Twisted person / MON 2-24-20 / Do the honors with the turkey / Jules who wrote "Journey to the Center of the Earth" / Flurry

Monday, February 24, 2020

Constructor: Jacob Stulberg

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: RAISING THE FLAG (15D: Activity depicted in a famous 2/23/1945 photograph ... and in three of this puzzle's answers) — Theme answers, which are all downs, feature the letters "FLAG" rising vertically from bottom to top.

Theme answers:
  • DINING AL FRESCO (4D: Having a meal under the stars, e.g.)
  • KING ALFRED (6D: Ninth-century English monarch known as "the Great")
  • LEGAL FORCE (28D: What a law hasn't been repealed still has)
Word of the Day: SUET (35D: Tallow source) 
  1. the hard white fat on the kidneys and loins of cattle, sheep, and other animals, used to make foods including puddings, pastry, and mincemeat.
• • •

Hi everyone! Jordan Siff here. I'm a brand strategist by day, but longtime fan of Rex's blog, so here I am to give you my take on today's puzzle. I live in NYC, so if you're reading this on the subway - perhaps refreshing Safari as you glide into a station that has cell service - you are my people!

So, I told myself that I didn't want to come across too jaded or critical in my debut post, but my job is to be honest here - this one missed the mark for me. I found it to be pretty tough for a Monday, more Tuesday-ish in difficulty, which may be due to the theme forcing some fairly obscure and long down answers. I see what RAISING THE FLAG was going for, but it didn't pan out too well as a theme because there wasn't anything unique about how it interacted with each answer. It was more or less "here are three answers that all have GALF somewhere in them." I might not be the biggest history buff, but I've never heard of KING ALFRED, and a somewhat random king from ninth century England feels a bit esoteric for Monday fare. LEGAL FORCE wasn't too exciting either. DINING AL FRESCO was a nice touch, but that's 1 out of 3. Perhaps the revealer helped some people solve the other themers once they knew that "GALF" would show up, but my experience was just finishing the puzzle and then scratching my head over the theme after the fact.

Outside the theme, this puzzle does have a few redeeming qualities. The clue for BARISTAS was clever - and I'll definitely need a nice, strong cup when I get back to my "daily grind" today. The cross between IOTA and ATOM, both clued as "Tiny bit," was cute. I liked the clue for CARVE, but for some reason had BASTE in there first? There wasn't too much hardcore crosswordese (looking at you, APSES), but some less common short fill that may have been a bit much for a Monday (e.g. SHOD AMAIN LOCI ROIL SUET).

  • HINGE (21A: What a door swings on) — Call me a millennial, but referencing the dating app could have been a more modern or fun cluing on this one.
  • MONGREL (25A: Opposite of a purebred) — This word definitely has a "playground insult" vibe, to me. I can't imagine someone matter-of-factly referring to their dog as a "mongrel."
  • AGORA (38A: Ancient Greek meeting place) — For some reason, this is singed into my head as a vocab word from my 6th grade Ancient History class. Shoutout Mrs. Kolodney!
  • AS IF (38D: "Yeah, I'm real sure!") — I'm trying to imagine someone sarcastically saying "Yeah, I'm real sure!" like that's a phrase that would be uttered out of a human mouth. AS IF!
  • GAMY (66A: Like venison that's been sitting awhile) — I thought that venison was gamy in and of itself. If it's been sitting for awhile, that just sounds...rancid!?
Signed, Jordan Siff, New to CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:02 AM  

The “Raising the Flag” theme was well hidden and felt Tuesday/Wednesday-ish to me. The rest of the fill was right from my wheelhouse and almost filled itself in.

Would have preferred to have this puzzle run last Monday, or on any Monday holiday, when some of us actually do raise the flag (though I fly it year-round).

Pepper 12:23 AM  

My issue with 8D is that Alfred the Great is rarely if ever referred to as KING ALFRED. Whomst?

a.corn 12:45 AM  

Jordan, great write up! Although, thinking about the gd L train isn’t doing much to assuage my Sunday Scaries...

Agree with all your notes, and tbh wouldn’t have minded 5A clued _____ MODE. I had the hardest time in that section; CAROB, AMAIN, VERNE def didn’t feel very Monday-ey. Last nit: Think we easily could’ve avoided GAMY by swapping out the Y for an A.

Overall enjoyed the puzzle (even if the theme was useless for the solve).

Coniuratos 2:11 AM  

Regarding the bullets, MONGREL seems more commonly used by Brits than "mutt".

chefwen 2:15 AM  

I felt strangely akin to this puzzle. Right now I’m a SICKO who is SHOD in a 10 pound boot (feels more like twenty) after fracturing my foot, I am hopeful that I can remove it in a couple of weeks before it starts to smell GAMY. I’m blaming the DOG who is not a MONGREL, but is a rascal for rearranging the rug in my bedroom after a mad dash through the house.

All that aside, I did enjoy this fun start to the puzzle week.

Anonymous 2:52 AM  

Jordan, will you be coming to the ACPT?

jae 3:20 AM  

Medium tough. Nice anniversary date puzzle. Liked it quite a bit more than Jordan did but I enjoyed his write up.

BarbieBarbie 5:00 AM  

Iwo Jima flag-raising anniversary was yesterday, or maybe today with the date line confusing everything.

GILL I. 5:42 AM  

Well, I did like TIVO ACTOR, ATOM and ATE GAMY TEENS. And anything said by Jordan.
Other than BARISTAS, the puzzle seemed AWASH with SICKO SUET. What with SHOTS and FIRE and NAM and ROILand BURNT and EFFS and NARC and all that NOIR. I don't think I will ever UTTER AWAIT nor AWASH. I just don't like putting an A in my first words. Oh, wait....we also have AMAIN. I'm feeling A LOOM and a bit A TOM. Hah.
No MONGREL ever uttered in this household. We say things like four legged fur ball babies. FLFB for those of you who don't have a DOG.
@chefwen....Ouch. My little Moe always does a happy feet dance on our kitchen rug after he eats breakfast and I tend to trip on this little nest he makes. So you won't be able to go outside and feed your cow babies?
I did like raising the FLAG but I wasn't crazy about it being upside down.
On to our red-headed middle child, Tuesday.

Hungry Mother 6:18 AM  

Super fast, although I had to alternate acrosses and downs to get by a few sticky spots. Didn’t use the theme, but got the reveal quickly.

Dan Sachs 6:23 AM  

Puzzle ran on the anniversary of the Iwo Jima flag raising.

Conrad 6:28 AM  

@chefwen: Very sorry to hear about your new footwear. May you heal quickly and be back in DSW before you know it!!

Dave 6:32 AM  

Ancient history in the 6th grade? My, my, my...

Lewis 6:51 AM  

I found this to be an uplifting theme.

pabloinnh 6:56 AM  

Clearly, wheelhouse is a function of age, as I found this one way easy. OTOH, HINGE clued as a dating app would have been a serious WTF. The revealer was presented as the fourth answer in a vertical (left-to-right) progression and I happened to fill it in before I had a couple of the other answers. That sent me looking for the FLAGs going bottom to top, and yep, there they were. A little rebus-y for a Monday but good fun.

Thought the clue for venison was fine--it is game, but can become GAMY. My wife's father once harvested a deer that had clearly been feeding on hemlock. Not GAMY, but similarly not edible.

Thought this was a nice smooth fun Monday. Thanks, JS.

Lewis 6:56 AM  

Also, this puzzle is well constructed. It's on the tougher end of Monday, but IMO, too easy for Tuesday, and I like that it doesn't feel dumbed-down, as Monday puzzles sometimes do. Furthermore, not only does Mr. Stulberg raise the flag in this puzzle, in 28D he also raises OFL!

Jacob have I loved before, and today, again.

amyyanni 7:07 AM  

Yeow, @chefwen. I'm sure your little rascal is very sorry. Hi Jordan. Agree with @jae today. Enjoyed it more than most Mondays.

kitshef 7:11 AM  

I felt so clever writing in ButcherS for the daily grind clue. Ditto for rollS Film for starts shooting. Ah, well. Pretty tough for a Monday, but would have been pretty easy for a Tuesday.

SLIP crossing SHOD is cute. Also CAT crossing CRATE.

FOG is ABSOLUTELY NOT typical London weather. I lived there for two years and had fog once.

OffTheGrid 7:17 AM  

Things I liked:

Double meaning of GAMY

What I really liked: No circles or shaded squares and only one "?".

Suzie Q 7:39 AM  

More fun than most Mondays with plenty of interesting words. The theme gave me a second puzzle to solve going back to find the galf's. I certainly did not notice them while solving.

The clue for gamy is a little off. Venison is either gamy or it is not. I have found that hanging the meat for a couple of weeks improves it immensely. That's what restaurants are advertising when the menu says "aged beef". But sitting around, as the clue says, sounds gross. Other factors are involved in the gaminess of meat.

R.E. Olds 7:46 AM  

Apparently, 65A is a bit dated. It seems that fewer than a quarter of 16yos are getting their driver's license these days, down from a half of 16yos in 1983 ("Driving? The Kids Are So Over It" WSJ, 04/10/19, as well as other publications). Apparently, many prefer the convenience and cost-savings of being driven around by their parents. Yuck!

At the risk of incurring an "OK Boomer," I have say that this flabbergasts me. From the moment I was eligible for my learner's permitted at 15 and a half and began divers education, I couldn't wait to achieve the freedom and independence that having a license would give me. I still have not forgiven the instructor for neglecting for three weeks sending me the certificate of completion that I had earned, delaying my driving test - and freedom - for those three precious weeks, now lost forever. ;)

Anonymous 7:47 AM  

Alfred the Great is some "random" king? SMH.

Easy Monday.

Warden 8:00 AM  

Thank you, Jordan, for confirming this was hard for a Monday. Could not figure out King or the theme. If we cannot not have Rex or Annabel on Monday’s, you do a great write up.

Peter P 8:13 AM  

Easy breezy Monday, with a good number of drinks in me. I thought I was perhaps on my way to a record, but ended smack dab in between my average time and fastest time. I got the revealer but never ended up using it for the theme clues. (I don't usually use revealers to help me early in the week, as they just slow the fill down. By Thursday, though, they're a blessed aid.)

Having once been one, I enjoyed BARISTAS and got that right off the bat, although I do like kitchef's ButcherS possibility. I hadn't even considered that, so I was lucky there. The only real slow point for me was filling in KINGALFRED. I needed K--GAL-RE- before I could fill it in. As a poster said above, the usual appellation is "Alfred the Great," so it didn't even occur to me to think of "King Alfred."I confess, though, while I know his name, I couldn't tell you a single thing about his biography/history. Time to brush up on some middle or high school history with a trip to Wikipedia.

Paul Emil 8:17 AM  

Rarely is different from never.

G. Weissman 8:21 AM  

Can someone please explain OOH for 44D, “Nice one!”

Thanks in advance.

PatC 8:26 AM  

Ditto on the King. What other 9th century monarch was called “Great”? Had no idea current teens are not eager to get their license. I too couldn’t wait and went down to the DMV on my birthday, took my mom home and spent the rest of the day in driving freedom. Best day ever! On the other hand, my granddaughter is about to get her license and that scares the hell out of me.

Anonymous 8:30 AM  

Hi. Barbara here. @Lewis.. Hee hee.

Gio 8:40 AM  

@Chefwen Ha I'm wearing a foot boot too and yeah it's getting a bit GAMY
I didn't trip over my mutt, or break anything but it's to fix a torn foot tendon. TWINSIES!

Anonymoose 8:44 AM  

Damning with faint praise.

KingforaDay 8:52 AM  

HMS King Alfred
King Alfred's College (now University of Winchester)
King Alfred's House in Enfield
King Alfred's School, North London
King Alfred's Hunting Lodge, Wiltshire
King Alfred's Academy, Oxfordshire
King Alfred's Chair in English Literature, University of Liverpool

Joaquin 8:56 AM  

OK. I'm an idiot. Even after having the Iwo Jima date appear as part of the revealer clue, I failed to actually *see* the date. Does anyone actually remember that date, or is it the photo of the flag-raising the only thing we remember? Obviously, the latter for me! But it does make the puzzle that much better running it today.

Nancy 9:12 AM  

Am I the only one who likes my venison GAMY? That's the whole point of game foods. Venison, pheasant, wild boar -- none of them are supposed to taste like chicken or even beef. To get the right effect, I'm pretty sure they're all supposed to be hung for a while.

I agree. You don't refer to a mixed breed dog as a MONGREL anymore. Very insensitive. Dogs have feeings that can easily be hurt and need their safe spaces, too. The accepted term is "mix". Better yet is to be a human who doesn't even see such distinctions. That adorable little thing with the collie nose and the beagle ears and the dachsund body and the poodle tail looks like the purest of purebreds to you.

I liked this puzzle. I noticed while solving that there seemed to be a lot of "F"s. I didn't notice the "G"s and the "L"s as much and the "A"s not at all. Did I see the upside down FLAG before getting the revealer? No, but it didn't matter in the great scheme of things.

Carola 9:12 AM  

I have one of those Lake Wobegon grandchildren who's above average; now a fifth-grader, he's gotten to the point of finding the mini puzzle "way too easy" on some days, so I've been keeping my eye out for a Monday puzzle that he might be able to get some traction on. This one quickly fell into the "No way" column.

Anyway. I thought the theme made for a nice tribute to heroism, but noticed the same NOIR undercurrent as @GILL I.- what jumped out at me were SICKO, DO SHOTS, and OPEN FIRE.

@chefwen - So sorry! Best wishes for quick healing.

Thank you for the write-up, Jordan.

Anonymous 9:25 AM  

Been covered, but man, calling Alfred the Great a random king is utterly absurd. That's just a huge gap in knowledge. Not unforgivable, but close.

Z 9:26 AM  

I believe the preferred term is now “Designer Dog.” That’s certainly the chihuahua’s preference. The Lab/Shepherd/Chow could not possibly care less as long as he has tennis balls to chase and treats that are a little GAMY.

@BarbieBarbie - You beat me to it. A tribute puzzle a day late is just a little... like getting the happy birthday call a day late. Better than forgetting altogether but still.

@chefwen and @Giovanni - It has been 9 years but those months in a boot were not fun. I also had to be non-weight bearing for three months, which made simple things like showering an adventure. Good luck.

Hand up for checking to see if it was Tuesday already. Liked the theme answers more than JS, though I do agree that a random monarch (Sorry, head shakers, that you happen to know this guy doesn’t make him any less random) is less than great. The only fill that got the questioning arched eyebrow was HI-C. When my now 20-something off-spring were kids we never bought it although I think it was still available. Surprised that the clue didn’t have a “former” or “old” in it.

Petsounds 9:30 AM  

Well, I'm not a New Yorker, don't ride the subway, don't use Safari, and have never heard of a dating app called Hinge, so I guess I'm not one of the substitute's people.

More to the point, I found this puzzle very easy and I paid no attention to the theme. I work at a puzzle by solving off answers I've entered, and I was finished with this one long before there was any need to use the theme to finish--or start.

But the puzzle felt a little sad to me, with a collection of answers that, taken together, gave the puzzle a disturbing cast: SICKO, OPENSFIRE, UBOAT, MONGREL, SERF, SAVEME. Beyond the ATOM/IOTA cross there was not much joy here.

Geezer 9:36 AM  

HI-C orange was the best and even better when accompanied by Hydrox cookies.

Danny and Rachel 9:44 AM  

Pretty sure Jacob Stulberg doesn't know what "AS IF" means.

Lewis 9:48 AM  

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

1. :15 number (3)
2. Support for a religious group? (3)
3. It's a rush, appropriately enough (7)(4)
4. Recipient of a lot of #@&! money (5)(3)
5. Time for warm-up shots, in more ways than one (7)


dadnoa 9:49 AM  

+1. Alfred the Great.....except when you need a g to make flag :) I chuckled at this one thinking, hmmm....Alfred,was too short. This was the answer that helped me think of the theme. Solid writing debut, Jordan. Do it again! And, what’s Safari?

b-t-trips 9:55 AM  

Thought this one ws a delight - more challenging than usual Monday, but in a quite enjoyable way.

Kathy 9:55 AM  

The puzzle was very easy for me, all the answers were eventually gettable, whether or not I actually knew them, so I didn’t get bogged down anywhere. Like many others, I had RAISE THE FLAG early on but never bothered to take the time to figure out how it was incorporated into the was solvable without it. When I found out in the blog I didn’t react with an “aha.” What I did like was that the puzzle wasn’t overrun with age or culture-specific answers.

I didn’t finish Sunday’s puzzle until late, but that theme I liked a lot—and the many variations of it put forth by the commentariat were a hoot!

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

Jordan, Z et al,
Alfred the Great is not a random king. Many, and by that I mean the majority of historians list him as the first king of England. Claiming the first sovereign of England is random is akin to saying George Washington is some random US president.

Nancy 10:28 AM  

@chefwen and @Giovanni -- That sounds just awful and you have my deep sympathy, both of you. Hope you heal quickly and can at least get the boot off soon.

@chefwen and @GILL -- No scatter rugs, ever. Repeat after me: NO SCATTER RUGS, EVER!!!!! It's too late for poor @chefwen, alas, but you've been lucky so far, GILL, so don't [RE]PRESS YOUR LUCK. All area rugs should have slip-proof padding under them or a heavy piece of furniture on top of them or else they should be wall-to-wall carpets that are nailed down. Those are the best of all.

Whenever I find myself in a guest's house with a scatter rug -- in the bedroom or anywhere else I might be walking -- I remove it or ask that it be temporarily removed. It's an accident waiting to happen, it really is.

Upper East Side Gym Rat 10:32 AM  

Must be a generational thing. I found this puzzle super easy even for a Monday and have come across a lot of recent ones have clues that I “don’t have a clue” about!

What? 10:38 AM  

Pretty easy, even for a Monday. I didn’t even have to get to the Downs, just did all the Acrosses. I finished in the time it took me to zip in the fills so although I don’t time, it must have been just a few minutes.
Of the theme fills, only LEGAL FORCE felt forced but I commiserate with the constructor. As far as I know, there is no aid to find letter combinations across two words. Merriam has a scrabble app that can search for a letter combination that begins, ends, or is contained in a word but there is no search engine for a phrase (some very common ones can be found in Xword). So kudos to Stulberg for coming up with at least two good theme fills and a golf clap for the third, considering the difficulty.

albatross shell 10:45 AM  

If the deer was eating hemlock needles or bark, I do not see the problem. If it was eating poison hemlock, it might be. I do not think it would effect the flesh but who knows? How you would tell the deer was eating it, I'm not sure. But I've never heard of anyone being poisoned by eating a deer that ate poison. Hemlock is a powerful poison. If deer eat it they would not last long. In the northeast poison hemlock, is dead by the time regular deer season starts. Just curious.

Yes when my birthday is on a Sunday, I just throw away any cards that come on Monday. Especially when it's a milestone birthday. Note also this was a M-W puzzle, was not a Sunday one at all. Maybe he should have waited and held on to it another 25 years. Oops I checked. That would be a Thursday.

Pete 10:49 AM  

The one time I try a Monday accrosses only rather than downs only, the damned revealer is one of the downs. Never having seen the revealer, I went looking for the theme and found only POLICE DOG above MONGREL in the NW, and DO SHOTS above OPEN FIRE in the SW and wondered what sort of half-assed theme was that? So, what kind of half-assed Easter Eggs are those?

Jessica 11:01 AM  

I hate communicating via social media so forgive me but I dont understand IMED for chatting on the internet . What does that mean ?

(Never heard of amain , agora , suet , )

albatross shell 11:19 AM  

@Danny and Rachel 944am
Or maybe he was being a bit too subtle. Yeah I'm real sure. Try: O yeah, I'm REAL sure. Now dial it back a notch or two.

Peter P 11:33 AM  

@G. Weissman. The interjection "OOH!" is often used to connote a meaning of "nice one!" In fact, they are quite often used together, as in "Ooh!!!!! Nice one!" The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition for "ooh" is "used to express amazement, joy, or surprise." It is pronounced as the "oo" in "boo" (IPA: /u:/)

PapaLeRoux 11:47 AM  

We liked it. A tougher Monday than usual. So,e great answers: sicko, baristas, Alain, agora, etc. We enjoyed chefwen’s dog story, too.

Anonymous 11:48 AM  

didn't seem too hard. the only sticking point was MONGREL or MONGRle. still, IIRC, MONGREL is the 'official' term for a pup that's not purebred. more explicitly, of unknown breed stock. yes, the PC term these days is 'mixed breed', but, again IIRC, that's for dogs with known heritage. which isn't necessarily a slur, as some such as the Cockapoo and Labradoodle, have 'pure breed' names. if there's an AKC person in the audience, are any such now recognized as 'real' breeds? having just seen much of the latest dog show on the TeeVee, the narrator explained the origin of many/most/all of the dogs, purebred so far as the AKC is concerned of course, and many/most were said to have been hybridized on purpose from 'baser' stock. we had a Lhasa-Pug (direct) mix that was adorable.

pabloinnh 11:48 AM  

@albatross shell-There were no worries about being poisoned, Socrates notwithstanding. The problem was that the meat actually tasted like hemlock. I got this story second-hand, but it was pretty famous in her family. I'm not a venison fan anyway, but I doubt that adding the taste of an evergreen tree would improve it.

Anonymous 11:50 AM  


Just read. You must be a New Englander, since that's about the only place those two 'foods' were ever in one place.

jberg 12:18 PM  

How things change! When I was growing up, mutt and MONGREL were used interchangeably, and everyone agreed that they were the best kind of dog to have -- not only cheaper, but better behaved and less prone to health problems. If you went out and paid money for a purebred, people thought you were putting on airs.

@Nancy, you've pinpointed one of the toughest issues in my marriage -- I used to collect rag rugs but my wife won't allow them on the floor. We used to argue about it, but after she broke her neck (not from a scatter rug, but from stepping on her own flip-flop and falling down the stairs) I gave in. No wall-to-wall, though, we agree on that.

I liked the theme fine; it was fun to go back and look for the upside-down flags. I don't think the theme would have helped with getting answers, though--it's easier just to remember that ALFRED was called the great than to run through the list of English kings looking for GALF. No, wait -- wasn't he the only king of England with an F in his name? So that might have helped.

I liked LEGAL effect so much that I filled it in without counting -- but stopped when I got to the first F, as by then I could see it wouldn't fit. Still, LEGAL FORCE is something one hears, probably just as often.

I liked having SOIL and ROIL so close together, but was hopint to also find "toil" and our old friend "moil" to complete the pattern.

@chefwen and @Giovanni, Please get well soon!

Geezer 12:22 PM  

Michigander (though I prefer Michiganian). @Z? Do you remember this? (HI C orange and Hydrox)

Masked and Anonymous 12:53 PM  

Started out cultivatin the wrong set of themers: POLICEDOG & MONGREL. Then I spotted the revealer, which thankfully appeared up high in the grid, so I didn't suffer too unnecessarily long, wonderin how BARISTAS was gonna fit into my fauxtheme.
Theme is ok … and it's referencin a 2/23/1945 date, so that seems pretty much tryin to be on target.

fave set of other things bein raised: IMED (DEMI) + ROOM (MOOR(e)). ETON (NOTE). Also, kinda dumbly, tho hopelessly, drawn to AWAIT … raises up a TIAWA, which could be clued as {What King Alfwed's wife wears??}, or somesuch.

staff weeject pick: WEE. Speaks for itself.
fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: { ___ constrictor} = BOA.

Thanx for AWAIT-in four years for yer puz to get published, Mr. Stulberg. If U were really commemoration the 2/23 date in yer original revealer, I guess this puppy was right on schedule. And U are one patient dude.

Masked & Anonymo4Us

p.s. Thanx for the sub-job, Mr. Siff. Nice blog bullets.


Teedmn 12:54 PM  

I liked this theme - I didn't read the whole clue for 15D so I went back post-solve to get the theme. Nice. And it took my Tuesday average time to solve so I'll agree that it was a tad tough for Monday. If I had gotten the theme first, I would have saved myself from the KING Arthur write-over.

Jordan's comment on GAMY made me laugh - I had the same take on venison being gamy no matter how long it's been hanging around. And I think if 38D's clue had been "Yeah, I'm sure" and dropped the "real", it wouldn't have that aliens-trying-to-pass-as-humans quality to it.

Fun to get OMEGA and IOTA in the same puzzle, but only ONE clued as a Greek letter (spoken in the AGORA?)

SAVE ME from CAROB. My biology teacher in high school foisted CARAB on me and a couple of other students as a better-for-us substitute for chocolate. It hit the wastebasket as soon as he left the room. I've never bothered trying it again, and of course current wisdom is that chocolate is great for you in the right form.

Thanks, Jacob Stulberg, for the puzzle, and Jordan Siff for the write-up.

Anonymous 12:57 PM  

I truly enjoyed this puzzle and I generally don’t look too much into the deeper crosses but did anyone else happen to notice the bottom right flag on FIRE, the middle left being SOILed, and dare I say, EFF the top middle flag?

bertoray 12:57 PM  

I think it would have gotten a rise out of Rex.

Unknown 1:01 PM  

Instant Messaged.

Anonymous 1:03 PM  

MONGREL is probably 1950s, then mutt, and now mixed breed.

London FOG is also 1950s or earlier. When heating was mostly by coal, London got horrific smogs where you couldn't see more than a few feet. Those are gone with the phase-out of coal heating.

UBOAT is 1940s.

SERF is 13th century or so and of course KING ALFRED is 9th century.

So agreed, we are not totally in the 21st century here, but then again, why should we be?

Unknown 1:03 PM  

I thought this was sort of boring. Didnt see the upside down FLAG until I came here. That is clever.

Gio 1:21 PM  

@anonymous No, the AKC does not accept the doodles as members. In fact the majority of AKC peeps and purebred breeders are quite vocally against these designer breeds. Some of the outrage is some of the designer mutts cost twice as much as a purebred. They have other objections which I don't recall. I'm a poodle person and I noticed most of these designer mutts are half poodle. Why not just get a poodle? Oh right, there not real dogs.

tea73 2:15 PM  

ALFRED is not only generally listed as the first KING of England he's also the only one to merit the moniker "The Great". I did get slowed down though as I always think of him as "Alfred the Great" not "King Alfred", but the clue was fair. There's a famous legend about him taking shelter during battle with a woman who does not realize she is the king. She asks him to watch the pancakes and he, distracted, lets them burn and gets yelled at.

My brother has had poodles and I like them very much. I don't understand why you can't create new dog breeds. Maybe doodles aren't a breed yet, but no reason why they shouldn't be eventually. I think they are adorable, though too many seem to have ADHD.

Definitely much harder than an average Monday.

FPBear 2:22 PM  

All this talk about too tough for Monday and too easy for Tuesday for me is bogus. I could no more discern the difference, just know these guys are the easy of the week.

Anonymous 2:22 PM  


just shows to go you that hypocrisy runs wild, even in dog-dom. in my lifetime, the morphing of the German Shepard is significant to see. why anyone would do that to a breed is beyond me. talk about a designer dog.

Anonymous 2:50 PM  

Kinda. Canut almost always get the great attached to his name. Waiting for z to double down on his claim of A t G being a random king; now I have company. Thank you. And somehow I never heard the pancake story. I love it thanks even more for that.

Joaquin 2:56 PM  

@ Anonymous (2:22) has posted a link showing what pure-bred dog breeds once looked and how they look now. I'm guessing that in the year 2220, as the world shrinks and people mingle, we will see the same sort of comparison for humans.

Personally, I like the differences we all bring to the table but since "we" can't seem to get along with "them", maybe it's for the best.

Anonymous 3:19 PM  


well... not quite my point. some Right Wingnut (whose name I've long since forgotten, it was that long ago) complained if Blacks and Whites were allowed to breed ("it was miscegenation, I know"), "we'll all look like Brazilians". he, and it was a he, was not happy about that. if we all had the same skin tone, how can the lighter folk dominate the darker folk??? horrors!!

the point of the article was the exact opposite: rather than a melding of all characteristics into some pan-breed stasis, the AKC lot is selectively changing the characteristics of each defined breed into what the "designers" decide is proper. unless your a fan of eugenics, and it wasn't all that long ago when that was in fashion, selectively breeding humans for certain tasks/stations in life isn't, one hopes, in the cards. don't lets talk about designer babies, OK?

Z 3:32 PM  

@Geezer (Michigander here) - I have had HI C. I have had Hydrox. I don’t remember them being associated.

@albatross shell - You probably realize that I’m not one to wrap myself up in the FLAG, but this did irk me and your post illuminated why. Yesterday was the 75th anniversary. If you’re going to do a tribute puzzle, then damn it, do a tribute puzzle. It is certainly an event worthy of a tribute puzzle. But this particular puzzle could have run any day and has all the earmarks of being intended for a Tuesday or Wednesday. To me it looks like a pure afterthought to run it on the Monday after the anniversary. The fact that the constructor submitted this FOUR YEARS AGO!!! certainly supports the sense I have that the anniversary was a pure afterthought. This isn’t a card that arrives on a Monday, this is the phone call on a Monday because they were so busy on Sunday that they couldn’t be bothered to remember to call.

@ALFRED wasn’t random people - . ALFRED isn’t in the puzzle because he’s important, he’s in the puzzle because FLAG appears in the name. That’s basically the same reason LEO X is always the pope. And just like LEO X, KING ALFRED is just random.

@FPBear - Once upon a time @SanFranMan59 used to quantify the difference with times from the website, but that data is no longer available. Still, Much of the Commentariat has done thousands of puzzles. For me there’s going to be a 90-180 second difference when solving online between a typical Tuesday and a typical Monday. For others the difference might be more, for others less. We’ve done so many puzzles that we can feel the difference even as we solve. If one person says it felt harder than a typical Monday it is probably just that person. But when the consensus of lots of people who do lots of puzzles is that the puzzle is hard for a Monday you can believe that the puzzle is hard for a Monday.

Doug Garr 3:35 PM  

I've sailed all my life, and I've been around maritime people for sixty years or so, and I never once heard the expression AMAIN.

Hungry Mother 3:39 PM  

Ilike cur.

RooMonster 4:28 PM  

Hey All !
Work kept me busy and away all day!
I just popped in to say, Seven F's! Wow!


Anonymous 4:36 PM  


knew a sometime Texan, who said that breakfast was "an RC and a Moonpie". pretty much the same thing, cardiac wise.

GILL I. 4:43 PM  

@Nancy....You are absolutely correct in probably falling and breaking my neck. Like @jberg's wife, I have Sturbridge rag rugs in both the kitchen and in the bathrooms. Why? because once they get dirty, you just toss them in the washing machine and then hang them out to dry where the squirrels want to get to them.....
I could also slip on a banana peel or have the Amazon guy who delivers my packages, run over me. I try to be careful but I like beautiful things surrounding me. If I slip and kill my self, please say nice things about me at my eulogy..... ;-)

Anonymous 5:04 PM  

You called Alfred the great a random monarch not once but twice in your initial comments of the day.
Also, he's incredibly important in English history. Not suprisingly, slso highly esteemed.

albatross shell 6:38 PM  

75th anniversary seems like a good time to have it. It was not a Sunday puzzle. Certainly not Th- Sat puzzle. The Monday puzzle comes out on 6 pm the 23rd. Hmmm. What's my best compromise? Hmmm. Just cause I suggested you could be stubborn doesn't mean you have to be.

I had a friend who was a Jehova cultist. Call Jesus Jesiva or whatever. Big on the sovereign citizen international driver license stuff. Use to ask people how would you feel if people did not pronounce or spell your son's name correctly. I told him if they remembered him at all I'd be happy especially after being translated through different languages for 2000+ years. How petty am I going to be? Oh, they honored a multi-day battle from 75 years ago on a day that mentioned the flag raising but just a bit off. And for mostly technical reasons. Yeah and my town has its Independence day parade and fireworks a week early.

That's the end of my faux stubbornist today.

Z 8:12 PM  

@albatross shell - Hm - I hope you realize I was just explaining why this irked me. If I were a charitable sort like @Lewis I’d give Shortz credit for taking lemons (holding onto this puzzle for four years) and making lemonade (turning it into a tribute puzzle).

G. Weissman 9:07 PM  

@Peter P: Thank you for the info on OOH. Can’t say I’m familiar with it (Horshack yelling “ooh ooh ooh” with his arm raised comes much more readily to mind).

Richardf8 10:07 PM  

Rex is a medievalist. Jordan, it would seem, is not.

Bea 10:56 PM  

Good point.

Anonymous 11:59 PM  

I wish people would write out in words what they want to say. What the &@#% do BTW, SMH, IMHO, IMED, IMO, LOL, and other such nonsense mean?

Burma Shave 9:48 AM  


while RAISING ONE with ROSA, by gosh,
what THE EFF, there's ROOM for AWASH."


spacecraft 12:05 PM  

Typically Monday-easy, over here. A very nice theme, not overcrowded (maintaining "social distancing," as it were), and still manages to have a little clue fun.

Of course, with a starting B and the "daily grind" clue, I confidently wrote in Butchers. ASIF. BTW (with apologies to @anon 11:59), how does "Yeah, I'm real sure!" equate to ASIF?? That one has me scratching the old skull. My impression of ASIF is like every time I tried to ask a girl out in high school, that's what I'd get. Yeah, in dating 101 I got EFFS. But it all worked out.

ROSA Parks is a most deserving DOD. "YAAS!" [from the corners] Birdie.

rondo 12:12 PM  

Didn’t notice the gimmick until the revealer, so there’s that. Also a low count of threes for an early week puz.

Graham NASH is the least appreciated member of CSNY, IMO. And yeah baby EMMYlou Harris has worked with Neil Young.

Nothing more from me, ASIF you need it.

leftcoaster 2:52 PM  

Filled it out correctly but missed the theme.

Considered clashes suggested by FACEOFFS, OPENSFIRE, and DOSHOTS(?), but too much of a stretch. Besides, fighting was essentially over when the flag was raised on Iwo. Paused at the AMAIN/IMED cross.


A good, smooth, well-made Monday.

leftcoaster 3:20 PM  

Correction -- Fierce fighting went on for another month after the flag raising.

Wooody2004 3:42 PM  

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

1. Learning about "nubby plywood" in the Nichols-May 65 Funeral classic skit. Monday. Thanks @Nancy.

2. The "String of Polo ponies" Honeymooners clip. Wednesday. Thanks @Patrick O'Connor.

3. Discovering that I was Time Magazine Person Of The Year in 1966 and 2006. Thursday. Thanks @Kitchef.

4. "The moment I wake up/Before the Times I take up
I say a little hope for me
While smoking my dope, now
And wondering what else to tope now
I say a little hope for me...

Whatever whatevah! That's how it will be!
To want something more
Will only be heartbreak for me"
Friday. Thanks @QuasiMojo

5. "Maybe it's because I'm a bitter old fart, but the whole pre-drinking thing (and the fact that it is clearly widely known and practiced) disturbed me just enough to drive me to pre-freebase." Friday. Thanks @FranticSloth

rainforest 5:51 PM  

Normally known as simply ALFRED THE GREAT, he was recognized as the first KING of England, and is hardly "random". I thought it was appropriate to pay tribute to the landing at Iwo Jima and to the iconic photo of that landing.

I liked the theme and noticed while solving that GALF, reading down, appeared in two of the themers and so it was a help with LEGAL FORCE as well.

The puzzle was a tad tougher than most Monday's, but still in the "easy" range. Well constructed with interesting non-themers - much appreciated.
Hey, Syndies, keep up with the safe distancing, as I am, and be well.

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