Lymphocyte-producing organs / MON 6-29-20 / Annual award for architects / Pop-up store opportunity for bargain hunters

Monday, June 29, 2020

Constructor: Peter Gordon

Relative difficulty: Extremely easy (2:22, the fastest I've ever solved a NYTXW)

THEME: Two-word phrases where letters in second word appear in order inside the first word

Theme answers:
  • SENATE SEAT (18A: Position sought every six years)
  • MAIN MAN (20A: Close guy friend)
  • SURROUND SOUND (26A: Home theater feature, maybe)
  • PRITZKER PRIZE (43A: Annual award for architects)
  • BEST BET (52A: Safest course of action)
  • SAMPLE SALE (56A: Pop-up store opportunity for bargain hunters)
Word of the Day: PRITZKER PRIZE (43A) —
The Pritzker Architecture Prize is awarded annually "to honor a living architect or architects whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture". Founded in 1979 by Jay A. Pritzker and his wife Cindy, the award is funded by the Pritzker family and sponsored by the Hyatt Foundation. It is considered to be one of the world's premier architecture prizes,[2]and is often referred to as the Nobel Prize of architecture. (wikipedia)
• • •

Whoa. Beat my old speed record by about 10 seconds, which is kinda stunning. I was wondering if I'd ever see the 2:30s again, and then bam, low 2:20s. Weird. I credit my speed not to actual speed, but to a more efficient way of moving through the grid (which led to actual speed, I guess, but honestly I don't think I was getting answers quicker or typing faster than I normally do). My friend Rachel Fabi told me once that she starts easy puzzles (so, M or T, say) by getting the first three Acrosses in order (so, the answers along the top of the grid) and then turning to the Downs and just solving straight through, all the Downs that start at the top of the grid, bang bang bang thirteen times. Today I did that and managed to get all 13 of those Downs on the first try (though I misspelled ABSALOM, the second and third vowels being kind of a crap shoot for me (5D: Son of David in the Old Testament)). Solve was more chaotic as I moved down the grid, but any Across that gives you the first letter in a bunch of Downs is clearly the best Across to get. Like, SELMA and RESET are both five-letter Acrosses, but SELMA is way more valuable because it gives me the first letters in the two longer Downs that go through the middle of the grid, whereas RESET gives me jack.

I also benefited from a. having heard of the PRITZKER PRIZE, and b. never seeing the ALGORE clue, which would've taken forever to read and would've befuddled me (22A: In his Webby Lifetime Achievement Award acceptance speech (which is limited to five words), he said "Please don't recount this vote"). You see how ALGORE gives you no first letters of Downs? No point looking there unless you have to. Also, the puzzle was just easy. Anyhoo, so fast! Despite the ABSALOM spelling trials and not getting the HEROS clue at all (I get it now) (38D: Long lunches?), and not being sure of SPLEENS until I had the first three letters (41D: Lymphocyte-producing organs). Total cakewalk. Also probably helps that I didn't have a drink w/ dinner tonight. Alcohol, I am finding, is a *definite* slower-downer, where solving is concerned. Even one drink (which is all I ever have) just screws with the synapse firing or whatever the hell happens in your brain. Solve sober, kids. Unless you don't give a damn about speed, in which case solve as drunk as you like. Have a nice day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:00 AM  

My three thoughts while solving this puzzle:

1. Rex is gonna hate it.
2. The Al Gore quote is worth the price of admission.
3. 61A (:) reminds me of this grammar rule:
“A colon can completely change the meaning of a sentence.” For example:
James ate his friend’s lunch.
James ate his friend’s colon.

Frantic Sloth 12:01 AM  

I could go one of two ways here. Either accept that this theme is Mondee cute and manageable for a newbie or snark.
Let's see....cute/snark...cute/snark.... ⚖️

Oh, lookee here! There's 2 words, but one of the 2 words is also contained in the other word! And as if by magic the impossible is made 💤💤💤💤😴

Where am I?

Oh, that's right - did someone say NODOZ??? NODOZ happens along about halfway through the puzzle...coincidence? I think not.

To be fair...ish, the rest of the puzzle was a tad crotchety for a Mondee. Don't get me wrong, I liked ZYDECO, ALGORE, and ABSALOM. Not sure the same would be said by a beginner looking for an "introduction" to the NYTXW.
But let it never be said that I worry about other people's problems. They're on their own. If it works for me, then all's well and good and fair in love and, war.
Overall,, ignoring the theme, this wasn't half, bad.


John Child 12:11 AM  

A very Trumpian post: it is entirely about how great Rex is while saying nothing about the puzzle.

Tale Told By An Idiot 12:22 AM  

Reset gas gauge? Best bet, ban Beano.

teevoz 12:56 AM  

so fast that you list Constructor as constructor.

Anonymous 1:09 AM  

Why is the constructor "constructor" instead of Peter Gordon, is this an inside joke?

egsforbreakfast 1:15 AM  

Wow, Rex really did great, and even got in an anti-alcohol message. I quite enjoy having two or three glasses of wine and then solving in an unhurried fashion, which was 5:35 today. I liked it a lot better when Rex was raving about Negronis than today with his WCTU flogging.

Puzzle was Monday-good. Themers weren’t important to the solve, but they were solid. The fill was full of fun that was probably just coincidental:

HEDGE OIL ( good advice for the next 6 mos.)
LIAR - LAYER -DATE ( men lie, chickens lay, men lie to their dates)
SEXY -OBITS -THEM ( I seen some death notices that kinda turned me on)

Maybe it was all intentional?

rexenheck 1:16 AM  

Horrible Gross. I didn't finish cause the cross with Beano, Apsalom and Impei were complete jibber jabber. Everything else was baby food.

Joe Dipinto 1:21 AM  

Constructor: CONSTRUCTOR?

NB 2:00 AM  

ZYDECO crossing OBITS was brutal for a Monday.

chefwen 2:45 AM  

We were in Vietnam in 2008 which was also the Year of the Rat, as is this year. Went to a marble quarry where we bought a large, smiling Buddha standing one legged on top of a turtle. They told us it meant Happy, long life, we also purchased a large vase that I fell in love with. After chatting for a while they found out that my husband aka puzzle partner was born in the year of the Rat and insisted on giving us a marble Rat standing on a pile of coins and said if we wouldn’t accept the gift they would be offended. So I now have a little rat in my front garden. I was a little unsure if we would ever see our Buddha or the vase again, but two months later they pulled into the Nawiliwili harbor and are on display in the back garden and front entrance. Fond memories.

Never heard of the PRITZKER PRIZE the theme helped me there

Fun Monday.

jae 3:59 AM  

Medium, but I had to pause to check on the roast chicken and veggies, so I pretty much forgot what was going on in the puzzle while I was in the kitchen.

Like @Rex I never saw the AL GORE clue. Now that I’ve had a chance to read it I have to like this puzzle.

Anonymous 4:09 AM  

Couldn't have managed without getting the connection with word and gray squares with that Prize, which is a dreadful spelling! But a nice breezy start to the week.

Walter Mischel 4:22 AM  

Re: Late yesterday comments: Almost everyone who voted for Trump would fail the marshmallow test. Unfortunately it’s a Bell Curve thing and there’s not much you can do about it.

manitou 4:44 AM  

Bonus points for the consistency of all themers being alliterative.

Hungry Mother 5:32 AM  

Almost a Natick, saved by the theme. Things were sailing along until I was almost defeated by the bayou.

Loren Muse Smith 5:44 AM  

Peter Gordon is one of my favorite constructors. SAMPLE SALE was the first one I got, and I loved it, settled in to uncover the others.

Rex – the unstressed vowels in ABSALOM, are a kind of a crap shoot for anyone; they’re both schwas and hence the word could arguably be spelled any number of ways. Absulum, Absilom, Absolam, Absilim, Absulim. . . One of the reasons English is such a bitch to spell.

While I’m here. . . most non-native English speakers didn’t get the schwa memo, so they pronounce all the vowels as best they can. Where an American says “Methodist Episcopal”

METH*uh*dust / uh PISS cuh pull

a non-native speaker says

MAYTH oh deest / ay PISS coe pahl

and that’s part of what gives them an “accent.”

The little indicator in our Ford Ranger pickup alerts me that I should “check gage.” Not GAUGE. Hah!

@Joaquin – I love that colon joke. Another funny deal is all the tweets and posts by women who think they’re talking about how good their MAIN MAN smells, his cologne, but they misspell it as COLON. Now here’s a case where spelling and correctness absolutely matter because the mistake would cause, well, consternation.

I love the smell of my guy’s colon.
I can still smell my boyfriend’s colon on my pillow.

@Tale Told By An Idiot – good one!

LICE. Well, ick. I recently helped drive some family members to the airport as they headed to Maine. My sister’s mother and father-in-law had (in addition to masks and gloves) shower caps to wear in the airport and on the plane. My brother-in-law and fellow traveler was upset at the spectacle, but I suggested he walk behind them and quietly tell people staring at them that they had LICE. Now there’s a sure-fire way to get people to social distance from you, right?

GILL I. 5:59 AM  

I always wonder about the people seated around this big table and throw out some possibilities for product names. BEANO is one of them. I thought Sony's QRIOCITY was bad enough and I hope to never see it in my puzzle, but now I'll add BEANO. If I were to invent a product that got rid of everyone's flatulence, I'd call it "Sans flatus." In the warning label, I'd be sure to have GAS GAUGE visible to prevent getting sued.
Ah...the puzzle. We have a SEAT, a MAN, a SOUND, a PRIE, a BET and a SALE. And they all walked into a bar.
On Mondays, I look for something to bring on a smile or a memory. The only thing that stands out is a SEXY COLON. Oh, wait....that kinda falls into the BEANO GAS GAUGE SPLEENS LICE category.
Why take NO DOZ when you can drink Red Bull.

DavidP 5:59 AM  

The iPad App doesn’t name the CONSTRUCTOR today.

ChuckD 6:17 AM  

I know Peter Gordon is white and male - a group Rex despises - but to not credit him as the constructor? I’m assuming he has something more personal against Peter - because he just provides his solve here and says nothing about the puzzle as if it magically appeared. Gordon’s Fireball puzzles are difficult - and I can see how this one could be tough for a Monday - but it was easy for me. Like Rex I had no hiccups - knew most of it cold. The PRITZKER PRIZE/ZYDECO crossing was cool and I liked GAS GAUGE crossing AL GORE. The theme was weak and I didn’t like the shaded boxes - but overall a pretty crunchy Monday.

Lorelei Lee 6:35 AM  

Any Monday that avoids Oreo, Oboe, Ono, Ante, and decades old PPP deserves a Gold Star.

Aw @Rex, you mean all you ever wanted was a puzzle where you could set the land speed record? Why didn't ya say so?

@LMS, here in Furloughville, dress habits have become strictly practical. My walking/gardening outfit consists of denim shorts one size two large from Costco (they didn't have my size but were super cheap), a white blouse to deflect the sun from freckle-prone arms, hard black shoes with white socks because they feel good, and my husband's old golf hat. I'll now consider a shower cap.

@FranticS, you're in the running for Post of the Year, Unmitigated Hilarity. Fingers crossed!

Lewis 6:41 AM  

I am amazed at Peter Gordon. He churns them out -- more than a puzzle a week -- but they don't feel churned out, as if they were spit out of a computer. They are cleanly made with care and originality. Today's theme, i.e., has never been done before, never like this. I repeat, never.

And here's something else about Peter. Whenever I've emailed him with a question or with a theme idea, I always hear back from him within a day, and often within an hour. He simply operates at a quicker pace than normal mortal souls, without sacrificing quality.

When that crossword Hall of Fame finally gets erected in Natick, Peter should be among the first to go in. Thank you PG, for another beaut!

Geezer 7:06 AM  

Just stop! Really!

John Wesley 7:14 AM  

It really isn't METH*uh*dust. It's METH*uh*dist. I'm the founder. I know.

SouthsideJohnny 7:14 AM  

More bogus nonsense and shoddy editing by Shortz and his staff. Epilepsy does not “cause” seizures. In fact, this is taken directly from the Epilepsy Foundation’s web site: “ The seizures in epilepsy may be related to a brain injury or a family tendency, but often the cause is completely unknown. The word "epilepsy" does not indicate anything about the cause of the person's seizures or their severity.”

Anonymoose 7:18 AM  

Did you use TWO instead of TOO to please LMS?

kitshef 7:21 AM  

Funny Rex set a record on this as I thought it was too hard for Monday and probably for Tuesday. Never heard of SAMPLE SALE. Probably heard of but did not remember PRITZKER PRIZE. Did anyone get ABSALOM from the clue, rather than the crosses?

@Lorelei Lee - check out 11 down.

kitshef 7:24 AM  

Also ... when did HEROS become a word? Never, that's when.

Anonymous 7:26 AM  


This sentence is from the Mayo Clinic website: "The most common cause of seizures is epilepsy."

You need to correct them.

Z 7:31 AM  

So easy I finished a couple answers without bothering with the clues, I-PEI and ALGO—. Hand up for knowing the PRITZKER PRIZE and really liking SURROUND SOUND. The other themers seemed a tad mundane. The easiness is a bit surprising to those of us who solve Gordon’s Fireball puzzles every week. He also puts out a news based puzzle that’s fun.

@Joaquin and @Muse with the competing COLON riffs are a great way to start the week.

@GILL I - If I remember correctly, BEANO’s main competition is GAS-X. Apparently flatulence and creativity are mutually exclusive. The next competitor will probably go with Pull-My-Finger.

What is with the conspiracy theories? My guess is Rex works from a template and forgot to update the spot where the constructor’s name goes. You know, a “shit happens” moment.

The paper has gray cells instead of circles. The print version looks so much better.

pabloinnh 7:33 AM  

Saw all those shaded squares and deduced almost instantly that something was up,so I sailed through this waiting for the good old revealer somewhere near the bottom. Not there. So I went back to look at what I had been doing and saw what was going on. Nice enough on a Monday.

@Joaquin-I agree that colons can change meaning, but commas save lives, e. g.--

Let's eat, Grandpa.
Let's eat Grandma.


Nice Mondecito, Peter (and) Gordon. Thanks for the fun.

Chad Jeremy 7:35 AM  

@John Child (12:11 am)

True...except that in Michael's case, there is at least some substance to the brag.

Ashy 7:53 AM  

The NYT e-edition version has gray squares.

TTrimble 8:08 AM  

@kitshef lists the plural spelling HEROS specifically for the case of the sandwich (else, HEROES).

MarthaCatherine 8:19 AM  

I maintain that the speeds Rex poses are bogus. You can't even READ the clues that fast, much less also type them in. It's not a matter of special skill or knowledge or voodoo; it's simple physics and brain-to-typing-fingers morphovulence (that's the scientific nomenclature, which I just made up).

My theory on how he (and all other speed solvers) does it: He reads the whole thing first at his leisure without entering the clues. Then he reads them again and answers them at lightning speed because he's already familiar with the clues. I know, I know, I've seen the little videos that are guaranteed not to have been speeded up, but I still say they've already read the clues.

And, as others have said, Rex is most affronted and piqued when his speed is slowed down.

After all that pique on my part: although I'm most definitely not a speed solver, this is one of the easiest puzzles I've ever done.

And apparently I'm the only one who confidently entered tICs for 14 across.

RooMonster 8:36 AM  

Hey All !
Second words embedded in first words of a two-word phrase. Good theme for a MonPuz, but i didn't use the theme to aid in my solve, which I can't remember the last time that happened. Took till I finished (in normal 4x Rex) to see it. Used to finish in 3x Rex, lately it's been 4x Rex. Not sure if he's getting faster, or I'm getting slower.

40 black squares today, but there are 6 cheater squares, so that explains the higher-than-normal count. (38 usually max)(what's teo extra blocks amongst friends?)

Nice Scrabblyness floating around. An M in the last square, a present for @Anoa Bob. A low POC count, too.

One F (not FARE) har

Barbara S. 8:45 AM  

There was COLON. And then BEANO crossing Santa ANA winds kinda bummed me out.

But LON Chaney is famous for playing @QuasiMojo!! Or wait, maybe it was his elder brother with a similar spelling.

SNEERER reminded me of SNEERY, the ninth dwarf. (Well, he was less vile than SLEAZY, his eviler twin.)

That clue for LICE -- "Parasitic insects that suck" -- was off-putting and eww-producing. It was accurate, but gee, couldn't he have softened the blow somehow? How about "Classroom infestation."

I really hoped the answer to "Facing the pitcher" was something about preparing to drink sangria but there weren't enough squares.

I liked ACTI crossing ANTI, ELMO crossing SELMA, and ELSE crossing ELLE.

Anonymous 9:00 AM  

Please stop trying to out Rex Rex.

Anonymous 9:00 AM  

No, that was one accurate statement.

albatross shell 9:03 AM  

ABSALOM ABSALOM, a double in Bible and
Faulkner: A tip of the hat to the theme?

And who will first criticize Rex, the American comic book lecturer, for not knowing how to spell a Faulkner title?
No, it's ain't me.
Which story is weirder? ABSALOM in the Bible or in Faulkner?
The novel is is relevant to this BLM world. Incest? Well, maybe not so bad? Black blood? Unforgiveable.

Easy puzzle if you knew ABSALOM. Did not know PRITZER but theme and PRITZER solved that.

OREO ARIA IRAS ELLE TET and a near ANTe. GOOD Monday fare. Is this ACTI from The Green Paint Mystery play?

A solid Monday.

Z 9:12 AM  

@TTrimble - I am a prophet! Did not expect two in less than a week, but I can’t say I’m surprised.

@MarthaCatherine - Oh Ye of little faith. Watch this and then get back to us. Yes, that’s right, Rex isn’t all that fast when it comes to the real speed demons and the fastest can solve a whole week of puzzles in less time than I can do a Saturday. If you don’t have 20 minutes for that video just google “Dan Feyer crossword” and examples of him solving single puzzles will come up.

HEROS vis à vis HEROES is why “spelling” is just so much arbitrary nonsense. Even when I “know” the correct spelling I double check. I vaguely recall that the person is spelt differently than the sandwich but always have to make sure. And then there’s the whole question of why Bowie called his album “Gyros.” Spelling? Bah! Humbug!

QuasiMojo 9:13 AM  

Yes @Barbara S. He was the one in the silent version.

Petsounds 9:22 AM  

Surprised that so few people here have heard of the Pritzker Prize. It's a biggie. And JB Pritzker is the current governor of Illinois. Just FYI.

Not as easy-breezy as some Mondays but more fun. The ALGORE clue, which I did read, should be in the running for Clue of the Year. Excellent! ABSALOM, ABSALOM!--Faulnker novel. My big mistake was in 64A, where I didn't finish reading the clue (D'oh!) after "Newspaper pieces..." because it was so totally clear that the answer was OPEDS. Lesson learned. Theme was kinda meh--more fun for Peter than for me.

@Lorelei Lee: I'm with you about OREO and handing out prizes for avoiding it. Alas, it wasn't avoided in this one--it's right up there in the NE corner. My most hated clue ever, because it appears in about 7 out of 10 crosswords and it's a disgusting thing, now loaded with palm oil and high-fructose corn syrup. I'm sure that in 1912 they contained sugar and some decent fat. Don't get me wrong--I would eat cheese at every meal if I could and I love a good donut. But Oreos are the poster child for fake food. [Let the flinging of brickbats commence!]

Banya 9:30 AM  

PRITZKER PRIZE/ZYDECO was a natick for me but otherwise, breezed through for the most part. my 7.5 finish is your 2 minute finish.

Lewis 9:33 AM  

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

1. They may hang out at pubs (4)(4)
2. Scary story? (5)
3. Strollers through Covent Garden (5)
4. Expedition (5)
5. What's found at one end of a rainbow (3)


Nancy 9:34 AM  

Today it was gray squares. But whether it's gray squares or tiny little circles, when you plop them in willy-nilly within answers in order to make your theme work, I'm just not interested.

There are some days I'm so excited about a puzzle that I can't wait to come here and comment. This is not one of those days.

Anonymous 9:41 AM  

Hmm, if Rex were using a template and didn’t update the constructor, wouldn’t it be Schneider and Wang?
I don’t think update means what you think it does z. You mean he didn’t enter the name.

William of Ockham 9:48 AM  

What the hell happened in that 6th vertical column?

Art Vandelay 9:58 AM  

The Pritzker? I know it well and have won it many times.

Petsounds 10:05 AM  

@Art Vandelay: Brilliant! Thanks for the out-loud laugh!

jberg 10:07 AM  

The theme struck me as dull. Maybe it would have been fun without the gray squares.

What’s someone who is more mournful when expressing contempt?


Anonymous 10:07 AM  

Considering that in the Greater New England area it is called GRINDERs, then, no the clue wouldn't help. If you have lived in most any big city in the US, then you have seen, at least, a Pei building. If you know Pei then you have to know Pritzker. Do you know that the architect has to know more about making a building than the engineers who do the constructing? If anything fails, and built to plan, it is the architect whose neck is on the chopping block.

BEANO is for Bean, No Gas. Makes some sense, I guess. Keeps the COLON happy, too.

The Joker 10:09 AM  

The 22A clue quote is an ALGOREism.

TTrimble 10:13 AM  

Yeah, saw that. I do still wonder how it's done. Specialized software, for one (that fellow Feyer isn't using the software provided by NYT online). Very, very fast touch typing (I'm not much past hunting and pecking myself). I also conjecture that they're barely looking at the grid at all -- they've trained themselves to know where they are at all times, and they could essentially do it blind. (My aunt once told me her husband would do crosswords in his head while driving and having her read out the clues. Maybe akin to the ability to play blindfold chess.) Finally, economy of effort: if you could knock off a bunch just doing across clues for example, then that's a great savings in time. This is something I often do for the Minis -- my record there is 13 seconds (which is probably pathetic, but whatev). I do notice that when I'm doing the dailies, a lot of my time is spent toggling between across and down, and not very efficiently at that.

Well, those are just some guesses, beyond the whole 10000 hours thing where one is just super-familiar with all the relevant trivia (trivia was never really my strong suit, except when I was in the 3rd grade or so and enjoyed memorizing shit and showing off).

RPCV Cameroon 10:25 AM  

As a native Delawarean, always like mentions of my home state. But as an old SNL game show skit asked: "What's the capital of Delaware?"

Answer - they don't have one, they use Maryland's.

Lorelei Lee 10:31 AM  

@kithchef, Arg! Got it from the crosses and didn't look back. Silver Star.75 as @Frantic would rate.

But looking back now, it does have that AARP vibe - Colon, Beano, IRAs, Obit, No Doz, Lon. Still, it lacks the my peeves.

@Pet, How did you know? The cookie part isn't chocolate, it's just a color, and the filling has a lard and powdered sugar aftertaste. Never understood the attraction.

@Barbara S., More dwarves to keep Sneaky company. Looks like he's put together his cabinet.

Carola 10:41 AM  

Thank you, commenters, for enlivening what I'd thought was a verging-on BLAH Monday effort, me being slow on the UPTAKE on the theme's careful word divisions and alliteration and blind to the explosive story other grid entries hinted at.

I thought PRITZKER PRIZE was arcane for a Monday, and nodded at its cross with SPLEEN, an outburst of which I expected from @Rex. I became acquainted with the name through Frank Gehry's wonderful bandshell in Chicago's Millennium Park, officially known as the Pritzker Pavilion.

Barbara S. 10:52 AM  

This puzzle has given us a new expression:

"Everything from ABSALOM to ZYDECO."

dadnoa 10:52 AM  

+1 (actually +3) for Joaquin’s comments......Since Rex filled so much space with how to SOLVE the puzzle, he was able to avoid describing his feelings. Had one additional thought upon completion......”records are gonna fall today.....

OffTheGrid 11:06 AM  

I really wanted the Queen Bee for yesterday's SB. Thanks to NYT SB guide I knew that I needed one 5-letter word to nail the Queen. After making several silly guesses I folded. As is often the case the elusive word was unknown to me. After all this pain I will no longer pursue her. I will simply do my best and go as far over Genius as I can (I usually get that far). This is how I used to do it and for me it's really more fun.



mathgent 11:09 AM  

A cornucopia of four- and five- letter words. 44 out of 74, about 60%. Ergo, easy puzzle.

I didn’t pay attention to the gray squares while solving and I didn’t see the gimmick until I read Jeff Chen. My heart did not stop.

Is Mr.Gordon saying, “Not good enough for my subscribers. But how about those Monday NYT solvers”?

kitshef 11:25 AM  

@TTrimble - I'm going to suggest that's a New Yorkerism. Never seen "heros" on a menu, only "heroes". OTOH, calling a sub a "hero" in the first place is itself a New Yorkerism, so I guess they get to invent the plural.

Masked and Anonymous 11:34 AM  

MonPuz with 'tude. Typical Peter Gordon rodeo. Gotta like it.
Had nanosecond burps around: ABSALOM. PRITZKERPRIZE. Otherwise, pretty smoooth sailin.

Did that there ABSALOM ever make a BALM? Just askin, for a themer friend.

{Greeting from a Louisiana accordion player??} = ZYDECOYO. It's so hard to quit U, U cute theme.

That ALGORE clue length was flat out awesome, but cannot come close to qualifyin for the …
fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Chaney of silent films} = LON.
staff weeject pick: Nuthin stood out and picked its nose at m&e, in this puppy. But ANA has a nice symmetry to it, sooo … ANA.

BEANO Prize award-winner = GASGAUGE, as almost everybody wide awake at this hour has mentioned.
Luved all the COLON-based Comment Gallery comments, too boot. Many a good GASGAUGEGAG.

Peter Gordon dude! My MAINMAN! Thanx, and real good job. And only 74 words ... U feisty devil. 4 colons.

Masked & Anonymo3Us

p.s. All U sweet folks wear a mask, at yer upcomin SAMPLERSALEs. Even Pence says so now … I think?


burtonkd 11:34 AM  

@Tale - your best one yet!
I thought there was a lot of non-Monday kind of stuff that I happened to know.
Loved the colon - cologne stuff.

RPCV Cameroon 11:51 AM  

The words for a sandwich on a long roll can vary with just a few miles. In Delaware growing up they were subs. In PA just a few miles away hoagies, in NY heros/heroes and in New England grinders. And of course po boys in NOLA

Ernonymous 11:54 AM  

@anon When they arent sure what is causing the seizures, they call it epilepsy. They also call it epilepsyto when they know what's causing them. My son had 4 unexplained seizures when he was 16. They never found a cause for them, so the doctor called it epilepsy. After a few years they went away, he is now 28 but has a history of epilepsy.

sara 12:03 PM  

SB: i actually got the elusive word posted by OfftheGrid .. .felt so smart...but was defeated by three others, not even that esoteric. I also can generally get to Genius but that's it, only one SB in months. My brain does fill-in-the-blanks (crosswords) but not mix-it-up, so it's like racing with a bum leg...

Unknown 12:08 PM  

Wonderful comments make a fun Monday!

Z 12:18 PM  

Oh, look, Rex updated the post.

@mathgent - I don’t know about “good enough.” Gordon promises challenging puzzles, so this one isn’t really appropriate for Fireball. Although, we all know he could have toughened it up if he wanted. Looking back it seems like Gordon has a NYT puzzle every three to four months, almost exclusively on Monday and Tuesday of late. It sure looks like he gives Shortz his easy puzzles.

@TTrimble - I don’t think any of the speed solvers use the NYTX app. Across Lite is big and I think Rex uses something else (Black Ink maybe). Crossword is another popular app. I use AcrossLite on a computer and either Crossword or PuzzAzz on my iPad. I find the USA Today app annoying, and the NYTX app almost as bad. I only use the NYTX app to print archived puzzles. Anyway, I do think the speed demons are pretty attached to their app because they have the settings tweaked to their preferences. The touch typing has to help since they can be reading the next clue as they are typing the previous answer. They also seem to have mastery of the arrow keys, keys I always have to look for every time. I know my fastest print solve is minutes slower than my fastest electronic solve, and I think the same would be true of the speed demons.

Unknown 12:20 PM  


Nancy 12:46 PM  

I've probably ordered no more than four HEROS/HEROES in my entire life so I had no idea how to spell the plural. If I'd had to take a wild guess, I would have guessed that it wasn't spelled like gallant firefighters, but was its own individual and unique thing. HEROS really looked right to me. But why guess? There was no need.

I went to Google and typed in "Hero sandwich restaurants in NYC." Many such restaurants popped out. I went to their "Menus". Every single one of them listed their HEROES.

Right you are, @kitshef.

Teedmn 1:12 PM  

I set no records on this puzzle but I will agree that it was on the easy side even as I fell into the ABSoLOM category first, along with a DOGey and ZYDaCO, all fixed in good time.

And then having to look at the back end of 43A to fill in PRITZKER, all the crosses were fair.

I subscribe to Peter Gordon's Fireball puzzles and they do tilt harder, which is nice.

Thanks, PG, nice finds on the theme answers though I think TOTO TOO, as you mention at xwordinfo, would have been delightful.

And did anyone else see who made News of the Weird this past week? I don't usually read the column but the headline caught my eye.

egsforbreakfast 1:23 PM  

@Nancy. Two hero’s walk into a bar and order whiskey sours. The bartender says “Sorry, we don’t serve food here.”

Hungry Mother 1:25 PM  

@RPCV Cameroon: I’m a snowbird who spends the northern end of the migration on the Delaware seashore. A few years ago in Naples, FL, our southern terminus, while returning from dinner, a car pulled alongside on US 41 and kept honking wildly. We rolled down the window to hear them yelling that they were also from Delaware. We’re from the area known as LSD. I didn’t know what RPCV meant until I looked it up. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous 2:12 PM  

Strictly speaking, "Cape Canaveral Org." is an incorrect clue for NASA. Cape Canaveral is a geographical feature, which is almost entirely covered by the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. There's also the town of Cape Canaveral, which is located adjacent to the Air Force Station. The Kennedy Space Center, which is just one of NASA's 10 field centers, is located just to the west of Cape Canaveral on Merritt Island, neither on the geographical feature not in the town. Additionally, NASA's headquarters is in Washington D.C, in a building that was just renamed after Mary Jackson (of Hidden Figures fame).

There's a lot of confusion though because of the close proximity of the KSC and the Cape and because NASA continues to launch many rockets from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Further adding to the confusion, colloquially and even occasionally in NASA publications, KSC is referred to as being part of the Cape (I guess this means that the clue isn't completely wrong). Even more confusingly, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is now technically run by the US Space Force. So both USAF or USSF are better answers for "Cape Canaveral Org." than NASA. Given that there are so many possible ways to clue NASA, it seems like you shouldn't have to settle for a clue for which NASA is the third best answer.

tea73 2:42 PM  

The puzzle played easy for me, but no record time for me.

I'm an architect so I should know how to spell the PRITZKER PRIZE, but I'd forgotten about that pesky K. It's only been around since 1979. In the early days the architects were really famous, but I don't know who most of the recent awardees are.

I also wanted US Senator which did not fit. And had tICk before LICE.

bigsteve46 2:43 PM  

Rex did this puzzle in 2:22? Well, I did in 2:21 including pauses to trim my toenails, read a couple of chapters of Proust and change the oil in my car! (And I did it all blindfolded!!)

Lorelei Lee 2:47 PM  

@Anonamoose, Just matched your comment with my comment. No, this was a case of "insomniac typing." I was thinking as I typed that I could probably squeeze into a size two as far as the Costco sizing system tilts, but Costco doesn't go there.

The synapse misfired and confounded the two/too thoughts.

Hartley70 3:09 PM  

Well the theme wasn’t especially tricky but sheesh, I thought this was pretty fine for a Monday. We had PRITZKERPRIZE, ABSALOM (and I just had to recheck the spelling since the 6 hours ago when I spelled it correctly), an amusing ALGORE quote, and NODOZ which saved my bacon several times in the late 1960s when I could never manage to write a paper until the night before it was due. Those four answers were more than enough to make this an interesting Monday and @Joaquin’s midnight COLON joke was the icing on the cake!

Maddiegail 3:33 PM  

bigsteve46: You cracked me up!!!

Anonymous 4:05 PM  

It needs to be noted that ticks are not insects.

pabloinnh 4:11 PM  

****SB ALERT**** (No spoilers)

@Sara, @Offthegrid--Your SB approaches and experiences mirror mine almost exactly. Nothing new to say here, except it's nice not to feel all alone.

Whatsername 5:19 PM  

@Z (7:31) Pull My Finger made me laugh out loud. Another possibility: Silent But Deadly

@Petsounds (9:22) and @Lorelei Lee (10:31) No brickbats here. I detest OREOs and never have understood their popularity. A well meaning friend once brought me an OREO cake for my birthday. I nearly barfed.

@Art Vandelay (9:58) I was totally unfamiliar with said architectural prize but I’m sure in your case it was well deserved. Do you also moonlight as a judge in Massachusetts?

Barbara S. 5:26 PM  

***SB ALERT***

I think Genius is a very fine result in SB and it's the level I most often get. It's hard for me to leave it there, though: some vestige of OCD drives me on to try for Queen most days. Sometimes I get there, mostly I don't, but when I do, it's often the result of fortunate guessing. The word that was mentioned earlier by OffTheGrid was one such happy guess yesterday, and there was another one, too. But the great thing about SB is that you can play it to challenge you to whatever level you want.

Question for SBers re spoilers: does anyone here keep working on SBs beyond the day they first come out? Or is it automatically OK to mention specific words from yesterday's Bee?

JC66 5:44 PM  

@Barbara S

re: SB spoilers

It seems to me that it is OK to mention words from previous puzzles, but is not OK to mention words from today's (although it is OK to cite words SB doesn't accept).

egsforbreakfast 5:57 PM  

****** SB ALERT *******

@Barbara S and @JC66. I agree that our convention should be to not mention today’s words. However, I would like to see some of the more surprising non-accepted ones reported as they occur. I’m particularly interested in two categories of non-accepted words:

1. The most irritatingly conventional (i.e. words about which there is no conceivable reason for their exclusion). This might result in a “group think” formulation of what the true rules for acceptability are.
2. The type of words that crack you up because they really should be words, but are not.

Richardf8 6:11 PM  

One fails the Marshmallow Test for one of two reasons.

1. Marshmallow! Now!
2. They SAY there’ll be another Marshmallow but what if someone takes the one I have, and the other never comes?

So what I’m saying is maybe it tests for poor impulse control, but it can also return a positive for distrust of the future.

bauskern 6:22 PM  

I think today's critique of the puzzle was very revealing as to what is really important for Rex in a puzzle.

Richardf8 6:29 PM  

Actually, the correct spelling is אבשלום, anything is a guess, so I just rely on Dryden’s spelling in Absalom and Achitophel. It hasn’t failed me yet.

Richardf8 6:31 PM  

So what you’re saying is get the app, solve ‘em at night, and don’t worry about what might fail the breakfast test?

Lorelei Lee 6:33 PM  

@Richardf8, I've always thought that if I'd been part of that experiment, I would've eaten my marshmallow immediately and tried to talk one of the savers into giving up their's. So, there's that too.

Anoa Bob 7:03 PM  

****BS ALERT****

The "Polygraph flunker" clue for 12 Down LIAR perpetuates the mistaken belief that the polygraph is a "lie detector". It measures changes in several physiological functions related to emotions---breathing, blood pressure, pulse rate and skin conductance---which might or might not change when the one being tested is deceptive. While a practiced liar might easily pass the test, an innocent person might show emotional changes to the test situation or questions and fail. That's why polygraph results usually are not admissible as evidence in a court of law, unless both parties agree.

Frantic Sloth 7:10 PM  

@Lorelei Lee 633pm Great minds. I figured I would bargain for all 3 marshmallows (or more likely, some kind of chocolate because marshmallows...meh) by questioning why I couldn't have all 3 if I waited. Conversely, I probably would have just eaten all 3 and said something like "so sue me" upon the adult's return. Maybe not at age 3, but definitely by 5. 🤡

TTrimble 7:10 PM  

First-time SB-er, and I got a QB! Yay me!

I can see how this might be addictive...

***SB ALERT*** 7:17 PM  

@Egsforbreakfast 557pm I thought your suggestion for the posting of unaccepted/should-be-accepted-because-"har!" SB words was a stroke of genius...until I realized that we could run rampant with the countless ideas and eventually drive everyone on this blog nuts. They've already compromised with the "alert policy" and we'd best not push our luck, methinks.
Now...if you'd (or anyone) would like to start a SB blog...I'd join!
Not sure that's an incentive, but whatever.🤷‍♀️

pabloinnh 7:20 PM  

@Lorelei Lee--I've seen it suggested that a certain national leader* would eat his own, steal as many of the others as he could, and deny everything. I suspect that is possible.

RooMonster 7:24 PM  

@egs 5:57
**SB stuff**
Har! You're Part 2 was great. There's a particular salacious four letter word two days ago with the letters CHMNOUT that of course wouldn't work. Sorry if it offends anyone. I've found DADBOD a few times on some. Had others written down, but now can't find them. I do think, though, that if us SBers delve deeply into such an adventure, we need a different board/blog in which to do so.

RooMonster Just A (Often) Defeated SBer

JC66 8:16 PM  

Hey @Roo

Your salacious suggestion was UGLI.

Lorelei Lee 8:22 PM  

@Frantic, I think we'd have been best friends in grade school.

@Pablo, There's no doubt in my mind that you're right.

JB 9:04 PM  

Rex, you are full of crap. It is virtually impossible to read enough clues and type in the appropriate answers it under 3 minutes. I solved the puzzle, so I knew the answers, cleared it, and re-solved it with knowledge of the answers. It took over 3 minutes. Either you have a time machine or a broken clock. Either way, please return to reality. I dare you to video yourself solving a puzzle from scratch in under 3 minutes.

Anonymous 9:07 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
RooMonster 9:11 PM  

Yes, it was. But I did pre-apologize. Sorry again for the suggestion.


JC66 9:22 PM  

Hey @Roo

No apology necessary. I was just riffing onSB not accepting UGLI, either.

albatross shell 9:55 PM  

I.M.PEI won his PRITZKER PRIZE in 1983. Saturday people were upset with having to know the winner of the more famous Nobel prize from literature from 1998. Go figure. I looked at the list of winners and Pei was the only one I really knew. A few rang distant bells. Pei I knew from newspapers before I started seeing him in crosswords. Pritzker I had heard of but certainly did not remember or how to spell. Other winners have crossword potential too. Frei Otto and Toyo Ito to name two.

I made a mistake in my first post: I did not need the theme to get PRITZKER. It did help to confirm my spelling of ABSALOM.

Speaking of COLONS the Sunday Doonesbury crossword had SEMICOLONS for an answer.

The ALGORE clue should make Lewis's top 5.

When I camp I have never had a GASGAUGE IN TENT.

Despite having misread the HEDGE clue - brushes for bushes - and pondering what pun was involved to make HEDGE the answer I had one of my fastest times. I do not exactly speed solve, but when things are going in quickly I do try to step it up.

Art Vandelay 10:50 PM  

@Whatsername (5:19) Good catch! I have won all the Judge-y awards as well, but tend to hide that particular light under a bushel. Sadly, humility can be such a burden to the truly gifted. Don't you agree?

Anonymous 11:25 PM  

Seeing the name of the constructor, can't help thinking of these guys:

spacecraft 10:28 AM  

After yesterday's debacle I overstepped today. For some reason I started with 5a, waiting at 7d for BAn vs. BAr. So when the clue for 18a referenced 6 years I knew it would start with SENAT--something. I immediately saw that SENATORIAL fit, and the shaded boxes gave SEAT. Oh, cool, I thought. Maybe a tad beyond Monday for a theme, but OK, fine.

Then I went back and did the NW, including SEXY DOD TINA Fey, and came up with MAINMAN. ??? What is this, what is a MAIN MAN MAN?

[rain man my main man]

So then I realized: this is it. You're just copying the shaded word in the longer one. WHY?? What's the point? This is just...stupid. I had such high hopes...oh well.

By the time I got to PRITZKERPRIZE it was no longer a problem because of the theme, but that's a pretty obscure award for a Monday. It does enable ZYDECO, though, so there's that.

Agree with @John Child that the lead blog was very Trumpian. "The wretch, concentered all in self..." and BTW, I don't give a damn about solving time--AND I DON'T DRINK, EITHER! So there.

No snags other than that big ink BLOT in the NE. The RPA(S)--random play act (scene) was the only nose-wrinkler. Overall it plays like a par, but the letdown was telling. Bogey.

leftcoaster 2:08 PM  

Fine Monday with a little bite: Not the HERO but the PRITZKER PRIZE and AL GORE's quote.

Anonymous 3:45 PM  

Back in the day, many moons ago, when I was young, the long sandwiches were called poor boys, where I was from. And more specifically, steak poor boys, where they used Swiss steak, and the buns were slathered with garlic butter. That made the ensuing gas-related problem, much more burpy than farty.

Anonymous 3:57 PM  

I had the spelling of the name as ABSoLeM in my head, but that's the name of the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland.

Burma Shave 4:36 PM  


My MAINMAN said that ALGORE had RESET,
or ELSE tried to HEDGE his OWN BESTBET,
he'd MERIT Vice President,
and despite GOOD INTENT,
there'd BEANO more SENATESEAT nor Tipper's TET.


Diana, LIW 8:14 PM  

Not the most festive Monday but, as @Lefty said, it's fine. Just fine.

Still getting B-day cards today. So a nice combo.

Also, I'm stuck on another jigsaw puz. :-)

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

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