Hamlet's dilemma / MON 3-29-21 / Theatergoer's break / Equestrian outfit

Monday, March 29, 2021

Constructor: Lynn Lempel

Relative difficulty: Easy (2:35)

THEME: TO BE OR NOT TO BE (36A: Hamlet's dilemma ... with a phonetic hint for the last words of 17- and 29-Across and the first words of 45- and 63-Across) — so ... the first two themers end with single-B and double-B words that rhyme, and then the third and fourth themers do the same thing, only with first words ... I think that's it:

Theme answers:
  • RIDING HABIT (17A: Equestrian outfit)
  • BRER RABBIT (29A: Children's character who lives in a briar patch)
  • TREBLE CLEF (45A: "E-G-B-D-F" musical symbol)
  • PEBBLE BEACH (63A: California golf resort that has hosted six U.S. Opens)
Word of the Day: THIN MINT (2D: Popular Girl Scout cookie) —
Thin, mint-flavored chocolate wafers dipped in a chocolatey coating. One of five vegan offered Girl Scout cookies. [...] Thin Mints are the most popular Girl Scout Cookies, with Samoas/Caramel deLites the second most popular. About 50 million boxes of Thin Mints were sold in 2013 compared with 38 million boxes of Samoas. Thin Mints averages about 32 cookies per box and Samoas 15 cookies per box.  (wikipedia)
• • •

Really didn't get what the theme was going for, either during the solve or immediately after. It's a bit fussy and loose. A single-B word and a double-B word and then ... again, a single-B word and a double-B word. But ... why? The words have nothing else to do with each other. They're very different words. It's not like one is just like the other except for an extra "B." Totally different words, they just happen to ... rhyme? But the Hamlet phrase doesn't really have anything in it about rhyme, so ... I don't exactly get it. Thankfully I tore through this so quickly that I didn't have time to feel much of anything about this puzzle, one way or the other. It was weird, thematically, which I guess is better than dull or corny. But it doesn't really snap, and so doesn't feel as clever as it seems to think it is. Also, the fill is quite dull. Very competent, in a late-20th-century sort of way, but lots and lots and lots of repeaters and nothing much of interest. It filled a Monday slot and didn't contain any real gunk. That is what I have to say about this puzzle.

By far the "hardest" part of the grid (relatively speaking) was the NW, where lots of Girl Scout cookies seemed like they could qualify as "popular," and WADE INTO had a clue that didn't strongly suggest its answer (3D: Undertake with gusto). WADE INTO always seems non-gusto-y to me, no matter what crossword clues tell me. DIVE INTO seems gusto-y. Wading is literally slow walking. Plodding. So WADE INTO did not seem intuitive from its clue. Also, REHEAR is easily the ugliest thing in the grid, so why (why, again?) would you decide to put a tricksy little clue on it, thereby calling attention to the ugliest thing in the grid? (6D: Try, try again?). I guess the "try" there refers to legal cases, but the clue isn't even good because try, try again implies multiple tries, whereas REHEAR only indicates the one ... the one retry. APLOMB is an unusualish word, so that might've caused a wee slow-down (11D: Self-assurance). ENTR'ACTE was mildly unexpected as well (41D: Theatergoer's break), so maybe there was a little puzzle pushback there, but 2:35 is the fastest I've done a Monday in a long, long time, so if there's anything close to genuine Trouble in this grid, I'm not seeing it. That's all, folks. Until tomorrow ... 

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 12:04 AM  

Great. Now I wanna take a bath, what with SOAK and TUB and even WADEINTO.

Speaking of, I think that WADEINTO describes a more cautious approach to whatever, not "undertake with gusto". diVEINTO would be more fitting. When the water is cold, one WADEs INTO it. Otherwise, jumping or diving in is the "gusto" method.

Not a huge fan of this theme and not just because it took me forever to grok. Kept looking at the BITs and then TRE and...PEB??? What the what?
Eventually saw the 2B/not 2B in HABIT/RABBIT and TREBLE/PEBBLE, but then I was bothered by their placement. The 2B words should have been first. The way it is laid out here is "NOT TO BE OR TO BE".
Maybe a minor quibble, but not to the anal retentive. Arguing for a friend.

Otherwise, it was a wonderful offering for the Mondee and I imagined someone taking up the puzzle for the first time and realizing "hey - I can do this!", which is ideal IMHO.

Lucky to be off to my first vax later today - a weirdly mixed sensation of trepidation, gratitude, and excitement! ๐Ÿ‘


Joaquin 12:22 AM  

When Rex pans a Lynn Lampel puzzle it means the puzzle really struck out. And that was my reaction exactly.

The theme was one that no one would WADE INTO with gusto and so many clues were either bogus or too easy even for a Monday.

Oh well. Even Babe Ruth struck out more than 1000 times.

Z 12:39 AM  

@Frantic Sloth - No no no. Trust me on this, if the water is cold you dive into it. Lake Michigan seems to spend the entire summer at something near 68° and if you try to WADE INTO it you will never swim.

Right with everyone else on that “gusto” clue.

“TO BE OR NOT TO BE” - Hamlet
“To do, is to be." - Socrates
"To be, is to do." - Sartre
"Do-be-do-be-do." - Sinatra

Why do two themers have a word starting with B? So two theme answers have one B and two have three B’s. I feel like I’m missing something.

egsforbreakfast 12:45 AM  

Seems pretty odd that Rex didn’t even think about the revealer (TOBEORNOTTOBE) enough to understand how it relates to the themers. The quirk being pointed to by Lynn Lempel is that “abit” is indistinguishable from “abbit” in the respective words “habit” and “rabbit”. Similarly, “eble” and “ebble” in “treble” and “pebble” sound the same. Thus, one might ask, 2 B or not 2 B?

He then completely misses why REHEAR is actually a pretty spot-on clue for “Try, try again”.

And these two misfires pretty much sum up his evaluation other than that he was really fast. So was I, but I still understood and appreciated the very solid Monday cluing.

Frantic Sloth 1:15 AM  

@Z 1239am Next time I swim in Lake Michigan, I'll give your method a go. But for where I swim (mostly pools) I've gone both ways (stop that!) and when it's cold, I definitely prefer to WADEINTO the water, one step at a time. So there.
As far as the 1B/3B themers, I also felt like I wasn't in on the "joke". Were we supposed to count only some of the Bs? And if so, which Bs? The double Bs? And yes, why are there 3rd Bs?? As far as I'm concerned they don't B-long and muck up everything. I hate the 3rd Bs.

albatross shell 1:53 AM  

I know it is only a not too exciting Monday puzzle but I do think Rex is not putting much thought into his criticism. He asks why the rhyme. Does it matter? I would say yes. Because the words rhyme one would think the number of B's in each word would be the same. But you cannot tell. You have to know or you have to ask: Two B or not two B (that is one B)? The question comes up more often with Z words. And like the B words here the answer is without rhyme or reason even if they do rhyme. Try dessert and desert for that matter. There is no reason the revealer should rhyme. It asks the question: One B or two about the words that are pronounced the same but are spelled differently.

And try (that is one time), try again (that's a second time). Yes the popular phrase is used to mean try multiple times but the clue only actually says try a second time. Certainly retry to rehear is an appropriate progression for a crossword clue. Ugly? Maybe just unhandsome.

The rest of Rex's review seems pretty spot on. Very solid. Not a lot of flash. Easy.

Mr. Alarm 1:57 AM  

Thank you, again Rex, for clearing up for me confusion about (a) this puzzle’s theme (sigh); (b) the WADE INTO clue (how about ‘best way to approach troubled waters’, since gusto implies diving into?); (c) Never would have figured the trial connection for the inanely clued REHEAR; and (d) just for not assuming every puzzle solver is well-heeled for even “easy”Monday puzzles.

Clue: “What Rex doesn’t get enough of in his blog comments”

albatross shell 2:14 AM  

Adding irrelevencies, I think. Or maybe missing that the revealer clearly directs you to which words you shoud be paying attention to, and they are not the words beginning with B. Why would you be counting anything in them at all? Or am I missing something?

Loren Muse Smith 3:32 AM  

Not a lot of time, but I had to stop by to say I remember a while back when we all argued about the meaning of WADE INTO. For me, there’s a sense of Oh, well, let’s sort this (unpleasant) thing out.

“Pandemic” before ENTRACTE. I jest.

Misread the clue for 31D as “’Poutine’ that one might get stuck in.’” Sign me up. I saw poutine on tv recently and will not rest until I try some. It looks decadently delicious.

I tried doing y’all a solid by looking into the history of the expression NAKED as a jaybird, but I didn’t get too far. That JAY might refer

. . .to a jailbird walking to the showers after being stripped of clothes
. . .a country bumpkin (do they run around nekkid?)
. . .a young bird who’s been shoved out of the nest by an evil sibling

I just gave up.

Rex? The clue for REHEAR? The tiny little prefix stretch was totally worth it. Maybe some poutine would cheer you up.

jae 4:05 AM  

Easy-medium only because I had to hunt down a typo. The theme is subtle but clever. @albatross shell got it. Liked it. Jeff at Xwordinfo gave it POW.

Jeremy Mercer 4:16 AM  

xwordinfo does a great job of showing how rare these combinations are, Lynn evokes pairs that are rejected - double/bubble and ruble/rubble - which really emphasises the tightness of the theme...

Total Novice 5:35 AM  

Like some others on here, I was a bit befuddled by the theme / themers relation. I think part of the trouble (for me) is that "phonetic" doesn't seem to describe the relation -- I would have said "orthographic hint,” since to my eyes the “thematic interest” of the pairs has to do with spelling (1 B or 2 Bs)!

But I'm not a linguist, so I have no idea whether "phonetic" is or is not technically correct, or even whether "orthographic" would serve as a technically adequate (better) replacement... any chance someone can weigh in? (Not to mention, “orthographic” would probably be thought to be inadmissible as a clue-word…?

@egsforbreakfast, I think the oversight re: the pairing of 'abit/abbit' and 'eble/ebble' is understandable given that most readers are trained to home in on SYLLABLES (thanks, scansion!), and the syllables in these word pairings are distinct (consider also the number of syllables in question - e.g. I hear two syllables in both 'tre-ble' and 'peb-ble', so to think about an 'eble/ebble' relation feels completely bizarre).

Conrad 5:36 AM  

Did the puzzle. Read Rex. Read the comments. The highlight was @LMS: "'Pandemic' before ENTRACTE." That alone is worth the price of admission.

smalltowndoc 6:23 AM  

The theme brought to mind complaints from non-English speakers trying to learn ESL (there’s an abbr you see a lot in xwords). Namely, trying to learn how to spell English words is challenging because there’s often multiple ways to spell the same sound: "You mean you spell PEBBLE with two Bs, but TREBLE only has one B?" Anyway, that’s my interpretation of the theme.

Anonymous 6:29 AM  

I know we’re all sick of football olรฉs but at least they’re not outright racist: https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2020/07/racism-university-mississippi-nickname-ole-miss-confederate-history-elma-meeks/

Hungry Mother 6:46 AM  

Easy as the day warrants. I pretty much entered answers as fast as I could type, but my time wasn’t blazingly quick.

Lewis 6:48 AM  

“The pro. Smooth as silk, technically superb. Her puzzle shimmering with wit and lit by the mischievous twinkle in her eye.”

This written before I fill in the first square, fully confident that it will apply because remarkably, LL’s puzzle always do.

And yes, this did. As soon as I filled in HABIT and RABBIT, there was that twinkle. The difficulty level pitch-perfect for Monday. Not a bump in the road. And a theme so tight that not even Jeff Chen could come up with another pair as elegant (Hi, @Jeremy Mercer!).

And thus, another beauty from LL’s bean. Solid, strong, something to savor, always. That’s saying something, as Lynn approaches her 100th NYT offering. Lynn, you do CrossWorld proud. Thank you once again!

Lewis 6:55 AM  

Had to smile at TUB, echoing yesterday's Vaselina.

Michiganman 7:05 AM  

@Z. Many years ago my son and I went to Holland for the Tunnel Park 10K and camped at Holland State Park. The onshore winds were strong and I think our tent would have blown away if we weren't in it (sand is a poor tent stake anchor). After the run we had a wonderful swim in the large waves of Lake Michigan. WADing INTO those big waves would have been impossible. What fun!

Go Blue! BTW. I'm normally a Spartan fan but root for the Wolverines when Sparty isn't involved. And it's always a good thing when a Michigan team beats a Florida team.

SouthsideJohnny 7:16 AM  

I also got tricked by the legal tie-in to the RE-HEAR clue - tough one for a Monday. Also, I had never heard of ENTRACTE (my auto-incorrect doesn’t recognize it either) - is that a word that is pretty commonly used ?

The clue for SCAMPI seems a little off (redundantly telling us that it is a seafood dish when the name of the recipe contains the word “shrimp”). What are you going to do - garnish a Kentucky Hot Brown with shrimp and claim that it is not a seafood dish ? I don’t know what you would call such a monstrosity (well, perhaps just “gross”).

Isn’t it just a touch of a downer to start a Monday off with a theme built around a guy contemplating kicking his own bucket ?

Anonymous 7:16 AM  

Not many double letters outside of the themers. KENNELS, BEEN, ROO.

Qpwoei 7:30 AM  


kitshef 7:30 AM  

Not a fan of the theme. Feels like it should have been words or phrases that can use one B or two. Like the one L Lama or two L Llama.

Theme answers could switch it up:
Greenery fed to a crustacean: lobster bibb
Singer Michael loses his shirt at the track: Bublรฉ bath
Presentation by singing lawyers: ABA concert

mmorgan 7:55 AM  

LL is terrific as always. I really don’t get Rex’s problem with the theme — to me, it’s clean and clear and clever. Same with REHEAR — nifty. I do agree with the nits on WADE INTO, but I can live with that in such a sparkly puzzle.

RooMonster 8:01 AM  

Hey All !
Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well...
Oh wait, wrong line. :-)

That is the question, whether tis nobler. TO BE OR NOT TO BE. To Love or not to Love. To complain about the 3rd B, or not to complain about the 3rd B.

That 3rd B also caught me thinking something else was happening with the theme. I thought it was a one B word, then a two B word, or vice-versa, since I got PEBBLEBEACH first, then BRERRABBIT. But the other two didn't have a 3rd B. Odd. Turns out it's just wacky English "how the hell do you spell it" stuff. Aha.

To ROO or not to ROO. I think I'll ROO. ๐Ÿ˜

Two writeovers today (always try for none on Mon-Tue), bLOB-GLOB (saw the B's aplenty, so warranted mistake, that), ARABIn-ARABIA (no matter ARABIn was missing it's other A. ๐Ÿ™„)

Some nice cluing in this puz. Light dreck. Lots of B's throughout. Good MonPuz.

A HOT BLT? Yes, please.

One F

pabloinnh 8:21 AM  

I'm with the group that thinks WADEINTO indicates some unpleasantness, not gusto. And if water is cold enough that when I WADEINTO it it takes a lot of getting used to, I wade right out again. No thanks.

Connected only tangentially to the theme, but the B dilemma made me think of the seven-year old girl in the family I lived with in Spain, who was learning to spell, and frequently asked about a word, "B de burro or V de vaca", since they make the same sound, and is one of the few spelling mistakes you can make in Spanish, which is wonderfully phonetic.

Otherwise so easy that I didn't give it a lot of thought, except to think it was solid enough and smooth as a smelt. Thanks for a nice Mondecito, LL, sorry it didn't get a Lotta Love.

RyanSem 8:21 AM  

I got most of the theme clues on my first pass without issue save for the RIDINGHABIT. Never heard of that one before. Made REHEAR very difficult.

ENTRACTE looked made-up to me.

My biggest issue is I've never heard of the ARABIA peninsula. I've heard of the ArabiaN peninsula. So I didn't know if they were going for ARABIA or ARABIC. And the fact that ENTRACTE was impossible for me made that corner just very murky.

Rest of the puzzle was very easy.

Anonymous 8:21 AM  

I'm surprised that the term "Ole Miss" (as a nickname for the University of Mississippi) at 37D with its racist history and connotations can still make it into the puzzle, considering how many other words with unsavory connotations are screened out from NY Times puzzles. See https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/27/us/ole-miss-university-mississippi-name-controversy/index.html

Unknown 8:25 AM  

@egs 12;45

Perfect explanation of theme. Thank you.

Z 8:27 AM  

@egs & @Albie - Totally different words, they just happen to ... rhyme? Seems to me Rex got the whole point just fine. And, lo, Chen who loves letter-based themes gives it POW while over here amongst the “give me wordplay or give me death” crowd a giant “meh” issues forth. As for the extra B words - if the themers were just HABIT, RABBIT, TREBLE, and PEBBLE there’d be no issue. But no, now we also have Brer and Beach bouncing about, beating up our pattern seeking souls demanding an explanation for the extra B’s.

I do agree that Rex missed the subtle cleverness of the REHEAR clue.

@LMS - Do not get American poutine, at not least for your first sample. Get some authentic Quรฉbรฉcois poutine as your baseline then judge all latter examples against that standard.

@Michiganman - Despite the sand Ottawa Beach campground is always booked. Mostly campers and RVs, though, not too many tents for exactly the reason you discovered. We used to live very close to Tunnel Park. So close that our pre-school sons rode their Big Wheels to the beach.

@Frantic Sloth - Point of Order. There’s no such thing as a “cold pool.” ๐Ÿ˜‡ Lake Michigan before Memorial Day will redefine “cold” for you. And yet one swims and claims to be “invigorated.”

@Southside Johnny - Try ENTR’ ACTE. It’s one of your favorites, a French phrase.

Soozey 8:30 AM  

Do or do not. There is no try. (Yoda)

Z 8:35 AM  

I think @Roo has the perfect theme explanation, Turns out it's just wacky English "how the hell do you spell it" stuff. Aha. Which, if you know me, also explains why this is one of my least favorite Lempel puzzles ever. Which, of course, is an example of praising with faint damnation.

TJS 8:56 AM  


pabloinnh 8:57 AM  

@Roo-forgot to mention that this one has a ROO and a PABLO, which automatically makes it a great puzzle.

Sank 9:00 AM  

A couple clues were not great.
- The peninsula in question is the Arabian Peninsula, I've never heard it called the Arabia Peninsula. Could be wrong.
- Waders lack gusto, if they had gusto they'd be diving in or jumping in...

I really like Try Try Again to get to Rehear.

I had trouble spelling Brerrabbit. Have never come across it in written form, only know it from the now cancelled Disney movie.

TTrimble 9:02 AM  

Should be very fast for solvers with a modicum of experience. (I knocked off about 25% from my typical recent Monday times.) Seems fine as an intro for tyros to NYTXW puzzles. No dreck; competently constructed, even if unexciting to someone like Rex.

I like @kitshef's suggestion.

Steven 9:09 AM  

"De do do do, de-da da da" - Sting

TJS 9:12 AM  

Hey Everybody, @egs nailed the theme thing. And @Southside, another classic.

Barbara S. 9:13 AM  

Hey, great to see @ROO, @PABLO and @A in this puzzle. Oh, wait a minute – there are As in every puzzle. Sorry, @A, got carried away!

Like others, I was a bit muddled by this theme for the simple reason that I got distracted by the non-theme Bs within the themers, BRER and BEACH. But once I laid those to rest as beside the point, it all seemed fine.

I have to say that my crossword instincts were AWOL for this one. A Monday puzzle and I kept making mistakes all over the place: draft for ON TAP, DINt for DING, bLOB for GLOB, REpEAt for REHEAR and Hip for HOT, to name just the ones that spring to mind – I think there were others. None of these errors lasted long because crosses tipped me off almost immediately, but sheesh. I liked the mini-music (non)theme with TREBLE CLEF, ALTO, LENTO and STOP as clued to The Supremes (and shouldn't "the" have been capitalized in the clue for 53A? Or am I taking nit-picking to a new level?).

I agree with @RyanSem and @Sank about ARABIAn Peninsula. And don't golfers yell FORE after all drives? Or is that only in cartoons?

This is a quotation from EASTERINE KIRE, born Mar. 29, 1959.

“Siedze looked down at the boy's head cupped in her hands now. She felt a bittersweet pang in her heart. To know love now when it was so near departure! She would be wise. She would take the sweetness and let the bitterness be. She had never been loved like this before. She didn't mean there had been no family love, that had been there, always there, but to be loved by another person, an outsider, who could surely see your flaws—someone who loved you, simply, for yourself! It was so wondrous, and she allowed the glow of that love to linger a little longer.”
(From Son of the Thundercloud)

Aaron Riccio 9:17 AM  

The revealer clunkily reads as "Two B or not two B." I struggle to parse that as what the puzzle wants, "Two B's or one B?"

I also don't understand how we can look at APR, ASA, PCT, GRE, CPAS, ESE, and YDS and go, "Oh, yeah, this is a perfectly constructed puzzle." I get that Monday has to make some limiting concessions, and the actual observation of HABIT/RABBIT and TREBLE/PEBBLE has value, but must we twist ourselves up in a knot to applaud the stretches taken to justify the fill?

Cliff 9:21 AM  

As others have noted, the logic of the theme is that the rhyming words ought to be spelled the same (with respect to the B's) but they present the speller with the quandary, "two B's or one?" Of course this points to the inconsistencies in English phonetic spelling. The rule is a pair of consonants signify that the preceding vowel is short, and a single consonant signifies the preceding vowel is long.

Actually, I think this may be one of the more consistent rules of spelling in English. But here, with habit and treble, the rule is violated. I could not think of words with consonants other than B that violate this rule (??).

RooMonster 9:22 AM  

LOL! "automatically makes it a great puzzle". Got a good chuckle out of that!

How about something with Babel and babble? Could use Tower of Babel, and also Tower of babble, if you clue the latter as "Talkative pyramid?"

RooMonster Blabber Guy

Anonymoose 9:23 AM  

I'll pass on the pearl clutching over "OLE Miss".

bocamp 9:24 AM  

Thank you @Lynn for a fine Mon. puz to start of the solving week! :)

Med solve.

Only holdup was at the RIDINGHABIT/REHEAR cross.

Never got a chance to play RUGBY. We had a team at the Secondary school where I worked, so I did get a chance to toss the ball around on occasion. ๐Ÿ‰

Eleanor RiGBY ~ Paul McCartney

yd pg -4

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Amity ~ Kindness to all ๐Ÿ•Š

Anonymous 9:24 AM  

Ole Miss racist?? give me a break. so easily offended are we?

burtonkd 9:34 AM  

Could someone elucidate me on LMS's Pandemic before ENTRACTE? I'm probably overthinking it, but don't get it.

Poutine best consumed at 15 below from the greasiest joint you can find after a day of ice fishing.

Diving right into frigid water is my wife's style. I'm a raised in the south, why am I doing this? wader who eventually gives in and dives.

@Z I see your point about Rex's point for the 3 letter answer yesterday.

Never thought about it before that nuns and the horsey set both wear habits.

Barbara S. 9:36 AM  

@Cliff (9:21)

SALAD and BALLAD (To ell or not to ell?)

Lewis 9:43 AM  

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

1. What doesn't go a long. way? (3)
2. Pop around a lot? (4)(2)(4)(3)
3. A little bit of everything? (4)
4. Out of the picture, say (6)(3)
5. What's hard about a melon? (4)


Son Volt 9:47 AM  

Nice puzzle - well executed theme and clean fill for the most part. The quick solve times reflect the smoothness. As others have noted - REHEAR is close to a perfect clue. I thought there was a previous discussion here regarding WADE INTO? M-W does include “to set to work or attack with determination or vigor” as a definition. APLOMB is a a neat word.

Not very sparkly - but an enjoyable Monday solve.

Anonymous 9:48 AM  

Clever theme. Enjoyed it.

Nancy 9:53 AM  

This puzzle only presents a DILEMMA (or should I say DILLEMA?) for people whose NEMESIS (or should I say NEMMISIS) is SPELLING (or should I say SPELING?)

What a DUMB theme. Or should I say DUM? It's an insult to every NYT puzzle solver who's graduated fifth grade.

When I saw RIDING HABIT, I thought that the theme would be "Things that are hard to break." I was looking for some sort of PLASTIC in the 2nd themer and some sort of BRONCO in the 3rd. And that, I think, would have been a lot better. More interesting. And certainly less insulting to everyone's intelligence.

kitshef 9:57 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 10:03 AM  

I was gleefully anticipating staking claim to REpEAt, but @Barbara S. 9:13 got there first. I still think it's the more universal, and thus logical, answer.

Frantic Sloth 10:11 AM  

@Z 827am Outdoor pools are often very cold in Spring. Lake Michigan would not only redefine my idea of "cold", it would redefine my idea of "crazy" for anyone who jumps into it before Memorial Day, you freak. ๐Ÿ˜˜

@Barbara S 913am Golfers yell "FORE" as a warning to other golfers who might be in the "line of fire", so to speak - either those who are playing ahead (on the same hole) or on either side (adjoining holes). At least that's always been my understanding.

@Cliff 921am Not the best examples (see @Barbara S 936am for better), but how about camel/ trammel or quintuple/supple?

Just Asking 10:15 AM  

41down: Clue is Theatergoer's break - the Pandemic has caused a break in peoples ability to go to the theater.

A 10:16 AM  

Happy Piano Day!

aplomb (n.)
"assurance springing from confidence in oneself," 1828, from French aplomb "self-possession," literally "perpendicularity" (16c.), from phrase ร  plomb "poised upright, balanced," literally "on the plumb line," from Latin plumbum "(the metal) lead" (see plumb (n.)), of which the weight at the end of the line was made.

A piano with APLOMB


I like variety, and this puzzle has it - 6 different sports, literature, opera, film, ballet, food, wildlife - and we get bonus nods to ROO and PABLO! No problems with this one.

Must STOP. Off to get 2nd Moderna vax this morning - took @Roo’s advice to drink more water!

Thanks, Ms. Lympel - it was a treat!

Cliff 10:20 AM  

@Barbara S, Yep, SALAD violates the rule for sure. Thank you. There are probably more rule breakers out there. But I'm thinking that "Two B or not Two B" (the inconsistent B) is the most prevalent spelling dilemma with regard to this rule.

albatross shell 10:21 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
sixtyni yogini 10:32 AM  

Exactly, Rex.
Smooth, easy but just an okay puzz.
Easy or difficult is not a measure of a good puzzle imho. ๐Ÿค”
Yesterday, (Sunday’s) was very easy ๐Ÿช‚ but also very clever, tight, and informative. ๐Ÿ’ฅ
Today’s was very easy... ๐Ÿ˜œ
Cheers crossworders!

Karl Grouch 10:34 AM  

People with a riding habit should really kick it

Carola 10:45 AM  

I'm with those who thought this was very clever. After HABIT, RABBIT, and the reveal, I knew what to look for in the second pair. Hats off to Lynn Lempel for finding these rhyming pairs and the grid-fitting, reverse-the-order phrases.

While hanging out with the minority, I'll WADE IN to defend that clue, too. For me, the phrase conjures up not tentative steps into, say, a frigid Lake Michigan but a roll-up-your-sleeves (and pant legs) determined entry into some messy, sticky situation.

albatross shell 10:54 AM  

Well I am glad @Roo said it in a way you understood. How you missed it in either @egs or my post or even Rex's blog, I do not understand. Rex, by how he wrote the relevant part of the 2 word phrases in red or green, indicates he got the spelling part. It was his suggestion that the revealer should rhyme that showed a lack of thought.

I am glad you found a good excuse to dismiss the puzzle. You could have called a tribute puzzle to the inconsistencies of English spelling instead. Praising with faint damnation does sparkle. I know you are proud of your great lake, but I am not sure it is really colder than the NE ocean or the spring-fed lakes around here.

Now if I could convince @frantic to stop dragging those extra B's behind him. It would make his wading in or diving easier.

By the way I usually wade in until the water hits the top of my bathing suit and then dive. Or self-dunk

Doubble B 10:56 AM  

@Burtonkd, @LMS meant that theater goers are taking a “break” from going to the theater during the PANDEMIC. Man, @Nancy, I don’t think that Lynn Lempel is insulting our intelligence but pointing out that there are inconsistencies in the use of a double or single B in words. @Z, forget about “before Memorial Day”...our family went to Charlevoix during July 4th...only the kids could stand to swim in the lake and my husband and I were still youngsters.

ATC sez 10:59 AM  

A 'blip' is best described as an unexpected, minor and typically temporary deviation from a general trend. It is never used in Air Traffic Control. The correct terminology is either "return" or "target". Sorry to get so deep into the weeds....just bugs an old ATC type

Anonymous 11:17 AM  

I ignored the theme clues and everything fell into place with a few aha moments

albatross shell 11:20 AM  

I mentioned z-words earlier. I did not think they needed to be listed.
Lizard blizzard wizard gizzard.
Rebel also rhymes with pebble treble.

GILL I. 11:25 AM  

Well...I do like Shakespeare and I always wonder if I should B or not. Do I WADE in? Yep. Especially when I'm at the beaches of Mexico.
Lynn is worth her salt and all the AIOLI you can make from scratch and slather on your home-made French fries. Poutine be damned. They put gravy on them. Hi @Loren....I'm wearing green gauchos just for you.
Don't you just love FORE crossing PEBBLE BEACH? It's quite lovely but only the rich can play.
And look....ROO is Crossing BRER.
I just might go and dig out my old RIDING HABIT and have myself some fun.

mathgent 11:56 AM  

I've twitted Nancy recently saying that since she has become a constructor she hasn't rapped puzzles that I think are weak. After today's comment (9:53), which I completely agree with, I take it all back.

I finished the puzzle in a flash and all I noticed was that one word had one B and the other had two. I went to Jeff Chen and learned that the words rhymed and that these pairs are quite rare. That seems pretty esoteric. And totally meh.

@Z (8:35). Great post.

@Joaquin (12:22). I hadn't heard that line about Babe Ruth striking out 1000 times for some time. Great one. Thanks for reminding me. It reminds me about a math class I was teaching when Babe Ruth held the career home run record at 714. That number was quite well known at that time. I had stood for about 25 years. I was doing a problem on the board and 714 came up in a calculation. I pointed to it and asked the class if they knew its significance. A moment or two passed, blank faces all around. Then a Japanese kid who had come over here recently raised his hand. "Number home runs Baby Ruth hit."

The well known record that still stands 56.

Masked and Anonymous 11:59 AM  

Day-um. Did M&A ever over-think this moo-cow MonPuz theme mcguffin…

1. RIDING has no B's. HABIT has one B.
2. BRER has one B. RABBIT has two B's and rhymes with HABIT.
3. TREBLE has one B. CLEF has no B's.
4. PEBBLE has two B's and rhymes with TREBLE, BEACH has one B.
Ergo … M&A bbrainpan bbegan to bburst slightly, droolin down the sides like on that Rudi Giuliani dude.

staff weeject pick: ESE. Better clue: {See in a distorted way??}. I'm tellin yah, Shortzmeister, there's gold in them thar double-?-marker clues. honrable mention to TUB. [Features yer most-basic TU, B or not TU, B decision.]

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {What the Supremes said to do "in the name of love"} = STOP. The clue was a big hit, at our house.
On the other side of the moo'n: there was one ?-marker clue today: {Try, try again?} = REHEAR. That pup drew a lotta primo attention from the @RPmeister and the Comment Gallery. Two hear or not two hear? To har or not to har?

M&A thinks that Z's Placebo & Tentacle Pub should now definitely feature a BBLT sandwich. Pick yer own BB's.

Thanx for the confusin fun, Ms. Lempel darlin. Good job, makin a dal memorable MonPuz.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


old timer 12:05 PM  

As easy a Monday as I've ever seen, at least for those of us who usually end up solving the Friday and Saturday puzzles.

I see a lot of silly comments today. Let's start with OLE Miss. Despite the claims of the author of the moniker, Ole miss was seldom used by slaves to refer to the master's wife. She, being married, was maybe an ole Missus, but more often the mistress. A maiden aunt might the an Ole miss, but more likely "Ole Miss June" or whatever her first name was. Just like in Jane Austen novels, "Miss", referring to a family member, was always followed by a given name. Moreover, "Ole" is not an example of Black English, like saying He done...". It is Southern English used by blacks and whites. Listen to the song, "Good Ole Boys" and you will get it.

WADE INTO is exactly what someone hired to solve a problem does, if, for instance, a new CEO at a troubled company does. He does not dive into the company's problems, which would be silly. He WADES INTO the problems, one or two at a time. Similarly, if you have ever swum in the Pacific Ocean, you WADE INTO the surf, until it is time maybe to dive through a breaking wave.

By the way, much as I loved the BRER RABBIT tales as a child, they are irredeemably racist. I resisted the temptation to read them to my own children, because so much of the humor makes fun of the colored folks and their ways of speech.

And I am damn sorry about the THIN MINTS of today. They simply don't taste as good as they did 25 years ago, when one of my daughters was a Girl Scout. Maybe my tastes have changed, but I think the recipe has, too.

albatross shell 12:14 PM  

There are complaints every time this is used. Please stop.
A peninsula of south-western Asia, largely desert, lying between the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf and bounded on the north by Jordan and Iraq. The original homeland of the Arabs and the historic centre of Islam, it comprises the states of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates

Look it up.

Old actor 12:39 PM  

@ATC: I don't doubt your definition of "blip", but as an ex-radar operator with a Nike Missile unit, blip was what we called our target.

Sharon AK 12:49 PM  

@z Enjoyed your riff on "to be.. and laughed out loud when I got to the final line"do be do..."

@Eggsforbreakfast Perfect explan of how the theme worked ( which Illm surprised people puzzled over and I cannot understand Nancy's vitriol later)ation and I enjoyed seeing from your comment how perfect the clue for rehearing was. Hadn't thought much about. It seemed Ok to me. But you made me realize that the first "try was trying the case and rehearing it awas trying it again.

Teedmn 1:04 PM  

So why does HABIT have one B and RABBIT has two, same with TREBLE and PEBBLE? That's the enjoyable part of this theme, with its Shakespearean revealer. And because the clue specifies "first words" and "last words", I think mentioning the B's in Br'er and Beach are out of line.

That said, this puzzle was not as delightful as most Lempel works. As I opened up xwordinfo.com for Jeff Chen's write-up, I confidently knew this would not be POW...oops. Now what?

I mis-read the 42A clue as ____ver[s]a and had to write over vicE there but no problems due to the crosses.

Thanks, Lynn.

Unknown 1:10 PM  

The difference in tone between Rex's reviews and the NYT Wordplay column is striking. While the Wordplay columnist was not a huge fan of today's theme, there was nothing snarky or gratuitous in the write-up. With Rex, to the extent that these blogs give us a window into his true personality (and I'm still not sure if he's just trolling us), I feel sorry for him and his squinchy outlook on life.

Anonymous 1:34 PM  

while fiction, I expect that Burdick did his homework: http://www.script-o-rama.com/movie_scripts/f/fail-safe-script-transcript-fonda.html uses 'blip' 3 times referring to radar returns.

Photomatte 1:41 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous 1:50 PM  

Mathgent and Joaquin,

Not sur I agree with the Babe Ruth analogy. There's a reason Ruthian is a legit adjective. He was a talents so staggering, and a presence so great it all but defied belief. Lempelian is never going to enter the language. Nor should it. She's a first-class constructor surely. But she aint one of the first five in the crossword Hall of Fame. Ruth on the other hand was in the first class of the Baseball hall of Fame. And rightly so.
Sure, Ruth struck out thirteen hundred times. But never more than 93 in a season. And that particular season he led the league in home runs, RBIs, runs scored, on base percentage, slugging percentage ( and of course, therefore, necessarily OPS). His batting average? .393. Yes. A tick under the magical .400. That was only good for second in the AL. So he very narrowly missed the Triple crown, and this isn't even his best season. Or second best. Or third.
Talking about Ruth's strikeouts, even to point out that even the greatest aren't prefect, is a perversion.

This what you call wading into a debate.

JC66 2:17 PM  

@Anon 1:50

You proved. @Mathgent's & @Joaquin's point; if Ruth (maybe the greatest hitter of all time) could strike out 1000 times, LL surely could have a sub-par performance occasionally.

Anonymous 2:36 PM  

No. Theirs is a fatally flawed analogy. Lyn Lempel is so different in degree relative to Ruth that she is in fact different in kind.
I understand fully what they meant. Indeed I acknowledged in my penultimate sentence. It is you who aren't keeping up with the plot.

Barbara S. 2:37 PM  

@kitshef (9:57)
January 1, 2019, puzzle by Gary Cee, 1A clue: First victim of sibling rivalry. Is that the right puzzle?

Z 2:38 PM  

What @Albatross Shell wrote with fewer words: If you are traveling you go to ARABIA, not ARABIAn. ARABIA is a peninsula.

@Sharon AK - I’m glad you liked it but I can’t take credit for it. The only reason I didn’t bother to give a source is because it’s just out there with various variations.
Speaking of - I do like the Sting addition to the canon.

@M&A - Definitely Bologna Bacon Lettuce and Tomato. Bouillabaisse Bacon Lettuce and Tomato seems a little fishy. Braunschweiger Bacon Lettuce and Tomato might work with the right AIOLI. I know @chefbea would prefer Beets Bacon Lettuce and Tomato. I wonder if any pig farmers are out there working on Bubblegum flavored bacon.

@Doubble B - Yah, Charlevoix is farther north and that matters. Swimming in Lake Superior will make Lake Michigan seem down right tropical.

@Frantic Swimmer - If your pool possessing friends don’t own good heat retaining covers you need to have a word with them.

@Shell 10:54 - I’m a little confused. Rex didn’t say the revealer should rhyme, he says it says nothing about rhyming even though quite obviously what makes the whole thing work is that the words need to rhyme.

Anonymous 2:55 PM  

@Z (and, via, @Doubble B):

well... if global warming continues at its pace, and further noting that the polar,and near-polar, latitudes are warming *faster* than anywhere else. may be tropical in your kids' lifetimes. oh, wait... that's all Fake News from Left Wing Scientists, right?

Z 2:57 PM  

@Barbara S & @kitshef - I’m wondering, too. There’s the famous May 19, 2012 Patrick Berry puzzle, but I can’t figure out what the infamous beaner puzzle has to do with A’s in puzzles.

Anoa Bob 3:02 PM  

The central reveal would only work for me if it was said by an ESL (English as a Second Language) student whose first language was Japanese. As I recall there is no distinction between singular and plural nouns in Japanese so the "two B" or "not two B" would phonetically be something our student might mistakenly say about the spelling of the themers. Or maybe by a child just learning English who hasn't yet grasped the difference between singular vs plural nouns.

So the phonetic version "two B"/"not two B" as the reveal strikes me as awkward at best and nonsensical at worst in capturing that one B in HABIT & TREBLE and the two Bs in RABBIT & PEBBLE thingie and without a solid reveal to tie them all together, there's nothing else that the theme entries at 17, 29, 45 & 63 Across have in common. It just didn't work for me.

Barbara S. 3:26 PM  

OK, I've done some further research on the vexed ARABIA question and my conclusion is that in a sense we're all right and so is the puzzle. ARABIA is a peninsular region that comprises the countries Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen. So, yes, Oman and Yemen are in ARABIA (per the clue). The confusion arises because whenever the peninsula is named in texts or marked on maps, it's always called the Arabian Peninsula. Bottom line: ARABIA is on the Arabian Peninsula. (Don't tell me I've never said anything profound!)

kitshef 3:32 PM  

Barbara S. 2:37 - So sorry!! That should read January 9, 2019. I'm going to go back and delete my earlier post to prevent confusion.

albatross shell 5:01 PM  

@Z@Barbara S.
The wordiness was the quote from a dictionary. ARABIA is is the Arabian Peninsula is the short version.

Yes. You are right about Rex said and he is wrong about that. The revealer has no need to explain the rhyming. The revealer is as clued a phonetic hint about 4 of the words. This points you to the B sound. Two pairs of words with identical B sounds. You make the obvious observation they rhyme. You notice the question: two B or nor two B? Do I spell it with a double B or a single B? Is that top much to figure out? The rhyme in conjuction with the question pull it all together. Whether you like it or not as a theme,it pulls together quite nicely. Remember your own maxim: If to make sense a theme needs to be interpreted in a particular way to make sense, then that is how it should be interpreted. Take note @Anoa also. This is not that difficult to work out. They are not totally different words, they rhyme.

Z 5:14 PM  

Is the NYTX getting easier?
Personally, I think this suffers from two problems, small sample size and the inherent difficulty of comparing eras. But I’m sure many here will agree with at least some of the conclusions.

@albatross shell - Hmmm... Are we really disagreeing? Does a revealer have to reveal everything about the theme or just give a hint to it? Is it better, more elegant, if a revealer does wrap itself around all the elements of the theme? Does the fact that @Roo got at the essential reason I didn’t particularly love this puzzle better than Rex or I did have any bearing on why others might like it? It sounds to me like we basically agree on the puzzle-related answers (no, yes, no).

sasses 6:11 PM  

Enjoyed this simple straight forward puzzle which worked without a single trivial name in pop or sports culture.

albatross shell 6:19 PM  

Once the 3B thing got dropped, yes mostly agree. I think part of the problem was To BE OR NOT TO BE is the heart of the puzzle. The theme answers were designed to be revealers for the spelling interpretation of the revealer phrase. The rhymes in the theme words are what reveal the second meaning of the revealer phrase. So I see them intertwined in this reverse way. I think it is not uncommon that the revealer is the initial source of a theme. I do not know if this reverse effect is common. I'll try to notice in the future. My answers to your questions no, sometimes, no.

Anonymous 6:45 PM  

What is the inherent difficulty of comparing eras?
It’s done all the time in all manner of disciplines.
Life expectancy today is x. In 1325 it was y.
The mean income in Pittsburgh in 1897 was this. In 1958 it was that.
The average temperature of Lake Michigan in 290 BC was something. In 2021 it is something else.
In other words, there is nothing inherently difficult about comparing data from different eras.

kitshef 7:00 PM  

@Z 5:14. Shame they did not do any puzzles from 2010, which in my extremely subjective view from solving puzzles from the archives, was the hardest year of puzzles. But it's really hard to know how much of that is genuine, how much is due to PPP that was topical then but is obscure now, and how much is due to editing familiarity. Will gets into clue ruts where he overuses certain types of clues, and if you are solving every day you get used to the style. But jump forward ten years and his ruts will be different.

Oddly, though, the PPP from the 1990s is easier for me, on the whole, than from 2010. I think that's a result of the explosion of content providers. Going from 3 TV networks to hundreds and adding in streaming services and blogs etc.

Barbara S. 7:01 PM  

@kitshef (3:32 PM)
Hah! That was a tour de force and it was fun. Thanks for pointing it out.

albatross shell 7:41 PM  

Yes, mostly agree since we dropped the 3B thing. I think the problem is that the heart and origin of the puzzle is TO BE OR NOT TO BE, the revealer. The theme answers are designed to reveal the second interpretation of the revealer, that is the single B or double B spelling question. The words rhyme to make this second definition apparent. That is how they intertwine. It is a reversal of the norm. I think it is not uncommon for a revealer phrase to be a source for a theme. I am not sure if this reversal effect is common. Let's call it themes to watch out for. My answers to your questions: no, not necessarily, no.

Anoa Bob 8:30 PM  

albatross @5:01 PM, as instructed, I did take note of your lengthy explanation. After all, I have a tee shirt that says "If I'm talking, you should be taking notes", so I guess I should extend that same policy to others.

As I said in the opening sentence of my @3:02 PM post, my issue was not with the "one part has two Bs and one part has one B" nature of the theme entries. My issue was with the reveal, the part of the puzzle that is supposed to tie the theme entries together and bring them under a single concept.

First off, TO BE OR NOT TO BE says nothing about rhyming. That's left to the solver to work out, or not. The reveal is of no help or relevance in that regard.

And its "phonetic hint" version, "two B or not two B", sounds more like some sort of minimalist pidgin than anything close to standard English. And even if we accept it in its ESL-student-mistake-sounding form, how does "not two B" translate into "spelled with one B"? "Not two B" could just as well mean "spelled with no B or three (or four and so on) B", right?

So my take on that that big, grid-spanning reveal and its clue was that it simply didn't work. It sounded like there was some kind of semantic disconnect or nonsense going on there to me. Maybe one playing up the rhyming stuff would have worked better. Any joy for me in this puzz was NOT TO BE.

Z 9:29 PM  

@kitshef - PPP is definitely one factor. If the testing group is 30-somethings then I’m not surprised that what was appearing in the puzzles from pre-school through high school is not necessarily easy for them. That’s 25-33% of every puzzle. I think there’s also a discernible change to short fill. Thanks to bloggers especially there’s been more attention brought to weird arcana when it appears. For all the Maleska v Shortz era comparisons, lots of Maleska style short fill persisted into the Shortz era. We will on occasion see Rex observe when one of the old crosswordese makes an appearance. M&A may miss the occasional U Thant or ulu appearances, but hardly anyone else does. I think of the absence of trivialities as an improvement in quality, not as making puzzles easier. But if you stop using obscure fill like Attu a side effect may be that puzzles seem easier.

Anonymous 9:42 PM  

@anon 6:45 once again, in your deep seated bodily need to tell Z that he is wrong, you completely missed the point. Your examples are ridiculous and prove that you missed his point entirely.
Try harder. You may have to wait a bit to find a better thing to argue about, because this was a real stretch. Mean income, life expectancy and lake temperature are straight numbers. Comparing 2 crossword puzzles is inherently more difficult than Comparing the Mean income in one year to another.
If you're gonna pick a fight, at least have something not this idiotic as your come back.

Anonymous 9:55 PM  

Anon 9:42,
Huh? Z used the word inherently. He shouldn’t have. I demonstrated that.
If Z or you want to say that some things are harder to compare across eras feel free. But his assertion was wron. I demonstrated it, that you didn’t quite get it is a pity, but hardly a cogent rejoinder.

Anonymous 10:54 PM  


hard? context. without it, 'comparing' is meaningless. not any previous mouse. but I couldn't pass up a watermelon.

Nigel Pottle 11:30 PM  

ENTR’ACTE in my opinion is much more often used to mean a musical or other interlude within or between acts of a play rather than as an intermission. Both definitions are included in dictionary offerings but I would much prefer this had been clued for the first one. In most cases an Intermission is called an intermission rather than an entr’acte. During a musical entr’acte the audience is not ecxpected to get up and exit en masse. My quibble (with 2 b’sj today

albatross shell 12:27 AM  

Thanks for your response. I certainly do not want you to enjoy a puzzle you do not enjoy. Well explained. It all seemed to be simple reasoning to me. A B-sound, spelled with a single B or a double B, is that a 2B word or not a 2B word (where the choice is one or two)? Maybe because I actually do have trouble with the one or two Z-words, it seemed clear and obvious and it all fit together.

Two B or not two B, that is the question. Whether is nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous spell-checkers or to take dictionaries against a sea of ambiguities.
To spell, perchance be wrong?
Aye thats the rub, how do you spell that motherf#&kin' word?

Monty Boy 12:50 AM  

Best I can tell, no one has commented on @LMS avatar - 2b or not with a fiber/fibber. Worth the price of admission.

Mr. Alarm 12:52 AM  

Yes! Yours are much better! Do you construct?

albatross shell 2:13 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott 4:27 PM  

Entracte crossed with Lento is rude. I guess I should know Lento as common crosswordese but I can't ever remember it, otherwise these are two incredibly niche words. Never heard of Entracte before today and agree with @RyanSem about the Arabia/Arabian peninsula conundrum. I'm dumber than Rex as I felt there was definite trouble in the SE

thefogman 10:00 AM  

TOBEORNOTTOBE published is the editor’s call. ASIS, this one should have BEEN STOPped or ATBEST sent to the OLE recycle bin.

spacecraft 10:31 AM  

@Aaron Riccio, halfway down the blog, finally gets it. "Two B['s] or not two B['s]." It's a groaner pun on "to/two," and a bit beneath the standard we've come to expect from Ms. Lempel--whose name I was genuinely surprised to see in the byline. There was also some iffiness in the fill: ASA PCT ESE and a number of overworked saves like ALOE and ANTE.

Notwithstanding the EPITOME of golf courses PEBBLEBEACH and perennial DOD UMA (another go-to save for the constructor), this was a cut below LL's usual, which means all the way down to par.

Burma Shave 11:35 AM  


ATBEST she's the EPITOME to LEIA like a RABBIT.


leftcoaster 3:57 PM  

2 B’s or -2 B’s, i.e., the ? -- with special mention to RUGBY, ARABIA, and BLT.

Nice work, LL.

rondo 4:45 PM  

I don't know, BB ORNOT BB can go LL as far as this theme goes. Toss in a BRER and a BEACH in the theme answers and there's just too many Bs in the hive. I thought this was far below Ms. Lempel's usual standard.

Diana, LIW 8:19 PM  

I love to glide thru a Monday puz like this one. Good ole BRERRABBIT. Puhlease don't throw me in there.

I finished this a while back, but had a bit of a conk on the head this afternoon. All seems well now, but I spent some time with an ice cube!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

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