Bernard Malamud novel about baseball phenom / MON 3-16-20 / Darth Vader's name as boy / Triple Crown winner of 1977 / Highway nearly 1400 mile route that runs through Whitehorse Yukon Territory

Monday, March 16, 2020

Constructor: Gary Cee

Relative difficulty: Easy (2:37)

THEME: "IT MEANS A LOT TO ME" (39A: "I'm deeply indebted" ... or a hint to the ends of 17-, 25-, 51- and 64-Across) — last words in theme phrases can each mean "a lot":

Theme answers:
  • SCRAP HEAP (17A: Junk pile)
  • SEATTLE SLEW (25A: Triple Crown winner of 1977)
  • BATTERY PACK (51A: Power source for an electric vehicle)
  • PAPAL MASS (64A: Easter event in Vatican city)
Word of the Day: MMA (37D: Sport also known as cage fighting, in brief) —
Mixed martial arts (MMA), also known as cage fighting, (my emphasis) is a full-contact combat sport that allows striking and grappling, both standing and on the ground, using techniques from various combat sports and martial arts. The first documented use of the term mixed martial arts was in a review of UFC 1 by television critic Howard Rosenbergin 1993. The term gained popularity when, then one of the largest websites covering the sport, hosted and republished the article. The question of who actually coined the term is subject to debate. (wikipedia)(stop lifting your cluing language directly from wikipedia, please, everybody, thank you)
• • •

I solved this so fast that I was only dimly aware of the theme revealer. I got "IT MEANS LOT TO ME" just from the initial part of the clue, not bothering to stop and think about how it related to everything else. Finished in near-record time, and at that point all I could say about the puzzle was that a. it was easy, and b. nothing seemed *particularly* horrible about it. Looking back at the theme, I think it works just fine. I think it's a fairly ordinary but totally acceptable Monday-type theme. Last Words- or First Words-type themes are Monday and Tuesday bread & butter. HEAP, SLEW, PACK, and MASS all do, in fact, mean a lot, so ... good. My only complaint with the theme is that HEAP isn't sufficiently redirected by the theme. That is, PACK means something totally different from "lot" in its answer, and same with MASS, but SCRAP HEAP is a HEAP ... of SCRAP. HEAP doesn't get a new meaning there, not really. Every themer should really incorporate word redirection, or redefinition, or whatever you want to call it. If all the last words share a common meaning, that should *NOT* be the meaning they have in their respective answers, is what I am trying in my own inimitable bumbling fashion to say. I don't know if SEATTLE SLEW follows or doesn't follow redirection protocol, as I don't know what "SLEW" is supposed to mean in the name SEATTLE SLEW. The word doesn't have a clear grammatical function. There are lots of other words that might have been used in this theme (LOAD, PILE, TON, BUNCH, HOST, OCEAN .... etc.?), so maybe it's not the tightest theme ever, but again, themewise, I think it holds up OK and I don't have any serious complaints.

The fill, however, upon reflection, is pretty weak. It's very old-fashioned, very crosswordese-reliant, filled with stuff that constant solvers (esp. folks who have been solving since the last century) will be readily familiar with, but that's really quite stale. There's no reason not to work harder to polish / modernize a small corner with ALCAN (?) crossing TARSI and ANI, no reason an easy puzzle like this should be teeming with low-rent fill like ESSEN YESNO ETAT ECRU ETAL ALA AGITA STENS (!) PIS ERR AHEM ASHE ERIN WAH. No one of these is so so bad, but taken together, they really clog the system. Six (!) longer Downs should add some color, but ... they don't. Not really. I enjoyed seeing "THE NATURAL," but besides the theme answers, it was the only thing I truly enjoyed seeing. So it's a mixed bag today. Workmanlike but passable theme, workmanlike but passable fill. I'm not mad. I'm not happy. The end.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 7:22 AM  

Monday puzzles often go by in a blur for me, an experienced solver, and it was a treat to have a few "stop and chats" with this one. Thank you for that, Gary!

I think it's a Monday plus for new solvers to come across more difficult words, words that they can't initially get, but then end up filling in because of fair crosses. These tough places end up being confidence builders and points of pride.

This puzzle had a good number of these difficult-for-beginner words, in my opinion -- ALCAN, ACCRA, ESSEN, AGITA, TARSI, STENS, GESSO, and ECRU. All were crossed fairly, and thus terrific to have on Monday, I believe, except for one, ALCAN, and I'm guessing its crosses with ANI and TARSI will be naticky for new solvers.

On another front, OPEN ARMS -- sigh. Remember those days?

Joaquin 7:30 AM  

I’ve heard the Indianapolis 500 referred to as an “auto race” and a “motor sport”, but never a MOTORRACE. That’s a new one for me.

@Rex complains of all the "low-rent fill" and "crosswordese" that appears in today's puzzle. Isn't that what we expect to find on Monday? Isn't that what keeps the puzzle Monday-easy?

OffTheGrid 7:36 AM  

A problem with the theme revealer is "TO ME". The four answers work OK for IT MEANS A LOT. The TO ME makes it nonsensical.

BobL 7:48 AM  

I liked it a heap

Doorboy 8:30 AM  

TO ME, the word HEAP means pile, or small mountain, or large mole hill, first, with the alternate meaning being “a lot of”, so a scrap heap is a mound of garbage, that can be fairly small, or kinda big. The double meaning and misdirection works well for me on that one.
Fine, serviceable Monday puzzle. However, I almost panicked in the NE, as AGITA wasn’t coming to me, and getting KUDOS helped bring the whole corner together.

pabloinnh 8:33 AM  

Smooth Monday and a nice repository of crosswordese for newer solvers. For people like me who have been solving for (coughs) years, an exercise in speed writing. Nice theme, and like OFL I have always wondered about the SLEW part of the great racehorse I have heard slew-footed to describe feet somewhat awry, but that wouldn't apply. Mysterious.

Otherwise, just fine. My question would be, I wonder how many times our constructor has been asked, "What does the C stand for?".

And now to find stuff to do involving no other people. There are certain advantages to living on a back road in a rural state.

Stay well, y'all

Andrew Gillum’s Escort 8:35 AM  

I wonder why Rex and Crossword Twitter aren’t triggered by “Heads Will Roll.” Decapitation isn’t funny.

Hungry Mother 8:36 AM  

It took me quite a while to get LEGALPAD, although I have several and always use one under the printout of the LAT puzzle each morning.

Frantic Sloth 8:39 AM  

Wow! High praise indeed from OFL today.

Somebody check his backyard for a pod.

Perfectly fine Monday puzzle - not too easy, not too hard. A Goldilockser.

Happy to see SEATTLESLEW as he reminds me of the g.o.a.t. - Secretariat.

GILL I. 8:40 AM  

Why do I notice things like PIS crossing POOH?
I have MYOPia. I will ask my eye doctors about the MYOPES crowd.
Was this oodles of fun? I'm trying to think what goes with jillion.

Suzie Q 8:41 AM  

Words like agita and myopes gave this extra crunch for your Monday.
Hey Ecru! Haven't seen you lately.
I only know gesso as a primer for canvas paintings. I did not know it had a use in sculpting.
Why the exclamation point in Rex's "low-rent" list? Please don't tell me he was triggered by Stens.

Birchbark 8:53 AM  


The beauty of ECRU, so integral to the office section of my closet, is its profoundly unbounded tint -- clued as a variety of white, yellow, today brown, etc., and why not? It works everywhere and asks nothing of anyone. Your paisley companions shine the more for walking with you, glad of it without knowing why.

I have little doubt that Poe's Purloined Letter was in an ECRU envelope. And, as we see over and over, it fits wherever needed in any given crossword puzzle.

QuasiMojo 9:06 AM  

I'm sure a slew of y'all will chime in but to answer Rex's remark, Slew also means "a swamp" (slough and slue) and was chosen by Seattle Slew's owner's for that reason so I don't think it is redundant here.

This was a slow Monday for me. AGITA held me up as I expected ANTSY. And YAWED which I knew was wrong but I couldn't grasp the corner. I thought the Canine reference was to teeth so I put in ADA. Ha! Clearly I was off my game today.

PAPAL MASS made me sigh. Seeing images of St Peters Square totally empty and poor Pope Francis looking so lonely as he televises his messages to an unseen audience is saddening. You see I'm still a good Catholic at heart even though a "collapsed" one.

Lewis 9:12 AM  

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

1. Fix a clog? (6)
2. Refuse to go there! (4)
3. Pat on the back (4)
4. Put down in print (5)
5. They've got talent (6)


LeaveItToYourGoat 9:15 AM  

Took 13 minutes to finish, and about 8 minutes alone in the NE. I raced through the rest so fast that I didn't even notice the theme revealer, which finally ended up helping me divine SEATTLE SLEW. No idea what AKC is or AGITA, so I would've been naticked were it not for my best guess that AGITA is perhaps a root word (?) of "agitation." As a native Texan, it took me way longer than I'd care to admit to figure out the GUL in GULF STATES.

Peter P 9:16 AM  

Finished in under average time, but got knotted up in the NE, for some reason. I had never heard of SEATTLE SLEW before -- the only horses I seem to remember from that general era are Secretariat and Affirmed. But, yeah, "SLEW" as in a variant of slough is what I assume it means.

Forrest Chump 9:21 AM  

Enjoyed this one, but struggled with the NE corner for some reason. Got GULFSTATES fairly easily but for the life of me could not come up with AKC or KUDOS. Oh well.

Saltcreekct 9:21 AM  

What I noticed in this puzzle is that so many answers resonated painfully in our new Coronavirus culture. Can’t attend sports events, can’t go to the movies, can’t dine out, can’t go to concerts, no touching allowed, and everywhere: Agita. Maybe I should head north to the AlCan Highway, and hunker down in the far wilderness for a while...

The Joker 9:35 AM  

It's a little bit funny.

Nancy 9:43 AM  

A smooth, pleasant Monday, with no speed bumps. Which brings me to 2D. If you're of a certain age -- an age long, long before the TV mute button -- you'll know the answer immediately. Here is why.

Sir Hillary 9:45 AM  

I'm not going to burden everyone else my with my depressing list of entries now seem relevant to the current goings-on. Instead, let me say that ITMEANSALOTTOME to have crossword puzzles and blogs like this as an escape from all that. Thanks to all.

Appalling to me that MMA fights are still planned to go on. But maybe I was naïve to get MYOPES up. :)

thfenn 9:53 AM  

All I can conclude is that the difficulties I had with today must mean I'm still a beginner or a 'newer solver', when for too long now, apparently, I thought I'd left that group. So I run through the acrosses first. Went with LICK before PAWS, ANGST before AGITA, ACME before APEX and even, ok, a little embarrassingly, SEcretariat before SEATTLESLEW. Wanted to go with ECRU but think of it as a shade of yellow more than brown. So, when it came time to run through the downs, this one suddenly had a good deal more 'crunch' than what I'd come to think of as a usual Monday. Ended up being fun - lots of mental triggers related to coronavirus, baseball, Easter, politics, courts, and various parts of the world, all of which happen to mean a lot to me at the moment. KUDOS to the constructor for helping kick off a humbling and thoughtful Monday.

Anonymoose 10:02 AM  

Alternate clue for 64A, "Francis's tumor".

Tale Told ... 10:19 AM  

Motor race. Masses slew. Worrisome fate.

QuasiMojo 10:23 AM  

@Nancy, thanks for the link and the chuckles. "We made our push through the Arctic bush..." That later became a hit disco song. The ad also mentions Dawson's Creek, a TV show a tad more recent.

TJS 10:24 AM  

Got 3/4 of this done last night when I got home from the bars. (DR is so far relatively virus-free, supposedly, so I am ascribing to @JohnX' approach to healthy living). This seemed to be a fine Monday puzzle. Even scanning the grid now, I see nothing to complain about. Of course I am not a professional complainer.

"Folks who have been solving since the last century". I assume that would mean over thirty, but that wouldn't sound as insulting as Rex' way of putting it, would it?

Geezer 10:27 AM  

@Gill. I'm glad you saw POOH/PIS. I missed it. Priceless!

Z 10:33 AM  

@thefenn - I started at 5A because the obvious right answer for 1A, spit, didn’t work. I refused to put the W in until near the end because, well, PAWS is wrong. Sort of like saying I wash my face with my hand. Blurgh.

@Joaquin asks an interesting question, “Isn’t that (crosswordese) what we expect to find in Monday?” I’d argue that today’s ese is not beginner solver friendly, but rather it serves as a gate-keeper to make the puzzle seem more difficult than it is. Mel OTT, ESSEN, STENS, ACCRA, Arthur ASHE, ERIN, and evening to a lesser extent ECRU, ET AL, and GESSO are only Monday easy for long time solvers. If you’re under 40 there’s no particular reason for you to have run into those sport stars or those “foreign cities with useful letters” or foreign weapons from 75 years ago. So, no, there is no particular reason for this kind of ese.

I did not expect to find an Ode to ECRU this morning. Thanks(?) for that @birchbark.

And, just because this is wildly amusing in these fraught times, Schwarzenegger gives us some advice (I bet those pets don’t wash with their PAWS, and you’ll never put Schwarzenegger’s Pet’s in a box).

Carola 10:47 AM  

Hello from a Badger State isolation booth. A satisfying Monday. It was nice to have the reveal half-way through to allow for some what-could-it-be anticipation for the final two theme answers. Nice long Downs, too.
@Z - My feeling exactly about PAWS.
@Birchbark - I loved your ode to ECRU, which in your closet filled the same role as twin sets in mine: one for every day of the week, wool for winter, cotton for the edges of the academic year.

Barbara S. 10:58 AM  

Maybe reading this blog is increasing my levels of nitpickery, but I had a bit of trouble with IT MEANS A LOT TO ME being the solution to "I'm deeply indebted." Do those two mean the same thing? I'd be happier if the clue had been "I'm deeply touched."

@ Susie Q I'm with you about GESSO.

@ Nancy "There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who sell the trucks." Loved the Robert Service pastiche!

Corona tip #3 11:01 AM  

Touch your face with only your elbow.

Masked and Anonymous 11:08 AM  

Pretty good MonPuz, despite servin up that there ALOE/ALCAN/TARSI/ANI scrapheap early on. I had fun with it all.

staff weeject pick: MMA. Reassurin, that the M+A's keep on comin. Also, that it crosses "ME".

Fillins I'd be extra-proud of, if they were in my xwordpuz: WORRISOME. KUDOS. MYOPES. THENATURAL.

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Winnie-the-___} = POOH. Fill-in-the-blankers are always great gimme candidates.
fave turd-in-the-easypeasy-punchbowl clue: {Firm hand?} = CLERK. Liked it, that they snuck one ?-clue into the mix. Keeps folks on their toes.

Thanx, Mr. Cee.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


Ernonymous 11:12 AM  

Someone needs to let Shortz know that Agita and Angst aren't synonyms. Stop clueing AGITA as anxiety. This gives me so much agita I literally am shoving 6 extra strength Tums down my throat.

jae 11:19 AM  

Medium. Pretty solid Mon. Liked it.

Two more binge possibilities from streaming sites:

“Episodes” on both Showtime Anytime and Netflix is a 5 season 1/2 hour comedy. Matt Leblanc plays an over the top version of himself in a show about a husband and wife British writing team trying to bring their popular sitcom to American TV. It does not go the way they hoped it would.

“Mozart In The Jungle” was one of the first series on Amazon Prime. It ran for 4 seasons and is about a new conductor (think Dudamel) taking over the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and his relationship with an up and coming oboist. It’s was inspired by “Mozart In The Jungle: Sex, Drugs and Classical Music” a memoir by oboist Blair Tindall.

William of Ockham 11:21 AM  

A rather Monday Monday.

After I wash my hands, it's back to Isolating Isolation, sometimes it's good to be anti-social.

RooMonster 11:48 AM  

Hey All !
Agree about that NE corner putting up a fight. Don't associate TORTE with Germany, seems French to me. Plus the odd (but, in retrospect, a cool misdirect) clue on CLERK. Did know AKC, which @LeaveItToYourGoat, is American Kennel Club. For doggies, and dog lovers. But, as FATE is wont on a MonPuz, figured it all out.
Only to get an Almost There! message. Argh! A DNF on a Monday. Turns out, an O for the A of TARSI/ALCAN. Dang. Maybe confusing ToRSIon and TARSal? Anyway, @Nancy, thanks for that link. Not only was it cool, (and loooong, dang, were commercials that long back then?) I always love seeing "old" cars when they were brand new. I'm an "original is best" " they're only original once" type of car affectionado.
I recently picked up (about three months ago) an original 1976 Mark IV Lipstick Edition Lincoln. 24k original miles. Bright Red, with white quarter vinyl top. Very nice. Was looking for that for a few years.

Do like the puz. Nice semi-crunchy Monday. Did online today, as I haven't been working, since the World is cancelled, and no one is coming to Las Vegas, ergo, no Limo rides, and got a time of 9:10, so slower that a regular MonPuz.

The Revealer reminds me of a funny joke I heard one time.
A friend stands up during a funeral, clears his throat, looks to the widow, and says, "Plethora." The widow says, "Thanks, that means alot."

One F

t 12:11 PM  

SCRAP HEAP of a puzzle. I've never heard the words AGITA or ECRU or STENS in my life. And TARSI crossing ALCAN on a Monday? YEP, this sucks.

Masked and Anonymous 12:32 PM  

Tried playin whac-a-mole with that NW scrappy corner a little while, to see what other fillins mighta worked. Tough lil area, probably due to the "I" in PISA and that long consonant run upfront in SCRAP.
Best M&A could muster: [Thankfully, no U's were in danger of bein harmed.]

1. Knocks the socks off of
14. Escapes unscathed
20. Opening episode of a TV mini-series
24. ___ Lanka
1. Thin and twisty bits of smoke
2. What the over-the-top actor was going for
3. Disquieting
4. 32-card game that sounds like a command to go away?


Geezer 12:33 PM  

When you've done puzzles for a longer time you will know those and many, many more.

TJS 12:35 PM  

@Roo, laughed out loud after I got it. Took me a few seconds.

Just found out if I want to get back to the US before April 15 I have 4 days to leave the DR. After March 20, no flights.In and out ?? Not confirmed yet but got it from a reliable source working as a travel agent at a hotel down here. This is getting really weird.

Just read an article about schools closing in rural areas where kids dont have access to computers at home, so no on-line classes to learn from. I'm thinking of @LMS and her students.

JC66 12:40 PM  


Talk about weird, West Virginia (where @LMS lives/teaches) is the only State not to have any confirmed cases of the virus so far. Let's hope it stays that way.

Frantic Sloth 12:41 PM  

Forgot to mention my delight in @Birchbark's Ode to Ecru. Makes me almost long for all things beige-y.

@Giovanni RE: AGITA


Teedmn 1:10 PM  

I think my AGITA over the recent crisis has taken over my crossword brain - when reading the revealer clue, "the ends of 17-,", I looked at 17A and thought, SCRAP HEAP? Is AP AP from the "Mars Attacks" movie? SEATTLE SLEW helped clear that up.

As @Lewis mentions, no OPEN ARMS these days. I got together with about a dozen people on Saturday but almost no hugs were exchanged when it would usually be a hug-fest. I think the no-hugging policy will lead to eye injuries as one person chooses to bow while the other sticks an elbow or fist out for a bump. Be careful out there!

This was a fine Monday, Gary Cee.

Pete 1:14 PM  

I went to the supermarket just now to buy a roll for lunch (my office is across the street from the supermarket, I'm not crazy, and they have very good Portuguese rolls). They had plenty, not in bulk as they usually do but wrapped in cellophane packs of 1, 2, 4, 8.. I picked up one, and went to the lines went from front to back, for every checkout counter. There were hundreds of people in line, buying as much as they could of whatever they could find. 32 rolls of paper towels. 20 bags of chips. 5 cases of water. The lines were over 1/2 hour long. As I walked to put my roll back, I was reminded of the miracle of the seven loaves and seven fishes.

For those who need brushing up on that story, Jesus was walking around with his disciples, and happened upon a group of shepherds. He sat and talked to them at length, and soon a great multitude showed up to hear him. At some point tye all realized it was passed lunchtime. No one had anything to eat, until one of the shepherds piped up that he had seven loaves of bread, and seven fish, but that was nowhere near enough to feed the multitudes. Jesus blessed the fish & bread, and distributed it to the surrounding multitudes. Lo and behold, there was enough for everyone. Not only that, but when they picked up the leftovers, there were baskets and baskets of bread and fish.

When I was but a lad in Sunday School, this was described as a miracle, that Jesus had somehow made that small portion of food, the lunch of one poor man, enough to feed thousands. When I grew up I realized it was actually a miracle, just not that. See, everyone had brought their own lunch, they just didn't want to share it. The miracle is that there is enough for everyone if we're just not selfish pigs trying to keep what's ours, and get half of what's yours.

Robyn S 2:10 PM  

I enjoyed CLERK crossing with ASKEW - Clerks was Kevin Smith's first movie, and his production company is View Askew.

QuasiMojo 2:14 PM  

Nice one @Birchbark. Doesn't ecru mean eggshell? Somewhere? I guess today's were brown eggs! 💪🏻

Loren Muse Smith 2:34 PM  

@TJS, @JC66 – The governor has closed schools here in West Virginia. I spent all morning bagging up food for our kids. My school is 100% free breakfast, lunch, and dinner. After we assembled all the bags, we jumped on school buses and met students at their stops to drop the food off. Several of the kids were already eating some of the food on their way back to their houses. The bus I was on went waaaaay back up in the hollers, and the poverty I saw was staggering. And, yes, WV is still the lone hold-out for no *confirmed* cases. It has to be here, but we still aren’t testing many people.

Rex – I totally agree about the issue with SCRAP HEAP, especially considering that the reveal actually is saying that there’s another “other” meaning of the word at the end of the phrase. No, no, silly - not MASS as in church but MASS as in mess. MASS MEANS “A LOT” TO ME.

“Worsts” before BESTS just kidding hah.

@GILL I – great PIS/POOH catch!

My cousin Lance has hiked the Appalachian TRAIL end to end and has driven the AL-CAN from the lower 48 to Alaska. Lance is the older cousin who used to tell this scary story about a chicken-legged lady who terrorized little girls. He’d mimic the sound of that leg dragging behind her as she lurched after children. Talk about POOHing your pants.

@Roo – I know, right? Who knew that TORTEs were German? I guess I knew TORTE was German for cake, since the French call it a gateau, but honestly, TORTE feels Frenchish to me. And Linzer TORTE is Austrian. And I don’t like Linzer torte ‘cause I have to keep my fruits and chocolates separate.

I agree with Rex and @Z: weird clue for PAWS. Cats are magnificently famous for their self-tongue bathing. Sure – there’s the old lick-the paw-and-get-behind-the-ear maneuver, but still. A couple of weeks ago a 6th grader told me that her cat had fallen into the bathtub. I asked if the cat had been upset. She reported that, no, said cat had been a good sport. I asked the rest of the class if anyone ever gave their cat a bath. One hand went up. Shamelessly stealing from Steve Martin – these kids have never heard of him - I asked her, Did the fur stick to your tongue? Only one kid, this serious, shy guy, snickered. We secretly bonded over our little joke. He’s now my favorite.

Joe Dipinto 2:42 PM  

For @Quasimojo. (The radio edit.)

Z 2:44 PM  

This “AGITA isn’t angst“ contention prompted a little research. One is from Italian, the other from German. One has a connotation of philosophical worry because we stole it from Freud and Kierkegaard while the other is more of the stomach turning sort of worry (i.e. “dyspepsia” is the other meaning). Still, the differences are about finer shades of meaning when “worried” or “nervous” don’t quite do it. More than okay for crossword puzzle.

Anonymous 3:00 PM  


hehe. know all of them. except, given the times we live in (hehe), had angst before AGITA.
"Feeling of anxiety" is angst. heartburn, real or metaphorical, is AGITA.

dadnoa 3:30 PM  

+1 for the nonsensical comment. Just leave it out.....oh wait, we need grid fill.......

Anonymous 3:56 PM  

@Z, Ott and Ashe will be easy for 65-year-old beginners (my age), as will be Sammy and Seattle Slew. Easily findable if you had a Wayback Machine for a brain. Not easy for a young beginner. Surely there are simple words, simply clued that are fun for kids of all ages (e.g., acne, sigh).

For an experienced solver (me), they're just same old. For a young beginner, they're huh?

GILL I. 5:11 PM  

@jae....As usual....Thanks for the recommendation. "Mozart In The Jungle" it is.....
Stay safe everyone. This too shall pass. Just please don't hoard and look out for your elderly neighbors and friends.

jberg 5:20 PM  

I'm here very late, so I'll just note that the clerk in G&S 'copied all the letters in a big round hand,' also described as 'a hand so free.' So the firm hand was a nice pun.

Z 5:37 PM  

@Anon4:18 - I’m not sure what sort of liberal education includes Mel OTT, ESSEN, STENS, ACCRA, Arthur ASHE, ERIN, ECRU, and GESSO.

Anonymous 6:45 PM  

@Anon 4:18, Since when were Mel Ott and Sammy Davis, Jr. part of a liberal education?

QuasiMojo 7:22 PM  

Ha! Thanks @JoeDiPinto -- reminds me of my nights at 54!

Anoa Bob 9:30 PM  

No sports on the tube, so I'll jump in. I think of AGITA as being upset, mentally and emotionally, about something stressful in the immediate environment, like the present COVID-19 thing. You know, AGITAted.

ANGST, on the other hand, I associate with more of a generalized philosophical feeling of, if not doom, then at least uncertainty. More of a sense of "When you die you're dead" dysphoria, if you will. Blame it on Sartre.

A Moderator 10:00 PM  

Flat out bigotry will get you deleted.

Anonymous 10:26 PM  


say, what??

TJS 12:33 AM  

@Anoa Bob, Nail on the head. And I blame it on that French goof to. Fight against the dying of the light, sez I.

TJS 12:35 AM  

Jeez, what did anon 4:18 say ? Nevermind, glad I missed it. G'nite.

Burma Shave 9:07 AM  


at BEST it’s not LEGAL, you see,
it’s IDEAL to do it THENATURAL way,


spacecraft 11:04 AM  

The revealer is so cute, I'd hate to throw shade on this one. It's a nice enough Monday; no complaints on any of the themers. I missed the PIS/POOH chuckle but did notice the TRAIL/TRIAL cross. AGITA is legit but hardly Monday fare. Hand up for thinking TORTE was French. BESTS gets tiresome, if not WORRISOME, because everybody says BEaTS. YESNO? YES? NO. Although, can you delete a slash as easily as a tilde in your grid? I GESSO. ESSEN is a last-column crutch. Still, overall, I've seen ALOT worse. With SALLY Field--or Rand (!) as THENATURAL DOD, this puzzle gets a par.

leftcoaster 2:56 PM  

Still thinking about yesterday's arcane theme....

As for today, I think Rex overworks this one. Themers are fine, even including PACK as in, say, a pack of wolves, let's say A LOT of them. They'll get your attention pretty quick. Especially if close enough.

Bringing a bit of resistance to the grid are AGITA, TARSI, GESSO, MYOPES.

KUDOS to Gary Cee.

Wooody2004 2:59 PM  

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

1. "Four Wet Pigs" and "The Scotsman" videos by Bryan Bowers. Sunday. Thanks @FranticSloth.

2. "My six-word memoir: Named for uncle with no car". Thursday. Thanks @Joaquin.

3. "The World Health Organization has determined that dogs do not transmit COVID-19 and so all dogs currently quarantined can be released. W.H.O. let the dogs out". Thursday. Thanks @Z.

4. "All of the following were active in rock/pop in the late '80s/early '90s:

The Jesus Lizard
The Jesus and Mary Chain
MC 900 Ft. Jesus
Jesus Jones
There were probably others. Also active were:

Collective Soul
Soul Coughing
Soul Asylum
None of which played anything vaguely resembling soul music." Saturday. Thanks @ghostofelectricity.

5. "They get you when you're walking out the door
They get you while you're shopping at the store
They get you if you touch a dirty knob
They get you when you're working on the job
I don't like being all alone--
EVERYBODY MUST STAY HOME!" Saturday. Thanks @spacecraft.

rainforest 3:25 PM  

Pretty good Monday puzzle with a theme and revealer that worked just fine. I thought the fill was also OK with some nice long downs. No nits to pick here. As the corners say, it was a SNAP, and leaves time for some NAPS perhaps.

rondo 5:01 PM  

@rainy, all that and more PANS out in the corners.

I don't think MASS is a redirect at all like OFL seems to think. Any Catholic MASS is a gathering of ALOT of believers. They go to MASS, not to *the* MASS.

YES to SALLY Field, one-time covergirl for Playboy magazine.

Just fine for the day.

Anonymous 5:20 PM  

The second definition of AGITA, is ANXIETY, in numerous dictionaries. Sorry to POOH POOH on your parade. And please don't come back at me, because you're PISed off.

rondo 6:28 PM  

Sounds WORRISOME to me.

Diana, LIW 9:41 PM  

Speaking of ANXIETY - all my doctor appts/tests came back fine - I'm in the clear! Until the next round of testing, and am assured they believe that shall be AOK too!!!!!

So, this puz wuz ez/peasy, but now I see I must go back and "get" the theme and humor. On my way...

Diana, No Longer Waiting for the Good News

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