Old rival of MGM / MON 4-26-21 / Locale of many White House photo ops / Only daughter of Elizabeth II / Lady first female member of Parliament

Monday, April 26, 2021

Constructor: Eric and Lori Bornstein

Relative difficulty: Challenging (30+ seconds over my usual Monday time)

THEME: FOOD COURT (35D: Feature of many a mall ... or a place for 20-Across and 26- and 30-Down?) — fast food places that have "court"-related words in their names:

Theme answers:
  • WHITE CASTLE (20A: Figurative site of a 35-Down)
  • BURGER KING (30D: Figurative ruler of a 35-Down)
  • DAIRY QUEEN (26D: Figurative ruler of a 35-Down)
Word of the Day: MSRP (41A: Starting point for a car sale negotiation: Abbr.) —
The list price, also known as the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP), or the recommended retail price (RRP), or the suggested retail price (SRP) of a product is the price at which the manufacturer recommends that the retailer sell the product. The intention was to help standardize prices among locations. While some shops/stores always sell at, or below, the suggested retail price, others do so only when items are on sale or closeout/clearance. (wikipedia)
• • •

It's a good theme. I just don't understand why they didn't slot this on Tuesday, or even Wednesday, since it would've fit much better there. So many things make this measurably tougher than a regular Monday puzzle (still easyish in absolute terms, but way way off of Monday-average). The gigantic open spaces, for one. There's almost no way you can have a triple-stack of 9s like that (in the middle, where the revealer is) and still keep things Monday-easy. Open space like that is a hallmark of Fri / Sat puzzles. And you've got similar open space in the SW and SE too, with 10s stacked together in each case (I realize "stack" isn't the right metaphor, but you see what I mean ... they're abutting ... "pillars"?). Big chunks of white space means the difficulty level goes boop boop boop, up. Add in the fact that all the themers are cross-referenced, so there is absolutely no way to get them from their clues alone. You have to hammer away at crosses *or* go solve the revealer and then maybe, possibly, have a chance at understanding how it relates to the theme clue. That is, WHITE CASTLE clue has nothing specific to do with WHITE CASTLE, and ditto BURGER KING and DAIRY QUEEN. Themer clues with absolutely no literal, direct information about the themers themselves, that's practically unheard of on Monday ... For A Reason. It adds a good chunk of difficulty. It slows you down. Now ultimately, it was all doable, but a good Tuesday puzzle should go on a Tuesday. Not sure why that's so hard. Is there a real dearth of decent Mondays? Bah!

Also had no idea who Lady ASTOR was (66A: Lady ___, first female member of Parliament) (I mean, rings a bell, but ... shrug). Same with Chris REDD. Happy to know there's another REDD out there besides FOXX (or former NBAer Michael), but I am semi-exhausted by the idea that I should know every single current and former cast member of SNL. It's bad enough that I have to see SNL in roughly every other grid. I do not f*** with that show. I find it wearisome, and honestly I have never forgiven Lorne Michaels and Joe Pesci for what they did to Sinead O'Connor 30 years ago. Grudges: I hold them. Still, Chris REDD, cool, I'll try to remember that. Had RATES instead of RAGES at 6D: Rants and raves, which made A-GAME so so hard to see (18A: Best possible athletic performance—such a weird and mildly misleading clue; if a player "brings their A-GAME," they are playing at *general* peak ability, yes, but that doesn't mean that individual "performance" is the "best possible" (which is what the clue seems to imply, as written). Had ANYHOW before ANYHOO (4D: Informal segue). I guess "informal" should've tipped me off. ANYHOO, all these little hiccups, combined with a harder-than-usual-Monday theme, put this well outside normal Monday difficulty range. The fill is largely fine, except the SE, which is quite poor (ANGE on a Monday? In a corner that's already desperate for even adequate fill? Blargh). So yeah, if you'd given me this tomorrow or the next day, I would've liked it a lot. As it is, I like it a little. That's not bad. Could be worse. I don't really believe that WHITE CASTLE is a FOOD COURT restaurant. But I'll let it slide. Have a nice day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:01 AM  

A bit more challenging than a typical Monday but certainly not a *difficult* puzzle by any means; just tough enough to keep novice solvers from getting too cocky.

cseft 12:31 AM  

Finished under my normal Monday time, no problem. Seemed OK for Monday to me...

jae 12:32 AM  

Tough. Clever and cute but I agree with @Rex, not a Mon. Liked it, and Jeff at Xwordinfo gave it POW.

JBB94956 12:53 AM  

I feel vindicated! Found it quite tough for a Monday:

Mr. Alarm 1:01 AM  

I’m always surprised, generally pleasantly, by your critiques. I thought you would’ve said today’s puzzle was easy, though it was difficult for me, being a novice.

So I appreciate your claiming that this is not a good Monday puzzle. And the fact that WHITE CASTLEs are never found in a mall food court. A cute theme though, as far as it goes. Really didn’t get SERE, ANGE or MSRP having never bought a car (thanks for the explanation).

I do love seeing DAIRY QUEEN in a puzzle!

egsforbreakfast 1:34 AM  

Touché to Rex for letting White Castle “slide”. However, burning up an entire blog on demonstrating that this puzzle was mis-slotted by the editors gives short shrift to the constructors. Jeff Chen gave them POW.

When you go to your NEARBY BURGERKING, order your Whopper well DONNE!

Very nice puzzle, And heartwarming to see mom and son constructors. Thanks Eric and Lori Bornstein..

albatross shell 2:03 AM  

Didn't we just have LAMAR PRIMP and Lady ASTOR as the first female in Parliament in the last few days? Was Astor on Rex's day off?

Liked the ADJOIN NEARBY paired symmetrics. But this time the mirror symmmetry did little to make the puzzle better.
O TIS SERE today. On the other hand there is a pair of convenient EDS and a one extra plural of RAGE. AND THAT IS ALL!

Well a triad of A-words at the finale.

chefwen 2:19 AM  

Weird, earlier today I watched a show that I had pre-recorded called Food That Built America and it was about the first fast food places. The guy who invented the first hamburger (can’t remember his name) founded White Castle. Because of that I got 20A off of the W in spew. Very interesting things on that show.

Great Monday with a little bite (pun intended) to it.

Frantic Sloth 2:23 AM  

Agree this seemed a notch or two above typical Mondee difficulty, but it also flowed rather quickly for me.
Maybe because it was a comparative cakewalk post-ACPT, which was a rude awakening.

But enough about that. This was a cute theme and here's hoping there remains something more to be said about WHITECASTLE.

I'll wait.


Loren Muse Smith 2:45 AM  

Wait, wait, wait, wait. These two constructors noticed that DAIRY QUEEN and BURGER KING had the same number of letters?? Saw that WHITE CASTLE was an 11 that could be centered in a 15X grid?? And then, AND THEN figured out that FOOD COURT could be the reveal??! This is terrific! And a pangram to boot. I don’t want any mention of these accomplishments to get lost in the speed solver discussion about why this is not a Monday puzzle.

*egsforbreakfast – YES! Thank you. This is a stellar offering. Sorry if it wasn’t Monday easy; I didn’t really notice since I solve casually watching CNN, sipping coffee, and staring off into space wondering what if I washed my go-to camel mock turtleneck. All my puzzles take a while to solve.

Wanted “evolve” for SURFACE. I’ve never really taken an anthropology course, but don’t some maintain that we all were big ole fish first? Like, we flopped out onto shore, grew some legs, and then invented elevator brakes and mimes?

I’ve inadvertently added YIPE into the rotation thanks to crosswords. Mercifully, I don’t ask to borrow the school secretary’s etui or marvel at the beautiful hoar I admired on the way into work. (Can you imagine how my 9th-grade boys would receive That comment?

That OTIS just invented the brake and not the whole deal had escaped my notice. Man. I bet that was a game-changer. Pre-brake-era elevators must have been a real rush.

I have never “gotten” JANE AUSTEN, and I’m past feeling insecure about it. So many people claim to read her over and over, and I just feel like I’m not part of a club that I don’t want to be in anyway, so there. The only author I read over and over and over is David Sedaris. His language is user-friendly so that I can focus on his observations rather than challenging syntax and vocabulary. Like, I get to focus on the forest with his work, but the few times I’ve attempted AUSTEN, I stumble all over the place running into the trees. I get that the joke is on me here. I get it. I’m an impatient reader with limited processing skills. I can live with that.

Eric, Lori – you turned a marvelous observation into an entertaining puzzle. This is one I’ll remember for a long time.

PS - I bet RC Cola is served at all these places.

PPS - @Peter P – Dude! (From yesterday) What a gem of a video clip. I promptly subscribed to his stuff. I was stunned to hear that P.I.E. had a nasal infix. Also – I had never before considered the whole in a whole ‘nother story to be an infix at all – I just assumed, as you said, that it was just a mistaken parsing of the apron/napron ilk. I’m gonna chew on this for a while and add your bloody to the mix. We don’t encounter bloody much in West By God Virginia.

Ann Howell 3:09 AM  

Very clever theme, even if it was more of a Tuesday solve. Helped get the brain synapses firing this morning!

William Mckenzie 5:53 AM  

I enjoyed it. Def not a Monday, 1:16 over average (and I’m about half the speed of Rex normally, so that fits). Thought I was super clever and threw Burger King in the left column from the empty clue. Took more than a few seconds to sort that out, then groaned out loud when it showed up on the right.

Crave case 6:13 AM  

Each theme answer is the name of a fast-food chain that also shares its name with part of a royal court.

SouthsideJohnny 6:26 AM  

I don’t believe I qualify as a novice solver anymore - but this one will definitely keep me from becoming “Monday-cocky”, lol. I definitely struggled, especially building transitions from one part of the grid to the other. Two big nits for me - the NE Latin phrase crossing a proper noun (AMOR, REX) and the SE French word crossing another proper noun (ANGE, DONNE) - which used to drive me bonkers back in the olden days (like, last year) when I was a novice solver.

In the “you learn something new every day” category - it was just a few days ago that I was celebrating a word like PRIMP - which I remarked at the time did not really mean anything (but sounds cool anyway) - well, lo and behold - I found out today that it means spending time in front of a mirror !

I’m curious - is anyone aware of the terrible thing that Lorne Michaels and Joe Pesci did to Sinead O'Connor? It must have really been bad . . . Rex makes it sound like a Capital Offense - I suspect it may well be yet another one of the barely perceptible micro-aggressions that he constantly keeps his antennae up and tuned for.

Lewis 6:34 AM  

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

1. Gives some badly needed help? (5)
2. Query that might follow some grumbling (5)(3)(6)
3. When? (3)(2)
4. Hardly a man without morals (5)
5. Nice round number (3)


Son Volt 6:58 AM  

I liked it - I guess the interlocking themers and grid layout could be daunting for novice solver but it was nice, smooth solve for me. Loaded with nouns and trivia but overall a fun theme and apt revealer. Add the other long downs and you get a top notch puzzle.

Don’t frequent malls so can’t comment on the applicability of the various eateries at FOOD COURTs. Growing up we had no malls so the DQ was a drive up establishment that this adolescent loved because of the DQ brazier sign. Long ago familiar with the WHITE CASTLE belly bombs with a side of onion shrapnel - just be nearby a facility soon after.

Overall fill was fine. 53a is off - it’s either AUT or AT. Stunned that ABBA is in the HOF - wanted AC/DC. Chuckle back to @Gill’s cum loud.

Nice Monday solve.

Hungry Mother 7:01 AM  

Thinking tEX before REX. Wondering what happened to jackinthebox. Typical Monday here.

amyyanni 7:02 AM  

Does White Castles have sliders? (Rex let it slide...) Thought this was entertaining. Always enjoy a Monday that challenges a bit. Lady Astor was quite a character. So is Tyler Perry: Refuse Hate. (Speech at the Oscars)

Anonymous 7:11 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Corn on the Cob 7:22 AM  
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Anonymous 7:28 AM  

No spoilers of the mini, please.

Unknown 7:47 AM  

The crosses in the south east corner helped me get burger king and then I understood the theme and everything fell into place.
The clues in general were straightforward which is apt for a Monday puzzle.

OffTheGrid 7:49 AM  

This "felt" easy all the way. The south central stack with SURFACE at the top almost filled itself in. Otherwise it was totally MondayISH and totally enjoyable.

FYI, A disgruntled sheep says BAH.

bocamp 7:52 AM  

Thank you @Lori & @Eric for a very crunchy Mon. puz to start the week. Lot's of FOOD for thot! 😋

Med+ solve.

Second day in a row where I wasn't on the right wavelength. Still, nothing wrong with a challenge. It was fun and enjoyable.


yd pg -2

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Zwhatever 7:53 AM  

@Frantic Sloth - That guy whose speed solving videos I occasionally post when people allege Rex is lying? Yeah, him, Dan Feyer. He was complaining (well, more just observing) that #5 was a challenge (it always is) and then he had a typo, so this was a challenging ACPT for him, too. I still haven’t bought the puzzles.

I agree with REX that this was more Tuesday level of difficulty. I agree with @Loren Muse Smith that it was a fun solve. I agree with REX and @Southside Johnny that the SE corner had some less than angelic fill, but I think ROSE GARDEN and the theme answer make it worth it. I disagree with REX about A-GAME, the clue was spot on.

I thought DELOUSE crossing FOOD COURT was lousy.

@Southside Johnny - O’Connor got the Colin Kaepernick treatment. I didn’t remember Pesci’s role, probably because it seemed like all of catholicism was offended. That she was right and the child abuse wasn’t just an Irish issue sometimes get lost when people mention that she had the audacity to rip up the picture of that dude.

mmorgan 7:56 AM  

Maybe a smidge tough for a Monday, but no more than that. Nifty grid. But I was thinking it had something to do with chess. Y’know, KING, QUEEN, CASTLE... and the FOOD COURT gambit?

TTrimble 7:59 AM  

I thought REX's review was fair. I would only say that Chris REDD has been part of the SNL cast for quite some time now; it's an exaggerated reaction to complain of having to know every single cast member, because enough time has elapsed for his name to become Monday-worthy. On the other hand, I don't know the NBAer (am I expected to know every one of those?).

(30 years is a long time to hold a grudge. What did they do again? Much fresher in my memory is how Donald Trump was made a host while he was campaigning.)

Managed to avoid falling into the RAtES/RAGES trap. I agree with REX that the A-GAME clue was suboptimal.

I like the clue for DELOUSE. "Lit-ra-lie".

pwoodfin 8:11 AM  


Anonymoose 8:14 AM  

@Southside. You acknowledge your ignorance of the Sinead Oconnor story but seem to have a strong opinion nonetheless. Interesting...

Whatsername 8:27 AM  

Interesting and cleverly done. Normally the theme stands out as the highlight of the grid, but today I felt it took a backseat to the sparkling fill. I especially liked the long downs, and a pangram always makes me smile. Overall it just felt happy; a bit complex for a Monday, yes but it sure was fun.

Lady ASTOR was unfamiliar but fair with the crossing downs. My AZALEA bushes are in full bloom right now so that was a timely entry. I doubt I’m the only one who looked up the five YALE presidents: Taft, Ford, Clinton and both Bushes.

Congratulations to Lori for a terrific debut and to both constructors for Puzzle of the Week. Sounds like the Bornsteins should also get the prize for best puzzle family. I certainly enjoyed their collaborations today.

JD 8:32 AM  

Fun. I guess the Ra(v)es/A Game/Mamas group made it a little tougher than a typical Monday but the Jane Austin gimme set things right.

About Lady Astor, she was American-born, outspoken, and controversial for a woman of her time. Here's her alleged exchange with Winston Churchill during an argument, and the reason I remember her. Accounts vary:

Nancy Astor: "If you were my husband, I'd poison your tea."

Winnie: "If I were your husband, I'd drink it."

SouthsideJohnny 8:42 AM  

@A-moose. I recall the kerfuffle Sinead caused with her appearance. I was inquiring about the transgressions (perceived or otherwise) committed my Michaels and Pesci. You are correct, I frequently voice my opinion if I believe something strongly - and when I don't know, I occasionally ask - I'm not sure there is really any other way. I tried the converse approach - it was not well received at all.

Michael Page 8:44 AM  

Astor to Churchill: “Sir, if you were my husband, I’d put poison in your tea.”
Churchill to Astor: “Madam, if you were my wife, I’d drink it.”

Likely apocryphal, has been attributed to others before them, but if they didn’t say it, they should have.
Very famous bitter political rivals, and delighted at playing the rivalry out publicly. Also,

“Madam, you’re ugly.”
“Sir, you’re drunk.”
“Maybe so, but in the morning I’ll be sober, and you’ll still be ugly.”

Again, likely apocryphal, but should be true.

TJS 8:57 AM  

"Big chunks of white space means the difficulty level goes boop boop boop, up." Thank you Mr. College English professor.

And you are correct,Rex,no one should ever have to stop and think when doing a Monday puzzle.

What the hell is ABBA doing in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ?

Amy 8:58 AM  

easy enough but you’ll never actually find a Burger King Dairy Queen or white castle in a mall food court, I get it, it’s royally themed in a fanciful way, but the literal issue bugged me. try theming Panda Express next time.

Barbara S. 9:05 AM  

I liked this theme. It was light-hearted and cute – bogus royalty in a bogus castle presiding over a bogus court, with burgers figuring prominently in particularly two of the themers, with the acknowledgement that burgers can be found in any DAIRY QUEEN and any FOOD COURT. I liked the architectural look of the themer/revealer arrangement. A few crenellations would have been good, but I could squint and imagine a sort of castle. I don’t think we have WHITE CASTLE in Canada, not in my part of the country at any rate, but I’ve learned about it through this very blog. Thanks!

Hah! Because it’s Monday they thought we’d go “arid” for SERE but I avoided that trap. And I liked finding SERE and SEAR in the same puzzle. I did make a couple of goofs, though. For “No lie!” at 21D I confidently popped in “true” which messed up a bunch of answers in that area. For “Alma mater of five U.S. presidents” I had __L_ and in went ucLa. Oops. I failed to read to the end of the clue for MOORE (Michael who directed “Fahrenheit 9/11”). I was thinking of the most recent version of “Fahrenheit 451”, which I knew starred Michael B. Jordan, so I was the victim of muddled thinking there. Fortunately I didn’t put anything in on the first go-through, and that answer ended up being filled in with crosses.

I wish I could somehow definitively sort out SALSA/SAMBA/MAMBA/MAMBO. Yes, I know: one of these is not like the others and if you’re not careful it will bite you on the butt, or some other equally sensitive place. Even if I do remember that MAMBA is a snake, I still have no idea how to distinguish these Latin dances from one another. Oh, and does anyone have a mnemonic for remembering tennis scores in order? That’s another luckless area for me. There were 16 answers that began with A – seemed like a lot. And finally, I like the fact that through our discussion, we actually DELOUSE puzzles each day.

Here’s a passage courtesy of BERNARD MALAMUD, born Apr. 26, 1914.
QUOTER’S NOTE: “He” is looking at a photograph.

“Her face deeply moved him. Why, he could at first not say. It gave him the impression of youth--spring flowers, yet age--a sense of having been used to the bone, wasted; this came from the eyes, which were hauntingly familiar, yet absolutely strange. He had a vivid impression that he had met her before, but try as he might he could not place her although he could almost recall her name, as he had read it in her own handwriting. No, this couldn't be; he would have remembered her. It was not, he affirmed, that she had an extraordinary beauty--no, though her face was attractive enough; it was that something about her moved him. Feature for feature, even some of the ladies of the photographs could do better; but she lapsed forth to this heart--had lived, or wanted to--more than just wanted, perhaps regretted how she had lived--had somehow deeply suffered: it could be seen in the depths of those reluctant eyes, and from the way the light enclosed and shone from her, and within her, opening realms of possibility: this was her own.
(From the short story “The Magic Barrel”)

RooMonster 9:10 AM  

Hey All !
Har, Rex! "I'll let it slide" referencing WHITE CASTLE. Sneaky sneaky. ☺️

Liked this COURT puz. A KING and QUEEN in their CASTLE. Eating, of course.

Rex cracks me up with his paragraphs of "this puz is on the wrong day, therefore it's not worthy." Jeez, one sentence would've sufficed. Terse it up a bit. (That was for @Loren, trying to rile her up! 🤪)

Don't you like how I praise and bash Rex at the same time? It's a gift.

I finally accomplished a goal. First time (well, I think there has been others, but never bothered to notice before)(of course, I do a lot of puzs online anymore, today's I did on paper) I completed a grid without one single writeover! And I got puz 100% correct. Dang, I'm on fire today. Is this how @JOHN X feels all the time?

Light on dreck, nice accomplishment with the "pillard" stacks. And REX gets a shout-out.

One F (in the Revealer, does that make it a Special F?)

The Joker 9:17 AM  

@Barbara S. Alternate clue for 24A.

Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape training program, best known by its military acronym, that prepares U.S. military personnel, U.S. Department of Defense civilians, and private military contractors to survive and "return with honor" in survival scenarios.

Anonymous 9:27 AM  

Really? Calling Johnn Paul II "that dude" isn't meant as an insult and a provocation? You, sir, are a bigot. Using a casual dis to refer to The Vicar of Christ on Earth a man recently Canonized is straight out of the Know-Nothing playbook.

Nancy 9:37 AM  

Another car clue! YIKE!!! Or was it YIPE??? Now "P" can stand for "price", so I figured that the smart money would go with MSRP/YIPE rather than MSRK/YIKE.

Yay, me! I was with the smart money today.

Also, at 7D, I wavered between IPAD and IPOD for the "certain Apple" as I always do. This gave me LAPAR for the rapper, but why not? They all name themselves so peculiarly. Maybe this rapper plays golf?

But what was a WHITE dASTLE? I quickly corrected to IMAC and all was well.

Even though I don't eat at any of these places, I thought it was a cute theme. It's too bad that you won't find either JANE AUSTEN or the ROSE GARDEN in a FOOD COURT, but all those long Downs were nice anyway.

JoshyJosh 9:39 AM  

In addition to this clearly being a Tues/Weds puzzle, my major quibble is that NONE of these restaurants would usually be found in a mall food court! Panda Express, Sbarro, Orange Julius, Auntie Anne's, Steak Escape...these are the classic food court restaurants. The defining characteristic of mall food courts, I would argue, is that their constituents generally didn't exist in the wild as stand-alone restaurants (Sbarro and PE being perhaps the two most notable exceptions.) This makes ALL THREE of the themers bad choices, because all three primarily (only?) exist outside mall food courts!

Anonymous 9:39 AM  

@Southside: Like you, I remember the stir she caused, but was unaware of or had forgotten what involvement Michaels or Pesci had.

All I could find on Michaels was that he was upset because SNL had hired a large orchestra of over 40 performers, at her request, to promote her latest album, but she went off-script with the Marley song and sang it a capella. At the telecast, he ordered that the "Applause" sign not be illuminated (and the audience was silent after the song). The tape-delayed performance for the west coast went out unedited (though current "archives" of that show apparently use the dress rehearsal footage, which did not have her ripping up the photo of the pope). Maybe there's more to the story?

As far as Pesci is concerned, he was on SNL the following week, and he held up the ripped up photo taped together and said that if it had been his show, "I would have gave her such a smack."


A couple of weeks later, she had a bad experience at a concert commemorating an anniversary of a Bob Dylan concert at MSG.


But I'm still confused why there's such a reaction to Pesci and Michaels. From what I can tell, Madonna had a much stronger reaction to O'Connor's performance than those connected with SNL.

sixtyni yogini 9:39 AM  

Loved this puzz. Fun and cute.

Nancy 9:47 AM  

She was quite an irreverent wit, that Lady ASTOR. Move over, Dottie. Here are some of her famous encounters with Winston Churchill:

Churchill is supposed to have told Lady Astor that having a woman in Parliament was like having one intrude on him in the bathroom, to which she retorted, “You’re not handsome enough to have such fears.” Lady Astor is also said to have responded to a question from Churchill about what disguise he should wear to a masquerade ball by saying, “Why don’t you come sober, Prime Minister?” In another recounted exchange, Lady Astor said to Churchill, “If you were my husband, I’d poison your tea,” to which he responded, “Madam, if you were my wife, I’d drink it!”

pmdm 9:55 AM  

I try to think back to the time when I first started to solve crosswords. Would I have abandoned this puzzle? Probably not (I'm too stubborn) but I certainly would have rated it more difficult than a typical Monday puzzle. Not much more to say about the puzzle.

albatross shell 9:58 AM  

Assuming you deleted @Anonymous711am because it gave a hint to the mini, then you should also delete @722 am because in combination with @711 deleted @722 and @728 give the hint to the mini. I know because I did the mini after reading them.

The ASTOR people have not heard of was in Sunday on the 11th.

jberg 10:02 AM  

Here's the thing about themes: ideally, you take a phrase that means something, and then reinterpret the words in them to mean something else. The theme answers do not have to relate to the literal meaning of the revealer; in my opinion, it is better if they do not, that adds a little more complexity. Rex gets this point at the start of his review, but seems to have forgotten it at the end, when he complains that WHITE CASTLEs are not found in FOOD COURTs. I think I may have seen a BURGER KING in a food court once or twice -- especially if you count the fcs in airports and Interstate rest stops, but not DAIRY QUEENs, either.

So yeah, I loved this puzzle. It was a little challenging because there wasn't very much communication between the section -- you needed to get either ADJOIN or REDD to get into the SW, for example.

@Roo, congratulations! I didn't quite make it; I had writeovers at ANYHOw and JANE AUSTiN. Pretty embarrassed at the latter.

I don't see the point of translating OMNIA VINCIT AMOR in the clue. I know it's a Monday, but how does it help? If you know Latin you don't need the translation; and if you don't know Latin, the translation doesn't help.

Nancy Astor was apparently a notorious antisemite; maybe it's a good thing Rex never heard of her.

Birchbark 10:10 AM  

ADJOINing columns: I wonder if we could reduce the national debt through naming rights, e.g, the BURGER KING ROSE GARDEN.

The OTIS-ITIS cross = YIPE. One of my first memories is in a department store, toddling away from my mom while she was at a counter, and finding myself onto the bottom step of an OTIS escalator -- the mysterious force of being carried away unexpectedly, watching my mom and everything else recede. I howled, and was rescued.

According to the Harris Farmer's Almanac, this year is the 100th anniversary of WHITE CASTLE. 60 years ago, they sold their one billionth "slider." The founders wanted the white-brick-and-concrete architecture of the restaurant = extreme cleanliness, a conscious decision to counter the unsanitary image of hamburger meat in the popular mind following Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle."

Nancy 10:29 AM  

@Barbara S (9:05)-- Why you poor, tennis score-challenged person, you. Being such a one is a much, MUCH worse fate than never having eaten in a WHITE CASTLE. And I can help you out -- though, alas, not with a mnemonic.

"LOVE" is the equivalent of zero (0). I won't take you through the whole 15-, 30-, 40- thing since, xword-wise, you probably won't ever need it. The next important word for crossword purposes is DEUCE, which means, essentially, the score is tied once both players have reached the score of 40-40. One point after DEUCE, someone will have an "Advantage". This is abbreviated as AD. If the server has the advantage, the score is AD-IN. If the receiver has the advantage, the score is AD-OUT. You will know which is which from the number of letters in the answer. Figure that the more useful letter combo of AD-IN will appear much, much more often than AD-OUT.

You're welcome. Now can you return the favor by giving me a mnemonic way to remember how to spell mnemonic? Thanks.

mathgent 10:29 AM  

I liked it. Cute theme, well carried out.

I can sort of understand those who say "too easy" about a Friday or a Saturday. They expected a good workout. But what's the reason for complaining that a puzzle is too hard for a Monday?

Anonymous 10:34 AM  

It was a fine puzzle. Why always find something wrong????

Anonymous 10:36 AM  

Astor may well have been an Anti-Semite. But it is afact that she was anti-Catholic.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say:
Despite having Catholic friends such as Belloc for a time, Astor's religious views included a strong vein of Anti-Catholicism.[15] Christopher Sykes argues that Kerr, an ex-Catholic, influenced this, but others argue that Astor's Protestant Virginia origins are a sufficient explanation for her Anti-Catholic views. (Anti-Catholicism was also tied to historic national rivalries.)

She attempted to discourage the hiring of Jews or Catholics to senior positions at The Observer,[16] a newspaper owned by her husband;[17] in 1927 she reportedly told James Louis Garvin that if he hired a Catholic, "bishops would be there within a week."

GILL I. 10:38 AM  

Well, yes....this was clever. We have a mall full of hamburgers. We have an OTIS here, a LAMAR there, the MAMAS and ABBA and Lady ASTOR..... Since we're bringing up quotes let me add to Lady ASTOR:
"The only thing I like about rich people is their money."
Then we have JANE AUSTEN....Let me add her gem:
"To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love."
And...since we have Churchill and his back and forth between the Lady A, let me add one of his witty ones:
.Churchill: "Madam, would you sleep with me for a million pounds?"
.Socialite: "My goodness, Mr. Churchill, well I suppose we would have to discuss terms, of course...."
.Churchill: "Would you sleep with me for five pounds?"
.Socialite: "Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?"....
.Churchill: "Madame, we already established that. Now we are haggling about the price..."
Speaking of Churchill (one of my all-time heroes)...you might want to read his The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson.. It's mesmerizing.
Nice Monday...when it brings out memories and quotes, you've got a winner.

TTrimble 10:42 AM  

@mathgent 10:29 AM
I think a reason often given is that a too-hard Monday turns away potential customers who come to the puzzle as a novice. There's a presumption that the NYTXW caters to solvers of all levels.

Anonymous 10:43 AM  

It's kinda worth recalling that all O'Connor can rightly be 'accused' of is having the prescience about the RC church and the Pope himself. Get over it. It's a corrupt institution run for and by pedophiles.

albatross shell 10:45 AM  

I see I missed MAMAS as a POC. It is sort of a proper plural. Does that make it better or worse? I dunno. Could go either way on that.

I am surprised at all the PRIMPing going on. One would think a constructor would find PReening much more useful.

It still seems strange that someone who made such an ado about the G in ING one day, would be so willing to give a pass to WHITECASTLE being a FOODCOURT business the next. Yeah, I am not always consistent either, but still.

Assuming LMS did not stick in anything that shows she actually liked AUSTEN (like I sped over the other day), I am not surprised. Her taste in Hallmark movies I kind of understand because I can watch mysteries (even Hallmark mysteries if they are ad-less) the same way. Literature is different. I have never been able to finish an Austen novel. I always enjoy some things about them, but somehow lose interest. I do enjoy some of the movies or BBC productions. I think it is because on some subjects I need some humor or flash to stay engaged or my basic laziness takes over.

Canon Chasuble 10:46 AM  

Immediately filling in 5A as "Preen" and not knowing the answer to 15A gave me a more realistic answer to 9 D: "NONSENSE."

JD 11:03 AM  

Oh, @Gill, The Splendid and the Vile. One of my early Covid-era favorites. I agree on Churchill.

albatross shell 11:10 AM  


Mnemonic spelling:
Only the MN is demonic.
Or is that Minnesota?

But you were probably only joking.

TJS 11:19 AM  

A friendly reminder, good people, "Don't feed the trolls". Thank you.

Nancy 11:31 AM  

Another hand way up for not having ever understood the whole AUSTEN mystique. So nice to find myself in the company of @Loren and @albatross shell -- though, unlike LMS, I have never felt the least bit apologetic about my dislike of this author. I was forced to read "Pride and Prejudice" in school and hated every minute of it. So incredibly mannered. So incredibly one-dimensional (Money and position!!! Money and position!!!). With such incredibly stilted dialogue. I've watched some of the PBS adaptations of P&P and other of her novels and mostly I've yawned. My favorite AUSTEN adaptation was actually "Clueless" -- not a great or even a particularly good movie by any stretch, but at least it had some semblance of life in it.

Of course, I'm well-known for disliking many of the supposedly "great" authors. Which is why I decided Freshman Year in college not to become an English major.

Anonymous 11:36 AM  

What trolls? Me? because I have the temerity to call out vile speech when I read it (9:27)? Or amplifying a position (10:36)?
Pray tell, what on earth is trollish about that?
I have been courteous, direct and provided support for the one position. I contend the first post needs no defense. It was in response to something, which is, frankly, indefensible.

OffTheGrid 11:36 AM  

Speaking of pangrams (SB ALERT!). The pangram in SB can be elusive. I never did get yesterday's, though I reached "Genius". Today I saw it instantly. If it's a single word using only the seven letters or maybe 8, it seems much easier. Harder for me to see when it's a compound word or otherwise polysyllabic.

Masked and Anonymous 11:44 AM  

@RP: har. yep. Nuthin tougher than this kinda stuff:

1. {Neigh : horse :: ___ : sheep} = BAA.
2. {French "yes"} = OUI.
3. {Sportscenter channel} = ESPN.
4. {Shade of blond} = PLATINUM.
5. {Certain Apple} = IMAC.
Hardest thing: choosin between YIPE & YIKE at 31-D. (yo, @Nancy)
A few extra long ball answers, I'd grant … but, hey -- it's good even for newbie crossword solvers to suffer, at least to the JANEAUSTEN/ROSEGARDEN level.

@RP2: Revealer says FOODCOURT is a mall feature **OR** a (mythical) place for the other themers. Doesn't actually quite ever claim that U will find WHITECASTLE restaurants in FOODCOURTs.

Luved this MonPuz. E-W symmetry, suitable for mall dwellin. Pangram -- respect for all of the lil darlin letters. 007 U's [with MOORE in the grid, too boot]. MonPuz thUmbsUp.

@muse darlin: double yep. Makes yah really wonder about the pre-OTIS elevator experiences. Did riders wear crash helmets? Did elevator cars land on mattress piles? Did riders have to put their feet out on the outer chamber walls, when they wanted to stop? Were these pre-OTIS elevators designed by a relative of Trump?

staff weeject picks/moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue faves: See BAA & OUI, above.

Thanx for playin with yer food so well, Eric dude & Mama Lori darlin. Outstandin job. And congratz to Lori on her half-debut.

Masked & Anonym007Us

Kath320 11:52 AM  

If White Castles were readily available in mall food courts, then the classic movie "Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle" could never have been made...

Frantic Sloth 11:53 AM  

@Z 753am Some of the puzzles were delightful (Robyn Weintraub and Patrick Berry, of course) and I enjoyed them. #5 was indeed sadistic and this being my first ACPT didn't help prepare me for the bus that mowed me down. There were other concerns I won't mention here, but suffice it to say, I doubt I'll return. 😕

@TJS 1119am 👍 If only.

Graham 11:55 AM  

Great. Now I want some crinkle fries.

albatross shell 12:14 PM  

Oh my. Really slipped up today. My initial post about the mirror symmetry not adding to the puzzle. I usually have found mirror symmetry truly adds to the puzzle or at least they seem to be consistently above average puzzles. And it is true of this one too.

I liked the look of the grid but I thought it made the solving too segmented. But in return we get the perfect visual representation of many FOODCOURTs. An entrance. Three restaurants at a dead-end and a central seating area. It's the symmetry that allows that.

I also like that the revealer is not a traditional revealer, even though it is clued like one. It is not a hidden revealer but is pointed at by all the theme answers. COURT, as royal COURT, does however reveal the unity of the theme answers. The theme and the revealer are co-revealing. They interact during the solve.

Too bad there wasn't room for a loo in along the edge. Maybe if the theme answers were all moved up a few squares.

Anonymous 12:16 PM  

jim harrison --- DALVA then its sequel THE ROAD HOME.

Zwhatever 12:25 PM  

@Frantic Sloth - I believe it has been @LMS’ position that she attends for the people, not the puzzles. Something lost when done virtually I suspect.

@These aren’t FOOD COURT restaurants people - Please read the opening paragraph of @jberg 10:02. Also, BURGER KING is a common sight in airport FOOD COURTs. Charlotte has one, for example. Still, that’s not the point of the theme.

@Anon10:36 - It’s mostly forgotten today, but the U.S. was anti-Catholicism/anti-Pope for most of its history. Kennedy’s Catholicism was a significant campaign issue still in 1960. Anti-Irish/anti-Italian sentiment was rooted in part in anti-Catholicism sentiment (and a fascinating study in the history of what it means to be “white” in this country). A successful American-born British politician of that era can be pretty much assumed to be anti-Catholic because nearly everyone in the ruling class was basically anti-Catholic at that time.

Anonymous 12:42 PM  

@Z/12:25 -
a fascinating study in the history of what it means to be “white” in this country

Thanks for getting to that before I could. Shortly after the settling of This Bunch O Colonies, allegedly to attain 'religious freedom', Roger Williams got thrown out, witches were burned, and so forth. Tribal stupidity has been the foundation from the start; The Orange Julius Caeser is just the latest and most virulent since Jim Crow. Slavery was justified, even in The North, based on the Fact that such heathens were not Godly, thus not really human.

The acting mayor of Boston, a Black woman named Kim Janey, breaks a 91 year unbroken streak of either Italian or Irish. I used to live in the North End and was about the only one whose native languish was English. Assimilation? Not so much. And those folks came here voluntarily from at least 150 years ago.

albatross shell 1:02 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
albatross shell 1:29 PM  

@Anonymous 1136am
Not afraid to feed the trolls. What is the worst that could happen? The troll becomes POTUS?

If you made yourself AnonI we could better judge your trollality.
Dude may be disrespectful, but hardly vile. Ripping up a picture of someone who protected child molesters does not seem vile to me. I know you consider the Pope the representative of God on Earth. I do not. He is a leader of a major religion. I get that. You may pray I come to accept your religion. I may hope you come to understand I may not want you to tell me about it. You may not want me to say things that you take as insulting to your beliefs. What do you want to do about it? Neither of us to ever say anything to upset the other? Put up alerts everytime one says something that may upset a true believer or a true disbeliever in any particular thing? Or just say you have upset me, sir or madam?
Really what is your Christian solution to this?

nancy 1:35 PM  

there is no reason for Rex to admit ignorance re: lady Astor...just a cursory inquiry would give you some information. I realize that the primary purpose of his blog is to keep track of the black /white squares and the repetition of ASTA used in any given month.....but he is a college professor and would not accept that excuse
from his students...and neither would I...accept it from him. P.S.she was a southern lady that married into the Astor family )British side.. was .a raving antiSemitic and anti Catholic member of the House of Lords.

Teedmn 1:37 PM  

WHITE CASTLE - my friends and I were on a cycling tour in Ireland. In one small town, the tour group leader had booked us in a new hotel, trying hard to be upscale, with a white exterior and faux crenellated walls; yes, it was the White Castle Hotel. We all had a good laugh at whoever decided that was a worthy name for a nice hotel.

I have read and re-read "Pride and Prejudice" several times and daresay will again. It's the only one of Jane's novels I really like. I couldn't stand the protagonist of "Emma" but I love Elizabeth Bennett from P&P. I once chanced upon a web quiz that asked, "Which Jane Austen character do you most resemble?" with the appropriate questions which led me to being most like, duh, Elizabeth Bennett. (I hope to never meet the person who is most like Lydia.)

This led me to ponder whether everyone was channeled towards Elizabeth. My co-worker's son once found a Hogwarts site that used the sorting hat to find what house one would belong in. He ended up in Gryffindor and wondered to his Dad, cynically for a younger kid I thought, whether everyone was chosen to get into Gryffindor, Harry's house, of course!

Har, @M&A, I deemed the BAA clue and answer as weeject of the day!

@Nancy, I had the YIPE/YIkE dilemma but knew Manfacturer's Suggested Retail Price and so was able to correct what you astutely deduced.

@Loren, you are on a roll today. Too many fun observations for me to list, thanks. The OTIS comment is too funny!

Eric and Lori Bornstein, this was a fun collaboration. Congrats, Lori, on your NYT construction debut.

A 1:50 PM  

Nice! I like the theme and I like the grid - looks a bit like a castle, or at least a turret. Seemed fairly Mondaylike to me, took just under my average for the day.

Symmetrical VET and REX - is that our answer to how yesterday’s pet sitting went? @Joe D from last night, I see what you mean about the hand, and I think that tag is attached to a cat bed. Funny how you can live with something and not notice it, but it’s the first thing a visitor sees. (She says, newly observing the dust on the bookshelf.)

The clue for FOOD COURT says “figurative” location. Nothing to let slide.

@Barbara S, thanks for the Malamud - I must correct the fact that I own none of his writings.

SERE and SEAR apparently come from the same root. This entry from Online Etymology Dictionary contains a rare comment on the loss of use of a word.
sere (adj.)
Old English sear "dried up, withered, barren," from Proto-Germanic *sauzas (source also of Middle Low German sor, Dutch zoor "dry"), from PIE root *saus- "dry" …… A good word now relegated to bad poetry. Related to sear. Sere month was an old name for "August."

I will nitpick (but not DELOUSE) about AUS clued as Vienna’s home. For some reason, Australia got AUS and Austria had to settle for AUT. If I have to live with it, so should Shortz. Especially since today is National Hug an Australian Day.

Curiosity about whether DONNE had ever SAMBA’d led me to this very impressive video (sadly not of a dancing DONNE): No Man is an Isla

Thanks, Bornsteins - loved every bite!

Carola 1:51 PM  

A FOOD COURT transformed! I loved the constructor's repurposing of a usually dreary, odiferous, fluorescent-lit space into a regal realm for a KING and QUEEN (with a lady at the bottom of the hierarchy) - a COURT as both a space (WHITE CASTLE) and those who inhabit it. And we get the grid turrets beneath the WHITE CASTLE "label." What a treat of a Monday!

Agree with those who found it on the tough side. I went wrong early with an I'm-so-smart entry of "Peroxide" for the shade of blond, which messed me up royally. Once I had that straightened out, I wrote in NEAR to, thus masking the BURGER KING ("tUR...turkey something?").
Anyway (I just can't do the HOO), a real treat to solve.

M@c 2:08 PM  

Memo to all xword constructors:

The recognized international abbreviation for Austria is AUT. The abbreviation for Australia is AUS. You could say “it doesn’t matter”, but then it would make no difference how Massachusetts, Maine and Maryland are abbreviated.

mathgent 2:13 PM  

I'm being serious. A Monday puzzle that is harder then usual seems to bother many of us. TTrimble suggests that the reason is that new solvers will be discouraged. That doesn't ring true to me. But if it is, why is that a problem for us?

bocamp 2:18 PM  

@Barbara S. 9:05 AM

I love mnemonics. @Nancy had some excellent ideas for you. Fitting the '15', '30' & '40' is the tricky part. I'll spend some time on the challenge today to see if it can all be put into one package. Many mnemonics involve creating unique images, woven into zany stories that can easily be recalled when needed. Below is my initial thinking, and basically, just a rough outline for the story:

0 points = Love: thinking of a heart-shaped tennis racket-head, and that the game starts with 'love'.

1 point = 15: how to remember 15? that is the question!
2 points = 30: double 15, so if we come up with a way remember 15, we're good.
3 points = 40: doubling doesn't work here, so how do we nail 40 down? (maybe something to do with the 'back 40', since it's the most 'remote' point beyond 'love'.

Tied score = All: same as for other sports or games

40-40 = Deuce (in lieu of 40-all): the devil produces no winners.

Server wins deuce point = Ad-In: you have the 'ad'vantage. (it's in your pocket)

Receiver wins deuce point = Ad-Out: your opponent has the 'ad'vantage. (it's out of your pocket)

I would venture a guess that you could spend 5-10 mins and come up with a story mnemonic that would better than anything I could conjure. It would have personal meaning to you, rather than something 2nd hand from me. Nevertheless, I'll work on it because it's something I 'love' to do.

Here's a great NYT article by Bryan Clark:

Train Your Brain Like a Memory Champion

"You slide the key into the door and hear a clunk as the tumblers engage. You rotate the key, twist the doorknob and walk inside. The house is familiar, but the contents foreign. At your left, there’s a map of Minnesota, dangling precariously from the wall. You’re certain it wasn’t there this morning. Below it, you find a plush M&M candy. To the right, a dog, a shiba inu you’ve never seen before. In its mouth, a pair of your expensive socks.

And then it comes to you, 323-3607, a phone number.

If none of this makes sense, stick with us; by the end of this piece you’ll be using the same techniques to memorize just about anything you’ve ever wanted to remember.

The “memory athlete” Munkhshur Narmandakh once employed a similar combination of mnemonics to commit more than 6,000 binary digits to memory in just 30 minutes. Alex Mullen, a three-time World Memory Champion, used them to memorize the order of a deck of cards in just 15 seconds, a record at the time. It was later broken by Shijir-Erdene Bat-Enkh, who did it in 12.

We’re going to aim lower, applying these strategies to real-world scenarios, like remembering the things we often forget at dinner parties or work-related mixers." (by Bryan Clark)

pg -1

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Anonymous 2:22 PM  

Albatross shell,

The Holy Father is also a Head of State. Yes, like it or not, The Holy See is a sovereign nation. If a rock star ripped up a picture of, say, Benjamin Netanyahu, there's be a hue and cry to beat the band.

Good luck to you. But remember, ecclesiam nulla sallus, ( Outside the Church there is no salvation)

Anonymous 2:40 PM  

You concede that Z's use of "that dude" was disrespectful. My suggestion is simple: don't be disrespectful. This has nothing to do With Christianity. I simply want civility. Any comment which is disrespectful, like the one Z made ( as you yourself acknowledge) should be condemned. I'd be happy to start there.

CreamyT 2:44 PM  

First DNF we've had in quite some time for a Monday.

The difficulty was above average in general for all the reasons Rex mentioned, but nothing that we got stuck for too long on. However...

Complete natick in the SE with DONNE/ANGE, and a bit with RKO/DONNE. Didn't want to cycle vowels, got it wrong on first guess, so calling it a DNF. Pretty frustrating - I don't know any French words other than a few numbers and basic verbs I've seen in puzzles, and I'm not familiar with a many (any) 16th century poets. Just kinda sucks for a Monday.

Zwhatever 3:41 PM  

LOLLOLLOLLOLLOL - Trust me, “dude” would be an upgrade for Bibi.

bocamp 3:50 PM  

@albatross shell 11:10 AM

Your Mn response to @Nancy resulted in back-to-back coincidences (which I love as much as mnemonics). LOL Before I read your comment, I gave Nancy's request some thot, and came up with, "'mmm' … 'nemonic' is not 'demonic'." I like yours more, because it evokes a stronger image, e.g., possibly a map of Minnesota, hence the abbr., Mn and first two letters of 'mnemonic'. The 2nd part of the coincidence is contained in the link I included in my previous post to @Barbara S., where the author of the article refers to Minnesota (Mn) as standing for the first two digits of a phone number, i.e., 32. In fact, I can recall the complete phone number after reading the mnemonic story once, due to the strength of its imagery.

@OffTheGrid 11:36 AM 👍

The two I missed yesterday were related to one of the topics of discussion from Saturday's puz. Just couldn't pick them out of the crowd. :(

pg -1

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Zwhatever 4:01 PM  

@mathgent - “Bothered?” As for me, I’m just observing. This puzzle was at a Tuesday level of difficulty, maybe even Wednesday. It was still a fine solve, even Rex said so. So, if @Creamy T (for example) wonders if that DNF was them or the puzzle, they can be assured that it’s the puzzle.

@Creamy T & @Southside Johnny - Both DONNE and ANGE are coming to a puzzle near you again soon. ANGE is close enough to ANGEl that it shouldn’t be too hard to remember. Just be aware of the “we want the French word signifiers” like “Nice” or “Paris” in the clue. As for DONNE, a perusal of the Wikipedia article above the Contents box and maybe the section on his works is more than enough for solving crosswords (where your knowledge needs to be a mile wide but only an inch deep).

DevoutAtheist 4:20 PM  

In keeping with the burger theme, the position of pope is a nothing burger. Popes are basically useless. Even if I accepted the existence of gods I would reject the concept that any human could be closer to a god than other humans.

misterarthur 4:28 PM  

I've never seen a Dairy Queen or a White Castle in a food court FWIW.

albatross shell 4:39 PM  

Which of the annonymous was replying to me? The one I relpied to or one or two different ones?

Barbara S. 4:54 PM  

@The Joker (9:17)
That must be some tough-ass course.

@A (1:50 PM)
One can really get lost in the (dried) weeds with SERE. There are lots of interesting obsolete meanings (if you like that sort of thing, which I do). Here’s my humungous Oxford with the magnifying glass: “To hold fast, shut, bar; a claw, talon; Adverb: separately, severally; ‘sere twice’ = on two separate occasions.”

@Nancy (10:29) and @bocamp (2:18 PM)
Thanks for trying to get me on the right track with tennis scores. On a good day, I do know that love means zero. It’s really deuce, adin and adout that are the stumpers. DADIADO? Hmm, it may need some refining. @bocamp, I do tend to be visually oriented, so maybe I could get some of those techniques mentioned in the article to work. It sounds like it would take a lot of work, though.

@Jane Austen likers and dislikers
It probably won’t come as a shock that I’m a fan. To me, her work abounds with wit and humor. I don’t find her dialogue or descriptions stilted at all: they absolutely flow when you’re in the right mindset, which I’m very happy to enter. But I don’t think anything I can say will convince anyone. I suspect that either you’re of an inclination to like her writing or not. But I will point out that in her novel Persuasion, she includes a quite precise description of this commentariat:

“My idea of good company…is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.”

“You are mistaken,” he said gently, “that is not good company, that is the best.”

Joe Dipinto 4:55 PM  

This whole ripping up of pictures thing has got to stop. This morning people were ripping up pictures of Anthony Hopkins out in the street (he played Pope Benedict XVI last year, you know). Another group was ripping up pictures of the little kid from "Minari". Then a third faction showed up and started ripping up pictures of the octopus in that documentary. It was mayhem. And what will it accomplish? The octopus is already dead.

Anonymous 4:57 PM  

I've never seen a Dairy Queen or a White Castle in a food court FWIW.

head off to Simon Malls.

Parking Lot Near The Food Court'

White Castle -
"There are two in Mass. (Burlington and Peabody) and one in NH (Nashua) - all in mall food courts. Ditto for Paramus NJ."
-- Lowerdeck/2010

Ya need to get out more. At least in the Snowflake East

Anonymous 5:12 PM  

@Barbara S:
I don’t find her dialogue or descriptions stilted at all: they absolutely flow when you’re in the right mindset, which I’m very happy to enter.

Well... much the same has been said about Shakespeare, even 'translated' into current English. IIRC, his plays were even written in meter. let's see if we can find out... yes, yes he did.

"It is said by scholars that Shakespeare wrote in iambic pentameter so that it would be easier for the actors to memorize, since it has a sing-songy tone to it. He also believed it would be easier for the audience to understand during this time, since he often used more intellectual language and some who attended the plays were not familiar with many words."
-- https://www.wyzant.com/resources/answers/631374/why-did-shakespeare-write-in-iambic-pentameter

Did he write in what we now interpret as 'English'? More or less:

"Shakespeare's complex sentence structures and use of now obsolete words lead many students to think they are reading Old or Middle English. In fact, Shakespeare's works are written in Early Modern English. Once you see a text of Old or Middle English you'll really appreciate how easy Shakespeare is to understand (well, relatively speaking). Take, for example, this passage from the most famous of all Old English works, Beowulf:

Hwät! we Gâr-Dena in geâr-dagum
þeód-cyninga þrym gefrunon,
hû þâ äðelingas ellen fremedon.
Oft Scyld Scêfing sceaðena þreátum.

Lo! the Spear-Danes' glory through splendid achievements
The folk-kings' former fame we have heard of,
How princes displayed then their prowess-in-battle.
Oft Scyld the Scefing from scathers in numbers... "


Nigel Pottle 5:13 PM  

Fo those wondering about the Sinead O’Conner/SNL reference, here’s the dirt - you can decide for youself.
My finish time was slower but I did it while eating breakfast - instead of being “oh, this should be Tuesday”, I just enjoyed the puzzle. Note, we don’t have WHITECASTLEs in Canada that I know of. We do have DAIRYQUEENs and FOODCOURTs though.

GILL I. 5:26 PM  

Oh good gravy....The only picture I ripped up was of my boyfriend in Spain. He wouldn't let me run with the bulls in Pamplona.

Anonymous 5:28 PM  

"Austen's name never appeared on her books during her lifetime."

of some interest. the wiki.

Nancy 5:45 PM  

@albatross shell and @bocamp -- Re the spelling of "mnemonic" -- Oh, no, you both completely misunderstand the problem I have with it:

It's not the MN thing at all -- in fact, that's the most memorable thing about "mnemonic" (pun intended). It's the "U" That Isn't There problem: I always want to spell it like pneumonia or pneumatic. I typed in "mneumonic today -- doesn't that look good to you? It sure looks good to me -- and Spellcheck slapped my wrist. I had to go to my Webster's and look it up.

Anon101 5:55 PM  

Would it be an issue for Anons/Unknowns to tack on something to their moniker to distinguish themselves on this blog? I've used "Anon101" for this post, as a test. It seems to me that much confusion could be avoided.

St3v3k4hn 6:00 PM  

Agree it’s not a Monday. Also, this brought back memories for me, as I used to construct puzzles years ago. I did a similar themed one - BURGERKING, DAIRYQUEEN, JACKINTHEBOX. I have to say I like this puzzle’s version better than the one I did 😀

JC66 6:12 PM  

@Anon 101

Of course it's possible.

The problem is that most anons don't wan't to be identified in any way.

Anonymous 6:26 PM  


I knew that the Latin for love was AMOR, without knowing the whole phrase. So the translation made it more Monday-like for me, because I could just write the answer in without having any letters down.

Anonymous 6:36 PM  

As a practicing Catholic, I would agree that Sinead O'Connor's ripping up of the Pope's picture was an extremely disrespectful action toward the head of a religion and a head of state.

But in retrospect, now that we know how weakly John Paul II acted to try to rid the Church of practicing pedophiles, wasn't a portion of this disrespect perhaps deserved?

Birchbark 6:45 PM  

@Joe DiPinto (4:55) and Shakespearean @Anon (5:12), et al. -- I don't tear things up, but I do use a shredder for bills, work papers, etc. I have never shredded in anger or to make a point (unless we include the nylon string classical guitar when no one is around).

But to the point -- Anthony Hopkins as King Lear (Amazon Prime) is well worth watching. It's a modern staging but one that I think works well. He rips up his own image, with help from two of his daughters.

Barbara S. 6:57 PM  

@Anonymous (5:12 PM)
And I would hazard that even Chaucer's Middle English is more challenging for a modern readership than Shakespeare.

Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;

When April with its sweet-smelling showers
Has pierced the drought of March to the root,
And bathed every vein (of the plants) in such liquid
By which power the flower is created;

Anonymous 7:22 PM  

Al across shell,
Not sure why it matters, or what you care, but the Anons at 6:36,, 5:55,, 4:57, are not ada inching my argument. Only one has anything remotely to say on what you and I have been discussing. I find it incredible that you can’t discern that those posters weren’t me. But setting that aside, you asked for a solution to a problem. I provided it. Why not respond to thee answer to your question?
And, why not condemn Zs post which you acknowledge is disrespectful?

bocamp 7:35 PM  

@Barbara S. 4:54 PM yw :)

Very easy to get started with some of the basics. As with all learning, it can get more complicated. Once the basics are learned, the actual memorization is fairly easy, just somewhat time consuming.

I've emailed you a copy of 'The Memory Book' by Harry Lorayne & Jerry Lucas

@Nancy 5:45 PM

Yes, you're right; I assumed that 'mn' was the issue. My bad. However, the good news is that both @albatross shell and I did add the 'demonic' part, so that all you need to do is to replace the 'd' with an 'n', and Bob's your uncle. :)

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all 🕊

albatross shell 7:46 PM  

Well since I do not think anon222 and anon240 are the same person, and that 240 is the anon of the first 2 posts, I'll proceed on that basis.

Really? The leaders of any country are worthy of respect? The corrupt Bibi also must be respected? I did not know this was a rule of life nor of crossword blogs. And since when does how people react to something determine how proper it is to do something. Really I do not believe in being rude, but when we are talking about public figures with some morally questionable behavior, dude seems pretty mild.

You may have noticed I felt it was rude for you to preach your Church's dogma to me. I am familiar with it. You are not educating me. You are insulting me. The salvation you speak of exists only to believers. I am not one. If I become one I might like to discuss it with you. Otherwise you are just being repellent no matter how well intentioned. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. And bad intentions still do not smooth the way to Heaven. I do appreciate the Latin translations.

I said may be disrespectful actually. Whether it was in a serious sense depends on the context. Z is reducing the Pope to just another human person, man, bro, brother, or dude. And that he certainly is. He is also a leader of many and his opinions matter. The Pope in this latter sense has a responsiblity to protect his flock and his institution. And I feel he has mostly failed in this regard relative to the the issue under discussion. Perhaps this is why Z demoted him (if human is indeed below pope). I am assuming this was not the current Pope we are talking about who has his own problems in this regard. I do feel Z might have been expressing some opinion of Catholicism by not using a capital C. Should Catholicism feel insulted? Well how important is Z to Catholicism? That is how big of an insult it was.
We should be polite to one another. I do not think Z was making a vile argument. You rose to defend the Pope by calling his argument vile. Show that the Pope acted correctly on the issue of child abuse or why it does not matter to you.

If you are Catholic, I assume you will always respect the Pope. We who are not, will respect the good the Pope does and disrespect the bad the Pope does. I do owe you and your personal beliefs civility as a fellow blogger. I do not feel I owe Catholicism or the Pope anything. I do not think less of you for being a Catholic. Or more of someone else for being an atheist. I would think as a Catholic, Christianity would have some effect on how you conduct yourself on this blog. Civility would be a good start.

Are you the anon that seems to want to attack Z on any pretense he can come up with?

Anonymous 8:22 PM  

Well said, Anon240. You sound like a nice person. Hey. I’m an anon lurker that is not a troll. I’ll actually not make up a name this time.

Anonymous 8:26 PM  

Oh. Actually I realize now I am responding to @Albatross Shell. My apologies...the anon who had just commented that is not a troll

albatross shell 8:44 PM  

You missed the point, maybe.
Perhaps for your specific problem it should be:
Only the MN is not dEMONIC.
The Remove the d which you know is not there. Shove the MN and the EMONIC together. MNEMONIC.

My original formulation, only the MN is demonic, meant to say only the MN is tricky because the rest is spelled just like demonic. And being a good lawyer you know how to spell demonic.

@Barbara S.
4 letter word: ADIN
5 letter word: ADOUT

AD meaning up by one.
Scoring follows ball.
Ball IN server's hand. Server ahead. ADIN
Ball OUT of receiver's hand. Receiver ahead. ADOUT

LOVE = ZERO NADA NONE. If you got LOVE you can live on nothing and you can't win a point. Think Katherine Hepburn tennis movie.

DEUCE = ALLEVEN just like a 2.

Let means ball hit the net on serve. Do over.

Overhand smash or serve
Drop shot lob return volley.
The rest is all player's names.

Anonymous 8:50 PM  

Would it be an issue for Anons/Unknowns to tack on something to their moniker to distinguish themselves on this blog?

The whole point is to deter verbal harassment, in a specific way. On some occasions I'll adopt a 'name'. The last time was Legume. I may again, if something of particular interest pops up. As it is, being just another Mouse is kind of fun; the fact that many/most/all of the 'named' commenters choose to not engage in conversation with the Mice is not so much to lose.

albatross shell 8:57 PM  

@anonymous 722pm
Since I asked the question at 449pm I definitely was not referring to any anons who posted later than 449pm.

BarbieBarbie 9:24 PM  

Just writing to myself by this hour, but: this was a Monday. A Monday for me goes by quickly, somewhere near my Monday average time according to the app, and makes me miss entire clue/answer combinations because Across words fill in entirely on the Down clues, or vice versa. Today’s puzzle was a Monday. And no, I’m not a speed solver.

That said- this was a great, great Monday with lots of built-in fun and a theme that kind of sneaked up on me. I loved it. More, please.

reality sucks 9:27 PM  

Anon 8;50 Most of the anons are fine. There is one anon who is a troll and he is easy to distinguish from the other among. His presence is a cancer on an otherwise good comment section.
These are his unique characteristics: He never comments on the puzzle. He only argues with things posted in previous posts. He waits to find ridiculous things to pick a fight over. He's rude as hell. He attacks other posters. He has a raging hard-on for Z. He wants to engage in "conversation" ie arguments and insults. He destroys this blog but is allowed to post ad hominem attacks ten times a day. He complains about other posters posting too much, yet he routinely posts more than 6 times a day. He often makes 3 posts a row because he really gets himself worked up and can't let any thing go. He needs to get the last word.

If one of his posts gets removed by a mod, he cries like a baby. Oh and he can't use the space bar on his device or spell checker.

Barbara S. 9:29 PM  

@albatross shell (8:44 PM)
Thanks for that summary of tennis terminology. And here she is.

Zwhatever 9:43 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zwhatever 9:47 PM  

@Albatross Shell 7:46 - If I used “catholic” instead of “Catholic” in reference to the denomination it was a typo. As for “dude” being a “demotion,” hmmmm... is failing to be obsequious really the same as demoting somebody? Or is it just affording them the dignity they always deserved and nothing more. It looks like you and I pretty much agree, the dude is just a dude who ought to be judged on his successes and failures. If Catholics decide to give the Pope’s opinions special weight (which, in my experience, is done on a case by case basis) that’s on them. Everyone else should judge each Pope on their actions.

@Barbara S - One of my most painful academic memories is totally misconstruing the Knights Tale which just happened to also be the prof’s favorite tale. I’m pretty sure the scars have mostly healed by now. Doing my final paper for the seminar on the Knights Tale helped my grade, but more challenging for a modern readership than Shakespeare made me guffaw at the casual understated nature of your observation.

{I took out a sentence because @reality sucks made a good point making that sentence wrong}

Barbara S. 10:05 PM  

Apologies for awakening dormant or semi-dormant Chaucer angst. Take two aspirin and call me in the morning.

albatross shell 11:38 PM  

Yes, agreement on this. I only noticed the small c because of re-reading your post to make a reply. The fact that you seldom have typos (certainly compared to me) made it easy to assume it might not be. I was speaking of possible ways to interpret what you wrote, not presuming to know what was in your mind. I think I got it mostly in the ballpark. The reality bites guy pretty much got it right. Almost made me regret engaging. But sometimes I am not sure who is who among the anonopodes.

Shé di Felina 1:07 PM  

Having solved this one a day late I certainly agree it was significantly harder than a regular Monday, or than this week's Tuesday. I'm still in the phase of my solving career where I won't even touch a Friday or Saturday puzzle so this Monday took nearly 25m—over twice as long as today's. That is probably in part due to the particularly US-centric nature of the themed answers and some of the rest of the fill, which meant I didn't get the theme until I'd finished and had to assume WHITE CASTLE and DAIRY QUEEN are food establishments. Waiting to have enough letters in to see what the words are likely to be rather than 'getting' the clues is a bit of a slow and unsatisfying way to solve, so I enjoyed the theme more in principle than in actuality. But hey, that's my fault for choosing an American crossword I guess! Some days that's just how it pans out.

kitshef 11:49 PM  

Off-the-charts hard for a Monday, but a real hoot!

Things I learned today:
ROSE GARDEN has the same number of letters as oval office.
JANE AUSTEN has the same number of letters as anNE BRONTE.
siMon as the same number of letters as MAMAS.

Burma Shave 11:40 AM  


says the QUEEN's COURT's PRESENCE is A hassle.
IS ONE to PRIMP and preen,
before THEY ROLEPLAY and then THEY rassle.


thefogman 11:56 AM  

It’s good to be king - whether your realm is a food court, an empire or CrossWorld.

rondo 12:01 PM  

Since I rarely time solving I didn't notice much about the difficulty level here.

The corners are something to RAVE about.

And maybe Mary Tyler MOORE?

Well done. Enjoy the holiday.

spacecraft 12:13 PM  

Well well. A Monday with a few teeth in its usually empty gums. Although for us in Syndiland it coincides with Memorial Day, so maybe it should feel more like a weekender.

ANYHOO (hand up for the W), this is a good one. A strange little entry coming out of the NW, 21-down, had me tied up in knots for some time. Just couldn't parse the simple ITIS. Should've known because I occasionally watch the game show Common Knowledge, whose MC Joey Fatone's favorite saying is that. "Is it 'pour water on it?' [sound of success] ITIS!!"

OTIS appears to have sparked a whole comedy bit about pre-brake elevators, which of course didn't exist. You couldn't have the thing until you found a way to stop it. So in effect, he did actually invent the elevator. But I appreciate the hilarity.

The theme, once grokked, is cool, and I did notice the key word "or" in the revealer clue, which lets them off the hook for all these places actually being in mall FOODCOURTs. A triple nine and twin double tens: find me a Monday with those! Remarkable. The fill suffers only slightly; AREAR is really ugly, and those go-to tennis scores (ADIN or OUT) are becoming tiresome. The tournament referee never says that; he says "Advantage [name of player]." Yeah, you're playing a set in the town park, sure. It's still tiresome. But really, not much else. I was never promised a ROSEGARDEN but today I got one ANYHOO. Birdie.

Diana, LIW 12:30 PM  

True - I thought 'twas challenging for a Monday puz. But absolutely do-able.

Brought back memories of WHITECASTLE "restaurants," places that were quite magical in my child's mind when we passed through New York City. "Can we eat at White Castle?" "no" - for so many reasons. None sounded valid to me. Oh, to walk into that white-bricked edifice. Oh, to ge a bag of burgers. But in my family, Howard Johnson's was THE PLACE for those special occasions.

Did you know that Jane Austen and Jane Eyre had the same first name?

Happy Monday all.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords
@Foggy - thanks for the tip about Jeff Chen's puzzles. I'd still love to see an ENTIRE crosswords with two sets of possible answers.

leftcoaster 3:31 PM  

This puzzle has a pre-pandemic feel to it. Probably should stay away from the FOOD COURT for a while longer.

Is WHITE CASTLE still pumping out hamburgers? I liked them back in the day, as a kid. I’m pleased with my IMAC Macintosh Apple. Needed crosses for REDD and ANGE, and had BID before LOT.

Good puzzle with some bite.

thefogman 5:39 PM  

No problem M’Lady. Anything for a fellow puzzler.

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