Nintendo villain with an upside-down M on his cap / MON 11-8-21 / Acronym for a multiaward accomplishment / Good name for a postseason football game sponsored by General Mills / Justice League member who's super-speedy / Magical power informally

Monday, November 8, 2021

Constructor: Carl Larson

Relative difficulty: Easyish


THEME: "QUEEN" (1A: Honorific given to 17-, 27-, 43- and 58-Across) — theme answers are four singers all of whom have been referred to (with highly varying degrees of iconicness) as "The QUEEN of ___"; the theme clues supply the genre:

Theme answers:
  • DONNA SUMMER (17A: "Disco")
  • ARETHA FRANKLIN (27A: "Soul")
  • ELLA FITZGERALD (43A: "Jazz")
  • LORETTA LYNN (58A: "Country")
Word of the Day: Menotti's "AMAHL and the Night Visitors" (15A) —
Amahl and the Night Visitors is an opera in one act by Gian Carlo Menotti with an original English libretto by the composer. It was commissioned by NBC and first performed by the NBC Opera Theatreon December 24, 1951, in New York City at NBC Studio 8H in Rockefeller Center, where it was broadcast live on television from that venue as the debut production of the Hallmark Hall of Fame. It was the first opera specifically composed for television in the United States. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is disappointing in a handful of ways. I enjoy the music of all these singers, and I'm happy to see them, fine, fine. But the "revealer" placement is weird, and the lack of a symmetrical themer for the revealer is weird, and LORETTA LYNN simply isn't known as "The Queen of Country." Certainly not nearly as well-known by that title as the other QUEENs are by theirs. ARETHA FRANKLIN is obviously the big winner here in terms of aptness. The QUEEN of Soul. Undisputed. Iconic. That's her title. ELLA FITZGERALD has a bunch of monikers, and I don't know that "QUEEN of Jazz" is the best-known one, but it's definitely in there, and DONNA SUMMER is most certainly "QUEEN of Disco" (the phrase is in the title of her NYT obit). But if you google [queen of country], LORETTA LYNN doesn't even register. You'll see DOLLY PARTON there (same number of letters as LORETTA LYNN, btw ... seems like a coincidence that might come in handy for some constructor some day). DOLLY PARTON, however, doesn't like the term, mostly because she claims (and she's not alone) that the real QUEEN of Country is Kitty Wells, though she also mentions "others like Loretta and Tammy (Wynette)." The documentary "Queens of Country" covers no fewer than *six* singers: Dolly, Loretta, and Tammy, along with Patsy Cline, Bobbie Gentry, and Tanya Tucker. No one's disputing that LORETTA LYNN is a legend, but she's one among many. But Loretta is just *a* queen, one of many with a claim to that title. The others in this grid are all undeniably *the* queens of their respective genres. True, the revealer just says "Honorific given," it says nothing about the honorific being singular and undisputed. But still, LORETTA LYNN really clanks as the outlier here. 


The rest of the grid was just a little dull. Lots of repeaters, and then AMAHL which still I have never seen outside of crosswords; definitely crosswordese, but not (usually) Monday crosswordese. I don't know why I have a thing against "AMAHL and the Night Visitors," but I do. It somehow hits me as more crosswordesey than even ICE-T or Enya or Eno because those artists all have long, influential careers that would seem to merit their standing as part of the crossword vocabulary Permanent Collection, whereas AMAHL ... it's just this one TV opera. I dunno. I hear it's good. I'm just mad that there's so much blah in this puzzle and not enough zing. Also, mad that one of the two long Downs, and therefore one of the two more interesting answers in the puzzle, gets ruined by a truly horrible joke clue: CEREAL BOWL (11D: Good name for a postseason football game sponsored by General Mills, question mark). It's long and ungainly and desperately unfunny. Why? This leaves ROPE LADDER as the only non-themer of any interest. I like it. I cling to it. 

["Hey Nineteen, that's 'retha Franklin! / She don't remember the QUEEN of Soul"]

NRA is always garbage but especially when you give it this bullshit press-release clue (42D: Org. supporting the Second Amendment). The phrase "well regulated" appears in the Second Amendment, so yeah, no, that's not what they "support." The idea that it's just a bunch of Amendment enthusiasts over there ... that's rich. They're being sued by the state of NY for fraud and other financial misconduct, much of it comically outlandish. They're the worst and clues should reflect that. Or, better yet, never put NRA in a grid ever again for any reason. It's doable. Why is NRA still in your wordlist? Delete it. Also, why are we still (clearly) aspiring to the pangram as a crossword constructing goal. You can feel the low-key Scrabble f-ing in this one, so I looked and sure enough, clean sweep of the alphabet ... for what? For what? How was enjoyment helped? All I can think about is how it was impeded by the meaningless pangram goal, how the grid might've been much better if the constructor had thought about clean, fresh fill instead of running the alphabet (a "feat" most people aren't even going to notice). Sigh. I made two errors today: IRATE for IRKED (32D: Cheesed off) ("cheesed"?? What year is it, and is "AMAHL and the Night Visitors" debuting in that year?) and ADAPT (!) for ADMIT (29D: "You gotta ___ ..."). Hey, go see "The French Dispatch," it's a treat for the eyes and a really inspiring movie about the importance of writers' and artists' commitments to their own highly distinctive personal visions. OK bye.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

103 comments:

Frantic Sloth 12:14 AM  

A 1A revealer? Really?? C'mon!

And honestly, do we need further hintage after "Mona ___"? Even I find that insulting.

I wouldn't want to clean up after Rex read this clue for 52D (NRA): "Org. supporting the Second Amendment". His head explodes when it's not referring to the domestic terrorist organization.

Not a fan of this one even though I really liked the theme (not the revealer placement) and the people it's comprised of. Much of the cluing was waaay too easy and blah - even for the Mondee.

This can prove dangerous. When I'm backed into a corner of a joyless room, things like this happen:


***Worst "Story" Ever Alert***

AMMO CAMO EDNA BRO
LASSO LISA CAPN JOE

FRITZ & SMITH & ICET PAUL
MADE OLD LOKI DRESS AMAHL

SNIP and RETAG TEXT and AWS
ADMIT NEWER RYE LEASHLAW(s)

AKITA EDDIE ACTS up GAS
HES AVOID(ing) IRKED QUEEN NAS


*sigh* Sorry.


.5🧠
πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰ (for the theme)

Jyqm 12:31 AM  

Well, I’ll step in early and cape for Menotti. “AMAHL and the Night Visitors” is a lovely little opera, and it is certainly iconic as *the* television opera, and one that served as very popular Christmas programming for quite a few years in the early days of the medium. Call it an Eisenhower-era oldie, it is. And I might try to avoid it on a Monday, though the crosses here are all more than fair. But it’s eminently crossworthy, and not just as -ese.

Anyway, enough about “Amahl.” The real fun for OPERA fans in this puzzle is the absolutely delightful clue: “Carmen or Elektra.” That’s the kind of sublime highbrow-meets-lowbrow intersectionality that is the reason I love crosswords.

Joaquin 12:33 AM  

For some reason I did not "feel the low-key Scrabble f-ing in this one." Maybe that's because I really don't understand what "low-key Scrabble f-ing" actually is. Are high-value letters supposed to be saved for special occasions?

okanaganer 12:40 AM  

Nice work Rex with the video combining ARETHA and Queen of Soul.

I liked seeing DONNA SUMMER, as I have recently appreciated how ground breaking was her hit I Feel Love. The amazing thing is, she was doing an album of hits through the ages, and I Feel Love was her imagining of a hit from the future. Nicely predicted Donna; one of the most influential pop tunes of the 20th century.

Fun clue "Aye-aye guy" for CAPN.

[Spelling Bee: td (Sun.): 0 (QB 3 days in a row). My final "word" was this thing. Ick.]

chefwen 1:03 AM  

@Frantic - Right you are, 1A spoiled the whole puzzle, brought it down to a “no brainer”. Too easy, even for a Monday.

Robin 1:42 AM  

I knew this clueing would piss off Rex, but hey, met too! Does NRA do jack s--t anymore other than defend their ass in bankruptcy court due to the corruption of Wayne LaPierre and his minions?

jae 2:52 AM  

Easy-medium. bosn before CAPN was my only erasure. The theme moved this into the “liked it” zone for me.

The most recent Nat Geo genius series was on ARETHA. I highly recommend it.

@bocamp - Croce’s Freestyle #659 was pretty easy, i.e. a medium NYT Saturday. Good luck!

Anonymous 3:17 AM  

I'm running through this and it occurs to me, Why am I doing this? Seemed so blah. The pangram hypothesis resonates with me.

Breakfast Tester 3:25 AM  

I’ve been reading this blog for years. From it I’ve learned a lot. I often agree with Rex’s assessments and solving experiences (for example, today I, too, entered IRATE and ADAPT). But I also take issue with a lot of what’s written. Here’s one that comes up often:

“Scrabble-f***ing”

I think it’s legitimate to question if pangrams compromise the integrity of the puzzle. But it’s pretty ridiculous seeing someone get so exasperated — triggered really — by the letters Q, Z, J, and X (and K maybe?). To call their appearance in the grid by that term is harsh. And offensive. It sounds as if the constructor is forcing those letters into the grid — in a sexual way. In a rape-y way. Against its will. I’m no prude — not about sex, nor about language — and yet I find that every time he uses that term, I cringe. That term is way more triggering than a handful of innocent letters can ever be.

It’s also weird to associate those letters with Scrabble and their “high value.” They’re just letters that occur less frequently than others. I recall Rex saying he’s not a Scrabble player, or just doesn’t care for it (which seems odd, but whatever). There are 189 white squares in the grid and 4 of them happen to be these letters. That seems like a fairly accurate representation of their distribution in our language. TEXT, STYX, QUEEN, JOE, FRITZ, MOJO, FITZGERALD — what is wrong with these words? Or even with the words in the areas upon which these unwanted letters forced themselves? It’s also perplexing that someone who champions lively, effervescent entries — and who has expressed similar disdain for too many “Wheel of Fortune” letters — takes issue with the more interesting letters in the language.

I imagine a lot of readers agree with me. So, here’s an appeal to ReX (a.k.a. Michael): Dude, let it go.

GILL I. 3:40 AM  

I'm reading this at 12:21 (precisely) in the AM of the morning and I'm squealing in piggy laughter and delight at @Frantic's poem? Nothing like taking PILES of names and making them into poetry......
OK...So I looked at this thing and thought This Sure Has a a Cargo Ship Full of Names.......I don't mind names...I have one, but holy tomatoes on RYE, you outdid yourself, Carl.
Then I did what I always do on Monday, I look to see if anyone walked into a bar. @Frantic covered that one. Boy did they get drunk...Then I looked at FRITZ. I wondered out loud why he's always broken. Look.... FRITZ is on that thing again. Then I wondered why a nice piece of Brie or maybe some Emmental get IRKED. Hey honey...is the cheese off again?
I think my favorite is that ROPE LADDER. My brother always built a treehouse no matter where we lived. He wanted to be an architect but instead, became a musician. Anyway...He never had a ladder. NOSIREEBOB...he'd put little hidden nails in the tree. When he wanted to go up, he'd go find his stash of wooden slats that fit around the nails and shimmy on up. I always found his stash of slats and figured out how to climb up the penthouse. Having an older brother was so damn fun.
I need to go to bed.

Loren Muse Smith 4:07 AM  

I absolutely agree that the reveal at 1A was unfortunate. It’s my wont to solve as much as I can while guessing at the trick sans reveal help. 38A or 66A would have worked better for me.

Yeah – I did want Dolly Parton there, too, but LORETTA LYNN is fine.

Rex – I went back and tried to find your objectionable scrabble *&^ing but couldn’t. You have to have the Q and the Z. Have to. The X in TEXT and STYX seems completely reasonable. (Hi, @Joaquin, @Breakfast tester.) See also the V in AVOID and AVAIL. I guess your issue is with MOJO/JOE? Lose the J and redo that corner so you don’t have OER? Ok. Fair enough, I guess. But I rather like the MOJO/JOE cross, especially as clued. My two cups of coffee certainly make me feel all magical and sh*& in the morning. Well, at least they get rid of the headACHE.

@Gill I - love the ROPE LADDER story! I see ROPE LADDER and immediately think tackled stair. I’m currently teaching Romeo and Juliet.

@Frantic - Hah!

SMITH – I knew it was a common name, but I did not know it was The most common name. Sheesh. I’ve considered changing my name back to Muse, but I like having the same last name as my kids.

AMMO, CAMO, NRA… I left that demographic in West Virginia to a new kind of gun demographic. Last week there was a fight in one of the Mecklenburg County schools, and on the news clip, you see a handgun fall to the floor during the scuffle. Chilling. I almost applied to work at that school. It’s counterintuitive, but my school, Turning Point Academy, is arguably the safest school in our system. Sure, we have the kids who’ve been expelled or suspended for a very long time, but what with our metal detector and thorough search of everyone during intake, I never worry about guns there. And once you get the kids out of their home school environment and into the very small classes at TPA, they’re quite lovely and teachable. These are just kids doing their best to play with the cards they’ve been dealt. And most have been dealt a pretty icky hand. I love it there, love my students.

LEASH LAW. . . gone are the days that a dog can enjoy a full-on sprint. Sure, we can walk our dog twice a day, but there’s no running involved. (I guess if there’s a dog park nearby, the dog can run a bit.) I bet, though, that the majority of dogs just get slow perfunctory walks and impatient tugs on the leash when they want to stop and smell something cool. It’s their precious time to see the world through their noses, but our busy lives don’t have time to allow that delight. And the dog loves us unconditionally anyway.

Ann Howell 4:33 AM  

A themed Monday will always cheer me up and this one was no exception. Having a 1A-revealer was a bit odd, but besides that nothing really snagged here... even putting in DOLLY PARTON at 58A was only a minor hiccup and I'll never mind having Dolly on my mind! Enjoyed it - nice way to start the week.

Anonymous 5:18 AM  

I dislike your antipathy toward the NRA. For that reason alone I shall never donate a cent to you.

ncmathsadist 5:55 AM  

NRA could be clued as Roosevelt era program (National Recovery Agency)

Lewis 6:14 AM  

This puzzle got me looking around for other “Queens of”-- where the artist is actually given that nickname -- in these categories, and here is what I found in my brief search:

DISCO – Gloria Gaynor
SOUL – Nina Simone
COUNTRY – Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton

Regarding JAZZ, I found others such as Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, and Lena Horne grouped with ELLA FITZGERALD as belonging at the top of the field, but – and remember, this was a shallow research journey -- they weren’t given the honorific of Queen.

Two side notes. The most crowded “Queen of” category, one not in this puzzle, is POP, where I found Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Lady Gaga, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Madonna, and Taylor Swift. And could there be an honorific higher than Queen? Perhaps, with Cher, who’s known as the Goddess of Pop.

Thank you, Carl, for triggering this lovely plunge into eminence, and for a bright, clean, and fun creation!

Eric NC 6:20 AM  

@LMS. WV’s loss is most definitely a win for Charlotte’s school system. Those kids are lucky to have you.
Couldn’t agree more re. the dog walking. My rescue always gets to stop and sniff whenever/wherever she wants. It’s her walk, not mine. My pace measure always comes out with “sedentary” after a 45 minute -1 mile walk.

Todd 6:31 AM  

I'm a lifelong NYT crossword solver and a life member of the NRA. I bet there are a bunch of us.

Sarah 7:10 AM  

Amahl and the Night Visitors is unfortunately well known to me. It was on television annually, probably in the 60’s. It was required watching and I found it supremely boring.

Tom T 7:12 AM  

Hidden Diagonal Word clue: Alternative for "hers/his" (4 letters, answer below)

Very easy puzzle, with no resistance top to bottom.

Amahl and the Night Visitors, in addition to being the opera written for TV, is also produced in live performances. My wife directed a very pleasing production of it a number of years ago.

Answer to HDW:

ONES (which appropriately shares the E with 54A, HE'S.) There's also a diagonal KFC in the grid, which might be clued "Chicken joint."

kitshef 7:18 AM  

See, this is how you do a PPP-based puzzle. These women are all legit famous. I know almost nothing about jazz, soul or country, and wish I knew nothing about disco, but I’ve heard of them all.

I think we had AMAHL fairly recently, and I still had absolutely no idea.

Lots of bonus music: EDDIE, PAUL, ICE-T, but lots of missed opportunities for more: JOE Cocker, LISA Loeb (and the song STAY), QUEEN, STYX, ACE Frehley, Patti SMITH, Mr. MOJO Risin' (Jim Morrison), Ricki and THE FLASH.

My one huge nit is that WARIO has a ‘W’ on his cap, not an upside-down M. If anything, Mario has an upside-down W.

Darren 7:22 AM  

I have to put a plug in for Amahl and the Night Visitors as well. As a singer, I performed it many times and as a producer produced it many times. It is a wonderful holiday opera for children to introduce them to classical music and is perhaps the most performed holiday opera in the US. I am sorry that it annoys Rex. Perhaps if he actually SAW it, he would feel differently.

Son Volt 7:22 AM  

Cute little puzzle - odd revealer placement. No issue with LORETTA as the QUEEN. Liked CEREAL BOWL, SKI SLOPE and NAS.

The NRA has been bastardized with politics and lobbying like most other so-called rights organizations - PETA, PP etc. I have no interest and pay no attention to any of them.

Enjoyable Monday solve.

bocamp 7:26 AM  

Thx Carl, a regal start to the puzzling week! πŸ‘‘

Med.

Great start in the upper 1/3, finishing with WARIO (which I was unfamiliar with) in the SE.

SWEPT thru this one; smooth journey all the way.

Enjoyable solve. :)

'Coal Miner's Daughter' ~ Loretta Lynn

@jae (2:52 AM)

Thx, looking forward to it later today! :)

@okanaganer (12:40 AM) πŸ‘ for 3 0's in a row
___

yd 0 / dbyd 0 (final word just needed a simple annex)

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Twangster 7:28 AM  

I feel like Ella Fitzgerald is more often referred to as the Queen of Scat than the Queen of Jazz, but it does include the latter on Wikipedia.

Anonymous 7:31 AM  

I saw the highlighted theme squares and decided to look for the revealer first thing. Took a minute because I scanned the lower parts of the clue list first. Then went back to 1A, did a couple of crosses and got QUEEN. Then did the themers. Didn't have a guess for Disco but already had enough crosses to get DONNA SUMMER. I did the other three, then finished the grid.(Had DOLLY first). Very easy, yes, but also very pleasant.

@Rex is off his rocker today. He is without rational thought. I have know about AMAHL since my long ago childhood. It is not obscure "ESE". His other 2 rants have gotten tiresome beyond all reason. I hate guns. I hate the NRA. I hate the 2nd amendment. But Let It GO!! As for the pangram thing, what a nothing burger! There are 26 letters. It is okay to use them all. It means nothing and has nothing to do with Scrabble.

Seems I am quite IRKED, but to no AVAIL I'm sure. (3 deep breaths) Now to enjoy a beautiful day in northern Michigan-sun and 60.

Z 7:35 AM  

[Insert anti-PPP Based Themes Rant here]

amyyanni 7:42 AM  

Guess Rex is having a Monday.
As for dog walking, watching my Lab/Border Collie mix teach my newly adopted retired racing greyhound how to stop 'n sniff, pee here 'n there, and generally just be a well-loved companion was quite a memorable process.
The puzzle is fine; since I know/enjoy the other three ladies' work much more than Ms. Lynn, her inclusion is okay with me. And as mentioned, Dolly prolly won't object.
Dolly apparently responded to a question about whether she minded dumb blonde jokes as follows: "No. I know I'm not dumb and I know I'm not a blonde."

EdFromHackensack 7:50 AM  

I got a ELLAFITZGERALD without reading the clue and with only the Z and D in place, so yeah, it was an easy one. Rex, NRA is fair game for a crossword, give me a break. Your knickers need not be knotted at its appearance. for some dumb reason, I thought her name was Donna SummerS. that did not fit of course, so I out in DONNASomers which messed me up for a nanosecond. Yeah, Loretta Lynn is not on par with the others, but thats OK. Nice Monday puzzle, Carl

pabloinnh 7:52 AM  

Well, @FraSlo is absolutely right about the placement of the revealer, and the cluing for LISA, and she wrote a very funny poem. Thanks for a good start to the comments.

Nothing like putting AMAHL and the NRA in the same puzzle to get a good rant from OFL. Add the scrabbly letters and now the whole thing has gone nuclear. Eek.

WARIO was the only unknown to me today, and I liked seeing on the FRITZ, which I haven't heard in a long time. Also, you can have your Old Man WINTER. It should always be Old Man River. Always.

@M&A is going to need a LASSO to round up the moo-cow easies today. I know it's Monday, but still...

OK for a Monday, CL. Can't Lie, your revealer needs repositioning. Nice to see all those musical lady stars thought, for which thanks.

@#$&*()’l 7:58 AM  

I have suffer from a severe case of hoplophobia and have never held a gun in my hand much less fired one. I’m happy to see NRA in the grid as clued anyway. The inclusion of a person or an organization in a grid is not an endorsement nor should it be seen as one.

SouthsideJohnny 7:58 AM  

Not bad for a PPP-theme. Agree that Loretta is one of many qualified to claim the country throne. I know that Dolly is an absolute legend in Nashville and Eastern Tennessee. Loved the fact that Rex blew yet another gasket over NRA - I sometimes wonder if Shortz is trolling him, lol.

WARIO, AKITA, LOKI and AMAHL give the puzzle a touch of crunch on a Monday (with WARIO and AMAHL being a bit on the difficult side).

MaxxPuzz 8:05 AM  

Another AMAHL rant from Rex! Honestly, please just suck it up and admit you don’t know it without relegating it to the "crosswordese" bin. I admit that once was enough for me and since then don’t particularly like it; I’ve also performed it and find it to be a bit of a snooze. But millions of others seem to love its simple message at Christmastime. Like The Little Drummer Boy, Amahl comes back year after year. Like it or not, get over it already.

scott 8:06 AM  

Dogs run free, while men are in chains. Sartre

Nancy 8:13 AM  

I'm going to surprise you all and say that I quite enjoyed this puzzle -- even though it's based on pop culture. All the names are familiar, even to me, and everything is fairly crossed. But the only theme answer that seemed completely on target to me was ARETHA FRANKLIN who I have definitely heard referred to as "The Queen of Soul". The others -- not so much.

Skimming quickly over Rex and the blog comments so far, I see absolutely everyone else has made the same point. Like others, I thought of DOLLY PARTON before I thought of LORETTA LYNN -- even though I was blown away by the movie "Coal Miner's Daughter". A tour-de-force of a bio-pic if you've never seen it. Riveting.
ELLA is my era and I thought, if anything, she was the queen of scat. But back then I don't think people bandied about the honorific "Queen of" with nearly as much abandon.

The hardest answer for me was WARIO. That's a joke, right? But I relectantly wrote it in because I don't want for the rest of my life to be condemned to saying "AMS" whenever I see a cute puppy.

Anonymous 8:33 AM  

Hilarious! As soon as I wrote in NRA I thought, "That's going to set off Rex and his lefty acolytes". Sure enough...... The problem is that 42% of US households have one or more guns and 74% of Americans in Gallup polls say they do not believe "there should be a law banning handguns". Eliminating 'NRA' from NY Tines crossword puzzles is unlikely to move that needle.
The crossword itself was on the easy side, that's for sure.

Anonymous 8:34 AM  

42A could have been clued: "Gift from Joe Biden to Camilla Parker-Bowles"

burtonkd 8:35 AM  

@pabloinnh, except that it is generally spelled as Ol' Man River. I started with OLe and noticed it was winter rather than river later.

I think of on the FRITZ as temporarily not working, as opposed to fully broken. The TV is on the FRITZ (adjusts rabbit ears or whacks it on the side). There, now it's working. Of course, negligence of things on the fritz generally does lead to them being fully broken...

@ncmathsadist - It seems like the Times has gone out of its way to clue NRA in all kinds of interesting ways lately, with the same rant being the result, so may as well go big with the "press release(lol, Rex)".

I would have loved a PPP clue for LASSO, but I think we got that recently.

More hands up for conducting AMAHL from the piano. This work has definitely stood the test of time. I know keeping up with rappers is hipper and gives you more cred, but to complain about this in a xword, really?? Okay, maybe not on Monday.

@Eric NC - Nice! "It’s her walk, not mine". The people I see on their phone pulling the leash to wherever they aren't going... OTOH, a lot of people might not get out very often without the dog to walk.

thfenn 8:36 AM  

Well, if ever there was a reveal that helped me fill in the themers, this was it. One minor pause wondering who among the many eligible would get the country title and that was that. Did get me wondering about queens of rock (lol, tho we do have the reveal), folk, punk, new age, etc which sparked some interest in updating my playlists, and like @kitshef enjoyed all the bonus music (but where were ENO, ONO, and ENYA when you need 'em).

Prefer to drink my RYE rather than eat it, but the cross with CEREALBOWL was nice.

Anonymous 8:55 AM  

Would like to have seen 38A clued as _______& Wesson.

Nancy 8:56 AM  

Nah, @Southside Johnny (7:58) -- You have it backwards. Rex is trolling Will Shortz. That soapbox must be exhausting to stand on and rant from at such great length day after day. Maybe Rex can do something meaningful and effective about the NRA in real life, not in crossword grids where they're a lot more toothless.

Delightful comments so far. Enjoyed @Frantic's poem. Loved @Eric NC's 6:20 hilarious evocation of his dog walks. Loved @Joaquin's (12:33) wry musings on the highs and lows of "Scrabble f-ing". Speaking of which...

How do you guys keep tabs on such things? I can assure you that I have never noticed in almost 40 years of puzzle-solving whether a grid contains every letter in the alphabet or not. I mean even if I were willing to comb the grid for Xs, Zs, Qs and Js (I'm not willing), maybe that day there won't be any, say, Bs. Or Fs. Or Ks. Do you have to check for the appearance or non-appearance of 26 different letters in every single puzzle you solve -- from now until the end of time? What a drag!

Lewis 9:00 AM  

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

1. Outdated charging device? (5)
2. What separates money from everything? (4)
3. Bio subject (4)
4. Grasps at straws? (5)(4)
5. They get left in the dust (6)


LANCE
ISN'T
LIFE
DRAWS LOTS
PRINTS

pmdm 9:04 AM  

Today's puzzle did seem to me to be dull in a way that Monday puzzles usually do not, but I would think newer solvers liked the puzzle. The point of clueing NRA the way that it is clued today is that the entry should be obvious to all solvers, even newer ones. Sharps suggestion seems to me to miss the boat on this level.

Yes, the theme involves PPP that rightly (in my opinion) enrages Z, but since on Mondays I try to complete the theme entries by filling in all the crosses (I don't even read the themed cles unless I get stuck), that problem went over my head today.

Jberg: I guess it's time for me to check out the Yonkers Public Library. And renew my card.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 9:08 AM  

The Fall River Little Theater is putting on Amahl and the Night Visitors next month. My choir sang a medley from it on Christmas Eve about 4 years ago. And I doubt that anybody who's played in the pit orchestra can carry a box around without humming 'This is my box, This is my box, I never travel without my box.' Or meet somebody named Emily without wanting to ask 'How are your children and how are your sheep?' Never mind getting caught in the do loop of 'Thank you thank you, thank you kindly thank you .....'

anonymous 9:10 AM  

It's a stunningly beautiful November morning in Chicago and the predicted high temp today is in the 60's. Two obits in the Times had moved me deeply before I got to the puzzle. When NRA appeared I had one of those crossword coincidences as one of the obits was about a man who was very influential in the anti-gun violence movement. His father owned a gun shop and was a member of the NRA. The other was about an artist who made 1000 plates with images drawn from the last meals requested by persons being executed. She had said she would keep making them until she reached 1000(which she did in September) or capital punishment was abolished. What amazing lives to read about first thing in the morning. THEN Lauren, who had shared her anxieties about her student population writes, "I love my students."

Obits, a crossword blog, and a sunny morning will give me a hopeful positive feeling all day.

BTW--when I saw that !A was the revealer I thought: "Cool. A little different twist to a Monday puzzle."

mathgent 9:25 AM  

I can imagine this scene in the NYT puzzle office. The guy editing this puzzle says, "One of the clues in this puzzle is 'Mona ___ .' I'm going to add 'painting with an enigmatic smile.'" "Brilliant!" another guy says. "Also put in 'hanging in the Louvre'" Followed by raucous laughter.

Richard in NM 9:31 AM  

Allow me to carry a brief for the 1A revealer: Mondays are supposed to be easy; Mondays are not always the experienced solver's cuppa; Mondays introduce newbies to themed puzzles. Ergo, placing the revealer at the beginning is like a training bra for those just dipping their toes (sorry about the garbled simile/metaphor) into crosswords.

Me? I've been doing the NYTX for half a century, and like most of us here on the blog, I kinda breeze through Monday. So we've just gotta try to have fun with it. Play a little game within the game.* I saw the revealer first (who wouldn't?), then went down to the theme clues and tried to fill them in without any crosses -- and there's the challenge! Suddenly Monday's no longer a slam dunk. The only one I was sure of was ARETHAFRANKLIN. For the rest I had to sneak in a couple of crosses before I could fill them in.

Still not convinced? That's fine.

*I notice that lots of y'all try to fill Mondays by just doing the downs.

Unknown 9:35 AM  

If rex hasn't grokked by now that constructors are deliberately throwing in NRA just to push his buttons . . . . Seems to be working.

For a while rex had gone on rants that the NYT would not honor women in its puzzles. You'd think rex would applaud today's effort, instead of being so nit-picky. Alas.

And I'm gone for another month . . . . over and out.

RooMonster 9:41 AM  

Hey All !
Q's and Z's and J's, oh my!

Easy peasy ICE T-easy puz today. Felt like EINSTEIN whilst solving. Nothing IRKED me today. Agree with the @Frantic one about the Mona LISA clue. Har, that's like cluing TOWER as "Paris' landmark Eiffel ___, the big pointy high thing."

All names well known. WARIO from a previous puz. NRA is out there, peeps, it's just useful letters, it's not a glaring recommendation for the org itself. Rex was so focused on that, he missed AMMO. I want my AMMO rant! 😁 Surprised he didn't offer the easy alternate to take NRA away. Change it to fEWER/fRA. Boom. More F's!

Speaking of...
Four F's
RooMonster
DarrinV

JD 9:44 AM  

@Frantic and @Gill, Queens of blog hilarity πŸ‘Έ I tried to find a laughing female emoji with a crown but couldn't, go figure.

Puzzle goes down in history as the first to use Ella's last name and the 10,000th to include her first name. I looked it up.

NYT changed asking if someone is awake to Text after Text* sued for libel for being called a Sext. I don't blame it. Sext went in first.

Too bad there wasn't a Queen of Opera. Einstein, King of Smart People.

I was awarded the title Queen of Insomnia at the clock change ceremony on Saturday. The audience yawned.

*Represented by Lasso, Haul, & Swept LLP, representing those who want to walk away with a ton of money for merely being insulted.

Z 10:09 AM  

@amyyanni - Dolly Parton has confessed to using men’s sexism against them. Between that and her support for reading initiatives and recent support for vaccines I love her. I wish all the musicians I love were as great as she is.

@LMS - I lean towards Rex’s description today of the high value letters being “low key.” To me it looks like the Q and the Z being there from the theme proved too tempting. I like SKI SLOPE/AKITA, but I especially dislike WARIO/AWS. The rest are “fine.” What I most definitely agree on is if (and we don’t really know if this is how it was constructed) the constructor focused on getting the pangram instead of getting the best fill then I think they erred. For me Word Play is always better and more interesting than Letter Play.
@Joaquin - Are high-value letters supposed to be saved for special occasions? No. But look at the NE and SW where Y,X, and J are. Are any of those entries particularly interesting? I bet you there are at least three or four commenters here who could rework those corners into something less esey. The best pangrams are where you don’t notice that it is a pangram, because the fill is in good. Having just played a tournament, the comparison that comes to mind is this unusual throw called a “scoober.” I had many opportunities to throw a scoober this weekend, but I threw exactly one for a score because it was the throw I needed to make in that situation. If the constructor needs an X to make the puzzle better I’m all for it. But if STYX/TEXT are there just to get an X in the puzzle? Hard pass here.

Again AMAHL brings out that some take “crosswordese” as more of an insult than I think is really intended. AMAHL appears more in crosswords than, say, Rigoletto. Does this mean it is somehow better or more famous or more widely known than Rigoletto? No. It means it’s letters and length are more useful when constructing a puzzle. As a result, frequent solvers may know it only from solving puzzles. When Rex writes … AMAHL which still I have never seen outside of crosswords; definitely crosswordese, but not (usually) Monday crosswordese he is not saying anything about the worth of the work itself, he is simply observing that it appears far more often in puzzles in 2021 than it appears elsewhere. Since I have never seen it outside of crosswords either, the passion Rex’s observation raises seems misplaced to me.

Carola 10:16 AM  

Add me to the few who liked the theme announcement at 1A, as if giving the puzzle a title. I felt ridiculously "eclectic" for immediately knowing all of the QUEENS, although what I actually know about each of their genres could fit in a thimble. I'm more in the OPERA fandom segment, but I'm not sure a QUEEN has been crowned, with Maria Callas being La Divina and Joan Sutherland La Stupenda. The long Downs were an added pleasure. I thought this was a fine Monday, good for the NEWER solvers and fun for at least this old one.

Memory Lane Alert: I got to know Donna Summer ("Love to Love You Baby") from listening to the Armed Forces Network on the radio in my Munich kitchen in the mid-70s - there supposedly to work on my dissertation, but with a 6-month-old, ha ha - while pureeing meat and veg through the Happy Baby Food Mill, my forever association with the disco beat.

Help from previous puzzles: NAS, AKITA, WARIO.

@amyyanni 7:42 - I love your Dolly Parton bon mot.

Leona H. 10:24 AM  

Helloooo! I'm a QUEEN, too!

pabloinnh 10:34 AM  

@burtonkd-You're absolutely right about Ole (Ol') Man River, of course.

I think I was probably preferring a great song to early darkness.

We did a Dolly Parton course here which I co-taught. She really has done some wonderful things.

One favorite quote-she was asked if she was going to get her hair cut, and said "Cut it? I just bought it this morning!".

Masked and Anonymous 10:41 AM  

Well, yep. Googled "Queen of Country" -- it gave m&e Dolly Parton. But, but … then right below that, it served up Loretta Lynn. Then it pointed out Kitty Wells's album title [but that's more of a self-declared title]. Anyhoo, …

M&A was just relieved that it weren't a themeless MonPuz.
Also, nice pangram … I prefer the term "Scrabble twerkin", myself. Just seems more civilized, to use amongst one's fellow constructioneers.

staff weeject pick: Of a nice & robust 24 choices: SLR. Better fresher clue: {Eosurc Nosnibor monogram??}.
Primo weeject stacks in the NE & SW, btw.

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: Tough choices, as @pabloinnh pointed out earlier. Just based on number of free letters donated up, gotta go with: {He postulated E = mc**2} = EINSTEIN. CEREALBOWL gets honrable mention, tho -- great, spunky yet eazy-E clue.

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Larson dude. Yer revealer is actually somewhat germane, in regard to today's runtpuz.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


**gruntz**

Frantic Sloth 10:42 AM  

Well, who doesn't like to "do it" with a board game? Or even a bored game? Like others have said, didn't mind or notice the pangram or the word game copulation trigger of Rex's conniption gun. I get what he means sometimes - especially when all those evil (??) letters are shoehorned into one little corner, but not this time. 🀷‍♀️

@GILL 340am 🀣🀣🀣From "I don't mind names...I have one" to broken FRITZ and IRKED/off cheese and that ROPELADDER story your entire post gave me fits. πŸ€ŒπŸ’‹πŸ– mwah!

@Eric NC 620am πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘ Everything you said.

We did have AMAHL in a recent puzzle and my favorite comment about it on that day was by @mathgent.

@Z 735am Elegant brevity.

And speaking of @mathgent...your 925am comment? Hilarious!

@JD 944am Benevolent ruler of Insomnia, simply brill comment. I'm beginning to think your "law firms" are made up. 🀣🀣🀣

@Z 1009am See 735am 😘 Also, I agree with your stance on Rex and AMAHL and the real meaning of crosswordese.

Unknown 10:44 AM  

As soon as I saw in NRA in a puzzle I knew what Rex was going to rant about. This rant was especially ridiculous, considering "well regulated" clearly refers to militias (where regulated means something like disciplined). He also conveniently skips of the part about how the right to bear arms "shall not be infringed."

I wish people like Rex would stop pretending they have any interest in upholding the spirit of The Constitution. It's a total farce, and anyone with a clear mind can easily tell that they believe almost the exact opposite of what any of our country's founders believed. The founders were terrified of having a standing army (e.g. our giant National Security apparatus), and hated international bankers and central banking (e.g. the all-powerful Fed), and they were absolutely paranoid about ensuring the powerful were held in check through all means necessary. Rex believes of course that we should have an all-powerful FBI that can go hunt down our new ever-expanding "domestic terror" class.

As for this puzzle, it was a blah for me. Filled with people that are already in too many crosswords (ELLA and ARETHA in particular, and LYNN not far behind). Putting the revealer first I assume was a decision to make it Monday-worthy, but I'd rather have this on Tuesday with the revealer at the bottom.

sixtyni yogini 10:46 AM  

Thought it was really good for a Monday! Loved seeing the Queens πŸ‘ΈπŸ½.
And πŸ¦–’s nits were accurate also IMHO.

Whatsername 10:47 AM  

Monday Monday, can’t trust that day. This was a real brain teaser. NOT! Although I do appreciate a pangram, I was really IRKED at having the theme answers handed to me before I even got started. This would have been so much better if 1A had been 66A. There would’ve been a little bit of intrigue. It would’ve required some thought to figure out why the clue said “Disco, Jazz,” ETC. Putting the revealer at the beginning of a crossword puzzle is something which IMHO one should strictly AVOID.

Liked AMMO/CAMO together but for my money DOLLY PARTON is the QUEEN of country. I mean she practically invented it.

Years ago I knew a couple named George and Mary SMITH. Back during that less sophisticated day, they occasionally got some strange looks when checking into hotels.

Trey 10:52 AM  

Put QUEEN in 1A off of a U and E, then forgot about it being the revealer until I read the Rex post. Could not figure how the names linked to each other.

Predicted Rex would not love AMAHL. I liked FRITZ (has this ever been clued as “_____ the Cat”?) and WARIO. Imagine the second could be a stumper for some, but the crosses are fair.

For me the puzzle seemed very straight forward with few areas where I had to think too hard, but my time was not good at all. Either it was harder than it felt, or I was distracted.

For SB, yd -1 (stupid 5-letter word that I have never heard and will never use), but today I am stuck at 26 words (probably only halfway to QB, but so lost I am likely to wait for the answers tomorrow)

Trey 10:57 AM  

That was my only miss for SB. Would have been QB two days in a row. Now my streak has ended with my one-and-only QB due to that “ick”y word

Beezer 10:58 AM  

@Nancy, 8:56…your response is perfection! @Rex likes to talk about fill being “meh” but he seems to want no fill that is controversial. History is replete with villains and villainous movements. How boring to remove these facts of life from our vocabulary through censorship. Your suggestion that his anger at the NRA be channeled into more meaningful action was just spot on!

I will weigh in that IF my understanding is correct about what Rex considers scrabble-@#$&ing, I did not see it, low-level or otherwise. For some reason Q in a puzzle seems rare to me but the others not so much. Count me in the crowd that NEVER checks to see if the puzzle is a pangram.

Joe Dipinto 10:59 AM  

@Lewis – Yes, Gloria Gaynor and Donna Summer were both crowned "Queen Of Disco". They were sort of like Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I, but with disco balls and DJs. Today Gloria still survives, while Donna, sadly, danced her last dance in 2012 and now haunts the great MacArthur Park in the sky.

I've also heard "High Priestess of Soul" for Nina Simone, which suits her better, imo, as she had an album with the same title.

When I was a kid there was a guy who always walked two dachshunds up the street past our house. One of the dachshunds was named FRITZ, I don't remember the other one's name. Anyway, I second @burtonkd that something that's "on the fritz" is fixable, for now at least.

A twofer today

Trey 11:06 AM  

@LmS 4:07 - I used to live near that school in the late-70s and early 80s. Have a daughter teaching in that system now, but luckily not many first-graders bring weapons to class. Glad to hear you have metal detectors, at least as long as they are appropriately functioning and staffed.

tea73 11:09 AM  

I don't mind NRA being in the puzzle, I do mind the fiction that it supports the 2nd Amendment. Once upon a time they taught gun safety and were primarily harmless hunters.

Rex's rants about AMAHL amuse me. We lived overseas for most of my childhood so I never actually saw the TV version, but we had a record and listened to it multiple times every December. I'm not an opera fan (except for Mozart, Carmen and a handful of rock operas), but I'm fond of AMAHL.

Tim Carey 11:15 AM  

Stop reading too, then. You won't be missed. Use your name if you want to troll. Coward.

Michiganman 11:21 AM  

If CEREALBOWL had been clued "Container for corn flakes" @Rex would have brought out his "Eat a sandwich" attack. CEREALBOWL is a bit of a groaner but kind of a fun pun. We Lions fans used to joke about Detroit qualifying for the Toilet Bowl. Their last championship was only seven years past the midpoint of the 20th century. 1957. I was 10 and cars had fins.

Michael Norman 11:22 AM  

My first entry in this blog. I loved the puzzle and the revealer as the first entry. I definitely recoiled when I saw the revealer, however crosses were so easy everything else fell in place easily.

And what really god me to comment was..... does Rex really not see the irony that he claims that Loretta Lynn doesn't meet the criteria of the puzzle by citing her inclusion in a film "The Queens of Country"? Really?!

Oh, Of Course He Did.

The Cleaver 11:24 AM  

Glad to see OFL still reliably triggers on NRA. Recent reporting includes briefs from (formerly) Very Right Wingnut Lawyers supporting the Damn Gummint's right to 'regulate'. OTOH, one way to motivate the Left, which clearly didn't happen in VA, is for the Barrett/Thomas Court to destroy 'regulate' and the right to choose. Put the lie to Barrett's, et al, whining that they aren't just a bunch of partisan hacks. They only got in because they're hacks.

May be VA will go the way of the cold states, MI especially (go look at the NYT graphs/maps to see), in being overrun again, with Covid-Ξ”. Here's a quote from Your Favorite Newspaper, from some of the toothless wonders in the VA hollers over Youngkin.

“We’re a county of old country folk who want to do what they want,” said Mr. Hamilton, 74. “They found out the hard way.”

Stupid is as Stupid Does.

old timer 11:24 AM  

QUEEN at 1A was easy to get on crosses, and it left me wondering why. It was fun to work through the puzzle and find out these were all QUEENs of their named music genres. And they really are, though ELLA was not I think called the QUEEN of jazz -- she was just doing what she did so well.

Now LORETTA LYNN is indisputably the QUEEN of country music. She actually is the top seller of all time in Country, among women, and given all the male competition, maybe the top seller among all performers. She stuck to the basics -- cheatin' men, booze, and the travails of raising a family (until The Pill came out, and she memorably sang about that!) Of course I love Dolly. Everybody loves Dolly. But Dolly is unique -- not only a first rate singer but first rate actor and a first rate person, plus a rare example of a star who remade herself. I first came to love her singing when she was in a duet with Porter Wagoner. And she quit him, made a whole new career as a solo artist and then memorably write a first rate song about him ("I Will Always Love You.") And when I saw the movie Nine to Five, I realized she could have a star career as an actress too.

There will never be another Dolly Parton. But when it comes to being a pure country singer, you just can't beat LORETTA LYNN. And, you know, she really was born in Butcher Hollow, just like in the song and in her excellent autobiography, and the film she made about her life. (Kitty Wells was great, too, but not nearly as successful as LORETTA.)

This was a perfect Monday -- easy as pie, but also a joy to complete.

Tim Carey 11:24 AM  

Yes. 54 M households have 393 M guns. I agree with you, that is a problem!

Joseph Michael 11:31 AM  

I thought I had enjoyed this puzzle until I read Rex’s review. Was thinking how lucky it was that the mothers of these queens named their daughters with the right number of letters so that they could one day fit into a symmetrical crossword puzzle. Then I read Rex and realized how stupid I was for not realizing that the puzzle was a pangram, for chuckling at CEREAL BOWL and for writing in N-R-A without feeling cheesed off.

I agree that putting the revealer first took some of the fun out of the solve, but it is Monday and there are probably some new solvers who appreciated that hint. Could also have used fewer names — ten of the rows each contain one if not two proper nouns — but each was fairly crossed and most were familiar anyway.

@Frantic, thanks for the great poem. But what made me laugh out loud was: “I wouldn't want to clean up after Rex read the clue for 52D (NRA).”

Pete 11:34 AM  

Sorry, Ella is the QUEEN. Of all vocalists. Of all vocal of styles. Every.Single.Damned.One Just listen .

Also, what's with clueing EDDIE with two musicians when the puzzle is music themed?

jberg 11:39 AM  

As a couple others have said, without the revealer up top this puzzle becomes much harder, as clued; you'd have to reclue the themers some other way, then make it all clear with the revealer -- but I'm not sure you could even do that. So it's a little different, which I thought was interesting. My only real problems were with WARIO; @Nancy summed up my feelings exactly. Sure, it's a joke, but the whole franchise is ironic. Not that I'm familiar with it, although I may have played Donkey Kong once or twice decades ago.

And then there was NEWER, which took a moment because my email reader is set up to put the newer messages on the bottom. But of course I could change that, so OK.

@Nancy, I liked to see pangrams for about a year, and then quit noticing them. You do have to look for all 26 letters, but I wouldn't bother to look unless I'd noticed a couple of the rare ones; if I had seen a Q and a Z I'd first look for an X and a J, and if I found them all go through the alphabet.

But what's really puzzling me is the clue for MOJO. What's the formal word it's taking the place of?

Anonymous 11:46 AM  

as to the Queen of Country, about which I care not a whit, here's (https://1007thetiger.com/2017/01/09/best-selling-country-artists-of-all-time/) one top 10.

neither Wells, Parton, Lynn is on the list. top female is Shania Twain (and she ain't even MAGA; a Canadian Socialist for God's sake)!!! Dixis Chicks (more goddamn Socialists) and Linda Ronstadt (pop usurper) are 9 and 10. What's the red blooded USofA coming to??

Wundrin' 11:54 AM  

@ Tim Carey. To whom are you speaking at 11:15?

relicofthe60s 11:54 AM  

If you’re going to complain about AMAHL, what about Carmen or Aida or Figaro or Tosca? Those things are even older.

egsforbreakfast 11:56 AM  

Who is this army dude, GENERALMILLS, and why does he sponsor post season football games? I suppose he puts on his CAMO and grabs his AMMO before the game, but maybe he should just use THEFLASH on his SLR instead.

Alternate clue for 42A. What a hosp. needs in order to deal with the zealotry of 42D. NEWER

Our town is overrun with urban deer. There are five munching away across the street as I write this. It has became a rancorous and divisive issue locally. There was no deer problem before a LEASHLAW was implemented a few years ago.

I think that putting the revealer at the end would have made this a slightly harder, but still Mondayish, puzzle. The important difference is that a newish solver would get a real aha moment as to why 17A is clued simply “ Disco” and 27A is just “Jazz”, etc. once they got to the revealer.

@Frantic. I quite liked the poem. It keeps a nice rhythm.

Another Anon 12:01 PM  

Moderators. I think Anon 11:37 slipped one past you.

Nancy 12:32 PM  

Breakfast tester, I agree 100% with your entire review. Thanks for writing it now I won’t have to!

Anonymous 12:39 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mathgent 12:42 PM  

My favorite posts this morning.


Frantic Sloth (12:14)
Jyqm (12:31)
amyyanni (7:42)
Nancy (8:13)
Anonymous (8:55)
Lewis (9:00)
Carola (10:16)

Joe Dipinto 12:49 PM  

@JBerg 11:39 final ¶ – I guess "magical power" *is* the formal term, in the puzzle's mind.

Anoa Bob 1:01 PM  

I read the clue for 1A QUEEN as "Horrific given to..." and I was wondering what horrible things happened to four QUEENs. Oh, "Honorific". Big difference. I got DONNA, ARETHA and ELLA right away but had to wait to see that among several possibilities LORETTA would emerge as the Queen of Country.

This grid has 40 black squares which resulted in a bunch of 3s and 4s. I'm guessing that high count is because two themers were 14 letters long and those 14s are challenging to work smoothly into any 15X15 grid layout.

The grid shows admirable restraint in using the plural of convenience (POC) as an crutch to get it filled. There are only a few ordinary, run-of-the-mill single POCs (6A PACTS, e.g.) and none of the two for one variety (where a Down and an Across share a final letter count boosting S) and none of the themers or longer nonthemers needed them. I think that makes a noticeable, tangible difference in the overall quality of the fill and solving experience.

TTrimble 1:21 PM  

Okay, so it's Monday. I thought for a moment I was going to rip through the puzzle in record time: QUEEN was quick in coming, and then DONNA SUMMER, ARETHA FRANKLIN, ELLA FITZGERALD, and Dolly Parton fell in quick succession -- d'oh! That last slowed me up, rather unnecessarily. What do I know country?

But honestly, even for a Monday, parts of it felt awfully remedial. "He postulated E = mc^2" -- bllrff. "Postulated" is preposterous. If you must, say that he derived it, or explained it. The verb is ineptly chosen. It drives me bananas when people reach for a thesaurus and then proceed to fuck it up. And "Mona LISA" -- hey kids! try this crossword! A CAPN Crunch CEREAL crossword, it is. "Super-speedy" -- more kid-speak. Bandmate of John, George, and Ringo -- hey! I know that one!

It reminds me of when Elaine Benes became stupid through lack of sex, and struggled through a crossword ("pooh-ooh-ooh-ooh!... oh!"). "u r so funny!" Ohhhhh... LOL!

The grid layout is unattractive, and seemingly invites the brainless 4- and 5-letter fill.

Well, I'll tell ya -- sometimes when I'm doing the crossword, GMA will be on and it's 8am and the Disney advertisement part of the program begins -- perhaps it's Lara Spencer interviewing THE FLASH or some such -- and I feel my IQ sink like a stone. Like Elaine's brain. That's how this crossword felt, even without GMA on. I heard a faint doink as it hit the bed of the lake, where it sat, stupidly.

But thank you thank you @Frantic Sloth for the poem. You single-handedly saved this puzzle.

dbyd 0
yd 0
td pg -2

The Cleaver 1:31 PM  

@TTrimble:

Everybody, at least many people, know that relativity and evolution are just theories. They're not explained in the Bible, right? They're not proved, right?

Whatsername 1:34 PM  

@amyyanni (7:42) Love the Dolly Parton quote. I would give her the title of QUEEN of the one liners, that’s for sure.

@Michael Norman (11:22) Welcome! Glad you decided to join the fray. Come back again soon.

Re dog walking . . . Recently I read something that said sniffing is the dog equivalent of social media. It’s how they keep in touch. Imagine if you were trying to text or post on Facebook and someone kept jerking your LEASH. How rude.

Trey 1:59 PM  

@Joseph Michael 11:31 - your first paragraph is too funny. How dare we think a puzzle is fun when it is full of such horrible things. I may laugh for the rest of the day. Thanks

CDilly52 2:22 PM  

All of OFL’s observations are apt today, but . . . compared to yesterday, this was a glorious solving experience, a true joy. I do have a nit to pick with putting the reveal at 1A, that placement is a bit if a jolt for a second and then I just moved on as with any puzzle in which 1A doesn’t immediately fall.

Disco was never a genre Favorite of mine, but I certainly acknowledge Donna Summer’s royal status. Altogether, this is a talented group of artists well worth royal designation.

As Mondays go, this was stronger than most eith very little, if any junk. I enjoyed it. And as I said, after yesterday this was great!

CuppaJoe 2:40 PM  

Oh, well, I had a different take on cereal bowl, HILARIOUS, but I’m not a sports fan. In 1967 some co-workers went to the tundra bowl in Green Bay and I had no idea why.

Hartley70 3:29 PM  

Each of the QUEENs was completely obvious to me, so I filled in the long crosses without hesitation before I got down to solving what was left of the puzzle. It felt like there wasn’t much left, but I thought CEREALBOWL was cute and WARIO amusing. AMAHL is a gimme for a child of my era. There wasn’t a lot of children’s television programming back then and this annual event was considered “educational”.

Kyle V 3:47 PM  

Reads second amendment clue, thinks, oh boy, here we go... BTW agree fully with Rex, and his ire on the subject.

Gio 3:50 PM  

Glad to see the King of Grunge (Eddie Vedder)also in the puzzle. He's still Alive,
And that's saying a lot since most of the Grunge lead singers are no longer here

A 4:51 PM  

Wow, that’s a lot of short stuff. But brave of the constructor to stuff Queens of four different genres in one puzzle. And providing them with AMMO, to boot. That’s just asking for an ado.

Hey Mikey, you need to get with it, BRO! AMAHL appears much, much more ‘in the wild’ than in crosswords. A Denver Post news article from 2016 says: “Amahl and the Night Visitors……is the most performed American opera of the past 15 years.” A quick google search found productions by opera companies and universities in 2019 in these cities:

New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Tulsa, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit, Vancouver, Minneapolis, Houston, Kansas City, Colorado Springs, El Paso, Salt Lake City, Orlando, Baton Rouge, Boise, San Antonio, Montpelier VT, Hillsdale MI, Mount Vernon WA, Danbury CT, Greensboro NC, Clarkesville GA, West Nyack NY, Enid OK, Clermont FL, Salisbury CT, Kilauea Military Camp HI, Carrollton GA, Jackson MS, Springfield MO, Naples FL, Glassboro NJ, Montclair NJ, Bozeman MT, Waverly IA, Lynchburg VA, Racine WI, Dothan AL, Cottleville MO, Westport CT, South Bend IN, Astoria OR, et al.

That doesn’t even include church productions.

And the Binghamton University Music Department presented it in 2015.

Polish composer Szymon Laks (1901-1983) lived most of his life in Paris - except when was head of prisoners orchestra at Auschwitz.( He told of that time in his memoir “Music of Another World.”) His
String Quartet No. 3 "On Polish Folk Themes" was just performed at the Paderewski Festival. Here is the tuneful, engaging and mostly pizzicato third movement. III. Vivace non troppo

Smith 4:56 PM  

@Lewis early

Reba was my first thought!

Smith 5:19 PM  

Easy puzzle, nice to see both my real name and my blogger name (hi @LMS!) in there. My blogger name is a tribute to my wonderful mother who was Smith '51 and died way too young.

At this late hour you all have said it all.. it's Monday... done.

Lisa

bocamp 5:30 PM  

Imo, Kitty Wells, Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton and LORETTA LYNN are all on a par. A pleasure to listen to any of them, any time! πŸ‘‘

@Trey (10:52 AM) πŸ‘ for two excellent SB days!

The good news is: you'll probably remember that word for next time. :)

@jae

Found Croce's 659 relatively medium; two session solve. Equiv to a tough NYT Sat. Took a long time to convince myself that I had the 'duck faces' one right. As always, time well spent. See you next Mon. :)
___

td pg -3

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Anonymous 5:33 PM  

Getting in too late, but I have seen Amahl in the wild. We studied it in Elementary School. The music teacher handed out the scripts. My buddy, who was a huge Vikings fan, changed every single Amahl to Amahd (for Ahmad Rashad). The music teacher was apoplectic. "Who would do such a thing?" We also had an exchange student from Austria named Viki and he would consistently change her name tag to Viking, to her confusion. Strange and funny guy, was Mark. He's an ophthalmologist now. OK bye.

jae 6:32 PM  

@bocamp - yeah, I think that “duck face” answer was my last square.

stephanie 7:28 PM  

well i for one liked CEREAL BOWL very much. but i do love the corny ones!

as soon as i saw the NRA clue i thought "oooooooo wait till y'all hear what rex has to say about THIS" and i was not disappointed or surprised there.

a 1A revealer was odd, and when i saw a clue about soul highlighted out of the corner of my eye i thought this was going to be all about GODFATHERs. alas, too short. LORETTA LYNN doesn't bug me at all, although PATSY CLINE is most certainly the winner for me.

GUY > BUB > BRO was about as much as i got hung up on this one. as soon as i saw that damn "night visitors" clue i remembered the answer appeared recently, and that it was just a mishmash of letters to my eyes, and i couldn't recall what any of them were beyond A so i just let the crosses do the work there. not a big fan of this particular crosswordese but, hey. sometimes the -ese goes your way, sometimes it doesn't. the only clue i didn't like was the one for EDNA...just, so stupid and boring. did like the wink at carmen electra though. i remember her firstly from long ago on mtv's singled out. co-hosted by chris hardwick of all people! good times.

Z 10:24 PM  

@Frantic 10:47 - FYI - That’s the shortened version. 🀣🀣

stephanie 10:32 PM  

@Nancy wait'll you hear about waluigi!

Qosmonaut 4:30 AM  

I guess I'm the only one who confidently wrote in "Elizabeth II" when I got to the clue "[Queen of] Country"

Anonymous 8:09 AM  

Of course Rex's use of crosswordese is an insult. The implication of course is that the word is a crutch, used only when a genuine word won't fit. This isn't even a close call. Rex himself would agree.

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