Theatrical show featuring traditional Irish music / MON 4-13-20 / Kind of economics disparagingly / Mindless card game for two

Monday, April 13, 2020

Constructor: Evan Kalish

Relative difficulty: Easy (very easy)

THEME: increasing water flow amounts

Theme answers:
  • TRICKLE-DOWN (21A: Kind of economics, disparagingly)
  • STREAMLINE (26A: Make more aerodynamic)
  • "RIVERDANCE" (44A: Theatrical show featuring traditional Irish music)
  • FLOOD LIGHTS (50A: Ballpark illuminators)
Word of the Day: TRICKLE-DOWN Economics (21A: Kind of economics, disparagingly) —
Trickle-down economics, also called trickle-down theory, refers to the economic proposition that taxes on businesses and the wealthy in society should be reduced as a means to stimulate business investment in the short term and benefit society at large in the long term. In recent history, the term has been used by critics of supply-side economic policies, such as "Reaganomics." Whereas general supply-side theory favors lowering taxes overall, trickle-down theory more specifically targets taxes on the upper end of the economic spectrum.
The term "trickle-down" originated as a joke by humorist Will Rogers and today is often used to criticize economic policies that favor the wealthy or privileged while being framed as good for the average citizen. (wikipedia)
• • •

I think the puzzle thinks that DROPS and OCEAN have something to do with the theme too—maybe the DROPS of rain amass on a mountainside and flow down, trickling into streams, gathering together with other streams to form a river, and then eventually emptying into the OCEAN. Is that the narrative? Still doesn't explain FLOOD, which is not a stage in that progression. In fact, FLOOD is a pretty static concept, generally, where the other long theme answers all suggest water that is specifically moving. Is FLOOD the static *end* point of the progression? Or is the water still moving to the OCEAN? The ambiguity here makes things messy, and they were slightly messy even before I noticed that DROPS and OCEAN might be involved. The water-ness of the first words in the themers is "disguised"(nicely, as it should be) with STREAMLINE and FLOODLIGHTS. "Trickle" still very much suggests water, even if it is delivered today in an economics metaphor, and then "RIVERDANCE" ... feels like a cop out. It's not a regular noun or verb or metaphorical expression. It's a proper noun, so the "river" there just represents ... a "river"? The meaning of the word isn't disguised or redirected in any meaningful way. I guess it would be hard / impossible to redirect the meaning of "river" in *any* expression. Still, the nature of the theme isn't precise. It's trying to do a lot, maybe too much with the DROPS / OCEAN add-ins. If any of the answers, or *any* of the rest of the grid were interesting, the slight clunkiness of the theme wouldn't really matter. But the puzzle is So easy, So plainly clued, So loaded with overfamiliar 4-letter words, that the only real joy people will have today is the setting of personal-best Monday times (do not underestimate how much the rush of a personal speed record colors a solver's estimation of a puzzle). The theme doesn't quite cohere, and the puzzle overall is dull. That's all.

The way I knew this was easy and dull was: instead of racing through it, as I usually do, I just sat here at the kitchen table and read clues out to my wife. For most of them, she gave me the answers quickly and easily, without my even having to tell her how many letters were in the answer or what letters I already had in place. Mostly she just looked at me deadpan because the clues were so easy it hardly seemed worth her effort to tell me the answers. Here's how exciting this all was. Me: "[Regarding]." Her: "IN RE." Me: "the other one..." Her: "AS TO." Me: "yup." Repeat 78 times. Well, no, they weren't all that lackluster. But LSAT IKEA ATV ERIC ANEW ... it wasn't just that they were easy to get, it was that their clues seemed like they were pulled out of the "Frequently Used Clue" bin. HEDONISTIC is a nice word (11D: Committed to the pursuit of pleasure), but few things express the spirit of hedonism less aptly than this grid. But it was all over fast, and solving fast can be fun, so if that was enough for you, fantastic.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


GILL I. 6:31 AM  

Well yeah...I noticed starting with DROPS and ending with OCEAN because I look for these things. I also like IDEA/IKEA and ICE/ICK. So there's that.
You'd think after yesterday's coffee discussion I would've spelled VENTI the right way, right? Well, no. I had VENTE which gave me the four by four answer as SEX TEEN. I thought about that one. Then I went on to ZOOEY and wondered why anyone would be named after something to do with a zoo. Then I went on to that HAIR LOSS and the reason for Rogaine and all, and of course my mind wandered again. I go see my gorgeous hairdresser, who wears a nose stud, about every six months to have my hair trimmed and highlighted. She doesn't really dye it but whatever she does it gets rid of the creepy grey that creeps in. Well, it's been over 7 months now. I was supposed to see her in March but you know how that goes. Anyway, My hair has grown unruly and has sprouted this big piece of white mass in the front of my hair. I have no idea where that came from. It looks like some fat little bastard sea gull, who probably stole someone's white cheddar cheese sandwich, shat on my head. (sigh). I need a SPA day.
I liked the puzzle and all the water stuff. Sometimes I'll lie in the bath tub and let the hot water TRICKLE DOWN. It makes me RELAX. We always eat at a restaurant by the Sacramento RIVER in the summer. I love putting my very big feet in a STREAM somewhere near TAHOE and I can't think of anything good about a FLOOD.
OKRA next to OPIUM about says it for me. Both have the ICK factor.

Lewis 6:37 AM  

On top of the theme answers, plus DROPS, SEAS, and OCEAN, there were three words that work with "water" in phrases: SLIDE, ICE, and BATH. So we had water water everywhere, a flash flood of liquid refreshment that certainly made a splash like no puzzle I remember, setting a wet bar that may never be eclipsed. Lots of fun, Evan, and nozzle tov on your 11th NYT publication!

amyyanni 7:02 AM  

Thought this is the epitome of a Monday puzzle. Spot on, Evan. Enjoyed all the extras @Lewis noted. Having a little water problem (pipe leaking into downstairs neighbors) in real life so may need to address how to have a plumber in during a pandemic. Wish me luck!

Joaquin 7:04 AM  

I agree with Rex. The puzzle was "Easy (very easy)". Even for a Monday.

But then Rex gets re-crowned the King of Nits when he says about some of the themesrs, "The ambiguity here makes things messy ... ". No it doesn't. The water goes from DROPS to OCEAN with various amounts in between. Pretty straight-forward to me.

As is often the case, the best part of the daily crossword is found in these comments. We already have a winner today with @Lewis (6:37) wishing the constructor a most appropriate "nozzle tov".

American Liberal Elite 7:05 AM  

Easy enough to solve with just the downs, which made it more interesting and enjoyable.

Diver 7:12 AM  

There's also STEIN, LADLE and TALL ONES, all of which hold liquid and can be bought at IKEA.

kitshef 7:18 AM  

SEAS fits nicely in as a themer, but I can't make sense of ARIA unless you read it as A RIA, in which case it is misplaced, belonging between FLOOD and SEAS.

BATH and DROPS could be themers, but break symmetry.

I used to think someday I'd find Mr. Right; now, I'm just hoping for MR IS.
If 'ick' doesn't quite capture the grossness, you can try AN EW.

webwinger 7:24 AM  

This very easy puzzle TRICKLEd my fancy. IMO better than average Monday theme (of which DROPS and OCEAN were definitely a part).

Thought @Rex was all wet in his criticism today. FLOOD is a “static” concept? Tell that to people sitting on their roofs as the water rises...

Loren Muse Smith 7:29 AM  

I agree with @Lewis and @amyyanni - perfect Monday. I saw the progression not as literal bodies of water found on our TERRA but rather the horrifying progression you might experience in your basement or under the kitchen sink: DROPS – TRICKLE – STREAM – RIVER – FLOOD – OCEAN. (See also 62A – perfectly placed as regards the progression.) It’s remarkable how menacing water is when it shows up where it’s not supposed to be. About once a month I look under my kitchen sink for bad news. It’s always scary.

Glad Evan clarified which famous Clapton. Nick Clapton isn’t a guitarist.

“Me day” destination. SPA. Hmm. Speak for yourself. Facials, massages, colonics do nothing for me. I’ve had one massage, and if I never have one again, it’ll be just fine by me. I felt extremely self-conscious. I guess I’m just not a touchy-feely person. (This explains my resentment toward the people who move in for the kill with a “Sorry, I’m a hugger.” That they even apologize kinda betrays their deep-down knowledge that this maneuver just may be an unwelcome encroachment.) I’ve thought about it, and my “me day” destination would be Wintergreen Dogsledding in Ely, Minnesota. There’s nothing like dogsledding across a frozen lake or through pristine, silent woods. If I can’t get to Minnesota, I think my “me day” destination would be the mall where I’d do that clipped-in bungee trampoline thingy and no one would think it’s creepy ‘cause I’m not a kid.

@Gill I - I'm with ya on the hair, man. I don't have a white splotch, but still. I'm hitting my bangs and over my ears every couple of days with the kitchen shears.

Evan – nice, sound puzzle.

Hungry Mother 7:29 AM  

That 4x4 had me thinking about the little dirty pamphlets we used to leer at in grade school. I was looking for SeXTExt. Anyway, very easy as Rex said.

kitshef 7:41 AM  

@Gill I and LMS - for decades, I've been offering to cut mrsshef's hair. In the absence of any other options, she has finally acceded. No dyeing, though - even before this she was letting grey happen.

albatross shell 7:47 AM  

Yes, exceptionally easy. Maybe they should have tried for 60 second on this one, but maybe the number of words could slow you down too. Not my department.

Strangely, and probably unintentionally, the standard theme answers non-water halves can all be connected to dance. One is dance, line dance, dance lights (dancing lights or trip the light fantastic), and get down means to dance. Maybe any word connects to dance, well not quite: drop dance, ice dance, tall ones dance, stein dance, dance seas, ocean dance, ladle dance, bath dance, Venti dance, spa dance. I include spa because of the association with hot springs in days of yore. We do also have hula and of course some words that have a dance connection, for example last.
I do love the way water runs down in the puzzle in increasingly larger amounts. And, yes Rex, with very rare exceptions, when there are floods water is running faster to the ocean somewhere. And in some places water is backed up. No clunkiness at all.

Lookup Starbucks sizes. Venti in cold drinks is apparently 24 oz. Some internet sites say hot drinks are too, but that apparently is not true. And there is a smaller size called short, 8 oz., that is not the menu, but is available. All this from internet sources. I do not get to one more than half dozen times a year.

Suzie Q 8:01 AM  

I really liked the water theme and the progression works fine for me.
My only snag was the usual indecision on the spelling of the Russian ruler. I went with the Z since that seemed a little more likely than an S. Actually Zooey and Sooey both look silly.
26D brought to mind Bette Davis in All About Eve. "Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night."
Thanks Evan, good fun.

OffTheGrid 8:04 AM  

I half expected to see @Rex link to THIS SONG

pabloinnh 8:31 AM  

OFL's complaints about this puzzle all seem to indicate that he thinks the difficulty level was watered down. Well of course.

I'm in the group that saw this as a progression based on size. Not sure why we have to include some kind of movement to make a theme, I thought it worked just fine. Also our printer is out of ink which always leads to some hilarity in trying to put letters in the right place, which slows me down, and I don't care. The thrill of speed solving still escapes me.

@Suzie Q-Your Bette Davis reference was timely as we were just talking about a famous story that happened at our summer resort back in the 30's. Apparently she showed up for lunch one day and the at that time very strict lady who was one of the owners refused to seat her. She was committing the unpardonable sin of wearing pants. Take that, famous actress person.

I thought this was fine for a Monday. We're bracing for high winds and a lot of rain here so more diversions like this will be essential.

Old Dad 8:32 AM  

Second fastest Monday ever. May have been record if iPad hadn’t frozen.

M. Antony 9:07 AM  

Rivers flood. That's what they do. That's why the Nile region, for example, has been fertile for millennia.

I'd hardly call that static.

W.M. Joel 9:13 AM  

In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
Through the desert of truth
To the river so deep
We all end in the ocean
We all start in the streams
We're all carried along
By the river of dreams

Frantic Sloth 9:36 AM  

@Suzie Q
I also did the "All About Eve" pause, despite the inaccuracy of the actual quote. Wonder what that's about...

Trying to imagine Bette Davis being refused, well, anything and how she'd likely just bow her head and slink off in embarrassment.
Ha! NOT!

Firmly in the water amounts camp, not the flow camp - but also agree that OFL needs some schooling on FLOODs. Static?? Only static here is in his head.

Lewis 9:43 AM  

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

1. Wanders around LAX or JFK? (3)
2. Moves from the head to the mouth (5)
3. Holder of miniature blocks (6)(3)
4. Move like a bear (4)
5. Your highness?: Abbr. (4)


pabloinnh 9:46 AM  

@Frantic Sloth-

You're absolutely correct. Word is that the lady was not amused.

Nancy 9:47 AM  

Interesting to have a waterlogged puzzle when it's raining cats and dogs outside my window. Would have preferred a sunshine-y theme. Oh, well. Responding to what's here:

Love TRICKLE DOWN because of the way it's clued. The first time I heard of TRICKLE DOWN economic theory was when, at a very young age, I asked my father: "What's the difference between the Democrats and the Republicans?" My father, a very fair-minded man who [I now realize] didn't want to prejudice me, explained that they were both wonderful parties that sincerely wanted to help the downtrodden, only Democrats wanted to help them directly, whereas Republicans thought by helping rich business owners, the money generated would TRICKLE DOWN to the needy. He said this with no trace of a smirk and no gesture that would have indicated he had a dog in the fight. Of course, as a lifelong Democrat and liberal, he didn't believe in TRICKLE DOWN economics for a moment, but, at the time, I couldn't have guessed that, I really couldn't have.

My father taught me to consider every side of an issue by, whatever position I chose to argue, taking the other side and arguing against me. He called it "playing Devil's Advocate." I truly believe that if everyone in the country had had my father as their father, we'd all be talking to one another and not camping out in our own respective tribes.

As for the rest of the puzzle -- dare I say it was all wet?

RooMonster 9:50 AM  

Hey All !
Although this puz didn't FLOW me over, it was good for a MonPuz. My nit? SEAS sitting there without a symmetric partner. Just a tad off.

The water progression was neat. CZAR as clued wasn't. Had tsAR first, because that's what it is as clued. But, I know ZOOEY, as I've seen her movies, and she's cute! Her sister is Emily, who is Bones on the TV series "Bones". FYI.

We had some decent Rain here yesterday. Always welcome out here. We actually have a ski resort out here in Las Vegas. It's about 30-40 minutes out of town, Mt. Charleston, about an 11,000 ft peak. We had rain mid-last week and they got a foot of snow up there! The snow stays awhile, so even in mid-to-late June when it's 105° or so, there's still snow on the mountain.

One F (in themer)
HAIR LOSS (who, me?)

Anonymous 10:06 AM  

[likely not the first, but no way I was gonna let 'em slip a fastball by me]

"FLOOD is a pretty static concept, generally, where the other long theme answers all suggest water that is specifically moving."

Tell that to the survivors of Johnstown. Or the molasses flood in Charlestown. Or Noah. A spring-fed lake is static, modulo breezes like the 70 mph version forecast for NE later today.

QuasiMojo 10:10 AM  

@Gill, you are not alone! I've never dyed my hair and have no intention of doing so but the other day I noticed my otherwise brownish gray hair has gone completely white around my ears and the back of my neck. I've heard the expression about hair going white all of a sudden due to stress or fear. Maybe I'm more anxious about this ongoing crisis than I thought! Anyway I look like I'm PIED. :)

G. Weissman 10:15 AM  

If this is a “perfect Monday,” then perfection is horribly overrated. At least it was over quickly.

Anonymous 10:22 AM  

Didn't think that I would be reminded about Michael Flately today, but here we are.

Aketi 10:26 AM  

The puzzle didn’t have any rain to DANCE in or puddles to jump in.

Anonymous 10:38 AM  

Trickle-down Economics is a real theory. Whether it’s a disparaging term is a matter of opinion. You could say the same about Keynesian Economics, Market Socialism or any other theory of economics.

Carola 10:39 AM  

What a pleasure, well, what multiple pleasures. Which for me amounted to a process of 1) recognizing the theme after TRICkLE and STREAM to allow the fun of anticipating the remaining two longer answers; 2) admiring the creative repurposing of economic, aerodynamic, dance, and lighting terms for aquatic use; 3) noticing the nice bracketing provided by DROPS and OCEAN; 4) seeing the grid sprinkles of BATH, SEAS, ICE, and SPA. A rare Monday puzzle that absolutely nails the theme and then keeps on giving.

@kitshef: I looked at SEAS parallel to ARIA and thought, "Too bad." So thank you for A RIA!

Anonymous 10:42 AM  

I might use the term Socialism disparagingly. That doesn’t make it a disparaging term.

jberg 10:43 AM  

It was OK, but the theme would have been better without SEAS in a non-theme location, and creating rivalry with OCEAN. That's all for today!

Frantic Sloth 11:05 AM  

@Anonymous 1006am The only molasses* flood I've heard about is the
Boston Molasses Disaster of 1919.

Seems unlikely (but not impossible) that there would be more than one of these.

*Childish joke alert!
What did the last mole in line say?

"I smell molasses."

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

Lathes dont turn. The work piece in the lathe turns. Common mistake.
I know Rex doesnt know anything about tools, but Shortz should.

Z 11:14 AM  

Having worked with the hormonally enriched, @Gill I’s SeXTEEN is perfectly apt in my opinion.

Rex chose the wrong words, but I’m right with him on FLOOD being the winner of “one of these things is not like the other” bingo. In the DROPS to OCEAN sequence the others are relatively constant, they exist as ongoing things. The DROPS become a TRICKLE that become STREAM that become a RIVER that becomes the OCEAN. FLOODs, on the other hand, are transient (the very opposite of “static”) events. A river or lake might flood, but usually not. I suppose you can lawyer FLOOD into the sequence by imaging basement water damage, but that strikes me as reaching. And then there’s SEAS. Wrote it in and immediately looked 15A. DROPS and OCEAN are clearly a part of the theme, a point reinforced by their symmetry. SEAS is just hanging out, forlornly looking at FLOOD LIGHTS and singing an ARIA about the heartbreak of not having the prima theme position. There is nothing especially “wrong” with FLOOD or SEAS, but I feel like they both break the symmetry of the puzzle so I find them sub-optimal.

Otherwise, fairly standard Monday fare.

Z 11:16 AM  

@Anon11:13 - Consider what is happening when I say “I turn the wheel.”

Anonymous 11:23 AM  

Trickle-down Economics is a real theory.

May be Yes, may be No. The test of whether a 'theory' is real, is whether its prediction(s) turn out to be true. In the case of Trickle-Down (by various aliases), it's never worked, beyond making the rich richer. That's not what the proponents assert will happen.

In the case of the Orange Sh!tgibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave), he announced at the 21 Club steakhouse, 16 Nov. 2016:
“We’ll get your taxes down, don’t worry about it,” Trump says"
here: (and all news orgs but Faux News, of course).

Anonymous 11:24 AM  

Suzie, Frantic
That quote isn't Bette Davis's, it's Joseph Mankiewicz's.

Anonymous 11:26 AM  

Thats absurd. The wheel does turn. Lathes do not.

CaryinBoulder 11:27 AM  

Obviously I really need to be thinking more about themes in these early-week puzzles. After all the hard work last Friday followed by an utter DNF pasting on Saturday, it was something of a relief to blow right through this one in a very fast time. My confidence, ever-growing over the past few weeks of relatively easy puzzles, needed a restart. Of course I’m sure Rex was finished before I’d even read half the clues. Thanks to you all I see everything I missed in my haste. (As if I’ll have anything to do with all that saved time.)

If you’ve never lived through a FLOOD, like the one we had in 2013, and been out at 3 am with some of your neighbors HOISTing out obstructions so a RIVER of water can STREAM through your yard and not fill up your garage and home, you have LENO IDEA how terrifying water can be — not at all a static thing.

@GILL I - My wife displayed a talent neither of us knew she had in giving me a very nice haircut last week. Or was that two weeks ago? Who can keep track anymore? I was surprised at how much better it made me feel. I will definitely not be returning the favor. If I did we would likely end up as EXES.

We’ve had a foot of snow in the last 24 hours just to bring home the need to stay inside, here in the Spring of Our Discontent. At least now our cat knows how we feel every single day.

Bax'N'Nex 11:27 AM  

Mike: We didn't get to hear how many cocktails you had before writing this oh so insightful review. A flood is not a moving thing? Like a Flash flood? Or rising flood waters?

What is it with people like you that think a critique can only be criticism? This was a fine (yes)easy Monday, but aren't Mondays supposed to be easy?

And yesterday with Joel...if Merl Reagle had written that you would have fawned over it like a teenage girl over Justin Bieber...SMH, what a tool.

What a joy you ans your wife sound like. To paraphrase one of my favorite entries from the the past here..."The Sharpe house must be a mirthful place".

Bax'N'Nex (not anonymous, just not computer savvy)

Anonymous 11:29 AM  


When I lived in Boston, the flood was always ascribed to Charlestown, once a separate municipality, now just a neighborhood, and was at the time of the flood. Boston has always been a non-melting pot, made of neighborhoods/district along ethnic lines.

Whatsername 11:31 AM  

It’s hard to get excited about a Monday crossword but as Mondays go, this was a particularly nice effort. I was surprised to learn that a SEA is only sizable while an OCEAN is massive; but I loved that we start with DROPS, then have four theme answers that cascade (a word that would have fit nicely in this grid) and end with an OCEAN. What a pleasant way to start the week. Thank you Evan.

I have to agree with Rex that RIVERDANCE is dicey. RiverFRONT would sound more mainstream, pardon the pun. As for his questions (1) “Is FLOOD the static *end* point of the progression? Or is the water still moving to the OCEAN?” As a first-hand witness to several historic floods in the Midwest, I don’t think there is a clear yes or no answer to either. When a river levee breaks and flood water moves onto surrounding ground, a large portion of it will remain trapped there after the river recedes. So in that sense flood water becomes static, and it is an end point. But the water which remains at a level above the levee will flow back into the river and will continue downstream to - in the case of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers - the Gulf of Mexico.

@GILL (6:30) Your hair story made me laugh out loud. And I know how you feel. Someone once sent me a get well card with a picture of this stressed out woman wearing a wrinkled robe, her face scrunched up and her hair sticking out every direction. The other day when I got out of bed, I realized I’m beginning to develop a striking resemblance to her. Not sure even a SPA day will completely reverse the trend.

@Nancy(9:47) My father used to say “The Republicans want to spend all our money and the Democrats want to give it away.” The more time goes by, the more I think he might’ve been right.

Anonymous 11:34 AM  

TMI, perhaps, but a fun read: "It's ours, we stole it legally!"

JC66 11:42 AM  

@Anon 11:26

Would it be a lathe without the wheel?

xyz 11:50 AM  


Nothing wrong with that.

Anonymous 12:00 PM  

As someone who worked on Swiss lathes, this is amusing. Of course the lathe 'turns' the work piece, nearly always round stock. Were this not so, the tools would just penetrate the stock until one or both sheared off.

Malsdemare 12:01 PM  

Okay, I have to add my flood opinion. I live on a hill overlooking the Sangamon River, the river Lincoln poled during his early days as a river runner. It has flooded the last three of five years. I was down there Saturday to check on the bluebells that carpet the ground in early April and the amount of debris the flooding has littered the land with is jaw-dropping. There are enormous trees flung like matchsticks up on the banks and the brand-new carving of the shore line reminds me of just how the Grand Canyon was carved. Nothing passive about floods, even the ones that don't destroy homes, roads, and lives.

I, too, had VENTe first, saw the SEX—— and mused that the Grey Lady was getting raunchy in these pandemic days. And didn' look again until I didn't get the happy music and had to find my error.

I really liked the water theme and thought it was well executed. Bravo, Evan.

Shop Guy 12:13 PM  

@Anon 11:13

Do the pieces in the lathe turn by magic? If so, what's the lathe for?

jae 12:17 PM  

Yes, very easy, a good puzzle for a newbie. The theme worked just fine for me, liked it.

I’ve got another below the radar comedy to recommend: “Kim’s Convenience” on Netflix. It’s about a Korean-Canadian couple that own a neighborhood convenience in Toronto and their two adult children. It’s funny and charming and there are five seasons available for binging. It has a 95% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

...and I was cruising Amazon Prime Video earlier and noticed that the first two seasons of “The Detectorists” are now available on Prime.

burtonkd 12:21 PM  

I think it was really insensitive of Mr. Shortz to publish this on a day when it is raining torrentially with wind gusts up to 70mph.

Kidding, thanks anon 11:13 for the finer point. One could argue the clue is still okay since both the rotating holder and the cutting piece are part of the lathe.

Frantic Sloth 12:22 PM  

@Anonymous 1124am Neither Suzie Q nor I attributed the writing of that line to Bette Davis, so your "correction" wasn't really necessary - unless you just wanted to humiliate us for something we didn't do and prop yourself up as the great intellect you so obviously are.

@Anonymous 1129am Oh, duh! Like an idiot, I read your comment as Charleston and thought WV, so thank you for setting me straight on that!

Idle question...unless someone wants to try to answer it:

Just how many (different) Anonymi are there?? For all I know, I just cranked at and thanked the same person!

Joe Dipinto 12:24 PM  

How often does the puzzle double as a meteorological forecast? Today's seems to be explaining what's going on outside my window.

The water-park themers all work because they can all be used metaphorically for amounts or degrees of...anything, really. (For example, "puddle" or "pond" or "bay" wouldn't cut it.). I do think SEAS should have been excised, but otherwise this would be a perfect Monday puzzle, if I didn't hate that guy from "Riverdance".

Now back to the local weather: oh Lord, when will it end?

Anonymous 12:25 PM  

Come on, in normal speech spinning device meance the device is spinninh, not that the device is used to spin something.
Thats why you turn something on a lathe. The wood spins or turns. The lathe doed not. Sheesh

Geezer 12:27 PM  

I'm a fan of "Kim's Convenience", too. I don't have Prime but "The Detectorists" is free on ROKU TV. There are ads but the show is so good I don't mind.

Anonymous 12:43 PM  

For all those arguing about what a lathe does, answer the similar question: does a spinning wheel spin? If not, why not. Remember, before you answer, the device sits on the floor in front of the operator.

Z 12:51 PM  

@Anonymous Spinner - No really. When I am a top spinner I don’t spin. “Spinner” can be either the thing that is spun or the thing causing the spinning. Besides which, as others have pointed out, the lathe has spinning parts, so it is spinning, too.

@Frantic Sloth - Hence the term “anonymice,” they scurry around virtually indistinguishable from each other. Mostly harmless, occasionally providing valuable contributions or asking questions that need answering (I always assume if one person asks the question there are scores more wondering), but also occasionally infecting the comments with the blog equivalent of the bubonic plague. Fortunately we don’t see those as much anymore since the mods seem pretty good at pest control (just to be clear - the lathe question seems fair to me, we’ve all been guilty of this kind of nit at some time or other)

Teedmn 1:04 PM  

This puzzle pretty much describes the different water pressure conditions we used to experience at our house when filling the BATH before we needed a new well drilled last fall (and then needed a new whole-house filtration system to keep the water from looking like beef broth). At least, with the pump outside in the well instead of in our basement, things are much quieter than before.

I agree with Rex's very easy rating - I've never come this close to having a sub-5 minute solve before, so a PR for me. Yet easy doesn't translate to boring. I liked the theme, HEDONISTIC, TERRA COTTA and seeing the misdirection of Four by four = SIXTEEN.

Does someone who HATES the word "moist" also hate HOIST?

REHASH near OPIUM, har.

Thanks, Evan Kalish, very nice and smooth.

A. Smith 1:12 PM  

@ Anonymous 10:38: "Trickle-down Economics is a real theory."

Real theory? To my mind it's always been just a real Laffer.

But, no reason to get worked up into a lathe-r about it.

Anonymous 1:12 PM  

Gill, (i think)
A while ago I accused z of being, among otger things, a chronic name caller.
You claimed never to have seen such behaivior.
Well, here he is calling anonymous posters names. Claiming they need to be tamed via pest control.
Wow. Just wow.

J. Clampett 1:14 PM  

@ Teedman 1:04pm

Only of you foist it on them with a joist.

GILL I. 1:26 PM  

Anonymizes 1:12. It might've been me...I can't remember.
@Z has been posting as long as I have and I don't ever recall him flat out calling someone like...let's see...a turd?

J. Brodie 1:40 PM  

@ anonymous 1:12pm

Don't bother. At some point Z got all impressed with himself and appointed himself mayor and magistrate of the blog, rendering what he believes to be infallible judgments. Doing so necessitates - in his mind, anyway - a certain amount of demeaning of others and name-calling, thereby asserting his own superior moral authority.

For those who like that sort of thing, that is the sort of thing they like.

But best just to ignore him.

Old Actor 1:41 PM  

I once knew a real-life Mrs. Malaprop who, after deep sea fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, said, "It's so good to get my feet back on
Terra Cotta."

Anonymous 1:47 PM  

Stay classy Gill!

Joe Dipinto 1:47 PM  

@Frantic Sloth – I don't know, whenever I watch "All About Eve" I always picture Joseph L. Mankiewicz reciting all the dialogue instead of the actors. I thought we were supposed to watch all movies that way.

Any-none-moose 1:48 PM  

If we're going to be Any-none-moose let's pick a number

Frantic Sloth 2:02 PM  

@Anonymous 112pm Speaking of "Wow. Just wow."...

I haven't been commenting here nearly as long as @Z or @GILL I. - or some/all of the various Anonymi as far as I know; however, I do know that Z's use of "pest" is pretty tame compared to the insults and name-calling some of the anonymous posters use.

And I agree with Z that some of the anonymous comments are informative and provocative (in a good way!) without being unkind.

I find it interesting that as with much of the internet, here it always seems to be the name-less commenters/posters who are the nastiest and that is Cowardice 101 IMHOpancakes.

Just about to post this and already there's some lovely comments which I refuse to address. It would probably be easier to have a rational discussion with a Trump fan.

@Joe Dipinto 147pm Too true! The man's a genius, but I can't say I watch any other movie that way - especially since some of the best lines/moments have been adlibs by the actor. Still, I think it's true that writers as a whole don't get nearly enough of the respect they deserve.

Anonymous 2:03 PM  

Huh? Why do that? I can tell you its a lot easier to recite a line like that tgan write it. Davis rented it;Mankiewicz owned it.

Barbara S. 2:03 PM  

I cut my husband's hair this morning so of course I'm now Barbara the Barber. (Well, better that than the Butcher.)

AS TO: 6D RADIUM It's worth mentioning that Marie and Pierre Curie and their immediate family won 5 Nobel Prizes. No slouches, they. Marie and Pierre won 3 between them in Physics and Chemistry (Marie with 2), their daughter won in Chemistry and their other daughter's husband won the Peace Prize on behalf of UNICEF. And here I sit in my pajamas.

A question I've always had about this forum sort of relates to @Frantic Sloth's query of 12:22. Is it known how many people read this blog on a daily basis?

P.S. It amazes me now but for months after I first discovered Rex, I only read him and was oblivious to you weird, wise and wonderful wordsmiths who accompany him. And to think I used to consider solving crossword puzzles a solitary activity.

Anonymous 2:05 PM  

J. Brodie
Thank you. Thank you. Finally.
I will take your excellent advice.

Masked and Anonymous 2:05 PM  

Thought the Crossword Fiend blog summed up the theme best: "Progressively larger flows of water".

staff weeject pick: ICE. Cold perspective on the puz's theme.

Thanx, Mr. Kalish. Good work.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


Anonymous 2:07 PM  


Might work. Might not. Depends on whether Blogger tracks 'name/url' entries with IP address (which isn't stable for 99.99% of users, anyway). So, if I choose anon666 for a comment, what's to prevent you or Godzilla's spawn from impersonating me (why, I can't figure) a minute later?

Anyone know the answer?

JC66 2:22 PM  

@Anon 2:07

Why not go blue. You can put in as much. or as little as you want in your profile, and then no one can impersonate you.

Anonymous 2:27 PM  

Yesterday’s NYT Book Review

Brief mention of Prof Sharp in review of Thinking Inside the Box.
Reviewer is Peter Sagal

Anonymous 2:28 PM  

I've been getting into NYT crosswords the last few weeks - today was my first ever solve with no help or Googling whatsoever! I'm not sure if that speaks to the easiness of the puzzle or to my progress, maybe a bit of both.

After 15 minutes I really only got hung up on ICK/KEPT ("didn't go bad"? is KEPT a common expression people use here? the bread KEPT? or something? and UHG/ICK is just blatant crosswordese I'll pick up on eventually). I was a bit disappointed with how matter-of-fact the puzzle was - it really wasn't much of a puzzle at all, more like a checklist of common knowledge trivia and NYT tropes. But finishing it was exciting nonetheless!

Joe Dipinto 2:44 PM  

@FSloth – Actually, I was being tongue-in-cheek. Or trying to.

albatross shell 2:46 PM  

Does a lathe spin? Does a spinning wheel spin? Ask Zeno. The flying arrow is at rest. Is it a distinction of importance? How precise does every day language need to be to cover over-technical usage? Yes, either answer could be technically right or wrong until we are given a level of precision we are operating under and further info about how those points are defined. Thanks to all for drawing attention to this.

A flood is just a river running higher than normal. Drops are not always falling. Trickles disappear and reappear. Streams, even seas and rivers dry up. Oops, I guess ocean is the odd man out.

The theme is better without seas?
The puzzle is better with it. Just like the puzzle is better with hoist opposite stein, even though
tall ones is opposite hairless.

And opium v. relax
Idea v. as to
Ever had dill on your okra?
Hate it when it takes eons to get a menu?
Do your floodlights trickle down on your streamlined river dance? Overnight?

Have some fun.

albatross shell 2:52 PM  

Barbara S. 203pm
Does that make you
Baba the baba?

RooMonster 2:59 PM  

Reading y'all's recommendations for TV watching, etc., there was a Canadian show a while back (can't remember when, late 90's? early 2000's? late 2000's?) that (I thought, FWIW) was quite funny in a sly-everyday way, but still had quirky characters. Corner Gas was the name of the show. Not sure where (or if) it's available.

And there's always Supernatural on TNT weekday mornings (sometimes afternoons).

RooMonster TV Keeps Sanity! Guy

Frantic Sloth 3:19 PM  

@JoeD 244pm LOL! Dontcha just hate it when a perfectly good joke and/or snark gets wasted on an ableist word?
Honestly, what a jamoke I am. :-D

Smith 4:38 PM  

My mother, on the R vs D question:
Republicans have race horses and Democrats bet on them.

Barbara S. 4:40 PM  

@albatross shell 2:52
It took me a second and then I roared. Gilda lives.

Joaquin 5:31 PM  

I'm always learning something here. Today I learned that although I thought I owned a Shop Fox brand lathe, apparently it is a Schrödinger's. It doesn't turn, yet ... never mind.

egsforbreakfast 6:30 PM  

New spin on the lathe controversy.

If you read the constructors’ note on, and if you know how to decode it by transposing every 8th letter with the 2nd letter of the 2nd row below, and you repeat the operation 17 times you will see a completely different explanation for the LATHE entry, one suggesting a horrific misunderstanding on the part of the editor. You will also note that the sequence revealed above (8:2:2:17 ) strongly suggests the date 8/22/17. An insignificant date? Hardly. It was the date that OLATHE, Kansas last experienced a FLOOD!!!!! In fact Olathe is commonly referred to by native son Curt FLOOD, as ‘Lathe. And Curt Flood is widely rumored to have ridiculed the “Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword Puzzle” blog. So what this amounts to is a meta-themed poke in the eye for all of us.

Barbara S. 6:42 PM  

I've just looked back at the puzzle and I was gobsmacked by how many song lyrics came to mind.

We've already had Roy Orbison and Billy Joel and I have to confess I didn't click on Rex's offerings. But look at this:

...When Mrs. Johnson wore her miniskirt into the room
And as she walked up to the blackboard
I can still recall the words she had to say
She said, "I'd like to address this meeting of the Harper Valley PTA."

You come on like a dream, peaches and cream
Lips like strawberry wine
You're SIXTEEN, you're beautiful and you're mine.

The little SILKworms that made SILK for that gown
Just made that much SILK and then crawled in the ground

SLIDE away and give it all you've got
My today fell in from the top

Let the whinin' boy MOAN
If you don't know how to do it yourself
'Cause he can do it better, better than anyone else.

In my youth I would have followed him
All through this TERRA-COTTA town

SONS of your SONS and SONS passing by
Children we lost in lullaby
SONS of true love or SONS of regret
All of the SONS you cannot forget

Sing it over
See the little baby

Anonymous 6:48 PM  

This whole “disparaging” discussion speaks to the integrity of the puzzle. Should the editorial page extend to the puzzle ? I get Shortz’s dilemma. If he’d clued Trickle Down benignly then Rex Parker and the rest of the woke terrorists would’ve excoriated him. Sadly, Will caved. Probably a smart career move.

Ernonymous 6:51 PM  

@roo yeah Corner Gas is a total riot! I think it's on Amazon. It's funny and light. I started Ozark but all the ominous music and bad guys and such, I'm a but too edgy for that right now. I need something light and brainless.

FrostMo 7:00 PM  

:08 from a PR caused by a typo on ONLl and misspelled VENTe 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️.

I liked the theme a lot. Drops to ocean is a nice touch, imo. And the trickle>stream>river>flood progression was perfect. A river floods when it becomes too full, so I thought flood fit perfect. Anyway, theme thoughts aside, was a nice quick Monday.

Monty Boy 7:36 PM  

I liked this one a lot. Easy, but nice theme and some layer to understanding the theme.

@Nancy 9:47: There's a great book about the Wright brothers, Two Conquer the Air by James Tobin. One very interesting thing is that the brothers would often get in an argument. They would go back and forth and in the end find they had switch sides, so Orville would be defending Wilber and vice versa. That way they each understood the issue and the better way to decide on a direction to go. Seems that would be a good model for political discussions, kinda like what your dad taught you.

Anonymous 8:19 PM  

woke terrorists

??? Are you an Orange Sh!tgibbon bot??

Joaquin 8:23 PM  

@egsforbreakfast - You are one sick puppy. And I mean that in a good way!

Joe Dipinto 8:53 PM  

@Barbara S – don't forget 41d:

I've one thing to say and that's
Brad, I'm mad for you too
Oh Brad –Oh, dammit!–
I'm mad –Oh Janet!–
For you!

kitshef 9:46 PM  

@Anon 2:28, KEPT is not crosswordese, although it is a fairly rare use of the word. Much more common in the present tense (I prefer Brand X of milk because it keeps well).

Barbara S. 10:03 PM  

@Joe Dipinto
Absolutely -- a classic!

Z 11:28 PM  

Al Green showed up in my Twitter feed.

So I hurt somebody’s feelings? I wonder whose. I guess we will never know. It is an interesting dynamic, feeling bad about being called a “pest” when it’s pointed out that some anonymous posters have made pests of themselves. My guess is that no introspection will happen. Adopting a nom de blog and joining in really isn’t difficult and somebody here will agree with you. Or not. Up to you, whoever you are.

spacecraft 10:12 AM  

Here's where OFC and I part company: he takes a perfectly fine, coherent theme (and yes, of COURSE the first and last acrosses are part of it!) and dissects it under a microscope. To what purpose? Too bad DILL couldn't be "rill," it would've been even better. There's a certain charm to a theme without a revealer.

While the fill is not "wow!" it's not "ICK" either. Couple of nice long downs, and DOD ZOOEY--complete with SASH. I kind of liked it. Birdie.

Burma Shave 11:53 AM  




Diana, LIW 5:14 PM  

So anyway, I love Mondays. Hard schmard - easy peezy. Who cares? Was it fun? Yes. It was a puzzle. I had Lambo on my lap for part of it. What could be better? One or two places where I even changed an answer.

Thanks, Monday!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rondo 5:26 PM  

OFL is off on one count (surprise!?!?), which is one of his major beefs with this puz. RIVERDANCE was so named because of the figurative ‘RIVER’ of Irish culture, created by the many ‘tributaries’ of traditions that collectively form the Irish identity. So it’s just as valid as the figurative FLOOD of LIGHT or the TRICKLE of economic benefits (which has never worked, BTW, thanks for nothin’ Mr. Reagan). ZOOEY Deschanel, yeah baby. Darn good for Monday, IMHO.

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