Unidentifiable protein / MON 11-22-21 / Toy that goes up slow and comes down fast / Shpeak indishtinctly / Member of a DC squad

Monday, November 22, 2021

Constructor: Stella Zawistowski

Relative difficulty: Medium (normal Monday)


THEME: GENRE (67A: What the start of 17-, 29-, 45- or 61-Across is, in bookstore) — themers start with the genres FANTASY, MYSTERY, WESTERN, and ROMANCE:

Theme answers:
  • FANTASY BASEBALL 917A: Pastime for armchair sports enthusiasts)
  • MYSTERY MEAT (29A: Unidentifiable protein)
  • WESTERN WALL (45A: Holy site in Jerusalem)
  • ROMANCE LANGUAGE (61A: Spanish or French, but not German)
Word of the Day: St. OLAF College (40D: Minnesota's St. ___ College) —

St. Olaf College is a private liberal arts college in Northfield, Minnesota. The school was founded in 1874 by a group of Norwegian-American pastors and farmers led by Pastor Bernt Julius Muus. The college is named after the King and the Patron Saint Olaf II of Norway and is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The college was visited by King Olav in 1987 and King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway in 2011.

As of 2017, the college enrolled 3,035 undergraduate students and 256 faculty. The campus, including its 325-acre natural lands, lies 2 miles west of the city of Northfield, Minnesota; Northfield is also the home of its neighbor and friendly rival Carleton College. Between 1995 and 2020, 154 St. Olaf graduates were named Fulbright Scholars and 35 received Goldwater Scholarships. Of the nation's baccalaureate colleges, St. Olaf ranks 12th in the number of graduates who have gone on to earn doctorate degrees. (wikipedia)

• • •

This is a perfectly good Monday theme concept with perfectly good Monday theme answers. Really wish the clues had been better, more accurate, more specific, more fun. The clue on FANTASY BASEBALL was annoying because there's nothing "baseball" about it at all. "Sports enthusiasts" makes it sound general, so FANTASY SPORTS or FANTASY LEAGUES or something like that seemed most plausible. FANTASY FOOTBALL also definitely exists. Would it hurt you to baseball up the clue a little, or at all? Maybe the cluer thought "pastime" somehow evoked "national pastime," which baseball somehow technically still is, but "pastime" is just a word and didn't evoke baseball for me at all. Colorful clues help Mondays be fun instead of just perfunctory walks in the park. Don't skimp on detail and specificity! The clue on MYSTERY MEAT was even worse. Give me a context! Where would I hear that! Give me some sense of the revulsion such a "meat" usually evokes. Paint a dang picture! But no, we get the mystery clue [Unidentifiable protein]. That's just [synonym for 'mystery'] + [synonym for 'meat']—not cleverness or humor or thoughtfulness at all. Just a waste of an entertaining cluing opportunity. The revealer was also disappointing, in that it was anticlimactic and probably totally unnecessary. I can look at the themers and see the GENREs pretty easily. If GENRE is all you got for a revealer, why not just not have one? Even the clue on GENRE feels like it misses the mark. FANTASY, MYSTERY etc., those GENREs whether you're "in a bookstore" or not. It's not like, as a set, you would ever mistake them for anything but GENREs. They are GENREs no matter where you are, no matter what art form you're talking about. Movies, for instance. All this redundancy and awkwardness could be avoided by the elimination of the revealer entirely. The fact that GENRE is not even in the final Across position makes it that much more awkward. It's sad to see a good theme idea mishandled in the details like this.


The fill is fine, though I honestly stopped to take a deep breath of dread when I hit ESTAB. before I'd even exited the NW corner. Felt like a fill omen, and a bad one. But it was just one bad abbrev., no biggie. What was a biggie, though, was all the UP nonsense. BUTTON UP and OPENS UP are too close to each other for a repeat of "UP," given that UP appears in the same position both times (the preposition following a verb). But what was a minor ding becomes a major one when you throw UP BOW into the bargain. UP UP UP, three UPs ... you're out. Three UP three down. Whatever, I'll work on the baseball metaphor later, the point is that littering your grid with UPs is negligent. It suggests a failure of polish. An inattention to detail. A "meh, good enough" attitude. And bah to that, I say. 


The clue on SLED wants very much to be good (22A: Toy that goes up slow and comes down fast), but it isn't because the SLED doesn't go "up" slow or at all without being carried (presumably by a human), whereas it goes down all on its own, due to gravity, whether a human is on it or not. Clue plays too fast and loose with the question of agency, i.e. the question of who or what is actually doing the action. Plus how do you know how fast I take my SLED up the hill!? You don't know me! Only thing I had any trouble with today was "WAS IT YOU?" (just slow to put it together) (5D: Question to a suspected culprit); COIFFEUR (I spelled St. OLAF with a "V," sadly), and "I NEVER!" which I had as "INDEED!" (57A: "The very idea!"). Oh, and of course I wrote in CPU instead of UPC because that's a thing I do. Happy Sagittarius season to all who celebrate (me!). 

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

98 comments:

Unknown 12:13 AM  

Ok, I need someone to explain that ESTAB clue and answer because I have no clue what a business shingle is or what the answer has to do with dates

Joaquin 12:15 AM  

Hey, Rex - It's Monday fer chrissakes.

It seems to me that @Rex didn't like today's puzzle because it was not Wednesdayish enough. Too Mondayish for him. I liked it just fine. Solved it as a themeless and then had a minor "aha" at the reveal.

okanaganer 12:47 AM  

Disagree with Rex about the clue for MYSTERY MEAT... I loved it. But agree about ESTAB (ick).

I have a personal nit to pick with the FANTASY genre. (or GENRE). When I was younger, and all was right with the world, there was Science Fiction. And it was good, and it had absolutely nothing to do with FANTASY. But now, through some colossal blunder, the two GENREs seem to have merged, and it is not good. Even my local library doesn't seem to know the difference. "Why is Game of Thrones in the Science Fiction section, Ms. Librarian? Where exactly is the science in that series? I'll tell you, nowhere!" They're in the bronze age, lady. Well, some other planet's bronze age, I guess?

[Spelling Bee: td (Sun.) 0; a nice simple set of non silly words that are all actually words. But I delayed entering my last word because I thought it surely had to have an E. And I think it normally does.]

chefwen 1:15 AM  

Having football on my mind after today’s disappointing loss to the dreaded Vikings, of course I had FANTASY footBALL in first. As I have never RE footed my computer that was easily fixed.

Loved MYSTERY MEAT. Knew those repeated UPs would create I stir.

A fine Monday easy puzzle IMO.

Unknown 3:36 AM  

Dear Unknown. A "business shingle" is a sign or plaque outside a business office - or for that matter a doctor's office and the like. So "Smith and Co." might be inscribed on a nice bronze plaque. The custom is often to list the day the business started - like a bar or restaurant also often does. So if "Smith and Co." started on January 10, 2000 the plaque might read "Established (or Estab) January 10, 2000." Hope this helps.

jae 3:39 AM  

Easy. Delightful, liked it a bunch! Great puzzle for a beginner.


@bocamp - Croce’s Freestyle #662 was pretty easy i.e. a tough Friday NYT. That said I missed it by one square in the SE. Good luck!

Loren Muse Smith 3:45 AM  

I agree with Rex – perfectly serviceable Monday. I disagree on the clue for SLED, but I never stop to consider the question of agency, and I’m the happier for it. I did notice BUTTON UP, OPENS UP (don’t think I’d call them prepositions), and UP BOW, but no biggie.

Would you have MOUSE and MICE or CHILD and CHILDREN in the same grid? ‘Cause we have OPUS and OPERA. Again, no biggie. I just really wanted to casually slip in the fact that I know OPERA is the plural of OPUS.

REBOOTS, BUTTON UP, and SLED remind me of the snow days when my kids were little. I’d spend 20 minutes getting them all outfitted in their snowsuits, hats, mittens, boots, working up a sweat with the effort. We’d go out, Gardiner and Sage trudging around like little automatons in the snow for like 5 minutes. Then back inside, take everything off. Hot chocolate and cookies. Thirty minutes later, repeat the exercise. It was exhausting.

Favorite entry - MYSTERY MEAT. I meal-prep every Sunday. Make my five Tupperware containers with the protein, green, and on happy weeks, a little starch. My favorite meal is Banquet Salisbury Steak. It’s cheap as crap, and the texture is so soft and mushy, like biting into a hashbrown patty. God knows what all is in it, but I adore the chemical-laden MYSTERY MEAT. (Can’t bring myself to read the ingredients.)

Conrad 5:33 AM  


This was a nice little Monday puzzle, easy and approachable as a Monday should be. Certainly not deserving of @Rex's barbs. Count me with @Joaquin, @chefwen, @jae, @LMS and the other likers likely to follow.

Lewis 6:21 AM  

Lots of lovely touches:

Touch of humor – [Shpeak indishtinctly].
Touch of spice – [Lustful, informally] / RANDY.
Touch of rhyme – COIFFEUR and BUSTOUR, which, incidentally are the puzzle’s two NYT debut answers.
Touch of answer loveliness – BUTTON UP, COIFFEUR, GENRE, LOPE.

Plus, the skill to create clues that are Monday easy but not insultingly easy, and, making for a challenge for more experienced solvers, a theme that was tough to guess before hitting the reveal.

That’s a quality Monday. I enjoyed this during the solve, and I enjoyed admiring it afterward. This would go under the Classics genre in my crossword store. Thank you for this early week gem, Stella!

Joe Welling 6:49 AM  

Okanager said "When I was younger, and all was right with the world, there was Science Fiction. And it was good, and it had absolutely nothing to do with FANTASY. "

You must be older than me, and I'm pretty darn old. Jules Verne and others were writing what was recognizable SF and F in the late 19th century. The pulp magazines of the '30s-through '70s routinely encompassed science fiction and fantasy. The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction began in 1949. Ursula K. Le Guin began publishing in the late '50s. The first Dragonriders of Pern novellas were published in the '60s.

Purists would distinguish hard SF from space opera, but both of those have always had a home under the "SF" umbrella along with their longtime fantasy cousin.

puzzlehoarder 7:10 AM  

Surprised to see this constructor on a Monday. Always welcome.

yd -0

@okanaganer, same last word. How do you suppose the SB editor would describe a vining plant. Just wouldn't?

Tom T 7:20 AM  

Hidden Diagonal Word clue:

Major gathering of stars? (4 letters, answer below)

Hard to determine the difficulty level of this Monday puzzle, at least on the basis of time, as I managed to spill an almost full glass of wine all over the place (bed spread, keyboard, phone). Didn't bother to pause the solve in the ensuing profanity laced cleanup on aisle 1.

While we're counting UP's, there's the UP in UPC (26A), the backwards UP in OPUS (14A) and a Hidden Diagonal UP (the U from 38A BUSTOUR and the P from 34A PROS). Our UP cup is filled UP.

Hidden Word Answer:

URSA (begins at 26A and moves to SE) You can add the E to produce the 5 letter URSAE, but I couldn't settled on a clue I liked for that.

Son Volt 7:25 AM  

Nice early week theme - nuance and smooth fill. Themers could have had a little more juice - WESTERN WALL was solid but the spanning FANTASY BASEBALL and especially ROMANCE LANGUAGE fell flat.

Hand up for noticing the doubling up of OPUS/OPERA. Never like the abbreviation or acronym cross - so side eye to ROTC x TCU. Overall fill was pretty slick so this went fast.

Enjoyable Monday solve.

amyyanni 7:30 AM  

Yep, as @Conrad predicted, another satisfied Monday solver. Theme is fun, some debut words/phrases, and, as Rex highlighted, St. Olaf. Once ran a marathon there. In the winter. In the gym. Twas a hoot. Track team members tracked our laps. Every half hour, we'd change direction. It's called the Zoom! Yah! Yah! Marathon if you're interested.

SouthsideJohnny 7:32 AM  

I also thought the clue for SLED was fine and certainly close enough for me, although Rex usually peels an extra layer or two off of the onion regarding theme contents and clue construction. I saw a few nits in the comments about the presence of ESTAB which, if I recall correctly, has not been much of a stranger to NYT grids - aren’t all of those business terms (like LTD, LLC, INC, EST . . .) pretty much standard crosswordese ?

Nice to see our old friend Ms. GARR stop by for a visit. PYRE looks like a cool word. TYCO, not so much. RENE must be a useful word for constructors with the two R’s and two E’s, since it appears with some frequency - I wish it were more often clued as someone other than that artist dude that I never remember. In fact, I don’t even know what a surrealist is - was Dali a surrealist ? I believe the Dali Museum is in the greater Tampa-St. Pete area. His giant, multi-faceted portrait of Lincoln is on display there.

I’ve never heard of anyone being called “RANDY” before if it wasn’t their name - is it a good thing ?

Karl Grouch 7:37 AM  

On Mondays I start solving by trying to guess the themers without any crosses.
My first guess was FANTASY FOOTBALL, but not being 100% sure, went on to the next. No doubts there, in went MYSTERY MEAT.
After the next one (for which I wrote WAILING WALL),  I was convinced that the pattern  was " two words starting with the same letter" and kept hoping for a  revealer that could give it a nice twist.
It was only when I stumbled on the last themer that I began feeling there was something wrong because LATIN LANGUAGES didn't fit.
"Trying to be smart, aren't we" I thought at that point, happy that my Monday snobbery seemed to make the puz more interesting.
But I was wrong again. When I eventually checked the themers with some crosses and wrote the correct answers, boy what an anticlimactic disappointment that was!

BUTTON-UP or OPEN-UP?

Rather UP UP and (throw) away.


P.S. A sled is not a toy, it's a vehicle. A toy sled is a toy.

Anonymous 7:38 AM  

Make UP your mind @REX! The theme clues are too vague. The revealer clue is too specific. Good Gof! And your SLED rant is way over the top(of the hill). A sled does nothing without a force acting upon it. You can't say a sled goes down "all on its own" due to gravity. It needs the gravity or it just sits there.

Trey 7:59 AM  

Liked the theme (well done) and the revealer helped me because I usually solve as a themeless and look for the theme at the end if it is pointed out that there was one. If GENRE had not been clued as the revealer, I would have missed the theme entirely

Three word fill today was lacking. On a quick scan, half of the three-letter words were abbreviations. I would prefer the abbreviations to be the exception, not the rule

@LMS - great trivia on OPUS and opera. Did not know that. Of course, I am musically illiterate, so that is not saying much

GILL I. 8:15 AM  

A fine Monday romp...Who doesn't like a little MYSTERY MEAT? When I first came to this US of A my favorite was a bologna sandwich with yellow mustard on white bread. WAS IT YOU? you ask. Well, I NEVER put a PRUNE on it. I should look into what is in that, as well as hot dogs.
I liked COIFFEUR and I dare anyone to correctly pronounce it. My coiffeurist is still in Mexico dancing the fandango tango with her handsome new boyfriend. I've offered her money to come back to cut my hair but she's happy to be drinking margaritas and playing in the sand.
Is there a difference between a TYPE A and a TYPE B? My FANTASY BUTTON wants to know.

jberg 8:22 AM  

Well two of them were alliterative, and two were not -- and they were arranged nicely, with the alliterative sandwiched between the not A. A nice touch, I thought, if you can't make them all alliterative -- FANTASY football, but I can't think of a substitute for the last grid spanner.

But mostly I just enjoyed musing on the idea that a coiffeur tends to your coiffure.

@Loren, ah, Salisbury steak! We had it every couple of weeks, and it would be my job to pound it with the meat tenderizer, a kitchen tool I haven't seen in ages. It was very satisfying to reduce that tough cut to pulp.

Z 8:34 AM  

@Rex - It don’t much matter how fast you carry the SLED UP the hill, it will be slower than the SLED goes down the hill. Agency is also irrelevant in this matter (well, other than @Anon7:38 being right about the SLED lacking any, being inanimate and all).

@Joe Welling - If I’m understanding @okanaganer correctly, it’s that bookstores and libraries have a tendency to lump them together. Although I get the difficulty. Star Wars is a perfect example of FANTASY that steals elements from Science Fiction. I’ve been watching Foundation and can’t help but notice that they are inserting elements that look a lot like FANTASY. If there weren’t so much on my To Read shelve already I might go out and buy the original trilogy again just to see where they are varying (beyond the obvious making humanity look a lot more like humanity thing).

Regarding the UP thing, I’m reminded of a debate/argument I had with a formerly independent constructor. My contention was that since the NYTX is such a big venue, indie constructors should only send in their very best work in order to attract more solvers to their indie puzzles. Sort of a “loss leader” concept. His contention was that indie constructors had a moral obligation to subscribers to provide their best puzzles on their own sites so it was okay to pawn off lesser puzzles on the NYT (he didn’t put it that way, but he’s not here to argue). I generally associate Zawistowski with “hard” more than “polished” but I can’t help but wonder if she is doing the same thing, that is keeping her very best grids for her own site.

I liked this fine. Triple UP still got the side eye. Biggest hangUP was wanting Wailing WALL, which probably made this challenging (for a Monday).

bocamp 8:55 AM  

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

Med.

Great start in the top 1/3; somewhat more challenging on the way down.

Always enjoy Stella's creations.

Very enjoyable solve. :)

@jae 3:39 AM

Thx, on it later today. :)

@puzzlehoarder / @Eniale / okanaganer 👍 for 0's

@TTrimble 👍 for an awesome run of 0's. Keep it up; you may match @okanaganer's 11.
___

yd pg -1*

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

bigsteve46 9:12 AM  

well, a nice Monday - but from my view point,there were two "Naticks":
TYCO crossing AOC; and OXY and AXEL. Just for curiosity, do most of you consider those answers to fall within the normal range of what should be "common knowledge?" just curious ...

P.S.: I guessed one right, and flubbed the other - OXY got me.

Lewis 9:14 AM  

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

1. Swift to climb the Billboard chart? (6)
2. Digs near a flower bed, say (6)(9)
3. One might be open for business (4)
4. The highest form of flattery? (7)
5. Refined oil product? (3)


TAYLOR
GARDEN APARTMENT
TILL
PLATEAU
ART

mmorgan 9:17 AM  

I’ve been finding myself greatly enjoying Rex’s write-ups lately — sometimes more than the puzzle— but I think he’s way too hard on this one. His diatribes are often highly entertaining, but this one seems a bit unfair.

JD 9:33 AM  

Fantasy, Mystery, Western, Romance. Nice. This was a tad more challenging for a Monday though, I think.

Was looking for some scientific term for Unidentifiable Protein but it was at the school cafeteria end of the knowledge spectrum. My own wheelhouse, and I was wondering around outside looking for something complicated.

Struggled with Up Bow. Brain freeze on Costs, thinking it was Risks. Doh. Cost/Benefit, Risk/Reward. Let's see, what Else? Hair stylist Fancily should be French-ily. But it all worked out it end. It always does as my mother-in-law says.

Very sane Monday.

RooMonster 9:35 AM  

Hey All !
@TomT
LOL at your subtle post after your "ensuing profanity laced cleanup". Been there, (not with wine, but a spill is a spill), and it royally sucks.

YesterComments cleanUP:
@Okoume
We were both there together for about a year. I was there 1994-2007. Lived in Devon. (I always liked to say Devon with a fancy accent!)

@TTrimble
I liked Women's Billiards also. ESPN said they are supposed to be reairing matches. Allison Fisher was my fave (and she's not terrible to look at!) She was here in Las Vegas one year for the SEMA show, I met her and got a picture! She was doing a promo with Ford, and you could play her on a custom made Mustang pool table. (I didn't play her, didn't want to get my ass handed to me!)

Liked today's puz. The UPs didn't bother me one whit. Had they been something else resulting in worse* fill, Rex would've spent time complaining about that. Actually surprised he didn't mention the closed off NE and SW corners. You need to OPENS UP those. 🤪

*Badder should be a word. It would've worked better in that sentence than "worse"

RANDY, har. The dictionary defines it as "sexually aroused or excited". Seems a plain definition. Seems more oomph-ish.

Nice long Downs. Smaller fill was -esey, but all puzs have dreck. Although, OAS is a Huh? Explain, please, so I can BONK myself on the head.

yd -2 (never would've gotten the second-to-last-alphabetical one)

Four F's
RooMonster
DarrinV

Trey 9:40 AM  

@bigsteve46 - I hate figure skating as much as I hate baseball, but I know AXEL from the little I have watched in the Olympics. I would say that is common knowledge. Anybody who does not AOC has not watched the news over the past 2 years or so, or has not paid attention. Regardless of which side of the aisle you are on, her initials are common knowledge.

TYCO is less well known to me (does it still exist) so may be easier if you are older, and OXY is from commercials on TV. Also less well known to me, but when I saw the answer from the crosses I knew where it came from.

Yd - 5 and not anywhere close to that today (yep, not nearly on the same level as others)

Anazafiro 9:48 AM  

A sign which includes the year the business started

Nancy 10:01 AM  

So I have to say that I did love MYSTERY MEAT and the fact that it was clued in a nicely vague way that made the answer more of an amusing surprise when it came in. But there's almost no playfulness elsewhere. Well, maybe FROG. But I bet that more interesting and entertaining things could have been done with the clues for BUTTON UP and RANDY, for example. The fill is a lot better than the clues.

For years I thought that the only place you'd ever encounter MYSTERY MEAT would be in grade school, high school or college. Then, on a long car trip from NYC to the Adirondacks, on a road where there were scarcely any rest stops or restaurants at all, I had the great misfortune of stopping for the first (and last) time in my life at a McDonald's. What on earth was that thin, gristly, pale gray and luke-warm slab of meat in the shape of a rectangle, sitting under a mound of white glop (special sauce!!), and wedged into the middle of a bun? Well all the clues were there (the bun was a big help in identification), but if I've ever seen MYSTERY MEAT in my life, this was MYSTERY MEAT. It made the food back in high school seem almost gourmet by comparison.

On another subject: If the hair salon calls itself a COIFFEUR, you can't afford it.

This a perfectly smooth and serviceable Monday, but with bland cluing and no oomph. Better cluing would have helped enormously.

Unknown 10:07 AM  

Absolutely LOVED this puzzle. Dont be such a grump Rex!

Karl Grouch 10:10 AM  

Alternative clues:

-OPUS: Cephalopod missing three tentacles?

-BUTTONUP :Goat's challenge to a duel?

- OPENSUP: Free mouthful?

Dan 10:18 AM  

RANDY Johnson, the 6'10" MLB Hall-of-Fame pitcher who played in Seattle for many years, had the nickname "The Big Unit". I always thought that was pretty funny.

mathgent 10:21 AM  

I try not to complain about Rex's opening comments because my good friend tells me to just skip him. But if I do, I can't fully understand some of the other comments. He was extraordinarily vapid today. Total garbage.

The puzzle was a painless way to kill a few minutes.,

Carola 10:29 AM  

I enjoyed the combination of the easy-to-fill grid with puzzlement over the theme: my first thought was alliterative phrases, until "footBALL" didn't work; second was phrases beginning with synonyms for FANTASY and MYSTERY, along the lines of "secret sauce," but the WESTERN WALL scotched that idea. I liked how GENRE didn't refer at all to the OPERA above it but transported me to a bookstore. Over on the right side I noticed ADULT x RANDY, two aisle headings maybe more for a specialty ESTABlishment.

Re: St. OLAF College - an instant write-in for this Norwegian Lutheran. In the olden days, their renowned choir would tour through neighboring states, bringing Christmas concerts to small towns like mine. It was an event. And no hotels for this group (not that our town had one anyway); all stayed with local families. Puzzle bonus: nostalgia trip :)

Nancy 10:54 AM  

Joaquin, I agree with your comment that Rex’s problem may be that this puz. Is not “Wednesday enough”. I loved this one for its ease!

Brian 10:59 AM  

Date established

Anonymous 11:00 AM  

FWIW, a lot of folks in th food/restauarnt world believe McDonalds isnt just the most sucessful restauarnt of all time but alos the best. Hard to argue. Whether you like Big Macs or not they are replicated hundreds of thousands of times each and every day on every continent. So if you're in Nairobi and order a Big Mac and close yopur eyes while eating ypou may just as well be your local Golden Arches. Same with the fries. And the abity to replicate a dish is thesingle most important hing for a restarauteur. That's not my theory. That's from Le Cordon Bleu.
Now, if you want to clainm that the Quarter pounder with Cheese is superior to the Big Mac, I won't argue. But the Big Mac isn't just tasty, it's iconic used as a shorthand or shiboleth in many aspects of modern life. Hell, economics even has The Big Mac Index.
No, the Big Mac is a marvel. And the country agrees. We eat around 550 million of them a year. And by the way, like so many great things in this country--The Constitution, Fire insurance ( yeah, yeah SC I know, but it was Ben franklinin Philly that really got it up and on its legs) and cheese steaks-- The Big mac comes from Pennsylvania.

P.S. If you're fancy and in the know call it by its original name: the Aristocrat

sixtyni yogini 11:12 AM  

Points well taken, 🦖. Good crit. (haha this is a critique of a critique)
Liked the theme.
🤗

JD 11:13 AM  

@Anon 11:00, Allegedly, My father's cousin in western PA came up with the recipe for the secret sauce. I'm retiring. Does your team at McDonald's need another copywriter?

bocamp 11:16 AM  

Worked at a butcher shop in The Netherlands; grinding, processing and packaging various MYSTERY MEATs was one of my jobs.

@RooMonster (9:35 AM)

Agreed on the that tough one (100% new to me); what talent, tho! Spoiler: here.

@Trey (9:40 AM)

Thx for sharing. :)
–––

td pg -6*

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Anonymous 11:18 AM  

@OFL:

And the first Wife is the 27th. I don't know much about astrology, but one cranky girl. How about you?

Bad Mouse 11:24 AM  

OPUS - Penguin who's exited, stage right.

Tim Carey 11:25 AM  

You must be pretty old then. The two genres were first merged in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in... (wait for it)... 1949.

Joseph Michael 11:26 AM  

Who decided that a word can’t be used more than once in a grid? I didn’t even notice the triple UPs until I read Rex’s rant about them. Thought the puzzle was going for film GENREs until I got to the clue for 67A and saw that we were in a bookstore instead. And what about the ADULT section with the RANDY paperbacks?

A decent Monday overall that could have used a few more at least slightly tricky clues. When I was greeted at 1A by a four-letter word for “Bottom of a shoe,” I figured we were in kindergarten territory. But the puzzle did have a couple of pleasant surprises, such as MYSTERY MEAT (may I never again see it on the plate in front of me) and the five-dollar word COIFFEUR. Also liked MYSTERY crossing WAS IT YOU?

Anonymous 11:28 AM  

Give me some skin ink immediately! TATS STAT!

The Cleaver 11:34 AM  

@11:00
No, the Big Mac is a marvel. And the country agrees.

Yes, yes it is; "Trump told CNN that he enjoys McDonald's foods, particularly Big Macs, Filet-o-Fish, and Quarter Pounders with cheese"
https://www.thelist.com/303421/heres-what-donald-trump-typically-eats-in-a-day/

Well, the uneducated, unvaccinated, Covid-ravaged, hollers, parts of the country, anyway. What more do you want? Fat, calories by the boxcar load, and phlegm enough to fill a swimming pool? Well, they don't have swimming pools, just ponds chock full of PCBs; wouldn't want the State Gummints to demand Big Bignezz keep the stuff out of the environment!! Damn Socialists.

Wundrin' 11:34 AM  

How did AWFULLY come to mean VERY?

The party went AWFULLY.

The party went AWFULLY well.

Anonymous 11:38 AM  

JD,
I doubt your unnamed cousin in an unnamed town came up with the recipe for the Big Mac's secret sauce. As for copyrighting, you do know that Weiden And Kennedy has the Mickey Dee's account, right? Give them a shout if you want a job. But I'v not a read a single blessed sentence of yours that leads me to believe you'lll land the gig. But good luck.

Jim
Uniontown, Pa.

Tim Carey 11:39 AM  

OLAF crossing ALI. I looked at that for a long time before tentatively filling it in. I thought the St. was for "State", didn't catch on that it was "Saint" for awhile.

old timer 11:43 AM  

I thought this was a perfect Monday puzzle. About half the answers were gimmes, the other half took some thought. Whereas, a syndicated Monday puzzle is all gimmes and to boring for we regular NYT solvers to even want to start.

I loved RANDY. Here in the USA we call it "horny". But RANDY was the term used in England, and there are a few English folk songs that use the term, without being too vulgar.

Since I went to prep school, MYSTERY MEAT was a familiar term. In college, they tended to give it some relatively accurate name, but it was still (a) cheap for the dining managers and (b) tasteless. As for the Big Mac, I appreciate it sells well and is a profit center for the franchises. But I, too, used to ask myself what was really in it. Fortunately our town has an In N Out or two. If you order a Double Double, you don't have to wonder what you are eating. It tasted like beef (and cheese of course). And as for the fries, they are cut before your very eyes from actual potatoes that you can see.

egsforbreakfast 12:01 PM  

@Anonymous 11:00 am. It may be true that MacDonalds has achieved international consistency by now, but I remember very well eating a Big Mac made from horse meat in Paris in the 1970s. McDonalds eventually succeeded in revoking the franchise agreement after a long court battle. Frankly, the horse meat, with the optional glass of vin rouge, was pretty good..

45A got me wondering whether @Nancy throws her unbearable puzzles at her WESTERNWALL or some other direction?

@Rex “ Plus how do you know how fast I take my SLED up the hill!? You don't know me!”. Well I do know you well enough to be quite sure that you know how a crossword puzzle works. From that starting point, it is inferrable that you think it is amusing to rant about a lack of agency within the clue. It actually is kind of amusing, but only in the way that Roseanne Barr shrieking the Star Spangled Banner at a Padres game a quarter century ago was.

This was a nice, smooth Monday puzzle. Thanks Stella Zawistowski.

Nancy 12:10 PM  

Re: the Big Mac: @Anon 11:00 -- You sound like a very nice, very bright guy, but please forgive me if I say I'm not going to have lunch with you. Instead, I'm going to have lunch with @old timer (11:43).

I was lucky enough to have an Ottomanelli's right across the street from me for years. Ottomanelli is a famous NYC butcher as well as a casual pub-type restaurant and their burgers were absolutely fabulous. (Alas, they closed about five years ago). Look -- which would you rather have? Beef that's from a top butcher and arrives to the restaurant fresh? Or some sort of thin, processed something-or-other that has been mass-produced and arrives at the restaurant wrapped in cellophane?

In addition to making sensational burgers, Ottomanelli's was relatively inexpensive. Early on, I got out of there after having had a cheeseburger (swiss or roquefort), fries, and a Bloody Mary, with tax and tip, for $8 or $9. By the time they closed, I was paying $11 with tip. Hardly a budget-buster. I'm going to send you a photo of an Ottomanelli Burger -- right after I send you a close-up of a Big Mac.

The meat in this looks just as revolting as I remember it from that turnpike on the way to the Adirondacks.

Z 12:11 PM  

@Wunderin’ - You are not the only one wondering.

@Joseph Michael - Shortz is on the record as thinking it doesn’t matter because solvers don’t notice them. Others think letter-string duplicates with the same essential meaning are bad. I’m more in the middle where I find them sub-optimal and think they should be avoided.

@Anon11:00 & @JD & @Anon11:38 - Kind of amazing how much mythology surrounds a cover version. And I thought everyone knew it was Thousand Island Dressing.
(Wikipedia observation: The claim that the Big Boy is the original double decker hamburger is sourced to the Big Boy website. That it is essentially the same thing as a Big Mac and precedes the Big Mac seems accurate. That it’s the “original” seems grandiose brand-making to me)

Anonymous 12:11 PM  

@old timer:

I'm willing to bet that any town more than just a crossroads in a desert has a Joe's Eats that can do better. And I hear that venison is well liked in the North Country. Whether it makes a good burger; can't say.

JC66 12:14 PM  

@ everyone

I don’t think that @Nancy was eating at McDonald’s because they don’t serve rectangular hamburgers.

Anonymous 12:16 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nancy 12:17 PM  

...And here's what a burger should look like. Plump. Juicy. Unmistakeably beef. While I order my burgers "very rare" and this one isn't, this will show you what a thing of beauty an Otomanelli burger is.

Anonymous 12:18 PM  

Nancy,
I wouldnt dine with you at The Four Seasons if you were treating. Not only do our palates clash, so to our politics, taste in film, music and even crossword puzzles. Not sure why you deceided to call me out when i had the courtsey to refrain from mentioning you.

The Swedish Chef 12:20 PM  

@Zxxx:

Even there, there's some controversy. At least in the town where I was raised. We never did Mickey's, mostly Abdow's Hi-Boy. Turned out it was a knockoff of what was later learned to be a Big Boy (from a long way away). Made a fresh strawberry pie to die for. Lots of fake 'creme' on top. Anyway, got sued by the big Big Boy's and had to change the name and, I guess, pay up; all long before there was a Big Mac.

Masked and Anonymous 12:25 PM  

Any puz with a MYSTERYMEAT answer in it is A-OK with M&A. Would maybe make a cool illustrated runtpuz theme.

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {River on which Cleopatra cruised} = NILE.

staff weeject picks (of a modest 10 choices): AOC & OAS. Altho, honrable mention also to the extra UP in UPC.

fave fillins included: COIFFEUR [spelling challenge]. LUNK. AWFULLY. Plus that there wiley SLED clue, which was possibly tryin to suck us into goin with YOYO instead?

Thanx for the bookstore tour, Ms. Zawistowski darlin. What -- no puzzles section?

Masked & Anonymo11Us


**gruntz**

Nancy 12:47 PM  

But, Anon (12:18)-- there are so many Anonymouses and I can't tell any of them apart. Why --who knows? -- you might even have been someone I actually liked and who liked me. I have no idea what your tastes are in anything -- politics, books or music -- because, sort of like MYSTERY MEAT, you're a MYSTERY PERSON. The fact that you'd think I (or anyone else) would be able to identify you today or any day is a real MYSTERY to me.

pabloinnh 12:48 PM  

I thought this was a fine Monday. I especially liked "unidentifiable protein" as a clue, and wish I had thought of it back in my college days, when we stood in line to get what was put on our plates, before the age of pizza stations and salad bars and vegan options. "Not unidentifiable protein again!", I could have said, and been acknowledged as witty and original. Too late now.

I wonder about those of you who carried sleds up the hill. Mine always had a rope for towing it, unless it broke. Maybe that's what happened.

I was thinking of going full OFL on the fact that the "revealer", viz. GENRE, did not appear as the VERY LAST across clue! What's that doing there!? Spoils the whole puzzle! and so on. I'm just not very good at it.

I'll eat a quarter pounder with cheese occasionally, but I draw the line at Coors Lite.

Just right for a Monday, SZ. Some zing, but good for beginners. Thanks for the fun.



The Swedish Chef 1:09 PM  

@Nancy:

I'm shocked, shocked I say, that there's rare hamburg being served in NYC!!! Is it legal (again)? Everywhere I've been in decades won't do it, on the grounds that the Health Dept. regs say that 'ground beef' has to be cooked to at least 155 degrees. No rare there, that's generally 115 - 120 degrees. Baksheesh?

G. Weissman 1:12 PM  

I like MYSTERYMEAT (and who doesn’t?). LUNK and WASITYOU are not so good. OLAF, ETAL, TYPEA, AXEL are tired. A fun enough Monday puzzle.

Teedmn 1:19 PM  

As a big fan of Stella's hard themeless puzzles, I was pleased and surprised to see her name on this breezy Monday puz. And only the annoying (I actually thought this as I splatzed in my best guess) "now how are they going to spell this?" ESTAB (I had ESTbd), I found nothing to complain about.

I read both Science Fiction and Fantasy. I prefer really well-written Sci-Fi, but I find more Fantasy that fits that criterion so you find more of that in my library. I was reading a Science Fiction trilogy that didn't bother to explain how its technology worked and I was torn about that until I read a comment on that subject; they pointed out that our current level of technology would look like absolute magic to anyone from before the early last century, so why would we expect tech centuries in the future to be readily explainable to those of us in the present. And that also makes a bit of connection between Fantasy and Science Fiction, though I'll grant you that we're not likely to have dragons and elves any century soon.

@chefwen, sorry about the Vikes - it's so unlike us to actually win a close game against the Pack. When my husband came up to explain what was going on, with 2 minutes left, I knew we were doomed and was very surprised to find myself proven wrong.

Thanks, Stella, for a nice Monday puzzle.

Z 1:28 PM  

@The Swedish Chef - Ah yes, trademark protection. My all-time favorite was a place in Holland called “Burrito King” that ran afoul of Burger King’s lawyers. There were holes-in-the-wall bigger than this place and nobody was ever going to mistake this place for a fast food joint. They ended up closing, probably as much because their food wasn’t al that good as the cease and desist letter they got. I wonder how many billable hours were generated protecting Burger King against the Burrito King trademark incursion.

GILL I. 1:31 PM  

@Nancy....I'm holding your hand, maybe do some tip-toeing through tulips on our way to boycotting or at least eschewing McDonalds.
When I moved to NYC from Madrid, all I dreamed of was ordering a Big Mac with its special sauce and a big order of fries. I did. I took it up to my apartment; lovingly opened it, put it on a plate with my fries. My mouth was watering in anticipation. 2 hours later, I got sick as any dog could get sick. Lordy.....Talk about MYSTERY MEAT.....
I still want a hamburger from time to time. I love them. When I got my fist COVID shot I wanted nothing but a hamburger. Here in California we have In-N-Out burgers that are incredibly yummylicious. I can never take more than one bite but I finished a double double cheeseburger and even licked my fingers.

egsforbreakfast 1:53 PM  

@Z. Your Burrito King reference reminded me of the Vietnamese place in Tacoma called Pho King.

JD 1:59 PM  

Well Anon@11:38, I'm also from Uniontown, although technically South Union Township (go Mustangs). But the town is really a state of mind. Haven't lived there since Reagan was president, still visit. Miss the Redstone chocolates, the view of the lit up cross, and the spaghetti at Maloni's.

Now I understand your opinion of McDonalds as great food. It was at the shopping center McDonald's (then the only one in town) where the claim originated. And you're right, quite possibly a legend.

Nice new Holiday Inn by the WalMart. It had a little bottle shop inside!

Trey 2:05 PM  

How responding to “Anonymous” calling you out? That seems like an oxymoron. If you posted under your name or a pseudonym that you regularly use, that would be different

Trey 2:13 PM  

@Swedish Chef - only one response to your rant on rare burgers - BORK BORK BORK!

Joseph Michael 2:13 PM  

@Zy - If it's a long word or a phrase that takes up a lot of real estate, I would not want to see it being repeated either. If it's a short word like UP, it doesn't really matter to me one way or the other. Just like you probably didn't notice that the word "a" got repeated four times in this response.

tea73 2:24 PM  

Thought the theme was cute. Loved the MYSTERY MEAT clue and did not think I needed to be clued into the fact that it is generally found in school cafeterias and mess halls.

I have never seen ESTAB anywhere out in the wild. EST, however, I have seen often.

My library used to separate FANTASY and Sci Fi, but some Fantasy was considered more literary and got shelved with the regular books. Sometime you will find half of a series in with Fantasy and the rest with the regular fiction. At some point they got rid of the separate fantasy section, but shelve that fantasy with the sci fi and the new stuff with the regular fiction. I think. It's a mess and they aren't even shelved on the same floors.

In any event as Arthur C. Clarke said (in 1962) “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”.

mathgent 2:29 PM  

My favorite posts this morning.

Lewis (9:14)

The Swedish Chef 2:36 PM  

@Trey:

Never said I didn't like em, only that I can't get one. There is a difference; not a rant against them, just their lack of availability. A semantics thing, I guess. How that joint in NYC manages to serve them and not get caught is kind of a mystery. Let's go see... one explanation, one city:
From Philadelphia Department of Public Health's regulations governing food service establishments:

"Hamburger patties and other ground meat products shall be heated to ensure that all parts of the product are heated to 155ºF (68.3ºC)."
-- rlibkind/2006

I fully expect that the NYC Health Dept. has the exact same reg.

old timer 2:37 PM  

I was going to say, a sled is not a toy, even a small sled built for children. It is a real, and often exciting, mode of transport. And yes, it comes with a rope so you can tow it uphill. My wife's family in Vermont have fond memories of towing sleds up the hill behind their house, and riding down--over and over. Fortunately the backyard neighbor approved of them having fun on what was, in fact, his property.

And though we have no snow, we have sometimes gone to Yosemite in the winter and rented sleds. Fun!

JD 2:37 PM  

@Zÿ, I think it was actually a sandwich spread back then.

Anonymous 2:56 PM  

@Nancy/12:47

perhaps a bit TMI, but you can get an open source (aka, Free) text processor (there's a few) that will allow you to ferret out which of the mice is which; whether it's worth the effort is left as an exercise. most of us do announce what/who we're responding to, but some of us are knuckleheads.

MarthaCatherine 3:42 PM  

Should Gabriel Garcia Marquez be filed under G or M? Liese O'Halloran Schwarz under O or S? Emily St. John Mandel under S or M? I've seen each of them filed both ways, with ridicule all around for every choice.

Either way, all of their books are good. Just thought of this regarding the Fantasy/SciFi discussion herein. Good books are good books no matter what you personally consider the authors' last names or genre to be. If you can't find a title in one place, look in the other.

P.S. Great Monday puzzle.

Sharon ak 4:23 PM  

I quite liked the repeated "ups" Seemed a bit fun the way alliteration can be.
And more fun when the complaints caused me to take closer look and notice the backward up in opus and the UPC.

Don't understand the complaints.

okanaganer 4:45 PM  

Yes, my point about FANTASY was that I consider it quite a different thing than science fiction. Star Wars (fantasy) and Star Trek (s.f) are about as close as they get, but to me they're quite distinctly different. However in our library about 2/3 of the books in the s.f. section feature covers with bare shouldered vixens wielding big swords, that sort of thing. Not my cup of Tetley.

@MarthaCatherine... there is an Icelandic mystery writer Arnaldur Indriðason, who is quite properly filed in the A section since Icelanders put their last names first. It took me ages to find his books until the librarian explained it.

[Spelling Bee td 0; another day of very reasonable words, many many of which were valid yd as well since 5 of the letters are the same, even the center one!]

ultramet 4:45 PM  

If only 56 Across TCU had not canceled their honorary degree they were planning to give JFK, then history would have been very different on that fateful day in Dallas. A date that we remember today —-November 22, 1963. TCU controversially change their plans forcing JFK to cancel the Ft Worth trip and go to Dallas instead. It is ironic that TCU is an answer today.

emily 5:03 PM  

My major gripe with the themers was that they all should have been alliterative! Fantasy football would have fit in so well with western wall and mystery meat…

Anonymous 5:37 PM  

nancy,
Huh? You didnt have any troubke identifying me. Im fact you adressed your comment direrectly to me. What are you going on about?
Alos no repuatble list of the City;s bets burgers has yours on it.
The Burger Joint
Minnetta Tavern
Corner Bistro
And if you want to cross the East River
Peter luger's
Cozy Royale
and if you want toi ross the Hudson for the best burger in the tri-state area
White Manna

Nancy 5:37 PM  

@Anon 2:56-- You sound like one of the nice, non-snarky Anons, though why you would want to take any chance a all of being confused with the nasty ones beats me. To dub yourself with a well-chosen nom de blog would take absolutely no effort on your part. You don't even have to be in blue if you don't want to be. As far as your suggestion of my getting a free "text processor" is concerned: I'm a Luddite. I don't know what a text processor is, much less where to find one or how to set it up. I'd need to tip my handyman handsomely to do it for me. And if the Anons don't care enough to differentiate themselves one from another, I'm sure not going to do it for them.

@Trey and @Swedish Chef: Would you order a very rare steak? That's what you're doing when you order a very rare burger from a butcher that grinds its own meat. Would I order a very rare burger from Macdonald's or Burger King or Wendy's or any of the chains. Not bloody likely. I'm carniverous but not suicidal. And, @Trey, you're right: they'd only tell me that they don't serve rare burgers. That happened to me once, I forget what the place was, but once they said it, I ordered something else. Two reasons: 1) I only like burgers when they're very rare and 2) If the restaurant doesn't trust it's own meat, I'm certainly not going to trust it either.

If you come across as firm and sure of yourself, Trey, a place that trusts its own meat will serve you a rare burger. My ordering at Ottomanelli's was always done the same way. (And while I know this will sound like Meg Ryan in "When Harry Met Sally", this is emphatically NOT the way I order most items. Usually I'm a pussycat. But burgers require unusual firmness when you like them the way I do. Otherwise things can go badly wrong.)

"I'd like," I would say to someone who was relatively new or unknown to me, "a very rare Blue Cheese Burger. By 'very rare' I mean red in the middle, not pink in the middle. Otherwise it goes back. And I would absolutely hate to send it back since your beef is so fabulous and that would be so wasteful."

To someone who knew me, I would just say: "Very rare, as always. Remember: red inside, please, not pink-- just like the wonderful burger you served me last time."

(You polish off one "red in the middle" burger and you miraculously don't croak. And after that it's much easier to get them to serve it to you again.)

Barbara S. 6:01 PM  

I enjoyed the puzzle, and it took me back to my last pre-freelance job in a large bookstore, which had all sections mentioned and, of course, many more. We had extensive Science Fiction and Fantasy areas. They were separate but neighbors. Customers liked the separation: many were interested in only one of the genres, and those that weren’t liked being able to concentrate on one at a time. The staff had a theory that the distinction between right brain (fantasy) and left brain (SF) came into play in people’s browsing habits.

A pleasant puzzle, maybe one of the AWFULLY NICEST in a while. I liked SOLE and REBOOTS. I’m a staunch fan of the lowly PRUNE. I enjoyed the DOOKiness of BUST OUR and IN EVER. And I guess today’s LUNK must be a MYSTERY MEAThead. SLEDding is enormous fun – even though it can be borderline terrifying on a long, steep, icy hill. The commenters who said that SLEDs are not toys brought to mind the SLEDding “accident” in Ethan Frome, a sobering SLED reference if there ever was one (*SPOILER ALERT:* suicide pact gone wrong). There was a distinct wintery feel to this puzzle, I thought, with SLED, AXEL, YULE, VAIL and the need to BUTTON UP one’s jacket. Also the nods to chilly Scotland (NAE) and Norway (OLAF).

SB: Props to the Sunday QBs (I count @okanaganer, @puzzlehoarder, @TTrimble). I was happy to join you, with my last word being this sound-alike. Creditable showings all around from @Eniale (QB on Sat.), @bocamp, @Roo and @Trey.
td pg-4 (so far) -- And I see, @okanaganer, you've done it again!

Peter P 6:37 PM  

Jumping on the hamburger discussion:

@Swedish_Chef 2:36. I do believe the laws on this vary by state. Here in Illinois, in Chicago, there is no issue I've ever had in getting a burger cooked rare. I mean, they have tartar on the menus here at places that serve it, so clearly uncooked ground beef is fine. The most I've seen is that menus will have an asterisked note that says something to the effect of (paraphrasing) "consumption of undercooked meat or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness" or some such disclaimer. I have been to places outside Illinois that do tell me that they are required by law to cook the hamburger to medium. So it must vary by state, but I have not researched it in-depth. I can tell you though there's no problem here.

For my tastes, thick burgers (1/3 pound or more) need to be cooked medium rare at most. For me, the joy is in the contrast of the well browned, well done exterior and the soft, juicy rare or medium rare interior. I don't want it cooked all the way through. There is nothing more disappointing than ordering a pub burger and getting something cooked medium or more, which is why I always ask for them to err on the side of rare. Thin-style flattop burgers (6-to-1 or 1/6 lb and thinner) need to be cooked well in order to develop the nice crispy edges and have ample time for good browning/Maillard reaction. A quarter pounder can just about go either way. I love a good fast-food style hamburger with a melty deli-style American cheese, and bonus points if I can get some Merkt's extra sharp cheddar spread on it. Always a double for this style of burger.

Of course, in matters of taste, there is no right or wrong. De gustibus et cetera.

Oh, yes, there was a crossword. I enjoyed it.

Joe Welling 6:52 PM  

Zy said, "If I’m understanding @okanaganer correctly, it’s that bookstores and libraries have a tendency to lump them together."

Yep, and that that's a recent development after a past where SF and F were two distinct things with no overlap. And I disagree. Since the 19th century there has been huge overlap. Bookstores and libraries are doing what publishers and authors have always done.

Trey 8:33 PM  

@Nancy 5:37 - not sure how you took my post, but I am on your side here. Anons should not have thin skin, as they are anonymous and not readily identifiable (actually, any named poster here could also post anonymously to stir the proverbial pot). As far as burgers, I prefer mine medium but am fine however you want to order yours. My comment to Swedish Chef was more an homage to the BORK answer recently and all of the comments it had led to

LenFuego 8:50 PM  

Based on comments to a recent puzzle or two, I am interested in trying the Crossword Scraper extension on Chrome. So I've added that extension to Chrome. Aaaaaaaand ... what do I do now to try to solve the puzzle using that?

The Swedish Chef 8:51 PM  

One, for my part anyway, last word on the burger controversy. E.coli is the near 100% culprit (and not limited to beef or even meats, btw). The wee critter Does Not Live in the big critter's flesh, but is introduced externally post mortem. Again, the wee critter, most often, travels in the entrails of the big critter, thus if slaughtering is slipshod, the wee little critter gets on knives, tables, floors, gloves, boots, you name it. So, if the leavings (which is where most hamburg comes from) accumulate on a contaminated table and ground up, you have contaminated hamburg. The only way to avoid illness is to kill off the wee little critters with lots of heat; through and through.

As the reader may have guessed, with meat cuts, steak yum!, one only need sear the surfaces (don't forget the edges, folks) to do in the wee little critter. For myself, I like most cuts (not stewing beef straight up) Pittsburgh. Yeah, the CDC (or some such) as outed that blackened crust as a carcinogen. I don't care.

JC66 9:16 PM  

@Len F

To use it, go to the puzzles page on nytimes.com and click the Play button which will display the grid and the clues. Then click the icon for the extension in the upper right corner of the browser (looks like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle):

You will see a Crossword Scraper pop up window with a link that lets you download the .puz version of the puzzle. It puts it in the same place that the NYT .puz link did when you clicked it.

Once it is in the downloads directory you can upload it to my server and solve it using your preferred system. Personally, I like puzzlecrowd.com but your mileage may vary.

Nancy 9:56 PM  

Hi, Trey -- Yes, I knew you were defending me stoutly. Thank you for that. I addressed my earlier comment to you because I wanted you to know that in NYC it is possible to get a rare hamburger. Although after reading The Swedish Chef's 8:51 comment just now, I think that all of a sudden I'm Very Afraid.

Anonymous 10:38 PM  

@JC66

Thanks for that very helpful explanation - even *I* was able to follow it.

I have some follow-up questions about other solving apps in general, but I will save those for tomorrow or another day.

albatross shell 10:54 PM  

Toy definition M-W
1: something for a child to play with.

I'd say a sled qualifies.

@Nancy
Not sure if you mean like a rare steak is rare or maybe pink with a red warm disc in the center but in either case mostly with you there on taste. Tend to the red disc for safety reasons.
Also Wendy's has rectangular (square) burgers. Not sure if you are confusing burger places or if it was a burger at all. MYSTERY.

Frozen Salisbury Steak. In gravy and mashed potatoes as I recall. I think it use to have some pork mixed but no nonger does. Very salty with soy and whey protein, BHT, bread crumbs and a pile of chemicals. Dehydrated potatoes. Truly a mystery Protein.

OPUS, the plural of which is OPERA, the plural of which is OPERAs. ??? Also OPUS can refer to a single work or the entire output of an artist. And find a critic or a newspaper who uses opera as a plural of OPUS. And nobody mentioned the correct plurals: opodes and operapodes (operopodes?).

*SPOILER ALERT FOR SUNDAY*

@Barbara S. yesterday
May you rot in hell.
Oops wrong example.

I hope he rots in hell.
I hope he goes to hell

A deserted house just rots.
A deserted house just goes to hell.




JC66 11:07 PM  

@(Unknown (Len F)

Don't thank me, I just copied and pasted what @Kitshef sent to me.

kitshef 12:56 PM  

Definitely objected to OPUS/OPERA in the same grid.

Great clue for MYSTERY MEAT, which went in with no crosses.

Next themer in was WailingWALL, so though we had an alliterative theme going. ROMANCE LANGUAGE killed that idea.

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