Stockpile / MON 11-1-2021 / Southern Siberian city / "Toe" of the Arabian Peninsula / Some angels ... or some newspapers

Monday, November 1, 2021

Constructor: Fiona Taylor

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: NFL — Theme answers end in NFL teams. 

Theme answers:
  • PHONE CHARGERS (20A: Things modern travelers pack)
  • GUMMY BEARS (32A: Forms of some kids' multivitamins) 
  • HASH BROWNS (41A: Breakfast side at a diner)
  • TREASURY BILLS (52A: Government-backed investments)

Word of the Day: SCARP (10A: Steep embankment) —
  1. the steep artificial slope below a fort's parapet
  2. (geology) a cliff at the edge of a plateau or ridge caused by erosion or faulting; the steeper side of an escarpment


• • •
It's an August Monday once again! I'm extra tired this time because we're in the height of midterms at school and pre-Christmas stuff is starting at work. Like, we're reaching Squidward levels this time. 

But I'll be fine. You know what else was fine? The puzzle! Okay, yeah, the theme was kind of boring (sports teams...snzzzzzz) and okay, yeah, left middle had some unnecessarily hard crosses, but other than that the puz was great. Beautiful fill like UMIAK, OMSK, HERALDS and SCARB, decently fun clues ("caws" for concern for a farmer, haha!), limited crosswordese and minimal OREOs. ACE crossing ALL AS was perfect. Was trying to somehow make something Flintstones-related fit into 32A and was a little disappointed about GUMMY BEARS, to be quite honest. 

Yeah, like I said, I'm afraid the theme bored me. Anyone can list off a buncha sports teams, you know? And of all sports, football is the one where you definitely already know all the teams. America's other, colder pastime. I don't know. I just didn't really care for this one. 

  • ESSES (51D: Twisty curves) — This one just seemed so fake to me, but I looked it up in the Merriam-Webster dictionary and yeah, something shaped like an S can be called an "ess." Language is a beautiful thing. 
  • NERDS (27D: Jocks' counterparts, stereotypically) — Do you remember that era where everyone was dressing like a nerd for Halloween? Granted, it's a pretty easy costume, you just need a button-down, glasses and suspenders. Which, come to think of it, isn't too different from how I dress now, minus the suspenders. 
  • UMIAK (33D: Inuit boat) — I had "kayak" here, and kind of assumed they were the same thing, but they're not! For one thing, oars rather than paddles are used when women drive them. They can also have a sail attached, or even an outboard motor! Pretty cool. I should ask my dad if he knows anything about umiaks, he used to be big into boat building.  

  • GOTHS (6D: High schoolers who dress in black, maybe) — Also the title of my third favorite Mountain Goats album. Give the first track a listen! It's your Monday earworm. I saw them live a few weeks ago (first concert since COVID!) and the lead singer jumped around the stage like a frog the whole time, it was awesome. 

Signed, August Thompson, tired graduate student. 

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

[Follow August Thompson on Twitter]


jae 12:12 AM  

Easy-medium. UMIAK, OMSK, and NAOMI might be a little obscure for newbies but the rest was Monday fare. Pretty smooth with some fine long downs, liked it. Nice debut!

@bocamp - Croce’s Freestyle #655 was mostly easy for a Croce (about a medium NYT Saturday). The top and bottom thirds went pretty smoothly but the middle third was more of a bear. I needed some spousal spelling help for one square in the center stack. Good luck!

Frantic Sloth 12:45 AM  

Nice debut for the Mondee. Easy-peasy and straightforward all the way through.
Not much to delight, but nothing to kvetch about either.

Congratulations on your NYT debut, Ms. Taylor and keep it up!


Unknown 1:16 AM  

Psst…it’s November.

egsforbreakfast 1:52 AM  

I really enjoyed pretending that the themers were the actual team names:

San Diego PHONECHARGERS (sponsored by iPhone)
Chicago GUMMYBEARS (sponsored by The Disney Company)
Cleveland HASHBROWNS (sponsored by Ore-Ida)
Buffalo TREASURYBILLS (sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank)

I also liked that 17A could have been correctly answered with ESTAn instead of ESTAS, making 5D into WInEGUYS (Smart alecks). I know a whole bunch of WInEGUYS (aka wine snobs) who are smart alecks and then some. Speaking of which, the “alecks” part appears to be just a corruption of Alex. But who was Alex?

The puzzle was Monday-easy, but that’s good on a Monday. A good, consistent premier for Fiona Taylor. Thanks, Fiona.

chefwen 2:01 AM  

I love football so this was a fun one for me. Sure wished my Packers could have wiggled an entry into this this instead of DAAA BEARS. Oh well, better luck next time. At least I didn’t have to deal with our other enemy, the Vikings.

okanaganer 2:26 AM  

I am not an NFL follower, living in Canada. (Say, when are the NFL going to put in a token Canadian team, probably from Toronto? Like MLB and the NBA.) So the theme is pretty meh to me.

I put TREASURY BONDS for 52 across, and thought: why is this Monday so difficult? Obviously, OHIO is the Hawkeye state, right? Whadda I know. Radar O'Reilly was from... I can't recall exactly, a 4 letter midwest state. I've been to both of them (don't remember much; as the inverted cliche says, great places to live but not to visit...)

{Spelling Bee: Sunday pg -2; missing a 7 and 6. (In my defense, a bit exhausted dealing with 300+ trick or treaters. Trying to cook dinner when they arrived 30 seconds apart! I bought candy for 250, and had to turn out the lights and lock the gates when I ran out at 7:30pm.) A whackload of disallowed proper nouns this day: ORONOCO, ANZIO, ARIZONA, CINZANO, NAZI, RIANNON (sp), CARIOCAN, ARIANA, CONAN].

Del Taco 3:06 AM  

Easy, but unremarkable Monday.
What was very remarkable was that the Patriots beat the CHARGERS on Sunday.

JJK 3:52 AM  

Sorry to be a sourpuss, but I have to kvetch about a few things here. I really don’t think the word garb can be pluralized with an s. Garb means clothing, all-encompassing of what someone is wearing, you would never say GARBS. Also not so sure about SCARP. I’ve heard ‘escarpment’, never heard SCARP. And UMIAK and OMSK are pretty obscure for a Monday - but I will say that I enjoyed learning the word UMIAK, which I didn’t know.

Loren Muse Smith 5:17 AM  

Timely theme, considering I’m doing my level best to become a Panthers fan so I can get all excited and upset and stuff with Mom when they play. She scoots the chair close to the TV (macular degeneration) and screams and whoops her Panthers to victory (yesterday) or defeat every Sunday.

This is a tight theme considering that each word for the team is has a different in its phrase meaning separate from the NFL one. Ok. BEARS, not so much. I couldn’t think of any as good as Fiona’s. . . fire chiefs, battering rams. . . nah. Pass.

Note that Fiona slipped in two other teams in the clues: Colts and Cowboys. Sneaky sneaky.

@egsforbreakfast – liked your WISE GUY thought for those team names on our ever-growing ad-infested world. Honestly, it’s just a matter of time, if it already hasn’t happened somewhere. Also – same thought on the “estan” possibility. Oh, and I always say smart eleck for some reason.

@JJK – GARBS in the plural stood out to me, too. (GALLS would have worked there). But then I sat there thinking about pluralizing stuff like clothings, attires, apparels, and I might just add these into the rotation.

Loved, loved, loved the clue for UGLY. Awfully good, imo.

“Direction after adding sugar” – add some more. And then a little more. We’re talking steel-cut oatmeal here. Then, when you have too much sugar, you have to add some more salt. And then another three tablespoons of butter. Then it’s heaven.

And speaking of Irish fare – it never occurred to me to have IRISH STEW for St. Patrick’s Day. We’re all about corned beef and cabbage. And man that cooked cabbage. . . the orchestral aftermath. . . as David Sedaris would say, we all form our little horn section.

BarbieBarbie 6:00 AM  

Can’t believe “sports teams bore me” is regarded as a valid complaint. Cmon peeps. We’re not even ON your lawn. This was fun!

I thought GARBS was being used as a verb, though a strange one.
Loved the symmetric pairings here. HERALDS and GORGONS perhaps the best. Though MANHATTAN and IRISHSTEW was fun too.

It’s Monday, and the puzzle was Monday-easy yet fun and meaty. That’s pretty amazing. I’d share this with anyone looking to get into NYTXs. Two thumbs up and lots more, please!!

GILL I. 6:29 AM  

SCARP, CARP and GARBS walk into a bar. The bartender, GORGON, suddenly shouts out " AMASS TIC AHEAD." KASHI, who was sitting next to an UGLY DOLT, let out some GAS. Everybody assumed it was the IRISH STEW he just inhaled. was the MANHATTAN.....GORGON forgot to add the cherry....NEAR disaster was averted.
Fun Monday.

Michiganman 6:34 AM  

@LMS. I hope your oatmeal sugar is brown. I also STIR in cut up apple (MacIntosh not northern spy). In the 90's I took AMTRAK from Chicago to Oakland to visit my son in the Bay AREA. Great train trip but can you believe they didn't have brown sugar for the oatmeal? Alas, sometimes one must suffer for the overall pleasure.

Lewis 6:43 AM  

I loved the clue for OFF, as for some reason I’m always on the alert for palindromes. In fact, though it’s not a real word, I just love the feel and sound of GORGONS backward – SNOGROG, which sounds to me like some Scandinavian mythical beast.

The theme – repurposing football team names – seems tight. Fiona did a marvelous job hiding CHARGERS, BROWNS, and BILLS. The BEARS in GUMMY BEARS are bears, yes -- Hi, @loren!! -- but I love that answer so much, I don’t care.

Loved seeing the lovely FRAY, GORGONS, and SCARP, and the complementary sporting references to baseball (UMP) and basketball (TREY). I also liked those other two palindromes, ERE and EWE, to complement NOTON.

Much to like in this debut puzzle, and thus most enjoyable. Congratulations, Fiona, and thank you for this!

Tom T 6:43 AM  

How do you redeem OREO from its dreaded crossword-ese purgatory? By intersecting the horizontal OREO (15A) with a reverse diagonal OREO. Here's how it looks in the grid:

That's just a double stuffed OREO delight!

And here's the clue for another hidden diagonal word in the grid today:
Scaly (or feathery) wrap (3 letters--answer below)

Very nice Monday offering. Learned UMIAK and SCARP!

Answer (from the SE corner):

kitshef 7:32 AM  

Hand up for:
- GARBS being used as a verb
- Pausing at ESTA_/WI_E GUYS cross.
- Enjoying the non-Monday fill - much if it involving 'k's: KASHI, OMSK, UMIAK

Also enjoyed RINK over by SKATER. But with all that football talk, shouldn't that UMP have been a ref? Football does have umpires, but I've never heard them called UMPs for some reason.

Son Volt 7:34 AM  

Tidy little early week theme with some crunchy fill. The GARBS, UMIAK, MANHATTAN stack was nice as were HERALDS and SCARP. Side eye to ALL A’S and didn’t like the GANG clue.

Corned beef and cabbage here on March 17.

Enjoyable Monday solve.

Tom T 7:47 AM  

Apparently the blog comment form couldn't publish my diagonal OREO on a diagonal, even though I tried to present it that way. Oh, well, you'll have to check it out in the grid to get the proper effect ... sigh.

thfenn 7:58 AM  

Lots of fun football this weekend, and some great backup QB performances. INEPT, UGLY, and BURY were not without applicability to some NFL games yesterday as well. And occurred to me that with some stretching we could even let the Ravens in the door with 16A.

I had just enough of 20A complete to go with PlaNECHARtERS and thought "ooh clever Monday having the travellers themselves be packed". LOL, so plenty of overreaching on my part today.

One Halloween trick or treat visit last night - clearly things not back to normal just yet, but hey, at least have a lot of candy lying around.

Joe R. 8:09 AM  

This was an error-riddled Monday for me from start to finish. Confidently dropped in GOTIT at 1A. Realized that mistake quickly. Had SLOPE instead of SCARP, because scarp is very much not a Monday word, and I couldn’t think of another 5-letter word starting with S that might fit that definition, even though it didn’t feel right. Almost erased that and SIRE when I got to 11D, because the only correct answer there was corned beef and cabbage, but that didn’t fit, so I left it until I had enough crosses to figure out the wrong answer the author intended. And then at the end, had TREASURYBONDS rather than BILLS, which led me to drop in OHIO rather than IOWA because I quickly scanned the clue, and was sure that Ohio was the Buckeye State. If only that had been what the clue said,

All in all, a very annoying Monday experience.

Unknown 8:13 AM  

Was trying to forget about my Chargers loss to the Patriots (making it 7 in a row and 20 out of 23). We just cannot beat them, no matter how good we are and how bad they are. Ugh.

Anyways, I enjoyed this puzzle, but it was quite easy, and I actually missed a lot of the good fill because I was able to do across only through most of the mid part of this puzzle, and the downs had the crunchier stuff.

Also, even though I'm Irish, I never have had corned beef and cabbage. I have had IRISH STEW many times, and always get it when I go back. My favorite Irish dish is Fish and Chips, which I have actually been craving for a while. Maybe I'll try to make it this week.

B. Bell 8:41 AM  

@ Okanagager (2:26 am).

Unlike the MLB, the NFL does not have significant anti-trust exemption. It has always been in the interest of the NFL to have some competition to avoid being seen as a monopoly and subject to ant-trust litigation. The AFL, USFL, and XFL have all conveniently served this purpose. As does the CFL. Even though it is located in another country, there is significant overlap in markets. While I don't think anything prevents the NFL from establishing Canadian franchises, I think the NFL is reluctant to do so because it might signal a threat to the existence of the CFL - thereby making the NFL more vulnerable to anti-trust action. I suspect something like a gentleman's agreement exists between the two leagues - one that is mutually beneficial.

It's worth noting here that Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie from NATICK, Massachusetts, spent eight years in the CFL and is widely considered to be one of league's all-time greatest players.

Z 8:49 AM  

Football is the single most boring sport ever invented. Episodes of violence interrupted by committee meetings. And interminable ads. I’d rather watch cornhole. So the theme set does nothing for me. Simple enough because I’m an American spots fan, but Borrrrrring.

The rest of the puzzle was fine, if a little heavy on the crosswordese (smirked at August finding UMIAK and OMSK “beautiful” - I was wondering if it’s possible to go from Attu to OMSK via UMIAK. Yoko Eno’s SiriusXM station is probably the only radio allowed).

GARBS is a verb (Hi @BarbieBarbie & @kitshef). Still, there is hippie GARB, and business GARB and wedding GARB and sports GARB, all kinds of wonderful and even wonderous GARBS. Counting the uncountable, it’s what crosswords do.

@Tom T - Blogger is ancient, and a little bossy. “Oh, preceding spaces, those must be mistakes, let me fix that for you.”
Try some underscores
_ E _ _
_ _ R _
_ _ _ O

Trey 8:51 AM  

@Kitshef 7:32 - umpires in baseball call the runners out

Loved the puzzle, but not sure it belongs on a Monday. UMIAK, GORGONS, SCARP, and KASHI seem later-in-the-week answers when you have this many less-common words in a single puzzle.

Hey - I was mentioned in the puzzle today (TREY), but the clue was off since I do not play basketball

SouthsideJohnny 8:54 AM  

There is a bunch of stuff that seems more difficult than usual for a Monday - including KASHI, UMIAK, OMSK, SCARP and to a lesser extent, GORGONS and NAOMI. The rest of the puzzle is clean enough that they seem to have gotten away with it. I thought it was tougher than usual but pretty much finished in my usual time.

I too initially thought the GARBS clue/answer was a mismatch, but wrestled it in to acceptance via the “they are both verbs” line of thinking. It looks like it passed the @LMS-test as well, so that is pretty much case-closed for me on that one. All-in-all a nice Monday with a little crunch, which seems pretty consistent with the general consensus thus far. It may have drifted a tad away from pure “beginner-friendly” though.

Unknown 8:55 AM  

I was reading this and thinking "What a positive and upbeat tone! Rex must be in a good mood!" and then I saw the byline again.

+1 for Treasury BONDS.

Miriam 8:59 AM  

I like the names of your football teams. That would be a fun theme.

jberg 9:03 AM  

This Hawkeye/Buckeye confusion could be the start of a good theme, if we can just think of one or two more examples. Maybe SNAKEEYE in the middle.

@Okanaganer -- don't you already have your own football league up there, with its own rules and all? That may be blocking NFL expansion in your direction.

After a week of devastating rain, the sun is shining here with pleasant November-level temperatures; gotta go GARB myself for a nice walk down by the river.

puzzlehoarder 9:26 AM  

A routine Monday solve. Two of the entries stood out as bonuses. The first was the boat. Always remember to bring your ulu along when you go for a spin in the family UMIAK. The other was SCARP. It looks like something the British would batter and deep fry. It wasn't hard to recognize due to the more common word eSCARPment but now I'm wondering if I've seen it in this stripped down form before.

Until I read the comments I didn't know OMSK was in the puzzle. There were a number of clues I didn't have to look at this being a Monday and all.

yd pg-1 Missed a common 5 pointer. Happens with groups of similar words.

dbyd -2 Really just one bizarre spelling variant and its conjugated form. That conjugated form was the third pangram.

@okanaganer, opposite experience here in Chicago. I was giving candy away by the handful just to get rid of it.

RooMonster 9:32 AM  

Hey All !
Steelers fan here. Can't come up with a good answer involving them, though. A Steeler is actually a Smith who covers knives, with steel. So, there ya go.

Anyway, nice little MonPuz. The 4 long Downs were cool entries. If The Washington Football Team change their name to the Guys, 5D could've become a Themer!

Speaking of which, why is it two years now, and they can't decide on a name? Hmm, let's see, Natives, nope, offensive still to Native Americans. Nationals, nope, already taken by the baseball team, Senators? Eh, already another sports team name, and Senators are mostly crooked. How about the other branch, the Washington Representatives? The White Houses? The Politicians? Washington Run Pass Kickers?

Har, that was fun. Any other ideas? If they can't decide, maybe we can help them out.

1A/1D encapsulates me. Can read it as 1D/1A also. 😁

Seemed a lot of W's as I was going along. Let's count'em (*counting*), six. Seemed like more.

I'll stop rambling now, have a great All Saints Day.

One F

pabloinnh 9:46 AM  

Off to a flying start as I remembered MUSLI as the cereal, having the I from TIN. And that was about the only writeover (stupid thing) I had in this one.

Was looking for a Monday theme and finally caught it after CHARGERS, BEARS, and BROWNS but it was disguised enough to make finding it a nice surprise.

Side eye for GARBS, but enough explanations here for a reluctant acceptance.

One trick-or-treater here, my now four-year-old granddaughter, but the highlight was her 6'2" Daddy in a penguin costume.

The therapeutic part of SHOPping has always eluded me. You need something, you go buy it, you go home. The end.

@LMS-James Thurber tried to drive an editor crazy by writing "The house was pretty UGLY and a little big for its surroundings." Always liked that one.

And a fond hello to old friend UMIAK. This is the kind of answer that proves you're doing a crossword.

Congrats on your debut, FT, and many thanks for a Fun Trip. Looking for more from you.

Nancy 9:49 AM  

A smooth, well-made puzzle that mostly had me yawning. There's nothing at all bad about it, but this kind of theme always puts me to sleep. Half of the theme answers belonging to the same category of something-or-other: it doesn't much matter if it's football or footwear.

I did like some of the non-theme answer long Downs: WISE GUYS and ARMY BRATS are colorful. MANHATTAN and IRISH STEW pair together nicely in a long, liquid pub lunch that you will not be returning to the office from any time soon.

The constructor does show some constructing chops. I hope she'll pick a more interesting theme-type next time around.

Tim Carey 9:51 AM  

Garb is also a verb. I garb. You garb. She garbs.

bocamp 9:58 AM  

Thx Fiona, for the crunchy Mon. puz! :)


Took a long time to get the NW sorted out. The rest was fairly smooth.

Learned KASHI.

Had BondS before BILLS, so that held me up in the SE for a bit.

Overall, very enjoyable trip. :)

yd pg -2

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

Tim Carey 10:01 AM  

The crosses for KASHI, UMIAK, OMSK, SCARP were nice and simple, even some gimmes. Now if Ms. Taylor had crossed UMIAK & OMSK we would have something to complain about...

Joe Dipinto 10:04 AM  

@JJK 3:52 – "The attendees were dressed in the distinctive garbs of the nations they represented."

mathgent 10:17 AM  

One of the seven officials in an NFL game is the umpire, never referred to as the UMP. The officials all have different titles like Back Judge, Referee, Down Judge, etc.

I've seen "escarpment," not SCARP.

Did anyone here do the Patrick Berry variety puzzle in the Saturday WSJ? I completed the grid but can't get the meta.

Tom T 10:20 AM  

Perfect. Thanks!

Beezer 10:23 AM  

A very fine debut for a promising constructor! Filled with enough crunch to entertain the xword fans that require some crunch and I care not about pluralizing GARB.

LOL @Z on your position that football is boring plus pointing out its uncivilized aspects! Yes. Unlike baseball, which is not boring AT all, AND it is much more civilized in that we only have to watch constant cud chewing, spitting, and the rearrangement of the family jewels. πŸ˜‰

TJS 10:45 AM  

No, "garbs" is garbage, and all you people are wrong.

Whew, I feel better now.

Michiganman 10:49 AM  

For the D.C. NFL team, how about the Washington Gridlocks?

As we say in Michigan, "A Buckeye is a hairless nut". (doesn't make much sense but sounds insulting)

@chefwen mentioned the Bears and Vikings as foes of the GB Packers. On paper the Detroit Lions are division rivals but their omission is understandable, given their INEPTness. But the quarterback's last name is Goff so that should count for something.

Frantic Sloth 10:49 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Whatsername 10:55 AM  

Interesting Monday with a little bite to it. I actually started out with a lot of blank space but didn’t take long to get things rolling. Got all the way to the revealer before I even noticed a theme but that’s okay on Monday. A little trouble coming up with SCARP in the NE, primarily caused by the fact that I had GORGON spelled with an A. With one* little (possibly cranky) critique, I will say this was a very nice debut for Fiona.

I couldn’t let that lovely name just hang there without dazzling everyone with another beautiful Fiona featured in my avatar. Took me one full winter of feeding her before she trusted me enough to be friends. She wouldn’t come near me but would wait until I went back in the house to eat the food I put out, then leave again. Finally one morning in the early spring she was sitting there waiting and rewarded me with purrs and leg rubs. After that she never left again.

*Not to be cranky, really, but it would’ve been so cool to have had the fourth themer be the Bengals, Broncos or Buccaneers.

Anonymous 10:57 AM  

I get that football has a lot of DOWN time but it can still be very exciting to watch, usually when the score is close. The 9 OT Illinois/Penn St. game of Oct. 23 was fascinating. It helped that Illinois won.

Joseph Michael 10:58 AM  

This puzzle came in like a lion and went out like a lamb. With a tennis star crossing a cereal brand and a geographical toe reference, that NW corner was a BEAR, but eventually the puzzle eased into enjoyable Monday fare.

15A gives us yet another entry for the O.E.D. (Oreo English Dictionary.) Good catch, @Tom T on the reverse diagonal.

Second generation IRISH here with a grandfather from Dublin, and I say BAH to both IRISH STEW and corned beef and cabbage. Just give me another Guinness, please, and be done with it.

Speaking of liquor, I’ve only had one MANHATTAN in my life. On the birthday of a friend’s aunt who was turning 90 and used to drink Manhattans in her youth, I was asked to make her one for the occasion. Had no idea how to do that, but did some research and talked to a bartender who advised me to use sweet vermouth instead of dry because of her age. So I made two like that — one for her and one for me. She later told me it was the best Manhattan she had ever had in her life.

rjkennedy98 10:59 AM  

Nothing wrong with this puzzle, but it a real snoozer for me. Super easy and incredibly forgettable. In fact I solved this puzzle on my phone when I woke up at 6 am. I went back to sleep and actually logged into the NY Times Crossword website again at 8 am and had totally forgotten that I had already solved it.

Carola 11:03 AM  

A theme that kept me guessing all the way to the reveal + those very nice longer Down answers = a fine Monday outing. I needed the NFL in order to correct my TREASURY BondS and finish. Favorite Downs parallel pair: the celestial HERALDS and the Hades-dwelling GORGONS.(side question: with Medusa featured in last week's aegis, are we moving into a GORGON period?)

Do-over: chewaBl...nope, too many squares.

@chefwen 2:01 - Your comment reminded me of the commercial for the UW Credit Union on the Big Ten Network, where former Badger running back Jonathan Taylor talks about being able to use his card in [shudder] Chicago and Minnesota.

@mathgent 10:17 - Yes, I completed the grid and know who the special guests are and understand the idea of what's going on with the mirrors....but the meta? No idea. I read the comments, among which were a few of the "I put it aside and when I came back saw it immediately" variety. Not me. I threw in the towel.

Joaquin 11:14 AM  

I don't care if GARBS is a noun, a verb, or a past participle - no one in the history of the world has ever used the word GARBS. So ... it's a real word but not a Monday word.

bocamp 11:32 AM  

@B. Bell (8:41 AM) / @jberg (9:03 AM)

Good points re: NFL / CFL possible conflict.

Also, have fond memories of Doug (Natick) Flutie, from Boston College thru his pro career, in both the NFL and CFL.


Looking forward to it! :)


Exactly my predicament for yd. Haven't looked at the answers yet.

@puzzlehoarder πŸ‘ for -1 yd

td -15 and floundering every which way. :(

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

Whatsername 11:35 AM  

@Loren (5:17) You didn’t specify which kind on that oatmeal, but if you haven’t ever … try some brown sugar next time. Not exactly KASHI healthy, but a whole new breakfast experience.

@GILL (6:29) πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘ You really should take a bow today.

@ZΓΏgΓΆ (8:49) I’m still trying to to get past your declaration that football is “the most boring” sport. I suppose as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, we all approach being an American sports fan with our own individual preferences. But in my eyes I see baseball as episodes of scrotum scratching interrupted by an occasional base hit after which it takes an excruciating amount of time for the player to finally make it back to home plate … IF he ever does. And don’t even get me started on the spitting.

@Roo (9:32) My solution for the unfortunate Washington situation is to call them the Generals. Forget about the city and name your team after the President.

@Carola (11:03) Love the commercial. The Badgers looked awesome on Saturday against IOWA.

Nancy 11:46 AM  

@Joseph Michael (10:58)-- Forget your aunt's age: a MANHATTAN is always made with sweet vermouth. Always. There may be a drink these days made with rye and dry vermouth, and for all I know it may even be palatable, but it is not, I repeat NOT, a MANHATTAN. (Dry vermouth does have its place and is meant for a Martini or Vodka Martini.)

@Beezer (10:23) -- That has to be one of the great thumbnail putdowns of baseball ever written.

JD 11:50 AM  

Some pushback on the first pass and then finished on the second. If we're talking beginner level, Oreo should be mandatory. Maybe add Paula Zahn and Alb every Monday too. We'll see how that shapes up. Owlet started out strong and then pfft.

Other than that, the very basic theme had some interesting and fun answers, Phone Charger, Gummy Bears, and Treasury Bills. New constructor did Monday very well.

Away for the weekend but wanted to say that Saturday was a real gem and Sunday got me through a long airport visit, although solving it on a phone is obviously not a good idea.

JJK 11:57 AM  

I stand corrected!

Masked and Anonymous 11:58 AM  

@August - yep. Hard to beat a good, unrelentin hop around like a frog performance. Especially if it's a kid in a room just upstairs from yer hotel room.

Nice debut. Wanna say Go Vikes at this point, but last night's game left m&e unable to hop around much for em today. Theme idea seemed to have a certain dejavuosity feel, somehow. But the closest I could find in the NYTPuz annals was a NFL team pairs theme from 7 Dec 2010 (co-starrin supreme MonPuz constructioneer ACME, btw).

staff weeject pick: EWE. Luved its ode-to-U clue.
fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {NNW's opposite} = SSE. That puppy gives up ground, pretty darn smooothly. Only way to improve on its generosity would be: {Heading a tad S of SE}.

Some real nice extra longball fillins in the Down entries. fave was GORGONS. Then maybe IRISHSTEW.
Also figure @AnoaBob will luv POC dream entry ESSES's contributions, today.

Thanx for all the gummy phone treasury hash, Ms. Taylor darlin. And congratz on yer mighty fine debut.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


JD 12:03 PM  

Oh, forgot to mention. In early elementary school our songbook had a song that started out, "Umiak, kayak, Mukluk, Tupik ... Eskimo words, learn them if you can.!" Change it to Inuit words and it's still fun to sing. It came in handy today. It's the only song I remember other than "over the river and through the woods..."

Tag Team @Tom T and @TheartistfomerlyknownasZ, I love today's diagonal. Thank you.

@Gill, You've outdone yourself!

Z 12:18 PM  

@Beezer - pointing out its uncivilized aspects! Uncivilized? Seems to me that Episodes of violence interrupted by committee meetings. And interminable ads, is a too accurate description of civilization.

@Whatsername - 11 minutes of action over 3 hours seems to me to be the very definition of “boring.” The athletes are amazing. The game just isn’t. The absolute pinnacle of this is the Super Bowl Party, where ½ to ¾ of the attendees don’t watch a single play. πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€ Baseball, OTOH, is sublime. Simple in its basics, complex in its execution. And the single most difficult feat of athleticism is hitting a 90 mph+ slider.

@Joseph Michael - Oreo English Dictionary πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£ πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½

Jaime 12:19 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Trey 12:19 PM  

Fisheye, cat’s eye

Lewis 12:24 PM  

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

1. Reason the zombies are, of course, skipping the empty house? (3)(1)(2)(7)
2. High rollers' rollers (5)
3. You can't leave home with it (8)(3)
4. Low lying areas (8)
5. See captain? (4)


Z 12:39 PM  

@JJK - I couldn’t decide so how about both Isaac Hayes and Elvis Costello. (Fair warning, that’s the 11:00+ version by Isaac Hayes)

@M+A - Nothing personal, but having a QB from my hometown who made a stink about not being vaccinated makes me want to root for the Vikes losing ignobly to the Lions. My only unhappiness about last night’s loss is I never want a Jerry Jones team to win.

@Whatsername - ZΓΏgΓΆ is next. But I felt like I needed to birth an intermediate name first.

A Moderator 12:40 PM  

Pronouns matter.

thfenn 1:11 PM  


thfenn 1:16 PM  

@Roo, I'm hoping they don't change the name, really like calling them The Washington Football Team. WTF WFT.

thfenn 1:26 PM  

@Nancy 11:46, "what she said".

Frantic Sloth 1:32 PM  

@GILL 629am LOL! Love it! Also, couldn't help thinking of SCARP, CARP, and GARBS as one of @JD's law firms. Representing...swimwear of cliff-diving fish?? That's just stupid.

@Whatsername 1055am Love the Fiona story and what a beauty!❤️

@Moderator 1240pm I can only assume that someone used the wrong pronoun for August. Can you (or anyone) refresh my memory because I've forgotten which ones are preferred. Thanks!

Teedmn 1:37 PM  

I was paying no attention as the theme answers filled in. I thought the downs were so interesting, I thought perhaps we'd have down-going themers but once I got to the reveal clue, the NFL tie-ins were obvious.

SCARP - I did not know this was a stand-alone word; escarpment came to mind at once.

GARBS was a verb for me also, though it probably doesn't work as "She garbs herself in strength",which is how I pictured it going. M-W claims it is a transitive verb. As a noun in the grid, it doesn't seem like it should be plural which is why I tried the verb version. So I guess I'm agreeing with @Joaquin 11:14.

Fiona Taylor, thanks for the pleasant Monday solve and congrats on the debut.

@M&A, my husband has similar feeling about the Vikes as you do (and I would guess, the rest of Vikings fans). And thanks for the frog-hopping hotel imp.

mathgent 1:38 PM  

My favorite posts this morning.

Loren (5:17)
Michiganman (6:34)
Lewis (12:24)

Carola: Your experience with the WSJ puzzle by PB is identical to mine. If you'd like to compare notes, I'm at

SharonAK 1:39 PM  

@ Eggsfor breakfast
Thanks for the team names/sponsors LOL

GILL I. 1:42 PM  

@Whatsername 10:55. A cutiepatootie if ever I saw one.....We had a cat that managed to come up to our attic and give birth to 9 little fur ball babies. My son managed to find homes for all of them but we kept "Bagels." She, too, was a little reluctant to give out purrs but later became out little purr can.

@Joseph Michael 10:58....I hope you read @Nancy 11:46. I can't imagine a delicious MANHATTAN with anything other than sweet vermouth...AND...a cherry to float your boat.
Now speaking of IRISH STEW and your BAH....I agree. I believe that whole corned beef and cabbage thing was invented by Irish immigrants. I should look up its origins. Anyway, my husband is a Scouser but his dad was Irish. There was only one thing we ate on St Pattys Day. It's a dish called "Irish Fry." You eat it for a bodacious hangover....Ready?: It's a bunch of rashers, some fried tomatoes, black pudding and Irish soda bread. You usually fry an egg and toss it into the batch but husband won't eat eggs.'s delicious and if you go to any Irish pub worth its name, you might be able to find some.

chefwen 1:43 PM  

@Zygot 8:49. Had you watched the last two Packer games you would describe them as anything but boring. Both, roller coaster rides of nail biting excitement. The Badger game on Saturday was a thing of beauty.

@Carola 11:03. Hadn’t seen that commercial, what a hoot.

CT2Napa 1:52 PM  

Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

"O , ' tis the cunning livery of hell , The damned'st body to invest and cover In priestly garbs ! " Dost thou think , Claudio , To a determin'd scope ] A confinement of your mind to one painful idea ; to ignominy , of which the..."

CT2Napa 1:57 PM  

The Semantics of Garbs in Dramatic Discourse.

Source: Language in India . Sep2019, Vol. 19 Issue 9, p104-109. 6p.

Author(s): Mandal, Subhanan

Abstract: A critical study of discourse represented in conversational form will reveal many lexical elements which play the role of implicatures and do not convey the exact meaning which the speaker wants to mean directly. It depends on the hearer's/ addressee's capacity to extract the exact semantic value of such elements which the speakers want them to be interpreted. Interpretative failures lead to communication gaps and irrelevant or wrong derivation of meaning. This study will look into the conversational dramatic discourse of William Shakespeare's tragic play Macbeth. The aim is to understand and look at how the speakers with their references to clothes and images of clothing in their conversation throughout the play convey messages that are important to the course of the dialogue exchanges that take place. The garbs in the play, apart from their own inherent semantic value of being pieces of clothes meant to cover one's body, have added connotations in tune with the contextual circumstances and speaker's wish to transfer implicated ideas and thoughts to the hearer/ addressee.

JD 1:58 PM  

@Frantic, I actually worked for the firm! It's true. πŸ˜€

TTrimble 2:16 PM  

Re some comments made on America's Pastime, I can't help but remember Fanny Trollope's The Domestic Manners of the Americans (1832). Describing her sojourn on a Mississippi river boat, she writes

We found the room destined for the use of the ladies dismal enough, as its only windows were below the stem gallery; but both this and the gentlemen's cabin were handsomely fitted up, and the for well carpeted; but oh! that carpet! I will not, I may not describe its condition; indeed it requires the pen of a Swift to do it justice. Let no one who wishes to receive agreeable impressions of American manners, commence their travels in a Mississippi steam boat; for myself, it is with all sincerity I declare, that I would infinitely prefer sharing the apartment of a party of well conditioned pigs to the being confined to its cabin.

I hardly know any annoyance so deeply repugnant to English feelings, as the incessant, remorseless spitting of Americans. I feel that I owe my readers an apology for the repeated use of this, and several other odious words; but I cannot avoid them, with suffering the fidelity of description to escape me.

A little later, she describes a meal time on the boat:

The total want of all the usual courtesies of the table, the voracious rapidity with which the viands were seized and devoured; the strange uncouth phrases and pronunciation; the loathsome spitting, from the contamination of which it was absolutely impossible to protect our dresses; the frightful manner of feeding with their knives, till the whole blade seemed to enter into the mouth; and the still more frightful manner of cleaning the teeth afterward with a pocket knife, soon forced us to feel that we were not surrounded by the generals, colonels, and majors* of the Old World; and that the dinner hour was to be any thing rather than an hour of enjoyment.

*The "gentleman" would refer to each other by such forms of address: Colonel, Captain, etc. Trollope did however refer to these "Kentuckians" as "a very noble-looking race of men; their average height considerably exceeds that of Europeans, and their countenances, excepting when disfigured by red hair, which is not unfrequent, extremely handsome."

okanaganer 2:33 PM  

@B. Bell 8:41am... you're probably right about the CFL. There are no pro leagues for baseball or basketball up here so that's significant. And I sure remember Doug Flutie, as I was living in Vancouver when he was with the Lions (the BC Lions, that is).

@bocamp... yd I missed these two. Ah, those darned botanical genera!

@Z 8:49am... Here goes an experiment:


If the above works, I'll explain how...

Eniale 2:49 PM  

Oh, Okanoganer, those days are past for us, we didn't get a single trick-or-treater! I've given up even buying candy; our hill must be too steep.

I don't do football teams, don't usually do Mondays anyway, but glad to learn UMIAK from bloggers, thank you.

Getting back to normal - pg -4 so far.

Anonymous 2:51 PM  

@Z________. I agree on your point of the difficulty of hitting a hot slider. My own nomination for "most athleticism" needed is figure skating.

okanaganer 2:54 PM  

Okay it works: in the HTML code that web pages use, multiple white space characters (a space, a tab, a line return, etc) are collapsed into a single space. But you can get multiple spaces by typing the "&" character, plus "nbsp;". Here it is using more spaces:


That is, if it's worth the bother...

Z 3:37 PM  

@Frantic Sloth - August prefers he/him I believe.

@Anon 2:51 - OK. You win. Ballet is close, but they don’t do what they do on skates.

@okanaganer - I already know more html code than I prefer. But thanks.

Anonymous 3:38 PM  

Say, when are the NFL going to put in a token Canadian team, probably from Toronto? Like MLB and the NBA.

likely not the first, but NFL has played in Toronto/Argonauts (not Covid related, since 1959).

Football is the single most boring sport ever invented.

no, that would be soccer: interminable nothing, then may be, a score. the only reason hockey isn't quite as boring is smaller surface and lots of fights.

@jberg - the CFL limits the number of non-Canadians on a team. forget the current number, and it may have gone up or down over the years. the key to the rules is the 3 downs: the reason given was that the rule makers of the league figured it would encourage more 'open' play. what you get is lots of punts.

Anonymous 3:41 PM  

@okanaganer - I already know more html code than I prefer. But thanks.

I run some blogs, and in the beginning, Blogger let you just type in plain text whatever you wanted, looking like you wanted. it mostly figured it out. recently, they've made it necessary to use an off-line HTML editor to keep things neat and tidy. more and more of use are going to wordpress. :)

Frantic Sloth 4:25 PM  

Thanks, @Z 337pm Couldn't remember if it was that or they/them.

Hartley70 4:30 PM  

I thought today’s puzzle was a basic Monday without much sparkle except there were several entries I liked. HERALDS was unexpectedly delightful and GARBS and UMIAK both made me pause. GARBS because I never think of that word as a plural and it reminds me of an awkward GraBS, and Umiak had me stumped because I needed the crosses to make any sense of those letters. That alone gives it my thumbs up.

Anonymous 4:57 PM  

Does anyone watch people throwing disks? That could be pretty boring.

R. Kinsella 5:24 PM  

Appreciation of most sports is greatly enhanced by knowledge acquired over time of the skills, tactics and strategies - both mental and physical - of the game. Knowing the rules and procedures of the sport is only the very beginning of achieving appreciation, and is rarely enough.

Soccer, for example, can indeed look like interminable nothing interrupted by occasional goals without that deep and acquired felt knowledge of the game. But for those who have acquired that, the action on the pitch is exquisite, magical and even mystical.

So too, basketball to me just looks like a bunch of tall and semi-tall people repetitively and tediously running up and down a court stuffing a ball into a basket while trying to get in each other's way. I know the rules, I know the game, I know the players, I even know most of the history - but I never took time and focus to develop and appreciation of the game, itself. Yet, millions (billions) have. And the game means something almost transcendent to them.

How else do you explain the fact that almost every town in Canada of a certain size has a Curling rink? Who would ever guess that the skills, tactics, and strategies that go into wielding a broom on ice could engender so much passion and appreciation? And so much animated talk over coffee and donuts at the adjacent Tim Horton's.

Joseph Michael 5:55 PM  

@Nancy and @Gill, if I ever make another MANHATTAN, I promise to use sweet vermouth (even though my Mr. Boston Bartender's Guide said to use dry). However, I'm mainly a wine drinker and probably won't be putting either sweet or dry vermouth in my Pinot Noir.

That "Irish Fry" sounds great!

Anonymous 6:20 PM  

@R. Kinsella:
How else do you explain the fact that almost every town in Canada of a certain size has a Curling rink?

Easy. There's absolutely nothing else for geezers to do outside when it's colder than a witches tit in a brass bra. Which it is 9 months out of the year in the Great White North.

SouthsideJohnny 6:26 PM  

@R. K 5:24 - wholeheartedly agree with your assessment. I will add that the problem is that professional sports (at least in the U.S.) have nothing to do with real sports. Major League Baseball players can’t be bothered to run to first base and entire franchises without a player that can execute a sacrifice bunt. The NBA is nothing but a 3-point chuck-a-thon without any real strategy or tactics. And what is it with the NFL - it seems like there is an unwritten rule that every team needs to have at least one wife-beater, two convicted felons and a host of PED cheats and/or substance abusers with at least a few suspensions under their belt. I used to be heavily involved in youth athletics (including officiating) but gave it up as the ESPN-influenced taunting, all-about-me showboating and role modeled bad sportsmanship has filtered down to even the 8 to 12 year olds (enthusiastically aided and abetted by some of the worst parenting that one can imagine). Pathetic state of affairs in the US at least. I can’t speak at all to the behavior of soccer fans in the UK and Europe, or regarding Hockey Nights in Canada.

kitshef 6:45 PM  

@Z, @Frantic Sloth - August accepts both he/him and they/them.

Z 6:47 PM  

@Anon4:57 - Try it, you might like it.*
Surprisingly there is significant crossover between crossword solvers and Ultimate players. At least three or four different times at tournaments people have introduced themselves. And this summer an @Monty Boy even came out to watch with his grandson who plays (unfortunately it was a one seed against a sixteen seed and it showed).

@R Kinsella - I’m also fascinated by the belief that there’s lots more scoring in American football than in hockey or soccer. Let’s count NFL scoring honestly and see how much scoring actually happens, GB v STL, 3 ½ -3, Car v Atl - 1-1 plus 4/2-2/2, Bills v Dolphins, 2 4/2 - 1 ½, … Highest scoring game of the weekend was a whopping 4 ½ to 4. NFL scores are inflated by counting a score as 6, 7, or 8 points and also adding points for getting kind of close (sometimes not even kind of close) to scoring totals. It’s odd that a game could end at 4-3 and what’s reported is a “high scoring 32-24” (2 point conversions). Eliminate field goals and count only touchdowns and then tell me whether there’s much difference in scoring between football and soccer.

*I hope that link works, I’m never quite sure that a link from an app will work. The link is to the semifinal game between SF Fury and NC Phoenix, easily the best game at Nationals that got taped. There’s a lot of discussion in ultimate circles about who has the better play-by-play, ESPN or Ultiworld (My vote is neither is very good most games) but general agreement that ESPN has the best camera work.

The Cleaver 6:52 PM  


The same brainlessness that entices folks to vote for The Orange Sh!tgibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave), is the same motivation for sports 'enthusiasts'. It was The Orange Sh!tgibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave) who drove political discourse into the shitter. You'll note that high school football is as much Religion in the Southern Red States as the Sunday version. The same folks who've brought Confederate flags to stupid go-straight-turn-left NASCAR so-called car racing brought those flags into the Capitol they defiled. If it weren't for crashes, nobody would watch. Low brain power feeds on low brain power pastimes. The Romans had the Circus.

Anonymous 6:57 PM  


point taken on points football vs. football. but there is the difference, a wide one, in game play. football is well structured, which is easy to follow, and has more 'spectacular plays' aka long passes or long runs or interceptions, etc. than football, which is just random kicking a round ball. in football, as in hockey, most scoring is the result of instant defensive breakdown, not intelligent offensive play. ever heard of the offside trap? boring.

Eniale 7:34 PM  

pg-1 and that's it for today

BarbieBarbie 7:38 PM  

@jberg what about PINKEYE?

BarbieBarbie 7:46 PM  

As for the Washington football team, David Sedaris had the best suggestion: keep the Redskins name, but change the team mascot to a potato.

R. Kinsella 7:52 PM  

@ anonymous 6:57am

With all due respect, your comment indicates you have little or no understanding about what is happening on the pitch in a football (soccer) game. You impute "randomness" and "structure" based upon your own biased perception and understanding (or lack) of what is actually taking place in the pitch. You don't understand one, so deem it to be random, while you do understand the other, so you deem it to be structured. Nonsense.

I will assume (for the sake of argument) that you do not speak or understand Farsi, but do speak and understand English. The fact that you just hear random sounds when you listen to a Farsi speaker but hear structured language when you listen to an English speaker does not entitle you to judge one language to be random and the other rational.

Unknown 7:58 PM  

@Southside - can't believe I'm writing this, but, spot on!

Anonymous 8:03 PM  

Serviceable Monday offering. Within a minute of my average time. The Cleaver poster is great example of how freedom of speech makes it easy to spot the idiots.

The Cleaver 8:47 PM  


Must be a NASCAR fan. I rest my case.

Jim Stevens 8:57 PM  

@Nancy at 11:46, Actually a “Perfect Manhattan” calls for 1/2 dry vermouth and 1/2 sweet. I don’t drink them, as I prefer all (Lustau) sweet, but many do. Just sayin’.

Space Is Deep 9:00 PM  

My wife, who is fairly new to crosswords, thought this had quite a few tough Monday answers. I agree. Whenever I do a Monday or Tuesday puzzle now (the only two she tries), I try to look at a puzzle from her perspective.

pabloinnh 9:41 PM  

@R. K.-Well said you.

I agree with @Z that football exhibits the worst aspects of American culture, namely, violence combined with committee meetings.

George Will thinks so too.

Anonymous 10:24 PM  

Ok Mods, I know you're all Liberals, but how can @The Cleaver get away with this, but one *little tiny* peep about a Republican gets axed?

stephanie 12:05 AM  

i liked it. i so wish they had gummy vitamins when i was a kid. i hated all the kids vitamins back then (80s/90s) but, rather than chew it up and get it over with, it was so gross i couldn't bear i just let it sit in my mouth and s l o w l y dissolve, prolonging the disgusting-ness of it all until i figured out that when no one was looking i could spit it out into several layers of tissue and bury it in the trash. my sister, a decade later, took to hiding her half dissolved vitamins under all the furniture in the living room. we discovered this one day when i thought i saw a piece from one of her little plastic toys under a chair. was a vitamin. and there were more. MUCH MORE! what a day.

in other family memories, my dad is an ARMY BRAT. well, no, a navy brat. but still. my grandfather and grandmother were both in the navy. dad was born in japan, and then they lived in germany, and then hawaii until they settled in rhode island USA. i think he was in high school or college by that time. still there to this day, and not much for traveling at all :)

stephanie 12:10 AM  

@LMS milk, an egg, brown sugar, a little salt, a little nutmeg and some cinnamon...extra thick rolled oats...stir over low heat until it's done, mount with butter at the end...i mean i know i'm basically making rice pudding but with oats but damn, it's good. sometimes i add an apple, peeled and small diced, to the beginning of it all. listen, it's oats and it's for breakfast, so that means it's good for you.

stephanie 12:28 AM  

[preface: this is meant as my true opinion but also said with a grin and not meant to be taken too seriously or as fact] but i maintain hockey is the one true enjoyable-to-watch sport - violence, speed, momentum, and all the strategy and athleticism of other sports but one-upped by doing it all at high speed, on ice [skates]. go B's! ;)

Burma Shave 10:04 AM  


- and UGLY GOTHS, I'd NOTE -
are WISEGUYS who will CROW


spacecraft 12:01 PM  

As for the discussion between the two "footballs," I think American football is much more closely related to rugby than to soccer. Soccer is basically foot hockey on grass. However, the fitness of those players astounds me: compare with ice hockey. While substitutions do occur in soccer, they are rare, and teams are expected to play straight ahead for 45 minutes--twice. Ice hockey players go in one- to two-minute shifts save (!) for the goalie, who travels very little. American footballers are in stop-and-go action, plus freely subbed in and out multiple times--including every change of possession. You can be a 350-pound side of beef and play in the NFL; I'd like to see one trotting up and down the pitch for 3/4 of an hour.

The puzzle is Monday-simple, with only a SCARP here and a DOD NAOMI there to slow things down. SSE has two ESSES: it's crutch time. Other tiresome fill detracts from a fine, workable theme. Note that all themers successfully remove the team words far from their sports meanings; this is good. WISEGUYS and ARMYBRAT make a nice pair, as do RINK and SKATER. For a debut, birdie--but let's work on that short fill, OK?

thefogman 2:24 PM  

Nothing particularly bad about this one. It’s just that the theme is flat and boring. Better off going themeless than offering up a lunchbag letdown I say.

thefogman 2:28 PM  

PS - I just noticed this was Fiona Taylor’s NYT crossword debut. Not bad for a first effort. But the editor should have (and could have) jazzed up the theme a little bit to kick it up a notch - or dispensed with it altogether. That is not on her. It’s on the editor. So bravo to Fiona!

Diana, LIW 6:11 PM  

What's a Monday without an OREO?

A bit more oomph than the typical Monday, IMHO. I always picture what it would be like for a true newbie to try their hand on a Mon puz. This had the crunchy outer layer, and the creme.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoaster 9:12 PM  

KASHI is an outlier, but what’s left? ALL A’s ( twenty-two of them), but maybe only one A plus?. That one goes to Fiona Taylor.

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