Sporty Pontiacs introduced in 60s / MON 4-22-19 / Soda in old blind taste test / Hairy Himalayan humanoid

Monday, April 22, 2019

Constructor: Bruce Haight

Relative difficulty: Medium (3:03)

THEME: Tennis, anyone? — familiar phrases reclued as if they have something to do with tennis:

Theme answers:
  • POP SINGLES (17A: Tennis with dad?)
  • GIMME A BREAK (23A: Losing tennis player's prayer?)
  • CONTEMPT OF COURT (37A: Dislike for tennis?) [note: "Contempt" is much, much stronger than "dislike"]
  • WHAT A RACKET! (48A: "Wow, no wonder you're playing such great tennis!"?)
  • FALL IN LOVE (59A: Lose every set of a tennis match 6-0?)
Word of the Day: BACK / NINE (26D: With 28-Down, part of a golf course) —
  1. the final nine holes on an eighteen-hole course.

    "he had a double bogey and a triple bogey on the back nine" (google)
• • •

I am routinely stunned that the NYT is still accepting puzzles that are this conceptually remedial. This loose, shabby assortment of tennis terms held together with weak Wackiness™really should not be good enough to make the Best Puzzle in the World (or whatever the NYT is calling itself these days). You can find a bunnnnnch of similar kinds of themes in the databases, usually in much older puzzles, back when just having a random set of last (or first) words from some field (any field) was considered substantial enough to make a crossword theme. But most older puzzles of that ilk at least had something else holding them together, not just a grab bag of terms. There's more than one that runs through the series GAME, SET, MATCH:

And here's one that's got a revealer: 

I don't really see how NET, BALL, COURT, and RACKET are related very closely to TENNIS ELBOW, specifically, but ... you get the idea. You can find a bunch of "these words are from tennis" puzzles. It's been done. But even if it were being redone, that's not a reason to condemn it. It's just that this is so lackluster. So pointless. How can submissions to the NYT be so sparse and poor that this is what's passing muster? The fill is mercifully clean, I'll give it that. I mean, not great, but not wretched. The theme tries to rise above its boringness with these wacky clues, which only make the puzzle sadder. The wordplay is poor. The choice of SINGLES as one of your tennis words is bizarre. It's a term, sure, but there have to be many, many others that could've given you phrases more amenable to evocative cluing than POP SINGLES (?). Something SERVE? Something FAULT? Something SET? I dunno. And this is the problem. There are scores of familiar tennis terms. Why these? What's the rationale? There is none. Ye OLDE SLOP

Five things:
  • 1A: Turn away, as one's gaze (AVERT) — missed a chance at EVERT here. Weird.
  • 39D: Italian city you might be "leaning" toward visiting? (PISA) — Me: [reads first two words of clue and writes in ASTI]
  • 26A: In a trite way (BANALLY) — I dare you to actually say this word in conversation. I guarantee you're gonna get a "wha?" Sounds like DENALI or, I don't know, some kind of Polish food. "Tritely" actually seems much more likely to be a word one might say.
  • 2D: Relative of a cello (VIOL) — gotta say, my hopes sank here. VIOL is crosswordese, and felt like an omen of bad things to come. But as I say, the fill largely held up. 
  • 13D: Snide remarks (SNARK) — looks like a plural—not a plural. Luckily, I had the "K" before I ever saw the clue (weirdly finished in the NE)
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Chim cham 2:22 AM  

I actually struggled with this in parts. Was it the Easter Feast food hangover from which I’d just awoken? Or was it merely an obnoxiously lame puzzle.

chefwen 2:36 AM  

Puzzle partner was on the number one doubles team in high school so I know a little about the game. Tried to play a few times, but didn’t really enjoy it. I have the ability to make any sport look extremely difficult to play. You should see me attempt golf, laughable. Pretty good at driving the cart and fetching beers, I’ll stick to what I know.

Anyhoo, liked the puzzle. Monday easy, but fun.

Hungry Mother 5:23 AM  

Faster than average, but seemed longish. I liked the theme and had no problem with it. Nice start to the week.

zevonfan 5:50 AM  

Figured Rex would trash this puzzle since Bruce Haight constructed it. Just like the Jeff Chen ones. Don't like their work? Why don't you ever submit a puzzle to the NYT then, Rex?

Lewis 6:00 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 6:02 AM  

Well, even though a tennis term theme has been done before, it will be fresh to a new solver. And that new solver will see that puns can be part of a crossword, that a puzzle needn't be hard core serious. And, because the answers in general are so in the language and the cluing easy, that novice solver has a good shot at experiencing the thrill of success.

I think this is an excellent Monday puzzle, tailor made for a Monday solver, with no unforced errors and nothing over the line from Bruce, who held serve as a quality constructor, IMO.

What my eyes can't AVERT from is the POPSI starting line three echoing the PEPSI at the bottom. Pepsi-Popsi. Pepsi-Popsi. Pepsi-Popsi. It's kind of what a tennis rally sounds like.

Wood 6:15 AM  

West Coast insomnia means an early blog comment. I thought the theme was a little weak too. But solving Mondays with only the Downs increases the difficulty and grokking the theme without the help of clues is a nice feeling.

Klazzic 6:15 AM  

Fer chrissakes, Rex, it's a MONDAY puzzle.

BarbieBarbie 6:24 AM  

Yeah, but “tritely” doesn’t really mean anything. It’s one of those adjectives that doesn’t adverbify well.

@Lewis, PEPSI-POPSI is the best!! Thanks for a great start to a Monday!

amyyanni 6:43 AM  

It's Monday. I'm easy. Liked it. Happy Earth Day.

JJK 6:54 AM  

Didn’t mind the puzzle in general, nice quick Monday. But BANALLY is not a word! I first put in “cliched” before I had any crosses - a word people actually use. BANALLY sounds like a deli counter order.

OffTheGrid 7:00 AM  

I do not think the theme phrases are "wacky". It's just word play.

@Lewis NAILed it.

RooMonster 7:23 AM  

Hey All !
Rex, GIMME A BREAK! This was a fun MonPuz, whether or not the themes been done before. I liked this easy, tennis-y phrases-as-different-things. Why such VItriOL?

As soon as I SEE Bruce Haight, I know Rex will hate it. SLOP SNARK on it, as it were. Not sure if Bruce did something to Rex, but OH MY, I HOOP NEVER to incur such CONTEMPT from him. Did get a "Huh, that would've been nice" out of his suggestion for eVERT/ePPS.

Anyway, the MOOR I look at puz, I only see very light dreck. AAA, I'm looking at you.

No writeovers, no errors! Yay me!


kitshef 7:26 AM  

Nice theme. Easy. That’s pretty much what a Monday should be. I’ve talked before about “good Bruce” and “bad Bruce”. This was good Bruce.

Tennis is hard. Badminton, easy. Basketball, hard. Volleyball, easy. Hockey, hard. Soccer, easy. Golf, hard. Baseball, easy. That's the one that baffles me. Why is it so much harder to hit a stationary ball than a moving one?

Wm. C. 7:56 AM  

@Chefwen2:36 --

Interesting your Puzzle Partner played number one doubles tennis in HS. So did my son, went to the State Division 2 final. Should have won, but lost when his partner had an inexplicably terrible day.

He played freshman tennis at Cornell, but decided not to take it further since as an Engineering major, the hours and physical energy required for tennis would have put a big strain on his academics.

He played for hid fraternity team, though, and, not surprisingly never lost a match as his team always won the IFC tennis trophy.

@mericans in Paris 8:01 AM  

Hail the conquering tennis ace! "I SEE, I SLAM, I CHUG my winner's champagne in a BAR."

I was toddling along, got the half-finished alert at 6 minutes, but then got all messed up in the Northern California region. Saw _A_ _ for 26 down, and confidently typed in sANd, and even when I sorted that out the word BANALLY never occurred to me. (Not in my LINGO.) Also had jIMMy (as in Connors ET AL.) for awhile before GIMME. So my overall time was more than six Rexes. Sheesh.

It was a Monday. I didn't FALL IN LOVE with it, but it fit the BILL. I can understand @Rex's frustration, however, given his knowledge of past puzzles on this theme.

What, no comments on the absence of the tilde on the second "N" in NINA?! A missed opportunity, though perhaps not in a Monday puzzle, to cross it with AMAÑA, the second-person singular present indicative form of amañar.

Teedmn 8:09 AM  

Common phrases reinterpreted in a tennis manner - fun! Super-easy and I only had my inaneLY to BANALLY (that looks weird out of the grid) write-over.

I eat Famous AMOS cookies all the time. I see Kellogg is selling the brand to Ferrero, the company that makes Nutella. They'd better not mess with the recipe!

I like INSERT COIN and BIGAMY (as a crossword entry, of course). But ACT NATURAL needs an LY. And this puzzle sadly has little word play in the clues.

But for a Monday, it's great and I did it in my average time online, always slower for me than paper solving by 25%, which is why I call it really easy. Nice job, Bruce Haight.

QuasiMojo 8:17 AM  

Was hoping for my favorite Twilight Zone episode: “To Serve Man.” C’mon Rex. This was an above average Monday. Although I was expecting an Earth Day theme. The grass is always greener at Wimbledon.

mmorgan 8:20 AM  

I did this last night and I don’t remember anything about it, except the very bizarre BANALLY which seems to have stolen the LY from ACT NATURAL.

Amy 8:21 AM  

I like tennis and played singles on Sunday. Never got a service break and lost six love. What a racket! My only objection to the puzzle is why this Monday when there are so many fun tennis Mondays coming up like the start of the French Open.

Robert 8:28 AM  


pmdm 8:40 AM  

Mr. Sharp is usually not on Bruce and Jeff's wavelength, but he does praise their work very now and then. Despite what ii may seem, his reactions really are based on the puzzle, not the persons. The exceptions to the rule demonstrate that.

But there is a problem with projecting one's reaction into the worth of the puzzle. Those who also react poorly to this puzzle will think the write-up is justified. Those who react more favorable will judge the write-up to be not so good. The fallicy of subjectivity! There is another way.

I think this puzzle was well-constructed for new solvers. On its own merits I liked it. It is irrelevent to me if a tennis theme is not 100% original, but that matters not at all to other solvers who have their own reactions.

Anonymous 8:51 AM  

am i the only one who's never heard of amana appliances before? sometimes i feel like these are paid sponsorships

Nancy 8:56 AM  

You really served up an enjoyable puzzle today, Bruce, replete with many winners for this admitted tennis nut. Most shots were straightforward groundstrokes, but you occasionally threw in an unexpected dropshot like BIGAMY. And you even threw in a sop -- BACK NINE -- to those who have the great misfortune to play a lesser game than ours. (Just kidding, Jimmy!!! Jimmy's my golf-nut brother.)

The only theme answer I questioned, as clued, was WHAT A RACKET. Then I remembered my friend and erstwhile tennis partner, Geri. If she lost to someone, she always thought it was because that competitor had a superior racket. More often than not, she would buy one of those rackets for herself. Rumor had it that her apartment was a veritable warehouse of different rackets. Whereas I was stayed loyal for decades to the Yamaha YFG50. I purchased many backups so that when it was discontinued -- as it inevitably was -- I would never be YFG50-less.

Loved this puzzle, Bruce!

DeeJay 9:12 AM  

Nice puz, fun for a Monday.

GILL I. 9:16 AM  

Well, I liked these grab bags of terms. This had whimsy that I come to expect on Monday.
Yeah, the LY in BANALLY could've used a travel voucher and meet up with NATURAL.
I like to sit back and stare after I've done a fast one. Seems like I don''t take the time to enjoy some of the entries. BIGAMY is so interesting. I knew someone who fell victim of it. Seems her husband had been married to another woman for almost six years. What a way to live a double life! I guess there is thrill and you hope not to get caught. He got caught because he kept calling out wife #2's name in his sleep. HAH. Wife #1 finally got suspicious and hired a spy. The drama was interesting but really, how could you not know?
Was her name AMY and was she BIG?
@Nancy should be please today. Maybe she can come up with others.......

Airymom 9:16 AM  

I have absolutely no athletic ability. None. You know the proverbial "last kid picked for a team"? I was worse. Well, when I was a student at Binghamton (where Rex teaches), you had to take two P.E. classes---pass/fail. I decided to get one out of the way my first semester. I took tennis, because I thought it would be fun and maybe I could do okay. It was a disaster. The last day of class, the teacher (women's tennis team coach) called me over. "Toni, nobody tried harder in the class and no one had a better attitude. You are going to pass this class, but only under one condition". "Yes, coach, anything"..."I never see you on the tennis courts again!"

I like "contempt of court". In my case, I think the court had contempt of me.

Act Quick 9:21 AM  

BANALLY is an adverb rarely used. ACTNATURAL(ly) is using an adjective to modify a verb. I guess it's all in the interest of the puzzle.

I would have liked for the ACTNATURAL clue to reflect the colloquialism...(that could be a midwestern colloquialism since I grew up hearing it a lot and had to unlearn it quick[ly] in college papers).

As for Rex and Haight...just because someone doesn't like another person's work, doesn't mean that the criticism is personal. You can simply not like someone's work. There are lots of things in life that I see that I think could be done different[ly] or that could be done better...but it is in no way the same thing as criticizing the person directly.

I deal with this all the time in my work...which is full of subjective judgment of the work I (and others) do. Criticizing a person for how awful[ly] they play an instrument doesn't mean I hate them or think any less of them as a person. But that won't stop people from thinking otherwise.

What's humorous is how often people here criticize Rex for being critical of puzzles of constructors (which is the point of the blog). But while Rex offers rational reasons for being critical of the puzzle (without attacking the person), he is met directly with criticism of a personal nature with very little rationale behind it other than to call him names (which I'm pretty sure he doesn't care about). The hypocrisy and projection is blatant.

I bet some of you are great fun at parties.

Anonymous 9:39 AM  

Act Quick.
No. Natural is not modifying act. It's a noun modifying the person, and his state of being. Or proposed state of being.
Dylan Thomas uses the very same construction when he wrote Do not go gentle into that good night. It's a lovely and very sophisticated usage. Nothing colloquial about it.

I like the puzzle very much Mr. Haight thank you.

One last note and I'm out. When the synagogue was shot up in Pittsburgh and the Mosque in New Zealand riddled with bullets, there was a lot of talk on this board about peace, love and understanding. The horrors in Sri Lanka don't merit so much as sniff. Confirms my thoughts about this board. Oh, check out Barak Obama's bizarre tweet about it. He cannot bring himself to write Christian, so he uses the most tortured, and to my knowledge heretofore un-utterd usage, to describe the slaughtered. Wow. Just wow.

Joaquin 9:46 AM  

As I understand the way the world works, a Monday crossword is supposed to be a minor challenge for a new solver and provide them with an "aha" moment or two. For more experienced solvers Monday is meant to be a breeze. Seems to me, this puzzle nailed it.

Z 10:01 AM  

I think it got lost in Rex’s criticism of the editorial choice, but Rex was quite complimentary of the construction. Unless, of course, you just assume that Rex’s criticism of Shortz running this type of theme must be criticism of Haight (Hi @Act Quick).

I’m with @Lewis on this one. Tennis is still a popular sport so is worthy fodder for puzzle themes. The only theme answer that was a fault was POP SINGLES, and the failure was the clue. Didn’t quite go whacky enough for me.

@Anon8:51 - Uh, really? Wikipedia lists it sales at $4.7 Billion. It really is a household name (so sorry, couldn’t resist). I will grant that it makes puzzle appearances more often than others because it has very useful letters, but hardly obscure.

@BarbieBarbie - “doesn’t adverbify well” got a laugh here. Well put.

@zevonfan - He used to. He stopped. He never has explained why, but read the blog since say, circa 2011, and you could probably hazard an educated guess.

Nancy 10:06 AM  

@kitshef (7:26) compares tennis to golf, asking: "Why is it so much harder to hit a stationary ball than a moving one?" As a quite respectable tennis player who has, from time to time, "played" some truly pathetic rounds of golf, I'll tell you:

1. The hitting surface of a golf club is much, much smaller than that of a racket.

2. The ball you're hitting (or not hitting) is quite a bit smaller, too.

3. A golf swing is an "unnatural" swing. All racket sports, plus baseball, have very similar "natural" swings. A natural swing stays more or less in the same plane as the object you're swinging at, giving you more time to make contact.

4. And, once you've hit your tee shot (which can at least be "grooved", though not by me) all hell breaks loose. I'll explain the same way I explained to a non-golfing tennis friend who was pooh-poohing golf and saying it was much easier and required much less athletic ability than tennis. I replied:"Just imagine. You're playing tennis and the court slants abruptly to the left and you're standing on uneven ground. A huge deep hole looms between you and the ball. A tall tree is close behind it. And there's what looks like an entire lake right in front of the service line. What chance do you think you'd have of making the next shot?"

And that, @kitshef (and everyone else) is why, though golf is not nearly the great physical conditioner that tennis is, it is infinitely, infinitely more difficult to play!

Cassieopia 10:12 AM  

A great Monday offering - smooth with a fun theme. Lots of non-Monday words too, ramping up the enjoyment: banally, bigamy, chug. There may be a drinking song in there somewhere.

Probably no one else made the errors I did in the mid-west, where in my pre-caffeine haze I confused "Wonderland girl" with "Neverland girl", then wracked my brains trying to remember Peter Pan's girlfriend. My befuddled mind came up with "nanCy" but since that didn't work with my answer for 26&28D - sAnd trap - that entire section remained empty for quite some time except for the ALOE gimme. I still finished a minute under my 9:45 Monday average, and it wasn't until my second cup of coffee that I remembered Wendy.

That is what I love about crossword puzzles. I love how clues ping-pong around in the brain, subject to all sorts of mental influences, taking obscure neural pathways to cognitive dead ends, then sleeping for a while before appearing, in brilliant lit clarity, in an entirely different part of the mind.

Loved the puzzle, thank you for the diverting morning, Mr Haight.

Lewis 10:30 AM  

My five favorite clues from last week:

1. Non-prophet foundation? (7)
2. Pay for play (5)
3. One after another? (6)
4. They serve a function (8)
5. Something that might be packed with juice, informally (6)


Tom 10:36 AM  


Anonymous 10:42 AM  

You can check your favorite dictionary if you want to argue, but VIOL is just the family name for string instruments. In the OLDE days, the instrument was called the VIOLincello. As with many words, it got nicknamed, which became the standard (sort of) name.

jberg 10:45 AM  

I got POP SINGLES and thought it was the revealer, and that all the others would be actual pop singles clued as tennis-related. Then I got GIMME but couldn’t fit “shelter” in, so I just got the rest from crosses. I’d have liked it more if my expectations hadn’t been raised so high.

ACT NATURAL means to pretend nothing is going on. To ACT NATURALly is to behave the way you always do. Just ask Ringo Starr.

If I was doing this on my computer I’d post a link to the Consort of VIOLs, who do not consider themselves crosswordese. .

Kim Severson 11:05 AM  

A BANALLI, or banallies in the plural, are the 2010s version of the cronut - a portmanteau pastry, this time a cross between a beignet and a blini. Hot or cold, it is pure lard and sugar driven deliciousness, available wherever ironic bearded Brooklyn wanna-be hipster artisanal bakers hang out. Like, say, their parent's basement. And yes, it's ironic bearded not ironically bearded. It's the beard that's ironic, not the act of having a beard that's ironic.

Z 11:08 AM  

@anon9:39 - Neither “natural” nor “gentle” are nouns in your examples. Absent the “-ly” those are adjectives, with the “-ly” they are adverbs. That does change what they are modifying, but does not make them nouns. Both can be nouns, but the noun meanings of the words wouldn’t work in your examples.

Anonymous 11:19 AM  

I know, I meant natural and gentle are both adjectives modifying unseen but implicit nouns. In my haste I look foolish. But I stand by the argument. I don't have time to find it, but someone may.
Look for a William Safire On Language Piece from the 90's (I'm guessing). He explains the point beautifully using the Thomas poem and it's famous first line.

Masked and Anonymous 11:49 AM  

I imagine most sports have been themed-up in crosswords multiple times. Clearly bores the @RP. Someone should maybe make him a rugby-, cricket-, or polo-themed puz. Talk about yer fresh sports puztheme!

M&A's best sport is tennis, so I was just fine with today's puz mcguffin. Theme had some good humor, which is pretty much a Haight mainstay. Puz also had a minimal amount of desperate fillins, as @RP points out. Altho, @RP's "hopes sank" offa VIOL. His hopes must not be very seaworthy. I'da sank my hopes on IBAR or LSAT, if at all. BANALLY might be slight-ly weirdo, but it made the Official M&A Help Desk Dictionary, suuuu … ok.

fave fillins: INSERT COIN. LINGO. BIG AMY (She's a brutish home wrecker). The PEPSI/YETI SE-corner finale. SNARK. Actually, GIMMEABREAK/SNARK crossin was what really caught my eye … it's like an Easter egg message to @RP, or somesuch.

staff weeject picks: The LEE & LES pairin. Better clue for both: {PARO ender??}.

Thanx for a pleasant set, Mr. Haight.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


Anonymous 11:50 AM  

Nice Lewis....Pepsi-popsi....Im feeling it. I think some people have the gene to appreciate puns and some don't. So a puzzle like this gets a lot of LOVE and a lot of H8. Too bad, because a LOT of crosswords involves puns. Bruce Haight

Canon Chasuble 11:51 AM  

After this morning's clunker, just put me down as 23a or 48a, but especially as 37a.
Just an awful puzzle all around.

mbr 11:57 AM  

@ Nancy: your golf vs tennis analysis made me think of Robin Williams' explanation on the origins of golf. If you haven't seen it, you should; if you have seen it, it's worth re-watching.....just make sure the kids are out of the room :

Malsdemare 12:04 PM  

@cassieopia, I love, love, love your description of the random neurons firing in the brain. It, sadly, perfectly describes my aging cognitive processes

I liked the puzzle and knew @Nancy would have great thins to add to the discussion. I would have said that golf is harder because of the unNATURAL swing; Nancy's additions were much, much better.

jb129 12:09 PM  

It's MONDAY! I like to see Bruce.

FrankStein 12:33 PM  

“Although bass viols superficially resemble cellos, viols are different in numerous respects from instruments of the violin family: the viol family has flat rather than curved backs, sloped rather than rounded shoulders, c holes rather than f holes, and five to seven rather than four strings.”

tompdavis 1:44 PM  

Just curious @Rex, what Monday themes do you enjoy?

Anonymous 1:48 PM  

@FrankStein - You forgot the big point, VIOLs are fretted instruments whereas the violin family isn't.

@People who speak of "unnatural swing". Exactly how does one take a swing at something ling on the ground "naturally". Your "natural" swing in tennis - how do you take one when the ball is hitting the ground 2' to your side if you were facing your opponent? Or over your head? Or with your backhand?

Hartley70 1:53 PM  

I have never been a tennis player so I’m not predisposed to like this puzzle as are some folks I know and LOVE. That said, I thought this was an excellent Monday that stayed simple while still playing smart. I think it was a classic.

Nancy 2:14 PM  

@mbr (11:57) -- I'd never seen it, I just watched, and it's very funny. And very, very true. Thanks.

Z 3:46 PM  

@anon9:39/11:19 - I would never write “noun” when I meant “adjective modifying implicit an noun.”* Otherwise, Yep. I agree.

*By which I mean I’m blue specifically so I can delete such gaffes when I make them. Typos I usually leave, but my most common edit is the omitted “not” that completely reverses my meaning.

A Mod 3:51 PM  

@person who made the “pointless” observation - I seem to have deleted your comment in error. Unfortunately, there’s no way to recover deleted comments.

Anonymous 4:06 PM  

Nor would I. I was writing the post, reconsidered the sentence and started down another path and neglected to retrace my steps. I assure you I know the parts of speech. But more to the point, I'm confident I know better than @Act Quick. That's why I cited the Thomas poem. And the Safire essay, which apparently is from June 7, 1987.

RooMonster 4:10 PM  

To @Z and @Anonymous
I talk gooder than youse.

I've forgotten the whole parts of speech teachings we all learned in school. I just talk like I think stuff is supposed to be said. I just hope I don't sound like an idiot. :-)


Anonymous 6:37 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Diana,LIW 12:25 PM  

What the bleep happened to the Sunday puzzle? I found it (Joel F's) in August of 2015!!!! NYT - wake up-!!!!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Sanity to return

PS - I did not like this (the Sunday one from 2015 puzzle, either!

Burma Shave 9:56 AM  


To COURT, I’m in CONTEMPTOF, until ISEE how he’s HUNG.


spacecraft 10:57 AM  

@Lady Di: I found the same misprint. Solved it, enjoying all the way, then came here to learn that I HAD DONE IT THEN--AND: EVEN BLOGGED about it! I'd have testified in COURT that I never saw it before. OHMY, the waning brain of a soon-to-be-octogenarian!

On to today's match. I won in straight sets. I think Mr. Haight is getting better as he goes. This one was pretty darn clean. Mayhap I might question that "Let" and "Fault" are the purview of the CHAIR umpire. Aren't these made by the net judge and the line judge, respectfully? Just sayin'.

I am pleased to award the DOD title to the first Miss America I can remember: BESS Myerson. An all-around cool chick, she was the first to cause me to FALLINLOVE. Again I wonder: does OFC remember fun? In scoring, I must resist reverting to tennis terms instead of my usual BACKNINE method, lest I perpetuate the use of ADIN/ADOUT in grids. So: a solid birdie.

rondo 1:26 PM  

Tennis anyone? It seems that the French Open is on right now. Hoping that yeah baby Vitalia Diatchenko has the SKILLS against Serena in SINGLES. GIMMEA Dick Enberg OHMY! I might FALLINLOVE.

Not much more to say, IT’LL do for Monday. I’ll be stopping by the cemetery to pay respects to my dad (and others). Suggest you do likewise.

leftcoastTAM 2:45 PM  

"... a loose, shabby assortment of tennis terms..."? C'mon, Rex, GIMME (i.e., Haight and Shortz) A BREAK.

It's a good theme, it's a Monday, it has some welcome bite, and it's not trite. WHAT's not to like?

Sports carry the day beyond tennis, adding golf's BACK NINE and basketball's NBA, HOOP, and MVP's.

Nice work.

Diana,LIW 4:14 PM  

Well I thot it a fine Monday, with a good racket for a theme.

But let me wax eloquent about the puzzle dated 04/09, with two "backward/forward" clues for each across answer. I loved it. I see that some didn't, or thot it too hard for a Tuesday. I'll admit it was harder than the average Tuesday bear, but I got a great kick out of it, and even showed its cleverness off to Mr. W. There ya go - late review without a spoiler!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rainforest 5:04 PM  

Apparently @Rex gave this puzzle the usual "Haight it" treatment. That's one of the reasons I rarely read his opening comment. Good on ya, @Spacey, "does OFL remember fun?" Maybe his fun encompasses trashing his "favourite" betes noirs and praising his buddies. That kind of fun got old a long time ago.

Hey, I liked this puzzle. Themers tied together by their double-meaning references to a sport I used to be a reasonable player of until my right shoulder packed it in, which also has made my "unnatural" golf swing a bit of a challenge.

The fill was fine, there were a few clues that took some thought, and the whole thing was a testament to what a Monday can be. Way to go, Bruce.

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