Genre for Nigerian singer Wizkid / MON 6-8-20 / Its mascot is pitcher with smiling face / Teen magazine founded in 1965

Monday, June 8, 2020

Constructor: Kyle Dolan

Relative difficulty: Easy (2:39) (I felt way slower than that, so I have no idea what happened)

THEME: BAIT to BOOT vowel-sound progression — last words of themers move through all the long vowel sounds:

Theme answers:
  • CLICKBAIT (17A: Enticing weblinks that suck people in)
  • TIGER BEAT (25A: Teen magazine founded in 1965)
  • FROSTBITE (37A: Hazard of being outside in the cold for a long time)
  • PARTY BOAT  (52A: Place for a blast offshore)
  • ANKLE BOOT (62A: Footwear that extends a little above the foot)
Word of the Day: HECTARE (1D: Unit of land that anagrams, coincidentally, to THE ACRE) —
The hectare (/ˈhɛktɛər, -tɑːr/SI symbol: ha) is a non-SI metric unit of area equal to a square with 100-metre sides (1 hm2), or 10,000 m2, and is primarily used in the measurement of land. There are 100 hectares in one square kilometre. An acre is about 0.405 hectare and one hectare contains about 2.47 acres. (wikipedia) 
• • •

Very tired tonight, so this will have to be quick. Vowel progression puzzles can be fun. I published one a while back. The answers have to be entertaining in their own right, as well as follow the pattern. Otherwise, you're just marching through a progression ... why? This set of themers is strong. I don't think the fill in general is that strong, but the themers are pretty crisp. None of them feel limp or dull and a couple of them (CLICKBAIT, PARTY BOAT) really crackle. And that's really all it takes on a Monday: a coherent set of themers that have a little bounce, and then a grid that isn't a total wipeout. This one has weak spots (ESA RETAGS LEN REN ELO CAF KAA ANO etc.) but only KAA really bummed me out (it's a crosswordesey proper name I have trouble remembering) (63D: "The Jungle Book" python). Because it's Monday, I didn't really have time to get bummed out by anything. Corners felt big, and I did not feel like I was making good time, but 2:39 is definitely good time for me on a Monday. I altered (slightly) the way I moved through the grid at the beginning, getting BEAR immediately followed by ALIKE at the top of the grid and then working straight through the Down crosses instead of solving the whole BEAR section and then solving in a continuous flow over to ALIKE's section. There's something about plowing through the Downs in order that really moves things along, and up top is where you can do that the easiest / fastest.

SW corner probably had the most snags for me, as SOFALEG was tough to come up with (47A: Furniture part that might leave a mark on a floor), as were PARTY BOAT and AFROPOP, to a lesser extent (41D: Genre for the Nigerian singer Wizkid). I am always really bad at guessing what kind of music genre the puzzle wants from me. EUROPOP TEENPOP EMOROCK ALTFOLK etc. Once I got the first and last letters of AFROPOP (I went MALES MOANERS ASPEN...), the answer was clear, but I've never actually heard of Wizkid until right now. Outside of that corner, nothing but KAA was remotely troubling. This was a light snack of a puzzle. Reasonably tasty.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 12:00 AM  

I like how the theme B-words progress in the order of the A-E-I-O-U (and not "Y" this time) vowel sounds. It's the little things that make me smile, so I enjoyed this one.

It Mondayed appropriately difficulty-wise and with an easily-grokked theme. Fill was fair without being ridiculously easy - just a relaxing diversion.

Also, way to avoid the AÑO issue with a good clue!

Wouldn't have known KAA because I'm me, but didn't need to as I basically solved with mostly across clues.


jae 12:11 AM  

Easy. Smooth and a nicely done example of what Jeff at Xwordinfo termed vowel movement. Liked it a bunch. Plus, I learned that OO is the correct way to pronounce the long U sound.

Richardf8 1:03 AM  

I want to congratulate Kyle Dolan for cluing ANO in a way that averts the whole ano/año clustermess. Bravo!

On the other hand we have ANIME clued as if it were Manga.

I knew 40A had to be MALES because “people who do not menstruate” was too many letters.

Pete Saunders 1:18 AM  

Surprised OFL didn't find fault with the (absent) long "U" sound in ANKLEBOOT - All the other vowel sound progression themers work fine: bAit, bEat, bIte, bOat... but bOOt? Not so much . . . "Butte" would have been better sound wise and also because it actually has a "U" in it- which "BOOT" does not.

Also, my time was 7:15, which was pretty good for me . . . but I don't think I could type (or write in ) all the answers even if I KNEW them ahead of time in only 2:39. That's not even enough time to read half the clues and enter the answers . . . .

chefwen 3:04 AM  

Easy enough for a Monday, but shouldn’t the last one have a U? That was odd, thought I.

Hungry Mother 6:02 AM  

Super easy, but I had to go to the downs for about half of the entries to keep the flow going. Theme? I don’t need no stinking theme.

ChuckD 6:15 AM  

Theme was simple and well executed. Good fill - HECTARE, KOOLAID, STOOLIE I thought were snappy and resulted in a pleasurable but quick Monday.

I’ve gone thru this before with vowel pattern puzzles - OO is an alternate for the long U - igloo, troop etc.

amyyanni 6:21 AM  

Better than the average Monday. Anna and the King of Siam, a/k/a The King & I, has me humming Getting to Know You, very lovely feeling and way to begin the week.

Lewis 6:26 AM  

@pete saunders -- Go to and read in Jeff Chen's review of today's puzzle, his discussion of the U sound in a vowel progression.

This puzzle was well put together, and simmered with a nice sparkle, due to brio in the answers. There were even four NYT debuts: ANKLE BOOT, PARTY BOAT, SOFA LEG (is that sofa trending green?), TIGER BEAT. Congratulations on hitting the cycle, Kyle!

And yet I'm thinking this might have been better placed on Tuesday, clued a bit tougher. Why? To more experienced solvers, the theme is obvious, probably mid-solve. But to someone just starting out, I think there's a good chance this may play as a themeless. If you're not looking for a theme (and beginners are often not), I think there's a good chance you won't see one, and there's no reveal to make the theme obvious. But if this played on Tuesday, where more of the solvers have a touch more experience, I think, more would be looking for a theme. FWIW.

Loren Muse Smith 6:32 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
pabloinnh 6:45 AM  

Smooth and easy, caught on early, and like others, was hoping for a U, but I'll take a U sound and say nice job. I was doing downs and somehow missed the ANO dodge, which is a beauty.

Nice puzzle, but LMS's biker story is what I'll remember from this morning. Major HAR.

Excellent Mondecito, KD. Thanks for the fun.

CDilly52 7:09 AM  

I love a language related theme. This one satisfied for sure. Add the fascinating discussion of the possibilities for execution of this type there from @LMS was icing on the Monday cupcake! Thanks!!

Some fun, fresh dill and a tiny bit of crunch. Had cop before REF, didn’t know TIGER BEAT, thought SOFA LEG and ANKLE BOOT were fun and fresh. Very easy but also entertaining and fun! Excellent Monday opus.

kitshef 7:12 AM  

Back-to-back pronunciation puzzles, oh joy. I would have preferred it if the last themer had ended in “beaut” or “butte”. It's a beaut? Bear Butte? But BEAR is in the puzzle, so that would need to change. Make that BOAR/OSA (a different kind of bear) and all is well.

Seems to me RAM could also work as a three-letter zodiac sign. Also RAT, PIG, DOG if we go to Chinese zodiac.

Loren Muse Smith 7:15 AM  

Vowel progression themes are interesting. English actually has about 15 vowel sounds, but let’s not split hairs. You can approach this idea from several angles.

1. a. Focus only on the orthography, the actual letters, sounds be damned: last, lest, list, lost, lust.

b. Focus on the orthography but go double: BANK BALANCE, BEER BELLY, BIG BIRD, BOOM BOXES, BURNING BUSH. (This is a set that was published several years ago sorry for the spoiler sue me.)

2. a. Focus on the sounds (like today): BAIT, BEAT, BITE, BOAT, BOOT. /eɪ/, /i/, /ɑɪ/, /oʊ/, /u:/ Bam. Done. But these vowels are “long” vowels, as it were.

b. Focus on the sounds, but make’em short: VAMPIRE BAT, PLACE A BET, CHAMP AT THE BIT, GOOGLE BOT, NOTHING BUT

3. Focus on one sound, /ər/, say, and show 6 spellings with all five vowels that represent this sound: heard, nerd, bird, word, curd, Skynyrd (Yo, @George Barany – did we ever finish his one?)

@ chefwen - Since today’s set is a sound-centric one, I’m not bothered that BOOT doesn’t have the letter U. Consider this set:

whey, oui, why, weau, woo

Ok. So I made up weau, but still. Pretty cool.

@jae, @Pete Saunders, @Chuck D - I’ve never given much thought to the difference between BOOT and Butte. I guess they’re considered two separate vowels? I’m too lazy to investigate. FWIW - I say news as /nooz/ and not /nyooz/.

“Bellyaching types” – teachers. Man, we’re the martyrs of the universe. I hear myself being all snarky snark but I can’t help it. I’m taken advantage of, put upon, undervalued, overworked, lied to, tricked. . . Sigh. I never complained when I was a cocktail waitress.

I loved being shown that the meaning of FUME includes a sense of its being quiet.

I thought the clue for ALIBI was odd. “Get out of jail” feels like you’re already there. I would think ALIBI keeps you out of jail.

PARTY BOAT – Once I was on a PARTY BOAT in Myrtle Beach, and there was some biker gang already on board, all sporting black t shirts with their names on the back. This guy (full biker regalia: bandana on head, tattoos, chained wallet. . .) had his back to me, so I could see his name. I yelled, Dennis!!! He turned around, and I said, Oh my gosh. I can’t believe it’s you! How long has it been? How the hell are you? I swear, he reacted just like anyone struggling to be polite while frantically trying to place me. Frozen smile, vague comments. . . I let him squirm for a bit before I told him I had just read his name and was messing with him. He was a magnificently good sport about it, and my wholesome gang hung out with his biker gang the whole cruise.

MR. Cheese 8:01 AM  

@LMS - on days that you don’t post .... “weau” is me.

RooMonster 8:01 AM  

Hey All !
The BOOT themer doesn't work for me. The other four themers have the long vowel sound in them, but BOOT is an 'ooh' sound, not a U sound. Like OOLONG, it's not ULONG, it's OOHLONG. Agree with those who say BUTTE or BEAUT would've been much better. But then you lose the four-letter consistency. So a flawed theme from the start. My two cents and all that.

For the puz as is, it was OK. Easy, it didn't require any writeovers from me, which is nice. 19 threes, kinda high. Want to see @mathgents rant on those.

Good F-ness, however.

@LMSs story reminds me of a biker story I have.
Was in Florida somewhere (forgot the town) during Spring Break time, wasn't there because i was on Spring Break from college, but a buddy had a job interview with some kind of hospital down there (he went to school to be a nurse), and he invited me along. We were heading out for a night on the town, but were relaxing at the hotel bar for a bit. There was a pool table, so I put my quarters down to play next. Turns out a biker guy won the game, so I had to play him. He must've been like 6'5", like @LMS, tattooed with his biker gang buddies. Luckily, I'm not very good at pool! I lost every game I played! Not even on purpose. We had a great time! I had visions of running down the street with eight motorcycles chasing me if I'd won!

Four F's

mathgent 8:15 AM  

I just looked up KOOLAID to see if it is still around. Yes, it is. I learned that the company has claimed that KOOLAID was not used in the Jonestown suicides. It was a cheaper product called Flavor Aid.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 8:26 AM  

I was once in the vicinity of Daytona Beach for a conference on the music of J. S. Bach, during Biker Week. The conferees were mainly huddling indoors, but I went out to soak in the ambiance and met a harpsichordist who had actually brought his leather jacket to do the same, we went to a bar together. Where we got sloshed with a bunch of bikers and attempted to convince them they should come to the big baroque concert that evening. They said they would but did not show up. I think maybe they were as scared of us as we, in general, were of them.

Oh, the puzzle. Something really annoyed me about UNLINED as 'like some notebook paper'.

Anonymous 8:46 AM  

Question for you veterans: I solve the "print" version. It contains no theme title or any hint that this is not themeless. I did not notice any theme at all but nonetheless finished quite handily, thinking it was a themeless and I am just such an awesome solver. Where did you all see the theme named or referred to? Are you all just that smart? Am I just thick headed?

Lewis 8:46 AM  

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

1. Grp. that might give you a hand on the shoulder (3)
2. What hot dogs do (4)
3. 50s president? (5)
4. Tony soprano? ((5)(6)
5. Early acceptor of mobile payments? (6)


Anonymous 9:05 AM  

Where’ve you been?

Z 9:13 AM  

Hand up for pondering the mysteries of BOOT and butte. Seriously, how do we ever learn to spell anything?

Wow. We don’t even have an ano problem and the topic is raised immediately. We’re just a diacritical bunch I suppose. Next, ladybugs.*

Hand up for nodding my head at Rex’s genre comment. We do like to slice and dice. My youngest went through an “emo sucks, emo pop is the best” phase that I still don’t understand. Next up, alt emo AFROPOP punk.

I’m thoroughly amused by everyone’s biker stories. Do you know who “sporting black t shirts with their names on the back ...bandana on head, tattoos, chained wallet” describes? My late brother. Most bikers I’ve known are more Fonzarelli than Hell’s Angels.

I liked this fine until ANKLEBOOT. Huh? I guess. I can picture what I imagine one is, but I have never heard that term before. Almost everything I know about footwear I’ve learned from crosswords, so I guess this is just another addition.

Today’s moment of Elvis (Not my first choice from this album, but the most readily available)

*If you don’t know you’re probably better off not googling that for a couple of days.

RAD2626 9:29 AM  

Fun Monday puzzle. Liked it. And liked the choice of progression.

FWIW, Title Bout would fit letter wise and would totally fit the letter progression, but I much prefer the “ sound” of ANKLE BOOT , even though the puzzle is a written medium.

burtonkd 9:35 AM  

Seems like it has been covered, but people keep questioning the long U.
The u in butte and beaut (known as long u) is actually a diphthong of ee and oo. OO in boot is listed as a "long" u since it doesn't require a consonant afterward(boo). Linguists studying multiple language pronunciation use the International Phonetic Alphabet to distinguish vowels, in which case boot is "but" and butte is "bjut", the "j" being the j-glide, a quick ee sound before the primary vowel.

Incidentally, I remember in primary school wondering what made vowels long and short since I could stretch out or say any of them quickly.

Since I'm a dad, I have to say at 20 across I was glad that I could Remember The Titans.

One of these days, I will go one tab page over and solidify the difference between ARALS and URALS. I'll have to find some other way to reach FaME (50d).

Nancy 9:39 AM  

The un-Mondayish clue for HECTARE right off the bat at 1D put me in a good mood. But then I got to the theme -- a dull one that is so very typically Monday. The clues were mostly straightforward, but an intriguing one for SOFA LEG made me smile. But the fill contains great stuff for @Tale Told by an Idiot. CLICK BAIT; STOOLIE; LURID; FROSTBITE; PARTY BOAT; SOFA LEG; GO EASY; ALL GONE. Bet he (or she) can have fun with that!

burtonkd 9:39 AM  

@Z, you'll have to be a little more specific than ladybugs, or at least a hint not to see gardening sites.

Petsounds 9:50 AM  

Unusually tasty for a Monday with some snazzy clues--e.g., ANKLEBOOT, HECTARE, CLICKBAIT, TIGERBEAT. I've been waiting for a puzzle that gave me a happy solve feeling, and this was it! My time was fast, but not nearly as fast as Rex's. As @Pete Saunders noted, I don't see how you can even read all the clues, much less type in the answers, in under three minutes. Unless "Rex" is really a robot and all those adorable kitten photos are just a clever ruse.

@LMS: Loved your party boat story! How bold of you to do that! Had you had a few party boat beverages before you yelled out, "Dennis!"?

jberg 9:55 AM  

I’ll be back later. For now, I’ll just say that BOOT was a letdown—not quite the right sound. BUTTE would work for sound, but not for pattern. Fatal flaw of this theme.

GILL I. 9:56 AM  

I loved this Monday entrance.....CLICK BAIT title: "Watch this ANIME without laughing for a chance to win 1,000,000 dollars (100% LEGIT). SCAM? Or something out of REN and Stimpy?
I like vowel progressions. If you look at the TIGER BEAT/STOOLIE/LURID little pile up section, you get them all. Just use your imagination.
Ah, yes....PARTY BOATs and memories, of course. During my years at Mexicana we would rent them things in San Francisco. We were always wining and dining our travel agent friends, and what better way than to get them on a little Bay cruise, offer them free food and drink, and hope they only use our airline to fly to Mexico....We tried the CLICK BAIT method because anything free for the travel agents would ensure we'd get the business? Sure....
I still have my pair of Lucy Swede Western ANKLE BOOTies. They were cute back in my TIGER BEAT days. And now I have a question for all you smarty pants doctors here...I got to my last entry (TEA) and I began wondering. I have the Mother of all styes or maybe it's pink eye (I don't know the difference) and I won't be seeing my doctor till tomorrow. My eye is practically shut. I heard that you can go the TEA ROUT and put used TEA bags on your eyelids and that will relieve the swelling...@webwinger? Any ideas? Bueller?

Anonymous 10:07 AM  

yeah, BOOT is not bUtte, but... the themers aren't just A E I O U sound long but also
- 2 words
- first word is 5 letters
- second word is 4 letters
- second word begins B and ends T (almost, but true phonetically)

that's pretty much a straitjacket. any takers for something better than ANKLEBOOT that fits everything?

Z 10:38 AM  

@Anon8:46 - Typically Sunday through Thursday puzzles have themes while Friday and Saturday are themeless. The NYT does not use puzzle titles except on Sunday. It is left to the solver to suss out the themes. Some puzzles will have a clue that reveals the theme, but others have nothing. What Rex and other bloggers list as the theme is their interpretation.

@burtonkd 9:35 - Boo. And I say that in the most complimentary way possible.

Masked and Anonymous 10:49 AM  

Typical. They gave U the BOOT.


OffTheGrid 11:06 AM  

Ruth, flute, lute, Buddha, truth, Subaru, Sue, rue, sucrose, lulu. You see my point.

egsforbreakfast 11:13 AM  

How is it that @pabloinnh can comment at 6:45 on the 7:15 post by @LMS?

By coincidence I had my cursor on the square for the second letter of ELO and had only the A of 45 D and hadn’t read the clue for 45 D yet. So when I saw ... band with the hit “Don’t Bring Me Down”, i confusedly pounced on Animals as the answer. It fits and is more or less an accurate response to the clue, with the era being slightly off. Several bewildered nanoseconds ensued.

JC66 11:20 AM  


I think LMS deleted her original comment (6:22) and re-posted.

Reno retired 11:37 AM  

Thinking about bikers. Reno annually draws thousands of bikers at a weeklong Street Vibrations event. Interesting factoid is that California allows bikes to travel between lanes in traffic and Nevada does not. Thinking California is hoping for an increase in organ donations. ☺️🎲

Mary McCarty 12:02 PM  

@LMS WHOA! loved your biker story. Gotta say, there’s something about a biker who has his full name “Dennis” on his back instead of some diminutive. Speaking of biker names, way back in my college years I knew a biker named “Tiny”—yeah, you can imagine what he looked like. We dropped acid once and played on the swings all day while I told him stories from Greek mythology. He was really freaked out by Prometheus’ liver getting eaten out every day by an eagle. Another time, he got into a bad accident and needed back surgery. When he woke up he was really bummed that whoever stitched him up didn’t line up his enormous full-back tattoo correctly. Aw, Tiny, what a cultured soul!

pabloinnh 12:14 PM  

Thanks a lot @JC66. There goes any claim I had to clairvoyance.

NH has a big "Bike Week" in the summer at a place called Weirs Beach which also attracts thousands of bikers. I think the attraction is that we have no state law requiring helmets, and consequently you rarely see riders wearing them.

Thinning the herd, thinning the herd...

Carola 12:15 PM  

The CLICK, the BEAT, the PARTY BOAT (with FROST BITE from digging around the ice in the cooler for the last one of the kind you want to drink?) - I liked this lively take on the venerable sound progression theme - though, like others, I resisted the BOOT.

@Anonymous 8:46 - My first impulse was to say that I think it's just a matter of accumulating crossword-solving experience, with themes involving vowel changes or other sorts of word ladders. But then - how to recognize such a theme the first time? I wish I could remember!

CDilly52 12:17 PM  

LOL. Typo alert. I means dress “fill” at 7:09 this morning but have to chuckle because I kinda like the idea of “fresh dill” with my “crunch.”

Mary McCarty 12:18 PM  

@Reno retired: Methinks California has worse traffic than Nevada, so lane-splitting would be more of an issue. On the other hand, Nevada passed its mandatory helmet law 20 years before California did, so you might be right.

Crimson Devil 12:18 PM  

I had less enjoyable biker experience, down at Gulf honky tonk extraordinare Flora-Bama, during misspent youth. Seems that I lucked out and won coupla/three games of 8 ball on classy quarter-fed table (side bets encouraged), and biker right out of central casting (coulda been Dennis), expressed displeasure at my good fortune and offered to “whup out a can” on my young soul. His “lady” friend whispered to me that this was his livelihood, along Gulf and SE Coasts (don’t think I encountered him at Myrtle Beach, tho spent too much time there, too) so I decided that this was not the hill I’s prepared to die on, and somehow lost next game; his table.

CT2Napa 12:39 PM  

@anon 10:07

Website for vacation in Scotland
(maybe not a Monday clue)


Hanedawg 12:42 PM  

@jae...How bout words like butane? And the actor Steve Buscemi who was known by every single person in high school as Steve Bue’semi or just plain Bue.

Master Melvin 1:04 PM  

Where I come from (long Island) a PARTY BOAT is a fishing boat on which you pay your fare and walk onto the boat and are given a place at the rail for the day or half day. Also known as an OPEN BOAT, and I believe in some places a HEAD BOAT.

This is in distinction from a CHARTER BOAT, in which an individual or smaller group of people pay a larger fee for exclusive use of the boat & crew for the agreed-upon period of time.

Kind of like the difference between getting on a bus & hiring a private car and driver.

Teedmn 1:07 PM  

I had, in the back of my mind, an idea of what the theme was although I hadn't really looked at the answers while trying to zoom through the Monday grid. I got to 52A and, because I had CLOSE to in at 30D, I threw in PARTY tent even though I had read the clue enough to see "offshore". This made me pay attention, replace tent with BOAT and it readied me to see ANKLE BOOT.

47A, SOFA LEG, that's a beaut of an answer.

Thanks, Kyle Dolan, this was fun.

Barbara S. 1:19 PM  

I have a really mild biker story. The first time I ever went into a bar legally, I did so with a group of friends, also fledglings. We had our own table and in the opposite corner was a group of bikers, who made us all a bit nervous – more on principle than because they were doing anything all that scary. At one point I went up to the bar alone and a young guy I didn’t know struck up a conversation. He was cute (as I would have said then) and I thought he was pretty engaging but I wasn’t looking for anything to ignite and it didn’t. Later I realized he was one of the biker party, the youngest by far and largely lacking the look. So the noob barfly met the noob biker. You know, that may have been my one chance to become a biker chick – one of the many roads not taken. Vroom.

Old Actor 1:28 PM  

Party Boat: It was opening night at The Old Globe in San Diego. The play was Troilus and Cressida. I was playing Aneus head of the Trojan army. Last act, the Greek army was filling the stage awaiting my entrance. Incredible entrance from the back of the house down the main aisle led by soldiers carrying banners to blaring trumpets. Magnificent! I took my place center stage and addressed the Greeks. Got a couple of lines into my speech and went higher than a kite, mouth went dry, I froze. I don't remember how long I stood there before something came out of my mouth, probably something not written by the Bard. Somehow the play ended and we went to the opening night party on a PARTY BOAT. When I arrived on board in my snazzy white slacks and blue blazer, the Producer met me with,"Did you ever finish that speech?" Then someone spilled red wine down the front of my pristine white trousers. A night to remember!

My only excuse for that horrible event was that we had done a full run through that morning and another that afternoon. It ran over three hours and by the time I made that entrance it was after 11PM. My brain was Silly Putty. We should have had the afternoon off! The review in the LA Times mentioned my gaff, but, thankfully didn't print my name, which will not appear here either.

David 1:37 PM  

I often start Mondays with across clues. Today I just put in 34 before getting to the downs. Two of them were wrong. Everything to the 40A row was right. Had Canaveral before Party Boat because I rarely think of themes; this one is nice. Had Yeas before Ayes. The downs made both obvious.

Quick and clean, conventionally sexed puzzle.

GILL I. 2:04 PM  

@Old Actor 1:28....I LOVED your dry mouth tale of woe and (sorry) but I really laughed loud. I'm imagining that scene! I remember the time I had to address about 250 Travel Agents. It was my first! I had memorized every single line. When I got to the podium I just had this silly smile on my face and nothing came out. Someone yelled "TELL A JOKE!" I laughed and laughed and finally got through my boring memorized lines....I Might've enjoyed my embarrassment more had someone spilled wine on my dress!
Alas...I don't have any biker tales.... :-)

Beth C 2:57 PM  


Not only is KOOLAID still around, it is in great demand by folks who dabble in dyeing their own yarn and fleece. It's a good alternative to other, more dangerous non-foodsafe dyes, and since it has citric acid built in, does not need a mordant added. There you go -- more information than you ever wanted. ;)

Anonymous 2:58 PM  

You’ve almost got it right. But you’re a bit off. The tools in the costume you’re describing are what serious motorcyclists called pirates— for obvious reasons.
As for Fonzarelli, and this is something almost everybody gets wrong, but Garry Marshall got right, he rode a Triumph. And that’s crucial because the hot bikes in the 50s and 60s were the Triumphs. (Set aside that Happy Days uses a less hot triumph— A scrambler, Trophy 500)
In the Wild One Johnny ( Brando) rides a Triumph. Anyone who wanted the leading edge rode British. They’re big twins were it. Harleys were heavy, I’ll handling and poor performers. As they remain today.
Anyway, watch for motorcyclist everyone. Almost all the horror stories involving loss of limbs and life involve cars hitting the cyclist.
I have a theory about the all-to-familiar refrain “ I never saw him” from a driver as the meat wagon hauls the cyclist away. But I”ll save it unless there’s another post like Reno retired’s which betrays such a profound lack of understanding that it can’t go unanswered.

Frantic Sloth 2:58 PM  

@GILL I. Just for you.

jae 3:29 PM  

When I said I learned about the OO sound being the long U sound I was referring to the description below that Jeff provided a link to at Xwordinfo.

A "u" long sound doesn't sound exactly the same in a word as it does when pronouncing the letter by itself. When pronouncing the letter by itself, it is "yoo" but as a letter in a word it simply makes an "oo" sound (examples: costume, salute). The "u" makes a long sound when it is followed by an "e" (examples: cue, blue, flute).

Anonymous 3:30 PM  

Two summers ago in the middle of horrible wildfires in BC, we were having burgers in an outdoor tavern near Crawford Bay when a large "gang" of bikers drove in, all fitting LMS's description (full biker regalia: bandana on head, tattoos, chained wallet. . .). They raised a few hairs on the back of my neck.

When my husband got up to get another beer, the group at one table asked him if the pizza was any good. He talked with them and it turns out they were a biker club from Idaho who had come across the border to assist the BC firefighters. Sometimes a conversation can make a world of difference.

GILL I. 3:42 PM  

@Frantic 2:58...Where DO you find these little gems? They make me laugh - except for that kitty one. I'm hoping they were really those little bean bags?

Anonymous 3:43 PM  

My very wet dream in the late 60s and early 70s was a Norton 750 Commando. Can't remember how I found out about it, but I think it was some TV show.

Another Anon 3:56 PM  

Donor organ/motorcycle jokes have been around forever. Lighten up.

jberg 4:06 PM  

@Lewis, @jae, others -- first, note that Jeff Chen, wisely, indicates that he is not convinced by the article he links to on the long U sound. Said article makes the Uniquely wrong claim that U in words is never pronounced the same as it is as a letter. In reality, there is no Uniform rule governing that. (Uniform rule gives you both pronunciations).

Our English cousins go much further, making almost all long Us the dipthong -- I've heard folks on the BBC Newshour say "Nic-a-ra-gyu-ah," for example.

This is a good time to repeat one of my rules for easier solving: ignore confusing detail in the clue. Never hear of WizKid? So what? You know he or she is a pop singer from Africa, so you've got at least a 95% chance of being right if you go with AFROPOP--particularly since it fits.

@Anonymous 8:56--beyond what Z said about themes, they are generally longer entries, and they have to be symmetrically place in the puzzle. So you can usually tell they are theme answers even if you don't know what the theme is yet.

jberg 4:08 PM  

I'm with Master Melvin; in New England, too, a PARTY BOAT is for fishing. A boat where you go out and drink is a booze cruise.

Z 4:52 PM  

@Anon2:58 - "serious motorcyclists" is an interesting construction. I strongly suspect that my brother would have disagreed with your definition of "serious motorcyclists." BTW - I was quoting @LMS with that description.

@jberg - @LMS teased us with the claim of "15 vowel sounds" and then didn't elaborate. Nor did she really explain whether or not "weau" is pronounced like "woe" or "whoa." Nevertheless, I'd trust her explanation of the finer distinctions between a long U and a dipthonged U.

Joaquin 5:32 PM  

My motorcycle story: When I was 16 I announced to my father that I was going to buy a motorcycle. After he ranted for a while I pointed out that my friend James had a motorcycle. My father, not a particularly humorous man, asked if I was referring to James whose father is a clergyman. "Yes, that James." "Well," replied my father, "James has an in with the lord. You don't." And that was the end of that discussion!

BobL 5:43 PM  

Owning a restaurant on a busy Wis. interstate brought all sorts to it, inc. bikers galore. One group I noticed came in on many a weekend, usually 6 or 8. I happened to be outside when they arrived one Saturday morning and couldn't have been more impressed with the beauty of the Harleys. One being more spectacular than the others. A straggler with the group noticed my wonderment and said something like, "You got good taste, that's Mr. Davidson's ride." As in Harley-Davidson.

Anoa Bob 6:09 PM  

I have suggested some ways to avoid the ANO/AÑO issue by cluing ANO as a two word partial, as happens today. You could go the Wheel of Fortune route, "Give me ___". My favorite would be "Start of an orgy?"

The bigger question, though, is why ANO can't be simply clued "Acapulco anus" or some such. Why are we so squeamish about using the word for the lower terminus of the digestive system? It's a natural and very important part of our body. Why not clue it as you would clue any other body part? It would be the adult thing to do. Clueing ANO as, say "Year in Spain" only highlights the silliness.

When I was an undergrad at San Diego State in the early 70's, I lived in a house with five or six other renters. The guy who ran the deal was a radical biker of the highest order. Made the guys in "Easy Rider" look like Boy Scouts. His riding buddies would come by often and it was like having a custom chopper show on a weekly basis. Loved the look, but they were unsafe as hell. My present bike is a 2000 Kawasaki Vulcan 500. It has the Japanese bike reliability---still runs great---and the looks of the 50s and 60s British bikes. Love it.

Monty Boy 6:21 PM  

I liked this one a lot. My biggest wrong entry was FROZETOES instead of FROSTBITE, corrected by crosses. I like mine better.

Another fun fact about KOOLAID. It was invented in Hastings, Nebraska. Fun for me because my dad grew up near there and my grandparents lived there in retirement. Also, a high school student I tutored in math went to Hastings College and is using his math as an engineer for Audi.

Anonymous 7:26 PM  

I have no doubt that you’re brother would’ve balked. That’s why he wore that ridiculous costume. He wanted people to look at him, to pay attention. I don’t know your brother of course, but I do deal with guys that sound an awful like him all the time.
May I ask what kind of helmet he used? ( I have a guess). Did he wear leather? An aerostitch? Did he ride year round. What kind of weather gear did use? That last one assumes he rode in the rain.
Look, the pirate costume Loren so ably described, is nearly always a signal that the rider wearing it isn’t a serous motorcyclists, but rather a poseur who wants others to know that he rides a motorcycle.
I note you didn’t address the second of my response to your claims.
Perhaps you should defer to someone who not only knows bikes, bikers has raced, built and sold them for clos3 to three decades.
Or not. Bloviate on. T

Joe Dipinto 7:32 PM  

I don't have a biker story.

El ano. (The end.)

JC66 8:07 PM  

@Joe D


Z 9:28 PM  

@Anon7:26 - Fascinating. As I said before "serious motorcyclist" is an interesting construction.

Frantic Sloth 9:53 PM  

@GILL I. 342pm. That's why I post them! Of course those are fake cats! OMG I like animals more than most people, so trust me when I say never would I watch, let alone share something that even hints at actual animal abuse/cruelty. Amen.

Barb 11:14 PM  

I thought surely you'd comment on having another police-themed clue/answer in STOOLIE. Of all times to have those show two days in a row-- one of those "small but telling" signs of whether their overall editorial direction is paying any attention. As we already know, apparently not. If Tuesday had made it 3 days in a row I'd cancel and I'm watching for the future.

Loren Muse Smith 2:34 AM  

@Z – here are all our vowel sounds, more or less:

bait, bet, bite, boat, beaut, boot, bat, bit, bot, butt, bought, bout. That’s 12.

Plus the schwa sound and the vowel sounds in put and Boyd. That makes 15. Your mileage may vary. In many dialects, bought and bot rhyme, so those speakers have one less vowel sound.

Loren Muse Smith 2:36 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ada 7:12 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ada 7:14 AM  

Regarding ANO, I completely agree.
As for MALES, some transgender men do menstruate... Not quite sure what you’re getting at.

Ada 7:33 AM  

“Drink the flavor aid” just doesn’t have the same ring to it, ya know?

MJB 12:43 PM  

A milk bar in Poland and other former communist countries is a cafeteria; cheap food.

Okoume 10:00 PM  


thefogman 9:30 AM  

BAIT, BEAT, BITE, BOAT, BOOT....Dull as dishwater. Why even bother? Next!

spacecraft 10:40 AM  

Typical Monday fare, nice and breezy, easy as ABC. Somewhat predictable theme, but done fairly freshly, and solid fill excepting only the RMK and that snake fella. Oh, and SOFALEG? I guess so, but it seems they basically just have feet; there's not much "leg" to it. All in all, a birdie, especially with DOD REBA.

Burma Shave 10:48 AM  


It was CLOSE enough to AFROPOP – GOEASY tapping TOES and feet –
when only MALES EMERGEd on top, Sister ROSETTA had the BEAT.


Diana, LIW 11:48 AM  

I had one little teensy bit of worry - because of KAA. Otherwise, a fine Monday indeed.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rainforest 12:31 PM  

Easy peasy yet with a certain flair. Since I recently had a flu shot, ANKLE BOOT causes me no problems. However I do wonder whether any thought was given to a possible 6th themer: megabyte. Coulda been a contenda.

A perfectly serviceable Monday.

leftcoaster 2:34 PM  

Today, let's give the three-letter words more respect than usual.

I count 19 of them, both acrosses and downs, especially REN, LEO, CAF, REF, ELO, and downs ESA, OTC. Best of them all, the exotic python, KAA. Take your own pick among the others.

Yes, overall a fine Monday, as @Diana notes.

leftcoaster 6:04 PM  

With B as the first of a four-letter word, the U in "BUOY" may be one of the rare vowel sounds that could replace the OO in the a-e-i-o-oo progression used in this puzzle. Can't come up with any others. (So what? Just playing around with it.)

rondo 6:16 PM  

This was what it was supposed to be. What did constructors do before REBA came along?

rondo 6:23 PM  

A real U sound, 9 letters long, could be about your black eye: REAL BEAUT. Last word 5 instead of 4 letters.

strayling 6:40 PM  

Really wanted the last themer to be WHAT A BEUT, clued as Aussie slang for (something or other).

New knowledge of the day: TIGER BEAT, which I've never heard of.

Learning US culture, one puzzle at a time.

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