Fairy tale question / MON 7-22-19 / Strong-smelling cheese made in England / Louisiana's avian nickname

Monday, July 22, 2019

Constructor: Lynn Lempel

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (2:51)

THEME: RUM PEL STILT SKIN — clue to the revealer says it all: 61A: Fairy tale question whose answer is spelled out in the starts of 18-, 24-, 40- and 51-Across ("WHAT'S MY NAME?")

Theme answers:
  • RUMMAGE SALE (18A: Yard event to clear out the attic)
  • PELICAN STATE (24A: Louisiana's avian nickname)
  • STILTON (40A: Strong-smelling cheese made in England)
  • SKINNY DIPPER (51A: One barely in the water?)
Word of the Day: EUROPA (66A: Mythical beauty who lent her name to a continent) —
In Greek mythologyEuropa (/jʊəˈrpəjə-/Ancient GreekΕὐρώπηEurṓpēAttic Greekpronunciation: [eu̯.rɔ̌ː.pɛː]) was the mother of King Minos of Crete, a Phoenician princess of Argive origin, after whom the continent Europe is named. The story of her abduction by Zeus in the form of a bull was a Cretanstory; as classicist Károly Kerényi points out, "most of the love-stories concerning Zeus originated from more ancient tales describing his marriages with goddesses. This can especially be said of the story of Europa."
Europa's earliest literary reference is in the Iliad, which is commonly dated to the 8th century BC. Another early reference to her is in a fragment of the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women, discovered at Oxyrhynchus. The earliest vase-painting securely identifiable as Europa dates from mid-7th century BC. (wikipedia)
• • •

This puzzle might very well have been even easier than I've rated it. I say that because I absolutely drove the car into the ditch in one answer—total and complete incompetence and negligence on my part. Some bad luck, but mostly just idiocy (mine, and ironically, at an answer that crosses IDIOTPROOF (30D: Impossible to mess up): instead of coming down the middle of the grid, from left to right, like a normal, I did this dumb thing where I followed a solving path off the end of PELICAN STATE and then straight down the east of the grid via IDIOTPROOF (so proud to get that off of just a couple letters ... insert maxim about pride here). In following this path, I ended up in the position of having to come back into the center of the grid upside-down and backward, i.e. from bottom right toward the upper left. Fine, doable, except what happened was a. when I looked at 49A: Ledger entry on the minus side, I had one letter in place (the final "T"), and b. when I read the clue, my eyes never got past the "Ledger entry" part and I wrote in .... ASSET. So not just wrong, but spectacularly wrong. Couldn't-be-wronger. And if I hadn't had that "T," I probably wouldn't have screwed up and jumped the gun, and if I'd just read the clue to the end, I certainly would've gotten DEBIT. But see "T" write ASSET biff bam boom. And then, predictably, I immediately stalled. No hope for PIPE and BISECT to say nothing of OPED and STUDY. I got so flustered that I couldn't figure out how to clean up the mess and just started up again back in the NW and worked my way back down, at which point the error quickly became obvious. Still, I probably lost 15-20 seconds with that screw-up, which means I *should've* been in the 2:30s, not the 2:50s, and 2:30s, for me, is very fast. Not record, but record-adjacent. But what about the theme!? Was the puzzle good!? Tell me what to think!?!?! Easy. We're getting there.

Lynn Lempel's name doesn't pop up in NYT crossword bylines as much as it once did (back in the mid/late '00s. Back then, Ms. Lempel was averaging 8 puzzles a year or so for a while. Of course back then, the NYT was publishing considerably more woman-authored puzzles (nearly 50% more than now!), but more on that some other time (i.e. the next time I think about it, maybe tomorrow). She has a well-deserved reputation for sparkling M/T puzzles: tight, clever themes, clean grids. This one's no exception. Theme type here is a reasonably common one, and the revealer didn't land for me the way it probably did for others (that question makes me think more Snoop Dogg than Stilt Skin), buuuutt the revealer questions does tie nicely into the theme, in that it forces you to sound out his name (and, uh, keep your first-born child, I guess). In an odd coincidence, I had a stilton cheese sandwich this afternoon. Eeeeeeerie.

Thanks to Christopher Adams for filling in for me last-minute yesterday—it did not occur to me until quite late that going to a concert at night, 90 minutes away from my home, might seriously interfere with my ability to produce the Sunday write-up in a timely fashion. His generosity allowed me to enjoy Blondie and Elvis Costello without that "youregonnahavetoworkwhenyougethome" feeling nagging at the back of my mind all night.

Sometimes when you go to concerts, there are crossword constructors there (Mike Nothnagel says 'hi')

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:08 AM  

Not sure if after all these years I'm getting better at solving or this was spectacularly easy, even for a Monday. But I did rip right through it. Rex has correctly (IMO) questioned his own rating of the difficulty of this puzzle; I'd rate it somewhere between SuperEasy and Gimme.

jae 1:51 AM  

Easy, smooth, delightful, a fine Mon. Liked it a bunch!

chefwen 2:16 AM  

A sweet Monday puzzle that I had no problems with other than spelling SHERYL with a C, AWES fixed that. Love me a Lynn Lempel Monday, they are always fun to solve. We haven’t heard from our other Monday Queen lately, ACME aka Andrea Carla Michaels, love her puzzles too.

Love STILTON cheese, can’t get it here on the rock. I’ll have to import some from one those foodie places that bombard me with daily emails.

Unknown 2:36 AM  

For the record, DIRECT flights do stop en route; Nonstop flights do not.

mkyritsis 3:10 AM  

I found this puzzle delightful! Loved the theme. Wasn't expecting it at all, in spite of writing down the four key words in the margin to keep track. A real AHA! moment, good way to wake up on a Monday morning.

Klazzic 4:08 AM  

Welcome back, Rexie boy! You're becoming the Johnnie Carson of crosswords, working less and less. You deserve it after what? 15 years? I just discovered you about 8 months ago and I'm smitten. But be careful. The write-up yesterday by Christopher Adams was terrific. Nice to finally read a review by a guest host who isn't a complete sycophant. Stick with Chris when you take a breather, a breath of fresh air. Today's puzzle was meh, which I guess is par for the course for a Monday. Off to seeThe Lion King today. Hear me ROAR.


Anonymous 5:51 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lewis 5:54 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 5:58 AM  

Sparkling is right, Rex. This is such a good, nay, ideal Level One puzzle for new solvers, with some clues that employ delightful wordplay and others that require the brain to be turned on, and a fair number of answers that are in most wheelhouses but not in the "I use it every day" real estate. On top of that, there's a clever theme that may very well yield an aha. And a jank-free grid. This is a puzzle that reveals how wit and humor can infuse a puzzle and give it an intriguing feel. Pure excellence, Lynn!

When the theme hit me I immediately remembered doing it before in a puzzle by Bruce Haight. I didn't remember when, but I had a feeling Jeff Chen would have it in his notes (and he did: 1/23/17). It's clear from Lynn's notes that she came up with this independently, and I'm guessing she'll be surprised that this was done before. In any case, her theme answers and reveal are all different from Bruce's. Both puzzles are of high quality. It's unusual to have the same theme appear within a couple of years, but it sure didn't bother me.

Nor did it bother Will. This one is so good, how could you not be bursting at the seams to get it out in print?

A Moderator 6:21 AM  

If you’re going to post about yesterday’s puzzle make sure you remove spoilers.

pabloinnh 6:30 AM  


Thanks LL.

OffTheGrid 6:34 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Aketi 6:35 AM  

Well that was a no cup of coffee insta fill. Finished the whole thing before my husband even made my coffee.

@JoeDepinto, I also see what you saw yesterday.

amyyanni 6:56 AM  

This certainly eased the pain of Monday morning. My weekend came to a screeching halt. Maybe some Stilton would help (also a fan).

kitshef 7:23 AM  

A very birdy puzzle (ORIOLE, PELICAN, DIPPER, STILT, SHERYL Crow) – enough so that I was expecting that to be the theme. Of course, we also have DOG, APE, and DEER, so the mammals make a good showing also.

+1 to what Unknown 2:36 said about DIRECT flights.

An enjoyable puzzle with a meh theme.

Z 7:27 AM  

@OffTheGrid - 2x2, so twice as tall and twice as wide but four times the weight. The waist is hard because it wouldn't really be double, so I subtracted a little.

My occasional reminder that once upon a time 6:00 was an impenetrable wall for me. This puzzle felt hard (for a Monday) to me and I finished in 5:26. Solving a Saturday once required Uncle Google's help. Now I occasionally break 20:00 on a Saturday. Keep doing these things and they get more doable.

SKINNY DIPPER has always struck me as an odd formulation. The DIPPER part makes sense, but what exactly is it about swimming au naturale that makes one "SKINNY." Growing up in West Michigan, I knew all the places one could safely go swimming away from prying eyes, so it was not a rare activity at all for me and my friends, but shedding my Speedo hardly made me much skinnier.

Suzie Q 7:30 AM  

Even without the theme this was a thoroughly enjoyable solve. Then I got to the revealer and that was real icing on the cake. There were so many delightful words and clues. Great start to the week and obviously the work of a pro. Rex was so focused on his time that he seemed to miss out on the fun. Too bad for him but good fun for me.
@ chefwen If you manage to get a big chunk of cheese try some cabbage Stilton soup. Yum!

Z 7:35 AM  

@Unknown2:36 and @kitshef - Yep. The Wikipedia article even mentions the frequent confusion between DIRECT and Non-Stop. I'm usually the first to find a usage that makes the clue okay, but this seems to be a flat out error.

SouthsideJohnny 7:38 AM  

Would enjoy hearing from someone here who has an accounting background. My understanding is that Asset and Expense INCREASES are Debits, and that it is inaccurate to characterize one as a “plus” entry and the other as a “minus”.

Conrad 7:38 AM  

@Z: I always thought it was because you expose all your SKIN.

Anonymous 7:48 AM  

Why fly? The clue for 4 down, direct, is without stopping. Point to point is not necessarily airborne, non-stop.

albatross shell 7:52 AM  

Lots to like.
The answer for Hoarse crossing PONIED.
The clue for GOAL having 4 extra words.
The theme and reveal.
The myriad of interesting adjacent words in the grid Two examples;


And all on an easy Monday.

GILL I. 8:04 AM  

A Monday romp with Lynn. I know I'm going to enjoy. I did. But I remembered another one that was similar. I guess is was Haight? Are there any puzzle ideas that are new? Have we exhausted novel ideas? I'll take a fun twist to an idea already conceived. This was it.
DOG NAP....I just saw on Facebook this poor young women pleading for the return of her Chihuahua that was unceremoniously picked up by the jaws of a sea gull and taken away to Neverland. Yup. The little critter must have looked like a hamburger to the evil gull. I love animals but the gull....Sitting on the beach minding my own business and the thief swoops down to eat a French fry I had just dipped in my mayonnaise. I bet a PELICAN would do the same.
I see PERILS and I think of Pauline.
DIRECT. Yup - major error. I wanted to be the first to point that out. Sounds like a non-stop, right? Nowadays the airlines use direct even if you change flight numbers. They're sneaky bastards. I even bet they count the number of peanuts they serve you. Take a train.
Liked SKINNY DIPPER and STILTON. I tried the former at Camp Circle F Dude Ranch For Boys and Girls. It was late at night by the silvery moon. The boys were hiding in the bushes and we could hear them giggling. We gave them the eyeful...if you can call it that from 12 year olds. The latter we have in our fridge. My husband is a STILTON head. Try spreading it on a fresh baguette. My 1 year old granddaughter loves it.

A wonderful bird is the PELICAN. His beak
can hold more than his belly can. He can
hold in his beak enough food for a week
but I'm damned if I see how the helican.

mmorgan 8:25 AM  

A sparkling, delightful, Monday treat from a master constructor who just knows exactly how to do it. Thank you for sharing your talents!

OffTheGrid 8:28 AM  

@Z. I see now how you did that. Moderator deleted my 6:34 post after you saw it. I alluded to yesterday's puzzle without a spoiler alert. Later I saw the request from the moderator but it was too late. No point in re-posting.

davidm 8:46 AM  

With its third of use of APE in eight days, the Times finally produced a clue that was biologically correct, I’m pleased to say. Maybe the editor reads these blog comments and noticed my vehement protests of the last two times APE was clued? :-) The puzzle itself was easy and fun.

Anonymous 8:54 AM  

@z, Me and my friends?

Z 9:06 AM  

@Anon7:48 - You’re right. Good catch.

@OffTheGrid - Your post getting deleted does make my post a bit of a non sequitur.

@Conrad - Makes as much sense as anything, but then why is that the only usage for that adjective with that meaning? A “skinny latte” makes much more sense to me. Language can be so weird. Etymology Online places its origin as 1959, so it’s a modern phrase. Having now looked it up I am forced to ponder why “the skinny” means what it means. “Psst, need the skinny on where to SKINNY-DIP? Park by Gilligan Lake and hike up to the beach. Now lay some skin on me.”*

*This was a great place back in the day if you wanted solitude. The land was owned by an entity that wouldn’t be developing it, so it may still be a great place to be a SKINNY DIPPER.

Anonymous 9:14 AM  

Why does speed in solving matter?
Why not solving without any mistakes by carefully checking crosses?

Z 9:18 AM  

@anon8:54- Yeah. So? There’s a subtle connotational difference that makes the way I wrote it more appropriate in this context, especially because SKINNY-DIPping is still mildly illicit.

OT here, but I thought the question legitimate and needing clarification since many of us were taught to always put “me” last. Just another “rule” needing to be unlearned.

xyz 9:31 AM  

Nice to see such a clean albeit easy puzzle, Monday is of course the day for that.

One cannot complain legitimately about this puzzle.

Phaedrus 9:33 AM  

@southside johnny

You are correct. Debits increase assets and expenses , and decrease revenue, liabilities and equity.

When you withdraw money from your account, the bank “debits your account” because your account balance is a liability on the bank’s balance sheet.

Nancy 9:46 AM  

RUM PEL STILT SKIN!!! Who woulda thought of that? Certainly not me. I finished this lovely Monday admiring its quite sophisticated and junk-free fill, but without a clue as to what the theme was. I imagine I could have stared at the completed grid all day and still not have figured it out. But I didn't stare at it all day. I came here instead.

The best part of the theme is that it produced such lovely answers. SKINNY DIPPER; RUMMAGE SALE; and PELICAN STATE, which I didn't know, by the way. Seems an odd nickname for Louisiana, which I would have thought might be the Bayou State or the Jazz State or the Mardi Gras State or the Cajun State. I didn't even know that they had PELICANs. At any rate, an enjoyable puzzle.

RooMonster 9:54 AM  

Hey All !
Apparently WHATS MY NAME is a question posed by RUMPELSTILSKIN when he awakens? Never read it. Sorry if my non-culturalness offends. :-)

Nice puz. 7 minutes and change here. Don't solve for speed, actually try to slow down on a MonPuz, as I don't want to finish too quick. I always read All the clues, even when a cross auto-fills, I'll go back and read the clue. I just heard a collective *gasp* from all the speed solvers out there!

Some nice clues. Haven't heard REUP in a while. Should've REUPped my Army stint, but hindsight and all that.

So another good LynnMonPuz. CLAP CLAP. Har.


albatross shell 10:18 AM  

In a car or on foot few trips would be nonstop, direct or not. Maybe a trip to a corner store.
On a plane, assuming no diversions for sightseeing or weather, all nonstop flights would be direct to the destination in the common sense of the word. I do not know if in airline parlance direct means they have stops.

Nancy 10:22 AM  

Oops. Correction. Between solving and writing my comment there was an Interruption -- so I forgot about the revealer, which was crystal clear. No, I didn't come here to get the theme; I had it before coming here. What I really meant to say was that without the revealer, I could have stared at the puzzle all day and not gotten the theme.

Anonymous 10:48 AM  

The DEBIT horse is dead.
The DIRECT horse is dead.

Please stop beating them.

Lewis 10:51 AM  

My five favorite clues from last week:

1. All available options? (10)
2. Battleship row (9)
3. College area of study with no application required? (8)
4. Dirty mouth? (5)
5. Nationality seen in most of Romania (5)


OffTheGrid 10:55 AM  

***SPOILER ALERT*** for Sunday puzzle 7/21.

I got to the blog kinda late, but wanted to share this, Jay and Cam play racquetball Only first 50 seconds are relevant.

Escalator 11:17 AM  

I always do the mini puzzle first as a warm-up. One of the answers in the mini was ASSET. I THINK they try hard to not repeat clues/answers in both puzzles.

Carola 11:44 AM  

For me, the impossible-to-guess theme nicely reflected the impossible-to-guess NAME. Possible bonus theme answer: BISECT (crossing WHAT'S MY NAME), reflecting RUMPELSTILTSKIN's tearing himself in two in a rage after the Queen has the correct answer, her previous guesses having elicited multiple UHUHs.

Masked and Anonymous 11:58 AM  

@RP: Easy, sure. Easy for a MonPuz, tho? … Not quite so sure. Shoot -- the puz had at least four ?-mark clues; so it was at least tryin to get a *little* feisty.

Certainly would echo all the accolades for Lynn Lempel darlin's work. Always enjoyable, just like today's. Plus, the ends of the themers spell out ALE ATE TON PER, which anagrams to ATE ALE PER TON. Which is eerily close to BEER ME. Eerier than @RP's stilton sandwich, even.

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Grand ___ Opry} = OLE. Hard to beat a Monday fillin-the-blank clue, for friendliness.
staff weeject pick: Tough call. 19 choices, but they're all so day-um smoooth. Will go with ESP, in @RP's honor -- I can somehow clearly sense his elation, in seein it in the puzgrid. Stilton-esque, dude.

Thanx for the fun, Ms. Lempel. thUmbsUp, darlin.

Masked & Anonym007Us

p.s. Left a late cleanup comment, yesterday.

not so eazy-E:

rextorturer 12:00 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mary McCarty 12:08 PM  

@Z, re: you OT comment, here’s mine: I would MUCH rather see/hear “for me and my friends” than “for my friends and I”. Maybe that’s the solution for all the misused nominatives cropping in objective situations these days.

kitshef 12:13 PM  

@RooMonster - I think you may be confundling Rip Van Winkle (fell asleep for 20 years) with RUMPELSTILTSKIN (spun straw into gold in exchange for a promise of the first-born child - unless you can guess his name).

jb129 12:31 PM  

This Monday puzzle was more fun than usual Mondays - thank you, Lynn

jjpennyless 12:34 PM  

As an accountant, I didn't care for the clue on DEBIT. There is nothing inherently "minus" about a debit, unless as others have noted you are talking about a liability or expense. The bank debits your checking account for an overdraft fee to decrease it, but they debit your mortgage account for a late fee to increase it. From another perspective, both of those transactions decrease your net worth, but they increase the bank's.

RooMonster 12:44 PM  

Ah, you be correct! (A little wrong English for ya.)

I've told y'all I'm not very well read. Trouble with me and reading is my memory just isn't there enough to remember the story. I'm not full-blown non-memory, I do know and remember stuff, but hoo-boy, some days sure feel like it!

So thanks for the gentle correction. Could've just called me a dumb ass! :-)


Joe Dipinto 12:48 PM  

When my baby
When my baby smiles at me
I go to Rio
De Janeiro

As usual, Lynn Kempel provides a perfect Monday experience -- there's basically nothing more to add. Favorite answers: STILTON (a welcome respite from "Edam", plus I luv blue cheese), RE-UP, IDIOT-PROOF, DISMAL, DOGNAP (not that I like the act itself), DISCERN, NADIR. All a cut above.

Opera trivia: NADIR is the name of the lead tenor role in Bizet's "Les Pêcheurs de Perles" ("The Pearl Fishers").

Teedmn 1:03 PM  

This possibly fell into Monday personal record time - the only extra black ink on the page is where I splatzed in DIssEnt where DISCERN belongs. 29A saved me from the PERILS of DNF but I did have to go back and actually read the clue for 23A because sLAP looked fine in the grid.

Hominid on a restroom door - MEN!

Nice one, Lynn Lempel.

kitshef 1:34 PM  

@M&A - one man's (moo-cow) meat is another's poison. My longest pause was deciding whether to put in OLE or wait for the cross on that third letter, thinking OLE might be a popular jocular pronunciation for OLD.

tea73 1:45 PM  

The puzzle wasn't hard, but I got slowed down by numerous wrong guesses. eluDED before DODGED, Garage SALE had to be erased when it was too short. DEBts before DEBIT.

Joe Dipinto 2:14 PM  

Sorry, I mistyped the constructor's name: Lempel, with an "L".

Masked and Anonymous 2:35 PM  

@kitshef: yep & yep. Comes up a lot in makin xwords, too. U think some clue is gonna be real hard, and everybody just blows right thru it. Or U thought some word in the puzgrid was no big deal, and everybody wipes out in a big pile right there. Da bustagut.

Also … Folks who did the printed version of today's puz were treated to a different 64-D clue than the online crowd. This could also make things harder or easier, dependin on what trips yer solvin trigger. (Printed version had a men's restroom sign picture on it.)


john towle 2:47 PM  

Been doing these puzzles since 1946…started with the ones in the Milwaukee Journal. Also, having taught Kindergarten to migrant worker children, am a huge fan of nursery rhymes & fairytales. I don’t remember a puzzle as smoothly brilliant as this one. Thanks, GILLI for the
lovely recuerdo de los alcatraces…Ogden Nash, a Danish after breakfast, indeed. Hygge!!



GILL I. 3:07 PM  

@John towel: Another españoleto? Please join @pablo and me en un vinito o quizás un chato...
Arriba, abajo, al centro, adentro.....

albatross shell 3:42 PM  

@anon 10:48
Sorry didn't mean to beat anything dead or alive. How is that list determined and where is it posted? And which what was the verdict? Only half-facietously yours...

wcutler 4:53 PM  

I am trying to comment without reading the puzzle or the comments. This is a request from a syndi-reader to NOT COMMENT ON PREVIOUS PUZZLES on the current puzzle's blog, particularly regarding Sunday puzzle comments on Monday. Those of us doing the puzzle in our newspaper are five weeks behind, but the Sunday puzzle is (was) one week behind, though in my paper it is dated one week behind but it's now two weeks behind. So your comments about the Sunday puzzle on Monday reveal information about a puzzle that we have yet to see.

Why can't you comment about the Sunday puzzle on the Sunday blog? People opt to get notified when comments are made.

BTW, I have a blogspot account, am commenting the way I usually do, but for my past few comments, reCAPTCHA has given me a hard time, making me find buses. Does it really know that I just read the wikipedia article about it?

Z 5:04 PM  

@wcutler - See @A Moderator 6:21a.m. Also, If you’re logged in just skip the captcha. I think I’ve done it once in the past two years.

JC66 5:06 PM  


When you comment, it's not necessary to check the "I'm not a robot" box. Just hit "Publish Your Comment" and your comment should be posted.

gholczer 7:19 PM  

A debit is an entry to the left side of a ledger, a credit to the right side. They are not inherently pluses or minuses (nor good or bad). Debits both increase assets and expenses and decrease liabilities and income. Credits the opposite.

Anonymous 7:40 PM  

I wasn't aware I could publish my comment without checking "I'm not a robot." Let me give it a try.

Nope, it doesn't seem to have worked. My comment is still sitting here.

So now let me try checking the box.

That worked.

mmorgan 7:41 PM  

Anon@ 9:14 — some like to speed solve, some don’t. Whatever, it’s all good, doesn’t matter, let it go.

@Gill I. 3:07 — yo tambien. Soy un portenio honorario (de Bs As)... mas o menos... en spiritu! Un abrazo!

JC66 8:57 PM  

@Anon 7:40

You have to log on with a "blue id" to avoid the captcha.

Runs with Scissors 9:10 PM  

Pretty easy puzzle, even solving it on my Samsung S9 with ape thumbs.

Nothing to write home about, really. Enjoyed seeing SKINNY DIPPER.

For all the accountants out there, yer wrong. Every time you do an entry you're either adding to something or subtracting from something. There's no other way to see it. Plus or minus. Time to do away with jargon and be clear. (I understand accounting, I just think it's ridiculous and an attempt to keep yourselves employed.)

Mark, in Mickey's North 40

GILL I. 10:21 PM  

@mmorgan. I thought there might be a kindred spirit lurking around you. Viva el espirito...y el vino!

Burma Shave 9:01 AM  


a FED SPY who would DARE unzip her.
Despite PERILS of water DEEP,
she SWAM away as a SKINNYDIPPER.


rondo 10:03 AM  

Now that's a Mon-puz! Had no clue as to the theme until the revealer.

Too many SKINNYDIPPER stories to list, most with happy endings.

One of very few concerts I've walked OUT of was Blues Traveler who had SHERYL Crow open for them. Could not DISCERN what Blues Traveler was playing, but opener and yeah baby SHERYL Crow was great.

Speaking of openers, gotta mention that it was 50 years ago today that I was in an opening act for Johnny Cash. Look for the 1969 highlight as read on air this morning on 89.3 The Current:


spacecraft 11:49 AM  

When revealer clues list all the across numbers in the theme, they tend to draw the eye. So I read that clue first, looked at the 18-across clue...and bam! it was all over. In short order I had themers + revealer written in, so I guess my experience was opposite that of @rondo. That did not, however, constitute a DEBIT as I RATED this one.

I take back what I said about skipping M/W; if I did I'd miss gems like this one. All set to award the DOD to the lovely & talented SHERYL Crow, but maybe I should put a sash on our constructor. Lynn Lempel always delivers; just reading the byline puts me in a good mood (despite DISMAL going down between UHUH and NONOS). The Grand OLE Opry is always OLE, never "old," just as the University of Mississippi is--even formally, somehow!--known as OLE Miss.

Rhyming symmetrical entries: DIRECT, BISECT. Also note that the SKINNYDIPPER SWAM upstream. LL grids are full of these little nuggets. Theme is fun; perhaps I shouldn't have jumped the gun and I might've enjoyed it even more. Fill is Swiffer-clean (I can attest: those products really work great). what's not to love? The DISCERNing solver will score this an eagle.

leftcoast 2:14 PM  

Don't want to be mean, but close to an IDIOT PROOF Monday maybe?

leftcoast 2:55 PM  

@Burma Shave -- Neat rhyming for a great escape!

Diana, LIW 3:03 PM  

C'mon, @Lefty - it may not give you a pot of gold, but we gotta give the newbies a chance! (And I remember my newbie days all too well, and still enjoy doing my "Monday crossword books" while drifting off to sleep. With Lambo and Quincy helping, of course.

Didn't notice the revealer until the end - just hopping around the clues today. Mr. W was on the phone with our very favorite airline (no names mentioned, but AA is a hint) and I was trying to keep the top of his head attached to his body.

Agree that LL is a favorite constructor - always smile when I see her name in my anthology books, too.

@Rondo - so you were five years old when you played at the fair with JC?

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoast 5:34 PM  

Well, ya got me, @Diana, I did feel a bit sheepish when I sent off the comment. The puzzle actually is well-themed and revealed, though the fill clues and answers are sooo transparent.

rondo 5:46 PM  

@D,LIW - you are a bit too kind. About the time the bus got us back to Hometown, USA I turned 14

strayling 8:44 PM  

@leftcoast: idiot proof?

No, I managed to solve it just fine ...

Had a lot of fun doing so too. A nice playful themer to start the week.

wcutler 3:44 AM  

Thanks for replies from Z 5:04 PM, JC66 5:06 PM and 8:57 PM, Anonymous 7:40 PM, and the posting by A moderator asking people to remove spoilers.

I am always logged on with a blue ID. I think I did actually try skipping the captcha, but maybe I ticked the box and got more buses instead of clicking Post Your Comment. I never got a captcha on this site until I read the wikipedia article about them. Ha! You want to know what captcha's are about? We'll show you what they're about. I think I have since posted one comment that just went through and a few that captcha'd me. Well, here goes.

OK, clicked the Captcha box, got some buses or something. Now will try to just post. If you don't read any more complaints, it worked.

wcutler 3:45 AM  

Hmm, it looks like it worked. Of course, I can't verify that, since posts are moderated. This time, I will just click the Publish button, skipping the captcha.

strayling 8:40 PM  

@wcutler: I see your posts

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