Flat-topped hill / MON 1-11-21/ Letters between thetas and kappas / Actress Donovan of "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" / Hilton alternative / Soccer star Hamm

Monday, January 11, 2021

Constructor: Martha Kimes

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: Deli-ghtful — Theme answers begin with sandwiches.

Theme answers:
  • WRAP PARTY (18A: Cast celebration at the end of filming)
  • CUBAN CIGARS (26A: Souvenirs from Havana)
  • CLUB HOPPING (44A: Going from nightspot to nightspot)
  • SUBREDDIT (59A: Certain online board for discussion of a topic)
  • DELI (58D: Where you might find the starts of 18-, 26, 44- and 59-Across)

Word of the Day: STOLI (67A: Popular vodka brand, for short) —

Stolichnaya (RussianСтоличная, also known as Stoli) is a vodka made of wheat and rye grain. A well-known Soviet brand, since the dissolution of the Soviet Union the ownership of Stolichnaya has been disputed between the Russian state-owned company FKP Soyuzplodoimport and SPI Group, a private company founded and owned by Russian billionaire Yuri Shefler.

• • •
I liked this one overall, seemed like just about the right challenge level for a Monday with some interesting fill, but I had a few nitpicks. SUBREDDIT is total crosswordese, I only got it because I'm what the kids call "too online." Good joke on BAR NONE. Weird discrepancy with the foreign language clues; why is CASA "house in Mexico" but OEUF is "Egg: Fr."? I'm not a fan of the whole "in ____" style for foreign language clues anyway, but adding "Fr." is just kinda lazy...there must be another way. I've had enOEUF of this. Oh, and did anyone else have CZAR for TSAR? Took me ages to find and correct that. 

What do you call a sorceress at the beach? A sand witch! As usual, I find very little to say about this Monday theme. My favorite sandwich is a classic grilled cheese. Make it with cheddar and throw some green apple on that bad boy and you've got yourself a gourmet meal. What about you, CrossWorld?  

  • MCRIB (1A: Periodically sold fast-food item) — I'll admit it. I've had one of these recently just to see what the hype was all about. Took one bite and it was like enjoying a fresh wad of wet newspaper with some barbecue sauce. Took another because surely I had to be missing something, and realized that what I was missing was that it was actually more like an old tire slathered in sugary tomato. Seriously, no idea why people like this gross sandwich. At all. 
  • OYL (23A: Olive ___ [Popeye's sweetie]) — Who doesn't love Popeye? Couldn't find very many great cartoon clips, so here's Shelley Duvall as Olive Oyl. 

  • MORAL (64A: Ethical) — I thought there was some big philosophical difference between ETHICAL and MORAL? Any philosophers out there able to educate me on that one? 
  • PUTS (19D: "Nobody ___ Baby in a corner" [line from "Dirty Dancing"]) — I think I legally have to post this. 

Signed, August Thompson, tired graduate student.  

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

[Follow August Thompson on Twitter]


jae 12:06 AM  

Easy-medium. Pretty good Monday. APtestS before EXAMS was my only hiccup. Nice debut, liked it.

I’m guessing I knew DIWALI from PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre shows about India, but it could be from Slumdog Millionaire, or maybe “The White Tiger”, or ....?

Anonymous 12:09 AM  

Clubbing, or bar hopping. never club hopping.

Joaquin 12:14 AM  

Pro Tip for @August: If you want the world's best bbq, go almost anywhere in the Kansas City area. Some local spots outshine others but almost any KC bbq is better than any of the others. Yes, it's better than Texas, better than Memphis, better than St. Louis ... well, you get the idea.

Anonymous 12:35 AM  

I came today just to see if Rex has ever seen Dirty Dancing. I figured that if he hasn't seen it, he would complain about that clue.

Robin 12:44 AM  

My impression of TSAR vs CZAR over the last year or three is that the #NYTXW is treating the old autocrat of Russia as TSAR, but a US cross-department governmental official is CZAR. So pay attention to phrasing of the clue.

I could be wrong, and frankly I don't even recall who the most recent US gov CZAR might have been, but that's my impression. Which if true, suggests some smidgin of sanity in #NYTW clue editing.

Anonymous 12:48 AM  

I guess I'm not entirely sure what crosswordese is, but I think SUBREDDIT is... not that. Like isn't crosswordese supposed to be common, generally shorter fill, that is only used because they have common letters and fit in a lot of configurations? OTERI comes to mind. ARIA too. Not necessarily everyday words that show up far too often and/or completely obscure things for the average English speaker that have useful letters like APSE and ERSE?

SUBREDDIT, on the other hand, has never been used before that I can find and is part of a site with millions of users from various age groups; the "reddit" part at the very least is one of the most well-known modern-day forums. It's also part of the theme, so if you're really stuck, start thinking of deli sandwiches that might work. And beyond that if you're really stumped, every single one of its crosses is super gettable. Should modern words be omitted because people above a certain age might not have heard of them? I thought we wanted fresh, modern fill? It ain't serious, but I'm just really confused by this criticism.

TTrimble 12:50 AM  

It might have been a wee bit hard for a Monday. Foreign words DIWALI, CASA, OEUF, ORA. PPP including MCRIB, ELISA, IGA, CARDI, AMAL, OMNI, MIA. Some slight annoyances: B TEN and GET A B.

SUBREDDIT is crosswordese?

Serviceable theme for a Monday. MCRIB is not a great way to begin the week or the sandwich theme -- it does look kind of gross. I can just imagine how sugary that sauce is.

Frantic Sloth 1:13 AM  

@TTrimble from yesterday. Are you mad?? Trust me. Puzzle construction is a bridge, 4 highways, and an AIRLANE too far for me! Add to that the fact that I am utterly devoid of discipline and there is your recipe for disaster(s)...like these.

The puzzle:

Types of sammiches is the theme I guess. It's pretty simple and straightforward - perfect Mondee fodder. Cute stuff and a pleasant solve. And another debut! Congratulations to Ms. Kimes.

Liked the clues for BARNONE and PUTS.

No real nits* which always makes me think I missed something, but I'm happy to skip it and move along.

*Except maybe the MCRIB because it scares the crap outta me. It looks like fingers slathered with cherry syrup, served in a pencil box. Hold me back.


Leah 1:19 AM  

Had a PR with this one at 3:30. Thought it was super easy, maybe just in my Millenial wheelhouse. Reddit is one of the most visited sites on the entire Internet so it's a bit of a stretch to call "subreddit" crosswordese. That's like saying "tweet" is crosswordese. Anyhow didn't even realize there was a theme until reading the blog, that's how quickly I flew through it. Good Monday.

chefwen 1:21 AM  

A fine, easy Monday. My biggest mistake was plopping down pub crawlING at 44A, didn’t take long to see that I was WAY off base seeing as ho the only letters that worked were the ING. Bzzt.

Just looking at a picture of a MC RIB is enough to put me off of food for a day.

We have to ask @GILL I what her favorite sandwich is. She is the sandwich queen.

Favorite clue of the day “Without exception...as in dry counties? Frightened the cat with my YUK!

Anonymous 1:32 AM  

I also liked this puzzle! It was engaging and smooth. I have to disagree about SUBREDDIT -- I think it is a vivacious modern answer that is not at all crosswordese.

My Name 2:17 AM  

Well it's after 2 AM, so sorry if I'm not recalling this carrectly, but mostly the terms moral and ethical are interchangable, so no real error in the clue here. However some philosophers think of morality being personal versus ethics as a societal standards.

Elaine2 2:45 AM  

I liked this.

(I'm with Rex on sandwiches: grilled cheese with cheddar and green apple is a great sandwich!)

mkyritsis 5:00 AM  

Couldn't get STEM. Standing for what? Please someone enlighten me!The rest was all good Monday stuff. I've never gone to reddit, guess I will now to see what it's all about. And yes, 4D was good for a chuckle.

GILL I. 6:17 AM  

Ay caramba....a sandwich puzzle.....You're welcome to my CASA and may your bib DRIP with DELI OYL....
My new avatar is a sandwich I make all the time (Hi @chefwen)...it's roast beef, cheese, tomato and the rye bread I make.....Grill it and you have the perfect, fast, yuminishious dinner.
OK, so I looked at MC RIB and did the @Frantic fingers slathered with cherry syrup dance. My TUNDRA runneth over. You give me a CUBAN anything, though, and the cha cha is waiting for AMAL's husband to dance with me.
Nice and fun puzzle, Martha......Dang, now I'm a wanting a CLUB. Haven't had one of those in ages. Hmmmm, do I have bacon in the fridge?

Gonzales 6:28 AM  

I have solved the speed solving issue for myself. I open the puzzle, hit "reveal" and Tada, Voila! I'm done, without having to worry about themes or PPP, or foreign words, or rappers, or fantasy movie characters, or cars, or sports. This method relieves a lot of stress, fills me with satisfaction, and frees up some time. Try it. You'll like it.

jfpon 6:35 AM  

"While they're closely related concepts, morals refer mainly to guiding principles, and ethics refer to specific rules and actions, or behaviors. A moral precept is an idea or opinion that's driven by a desire to be good. An ethical code is a set of rules that defines allowable actions or correct behavior."

amyyanni 6:48 AM  

Isn't STEM Science, Tech, Engineering, and Math? Good start to Monday. Grilled cheese is my favorite sandwich, often with two different cheeses (provolone and a little fresh mozzarella is good) and fill pickles on the side.

MyNameHere 6:49 AM  

Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics.

Most conversions using the acronym STEM focus on how there are not enough women and minorities in STEM fields.

DavidP 6:53 AM  

STEM: science technology engineering math

TTrimble 6:58 AM  

I'm sure we're going to get a slew of repetitions, but STEM is a popular acronym these days for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

Lewis 7:01 AM  

The theme was cute and it stumped me until the reveal showed itself – and I tried to get it before that. This was a plus. (I was thinking it had something to do with the double letters in the theme answers, but CUBAN CIGARS quashed that.)

I liked POP starting the word next to MAMA. And, speaking of MAMA, I liked all the women that showed up in this grid – I counted seven.

But I loved seeing DIWALI, which I knew about long ago but have forgotten and will now relearn, and I especially loved that clue for BAR NONE, super-wordplay and on a Monday!

The best crossword puzzles radiate with the voice of the constructor, and to me, this one shimmered with it, and you can bet, Martha, that I’m eagerly anticipating more from you. Congratulations on this terrific debut, and thank you for a most lovely solve!

SouthsideJohnny 7:12 AM  

It seems like this constructor was willing to flirt with later-in-the-week type content (DIWALI, OEUF, AMAL, ELISA, CARDI . . . ) and was able to pull it off because the crosses were for the most part fair and Monday-appropriate.

Cute clue for BAR NONE. Is SUBREDDIT an actual term that they use on the website (it sounds like some type of a virtual conference room), or is it just a term that has slipped into popular usage after being coined by the site’s users ?

I guess the real surprise of the day is that people put apples in (on?) their grilled cheese sandwiches - does seem like a match made in hell, lol (sort of like buying a barbecued rib sandwich at a fast food chain). Do you put the apples IN the sandwich and then grill it ? Maybe it’s the cheesy equivalent of putting bananas in a PB and J - wasn’t Elvis into something weird like that as well ?

ChuckD 7:28 AM  

Fun puzzle for the most part. A little side eye to the CUBANo being a subset of the other themers. Overall fill was fine - liked BAR NONE, ISLANDER and STOLI. Didn’t really know SUB REDDIT and there were some non Monday’s here.

I met Lou REED at Ditch Plains in the early 2000’s. True to form - he was wearing a black bathing suit and tee shirt and was with Laurie Anderson who he eventually married I think. Never really liked his music - but he seemed to be a decent guy that day.

An enjoyable solve to start the week.

Todd 7:38 AM  

Funny about Rex's McRib experience. I was in college in Albany NY in the early 80's. I think was the test market or one of them for the McRib. We all thought it waa pretty good. Had one about 20 years later and my experience was identical to Rex. Though I don't remember using a colorful a description of the experience. I still wonder if they were better when they first came out or I was that clueless at 20yo.

Anonymous 8:06 AM  

I agree with all your points, Leah. PR for me at 3:07, so it probably is a more millennial-friendly puzzle. I hope we see more from Martha Kimes.

bocamp 8:07 AM  

Thank you, @Martha for a fine start to the puzzling week; enjoyed your puzzle! @August, thx for the write-up. :)

Medium solve; mostly in my wheelhouse.

Mom spent much of her retirement living in "Mesa", Az.

Nice coincidence: just finished having a bowl of coconut milk yogurt with "flaxseeds" before embarking on this puzzle.

"Casa"blanca ~ Bertie Higgins

@A 7:37 PM yesterday - yw, glad you liked it. 😊

yd pg -3

Peace and Kindness 🕊

Joaquin 8:10 AM  

In case it has not already been answered:

STEM = Sandwiches / Tacos / Empanadas / McRib.

CatherineL 8:15 AM  

Ethics are personal decisions one makes to do the right thing. Morals are group agreements that enhance and protect the group.

pabloinnh 8:25 AM  

Saw the sandwich theme after a couple of examples and was just wondering what the revealer might be. DELI worked very well and it was down there in the corner where it belonged, so good work there.

Had GETAS before GETAB. The S didn't work, of course, but I like my answer better.

DIWALI is one of those words that I finally recognize after I get the whole thing from crosses. Oh yeah, that's what it is

Another tip for August--You'll never starve in the desert, you can always eat the sand which is there.

Nice debut, MK. Good Monday fun.

TTrimble 8:26 AM  

I think my mom used to make a nice Sunday lunch of clubhouse crackers topped with melted cheddar and thinly slices of Granny Smith apple. You stick them under the broiler for a little while to melt the cheese, and the apple won't lose its crunch. A little dab of Dijon on top and you're good to go. The crunch and tart of the apple nicely complements the smooth savoriness of the cheese. Pair it with a glass of chilled white wine of your choosing. Delightful -- and not weird at all.

JD 8:30 AM  

Subreddit was a gimme. One of the "kids" has lived on Reddit since college and keeps me apprised of the Millennial zeitgeist via quotes from the subreddits (subsections of Reddit). Usually to point out that I don't know what I'm talking about.

Started ripping through this one but was minorly concerned at Antennae crossing Diwali. Another little hiccup at Amnio/Amal. But crosses easily took care of all that.

Great theme answers. Nice easy puzzle for the millennial beginner.

KnittyContessa 8:36 AM  

What a fun way to start the week! I loved BARNONE.

I'm surprised Rex didn't point out it was a female constructor and the majority of names were women - ELIZA, OYL, MAMA, AMAL, MIA, and the Baby clue. Thanks Martha!

DanGolder 8:44 AM  

I don't see how SUBREDDIT is crosswordese? Subreddits are basically the core value of the website that allowed it to take over all message boards. That would be like saying "FACEBOOKPROFILE" is crosswordese.

Unknown 8:52 AM  

I thought this was an odd mix of the esoteric DIWALI and George Clooney's wife (but I suppose if you read People Magazine then she would be a no-brainer) and some fun answers like SUBREDDIT.

i know rex has railed in the past about puz's skewing too masculine. So today we had a female constructor with three sports answers: MIA, ASTRO and tennis SETs. So is that par for the course?

I always ordered a CUBANO; never heard of a CUBAN. Best ones are in Miami. Much better than a grilled cheese and apple sandwich. (Which I'd never heard of, but has less than zero appeal.)

Anonymous 8:56 AM  

STEM is the new EGOT.

burtonkd 9:14 AM  

I feel a little slow on the uptake this morning, not immediately sensing a guest (welcome back again) blogger. The clues were all there:

-No time posted, and medium difficulty.
-SUBREDDIT thrown in as Xword-ese. This would be the only part of the puzzle Rex likes. As noted elsewhere, xword-ese is stuff like ORR, OTT, ENO that appear WAY more often in puzzles than real life. Or in today's puzzle, ION, IAGO, ETAL.
-Deli-ghtful was a fun take on the theme. Rex would have said, "4 sandwiches, that's
it. Premier puzzle, yada yada"
- The violence and white supremacism depicted in Popeye would be a whole paragraph. (I think he has a point on this one)
- We wouldn't get the lovely Sand Witch dad joke.

Mostly Monday easy with DAWALI being so not Monday it was a shock to the system.

@Nancy ETAL from the other day: I was going through music for church and remembered your post since I've done songs based on hymn tunes of Charles IVES the past 2 weeks. In the classical music world, he is considered a seminal figure in American music, his works using common tunes and displaying a rugged individualism that set it apart from what he considered more proper and effete European tastes.

Anonymous 9:20 AM  

STEM- Scanning Tunneling Electron Microscopy

Anonymous 9:26 AM  

What does “PPP” mean?

Anonymous 9:28 AM  

What does “PR” mean?

Anonymous 9:28 AM  

Normal people have never heard of it.

RooMonster 9:30 AM  

Hey All !
People, people, you're complaining/praising Rex's write-up, but he didn't do the write-up! It was August. Granted, August didn't start the blog as normal with a "Hi! It's August Monday!" or somesuch, but you should be able to tell just from reading it wasn't Rex. Too upbeat!

School marm ruler hand slap aside, I thought this a good MonPuz. A few obscurities for me, ala DIWALI, but to some I'm sure it's well known. I thought I had an error there, but I couldn't argue with the crosses. I do have a nit (of course, what would a day be without a nit?), I really would've tried to get rid of the blocks twixt EMT and DOGS/SONS and SEAS. It would require a redo of the fill, but those closed off center-sides grates a bit. I'm sure Martha tried, but couldn't get good fill. Heck, she got her debut, so Brava!

OUEF, dang. Is it pronounced weef? Or oof? Serious question, btw. Not a French speaker. :-)

Funny how the brain wants to see AMINO for AMNIO. I was wondering why it wasn't clued by the acid...

Nice MonPuz. See ya.

Three F's

Z 9:35 AM  

Theme is a classic, but well done. There’s a typical amount of ese, but it never cascades into an ugh-fest. MESA didn’t grate because it gave us MCRIB and ANTENNAE, And who doesn’t love some ACUTE MORAL STOLI on a Monday morning? The closest the puzzle gets to excessive ese is the opposing NE and SW corners, but TUNDRA and INTERN and the themers make them seem worthwhile. There are some great clues, a decent theme, and ungrateful ese, pretty much the classic recipe for a good Monday.

Over at xwordinfo.com Kimes says she’s been constructing for about a year and has had puzzles in USA Today, Universal, and American Values Crossword Club. What I will note is that those other venues are noted for doing as much coaching as editing. I suppose you can argue that the difference is akin to the difference between ethics and MORALs, but there is a difference and you can see it in puzzles like these.

@Frantic Sloth - You and me both. I get asked periodically why I don’t dabble and I just guffaw. What I really wonder about is why we don’t see more puzzles published by @Muse and @Lewis, they both have that facility with language and word play and puzzling and everything they’ve ever gotten published was good. I get angry on their behalf (because they would never get angry about this themselves so somebody has to do it) when something drecky gets published and I know they have better puzzles that were rejected. Yet another reason my hard ass can’t get upset that Rex can be harsh.

@Joaquin - What next? Asking if hot dogs and tacos are sandwiches? The one time I was in Kansas City I was driving through with my vegetarian son, so I can’t speak from direct experience. The best I’ve had was in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Slow’s in Detroit used to do a great job, but I don’t think anybody goes there anymore because it got too popular. I think Slow’s lean towards Texas style, but being in Michigan they get to dabble in different styles. My problem is that many of the “best” styles rely on sugar in their recipes and sugar ruins good BBQ. So what others consider the best I considered ruined.

@JD - There is an ultimate REDDIT that is a wee bit infamous. I have only seen occasional screen shots and point(ing) out that I don't know what I'm talking about seems to be it’s entire raison d’être. I’m sure good info and observations get shared there, too, but what gets shared is young men saying dumb things loudly.

@burtonkd - We should all post our “how long did it take me to realize it wasn’t Rex” times. My first inkling was “I had a few nitpicks.” That is not a Rexian sentence. I wasn’t certain until the czAR TSAR comment, though.

@A late yesterday- “mansplication” - 👍🏽👍🏽

Lewis 9:36 AM  

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

1. They follow the nus (3)
2. Tours can be found on it (5)
3. Digital filing service? (4)(4)
4. First class (5)
5. Makes Don nod? (8)


Lewis 9:38 AM  

@Z -- Thank you for those kind words!

David 9:44 AM  

37A could not be more offensive if it tried. “Subject in which *women* have been traditionally underrepresented”??? I believe they are called “humyns with vaginas.” Get with it!

Anonymous 9:44 AM  

STEM-System Trainer and Exercise Module

Xcentric 9:47 AM  

Re: McRib - Pork is notoriously difficult to cook properly. I doubt the McRib is cooked in the sauce. Most likely it is a piece of pre-cooked frozen pork briefly re-cooked on a grill way past temperature needed to remain tender then dipped in a gelatinous sauce and slapped on a bun - yechh.
Most good cubans are NOT sold in delis in NYC, the best are found in small shops (not bodegas) that sell them along with fried plantain, soups like monfongo, empanadas, arroz con frijoles and other types of specific cuisine (Cuban, Dominican, Puerto Rican, etc.) - best are in the Bronx IMO. The best is when they cut the pork off a roast studded with garlic cloves with the fat still on it and it melts into the bread while grilling in the press.
I found the puzzle a wee bit harder than a typical Monday. Got hung up on AP tests before exams too.
Diwali also prominent in several episodes of Good Karma Hospital on Acorn and Prime.
Best grilled cheese requires a cast iron skillet and butter on both outsides of the sandwich :)

Dogfish 9:49 AM  

Subreddit is definitely the on-site phrasing @SouthsideJohnny, though even if it was just common parlance I think it's notable enough for inclusion. Bizarre from August in my opinion to call a debut word, a *theme entry* crosswordese. I mean, it's crossword friendly in it's letter pattern - but unless we're going to start calling words like TEST and STEER crosswordese then I'd just declare it a fairly easy word to use - one for the wordlist at any rate!

Also don't think there was much in the way of rare words - DIWALI is incredibly well known and I'm surprised people don't think it's a Monday word (I'd say it's absolutely Monday level in that I'd expect a majority people to be able to get it with zero crosses, excluding perhaps the potential for DIVALI as a known alternate spelling) - though my understanding of the US is that teaching the existance of non-christian faiths might be a bit lighter than the UK's? Only word that raised my eyes slightly was OEUF, but I suspect there are enough French recipies to know food words from just across La Manche.

As such, I did enjoy the puzzle - couple of words that were challenging as a non-American (MIA, POPTARTS), but not overly so at least. Hadn't noticed quite how boxed off it's sections were, but I don't think there are any stopping points to be worried about regardless. This was a good example of a Monday, which is all I think we can ask for on a Monday ^^;

pmdm 9:52 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TTrimble 9:59 AM  

Those fails! I laughed to the point of literal tears. Thanks!

mathgent 10:02 AM  

Very pleasant. Clean, a little bit of sparkle, learned that DIWALI is observed by over a billion people, minimum number of threes. The cluing is pretty dull, though.

The theme seems off. It should be about sandwiches, not a DELI. I don't know of a DELI that makes a club sandwich.

I love barbecue ribs and it seems that I haven't missed anything by not having had a McRib. As Mr. Thompson says, you can put barbecue sauce on anything and it's edible. I've been to the annual rib cook-off competition in Sparks Nevada, right next to Reno. The rib pros there have told me that they put sauce on their ribs only because people expect it. They eat them right out of the smoker.

Grilled cheese sandwiches are good but I prefer to take a crusty piece of ciabatta, spread it with a healthy glob of mayo, lay a couple of slices of Tillamook sharp cheddar on it, and put it open-faced into the toaster oven for a couple of minutes.

I don't suppose that there are any DELIs open in New Delhi during DIWALI.

Emil 10:05 AM  

This about summarizes my experience with "Queen's Gambit": "MCRIB (1A: Periodically sold fast-food item) — I'll admit it. I've had one of these recently just to see what the hype was all about. Took one bite and it was like enjoying a fresh wad of wet newspaper with some barbecue sauce. Took another because surely I had to be missing something, and realized that what I was missing was that it was actually more like an old tire slathered in sugary tomato. Seriously, no idea why people like this gross sandwich. At all."

Nancy 10:08 AM  

Well, the rest of you slackers may GET A B when you "do better than average, gradewise", but I GET "A"S. And for that reason I struggled with 44A, wondering what CLU SHOPPING or, alternately, CLUS HOPPING was. "Oh, you dummy" I finally thought -- "you're much too smart for your own good!" I corrected the S to a B, and all was well.

I found this puzzle a DELIght -- not so much for the theme as for the smooth, grown-up fill, the notable lack of junk and the excellent cluing. Some thought was also required-- making this an excellent Monday.

The Clerk 10:12 AM  


The Clerk 10:15 AM  

Do ice cream cones melt?

Anonymous 10:23 AM  

"did anyone else have CZAR for TSAR? Took me ages to find and correct that. "

learned long ago to never, ever put in the first 2 letters until doing the crosses!

must be showing my age: pub crawlING not CLUB HOPPING, which I've never heard of bar HOPPING, sure.

the thing about STEM, if you look long enough, is that early childhood education mavens have claimed that girls are better at maths than boys up until about puberty. not found any reason why the data works out that way, but it appears to.

Anonymous 10:23 AM  

I try not to be overly pedantic, but the McRib clue bugged me because it implies the McRib is released on a regular schedule (separated by a 'period') instead of whenever the price of pork is low. It should be something like "occasionally sold."

GHarris 10:27 AM  

Just finished yesterday’ Monster, and not without a couple cheats but I have to quarrel with the clue for dibs. I don’t know what the dictionary may say but where I grew up it meant I want a piece of what you just found.

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

STEM-Short-Term Evangelical Mission

bigsteve46 10:36 AM  

"Subreddits are basically the core value of the website that allowed it to take over all message boards." Huh??? Give us geezers a break! And actually FACEBOOKPROFILE may not be "crosswordese" - but it's certainly not elegant English, either.

I grow old, I grow old ...I shall wear the bottom of my trousers rolled.

Who wrote the review 10:42 AM  

@TTrimble. Annabel did NOT write the review...August did. You can see his Twitter link at the bottom of the review. Lol...get off @Roo’s case! I’m going to take a wild guess that Annabel and August are brother and sister but if anyone really knows then please enlighten us. I thought this was a DELI-GHTFUL Monday puz and I just have to pile on to say SUBREDDIT is not “crosswordese”!

Tim Aurthur 10:43 AM  

The meat in the MCRIB has the dubious distinction of being famously restructured. So I went to the Wikipedia article about the sandwich and found this:

"Meat restructuring was developed by the US Army to deliver low-cost meat to troops in the field. The process was refined by a Natick Army Labs meat scientist, Dr. Roger Mandigo, leading to the McRib patty."

So there's a McRib-Natick connection!

Whatsername 10:46 AM  

Easy peasy Monday but it was fun and ACUTE theme. Certainly no SLOG today. Great intro for new solvers. Congratulations to Ms. Kimes on a nice snappy debut.

This made me hungry but MCRIB almost didn’t pass the breakfast test for me. I tried it once because that’s what everybody else was having and all it took was one bite. WRAP that thing up and put it in the trash. I wouldn’t even offer it to my dog for fear she’d never speak to me again.

I don’t know what SUBREDDIT is but I’m curious. Is it one of those places that’s banned Donald Trump for MORAL purposes? We probably all need to keep our ANTENNAE up for the next nine days and then I might celebrate with a CUBAN CIGAR and a big glass of STOLI.

Hi @August. Since you asked, my favorite sammich is a classic BLT on toast with mayo. Same for the grilled cheese, mayo with a side of dill pickles. And BTW, I second @Joaquin‘s recommendation for barbecue just about anywhere in KC MO. If I had to choose only one, it would be that venerable classic Arthur Bryant’s. Burnt ends DRIPping with sauce. Or better yet, just go to a non-Covid era Chiefs game at Arrowhead and make the rounds of the tailgate parties. You’re bound to find one you like.

GILL I. 10:48 AM  

@Xcentric 9:47: Not to sound pedantic (but I guess I will)...but pork is really very easy to cook. Our pig friends render some bodacious flavors but you need patience and a slow cooker. Anything you add, whether it be BBQ, lemon, oranges, are just the goodness that makes an easy pork shoulder, simmering for hours while you nap, taste good. I can't speak for a MC RIB because I would rather eat an old boot than try it.
By the way.....Miami does, in fact have some of the best CUBAN sandwiches because.......TA DA....ex Cubans live there and that's what they do. BUT.....BUT....one of the best in the world is in Washington D.C.. It's called "Mi Cuba Cafe." Authentic, authentic, authentic. You know why? The bread. It's the bread folks. Made with authentic pig lard. Yep.....that's the secret. I know the lechon needs tender loving care but the bread is that je ne sais quoi.....Try it.

Sir Hillary 11:07 AM  

Didn't like it. Can't stand that the NW/SE and W/E sections are all accessible only via a single square.

I wouldn't know a SUBREDDIT from a subway from a suburb from a subversion, but one thing I know for sure is that SUBREDDIT ain't crosswordese.

Hungry Mother 11:21 AM  

Why load a Monday puzzle with names? C’mon, stop being lazy.

Frantic Sloth 11:25 AM  

Is it weird that I didn't even notice that it was August who did the write up??
Don't answer that.
Oh! @Elaine2 245am and @Todd 738amand @KnittyContessa 836am (Hi!) did the same thing! Whew! Sorry to name names, peeps, but I ain't goin' down alone!

Under the heading of piling on (a.k.a. "What's an 'EGOT'?")*...

I don't know. Maybe it's because I had to visit it occasionally for my old job, but even I knew SUBREDDIT. And I live under a rock. And I'm old.
Crosswordese? Nah.

@GILL 617am ¡Ay guacamole! That sammich sounds and looks divine! Leave it to you to whet my pig-etite for all things DELI today.😁
@SouthsideJohnny and @TTrimble Plus there are many people who like their apple pie with a chunk of cheese - usually cheddar, I believe.

@Z 935am I know, right?! It's as if @Lewis and @LMS have other things to do. I complete understand the resentment "on their behalf" because somebody's gotta Rye marina...er...harbor it.

*Our current champion might be facing some stiff competition today, but STEM's da breaks. (Hi, @Anon 856am)

Douglas 11:27 AM  

Funny how you think Amal Clooney is people magazine fodder. She is a prominent human rights attorney. Get over yourself.

Masked and Anonymous 11:31 AM  

Nobody puts M&A in a corner on a MonPuz … but DIWALI & SUBREDDIT sure came close. Also, MAYAN in the NE corner is kinda sorta close to MANDA, symbolically speakin.

staff weeject pick: OAF, of the OAF/OEUF combo. The Oof Twins.

GETAB. har. Also, whoa, Deli -- If U splatz a black square in at that "T" in GETAB, the upper and lower puzgrids are no longer connected. Mighty feisty.

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Do ___ others …} = UNTO.

Thanx for the carry-out launches, Ms. Kimes darlin. And congratz on yer debut.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


Pete 11:34 AM  

@pmdm - It's August Thompson. If the actual author of todays blog is something so important that you have point it out, then at least get the name right. If it was a simple error, please take note. If you're making a point, please go somewhere else to make it.

burtonkd 11:34 AM  

@pmdm - you must have skipped my entire first paragraph posted before Z. He even referenced me about it...

On this topic, a couple people have referred to Annabel, who now is known as August.

A 11:35 AM  

Happy MAMA MIA Day!

Not sure what it was, but something about this puzzles rubbed me the wrong way. Starting off with an ad for the golden arches place didn’t help matters, but at every turn I found myself turning up my nose. OEUF OAF OYL MAT PUTS IGA ARE BTEN GETAB IOTAS for instance - and couldn't we go a few days without ION TSAR STEM (hey @Joaquim liked yours a lot!) EMT and DYE - how about it, NYTX?

Speaking of which, that “What about you, crossworld?” query in the writeup was my tipoff. Don’t recall OFL ever asking anyone else’s opinion except the occasional “Is it just me, or…” and I'm pretty sure that's, uh, rhetorical.

@peedmn @Z wasn’t first, also not even 2nd. A full 5 minutes before, @RooMonster said “People, people, you're complaining/praising Rex's write-up, but he didn't do the write-up!” And a quarter hour before that, @burtonkd tipped us off with a list of clues.

@Lewis, I'll second what @Z said! Thanks again for the link to your excellent puzzle!

So, actually OUEF goes in the like pile too. ;-) Along with BARNONE FLAXSEED ANTENNAE STOLI and Mississippi native and jazz singer ORA REED. Oh, and WRAPPARTY.

@Dogfish Yes, you’re quite right! “….my understanding of the US is that teaching the existance of non-christian faiths might be a bit lighter than the UK’s?” And especially in the Deep South, I guess - I learned Diwali today. The most fun I had with this one was having _RAPPARTY and wanting CRAPPARTY. I had heard of wrap parties, but in my limited experience we call them cast parties. Must be out of date. Plus I always thought that too exclusionary. Can’t the pit orchestra go to a cast party?

Leah 11:38 AM  

Personal record, as in your fastest recorded time for doing a puzzle from that day (in this case a Monday puzzle)

Leah 11:40 AM  

Reddit is the 6th most visited Internet site in the United States, so yes a majority of people will have heard of it. Maybe you're not "Normal"?

Leah 11:41 AM  

You should try an apple and brie grilled cheese--it'll change your life

A moderator 11:46 AM  

It is not okay to misidentify today’s blog author. Comments that do will be deleted.

JD 11:55 AM  

@Z, Reddit. I believe I remember the early infamy from the news. I didn't want to invite a "whole girls are good at STEM and they're also on Reddit" rant from anyone, but not only does the 30-year-old son quote it, one of the young investment bankers brought it up in a meeting last week. Heavily male skewed.

It might be growing up in some areas with its oldest users. They're almost geezers there by now.

@McRib commenters, aftermarket meat parts. The McNugget of pork.

A 12:00 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carola 12:00 PM  

Medium for me, because of an immediate bog-down in the NW - I didn't know MCRIB or ELISA. But with DRIP x DIWALI the pace picked up...although I didn't have the slightest idea where I was going, theme-wise. Fun to end up at the DELI.

@August, thank you for the Dirty Dancing clip. Back when we could go to the movies, I went to a showing at an oldies night, in a packed theater. Everybody was waiting for that line.

@A moderator said... 11:46 - Thank you.

Nancy 12:02 PM  

@burtonkd -- I'm DELIghted you read my comments and I always read yours as well, but I'm baffled at your DELIneating me just now when disCUSSing Charles Ives. I remember many posts of mine about music in the last few days -- including Bob Dylan; Irving Berlin (God Bless America); Cole Porter (Don't Fence Me In); along with 5 or 6 songs I listed that make me cry when I try to sing them, but I'm quite sure I never mentioned Charles Ives once. And that's because I wouldn't know Charles Ives if I fell over him. Quite likely that's my loss, and if you put up an Ives link I'll listen, but I am baffled over who you might be confusing me with :)

Nancy 12:03 PM  

@burtonkd -- I'm DELIghted you read my comments and I always read yours as well, but I'm baffled at your DELIneating me just now when disCUSSing Charles Ives. I remember many posts of mine about music in the last few days -- including Bob Dylan; Irving Berlin (God Bless America); Cole Porter (Don't Fence Me In); along with 5 or 6 songs I listed that make me cry when I try to sing them, but I'm quite sure I never mentioned Charles Ives once. And that's because I wouldn't know Charles Ives if I fell over him. Quite likely that's my loss, and if you put up an Ives link I'll listen, but I am baffled over who you might be confusing me with :)

Z 12:08 PM  

@Lewis - Just the truth.

@Anon10:23 - Yep. Someone else said Russian King is TS and US bureaucrats are CZ and I think that is mostly true, but it is still better to just wait for the crosses.

@Tim Arthur - 🤣🤣🤣 Of course they’re connected.

@Whatsername - Is it one of those places that’s banned Donald Trump for MORAL purposes? I don’t know, but he did get kicked off of something called “Shopify.”

@Gill I - My mom made the best tortillas. Her “secret?” The can of lard that sat on the stove in our house. I believe the secret to a good pie crust is also lard.

Anoa Bob 12:10 PM  

My grandparents still had a working farm when I was a kid. They only had one barn so I guess you could call it BARN ONE. There was also a fruit orchard with several apple trees. They warned us kids never to eat green apples and to wait until they were ripe. I learned the truth of that the hard way. Green apples will give you a stomach ache from hell.

Forty black squares with four of the two POCs with one S squares, where the shared Ss could be changed to black squares and nothing of value or interest to the puzzle would be lost, gave the grid a constricted feel to me. And one of those POCs was a themer, CUBAN CIGARS. I always think having to add an S to one of the themers in order to boost its letter-count to match its symmetrical counterpart is at least inelegant if not a serious flaw to the puzzle.

When I was in grad school, long ago in the previous century, every March on St. Pat's Day, a group of us 10 kilometer distance runners would have a 10 kiloliter race where we would run to the nearest bar, stop in for a pitcher of brewski or two, and then run to the next bar, guzzle some more, and then repeat that cycle. I don't recall who won those races or even if any of us every actually finished one! Yeah it was bar HOPPING. Never heard of CLUB HOPPING. (I have heard of CLodHOPPers, though.)

Is the TUNDRA (22A) still a "Frozen expanse", as clued, or has global warming/weirding made "Former frozen expanse" a more accurate clue?

Frantic Sloth 12:12 PM  

@Joaquin 810am 🤣 Embarrassed to admit I actually skipped this the first time because of that trap so brilliantly laid by you.

@Unknown 852am Your comment regarding "George Clooney's wife" and People Magazine reminded me of this.

@burtonkd 914am LOL! Too true and why my mistaking August for an uncharacteristically cheery Rex seems all the more embarrassing. Thanks. 🤣

@Roo 930am See ^^^

At the risk of more piling on...

@pmdm 952am Good point. I was going to mention that the* name is "August" now, but I see that both names are listed there - probably because a name change on blogger can be prohibitively complicated.

*And I'm sorry, August, but I've forgotten what pronouns you prefer! Also, I don't have a favorite sammich, but I did eat nothing but tuna all through grammar school (after 1st grade when they stopped serving hot lunch because it was too costly and everybody knows how poor the Catholic Church is...but I bitterly digress)

@TTrimble 959am 👍

@Tim Aurthur 1043am OMG! Are you joking? I think you might be joking. Are you joking? That's hilarious! Either way.

@GILL 1048am Yer killin' me, dude!

@A moderator 1146am 3 questions: Are you actually a moderator? If yes, are you serious? If no, are you serious??

The Joker 12:19 PM  

Is SUBREDDIT even a "thing"?

Anonymous 12:20 PM  

64A MORAL. CatherineL (8:15 a.m.) has it right. Traditionally ethics is a branch of moral philosophy, dealing with what is right or wrong in respect to the individual, as in Aristotle's *Nicomachean Ethics*. Extending outward, moral philosophy in respect to the family was "economics (from the Greek word for *house*)," and dealt with such things as choosing a spouse, running the family villa, managing slaves, and educating children (as in the treatise *Economics*, once attributed to Aristotle. In managing the villa or business it came to be associated with management in general and hence modern economics. The third branch was moral philosophy in respect to the state or polis, or politics (as in Aristotle's *Politics*.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

By the way, are things you consume properly "souvenirs" (26A)? If I had a Cuban cigar, I would smoke it, and I could frankly use one now. Perhaps the wrapper, if it had one, would be a souvenir.

egsforbreakfast 12:26 PM  

The ten best sandwiches are all bang mi if you get the right bread. But since the discussion is focusing on grilled cheese, my vote is for pepper Jack cheese and sauerkraut on sourdough.

I liked the puzzle, and I was certain that we had a guest writer very early in the write up.

I happened to notice that 31A (Loosen, as laces) for UNTIE, could have been differently clued to switch 2 letters and produce UNITE. The altered 28D and 29D would then be the very clueable BIEN and ATMS.

Also, 38D ISLANDER could be clued as “Confession of one who makes false statements”.

TTrimble 12:54 PM  

@Moderator 11:46 AM
Clearly it was an honest mistake. (There are two names given at the bottom; I had gone by the "Posted by", and thought the other was the same name when I looked earlier.) August it is. Apologies to August. And also to Roo if he saw the message before it was erased.

(What I had said earlier, but the message was deleted) if you pronounce "ef" but with rounded lips, that's pretty close to the pronunciation of OEUF.

Teedmn 1:07 PM  

I did a bit of head-scratching here. When I finished this puzzle, it seemed very familiar, like a theme that had just been done. Is it just me?

And when reading the write-up, I recognized immediately August's upbeat style but I had to go to Rex's write-up for January 4th to confirm that August missed the first Monday of the month. Yes indeed, he did.

What's going on? Either the world is crazy or it is me. But with the Stumper losing it's Stumpiness, I think it's the world.

I went with the A students today for 30D and had to run the Greek alphabet to confirm that IOTAS were not zeTAS. And knowing only one thing about REDDIT, I had AMA in there first (ask me anything) before I had to sub SUB.

I had to laugh; when reading the clue for 33D about DAMP towels, my peripheral vision caught the Hilton in the clue for 34D and I thought wow, whoever accused the NYT of using product placement in the crosswords must be right if they're cluing towels using Hilton. Har.

Martha Kimes, congratulations on the NYTimes debut.

tea73 1:24 PM  

I thought crosswordese was words that appear frequently in crosswords, but much less often in real life, like ALOE, or ERN, or even OREO. I have been to a SUBREDDIT or two in my day and as others have said, first half is the theme and second half is a huge platform and unlike say, Tik Tok, appeals to a wide variety of ages. It's useful if you want to talk about a specific topic.

Maybe MCRIB shouldn't have appeared with the other sandwiches, or maybe that's just a reminder if you are going to buy sandwiches you should get them in a DELI. My favorite is roast beef on rye with Russian dressing, lettuce and tomato.

Be on the lookout for STEAM which my old high school is promoting as Science, Technology, Art and Math. As an architect I approve, but I was underimpressed when they were showing off what they considered STEAM projects.
@RooMonster it's pronounced ERF except without the R. That schwa sound.

A moderator 1:29 PM  

@TTrimble - I assumed it was unintended on everyone’s part. We were alerted initially and it has been basically a non-issue until today. I just wanted to alert people who don’t ever get deleted why they had comments deleted. I will also alert Rex to the tag issue.

JD 1:39 PM  

@The Joker, It's a big thing.

GILL I. 1:40 PM  

@Nancy....Because of your love of Bob Dylan and your urging me to listen to his lyrics, I changed my mind about him. I hope you do the same for Charles Ives and that you won't forget him any time soon.
My brother was the executive editor of the Charles Ives Society at Peer-Southern. His dissertation was on Ives' works but sadly, Paul, left us before he could finish. Anyway, since I always wanted to be my brother, if he said something was good, it was. Ives symphonies had a huge influence on contemporary composers, arranger and musicians. His church music is some of his best. You might want to have a little listen to "Three Places in New England."
Hope you might remember him now. ;-)

Lewis 1:43 PM  

Someone yesterday was curious as to how far in advance the puzzles were set, and @Z said he thought the constructors got the puzzle about a week in advance, and I seconded that, because that's how it worked with my puzzles, but I thought it might have been recently changed and made longer, so I checked with Jeff Chen, who said that indeed, it is now two weeks. So there you go.

RooMonster 1:44 PM  

I didn't see your (rant? correction? diss? calling me a butthead? {😁}) but I believe you presented it without venom. At least, judging by your nature I've seen from here. So, apology accepted. 😂 Har.
And thanks, sort of, for the OUEF pronunciation. "Ef" with rounded lips, har. I'll just keep pronouncing it "weef". 😁

@The Clerk 10:15
Har! I was thinking the same thing, but forgot to say it. The cone doesn't melt, may get a bit soggy.

STEM - Stress Tension Emergency Message

RooMonster McRib Me! Guy (well, a few years ago, anyway)

Mars 1:50 PM  

I don't think "subreddit" is crosswordese. I hear people say it and type it all the time.

Anonymous 2:32 PM  

I'm not sure August understands what "crosswordese" is.

Granny the Great 2:39 PM  

I don't think Rex did the write up

sanfranman59 2:44 PM  

Easy-Medium NYT Monday (about 10% below my 6-month Monday median solve time) ... I don't know if this is intentional on Will's part, but this is seven straight Mondays constructed (or co-constructed) by a woman and nine of the last eleven. It's also another in a recent spate of NYT debut constructors and another who made her first appearance in my solving database within the past year or so with a USA Today or the Universal puzzle.

I found the puzzle to be a very smooth and solid Monday. I didn't pick up on the theme while solving, but that's not at all unusual for me with a puzzle that I'm solving as quickly as I did this one. It's a fine Monday theme. DIWALI {6D: Hindu festival of lights} seems beyond Crossword 101 level to this solver, but it's not completely unfamiliar to me and was recognizable with a few crosses. I see nothing at all wrong with putting some knotty answers in what should be easy puzzles as long as they're fairly crossed. As usual, my monolingualism cost me a second or two with OEUF {39D: Egg: Fr.}. I know the word from solving tens of thousands of crossword puzzles over the years, but sometimes still need some help with it and often just skip over such clues in easy puzzles.

As a baseball fanatic, it's going to be a while yet before I accept any clue for ASTRO {12D: Member of a major-league team with a name that's out of this world?} other than some variation on "Cheating, low-life baseball scumbag".

Anonymous 2:48 PM  

@Tim Aurthur:
So there's a McRib-Natick connection!

There are so many amazing things that have come out of the Natick-Framingham Rte. 9 corridor, it would take days to enumerate them all.

jberg 2:59 PM  

I used to place students in internships in London, and would go over once a semester for a supervisory visit. On one of those trips I was going to visit the National Gallery in some free time, got off my bus at Trafalgar Square, and was amazed to see the square chock full of Anglo-Indians, dressed in Indian costume mostly, with Ken Livingstone giving a speech of welcome. It turned out to be a Diwali celebration; that was the first time I'd heard of that, but the occasion was sufficiently memorable for it to stick. One sees the term more often these days.

So I got DELI from the crosses, never read the clue, and never thought to think that there ought to be a theme, until I came here. Now that I know, it seems unfair that 9-letter entries get to be themers while the 8-letter ones are rejected for their length -- so I'm going to go make myself an ANT sandwich on FLAX SEED crackers. Yum!

Actually, when I red the clue, "Source of healthful fat and fiber," I had the FL already, and was really hoping the answer would be FLAmingo.

I thought ISLANDERS crossing SEA was a nice touch, by the way.

Frantic Sloth 3:07 PM  

@GILL 140pm The first time Mrs. Sloth and I were driving on I95 north from NYC to my then residence in CT, she saw a sign and shouted "Charles Ives Museum?! Whaaat??!!" Long story short, she's a huuuge fan, (at that point in our relationship I hadn't heard of him) and when I read her your post today, she yelled "Charles Ives Society?!" and got excited all over again. Thank you and Paul for sharing - it made her day.

@A moderator Never mind. I have my answer. 😉

Nigel Pottle 3:15 PM  

Nice puzzle. Finished in 7+. No big issues. And like everyone else I’m asking how in heavens name is subreddit crosswordese. That is crazy-making.

Anonymous 3:26 PM  

Actually, when I red the clue, "Source of healthful fat and fiber," I had the FL already, and was really hoping the answer would be FLAmingo.

someone has been Vulcan mind melding with Hiaasen and his FL-man tales.

GILL I. 3:55 PM  

Oh, @Frantic...how that warms my heart. Paul was also the director of the Mannes Camerata and I'm betting he and Mrs. Sloth would've hit it off famously....My brother and Michael Tilson Thomas were friends and I'm pretty sure Paul got Michael to admire Ives work. Sadly, Ives wasn't much appreciate when he was alive (like so many great artists) but he sure is now. Even two of my idols (Mahler and Igor Stravinsky) have "sung" his praises....... :-)

Z 4:01 PM  

My extended family includes two transgender people and getting name and pronouns right really does matter to them. It is absolutely the least one can do to honor their existence. It is a paradoxical thing where it is simultaneously not a big deal (and they will say as much) and the biggest deal in the world.

Best grilled cheese? Quesadilla with whatever cheese and tasty leftovers might be in the fridge. The last one I made had some left over calabacitas that were maybe just a little too spicy (aka - “perfect”) joining some sharp cheddar.

SUBREDDIT “crosswordese” comment - I assume August had a brain fart. I don’t know how long this page will last unless it is improved, but it is a decent explainer/list.

sanfranman59 4:07 PM  

@burtonkd & @Z ... Quite literally, I knew we had a guest reviewer as soon as I read "THEME: Deli-ghtful" and then confirmed it with "I liked this one overall".

@nancy (12:02pm) ... since burtonkd hasn't responded to your post, I'll take a stab and guess that they were referring to our discussion the other day about quintessential American music, though my memory is that you were wondering about songs that more or less require an American singer to be properly interpreted. I'm regret to say that I don't know enough about Ives' vocal music oeuvre to comment further.

anon 4:27 PM  

Respect for Arthur Bryant’s, but your conclusion is just so, so wrong.

Nancy 4:46 PM  

@GILL (1:40) -- I have no opinion to "change" about Ives because I've never heard him and therefore have no opinion at all. But I promise to listen to "Three Places in New England" before the day is out.

Barbara S. 4:51 PM  

Terribly late to the posting party again today (Zoom is taking over my life – aargh!), so I’ll just say a few silly things and go away.

I’m back to intolerable boasting: this puzzle was a PR for me, a nice lift after my dismal failure yesterday.

Hey, I wonder if “Jane Eyre” is Martha Kimes’s favorite book. There’s a JE section in the center bottom, with EYRE above her nasty aunt, Mrs. REED. Crossing them both is FIRE, which is a major plot point at the end of the novel. And ISLANDER might refer to Mr. Rochester’s wife, who’s from Jamaica. Coincidence? Maybe, but I like to think not. However, if anyone can see literary references where they don’t exist, it is I!

Here's another memorable MIA.

I have an old Bances cigar box in which I keep odds and sods. I don't know about the quality of the cigars but the boxes are durable -- this one dates back to the '70s.

@Anoa Bob (12:10 PM)
The resident glaciologist says that some TUNDRA is frozen seasonally, some falls into the category of permafrost, and that all areas of frozen ground are indeed shrinking in the climate crisis.

Oldactor 5:05 PM  

@A: The clue for WRAPPARTY specifically said "end of filming." Cast parties are after Theatre closings and if it's a Musical, the orchestra is definitely included. Wrap parties include the myriad tech people involved in the making of the film.

pmdm 6:01 PM  

Quite a few comments concerning Charles Ives. He is known for his manner of incorporating musical quotes galore in his pieces, both from the pop world and the classical world. If you don't recognize the quotes, some of the charm (if that's the correct word) of his works diminishes. What would I recommend to a person who wants to be introduced to his music? The Second Symphony (best version might be Bernstein's earlier recording with the NY Philharmonic) will have quotes you recognize. The second and third movements of the Fourth Symphony (the second is an aural presentation of a train ride). The Greg Smith Singers performing his chorale music. (I think made two recordings. The first 1966 recording (that includes General William Booth Enters into Heaven, The Circus March, and Psalm 90 [one of the most amzing works I have ever heard]) is wonderful, it you can find it. And make sure you listen to the organ Variations on America Or the orchestration by William Schuman. Much is osted on You Tube.

Nancy 6:24 PM  

If only the music had been simply dissonant, but not also lugubrious...

If only the music had been simply lugubrious, and not also dissonant...

But, alas, I found the music both dissonant AND lugubrious. Which made it for me:

Music to slit your wrists by. Perhaps perfect for this terrible and depressing moment in American history -- but who wants to feel even more terrible and depressed?

Apologies to all those who love Ives. Especially my good pal @GILL who re-thought Dylan because of me. Musical tastes are so individual and idiosyncratic @GILL. I'm sure I have a very middlebrow ear (to mix my body metaphors) and that it also takes more classical music education than I have acquired to develop an appreciation of this kind of atonal composition. But I'd be curious what other people on the blog who have never before heard any Ives might make of "Three Places in New England".

GILL I. 6:55 PM  

My dear sweet @Nancy.....no apologies necessary. Some people like pizza...I hate it. Music is so subjective and one has to be in the mood. What I most loved about Ives is that he took a chance on music that wasn't popular. P.S. I also hated Picasso and my art teacher almost failed me because I had the guts to say so...
As our friend @bocamp is famous for saying.....high five and peace to all.... ;-)

pabloinnh 7:01 PM  

@Charles Ives stuff-

All the talk about this composer had me wondering if my choral group had sung any of his pieces in the last thirty years, and of course we had, viz. "The Circus Band" which our director liked very much, and which I will only say is "interesting" and his Christmas song titled, appropriately enough " A Christmas Carol", which is simple and lovely.

And that's the end of my Charles Ives knowledge.

Anonymous 8:53 PM  

What does "talk a blue streak?" mean. Some googling gave the definition "talk fast" or even "curse a lot", but why is there a question mark if the intended meaning is literally "CUSS"?

Mark 9:05 PM  

^ All of this.

Z 9:55 PM  

@Anon8:53 - I think “talk a blue streak” just means “fast” and the question mark indicates some sort of play on words, in this case “blue” being a slang term for sexual language, so CUSSing. If you’re finding online support for it just meaning CUSSing that may be a later usage based on “blue” in the phrase being misunderstood. Two dictionaries I found (Merriam-Webster and Cambridge) only have the talk quickly and without stopping definition and no etymology of where it comes from.

Nancy 10:05 PM  

I've never known "talks a blue streak" to mean "talks fast". I've only known it to mean "never shuts up". At least that's what it seems to mean in my neck of the woods.

Anonymous 10:50 PM  

I set a new personal record on this puzzle! "Talk a blue streak" was by far my hardest clue. ELISA, AMNIO, and STOLI were also pretty hard. Also: Reddit has over 300 million users per month, so I'm not sure if it qualifies as crosswordese (although there is probably little overlap in target audience).

Cassieopia 10:06 AM  

Almost set a PR on this one and really liked it! It felt fresh and fun. I'm old and female, but love Reddit, it's the only social media site I use (well, besides occasional forays into commenting on Rex's blog - does that count?) SUBREDDIT is absolutely the term, usually shortened to "subs", and not crosswordese in the least. Reddit's a wild place but I steer clear of the craziness; the train porn, atoptic, and guinea pig subs are about my speed.

Xcentric 10:09 AM  

@Gill - thanks for the reco. Next time I’m in Miami or D.C. I will definitely try those places. As for cooking pork, I agree - low and slow is the way. And you are right - the bread is the key. Man I could go for a Cuban right now :)

kitshef 9:55 AM  

A little more challenge than a typical Monday, which is always welcome.

Favorite sandwich? Hard to say. Either salami and cheese with butter, or PBJ with butter. And thin bread (but not a WRAP).

Hand up for not liking Picasso

spacecraft 10:54 AM  

Okay, you make a meat loaf--a big one. Then you have leftovers. The next day you slice one off, Add [gluten-free] bread and plenty of mayo, a little salt if sodium isn't killing you, and you have THE definitive sandwich.

Easy-peasy to make--unlike today's lunch. This is MONDAY?????? All right, so you can fault me for tech-ignorance on SUBREDDIT, for which I needed every single cross. You can cluck-cluck at me for somehow missing "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch;" trust me, it can be done. Ditto for CARDIB. But DIWALI?? That puppy doesn't even belong in a SATURDAY puzzle! Who not of Indian descent is gonna know THAT one? Oh yeah, and what is a CUBAN sandwich? Or is it CUBA? Or just CUB?

I got it done, but bro-THER! Was it ever misplaced! DOD is AMAL Clooney, for many reasons. People who skip M-W, you might want to take a bite of this one. Birdie, for the triumph points.

Diana, LIW 12:12 PM  

I am in total agreement with @Spacey today. I did finish it, but REDDIT? DIWALI? Where did this stuff come from, and how did they sneak into Monday? A fine puzzle otherwise, but, well, you know...

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Burma Shave 2:06 PM  


It's no SAFER when the PARTY starts,
it's not HALTED, ORA WRAP, OR stopping,
and their MAMAs go BAR and CLUBHOPPING.


rondo 2:17 PM  

Vaguely aware of REDDIT, but SUBREDDIT? C'mon, I only check it out during DIWALI.

First outbuilding = BARN_ONE.

Sorry CARDI B, no way. ELISA D, yeah baby.

Not a SLOG.

Anonymous 2:52 PM  

The first McRib was very good - thus the continuing popularity, plus the lack of any competition for a pork BBQ sandwich nationally.

Moral: change often worsens things. the original Wheaties, ginger snaps and animal crackers were all better than what is found today.

leftcoaster 3:45 PM  

Sandwich theme and fill salted with some tasty bites (except for the “fast-food item” Rex threw into the garbage).

Elsewhere, needed all the crosses for DIWALI, hadn’t heard of ELISA Donovan, and had to attend to the spelling of OEUF.

SLOG, in my opinion, is an apt term for Sunday puzzles. Mondays’, like today’s, can provide a fresh welcome to the week.

leftcoaster 3:51 PM  

Oops, not Rex. Sorry, August. Good review.

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