

Gerrythek 1:06 PM  

Almost a natick for me ( on a Monday!). Don’t know 32D nor the name of the desert but I correctly guessed A over the other vowells. OTOH, put in NICOL right away - liked him as Holmes in The Seven Percent Solution.

Masked and Anonymous 1:08 PM  

Ride sharin! Primo stuff, BEQ. Thanx for the fun. Cool BYCAR [and by SULKY] reference.

staff weeject pick: FGS. Nice 3-pointer. And Go Vikes, btw.

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Dog in "The Thin Man"} = ASTA. (yo, @mericans in Paris)
fave names of mystery: VIMEO. NICOL. I reckon some desperation is in order, since it's a 72-word MonPuz.

Hey! A Christmas reference [in the 62-A clue]! MOORE, please!

Peace on Earth, good will toward all the dudes and darlins here. U 2, @RP. U 2, @BEQ. U 2, Shortzmeister.

… U, 2: count for this pUz.
Masked & AnonymoUUs.


CDilly52 1:09 PM  

Me too, and I finally just had to run the alphabet.

JC66 1:10 PM  


What about Elsie, Bossy, Elmer & Mrs. O'Leary's? ;-)

Hungry Mother 1:21 PM  

My first hind quarter was from my friend’s daughter’s 4H project, name Jocko. We used to toast Jocko at each of his many meals.

I haven’t eaten any meat since 1985.

JC66 1:23 PM  

@Nancy, @Aketi, et al

RE: Calamari

See today's AV's Liz Gorski puzzle

Nancy 2:23 PM  

@Joseph M (12:36) -- Wonderful, wonderful comment! I feel the same way. May I join you?

To all who explained the Kalahari desert/calamari connection to me: I love calamari. I order calamari all the time. But Kalahari doesn't make me think of calamari. Plus calamari isn't a dessert any more than it's a desert. Or am I being too literal?

The most interesting thing I learned today (from @GILL) is that one of my favorite foods, steak tartare, was originally made with horse meat. Then @Old Actor says that he had horse meat carpaccio -- carpaccio being one of my other favorite foods -- in Japan and that it was delicious. I may soon be coming for you, Secretariat. (Just kidding, just kidding.) But I do know from personal experience that very lovable animals can also be very delicious animals. I adore venison and I adore rabbit (Hi, @jberg. Wish you'd cooked it for me.). Also, is there anything cuter than a little lamb? I'm sure if I lived in a different culture, I wouldn't bat an eye at eating horse meat. Dogs are different, though. That would be like eating your Best Friend.

Z 2:49 PM  

Dang it @4x4, I was working up a fantastic, snarky dissertation on the importance of reading and then you go and ruin all my fun. TBF, I did have to go back and check my own post because at least they (my guess is that is a singular “they”) are correct about drivetrains and I thought maybe I mistyped. Nope, some people are just liberal with their reading instead of literal.

@Nancy - I’m pretty sure you’re blaming poor @‘merican for my terrible KALAHARI/calamari allusion. A fine person to be mistaken for, but he shouldn’t be held accountable for my punning. Now I’m off to write my great American novel, The Squid Also Rises, the running of the squids in Namibia and ex-pats doing ex-pat things while not being able to have sex because of war wounds will be key plot points. Everyone has calamari dessert and gets their just deserts in the end.

Nancy 2:58 PM  

Thanks for pointing out my mistake in attribution, @Z. I do so look forward to reading "The Squid Also Rises" and I hope you receive a ginormous advance. Npw, if I were still working in book publishing...

Victor 3:38 PM  

HYBRID ENGINES do not exist. The car may be a hybrid with the power train consisting of an internal combustion engine plus one or more electric motors. Lost quite a few minutes trying to fit ELECTRIC in.

JOHN X 4:14 PM  

@ JC66 1:10 PM

That's a great question I'm glad you asked it. Here are the latest figures from our top scientists:

Elsie - Dairy
Bossy - Dairy (and Muppet)
Elmer - Glue
Mrs. O'Leary's Cow - From Modern Farmer magazine: “There really is no Mrs. O’Leary’s cow,” says attorney Richard F. Bales of The Chicago Title Insurance Company. “She owned at least five cows, and they didn’t have names ”“ everything about the Chicago fire in that respect is a myth ”“ the cow is a myth.”

Anonymous 4:34 PM  

In the theme answers RIDE does not hitch 2 words. Parts of RIDE are parts of the 2 words. I really don't see this theme.

Banana Diaquiri 5:20 PM  

HYBRID ENGINES do not exist.

well... actually they do and have for decades. just not on normal highways. yet.

diesel-electric trains using diesel engines to drive an electric generator that powers an electric motor
-- the wiki

one might cavil that it's a HYBRID powerplant, of course.

Boston Globe Sunday puzzle solver 6:00 PM  

@jberg - Cox and Rathvon alternate authoring the Sun. BG with BEQ. BEQ took over the every other Sun. spot when Henry Hook passed away.

Anonymous 12:43 AM  

Anon 4:34
See @Roo Monster 9:08 for a description of theme. Thanks for that @Roo

kitshef 9:07 PM  

Catching up post Christmas. Overall ... average Monday. South Central area ... average Saturday. OH YOU, NICOL, BY (air/car/bus), Mr. No-idea MOORE, GREY or GRaY?

spacecraft 11:02 AM  

I didn't expect this level of roughage from BEQ. A so-so theme with only three entries and a revealer--yet the fill is stuffed with PPPs. In fact, he turned a perfectly good plain word into a PPP with the clue for SESSIONS! WHY??? FGS, AAA, and VIMEO (?) all speak of desperation. This construction feels rushed, as if a deadline loomed.

NICOL Williamson, though, was a well-known and respected British actor. Among many other characters, he has played both Hamlet and Macbeth, and you don't give those gigs to just anybody. I am surprised at OFL's ignorance in this.

As to HORSEMEAT, well, I've learned that I should solve before breakfast, then put it away and think about something else first. As to DOD, I refuse to honor the Trump-Russia connection, so wil;l award the sash to Diane Keaton, who so admirably filled the title role of 31-down. Bogey.

thefogman 1:01 PM  

Medium Monday for me. Is anyone doing the Monday New Yorker puzzle today? I am stuck on one little square. Time for another wild guess! *fingers crossed*

Diana, LIW 1:38 PM  

Like @Spacey, I'm sometimes surprised at what @Rex doesn't know. But more often, much more often, I am amazed and awestruck at what he and you all DO know. Everything from cartoons, old commercials, Greek Gods, Urdu, literature, movies, modern slang, older slang, the periodic table, mountains, rivers, money, capitals, politics, musicians, rock stars, rocks, planetary moons, and even your own horoscope for the day. Not to mentions puns and other word play. Y'all know it ALL. Gobsmacks me every time.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords, and something you don' know!

Burma Shave 1:40 PM  


‘til she REALIZES the HYBRIDENGINES inside,
on the HOLE, won’t run ASTA get her THAR.


rainforest 3:16 PM  

NICOL Williamson was a distinguished British actor at the level of Olivier and Gielgud. I first saw him in "Marat - Sade" years ago.

I found this a lively Monday puzzle with a theme that works depending on how you parse HITCH.

I may have eaten HORSEMEAT when I had some meatballs at an IKEA restaurant. While I enjoyed them, it was somewhat off-putting to hear about the controversy. We humans are very ambiguous about our attitudes regarding the meat we consume. Hard to explain why so many of us love lamb, cow, pig, chicken, turkey and many fish, but draw the line at HORSE. This cultural stuff confuses me.

Lotsa nice clues and answers today. Liked it.

leftcoastTAM 3:40 PM  

Good Monday puzzle, with a friendly hitch or two.

Themers have little in common but the RIDEs, but they do help move things along.

VIMEO is the main hitch, but EMMA demanded it.

Nice work by BEQ.

rondo 4:14 PM  

ELI ALI ALICE ALIKE IKE IKEA; steps to get Mr. Manning to shop Swedish furniture. Other than that I kinda liked how RIDE was HITCHING two words together. Some (most) days I don’t understand OFL’s quibbles. And I met BEQ last summer, very affable guy.

As far as the HYBRIDENGINE kerfuffle goes, there can be some debate as to the *eco* status, but the ENGINE is definitely HYBRID; combined electrical motor and internal combustion ENGINE. The other four ENGINES on your car are heat ENGINES – the brakes – which transform kinetic energy into heat energy.

Since @spacey stole my thunder re: the Trumps and ANNIEHALL, I’ll pick on Mary Tyler MOORE. Yeah baby.

I’ve got no real VENOM for this puz.

leftcoastTAM 4:29 PM  

@rainforest -- I'm thinking about the horse and horsemeat issue, too, and definitely don't like the idea of eating them. Maybe it's in large part because some breeds are so big, smart, beautiful--even awesome--and can run like hell. They enhance the images of lesser breeds.

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