Offered for breeding as derby winner / MON 3-9-20 / Bit on baby's bib / Classic symphonic rock group for short / Shylock's harsh demand in Merchant of Venice

Monday, March 9, 2020

Constructor: John Lampkin

Relative difficulty: Medium (normal Monday) (2:55)

THEME: weights — themers are famililarish phrases that start with units of weight, each one bigger than the last (with every themer following a "[unit of weight] OF [some thing]" pattern):

Theme answers:
  • GRAIN OF SAND (18A: What you should take dubious advice with)
  • OUNCE OF SENSE (29A: What a complete fool lacks)
  • POUND OF FLESH (46A: Shylock's harsh demand, in "The Merchant of Venice")
  • TON OF BRICKS (58A: What "it" may hit you like)
Word of the Day: NATE the Great (19D: ___ the Great of children's literature) —
Nate the Great is a series of more than two dozen children's detective stories written by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat featuring the eponymous boy detective, Nate the Great. Sharmat and illustrator Marc Simont inaugurated the series in 1972 with Nate the Great, a 60-page book published by Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, and Simont illustrated the first twenty books, to 1998.[...] Nate is a detective, a child version of Sam Spade. He solves crimes with his dog, Sludge, introduced in the second case, Nate the Great goes Undercover (1974). Nate finds him in a field eating a stale pancake. (Both Nate and Sludge love pancakes.) (wikipedia)
• • •

Well, enough of Women's Month Week, back to men, right on cue. And back to a rather miserable experience. At least half a dozen ughs or groans, zero smiles. Let's start with the theme—I guess there are many grains in an ounce, many ounces in a pound, and many pounds in a ton, so there's a *kind* of progression here, but it's not a familiar one. Like, GRAIN OUNCE POUND TON does not track as a sequence. It's not clear exactly which weight system is being used here. Troy weight doesn't deal in tons. If it's just "English" or "Imperial" weights, then ... what happened to STONE ?(not to mention some other, far less known units). No, this sequence is tenuous. Weak. Not really a coherent thing. Also, OUNCE OF SENSE feels very weak. The only OUNCE OF phrase that I know at all is OUNCE OF PREVENTION. Maybe *ONE* OUNCE OF SENSE, that feels in the language (and makes a much more natural answer to the clue, [What a complete fool lacks]), but just OUNCE OF SENSE all by itself feels wobbly. The others are fine but bland. The bigger problem today is the fill, which is of yore and of yesteryear and very very much not interesting. I knew things were bad when I hit MY HAT, and then was proved right with (deep breath) OPEL APR GELÉE (!?!) ESTE ULEE PEE (!!!!?!?) ATRA ASTA EKESERLEEREELO .... wow. Just OOF. All over. ATSTUD!? You have got to craft your grids much, much better than this. Eliminate the dross. Clean stuff up. This grid might've passed muster 30 years ago, but there's no excuse for it today. Mothball city. C'mon, man.

Only trouble I had today was the SENSE part of OUNCE OF SENSE (again, just not an intuitive stand-alone phrase to me) and GELÉE, which is just not a word I ever hear. Do you mean hair gel? It's just called "gel," I'm pretty sure. And also ... I'm pretty sure [Cosmetic goop] ("goop!?!") is not a very spot-on clue for something as chichi-sounding as GELÉE. Maybe GELÉE is only for someone who DOLLS UP a lot (i.e. not me), who knows? If the rest of the grid weren't so dismal, maybe it wouldn't bug me so much. Oh, and I balked at the clue on DRIPPED (49A: Leaked, as an old faucet). I wanted DRIPPED, but couldn't figure out why a new faucet wouldn't also drop. Because it would. Oldness and leaking do not seem like related things to me. What is "old," exactly, in faucet-years? I assumed this clue meant [Leaked, as faucets of yore], so DRIPPED seemed ... wrong. I mean, jeez, DRIPPED!? Any faucet can drip. What if you just didn't turn it all the way off?? That could happen to a faucet of any age. So many potential for DRIPPED, and yet you somehow manage to trip on it. Can we do Women's Week again? Please? I didn't love every puzzle from last week, but I'll take *any* of last week's puzzles over stale and lukewarm stuff like this.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    P.S. I miss my lapdog

    [Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


    Joaquin 12:08 AM  

    Despite this being the easiest NYT xword I’ve done in ages, I don’t like the missing “A”s (or "An") in the themers They need to be either added to the clues or part of the answers.

    Wonderful photo, Rex. From my experience, every dog is a lap dog. Who'd want it otherwise?

    chefwen 12:21 AM  

    I had an overwhelming desire to fill in a GRAIN OF nacl at 18A. Bet I’m not alone there.

    Super easy Monday puzzle, perfect for a beginner. Liked it.

    G. Weissman 12:56 AM  

    Shouldn’t 41A be “Red AS beet” and the answer to 26A be “IT’S LIE”? After all, all the other a’s are missing from the answers. For example, 58A: it might hit you like TON OF BRICKS. Not a ton of bricks, just ton of bricks, like an American actor doing broken Russki accent in Holleewood feelm. You know, comrade take your advice with GRAIN OF SALT, because een old country there were no a’s.

    Comrade, what terreeble puzzle! Just meeserable!

    jae 1:05 AM  

    Easy-medium. Pretty straight forward Mon. with some fill issues, liked it slightly more than Rex did.

    ...and speaking of crosswordese, it’s nice to see ULEE back, it’s been a while.

    manitou 1:16 AM  

    sense is measured in licks, not ounces

    Alexandra M 3:48 AM  

    So sorry about your doggo Rex! I also noticed the male byline, seemed like they couldn't wait to be done with Women's Week... Surprised not to see you call out "grain of salt" as themers TWO DAYS IN A ROW, I thought that was editorial sloppiness for sure. I looked slightly askance at OUNCE OF SENSE only because I know the phase as "doesn't have an ounce of common sense".

    GILL I. 6:38 AM  

    Hah....@chefwen. Can you imagine that? PEE BEE COO GOO OOF OOPS?
    I wish BALM had a bit of Gilead.
    Do you get caught RED HANDED after you TAKE A PEEK?
    HOG TIE made me sad as did DOLLS UP with some GELEE. Does any one do that anymore? I RUSTLE out of bed, brush my teeth and put my hair in a pony tail. Does that count?
    Loves me some lap dog action.

    Lewis 6:41 AM  

    I laughed at MY HAT because I hadn't heard that in so long. I would have thought it had shown up in many puzzles in the past, but no, only three times in the past five years, the previous two times by pros Joel Fagliano and Will Nediger.

    I did mark down ATRA, ULEE, ASTA, and ELO as Classic Crosswordese and thought it was a good intro of these old friends to new solvers, who will surely see them again.

    Six double E's, five double O's, generating rhymers PEE BEE COO GOO. Say that five times fast.

    Overall, 'twas an enjoyable bit of fun, a piece of cake, by a man of many words. Thanks, John!

    Joseph Jakuta 7:01 AM  

    GRAIN OF SALT was a better theme in the NACL puzzle on Sunday. Seriously couldn’t they have held this one for a few weeks?

    S. Goldwyn 7:08 AM  

    I sometimes imagine that Victor Nuñez, writer/director of Ulee's Gold (an independent art-house type film that made just under 10 mil at the box office), named his character "Ulee" in order to ensure the film's immortality in crossword puzzles.

    SouthsideJohnny 7:13 AM  

    The first puzzle from a male constructor in over a week and (right on cue) Rex makes up something to bitch about - the fact that the word DRIPPED is clued as having something to do with a faucet. Hilarious !

    OffTheGrid 7:32 AM  

    Another cluing problem. 32A "GM car no longer sold new" needed "for short". It was still an easy fill (I had __DS by the time I read the clue). The car in question is an Oldsmobile.

    Also, 34A is clunky. "Offered for breeding...." uses a past tense verb. Available for breeding.... would have been much cleaner to get to ATSTUD.

    27D. Quickly and loudly detach/SNAPOFF. Loudly? That doesn't make much sense and "loudly" is totally unnecessary. Again, clunky.

    @Rex already dealt with the dripping faucet.

    MR. Cheese 7:50 AM  

    Old faucets DO leak. So what’s the problem?
    Rex takes nit-picking to the extreme once again.

    Sad about the pooch.

    David Grenier 7:55 AM  

    1. That dog is a very good dog. I can tell.

    2. My main problem was reuse of "grain of salt" from (Sunday? Thursday? I can't remember). I'm used to more fill type of clues repeating but I kinda don't think themers should repeat like that.

    pabloinnh 7:57 AM  

    Of course I wanted to start with GRAINOFNACL, Sunday hangover syndrome. The progression from grain to ton is nice. Otherwise an unremarkable easy breezy Mondecito right up Beginner Alley, which is fine, although the ____ Newton (cookie) clue goes beyond moo cow easy (hi M&A) into why doesn't this come all filled-in territory.

    Thanks for the fun, JL. Saved some time to do fun stuff, like make a dentist appointment.

    Doorboy 8:43 AM  

    This was fine for a Monday. Remember, they get harder as the week goes on. This is a great entry-level puzzle. There’s a theme, there is word play, and there are plenty of gimmes. It’s great for someone who’s just starting out at solving. I have no problem with this one.
    Rex, have you ever had to replace the washer in a new faucet? No, because they fall apart as they age (just like people).
    I can’t believe the fact that these terms of measurement aren’t all cohesive or from the same “system” is a bone of contention. Seriously?!? On a Monday?!? “Don’t include miles and centimeters in the same puzzle, it might confuse someone!” No, just you...

    Hungry Mother 8:43 AM  

    A bit too salty for me, but very easy. Something slowed me down, maybe my age.

    Lobster11 8:44 AM  

    I fear that if Gillette ever stops making ATRA razors, the NYT Crossword will cease to exist.

    Steve 8:50 AM  

    The thing about old faucets is that they tend to be prone to leak much more, as the only way to get a new faucet to leak is to leave it slightly open (provided it's been installed correctly). Old faucets tend to leak no matter how firmly you close them, as the rubber washers tend to dry, crack, and leak. Anyone who's owned a home for any appreciable amount of time will tell you about replacing faucet washers - it's a very common maintenance task.
    I also looked askance at OUNCE OF SENSE. I wanted this one to be common sense (prior to figuring out the theme, which on early week puzzles is usually a post-solve thing for me). Didn't mind the fill so much... if us oldsters need to brush up on modern culture to solve grids, so the younger must deal with older stuff. The NYT needs to cater to a wide variety of solvers, and I think they do a good job of that.
    See you at ACPT!

    RooMonster 8:54 AM  

    Hey All !
    SALT again? Har. Thankfully not the same theme as the SunPuz.

    Progression of weights fine. Rex actually describes the progression in his write-up, "many grains in an ounce, many ounces in a pound, many pounds in a ton", then goes on to say the progression sucks. Dang, contradict much? ☺️

    Liked this easy MonPuz. Some shaky fill, Abbrs. and whatnot, but Every Puz Has Dreck. I'll keep saying it til it ain't true.

    OPEL gets me Every. Time. Put AUDI first. Yargh! Though mis-entries on Monday aren't too tough to suss out. Only writeover, unless you count my sorta-dyslexic wrongness of having EPI_O_E, and writing in P and S instead of S-D. Weird. I guess it takes the ole brain a second to catch up to my hand!

    Another run of four threes today. Somebody a few weeks ago asked (or observed) if that was common, as they didn't remember seeing it. So, now I take notice. It was a row of four threes that Rex used to coin his "God of bad fill" OOXTEPLERNON.

    Seven F's! (Again!)(5 from the themers)

    Suzie Q 8:55 AM  

    I thought this was a fine Monday. I certainly liked it more than Rex. His objections seem manufactured.
    A beginner to crosswords might find this fun with some practice at crossword standards as well as some harder words like renal, rustle, and hog tie.
    I took the "grain of salt" as an inside joke between Will and us regular solvers.
    My first guess before checking the crosses for 65A was ELP.
    Electric Light Orchestra are good but I love Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.

    Kilogram of praise 8:59 AM  

    @OffTheGrid...I do not think of “offered for breeding” as past tense in this case since the ex-Derby winner is in a continuous state of “being offered” for his prize winning genes.
    As for missing articles, I have no problem with omitting them when they aren’t necessary for the concept, to be distinguished from a title like THE Red Badge of Courage. I have heard both LICK and OUNCE for SENSE but agree that LICK is more common. I also hesitated to but in GRAIN OF SALT due to yesterday’s puzzle.
    I thought the “terrible threes” were pretty clean actually.
    I work the puzzle every day (as everyone does on this blog) and it seems to me that this was a perfectly serviceable Monday puzzle!

    Karl Grouch 9:08 AM  

    Pretty meh this one was.

    Lots of ways, imo, to make clueing feel less stale, considering that most of the fill was admittedly very much so.
    (Just take the word "letter" out of the clue for 38a for example).

    One thing that's not the constructor's fault though is the nacl debacle, @jj 7:01 said it.

    Best moments of the puzzle, the clues for 2d and 45a ( pretty decent try to avoid the ad-nauseam-over-used "barely makes it").

    @OffTheGrid 7:32: GM in the clue indicates that the answer is short for something.

    (I'm pretty sure that someone in particular will comment later on a certain tiny portion of the puz, in and about the third theme answer. It might even give that someone ideas about constructing a super-rebus!)

    Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 9:20 AM  

    Sorry about the dog.
    Having been too busy yesterday to even open a newspaper, I'm very glad I got insomnia last night and did the puzzle (instead of reading the book on my nightstand, an expose of American for-profit prisons, which would have caused bad DREAMS). It meant I knew what everyone on the blog was talking about when they kept bringing up NACL.

    Anonymous 9:27 AM  

    Rex Parker The self-absorbed word maven without an ounce of self awareness.

    Lewis 9:28 AM  

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

    1. Focus on the road, e.g.? (4)
    2. Set out on the highway? (5)
    3. They're in good hands (9)
    4. Fit for a sweater (4)
    5. Small cardinal (3)


    Anonymous 9:34 AM  

    Three pf the phrases--- ton of bricks, grain of salt, ounce of sense--lack the indefinite article which is part of their common usage. Get a grip Rex. Even pound of flesh is most often used with the word a preceding it.
    Your gripe about ounce doesn't hold any water.

    jberg 9:45 AM  

    My father, a pharmacist, liked to ask people if they had any scruples, then follow up by asking, "well, how many GRAINs are in one of them?" Simple pleasures, but it made me like the puzzle. So did the COO/GOO crossing, the the thought that I might eat MY HAT. Looking it over, I also like ARES followed by ARE -- just too bad the row couldn't have been finished with 'areas.'

    Onto Tuesday.

    Anonymous 9:48 AM  

    Someone--maybe Z-can help Rex out. There are 437.5 grains in an ounce.
    Sheesh. And while you're at, maybe tell him to get over himself. The clue and progression are spot on. He's the one with a gap in his knowledge. That's Not Shortz's fault nor Lamkin's, even if each is cursed with a penis.

    Z 9:57 AM  

    “no longer made”
    “Steals cattle”
    The late ASTA
    The late Peter Fonda
    The very late Yorick
    The late ERLE Stanley Gardner

    This puzzle thinks 1997 is current. BTW - I didn’t include OPEL (name plate last sold in the US in 1975?) or ATRA (introduced in 1980) since they are still technically current.

    All this to say I disagree with the “beginner friendly” contention. This is only beginner friendly if the beginner is north of 50, or maybe even north of 60.

    GRAIN OF SALT!?!?!?!
    Otherwise I liked the theme more than Rex. As for the Great Faucet Controversy™️, I agree that “as an old faucet” unnecessarily focuses on the faucet’s age (yes - any faucet can DRIPPED), but I think the “old” calls to mind the stereotypical DRIPPED faucet, so is fine by me. Yes, that’s right, faucet stereotypes don’t bother me.

    @manitou - by that measure my Lab is incredibly wise.

    Anonymous 10:09 AM  

    OPEL and ATRA aren't technically current. They are simply current. No need for the editorializing, which is pretty vague. In what way is their wide availability today some kind of technicality?

    Anonymous 10:10 AM  

    Ain't nobody using a VOIT basketball.

    Nancy 10:11 AM  

    As someone who never modernized m

    The comments drove me back to read Rex, since I couldn't imagine why anyone would complain about cluing an old faucet as DRIPPing. I never redid either the kitchen or the bathroom when I moved into this apartment -- I had enough trouble paying for the apartment -- and hence all my faucets DRIP. If Rex's faucets don't DRIP, lucky Rex. The clue was a gimme for me.

    Most of the clues in this very easy puzzle were gimmes. But there is an attempt to counterbalance the easiness with some humor. I liked the clues: "What a robber hopes to get"; "Quickly and loudly detach" (I like the "loudly"); "Skull for Hamlet..."; and "Why is a flower like the letter A?" Lampkin shows a playful approach to cluing that I hope in the future will be put in the service of a more challenging puzzle.

    George 10:17 AM  

    I liked VOIT, which I haven't seen before in the puzzle. Reminded me of my childhood in the driveway with the basketball hoop above the garage door.

    GRAINOFSALT two days in a row??

    Billie Joe McAllister 10:21 AM  

    They said I never did have a lick of sense.
    Pass the biscuits please.

    Frantic Sloth 10:22 AM  

    Hard pause at GRAINOFSALT. What? No! Eye roll.

    Moving on...

    LOL @ G. Weissman who didn't realize Boris (Borees?) & Natasha Badenov were crossword constructors. Now all I can think about is "Everybody to get from street!"

    Overall, bit of yawner, but I agree it's nice "Crosswords 101" for beginners. (See what I did there?)

    Carola 10:24 AM  

    I'm with the "a fine Monday" crowd...or grouplet. I enjoyed the theme...the repurposing of yesterday's GRAIN OF SALT, with the emphasis transferred from the last to the first word and the nice progression of weights - fun to anticipate what was coming next. I also liked the combo of RUSTLE and HOGTIE and PEE next to the one-PLY toilet paper, which explains the DRIPPED below.

    A GRAIN OF SALT mondegreen: A student in one of my daughter's English lit classes once wrote that a certain assertion should be taken with "a grain assault."

    Frantic Sloth 10:24 AM  

    @Nancy Yearning for wide open spaces or is your keyboard (specifically the space bar) acting up again?

    Nancy 10:25 AM  

    Sorry for all the white space. Not to mention the sentence fragment that was invisible to me when I hit "Send". I had trouble on Wordplay, too. What is this new laptop doing to me?????????????

    What? 10:34 AM  

    Did I get USA Today by mistake? Even a newbie would be bored. Down with Monday puzzles!

    Barbara S. 10:42 AM  

    It must be a rush to see your name in the NYTXW, although maybe it's old hat for KEN Burns. We know from the film Wordplay (2006) that he does the puzzle daily. Tina FEY may be a regular solver too for all I know (and her name appears all the time), but I'm lacking documentary evidence one way or the other.

    I was a bit surprised to see PEE in the puzzle as also in that film Will Shortz makes a comment about never referencing particular bodily fluids because many people solve while eating breakfast! I know, I know, it was clued as a letter not as anything else, but the visual link is there.

    I found it an easy and pleasant puzzle, but yeah, I'm going to go and shower to wash the salt off.

    pmdm 10:42 AM  

    Like most Monday puzzles, I completed this one fairly quickly. And I must admit I never bothered to figure out the theme. Based on the write-up, perhaps I'm better off for it.

    I'm not sure if any other comment addressed this. By Chen over at XWordInfo makes some interesting comments today about the different editing policies of Shortz and his predecessor Maleska. I must say I support all of them. although I sometimes cringe at the slang entries he allows in the puzzles.

    I usually speed read through the write-up. The conversation in the comments section provoked me into going backed to the write-up and read what the problem was with the DRIPPED entry. I can deal with differing reactions, but somehow the logic used to justify the reactions can veer towards an illogical argument. Sometimes that seems to be what drives the comments.

    Ernonymous 10:43 AM  

    I'm new and trying to learn the crosswordese. ERLE is a good one. Back in Maleska time, they used it non-stop. For example in 1993 ERLE was in puzzles 7 times from June 5th to July 29th. It appeared on July 24, 27, and 29! It was usually clued as Gardner. In 1953 it was clued as "Man's Name"- what the hell? We get it less now, but we still get it. 15 times in 2003 but only twice in 2019.

    ATRA used to be clued as Black in Latin. I supposed the razor is easier although sometimes the razor is AFTA.

    OPEL brings back such memories. When I was a kid, my parents decided to get a second car in about 1968 so my mother could pick us up from Cub Scouts when my dad was at work. They got a trashed OPEL from the 1950s which looked like a Beverly Hillbillies car. I wasn't a hoity toity kid but it embarrassed me. It was a weird shape, had no paint on it, or was a gunmetal color, and it didn't look like anything else anyone else drove. I've tried to google some pictures- of course now they are restored and look pretty cool. My mom would say: who cares it gets us around!

    TJS 10:52 AM  

    Apparently Rex is not exactly Mr. Fixit around the house.

    Where is the horrified reaction to "Dolls up" ? I feel cheated.

    We have had many Mondays much worse than this, including our Womans Week beauty.

    David 11:02 AM  

    Even though I don't mind the missing articles, I started to type in every answer with them before reminding myself they were there. As always, regionalisms are, um... regional. The only time I've ever heard "a lick of sense" has been on TV or at the movies; it's always seemed southern to me somehow: "That boy, Vestibule Jones, he hasn't got a lick o' sense, bless his little heart." And I've never heard "an ounce of common sense" either, although I do subscribe to the notion that "common knowledge" is neither common nor knowledge.

    A bit boring, but greatly alleviated with the double vowel mini theme.

    It's getting harder and harder to find parts for older faucets too, so many will drip more.

    Hand up for stopping at "grain of salt," but doing yesterday's puzzle I had this nagging feeling that we've had an NACL something or other recently. As I recall, Rex complained about it being a chemical formula or something.

    I started off with PUB, I suppose because I associate taverns with Merry Old England and not my city. There ya go.

    Those of us who were geeks during the OPEC embargo know the Opel GT well as there were all manner of articles about turning them into electric vehicles powered by jet engine starters. Besides that, they were pretty little cars.

    What? 11:12 AM  

    Month after Mar? Really?

    Nancy 11:31 AM  

    To everyone planning to attend this year's ACPT:

    Please read my cautionary tale on the 2/5/20 Rexblog at 9:37. (It was in response to a question from Quasi). Just remember: All that happened to me in a year when there was NO coronavirus. I didn't know when I summed up my 2015 after-tournament woes that it would be so apt in today's health situation.

    I urge you all reconsider going to this event. The exceptionally close proximity of participants during the tournament makes it ripe for infection.

    I've made a lot of friends here and I'd hate to lose any of you. In particular, the older, more vulnerable Rexites should think twice. Then think twice more. Please! It's one small event out of your lives and none of you are going to win it anyway :)

    Bob R 11:32 AM  

    @Nancy. Re your poetry comments. You’re probably familiar with The Dehumanization of Art by Jose Ortega y Gasset. Written in 1925, in the early years of modernism. It’s still with reading. I also enjoyed Tom Wolfe’s The Painted Word. You too?

    Joaquin 11:37 AM  

    A little late, but ... a couple of days ago there was a discussion here relative to using "SEES" and "appreciates" as synonyms.

    Today a spokesperson for Harvey Weinstein said this: "Harvey has had time to himself in an environment he appreciates to be vastly different from what he had known."

    I'm assuming Ol' Harv understands (sees) the difference without giving thanks for it.

    Masked and Anonymous 11:49 AM  

    That first themer *was* kinda dejavuosity-laden (yo, @MB Z). M&A thought @RP [of HOGCALLS fame] would for sure love this MonPuz, since it had that HOGTIE appearance fairly early on in the solvequest. Plus it had KEN, which in the toy biz, has no faucet dripper. But yah just never know …

    I liked the puz just fine, but kept feelin like I'd seen this here weight-progression theme somewheres before. M&A has got to think ...
    fave fillins included: HOGTIE. REDHANDED. TAKEAPEEK.

    staff weeject picks: GOO/COO crossin. (yo, @jberg) Also sorta partial to the nearby hidden OFF/OFF crossin. Nice weeject stacks in the NW/SE, btw.

    fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Month after Mar.} = APR. (yo,@What?)

    Thanx, Mr. Lampkin. Sorry U got picked to break up the gals' run, but not yer fault. Maybe the Shortzmeister can at least ease things back in, by alternatin boy/girl/boy/girl for a spell … ?

    Masked & Anonymo4Us


    GILL I. 11:58 AM  

    @Nancy...If I were going to the ACPT (I can't this year), I'm not sure the coronavirus threat would stop me. I've been around a lot of places that carried all kinds of diseases and somehow managed to survive. I remember the HIV pandemic. I was living in San Francisco at the time. At the beginning, no one knew what caused it - just that gays were the "transmitters." All of a sudden anyone who so much as "looked" gay, was shunned. In the gay capital of the world no less. It was just horrible the way people reacted. We are now seeing it with Asians. I say to just be careful and use common sense. Wash your hands lots and if you sneeze, for goodness sake, cover your mouth.......
    RIP Max Von Sydow.....I met him at the White House Tavern in NYC. I was with a good friend from Spain who was a production set designer. He knew Max (who happened to be at the bar) and introduced us. Max was very tall and very handsome and as charming as hell. I'm pretty sure I drooled all over my Manhattan....(and I didn't have rabies).....

    Z 12:12 PM  

    @Anon10:09 - Why don't you try to demonstrate how either is in wide usage today. Good luck and we will wait. (hint - Gillette Mach 3 and Fusion are a lot easier to find and discussion about than an ATRA)

    @Anon 10:10 - I searched for VOIT at Dick's Sporting Goods. It seems you are correct. And who is Luke VOIT?

    G. C. 12:24 PM  

    I am the proud owner of Jon Voit's basketball from his childhood.

    Anonymous 12:24 PM  

    Widely avaible z. Try and keep up.

    FPBear 12:39 PM  

    Really beautiful doggie. Less beautiful pedant.

    Anonymous 1:07 PM  

    @Frantic Sloth

    "everybody to get from street" was of course from The Russians are Coming, not Rocky & Bullwinkle, but you may have just been grouping fractured Russian/English cultural references together on purpose.

    Puzzle was pretty easy for this almost-senior. I can see both Rex's point that there was a ton of short crossword-ese, and what's seems to be the general commentariat's view that a Monday offering does not have to raise the bar very high to appeal broadly, while being easy for newbies.


    Teedmn 1:35 PM  

    This is the definition of a Monday puzzle - a work-a-day theme, lots of -ese. I saw APR at 5D and said to myself, "There's M&A's moo-cow easy word of the day". Har.

    Sort of a mini-theme of theft with those RUSTLERS trying to get AWAY and not get caught REDHANDED.

    Would 20A be equally easy if the clue were, "_____, it has three corners"?

    DROOL crossing DRIPPED, eww. And Rex's leaky old faucet rant and the OUNCE OF SENSE complaint leave me baffled.

    @Nancy, thanks for your concern about the ACPT. I'm not in the high risk group for the virus and all of my plans are set so I'll be going unless Will decides to call it off. I'm prepping for a siege, with all of the travel tips being observed - greeting friends with elbow taps, no face touching, wipe down the airplane, wash hands long and often. We'll see what happens.

    Anonymous 1:45 PM  

    Atra is available from:
    West Coast Shaving

    That's just the list of purveyors from the first page of Uncle Google. I didn't included the multiple EBay slots that clogged the page up.
    Seems pretty widely available to me

    Masked and Anonymous 1:46 PM  

    … And maybe the Shortzmeister could also alternate salt/nosalt/salt/nosalt days in the puzs for a spell, too boot. Better culinary balance, that way. (yo, @chefwen)

    This would, unfortunately, keep BarNACLe Bill's appearances down, for a bit.


    Anonymous 1:47 PM  

    @Anon 12:24

    CVS said "ATRAs? Hell no, we don't carry ATRAs! This aint 1972"

    Walgreens said ATRA!? Hell no bro!

    Anonymous 1:48 PM  

    Opel Increases Market Share in Europe
    download-pdfdownload-imagedownload-allMon, 09/09/2019 - 10:00

    Rüsselsheim. The upward trend at Opel continues: In the months January to August, the brand with the Blitz has slightly increased the market share in the important European market (passenger car and LCV registrations; E30) to 5.42 percent. The Rüsselsheim-based company also recorded a growing market share in the single month of August.

    “We have improved our market share in Europe in an increasingly demanding environment while at the same time consistently focusing on profitable sales channels and growth segments. That is a good result, and we can confidently look ahead to the rest of the year,” said Xavier Duchemin, Managing Director Sales, Aftersales and Marketing. “Opel/Vauxhall delivered around 700,000 vehicles.

    Nearly 3/4 of a million units. Seems pretty widely available to me.

    Anonymous 1:56 PM  

    I didn't cite CVS.
    Walgreen's does carry Atra. And Atra plus. The plus iteration is on the link you provided.

    Ernonymous 2:11 PM  

    @guys,your ZIPPO lighter argument was a lot more riveting. Someone needs to write a screenplay. I personally couldn't put that one down. I just can't get into the Opal/ Atra controversy. I think it's missing a major plot point. Maybe scratch what you have so far and rewrite?

    Anonymous 2:19 PM  

    my recollection of VOIT was volleyballs and soccer balls.

    c'mon man, new faucets are washerless

    Z 2:37 PM  

    Oh c’mon man, @Giovanni, this stuff is riveting. Well, maybe “pivoting” would be better.

    @Defenders - The question isn’t whether or not these things are currently available or even widely available (hint: I acknowledged that in my very first post) it is whether the terms are something widely accessible to a hypothetical “beginner” solver under the age of 50. Gillette widely and feverishly markets all kinds of razors, but the ATRA’s heyday is at least 20 years ago. And it doesn’t matter how many cars OPEL sells in Europe, Asia, or Africa. They don’t sell any in the US and the name plate has been gone from the US market longer than OLDS or Saturn or Mercury or Geo. These answers simply skew old old old. Hence “technically current” but not really current. Much like ELO still performs on occasion but that doesn’t make them anything other than a 70’s-80’s band.

    Anonymous 2:40 PM  

    despite the (intended(?) gaslight), "I am not Spock!", ummmmm @Z

    Anonymous 2:46 PM  

    ATRA Plus is on the FIRST PAGE of all the major pharmacies/ razor services. As for your first post, why would a puzzle that thinks its 1997 think a car last sold two decades before ( in the US) think it's current?
    Your argument and data are too protean to be taken seriously Z. For example, when someone says a clue that New Yorkers would know easily is apt because the paper is the New York Times, you dismiss that argument and say the puzzle is bigger than the big Apple's ambit. Now, when you're shown how popular Opel is in Europe, you claim the puzzle, or at least Mondays, are for new American solvers. Why get parochial now?
    You can have the last word. You'll take it as you always do. But no amount of your yacking changes the fact that both Z and Opel are both current and widely available.

    burtonkd 2:58 PM  

    @anon 2:19 my thoughts exactly about VOIT. I seem to remember a VOIT tetherball. (Napoleon Dynamite, anyone?)Maybe someone used one when OPELS were introduced, or they could be popular in Germany.

    @suzie, you made me laugh with "Rex’s complaints seem manufactured". You could probably auto-post this everyday a non-female constructor is involved. It must take a certain talent to write an extended paragraph taking to task a leaky old faucet. In a puzzle with weights in ascending order, let’s complain that a Monday puzzle left some units out, coming up with the archaic stone as the example while complaining that the puzzle skews old stuff.

    Then there are the days that are positively enlightening.

    Anonymous 3:03 PM  

    It seems once you're shown you're wrong, you dismiss that argument as unimportant and take a new tack. If the popularity and or currency of ATRA and Opel are not the issue, why throw down the challenge to prove it as you did with your post of 12:12? Clearly you believed they weren't popular or current. That's why you added The smug " Good luck with that. We'll wait" to your challenge. But your last post says that's not the issue. Which is it?

    emily 3:08 PM  

    Has no one seen the Tom Hanks movie ‘Cast Away’?

    Anonymous 3:16 PM  


    wrong type of ball, wrong manufacturer???? how would that help?

    QuasiMojo 4:08 PM  

    @Gill, touché! Agree about Max. Fascinating. I used to love stopping by the White Horse Tavern. Your story about Zero Mostel Btw cracked me up. I'm sure I would have reacted the same. For me the biggest aphrodisiac is a great personality.

    sanfranman59 4:21 PM  

    I don't doubt that Rex isn't aware of the phrase "OUNCE OF SENSE" but all he had to do was a quick Google to confirm that it's relatively common. FWIW, it returns almost as many hits as "lick of sense". It's rather ironic that his diatribe about DRIPPED doesn't make an OUNCE (or a lick) OF SENSE. Of course old faucets are more likely to leak than new ones, unless an incompetent installer did the work. Maybe Rex doesn't know this either, but that's certainly not the fault of Will or John. If you have to try so hard to be critical of a puzzle, maybe it's really not so bad.

    Alexandra M 4:49 PM  

    The GM technically serves as a clue that there's a shortening in the answer, despite the fact you wouldn't really expect to see General Motors written out fully.

    orangeblossomspecial 5:26 PM  

    Ol' Rex ain't got a lick of sense.

    Michiganman 5:57 PM  

    Many of you, in your eagerness to trash Rex, miss his point(s). For example, he was simply saying "old" was gratuitous in the faucet clue. It's not about the faucet. It's about sloppy cluing. In fact, simply "Leaked" would have been sufficient and not too esoteric for Monday.

    GILL I. 7:22 PM  

    @Quasi...I may have to stop telling everyone where I meet interesting people. They aways seem to be in bars and I always have a drink in my hands!

    Joaquin 7:39 PM  

    My buddy had an OPEL sports car in the late 60s. The distinguishing feature of the car was its headlights, which rotated into place by pushing a lever forward about a foot. Sorta like pop-ups but they actually rotated 90°.

    Z 8:24 PM  

    LOL - Apparently the “Z is wrong” anonymice didn’t notice @Anonymous 1:47pm pretty much proved them wrong. Is it sheer chutzpah or stupidity of @anon2:46 to post a lie that’s already been disproven an hour earlier. I guess maybe it hadn’t been approved yet? But, really, you maybe would check a major pharmacy’s website first before embarrassing yourself? No? Okay (Do I even need to bother with the “big in Europe” argument. No? Good).

    I guess I should have added VOIT to my list. I remember the brand from my youth, but haven’t seen it much lately. Well, maybe because it is now headquartered in Mexico City and all it makes in the basketball department now are ”classic” basketballs. So, like ATRA and OPEL, technically current but good luck finding many people under 50 who know the brand as clued. And, who exactly is in the 1922 Vintage No. 7 basketball market?

    retired guy 9:37 PM  

    It doesn't seem strange to me to think that an old faucet is more likely to drip than a new one.

    As for ounce of sense:

    Ernonymous 11:19 PM  

    That is not what Rex meant. He meant he thought an old faucet did something different than Drip. He said all faucets drip, but since the clue specified OLD, he thought they wanted something else, something specific to only old faucets. DRIPPED came to him right away, but because the clue said old faucets he thought that must be wrong.
    It's like if the clue was: what sound do dogs make? Answer: bark. But if the clue is: what sound do young dogs make? And the answer is also bark you'd wonder why are they specifying Young dogs? Maybe young dogs make another sound that all dogs don't.

    Unknown 9:21 AM  

    I run a vegetable farm and was shocked at first because I thought it was red ACE beet, a favored and storied variety. Guess that would have been too in the weeds for everyone else.

    thefogman 1:09 PM  

    DNF, on a Monday! Because I had inSTUD - not ATSTUD - at 34A.

    rondo 10:29 AM  

    A large part of my job is to tell other people what is wrong with their work product, and I often have to pick nits; I would hate for a road or bridge to fail on my watch. I try to be courteous and helpful. Complaining that GRAIN and OUNCE and the rest are not in the same system of weights is just beyond the pale. Same with whether a new or old faucet might have DRIPPED. More likely the OLD, as clued, dontcha think? This ain’t rocket science, or even roadbuilding for that matter. Rant over.

    I thought it was pretty good that the weights got heavier on the way down the puz. 22 threes are plenty.

    The four corners today are a BANE.

    Frequent flier Tina FEY DOLLSUP and wins the day.

    NEAR what to expect on a Monday.

    Burma Shave 10:52 AM  


    TAKE this with a GRAINOFSALT,
    IT only TAKEs an OUNCEOFSENSE to see,
    TAKEAPEEK, ALLEGE no fault,
    I USE a POUNDOFFLESH each time I PEE.

    --- “KID” KEN VOIT

    spacecraft 11:37 AM  

    What's wrong with ATSTUD? I wouldn't mind being reincarnated as a thoroughbred. Except for the sleeping standing up part. We have here a rather pedestrian Monday offering, with a properly progressing theme and many of the usual suspects of stale fill: EKES ERLE COO/GOO OFF/OFF...OOF!

    Not to say there isn't some cool longer stuff: REDHANDED SNAPOFF TAKEAPEEK, e.g. You might say it's the VOIT of Monday puzzles. It bounces, but it ain't no Wilson. On stage alone this time, Tina FEY has DOD by default, but she'd win in a crowd. Par.

    leftcoaster 1:58 PM  

    Neat, clean, and simple, as a Monday should be. Solid familiar themers. GELEE was the last word in.

    Wooody2004 3:55 PM  

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

    1. Live "Islands In The Stream". RIP Kenny. Sunday. Thanks @Rex. (Unfortunately, this is the first acknowledgement of the corona crisis in Real Time Rexworld.I liked for a while to be living in simpler times each morning)

    2. "Red Hot" by Robert Gordon with Link Wray. Monday. Thanks @JoeDipinto.

    3. The Coyote v Acme case in the New Yorker. Monday. Thanks @webwinger.

    4. Oprah falls on stage video. Tuesday. Thanks @LMS.

    5. "Sylvia's Mother" video by Dr. Hook and The Medicine Show. Saturday. Thanks @JoeDipinto.

    leftcoaster 5:18 PM  

    @ Burma Shave -- Pricked my funny bone!

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