Words on returned mail / MON 12-3-2018 / "Bus Stop" dramatist William / Bring home, as a runner / Ricelike pasta

Monday, December 3, 2018

Constructor: Lynn Lempel

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: I DO — Theme answers ended in some variant of the word "do."

Theme answers:
  • SCOOBY DOO (17A: Great Dane of animated cartoons)
  • MORNING DEW (24A: Result of overnight condensation)
  • NO CAN DO (38A: Impossible for me)
  • POSTAGE DUE (50A: Words on returned mail)
  • PAS DE DEUX (62D: Couple's ballet dance)

Word of the Day: LE CID (11D: French play about a storied Spanish soldier) —
Le Cid is a five-act French tragicomedy written by Pierre Corneille, first performed in December 1636 at the Théâtre du Marais in Paris and published the same year. It is based on Guillén de Castro's play Las Mocedades del Cid.[1] Castro's play in turn is based on the legend of El Cid.
An enormous popular success, Corneille's Le Cid was the subject of a heated polemic over the norms of dramatic practice known as the Querelle du Cid (Quarrel of The Cid.) Cardinal Richelieu's Académie française acknowledged the play's success, but determined that it was defective, in part because it did not respect the classical unities.
Today, Le Cid is widely regarded as Corneille's finest work, and is considered one of the greatest plays of the seventeenth century.
• • •
It's Annabel Monday! And it's also almost finals! I'm dying, send ramen and Monster Energy. Now that I think about it, I bet Rex is worn-out too. And so is my dad, the computer science teacher. I think we all deserve some pretty sleepy winter breaks.

I think I tend to like easier puzzles more. Maybe it's just a coincidence, or maybe because they're less, haha, tiring? But today's achieved that rare feat of being basic and easy without having the clues be so boring I fell asleep doing them (with a few exceptions, like "Vegetarian's no-no" for MEAT and "From alpha to ___" for OMEGA). None of the clues blew me away with their cleverness, to be sure, but the point is I had fun. That's what crossword puzzles are supposed to be about, right? Fun? Oh, by the way, did anyone else have MARMADUKE in for SCOOBYDOO and leave it there for EONS? It's not like there are that many cartoon Great Danes, it's just an unfortunate coincidence that their names have the same number of letters. Oh, and I couldn't remember whether it was Mary-Kate and Ashley OLSON or OLSEN, so I had to wait until filling in AZURE before I got it.

This theme was really refreshing for a Monday! I had to double-check to make sure there even was one, it was so subtle, but what a welcome change from Monday's usual "this is the theme, and these are the theme answers" clue. That could have made things more challenging if this was a more challenging puzzle but it wasn't. In Lynn Lempel's notes, she says she wishes she could have used "derring-do"; I agree wholeheartedly, but I liked the fill that was here.  PAS DE DEUX is definitely the one of these answers that's not like the others, but nothing wrong with being a bit of a misfit.

  • EVENT (16A: Notable happening) — Hey, you know what notable happening started last night? Chanukah!!!! (Or Hannukah or Hanukkah or even Hanuka I guess.) I celebrated by lighting candles and promising my mom I'll go to Mail Services tomorrow to pick up the package containing all my gifts. I hope I get some nice warm socks!!!!!   

  • SCOOBYDOO (17A: Great Dane of animated cartoons) — I dressed up as Daphne from Scooby-Doo for Halloween!!!! Here I am with Velma. We actually ended up being the only people that actually dressed up for the costume party we went to, but we looked great so who cares. Also doesn't it feel like Halloween just happened? Instead of having been more than a month ago? Oy.

  • PROSPER (4D: Thrive) — It honestly felt so weird to see this without "Live long and ____" as the clue. Or is that just because I'm a nerd? I dunno.
  • ONE (65A: Number replaced by "hup" by a drill sergeant — I was trying to remember what movie scene this clue made me think of and then this hit me like a ton of bricks.
Signed, Annabel Thompson, tired college student.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

 [Follow Annabel Thompson on Twitter]


Elaine2 12:15 AM  

Happy Chanukkah to Annabel! (and anyone else celebrating.)

Agree that puzzle was easy, but disappointed that Pas De Deux does not fit -- "deux" is not "doo" but closer to "duh" (not that either; no English word with the correct sound comes to mind for me.) "DEW" and "DUE" are really "dyoo", not "doo", but that's probably not the case for many people, so I guess it's ok.

M 12:23 AM  

Totally had “Marmaduke” in for Eons.

Larry Gilstrap 1:37 AM  

Do-Do-Do-Do-Do! My French is not nearly as good as my wife's. Snappy little theme for a Monday, and I used it to solve 50A with no crosses. Fine with me! This just in: NOCANDO is not the name for the new NAFTA, despite what those pesky Canadians claim.

I once frequented an Italian restaurant and my wonderful waiter was Giovanni who used to babble the most entertaining nonsense to his adoring diners. I confided about a toe fungus issue I was experiencing and he recommended that each day I should stroll barefoot through the MORNING DEW. Southern California is not the place for reliably good DEW.

Didn't we just beat the GASES/GASsES dead horse recently? Speaking figuratively, of course.

SCOOBY DOO was very popular with my students many years ago, so that pretty much disqualified it as acceptable entertainment for me. If the kids like it then... I've never seen more than a snippet of video. I have time. Is it worth a binge?

I don't like to accumulate stuff, but precious watches fascinate me. Oh, OMEGA was another puzzle?

chefwen 1:39 AM  

A sweet Monday puzzle that offered up no resistance, much welcomed after Saturday and Sunday’s puzzles. Saturday’s was a googlefest and Sunday’s I thought was a little on the easy side, but I just didn’t enjoy it.

@Elaine 2, I used to have a tee shirt with the Pas de deux wine label, two ballet dancers dancing, I always pronounced it pah de do. Maybe I’ve been wrong all these years. @mericans, what say you?

jae 2:04 AM  

On the tough side for me, not sure why. Actually, putting in wow and widen for 6a and 6d ate up a few nanoseconds (hi M&A). Solid and smooth. Liked it.

Nice canine cluster with SCOOBY, DOG, and ASTRO(Jetsons).

Brookboy 2:16 AM  

Found the puzzle to be easy and harmless, a very quick solve that barely interrupted my wife’s and my binging on Goliath’s second season on Amazon. What a chilling ending. I wish I could but I can’t unsee the final act of violence committed on one of the main villains of the season. I’ll be thinking of that scene for some time.

But no matter, as we are treated to the always upbeat and refreshing analysis of the puzzle by Annabel, our perennially tired college student. Thank you, Annabel, for your upbeat start to the week. It is hard to believe that the first weekend in December has already vanished into the inexorably lengthening past. The march of time is relentless.

Loren Muse Smith 2:33 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loren Muse Smith 2:35 AM  

Yo, Annabel – sending good exam vibes your way. Good luck!

Another Lempel Monday right across the plate. So simple. I don’t think Lynn left any other possible free-standing variation on the table.

My inner 13 yr-old soul can’t help but see DOG DOO right there.

@Elaine2 - I was surprised to know that PAS DE DEUX could rhyme here, too. When I say it, DEUX rhymes with DE. But, well, [toss head, flick imaginary lint off shoulder] I was a French major. Studied in Paree one summer.

Speaking of PARTNER DANCING from Saturday – hah! But I guess PAS DE DEUX is more ballet-istic, right? That’s when Nureyev floats over to hold your hand and lift you up and stuff? The beauty of ballet stuns me even though I don’t really understand it. I took a dance class in college and learned that if your arms are extended, your hands need to look like they’re holding little tea towels in between your thumb and your bird finger. So I got that part down pretty well.

“Implement for a Neanderthal” – where do you even begin with something like this? My husband once walked around for a while with one of those big black paper clip thingies attached to his lower lip thinking this was just the funniest thing ever. A few hours later, this alarming bump appeared and when it wouldn’t go away, he heated a potato peeler over a lighter and cauterized that puppy away. So I guess his go-to implement is a red-hot potato peeler.

“Nut often squirreled away” made me laugh out loud. Don’t we all have a family member like this? I had an aunt who spoke in tongues – with no warning – and, again, with no warning, would grab her lower abdomen with her left hand, raise her right hand toward God, put her head to her chest, and shout IN THE NAME OF JESUS I COMMEND (sic) THIS GAS TO PASS OUT OF MY BODY. This happened more than once, and she always said commend.

LECID is a dook. I wanted to buy some ginger yesterday at Walmart but couldn’t find a chunk that wasn’t pretty badly lecid.

Ok. So I was all set do a parody of pc outrage with the phrase NO CAN DO. I recently read where my daughter is no longer allowed to say long time no see at Colorado State because it’s considered racist and insulting and I’m not making this up. I had always thought its origin was in Chinese Pidgin English. But in my extensive pre-posting research, I’ve found that some think it could be rather a way we make fun of Native Americans’ attempt to speak English. Anyhoo… I had never given any thought to the phrase NO CAN DO and was really surprised to see that it’s listed right there with long time no see as insulting and racist. Who knew? Whoops – I just checked on me no likey: really insulting. I feel bad that I didn’t know this. Startling what a quick look-see will get you.

Lynn Lempel – as usual, you wave your wand over a Monday grid and render it a veritable Xanadu.

marty 2:42 AM  

In English, is "pas de deux" pronounced like "do"? As Elaine noted, deux - as pronounced in French (more like a breathy short d) - doesn't fit the theme.

If I have a pet peeve with the Times puzzle it is its slapdash use of foreign words that are frequently inapt, wrong thanks to the lack of things like diacritical marks, or worded in a way that ignores its own rules of symmetry between the clue and the answer because of notions like gender that don't exist in English. I know its asking a lot to be thorough across languages but this is also supposed to the marquee puzzle in the world and that's the sort of attention to detail I expect.

newgirl 3:09 AM  

Today had a theme? I didn't even notice.

Dan 3:47 AM  

I’m with the “pas de deux isn’t pronounced like that” camp.

Was thinking she could have used HUSKER DU but I guess that has a heavy metal umlaut so maybe some people pronounce that as dü rather than du...

Eric NC 5:41 AM  

Hey Annabel. Good luck with your finals and thanks for the Stripes clip. I’d totally forgotten that scene. Made my Monday brighter. Sorry you’re tired but Lynn never taxes a write up too much.

Lewis 6:04 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 6:06 AM  

@lms -- Entertaining post from top to bottom!

L.L.'s Mondays, like today's, feel easy but not mindless, with lots of interesting answers (STREW, SHUNT, BIMODAL, AZURE,PAS DE DEUX, BERING). Today we have oodles of double O's (6), and in ASCOT, an anagram of Saturday's TOSCA. SCOOBYDOO is an underDOG in the puzzle, which reminds me of the "Underdog" tv series for kids, which reminds me of his catchphrase "There's no need to fear, Underdog is here!" And a lovely piece of trivia -- Underdog voice was supplied by Wally Cox,

Lynn anticipated complaints about PAS DE DEUX not exactly having the DOO sound, and in her notes, she responds, "For me, close enough." And that's what makes the world go round.

Hungry Mother 6:21 AM  

Very quick today, altenating across and down as needed. No hangups.

Hungry Mother 6:28 AM  

My drill sargeants and other NCOs always said “hut”, at least that’s what I heard.

michiganman 6:57 AM  

I was hoping this was another offense free puzzle but I guess it is not to be. It is amazing that so many words and phrases that nobody even thinks about get labeled as racist, sexist, or some other ist and then everyone is forced to buy into it. Well, I NOCANDO.

kitshef 7:16 AM  

Continuing yesterday’s ‘words beginning with e’ thoughts …
E-VENT: What we were spared today because Annabel filled in.

I knew we’d be in for arguments about whether the various ‘doos’ are pronounced the same. That’s the reason using rhymes for clues or themes is generally not a good idea.

Anonymous 7:18 AM  

@Dan - Hüsker Dü took their name from the concentration game called Hūsker Dū (the long vowel marks were in the name), which was based on the Dano-Norwegian phrase "Husker du?" = "Do you remember?". The dots were there purely as heavy-metal indicators; all three are pronounced Hoosker doo, i.e., much better than pas-de-deux.

OffTheGrid 7:23 AM  

Regarding the doo, do, due, dew, deux sounds: Close enough is good enough.

Seth 7:30 AM  

Regarding DEUX, I'm firmly in the "close enough is NOT good enough" camp. It's such a simple theme, so either do it 100% perfectly or not at all.

This isn't a case of regional dialect pronunciation differences. It's French. It's not pronounced doo. End of story.

Beaglelover 7:38 AM  

I was moving along nicely until I came to the south east corner. Bimodal, Capri, Statereps and Pasdedeux
stumped me. I finally finished by guessing and of course Capri should have been a gimme. The clue for statereps is weird. It is a good thing to learn about Bimodal and Pasdedeux. New vocabulary is something I love to learn but statereps, with that clue, was annoying!

April Wex 7:53 AM  

Annabel- I really enjoy when you fill in for Rex. Keep up the good work and good luck on your exams!

pabloinnh 8:10 AM  

Walk me out in the MORNING DEW, honey
Walk me out in the MORNING DEW today
Can't walk you in that MORNING DEW honey
Never walk you in that MORNING DEW again
-The Moonshiners, from the '60's

Folk song about the end of the world. Great, now I have that in my head for the rest of the day.

Betting 37A is M&A's "moo-cow easy answer of the day.

Smooth and easy Mon. from LL. Thanks for the fun.

PromOnMars 8:16 AM  

I had Marmaduke too. Happy Hanukkah!

mmorgan 8:33 AM  

Nice Lynn Lempel Monday, all the usual carping aside.

Hey @Quasi, scusi, but speaking of Mrs. Wentworth-Brewster, note CAPRI!

Knitwit 8:41 AM  

‘This was a lot of fun and Annabel, your upbeat post, despite being in the midst of exams, was fun too!! Good luck on those finals and Happy Hanukkah!

GILL I. 8:52 AM  

First thing I said to myself....I wonder how many people will say that DEUX is not even really close to the DO pronunciation. Hah! Is "Close But No Cigar" also insulting to say?
@Loren...I had no idea, or would it ever enter my mine that NO CAN DO is a no no. Curious me looked up others: Paddy Wagon, Rule of thumb and Basket Case just to name a few are considered racist and insulting.
I'm scared to death now that every time I open my mouth, I will insult somebody.
MOO COO DOO WOO should make @M&A a happy camper today.
Fine Monday. I learned something. I'll keep my mouth shut.

Wm. C. 9:04 AM  


Ted 9:21 AM  


BALKS is not a word many people know. I wanted to put FAKES or PUMPS at first, but waited for crosses.

Crossing it with not one but THREE proper nouns... on a Monday... ouch

BERING should be mostly getable, but I'd forgive the novice solver for not knowing that off the top of his head.


My grid just before solving had _A_ _ S and I'm sure I'm not alone.

Lewis 9:23 AM  

My five favorite clues from last week:

1. Surfing moniker (6)
2. Message that might be sent in a storm? (5)
3. Genesis name (4)
4. Elliptical settings (14)
5. Annual spring chore, for many (5)


Z 9:31 AM  

Yeah, close enough for a Monday. @Chefwen, form your mouth as if you were about to say “you” but say “EEE” instead and that’ll get you close.

There’s this phenomenon where when we start measuring something it seems as though the incidence of it goes up. For example, we didn’t really recognize “autism” very well for a long time. But then we got better at defining it and measuring it and so, “all of a sudden” it seemed as if there were a lot more autistic people. No, there really aren’t necessarily more, we just got better at identifying autism. Likewise with racist phrases. What happens when you actually start thinking about phrase origins and ask minorities their opinions? “All of sudden” all these phrases that weren’t racist before are racist now. No, they’ve always been racist, we have just been made more aware of how deeply ingrained that racism is in our society. This is why you’ll often hear people who study things try to refocus on racism as systemic rather than ding individuals. Using such language doesn’t make you a racist. Insisting on using such language once you’re informed that you are insulting someone by using it on the other hand....

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

Too many misdirects for a Monday for those of us who do the acrosses first, as I fell for them all.

AWE/wow (amaze)
SCOOBYDOO/marmaduke (cartoon Great Dane)
INN/den (cozy lodging)
BATIN/hitIN/score (bring home as a runner)
SHUNT/evert (turn aside)

Still managed to beat average, but only by 3 seconds.

ArtO 9:35 AM  

Can't believe PASDEDEUX passed muster. Guess WS never took French.

jberg 9:48 AM  

@Dan the band has an umlaut, but I don’t think the game has.

As for DEUX, I figure this is America and we’re speaking American here. I’d have taken dieu, as well—if you put BON DIEU in the center, you can use “____ unto others” as a revealer (except it’s only two letters)

Nice fun puzzle

Suzie Q 9:51 AM  

Smooth, creamy, and delicious like a piece of cheesecake.
Thanks, as always, to L.L.
Le Cid was new to me and made me laugh. El Cid is a crossword standard so I thought this was funny. Famous or not this reminded me of the sort of answer @M&A would call desperate in his own inimitable fashion.
I am a Neanderthal who pronounces all of these "do"s the same.

jberg 9:52 AM  

Marmaduke is not animated is he?

Masked and Anonymous 10:05 AM  

Doo-doos. Who knew.

Thanx for the primo write-up, @Blu'Bel. Doo real goood, on yer finals.

staff weeject pick: MOO. Just to spread the wealth a little bit, let's doo a different word for eazy-E-est cloo …
fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Dove's sound} = COO.

fave coo-coo non-eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Like a probability curve with two peaks} = BIMODAL.

Weren't very familiar with PAS DE DEUX. This is kinda unusual … a MonPuz with a raised-by-the-weuxlves theme answer. Clearly, I have no opinion then on what DEUX sounds like. Accordin to Ms. Lempel (in her xwordinfo.chen comments), it sounds a little oeuff, to her.

Thanx for the smooth fun with all them lil doo-dads, @Lynn Lempel darlin.

Masked & Anonymo5Us

QuasiMojo 10:06 AM  

Americans mispronounce French words all the time, myself included (think of the top-often mangled “coup de grace”) but I’ve never heard anyone say “pas de doo”! The theme reminded me of another great songwriter (hi @mmmorgan), Cole Porter, when he wrote that cutesy lyric “Do do that voodoo that you do so well.” (Hi @lms)! Sweet Monday fare, but I would have beaten my record if I hadn’t put in ToxiC rather than Toxin and had to pause to reflect and change it. Studied “Le Cid” in school and was mesmerized by its sensuous rhythms and rhymes. It’s also a gorgeous opera by Massenet. Merci Mademoiselle Lempel.

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

Poddy Doo

BobL 10:19 AM  

Lot of us didn't take French. So deux is pronounced do. We think it makes do.

turkmurphy 10:26 AM  

A review with a side of Meatballs. Perfect. Thanks Annabel.

Houndstooth 10:27 AM  

@jberg Marmaduke is a comic strip so therefore a cartoon.

'mericans in Paris 10:36 AM  

Completed this puzzle almost exactly tied with my average time -- i.e., PAR. Would have been faster, but had BERent (which, in any case, should have been BaReNts) instead of BERING, and FeNITo and STRoW. Yes, I know, FenITo is not a word. Sometimes when it comes to spelling, I'm NO CAN DO.

49D reminds me of Lord Cairncross's poem, beloved of economists, here in a somewhat adapted version:

A trend is a trend is a trend,
The question is when will it bend?
Will its alter its course
Through some unforeseen force
And come to a premature end?

@SuzieQ: I'm a Neanderthal, too, or at least with an unusual share of Neanderthal genes, according to 23andMe.

Nancy 10:42 AM  

No GASPS, no AWE, no BALKS. No NO CAN DO to make me SOB. A puzzle as easy as MOO and COO, leaving me plenty of time to go out and have a PAS DE DEUX with the MORNING DEW -- or at least there would be if I hadn't slept so late this a.m. Is there such a thing as MID-DAY DEW? Yes, the grass will certainly be wet, but that will be from 15 straight hours of rain yesterday. Still there's something round and yellowish in the sky right now, so off I go. Bye.

'american in Paris 10:43 AM  

Oops, that should be Sir Alexander Kirkland "Alec" Cairncross, not Lord.

Malsdemare 11:20 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 11:23 AM  

Easy Peary, but fun just the same. Thanks.

Lewis 11:24 AM  

Re: Five favorite clues -- "TWEEN", of course, should read "TWEET".

Banana Diaquiri 11:32 AM  

another quote from Gottlieb: "why can't yall speak UnitedStates, fur cryin out loud?" MAGA, and no lispy EuropeSpeak.

Carola 11:42 AM  

SCOOBY DOO, MORNING DEW...I knew we were in for another fun ride of a Monday from Lynn Lempel. I liked the little joke (at least it was to me) of ending with the the not-quite-right PAS DE DEUX, which I took as "Folks, I needed one more, so,,,," I lost the same nanoseconds as @jae with wow x wiDen, also had to wait for POSTAGE DUE.

Speaking of MORNING DEW, if you have a few minutes for some Hawaiian slack key guitar music, I've always enjoyed this version of the song by 12-year-old Gary Haleamau (recorded 1978).

Malsdemare 11:49 AM  

I'm in the "close enough for state work" camp; I know how to pronounce DEUX but I also say all the others pretty much identically. That made DEUX a bit of an outlier; That's okay with me.

@Z well said, my man. I know why Paddy Wagon and basket case are offensive, and should have remembered the origin of rule of thumb, but had to google to be reminded of its sordid origin.

I liked the puzzle just fine. Thanks, Lynn! Do well on your finals, Annabel, and thanks for the fine write-up.

Sir Hillary 11:51 AM  

Not a great Monday, which is a surprise from this constructor. LECID is not Monday fare. PASDEDEUX simply doesn't work with theme, on any day of the week. BATIN is stilted -- no one says it in the present tense. STONETOOL and STATEREPS are snoozers.

Sorry if I missed it in the comments, but I'm wondering if anyone else noticed that 3 of the 4 variants of the "do" homophone had similarly-spelled rhymes in the grid -- [ADD]TO, COO and STREW.

Anonymous 12:18 PM  

This was very easy all around, except since when is snake venom a toxin(tocsin!), it is toxic! Yet Mary Kate and Ashley are Olsen so it has to end in n. Should not allow such sloppiness.

Mr. Benson 12:38 PM  

@ pabloinnh - I'm more familiar with the Grateful Dead version (though I know it was originally written and performed by Bonnie Dobson). Was sort of hoping to get a video posted.

But, as the song itself concludes: "I guess it doesn't matter anyway."

Anonymous 12:40 PM  

What dieting French dancers say when offered sugar in their coffee: pas de doux. That may be bad French, but at least it is close to the rhyme. Then *state cops* for 34D; octo for 60A, and the wince-provoking 56D, "end of the liter."

Anon. i.e. Poggius

Teedmn 1:27 PM  

POSTAGE DUE - my mother once sent me a birthday card and either there wasn't the little "extra postage required" stamp in the corner of the envelope or she ignored it, but it was delivered POSTAGE DUE. Mom was a bit abashed when I told her but I just laughed. USPS wanted their 15 cents! And yet, I gave my co-worker a stack of checks in envelopes to send out while I was on vacation. She didn't notice I hadn't run them through the postage machine. Only two of them were returned to us. I don't know if they were delivered POSTAGE DUE - no one called to complain.

POST-solve, looking at LECID reminds me of "gelid".

I've been told that if you go outside on a summer MORNING and there is no DEW, it's going to rain. Presumably because all of the moisture was in the air, getting ready to come back out as rain. I have observed it to be true many times, but it's probably not predictive in all climates.

Thanks, Lynn Lempel, you DOO good work.

Dr. Doolittle 1:43 PM  

Bit by a toxic snake? Better get some anti-toxin.
The bite of a venomous snake is toxic because of the toxins.
Close enough for crosswords.

pabloinnh 2:13 PM  

@Mr. Benson--Thanks for the background on "Morning Dew". The Moonshiners were a group I saw perform live when I was a freshman in college, back when The Great Folk Scare was reaching its peak. Theirs was the only version I had ever heard so, another day when I learn something either from the crossword or its commentators. Good stuff.

Sue in France 2:19 PM  

I'd like to chime in on the pronunciation of PAS DE DEUX, which is not the same in French and in English. As this is an English language puzzle we must consider the English pronunciation, not the French, whether we know French or not. The online Merriam - Webster dictionary gives two suggestions, and the second one shows the expression rhymes with the other themers. Please note that the vowel sound in DEUX does not exist in English.

RooMonster 2:40 PM  

Hey All !
@Dr Dolittle 1:43
Bit by a toxic snake would turn you into SnakeMan, like SpiderMan. Har. Why is it only males are the ones bitten/stung/toxic-ified?

Nice MonPuz. As @Lewis said, lots of OOs here, COO(twice), DOO, WOO, MOO, TOO. So, where's the ROO?? :-)

In the DEUX-sounds-good-to-me camp for a rhyme. Who cares how the French pronounce it? Americanized English is the way to go.*

It's all I want to say to you...

1 F - it's like no on cares... :-)


*That was a joke, people. I'm not ignorant of others language and/ or culture.

emily 3:14 PM  

Can anyone tell me why I can’t see Sunday’s 12/02/2018 puzzle? The mobile version of the app use to have several days answers... but not now....

Curmudgeon 3:32 PM  

Here are a couple of suggestions. Learn to pronounce words in whatever language they're in and if a phrase turns out to have racist origins, don't say it anymore. That way you won't sound stew-pid or mean in any language.

Language Sleuth 4:20 PM  

The Grammarphobia Blog
The “basket case” myth
August 20th, 2014

Q: I found a photo online, apparently from the early 20th century, of a disabled man in a basket chair. Could this be a clue to the origin of “basket case”?

A: The man pictured in the basket chair (a three-wheeled woven rattan wheelchair) is nowhere near as disabled as the original basket case—had such a basket case ever existed.

The Oxford English Dictionary says the colloquial term “basket case” originated in the United States shortly after World War I, and meant “a person, esp. a soldier, who has lost all four limbs.”

However, the phrase, which initially referred to American soldiers supposedly left limbless by the war, was a product of the postwar rumor mill in the US. No quadruple-amputee American soldiers existed, and there’s no evidence that any head-and-torso survivors from any country were carried around in baskets.

Nevertheless, word spread that limbless soldiers were being warehoused in one place or another in the US. As a result, the Surgeon General of the Army, Maj. Gen. Merritte W. Ireland, said in 1919 that the rumor had absolutely no foundation in fact.

“I have personally examined the records and am able to say that there is not a single basket case either on this side of the water or among the soldiers of the A. E. F. [Allied Expeditionary Force],” he explained.

Furthermore, the general said in his March 28, 1919, statement, “I wish to emphasize that there has been no instance of an American soldier so wounded during the whole period of the war.”

According to newspaper accounts of the time, only one Allied combatant, a Canadian soldier, is known to have survived the war after a quadruple amputation.

He was Ethelbert (Curley) Christian, a Pennsylvania-born African American who had settled in Canada and joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force. After he was gravely injured in April 1917 in the Battle of Vimy Ridge, surgeons amputated both arms below the elbows and both legs below the knees.

But he was no “basket case.” He was fitted with prosthetic legs, and family photos show him standing upright. He is even said to have devised an arm prosthesis that enabled him to write. He lived a productive life, dying in 1954.

The OED’s earliest citation for the use of the phrase “basket case” dates from January 1919, two months after the war ended. It’s from Oak Leaves, a local newspaper in Oak Park, Ill.: “There were seven ‘basket cases,’ men without arms or legs.” [The account was apparently inaccurate.]

The term “basket case” isn’t used anymore in that original sense; it refers now to an emotionally disturbed person or an ineffective organization, nation, business, and so on.

The dictionary’s first citation for the phrase used in its ineffective sense is from the Feb. 16, 1948, issue of Life:

“The U.N. may become a more pathetic basket case than the old League of Nations after the Japanese nullified the decision on Manchuria.”

In the early 1950s, the phrase came to mean “a person who is emotionally or mentally unable to cope, esp. because of overwhelming stress or anxiety,” the OED says.

The dictionary’s earliest example of this usage is from Polly Adler’s 1953 autobiography, A House Is Not a Home:

“By New Year’s, 1935, after three months in the new house, I realized I’d wind up a basket case if I didn’t take a vacation.”

[Note: This post was updated on Aug. 16, 2018. We’re grateful to a descendant of the Canadian soldier Curley Christian, who wrote to us about him and supplied photos and newspaper clippings.]

Anonymous 4:54 PM  

Very interesting. Makes me wonder about other claims of word origins.

crabsofsteel 6:54 PM  

Nike says "Just Do it." Mike says "Just Doo-Doo." Loved the puzzle.

Teddi and Teddy 7:45 PM  

Emily, if you scroll to the bottom of the page there is an arrow pointing right. Click on it and it will take you back to Sunday.

Peter P 8:02 PM  

In cases of word or phrase origins, if it sounds a little too neat or clever or a word purports to be an acronym (like some of the false etymologies of words like "golf" or "posh" or a variety of curse words; Cutesy acronym etymologies are almost always false) it's probably B.S. Use etymonline.com for word origins if you don't have access to the OED (as I don't.) For phrases, a bit of googling usually sorts it out. Throw in "fake" or "false etymology" or "urban legend" in there to see if it's been flagged as a suspect phrase.

GILL I. 8:44 PM  

@Language Sleuth: Fascinating infö on "Basket Case." Seriously. Word origins are interesting and certainly how they evolve. I see how some may cause a wince or two but in this case, I fail to understand how someone can be insulted. It really boils down (oops is that non PC) to every human beings interpretation, doesn't it?
My Mexican friends (and I have a ton of them) refer to me as "La Yanqui" I.e. "Yankee." It's endearing to me although Its been pointed out that it's derogatory. I don't look like I speak Spanish (it happens) and yet I can speak them under any tequila bar. So....I guess if one person is offended, then it becomes an issue?
So many more things to worry about and so many other words that are truly offensive.....but.....

Larry Gilstrap 8:59 PM  

Can't believe I snoozed on 49A. Chapter 58 Brit is the most poetic chapter in a very poetic book, Moby-Dick.

I've been thinking about BALKS all day. Don't see them as much lately, the metrics on stealing second base are not as valued as they once were. I see most BALKS now occur with a runner on third. Rarely see them argued.

ZenMonkey 9:27 PM  



Anonymous 9:50 PM  

Re Sue in France (2:19 p.m.). If your online Merriam Webster gives an "American" pronunciation of *deux* so that it rhymes with doo or dew, then it is time to throw that stupid dictionary out. It reflects the modern trend, confusedly called progressive, of deeming anything heard as "alternative." Dictionaries should be establishing standards, not repeating nonsense. My own pronunciation of French is awful, but I would rhyme *deux* with something like *purr* (yes, I know, technically inaccurate), but much closer than something like *dew*.

If Merriam Webster makes *deux* into dew, they also bungle the pronunciation of liqueur, very often mispronounced in English. They give LEE-CUE-ER as an alternative. This is simply an error--they should be telling us how to pronounce this word, instead of following common errors.

This reminds me of the naming of the Verrazano Narrows bridge. The Italian-American group insisting on this naming presided over the dedication--maps were renamed, signs were erected, etc. Then it was pointed out that Verrazano was actually spelled Verrazzano. The Italian-American geniuses put their heads together and proclaimed: Verrazzano is the correct Italian spelling, but Verrazano is the correct American spelling! The Merriam Webster replication of errors, ostensibly "progressive," is fundamentally reactionary. The Italian-American group was militantly reactionary as well--besides the bridge initiative, their other great endeavor as an offer of $1000 to any Italian-American girl/woman who remained a virgin until she was into her late teens. My head swims when I think of how this was to be enforced!

No modern dictionary should be trusted. I still use my Funk and Wagnalls of 1963. I wouldn't mind having an OED--but beware of anything like Merriam Webster that professes to be *democratic*.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

Anonymous 11:06 AM  

@ Sue in France 2:19

Ah, but the vowel sound in “deux” does exist in English. It is the same vowel sound in the words “put” and “foot.”
As another commenter noted, if you pronounce deux as “doo,” it becomes “doux” in French, and takes on another meaning.
French is very, very consistent in its pronunciations. When I used to construct puzzles for the NYT, Will Shortz was very particular
about consistency, so I was surprised to see “pas de deux” pass rhyming muster.

thefogman 11:06 AM  

This was the easiest Monday for me in quite some time. I didn't see the theme until after completion, then the light clicked on after reading the long answers out loud. Everything is nice and tidy, clever and good with the exception of PASDEDEUX. I'm being a bit picky but the word deux is not - or should not be - pronounced the same way as DEW. I chuckled a bit when I noticed DOO was under DOG at 15A. No write-overs for me this time. Like Annabel, I also thought of putting Marmaduke down for 17A but held off because I started in the NE corner and already had letters that did not match up. Had I started in the NW corner it might have been a different story. Cheers to Lynn Lempel for a great gateway puzzle to get new solvers hooked for more.

Burma Shave 11:25 AM  


DIANA lost her canine BERINGs –
a SINE that she NOCANDO –
MANY FINED they’re SCAREd of caring
for a DOG like SCOOBYDOO.


centralscrewtinizer 11:42 AM  

A fine Monday offering. Lots of fun and never saw the do thing. Did we not have UPDO just a short while ago?

rondo 12:00 PM  

@DIANA makes the puz again. How DUE you DEW?
@rainy – we’ll miss ya. In any EVENT, live long and PROSPER.
Wondered if it was going to be a DOG theme with DOG and ASTRO and SCOOBYDOO in the NW, but no, what can ONE DO? MOO and COO like a WOOER, I guess.

A very proper usage of the word TAR, though as a TOXIN.

In the 1970s and 80s PABST was my beer of choice, but something changed and so did I.

I’ll go BIMODAL and give both of the OLSEN waifs a yeah baby.

EZ puz to DO, didn’t lose a STEP.

Diana, LIW 12:29 PM  

Synders untie! Bring back @Rainy! (see Sunday for more commentary) He brings colour and international flavor to he comments. Will the centre hold?

DIANA, Goddess of today's puzzle, and rounder-upper of Synders!

spacecraft 1:14 PM  

Easy enough--and yet I have a big inkblot. where? At #6: I went with WOW and WIDEN. Oops! But it seemed so natural! I always enjoy a Lempel; today was no exception. To pick a nit, the French themer probably sounds more like "derr" than "DOO," or maybe halfway between. But it ain't the hill I wanna die on.

@Rainforest: I think we should stop saying "Rainy" because that evokes a turn-down day, but rather the full screen name, which brings to mind a picture of lush vegetation...OK, maybe the use of the word "lush" is questionable...I better quit before I get too deep in the hole. Anyhoo, please decide to return and tough it out. You can count us Syndilanders on one hand as it is. I cannot promise to go all Pollyanna; I give feedback in an effort to keep improving the output. Lately I have hit a few puzzles hard; I certainly hope that didn't influence your decision. I will try to lighten up on my old pet peeves that I ought to just accept as inevitable. I am sure @rondo will try to do the same about TAR, ha ha. C'mon back, please!

The OLSENs and DIANA are worthy subjects indeed. DOD goes to AMELIA Earhart, a true pioneer. Birdie.

thefogman 1:27 PM  

What's up with @Rainy?
PS Is anyone here doing the New Yorker Monday puzzles? Today's was a bit easier than normal for me...

leftcoastTAM 1:35 PM  

Had no beef with this one -- replaced it with MEAT and all went down well.

Also liked the clean theme.

Thanks, Lynn Lempel.

leftcoastTAM 8:09 PM  

Skipped Sunday's puzzle, so missed @rainforest's statement of withdrawal, but saw today's comments opposing it. Add my name to that list.

I've considered withdrawing from time to time--regardless of Rex's rough critiques, which tend to provoke others not in his class--because of real-time commenters' often coarse egos and ids. We also have some especially good real-timers like LMS and M&A, among others, to keep us amused and interested. Same, on a smaller scale, with our congenial group of syndies.

Come back, Shane, come back!

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP