Cowboy's rope / MON 9-6-2021 / Split in two / Italian city where Columbus was born / Bishop's hat / Disturb, as sediment

Monday, September 6, 2021

Constructor: Joshua Rosenblatt

Relative difficulty: Medium 




THEME: In Vogue — Theme answers are celebrities whose first names are the names of designers, whose work you might find "in Vogue." 

Theme answers:
  • CHLOE ZHAO (17A: *Asian American who became only the second woman to win the Oscar for Best Director)
  • CHANEL IMAN (24A: *Runway model famous for her work as a Victoria's Secret Angel)
  • CELINE DION (50A: *Longest resident performer at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace)
  • GUCCI MANE (61A: *Atlanta rapper featured on Lizzo's Grammy-nominated "Exactly How I Feel")
  • IN VOGUE (38A: Fashionable ... or, where you might find the answers to starred clues)

Word of the Day: YMHA (34A: Jewish community center, for short) —

The first Young Men's Hebrew Association (YMHA) was founded in New York City on October 10, 1874, with Lewis May as its first president.[7] The first official headquarters were at 112 West 21st Street in Manhattan.[7] Young Women's Hebrew Association (YWHA) was first established as an annex to the YMHA in 1888.[8] YWHA was founded to provide spiritual and material support for the young Jewish women who were moving to cities at the time.[9] YMHA helped young Jewish women find housing and employment.[9] Fannie Liebovitz was one of the founders.[10] The first independent YWHA was established in 1902.[8] The New York YMHA and YWHA now operate together as the 92nd Street Y. (There are two other YM–YWHA organizations in Manhattan, which are not affiliated with the 92nd Street Y. They are the 14th Street Y, and the YM & YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood. The 14th Street Y, in the Gramercy/East Village neighborhood, is a branch of the Educational Alliance. The Washington Heights organization serves a diverse community uptown.) In 1917, these organizations were combined into a Jewish Welfare Board.

    Following a merger of the Young Men's Hebrew Association, Young Women's Hebrew Association, and the Jewish Education Alliance, the organization was renamed Jewish Community Center (JCC) in 1951.[4] Many member organizations adopted the new name, but some other member organizations did not do so, particularly in the New York metropolitan area.

    (Wikipedia) 

    • • •
    It's another August Monday! We've passed the month where you all get to make jokes about my name, so, hooray for me! I'm starting my third semester (of five) of graduate school, and it's going well so far! I didn't make it to my first in-person class because there were tornadoes, but I'm still having a fun time doing the readings. We're actually talking about some pretty cool stuff this semester, like the effect grief has on archivists. Let me nerd out for the next three paragraphs--

    Just kidding. The puzzle! Bonus word of the day is RIATA which is a synonym for "lasso" that I've never heard in my life. "DC squad member" for AOC is cute, especially since the first DC Squad I thought of was of the comic book variety (Suicide Squad: Harley Quinn, Killer Croc et al). Beyond that, though, some of the clues were a little hard for a Monday: did we need PAD, AGGRO, UGH or CRUMB to be like that? Same vibe for some of the crosses, like RIATA/LEGIT and honestly that whole top middle. Would have been fine on a harder day or clued differently, but especially on a puzzle made so proper-noun-heavy by the theme, I'm not sure that this one really felt like a Monday. I still put it at a medium for solve time, it just felt a little off. 

    As for the theme, you know I prefer revealers that, well, reveal something. I figured out that we were dealing with brands by the time I got to GUCCI MANE, but I still didn't really get much after it was revealed. And there were just too many celebrities-I-half-know for me to really get into it. Shoutout to CELINE DION, though. My heart will go on! 




    Bullets:
    • PRISCILLA (29A: Elvis's wife) — Did you know Priscilla Presley is still alive? And a very successful businesswoman, too. Plus she looks amazing for 76. Shoutout to her. 
    • OSHA (26A: Agcy. dealing with workplace accidents) — Ooh, time to plug one of my favorite video creators, Brian David Gilbert! This is a little long, but a good one. Plus, he's from Baltimore, so y'know, gotta support his content. The point is that Smash Bros. owes millions of dollars in OSHA violations. 


    • OSHA, again: One of my friends (Tin, actually, of TINS fame) has a story to tell about an OSHA violation. His great-great-grandfather was a Croatian immigrant to Chicago, and worked on the skyscrapers there. That was before regulations were as tight, so every time he worked on one he risked falling to his death. Instead, he died by falling off a six-foot-high wall while visiting his home country. Is that ironic? I feel like it's at least Alanis Morrissette ironic, which is to say, not really, but he insisted it go in the writeup so there it is. 
    • ROE (30D: ___ v. Wade) — I'd be remiss if I didn't bring up the major Roe-related news this week. I'm not going to say much (or argue in comments), just uplift the voices of those affected by reproductive justice issues in your life right now. 
    • KUGEL (59A: Baked pudding of potatoes or noodles in Jewish cooking [specifically Ashkenazi, but hey I'm being nitpicky -AT]) — My camp friends and I went to war over whether this food is pronounced KOO-gul or KUH-gul. So, CrossWorld: what say you? 
    Signed, August Thompson, tired graduate student. 

    [Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

    [Follow August Thompson on Twitter]

    121 comments:

    Joaquin 12:01 AM  

    Is it Tuesday already?

    G. Weissman 12:24 AM  

    What an underwhelming puzzle from start to finish. A handful of proper names, to which are added PRISCILLA, ELI, MAHER, and FIONA, and then we get the umpteenth appearance of OREO(S), the too-soon return of MOCHA, our old friends PEZ, AOC, EENIE, and UGH, and so on. AGGRO — really? Nothing doing here, other than KUGEL. I like noodle kugel, this puzzle not so much.

    David Eisner 12:57 AM  

    We ways pronounced Kugel so that the first syllable rhymed with "wood" or "could". I wonder if the Jewish clues were a shout-out to Rosh Hashanah. L'shanah tovah!

    Frantic Sloth 1:27 AM  

    PPP OD NG BS

    ๐Ÿง 
    ๐ŸŽ‰

    TTrimble 1:36 AM  

    This Mondays was quite easy, especially compared to last Monday's.

    I used to watch MAHER's show, but UGH, I've recently been finding it close to unwatchable. You know the kind of guy who always thinks that whatever room he ENTERS, he's the smartest one there, every time? (Yeah, I'm sure you do.) In particular, his recent and past opinions on vaccines are just what we don't need right now.

    If memory serves, Sam Ezersky doesn't think RIATA is a word, but I still try it just in case. I've been meaning to float by @bocamp an idea for word lists, which is by grouping together words that use the exact same letters. For example, atria raita tiara trait all use the letters a, i, r, t and no others. (Saving this comment in case the puzzle that's arriving in the next couple of hours happens to involve these letters.)

    Forgot to mention: 0 for earlier today (letters: EABCFIT.

    Well, it's time I SLEPT.

    jae 1:36 AM  

    Medium, but then I only knew one of the theme answers. Interesting theme, smooth grid, but, as @August intimated, probably not Monday friendly for new solvers. Liked it, nice debut!

    chefwen 2:58 AM  

    Well, I am definitely not a slave to fashion so this was not a stroll in the park Monday for me.
    No idea on 17A, knew CHANEL knew IMAN, but not together, knew GUCCI, but not with MANE. And what’s with the EGGPLANTS AGAIN?
    Love KUGEL, Grandma Sophie made the best, sure do miss her cooking.

    ฮฉ 4:26 AM  

    Not just PPP, but PPP from a single area of interest. And where’s the required Madonna video?
    ๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿฝ

    Conrad 5:11 AM  



    WFSS [ What @Frantic Sloth Said].

    Loren Muse Smith 5:42 AM  

    @chefwen - I'm not a slave to fashion, either, so I was mystified for a bit since I didn’t know that CHLOE and CELINE were designers. Then I thought that it was just the first names of designers, but, no. . . CHANEL. After some googling and ruminating, I realized that this is quite a tight theme list: fashion labels that are just one word, a name that is famous without both the first and last name. So, say, VERA or MARC or TOMMY wouldn’t work at all.

    Those dunkable cookies? Has anyone discovered the subtle elegance of Biscoff cookies? That’s some good eatin.’

    Big difference between HEARD and really listened. About once a week I vow to not just hear people but to actually listen. It’s really hard because I usually just hear the first bit and then immediately start forming my response, a response that’s more about me than about what the person is saying. I hate that about myself. So many of my students have so much to say and just want someone to listen and there I am making it all about me.

    Liked SPUR crossing RIATA. Yippee ki yay.

    “Birthday cake” before LOG just kidding - Bachelor in Paradise peeps, can you believe Mari did that?

    “Place for a goatee = farmee.

    Tough conversation with my son last night about his GROOMSMEN, namely his cousin (my nephew), who is not vaccinated. Neither is my sister, niece, brother-in-law. Gardiner’s fiancรฉe is a fourth-year med student who reported that yesterday they lost a 25-year-old to COVID because there were no more ICU beds, all full of non-vaccinated people. Emily is beyond concerned about the wedding because there will be multiple children there who aren’t old enough to be vaccinated. I feel sad and sick. These are dark times.

    Anyhoo. . . “animals around the house” - give me snakes any day over rats. I’d pay a black snake to bring his toothbrush and move right on in with me if it meant he’d dispatch all the rodents. Same with spiders, as long as they promise to take care of any roaches. How. E. Ver. . . I don’t have a classroom per se at Turning Point (my new school) because the teachers float from classroom to classroom where the carefully sorted small groups of kids remain all day. Cut down on all the fighting and all that. So my home base desk is in one of the old trailers out back with the requisite series of raised wooden sidewalks and ramps. The same day I jumped out of my chair UPON seeing a cockroach the size of a Vienna sausage in my desk drawer, I saw a huge rat run under the wooden walkway. But I actually smiled when I saw that rat. I love being the ugly stepsister working in a facility where no one wants to be and hanging out with kids that no one wants to deal with. I’m home. I’m not saying this in a Look At Me I’m Mother Teresa kind of way but rather in a This Is WAY More Enjoyable Than Dealing With Your Haughty Honor Students kind of way. Give me clunky ankle monitors over supercilious entitlement any day.

    chance2travel 5:49 AM  

    @joaquin - agree!

    Top half went by fast just doing the downs, but then things got more challenging,

    GROOM-to-be before GROOMSMAN (just going to fast)
    ICEcoffeE before ICEDLATTE

    Had AGAIN and SLEPT but then ripped it out bc I thought the phrase was "Have 'a bat' in one's belfry" smh

    Someone on facebook recently pedanted me for writing LEGIT to describe sitting at a caffe in Vencie and seeing a sea gull dive-bomb a couple who were walking and LEGIT yoink their pizza slice. Yep, LEGIT is the word he had a problem with, apparently just fine with "yoink." smh

    I'm currently navigating the obstacle course to return to the US after a month in Italy. It's very simple:
    - Carry your CDC vaccine card securely stapled into your passport
    - Go to a local pharmacy for a covid test on one of the 3 days before your flight to satisfy the UK (layover) and the US
    - Get told by the pharmacy it's only valid for 48 hours
    - Realize they mean 48 hour validity for EU Green Pass travel, which is a moot point because you have the vaccine card
    - Make sure the covid test results are in both Italian and English, and that they have all 6 critical pieces of information
    - Fill out a passenger locator form for the UK for the 2 hour layover
    - Check in online, but lol it's not a real checkin
    - Go to the check in counter wearing a collared shirt just to hope you get less grief about any of the above.
    - Watch the party in front of you get turned away because their test results are only in Italian (remember the test requirement is a UK rule)
    - Get told your carry-on weighs too much and has to be checked, even though it's practically the same as what you carried on for the inbound trip (this has nothing to do with covid directly, now I'm just whining)
    - Remind them you're in business class
    - see? easy

    Lewis 5:50 AM  

    Read about this puzzle’s backstory in WordPlay. This was the constructor’s first puzzle submitted to the Times, they liked the idea, but the grid needed work. Because there is a priority on publishing debuts there, they’ve been workshopping puzzles with themes they like with new constructors rather than just rejecting the puzzles outright. This puzzle went through three iterations before becoming what you solved today. Between 2019 and 2020, debuts doubled from 32 to 64, and they are on track to easily beat 64 this year.

    This shows a wonderful commitment by the Times to the future of crosswords. They didn’t have to do this, considering all the submissions they get. They are not just mailing it in.

    Furthermore, look at the skillful editing in this puzzle. I knew only one of the four complete names and two of the brands, yet I finished in a normal Monday time, meaning that the crosses were fair, though it might be tougher for the brand-new solver than the usual Monday. It IS a terrific puzzle idea; it feels fresh to me. The grid is clean. I’m glad the Times went ahead with this puzzle and put all that work into it, not to mention the work Joshua put into it.

    So thank you Joshua and thank you NYT team. Bravo on this!

    JD 5:53 AM  

    Pleasant. Most of the PPP acrosses were offset by the Monday-simple downs. Started with the downs so it was easy.

    Fun mind obviously at work here. A Mocha and an Iced Latte. Eggplants, Dogs. Bats in one's belfry or right near one's elbow? One's mind Roils.

    Genoa. One day a clue, the next day an answer. Pep and Toon, Attorneys at Law. Originally Pep, Toon and Crumb but Crumb flaked.

    smalltowndoc 6:20 AM  

    My wife makes the best kugel in the world.

    That’s all.

    Ann Howell 6:41 AM  

    Just came here to say that AGGRO is used as a noun in the UK - "the guy at the bar gave me aggro for accidentally knocking his pint" - not an adjective.

    Son Volt 7:20 AM  

    Not sure I’ve ever seen the EGGPLANTS line at Macy’s - although I wouldn’t doubt PRISCILLA had something going at one point. Those longs were misplaced here. I’ll take a hard pass on this one - I always enjoy a tidy wordplay theme on Monday - not a trivia fest.

    If you’re in NY and want KUGEL go to Schimmel’s on the lower East side - typical KUGEL but also order the blueberry cheese knish which is outstanding.

    pabloinnh 7:23 AM  

    Someone is happy that this grid is full of VOGUE types and not sports figures, but that someone isn't me. With the exception of CELINEDION, I needed all the crosses to complete the themers, and even the right answers were, um, unfamiliar. Fair enough, but not in my wheelhouse's area code.

    OTOH, we have ___v Wade, "kennel occupants", inventor Whitney, "ready ___fire", and so on, just to give your brain a rest. Hard to pick a favorite moo-cow there, and hi to M&A>

    I am more than familiar with Altoid TINS as I buy them in bulk. For me at least they're the singer's best friend. One year we had a collection of saved TINS and my wife made a Halloween costume out of them. No, really.

    Congrats on your debut, JR. Nicely put together and not Jury Rigged. Thanks for some crunchy Monday fun.

    mooretep 7:31 AM  

    Great Monday Puzzle. Congratulations Joshua, six more days to go.
    Wearing BAGGY pants might interfere with someones AGILITY.
    AIM and HIT were a nice cross.
    DOGS and PETS, though I prefer cats; less work. Rats, cockroaches and snakes even lesserer. :-)

    @LMS
    "Give me clunky ankle monitors over supercilious entitlement any day." Oh yeah.

    "Broadly speaking, the function of teachers is to help students learn by imparting knowledge to them and by setting up a situation in which students can and will learn effectively. But teachers fill a complex set of roles, which vary from one society to another and from one educational level to another". ~ Encyclopedia Britannica

    I teach many levels, from AP to basic. I can't submit an explicit schedule of when we will be doing what, as I need to suss where they are and move them forward based on their submittals.
    "Honors" track students will just nod and agree with almost anything you tell them.
    "Basic" level students are more likely to throw a flag on the play and improve my pedagogy.

    Lewis 7:55 AM  

    KUGEL throws me back to my childhood and my Grandma Ethel, whose noodle kugel was divine, ambrosia. She kept an eagle eye on us, making sure we cleaned our plates completely. If there was a grain of anything left over, she’d say, “What? Are you not hungry? Eat!” And now I’m thinking of her chopped liver, matzo ball soup, and kashka varnishkes, but mostly of the love that I felt from her always, despite her sometimes stern appearance. Miss you, Grandma!

    bocamp 8:16 AM  

    Thx Joshua; crunchy Mon. puz to start the week! :)

    Med. solve.

    Was unfamiliar with CHLOE ZHAO, CHANEL IMAN, YMHA, KUGEL and GUCCI MANE, but fair crosses bailed me out.

    Liked this one a lot! :)
    ___

    yd 0

    Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all ๐Ÿ•Š

    feinstee 8:24 AM  

    Hey August.Curious which Brian David Gilbert video you were referring to...there was no link, or embedded video...

    Unknown 8:35 AM  

    @ Loren Muse Smith
    I feel your pain. Why folks who are getting married don't simply request that all wedding attendees be vaccinated, or at least masked during the indoor service, is a mystery to me. It's as if a certain percentage of our population simply doesn't care if this virus stays with us forever. (I don't care if some folks dont want to be vaccinated. Just don't come to the crowded indoor wedding/party/concert where you put everyone else at risk. Seems so simple . . . .)
    I didn't really grok the theme (I thought they were all folks who had appeared on the cover of Vogue!), and I didn't really know all their names, but the puzzle was relatively easy for me, so the crosses must not have been terrible. I just didn't get a whole lot of pep out of it. I want back and looked at my filled grid to see which answers I really liked, and I couldn't find a single one. I did get the sense that the constructor was Jewish and liked his morning coffee (with kugel?), so I suppose his personality came through a bit, which is always a nice thing.

    bagelboy 8:43 AM  

    If you've never seen the movie "Giant", the 1950's epic starring James Dean, Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor, the ranch in it is named "REATA". Spelled differetly, but that was my introduction before crossword puzzles.

    albatross shell 8:54 AM  

    A Monday done in Monday time. I was wondering if we would see them again. And only a few write-overs. Tight for TENSE, LEGal for LEGIT.

    Pretty much straight forward cluing, but with several unknown answers and fashion is not my bag. Barely was able to see the theme but even I know CHANNEL and GUCCI. Did Shortz prep us for MANE or was that a different TRAP guy last week? I've forgotten already.

    4 themes and one reveal seems dense and fairly solid fill considering. But the 7 letter reveal is in the center and the themes are 9s and 10s. This in combination with the grid design means that even though the theme answers are only 2 rows apart each only has two short answers connecting the themes to the one above or below them. This makes for a nice symmetric consistent pattern, but also takes some of the pressure off that longer answers would create that would hit 3 or more of the theme answers. Not a criticism, just a observation.
    Trying to notice some of the structure stuff @Anoa and @Trimble and some others talk about. Making it up as I go along.

    @LMS's listen hear distinction.
    It can work the other way around too. "I hear you" can mean a greater grasp of understanding than just listening to. Yes, I know Buber and Sounds of Silence. I think Dylan uses hearing as more important than listening in some lyric but I can't think of it right now so maybe I am wrong. I think some theologians and philosophers put more value on hearing than listening. Listening is something you do with your ears. Hearing involves your heart and soul.
    A similar dichotomy appears with need and want perhaps. Stone's you don't always get what you want... and Dylan's your debutant only knows what you need, but I know what you want. Bonus points if you know the name of the "I" in the Dylan song without looking it up. Even speak and talk might reverse roles. English is flexible.

    I wondered if Kegel ate KUGEL, but couldn't even find out if he was Jewish. Strangely his birthplace is listed as South Dakota one place and Iowa another. Maybe that answers the Jewish question? He did work at Keck institute. So maybe Kegel ate KUGEL at Keck.

    There is a forward ROO abutting a backward ROO in todays puzzle. One is in a MOO (cow?) and the other is in a LOO.


    Nancy 8:55 AM  

    Who are all these people and what are they doing in my puzzle? Hated this.

    jberg 9:04 AM  

    @Loren, your "tight theme" is my "arcane;" but that's just me. I knew one of the people and two of the fashion brands, so I really needed the revealer -- especially since the first two themers started with CH, and the third with C, so I was looking for some sort of letterplay. It didn't help that I put in Knish, even while thinking it wasn't really a pudding.

    But actually Loren has a point; it can't have been easy to come up with those theme answers; and no doubt there are some for whom they were all gimmes. So I'm admiring the puzzle from hindsight.

    Speaking of COVID, my daughter (an ICU doctor) posed this poem by another doc on Facebook. Sorry for the length, but it's worth it.

    Rossana Michelle
    AteSruguastmitfSt tpo3e1on tsaorSt 1o0:5ed2ghrc mAMtmo ·
    “We wanted to help people
    We were smart and driven
    We loved science and physiology, humans and disease
    So we made a commitment
    We signed up
    It was an honor
    We read thousands of pages
    Attended hundreds of lectures
    Pulled all-nighters
    Took more exams than we thought possible
    Finals week felt insurmountable
    But it didn’t break us
    It made us stronger
    We learned statistics and biochemistry
    Immunology and pathophysiology
    We mastered genetics, virology and pharmacology
    We read scientific papers and learned how to dissect them
    Papers, not videos
    It was an honor
    We came running when you needed us
    Literally, running down the hallway
    To the ICU, the trauma bay, labor and delivery
    I need help, you said
    We can help, we said
    It was an honor
    There were moments that we thought would break us
    Moments that drove us to journaling, to therapy, to nightmares
    Broken babies.
    Paralyzed children.
    Dead pregnant mothers with three kids at home.
    The wail of a mother whose son just died.
    We bent but we did not break
    We returned because you needed us
    And we could help
    It was an honor
    Then there was fear
    Fear of walking into our place of work
    Fear that we’d be killed by going to work
    Fear that we’d kill a loved one because of our work
    There were tears and sleepless nights and anti-anxiety medications
    But you banged your pots and pans
    You sent us pizzas and called us heroes
    You needed us
    We could help
    So we wore our masks, and our gowns, and our gloves, and our goggles
    We decontaminated ourselves before going home and isolated ourselves from our families
    We almost broke
    It was an honor
    How quickly the joy turned to defeat
    Elation to rage
    You’ve learned to do your own research now
    You know better than we do
    Gaslighting is your language
    Your selfishness is astounding
    You don’t want our help when we ask you to stay healthy
    Yet you arrive at our doors begging for help at the end
    You stole our resources
    You hobbled our ability to help those who did what they were supposed to do
    You killed our patients by filling our beds and using up our ventilators
    We can’t help any more
    You broke us
    There is no more honor”
    - Anonymous
    This is a poem written by a fellow physician after reflecting on the veteran who died in Texas because of the ICU bed shortage.
    Artist credit:
    Bozorgmehr Hosseinpour
    https://instagram.com/bozorgmehrhosseinpour

    ฮฉ 9:11 AM  

    Warning : If you try to change your avatar Blogger has decided not to update it. See if you can figure out who alerted me to this phenomenon.

    Tim Aurthur 9:16 AM  

    Any wedding that could easily turn into a superspreader event should be postponed.

    The clue for ROE should be "Landmark SC decision that was overturned last week."

    This was hard for me. I tried all downs and the result rhymes with faster.

    kitshef 9:17 AM  

    Worst puzzle ever.

    I complain sometimes about insufficiently famous theme answers. If you theme depends on pup culture, they have to be a-listers. Having even one obscurity is bad. Today we get three that I’ve never heard of. And as a bonus, we get CHLOE, which I’m sure is something but I have no idea what or how it ties in with the theme. Add in YMHA and KUGEL and that's five WoEs on a Monday.

    We again get the erroneous use of INUIT. As clued, the answer is Inuk. Dweller: Inuk. Many dwellers: Inuit.

    I just can't believe how bad puzzle is.

    albatross shell 9:17 AM  

    @Z
    I noticed LMS's lack of one. I thought there must have been a major shift in the cosmos, so Ms. Muse.

    Teedmn 9:23 AM  

    CHANEL, GUCCI, yes. CHLOE, CELINE, no clue, in regards to fashion. My closest brush with fashion is looking at the NYTimes photo montages of the spring and fall fashion shows. Do they even publish those anymore?

    I was certainly surprised when I looked at the constructor's name, post-solve, and saw Joshua instead of one of the constructors who create content for Inkubator puzzles.

    Speaking of fashion, I doubt this sweatshirt message would make the cut but it made me laugh (being one of the "olds"). Seen in an ad on the xwordinfo site, the message on the shirt was: "Don't piss off OLD PEOPLE. The older we get, the less "life in prison" is a deterrent."

    Thanks, Joshua Rosenblatt, and congratulations on your NYTimes debut.

    Whatsername 9:39 AM  

    I’ll take proper names for $200. No, make that proper names one might see in VOGUE . . . if one actually reads VOGUE. Do people do that? Or do they just look at the pictures? I wouldn’t know since my magazine reading runs more toward The Missouri Conservationist. I thought it was a fun puzzle other than the fact that the names were terribly obscure even for an experienced solver and would be next to impossible for a. Still the downs were mostly easy enough and I congratulate Joshua on a successful debut.

    EGGPLANT reminded me of a Super Bowl party a few years back when the hostess proudly brought out a big dish of homemade Moussaka. People were politely tasting and then quickly looking for someplace to spit it out when her back was turned. The upside was everybody reached for their BEERS to get the taste out of their mouths and the party became a lot more fun after that.

    I like the British term for derriรจre so much better than our American three-letter version. I think I’ll start using that when I shout at the politicians on the TV screen. “You effing ARSE” sounds ever so much more refined.

    One thing we don’t have a shortage of at my house is PETS. I was going to post a picture of my cat FIONA but I HEARD Blogger will tell me to KISS off if I try that today. Blimey!

    RooMonster 9:40 AM  

    Hey All !
    @chance2travel
    That is why I stay home (actually, don't travel). Makes life easier. Plus, I have bills to spend my money on! ๐Ÿ˜

    @albatross
    Does that make it ROOOOR? Aroar of ROOs? Har.

    Proper Name Theme today. Surprised @Z didn't rip it a new one! Fair crosses, so if you didn't know some of the names (raises hand for CHLOE ZHAO, IMANs first name, hell, even the rapper dude (although there is a little spark in an unused area of the ole brain that has heard that name)), they are at least gettable.

    Not too much to BAFFLE me today, although WEI was unknown. Add me to the 'a bat' for BATS group. Shouldn't it be "Haveing ___ in one's belfry"? Lots of clues for @M&A's Easy-E pick. Or whatever he calls them! KISS isn't an @Anoa Bob POC, but does enable two POCs, so would it be a POCE? (POC Enabler)

    Good MonPuz. With @Lewis' insight into the NYT trying to encourage new constructors, maybe (maybe) I'll try to submit some again. (Don't hold your breath!) ๐Ÿ˜

    Two F's
    RooMonster
    DarrinV

    Mr. Cheese 9:40 AM  

    I love @LMS. There, I said it!
    I don’t wear an ankle monitor but your posts make my day…. every day!

    Carola 9:42 AM  

    A tough Monday theme: I thought that needing to know the names of that foursome and to identify CHLOE and CELINE as designers was a lot to ask. But, as others have said, the Downs were easy; otherwise my word of the day would have been BAFFLE(d).

    Help from previous puzzles: MMA, AGGRO. No idea: GUCCI MANE. Dawn of a new realization, after reading G. Weissman, David Eisner, chefwen, smalltowndoc, Son Volt, and Lewis: I live in a KUGEL desert - I've never seen, much less tasted, one.

    KnittyContessa 9:43 AM  

    This was an interesting puzzle to solve. I am familiar with all the fashion houses in the puzzle but had zero idea who anyone but CELINE DION was. Also, had never heard of YMHA. Despite all that, and not knowing MMA and roomy before BAGGY still finished in around 8 minutes thanks to more than fair crosses.

    bocamp 9:47 AM  

    Hi August; good to see you again, and thx for your write-up! :)

    @Trimble (1:36 AM) ๐Ÿ‘ for 0 yd

    Yup, always try RIATA, along with others, just in case … ๐Ÿคž
    ___

    pg -10

    Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all ๐Ÿ•Š

    Anonymous 9:56 AM  

    Speaking as a child of an immigrant household, I assure you, it is kuh-gul. The people back in Poland and Russia never heard of kooooogal.

    burtonkd 9:58 AM  

    Wow LMS: between superspreader weddings and student body ruminations, your comments are very un-Monday; more Thursday-Friday.
    I noticed that the most talented musicians are not the most enjoyable to teach; people who are really talented seem to usually mostly teach themselves, where my job becomes to point them in a good direction.

    Acrosses we’re almost Friday/Saturday- thank heavens for the highlights for children clues in the downs. I did a double take at listened to = heard, partly for same reason as LMS and also "it can’t be that basic even on a Monday".

    albatross shell 10:07 AM  

    @INUITS haters. The plural not the people. Yes reading up on it awhile ago I argee with you. However M-W says:

    Inuit noun


    In·​u·​it | \ หˆi-n(y)รผ-wษ™t \
    variants: or less commonly Innuit
    Definition of Inuit
    1plural Inuit or Inuits also Innuit or Innuits

    Yes I know. Usage dictionaries do just repeat and magnify errors. I want to oppose this one, but I guess I might not need to. Just sigh. So you can tell Shortz or M-W but the former is justified by the latter, and the latter is justified by usage (maybe including the former). And language is flexible and usage changes and what can you do? And plurals are not very important. So use INUITOPODES and make fun and Shortz and the dictionaries and hope the Inuit don't get insulted.

    ฮฉ 10:10 AM  

    @albatross shell - ๐Ÿ›Ž๐Ÿ›Ž๐Ÿ›Ž We have a winner.

    @Roo - Unlike Rex, I don’t have to repeat things everyone already knows I think, so I kept it brief. I did note @LMS mentioning how tight this theme set is, which I’d normally say is a positive. But when your theme set is such a niche set (whatever niche it might be) I view the tightness as more flaw than feature.

    Ever hear about active listening? There’s lots more out there, but reflecting and clarifying are the most powerful listening tools I know. “What I think I hear you saying is…” and, “What do you expect me to do, now?” are very helpful tools.

    Unknown 10:13 AM  

    Not to embarrass you, but you're a ray of sunshine in these sometimes dark days. Thank you for your positive posts.

    rosebud 10:15 AM  

    Koo-gel for sure, one of my favorite things during the Holidays, nice for a Labor Day Rosh Hashanah! I also loved SPUR of the moment, which describes most of life right now and appreciated the honor for ROE v Wade. Easy puzzle despite unknown celebrities, and now I need to find some EGGPLANTs for some moussaka…

    Anonymous 10:24 AM  

    Amma b witcha on clunky ankle monitors vs. supercilious entitlement.

    jae 10:26 AM  

    @bocamp - Croce’s Freestyle #642 was easy-medium for a Croce. One and a half sessions for me. Good luck!

    Joseph Michael 10:26 AM  

    A theme about brand names? Not my cup of goaTEE.

    albatross shell 10:27 AM  

    @ROO
    They ROOs meet at right angles so you could only turn if there were some ashes around that area. And the final Os overlap so abutting was the wrong word. Overlapping. Which does make it appear that it might be the right word for what you seem to be doing to yourself. Now I wouldn't be saying this to just anybody on this blog. I an counting on ROO - the sense of humor guy.

    Lewis 10:29 AM  

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

    1. Priceless keepsakes? (4)(8)
    2. Line from a bit? (4)
    3. Access to a country club, in brief (2)(10)
    4. Lead-off selections? (7)
    5. What snakes grow as they age (6)


    GIFT RECEIPTS
    REIN
    U.N. MEMBERSHIP
    ERASERS
    LONGER

    JD 10:29 AM  

    @Frantic, Best Post Award is yours today. The committee recommended it as concise and powerful.

    @Whatshername, Agree on Brit tush. They did better with eggplant too, borrowing from from the French and not from us.

    But @Z you can't B.

    Whatsername 10:40 AM  

    @Loren (5:42) I agree BISCOFF cookies are way better than those CRUMBy OREOS. I love that you can buy them in packs with individual cellophane-wrapped servings. Perfect for stashing in your purse for traveling or when you just want to sneak one on the sly.

    And speaking of travel . . . I read an article which recommended keeping a photo of your vaccine record stored in your cell phone just in case you lose the paper card. Not a bad idea.

    @bagelboy (8:43) Giant - great movie and what a cast of beauties.

    @jberg (9:04) ๐Ÿ˜ฐ Sympathies to your daughter. I don’t know how they do it.

    Joe Dipinto 10:57 AM  

    The clue for 38a says "where you might find the starts of the answers to the starred clues." But when you look at 24a: Chanel is a fashion house/designer; Iman is a fashion model; Chanel Iman is a *different* fashion model. CHANEL, IMAN, and CHANEL IMAN have all appeared "in Vogue", a fact that is easily searched. How could this have been an allowable theme entry?

    Stan Combs 11:04 AM  

    Spanish "la riata" -> lariat -> cowboy's rope

    Brian 11:06 AM  

    Too many kugels spoil the brothel.
    (Too many cooks spoil the broth).
    Kugel is South African slang for Jewish Princess.

    Brian 11:09 AM  

    Biscoff? Yum!

    Nancy 11:12 AM  

    @Z (9:11) -- That's just a horrible, horrible thing for Blogger to do. What will Loren have left to live for now? :) And, no, I wouldn't have noticed. I don't notice the presence of avatars, the absence of avatars, or the changing of avatars. Which is not meant to be a put-down, avatars being only one of hundreds of thousands of things I also don't notice.

    @jberg -- We should all be eternally grateful for brave, tireless, and dedicated people like your daughter and furious at the people who make their good work so much harder.

    @Teedmn -- I love, love, love that T-shirt message. But you don't really qualify as one of "the olds". Wait a decade or so.

    @Burtonkd (9:58) -- Based on your comment, I bet you'd find me very enjoyable to teach. I'm going to send you (off-blog) an online test of your musical ear and musical memory that my very musical brother aced and I failed at miserably. My ego still hasn't completely recovered.

    What? 11:23 AM  

    I do crosswords for relaxation, not angst.
    “What do you read, m’Lord?”
    “Names, names, names.”

    P. Kennedy 11:32 AM  

    No offense, but i was really hoping for Rex to tear this one apart ๐Ÿ™‚

    Mostly because the theme was awful, why are we clueing anything related to Columbus, and Eenie is way to closely related to a racist rhyme....

    bigsteve46 11:38 AM  

    Re the puzzle: as usual, NANCY (8:55 A.M.) hit this nail on the head.

    To the more loquacious posters, try heeding Polonious:
    "[S]ince brevity is the soul of wit,and tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,I will be brief.” - Shakespeare

    Or, at least, heed Nancy!

    Especially when an early "never-miss-a-day" poster rambles on, it seems to become contagious.

    GILL I. 11:41 AM  

    I will ask very politely: "Can I get my money back?"

    Tim Carey 11:46 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Masked and Anonymous 11:50 AM  

    All-righty, then. Another glorious August MonPuz. [Well, kinda more of a @August Sept WedPuz, at our house].

    She-yeesh. Vogue fashion names. Not quite M&A's field of study. Also, the PRISCILLA & EGGPLANTS just-as-long-as-the themers answers coulda fooled m&e. Fashion names of PRISCI and EGGPLAN; sounds semi-feasible. Try out our PRISCI handbags today -- they're friski! And when U want to lay on a fragrance -- check out our EGGPLAN!

    Vogue-stuff I sorta recognized: CHANEL [goes well with COCOA, right?]. And GUCCI [they're BAGGY, right?].

    staff weeject pick: WEI. Kinda the all-time anti-thesis of a moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue, what with its {One of ancient China's Three Kingdoms}. Other two were Shu & Wu, btw. Primo-great biter-runt puz themers. Dibbies.

    Speakin of fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clues …
    * a near-fave was {Kennel occupants} = DOGS. Coulda been CURS or PUPS or CATS, but glad it weren't.
    * but had the softest spot for {Book of maps} = ATLAS. It helped fashion-clueless M&A out a lot, right outta the puzchute.
    * honrable mention hasta go to: {Command between "ready" and "fire"} = AIM. Crossin HIT, dead center, too boot.
    * Yo, @Roo & @pabloinnh.

    Thanx for the fun, of a fashion, Mr. Rosenblatt dude. Cool that OSHA is in Joshua, huh? Musta been real hard to resist an OSHA clue about that there fact.
    And congratz on yer debut. Put on a sweatshirt and BAGGY jeans, and come on back, anyoldtime.

    Masked & Anonymo5Us


    **gruntz**

    Barbara S. 11:51 AM  

    From the “Animals around the house” that aren’t PETS file –

    The place in which I’m living while my city house is being repaired and re-kitchened is in rural eastern Ontario on the edge of a small village. We’re so on the edge that the sign labelling our little hamlet is a stone’s throw from our door. This is my husband’s pre-matrimonial home, tiny and intimate. We’ve debated selling it any number of times, always without taking any action (thank goodness). My husband’s a bit of a country boy and hates to think of losing the rural connection, and I’ve enjoyed coming out for weekends, although I’ve done so less often in recent years. We’ve had lots of good times here, and during one of these country weekends, I even rediscovered the joys of the Sunday NYTXW, when I unexpectedly found it in a copy of The Toronto Star we’d brought to read at our leisure.

    The people who sold this house to my husband were do-it-yourselfers. This is an admirable trait, and one that has led to more than one quirk around the old homestead. There’s the strange bedroom cupboard which sits over the void created by the basement stairs. It looks like someone took a jigsaw to the wall, cut out a rectangle, and then hinged one side of it to make a perfectly flush door. Behind it they threw in a few shelves that are very hard to reach and called it storage space. Okay, if you say so. But more relevant to my story is the toilet, which has always worked, but seems to think things over and consider its options every time you flush. The suspense is bone-tingling. One early spring morning many years ago I became convinced that the toilet was finally packing it in. Multiply its usual sluggishness by a factor of ten. I complained to my husband, who was unconvinced that it was any different than usual until he tried flushing. Yes, there was something wrong, or wronger than the norm. He grabbed a plunger and started whaling away until, to his utter astonishment, a bird appeared in the toilet bowl! A starling, to be specific. He grabbed it, wrapped it in a towel and brought it into the living-room. “Look what I found!” he said. “Oh my god,” I cried, jumping back in startled amazement, “Where on earth?” The starling was alive but motionless, probably in shock, as were we. The explanation for her unexpected entrance is that she must have built her nest on or in the toilet’s vent pipe on the roof. The repeated plunging had sucked her down the pipe and into the toilet, thus destroying the blockage and nearly the bird with it. It was a cool day but the sun was strong enough to generate a welcome warmth. We put friend starling in an open box in a sunny spot and waited to see what would happen. Nothing did for a long time and we feared the worst, but finally our erstwhile houseguest shook off her adventure and flew away. My husband and I imagined that bird dining out and scoring free drinks for months on her unusual story. And we’ve had pretty good mileage out of it, too.

    egsforbreakfast 11:52 AM  

    Daughter of our best friends is getting married in two weeks. She insists on proof of vaccination from all attendees. Since they live in Idaho, you can guess the result. Best Man and Maid of Honor are both out. So are most of the invitees. I’ve thought for a long time that the key to getting resisters vaccinated would be to exclude them from things they really want to do. Then it isn’t the government telling them what to do.

    bocamp 12:14 PM  

    @jae (10:26 AM)

    Looking forward to it! :)
    ___

    pg -5

    Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all ๐Ÿ•Š

    Anonymous 12:18 PM  

    Very disappointing puzzle. I knew I hated it as soon as I saw AOC as an answer.
    Who knows about fashion names? And I'm tired of seeing the names of rappers.
    And video game characters. Modern pop culture is pure garbage and so was this puzzle.

    Nancy 12:26 PM  

    A toilet that seems to "consider its options" every time you flush? With the result that "the suspense is bone-tingling."? You're a born writer, truly you are, @Barbara S, and you really should consider writing a book.

    I'm touched by your lovely and flattering post, @bigsteve46 (11:38). Thanks so much for the compliment.

    Stephen Minehart 12:47 PM  

    Today's comments are awash with irony. This theme was not in my wheelhouse, nor apparently was it for most of the other commenters. In fact, for no themer did my fashion knowledge overlap with my celebrity knowledge. Yet the puzzle was still eminently doable, and over the years of reading this blog I've heard over and over again how the puzzles should play to a wider audience than the bread-and-butter audience of aging intellectual types. Of course, as soon as that happens, said core audience starts griping.

    ฮฉ 12:55 PM  

    @Joe Dipinto - Would you find CHANEL IN VOGUE? Since the answer is “yes” the revealer is satisfied. I suspect all the full theme entries have appeared IN VOGUE. GUCCI MANE is the least likely of the set and, yep, there he is.

    @egsforbreakfast - “The government can’t make me get vaccinated” crowd makes me ponder the movie Ultraviolet. Not the plot (just one of your garden variety “watch the hero kill and maim hordes of the bad guy’s minions before finally getting to kill the bad guy in the climatic scene” bloodfests) but the setting in the future where attempts to get a deadly plague under control results in a dictatorship by the medical community. Fauci as Stalin, as it were. Of course, the “freedumb” crowd always see themselves as Milla Jovovich in their wet dreams and Fauci is the symbol de journey of the “deep state.” Their “fight” to protect their “freedoms” is every bit as fanciful as the fights in that movie.

    GILL I. 1:00 PM  

    Oh my good gravy's of every good meal I've made.....@Barbara S and reading her story made this miserable puzzle of clothes fashion, the joy of my day......A starling in your toilet....Can this get any better? AND IT LIVED TO TELL ALL THE OTHERS.....

    stephanie 1:04 PM  

    i don't know if it's because i've really struggled with the thurs-fri-sat puzzles for a couple weeks now (and even yesterday's sunday) that mondays seem so far away, but this felt like doing the mini to me. ridiculously easy. "was last monday's this easy?" i wondered while filling this in? i can't remember.

    i actually sometimes get slowed down on mondays because my brain is still in "think outside the box" mode from the harder puzzles, but not today. 8 minutes for me which may be a record or close to one. kind of a bummer when they're over so quickly. i like to spend a little time. shout out to the OREOS from GENOA, didn't think i'd see you again so soon. (someone asked yesterday if OREOS must appear in every puzzle. apparently, yes.)

    i had the same hiccup as august thinking suicide squad before AOC appeared, i needed the crosses to fill in CHLOE ZHAO for me, and i did think EWW before UGH, but otherwise i just wrote everything in, so i guess i have no nits with any of the clues for once! how about that.

    to the author's question: i've always pronounced it koo-gull, but i must give this answer with the absolutely massive caveat that i'm not jewish, and i've never made nor even eaten kugel. i just know of it. i don't think i've ever even heard it said aloud by anybody. also i was born and bred in RI and have lived in the boston area for the past 20 years or so, so you can't really trust our pronunciation of anything ;)

    Anonymous 1:13 PM  

    more fun than KUGEL is Kegel, not least, in this context, because a girl friend (from decades ago) of Jewish persuasion and motherhood used to perform the exercise while hubby was visiting the area of exercise. according to her, it freaked him out. vagina dentata, and all that. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vagina_dentata . I thought it was cool!!

    mathgent 1:19 PM  

    Ugh! Utter garbage. 32 out of 76 entries were brainless fill-ins. "--- v. Wade," for typical example.

    I go to Jeff Chen to check an entry I'm not sure of, but his comments are increasingly inane. He called today's puzzle "cutting edge" because it had the names of some designers he didn't know.

    The proper nouns didn't bother me. It was the stupidity.

    ,



    stephanie 1:22 PM  

    @JD aubergine is such a more appealing name, isn't it. i also like courgettes. and when checking my spelling on that last one since spell check only does american english apparently, i saw they have a third name: baby marrow. okay, zucchini beats that by a long shot.

    Anonymous 1:28 PM  

    Stephanie,
    here in the states, koo-gull is the far more common pronunciation. And if you want an authority, look to Seinfeld where they pronounce it that way. ( It is certainly pronounced that way in the episode where Frank Costanza comes out of retirement to cook at Jewish singles event w. disasterous results).
    It of course should not be confused with kasha, another Jewish delicacy. You may recall the Costanza's home smells like dandruff, kasha, mothballs and cheap carpeting. It's a pot pourri really.

    Anonymous 1:28 PM  

    @JD:
    Pep and Toon, Attorneys at Law. Originally Pep, Toon and Crumb but Crumb flaked.

    Where have you gone, Joe Pepatoon?
    A nation turns its lonely eyes to you

    @Whatsername:
    People were politely tasting and then quickly looking for someplace to spit it out when her back was turned.

    another reason, besides Tsitsipas, to avoid Greeks bearing grifts.

    I learned to not eat it when my first wife turned veg shortly before the event. known each other for years before, when she was more sane. dreadful vegetable. dreadful dish. I even had to pronounce it 'correctly' (she'd toured Greece in her daddy's yet-to-be-imported 2002, back when you could do that): MOOSE-ah-kah.

    stephanie 1:30 PM  

    @Barbara S. wow, what a story! enjoyed the whole thing but especially the ending very much.

    once upon a time, we heard a commotion inside our bedroom closet at a previous apartment. (the last time this happened, the shelving had collapsed and we thought something similar.) to our surprise, when we opened the door a very alive bird flew out. my partner was able to capture it and get it out onto the back deck, where he sat for a moment, no doubt trying to process what all had just happened and how. then, he flew off to the yard below where he was promptly carried off by one of the first floor occupant's many chihuahuas. alas, we tried.

    Anonymous 1:38 PM  

    btw, should we acknowledge that eggplant is also a racist term? IIRC, it's used as such by one of the South African bad guys the 'Lethal Weapon' movie, but I can't track down a cite and it's been many years since I last saw it. listed in any slur list you find on the innterTubes.

    stephanie 1:50 PM  

    @Loren Muse Smith re: the wedding - i know you were just venting so let me say, that sucks and i sympathize with you & your son. and so i also preface that which follows as merely my own personal opinion and not advice or instruction. but, honestly, i don't know why people are still having weddings with all this going on. what's the rush? if there are fiscal, residential, or health things at play, you could always just go down to the courthouse and then have a sweet ceremony and/or the big party later on. i am happily vaxxed and have been since april but even vaxxed folx can get sick and can be contagious. not to mention concern about anyone in attendance that can't be vaccinated. add that stress to the stress of family and supposed friends not cooperating with the bride & groom's wishes and that's quite a lot of damper on a day that should be magical.

    of course, i also know that some weddings are planned years in advance, and there might be the issue of not insignificant non refundable deposits. aging beloved relatives could also play a role. lots to consider, as always. but me? i'd just say forget it, i want the day to be something we look forward to, not one that we dread.

    stephanie 1:51 PM  

    @anon 1:28pm that must be where i've heard it and where it stuck in my brain! ah, seinfeld. an episode for everything. thank you.

    Anonymous 1:52 PM  

    People throwing shade at the unvaccinated seem a little racist given the demographics of vaccinated v unvaccinated.

    CDilly52 1:54 PM  

    Thanks for the effort August. I find that my own opinion today doesn’t have lots of high points, and that I’m in league with @Frantic. Heavy on the PPP and a very “un” theme, with no real clever connection to anything. And then PRISCILLA was tossed in and that confused me for a while until I realized it was either a poor decision or a red herring? This one left me flat and it took quite a while for a Monday with no real payoff other than completion.

    Have a wonderful Semester, August. I’d go to grad school forever if I could.

    old timer 2:07 PM  

    It really is "reata" and not RIATA. At least in Spanish. Comes from "reatar" meaning retie. But the misspelling is so common it is probably LEGIT by now. The interesting thing is that in cowboy land, the reata is also "string" as in "string of horses". Took a lot of horses to make a trail outfit.

    The puzzle was quite tough if, like me, you never read Vogue and don't give a hoot about women's clothing. I did like GROOMSMEN a lot. I am the father of two brides (and their unmarried sister who really likes being an aunt). I learned that the chief duty of GROOMSMEN is to attend the rehearsal dinner, make sure the GROOM is sufficiently well oiled, and then tell all the embarrassing stories about the GROOM they can remember, or sometimes make up. At the wedding reception, those stories could invoke boos and hisses, but at the rehearsal dinner, anything goes!

    old timer 2:09 PM  

    Oh I meant to add when I have eaten it, Kugel rhymes with noodle. But apparently the proper pronunciation of that u in German and Yiddish really rhymes with wood and could.

    Joe Dipinto 2:11 PM  

    Nothing beats a snack of kugel, franks and olives when you're watching puppets on afternoon tv.

    Anonymous 2:33 PM  

    ignorance is bliss: https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/covid-vaccine-tracker-global-distribution/us-vaccine-demographics.html

    "Recent polls have found Republicans and White evangelicals are least likely to say they’ll get the shots, which may account for less uptake among White people in certain states, especially in the South, Midwest and West. "

    Unknown 2:38 PM  

    @ Anonymous 1:52 re: "People throwing shade at the unvaccinated seem a little racist given the demographics of vaccinated v unvaccinated."

    I don't give a flying #$%^ about the color of their skin, white, black or green. Just get a vaccine, or else mask up when you go to an indoors setting. End of story. I don't know what the demographics are, but if it were all white folks who refused the shot, I'd feel the same way.

    I'm only "throwing shade" because this pandemic has gone on too damn long. And some folks seemingly don't care. You can call me a racist, but it doesn't change a thing. $100 bucks says this virus is still going on 6 months from now. Any takers?

    puzzlehoarder 2:48 PM  

    An interesting Monday puzzle. Three of the themers we're unknown to me as was KUGEL. That's one unknown stacked on another. The more Mondays like this the better. Getting things you don't know or weren't aware you knew is what makes puzzles interesting.

    Speaking of what you didn't know you knew, I've had both WEI and AGGRO multiple times but would swear they were debuts. Today I missed the clues for both as they went in from the crosses. It was a Monday after all.

    SB note, today's xwordinfo list proves that Sam Ezersky has used RIATA in one of his own puzzles. That entry is a major piece of crosswordese. He won't include it in his SB though and just to compound it he favors the much more obscure RAITA. Just because he can. I find more irritating every time.

    Sharon ak 3:03 PM  

    How can this theme possibly be considered more niche than all the rapper and professionals athlete stuff*we get all the time?

    I havent read Vogue in decades but how could any literate American over 18 not recognize Chanel and Gucci as designer names? And the other names were gettable by crosses so why not just say, " well I learned these are designers"?

    *Much politer term than I was thinking

    The Cleaver 3:09 PM  

    @Unknown:
    $100 bucks says this virus is still going on 6 months from now. Any takers?

    that's a sucker's bet. the Confederate States are guaranteeing lots more than 6 months. there is one factoid that might be motivating the followers of The Orange Sh!tgibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave), Abbott, DeSantis, et al. each of the variants so far exhibit a 2 month invasion, so the Sh!tgibbons will claim ignoring each variant didn't make any difference. "see, I told you it would just go away." killing ~2,000 a day for most of those 2 months doesn't matter, of course. Gamma, Lambda, and Mu are on the way. stay tuned.

    JD 3:10 PM  

    @Stephen Minehart, "..the bread-and-butter audience of aging intellectual types." Are you not aging?

    @Anon 1:28! I thought of adding Baseball Attorneys but thought most people wouldn't get the Pepitone link. Good ear! Consider giving yourself a name here or "go blue."

    stephanie 3:27 PM  

    @puzzlehooarder RAITA is an indian condiment, comprised generally of yogurt, mint and/or cilantro, and cucumber or other raw vegetables among spices & other things. something cooling to go with spicy dishes. very good.

    Anonymous 3:32 PM  

    @JD:
    Consider giving yourself a name here or "go blue."

    have in the past a few times. too much aggression. but, of course, I've gone that route a time or two. :(

    ฮฉ 3:38 PM  

    @Sharon ak - I don’t think anybody said this was “more niche” than anything. It’s a pop culture based theme from a narrow area of interest. I’d feel the same way about it if it were baseball stars or science fiction authors or Elvis Costello tunes (well, okay, that last one is a lie).

    @unknown2:38 - Don’t get worked up. It’s just one of our anonytrolls trying to embarrass others and only exposing their own racism.
    Just to clarify, early on there was a definite difference in access and difference i rates of getting the vaccines that looked like there was some sort of ethnic bias. This was pretty early identified as an economic bias rather than a racial or ethnic bias - that is people being hesitant about the shot because they couldn’t afford to miss work due to possible reactions. Obviously there’s a big difference between avoiding the second Moderna shot because getting it might cost me my job and avoiding the vaccine because I think the CDC is part of some international cabal planting microchips in people’s bodies.

    BTW - The Italian word for EGGPLANTS is indeed a racial slur. I didn’t see anything suggesting EGGPLANTS in English carries any similar connotations. Anybody with older Italian relatives care to opine?

    tea73 3:41 PM  

    So much hate for Moussaka which is one of my favorite dishes. I nearly always order it if I am at a Greek restaurant. On the other hand KUGEL is disgusting. Noodles weren't meant to be sweet! Luckily I've never seen it outside a buffet so easy to avoid.

    I did not recognize or remember half the names, either in the first name last name version, or the single fashion icon version. Luckily most of the downs were eminently gettable. Took me almost twice as long as a usual Monday though.

    I'm very sad not to get an LMS visual joke today. Hope this is just a temporary glitch with Blogger not permanent.

    My son got married last year. License was from DC and they didn't even to have someone else perform the ceremony. They just signed the license in front of a recognizable DC monument. They did a second ceremony for the immediate family via zoom. They are hoping that some day they will be able to have a big party, but my son got assigned to Japan for a few years so not likely to happen soon.

    mathgent 3:51 PM  

    My favorite posts this morning.

    G Weissman (12:24)
    chance2travel (5:49)
    Nancy (8:55)
    kitshef (9:17)
    GILL I. (11:41)

    stephanie 3:53 PM  

    @Z wish these comments had a "like" function. i was about to say the same re: vax rates & classism, but i hedged because i did smell a troll in the mix. i will add that there was/is some legitimate vaccine hesitancy among some black and/or indigenous folx as the result of real history and real generational trauma, which is also not the same as anti-vaxxers or conspiracy theorists (which seem to be largely white).

    and reasonable people can understand all of these nuances *and* can continue be reasonable in their desire for everyone (who is able) to get vaccinated. of course. (and be reasonable in choosing to not invite unvaxxed folx to gatherings.)

    JC66 4:05 PM  


    On the way home from the supermarket today, I saw a poster for CHLOE at the entrance to a subway station. Never noticed before today's puzzle and considered stopping to take a picture so I could post it as my avatar, but with all the groceries, decided not to. Glad I didn't. Thanks for the heads up @Z.


    @Z

    I'm Jewish (KUGEL, as in cough) but grew up in the 50s/60s with many Italian-American friends. Right about EGGPLANT in Italian (moulenan sic) being racist.

    Lewis 4:31 PM  

    @joe dipinto (2:11) -- Hah!

    Anonymous 4:35 PM  

    @JC66/4:05

    ah, yes. my first job was in Government Center (aka, Scollay Square) Boston. closest and cheapest place to live was the other side of The Green Monster (the road, aka Southeast Distressway, not The Wall), in the North End, aka Little Italy. the landlord warned me not to bring any colored friends around; not that I had any black, white, or otherwise not having been there before then. what was really funny: I washed my clothes at a neighborhood laundromat, run by (you guessed it) an older Italian lady. one day she was ranting about something the locals had done at the store: "I wish those greaseballs would just go back where they came from!" hmm.

    Anonymous 4:57 PM  

    I say, "Koo-gul".

    Anonymous 4:58 PM  

    If you're vaccinated you can mix with unvaxxed. That's the point of getting the vaccine. Who cares if the mooks--for whatever reason-- don't get vaccinated, YOU'RE vaccinated. You're safe. there's a remote chance of a breakthrough infection, sure, but it's so remote it's not worth thinking about.
    As for the Italian word for eggplant be a slur. No, That the word has been usurped by small brains doesn't mean the word is racist.

    mathgent 5:12 PM  

    The constructor said on Jeff Chen that the editors dumbed down his clues. Who are they pleasing by doing that? They don't seem to care that they are boring experienced solvers.

    Is the answer simply that the easier the clues, the higher percentage of those who attempt it will solve it? I guess people like to solve easy puzzles. That's why NYT publishes tiny KenKens, I suppose

    Joe Dipinto 5:16 PM  

    @Lewis – I wasn't sure anyone would catch on :-)

    TTrimble 6:02 PM  

    Sure: Kukla, Fran, and Ollie. (I enjoyed it too.)

    Anonymous 6:37 PM  
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
    GILL I. 6:37 PM  

    @Anony 4:58. And...if anyone else is reading this.....Wrongy dongy. Here's why (and I'm not a scientist)..... You are still not safe. I have 5 friends (that's right 5) who are all vaccinated but came down with the Delta variant . It wasn't bad and they were not hospitalized. Nevertheless, they were ill and were scared to death that they'd pass on this variant to their grandkids who aren't vaccinated yet. This ARSE isn't over yet. We still need to use caution unless you don't give a shit about anybody else. This will eventually end - like all other pandemics do - but....it's the vulnerable that will suffer and die. Don't be negligent; wear your mask in crowded areas and think about others - other than yourself.

    JD 6:54 PM  

    @Z, Italy, like America, has regional dialects. And then beyond the original immigrant generation in America, you had mispronunciations and bastardizations of the dialects (think Sopranos). The eggplant thing seems to have Sicilian origins.

    Anonymous 6:55 PM  

    Gill,
    Why do you say this will end? The prevailing opinion from those who know is that it will not end. It will be endemic or seasonal or both. Influenza is. And it’s killed more than covid.
    BTW,kids are not in much danger from covid.

    Anonymous 6:58 PM  

    @GILL I./6:37

    I was writing elsewhere, when vaccination became widespread, that the problem with the vaccines is that the breakthroughs are most likely to be asymp, which is what drove the original Covid and Covid-ฮฑ spikes. since the point of the masks, even the N95 versions, is to reduce the chance that *you'll infect others*, so it's as least as important for the vaccinated to mask-up. if we don't, and we're working in little kiddies schools, they're going to get sick. one way or another, they are; the evidence is everywhere you look, Confederate States leading the pack, of course. of course, IA, AL, NE have stopped reporting juvenile Covid.

    "As of August 26, nearly 4.8 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic. About 204,000 cases were added the past week, marking the second week with child cases at the level of the winter surge of 2020-21. After declining in early summer, child cases have increased exponentially, with over a five-fold increase the past month, rising from about 38,000 cases the week ending July 22nd to nearly 204,000 the past week."
    -- https://www.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/children-and-covid-19-state-level-data-report/

    another source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jemimamcevoy/2021/08/11/here-are-the-12-mostly-southern-states-where-child-hospitalizations-are-soaring-amid-delta-surge/

    just how do you think that's happened? there's no cure for stupid, alas.

    ฮฉ 7:44 PM  

    @old timer - Merriam-Webster says Americans have been misspelling ReATA since 1846. 175 years seems like long enough to say RIATA is a correct spelling in English.

    @JD - Yeah, I saw the Sicilian thing when I looked, but I’m wary of quoting internet sites that don’t cite sources.

    @mathgent - They don't seem to care that they are boring experienced solvers. Correct. Mondays are aimed towards beginners. Wasn’t there a frequent but irregular contributor a few years back whose nom de blog was “I don’t do M-W” I haven’t seen anything from them in years, though.

    GILL I. 7:48 PM  

    @Anony 6:55: As I said ...I'm no scientist but I've lived through a bunch of epidemics. Remember Polio? I do...Did you ever have to take a little sugar cube with medicine in it at your school so that you didn't get it? I do. My classmate died of complications from mumps. Remember measles and chicken pocks and all the other little things that killed us? I do. We've eradicated them - if only people take vaccines that actually work and don't change your brain. They keep you alive. There will be a vaccine that will (hopefully, soon) take care of this caca. I believe in our Scientists.....
    @Anony 6:58. Amen. The child cases scare me no end. I have a little 3 year old granddaughter; I can't imagine what I would go through if I unknowingly passed on my asymptotic Covid.
    JUST WEAR YOUR DAMN MASK until this passes.

    A Moderator 7:53 PM  

    Spellcaster was in the puzzle yesterday and I just deleted one offering to cure everyone’s herpes. I found this amusing as you have forced me to consider whether or not the COVID discussion has gone too far off the rails. FYI - 3 COVID posts and a spellcaster post just got nuked. To everyone else, you are welcome.

    JC66 7:55 PM  

    @ A Moderator

    TMI! ๐Ÿ˜‚

    Jasper 8:23 PM  

    Took me longer than the average Monday. I have a teenage daughter who is getting stared on crossword puzzles and she had a DNF. Disappointing that the comments section here seems to focus on things unrelated to the puzzle.

    Barbara S. 8:30 PM  

    @Nancy, @Gill, @stephanie
    I'm glad you got a chuckle. Thanks very much for the compliment, @Nancy, I appreciate it no end. For the moment, I'm content to be a happy dabbler.

    Teedmn 9:02 PM  

    @Gill I, amen!

    @Joe DiPinto, the puppet add-on made me look twice, ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ.

    stephanie 9:30 PM  

    @anon 4:58pm & 6:55pm for me the point of getting the vaccine is to hopefully protect myself from hospitalization and/or death if i do get sick. (also as i don't have health insurance, getting any version where i'm sick enough to need to see a doctor would be extremely Not Good from a financial perspective. it's $170 just to walk into urgent care.) and yes, to contribute to herd immunity. further, i have immunocompromised folx and people who can't be vaxxed yet in my life, and if i got infected it might not be that bad for me, but could be very bad for them. additionally my county is still rated high for community transmission by the cdc, so i choose to minimize my contact with others regardless of vax status at this time, and mask when i must go out (groceries & laundry).

    vaxxed people may not be contagious for as long as unvaxxed folx, but can still catch and transmit the virus - and can transmit the delta virus at the same rate as the unvaxxed. and delta is more than 2x more contagious. i wish it was as simple as "don't worry about everyone else" or "if you don't like it stay home" or "survival of the fittest" etc but this disease does not work that way.

    and btw, the flu does not kill more than covid. during the 2018-19 flu season in the US, 34,200 people died of influenza as per the cdc. (2019-2020 was estimated at 22k, obviously less because of precautions taken for the pandemic which is why i chose to give the 18-19 data instead.) between february and april 2020 in the US, the covid death toll was at 52k. within a month we surpassed 100k, and by november we surpassed 240k. we passed 600k in june of this year.

    JD 11:53 PM  

    @Z, if it were from northern or central Italy I would have probably heard it.

    Here's something https://www.nytimes.com/1987/12/30/garden/life-in-the-30-s.html

    A 11:55 PM  

    Too late but I had already jotted down some comments so here they are - sorry mods. Cat litter box drama usurped my “post Labor Day cookout” blog time. Hours later, it remains to be seen whether the 19-year old cat will adapt. I may have to bivouac by the new box.

    So I finished yesterday’s puzzle today because I lost interest and busied myself with finding outdoorsy things to do. (Didn’t do any, just busied myself online finding them.) Decided to have another go this morning and - wham - oh, that’s the gimmick! (Saw the title but immediately forgot about it.) Enjoyed smoking out all the themers, but the fill - oh me oh meh. Did like the Genoa clue. And the Lead-off clue. And “present day.” Sadly, I was naticked by the rapper/plant genus.

    Today just seemed out of place. Better clue for 38a - “Fashionable, or where this puzzle should have been published instead of the New York Times.”

    A bit of sparkle in the cluing for the fill would’ve gone a long way to compensating for the ppp theme. Oh well, maybe tomorrow.

    If PETS came with your spouse are they your STEP PETS? And who has more PEP - AGILITY DOGS or INUIT SLED DOGS? Wait, it’s both!

    kitshef 7:40 AM  

    @albatross shell 10:07.

    With a couple of curmudgeonly exceptions, I am all on board with language evolves, it is pointless to grasp on to usage and pronunciation you learned in grade school, etc.

    But I think it is different when it comes to proper names.
    - It doesn't matter how many people spell it "Tenessee", you still you can't use it in a puzzle.
    - No matter how many people think Guyana is in Africa, you still can't clue it that way.
    - A billion people can think Gandhi's first name was "Mahatma", but that won't make it so.
    etc.

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