Southeast Asian housemaid / MON 10-14-19 / Root in Polynesian culture / Stackable cookie / Specialized military group

Monday, October 14, 2019

Constructor: Gary Cee

Relative difficulty: Medium (3:21)

THEME: MAKE THE CUT (65A: Survive elimination ... or what one may do to the ends of 17-, 31-, 38- and 50-Across) — the "ends" are all things you can cut :/

Theme answers:
  • PERSIAN RUG (17A: Carpet woven in Iran)
  • HOT MUSTARD (31A: Tangy condiment)
  • VOCAL CORD (38A: One of two in the larynx)
  • FLIGHT DECK (50A: Where planes land on an aircraft carrier)
Word of the Day: VESTRY (23D: Clergy's changing room) —

ba room used for church meetings and classes

2athe business meeting of an English parish
ban elective body in an Episcopal parish composed of the rector and a group of elected parishioners administering the temporal affairs of the parish (merriam-webster)
• • •

I heard that the NYTXW gets something like 500 submissions a month. Impressive. Also, depressing. How bad *are* those submissions, exactly? If you're getting that many submissions, why is the quality of the puzzle so mediocre (relative to indie outlets). It's astonishing. This puzzle is a case in point. It's an oldish style theme that doesn't even work properly. It's fine. Familiar. It's something we're all used to seeing. But it doesn't really work, and it certainly isn't fresh, fun, current, or anything that makes crossword puzzles delightful. MAKE *THE* CUT? Ok, but you cut THE mustard, THE cord, THE deck, but you do not cut THE rug. No, you don't. You cut A rug (assuming this answer is referring to the idiom regarding dancing). You cut THE cheese. You cut THE crap (ideally!). You cut A deal. Sigh. Why isn't this group consistent? Also, all the cuts are idiomatic *except* deck, which is literal. It's just so ... ticky tack and low rent. The fill is also adequate, hyper-familiar, not terribly interesting. The NYT should be much better than this. They NYT should be much better than this. The NYT should be much better than this.

Always, always going to botch SLIER, which looks horrible (5D: More crafty). SLYER should be the proper spelling, it just should (5D: More crafty). I think most of the slowness I encountered on this solve was due to VESTRY, which ... sounds like it means "entryway" or something like that, but apparently means [Clergy's changing room]!? I guess I was thinking of "vestibule"?? Anyway, another word for VESTRY is "sacristy." Sigh. None of this is Monday-level knowledge, but whatever, now you know new things (or I do, at any rate). That is a horrible clue for AIN'T (36A: "You ___ kiddin'!"). Was the "n" -apostrophe supposed to cue the ungrammaticalness? "You ___ seen nothin' yet" wins. "___ Misbehavin'" wins. This clue loses. I somehow thought the FLIGHT DECK was where the pilot and co-pilot sit, like the "cockpit" or something? And I see that I'm correct ("the forward compartment on some airplanes," per Merriam-Webster) but that doesn't matter, because the clue is correct, technically, even if it's not the context in which most people are going to hear that term. Oh well. Not much else to say about this one.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. there's no reason for the oldest of old-skool crosswordese AMAH to appear on a Monday (18D: Southeast Asian housemaid). Maybe if you're desperate in a late-week themeless, or a theme-dense Thursday, you can go back to that answer, but otherwise, ugh. Mothballs.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Karl 1:08 AM  

AMAH. I rest my case.

chefwen 2:09 AM  

Monday easy with a fun theme. HOT MUSTARD made me think of a conversation @JC66 and I had not too long ago re. pass muster vs. CUT THE MUSTARD. I think the former morphed into the latter.

Loren Muse Smith 2:21 AM  

Ok. So yeah, RUG is the outlier since the phrase is cut a rug But I just shrugged and didn’t overthink it. Theme is stuff you cut. Maybe better would have been two that take the a and two that take the the? Or throw in one that takes no article?

Whatever the case, I liked this for a Monday.

AGIN – until I moved to WV, I just took in on faith that people said this word. But now I live in a bit of an AGIN-belt and hear it fairly often. Last week we were working on our homecoming float, and when Eli showed up with the spit he had made for our “Cook the Crusaders” theme, his dad stayed in his truck, eschewing the parent yap session for a quiet snack. I went out to thank him for his part in the welding of the spit and was standing on the passenger side BLATHERing into the window when he said

There. He moved.
Me: Huh? What?
Him: That buck up’ere. Agin that tree.
Me: Oh. Right! I see him.

I heard nothing else he said, my mind hijacked by the word AGIN. He had I’m sure already started not hearing what I was saying, his mind hijacked by my un-asked-for intrusion on his quiet time.

I like the -sy suffix to diminutivize a word. Would a perfunctory, clipped gesture to royalty be a curtsy?

Want me to like point out something? That will like mess you up? That will drive you like crazy? That you will like notice like all the time? Like uptalk? It’s called VOCAL fry – when people don’t open the cords enough to let a regular amount of air through and the voice gets really annoying, really fast.

Anyone who’s interested in hearing rampant vocal fries, uptalk, and like usage, tune to any Bachelor or Bachelorette rerun.

Brookboy 3:22 AM  

@LMS: your comments, after reading Rex’s, are always like aloe on a sunburn. With wit and grace.

Rex, to paraphrase a pretty good wordsmith, “The gentleman doth protest too much, methinks...” It’s a harmless little Monday puzzle. Why all the agony?

Unlike Rex, I liked it. I did think that it was somewhat challenging for a Monday, but in every case where I wasn’t sure of the answer, the crosses led to a quick resolution. Thank you, Mr. Cee.

Anonymous 3:25 AM  

Is HOT MUSTARD a thing? I've always heard it called spicy mustard or brown mustard.

Bea 3:30 AM  

@Brookboy, I don’t think you understand the meaning of the “doth protest too much” line.

jae 4:08 AM  

Easy-medium. As a former altar boy VESTRY was a gimme. Like it more than Rex did.

Anonymous 5:13 AM  

Typical public television watcher here - added a full minute onto my time when I had PFC crossing with PBS.

Taffy-Kun 5:44 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Taffy-Kun 5:46 AM  

Cook the Crusaders?

Lewis 6:17 AM  

One thing that made this enjoyable was the inclusion of lovely mid-length words: BLATHER, RAREBIT, SIDEARM, ENNUI, NOSHES, CUTESY, VESTRY, STATURE, HIRSUTE. Thank you, Gary!

Some random observations:
* I liked the abutting names with no-name definitions -- IRIS and TONY.
* Cross of OREO / DON'T GO -- My feelings exactly. May that cookie remain in puzzles forever, and may constructors struggle and occasionally, with great applause, succeed in producing a fresh clue in homage of it.
* Cross of BLATHER / SHAM -- Never mind.
* A puzzle-based poem --
* In the NLCS, with St. Louis down 2-0, maybe that top line, instead of reading CARDS DEFY MESS, maybe it should read CARDS DEFINE MESS.

David in Brevard 6:30 AM  

Nice Monday entertainment for this non-sleeper in the mountains of WNC.

Didn’t look back at the theme as I was going so fast (for me) to finish this better than average but slower than best at about 14 mins or one pint mug of English Breakfast Tea.

VESTRY was a gimme.
Hated writing in VOCALCORD as I was sure there should have been a H in there. VOCALCHORD? Clearly not.
Found some resistance in the SW with the militaristic clues leading to FLIGHTDECK, ARMY, CADRE.
Did OREO appear again, only saw it going back after reading @Lewis’s write up.

Altogether a nice start to the week.

Onwards and upwards

The Brit in Brevard

Hungry Mother 6:46 AM  

Just a few sips of coffee while I was SAILing through this one. I had to go back and forth between acrosses and downs, but no problems. I didn’t notice the theme as I solved and still don’t know it.

pabloinnh 6:53 AM  

Not sure, but I don't think OFL liked this one.

Everything went in in a hurry, and then I was trying to guess what the themers had in common before I got to the revealer, didn't, and was pleasantly surprised, so fun.

Knew vestry right away, but I've been going to church for a long time to sing in the choir. I'm singing at a memorial service today and the reception is in a little building next door that everyone calls the vestry.

I'm with LMS on vocal fry. Very few things annoy me as instantly and thoroughly. Ay!

Fun enough for a Monday GC. Do you like having a letter for a last name?

Music Man 7:00 AM  

Ugh - I agree with Rex today. This one really seemed old-fashioned and dull. RAREBIT was a nice surprise, though!

OffTheGrid 7:21 AM  

I was breezing through this and then I was looking at TONt at the bottom. I had put in CUTESt and CUTESY just would not enter my mind and I was not familiar with the chic meaning for TONY. It's probably been in the puzz before. Maybe I'll remember next time.

I propose a moratorium on OREO until we see Hydrox (The better chocolate sandwich cookie) in a puzzle.

JOHN X 7:28 AM  

Everybody knows that an aircraft carrier has a FLIGHT DECK, and a HANGAR DECK beneath that. They only started calling a commercial airline cockpit "the flight deck" about twenty years ago.

Read about the Battle of Midway, where flight decks play a huge role (I think there's a feature film about Midway coming out soon but it looks pretty awful). For more flight deck lore read about the USS Franklin, the USS Enterprise (CVN-65 not the starship) and of course the USS Forrestal, about the latter of which the U.S. Navy made a very famous damage control training film. Google it.

Anonymous 7:46 AM  

@ Music Man 7:00 AM

You can't complain about "old-fashioned and dull" in one sentence and then love RAREBIT in the next.

Pick a side, son.

Suzie Q 8:22 AM  

I'll take a Monday like this any ol' week. Lovely unexpected words like rarebit, vestry, and hirsute. Not your typical Monday fare.
Speaking of fare, someone earlier questioned hot versus spicy mustard but I thought of those little packets of hot mustard you get with take-away egg rolls.
Rex's review is suspiciously biased. Is there a feud pitting Rex agin Gary Cee?
I was in a good mood after solving this...until Rex told me I was wrong.
Thank you Mr. Cee.

pmdm 8:25 AM  

Depending on how you define "dull," a dull puzzle might be better for new solvers than one whose entries are less "dull" but more obscure for the new solver. The point of a Monday puzzle is ease of solving and not how "undull" it is.

Interesting that Jeff Chen and Mike Sharp took issue with the same problems with the theme entries, as expressed somewhat differently. I doubt their issues resonate with new solvers, but I could be wrong.

If you read the constructor's comments, you will learn that he is going to post a link to an interview of his with Shortz later this week. Might there be a little bit of a conflict of interest?

Happy Columbus Day.

Anonymous 8:26 AM  

Vestry may not be Monday level knowledge these days. But when most of the country was attending a religious service on Sundays it sure was.
And you can believe it or not, but the pastor of my parish actually used the term yesterday.

Doug Garr 8:27 AM  

Well, it's Monday, and Michael is often in a foul mood, anyway. I expected the usual snark about what was wrong with this puzzle, but there were so many good words in there that he could have called out. His comment about the large number of submissions also reveals that he has his long-standing issues with Will Shortz's editing of the Times' puzzles. I think he's following his mandate. The newspaper has always been known culturally as "middlebrow." Because Michael is such a dedicated solver/blogger/puzzle competitor I think he expects the puzzles to be more highbrow. It's never going to be the case. I usually breeze through Mondays, and this one gave me a couple of snags before I got it going by starting in the middle of the grid with FLIGHTDECK, the only possible answer. So I kind of liked it.

Anonymous 8:32 AM  

On of the most gut-wrenching scenes in The Last Emperor is when the Puyi is finally forcefully weaned from his wet nurse ( de facto mother).
His heart-rending screams for his "Amah!Amah!" as she is spirited away from the forbidden city make the word worthy of any crossword, conversation or aside.

pabloinnh 8:33 AM  

@Anon. 7:08 from yesterday-

Just saw your question from Sunday's thread and would like you to know that there are two Aubuchon Hardware stores with twenty minutes of me, both in VT.
They may be the last of a dying species, though.

davidm 8:45 AM  

I agree with those who cited all the nifty words in this puzzle, pretty sparkling for a Monday. I think Rex’s objection to RUG is misplaced. The word “the” in the revealer refers to the cut that one may make, and not the object of the cut. Hence, you can make “the” cut of “a” rug. So the definite or indefinite article is fine before the objects of the cut.

I had no problem with VESTRY even though I haven't been to church since I was about 12, and I learned a new word, AMAH. So, a good Monday! :)

SouthsideJohnny 8:45 AM  

Interesting that Rex pretty much gave yesterday’s effort a free pass, even though it had many of the same apparent shortcomings as today (really contrived theme entries, made-up words like HEROIZED etc.). Yet, today he his back to his old self. There certainly seems to be something rather personal (and selective) about his vindictiveness.

Lewis 8:51 AM  

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

1. One of two for four (4)
2. Not be oneself, but rather be one's elf? (8)
3. Something good in baseball, but bad in banking (3)
4. District 9, for short? (6)
5. Piece of furniture that's at least a couple of feet wide (7)


Unknown 9:01 AM  

Your gripes are dull and getting redundant. Stretch some mental muscles and say somethings positive tomorrow? Otherwise only the reader comments are interesting.

Crimson Devil 9:10 AM  

Is VOCAL Fry what Billy Bob employs in Swing Blade: yezzum etc.? A classic.
Re: Cook the Crusaders for homecoming, reminds of when Blue Devils were many teams’ favorite homecoming foe, thus “ fork the Devils “.

Anonymous 9:14 AM  

There are many in Massachusetts.

GILL I. 9:19 AM  

Oh, I don't know, @Rex. Mondays are like a favorite blanket. If you take it away and start getting all Erik Agard on me, I might not sleep comfortably. This was your friendly "Peanuts."
I suppose you could've fit in Cut the Cheese and crossed it with RARE BIT. Speaking of....I do love RARE BIT. I make it a lot...good cheddar on some toasted rye but that wouldn't be the classic now would it?
No problem with VESTRY. My brother was an altar boy; played the organ in every church we attended and my sister and I were in the choir singing AVE MARIA at the top of our lungs. CUTESY that CAPE COD sits on top of YACHT since I'm sure everyone that lives there owns one. I'm betting they don't do the DAP.
@Loren...I think I learned about VOCAL fry trough this blog. It's so awful that I had to open your link. It lead me to "Fake looking celebrities" and I couldn't stop watching. Take a look at what Wayne Newton looks like now. Dolly Parton comes in second.
Fall is in the favorite time of year. I make a bodacious pumpkin muffin.

Z 9:23 AM  

@Taffy-Kun - Since it is a homecoming float I’m guessing the Crusaders are the opposing football team.

Seriously, you’re going to give me 40% of the answer in the clue? Irksome.

Partly due to being behind on the New Yorker puzzle and the BEQ puzzles, but this weekend saw almost as many “taco” clues as OREO clues. As for “vocal fry,” I prefer my fries frenched.

@John X - Just a guess here, but I think most of us are more likely to hear FLIGHT DECK from a steward. For most of us the familiarity with aircraft carriers will only be through cinema.

@Maybe yesterday- I answered your question in yesterday’s comments.

Belinda Brady 9:24 AM  

Great puzzle. Thanks Gary and Will. One question. Why do you need quotation marks and exclamation point on “stay!” clue ? Stay and Don’t Go are synonymous without them IMO.

Sir Hillary 9:29 AM  

Ronnie Van Zant would take issue with @Rex's comment that "cut the rug" is not a thing.

Decent enough puzzle for a Monday. I like the inclusion of CARDS, given the reference to cutting a deck.

bookmark 9:33 AM  

I agree with much of what Doug Garr said. The"middlebrow" NYT crosswords don't need to compete with the indie puzzles. The audience for both is different. It's like preferring indie movies to more mainstream ones. I like both, and there's room for both.

Anonymoose 9:34 AM  

That's just 52D.

Anonymoose 9:39 AM  

You are always free to read or ignore anything you want.

Anne B. Davis (no relation) 9:41 AM  

In one sense I feel sorry for Sharp. His feelings of inadequacy are obvious. I’m sure there’s a history of trauma. Still, it’s not cool to take it out on a perfectly nice guy like Gary.

SAD 9:45 AM  

I wish I hadn't thought of this but I did. Would the VESTRY be the setting for the unpardonable sins committed by priests against altar boys and others? Sorry to be so dark.

Taffy-Kun 9:47 AM  

I was afraid it was a religious ceremony!

Escalator 9:51 AM  

I am here to say that DAP makes no sense for 41D. Give me TAP or RAP please.....

GHarris 9:55 AM  

Jeez, what a grouch. This was a clever and enjoyable puzzle with just the right amount of crunch for a Monday.

Nancy 10:04 AM  

It's always nice to learn something on a Monday. No, I don't mean the #1 album of 1998 or some stupid car make. But the "clergy's changing room" -- now that's interesting! I had no idea since I'm not there when they're changing their clothes. But when I had VES---, all that was coming to mind was VESper[s] and I know that's either a song or a prayer and that it's also a plural.

I wonder if there's ever been a murder mystery where the vicar is murdered in the vestry? With a viola?

RAREBIT. One of the great dishes of the world, which I should never eat because of my cholesterol, and now I can't anyway. No restaurant serves it anymore and Stouffer's has for decades now discontinued their package of it in the frozen food aisle. I used to doctor it, adding Coleman's HOT MUSTARD, Worcestershire Sauce, and a generous amount of flat beer which I had opened the day before. (Well, you don't think I made it from scratch, do you?) Anyway, I miss it. Probably have to move to Wales to get it.

Nancy 10:18 AM  

Oh, goody!!! I don't have to move to Wales at all. I just need to visit @GILL in CA. Where she says she makes RAREBIT "often". And -- be still my heart -- from scratch! Bet it's great, @GILL!

SouthsideJohnny 10:41 AM  

@Nancy, I’m a fellow RAREBIT aficionado. That’s one of those dishes that is more a technique than a recipe, lol. Mine is similar to yours, I let the cheese sauce (with mustard, of course) cool in the fridge, slather it on sourdough and pop it in the oven, then top with worchestire sauce - delicious served with a glass of wine and perhaps some roasted or marinated mushroom caps. Cheers !

Lynyrd 10:44 AM  

I was cuttin' a rug
Down at a place called The Jug
With a girl named Linda Lou

Nancy in Chicago 10:45 AM  

I had a horrible time today (for a Monday), because I messed up at 42A/42D. I saw "TV network" and had "BS" so put in a "p" without thinking. I don't really know what "Freon initials" should be ("pFC" sounds just as good to me as "CFC") so I had to re-read every clue to notice the "keep an eye on" part of the TV network clue and fix my mistake.

dadnoa 10:46 AM  

+1.....and Oreo.....Hey, Rex, maybe you could run a picture contest.....cookies, not Oreos that can be stacked :) Winner gets offered a guest spot.

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

Is HOT MUSTARD a thing? I've always heard it called spicy mustard or brown mustard.

Yes, it comes, dry, in a can, viz. Coleman's

I propose a moratorium on OREO until we see Hydrox (The better chocolate sandwich cookie) in a puzzle.

My Momma insisted on Hydrox, since it was made without animal fat. It was also the first such cookie, and is baaaaaaack.

Ya know, as a kid with minimal attention and speaking ability, it was always WELCH RABBIT. Like the grape juice.

Nancy 10:57 AM  

Hi, @SouthsideJohnny -- My *technique* was to 1) defrost the Stouffers; 2) heat it in a double boiler on the top of the stove; 3) stir in the hot mustard, Worcestershire and flat beer; 4) make toast in a toaster and 5) pour the RAREBIT over the toast. But your technique would work well, too.

Normally I'm a wine drinker. But I always liked RAREBIT best with dark beer.

Big Guy 11:11 AM  

@Nancy from Chi-town - CFC = ChloroFluoroCarbons, which contribute to the depletion of the Ozone layer (global warming).

jberg 11:30 AM  

Wow, one sure learns a lot from crosswords! Growing up in Sturgeon Bay, we had Welsh rarebit fairly often -- but as far as I knew it did not consist of melted cheese on toast, but rather of pieces of toast dipped into melted cheese, which was bubbling away in a fondue pot in the middle of the table. I'm sure it tastes exactly the same either way -- but until this puzzle, it had simply never occurred to me that one could make it without a fondue pot.

I got a kick out of seeing PERM almost next to TONY (as in Tony Home Permanent) down near the bottom.

Finally, welcome back @Loren! I've missed you!

What? 11:35 AM  

Is it just me or have Monday’s become too easy. No challenge, no fun.

Joseph M 11:47 AM  

Cut the crap, Rex. It’s not as bad as all that and it’s not a sign that Western Civilization is collapsing. We will get through this somehow and make it to Tuesday with fond memories of words like HIRSUTE, RAREBIT, and BLATHER.

Carola 11:57 AM  

A CUT above the usual Monday, I thought: a nicely hidden theme, solid theme phrases, and that substantial bunch of 7-letter Downs. My heart did sink a little at "cut a rug" not matching the idiomatic "the" of the others, but then I decided to take it as the proverbial intentional flaw in a PERSIAN RUG.

VESTRY: having grown up in a church-going family, that was easy to write right in. It also recalled to mind other regularly used church-related vocabulary: the pastor would announce that post-service receptions would be held either in the "narthex" (a word I don't think I've ever encountered since) or the "church parlors" (=the linoleum-tiled basement).

@jberg, that's funny about your RAREBIT. Down south in small-town Dane County, we only knew the toast version, and I don't think anyone had ever seen a fondue pot :)

Unknown 12:16 PM  

I don’t understand Chic —-> Tony. Cutesy saved my bacon and on a Monday. 🤷🏼‍♂️

GILL I. 12:18 PM  

@Nancy...Of COURSE you'er invited over. RARE BIT is so simple to make:
Whisk a bit of flour and butter together, add some dijon mustard and the MUST Worcestershire - keep stirring and then add your porter beer - keep stirring and then some cheddar cheese. Simple, easy, lemony squeezy. You can leave out the beer if you want but then it wouldn't be genuine. I always pour it over my rye toast then I like to brown the top under the broiler. can also add some cream to the sauce too if you want to be decadent....

Debbie H. 12:39 PM  

I enjoyed this one and it sailed along. My only stumble was with “hirsute” which I didn’t know and got from doing the across answers. Seems it’s used more to describe “his” shaggy chest more than anything about “hirs!

old timer 12:42 PM  

If someone finds the Cee-Shortz interview later this week please alert us here on the blog.

@LMS, you made my day, and welcome back.

Now Mondays are supposed to be super-easy, with a lightning fast solve for we daily addicts. When they put up a little resistance, OFL posts a slowish time (for him) and we get a peek at his pique. I felt a little extra difficulty myself.

This being Monday I did not expect to find any multiple layers of meaning in the theme. To me, these were just phrases where the words run together in the puzzle but are separate words in proper writing. The words at the end are CUT apart.

I grew up on Welsh RABBIT, which is, of course now a racist term, if the Welsh are a race. Known for their parsimony and penny pinching. My mother made it in a saucepan, with melted cheese (Kraft medium in her day, but we West Coast folks now use Tillamook). Worcester sauce flavored it, with the tiniest hint of cayenne pepper. Always, always served over a split English muffin. If you use a fondue pot and dip pieces of bread in it, what you have is (duh!) fondue. In my day no home had a fondue pot, but you could get it in a restaurant that feature other Swiss dishes. The Swiss only eat sit in Winter, but they serve it to tourists year round.

Z 12:46 PM  

Meta-bitching and Welsh Rarebit Recipes. What a fine Monday Comment Section. I remember people actually complained to Rex once upon a time about people sharing recipes here. Give me recipes any time over people bitchin’ about Rex’s bitchin’.

@What? - It’s a proficiency thing. Up next, trying to solve Monday’s faster or solving Monday’s only using the down clues.

@Sir Hillary - What!?! No link to the video?

Chip Hilton 12:55 PM  

I didn’t do today’s puzzle. My wife did and I came here to see if the group agreed with her take that it was a pretty easy Monday. I find it interesting that such a large percentage of the comments made mention of Rex’s disposition. Geez, what a downer he is. Do the group a favor and hand the task off to someone who can critique without sounding like he or she is being persecuted.

Preferred Customer 12:56 PM  

@Southside: Heroized made its first appearance in 1694 according to Merriam-Webster. Apparently it didn't catch on. PC

Joe Dipinto 1:08 PM  

We always called the vestry the sacristy. Let's see if I remember the vestments, from my altar boy career: the amice, the alb, the cincture (which you had to help the priest tie), the maniple (what purpose it served to have this thing dangling off your forearm I don't know), the stole, and the chasuble.

Once when my brother and I were serving with Fr. Wilson – who, it was rumored, could say three complete Masses in ten minutes – he forgot to put the chasuble on. "C'mon!" he barked at us, marching out to the altar before my brother and I could stop him. Later while delivering the sermon he happened to look down at himself, turned and screamed "why didn't you tell me?!" and ran back into the sacristy to put it on while we, and the congregation, waited. Fun times!

An average Monday puzzle, with some good entries: RAREBIT, CADRE, SIDEARM, HIRSUTE, CAPE COD. Put me on Team Hydrox – we only ever ate those, never that other brand.

Want some music? Say "please"...

Sir Hillary 1:11 PM  

@Z -- Yep, just lyrics today. RVZ elides that opening line, and by pure sound I couldn't be sure if it was "the" or "a", so I checked. Then a call came in, and I had to wrap things up quickly. Sloppy work on my part, and online lyrics being the hot mess they are, I'm still not 100% sure I'm right. But I enjoyed feeling superior. :)

Teedmn 1:14 PM  

Was Monday skipped in honor of Columbus/Indigenous People Day? I found this Tuesday hard, less due to the non-Mondayish words and more to the somewhat vague cluing (34A, 10A, e.g.)

And then there was my CUTsie in at 52D and thinking NBC had the eye rather than CBS.

VESTRY went in rather easily - I used to "read" at mass when I was in middle and high school. We all went out together - priest, altar boys and reader/singer. So I would be hanging out in the vestry while the priest put on his layers of vestments. It was rather fascinating, all the different layers, which varied based on the time of year and the holiday. I can only remember the name of the outer garment, the chasuble. And no, there was nothing "icky" about me being there - I was never exposed to any dishabille during this enrobing.

I laughed when I saw AMAH - it's been a long time, it seems. Four years according to xwordinfo, but back in 2015 it made 3 appearances so we've been lucky, folks.

Gary Cee, thanks for a puzzle a cut above the usual Monday.

Anonymous 1:29 PM  

Joe Dipinto,
You mean homily.

Anonymous 1:55 PM  

By coincidence, another "old school" bit of crosswordese will be on TCM later today. They are showing The Good Earth with the wife Olan. We used to see her all of the time. Amah reminded me.

tea73 2:21 PM  

@Nancy Murder in the vestry? Here you go

I found this meatier than the normal Monday. I don't think I've every actually heard the phrase "cut a RUG" though it sounds vaguely familiar. Thankfully the one and only film course I took in college covered "High Noon" so I saw it many time and remembered the song.

RooMonster 2:53 PM  

Hey All!
My father was on the USS Forrestal, on the FLIGHT DECK, as a matter of fact. Hated every minute of it! When he was called into the Captain's quarters (or wherever, not actually sure) they told him out of the entire ship, he was the only one not recommend for re-elinstment. His response? "Good" Apparently he was a trouble maker.

Took me a second for the ole brain to comprehend how MAKE THE CUT tied the themers together. Then the Aha with each one being "CUT THE" end word. Got a chuckle.

Liked this puz. Cool words, as others have noted. Sorta knew that DAP was a fist bump, but usually just referred to as fist bumps. Does anyone say, "DAP me, Bro"?

Why not cross reference GRAMMY and TONY? Asking for a friend.

Fix for Rex's bugbear AMAH, 5D-SLIME, 21A-MRT (A-Team character), 25A-EGGS, which begets 18D- ARGH. Har on the Argh.

No MIC/Mike kerfuffle today?


john towle 3:31 PM  

Who eats cheese & goes to Hanoi? Jane Fondue.

Served aboard the FID Boat (First In Defense) USS Forrrestal (CVA-59) in the early ‘60s…a great ship with a greater crew. The Med, Caribbean. North Atlantic & Sea of Marmara (Sailing to Byzantium) now Istanbul, In deference to W. B. Yeats…RIP FID & Yeats.



Richardf8 3:42 PM  

It’s a Monday puzzle. It’s about like filling out IRS Form 1040EZ typically in terms of pleasure. FLIGHT DECK came to me on the crosses and I never looked at the clue. I think it’s everything forward of first class, not just the cockpit itself.

HOT MUSTARD done right is not tangy, and does not leave you free to feel tangy. Hot Mustard pulls your sinuses out through your nostrils and stuffs them in your ears.

SLIER, at best, is a variant spelling and crosswordese.

As for VESTRY, as a Jew, everything I know about church architecture I learned from the NYTXW. I’ve chucked this into the same place in my brain where APSE lives.

chefwen 3:43 PM  

@GILL I - Try 1/2 a toasted English Muffin, top with crisp Nueskey’s bacon. Sliced hard cooked egg, slice tomato, smother with Welsh Rarebit. Pretty darn good.

Richardf8 3:44 PM  

Oh, AMAH is also Hebrew for Maidservant.

chefwen 3:47 PM  

@Nancy - Stouffers still makes Welsh Rarebit, try a different store or Amazon.

Kuhan 3:50 PM  

Spent a full five minutes because I had the full quiz solved but had "CUTEST" instead of "CUTESY" and have never heard "TONY" to mean "Chic" so I thought maybe "TONT" was some word I've never heard of.

ccredux 5:13 PM  

In her diaries, Virginia Woolf always misspelled YACHT.

Geezer 5:20 PM  

You who get a twist in your trousers over Rex are surely EMOT(E)ing.

GILL I. 7:59 PM  

Oh...yummers, @chefwen. Never heard of Nueskey's bacon...I have Bar S thick cut bacon...hope that will do?
Sorry, Moderators, but you give us foodies a puzzle with some delicious food you might get the recipes flowing. Beats the hell out of talking about Alou or A Rod's SIDE ARM any day....

Z 8:16 PM  

Final Jeopardy was a cheese clue. A rare bit of serendipity.

chefwen 9:01 PM  

@GILL I - It’s made in Wittenberg WI, I mail order it. 2 day delivery, they ship with dry ice. You may want to get a catalog, they have all sorts of smoked yummyness.

kitshef 10:03 PM  

Huh. I seem to agree with Rex's review almost entirely. He just forgot to criticize the clue for DONT GO, which had an unnecessary and misleading exclamation point.

@Big guy - depletion of the ozone layer is not a contributor to global warming.

Monty Boy 10:56 PM  

Easy for me; odd it was medium for OFL,

Read Frazz comic from yesterday for a laugh about the puzzles getting harder as the week goes along. If it's not in your paper, use GOCOMICS.COM - it's free. You may have to use the search button

Eliana 11:37 PM  

Harold Bloom died today at age 89. Twenty five years ago he wrote, in The Western Canon, “What are now called Departments English will be renamed departments of ‘cultural studies’ where Batman comics, Mormon theme parks, television, movies and rock will replace Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth and Wallace Stevens.” Prescient. R.I.P.

Big Guy 9:26 AM  

@kitshef - I disagree. The scientific literature overwhelmingly indicates that greenhouse gases (which include CFC) deplete the ozone layer, causing the greenhouse effect which not only contributes to, but causes global warming. See for example:

Burma Shave 9:47 AM  


she’ll SAIL a YACHT.


spacecraft 11:02 AM  

I was really disappointed when 1-a wasn't PAINT. That's what we poker players call the court CARDS, and would be a good way to make the clue plural without a plural ending in the answer. Oh well, it's Monday.

With this type of theme, I try to guess what the common thread is before I get to the revealer. Tried like hell today, but no. Therefore the revealer provided a good aha! MOMENT; this always adds to the experience.

I found very little to DIS here. The RTZ, maybe. This is one of those days (we're getting more and more lately) when one should ignore the lead blog. Despite having no DOD at all, today's offering scores a birdie.

Aphid Larue 11:10 AM  

My mother served the cheese sauce over Fritos, rather than toast. I think she invented nachos.

leftcoaster 2:21 PM  

Neat, clean, and nicely done. (Routine hesitation: Is it SlyER or SLIER?)

rondo 4:09 PM  

This puz does MAKETHECUT. Did not have crosses before chATtER became BLATHER. Minor Monday inkfest.

Worthwhile if you’re in L.A. is the GRAMMY Museum.

Sometimes the letters in the four corners spell words that could be xword answers like today’s SCAR (lasting mark), CARS (autos), ARCS (circle parts) and RCAS (XL100 TVs). Look for future comments on corner letter possibilities. Or you do it first. Extra letters when the corner is a black square (harder, I think).

This puz KNOT bad.

rainforest 4:42 PM  

Excellent Monday puzzle with a number of interesting words, a few semi-tricky clues and evident competence throughout. I liked the theme, and got a kick from the revealer which is spot on. It is quite the task to create a Monday puzzle which is sufficiently easy yet has some "crunch" to keep the interest up. This one fills the bill.

Write-over: SLyER => SLIER. Are both spellings OK?

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