Noted portrait photographer Anne / MON 5-17-21 / Daytona 500 acronym / Supposed means of communication with the dead / Critical marks on treasure maps / Things milking machines attach to

Monday, May 17, 2021

Constructor: Wren Schultz

Relative difficulty: Medium (i.e. normal Monday) (2:57)

THEME: YES (67A: What the circled letters all mean) — just like the clue says:

Theme answers:
  • JAZZERCISE (16A: Alternative to Zumba)
  • DAIRY QUEEN (29A: Where to order a Blizzard)
  • OUIJA BOARD (44A: Supposed means of communication with the dead)
  • SIOUX FALLS (60A: Biggest city in South Dakota)
Word of the Day: LCD (53A: Like many HDTVs, in brief) —

liquid-crystal display (LCD) is a flat-panel display or other electronically modulated optical device that uses the light-modulating properties of liquid crystals combined with polarizers. Liquid crystals do not emit light directly, instead using a backlight or reflector to produce images in color or monochrome. LCDs are available to display arbitrary images (as in a general-purpose computer display) or fixed images with low information content, which can be displayed or hidden. For instance: preset words, digits, and seven-segment displays, as in a digital clock, are all good examples of devices with these displays. They use the same basic technology, except that arbitrary images are made from a matrix of small pixels, while other displays have larger elements. LCDs can either be normally on (positive) or off (negative), depending on the polarizer arrangement. For example, a character positive LCD with a backlight will have black lettering on a background that is the color of the backlight, and a character negative LCD will have a black background with the letters being of the same color as the backlight. Optical filters are added to white on blue LCDs to give them their characteristic appearance.

LCDs are used in a wide range of applications, including LCD televisionscomputer monitorsinstrument panelsaircraft cockpit displays, and indoor and outdoor signage. Small LCD screens are common in LCD projectors and portable consumer devices such as digital cameraswatchesdigital clockscalculators, and mobile telephones, including smartphones. LCD screens are also used on consumer electronics products such as DVD players, video game devices and clocks. LCD screens have replaced heavy, bulky cathode ray tube (CRT) displays in nearly all applications. LCD screens are available in a wider range of screen sizes than CRT and plasma displays, with LCD screens available in sizes ranging from tiny digital watches to very large television receivers. (wikipedia)

• • •

Surprised this was accepted, for a host of reasons. I like the theme answers fine on their own, they look nice in the grid, but the theme is startlingly thin and purposeless. Why these languages? Why are they all European languages? HAI- (for instance) could start infinite potential answers. So can all of these yeses (except OUI). It's just not tough or impressive or even interesting to have a long answer that starts SI-. A gajillion answers do that. Same with JA-, same with DA-. Further, why are all the yeses up front? What's the logic? They may as well appear in the middle of the grid as anywhere, since there's no governing principle, no revealer to make their initial positioning make any kind of sense. Which leads us to the biggest question: why is this revealer such a dud? Why is there a revealer at all? Anyone can look at the circled squares and see they all mean "yes" in other languages. YES is such an incredibly redundant let-down of a revealer. Now if puzzles had titles, maybe you could've called this one, I don't know, "Up-Front Agreement" or something, I don't know. Maybe taken the circles out and put the language in parentheses at the end of each theme clue? Something like that? Anyway, something. Just putting YES at the end, that is not it. That is not anything. 

The grid seems fine on the whole. A little heavy on the 3-4-5s, but it could've been much worse. Only HOC and TAI and AT SIX and maybe the plural (?) EGADS are at all irksome. Hard to make a grid smoothish when it's loaded with short stuff, but this one does the job OK. And with lotsa J's and Z's and Q's and X's to boot. Not a fan of Scrabbly for Scrabbly's sake, but here, the grid doesn't suffer at all (perhaps because most of the Scrabbly stuff is in the themers themselves—not part of some ill-advised attempt to lade high-value tiles into the grid unnecessarily). I had TRIES before TURNS (21A: Opportunities to play in games), and struggled to get LCD, because honestly I still don't know exactly what that means, despite seeing it all the time in crosswords (I made it Word of the Day today in hopes that the meaning would stick). Can't see anything besides maybe Anne GEDDES giving anyone any trouble. I don't think of her as a "portrait photographer," but more of a "babies in weird costumes and / or weird positions" photographer. But she's famous enough, that's for sure. That's all. Have a lovely Monday.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:01 AM  

I was not familiar with 63A (Noted portrait photographer Anne), but it was easily GEDDESable from crosses.

Frantic Sloth 1:16 AM  

This was done without any attention paid to the theme.
Upon completion, looked at the circles and saw the yeses.
Never saw the "revealer". Yada yada yada Mondee.


JOHN X 1:21 AM  

Did you know that the Czech word for “YES” is “ANO” which in Spanish means “asshole?”

So if a Czech-type person goes to Spain and affirmatively answers a question, what happens? Is there a fight?

“ANO” also means “YES” in Slovak, which makes you wonder why they broke up.

In Urdu “YES” is “ DSCII HAAN” which seems very crossword friendly. You could cross the hell out of that thing.

“YES” in Zulu is “YEBO.” Do you know how many words begin with “YEBO?” None do, that’s how many.

chefwen 2:25 AM  

This was a fun, easy Monday which was welcomed after Sunday’s brain drain. Could have done without the unnecessary YES reveal, JA we get it!

jae 3:44 AM  

Medium. Solid Mon., liked it.

...and speaking of octopodes, I highly recommend the Academy Award winning documentary “My Octopus Teacher” currently streaming on Netflix.

Unknown 4:16 AM  

Is that how you transliterate the Urdu "Yes" ? I would transliterate it to "Jee Haan" . Anyways, just "Haan" also means yes, though I'm not sure you could make any word out of it

Conrad 5:06 AM  

@JOHN X: Ye Bowmen may disagree.

Anonymoose 5:35 AM  

@Rex gave his approval to today's so-called "Scrabbly" letters. But this is not a thing anyway. All the letters are in the game and all letters appear in Xwords. The point value of a letter in Scrabble has no relevance to a Xword puzzle. This is just made up BS like the WMD's in Iraq and the stolen 2020 election.

Lewis 6:29 AM  

While nicely accented with Scrabbliness, this solve was smooth and even; no crumps anywhere. While appropriately Monday easy, it did not insult the intelligence, and its theme started the week with a positive vibe.

On a whim, I looked up “wren” (the constructor’s name) and learned that there is a genus of wren called “troglodytes”. Also, since FIG and BRINE are neighbors, I also, on a whim, Googled them together and came across recipes for making pickled figs, something I never heard of. I found both of these learnings interesting, and so I’m passing them on.

And I did like the PuzzPair© of BURGLE and PIRATED, cousins as they are, both referring to taking things that belong to others.

So, a lovely Monday overall, packed with some fine discoveries. Thank you, for this, Wren!

Nick 6:35 AM  

Did anyone else notice that the name "ouija board" comes from the words "oui" and "ja" put together, and those were circled answers in the puzzle? I was wondering if "da" would pop up in another circled answer.

GILL I. 6:55 AM  

HAH....!!!! And all these years my therapist has been telling me that I have to learn to say "NO." Just kidding.. It's just that the reveal gave me the shucky darns they say in Spanish..."Ay Caramba."
Other than that, I liked it. Mikey liked it....
So, as I usually do on Mondays at 3:45 in the am, is let my mind wander. I paused at OUIJA BOARD. Why ,you ask?...because I don't know a soul who hasn't played it. I even remember my first. I asked it if I would grow up to be an alcoholic and it said YES. Just kidding.
Then I go back up to JAZZERCISE. I tried it exactly once and shortly after, ended up in DAIRY QUEEN overdosing on ice cream.
My BURGLE runneth over. Si.

SouthsideJohnny 6:57 AM  

Very straightforward, typically easy Monday fare. I didn’t know either Ms. GEDDES or Ms. ELLIE Goulding, but that is PAR for the course, even on a Monday - fortunately I actually remembered TOQUE, which I learned a week or two ago.

What a contrast between today’s normal, read the clues and try to figure out the answers type solving experience and yesterday’s encrypted Extraterrestrial UFO-encoded mystery puzzle from outer space. Is anyone in the mood for a professionally done, well-executed, non-cryptic, gimmick-free Rebus puzzle on Thursday (you know, the type that really should be expected and anticipated from the New York Times, but unfortunately are considered a pleasant surprise when they occasionally do pop up).

Barbara S. 6:59 AM  

This was a solid theme and a solid puzzle. A pangram is a happy start to the week. I might wish for more sparkle on a Monday but I thought this was absolutely fine in its modest way. It’s one of those days on which Rex asks a lot of why-questions and I feel like countering with “Why not?” I liked the rhyming couplet effect of JA, DA, OUI, SI.

Definite food and drink sub-theme. For starters, DAIRY QUEEN and Trader VIC and a chef in a TOQUE (again). On the food front, FIG Newtons, pork LOIN, the USDA inspecting meats, and some harried sous-chef measuring out salt and sugar in TSPS. And to drink – IPA, FIJI water, LIQUEURS, MELTing ice cubes and, if you’d care to wait, the milking machine is attached to the TEATS, so fresh milk is coming right up.

I thought that was an odd clue for BURGLE, which I always thought meant not just the breaking in with ill intent but the actual stealing, too. I wouldn’t have separated the breaking and the thievery as the clue does. Hmm… Lexico/Oxford says:
enter (a building) illegally with intent to commit a crime, especially theft.“ That sounds like the clue.

Merriam-Webster says:
“Transitive verb: to break into and steal from (a home, a business, etc.): BURGLARIZE
Intransitive verb: to commit robbery.” That sounds more like my understanding of the word.

I looked up both JAZZERCISE and ZUMBA and was surprised to find out that JAZZERCISE is, according to Wikipedia, “A fitness franchise company founded by Judi Sheppard Missett in 1969 and headquartered in Carlsbad, California, United States.” I thought JAZZERCISE was simply a generic form of exercise like dancercise or strength training without any corporate implications.

The excerpt today is by GARY PAULSEN, born May 17, 1939.

“All the luck in the world has to come every year, in every part of every year, or there is not a harvest and then the luck, the bad luck will come and everything we are, all that we can ever be, all the Einsteins and babies and love and hate, all the joy and sadness and sex and wanting and liking and disliking, all the soft summer breezes on cheeks and first snowflakes, all the Van Goghs and Rembrandts and Mozarts and Mahlers and Thomas Jeffersons and Lincolns and Ghandis and Jesus Christs, all the Cleopatras and lovemaking and riches and achievements and progress, all of that, every single damn thing that we are or ever will be is dependent on six inches of topsoil and the fact that the rain comes when it's needed and does not come when it is not needed; everything, every...single...thing comes with that luck.”
(From Clabbered Dirt, Sweet Grass)

Hungry Mother 7:09 AM  

I remember using a QUIJABOARD as a kid. I saw the theme as it went along, but failed to anticipate SI as the last YES, in spite of having spent four months in Spain studying Spanish on a playa in El Palo. Happy to escape from a tough weekend of solving.

kitshef 7:24 AM  

I think I might have solved this faster if I’d just looked at all the across clues first. Seems like 85% of those I could fill in immediately, while 85% of the down clues needed thought and/or crosses.

Very inelegant to have an extra SI in AT SIX, and extra DAs in ADAPT and USDA and FRIDAY.

bocamp 7:30 AM  

Thx Wren for an excellent Mon. puz to start the week off with; a big YES for this one! :)

Med solve.

Worked from the top down, ending up at the 'G' for GEDDES/SGT.

Thot I was faster on this one, but turned out a very avg. time. Felt I was on the right wavelength, tho.

As per my last post yd, this may be the last puz I put the timer on.

Beautiful FIJIan music


Alas, didn't know my Louvre carrot msg fetishes. Otherwise an extremely challenging, but fruitful solve. :)

yd 0

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Son Volt 7:31 AM  

Nice little pangram Monday. Agree that the circles are a little much and the revealer not really needed but it is early week. Another TOQUE sighting. Liked seeing SIOUX FALLS and the grammar class ADVERBS.

Mai TAIs wee made famous at Trader VICs - cool combo in the center. Never a fan of ZANE Grey but the New Riders are one of my favorites.

Enjoyable Monday solve.

kitshef 7:33 AM  

The singer Halsey was Rexes "word of the day" not too long ago, and the Wikipedia page said she was known for her distinctive singing voice. Today, we get ELLIE Goulding, who to my (tin) ear sounds EXACTLY like Halsey.

amyyanni 7:34 AM  

My spouse is from a small town just outside of Sioux Falls. South Dakota in the NYTXW! Easy peasy Monday. My office is having us back in beginning June 14. Finally.

Aelurus 7:53 AM  

Ja, da, oui, si! After yesterday, a lovely pangrammatic palate cleanser. Lemon sherbert, I think, so make my liqueur Cointreau. frijoles frescos! (hi, @Gill I.)

Vinaka vaka levu, Wren! If the internet is not leading me astray, that's Fijian for thank you very much.

@Joaquin 12:01 am – nice one!

@Nick 6:35 am – oui-ja ditto!

@Gill I. 6:55 am – vinaka vaka levu - your post made me smile!

chefbea 7:57 AM  

why is 48 across SOS. the clue is not printed in my copy

Z 7:58 AM  

YES, that revealer clue was a little bit of a let-down. Did we really need the circles? Why not “What the theme answers begin with” or some such?

If you’re going to do a pangram, this is the way to do it. Put all your scrabbly letters in the theme answers, not jammed into some corner.

EGADS - Perfectly cromulent. EGAD - Clanks off my ear. Not sure why Rex is calling attention to that S.

@Anonymoose - Since CrossWorld uses the term and everyone understands exactly what somebody using the term means,”scrabbly” is a thing.

@Barbara S - So not a fan of The Hobbit, then? Bilbo is hired as the 14th member of the Dwarves’ party and as their BURGLar. This reminds me of how “assault” has become synonymous with “assault and battery” in common usage. “Assault” is the threat, “battery” is the physical contact. I think there is still a legal distinction in the US regarding BURGLE as well. Just breaking in with the intent to commit a crime is a crime. Trespass would be different, burglary worse than trespassing, larceny still worse.

This 'n' That 8:02 AM  

Except for OUIJABOARD, the foreign YES has a different sound from that of the puzzle entry.


GAZE at your close by IPAD.

A cursory review suggests very low PPP.

RooMonster 8:09 AM  

Hey All !
YES, liked this puz. To counter Rex, Why not these languages? You may as well ask Why do any themes exist? You could ask this of any themed puz ever made. Silly.

Anyway, fairly clean fill, even if it's "Scrabbled" up. Three Z's! Two Q's! Two X's! And weirdly, they are in close proximity to themselves.

Short and sweet today. Remembered TOQUE, which is an accomplishment. 😁 Or I can say,.. IZ OD. Har.

Three F's

pmdm 8:10 AM  

Somehow I turned into an Anonymous yesterday. Don't know how that happened.

Like most Monday puzzles, quite simple, which is the point and very fine with me. I like challenges, but not every puzzle need be a difficult problem.

Got as far the the part in the write-up that questions the logic of the languages. Thought to myelf, why waste time reading further? Don't know which is sillier, me or the question in the write-up.

chester 8:31 AM  

A Brit, Frenchman, Spaniard & German are watching a street juggler, but can't see him too well. He moves over and asks them if this better. They tell him, yes, oui si ja.

Lewis 8:44 AM  

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

1. Get a load of this! (7)
2. Leftovers from a doughnut, say (4)(5)
3. Worked in Starbuck's business (6)
4. Avon lady, for one (6)
5. "Dumb and Dumber" duo (6)(2)


Anonymoose 8:46 AM  

@Z, OK, fair enough on SCRABBLINESS but my opinion is that it's a nothingburger even if it is a thing.

chefbea 8:47 AM  

my message wasn't printed. why is 48 across SOS . It was not printed.

Z 8:52 AM  

@chefbea - what should appear in your copy is the Morse code for SOS: … - - - …

@pmdm - I see others make your complaint about Rex’s frequent question. The question always seems relevant to me. Put another way, is there something more that ties, or could tie, the theme together? For example, yesterday’s “A Shot in the Dark” puzzle tied the theme answers together two ways, “shot” and “dark.” If you had read farther you would have seen Rex’s suggested title, “Up-Front Agreement.” Imagine the revealer clue as “Up from agreement in (the theme answers).” Now we don’t need the circles and the placement in front has a reason and the solver has to take an extra nanosecond or three to see the four YESes. To me that simple change to the revealer clue makes the puzzle much better.

Nancy 8:57 AM  

When I see a photographer named Anne, all I can think about is Leibovitz.

When I see GEDDES, all I can think about is Barbara Bel.

So 63A was a complete unknown.

Other than that, a walk in the park. I commend the constructor on a grid almost completely free of proper names and crosswordese. But other than that, I can't find anything to get excited about. The theme was completely underwhelming, and I didn't even notice it until I got to YES. The thinking required to solve was negligible to nonexistent.

Z 9:04 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Barbara S. 9:04 AM  

@Z (7:58)
AU CONTRAIRE. I was as avid a Hobbit-reader as any 1970s slacker. Remind me: what was Bilbo's mandate exactly?

Z 9:14 AM  

@Anonymoose 8:46 - Hmmm - Except that some constructors try for scrabbliness and the result is extra dreck. Today is a good example of a pangram done right, the high value letters all seem natural. At no point will a solver say, “yuck - that word is only in the puzzle because of the Z.” That negative reaction comes most when filling an QXJZ in a small corner. So my feeling is scrabbly letters should be a nothingburger and now I get annoyed when they aren’t.

@Barbara S - “Exactly?” Unexpected Party, contract on the mantle, running to catch up, barely reading the terms…Oh yeah, Gandalf surreptitiously puts a “Burglar for hire” mark on Bilbo’s door. Anyway, now I will have to see if I have an intact copy about the house. I have a funny feeling our well worn copies didn’t make it through the last move - even the hard-cover edition hadn’t survived three sons. At any rate, Tolkien is the reason I had no problem with the clue.

Pepper, Shriver & Bilko 9:41 AM  

Blog ten-hut! Be advised that 99.9% of the Sargeants across all branches of the military do NOT say Hup, two ...ever! A DRILL Sgt, however would. At ease!

Nancy 9:43 AM  

Zumba music. JAZZERCISE music. Aquacise music (which I was forced to listen to ad nauseum at the 92Y when I was trying to swim.) They have one thing in common. They are to actual music what Astroturf is to grass and what "cheese food" is to cheese. They are all absolutely hideous.

I know I've mentioned before that during the winter, when icy crosswalks keep me reluctantly at home, I dance for exercise. But what to dance to when all the dance videos are so painful to listen to? If you want to see my own carefully "curated" dance program -- one I'm happy to share with you -- go to the Rexblog of 2/19/21 and see my 10:24 a.m. comment.

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

3 dots 3 dashes 3 dots
Morse Code

Anonymous 9:49 AM  

3 dots 3 dashes 3 dots
Morse Code

CDilly52 10:01 AM  

I agree all the way, @Lewis! Thanks for your daily note of positivity. It reminds me each day of my husband with his

Anonymous 10:17 AM  

Is JAZZERCISE still a thing? Big deal with Big Women back in the 80s. Wife tried it. Made no difference.

JD 10:18 AM  

Almost waded back out at Jazzercise, seeing the big-hair, 20-something me in a sweatband, tights and legwarmers at the Y. Maniac blaring in the background. Not pretty.

Yet so many things I liked here. Fig, Ideas, Dairy Queen, Presale, Friday. Brine (salt, my favorite food).

Take out the circles, pretend there's no theme and and ya got yourself a fine, fine Monday. Adapt.

@Barbara, In Journalism class we learned that Burglary was breaking and entering. Robbery had to include a weapon.

sixtyni yogini 10:19 AM  

Monday puzzles are usually meh - imho.

This one was short and sweet.

Using the qs zs j and x added sparkle.
YES πŸ‘πŸ½

mathgent 10:21 AM  

I solved it online because we're away from home and there aren't any newspapers around. I don't time myself but today the computer did it. 16:30. My fingers don't fly over the keyboard but I didn't have any serious hangups in filling. I'm guessing that if I were more adept at solving online that my fastest possible time for doing a crossword would be around ten minutes.

Lewis, thanks again for your clues of the week. It was a down week, I would say. I hate clues like the one for LAUNDRY.

The hotels and casinos here in Las Vegas just stopped requiring masks for those who have been vaccinated. One Covid measure which will likely continue, though, is not providing menus in restaurants. Tables have a card with a QR code to scan with a smart phone.

CDilly52 10:23 AM  

I agree completely @Leeis! Well said as usual.

Birchbark 10:35 AM  

The YES revealer is an art form.

John Lennon first met Yoko Ono at an art gallery where she had an installation. It was a white room, empty except for a tall stepladder. He climbed to the top, and on the ceiling, in small letters, was the word YES.

See also the ending of "Ulysses": (spoiler alert, PG version) "... and YES I said YES I will YES."

Carola 10:40 AM  

I enjoyed this agreeable puzzle. I thought it was an unusually good Monday, with its lively phrases and their amusing collection of Js, Zs, Q, and X - along with a nice addition of LIQUEURS, HYBRIDS, and, for the grammar lovers, ADVERBS - not to mention the contrasting ways of stealing in BURGLE and PIRATED. I see the point, though, that the reveal was a bit of a damp squib after the pizzazz of the theme answers. Something a little more emphatic would have been nice...a fist pump? Molly Bloom?

CDilly52 10:46 AM  

Goodness @Rex must have forgotten that it is Monday! This was completely appropriate to the day and I found it remarkably drek-free with some things to enjoy. Clever placement of BURGLE and PIRATED is an example of either deliberate or serendipitous cleverness that, to me just made this Monday effort positively sparkle.

My one nit is simply that the reveal was unnecessary, and that while the theme answers were obvious, the puzzle could have been done as a themeless and still been a strong Monday. Enjoyed it.

Anonymous 10:51 AM  

I think youre original claim--that Scrabbly is not a thing-- is correct.
And I think Z's claim that because everyone understands what it means confers authenticity is bunk. Lots of things are widely understood but untrue. Heck, Anoa Bob has, rightly, pointed out that what the crossword world calls a rebus is not a rebus. Not in way, shape or form. It's just an agreed-upon mistake.
In baseball, they use the decimal point all wrong. Look at a pitcher who's thrown three and a third innings. His stat line will read. 3.1 innings. It's wrong. In every way. Indefensible, but not only universally understood, but universally used. Sometimes you just gotta accede to the morons.

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

I assume that doesn't stand for Juris Doctor. Robbery is a crime against a person. Burglary is a crime against property. weapons don't enter into it.

pabloinnh 11:00 AM  

A Monday puzzle doing Monday stuff and doing it well, which is just fine with me. Agree that a clued revealer was unnecessary, but at least it was in the right place.

No love for the retiring Marv Albert, whose trademark became Yesss! More James Joyce than sports fans, I;m guessing.

Nice Mondecito, WS. Worth Solving.

Joe Dipinto 11:04 AM  

@pmdm – I accidentally misread your first sentence as

Somehow I turned into an Apocalypse yesterday.

I'm going to steal that line for future ref. I'll give you credit when I use it, of course. "I would have come to your party, but I was, like, a total apocalypse yesterday."

JoshyJosh 11:12 AM  

I have a suspicion that if the "yes"es had been all over the place instead of at the front of each answer you'd complain that there was no rhyme or reason to where they were placed and that it would make more sense if they all started each answer because then at least they'd be thematically coherent lol.

JD 11:20 AM  

@Anon 10:54, Far be it from me to argue this point with a lawyer but I assume if there's a gun involved when stealing something then it's robbery, and if there's a break-in and a loss of property with no confrontation or weapon, it's a burglary (with any combination of those things involved to burden the underpaid public defender).

Unless someone comes in and shoots your TV, eats, and leaves.

But if journalism were the law, the pay would've been better and I might have stuck with it.

albatross shell 11:30 AM  

Comment I hope nobody would make: JA DA OUI SI. One of these is not like the others.

Thanks @BarbraS for noticing the rhyme scheme.

Question for @bo camp inspired by yesterday's puzzle.
Do you have a bo op at your bo camp bo pit for toasting your bo s'mores? Bo x why, I have no idea.

Back to today. Because of the yesyes OUIJABOARD I thought DA nd SI were slighted. Best I could find was a Duke Universty competency test that produces a DASI SCORE and a DASI TAYOR that did something of scientific interest.

Grid distribution irrelevancies ALERT.

In todays puzzle the long diagonal from the NE corner to the SW corner has 6 consecutive vowels and 3 black squares followed by 6 consecutive consonants. The 14 space diagonal above it has 9 consecutive consonants followed by 5 consecutive vowels.

Saturday's puzzle. Look at the two long diagonals. There is one black space in the center of the puzzle. One diagonal is all consonants except for the spaces adjacent to the center black square. The other diagonal is all vowels (or black squares) except for the two corner squares.
If someone had all 15 by 15 Nyt crosswords stored digitally it would not be hard to write a program to calculate the percentage each square is a consonant or a vowel and the percentage each square is any particular letter. Would each squuare have close to identical percentages or would there be some anomalies?
What would it mean? Nothing. But it still might be interesting to find out.

Aelurus 11:55 AM  

@Birchbark 10:35 am - Wonderful idea - Ono's YES as an art form.

Wondered what it would look like and found a 2016 article with images from Madeline Bocaro, "Yoko: Ceiling Painting (YES)." Wasn't sure I could supply the link here - does anyone know if it would be considered fair use to link to it as I wouldn't be reproducing the article and it's fully credited?

But there's an invitation to share this link, with a different message on the ceiling. @bocamp - think you'll like this version.

bocamp 12:31 PM  

My ski hat the TOQUE is here again. In fact, it was chilly enough this AM to slip it on.

Wanted something quarterback related for 'Hup two, three, four!' Didn't think SGT until the final cell, when GEDDES showed up. Trying to remember what we called our drillers in Navy boot camp. Had to Google it: Recruit Division Commanders (RDCs); just doesn't ring a bell. I think it was pretty much just, Sir! Maybe one of the other Navy vets here will know.

Anne GEDDES Gallery

@Nick (6:35 AM)

Good catch!

@jae (3:44 AM)

Thx for “My Octopus Teacher”; got it cued. :)

@amyyanni (7:34 AM) πŸ‘

@Lewis (8:44 AM)

All worthy candidates; thx for bringing them back! :)

Had a tough time finding the pangram in the SB today, but come it did. Also, love Scrabble. So, question to self: why don't pangrams or Scrabbly letters in the xword make any difference in my solving enjoyment? Answer to self: maybe take some extra time in the post-solve to pay more attention to the intricacies of the puzzle construction, and start appreciating the efforts of the constructors more. πŸ€”

td 0

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Masked and Anonymous 12:32 PM  

Real agreeable theme. Only side-eye themer dingy-thingy was that the OUIJABOARD gets its name from two YESes, OUI + JA, splatzed together. But then, hey -- ain't too many common phrases out there that start with OUI+…
Also, circlin the YES versions kinda seemed almost too obvious even for a MonPuz. JA DA JA DA JA DA ...

Really cool fillins! Pangram-esque puzgrid view. Is it a double-pangram? Certainly has 2 of the usual suspects: J, Q, X, Z … nope -- almost, except for only one each of K & W. If only the mysterious photographer Anne had been named WEDKES …

staff weeject pick: YES. Very positive theme vibe.
fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {___ Newton (cookie)} = FIG. Sorta even double-moo, due to the added "(cookie)" part.

Thanx for the fun, Wren Schultz dude. Musta been an extra hoot, when U got a "Crosswords - Yes!" acceptance message from the Shortzmeister.

Masked & Anonym007Us

p.s. @Roo: Harr.


Joe Dipinto 12:35 PM  

Mountains come out of the sky and they stand there

As @This'n'That 8:02 observed, the yes-word interpolations in the answers don't have remotely the same sound that they do in the foreign language, except for OUIJA. You'd think they'd have gone for aural verisimilitude as well as visual, since "yes" is commonly expressed aloud.

efb 12:48 PM  

My little brother kept saying "no" and Mom smashed him over the head with a OUIJA board but I never knew until this very day that it was "yes. Yes" she was saying.

Anonymous 1:01 PM  

No. And you know this already. Think about it. You have certainly heard the term armed robbery, right? That term exists precisely because being armed is NOT a prerequisite for robbery. That is to say there is robbery and armed robbery; they re two separate crimes. Think more. Have you ever heard of armed burglary? No. That isn't to say that a burglar with a gun might not face charges for having a gun. But the charges wouldn't be armed bularly, precisely because burglary is not a crime a gains a person. Robbery is against a person and therefore has long been considered the far, far more serious crime, even if no weapon is used in its commission.
I am not a lawyer. But who needs to be? Simply look the terms up in a dictionary. Even The Merriam Webster. You'll see the distinction plainly.

Birchbark 1:16 PM  

@Aelurus (11:55) -- Very nice.

@Joe Dipinto (12:35) -- Spectacular video. Schroeder in the role of Rick Wakeman -- YES.

Teedmn 1:29 PM  

Super easy Monday; as I solved, I was sure we'd be getting a long rant about the Qs and Xs and Js so "whew" for evading that experience.

@Carola, @Birchbark, I, like Molly Bloom, was saying "Yes" when I reached the end of "Ulysses" - mine was accompanied by a fist pump and a great sigh of relief that THAT was over. "Finnegans Wake", not now, not ever.

After the many, many negative comments about yesterday's puzzle, I thought I'd check out what the NYTimes comments were like - pretty much the same ratio of hate to love. I was rather surprised, not sure why.

Wren Schultz, thanks for the cheery Monday puzzle.

bocamp 1:33 PM  

@ albatross shell (11:30 AM)

JA, DA, OUI, SI and YES you have no idea. My camp experiences have been all of those and SoMe mORE. πŸ˜‚

Aelurus (11:55 AM)

Love it! :) πŸ•Š

@Joe Dipinto (12:35 PM)

Always love a Peanuts vid! :)

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

kitshef 1:42 PM  

@Masked and Anonymous - we're 3 for 3 not understanding the Runt theme today. Any hints?

Unknown 1:42 PM  

A fun puzzle, and quite a feat of construction, what with all the Zs etc.
I'm really not sure why rex is nit picking.

Aelurus 1:57 PM  

@Birchbark 1:16 pm - thanks!

I found a reputable answer to my linking query (the org is cited by Harvard too). If anyone else is wondering, here it is.

And here's a link to the Madeline Bocaro excerpt, with images of Ono's original exhibit

@bocamp 1:33 pm - thought so :)

Masked and Anonymous 2:33 PM  

@kitshef: A special M&A recap for today's runt has been deposited on its "Down Home" page.

Peace on Earth, good will to all things rUnty.

More on today's NYTPuz: WEDKES would be a primo anagram for SKEWED, tho. [Still tryin to coax out that double-pangram.]

M&A Help Desk

Tale Told By An Idiot 2:49 PM  

@Chester 8:31 - good one,��

Burglary at English common law (upon which most American criminal laws were once based) was breaking and entering into a dwelling place at night with intent to commit a crime. As far as I know, most states in the US have burglary statutes that that leave out the dwelling place and night elements so that burglary is breaking and entering into a building with the intent to commit a crime. Some may have statutes that replace the “crime” with “felony” and some may have degrees of burglary that vary the elements of the crime. Taking property (robbery) is not an element of the crime in English common law or in any state I know of. (I have not researched this but I would bet a small amount that it is accurate.)

Aelurus 2:54 PM  

Oops! Forgot to do the citing: See Birchbark 1:16 pm for the original post about Ono's YES.

JD 2:58 PM  

@Anon 1:01, You're right that robbery doesn't need to involve a weapon, but it involves force of some sort.

I might not be communicating my thoughts clearly, so...

"Robbery differs from theft primarily in that it involves force or intimidation to take property from another person." From the website Nolo.

"Burglary occurs when someone “intentionally enters [a place] without the consent of the person in lawful possession and with intent to steal or commit a felony.” The first law firm website that popped up because I didn't want to look further."

We may actually be very close to thinking the same thing.

Aelurus 3:01 PM  

SIGH. Make that Birchbark's original post at 10:35 am.

JC66 3:07 PM  


I see why you were complaining about today's SB pangram. πŸ˜‚

bocamp 3:18 PM  

@ Aelurus (1:57 PM) 😊

@JC66 (3:07 PM)

Slid that in quite nicely, you did! πŸ˜‚

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Anonymous 3:21 PM  

It's simple. Robbery must be committed against a person. that is the sine qua non. Burglary is not committed against a person. All the variations of each are distracting you from that indispensable t difference.

You wrote :", You're right that robbery doesn't need to involve a weapon, but it involves force of some sort."+ You left out THE crucial part. Burglary can also involve force. That leaves out the crucial part. One involves force against a PERSON. The other can involves force against, say a door. that doesn't make it robbery. That is to say while force is necessary to robbery it is not sufficient.

JD 3:29 PM  

@Anon 3:21, You're splitting hairs. Force against a person is assumed. You'd be a profitable lawyer but I wouldn't give you a referral.

A 3:36 PM  

Did this as a themeless. I must have seen the circles when I first opened the puzzle but I totally forgot they were there. YES went in off downs. After solving I even looked to see if there was a tie in of the longer entries - JAZZ QUEEN OUIJA SIOUX all rather exotic looking but nothing else. Went to read Rex, saw the word circles, stopped reading and went back to verify - YES, indeed, there were circles. Yikes. The puzzle was still super duper easy - did it online so I was informed it tied my fastest Monday. Enjoyed the POKE at the day of the week with FRIDAY front and center. Noticed the oddly singular TRESS, the OUI jumbled up in SIOUX FALLS, and EVIL mirrored by ALLY, although the puzzle itself doesn’t mirror L-R. Not sure what it does, really.

Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of horn great Dennis Brain, whose musicality and proficiency were stellar. Here is a wonderful example of both his artistry and technical skills: Schumann Adagio and Allegro

Brain was adored by conductors, composers and the public, and brought the horn into its glory as a solo instrument. Tragically, Brain died at age 36, crashing his Triumph TR2 into a tree while driving all night after a concert. Philharmonia Orchestra founder and EMI producer extolled Brain’s virtues in an obituary in Gramophone, November, 1957.

Did Dennis Brain enjoy playing the horn? YES

Thanks for the whiz-bang un-FRIDAY puzzle, Ms. Schultz!

Z 4:06 PM  

@Joe Dipinto 11:04 - I’m thinking it could be integral to Z’s Placebo and Tentacle’s ad campaign - Visit Z’s Placebo and Tentacle and turn into an Apocalypse. and Z’s Apocalypse Happy Hour.

Anonymous 4:09 PM  

Read your very first post. It misconstrued at the most fundamental level the difference between burglary and robbery. As for force against a person being assumed, what do you make of forced entry? Does that assume a person? Is it just another name for sodomy or rape? Or in fact is it necessary in law to distinguish what kind of force and against what or whom it was used.
I'm guessing you're the kind of person who says things like, "sure you're technically right.." When of course what you should say is simply "You're right."

Anonymous 4:09 PM  

JD, I'd refuse any client you sent my away.

bocamp 4:49 PM  

@jae (3:44 AM)

Can't tell you how much I enjoyed “My Octopus Teacher”. One of the very best docs I've even seen. Octopodes are amazing animals. Near the end of the vid Craig says: "It's very, very rare to see two octopus close together". So we now have 4 plurals for octopus. LOL

@A (3:36 PM)

Thx, you made a bright day even brighter with the Dennis Brain Schumann Adagio and Allegro vid. What a great performer! 🌞

As I listened, I was thinking about my friend, who plays a French horn, and she FaceTimed me when I was half way thru it, which made my day even brighter. 🌞

So, I'm putting on my shades to listen to rest of it. 😎

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

JD 5:15 PM  

@Anon, Your last argument was technically ridiculous but I forgive you.

Joe Dipinto 6:31 PM  

@Z - You'll need a signature Apoca-Cocktail. And live Calypso music.

Bilbo 6:50 PM  

That would be no good,” said the wizard, “not without a mighty Warrior, even a Hero.
I tried to find one; but warriors are busy fighting one another in distant lands, and in this neighbourhood heroes are scarce,or simply not to be found. Swords in these parts are mostly blunt, and axes are used for trees, and shields as cradles or dish-covers; and dragons are comfortably far-off (and therefore legendary). That is why I settled on burglary—especially when I remembered the existence of a Side-door. And here is our little Bilbo Baggins, the burglar, the chosen and selected burglar. So now let’s get on and make some plans.”

To all you legal beagles:
I have a friend who is an ADA in NYC. He told me that NY's Penal Code (and many other states) have different charging options on Burglary cases. Burg 3 is entering a building with intent to commit a crime therein. Then the sentences go upward if the building is a dwelling or the Burglar is armed or injures someone: Burg 2 and Burg 1.

GILL I. 6:57 PM  

@JD 5:15. You've been officially anointed. You're not truly dipped in some fine Spanish olive oil until an Anony makes a little snide remark. We've all been through a ringer or two and, frankly, I find it fun because it gives me the opportunity to come back and let-em-rip.

A 8:20 PM  

@bocamp, fun Fiji jazzercise music. Glad you enjoyed the horn playing - what a fun coincidence that your horn-playing friend called.

@Birchbark and @Aelurus, thanks for the Yoko/John story and link.

@Joe Dipinto, that Yes/Peanuts mashup was inspired, and really well done besides.

JC66 9:24 PM  



Anonymous 2:45 AM  

A great Monday. I thought this was a great puzzle for anyone new to crosswords in introducing them to how themes work.

MaharajaMack 7:17 PM  

Too easy for a Friday themeless, so they had to jam in an afterthought theme. Great puzzle, but I don’t think Jazzercise is an alternative to anything but being stuck in an 80s time warp.

spacecraft 9:51 AM  

This doesn't work; here's why: the JA of OUIJA means YES, just as it does up top. That's how the word was coined, squishing two YESes of different languages together. So we have a clear dupe. Anyway, as a theme it's razor-thin, even for a Monday. A pangram, whoop de doo.

Fill is clean enough, for what it has to go through, so maybe just a single bogey.

thefogman 10:17 AM  

Jumble was more fun to solve than this piece of junk.

Burma Shave 11:29 AM  


after LIQUEURS she TURNS and sprawls.
She got REDDER before our EYEs,


leftcoaster 3:37 PM  

Hidden ADDS to the circled YES(es): Three DAs, two JAs (depending, ala @spacey), and one SI.


Diana, LIW 3:44 PM  

You know me - just say "YES" to Monday. Yesterday we had ice cream (a brand I like, too) and today it's DAIRYQUEEN. The puzzle wants to give us IDEAS.

OK - I already had IDEAS. Now, off to something like JAZZERCISE.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

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