Tablecloth fabric / MON 11-16-20 / Green item proffered by Sam-I-Am / Jitter-free jitter juice / Roman poet who wrote Seize the day put no trust in the morrow / Shore phenomenon around time of the new and full moons

Monday, November 16, 2020

Constructor: Jennifer Nutt

Relative difficulty: Medium (3:04)

THEME: BABY STEPS (59A: Small advances ... or the progression suggested by the ends of 17-, 23-, 33-, 41- and 48-Across) — last words in the theme answers are "STEPS" in the normal motor-skill development of a "BABY":

Theme answers:
  • JELLY ROLL (17A: Sweet item at a bakery)
  • HOUSE SIT (23A: Keep watch while a homeowner's away)
  • PUB CRAWL (33A: Bar-to-bar activity)
  • MIC STAND (41A: What a speaker or musician may adjust before starting)
  • CAKEWALK (48A: Easy win)
Word of the Day: SPRING TIDE (29D: Shore phenomenon around the time of the new and full moons) —
a tide of greater-than-average range around the times of new moon and full moon (
• • •

Was briefly irked that only one of the theme answers actually contained a word related to "steps" (CAKE WALK), but then quickly came to accept that "steps" could refer to stages in a process, and that the process in question was adequately represented by the last words of the themers in today's puzzle, so I finally arrived at grudging acceptance, which is honestly the best I can do today. This theme works fine. The fill is fine. It's fine. It's visually unusual, in that most of its themers (2 through 5) are neither flush to the side of the grid nor centered. Four 8s in a row just sort of float off-center toward the middle of the grid. It's ... a look. It makes the whole center part of the grid look and feel very choppy, somehow; it's a very black square-heavy grid (40 of them, which is def on the high side). But if you're gonna cram in this many themers, it's not surprising that you'd have to make rather liberal use of the black squares, to keep the grid manageable (i.e. fillable in a way that is not awkward / ugly). For all the short fill this one contains, it never felt tiresome, and HORACE DOGSTAR DAMASK and SACHETS are all at least mildly interesting answers. In most themed puzzles, it's just a couple of longer Downs that hold any real interest, but this one didn't rely solely on SPRING TIDE and CAMERAWORK to liven things up, which is nice. 

I've had a couple glasses of wine tonight, which may have affected my speed skills, but I had a number of sticking points today, starting right off the bat at 1A: Tricked by doing something unexpectedly, with "out" (FAKED). It's a long, unwieldy clue, and it's got the whole "with 'out'" part to factor in, and my brain couldn't do anything with it for what felt like a long time (as long as it took me to get most of the crosses). KILO also took a bit, because the clue was so vague (3D: Metric weight, informally), and since FAKED and KILO cross, I stumbled rather than shot out of the NW. I also had a (metric) ton of trouble with CAMERAWORK; I watch a *ton* of movies, and think a lot about cinematography, so ... I don't know what I was expecting this answer to be, but nothing as informal as CAMERAWORK. I had the "C" and thought "... C ... INEMATOGRAPHY?" And even after I got CAMERA I wasn't sure what came next. [Job for a cinematographer] sounds like it wants, well, a specific job, a subset of what a cinematographer does, but CAMERAWORK is the totality of what a cinematographer does. I like the answer OK, but the clue was weirdly baffling to me. Worst part of the puzzle by far was trying to figure out what spelling of KEBAB they were gonna go with today. I managed to get *both* vowels wrong this time, yay me. Nothing else caused too much trouble. So I guess that's that. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:15 AM  

I was completely put off by 9-D as I deal exclusively with designer DOGSTARS, not the regular ones we have in this puzzle. But that might just be me; or maybe me and my golfing buddies.

jae 1:22 AM  

Medium. Like yesterday’s this was fine, liked it. My proud moment was putting in the correct KEBAB with no crosses.

chefwen 1:35 AM  

@Joaquin, your avatar looks like the King of DOG STARS, you and your golfing buddies are right.

What a fun Monday puzzle, loved it.

Too old to go on a PUB CRAWL, but back in the day, Hoo boy, what fun.

Our renter couple are expecting a baby boy in a few months. Today I gave her an early gift of a puppy from Hammacher Schlemmer that slurps when you Boop his nose, yips when you pat his head and makes more little puppy noises when You stroke his back. So damn cute, I hated to give it up. Might have to buy another one for myself.
It’ll be fun to see the little guy ROLL, SIT, CRAWL STAND and WALK.

Thank you Jennifer, I enjoyed this.

Azzurro 1:58 AM  

I like Jennifer Nutt’s puzzles, but maybe I’m biased because she was one of my law school professors, years before her NYT debut.

This was a cute Monday that did not disappoint!

DavidP 3:10 AM  

CAMERAWORK is definitely NOT the totality of what a cinematographer does. It’s about half. The other half is devoted to lightning the scene (plus other stuff like color correction during post-production).

ChuckD 6:27 AM  

This one was good. Clear, dense theme with fine supporting fill. The progression to first steps brought a smile. Liked JELLY ROLL and PUB CRAWL most. Agree with Rex that the justification of the themers in the grid was odd but no matter.

Loved the Maples and myrtles clue and DOGSTAR is a great entry. SPRING TIDEs are the rough ones for our beaches - earlier this year we had a proxigean spring which was overly damaging. I’m intrigued by tidal theory - but not sure I like to see it in the puzzle.

Nice start to the week.

Lewis 6:44 AM  

This is a charming theme, playing with STEPS in the revealer to refer to a progression as well as that progression’s culmination, and bringing babies to mind, which to me, just returning from a long visit with an October-born grandchild, was especially heartwarming.

Jennifer brewed up an excellent puzzle on the harder end of Monday, IMO, one that can make new solvers feel proud of completing.

I liked coming across four palindromes – DAD, LIL, ATTA, and ORO – not to mention the inclusion in the top row of DECAF and a reverse DEKAF.

A baby-grand beginning to the week – thank you so much, Jennifer!

Anonymous 6:52 AM  

You read way too much into this. Clue doesn't exclude other duties or tasks.

TTrimble 6:59 AM  

Yay, Lewis is back! Hope you had a wonderful time with your family, Lewis.

This seemed a little harder than a Monday to me. I don't know how many newcomers would know that was HORACE, and I only learn now that COLTS are specifically male. I had REtRO before REPRO, and I don't think the latter is in my lexicon. ASSORT instead of "sort" for "categorize", also not ultra familiar. Had WEep before WEPT: the tense was not clear from the clue. SACHETS I had to back into. The NW was the last to fall: I had to get JELLY ROLL before coming up with FIJI.

@bocamp from yesterday
Thanks. I don't know how to reach Barbara S. either. I tried again last night commenting on your blog, but even the simplest things seem to elude me.

Greg 7:00 AM  

Had RETRO instead of REPRO, which gave me STRINGTIDE, which I'd never heard of, but I've also never lived near the ocean, so I thought, "Maybe that's a thing?" Took me a while to track down the error.

Hungry Mother 7:03 AM  

I needed my wife to remind me of SPRINGTIDE, even though I was quite aware of the tides when I was a more active kayaker. REPRO isn’t anything I’ve ever used. Otherwise, normal Monday.

kitshef 7:09 AM  

Major kudos for having a ton of themers but avoiding the oft-associated junk fill.

Yesterday we had Johnny and today we had TARA – on the very weekend of the Las Vegas Invitational. Coincidence? I think not.

I’m always intrigued by things I learn later in life. I was in my fifties before I learned what a CAKE WALK is, in any sense other than “something easy”.

Wit 7:20 AM  

USDA certified Monday for me. Much better than last Monday - although maybe that was mostly the editorial placement.

Got a decent Monday time. I don't live in a world where 3:04 is a medium. If I can get within 2-4X of Rex's time, I'm happy. I don't know how they do it - solve telepathically? My fingers just don't operate that fast.

Theme is good, but I didn't notice it until I finished.

KEBAB! Living in NYC, I swear I see it spelled 5 different ways (maybe it's 2-3).

BELIE fascinates me. Its two meanings are essentially opposites:
"Her calm demeanor belied her nervousness at the job interview."
"The evidence belied his guilt."

@Joaquin - what is a designer dogstar?

@DavidP - my best friend is a cinematographer. Technically he would definitely agree, but I think he'd be ok with with camerawork as a generalized term. The distinction gets blurred on smaller shoots.

Ted 7:41 AM  

Puzzle structure, theme, and answers were just fine.

Cluing was often awkward, and not just for a Monday.

KILO is mass, not weight.

It's green EGGS and ham, not EGG.

That whole SEAM ASSORT REPRO TARA HORACE SPRINGTIDE section is a bit... not-Mondayish.

FIJI water is a travesty of a company on par with Nestle. Look it up. :(

SouthsideJohnny 7:43 AM  

The theme was pleasant enough but I ultimately felt unsatisfied with this one. I never heard the word DAMASK, so that was a learning experience. Ditto for SPRING TIDE, so I pretty much butchered that whole section - I couldn’t remember the skater’s name (kept thinking IDA, lol), Roman poets will never be in my wheelhouse, had trouble with ASSORT and the clue for ART seems a bit off (as does the answer for 32A (REPRO - please raise your hand if you have used that word in a sentence even once in your life). Seems like I am in the minority though, as most of the posters so far seemed to have had a pretty easy go of it - just not in my wheelhouse today I guess.

pabloinnh 8:14 AM  

Well, I've never streamed anything on Twitch, but we just got a fiber optic update on our internet, so I'll probably spend the rest of my retirement being a GAMER. Har. Hangup there, as I had to wait for the crosses.

FAKED went in instantly and without much thought, as did Sam's HAM, with even less thought, obviously. That took a little repair work.

JELLYROLL is always JELLYROLL Morton and not some bakery item pretender. And working PUBCRAWL and CAKEWALK into the theme is simply elegant.

Nice smooth run down the easy slope with just a bump or two to add interest. Well done, JN, and thanks for the fun.

Z 8:28 AM  

I wonder if I or U ever feel left out. KxBxB and wait for the crossings. I don’t even bother trying to guess. The meat on a stick is right there with key of random musical work and Davis of Hollywood in the “You have to wait for a cross or three” clue category.

@Joaquin - 😂🤣😂
@Wit - We had a designer dog kerfuffle a few days ago. @Joaquin is doing comedy.

I like this theme. I see Rex commented on the themer arrangement, an arrangement that reminds me of a baby learning to walk. Not orderly or straight from point A to point B, but teetering back and forth as the tot careers from dad to mom. Well, not “careers” so much as “stumble like a drunken sailor.” Anyway, not a bug but a theme feature.

Did this in 5:05. Taking the dogs out for their ablutions on a brisk morning seems to help my solving speed. Lots of times the chihuahua doesn’t move until at least my second cup of coffee, especially on cold mornings, but today she was ready before the water was hot.

Todd 8:35 AM  

With Rex on Kebab. I no longer even try to guess the vowels till I check the crosses. I find it a bit annoying. Like if they started using czar in addition to tsar as an answer.

Z 8:36 AM  

@pabloinnh reminded me of my one nit today. The “green” in the clue tipped me off that EGG was wanted, but what Sam-I-Am proffered was green EGGs and ham. Always two EGGs, “sunny” side up. As one of the greatest works of 20th century literature, I found such an infelicity insulting to the entire canon of western thought. Harrumph.

mathgent 8:37 AM  

Good puzzle. Well executed theme, no junk, a little sparkle.

We watched the first two episodes of The Crown last night. Excellent. A very moving scene in episode one between Prince Charles and his father.

I was curious about how CAKEWALK came to mean something easy. Wikipedia says that the origin was a sort of dance competition where the prize was a cake. It was popular among slaves on plantations. The form of the dance wasn’t simple to do but was so graceful that it seemed effortless.

TTrimble 8:37 AM  

Wouldn't or couldn't KILO be used also in a sentence like, "I put on two kilos over the Christmas break"?

Can't tell if you're serious (I'll guess not), but JELLY ROLL is another term for a sponge cake with jelly or icing or something else inside and then rolled so that the jelly forms a spiral inside.

Irene 8:46 AM  

I thought this was brilliant in following the progression every baby makes towards mobility, from rolling over to walking. Another reason why we need more female puzzle-makers.

pabloinnh 8:49 AM  

@TTrimble-"Not" is correct. Jellyroll Morton is great, but not edible.

Forgot to say welcome back to Lewis. Grandchildren are the best.

Nancy 8:52 AM  

A cute theme, with intelligent junk-free fill. Nice clues for DECAF and DOG STAR. A likable Monday.

I hope no one here uses WEB MD as a reference. Who, exactly, is he or she? Where did they attend medical school? Are they affiliated with a hospital? Which one? Have they ever been sued for malpractice? Do they have a specialty? What is it?

WEB MD may be Google's favorite internet doctor, but it's certainly not mine and it shouldn't be yours either. May I suggest that next time you're looking for online medical info, you go to the Mayo Clinic or Cleveland Clinic websites. Or to JAMA. Or to the Harvard Medical Journal. (Unsolicited advice over.)

It's the clues today, not the fill, that so well match today's depressing NYT headlines. All I can say is that I'm "nervous about what's ahead" because of all the people "that call evil good and good evil", and that at this point "I put no trust in the morrow" as the country threatens to go up "in flames". It's not a "jitter-free jitter juice" I need -- though heaven knows I'm jittery. It's a DRY, NEAT martini -- ICIER than usual. (Sigh.)

ChuckD 9:01 AM  

@pablo and TTrimble - there’s also Van the Man and his backstreet jellyroll. I could expand but this is a family forum...

bocamp 9:01 AM  

@Jennifer, thank you for a pleasant start to the week's x-word adventures! This "cakewalk" was the first part of the journey from "rolling" to "stepping". :)

Slow and steady from the NW to SE. No hitches to speak of; av. time.

New: "Fiji" (as clued); "Horace" (as clued); "WebMD".

Spelling: "kebab" / "kabob".

Corrections: 9D "big star".

Wanted: "pub cruise" but it wouldn't fit. (had the "pub cr")

Fav. clues/answers: "decaf"; "pop up"; "dog star".

"Leo" Tolstoy's War and Peace; one of my fav. epics. Couldn't put it down.

"Pub crawl" = bar-hopping back in the day.

"Tara's" Theme - André Rieu

"Baby Steps" - What About Bob

Peace Vakacegu Paix Mir Paz Wîtaskîwin Pax ειρήνη Thak 🕊

Blackhat 9:14 AM  

5 names, 2 foreign words....

bocamp 9:16 AM  

@TTrimble 6:59 AM

Maybe some things are just not meant to be. LOL

Peace ειρήνη Paix Frieden Paz Maluhia Pax 🕊

Art 9:16 AM  

For Monday puzzles, I look for answers that could throw a solver off, at least temporarily. Today’s is “retro” for 32 across

Lewis 9:28 AM  

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

1. Early tablet user (5)
2. Lane hugger? (4)
3. Round number? (3)(3)
4. It's sedimentary, my dear (4)
5. Barely afloat? (6)(7)


KnittyContessa 9:32 AM  

This was a great Monday puzzle. The theme was cute. The clues required some thought AND I guessed KEBAB right. I liked it a lot more than yesterday's themeless.

Looking at Rex's time, 3:04 is medium? It takes me longer to read the clues and type in the answers. Wow.

Steve M 9:37 AM  

Top drawer Monday well done

BobL 10:04 AM  

Hey Johnny, change your handle to "Downside"

burtonkd 10:11 AM  

Not sure if it's an insider Will Shortz mini-theme, but the Variety Puzzle this week is called "Jelly Roll" and looks interesting.

Sir Hillary 10:21 AM  

Just what a Monday should be.

I side-eyed 46-Across;
A pair of ova have a loss!
We need a plural for that clue.
'Cause Sam-I-Am was pitching two.
So nudge the puzzle down a peg;
Sam proffered more than just one EGG.

Harry 10:25 AM  

I thought in general the puzzle was fine, but I can not get over the misstep on 46A. Sam I Am never once proffered green egg. He always proffered green eggS and ham. This is just wrong.

Anonymous 10:30 AM  

I did the same thing as Greg with retro and string tide - there is string theory, so maybe string tide, I told myself. Liked pub crawl. Happy to hear that Rex had exactly the same trouble as I did with kebab and that they change the spelling in different puzzles (I thought I just kept getting confused because I just couldn't remember the right way to spell it - what a relief). Nice puzzle. I don't really know about grid construction but it looks to me like steps - not the black squares but the letter squares.
- newbie

GILL I. 10:30 AM  

I WON THE RACE! Hah...I FAKED you out...
Can't have a sweet Monday without our EEL. Yes....Like @pablito....JELLY ROLL needs a Morton.
Why does a SEAM become a coal deposit? And I think Dr. Seuss might Hop on Pop for justing offering one green EGG with Ham.
Nice Monday fare....I got to 40D Family man DAD and I immediately thought of DAD jokes. Now they have "blonde" dad jokes so I'm going to grace you with one...Here goes:

A blond man shouts frantically into the phone "My wife is pregnant and her contractions are only 2 minutes apart!" "Is this her first child?" asks the doctor. "No!" he shouts, "this is her husband!"

I'm thinking of joining @Nancy with a DRY, NEAT martini.....We can't go on a PUB CRAWL because they're all closed...but here's to a virtual cheers.

Carola 10:34 AM  

Cute, interesting, engaging - what a fine Monday. Having just talked yesterday with my best friend about her 6-month-old grandson's progression from immobility to commando CRAWLing and then being able to SIT himself up, I guessed the theme early and then was delighted to write in the reveal. SPRING TIDE, HORACE, DOGSTAR, and DAMASK were extra treats. Speaking of treats: ICIER over JELLY ROLL - the one that has more frosting? Also liked SACHETS as a homophone for "sashays," the next STEP after WALK.

Frayed Knot 10:39 AM  

The clue for 46A reads Green item. Singular so egg fits.

Newboy 10:46 AM  

Hand up for joining the “cute kids” club. Agree with @K for the suessian nit he picked , delightful return of @Lewis whose close textual reading insights alway amaze and of course thanks to @Chefwen for her delightful suggestion to add to my letter to Santa. This blog is becoming more fun than many of the grids. And babies are just wonderful in retrospect (once past the sleep deprivation stage & diaper duty) so Thanks Jennifer for the puzzle and all the memories it evoked. Now I’m off to watch video clips of our rare and wonderful grandsons!

GHarris 10:51 AM  

Was not faked out so got off to a sizzling start. No hang ups along the way but had to make two changes; “o” to “a” in kebab and weep to wept. Still took me 14 minutes so I need a Rex like excuse. Ok I was lying in bed almost drifting off as I did it. Don’t know whether that slowed my fingers or my brain.

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

A kilo is 2.2 pounds. That's weight.

Anonymous 10:57 AM  

Are you trying to say "careens"?

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

but CAMERAWORK is the totality of what a cinematographer does

well... not hardly. the cinematographer's main job is *lighting* the scene.
"As the art form and technology evolved, a separation between director and camera operator emerged. With the advent of artificial lighting and faster (more light-sensitive) film stocks, in addition to technological advancements in optics, the technical aspects of cinematography necessitated a specialist in that area. " [the wiki]

the mutt runs the camera.

then, of course, are all those publicity shots of Famous Directors looking, intently, through the viewfinder of the camera to see that it's what they want. there are a handful of well known, within the industry and groupies, but I can't think of one off hand (if I have to spell the name right, of course).

TTrimble 11:01 AM  

Ablutions on a brisk, chilly morning? Brrr! Poor doggies!

Paul & Kathy 11:40 AM  

If you've ever seen a toddler learn to walk it makes sense to me why the theme answers shouldn't be aligned well. Baby steps certainly aren't.

Jeff B. 11:47 AM  

Good Monday puzzle. The roadblock for me was SPRINGTIDE crossing REPRO. I had RETRO. A highlight was HORACE, one of the only proper names here. Nice to see a puzzle that mostly avoided proper names and especially brands.

Mr. Benson 11:49 AM  

Couple of interesting parallels with today's New Yorker crossword. (Well, one interesting parallel and one boring identical crosswordese answer.)

TJS 11:54 AM  

"Kilo" was always weight back in my college days,but ounces and grams were far more common units. And lids.

Welcome back @Lewis.You have somehow found space in my head. I found myself envisioning your comments on all the puzzles last week. It was actually more amusing than figuring out my own responses.

Unknown 12:11 PM  

A nice Monday puz all around. DOGSTAR!

It is noteworthy how many times rex blames his "slow" solving times on the alcohol that he has consumed that night. The solutions seem obvious: either stop timing yourself and just enjoy the puz for its own sake, or, if he feels like the drinking is interfering w/ a major activity in his life, maybe cut down on the booze. I will never pass judgment on another person's drinking. I enjoy a glass of wine with dinner each night. But when someone is pretty regularly bringing up how their drinking affects them, that does raise a red flag . . . .

Z 12:12 PM  

@Anon10:57 - Nope Careers. To move forward at high speed, often with minimal control - American Heritage Dictionary

@TTrimble - He he. Just “cleansing”, not “washing.” I see not all dictionaries include the “cleansing” sense - the heretics. They’re probably the sort who have only a single green EGG with their ham.

Paint Drinking Pete 12:17 PM  

Got hung up on REtRO since I didn't know what a SPRINGTIDE was...

As far as the weight vs mass discussion, it's a scientific technicality, but units such as kilograms and pounds describe quantities of mass. Mass is unaffected by gravity, while "weight" is. On Earth's surface, generally mass and weight are interchangeable in common usage, however this is not the case once one leaves Earth's gravity

TTrimble 12:28 PM  

Sorry, "cleansing"? Just to be clear, are we talking about pooping here? Or dogs going outside to lick themselves? Something else? Trying to form a picture here...

TTrimble 12:41 PM  

Where did "lid" ever come from, anyway? Such a peculiar word for it (for those who don't know, a quantity of marijuana, I think of somewhat indeterminate weight/mass but usually in the range of a half-ounce or an ounce, if memory serves).

gringa 12:51 PM  

I thought that 70% of the clues were easy and unambiguous, even the long one like pubcrawl and baby steps.

But I put in RISINGTIDE, which marred the central west portion. Otherwise a CAKEWALK.

Anonymous 12:52 PM  

Mass is unaffected by gravity, while "weight" is.

so... if one of the astronuts takes a 'kilo' of coke up to the ISS, and successfully gets it on-board, s/he couldn't even be prosecuted for 'personal use' much less 'sell weight', since there is no 'weight'. the possibilities are endless.

burtonkd 12:54 PM  

@I Gill, by current NYC regulations, we could do a PUBCRAWL as long as we are done by 10pm.

Teedmn 12:57 PM  

I thought this was a great Monday puzzle. I didn't take time to follow the theme answers while solving so seeing the BABY STEPS progression post-solve brought a smile to my face. I remember how excited everyone was when our friends' son rolled over for the first time, at 4 months, while we were all on a ski trip. We all waited for Sam to do it again! A year later we were skiing in Italy together and he was standing and saying "trattor" whenever anything with wheels went by. Up until last March, Sam, now 20 years old, was working in Austria at a ski resort. He had to go home to Sweden due to COVID and I don't know if he'll get to go back to Austria for the winter season now.

I loved the clue "Sirius ... or Lassie, for example?" for DOG STAR. Nice!

Jennifer Nutt, thanks for the sweet Monday puzzle.

RooMonster 1:00 PM  

Hey All !
Nice "STEPS" puz. Normal MonPuz time for me. Likes the various themers.

Rex cracks me up with his 40 black squares "which is def on the high side." Har! It's just two more than the "established" 38. Heck, we've had puzs recently with 44 blocks. Just sayin'. Surprised he didn't mention the closed-off NW and SE corners.

Did find ala Rex the Downs were nice, and seemed an abundance rather than just two, so kudos to Jennifer (she's a Nutt!) for that. Interesting way the grid came out like that. Curious how many iterations of grids she went through! More than 6, I'd bet, if I were a betting man.

Not worn down with dreck, either. Some fun clues, too. I give this puz a NEAT rating! Two thumbs POPpedUP!.

OK, I'll GO FAR away now!

Three F's

Missy 1:06 PM  

Ablutions - do you ceremoniously wash your dogs before going out?

Chris 1:41 PM  

Rex, just want to let you know some days I enjoy your commentary more than I enjoyed filling in the puzzle itself. And I, too, got both vowels in KEBAB wrong.

Masked and Anonymous 1:44 PM  

Nice Nutt Puzzle. Basic but elegant theme. fave themer: PUBCRAWL.

Only extra nanosecond burn was in the SACHETS/MICSTAND area. Otherwise, smoooth fillins and smoooth sailin.

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Didn't go out to a restaurant} = ATEIN. Also, pretty good advice in most states, right now. Unless U wanna listen to that Charles Road Atlas doc in the WH-covid-hotspot perch.

staff weeject pick: BED. Seems like the logical conclusion for the theme-proposed series: ROLL/SIT/CRAWL/STAND/WALK/ATEIN/BED.

fave sparklers:
* SPRINGTIDE. 70% consonants. Coulda been higher, with SPRINGROLL, but dupes part of a themer, then.
* FAKED/FIJI and DECAF/FERNS. Honored @Roo with two upper corner F's. Sweet.
* DOGSTAR. Landed a MonPuz ?-marked clue.
* TARA: A LIL MonPuz name challenger. Would CARA (Mia) have been eazier? Or just a de busta gut dealy?

Thanx for the fun, Ms. Nutt darlin. Great job. MIC. (STAND.) Drop.

Masked & Anonymo3Us

p.s Welcome back, @Lewis, U primo dude of good cheer.


jberg 1:49 PM  

While solving, I noticed that the theme was last-words-are-something-about-moving-or-staying-stationary, and thought that was a little light. Then along came the revealer, with a real Aha! experience, so I was happy.

The other nice thing about the theme -- and the reason all the themers are moved away from the edges -- is all the double overlaps. Every theme answer has several longs crossing both it and each of those nearest to it, while DAMASK and HORACE cross two non-consecutive theme answers while avoiding the themer between them. That can't have been easy to accomplish.

@mathgent, I had the same reaction to CAKEWALK as a metaphor for easiness. Here's a video of a rather showy one from a 1943 movie.

I didn't know that quote was from HORACE either, but I had HOUSESIT so it wasn't Vergil, and had written in the correct answer before I even thought of Hesiod.

All the EGG vs. eggs discussion reminds me of the sketch of Bertrand Russell by some British comedy group -- maybe Monty Python, but I'm not sure.

"Moore, said I, do you have any apples in that basket?...


In this case, you can't offer me two eggs without offering me one.

Z 2:00 PM  

For @TTrimble and @Missy
Well - you said you wanted a picture and Urban Dictionary is very, uh, picaresque.*

*Yes - that is exactly the word I wanted. If I wanted "picturesque" I'd have typed p i c t u r e s q u e.

kitshef 2:25 PM  

Additional kudos today to @Ted for making the mass/weight correction, to @Gill I for making me laugh, and to @Z for sticking to the career/careen distinction.

Sixthstone 2:38 PM  

Nice Monday with a hefty STEIN, a delightful PUB CRAWL, and perhaps finished with a whisky NEAT.

EFB 3:21 PM  

This is a serious question, not a shot. Can anyone please recommend a blog that focuses on the crossword puzzle itself? I don't care what Rex has had to drink, whether he's tired, etc. His stand-in is always tired. Rex always has an excuse. Frankly, his time to solve couldn't interest me less.


Lewis 3:37 PM  

@EFB --, click on "Solution and Notes", or WordPlay (Google "Wordplay New York Times"). But also considering gliding over Rex here, and focusing on the comments.

Maddiegail 4:47 PM  

Nancy @8:52 a.m. Re WEB MD: Better yet, as an Oncologist once told me, "Stay off the Internet!"

Frantic Sloth 5:32 PM  

It's late, so only time for a strafing run today.

First things first: Welcome back, @Lewis! It's nice to have our constant source of civility to home!

@Joaquin 1215am 😂😂😂 You always come through, dude.

@bocamp @TTrimble – I've been wondering about Barbara S myself. Do report back if you hear anything, please!

Good Mondee puzzle – cute theme that works just fine. No grid gunk and some fun entries like DOGSTAR, PUBCRAWL, JELLYROLL, CAKEWALK…

Now I want cake.


TTrimble 5:40 PM  

Cool, thanks! And what a great cover! Husband in the bathroom the morning after a wild party. "Bluhhhhh! [hunh-hunh-hunh] Bluhhhhh!" Wife: "Honey, is everything all right in there?" "Bluhhhhh! [hunh-hunh] Yeah, honey, I'm fine. Just performing my ablutions."

-5 PG. Where are Pamela and Barbara S.? Miss you all!

@Frantic Sloth
You there? Hope all is well.

bocamp 5:54 PM  

@Frantic Sloth 5:32 PM

Will do 👍


Peace Vakacegu Paix Mir Paz Wîtaskîwin Pax ειρήνη Thak 🕊

Anonymous 7:05 PM  

Just to beat the weight/mass thing to death.

In physics, mass and weight are different. Mass determines how hard it is to accelerate an object (F=ma, Force = mass times acceleration). Weight is the force the earth (or the moon, or some other huge object) exerts on an object.

In normal life, they are used interchangeable, which works fine as long as you stay on the surface of the earth.

A kilo is a unit of mass, but people use it as a weight too.

A pound is a unit of weight. 2.2 pounds are the same amount of stuff as 1 kilo as long as you are on the surface of the earth, so people say that something that weighs 2.2 pounds "weighs" 1 kilo, and nobody gets hurt by that statement.

PS. A newton is the official unit of weight. An object with 1 kilo mass has a weight of 9.8 newtons on the earth's surface.

Even more obscure, a slug is the official unit of mass in the British system. Something with a mass of one slug weights 32.3 pounds on the earth's surface.

PPS. 9.8 meters/sec/sec and 32.3 ft/sec/sec are the values of the earth's acceleration.

Anonymous 7:42 PM  

Anon 7:05
Well done. Not that this crowd will get it it. Their big wind plays frisbee, and calls it ultimate. LOL.
As an aside, do you believe this forum can entertain the notion the fact that a Newton is simultaneously a unit of force and weight?
If so, you’re a better man than me.

albatross shell 8:45 PM  

Thanks for Mr. Morton.

Here is a link to a jelly roll (or something similar) baking scene from the movie Love Affair or The Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator:

Monty Boy 12:25 AM  

I liked this one a lot. The baby step progression is well done. Both of ours walked at 9 months, which is thrilling for about a week. Then you have to run around the house wondering where the kid is. Amazing how quickly they get fast.

Re: Lewis new Grand kid. Grandpa and Grandma are the best jobs ever. If I knew how much fun they are, I'd have had them first.

Angela 12:58 AM  

Came here to say this.

Anonymous 9:09 AM  

Than I

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