Summery quip / MON 7-19-21 / Large cat you shouldn't trust on a test / Relative of a great white

Monday, July 19, 2021

Constructor: Stephanie Lesser

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (only because it's a quip puzzle, so it just takes longer than a puzzle with regular theme answers would) (3:30-ish)

THEME: A "Summery quip" — 
  • "TAKING A DOG / NAMED SHARK / TO THE BEACH / IS A BAD IDEA" (17A: Summery quip, part 1 (etc.))
Word of the Day: MAKO (3D: Relative of a great white) —
shortfin mako shark /ˈmɑːk/ (Isurus oxyrinchus), also known as the blue pointer or bonito shark, is a large mackerel shark. It is commonly referred to as the mako shark, as is the longfin mako shark (Isurus paucus). The shortfin mako can reach a size of 4 m (13 ft) in length. The species is classified as Endangered by the IUCN. // "Mako Mako" comes from the Māori language, meaning 'man eater'. Following the Māori language, "mako" in English is both singular and plural. The word may have originated in a dialectal variation, as it is similar to the common words for shark in a number of Polynesian languagesmakō in the Kāi Tahu Māori dialect, mangō in other Māori dialects, "mago" in Samoanma'o in Tahitian, and mano in Hawaiian. The first written usage is in Lee and Kendall'sGrammar and vocabulary of the language of New Zealand (1820), which simply states, "Máko; A certain fish". Richard Taylor's A leaf from the natural history of New Zealand (1848) is more elaborate: "Mako, the shark which has the tooth so highly prized by the Maoris". In 1809, Constantine Rafinesque gave the shortfin mako the scientific name Isurus oxyrinchus (isurus means "the same tail", oxyrinchus means "pointy snout") (wikipedia)
• • •

Well this assumes that when you take a dog to the beach you just shout its name. I've been to lots of beaches with lots of dogs (the beach at Carmel-by-the-Sea, where my parents live, is roughly half dogs at any given time), and no one shouts dog names. Plus, if you had to say your dog's name, you'd probably say some specific command like "Shark, Come!" and I mean, if you're shouting "Shark, Come!" no one's going to be too confused. Also, you probably call it something cute like "Sharky" or "Sharky's Machine" or maybe you have two dogs called "Sharksy & Hutch," the possibilities are endless, but one of those possibilities is not you shouting your dog's name and someone thinking you're shouting a warning about a finned creature. Also, no dog is named Shark. Also, how is this "summery"? People take dogs to the beach at all seasons. Also, if falsely alarming people is your concern, you probably shouldn't name your kid "Shark" either (seems just as likely, and you're far more likely to shout your kid's name at the beach). Also, don't name your dog (or kid?) "Jock" or "Jacques" or "Chuck" because if you shout any of those on the beach it's sure as hell gonna sound like "Shark!" Seriously what is this "theme" even doing? Yesterday we had to endure that painful partial-punchline culinary nonsense and today, it's an actual "quip" puzzle, which I thought died out with the dinosaurs ... the only thing "summery" about any of this is that we appear to be in some kind of "summer dump" season where crosswords that should've been declined but were regrettably accepted are now being dropped in the dead of summer when people are on vacation and so the nationwide disappointment will be at least partially mitigated. 

There's no good fill in this. There's nothing going on here. There's just the quip. You should name your dog "Quip." "QUIP! QUIP! Leave that poor shark alone, Quip!"

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:05 AM  

Easy-medium instead of easy because I ignored the quip and thus had to read more clues to finish. This was pretty smooth but it’s still a quip puzzle. Enough said. The only puzzle of this type I’ve really liked was a Sunday one by BEQ in the BG earlier this year.

@bocamp - I finished Croce’s Freestyle #630 fairly quickly. I’d rate it as easy on the Croce spectrum which puts it about equal to last Saturday’s NYT. Good luck!

Joaquin 12:06 AM  

You’re not really old unless, when entering DAB at 48-A, this was in your head:

♫♫ Brylcreem, a little dab’ll do ya
♪♪♪ Brylcreem, you’ll look so debonaire
♫♫ Brylcreem, the gals will all pursue ya
♪♪♪ They’ll love to get their fingers in your hair

Unknown 12:07 AM  

We laughed but good when we figured out the quip. Maybe because the last beach we went to was Lake Tahoe, which would add a certain 420-ness to the scene.

Frantic Sloth 12:18 AM  

Luckily I didn't realize this was a quipzle until halfway through because I started with downs.
The quip was amusing, but I don't want them in my puzzle. Never have. Never will.

Easy for me - even for the Mondee - and it was over quickly, so there's that.

🎉 ⬅️ (Hey, @JD - party favors have been here all along. Whatchu talkin' 'bout, Willis?)

Zygotic 12:19 AM  

The constructor mentions all kinds of great constructors who gave her advice and not one of them said “don’t do a quip puzzle?” Shame on them.

The next quip/quote puzzle I like will be the first quote/quip puzzle that I like.

Anoa Bob 12:19 AM  

I like Rex best when he is at his snarkiest. Today he outdid himself and upped it a notch to sharkiest.

okanaganer 12:37 AM  

Rex!...Rex! I mean SHARK! SHARK!

Had Enough 12:50 AM  

Okay look -- I know Rex is known for disliking puzzles. But #$%@ does it make my blood boil to read reviews like today's and yesterday's.

SO WHAT if you think the joke doesn't make perfect sense. SO WHAT if the Sunday puzzle was a bit more boring to you than what you expected. Imagine letting that ruin your entire solving experience.

I didn't even know who Rex was until I had my own puzzle published and he tore it apart -- I was crushed. I was so excited to read what people thought and his review was so unnecessarily mean. Now, at least I know that he does this to everyone -- but it feels so heartless.

To the constructor: Congrats. Fun puzzle. To Rex: Your words have an impact not only on the constructors (in this case a debut female constructor) but also on how others view the puzzle. Why tear it down?

egsforbreakfast 1:14 AM  

I didn’t agree with Rex one iota about yesterday’s Julia Child puz. I do kinda agree with him today. A quip is seldom good as a crossword basis, and this was no exception. Also, something bugged me about CHEETAH (Large cat you shouldn’t trust on a test). I mean, would it be okay on a Monday to clue LION as “ Not truthful”? I can’t quite put my finger on what my problem is here, and the clue and answer certainly weren’t difficult. Something just seems amiss.

NB 2:06 AM  

That was painful. Please no more quips.

chefwen 2:17 AM  

Ooh, more food. I think a little slice of EDAM on a little slice of baguette topped with some maple bacon onion JAM, melted under the broiler sounds delicious. I may give it a try.

Not into quips, but this one was passable. Easy Monday, as per usual.

Ann Howell 3:04 AM  

After being totally at odds with Rex yesterday (Julia Child quotes are right in my wheelhouse), am in complete agreement with him today. The quip was a total dud... and other than that it was a sparkless, easy Monday. Didn't even need most of the downs, which kind of takes the fun out of solving. Oh well, things can only go up from here - let's hope Tuesday brings more joy.

bocamp 5:31 AM  

Thx, Stephanie for a perfect puz to start the week! :)

Med solve. Slow and steady.

JAMS to HENS; smooth sailing with no 🦈 s along the way.

Very enjoyable cruise. :)

@jae (12:05 AM )

Thx, jae; given my feeble performance on the Sat. NYT, I could be in for trouble on Croce's Freestyle LOL. I'll tackle it later today. 🤞

yd 0 (updated @jae's inspired SB word list: Black on White / White on Black)

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Tolerance ~ Health ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Lewis 5:42 AM  

I was charmed by this. For a moment I was totally literal: Why would someone name their dog SHARK? Why is taking that dog to the beach A BAD IDEA? And then, in a flash, I saw the whole situation, the person calling their dog, the people panicking, the person shouting, “No! No! It’s just my dog’s name!” And I was filled with smiles.

Jim Horne, over at XwordInfo nailed it, IMO. He said, “…I appreciate jokes like this one where the humor isn't in the words themselves, but in the story you mentally construct afterwards.”

I liked this ALLOT, Stephanie. Congratulations on your debut!

Megafrim 6:27 AM  

Even if a chicken wandered in a path that would take him from one side of the road to the other, it makes absolutely no sense to infer that this was a deliberate act on the part of the chicken. And what kind of chicken owner would allow his birds to wander unsupervised in a area so obviously dangerous? How often would such a thing happen in reality?

OffTheGrid 6:40 AM  

I won't pile on except to say I'm in the anti group. I loved CHEETAH. If I had a top five clues list it would be all five. I guess @Rex was so upset about the quip factor that he forget to mention 18D. Good!

Barbara S. 6:51 AM  

Well… Quote/quip puzzles are never going to be my favorites. I thought yesterday’s Julia Child offering was fun. And today’s I thought was less engaging, but found it a light-hearted, easily forgettable, pleasant bit of fluff for a summer Monday.

Like Rex, I noticed there was a second shark in the puzzle. Word to the wise: by the same logic, you probably shouldn’t go TO THE BEACH with a DOG NAMED MAKO, either (but it’s a better name).

Another nod to the FATES, this time crossing their anagram, FEATS, which was in turn accompanied by its rhyme, EATS. And Christmas in July continues with “O HOLY Night.” My impression, from puzzles this month, is that HENS’ teeth (at least in grids) are not as scarce as people think. I liked PUBLISH crossing BURST (a restatement of that old “PUBLISH or perish” saying), and AIRLINE crossing IDLE, which seems like a COVID reference. Do EGGOS have EGO? Can you NAB a DAB? Does ADAM’s EDAM have ELAN? And can a CAR have a CAREER?

It’s funny how often I think like @egs for breakfast (1:14). Unlike him, though, I chuckled at 10D: “Large cat you shouldn’t trust on a test?” = CHEETAH. I concluded, as he said, that a large cat you shouldn’t believe is (a) lion. And a large cat with good connections is a lynx.

Barbara S. 6:53 AM  

The quotation today is by LISA JEWELL, born July 19, 1968.

“Then she will marry the man whom she is currently trying to find both online and in real life, the man with the smile lines and the dog and/or cat, the man with an interesting surname that she can double-barrel with Jones, the man who earns the same as or more than her, the man who likes hugs more than sex and has nice shoes and beautiful skin and no tattoos and a lovely mum and attractive feet. The man who is at least five feet ten, but preferably five feet eleven or over. The man who has no baggage and a good car and a suggestion of abdominal definition although a flat stomach would suffice.
This man has yet to materialize and Libby is aware that she is possibly a little over-proscriptive.”
(From The Family Upstairs)

GILL I. 6:54 AM  

I think I shall go out on a little olive branch and say that I thought this was the bees knees. Should I change this to the cat's meow?
So no one likes a quip? BUT, BUT....a dog named shark is so quaint. I have two Stooges. One is named Moe and the other is named Curly. When I'm at the beach and call them over, everybody comes running.
This was a fun Monday, Stephanie. Now I'm going to go make @chefwen's maple bacon onion JAM. She already gave me the recipe and it's yumilicious.

@Had Enough: I'll agree with you to a certain extent. When you put yourself out there - whether it be your writing, your art, or making a puzzle -, you have to be open to criticism. Not everybody loves or even likes your work. It's always hard to take or even listen to anything negative, but imagine all the great artists and composers giving up because someone didn't like what they saw or heard.
I remember my first art was a disaster. I didn't sell a single thing. Everything I did was in ink and all I heard was "where are the oils?" You perhaps need to visit the school of hard knocks or just give up. I gave up for years but not any more. I started painting my "whimsy's" and they are selling. Some people like them and some don't. @Rex doesn't always have the final say-so.
Keep on trucking, Stephanie....I like this one and what I say is the only thing that matters.

Michiganman 7:03 AM  

Ignoring the quip thing, it was a nice Monday puzzle. I thought the non-theme material was pretty good. There were several longer answers and I counted only ten 3's. This is a debut (female constructor) which is very sharp. Welcome Stephanie and pay no mind to the man behind the curtain. I hope to see many more from you.

kitshef 7:14 AM  

Worst theme ever? No, I can’t go that far. Not with the foul taste of Patrick Blindauer’s 9-11-14 puzzle and Ian Livengood’s 9-1-2016 still in my mouth. Let’s say bottom five.

Only redeeming feature is that it was easy, so over quickly.

Lewis 7:26 AM  

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

1. Where a zipper gets caught? (5)(4)
2. Phoenix and Washington, e.g. (4)(5)
3. Ford vehicle, familiarly (4)
4. Low draw (3)(3)
5. Diamonds used in fashion (6)


Preferred Customer 7:27 AM  

This puzzle is a fabulous Monday puzzle with just the toe of clues people need to learn to help with later week puzzles. And it caps off SHARK WEEK 🦈


amyyanni 7:33 AM  

Yes!,@Joaquin--Brylcreem. And that segued to "Kooky Kooky, lend me your comb. Good Monday Morning. Don't mind quip puzzles, especially easier ones, as you can ignore the quip and focus on the downs, as others have mentioned. OK, and starting retirement helps. Time for a 2nd cup of coffee....

pabloinnh 7:36 AM  

To borrow from @M&A, I thought this was a moo-cow fest and it had me wishing it was the first NYTXC I'd ever attempted. The only possible alternative I considered for anything was CHIEF instead of ELDER, which lasted about as long as it took me to read the clue for EGGOS. I know it's Monday, but this is Novice Beginner Monday. At least Monday is the day for the hardest New Yorker puzzle, which I will print off shortly.

I wish UNITY had been clued as a "small town in NH". Now THAT would have needed some crosses.

Called one grandmother NANA. Anyone else?

@Joaquin-I can sing the Brylcreem song too. Officially old.

Finally, if you're choosing a bad name for a dog you're taking to the beach, I'd suggest "HELP".

Congrats on the debut, SL. Sorry to say I found it Slightly Lacking.

Son Volt 7:37 AM  

Like yesterday - not my favorite theme type but unlike Rex I thought the overall fill here was fine for an early week puzzle. Solving with downs due to the quote - so there’s no flow. Like the EDAM x SMITTEN cross although a little side eye to seeing both EDAM and ADAM. No high horse from Rex on NIPS today.

Not a bad puzzle - but the theme just drags it down for me.

Anonymous 7:40 AM  

Wow, way to suck the fun out of everything Rex. I live in Florida, and I do most often go to the beach in the summer. When I get there, what do I hear but people calling for their dogs? Talk about grasping for something to be ornery about. Are you in the middle of a nasty divorce or just mad the puzzle took you 3 and a half minutes to solve? With this and yesterday's post you've lost this reader. I'm glad I'm not one of your students.

Dr.A 7:44 AM  

did anyone else notice that 24 across is just wrong? A. Half step below A is A flat! A half step above A is A sharp which is also G flat.

thfenn 7:52 AM  

I think a quip on a Monday's fine, and, truth be told, kind of enjoyed watching this one fill in. Nice light, fun, Monday. I actually wrestled a bit with "garment below a blouse" as I was still thinking of camisoles, lingerie, bras and such. Plus I had sharp instead of shark and had sipped too much of my good ol' favorite PEAt liqueur so that was actually a mess before SKIRT finally fell into to speak, time for some Dave Matthews.

SouthsideJohnny 8:01 AM  

I actually feel a little saddened and sorry for Rex - he’s definitely lost his fastball. Does anyone remember Willie Mays looking lost out in center field for the Mets, or Ali getting pummeled by the likes of a Leon Spinks, or maybe Nixon wandering around the White House half in the bag talking to the dead presidents ?

To me, the clue for CHEETAH tried a little too hard to be cute - other than that nit, a pretty solid Monday effort.

JD 8:01 AM  

Oh Holy Ease! A summery summary story. Elderly Nana is still making her Jams. Pear? The Fates call! If your parents live in Carmel, go now. I Dare Say get in the Car and head To The Beach. Airline Is A Bad Idea if you're Taking A Dog.

@Frantic, Do ye speak of my lack of party favors on Saturday? I came to the party but left empty handed. How e're, I saw that others had 'em. I hope I can stop talking this way before things get really silly. Starting a new job with Edam Gouge & Sharp, LLP this morning. Product liability, specialty, faulty cheese knives.

Conibral 8:02 AM  

Thank you for saying what we all think and you having the time to write it. Rex - just stop it.
See the good in the world and stop with the fake woke nonsense.

Mike Rees 8:08 AM  

Set my new best Monday time with this one - also 3:30.

TheMadDruid 8:20 AM  

A sharp is B flat. One and a half steps below A is G flat or F sharp.

Joaquin 8:34 AM  

After (again) reading today's comments by Rex, I do believe that Rex has jumped the (dog named) SHARK. His criticism has devolved into being unnecessarily mean and his blog does nothing to encourage a new constructor.

On the plus side: Rex was so focused on blasting this puzzle that he neglected to signal his wokeness over "puppy bites".

Of course, without Rex we'd all be out wandering alone ... so there's that. Guess we'll all be back tomorrow!

Mary Jane Whitmer 8:37 AM  

Al Gore does not pass the breakfast test.

pmdm 8:40 AM  

I'm not sure Had Enough expresses correctly, to my way of thinking. Mike Sharp is not known for his disliking puzzles, he is known for imposing his tastes on everyone else. Or something like that. Jeff Chen often complains about some features of a puzzle, but usually in a constructive way, not the way the write-up reads today. That's way some people (such as Shortz) are more influenced by Chen's comments. I'm sorry to read your reaction, Had Enough, was not to shrug off the review of your puzzle as the ramblings of a crank. Z demonstrates today how to complain about a puzzle without gong over the top.

That said, I enjoyed the puzzle and think it would be a very good puzzle to give to a new solver. It requires little specialized knowledge (such as understanding that GFLAT is a minor third under A) and even if the quote may result in a wince, the majority of solvers might react positively to its inclusion in a puzzle that should be easy and enjoyable for new solvers.

Keith D 8:42 AM  

Unless John X started a blog…? Just sayin, I’d be all over that.

Pete M 8:43 AM  

No. A sharp is B flat. The clue is a step AND a half below A. One step down is G, and another half: G flat.

David Grenier 8:47 AM  

I generally enjoyed the puzzle but my time was way off because when I had most of it filled in I kept reading the quip over and over trying to make sense of it. I was missing the N and M in NAMED SHARK at the point and my brain kept trying to make it FACED SHARK. Did I have it in the wrong order? TAKING A DOG TO THE BEACH FACED SHARK IS A BAD IDEA?

I also erroneously thought "quip" would be something famous, like a Ben Franklin saying (or something commonly misattributed to him).

I don't have a hatred for quips. I just didn't really get it. Even when I got the words in the right order I felt like I was missing some broader relevance or some pun or something.

So I looked it up and its been a meme for a couple of years now. I didn't care enough to do a deep dive into it, but I totally get where that could be a meme you've seen enough that you think it's a common point of reference and therefore funny. I mean, that's what pretty much all meme-culture is. Memes themeselves out of context aren't usually that funny, or even understandable. It's all about being "in on the joke" that provides the thrill.

The only two problems I had with the puzzle were:

GAME APP is not a thing. PHONE APP, sure. APP, sure. GAME, sure. Even PHONE GAME or MOBILE GAME. But no one in the world says GAME APP any more than they say PERSON MAN. It's actually the place I got stuck the longest (also having filled in _FLAT because I dunno music) because its such not a thing.

Also 10 down should have been clued as "New England Patriots' coach Bill Belichick's favorite cat." :-)

Otherwise I liked this puzzle and don't get what Rex is so mad about.

Nancy 8:52 AM  

Isn't one of the definitions of camp "something so bad that it's good"? I mean, who comes up with such a perfectly silly quip as this one? A BAD IDEA, indeed! I think that naming your dog SHARK is quite a bad idea even if you never ever take him to the beach!

I normally hate quote puzzles, but I liked this one. First of all, quote puzzles are always more challenging because there's such a big unknown factor. Anything that makes a Monday more challenging is fine by me.

And anything that makes me laugh is fine, too -- Mondays not normally being famous for their humor. Very silly fun.

Anonymous 8:57 AM  

Will Shortz is a treasure. May he never retire !

albatross shell 9:03 AM  

Quip puzzles got wiped out. I missed that meteor. When did it hit? Did it leave a layer of groanium dust around the world? Did it wipe out 90% of humor from the Earth's surface? Did it cause the extinction of quote, anagram, and tribute puzzles as well? Ban the banal. Enforce limits on the creative. Good luck.

You ask irrelevant questions about jokes when you have a need to argue one is not funny. What were the horse and rabbi doing in the bar? Was the horse Jewish? Had he been barmitzvahed? Was it a mitzvah bar?

But for the rest of the puzzle the only interesting clue is for CHEETAH. I did not think of linx. But lion yes. And leopard: big cat with a spotty reputation. Small cat fond of tightly woven cotton materials with floral patterns?

And the fill a bit heavy on the crosswordese and not many words interesting in themselves.

So with Rex there. But I did go looking.

I DARESAY DEI. ELDER JAM. HASHTAG SHARP. EDAM-ADAM. NANA-NADER. CAR-CAREER. And I have a a soft spot for the FATES since reading the Louise Penny books. At least my memory is telling me the painting was of the 3 FATES. Correct me if I'm wrong.

RooMonster 9:22 AM  

Hey All !

Har. Although, those are 17's. Extra-wide grid?

Odd quip, but I guess quips are supposed to be chuckle-inducing, and this one got a slight mouth upturn when figured out. So, job done.

Had ShIRT before SKIRT, but that had "Quip, Part 2" ending with SHARh, and knew something was amiss. Ah, a SKIRT is indeed below a blouse. I was thinking the name of "blouse" had changed from being just a shirt, to like a light cover-up thing. Women always seem to change names on things. Maybe that's just my neanderthal brain. ☺️

Anyquip, Congrats on the debut. Nice when the FATES let you win.

Liked the pairing of HOLY EASE. Weird, I know. 😁

Two F's

MarthaCatherine 9:23 AM  

Joaquin: I do remember that jingle! and now it's stuck in my brain for the rest of the day.

Shortly after that jingle came Dry Look hairspray commercial that declared that "The wet head is dead."

Nancy 9:29 AM  

What a great comments section so far. My favorite dog you wouldn't want to take to the beach is @pabloinnh's "HELP". Very funny. I like @Barbara S pointing out that MAKO as a name for a dog would be much better than SHARK. And I absolutely loved your quotation today, Barbara: sounds like a book I should read.

@JD -- Love "Edam, Gouge and Sharp, LLC".

@GILL -- You, go girl! Your story of finding indifference in your initial venture as an artist and then finding appreciation (and sales!) as an older artist is an object lesson to us all. If you ever have a show, you must provide online access for those of us who may not get to CA.

To all those complaining (and complaining and complaining) about Rex's "mean" trashing of the last two puzzles, once again I beg you to do yourselves a gigantic favor and don't read him. Ever. There's no pop quiz, he won't know one way or another, and you can save your respective selves all the anger and outrage he seems to engender in you. You can remain on the blog and enjoy the comments of everyone else without having a single puzzle ever "spoiled" for you. I don't have a clue what he said about yesterday's puzzle or today's and therefore nothing has been spoiled for me. Heck, I don't even read what he says about my own puzzles. This advice, btw, is only to those who are disturbed by his reviews; to those who enjoy him, you should continue to read him like crazy.

kitshef 9:41 AM  

Someone really needs to look into how so many people are being forced to read Rex's blog even thought they hate it and him and all it does is make them angry.

Anonymous 9:44 AM  

Had Enough's post was spot on. Rex is a bully with a platform. The worst kind of critic. Today's puzzle was utterly charming. Does anyone truly believe Ms. Lesser was being literal? Really, that's tantamount to calling her a moron. And I'm confident she's not. In fact, she seems clever and as the intellectually gifted aoften are, playful as well.

There's something wonderfully madcap about the scene which the theme asks us ti imagine in our mind's eye. A rascal of a dog named Shark not listening to his exasperated owner, who, focused only on his peregrinating pooch, cries out vainly only to panic the public. That's the stuff of the Marx Brothers. It's zany, fun, whimsical, breezy. All things I appreciate. But that I appreciate just a little more on a Summer's day.

Well done Ms. lesser. Keep the quips coming.
And Had Enough, don't pay attention to a thing Rex writes. He's just sore. I don't know what puzzle you made, but I do the Times daily and I cant think of any that didn't have much to offer. I hope you keep constructing. I'm confident I'll enjoy your next puzzle too.

Wm. C. 9:46 AM  

@Joaquin8:34 --

I too expected some Rex-comment on the fill to 18D (Puppy Bites).

Paul & Kathy 9:48 AM  

You know, it's really not the puzzle's fault that enough people have this kind of sense of humor that this quip took off. This isn't new, the constructor didn't make it up, and Shark Week did just end.

Blame humanity for being dumb if you must, hell blame the editor for accepting it, but don't blame the puzzle.

Frantic Sloth 9:48 AM  

@JD 801am Ah. Oh, look! I misunderstood something! Favorite law firm yet! 🤣🤣🤣 (I won't mention that I thought you were serious before it finally bitch-slapped me in the face.)

Hand up for Rex being too distracted to kvetch about you-know-what.

To the GFLAT confusionists:
The clue reads "Musical note that's a step and a half below A."

Puma: "Mother, did you cut the EDAM?"

Wm. C. 9:49 AM  

@JD, @Nancy --

My favorite Law Firm is Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe. ;-)

Unknown 9:51 AM  

@Albatross - Graces?

Joseph Michael 9:51 AM  

As I solved, I kept wondering who Summery is and why I had never heard of this quipster before. It took a trip to Googleville to realize that there ain’t no such quipster.

Since I live in Chicago, my beach is the shore of Lake Michigan and I doubt anyone would care if I had named my dog Shark. However, taking a dog named Thief to the beach would be another story.

Thought the puzzle was pretty good for a Monday and congrats to the constructor on her debut. My favorite part was the clue for CHEETAH. It was the one place in the grid that had me stumped for a while and then paid off with a nice aha!

EdFromHackensack 9:57 AM  

Rex, talk about a non-review. The best thing about your review was that I learned your parents lived in Carmel. Lovely town. The quip was easily inferable - did not slow me down that much. For some reason, I tried CHEshire before CHEETAH. Mondays are like meatball fastballs pitched right over the plate that you can line up the middle each and every time. (ex-college baseball player talking).

Zygotic 10:03 AM  

You want compliments? Read WordPlay. Want “criticism” tainted by an affiliation with the NYTX? Read Want honest criticism about how it was to solve your puzzle? Read Rex. As I have written many times before, reading Rex will make you a better constructor. Get over your hurt feelings and decide what is accurate, what is just taste, and get better. Feel free to ignore what you disagree with, Rex is a critic, not Ooxteplernon. And please please please don’t do anymore quip puzzles.

George 10:07 AM  

Old-ish: CAN sing the brylcreem song
Old: CANNOT HELP but sing the brylcreem song!

Barefoot on the Beach 10:09 AM  

There's an elephant in the cabana that I don't think has been mentioned. Dogs shouldn't be at the beach no matter the name. I know the quip is just a joke but what I say is true.

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

Yes, Ms. Lesser, by all means refrains from quip puzzles. Z doesn't like them.
Wow. If that isn't the definition of narcissism....

GILL I. 10:14 AM  

@JD 8:01, Your new job with Edam Gouge & Sharp, LLP has me cracking up. I'm still laughing. I'll have to go and check my faulty cheese knives. I may just call you......!

@Nancy, thank you, amiga but I won't be having another show anytime soon. I go to markets and fairs and cross my fingers. Word of mouth helps a bit as well. As soon as I get my little act together, I'll give Etsy a try.
You advice on NOT reading OFL makes sense for those not wanting dourness in their morning cereal. I always read him because I enjoy predicting his response. Also....snark on your eggs Benedict.....? Who else can asks for a better digestiva....

Anonymous 10:14 AM  

I loved this! It was super-easy for me except for the shark zone so it was revealed last, and came with a belly laugh. When I saw two female constructors and saw how easy it was I thought they would take heat for it, but instead the guys were, uh, floundering. So, maybe this is how the other half lives? Really enjoyed this, as an example of what Monday could be.

Anonymous 10:15 AM  

He is a terrible critic and listening to him will make you a worse constructor. FIFY.

Frantic Sloth 10:15 AM  

I should know better than to respond to someone's question or explain some misunderstanding of a clue or answer in these comments. It will usually always be addressed by others if I wait long enough (measured in nanoseconds). Alas, you can't keep a fool quiet for long. 🤷‍♀️

Other dogs with names not to bring places:

A dog named "Fire" to a movie theater.
A dog named "FreeMoney" to the NYSE.
A dog named "ThisIsAStickup" to the bank.
A dog named "KeepGoing" to my mind. 🙄

mathgent 10:17 AM  

Nancy, that's my opinion, too. "Silly fun."

I needed the quip to try to relieve the pain of the kindergarten cluing. "Auto" for CAR, for example.

How could Shortz have missed the incorrect clue for GFLAT? I don't know much about music but it immediately struck me as wrong.

@Michiganman (7:03). "Pay no mind to the man behind the curtain," indeed.

@SouthsideJohnnie (8:01). I liked your examples of great ones who lost it. But compared to Mays, Rex is a sandlotter.

GILL I. 10:21 AM  

@JD 8:01...Your new job with Edam Gouge & Sharp croaked me up. I'm still laughing. Excuse me while I go look for a faulty cheese knife......

@Nancy 9:29. Thanks, amiga but my days of any "shows" are gone. I sell through outdoor markets, fairs and word-of-mouth. The worse thing that could happen is that I get a sun burn or my hot dog on a stick doesn't have enough mustard. When I get my act together, I'm going to give Etsy a try.

Tom R 10:22 AM  

Hey Rex - its "summery" because when its "wintry" people are far less likely to be swimming. Also, its just a cute one-liner joke. Why do you feel the necessity to parse it out of existence? Just enjoy the humor. And even with the quip, the crosses are so easy and the quip is so easy to see that it was a near record time for me for a Monday.

Anonymous 10:23 AM  

If Z wrote it, it must be true. And if he's written it many times it must be gospel truth.

nyc_lo 10:23 AM  

Don’t share the dislike of quip puzzles many seem to have and, as a fan of dad jokes, I got a chuckle out of the reveal. My neighbors are constantly yelling out their dogs’ names without any other verbiage, so I get it. Also filing away CHEETAH for my arsenal of groaners.

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

Rex hates Will Shortz and wants him to be fired. Talk about tainted. Every one of his review should be read with that in mind.

albatross shell 10:28 AM  

@umknown 951am
Thank you. I believe that is it! Thought FATES when solving but realized as I was posting that didn't mesh with the painting in the book.

Mary McCarty 10:29 AM  

@Preferred Customer (7:27) As I was filling in the last row of Downs I was thinking exactly the same thing: what a great entry (aka “Monday”) puzzle for a beginner! A common palindrome, an abbreviation, sound pun (CHEETAH), only one PPP, and *TONS* of crosswordese screaming “Welcome to the club!” But where’s my OREO? The quote was a bit daring for a Monday, but easily gotten from crosses; the quote complainers seem to be mostly folks who only care about speed— you gotta stop and enjoy the lovelies like SMITTEN. Regular solvers like all those on this blog (it’s a rare newbie who dares to comment!) shouldn’t object to easy or even obvious items on a Monday—we all know the progression.

Teddy Roosevelt 10:29 AM  

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

jberg 10:31 AM  

I stopped doing the Sunday puzzle, as it had become too much like drudgery; still, I would advise folks to leave the spoilers out of their comments. It's summer(y), people go away for weekends, and sometimes come back home to look at the weekend's puzzles (I did do Saturday's last night).

I thought the quip was funny enough, and fun to figure out once I had quite a few crosses. My major problem was boldly putting in APicES for 21A.(It now seems to be the less-preferred spelling; these are sad days.)

Puppy bites are harmless; but 39A needs a more specific clue, such as "order that supported Franco's dictatorship."

OTOH, the clue for ADAM was way too specific, even for a Monday. Once you give the first part, and specify that it's a palindrome, there is absolutely nothing left to thought.

There was a sequel to that jingle,

A little dab will do you,
Or look out! The girls will all pursue you.

Maybe that was a response to the dry look.

Masked and Anonymous 10:37 AM  

Unusual to see a quip puz on a Monday, cuz they are generally harder than snot to solve.

Kinda liked that MAKO was snuck in there, as a bonus. I'da thought @RP woulda liked 46-A snuck in there, also. Guess he might dismiss it as merely "jumpin the shark", tho.

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: "Madam, I'm ___ (palindromic greeting)". Hard to beat a clue that contains the answer, in this regard.

staff weeject pick: DAH. Only a modest 12 of the lil devils to choose from, today. Liked that DAH was clued usin fellow weejects ZIP, DEE, and DOO.

Fillins were ok, but nuthin real long or raised-by-wolves to get excited about. Did really like that CHEETAH ?-marker clue, tho.

Thanx for the Monday challenge and congratz on yer debut, Ms. Lesser darlin.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


Joaquin 10:40 AM  

@Z - C'mon, man. Half the fun of being here is discussing the puzzle. Half the fun is chatting with other solvers. And the third half of the fun is needling Rex.

Carola 10:44 AM  

Like some others, I thought this was a good "combination" Monday, e.g., mostly fill-it-right-in easy answers + the wait-for-it quip entries. And a pay-off with a punch line. I thought it was cute.

I always read @Rex. I often don't agree with his negative takes and sometimes think he goes too far with his eviscerations, but his reviews have also often enlightened me on aspects of puzzle constructing and layers of theme trickery I'd never considered or noticed.

albatross shell 10:51 AM  

Question for moderators and anyone else. I hit on photomatte's blue name yesterday and instead of going to a blogger profile, it went straight to a photography business website. Is that something that is allowed? Its not something that really bothered me but it seemed improper somehow. And not much different than putting a link to your business in your profile which wouldn't bother me at all. I felt deceived somehow.

Anonymous 10:55 AM  

Brilcreem, a little dab'll do ya
For men who use their heads about their hair

Anonymous 11:23 AM  

I don't really mind a quip puzzle, but the quip better be worth shaping a whole puzzle around. And this one was ... okay. Not worthy IMO.

The rest of the puzzle was a straightforward Monday, which is fine for Monday. I just wish the quip had more zing to it.

Oh Please 11:25 AM  

Well, I actually like quip puzzles. So there.

Vicki Winston 11:40 AM  

Come on…didn’t that quip make you smile just a little bit? Let’s not get so serious about a Monday puzzle. Let’s all take a deep breath and relax!!

Vicki Winston 11:41 AM  

Come on everybody! You got to tell me this quip make you smile just a little bit! It’s Monday for gosh sake‘s —everybody just relax, take a deep breath, it’s all gonna be OK!

mathgent 11:44 AM  

As Nancy said, "Silly fun."

There was a need for fun because there was none in the cluing. E.g., "Auto" for CAR.

How could Shortz miss the incorrect clue for GFLAT? I don't know much about music but I spotted it immediately.

@Michiganman (7:03). "Pay no mind to the man behind the curtain." Yes, indeed.

@SouthsideJohnnie (8:01). Nice examples of the sadness in seeing the great ones flounder after they've lost it. But Rex doesn't belong in their company. Compared to Mays, he's a sandlotter.

Vicki Winston 11:46 AM  

Come on everybody! You got to tell me this quip make you smile just a little bit! It’s Monday for gosh sake‘s —everybody just relax, take a deep breath, it’s all gonna be OK!

A 11:55 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
bocamp 12:03 PM  

Pun/quip/quote themes are not my fave type of xword, however, they make me work harder, and they contribute to the great store of variety we find in the NYT puzzes. I wouldn't want to see them disappear, but rather, just kept to a minimum, which I think Will and crew do a good job of.

@Lewis (5:42 AM) wrote:

"Jim Horne, over at XwordInfo nailed it, IMO. He said, “…I appreciate jokes like this one where the humor isn't in the words themselves, but in the story you mentally construct afterwards.”"

Well said Jim! thx for sharing this, @Lewis.

Peace 🕊 ~ Empathy ~ Tolerance ~ Health ~ Kindness to all ~ Woof 🐶

G. Weissman 12:09 PM  

This line gave me more pleasure than doing today’s puzzle did: “ Also, no dog is named Shark.”

Taking a dog named Fire to a crowded movie theater — also a bad idea.

Anonymous 12:20 PM  

2:38, and it could have been a few ticks faster but I don't know my scales, and had never heard the expression "GAME APP."

Darn near record territory for a Monday.

Surprised @ Rex's time.

TJS 12:21 PM  

"Never argue with someone whose opinion you don't respect." My Mom taught me that many moons ago. So if OFLs' opinions get you angry, follow @Nancys' advice. Skip 'em. I am a frequent critic but I still enjoy the fact that he can go off on some ridiculous tangent that reveals what a strange dude he really is. At least he is providing a forum for people whose opinions I really do respect.

Decent Monday, and if it pisses @Z off...

Doc John 12:26 PM  

Wow, Rex got so apoplectic about this puzzle that he forgot to get all woke-y about NIPS!

Sgreennyc 12:33 PM  

This is the most inane of Rex’s critiques yet. His objection to a humorous quote puzzle is so trivial that it demonstrates that despite his often mentioned doctorate he has a very small mind.

Anonymous 12:48 PM  

@Z. You had me at Ooxteplernon!

sharon ak 12:52 PM  

@ Eggs for breakfast. Actually the Cheetah clue and answer was fun for me. About the only smile inducing item in the puzzle.

I quite enjoyed Sunday's puzzle, but this "quip" ??? How was an unfunny , unlikely sentence like that a quip?

Thought Rex was amusing with his riff on names at the beach. And thought he meant to be.

BEE-ER 1:01 PM  


I am going to type a word from yesterbee.

I just threw in my SB towel at -5. 4 of those were pretty ordinary and I might have eventually got them. But I never would have gotten the pangram, MALEFIC. I wonder if this has ever been in a Xword puzzle. Anyone?

old timer 1:02 PM  

What I liked about this: It was a proper Monday puzzle. 12 minutes, ink on paper, and, yeah, maybe 3 1/2 on the APP. I don't mind quip puzzles, but I do agree that this was not a good quip puzzle.

It is inane co complain about "summery" though. For most people in the Northeast, summer is beach time, and it used to be you would take your dogs there. Sure, it is always beach time in Carmel, but I DARESAY if you go to Lakes Erie or Ontario from Binghamton, you most likely go in the summer. And, summer being vacation time for out of state visitors, the beaches are at their busiest in the Monterey Bay area. Just try finding a nice spot on the sand, much less a parking place, at Santa Cruz in August. Of course we natives know it is best to go to Carmel and Big Sur in the Spring, to San Francisco in the Fall, and to Death Valley at the beginning or end of Winter. Summer is the time for that road trip up the Oregon Coast, or through the redwoods.

The jingle that sticks on my head, and will forever:

Old Spice means quality, said the captain to the bo'sun
So look for the box that has the ship that sails the ocean.

Worked too. I don't shave, but have used Old Spice deodorant since I was 12.

Teedmn 1:11 PM  

This is the second quip puzzle I've liked so there's that. I got a chuckle and it was an easy, breezy solve.

I would like help in finding again the first quip puzzle I liked. (I'm not even sure it was a NYTimes puzzle.) What I remember (and all of this could be wrong) was that it was a Sunday puzzle and the quip was a quote from Wynton Marsalis. I have found websites featuring quotes from Mr. Marsalis - guess what? There are dozens and dozens of them. I couldn't read them all, didn't find the one I was looking for.

And I can't bring to mind the exact quote either but the gist was that it wasn't important if you made a mistake while playing your instrument, it was the next note you played after the mistake that was important.

I found that concept so charming that I've (somewhat) remembered it for several decades. If anyone else knows what I'm talking about, I'd love to hear about it.

Stephanie Lesser, congratulations on your debut and thanks for the puzzle.

Whatsername 1:12 PM  

Like many others, not a fan of the quip/quote theme, especially one that is completely unfamiliar. Beyond that I found this extremely easy, a very good construction for a beginning solver. Congratulations to Stephanie on her NYT debut.

For those trashing Rex Parker, I say it’s his opinion and this web site is where he expresses it. We’re free to agree, disagree, or ignore it all together. But he is a critic, not a teacher handing out participation trophies.

Phipps44 1:23 PM  


Keith D 1:40 PM  

@Z - your support of Rex is nothing if not unwavering. “Better constructor”? I suppose so, if “better constructor” means a narrow scope of puzzle structures, no quips, no cross references, no “right wing” clues or answers, nothing even remotely salty, and nothing that rubs him one of a thousand wrong ways. I find nothing “honest” (or even consistent) about his reviews. I generally just slime it now, and go to the comments (John X, I’m looking at you…)

Donna 1:59 PM  

I almost stopped solving when I saw the puzzle was a quip puzzle, which was early in my solve. Much to my chagrin, I finished it, anyway. The fact that it is a lousy puzzle has nothing to do with the constructor's worth as a human being. I imagine Stephanie Lesser is a nice person, but this puzzle is a stinker, two-thirds of a "pun"--P-U!

Anonymous 2:02 PM  

@Z So, online dogpiling is acceptable to inflict on someone if it makes them better at crossword puzzle constructing? You can improve without this kind of vitriol aimed at you, so I think that's a take we can all do without. :)

Anna Maria S. 2:25 PM  

Here are two comments about Will Shortz from Rex Parker’s Twitter feed within the last 24 hours : 1-“ LOL it's funny 'cause it's self-absorbed and negligent and genuinely hazardous to cyclists and pedestrians, what a character that crossword editor guy is!”. 2-“ Look, a decent person would've said "I didn't used to care about this shit at all, but I've listened to criticism and I've changed my way of thinking" or something. Instead, it's just defensiveness, pretending he cared all along, and then weird bragging (w/ statistical fudging).” Rex is obsessed with Will. The idea that’s this guy isn’t out to get Shortz and he is just a disinterested critic is laughable. Stick with the comments on this blog and skip Rex.

A 3:13 PM  

Reposting - I had a mistake in my original. Which I don't see anyway.

Rex needs a vacation. I’m not a big fan of these multi-entry quips, but he’s reaching when he says people don’t call their dogs at the beach. Really thought he’d go off on the plural puppy bites, and maybe the cheesy CHEETAH clue. Really, really thought we’d hear all about DAH and it’s clue. Didn’t expect the silly nit picking of the theme itself. Sure it’s corny but it works for National Get Out of the Doghouse Day.

I did remark to Mr. A, “One of those Jumble creators made a crossword.” Those are the groaniest groaners. It was worth being reminded of going to the beach with my dog, though. People are always SMITTEN by her.

Speaking of SMITTEN, that alone proves Rex was wrong when he said there’s no good fill. It’s a pretty clean grid, with symmetrical themers, and just a few EGO EATS ALI types. The GFLAT/SHARP symmetry is a very nice touch, as is the FATES/ALLOT cross. COAX works as theme related - trying to sweet talk your little dog SHARK into the big water for the first time.

Ok, the theme has whetted my dad-joke appetite. *Graoner alert!

Fun with palindromes:
There’s a beer called Imperial. It’s a….REGAL LAGER.

Too much butter (I know) and syrup can make your…..EGGOS SOGGE.

Alternate themes:
Taking a dog named Encore to a Texas Tenors concert.
Taking a dog named Jesus to a tent revival.

Sorry, I apparently also need a vacation. Before I go, you’re all welcome to join my palindrome contest: who’s got the best clue for DRAB BARD?

Masked and Anonymous 3:16 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 3:17 PM  

There's much more to this puzzle than the quips.
I filled in many letters in the quip boxes from the down clues. That helped get the quips without much thought.
Very much a Monday puzzle which I enjoyed.

Anonymous 3:30 PM  

Anna Maria S.
I don't think there are a whole lot of people who are fooled by Rex's agenda. After all, he's pretty naked about it. Sure, he has an acolyte or two on the board and those two are heavy posters so it can seem like our little corner of the world doesn't see Rex's grudge. We do. I'd say it's been so obvious for so long, most of the posters simply ignore it and accept that wading through his animus and vitriol is the cost of doing business.
The good news is most constructors have gone beyond Rex for this very reason. Ms. Lessing herself thanked close to a dozen constructors, who in my opinion, are much more talented at making crossword puzzles than Michael Sharp.
Among the superior constructors Ms. Lessing thanked were Will Nediger. Peter Gordon, David Steinberg, Patti Varol, and Andy Kravis. Anon 2:02 needn't worry. Rex isn't here to help others; he's in it for his ego. The constructors I named, among others, are the ones making new constructors better.

rosebud 3:34 PM  

I loved it, fun to start the week witha smile and this was hilarious to me, and included NANAS! Today is my birthday and I am a Nana! Happy, glorious day full of smiles to everyone! And i loved figuring out GFLAT. 🎶

Frantic Sloth 3:43 PM  

Yesterday and today have seen several hours of lag time between posted comments. Don't know what the issue is, but I'm thinking it accounts for "lost" or multiple comments.

For all the Rexprimanders out there:

1. @Nancy's advice is best. Ignore it at your peri. 😉
2. Failing that approach, if you're making any of these assumptions:

a) Rex reads the comments
b) Rex cares about what commenters have to say
c) Rex will alter his behavior based on (a) or (b)

You are going to be sadly disappointed with the results.

Criticizing what he writes is one of the many perks we enjoy here. Have at it - he often deserves it. But, telling him what to write or what not to write is a lost cause and it makes you look - sorry, but - whiny. Just my 2¢.

burtonkd 3:54 PM  

I’m with Nancy in camp silly fun. Only thing to slow me down was solving on iPad.

Just for the record, A to G-flat is an augmented 2nd, not a minor 3rd.

@Had enough - congratulations on getting a puzzle in the NYT! Just wondering: did you not read Rex before you had a puzzle published? It might have lessened your distress if you’d known about the 5% approval rate.

rjkennedy98 3:59 PM  

This puzzle was unusually slow for a Monday because I just literally could not figure out the quip and solved with the crosses. Afterwards stared out it in blank disbelief.

Kyle V 4:00 PM  

This is why we visit Rex's page. Pure stream of conscious. Meditations on the farce of puzzles. Hilarious, brilliant.

JD 4:10 PM  

@Frantic, @Nancy, @Gil, Psst, knives everywhere, send help. I'm under the desk. Just google cheese lawyer.

@Wm. C., I think I actually worked for them.

@A, DRAB BARD Monday? Lusterless Shakespeare? That's a fun question.

I am shocked today to hear that Rex gives negative reviews and has a liberal bent. Is this new? How did I miss that?

bocamp 4:20 PM  

@old timer (1:02 PM)

Hands up for Old Spice. Used the aftershave at age 12; use the deodorant currently.

SB possible spoiler from yd cont'd:

@BEE-ER (1:01 PM)

Not sure I've ever seen it in a xword, but have heard it and/or seen it somewhere along the way. I had plugged it in earlier in my solve with an 'i' in lieu of an 'e', ala horr 'i' fic. I was down to my last word and was led to try the 'e' in its stead. Voila!


Got 2/3 of Croce's Freestyle in the 1st sitting (most of the left half and some of the right). Will tackle the remainder later today.

Peace 🕊~ Empathy ~ Tolerance ~ Health ~ Kindness to all ~ Woof 🐶

A 4:21 PM  

@mathgent, and other non music readers; the clue for G FLAT is correct. Others said so, but with the assumption everyone knows how notation works.

Only the letters ABCDEFG are used*, and in ascending order. Repetition results in ABCDEFGABC…..etc. So G is one step (two half steps) below A. Next, flats lower by a half step, sharps raise by a half step. So G flat is one half step below G. Add the two together and G flat is “a step and a half below A.”

*In a few countries, B is B flat, and H is B. Don’t ask.

@Teedmn, your Wynton puzzle rings a bell, so it is probably NYT.

@TJS, your Mom sounds like a wise woman.

@BEE-ER, I was down to that one and got it more or less by typing random letters. Once I saw it, though, I recognized it as a real word (unlike a few shady characters they’ve let slip in!). It went directly into my “words to remember” list.

I also just emailed them about a word left out of today’s SB. I have a list of those too but have never emailed them as none are quite so egregious an omission as this one. It even has two completely different meanings, and is in M-W.

Pete 4:41 PM  

@Teedmn That's a Miles Davis quote

pabloinnh 4:45 PM  

OK, time for another hair grooming commercial:

Go ahead, douse your hair with water
But protect against dry scalp each day
Vaseline, Vaseline Hair Tonic
Puts back oil water washes away
Keep you well-groomed all day

I can sing that one too, although seeing "Vaseline" and "hair tonic" together like that is just plain unpleasant.

pmdm 4:49 PM  

I am surprised at the comments at some of the comments about the clue for 24A. Let's do this slowly. An A is the starting note. A half step below that on a keyboard is the note of A Flat (enharmonically called G Sharp). The note below that, a whole step below, is a G. And the note below that, which would be a step and a half below the initial note of A, would be a G Flat (enharmonically called F Sharp. QED I don't get what all the fuss is about.

By the way, I am told that string players play a slightly different note for these enharmonically equivalent tones. That's the reason composers are told not to notate compositions that notate enharmonic notes simultaneously. I'm a keyboardist so I don't much care. But looking at an A Major triad notated with an F Flat instead of an E look quite odd to me.

What does all this have to do with crosswords? Nothing, I would guess. But it does have to do with the comments. Both Jeff Chen and Steve Horne and musicians, so if niether complained about the clue, I guess it's fine.

Barbara S. 4:59 PM  

@BEE-ER 1:01 PM
I tried that word because of the character played by Angelina Jolie in a couple of films.

@A 3:13 PM
Pale poet?
Run-down rhymer?
Vapid versifier?
Insipid iambist?
(Not sure why I felt compelled to go with alliteration.)

Anonymous 5:14 PM  

For those who are annoyed by Rex's posts, may I be the thousandth person to suggest that you don't actually have to read them? You can come straight to the blog and see all the clever and not-so-clever stuff posted here.


Anonymous 5:26 PM  

It's pretty unusual for the Spelling Bee to have such an obscure word be the only pangram. I don't always agree with the decision to exclude many words (FILMIC, for example, is literally three times as common as the pangram according to Ngram viewer), but they usually do a good job of having the pangram be a well-known word.

Unknown 5:39 PM  

Wow. I can go toe to toe with Sunday usually, not perfectly by any means as a less experienced solver, but I felt flat out stupid at today's. I gave up... EGGOS (tried TARTS)... Had MUSES instead of FATES, never heard of EDAM or MAKO (ORCA...?)

Truly "TAKING A DOG" along with that NW fill did me in. I'll put on my dunce cap.

Smith 5:52 PM  

It's Rex's blog, he can grouse if he wants to. Who cares? Read him or don't; you all are the real reason to stop by (and where's that troll JohnX today?). Plus, I think if your puzzle was accepted by the NYT you should be happy and proud, although aware that not everyone will like everything.

Thought this one was super easy, way under average time, didn't mind the quip at all (silly, like @Nancy said). Have fun, it's summer!

DRAB BARD reminds me of the time one of our young sons kept insisting that there was an owl named after Shakespeare, he had seen it on a wildlife program (we were season subscribers to the local Shakespeare company and the kids went as soon as they could sit still).

Eventually we figured out that he meant a BARRED owl.

Whatsername 6:02 PM  

@CDilly: Just read your church supper story from yesterday‘s comments. Wonderful wonderful wonderful! Thanks for sharing.

Eldreth 6:03 PM  

I, on the other hand, think Rex needs to get a life. Nothing wrong with todays puzzle or yesterday’s either for that matter. It was just a little chuckle of a quip, Rex, not an egregious affront to human kind. Why not find something interesting, entertaining or funny to say, rather than an over the top diatribe about this poor inoffensive Monday puzzle?

albatross shell 6:10 PM  

@A 313pm
Gray poet, coming and going

Eldreth 6:11 PM  

Another example of Rex and his much ado about nothing approach to puzzle critique Why not say something actually entertaining, informative, interesting or amusing instead of beating a dead shark? This poor inoffensive Monday puzzle with its slight chuckle quip did not really deserve such a bombastic diatribe. Not a bad puzzle to start the week at all.

Birchbark 6:13 PM  

I like EGGOS in the vicinity of EGO, and NADER in the neighborhood of APEXES.

I think I'll watch an installment from the "SHARKnado" franchise tonight, just to clear the cobwebs. IS A BAD IDEA? [cf. the cat of "I can has cheezburger" fame].

And I DARESAY that a puzzle I solved today on my backwards journey through the Archives was among the APEXES of recent memory: Sunday, July 25, 1999.

It was about twice as hard as a typical Sunday. Divining the trick in fits and starts via crosses, then using it on the remaining half of the themers was a very big payoff. I didn't read the title until after the solve -- it makes sense in hindsight but not sure it would have speeded things up. Recommended for those who like an old-school challenge.

Eldreth 6:19 PM  

Rex, have you considered a bit of counseling to deal with your totally out of proportion responses to poor inoffensive Sunday and Monday puzzles?

EricO 6:30 PM  

Rex is curmudgeonly. That’s a given. He gets lots of abuse heaped on him in these comments which I will never believe he doesn’t read. Yet he sticks with his modus operandi - for over a decade now.
His criticisms have taught me as much about crossword puzzles as have the puzzles. I appreciate his acerbity. Certainly it wobbles at times into a rant.
In the end, the constructor gets paid. No doubt lots of people have praised him/her for getting published in the Times. If Rex pans it, maybe there’s a learning opportunity.

albatross shell 6:34 PM  

I suppose Grey be might be more likely to get you to
BARD and to and fro is more concise than coming and going but maybe less precise. So: Grey poet, coming and going.

Both ways? Nah.

jae 6:57 PM  

@bocamp - that’s pretty much exactly how my Croce solve went.

Lucinda 7:42 PM  

Why does Rex hate Will Shortz ? I’ve been listening to Will on NPR for years and he seems like a sweetheart.

albatross shell 8:51 PM  

Testing cause another multihour delay.

Peter P 8:59 PM  

@burtonkd - ah, good catch. I was about to ask how you know that without any more context, but then I realized, if you spell it G flat, it's an augmented second in relation to an A natural. If it's an F sharp (same note, different name), it's a minor third in relation to A natural, so we do have enough context.

Anonymous 9:21 PM  


Funny story, if you've a curved mind, and true. My bestest boss was a newly decommissioned Army Capt. during Vietnam, about 1974. Unlike many, he had a Ph.D. in math stats, and he had run a fleet Beech Air Queens and Air Kings outfitted with transceivers (radio sniffers, essentially). They looked like flying porcupines. The point was to triangulate any electronics in transit.

So, one day back in the USofA, he waxed nostalgic about his time in southeast Asia, in particular that Brylcreem was the mode of choice for Ladies of Night in that region. They did, of necessity, use more than a little dab.

Anonymous 9:30 PM  

Shortly after that jingle came Dry Look hairspray commercial that declared that "The wet head is dead."

For the record, that was aimed at Vitalis.

Anonymous 9:46 PM  

Will Shortz is a sweetheart. He’s won at life. He invented a puzzle major at Indiana University. He used that major to work for Games magazine. He leveraged that to become the editor of the most important crossword in Christendom. He’s been the feature of countless magazine and tv pieces. He was the star of a a successful and well received documentary. He’s a best -selling author.
Rex? He’s a lecturer at a third-rate university in a fourth-rate town. It’s a miracle Mr.Sharp can get out of bed in the morning. But it’s no mystery why Mr.Sharp hates Will Shortz. It’s as simple as jealousy.

TTrimble 10:00 PM  

Late comment. Just got back from my in-laws where the internet reception is spotty, so puzzles had to wait until I got home. Just skimming through comments now.

Rex is a mixed bag, highly imperfect as we all are. Sometimes he's insightful, sometimes he's witty, sometimes he's interesting. Sometimes he's limited, sometimes he's petty, sometimes he's mean. I have to wonder about that last. A college instructor had better avoid being mean when criticizing his/her students. It may be briefly amusing to some in the class when a professor wittily cuts a student down, but in the end, it IS A BAD IDEA. The same applies in criticizing a debuting constructor. To put it positively: be constructive. "There is no good fill" and "There is nothing going on here" are not constructive. It's not far from saying: this puzzle sucks.

Some time back, @Nancy listed five precepts for puzzle construction, which might be the basis of something more constructive.

(The fill was Monday-easy, IMO. I'll say no more.)

Ahem. All that being said, I did have a reaction similar to Rex's. The quip just seemed so out of left field (who names a dog Shark?) and unfunny. The "so bad it's good" has limited purchasing power with me. To me, it was just like a Nancy strip (no, not you @Nancy), a la: I don't get it. Was that a joke. (Yes: dat's the joke.)

Not sure where the referendum on "to read, or not to read, Rex" came from. I mean, I'll read him. And will either agree or not. Mostly I enjoy coming here because of some of the commenters' comments, and some sometimes interesting conversations.

TTrimble 10:21 PM  

The Brylcreem commercial that's stuck with me had Mickey Mantle in it.

albatross shell 10:36 PM  

I am mostly ignorant about music notation and theory. What little I do know made me think the G-FLAT answer seemed to work. I checked this with a C Major scale on a piano. Worked perfectly. A to G-flat is 3 keys, all half-steps. Half of the explanations here I cannot even tell what side they are on. Are we all agreed that the answer is correct? I hope so. How did people with apparently way more music knowledge and experience than I have, get it so wrong? Assuming I have it right. My theory is music theory is developed and written by people who do not need to see it in writing. They can hear it. Half joking... maybe.

A 10:49 PM  

DRAB BARD viers (how's that for crosswordese), the palindrome contest continues. Excellent entries so far. Nice 'coming and going' angle from @albatross, and alliteration from @Barbara. I'll toss in a bit more bait:

If a poet lacks pizzaz, is she a…
if a singer doesn’t singe, is he a….
If a minstrel is melancholic, is he a….

shelah 11:39 PM  

For the record, Billie Eilish’s dog is named Shark.

TTrimble 11:55 PM  

@albatross shell
G FLAT is definitely correct, and just about everyone here seems to agree. Maybe Dr. A had a brain fart and actually knows better.

Peter P 12:10 AM  

@albatross - Yes, the puzzle answer is correct. G flat is a step and a half below A. That is a correct answer (other correct answers would include F sharp and E double sharp.) One possible guess for why the confusion is that perhaps some people misread the clue? I had that issue, somehow reading it as "a half step below A" and completely jumbling the "step and a half" part. I'm not exactly sure how, but I did read it wrong and needed to re-read the clue a couple of times before I realized my brain somehow either glossed over the words or flip-flopped and edited them.

Reputacion Online 7:18 AM  

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Cc’d 9:26 AM  

Even if I don’t like Rex’s comments I learn a lot from the comments of others on the blog. This blog has taught me a lot about crosswords.

thefogman 9:04 AM  

Stephanie, if you’re ready don’t take Rex’s comments too personally. He can be a little cranky at times. I thought you did a a pretty good job. Congratulations on your debut puzzle.

Burma Shave 10:51 AM  


TOTHBEACH where ELDERs see ya,


spacecraft 11:06 AM  

I came here eager to see if OFC would soften his approach because (a) it's a female debut constructor, and/or (b) she put his name in it. Also steeled myself against another NIPS rant. Disappointment all around. BTW, as long as we're being offended, please keep Larry ELDER out of your grids. Thank you.

I'm an anti-fan of quote/quip puzzles, in the same way as many here don't enjoy rebi. That's just a personal druther, and shouldn't impact on my critique. There are some things to like in this, and the quip is so...well, I'll quote Capt. Picard: "Sometimes you just have to bow to the absurd."

Bow aside, we really ought to try our hardest to avoid the vowel string at 47d. I won't go so far as to say it ISABADIDEA to PUBLISH this, but Ms. Lesser's CAREER in crossword construction is, shall we say, a work in progress. No puzzle-bound DOD, so why not give it to the author? Done. Par.

thefogman 11:17 AM  

Edit - Reading not ready.

rondo 11:40 AM  

Starred the NIPS clue anticipating a rant that didn't happen. Now if this was a Bruce Haight puz . . . Leggo my EGO, or EGGOS. A quip, RMK, and AEIOU set this puz up to be a DUD, yet the rest was OK, good enough to PUBLISH.

leftcoaster 4:19 PM  

The quip is not necessarily a BAD IDEA, but ... a dog named “SHARK" ? at the BEACH ? An unlikely joke maybe ?

Then got stuck with RoyAL instead of REGAL, which led to a dumb error with DOG and DUD.

Alas, not a routine Monday puzzle for me.

leftcoaster 5:50 PM  

Rex could have been gentler in his critique of this puzzle, especially of a Monday debut.

Diana, LIW 6:58 PM  

Having a quip on Monday DID make it a trace more difficult than the average day-after-Sunday puzzle. But this quip - SOOOOOO silly. To each...

Noticed the AEIOU also - had one in another puzzle (in a puzzle book) yesterday.

Saw a silly tweet (in the newspaper, I don't cell phone or social media) today. About a man who was thrilled 'cause his wife was going to make breakfast for dinner, u8ntil he realized it was a frozen pop tart. Leggo my Eggo indeed.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

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