Fledgling pigeon / MON 1-25-21 / Nickname for Cardinals with the / Old weapon in hand-to-hand combat

Monday, January 25, 2021

Constructor: Kevin Christian and Andrea Carla Michaels

Relative difficulty: Medium (3:01) (normalish M time)

THEME: "YOU'RE FIRED!" (62A: Dreaded cry from a boss ... or a hint to the ends of 18-, 23-, 40- and 53-Across) — familiar phrases where final words (which are nouns) can also be verbs meaning "fired" (as from a job):

Theme answers:
  • GARBAGE CAN (18A: Oscar the Grouch's home)
  • BATTLE AXE (23A: Old weapon in hand-to-hand combat)
  • QUARTERBACK SACK (40A: Result of a football blitz, maybe)
  • ANKLE BOOT (53A: Bit of fashionable footwear)
Word of the Day: SQUAB (33D: Fledgling pigeon) —
ba cushion for a chair or couch
2or plural squab a fledgling birdspecifically a fledgling pigeon about four weeks old
3a short fat person (merriam-webster)
• • •

Not sure I'd run this puzzle in *this* economy, but whatever. Today's big revelation, for me, is definition 1 and 3 in the SQUAB entry (above). Wow. COUCH!? Bizarre. If you clued SQUAB as [Couch] ... would it make a sound? I mean, who would get that? And the "short fat person" just sounds mean. SQUAT or SQUAD is better for a Monday, but this grid is really committed to RED BIRDS, which, uh ... let's just say, not my fav franchise (though Bob Gibson *is* one of my fav players). Just pull everything after RED and refill the grid, IMO. This will help you get rid of not only SQUAB, but also AANDM, a really ugly ampersandwich that has no business being in a grid that has no real thematic pressure on it and should therefore be relatively easy to fill cleanly. The fill on this one is STALER than I'd like, but overall this grid, and it's theme, is very very 20th-century normal. The puzzle is partying like it's 1999. Very straightforward, very consistent, just fine. No zing, but no clank either. It's fine. Thematically, the only part I hesitated on was the BOOT part of ANKLE BOOT, as I had no idea those were inherently "fashionable." Or is "fashionable" just there to get you your cutesy alliteration in the clue? Anyway, I was expecting something more "fashionable"-sounding than a mere BOOT. Still, not much here to cheer or get mad at. It ticks the Monday box. Done.

I always try to do the first three Acrosses in a row on Mondays, and if I can bang them out 1 2 3, I know I'm gonna do well. Today, 1 2 ... not three. Couldn't get ADAPT from just 9A: Become acclimated. Somehow, the clue doesn't suggest ADAPT to me at all. I think more of "change" rather than merely "getting used to," oh well. I tried to run all the crosses off IRAN next, and only got one (1) (!) of them at first pass. I got AMIGA. That's it. I kinda misread 1D: Not give an ___ (be stubborn), with my brain thinking the "an" was going to be part of the answer ... I do not understand this elaborate, clunky fill-in-the-blank clue for something as simple as INCH. And REHAB as a verb, clued very plainly (and with no injury or drug/alcohol frame of reference) really threw me (2D: Give a makeover, informally). "NO CUTS" was easily the toughest, in that it's highly colloquial and childish, neither of which is suggested by the clue (4D: "Hey, don't jump in front of me in the line!"). Had DIS before DIG (5D: Insult). That is a weirdly mid-to-late-week clue on DIG. "MERCY!" was way too quaint for me to get quickly (28D: "Goodness gracious!"). And I honestly couldn't remember if the fledgling bird was SQUIB or SQUAB, and I definitely wrote in SQUIB at first (though I did realize I'd have to check that cross very shortly thereafter, and I did, and so I fixed the error quickly). Two cross-references made things a tad slower today than they might've been as well. But still, as I say, totally normal (i.e. fast) Monday time today. Very average. Everything about this puzzle: average. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:06 AM  

Easy. A solid, smooth, and timely Mon. with some sparkle. Liked it a bunch!

Frantic Sloth 12:50 AM  

@TTrimble 724pm yesterday Exactly. Only wish I had your ability for clear and concise language when trying to offer my opinion(s).

Couldn't unsee DOE SLAPS, and started imagining forest ruminants wearing gloves and ANKLEBOOTS just to be CHIC. (Thanks to @LMS for the "if shoes are 'kicks', then gloves should be 'slaps'" thing several months back)

There's SADIE, lost from yesterdee's puzzle.

Another fundee Mondee courtesy of Kevin and Queen ACME. Yay!


Jeremy 1:17 AM  

I'm pretty sure this puzzle was a direct shot at DJT. And I didn't mind it one bit.

chefwen 1:26 AM  

Like @jae, liked it. Then, again, I always enjoy ACMES and Christian’s puzzles.

Had no issue with REHAB, my brother and sister in law rehabbed a few homes in Chicago. It’s not always about drugs or alcohol.

I really didn’t need to see QUARTER BACK SACK after today’s disappointing Packer loss. Sniff... better luck next year.

Anonymous 2:44 AM  

Not sure if recent events colored my thinking, but this puzzle struck me as having a subtle political vibe. “You’re fired” was Trump’s signature phrase on The Apprentice apparently, and that coupled with Spiro / Agnew (one of two U.S. vice-presidents to resign) seemed pretty timely. Not sure how long in advance puzzles are submitted and accepted, but I imagine this one was scheduled before January 6...

Joe Dipinto 3:33 AM  

Three 1960's record labels intersect in that SW corner:
A&M, Red Bird, and Press.

mkyritsis 4:51 AM  

My only problem was SPIRO, because I was seeking for the second VP to resign, as mentioned. Who was the second one?

Anonymous 5:40 AM  

I wanted to see GB win, too. I don't recall if they SACKed Brady but they had three interceptions. That should have been enough to give them the edge but it only kept the game from being a TB rout. The Pack was just off yesterday.

Anonymous 5:41 AM  

The T was FIRED on November 3.

Conrad 6:08 AM  

@mkyritsis: I, too, learned that someone other than SPIRO AGNEW had resigned the Vice Presidency. The other was John C. Calhoun. From Wikipedia: "As tensions over nullification escalated, South Carolina Senator Robert Y. Hayne was considered less capable than Calhoun to represent South Carolina in the Senate debates, so in late 1832 Hayne resigned to become governor; Calhoun resigned as vice president, and the South Carolina legislature elected Calhoun to fill Hayne's Senate seat. Van Buren had already been elected as Jackson's new vice president, meaning that Calhoun had less than three months left on his term anyway ... During his terms as vice president, Calhoun made a record of 31 tie-breaking votes in the Senate."

Lewis 6:43 AM  

Oh, the puzzle is a sterling Monday – Easy to understand theme, a little bite to keep it interesting, that spark that seems to hop off any puzzle Andrea has a hand in, and a well-designed grid with lots of flow (no isolated islands). A lovely solve overall, and thank you, Kevin and Andrea.

amyyanni 7:16 AM  

If the bird discussion leaves you wanting something more, we just had eaglets born near my neighborhood. This is the 9th year. You can follow them here: @SWFLEagleCam. They're fascinating.

kitshef 7:17 AM  

I wonder which of our co-constructors was responsible for Sexy SADIE appearing in the grid?

Calling YOGA an ‘exercise’ is a heck of a stretch. On a Friday or Saturday, I’d attribute it to deliberate obscurity. On a Monday, I think it means Will knows nothing about YOGA.

Guessed wrong initially on YAk/YAP – what else is new? But when I saw KRESS in there I thought maybe Nancy KRESS had somehow achieved the fame for a Monday puzzle. Not that she doesn’t deserve it – but in the NYT Puzzle ‘science fiction’ seems to begin and end with Star Wars.

Zed 7:27 AM  

Y’all know my feelings about tribute puzzles. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

I have an early morning doctor’s appointment (the other rotator cuff) so solved this the Rye Way. North of 8 minutes which puts this more Wednesday for me. Not sure why because nothing seemed hard while I was going along and I’ve been consistently sub 5:30 on Mondays for awhile now.

@chefwen - From what came over my Twitter feed it sounds like your coach got out-coached and the game was decided on two fourth downs. The stats nerds are pretty adamant that coaches who don’t go for it more often on fourth down are wrong. I guess yesterday is their proof.

My first thought on Rex’s “this economy” comment was the assertion I saw yesterday that some tax plan (Bernie’s maybe) would have Bezos paying $52 billion more in taxes... and Bezos would still be something like $300 billion richer than when the pandemic began. I want to remind you that it was a multi-millionaire whining in this song and progressive taxes are actually very good for everyone.

I’m beginning to wonder if ACME does solo puzzles anymore. Going back, 10 of her last 13 NYTX have been co-authored and I think she also just had one published elsewhere (in the LATX?) with Christian.

@jberg late yesterday - Good luck today. I must admit your “never been in the control room” comment made my retired school admin eye twitch. You couldn’t enlist a couple of suc... er friends to serve as a test class so you could take Zoom out for a test drive? I had my methods class before the internet was the internet and even then the lesson was “always make sure the technology works before the student enters the classroom.”

ChuckD 7:33 AM  

I would have held back publishing this theme during the current record setting Covid unemployment. That said - it’s a fine Monday puzzle - tight themed and well filled. The IRAN - IRON adjacency was a little odd up top and A AND M is bad but I liked BATTLE AXE, RED BIRDS and NO CUTS. Didn’t really know ANKLE BOOT. Consecutive day for a Beatles woman.

Not a joyful puzzle due to the bleak theme - but well constructed.

Karl Grouch 7:38 AM  



J. C. Calhoun, an adamant supporter of slavery from South Carolina, was the first veep to resign in American history; he did so in 1832 in the midst of what is known as the "nullification crisis"  which laid the foundations of Southern Secessionism.

That very same year saw the creation of the "independent" Kingdom of Greece under a bavarian prince's rule serving the interests of the then Great Powers (France, Britain and Russia).

Agnew resigned in 1973 on suspicion of bribery and tax fraud.
He was of Greek descent.

JD 7:49 AM  

Of late, it seems the early week is getting easier and late week more difficult. This mostly filled just going W - E.

Technically, Oscar the Grouch lives in a Trash Can. I know this because my son had a video about Oscar's Trash Can catching on fire while he was barbecuing "shish kablob" and the fire truck had to come to put it out. My son was obsessed the video. Obsessed. Trust me, it's a Trash Can.

No problem with Acclimate, it means adapt.

Squab is a fun word to say. Way back in the day it was a super fancy menu item. It probably sold better as Squab than Baby Pigeon. The couch thing is bizarro though.

Thanks @Conrad. Before this, I'd thought that Spiro (Nattering Nabobs of Negativism) Agnew was the only veep to have resigned.

Joaquin 7:54 AM  

What a great theme to feature while we are still celebrating the departure of the clown who made famous the words YOU'RE FIRED (or, as too many people post, *your* fired).

And, speaking of QUARTERBACK SACKS ... How 'bout those Chiefs!

Hungry Mother 7:59 AM  

Seemed slow, but was faster than usual. I had to alternate acrosses and downs to keep the flow. Nice start to the week.

pabloinnh 8:03 AM  

Nice straightforward Monday stuff with a theme I knew was coming after CAN and AXE, went looking for synonyms, and sho nuff, there they were. I too thought of DJT undergoing said theme and that made me smile.

SQUAB was a gimme, even though it's something I haven't seen or heard in a long time. How does that happen?

MERCY made me think of the late great Red Sox announcer Ned Martin, who used to use it after some extremely exciting or dramatic moment in a big game. the master of understatement was he.

Congrats to Chiefs fans among us. I expect EELY to be clued as "Mahomes" at some point. Hey @Roo, there's that Brady guy again. Sorry.

I wouldn't clue AMIGA as "girlfriend", I would clue it as "girl friend." A "girlfriend" would be a NOVIA.

Very nice Monday indeed. Thanks for the fun guys.

mmorgan 8:07 AM  

In terms of the propitious timing of this puzzle, see comments by ACME and Kevin at XwordInfo.

Anonymous 8:34 AM  

Nice clean Monday. “progressive taxes are actually very good for everyone” said the eminent economist. LOL. OK.

bocamp 8:34 AM  

Thank you, @Kevin & @Andrea for a lively puzzle to kick off the week! :)

Medium solve.

No holdups; steady progress to the end.

Met some wonderful people in Iran ('70)

The five "iron" was my go-to club, from medium fairway shots, to short bump and runs from the apron.

Some critical "quarterback sacks" in the Bucs/G.B. game.

Bless Your "Pea" Pickin' Heart - Tennessee Ernie Ford

@jae 8:22 PM yesterday

Thx, I'll give it a go. It's a week-long project that I take my time with. Reminds me of my first year or so doing the NYT x-word. The Fri. & Sat. puzzles would take ages to complete – and even then, were usually dnf's.

yd pg -3

Peace Tolerance Kindness Togetherness πŸ•Š

Nancy 8:47 AM  

I, too, was thinking that Donald Trump and not SPIRO AGNEW was the intended subject of the puzzle, but that the constructors couldn't find a way to fit the 6-letter Donald into the grid. Then I stopped and remembered the l-o-o-o-n-g waits between submission of a puzzle to the NYT and final publication if accepted -- and I realized that when this puzzle was made, Kevin and Andrea's respective hearts were still in their throats as to whether the country would ever manage to fire him.

What's more, this puzzle would also have been constructed long before Rachel Maddow's book on SPIRO AGNEW came out.

It's a nice, smooth puzzle with no junk and requiring some thinking. Before I had the theme, I had ANKLE and was wondering what bit of ankle garb was "fashionable". Surely not SOCK. Oh, yes, BOOT. I never thought of ANKLE BOOT because mine are far from fashionable. They're just there to keep the snow off my feet and the rest of me in a securely upright position.

Anonymous 8:55 AM  

Thanks puzzle!! I had forgotten that my wife and I lost our jobs due to covid. Now we have to go through the trauma all over again. How about a trigger warning next time.

Grouch 9:01 AM  

How is this puzzle in any way a tribute to anything?! You're trying too hard.

Lewis 9:05 AM  

@kitshef -- "Calling YOGA an ‘exercise’ is a heck of a stretch." I saw what you did there!

RooMonster 9:06 AM  

Hey All !
Nice puz. My brain doesn't go immediately to politics about anything, so I didn't think of this as a dig to Trump. It was just a Getting FIRED puz. That's it. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. So I liked it for what it was. FIRED synonyms. Be like me, don't watch the News! Any of it! Lame-Stream media (har), FOX News, be wonderfully ignorant of anything politico. It'll ease stress in your life.

That public announcement aside, this puz is proof of words morphing into other meanings. I'm sure AXE once upon a time never meant FIRE someone. People say things that sound cool about something, and it sticks. "I got CANned, man." "I got the AXE." "I was SACKed." Heck, you've probably made up a word for something else. Anyone care to share?

Dang. I was trying to avoid saying anything nasty about &%$@# Brady, but you roped me in. Har. All I'm going to say, I'm Not watching the Super Bowl. Not gonna do it. I'll watch a special about the funny commercials after it's over. :-)

Actually had some writeovers, YAk-YAP, DIs-DIG, lOt-TON. Funny, all on @M&A's weejects.

As I was solving, said to myself, "Wow, this seems too easy for a TuesPuz, they should have run this Yesterday." Even though, 1) I woke up knowing it was Monday, and 2) How I went from Knowing it was Monday to thinking it was Tuesday in a short time is a mystery. Anyway, once I finished, I saw the Monday heading, and let out a "Duh".

Now I'm going to go sit on my SQUAB.

One F

Lewis 9:09 AM  

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

1. Like taxis and Julius Caesar, once (6)
2. Pot supporters (7)
3. Place for free spirits (4)(3)
4. Bands popular in the '70s (4)(5)
5. They go wherever the wind blows (5)


Frantic Sloth 9:31 AM  

For some reason, SQUAB always reminds of this scene from Frenzy.

KRMunson 9:42 AM  

Sad about the GB loss here in MKE too.

TTrimble 9:43 AM  

Not a whole lot to say about the puzzle itself; I thought it was a very reasonable construction, and I catch not a speck of dreck. A few notes:

I seem to recall that Fred Flintstone used BATTLE AXE to refer to a harridan (and now looking this up to double-check, I am struck by the number of available synonyms: harpy, fury, virago, nag, scold, tartar [new to me], shrew, termagant [cool word], dragon lady, ... Holy Christ, do we really need so many?! fascinating).

Also I am struck by @JD's forceful denial that GARBAGE CAN is the correct term for Oscar's abode. Now there is no way I can gainsay his precise and vivid memory that it's 'trash can', and a quick consult with Uncle Google does confirm this is what the show writers used, but I could swear that's what I've always called a GARBAGE CAN. For me a trash can could be the office receptable for balled-up sheets of paper, or it might be where food waste goes in the kitchen. The heavy duty metal cylinder for outdoor use was always the garbage can, that the GARBAGE men empty into their trucks. Turns out there's a regional difference (although I think more research is needed). So I'm inclined to give whoever clued that a pass.

Yeah, the YOU'RE FIRED. Trump always had to choose the most dickish and humiliating way to dismiss anyone he thought had crossed his majesty. STABs in the BACK doesn't begin to cover it. Holy Christ am I relieved not to have him as president any more.

Quick question: it's true, isn't it, that when a woman refers to her female friend but not in a romantic or sexual sense, it's often spelled 'girlfriend' (no space)? And the Spanish word for that would be AMIGA?

GILL I. 9:46 AM  

Ooh...I loved this "Just what the Monday doctor ordered" puzzle. YOUR FIRED....Yessss! But then I jump on over to the one and only time I was....[SOB]....It was in Spain. I was hired to be a secretary for the nicest man on this earth. He was the American director for a company called "Kraft Leonesa." It was a division of Kraft foods in Madrid and he was in charge of introducing this product into main-stream Spain (Like that was ever gonna happen because really, what Spaniard was ever going to eat any kind of "American Cheese Slices" when they can go to a tapas bar and eat the best Manchego god invented. Anyway....my main job was to translate Spanish to English so that he could report back to the USofA. My Spanish was just fine but oh Lordy, my written English stank - still does. I did things like write hopping instead of hoping and I always confused my "I before E's" thingie. After about 3 months, he took me aside and told me YOUR FIRED....but in a nice way. I cried; I went to a bar to drink; I called my mom and I got over it.
Oh look....BATTLE AXE. Wasn't nurse Ratchet called that?
A puzzle without a Beatles will never be an ACME. She and Kevin bring some fresh and sassy sparkle.
Now I'm going out to find me some NEMO.

Unknown 9:49 AM  

@ Z 7:27 I actually have no idea what you think about tribute puzzles, but I'm sure the cool kids you have lunch with every day are hip to your predilections. :)

Like others, I appreciated the (not so?) subtle jabs @ our last president.
And running QUARTERBACKSACK across the puz as we enter super bowl frenzy was kind of cool.

The only answer I wasn't crazy about was STALER. Would you say, Hey, this is STALER, or This isn't as fresh? I'm going with (b).

Whatsername 9:52 AM  

Yes OK, this is pretty average but average is good. It reminds me of what I’ve heard a few news people say about the change of White House administrations. Yes it may seem boring but compared to the cast of characters in the YOU’RE FIRED crowd, Boring is good.

Liked the theme a lot. An ANKLE BOOT can be quite CHIC, and QUARTERBACK SACK was certainly timely. ARGO is a superb film which I highly recommend. During the last 30 minutes I was sitting on the edge of my seat, totally enthralled, even though I knew exactly how it was going to end.

@Joaquin: Can you spell R-E-P-E-A-T?? Wow! That’s was the team I’ve been waiting to see all season.

@foxaroni: Are you lurking about today? How ‘bout those Chieeeefs!!!

pmdm 9:52 AM  

Blissfully aware of any political meaning while solving and would remain so were it not for the here at XWordInfo. I guess the timing of the publication of this puzzle demonstrates that timing is everything (at times). For this reason, I did not percieve this puzzle as a (backhanded) tribute puzzle. Regardless, I'm happy.

I think Sharp has voiced thumbs down on some of ACME's previous puzzles. Not being able to criticize this puzzle, it is only average?

Lewis, thank you for your comment yesterday. And Carola (I think), I used to drive between NY and Chicago at least once a year. I think I would have enjoyed playing your game, at least in Pennsylvania. Too much traffic in NJ and too few exits in OH and Indiana. I have to try the game next time I visit my brother in San Diego.

Jess 10:02 AM  

I'm pretty done with the NYT's sloppy treatment of Spanish (and probably other languages). I get it, you're trying to be cute by calling AMIGA a girlfriend, and I had no trouble filling it, but, like, it's such an iffy translation that it makes me feel like the editor doesn't really care.

I had DIS instead of DIG.

The whole puzzle reads as though my mom wrote it. STALER than stale :-)

But, I loved the clue for ACRE.

mathgent 10:07 AM  

A not unpleasant way to fritter away a few minutes. I was going to say it was like eating a snack bag of potato chips, but that would have had some crunch.

Great week for clues. Lewis's choices are all winners.

Zed 10:40 AM  

@unknown 9:49 - I’ve been known to howl at some length about the evils of quote puzzles and tribute puzzles. It’s probably your good fortune that you didn’t know my thoughts. (@others - I’m seeing some comments that seem to suggest that comments aren’t being understood. This isn’t actually a tribute puzzle but it does hit a serendipitous schadenfreude note that’s hard to miss)

@pmdm - I think Sharp has voiced thumbs down on some of ACME's previous puzzles. - I mean, he called Saturday’s constructors something like “the nicest people” and “dear friends” and still spent a fair amount of time being critical.

Carola 10:50 AM  

I thought QUARTERBACK SACK was a terrific grid-spanner; too bad it happened to turn out as a DIG at Green Bay (Hi, @chefwen), causing a STAB in a fan's heart. I liked how all of the theme entries were nouns in the entries but functioned as verbs of "firing."

@JD 7:49 - I agree with you about Oscar's trash CAN. When I saw that it didn't fit, I started to write in Sesame...wait a minute, ran out of room.

Rug Crazy 10:50 AM  

Clue for ON ICE (delayed) is a stretch

Masked and Anonymous 10:59 AM  

Hey -- that there NOCUTS answer was kinda misleadin, considerin what the theme was. Inconsistency. Don't make m&e come down there, Shortzmeister. har

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Foal : mare :: ___ : cow} = CALF.

Kinda/SORTA cute, havin STAB right above BACK, theme-wise.

staff weeject pick: YAP. Better clue, theme-wise: {Back pay??}. Part of the primo weeject stacks, in the NE & SW.

Thanx for gangin up on us, KC & ACME. Well-employed theme.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


Anonymoose 11:02 AM  

I'm going to say something that I dislike when others do it. I feel superior for never having watched The Apprentice. But I've started watching :The Young and the Restless" again. Damn you, covid!

Whatsername 11:13 AM  

@chefwen: I feel your pain. It just wasn’t Green Bay’s day. I was really hoping for a Chiefs-Packers Super Bowl this year too.

@pablo (8:03) “expect EELY to be clued as Mahomes.” He’s sure got the moves. I saw some sportscaster refer to the Super Bowl QB matchup as The GOAT vs. The Kid. But really they shouldn’t disrespect Brady by calling him a kid like that.

@Roo (9:06) Come on over and get on the Chiefs bandwagon! They’re the new America’s Team. Didn’t you see Bernie at Arrowhead? He was spotted all over town.

Frantic Sloth 11:20 AM  

@Rug Crazy 1050am If I had one rankling nit with this puzzle, it was how ONICE was clued. I always think something ONICE is held back or aside, but at the ready. Delayed means late or slowed.

Like others have said, I couldn't miss the undercurrent of schadenfreude (Hi, @Z!) throughout the grid and was the happier for it.

pabloinnh 11:26 AM  


That's a fair point about AMIGA as "girlfriend" between women and the way' it's used now. I actually thought of that after I posted. Nice catch.

Newboy 11:42 AM  

An appropriate follow up for Sunday’s tepid grid as OFL notes. I’m glad the constructors are getting paid and the solves do briefly divert; any xword beats not having one, but more and more I seek alternative approaches to solving. Today it was 1a to 4d then 30a,25d,45a,43d,49a,51d to finish without pause at 73a. Then a quick YOURE FIRED (too soon for that echo!) & its four synonyms. No need to warmup the coffee for that. EGAD one might say?

JD 11:47 AM  

@TTrimble, @Carola explains my experience exactly. Can't quibble though because we Can all agree Oscar would just say, "What a lotta garbage."

I forgot to call out my pet peeve to rave about, the exclamation point of meaninglessness. It's a plot! Holy Moly! An Acre isn't surprising. These things erode my trust in the NYT's "signals."

Example, the all important question mark suggesting a nuanced answer is in store.

Some will think, relax it's a misdirect. But a misdirect should be so clever and headslappingly delightful. Acre! isn't that because it is a plot. Of land. Without the ! it would be a diabolical and delightful little clue. With the ! I have an opportunity to vent my Monday crabbiness.

Ellen S 11:54 AM  

Speaking of partying like it’s 1999, OFL still seems to have a serious grudge against ACME. Goodness Gracious, he didn’t like two of the various definitions of SQUAB (neither used in the puzzle) and as far as I could understand his complaint, that is why SQUAB should not have appeared in the puzzle. MERCY!

Good to see you again, @Andrea. Thanks to you and @Kevin for a nice Monday morning.

Eli 12:04 PM  

why the disdain for the Cardinals, OFL?

Anoa Bob 12:05 PM  

The inner ten-year old emerges:

I'm Popeye the sailor man
[toot toot]
I live in a GARBAGE CAN
{toot toot]
I love to go swimmin'
With bow-legged women
I'm Popeye the sailor man
[toot toot]

The inner ten-year old giggles and returns to his room.

Zed 12:09 PM  

Apropos of nothing, I’m thinking of changing my nom de blog to “Mysterious Zebigsap.”

@Rug Crazy & @Frantic Sloth - O NICE, an ON ICE plaint.

@Anonymoose - {sniff sniff} I’ve never watched either. 🧐 What I really want to know is how soap operas and reality tv are actually different?*

*Just because some take everything seriously, de gustibus and all that.

Malsdemare 12:13 PM  

This was smooth as silk and it was ever so pleasing to pay "tribute" to the worst president in our history. I didn't watch the game last night but when I got back from my hike, Mr Mals was in mourning on the SQUAB. Was there a QUARTERBACKSACK or did the pack just play poorly? I was afraid to ask him.

@Carola from yesterday, I agree with you about the barren stretches on that long drive, though there is that always entertaining Fortyfive Glyde thingee in PA. Is that one community or two? Can you imagine telling someone, "Yes, I live in Fortyfive"? Until Covid, I made the drive to Philly at least once a year. I get my first vaccine shot on the 5th. Just gotta get through one more month.

I read the notes at xwordinfo. I have got to read those more often; I love this blog, but more and more, I'm skimming Rex, if I read him at all. Chen's take seems more in line with mine.

@Z, yes, test the tech before you have to use it. How many conference presentations were destroyed because something didn't work? Computers, Onternet connections, projectors, videos; it was embarrassing.

old timer 1:21 PM  

As fast as amy Monday I can remember.

Good to learn about John C Calhoun's tactical resignation.

And folks, if I never hear about That Man (who used to be) In the White House, I will be a happy man. In fact the worst thing about the impeachment redux is I will have to pay attention to him again.

Master Melvin 1:23 PM  

Really?! You're objecting to a perfectly good word (SQUAB) because your dictionary says it has two other meanings that nobody has ever heard of?! Really?

Frantic Sloth 1:33 PM  

@Z 1209pm Please don't! Firstly, because it's easier for all of us - and we're who count(s)in this scenario! Secondly, because I would be compelled to follow suit, I'd be stuck with either Capacious Bum or Fussy Smear - neither of which is terribly flattering!
O NICE - more off-topic comments! Tsk! πŸ˜‰

Gratuitous exclamation points of meaninglessness provided with love to the kid.

ghthree 1:44 PM  

Today's puzzle gave me an opportunity to post my favorite bit Latin (mis)translation:
DUM SPIRO SPERO => "Nixon's vice president was stupid as a bird."
I'm pretty sure this is original with me. At least, it came to me independently.
Has anybody seen it in print before?

By sheer coincidence, my wife Jane and I just received the following collection of Latin tags from our daughter Kathe:

One evening, all Latin expressions gathered at the Taverna to discuss Quid Pro Quo’s phenomenal rise in popularity thanks to impeachment hearings in the United States.

A wave of resentment ran through Ad Hoc, Pro Bono, Vice Versa, Et Cetera etc., who considered themselves frontrunners in Latinism sweepstakes before Quid Pro Quo had sprinted ahead in recent weeks.

“Well, let’s get real,” said Bona Fide, who was always truthful. “Quid Pro Quo is being promoted by no less a person than the U.S President, even though Pro Bono is available for free.”

Hearing this, Pro Bono, who was selfless and always unquestioningly volunteering herself, asked Prima Facie if this was indeed the case.

“On the face of it, yes,” confirmed Prima Facie. “Although the President likes Ad Hoc, Quid Pro Quo is his current favorite.”

“What about me? I am always bringing up the rear… though I am used so often,” complained Et Cetera.

“At least you and your comrades Nota Bene and Post Script are made of two words, unlike that useless Addendum,” consoled Alter Ego, looking over his shoulder at his shadow.

“Quid Pro Quo is made of three words!” pointed out Carpe Diem, groaning, “I should have seized the moment when the poet Horace wrote me into his Odes!”

“Actually, we should have all gone to war!” yelled Casus Belli, who was always in a confrontational mood.

“We would have backed you!” shouted twins De Facto and De Jure.

“Hear! Hear!” roared Vox Populi.

Et Cetera was comforted, but he knew he could never become the favorite; he’d always be an afterthought.

“Well, fair is foul and foul is fair,” explained Vice Versa, an opportunist who flip-flopped often.

“Indeed, I'm sorry about our fate. If y’all want I am happy to take the blame,” offered the always-apologetic Mea Culpa.

“Let’s just stay rooted to the ground. Our day will come!” advised Terra Firma.

“No, let’s keep on rolling and rolling and” pressed Ad Infinitum.

“The bird walked to the toy store,” said Non Sequitur.

Alma Mater, who was nourishing her children Alumnus and Alumna, watched the agitated Latinisms with Sotto Voce, who was usually quiet and spoke only occasionally in a low voice.

“Too bad everyone thinks the President has flipped for Quid Pro Quo,” she whispered. “No one believes me but I’ve seen him canoodling with that sexy wench In Flagrante Delicto.”

Suddenly they heard someone chuckling in the shadows. It was Non Compos Mentis, giggling with the knowledge that she, not In Flagrante Delicto, was the President’s first love.

I'm pretty sure she didn't make them up, but we both loved them and thought them worth passing along.

Thanks Kathe, and be well everybody.

Anonymous 2:28 PM  

@corad Thanks for the history, I was really curious who the other VP was to resign. Well I think we're gonna get a new record for most tie breaking votes by a VP this term!

Joe Dipinto 2:33 PM  

Very clever, @ghthree! (But it's all moot now that the president is Persona Non Grata.)

RooMonster 2:48 PM  

@Malsdemare 12:13
Well, I'd rather save I was from Fortyfive,PA than Intercourse, PA. πŸ˜‹

@ghthree 1:44
That was great! Got a good chuckle out of it.

RooMonster Non Quid Guy

jberg 3:17 PM  

No time to read all the comments -- @Z, thanks for the good wishes. I definitely should have arranged a trial run, but other pressures diverted me, and I never got around to it. I'll let you all know the results.

@Nancy, I got your email, will send you a few later today. I thought you could print them out from their website without logging in, but I usually am logged in, so maybe I just made thewrong assumption.

pabloinnh 3:42 PM  

@whatsername-Mahomes is more fun to watch than any QB ever, probably, I think. TB12 just doesn't seem to enjoy himself very much, says the guy living deep in the heart of Patriots Nation.

OTOH, we'll see if young Mr. Hamomes gets to 10 Super Bowls. If he does, good for him.

@ghthree--Now that was a tour de force. What? Oh never mind. That was an magnum opus.

Carpe Canem. resident dogcatcher.

A 4:54 PM  

Happy International Education Day (observed)!

Found that out researching The HAGUE. I always thought that an odd name for a city. Encyclopaedia Britannica says: “The city’s name recalls the hunting lodge of the counts of Holland, which was located in a woodland area called Haghe, or ‘hedge’ (whence ’s-Gravenhage, ‘the counts’ private enclosure).“ I s’pose that explains it, but I remain doubtful. No doubt that it’s a great place to visit, though, from all I read.

Searching for info on the Hague Conventions (why are they not the The Hague Conventions?) led to sites about international law and UNESCO. The UN proclaimed January 24 as International Education Day, in celebration of the role of education for peace and development. The theme this year is “Recover and Revitalize Education for the COVID-19 Generation.” Really, is that already a generation? GenX, Y, and Z and now GenCOV? GenC19? Can we just not?

Happy to see our old Maine Coon cat, BEEB, in the puzzle. Great cat, Beeb. Independent, but with a canine streak - very affectionate and would deign to fetch rolled-up aluminum foil balls. He was also fearless - our neighbors’ big Chow got out and ran over to harass our cats. Beeb charged him - ran him right out of our yard and across the street, past the owner who was on his way over. Later, after he developed kidney failure, we gave him subcutaneous fluids for the last year of his life. He was a good sport about it, and that year he caught his first and only mouse.

Thanks to our constructors for all that, and for reminding us that YOU’RE FIRED can mean something positive. (Tough to watch poor Josh Allen get SACKed. Hope nobody gets FIRED at the Bills; they had a great run this year!)

orangeblossomspecial 5:36 PM  

I love STL. I remember as a kid in SEMO listening to Harry Karay on KMOX radio describing the games featuring Stan Musial, Red Schoendienst and all the Cards.

JD 5:57 PM  

@A, Thanks for doing the leg work on that info! Interesting.

Zed 6:17 PM  

@Frantic Sloth - Granted, Capacious Bum sounds a little more like a stage name for Cardi B or Megan Thee Stallion, but did you notice what they foisted on poor @JD or @RΓΌ Monster? @Lewis does okay with Lepid Rustler and @Masked and Anonymous is aptly Mysterious Anthripod, but I can’t help but wonder if @LMS goes with her birth name or married name. I, at least, get a meta name since Zebigsap is, indeed, Mysterious. Of course, what can we expect from a paper that calls itself the alliterative “Decatur Dictator?” I have to assume that the editor was also a D&D Dungeon Master.

@Ellen S & @Master Melvin - I didn’t read that section the way you both did. I read it more as “SQUAB’s best clue is ‘young pigeon’ which isn’t as Monday friendly as squad or squat.” The riff on the other two definitions was more “I went looking for my WOTD definition and look what I found.”

BTW - That earlier link is to a squib, not a SQUAB.

A 6:19 PM  

Came back to show off my avatar. Thanks, for the nudge, @GILL I.!

@JD You're welcome!

Unknown 6:24 PM  

Another lyric:
I'm Popeye the sailor man
(toot toot)
I live in a GARBAGE CAN
(root toot)
I eat all the worms
And spit out the germs
I'm Popeye the sailor man
(toot toot)

GILL I. 6:32 PM  

YAy.....A got an Avatar. And she has a cAt named BEEB. :-)

Anonymous 6:37 PM  

To ghthree (1:44): I recall an oped, probably not the NYTimes, attacking Agnew and pointing out the S.C. motto, Dum spiro spero, inspired the choice of the dumbbell. I can't remember the author; it must have been about the time of his resignation. It said nothing about "dumb as a bird"--I don't get the bird part.

To A (4:54): interesting on the Hague, which I've never visited. For some reason I thought it meant "threshing floor." In Italian, isn't it "Aia," which means threshing floor (perhaps a coincidence)?

To orangeblossomspecial (5:36): to me, too, Stan Musial was a god. One baseball game was on TV each week, Sat. afternoon, covered by Dizzy Dean and Peewee Reese. It was not announced in advance, but I kept hoping for the Cardinals, and they kept going with the damyankees.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

JC66 6:42 PM  


Great avatar.

RooMonster 7:48 PM  

Huh? Not sure what my "alternate name" thingie is.
And that video! Am I supposed to be turned on, or repulsed? Good gravy, if that passes for good music, just shoot me now.


JD 8:45 PM  

@Z I haven't a jealous bone in my body. On the other hand, my spleen can be a real green-eyed monster.

@Frantic, Did a spit take on that little bird! The two grapes put it over the top.

Nancy 9:13 PM  


It's nice you have an avatar.
But pictures only go so far
When otherwise the page is bare --
I don't see any info there!

I must admit that I'm perplexed
By "Profiles" that are lacking text.
Your page, dear "A"' is white as snow --
An avatar with zilch below,

An avatar that's fine with me
(Although I know not what it be!)
But maybe by the end of day,
You'll tell us who you are, dear "A"!

GILL I. 10:07 PM  

OH MY GOD....@Nancy deserves the Oscar poet award. Make me laugh, girl!

Monty Boy 10:57 PM  

I liked this one a lot. Trump and fired just go together. Glad for Nov3.

I just realized that the entire Republican ticket for 1972 resigned. I recently reread a couple of papers I have from the day of Nixon's resignation. It's interesting to see how news papers have change over nearly 50 years.

I once hypothesized that whole changing of VP, the resignation of POTUS was part of sinister plot to get a president who was not elected (Ford). I may be influenced by tall the conspiracy stuff going on now?

One last Nixon dig: A co-worker in 1968 had a bumper sticker that read DICK NIXON BEFORE NIXON DICKS YOU.

albatross shell 12:44 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
spacecraft 10:27 AM  

I hate to be a "nattering nabob of negativism," but the ampersandwich in this one really ruined it. The theme was OK, very Monday, but the fill...I wouldn't say it turned this grid into a GARBAGECAN, but it could have used a shower. NO CUTS seems contrived and convoluted. No cutting! That's so much better--but of course won't fit here. Hand up for DIs. I come from an ERA in which DIG meant the exact opposite of insult! My only writeover. Bogey.

Diana, LIW 10:37 AM  

'm in the dis before DIG club, too.

But sooo in the I Love Monday club - especially after last week, and yesterday's "worst puzzle ever."

Must retrieve coffee from microwave.

Lady Di

Burma Shave 11:52 AM  


"If YOU'REFIRED up, I'd DYE to snog",
she barked, "AND I M NOISY in the SACK."


rondo 12:00 PM  

Another hand up for DIs.
How about either Olivia or Miryam d'ABO for yeah baby?
Yeah @spacey, I got the SPIRO AGNEW reference.
STALER than many Mondays, but OK.

thefogman 1:49 PM  

I knew it would be a good one when I saw Andrea Carla Michaels was the co-constructor. I was not disappointed. I wonder if YOUREFIRED was directed at Trump - who is now residing in the GARBAGECAN of history.

leftcoaster 3:16 PM  

Neat, smooth, and a good start for the WEEK.

The slick SPIRO AGNEW might seem a statesman compared to the orangeman who doesn’t want to go away

wcutler 9:57 PM  

This Trump tribute puzzle or not appeared in my paper on March 1, the same day I read in my newspaper that Trump is planning to run in 2024, with a lot of support behind him. So while generally political things don't upset me in puzzles, nor do most references to disgraced people, coming across YOURFIRED soured my mood today more than ever.

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