Physical expression of frustration in modern lingo / MON 12-16-19 / Ending with Capital Faith / Bell-ringing makeup company / Recurring Tyler Perry movie role

Monday, December 16, 2019

Constructor: Howard Barkin and Kevin Christian

Relative difficulty: Easy (2:49)

THEME: ELVES (65A: What the answer to each of the starred clues has) — they do indeed "have" (as in "feature") ELVES:

Theme answers:
  • "LORD OF THE RINGS" (20A: *Trilogy set in Middle-earth, with "The")
  • RICE KRISPIES BOX (37A: *Container for a Kellogg's cereal)
  • SANTA'S WORKSHOP (48A: *Reputed place at the North Pole)
Word of the Day: MADEA (17A: Recurring Tyler Perry movie role) —
Mabel Earlene "MadeaSimmons is a character created and portrayed by Tyler Perry. She is a tough, elderly African American woman.
Vindictive in nature, Madea gets even in a bad crazy way. When asked by Dr. Phil why she felt the need to get somebody all the time, Madea answered: "Well when you gettin' got and somebody done got you and you go get them, when you get 'em, everybody's gon' get got." Additionally, Madea has a tendency to overreact and is willing to threaten to use deadly weapons, destroy property, use physical violence, take on the law, and use any and all means necessary to show up an offending party. Incorrigible in her overreactive ways, Madea has repeatedly landed herself in court (usually before Judge Mablean), anger management classes, house arrest, and even prison. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is very very vanilla in concept and execution, but, you know, I like vanilla pretty well. Theme is exceedingly straightforward, but it holds together, and the fill is never repulsive, and it's got a decent longer Down or two, and a funny little bonus theme answer down there with the ELVES in the SE (PÈRE Noël!). So YES, this will do. The shakiest answer—RICE KRISPIES BOX—which would never seem non-ridiculous standing on its own as regular old fill, ends up being actually the most interesting of the themers. It's also one of the few things that caused me to lose time today (a day where I finished in 2:49, which puts my last three Monday times all within one second (!) of each other). The word "Container" in the clue did not convey "packaging" to me but maybe a place you store cereal, or even a cereal bowl. So even though I could see the opening was RICE KRISPIES, I genuinely had no idea what the last three letters were until I went after the crosses. I also had trouble with the DESK part of HEADDESK (5D: Physical expression of frustration, in modern lingo). I always thing of HEADDESK as something you say, a metaphor for how you feel, rather than something you actually do, so "Physical expression" threw me a bit. Worst problem, though, was having the -ER at the end of 25A: Nag, nag, nag (BADGER) and throwing down PESTER. This made DICEY (slightly tough to get under the best conditions) impossible to see. Had to work back up from BAEZ and SLY to fix that little snafu. After that, no sweat until my inevitable confusion of OLAF and OLAV at 54D: Name of many Norwegian kings.

This grid looks almost like a template of late 20th-century early-week grids. So plain. Three long Across themers (three used to be much more common, something closer to the norm), and then a grid divided into nine more-or-less discrete little segments of roughly 3x5 or 4x4. This does tend lead to the emblandening of the puzzle, as there is only So Much you can do with a small corner, and when you give yourself nine of them, well good luck! But as I say, today they are all at least clean, and the grid does allow for a solid quartet of 8-letter Downs. It's not most festive Christmas puzzle I've ever done, but it does what it does just fine. My favorite part of the solve was seeing 47A: One more than bi-, seeing that the answer was three letters long, and wanting only PAN-. Then I realized we were talking muscles, not sexuality, and the somewhat less adventurous TRI- went in. Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


chefwen 12:50 AM  

Cute, cute, cute.

Had no problem at all until I arrived in the SE corner. Had ENVISion at 39D, I will never remember that choreographer’s name and the OLAV OLAF dilemma, I probably spent more time sown there than the rest of the puzzle.

Fun Monday.

jae 1:22 AM  

Medium. Solid and amusing, liked it.

jae 1:27 AM  

...and I recently found out that my grandson is reading “Their Eyes Were Watching God” for AP English.

G. Weissman 3:45 AM  

Sorry, but Snap, Crackle, and Pop are not elves. At best, they are elf-like figures. Keebler elves, okay; but the box for Rice Krispies does not “have” elves.

Loren Muse Smith 5:27 AM  

Pretty straightforward theme. I dunno @G. Weissman – I’d call Snap, Crackle, and Pop ELVES. The big omission is the Keebler bunch. Bet Howard and Kevin tried.

I liked UNDO so close to GOOF. Don’t you wish other stuff had a little UNDO button? Like you can say something, leave a voicemail, make a snort – whatever – and you had a few seconds to undo it?

I was unfamiliar with HEAD DESK and had to google it. Oh heck. That’s what I face every 7th period. Several kids. But mine zip straight pass the frustration phase that I guess is the HEAD DESK and go right to sleep. What a come-uppance, man. When I taught college, I prided myself that no one in my classes Ever slept. E. Ver. Not even during my 8am classes. Fast forward 17 years. Back when I was just a stay-at-home mom my daughter would come home from high school and talk about all the kids who slept during class, and I was so smug and self-righteous and Little Miss Priss Pot teacher who’s so scintillating and interesting and clever that that would never happen to me. My daughter and I would share this moment, this knowledge between us that I was something special, her thinking that her teachers were subpar, me certain that her teachers were subpar.

I had no idea. K-12 kids are not college kids. Ours enter the building at 7:30am whereupon they must be seated in the gym until the bell rings at 7:55. They cannot walk around. They go to classes until 3:30 pm and are fussed at to sit still and be quiet all day long. At lunch they’re to be seated. Some of them do have a PE class, but it’s an elective now. If there could just be one 30-minute span in the middle of the day when they could run around, monkey around, be loud – blow off some steam – maybe the invigoration would help. As it stands now, I’m lost. What do I do when I have 30 freshmen engaged and listening and then notice someone whose head is down? Do I break the spell and direct all eyes to the spectacle of my walking over to challenge him? Do I let him sleep? A lot of times it’s someone whose behavior is so disruptive I’m relieved he’s asleep.

Little side-note – three years ago, a student videoed a teacher sitting at her head desk headdesking like nobody’s business. Drool was involved. She was put on an “improvement plan.” Ahem.

SHELF could have been an Easter Egg somewhere. I’m enjoying all the roll-your-own variations like this. Or this.

Lewis 6:02 AM  

Nice cross of OBOE and REED, plus the semordnilaps of NOVA and AVON in the same neighborhood, and the puzzle suggests that TAXES are going down. I loved HEADDESK. Regarding the cross of AILEY and YES, my thoughts precisely. Look at how junk free this grid is! This puzzle is not only a doorway to crosswords for new solvers, it presents them with the taste of quality in a puzzle, and that's a gift.

T.T. Tiger 6:10 AM  

@G. Weissman (3:45am) Yes. They were conceived as gnomes - the earliest versions in the 1930's were much older and more obviously gnome-like. The late forties saw the first of several "makeovers." With each makeover, the gnomes got younger and took on more distinctively elven features, so that in today's version each one looks like and elf, talks like an elf and walks like an elf - but is still a gnome!

OffTheGrid 6:43 AM  

Agree with all the positives, including Rex's. But I don't know why he was trying to make Bi/TRI a specific reference. These are common prefixes with many applications. Bicycle-Tricycle. Bisect-Trisect and so forth.

I have always believed that Snap, Crackle, and Pop are elves.

Anonymous 7:14 AM  

Aren’t they gnomes? Which raises the question what’s the difference (if any)? Discuss.

amyyanni 7:22 AM  

Solid, smiley start to Monday. Really like Joan, Otis, and Zora running across the center. Sayhey @HungryMother, I ran a half yesterday too!
Off to the last full work week of the year (decade).

kitshef 7:23 AM  

[written before I read Rex, so choice of adjective is a revealing coincidence]

First puzzle in over a week. Felt very vanilla.

In England, they had something similar to (but better than) RICE CRISPIES called Ricicles. The tagline was “Ricicles are twicicles as nicicles”. Their mascot was Noddy, which will mean nothing to almost all of you but much to a few.

Hungry Mother 7:24 AM  

Almost easy here, except for a near-Natick in the SE. Is this Elf on the Shelf Day?

GILL I. 7:28 AM  

There sure was a boat load of names. I won't count them.
Got the RINGS and then the BOX and I crossed fingers it wouldn't be Tyson. Oh, look, it's the cute little ELVES. No fist fighting involved.
Kinda neat seeing TO BE sitting on top of the Bard of AVON. HEAD DESK is new to me. Who comes up with stuff like that? I guess I used to do that in my Latin classes. Actually, I perfected the holding my face up with the palm of my hand while pretending to be reading my Amo Amas Amat all the while taking a little snooze.
This was a nice little LITE puzzle. I has Alvin AILEY in it so that's good.

Lewis 7:45 AM  

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

1. Sound of a penny dropping (3)
2. Stick up artist? (7)
3. Mental notes? (8)
4. Seeing double? (4)(2)
5. The big eau (3)


RooMonster 7:47 AM  

Hey All !
Nice, easy puz. Didn't pull off my no-writeover feat, though. ENVISion for ENVISAGE, like probably 95% of you. That SE was the thorniest part of puz. AILEY/PERE cross on a Monday, YIPES.

So what is the difference twixt ELVES and Dwarves? And why weren't they the Seven Elves?

I could buy into Snap, Crackle and Pop as ELVES. But agree the Keeblers got the shaft.

GOOF POOF (Three F's today)

Anonymous 8:11 AM  

Never heard of Madea before. Or head desk.

Dr. Haber 8:15 AM  

Did anyone else forget Rice Krispies starts with a K and not a C? Completely missed headdesk.

Unknown 8:26 AM  

Just to note: We had a KEEBLER-based theme answer in there originally, but it didn't quite pass the smell test and we had to switch things up.

We actually did a bunch of reading on the gnomes vs. elves subject on the cereal box, and it's easily verifiable that they were originally designed to be closer to gnomes (several sources agree with the first line of the Wiki article, if that's your source). Seeing images of the characters over time, however, it becomes clear that they have evolved into more cutesy, kid-friendly creatures with what we now consider "elf-like" features. So I think we decided it was kosher to call them elves, as they aren't specifically one or the other, but the elf description is commonly known and accepted (even if it's not the only correct answer).

That's enough of that, time for breakfast.

amyloowoo 8:32 AM  

Anybody else remember cutting the Rice Krispies box open, pouring in the milk and eating it right out of the box? I do, so that clue made sense to me.

Joe R. 8:34 AM  

I always feel better about my mistakes when I see that Rex made the same error. Today, that was both pestER and OLAf. And the first comment here had my other big goof, ENVISion. Even with all those mistakes, I was still not far off from a record time today.

And I am shocked to learn that Snap, Crackle, and Pop are not actually elves, but gnomes. I guess I’ve learned my something new for this day! Might as well just go back to sleep.

Unknown 8:43 AM  

Liked it a lot!

SouthsideJohnny 8:57 AM  

OFL, emblandening ? Wtf ? Is that a typo ?

Agree that the AILEY/PERE cross was unfortunate - a foreign word or phrase crossing a PPP should count as a Natick. It also seems like 53D should have been clued as “word after” instead of “ending with”, which implies a suffix - I would bet that the editors changed the cluing on that one in their typical slipshod fashion.

Typeface clues are becoming mildly annoying - no one uses the terms in common usage. I understand that they are a useful tool for constructors, hopefully they won’t become an overused crutch like random roman numerals and the other cast of characters on the “junk” playbill.

pabloinnh 9:00 AM  

If you want a thorough understanding of the differences between elves and dwarves, I'd suggest reading LOTR. Long years of enmity there. Leave it to Gimli and Legolas to patch things up.

HEADDESK is new to me, but a wonderful and useful term. Only had one head desker and all my years of teaching. Happened also to a student when I was in college, the class exited silently and he woke up in the middle of the next lecture, wondering what???? Good times.

Seeing Joan BAEZ made me think of the Dylan discussion. Maybe @GILL I would like her version of Daddy You Been on My Mind. I sure do.

Fun puzzle, guys for which thanks. I didn't see the ELVES coming but I guess you're not supposed to.

Nancy 9:03 AM  

Well, we all have our preferred amenities at hotels. I had FREEWI and wanted FREE WINE. FREE WIFI was a real letdown.

"Nag, nag, nag" looked for all the world like it would be PESTER. Glad I didn't write it in. BARBS gave me BADGER.

For once I enjoyed LORD OF THE RINGS. It didn't require me to know any of the villains or heroes. It just was just...there.

I had one write-over: ENVISion before ENVISAGE.

HEADDESK is a Thing?

A pleasure to have a Monday with grown-up, junk-free fill and some playful clues. I especially liked those for DICEY (27D), ORAL (2D), POOF (35A), and OMIT (7D). Enjoyable puzzle.

OffTheGrid 9:25 AM  

@Amyloowoo, I loved those 10 packs of single serving assorted cereals that you could eat right out of the box.

@Amyyanni, Let's get the decade debate going. I say the decade does not end 12/31/19, but 12/31/2020. There was no year 0 so the last year of a decade ends with the year ending in 0. e.g. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10.

Nancy 9:33 AM  

When it can be an "F"
Or it can be a "V"
I just write "OLA-"
And then I wait and see.

Dorothy Biggs 9:38 AM  

Never heard of HEADDESK. Is that like a face palm?

I am not sure what Snap, Crackle, or Pop are, but if I had to guess, the first guess would be ELVES. They're small, have wavy hair, and pointy ears. They also look like Elf on a Shelf. BUT, if you go here:, the first character was SNAP, and he was called a gnome. Earlier drawings were definitely more gnome-like. They morphed over the years, and looked more like the Keebler elves (whatever they are supposed to look like), but nowhere does it say that they ceased to be gnomes and became "elves."

Otherwise, it was a Monday.

RMK 9:43 AM  

FYI Lord of the Rings is not a trilogy. The decision to divide it into three books was made by the publisher.

Big Fella 9:46 AM  

A NOVA star is the result of a Celestial Explosion (aka fusion) not the explosion itself.

@Off Your convention has merit, is defensible, and may be technically correct. However, it would result in the 1960’s not including 1960, etc. So, as a practical matter it has a snow ball’s chance of becoming widely accepted. You will have a better chance of convincing people that the Rice Krispies dudes and dudettes are gnomes or dwarves instead of elves.

Tim Aurthur 9:47 AM  

Emblandening is pretty nice, and only 132 hits in Google. Whenever I come up with what I think is a clever neologism, I Google it and find out a million people have already used it.

Like Gill I thought there were a lot of proper names in the acrosses for a Monday.

William of Ockham 9:52 AM  

RICEKRISPIESBOX is a really stupid, hardly come to mind answer for a Monday with the crosses over it. Other than that not a bad puzzle

relicofthe60s 9:53 AM  

Uh, TRI is one more than bi in a lot more contexts than muscles. Ever heard of tricycles and bicycles?

Hartley70 9:54 AM  

Those elfin-gnomes had to be responsible for RICEKRISPIES’ marketing success. RICEKrinkles were so much yummier in the 1950s. I wanted to bang my HEAD over HEADDESK. It made no sense until I read LMS. Sadly it was descriptive of me in Spanish 101 on Saturday at 8am. Torture.

I agree that this was a very nice Monday puzzle, not too hard, not too easy, but just right.

Z 10:14 AM  

What Rex said. And why does “vanilla” mean “plain?”

@SouthsideJohnny - Rex has been known to joke.

@OfftheGrid - Yep. The decade ends next year.

@LMS - Making kids stand up, pair off, and review last night’s homework (or whatever), helps with blood flow. That sitting in the gym thing is just unnatural, and really over-controlling. Was that administration or staff’s idea?

xyz 10:21 AM  

PLAIN VANILLA is no frills. Obviously we have some never-Cookers here

JF 10:41 AM  

Enough with the "in modern lingo" bullshit. "HEADDESK" hasn't been said by anyone in the last twenty years.

Yeet, lit, woke, etc. are modern lingo. Things from the 40s are not.

I don't know why the NYT puzzle is so insistent on alienating anyone who isn't an AARP member.

Joaquin 11:07 AM  

@OffTheGrid - The decade starts 1-1-2020. This is because in the year 9, they decided to restart the counting of decades and make 10 the start of the new one. You can look it up.

Anonymous 11:07 AM  

I've heard of "face palm" which is meme related contemporary slang. Not "head desk." Weird

Recent Visitor to Chapel Hill 11:09 AM  

The UNC Linguistics Department is housed in the Smith Building. What do you suppose the building was called before LMS studied there?

Joe 11:10 AM  

I too have never heard any words beginning with tri- to indicate the three-ness of something other than triceps and trisexual. Triangle trident trifecta triptych triglyceride triplex trilogy triad tricorn triathlon trillion... WHAT DO THESE THINGS MEAN??

jberg 11:21 AM  

@Dr. Haber--me too, and I never heard HEAD DESK, so DESc seemed just as good. Sigh.

My niece is Bi, so I actually spent a second or two wondering what TRI would mean in that context. But then I caught on.

@Nancy, I had similar thoughts about hotel freebies -- but then I realized that most of them were unlikely for airports, so I went with WIFI. Before I retired, I traveled enough to buy Admirals Club membership with miles, which I did, mainly for the free WIne there. Retirement is hard, let me tell you!

I found the 4 separate corner puzzles more offputting than most of you seem to, but I'm willing to defer to the crowd.

QuasiMojo 11:26 AM  

My comment didn't get posted. Here it is again. Lol. At least what I can recall.

Whatever the gnomenclature, I liked this puzzle. Those Rice Krispies make tasty Christmas treats too. "Crunchy" to use @Nancy's term. :-)

Joe 11:38 AM  

I would think of Snap, Crackle and Pop as a trio, a triumvirate, or maybe a troika, but then I wouldn't understand a word I was saying.

Z 12:32 PM  

Yep, nothing current about HEAD DESK

@redanman - But why? Pretty fascinating spice that is now synonymous with “plain.” There’s nothing plain about vanilla.

Could join the AARP but who wants to be labeled? 12:32 PM  

I became confused when all the teachers started talking about HEADDESK as if was taking a nap when I ENVISIONED it to be more like a facepalm or “banging your head against a wall.” So I headed to the true authority...the INTERNET! It is not napping AND the use appears to be in the late 90s so @JT, so much for your snarky comment about the AARP crowd.

Masked and Anonymous 12:46 PM  

Ooooh … Just a Q short of a pangram.
re: puz Easter eggs: U could say that GOLFS is short for "GO, ELFS!" [But you'd be just a Q short of a QED, I reckon.]

most scenic fillins: FREEWIFI. ROCKSTAR. HEADDESK was also kinda cool, even tho I'd never heard of it before.
most raised-by-the-elves names: MADEA. NEALE. AILEY. JOSIE.
EVAN was a gimme, totally due to a recent NYThemelesspuz.

staff weeject pick: DRS. Plural abbrev meat. Better clue: {Doors open in the middle??}.

Snap, Crackle, Pop discussion meat: I've never heard these lil guys be called elves. Or gnomes. Just yer runty cereal mascots. Evidently they were redesigned to look more elf-like, in the 50s, to appeal to little kids? M&A woulda gone with orcs, in that redesign; kids nowadays enjoy some edge.

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {What the IRS collects} = TAXES.

Very nice MonPuz, with just that touch of Christmas flavorins.
Thanx for gangin up on us, HB & KC.

Masked & AnonymoUUs

touched Christmas flavor:

Richardf8 12:55 PM  

Sorry, but HeadDesk is a thing “in modern lingo” - It does not mean to fall asleep at one’s desk but rather to beat one’s head on the desk in frustration. There are even emojis. . .

Now, if we could ban “in modern lingo” as a qualifier in cluing, there would be much rejoicing.

xyz 12:57 PM  


Plain Vanilla is of quality but without frills. It is an immutable base as it is in Iced Cream. By calling it plain, it is more simplistic than demeaning.

(as a certified chemist as well as food consumer) Vanilla extract is an extraordinary seasoning, but the chemically isolated VANILLIN is not. (Yuck to me personally).

So maybe we should coin a new one

PLAIN VANILLIN then it would work on both levels.

RooMonster 1:03 PM  

@Anon 8:11
"Never heard of MADEA"
Lucky you.


@Joe 11:10/11:38
LOL! Especially the 11:38.

There's some who you'll never convince that new decades/centuries/millennia don't start on the 0. Remember 2000? Big parties, etc. Nothing much happened on 1/1/2001. But I can groove with the 0-ness. Makes the math easier. 😀

RooMonster Also Doesn't Understand Half Of What I Say Guy

Teedmn 1:06 PM  

I finished in the far SE, as one is "supposed to", after changing my Sion to SAGE, and went looking for the word ELVES in the theme answers. HEADDESK here.

I never questioned Snap, Crackle (why isn't it Krackle?), or Pop's ethnic origin per the puzzle until I came here. And then there's the fourth elf, Pow, whom I've never heard of before.

A fun Monday, thanks HB and KC.

NB 1:12 PM  


Crimson Devil 1:43 PM  

Yo, Recent Visitor 11:09: If linguistics dept building at UNC-CH is named Smith, you reckon Dean (Smith) Dome, basketball arena there, is also named for our own LMS??

kitshef 1:49 PM  

Today is the end of a decade - the decade from 12/17/2009 - 12/16/2019. Tomorrow will be the end of a different decade - 12/18/2009 - 12/17/2019. Every day is the end of a decade.

pabloinnh 1:49 PM  


Well thanks for clearing "head desk" up. More proof of what "assume" can do.

Now what's an "emoji"?

Asking for a friend.

Anoa Bob 2:04 PM  

Native speaker here, of long standing, and a card-carrying word nerd. Never heard of HEAD DESK. I would've guessed it referred to a leading position in some news paper department, or perhaps a fellatrix's service site. As clued, it sounds nonsensical to me, like some ESL 101 student forgot to add in some key words of a phrase or sentence.

Is FREE WIFI (9 Down) redundant? The few times I have used it, it was FREE. Isn't that always the case?

Unknown 2:36 PM  

Hey people, quick notes:
1. HEADDESK isn't as much of a thing as it used to be, but it's still around and I still read it sometimes. Agree about the "in modern lingo" usage though.

2. In general, it's really not a Natick if one of the answers is reasonable; simply not knowing something is not a qualifier.
- a. Alvin Ailey is pretty much world-famous. If you don't know about him, fair enough, we all have logic holes. But it's not obscure.
- b. PERE fits into the category of basic language words as accepted by the Times. It's not an obscure language nor an obscure workd.

I'll give you that it's a tougher than usual crossing for a Monday, but as far as a "Natick" crossing, I politely disagree and will die on that hill :).

Happy solving!
- Howard

Z 3:47 PM  

@kitshef1:49pm with the decisive decimation* of the decade discussion.

@Howard2:36 - No dying required on a hill or in a valley. I think you meant “knowledge hole” though.

Is it just me or is there a higher level of obsequious obtuseness today? @LMS made specific reference to the slang meaning of HEAD DESK before going off on her own sleepy high schoolers riff, “But mine zip straight pass the frustration phase that I guess is the HEAD DESK and go right to sleep.” (emphasis added, typo unchanged). Sure, it was a toss off line buried in her sleepy rant, but we should all know to read @Muse carefully by now.

*Please - no pedantry on the “real” meaning of “decimate.” Just enjoy the alliterative compliment.

Dan 3:51 PM  

Yet another instance of "15 years ago counts as modern." Otherwise not bad.

Richardf8 6:02 PM  


Big Fella 7:09 PM  

@Z No, there wasn’t really a high level of obsequious obtuseness today until you chimed in. Go back to bed.

Anonymous 11:49 PM  

@Anoa Bob:
Is FREE WIFI (9 Down) redundant? The few times I have used it, it was FREE. Isn't that always the case?

It's a bit late, but here goes any who.


Any location that has a wifi machine pays for it. They may not charge for it, but you pay for it. If it's password protected, they have the option to charge for telling you what it is. It also means they have to change it frequently, as you may guess. It the bad olde days of wifi, especially in apartment structures, back when passwording was less prevalent, 'stealing' a neighbor's wifi was common.

David 10:12 AM  

I solved this in 14:37 using ONLY the across clues; no looking at the downs. Does anyone else do this?

spacecraft 12:51 PM  

HEADDESK??? I mean, it's in there, forced by crosses, square by square, not to be denied. But what on Earth...? How did anyone even ARRIVE at this expression? I feel as though I have become a foreigner, a stranger in a strange land. Where has English gone? What is this??? HELP!

So POP et al. are ELVES. Yeah, I guess that works. But what of the Keebler guys? Don't they deserve space? I mean, THEY are actually CALLED elves. And KEEBLERFACTORY is 14 long, perfect. GEEZ!

REBA was a recent turndown for DOD; I'll make it up to her today. This grid seems to have a lot of the oldies and not-all-that-goodies in it: ORAL UNDO AURA ALES OBOE; all that's missing is the OREO. It's what you get with all those 4x4s. Easy-medium (would've been straight easy but I just couldn't believe 5-down and triple-checked every cross); par.

Anonymous 1:14 PM  

Snap, Crackle and Pop were found murdered. Police suspect a cereal killer.

rainforest 2:17 PM  

HEADDESK as a modern term was unknown to me, but is quite descriptive. Certainly it's something I have done, mostly humourously (I hope), in my years as school teacher and administrator. One not so humourous occurred when I was freezing in my stately Principal's office and so I called the District HVAC team to investigate. Shortly after, the drafting teacher came into my office to inform me, "Hey, I fixed the AC last night. Gee, it's kinda cold in here."

Not a bad puzzle, relating as it does LOTR, RICE KRISPIES, and SANTA. The fill was fine too, and I appreciated the attempt to include twists to some of the clues. Still, the puzzle was easy because it IS a Monday, but it was competently constructed. Liked it.

Burma Shave 2:23 PM  


OOPS, they GOOFed themselves,
THE RICEKRISPIES went 'POOF' not 'pop',


Diana, LIW 2:26 PM  

@Anon 1:14 - I heard the same thing about Cap'n Crunch.

And @Spacey - I remember my mom singing that great slangy song from an earlier generation, "Maarzy dotes n dozeydotes n li'l lamzeet ivy, akiddleedivytoo, wouldn't you?" English has undergone ages, if not eons, of seemingly drunken changes and malformations. In fact, drunken is the picture I get when I think of HEADDESK. Begs for a return to that great of yesteryear, "faceplant."

Which is not what I did with this Mondayesque puzzle. I've said I before, I love Mondays.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rondo 2:43 PM  

@anon 1:14 - funny one, oldie but goodie

I'm working with more and more "YOUTH", so I've had the misfortune of HEADDESK usage in my presence. Glad to see ARNIE clued as the one who GOLFed and not the governator. A Mon-puz write-over, having had ENVISion for starters.

Also glad to see NOVA back in the sky and not swimming with the fishes.

Dual country sangers in a duel. Yeah baby to Faith HILL for making a rare appearance.

Turned out TOBE just fine.

leftcoaster 4:08 PM  

Looked for something trickier than the ELVES revealer, having noted KRIS in the middle of the puzzle and then RING which might have been filled out as kRINGle. A real dead end.

HEADDESK was a new one, a YOUTHage usage, i guess.

Wanted ENVISion before ENVISAGE and Alvin ALLEY before AILEY, weirdly thinking the crossing might be HLLL(!).

Back to MLK Day.

strayling 7:48 PM  

HEAD-DESK nearly gave me a HISSY FIT, but once I fixed that it was all plain sailing. An enjoyable start to the week.

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