Tokarczuk 2018 Literature Nobelist / MON 11-9-20 / Unstable chemical compound / Trending hashtag beginning in 2017 / Lures for magazine readers

Monday, November 9, 2020

Constructor: Kate Hawkins

Relative difficulty: Challenging (look, I was nearly a minute over my average ... it's only 74 words, that's probably part of it (?) ... I dunno what happened, man ...) (high 3s, which is a sluggish Tuesday time for me)

THEME: P-LL — a vowel progression theme, with the first themer starting PALL, and then each subsequent themer moving that vowel one notch up, til you get to PULL:

Theme answers:
  • PALLBEARER (17A: Raiser of the dead?)
  • PELL GRANT (24A: Financial aid for college that doesn't need to be repaid)
  • PILL BUG (37A: Arthropod that can roll into a ball)
  • POLL TAKER (49A: Busy person just before an election)
  • PULL QUOTES (59A: Lures for magazine readers)
Word of the Day: OLGA Tokarczuk, 2018 Literature Nobelist (16A) —
Olga Nawoja Tokarczuk ([tɔˈkart͡ʂuk]; born 29 January 1962) is a Polish writer, activist, and public intellectual who has been described in Poland as one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful authors of her generation. In 2018, she won the Man Booker International Prize for her novel Flights (translated by Jennifer Croft). In 2019, she was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature. (wikipedia)
• • •

Distracted by the fact that this was clued to Tuesday, possibly easy Wednesday levels of difficulty. Most easy puzzles are 78 or 76 words, this one's 74 (so, more wide open), but the problem for me was just a lot of clues that were not clear or seemed more Fri / Sat or ... just weren't Monday. This has nothing specifically to do with whether the puzzle is inherently good or not; but the editor put it on the wrong day, imho. The theme type is definitely Mondayish, but it didn't flow like a Monday at all. Started right away with CAT at 1A: Thing with pads and claws (PAW). Looking for a CAT part, I guess. This made PUPIL (already bizarrely clued) really hard to see (1D: Necessity for a teacher). Then the first themer had a "?" clue (even though this is not a "?" / wacky-type theme—as I've said before, I hate this). So I had no idea re: PALLBEARER until I had many crosses. No idea who the OLGA Literature Nobelist is (I remember looking her up briefly several years ago when she won, just as I looked her up briefly just now ... and I'm going to forget her just as quickly, I suspect—totally crossworthy, but not at all Monday material). Not sure about the APE part of GOES APE (9D: Flips out). No idea re: COCKAPOO, which I kinda wanted but couldn't spell and anyway kinda thought was a bird (?!) (I was thinking "cockatiel" ... I think) (31A: Mixed-breed dog that's part spaniel). Not sure about ENOL (25D: Unstable chemical compound). Wanted an actual company name, not just CASH, at 31D: Alternative to Venmo. Was not at all sure of how many Rs and Ls were in RAPPELS, and wanted some kind of two-word phrase before RAPPELS ever became clear. Clue on METOO was vague, so even ME- didn't do it for me (44D: Trending hashtag beginning in 2017). Wanted a MARE to be doing the kicking (56D: Farm animal that kicks). Worst of all, though, where the non-theme stuff is concerned, was the clue on SWAG, which I could not at all accept (57A: Appropriate initials of "stuff we all get"). It should just say [Initials of "stuff we all get"] or [S, W, A, G]. The thing is, the NYTXW never, ever just hands you an acronym like that, so I figured I was misreading or misunderstanding something. It's like cluing NOW as [National Organization for Women, for short]. What the hell? So I hesitated a bunch before acquiescing to the criminal obviousness. Awful.

Also strange and thus difficult: the clue on PULL QUOTES (59A: Lures for magazine readers). "Ooh, I can't wait to see what PULL QUOTES the magazines will lure me in with this week." What? "Lures"? I can see how a lawyer could defend this clue, but of all the things that I think of as "lures," PULL QUOTES (a term I wouldn't even think to use in reference to magazines) doesn't even rate. I'm gonna read the article based on whether I care about content. The PULL QUOTES might be saucy, but they aren't "luring" me. Also, they're inside the magazine ... so the whole vagueness about what the readers are being "lured" to do is strange. If I'm a magazine reader ... I'm already *reading* ... sigh. "Lures," what am I, a fish? Anyway, this puzzle is absolutely average last-century stuff, theme-wise, which would be tolerable if it were run on the correct day, but it wasn't. The end.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 12:08 AM  

Easy peasy monkey cheesy. It's Mondeeee!

P - A,E,I,O,U(and no times Y)LL is the rudimentary theme which is very much at home today. Wouldn't care to see it later in the week, but it's a perfectly sound idea and execution for new solvers.
The fill toggles between the insanely "silleasy" (that would be you, 27A IRAn/IRAQ!) and the nearly insanely obscure OLGA Tokarczuk (for those of us who don't read).
And then there's a soupçon of the just plain insane - ELON Musk.


Silly Grid Trick: STRIP (t)EASEMENT

Silly Mind Trip: I liked seeing RESOLE MOTHS and wondered how it would be done. Probably a waste of time and flames.

Overall, it did its duty and I did mine.
(Yes, I said "duty")


Joaquin 12:19 AM  

Rex seems to have misunderstood the clue for 59-A, "Lures for magazine readers". That's exactly what a PULL QUOTE is. It lures a magazine reader (that is, someone who is already reading a magazine) into reading the entire article.

I do agree that this seems more "Tuesdayish" than Monday (except for the SWAG clue which should only run on Malubaday).

Anonymous 12:31 AM  

Actually, Cash is an app - Square's answer to Venmo

bocamp 12:35 AM  

Thanks @Kate; perfect way to start the week; Liked your puz a lot! :)

Ave. time; thought I was faster, but not so. Nevertheless, a very smooth solve with no major holdups. I guess it was the NW that slowed me a bit.

Minor blunders: 1A/1D had "chalk" crossing "cats"; do teachers still use chalk or is it just whiteboards now? Always have trouble with "asada" and "asana".

Finally got "Papi" down pat. I'm Papa, he's "Papi".

New: "pull quotes"; "Olga Tokarczuk.

Fav. clues/answers: 1A "paws"; 57A "s w a g"; 30D "root"

Here's hoping for a "USA" "dream team" admin on Jan. 20. 🇺🇸

Have fond memories of the wonderful people I met in "Iran". Pray that someday they will be free. 🙏

"Neato" was a big thing in grade school, less so in jr. hi., and even less thereafter.

Go "me too"!

An "otter" and a "cockapoo" in the same puz. Love'em both; bark and arf.

Had a great big lovable French poodle, and later a little lovable cockapoo.

If I was still a driver, I'd love to own one of "Elon's" beautiful Teslas.

Love watching the granddaughters climbing the indoor mountain. They always ring the bell, and then seem to enjoy the "rappel" even more than the ascent.

Rose Of My Heart - Johnny "Cash"

"Mule" Train - Boxcar Willie (Wembley 1982)


Peace Síocháin Paz صلح Pokój Salam Bark Arf 🕊

Z 12:56 AM  

Well, after seeing Rex avow that he wasn’t that drunk on Twitter I gave it a whirl and finished in 5:43, which is average Monday here. Rex’s observations seem spot on, but they still didn’t slow me down any more than usual, so maybe it was the booze. I even had a fairly significant writeover (PoiNted —> PRONGED) which surely wasted many valuable nanoseconds. Still, I finished somewhere near my Monday Average.

Who is the go to OLGA clue? Korbut is 65 and the 1972 Olympics were a long time ago. Kurylenko was a Bond girl, but they don’t get as much pop culture saturation as they did when Ursula Andress was one. “@Z’s aunt” would make me smile, but yeah, not so much (How a Spanish mom and a French-American dad in Texas came up with “Olga” is a family mystery that’s never been explained to me). I had no idea about Tokarczuk but at least the clue is current.

@Joaquin - Took the words right out of my mouth regarding PULL QUOTES.

jae 1:27 AM  

Medium. This one could be tough for a new solver...PULL QUOTES, WALES, ENOL, LEDE, OLGA...a mix of crosswordese and somewhat obscure stuff....or pretty much what @Rex said.

Liked it.

chefwen 2:11 AM  

Love it when I think a puzzle is beyond easy and Rex gives it a challenging rating, it doesn’t happen often. Started filling it in using downs only, Monday and Tuesdays are the only days I’ll try that and I almost pulled it off, had to look at a couple of acrosses to confirm.

PULL QUOTES was new to me, thank you downs.

I worked for ST. PAUL Fire and Marine, my first full time job right out of High School. I was the receptionist and we were located right across the hall from the Ford Motor Marketing Department, all young men. We had double glass doors in the reception area which made my job most enjoyable, kinda like watching The Bachelor.

Robin 3:29 AM  

No idea why people think this was Tuesday tough. I zipped through it, paying no attention to any possible theme there might be. Finished in one of my 10-12 fastest Monday times over the past 5 years.

Rex doesn't know what a COCKAPOO is?

Chris Christie 5:49 AM  

I've been writing for magazines for many years, and I always thought "pull quote" meant "quote that is pulled from your piece to fill up space that otherwise would be full of words in smaller font, which might slow down a reader's progress to the next perfume ad." But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe they're supposed to pull a reader in.

OffTheGrid 6:41 AM  

This may have been a little chewier than most Mondays but still fine. Most of @Rex's blocks were gimmes for me.

Clara Sill 6:57 AM  

This repugnant run of designer dogs in recent puzzles makes me long for the days when ACNE was ascendent.

CS 7:14 AM  

Very surprised that Rex thought this was challenging; I sailed through although it could also have worked as a Tuesday puzzle. Some new clues which I always appreciate.

Hoping for some fun distracting puzzles this week!

-- CS

kitshef 7:14 AM  

Enough already with the mixed-breed dogs.

Pull quotes have the opposite of their intended effect. I see them, I'm more likely to give that article a miss. If your article as good, why would you need all that space filler?

Biggest surprise to me was realizing that 'carne' must be feminine. It sounds so masculine.

Hungry Mother 7:21 AM  

Didn’t know the dog and thought LASIc for a while. Otherwise, smooth and fun solve.

GILL I. 7:38 AM  

Ah.... a wack a vowel Monday. Now if only Kate could've fit in PYGMY HIPPOPOTAMUS . Too long?
@kitshef.....yeah. Carne is feminine. So is your hand. Now if you want a real macho man, then you could eat pollo ASADo.
Oh I see ENTOMB sitting on top of PALL BEARER. A little CORPORATE SWAG and a SIP ON TAP.
Monday with some bite......

ChuckD 7:38 AM  

Definitely found this easier than Rex. Theme was typical Monday cute - well formed. Liked the Raiser of the dead clue for PALLBEARER. Thought the rest of the fill was decent - limited glue. GOES APE is less effective without the trailing shit. Grand TETON is a beautiful park and nice to see in the puzzle. Little side eye to the plural KELPS and only one of five themers pluralized.

Worked with a wonderful engineer once whose name was Olya - the Serbian form of Olga.

Overall an enjoyable Monday.

Anonymous 7:39 AM  

I know she's not as well known yet, but Olga Tokarczuk is phenomenal! Her novel Flights is first rate, and she'll be producing excellent literature for years to come. So happy to see her in the NYTimes Crossword!

Anonymous 7:45 AM  

CASH is indeed an app itself! It gets advertised in podcasts a lot. Thanks for the daily entertainment!

RooMonster 8:13 AM  

Hey All !
Vowel progression. Not the best theme, not the worst theme, just kind of there. Thus one was decent.

Started with PAuL BEARER because of the "?". Quickly dismissed as the other P-LL words came about. PULL QUOTES was a new phrase for me. I know what they are, but never knew their name. Mini-Headlines?

Fill not terrible. Lots of _OO words, COCKAPOO, GOO, METOO, ROOT. A GOO, POO, TOO, and a ROO!

Easy puzs never have people thinking about the difficulties of constructing them. It's still tough to construct puzs, be they easy or hard. It's usually the cluing that dictates the toughness. So, Brava, Kate, good job. ☺️

No F's BOO! Har

Karl Grouch 8:17 AM  

El espíritu está dispuesto, pero la carne es débil.

Karl Grouch 8:19 AM  

*The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak

Karl Grouch 8:25 AM  

The naming of the mountains is attributed to early 19th-century French-speaking trappers—les trois tétons (the three teats) was later anglicized and shortened to Tetons.

pabloinnh 8:51 AM  

My cats have "pads and claws", but they are not "things", so that was out. Come on, man. If there's something teachers need that begins with a P, I'd say patience. Didn't fit.

Today's fun fact: Claiborne Pell (of the PELLGRANTs) has a son named Toby who played third base on our slow pitch team here in NH. He wore a funny broad-brimmed leather hat.

A little sticky for a Monday and PULLQUOTES is a learning experience, and that's OK.

To quote Homer, "Mmmmmmmmm, CARNEASADA." .

And hey, there's another OTTER! Yay!

Nice Mondaycito with some thinking needed, so thanks for that KH.

Anonymous 8:57 AM  

Aren’t they known specifically as “The Grand Tetons”?

Nancy 9:12 AM  

What is more wonderful than a Monday where you actually have to think? And where there's no junk? A clean, interesting puzzle that takes a puzzle-type that's far from my favorite puzzle type and uses it to create colorful theme answers. And then offers themer clues that range from clever ("Raiser of the dead?") to informative ("Arthropod that can roll into a ball". Who knew?)

EASEMENT rang a tiny bell after I finally put it in, but I didn't know it up front. In fact, not initially respecting the puzzle enough because it was a Monday, I carelessly and unthinkingly scrawled in EdgEMENT (it sort of sounded right) and then had to correct it.

I never heard of PULL QUOTES, but I'll take Kate's word that they are a Thing.

Also, I had LASer and LASix before LASIK, which made COCKAPOO hard to see.

A bit of unexpected Monday crunch. Nice surprise.

sixtyni yogini 9:13 AM  

Same. Rex. Same.
But a good one.

EdFromHackensack 9:23 AM  

can NYTXW stop w the cutesie mixed dog breeds? they are an affront to dogs everywhere.

jberg 9:29 AM  

Easy peasy, don’t know where @Rex is coming from. But kinda boring theme, needed a snappy revealer (not that I have one). And I really didn’t like seeing PEEL, only one letter from a themed, down there in the corner.

@Z — Me too! My father had 7 brothers and 2 sisters, Edna and Olga. Their mother, Lena, was German.

Sami 9:31 AM  

At our magazine, we always called them 'Call-outs,' and I looked for them just to make the magazine look like a magazine, not for luring or filling space.

I am very excited about Olga. Had never heard of her, and neither has any of our local library patrons, so I was able to download Audio book and the ebook, which is the best of both worlds all at once. Have you ever tried that? Then I can stumble down the street listening while I'm "jogging," sometimes too distracted to comprehend. I can then catch up on what I missed in the evening with the ebook. I just started doing this, for me it's a totally new experience and a different way of reading a book.

Does anyone besides me have a kiddo of Elementary school age? Someday when they get out of my living room and back into the classroom, they will have something called a "Smart Board," not an archaic whiteboard or blackboard. Mine has been doing a unit on the parts of the eye and how they function - I made her help me with 'Rod' the other day in the puzzle, and she helped me with pupil today. She signs emails to her teacher as follows:

Your pupil,

I had a quick solve today -- under 10 minutes is fast for me. I like to savor the puzzle. This one just went too quick. How is it that the editor arranges to have the same answer 2 or 3 days in a row, like 'on Tap' has been. Do they tell the constructors, make sure you have this word somewhere in there? Or do they sort submitted puzzles to have a common thread that runs through for a couple of weeks? Like Mr. T who appeared twice last week? I guess it is even more remarkable that the answers don't repeat too often.

Andy S 9:32 AM  

I've been reading this blog and lurking in the comment forest for many years. It's a great place to procrastinate. (I'm a screenwriter) But these last two weeks the blog has been extra important to me as I contracted COVID (playing ice hockey) and have been recuperating. Just want to thank Rex and everyone who contributes and keeps me entertained. FYI- Covid hasn't affected my crossword times so I have that going for me. Today the doctor has lifted my quarantine and I feel good. Thanks again. Carry on.

Nancy 9:35 AM  

Awww shucks, @Clara Sill (6:57) and @kitshef (7:14). None of these new breeds know they're "designer dogs". Their little (or big) tails wag, their big (or little) brown eyes look up at you soulfully, they smile their irresistible smiles -- they're just...dogs. The most loving and perfect species ever to grace the world. You may not like their too-cutesy POO and DOODLE names, but that's certainly not their fault. Please welcome them, without judgment, into your respective hearts, even if not into the AKC.

Lewis 9:35 AM  

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

1. What takes a toll (5)
2. Loaded questions? (3)(6)
3. Showing a bit of gray hair, say (4)
4. One needing new unburned pants? (4)
5. 4th order? (9)


Lewis 9:37 AM  

I'm still away visiting family, but was able to sneak the "favorite clues" in. I'll be back to commenting in a week...

Music Man 9:41 AM  

OLGA Tokarczuk

Who thought these were Monday words?

William of Ockham 9:58 AM  

Sorry Rex, this was Monday Monday. Momma said so, Papa, too.

mathgent 10:00 AM  

Kate Hawkins writes that she brainstormed the puzzle with her mother while lunching here in San Francisco. She was working at KQED, our PBS outlet. They were looking out on the water. Maybe at The Waterfront, the fine restaurant down from the Ferry Building, not far from the studio.

A popular comment here is about whether the puzzle is appropriate for the day of the week. Rex isn’t the only one who yearns to be Will Shortz.

I learned where the term SWAG came from. I had thought that it was pirate-talk. I’ll tell my wife that that good stuff she brings back from the breast-cancer walks is called SWAG.

I liked the comment by Karl Grouch (8:25). Reminds me of a Picasso painting.

GHarris 10:05 AM  

Had to paw my way out of the cat/chalk miscall and overcome falling into the laser, lasix trap. Pull quote was new to me. Always thought of those highlighted passages as blurbs. The Big Baby doesn’t want to go. Yeah, he’s a LOSER.

Frantic Sloth 10:08 AM  

Hey, @Lewis@! Thanks for stopping by and the strafing run of your fave clues!

As usual, I see my wavelength is not of the body. There's a shock.

However, like others I learned some new things (PULLQUOTES, OLGA) and am ready for the blank-a-poo/doodle dog run to go away now. I once knew a Boston Terrier named OREO. The hell that a union of those two could wreak on a crossword puzzle gives me the collywobbles*.

*no Lassies were harmed during this word

EdFromHackensack 10:12 AM  

thanks Lewis! I enjoy your favorites

Blackhat 10:13 AM  

10 names, 3 foreign words.....

Anonymous 10:22 AM  

I do not understand the pearl clutching over portmanteau names of cross bred dogs. If you have the energy to be upset about this you must have an incredibly easy and charmed life.

Carola 10:33 AM  

I'm with @Rex at finding this a challenging Monday, despite the easy-to-recognize theme (and despite happening to know OLGA). I couldn't get PUPIL, thought the REBS were going to be a baseball team, couldn't remember ELLEN's last name, didn't know COCKAPOO, had never heard of PULL QUOTES (which I think of less as lures and more as giving away the plot)..

Anonymous 10:38 AM  

Enough already with the mixed-breed dogs.

Hoover (as in J. Edgar) was the best dog we've ever had. an unintentional Pug/Lhasa (by a breeder, not us). it is said, and appears true in our experience, that mutts/mongrels/mixed-breeds are both better tempered and less prone to systemic health issues.

burtonkd 10:38 AM  

inre: PILLBUG, This is definitely a regional variant as it was used in that quiz that went around a number of years ago to pinpoint where you live depending on what words you use for things. Also known as a Rolypoly or a Potato bug.

I filled it in based on my NC upbringing and found that the test was jarringly accurate as it placed me about 65 miles from my address. Here it is in case you weren't on fb back when...

I find GOO a little denigrating to the wonder that is melted chocolate.

Anoa Bob 11:08 AM  

For 43A "Right to cross someone else's land" I thought that I would finally, finally get to use, for the first time, a word I learned decades ago. I checked and it has only appeared in a NYT crossword puzzle once and that was back in the 1963. It's USUFRUCT and it even has the correct number of letters for that slot. But, alas, it was not to be. Dang!

Speaking of correct number of letters, there's a demonstration in this grid of a quick, easy and very convenient way to boost the letter-count when one of the theme entries is a letter short of its symmetrically matching theme entry. ChuckD @7:38 noticed it---only one of the five themers is plural. Since the theme is the heart and soul of a themed puzzle, I think it is major points off a puzzle's overall rating when one of the theme entries needs a gratuitous S tacked on solely to fill its slot.

I'm about as apolitical as they come, but even I have felt a sense of relief at recent events. I wonder how long that will last.

Whatsername 11:12 AM  

Well wow! I feel extremely smart today since this seemed like a super easy Monday to me. I can’t imagine it being run on any other day. Tuesday level? I don’t think so Tim. In fact the whole time I was thinking what an outstanding example it was for a beginning solver. I was delighted to learn the origin of SWAG. Who knew? No complaints here, Kate Hawkins. A great way to start the week.

And what a great start it is. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think I’m alone and having a much more optimistic outlook on the future than I did a week ago today. The country and the world are already moving forward. Still it’s going to be interesting to see any how badly any given person GOES APE before things finally settle down.

GILL I. 11:18 AM  

Oh good gravy. Is there really a tiff about including mixed-breed dogs? Bring them all on...Remember that they show greater longevity with a much less chance of congenital disorders. We have two little mixes; miniature poodle and dachshund. They shed less, they are energetic and fun and I hope we have them for many years. All of you naysayers.....get thee to a pound and adopt one.
Bring on a Yorkipoo, a Puggle, a Maltipoo, a Boxador....hell...bring them all on!

Z 11:18 AM  

@Andy S - Glad you’re feeling better.

@Lewis - People love baby updates. Just saying.

@jberg - Edna, OLGA, I also have an aunt Bertha. It seems like today we only see these names rarely and the person always goes by their other name. My mom’s name, Rachael, is making a comeback, but usually as Rachel. That’s probably due to Friends. There are at least three Rachels playing in my Ultimate league (well, were), but no OLGAs and definitely no Berthas.

@Sami - Ah, technology. Smart Boards are cool. I remained unconvinced that they are an actual improvement on a walk to the local library (well, in a COVID controlled world). I do love the signature.

While I think “designer dog” is too twee by half, all dogs are essentially designer dogs. We’ve been breeding dogs for specific characteristics for millennia which is why Zeke loves chasing tennis balls and Lulu loves sitting on laps. So for me it’s a hard “no” on the term “designer dog” but I’m fine with COCKAPOO and labradoodle and Skye Terrier and Shiba Inu et cetera et cetera.

@burtonkd - That language assessment just reappeared on Twitter a couple of weeks ago. It was spot on for me back then and again now.

The dark humor of the PALL BEARER clue is normally a 👍🏽👍🏽 from me. Not so much right now.

Whatsername 11:25 AM  

@Andy S (9:32) Glad you decided to take a break from lurking and chime in this morning. Very sorry to hear you were stricken by the evil BUG but pleased to know that you are now recovered, released from confinement, and feeling good. Encouraging news this morning in the report of a highly effective vaccine from Pfizer. Here’s hoping!

Anonymous 11:30 AM  

I don't understand the pearl clutching about the pearl clutching about the portmanteau names of cross bred dogs. If you have the energy to be upset about being upset about this you must have an incredibly easy and charmed life.

bocamp 11:31 AM  

Do'h, I just learned of the theme from the comments! Hello… anybody home? Still struggle to remember: look for some kind of theme or pattern in the post-solve perusal!

Fav. clues/answers missed: 17A "pallbearer"

@Anonymous 12:31 AM

Thx for the "Cash" reveal. Didn't know that. :)

@Chris Christie 5:49 AM

Agreed: "pull quote"

@Hungry Mother 7:21 AM

Hands up for the "c" in "lasik" :)

@Karl Grouch 8:25 AM

Thx for the translation. Had no idea. :)

@Sami 9:31 AM

I do the same re: audiobooks/ebooks. Got both formats of "Flights" on hold.

"Flights" - "Olga" Tokarczuk

"From the incomparably original Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk, Flights interweaves reflections on travel with an in-depth exploration of the human body, broaching life, death, motion, and migration. Chopin’s heart is carried back to Warsaw in secret by his adoring sister. A woman must return to her native Poland in order to poison her terminally ill high school sweetheart, and a young man slowly descends into madness when his wife and child mysteriously vanish during a vacation and just as suddenly reappear. Through these brilliantly imagined characters and stories, interwoven with haunting, playful, and revelatory meditations, Flights explores what it means to be a traveler, a wanderer, a body in motion not only through space but through time. Where are you from? Where are you coming in from? Where are you going? we call to the traveler. Enchanting, unsettling, and wholly original, Flights is a master storyteller’s answer." (Goodreads)

@Sami 9:31 AM

Thx for twigging me on the difference between "whiteboards" and "SMART boards"; these are, indeed, what my granddaughters have in their classrooms. :)

And, "Your pupil, Iris" is so respectful, and cute at the same time. :)

@Andy S 9:32 AM - 👍

@Nancy 9:35 AM

Thanks a bunch for your defense of all dogs! :)

@Lewis 9:35 AM

Thx for taking the time to drop by, and, as always, your top five is bang on! :)

Peace Síocháin Paz صلح Pokój Salam Bark Arf 🕊

Joaquin 11:55 AM  

The "designer dog" discussion prompted me to investigate my own dog, a rescue. She is a 50/50 mix of boxer and rottweiler and, yep, she is officially classified as a designer dog. She (and I) could not care less. Simply put, she is the best dog ever.

Side note: Everyone thinks that their dog is the "best dog ever". And everyone is right.

Whatsername 11:56 AM  

A big amen to what @GILL said at 11:18. Bring on the mixed breed dogs! The more mixed, the better in my experience. And don’t go buying them from some breeder. THERE are plenty of them eagerly waiting to meet you at your local shelter.

Masked and Anonymous 11:59 AM  

Can see why the Shortzmeister latched onto this pup, despite a pretty familiar and basic theme. Fillins are primo-smoooth. Maybe U could give ENOL a stinkeye, but that's about it. I didn't know OLGA and PULLQUOTES, but they were two widely dispersed mysteries easily gettable from their crossers [unless U happened to do a "QUE?" on ELLENPAGE, I'd grant].

Clues were kinda feisty. That's probably a good idea, since the themers were semi-predictable, once U had PALLBEARER and PELLGRANT in the bank. Nice ENTOMB touch, right above PALLBEARER, btw.
Did really cut down on moo-cow MonPuz clue candidates, tho.

staff weeject pick: SIP. Comes the closest, on yer SAP/SEP/SIP/SOP/SUP vowel movements run.
fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Number said just before "Liftoff!"} = ONE. That one and ATA got m&e first entry into the puz. PAW did not, as I had CAT.

Thanx for the fun, Ms. Hawkins darlin. Nice job. And congratz on yer NYTPuz #2. U are now a repeat customer.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


A2JD 12:05 PM  

I found it to be a pretty standard Monday and even got my best time ever (nowhere near Rex territory but well under 9 minutes) so we had quite a different experience.

Frantic Sloth 12:15 PM  

(I can't believe this feels necessary, but...)

It is not the dogs.

It is the cutesy names of the dogs, probably invented by marketers bent on sucking in status-seekers who see dogs as possessions to flaunt rather than the sweet, sentient, warm, furry bags of unconditional love they are.
Furthermore, names are words. Words go in crosswords, and it is these words' noticeable infiltration lately that is becoming an bit of an annoyance. Nothing more, nothing less.
Why some of the commentariat seem to have conflated a simple distaste of the spate of these words with a dislike of the dogs themselves is a mystery to me.
Stand down, will ya? 😉

Breeds mix/are mixed - that's just a fact. Even some so-called purebred dogs have DNA of other breeds. So what? IMHO, Mutts rule!

And as the saying goes: "Don't like dogs? Good luck with your life without a soul."

Actually, I don't know any people who don't like dogs, but I know they exist. They have their reasons, so I don't judge. I just look at them with the doggie head-tilt.

Dalston 12:25 PM  

If this had been a Tuesday, I'd have set a personal best for the day. So solid Monday for me (and a rare case of my time being less that 50% higher than Rex's). And that was despite tripping up on PAW, having to get REBS, OLGA, and ENOL from crosses, and needing every cross apart from the ENOL one to remember COCKAPOO.

Disagree with Rex and others about the question mark on PALLBEARER. Whether you like it or not, the editors are quite clear that the standard for a question mark varies by day of the week and that in early week puzzles is used to alert readers not to just go with the first concept that comes to mind. So edited according to what they do - and IMO that is a sensible way to edit to be fair to early-week solver.

@burtonkd - I did the dialect quiz as a Brit who moved to California aged 30. It gave me a swath of hotspots from Mississippi to Georgia and then up the East Coast through to New Hampshire, with the hottest areas in Mississippi(!) and the NYNJ metro area. And then a less red swath covering NM, AZ, CA and parts of NV and CO (as well as HI). The thing it was most convinced of was that there was no way I was from Michigan. So I assume MI must be the place that has deviated most from British English over the years.

Mhoonchild 12:29 PM  

We had a cockapoo when I was in high school (i.e. a long time ago!) It was an annoying little creature, and put me off dogs, especially little dogs, for the rest of my life.

bookmark 12:42 PM  

Do yourself a favor and listen to Olga Tokarczuk's Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead. It won the Earphones Award for best audiobook interpretation of 2019.

By far the best audiobook I've ever listened to. And a wonderful story.

LorrieJJ 1:18 PM  

Totally agree about Olga Tokarczuk ... a great writer!

Anonymous 1:23 PM  

I disagree on challenging. Maybe medium for a Monday. I found it pretty easy, but I'm not as refined on judging Monday vs. Tuesday. It was pretty ho-hum overall.

Anonymous 1:30 PM  

plenty of them eagerly waiting to meet you at your local shelter.

and, generally, housebroken. puppies may be cute, but unnecessarily messy.

Jeff B. 1:33 PM  

More difficult than a typical Monday, but fun. Favorites were PULL QUOTES, PILL BUG, and REBS (had Rays first).

Swagomatic 1:50 PM  

Perpetually slow on the uptake, I, once again, whiffed on the theme. I liked the puzz more than Rex did.

thfenn 1:55 PM  

Fun Monday, but then nothing could've made this a bad Monday. Everything is good today. Wrote in LASIx and then thought COCxAPOO was an interesting name for what you'd call a mix of cocker spaniel and poodle, so that just sat forever while I chased the missing chimes. One of my favorite dogs growing up was a sheepdog-malamute-shepherd-collie mixup, and as an adult with kids of my own, golden labs were a favorite, so all dogs are good. But I will say that now that the kids are grown I'm enjoying having no dogs, or any other pets for that matter, and I don't feel soulless saying so, so no dogs are good too. You love dogs, great. You don't love dogs, great. You love dogs but don't like made up names for crossbreeds turning up in puzzles, great.

bocamp 2:01 PM  

@bookmark 12:42 PM

Got the audiobook on hold; thx for the tip. :)

@Frantic 12:15 PM

Got your point! thx for the differentiation. :)

Will "stand down" after this word from Mugs the "cockapoo": I'm so happy to see my "mixed-breed" "designer" name in today puzzle. I hear there were other sisters and brothers of mixed-breeds in recent puzzles. We don't mind where the names came from, or if they're too cute. All I can say is, keep them coming. Just like me, I'm sure they're all worthy of the New York Times crossword puzzle. And, remember, you dis my classification you dis me. Arf, arf! Respectfully, Mugs, the loving "cockapoo". 🐶


Peace Síocháin Paz صلح Pokój Salam Bark Arf 🕊

Z 2:03 PM  

@Dalston - Or you weren’t exposed to many former Michiganders when you were learning American in California.

@Frantic Sloth - Given your 🐈 avatar it is probably best that you clarified your feelings about 🐕🐩🦮. 😉

@Anoa Bob - But did you check to see how often @M&A has used USUFRUCT?

Anonymous 2:31 PM  

@Anonymous 11:30. When I posted at 10:22 I thought someone might do what you did. Thanks. I'm in a better mood now and it's all kinda fun.

kitshef 2:34 PM  

Yes, as @Frantic said, the issue is not with the dogs themselves, but with the names. Dogs in general would be better off breeding willy-nilly, rather than being inbred to meet our standards. Can't we just call them 'dogs' and let them be 'dogs' and stop intruding on their reproduction?

Also, in @Lewis's semi-absence, I wanted to point out we have twenty double letters today. Quite a high number, I suspect. Theme helps that of course.

sharon ak 3:24 PM  

Lewis I always enjoy your 5 favorites and usually agree. For Friday I'm just agreeing that it was clever as I never do the Friday puzzle.

I agree with all those who found this puzzle fairly easy and just right for a Monday. I had never heard of that Olga, but the crosses filled the name in easily. And I'm now going to look for a copy of her Mann Booker prized winning book.

Anonymous 3:26 PM  

what rink?

Anonymous 3:27 PM  

Maybe. but you do know that the dog is a domesticated animal, right? It was man who created dog by selectively bereding them. If not for man's interference as you call it, there wouldn't be any dogs. Just wolves.
The real question these days is whether man domesticated dogs once? Or twice?

bocamp 4:21 PM  


Peace Síocháin Paz صلح Pokój Salam Bark Arf 🕊

dusky 4:37 PM  

I'm far from a hot shot on puzzles but I thought this was Monday just fine. Didn't know this Olga but from the last name you can sorta figure out where you might be going. And how many first names being with O besides Olive (too long) and Oliver (even longer) other than...Olga? So that was practically a gimme, if you ask me. And the crosses there were easy.

PULL QUOTES lure you into reading the article. The phrase may be a bit jargony, but as I'm way behind on today's hiphop artists, I thought it was just fine. Lede is the same kind of jargon.

Cockapoo is a very common mixed breed these days....but I know you are a cat person. Enjoyed the puzzle throughout, Rex, don't be a PILL....Okay PUPIL was stupidly clued. I had a letter or two but rejected it as the answer until it was inevitable.

Anonymous 4:42 PM  


well... not likely. the various -ologists that study such things have concluded that wolves made the entree, seeking food. those that were marginally less aggressive stayed around, and were allowed to stay around, and over time became less aggressive and more dog-like.

a documentary on dogs, from memory, included a segment about a Russian scientist who tamed silver foxes into 'dog-like' in a handful of generations. let's see if I can find a link....
"Starting from what amounted to a population of wild foxes, within six generations (6 years in these foxes, as they reproduce annually), selection for tameness, and tameness alone, produced a subset of foxes that licked the hand of experimenters, could be picked up and petted, whined when humans departed, and wagged their tails when humans approached. "

I guess 6 is a handful, if you're polydactyly.

the proliferation of breeds, on the other hand, is a different story. according to -ologists, most breeds were the result of Brits fiddling during the 19th century.

Doodles 5:16 PM  

❤️ the CashApp

Smith 7:27 PM  

@mathgent &c.

Swag to me means loot (unless we're talking curtains, of course). So the pirate connection is definitely there. My guess is that the acronym is a retronym.

Smith 7:29 PM  


Sow bug

Unknown 7:57 PM  

Was this a tad tougher than the typical Monday puz? Most would say Yes.
Did it warrant the rant that rex gave it? Most would say No.

albatross shell 9:34 PM  

I thought the theme was tight but weak until I noticed the orderly procession of vowels. Nicely done.

Since the clues, like the theme, were not particularly amusing, I appreciated that while solving at near normal Monday speed, the puzzle seemed to take some extra thought in a few places. More crosses needed than usual. One for me was PAPI which I thought was spelled PAPe. Never knew what those rascally creatures were called and only corrected PeLLBUG to PILLBUG because I already had one PELL in the puzzle, which also wasn't obvious. By the way those bugs are also called armadillopodes. Honest.

Now SWAG is only sometimes and sorta an acronym. It meant bag or bag of stolen goods long before its complicated acronym history began. And going from bag of stolen goods to bag-of-unpaid-for-goods is a jump that does not really need an acronym-ic boost.

Thinking of sorta and sometimes I thought of Y, and went searching for PYLL and found an acronym: Potential Years of Life Lost- a calcuation of years lost due to "unnatural" or premature deaths. Diseases like Covid or accidents and other causes. So a PYLL answer was possible, at least with an acronym.

Yesterday about bussing on buses. Kiss kiss smack smack.
Bus was a shortening of omnibus and I suspect the plural of omnibus was already omnibuses. That. and because buss (verb and noun) meaning kiss was more popular 1800-1930 than it is now, resulted in use of buses and busing being the plural and past participle bus. The first time I saw this in print I thought that's gotta be wrong. Nope.I was. So years later when I saw the headline in the paper "School district has a busing problem" I smiled. I did not think a space was put in by mistake. It did make me think of the aforementioned bussing on buses.

Barbara 9:40 PM  

I thought the clue for SWAG was written that way because SWAG does not actually mean “Stuff we all get” (despite what Wikipedia would have us think) it’s a much older term for pirate booty that’s been appropriated for trade show booty and such.
I was first introduced to it as “scientific wild-a$$ guess”, which is another thing entirely.

TTrimble 9:50 PM  


You're not alone. Thought you could use the company. :-)

Nancy 10:27 PM  

@burtonkd - Since there's never been a quiz I didn't love taking, I felt heartbroken when I clicked on the dialect link you provided and it said "Oops/sorry." But I'm someone who perseveres and I found the quiz on my own.

It placed me right in New York City where I have always lived, though it said I might also be from Newark or Yonkers. It also said that for the purposes of this quiz, the most revealing answer I gave was "Sneakers" for athletic gym shoes. Making me think that maybe they didn't care at all about the PILL BUG. Or marry merry Mary either (all different.)

Z 10:36 PM  

SWAG etymology

@Barbara - Wikipedia doesn’t have a SWAG entry in this sense.

I think @Smith is probably right about “Stuff we all get” coming second.

Z 10:43 PM

I can’t figure out why @burtonkd’s link doesn’t work, but copy and paste will work.

bocamp 10:45 PM  

@albatross shell 9:34 PM

Thx for the omnibus ride. It all makes sense now. :)

@albatross shell 9:34 PM / @Barbara 9:40 PM

Never knew what "swag" stood for, either past or present. Now I do. LOL

@TTrimble 9:50 PM 👍

Your company always appreciated. :)

Peace Síocháin Paz صلح Pokój Salam Bark Arf 🕊

JC66 11:04 PM  


Thanks for the link.


I got the exact same result as you: NYC/Newark/Yonkers/Sneakers. (I was born and raised in Mt.Vernon and lived 54 of my 60 adult years living in NYC with 6 years in Yorktown Hgts when my kids were little.)

Frantic Sloth 11:26 PM  

@bocamp 201pm Haha! Thanks for that. Say... wasn't James Thurber's (The)Dog That Bit People named Muggs? Different spelling, but coincidence?😉

Anonymous 11:55 PM  

Where's the picture of a Cockapoo? They are SO CUTE!

bocamp 12:06 AM  

@Frantic Sloth 11:26 PM 👍

My Mugs never could spell his name right. LOL

Looking forward to reading Thurber's story tomorrow. Thx for the link. 😊

"That all of good the past hath had, remains to make our own time glad" - John Greenleaf Whittier 🕊

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