Woman's name derived from the Greek for peace / MON 10-18-21 / Nonvegan shortening / Super-miniature dog breed size

Monday, October 18, 2021

Constructor: Freddie Cheng

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

THEME: ART FORMS (37D: Various creative mediums ... or a hint to variations found in the shaded squares) — just the letters "ART" in various different orders a bunch of times:

Theme answers:
  • STAR QUARTERBACK (17A: Athlete who rarely gets sacked or has a pass intercepted)
  • RAT TRAPS (29A: Run-down places)
  • TARGET HEART RATE (33A: Figure to aim for, according to personal trainers)
  • PEAR TART (42A: Pastry made with an orchard fruit)
  • DEMOCRATIC PARTY (56A: Political group symbolized by a donkey)
Word of the Day: ODEON (23A: Classic cinema name) —
Odeon or Odeum (Ancient GreekᾨδεῖονŌideionlit. "singing place") is the name for several ancient Greek and Roman buildings built for musical activities such as singing, musical shows, and poetry competitions. Odeons were smaller than Greek and Roman theatres. (wikipedia) (lots of movie theaters are also named ODEON, mostly in Britain, though, I think)
• • •

What are we even doing here? Another total non-theme. This is an extremely thin concept, and the resulting themers aren't even terribly interesting. Look at how many of these ART FORMS are just ... ART (!?!?!). One two three ... four five ... nearly half the ART FORMS are just the word "ART"!! How is this a thing? And there's not a single "RTA or "ATR." Is the idea that the only "forms" that count are ones that are also words (or, in the case of "TRA," "words")? What a mess. TARGET HEART RATE is at least interesting and original on its own, though it's also the one that slowed me down the most, as my brain failed to parse it correctly, so much so that until almost the very last cross I was reading it as "TARGET THE something something." So weirdly, I liked best the thing that held me up the most. How often does that happen? Anyway, back to the theme? Nope, away from the theme. Nothing more to say about that. Except that the clue on STAR QUARTERBACK is very bad, actually. STAR QUARTERBACKs get sacked and throw interceptions All The Time. The career leader in interceptions thrown is one Mr. Brett Favre. Other Hall-of-Famers in the Top Ten of that stat are George Blanda, Fran Tarkenton, Johnny Unitas, Dan Marino, and Peyton Manning (inducted into the HOF just this year). 

I wish there was better news where the fill was concerned, but as you can see for yourself, there is not. Your typical OTTO-OTOE olde-tymey dance party, this one. SEAAIR? BAABAA? AAAS? OOH?APEMEN? ATIT? EKE IRENA? This fill is as creaky as ... I dunno, the ODEON that they somehow haven't condemned and razed to the ground yet, as yesteryear-cool as the dog name FIDO (still never, ever met a FIDO irl). I can only shake my head and shrug at this puzzle, which would've been filler material even 25 years ago. I didn't even have interesting mistakes or hiccups. What's worse, the hiccups I did have involved the most tedious of fill. I assumed [Pal] was not being said by a '50s cab driver with a 5 o'clock shadow and a cigar stub hanging out of the corner of his mouth, so I went with BUD, but apparently the correct answer is BUB, which no one has ever called their actual "pal." I also screwed up the laugh syllable (shocker), going with HARS instead of HAHS at first for 51D: Disbelieving laughs. I also had to read "nonvegan" a number of times because it looked like "norivegan" or ... I don't know, but it didn't look right without the hyphen. Looked like a chemical or pharmaceutical term. Ask your doctor about "norivegan." Really, truly baffled by everything about this puzzle. Again I'm left wondering where the fun is.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 12:00 AM  

Yeah, I have a pal in MAINE - what of it?

Why did I think the theme was going to be "liberal ARTs? Don't answer that.

Overly easy-peasy Mondee with a lot of the usual suspects and a theme that seemingly fell from yesterday's tree.
Or is its baby bro or sis, but definitely the same family.

The only real fun I had was IMAGONER. Big whoop there.

More enjoyable was misreading the clue for 7D as "Norwegian shortening" and trying to imagine one with a pickled herring base.
A happy tangent that mercifully led me away from a puzzle I think would insult the intelligence of even a beginner on her maiden solve.

No cherry-popping oomph to be found here, sorry to say.


jae 12:32 AM  

Medium. A tad bland and @Rex is right about BUB. Liked it just a skosh more the Rex did.

@bocamp - Croce’s Freestyle #653 was medium for a Croce. @Z - I got around 30% of it on my Saturday morning walk, peeked at it on it off and on during rest of Saturday (another 20% or so), and finished it on my Sunday morning walk.

Old Fart 1:58 AM  

Rex, you so and so, this was awesome

chefwen 2:17 AM  

Medium??? This was so frickin’ easy I was almost insulted.

Our first cat after we got married was named FIDO, but we spelled it Phydeaux. She was confused and thought she was a dog, great at retrieving wine corks and crumpled up pieces of paper, drop them at our feet to be thrown again. Our current kitty just looks at me as if to say “get it yourself, and don’t bother me again”.

@Fratic, you have arrived!

Robin 2:46 AM  

That "women's name derived from Greek for peace" appeared in the #NYTXW within the last few weeks and the answer then was IRENE. I have never met a woman IRENA. Maybe they're out there, but I'm guessing they're uncommon (in the US, anyway). OTOH, When in grad school, I knew a Greek woman named IRINI, whose name I will venture means "peace".

But a TEECUP dog seemed ridiculous, so I went with IRENA.

IIRC, it was indeed the HARS vs HAHS that screwed up my solving time because I didn't look at the clue for 61A until I was hunting down why the web app would not give me the happy pencil.

Anonymous 3:17 AM  

I was there for the whole norivegan incident. Saw the whole thing.

David 3:36 AM  

25 seconds off my fastest Monday time - that’s how easy this was. Didn’t take the time to notice the lack of ARTful variations, but I thought it was fun and clever enough.

Loren Muse Smith 3:55 AM  

I don’t know why palindromes and semordinlaps thrill me, but anagrams don’t. I do like the reveal and its spot-on-ness.

MAINE is one of my favorite states. Sure, it’s beautiful, cool in the summer, full of lobster blah blah, but it’s the people who make it great imo. I’ve never backed down from a stereotype, and I won’t start now. . . the Mainers I think of are the eco-conscious nature loving kayakers who manage to be such cool people without being all judgy of someone like me who isn’t as eco-conscious as I should be and who’d rather not kayak. (There’s a Chapel Hill kayakers-judging-me story here, but I’ll exercise some restraint and leave it alone.)

@Frantic – your Norwegian shortening was funny!

@chefwen – Phydeaux is a terrific name for a cat! I’ve always liked the epic idea of naming a pet Dammit.

I haven’t tried PHO yet, but I always notice that it’s hard to pronounce because it’s a one-syllable word that ends in a schwa. This is extremely weird. The only other one I can think of is the article the said in isolation. Ok. And huh. But still…

“Figure to aim for” when training? I’d aim for Jessica Alba’s

“Bread makers” STAR QUARTERBACKs. Certainly not teachers. I figure I work 65-80 hours a week as a teacher (my choice, but even then I don’t get’er done). Sometimes I daydream about a job where I’d punch a clock and work only those hours. So on the weekends, no grading, no planning.. . just tennis, Bravo TV, naps. Every now and then I check to remind myself that Walmart offers benefits to full-time employees. I could be a superstar there, man. I would be restocking the cereal, notice a shopper with a whappity whappity cart, run get a smooth one, and stun them by offering to transfer the items from the bad cart to the good cart. I would dominate the Employee of the Month display. The only thing stopping me is that telling people you work at Walmart is about as unimpressive as telling people you’re a public-school teacher. People say all the right things – Good for you! and Thank you for your service!, but no one’s fooling anyone. You’d say the same thing to someone who pumps out your septic tank.

The clue for EUREKA feels off, at least in my speech. I would never say that to indicate an epiphany. Mom’s being all weird and sullen and I can’t figure out why?.. . EUREKA! It’s her birthday and I forgot. Maybe I’m overthinking it.

Abigail 6:15 AM  

Made the same mistake with BUD/BUB, and your write up of it had me laughing out loud, so thank you for that! :)

Lewis 6:22 AM  

A lovely puzzle for crossword newcomers. It’s solvable with a theme that’s easy to catch; it’s also a theme that can help with the solve.

It’s also competently made. Look at how the reveal ART FORMS cuts through two theme answers; look at how the theme answers are not only symmetrical, but also balanced, that is the number of ART forms in the theme answers, from top to bottom, is 2-2-3-2-2, which please my Libra sensibilities.

I liked the five palindromes (BUB, ANA, EKE, AVA, OTTO) and the animal mini-theme, with HOG, FIDO, SLOTH, RAT, PRIDES, APE, TEACUP, HORNET, BOAR, BAA BAA, and wannabe OTTO (dog in “Beetle Bailey”). Not to mention the PuzzPair© of BAA BAA and FLUFF.

A thing of beauty, actually, which fits right in with the theme. Excellent puzzle, Freddie!

amyyanni 6:49 AM  

Agree, @Abigail. Rex's cab driver calling his fare BUB made me grin. And that's good for a Monday. Another great Braves game last night.

thfenn 6:58 AM  

Kicking off with MAINE got me hopeful, but this went downhill fast. Starting with BUB, which I agree is not what you call your pal. Then junk like ___ Andreas fault, is worse than pre-Monday. Didn't even like inhaling SEAAIR on an ocean cruise. But this one lost any intrigue when it let TRA in the door, but not ATR and RTA. And the overlapping art forms in HEARTRATE and PEARTART seem rudely arbitrary. LOL, really didn't like this one, and that's rare, so first thought at the end was "how on earth is @Lewis going to praise this mess?", but he managed.

kitshef 7:26 AM  

We’ve talked before about how on a Monday, if you are going to put celebrities in your grid, they have to be truly famous.

So, I have no idea who this CHER person is, but clearly not a Monday name.

If I live to be 200, I will never remember 'director DuVernay'. I always know it begins with an A, but AVA? ANA? ANI? ASA? ALI? It just doesn’t stick.

Overall, puzzle had pretty good fill and did a decent job of “Monday cluing” – which to me means easy but not overly familiar. But heavens to Betsy, what a stinker of a theme.

Son Volt 7:26 AM  

The ART FORM theme-play is fairly elegant - just a little boring for some. I had fun with it - the overall fill was decent and kept things moving. Liked the AA’s sub theme and UNHIP atop sordid PASTS. APE MEN was clunky and we get a Lion King follow up to yesterday’s SCAR and HYENAS with PRIDES. Not sure I would include both HOG and BOAR in the same grid.

Enjoyable Monday solve.

alexapharm 7:32 AM  

The fun, as always, is here on Rex’s snarky blog.

I’m pretty sure no one has ever called anyone BUB irl. That word only exists in fictional movies mythologizing mid-century Manhattan.

I thought there was a real missed opportunity to work in some clues that were relative to ART in some way, unlike STAR QUARTERBACK & PEAR TART et al.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I’ve seen worse though. This puzzle was neither terrible nor memorable.

dan 7:45 AM  

I didn’t mind it as much as Rex, but mostly that was because until it turned it I had a typo, I was cruising for around 3:30, which would be fast for me on a Monday.

But I’m here to say that while I’ve never met a Fido, I previously had a dog named Rover. (http//rover-planet.com). Some of us like deliberately silly pet names. If there weren’t a cellphone provider in Canada called Fido, we might well have named our new puppy Fido. (Instead, http://river.imstitute)

Twangster 8:03 AM  

I would rather have read Rex's review of this story than today's puzzle:


SouthsideJohnny 8:07 AM  

I agree that it’s a good introductory puzzle for potential newcomers, as it has a little bit of everything (including a foreign contingent, just a touch of PPP and even a quasi-word like IRENA). Any political hacks in the house - is it the DEMOCRAT or the DEMOCRATIC party ? The QUARTERBACK clue feels off (as a sports fan - it probably is close enough for CrossWorld). I also enjoyed the special guest appearance by my absolute favorite of the deadly sins, SLOTH.

mathgent 8:15 AM  

Lewis says, "A lovely puzzle for crossword newcomers." In other words, "This is what we feed to the pigs."

@kitshef (7:26). Seriously, you've never heard of CHER?

mathgent 8:24 AM  

Rex says there's no RTA in the puzzle. He overlooked PEARTART.

bocamp 8:26 AM  

Thx Freddie, fun and somewhat challenging Mon. puz! :)


Good start in the NW, except NOr for NOR, which proved to be a factor in making this puz harder than it should have been.

Otherwise, a very enjoyable solve. :)

yd pg -4

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Anonymous 8:29 AM  

@chefwen - I also had a cat named Fido, years ago. Standard spelling, in that one’s case. A good little mouser, that Fido.

Dr. Haber 8:37 AM  

Did anyone else put in Orion, the movie production company, for Odeon? Asking for a friend.

Keith D 8:40 AM  

@mathgent 8:24 am - that’s one of the more obnoxious posts I’ve seen on this blog. And that’s saying a lot. Congrats.

Unknown 8:43 AM  

Theme should have been "cream of tartar"...

SJM 8:45 AM  

I initially read nonvegan as Norwegian .. and was thinking whale blubber or some kind? Lol 😜

Anonymous 8:49 AM  

I read yesterday's write up just before reading this morning's. That's a LOT of Rex downer time in one go. My gosh he can be tiresome.

A large majority of us could begin our comments every day with "Liked it more than Rex did."

Trey 8:52 AM  

Exactly the same issues with BUB, HAH and nonvegan as @Rex.

Puzzle was OK to me but the theme fell flat. Really liked TARGET HEARTRATE as an answer. The rest was typical crossword fare to me

KnittyContessa 8:52 AM  

@Frantic Sloth, I too read 7D as Norwegian Shortening and spent a moment wondering if they made LARD from Herring. I also misread 2D.

Had IRENe before IRENA but found it quickly.

Happy Monday!

Anonymous 8:56 AM  

More than a few (rat) traps for those of us who do acrosses first. Lost some fairly significant (for a Monday) time at BUd for BUB, spot for FIDO, loEws for ODEON, inert for NOBLE, IRENe for IRENA.

And on the downs, I also got bit by HArS for HAHS.

Above average time at 3:55, so definitely medium.

Trey 9:03 AM  

@unknown 8:43 - “cream of tartar” would have been almost perfect

Nancy 9:16 AM  

Oh, the irony. In this mindlessly easy puzzle, I did have one hiccup. Once I had the "D", my microwave told me it was "DONE"! Such a smart, sophisticated microwave! Much smarter than your microwave which only goes "DING".

But I'm a real Luddite who has very few gadgets -- and the gadgets I allow in my life are all pretty dumb. Which is exactly how I like them. My microwave -- about 35 years old -- goes DING too, of course. Why I allowed it to actually talk to me today is a mystery.

Why am I going on and on about my microwave? Well, there's not much else to talk about in the puzzle. A creampuff of a solve -- though I do think coming up with three theme gridspanners is worthy of some [very] faint praise.

puzzlehoarder 9:17 AM  

Xwordinfo (the website run by Mr. GSPOT) tells me that in all the history of the NYTXW today is the first time IRENA has been clued in reference to it's "peaceful" origins. Prior to this it's always been for IRENE. It's one of those entries you put in reflexively and it led to a bothersome typo. Just a reminder of how annoying the editors' playfulness with clues can be.

yd -1 (#@$&*% double T)

George 9:27 AM  

OTOE / OLSEN is an acceptable cross, to the types of people who frequent this blog, because OTOE is frequently used.

but OLSON and OLSEN is a coin flip, and OTOE isn't a Monday word.

i'm just imagining myself as a first time solver, someone who doesn't know what a Natick is, saying to themselves, "wait, one of these should help me with the other one, right? i dont know either of these proper nouns. wait, so this is basically a coin flip! i thought this was a puzzle."

CDilly52 9:33 AM  

Hoo Boy! My Norwegian shortening thought (which got me well and truly stuck) was trying to think of a “shortened” word for a person of Norwegian descent! Put that in your LARD. bucket and bake a pie!

That’s absolutely all I have. Have a great week everybody.

Anonymous 9:34 AM  

@kitshef (7:26) Please tell me you were kidding about Cher, who is among the world's best-selling music artists and winner of a Grammy, Emmy and Oscar!!

RooMonster 9:41 AM  

Hey All !
Is ART FORMS symmetric partner IM A GONER commentary on the theme? Asking for an ART lover.

TAR ART - Street painting?
RAT TRA - Defective rodent catcher??
TAR ART RAT - Teller on a graffiti artist?
ART ART - Monet. e.g.
RAT ART - Drawing of the Pied Piper luring pests away

Or something.

Not completely terrible, like Rex says, but not the best theme ever. Kind of strange with the Black Sides surrounding the ARTs. Is that part of the FORMS? Seems a bunch of FLUFF to me. (Great F-tastic word!)

Oh, btw, (waves) HI MOM!

SEA AIR, is there LAND AIR? I breathe it everyday.

TWAS a puz in the NYTimes,
Was often good at times.
But lately, in these times,
They seem to be behind the times.

Don't want to waste any more times.

That poor poem is reflective of the ART that's not really mixed in this puz. My opinion. Or am I UNHIP?

Four F's

jberg 9:42 AM  

@Frantic -- yeah, me too for Norwegian lard. It's the tiny little type in the newspaper, which I can sort of read without going to get my reading glasses, but sometimes... I wasn't clever enough to think of something herring-related, though, just figured my people do a lot of baking, and most baked goods are better with LARD. So it was a fun misreading.

As for the theme -- there are only 6 possible permutations of the three letters, and I felt it would have been more elegant to use each one once, or maybe twice, rather than the random combination here. That's a very fine point, though.

And whatever happened to the OLSEN twins? They used to be closely controlled by their MOM (HI!), but I supposoe they're too old for that by now.

@Kitshef, what works for me is that I remember that the her first name has a V in it, to match the V in Duvernay.

Lewis 9:45 AM  

So, this is a Monday puzzle. It is targeted toward new solvers. I can tell you how new solvers think in general because I’ve taught many of them. For three years, until Covid, I taught crossword solving classes (three levels – easy, medium, and hard) at an adjunct of UNC-Asheville.

New solvers, most of all, want to feel successful. They want to learn to become better solvers. They want to learn how crosswords work. They are thrilled if they fill in a grid or learn new solving tips. They want to see what crosswords are all about.

They don’t want to feel frustrated. They want something easy-ish, but not embarrassingly easy. They don’t care whether a word is crosswordese or not. They don’t care if a theme is not sophisticated. Actually, most new solvers aren’t aware that crosswords can have themes.

Which brings up another point. It’s the responsibility of the makers and editors of Monday puzzles to introduce new solvers to the intricacies of crosswords. That crosswords have themes, that there can be answers that they don’t know but will still get because of crosses. That clues don’t have to be direct, indeed, they can be fuzzy and even funny. They need to be introduced to wordplay, as well as answers that will show up again and again in future puzzles.

Today’s puzzle has a spoken clue – [“It’s curtains for me!”] – an abbreviation clue, and a question-mark-ending wordplay clue – [Prehistoric human relations?]. All of these are terrific to introduce new solvers to. It has a theme that can’t be missed plus a reveal. [Pal] is a fuzzy clue. There are answers that may not come right away, but they are fairly crossed.

For who the Monday puzzle is for, Today’s puzzle is excellent, IMO, and the difficulty level appropriate. I believe it does its job – serving new solvers -- very well.

Nancy 9:45 AM  

@Keith D -- I have the very great privilege of knowing @mathgent off-blog and I can tell you that he is one of the sweetest, kindest and most thoughtful of other people's feelings you can imagine. His comment today was an abbreviated version of a much clearer and more cogent comment he made within the last few weeks: that to cater to new solvers on Mondays and Tuesdays required offering swill to everyone else.

His point isn't that new solvers are pigs, but that too-easy puzzles are swill -- unworthy of the NYTXW. You may not agree with his point of view: that too-easy puzzles are an insult to everyone's intelligence and should not be the rule of thumb on Mondays or any other day. But it's a legitimate point of view that's shared by many. FWIW, I'm one of them.

Hopefully, enough people here have come to know and love @mathgent over the years that he won't be similarly misjudged by anyone else.

Lewis 9:52 AM  

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

1. Glass elevator? (7)
2. What breaks as it first comes out (4)
3. Water gait? (4)
4. Regional dog variety (5)
5. Wolf's home? (3)


Whatsername 9:54 AM  

You won’t reach your TARGET HEART RATE by working up a sweat over this puzzle, that’s for sure. But that’s OK because it’s Monday and I don’t expect to. I liked that the theme actually provided a hands-on hint to the solve, although it was unusual to have the word ART repeated in the revealer.

Not that I’m complaining but Rex is right about the mustiness of the fill, including the DING for microwave. I can remember the older models making that type of sound but seems like nowadays they all beep.

BLOC crossing DEMOCRATIC PARTY was noteworthy. And look! There’s our very own SLOTH!! Right at the top of the heap where she belongs, naturally.

Karl Grouch 9:56 AM  

Not really state-of-the-art.

XwordRaider 9:57 AM  

I’m guessing all of y’all saying no one calls their PAL, BUB, have not spent much time in Texas. I even call my dog BUB quite frequently.

SouthsideJohnny 9:59 AM  

@Lewis (9:45) - excellent insight, thanks for sharing. I wish Rex would occasionally include such nuggets of wisdom in his write up from time-to-time instead of ranting and raving like Lear in the castle about tangential information that nobody really cares about.

TJS 10:08 AM  

My God, I was thinking I would be the only one to agree with @Frantic about Norwegian lard and it turns out about half of us saw it that way. Far out. (Yeah, I'm that old.)

Who is Cher ? I'm trying to think how old someone could be at not know the name. Six or under, I'm thinkin. It's a joke, right @k ?

OFL worked up about a Monday. Hah.

TJS 10:09 AM  

Oh yeah, @Frantic, I like the sneaky joke.

MarthaCatherine 10:09 AM  

No problem at all with MOOSE/MOONY. Plunked it right in without a thought. Not sure why. I guess I'm just that good.

I thought the biggest bugaboo would be the DoNe vs DING issue at 24D, which caught me. I see a few others (Hi, Nancy!) made the same error.

Zed 10:11 AM  

@Twangster - Rex commented on Twitter, managing to approve of the article and open a tiny window into his low opinion of Shortz. Here you go.

Letters make words. W00T W00T.

Nori vegans only eat sushi. Norwegian shortening is used in whale sushi. Wrapped in nori.

I solved on the web using the NYTX web app. Just as awful as the iPad app. No, I do not care to know when I've reached some faux completion benchmark.
I went to browser to solve to check that it is still true that you can scroll down and get the other Sunday variety puzzles. You can, as a pdf. There are some other puzzles there, too.

tea73 10:19 AM  

I thought this was a fine Monday puzzle, though it actually took me a little longer than my average Monday. Like @Nancy my microwave said "Done!" and like many I wrote "BUd" and couldn't figure out who made bread - since it could be slang for earning money as well. Finally before I figured out the theme was ART I had apple pie. I always think it's good for a Monday puzzle to have a little bit of crosswordese like OTOE and OTTO - beginners are going to have to learn those words sooner or later!

Anonymous 10:30 AM  

No. That's two ARTs in a row. Hate to agree with Rex, but he's right this time.

C.I. Vility 10:32 AM  

Thanks, Lewis (9:45am), for reminding us that the puzzles are not only targeted to experienced, dedicated and, in some cases, obsessive hobbyists, but are designed for a much broader and diverse solving audience.

@Sounthsidejohnny (8:07 am): "Democrat Party" is a pejorative term created by the Newt Gingrich republicans in the early 1990's. It was meant to demean and insult -like bullies calling kids names on the middle school playground.

beverly c 10:34 AM  

Although I don't look forward to the Monday puzzle as much as the late week ones, I enjoyed IMAGONER.

@Lewis Thanks for the description of what this puzzle provided for new solvers and why.
I think good crosswords require flexible thinking and promote accuracy with language use. Great things to teach.

Re @Kitshef not knowing Cher. OMG I guess we all slide into oblivion sooner than we think!

bocamp 10:36 AM  

Correction to my post of 8:26 AM: had 4D: NOt before NOR, which left me with 17A: STAt, preventing me from seeing the obvious, STAR QUARTERBACK. This, along with the heavy bracketing lines (which confused me) contributed to this being a somewhat tough solve.

Fave CHER movie: 'Mask'.

@jae (12:32 AM)

Thx, looking forward to it! :)

td pg -1 (missed an easy one)

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

beverly c 10:39 AM  

The STARQUARTERBACK doesn't get sacked as in fired.

JD 10:43 AM  

Same as @Southside, including the thought on Democratic but I think that's a recent thing isn't it? Who says the Democrat Party?

Tar, Art & Sloth LLP, representing back road patchers, painters and competition cruciverbalists.

Pal and Bug are interchange in 1930s gangster flicks:

Listen Pal! We're watchin' you.
Outta my way Bub.

JohnK 10:47 AM  

My microwave beeps, but the funniest thing about it is that display says "good" when it's finished. I've never seen that before and I kind of like it.

What? 10:56 AM  

CHER is not famous? My God, how old am I?

StevieO 10:58 AM  


Whatsername 11:15 AM  

 SLOTH ART. Who knew??

Masked and Anonymous 11:17 AM  

RATPACKS! All-righty, then.

staff weeject pick/pack: ART. honrable mention to RAT.

IMAGONER was the neatest longball entry, but M&A sorta shares @Roo's completeness concerns, as it was synched up with theme revealer ARTFORMS. Sooo … maybe change IMAGONER to SMARTCAR, or somesuch?

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Laziest of the deadly sins} = SLOTH.
That clue mighta been extra-eazy-E at our house, since M&A once had a [so-far-unpublished] runtpuz entry clued up as {Taking pride in lazily eating twenty cinnamon rolls, killing the neighbor's cat, and getting pretty sore at another neighbor for having such a hot wife??}. Will have to publish that puppy, sometime soon; has somethin in it to offend almost everybody except CHER, whoever that is -- har.

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Cheng dude.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


Joaquin 11:18 AM  

I don't know much about art, but I know what I like.

And today I like all the commentary better than the puzzle. But it's Monday, so that's fine with me.

kitshef 11:23 AM  

@jberg - that sounds like the kind of thing that might actually help. I use little mnemonics a ton, like the order of the colors of the flag of Mail I remember by thinking of GYRating Malians (Green Yellow Red). Feel free to use that one when you next need to remember that flag.

Joseph Michael 11:36 AM  

Hand up for traveling straight to Norway when I read the clue for 7D.

Easy, but enjoyable puzzle for a Monday. Wanted BRO for “pal” at 11A. Got to the correct answer by thinking about the thug at the bar whom you accidentally bump into. He swings around, clenches his fist, and says, “Watch it, pal.” Or maybe he says “Watch it, BUB.”

A dog the size of a tee cup would be a super-duper-miniature dog indeed. Thank you, IRENA. for increasing the little FIDO to the size of a TEA CUP.

@egs yesterday finding the RED HAT in HATRED — brilliant!

Tim Carey 11:38 AM  

To me, IRENA seemed ridiculous, so I went with TEeCUP. I solve on paper, so no "happy pencil" in any event.

Carola 11:40 AM  

Suitably Monday easy, nice reveal. I smiled at the cross of RHETT and HEART RATE. When I was in 8th grade, my mom took me to a big city movie palace for a revival showing of Gone with the Wind...and zowie. (Not implying any defense of the indefensible in the film.)

For the BUB doubters: To @XwordRaider's dog, I can add the daughter of some good friends: her name is Lisa, but her parents always call her BUB.

Me, too: Norwegian shortening, BUd, IRENe.

Gio 11:50 AM  

I fostered a dog named Spot. He had one big spot on his back. That name was so yesteryear-cool and old-timey and reeked so much of yore that I loved it. I was crushed when the people who adopted him changed it to, Toby, blech. He's always gonna be Spot to me.

sixtyni yogini 12:00 PM  

For my pART I have an ART bias —so I loved it!
Yes, easy, ARTfully easy.
More ART and creativity, please!
Well it’s a stART!

Pete 12:03 PM  

I have neighbors who simultaneously lives
a) Next door,
b) One house away, and
c) Two houses away.

Anyway, several years ago they hosted a fundraiser at their house with CHER the main attraction. No one for miles will ever forget, or forgive, that night, as it went on until 3 in the morning.

Whatsername 12:14 PM  

@chefwen and Loren: I once saw a wall plaque of a big FLUFFy yellow cat. The caption said “Hello. My name is Bad … Bad Kitty.”

@Dr. Haber (8:37) ORION for ODEAN? Yes, although it pains me to admit it.

@Lewis (9:45) What an excellent summation. I have mentored a few new solvers and for that reason, always prefer that early week puzzles be a little too easy rather than difficult enough to discourage them. I don’t expect to be challenged on Monday and I’m happy to make that “sacrifice“ for the sake of those in the early stages of solving.

@bocamp (10:36) Agree CHER gave an incredible performance in Mask but my all-time favorite is her Oscar-winning turn in Moonstruck. Second to that, I’d have to choose another one of her earlier roles in Silkwood, for which she was nominated in the Supporting category.

burtonkd 12:15 PM  

C.I. Vility, Southside, JD - I always thought the retort to the "Democrat Party" should be to call back with the "Republic Party". Sounds kind of Fascistic, Darth Vader-y. Wishful thinking to hope for that putting a stop to schoolyard name-calling at the highest levels of our government...

I found all the bold vertical lines to be distracting, but am glad they didn't require some kind of strange rebus. Good long phrases for a Monday.

Is there a moose on Maine's coat of arms?

old timer 12:21 PM  

A little slow for me on a Monday, probably because I wanted to have a nice Plum TART instead of one made with PEARs. We used to have a Santa Rosa Plum tree; most ended rotting on the ground, but some, indeed, were used to make delicious desserts.

It is of course the DEMOCRATIC PARTY. There is a tradition among Senate GOP leaders to call it the DEMOCRAT party. Being old, I remember old Ev Dirksen saying that back in the 50s, just to pull the Donkey's tail, or chain. I also remember when many Senate Democrats were segregationists, and the Republicans were for integration, and those Negroes who could vote in the South voted Republican just like their grandparents. Of course in some communities, you could predict in advance who would be allowed to vote: The Principal of the colored school, the two or three leading preachers, and maybe a few retired house servants.

I have to say, I have seen many Monday puzzles that were a bit easier, and way more elegant. OFL is quite right to pan this one.

Mr. Benson 12:27 PM  

PEART ART = an especially great solo by the late Rush drummer.

I was also looking for something like “backup quarterback” for the reasons Rex was suggesting — great quarterbacks do get sacked and throw interceptions.

GILL I. 12:35 PM  

I can feel something inside me say: IMA HOG....Dedicated by CHER and thanks to 3D and 20A.
I like Mondays because I usually can find a little sumpin fun to reminisce about. The three dudes and dudettes that walk into a bar are: AAAS, OOH and HAHS. They are from the SLOTHs Norwegian pickled herring area. They don't order beer, they order mackerel with a side of sardines from SPAIN. RHETT, the butler cum bartender almost WETS his OLSEN. TWAS a sight to behold. They settled for the PEAR TARTE offered by UNHIP OTTO....they took it along with a BUB light.

Hey @Lewis...Great post at 9:45. I remember our friend ACME trying to explain how difficult it was to construct a good Monday dedicated to new solvers. You explained it well. That's why I try and have some fun where I can.

This and That 12:35 PM  

Until I read @Mathgent 8:24, I didn't see that the ARTART of PEARTART contains RTA and TAR. Neat!

There's shortening and then there's THIS

I know many of you remember STARQUARTERBACK Bart STARR of the Packers.

@Rex misunderstood the sense of BUB that was clued by Pal.

JC66 12:42 PM  

@This and That

re: Bart Starr, check out LMS's avatar (3:55 AM).

Zed 12:42 PM  

@kitshef - Here’s a mnemonic device for you. Nothing says CHER quite like riding astraddle a 68’ gun. I understand 200 sailors watched the taping and stood at salute the whole time.*

@Whatsername - Zits just did a whole week of Sloth humor.

@C.I.Vility - I always assumed Newt et al. started it out of ignorance and continued because it irked Democrats so much.

@Mary Catherine - Wrong Day, I think.

*@Mikey from El Prado - I added the last sentence just for you. 😂🤣😂

JC66 12:46 PM  


Or you could remember that she didn't direct AVATAR. 😂

This and That 12:50 PM  

I'll try again on the link in my 12:35 post.

There's shortening and there's THIS

Teedmn 1:04 PM  

TARGET HEART RATE - I wonder what happened to the measuring MANIA of yester-year. Back in the early aughts, I had one of those heart rate monitors for when I was running. And it was inevitable, when in a running or bike race, that someone's alarm would be going off, indicating they had overshot the target. Maybe it's all done with fitbit thingies now - no tight belt around one's chest anymore.

I had Rex's BUd - I was more willing to imagine there was a brand name bread maker dAKERS than to change 11A to BUB (but I did make the change.)

I can never remember if it's the OLSEN twins or the OLSoNs. At least OTOE (OTOo?) did not make me guess today.

Unknown 1:04 PM  

@ Lewis 9:45

Thank you.

mathgent 1:12 PM  

My favorite posts this morning.

Loren (3:55)
kitshef (7:26)
Nancy (9:45)
Lewis (9:52)

Brian 1:20 PM  

Maine is also the only State with one syllable and one neighbor

Anonymous 1:37 PM  

except @mathgent is wrong. It is pe art art.

Keith D 1:40 PM  

@Nancy 9:45 - I wasn’t judging (or misjudging) mathgent, merely commenting on his comment… which basically translates to “how dare you sully our private little crossword club with these pedestrian puzzles that are, sigh, far too easy for us intellectuals.” It’s obnoxious.

Read Lewis’ comment at 9:45. After that, read it again.

bocamp 1:40 PM  

@Whatsername (12:14 PM)

TEeing up 'Silkwood' to watch later this week. 'Moonstruck', not my CUPpa TEA, no disrespect to CHER's performance, tho.

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Anonymous 1:44 PM  

What was the point of the dark vertical lines flanking the ART forms? These squares were already shaded.

okanaganer 3:08 PM  

Have to agree the theme is underwhelming, but it is Monday.

Re @Chefwen's cat named Phydeaux... my boss had a dog named Dioji (my imagined spelling). One day I asked him "is that Japanese?" He looked at me like I was a moron and said "D - O - G".

[SB: I have been off the grid at the lake since Thurs, so no puzzle yd for me. td pg-8 after just a few minutes, but I have to say there is a very unusual feature today to do with word lengths...]

Smith 5:16 PM  


HAr for HAH, here's looking at you!

Last night: knew your first name, now your last. Used to work at [your last name] School, named for he who invented the telegraph.

Jeff B. 5:40 PM  

Probably the worst NY Times puzzle I've ever done! Bad clues, incoherent them, answers that made no sense or just aren't things- BUB for a pal? And the clues that made sense were boring. The worst was the revealer.

Unknown 5:45 PM  

New Brunswick?

DGD 6:12 PM  

Gingrich & friends definitely used it that way, but I heard it way before him spoken by Republicans, who didn't want to call the opposition "democratic".
Clearly highly partisan. Always annoyed me since I first heard it.

Nancy 6:13 PM  

What a witty kitty comment section today! I love the name "Phydeaux" (@chefwen) and I love the name "Bad" Kitty (@Whatsername). The dog wit is pretty good too: "Dioji" (@okanager: "Is it a Japanese dog?")

It sets my teeth on edge whenever I hear Republican pols say "Democrat Party." This ungrammatical, illiterate-sounding put-down almost always comes from the most noxious, malignant and thoroughly ruthless members of the GOP. Like @c,i,Vility, I thought this epithet began with Newt Gingrich. I didn't realize, @Old Timer, that it goes all the way back to Everett Dirkson in the '50s. But @burtonkd has a wonderful rejoinder: Just refer to them as the "Republic Party" each time they say it. A taste of their own medicine and who knows? -- maybe it would stop them. Smart idea, @burtonkd.

Joe Dipinto 6:58 PM  

@Kitshef, a quiz for you:
What do these seemingly disparate things have in common?

1. Gypsies
2. Duane Allman
3. Tramps
4. Bob Mackie gowns
5. Thieves
6. Sonny Bono
7. Half-Breed
8. Plastic surgery
9. Jukebox musical
10. Autotune "influencer"

Your answer: ______

Btw, thanks late yesterday for pointing out that @Z had pointed out the Trainor/bass player thing. Clearly I only had time to peruse-meaning-skim-casually rather than peruse-meaning-read-thoroughly the comments.

JC66 7:20 PM  

@Joe D


Rand McN 7:41 PM  

@brian (1:20 pm). And which do you count as that "one border?" Quebec, New Brunswick, or New Hampshire?

albatross shell 8:09 PM  

I also did much the same as @MarthaCatherine1009am did with her steangely-yesterday comment with ?oose ?oony except I thought of the g. I thought m was more likely in both cases because m was better for a coat of arms and a better pun for space cadet.

I also agree with XwordRaider957am except I came at it from the opposite direction. I thought of it as a challenging or threatening remark. Say in a bar to someone whose name you do not know: Hey pal/BUB I don't think I like what you seem to be saying about Texans. I see a couple others agree too.

I can understand why Mask might be one's favorite movie. I'd put Moonstruck ahead of it. A better movie overall too. Then there is Come Back to the Five and Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean. And a few more good movies too. Her film career is excellent. Some very good directors too. I always wish she had done more.

Speaking of yesterday. @Roo. all those times I've pointed out your name in puzzles, and you give me an S HELL. OK, it was a good observation, but you're off my Christmas list for a couple months.

egsforbreakfast 8:13 PM  

What is ART? Sorry to contribute this drivel so late, but prepping the yard for sod turns out to be a big chore for a 68 year old guy. Love Phideaux, et al. Reminds me of my Mom’s name for our two cats when I was just a tyke: Galore and Illac.

TTrimble 8:57 PM  

@Joe Dipinto
And "I got you babe".

(But enough of the piling on. Much of this is culture-specific. For example, if someone lives on the other side of the pond, can we be sure that all this is would be assumed knowledge?)

Guess I can agree with Rex that this is creaky and has a slightly musty odor. Dentures and dandruff. On the other hand, comfortable, like an old pair of slippers. At least for those of, ahem, a certain age. The theme is easy, but unexciting.

I think I disagree with those who question IRENA. Certain Irina would be common in Eastern Europe and Russia, and IRENA is just a variant thereof.

With @bocamp, hand up for considering NOt before NOR. I could expand on this if need be. I'm not sure that "conjunction" has a fixed meaning in logic as a binary operator (which NOt is not), but certainly there are circles that accept "not" as a logical connective. There are silly conventions at stake here. Hey folks: this is really important stuff.


td 0. I was indignant at first that "bunning" was unacceptable. "The young dancers are bunning their hair" (putting their hair in a bun). As the father of a dancer, I can almost guarantee I've heard this about a hundred times, but it seems harder to justify with online sources. Hey: I'd accept this over "callaloo" any day -- to name but one example.)

Joe Dipinto 9:44 PM  

@TTrimble – true about culture specificity, but I'm unconvinced that @kitshef wasn't being tongue-in-cheek. (Aside: I was sure some sort of "tongue-in-cheek" emoji would pop up and try to insert itself there, but it didn't, hallelujah.)

RooMonster 11:42 PM  

Oh, dang @albatross! The SHELL never occurred to me! Rats.

I did like your Roo pointing-outing. Hopefully I can sneak back into your good graces!

RooMonster Unobservant Guy

Charles Young 12:52 AM  

aVa as in duVernay.

Unknown 1:38 AM  

In "It's a Wonderful Life," Clarence says “we do not use money in Heaven. “George replies, “Well, it comes in real handy down here, BUB!” So I guess the word was popular in the 40s.

thefogman 9:53 AM  

This one was so thin I could read the funnies on the other side of the puzzle.

spacecraft 11:13 AM  

...but is it art? Nah. Double-bogey.

Burma Shave 12:02 PM  


go ATIT her HEARTRATE's insane,
but IT's NOBLE of HYMN to care,


rondo 12:07 PM  

A totally new way to misuse TAR.
CHER or either of the OLSENs.

Diana, LIW 1:22 PM  

RAT ART What a great way to start an art week.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoaster 3:36 PM  

BUB for “Pal”??

TEACUP for "miniature dog breed”?
HAHS for “disbelieving laughs”?

Okay I guess, but not BUB.

spacecraft 6:13 PM  

It's a real thing. The little yappers are supposed to fit in a teacup.

thomas 7:14 PM  
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thomas 7:44 PM  
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