Rapid green growth in lake or pond / MON 11-11-19 / 1960s-70s teen idol with the hit Julie Do Ya Love Me / General Mills cereal since 1937 / 760-mile river that starts in Switzerland / Protection sold at Apple store / Southwestern plant with swordlike leaves

Monday, November 11, 2019

Constructor: Evan Kalish

Relative difficulty: Medium (3:12)

THEME: THINK TANK (64A: Research institute ... or, when read as a direction, a hint to the ends of the answers to the starred clues) — last words of themers are kinds of "tanks":

Theme answers:
  • POOL SHARK (17A: *Hustler with a cue stick)
  • WINDMILL DUNK (24A: *Showy basketball two-pointer)
  • TEARGAS (40A: *Riot dispersal weapon)
  • BOBBY SHERMAN (51A: *1960s-'70s teen idol with the hit "Julie, Do Ya Love Me")
Word of the Day: BOBBY SHERMAN (51A) —
Robert Cabot Sherman Jr. (born July 22, 1943) is an American singer, actor and occasional songwriter, who became a teen idol in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He had a series of successful singles, notably the million-seller "Little Woman" (1969). Sherman mostly retired from music in the 1970s for a career as a paramedic and later police officer, though he occasionally performed into the 1990s. (wikipedia)
• • •

Found this one largely boring. The longer Downs would've been a nice bonus feature of an otherwise easy Monday if they'd been at all interesting, but they were just OK, and the theme ... well, I'm biased. Roughly a decade ago now, a friend of mine and I had a "tank"-based puzzle rejected by the current editor because He Had Not Heard Of Either Of Our Sherman Options. The theme was TANK TOP and the themers all ran Down and the first words (i.e. the "top") of the themers were all tank types. We had reasonably famous author SHERMAN ALEXIE in our initial draft. No dice. OK, hey, what about SHERMAN POTTER, who was, you know, a central character on "M*A*S*H" for, like, ever? Still no dice. Whatever, we submitted it to the LA Times and it ran with our original Alexie answer. The point is—BOBBY SHERMAN?!?!?! You've heard of BOBBY SHERMAN!?!?! Who was famous for like 10 minutes when I was like 4 years old!?!? I wanna say "OK boomer," but a real boomer Would Have Heard of Sherman Potter. Oof. Anyway, THINK TANK is somewhat clever as a revealer, but overall I didn't find the theme or themers very moving. The grid is also loaded with over-familiar stuff (NIA EENIE NENE ENOKI ASAHI HUH AAH ECARD).

TEAR GAS is somewhat grim. Does PASS GAS pass the breakfast test? I'd take it before TEAR GAS. Might make your eyes water, but not part of a gruesome police state violence ... I don't think. I can't believe this puzzle missed the chance to use "BABY SHARK" for the first themer. When you accept puzzles months if not years in advance, you're less nimble to cultural trends. "BABY SHARK" would've made this thing much more current. POOL SHARK is fine, but not as exciting. I guess the idea is that all of the "tanks" are used non-tank contexts, i.e. the second word changes meaning in a "tank" context (basketball dunk becomes dunk in water, tear gas becomes gasoline, etc.). So I get it. POOL SHARK makes for greater consistency, I guess. But it's less fun. In much more particular-to-me news, I hate the word ALGAL when I see it alone in a grid and I don't like it any better here in ALGAL BLOOM (30D: Rapid green growth in a lake or pond). Had ALGA and then no idea. The fact that that answer crosses BOBBY (about whom, also, no idea), took me from a probable comfortable sub-3 time to a very average 3:12. I mean, really, BOBBY SHERMAN. I had the SHERMAN and, sincerely and truly, wrote in ALLAN, who is, I'm sorry, the more famous first-name-five-letters-last-name-SHERMAN. Blah. Good day.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Slow Mo 12:10 AM  

It’s possible Rex’s puzzle from ten years ago was rejected because it was a sub par puzzle and Shortz was letting him down easy. Every editor does this; i.e. lies to avoid hurt feelings. No good deed goes unpunished.

jae 12:16 AM  

Easy and smooth. Just about right for a Mon. Liked it, quite a bit more than Rex did.

Anonymous 12:37 AM  

Try not to be hypercritical. I’d never heard of Bobby Sherman either but crosses were fair. Give WS a break.

Mr. Alarm 12:47 AM  

I know Bobby Sherman, but then again, I frequently sing his most famous song to my wife...Julie.

Anonymous 12:57 AM  

Cystic Fibrosis is a serious disease and shouldn’t be off-handedly clued in a crossword.

Anonymous 1:20 AM  

Sorry, but I never heard of Sherman Alexie, and even though I watched dozens of MASH episodes, I doubt I could have told you Colonel Potter's first name. But I certainly remember Bobby Sherman. And algal bloom was a gimme.

Rex, ten years is a long time to hold a grudge. I think you need counseling. Seriously.

chefwen 2:31 AM  

No hang ups with this fun Monday puzzle. Had to go back to find all my tanks which added to the enjoyment. I know precious little about basketball so I did have to change my WINDMILL hook to a DUNK, I can live with that. Had to dig a little to remember BOBBY SHERMAN.

Good start to the week.

Joe Dipinto 3:06 AM  

The Woof of Wall Street.

I would have gone for Cindy Sherman but Bobby probably needs the exposure. His hit "Little Woman" was pretty execrable though. Rex missed the opportunity to complain about its chauvinistic lyrics.

This seemed like a textbook example of what a Monday puzzle should be, up there on the Lempel level. The themers are tight, the 3-letter acronym count is almost zero, it all works very smoothly. I'll definitely take it.

On the subject of execrable songs, I've never cared for this Oscar winning one, but Sting actually does a cool job with it.

Anonymous 3:53 AM  

I completely agree that Sherman Potter is far more famous than Bobby Sherman.

I had algae bloom before algal bloom, which took a moment to track down after finishing without the usual fanfare. That brought me to something slightly slower than average Monday time.

I have to agree it was a bit on the boring side, but overall it was a reasonable Monday. I did forget to go back and see the theme until I came here. I had been expecting a last-word theme where the last word went into a fish tank, not it being a kind of tank. When that didn't pan out, I forgot to look back after finishing to see what had actually happened.

Hank 4:51 AM  

Quality fill for a Monday. Japanese beer and 'shrooms. What's not to like ?

I had DAVID CASSIDY at first for 51A and was surprised when all the letters started changing as I filled in the downs. It was like a slot machine.

The clue for ADAM gave me a chuckle. But maybe that's an old crossword joke.

Lewis 6:12 AM  

We have a cute theme with an original feel -- I don't remember "THINK" being used this way in a reveal before. We have an overall junk-free grid, eight K's for a Scrabbly feel, plus we have two question-mark clues (for ADAM and BAA) to introduce newer solvers to that concept. IMO, what we have here is an excellent Monday-level puzzle, one I enjoyed doing. Nice work, and thank you, Evan!

Hungry Mother 6:14 AM  

Quick and easy, ignoring the theme. Four sips of coffee. Nice start to the week.

GILL I. 6:28 AM  

Felt kinda dreary with SHOT RUES BOTCH STINK TEAR GAS HOOD ETHER HATED RACKED DREAD. Then I made a big mistake and Googled BOBY SHERMAN and did a little listen to that Julie song and wondering why in hell she would want to love him. The background is filled with teens letting out the screeches from hell. Go ahead...have a little listen - it will certainly make your morning.
BAA AAH a BAKER and a COOK walk into a bar. They eat a little PHO with a side of ENOKI and order ASAHI. AH-So.
Be kind to your SEA TURTLES..they are endangered.

Dave 6:31 AM  

Rex, I love your blog and over the past few years reading it has become a part of my daily routine. Sure, at times you can skew a little political, but I don't mind so much because our politics generally align (and I'm sure most NYT readers' politics are similar as well). And the NYT puzzle needs to be consistently called out about its ridiculous NRA/gun fetish, so thank you for leading the charge on that topic.

If I could offer one suggestion, though, your blog is at its weakest when you bring up "inside baseball"-type issues and old rifts between Will and yourself. 99% of your readers don't care about that sort of stuff, and I'd bet a lot of money a majority of us are at least a little turned off by it, regardless of whether or not you have a legitimate beef on any particular point.

"When given the choice between being right and being kind . . . choose kind." --Dr. Wayne Dyer

three of clubs 6:55 AM  

I suspect OMANIs are more ubiquitous in crossword puzzles than in the wild.

Geezer 7:11 AM  

You are trying way too hard to be offended.

Anonymous 7:24 AM  

Not a biggie and not directly related to today's proceedings but....
Right next to the puzzle in today's paper is the Jeopardy clue of the day. I won't spoil anyone's fun by revealing the answer but a while back @Z protested this author's inclusion in a a puzzle. Said the name wasn't famous enough. I protested, and feel a small sense of vindication today.

Also, Bobby Sherman is pretty famous. And Rex didn't know alga bloom?! They're frequently big news. They were earlier this fall when a particularly nasty type of bloom showed up all over the east coast. killed dogs in numerous states. Nice puzzle EK

OffTheGrid 7:27 AM  

I am embarrassed but here's what I did. I had some crosses for 24A and entered WIlDbILLDUNK. I got the "Not so fast you have an error" message when I finished but could not find it. I don't know rugby or Hawaii birds. I mean, why not a wild bill dunk? You could wear a cowboy hat and shout "giddyup" as the ball goes through the hoop. OY VEY.

Anonymous 7:30 AM  

Instead of Bobby Sherman, I would have gone with the orphan boy adopted by the dog scientist Mr. Peabody from the Rocky and Bullwinkle show, but I suppose I’m dating myself.

Small Town Blogger 7:35 AM  

All I can say is a big sarcastic “thank you” for putting the Baby Shark earworm back into my head. Sigh.

Todd 7:42 AM  

Reasonably famous author SHERMAN ALEXIE, you have to be kidding? I googled him and still have no idea who he is. And I just wrote in Bobby Sherman. And I'm 57 not from his era either.

Suzie Q 7:43 AM  

Better than usual Monday that should please beginner solvers.
I liked the unusual revealer. The first three tanks were fine but when I saw Sherman it raised the fun a notch. I was not expecting that.
I can't say I was a fan but I do remember Bobby. If Rex wants to complain about 15 min. of fame let's save that thought and see if his beloved rappers are still famous in 40 years.

I must ask though, what is Baby Shark?

QuasiMojo 7:44 AM  

I normally don't do the Monday puzzle but I got up early today and gave it a SHOT. Bobby Sherman was a pleasant surprise. I used to play his 45 of Easy Come Easy Go over and over until my parents nearly broke the record. He was never a giant star but he was on a gazillion TV shows back when as a guest star and is still in reruns for "Here Come the Brides." He was Sal Mineo's discovery.

Someone made a comment about Elle Sommer yesterday saying she was totally unknown. I beg to differ. She was a popular star in the 60s and was in Casino Royale which guarantees her some degree of lasting fame since the Bond franchise is like the one for Star Wars or Star Trek.

Which reminds me. Rex often shows his disgust for stars in puzzles who have been accused of Me Too moments. But he never mentions it when Takei is included. I find that odd.

Anonymous 7:52 AM  

I dunno about counseling, Rex, or rejected puzzles, but speaking of tear gas, did you see the piece in the non-xword part of the NYT today? The one about the guy (and it must be a guy) who is intentionally misplacing anti-Trump, pro-gun control, and feminist books in the Coeur d'Alene library? Here's what he says about why he's doing it: “Your liberal angst gives me great pleasure.” Consider the possibility that you are being trolled--not personally, but by an entire culture. Sometimes the most powerful response is none at all.

Speedweeder 7:53 AM  

@Anonymous 7:30 - Yes! I loved Mr. Peabody and Sherman. And Rocky and Bullwinkle, and Fractured Fairy Tales. Great show for any age.

Clueless 7:57 AM  

😊 Mr Peabody … fond memories
More than Bobby Sherman, whom I only vaguely remember & doubt will recall later

Anonymous 8:07 AM  

Rex's silence on Takei is the furtheest thing from odd. Heck, it's predictable. Takei is on the correct side of the political aisle. Just like Katie Hill. They both get a pass cause they're not Republicans. That they're creeps is nothing compared to their blue bona fides.

mmorgan 8:15 AM  

Count me among the “Who is Sherman Alexie and I didn’t know Col. Potter’s name was Sherman but Bobby Sherman was super easy and I also loved Alan Sherman and Sherman and Peabody” crowd. Otherwise this was a fine Monday. And I’m glad to know that Bobby Sherman became a paramedic and a police officer. Who knew?!?!

Anonymous 8:18 AM  

For what it’s worth, I’m 33 years old and I’ve never heard of Bobby Sherman but I absolutely know Sherman Alexie. I’ve even read some Sherman Alexie books. A Sherman tank on the other hand? No idea what that is- so this all seems moot.

Kevin 8:26 AM  

I would have gone with P Sherman 42 Wallaby Way Sydney.

pmdm 8:28 AM  

That someone lets a rejection from ten years ago (a rejection that elsewhere became an acceptance, so no harm done) color the response to a contemporary puzzle speaks more of the person than the puzzle. That said, I've worked with people who held grudges much longer than that. Some with good reason. There's no reason to get annoyed at a person who voices such grudges, unless the communication devolves into something that could seem more like persistent nagging. It may feel good to get a gripe off one's shoulder, but I don't think most readers of this blog care to be treated as people who come here to get dumped on. I found the story interesting and worth relating, but the recounting of it more whiny than I would like.

What I did like a lot was the puzzle itself. I thought each cross of the more difficult entries (such as BOBBY SHERMAN, a person way outside of my knowledge) to be quite easy, even for new solvers. Nice way to start the puzzle week.

Anonymous 8:41 AM  

I’m sorry, Rex, but there’s not a woman over 40 who doesn’t know Bobby Sherman. Impossible.

squawk 7700 8:43 AM  

For the apparently controversial 'Sherman' clue....why not build it around General William Tecumseh Sherman.....after whom the tank is actually named.
He who famously said, "War is Hell". That would eliminate any 'generational' bias.

And speaking of war....on this Veterans Day.....HAND SALUTE! and thanks to all that served and are serving today.

Wm. C. 8:44 AM  

So, OFL sees "TearGas" as "part of gruesome police state violence."

H-m-m-m ... I guess police just go out into random peaceful crowds and shoot tear gas at them to maintain their violence quota?

And I guess this shows OFL's general attitude to police.

Anonymous 8:52 AM  

Unfortunate use of tear gas, in light of Hong Kong. Good reason to avoid that kind of fill generally.

Lewis 8:52 AM  

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

1. Lacking a compass, maybe (6)
2. Swimmer with big calves (4)
3. Half-assed sort? (4)
4. Matter of great interest for the United States (4)
5. Take a pointer? (6)


Anonymous 8:53 AM  

I'm a woman over 40 and I have no idea who Bobby Sherman is.

HuskerJoe 9:01 AM  

@Quasi: a quick Google search will show that Takei's accuser retracted all of his accusations. But why let truth get in the way of a good story, huh?

LOL at the Rex haters here. Just so you know, there's only one Rex and his blog/review is just one critical voice...that one voice is easy to ignore. But here in the comments section, it is a cacophony of voices yammering on about it...not unlike the very post they are bitching about. Seriously. We get it. Loud and clear. Not sure why you continue to read the blog, but you do you. I just wish you'd see how you're just annoying as you claim Rex to be.

As for the puzzle, BOBBYSHERMAN was a top choice in my sister's record rotation. Along with Bobby Vinton. So I had no problem there. I only knew him as my sister's fav, I think I might remember him on the radio...but then I also always confused him with another Bobby...Goldsboro. So many Bobbys...

EENIE and TINY in same puzzle seemed weird.

RAD2626 9:03 AM  

I am a little out of the mainstream today. I liked both the puzzle and the theme, and knew both BOBBY SHERMAN and Sherman Potter, but I did not think this was at all a normal Monday offering. YUCCA,TAKEI, OMANI, NENE, ENOKI, ALGAL rather than ALGAE and the aforementioned SHERMAN would be tough for a new solver in my view. But I am glad everyone else seems to disagree. And it gets the week off to a satisfying start.

SouthsideJohnny 9:04 AM  

Lol, if we had a vote, BOBBY vs ALEXIE (SHERMAN), I suspect BOBBY would get more than 60% of the vote - which is landslide territory.

@pmdm - I agree that Rex is free to say whatever he wants on his own blog, and I too occasionally find his “inside dope” entertaining and insightful. The thing I do think is worth pointing out to him though, is that his anger (and perhaps insecurity) constantly seeps through into his commentary as he feels compelled to find even the most insignificant (or sometimes invented) reason to “settle the score” on a daily basis. This unfortunately adversely impacts his credibility level when he has legitimate constructive criticism (I believe Shortz is on record that he doesn’t even bother reading Rex anymore). It is similar to the way most people discount or ignore Trump’s daily lies and Twitter rants (which is ironic, lol), or ignored the boy who cried wolf, or view the spectacle of King Lear slowly becoming unglued throughout the play.

TJS 9:10 AM  

Aha, a revealing clue to OFLs Shortz vendetta. Any chance this blog started around the time the puzzle was rejected? Just askin.
This was one of the better Monday efforts, imo.
Interestingly enough, I was all set to join the who-the-hell-is-Sherman-Alexie club until I googled him..An amazing life story worth looking into, so my thanks to Rex for the mention. Still would have gone for the Mr. Peabody angle, tho.

Nancy 9:25 AM  

The clues in this one were so mindlessly on-the-nose that I made a note of the three that weren't: RAM (9D); ADAM (41D); and BAKER (51D). In fact, one of them gave me trouble: For "what makes a ewe turn", I wrote down RAM instead of BAA. Both cute answers, I'd maintain.

I'm not sure what a WINDMILL DUNK is, but it sounds...athletic. Other than what I've cited above, I found both the theme and execution pretty YUCCA.

OffTheGrid 9:32 AM  

Please re-read Rex's comments about his and his friend's "TANK" puzzle. He is not whiny. Nor does he sound vindictive. It's quite matter of fact and I found it interesting. I liked what @Husker Joe 9:01 had to say about the Rex bashing. HJ also pointed out that the one and only accusation of sexual misconduct against George Takei was not at all believable and was ultimately taken back by the accuser, Scott Brunton. Oh, also, Takei forgave him.

Anonymous 9:37 AM  

QuasiMojo - better check your facts. The name of the actress you’re referring to is Elke (not Elle) Sommer and she was not in either movie version of Casino Royale (only one of those movies was part of the Bond franchise....and it wasn’t the Peter Sellers version). Maybe you’re thinking of her in the movie A Shot in the Dark with Peter Sellers.

kitshef 9:41 AM  

It has taken six years and many appearances, but ENOKI finally seems to have sunk in. Still never heard it outside of NYT puzzle.

Can’t see WINDMILL DUNK and not think of Blake Griffin. Or Vince Carter. Or Dominique Wilkins.

Often when Rex disses a theme, it seems as though he didn’t fully get it. Today, he clearly gets the extra level – the change in meaning of the final words – but still doesn’t like it. To me, that extra level shows a dedication to the craft that should be applauded.

Z 9:46 AM  

@Anon7:24 - Not sure being a Jeopardy Answer make you puzzle-worthy. Isn't the point of it all to be obscure? Otherwise it's just a button-pushing competition. I must confess, I don't remember the plaint, although I will still say his puzzle inclusion has far more to do with his letters than his (current) fame.

@Quasi - Let me reiterate - because the accuser fully recanted. Sadly, not the case with Sherman Alexie which is especially sad because Alexie's work is so important.

Knowing BOBBY SHERMAN but not SHERMAN Alexis is something to be embarrassed about. That Shortz didn't think him crossworthy 10 years ago is, frankly, stunning. 1993 PEN/Hemingway Award, 1996 American Book Award, 2001 Pen/Malmud Award, 2007 National Book Award... is it any wonder that people think Shortz might be a little bit racist? My god, do a 30 second google search and maybe reconsider the exclusion of the most famous Native American author of the '90s and Naughts. Today he'd have a #MeToo out, but not the case 10 years ago.

@Wm. C. - The use of TEAR GAS on peaceful crowds by police is well documented in the USA.

kitshef 9:48 AM  

On the Shermans, any of the ones so far listed would be fine today, other than Cindy. But ten years ago, when Rex's puzzle was rejected, I think Alexie would have been too obscure. Seems to me he became fairly well known only after Arizona banned his books, and famous only after being accused as part of #metoo.

RooMonster 9:54 AM  

Hey All !
Well, TANKs are in the Military, so I guess by some degrees of separation this could be a Veteran's Day puz.

Did like puz. Funky SW corner. Cool words like SCRUM BOTCH ENOKI SKEW. Fairly easy, did have a writeover at @Nancys rAm-BAA. Kooky clue. And (have to have it), my DNF at ALGAeBLOOM/PeANE. Didn't know how a PeANE could be a Completely flat surface, and apparently it's not. Dang. DNF on a Monday really hurts.

I'd bet I've had more puzs rejected than Rex. Looking back at some of them, though, I can see why. They seemed good when I made them. ☺️

Happy Veterans Day, All. (I was Army, late 80's) 😎


Doug Garr 9:57 AM  

Bobby Sherman? I remember every one- hit wonder from that era, but not Bobby's. Michael is definitely spot on to rail about this.

Joaquin 9:57 AM  

Yes, Rex. SHERMAN Potter is more well-known than Bobby Sherman. And Coors is more well-known than ASAHI. And table is a more common flat surface than PLANE. But this is a "puzzle"; not a "fill-in-the-blanks".

amyyanni 10:06 AM  

Raising hand as a fan of Sherman Alexie's writing....raising other hand to admit guilt over running around for too long a period in my teens singing "Seattle," a Bobby Sherman song. Had a little difficulty with WINDMILL DUNK but downs were fair. TRAMPOLINE is a bouncy entry; overall had more fun than usual on a Monday.

Judith 10:09 AM  

I remember Bobby Sherman well, loved that TV series he was on. He was a star on Tiger Beat magazine but was displaced by David Cassidy and Donny Osmond. You can tell a woman's age by asking who her childhood celebrity crush was. I was a David Cassidy girl as he seemed a bit dangerous and Donny seemed too goody two shoes.

QuasiMojo 10:39 AM  

SORRY. Yikes. I really got it wrong today fellow Rexites. I apologize. I guess I got up way too early and didn't get my facts straight. First of all, I was not aware that Takei's accuser changed his story. I usually get my news from PBS and I don't recall them mentioning the retraction. I should have checked that fact before posting today. Second, I swear I looked up Elke Sommer on IMDb and saw Casino Royale listed as one of her credits. I must have been having an LSD flashback. It's not on there now. Perhaps I was thinking of Mireille Darc. Anyway if I misspelled her name it was due to autocorrect. I know how to spell Elke. In fact I met her once at Roseland. Lovely woman. Gracious and beautiful. I feel awful about being such a boob this morning. I'm glad all of you piped in to set things straight.

Anonymous 10:59 AM  

Best Monday in recent memory.

Anoa Bob 10:59 AM  

SEA TURTLES (11D) have lots of friends hereabouts. There's even a SEA TURTLE rescue center on South Padre Island.

I bet lots of veterans out there know what TEAR GAS is like. In Navy basic training we put on GAS masks, went into a TEAR GAS filled building to see how the masks protected us from the noxious fumes. Yep, no problem. Then they made us take off our masks!!! That was a shock to the system. Do they still do that in basic training these days?

If you would like to get a taste (heh) of what TEAR GAS is like, go down to the beach when there's a Harmful ALGAL BLOOM in progress. I've experienced both. Very similar.

Along with "War is hell", I believe it was General William Tecumseh SHERMAN who said that "If I owned Texas and Hell, I'd rent out Texas and live in Hell."

Masked and Anonymous 11:00 AM  

TANKS for the fun, Mr. Kalish.

staff weeject pick: ESP. I had this eerie, unexplained feelin that @RP would rant about this pup some more today, but he waxed nostalgic about an old puz rejection, instead. So much for M&A's ESP abilities.

Mark m&e in the "knew BOBBYSHERMAN" column. Actually, I found the fillins to be admirably smoooth, throughout the solvequest. Only nanosecond hiccup was in the RAM-nope-BAA/ASAHI area. And that lasted only a couple of cinnamon roll chomps-worth.

Related stuff that starts or ends themers is a pretty frequent theme mcguffin. But, it evidently still sells. Just need a sparkly revealer, to put U over the [tank]top. THINKTANK is a good one. TANKTOP ain't too bad, either. Shoot -- maybe even put one at both ends of each themer, and have a TOTALLYTANKED revealer [might hafta be a TuesPuz then, tho].

M&A's ESP predicts that tomorrow's puz will not be about TANKS.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


mathgent 11:03 AM  

As Nancy said, YUCCA.

Mondays are for new solvers, but "Little Red Riding _____"?

Bax'N'Nex 11:03 AM  

Anonymous @12:57 a.m.:

Fake or overblown political "correctness" is also becoming a serious
illness. You can now be the poster boy/girl/non-binary for it.

And we finally get to see a glimpse of why Mike hates Will Shortz so much...As he portrays in this blog, he is superior to everyone, so how dare Will reject his perfect puzzle! Sherman who, Mike?


Sherman Plunkett 11:03 AM  

Don’t know Bobby Sherman or Sherman Potter but know Nat Sherman and Richard Sherman.

Bax'N'Nex 11:10 AM  

Had "Alleyoop shot"...it fit. Both the number of squares and the clue, IMO...


Bax'N'Nex 11:12 AM  

And one last question...why would a robot be posting here?

My computer, (kind of a robot) keeps checking to see that I'm NOT a robot.


Anonymous 11:14 AM  

well... got POOLSHARK sans theme answer. since we live within shouting distance of Woods Hole and Mystic Aquarium and other effete Eastern Intellectual instituions, and 'research' is what such places do, that led to WI...DUcK. took a while to get the themer. I like the animal version better.

pmdm 11:39 AM  

Southside Johnny: I think I have commented before that the manner of Mr. Sharp's tone has aliented people like Shortz, removing any influence that ever may have existed. And I have said that is unfortunate, because Mr. Sharp does make some very good points. Therin, I suppose, lies the tragedy.

Off the Grid: If you are referencing my comment, I did not state that the content of today's write-up was whiny. I said I found it to be whiny to myself, and that is my subjective response which may or may not reflect reality. In truth, "whiny" is not exactly the correct word, but I just didn't have time to come up with a word that better describes my reaction.

TJS: If my memory is correct, Mr. Sharp soured on My Shortz well after he started this blog. I remember one of his puzzles was published while this blog was active. (Perhaps you can find the puzzle at the XWordInfo site. Search for puzzles constructed by Mike Sharp.) I do believe that the rejection of one of his puzzles, as mentioned in one of the write-ups, coincided with an increasingly negative tone in the write-ups. But that is only a distant memory that maybe someone else will confirm as true or false.

Frog Prince Kisser 12:04 PM  

@ OffTheGrid 7:27 AM

I did exactly the same thing because SCRUb seemed fine as a “Rugby formation,” as did lENE for a “Hawaiian bird”!

jberg 12:15 PM  

I really liked the revealer, which made me like the puzzle even more. I mean, it's Monday, so there's going to be some simple stuff, but I liked 3 of the 4 long downs (IPHONE CASE not so much). How can you not like a TRAMPOLINE? Well, tbf, some disabilities might make it unusable, but even then it's fun to watch.

I did hesitate over the L/E choice in ALGAL BLOOM, but the cross was pretty clear (almost spelled it PLain, though). And SEA TURTLES are just great animals.

So I didn't know BOBBY SHERMAN (tried Darin, Rydell, and then decided to wait for the crosses), and yes, I would have known Sherman Alexie, but not Sherman Potter. But so what? We all know some things and not other things; that's what crosswords are for, to teach us the other ones while we're having a good time.

But @OfftheGrid is right about Rex's comments -- he brings up the old puzzle by way of full disclosure of his personal bias here, although once he brings it up it gets him a little angry all over again, as happens to all of us.

As for NENE-- well, it's crosswordese, so those who didn't get it this time will have another chance. But there are other birds in Hawaii! For those seeking a 4-letter Hawaiian bird with convenient letters, let me commend the IIWI, the 2018 American Birding Association Bird of the Year; I'd have its picture on my IPHONE CASE, except that I don't use one, so it's on the back of the phone itself. Here is a descriptive writeup.

Second row up has 13 letters, 6 of which are E, with 2 double Es. Kind of fun to look at.

As for Jeopardy, I think the title of that book is more famous than the author with the Dutch name, especially as clued.

Molly 12:31 PM  

I adore your insight and analysis. Thank you. The people commenting are generally hideous. Keep up the good work

CDilly52 12:41 PM  

Wow. I rarely get this snarky, but Rex sounds like sour grapes this morning. I found this refreshingly more zingy than the average Monday, and am very involved with attempting to force our city to spend more on water quality because of the critical ALGAL BLOOM in our primary (and only local) water resource. It is a huge “real” thing!

David 12:46 PM  

Wasn't going to comment today, but @Joaquin, you made me laugh out loud, thanks.

all the girls loved Bobby Sherman, the guys not so much

hand up for Wild Bill Dunk because how would I know and I had WI_D_ILLDUNK with no clue about basketball (well, "dunk" was obvious), rugby, or Hawaiian birds.

that's it, I liked the puzzle for a Monday morn

wilsch 12:52 PM  

I'm a boomer, so I know Bobby Sherman, Sherman Potter and Allan Sherman.

GHarris 12:59 PM  

Absurd commentary, fun puzzle. Did you know that the organizers of today’s march in New York City to memorialize Armistice Day and honor vets have forbidden any marcher from carrying a sign that includes the word “peace”?

Teedmn 1:02 PM  

Any of the SHERMANs would have worked for me too, though I would have had to dig a bit for Cindy. But, @Gill I, I was ten years old when "Julie, Do Ya Love Me" came out and 8-10 when Bobby's TV series, "Here Come the Brides" was on air. I had a school chum staying for a sleepover and we were watching the show as our evening's entertainment. Jeanine grabbed one of our throw pillows and every time Bobby appeared on the screen, she screamed and hid her face in the pillow. I thought this was extremely odd but it was obviously learned behavior - she had 3 older sisters who must have swooned over him also. Too weird for me - I don't get the "screaming idol crush" thing. I do now have a damn ear worm with that song though - it was way over-played on the radio in its day.

My co-worker and I both liked this puzzle, especially how THINK TANK, as clued, sounded like a movie pitch.

From the clue for 12D, I was thinking of Apple's warranty program so I ended up briefly with IPHONE CASh. I must say, having a hard case on my Android phone has saved me a couple of times. CASh, probably not!

Thanks, EK, I found this both fun and Monday easy.

Joe Dipinto 1:02 PM  

@Quasi – maybe you were thinking of Joanna Pettet?

Elke Sommer was also in a movie I liked called "The Prize", a pseudo-Hitchcock affair with Paul Newman as a dissolute American writer visiting Stockholm to pick up a Nobel Prize. She plays his minder while he's in town. Edward G. Robinson is in it too.

Anonymoose 1:05 PM  

OK, but still WRONG.

Briggadoon 1:18 PM  

Felt like a typical Monday to me. No problem with Bobby Sherman (which, to be fair, I only know as a Simpsons reference). I did have 'SAUDI' in place of 'OMANI', but that was corrected by crosses easily enough and didn't slow me down much.

'THINKTANK' is a clever enough revealer (which for a Monday, is all you can ask). At least it made sense!

davidm 1:32 PM  

I may stop doing the Monday puzzles because they are just too easy to the point of boredom. The only hitch I had was initially writing in SAUDI instead of OMANI.

But … and this is what really gets me. Why does the constructor and/or editor insist on making things bloody obvious? This happened last week with the JUICY PART puzzle, in which the “juicy part” to each themer was grayed out. Huh? How about letting the solver hunt down each juicy part, without the help of grayed-out squares???

And today … the clue to the revealer included, “… when read as a direction.” Ugh! Stop! Omit that clause. Let the reader figure out for him/herself that THINK TANK can be read, not just as adjective/noun, but as verb/noun! There is the little a-ha! moment, right there! But the clue TOLD you how to interpret the two words. Why???? :-(

Shoreman 1:48 PM  

Yet PMDM you found the time to comment again or was it a whine. Chin-Chin.

Anonymous 1:58 PM  

though I would have had to dig a bit for Cindy.

ah... dirty pictures!! unless there's more than one of her.

QuasiMojo 2:03 PM  

Thanks @Joe DiPinto. I remember loving "The Prize." It was based on an Irving Wallace novel.

Anyone remember SHERMAN Billingsley?

Master Melvin 2:10 PM  

Something most seem to be missing: as much as I love Col. Potter, the construction calls for SHERMAN to be the LAST name so the good colonel would not work. Rex's construction calls for it to be a first name.

This whole rant is just off the wall.

Joe Dipinto 2:49 PM  

@Master Melvin – that occurred to me too. But on rereading, I don't think Rex meant that his Shermans would have worked better in today's puzzle – just that they are (in Rex's mind) better-known than Bobby and yet had been unfairly rejected once upon a time by the evil WS.

Anonymous 3:12 PM  

The author has a Danish name, which makes sense, owing to his Danish nationality. Go ahead, ask me anything at all about Ribe, Denmark. Or The park on the western tip of long island that bears his name.

Photomatte 3:48 PM  

Did anyone else have an error with the online version? I filled in every square correctly and still got the message that I had one wrong. I rechecked it and it was all good. Weird...

Anonymous 3:50 PM  

Jeopardy is a buzzer game.Contestants answer questions correctly more than 94 % of the time ( First answer). If you go down to second and third answer, the percentage is just shy of 99.
You know who is famous. Famous enough for a silly game show. Famous enough to have a massive ocean-side park in the most populous city in the country named for him and famous enough for the NYT crossword.

Bea 3:50 PM  

Alexi & our beloved MASH colonel are known to me, but darn it if I knew who Bobby Sherman was. I may need to listen to the song referenced in this puzzle!

Giskarrrd 7:33 PM  

His big hits were in ‘69 and ‘70. A 40 year old was born 10 years after that. I think you’re at least a couple decades off.

BarbieBarbie 7:41 PM  

I know all the SHERMANs. What do I win?

RooMonster 8:50 PM  

What about SHERMAN Klump?

RooMonster Knows A Lot Of Useless Information That Will Never Be Of Any Good Use Guy

Anonymous 8:56 PM  

Well, if Sherman Alexie was in the puzzle, Rex might have objected because of me-too allegations against the author.

Susie 9:14 PM  

Agree with anonymous. We all knew him. So happy to see the clue!

Joe Dipinto 9:47 PM  

Another Sherman we forgot is Sherman Hemsley, aka George Jefferson. And British men's clothier Ben Sherman. He's probably too crossword-obscure, but I like his shirts – I have two from his limited edition Beatles line that I got cheap a few years back.

Non-Smoker 11:03 PM  

Nat Sherman cigars. The radio commercials are ubiquitous in the Tri-State area.

Nancy 11:34 PM  

@Quasi (2:03)-- SHERMAN Billingsley lived in the apartment across the hall from us when I was growing up. My parents thought he was an perfectly awful human being and provided accounts of what he'd done that they thought egregious. But because it was many, many, many years ago and because I was a very young child and because I have one of the fuzziest memories in the annals of memories, I don't remember what it was that he did, exactly.

Bitter 2:54 AM  


TJS 8:19 AM  

I guess I should have kept reading about this Alexie guy.

spacecraft 11:36 AM  

I have to agree with OFC on the SHERMAN thing. That was MY era, and he was a teen idol, all right: his fan club must have numbered in the tens. I would likewise pick "the 142nd fastest gun...in the West," Allan. ("Now 141 were faster than he, but Irving was looking for 143!") Good stuff.

I had similar fill issues, too, but I want to mention the open feel of the grid. There's a little nugget in the middle; that formation almost begs the revealer to locate there. The ten-letter couplets aren't too exciting; still for a Monday puzzle that has to be hard to pull off. Theme was fun to uncover--it took me all four until the aha hit: oh, those are all TANKS. And the revealer, as OFC said, is cute. NIA Vardalos, who is Greek but NOT big and fat, is DOD.

I'm not sure why the KNEE clue had to reference that idiot Kapernick, but I'll let that slide. Par.

Burma Shave 11:39 AM  


a SLY PRO who THINKs he’s hot,
you ADEPTly RACKED ‘em on the mark,
yet BOTCHed the STINKin’ SHOT.


rainforest 2:39 PM  

Nice Monday puzzle with a cool theme and a colourful revealer (an order: THINK "TANK"). Cute.

In addition to the theme, it was a fun solve with solid fill and some very nice long downs. I especially liked ALGAL BLOOM, something that is currently newsworthy. Maybe TEAR GAS is too, and for the record, its inclusion didn't bother me.

Perhaps the cluing could have been tweaked up a notch, but it is Monday, and so probably fine as is.

leftcoaster 3:53 PM  

Neat Monday theme, holding together nicely.

First thoughts were of BOBBY Darren before BOBBY SHERMAN and DruNK TANK before DUNK TANK. Neither fit of course.

Thought TANK a holding TANK of past thinking?

Anonymous 3:57 PM  

From Syndication Land

Like all proper names in crossword puzzles, Bobby Sherman is a know him or you don't. He was very popular in the late '60s early '70s show "Here Come the Brides." I am sure most teenaged girls at that time had a crush on him! I have his album of course, but my name is Julie! Seeing his name in the grid made my day...

leftcoaster 5:25 PM  

@spacecraft, Kapernick is an "idiot"? A bit harsh, I think.

rondo 7:30 PM  

Yeah, @spacey, probably closer to the moron category. Otherwise re: the puz, what you said.

Diana, LIW 9:23 PM  

First - never, ever pick up a cat by its NAPE unless you are its biological mother. Do. Not.

Or risk the consequences.

A Japanese beer on a Monday morning? Really? ade this harder than the usual mon/puz for me.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords, Cat Expet

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