___ Goldfinger (Bond villain) / MON 2-4-2019 / Photo of Marilyn Monroe, once / Christine of "The Blacklist" / Walled city WNW of Madrid / Martini & ____ (brand of sparkling wine)

Monday, February 4, 2019

Constructor: Ali Gascoigne

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: INSIDE INFO — Theme answers contain the word "info," well, inside them.

Theme answers:

  • TINFOIL HAT (17A: Paranoiac's headgear)
  • OUT IN FORCE (25A: Present en masse)
  • YOU'RE IN FOR IT NOW (36A: "This means trouble, my friend")
  • BRAIN FOODS (48A: Blueberries and fatty fish, nutritionists say)
  • INSIDE INFO (56A: Dirt ... or what 17-, 25-, 36- and 48-Across all have?)

Word of the Day: BLINI (48D: Thin Russian pancakes) —
blini (sometimes spelled bliny) (Russian: блины pl., diminutive: блинчики, blinchiki) or, sometimes, blin (more accurate as a single form of the noun), is a Russian pancake traditionally made from wheat or (more rarely) buckwheat flour and served with smetanatvorogbuttercaviar and other garnishes. Its roots trace back to ancient Slavic rituals.[1] They are also known as blintzescrepes or palatschinke.
• • •
Yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday, and today is Annabel Monday! I'm writing this right now while paying about zero attention to the game. The 20 minutes of the Puppy Bowl I watched were super cute though. Although I do feel like they're getting a little gimmicky with all the non-puppy animals (I'd be mad at the concept of "cheerleader kangaroos" if they weren't so cute), I have to forgive them. What's better for the winter blahs than watching a hundred puppies run around until they get tired?

...Anyway, I felt super (as in SUPERFOODS, something I had clued for BRAIN FOODS for a really long time, and I assume I'm not the only one who did so) embarrassed when I looked up blini and realized that I should totally have recognized them--I'm literally Ashkenazi Jewish, I'm supposed to know blintzes! But it's still a more traditional way of saying blintzes that I didn't recognize immediately so I'm leaving it in. Pastry aside, I actually felt like this one was kinda hard for a Monday? A lot of the crosses in the AT BAT region were clued kind of weirdly (AT BAT itself was fine though, and I'll freely admit it was my own fault for not getting SKI BUM), and there were several other places that had difficult crosses. Speaking of AT BAT,  what was up with all the baseball clues on a big football night? I think Ali Gascoigne might be missing summer...I don't blame him, brrr. Also, TROD right above REINS reminded me of all the times I've been stepped on by a horse, which, ouch.

I don't have a whole lot to say about the theme. Inside info, the answers have info inside them, gotcha. It did help me solve YOU'RE IN FOR IT NOW, because there were so many spaces and there are so many variants of that saying that I wasn't sure which would fit best!
Image result for oh ariana we're really in it now
Had a distinct feeling it wasn't this one, though.

  • EASY (30A: Like a Monday crossword, typically) — Hey, this is the second time I've seen this clue, in, like...two months? Three months? I dunno, it just seems like it might be time to give it a rest for a little while. 
  • GODOT (34D: Title character who never arrives in a Beckett play) — I recently found out this is the origin of the phrase "That's how it is on this bitch of an earth" and, for that, I have a ton of respect for Samuel Beckett. I mean...it really is how it is sometimes.
  • PODS (13D: Racing vehicles for Anakin Skywalker — I keep seeing people walking around with Air Pods (Airpods?) now, and personally, I just want to say that I could never. I lose my regular headphones all the time and those are literally attached to my ears with a cord. I'd have to get a big bag of those things and just go through 'em like popcorn.
  • THE (40D: First word of every "Friends" episode title) — So CrossWorld, what's your favorite "Friends" episode? I prefer "Seinfeld," but for me it's still a tie between "The One With Phoebe's Birthday Dinner" and "The One With The Baby On The Bus."
Signed, Annabel Thompson, tired college student.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

[Follow Annabel Thompson on Twitter]


Unknown 12:04 AM  

Time posted by Arkansas girl who has been solving for a year and a half: 22:36, four minutes slower than my average.

Harryp 12:19 AM  

Slightly harder than a normal Monday, but a fun puzzle. I did't look for the theme, so info didn't cross my mind. DNF? I guess so.

TomAz 12:27 AM  

First reaction: If I had a pen pal where I had to plea WRITE ME, well, that's not much of a pen 'pal' is it? Oh I beseech thee oh pen pal.

Otherwise, it's a Monday. PDIDDY and AURIC could be stumblers but this is why God created crosses. Me, PDIDDY was fine, AURIC, though, I needed the help.

@Sara Dacus: way to go! keep it up! keep plugging away! pat on the back, friendly hug! I spent 17 important years of my life in Texas but I will swear and and down to this day the best barbecue I ever had in my life was in some little dump in Hot Springs Arkansas in the early 80s. That meal was as revelatory as any I've had in France, Italy, or Japan. And that's the kind of thing I take seriously.

jae 12:30 AM  

Medium. Solid and smooth with some fun theme answers, liked it. Nice debut!

chefwen 1:25 AM  

Liked the last line across with a TASTY MISO SPUD, sounds good,

Tried to solve it with just the downs, failed, but was successful enough that I didn’t see the reveal at 56A so I failed twice by missing the theme. Oh well, still enjoyed it and lesson learned, don’t try to be a smarty pants.

Larry Gilstrap 1:41 AM  

EASY is a word I rarely use without thinking of the times when I've been lost. As long as I continue to include blueberries in my morning smoothie, I'll continue to anticipate a Monday puzzle. So far, so good.

Near the centennial of the birth of Jackie Robinson, it seems appropriate to remember another courageous athlete, Jesse OWENS. You don't always have to win to be a hero, but success seals the deal.

I have actually seen a production of Waiting for GODOT in an appropriate minimalist staging. The overwhelming emotion of ennui builds throughout the play and quickly feels oppressive. Pretty sure that's what Beckett was going for. The result is nervous laughter and squirming and a vivid theater memory from years ago.

I was raised a WASP, but had nothing to do with it.

Brookboy 2:32 AM  

A very nice start to the week (especially after that dud of a football game that did not come anywhere near Super). The few roadblocks were easily overcome by crosses. I found it easy and enjoyable.

Annabel, I can’t believe you’re still tired. I would’ve thought that you would be caught up on your sleep by now. But no matter, you still provided a very nice write-up. Always a pleasure.

Loren Muse Smith 3:16 AM  

Hey, Anabel! I’m so glad this puzzle landed on your day so that Ali wouldn’t be taken to task for having ALI in the grid. I always like a little wink wink joke.

INSIDE INFO just screams for a puzzle like this. Perfect Monday fare. The trick of hiding words within phrases pleases me to no end. It’s so thrilling to spot the little guy camouflaged in there among the other letters, like finding a plastic Easter egg hidden in some tall grass. I know this kind of theme has been done and done; word on the street now is that Will isn’t really into them anymore. Remember our own @Lewis’s puzzle with gem embedded in stuff like grudge match? And Joel Fagliano’s undercover cop in public opinion? Zhouqin Burnikel’s interior designer (Armani) in farm animals ? I. Love. This.

I learned about the TINFOIL HAT paranoia deal here a couple of years ago. It made me feel better about my own method of warding off bad luck; I have to wear my red jacket made of twill, short zipper on either sleeve, brass buttons, fold-in-able hood… and I totally just made that up just to hide the Supreme Crossword Editor of the Universe in the letters. See? Easter Egg hunt.

PDIDDY. Why do that to yourself when you have a perfectly acceptable name like Sean Combs?

@chefwen – I know, right? TASTY MISO down at the bottom. I crave homemade, not instant, white miso soup and sticky rice when I have the FLU. Highfalutin fodder, I guess, but there it is. No plain folk chicken noodle for this snob.

So our beach bum has headed to the slopes now. If I had to commit to being some kind of BUM, I think I’d be a dogsled bum. A mushbum. There’s nothing better than gliding through a pristine white mountain forest, breathing fresh air, communing with Winter. Unless of course you fall off, grab the Oh Shit rope and get dragged over the ice and snow ‘cause those %$#@ dogs won’t stop for anything except a good fight with another dog sled team.

@jberg from yesterday – that was Bobby Knight throwing a chair. He was ejected. Pink nightgown.

@Molasses from yesterday – I’m missing the Literature Chip that helps me make any sense of the classics since my main focus is structure and grammar. When someone walks me through a work, though, it’s a whole different ball game.

Congrats on your NYT debut! But Ali, Ali, Ali - hard not to notice SOVIET SPIES ON NRA for INSIDE INFO – AIMS to SWAY RANKS. Now go back and look at 1D. Make a right turn at that T. ODD, right? I’ma go get my red jacket on.

Mark Bulgier 3:58 AM  

Hi all, long time reader first time poster. May I ask what may be a FAQ? Feel free to direct me elsewhere.

I finished Sunday's puz, had to guess a few letters in the MARIE/ORYX/CALYX vortex but I got it in the end. Sadly a bit late I guess, because NYT says my streak is broken. I get a blue star instead of a golden one. Pitiful, I know, to care about getting a gold star, since I am older than 8 years old, but still I wonder, why do they do that?

I assume the requirement is to finish on the same day, i.e. before midnight. I went a few minutes over, finished at 12:05 or so Pacific time. Is that what counts, local time, or do they go by NYC time? For future reference.

They can of course make the rules whatever they want, but what's the upside? Surely there must be some good, to counter the disappointment of the people who have their streak broken by being 5 minutes too slow. It seems petty and arbitrary.

Other than that -- fine thanks, how are you?

Liked the Monday, and will no longer look at statistics or care if I have a streak. I'm over it. (Right...)

@merican in Paris 4:20 AM  

Well, ISLE be. This one played harder than normal for me, owing to names like LAHTI, AURIC (yes, I get the AU from Gold there), and especially PDIDDY crossing AVILA. That "I" there at the crossing was my last square, after running the vowel alphabet.

ETS once again. This answer only ever gets clued in relation to extra-terrestrials, or occasionally THE Educational Testing Service. I guess that's to be expected for a Monday or Tuesday. But for later in the week, constructors (or Will Shortz) might want to consider some other clue, such as "Abbreviation for the rail network serving the Basque region of Spain" (For those of you in suspense, the company's full name is Euskal Trenbide Sarea.)

YOU'RE INFO, RIT NOW! sounds like somebody's parody of a Hillbilly news announcer. (OR NOT.)

There are sports bars in Paris that show the Super Bowl, but I didn't make the effort to go watch THE Big Game last night. Sounds as if I didn't miss much.

JJ 4:59 AM  

On the east coast you have to be done by midnight, otherwise you're doing an archived puzzle.

Lewis 6:16 AM  

@loren -- Good catch in your last paragraph! I also had thought of RAINFORST (and, not as strong, KINFOLK).

A SPUD, a RIND, some BLINI and PODS with MISO, and thee...

This is a well done debut, solid and clean, and excellent for a newcomer, with places of ease and places of work. This also gives a good intro to the concept of theme. And a clever clue for FLU. Thank you, Ali, for dredging AVILA out from where it's been hiding for ages and for a pleasing solve!

Anonymous 6:42 AM  

Seemed easy and straight forward. I just plodded through without any back tracking.

Aketi 6:53 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
BarbieBarbie 6:57 AM  

He didn’t just include ALI. He included PUT ALI INN. And the NYT did! Which is so over the top it’s the best egg ever, Easter or otherwise.

Fun Monday and good puzzle except for one quibble: hiding INFO in plain sight by using the actual word IN should not have been done more than once, or should have been done all four times. See, @Ali, when the wordplay is in the puzzle instead of the clues, there’s an overall-pattern aspect to pay attention to as well. (Puzzle notes say he’s a Cryptic guy usually so he may not notice that kind of thing. Also British, so it must have been a thrill to put BUM in a puzzle and get it published.)

Nonetheless this puzzle was a fantastic treat on a a Monday and I really hope we see more. Soon!

Happy Leftover Snacks Day, everyone. Mine’s a tomato-olive-feta bread, so we came through all right. Imagine having cold nachos in your fridge, or a gallon of chili.

Annie 7:15 AM  

Thankful this was published on Annabel Monday so we were spared the NRA rant, Favorite Friends episode: Any of the ones whose title didn’t begin with The.

Anonymous 7:15 AM  

An easy romp.

At 2:30, this is my best time ever (at least in the past several years that the NYT app/website has recorded my times). Cleared my previous record by some ten seconds.

Weather sucks, so this is my high point of the day.

Michiganman 7:18 AM  

Aren't eggs OVA wherever they are?

Is a silo a building?

I guess it's still OK to mock the mentally ill but let's not have beaner or ice in a puzzle.

Irene 7:25 AM  

Blini aren't blintzes, although both are pancakes of a sort. They are yeast-raised buckwheat pancakes that are often, if you're lucky, served with caviar.

ghthree 7:34 AM  

@Mark Bulgier,
Lots of websites have a FAQ section for Frequently Asked Questions.
Since many of these look like they were dreamed up by the Marketing Department,
I have always thought of them as Foresightfully Anticipated Questions.

Hungry Mother 7:36 AM  

I had uvea before IRIS, but still a quick one. Is this Super Monday?

amyyanni 7:40 AM  

Annabel, re: baseball. Today is Truck Day, meaning the big equipment semi is loaded up with bats, balls, gloves, etc. and leaves Fenway for Fort Myers and spring training.
Most excellent puzzle!

CS 8:13 AM  

Nice puzzle for a Monday and reading Annabel is always a treat! Thank you Annabel!


Dorothy Biggs 8:27 AM  

AURIC seems on the later week side of difficulty. I blazed through the puzzle but got hung up on the AUTO/AURIC cross. In retrospect I shouldn't have, but I wanted A*TO to be some arcane camera term and A*RIC to be like AsRIC or ApRIC or some other weird name.

mmorgan 8:38 AM  

I loves me a crunchy Monday, especially a self-referential one like this, with the constructor’s name at 2D and a hat tip to Mondays at 30A. Fun! I have no problem with this particular NRA clue and I appreciate the author’s comments about it on Xword (and Annabel Monday means we don’t know what Rex would have said). I see no crap fill and pretty much everything about this puzzle screams Yes! to me. Thanks, Ali, and happy NYT debut — terrif and delightful for me! And Annabel, good luck with your final few posts as a tired college student!

GILL I. 8:55 AM  

ALI PUT INN (Hi @Barbie B) some serious BRAIN FOODS down here. TRIED THE TASTY SPUD, WATERY MISO and NIP a PLAIN BLINI at THE neighborhood EAT IN SOP. Finish with ANISE (or don't).....
Also like the HIDE SPIES ON SOVIET and @Lorens clever 1D and 17A. Dang, I gotta get up earlier so that I can be the first to post. Or maybe stay up later the night before. I could've last night after the most boring game in the history of SB.
I'm a WASP as well. I got stung by one once when I was about 7. I was visiting my grandmother in SoCal and to keep me occupied while trying to get me to stop crying, she told me what WASP stood for and I should be happy. I remember her telling me that the P stood for Presbyterian. I didn't know what Anglo Saxon meant but that was ok.
Nice Monday FAIR.

QuasiMojo 9:03 AM  

I’m glad Annabel rated this Medium as I found it far more difficult than the usual Monday fare.

My MAIN FOCUS was deciding whether to put in DYAD, DUAD, ITEM before PAIR.
I also threw in STATED before SAID SO which kept me from breaking the sonic barrier.

No complaints. A WIN FOR All from ALI.

Z 9:04 AM  

Felt challenging for a Monday here.

@BarbieBarbie - Good catch. I lean toward “Seriously?” but if you’re going to do it you might as well do it big.

I hear the big game was boring. News Flash, American football is always boring. A typical 200 minute game has something like 10 minutes of actual play. In other words, 95% of nothing.

Sir Hillary 9:05 AM  

Excellent Monday puzzle -- fun theme, appropriately EASY. Love the clue for SKIBUM.

Anonymous 9:22 AM  

@Aketi, I'm sure you meant 1936 Olympics? There weren't no summer games in 1942. Otherwise, nice reminder.

@Z - how dare you post something I agree with?!? (re: foot {yawn} ball)

Nancy 9:25 AM  

I eat fatty fish multiple times a week, but I can't stand and won't touch blueberries. Does this mean I have half a BRAIN?

When we eat at that famous Russian restaurant, let's hope that the BLINIS aren't PLAIN (52A). I'm hoping for caviar, thank you very much. And let's also hope that the vodka martini isn't WATERY (10D).

For "gives a tattoo too" (61A), I wanted HURTS.

Why does a "paranoiac" wear a TINFOIL HAT? Honestly, I have no idea.

There were two clues here I found clever and misleading: SKI BUM (5D) and FLU (59D). Everything else I found very EASY and very MILD.

Lewis 9:28 AM  

My five favorite clues from last week:

1. Something divided in WWII (4)
2. Drawing that nobody wants (10)
3. Passing concern (7)
4. Group of values (7)
5. They may be raised (hmm...) (5)


ghostoflectricity 9:41 AM  

Sorry, Annabel, but your youth and inexperience are showing. I don't have statistics on this specifically, but "blini" crops up so frequently in the NYT puzzle (and I would guess others) that it has to qualify as crosswordese at this point.

Found this crossword slightly annoying and not fun, and the revealer was meh. I had a near-natick in the NE corner with "auto/Auric" but was finally able to overcome my Monday a.m. brain sludge to get it.

Aketi 9:44 AM  

@Anonymous 9:22 am, sorry about that obvious error. I blame it on not having enough of a caffeine fix before posting.

@merican in Paris 9:53 AM  

@Nancy 9:25 AM -- You can't stand blueberries?! Wow. I've never heard anybody say that before. Do you also have an aversion to cilantro (coriander leaf)? Just curious.

Crimson Devil 9:57 AM  

Located ovum. Reminds of armchili and ahcomplex yesterday. Good stuff.

Aketi 10:01 AM  

Anonymous 9:22 am, that lapse was just too embarrassing to leave up. Had to correct it.

@Larry Gilstrap, there were 17 other African American athletes with Jesse OWENS in the 1936 Olympics. If you watch American Pride, American Prejudice you will get a much fuller picture of that era. One of the teachers in our high school. Archie Williams, won a gold medal. I kind of thought it had been a myth after high school when the only person ever talked about was Jesse OWENS until I saw Archie Willians picture at UC Berkeley crossing the finish line when I took my son on college tours. @LMS, my sisters students loved that movie

Nancy 10:13 AM  

@merican (4:20) -- You're right -- you didn't miss a thing. Unless punts turn you on.

@Mark Bulgier (3:58) -- Good decision. By not concerning yourself with solving times or streaks, you'll have a much, much happier Puzzle Life.

@Aketi (6:53) -- I enjoyed reading about your mostly unsung 1936 Olympics gold medalist and former teacher Archie Williams. And now, maybe 100-200 people who had only known the name Jesse OWENS finally know his. It's no longer just INSIDE INFO. I bet he'd be pleased.

David 10:15 AM  

Nice solid Monday for a change. Enjoyed it and didn't even care about the reveal, which came pretty much last.

Glad Rex wasn't on this one as he would have been triggered by NRA being there.

Only hiccup for me was putting down "Rafi" because you know, that'd be a diminutive whereas "Rafa" is merely a poorly conceived abbreviation. Is that what his "fans" really called him? That'd be like calling me "Dav" instead of "Davy". Ugh.

pabloinnh 10:17 AM  

@merican in Paris-

Well I have an "aversion" to cilantro, except it's really genetic, and a food allergy, I have discovered. Those of us who have this all find that cilantro tastes exactly like soap, usually Ivory. I wish it weren't such a major ingredient in a lot of foods I would otherwise love, like Thai and Mexican.

Thought this was just right for a Monday. Sailed right through with the occasional stop-and-think moment.

Also, Woodstock VT, which has to be one of the whitest and most protestant towns anywhere, has WASPS as the nickname for their sports teams. I've always liked that.

Also, some of us actually enjoyed the Super Bowl. Thankfully, it ended that long three month drought without a championship here in NE.

RooMonster 10:27 AM  

Hey All !
A little INFO on Friends episodes in case in comes up at Trivia Night - They all start with The One, except the first one, "The Pilot", and the last one, oddly enough, "The Last One". Not a Huge Friends fan, but it was a funny show. And Jennifer Aniston...

Liked this MonPuz. Found it EASY. Always happy to see a debut, as I have to live vicariously through constructors who actually get their puzs published. :-)

No real dreck here. Gets a notch up for having F's in the themers! Nice! 5 total, none elsewhere. FAIR enough.

Got a chuckle at TIN FOIL HAT. I guess those who haven't heard of that, you don't watch enough Sci-Fi movies/TV. Come on, get On the couch! Har.

Going IN LATE to work today. No, not a Super Bowl hangover, they have me starting later than usual. As much as I hate the Patriots, I have to give them props. It's less taxing on the Stress Meter to just let it be, instead of yelling and screaming at some silly game/team you can't control. I'm close to just stopping caring about the NFL.


Nancy 10:32 AM  

@merican (9:53) -- (We were typing at the same time) -- If you bake me a blueberry pie, that I'll eat! With gusto! Because the blueberries are now sweet, not tart. Because they're now cooked, not raw -- meaning they don't have an unpleasant skin containing an unpleasant fluid that bursts in your mouth unexpectedly. I have almost no food dislikes based on taste. Almost all my dislikes are based on consistency: Blueberries, cherries, grapes. See explanation above. Raw oysters and raw cherrystone clams. Slimy. (OTOH, I love littleneck clams). Lima beans and kidney beans. Mealy. In fact, the only taste-based prejudices I have are buttermilk and yogurt. They taste like spoiled food to me.

So that's my [ridiculously detailed] explanation, @merican. I'm not much of a fruit eater in general. Unless you make it really, really sinful...

CDilly52 10:35 AM  

Welcome back Annabel!! Enjoyed your take on Puppy Bowl and the puzzle. Your fresh perspective reminds me that solving is an avocation and should be fun! This puzzle brought lots of that in my opinion. Again, depending on one’s wheelhouse, this was probably a breeze (as Monday should be) or a bit on the crunchy side of Monday. I, too, fell for the SUPER FOODS misdirect, and was just so darn proud of being al hip and knowing about superfoods! Ha! I’d prefer BRAIN FOODS, actually; that’s what I need. Looking forward to the future first Mondays and to learning how things are in Annabel’s world!

jberg 10:46 AM  

I don’t mind the game, but now we’re going to have an obnoxious victory parade. At least this year there’s no blizzard.

Thanks for the INFO, @Loren. I guess throwing a chair could have been one of the electable offenses for any sport.

What made this puzzle a little harder was the shape of the grid, with those big cul de sacs.

I’m on the subway typing with one finger, so I’ll skip trying to hide my name in something. Thanks Annabel, and welcome Ali!

Banana Diaquiri 10:52 AM  

seemed to go EASY. I stopped bothering with timing long ago, now I don't even write over errors, just remember them in my head. nice clean grid when done.

pitchers and catchers report next week. that's why.

Banana Diaquiri 11:05 AM  

Almost all my dislikes are based on consistency

boy howdy there! but blueberries, etc. don't get that reaction. fruit yogurts are fine, but puddings can make me gag. odd. as to other slimy food: Okra!! I live with southern food grown folks, and they love it. that and chitlins. eek.

Malsdemare 11:12 AM  

Great puzzle, fun clues, nice theme and good reveal. TINFOILHAT reminded me of my beloved nephew who was schizophrenic and as it worsened, wore a hat all the time. He said it muted the voices. As someone who relishes her alone time, the notion that you hear "real" voices, all the time, telling you bizarre things and sometimes yelling at you, sounds like the ninth circle of hell.

Some very clever responses here today. @lms, your last paragraph is a masterpiece. Right turn, indeed.

Banana Diaquiri 11:21 AM  

Right turn, indeed.

depends on your point of view. to the outsider, aka Reader, so it would appear. but to the (fellow) traveller, on the grid, it's a hard left. many people say both end up in the same place. :)

Z 11:50 AM  

@anon9:22 - even a broken (analog) clock is right twice a day. Have no fear, I’m sure to spout off on something before the end of the week.

Reasonablewoman 12:24 PM  

@Malsdemare. Thank you for mentioning your nephew. @Michiganman commented on mental illness today, too. It ruins lives and shouldn't be the butt of jokes like 17A. I think a lot of people would have noticed if there had been a derogatory joke about a physical illness in the puzzle.

Masked and Anonymous 12:27 PM  

As other Comment Gallery posters have already mentioned: Best Mr. Subliminal weeject stack ever, in the NW.

@Blu'Bel - Thanx for another primo blog write-up. M&A missed out on The Puppy Bowl -- bet they scored more points than the Pats & Rams, tho. And, Go Vikes. [They scored a combined 41 points on these 2 teams, during the regular season.]

Very clean debut MonPuz grid. Nice job, Mr. Gasoigne. Thanx & Congratz.

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Like a Monday crossword, typically} = EASY.
staff weeject pick: THE. Becuz of its real interestin clue. Actually, even just interestin to M&A, that "Friends" episodes *had* titles. Learned lotsa semi-useful stuff, there.

fave fillins included: WRITEME. SKIBUM. PDIDDY. KNAVE.
fave themer: TINFOILHAT. M&A used to wear a sorta tin-foil hat, whenever folks first-time visited the old M&A homestead. Was always a hoot, to see their reactions. But … Once we had a coupla co-workers come over for their first time, and they acted as if they weren't all that surprised. But, I digress.

Has anyone ever done a puz with a FAKENEWS revealer? It could have themers like THATSNOTGNUSTOME. Or NONUSISGOODKNEWS. Put. M&A. Inn.

Go Puppies.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


Teedmn 1:06 PM  

A nice debut, congratulations, ALI! I saw the TIN FOIL HAT (if it were an AURIC hat, would it conduct rather than repel the ET'S (or government's) rays?) and saw another TIN in OUTINFORCE and figured the theme would be metallic in nature. I didn't bother looking at the other theme answers until the revealer revealed my wrong guess.

It seemed to be a bit stickier than the average Monday puzzle but it came in right at my average. Probably because I splatzed in Stated with no crosses at 44D and then had to write over all of that.

@Nancy, I know what you mean about texture making a big difference in food likes and dislikes. I can't stand raw carrots or celery for that very reason but I like them fine cooked. But cherries and blueberries, I'll take in an state they are offered. Nothing better than gobbling blueberries right off the bushes in my backyard.

jb129 1:06 PM  

This was more fun than your usual Monday. Thank you!

Doug Garr 1:12 PM  

I'm a very mediocre solver, and this may have been the fastest I've ever finished a Times puzzle. So I'm puzzled by why Annabel called this a "medium."

Reynold Srap 1:31 PM  

@Nancy, tinfoil hat is a trope for all kindsa crazy (government reading your mind, communicating with ETs...)

Anonymous 1:45 PM  

Nice Monday puzzle. Thanks very much Mr. Gascoigne.

tea73 1:54 PM  

I thought this felt harder than average for a Monday, but it was well above my average Monday time so who knows.

Our guide in Beijing had the best English of all the guides we had in China, I think it was because she had watched every episode of Friends. I, on the other hand, have only seen the snippets that get posted on this blog, which seems to happen often enough that I know who all the characters are, more or less.

I would love to try my hand at constructing a puzzle, but I think even the imbedded name thing might elude me. I appreciate a good pun though.

Masked and Anonymous 2:27 PM  

Correction: Mr. GasCoigne. Real sorry, dude. M&A forgot to Put. Cee. Inn, Ali.

M&A Fakenews Desk.


How'bout these themers, for the upcomin FAKENEWS NYTPuz:
Fire up them presses, Shortzmeister.

GHarris 7:39 PM  

The expression tin foil hat originally referred to the self-created headgear of persons who believed that they might be the targets of harmful rays or electronic waves generated by unseen enemies often associated with an evil government. The aluminum composition was expected to deflect such rays. More recently the expression has come to be referrable to persons who concoct outlandish conspiracy theories. Sean Hannity loves to use the term repeatedly when describing Trump antagonists.

BarbieBarbie 8:14 PM  

@Z, not my catch. I was pointed there by something I read. Too many hours have passed for me to be more specific, but I wanted to correct the record. Still stand by Best Ever Egg.

Charles 9:26 PM  

Seems like the clue for STP should be motor oil producer, not motor oil product.

Nancy 9:48 PM  

Thanks, @GHarris. Oh, and btw I liked -- and of course completely agreed with! --your letter in the Times last week.

Thanks to you, too, @Reynold Srap. I love your blog name wordplay -- some of the funniest I've seen.

Thought for the Day: It's good not knowing about all those tinfoil-wearing conspiracy theorists and their wacky ideas. I'm a happier person for it. And therefore I think I'll forget everything you both just told me :) Will you try to forgive me?

GHarris 10:58 PM  

Hey, if it helps you to sleep well. And thanks for reading.

Banana Diaquiri 11:42 PM  

STP was a company, been bought serially, but the bottle of STP still says made by STP. I put their fuel treatment in each month.

kitshef 10:49 PM  

Historically easy. Solved with acrosses only (which I typically do first Monday of each month), and probably finished faster than most Mondays when I use all the clues. Really other than superFOODS before BRAINFOODS, no resistance whatsoever.

Burma Shave 10:19 AM  


“They PUT SOVIET SPIESON a Trojan Horse,
(whether we SAIDSO ORNOT).”


spacecraft 11:54 AM  

The worst thing about today was: the syndilinker fell asleep AGAIN11 Which means I had to scroll through February TWO DAYS AT A TIME!


The puzzle itself? Three words: 30a, 52a, 63a. May have been my fastest time ever--if I timed stuff. This despite AVILA, unknown to me as a Spanish town (city? really?), but could have been clued as baseballer Bobby. It's not like there isn't other baseball stuff in there. Christine LAHTI will do for DOD; par.

rondo 2:57 PM  

A correct usage of THE word TAR. Maybe they listened?
Got THE INFO on the third themer. Up until then there was THE TIN possibility.

BLINI with plenty of butter and jam or what have you are very popular in THE former SOVIET Union just before Lent. TASTY.

Remember when THE band OASIS claimed they would be as big as THE Beatles? How did that work out?

ICAN PUT ANNA Chlumsky in THE yeah baby category even if her smile sometimes approaches that of THE Joker, or even Julia Roberts.

That’s THE extent of my INSIDEINFO. OK puz.

Diana, LIW 3:47 PM  

Syndielink is now awake. Perhaps because I wrote to Rex - as did someone else??

A fine Monday, IMHO.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for the puzzle to change no more!

rainforest 4:28 PM  

This puzzle felt a little tougher than your average Monday, though I had no trouble with it. The theme was straightforward but I didn't see INFO in the themers until I got the revealer. Lively themers, by the way.

Hey my nom de post is a themer too! Beauty.

I too was a little soured on NFL games until I got swept up by what the Patriots have done over the last 19 years. Years ago when they were the Boston Patriots, with Babe Parilli at QB, they were my fave in the AFL. Now, they continue to win, even with a 41-year old QB. Amazing.

I eat blueberries almost daily, but any effect on my BRAIN has gone unnoticed.
Good Monday puzzle.

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