Bash some tobacco holders / MON 9-30-19 / Strikebreaking worker / John who arrived on Mayflower / Action accompanied by MWAH

Monday, September 30, 2019

Constructor: Lynn Lempel

Relative difficulty: Medium (3:02)

THEME: Bash Brothers! — famililar phrases are clued as if they were verb phrases where the first word means "Bash" (as in "criticize")

Theme answers:
  • PAN PIPES (16A: Bash some tobacco holders?)
  • TRASH PICK-UPS (19A: Bash some small trucks?)
  • RIP TIDE (39A: Bash a luandry room brand?)
  • PUT DOWN ROOTS (57A: Bash an Alex Haley classic?)
  • BLAST OFF (61A: Bash a bug repellent brand?)
Word of the Day: John ALDEN (23D: John who arrived on the Mayflower) —
Capt. John Alden Sr. (c. 1598–1687) was a crew member on the historic 1620 voyage of the Pilgrim ship Mayflower. Rather than return to England with the ship, he stayed at what became Plymouth Colony. He was hired in Southampton, England, as the ship's cooper, responsible for maintaining the ship's barrels. He was a signatory to the Mayflower Compact. He married fellow Mayflower passenger Priscilla Mullins, whose entire family perished in the first winter.
He served in a number of important government positions such as Assistant Governor, Duxbury Deputy to the General Court of Plymouth, Captain Myles Standish's Duxburymilitia company, a member of the Council of War, Treasurer of Plymouth Colony, and Commissioner to Dartmouth. (wikipedia)
• • •

I was finished before I figured out / realized that the answers had something in common besides puns. This seems impossible, in retrospect, since every clue begins [Bash...] but I bounce around so much, and "?" are always an extra layer of difficulty for me, so I was distracted and didn't see the coherence (not that it would've helped me solve faster). The theme is just fine, and it's pretty dense ... which may be why the grid overall feels a bit stale. I won't list all the dull repeaters, the common short stuff that's gunking up this grid, because I don't have to. Just plunk your finger down in the grid, you'll hit something. ROO? DST? Yeah, you see it. None of it bad, but ... just, a Lot of it. A lot of old stuff. Old vibe. MORTON SALT old. The 6+-letter Downs give the grid some solidity as well as some crunch, but for Ms. Lempel, whose work is regularly stellar, this feels somewhat below average.

My time was normal, which was weird because I felt very slow. Also, my fat fingers were typo'ing all over the place. Felt like half my time was spent trying to undo typing mistakes. Some of the cluing seemed off today. Not sure "AHA!" is a very good equivalent of 14A: "Like I told you!" I mean, I can hear someone saying "Like I told you!" immediately after saying AHA! but I don't like it as a swap-out. I also really hate the clue on IRMA (17D: Woman whose name is an anagram of MIRA). Give a girl a clue, would you? Yeesh. Non-clues are not fun. There are cluable IRMAs, pick one! I always forget ALDEN, so luckily today I got him mostly from crosses before I ever saw his clue. "NOT SO!" feels very formal compared to 37D: "That's just wrong!" Oof, the worst moment for me was writing in UPTICK for UPTURN (32D: Improvement, as in the economy). What was worst about it was it gave me a terminal "I" at 46A: Diamond Head's island (OAHU), so naturally (?) I wrote in MAUI. Blargh. Entirely my own fault. HEWED screwed me up because I only wanted HEWN, which of course didn't fit (47D: Chopped). See also SAWN (weird that both of these -WN past participles are essentially synonymous ... omg MOWN too ... it's all chopping and cutting, what the hell?)

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:11 AM  

Puzzle was dull. Write-up no surprise. Best thing of all was the photo Rex posted which gave me a moment of pause, then an "aha", then a genuine chuckle.

jae 1:45 AM  

Medium. Clever, smooth, a fine Mon. Liked it.

chefwen 3:32 AM  

Very easy, even for a Monday, but a lot of fun and smiles as I revealed all the theme answers.

RIP TIDE came in first favorite with BLAST OFF coming in as a close second. Fun puzzle.

Lewis 6:00 AM  

I come to praise Lynn for her penchant for making puzzles that are just right for new solvers, showing these solvers what themes are all about while keeping answers gettable but not insultingly easy, all the while exuding spark with the stamp of quality.

Granted, I'm not a curmudgeon, not one to knock knees, slam dance, roast beef or hammer toes. But if I were, I'd still be hard pressed to bash this beauty. Thank you, Lynn!

kitshef 7:19 AM  

Excellent execution of the theme.

Some of the threes are suboptimal: RCA/DST/RTE/PCS/SRS. I can live with those. Also quite a few PoCs, but only one double (SRS/OAKS). Small price to pay for the overall execution.

Hungry Mother 7:33 AM  

Super fast for me today Just a couple of sips of coffee. Very nice theme which helped the flow. Nice to see another kind of tide appear.

pabloinnh 7:57 AM  

Yeah, I feel Rex's pain on this one. If I had so many typos and false starts, I'd go over three minutes every time. (Implied har.)

Nice themers, well-executed, but talk about your moo-cow easy (hi M&A) clues. I know this is an entry level puzzle, but "went on horseback"? "Player at Baltimore's Camden Yards"? "Telltale evidence of a shark"? Not much fun writing those in.

Hey Roo--you're in another puzzle. That at least was worthwhile.

Thanks for a nice Mondecito, LL. Hope to see another of yours, maybe on a Friday.

mmorgan 8:06 AM  

A Lucky Lunes — a laudably lovely and lusciously lively Lynn Lempel! What a joy! Super easy of course, but it’s Monday. But so smooth and pleasant and clever. Themers were great, fill was more than fine in my book. No faint praise from me. What a delight and what a pro!

pmdm 8:30 AM  

The requirement for Monday puzzles to have extremely easy clues and entries is perhaps the reason why some of the issues today's write up complains about. Perhaps there are better "easy" clues, but I wonder how many new solvers would complain about the cluing today. I understand how experienced solvers might be unhappy, but a Monday puzzle is really not aimed at such solvers. Maybe a no win problem here, for the most part.

gfrpeace 8:42 AM  

I dislike DST as cause of a Mar. time change. DST is the RESULT of the change.

GILL I. 8:53 AM  

A Lynn of a Monday. You start me with something I need to sit down for and it turns out to be a LAP, then you're going to get a smile from me. I'm a LAP sitter - husband smiles.
What did I like? GORES POTUS hanging around each other and the TOASTED BLTS eyeing the T BONES. Then we have an animal-fest with REPTILE ORIOLE CROS LOONS ROO and the telltale evidence of a sharks FIN.
Wasn't crazy about the threes @kitshef mentioned, know...the glue that holds a puzzle together. She does it well, me thinks.

American Liberal Elite 8:59 AM  

John and Priscilla Alden were original settlers of Duxbury, MA, which is about 40 miles from Natick.

Sir Hillary 9:07 AM  

I haven't a cross word to bash this puzzle. Exactly what a Monday should be -- simple theme well-executed, clean fill, light and airy feel.

@Rex -- Where are Canseco and McGwire?

Lewis 9:11 AM  

My five favorite clues from last week
(in order of appearance):

1. Union busters? (7)(6)
2. In which you might see an exchange of bishops (5)
3. MIX, for one (4)
4. Package deliverers of the present day (8)
5. Quickly go through the seasons, say (5)


Anonymoose 9:17 AM  


OffTheGrid 9:24 AM  

I think the clue makes sense. DST starts and causes you to change your clocks. You don't have to but good luck with your schedule if you don't.

Nancy 10:08 AM  

I worked on this slam-dunk easy puzzle with my mind elsewhere and got exactly what I deserved: an extremely careless DNF. Was wondering why I couldn't reconcile the "H" of mOoLAh (26A!) with what should have been RBI but instead was hBI (27D). Never questioned CmROM (21D) and never even saw AoDEN (23D; don't ask!) That'll teach me to underestimate Monday puzzles!

Before I realized I had a DNF, I was kicking myself for finding the puzzle quite dull, even though it had a clever theme and was well-executed. I wanted to like it more than I did. So the DNF serves me right. Glad I wasn't competing for the $100,000 first prize.

jberg 10:14 AM  

I loved the clue for TOASTED— evoking images of newlyweds sharing the first breakfast on their honeymoon.

When I was in school everyone learned about how John Alden proposed to Priscilla Mullin as a proxy for Miles Standish, who was not a good speaker. She famously replied “Why don’t you speak for yourself John?” But maybe they don’t teach this stuff anymore.

Joseph M 10:15 AM  

Loved the clues for BLAST OFF and RIP TIDE. Otherwise this was a pretty ordinary easy puzzle. Not a lot to YAK about.

Liked Rex’s phrase “MORTON SALT old.”

1. Bash rhythmic body movements
2. Bash expressions of emotion through harmonic frequencies
3. Bash highway construction
4. Bash a pin of wood used to hang things on

1. Slam dance
2. Rap music
3. Hit the road
4. Take down a peg

BobL 10:18 AM  

Seems to me, a lot of commentators should skip Mondays.

Anonymous 10:23 AM  

Did the same "UPTICK" "MAUI" thing that hung up Rex. The only rough spot. Almost immediately knew they were wrong when nothing else worked in that area.

Z 10:32 AM  

Liked this a lot. Put me on Team “What the Hell, Rex” (although maybe the “ for Ms. Lempel, whose work is regularly stellar, this feels somewhat below average“ explains Rex), i just don’t know what more one can expect from Monday fill. This theme was great and consistent and the fill never made me grind my teeth or give the puzzle the side-eye. So, maybe, not the best Lempel puzzle ever, but a pretty good Monday.

I think we all need to write Muse’s principal and complain that they are overworking her. I read Rex’s “-wn” question and just knew @LMS would have the answer. Sigh.

@JQ Public late Saturday- Let me be clear, That wasn’t defending Rex, I was attacking you and your ilk. The “How could Rex not know ‘X’” is one of the most tiresome comments out there. But you don’t keep it to Rex, we get the “How could commenter ‘Y’ not know ‘X’” too. And you are the same person who will then complain that Rex or the commentariat are showing off when someone mentions that they knew ‘X’ immediately. Tiresome. Don’t want to seem tiresome and petty? Write about the puzzle or topics arising from, not people.

xyz 10:39 AM  

Dense theme, dense crosswordese, word overlap with WSJ?


RooMonster 10:56 AM  

Hey All !
ROO getting quite popular in the puzs. Fine by me. :-)

Liked the cool Bash synonym thingamabob theme. Also liked the nice open corners in NE/SW. There are some not-the-greatest threes, but every puz has dreck. It happens. It's not bad in this puz.

ARBYS! Great stuff. Good food. Do y'all know what ARBYS stands for?*

One writeover at BeRG-BURG. Why I can never remember which one is an ice flow and which one is a neighborhood is a mystery.

2 F's. VSIGN. :-)

*America's Roast Beef, Yes Sir


Adam 11:11 AM  

I enjoyed the theme (and the rest of the puzzle) a lot more than @Rex did. I especially liked the clue on 8A (CAPES), and I thought all the themers landed solidly. Some crosswordese, but that bothers me a lot less than it bothers OFL. Overall a fun way to start the week!

jberg 11:40 AM  

@N.Hawthorne, from yesterday -- just read your comments, I have to admit you make some good points. I got carried away, but it was a cheap shot. I have friends who live in Concord, and they're fine people.

Yeah, too bad about Doyle's. I may have to try out the Eire Pub.

Anonymous 11:47 AM  

Panpipes seems like an outlier. The rest of the themers are all common words or phrases. Google pan pipe it sends you to pan flute. And Z don’t feed the trolls dude.

old timer 12:05 PM  

My question is how does OFL know what the theme is? Weekdays, we paper solvers get no title to our puzzle.

This one was full of misdirects, causing writeovers. NotOK before NOTSO. See? before AHA! I do fault myself for writing in "Moolah" before the far more Mondaylike DOLLAR. The result was more of a Tuesday time than a Monday time.

Masked and Anonymous 12:09 PM  

Lynn Lempel darlin puts on a pretty darn good bash. Fave bashin: the OFF one.

The non-themer longballs had an oh-so-slight case of alligator arms, in this MonPuz. Four 7-longers, max … faves: REPTILE AIRKISS. Also really enjoyed UPTURN, of course; who woUldn't.

Staff weeject pick: SRS. Classic plural abbrev meat. Nice weeject stacks in the NW & SE. Kindasorta gets U off to a runty solvequest start. Like.

Re: moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue award deliberations (yo, @pabloinnh) …

1. M&A always checks out the weejects' clues, right off the bat: {Adam's madam} = EVE, {Sophs. in two years} = SRS, etc. Cream of the runtcrop.
2. {Bullring cheers} = OLES is a strong contender.
3. Then I re-bumped into {$} = DOLLAR. Short, sweet, and exquisite. The Winner!

Admirably cool, *different* clues included: IRMA's & LAP's.

Thanx, Ms. Lempel darlin. How'bout also DIS-PLAYS?

Masked & Anonymo5Us


Michiganman 12:27 PM  

@Lewis, I always enjoy seeing your 5 favorite clues from the previous week. Today I briefly wondered why you picked "bishop exchange/Synod". Oh.....chess. When I did that puzzle I took the clue literally and never thought of chess. DOH!

@Z, Loved your comment about the tiresomeness of the "I can't believe he or she or whoever doesn't know that" posts.

Z 12:48 PM  

@Anon11:47 - I disagreed (obviously) but it didn’t strike me as particularly trollish.

Teedmn 12:57 PM  

This puzzle is a CUTIE, in my opinion. I thought the theme answers were clever and I thought it was amazing that there were that many "blast" words in phrases - and then @Lewis came up with a few more!!

I liked the two verbs side by side that weren't clued as verbs: IRONS and GORES. I liked the combo of bagels and newlyweds in the clue for 45D's TOASTED.

8A's clue had me wondering if Batman had a high laundry bill.

Lots of Monday fun, thanks, Lynn Lempel.

Masked and Anonymous 1:19 PM  

In case no one mentioned it yet, for further crossword bashers, see Nancy Salomon's 23 Feb 2003 SunPuz.

M&A Bash Desk

TJS 2:32 PM  

@Z, (Since you decided to bring this up again), I agree that personal insults don't belong here, but being surprised by someone's lack of familiarity with what would seem to be a basic area of one's specialty is fair game for comment, IMO. I still stand by my comment that it is a failing of our educational system, but saying " OFL has a PhD, a degree one can only acquire by mastering a lot of knowledge in a very narrow area." is not exactly on point, since it can be assumed that before one chooses an academic area for their doctorate,they have already majored in that subject in undergrad years, plus presumably been interested in the subject in a non-scholastic environment.
Don't think your Anon11:47 mention was referring to you, but to you responding to the "troll".

Anonymous 3:08 PM  

if you want an example of silo-ed (to use an au currant term) education: when I started at Clarkson College (decades before it got uppity in naming), in the 4 years (you had to declare major on acceptance) you had, IIRC, about 4 'elective' courses. and those were likely an intro to 'some other science I'm not majoring in' electives. for those that have never heard of it, Clarkson was (may haps still is) a science/engineering school that wouldn't offer any science that didn't involve higher math. so, no biology and such. there was 1 English instructor. and in one of the coldest towns in the Lower 48.

so, yes it is possible to gain a Ph.D. and never be exposed to 'liberal education'.

Z 3:32 PM  

@TJS - Second point first, I thought @anon11:47 was saying I shouldn’t respond to @John Q Public because they (@JQP) were being a troll. I don’t think @JQP was being a troll.

As for what a PhD should know, there’s a lot to know and only so much time. To the specific example and the confusion Rex mentioned, that is exactly the kind of confusion someone who read 20th century poets 30 years ago might have. I’m guessing here, but I’m going to estimate that 99.99% of Americans alive today who don’t have a liberal arts degree have never heard of either poet. Such is the fate of most dead poets. Should more people read and study modernist poets? Maybe. But they are so far down my “To Read” List that everyone else is going to need to stop writing and I’m going to need to live to be 200 years old for either of them to stand a chance.

jae 7:04 PM  

@Z et. al. - I have a Phd in psychology, specifically learning and memory (cognitive science). I spent my career working in educating and training. All I know about other psych disciplines (e.g. social, child, clinical, industrial...) I learned as an undergrad in the ‘60s or pick up via articles in the mainstream media. So yeah, my psych knowledge outside of cognitive is not very deep.

One thing I do know from my work in memory is that you are highly likely to confuse/misremember information that is similar in content especially if you haven’t rehearsed/recalled it for several years. That said, I knew both poets Rex mentioned but don’t ask me where or when I acquired that knowledge. I’m almost positive, however, that I’ve read neither of them (not counting what was just posted on the blog, of course.

You might want to google the article I wrote with George Semb: “Knowledge Taught in School: What is Remembered.” Note that the article has the all important “titular colonicity.”

Gulliver Foyle 9:36 AM  

Clare, you've probably already heard this law school summary a hundred times, but anyway:

First year they scare you to death.
Second year they work you to death
Third year they bore you to death

Thanks for the excellent write-up on a tight, interesting Tuesday puzzle.

Hank 6:14 PM  

That was part of my elementary schooling as well.

But it wasn't actually history - it was a poetic romance story.

spacecraft 10:31 AM  

LL's are never bad, and today upholds that thought. It's cool to realize how many ways you can say "Dis."

Hand up for the UPTick/Maui confusion; that caused a writeover. It was just the angle at which I came at it, having the UP- in place.

Maybe a few tired fill items, but as even OFC says, the theme is pretty dense. Several DOD wannabes strut the grid; I'll pick CUTIE Annette OTOOLE (they do cross!). You might say she's the "It" girl. Ouch. Birdie.

Burma Shave 10:44 AM  


ISEE that “TEN”’s a somewhat TRASHy flick,
ONE where the CUTIE almost died,
George RODE out to PICKUP that flashy chick,
and LASSO her from the RIPTIDE.


Diana, LIW 11:45 AM  

took a relook at yesterday's (Sun) but still don't completely "get" the theme - why the ( )? Oh well, I didn't have that "doctor" game in my youth.

Today was traightforward Monday with Lynn. gotta love her

gimme a PUN - PUN!!


Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for the PUNline

leftcoast 3:04 PM  

HEWn, nope. HEWED, yep. Monday, meh.

rondo 7:25 PM  

MORTON SALT makes this puz 'old'? Sure, it's been around forever, but so have Ford and Chevy and Benz. Do they make a puzzle old? Hardly. Thought it solid as ever from LL.

lodsf 10:04 PM  

Arby’s stands for Raffle Brothers. (Went to college with a daughter of one of the original brothers.)

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