What the trio in this puzzle's clues is trying to promote / MON 7-26-21 / Companion of Frodo in The Lord of the Rings / Devers three-time Olympic track gold medalist / Lead-in to gender

Monday, July 26, 2021

Constructor: Tommy Pauly

Relative difficulty: Medium (normal Monday)

[Don't mind all the little blue eyeballs—I closed the puzzle before taking a screenshot
and just didn't want to type all the answers in again, so I hit "Reveal All" and the blue
eyeballs are my punishment]

THEME: JAZZ / SHOW (1A: With 68-Across, what the trio in this puzzle's clues is trying to promote) — clues imagine different members of a jazz trio saying different things ... what they are saying is basically idioms involving instruments:

Theme answers:
  • 20A: The first member of the trio said he'd ... TOOT HIS OWN HORN
  • 38A: The second member of the trio said he'd ... PULL SOME STRINGS
  • 53A: The third member of the trio said she'd ... DRUM UP BUSINESS
Word of the Day: GAIL Devers (62A: ___ Devers, three-time Olympic track gold medalist) —
Yolanda Gail Devers (/ˈdvərz/ DEE-vərz; born November 19, 1966) is an American retired track and field athlete. A two-time Olympic champion in the 100 meters for the USA, her 1996 win made her only the second woman (after Wyomia Tyus) to successfully defend an Olympic 100m title. She won a third Olympic gold medal in the 4 × 100 m relay in 1996. She is also the 1993 World champion in the 100m and a three-time World champion in the 100m hurdles. In 2011, she was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame. (wikipedia)
• • •

Somehow, the SHOW part of the reveal feels really anticlimactic. I wanted something snappier. It seemed arbitrary, the SHOW part. Not sure why the revealer wasn't JAZZ / TRIO, since that's the heart of the puzzle. Just rewrite the theme clues to take "trio" out of them, and bam, you're in business. JAZZ / TRIO is a much snappier revealer than JAZZ / SHOW, which is a bit of a thud. Most jazz trios have pianos as part of their makeup. Pianist + double bass + drummer is pretty standard. But horn (sax, in particular) + bass + drums has been the set-up for some notable trios, so the "show" being put on here is perfectly plausible. But the execution of this theme just felt slightly off, in a number of ways. First, the aforementioned weak revealer. Second, the fact that the first two theme answers are idioms, but they literally describe what the jazz musicians do, whereas DRUM UP BUSINESS stays solidly in the idiomatic world. Third, "horn" and "drum(s)" are actual words you'd use to describe jazz instruments, but "strings" is a word more associated with orchestra sections. So no matter how you slice this theme, from whatever angle you look at it, it feels mildly off. I think there's a good core idea here (even if I'm not really the biggest fan of these types of pun puzzles). The execution just doesn't feel as polished as it might be. 

The fill is much more of a problem. Just dead on its feet, for the most part. I really like SEA LEGS (28A: Ability to keep one's balance on a ship), but everything else is just taking up space, and for a puzzle that's this easy to fill, there really shouldn't be so so so much weak short stuff. I mean, when CHEWY looks positively electric compared to the vast majority of your fill, you have a bit of an energy problem on your hands. APSO EPEE SSNS before we even get out of the NW. And then just a slew of overfamiliar repeaters (ELAL ATEAT ESS ISH etc.), none of them terrible, but in bulk, they're really deadening. Beyond the three long themers, the grid has only two 7s, and everything else is 6 letters or fewer. You don't give yourself any room to shine when you build a grid like this, a grid with no non-themers over 7 (and only two of those). 

Today's theme type (punny phrases with very non-specific clueing) made this puzzle slightly tougher to solve than your typical Monday, but then the clueing on the non-theme stuff was so easy that it all pretty much averaged out to a normal Monday difficulty level. Almost all the struggle in this puzzle, for me, came in trying to parse the first themer. Without anything specific to help you in the themer clues, you have to figure out the phrases from crosses, and for that first themer I had TOOTHIS and wow, no idea what I was looking at. Brain wanted "TOO THIS" or "TOOTH IS" and then brain was out of ideas. Such a strange letter string to start the puzzle, given that you can turn it into two words *three different ways*. Eventually, my brain was able to imagine the space between the "T" and the "H" and I was off and running. Had SNEAK (34A: Move stealthily), then changed it to SKULK when I (bizarrely) thought Lou Gehrig's disease was LDS (my apologies to Lou Gehrig and the Mormon church), then had to change SKULK back to SNEAK, so that was awful. Never know if it's ENURE or INURE, so that's awful for different reasons (26D: Accustom). Misspelled LIEGE as "LEIGE," which is ... sad. It's SIEGE ... but SEIZE ... and somewhere in that spelling logic vortex, by analogy, I messed up LIEGE. Luckily, it was a brief snag. Made up a lot of time on the bottom third, where the 6s all went in bam bam bam off their first letters, and everything else down there was very straightforward. Gonna go watch a movie and hang out with my FELINEs now. See you later.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. Nice that they thought to make the third member of the jazz trio a woman. I see you trying, NYTXW!

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:08 AM  

Easy-medium. The downs were pretty easy otherwise this would have been tougher as the theme answers weren’t exactly obvious (see @Rex’s comments on the first one).

Mostly smooth with an “aha” moment. Liked it, nice debut.

@bocamp - Croce’s Freestyle # 632 was tough. Two + sessions. I did get it but I really struggled in the NW. Good luck!hi

Joaquin 12:26 AM  

Per Rex: "JAZZ / TRIO is a much snappier revealer than JAZZ / SHOW, which is a bit of a thud."

Trio is snappier than SHOW? Coulda fooled me.

chefwen 2:38 AM  

A fun Monday romp which helped my headache after Sunday’s puzzle.

I saw a cute cartoon not too long ago where a dog was in the UPS van with the driver and said “it’ll say CHEWY on the side of the box, sir.
Too cute.


Frantic Sloth 2:45 AM  

From yesterday: @A 650pm Well, closer to 1.5 years, but I rounded up. Got spoiled using Instacart with no success (so far) of weaning. 🤷‍♀️

@TTrimble 413pm 🤣🤣 That must have been a dream if I was "pretty kind", but I have that exam dream all the time.

Agree with Rex that JAZZ SHOW was kind of a clunker revealer, but at least it had a lookie-loo clue! My fave!

Typical of the Mondee: basic theme and easy fill to tempt-a-newbie, which is all I expect anymore.

Speaking of EPEEs...congratulations to Lee Kiefer who won the first-ever Olympic gold medal for the U.S. in individual foil. 👏


JOHN X 4:36 AM  

I know I crack wise around here and tell tall tales, hopefully in a fun Mark Twain tradition, but I really was in the U.S. Navy submarine service. I have some SEA LEGS experience. I was an engineer on the boat and I did main propulsion, known as M-Division or a “Nuke.”

If you don’t mind, let me tell you about being at sea in the North Atlantic and some of the different ways you can get the shit kicked out of you.

The first is called a “tail broach” and this is unique to submarines. Have you ever seen a nature documentary where a whale lifts it tail out of the water and then slaps it down? When we were snorkeling (once week) and blowing our tanks and running the diesel we always did this in fairly rough seas to keep the surface ships of five different Navies who were trying to find us from getting too fresh. And it was rough for us but we knew we would dive again after about an hour and get out of it, unlike the surface vessels who had to live in it. I served back aft in the engine room, and you learned very quickly when snorkeling that if you heard the main engines overspeed it meant the tail was out of the water and that it was going to slap back down on the stern planes, just like a whale. You held on to something and bent your knees in order to absorb the shock, which was considerable.

Another was surface running, which we didn’t do very frequently. We were a submarine and being submerged was better and smoother and more comfortable and safer. Running on the surface is simply not what a nuclear submarine is hydrodynamical designed to do efficiently; if the sea is rough you are in for a rotten ride. I had my SEA LEGS but I once walked down the passageway outside the mess decks while surface running and the starboard bulkhead came over and pounded me in the face, as if the boat had suddenly pivoted ninety degrees. This happened more than once.

A submarine that is surface running carries very minimal running lights (unlike a cruise ship, for example, which is lit like a carnival). If you are up on the sail at night in clear weather you can see the entire universe. There is a falling star about once a minute. We would go down to the Caribbean every so often to do torpedo qualifications, and by day the water is bluer than blue and by night our considerable wake would stir up bioluminescent plankton that would leave an extraordinary beautiful glowing green trail behind us.

Lewis 5:30 AM  

A most lovely concept, one that tells a little story. It warmed my heart and I find myself rooting for this eager trio of musicians to put on a great show.

And so, in that spirit,
May the horn player’s performance create a lot of good buzz.
May the string bass player play with great pluck.
May the drummer do a bang-up job.

Anonymous 5:59 AM  

Good monday, not anything special, but good.

Lewis 7:22 AM  

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

1. Sixers in pro sports, for short? (3)
2. = (3)
3. Blunt end? (5)
4. Clear, as crystal (3)
5. Much of Goya's output (8)


kitshef 7:25 AM  

The theme is pretty good – good enough to justify some bad fill. But it’s right on the line.

Just a bit too much of the ol’ initialisms, abbreviations, pre/suffixes, and informalities: S.S.N.S, N.E.A., ST.S, U.C.L.A., A.C.A., A.L.S., OHIO U., P.S.A.T., N.A.T.O., CIS-, ISH, DINO, MAC.

Son Volt 7:28 AM  

Puns on a Monday - I guess it works. This was over quickly - agree that much of the fill is straight up pedestrian although side eye to INURE in an early week puzzle.

SEA LEGS x YACHTS is pretty neat. ABBA so soon after their recent tribute? SLEW and SLAW not great - but like JAUNTS and LIEGE.

Enjoyable Monday solve.

Barbara S. 7:31 AM  

I thought this was cute, even though it’s close to quote/quip territory. Like Rex, I started out very confused at 20A with TOOTH IS OWN… before I’d reached the end of it. Fortunately at 38A I got PULLS____TRINGS, which I recognized as PULL SOME STRINGS so I didn’t fall into another parsing trap. At first I thought it was going to be a nautical theme, because of YACHTS, SUNK and SEALEGS (gee, that’s potentially another DOOK: SEAL EGS, as @egsforbreakfast has taught us that spelling). Anyway, not boats but JAZZ. Another day, another TESS. And another HAG – those venerable women are turning up all over.

Barbara S. 7:32 AM  

Today’s excerpt is from CARL GUSTAV JUNG, born July 26, 1875.

“Philemon and other figures of my fantasies brought home to me the crucial insight that there are things in the psyche which I do not produce, but which produce themselves and have their own life. Philemon represented a force which was not myself. In my fantasies I held conversations with him, and he said things which I had not consciously thought. For I observed clearly that it was he who spoke, not I. He said I treated thoughts as if I generated them myself, but in his view thoughts were like animals in the forest, or people in a room, or birds in the air, and added, “If you should see people in a room, you would not think that you had made those people, or that you were responsible for them.” It was he who taught me psychic objectivity, the reality of the psyche. Through him the distinction was clarified between myself and the object of my thought. He confronted me in an objective manner, and I understood that there is something in me which can say things that I do not know and do not intend, things which may even be directed against me.”
(From Memories, Dreams, Reflections)

SouthsideJohnny 7:38 AM  

Rex may be correct - it’s kind of a theme in name only. But ok, it played a touch tougher than standard Monday fare. A few items such as ZENO and ATEAT may be a little challenging for Monday. I’m always sorry to see LOTR, GOT or the Potter characters referenced. I wonder how many days will go by before we see ABBA again.

Conrad 7:45 AM  

@JOHN X: Very interesting. Thanks for sharing that!!

Tom T 8:02 AM  

Feels like Rex has missed the key phrase in the revealer--"trying to promote." The musicians in this trio have a gig soon (a JAZZ SHOW), and they are each in his/her own way, trying to advertise the event. They aren't trying to promote the trio, per se, but the upcoming performance of said trio. So SHOW might not be as pleasing to Rex as trio, but it does make a lot more sense, given the revealer phrase in 1A.

pabloinnh 8:14 AM  

Thought this was just about right for a Monday, good introduction to some useful crosswordese that beginners will find helpful, or as OFL would say, "tired fill".

Got TOOTHISOWNHORN off the TO and just waited to see what the other themers would be. The ending of PULL... was obvious but I was looking for "Drum up some business" which of course didn't fit, but I was close.

I guess we all have words that just strike us as icky. Mine, which was in this puzz, is GRSTLE. Yuck.

@JohnX-One of my good friends from high school got a Navy ROTC scholarship and went on to become a commander of a nuclear sub. Haven't seen him in more than fifty years and have no desire to, as he has become a rabid right winger. Hope you didn't serve under him.

Nice Mondecito, TP. Took Precisely as long as a Monday should. Thanks for the fun.

bocamp 8:16 AM  

Thx, Tommy; an excellent Mon. puz! :)

Easy-med solve.

Started with JAZZ, ended with SHOW.

Loved the JAZZ trio theme.

No hitches along the way.

yd 0

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

rushscott 8:26 AM  

Slight disagreement with Rex. I think that all three themes are the same sort of idiom level. Tooting one's own horn and pulling strings are used very commonly out of musical references. Just my 2 sense :P

Trinch 8:33 AM  

Well... my initial brain hiccup of clue confusing IPSO Facto with Lhasa APSO resulted in my scratching my head as to why the NYT would be promoting the kind of show I ended up with. Thankfully, I realized my mistake.

Aside from that, the fill was fairly straight forward, yet the themed answers did require many crosses to pull together. Particularly as I was wondering what TOOTH IS could possible evolve into. But yes... had some fun with this one.

Chicago Chica 8:48 AM  

Very easy due to lack of proper names except Ms Devers, which even Monday solvers will know, but not terribly exciting. I give it a B- / C+.

JOHN X 8:49 AM  

@ pabloinnh 8:14AM

I'm combat decorated yet I vote for Democrats and I am the biggest coward in the world. I'm afraid of you.

Nancy 9:04 AM  

Give me a curiosity-provoking 1A clue on a Monday and I'm already a happy camper. It felt like it was going to be a puzzle-within-a-puzzle -- and to a slight degree it was.

I got the phrases quickly once I had part of them, getting TOOT ONES OWN HORN just from TOOT and getting PULL SOME STRINGS just from S-M-STRINGS. And the theme helped me get the third answer. I had BUSINESS and I thought: Now we have our brass and we have our strings; what's missing? Well, we'll need some drums, won't we? And then the big(ISH) "Aha": Aha -- DRUM UP BUSINESS.

I love the vagueness of the themer clues. They leave the solver with plenty to do. You can't guess them ahead of time; you'll need to have crosses.

A lively and enjoyable Monday. Hope there'll be a lot more like this.

TTrimble 9:15 AM  

I thought it played easy to medium. Mostly I agree with Rex's review, and got a kick out of his confusion over TOOTHIS. Anybody remember YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TOOTH! Well, the TOOTH IS, I had no trouble parsing that instead as TOOT HIS (we were tipped off already by JAZZ), and I experienced a Rex-like elation at being able to shoot out of the NW corner. I thought I might even set a Monday PR, but then got slowed up a little later.

Speaking of ALASKA and JAZZ, here's Lyle Mays in his transcendent ALASKAN Suite. May he rest in peace.

I put in SlinK before SNEAK; I think "slink" is much better, but that burned up precious fractions of a second to disentangle.

Rex's remark that DRUM UP BUSINESS is the odd man (woman?) out is not quite accurate. That is to say: it made me wonder and google where the expression comes from, and it's sort of interesting because there is in fact an actual drum connection:

"The phrase “drumming up business” originated in the U.S. during the 1800s, and was especially prevalent during the Civil War of 1861-1865.

Traveling salesmen kept their wares in a leather-clad box that was essentially a wooden frame with leather stretched over it.

In an effort to let the owner of a home – usually a plantation in the South – know that they were coming up the lane, they would take out a set of drum stocks and begin drumming on their leather box. It had the sound of a muted snare drum.

In the Civil War, it was especially important for those traveling sales people to announce their presence well before ringing the doorbell: in the South, they might be shot at, especially if the landowner thought they were a Yankee spy."

Many thanks to @Barbara S. for recalling the excerpt from Memories, Dreams, Reflections. I find it fascinating. On a much more humble scale: how is it that the dream-mind produces thoughts that you'd never make up in a million years on your own? How does my dream-mind make up what @Frantic Sloth, someone I've never seen, look like? And what on earth is she doing in my classroom?! Get out of here! :-)

yd 0

JD 9:29 AM  

Did the downs and from there it was woosh. Patted myself on the back and said Nice Job JD, which is odd because that's not my real name. My real name is Tess and today is the seventh time I've appeared in the puzzle this year. Third time in about four days? Stay tuned. The goal is to overtake ABBA.

One thing I'm wondering about. If I'm a ship, say the HMS Tess, and on the ocean floor, am I a sunk ship or a sunken ship? Will there be sunk treasure? Or is a clue only a whiff of the existence of a concept.

But it's a quibble. A bright fun puzzle, a happy Monday.

@Barbara, Same thought. I think the full spell is, "Eye of newt, Tooth of Horn, double double, toil and trouble."

Pete 9:32 AM  

@John X - When you say dieseling, that's figurative, right? If not, why? You don't shut down the nuke unless you're doing work on the boiler or steam engines do you?

Keith D 9:45 AM  

Agreed. Rex often misses theme subtleties in his rush to suck the joy out of every puzzle. This was just fine, more than just fine, for a Monday, including the fill.

JOHN X 10:00 AM  

@ Pete 9:32AM

On a nuclear submarine the diesel is the most important piece of damage control equipment on the boat. We constantly did reactor scrams as drills and snorkeling (operating the diesel) was an extremely big deal.

Ours was a Fairbanks-Morse ND-8-1/8, and starting it was was one of my watch duties. It was air started; no electricity required.

Not only did the diesel provide auxiliary electrical power, it could move serious amounts of air. If there was a fire on a submarine you are in an enclosed space. Visibility goes to zero almost immediately. The boat goes up to periscope depth and we start snorkeling with the diesel, and the air intake is aligned to the smoke-filled compartment. That diesel and the big roots blower will clear that compartment in short order.

Our diesel loved being loaded. If it just idled it got cranky but the more the electrical operator put a load on it the happier it got. That thing was a champ.

Machines have personalities.

RooMonster 10:04 AM  

Hey All !
TOOTH gap IS OWN HORN. Har. Some people can whistle twixt their TOOTH gap.

Anyway, NICE JOB, Tommy. I enjoyed the puz, it AMUSEd me. Forget what Rex says, enjoy your debut! Nice Themers to firm s JAZZ SHOW. If Revealer was JAZZ TRIO, Rex would've railed against that. You know it.

Big LOL at @Roo's dictum YesterComments. It applies today. What is @Roo's dictum, you ask? "Every puz has junk". It happens with puzzle making. Very rarely does a puz come out relatively junk free. Patrick Berry does a good job mostly, but there might be at least one piece of junk in there. So, keep that in mind when solving! 😁

@A - also from YesterComments
I track the F's, @M&A is the U crusader. But I'm flattered and honored to be confused with him. I want to be like @M&A when I grow up!

Some Random Nonsense for y'all,
What a baby dog suckles? A TEAT
Discovers an Iron vein? FE LINE
Always happy? NO MADS
Gives author Lewis a bad review? CS PAN
Not these online? E THOS (alright, bit of a stretch 😋)

Two F's

JD 10:21 AM  

@KeithD, "Rex often misses theme subtleties in his rush to suck the joy out of every puzzle." That's hilarious in ways I can't even explain to myself. I laughed aloud.

@RooMonster, You outdid yourself. Surprised at your debt? Oh IOU!

@Lewis, TDs Are Roach Bus Frijoles. Obviously, more spy code.

@Southside, When we will see ABBA again? In 2021 so far, eight times in seven months. Do the math.

jberg 10:25 AM  

So I always start at 1A and work from crosses, sequentially. There was no way to guess 1A without knowing the theme, so I went on to 2A and worked from there. Since the grid consists of six barely-connected sections, I ended up filling in a column down the middle with white space on each side--weird. The first themer to fall was DRUM UP BUSINESS, then PULL SOME STRINGS, and I finally saw the musical connection enough to guess TOOT HIS OWN HORN.

My other problem was with several clues that were just off. A twist of lemon is a thin slice that you, er, twist to squeeze out some juice and then drop into your martini on the rocks. ZEST(S) are gratings of the lemon or lime peel. SINUSes are various cavities in your facial bones, connected to the nose, but not the "nasal cavity," which is the space inside your nose. You can clear the latter by sneezing, blowing, or less polite actions; but if the sinuses get stuffed up, you have a harder time. I know what I'm talking about here -- I suffered from debilitating SINUS congestion in my mid 20s, until I finally found an allergist who told me what to avoid. It was obvious what the puzzle wanted, but knowing the answers are wrong always makes me reluctant to put them in.

Bob MOSES (the SNCC activist and math teacher, not the guy Robert Caro wrote about) died yesterday, and has a front-page obituary in today's Times. It would have been neat to reclue 33D, but it was probably too late to to it when the news broke.

I did yesterday's puzzle after today's; I won't post about it here, to avoid spoilers, just say it annoyed me. Bet it annoyed @Rex, too.

Whatsername 10:27 AM  

I wanted something to AMUSE me on this Monday morning and this puzzle did a very NICE JOB of it. I’m not a JAZZ FAN but this was terrific debut SHOW Mr. Pauly and thank you!

Must cut this short to take my little Yorky - a canine, not FELINE - to the vet with what appears to be a dental problem. Need to get her back to her CHEWY self again.

bocamp 10:29 AM  

Fernando ~ ABBA

@jae (12:08 AM)

Thx, jae, looking forward to the battle! :)

@Barbara S. (7:32 AM)

Thx for the Jung quote; I can relate to the 'Philemon' concept. 🤔

@TTrimble (9:15 AM) 👍 for 0 yd

pg -12

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

Carola 10:45 AM  

It's not the puzzle's fault that this JAZZ SHOW had (IMO) a very tough act to follow in yesterday's star-studded extravaganza. If it hadn't, I'm sure I'd have thought "Cute! NICE JOB," instead of hearing a sad trombone at being recalled to the normal crossword world. Like others, I enjoyed the "where are we going with this?" aspect, making it a slightly harder Monday. Besides the horn, strings, and drum, I.enjoyed the trio of YACHTS, JAUNTS, and SEA LEGS. Two do-overs: YEowS and Solo before SHOW.

@John X, I enjoy all of your regalements, wherever they may fall on the reality spectrum.

Joseph Michael 10:50 AM  

NICE JOB, Tommy. Congratulations on your debut. It’s Monday easy but with a theme to AMUSE. Also liked learning that ALASKA is where most of the country’s high peaks can be found.

As for Rex’s P.S., could you be any more condescending?

mathgent 10:52 AM  

Thanks for the Jung quote, Barbara. Is his psyche typical? I've never had the experience he describes.

I measure sparkle by the number of red plus signs I put in the margins. This puzzle had just one (SEALEGS). The average is six or seven. So no sparkle, no crunch, no fun.

So why do I do the early-week puzzles? To listen in on the conversation here.

Thanks as always to Lewis for his clues of the week. Kind of a slow week, wasn't it?

I sound like I'm in a sour mood but I'm not. The darling Simone Biles had an off day, but she's still in position to win every gold. The qualifying scores don't carry over.

And yesterday, I found a restaurant that makes its own pastrami. I had a magnificent giant Reuben. I brought half home and I'll have it for lunch.

JOHN X 10:55 AM  

@ Carola 10:45AM

Thank you for your kind words.

Today I'm actually for real.

I got no guarantees about tomorrow or thereafter.

pabloinnh 10:59 AM  

@JohnX re "I'm afraid of you."

I have to tell you that here I am at 70 and change, and that is the first time those words have ever been addressed to me.

Malsdemare 11:08 AM  

@John X I really appreciate your sharing your experience. I imagine that sub the rocketing out the water and banging her tail on her descent would rattle your teeth (at least).

@Barbara, Yes, I think lots of us can relate to Philemon. Lovely quote. I may skip the bulk of the blog ‘cause I’m in a hurry, but I ALWAYS take time to read your selections. They are inspired.

A few people have mentioned having the “I forgot I was in a class/had to take an exam” dream. A few nights ago I dreamed that I had returned from sabbatical to learn I had to teach an 8 o’clock in like five minutes. Trouble was, no one knew what class it was or where the classroom was. So I was racing around frantically looking for the dean’s office, for the registrar, for ANYONE, in a building that morphed from the familiar Shilling Hall into some gargantuan Escher-esque palace that sprouted halls and stairs in bizarre places, growing increasingly panicked until the dream transformed to a more benign situation and I woke up. Yeesh!

I got JAZZ early, which gave me a sense of where the puzzle was headed, finished in a very respectable time. JAZZ SHOW works for me; it’s clear the trio is doing some promotion and it makes sense to promote a how, not the group. I liked it just fine.

GILL I. 11:15 AM  

Egg FOO Young and FOO Manchu ATE AT the DIM SUM DINO. FOO claimed the ANGUS was CHEWY...needs ZESTS he said. Each then asked for a MAC with a SLEW of SLAW. The AROMA caused ANGST in EACH SINUS cavity. But all was not lost because in walks ABBA and they began to put on a JAZZ SHOW.
CIS began to TOOT HIS OWN HORN and SAM PULLS SOME STRINGS. Along comes GAIL to the rescue to try and DRUM UP BUSINESS. NICE JOB the FOO's yell...but can we AMUSE the RABBI shucking his ROPY HUSKS? Sure everyone yells, the NIGHT is still young.
Let the JAUNTS begin yells the HAG. And so, everyone began to sing and clap. Even ISH and ESS, the two NOMADS, clapped and sang. And everybody lived happily ever after.

TJS 11:20 AM  

@John X, 4:36. Hilarious ! Oh, wait, that's just my auto-reflex response to your posts. This one was very interesting, and that last paragraph painted a beautiful picture. Never thought about the non-military joys of submarine life.

Rex, it's a Monday, for Crissake. Although I am waiting for @Z to explain why you were not really negative.

Found the Freud quote very interesting, @Barbara S, especially since I have been under the impression that much of Freuds' theories have been under attack in more recent times. This was thought provoking, imo. Have to admit I have never attempted to study his work. Might have to give it a shot.

A 11:22 AM  

Solved online last night watching C-SPAN. This is my second fastest Monday (that I know of, since I don’t time myself when solving on paper) and felt like I was filling in the grid without pause.

Agree with Rex that “JAZZ SHOW” is not a particularly common phrase. Jazz musicians, and their FANS, are less concerned with the ‘show’ aspect of a performance than, say, rock musicians. More likely you’d hear “go to a jazz concert,” “check out the jazz gig,” “attend the jazz fest,” or just “catch some jazz.” If you can even find those NOMADS.

OK, there was one pause. Tried to spell ZENO xENO for a second.

DINO made an appearance, maybe on the LATE NIGHT SHOW. I just learned that’s actually his given name. Dino Paul Crocetti AKA Dean Martin.

Very sad to see that civil right hero Bob MOSES died yesterday. Good NYT article about this brave man who not only helped blacks register to vote in Mississippi in the early 60s, but later founded The Algebra Project. “I believe that the absence of math literacy in urban and rural communities throughout this country is an issue as urgent as the lack of registered Black voters in Mississippi was in 1961,” he wrote in “Radical Equations.”

Today is the birthday of the youngest son of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart, who continued the family tradition of playing piano and composing. Talk about XL shoes to fill. This Polonaise mélancolique sounds a bit like Chopin might if he were a classical composer.

TTrimble 11:28 AM  

Jung's experiences and experiments were highly unusual, but that doesn't mean he would consider the general techniques that he used inaccessible to "ordinary people". Indeed, he would consider the "Collective Unconscious" as inherited by everyone, just as surely as physical organs are. And the possibility of a rapprochement between conscious mind and the Collective Unconscious as open to ordinary people. But the Philemon experience was a giant leap into the unknown, and he judged that such a venture, before he took that leap, could bring him to insanity. (This was round about 1913, just at the time when he was breaking with Freud in a dramatic way, and at a crossroads in his life.)

I've never had psychotherapy, with less with an "analytical psychologist" (a term Jung invented to distinguish his approach from Freud's; same thing more or less as "Jungian analyst"), but a keyphrase to find out more about the general technique is Active Imagination. I think he and his coworkers like Barbara Hannah tried to find examples of the technique in history, but it can be fitted for example with "automatic writing" which was explored a lot around the same time period (the 1920's, say), for example by Yeats.

(A lot of this is decried as "woo", and I understand that, but a part of me always feels that Jung was onto some mighty interesting things.)

Your Reuben sounds delicious!

What? 11:58 AM  

Oh yeah! Well, I grew up in the Bronx.

Masked and Anonymous 12:08 PM  

JAZZ … SHOW … GIG … FEST. All ok by m&e.

Kinda unusual puzgrid, in that none of the Down answers are over 6-long. Do have a coupla 7-long Across (non-themer) answers, at least. fave: NICEJOB. Sorta also like CHEWY and ABYSS.
Also cool how OBSESS and TESS cross at the ESS.

Got the scrabble-twerkin off to a nice early start, with the 1-A JAZZ entry.

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {One of 16 in a chess set} = PAWN. Checkmate & QED.
staff weeject pick: FOO. Hard not to admire anyone who dares to fight FOO. Should probably be an Olympics event.

Thanx for the not-too-easy MonPuz, and all that jazz, Mr. Pauly. And congratzz on yer debut puzz.

Masked & Anonym007Us

George 12:10 PM  

I agree -- Rex missed the "Promotion" part of the theme, which makes "Show" essential, since a trio is an entity.

Pulling strings, drumming up business, and tooting your horn -- all things you might do in the first year of starting ANY new business!

This is the best Monday theme in months. Not the best Monday puzzle; not the best Monday fill, the best Monday THEME. Bravo!

Masked and Anonymous 12:16 PM  


Well, thanx, @Roo. And U are doin good work, here at the RexRanch.



Nancy 12:21 PM  

Ah, yes -- that well-known OMG, I'm-taking-an-exam-in-a-class-I-didn't-know-I-was-taking-and-never-attended-and-haven't-studied-for anxiety dream. A dream we've all had more than once -- right?

I used to have them frequently. When I stopped working in an office and became a free-lancer, I had them less frequently. And once I completely stopped working, I pretty much stopped having them at all. Back when I did have them, I'd long been out of the classroom, so I figured they must be related to job pressures and job worries. But it's odd that we all have those dreams about classes we haven't studied for. Why don't we have them about job deadlines we fear we won't meet or about bosses at work whose demands are unrealistic? Why do we all disguise them in the same way?

Speaking of dreams, I've long since come to the conclusion that my unconscious mind is far, far more interesting than my conscious one. My conscious mind is logical, straightforward, and rather boringly predictable when all is said and done. My unconscious mind is fleeting and hard to pin down -- like lightning that can't be caught in a bottle. If you could only have lunch with one of my minds, you might well pick the unconscious one. (Although it wouldn't remember you afterwards.) And that's the problem with my dreams: they might have much to teach me...if only I could remember them.

Anonymous 12:33 PM  

nobody, but nobody, who plays JAZZ calls a performance a SHOW. gig, date, or concert. which depends on the venue: if it's a club then gig or date, if it's a concert hall then... concert. also, for some, it depends on the number of performers: up to a quartet, mostly gig or date irregardless of venue; for Big Band, concert irregardless of venue, although anything bigger than a quartet won't fit in most JAZZ clubs.

Anonymous 12:34 PM  

Rex is forever missing a critical element, aspect or nuance to a puzzle's theme. Keith D naked when he said in haste to suck the joy out the puzzle he misses subtleties. ( I'd say he sometimes misses the whole boat. But that's a dick move, since Keith D has hit it out of the park viz Rex's joylessness and obsession with speed)

Anonymous 12:36 PM  

P.S. Nice that they thought to make the third member of the jazz trio a woman. I see you trying, NYTXW!

fact is, women piano players are most of the women in JAZZ, and always have been. many, if not most, of the avant garde in JAZZ piano are they.

TJS 12:44 PM  

Whoops, Jung, not Freud. My bad.

A 12:45 PM  

@Roo, well, pFFooey! No triple diagonal F’s in sight! Your LMSplanation was what I was expressing admiration for, though. Sorry about the letter exchange with you and @M&A - you’re both must-reads every day for me. I have to say I am glad you each took just one of those two particular letters. I found out trying to spell phooey with both you can get in trouble fast!

Ω 12:46 PM  

4:45, which is pretty fast for me. Assumed it was a debut at EPEE ELAL ATE AT.

@TJS - Care to share where Rex is inaccurate? JAZZ SHOW v JAZZ trio is a de gustibus and all that sort of thing. But the fill needs more than a little polishing (hence my 4:45 time - just a ton of short stuff that appears in puzzles all the time). As I said again last week, if you want compliments this is the wrong place. If you want to see how to make a puzzle better read Rex. I was expecting harsher, actually, because of Rex’s repeated disdain for puns. I like puns, but prefer more outrageousness. These all felt a little tame to me. Not bad, just not groan nor guffaw inducing.

I have never once had an anxiety dream, certainly not about a test. I remember the girl in 9th grade algebra always fretting about how awful she was going to do and just not understanding how anyone could be anxious about a test (Lisa always got A’s, too). Either you know the stuff or you don’t. What is there to feel stress about?

Whatsername 12:57 PM  

@John X (4:36) That’s more information than I learned about nuclear submarines in my entire life. Thanks for sharing. I would not like the enclosed space but the sights of those falling stars and the rising plankton might almost be worth it.

@mathgent (10:52) Dang! Now I’m jonesing for a Reuben. There went my lose-the-quarantine-junkfood-weight diet. 🤨 Again. 🙄

Barbara S. 1:12 PM  

Just to let you know...
My leaking kitchen ceiling of this past weekend has led to cavalcade of disasters which means that I have to sign off the blog for now. I leave you with these words of wisdom that a good friend of mine used to say whenever he was going out the door --
Keep the kids off the roof, write if you get work and don't do anything I wouldn't!

burtonkd 2:00 PM  

JOHN X for the win! (again) - I usually think of SEALEGS in the reverse scenario when you get back on land and your legs are still swaying, making the ground seem rubbery.

I was hoping the last themer would be DRUMsUPsupport, since that would work metaphorically and literally like the other 2.

bocamp 2:01 PM  

@Barbara S. (1:12 PM)

Praying for a harmonious resolution! 🙏

pg 1

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

kitshef 2:58 PM  

@Barbara S 1:12. Good luck. Also, it disturbs me that "keep the kids off the roof" gets its own billing. I would think it would be covered under "don't do anything I wouldn't".

GILL I. 4:11 PM  

@JOHN X 4:36: Interesting comment today on your SEA LEGS story. Submarines scare me....but then so does eating pizza. I really can't ever imagine being in what looks like an over-sized bullet, crammed with a ton of people and being down in the depths of the dark sea. Maybe watching "Hunt For Red October" scared the pants off of me.
@Barbara S 1:12: I'd keep the kids off the roof as well; makes sense, no? Getting to your Carl Jung quote..it .brought back memories of an old flame I use to date. He was a civil rights lawyer at one time and then decided to become a therapist. He dabbled in Existential and Gestalt. He then decided I needed to read Yung so he gave me a copy of his "The Red Book." Why, I don't know, since he was the one that had the unresolved issues with just about everything. I, on the other hand, was happy as long as I had at least one bottle of good wine hanging around. Anyway....it brings me back to @Malsdemere and her dream. This ones for you from Carl:
Who looks outward, dreams
Who looks inside, awakes.
Now isn't that profound?

Anoa Bob 6:23 PM  

The first thing that struck me about the grid was the high number of black squares, 40 of them. That gives the grid a sectioned, closed-off feel to me. So I know there's going to be lots of short stuff and it's hard to breathe much life into that. But it's Monday and the two 14s and a grid-spanning 15 might have been difficult "trio" to work into an acceptable black square pattern, especially for someone just starting out constructing.

I don't think of 46D NOMADS as "wanderers", as clued. The latter suggests kind of a haphazard, semi-random traveling while the former usually has a SANE, predictable route they follow seasonally.

NICE JOB on the clue for YACHTS as "Leisure boats" rather than trying to define this class of vessels by size or expense. I know from experience there's a lot of work before, during and after going sailing on YACHTS, so it's more "recreation" than "leisure", I would say.

I first learned about SEA LEGS in the Navy aboard a guided missile destroyer. After a day or two at sea you can walk down a wildly rolling deck without even thinking about. If you want to see something funny, watch a bunch of sailors walking on a pier or dry land after four or five weeks at sea. They will stagger all over the place and appear to be comically drunk.

ABYSS always puts a smile on my word-nerd face. It conjures up all kinds of vivid images and scenes. Plus it facilitates two crossing POCs (plural of convenience)!

JOHN X 7:31 PM  

@ Anoa Bob 6:23PM

Your description of SEA LEGS was so dead-on perfect.

I so remember getting off the boat after a 40 day patrol and standing on the concrete wharf and it was still moving for like 30 minutes.

Anonymous 7:45 PM  

@Anoa Bob:
ABYSS always puts a smile on my word-nerd face.

Not to mention my dirty mind: "The Deep" had a better girl scene than "The ABYSS"! And, of course, I tend to conflate one with the other.

Burma Shave 11:53 AM  


GAIL would OBSESS, LATE NIGHT until morn,
to AMUSE him with ZEST, and TOOT MOSES' HORN.


Diana, LIW 1:25 PM  

Beginning 1-across with an unknowable was a tougher-than-usual start to a Monday puzzle. The themers, too, were not "Monday Easy." @Rex mentions this as well.

I mention this not because the puzzle was hard (it wasn't) but because I have a strong belief that Mondays should lure in newbies with straightforwardness. Just sayin'

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords and
Protector of Monday Puzzles

thefogman 2:59 PM  

Not very CHEWY. Pretty thin gruel, even for a Monday. NICEJOB on the review Rex. You lay it BARE, tell it like it is, and all that JAZZ.

leftcoaster. 3:53 PM  

Nice enough job.

leftcoaster 5:52 PM  

@John X, way above. A Hemingway-esque narrative. (Except for the longer sentences.)

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