Overhead support for interstate signs / TUE 11-16-21 / Protein in horns and hair / El nickname for Mexican national soccer team

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Constructor: Drew Schmenner

Relative difficulty: on the slow side for a Tuesday (partially because the grid is an oversized 16x15)


THEME: "THAT'S ALL / SHE WROTE!" (18A: With 63-Across, "The end" ... or what can be said about the novels in the clues for 25-, 38- and 52-Across) — famous women authors who wrote just one novel:

Theme answers:
  • SYLVIA PLATH (25A: Author of "The Bell Jar" (1963))
  • ANNA SEWELL (38A: Author of "Black Beauty" (1877))
  • EMILY BRONTË (52A: Author of "Wuthering Heights" (1847))
Word of the Day: GANTRY (31D: Overhead support for intestate signs) —
1a frame for supporting barrels
2a frame structure raised on side supports so as to span over or around something: such as
aa platform made to carry a traveling crane and supported by towers or side frames running on parallel tracksalso  a movable structure with platforms at different levels used for erecting and servicing rockets before launching
ba structure spanning several railroad tracks and displaying signals for each (merriam-webster.com)
• • •

This one started out weird, as I got the "THAT'S ALL" Part easily enough, and I could see it was the front end of the revealer but the clue went on and on and wasn't much help, so I figured the second part of the revealer would be "FOLKS!" Then two things happened to make me sour on the puzzle very quickly. Well, three things. First, the fill in the north, everything under numbers 4 through 7, was just awful. 


Concentrated weakness that's completely inexplicable (it's not like the theme is particularly dense or anything). Something about hitting POL SNL "I'M ON" SISI and even AMASS just sapped me of solving energy. The grid feels really oddly built, with these biggish but bizarrely isolated NW / SE corners. Which leads me to the second souring moment—the extremely narrow entries / exits to those NW / SE corners. One square wide. Ugh. Absolute flow killer. 


Flow was killed much worse than usual today because LOL what the hell is a GANTRY (if it's not an Elmer GANTRY, I mean). I had the "G" at the end of IM'ING and thought "cool, now I will exit this claustrophobic corner. But no. In the end I needed nearly every single cross to get GANTRY. Experience of not knowing GANTRY made infinitely worse by the dumb narrow doorways into / out of that corner. Later came the third souring moment—when I thought "wait, that is NOT all that SYLVIA PLATH wrote (!?!?)" and then had to dive back into the thousand-word clue to see that oh, THAT'S ALL SHE WROTE *novel*-wise. Huh. OK. I guess that is true. I actually like the theme concept OK. The "SHE WROTE" part definitely provided an aha and brought a lot of coherence and thus likability back to the grid. But the bad fill up top, the fussiness of the narrow grid passageways, and the highly qualified nature of the theme's core concept all made the solving experience feel a bit wobbly.


Five things:
  • 3D: Many a character in Kerouac's "On the Road" (
    BEATNIK)
     — It's weird how he's a "beat" writer but I don't associate him with BEATNIKs at all. When I think BEATNIKs I think berets and black shirts and cigarettes and coffeehouses and jazz, baby, but maybe also folk music ... I dunno. I have a poster of the movie "The Beat Generation" on my living room wall and it's got Mamie Van Doren and Louis Armstrong on it, and neither one of those people lives in the same place as my head as Kerouac (in whose writing I don't really have any interest).
  • 60A: Question of apathy ("DO I CARE?") — hard to imagine this wasn't originally"DO I DARE?" / DUE. "DO I CARE?" is an absolutely sneering rhetorical question, a fact which the clue totally fails to pick up. I just think "DO I DARE?" is a better, more imaginable phrase here. "What do I care?" or "Why should I care?" seem more ... actual than this answer.
  • 28D: Dish associated with the Valencia region of Spain (PAELLA) — hope you liked Monday's PAELLA, 'cause we're having it again tonight!
  • 64D: Charlemagne's domain: Abbr. (HRE) — again I don't know why the fill in those NW / SE corners is so weak. I thought HRE (short for Holy Roman Empire) had been hunted to extinction. I feel like I haven't seen HRE since the reign of Charlemagne.* And all jammed up with other repeaters like ARIA and EIEIO ... as that SE corner says, IT'S BAD (58A: "You don't even want to know").
  • 13D: Protein in. horns and hair (KERATIN— had -ATIN, wrote GELATIN. It felt wrong as I was writing it, but not being a protein expert, I just went with it ...
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

*first appearance of HRE in 2021. There was only one appearance in all of 2020. 2019 saw five HREs, though, yikes. Those are late '90s numbers. Anyway, it's classic crosswordese and honestly it's fine if you absolutely need it and don't cram it in with a lot of other classic crosswordese. 

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

97 comments:

Conrad 6:10 AM  


Difficulty level was typical Tuesday and the theme was fine, but the fill wasn't my cup o'tea. I know a GANTRY in rocket launches, not highway signs. Don't know AUDIE Cornish, had AURAs and iNSURED first, and I keep misparsing 45D.

vtspeedy 6:19 AM  

Leningrad’s land USED TO BE the USSR, but it’s been Russia for twenty years. Ignorant clueing.

Anonymous 6:31 AM  

I think @Rex's complaints today are pretty forced. He's a critic and that's OK. The puzzle is more than OK. I liked it a lot! Adding to the female vibe we have ERIN, Helen(Mirren), AUDIE(Cornish), TITANIA

Lewis 6:43 AM  

Wow! What a terrific theme idea! As soon as I filled in THAT’S ALL, I filled in SHE WROTE, and I let out a full-body “Hah!” Drew, you had me at that moment. I only had the NW filled in and I was in the palm of your hand.

This week seems to be brought to us by the letter E, as this is the second day in a row with that vowel doubled six times. On another front, the Libra in me liked the balance of IT’S BAD / FAILURE and SI SI / WIN.

And here’s a puzzle-based factoid. GANTRY made me think of “Elmer Gantry” (Hi, @rex!), which was a 1960 movie, based on the novel by Sinclair Lewis (and it isn’t ALL HE WROTE), but I learned when I looked it up that there was a Broadway musical based on the book, called “Gantry” – the cast included Robert Shaw and Rita Moreno – which opened and closed on the same night in 1970.

Congratulations on your debut, Drew, and enjoy this day. I’m still smiling over your theme. Thank you for making this!

Trey 6:56 AM  

Last night I was working the NYT 12/26/99 puzzle and a third of the way through, one answer was KEROUAC (the clue to today’s BEATNIK), one was ISIS (semordnilap to today’s SISI), and one was SNL. Yesterday, we had PAELLA in the Monday puzzle as well. Coincidence? Maybe if I dWELT on it, I could see the connection that TWAS present.

Anonymous 7:01 AM  

As one who has been involved with moving large machinery, the gantry is just another tool to move tons of steel, or tons of rockets.

Spatenau 7:02 AM  

@vtspeedy, I thought the same thing for a second, but then remembered that, just like the country is no longer the USSR, the city is no longer Leningrad. It's called St. Petersburg now. So, actually, it is not ignorant cluing.

mike macdonald 7:07 AM  

The Leningrad clue works. When the USSR dissolved, Leningrad reverted back to Saint Petersburg.

albatross shell 7:15 AM  

HAS A TIT. Don't know that one. OK. A dook. Have at me.

I'M IN & I'M ING. EEL & REEL.

TITANIA crossing IMING, ARTOIS, NANO cost those MANOseconds.

AURAs made me doubt DEADEND briefly.

GANTRY (who knew?) would be better as an across.

ANNASEWELL no idea. But an easy guess with the crosses. And a fine theme. And I've read all 3 novels and seen all 3 movies. I think I finished the Bronte. Sewell made it to age 58. If she had unpublished novels, I don't care.

@Tom T
Hope you caught my post from 736PM yesterday.

@vtsspeedy
The clue implies USSR because of the name changes.

Anonymous 7:21 AM  

Leningrad became St Petersburg again when the USSR fell apart and it was once again Russia. Fine clueing.

Tom T 7:27 AM  

Clue for today's HDW (Hidden Diagonal Word):

Few and far between (Answer below)

"This puzzle was murder," HE WROTE. DO I CARE that IT'S BAD? Not at all. DETESTS would not describe my reaction; it was not a puzzle that SAPS my energy or makes me SEETHE. It just required a few cleanups here and there to avoid total FAILURE and hear the happy song.

Did not know GANTRY in that context (hand up for Elmer), and couldn't have named the author of Black Beauty.

But thought the theme was clever, and smiled at OVO being crossed by a diagonal OVA. And speaking of diagonals, here's your HDW answer for today:

RARE (43A block, moving towards SW)

THAT'S ALL!

Son Volt 7:27 AM  

Normally not a fan of trivia based themes but this was a cute puzzle. The split revealer is a little mushy but apt - Rex points out the critical “novels” in the clue for 18a. Although clued alternatively - loved the inclusion of MOOR with EMILY BRONTE.

I’m assuming Rex was being cute questioning the BEATs in On the Road - Dean was always the definition of BEAT to me. Side eye to doubling down with SAL in the south.

Enjoyable Tuesday solve.

Joe Welling 7:29 AM  

@vtspeedy But in Russia, the city is now called St. Petersburg. Leningrad was its name during the Soviet era.

texkyle 7:29 AM  

@vtspeedy

Cluing it 'Leningrad' (it's St.Petersburg now...again) points the solver to the 'used-to-be-ness' (be-atitude, beat-ness?) of the answer, sweetpea.

webwinger 7:47 AM  

As is often the case, @RP’s review gave me some valuable insights about the puzzle’s construction, but I thought overall completely missed the boat, or let the trees completely obscure the forest, to mix some metaphors.

I thought the theme was beautiful, marvelously elegant, with impressive symmetry, not to mention focused on accomplished women, which should have tickled OFL. THAT’S ALL SHE WROTE rang familiar to me, though I couldn’t place it accurately. A perfect accompaniment to the themers (even if I get Rex’s complaint that Plath wrote other books, just not novels).

Re the nits he focused on, I thought GANTRY was a familiar term, from its use in broadcast descriptions of missile launches, although the specific clue here made it seem somewhat more obscure. Likewise, KERATIN is a word I’d consider familiar to everyone who’d taken a HS bio class. I view Kerouac as a quintessential beat figure, though not necessarily a BEATNIK. Most other complaints in the review just seemed sourpussy, but I did appreciate the comments regarding structural issues in the NW and SE corners.

Anyhow, big congrats, Drew Schmenner, for this gem of a puzzle. Don’t recognize your name, maybe this is a debut [@Lewis says yes above] in which case even more kudos. Also can’t intuit your pronouns; either way it’s good—another woman constructor or a guy with impressive gender chops.

PS--@vtspeedy 6:19: Leningrad became St. Petersburg again after the fall of the Soviet government, so the clue is spot on.

amyyanni 7:51 AM  

When solving, wondered why GANTRY wasn't clued as the Sinclair Lewis novel. Then again, am a Lewis fan. He's good: "It Can't Happen Here" is astoundingly apropos for current times. (He also wrote "Main Street," also good, mentioned because the Sauk Center [MN] mascot name is the Mainstreeters. (Used to live in MN.)
But I digress, and guiltily so, as this is a puzzle featuring women writers, and happily so. Enthusiastic thumbs up! Really liked this, down to seeing Audie Cornish & Helen Mirren this am, both always welcome.

MaxxPuzz 7:54 AM  

Here’s the opening paragraph from the NY Thruway page explaining their tolling system, which recently eliminated cash tool booths entirely:

Cashless Tolling is a new innovative method of toll collection used on the entire Thruway. With Cashless Tolling, all vehicles simply drive under a tolling GANTRY [my caps] and enjoy the benefits of reduced congestion, improved safety, and reduced air pollution.

A GANTRY also supports a rocket awaiting launch.

Perfectly common, although granted, you don’t talk about them every day.

Arthur Wenk 8:00 AM  

Regarding HRE: one of the best history books of 2020 is "The Habsburgs: To Rule the World," which has a lot to do with the HRE.

mmorgan 8:03 AM  

I personally had no problem with SISI, AMASS, POL, SNL. What’s wrong with me? But I can never have too much PAELLA!

Carlisle 8:04 AM  

Even "novel-wise" it wasn't true for Emily Brontë: https://daily.jstor.org/emily-brontes-lost-second-novel/

mmorgan 8:04 AM  

Oh, I knew AUDIE Cornish as an undergrad. She clearly had tons of talent back then. Girl’s done good!!

Tom T 8:09 AM  

@ albatross shell, I checked out your post--thanks for tipping me off. Nice catch on the SOLD/SALE cross, similar (but better) than my OVO/OVA today. Like how you picked up on the ULNA/NAME/SEEM overlaps I had seen the individual words, but not picked up on the overlaps--that was one rich diagonal string.

In addition to the diagonal word search, I'm enjoying my first tastes of creating clues; might lead me down the path of constructing one day.

Twangster 8:12 AM  

Missed opportunity to have posted Ray Davies’ “All She Wrote”:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBWpTHZ1IRw

That's all she wrote
On the back of an old brown envelope
A few killer lines to get my goat
That's all she wrote

Anonymous 8:16 AM  

Terrific puzzle, Drew! The distinction between Beats and their wannabes—faux Beats, aka BEATNIKS—was once important but now is water under the bridge, I suppose.

pabloinnh 8:16 AM  

I believe @vtspeedy is sufficiently informed about Leningrad, so I'll pass on that one.

Agree with OFL about the corners feeling isolated, but I found this easy enough to not matter. In-the-old- wheelhouse stuff here, from knowing GANTRY to remembering ANNASEWELL. I was sort of hoping for the YWCA, as there was definitely a feminine vibe to the whole thing.

Thought it was a great revealer and splitting it up was a nice trick. Congrats on the debut, DS. I Definitely Suggest that you you do some more, and thanks for the fun.

SouthsideJohnny 8:17 AM  

I never got into a Tuesday rhythm with this one. The NW section was a total buzzkill - just a brutal trivial slog with TITANIA next to ASHRAMS next to the Kerouac guy (Yogi and Fred are fine) and then onto a Spanish word. Add in the ARTOIS and a texting app or website or whatever it is and that section is just nightmarish. It didn’t help at all that there was no real entry or exit to that section as well, which even gave Rex some issues.

Adding in another PPP-based theme didn’t help either. At least I have heard of Ms. PLATH and of course the BRONTË babes have been on quite a tear lately. A puzzle like today’s helps me to truly appreciate the absolute gem that the NYT published I believe it was the Saturday before last - which is probably the cream of the crop for 2021 so far. Oh well, all of the puzzles can’t be Ruthian - some have to cheat and take shortcuts etc like this one, which we can accurately refer to as more like Sammy SOSA than the Bambino.

lujoc 8:23 AM  

Lido Shuffle is one of my favorite songs! But what’s the connection?

Anonymous 8:31 AM  

Leningrad changed it's name back to St. Petersburg when the USSR dissolved. Cluing is fine.
Yur welcome.

thfenn 8:31 AM  

Loved this one. Great theme and reveal. Can't say the reveal helped me get the themers, as the authors are known to me from the titles more than from being one and dones, but thought it was a great idea.

Love HASATIT, though I think of it as wasting energy on a useless effort, or working hard on something I don't care much about (DOICARE? No, but HA(ve)ATIT).

Isn't Kerouac more or less synonymous with BEATNIK? Didn't get that issue, or the one about flow out of the corners, but then I don't really manage to solve these as a flow so don't experience that logjam. Chime stopper this AM was me stupidly entering ESE as the expert suffix, revealing my lack of expertise, and didn't immediately see the fairy queen's name would be wrong. But got it, so no DNF.

bocamp 8:40 AM  

Thx Drew; very nice Tues. puz! :)

Med.

Good start in the NW, moving down the coast, over to the SE, and ending up with a correct guess at the cross of KERATIN / AUDIE.

Knew of all the writers, but couldn't get them by their books, so that slowed me down a skosh.

Nevertheless, a fun trip. :)

@jae

Croce's 661 was a very enjoyable challenge. Med. overall, but very tough in the two areas that had restricted access, i.e., the SW & NE. Lucky guess at the 'font' / 'drink' cross for the win. See you next Mon. :)

@okanaganer (1:41 PM yd)

Love your idea of an (*) for overtime; most of my 0's are from o.t., so will start using your (*) to indicate such.
___

yd pg -4

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Nancy 8:41 AM  

Just imagine -- you write this great book that everyone buys and everyone loves and then what appears on your tombstone is...THAT'S ALL SHE WROTE.

Just kidding. I found today's cute literary offering a welcome change from yesterday's pop culture-fest and quite enjoyed it.

When I think of one-book women authors, the first one that pops into my mind is Margaret Mitchell (who might have written more if she hadn't died so tragically young.) I counted letters and said, no, it wouldn't have worked. Margaret Mitchell is 16-letters long. And then it's pointed out on the blog that this is a 16-letter-wide puzzle. So MM would have worked after all. And she would have been a grid-spanner. Wow!

But as Bette Davis said: "Why ask for the moon when we have the stars?" (Or was it the other way around?) At any rate, this is a very nice puzzle that's clean and polished as well as literate and amusing.

Anonymoose 8:45 AM  

@lujoc. I wondered that too. After reading your post I decided to check out the lyrics.

Lido be runnin', havin' great big fun until he got the note
Saying, "Tow the line or blow it, " AND THAT WAS ALL SHE WROTE**
He be makin' like a beeline headin' for the border line, goin' for broke
Sayin', "One more hit oughta do it
This joint, ain't nothin' to it
One more for the road"

**Caps mine

Irene 8:50 AM  

It's not just Plath: Emily Bronte wrote poetry, too. That's two out of three, so the whole thing is based on a fallacy.

Slammin Sammy...and Mark also 9:06 AM  

Sosa was not engaged in a FAMOUS home run race. He was part of an INfamous race with fellow drug-user McGwire.

jberg 9:08 AM  

Tough but enjoyable. I was at first unhappy that the revealer came so soon, and was so obvious -- but since the theme clues were all unambiguous, that did not really affect the solve. Like Rex, I immediately thought "But what about Ariel?" but then read the clue more closely.

I've seen "Midsummer Night's Dream" performed at least ten times, but still needed a couple of crosses before TITANIA popped into my head; all I could think of was Oberon.

I spent most of my childhood in a minor port on Lake Michigan; not much shipping, but several shipyards. One of them had a large GANTRY which could be seen from far away. At the time, I thought the word just meant 'crane,' but it was enough to let me figure out what those sign supports were called.

BTW, there are two Elmer Gantry operas, too. A friend of mine helped develop one, but it never caught on. The other was a bit more successful.

I did think it was a fault, in a puzzle with a theme about novels, to have an unrelated novel in not one but two clues.

And the winner for 'post that provoked the most responses' is...

@Vtspeedy!

Anonymous 9:10 AM  

Easy andOK.

Mr. Grumpypants 9:11 AM  

Lovely puzzle. Perfect for a Tuesday. "That's all / she wrote" is a well-known idiomatic phrase, and the lower part filled itself in. Went back and entered the authors, as I assumed Rex would do. His snippy comments about the clues were misplaced.

Anonymous 9:16 AM  

FWIW I’m with Rex on BEATNIK. I don’t think anyone in On the Road identified with that term, or maybe ever had heard the term at the time of the events depicted in the book. Makes me wonder if the constructor has read the book? But I’m ok with the clueing.

RooMonster 9:27 AM  

Hey All !
Does anyone know if the Leningrad clue is correct? Har!

Nice puz, noticed the "14" in the last square of the top row, which usually indicates it's a 16 wide grid. (Usually, unless there is only one set of Blockers in the top three rows, as in a themeless.) So, the ole brain is still ticking.

Speaking of the ole brain, it keeps wanting to see ANNA SEWELL as ANN AS WELL, regardless of the first E. Stupid brain.

Always think SYLVIAs last name is PLATt. Always write in that wrong second t. One of those things that I'll never remember. (Well, that's a broad range of things!)

Fill came out OK in my eyes, as some tricky areas to fill. Opposite of Rex's closed corners, we have the NE/SW as big open corners, three Across 7's, crossing three Down 7-7-6's. Even in the other corners, three Down 7's crossing the Revealer. So, Drew gets a pass on the fill. You've heard me (well, read me) say it a thousand times, Every pus has dreck.

PLATH, BRONTE, ANN AS WELL. Har. No PHD here. 😁

Two F's
RooMonster
DarrinV

Otto 9:34 AM  

Minor nitpick:

30 Across: Sending a Slack message, say. Answer is IMING.

Except on Slack it's called a "DM", not an "IM". Direct Message, not an Instant Message. Minor nitpick, but cluers, get your terms right, eh?

Z 9:36 AM  

IMING or dMING - Another wait for the cross because we can’t have a single name for anything. Blrrgh.

Right with Rex on the annoyinginity of highly isolated corners. Just two WELTs on an otherwise acceptable offering. Blrrgh.

Ooh, a literary PPP theme. Blrrgh.

THAT’S ALL SHE WROTE All Too Well. (Poor Jake Gyllenhaal -Blrrgh)

I associate PAELLA with peas. I despise peas. Why does every restaurant that serves PAELLA insist on using peas? Just a disgusting awful gross orb of Blrrgh.

Hey! Anybody know why they used “Leningrad” in the clue? Anyone? Bueller?

What makes a MOLAR difficult to fill? Blrrgh.

Hand up for wanting “THAT’s the only novel SHE managed to get published” but it didn’t fit. Blrrgh.

I couldn’t help but wonder where AUDIE put her R.

I was quietly pleased that the puzzle resolved the whole SERTA v Sealy debate by just sticking the unwanted one in the clue.

A debut you say! Okay. Not my cuppa on many levels but a perfectly serviceable Tuesday.

Pete 9:51 AM  

@Z[4 letters] Jezzzus man, I'm the avatar of @michiganman who hates peas, not you. If you can't keep things straight, people will figure things out.

JD 9:52 AM  

The clue is "The end" ... or what can be said about the NOVELS in the clues for 25-, 38- and 52-Across." Just saying.

Thought this was tough for a Tuesday but it's stuff I know so I thoroughly enjoyed it. PPP but my PPP.

@Zÿgö, Paella is actually Spanish for add more peas. It's true. And Molars are hard to fill because their way back there. It's even harder when it's your molar.

tea73 10:01 AM  

I got THAT'S ALL and SYLVIA PLATH and thought, "famous suicides?" Kind of a depressing start to a Tuesday morning. Thankfully the rest just died of illnesses.

Funny story we used to listen to books on CDs on long drives. One time we had cued up On The Road, but accidentally hit shuffle. We were about 3/4 of the way through the first CD before we realized our mistake. I've never bother to finish the book...

I've used Slack, but never use it for messaging, I did wonder whether that IM was actually correct.

I know GANTRY both from rocket launches and highway signs AND the EZ Pass thingies.

Z 10:03 AM  

@jberg - My first thought was Oberon, too. My Alma Mater’s most successful drop out just made some big craft beer news, so I had Oberon on my mind.
GANTRies are pretty common at marinas, but what came to mind first for me was a theater GANTRY. I never associated GANTRY with interstates before, but it didn’t take many precious nanoseconds to grasp what the clue wanted.


@Slammin Sammy… and Mark also - I was going to add something similar to my list of Blrrghs and forgot. Fortunately you have it covered. I’m not at all clear on where exactly the line should be for when acceptable use of modern medicine crosses into unacceptable use of modern medicine, but to me those two clearly went way over the line. 👍🏽👍🏽

johnk 10:18 AM  

Rex's assessment seems to be based on his need for a speedy solve. He complains about "isolated NW / SE corners" and "extremely narrow entries / exits" as a "flow killer". I solve these puzzles strictly for enjoyment and excersize - a daily mind-yoga. I don't mind if it requires 3 more minutes. I thought it was a good Tuesday puzz.

jae 10:23 AM  

Easy-medium. The theme was a fun fact that I did not know. Liked it.

Mary McCarty 10:26 AM  

RE: “13D: Protein in horns and hair (KERATIN) — had -ATIN, wrote GELATIN. It felt wrong as I was writing it, but not being a protein expert, I just went with it.” and Rex’s complaint about the one-square doorways between corners: that’s why I double-check the pertinent crossing clue before rushing to slam in the first thing that comes to mind even if it “feels wrong.” (I think most puzzlers do the same.) To me, the joy of crosswords is not to merely write in a listing of words, (that would be a trivia contest or vocabulary quiz) but to delight in the ways these words intersect. Every single “doorway” was a gimme, at least for me, so there was no problem moving between segments. One possible exception was GANTRY, but 30A obviously ended in a G, so there’s your entry. Saves a lot of time and erasing if you just check the crossings.

mathgent 10:32 AM  

Nancy mentioned that MARGARETMITCHELL fits. On Jeff Chen, the constructor says that he considered her but passed because GWTW is racist.

Patrick Berry wrote a puzzle in last Saturday's WSJ with this clue. "Author who published her only novel using the male pseudonym Ellis Bell."

The constructor is making the case that he is sufficiently woke, but he still needs to prove that he can write an engaging crossword.

sixtyni yogini 10:35 AM  

❤️🧩❤️
The theme was great. Enjoyable solve.
🤗

Beezer 10:37 AM  

@jberg I also tend to associate GANTRY with shipping ports and like @Z it didn’t take long to suss it out due to the shape of the structure that holds up the highway signs.

@Nancy, @JD makes a good point. The themers today are all PPP. It is PPP that YOU know. Only time will tell whether today’s PPP becomes tomorrow’s “classic” PPP.

Count me in as a person confused why some commenters think Kerouac would NOT be associated with BEATNIKS since he was part of the Beat Movement. Perhaps it was too much exposure to The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis and Maynard G. Krebs as the stereotype of a beatnik?

I enjoyed the puzzle but it was over too soon!

Neal 10:39 AM  

When you fill HASATIT as HAS A TRY first and then attempt to correct it....bewilderment ensues.

Masked and Anonymous 10:45 AM  

Cool theme idea, with extra-cool revealer.

@RP: What's wrong with AMASS?
But as far as AMASS's puz area, maybe slightly so-so with that there SISI/IMON pair -- but not alarminly so, at our house. [Didn't seem to produce another hole in @Nancy darlin's riddled wall, at least.]

staff weeject pick: ISE. M&A goofed and unthinkinly splatzed -ESE, in there. Didn't know TITANIA's spellin all that well, so it couldn't get de-finitively cross-checked. Lost valuable bonus score points.

fave sparklers: BEATNIK. TITANIA. DEADEND at the puzgrid end. HASATIT. DOICARE.

Thanx for the great readin material, Mr. Schmenner dude. [Kinda more of a Schwomenner theme, tho.] And congratz on yer fine debut puz. Hopin that's not all U wrote.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


**gruntz**

Anonymous 10:45 AM  

Well, Sylvia Plath came first, of course, so the 'theme' Had To Be along the lines of 'offed herself'. Not so morbid, in the end.

Anonymous 10:56 AM  

Was it just me, or did I parse HASATIT completely incorrectly that turned the crossword into a very umm....adult....direction? I was initially reading it as something like "Has a go" or "Has a shot".

Masked and Anonymous 11:20 AM  

p.s.

@RP: Great News!!

That there AMASS puz area can be re-edited to this pristine mint version…

ACROSS.
4. Moscow Mitch's fave legislative body
16. Dude's name that's a fruit in reverse
DOWN.
4. Lucy's main squeeze, back before HDTV
5. Sch. with the Minute Men? [Hint: Not ANTioch]
6. "Cool" lottery payout amount
7. What she wrote, so to speak?

Q. E. D.

M&A Help Desk

Anonymous 11:21 AM  

let's go to the wiki: Beat Generation vis-a-vis Beatnik... here are the ledes

BG - "The Beat Generation was a literary movement started by a group of authors whose work explored and influenced American culture and politics in the post-war era. "

B - "The Beatnik was a media stereotype prevalent throughout the late 1940s, 1950s to mid-1960s that displayed the more superficial aspects of the Beat Generation (the people born between 1928 and 1945) literary movement of the late 1940s and early to mid 1950s. Elements of the beatnik trope included pseudo-intellectualism, drug use, and a cartoonish depiction of real-life people along with the spiritual quest of Jack Kerouac's autobiographical fiction."

So, Beatnik are Beat Generation posers. Maynard G. Krebs is a worthy exemplar.

Anonymous 11:22 AM  

Rex is not familiar with "gantry", so, hence,thence,whence,therefore, and ergo. . . it's gotta be a bad clue!!! Why didn't you clue gantry with "Elmer"??? I know THAT, he whines. . . Hilarious. . . And, apathy MEANS not caring. . .not not daring. Good day.

Carola 11:23 AM  

Add me to the fans - I thought this was a terrific Tuesday, with its elegantly balanced literary line-up and the nice snap of the reveal. After THAT'S ALL and the first two authors, I was suitably puzzled, not having the number of their novels in mind, but EMILY BRONTE brought with her an immediate "SHE WROTE!" and the puzzle joy of "getting it."

Having recently read Joyce Johnson's Minor Characters: A Beat Memoir (1983), I also had a "Nope" reaction to 3 Down: the Beats weren't BEATNIKS (with their stereotypical turtlenecks and BERETs). Nice explanation here: The Beat Generation vs. “Beatniks”, which includes a quote from Allen Ginsburg: “If beatniks and not illuminated Beat poets overrun this country, they will have been created not by Kerouac but by industries of mass communication which continue to brainwash man.”

Whatsername 11:28 AM  

Congratulations to Drew on a really nice debut. A clever idea well executed.

THATS ALL SHE WROTE.

Tim Carey 11:37 AM  

Maynard G. Crebbs is a BEATNIK. Kerouac, Ginseng, Corso and others are Beat.

Nancy 11:41 AM  

@M&A (10:45)-- Love your "Schwomenner" pun.

Thanks, @mathgent, for drawing my attention to the constructor's comments on xword.info about considering Mitchell but then deciding not to use her because GWTW is "racist". Apropos of my own initial reaction to the puzzle, I find it very interesting that Schmenner actually did consider Mitchell initially.

But re his decision not to use her: There are no words to describe my happiness and immense relief at having grown up in the era I grew up in and not the present one. GWTW is my favorite novel of all time. For this I make no apology. And while I've always thought of it as primarily a woman's book, my brother many, many years ago described "perfect happiness" as reading GWTW curled up by a fire with a Golden Retriever at your feet. (Of course today, my brother might describe "perfect happiness" as scoring a par on the 18th at Pebble Beach, but still...)

I rise to defend GWTW as a brilliantly written, absolutely riveting novel that indelibly evokes a time and a place and the people who inhabit that time and place. You may not admire that time or place or like the people who inhabit it very much, but their story and their points of view are at the very least interesting to know. And at the most, endlessly fascinating. Imagine a literature in which every character is a paragon of virtue, empathy and kindness possessing the most enlightened social and political points of view. I don't think we'd end up with any literature, come to think of it. THAT indeed would be ALL.

Joseph Michael 11:41 AM  

It never occurred to me that these well-known authors were one-hit wonders when it came to novels, so I learned something while also having an enjoyable crossword solve. Congrats to Drew on the NYT debut.

So. now AMASS is bad fill??? Oy. I agree that the NW and SE corners feel a little claustrophobic but thought this was a solid grid overall. Had a similar Elmer response to GANTRY and couldn’t keep my inner twelve-year old from wanting to reparse HASATIT.

57A gives us yet another entry for the O.E.D. (Old Eel Dictionary) (not to be confused with the Oreo English Dictionary).

Hartley70 11:48 AM  

I loved this theme. It wasn’t difficult to grasp but it warmed my heart. I had to squint my memory really tight to see the SEWELL after ANNA, because I haven’t seen the copy of “Black Beauty” that I won in the fourth grade spelling bee in many, many years. It was a highlight of my elementary school days.

The fill had some tough spots, particularly the IMING/GANTRY cross. Somehow I’ve missed “Slack” when IMING. I just use “messages”. Did anyone know GANTRY who doesn’t work on those signposts? Still, the tough G was guessable without a cheat, so all’s right in NYT world. This puzzle was just right for a Tuesday and a very nice debut.

Z 11:57 AM  

Uh, Kerouac once said, “I’m not a BEATNIK, I’m a Catholic.” As always, an encyclopedia is a good place to start, but Wikipedia does a pretty good job of explaining the difference between “BEAT” and “BEATNIK.”

@M&A - Do you do the weekly Gorski puzzle? Six U’s this week made me think of you.

@Beezer - I think 1847, 1877, and 1963 mean these are all “Classic PPP.”

@JD - Paella is actually Spanish for add more peas. 😂🤣😂

@Pete - Oh right. Between being Rex, @michiganman, and you I just can’t keep myself straight. As they say, you’re never alone with a schizophrenic.*










*Before you pull a vtspeedy, think about the implication of using a term that is an inaccurate social construct. Or not.

Z 12:01 PM  

@Anon11:21 - & @Carola - Dang. You BEAT me to it. At least I got the Kerouac quote first so I guess I’ll leave it.

Anonymous 12:01 PM  

Did you miss the word NOVELS in the clue?

Anonymous 12:05 PM  

@Zwhatever:

"One for all, and all for one!!"

It takes a village to deconstruct a crossword.

Janet 12:14 PM  

Feedback: Gantry: People who live in or visit Long Island City know Gantry Plaza State Park: https://parks.ny.gov/parks/gantryplaza/details.aspx. Check out the views of Manhattan and attend the live music and dance concerts in the summer.

Plath published one book of poems before she died, The Colossus. Ariel was published posthumously.

Beezer 12:16 PM  

@Z, you and your Wikipedia again but whatever. I will go with the fact that the clue MAY go too far. I had referred to a website hit with the search “beat vs. beatnik” and found this: They were the hangers-on, fans, the impersonators, the wannabes. When Ginsberg wrote of “the best minds of my generation,” he spoke of the Beat Generation. The people buying “Howl” and copying Ginsberg and his friends were more aptly described as Beatniks. Anyway, let’s just say I was not surprised and did not go blrrgh (sic) when I filled in BEATNIK.

The Joker 12:17 PM  

This was a difficult puzzle.

I'm BEAT.

old timer 12:18 PM  

None of the characters in "On The Road" are BEATNIKs, because the book was published in 1957 and written about an era that began after WWII, while BEATNIK was invented by Herb Caen of the SF Chronicle in 1958. But yes, the Ginsberg/Holmes/Kerouac group did call themselves "beat". Indeed when I started college in 1962, all sorts of "beat" folks could be seen in North Beach, at coffee houses on Grant Avenue, and hanging out in the poetry basement at City Lights. Many wore BERETs.

The segmented nature of the puzzle did not bother me, but its general lameness did. Especially NANO, SOMEONE, and using OVO when "OVi" is a more common combining form. I really was wondering what "MOiR" had to do with boats.

I see everyone figured out why USSR was properly clued, and why the theme is actually OK -- each of the three authors had only one novel published in her lifetime, no matter what else SHE WROTE.

GILL I. 12:20 PM  

Stellaaaaaaa. Where art thou?.... in the staircase with ARTOIS.
My first thought was: Oh good gravy with mustard seeds on my pancake syrup...this has a conga line of proper names and I won't know any of them. Thank goodness Nana took her little heathen aside and told her she better read some books or end up in an orphanage.
But did you like this? you ask. I did. But I'm in the same corner as the GANTRY group, though, and hoping Elmer isn't turning in his grave.
I almost had one of those "If I have to Google on a Tuesday, I will go open up a can of peas and put them all over my PAELLA, moment." BUT....I didn't. @Z. Seriously.....I invite you over to my house and I will make you a side dish of fresh peas from the garden. I will lovingly sauté them in good Spanish olive oil, add some shallots, a little bit of garlic and I'm betting you'd like them. @JD, who thinks you'd like more shoved in, would get an earful from me, since PAELLA really means frying pan. Like " out of the frying pan and into the whatever." but I'm betting she's yanking something of yours.
OK...back to the puzzle. Did anyone else thinK MURDER SHE WROTE? of course not.
Did anyone else like HELEN having an AFFAIR with a TIARA sitting in a MOOR with AUDIE? of course not.
Nice Tuesday.....He WROTE.

SharonAK 12:24 PM  

??what was with Rex's moan about the fill at the top ? I always love the sound of "sisi"; "amass" is a perfectly good word and SNL, tho used a lot, is not nearly as worn out as "oreo" plus it makes me think of fun. That leaves only "pol" to complain about - and I don't see why anyone would.

Michiganman 12:26 PM  

Thank you, @Nancy, for your very reasonable comments on GWTW and literature in general. I'm pasting an excerpt here for anyone who may have missed it.

"I rise to defend GWTW as a brilliantly written, absolutely riveting novel that indelibly evokes a time and a place and the people who inhabit that time and place. You may not admire that time or place or like the people who inhabit it very much, but their story and their points of view are at the very least interesting to know. And at the most, endlessly fascinating. Imagine a literature in which every character is a paragon of virtue, empathy and kindness possessing the most enlightened social and political points of view. I don't think we'd end up with any literature, come to think of it. THAT indeed would be ALL."

jb129 12:36 PM  

I didn't dislike this as much as Rex. In fact, I kinda liked it.

mathgent 12:40 PM  

My favorite posts this morning.

Spatenau (7:02)
Nancy (8:41)
Nancy (11:41)

okanaganer 1:48 PM  

Yes when I saw the revealer, especially with Sylvia Plath up top, I thought "geez that's depressing". But other than that, it was a worthy theme.. for a Tuesday.

I guess to put a more cheerful spin on it, these writers didn't have any flops. Kind of like winning the Stanley Cup in your first season and then... well, let's just say retiring.

I used to buy Stella ARTOIS regularly, until it got so expensive. (Trivia: it was first released as a holiday beer, so its name refers to the Star of Bethlehem.)

[Spelling Bee: yd -1, missed this word, pretty sure I've never seen or heard it.]

Z 2:00 PM  

@Gill I - The olive oil, shallots, and garlic I would love. The peas would be left on the plate. Trust me on this. There is nothing anyone can do to those gross orbs of blrrgh that would make me like them. To be clear, snow peas, snap peas, sugar peas… all edible. But once they are shucked all they are good for is pea shooter ammo.

@Michiganman & @Nancy - So no room for “upon reflection the book paints a false image of southern heritage and as such glorifies a past based on hate and white supremacy. It’s portrayal of the “happy slave” is an egregious white-washing of the brutal reality”? Just because Mitchell may have been a good writer doesn’t mean she was in any way a good person. Not in 2021, but not in 1936 either. Clark Gable’s issue with his role and other issues is well documented. Just the barest of consideration and curiosity will show that the disgust with how racist the book and movie are are not new. I don’t know about you, but just knowing that Adolph Hitler loved the book and it was used by Nazi propagandists is all I really need to know to applaud the constructor for his decision.

Nancy 2:11 PM  

I assure you, @Z (2:00), that I didn't pal around with Hitler nor did Hitler pal around with me. I have no idea what books he "loved", nor am I in the least responsible for his literary preferences. Neither for that matter is/was Margaret Mitchell. Nor do I for a moment imagine that liking the same book Hitler liked would have kept me out of the ovens for even one single day.

I really hate guilt by association. I really, really do.

Michiganman 2:27 PM  

I don't think it's necessary to applaud the constructor's decision re: Margaret Mitchell(BTW-his comments at XWord Info indicate that construction elements played a role in the exclusion of MM). Her not being in the puzzle will not lessen the problems of racism. Had she been in the puzzle, that would not have worsened those problems. It's irrational to believe that crossword puzzle items make the least bit of difference in the world. There are words that of course should be avoided but that's because they should be avoided in all of civilized discourse.

jae 2:43 PM  

@bocamp - did not know the font but knew the drink because when i tried it a few decades ago the turpentine taste was memorable.

I also meant to add “nice debut” to my previous comment.

Anonymous 3:13 PM  

To the person who said it was ignorant clueing not to say Leningrad's former land, that's not quite right. While the USSR did end 30 (not 20) years ago, so did Leningrad. It's now St. Petersburg, so the clue is accurate.

Coniuratos 3:14 PM  

I feel I should point out (very very late) that vtspeedy wasn't totally wrong - the city of Leningrad is back to being St. Petersburg. However, the administrative region that surrounds it (but doesn't include it - think Baltimore County around Baltimore City) is still called Leningrad Oblast.

The Cleaver 4:05 PM  

for those still confused: St. Pete was also, before it was renamed Leningrad, Petrograd. kind of like New York City will be renamed Trumpburgh when he's re-instated by the seditionists in 2022.

White Russian 4:08 PM  

Ok, people. GWTW. Classic. Slavery happened, predujice happened (still is), (although (dare I say) it's now primarily black to white). It was how the times were during that period. Don't hate the messenger. It's a great work of art.

Hitler also happened. Idi Amin happened. They were shit people, but you can't wipe the memory of them. You can just pray to whatever deity that someone like that won't be in power again. Unfortunately, in third world countries, atrocities like that still happen. Do something about that, instead of complaining when GWTW is in a puzzle.

GILL I. 4:08 PM  

@Z....Far be it from me to tsk tsk your pea execration. I'm guessing that you probably ate these big round green things that came frozen. I remember hating them as a kid until I went to Spain. Fresh, small and sweet....just like me....
Why are we talking Hitler now? Did I miss something?

LorrieJJ 4:09 PM  

First, I know what a gantry is and I'm neither and engineer nor a longshoreman. Just because Rex doesn't know it doesn't make it bad.
Second, why is Rex so darned snarky about about this one ... it's Tuesday, not Saturday.
And third, Leningrad WAS USSR; St. Petersburg IS Russia - that was a tricky one, well put.

Anonymous 4:20 PM  

One interesting thing is that Rex gets irritated when a puzzle uses a word he doesn't know, but I don't mind that because I'm ... learning the word. Not for the Love of Learning, goodness no -- so that I can get it the next time. I sound like a little third-grade know-it-all but I really just want to make the puzzle go faster the next time and if I don't have to be like "G...TRY... zuh?" then that's what'll happen.

(Also, I may like learning a new word, just a little.)

Richardf8 4:55 PM  

MOOR and EMILY BRONTE yes. MOOR and CRUSADE? Oopsie!

Jeff B. 5:00 PM  

As someone who doesn't care about crossword architecture, OFL's rant on that isn't relevant to me. Enjoyed the puzzle and did not find it difficult. That's all she wrote is a good theme, even if it wasn't completely accurate.

But the best thing about the write-up was 'hope you liked Monday's PAELLA cause we're having it again tonight'. Making me hungry.

okanaganer 5:00 PM  

I forgot to add how much I chuckled at Rex: "hope you liked Monday's PAELLA, 'cause we're having it again tonight!"

[Spelling Bee: td 0. (Major spoiler: the 5 longest words have a lot in common!)

@bocamp: no asterisk for yd -1; even thought I tried for a while this morning couldn't get it.]

Anonymous 5:12 PM  

@LorrieJJ:
St. Petersburg IS Russia

So is Petrograd. Russians have hated Germans for centuries, so dispensed with the German sounding (transliterated into Russian) bits when they got around to it. Some years before the USSR (or CCCP in Cyrillic) came into existence.

Anonymous 5:25 PM  

@White Russian:
it's now primarily black to white

When White folk get killed by cops at the same per capita rate as Black folks, come on back and chat.

Smith 5:41 PM  

GANTRY to me is those things you see in Newark Bay when you're driving to Hoboken... something to do with unloading the containers. No idea where I learned that, but not a stretch to learn that it's also what those highway sign holders are called.

@Nancy
I think the problem is that if kids today were to read GWTW it would reinforce racist stereotypes that we should all prefer to be rid of. It's like a piece of systemic racism, if that makes sense.

Good choice of Shakespeare play for a clue, rather than that other one with the, you know, African American guy in it (years ago one of the kids, aged about 4, watching the Olympics, came out with, "Huh, a French African American...").

Today's preferred term would have gotten you beaten to a pulp when I was in hs, as it then appeared to hark back to, well, GWTW.

[sigh] if only it could just be about the puzzle...

Once again a typo cost me precious nanosecs (hi @M&A) but still under average time.


Anoa Bob 8:36 PM  

I think I'll have me a hearty dish of green peas and okra while I check out GWTW to see what all the fuss is about.

I'd say both the BEATNIK and the later hippie shared a distrust of and a subsequent turning away from mainstream society. The BEATs did it in a lower key, nonconfrontational manner while the hippies were more likely to boldly fly their freak flags and embrace a turn on, tune in and drop out life style. Maybe both could find common ground at some ASHRAMS.

kitshef 10:23 PM  

We read The Bell Jar in book club. I can't say I loved it, but it was definitely interesting and worth reading. On the Road, on the other hand, was garbage.

Easier than yesterday's puzzle. Not sure why the days were not switched.

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