Cyclical paradox discussed in "Gödel, Escher, Bach" / MON 4-12-21 / Sports metaphor used to describe esoteric knowledge / Hypothetical musings / Modern pet name

Monday, April 12, 2021

Constructor: Aimee Lucido and Ella Dershowitz

Relative difficulty: Challenging (LOL, slow Tuesday time for me)

THEME: INSIDE BASEBALL (62A: Sports metaphor used to describe esoteric knowledge ... with a hint to the circled letters) — circled letters contain the names for single members of three completely random MLB teams:

Theme answers:
  • BREAKFAST ROLLS (16A: Cinnamon buns and such)
  • STRANGE LOOP (29A: Cyclical paradox discussed in "Gödel, Escher, Bach")
  • "THE WEST WING" (48A: Onetime TV political drama set in Washington)
Word of the Day: STRANGE LOOP (29A) —

strange loop is a cyclic structure that goes through several levels in a  hierarchical system. It arises when, by moving only upwards or downwards through the system, one finds oneself back where one started. Strange loops may involve self-reference and paradox. The concept of a strange loop was proposed and extensively discussed by Douglas Hofstadter in Gödel, Escher, Bach, and is further elaborated in Hofstadter's book I Am a Strange Loop, published in 2007.

tangled hierarchy is a hierarchical consciousness system in which a strange loop appears. (wikipedia)

• • •

So many problems today. Let's start with the stuff that's intrinsically wrong, and then we can move on to the stuff that's not really the puzzle's fault. The theme just doesn't work. I say this as a fairly serious baseball fan. Multiple-podcast-listening serious. Watch-my-Tigers-even-though-they're-awful serious. 43-years-of-fandom serious. First, INSIDE BASEBALL means what it says; it doesn't mean BASEBALL INSIDE. Second, what is "inside" is not ... "baseball." It is three totally arbitrary team names, and not even team names, but the name that you would call a single player on that team. So "a single baseball player inside" is what is happening. And the teams involved have nothing in common except that they're all in the American League, which ... I don't think is relevant to how the theme works. No MET, no RED, no idea why. So the group isn't even tight. The themer set is just way, way too loose an expression of the revealer phrase. Further ... BREAKFAST ROLLS are not a category that exists in my head, and since only one type of "roll" was in the clue, I thought the answer was going to be way broader. Had BREAKFAST and then ... nothing. FOODS? Who knows. Also STRANGE LOOP, LOL, what. Nothing about the answer, nothing about the clue, Nothing About The Wikipedia Definition Posted Above has me any closer to understanding what that is. I mean, BRANGELINA is sitting right there and you just leave it? So what if it's not the same length as "THE WEST WING," find a new themer with RED or MET in it ... something. STRANGE LOOP is bizarro, and it's especially bizarro *on a Monday*. Wow. OK.

This was definitely not a Monday puzzle. My time said more T or even W. The weird themer set alone should've bumped it to Tuesday. Are we still all required to have a Ph.D. in Yale trivia? It's exhausting. I have no idea what the damn BULLDOG's name is (11D: Yale's Handsome Dan mascot, for one). I guess I knew that was their team name / mascot, but ugh. I had BU-L--- and no idea. Wrote in BUILDER. Dan the BUILDER, Bob's incompetent brother. A [Slight coloring] is a TINGE, but a TINT is just a ... coloring? Totally forgot that right-wing goon Mike ROWE's name (54A: Mike of TV's "Dirty Jobs" and "Somebody's Gotta Do It"). For a reason. Ugh. All I could come up with was REES. Had GET TO IT before GET ON IT (42D: "Now, work!"). Had AL- crossing R-NT at the end and honestly just stared for a second or two before realizing it was ALE / RENT. I go to bars to drink cocktails, so having [Bar serving] be both BEER *and* ALE today was ... let's say, not on my wavelength. The "?" on RENT just made no sense to me (39D: Figure in home economics?). Fine clue, but again, not Monday stuff. Loved WHAT-IFS, but again, next to GETONIT, not Mondayish. Now, I typo'd IMP somehow, and it went in as MIP, so the fact that it took me a seeming eternity to pick up the revealer phrase, that's totally on me. In fact, you can put this entire second paragraph on me. But the busted / tenuous nature of the theme, that's not my fault. If you're gonna do baseball themes, do them well. I love crosswords. I love baseball. This puzzle ... I wish I loved more. Really hate when Mondays are off. They usually hit more than they miss.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:23 AM  

Gotta agree with @Rex on this one - not a great puzzle and definitely not a Monday puzzle.

"Cyclical paradox discussed in 'Godel, Escher, Bach'"/STRANGELOOP is as un-Mondayish a clue/answer as has ever existed.

Frantic Sloth 12:46 AM  

I had no idea those Escher drawings were examples of this STRANGELOOP thing. Seems there'd be a more clever name for it. This is just odd word.

I hate to say it, but I agree with Rex on this theme. From concept to execution it's a loosey-goosey snooze fest.
Still, it does a decent job for the Mondee level with just a bit more chew, but challenging?? LOL!

Yet I suppose if one thought that the Yale Builder was a plausible mascot, one might have more critical difficulties to navigate than obtaining that elusive "Ph.D. in Yale trivia".

Oh, I kid the Rex. What with Yale and the dual mysteries of BREAKFASTROLLS and STRANGELOOP, he's obviously having a rough go of it today. It's just that I didn't for once. 🤷‍♀️


Mr. Jones 1:22 AM  

I agree with Rex that singular, random AL team names does not a solid theme make. Other than that, though, his review is overly pedantic. INSIDE BASEBALL vs "Baseball Inside" ... c'mon man, really? As weak as the puzzle is, this logic is weaker.

The review is also bizarrely parochial... Rex orders cocktails when he goes to a bar, therefore BEER and ALE are somehow invalid? ahem.

I read Rex because he doesn't fawn, he doesn't write "aw shucks isn't this great" commentary unless it's actually deserved. But picking at this simple little puzzle is overkill.

egsforbreakfast 1:29 AM  

Oddly, Rex’s comments kinda overlap in a meaningful way for this puzzle, although he doesn’t have any idea what he’s talking about. But INSIDE BASEBALL actually means “ esoteric or highly technical.”. Thus, STRANGE LOOP is extreme INSIDE BASEBALL. OTOH, the theme works fine, with baseballers being INSIDE the themers. I thought the puzzle was about average toughness for a Monday, and I thank Aimee Lucido and Ella Dershowitz for a fun time.

Rique Beleza 1:34 AM  

My Monday-Level test is not speed. If I can complete the entire grid by only filling in answers that already have a letter on the grid - linking, if you will - then it’s a Monday. This one passed.

LOL was used twice in the rant - seems excessive for a grownup.

Joe Dipinto 1:52 AM  

For some reason I couldn't see the far WEST for the TWEEZE. Oh never mind.

We all slow down...

chefwen 2:09 AM  

A breakfast roll is a hard roll served with butter and cold cuts or jams. A cinnamon roll is a breakfast pastry.
Pretty easy Monday, STRANGLE LOOP being the exception.

JOHN X 2:13 AM  

This puzzle was easy, man. Either that or I’m a genius.

BREAKFASTROLLS are definitely a thing. STRANGELOOP had so many gimme down crosses it couldn’t be anything else.

I think Rex didn’t like the puzzle because it was made by two women. And they don’t understand baseball.

Hey, I know a joke involving a BULLDOG that is so filthy I obviously can’t tell it here, but if I did you would stop believing in God. I learned it in a Florida prison.

Happy Monday!

Ann Howell 2:32 AM  

Didn't mind this one as much as Rex. Yes the theme was lame, but the puzzle bounced along just fine... maybe slightly more laggy than a typical Monday, but nothing too bad. I liked learning about strange loops - might read up some more on the subject!

jae 2:52 AM  

Medium. This was an average Monday for me, but then I knew the Yale clue (thank you Gilmore Girls). Liked this a bit more than @Rex did, but he has a point about the theme.

Loren Muse Smith 2:53 AM  

Yay! Whenever the day’s comments don’t go live until after I’m at school, I can’t participate because Big Brother at the BOE won’t let my laptop access the site.

(It also recently blocked a YouTube recording of a BBC Romeo and Juliet performance, one that I’ve used for a couple of years – one whose starting and ending times for the scenes I have worked into my home-made teaching manual of the play. Teaching has become nothing but one battle after another. Seriously. I say this not to elicit any Good for you, thanks for teaching! comments but rather to have you just be aware that it’s not working. Too many people who’ve never faced 30 reluctant teen-agers are dictating what we’re to do, and a lot of it is laughable.)

@Mr. Jones – skip my comment because I AM that "aw shucks isn't this great" person. In my defense, anything revolving around words and language floats my boat, so a crossword puzzle by definition always has stuff that I enjoy.

I do agree, though, that the reveal is a bit high and outside for anyone who’s wanting one right across the plate. Me, I’ll swing at anything.

Loved WHAT IFS – a thumb in the eye of all you pearl-clutchers who are horrified at the nounifying of non-nouns. I would suggest you all to spend some time with the OED to see how a word can shift, both in meaning and part of speech. Come over to the descriptivist side, consider language not as a yardstick to measure your superiority over someone but rather as a living, breathing entity to be admired and enjoyed. I know, I know - that’s a big ask.

(I’ve posted this before, but Steven Fry expresses the sentiment here beautifully.)

Funny how there’s such a huge difference between CAT LADY and cat woman. I mean, like a major difference. Wonder if Julie Newmar has lots of cats in her golden years. I don’t have cats, but I do drive hunched up over the steering wheel, squinting, with my mouth open.

Rex – the way you measure how important something is to you by your ”multiple-podcast-listening serious” phrase had me doing some self-reflection. Man. As I sit here embarrassed by how many Bravo TV and Bachelor podcasts I listen to, I reassure myself that I also listen to several linguistics podcasts, all of Ali Ward’s “Ologies” podcasts, and any Great Courses anthropology series I can score on Audible. Oh, and my daughter turned me on to a new one, Smartless, where I listened to George Clooney recount his most epic prank ever. I’ve tried to embed it here. Scroll down and click on the George Clooney episode. At the top, you can fast forward to around 17:45 to hear it. It’s worth a listen. Please be warned that you should Not listen to this as you enjoy your morning BREAKFAST ROLL.

I kept going back and looking at TACTIC. That surreptitious date maneuver to mask the evidence of our Szechuan Garlic Chicken? Wait for it. . . . the Tic Tac TACTIC.

Unknown 2:57 AM  

AGUE? WTF? I finished this puzzle with AGUE and assumed I had a typo or something. It comes up with a google search, but...has anybody ever heard this word used in conversation?

JJnytxw 5:09 AM  

@Unknown AGUE is about as pure an example of crosswordese as I can think of--i.e. a word that is frequently and exclusively used in crosswords.

The first time I saw AGUE, it stopped my solve cold. Now, it doesn't even register. I feel your frustration though. Words such as AGUE, UEY, and ETUI arguably present unfair barriers to newer solvers, especially early in the week; therefore, better puzzles will keep crosswordese to a minimum.

Conrad 5:43 AM  

@Unk 2:57: AGUE is classic crosswordese. Those of us who were working the NYT puzzle in the Maleska Era remember it well.

Karl Grouch 6:11 AM  

No pun, no fun.

I hate 14-letter themers, I can hear them crying out for help
"Please constructors, find something funny and turn us into grown-up 15s, for Xwords' sake!"

STRANGE BLOOPERS (15) , those themers.

BREAKFAST TROLLS (15) making up YIN SIDE BASEBALL (15) players.

This was THE WEST WING WACK (15).

Snoble 6:11 AM  

I love “Godel/Escher/Bach” and knew STRANGELOOP right away, but immediately thought I must be caught in a strange loop because this puzzle had so many un-Monday clues. Hoffstadter’s GEB changed my relationship with mathematics and opened up a new way of looking at reality

Lobster11 6:11 AM  

So much to gripe about today, but I'll pick one nit that really irks me: Cluing TACTIC as "Strategy." In any context in which either word is used, the other is also used to mean something very different. "Tactics" refer to the specific actions taken to implement a general "strategy." I can't think of a single situation in which the two words are interchangeable.

Lewis 6:20 AM  

Thank you, A&E, for teaching me this meaning of INSIDE BASEBALL, a term that sounded familiar (I think I’ve assumed it is a sports network show, but after some quick research I’ve come to find out that no it isn’t (at least that I can find). In any case, I don’t think I’ve ever heard it in this metaphoric context. Now it’s cemented in my knowledge bank, especially after reading this:

After zipping through the grid, I stared at it for a moment, and oh, the places I went. Mini-theme of double E’s (6), crossing palindromes TAT and ATTA with AHA in the same latitude, DOG over CAT (which is near a backward CAT) sharing the grid with a backward PETS. [Takes a breath.]

Then there’s the marine connection (SEA, AHAB, backward KEEL, and the lovable NARWHAL), TAC crossing TACTIC, the lovely PuzzPair© ETTA and ATTA, the STEP down and the ENDS up. And any puzzle that begins with ENDS has got me on its side right from the start.

New knowledge plus inner treasures, all in a beginner-friendly setting – that makes for one sterling Monday puzzle. Thank you, you two!

Hungry Mother 6:38 AM  

A bit of a slow Monday puzzle here. Easy enough, but needed to work with a lot of perps.

Hungry Mother 6:53 AM  

GEB is my favorite book of all time. I’ve read and reread it over and over in a not so STRANGELOOP. I taught two courses based on the book at two different colleges in two different states. Doug Hofstadter came to campus once for a lecture. He was spread out among the Art, Music, Philosophy, and Math/Computer Science departments, spending an hour in each. My chairman was too intimidated to go one-on-one with the author and asked me to stand-in. “Don’t throw me into that briar patch”, I chuckled. I spent an awesome hour talking about AI, the theme of the book. The only experience that comes close was when I drove Grace Murray Hopper to and from an airport an hour from campus.

G. F. Barbato 6:55 AM  

I hate too pile on... But narwhals don't have tusks. It is a long tooth.

Roberto 7:03 AM  

Random. Why not discarding or isometric or discrediting?? Would make as much sense

SouthsideJohnny 7:07 AM  

I strongly suspected that this one was run on the wrong day until I came upon ‘Godel, Escher, Bach', at which point I knew it was run on the wrong day. That’s ok, it happens from time-to-time (and many who post here won’t mind it being a little more challenging on a Monday).

I’m not a pet person, and for that matter I’m not very modern either, so BAE was pretty much a WOE - and I only knew NARWHAL from crosswords - for a while I was wondering If “Bee” was a new type of fad in pet names (or even “Boo”, perhaps, lol).

It’s always nice when @LMS stops by, she’s a refreshing counter-weight to Rex’s all-too-frequent grouchiness.

Unknown 7:10 AM  

So, we've had Mao and Che in recent puzzles, mass murderers both, and of course nothing from Rex. But Mike Rowe, a man who advocates for good paying, useful jobs to lift people out of poverty, he's a "right wing goon"....

Jess 7:16 AM  

I teach about strange loops, so this clue turned this into an easy Monday for me, but I recognize it's pretty niche.

Wasn't a big fan of the large number of "OHDEAR", "AWGEE", "ATTA", "GETONIT", "AWEEBIT", "AHA", or two is no big deal, but 'random interchanegable sayings' ends up feeling like a slog, even when easily solved.

That said, the fill felt pretty clean, especially with the nice longish downs.

kitshef 7:18 AM  

Better clue for “GET ON IT”?: Stop your foolishness off that horse!

Tough call today. I’m almost obliged to love any puzzle referencing Godel, Escher, Bach and STRANGE LOOPs. But I’m almost obliged to hate any puzzle using BAE.

Love tops hate. Plus we got LEEK and LYNX, adding to the love.

jbh 7:30 AM  

It may have been run on the wrong day but it was a typical Monday for me.

First thought 'RICE' instead of 'RING', and 'GET BUSY' instead of 'GET ON IT'.

Dan A 7:32 AM  

A mobius strip may be a simple strange loop?

kitshef 7:34 AM  

'... here let them lie
Till famine and the AGUE eat them up'

Macbeth: Act V, Scene 5

Also, all tusks are teeth.

Son Volt 7:40 AM  

This played easy for me. I solved as a themeless - agree with Rex that the gimmick was all over the place. Thought the fill was decent - some short gluey stuff but overall fine.

NARWHAL adjacent to DREIDEL was neat and I liked WHAT IFS and A WEE BIT. Rex should really apply the “left wing goon” to the numerous Che sightings or to MAO in this one.

Despite the half-baked theme I had an enjoyable solve.

Keith 7:53 AM  

Thought the puzzle was good, but not sure how you could justify STRANGE LOOP when STRANGELOVE would have worked just as easily. Guess the V was hard to fill around.

Texas Momma 8:02 AM  

@JOHN X. You must be a genius! There. I said it. Because I wish someone, any one, would recognize my genius sometimes.

Greg in Sanibel 8:02 AM  

@lobster11 same nit here. TACTICs are specific things you do to execute a strategy. The words are in no way synonyms.

Unknown 8:05 AM  

TACTICs is execution of strategy, not the same thing. As a LTC I used to play squash with used to say with an errant shot, "Good strategy, bad tactics".

Paul G. 8:06 AM  

One of my fastest Mondays yet at 5"30'! Very much enjoyed the CAT LADY CABAL CHILLIN with the LYNXes.

Z 8:08 AM  

Since this blog and comments are as INSIDE BASEBALL as you can get about crosswords I am mildly amused by the meta quality of the review.

I think the theme works fine, taking the one meaning of the term and twisting it out of shape into a new meaning. Seems like this is what themes do. Yeah, the three teams are a bit random, so that’s suboptimal, but good enough.

@LMS - I’m mildly surprised your students haven’t shared with you how they get around Big Brother. As for podcasts... If your interests tend to be varied podcasts are a huge time suck. I am pretty sure I could spend my entire waking life listening to podcasts and not run out. The written form is so much superior in efficiency.

Apparently AGUE does make an occasional appearance in the wild. Merriam-Webster gives three example sentences, all relatively recent and all from newspapers. I’m a bit surprised as I would have guessed that it was somebody like Dickens who would have used the term last outside of a crossword.

Just leaving this here.

bocamp 8:12 AM  

@Aimee & @Ella, thx to you both for the great BASEBALL Monday puz! :)

Med. solve.

Good start in the NW; slow and steady progress, finishing up in the NE.

Always enjoy a BASEBALL theme. ⚾️

"Moby Dick" was a tough read for me; gave it up after the first few chapters. Later listened to the audiobook, and enjoyed it very much. Go figure.

Had fun watching "Frozen" with the youngest granddaughter a couple of years ago.

Currently watching A WEST WING Special to Benefit "When We All Vote" on Crave (Canada).

OH DEAR, What Can The Matter Be ~ Lita Roza

@TTrimble (9:30 PM) last eve.

At least next time we get "t e l h a" you'll think "telehealth", even if one of the letters is not in center position. Btw, my auto-corrupt doesn't like it either! LOL

@A (12:06 AM) last eve.

Thx for the heads-up and vid! I'll be sure to tune in to some barbershop today. Three friends and I formed a quartet at EWC in Cheney.

yd 0 (not nearly the fastest solve, but by far the most satisfying)

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all 🕊

ws 8:16 AM  

This was my personal record for fastest Monday. I agree the theme doesn’t work, but having read GEB in college, this was a gimme. Mike Rowe is icky.

Unknown 8:17 AM  

"So many problems today. . . . ."
Rex's biggest problem would appear to be that Will Shortz emplyed not one but *two* women today in his monthly quota of female constructors, who came up with this junk (according to rex).
I thought it was a nice crunchy puzzle and I wasn't far off my fastest Monday time.
I had tried to read Escher, Bach when I was in high school; barely understood a thing; but it helped me out today.
And re: rex'x complaint that Mr. Rowe tends right wing, are we only supposed to see leftist, progressive folks in the puzzles now? Sheesh, what a narrow world he lives in.
PS Loved the baseball theme; very timely.

Z 8:22 AM  

@Southside Johnny- BAE is a “Pet name” as in “sweetie” or “honey,” not a “pet name” as in “Spot” or “Fido.”

@TACTIC complainers - The clue/answer works the same way 17D works... well, in reverse. Remember, a clue is not a definition.

The deeper epistemological questions of what makes a Tusk a Tusk have clearly been answered.

RooMonster 8:33 AM  

Hey All !
What Rex found *Challenging*, I found pretty easy. I was racing through the grid, actually trying to slow myself down a bit. Ended up one minute slower than my record MunPuz time. Weird.

I did know he wouldn't like it. Although, I thought he'd complain about the total amounts of short fill. Dang. Lots of it. 16 Threes, 38 Fours. Or maybe it just seemed like lots to me. There are 10 Sevens, but nothing longer until the themers. Maybe I'm delusional. (Good bet, that.)

Anyway, seems odd it took two people to make this. 39 Blocks, although with the *sideburns* in the NE/SW, it seems like more. Normal MonPuz Block amount. (Well, 38, actually.) Just a STRANGE LOOP feel to the puz today for me. Again, probably it's me. 🤪

It does have Cinnamon buns for our U man @M&A. And a NARWHAL, so it's not totally hopeless. Light POC-ness for @Anoa Bob.

Nice pairing of WHAT IFS and GET ON IT. "I want to know the hypotheticals, the WHAT IFS, GET ON IT!" I can imagine a Sci-Fi FILM General telling his people.

Two F's

Joe R. 8:43 AM  

If Rex doesn't know what a STRANGE LOOP is after looking at the Wikipedia page, he must not have looked very hard. Either that, or he must live under a rock to never have seen a couple of Escher's most famous paintings, which demonstrate the concept very well. I do agree that STRANGE LOOP is a bit much for a Monday, but given how easy most of the crosses were, it practically filled itself in. Thirty seconds of googling gives many good examples, so I find it hard to believe that Rex was unable to figure it out if he was actually trying.

And BREAKFAST ROLLS are absolutely a thing. 196,000,000 results on Google is not something wildly obscure. It might not be the most widespread term, but neither is it unheard of.

But most of all, I was very disappointed in Rex for not calling out the appalling clue on 44A. The IRA was a terrorist organization who murdered many civilians. Even though it turned out that that was not the IRA in question, I still had a visceral reaction to seeing them referenced so calmly in a clue. Rex rails (correctly) against the inclusion of American terrorist organizations, even when they are clued as something else (e.g. NRA as a New Deal program). Where is the abhorrence for well-known terrorist group that killed so many people over decades?

Lewis 8:52 AM  

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

1. Place for meals on wheels (6)
2. What happens when two people miss each other a lot? (5)(3)
3. Hardest part of a date (3)
4. One doing the lord's work (7)
5. What has four legs and sprints? (5)(4)


Marcie 8:58 AM  

Loved Stephen Fry. Thank you.

Barbara S. 8:58 AM  

I thought this was a serviceable Monday (if somewhat arbitrary in its themers) until I came here and realized that I never knew the metaphorical meaning of INSIDE BASEBALL. I’m so glad this puzzle, Rex and you guys taught me that – thanks all around. I love the expression and I’m going to try hard to work it into conversation. How have I missed it?


And An Abundance of Animals: LYNX, NARWHAL, SNAKE, BULLDOG, CAT LADY.

My best friend and I went through a Moebius Strip phase when we were about 11 and had just read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, a book which introduced us to the concept. We went around making Moebius strips by the score and drawing lines on them to make sure they were really one-sided. It was a revelation.

Well, it was bound to happen: the literary pickings are slim today so here, for the kid in all of us, is a suppertime scene painted by BEVERLY CLEARY, born Apr. 12, 1916. Beverly Cleary died just over two weeks ago on Mar. 25 at the age of 104. She sold 91 million books over the course of her career, making her one of the most successful authors in the United States.

After Father had served the chicken and mashed potatoes and peas and Mother had passed the hot rolls, Beezus decided the time had come to tell Aunt Beatrice about being Sacajawea. "Do you know what I did last week?" she began. "I want some jelly," said Ramona. "You mean, 'Please pass the jelly,'" corrected Mother while Beezus waited patiently. "No, what did you do last week?" asked Aunt Beatrice. "Well, last week I-" Beezus began again. "I like purple jelly better than red jelly," said Ramona. "Ramona, stop interrupting your sister," said Father. "Well, I do like purple jelly better than red jelly," insisted Ramona. "Never mind," said Mother. "Go on, Beezus." "Last week-" said Beezus, looking at her aunt, who smiled as if she understood. "Excuse me, Beezus," Mother cut in. "Ramona, we do not put jelly on our mashed potatoes." "I like jelly on my mashed potatoes." Ramona stirred potato and jelly around with her fork. "Ramona, you heard what your mother said." Father looked stern. "If I can put butter on my mashed potatoes, why can't I put jelly? I put butter and jelly on toast," said Ramona. Father couldn't help laughing. "That's a hard question to answer." "But Mother-" Beezus began. "I like jelly on my mashed potatoes," interrupted Ramona, looking sulky.
(From Beezus and Ramona)

Frantic Sloth 9:07 AM  

@Loren 253am Not sure this matters, but you've gained at least one defector to the descriptivist side. You opened my eyes early on when I joined this commentunity (your word!) and I'm grateful for that awakening. Your ability to comment is the best argument in favor of the midnight Rexpost that I can imagine. And thanks for that Smartless rabbit hole. 🙄😉

@Texas Momma 802am You're a genius. Well, you did say "anyone"...

@Z 808am Thanks for that video link, Chuckles.

Nancy 9:09 AM  

A big, slow, easy-to-hit softball that looked to be the size of a melon as it was heading right smack dab over the middle of the plate. I hit it over the left-field bleachers -- but alas, the bases were empty at the time. Everyone else was hitting homers too; no one was just hitting singles.

I did perk up for the one very interesting and provocative interesting answer that I may decide to Google. I never heard of the "cyclical paradox" known as a STRANGE LOOP. It sounds like something I should know, doesn't it?

And a nice clue for RENT (39D). I also had one write-over: I had the RI?? and hastily wrote down RICE instead of RING for the "good thing to have on hand at a wedding". One should never be too hasty -- even on a creampuff of a puzzle.

TheMadDruid 9:13 AM  

Names of baseball teams; inside other words: how doesn’t it work? This is just fine. Agree tactic and strategy are not interchangeable.

Chicago Chica 9:16 AM  

I thought it was damn cute. Had ARMY for ACCT (anyone remember the Irish Republican) but all else came easy.

Paul & Kathy 9:34 AM  

I flew through this with a well-below-average-for-a-Monday time, but I can see why the complaints. The theme doesn't snap.

mathgent 9:37 AM  

I am fascinated by Godel's Incompleteness Theorems and so tried to read GEB. Never could get a foothold. I wish that I could have taken Hungry Mother's course.

One of Godel's theorems proves that there are true statements about natural numbers that cannot be proved from the axioms which define the natural numbers. It is believed that Goldbach's Conjecture is one such true statement. Every even number greater than two is the sum of two primes. This statement has been verified for all such even numbers as big as a computer can reach and yet it hasn't been proved. Some great mathematicians, including Euler, have tried.

The only positive thing I can say about the puzzle is that I learned what STRANGELOOPs are and I saw some fascinating pictures of them on the internet.

SinkerSlider 9:44 AM  

Just wondering - I'm sure there are a few of of us old timers here (I saw both Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays play live for example) - Do any of us still watch these days ? It just seems so weird now - about 75% of the time the batter either strikes out or hits a home run. I've seen designated hitters strike out five times in a game (which is absolutely bizarre - pitchers in the National League don't even strike out every at bat; isn't the DH so that better hitters get to bat instead of pitchers?).

I don't understand why the coaches and managers allow the players to just jog around the bases instead of hustling - they're professional athletes and they can't even be bothered to run around the bases ? Billy Martin must be spinning around in his grave,

Anonymous 9:48 AM  

c'mon man. you don't have to be a West Point graduate to know that strategy ≠ tactic. never, ever.

the INSIDE BASEBALL *hint* is perfectly adequate, since, as a *hint* it need not be literal.

went about as easy as a Monday ever does. I guess that makes me smarter than a SUNY instructor?

Nancy 9:50 AM  

@Joe D (1:52) -- Love your pun!

@Lewis (6:20): "Any puzzle that begins with ENDS has me on its side..." Boy, are you ever a soft touch, Lewis! :)

@JOHN X (2:13): Right after I Google STRANGE LOOP I think I'll Google "filthy BULLDOG story".

ghkozen 9:51 AM  

Another baseball theme within a week of the last one. Absolutely awful. One it too many, but I understand that abjectly stupid game has fans who may need catering to. But two in a week??? Come on, lay off it Will. Some of us would rather guzzle bleach than think about baseball. Maybe cater to us too ever?

Anonymous 9:59 AM  

@Hungry Mother:
While I envy your time with Hofstadter, OTOH Hopper, while famous and rightly so, devised COBOL which is second only to BASIC as the ultimate pariah of programming languages. Some famous computer scientist, whose name escapes me as I type, likened them to brain destroying and thus making it impossible to teach anyone exposed to them a Real Programming Language, aka C.

@G. F. Barbato:
And what do you think a tusk is?

Unknown 10:06 AM  

I solved only the downs and found this easy peasy. Only one minute slower than my best Monday time.I guess I’m in sync with this puzzle constructor? Theme is lame, I’ll give you that.

JBB94956 10:09 AM  

(1) As a Yale alumnus, I did think, how would anyone know this?
(2) I also thing "strategy" as a clue for "tactic" for more wrong. In the business world, they are often considered contrasting if not opposites.

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

The platinum sombrero--striking out five times in a game-- is actually very rare. To date there have been about 15,067,563 at bats in MLB history.
And only 58 times has there been player who struck out five times in a game.
58 in 15 million.
And for the record at least three pitchers have struck out five times in a game: Ted Lilly, Gerrit Cole and my favorite southpaw, Lefty Grove.
Lat thought. For a truly bad day, consider Aaron Judge. The Yankee goliath whiffed 3 times in the first game of a double header then 5 more times in the second game. 8ks in a day. Oof. ( June 4, 2018 against the Tigers)

Nancy 10:14 AM  

Can any one of you who found a really wonderful illustration of a STRANGE LOOP today -- one that is both visually intriguing and intellectually enlightening -- put the link up on the blog ?There's so much out there on the subject, no two sites seem anything like each other, and I'm not really sure exactly what I should be looking for.

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

while I have the advantage of typing some few miles from the Yale campus, it is also true that school mascots, even the Ivy League, are common knowledge, esp. during football season. the trick to the clue, if there were one, is recognizing that Dan is the Name of the Yale Bulldog. smarter than that Georgia Bulldog, of course.

"act as mascots for 15 NCAA Division I schools including Butler and Yale."

15, count 'em, 15.

Anonymous 10:27 AM  

Now that the bulldog as mascot/team name has arisen, I wonder whether Stanford has some old, short, Italian guy wearing a mitre on the sidelines?

Whatsername 10:33 AM  

Not at all challenging other than other than the obvious outlier at 29A. I mean I know Bach, but Gödel? Escher? That clue has no business being in any crossword before Wednesday. And IMO same for ATOI, not a widely known foreign term. I do agree with Rex though about the theme. I GET it but there’s no special INSIDE knowledge required to know the names of three BASEBALL teams so it kinda falls flat.

Now I’m hungry for cinnamon ROLLS. And WHAT IF before BREAKFAST this morning I downloaded the Domino’s Pizza APP? At this rate, I’m gonna start looking like a NARWHAL instead of an ordinary CAT LADY. The SIGNS are all there. OH DEAR.

chance2travel 10:35 AM  

My solving time of 3:32 says this was an easy Monday; but I was surprised it was that low. My solving experience made me think it was going to be in the 4s or 5s. I started with the downs and had to skip every 3rd one. That meant I had to run through basically all the Across clues, though I hardly read them. So really didn't get hung up anywhere.

For 55A "Strategy" I already had most of the word TACTIC so I filled it in even though I said to myself "nope, that's not a correct clue/answer".

EdFromHackensack 10:41 AM  

Agree with Rex on all counts, which is rare. But he is right. The theme is weak and falls apart. And STRANGELOOP?? what the heck is that? Rex posted Liz Phair’s album cover. Is that really Liz’s nipple or is my mind playing tricks?

Canon Chasuble 10:44 AM  

“While the Blue BULLDOG yells “Boola boola boo!”
Shout out your voices now so loud and hale,
‘Tis a fun’ral ode we sing to Eli Yale,
Give us a yell “hi hi for H*****d,
For the Crimson today.

pmdm 10:48 AM  

Seems a favorite pastime on this site is to arbitrarily limit meanings to one(s) that do(es) not fit the meaning the clue/entry intends to use.

This puzzle was certainly a bit more difficult than a typical Monday puzzle. I actually left 3 squares blank because I prefer not to guess and refuse to research until Wednesday. I know few people who dislike baseball, and I am not one of them.

There is a connection with the three baseball nicknames. They all refer to outer space. Twin refers to a constellation, angel to a heavenly being, and astro - need I say. I guess if you think hard and loose enough ...

By the way, the last two episodes of the first Doctor Who story in which Peter Davidson starred as the Doctor are based on the drawings of Escher. Did you know that?

TTrimble 10:50 AM  

Something tells me that Rex is not going to dig any deeper to find an answer to "what is a STRANGE LOOP?" that satisfies him. Based on things he's said in the past, I doubt he'd ever sit still long enough to hear and absorb what a mathematician or computer scientist might have to say on the matter, much less read Gödel, Escher, Bach.

(Rex was pretty young when GEB first appeared, so I don't blame him for not knowing what an enormous impression it made on the intellectually curious reading public [around 1980 or 1981]. Reading it does take commitment and persistence from readers not familiar with these topics. It's a thick book, and rambles over lots of terrain.)

"One of Godel's theorems proves that there are true statements about natural numbers that cannot be proved from the axioms which define the natural numbers. It is believed that Goldbach's Conjecture is one such true statement. [It states] Every even number greater than two is the sum of two primes."

I don't think it's true that it's widely believed this statement is unprovable, although I'm sure you can find someone somewhere who has entertained the notion that it might be. It's clear that new ideas would be required for the proof, but lots of partial progress has been made.

GILL I. 10:52 AM  

I know diddley squat about baseball...I'm pretty sure I'd rather watch a NARWHAL eat a cinnamon bun than watch a GAME. Just to be on the safe side, my parents were huge fans; I didn't inherit the "watch paint dry" love.
Oh...the puzzle. Even though I've never heard of STRANGE LOOP (sounds like a TAT gone bad) nor anything INSIDE BASEBALL, I rather enjoyed something I knew nothing about.
You give me a little SNAKE some MOBS a DIP DOG a CAT LADY and flush it down with an AGUE (how do you pronounce that?) and I can do the AHA Monday dance.
Fun seeing ALI crossing ARTS. Why you ask? Because his activism, entertainment and philanthropy was an art of being the greatest. I hated boxing until he came along. I also don't eat BREAKFAST ROLLS; give me some cheese and a few grapes and I'm happy.
My session with a psychiatrist runneth over.

TTrimble 10:56 AM  

I agree with @JBB94956 about cluing TACTIC with "Strategy", although in loose usage these terms are often seen as interchangeable. As a chess player, I think of "strategy" more in terms of longer range goals, whereas a tactic is much more local in nature. In chess, a tactic will usually consist of a very few moves.

Anonymous 10:59 AM  

Every even number greater than two is the sum of two primes.

It's been years since I read GEB, but now that it's prime time again, I wonder how one could even write out a proper algebraic expression of that sentence?

bocamp 11:15 AM  

Agree that TACTICs would work better, but as Will might say, it's close enough for our purposes. In any event, I'll take TACTIC and/or 'strategy' any time in my puz. :)

@Loren Muse Smith (2:53 AM)

Very much appreciated your write-up, and thx for the Fry vid; what a jewel!

@Barbara S. (8:58 AM)

I can relate to Ramona. Harkening back to my year in Holland ('68-'69), I vividly recall an incident at the boarding house where I lived for the first couple of months. The breakfast table was laid out with all kinds of breads, rolls, meats, cheeses, jams, jellies, peanut butter, etc., etc., and I made the grave mistake of slapping peanut butter and jelly on my bread. I almost got evicted. Never made that mistake again. LOL

td 0 (expecting lots of company today!)

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Anonymoose 11:21 AM  

I'm going to buck the trend today and NOT pretend that I'm interested in STRANGELOOP.

TTrimble 11:21 AM  

A quick example which conveys the flavor of a strange loop is a Penrose triangle. This is a visual of something which you instinctually know cannot be realized as a three-dimensional construction in the real world, but if you look at any part of it and not the whole, there seems to be nothing wrong: any corner of it where two pieces of wood meet do so at 90 degrees and is the most familiar thing in the world, but as a gestalt, something is clearly wrong.

There's this uneasy feeling of having a > b > c > a. You see this type of thing all the time in Escher's prints. Here's one which I like a lot: one line of monks seems to be going downstairs continually but looping back to the same place, and similarly the other line going upstairs continually.

Some of his work is quite ingenious in such regards. Have a look.

Carola 11:30 AM  

Easy here, a combination of fill-right-in's and lucky crosses. The theme seemed sketchy to me: one player standing in for "baseball"? I don't think it quite works as an example of a part referring to the whole.

Some years ago a STRANGE LOOP of fate got me seated next to Douglas Hofstadter at a high school reunion banquet (my husband's school; I attended one far less rarified). Apprehensions about what in the world we'd talk about (GEB being way over my head) dissolved in a perfectly normal conversation.

@Unknown 2:27 - I learned AGUE from reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder "Little House" books; in one of them the family suffers from "fever 'n' ague" (malaria).

kitshef 11:34 AM  

@Nancy 10:14. Part of the problem is that STRANGE LOOP is a very broad term, and can apply to art, music, logic, gambling etc.

But the simplest visual is probably Escher's Ascending and Descending.

Find yourself a good sharp image of the staircase at the top of the castle.

pmdm 11:38 AM  

TTrimble: If you haven't, take a look at the Doctor Who episodes I referred to. Shots in the episode depict the sequence of monks on the stairs you referenced.

Doc John 11:42 AM  

Fully agree, Rex.
Cluing for TACTIC aside, I'm more concerned about the presence of both TACTIC and TAC in the same puzzle, much less crossing each other. And with Tic in the TAC clue. Seriously, WTF?
Never heard of a STRANGE LOOP but I will say that the cover for Gödel, Escher, Bach is very cool.

TTrimble 11:43 AM  

@Anonymous 10:59 AM
How may I help you? I'm not sure at what level you'd like an explanation.

(In case it needs saying: a prime number is a positive integer that cannot be expressed as a product of two positive integers both less than that number. Or: n is prime if whenever n = jk, then j must be either 1 or n, but not both!)

When you say "algebraic expression", I have a sneaking suspicion you mean an expression written in formal logical language. If you take as given the system N of natural numbers 1, 2, 3, ... equipped with addition + and multiplication x, then for example we define

"m < n" to mean (there exists k in N) m + k = n

"n is prime" to mean (1 < n) and (for all j, k in N) n = j x k implies [(j = 1 and k = n) or (j = n and k = 1)]

"m is even" to mean (there exists k in N) 2 x k = m.

Then Goldbach's Conjecture states

(for all m in N) [(2 < m) and (m is even)] implies [(there exist j, k in N) (j is prime) and (k is prime) and (j + k = m)]

which you can translate into a much longer sentence by replacing the abbreviatory devices like "j is prime" by the predicates given in the definitions above.

kitshef 11:43 AM  

@Nancy 10:14

Another one is intransitive dice. Say you have three dice, but they are not regular dice with sides of 1,2,3,4,5,6.
Instead, the dice have the following numbers on their sides:
Die 1: 2,2,4,4,9,9
Die 2: 1,1,6,6,8,8
Die 3: 3,3,5,5,7,7

Then play a game where you take Die 1 and a friend takes Die 2. You each roll your die and the higher number wins. You will find that over the course of enough games you win about 56% of the time. You have the better die.

Now play the same game, where you take Die 2 and a friend takes Die 3. Once again you will win about 56% of the time. Again, you have the better die.

So now think about what will happen if you take Die 3 and the friend takes Die 1. Well, you know Die 1 is better than Die 2, and you know Die 2 is better than Die 3, so you probably figure Die 1 must be a lot better than Die 3.

But you'd be wrong: Die 3 will beat Die 1 about 56% of the time.

Die 1 is better than Die 2, which is better than Die 3, which is better than Die 1.

Joe Dipinto 11:44 AM  

@Kitshef → Better clue for “GET ON IT”?: Stop your foolishness off that horse!

Best post of the day.

BEE-ER 11:45 AM  

I am one 8-letter word (not a pangram) away from being a Queen Bee!

Mr. Benson 11:46 AM  

All good and sensible baseball fans loathe the ASTROs and wish they didn’t have to see them so often in crosswords.

Mr. Benson 11:49 AM  

If the constructors had used BRANGELINA, Rex would have lashed out at the inconsistency of a theme element not spanning across multiple words. You can’t win with some people.

Barbara S. 11:56 AM  

@bocamp (11:15)
At the risk of seeming thick, what were you supposed to do with the jams and peanut butter? Ignore them? Eat them from the jar? ;)

tea73 11:59 AM  

I wouldn't know an American League team vs a National League team, so I had no issues with that nit.

Personally, I think STRANGE LOOP is much more interesting than BRANGELINA who aren't even a thing any more are they?

I did the puzzle, got to the reveal, thought "Oh cute". It took me a little less than my average Monday time.

I know a surprising number of people (including me) who are watching THE WEST WING right now. I was busy reading to small fry when it first came out and missed it. What a terrific show. Still so relevant.

Anonymous 12:02 PM  


well... I was inferring simple algebraic equations, rather than symbolic logic, upsidedown A and backwards E and all that. yes, symbolic logic is the proper realm, not algebra, I guess. but in chewing on it for a New York Minute, it seems simple enough to demonstrate (prove?) the converse: the sum of two primes greater than 2 must be even.

tea73 12:09 PM  

Forgot to post this, one of my son's favorite quotes from his high school days. "Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results." Sun Tsu

A 12:14 PM  

Happy Birthday clarinet great Johnny Dodds!

Easy (slightly over my fastest Monday) no complaints about the “loose” theme, because the day after National Pet Day we have a mini animal theme with BARN, SNAKE, NARWHAL, le CHAT, BULLDOG, ASTRO the space dog, ELSA the lion, CAT LADY with a LYNX at her feet, and the backwards CAT and PETS.

I’ll throw in a Crab Canon to toast Gödel, Escher, Bach, and a Piggly Wiggly for Johnny D’s birthday.

@bocamp, here’s one I opted to not share last night - not exactly your typical barbershop quartet but really well done.

Ms. Lucido, Ms. Dershowitz, I’ll be happy to see your names again!

Hungry Mother 12:16 PM  

C vs Cobol: I know many programming languages; Cobol is not one of them. I didn’t tell GMH that when I met her.

Z 12:21 PM  

A plan or action for achieving a goal; a maneuver.
A plan of action resulting from strategy or intended to accomplish a specific goal.

The clue works just fine as a clue. I don’t know how I feel about American Heritage using “strategy” in the definition of “strategy.” But apparently AH is saying that a strategy to accomplish a strategy is the exact same thing as a TACTIC to accomplish a strategy, so it’s even more okay than I first thought.

@Frantic Sloth - It was the rosary comment that sent @Z8:08 to sourpussdom. Still, I thought @Z8:22 was mildly humorous with his Tusk link.

Anonymous 12:21 PM  

@Hungry Mother:
Cobol is not one of them

well either -
COBOL is a programming language which one doesn't know
COBOL is something other than a programming language !!!!!!!!!!

TTrimble 12:37 PM  

@Anonymous 12:02 PM
Yes, certainly. A prime greater than 2 is odd, and the sum of two odd numbers must be even. (The proofs of those are good exercises for an intro to proofs class. The argument is simple, but getting students to say what needs to be said to flesh out the argument usually takes some time.)

The trivial modification in Goldbach's conjecture to make this a proper converse would be that every even number greater than 4 is a sum of two odd primes.

In some sense it's strange that GC is so hard. Vinogradov in the earlier part of the 20th century proved that every sufficiently large odd integer is a sum of three odd primes, and now we know (as of 2013) that's true for every odd number greater than 7. But GC remains elusive. Whoever proves GC covers himself or herself in glory for all time (for all time left for humans anyway).

faber 12:46 PM  

This played very fast for me. Until I got the DNF message and spent 10 minutes finding the stray letter that the app helped me to enter in a random location. I think if you are as slow as I am, MTW all play about the same. I couldn't fill in the puzzle as fast ad Rex even if I was doing it again from memory.

bocamp 1:05 PM  

@BEE-ER (11:45 AM)

That was the last word I got, as well. It's very gettable; you'll do it! 👍

@Barbara S. (11:56 AM)

My bad, I left out the most important detail: I had the misfortune of mixing them together on one piece of bread. Unheard of, just not done! I probably would have been better off putting the jelly on the ham, instead. Not! 😔

Oh, and as one of my fun coincidences, I admit to dipping my finger into the peanut butter jar this AM. 😂

@A 12:14 PM

Not sure if either of your vids would technically be considered pure "barbershop", but they are absolutely wonderful a cappella four-part harmony, just the same. One of my fave kinds of music, and I thank you! 😊

"The signature “barbershop seventh” (1-3-5-7) chord appears frequently in barbershop arrangements, and in contest-suitable music, might constitute more of thirty percent of the chords in a song. Why these chords? In part, it’s because they help create ringing overtones that are a desirable feature of the barbershop sound." (The signature barbershop seventh)


The 600 was the toughest Freestyle yet (by far); had 5 miscues. Nevertheless, I was pleased to have done that well, and as always, was time well spent exercising the muscle between the ears.

@Joe / @pabloinnh/ @TTrimble

Ready to tackle the acrostic now. 🤞

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all 🕊

SharonAK 1:06 PM  

@ LMS 2:53 Thaks for the Stephen ?Fry link.. Fun.

I found the puzzle a mix of almost too obvious and then surprisingly difficult. Thought the theme fell flat. But some of the fill was great.

Masked and Anonymous 1:11 PM  

This pup solved out pretty easy, at our house. Maybe not as moo-cow-easy as some MonPuzs, but still pretty darn easy.

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Tic-___-toe} = TAC. Backwards buddy for CATLADY, in the SE. Or forwards buddy for TAC-TIC also in the SE, of course.

staff weeject pick: REP. Not AOC, this time. That frisky REP sure has the myriad meanins.

Theme had The Circles. Almost always a sure-fire hit with @RP. M&A kinda liked the themer team choices [Go Twins].

fave sparkler: (CINNAMON) ROLLS for BREAKFAST. Also BULLDOG, cuz it had a TINT of U-ness.

Thanx for gangin up on us, Aimee & Ella darlins.

Masked & Anonymo1U


Teedmn 1:15 PM  

I was thinking that I learned the word AGUE from the same vocabulary list as I learned QUAY, back in middle school, but @Carola has me thinking maybe it was Laura Ingalls Wilder for me too.

I like the TicTACtoe TACTIC TAT THAI ATTA ATOI aspect of this puzzle.

@Loren Muse Smith could play the Rat role in last week's Pearls Before Swine comic strips.

Thanks Aimee and Ella for a breezy Monday puzzle.

JD 1:23 PM  

@Z, Ya had me convinced until 12:21, because the clue easily brought up the answer and I couldn't argue the point about definition. So I agree.

But a tactic is not a strategy. It just isn't. Pat Riley's strategy for taking down the Celtics in 1985 was "no layups." The tactics he used to get his team there are a fascinating read.

TTrimble 1:27 PM  

My SB experience today matches yours. Yay!

Anoa Bob 1:30 PM  

I played baseball at the Little League, High School and College levels and have remained a life-long fan but I have to join those who have never heard INSIDE BASEBALL used to mean "esoteric knowledge". Sounds more like something you would see on ESPN.

One of the things I found out when I tried my hand at constructing was the challenge of not only finding solid theme entry candidates that all cohere around a central, core concept---the theme!---but also ones that have equal letter-counts for symmetrically matching theme pairs. So I always think it is a major demerit for a puzzle when an easy, convenient short-cut is used to get around that obstacle. Today we see an example of that when one potential theme entry, BREAKFAST ROLL, doesn't measure up. I think that gratuitously tacking on an S to create a plural of convenience (POC) for no other reason than to boost the letter count, here to match the singular THE WEST WING, is just too easy and is a fly in the ointment that reduces the overall quality of the puzzle in my book. (I would never have noticed this back when I was just a solver so understand why this might be a non-issue for many of yous.)

Thane of 13th 1:41 PM  

Yes, I hear myself say it whenever I am ill. I either say I have ague or the croup, mostly for comic affect. But then I love 19th century literature because of the language. One of my favorites lines: I nearly lost my countenance!

old timer 1:48 PM  

Super Easy, despite not knowing the book. I thought everyone knew the main Ivy League nicknames of yore: The Indians, the Crimson, the Bulldogs, the Tigers -- come to think of it I don't know the ones for Brown, Columbia, Cornell or Penn. I would need the gift of a letter there. Used to though. Did Dartmouth give up their Indians name? Too bad -- they were founded as a wilderness school for the Indians who traded up and down the Connecticut.

Gotta say, the intellectual chops in the commentariat is outstanding today. I'm in awe.

bocamp 1:55 PM  

@TTrimble 1:27 PM 👍

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all 🕊

RooMonster 2:32 PM  

@BEE-Er, @TT, @bo
I'm one or two words away, but had to work early today. I'll take another crack at it when I get home. (No, I don't have the NYT APP on my phone. 🙂)
I don't go to NYT.BEE to see the number of answers total, or the scores one needs. Maybe why I don't get the Q often. When I get to G, I take whatever that score is, and divide it by .7, which gives me a rough score for the Q.
Not as complicated as proving the theories @TT has laid out!

RooMonster Still Beeing Even Though It Pisses Me Off A Lot Guy 🐝😁

oldactor 2:45 PM  

@Barbara: WARNING! Dropping names. Loved Ramona. I once was having a meal with Rip Torn and Paul Newman between matinee and evening performances of "Sweet Bird of Youth". Paul asked for apple sauce for his baked potato. I said I thought that was a very strange combination. He then dug his fork into his potato, loaded it up and put it in my mouth. It tasted just like apple sauce and baked potato.

Frantic Sloth 2:47 PM  

@GILL 1052am 😂 I'd take a seat in that audience! A NARWHAL and a cinnamon bun walk into a bar, which is pretty amazing because neither has feet.

@TTrimble 1121am Funny, but I always thought those Escher stairwars people were knights in chain mail. Who knew?

@kitshef 1143am Why does that intransitive dice game remind me of some NFL playoff scenarios?

@Z 1221pm Your "rosary comment" explanation confuses me, but I'll never say you're not mildly humorous. Please stop talking in 3rd person. Frantic doesn't like that.

@old timer 148pm Why, thank you! 😉

albatross shell 3:04 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 3:16 PM  

Ivy mascots are tricky. Dartmouth abandoned the Indians a long time ago now. Mid `70's. They bowed early on to the PC culture (Stanford beat them to it by a year or two). They're now called the Big Green. How terribly sad. Dartmouth went the color route because Harvard has long been called the Crimson and Cornell has used the Big Red for well over a century. But Cornell has also at various times used a Bear as a mascot. There's even a statue of Touchdown Teddy somewhere on campus. Brown also goes with a Bear--the Brown bruins as in brown bear. Yeah. Avoid Providence. Columbia has always been the lions ab ovum. The university was chartered by George II who was of The House of Hanover. Wanna guess what animal is prominently featured in the family crest? Yup, the king of the jungle. Don't know why Princeton are the Tigers, and truth be told, i don't care. The Yale Bulldog enjoys, rightly, an exalted status in the world of mascots. By most people's reckoning the original Handsome Dan was the very first living, breathing animal mascot for a university. Like all great heroes, his origins are a bit hazy. The romantics insist he was bought by Yale rower from a blacksmith. Others say he was actually a champion show dog. No one though disputes that Yale was the first university to employ a mascot a regularly-occurring mascot at sporting events. ( Be careful of frauds who present evidence that an even earlier bulldog named Harper was first on the scene in New Haven.) That leaves only Penn. They're the Quakers. The best Ivy league mascot. And I'll whip anyone who says different. ( Hurrah for the Red and the Blue)

Joe Dipinto 3:23 PM  

@bocamp 1:05 → @Joe / @pabloinnh/ @TTrimble – Ready to tackle the acrostic now

Well then, stop your foolishness staring at those unshelled walnuts! GET CRACKING

Anonymous 3:31 PM  

obviously ab ovo. Sorry.

bocamp 3:35 PM  

My BREAKFAST ROLLS are English muffins, but I think they'd ROLL if I stood them on end and gave them a push.


Have researched my dnfs on the Croce's Freestyle 600 and come away with some useful info. In fact one of them was a recent SB word that just solidifies it for the next occurrence in a xword or SB puz. Thx, again for keeping me in the loop. :)

@joe / @pabloinnh/ @TTrimble

You were right about the acrostic! By far, the easiest for me. :)

@RooMonster 2:32 PM 🤞

@Joe Dipinto (3:23 PM)

As you can see above, I did get a-crackin' and cracked it in no time. And, another fun coincidence: I just finished eating some walnuts, but they were already cracked, so there! :)

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Z 3:40 PM  

@JD - I was fine with the clue as an example of something within a larger set of something else (TACTICs are a subset of “strategy”), But then people kept going on and on so I pulled out the old online American Heritage and discovered that a “strategy” can be used to implement a broader “strategy,” the very identical concept for another identical concept that people are alleging is wrong. To use an INSIDE BASEBALL example, if a pitcher’s strategy is to have a low pitch count by inducing weak ground balls they will use two strategies, breaking balls that are low and away mixed with fast balls that are high and tight (the second strategy is needed to prevent the hitter from adjusting and hitting the low and away breaking balls sharply to the opposite field). So the pitcher uses two strategies to implement their overall strategy. In this example the italicized strategies can be replaced with TACTIC(s).

@tea73 - Nice quote. I’m guessing it is the primary source of all the kvetching.

@oldactor - I believe applesauce is a common condiment for various forms of potato pancakes, so the combo doesn’t surprise me. I’ve never seen purple jelly on a potato pancake, but it seems like it makes just as much sense.

jberg 3:46 PM  

I'm very late, and don't have time to read all the comments. I did have one clever and witty thing to say about the puzzle, but I forgot it.

But Rex's comment that he shouldn't be expected to remember the name of that bulldog is ridiculous. He doesn't have to remember the name! It's in the clue! All one has to know is that the yale athletes are called the Bulldogs, which many people do, and others can guess with a few crosses.

OK, now I have to teach my class.

albatross shell 3:47 PM  

M-W tactic definition:
a variety of or instance of the use of strategy

You can pick a nit or pick your friend's nose, but that doesn't make it right. A clue is not an equivalence but maybe an instance, for instance. And if you can follow that you are thinking too hard. Precisely the polnt.

@grouchy Karl
Loved your added letter themers. Good stuff.

I guess this was in my top 10% fastest Mondays. I have read GEB but STRANGE LOOP did not particularly register but the crosses did. Agree that random teams no great shakes, but otherwise pretty good theme. GEB was far easier than understanding OFL's INSIDE BASEBALL argument unless it is just nonsense. BEER ALE such common annswers to puzzle's clues it makes you wonder. I do not think he was criticizing so much as explaining his puzzle experience. Sometimes he does both, sometimes just one.

I thought the puz sparkled as many have said. I particularly enjoyed TAC TIC crossing TAC clued as Tic---toe.

I had to delete and repost. I had strategy being defined instead of tactic. Oops

JD 3:48 PM  

@Z, I think a low pitch count is a goal aimed at saving an arm, and those are strategic choices. But I still liked your first answer.

JC66 3:53 PM  

****SB ALERT****

Today must be easy because I got QB.

Joe Dipinto 3:53 PM  

@bocamp – Wow, you got real good real fast at the acrostic. I am not surprised.

Anonymous 3:58 PM  

@Z. I just saw that the Rosary comment saddened you (@12:21). I'm sorry to hear that. I'll say two tonight, the second specially for you that your saddens be lifted. I've never know The Blessed Mother to disappoint.

TTrimble 4:21 PM  

What @Joe Dipinto said. You're a cookie sprinkled with lots of smarts.

bocamp 4:48 PM  

@JC66 (3:53 PM) 👍

@Joe Dipinto (3:53 PM)

Good instructors will always get the job done! (hi @Joe, @pabloinnh, @TTrimble :)

@JD (3:48 PM)

Agreed. Goal: low pitch count; strategy as @Z indicated: keep ball low to encourage ground outs; TACTIC: work both sides of the plate. Another TACTIC: change speeds/spins. Another TACTIC: take as little time between pitches as possible; this is to the batter's disadvantage, as the memory of the previous pitch is still etched in the brain, making it harder to adjust to a different speed, spin and/or location.

@TTrimble (4:21 PM)

As Tennessee Ernie used to say: "bless your pea-pickin' heart". :)

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Barbara S. 5:12 PM  

@bocamp (1:05 PM)
Aah, now I get it. The combination. My husband says it reminds him of living in Denmark in the early 1970s. It was looked on as decadent and wasteful to put more than one "topping" on bread. Butter or jam was OK, but not both. He figured it was a mindset left over from wartime shortages -- I wonder if that applied to the reaction you got in the Netherlands, or whether they thought PB&J were the height of weird.

@oldactor (2:45 PM)
You can tell stories and name-drop any time you like -- I always enjoy your thespian yarns. I like to think the applesauce helped fire up Paul Newman's evening performance. Also, I wonder if Newman's Own makes applesauce. Nope, just looked -- can't find any. (Too bad.)

A friend of mine tells a Newman-Woodward story. She was in New York for a conference and was having dinner in her hotel dining-room. She was alone and had forgotten to bring a book, so had nothing to do but look around. The room was all but empty. A woman came in and hesitated in the doorway, and my friend thought idly "I wonder if she knows how much she looks like Joanne Woodward". A waiter seated the woman at a table and in a few minutes a man joined her. My friend didn't think any more about it until -- gasp! -- Paul Newman strode into the room. It simply couldn't be anyone else! He joined the other two, and my poor friend did not know where to put her eyes until she had finished her dinner. When I'm speaking to her next I'll have to ask if any applesauce was brought to Paul's table.

絹スミレ 5:16 PM  

Ha ha ha. This made me laugh. I believe you are right. Rex’s pedantry on the term and theme use of ‘baseball insider’ and justifying it by providing examples of how much he is inside baseball makes him the example of the case, where we find ourselves back at the clue.

Mega-suprised that Rex didn’t like this one. He usually has glowing reviews of Aimee’s work because of the modern lingo and humor. On top of that, he’s a baseball fan.

Boy I was wrong. lol

BarbieBarbie 5:45 PM  

I’m sorry, I normally love S. fry, but a super-pedantic screed about being pedantic about language just seems like an off putting dose of British exceptionalism, and I couldn’t get through the whole thing. I do agree that if nonstandard usage is clear then it’s right. If it introduces confusion then it’s wrong (for me). I won’t give an example because trolls can smell blood.

My own preference is for nonstandard usage that comes from the land of ESL, especially when everyone but the EFL-ers agree on it, which must mean that it’s our language that’s the weird one. The phrase “how it looks like” is a great example. I wish I knew more about all those other languages, and why that’s only nonstandard in ours.

This was a U-shaped puzzle. Put me in the Easy camp. The crosses were so fair that it didn’t matter whether or not I’d heard of the themers. Definitely a Monday.

Unknown 5:49 PM  

Person @ 5:16

How do you pronounce your name?

Z 6:04 PM  

@3:58 - LOL - I don’t think two will do it.

jae 6:08 PM  

@bocamp - when I commented yesterday that #600 was a “bit more friendly” I had not completed the SW. That section took me much longer to finish than all the rest of the puzzle...and, it turns out that I missed it by one square but not in the SW. It was the Gattaca clue crossing the music clue that tripped me up. So yeah, #600 was just plain tough!!

Anonymous 6:13 PM  

I don't suppose there will ever be a time when the world agrees that IRA actually stands for Individual Retirement Arrangement.


I have it on third hand authority (so it's probably not true) that some Congressional Committee members named it after a very helpful senior IRS manager named Ira.

Anonymous 6:24 PM  

@kitshef 11:43:

Thank you so much for the example of intransitive dice. I got a Ph.D. in math 45 years ago and this is the first time I have ever read about this.

Anonymous 7:02 PM  

You underestimate The Mother of God.

Anonymous 7:07 PM  

And to be clear (reread my 3:58 post) only one rosary will be for you. The second of two I’ll recite will be for you.
The first will be to end abortion.

bocamp 8:02 PM  

@jae (6:08 PM)

Same cross, and I've watched Gattaca so many times. Anyways, that "A" word is my SB friend and I won't forget it. The bigger gaff was on the Va.- N.C. border where I had four wrong letters affecting four words that I wasn't sure of. The main problem was that I didn't register my "spidey sense" when I filled them in, hence forgetting to revisit that area – before filling in the final wrong Gattaca cell – to try to get a better sense of what was going on there. I may or may not have sorted it out. Alas, we'll never know. LOL Learned a lot of stuff, tho. :)

@A 12:14 PM

Here's one of my faves from one of my fave barbershop choruses: When the ROLL is Called up Yonder ~ Masters of Harmony

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all 🕊

JOHN X 8:11 PM  

@Anonymous 7:07PM

Could you say a rosary for me too? I'm the one who needs it. Don't worry, I used to be Catholic.

Also, if you could bring a ladder and about sixty feet of rope to the north wall of Mens Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles I'd really appreciate it. If you can also bring a pistol (with ammo please) that would be great too. This is all perfectly legal.

Anonymous 8:37 PM  

John X,
I sure could. But owing to the fact that you had access to the one true faith and abandoned it, I’m going to pass.
As for the men’s central jail in downtown Los Angeles, your sad act wouldn’t play for 5 seconds in LA county lockup ( the facility you should’ve used). But visiting the imprisoned is a corporal work of mercy. Maybe I’ll see you there. I hope so. I can explain the Gospel to you.

RooMonster 8:49 PM  

Dang @JOHN X
In jail again? Try to string s couple months together as a free man!


Amy 10:52 PM  

My fastest Monday ever, so definitely Monday easy. I can gripe about tactic and strategy, but overall had a great time!

albatross shell 1:47 AM  

If all 3 players rolled against each other player 1 and player 2 come out equal and ahead. Player 3 takes the losses. If you play long enough.
On the other hand, each player will end up with the same average roll of 5.
If you change the rules so that the winner wins from the other player the difference in points between the 2 rolls I suspect the margin of victory would change. In the 3 player game you could have only the high die collecting from both losers. Or you could have the second and third player both paying the highest player, and the the lowest player paying both higher players the difference in their rolls. If I get a round tuit some day, I might check it out. But maybe someone else will.

This so-called strange loop is not so rare in the sports world. And of course, there is rock, paper,

JBH 8:24 AM  

I have used it (although rarely I admit) to be silly, eg ‘I’ve come down with the ague. ‘

thefogman 9:57 AM  

Ditto to what Rex said. How did this get past the editor? Was there nothing else better than this on his desk?

spacecraft 10:52 AM  

I had several problems with this one, the first of which was spelling. I had NARWahL (my fault entirely), but then there was the thing I always knew as DREIDL, sans the second E. Turns out that DREIDEL is listed first, and DREIDL is an alternate. STRANGE.

And there's another one: STRANGELOOP. I knew about Mobius strips and Escher drawings, but the specific term was unfamiliar to me. Likewise I did not know that INSIDEBASEBALL was a metaphor used outside the sport.

Then there's TACTIC clued as a synonym for strategy. That's like equating "inning" with "GAME," to extend the metaphor. And you already know how I feel about 40 down, an expression I could cheerfully live the rest of my life without. Same applies to "BAE."

OHDEAR, there seem to be too many ILLS here. RTES EEG TBSP... Double bogey.

Burma Shave 12:17 PM  


TACTICs AWEEBIT out of control,


BS2 12:38 PM  


Not STRANGE in Trump's WESTWING at all.
OHDEAR, GET your SESSION via a tweet,


Diana, LIW 1:13 PM  

And speaking of the TWINs - hey @Rondo, here are some Carl's Jr. places:

It's has to be easy when I get a sports-related puzzle.

Diana, CATLADY in Waiting

rondo 1:37 PM  

@D, LIW (aka CATLADY) - The same company runs both Carl's Jr (western U.S,) and Hardees (eastern U.S.). Pretty much the same I guess. Looks like the nearest actual Carl's Jr would be in CO or OK. There used to be a Hardees less than 10 miles away, it's now an Arby's. Nearest Hardees is 45 miles away. But thanks.

EZ puz.

leftcoaster 4:14 PM  

Yes, easy, as it’s supposed to be. Theme is fine; like STRANGELOOP best.

DREIDEL and ADIA are the day’s outliers. And when did “strategy" become a TACTIC?

LISA S. is a sweetheart.

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