Duel overseer in Hamlet / MON 1-7-19 / Cheap cigar slangily / Singer with 1961 hit Big Bad John / Bygone monthly for 12-20 set / Egyptian god usually pictured with head of ibis

Monday, January 7, 2019

Constructor: Andrew Kingsley

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (for a Monday) (3:26)


THEME: double vowel progression, For Some Reason ... ? — left side of grid has answers that start PAT PET PIT POT PUT and right side has NAT NET NIT NOT NUT; I have no idea why; my friend Brian notes that there's also BET BOT BAT at the starts of 3/4 of the longer (8+) Downs, but ... that's probably just bizarre coincidence?

Theme answers:
  • PAT RILEY (17A: Five-time N.B.A. championship-winning coach with the Lakers and the Heat) / NATGEO (19A: Cable channel with many science shows, familiarly)
  • PET CAT (24A: Garfield, to Jon Arbuckle) / NET WORTH (27A: Notable statistic for Jeff bezos or Bill Gates)
  • PIT BOSS (37A: Casino floor V.I.P.) / NITPICK (40A: Make tiny criticisms)
  • POTHOLES (51A: Road hazards that need filling) / NOT YET (54A: "Be patient!")
  • PUT OUT (60A: Peeved) / NUT BREAD (62A: Dessert loaf)
Word of the Day: RUGER (11D: America's largest firearm manufacturer) —
Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc., better known by the shortened name Ruger, is an American firearmmanufacturing company based in Southport, Connecticut with production facilities also in Newport, New HampshireMayodan, North Carolina and Prescott, Arizona. The company was founded in 1949 by Alexander McCormick Sturm and William B. Ruger and has been publicly traded since 1969.
Ruger produces bolt-actionsemi-automatic, and single-shot riflesshotgunssemi-automatic pistols, and single- and double-action revolvers. According to the ATF statistics for 2015, Ruger is currently America's largest firearm manufacturer, as well as the second largest pistol/revolver manufacturer (behind Smith & Wesson) and rifle manufacturer (behind Remington) in the United States. (wikipedia)
• • •

Hello! It's the first full week after New Year's Day and that means it's time for my annual pitch for financial contributions to the blog, during which I ask regular readers to consider what the blog is worth to them on an annual basis and give accordingly. As you know, I write this blog every. Single. Day. OK, two days a month I pay young people to write it, but every other day, all me. OK sometimes I take vacations and generous friends of mine sit in, but otherwise, I'm a non-stop blogging machine. Seriously, it's a lot of work. It's at least as much work as my day job, and unlike my day job, the hours *kinda* suck—I typically solve and write between 10pm and midnight, or in the early hours of the morning, so that the blog can be up and ready for you to read with your breakfast or on the train or in a forest or wherever it is you enjoy the internet. I have no major expenses, just my time. As I've said before, I have no interest in "monetizing" the blog in any way beyond simply asking for money once a year. I hate ads in real life, so why would I subject you all to them. I actually considered redesigning the site earlier this year, making it slicker or fancier somehow. I even got the process partly underway, but then when I let slip that I was considering it, feedback was brisk and clear: don't change. Turns out people don't really want whistles and bells. Just the plain, internet-retro style of a blogger blog. So that's what you're getting. No amount of technical tinkering is gonna change the blog, which is essentially just my voice. My ridiculous opinionated voice yelling at you, cheerfully and angrily, about how much I love / hate crosswords. I hope that this site has made you laugh or taught you things or given you a feeling of shared joy, or anger, or failure, or even given you someone to yell at. I'm fine with that. I also hope I've introduced some of you to the Wider World of Crosswords, beyond the NYT. I am passionate about puzzles and I (mostly) adore the people who solve them—so many of my friends, and the thousands of you I've never met. I can't stop, and I won't stop, and I hope you find that effort worth supporting.

Some people refuse to pay for what they can get for free. Others just don't have money to spare. All are welcome to read the blog—the site will always be open and free. But if you are able to express your appreciation monetarily, here are two options. First, a Paypal button (which you can also find in the blog sidebar):

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Rex Parker c/o Michael Sharp
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All Paypal contributions will be gratefully acknowledged by email. All snail mail contributions (I. Love. Snail mail!) will be gratefully acknowledged with hand-written postcards. This year's cards are illustrations from "Alice in Wonderland"—all kinds of illustrations from throughout the book's publication history. Who will get the coveted, crosswordesey "EATME!" card!? Someone, I'm sure. You, I hope. Please note: I don't keep a "mailing list" and don't share my contributor info with anyone. And if you give by snail mail and (for some reason) don't want a thank-you card, just say NO CARD.  As ever, I'm so grateful for your readership and support.

Now on to the puzzle!
• • •

Well, this puzzle was surprising on many levels. First, I have apparently never heard of [America's largest firearm manufacturer] and an alleged Yankee "legend" (47D: Yankees legend ___ Howard = ELSTON). The former ... well, you probably can guess how I feel about seeing firearms manufacturers in my grid, and how I feel about firearms manufacturers in general. The latter is historically a very interesting figure (first African-American player on the Yankees roster; 1963 AL MVP), but if I've ever seen his name, I forgot it, and "legend" seems a stretch. I know Yankees fans think all their players are "legends," but ... I'm guessing a bajillion solvers, including New Yorkers, will not have heard of ELSTON before. Not knocking him as a player, mind you—he's very crossworthy—but it's very strange to see him on a Monday, in a grid already packed with marginal names (lookin' at you, OSRIC!) (4D: Duel overseer in "Hamlet"). So aside from my ignorance of firearms manufacturers and mid-century Yankees not named, like, MARIS, we have this completely bizarre theme. The grid is groaning under the weight of ten themers (10!), but why P-T / N-T??? I have no idea. It's a stunt with no clear purpose, and it results in a grid that's something close to joyless. Putting so many themers in, and having them be relatively short, means that none have marquee status and all are (mostly) pretty boring. This puzzle is trying to do way too much, and so ends up doing everything poorly. I thought people had learned to stop doing these construction-stunt puzzles. Just 'cause you *can* do two vowel progressions in the same puzzle doesn't mean you should. I've seen regular vowel progression puzzles that worked well, where the answers themselves were original and interesting. I think I made one once. Yes, I did. Anyway, it's not the most exciting genre, but it damn sure doesn't get more exciting when doubled.


That NE corner was just a killer (for a Monday). With RUGER (?) and THOTH (also kind of a ?) (13D: Egyptian god usually pictured with the head of an ibis) and NATGEO (a channel I rarely think of—"science" really threw me off, as I was imagining beakers, not cheetahs) ... with all those in one little place, I was really flailing. Finding out that the corner sucked because of the intense theme pressures (and that NATGEO was itself a themer) was really disappointing. Who the heck is JIMMY DEAN? I know him as the sausage guy, but ... is it the same guy? "Big Bad John"? I know oldies pretty well, so again, this puzzle is baffling me with its excavation of gunky trivia corners. "Big Bad Leroy Brown" is my jam. No idea what "Big Bad John" is. By the way, it's this:


Between the joyless theme and the crosswordese (EL ROPO!) (66A: Cheap cigar, slangily), there was no pleasure here. And Mondays are usually uniquely pleasurable, among the themed puzzles of the week. Very rough. Also "Uncle!" means "I GIVE" or some such. "ENOUGH!" is something you say to kids who won't stop fighting. NUT BREAD is a category of ... bread? I feel like the theme dragged all kinds of gunk into this grid. All the focus on the stunt, none on the solving experience. Mondays should be fun!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

107 comments:

Robin 12:10 AM  

No trouble with ELSTON here, and I did figure out RUGER once I had a few crosses.

Would have called this medium, but I too got hung up in the NE. Muchly because I entered RING instead of TENT (they both use the N from AGENT) and it took longer than it should have to figure out the error.

jae 12:10 AM  

Medium. Neat trick, but I agree with @Rex, too many problems.

Mark Tebeau 12:20 AM  

Could this be the first comment of the day? We'll see. Thanks for the work.

Suzanne Podhaizer 12:21 AM  

On the bright side, this puzzle does have “ovule” crossing “seamen”...

JOHN X 12:40 AM  

This was really easy. So was the mini puzzle, which I do first as batting practice.

Personally I'd never own a firearm, but I got a Riflery merit badge in the Boy Scouts and was qualified on both the M-1911A .45ACP pistol and the M-14 7.62mm rifle in the U.S. Navy. Both had a strong recoil, and all I ever shot was paper targets. But I was a submarine engineer, so my real weapon of choice was the 9/16th-inch combination wrench, which was used on all the seawater systems to keep the ocean outside of the people tank. I can't kill you with that wrench but I can bore you to death talking about it.

Harryp 12:41 AM  

I did this Themeless in 7;33 why look for one?

Anonymous 12:43 AM  

Yep, same Jimmy Dean. Remember him in commercials for the sausage in the 80s.

Unknown 1:02 AM  

"The Sausage Guy"???
You've never seen Diamonds are Forever???
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiEMPy4P9nA

mmorgan 1:22 AM  

Theme? What theme? Once again I solved a themeless only to find that it’s not. Humph. As with yesterday, I can appreciate the constructor’s work post hoc, but if I can’t see it while solving, then something is the matter with the puzzle, or with me. Either way, something isn’t working the way it’s supposed to. Humph.

That said.. Most of this was smooth and easy and a pleasant Monday for me but with more crunch than a Monday usually offers, and that’s great! But I thought it was EL ROPa and I’d never heard of ELST-N, so there you go.

Not to mention OSRIC but thanks to the crosses I had no problem with that.

I tip my hat to crunchy Mondays, but I’m not so wild about themed puzzles where someone has to explain the theme to you after you’re done.

@TomAz - if you missed my comment yesterday, I think you meant Isabelle Peron, not Eva. Those two had very different stories...

Cristi 1:37 AM  

Jimmy Dean’s recording career led to him being cast as a regular on the popular TV show Daniel Boone back in the late ‘60s. My Spanish is rusty enough to allow myself to be naticked at the Elston-en-an cross with ropo-e-a. Too many ways to go wrong there for a Monday.

Brookboy 1:46 AM  

No problemo with this one, not even the ones OFL pointed out. I grew up in NYC in the 1950s, so ELSTON Howard wasn’t a problem. He probably would’ve stood out more had he not been on a team with players like Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra, to name but a few. He was the first African-American on the Yankee roster, and he eventually replaced Yogi Berra as the Yankee catcher. Howard was also credited with inventing the weighted donut device players use on their bats to practice their swings with the heavier weight. His overall numbers were good enough to make him memorable on his own, but he had the dubious honor of playing on a team that had so many other great players.

Also knew Jimmy Dean (the singer, as opposed to the actor James Dean), as I used to listen to the song “Big Bad John” on the radio time and again. He was the same Jimmy Dean who became the spokesman for his eponymous sausages, a brand still sold today.

I didn’t realize that there was even a theme until Rex pointed it out. Yet another layer of creativity.

I liked it a lot more than Rex did.



chefwen 2:11 AM  

Huh! Said I, a themeless Monday, how odd. This went sailing over my head, didn’t even try to look for a theme. You can also put me down for a DNF as I had EL ROPa @66A and ELSToN @ 47D. Color me red.

Dessert loaf, NUT BREAD? Not in this house, that’s a breakfast item.

Easy Monday if I don’t count missing the double AEIOU craziness.

Larry Gilstrap 2:38 AM  

I agree the stereo vowel progression theme is impressive. Like OFL, I'm looking for more, but according to that calendar on the wall it is only the first Monday of 2019.

Maybe it's an age thing, but no problem with ELSTON Howard, because baseball, and no problem with OSRIC, because Hamlet.

Wasn't there a Tiger Beat magazine? My first answer involved Seventeen Magazine, but both don't fit.

I was certain that CURED HAM was redundant, but I remembered that uncooked hams are a thing and need oven time. I enjoy cooking meat and seafood.

Speaking of pork products, we have a New Year's Day tradition involving Bloody Marys, pancakes, and Farmer John link sausage. This year, all that was left at the grocery store was JIMMY DEAN sausage in the plastic tube. Deliciously fatty and spicy and salty. Happy New Year! I knew him for his TV appearances even before his meat products.

Every trip I've ever taken to Mexico turned into more of an adventure than I had anticipated. I have entertaining stories, and one of them involves CABO San Lucas. Ever see a doctor look into your mouth and jump back and exclaim: where have you been? Good times!

NIT PICK is what we do around here.

Bernie 2:53 AM  

As a former server, I’ve gotta give a big thumbs down to the constructor for his suggestion that 15% is a standard tip.

Loren Muse Smith 3:02 AM  

Hah. I managed to figure out the theme yesterday with no help thank you very much and this morning I sat there, stung once again, that Will had accepted this puzzle over the many of mine he’s said, “just didn’t excite him.” Wha???? But that’s when I had noticed only the PAT PET PIT POT group. I would have lived the rest of my life not noticing the NAT NET NIT NOT NUT group and being convinced that Will has it in for me.

So, wow. Stunts (at least the safe ones not the guys in motorcycles in hollow balls or trapeze artists or tightrope walkers or anything Cirque du Soleil or high school girl hurdlers during my daughter’s lacrosse practice or balance beam events or figure skating) are fun once in a while. As long as no one gets hurt, what’s the biggie? Said the person for whom theme is everything and the gluey fill is forgotten instantly.

I also would have missed the BET BOT BAT deal that does kinda look like that house someone started to build in Ridgewood, NJ on Lincoln Ave that was about a third of the way done and then something must have happened ‘cause it just sat there unfinished for like years. I heard later that there was “money trouble.” No duh.

Go big or go home, Andrew! Make it a 15x16 and include PYTHON and NYTOL. And finish that other house. But, seriously, this one’s great. Double vowel progression, side by side – very cool.

Considering words that begin with PYT, I thought of Pythagoras and remembered a quote from Non Campus Mentis: Pythagasaurus fathered the triangle. The link I’ve embedded will take you straight to Amazon, straight to the paperback version where you should order at least four. This is, hands down, the funniest book you will ever read. I gave a copy to the new English teacher who needed a lift, and she was reading stuff out of it as I beamed in the doorway. We laughed harder and harder, and when she read the Pythagasaurus one, we were laughing so hard we couldn’t speak. Another good one is something about the Germans entertaining themselves during a war with cat berets. The possibilities here are endless; this “entertainment” could be sinister, sexual, intellectual, crafty in a JoAnn’s fabric way, sporty in a keep-away game way, fashiony in a how-do-I -look-in-this way.

@Suzanne Podhaizer – oh my God. You get the Great Catch award for the month. OVULE/SEAMAN. And there’s BABY over to its right. Two former students stopped by last week, both dedicated and inventive class disrupters, fighters, truancy problems. They’re seniors now - an official couple and officially expecting. So, well, hmm. Will they be parents who get mad when I call home 14 years from now to talk about some behavior that they, too, once did? Or will they defend their kid and threaten to sue the school? I’m thinking the former. The father-to-be and I bonded when he was in 10th grade when we and another guy put a poster over the water fountain that said THIS IS NOW VOICE ACTIVATED. STEP BACK AND SAY IN A LOUD, CLEAR VOICE, WATER ON.

@Larry – “Ever see a doctor look into your mouth and jump back and exclaim: where have you been?” – I almost spit out my coffee when I read that gem.

@Sara Dacus from yesterday – welcome! Keep commenting, and you’ll be under an hour for a Sunday in no time.

(I realize I may be crucified for suggesting buying something from Amazon. I can’t keep up with all the people, products, words, companies, ideas I’m supposed to hate so as not to present as the un-pc, un-green, un-evolved person that I actually am.)

Hartley70 3:51 AM  

I’m giving this unusual Monday puzzle an easy-challenging rating. Some of the entries were laughably easy, PETCAT, BABY, OREO, TIP, IRAN (with no attempt to obscure the answer with clueing). Other entries were very difficult for a Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday puzzle, THOTH, RUGER, ELROPO. I’m sure KITT and JIMMYDEAN drove many solvers too young for Medicare mad. ELSTON and PATRILEY were impossible without crosses for me.

I’m not exactly complaining because a difficult Monday is a joy any week Will chooses. It’s just that my elated/annoyed switch was working overtime tonight.

This was just the sort of theme that I forget to notice. Thankfully Loren is here to light the way and help me see the nuances. I’m better with the ones that smack me in the face and make me laugh.

Anonymous 4:43 AM  

ELROPO crossing OVULE and ELSTON on Monday just seems like bad editing. I also had to guess the R in PAT RILEY crossing OSRIC. Guessing three letters on a Monday doesn't sound like "anyone in America can solve this" to me, even if you can guess them right if you've been solving for long enough.

webwinger 5:50 AM  

Also found this very unmondayish and apparently themeless. And where is Anabelle?

'merican in Paris 5:59 AM  

Again, a constructor's puzzle. Ho-hum. Yes, very clever, and admirable. But the craft had no influence on my solving experience. Like many others, I solved it as a themeless. Pretty cool to have 5 of the 12 letters in the first column be Ps.

For me, the NW was harder than the NE. I had to guess at the "R" in PAT_ILEY, which wasn't helped by my wanting Goo before GEL at 5D. I did pause at RUGER, too, as I wanted LUGER, but clearly that wouldn't work with LABRAT. Speaking of Amazon, I'm now going to check with my Book AGENT whether she has RUGER's THOTHorous in her catalogue.

What I found most comforting about this puzzle was the return of so many old friends. Happy New Year, NÉE! You're on fire, EL ROPO! BOTTOMs UP, ALES! ONCE more, ONE!

Interesting to see PIT BOSS in the same puzzle as JIMMY DEAN. Make sure to listen to @Rex's link to "Big Bad John". It tells the story of a brave man enTOMBed by a mine collapse, and sums up three essential points: (1) coal mining is dangerous; (2) there is a strong camaraderie among miners; (3) very often after such an accident, the mine is left closed. For what it's worth, the UK shuttered its last underground coal mine three years ago, and Germany three weeks ago.

OVER but not (PUT) OUT

P.S., Is PET CAT a form of green paint?

Lewis 6:06 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 6:17 AM  

Well, my only complaint about the puzzle is this, and the following is a true story. Seven years ago I was in a group of eight people -- none of us knew each other -- climbing a well-known peak in another continent. A lady in our group had a habit that drove me nuts. At least six times a day she would suddenly break out into Dean Martin's, "When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore". She did it with an ersatz Italian accent. I'm sure she thought it was endearing, but the more she did it, the more grating it became to me. I soon had a fantasy, no, not of hurling her off the mountain, but of finding the perfect thing to say to her, some ostensibly-witty-but-in-actuality-so-deeply-cutting comment that would nix her from ever chirping out this blasted ditty again, after which I would be able to enjoy her presence (aside from her little habit, she was quite charming). She would become -- and I swear, never having thought about this for seven years, and suddenly it becoming as clear as yesterday because of seeing CURED HAM in the puzzle -- reformed. No, I never did think of the perfect witticism to end her sing-song attack and I endured it all the way up and all the way down that magnificent mountain. And I will go right back to forgetting about it, thank you.

Jofried 6:23 AM  

There’s something wrong on a Monday when so many solvers have to take a wild guess on a letter. I also had to run the vowels to get the O in ELROPO and ELSTON. Never heard of either one. As for the theme...I finished the puzzle and thought there was no theme and wasn’t that odd!

Anonymous 6:28 AM  

It drives me completely bonkers that all the theme pairs rhyme except the last one. Completely, utterly bonkers.

chefbea 6:45 AM  

What happened to Anabel monday??? It is the first monday of the month...and the year.

Fun puzzle!!

main line dad 6:48 AM  

I thought the story was going to end with you marrying her

pabloinnh 7:18 AM  

Eligible for Medicare here and this one was not full of things I hadn't heard of. ELSTON? Sure. OSRIC? Who forgets a name like Osric? PATRILEY played hoops at a NY HS not far from where I grew up. ELROPO was pretty common as a term for a cheap stogie way back when. And so on.

JIMMYDEAN brought back fond memories of all those team bus trips in high school as "Big Bad John" was sung on probably every one of them. Getting back to the old home town and crossing the bridge with everyone singing the alma mater was also a tradition, and one that I'm sure is long gone. Simpler times.

Hand up for the "played like a themeless" for me, but a good fun Monpuzz, for which thanks.

Joe Welling 7:23 AM  

"Also "Uncle!" means "I GIVE" or some such. "ENOUGH!" is something you say to kids who won't stop fighting."

Tell Mr. Clemens he got it wrong:

Presently the confusion took form, and through the fog of battle Tom appeared, seated astride the new boy, and pounding him with his fists. "Holler 'nuff!" said he.

The boy only struggled to free himself. He was crying--mainly from rage.

"Holler 'nuff!"--and the pounding went on.

At last the stranger got out a smothered "'Nuff!" and Tom let him up....

QuasiMojo 7:30 AM  

I found this one very easy. I finished in nearly the same time as Rex. The theme eluded me and I agree with others that it is hardly an exciting one. Progression puzzles seem pointless to me. And @LMS, I got the same reaction from Will when I sent in one of my themed puzzles. If I could only find it I’d send it in again. It’s lost under a pile of old Teen Beat magazines. As for 15%, the issue reminds me of that wonderful old movie The Petrified Forest with Bette Davis and Bogart. There’s a sign over the bar in it that says “Tipping is Un-American” — those were the days! Times have certainly changed. You can’t go anywhere without people expecting a tip whether buying a slice of pizza or a pack of gum at the gas station.

kitshef 7:32 AM  

I thought we’d get a RexRant today about Tehran and how the hell is he supposed to know world capitals. Instead, he picks on the great ELSTON Howard and THOTH. Put THOTH in your puzzle and you’ve just about won me over.

I did feel let down that we got PAT PET PIT POT PUT and NAT NET NIT NOT NUT, but only BAT BET BOT. Couldn’t have worked BIT o honey and BUTterfly in there?

Also liked the CAB GAB LAB top row.

@chefwen –NUT BREAD is a dinner side dish ‘round here.

Amy Yanni 7:36 AM  

Thanks for the baseball card; I may have had that one. Would have swapped it for Bill Freehan, the Tiger catcher of the era. Puzzle was tough for Monday, but I like that. Also missed the theme. Right over my head. Or behind my back, like a pet cat.

Hungry Mother 7:59 AM  

Average time, no problems that crosses couldn’t solve. Feeling better after a very rough afternoon yesterday.

OffTheGrid 8:07 AM  

Expected Rex to criticize RUGER and he did but then made it word of the day. Puzzling.

The "old" fill was easy. I listened to Tiger baseball back when Detroit played the Yankees a lot so the old Yankee names are familiar, including ELSTON Howard.

Alternate clue for THOTH--Thpaghetti__________.

Learn more about Earth KITT Here

ghthree 8:10 AM  

Like many people, I occasionally fill in an"obvious" answer without reading the clue.
When I came to 51 Across, I had P_THO_E_ and almost wrote the "obvious" PATHOGEN.
But I decided to check the clue anyway. Too much news coverage about the danger of receding flood waters.

Only true write over was ACT for 5 Down Clue was "Do Stuff?" Should have been warned by the question mark.

My wife and I almost got Naticked in two places, but collaboratively guessed right in both.

SJ Austin 8:11 AM  

Inspired by Andy Kravis's Twitch stream on Saturday night, I tired to do this Downs Only. It was fun, if hard to break the habit of looking at the Across clues.

But ELSTON stumped me, and ELROPO is not familiar to me, so I didn't get it done.

Anonymous 8:19 AM  

Rex,

You're so racist. You're always spouting off on baseball and you don't know Elston Howard? Believe me, breaking the Yankees color barrier was a gigantic event. Also, he's part of a famous bar trivia question: The NL, AL and National Football League MVPs (and the NBA rookie of the year) all wore #32 in 1963. Who were they? This question gets muddled sometimes, but this is the one you want.

Jeremy Keeshin 8:23 AM  

I’m newer to crossword puzzles and found some of the answers really tricky for a Monday. The EL ROPO and ELSTON cross seems tricky when I haven’t heard of either. Also did not know JIMMY DEAN and KITT. I liked the vowel theme but only noticed the P-T not the N-T or B-T, but not sure if the B-T is a complete theme?

'merican in Paris 8:41 AM  

On NUTBREAD:

Andrew Kingsley -- "Desert loaf"

@Rex -- "a category of ... bread?"

@chefwen -- "a breakfast item"

@kitshef -- "a dinner side dish"

@'mericans in Paris -- "a type of bread often served with cheese, especially soft cheese"

Chef Marvelous 8:45 AM  

Jimmy Dean pork sausage is the secret ingredient in so many great dishes.

If anything calls for Italian bulk sausage, swap Jimmy Dean in there and you will be the hero.

Don't tell anyone.

Ciao

Suzie Q 8:49 AM  

Like @ Larry G (2:38) I only remember (but never bought) Tiger Beat. Knowing Jimmy Dean only for his sausage is like knowing George Foreman only for his grill.
If you don't know the song it deserves a listen. Nice but sad tribute.
If given a choice, pigs prefer a clean area rather than mud.
Enough was an acceptable answer. I was thinking "no mas".
I didn't know Elston but if Rex thinks it obscure then it really must be since he is a big baseball fan.
On to Tuesday.

Bully 8:54 AM  

"nuff does not = ENOUGH. The point is that the aggressor demands a specific verbalization to make the pounding stop, thereby confirming the power of the aggressor. Uncle is a common demand but it could be anything.

Anonymous 8:57 AM  

2:57, without a sloppy typo it would have been 2:48. Not record territory, but could see it from here.

Never saw the theme. Didn't need to. For the handful of puzzlers, I thought the crosses complemented each other nicely.

Easy Monday!

Crimson Devil 9:03 AM  

I actually had multiple Elston Howard baseball cards, alongside Micky, Yogi, Whitey, et al., a dedicated fan pre-Steinbrenner. RTR this eve.

James Dean 9:11 AM  

Jimmy Dean (the sausage guy) played "Willard White" in the James Bond movie "Diamonds Are Forever," who was modeled on reclusive Las Vegas resident Howard Hughes.

GHarris 9:15 AM  

This epitomizes my problem; Rex deems the puzzle borderline challenging while it was right in my wheelhouse with no problems whatsoever. Yet it still took me twice as long to complete. I guess that’s the difference between a shlepper and a pro. Find it hard to believe that Elston Howard has been so soon forgotten; he was a pioneer, a really fine athlete and a wonderful person. I guess even Pat Riley is disappearing into the sunset although he is still living and until recently had been an active coach.

gfrpeace 9:20 AM  

And OVULE isn't an undeveloped seed, it's an undeveloped ovum. Which has to be fertilized to turn into a seed.

EdfromHackensack 9:26 AM  

ELSTON Howard is a legend everyone should know

GILL I. 9:32 AM  

BET BAY BOT BAT is what I had and never saw the P's and N's. What a strange little Monday puzzle.
So far, what's fun today is going back to @Rex's 2012 puzzle and reading the comments. @evil D was on fire and @ACME critiqued @Rex's puzzle....Those two really knew how to stir up a good pot.... Then reading Suzanne P 12:21 and laughing out loud at her OVULE/SEAMAN crossing. I always look for my first laugh of the morning. Not to be outdone by @Loren's Non Campus Mentis....I first saw these in an "Out of the mouth of babes" Bible study quotes by children. My absolute favorite: "Solomon, one of David's sons, had 300 wives and 700 porcupines."
On to the puzzle: I had some struggles with the PAT RILEY and ELSTON's of this world. At one point I thought I might have to Google NATGEO and THOTH. Yikes! So it's not EL CHEAPO?
There are a few sounds in this world that make me shiver. One is the sound of high winds. We had worse than Santa ANA's yesterday. Felt like a hurricane. Watching re-runs of "Mad Men" didn't help.
NUT BREAD is a breakfast item in this household - add a slice or two of Wisconsin cheddar.
On to read further comments...keep up the laughs.

Ruger, you say? 9:38 AM  

"Big Bad John" was a personal fav of mine as a kid. See also: Ringo. I believe they call the genre "Talking Blues." Sort of forerunner to rap, kinda. Maybe. Rap is more of a continuation of some of the African styles of spoken word over a rhythmic figure. So, Big Bad John and Ringo and so many songs like it are probably off-shoots of the African style which makes it more of a brother to rap than a sire. There are a lot more examples of talking blues (Cab Calloway, Louis Jordon, and Bob Dylan) that don't skew toward the country side too.

Kind of surprised there wasn't a revealer. That would have helped tie everything together. Otherwise, another feat of engineering that is somehow lost in translation.

I only knew Ruger because I overheard at some point that it's not the obvious choice...Glock, Smith & Wesson, Colt, Baretta,,,so many others that could be the top sellers. Thanks to the NRA and gun enthusiast posters on comments sections across the internet for continuing to educate me in all things guns.





Sir Hillary 9:43 AM  

I've heard of many solvers who use only the Across or Down clues on Monday, but I have never done that because I enjoy reading all the clues. However, I tried it today (using Acrosses) and found it surprisingly easy -- aside from stogie for ELROPO, I had little trouble filling in the grid. But when I saw some of the Downs that resulted -- OSRIC, UPA, THOTH, RES, NIE -- I assumed I had made some mistakes. Alas, these were all correct. Ironically, only the UPA clue would have really helped, and that entry is so terrible that I felt relief at not having read the clue in the first place. I probably won't solve this way again -- feels like a stunt for humblebraggers (guilty as charged!) -- but maybe I picked the right day to do so.

Lewis 9:46 AM  

My five favorite clues from last week:

1. Author known for the intelligence of his writing (7)
2. Line at a dance (9)
3. Its spirit may be broken (3)
4. What a jam is packed with (4)
5. Massive star (4)


LE CARRE
MAY I CUT IN
LAW
CARS
IDOL

Sir Hillary 9:47 AM  

Also, ELSTON Howard was a very good player and is crossworthy, but "legendary"? I don't think so. The other #32s in the trivia question posed by @Anon 8:19 are far more legendary.

Gulliver Foyle 9:51 AM  

@Loren Muse Smith. And don't forget "unwoke." (One would think that should be "unawakened," but I'm not in charge of trendy terms that substitute for thought.)

Deeply, deeply surprised that Rex had never heard of Elston Howard.

CDilly52 9:56 AM  

I’m guessing that Anabel is still on university hiatus and hope she will return next month. Another constructor’s theme, in my (truly guys) humble opinion. Always cognizant of my “non-professional” status as a sover despite my five-plus decades of daily solving, I truly believe that some themes resound more harmoniously to constructor’s than daily but not competitive solvers (or those who keep daily times).

All that said, I never sussed out the theme, or that there was a theme. And there were precious few clever clues with “do stuff” being by far my favorite, second place is the Maze runner” because it sent me in a panic to the Matrix movies which I have never seen-successful misdirection . The remainder weren’t much to write home about and it solved slow for me today but I did finish.

Roo Monster 10:18 AM  

Hey All !
Drove straight through Natick at that @Z whack-a-vowel cross of ELROP-/ELST-N. Ouch. A? Nope. E? Nope. I? Nope. O? Happy music.

Didn't see theme as I solved, but know every MonPuz has one, so looked for it once finished, found the P-T/N-T vowel progression, and said, OK, pretty neat. But those down "alt-themers" are BET, BAY, BOT, BAT, JIM, ABS. Almost. Try harder next time. 😂 Har.

Lots of @M&A Eazy-E clues to pick from. Mostly easy today, a few crunchy pieces strewn about. Two UPs, one F. And a ROO in the BATHROOM. Har Har.

Nice LA BRATs avatar, @LMS. Couldn't find a NO TYET? Har cubed.

TURBO MUSS
RooMonster
DarrinV

Anonymous 10:19 AM  

Very fast-moving, enjoyable puzzle. Thanks very much for creating it, Mr. Kingsley.

deerfencer 10:19 AM  

There was a theme? Clue-wise this was in my wheelhouse demographically, so no problems other than THOTH and RUGER. I grew up one town over from Southport Ct and never heard of this gun maker. BTW Southport is a very small elite and waspy New England village on Long Island Sound known best for its harbor full of yachts and its beautiful old stone library. Paul Newman used to delight in taking his tacky cigarette boat from Westport over to Southport Harbor and blasting the local swells with loud music, ala The Sopranos. Check out AE Hotchner’s delightful memoir about his decades long friendship with Newman for more details.

Cassieopia 10:21 AM  

The things I learn here - Jimmy Dean, maker of delicious pork products, also sang one of my favorite ballads? Big Bad John is right up there with Ode to Billy Joe, in my book. Gotta love a story song.

Puzzle was easy, until it wasn't. EL ROPO is new to me, STOGIE was my word of choice there. Crossed with ELSTON (I stink at sports references) it was a near-Natick. And first thought was, "huh, a themeless Monday. Is this a 2019 thing?" but Rex set me straight.

Speaking of which, Rex, the check is in the mail. This blog, and the wonderful commenters it attracts, have opened up an entirely new wide world of wonderful words for me, and crosswording is migrating from a hobby into a near obsession in my live. I am happy to pay the price of admission for such a privilege. Thank you.

TJS 10:27 AM  

8 across could be clued :Lebron's unruly daughter"

crabsofsteel 10:30 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle. It was smooth sailing, perhaps because I knew of Elston Howard, and I learned some new words such as THOTH and ELROPO.

Rob 10:33 AM  

Tricky for a Monday! EL ROPO/ELLSTON was the hardest bit for me. Whole southwest corner, really. I've never heard of TEEN BEAT either. Very gettable, nothing unfair, I was just surprised by the difficulty for a Monday. Good puzzle though.

I wonder if the "theme" was intentional or happenstance. I certainly didn't notice it while solving.

Nancy 10:41 AM  

You can't make a Monday tough ENOUGH, as far as I'm concerned, so I'm a happy camper today. Some unusually challenging Monday clues: My English class spent three months studying "Hamlet" in great depth Freshman Year in high school with a teacher who was a Brit. She had us comparing Gielgud's "To Be Or Not To Be" soliloquy with Olivier's, for just one thing. (I liked Gielgud's much more. I've always found Olivier something of a CURED HAM, anyway). Mrs. Gordon, the teacher, also had us memorizing various other soliloquies. (Mine was the non-melting, too-too solid flesh one.) And yet I still didn't know/remember who oversaw that famous duel. Did any of you?

I practically stood on my head to try to get LUGER for the gun company, but LAB RAT made it impossible. I sighed, gave up, and put in RUGER. I don't know my firearm companies at all. Yay, me.

PUT OUT came in before I saw the clue. I thought it was going to be a sexual reference. Then I realized that's an old-timey, possibly misogynistic term that goes all the way back to the days of PAT RILEY and ELSTON Howard. Glad it was clued in a more modern way.

Nice Monday.

John Child 10:59 AM  

Nice easy themeless, roughly two Rexes as usual. Oh, there was a theme?

I can’t get the song Big Bad Thoth out of my head now.

Ruger Osric could be a Bond villain.

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

John X made me laugh today. I love reading Loren's stories always.

Nancy 11:15 AM  

...And if you had "hurled her off the mountain", @Lewis (6:17), the rest of the climbers might have stood up and applauded. What a wild, weird, wonderful anecdote. I also loved @main line dad's reaction at 6:48. He didn't specify what or whom he was referring to, but I figured it out.

@JOHN X (12:40) -- Your comments always make me laugh. Always.

Malsdemare 11:37 AM  

Yay me! For once I saw the theme, even before I was finished; that may not be a first for me, but it’s pretty unusual. I did wonder a BIT about the rationale behind P and N, but it’s Monday and I don't really care, do you? OSRIC and ELSTON were unknowns but I got them with the crosses. OSRIC, in particular, made me feel stupid; I should know "Hamlet." The observation about OVULE crossing SEAMAN was genius, and then followed by BABY. Some of you are awfully funny, observant, and smart.

@LMS, I shall have to dig out my copy of Non Compos Mentis. It’s worth reading again. My favorite, though, isn't there. It’s from my former student of long ago who wrote that "she won the pullet surprise." The image of a startled chicken makes me giggle every time I think about it. Fun commentary today from blogosphere; thanks, friends.

QuasiMojo 11:51 AM  

@Nancy, loved your dig at Lord Olivier as a “cured ham.” I never understood his appeal as a Shakespearean actor. Or matinee idol. He’s preposterous in Wuthering Heights (aka Withering Looks). Marilyn Monroe outshone him in the flick they did together. He was very good however in The Entertainer and Marathon Man, and I suppose Sleuth. As he aged he dropped the emoting mannerisms.

I’m surprised how unknown Ruger is to many of you. It’s sort of the Tiffany of high-end collectible firearms. Although they make a lot of other stuff. That maniac in Vegas brought one of their rifles with him.

Warren Howie Hughes 11:53 AM  

Personally, I never sausage a puzzle posted on a Monday and all I can say to it's creator Andrew Kingsley, is "full peed ahead!"

Banana Diaquiri 12:00 PM  

@OFL:
NUT BREAD is a category of ... bread?

sure is. I just got back from my dead trees NYT, a cuppa joe, and visit to the megamart wherein I picked up a banana NUT BREAD. sliced. I mourn for my sacrificed brethren, but it tastes SOOOO good.

oldactor 12:21 PM  

When Jimmy Dean had a TV variety show my girlfriend was a production assistant. I was visiting the set one day and heard Jimmy tell this joke:
A doctor was trying to write a prescription for a patient but he couldn't write.
The patient said, "Doc, that's a rectal thermometer you're trying to write with".
The doctor said, " Damn, some A**'s got my pen."

Nikki Karam 12:22 PM  

This was pretty tough for a Monday. I almost didn’t finish because of ELROPO/ELSTON (never heard of either), and the OSRIC/PATRILEY crosses. I’d be delighted if NYT could cut the volume of their sports-related clues in half. Seriously, they flood every puzzle. For non-sports people like myself, they are extremely boring and not fun.

Nancy 12:25 PM  

I laughed myself sick -- I mean uncontrollably, with tears running down my face -- at what quotes I was able to get online from NON CAMPUS MENTIS. It's absolutely appalling and it's also absolutely hysterical. Since what you can get online is incomplete, I just ordered a copy to take out from the library. Here's the link I accessed.

mmorgan 12:27 PM  

Jeez, my Spanish is actually very good, so I’m annoyed with myself for going with EL ROPa (although of course it could have been a false cognate, such as el mapa or el problema).

Charles kluepfel 12:46 PM  

On the Big Bad John clue, I knew that the answer was the sausage guy but couldn't think of his name. I thought it might be John something because of lyrics "it's hard to get the best of a man named John" but that was in another song by Jimmy Dean: PT 109, where he was analogizing JFK to the hero of his previous song, referenced in this puzzle.

Carola 12:49 PM  

A cute one. I saw the Pxx progression along the way and enjoyed anticipating what the last couple would be; I only noticed the gratifyingly correspoinding Nxx's when I looked back over the grid. Remembering there'd been a GET, I briefly scanned for GAT, GIT, GOT, and GUT. Nope.

Thank you, @Suzanne Podhaizer for the priceless OVULE x SEAMAN and @Loren for the ensuing BABY. The "ONCE" under BABY reminded me of a cautionary "riddle" from back in days that even pre-date TEEN BEAT: "How much lead does it take to fill a BABY carriage?" The answer is ONE, followed by a type of metal fastener

Along the lines of the "pullet surprise," my English prof daughter graded an essay in which a student wrote that a certain assertion should be taken with "a grain assault."

ghostoflectricity 12:52 PM  

Crappy crossword, I agree, especially NE corner, but, while I'm a vegetarian and don't eat Jimmy Dean meat products, I do enjoy his spoken-word song about a saintly, selfless mine-worker, so in contrast to the current anti-role-modeling of the current presidency and its allies/enablers in Congress. I'm disappointed that Rex was unfamiliar with Elston Howard, a fine man and a fine baseball player.

Never a big NYY fan, but I did like the early-mid-'60s lineup of Elston Howard (c), Joe Pepitone (1B), Bobby Richardson (2B), Clete Howard (3B), Tony Kubek (ss), Tom Tresh (lf), Mickey Mantle (cf), and Roger Maris (rf), as well as fine pitchers like rightie Mel Stottlemeyer and leftie Whitey Ford.

Masked and Anonymous 12:58 PM  

day-um. Ten themers. Surely, even in an eazy-E MonPuz, desperation must ensue…

… And it does. And Exhibit-A-1 would be everybody's fave corner today: the NE. Got yer primo NATGEO/RUGER/THOTH groupin. Like @Nancy, really really wanted LUGER, but really really did not know many maze-runnin L-A-B-L-A-? critters. LABLAB? LABLAD? LABLAM [var.]? LABLAO? RABLAT? The choices kept gettin worser, as I plunged onward thru the alphabet. Finally, fearin nanosecond armageddon, M&A just splatzed in LABRAT and ran for it.

Theme is sure big on PT's and NT's, for some reason. Has to be some method to the alphabet-madness here, that we just ain't seein. One of them reason-de-etre de-eelies. Confuses the M&A.

staff weeject pick: UPA. Better clue: {Opposite of loa??}.

fave moo-cow eazy-E PutNut MonPuz clue: {"Ready, ___, fire!"} = AIM. Tougher clue version: {"Ruger, ___, fire!"}.

JIMMYDEAN's "Big Bad John" was a super-gimme, at our house. So famous in its day, there was even an answer song to it, where Big John's girlfriend comes to town later and digs him out and plants a Big old smooch on him and revives him. Got the 45rpm of it. Swear to it, on whatever kinda cake that @RP is salutin in the blogpic.

ELSTON Howard was also pretty big, in his day. Another no-brainer answer, at our house.

Thanx for the feisty fun [which M&A thoroughly enjoyed], Mr. Kingsley. I see we've introduced the *multiple* ?-clues to MonPuzs, Mr. Shortzmeister. What … U didn't think RUGER would be THOTH ENOUGH, on its own?!? har

Masked & Anonym007Us


**gruntz**

Roo Monster 1:01 PM  

I THOTH I thaw a puddy-that.

NUT BREADs - As an in-store Bakery worker for 7 years, made plenty of them, Banana, Date, Blueberry, Raisin. And my opinion is you can eat them anytime!

RooMonster

Anonymous 1:10 PM  

Can i just say that this will be a better world when the net work of jeff bezos or bill dates is not deemed a notable statistic?

Teedmn 1:16 PM  

Not much to GAB about in this puzzle. It went a minute over my usual Monday and besides the PAT RILEY and ELSTON answers, I blame 8D and 35D. When JIM arrived at 35D, I splatzed in JIM nabors and had to write over that mess. And faced with ___G_H at 8D, I though I must have made an error, wrote in heiGhT and then laughed when the LAB RAT showed me the way out of that maze. Oh, there is so a word that ends in G_H.

I can't imagine being comforted when, sobbing my heart out, someone says, "I care". Oh, it's all about you, eh? Well, FUJI.

Andrew Kingley, I appreciate the accomplishment of the parallel vowel changes.

jedlevine 1:27 PM  

Can someone enlighten me as to what the initials "OFL" stand for?

Warn Buffit 1:27 PM  

@Anonymous 1:10PM

I agree with you completely.

Monty Boy 1:39 PM  

It's weird: I thought this was easy (except for note below) and Rex, hard. Must be the wheel-house syndrome. I knew ELSTON and grew up in Montana, not NYC. Go figure. Also, stogie before ELROPO.

I solve using the NYT app, so get the happy music when done correctly. Today, I fell into my pet peeve: one letter wrong and the hunt to find it. I had MeSS for the hair thing, giving NeTBREAD. When I went looking, I saw that and remembered a clue for Gates and Bezos, so thought they get bread (money) from the net, so that must be OK. After an inordinate amount of time, finally saw MUSS and got the tune. Then looked and found the right Bezos clue and NET WORTH.

My favorite comment today: Clue for the Egyptian God: Thpagetti _______. Thanks Offthegrid @ 801.

And thanks, @LMS for the book tip.

Rainbow 1:45 PM  

But for sports people like me they are interesting and fun. There's probably something you like in puzzles that I find boring.

'merican in Paris 1:50 PM  

@Jed levine -- OFL stands for "our fearless leader", a.k.a. Rex Parker, a.k.a. Michael Sharp.

GILL I. 1:55 PM  

@oldactor...Thanks for the continuance of laughter today.
@mmorgan...There really is no such word as EL ROPO - as far as I know. Just another made up slang word. As far as el mapa and el problema those cognates and the masculine feminine get a lot of people. I want to know who decided why mapa and problema are masculine....!

JC66 1:58 PM  

@Nancy

Here's another link you can check out until the library comes through.

michiganman 2:00 PM  

The revealer is hidden at 64D (ABC)

ELSTON Howard:
First AA on Yankees, 1955
First AA to win league MVP, 1963
First AA coach in the American League
Played in 10 world series and coached in 2 more
Gold glove winner twice
His # (32) was retired

That should be enough to be legendary.

NonnyinMA 2:23 PM  

I’d be interested in hearing what others have to say about this, including their locations and maybe their ages. I’m 61, live near Boston, and consider 20% a “standard” tip.

GHarris 3:19 PM  

@ghostoflectricity
I believe you meant to say Crete Boyer at 3rd base for the NYY

Anonymous 3:38 PM  

As a woman who doesn't follow sports, smoke or talk about cigars, keep up with gun manufacturers, or know obscure Shakespeare or Egyptian Gods, this was an abnormally difficult Monday puzzle.

Joe Dipinto 3:49 PM  

I can't imagine being comforted when, sobbing my heart out, someone says, "I care"

@Teedmn -- I always picture someone saying with a fake-concerned expression, "I care", then turning and snorting furtively into their sleeve, "yeah, right."

I used to get "Big Bad John" by Jimmy Dean mixed up with "Ringo" by Lorne Greene. To add to the confusion, "Ringo" came out at the height of Beatlemania in 1964, so at first I thought it was about Ringo Starr.

Rocky Raccoon 4:17 PM  

@ Joe D, I understand your confusion.

Anonymous 4:19 PM  

Do you mean Clete?

Unknown 5:09 PM  

Yes, Mondays should be fun (as this one was)! So should you. Sheesh, lighten up.

D. Williams 5:48 PM  

Elston Howard is, of course, a legend.

Three things stand out more me among so many other things in an amazing standout career.

He invented and introduced the donut to baseball (before then, batters swung with two bats in the on deck circle)

He ruined the no-hitter being pitched by Billy Rohr in his thrilling major league debut (pitching for the Red Sox) in the 1967 Yankee home opener by hitting a 2 out 9th inning single against Rohr.

Later that season, he was traded to those same Red Sox and was instrumental in bringing home their first AL pennant since 1946 (a huge stretch when you consider the league comprised only ten teams at the time).

If you don't know that Elston Howard is a legend, that's on you. Not the constructor.

kitshef 6:56 PM  

@NonnyinMa - here in NUTBREAD dinner side country, 20% is standard, also. But I think it's pretty variable according to a) age b) whether the tipper ever worked as a waiter. [Is 'worked as a waiter' equivalent to 'waited'?]

Suzie Q 7:26 PM  

My tipping rule is $1 for every $5 on my check. I always round up. I find the math easier that way. And yes, I have worked in restaurants.

Anoa Bob 7:43 PM  

Until toward the middle of the 20th century, most rope was made from natural fibers, especially hemp fibers. This stuff would smolder and burn if exposed to a flame and the smoke coming off would be unpleasant, to say the least.

So a put down for a cheap cigar, which usually had its own malodorous smoke, was that it was like smoking a rope. EL ROPO became the slang for that, here an English word getting dressed up as Spanish. It's more often the opposite, a Spanish word or phrase getting Anglicized. You savvy?

Patricia Hughes 7:55 PM  

Theme - a, e, i, o, u - I just cannot figure out whY. A little tough for Monday in the NE corner.

scott 7:58 PM  

Clete Boyer, I think.

JC66 8:01 PM  

@Anoa Bob

Now, that's a fun fact. Thanks!

Sara Dacus 8:07 PM  

TIme for Arkansas girl who has been solving for 1 1/2 years: 9:21.

Had no idea the puzzle had a theme until I came to this blog.

Mark V 8:16 PM  

Lol, priceless!

GILL I. 8:41 PM  

@Anoa B. I'm the queen of Spanglish in my family. I love it and have a ton of fun with it. I may be wrong, but I think the Cubans who fled Castro in the 60's and left for Miami might have popularized it. It could also be the Puerto Riqueños - no matter, I think it's ingenious. Try speaking a new language without interjection one of your own words. It's hard... "Cierra la window que eta reinando." ;-)

Banana Diaquiri 10:00 PM  

EL ROPO == Parodi nastiest smoke ever made

Nikki Karam 11:27 PM  

I’m saying the quantity of them is too high. Disproportionately high, considering the vast amount of subject areas that exist in the world.

Lawton 11:01 PM  

Rex,
Happy New Year!
TCIITM

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