East ____ (UN member since 2002) / MON 4-6-20 / Place of banishment for Napoleon / French place of education / 2005 sci-fi movie starring Charlize Theron

Monday, April 6, 2020

Constructor: Andrea Carla Michaels and Brian Thomas

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: Speak of the Devil — Theme answers are alternate names for the devil.

Theme answers:
  • MR SCRATCH (17A: Another name for [see shaded squares])
  • LUCIFER (26A: Another name for [see shaded squares])
  • SPEAK OF THE DEVIL (38A: "We were just talking about you!")
  • OLD NICK (49A: Another name for [see shaded squares])
  • BEELZEBUB (63A: Another name for [see shaded squares])

Word of the Day: KOLN (56A: City about 280 miles NW of München) —
Cologne (English: /kəˈln/ kə-LOHNGermanKöln [kœln] (About this soundlisten)KölschKölle [ˈkœlə] (About this soundlisten)) is the largest city of Germany's most populous federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the fourth-most populous city in Germany. With slightly over a million inhabitants (1.08 million) within its city boundaries, Cologne is the largest city on the Rhine and also the most populous city both of the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Region, which is Germany's largest and one of Europe's major metropolitan areas, and of the Rhineland. Centered on the left bank of the Rhine, Cologne is about 45 kilometres (28 mi) southeast of North Rhine-Westphalia's capital of Düsseldorf and 25 kilometres (16 mi) northwest of Bonn. It is the largest city in the Central Franconian and Ripuarian dialect areas.
• • •
It's Annabel Monday! So...how is everyone holding up? I'm doing okay. I'm holed up with family, mostly playing Animal Crossing when I'm not working from home.

I found myself not having a lot to say about this puzzle. I dunno what it was, but the fill just didn't blow me away. Very solid Monday, good for introducing inexperienced solvers, that's mostly it. I liked that they included not one but two "Star Trek"-themed clues and not much crosswordese. LOL @ the clue for LOL--people don't really say "u r 2 funny" anymore, except on Twitter when they're getting close to their character limit. Also, HABANEROs are by far the best hot pepper. My stepdad makes homemade hot sauce with habanero (and a carrot base--delish!) but he always warns me when I try to eat it because "watch out, it's super hot!" I'm like, dude, I've got this.

I liked the theme! MR. SCRATCH was a new one for me (got it with crosses), and now a lot of things about the "Doc Scratch" character from Homestuck make more sense. BEELZEBUB is my favorite, personally. Are there any "Lucifer" fans in CrossWorld? That show loves playing with different names for the Devil.

  • ALEXA (68: "___, what is the meaning of life?" [modern query]) — She says "The answer is 42, but the question is more complicated." Nerd. 
  • HE-MAN (35A: Macho guy) — I'm sorry, but every reference to He-Man (or She-Ra for that matter) just reminds me of this classic. 
  • VROOM (19A: Souped-up engine sound) — Did anyone else have SKRRT for this? Or have I just been listening to too much rap music? 
Signed, Annabel Thompson

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

[Follow Annabel Thompson on Twitter]


Joaquin 12:02 AM  

I was quite surprised when AEONFLUX turned out to be right (and on a Monday, to boot). I’d never heard of the movie so I looked it up and after reading the Wiki recap I now know why I never heard of it. It bombed big time.

jae 12:23 AM  

Tough Mon., more like a Tues. and Andrea confirms in her Xwordinfo comments that it was meant to be a mid week puzzle.

Pretty much dreck free with a fun theme, liked it a bunch.

If you’d like to kill a boat load of time all six seasons of The Americans are AVAILABLE on Amazon Prime TV. Interesting show that’s worth a look.

Anoa Bob 12:34 AM  

Yikes! I thought 17A was MRS. CRATCH!

The SW seemed most un-Mondayish. "Virtual reality chamber in the 'Star Trek' universe" (25D)? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? "2005 sci-fi movie starring Charlize Theron" (39D)? I HAVEN"T A CLUE! "Actress Russell of 'Felicity' and 'The Americans'"? WHO THE HELL KNOWS!? Throw in a Nabisco cookie introduced in 1912 (51D) and a Japanese port (52D) and that's a tough section for an early week puzzle.

HABANERO (41D) was nice and VENEER (48D) is a great word, with so many other ways to use it beyond its basic meaning of "Thin wood finish". ALEXA (68A) just now has informed me that there is one more beer in the fridge, so all is well.

Z 12:43 AM  

Just meandered through the puzzle, ignoring the four essentially unclued theme answers. I’m really kind of surprised at the way those are clued. Seems like ol’ Mephistopheles is ripe for some creative cluing and ACME would be just the person to do it. Anyway, having to piece those answers together made this play on the hard side at 5:36. The one answer that really stood out was LUTHERAN. Seems like the Counter Reformation never ended.

@Barbara S - Ian Gillan is the lead singer of Deep Purple and Jesus on the original JCS album.

webwinger 12:53 AM  

This was a terrific Monday puzzle IMO. Appropriately easy overall but with a nice amount of crunch. Very satisfying theme, not really any groaners in the fill. Just the right touch of gettable PPP. Favorite clue: 68A. Good work, ACMe!

Just catching up on Saturday and Sunday. Concluding comment from @JOHN X at 8:56 am on Saturday had me LOL for several minutes: Amazing follow-through on a set-up from weeks ago given new relevance by events since then. Probably the single funniest line I’ve ever read here.

JJK 2:11 AM  

A nice easy Monday except for the NE which I had some trouble with because what on earth is ADVLY??

Otherwise I liked the theme, nice write-up, Annabelle. The HOLODECK was a gimme if you’re a Star Trek nerd (or married to one).

chefwen 3:06 AM  

This wasn’t a stroll through the park Monday for me.

I’m with Anoa Bob with Mrs. Cratch, who the hell was she? AEONFLUX, no idea. HOLODECK???

I always want BEAzlEBUB, but I know that’s nor right.

Kinda tough Monday Andrea and Brian, but I loved it.

jae 3:38 AM  

@Z - You seemed to have grown up with mid 70’s music. I’m a decade and a half older which means I grew up with early rock and roll...Chuck Berry, Little Richard, The Beatles, The Four Seasons (before doo-wop was a category), Elvis (although, I was never a real fan) The Crystals (I had no idea Shaun Cassidy recorded their song), The Temptations, Buddy Holly, The Beach Boys, The Angels (My Boyfriend’s Back was the song of the summer in ‘63), Bill Haley...this list could go on for quite a while. What I’m trying to say is that I never heard of the three groups you linked to yesterday. In the late 60’s/early ‘70s I was listening to The Eagles, Elton John, Simon & Garfunkel, CSN&Y, CCR, Fleetwood Mac...also a long list. Is it safe to assume you were not a disco fan? I loved the disco era because I loved to dance and you could really dance to that music. Never got into Punk or Grunge or what now is Emo. That said, some movies and Baz Lurhmann’s “The Get Down” series on Netflix made me appreciate Rap. OK I’m done rambling.

No point really except that when you were born makes a difference.

Loren Muse Smith 4:37 AM  

I love SPEAK OF THE DEVIL. Sly little allusion to its synonym: are your EARS burning? Hah.

I don’t understand why this needed circles. Maybe because LUCIFER and OLD NICK are short? Because of the circles, I kept looking for an Easter egg, some little extra meta something, like “Satan” hidden somewhere. (By the way, early on, I was pretty sure 31D was “Satan.”)

@Anoa Bob – me, too, for seeing MRS CRATCH. Bet we’re legion.

@JJK - me, too, for insisting on making ADVly work. I mean like forever. Sheesh. I know lots of accomplished writers advise making your adverbs few and far between. I dunno. I guess you could argue that they’re the jewelry of writing? Like your outfit is fine with just the necklace and earrings; you don’t need to add the two bracelets, brooch, and pinky ring?

I like thinking about the words whose meaning completely changes when you add the ly:

hard * hardly – the ole working hard or hardly working joke
late * lately - I’ve been running late./I’ve been running lately.
ear * early – just kidding

For “derriere” I briefly thought “butt.” And then I was reminded of a typo I saw online on a church bulletin service sheet thingy: Remember that you are butt dust and into dust you shall return. How can you help not sitting and pondering exactly what butt dust is? Whatever it is, we Americans don’t have it, not during this pandemic, buddy. We’re taking care of business and have the closets of tp to prove it. In looking up the butt typo, I found other church bulletin mishaps. They’re good for a laugh, an escape from all our ick. . .

"If you need to heave during the Postlude, please do so quietly."
"Barbara remains in the hospital and needs blood donors for more transfusions. She is also having trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Pastor Nelson's sermons."
"The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon."
"This evening at 7:00 p.m. there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin."
"The choir will meet at the Larsen house for fun and sinning."
"The 'Over 60s Choir' will be disbanded for the summer with the thanks of the entire church."
"A song fest was hell at the Methodist church Wednesday."
"A cookbook is being compiled by the ladies of the church. Please submit your favorite recipe, also a short antidote for it."
"Diana and Don request your presents at their wedding."
"Let us join David and Lisa in the celebration of their wedding and bring their happiness to a conclusion."
"The beautiful flowers on the altar this morning are to celebrate the birth of David Alan Belzer, the sin of Rev. and Mrs. Julius Belzer."
"Ushers will swat the latecomers."
"The Rev. Merriwether spoke briefly, much to the delight of the audience."
"Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It is a great chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don't forget your husbands."
"It's Drug Awareness Week: Get involved in drugs before your children do."
"Pastor is on vacation. Massages can be given to church secretary."
"For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs."
"The visiting monster today is Rev. Jack Bains."
"There has never been a better time to invite your fiends to church."
"The Pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday morning."
"Visitors are asked to sing their names at the church entrance."

Klazzic 5:43 AM  

Thank you, Annabel, for a crisp and concise critique. A review without all the heavy breathing is a welcome change.

Hungry Mother 6:21 AM  

What the hell? Seemed slow going, but my time was relatively fast. I guess the devil’s in the details.

Beaglelover 6:38 AM  

@Loren Muse Smith Thank you for that list of typos. It brought a smile to my face for sure. Especially needed after finding out last night that my son-in-law has coronavirus. only a matter of time til my asthmatic daughter gets it.

amyyanni 6:44 AM  

Hi Anabel, thanks for your observations. Count me amongst the folks finding it tough for a Monday the KOLN KOBE and Theron movie section plus HOLODECK slowed me down to a crawl. Which is okay because what else am I doing today? Stay well.

Lewis 6:55 AM  

Hand up for seeing MRS CRATCH.

As usual for Monday, POOF the puzzle was done, and it had the Acme spark, a mini-theme of double O's (5), and it looks like the editors made a decision that it is too soon for a basketball KOBE clue.

Thank you, Andrea, because you made me wonder about other names for Satan. Here is one list from a Chicago Tribune piece: "Satan goes by many names, including Beelzebub, the devil, the deuce, the Great Deceiver, the Father of Lies, the Prince of Darkness, Old Mr. Grim, Old Ned, Old Nick, Old Sam, Old Scratch, the Old One, Old Rip, Old Poker, Old Splitfoot, the black spy, the gentleman in black, El Diablo and bogey."

There is also Lucifer and Mephistopheles, and who else?

I hadn't heard of Mr. Scratch, which I have found is an alternative for the above-mentioned Old Scratch, who was mentioned, I have found out, in Tom Sawyer, A Christmas Carol, The Devil and Daniel Webster, among others.

Finally, I was curious about the conjunction of the theme with the answer OPERA -- wondering if the devil is prominent in that genre, and a search found that Satan is in quite a few, including those by Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Berlioz, Dvorak, Gounod, Haydn, Stravinsky, and more.

Thanks, Andrea, for leading me into these sidepaths and a crisp enjoyable solve!

OffTheGrid 7:16 AM  

I really liked this and thought it was a good fit for Monday with one exception, the "guess the vowel" natick, KOBE/KOLN. That should not happen on Monday. Still a good puzz.

@LMS. Thank you for the church bulletin gags. I haven't laughed so hard in quite a while.

Anonymous 7:17 AM  

Never heard of OLDNICK as a name for the devil
Never heard of AEONFLUX

Bad crossing for a Monday.

Unknown 7:18 AM  

Any Lutherans bothered by the cross with Lucifer?

kitshef 7:18 AM  

A nifty theme, slightly undone by sub-Monday cluing. I think the only non-themer that gave me any hesitation at all was iceD before COLD.

MR SCRATCH is new to me – I only know “old scratch”.

I feel like KOBE should have been clued with Bryant to avoid crossing two foreign cities – crossing entries from the same subject area is asking for trouble.

Unknown 7:21 AM  

PS to LMS: Thank you for making me laugh, as you so often do!

Baffled 7:48 AM  

Did anyone else have this problem: when printing the puzzle, there were no shaded squares? I had to read the solution in the blog to understand what it meant. The puzzle still solved quickly, but not because of the theme.

GILL I. 7:50 AM  

I guess I'm not up on my devils unless they are in the details or an advocate. I started out with Mrs. Claus thinking we were doing an early Christmas thing. Never heard of that SCRATCH guy. I learned about OLD NICK on this blog. I thought how cruel to name jolly Santa after the DEVIL.
I liked, of course, seeing HABANERO peeking over at CUBA. We had a little bush of those hot babies on Vedado Street. Our housekeeper warned me about those little cute red peppers. I had to at least touch one. And because I was always putting things in my mouth, I accidentally touched my lips like about ten hours later and nearly died. I never washed my hands.
My daughters friend has a pitty/beagle mix she named BEELZEBUB. Sweetest thing on this earth. She shortened her name to Bee because no one knew what BEELZEBUB meant.
@jae....I loved The Americans. We're now watching OZARK. Each episode gets better and better. I wonder where this is going......

kitshef 7:52 AM  

Har! Constructor notes indicate that even Acme read MR SCRATCH as MRS CRATCH.

albatross shell 8:00 AM  

My high point was the religious season cross of LUCIFER/LUTHERAN/SPEAK OF THE DEVIL CROSS. Wonder how the Lutherans got singled out. They do rate high on the guilt-quotient ra scale. Assume HABANERO got in there for it's high heat rating too. (And had similar crossings.)



Be safe, ya know.

Suzie Q 8:03 AM  

Great Monday as I expected and hoped from Andrea. We got her trademark Beatle clue with the Dr. Pepper answer.
It was fun remembering all of those "Nick" names.
Isn't "Speak of the devil..." just the first part of the phrase? The end is something like "...and here he is."?
I always wished I could have a holodeck. That would be just the ticket now.
Thanks @ Loren for the hilarious typos.

Sluggo 8:13 AM  

Ok. So this never bothered me until I moved to Germany (specifically, I moved to Köln) and started to learn German, but you can't substitute a non-umlauted letter for the umlauted version. It's not the same letter, and it's not the same word. KOLN =/= KÖLN. This would be about the same as someone saying that they are just going to substitute a lower-case l for a lower case i because it's basically the same without the dot on top.

The correct way to write an umlauted letter when you can't use an umlaut is to put an 'e' after the umlauted vowel.

So, the city about 280 miles NW of München (Muenchen) is either Köln or Koeln or Cologne, but it isn't Koln.

QuasiMojo 8:16 AM  

Well, I ended up with Mrs Crotch!

Also I had ARE and OUR for a long time.

I've heard Carmen sing la Habanera but never knew one could eat an Habanero. I don't like peppers. Except those pretty yellow ones in the grocery store.

A friend of mine suffers from Aeonflux. I suggested Zantac, but it's been banned.

Happy trails along Route 666.

OffTheGrid 8:16 AM  

I want a replicator. It would solve the grocery problem during the pandemic.

Z 8:22 AM  

I was just reading the constructor notes and really feel “We were just talking about you” would have been a better clue for all the themers, making the revealer pop.

@jae - That decade does makes a difference, as do the local DJs. WLS in Chicago and WLAV in Grand Rapids had out-sized roles in my early taste in music. Of the bands yesterday, two were guitar heavy southern rock, pretty much the musical brothers of The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynard. The lead singer/guitarist of The James Gang went on to join The Eagles, so you may recognize him. I was too young to really appreciate disco, hating it because hating it was the thing to do. I appreciate it far more now than I did then. Fortunately, all things Motown and British invasion were still being played a lot, as well as all the groups you mentioned. My love of Elvis Costello started then, along with all the other angry groups.

I really enjoyed Clare’s “classic” video. Here’s 4 Non-Blonds singing the original song.

TJS 8:44 AM  

Better than average Monday. Thanks @LMS for the laughs. Loved Annabels' "I'm like, dude, I've got this". Reminds me of things I miss not being home, like the "No Respect" treatment from my 4 boys.

Wanted to send my best wishes to the commenter with the son with the virus, and can no longer find the entry. ?

TJS 8:47 AM  

Found it. @Beaglelover 6:38. Hope your children come through this safely. And everyone else, as well.

pabloinnh 8:54 AM  

Like @Joaquin, I filled in AEONFLUX without even thinking about it, and like lots of others, read 17A as MRS CRATCH. I feel like I'm in distinguished company and also feeling less alone and right now that's a fine and necessary thing. This blog is reminding me of the bulletin board down at the local general store. It's also like a box of chocolates, but I think we all knew that.

Thought the puzzle was like a smooth downhill run on corduroy powder with a couple of unexpected icy patches that required some unexpected care, so not bad. Not quite for absolute beginners but doable.

I remember the great Rock vs. Disco wars very well. I was and still am in the rock camp. Nuff said, as the saying goes.

@LMS-I've seen compilations from church bulletins like this before, but yours is more comprehensive and funnier and thank you.

Thanks for a fun Monday, ACM and BT. And nice review, Clare, and I'm happy that you share my granddaughter's middle name, with the same (obviously correct) spelling.

Nancy 9:11 AM  

"Oh, great," I thought when "MRS. CRATCH" came in, "It's a tribute puzzle and I do not know this person!". What woman I never heard of had the nickname MRS. CRATCH?

Or was it, perhaps, a role? Robin Williams had played Mrs. Doubtfire. Had he also played MRS. CRATCH? Or maybe Alec Guinness did?

When I got to SPEAK OF THE DEVIL, I marveled. Who knew that the Devil was sometimes called MRS CRATCH? Why you learn something from every puzzle, don't you?

I sped through LUCIFER and BEELZEBUB (who I was absolutely sure was spelled BEEZLEBUB) and then wondered about 49A. OLD SICK? (Seemed right for this moment in history). OLD DICK? No, AEON is a thing. Must be OLD NICK.

Only when I finished, did I think of MR SCRATCH. Right. I've heard of that one.

Loved this playfully evil puzzle!

Anonymous 9:14 AM  

LMS, your 4:37 collection made our morning here. Do you have a name for this literary genre . . . or for the class of people who collect it’s specimens?

Anonymous 9:16 AM  

Watch it and answer for yourself.

Kathy 9:17 AM  

I flew through most of the puzzle then hit some devilish potholes.
I picked up on the theme along the way but I had never heard of MRSCRATCH or OLD NICK. I assume these are literary references that elude me. Between these and HOLODECK / KOLN, too much PPP for my wheelhouse. I managed to finish but...ugh. I wouldn’t call this an easy Monday or a good introduction for inexperienced solvers.

Well, after reading the blog, I learned that KOLN is German for Cologne. I will definitely remember this and that the O is umlauted! I do like learning what countries and cities are called in their native languages.

@LMS, best compilation of church bulletins ever!

webwinger 9:31 AM  

Oops. In my kudos to Andrea shout out earlier I neglected to mention her collaborator John, as have several others above. So, way to go John! (Imagine if the lapse had been the other way...)

After reading comments I’m noticing more potential sandbars in this puzzle, which I finished in under average Monday time. Always interesting to see how one person can sail through while another, not necessarily from a different demographic, may experience somewhat dire straits.

Lewis 9:37 AM  

@z -- Great suggestion for the theme answer clues. Definitely would have upped the puzzles pop quotient.
@Brian Thomas -- My apologies. As Webwinger reminded me, I thanked Andrea for the puzzle but not you. I enjoyed this fun solve, and thank you so much!

Nancy 9:37 AM  

This is why I comment before I read the blog. If I had known that virtually everyone else here also saw MRS. CRATCH, it would have been no damn fun for me to mention it at all. But it's really interesting that most of us did. ACME says she did too? Wow!

@Loren -- That's the funniest list of typos I've ever seen. One was funnier than the last. I couldn't stop laughing. Thanks -- I needed that.

Lewis 9:40 AM  

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

1. What might end a wrestling match (5)
2. They can be everything (6)
3. Where you might incur charges overseas (2)(6)
4. What four quarters make (5)
5. Ugly ones sometimes come out in December (8)


Geezer 9:41 AM  

@Sluggo. I can't put umlauts into the grid with my app. Can you? others? Isn't this really OK in crosswords if you have the correct letter? This seems to come up a lot with diacritics.

What? 9:42 AM  

ADV - adverb

Richard 9:45 AM  

@Lewis, 6:55am: nice run-down of Satan in the opera. My favorite, which isn't on your list, is Boito's Mefistofele (Mephistopheles). That, plus Gounod's Faust and Berlioz' Damnation of Faust constitute the three prominent Faustian operas. Good stuff.

Crimson Devil 9:46 AM  

Love that church lady bit, LMS.
ADVly one of best in a while.

Frantic Sloth 9:50 AM  

MRS CRATCH? Hand way up! What's that about??
Oh, and kudos to @Nancy for sticking with it like the trouper she is! Thanks for the laugh.

What does it say that I found this more difficult than the weekend puzzles?
It says "I like it!"
Only exception: the KOLN/KOBE cross had me hanging out at the vowel corner, swinging my pearls, until I decided to go home with the o. Lucky guess!

Speaking of...@Sluggo - I understand your dismay at the whole KOeLN spelling debacle and really appreciate the quickie German lesson. But, alas, what are the odds that the NYTXW people will hear you?

@LMS Please don't ever tire of making our day. You make me chortle like nobody's business. And thanks for the extra effort with the bulletin errata - priceless!

@GILL I. You are another comic gem to me. Just that little "antidote" about your HABANERO experience...guffaw.

@Aketi from yesterday re: BJJ. Thank you for the thorough and fascinating explanation. Also got a chuckle imagining what amusing substitutes the frustrated BJJ enthusiasts out there are employing. Pets? LOL!

MrsCratch 9:51 AM  

Don't forget the opera DR FAUST by Busoni.

Nancy 10:06 AM  

😂😂😂thanks for the laughs!!!best part of the comments section today!!!

webwinger 10:18 AM  

Oops again. Way to go Brian (not John) Thomas!

Unknown 10:20 AM  

The successors to LPs were 8track tapes. The successors to 8tracks were cassette tapes. The successors to cassettes were CDs. Still.

Whatsername 10:35 AM  

Easy for me but some pretty tough clues for a beginner level Monday. I see from @jae at 12:23 AM that the constructor actually intended it for a mid week. I agree; at least a Tuesday seems more appropriate. Cute theme but without the revealer I would’ve had no idea who MRSCRATCH was supposed to be. And if I was to see OLDNICK as a clue, my answer would be Santa, not Satan. Seems creepy to me that those two words are anagrams of each other.

@Loren(4:37) LOL. UR2 funny!

@Beaglelover (6:44) I’m so sorry. Please keep us posted on their progress.

@GILL (7:50) Glad you only touched your lips and didn’t rub your eyes. I knew a guy who ate some type of hot pepper at dinner one night and DID wash his hands. But the next morning he put in his contact lenses and ended up in the emergency room with his eyes on fire.

Barbara S. 10:38 AM  

MRS CRATCH - playful nickname for Mrs. Cratchit (she wasn't very devilish, as I recall)

After the appearance of Gene Roddenberry with no Star Trek references yesterday, we made up for it today. (I've always thought that HOLODECK addiction must be a serious problem in the Star Trek universe.)

48A VIED (Competed) slowed me down briefly as I insisted on seeing "Completed."

I don't suppose there's an answer to this but can anyone tell me why Nabisco decided to name a cookie after a 19th-century Romantic literary heroine?

Two horizontal word strings I liked:



Tom R 10:39 AM  

Very easy even for a Monday. And, yes, Annabel, you have been listening to too much rap music (because, well, if there is only rhythm and rhyme, is it really music? SKRRT, SKRRT)

thfenn 10:50 AM  

Fun Monday. Count me among the MRS CRATCH fans. Didn't know OLDNICK was the devil and forgot it was Beelzebug and not Beelzebug, but all good. Keith Jarrett's KOLN Concert remains one of my very very favorite albums. Going to put it on.

ArtO 10:52 AM  

Glad I'm not alone in thinking this was not a Monday....HOLODECK,AEROFLUX, KOLN. Hardly Monday fare.

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

The successors...

Without consulting the wiki, my memory of those days, I was there though the memory is a bit hazy, is that 8 track was invented for car use, not to replace LP in a home stereo. the cassette for portable, and subsequently home use.

let's go look at the wiki, shall we...

"The Lear Jet Stereo 8 track cartridge was designed by Richard Kraus while working under Bill Lear and for his Lear Jet Corporation in 1963. The major change was to incorporate a neoprene rubber and nylon pinch roller into the cartridge itself, rather than to make the pinch roller a part of the tape player, reducing mechanical complexity. Lear also eliminated some of the internal parts of the Eash cartridge, such as the tape-tensioning mechanism and an interlock that prevented tape slippage. By doubling the number of tracks from 4 to 8,[8] the recording length doubled to 80 minutes.

In 1964, Lear's aircraft company constructed 100 demonstration Stereo 8 players for distribution to executives at RCA and the auto companies. "


"Portable pocket recorders and high-fidelity ("hi-fi") players, such as Sony's Walkman (1979), also enabled users to take their music with them anywhere with ease."

so, on the whole, 8 track was autos, while cassette was car, portable, and home.

and then came the CD.

Wm. C. 10:56 AM  

I usually think of Monday as my least favorite puzzle day, and am happy when they are a bit harder than normal for the day.

But HARD fill is different from NEVER-HEARD-OF fill. Aeon flux? Mr. Scratch? Keri? Old Nick? Beelzebub (sp.?) Holodeck? Habanero?


egsforbreakfast 11:01 AM  

When I first saw Mrs. Cratch in my puzzle, I thought the last square must be a rebus to produce Tiny Tim’s mother, Mrs. Cratchit. Oh well, I guess the devil is in the details. The puzzle was a tad harder than a typical Monday.

@LMS - the church typos made me LOL. U r 2 funny.

I saw the phrase “no duh” in an e-mail yesterday and got to wondering at the phenomenon of a word or phrase that means the same as its opposite, like duh and no duh. Another example would be “ I couldn’t care less” and “I could care less”. Is there a name for this? Are there other examples? I thought about ones like “ Fair and Balanced”, the Fox News slogan by which they mean Unfair and Unbalanced or Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Justice, etc. but these are different, being essentially just lies utilized by our stable genius and his followers.

Beadola 11:01 AM  

Annabel - do you know why Alexa says 42? I can't tell if you are being sarcastic. Read Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It's amazing, humorous, science fiction.

TJS 11:02 AM  


If that sends people to the McCartney freebie to NYC it will be a miracle because I am not computer savvy, but I just came across this and the crowd shots just contrasted so much with what NYC is going thru these days that I thought it was worth sharing. Eerie that the first words he sings are "Stuck inside these four wall.Sent inside forever. Never seeing no one nice again".

Here's to happier days, New York, and all the rest of us.

RooMonster 11:04 AM  

Hey All !
@Hungry Mother - Har.

Interesting no one seems offended by a puz with THE DEVIL as a theme. I thought Rex would've ranted and raged about it. Too bad he didn't review it today.

THE DEVIL seems to have gotten alot of TV time in various shows recently. Lucifer, Supernatural, others I'm sure I'm missing. It seems a softening of the scariness that is Hell and THE DEVIL. On Supernatural, he's evil, but he never lies. Sure, he wants to rule the world, but he goes about it savvily and sometimes even funnily. (Grammarians, I didn't mean for your head to explode!)

Anyway, this was an OK puz. Easy, I'm a Sci-Fi movie guy, so AEONFLUX known to me (and Charlize Theron in a skin tight rubber/vinyl suit didn't hurt, although the movie was pretty wacky!). Also, HOLODECK known, as it's used alot on Star Trek and was actually a plot device in one of the movies.

@Lewis - six OO's. I noticed them too.

@Barbara S from YesterPuz
Har! A little narcissism ony part! Chuckled at your BARB yesterday. (I won't mention 14A clue today) 😂

Three F's (two in themers)(it seems lately if F's weren't in the themers, they'd cease to exist!)(I know, a weird obsession!)

Unknown 11:11 AM  

Loved it. Great acting.

emily 11:14 AM  

Kinda agree!

egsforbreakfast 11:21 AM  

@ LMS - LOL. Thanks

Kobe for 52 D popped right into my head. I’m reading a very good book called Real Food/ Fake Food by Larry Olmsted and had just finished the Chapter titled “Q: Where’s the Kobe Beef? A: Not on Your Plate”. Turns out that there are exactly 3 restaurants in the U.S. that have access to authentic Kobe beef, which is tightly controlled by the Kobe Beef Association. And before 2012 there was zero Kobe beef brought into the country. BTW, my daughter, who gave me the book, has just recovered from Covid 19, which has stricken the SunValley, Idaho area harder than anywhere else on a per capita basis.

Aketi 11:24 AM  

@Beaglelover, so sorry to hear that your son-in-law has it. Hope he gets better quickly and your daughter doesn’t get it,

@Barbara S, Hollow Pursuits, the 21st Episode of Season 3 of The Next Generation is about Reggie who has a HOLODECK addiction. I bet you can guess what I’ve been binge watching.

@Frantic Sloth, I thought MR SCRATCH was a nickname for a cat. Our 17 pound cat is a pro with his fish hook sharp claws. He can tear through a cardboard box in minutes if he thinks there is something he can eat inside. I actually do use modified version of a BJJ technique on him known as a back take when I have to give him his meds for an allergy that caused him to lick his belly raw. Minimizes the probability that he’ll slice my skin open.

xyz 11:33 AM  

Were it MRS CRATCH, CrossWORLD would be happier today

@jae - The Americans is in my view about as good as TV can get. First season, clearly a shoestring budget, but terrific stuff. Superb use of time appropriate music throughout.

It also has the least corny, most satisfying, well-thought forward final episode in TV-dom.

In addition to KERI, Matthew Rhys is continuously astonishing throughout, what a great actor.

old timer 11:33 AM  

Great writeup, Annabel! Of course, it goes without saying, for sure, not unexpectedly, as always, a splendid comment from @LMS. Puzzle was a tad hard for a Monday, and I totally forgot about HOLODECK.

I did love the theme. And in these sequestered days, now is the time to dig up your copy of Milton's Paradise Lost, and read it, as you no doubt promised your self to do AEONs ago. It is beyond doubt the best long poem in the English language. Satan and his crew, including BEELZEBUB, are memorable and engaging. As critics have said forever, Milton could not help making Satan the hero, though that was not his intent.

Macaulay's essay on Milton is what made Macaulay famous, and it is well with reading today (it's online, natch).

CaryInBoulder 11:36 AM  

Wish I were able to figure out how to embed a link, but I haven’t so far. This will have to do if you’d like to check out a fine, bluesy song by Sonny Landreth, “SPEAK OF THE DEVIL.” https://youtu.be/0kRVkTXOFR Per @Z and @JAE’s music discussion, I too am from the early Rock’n’roll generation. Progressed thru the “folk scare” of the early ‘60s > danceable soul, bossa nova and some jazz in college> San Francisco psychedelia once I started to, y’know ... > then a huge blues epiphany when I listened to “Hooker’n’Heat” (John Lee Hooker and Canned Heat) under the influence of strep throat and mescaline. Blues became my personal and professional main vein, but I still listen to a combination of all the above. (I added a lot more country into the mix once I watched the great Ken Burns PBS series.) No interest in disco or rap, though. My on-the-air alter ego is the Red Rooster, who “keeps all the HENS in the barnyard upset in every way.”

When I was first reading this blog, before I took a long break, I seem to remember ACME as a regular contributor. The puzzle made me think a lot more than most Mondays, although at the end I still had a roughly average time. I’m sure el REY Parker completed it in under 2 minutes, though. HABANEROS are both hot and tasty. Years AGO at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival I reached for some Melinda’s habañero hot sauce to put in my gumbo. The guy behind the counter warned me, “Be careful. That stuff’ll melt yo zippah!”

Only one baseball reference today: ACE (a team’s #1 starting pitcher)

On a sad note, a very dear musical friend has been hospitalized since Wednesday with the virus in upstate New York. Although his wife says he is getting first-rate care, it’s still quite worrying. Get well quickly, Lou. On a brighter note, my wife gave me a haircut this weekend and it turned out exceedingly well for a first effort, SEZ I.

Frantic Sloth 11:40 AM  

@Unknown 10:20am Yes!! My thoughts exactly.

@Anonymous 10:52am I owned a portable 8-track player when I was growing up. So, I guess even "the wiki" doesn't know everything. ;-)

And...let the Pig/Tuba/Music player battles begin!

The PTM Wars of the 2020s were ignited by a seemingly innocuous comment about pigs on what was then known as a "blog" (short for "weB LOG") about crossword puzzles. Crossword enthusiasts, whom some consider to be notorious know-it-all types, were quick to address the unwitting antagonist with their own salvos of omniscience regarding pigs. Apologies and pleas of "inadvertent insult" went unnoticed and the affair snowballed from there. Following closely on its heels was another unfortunate gaffe regarding the use of tubas in orchestras, which unleashed a spate of esoterica and historic references to beat the...um...band. These unfortunate incidents gave rise to another conflict regarding music yet again. Nothing less than the correct succession of music players from LPs to CDs (these were actual things that existed before we could telepathically conjure up any music of our choosing) was at stake, and the stakes were flying high. Almost as high as some of the combatants.
But, as with most things ephemeral and ridiculous, it all faded into relative obscurity, where it belongs.
-from the wiki

KnittyContessa 11:49 AM  

@Loren Muse Smith Thanks for the roundup!

@Beaglelover So sorry to hear. Your daughter and son in law are in my prayers.

@Lewis Always enjoy your Monday best of.

Dealer 12:27 PM  

ACE had a blackjack clue.

Unknown 12:36 PM  

@LMS Wonderful collection of church bulletin errors. I still consider this the best ever - leaving the final g off of "Oh, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing!"

Anoa Bob 12:37 PM  

I keep a box of nitrile gloves in a kitchen drawer and always, always wear them when prepping any hot peppers. I learned the hard way, as some others have testified today, that you can transfer the fire from bare hand/fingers to mouth or nose or eyes.

Speaking of fire, you can "de-fang" a pepper like a jalapeño by removing part or all of the seeds and pith from the inside of the pepper. The flavor still comes through but with a reduced burn. I don't know if that would work with a HABANERO.

A friend who was in the Peace Corps in India back in the 60's told of an incident where he ate some food covered with a super-hot pepper sauce and thought he was going to die! His companions told him to eat some yogurt to reduce the burn. Much to his delight, it worked. I think milk or half-and-half would also work.

pabloinnh 12:45 PM  

Hey Annabel-You're not Clare at all, and you never were, so apologies for my earlier post. I could claim any number of excuses, but I have none other than carelessness. I don't have any grandchildren with the middle name Annabel, but it's a lovely name too. I'll try to do better in the future.

Smith 12:49 PM  

@Lauren 4:37 (what are you doing up at that hour??)
LMAO!!! Read aloud to DH. He's an usher, when we have church. And I look forward to singing my name...

DigitalDan 12:49 PM  

Do TBARs, OATERs, or RARIEs still exist anywhere except in crosswords? Is the EPA a protective organization anywhere else, for that matter?

Smith 12:52 PM  

Thought I had that problem but turns out the shading when printed is much lighter than what's printed.

CDilly52 12:52 PM  

Ooooh, Annabel, the hot sauce sounds divine!! Your dad knows his stuff. The carrots in combination with the habañeros is the secret. The sweetness tones down the pepper’s “afterburn” just enough.

I really enjoyed the puzzle. Monday quality but without a high level of drek. I’m off to keep government working in rural Oklahoma. Masked, gloves and hoping for the best.

I lost my first very very close friend to the virus this week. One of the very finest people I have been honored, truly honored to know for nearly 40 years. This has been very “real” to me in my daily job, but losing a dear friend and colleague is almost too much. Odd how social media, which often raises my stress level is critical to my sanity right now. We all had a Zoom “bar crawl” and were able to raise a glass from our respective homes statewide to our friend Saturday night. How we and the profession will miss him. I am hoping that we can start some sort of memorial fund at my law school in memory of those we lose during this crisis.

Stay safe everyone

MarineO6 12:57 PM  

Interesting Monday puzzle however I want to step into Rex’s shoes here and say how disgusting it is for the NYT to include the name of a hateful, anti-American organization such as the ACLU into a grid. Although of course Rex would slobber all over the ACLU while hating on such organizations as the NRA.
Love it when the tables can be turned.

Masked and Anonymous 1:08 PM  

Fiesty little devil of a MonPuz. Liked it.
MR.SCRATCH was news to m&e, as a SATANic alias. Was also news to the Official M&A Help Desk Dictionary. We both learned somethin new, there. Also: a debut word/phrase.

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Rowing tool} = OAR. Seems a little harsh, to address a rower thataway, tho.
staff weeject pick: ADV. Also had a nice, friendly clue. Better clue, of course = {Immediate follow-up to commercial #4 on the nightly news, in a manner of speaking??}.

Lotsa smoooth fillins in this puppy. When yer most desperate entry is ADV, that's pretty slick work. My faves today included: HOLODECK. AEONFLUX [M&A tried to kinda smoosh the A & E close together, in the puzgrid -- maybe a future theme idea? (Dibs)]. GETRIDOF [3-worders are always fun to figure out]. VROOM [Which really now obviously shoulda been clued as: {Skrrt alternative?} ].

@Annabel T darlin-- Primo blog prose. M&A once again learned stuff, too boot ... SKRRT, f'rinstance.

Thanx for gangin up on us, ACMe-darlin & Brian T-dude.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


jberg 1:11 PM  

Terrific puzzle, I really enjoyed the theme. Count me on team "old SCRATCH", but I guess MR is an acceptable substitute -- it's not like there are rules for these things! I've always wanted to see AEON FLUX, even though I never have; and I've been in KOBE -- so those hurdles didn't trip me up.

Almost as good as the theme was the clue for ORE, kind of making fun of itself and its cross reference for being crosswordese.

@loren, great avatar -- I almost didn't get it.

Carola 1:14 PM  

I liked the combination of the easy theme with some now-what-could-it-be-? Downs. As my solving path took me down the left side, I had only MRSC at 17A when I got to the reveal, the DEVIL of which alerted me to MR SCRATCH and saved me from MRS CRATCH. I was struck by the cross of UNCLAD and COLD; it being April in Wisconsin, I'm CLAD and COLD.

@Z, your mention of WLS delivered a major nostalgia hit. My years were 1960-63, with Dick Biondi - talk about a Golden Age....of the transistor radio under my pillow at night. Just had to go re-listen to "Telstar".

Teedmn 1:23 PM  

I didn't see the MRS. today - I feel left out. My NW began with MR_______ and I never thought to feminize it.

So "morning star" for Lucifer was too long of an answer for this grid, I suppose.

My fave devil story happened to my friend. She and her husband were not religious in the least. One year, their son was invited by a friend to spend a week at bible camp. When my friend picked up her son from camp, she asked him if he learned anything. He said, "Did you know that Satan is the bad guy?" Taken aback at this lack of basic knowledge, my friend asked why he would have thought Satan wasn't the bad guy. Apparently having heard of devil worship, he had concluded Satan was okay.

I think Andrea's and Brian's original idea for cluing, as mentioned by @Z 8:22AM, would have given this puzzle an AHA boost. But it's nicely done, thanks.

GILL I. 1:23 PM  

@Anoa B....I love Chile peppers and would put them on everything. I'm a masochist at heart. Everyone in my family loves them except my husband. Since I only cook for him, I have to avoid them (waaah). He can eat some jalapeños, though, as long as I remove the seeds and chop them all up....
They make a new type of HABANERO now that is kinda sweet. It doesn't pack much punch. In Mexico they soak them in tequila and it removes the yumminess of the heat. With them, you have to remove that white pith stuff to get rid of most of the heat. I'm pretty sure that it's the pith in most hotties like scotch bonnets that carry the fire.
By the way, do you wash your gloves after you handle them? Otherwise they'll creep back to bite you in you nose.

jae 1:32 PM  

@pabloinnh -re Rock vs. Disco - I never took sides, loved them both.

@the redanman - re The Americans - yes, one of best series finales.

Z 1:32 PM  

@TJS’s link.

@CaryinBoulder - I got a “video unavailable” message, so this may be a different version than you posted.

@pabloinnh - I’d blame you for my making that mistake if I hadn’t done it first.

webwinger 1:46 PM  

@Carola 1:14: I wasn’t in Chicago during the 1960s, but often listened to Dick Biondi hosting an evening oldies show (on WBBM?) in the 1990s. Really brought back memories of those earlier times.

TELSTAR was a NYTXW answer not too long ago, clued by the satellite, but I instantly got a mental rush of that instrumental number, played at every one of the many bar mitzvah parties I attended in 1962.

OffTheGrid 1:48 PM  

@marine06. The ACLU has supported NRA positions. Look it up if it isn't too much work.

Anonymous 1:59 PM  

First ever! I naticked on a Monday. I don't know Aeon Flux and have never heard "Old Nick" used in reference to the devil. Usually I would spend the time running the alphabet & coming up with the most logical letter combo but today I just entered OLD F*CK as the devil. I knew it was wrong but just didn't care. I still think my answer is better than "Old Nick"...where did that even come from? Old St. Nick's evil twin?

webwinger 2:20 PM  

One more thing. (I think I may have been watching too many old Columbo episodes recently.) Running tallies in the NYT today appear to show that the country as a whole and New York State have just passed the peak in terms of both new cases of COVID and deaths. Yes, this could in part reflect random variation, but it is not exactly unexpected.

Implications are important: If the curve follows theoretical predictions, and actual experience in Asia earlier this year, the total number of future cases and deaths will be about the same as the number to date, making my recent wager on 20,000 deaths overall in the United States no longer seem like it’s “from another planet”. The percentage of US population infected will be about 0.25% (up to 0.5% if a generous estimate of the number of undetected cases is used) and mortality will be less than 0.01%. (Figures similarly estimated for New York City are 3-6% infected, 0.1% mortality.) At least outside of the NYC area, lack of ventilators now seems unlikely to have serious negative impact. (The continuing dangerously limited supply of masks and PPE may not kill people, but it remains one of the most disgraceful elements in the entire picture.)

Unquestionably the death toll will be tragic, but keep in mind some context: The national total will probably be no more than twice what was recorded in the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. The NYC total will probably be less than twice the loss of life on 9/11. The NYS total will be considerably less than the usual number of lives lost to all causes in the state during an average month. And the national death count from COVID may be not much more than the total number of KIA and MIA in the 1863 battle of Gettysburg (about 18,500 including both sides—Confederate losses do count here—which was more than 0.05% of the US population at the time).

No doubt the impending turnabout reflects in significant part the effectiveness of containment efforts (although the relative value of various components, e.g. social distancing in public vs. staying home, is open to debate), but it probably also is reason to downgrade assessment of the power of the virus, at least in the present go-round.

We’ve heard many heart-breaking tales over the past few weeks, and there will be many more to come, but there is good reason to believe that by the end of this month the first wave of the pandemic will be essentially over, with considerably less carnage than even “best case” predictions from last month anticipated. I sincerely hope that the economy will be able to awaken in a safe (don’t put away those masks!) and orderly but expeditious way for the late spring and summer months, and that we will really be ready when an expected second wave of contagion arrives in the fall. And can we please now focus on how to minimize secondary harm, instead of looking for ways to find fault and cast blame?

To end on a lighter note, I’m still chuckling over that JOHN X line from Saturday: “Please buy GE jet engines”. Part of its brilliance is that it can only be fully appreciated if you recall his previous mentions of General Electric in their already hilarious context.

Barbara S. 2:22 PM  

@RooMonster 11:04 I'm waiting for "rhubarb" to appear so we can have a joint celebration. I know the spelling would be a bit of a stretch for you, but hey -- any excuse for a party!

@Aketi 11:24 Yes, Reg Barclay, thanks for reminding me. He was a really stand-up guy in the end, helping them out of a number of jams.

Your mention of MR SCRATCH as a cat's nickname has brought to mind that my cousin once had a cat whose official name was The Devil. He was a stray, and my cousin's elderly neighbor said to her one day, "Look at that cat -- he's the Devil!" He'd been digging up her flowerbeds and he'd hissed at her when she'd tried to show him the error of his ways. He really fit his new name. He was a heavyset cat, a (fiery) red tabby with one quite badly mutilated ear from years of fighting. When it got cold, my cousin and her husband took him in. They shortened his name to Devvie and soon realized that in spite of his looks (and name), he was a pussycat. He was never a lap cat but when you scritched his head he'd purr, close his eyes and get a completely blissed-out look on his face.

I was in Cologne once, briefly, and one of my strongest memories is the cathedral. It's immensely tall with two western towers, both with spires. You feel like an ant, walking around in front of it. It was heavily bombed in the war, and when I was there you could still see bomb damage at the base of one of the towers. There was quite a controversy in the city over whether those scars should or should not be repaired. I think the "yes" side won out and they're invisible now.

Frantic Sloth 2:46 PM  

@Z 8:22am It might be me, but I'm getting the dreaded 404 error code for your 4 non blond link. Care to re-post?

@Barbara I love both of your cat stories. My guess is that if anyone has been around cats, they have indeed experienced some level of four-legged evil at one point. Part of their charm, I'd say.
Not to sound all know-it-all-y and stuff, but most cats only respond to how they perceive they are being treated. Most often, there are tell-tale signs of annoyance which the uninitiated ignore at their peril. Of course, there are always exceptions - some cats are "undredeemable" and that's just sad to me.
Have you ever read the "How to Give a Cat a Pill" essay? It's been around forever and is hilarious because it's true. Also includes a section for "How to Give a Dog a Pill" which is the perfect follow-up.

Look at that. Even the threat of being revealed as a closet cat (old) lady can't prevent me from running my gob about them. Oy!

Masked and Anonymous 2:53 PM  

@"Telstar" fans - yep. Great instro, by the Tornadoes. Always luved those lift-off sound effects.

M&A has recently discovered a continuous Oldies cable TV channel, real high-up on the channels list. Really good stuff. Much more restful, than the stinky news.
Recent faves: almost all of em, but other primo instros included: "Red River Rock" (do U know who by?*) and "Love Is Blue" (do U know by whom?**).

An M&A all-time fave oldie that never charted (I don't think): "Evergreen" … guess by whom?! ***
Try to catch it on the YouTube sometime, if U can.

And, in further tribute to today's puz, let's not forget "Devil with a Blue Dress On" … by ? ****

M&A Greatest Hits

* by Johnny & the Hurricanes.
** by Paul Mauriat.
*** by Roy Orbison!
**** by Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels.

extra runt, for shut-ins, wishin to observe normal puzzle distancing:

Smith 3:02 PM  

@Anoa Bob
In The Hot Wing King, a new play we got to see before all went dark, there is a running joke about using milk to neutralize hot peppers...

Anonymous 3:03 PM  

One more thing. (I think I may have been watching too many old Columbo episodes recently.) Running tallies in the NYT today appear to show that the country as a whole and New York State have just passed the peak in terms of both new cases of COVID and deaths. Yes, this could in part reflect random variation, but it is not exactly unexpected.

no. just go look at today's Kinsa map (https://healthweather.us/?mode=Trends) the Red states are next. thanks to the Spring Break Covidiots (not my coinage, but I love it) and the Skiing Covidiots (that's mine).

as to the former, check out the Tectonix/X-Mode phone map of the Spring Break crowd. you can find it many places. given the lead time seen with Mardi Gras, the GenWhatevers have been sprinkling those wee little critters all across the Eastern USofA and the results will be appearing in most towns and cities near you.

as to the latter, check this out for precedent: https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/24/europe/austria-ski-resort-ischgl-coronavirus-intl/index.html again, all those tony skiers have gone back from whence they came spreading joy and wee little critters along the way. they've left enough behind light up the ski states.

have a nice day.

Azzurro 3:07 PM  

Fun puzzle, personal best time for a Monday.

I’ve never seen the Charlize Theron movie, but I remember being confused by the AEON FLUX anime as a kid.

Z 3:32 PM  

@Frantic Sloth - I’m getting the 404 message, too. I must have clipped the url or something. Let’s try again.

Ernonymous 3:34 PM  

My sister is a nurse in the Bronx. The morgue holds 12 bodies, and that's plenty in normal times.
But if on Saturday there were 620 deaths in NY and that dropped to 590 on Sunday, that's about 30 bodies a day going to each hospital morgue.
This is why they put refrigerated trucks on hospital grounds. They dont fit in the morgues. So comparing this to normal death rates kind of upsets me
Also at her hospital, Albert Einstein Montefiore in the Bronx, she hears on the loud speaker the call for the Rapid Response Team at least once per hour
This team is called when someone not in ICU is dying and needs resuscitation.
Before this, the Rapid Response Team was called once in awhile, not every time she was at work, and now it's non stop.
On top of that, there is a severe lack of protective gear. Her goal and that of her fellow nurses is to see if they can figure out how to stretch and conserve the gear by rearranging the normal order of the care they give. They have to their jobs ass backwards to conserve their gear. Imagine risking your life to do your job and you don't even have enough of the supplies you need! That is a ton of stress. On top of that, half the nurses on her floor are out sick with Covid, so they are understaffed by half.
I keep seeing people saying this is like the flu still. The flu doesn't have 300 people showing up at same hospital at once and dead bodies not fitting into the morgue.

Barbara S. 3:39 PM  

@Frantic Sloth 2:46
I hate to be the one to break this, but your avatar gives you away. A thousand words, and all that!

I have read that pair of essays about giving pills to cats and dogs. Classic!

Unknown 3:57 PM  

Are Annabel and I the same?? I just got my wife into Animal Crossing this week (got her into the crossword a couple years ago). I had the same thought about Homestuck AND the puzzle overall... just strangely unsatisfying feel, although I didn’t notice that while I was doing the puzzle. Glad you posted that it was Doc and not MR SCRATCH or I wouldn’t have remembered properly. No luck getting the wife into that yet, ha.

kitshef 3:58 PM  

My hair is not long enough to test this, but I am told that the best way to neutralize the hot sauce fire is to chew on your hair. Although I suppose a friend's hair would work equally well.

Z 4:04 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Z 4:06 PM  


@Azzurro - I never thought of AEON FLUX as anime, although hand up for being confused. I just looked it up on Wikipedia and the creator, Peter Chung, cites Rugrats as an influence. Alrighty then. Almost makes me want to find it and rewatch. Almost.

Odd Sock 4:09 PM  

@ Marine06, Thank you for speaking up. I agree.

Greg 4:20 PM  

Definitely one of the better Mondays I can remember, IMO.

pabloinnh 4:41 PM  

All the musical devil talk reminds me that one of our favorite hootenanny pieces is "Friend of the Devil", which has a nice descending guitar part and some great harmony, and that makes me think it's Monday (I think), and there's no Monday night hootenanny tonight or for the foreseeable future. I think I'll drink a beer and play it for myself.


Mr. Winchester 4:51 PM  

@OldSock and Marine06. I hate the ACLU. Why do they get to fight for the Bill of Rights? All we need is the second one.

webwinger 4:57 PM  

@Anonymous 3:03: Nothing in your comments or the web references you cite contradicts or undermines any of my statements.

There seems to be a simple but elusive source of confusion underlying many of the misleading statements about COVID that abound these days: Reaching the peak of the incidence curve (seems now to be erroneously referred to almost everywhere as “flattening the curve”) does NOT mean we will stop seeing new cases. As I wrote above, we should expect to see about as many new cases from now until the end of the outbreak as we did until now. But we will see the number of new cases decline from day to day, just as we saw it increase from day to day when we were on the upslope of the curve. Among the remaining new cases will be any who might be infected by your “Covidiots”. Their existence in itself means nothing to the quantitative figures that will be the real measure of how bad the crisis has been.

Anonymous 5:19 PM  

As I wrote above, we should expect to see about as many new cases from now until the end of the outbreak as we did until now.

and there's not a shred of evidence for that statement, and lots of evidence to the contrary. that is my point.

"Their existence in itself means nothing to the quantitative figures that will be the real measure of how bad the crisis has been."

to quote John McEnroe: "you can't be serious!!" how do you think this mess started in the first place??? asymps sprinkling wee little critters hither and yon with abandon. if you wait for the quant, you're 3 weeks (or more) too late. the Orange Sh!tgibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave) was told on 3 January, by the IC that he considers inferior to Putin, what was coming. he did nothing for 70 days. follow the pattern, not the data. the data tells you what happened a month ago, when you could have taken action. waiting for the data is locking the barn door after the horse has galloped away. that's not smart. allowing both sets of numbskulls to infect each other, then toddle off into the hustings, is just stupid. DeSantis was told what was happening on the beaches and didn't want the 'economic impact' to spoil business. now, the entire Eastern half of the USofA is in grave danger. you may be OK with that, but I'm not. folks who live in little hamlets in Iowa, and such, think they're safe because they live in God's Country. they're not. it only takes one wee little critter to get sucked into the lungs of one lunkhead for the cascade to start. 3 weeks later. by the time one lunkhead has become 50, the game is lost.

Whatsername 5:25 PM  

@Carola (1:14) I remember those nights with the transistor radio tuned to WLS in Chicago. I was in the middle of Missouri where we could only get the signal late at night, and I would hold it up to my ear with the sound turned down low so my parents couldn’t hear it. For me it was Motown, The Beatles, the Righteous Brothers, The Beach Boys - a most memorable musical era. Those were the days.

GILL I. 5:32 PM  

@Anony 5:19. Wish you had some sort of name. You re right but so is @webwinger.
"It only takes one wee little critter to get sucked into the lungs of one lunkhead for the cascade to start." Brilliant. I may just make a quilt with that quote.

jae 6:32 PM  

One brief addendum to my earlier ramble: IMHO 70’s disco is a lot more fun to listen and dance to than today’s techno/EDM. The current stuff is too loud and to repetitive for me...but then I don’t think MDMA was around in the 70’s.

...and I literally met my bride on the dance floor at Kenyon College in 1964. I was dancing with some one I’d pick up during Spring Dance Weekend and all of a sudden I was dancing with her. We spent the rest of the weekend together. The band was Bo Diddley.

Anonymous 7:01 PM  

Actually, the game has already turned. We're winning. The scoreboard just isnt up to date.
Deaths will almost certainly be about 2 times a normal flu season.

Z 7:02 PM  

@Carola - I missed that you already linked to Telstar. I’ve been making my text longer usually since it was pointed out to that people hadn’t noticed a link.

@webwingerFridayMarch27 = OK, these are based on tentative judgements that could ultimately prove wrong, but so should we consider the most negative assessments, on which most current policies are based. Bottom line: Much as I don’t want the president to get the validation he will surely claim if his prediction that the economy will come back to life on Easter proves to be correct, I’d say it’s entirely within the realm of possibility, and nothing could be better for us…
@webwingerThursdayMarch26 - The apparent slowing of the rate at which new cases appear in some parts of the US is encouraging.
@webwingerWednesdayMarch25 - My heart aches for NYC, but I’m hopeful based on the very different way this seems to be playing out in most other parts of the US that had their first cases around the same date as New York.

Keep making optimistic predictions and eventually you’ll be correct. Maybe it’s my natural cynicism, but I am relying on Yogi Berry’s observation, making predictions is hard; especially about the future. Healthy cynicism says stay home, wash your hands, and behave like you have it when you’re around others. Also being cynical, I tend to believe those who say we will only start getting back to normal when free wide-spread testing is available, with normalcy following 18-36 months after that. I hope it’s sooner, but 10 million unemployed and property owners not realizing how stupid it is to demand rent do not reassure me.

RIP Mr. Tiger

JC66 7:35 PM  


It was Palm Sunday. My inclination is to wait and see.

BTW, I, for one, prefer a ROCK/DISCO debate over a coronavirus debate.

Aketi 7:54 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aketi 8:01 PM  

@webwinger, are we supposed to take comfort on the statement that the loss of life will be less than twice the loss of people who died on 9/11?

GILL I. 8:18 PM  

@Aketi....What did I miss? @webwinger wrote: "Reaching the peak of the incidence curve (seems now to be erroneously referred to almost everywhere as "flattening the curve") does NOT mean we stop seeing new cases." I. think we all agree on that?
On another note. Does anybody know where I can buy hand cream?

Anonymous 8:39 PM  


while not an epidemiologist, I have been doing stats and data for some decades. the number of case studies of what happens to populations visited by a novel, deadly, and contagious pathogen are significant, may be not legion. but the fact is, you need only one to predict any other. the differences among them are in the noise. Boris Badenough is in ICU as I type; he of the 'just let it run out' fame. karma's a bitch.

Anonymous 9:03 PM  


'peak of the curve' and 'flattening the curve' are not directly synonyms. at all.

'peak' refers to the mode of the distribution. exactly the top of the infamous 'bell curve' much beloved by the racially inclined. all distributions have at least one mode. some have more than one. some have just one of infinite distance.

'flattening' is, in a simple sense, the opposite. if mitigation efforts are effective, then reaching an abrupt 'peak' doesn't happen, rather than having all those cases happening in a short period of time, they are stretched out over a longer period, without a sharp maximum, but a whale's back.

some folks misinterpret 'flattening' to mean a reduction in cases. the science doesn't say that, only that all the cases are simply stretched out in time. the benefit is simply that, again if it works out, the various health care infrastructures don't get exceeded. nothing more. NYC may flatten just enough. Albany, GA a predominantly black community in SW Georgia looks to lose the game. those who live, or think they do, in God's Country also, almost to a person, live in a healthcare desert. while each community is smaller than NYC, the local impact of Covid may well be more disasterous. we'll see. one way or another, the phat lady ain't sang yet.

webwinger 9:39 PM  

Dear all: “The death toll will be tragic…We’ve heard many heart-breaking tales over the past few weeks, and there will be many more to come…” (webwinger 2:20 pm 04/06)

I have not and do not wish to minimize the impact of this crisis on many, many Americans. That does not mean it can’t be said that there is strong reason to believe predictions from even the past week or two are unduly pessimistic. I believe my argument that the US death toll will probably be less in the end than “best case” modeling from less than a week ago cannot be effectively countered with current data. (See also this NYT article for incidence curves from many countries at various stages in their experience with the pandemic.)

My comparative figures were presented with intent to highlight that we have come back from equally bad or worse situations in the past. I also think it’s critically important to recognize that this experience is probably not “the big one” that it was initially feared to be, with infection of more than half the population, and deaths numbering millions, not tens of thousands. We are still at risk for a catastrophe of that magnitude, and I can only hope our experience with this one will result in much better future preparedness. Finally, if and when it becomes clear to all, or even most, that alarms were sounded too stridently in this crisis, there is real danger that it will promote cynicism and resistance to preparation for other potential calamities, particularly climate change.

Most of the country continues to cope well. The large academic hospital in Chicago where I worked until recently reported today that it has nearly 160 inpatients with confirmed or presumed COVID, but just 14 on ventilators (with 36 other non-COVID patients on ventilators, and 89 remaining ventilators in reserve). Illinois, like New York, appears to be just past the peak of both new infections and deaths.

The worst of the economic impact we are now seeing, with danger of much worse to come, is way more a consequence of well-intentioned efforts to fight the virus than from the COVID-19 illness itself. We don’t know what measures are really helping, and which can be quickly set aside without danger, at least for some individuals and communities. More and better testing is clearly needed, but in my opinion it is unjustifiable to wait weeks or months after most illness subsides before allowing social interaction to recover at least a semblance of normality, with close observation. (Sure, continue the 6-foot rule, continue masking, no large gatherings in close quarters—but let the shops and restaurants that employ many millions open for real business again.)

Stay well all, and use your most excellent mental powers to question and strive for best understanding…

GILL I. 9:41 PM  

Anon 9:03. Interesting. Thanks - I think? I'm more concerned that when the powers that may be even utter the word "flatten" then everyone will think it's safe to be safe. I'm no scientist but I'm pretty sure we're in for a mighty long Spring and Summer. I plan on washing my hands till they become raw. I hope others do the same.

albatross shell 9:43 PM  

If you just want something for dry hands, may I suggest Vaseline petroleum jelly. I know it is not glamorous but it really works. If you have cheap cotton or latex gloves apply the jelly and keep the gloves on overnight. I worked outside in cold weather. Works better and any cream. Better than baby oil or mineral oil too. Very seldom have I been able to convince other people (especially women, if it doesn't sound too sexist) of this. It works. I have my doubts if it is sold out at drug stores if you have access to one.

GILL I. 10:16 PM  

@albatross...I DO HAVE Vaseline jelly. I'm going to use it....I won't even tell you what I initially bought it for...Haha. Just a joke.

Anonymous 10:51 PM  

in my opinion it is unjustifiable to wait weeks or months after most illness subsides before allowing social interaction to recover at least a semblance of normality, with close observation. (Sure, continue the 6-foot rule, continue masking, no large gatherings in close quarters—but let the shops and restaurants that employ many millions open for real business again.)

so, I guess you'll be willing to indemnify all those additional folks who get sick and/or die after you've declared the emergency over and: "GO back to work!!" right?

it's not incidental that much of the tsunami happened *after* 6-foot-rule and such were begun. IOW, the barn door was closed after the horse galloped away. you want to do that again?

Frantic Sloth 11:11 PM  

@Z Thank you for the re-post. I really enjoyed it! Embarrassed to admit my lack of familiarity with a group I certainly would have enjoyed back in the day.
@Barbara S. Haha! (Shh! Maybe nobody else noticed?)

Anoa Bob 12:20 AM  

@GILL I., Oh yes, ¡absolutamente¡, I wash my hands while still wearing the nitrile gloves after cutting up some jalapeños and even then I take great care while removing said gloves not to touch their outer surface. Once bitten, twice shy.

Unknown 12:25 AM  

Point well taken!;Fun Monday though!!!and great comments, thank you all!!! My first comment ever.

Burma Shave 11:00 AM  


SAYHI to OLDNICK in unison,
POOF, what THE hell?


Hey, LUTHERAN jokes always worked for Garrison Keillor!?!

spacecraft 11:18 AM  

Another fine entry from AGO COED MRSCRATCH.* Of course, we couldn't have the more familiar OLD SCRATCH because of OLDNICK. Interesting that another name for Santa is also NICK. Hmmm... Dr. NICKyll and MRSCRATCH??

This puzzle also reminds me of The Walkin Dude, of "The Stand" fame. Rising to power amid a world-ending pandemic. Hmmm again... Is orange the new red?

I liked doing it, as much as you can like writing down five incarnations of You-Know-Who. DOONE is a DOOK ("I had two puzzles in the paper but I could only DOONE.") Fun stuff. At bridge, I often LED an ACE. Well, against slams, anyway. PERMITME to introduce KERI Russell as DOD; honorable mention to Charlize Theron from the clue bank--and extra honorable mention to ACM from the byline.

Tight, breathable theme and snappy fill: a solid birdie.

*You too, Brian.

rondo 12:18 PM  

Old-time Scandinavians thought THEDEVIL to be in owls, wolves, and other critters. Shouldn't be surprised at all the different monikers.No unknowns here. @Wm. C - you really gotta get out more. Or turn on the radio or TV occasionally. Or read a newspaper. Anything AVAILABLE.

Shout out to MN's LOON. On the state commemorative quarter, if you look.

SHEL did oh so much more than that.

The corners divvy up pro RATA.

KERI Russel, yeah baby.

NICE to see ACME again.

leftcoaster 2:45 PM  

Easy Monday as it should be, pepped up by three long downs: AEONFLUX, HOLODECK, HABANERO, and given a jolt by LSD and SPEED.

No shaded squares in the local newspaper, but no matter. Theme stood out on its own.

NICE work by ACME and BT.

rainforest 2:49 PM  

For the real-timers who never read we syndies: Easter was a pipe dream. You're supposed to inject bleach according to DJT; over 82,000 deaths as of May 11; meat processing plants which have all had outbreaks are ordered reopened by DJT; there's Covid-19 in the White House; DJT says that increased testing is useless, but every WH staffer is being tested daily. There's more but I don't have the heart.

Good puzzle for a Monday. MR SCRATCH, alias MRS CRATCH is a new one. I had no shading or circles in my puzzle. My Dad had an 8-track tape recorder, and he'd play the tapes in his car.

Diana, LIW 3:15 PM  

before I say anything else - what happened to Sunday and the Syndie Cats?????

Diana, LIW

rondo 3:28 PM  

@D,LIW - when the comments surpass 200 it's tougher to find them. One way is to pretend post, find the 'Newest Comments' link and click.

Diana, LIW 4:33 PM  

Thanks, @Rondo, I don't remember ever using that link before. Shoulda known a prize-winning solver like you would know all the tricks!

Didn't have a DEVIL of a time with this, but was waiting for the comments to swerve to the negative. Haven't read them yet, but...

Love an ACME puz.

Stay safe, all.

Diana, you know, waiting...

Jannie 9:49 AM  

Why is a rug rat a DOE?

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