Title house owner in 2000 Martin Lawrence comedy / MON 5-25-20 / Sugar-free lemon-lime soda / Suffix with period class / Word after monkey handle / App introduced in 2010 to locate missing Apple product / Ancient land that lent its name to an order of architecture

Monday, May 25, 2020

Constructor: Andrea Carla Michaels and Victor Barocas

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (3:20) (the slight slowness is due primarily to the first themer, which I forgot existed, and to SPRITE ZERO, which I did not know existed until just now)

THEME: CHANGED ONE'S MIND (60A: Decided otherwise ... or a hint to the four sets of circled letters) — letters "MIND" appear in different orders in four themers:

Theme answers:
  • "MIDNIGHT IN PARIS" (17A: 2011 film co-starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams)
  • FIND MY IPHONE (26A: App introduced in 2010 to locate a missing Apple product)
  • ADMIN (37A: Business operations, informally)
  • LEONARD NIMOY (46A: Mr. Spock player)
Word of the Day: Acetic (which was somehow *not* the answer to 48D: Like vinegar (ACIDIC)) —


pertaining to, derived from, or producing vinegar or acetic acid. (dictionary.com) (my emph.)
• • •

Man they are shilling for Apple an awful lot these days. I mean, IMAC SIRI etc are always gonna pop up because of their favorable letter combos, but between yesterday's whole APPLE SWEATSHIRT (!?!?!) fiasco, and today's FIND MY IPHONE, the product placement has gone next-level. But to the puzzle ... the theme is pretty yesteryear, and is rather poorly executed. There's no method to the mind changes; these are just four possible combos (of 24, I think, though my math skills are poor). Why these four? Also, why move the "MIND" changes so herkily-jerkily across the grid. There's the superficial appearance of a neat progression (with "MIND" changes moving left-to-right as you descend the grid), but it's off / irregular. Then there's ADMIN, which is such a horrid disappointment as theme answers go. A five-letter nothing. Then there's the revealer with the always irksome ONE'S in it. Also, that phrase is weirdly in the past tense just so that the answer will come out to a clean fifteen. The whole thing feels hastily conceived and not entirely thought through. Certainly not carefully crafted. The fill, yeesh. I knew things were gonna be rough at ILEDE. Then there's that horrid suffix (-ICAL) and lots and lots of abbrs. and the awkwardness of MISMARK and on and on ANON. Antiquated and clunky. Theme needs some other level to feel special enough. Maybe break the "MIND" changes neatly across two words in two-word answers (the stray non-MIND-involved words in the themers (iPhone, "in Paris") are kind of annoying and sloppy-looking). I dunno. The theme just needs Something. Some level of elegance to elevate it from where it is now.

I think I saw "MIDNIGHT IN PARIS," but the clue did nothing for me so I needed "MIDNIGHT IN P-" to actually get it. Found clue on (again, awful) suffix -ICAL to be toughish, actually. Had to get most of SPRITE ZERO from crosses too, as its existence is news to me (11D: Sugar-free lemon-lime soda). The part that slowed me down the most by far, however, was having ACETIC at 48D: Like vinegar (ACIDIC). ACETIC isn't even a word I like knowing. It's just one of those words I acquired from doing crosswords. It is frequently clued as [Vinegary] or [Like vinegar]. Whereas this is only the second time ever (in the Shortz era) that ACIDIC has had a vinegar-related clue. It's not that the clue is wrong. I'm just trying to explain how easy it is for a constant solver to lose a chunk of time on that particular answer—not a particularly enjoyable kind of added difficulty, but added difficulty (for me) nonetheless.

 Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 12:11 AM  

How ironic that NIT appears in the grid today because I haven't a one. It's a Monday, so it's appropriately easy, but with a clean, straight-forward theme - just the ticket for the newbies cutting their teeth.

I'm still learning about the various constructors (my white whale chief among them!), but I seem to recall that ACME is kind of a queen of the Monday's - is this correct?

It's so nice to experience the work of a real pro...I just wish I had something to complain about because that's when I'm happiest.


Frantic Sloth 12:16 AM  

I just read Rex's review. Did we do the same puzzle? Perhaps if there were more character development...

GHarris 12:22 AM  

Easy though it still took 20 minutes even without the difficulties Rex says he had but I don't mind.

will hunt 1:15 AM  

Hello all!

I took last week off due to a hectic work schedule, but I'm back! I thought this was a pretty tough Monday. Did not hate it as much as Rex, but didn't love it either. Equal parts fun, engaging fill and typical crosswordese drudgery. I thought the theme was perfectly acceptable for a Monday.

I enjoyed IRRELEVANT and SPRITE ZERO (btw Rex, this is one of Coke's best selling products). FIND MY IPHONE and MIDINIGHT IN PARIS are cute specific references. Was just listening to an old India ARIE favorite so that came to mind quickly. A lot of words came out of the ether and my hands filled them in before my brain could even comprehend them, which is always a fun feeling in a crossword. (Though I admit EL CID was a lucky guess, one of my favorite restaurants here in Los Angeles.)

Some eye-roll fill here and there (EDYS, ALA etc.) but I thought some successful references made ESPY and ILE DE more fun than they deserved to be. I refused to write in ZINES until the last second cause I just thought "Mags" cluing ZINES seemed too obvious. But I suppose not. This is NIT-picky but did ALPHA need the analogy puzzle style cluing? "___ to Omega" or something would have been cleaner and still very easy.

Some Monday brainfarts: LEONARD NIMOY (did not have the theme yet), CASTE, A TO Z (again, ZINES threw me) and ENE. I stupidly wrote in "MSM" like, men-seeking-men are the opposite of women-seeking-women. How could I forget about directionals! They're a crosswordese staple.

New word for me today was NOSEGAY, which is now how I'm going to refer to my friend Sam who has a thing for men with big noses.

CDilly52 2:09 AM  

This seemed to me like the type of theme that we would see with the scrambled word going around different squares or something, an felt a bit hurried or simply not quite “ready.” Very Monday accessible, though.

My two “issues” arose when I had filled all the squares but was not yet “finished.” I glanced at the grid and said to self, “oh no, there’s my typo, what in the world is A TOZ?” Right. Thinking it must be some new slang term for the whole ball of wax, nine yards, the ballgame, etc. I just moved on looking for my misspelling. And looking and looking.

In frustration, I poured another beverage (not a SPRITE ZERO), and delved into the remainder of the Sunday NYT, that I had not yet perused. After a bit, I returned to my proofreading and the A TO Z hit me like a Homer Simpson head smack. Doh!! And of course my typo is my persistent misspelling of LEONARD NeMOY. Dunno, maybe I think of “Finding Nemo” or something. Once corrected, I got the happy signal for completion, at a Monday time about three times linger to find my error than to solve the bloody thing.

JOHN X 2:17 AM  

What an awesome Monday puzzle! I remember way back when ACM was a regular contributor here. She's gone, as is Puzzle Girl and George Barany although apparently Evil Doug showed up for a second last week.

Today is Memorial Day in the United States, and it is a day to remember the very young men who were killed fighting wars for our country. It was established after the U.S. Civil War for exactly that purpose. I grew up right next to Arlington Cemetery, where it's Memorial Day practically every day, with caparisoned horses and caissons and so forth, but I used to walk through there and look at all the tombstones, by myself. It was right down the street so I did this hundreds of times, sometimes when I was bicycling to downtown. Studying them will put the screws into you. Oddly enough, when I was being discharged from the U.S. Navy they made me an honor guard for funerals and retirements.

Everyone have a happy Memorial Day!

jae 2:38 AM  

Tough Mon. The ICAL/BARS took way too many nanoseconds (😀M&A) to unravel. The theme answers had some sparkle so I liked it more than Rex did (not particularly unusual), but this was more of a tough Tuesday for me, or I may just be hemorrhaging IQ points these days.

chefwen 2:59 AM  

I love a puzzle that is Monday easy with a little crunch to it, Andrea and Victor pulled it off. Had a little hiccup at 8 D, put in trIPUP and couldn’t figure what a monkey BARt was or a CLASSICAr, Stared it for a long time before I figured MONKEY BARS. Fixed my idiotic mistake and was done.

Mr. Alarm 3:19 AM  

Always glad to see a Star Trek actor as accomplished as Leonard Nimoy in a puzzle. But it doesn’t CHANGE MY MIND about the puzzle being rather lifeless. Rex said it pretty well.

goldbug 3:48 AM  

Strange puzzle. FIND MY IPHONE and SPRITE ZERO seem reasonably contemporary (although I should point out that the latter has been around since 2002, Rex!) but LEONARD NIMOY for Spock seems a bit of an old reference when we've had ZACHARY QUINTO in the role for over a decade now. MIDNIGHT IN PARIS also feels like a pretty random, half-forgotten Woody Allen picture to be clueing. That film was a bit of a NON-EVENT, so perhaps appropriate for this fairly AVERAGE puzzle.

By the way, as a non-American newcomer to the NYT Crossword, can I just ask: am I going to need to find myself a Luau to attend here in London? Because I feel like I'm constantly being asked to describe one. I think this is the THIRD time it's appeared this month.

Coniuratos 4:45 AM  

Real bland. Only a couple bits of difficulty - fun fact, SPRITEZERO and Sierra Mist are both ten letters.

Lewis 6:26 AM  

Random thoughts upon a post-solve perusal:
* The loveliness of IRON crossing ORE.
* LEONARD NIMOY coming in well above AVERAGE.
* MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, the perfect clue for "minuit".
* EGG on the side.
* Would have hit the jackpot if THROAT was in the puzzle, to complement the EYE, EAR, and NOSE.
* Lenny Bruce showed up at 48D when my brain popped out with "ACIDIC Jew".

QuasiMojo 6:27 AM  

I didn't MIND this one for a Monday.

But SPRITE ZERO was ho-hum. I find product names cheapen a puzzle. Remember when there weren't a gazillion different diet sodas? All of them artificial and horrible tasting. The MIND reels.

I had to walk out of "Midnight in Paris." Contrived nonsense. A wet dream for Hemingway freaks.

Loved seeing Ethel MERMAN in the grid. "How do you like them APPLES, Mr Goldstone?"

@Nancy, #8, the 39 Steps. Agreed.

LenFuego 6:32 AM  

Surprised to see this one rated medium-challenging, since it was my fastest NY Times solve ever. Usually, I am the opposite, thinking a puzzle is challenging that Rex rates as easy.

The puzzle and theme were fine, but yeah, there was not much in the way of snappiness to it.

BarbieBarbie 6:42 AM  

So, @Rex, does the word “hydrochloric” mean “like stomach acid?” I can’t decide whether the purported clueing of “acetic” as “vinegar-like” is another example of bad STEM-editing by the NYTX or just a wrong memory with no internal STEM-editor to correct it. Just accept that ACIDIC is correct and ACETIC would be really wrong.

This puzzle left me flat. I thought for a bit that the MIND permutations were all going to be one-letter-shifts, But no. No real pattern to discover. I’m with @Rex (except for his vinegar comment, sheeesh).

GILL I. 6:46 AM  

A fond little memory of learning that a tussle mussie is also called a NOSEGAY. Imagine that! Here I was looking at "Boy in a Turban Holding a NOSEGAY" and thinking why did Sweerts call it that?
There is lots to like here. Andrea, AKA "Pizza Lady" always gives us whimsy. Victor does as well. They make a good team.
Speaking of RAT, just yesterday We re-watched "Ratatouille." Remy is my idol. What RAT doesn't want to dream of becoming a chef. @Rex reminds me of Anton Ego.
This was a fun Monday romp. I do like EGG crossing GREEN. I do wish a little ham had been added.

Beaglelover 6:57 AM  

@JOHN X Let's not forget the women in the military who have died for their country!

Hungry Mother 6:57 AM  

Super fast here this morning. We just watched MIDNIGHTINPARIS the other movie day (every day), so that went in with no problem. Didn’t notice any theme.

SouthsideJohnny 7:06 AM  

It seemed to solve just a tad more difficult than a usual Moday (not quite just as “plug n chug” as the real easy ones). NOSEGAY seems like one of those quasi made-up words (I bet LMS has a term for it, lol) that the people at the Times often seem to embrace, and ILEDE is a word to what like 1% of the world’s population. If OFL feels that LEONARD NIMOY is dated, one wonders what category good ol Ethel MERMAN may reside in.

Evan 7:11 AM  

Clueing ICAL as iCAL, an earlier name for Apple's built-in calendar application, would've been in keeping with the recent focus. I'm not sure if that would've been better or worse though.

OffTheGrid 7:29 AM  

Here's a Bit from "AIRPLANE"

amyyanni 7:40 AM  

Found this FAIR and above AVERAGE for a Monday. As a reader of period novels, enjoyed NOSEGAY and am still grinning @will hunt over your Sam.

ChuckD 7:46 AM  

Clueing on this one did not have the constructors typical spark. Keep the circles out of my puzzles please - even on a Monday. Star Trek references are always welcome. Nosegay crossing dotty sounds like it could have been in a Victorian era puzzle.

pabloinnh 7:48 AM  

Well, I enjoyed this and found it just fine for a Monday, but I enjoyed MIDNIGHTINPARIS too. The scrambled word convention may not be a new thing, but I found several other words and phrases in this puzzle that I've also seen before, so, consistency.

I'm still waiting for ELCID to be clued as "Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar".

My condolences to OFL for his confusion concerning "acetic" vs. "adidic". Just no fair, no fair at all.

Thanks for a nice Mondecito, you two. Aces with me.

Missed yesterday's QB by one (seven-letter) word, and it was the word that was not the pangram, and when I saw it this morning I did not regret missing it, as I would like to see anyone use it in a sentence. Such a sentence would be a twisted swiftie indeed.

Suzie Q 8:07 AM  

Like @ Frantic Sloth I wondered if I had done the same puzzle as Rex.
This was enjoyable to me. Nothing made me wince or groan.
Just right for a Monday.
Thanks Andrea and Victor.
And thanks @ JOHN X for reminding us all why this is a day of remembrance.

mathgent 8:25 AM  

No crunch but good “flair.” That’s the lovely word that Professor Barocas uses to describe Ms. Michaels’s work. This is her 49th Monday.

Nosegay. What a great word.

pmdm 8:56 AM  

In the near past, ACME has not constructed a Monday puzzle as frenquently as once occurred. At least, so it seems to me. It also seems to me that Mr. Sharp is rarely on her wavelength. As he was not today. I must admit I miss her upbeat comments on this site. Straightforward upbeat, similar to a Lewis comment. Without knowing her, I miss her. I wish I could say hello to her personally when I visit my brother in San Diego. There's something nice about a breath of fresh air. I hope that isn't taken to be sexist.

JOHN X 9:00 AM  

@Beaglelover 6:57 AM

You are very correct. I should have said "young men and young women."

Lorelei Lee 9:05 AM  

Tore through this and was done on the first try (even on the easy ones, there's usually a typo to ferret out).

Today I'm going to work this sentence into a conversation, "Well, if one were to change one's mind, then that might be true." It has a nice ring to it and might contribute to keeping that construct alive as it gasps for breath in the 21st century outside of crosswords.

Yesterday I was starting to think that I have no wheelhouse. I'm reading Springsteen's autobiography and couldn't get USA. Horrible clue yes, but still.

Today I think my wheelhouse might be anything to do with the last 40 years, minus the point in time when the second kid left for college and took all the slang, music, movie and app stuff with her. This puzzle was squarely in that wheelhouse.

@pabloinnh, Yesterday was tough but it was the closest I ever got. Missed it by two. But the NYT confirmed I'm a genius and I accept that.

TJS 9:13 AM  

@Southside, it's not a word, it's two words, in French.

Here's a bit of sentence structure only a Doctor of English could create: "Maybe break the "MIND" changes neatly across two words in two-word answers (the stray non-MIND-involved words in the themers (iPhone, "in Paris") are kind of annoying and sloppy-looking). I dunno." I dunno either.

kitshef 9:23 AM  

Has Apple cut an enormous check to the NYTXW? I can’t imagine any other reason FIND MY IPHONE would appear on a Monday, and combined with a recent puzzle it looks mighty fishy.

Normally I love me an Acme puzzle, but today not so much. YTD crossing ADMIN feels very business insider-y. Add to that the product placements (Apple, Sprite Zero, Yahoo, Edys, Nat Geo, Eli Lilly) and the whole thing just feels very corporate.

And ITD so close to YTD was odd.

On the plus side, I have Girl from Ipanema as today’s earworm.

xyz 9:23 AM  

'RECENT' shilling for apple? Constant and for some time.

Plenty of rote stuff expected in a Monday

@Goldbug at 3:48, as in using POI, LEI, OREO, IRE, EMT, ORS, ERS, MDS, NOSH … - you will find in closed crosswords as opposed to the open grids you find in the FT, there are a lot of reflex words one must know to do American puzzles. Try the WSJ for more interesting puzzles than NYT, it is not the standard any longer. Their editor makes very fresh stuff.

RooMonster 9:25 AM  

Hey All !
Very nice MonPuz! MIND CHANGED nicely. Nice to see an ACME puz, and Victor, too!

Themers were nice, don't want to complain about Rex's complaints, however... His NITs are strange today. "IN PARIS" is sloppy looking? It's part of a movie title. His "Why these MIND combos" is real NITty. Because. There. You have to pick three or four out of your "24", so any ones picked would've got your IRE regardless.

OK, back to puz, I liked the themers, even ADMIN. Fill isn't 100% polished as is expected from an ACME puz, but that's alright, it is a Monday, and the fill is still AVERAGE. Heck, they even snuck in two Z's.

So a Thumbs up here. Don't listen to Rex's NITICAL, ACME and VB. If I had a CENT for every puz he didn't like...

One F (in themer)

OffTheGrid 9:26 AM  

***SB comment***

@Pabloinnh. "Tie me up with those velvet ropes first", said Tom KINKILY.

@Lorelei. I missed by 2 words and 2 points, too. One I should have known and the other was a reasonable guess that I didn't try.

Anonymous 9:28 AM  

What the heck is A TOZ? Never heard of it.

Had KOI for POI as I mixup these Hawaiian words. That lead me to Goof: - - - K UP. Ha!

Get Woke Now 9:30 AM  

Midnight in Paris was directed by Woody Allen, a pedophile. It shouldn’t be in the puzzle.

Lewis 9:36 AM  

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

1. Is, in retrospect (3)
2. Animal crossing (5)
3. Shortened again (3)
4. Bound to follow (5)(5)
5. Sprint competitor (5)


Anonymous 9:38 AM  

Not sure why people feel MIDNIGHT IN PARIS was an obscure Woody Allen film. It received four Oscar nominations and won for Best Original Screenplay.

Kathy 9:45 AM  

NOSEGAY is definitely not a made-up word. These little hand-held bouquets have been around for centuries. In my prom-going days in the Sixties, there was a standard choice of flower styles for a girl’s prom date to bring when he picked her up—either a corsage or a nosegay. Much more recently I learned that nosegays served more than just a decorative purpose in days of yore. When held close to the nose while dancing, they served as a sort of perfume in times when bathing was...er...infrequent.

The puzzle: For me, easy and fast, but didn’t particularly sparkle. I guess I am advancing in the craft because I now see Mondays and Tuesdays as warmups and no longer expect a tussle. There are generally enough crosses to help me through my outhouses—very much the case today. On the other side of the coin, I still rarely finish Friday or Saturday puzzles without help and it takes me the better part of a day, on and off, at that. For that reason I usually don’t bother posting to the blog because it’s too late and it’s all been said. I am still astonished how quickly the veterans solve those puzzles, even when stopping to smell the NOSEGAYS, which we know Rex never does.

pabloinnh 9:54 AM  

@OffThe Grid-

**SB Alert**

Very nice sentence indeed, and more or less what I would have written. Just wanted someone else to do it, so thanks.

@Lorelei Lee-

I often quit at Genius too but yesterday I was so close I kept at it for far longer than I should have. The stumper from yesterday was flat out disappointing.

TJS 10:00 AM  

Yeah, I was waiting for the Woody Allen objections, but there have not been many yet. I loved "Midnight in Paris", and had no trouble separating the art from the artist, but I understand that many cannot. There have been hundreds of creators and performers of great works who you would not want to spend 5 minutes with. Doesn't mean you cannot derive enjoyment from the work.

Just went back to yesterdays comments to see what I had missed. 214 of them! Confinement effect is building. Thankful that we have this outlet to share our thoughts.

Z 10:11 AM  

Liked it more than a Rex.

@BarbieBarbie - What? Acetic literally comes from Latin for “vinegar.” Personally, I’d use “vinegary” if something tasted like vinegar, but if someone said the wine was “acetic” I’d understand them.

@Frantic Sloth 12:16 - 🤣🤣🤣

Nancy 10:26 AM  

@Frantic Sloth (12:11) -- I think ACME is only one of the seemingly women-only constructors who have been called "The Queen of Monday". One of the others is the ZB-initialled woman whose real initials are CC. (I can't remember how to spell the ZB name and I can't remember what the CC name is.) There's a third constructor in this category, also a woman, but I'm drawing a blank.

Sometimes people create their own ghettos. No one relegates these women or ANY women to constructing the easiest and often most mindless puzzles of the week. (As Mondays go, today's isn't especially mindless, but it's not rocket science either.) I always ask myself why anyone would want to be "Queen of Monday". Recently, the ZB/CC woman created a few late-week, much more difficult puzzles and I was saying: "Way to go, girl!"

As far as today's puzzle is concerned, there was Some Thinking Required. Not a lot, mind you, but some. For Monday, it wasn't half bad, actually.

The Bard 10:28 AM  

A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act I, scene I

EGEUS: Full of vexation come I, with complaint
Against my child, my daughter Hermia.
Stand forth, Demetrius. My noble lord,
This man hath my consent to marry her.
Stand forth, Lysander: and my gracious duke,
This man hath bewitch'd the bosom of my child;
Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes,
And interchanged love-tokens with my child:
Thou hast by moonlight at her window sung,
With feigning voice verses of feigning love,
And stolen the impression of her fantasy
With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds, conceits,
Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweetmeats, messengers
Of strong prevailment in unharden'd youth:
With cunning hast thou filch'd my daughter's heart,
Turn'd her obedience, which is due to me,
To stubborn harshness: and, my gracious duke,
Be it so she; will not here before your grace
Consent to marry with Demetrius,
I beg the ancient privilege of Athens,
As she is mine, I may dispose of her:
Which shall be either to this gentleman
Or to her death, according to our law
Immediately provided in that case.

Nancy 10:29 AM  

Well done, @Quasi! I imagine you got it without my final near-MIDNIGHT big hints.

DC solah 10:36 AM  

Anyone else like me who dove in headfirst with “Wedding Crashers” for 17A and then struggled to manipulate the downs once that was ‘inked’ in...?
(Had I managed said manipulation, I would have at least avoided the Woody Allen reference.)

Robert A. Simon 10:40 AM  

Note to goldbug: Although it's morally difficult to speak on behalf of Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris" was hardly a "non-event." It was nominated for Best Picture, Best Direction and won for Best Original Screenplay.

Masked and Anonymous 10:42 AM  

Always good to have a MonPuz that messes with yer MIND. That there DOTTY and its clue coulda almost worked, as an alt-revealer.

fave Ow de Speration: ICAL. ILEDE. Ain't there an island out there somewhere named Ile de Ical? Oughta be.
staff weeject picks: YTD & ITD, cuz they are TDS. Or at least TD-ical.

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Opposite of WSW} = ENE. Classic(al) directional-punt-type clue.

Nice question mark-clue puz finale, with {What just happened?} = NEWS. Like.
fave longball: EMAILME. Also, MESA was a real butte … er … beaut.

Thanx for gangin up on us, ACME darlin & Victor dude. It had some nice 'tude.

Masked & Anonymo1U

p.s. Have a good & safe Memorial Day, all U nice puzsolvers.


burtonkd 10:47 AM  

@anon 9:38, my thoughts exactly. Only one I can think of in the last 15 years that achieved popular traction.

I came in at 1.5 Rex's rather than my usual 2.5. Kind of figured he'd find reasons to complain based on that. If you include the MIND from the revealer, the circles move down from left to right. Seems a bit OCD to complain they don't move exactly the same number of squares. I didn't even see half the words people are mentioning after getting them entirely on crosses. I think I'll go out to the woods and get my wife a NOSEGAY.

@Z To further your discussion, at some point wine goes from tasting vinegary to literally being vinegar.
"Vinegar is made through the fermentation of ethanol alcohol. Any ingredient containing ethanol may be used to make vinegar, including distilled grain alcohol, wine, champagne, beer, cider and more. Bacteria are used to ferment (or break down) the ethanol into byproducts including acetic acid."

Suzie Q 10:52 AM  

@ Nancy, When Andrea frequented this blog she explained how difficult it was to construct a quality Monday puzzle. Apparently there is a real finesse required. Her explanation opened my eyes and made me appreciate the effort from a constructor's point of view.

Crimson Devil 10:57 AM  

Liked reference to vinegar, and hoped it’d prompt end of saga and revelation of just what mysterious nekkid vinegar-toting trespassing neighbor was up to....
ETHEL MERMAN & NAM were apt for today: We all owe Honorees much.
SB alert: Have become frustrated with SB and its refusal to accept real words and to reply to well-intended inquiries/suggestions, so always stop at G.

JC66 11:03 AM  

@Suzie Q

Totally, agree. Early week puzzles must not only have a simple/obvious theme but contain simple/obvious answers with clear/uncomplicated cluing.

It seems to me that to construct one that still has "flair" is quite difficult.

Lewis 11:05 AM  

@nancy -- I would think the third queen of Monday is Lynn Lempel.

QuasiMojo 11:17 AM  

@Nancy, I knew it early on but waited to see if the others got it. One of my fave Hitch films. I tend to prefer the earlier films. Although I still love most of them. The only one I can't stand is "Mr and Mrs Smith."

@pabloinnh, SB warning! Don't read this if you hate SB posts. :) I got the QB yesterday tho Kink was my last entry. Go figure. TBH I am losing interest in SB because Ive noticed they tend to accept very obscure (to me) food names such as the Jamaican, Korean, Irish and other cuisines recently yet don't accept very commonly used words such as blad, putti, olla, etc. so I stop at Genius level as I am not a foodie and can't waste my time searching my brain for 8 or 9-letter dishes I will never eat.

Nancy 11:19 AM  

@Suzie Q (10:52)-- I'm sure they're as difficult to construct as any other straightforward puzzle that doesn't need to accommodate a rebus or some other tricky Thursday-type gimmick. But how much excitement are they going to give the solver? Will they be talked about a week from now? A month from now? A year from now? Or will they be forgotten by lunchtime?

If being known for your Monday puzzles were all that glamorous and prestigious, men would be lining up to create them and trying to elbow all the competing women out of the way. It's because it IS as challenging to create a Monday puzzle as any other puzzle and because, therefore, all the Monday ladies are obviously capable of making their puzzles more challenging and more memorable, the question has to be: Why don't they? I still feel they're creating their own ghetto and that there's no compelling reason why they should continue to do so.

Nancy 11:23 AM  

Yes, yes, @Lewis!!! She's the one!!! The very one!!! Why don't I have a memory like everyone else?

jberg 11:23 AM  

I'm doing the full @Nancy today, as my Skype music lesson starts in 10 minutes. Nice execution of a fun theme, if one that has probably been done before. Three of the five themers span across two words, and one has to give ADMIN a pass. MIDNIGHT might be considered two words squashed together, so that's OK too.

I hope @Loren comes by today, or maybe she has already, to discuss the topic "why the opposite of pertinent is not impertinent."

See you after 12:30 EDT.

Carola 11:23 AM  

Who knows what strange thoughts covid-confinement might elicit, but I was musing the other day that we hadn't seen any of the dreaded grid-spanning "ONE'S" phrases in a while (like the notorious "a lot on ONE'S plate"). So, after MIDN and INDM, my reaction was, "Don't tell me...." NOSEGAY was a redeeming treat.

@goldbug 3:48 - Just be glad you're not on this side, attempting a British crossword and needing to know cricket terminology :)

Ellen S 11:34 AM  

It’s been a while since I have been a noob, but I’m guessing new solvers (Monday’s target demographic, yes? No?) will not notice if the theme letters break consistently over two words or proceed gracefully down the grid. And they haven’t yet been trained to put in ACETIC when they see “vinegar” in the clue, so they’re less likely to fall into the trap that ensnared OFL. On the other hand, could ACME and Victor be criticized for not introducing the new solvers to classic crosswordese? And then clobbered for filling the grid with classic crosswordese?

I got all exercised for a while when I answered “The whole 9 yards” with ATON. Thought to myself, “doesn’t anyone edit these puzzles, or proofread, or even care?” Then discovered the correct answer was ATOZ. Oh, never mind.

I guess “even caring” might also apply to a graceful progression of the anagrams, but I’ve been working these puzzles for 40 years, and I never notice. All right, wait, what I mean is, I don’t always notice beautiful architecture, but I do notice horrid (San Jose Convention center, e.g.). I don’t always notice a well balanced coffee mug but I do notice when they are hard to hold. But with crosswords, I often don’t even notice the themes, let alone whether they always split over two words.

egsforbreakfast 11:37 AM  

Liked that AIDA and AIDE appeared at symmetrically opposite places. Clue: Help the assistant to an Operatic princess?


I thought the puzzle was a very well done Monday.

Lorelei Lee 11:39 AM  

@burtonkd, Thanks for vinegar explanation! Grandfather was a wine maker and let a bit go to vinegar every year. It was fabulous.

**SB Alert**

@OffThe Grid, @pabloinnh, Now on furlough I go back thru the day on and off. I see know I would've never gotten there.

@Crimson, I think the Genius designation actually means that you can make up words you didn't know.

Birchbark 11:46 AM  

@JOHN X and all the men and women who served and are serving now -- on this Memorial Day, thank you.

I like your posts, @JOHN X, especially the occasional ones like today's, where you step away from the persona for a moment and speak directly to the audience. I remember a really interesting one of yours from a couple of years ago about finding latitude, using only the fist as a sort of astrolabe in connection with the North Star.

@QuasiMojo mentioned Apple product placement yesterday, and @Rex calls it today. You do see it enough to wonder. I've also been wondering why we don't have any SPRITE ZERO in the refrigerator downstairs. Have to remember to try that some time.

SouthsideJohnny 11:50 AM  

Lol, I totally missed the whole ILE DE situation - still anything other than an extremely common foreign word or phrase will amp up the difficulty level on a Monday. Someone commented about A TO Z, which is drifting into standard crosswordese so they may have been joking, I wonder if something like Soup to Nuts has ever put in an appearance in the NYT.

Whatsername 11:51 AM  

An excellent Monday for novices gaining experience, but I was really hoping for some sort of patriotic theme today. I’ve been doing NYT crosswords for 20 years now, and I recall a number of times when puzzles were tailored to a particular occasion or holiday. It seems like that doesn’t happen as often as it used to, but maybe it’s just me. Any thoughts from the commentariat? In any case, I’d love to see more of them. I always found them particularly appealing.

@John X (2:17) Arlington is a place I’ve always wanted to visit and always imagined as a place of serenity and deep sadness. Your story reminded me of one told by Colin Powell in 2008. He had seen a photo essay about troops who were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. One picture at the tail end of the essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the stone of her son's grave. The writing on the headstone listed the Purple Heart and Bronze Star awards and showed that he died in Iraq. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn't have a Christian cross, it didn't have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. He was 20 years old, and although his parents were immigrants, he was born an American. Powell’s point of course was that people of all faiths and all types of backgrounds have given their lives in defense of our country. I wish you a safe and pleasant Memorial Day, and I thank you for your military service.

Malsdemare 11:56 AM  

Too late to really say much, but @Nancy, how about Liz Gorski?

jberg 12:19 PM  

@Nancy, yeah, Lynn Lempel and Zhouquin Burnikel -- but that's her real name, CC is a nickname (Wiki calls it her pseudonym, but it's the full name that appears over the puzzle, that's wrong). I'm thinking maybe the CC is a different transliteration of her first name.

It's not A TOZ, it's ATO Z, what devotees call the hot new diet soda, Acai-Tamarind-Orange Zero.

To further the acidic question, it can be good if a wine is a little ACIDIC, but never good if it's acetic. I had ACIDIC from the start, but @BarbieBarbie, I don't understand why acetic would be wrong, since vinegar is diluted acetic acid.

Btw, I'd never heard of SPRITE ZERO either, but I had the SPR already, so what else could it be? For some reason, in the world of lo-cal drink modifiers, Diet always comes before the name, while ZERO comes after.

Re: ILE DE -- I'm kind of with Rex on this one. Sure, it's a famous island, but it's weird to split DE LA in half. Maybe clue it as "stock opening sentence for stories on Apple products?" Anyway, yesterday's puzzle portrayed Apple's CEO as a jewel thief. Would they pay for that?

@Gill, you'd never heard of NOSEGAY, and I'd never heard of "tussie-mussie!" Two great words.

@JohnX, you're uncommonly serious today. Are you really Evil Doug?

old timer 12:30 PM  

When you can sit at the bar of your favorite hangout again, you will see many people like me who take the opportunity to catch up on their mail, or Facebook, or other online site. Probably 2/3 of the phones will be iPhones. Even people whose main computer is not a Mac seem to prefer the Apple phones. In fact, every year the top two models in smartphone sales come from Apple.

So, FINDMYIPHONE is one of those apps you just gotta have. (Hint: your missing phone fell out of your pants pocket while you were driving to that bar, and is next to the driver's door, or maybe even in the parking lot just outside your car). Or it is buried in the bottom of your purse, if you are not a person of pockets. I don't think Apple had to bribe ACME or the NYT for that being a puzzle answer.

Nancy 1:03 PM  

@Quasi -- Missed your 11:17 comment, since we were typing at the same time. I tend to like the early films more as well. I never saw "Mr. and Mrs. Smith", but the early film I'm not wild about is "Rope".

@jberg (12:19) -- No, I hardly think Apple would have paid for THAT. Funny!!

ralex 1:10 PM  

@John X (2:17 am): jeez, did all you readers who thought JohnX's post unusually straightforward and harmless miss his final acidic line?

Joe Dipinto 1:16 PM  

Shopping for a nosegay

ADMIN is kind of really really bad. The rest of it is kind of okay. You might say it's A NON NON-EVENT.

"The Girl from Ipanema" lazed onto the charts right about now in 1964 – perfect timing to arrive in the Top 10 for July beach weather. Even less irrelevant to the puzzle, here's a fave Tyrone Davis track from 1969, also covered in kick-ass fashion by Delbert McClinton (I dig Del's key change going into the last verse).

KnittyContessa 1:28 PM  

@Nancy Oh no, I'm too late for the quiz! I knew all but one. Could not remember "His hands were on HER neck. But he was strangling me!"

@Masked and Anonymous The final scene from Psycho.

One more from my favorite Hitchcock movie. "How does a girl like you get to be a girl like you?"

Z 1:28 PM  

@jberg - I thought that was Tazo’s new tea, Açai-Tamarind-Orange Zen. Maybe Coke just ripped them off.

Liz Gorski hasn’t had a NYTX for over 4 years and seemingly hasn’t submitted one for 5 years. But there is always Crossword Nation.

@oldtimer - For me it is not so.much that FIND MY IPHONE isn’t puzzle worthy, it’s that Apple gets more product placement than anyone else. Part of that is the general pop culture ubiquity of Apple and part of it is their knack for crossword friendly product names, so I takes Rex plaint as mostly tongue in cheek. Still, “An Apple a day” doesn’t seem like a good crossword rule.

@ralex - What? Oddly enough, when I was being discharged from the U.S. Navy they made me an honor guard for funerals and retirements is the last line of the paragraph and Everyone have a happy Memorial Day! is the last line of the post. I guess that very last line can be delivered acidicly, but I’m not seeing it.

It’s gone now, but at times I cannot help but wonder what exactly is going through some people’s minds.

webwinger 1:46 PM  

This was a good solid Monday puzzle, IMO, as expected from ACMe. I actually liked seeing ADMIN sitting in the center: A messed up MIND?

Rex’s review was needlessly way harsh. I think the ill will between Michael and Andrea is one of the things I find most distressing about his persona, given that, as others have commented, she was a fixture here on the blog for a long time, offering comments that were always insightful and enjoyable in a very personal way.

@M&A: MESA was a “butte”? Har!

@JOHN X, @Whatsername, et alia: Whatever one’s feelings about US history and contemporary policies, Arlington can’t help but be moving, in so many ways.

BTW, re the frequent, nearly always OFL initiated dustups here about references to the Confederate States of America, it is worth remembering, especially today, that there are graves of and monuments honoring Confederate soldiers at Arlington.

Thanks to all who are using SB distancing.

NEWS Flash: Special holiday deal on COVID document originally offered here three days ago: Now 100% off the original price!

Reviews from early readers:

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Send me an email if your want to read (much) more…

Frantic Sloth 1:49 PM  

Why is autocorrect overly fond of inserting the dastardly apostrophe regardless of autocorrectness? Queen of the Mondaysssssss!

@Nancy late yesterday and today - thank you! It's comforting to know I didn't completely imagine the QotM moniker.

So "The 39 Steps" it is! BTW, it seems your original post from yesterday was only temporarily missing. How fun.

🚨👮🦺🚧🚦Warning! SB Area ahead! Warning! 🚨👮🦺🚧🚦
(Is that enough of an alert? Wouldn't want to subtract from the strictly crossword conversation...)

I'm usually all over the map with my Bee Feats and am also getting fed up with the arbitrary "acceptable" word selection. Oh, I still hear the siren call of the Queen Bee level, but Genius is quickly becoming the ultimate (and only) goal. At least I can attain that with semi-regularity.
@Quasi 1117am said it best regarding the omission of common words while there is an overabundance of esoteric cuisine terms. Phooey!
Yesterday I needed to get the first letter of the last word for QB and of course it was 7-letter "k" (Hi, @ Pablo and @OffTheGrid!)
What do you all consider cheating? For me, it's having to look up anything, but then I don't care if I cheat. It's preferable to the self-flagellation of Getting.Every.Stinkin'.Word.Or.Else!

FS, Bee Feater Ripping Off Roo Monster Chick

ss 2:28 PM  

Star Trek is now in the post-Quinto era with Ethan Peck starring as Spock in two new Stark Trek series. Leonard Nimoy as Spock is a cultural icon so personally I don't think the clue is dated yet.

Joe Dipinto 2:34 PM  

@KnittyContessa 1:28 – I'm pretty sure that was Cary talking to Eva in NxNW.

Barbara S. 3:54 PM  

******ANOTHER SB ALERT******

1. If "Panama" is acceptable because of hats, why isn't "India" (see ink and rubber)?? Grrr.

2. Is this cheating? I've kept an incomplete and rather haphazard list of words that I missed in previous SBs. These are obviously not top-of-mind for me, and I've noted them down to help me learn them. But, eek, I'm not sure if it's truly OK to look at the list while solving. I guess what I really need to do is commit them all to memory. Hah, good luck!

Anoa Bob 4:21 PM  

I didn't recognize the actors in the clue for 17A but with MIDNIGHT in place, I guessed that the movie was MIDNIGHT EXPRESS. That was a dark, dark movie, almost too realistic. It was one of those movies that, once you see it, you can't un-see it, even though you wish you could.

I think the NOSE GAY, corsage, boutonniere, and the like were common back when showers and baths weren't. B.O. control, no doubt.

egsforbreakfast 4:23 PM  

Yes, @Barbara S., it’s cheating and I’ve reported you to Will Shortz for appropriate punishment. I expect you’ll be estopped from further SB participation until you have demonstrably commited those words to memory.

pabloinnh 5:12 PM  


I'm with @Barbara S. on the INDIA thing. Also, today had INDIAN and CANDADA and CANADIAN, fun to find but utterly worthless.

I've decided to stop at G unless I need two more for the QB, and then I'll be up all night and complain about the words I missed.

I'll look up how many words are needed but that's it. You find out instantly if your word is unacceptable, so I have no qualms about inventing words, but no looking stuff up. I have a similar rule about the crosswords (remember them?) but that's just me. This stuff is supposed to be fun, after all

Anonymous 5:25 PM  

had to hold off on LEONARD NIMOY just because there's that kid who's playing him in the remakes. no idea what his name is. and don't care a fig.

@OFL - 24 is correct, but it's not combinations, rather permutations since order matters.

Nancy 5:43 PM  

@Knitty and Joe -- NBNW -- I thought so, too. Said early-ish in the film -- before he knows Eva's on our side, right?

I definitely hear Cary's voice saying it, as only Cary's voice can. I briefly thought of the "N" movie, when he's very, very, very peeved with Ingrid. But he was already in love with her, so he never would have said anything quite that angry. And anyway, she was so, so sick at the time.

JC66 5:44 PM  

******STABLER BLASTER*********

Hand up for being frustrated that certain words are not accepted while other, more obscure words are.

OffTheGrid 5:46 PM  

Spelling Bee hasn't been part of this blog very long and comments have already devolved into complaining and whining about what's "wrong" with it. Cheers!

jae 5:50 PM  

—— SB ALERT —-

@Barbara S. & Pablo — add INCA and INCAN to the useless list

egsforbreakfast 6:19 PM  

🐝 Alert!!!
@jae, Barbara S. and Pablo. Also Chadian, Hindi, Panchan (llama)

Barbara S. 6:23 PM  

**********SB AGAIN**********

Solidarity, brother.

We complain because we care.

Hah! Wow, @egs, you take a hard line. And here I was expecting tea and sympathy. Still, I'm eager to find out what my Shortzian punishment will be. No doubt an endless stream of SBs with nothing but words like RIPARIAN, TORII and WALLAROO. Well, you know what they say: what doesn't kill you makes you a better solver.

KnittyContessa 6:39 PM  

@Joe Dipinto and @ Nancy Yes! NBNW. I agree Nancy. I can only hear that in his voice and definitely could imagine him saying that line to Ingrid. I love the scene in N where she's hanging off the bed with a hangover and Hitchcock turns the camera so we can see her point of view. He was genius.

Anonymous 6:42 PM  

SB doesn't allow PPP. panama is a hat, china is dinnerware so they are allowed.

pabloinnh 7:15 PM  


Those of you bothered by the SB discussions are encouraged to tune in to the Hitchcock Channel, also currently airing on this blog.

Plenty of fun to be had.

JC66 8:08 PM  

"Those of you bothered by the SB discussions are encouraged to tune in to the Hitchcock Channel, also currently airing on this blog."

Also available in Spanish by pushing the SAP button. 😳

Joe Dipinto 8:40 PM  


Goood Eeeevening.

And now, a word from our sponsors.

RooMonster 9:38 PM  

Har to all these *Spelling Bee* alerts!

I cheated today, first "real" cheat, in that I went to an Anagram Solver site. Was getting frustrated today myself. With YesterBee, it had the I-L-Y, so I kept adding it to the ends of words, either -LY or -ILY, which is how I got KINKILY and eventually the QB.

Today's kicked my patootie. Couple days ago, wanted to see OLDBAT and DADBOD,! 😁

RooMonster Honored To Be Ripped Off By @Frantic Sloth Guy ☺️

JOHN X 9:55 PM  

@Ralex 1:10 PM

No acid was intended. Happy Memorial Day!

JOHN X 12:06 AM  

@Birchbark 11:46 AM

Thank you for your kind words. I'm glad you liked (and remembered!) my fist/latitude post. I hope you teach it to some youngsters and it saves their lives in the woods and then they thank you.

Anonymous 12:16 AM  

Need to read the rest of the comments - but what is ATOZ?

Clark 12:24 AM  

This Monday had the smooth, satisfying feel of an ACME puzzle. I am a fan.

Anonymous 3:35 PM  

Didn't figure it out until after, but it's A to Z

Burma Shave 10:16 AM  




Anonymous 10:30 AM  

Naticked on ARIE/AIDA because crossing an 1871 opera with the best R&B Grammy winner from 2003 is definitely Monday material /s. Of course the author took care to give two clues for 36D in case someone hasn't heard of Spike Lee.

I hate ATOZ as an answer. I know it's a crossword thing but my mind will forever sit there trying to figure out what atoz is and where I could have gone wrong with my crosses.

Rest of the puzzle was fine but forgettable. I found the themer very blah as there's only one word you can spell with MIDN so once it was clear that was going to be in all the circles, the revealer was obvious.

In new "am I a robot" news, I just got given a "select all tractors" with six pictures of nothing, two pictures of tractors and one picture that I"m pretty sure is a construction vehicle but it's insisting is a tractor.

spacecraft 10:58 AM  

A character in STTOS' "All Our Yesterdays" was the librarian, Mr. ATOZ. Today he sits atop LEONARD NIMOY, who, as Spock, underwent a visceral CHANGE in that episode, reverting to his emotional roots. Mariette Hartley provided the love interest (for Spock, for a CHANGE, instead of ladies' man Kirk); though I shoehorned her in sideways, she is DOD.


ONE'S is a takeaway, and desperate APs ILEDE and ICAL evoke winces, but overall this was fun. So nice to hear from ADAY CASTE MISMARK again. EMAILME, GIRL! Birdie.

rondo 12:54 PM  

I didn't MIND it. Pretty FAIR, although the aforementioned ILEDE and ICAL knock it down a notch.

A now defunct MPR morning radio show, for 30+ years my favorite, used to issue a 'MERMAN Alert' before they play one of her songs. She did belt them out. Ethel MERMAN, the 'GIRL with a voice like a brass band'.

Nothing to write home about - AVERAGE puz.

Diana, LIW 1:40 PM  

ACME did make me work for my breakfast this Monday. Thanks! And the theme actually helped - good instruction for a newbie on puzzle construction. IMO. IMVHO

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Humility

leftcoaster 2:32 PM  

Not too simple, more than FAIR, and much better than AVERAGE for Monday, whatever your solving experience or level.

leftcoaster 5:55 PM  

@Burma Shave --

A tail of whoa.

Anonymous 7:52 PM  

Not bad - not great - decent for a Monday despite a couple Naticks, but my guesses were correct for once.

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