Former competitor of Southwest / MON 2-17-20 / Argentine partner dances / Prestigious Atlanta university

Monday, February 17, 2020

Constructor: Sally Hoelscher

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (2:52)

THEME: recent First Ladies, clued via their memoirs for some reason

Theme answers:
  • LAURA BUSH (17A: Author of the memoir "Spoken from the Heart" (2010))
  • ROSALYNN CARTER (23A: Author of the memoir "First Lady from Plains" (1984))
  • MICHELLE OBAMA (36A: Author of the memoir "Becoming" (2018))
  • HILLARY CLINTON (47A: Author of the memoir "Living History" (2003))
  • BETTY FORD (59A: Author of the memoir "The Times of My Life" (1978))
Word of the Day: NUBBLY (5D: Rough and textured, as fabric) —
adj. nub·bli·ernub·bli·est
Rough or irregular; textured: the nubbly surface of raw silk. 
• • •

The word is NUBBY. I spent more time, far and away more time, trying to grasp this answer than I did on anything else (it's an easy puzzle). That damn extra "L," yikes. If you think this is just a straightforward matter, LOL, here is the literal first page of hits when I google [define nubbly]:

Notice that NUBBY (no "L") is the third dang hit, and KNUBBLY (what the!?) is fourth. If this tells you nothing else, it's that none of these are words and they should never be used ever, amen. The fact that NUBBLY is standing alongside GLUEY (?) doesn't help matters. If you want to keep a low profile, don't associate with known felons (I see you, GLUEY). But let's talk about the theme: it is pretty weak. A bunch of First Ladies' names can be arranged symmetrically and so ... here we are. The memoir title thing gives it ... an angle, I guess ... but this was just fill-in-the-First-Lady. Pretty boring. And the fill was definitely subpar throughout, especially in the south. Those corners are pretty inexcusable. A little editing elbow grease woulda gotten the muck right out, but that's not really how this editing team rolls. AGA / AMESS is in fact a mess, and the SE, woof, with MDSE x/w ISS over DEE, it's already weak even before the absolutely baffling and unforgivable OVUM / OVOID crossing. Those words are related. They have the same root. What are you even doing here?! Absolutely not. I wouldn't even put them in the same grid together, let alone *cross* them. Then there's the glut of other GLUEY stuff throughout the grid like EKE ERMAS USAIR RAH ESSEN SITU ATA AME etc. There is indeed A LOT OF it. This one needed the theme to be snappier and the grid to be a lot more polished overall. And that is that.

Had I'M SORRY before OH, SORRY (30A: "I apologize!") but beyond that (and the whole NUBBLY fiasco), no significant errors or hold-ups.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:05 AM  

I was disappointed they didn't include this clue: Author of the memoir, "I was #3 of a Yuge #2". Guess they're waiting for the official release.

Anon 12:42 AM  

67A: Author of the memoir "My Husband Was Having Unprotected Sex With A Porn Star While I Was Home Caring For Our Infant Son"

chefwen 12:46 AM  

Yeah, kinda boring, as Rex stated. I liked NUBBLY, I might name our next puppy or kitty NUBBLY, it’s that cute. GLUEY, not so much.

Saw the cutest GECKO this evening, bright green with sweet little red markings on his back. Hope he sticks around, I’ll have to put some goodies out for him.

High hopes for a tricky Tuesday.

JOHN X 1:35 AM  

47A: Author of the memoir I Ran For President And Somehow Lost To Donald F***ing Trump

jae 3:41 AM  

Medium. Had to track down a typo. Turns out I’d spelled ROSALYNN with an i, so GLUEi made even less sense. The theme seems apt for President’s Day, but Rex is right about the fill.

GILL I. 4:18 AM  

@JOHN X....You forgot her other memoir: He Was Telling the Truth When He Said He Did Not Have Sexual Relations With That Woman...All He Did Was Lend Her His Cigar.
And so the beat goes on.
I think Sally lost a bit of her steam when she got to the ISS/DEE/MDSE section.
Haven't read any of these but I might give Michelle a go. Memoire's are usually depressing. The tell all to end all. I'd read ERMA Bobmbeck.

Anonymoose 6:26 AM  

I am amazed that @REX used "I" for an answer where "I" was in the clue. (Had I'M SORRY before OH, SORRY (30A: "I apologize!")

Lewis 6:28 AM  

Nod to the MODS, who have ended the nastiness that marked these comments before Rex brought them on.

Also a nod to these first ladies. To Ms. Carter, who advocated for the awareness of and treatment of mental health. To Ms. Ford, who championed women's rights, breast cancer awareness, and treatment of addictions. To Ms. Bush, who promoted education and especially reading. And to Ms. Obama who had a focus on reversing childhood obesity, and advocating for gay rights.

Anonymous 6:32 AM  

I do like that on Presidents Day the puzzle was about women in the White House.

Hungry Mother 6:35 AM  

I’ve been there twice. Once on a fraternity pledge road trip in 1961 originating at FSU and second while running the Atlanta Marathon in 2010, but I still try to spell it EMeRY. DNF on Monday? DOH!

JHC 6:45 AM  

I was hoping Rex would call out the EMORY/EJECTOR crossing. I'm sure I'm not the only one who can never remember which is Emory and which is emery, and EJECTeR is entirely plausible. It's a fair crossing for later in the week, but not on a Monday.

T J 6:46 AM  

Today's theme brought THIS SONG to mind.

amyyanni 7:15 AM  

Intrigued by Mrs.Taft's book. Going to look it up, but wondering if it's on your shelf for a reason, Rex. An interesting First Lady who didn't write a memoir but had to deal with a philandering husband is Florence Harding.

BobL 7:30 AM  

Nice debut, Sally.

QuasiMojo 7:32 AM  

"Other than that Mr Parker, how did you like the puzzle?"

Rug Crazy 7:40 AM  

Totally with Rex today

RooMonster 7:50 AM  

Hey All !
Happy First Lady's Day! Getting respect apart from the hubbies. Presidents Day, bah! :-)

Nice puz for what it showcases. Dang, Rex, just enjoy it for what it is. You always bitch about man-centric puzs, and here's a Woman themed puz, and you still don't like it. Constructed by a woman, no less. EPIC.

And that SW corner, is about as good as it gets. I've been trying to come up with better fill, and it ain't happening. Maybe someone else can get something cleaner, but the two themers down there are tough to move around. Actually surprised Rex didn't bitch about a segmented grid. There's 25 threes, for example.

I liked it. But I tend to like most puzs. This one wasn't A MESS. Nothing to be OH SORRY about, Sally. It's just Rex's GO TO emotion to be cranky. (smiley EMOJI)

Anagrammed PALS and ALPS.
NUBBLY, har.


webwinger 8:01 AM  

I thought this was fine for Presidents Monday. Interesting how symmetry worked out for two Republican and three Democratic administrations. Also interesting that Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush each have 11 letters.

The current First Lady is surely one of the most enigmatic public figures in the history of our country. What a memoir she might write some day! Another interesting thing: how low the profiles of the spouses in the current Democratic field have been kept. Not sure what that means. Might be time to scrap the whole notion of giving the wife or husband of the POTUS major responsibilities.

Don’t know how (as found) relates to in SITU. The anatomic term refers to the finding of a structure in its proper place (lens of the eye in situ rather than displaced or absent), or a disease process confined to its tissue of origin (carcinoma in situ has not invaded tissues underlying the epithelium in which it arose).

rosebud 8:18 AM  

A first ladies puzzle written by a woman on President’s Day, kinda fun, pretty easy and a nice tribute to all. I enjoyed a nice start to another challenging week in the news. Thanks, Sally Hoelscher.

Suzie Q 8:20 AM  

I hated gluey and nubbly until I realized that they were the only entertaining parts of the puzzle.
I was hoping ISS would be clued as International Space Station.

SouthsideJohnny 8:22 AM  

Sorry OFUS (oops, I mean OFL), but at least NUBBLY is a real word, which is a step up from what the goobers at the Times gave us just a day ago (SCIENCY).

While the whole corner with ISS DEE MDSE OVUM and OVOID is (barely) defensible (NURSE - help !), it is a symptom of the issue that plagues the Times day-in and day-out, which is a lack of pride and passion in their work. I’m sure there are at least a handful of people who post here regularly who could clean that section up with about 15 minutes of effort. It’s almost like Shortz and company put together a very good puzzle and at the last minute realized “Wait - this is too good to qualify as mediocre, let’s completely gunk up the entire SW section (just because we can)”.

I wish the USA team would adopt the “progressively more difficult throughout the week” approach (all of their puzzles are Monday-ish difficulty-wise). If they did, they could easily be the new gold standard and the Times would continue to go the way of the dinosaurs.

pabloinnh 8:25 AM  

Sheesh, another grumpy primate Monday. Another puzzle not eligible for Crossword of the Year, and so totally worthless. When will I grow up and stop having fun with these things?

There was a guy on our soccer team in college whose last name was LePage, so obviously his nickname was GLUEY. Nice reminder there.

Without bothering to look up frequency of usage, and going by a word that was common in our house when I was a kid, NUBBLY went right in, although clearly, it should not have.

Some crosswordese as crossword fill. Eek.

Hey @Roo from yesterday--yeah, huge Python fan. Started watching them on PBS back in the early 70's, something we looked forward to all week. The half-hour shows were definitely uneven, but the good stuff was absolutely brilliant. Good times. Also, go Pats. (Har yourself.)

Nice debut, SH. Some of us liked it just fine.

Joe Dipinto 8:36 AM  

Some are building monuments
Others, jotting down notes

Aside from the OVUM/OVOID debacle, I thought this was pretty OK. I like the twist of having a #1 Ladiez puzz on Prez Day.

Arch Enemy is a Swedish melodic death metal band, originally a supergroup, from Halmstad, formed in 1995. Its members were in bands such as Carcass, Armageddon, Carnage, Mercyful Fate, Spiritual Beggars, The Agonist, Nevermore, and Eucharist. – Wikipedia

They don't sound very cheerful. Having that clue for ARCH is weird since it's pronounced "arc" in "Archangel", and ARC is also in the puzzle. Maybe that could have been revised somehow. GLUEY I'm fine with – NUBBLY not so much, but it's not horrible either. Really it's not as bad overall as Rex thinks, imo.

Prospective title of Mrs. #45's memoir – "I Don't Really Care, Do U?" And, in fact, no I don't.

Well, it's a new week and we've all got a lot of livin' to do.

Nancy 8:41 AM  

Breathes there a wife of a President*

Who never to herself once went:

"I can write my very own memoir and, (no need to go pitching my manuscript), agents and publishers will flock to me and offer me an obscene advance (and maybe find me a very discreet ghostwriter, should I need some assistance) and the more I open up about my real-life, little-known problems -- problems perhaps not that dissimilar from your own, Dear Reader -- the more obscene the advance will be and the more the book will sell and maybe, who knows, end up #1 on the NYT Bestseller List."

*A bit unfair to HILLARY, who, by the time she wrote her memoir, had been much more than a First Lady.

jberg 8:49 AM  

I came here mainly to see if I had remembered EMORY right. Yay!

I liked this better than I might have because it’s Presidents Day. I’m not sure @Rex noticed that, actually.

@webwinger— I think Chasten Buttigieg has been an active campaigner.

Grouch 8:52 AM  

You may not be the only one but I'm sure you're one of few.

Anonymous 8:57 AM  

nancy reagan wasn't in my puzzle. what's your point?

Carola 8:58 AM  

Thanks to those who pointed out the Presidents' Day connection.

Lewis 8:58 AM  

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

1. Gets the lead out (6)
2. It had a major part in the Bible (3)(3)
3. Subjects of baseless charges (5)
4. Dreaded musician of the 1960s-'70s (6)
5. Things passed between the legs? (6)


Birchbark 8:59 AM  

NUBBLY is troubly. GLUEY is not SCIENCY enough. I like CLANKS.

And PLUTO hasn't changed, we have.

xyz 9:01 AM  

Odd made up stuff and extra SSSSSSS are slight flaws in a woman-honoring puzzle

Lewis 9:08 AM  

In my 6:28 a.m. post I left out (just a goof, not on purpose!) Hillary Clinton, who championed health care reform, raised awareness of violence against women, and fought for foster care reform.

kitshef 9:13 AM  

OPERAS always bugs me. It's like saying there were lots of “childrens” in the playground. And I think OVUM crossing OVOID should be an immediate disqualifier for any puzzle. On the plus side, I think that AME has finally sunk in - first time I've filled that in as opposed to getting all the crosses.

Joe Dipinto 9:16 AM  

@jberg – Chasten did some east coast events while Pete was busy in Iowa. Jill Biden seems like a presence too, though I don't know if she does appearances without Joe. The other spouses I couldn't tell you their names or what they look like.

Glenn Patton 9:24 AM  

Mrs. Craft's autobiography is available in Google Books (

Nancy 9:27 AM  

For the funniest use of the word NUBBY (not NUBBLY) ever, you absolutely have to watch THIS!

Anonymous 9:33 AM  

Hah, "...sticks around.." I see what you did there.

Z 9:38 AM  

Wrote in EJECT-R thinking it was probably an O but not certain, then saw the EMORY/EMeRY cross and thought, "that'll cause a couple DNFs today." My Best Man did law school at EMORY, so not a big issue here, but totally understandable if you tripped up here.

The last sentence of Rex's Tweet last night, "But it's a debut, so I'm hoping for good things in the future"

First Ladies whose memoirs would be interesting to read; Abigail Adams, Sally Hemmings, Edith Wilson (the first woman president in effect if not in title)*, and William Rufus King.
*The only one with a memoir in this list.

@webwinger - I think it is fairly typical for spouses and families to be fairly under the radar during the primary season.

Anonymous 9:55 AM  

Lighten up, folks - you have to give one to the newbies (I refuse to spell it "noob") once in awhile - and if not on a Monday, especially one that's a holiday, then when? As for me, any puzzle that I can finish without looking up anything is a good puzzle! Emory/emery, really, folks? You get all those other obscure things every day and you still get stuck on that? Lol. Great puzzle! People have to start somewhere!

Andrew B 9:59 AM  

I picked up NUBBLY entirely from the crosses. So thankfully I was spared that moment of frustration.

For the rest of the puzzle. It's a Monday AND Presidents' Day. I'm not sure any more could have/or should have been expected. I enjoyed it for what it was. Pretty breezy. And ERMA Bombeck has shown up in like 4 out of the last 6 puzzles, so I'm finally starting to commit that bit of crosswordese to memory. Hopefully it doesn't displace something more important!

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

Sally Hemmings was a lot of things. First Lady wasn't one of them. But you knew that.

Teedmn 10:01 AM  

While this puzzle lacked cute wordplay, I thought it was well-constructed and timely for President's Day. LAURA BUSH, to me, is an enigmatic figure; she kept a low profile during her White House years and I never got a feeling for who she is. If I read memoirs, I guess I'd read hers.

My favorite clue today is one I misread - 41A I read as "Internet forum overseAS, informally" and MODS as an answer had me thinking, "Hmm, really?"

I splatzed in NUBBLY with no problem. The texture that comes from knitting with bouclé yarn immediately came to mind.

Sally Hoelscher, congratulations on your debut!

Malsdemare 10:09 AM  

I'll take GLUEY, NUBBLY, ISS, MDSE, et al., just for the joy of having a president's day puzzle, created by a woman, feature their wives.

Random thought #1: I bought a copy of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, with amendments, and Bill of Rights. It arrived yesterday and I glanced at the Declaration last night; unbelievably gorgeous prose. Those guys could WRITE!

Random thought #2: Someone on this blog pointed out a fun daily email from Wordsmith (a word a day), and I signed up. Today's word is FAFF, which means "to waste time without accomplishing much." So I'm faffing away this President's Day. Last week was dedicated to words that sound dirty but aren't (my fave being "cockloft). Check it out. Whoever pointed me in that direction, merci. C'est très amusant. And very educational.

Anonymous 10:10 AM  

May go to the tv guide to find a more challenging puzzle. No offense to the constructor, but this is not a times worthy puzzle, as has been happening way too often lately. The editors need to up their game.

Anonymous 10:14 AM  

Don't forget Mrs. Clinton's contribution to political discourse. I mean who else what have the keen insight to insult tens of millions of voters as deplorables?

Doug Garr 10:20 AM  

Just for the record, no airman I know calls it an EJECTOR seat. It's an EJECTION seat.

Joe Dipinto 10:30 AM  

@Nancy – that is hilarious! Love May's last line especially.

Anonymous 10:31 AM  

Would you please remove Z's post of 9:38? It is patrntly homophobic. That William King is widely regarded to have been a homosexual in no way allows him to be disparaged as a lady. That's hate speech,shabbily masquerading as glib insight. This forum should have no place for that kind of bigotry.

What? 10:41 AM  

I thought they delivered USA Today instead of the Times. It’s time Shortz put a stop to Monday’s nooby puzzles. Let them buy one of Shortz’s Easy anthologies. I’m looking at an ad for one now- an omnibus with 200 Easy puzzles.
That said, kudos for the constructer. Meshing five long theme fills without resorting to green paint could not have been easy. She could do well at USA Today.

Joaquin 10:59 AM  

Thank you, @Nancy (9:27) for the Nichols and May link. That sketch and the tribute by May that follows is worth the price of admission here.

Nancy 11:18 AM  

Re: my 8:41 comment. It was misinterpreted on the Wordplay Blog, so perhaps it might have been misinterpreted here, too. Here's the mea culpa I wrote on that blog:

I didn't have my American Citizen's hat on when I wrote this. I had my former Book Publishing Editor's hat on, along with my Writer's hat (as in: most writers don't have agents and publishers flocking to them; instead they have to flog their books to agents and publishers.) All of these women were smart and interesting first ladies. All of these memoirs are, I'm sure, well worth reading. All I was saying is that, if you've been a First Lady, getting your book published is a slam-dunk. It was a swipe directed at the practices of the publishing industry, not at the First Ladies. If it came across differently, I sincerely apologize.

Z 11:52 AM  

@anon10:01 - In effect if not in title.

@Nancy - As for me, I took your comment in the same vein as plaints about how being a movie or tv star helps you get a children’s book published.

Sciency Guy 11:54 AM  

The clue didn't say Pluto changed.

Anonymous 11:57 AM  

No. Forget official titlesHemmings in no way acted as first lady. Dolley Madison did. His daughter did. Hrmmings had sex whom. She never acted as first lady.
No apology for the slur against Wiliam King? Nice.

Anonymous 12:05 PM  

No one, not even OFL, makes merry about OFL cudgeling Shortz into a Girl made puzzle about Ladies???? What is the world coming to??? I guess OFL can't take YES for an answer.

The Joker 12:13 PM  

@Anon 10:31. Your post accusing @Z (9:38) of homophobia was of course blatantly sexist. Satire at its best.

Alex M 12:15 PM  

Had NAPPED (like the nap of suede or carpet) for textured fabric, followed by NUBBED, ending up with NUBBLY. I actually prefer nubbly to nubby as a word, more interesting to me.

webwinger 12:18 PM  

Not sure whether @Anon 10:31 means to be taken seriously, but I followed up on @Z’s 9:38 post re William King and found the previously unknown-to-me history of his relationship with James Buchanan (the lone unmarried US president) quite touching.

I find myself wondering if the OVOID / OVUM cross today, with nearly parallel clues, on the heels of yesterday’s thematic word repetition in the grid, is a signal from puzzle command that duplication on the answer side is now considered acceptable under certain circumstances, as certain duplication in clues has long been. It’s not something I’m inclined to get worked up about, even though I hate to see repeated use of words in speech or writing unless for a specific purpose, and tend to be a bit stodgy about word usage and syntax in general.

Pontius Pilot 12:22 PM  

I found this added knowledge gem on the wiki re: EJECTOR(ION) seats.

"The purpose of an ejection seat is pilot survival."

Anoa Bob 12:28 PM  

This is what happens when you have five longish themers that fills up a total of 59 squares and you have 42 black squares (36-38 is typical for a themed puzzle). Your degrees of freedom for getting good fill is extremely curtailed and you have no choice but to resort to A LOT OF GLUEY stuff.

For example, the SE corner has been called out for its ISS MDSE mashup, but look at the constraints the themers put on that section. Three adjacent columns have letters predetermined by the themers; 39D has A _ _ T _ F, 50D has O _ O _ _, and 51D has N _ R _ _. Not a lot you can do other than hope that something, anything really, will fit in there.

To those who think stuff like that can be easily improved upon with some editing, what I have found in similar circumstances is that one section can indeed be improved but this then creates problems in another areas. It becomes like a game of Whack-A-Mole---no amount of rearranging themer locations, trying different black square configurations, etc., will get rid of all the objectionable fill. It keeps popping up somewhere.

It comes down to Theme vs Fill priority. If you want lots of theme, as is the case today, you invariably get compromised fill. If you want clean, interesting fill, you will have to go with less theme density.

The NYT xwords have, for several years now, emphasized theme density. Three themers used to be the norm but these days four, five or even six themers are the rule. Result? Fill can often be A MESS.

Lindsay 12:29 PM  

@Nancy - thank you for that GEM.

@Lewis - I hoped you would mention the double letters in all but one of our highlighted first lady's names!

Tata, PALS!

Frantic Sloth 12:54 PM  

Nothing of value to add today except
@Nancy - Understood your meaning completely and thank you for that priceless clip! Hilarious!

SouthsideJohnny 1:19 PM  

Good job by @Anoa Bob of giving a perspective from someone who knows a little about puzzle construction. In light of the holiday and the ambitious attempt at a unique theme, we could overlook the troubles in the SW as the price of admission for a stellar theme. The problem is that this situation also arises with the contrived and too cutesy themes that the Times routinely deems acceptable (like counting in foreign languages, just too site one example).

If they are to regain the title of the Gold Standard, they absolutely must (at a minimum) do away with the bogus and inaccurate clues, the made-up words, the slipshod editing, the off-the-wall arcane trivia, and publish crossWORD puzzles with grids filled with actual WORDS.

Van Buren 1:20 PM  

I confess I do not understand ISS for Mag. number

Lewis 1:20 PM  

@Lindsay -- I thought about it, and probably would have if all the names did.

Birchbark 1:23 PM  

@Sciency Guy 11:54 -- If you'll excuse my mentioning it, your science is showing.

Anonymous 2:00 PM  

@Van - short for issue.

Ms. Goldberg 2:03 PM  

There were an awful lot of nasty remarks up above about some of the First Ladies (and some who weren't mentioned at all). I am tired of men making bad jokes at women's expense. As for the puzzle, I disagree with Rex about the theme. Mondays are easy puzzles and I was delighted to find a new twist that at least gave me pause for thought, or cause to remember. And I like "nubbly" too!

Anonymous 2:14 PM  

Webwinger and Joker
Publish your DMs and I'll give you the deets of the next GLAD mtg I'll attend.
You can explain to all of us how caling a(purported) gay man a lady lends itself to poignancy or satire. I'm dying to know.
For the record, plenty of my froends DID die,many called ladies because they were gay. Of course, they were bracer tougher and more manly than mosy "men" I've met.
None thought frisbee was a sport. Let alone the ultimate athletic endeavour.
Anyway, the invitation is sincere, owong to thr fact that I believe your igprance is as well

Gio 2:24 PM  

'm making a list of crosswordese crap that I don't know. Today's entry: ASTA Schnauzer/Terrier from The Thin Man played by Skippy and owned by the Charles's in the 1930's film. Not to be confused with Peter Pan's dog: NANA or Odysseys dog ARGOS.
That ougtta cover it. I loved that movie which I saw on THE COMPETITOR OF HBO- TCM. Not the fake-HBO competitor TMC. Just to be clear.
Added TREF- Jewish law so all will be kosher next time I run across it.
I would have had a PR but got stuck at OVIOD/ISS for longer than I wanted to. I've seen egg-shaped as OVULE or some such I think. Have a good day Blog People.

2:09 PM

RooMonster 2:25 PM  

Found some better(?) fill for that SE
Granted, O BOYS is out there, but it does give is the Crossword Gal Sumac, plus you could clue SAM as Our Uncle, or somesuch.

RooMonster RE-Fill Guy

Malsdemare 2:32 PM  

Thanks, @Nancy, for the link to the Nichols/May skit. Lordy, they were wonderful!!

Anonymous 3:08 PM  

I can never agree that anything to do w The Thin Man(movies or book) is crap.
But your s's gives me hope for humanity.

Masked and Anonymous 4:37 PM  

@Roo - This here improvement project on the SE corner must be done with the utmost delicacy … there is a U already there that should be preserved and protected at all costs.
Plus, ISS woulda been my staff weeject pick, but that's not as big a deal.

Possible delicate SE corner modification:

54. Or higher
63. Intel-savoring grp.
66. See the other way??
50. Proposed hiking strategy
55. Major necks in the park woods, for short?

Thanx and congratz on yer nice debut puz, Ms. Hoelscher darlin.

Masked & Anonymo6Us

mitche manitou 5:05 PM  

i was hoping the word FLOTUS would be in there.

why NOT clue them by their memoirs??? no matter which way you clue them, once you get one, you get them all anyway if you know what holiday is today.

also BARBARA BUSH and NANCY REAGAN each have 11 letters. could have been shoehorned into the grid!

good theme... a refreshing alternative on president's day from a woman constructor. TFIF !

Anonymous 5:41 PM  

Joker,webwinger and z
No suprise that you've decined my invitation to a meeting.
No matter.I invite you now to explain how calling a gay man isn't an act of hate

Cath94105 5:56 PM  

I guess I have to learn some more crosswordese. What is ISS?

Capn Charlie 5:57 PM  

FEH ...

Z 6:16 PM  

@Anon5:41 - Nobody has declined anything. I assume you haven’t emailed me out of ignorance of where to find my email. As for your anger at the use of “lady,” I’m sorry that the flippant comment upset you so. My emphasis was on interesting presidential spouses and partners and the “first lady” line was intended to keep with the today’s theme. I’ll also assume you’re relatively new here if you don’t understand why @Joker thought your first post was satire. Indeed, I’m thinking I see three posts from you today and they can all be read as trolling just as easily as being sincere outrage.

Z 6:18 PM  

This has been answered, ISS as in ISSue, mag as in magazine.

sanfranman59 6:55 PM  

@La Donna ... Be sure to file away FALA, FDR's Scottie.

GILL I. 7:05 PM  

@Z....there are the few "touchy/feeley".people on this blog. I honestly don't know whether they are truly offended as in "why didn't you say gesundheit when she sneezed?" or "jeez, man...cover your damn mouth."
In any case, we all seem to walk a fine line these days. I'm now getting the angry looks for not wearing a mask at my grocery store. Heaven forbid I accidentally sneeze.
Bless you.

Joe Dipinto 7:10 PM  

Somebody has to post this, I guess I'll do it.

Anonymous 7:44 PM  

Come to thr GLAAD mtg, March 19th at the Hilton and regale us with your theories.
Thats an invitation. I'll be there. With a sign, like you see at the airport.
How about it?

Anonymous 8:01 PM  

Hilton Midtown (NYC)

Charles 9:07 PM  

Insulting some of our first ladies on Presidents Day? This comment thread is a good example of why I can't stand essentially anything politics related. It turns people into hateful, derisive cretins.

Gio 9:13 PM  

@JoeD thanks for the link Joe!

Gio 9:17 PM  

@sanfranman FALA has been added, thanks.

Z 10:02 PM  

@Anon - You do realize that regulars here live in places like Hawaii, San Francisco, Paris, West Virginia, Michigan, Minnesota, Montreal, et cetera? That includes a whole passel of us living near Asheville, NC. I regret I have to take a pass on traveling to NYC. I don’t have a lot of theories to regale anyone with, anyway. Lots of opinions (which are probably closer to yours than you realize), but you can get most of those here.

@Gill I - You know I have my fan club, and I assumed this was that. It does sound like they were upset. I don’t mind upsetting people, but I prefer to do it intentionally. As for the face mask thing, the Flu is still more dangerous and let’s hope it stays that way.

@Charles - Unless I missed a post along the line, I think all the insults are directed at the presidents, not their spouses. Insulting presidents is not just fun, it is our patriotic duty.

Richardf8 11:14 PM  

I thought that book was called What Happened

Anonymous 11:31 PM  

I just found NUBBY in another NYT crossword puzzle. I happened to be solving April 3, 2012 and found this clue for a 7 letter 25 down: Nubby fabric derived from a cocoon. The answer, in case anyone cares, is RAW SILK. :)

Paul 10:46 AM  

14A ("Communication system for the deaf, for short") is ignorant and offensive. ASL is an actual, living language, just like English. It is not a system constructed or provided for deaf people. We would never refer to French as a communication system for people who live in France.

CDilly52 12:40 PM  

Perhaps I set a new personal record because I had read all of the First Ladies’ books. As for NUBBLY, Ingot it and thought it humorous but not totally out of bounds. And I may steal @chefwen’s idea and name my next cat NUBBLY.

Frosty 5:57 PM  

There is a Catch-22 among the scientists at Glacier National Park. They want to tell people that the glaciers are melting but they want people to come to their park. There’s the catch. No glaciers no visitors no job. Why are they there ?

Diana, LIW 11:09 AM  

NUBBLY bubbly - it's as silly and useful a word as any for a Monday.

At least we'll have no complaints about no women in the puz. Who knows - we may soon have a first gentleman, at least for the VP. I haven't read any of these books, but it reminded me to give them a whirl. Must be amazing to be so close to the eye of the storm on a daily basis.

Hope all your storms calm down soon. Keep calm and carry on.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

spacecraft 11:12 AM  

OFC harps and harps about distaff underrepresentation. So here we have a puzzle about women--constructed BY a woman--and what does he do? He trashes it. Sometimes, my frenemy, I just don't understand you.

Yes, I winced at some of the fill, the hardest at EKE, but this is an extremely dense theme (59 of 183, or 30%), so allowances should be made. I loved learning about NUBBLY. We have a sticky mini-theme with GLUEY and VELCRO (also, I believe, the GECKO has a sticky tongue). And amid all these first ladies flies OLD GLORY: what more could you ask for?

All of these F.L.'s could be DOD; I'm going to give the sash to our constructor, hoping she'll feel better after the shade OFC threw. Birdie.

Burma Shave 12:46 PM  


OH,SORRY PALS, it's a CLEAR danger,
'cuz it's NUBBLY like VELCRO to push


rondo 1:14 PM  

YES, all of the theme ladies get a yeah baby for their accomplishments, unlike what we have in place now.

Whenever I drive to work, like I used to do last week, I drive past a Hazelden-BETTYFORD facility. It's not far from last week's BOATEL, maybe a mile.

Today's 4 corners have PEAS and an APSE.

OFL's review left me feeling NUBBLY, a NON-factor to me.

Joshua K. 2:27 PM  

@Richardf8: Hillary Clinton's first memoir was "Living History." "What Happened" was a later book by her.

leftcoaster 2:28 PM  

Nice line-up of notable first ladies. ELENA would likely agree. All three-letter words get a free pass today, even EKE that sticks like VELCRO.

Wooody2004 3:52 PM  

My five favorite moments from the blog last week in Syndiland (in order of appearance):

1. Croatia, Albania, up to Lithuania
Slovakia, Slovenia, over to Armenia
Moldova, Estonia,down to Macedonia
and to Kosovo
We'll get there fast and we'll take it slow
That's where we wanna go
Way down in Kosovo. Sunday. Thanks @JoeDipinto.

2. Reading "The Racially Charged Meaning Behind The Word Thug" on NPR and "The History of Thug" in the Atlantic. Monday. Thanks @Z.

3. "Do they have a brand of booties for our feline friends yet, maybe called Cat-Etonics?" Monday. Thanks @Z.

4. Discovering The Package Thief vs The Glitter Bomb Trap video by Mark Rober. Tuesday. Thanks @KidPhoneme.

5. Learning the difference between Shaved Ice, Shave Ice, and Italian Ice. In Seattle, all we had were cheap sno-cones served in paper cones. Thursday. Thanks all.

leftcoaster 6:37 PM  

@BS, as clever as you may be, more than egregiously nasty today.

BS2 8:37 PM  

Considered using 'into' instead of 'in'.

BS3 8:45 PM  

Can only go where the words lead.

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