Award-winning sports journalist who went from ESPN to The Atlantic / MON 6-1-2020 / Turned white / "Anything Goes" song / Company that launched Pong / Hanukkah coins

Monday, June 1, 2020

Constructor: Erik Agard

Relative difficulty: Easy



THEME: Encouraging phrases— Theme answers are encouraging phrases.

Theme answers:

  • WE'RE NUMBER ONE (19A: Message on a giant foam finger)
  • SHE'S ALL THAT (35A: 1999 rom-com with Freddie Prinze Jr. and Rachael Leigh Cook)
  • YOU'RE THE TOP (43A: "Anything Goes" song)
  • THEY'RE GRRREAT (57A: Kellogg's Frosted Flakes slogan)

Word of the Day: RUMBA (17A: Cuban dance) —
Rumba is a secular genre of Cuban music involving dance, percussion, and song. It originated in the northern regions of Cuba, mainly in urban Havana and Matanzas, during the late 19th century. It is based on African music and dance traditions, namely Abakuá and yuka, as well as the Spanish-based coros de clave. According to Argeliers León, rumba is one of the major "genre complexes" of Cuban music,[1] and the term rumba complex is now commonly used by musicologists.[2][3] This complex encompasses the three traditional forms of rumba (yambú, guaguancó and columbia), as well as their contemporary derivatives and other minor styles.
(Wikipedia) 
• • •
This was a fun one! Too fun. I told Rex it was kind of hard to talk about because I don't really have any issues with it. Pretty average quality, solved it pretty quick.  Had HALT for WHOA. The "hand on the shoulder" pun about AAA was cute. I dunno. Sorry to be an ASS, I'm just tired and this puzzle didn't really scratch my ITCH for some reason. Also I want LAVA cake now. Does anyone know a good recipe?

Theme is pretty weak. How is "they're grrr-eat" an encouraging phrase when it's just a slogan? I guess that's Monday themes for you. I know we could all use a little encouragement these days but these just didn't really do a lot.

Bullets:
  • THEY'RE GRRR-EAT (57A: Kellogg's Frosted Flakes slogan) — Despite what I just said (and I stand by it not being an "encouraging phrase"), my family is obsessed with Frosted Flakes. Like, obsessed. My mom doesn't even eat cereal with milk but we still always keep a box in the pantry and we even have a box framed and hanging up on the wall. I don't get it but it's fun. 
    Why
  • FRUIT HAT (14D: Signature accessory of Carmen Miranda) — I thought for sure the Carmen Miranda headdress had a real name, but Wikipedia proved me wrong by also calling it a "fruit hat." Shows what I know, I guess? 
  • WHOA (63D: Equestrian's "Stop!") — I'm writing a novel set in a horse barn! And I'm allowed to tell you this because I've written 30,000 words of it already so it's technically a novella, so I'm not just whistling Dixie here. Writing a novel is hard. Did you know that after you introduce characters, you have to, like...keep them consistent and also take them on interesting arcs that make sense? Phew. It's a struggle. 
  • ABBA (5A: "Dancing Queen" group) — What's your favorite Abba song? Here's my pick. 
Signed, Annabel Thompson

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

[Follow Annabel Thompson on Twitter]

98 comments:

Joaquin 12:05 AM  

Looks like GELT is the hip new “in” word - three of the last four puzzles have included it as fill.

And how in the %&#* does MAXIpads pass the breakfast test?

jae 12:08 AM  

Easy. Made me smile. Jeff gave it POW. Liked it a bunch. Good luck with the novel Annabel.

Patrick O'Connor 12:29 AM  

Congratulations on joining the sad tribe of People Who Write Novels, Annabel. As someone who is paid to read them and talk to college students about them, you have my sympathy. Surely it must be hard to solve crossword puzzles while spending all day in a horse barn?

Joe Dipinto 12:40 AM  

Carmen wore The Tutti Frutti Hat.

Richardf8 12:41 AM  

Getting a lot of GELT of the past few days. Is it the sort that leads to wealth or hyperglycemia I wonder?

Had a D’oh moment where I thought Carmen San Diego, but fedora wasn’t going in there, so FRUIT HAT it was.



John Child 12:45 AM  

The bad news is that Jeff Chen marked this as Puzzle of the Week. We’re in for a slog.

Anonymous 12:48 AM  

MAXI pads raises alarms for you but not SEXT?

Coniuratos 1:52 AM  

So easy that I didn't even notice there was a theme. Fun, though.

Waterloo's the best Abba song.

chefwen 2:16 AM  

I didn’t think Erik Asgard could produce an easy Monday puzzle, but here it is. No need for Wite Out on this pup. I was hoping for a wee bit more os a challenge as it was Erik, but I’ll take it.

Annabel, check out Chef Roy Yamaguchi’s Misoyaki Classic Melting Hot Chocolate Souffle. I’ve made it dozens of times, it’s foolproof, serve with a raspberry sauce.

GILL I. 2:27 AM  

@Joaquin...I've been told that MAXI pads make good face masks. You know...breathable and all.
So we have a little RUMBA a VIDA and some TIOS. A then Erik throws in a Brazilian Chica Chica Boom Chic. I saw an old rendition of her in "Weekend in Havana" because, you know, it had Havana in it. The Cubans weren't impressed...she didn't dance anything Cuban. I still thought she was A CUTE in a HAT sorta way.
I didn't know any of the theme names but since it's Monday, I got them. That message from a giant foam finger had me thinking all kinds of things. WE'RE NUMBER ONE didn't enter my mind immediately. It was more like YOU'RE THE ASS.
I'm craving a banana now.


G. Weissman 2:58 AM  

Only one exclamation mark, and it’s sarcastic! Someone’s growing up.

Loren Muse Smith 3:28 AM  

Annabel – you wrote, “I told Rex it was kind of hard to talk about because I don't really have any issues with it.” Hmm. I guess I can understand the idea that any official write-up here should follow Rex’s lead and focus on the problems. Not me, buddy. I can Pollyanna with the best of them.

I rather liked this simple idea. Oh the beauty of our personal pronouns and our weirdly conjugated copula. Since there are 3 ‘RE’s and one ‘S, I would have liked a themer with I’M to round it out.

THEY’RE GRRREAT made me smile and brought back memories of longing for that cereal with all its sugar glory. Mom made us eat eggs and bacon for breakfast every morning. And a piece of toast buttered only on one side and toasted in our Munsey toaster.

FLOAT/ALUM. Sigh. Before I know it, the fall will be here, and I’ll be facing the %$#@ job of overseeing out homecoming float. It’s beyond brutal.

ESTATE. Ok. So I saw some wordplay on Facebook and I decided to run with it. Yesterday I texted my son, Hey – you know how to pronounce that Vietnamese soup called pho, right? Yup. He knew it was /fuh/. So I told him to imagine being at the reading of the will of a Vietnamese perfume magnate, and a niece is mentally begging, Just leave me the pho cologne. . . Yeah. It BOMBed with him, too.

The clue for AAA is epic.

The word that really sent me off on a think this morning was the clue for APE. Orangutan. Two things – One) that Poe pulled that murderer out of the blue in Rue Morgue – huh? I felt so cheated. There’s no way *any* reader would have been able to figure that out. What a pip. Two) Most of us pronounce orangutan with an ang at the end. So the second and fourth syllables rhyme. In fact, that pronunciation is the first one listed at Merriam Webster. I wish I had paid more attention in my phonology classes at Carolina. I’m reminded that I say

/shur*burt/ for sherbet
/fur*mill*yur/ for familiar
/pur*sur*veer/ for persevere

Kind of an anticipatory epenthetic rhyming assimilation. And then I was reminded that lots of languages have an assimilatory process called vowel harmony. And then I snickered that a good name for a probiotic supplement would be Bowel Harmony.

Anyhoo, I like my mispronunciations and have no desire to “correct” anything. Color me mumpsimus.

Erik Agard – He’s the man.

ChuckD 6:12 AM  

Maybe easier than a typical Monday for me - no hold ups at all. Fill was cute but not his normal fresh and crunchy - 90s movie, cole porter, MTV crossing Ricky Martin, fruithead?? I mean all relevant I guess. I know nothing about editing - but does he decide gelt is the word of the moment and insert it these puzzles? The AAA and sext clues were top notch.

Hungry Mother 6:17 AM  

Ten minutes to see that eYE isn’t a homophone of LIE. I’m not number one.

webwinger 6:20 AM  

Wasn’t this the crunchy Monday?! Lotta fun to solve. Theme was sorta throwaway, but didn’t really matter. Still on a high from yesterday’s puzzle...

Lewis 6:38 AM  
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Lewis 6:42 AM  

This light and gentle grid from one who can also produce brutal Gauntlet Saturdays -- Erik has range. The triple-A over the triple-R was rare and fun, and then there was ABBA / LAVA / VERA / RUMBA / VIDA / ATTA.

Mostly, and I don't say this lightly -- How lovely to start the week with a positive spin, no? Thank you, Erik!

amyyanni 6:59 AM  

Hi Annabel, a horse barn you say? Black Beauty-ish? Liked this one muchly. Cole slaw and Cole Porter (You're The Top), Carmen Miranda and Ricky Martin (Livin' La Vida Loca) made me smile. And you know, not many grins of late. Peace.

pabloinnh 7:10 AM  

Outside of epic Red Sox replays, I have seen next to no sports in, like, forever, and had not thought of JEMELEHILL in that interim, so nice to see her again. That was the only minor hiccup. Now I'm waiting for AAMILNE to show up looking for his GELT. Do these things just happen accidently? My only other question was going to be, how many R's in GRRREAT? Three? Sounds reasonable.

Nice fun breezy Monday from EA, as expected. Any puzzle that has FRUITHAT as an answer is just fine with me.






















Junior 7:14 AM  

@ Joaquin (12:05am) I'd rather have GELT than ACNE any day.

Geezer 7:20 AM  

After solving I perused the long across answers to see what the theme was. I thought, "OK, positive, complimentary phrases". Was the theme name offered by Annabel (encouraging phrases) published anywhere? Anyway, my name is better.

Music Man 7:23 AM  

Trader Joe’s sells frozen lava cakes and THEY’RE GRRREAT!

kitshef 7:24 AM  
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Z 7:28 AM  

Carmen Miranda (1940’s), The Addams Family (1960’s), and ABBA, (1970’s) made this the oldest feeling Agard puzzle I can recall solving and I wasn’t even out of the NW. Things got better and I’ll never complain about seeing JEMELE HILL in a puzzle, but as Agard puzzles go, this was a weak effort. Then I finished and said, “okay, the theme will redeem the puzzle.” Nope. Maybe if he had been able to work in “You’re the smile on the Mona Lisa” I’d have liked this more. To be clear, I’m grading this on the Agard curve.

I didn’t process the “hand on the shoulder” clue as I read it, then ended up getting the answer from the crosses and just assumed it was a battery clue. As a result, it took me a few nanoseconds to understand what the praise was for. I’m guessing that one will lead @Lewis’ list this week.

Anyone else wondering if one can SEXT and still be celibate? Just me? alrighty then.

@LMS - Huh. I always thought the second R-less spelling was a little hoity-toity As for the other two, I seem to be team schwa instead of team epenthesis (but have definitely heard both pronunciations). Now I’m wondering if the pronunciation of “February” is antiëpenthesis.

Z 7:47 AM  

I was trying to decide on my favorite ABBA song and I’m pretty sure this is it.

Karen 7:58 AM  

Annabel, as you develop your unique voice as an author, please be true to your voice as a crossword blogger. If you find a puzzle fun, tell us why, rather than damning it with faint praise, as is often the case in Rex’s blog.

And to keep consistency in characters, try creating a style sheet; it can save you from searching to find whose hair was what color on what page.

Wishing you success!

RooMonster 8:01 AM  

Hey All !
Some comments to others comments first --
@LMS
You said "a piece of toast buttered on only one side". How the heck can you butter both sides? You wouldn't be able to set it down, no?

And even though it's early, best typo goes to @chefwen for Erik Asgard! Didn't know he was related to Thor.

Fun puz. I was surprised to see Erik's name. As @Lewis said, he usually does puzs that have you hating him! But this one was a definite MonPuz.

As others have noted, the theme is "The Best" with NUMBER ONE, ALL THAT, THE TOP, GRRREAT. But it also has the beginning possessives that @kitshef pointed out, and they are all contractions, also. So a three prong theme. You knew Erik had more going than just a one-pronger.

With all the Spanish going on, I was looking for Charo. Cuchi-Cuchi-Coo!

One F FLOATed in
WAXES FRUIT HAT nostalgic
RooMonster
DarrinV

John H 8:02 AM  

Meh. After a little noodling in the NW I went looking for the themes, Filled them in with a few crosses and then abandoned the enterprise.

About Frosted Flakes, my memory is that the extended word was first, and the second word an emphatic monosyllable, "Theyrrrre GREAT!"

Anonymous 8:11 AM  

As a kid I was always worried that Carmen Miranda's hat would unbalance her, or just fall off on its own. 1940s? Yeah I guess so.

Good luck Annabel on the novel. Let us know when it comes out, for sure we will all get a copy!
M

kitshef 8:11 AM  

Apparently even on a Monday EA can’t resist dropping in a Saturday-level proper name. Actually, I know JEMELE HILL, but billions won’t.

Otherwise, very very easy. And I took the theme to be phrases beginning in pronoun contractions of "to be", not encouraging phrases.

Remember when Frosted Flakes were Sugar Frosted Flakes? The former name was honest, at least.

Yes to Mamma Mia being the best ABBA song. But I won’t fight anyone who chooses SOS or Waterloo.

Twangster 8:12 AM  

Upon finishing, I thought the theme was pronouns ... we, she, you, they. I thought, Rex is really going to hate this one.

What? 8:26 AM  

Had to get up Monday for a medical procedure. Oh well doingThe Crosswords would be a distraction. After a few minutes of filling in every square I discovered I finished it it was not distracted. I should’ve had my test on Friday.

KnittyContessa 8:44 AM  

When I read the first line of Rex's blog I think I audibly gasped, then I remembered it was Annabel Monday. Hi Annabel!

I thought it was an easy Monday with some really fun clues.

@LMS Love love love your avatar! I have the same question as @RooMonster. How do you butter both sides?

Anonymous 8:45 AM  

Maxi pads don't pass the breakfast test? What are you, a twelve year old boy?

OffTheGrid 8:45 AM  

3 of the 4 theme answers contract "ARE". 1 contracts "IS". Close enough for Monday, I guess.

Anonymoose 8:48 AM  

On the Frosted Flakes box it appears "THEY'RE GR-R-REAT!"

Nancy 9:06 AM  

I'm trying to figure out what led to this puzzle.

[Unknown person] to Erik Agard: "Bet you can't create a Monday puzzle."
Erik to Unknown person: "Betcha I can."

Of course there's always the chance that Agard wants to "hit for the cycle" in the event he's never done a Monday before.

Jeff Chen gave this his POW???!!! Why? I see nothing in it -- neither the theme nor the on-the-nose cluing -- that makes it in any way interesting or special. Only one clue that I thought was at all noteworthy: 55A for AAA. And I had no idea that you DROP a new album. But I found this a complete snoozefest. If this is Jeff's POW, I'm not looking forward to the rest of the week.

Lewis 9:07 AM  

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

1. What just happened? (4)
2. Bulb circler (4)
3. Corn or bean plant, perhaps (7)
4. Two of hearts (5)
5. One stuck in a corner (5)


NEWS
MOTH
CANNERY
ATRIA
STAMP

Petsounds 9:08 AM  

@LMS: I'm standing on line, waiting for the "buttered on both sides?" answer!

Easiest Erik Agard puzzle ever! Except that I had to rely solely on the crosses to get JEMELEHILL. Nice and breezy to start the week.

My favorite Abba song? None. That is some terrible music right there.

albatross shell 9:08 AM  

What caught my eye or maybe my ear, was the crossing of MAXI (as in pad) and ARMOR (as in knight protector). Next was the crossing of TYPES and SEXT. Went looking for some others. I missed LMS's ALUM FLOAT cross. I did notice the parallel AND YET and SHOUT IT OUT. Doubt versus certainty.

Now add @amyyanni's pair of Coles, and Lewis's ABBA to ATTA list, and ROO's trident-pronged theme, and you are circling a fairly impressive Monday with a FRUIT HAT.

Eat your toast butter side down.
I tried buttering my toast on both sides. Tastes good. You put it down on a clean plate.

I caught the last 4 songs of Springsteen's Western Stars concert yesterday. Boring and a waste of a classical orchestra. Pompous too. And I like country music.

Anonymous 9:09 AM  

@Joaquin:
And how in the %&#* does MAXIpads pass the breakfast test?

Just watched "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" a couple of times over the weekend. Major plot point.

@John H:
I believe you arrrrrrrrrrrre correct!!!

In any case, had to wait for crosses to know how many R to put in.

the prof 9:09 AM  

Theme: positive exclamations beginning with personal pronoun + form of "to be," contracted (we're, she's, you're, they're)

TJS 9:11 AM  

Wahoo, I finished in under 11 minutes and got up to refill my coffee. Is this setting up to be a great day or what?

Little worried about this one being annointed puzzle of the week, though. Just how bad is it going to be?

Anyone else see the humor in @Lewis saying "and I don't say this lightly" and then complementing a puzzle.

That "buttered on only one side" had me wondering too.

I was in a bar with some friends when a guy wheeled in a large square thing with a screen on top and plugged it into the wall socket. We wandered over and he told us it was a game called Pong and offered us free tries. We were all stunned by the technology that let you affect action on a screen with a controller. None of us could block the ball, of course, and we quickly concluded that this stuff would never go anywhere because who the hell wanted to play electric ping-pong?

Nancy 9:12 AM  
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Harry 9:18 AM  

I liked it. It was fun and easy, and after all the crap we've had lately, it was just simple fun. Much needed!

Loren Muse Smith 9:23 AM  

@kitshef from yesterday – they’re all “frogs.” Period. I don’t care where they live or what they’re actually called. They. Are. Frogs.

@Roo, @KittyContessa, and @Petsounds - sorry, I should have been clearer. We buttered the bread on one side and basically broiled it in this toaster. So the bigger deal was that it was toasted on only one side. That way, you could sop up the egg yolk with the soft pillowy untoasted side. To this day, I hate toast from a pop-up toaster ‘cause it’s toasted on both sides.

@Z, @kitshef – My favorite ABBA deal. This is where my mother-in-law got her dog, Tucker. RIP, buddy.

Music Man 9:29 AM  

My favorites too! Thanks for celebrating these.

Joaquin 9:49 AM  

@LMS - Loved the "Just leave me the pho cologne. . . ". Pity your son didn't. Had I told that to my son, he too, would have groaned big-time at the dad joke but then would have repeated it to all his friends. So ... who's a good boy?

mathgent 9:51 AM  

YOURETHETOP but “Cole ___” was SLAW not Porter.

Nancy expressed my assessment of the puzzle to a T, but Agard hit for the cycle a long time ago and he has done six Mondays.

Lorelei Lee 9:53 AM  

I sincerely thought the theme was pronouns.

@Nancy, I had the very same reaction, done on a bet and the challenge was Skew Super Old. Even Cole Slaw creaked.

Once I plunked in Fruit Hat I did the rest of the thing with a Seinfeld routine going through my head. And what's up with the fruit hat? Ya plop a fruit basket on your head and your name lives on in perpetuity? Perpetuity, now there's a word...

Z 9:58 AM  

@albatross shell - “Pompous?” We will just have to disagree there. I see how you get to that reaction (putting strings to pop music always runs that risk and Bruce walks that edge a lot) but it wasn’t mine. But that’s not “country music.” Late ‘60’s early ‘70’s California pop is the go to comparison for the critics. More Eagles than Hank Williams. We fought hard over nothin' / We fought till nothin' remained / I've carried that nothin' for a long time isn’t all far from Lonely-hearted lovers struggle in dark corners / Desperate as the night moves on / Just one look and a whisper, and they're gone

@LMS - Great ABBA video.

Anonymous 9:58 AM  

loved the puzzle. Eric is soooo talented. the puzzle was way better than the review.

maybe it's time to switch Annabel to Tuesdays. her review was dull and forced. or, as has been suggested, bring on the JASA class.

jberg 10:03 AM  

@Loren, you don’t quite say it, but if you meant to imply gently that Annabel has the theme wrong, I agree I think it’s’contractions of personal pronouns and forms of ‘to be.’ Equally weak, I’d say.

I’m forever blowing bubbles
I’m walking the floor over you
I’m a lonesome polecat

Each too long.

jberg 10:07 AM  

@Roo — three-pronged! I think you’ve got it. Those pronouns are nominative, though.

Rick in Windsor VT 10:17 AM  

Chocolate Lava Cake for Two https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1019957-chocolate-lava-cake-for-two?smid=tw-share #NYTCooking

This is in the NYTimes cooking app. It's a recipe from
Yossy Arefi. It's easy and great!

ChuckD 10:22 AM  

@ albatross shell - my wife and I watched also with mixed feelings. I have nothing against orchestra in Americana type music - jimmy Webb and Glen Campbell are prime examples but a lot of the music just sounds so forced like he felt like he had to go that direction. The songs are solid and probably would have been easier on the ear if he went all sparse or all orchestra but the mix just doesn’t work. One day I hope he plays it like Nebraska - no glitz or shine.

Anonymous 10:30 AM  

Due to the weight of the real thing and the lack of control that would mean while just walking around never mind dancing, I always assumed that her hats were made with fake fruit. A look through the wiki and elsewhere didn't say. Anyone know? This fruitcake is curious, banana Yellow.

Lorelei Lee 10:40 AM  

Wow @Z, Last week I watched each individual song on Youtube from the Hammersmith Odeon concert. I think there's a comment on some posting of Jungleland saying that he captured a 2-hour movie in a 9-minute song. Thanks for sharing.

I'd never heard the other song you posted but I do hear a country twang that wasn't there when we followed him around in the movie theaters and small halls he was playing in 1975. Still, comparisons are difficult. He's always been his own genre.

Joe Dipinto 11:05 AM  

I don't see the themers as "encouraging phrases". They're superlative compliments. I read THEY'RE GRRREAT as a sort of summation of the first three. Number One, All That, The Top – hey, they're all Great!

Whatsername 11:10 AM  

Like Annabel I didn’t think I had much to say but reading reading the comments always triggers a few thoughts. I was surprised to see EA as the constructor, a very easy time of it from a guy who normally makes me tear my hair out. Like the crossing of AAA over RRR but the clue for SHOUTITOUT seemed weird. I would have said something like “yell if you need anything.” Frosted flakes really are GRRREAT. I love them with blueberries, peaches and other kinds of FRUIT.

@kitschef (8:11) Sorry but I’ve got to go with Dancing Queen. That movie of the same name as the song you mentioned practically turned me against ABBA tunes for good. Although I found it so painful that I never actually saw the whole film, It will have a permanent spot on my “worst” list.”

CaryinBoulder 11:13 AM  

Musical snob notes: Even though I enjoyed “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” I’m with @petsounds when it comes to ABBA. A waste of musical notes that could’ve been used by musicians with something, anything to say. Ditto for @Albatross. I didn’t see the film but I thought the “Western Stars” CD was a total snooze.

With a Monday from Eric AJAR I was expecting to have to work for my breakfast. Instead, the act of reading clues and filling in squares was all that slowed me down. But when I finished and still didn’t hear the music I had to do line by line to see what I’d missed. It took me all the way down to the SE to see that I’d filled in MinI for MAXI without ever looking at the crosses. Hey, my wife is petite (and post-menopausal).

Seeing ASS and HAT made me think of OFL. No, not the absent Rex, but the one who CRAVES attention and lobs BABEL grenades about race and the WHO while cowering in his bunker. So STRONG, so GRRREAT. No wonder WE’RE NUMBER ONE, THE TOP, the APEX of Covid infection. AND YET, IN A DAY even these LIEs, the TYPES that only an ALUM of Trump U. could believe, will have PALED as he HAULs out even more to cover up his multitude of EVILS. Hey, go ahead and SUE me, motherf@#%er. I am so OVER you.

kitshef 11:21 AM  

@Whatsername - the movie was terrible; we can agree on that at least.

Carola 11:25 AM  

A CUTE one. I liked SHOUT IT OUT as a complement to the exclamations of all-around NUMBER ONE-ness. Also enjoyed the parallel FRUIT HAT and LEOPARDS. Do-over limBo before RUMBA. No idea: JEMELE HILL.

@chefwen 2:16 - Your comment brought back fond memories of eating Roy's LAVA cakes as his now-shuttered Kahana restaurant. I was so sad when that and his Kihei location closed.

Anonymous 11:27 AM  

be careful, @Cary, Trump's NSA monitors everything, everywhere, and you're likely to be labelled, at least, an Antifa fellow-traveller, liable for transfer to the Border Wall Re-education Project, duties to be assigned, period indefinite.

Pete 11:35 AM  

I thought this was as good a Monday puzzle as I've done. All Monday themes are trite, but at least this one was consistent on multiple levels, with a (sorry) great reveal. Minimal drek, and am not offended by the existence of MAXI pads. In truth, I had a white cotton mask I used for a while, but I couldn't get passed the feeling I was just strapping a MAXI pad to my face. I switched to a black one, which had the additional benefit that it wasn't as obvious that I don't wash my masks in disinfectant on a daily basis.

In non puzzle news, I've been doing quarantine woodworking, and I needed to mix some stains to get the color I needed. I needed small cups to make test samples, my ideal was a miniature red Solo cup - you know, the official cup of teenage binge drinking, just smaller. Of course they don't exist, and my Lowes didn't have anything under a quart, so I just stopped at my local CVS on the way home to pick up some super-strength cortisone cream. Walking out I passed through the party supplies, and what do you know, there is a 30 pack of 2 oz red Solo cups. WTF are these for? Shots? Mini beer cups for toddlers? Letting kids play grown-up? - Sure kid, get used to drinking out of red Solo cups at a tender age, it will serve you well in college? I mean I bought them, they were perfect, but why do they exist?

Ann Hedonia 11:46 AM  

I thought the theme was just pronouns.

xyz 11:50 AM  
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Masked and Anonymous 11:53 AM  

Pronoun = "real good" phrases.
Or … the 3 a'REs (and an i'S) + a bonus ARE to make up for the i'S.

Neat fillins, altho didn't know JEMELEHILL darlin. Was kinda surprised to have an unknown longball name, in a MonPuz. Shows some 'tude … Bring it.
M&A faves: FRUITHAT. HELIX. LEOPARDS. AAA clue.

staff weeject pick: TGI. Abreve partial meat.
fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Angel's headware} = HALO. Just splatzed that puppy in, offa nuthin. Gained valuable nanoseconds … almost a time machine effect, there.

Thanx, Mr. Agard. Grrreat theme find, even if a bit dry, humor-wise. It was worth bringin up.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


**gruntz**

Anonymous 12:01 PM  

Fernando.

Z 12:04 PM  

@Lorelei Lee - The Eagles also have a hint of country in lots of their songs and are much covered by country artists. There’s so much overlap at times that any specific label can be chewed on. For instance, what do you do with a collaboration between a folk singer from SC and an Americana/Tejano band from Arizona? (Calexico apparently is especially hard to classify - Wikipedia lists their genre as “Americana, indie rock, alternative country, indie folk, Tejano, post-rock, Latin rock” - and you Dylan fans may know the band from I’m not There). Anyway, Western Stars is sonically very different from Born to Run but is still very much the Boss.

@the redanman- I’ve said it before, but a 1980 centrist would be labeled a leftist today.

xyz 12:13 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frantic Sloth 12:14 PM  

@LMS Loved the video - how couldja not?

Your "mumpsimus" had me go immediately to "Trumpsimus".

Beth 12:22 PM  

Yes!

Masked and Anonymous 12:38 PM  

p.s.
@Annabel, Tired Novelist:
Grrrooovy blog write-up. Primo bullets.

Good for U, writin a novel(la). Admirably ambitious. Are the main characters in yer novel horses, then? Is one of their names T-Rump? That'd be pretty cool & Orwellian.

M&A fave ABBA songs: Tie. "SOS" and "Fernando".

Thanx,

M&A PS Desk

webwinger 12:46 PM  

@Lewis: No surprise, but you overlooked a bunch of terrific clues from Sunday’s puzzle! Here’s my list of top 5 from that grid alone (and it wasn’t easy to narrow down so far):

Give one’s take (5)
Work requiring some intelligence? (3-4)
Pop a wheelie? (3-1-4)
Good thing to have after work (7-4)
Something a crab might be found in (4)

OPINE
SPY FILM
GET A FLAT
PENSION PLAN
SNIT

Also, no surprise, Jeff Chen did not give yesterday POW for last week. Was he ever wrong!

Teedmn 1:17 PM  

Favorite ABBA song = Name of the Game

Annabel, I'm impressed that you're writing a novel. Whenever I mentally start writing the novel I know I have in me, I am stopped dead by dialogue. How do you write dialogue that sounds natural and is interesting but also moves the plot along? That's as far as I get. Maybe that's why there are stream of conciousness books - no dialogue ability on the part of the author.

I was a tad slow on the uptake regarding the theme. I noticed that all of the first words were apostrophied....and that's it. So rather than the "uplift", I got a puzzled "huh" vibe. But it was easy and I got to learn JEMELE HILL's jem of a name.

Thanks, Erik Agard, for giving us a break!

chefwen 1:21 PM  

@RooMoser 8:01 - Ooops, shoulda caught that one.

Donna 1:30 PM  

I have to say that maxi pads put me off my lunch. There are many more tasteful ways to clue maxi.

Anonymous 2:03 PM  

Little Richard had the Tutti Frutti song.

Bea 2:17 PM  

Yes, it was a fun one. It sort of felt like a x-word issued on the day after Sunday and the day before Monday, if there were such a day.

'Fruithat' made me smile.

kitshef 3:44 PM  

Ooh - I had forgotten The Name of the Game. That is right up there.

Z 4:05 PM  

@anonymous 2:03 - Yes he did. “I’ve got a girl named Sue, she knows just what to do.”

GILL I. 4:06 PM  

@chefwen...Your Misoyaki classic melting hot chocolate souffles sound so yummylicious that I went to Amazon and ordered 4 souffle rings. They should arrive tomorrow and I'll make some...Come on over; I'll share.
@Anony 10:30. Evidently Carmen Miranda made hats; she also designed most of her clothes. From what I gather, she never wore real fruit on her head because it was too heavy. Hah! Imagine a banana falling on your toe. Anyway, she was quite the gal in her hey day. Died way too young; but boy she danced a mean Samba even though the Cubans didn't think so.

Anonymous 4:19 PM  

@redanman:

they ain't our NSA unless, and until, they release all the sigint twixt the cheetohead and his minions and Putin and his minions. they should have done so years ago.

but... "The federal government has absolute power. It has the power. As to whether or not I'll use that power, we'll see."

how is that different from any tinhorn dictator in any third world country? he and his minions have removed most folks who know the truth.

syracusesolver 4:32 PM  

I took THEY'RE GRRREAT to be the revealer. That lead me to think of Tony the Tiger. From there I leaped to Esso gas stations which promised to "put a tiger in your tank." They gave away fuzzy, striped "tails." Anyone else remember riding around with those tails hanging out of the gas cap cover? Those were fun days, more carefree than the current ones.

RooMonster 4:48 PM  

@syracusesolver 4:32

Those tiger tails are also famously found on a crossword stalwart, GTO. How a Goat and a Tiger relate, though, is the mystery. And I know a thing or two about cars. Read that carefully, a "thing or two" meaning just that. 😋

RooMonster Car Lover Guy

chefwen 6:37 PM  

Now I can’t even spell Monster right. Sheesh!

Padraic 6:58 PM  

"Did you know that after you introduce characters, you have to, like...keep them consistent and also take them on interesting arcs that make sense?"

Definitely don't have to do this! Most great literature totally breaks these rules. But if you want to write a middlebrow thing that everybody reads and never thinks about, then do this.

chefwen 7:20 PM  

@Gill I - The rings seemed like too much dinking around so I use mini Souffle dishes.

Wanderlust 7:33 PM  

@LMS Your remembrance of childhood cereal yearnings brought back memories. Our Dad was a salesman for General Mills, which meant the pantry was full of free GM products. That included sugary treats such as Trix and Lucky Charms and long-forgotten Count Chocula and Boo Berry. But we longed for forbidden Kellogg’s cereals like Frosted Flakes and Sugar Smacks. Getting those at sleepovers at friends’ houses was heaven. Nice pho joke. I’m sure you can sell that one. :-)

GILL I. 7:52 PM  

@chefwen......SO NOW YOU TELL ME.....!!!!! ;-)

albatross shell 8:07 PM  

@Z
Here is an excerpt from the NPR review:

It's the collective half-hour of interstitial material that's more suspect. We get drone-shot aerial footage of horses running free in Jersey and in Joshua Tree, voiceover that can't help but feel more portentous than the spoken introductions that might've accompanied these songs on stage, and typical music-video slo-mo stuff of The Boss driving his mid-century pickup truck along that dusty plain, hobbling into the barn, vamoosing down that lonesome old trail. I'm Bruce Springsteen, the movie says whenever its star isn't actually speaking, and I approved this message.

Later on the reviewer says something to the effect that if you ever thought the Boss to be a bit of a poseur, then you could find enough here to make a whole new Spinal Tap.

The NYT review loved this car commercial imagery and sugary self-congratulatory man of the people philosophizing. They thought it pulled the characters speaking in songs together, made them more accessible. If you need shit like that to make your art accessible something is fucked up.

I only caught the last four songs counting the decent cover of Rhinestone Cowboy. One of the songs was well-written, but still dull, and without any of the self-awareness evident in just about any John Prine performance.

So yes, I'll double down: pompous and pretentious. Maybe some of the other 10 songs were better.

And yes, a lot of 70s music had heavy country influence. Like the guy who's body was stolen and burned in the Joshua Tree. Rhinestone cowboy indeed. I heard nothing that good here.

Andrew Heinegg 9:01 PM  

What a great production with so many great housemates to be had; loved it!

Z 9:26 PM  

@Albatross Shell - Interesting. Here's a take on the record from The Guardian. It pretty much reflects my take on the album and the movie. But, again, I can see (and hear) how people would have your reaction, too.

Anonymous 9:30 PM  

Z,
The Guardian is reflecting your take? My, my that’s amazing. How did The Guardian come to know your take?
Is it possible you and The Guardian have the same take as you? Or, more likely, you cadged the take from some place else maybe even The Guardian itself. In any event, there’s no way that publication is reflecting your ideas.

Anonymous 10:15 PM  

@redanman:

how's the USofA look through your rose colored glasses now?

old timer 10:57 PM  

Chiming in late, to say that one of the best CD's ever made was Springsteen's "Seeger Sessions" You probably heard all the songs before, but The Boss really made them sparkle. When I first heard his version of Erie Canal, I felt I was sitting in the construction camp after supper, as the workers passed around the whiskey bottle. And all the tracks are good ones.

I think Seeger was involved in the production.

chefwen 3:05 AM  

@GILL I - Another oops for the day, i think that makes three or four. I should have included that little nugget of information.

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