Mystery writer Blyton / TUE 3-30-21 / Mortal lover of Aphrodite / Compensating reduction of greenhouse gas emissions / Fourth word of a Star Wars prologue / Swivel on an axis / Leading female role in Pulp Fiction

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Constructor: Alex Rosen and Brad Wilber

Relative difficulty: Medium


THEME: MONONYM (38A: Person known by a single name, as found in 20-, 29-, 47- and 55-Across) — one-named *musical* performers all found inside longer theme answers:

Theme answers:
  • CARBON OFFSET (20A: Compensating reduction of greenhouse gas emissions)
  • SPIN KICK (29A: 360º martial arts maneuver)
  • TEN YARDS (47A: Distance for a first down)
  • "MINE, MINE, MINE!" (55A: Greedy person's cry)
Word of the Day: ENID Blyton (35D: Mystery writer Blyton) —
Enid Mary Blyton
 (11 August 1897 – 28 November 1968) was an English children's writer whose books have been among the world's best-sellers since the 1930s, selling more than 600 million copies. Blyton's books are still enormously popular, and have been translated into 90 languages. As of June 2018, Blyton is in the 4th place for the most translated author. She wrote on a wide range of topics including education, natural history, fantasy, mystery, and biblical narratives and is best remembered today for her NoddyFamous FiveSecret Seven, and Malory Towers. [...] Blyton's work became increasingly controversial among literary critics, teachers and parents from the 1950s onwards, because of the alleged unchallenging nature of her writing and the themes of her books, particularly the Noddy series. Some libraries and schools banned her works, which the BBC had refused to broadcast from the 1930s until the 1950s, because they were perceived to lack literary merit. Her books have been criticised as being elitistsexistracistxenophobic and at odds with the more progressive environment emerging in post-Second World War Britain, but they have continued to be best-sellers since her death in 1968. [...] Accusations of racism in Blyton's books were first made by Lena Jeger in a Guardian article published in 1966. In the context of discussing possible moves to restrict publications inciting racial hatred, Jeger was critical of Blyton's The Little Black Doll, published a few months earlier. Sambo, the black doll of the title, is hated by his owner and other toys owing to his "ugly black face", and runs away. A shower of "magic rain" washes his face clean, after which he is welcomed back home with his now pink face. Jamaica Kincaid also considers the Noddy books to be "deeply racist" because of the blonde children and the black golliwogs. In Blyton's 1944 novel The Island of Adventure, a black servant named Jo-Jo is very intelligent, but is particularly cruel to the children. // Accusations of xenophobia were also made. As George Greenfield observed, "Enid was very much part of that between the wars middle class which believed that foreigners were untrustworthy or funny or sometimes both". The publisher Macmillan conducted an internal assessment of Blyton's The Mystery That Never Was, submitted to them at the height of her fame in 1960. The review was carried out by the author and books editor Phyllis Hartnoll, in whose view "There is a faint but unattractive touch of old-fashioned xenophobia in the author's attitude to the thieves; they are 'foreign' ... and this seems to be regarded as sufficient to explain their criminality." Macmillan rejected the manuscript, but it was published by William Collinsin 1961, and then again in 1965 and 1983. [...] In December 2016 the Royal Mint discussed featuring Blyton on a commemorative 50p coin but dismissed the idea because she was "known to have been a racist, sexist, homophobe and not a very well-regarded writer". (wikipedia) (emph. mine)
• • •

This is a concept looking for a hook. As it is, it's not much different from a puzzle where ELM and FIG and OAK are "hidden" inside longer theme answers and then the revealer is just TREE. Where is the ... Where is the Why? Why these names? Why musical names? Nothing but nothing about the revealer suggests music. A tight grouping is nice, but it's not tied to ... anything. No wordplay, no zingy revealer, nothing. Just, "here are four MONONYMs, they are all related to music For Some Reason" (?). It's not that the answers on their own aren't nice. Really seems like "MINE, MINE, MINE!" was probably the impetus for this thing (easy to hide four-letter names, a lot tougher to hide a six-letter). And CARBON OFFSET has a nice modern feel, while SPIN KICK is entertainingly dynamic (TEN YARDS is blah, but you get one blah per theme set if you want it, that's the rules). I just wish the puzzle could've done something, anything, with the mononyms as a group—highlighted some kind of logic. MONONYM is such a technical, anticlimactic revealer. What about "The Masked Singer," isn't that something? Yes, the TV show ... and it's a grid-spanning 15-letters long, too. I'm not saying that that would be a top-notch revealer here. I'm just saying that it's at least Trying. MONONYM isn't trying. P.S. I think mononyms who are also singers should be called BONONYMS. All in favor? Great, it's done. P.P.S. SADE and CHER and ADELE have Got to be calling their agents right about now.


The short fill on this is quite creaky, but it's offset (!) somewhat by the nicer longer stuff. Not just the themers, but HOT TAKE and SIT BACK and BAD MOVE and EYE MASK, all give a certain life to the grid that it desperately needed. It's actually a pleasant enough puzzle to solve overall. The HUGO Boss clue even made me laugh (10A: Who's the Boss?). One thing, though: I have no idea why ENID Blyton was the ENID of choice today. First of all, she's bygone—very bygone. Second, she's British, so actually most Americans, and certainly most Americans under 60, aren't going to have a clue who she is (unless they do a lot of crosswords) (never encountered one of her books in my life; know about her only because my wife grew up in the British Empire). Third, it's slightly weird to call her a "mystery writer"—although she was that, she was far far more famous (and infamous) as a children's writer. I get her confused with ENID Bagnold (who was also a British writer—National Velvet). As I wrote in ENID I thought "Wait, is this the children's writer? The racist caricature lady? With the golliwogsThat ENID!?!" And so I looked her up and yup. It's that ENID. Maybe let's not bring her back, and look, if you can't think of any good ENIDs, just stick to Oklahoma, OK? 

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

UPDATE: I just learned that HUGO Boss was an actual Nazi, so while I still think the HUGO clue is clever, I'm never gonna be able to unsee the Naziness now. (Thank you to the thoughtful reader who filled me in)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

96 comments:

Loren Muse Smith 6:03 AM  

I always love hidden word themes. And I like circles. As soon as I saw BONO and ENYA, I went down and filled in PRINCE without hesitation, feeling really competent and smug and wishing Tuesdays could be a little harder. Snort. Joke’s on me.

Rex - love the idea of The Masked Singer as a reveal.

We have a bajillion NYM words, right? Bruce Haight taught me my favorite: oronym. Nude eel, stuff he knows. . . they please me to no end.

“Drawer” before MANGER. Hi, Little Gardiner.

“Blush” before TINGE. I had a student ask me once if blush was a combination of blood and rush and I was childishly jealous that I had not noticed that, even though its spelling is just a happy coincidence. She is now featured on my wall of fame. But I’m still jealous.

EYE MASKs are not just for airplanes. They’re a must-have for people with Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder. Ahem. Or so I’m told.

My avatar is my bigdaddy, Mom’s dad. He played major league baseball. Wade Lefler. Coulda been a themer.

OASES – I was just thinking about this plural, how lots of us are trying to apply it to words like process, so the plural is pronounced /PRAH * ses * eez/. Thesis/theses, crisis/crises. . . How can you Not look into, well, ya know – anatomical junk that I don’t have. Yep. So plural penesand singular testis. I checked for you. Your day is now complete.

Well… not so fast. That WASTE? There is, sadly no such word as fecis.

I’ll just show myself out.

OffTheGrid 6:41 AM  

ENJOY THE CHORDETTES

Richard Stanford 6:56 AM  

It was funny having SINGE crossing TINGE. I also had drawer instead of MANGER. But even though I grew up with ENID’s books (especially the ___ of adventure series), I ended up DNFing this one. Didn’t know RAFA haven’t kept up with my Beach Boys set and had RArA crossing rUN.

Lewis 6:57 AM  

Alex and Brad, you had me at SINGE and TINGE, not to mention [Opposite of picker-uppers?] for SLOBS, to where I was looking at this puzzle, as I was coursing through it, through ECLAT rather than BAD MOVE eyes. And now, post-solve, I still am. With a gettable theme for newer solvers, one that’s fun because these solvers can guess at the theme answers that are left after they’ve figured the theme out. Well, heck – that was fun for me, a veteran solver, too!

Constructors have innumerable choices to make when putting a grid together, choices that determine its personality and how well it clicks with solvers. And your choices, Brad and Alex, gave me a puzzle that said, “This was made by a pair that knew what they were doing,” because I was involved from start to finish, and my heart was smiling throughout. Thank you both, and congratulations on your debut, Alex!

Flying Pediatrician 6:58 AM  

The best thing about HELIcopters is that just about any flat-ish surface can be a HELIpad. And they can fly backwards, and hover, and fly low-and-slow, and ...

SouthsideJohnny 7:03 AM  

I definitely struggled with this one - either it’s heavy on PPP or it seems that way because pretty much everything is out of my wheelhouse (except Bobby ORR, of course). Take the North-Central for example, with ASAHI, DYSON, ADONIS and the theme entry CARBON OFFSET - just no way to get a toehold in there if you don’t know the Trivia Then I moved over to the NE and ran smack into HUGO (which I still haven’t figured out the clue for - “Who’s the Boss?” the only Boss I know is Springsteen). Is this Victor Hugo ? That was pretty much how it went today. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the group fared, as I’m not usually this far off from the mainstream, especially on a Tuesday.

OffTheGrid 7:09 AM  

This was a good Tuesday but I think this is one time when the circles hurt the puzzle. It would have been fun to look for the names. As it is they are just there. This could have been a themeless and the 38A clue could have just been "Person known by single name".

The Joker 7:12 AM  

...crash?

Joaquin 7:29 AM  

Seemed rather challenging for a Tuesday as I was solving but actually had only two write-overs: fOOt for HOOF and a stupid spelling error of cINGE.

Wish the constructors had included the most important music mononym, found in the novEL VISitor who just left the building.

bocamp 7:30 AM  

Thank you @Alex & @Brad for this crunchy Tue. puz! Enjoyed the challenge.

Med. solve, but felt tougher.

Started well with CHICA, CPAS and PECAN, but fat fingers had CGICA, which obscured HELI. Slow and steady the rest of the way, ending up by correcting the errant "g".

Good to see MONONYM, one of my SB list words.

Always like OTTERS and ENYA in my puzzles, along with TENYARDS and a cloud of dust. Oh, wait … sorry Woody, that's "three yards and a cloud of dust."

One for the SANDMAN: Dreams are More Precious ~ Enya

@jae re: (596)

Thot I'd never get that NE corner, but it fell into place just before the SANDMAN came. Finally, educated guess "out of the blue" got the 👍.

@Joe / @pabloinnh / @ TTrimble

Your tutelage has stood me in good stead; acrostic done! Improving each time. 😊
___


yd 0

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Amity ~ Kindness to all 🕊

kitshef 7:35 AM  

If I did a version of My Favorite Things, it might well include OTTERs, ONIONs, TANG and RIBs.

Had SPINK in for 29A and could not imagine what the last three letters could be. SPIN Kids? SPIN King? SPIN Kite? Sometimes your brain just fails you.

P!NK rules.

Son Volt 7:40 AM  

Liked it. I see Wilber in Newsday frequently and have come to appreciate his style. Agree with Rex that the theme is a little loose here - but to find EMINEM within MINE MINE MINE makes it all good. Hand up for enjoying the SINGE x TINGE cross. Never saw Pulp Fiction but MAINE helped me back into it. ECLAT is a word I like to see - but have probably never used in conversation.

Little side eye to the First down clue after seeing the Jets in too many 3rd and 26 situations.

Maybe too much CCS, OMG and ANA etc here - but overall a smooth Tuesday solve.

Joaquin 7:53 AM  

@OffTheGrid - Thanks for posting The Chordettes. Listening took me back to a time worth revisiting. Those were the days! And that was the music!

pabloinnh 7:58 AM  

No ROO today, and no PABLO, but hey, any puzzle that has an OTTER is also automatically a great puzzle so yay.

Hadn't heard MONONYM, but it was obvious. Nice word. There sure are a lot of them in sports, Michael, Larry, Shaq, Arod, Yogi, and on and on.

Didn't find this especially challenging and thought the EMLINEM answer was the winner, even if it was a bit of a stretch.

Hey @bocamp, way to go. Thought Sunday's acrostic wars a good one, once the theme became clear it sure helped.

Nice enough Tuedsday, AR and BW. Thought it was All Right and full of Bright Wording.

Evelyn Wood 8:06 AM  

If he thinks Enid Blyton should be persona non grata wait until he hears that Thos. Jefferson was an actual slaveholder.

Anonymous 8:07 AM  

Hugo Boss. Fashion designer.

bagelboy 8:17 AM  

PINTO before OTTER. DRAWER before MANGER. And EDSEL is perhaps the least collectible car from the 1950s. Ugly then and remains so.

Barbara S. 8:26 AM  

@OffTheGrid (6:41)
Bum-bum-bum-bum-bum-bum-bum-bum-bum-bum-bum-bum-bum. I’ll be singing that all day!

One thing I often don’t understand in Rex’s reviews is why he asks why. Does there have to be an answer to why when it comes to most themes? Aren’t themes their own entities, complete unto themselves, a good (or maybe less good) idea born out of someone’s imagination? Why *NOT*, Rex? But like @LMS, I did love his “The Masked Singer” revealer idea.

In contrast to yesterdays’ errorfest, no write-overs today. I was proud of myself for getting CARBON OFFSET with no crosses. I misread the clue for 23A as “stomach sMoother” and was trying to think of a 7-letter word for girdle or corset. My husband’s ex was an obsessive fan of ENYA and in the early days of our courting, when talk had turned to music, my husband-to-be fixed me with a beady-eyed stare and asked me if I liked ENYA. Now, ENYA’s sort of music is among the genres I listen to, but at that point I’d never heard of her and said so. He immediately relaxed and our intimate dinner proceeded in romantic fashion.

I was brought up on the Noddy books. And you know, funnily enough, I didn’t really like them. Not for any of the reasons cited in that article, but because there was something about the illustrations that bugged me and gave me the creeps. I didn’t know about the criticisms of Blyton in the write-up, but the golliwogs – good grief, yes. I thought I’d read that the Noddy books had been banned in various places because the relationship between Noddy and Big Ears (his best friend) was said to be homosexual! You know, like the ludicrous “scandal” over Tinky Winky, the purple Teletubby.

MINE MINE MINE

Today there’s black humour Brit-style – two excerpts by Tom Sharpe, born Mar. 30, 1928.

“Do go on,' he said. There's nothing I enjoy more than listening to a highly trained intelligence leapfrogging common sense and coming to the wrong conclusions. It gives me renewed faith in parliamentary democracy.”

************************************************

“Fifty miles away, Lord Lynchknowle’s dinner had been interrupted by the arrival of a police car and the news of his daughter’s death. The fact that it had come between the mackerel pâté and the game pie, and on the wine side, an excellent Montrachet and a Château Lafite 1962, several bottles of which he’d opened to impress the Home Secretary and two old friends from the Foreign Office, particularly annoyed him. Not that he intended to let the news spoil his meal by announcing it before he’d finished, but he could foresee an ugly episode with his wife afterwards for no better reason than that he had come back to the table with the rather unfortunate remark that it was nothing important. Of course, he could always excuse himself on the grounds that hospitality came first, and old Freddie was the Home Secretary after all, and he wasn’t going to let that Lafite ’62 go to waste, but somehow he knew Hilary was going to kick up the devil of a fuss about it afterwards.”
(Both from Wilt On High)

Ryan 8:31 AM  

@Joaquin -- perfect with the Elvis clue. I'd rewrite the whole puzzle just to get that in there.

Z 8:37 AM  

@Muse - Okay, now explain Francis/Frances.

Midnight at the OASiS

@Son Volt - Your penultimate sentence confused me.

Hand up for preferring Rex’s revealer because it gives this specific set a reason for being. MONONYM is fine but would we want a bunch of -nym based revealers? Hidden eponyms, retronyms, autoantonyms, etc etc? I feel like we’ve seen some of these as bases for themes, but never with a -nym revealer.

ENID just seems like the name an author would pick for a racist, sexist, homophobic character. I have never met a real life ENID and I’m sure they are perfectly nice people, but the name just evokes an unpleasant type to me. OLGA went from evoking old-fashioned to evoking beautiful thanks first to Korbut and then Kurylenko. Not so with ENID. If you’re writing a Bond script, OLGA would be the Bond girl and ENID would be the evil SPECTRE henchwoman with knives hidden in her shoes. Or maybe ENID would be the name of the character played by John Cleese in drag in a Monty Python skit. There’s a set of ENID’s used to clue ENID and I automatically convert all of them to “four letter woman’s name with useful letters which is the only reason they appear in the grid so often.” In short, I’m not surprised that ENID Blyton was being criticized already in 1966.

mathgent 8:46 AM  

"Makeshift crib, once" for MANGER lifted it. Not very exciting otherwise.

"Who's the Boss?" for HUGO. Ugh.

@LMS (6:03). I looked up oronym and found some cute ones. From a Woody Allen movie, "Jew eat? " Also, I just added "fecis" to my list of words we only see in the plural, like "raviolo."

Yesterday I mentioned the once-famous number, 714, the number of home runs Babe Ruth hit in his career. I also mentioned 56, a number similarly famous. No one picked up on it, so maybe it's not as famous as I thought.



Z 8:52 AM  

@Barbara S - Does there have to be an answer to why when it comes to most themes? I think you answered your own question with I did love his “The Masked Singer” revealer idea. When the revealer (or clever puzzle title) gives a tight set a unifying reason it’s better than just a plain vanilla technical term. MONONYM could have been sports stars or even music stars & sports stars, but “The Masked Singer” explains all the elements of the theme except that they are mononyms. Giving your theme set a “why” always makes the theme more elegant.

Lewis 8:57 AM  

@mathgent -- I know 56, if Judy Dench or Johnny Depp are hints.

Joltin' Joe 9:13 AM  

Thanks for remembering me, @mathgent!

Nancy 9:16 AM  

Back in the day, you had to earn your right to a MONOMYM. You were Bing Crosby until you were famous enough to be just Bing; Ella Fitzgerald until you were famous enough to be just Ella; Barbra Streisand until you were famous enough to be just Streisand.

Nowadays, you pronounce yourself a MONONYM before you're halfway out of the gate. And sometimes your MONONYM is a real name like BONO, while other times it's a made-up name like PINK or EMINEM. You've just decided that you're simply going to be that famous and that's all there is to it.

(Wondering how many unsuccessful MONONYM monikers are sitting right now in the dustbin of history?)

Considering that the theme itself is based on pop culture and that then, added to it, are a whole bunch of additional pop culture non-theme clue/answers which I normally hate, I actually found this puzzle pretty entertaining. Those tiny little circles are actually embedded in some very nice longer answers -- my favorite being CARBON OFFSET.

Son Volt 9:20 AM  

@Z 8:37a - first downs are measured as 10 yards from the original line of scrimmage. After a few penalties and a sack etc - it may take 15-20 or more yards for that first down.

57stratocaster 9:21 AM  

Just back from doing the WP xword and guess who showed up: "Children's author Blyton"...never heard of her and she's in two on the same day, 10 minutes apart!

Hungry Mother 9:26 AM  

Fun finding the MONONYMs AMONG all of the easy answers. Hoping for Adele. Flounder didn’t fit, but OTTER did. Fish are animals too.

Rug Crazy 9:33 AM  

Learned Mononym and Occam. I hope I never meet them again

kitshef 9:37 AM  

@Son Volt - the confusion is over the phrasing of "the First down clue", which is easily misinterpreted as the clue for 1-Down, rather than the clue for 47-Across.

JBB94956 9:38 AM  

I’m just a crossword plodder but this took me much longer than usual

Anonymous 9:42 AM  

What's this? Some blackguard trashing my love's name?! Outrageous.
Oh hang on, being told who trashed the name Enid. All is revealed. Nothing to see here. Just another barely literate.

Signed,

Geraint

PS Idylls of the King is regarded as a masterpiece of poetry. But yeah, I guess Z knows best.

Nancy 9:49 AM  

I had no idea what an "oronym" was and @Loren's two examples therefore sailed right over my head. I just looked the word up, and, now that I know the meaning, I find those two examples hilarious. I probably could have figured it out on my own if I'd read them out loud very fast...but I didn't.

@Barbara S -- Love today's delightful quotes.

Tim Aurthur 9:50 AM  

So instead of an Arthurian heroine or OK city we get a racist author, and instead of a Supreme Court justice or French writer we get a designer who forced people to admit that, Yeah, they're a bunch of Nazis, but boy do they dress sharp.

And then the obligatory Star Wars reference (third day in a row), even when the answer is far, far from unique to Star Wars.

TJS 9:52 AM  

hitting streak...and I can't remember who. this is embarrassing... DiMaggio ?

Anonymous 9:53 AM  

Son Volt
I can't recall a 3rd and 26 this season for the Jets but it sure sounds right.
The low point--besides the obvious End to teh Raiders game-- was in week 6, when Flacco somehow turned a makeable 3rd and 4 into a pitiable and risible 4th and 32. His peregrination was so awful, so inept that I didn't even get angry. Truly an epic display of Jet-dom.

pmdm 9:55 AM  

Proper names are not my thing, even when they are easy (as they were today). So when a puzzle comes around like this, my comment would be that it fell flat on me. Certainly not bad. But for me, flat.

Barbara S: Perhaps Z's explanation helps. But I have the same problem with Sharp who seems to be always looking for something that needn't exist. To me, the purpose of a theme is to result in Shortz accepting the puzzle and allowing you to get paid for your efforts. It need not be anything more or less.

Math Gent: Any Yankee fan recognizes that number. Sorry I did not comment yesterday. Amazingly to me, yesterday's Jeopardy contestants seems to lack knowledge of George Burns. I guess what seems to many to be unforgettable history does indeed get forgotten. That justifies the complaints that puzzle should not skew old.

EdFromHackensack 9:59 AM  

I thought at first there was an Irish singer theme as I got BONO and ENYA first. Had _OO_ and hesitated to put in fOOt “nah, thats too easy, even for a Tuesday”. You develop NYTXS instincts over the years. CARBONOFFSET was not familiar to me... wanted CARBON footprint.

RooMonster 9:59 AM  

Hey All !
Good ole OCCAM, don't stay away so long next time.

Nice for a TuesPuz. Disagree with @OffTheGrid 7:09 about not having circles. It would've been quite tough to find the names without them. As this is run on a Tuesday, you need the circles. Maybe run this as a Themed Friday, and the no circles might work. But then there'd be a bunch of people complaining why there aren't circles.

Smirked at seeing EMINEM in MINEMINEMINE. Neat. fOOt-HOOF, RAFe-RAFA, umA-MIA, think that's it.

RooMonster is a MONONYM. Har. ☺️

SINGE/TINGE. Nice.

@pablo
MAINE is down east? You New Englanders are crazy. 🤪

EDSELs are going for big money now. Yes, still ugly, but pricey. (Actually the 1960 model year is good looking. They got rid of that stupid looking long oval thing on the front.)

TANG twice recently. Do they still sell that? Dang. (😁🙄)

Three F's
RooMonster
DarrinV

Joaquin 10:05 AM  

The world's best sketch featuring oronyms:
https://www.reddit.com/r/DaemoniaSaves/comments/m7rrlt/the_two_ronnies_four_candles_hd/

Tim Aurthur 10:05 AM  

My favorite nym word is backronym, as in "Port Out Starboard Home;" "Noteworthy Events, Weather and Sports;" and of course "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge."

Crimson Devil 10:10 AM  

Yup, Joltin Joe.

Joe Dipinto 10:11 AM  

Mostly this puzzle reminded me of the existence of Karla Bonoff. Not a bad thing; I can do without the self-important Bono.

Mr. Cheese 10:15 AM  

@mathgent
I missed yesterday’s issue. Joe DiMaggio - hitting streak. 714, 56, 511 (Cy Young wins), 42, 1 (Peewee), 2 (Vander Mere no hitters), etc.
All no’s. that I knew growing up.
Grew up a Dodger fan. Went to Ebbets Field many times. Never cared about them again when they went west (sob) it still hurts.

Carola 10:17 AM  

Sleep aids: the SANDMAN, an EYE MASK, and (sorry, but) this puzzle.

JD 10:34 AM  

@Z, There's a difference between using a first name for a highly recognizable sports star (Michael) and a singer who chooses to be known that way. Jordan didn't ask to be known by his first name, he was just so big for a while you only had to say Michael. He's since gotten his last name back (see above).

Re. singers on the list ... how many people know outside of their fans know Enya's or Bono's last names? Not as many as who knew Jordan's.

Liked the puzzle overall, but do agree the revealer landed with a soft thud. It would've been super fun for me without the circles.

GHarris 10:38 AM  

Thought I had finished but got the “so close keep trying “ message. Continuous review failed to disclose the error of my ways. Finally asked for review and learned my problem was in the SW corner. I had owes for obligation ( instead of onus which I think of primarily as burden; yeah I recognize the equivalency) and since I’m no maven on Japanese airlines or old songs I saw nothing wrong and it took me a few moments to make the correction and get the congrats message. Of course, had I done it on paper I would have never recovered.

Tom T 10:43 AM  

I, too, like The Masked Singer theme.

I'm not sure we can include Elvis, because although he certainly (like Bing and others) is knowable by that name alone, we also readily know the last name that goes with it. That's not true, as far as I know, of the four themed people.

But if we allow Elvis, my suggestion for the clue/answer would be, "Stay away from home?" HOTELVISIT. It has the added attraction of an ambiguous first letter (is it H or is it M). Cross that first letter with a good Natick and you have the likelihood of a hunCHERror.

Anonymous 10:45 AM  

The Masked Singer (15 letters) What a revealer that would have been!

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

never needed to read the ENID clue, since that got filled in by crosses automagically.

as to no mention of singers: seems to add that to the revealer would put this into Monday territory. as it was, no stumbles, much less an over-write.

since I spend my time writing opinion pieces, they're all HOT TAKES; if you snooze you lose.

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

not all of MAINE is down east. just the part of MAINE that is the Atlantic coast towns from the NH border up about half way, or so. down east also, typically, refers to the fishing port area, ditto. wrt to MAINE, these towns are East and Down.

jae 10:59 AM  

Medium. Not bad for a Tues. Nice debut for Alex.

FUN fact - The Beach Boys borrowed the guitar intro for “FUN FUN FUN” from Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode”.

FUNNER fact - Chuck Berry borrowed that intro from Louis Jordan’ “Ain’t That Just Like A Woman” recorded in 1946.

Miscellaneous fact. “Roll Over Beethoven” has the same intro.

@bocamp - congrats on #596

Anonymous 11:03 AM  

(blush)... I guess I shouldve checked with the wiki first, but got it almost right. grew up in MA, west of Woosta, and we knew down east as the southern extent of the coast. turns out, it's the northern extent. in any case, not the whole state. I sit corrected.

Karl Grouch 11:04 AM  

@JoeDipinto,
Always enjoy your posts.
Agree about Bono.

49A reminded me of M.I.A.
Worth checking out, imho.

https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqdpZOA7TkTAl4tzhPHstCg3bRWbl90Hm

Z 11:13 AM  

@pmdm - And I thought I was cynical 😉

@JD - There’s a strong tendency in sports reporting to mononymize* everybody big. Jeter. Durant, LeBron. Gretzky. Mahomes. Some are stronger (“Tom Brady” seems more common than “Brady”), but a mononym is almost a requirement for future hall of famers. I agree that in music it is more intentional. In sports it is mostly done to stars.

*I had no problem verbifying - just don’t ask me to pronounce it

@Anon - Tennyson? Seriously? Why is it that I strongly suspect that you are oblivious to the gender role discussions around Idylls. Candidly, Arthurian ENID didn’t occur to me. But, now that you mention it, the transformation from subject of courtly love to name nobody gives their daughters anymore probably began with Tennyson. It’s probably an overstatement, but Tennyson seems firmly ensconced in the “assigned writer everyone skips and just uses Spark Notes for the test” category.

jb129 11:16 AM  

I liked this a lot & like last Tuesday, better then your usual Tuesday. Thanks to you both!

Anonymous 11:29 AM  

Z,
As I suspected. You didn't do the assigned readings, just relied on Sparks and Cliff notes. It appears you had time to do a little research and found some moronic gender discussion regarding Idylls. So transparent. And sad. You might like Tennyson if you actually read him.

Anonymous 11:36 AM  

Z,
BTW. I was awarded a degree in the English from Penn. `88. At the time the third ranked English department in the country. Wanna bet what my concentration was?
What on earth would make you suspect that I am unaware of current trends in Victoria poetry exegesis? Much less strongly suspect?
Set aside all else. All I said was Enid was a very famous name in a very famous poem. Surely not even your arrogance extends so far as to contradict that.
So introducing some hare-brained theories about the poem are simply not on point. And your swipe at me, besides being incorrect, was gratuitous. And yet another perfect example of how you are permitted to belittle others. While many other posters have their comments spiked.

Masked and Anonymous 11:38 AM  

Tho honored by @RP's THEMASKEDSINGER suggestion, M&A prefers to just hum along. Also, that revealer would kinda overlook the whole fact that these themerfolks are all *one-named* singers. Might make a good tougher theme, I'd grant, if they used @RP's revealer and ditched The Circles. Anybody mention that ONO is buried inside MONONYM, btw?

M&A has a theory about The Circles. It postulates that the most puzs featurin The Circles are to be found on TuesPuzday. Just seems like the ideal match of not-too-difficulty and makin things obviouser. QED.

Hey, how'bout this for a revealer, for this puz: SINGLERS. With everything except the L circled, maybe?
Yeah, didn't think so ...

Had no earthly idea, during the solvequest, why {Who's the Boss?} = HUGO. Probably due to M&A's total disregard for fashion-related stuff. Strictly a Sweatshirt/T-shirt+jeans+mask dude. Well, plus shoes and socks.
This TuesPuz did show some 'tude, with its five ?-marker clues, tho. Bring it, Shortzmeister.

staff weeject pick: UVA. Have visited that campus. Absolutely beautiful. Good job, TJeff. Nice post-TJeff touch, with the mummified AEPoe room, too boot.
Luvly NE/SW weeject stacks, btw.
fave sparkly bits: EYEMASK. BADMOVE. WONKA. SKYPE. FUN & GUN.

Thanx for gangin up on us, Rosen & Wilber dudes. Plus congratz to Alex Rosen, on his half-debut.

Masked & Anonymo4Us

p.s. What a primo-esque ray of sunshine, to behold a @muse darlin comment, right outta the chute this mornin.

harder than snot but almost worth it:
**gruntz**

Whatsername 11:41 AM  

I liked the theme and the puzzle was fine but flawed. To have a theme that’s proper names intertwined with a fill heavy on Propers is one thing but some of them - ASAHI OCCAM ILGA RAFA SIENA - were ridiculously hard for a Tuesday.

But the thing that jumped out at me was why would you make a crossword puzzle featuring one-named singers without the most famous MONONYM of all . . . CHER?? I mean the other three themers are four letters. It would have fit perfectly and been far more comparable with the others. Turn the tables/SWITCHEROO. Where you sit at a football game/BLEACHERSEATS. Just a colossal missed opportunity there if you ask me.

GILL I. 11:42 AM  

I want to jump for joy on a Tuesday. I want to laugh like I did reading my husband's favorite Tom Sharpe "Wilt" (thank you @Barbara S)...Instead....a sigh. No Adele.
I didn't like all the names; I don't like any of the singers and I can't get that SANDMAN song out of my head.
WONKA ELEV EELY says it all. Is there a MONONYM named EVE?
Yes....stick to ENID Oklahoma.
La CHICA desnuda.

Ethan Taliesin 11:49 AM  

Wow, I didn't know about golliwogs. Disgustingly cringy stuff and if I owned a bookstore I certainly wouldn't carry it. In fact, it's horrible and I appreciate Rex for calling it out. Now I know.

That said, I wish the NYT would be a little MORE broad in what they choose to include in the puzzle. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Mentioning Enid Blyton will not make me delight in "golliwogs" any more than mentioning Genghis Khan will make me delight in the massacre of civilians, and I don't know ANYONE who would delight in it or even see their inclusion as endorsements. They could have phrased the clue in a way that would dissed ENID, which would have been cooler, I think.

I know it might bother some people and they'd prefer to never see wretched or hurtful characters or events come up, but I don't see a variety of ideas (good and bad) as a threat to progress in the least -- in fact, it's been widely argued that recognizing the bad is important to progress. It might offend sensibilities and some will argue that a crossword grid is not the place, but I think being exposed to a broad range of ideas is more interesting than ENID Oklahoma over and over.

Uke Xensen 12:06 PM  

No concern about the Nazi connection of Hugo Boss?

Z 12:15 PM  

@anon11:29/11:36 - Well, here I am pointing out how ENID hardly seems a surprising name for someone criticized for being sexist and homophobic and your counterpoint is a shining example of Victorian sexism and homophobia. So, to answer my question, I suspect you’re unaware of current trends in Victoria poetry exegesis because if you were aware it might have occurred to you that Tennyson wasn’t exactly a good rejoinder.
And you seem very concerned about my taking a “swipe” at you. That must be because I called you a “blackguard” and “barely literate,” and “ hare-brained” and “moronic” and “your arrogance” ... Oh, wait. That wasn’t me.

A 12:29 PM  

Happy Take a Walk in the Park Day!

If this was a walk in the park, someone needs to do a better job of cleaning up after their pets. Maybe it’s just day two of vax #2, but this left a bad taste in my mouth.

Hey, it’s tax season - let’s have CPAS for an appetizer. woohoo. That cologne guy was a HUGe Tuesday WOE. Love me some ONIONS but you can have the rest of the BM. ANTACID ALERT!

A Tuesday SLUE? Slew? Slough? Ew! (yes, they’re all syNONYMs and pronounced the same - look it up. I don’t want to give it the dignity.

HOT TAKE sounds cool - too bad it’s the evil spawn of 24-hour news. Yes, definitely a pet peeve of MINE.

Another cool sounding phrase - SPIN KICK. I backed into it without looking at crosses and came up with (without any help, mind you) Moon Kick. You have to have a big windup. “One of these days, Alice….”

Mad libs can be funny but can get old quickly. Thanks, @Loren, for the new word. I see there is also a game, Mad Gabs, based on oronyms. Two versions: Classic and Bible.

A lot of the clues, like SKYPE clue, just left me flat. How about “ _____ call, or pantless meeting platform?” Weird beats boring. "Climber in academia?" may not be genius but at least it had spunk.

I've found that my opinion of names depends on their associations with people I know or know of. A lovely family friend was named Enid, and I associate the name with warmth and kindness.

Did someone say Tennyson? Ok, now I’m happy.

Nancy 12:32 PM  

OMG, no, no, no! You cannot diss my favorite poet. You absolutely cannot!!!! I tuned out of the entire ENID-and-which-ENID-should-be-used-in-the-puzzle-discussion -- not really caring myself, and not really thinking that Alfred would care either if you neglected to use his ENID. But to put down Tennyson himself -- why that's blasphemous. For my money, he's the absolute best -- and with about the best poetic ear ever. His poetry is both deeply moving and sonorous. Here's a well-known section from "In Memoriam" that may help explain why I love him so much:

In Memoriam A. H. H. OBIIT MDCCCXXXIII: 54
BY ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON
Oh, yet we trust that somehow good
Will be the final end of ill,
To pangs of nature, sins of will,
Defects of doubt, and taints of blood;

That nothing walks with aimless feet;
That not one life shall be destroy'd,
Or cast as rubbish to the void,
When God hath made the pile complete;

That not a worm is cloven in vain;
That not a moth with vain desire
Is shrivell'd in a fruitless fire,
Or but subserves another's gain.

Behold, we know not anything;
I can but trust that good shall fall
At last —-far off —- at last, to all,
And every winter change to spring.

So runs my dream: but what am I?
An infant crying in the night:
An infant crying for the light:
And with no language but a cry.


Teedmn 1:02 PM  

When I got to MONONYM, I looked at the circles of the previous two themers and said, "Where's ENYA?" Didn't I just smile when the very next TEN YARDS filled my request!

I got a bit tangled up in the far south central. My French peak was alpe, fed by my anticipation of 55A being MINE, all MINE. I finally got to the MONT.

Thanks, AR and BW.

chirs 1:04 PM  

Re. Blyton: There are still plenty of English that have that attitude about foreigners: they all voted for Brexit!

bocamp 1:08 PM  

@OffTheGrid 6:41 AM

Thx for the link; one of my fave groups and songs. :)

@pabloinnh 7:58 AM

Same here re: early recognition of the theme. :)

@57stratocaster 9:21 AM

Gotta love those coincidences!

@jae 10:59 AM 👍
___



pg -5

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Amity ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Anonymous 1:22 PM  

@Ethan 11:49 I Believe that you have expressed at least a modicum of much-welcomed common sense. I'll be surprised if you don't get some blowback from the troops here about "breakfast tests" and the like. Also, OFL will be a hopeless case - I'm guessing there even are "safe spaces" on campus where he works in the event of trigger-alerts and the like.

tea73 1:49 PM  

SANDMAN made me think of Metallica'sEnter Sandman

Though I actually like this cover better

Sleep with one eye open!

I grew up on a heavy diet of Enid Blyton from 1967-69. I did not care for Noddy "Parp, parp!", but mostly because I thought he was for younger kids. My brother loved them. When we grew up we all took a look and it was obvious they had to go. I was more of a fan of her boarding school stories. I still have the Mallory Tower books, but even back then I noticed that every American character was always horribly depicted with really annoying stereotypes. Happily usually only one book in any series would feature a visiting Amercian student. Sadly very much a product of her times. I'm kind of surprised my parents weren't bothered by it, but we were living in Somalia at the time and were just grateful to find children's books in English at all. We were all voracious readers.

The obvious reason why they are all musicians is that musicians are the only ones who can get away with it.

Anonymous 1:56 PM  

@chirs:
they all voted for Brexit!

not too surprisingly, nearly all from the persecuted white empty Red shires. just like here in God's Given America. and, it turns out, the educated folk in the cities didn't show up. the pre-vote polls (nearly?) all had Brexit getting annihilated. too bad Brexit wasn't limited to just the shires who voted for it. too bad Covid isn't limited to the Red states that lie about it.

Anoa Bob 2:21 PM  

I'm starting to wonder if one of the after effects of the COVID vaccine is a loss of the sense of pleasure in solving crossword puzzles. Yesterday it was a central grid-spanning reveal that I thought was way wide of the mark that killed my solve buzz. Today it's the segmented, sectioned-off grid structure necessitated by having four themers, plus a central reveal that, by sheer volume, put me in an xword funk. (Having 38 black squares doesn't help either.)

The central area is virtually an island unto itself and those upper right and lower left corners are so closed off as to appear like 3X4 mini puzzles. And with a GREEN PAINT looking TEN YARDS as a themer, I'm surprised Rex didn't reprise his classic critique "It took two people to make this?"

I'm off to the archived puzzles to collect further data on a possible COVID vaccine/crossword puzzle solving anhedonia connection.

Penna Resident 2:37 PM  

i kept looking for cher and adele, and by the time i got to 55A i figured their omission must have been a shout out to those frequent guests. like when patrick berry did a pangram without an E. it had to be intentional because it wouldnt be hard to come up with words that split them.

okanaganer 3:06 PM  

@Joaquin 7:53 am and others... my suggestion for the Elvis answer: TUNNEL VISION.

Anonymous 3:32 PM  

Penna,
There's a term for work which deliberately avoids a letter: lipogram.
Perhaps the most famous novel in that genre is Gadsby. ( and before a certain windbag does a wiki and chimes in--no need to worry about the 1939 printing which contains the a couple of times. Or if you do find a copy. Sell it. It's hugely valuable) It has no Spark or Cliff Notes edition to my homophobic and sexist knowledge.

If you care, lipogram comes from the Greek leipogrammatos: "leaving out a letter". That same big wind sometimes pretends to know Attic Greek. So expect some blow back form that direction.

PS. Love the Penna. abbreviation. Hardly see it anymore bit it was so common in my youth seeing it here made me smile. Thanks.

jberg 3:39 PM  

We got back from our 3-week non-kingly idyll in Captiva at about midnight, soI slept late, spent a couple hours processing email that had come in while we were driving, and was delighted to find the faithful NYT on the front porch, as planned (unlike the held mail, also planned but not there). I decided to skip the puzzle while away, to have more time to spend outside, though I did go out and buy a paper the day @Nancy's ran.

I enjoyed what everyone else did, agree that the revealer was weak (though it did teach me that the MONOMYM was the person, not the name), and admired the TINGE/SINGE cross.

As for ENID-- well, Tennyson didn't create her, just lifted her out of Arthurian legend, in which she's the model of a constant wife (maybe THAT's why the name went out of fashion). @Nancy, thanks for the Tennyson passage--it's wonderful. Your tastes are higher than mine, I was going to quote "The Charge of the Light Brigade:"

"Forward, the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Some one had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

As for mononyms -- I would use the term only for people who choose a single name for their professional identity, like Liberace or the singers in the puzzle. We often refer to Rex by one name, but his professional identity as a blogger is "Rex Parker," so he's not a mononym. But I know, meanings tend to slip and broaden (Hi @Loren), so it's OK -- but the puzzle is better because it sticks to the narrow sense.

I'm trying to think of examples earlier than Liberace. All I can come up with is Svengali, and he was fictional. Suggestions welcomed!

Hope I can get hear earlier tomorrow!

Joe Dipinto 3:58 PM  

I have a Hugo Boss necktie. It's one of my favorite ties. I'm pretty sure Hugo himself didn't sew it.

Anonymous 5:10 PM  

That Rex vilifies Enid Boynton while giving slaveholder TJ a pass says a lot.

Anonymous 5:20 PM  

Not to be THAT person, but it's P!NK, not PINK. I'm annoyed but understanding of undiacriticalizing foreign words, but if the artist wants a ! in their name, we should honor that. To Rex's point, the constructor could've gone with PA(SADE)NA, HAT(CHER)Y, or F(ADELE)SS.

Penna Resident 5:42 PM  

@Anon 3:32

i adopted the name here a few years ago when PENNA was an answer and rex wrote a tirade that Penna is not legit; with PA or Penn being the only acceptable abbrs. i posted an image of a penna turnpike sign, which is a common site not far south of binghamton and some people replied 'oh yeah, i thought that seemed familiar'. i am not older than him, btw.

similarly, there are always complaints, including from graduates of the school, that UPENN is not what penn is called. my wife got her phd there and then worked there years later and both times her email address was @upenn.edu. people in phila do say "u penn" sometimes - it doesnt have to be the most common usage to be aceptable as an answer in a puzzle, contrary to the belief of at least one OP here.

Anonymous 6:56 PM  

RE: upenn

I lived in Bryn Mawr for a while, and no one there said anything but 'Penn'. Which raises the question: how many other schools have a name formed as U of [some state name], where said school is Not a state school? The U of ... construct mostly, if not always, connotes public school. (Back in the 19th century, there came the Land Grant Colleges, and the form U of [some state name] was created.) I can't think of one. So UPenn doesn't sound right. OTOH, Rutgers is the University of New Jersey; likely others sought to avoid the stigma of public education :). There is Univ. of Chicago and Rochester (not that Jack Benny guy) and probably lots of others.

Anonymous 7:36 PM  

Penna and Anon 6:56,
Like your lovely bride, I’m a graduate of The University of Pennsylvania. But our difference in ages has given us very different perspectives on the name of the school. Like Anon 6:56, to my ear, UPenn doesn’t sound right. And the reason is that until ten minutes ago no one used UPenn. No one.Ever. No need to trust me. Head to the book store. There are 5000 items with Penn. None with U Penn. Or consider the fight song which exhorts us to have “ a toast for dear old Penn”. All this mischief started wit the interwebs, where Penn’s URL is indeed UPenn. It was a bitter bill necessitated by the fact that in the Commonwealth ( Pa. is not a state) all sorts of entities have the Penn abbreviation. So I dutifully fill in UPenn constructed and edited by people who wouldn’t know Smoky Joe’s from their elbow, gritting my teeth all the while. The good news is, you’ll outlive me. And my classmates. In time UPenn will be standard. Like using beg the question to mean raise the question, that’s a pity. Something will be lost.
Anon, Rutgers is an interesting case. It is of course NJ’s state university, but it is also one of 9?— someone will have to get the true number- very few colonial colleges. That is, colleges carted before our revolution. To complicate matters there’s a school called The College e of New Jersey. It’s one of those under-the-radar schools which is quite good but has no national reputation. Until ten minutes ago it was called Trenton State. The blessings of Liberty have reduced Trenton to a scabrous factory of sadness necessitating the name change.
All very boring. And, somehow, I’m sure, offensive. Ah well. Hooray for the Red and the Blue.

Unknown 10:13 PM  

Extremely odd that "Children's Author Blyton" was also a clue in today's (3/30) LA Times Crossword, especially given her racist rep. I even checked to see if today was some special date in her life but it does not appear to be so. I had never heard of her before which I guess is a good thing.

mainliner (fka PA res) 12:12 AM  

@Anon 6:56

i live in bryn mawr and im sure you have not spoken to every single person who ever lived there. my point was not that everyone in bryn mawr says u penn. some people do - i have heard it myself amongst my neighbors even though i have never said it myself.

how many students of southern new hampshire "university" say
'i go to S N H U'. the frequency of utterences in common society has never been the measure of accuracy of an abbr.

U of Penn student 12:24 AM  

I think the problem you guys are dancing around is that we DO NOT want to continue to be confused with Penn State. The other Penn.

[wikipedia]:
The University of Pennsylvania (Penn or UPenn) is a private Ivy League research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The university claims a founding date of 1740 and is one of the nine colonial colleges chartered prior to the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

How’s Trump University Law School going? Why Michael doesn’t use Rachel instead of your blathering idiocy is a mystery to me:

thefogman 9:33 AM  

Not perfect in every way, but still a very enjoyable solve. For me anyways.

spacecraft 10:56 AM  

No, there was nothing "medium" about this Friday puzzle somehow misfiled into a Tuesday slot. OFC talks about a HUGO Boss like he should be familiar to everybody; he is not. {Googles} Oh, one of those clothing "designers" who somehow convince people to pay thousands of times the value of something they drew up. No wonder I never heard of him. Buying "designer" ANYTHING is what I call a BADMOVE.

And are we supposed to know who Blyton is? Or is it me? Should I go back under my rock? This puzzle is chock full of PPPs and expressions I just never saw before. Okay, I can infer the idea of SPINKICK; I knew it as a roundhouse kick but never ran across that term. Same with CARBONOFFSET, HOTTAKE and EYEMASK. I tell you this was a slower slog than most Sundays!

The crossing of SINGE/TINGE caught my [side] eye, but I did smile at ROB/BANK and the anagram of DYSON/SYNOD. Lots of potential DOD repeaters today; how about ALI MacGraw? Gotta be a love story in there somewhere. Score? Hm, maybe this was simply not in my wheelhouse, so shouldn't be punished unduly. Par. But it still doesn't belong this early in the week.

Burma Shave 11:47 AM  

ANTACID ALERT

These are HOT,TAKE OFF the RIBS,
they're not PINK and have a SINGE.
They're MINEMINEMINE, I got MAINE dibs:
a NEAR perfect CARBON TINGE.

--- HUGO DYSON

Anonymous 12:39 PM  

59A and 60D. Naticked.

leftcoaster 2:32 PM  

Got a KICK out of this one, with only a little SPIN. So all went pretty well. (Except for maybe the tommy GUN.)

Liked the thematic musical entertainers’ HOMONYMS, especially BONO’s CARBON OFFSET. Wondered about HUGO until noting the BASS clothing name. (My favorite, mostly unworn, suit.)

Wasn’t familiar with CHICA for Latina “girl” or CC’S for “loops in”, though both seemed apt. And have to note the slightly "colored” TINGE and “burned” SINGE crossing.

Enjoyed it.

rondo 3:12 PM  

I found this pretty easy. Had less than half of CARBONOFFSET and filled it in without reading the clue; had to be right.
I have a bunch of HUGO Boss clothing. HUGO Boss sportswear made pretty good Pre-COVID office wear on days before hitting the course after work. Or other days. Good quality too. Still getting my money's worth out of it.

Corny in the corners with COBS.

Tuesdays still generally lackluster but maybe improving?

leftcoaster 4:15 PM  

Oops. M not H.

leftcoasters 5:38 PM  

... and Boss not Bass. (Careless comment typos.)

Diana, LIW 9:31 PM  

Major Natick including ADONIS/CCS/OCCAM. Should have gotten CCS. Oh well. dnf

Lady Di

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