Property along the ocean / MON 8-17-20 / Greek peak in Thessaly / Spoonful 1960s pop group / Needs for playing Quidditch

Monday, August 17, 2020

Constructor: Alan Massengill and Andrea Carla Michaels

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (2:42)

THEME: BEACHFRONT (54A: Property along the ocean ... or a hint to the starts of 18-, 23-, 36- and 47-Across) — first words ("fronts") of themers are beach-related things:

Theme answers:
  • WAVES HELLO (18A: Greets from across the way, say)
  • SURF THE NET (23A: Casually browse online)
  • SHELLS OUT CASH (36A: Spends moolah)
  • PALMS CARDS (47A: Demonstrates some sleight of hand)
Word of the Day: SEGO lily (64A: ___ lily)

Calochortus nuttallii — known as sego lily — is a bulbous perennial which is endemic to the Western United States.

It is the state flower of Utah. (wikipedia)

• • •

is a nice idea for a revealer, but WAVES and SURF are the same thing—why would you waste a themer on a redundancy like that? Why not something with "sand" or, uh, PIERS PLOWMAN or something? SURF THE NET has a definite old-timer vibe to it (see also BEETLEs, Beatles, and The LOVIN' Spoonful), but it's fine, and the other themers were also fine, as stand-alone answers. I have a quibble with the revealer clue, though: I have only ever (or, rather, I have overwhelmingly) heard BEACHFRONT used adjectivally. I mean, I looked it up, and I see that there is a noun version, but for some reason my ears really really want the word BEACHFRONT to modify "property." So I think the revealer clue would've been clearer / more on-the-nose if it had read [*Like* property along the ocean...]. Just [Property ...] feels off. I don't know how to prove that most people use BEACHFRONT (when they use it) adjectivally, but I feel certain this is true. Anyway, I'm not mad at the revealer clue, just registering how awkward it sounds to me when clued as a noun. 

[Robyn, "Beach2k20"]

The bulk of the trouble I had with this puzzle came from trying to get the last two themers, actually. SHELLS OUT CASH is a little green-painty* as answers go, so the SHELLS OUT part took a bunch of crosses to become clear. And PALMS CARDS is a fine phrase, I guess, but the PALMS part still took many crosses to sort out. I also struggled with WALL ST. (1D: Financial ctr. in Manhattan). The abbr. ("ctr.") part threw me off. Got the WA- but thought there was some specific building in question. Didn't much care for that bank of 6-letter Downs at all. The fill in general is a little dull / creaky. ISDUE is not quite as off-putting as yesterday's ISSICK, but it's close. ONE-ARM (3D: Feature of a Las Vegas "bandit") and PET TRICKS (33D: "Stupid" segments on old David Letterman shows). I would love if they were inside their complete phrases. Standing alone, I think they're pretty bad, especially PET TRICKS, which is a partial *and* quite dated by now. Lotsa stale stuff like SEGO OSSA IDEST etc., but by 20th-century standards, it's pretty clean. Overall: nice theme idea, slightly clunkily executed, with tolerable overall fill. Shrug. Next.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

*green paint = phrase one might say, but that doesn't feel strong enough to be a stand-alone answer

P.S. ONE-ARM bandits = slang for slot-machines, in case you somehow didn't know

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


astrotrav 12:04 AM  

Uri Geller was not an illusionist. That's much too nice. He was a scam artist and a fraud. He tricked people into thinking he really did have psychokenisis. There's a famous episode of the Tonight Show where Johnny Carson makes a fool out of him. Google it if you're interested.

Marcus Chance 12:25 AM  

I found this an enjoyable start to a Monday. I'm slightly embarrassed that I needed 4 crosses for AIOLI to click.

Am I the only one who finds themselves getting tongue-tied when trying to enunciate PALMSCARDS?

Hope everyone has LOVIN spoonful of a day!

Frantic Sloth 12:37 AM  

@GILL from yesterday "I rented a little 4 story walk up that smelled and looked like left over cheese." Hilarious! Thanks for the towel trick in case history repeats.

@CDilly52 from yesterday - I got choked up reading your story. Stop that! 😉 Unfortunately, no Vernors near us - just Canada Dry. But, I'll wager we'd agree on humor being the panacea for any illness. You and your Gran were 2 peas in a punny pod!

Love me some ACME puzzle-doin'! This is the Monday whose picture you see in the dictionary next to the definition: a perfect example.

Though I didn't really pay attention to the theme during the solve, the revealer (with its appropriate placement) did what it was meant to do and tied it all up in a pretty little bow.
If I were a beginner, this is the kind of fair challenge that would keep me coming back for more; however, since I am not a beginner, this is the kind of smooth, clean, dreck-free challenge that keeps me coming back for more.

BEETLE SNITS. Wouldn't want to be around for one of those!


Joaquin 12:57 AM  

Filling in the LOVIN Spoonful brought back a great memory. In 1982, John Sebastian (the founder and lead singer of Spoonful) was the opening and closing act for Robin Williams at Starlight Theatre in Kansas City. And somehow we managed to score front row center seats for this - one of the best live shows ever.

jae 1:56 AM  

Easy. Smooth and just about right for a newbie. My only issue is that “stuff you see at the beach” seems a bit loose theme wise. Liked it.

chefwen 3:40 AM  

A perfectly fine Monday puzzle from ACME and Alan. Thank you both.

We can see WAVES, SURF and PALMS from our property, but we are in cow country and too high up to see the BEACH and SHELLS. That’s reserved for the rich folk down below who enjoy BEACH FRONT property.

Ben 4:28 AM  

I don't really understand Rex's quibble with the revealer -- Aren't there plenty of times when the clue is a noun phrase and the answer is an adjective?

But in any case, I would say that BEACHFRONT is an adjective, but BEACH FRONT is a noun

ChuckD 6:15 AM  

Liked this one fine. I’m not one to search for speed in a solve but finished one pass thru - pretty quickly. Love the beach - am there nearly everyday of the week so the theme was comfortable. Each themer was a little flat - SURF THE NET - but not obscure or tricky. Rest of the fill was perfect Monday fare. I’m not a mayonnaise or AIOLI guy but thought the cross with DIET SODAS was neat. Walked across WALL ST thousands of times so that went quick - like the adjacent ONE ARM bandit. Lots of old, gluey friends - SEGO, OSSA, BLT etc to hold it together.

Decent - not great start to the week.

Lewis 7:14 AM  

Ah, the BEACH, where you FRY under the RAYs, SCOOP the SAND, STROLL by the SURF, and renew ANEW. Just closing my eyes and thinking about it gets me zen and chill.

I swooped through this so fast that I spent some time looking at it afterward for lovely tidbits, and there they were. Mini theme of six double L's, which made me think of Andrea's co-Monday-Queen Lynn Lempel, the pairs of LATKE and HORA, and IDEST and UNUM, SEA forming a right angle with SHELL, the word SHELL itself embedded in WAVES HELLO, and OUI OUI literally overSEAS.

A.M., congratulations on your debut and enjoy this day; A.C.M., congratulations on your 70th puzzle, one which not only gave me happy images to think about, but engaged me as well. Thank you!

Hungry Mother 7:15 AM  

Quick and easy does it today. Beautiful morning for a run, nice puzzle to start the week.

kitshef 7:17 AM  

Nice theme, good fill, too easy. Puzzle coddles us just a bit too much. For example, the clue for LEONE. Mixes with a spoon for STIRS. Caspian and Caribbean for SEAS. Can anyone get a feeling of accomplishment out of putting those in?

Thank goodness I knew AIOLI, because the clue for 9D clearly requires AHHS for an answer, not AAHS.

Conrad 7:32 AM  

Did everybody notice the bonus SHELL in 18A?

Hungry Mother 8:05 AM  

I remember from my summer there in 1971, that Binghamton isn’t on the BEACHFRONT. I had a beachfront cottage on the Delaware Bay for 15 years and did a lot of ocean kayaking from there. WAVES and SURF are not the same.

Elizabeth 8:17 AM  

Many happy memories of Starlight Theater adventures when I was growing up— even a summer camp special event in the ‘60’s. Thanks for reminding me!

Z 8:22 AM  

People are lazy so constantly drop the noun and make the adjective a noun. “We rented a BEACHFRONT for a week” sounds perfectly okay to me.

I think Rex is off on the “dated” claim. We do have the modern AVA clue, BAE, and Harry Potter (a NYTX puzzle without Harry is like a day without sunshine) and you know there’s going to be a Beatles clue in an ACME puzzle (besides, they’re classic, not dated - the difference? 20-somethings still listen to the Beatles), LOVIN is hard to bring into this century, at best there are 70’s and 80’s options, but otherwise nothing screams “dated” to me. Some of the short fill is esey, but that’s not the same as “dated” to me. Nor did the ese seem in any way excessive.

I do have one nit that irked me while solving, the double POC at PALMS CARDS. PALM a CARD or even PALMS a card, but PALMS CARDS struck me as S indulgent (and a mouthful - 👋🏽@Marcus Chance). Yeah yeah, not wrong. Just sub-optimal in my book and I expect better from @ACME (see what happens when you are one of the Queens of Monday? Higher standards).

Pamela 8:27 AM  

I don’t agree with Rex’s nits today- I thought the puzzle was cute, and enjoyed solving it. Just one thing- was the revealer changed in the app after Rex’s suggestion? For me, it said Property along the Ocean,

I got a big whiff of sea air today, reminding me of when I lived in the Hamptons where one SHELLSOUTCASH at an alarming rate for just about everything except breathing, and there are no PALMS and not much serious SURF. The WAVES are lovely for swimming, though. And the puzzle was lovely for sailing through.

RooMonster 8:44 AM  

Hey All !
Hands up for those who always spell it AOILI at first. 🤳

Fun theme. BEACH/ocean things. I lived in Milford CT for 13 years, which is on Long Island Sound. A few of us friends were looking for an apartment to share, and one place was directly BEACH FRONT. It was neat. I think it was too small for our purposes, though, so we passed on it. That wasn't the ritzy section of BEACH FRONTage, that was further north, close to West Haven. In the early 2000's they made the home owners with direct BEACH FRONT put their houses on stilts. Not sure who had to pay for that... probably the home owners.

Found SADDAY to be SAD, ala odd. Two writeovers, LATKi-LATKE, etnA-OSSA.

So a fun MonPuz. Too hot in Las Vegas this week to go outside, BEACH or not. (Only thing LV lacks, a real BEACH. There's a small one at Mandalay Bay, but basically it's a patch of sand by their wave pool. Lake Mead is 45ish minutes away, bit doesn't have a BEACH. 45 minutes other direction from town is a ski resort. Yes, you read that right. A ski resort. It's on My. Charleston, whose peak is 11,000 feet and change. Good stuff!

Four F's

Barbara S. 8:49 AM  

I liked the puzzle with its restful seaside images. I thought there was a mini-Wizard of Oz theme (apologies to those who can't abide that film) in AUNTie Em, RAY [Bolger], E Pluribus UNUM, and maybe BROOM(S) [WW of the W] and PALS. The phrase "E Pluribus UNUM" is used by the Wizard twice at the end of the movie, once when giving the Scarecrow his diploma, and once referring to the U.S.A. as "The Land of EPU."

M. Love / B. Wilson 8:59 AM  

On the beach you'll find them there
In the sun and salty air
The girls on the beach
Are all within reach
If you know what to do

Funny how lyrics that once seemed so sweet and innocent sound so creepy today.....

Sandy in Asbury Park 9:01 AM  

Cute summer Monday but one thing I noticed is that pretty much all beaches have waves, surf, and shells while palms are only found in tropical climates. That one seems like an outlier.

Nancy 9:09 AM  

Let's see. What were my Really Big Dilemmas today? Oh, yes. Would it be AAHS or AHHS? Would I be SURFing THE WEB or THE NET? Would I be drinking DIET SODAS or DIET COLAS? Gosh, what enormous powers of intellect this puzzle required!

Well you certainly don't think I didn't know what a "dog's foot" is called. Or that the Caspian and Caribbean are both SEAS. Or that the "cry between Ready and Go" is SET.

I always wonder who that mythical Monday Solver who needs this kind of third-grade level cluing actually is? Maybe a Third-Grader? For me, this was just one more mindless Monday.

Lewis 9:13 AM  

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

1. What might be in trouble if it's out of the woods? (3)(4)
2. It appears in stacks (4)
3. Something the force is responsible for? (5)
4. Lengths for rulers (6)
5. Actress Tyler who will be an apt age in 2031 (3)


57stratocaster 9:16 AM  

Fine Monday puzzle. Fast and clean.

Lately on Mondays there have been, according to my wife who has been trying to get into the crossword world, either too many answers she has never heard of, or too many overly tricky clues. This has discouraged her quite a bit.

Isn't Monday supposed to be the day to welcome new solvers?

William of Ockham 9:32 AM  



three of clubs 9:33 AM  

So tired of SAYSHI and its kin. I think it's the words SAYS which could precede virtually anything. Guess WAVES gets a pass here, but I might have preferred WAVESASIDE.

Nancy 9:43 AM  

Re Uri Geller: Yes, I know he's a trickster, but you explain to me how he did this! Even my good friend -- the woman whose hidden "something" in an envelope he figured out -- couldn't explain it. Hell, she told no one ahead of time -- not even me.

We had taken one of his books at the Literary Guild and so he came in person, sat with us editors in the conference room, and performed. Yes, he bent the spoon but that was his big trick and I wasn't impressed. But he had asked people to securely wrap up some sort of secret "something" and that he would tell us what it was.

My friend Cathy pulled out a small envelope from the bowels of her handbag. It was passed around the table. We were each allowed to stare at it and fondle it as long as we liked. I can tell you that none of us had the slightest idea what was in the envelope.

Geller took the envelope and placed it in front of him. He then took out his own piece of paper, placed it away from Cathy's envelope and drew on it. A small, uneven, asymmetrical "figure eight" that he went over and over again with the pencil as the drawing became blacker and blacker. But not evenly so. Parts of the figure eight looked thinner than other parts. He seemed to have no idea what he was drawing; he just drew. He then asked Cathy to open the envelope and tell everyone what the thing was.

The envelope was opened. Taped on a piece of paper was a black "figure eight" that was exactly the same size and configuration as his drawing. I think the mathematical term is congruent. What is this, Cathy was asked? She replied that she had taken black fur from her dog, a Puli (that I had met many times, btw), twisted it into a figure eight and taped it to a piece of paper. She had told no one and she had not let her handbag out of sight.

You tell me how he did this. Cathy certainly had no idea. She was no shill. As for me, I walked out of the conference room with a rather unpleasant headache. And I never get headaches. Never. Was there some sort of special energy...?

Look, I'm the most "show me" sort of rationalist you can possibly imagine. I don't believe in the occult or anything remotely connected to the occult. But I've always wondered about this incident. So please, just tell me HOW HE DID IT somebody! Please!

GILL I. 10:01 AM  

A puzzle without the BEATLES is not an ACME puzzle. And just yesterday I was indulging in reminiscence of Cabo and Margaritas. Nice to muse over a BEACH FRONT.
I spent a ton of years breathing in sea air. I still can smell it now even though I'm in hot Sacramento. Remembering sitting on the Malecon in Havana and trying to catch a fish with a little stick, some string and a bobby pin with a piece of bread. They never bit. Miami Beach and watching little old ladies wearing huge hats and jeweled sun glasses. Sarasota and wearing my first ridiculous bikini. It was a black one and I looked like a fried banana. Playing hooky in the Palisades and walking down a few minutes to Sunset Point Beach. Yes...I love the WAVES, the sound of the SURF, finding a SEA SHELL and looking for a PALM to sit under with a glamorous pineapple drink and a foo foo straw.
Mondays are fun to arouse ones memories. This did the trick. Thank you Alan and Andrea. Twas fun.

@Nancy from last night. I hear ya, re accents. I still have trouble understanding Paul and I've been married to him for over 34 years. Now if you really want a head explosion, try understanding a Geordie accent. Gadzooks....even they don't understand each other....

Carola 10:02 AM  

AAH, the BEACH FRONT vacation we didn't have in March (hi, @chefwen), because of you-know-what. In LIEU of the actual experience, I enjoyed this vicarious one, with its glimpses of the shore and its easy-going vibe. Like others, I liked the bonus themers - the extra SHELL that got washed up in 18A + SEAS, RAY, LOAFS... and wondered if the SHE in 52D is the one who sells sea shells down by the sea shore.
Do-over: wEb. Help from previous puzzles: BAE.

jberg 10:06 AM  

Yeah, waves and surf are not the same. But someone beat me to the punch. Elegant theme, IMO.

Joaquin 10:15 AM  

I'm surprised that anyone hesitated to drop in AAHS (thinking it could be "ahhs") when the clue was "Companion of 'oohs'". It is, after all, Monday and there wasn't a misleading clue to be found in the entire puzzle.

Nancy 10:21 AM  

Agree on the beachfront, Ben. Lived near beaches my whole life. It’s used both ways.

Z 10:35 AM  

@Hungry Mother and @jberg - I’m with Rex on this. I can imagine WAVES without SURF, but SURF is just a breaking a WAVE. It’s as if you’re saying a corgi and a poodle aren’t the same thing. That’s not even a good comparison because you can have one without the other but you can’t have SURF without WAVES. I guess I see what you mean, if I’m at the BEACHFRONT and there are whitecaps I'm calling what I see SURF, not WAVES, as in “SURF’S up today.” But they’re still WAVES. My reaction when I read Rex was, “oh yeah, they are the same thing.”

@Frantic Sloth - See, I avoided a wry satanic marina reference. Getting over it. 😎

TTrimble 10:35 AM  

Obviously it's a little hard to know what specific trick he might have applied, but sealed envelope tricks seem to be standard fare in the illusionist's repertoire. This may give you some ideas.

Whatsername 10:44 AM  

It was lovely to start the day with images of SHELLS, PALMS and ocean WAVES while relaxing to the sounds of the SURF. Just what I needed to make me forget the realities of the world. I liked this little Monday ditty a lot. My straw hat is off to both constructors and congrats to Alan on a very pleasant debut.


@Joaquin (12:57) Front row center seats at Starlight, sounds heavenly. I learned how to drive a standard transmission at that very spot in a 1972 Volkswagen BEETLE with a very patient boyfriend. I jerked that poor little car all over the parking lot, but to this day I take great pride in the fact that I can drive a stick shift.

albatross shell 10:48 AM  

From yesterday Vernor's Ginger Ale. I use to drink it in Cleveland in the 50's and 60's when visiting relatives every summer. Great stuff. After that I only found it on rare occasions until recently when a discount Mennonite grocery started selling some, frequently although irregularly. for a quarter a can. It is good but it's not quite what I remember from my youth. Up until 1996 they claimed it was aged 3 or 4 years in oak barrels. Did they stop? Did they ever do it? Reliable info seems hard to come by. The company story is the founder was making a ginger syrup to create a ginger drink, and the civil war started. He got home and the syrup was sitting in an oaken cask. He tested it out and the drink was not spoiled and tasted better than the drink he made before he left. At times the company claimed he started selling it in 1865 and sometimes in 1880. No trademark was applied for until 1911. Maybe one store selling locally? Any Of you Detroiters or Michignlanders know more? Anybody who drank it regularly know anything about taste changes? I think sodas and beers taste different out of cans than bottles. Coke tasted best out of those 6 (or was it 6 and a half) ounce returnable bottles.

Fed up in Peoria 10:58 AM  

@Nancy - You're in the rare position to do yourself and a host of others a huge favor at the same time. Every Monday, rather than do the NYTimes Crossword, then come here and complain that it was too easy for you, go to The New Yorker and do that puzzle. Today's is a delightful Patrick Berry, with the difficulty of probably an easy Friday NYTimes.

By your doing this, you get to do an excellent puzzle, and we're spared reading about how so far, so very, very far, beneath your massive intellect the deliberately easy NYTimes Mondays are.

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

You've been inland too long. Waves cause surf. But they are hardly the same thing.

mathgent 11:39 AM  

Loved Nancy’s send-up of some of the simple-minded clues. But I thought that the puzzle had a certain jauntiness about it and it wasn’t an unpleasant few minutes for me. A drop of golden sun.

I’ve done the New Yorker crossword the last two Mondays. I had heard that Mondays were their toughest. Both were smooth and professional but Wednesday-easy.

Swagomatic 11:39 AM  

We had a power outage at my house, so I lost my 95% complete grid to the general entropy of the universe. After about 5 1/2 hours, power was restored and all is good.

It's really unfortunate that URI Geller has such a X-word friendly name. He's really a con artist and should be treated as such.

bauskern 11:46 AM  

Four thoughts:
1. @Nancy, clearly the Monday puzzles are too easy for you. We get it.
2. This puz has inspired me to watch some Uri Geller on YouTube later tonight.
3. I always put LATKE in the plural; I mean, who would only eat just one?? That's just wrong.
4. Today's critique made me wonder if rex approaches life in general the way he addresses a crossword puz. If so, he must be a fairly unhappy, disappointed individual.

Morning run? check
A little work? check
Monday puz? check!
Off to lunch & more fun! . . . . .

GILL I. 11:49 AM  

@Fed up in Peoria. Wow. Did you eat some salmonella infected onions? "Beneath your massive intellect?" Did the thunder and lightning last night keep you from your sleep? An opinion is an opinion is an opinion.
Rest in peace.

Whatsername 12:17 PM  

@Fed Up in Peoria (10:58) defines “opinion” as: A personal view, attitude, or appraisal [emphasis added]. The point of this blog is to share opinions about the daily crossword puzzle. You have an opinion, I have an opinion, Nancy has an opinion, and so do a lot of other people. While it is a forum where debates are enthusiastic and commonplace, one of the basic rules among the commentariat here is to refrain from resorting to personal attacks against others. Just thought I’d mention that in case you were not aware.

old timer 12:21 PM  

Professor Sharp may have been born in California, and gone to Pomoma, but I think he did not hang out at the beach much. Maybe Newport Beach, which features parties galore, and boats in the harbor, but not a lot of SURF.

I grew up going to the beach most summer days, as my mother was a member of a Los Angeles beach club, right on the ocean. SURF as a noun describes what appears when a wave breaks. The SURF, all frothy, comes up on the shore, turns into sea water again, and may do a number on that sand castle you so patiently constructed.

SURF as a verb can refer to body surfing, where most people like me just let the SURF wash them up on the beach, or board surfing, where the riders try to avoid getting caught in the SURF, for they are there to ride the WAVES, and after doing their tricks try to get back to the place where the WAVES are not breaking.

Fond memories! And I hope an explanation why WAVES and SURF are not at all the same thing.

Anonymous 1:00 PM  

Agree with Sandy @9:01. There’s a place called Palm Beach but that doesn’t jibe with the other themers . Also, in tropical and subtropical climes palms are everywhere not just at beaches.

rjkennedy98 1:13 PM  

I'm surprised Rex didn't hate this one. I thought it has very little that was remarkable or interesting. ONE ARM BANDIT and SHELLS OUT CASH were probably the two highlights for me. I disagree that SHELLS OUT CASH is green-painty since you never say shells out dollars/credit/cents ect. It is a cohesive phrase.

Otherwise I thought this was tremendously boring and easy puzzle. I agree with the poster that asked who are the solvers that would like this cream puff? There isn't even the slightest amount of misdirection in any off the cluing. Dog's foot is PAW, lock of hair is TRESS, cook in oil is FRY, ect, ect.

Frantic Sloth 1:16 PM  

@Fed up in Peoria This is sheer conjecture, but I bet you were a circle in a former life.

Teedmn 1:22 PM  

Personal time record on this one, so I get @Nancy's complaint about mindlessness but I thought the grid was clean and the theme provided a cute diversion. I do often wonder about those new solvers and what makes a crossword hard for them. It's been so long since I did my first crossword (if not in my first decade, then at least early in my second) that I can't put myself in their place. I'd love to have a new solver give me some insight on what they're struggling with (besides old pop culture). Certainly, when I solve a puzzle from a venue other than the NYT, I find the editors can make a huge difference on what the go-to assumptions on fill are.

OUI OUI at 2D was the one thing to give me brief pause today, as I filled it in piecemeal and O-IOUI had me looking for a misstep before I read its clue.

Congrats, Alan Massengill, on your debut, and thanks ACME.

Michiganman 1:23 PM  

@Gill & @whatsername. Your point is valid. I agree and am also tired of all the venom directed at Rex and Z.

ChuckD 2:00 PM  

Obviously surf and waves are not the same thing - but as someone who is at the beach quite often the common usage upon arrival is either “how’s the surf” or “how’s the waves “. So - surf is the cumulative effect of numerous surface waves breaking on shore but most don’t make that distinction and see them as one in the same. As a surfer - I’m a wave rider. I have no problem using them interchangeably in most cases.

Z 2:16 PM  

When does a WAVE stop being a WAVE? When someone makes an observation and kills the cat. American Heritage Dictionary would like to weigh in. The waves of the sea ..., seems pretty definitive.

@mathgent - Regarding the Monday New Yorker puzzle, When they’ve been most difficult for me is when the PPP is fresher than I am. I don’t time myself, but I would say the easiest are Wednesday level, the hardest Friday level. On the other hand, their “easy” Friday’s are rarely Monday easy.

@Everyone - It is very easy to not read someone. By and large I find everyone’s opinion interesting, even when I disagree with them. Sometimes the people I disagree with are the most interesting, even. Still, there have been a few over the years who have been elided over by me. Somehow they never found out I wasn’t reading their comments.

@michiganman - I was really expecting you to answer the Vernor’s question. More than you ever wanted to know about Vernors from their website. It is discernibly different from other ginger ales and if you are used to the more commonly found ones you might not like Vernors. I also note that the brand name has lost its apostrophe.

Anonymous 2:26 PM  

Dunno why the dictionary Z believes the dictionary he cites is definitive.
Uncle's Google's first dictionary--by definition preeminent, begs differ with his definition. Just sayin'

the mass or line of foam formed by waves breaking on a seashore or reef.
"the roar of the surf"

kitshef 2:37 PM  

I have cut and paste the first paragraph from a certain board member's posts on the past two Mondays below. Any guesses who said these very nice things about those Monday puzzles?

'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.)'

'Although I didn't notice the theme while solving, I think it's quite a nice one. I liked the distinction of items that are found in rather than just found somewhere -- which works so well for each one of the theme answers. The fill is remarkably junk-free too.'

albatross shell 3:05 PM  

The website on Vernor's does not answer the question about the change in taste nor does it mention when and if they aged it in oak barrels and when they stopped doing it. The advertising changed the years it was aged, and then just dropped the length of time it was aged, and then dropped the claim completely. I suspect it was somewhat of a fraudulent claim. I wonder to what degree.

Unknown 3:08 PM

For those interested in Uri Geller.

Z 3:47 PM  

@albatross shell - Wikipedia says there are claims about corn syrup replacing sugar and it only being aged 3 years in oak barrels instead of four. It’s owned by big soda, now, so who knows. It’s not readily available where I live now (well, at least not where I shop now) so hard for me to say. Someone else mentioned that Coca Cola tastes different and I think it is the corn syrup. Coke bottled in Mexico apparently still uses sugar and I can that here (and it was fairly easy to find in Detroit when I still lived there).

@Anon2:26 - Interesting. I was wondering why the people over at Oxford were at odds with American Heritage, Merriam-Webster, Cambridge, Wordnik (which uses American Heritage as its source) and even New Oxford American Dictionary (look at all those citations). I think it’s because Google is bringing up The UK dictionary. Which raises the question of whether or not they actually speak English in the UK. 🤷🏽‍♂️
Seriously, it is a little odd that the people responsible for the OED are apparently at odds with a bunch of other dictionaries, even their own American version.

Crimson Devil 4:30 PM  

Re URI: Carnac was only psychic I ever believed in.

Anoa Bob 5:45 PM  

My first BEACHFRONT experiences were in San Diego in the 60s and early 70s, going down to Pacific, Mission or Ocean BEACH and doing some body SURFing and checking out the other BEACH goers. Took me a while to learn to just lie in the sand (should have been in the puzzle) and do nothing but listen to the WAVES. Learned how to meditate without trying to learn how to meditate. It was during this period when I decided that I always wanted to live where there was a BEACHFRONT and PALM tress and sea gulls. Yeah, lower latitudes and the sea. As I type this in, all those are only a few steps out the front door. (And hurricane season.)

When I started dabbling in crossword construction, I began to pay more attention to how the grid was constructed and filled. One of the things that I noticed was how handy the letter S is in doing the latter. (It is especially useful when it's part of a POC or plural of convenience. Most puzzles will have a few, this one has a lot. Even 1 Across is one.) I think one of the reasons why a number of yous found it too easy was because a lot of the open squares are Ss. The letter S occurs at a frequency of about 6% in standard English text ( so we would expect 11 or 12 Ss in this grid. If my count of 25 Ss is right, then it's around 13%, or about twice the rate that we usually see.

Pamela 6:43 PM  

@GILL I., @ whatsername, @Anon Michiganman- Thanks!

There is so much interesting, thought-provoking, stimulating and just plain funny commentary here, and that’s what I come for. This community isn’t a battlefield, it’s an exchange of knowledge, ideas and opinions. Differences are interesting, and give a broader view of whatever is being discussed. There’s nothing to be gained from personal attacks. They’re just a waste of time and energy.

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

Does anyone besides me hate today’s? I am so, so stuck! Grrr...

Anonymous 7:06 PM  

This theme makes no sense. What do palms have to do with beach fronts ? I’d understand if the other theme answers were words that preceded beach, Jones, Daytona, Miami,etc. but who has ever hear of wave beach or surf beach ? No comprendo. I’m usually a fan of WS but this one didn’t work,

TTrimble 7:31 PM  

I'm 5 away, but hardly confident I'll get to QB. But like you, I've decided generally it might be healthier just to smell the roses.

I did hate today's more at first than I do now. But overall it's such a time suck.

Greg 7:37 PM  

I thought that PALMSCARDS was "green-painty"

JC66 7:58 PM  

****SB ALERT****

@Pamela & @Ttrimle

I struggled to get to Genius. I'll give it a few minutes more, then I'm done.

Nancy 8:07 PM  

@Whatsername just emailed me to let me know about today's troll. Would have missed the comment entirely as I was out all day on the first nice and cool day in at least 6 weeks.

Thanks so much to all who defended me. You'll be happy to know that I have no intention of being browbeaten and intimidated and bullied by some anonymous gutless wonder into writing the kind of comment of which he approves. Instead I think that he should write the kind of comment of which he approves. But anytime there's a Monday I like -- and there probably have been no fewer than five Mondays in the last 4 months that I've praised -- I'll say so. And when I don't, I'll say that too. I'm quite glad that "Peeved in Peoria" (or whatever the hell his nom de blog is) is in Peoria and that our paths will never cross. A small mercy.

Nancy 8:24 PM  

I had seen the responses from @GILL, @Whatsernme and @Pamela and am very, very appreciative. But @Kitshef (2:37)-- What you did is so wonderful!!! I missed your terrific rejoinder the first time around. It speaks volumes and I'm sure you went to a lot of trouble to dig up those posts. In fact it's such eloquent defense, that I might not have written my response just now if I'd seen it first. I might have considered my spleen vented enough. Thank you!!!

Barbara S. 8:49 PM  

****SB ALERT****
@Pamela, @TTrimble, @JC66
Yeah, I'm just about ready to pack in today's, too. I'm 6 away but I may be all tapped out. Lots of familiar words from recent puzzles, which helped, but not enough to put any of us over the top. Too bad. :-(

jae 9:00 PM  

*****SB Alert *****

@Pamala, TTrimble, JC66 - you may put me down as a hater today

Bruce Fieggen 10:24 PM  

Seems like he could have felt it through the envelope.

Nancy 8:45 AM  

@Bruce F. (10:24) -- Cathy had it wrapped up in paper inside the envelope. The envelope was also passed around the table to all of us. Believe me, I tried to feel what was in it and couldn't. None of us could.

CDilly52 2:33 AM  

@Goll 10:01 AM. I am catching up on all the posts from the last few days so it is Tuesday night - yep that’s how far behind I am. Laughed at your comment about the Geordie accent.

My Dad’s sabbatical year took him to Durham to the university. While he taught and lectured and worked with school administrators, Mom toured the entire North East area of England. They returned home in December, 1974 with my mother’s collection of new friends’ addresses and interesting stories in her journal - many of them from Tyneside.

Mom collected people like some folks collect stamps. Mind you this was before the internet. She wrote letters every day and had taken a small reel to reel tape recorder with her so she could record her friends’ voices. She returned home absolutely fixated on the Geordie accent. Throughout the entire holiday break (that also included my DIY wedding at the folks’ house,) she played her “Learn Geordie” LPs incessantly .

At the reception, everyone drank quite a bit. Even some light or non-drinkers hit the punch bowl which was filled and refilled with a delicious and refreshing concoction - a recipe from one of Mom’s new friends. It was Vernor’s ginger ale, strong tea and claret - iced. My dear Gran went to her heavenly reward believing that alcohol never touched her lips and yet, we have a couple family pictures with her glassy eyes and clearly “in her [punch] cups.”

I do not know who among my parents’ many friends started trying to pronounce words in the Geordie accent but the entire party deteriorated into more beverages and Mom’s LP “Learn Geordie” recordings. Once all of our university friends left, Larry and I slipped off to Springfield where we were to catch a plane to OKC to go visit his folks who couldn’t attend the wedding because Larry’s sister gave birth to their first grandchild two days before our wedding. We laughed all the way from Bloomington-Normal to Springfield trying to pronounce Geordie words. After 45 years we still talked about our “Geordie wedding” every single anniversary. The only word I can remember (no idea what it means) sounds like ‘kimmerahahooo.” For years my sister used it as an all purpose greeting or expletive depending on context. Thanks for the memory!

CDilly52 2:40 AM  

Thanks for sharing some Vernor’s lore @abatross! You are so right about the different taste. It is weak now and goes flat quickly and I would bet the farm that it is no longer aged. I always thought it came from Wisconsin for some reason.

And yes, Coke from the small bottle pulled out of a big cooler or galvanized tub full to the brim with ice-most satisfying hot summer day treat ever!! I never drink anything from cans If I can avoid it. Cans negatively impact the taste for sure.

thefogman 10:22 AM  

Not perfect, but still a good Monday puzzle.

Burma Shave 11:33 AM  


RAY’s TACTICS are THE STUFF of a loser:


spacecraft 11:43 AM  

In "The Sting," Luther says he's going to retire from grifting and take a real job. "It's not too exciting, but it's mostly legal." That fits today's offering. Vanilla. DIETSODAS. You get the picture.

HALLE Berry, a sight for sore EYES, STROLLS across the grid and wins DOD. Man, there are an awful lot of S-endings, aren't there? Wow, twenty! (No, I didn't count TRESS or SOS, but I did count four within themers). Well, what the hey, I like vanilla. It takes fruit toppings nicely. Birdie.

rondo 2:19 PM  

As usual, OFL will pick nits on an ACME puz. And he never heard the term BEACHFRONT as a noun? C'mon.

HALLE Berry's got the STUFF, including an Oscar. Yeah BAE BAE.

I'm LOVIN' it more than OFL.

leftcoaster 2:27 PM  

About as smooth as a BAEby's behind.

Had Aside before ADLIB and waited to get spelling of AIOLI.

Enjoyed it.

Anonymous 4:12 PM  

Now for another opinion - had always heard of Vernor's Ginger Ale, but only could find Canada Dry. Finally had my chance and tried it - quite disappointing. Canada Dry is far better.

leftcoaster 4:36 PM  

WAVES cause SURF; SURF doesn't cause waves. Ergo, they are two different things. (Impulsive response to comments way above.)

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