Funny Girl role for which Barbra Streisand won Oscar / MON 5-11-20 / Many craft brews for short / TV journalist Curry / Complete double play in baseball slang

Monday, May 11, 2020

Constructor: Ross Trudeau

Relative difficulty: Medium (maybe a *little* tougher than usual ... I felt like I was *flying* but I came in at an average time) (3:10)

THEME: BOTTOM ROW (38A: Last line of a spreadsheet (as suggested by the circled squares?) — tons of circles ... indicating the rows that contain words for "bottom":

Theme answers:
Word of the Day: Rita MORENO (34D: Rita of "West Side Story") —
Rita Moreno (born December 11, 1931) is a Puerto Rican actress, dancer and singer. Her career has spanned over 70 years; among her notable acting work are supporting roles in the musical films Singin' in the Rain (1952), The King and I (1956) and West Side Story(1961), as well as a 1971 to 1977 stint on the children's television series The Electric Company, and a supporting role as Sister Peter Marie Reimondo on the 1997 to 2003 HBOseries Oz. Her other notable films include Popi (1969), Carnal Knowledge (1971), The Four Seasons (1981), I Like It Like That (1994) and the cult film Slums of Beverly Hills (1998). And she voiced the title role of Carmen Sandiego in Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? from 1994 to 1999.
Moreno is one of the few artists to have won all four major annual American entertainment awards: an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony. She is also one of 23 people who have achieved what is called the Triple Crown of Acting, with individual competitive AcademyEmmy and Tony awards for acting; she and Helen Hayes are the only two who have achieved both distinctions. She has won numerous other awards, including various lifetime achievement awards and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor. (wikipedia)

• • •

I found this slightly creepy. I understand that they are "just" words for "ass" and no sexually objectifying context is specifically implied, and maybe if the NYTXW wasn't *such* a man's world, a puzzle that stares at butts for row upon row would seem like a neutral, these-could-be-anyone's-butts type of dealie, and then, if you actually enjoyed cutesy terms for buttocks, then great, here's your puzzle. The revealer is definitely clever, in its way. But from a male constructor, and from an allll-dude editing team that has so thoroughly made the NYTXW in this century a kind of boys' club, this puzzle brings an implied male gaze with it, and I found it off-putting. I wasn't alone—two of my best female friends wrote me independently to wince at the puzzle. One of them sent me a screenshot of her grid to show me where she'd decided just to stop cold, right in the middle of the solve. And on a Monday. That's a visceral negative reaction. Now if you found the theme adorable or otherwise positive, that's great. The point isn't that the concept is *inherently* leering or sexist. Butts are universal! And I'm quite sure there was no misogynist intent here. This probably just seemed like a fun idea. But if you're trying to lawyer your way into "well perhaps they are man's butts and the gaze is female or gay" then uh I guess In Theory I can't gainsay that, but in the context of the puzzle we do every day, you know the one ... where constructors are mostly men, where women have been notoriously poorly represented both in the ranks of constructors and in the general world view of grid content ... it's absolute gaslighting to tell someone who recoils from this, "oh, you're just seeing things." I like (big?) butts just fine, but context matters, and until you do a much better job with gender parity, a puzzle like this is likely to land wrong with some subsection of solvers, however small. OK THEN ...

The grid felt more wide-open and thus slightly harder than your average Monday, but also I seemed to just rip through it. Anyway, the time came out average. This theme does nothing for me (didn't *really* notice it until I was done), but this is an interesting grid, content-wise. UNIDEAL is a non-word and the Latin is a little thick, but TANDOORI (39D: ___ chicken (Indian dish)) and TURN TWO (9D: Complete a double play, in baseball slang) are pretty sparkly (if you like Indian food and are a baseball fan, or maybe even if you aren't). SORE ARM has a whiff of green paint* about it, but as a baseball fan, I'm gonna allow it. I lost time trying to understand the clue on ASIA (53A: The East, to the West) (I had an NBA All-Star Game in my head....). And then I had TASTY before ZESTY (25D: Flavorful) and HAND INK before HAND DYE (48D: Color manually), the latter being entirely attributable to the fact that I'm in the middle of wrapping up my Comics course for the semester. I would say that little "X" / "Z" section is textbook Scrabble-f***ing, in that high-value Scrabble tiles are inserted for their own sake, and not because the fill is improved thereby (i.e. SEZ and XES are ... UNIDEAL). But today, this is a very minor consideration. Liked the grid OK, but themewise, I PASs.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

*"green paint" = an answer that is a phrase someone might theoretically say but that doesn't seem solid enough to stand on its own—the adjective/noun pairing is paradigmatic

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 6:07 AM  

A$$ jokes. Gee. How highbrow can you get?
Hold my beer while I regress to kindergarten, grab my Luckys, and go out behind the tool shed with John-boy so we can snicker about heinies.
I have the maturity of a 3-year-old (so I am told) and even I find this "humor" juvenile.

Okay, so maybe it's not the worst idea, but it's certainly UNIDEAL.
I'm just gonna pretend it's pronounced with a long "u" and short "i" and that it's an "All Things Must Go" bankruptcy sale at the UNIcycles & UNItards store for circus performers.

Moving on.

Oh, and come on with PSS. Is this some kind of lame attempt at pluralizing PS? As in PSeS? Because if it stands for the second PostScript, it should be PPS.
There is no such thing as PSS. Why do I have to say this? Why should anyone have to say this??

It's just wrong. Bad and wrong.

The puzzle as a whole (oh, look! I said "hole" - giggle giggle snort snort) was typical Monday difficulty and would be a nice introduction to crosswords for ages zygote to preschool.

Joaquin 6:14 AM  

I sure miss my mom, particularly on Mother’s Day; I would like to have “keister”.

And I’m sure I am not the only “bum” who had _SS at 41A and wondered for a moment why it wasn’t shaded.

Hungry Mother 6:29 AM  

Not constructed by a Brit, I guess. Very quick.

GILL I. 6:42 AM  

Well...I guess Ross just about covered all the asses. Would it have been too much to include Kim Kardashian? Hey look....BEEF crosses BUNS.
I'll show my ignorance by not knowing that you called someone's (ahem) FANNY a CABOOSE. By the way, when you go to the UK don't tell someone that your FANNY is sore from sitting on the tube.

I guess I missed out on a dud of a puzzle yesterday? Sundays can be like that. My family and I usually go out for brunch on Mother's Day. Well, the stay home and pretend you are having Eggs Benedict served by some handsome waiter paid off in a strange way. I had some Cava Brut that I put on ice. Eggs now seem to be on the endangered list along with meat and chicken.... but I had cheese. I'll make grilled cheese sandwiches! I had some olive bread that I had made last week, a tomato, a little bit of avocado and cheddar. My avatar is the final result. It's not really an authentic grilled cheese sandwich - it looks more like a "GILL just made this thing up" sandwich, but it was good - so was the Cava.

Do you suppose Barbra enjoyed being called FANNY?

Lewis 6:45 AM  

I see we're backing into this new week here in Crosslandia. The best part of the theme for me was the wordplay in the reveal. Oh, and I think MIRANDA would have been more fitting on the right.

Diver 6:50 AM  

UNIDEAL theme if you're not a junior high school sophomore.

David 6:56 AM  

Very weird puzzle.

Anonymous 7:03 AM  

Adding to the leering and sexist tone is that so many of the theme answers have that “naughty,” “Newly Wed Game” musty smell—buns and
fanny and caboose. All that’s missing is derrière

OffTheGrid 7:09 AM  

I like silly so I liked this. Ten times over I liked this. There is often a single "BOTTOM" clue in the NYT puzzles. I don't see why 10 such clues should be considered inappropriate. It didn't feel at all sexual or related to gender. It was just fun.

Anonymous 7:15 AM  

“Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”

— Jim C. in Maine

kitshef 7:15 AM  

Just like last week, woefully misplaced for a Monday. Even with vast amounts of real estate given away by the theme, harder than 95% of Mondays and most Wednesdays.

Are there more than five people who knew ERIK?

What @Frantic Sloth said about PSS.

Debra 7:22 AM  

Cute and harmless. Harder than usual for a Monday, which is fine with me.

pabloinnh 7:27 AM  

Well, RT sure found a lot of synonyms. Good for him.

SOREAREM is not green paint, it's more like headache as a common term.

What Jim C. said. Sometimes we find what we're looking for.

OK for a Monday, but quickly fell into the fill-in-the-blanks category. On to the SB, missed two easy ones yesterday, but hope springs eternal.

mmorgan 8:05 AM  

Hate circles, and seeing so many was just ugly. Gender issues aside (to the extent such is possible), filling a puzzle with butt-terms just made me wince. The rest of the puzzle was fine though. My wife has gone by the name Fanny for over 40 years, which always raises eyebrows when we travel in certain parts of the world. Ahh, remember travel?

Joaquin 8:06 AM  

Rex says, " ... a puzzle like this is likely to land wrong with some subsection of solvers, however small."

While I do agree that the theme was a bit odd, and arguably even offensive to some (not me, but some), I am hard-pressed to see any sexism in it. I was under the impression that there was a fairly even distribution of rears to all the genders, and interest in them was also equally distributed.

QuasiMojo 8:19 AM  

The ASS Man Cometh.

This was intended as a cheeky, sophomoric exercise and it succeeded. Was it needed? Probably not but I don't get the sexist angle. We all have bottoms, and we all joked about them growing up, and continue to as adults.

SORE ARM is definitely a thing. I have one right now from using this app everyday. I feel like Green Paint is being misused from overuse. To me Red Blanket is Green Paint. A Wet Blanket wouldn't be. A Yellow Bag would be; a Brown Bag wouldn't be. A Blue Arrow would be; but Green Arrow wouldn't be. Etc.

To my SB buddies, I'm still going strong. But I noticed a recurring problem. I tried to enter a certain word the other day and was told it wasn't a word. But then the next day it showed up on the solution list. Same thing a few days before. I dare not look today. Yesterday's was a doozy. Altho I did get the 9 letter word.

thfenn 8:22 AM  

Not a lot of fun with this one, and pretty much agree with Rex. Impressed, actually, at how even keeled he tried to be, given he already had a legit point.

@Gill, your post reminded me of a night I was at a diner with my young, at the time, son. He wanted a grilled cheese. Unbelievably enough, for a diner, the waitress said 'we don't make those'. He asked if they could make a cheeseburger on toast. She said 'sure'. And he went with "I'll have one of those, just hold the burger". I remember thinking that he was going to grow up just fine. And he did, now that I think about it.

puzzlehoarder 8:29 AM  

It's a BUTT puzzle and slightly under Monday time at that.

As always at least now I have a piece of paper to write my SB word list on. I did find those two remaining 4 letter words yesterday. One was an odd pluralization and the other a variant spelling.

Now to start todays' SB and scrub away the lingering odor of this puzzle.

Frantic Sloth 8:31 AM  

@GILL I. 642am Your "GILLed cheese sammiches are making me salivate. They look so yummy!

Anonymous 8:36 AM  

Towards the BOTTOM of the grid my mind went on a tangent picturing _someone_ thinking of himself as T REX while actually being a T RUMP...

DSM 8:38 AM  

I'm surprised no one commented on what I perceive as a glaring shortcoming of the puzzle - the appearance of RUMP as relating to the cut of meat. All of the other theme answers use a meaning of the word that doesn't literally refer to the piece of anatomy in question, but RUMP roast comes from the actual butt of the cow. Breaking that pattern seems in poor form, correct?

Anonymous 8:40 AM  

Obviously can't speak for everyone, but when I was doing the puzzle the butts were male and the gaze was male and gay, and I appreciated it as an exercise in the glorious array of words we have for that part of the anatomy. Didn't occur to me for a moment that it might be a pervy straight thing.

Hard pressed to understand where difficulty came in: I flew through this one even by Monday standards (2:27). I really wish it were possible to put together the puzzle so the revealer were BOTTOM LINE, which is a much more in-the-language phrase, but I can't even begin to figure how you'd do that.

Not sure I'm familiar with the meaning applied to "GINNING up"—I thought (and Google appears to agree) it meant concocting, not enlivening.

I loathe "SEZ"—it's a tool lazy writers use to imply a dialect without even pronouncing the applicable word differently. Some nice cute Monday clue for SET/TESTY would have been better.

webwinger 8:44 AM  

Just what DR. MOM ordered for the kids on the day after her day! Only disappointment was faves left out: derrière, posterior, ass (which seems to be in every other puzzle). Perfect revealer. Monday easy but not insultingly so.

Remember in grade school having earnest discussion with friends about whether BUTT was more of a bad word than FANNY. Always nice to spot a CABOOSE, with their having vanished from the real world. OLA, OLE, OK? Liked SEX crossing SEZ. UNIDEAL was UNIDEAL—maybe on purpose?!

Just peeked at @Rex. My stars! I found nothing sexual in this—prepubescent all the way to my mind.

'enry 'iggins 8:47 AM  

This puzzle reminded me of a joke I heard in England.
A man storms into a doctor's office angry because his wife told him the doctor had said she had a nice fanny. "No", the doctor explained, "I told her she had acute angina."

Anonymous 8:55 AM  

Didn’t anyone else think this was “cute”?
And what’s this “SB” abbreviation?

gregg 8:57 AM  

What is a jr. high soph? A sophomore in my book is 10th grade. Jr hi is usually 6- 8 or 7-9. Seems like a non sequitur to me.

TJS 9:01 AM  

Dear Doctor of English, you can't use your cute little asterisk quotes as a substitute for quotation marks if you also want to use one as a true asterisk
referencing a footnote and as a cutesy way of working your favorite objectionable word into your comment.If you can raise the art of nitpicking criticism to new heights, which you have done today, than so can I.

And where is the outrage over "old coot" from yesterday, you sexist, ageist p*g ?

Decent Monday, IMO.

gregg 9:04 AM  

You are the second person today to use acronym SB. I've been reading Rex for 3 years and can't suss out SB. Please enlighten. Thanks.

Rita 9:04 AM  

Throughout my early decades I would try to explain our culture’s sexism to people who told me I was too strident and I had a chip on my shoulder. Apparently I can relax now and leave the struggle to others. This puzzle just made me smile.

Anonymous 9:09 AM  

well... the bottom is actually, geographically (or topographically), known as taint. which, of course, could be clued in a mis-directed way such that the kiddies in the crowd wouldn't know what they were doing. "Mommy, what's that mean?" "Hush Jimmy. Eat your 'Cocoa Spheres'!"

three of clubs 9:11 AM  

I was cured, all right. I woke up. The pain and sickness all over me like an animal. Then I realized what it was. The music coming up from the floor was our old friend, Ludwig Van...

Brit Solves NYT 9:12 AM  

Strange puzzle! Puerile and not-particularly-interesting theme, not sexist for me just... a bit odd. And surely it should be PPS not PSS - never seen that before, I would say it's an error but presumably these puzzles are proofread so perhaps it's some weird alternative somewhere.

Bruce R 9:14 AM  

I see a missed opportunity here. Kramer's license plate. The answer is obviously ASSMAN. Good clue for a Monday.

Teedmn 9:16 AM  

I wrote a letter this weekend and added a PPS after my PS, but my first inclination was to add PSS because I see it in crosswords all the time. Why does it make sense to be saying "Post Script Script"? I left the middle letter open for a few moments, anticipating it might go either way and wasn't wrong. It's just weird.

I had to smile at the plethora of slang words for dupa in the English language (I grew up in a town with a large ethnic group of Poles, and at my house, we were threatened with being spanked on our dupa), but beyond that, I didn't have any emotional reaction to the theme. Everybody has one.

Nice Monday puzzle, Ross Trudeau.

MR. Cheese 9:17 AM  

I just never noticed the shaded areas. (no circles in my XWord tool) Finished in record time.
It wasn’t until I came here that I found out the “butt” of the joke/theme.... What’s wrong with me? (Sigh)

James Rapson MS 9:19 AM  

I'm surprised there isn't more objection to the incorrect use of "PSS" (which would translate to "post-script script"?) instead of "PPS" ("post-post-script"). That this is a common mistake shouldn't excuse its inclusion in a NYTXW, IMO.

Nancy 9:28 AM  

I CAN get BEHIND this sASSy and somewhat impoliTUSH puzzle. I wouldn't want to see aNETHER one too soon from the good gray lady, but on a dreary Monday, in the middle of a truly depressing pandemic, when I was feeling rather BUMmed out, this made me smile.

Unknown 9:29 AM  

For"moon"day "tookus" a while to finish. The end.

QuasiMojo 9:32 AM  

You talkin' to me?

SB is Spelling Bee, another puzzle on the NYT games page. I don't know why they call it that. It has nothing in common with a Spelling Bee.

RooMonster 9:33 AM  

Hey All !
@Frantic Sloth 6:07
What an awesome post!

@webwinger 8:44
Har! An ASS puz without the ASS we see every other puz, who'da thought?

SB stands for Spelling Bee, it's an (addictive) word scramble puz thingie on the Home Puzzle page of the NYT, if you have the subscription. We type SB, because spelling it out each time would be a pain in the (puz theme).

Glad to see I'm still not as uptight as Rex about REARS. I thought this a quirky puz, get your mind out of the whole (Hi @Frantic!) virus baloney (although it might get your mind in the gutter!) Just a fun distraction about your Gluteus Maximus (some more Maximus than others), something we all have, and judging by the recent Toilet Paper hoarding, that needs attention now and then. How does Rex have children if he can't stand to talk about or look at his "equipment"? Never mind talking about (*whispers*) SEX. Egads!

English always seems to have multiple words for one thing. Odd. *Offense Alert* - Anyone remember those George Carlin posters about the words for SEX? Lots of terms. Non-PC now.

Anyway, nice distraction, some of the Downs went through three themers (including the center Revealer), so a good feat of constructing that was light on dreck. Apparently, if you don't want Rex to rip apart your puz about fill, do a *controversial* puz, and he just elide over everything!

Three F's

Lewis 9:34 AM  

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

1. Film about food? (10)
2. 75% of 1,000? (5)
3. They can go from floor to ceiling (5)
4. Martyr complex (6)
5. One whose job prospects go up in smoke? (4)


Anonymous 9:34 AM  

c'mon folks. it's PS's. or PSs. or PSes. lame yes. but does apply one of the accepted pluralization rules. yes, sequential PS have individual names, but, other than the answer offered, how else would any caviler express the group? I have a Persian and a Blue Russian. together they're CATS, not PersianBlueRussian.

Z 9:36 AM  

SB = Spelling Bee - a different NYT puzzle available online and through the app (maybe... I’m not sure on this last part).

PSS is Post ScriptS, there is a plural signifier in the clue. Still GawdAwful, just slightly less GawdAwful than if it were Post Script Script.

Personally, I think Trudeau gets a pass. I think it’s just a Big Butts puzzle, but I completely understand people who don’t want to give Shortz and Company any benefit of the doubt.

Lewis 9:43 AM  

Correction on favorite clues: #2 should be ZEROES (6).

Anonymous 9:46 AM  

@TJS Not to nitpick, but I think you’re mistaken about Rex’s use of asterisks. He’s using, I believe, to signify intensifying italics, which apparently aren’t available in whatever program he’s composing his puzzle review in.

Azzurro 9:47 AM  

An ASSMAN reference would have been prophetic. Rest In Peace, Jerry Stiller.

pmdm 9:50 AM  

When even Lewis does not lavish praise on the puzzle, you have to wonder about it. I am not a prude, and I did not care about the puzzles theme, but I do seem to find many of Ross's entries more hip or "lewd" than I prefer. [Racy is a better word.] But over all, a thumb's up. But not way up.

Today's puzzle was more difficult than usual for a Monday but, in the end, not that bad for a new solver. Maybe more of a Tuesday difficulty level.

I am amused by my reaction to the write up. Started to read what I anticipated to be the standard reaction, learned I was fairly correct, saw how long the paragraph was, and said to myself "I don't have time for this." [I do a lot of music composition on the computer, and over the years over a dozen copies of the same files have wound up on my hard drive, some with small but not all important variations. It's taking a lot of time pruning the identical files from the drive.] So I skipped right to these comments. Certainly not Mike's intention. So why do I take time to compose these comments? Probably no good reason.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 9:59 AM  

I was listening to the NPR funny news quiz show (Wait Wait Don't Tell?) yesterday, and a question came up about what happened when Sandra Bullock suddenly turned out to need a butt double in a movie directed by George Clooney. It turned out that instead of calling casting to bring in a professional female butt double George just dropped his trou and did it himself. So I guess good butts are interchangeable, gender-wise.

Pamela 10:01 AM  

School boy humor. Grade school, no less. Doesn’t seem so appropriate for adults of any gender. Strange choice for the NYT. I suppose, given the maturity level of the who currently has the job of running the country it’s not so far-fetched, but I’m still surprised to see it here.

TJS 10:01 AM  

@9:46, I know. @Z straightened me out about this before but it still annoys the hell out of me, and Rex just got to me today. I usually just laugh at him.

xyz 10:09 AM  

Very annoying puzzle to complete on nytimes . com/

Not interesting

Anonymous 10:14 AM  


I too am addicted to 'Wait, wait...', and don't believe anyone would mistake a male butt for a female butt, even hairless, as was explained. The shape of my butt and Sandra Bullock's (or any adult female) are no where near alike. Didn't see the movie, so I don't know whether it was tight or wide-angle, butt I can't imagine any way to show one looking at all like the other. For the record, I'd rather look at Sandra's.

Suzie Q 10:23 AM  

Last week we had kiddie riddles and today some tush humor. Just as I did with the riddles, I decided to let my inner child have some fun.
Whether we admit it or not butts are funny no matter who they are attached to.
Thanks Ross T.

Kathy 10:23 AM  

Easy Monday in my book. Rex’s strident objections seem way out of proportion to the admittedly juvenile slant of the puzzle. I am much more outraged at PSS than at the rows of butts. Middle of the road in other ways—UNIDEAL is just not a word.

@Frantic, you’ve done it again! Do you have a stand-up act? Your reaction made me glad that UNIDEAL made an appearance.

Spelling Bee: I caved to all the hype and started doing SB about a week ago. I now see how it can become addictive. Today I reached Genius for the first time! (I’m usually just shooting for Amazing.). I don’t know what the spoiler protocol is for prior day puzzle discussions but I am outraged that a perfectly normal word was not on yesterday’s word list.

There is a dice game called Perquacky that is similar to SB. It brings back memories of when I was a new mom living in an apartment and every afternoon, my neighbor would come over and we would play Perquacky or Jotto (a very cool pencil and paper word/logic game) while our babies napped. We were kindred spirits who preferred our word games over talking about Tupperware or potty training.

teevoz 10:31 AM  

He wasn't going for post post script, he was going for plural of PS.

Lorelei Lee 10:32 AM  

Sigh, the puzzle is sexist only if you read words about buns and think it's all about women. Ross Trudeau is an awesome guy. Over the last couple of years he has sought out "women/POC’s who are interested in learning to make puzzles" and mentored them.

Check out his Rossword Puzzles Site

Here he is on his so-called "X-wife" Amanda Rafkin:

"Back in April of last year, Amanda was one of the first people to reach out when I started advertising a desire to mentor folks in puzzle construction. She messaged me on Instagram, and within a matter of weeks–no joke–I was on the other side of the country churning out puzzles with her in her living room in Hollywood, CA.

Much of our puzzling time together is spent with me trying to talk Amanda down from puzzle ideas that highly conventional moi finds too saucy or outlandish. But to her credit, she sees her ideas through, and has put her weird and wonderful stamp on such outlets as the Wall Street Journal, the Universal puzzle, the Inkubator and the New York Times. As of this writing, she and I have sold 5 puzzles to the Times together ..."

teevoz 10:34 AM  

PLURAL not additional. Like I write a lot of letters and often included PSs. A tad awkward maybe, but I'm quite sure Ross knows about Post Post Script.

TheCapo 10:39 AM  

A lot of people's ages are showing on this was a harmless, fun little Monday puzzle written by an ally to minority voices. From the bottom of each of his puzzle writeups:

If you're looking to get into crossword constructing, and especially if you identify as non-male, LGBTQ+, or as a person of color, I'd be thrilled to offer whatever assistance I can to help you get your puzzles published. Contact me via Instagram (@rosstrudeau) or Twitter (@trudeauross).

Nancy 10:44 AM  

Boy, that sandwich does look good, @GILL! But I do have one question:

On Mother's Day, shouldn't the family be cooking for MOM rather than MOM cooking for the family?

OTOH, the sandwich wouldn't be as good.

On the PSS question -- the puzzle's wrong. Flat-out wrong. It's PPS. It's never been anything butt.

jberg 11:01 AM  

The thing about the grid is that the NE and SW are almost completely isolated. I try to work entirely from crosses, so I got to the NE having SHOES and BOTTOM ROW, and had to get either 8d or 22d from their concluding letter groups. Fortunately, when I took a chance on BLEARIER, it was confirmed by BLAB.

I didn't think much of the theme, and shading all the squares made it too obvious; but there were some other nice touches, like having an initial Z word crossing an initial X word at the second letter, or the near crossing of SHES/SHOOT. Not to mention getting DRAFTED because IT'S WAR.

As for ABC/CBS, I think it's a fault, but I can see an argument that it's a feature.

@Gill, my son's family has been raising chickens for the eggs for several years; I've heard many more people have started to do that due to the shortages.

Robert A. Simon 11:02 AM  

Great post

Robert A. Simon 11:06 AM  

This puzzle is not an original. It is a reprint of the puzzle that got the puzzle editor at “My Weekly Reader” fired.

Carola 11:15 AM  

Thought balloon: "Not 'loot' but BOOTY? Hmmmm. TAIL?" It was, and I thought it was fun. In the paper, the theme answers are grayed out, rather than having circles, perhaps making them look more like ROWs. I liked UNIDEAL as a comment on itself as an entry.

Z 11:19 AM  

@Robert A. Simon 11:06 - I looked it up, Weekly Reader published its last issue in 2012, which is at least 20 years later than I would have guessed. I guffawed while also wondering how many people wouldn’t get the reference.

@TheCapo - Agreed.

John R 11:25 AM  

Today's theme was a little silly, I thought. But that is not necessarily bad. The circles seemed like overkill. The revealer indicated that the theme answers would be in a row, so the circles just reinforced that.

Sore ARM came to mind immediately based on the pitcher in the clue, so I didn't sniff any green paint there.

PSS almost did me in though. I had filled in the puzzle on my iPad using mostly the across clues and had entered PPS. When I finished and got the error message that something was awry, I had to search for my mistake. That's when I noticed I had a PKI Club meeting on the slopes.

egsforbreakfast 11:27 AM  

Boy I love a puzzle that CAN CRACK me up. Well, I’m off to milk the cows, out in the DAIRY AIR.

What is the difference between someone who always comes up just one answer short Of perfect on SB, and the mildly intelligent current sovereign of England?

I’ll answer later if no one wants to guess.

CaryinBoulder 11:27 AM  

I guess the day after Mothers’ Day is Beavis and BOTTOMhead Day. But it being Monday, while I was aware of the theme I was flying too fast to make any real use of it. I even entered Brice before switching to FANNY girl. However it’s possible the inspiration came from this story:
“Queen guitarist Brian May recently took a trip to the hospital after severely injuring his buttocks in a gardening accident. I managed to rip my Gluteus Maximus to shreds in a moment of over-enthusiastic gardening,” the musician shared Thursday on Instagram.” Definitely a pain in the APSE. Hopefully DR.MOM can make it better.

In spite of his semi-predictable rant, Rex more than redeemed himself by including a song from the late soul-blues giant, O.V. Wright (whom I’d just referenced yesterday). They don’t make singers like that anymore.

Anyone else having weird social distancing dreams? My wife and I both did last night, probably from seeing a story about a coffee shop in far-right-wing Colorado Springs that defied our Governor and the health department restrictions against offering dine-in service. While I get that their business is badly hurting, defying a health order and inviting crowds of Mothers’ Day celebrants to enter with NO social distancing and NO masks is so incredibly, short-sightedly stoopid that it staggers the imagination. And the people who thronged there ... well, words fail me. Freedom to kill yourselves? OK by me. Freedom to spread this killer everywhere you go? Sorry, but no. [Full disclosure: I have a very dear and uber-talented musician friend who spent 10 days in the hospital and very nearly died from the virus.]

Lorelei Lee 11:28 AM  

Also, @Rex, these are other words for Buttocks (say it like Forest Gump, after describing his wound from Viet Nam to Lyndon Johnson.

Ass would mean they're slang for slang.

@Nancy, @Quasi, @Joaquin, @Jim C., HAR! Winners all. Laughed out loud.

Ethan Taliesin 11:29 AM  

It would have been better if it were about farts. I'm serious.

CT2Napa 11:32 AM  

Second letter addenda, for short = PPSS

Peter 11:37 AM  

As a gay man who does the crossword first thing every morning with his gay male boyfriend, I can attest that this puzzle didn’t strike us as sexist in the least. We got a good number of giggles snuggling and filling in the butt jokes. Too bad not everyone found it so fun.

jae 11:46 AM  

Tough Monday. Odd and amusing, liked it.

OffTheGrid 11:47 AM  

@Kathy, I'm curious about the word that SB rejected from yesterday. What was it? I don't think it's a spoiler if it's not on the list.

What? 11:53 AM  

Excuse me while I take this puzzle behind my bathroom door and snicker.

Masked and Anonymous 12:06 PM  

har. Mighty difficult to have anything witty to say about a MonPuz about patooties.

… butt let's give it a go …

1. First NYTPuz ever to sport four bottom rows. And none of them were on the bottom. Historic(al).
2. Poor 2nd and 3rd bottom rows … both of em had total T/P shortages.
3. M&A's solvequest sat on rows #2 and 4 for quite a spell, tryin desperately to parse UNI-DEAL correctly. Lost precious nates-o-seconds.
4. Puzgrid should not have been accepted, until PSS & WIDE had been appropriately converted to ASS & WIPE. Don't make m&e come down there, Shortzmeister.
5. M&A got kinda all shy & embarrassed, early on in the rodeo, havin to write in BOOTY. As them Everly Brothers always used to say: Never felt like this, til I keister …
6. First day-um puz I ever saw with a full moon. Like.

staff weeject pick: PSS. This pup got a lotta nice buzz today, in Comment Gallery comments. Of course, they used the P.S.'S version, today. M&A always has trouble tho on a follow-up to his P.S. comment -- can never remember if it's supposed to be a P.P.S. or P.S.S. -- so I hedge my bets and go with P.P.S.S.

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Hot dog holders} = BUNS.

Thanx for the semi-feisty MonPuz fun, Mr. Trudeau. Way to provide seats for ten, with proper distancin!

Masked & Anonymo4Us


Anonymous 12:13 PM  

See Jack Nicholson on toast in Five Easy Pieces

Crimson Devil 12:14 PM  

Puz reminded of classic hand-printed sign buddy saw held high by gussied up lass in rear of crowd awaiting on tarmac return of soldiers : “Pvt Jones, report for booty.”

Asha 12:22 PM  

Hey Rex,
Worth noting that the constructor of this puzzle, Ross Trudeau, has made a pledge not to publish any crosswords alone this year, and instead collaborate with a woman or person of color on every puzzle. This puzzle is no different, and was co-created by Alison Ohringer. I agree the crossword puzzle world is dominated by women, but Ross is actually one of the few taking action to fix this problem. He also has a standing offer to mentor any women or people of color who want to learn how to construct puzzles.

Kathy 12:27 PM  

@off the grid. PAYOR

Amy 12:30 PM  

hated it, and cringed the entire time. juvenile and annoying. like sitting through a meeting where the men are making jokes that aren't *inherently* sexist but are meant to make people feel slightly uncomfortable. no thank you. try harder.

Doc John 12:31 PM  

What a prime opportunity to play this clip.

Anonymous 12:33 PM  

Rex's explanation for what's wrong with this puzzle is spot on and I appreciate this explanation better than a knee-jerk "asses are sexist" write-off.

It's not just that the puzzle is juvenile. It is, and I could live with that on a Monday. But it's written by one of the top defenders of the current NYT regime and to publish this in an environment where the gender skew among the NYT crossword creators and editors is under the spotlight seems a little like throwing shade at any critics.

To put it more simply, it's UNIDEAL.

GILL I. 12:36 PM  

@Nancy....I know (sigh) that's why we would always go out for brunch so mom (me) wouldn't have to cook.
In my husband's heyday, he made a bootylicious English breakfast - even Camilla Parker Bowles would've panted for more.
@thfenn 8:22.....Smart son. Except a cheese sandwich probably cost less than a cheeseburger... :-)

Jay M 12:40 PM  

I came here to read Rex's expected evisceration of the terrible fill in this puzzle (UNIDEAL? PSS?), but definitely didn't expect the oversensitive, holier-than-thou, pearl-clutching. Butts?! Bring out the fainting couches!

For what it's worth, Ross Trudeau offers to mentor constructors in every one of his notes, "especially if you identify as non-male, LGBTQ+, or as a person of color," so any insinuation of misogyny seems pretty ridiculous.

mathgent 12:46 PM  

It seems that female entertainers now emphasize their booties instead of their breasts. Not too long ago, Jennifer Lopez would scold photographers for shooting her from behind. Now, in her Vegas act, she has a segment where she turns her back to the audience and shakes her lovely rear end for about a minute without singing.

The puzzle? A dud.

LenFuego 12:56 PM  

I like big BUTT puzzles and I cannot lie, you other solvers can't deny.

I did, however, strongly dislike the clue for REDID, "Decorated anew." REDID is not specific to decorating, so that was misdirection and really weak. (Is there a paradigmatic word for this type of misleading clue in the crossword puzzle world (a la Natick)?)

Because of that, I got stuck on REDIE (thinking it was an alternative spelling for re-dye), which created a cross of HANDEYE (as in hand-eye coordination), which seemed like a far better crossword entry than HANDDYE (which has a GREENPAINT vibe). I would hate to admit how many times it took me to go through the grid to correct this after finishing and getting the dreaded "you got at least one square wrong, idiot" message, though in fairness, I did this one while exhausted in the wee hours of the morning.

pbc 1:01 PM  

i seem to be the only one who thought the revealer was green paint. maybe i'm showing my background as a finance reporter, but the only legit phrase, to me, is bottom line. i've never seen anyone refer to a BOTTOM ROW on a spreadsheet.

Joe Bleaux 1:16 PM  

@Rex, “ ... I can't gainsay that, but in the context of the puzzle ...” You “gainsay” instead of “reBUT“?

@QuasiMojo, re SB: You’re right, it has nothing to do with a spelling bee, a la quilting bee. Instead, it is — I’m guessing — a “spelling bee” in the same way it would be a “dancing bear.” I first encountered it in the print version of the Sunday mag, where it debuted as “The Beehive,” with 6 letters surrounding a seventh in what looks like a cross section of honeycomb.

Lewis 1:28 PM  

It was yet wasn't a bummer.

Frantic Sloth 1:34 PM  

Isn't there anyone who will defend Mr. Trudeau's reputation as a champion for the downtrodden minority constructors? Anyone??

Whatsername 1:52 PM  

Sometimes when I have a less than favorable reaction to a Crossword, I read the review and blog before I comment to see if I am overreacting. Today it’s a tossup. I found the choice of theme off-putting, not so much sexist as simply questionable. Why would you do this?
Yes every body has one and and okay, maybe it was intended to be good clean fun. But you start right off with BOOTY and TAIL, both of which have commonly used vulgar connotations, then throw in SEX and maybe it’s not so clean after all (wink, wink). As Rex pointed out, context matters and I’m not just seeing things, it’s there. @Frantic Sloth at 6:07 and @Amy at 12:30 said it best and I agree with both of them. Now I’m going pick this up by the very corner of the paper to put it in the trash – or maybe the toilet would be a more appropriate place – and then wash my hands when I’m done.

@GILL: Your sandwich looks and sounds delicious. Last summer in Myrtle Beach I had a sandwich at a place called the Grumpy Monk. It was a grilled cheese on a sourdough type bread with fried green tomatoes in the middle of it. A little messy but very tasty.

GILL I. 2:35 PM  

Ok Whatsername....Your Grumpy Monk restaurant made me laugh...Should I repeat this?
For some of you who need a laugh but only if you enjoy Dad jokes or groany puns:

I visited a monastery and as I walked past the kitchen I saw a man frying chips.
I asked him "Are you the friar?"
He replied "No, I'm the chip monk."

DailyCrosswordSolve 2:50 PM  

For any beginners out there, I'm doing daily NYT Crossword video tutorials on YouTube

Advanced solvers will enjoy it too!

egsforbreakfast 3:39 PM  

Answer to my riddle at 11:27. One is always a Genius but never a Queen. The other is always a Queen, but never a Genius.

Having drawn zero interest in the riddle, I will take that as a vote for zero more of them going forward.

Pdxrains 3:54 PM  

How do you make a puzzle with words for ASS and skip the biggest of them all, TRUMP???

Z 3:57 PM  

Shakespeare has a character named Nick BOTTOM who gets turned into an Ass and the puzzle is sophomoric? Seems like it is aspiring to Shakespearean heights to me... or is that Shakespearean lows?

will hunt 3:59 PM  


Brief self-introduction: my mom and I do the NYT crossword together all the time and have been reading this blog for years. We did the Sunday puzzle together for Mother's Day and were talking about how we should both start commenting on the posts more! So here I am, doing that!

I thought this was a pretty fun Monday. The theme made me laugh, I was like "is it that easy?" and it was. As a queer millennial/Gen Z cusp, I feel butts are universal and zeitgeisty, so didn't read the butt-obsession as necessarily sexist, but I understand that in the context of NYT and its history, it could feel that way. I got all 10 theme answers immediately before even touching the rest of the grid.

Overall puzzle I'd say was easy-medium for a Monday. A bit of crosswordese here and there (APSE, ABS, PSS) but overall I had fun with this fill. DR MOM made me chuckle. ABC and CBS next to each other was cute. REDID took me way too long. MORENO/MIRANDA crossing each other makes my gay heart smile.

The only major eye roll moment for me was SEZ as in...says who? I appreciate the effort to include Zs and Xs but that was UNIDEAL. ITS WAR didn't ring to me as a phrase either.

Looking forward to jumping into this "commentariat" :)

JC66 4:14 PM  

@will hunt

Welcome! Don't be a stranger.

kitshef 4:51 PM  

@ Gill I - thanks for the hilarity!
@will hunt - welcome, and yeah, it's not really a standalone phrase, is it?

Anoa Bob 5:31 PM  

The puzzle may have struck some as UNIDEAl, but it's certainly not half-assed.

Whatsername 5:52 PM  

@GILL (2:35) LOL. I love a good corny joke.

@will hunt: Glad you jumped in. It’s a good group. I usually get as much enjoyment and learn as much from the comments as I do from the Crossword.

sanfranman59 6:16 PM  

OT ... I've been working my way through the archived puzzles, but I no longer see the link to the archives at the top of the NYT puzzle page. All I see is links for the last seven days of puzzles. Does anyone know how to get to the archives now? Are they still available?

JC66 6:24 PM  


At the top, left hand corner of the page there are three short lines. If you click on that, you'll see Archives as one of the options.

Anonymous 6:34 PM  

I really don't see why a theme about buttocks is sexist in any way. I'm male, and I have a butt. I'm not the least bit offended.

Dogberry 6:58 PM  

Dost thou not suspect my place? dost thou not
suspect my years? O that he were here to write me
down an ass! But, masters, remember that I am an
ass; though it be not written down, yet forget not
that I am an ass. No, thou villain, thou art full of
piety, as shall be proved upon thee by good witness.
I am a wise fellow, and, which is more, an officer,
and, which is more, a householder, and, which is
more, as pretty a piece of flesh as any is in
Messina, and one that knows the law, go to; and a
rich fellow enough, go to; and a fellow that hath
had losses, and one that hath two gowns and every
thing handsome about him. Bring him away. O that
I had been writ down an ass!

Z 7:32 PM  

@Will Hunt - Welcome. Be as strange as you care to be.

Roberta 7:33 PM  

No thank you

JC66 8:04 PM  



albatross shell 10:58 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ernonymous 11:05 PM  

@anonymous Rex didn't say it was sexist. He also mentions that men have butts. He found it off-putting due to the environment at NYT xwords and the recent hoopla there. He never said this puzzle is sexist. You should read the blog.

Anonymous 11:26 PM  

Rex's story of the woman who had to stop solving a crossword after becoming uneasy from writing too many "butt" synonyms sounds like something straight out of /r/thathappened

albatross shell 11:57 PM  

Either you got one smart kid or he has been watching some good ole Jack Nicholson


Unknown Soldier 2:05 AM  

Matthew 13 [4] And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:

Revelation 13 [5] And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.

King of kings

Billionaires are BRILLIANT !
seeking benefactor


Burma Shave 10:09 AM  




Diana, LIW 11:47 AM  

Even with the half-a**ed answers, this seemed quite a bit - dare I say it - crunchier than the average Monday puz. Usually one (moi) can answer the clues without crosses on a Monday, in my very humble opinion.

My grandmother was named Fannie - I always wondered if she resented that. Or maybe she was a fan. Too late to ask.

Then again, my mother was Aino - I know, I know. And here I am, the...


spacecraft 11:49 AM  

No. ISAIDNO. Garbage fill from top to...yeah, you know. Had to force myself to finish to see if there was any hint of redemption for this mess. OKTHEN, maybe ZESTY. And DOD Carmen MIRANDA. To say the rest was UNIDEAL is an understatement. This too-choppy grid should have earned a rejection slip. Giving this a BUM rap: "other" (worse than double-bogey).

Anonymous 12:11 PM  

I got stuck at the SEZ / XES / SEX / ZESTY cross but at least in part because I had the clues for 30A and 20D reversed (morning brain). Didn't like ETALII (had ETALIA). I had DR for 33A and wasn't sure if it was going to be MOM or DAD and I'm a little disappointed they went with the traditional gender role there. Theme was kind of "really? they're doing this?" but tame enough that it came off like someone farting in public rather than anything truly offensive.

leftcoaster 3:57 PM  

Ten mooners line up in rows to show their stuff. The judge picks three finalists, all three from the top row. BOOTY wins first prize, while TAIL and BUNS are close behind. BUTTRUMP in the CABOOSE brings up the rear and gets the lantern in the end.

It's fun to be a judge.

rondo 5:23 PM  

BOTTOM line? Meh. What's with that SEX/XES cross? Answers like APS are a pain in the APSE. Work on your HANDDYE coordination. My favorite STRAITS are Dire. How many networks can we fit in? Aptly today, Rita MORENO has been all over TV; yeah baby forever. 20 threes, felt like more, lotsa bad ones.

3 ministers and their wives were just coming back from a convention when they got in a wreck and were all killed. All 3 couples stood in line waiting to get into heaven . St Peter opened the books and said to the first man: I can see that you were a good man but had one problem. You lusted after alcohol your whole life you never drank but your lust was so strong you would never marry until you met a girl named Sherry. Sorry, you can't come in. The second minister approached St Peter and he said: you were a good man, but it says here you lusted after money and your lust was so strong that you would not marry until you met a girl named Penny. Sorry, you cannot come in. The third minister turned to his wife and said: come on FANNY, lets leave.

wcutler 7:27 PM  

I was so surprised to read how many people did not find this puzzle fun. I'm an old lady, found it very cute and much more entertaining than the usual Monday. I really expected Rex to comment on the good fill even with all the theme-related entries.

The only thing that bothered me was Asha 12:22 PM's statement that "This puzzle ... was co-created by Alison Ohringer, yet there was no mention of anyone other than Ross Trudeau on the byline.

Anonymous 8:00 PM  

"Ola" is not "hello" in Rio. Ola is Spanish. In Rio, "oi" is used instead of "ola".

Anonymous 8:47 PM  

@Anon8pm: hola is Spanish, ola is Portuguese.

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