Mets' venue before Citi Field / MON 8-3-2020 / Hawaiian porch / 12, for 1/3, 1/4 and 1/6: Abbr. / Protected at sea / Tuesday, in Toulouse

Monday, August 3, 2020

Constructor: Eric Bornstein

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: JUST A PHASE — Theme answers begin with phases of matter.

Theme answers:

  • GAS STATION (17A: Where to go for a fill-up)
  • SOLID GROUND (22A: Firm place to plant your feet)
  • PLASMA SCREEN TV (36A: Viewing options popularized in the 90s)
  • LIQUID ASSET (45A: Cash or stock, e.g.)
  • JUST A PHASE (57A: The terrible twos, e.g. (one hopes!) ... or the start of 17-, 22-, 36- or 45-Across?)

Word of the Day: OLMEC (30A: Ancient carver of stone heads in Mesoamerica) —
The Olmecs (/ˈɒlmɛks, ˈl-/) were the earliest known major Mesoamerican civilization. Following a progressive development in Soconusco, they occupied the tropical lowlands of the modern-day Mexican states of Veracruz and Tabasco. It has been speculated that the Olmecs derived in part from the neighboring Mokaya or Mixe–Zoque cultures.
The Olmecs flourished during Mesoamerica's formative period, dating roughly from as early as 1500 BCE to about 400 BCE. Pre-Olmec cultures had flourished since about 2500 BCE, but by 1600–1500 BCE, early Olmec culture had emerged, centered on the San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán site near the coast in southeast Veracruz.[1] They were the first Mesoamerican civilization, and laid many of the foundations for the civilizations that followed.[2] Among other "firsts", the Olmec appeared to practice ritual bloodletting and played the Mesoamerican ballgame, hallmarks of nearly all subsequent Mesoamerican societies. The aspect of the Olmecs most familiar now is their artwork, particularly the aptly named "colossal heads".[3] The Olmec civilization was first defined through artifacts which collectors purchased on the pre-Columbian art market in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Olmec artworks are considered among ancient America's most striking.[4]
• • •
Hi, it's an Annabel Monday! How's everybody holding up? I'm doing pretty okay. I finished my first novel!!! It's a romance novel because I'm cheesy. I also watched like two seasons of Grey's Anatomy, learned how to embroider, baked a bunch, listened to the new Taylor Swift album, made a TikTok account...I'm doing all the quarantine stuff.

AS TO, ON IT, ISN'T, IS IT...this isn't the most interesting fill I've ever seen. I know it's Monday, but we can do a little better, right? At least we avoided my nemesis, ADO. The word of the day, OLMEC, gave me the most trouble because OSU is a rough cross. I used to have a Buckeyes t-shirt which is the only thing that saved me.

The theme was fun, though! Simple and reminiscent of elementary school science class. Perfect for a Monday, if you ask me. I'm glad they included PLASMA, although I don't understand much about how it works. The sun is made of plasma, no? Listen, there's a reason I'm a future librarian and not a future physicist.

  • MRS (32D: "The Marvelous ___ Maisel") — Or, the degree Wellesley women were much expected to get. Not so much anymore, thank goodness. An aunt once asked me how I was finding men at Wellesley, and I responded--quite diplomatically, I think--"I'm not finding many." 
  • NAAN (53D: Indian flatbread)— Not one of the things I've made during quarantine, surprisingly. I have made challah, though. What has everyone else been up to baking-wise? 
  • GLEE (23D: Kind of club for singers) — Alright, show of hands, it's confession time. Who here watched "Glee" religiously while it was airing? I feel like I knew even at the time that it was a total mess of a show, but I watched it anyway, GLEEfully. It's hard to pick a favorite moment, but the time the principal called Kesha "Kay-dollar sign-hah" is a close one. Or the recurring joke that students at the school were bullied by having slushies thrown at them. Lots to unpack. 
  • STUDS (40A: Beefcakes)— "Tell me about it, stud." 
Signed, Annabel Thompson

P.S. Rex here, LCD = "lowest common denominator" (31D: 12, for 1/3, 1/4 and 1/6: Abbr.); getting lots of Qs because ... it's not good fill at all, esp for a Monday (this was a Tuesday puzzle, a perfectly fine Tuesday puzzle). OK bye.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Judy 2:24 AM  

Can someone explain 31 down answer "LCD"? I don't understand stand the clue at all, so the answer doesn't mean anything to me. I'm sure I'll feel like an idiot once I get the answer. Saying "DOH!" in advance......

Anonymous 2:49 AM  

Funny that the revealer's clue helped me to see PLASMA and LIQUID way before I've even figured out it's exact answer. Which I guess shows that there was indeed a reason I used to be a physicist and not a librarian. Great write-up Annabelle!

chefwen 2:52 AM  

Okay Monday puzzle, but didn’t especially cotton to the theme. Kind of dull, for me.

I did like DRAMA QUEEN, I’ve known a few of those. DAISY CHAIN was cute too. I solved this whilst sitting on our LANAI, so that was cool.
Really wanted no tan line for 22D, didn’t fit.


Anonymous 2:53 AM  

Looks like I've got bitten by autocorrect once again, sorry Annabel.

Ann Howell 3:35 AM  

Found this pleasantly challenging for a Monday and got a kick out the theme answer. Only really stumping ground (pardon the pun) was OLMEC / LCD - had to look up LCD after the fact, as it did not ring any bells for me (and I was decent at HS algebra, but that was several decades ago...).

To answer Annabelle's question, I've not been baking much as very annoyingly I can't eat butter at the moment (gallstones), and bread without butter is so disappointing. I have, however, recently invested in an air fryer and have had fun making things like red beet falafel and sweet potato fries. Which reminds me that it's time for breakfast :)

OwCeEv 3:56 AM  

I didn’t like AGUA and AQUAS being in the same puzzle, especially so close to each other. Also saying a DRAMA QUEEN is a “theatrical sort” doesn’t quit fit to me and honestly seems (I feel like Rex) a little bit of a gay jab.

jae 4:23 AM  

Medium-tough. Nice debut. Jeff gave it POW based on nerd appeal. Liked it.

SUSIE Essman is terrific on Curb.

@Judy - Lowest Common Denominator, it’s a math thing.

@Annabel - RE: GLEE - I never missed an episode. Sad to read about Naya Rivera.

Cristi 4:23 AM  

Lowest Common Denominator (I blanked for a second on that— just figure them out—I forgot there’s a name for that step.)

Anonymous 4:29 AM  

Twelve is the Least Common Denominator for the fractions listed. I've never seen the initialism used for that, but it's what they were going for here.

Robert A. Simon 4:31 AM  

It stands for “Lowest Common Denometer.” And yeah, it’s a crap cluevv

Joaquin 4:52 AM  

Usually, on Monday the theme jumps out and is obvious early. This didn’t happen today; the puzzle felt a bit MARDI-ish to me.

Paul F 5:25 AM  

Stock isn’t liquid.

Anonymous 5:43 AM  

Stocks are considered liquid assets because they can be converted to cash in a relatively short period of time in the event of a financial emergency.

Lewis 5:57 AM  

Youth week! This is the seventh puzzle in a row made by constructors on the younger end of the spectrum. Credit to Will for bringing these constructors in and bringing them along, all the while maintaining the quality of the NYT crossword.

Congratulations on the debut, Eric! You gave me a couple of wonderful "What, is this Monday?!" moments, where I needed to wait for crosses to get the answer. This is a good thing for the new solvers who Monday is made for, and who, IMO, can handle it and be proud of doing so. Eric -- keep 'em coming, please!

A bit of post-solve research taught me some theme-related interesting bits:
* On Earth, PLASMA is only common in the ionosphere, but it is the most common state of matter in the universe. (!)
* SOLID, LIQUID, GAS, and PLASMA are the states of matter observable in everyday life, but there are 18 other states of matter as well, many only seen in extreme conditions.

One of those other states of matter is called "dropleton" -- totally appropriate name for the pounded-by-rain day we're expecting here today.

Hungry Mother 6:11 AM  

After being totally defeated by the mini, this one started out as a slog, but I got some leverage and finished with a faster time than usual. I didn’t notice the theme.

EdFromHackensack 6:51 AM  

I do not consider stocks to be liquid assets. never have.

JD 6:51 AM  

This is a really well-excuted theme for a Monday and a fresh feel. There's even a grid spanner.

Looking forward to more from Eric Bornstein.

Anonymous 7:00 AM  

Annabel, I loved Glee in its first couple of seasons before it went off the rails. I thought the "K-dollar sign-ha" was brilliant writing -- exactly what Principal Figgins would say. I remember that well, even after all these years!

Anonymous 7:00 AM  

Chicken stock. Perhaps the clue had in mind a restaurant’s liquid assets.

ChuckD 7:07 AM  

Nice Monday puzzle - interesting theme and for the most part decent fill. Would have liked to see the standard transitions maybe top to bottom for the themers- we get the deposition from gas to solid to start. The long downs DRAMA QUEEN and I THOUGHT SO we’re solid and for some reason I liked the LANAI/NOEL cross - Christmas in Hawaii sounds nice I guess.

There were some oddities here though - BACON/CABO, ON IT/IS IT, MARDI/MALI. Should have been edited more for a tighter grid. In today’s world - most stocks are considered liquid given the relative ease to sell and volume of potential buyers. As long as it’s a marketable security - it’s like cash in your pocket.

Overall a good puzzle to start the week - storm supposed to hit tomorrow hopefully moves through quick.

GILL I. 7:08 AM  

Well this got my Monday HUH award. It was typical easy but dang.....I kept thinking about GAS and wondering what a two year old might do with that. My granddaughter is going through the terrible twos and it involves pull ups, meltdowns, frustration at not being able to clearly say "I want that," watching Peppa Pig non-stop and crying when we tell her "no more." You know....those sort of things. Instead I get GAS SOLID PLASMA and LIQUID. OK...if you say so.
I wasn't crazy about having other long answers that had nothing to do with the theme. It just looks out of whack. The whole puzzle looks out of whack. I did kinda like SWIM SUIT and DRAMA QUEEN. They go hand-in-hand for me. We'd skinny dip at my camp and there was always the queen who'd tell on us. She had no boobs so that was understandable.
DAISY....He loves me, he loves me not.

rjkennedy98 7:14 AM  

Got a chuckle out of JUST A PHASE. As my mom owned a daycare, I would regularly have to hear crying children during their terrible twos. Its crazy to think that we were all like that at some point. As Lear says:

When we are born, we cry that we are come To this great stage of fools.

Surprised so many people didn't agree with LIQUID ASSETS. Stocks are absolutely liquid assets. Your home or car - not so much. These days you can sell hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stocks in minutes. Just getting a car title takes half a day at the DMV.

Anyways, decent puzzle and a great start to the week.

EJames 7:16 AM  

Math teacher here, posting only to defend LCD. It's a very common abbreviation. I'm not surprised at all that people wouldn't remember it, but we math solvers need a bone thrown our way here and there :P

As for baking, cinnamon rolls have been it. It's always been on my list to learn, and I'm now convinced that all other desserts have become superfluous.

kitshef 7:26 AM  

Easy, even for a Monday. I think my only holdup was confusion at why PLASMA televisions would not fit. I think in this case, the theme really assisted in the solve, which means you need to toughen the cluing up a little to get back to "normal" Monday.

Really getting sick of OH HI. I'd like to see Will add that his "banned" list.

TTrimble 7:29 AM  

Seemed to be a little harder than a Monday. For example -- and maybe it's just me -- I thought starting off with SAMOA was a little less than Monday gentle. Also, there were elements that I thought were A TAD odd, for example an accumulation of SO's (OR SO, SO SOON, I THOUGHT SO), cognates like AGUA and AQUAS, other etymological connections like ET AL (et + al[ia]) and ALIBI (al[ius]+ibi), close relations like SIGH and ALAS.

Other than that, I guess no real complaints.

I was about to go into a digression about states of matter, such as water in a supercritical state between liquid and gas, which has fascinating fractal patterns and fascinating industry applications, but... never mind. I shouldn't be goofing off.

---[SB Alert]---

You SB-ers will be hearing from me again about this puzzle. For now: 5 away from the ever-elusive QB (just missed yesterday's). Suffice it to say for now that one missing entry from today's list is completely inexcusable, in that it's a simple extension of a word on the list that itself isn't on the list, and that if you know one of those words then it is virtually impossible not to know the other. I don't understand you, Sam Ezersky. Seriously, man: you've got some 'splainin' to do.

Anonymous 7:43 AM  

Hi Judy,

LCD stands for lowest common denominator. If you have ⅓, ¼ and 1/6 and want to add them together, you would have to turn them all into twelfths. Of course, you could 72 as the denominator (the multiplication of the denominators) but 12 is the lowest common denominator.

The abbreviation is quite common in junior high school math and a lot more common knowledge than the Olmecs. And, Robert A Simon, it is not a "crap clue," but not the greatest.

KnittyContessa 7:46 AM  

Hi Annabel. Congratulations on the novel! Hope you'll share the details when it's available.

What a delightful Monday. I didn't see the theme at first. Enjoyed all the longs. Fun solve.

William of Ockham 7:47 AM  

I thought it was obtuse in places and resistant for a Monday, I did not find it fun. Since it took me longer than I wanted it to, for a Monday it was really hard (Using Re Logic)

Seriously, it was beset with messy stuff, LCD being the worst.

mathgent 7:51 AM  

Eric Bornstein just got his mathematics degree. We have similar ways of thinking. On Jeff Chen, he says that he thinks of math as a system of puzzles. So do I, especially combinatorics, my favorite area. Another similarity is the way he clued LCD, least common denominator. A few weeks ago, LCD was an entry in a NYT puzzle. It was an abbreviation for something else. I commented on this blog that I would prefer the clue to be “12, for 2/3 and 1/4.”

Back when I went to school, back when desks had inkwells, matter was either solid, liquid, or gas. Based on our crude definitions, plasma would have been called a gas.

Little crunch, little sparkle, two-thirds fours and fives, and yet I liked it. I think that I sensed an underlying sophistication. 7:52 AM  

Why was 31D, which crosses PLASMA, clued with a math abbreviation that no one uses in real life, instead of a TV reference, today’s TVs use LCDs. I’m guessing Will Shortz changed the clue? Missed opportunity!

Pamela 7:54 AM  

This one landed like a lead balloon for me. LCD and OSU crossing OLMEC created disaster. I had to come here for the explanation for LCD, still feel misled, and not in a fun way. I like puzzles for WORDplay. This theme was anything but. And AQUA, AGUA in the same puzzle? Bah humbug.

That being said, everything else was easy, and some was even entertaining. I liked DRAMAQUEEN, JUSTAPHASE, ITHOUGHTSO. I had Golden Rules before IDOLS.

And, on second thought, I appreciate that this puzzle wasn’t packed with sports names and references, even if it was the wrong kind of nerdy for me.

Nancy 8:24 AM  

A superior Monday that avoids slam-dunk cluing and makes a certain amount of thinking necessary. For me, there were two such crossing clues: the quite misleading "member of a tough crowd", where I was sort of thinking BikER; and the "charming jewelry", where I was wondering if an AMULET was jewelry. SWIMSUIT for "what a skinny-dipper lacks" was actually pretty amusing; I was thinking MODESTY or STRAP MARKS. (Sometimes on-the-nose cluing can actually be funny.)

I remember enough math to have known Lowest Common Denominator -- though we didn't give it initials in my day. But I didn't study chemistry and, while I knew GAS, SOLID and LIQUID, I had no idea that PLASMA was another PHASE. I love the way JUST A PHASE is clued, btw -- all I can say is "Thank God, it is!"

My eye skimmed the comments enough to see that constructor Eric is very young. I congratulate you, Eric, on having created a puzzle that avoids what I'm fond of calling deliberate and sometimes in-your-face "youthiness". This is an ADULT puzzle with grown-up fill -- no pop culture, no text abbrevs, no tech jargon -- and I thank you for it. You have a very bright crossword future.

Lewis 8:28 AM  

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

1. Ball in a gym, maybe (4)
2. Facial joint (3)
3. Spit take, perhaps? (3)(6)
4. Something never seen at night (7)
5. Rock singers? (6)


Pamela 8:41 AM  

*****SB ALERT****

@TTrimble- You’re farther along than I am, but I’ve already encountered the unaccepted word you speak of. Harumph! Some nerve he has!

bauskern 8:41 AM  

A very smooth Monday; I enjoyed the theme, and really had no issues with the fill. I have been doing archived puzzles from 2010, and noticed that: 1. A Friday puzzle from that era feels like a Saturday from today, and so on. All the puzzles consistently feel a notch tougher. 2. rex was generally a bit more pleasant in his critiques, and would often join in on the group commentary. 3. There seemed to be, at one point, a three-comment rule, though I'm not sure how frequently it was enforced. Clearly that would pose a challenge for some nowadays! Haha. Nice way to start the week.

Anonymous 8:49 AM  

LCD to me = Liquid Crystal Display (which btw sorta fits the puzzle's theme). I certainly remember lowest common denominator. I don't recall it being abbreviated, but then I haven't sat in a math class in over 50 years.

Dr. Spock 8:55 AM  

What so many call the "terrible twos" is mostly a function of expectations.

Exubesq 8:56 AM  

It took me twice as long as it should have because I had at least one fat finger typo in each answer- how very Monday of me. As for baking, I think I need a 12 step program. I have Paul Hollywood living tent free in my head, and have made puff pastry, Danish, all the breads, choux pastry... you get the idea.

Petsounds 9:17 AM  

@kitchef: Will has a "banned list??" What would be on it, I wonder. Certainly not MMHCC*, OREO, or Anabel's ADO. That's a list I'd like to see. And add to.
*My Most Hated Crossword Clue

I was pleased to remember the Olmecs from our study of Mexico in sixth grade, and believe me, that was a long, long time ago. But I've never heard of LCD as anything other than liquid crystal display. This was an OK puzzle, nothing special, nothing horrible, not much zing.

Congrats on your novel, Anabel! More info, please. That paragraph defining what you've been doing made me feel truly pitiful. You've done so much! I've been bingeing "The West Wing"--never saw it when it was on network--and it has really helped me keep my spirits up as during this last (I hope!) long slog through the swamp. I was baking cookies and bread and fruit cobblers earlier in the pandemic, but I started to gain weight, so I've stopped baking and am now having just the fruit and none of the cobbler.

Z 9:19 AM  

I don’t know about the rest of you but I’ve been in ALARM PHASE since 2016.

I think if I had timed my solve I might have set a PR. I liked the puzzle, the theme is solid, and the fill didn’t rankle. I did grin at the CABO clue since everyone I know always just calls it CABO, the “San Lucas” part was only dimly remembered.

@Lewis - And yet only two co-constructors are women.

I get not immediately remembering LCD, but c’mon, that’s from your elementary school math class. But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I would have well educated parents explain to me how their family “just doesn’t do math.” SIGH.

Hand up for wondering about the LIQUIDity of stocks. Not something I would have put under that column, but I guess I can see how they are.

Given the sciency nature of the puzzle I was a little surprised we didn’t get a computer clue of some sort for DAISY CHAIN.

Birchbark 9:35 AM  


Liquid or not, publicly traded stock can be converted to cash relatively quickly. Privately held stock not is so easily liquidated.

Investopedia 9:36 AM  

Because stocks can be sold using electronic markets for full market prices on demand, equitable securities are liquid assets.

Anonymous 9:37 AM  

31 down Clue: 12, for 1/3/ 1/4 and 1/6: Abbr. Answer: LCD
I don't get it, and no one here has explained it.

ow a paper cut 9:53 AM  

I love science and math-based clues.

Elizabeth 9:55 AM  

I probably would have used LCM, least common multiple, for the idea of finding a common denominator. Useful in renaming fractions so that their denominators match and then you can add or subtract their numerators. 12 is the smallest number that 3, 4 and 12 itself can multiply into: 1/3 becomes 4/12, 1/4 becomes 3/12, and 1/12 is left alone. If you’re adding, you’d get 8/12, and then you’d remember to simplify, put your answer in lowest terms, by dividing out a 4 top and bottom and get 2/3. Complicated, but once you learn the rules for it, it’s not so bad. Welcome to a quick review of 5th grade arithmetic. Converting everything to decimals leads to calculator rounding and less accurate answers. I bet you remember it, and, if not, I bet you’re doing fine without it.

RooMonster 10:08 AM  

Hey All !
Surprised to find two Q'S so close to each other, and neither one forced. (One required for a themer.) Not upset by AGUA and AQUAS in same puz, as two different words meaning two different things. Like CAT and CAR. It ISNT a problem.

Liked this puz. PHASES, something you learn in school, retain knowledge of, but don't really use in ADULT life unless you're in the field.

The long Downs were nice. Got some modern slang, IMDOWN, and pretty clean fill. A few OO's I see. (Closely grouped in NE-ish) O's are very common vowels, haven't confirmed, but I believe there are second most used after E's.

Anyway, asides aside, starting a new streak today (1 in a row!), gonna see how far I can get without an Almost There! Fingers crossed. Har.

No F's (Q'S=2, F's=0) (BOO) 😋

ghthree 10:26 AM  

Houses, cars, furniture, etc. are definitely not liquid assets.
Cash has at least two levels of liquidity:
Fixed exchange rate: I give you a ten-dollar bill. You give me two fives.
Variable exchange rate: I give you a ten-dollar bill. You give me some euros, pounds sterling, or yen.

egsforbreakfast 10:32 AM  

The puzzle was a very nice debut for Mr. Bornstein, and I look forward to more from him.

After I noticed that 24 A is IMDOWN, I thought there should be a Down entry clued “Hey Chicken! How ya figger on gittin t’other side o the road?”


Anonymous 10:34 AM  

assets are liquid if they can be sold directly in a structured market, e.g. NASDAQ or NYSE brokerage. just because you can sell them at will doesn't mean you will sell them at a profit, however. profit and saleability aren't the same. with on-line stock sites, your account is changed immediately, though you might not be able to get the cash until the trade clears, typically three days.

wrt PHASEs: does anyone else find it contradictory that Boomers consider the Younger Generations dolts, yet the Younger Generations are being taught STEM concepts and procedures in elementary and middle school that Boomers didn't run into until high school???? the Younger Generation does show a dangerous lack of critical thinking, though.

Sir Hillary 10:36 AM  

Good stuff today. IMDOWN for a SOLID theme (well, not only SOLID, but you know what I mean) so this worked well.

-- Aw, there's my mom at 48D.
-- aztEC before OLMEC for a hot nanosecond.
-- From a different NYT puzzle this weekend, I learned that MALI was known as French Sudan before independence.
-- Pago Pago is in American SAMOA. SAMOA is a sovereign nation, with the crossword stalwart Apia as its capital. I can't decide if I think the clue is wrong or not.
-- Doubtful that Eric Bornstein is related to Alex Bornstein (brilliant in "The Marvelous MRS. Maisel), but I would so love for that to be the case.
-- Speaking of "Maisel", it shares a cast member with "GLEE": Jane Lynch, who is never not in top form.

Congrats, Eric -- and well done.

maureenb 10:42 AM  

Lol thought along the no tan lines too!

ow a paper cut 11:05 AM  

SB: why isn’t neoteny acceptable?

dadnoa 11:17 AM  

+1 for the most important news in the post....Annabel’s first novel! More details, Annabel. Maybe you can convince Rex to post a link when the time arrives.....or just post it yourself on Monday :)

Anna 11:24 AM  

I think it's time we retire ODS. Drug addiction isn't light morning coffee fare.

jberg 11:25 AM  


I loved the revealer, though, both the answer and the clue.

MarthaCatherine 11:36 AM  


how do you know when you're getting close to to the total? I'm up to 33 for today, but I have no way of knowing what total I'm shooting for.

TMBG fan 11:39 AM  

Not only is the sun made of plasma -- It's a miasma of incandescent plasma:

They thought it was a mass of incandescent gas, but that thesis has been rendered invalid:

kitshef 11:56 AM  

@Petsounds - At some point Will decided that some bits of hoary old crosswordese would no longer appear in the puzzle. I don't know what words, or even how I know this (probably from someone else in this comments section). Oh, I do know one banned word: SHORTZ.

JC66 12:11 PM  


The school with inkwells in each desk that I went to taught us lowest common denominator, not LCD. Wonder when that came into use.

****SB ALERT****


Many SB solvers use NYTimesBee for info/help.

Swagomatic 12:12 PM  

LOL, I am a big science guy, and I totally whiffed on the theme. I just solved the clues until the I was finished, I never even realized there was a theme. Oh well, maybe I shouldn't watch HBO while I'm doing crosswords.

Adam 12:18 PM  

LCD Soundsystem all the way. Though I can imagine people being upset about that too. Niche?

Sir Hillary 12:23 PM  

And to follow up on this comment I made: Doubtful that Eric Bornstein is related to Alex Bornstein (brilliant in "The Marvelous MRS. Maisel), but I would so love for that to be the case.

Yeah, highly doubtful, given that the "Maisel" actress is Alex Borstein, not Alex Bornstein. ISIT NOT clear I am an idiot? ALAS, ITHOUGHTSO.

Masked and Anonymous 12:26 PM  

Great blog sub, @Annabel darlin. My darlin bride has baked all kinds of good stuff: chocolate mint cake ... bread puddin …. cinnamon rolls … biscuits … totally homemade pizza!

This MonPuz had some real nice 'tude. First off out of the chute, it says: We don't need no stinkin "themers have to be longer than other stuff" rules! [See ALARMBELLS & DAISYCHAIN.] Bring it, Puz.

Speakin of 'tude, how'bout that incontestable staff weeject pick, LCD? 4 har stars! U gotta like LCD crossin SCREEN … makes U think U mis-read the wrong clue, or somesuch. Plus, grade school math lives today! Least Common Denominator meat. Outstandin.
1/3 + 1/4 + 1/6 = ? Hard to do without yer good ol' LCD. Then, U get 4/12 + 3/12 + 2/12 = ?, a darn near gimme [DNG].

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {What a sail is tied to} = MAST. Also, its M was mighty helpful in verifyin SAMOA, thanx U.

Other sparkly stuff: ITHOUGHTSO. DRAMAQUEEN. SWIMSUIT. BLOOD [reminiscent of some of the nanosecond-lettin M&A endured, here and there in this feisty MonPuz]. Also, kudos to them two U-breedin Q's.

Well-written clues. Managed to be feisty, even tho only one of em had a ?-mark. [I recently worked an old Patrick Berry daily NYTPuz that had nine ?-mark clues (!) -- gives young Bornstein somethin to shoot for.]

Thanx for the fun and congratz on yer debut, Eric B. Also congratz on havin the best day-um Puz Of the Week, accordin to xwordinfo.chen. And U even evaded a [baked-with-a-crust] @RP review! Well done. Good bake. etc.

Masked & Anonym007Us


Masked and Anonymous 12:34 PM  

Almost forgot -- also enjoyed the theme, with all them different two-year old's diaper content forms. Watch out especially for that there plasma gook, btw.


BarbieBarbie 12:47 PM  

I get the whole “liquid assets Are converted quickly at face value” thing, but in fact stocks are not converted at face value; they are discounted by taxes on any capital gains realized. So maybe they’re semi-liquid? A gel or a glass? Flowing, but maintaining long-range order?

Wanderlust 12:51 PM  

Check out Every day it tells you how many words and points in the Spelling Bee, how many points for genius, and more.

Lewis 1:06 PM  

@z -- Good point about only two of the constructors being women. I should have mentioned that because I noticed it as well.

TTrimble 1:15 PM  

@Anonymous 10:34
Re the younger generation and their critical thinking skills: I think it's really a mixed bag. The decisive game-changer is of course the internet with its boundless informational resources, so that so many young people have the ability to acquire vast knowledge that would have been virtually inaccessible to older generations. I see this in my own area of science, where teens now can and often do acquire the knowledge of PhD students and beyond, if this is where their interests take them. In some ways this is quite a wonderful thing. I mean, it's certainly true that math and science are going gangbusters in this day and age.

However -- and this is anecdotal based on limited personal observations as a researcher -- it might very well be true that hyperlinking and Googling become much more of a crutch, so that the way one does science is more than ever on the shoulders of giants, as opposed to good old-fashioned knocking one's head against a wall and solving problems afresh. Thinking things from scratch is really, really hard work -- always has been -- but Googling for answers is now so much more convenient, and seductive, and maybe the old-fashioned virtues of gaining insights through hard work and one's own wits is becoming atrophied. But solving problems on one's own is really the training ground for developing critical thinking skills (and there's no royal road for that).

I can see this happening in myself, and I think I can see it even more clearly in young people. I'm old enough to know the wisdom of "Get off the internet!" -- but more and more I have to keep reminding myself to do this.

---[SB Alert]---

-->> spoiler from yesterday's below <<--

@ow a paper cut
Re neoteny: your guess is as good as mine. What we know to be true is that the editor, Sam Ezersky, prepares the words that are "acceptable" from a longer list which would, naturally, include "neoteny". I was told that the longer list or primary source is the Official Scrabble Players Wordlist, which might be slightly different from the dictionary with a similar name you can buy in bookstores. One is told that the words not on the daily list are absent because they are deemed more obscure, or more offensive, etc.

But honestly, I agree that "neoteny" had every right to be there, considering that (IMHO) it is no more specialized than another word on today's list, a word connected with a complaint I made in an earlier post. So the curation in general seems highly capricious and arbitrary and frequently absurd. For example, the other day "edema" was missing. Probably the curation process is more complicated than I realize -- for example, there's probably a need for stability so that if "edema" were unacceptable several months ago, then it still ought to be unacceptable today. So perhaps this paints the list into some weird corners.

The word I missed yesterday was (and I imagine this being whispered in the manner of the game show Password) LIBELEE. Grrr... I still have two more to go for today's.

Anonymous 1:19 PM  

No. The income you earn in capital gains is taxed. The stocks are not taxed. and neither are people. Income is taxed. Transactions can be taxed (sales tax). Property can be taxed. People? No.
And that's an important distinction, because you and I and Rex and everybody else pays the same rate. Precisley because it is income that is taxed. So while yours and min and Rex's income is far less than Mr. gates's the tax schedule for us all is the same. that his income gets into higher place in the graduated scale is another matter altogether. Everyone ( ok, single and married differ) pays the same amount per bracket .

TTrimble 1:40 PM  

*** SB

But @ow a paper cut --

Please be very, very careful and circumspect in how you discuss today's puzzle. The guideline is never to give anything away while people are still working on it, and I think your previous comment comes awfully close <<-- Moderators, please look into this.

Anonymous 1:41 PM  

@anon/1:19 (no, not a continuing soliloquy)

I find it amusing that a certain sect of the body politic blares it's love for the USofA circa 1955, yet refuses to recognize that:
1 - unions were strong
2 - top marginal tax rates were north of 70%

of course, black folk were still marginalized, and so were wimin to a lesser extent. the USofA treated Russia/USSR as the enemy it is. the federal government built the Interstate Highways and much other infrastructure, not all of it universally praised, many dams in particular. and so forth.

I chalk up the morphing from one era to another to the simple fact that Leaders in the 50s, business and political, were part of, and retained a significant measure of, the commonweal ethos of WWII. we've reverted to a mythological Wild West 19th century view. MAGA, and party like it's 1859!!!

Barbara S. 2:04 PM  


I missed yesterday's by two words, eleven and incivil. I know, bop me with a dictionary. I do, though, often have a mental block against numbers written out as words -- I've noticed this before: an annoying blindspot. As for incivil, I thought the acceptable form was uncivil. But WikiDiff says that incivil is rude, while uncivil is barbarous. Hmm.

As for today, I want MOTTE and ONEMENT. Three words to go, but I'm a bit doubtful I'm ever going to arrive.

BTW, @ow a paper cut's 1:14 post indirectly contains a spoiler for today. The Mods might want to take it down.

Pamela 2:11 PM  


@TTrimble- I’m still missing 6, and about to take another break. Grrrr...

This might not be my day :(

Music Man 3:15 PM  

It’s very hot in Southern California this time of year, so I’m avoiding using the oven. However, I made a no-bake cheesecake yesterday that came out great! Just fill a graham cracker pie crust with a well-blended mixture of cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, and Cool Whip. Let it set in the refrigerator for 4 hours or more.

Goes easy down the GULLET; so good, you’ll want to HOARD it. Unfortunately, it’s probably not so good for my ABS.

sharon's 3:16 PM  

I have a question for the SB fans. When someone refers to the queen bee. Is that something you get if you comeup with EVERY word the puzzle maker has decided on?

JC66 3:31 PM  



Anonymous 4:25 PM  

Ok. Little crunchy for Monday

When Annabelle said she finished her first novel -- no kidding
I thought it meant she finished READING her first novel.

Like in Seinfeld when George said he was going to read a book " from beginning to end." during the summer of George.
Frisbee golf or Frolf was also on the admittedly minor bucket list.

Big Steve

Pamela 4:58 PM  


@ ow a word- Others have mentioned this- I just got a word because of your post at 1:14. Please take it down, and please don’t do that again.

ow a paper cut 5:03 PM  

Sorry. I won’t do that again.

Anoa Bob 5:07 PM  

I suspect that the un-Monday-like clue for 51D LCD, "12, for 1/3, 1/4 and 1/6: Abbr.", was chosen rather than a more accessible to solvers "liquid crystal display" clue because that kind of LCD would duplicate part of the theme entry LIQUID ASSET and because LCD is a type of TV screen, and that would also dupe another themer PLASMA SCREEN TV.

Yes, I did notice that PLASMA SCREEN TV is only posing as a grid spanner and needs a leg up from the versatile S to fill the slot. Too easy. Major plural of convenience deduction there.

I knew the math clue for LCD. I got the math award at our H.S. graduation for having the highest 4-yr. GPA in math classes. @mathgent's comment further confirms a long held suspicion that many people are drawn to math because it is like a puzzle. Math problems are fun to solve. I went to school in the inkwell-in-the-desk era so math was my video game.

Z 5:11 PM  

Can I complain about a POWTF in a different puzzle? 18A in today’s New Yorker puzzle - Ugh.

@Frantic Sloth - “To be is to do”—Socrates.
“To do is to be”—Jean-Paul Sartre.
“Do be do be do”—Frank Sinatra.
(a day late, I know)

Birchbark 5:13 PM  

@BarbieBarbie (12:47) -- I believe the word you are looking for is PLASMA.

Anonymous 5:39 PM  

One more 2 cents worth on liquid assets.

Liquidity really does mean that you can cash it in instantly at the current market price, which is true of publicly traded stocks.

It does not mean that the asset is stable in price. All that liquidity promises is instant sellability. It might be sellable for $100 today and $50 tomorrow. So liquid doesn't mean low risk.

Barbara S. 6:03 PM  

***SB ALERT***

Well, I don't know what to say. I just got QB with a word I absolutely didn't know. I was throwing darts blindfolded (as @pabloinnh so delightfully calls it), i.e. trying unknown but marginally possible combinations, when suddenly I'm at my own coronation. Maybe this word is well known to my fellow-players, but for me it was sheer dumb luck.

JC66 6:17 PM  

****SB ALERT****

@Barbara S


I'm two words short of QB, but don't know how much longer I can keep going.

JC66 7:36 PM  

****SB ALERT****

I gave up. I should have gotten one of the words, but I never heard of the other,

Tomorrow's another day.

TTrimble 7:51 PM  

@Barbara S.

Hey, you'll take it! :-) Congrats. I think that's happened to me too.

Right now I'm one away; I can safely say I'm proud of the last one I got. I'm considering going out on the high note, but not just yet.

Looking forward to hearing the word that delivered the crown!

I still cannot make sense of the pair that I think some of us were secretly alluding to, why one of them is out.

Anonymous 9:03 PM  

Thanks for the P.S. ... I got LCD but didn’t know what it stood for in this context.

jaymar 9:55 PM  

Aside from LCD thought it an ok monday

thefogman 3:08 PM  

Just wondering what BS is going to do with LIQUIDASSET...

spacecraft 11:09 AM  

An uneven effort. Boffo theme and revealer, plus longer fill. The short fill, NOT so much. This fellow could be a diamond in the rough--now there's a SOLID for ya!

DOD is my beloved DAISY Duke: Catherine Bach. ALAS, she was stuck in such a dreadful show. But I watched it anyway, JUST to see her.

If NOT for OHHI, This one might have even earned an eagle, but birdie will have to do.

Burma Shave 11:50 AM  


OH, that DRAMAQUEEN JUST went through APHASE,
but her SWIMSUITSCENEs were some SOLID ways
her LIQUIDASSET switched TO LCDs.


Anonymous 3:06 PM  

It was fine. The revealer had me second-guessing 13A until I reread the revealer clue because why would you put an unrelated 10-letter clue directly above your related 10-letter clue?

AGUAS and AQUAS shouldn't be in the same puzzle. Other than those hiccups, it was fine.

thefogman 5:27 PM  

I knew I could count on you BS! Bravo!

Diana, LIW 6:27 PM  

A solid Monday, quickly finished. And I don't solve for speed - at all!

Diana, LIW

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