Dragonlike creature of fantasy / MON 1-17-22 / Teenage military leader canonized in 1920 / Mindless two-player card game / Beginner in modern lingo

Monday, January 17, 2022

Constructor: Evan Mahnken

Relative difficulty: Medium (normal Monday)


THEME: A DROP IN THE OCEAN (40A: Insignificant amount ... or hint to this puzzle's shaded squares) — the names of three different oceans appear inside circled squares; each ocean name undergoes "a drop" in level, i.e. it starts on one row and then drops to the row below it. So:

Theme answers:
  • ARCTIC starts in JOAN OF ARC then drops to finish in RETICENT
  • INDIAN starts in ADROPINTHEOCEAN then drops to finish in DIANA
  • PACIFIC starts in SUPERPAC then drops to finish in ASIFICARE
Word of the Day: WYVERN (54A: Dragonlike creature of fantasy) —

wyvern (/ˈwvərn/ WY-vərn, sometimes spelled wivern) is a legendary winged dragon that is bipedal and usually depicted with a tail ending in a diamond- or arrow-shaped tip.

The wyvern in its various forms is important to heraldry, frequently appearing as a mascot of schools and athletic teams (chiefly in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada). It is a popular creature in European literature, Mythology and folklore. Today they are used regularly in modern fantasy literature and video games. The wyvern in heraldry and folklore is rarely fire-breathing, unlike four-legged dragons. (wikipedia)

• • •

This is a very clever theme with one obvious and (to my mind) fatal flaw in the execution: there's no ATLANTIC. I am actually stunned that neither the constructor nor the editors thought the fourth ocean was necessary. Actually, it seems that five is the new four, with the Antarctic or Southern Ocean being added in recent thinking to the original tetrad, but that's neither here nor there. No one's going to miss the Southern Ocean, but you *definitely* miss the ATLANTIC. You can't leave off just one member of a very clearly defined set of four and think it won't matter. If there were eight oceans and you only did three, OK, no one's going to care, but when there are just four and three of them make an appearance, that fourth one becomes Very conspicuous by its absence. Why don't these things matter to people? Don't you want to stick the landing? Don't you want it to be better than "meh, it'll do"? Surely you can conceive of a grid where ATLAS and ANTICS (or some similar pairing) are given some accommodation. Yes, the grid would get crowded, but look, it's your theme, it's your challenge. Rise to it or ditch the theme. It's a good theme idea, why only go 3/4 of the way!?!? Now it's just this sad, incomplete-looking theme, when it could've been mwah, greatness. Phenomenally disappointing. Will most solvers care? I don't know and I don't care. Elegance is elegance and elegance calls for a completion of the cycle. 


Speaking of elegance, and the lack thereof. Why would you put SARIN in your grid if you didn't absolutely have to (63A: Deadly nerve gas). A deadly nerve gas? So ... a weapon of terrorists? In a Monday grid, where it absolutely positively does not need to be? Why are you doing this? Look, here's a SE corner I constructed in no time that is objectively cleaner and has the considerable benefit of not containing deadly nerve gas:


SARIN was a huge downer. And since my first instinct was (for some reason) RICIN, I experienced a double bummer—not this terrorist weapon, but that terrorist weapon. Nice. Once again, in a small corner of the grid, we find a lot of staleness where we could have solidity, if not exactly scintillation. As I've said before, I wish more constructors (and editors) cared about polishing the grid within an inch of its life. I'm guessing that AÇAI / ECARD corner could be fresher too, but I'm not going to spend time finding out. The point is: try harder. I mean, ENOW!?!? (42D: Sufficient, to Shakespeare). There is no reason anyone should have to endure that alleged Shakespeareanism on a Monday (or on most days, for that matter). Haven't we suffered ENOW? Clean up on aisle Everywhere!


I had WACKY before WACKO because it's the word people are more likely to use (9A: Off-the-wall). I wanted a word for "nose" to go at 34A: Clown accessory that's often bright red (WIG) because the red nose of a clown is more iconic than the red WIG of a clown. I wanted HALI instead of HOLI because I just botched the answer (25D: Hindu festival of colors). Bad with Vowels—that's me! I absolutely loved seeing WYVERN, as it gave me big D&D Monster Manual flashbacks (at least I assume that's how I learned what a WYVERN is), but wow that is not exactly what I'd call a Monday word. It hasn't appeared in the NYTXW for over 23 years, and then it was on a Saturday. This theme is unconventional enough you could've toughened up the cluing and run it as a Wednesday. WYVERN would seem very much at home on a Wednesday. On a Monday, it really does seem monstrous. But again, I think it's adorable, and the crosses are OK, so it's not a problem. The missing ATLANTIC is a problem. The unpolished crannies of the grid are a problem. See you tomorrow for fewer problems, I hope.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

127 comments:

Joaquin 12:02 AM  

Whether you’re a crossword old-timer or a NOOB, finding the ENOW/WYVERN cross in a Monday puzzle is WACKO.

Chuckbert 12:16 AM  

I don’t understand 57D: Aunt and uncle’s little girl. When I grew up, I called one of those a “COUSIN”. Now, it seems, that’s a “NIECE”! Shouldn’t the clue read “Brother or sister’s little girl”?

CorsairAffair 12:29 AM  

My biggest issue is with "aunt and uncle's little girl," being NIECE. Your brother or sister's child is your niece. If you are an aunt or uncle, the relationship of your child to the person to whom you are an aunt and uncle is cousin.

Zed 12:41 AM  

What @Joaquin said. I suppose all the fantasy fans will get that easily, but not a Monday crossing.

Otherwise, a fine Monday. I sort of agree with Rex, but I think three oceans would have been fine if the Atlantic had replaced the Arctic.

In other news:
Wordle 212 2/6*

🟩🟨⬛⬛🟨
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

First time doing it in 2.

okanaganer 1:02 AM  

I tried to solve looking at only the down clues and failed. Looked at a few across clues and failed again, because there are just way too many names in this puzzle. The grid is absolutely lousy with them. In the southwest corner, ALL BUT ONE of the down answers are names.

There are only about 2 or 3 answers that are not crossed by names. Most are not too obscure, but WYVERN is just a brutal Natick. For 42 down I tried ENOU, ENUF, and some others before giving up.

[Spelling Bee Sat. pg -1; this stupid word which I have never heard of, ended my 8 day QB streak.]

jae 1:51 AM  

Tough. More like a medium Tuesday. Trying to put in bucket before OCEAN consumed a bunch of nanoseconds, plus WYVERN was a WOE and I had Emts before EVAC. Clever, liked it.


@bocamp - About one hour into Croce’s Freestyle #676 I had around a quarter of the grid filled and I was pretty sure that was going to be it. However, I kept coming back to it and evvveeennntuallly got it. Lotsa WOEs. Good Luck !!!

Frantic Sloth 2:31 AM  

Pretty much agree with Rex with one big exception: I did not find WYVERN "adorable". I found it obnoxious - especially on the Mondee.

Clever theme, but it only rates a grade of "incomplete".

And a bright red clown nose > WIG. Every. Stinkin'. Time.

My aunt and uncle's little girl is my cousin. Are we now reinventing the branches of the family tree? "Who Do You Think You Are?" indeed!


🧠🧠
🎉.5

Lexta 4:27 AM  

@Chuckbert, @CorsairAffair, @Frantic Sloth: I think the idea is that if you are an aunt or an uncle, you might conceivably call your niece your “little girl”. (Note that the clue does not say “Your aunt or uncle’s little girl”.)

smalltowndoc 5:59 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gus 6:01 AM  

It's saying that the uncle and aunt have a niece - their little girl. It's not that strange, IMO.

OffTheGrid 6:21 AM  

I see @Rex's point about Atlantic but I'm a recreational solver so it's not ASIFICARE. I do care that for the second day in a row I had a one letter DNF that I had to reveal because I had NFI. I'm talking about you, W, of ENOW & WYVERN. Other than that I liked the theme and thought it was a solid Monday puzz.

Anonymous 6:44 AM  

No, @Gus, The aunt and uncle's little girl is their daughter.

bocamp 6:49 AM  

Thx Evan, for a very crunchy puz to start the week off with.

Easy/med/hard.

Breezed thru this one until the ENOW/WYVERN cross. Just kept staring at this, wondering how I could be so perplexed on a Mon. puz. 🤔 Finally plunked a 'u' in, and ended up with my first Mon. dnf in recent memory. :(

Nevertheless, a worthwhile struggle, and perhaps I'll somehow remember ENOW; I kNOW I've seen it before, but ENOu just seemed better. The fantasy creature could have been anything. 🐲

@jae (1:51 AM)

Thx, jae; looking forward to another challenging Croce later today! :)

@Barbara S. 👍 for 0 yd
___
yd 0* / W=4

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Lewis 6:58 AM  

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

1. Oversaw? (6)
2. They can be friendly while patronizing (6)
3. Miroir image? (3)
4. One who's light-headed? (4)
5. Cold weather layer (7)


BINGED
GUESTS
MOI
MOTH
BLUBBER

SouthsideJohnny 7:00 AM  

Hard to believe - it looks like the constructor completed about 95% of grid and then just couldn’t be bothered to finish up the rest. Almost like they said “Screw it, just have ILHAN cross WICCAN and KANT, and just make up whatever works to finish the rest, even if it is total garbage like ENOW crossing WYVERN”. Shortz has definitely lost his fastball - this could have been a simple, elegant Monday with just enough wittiness in the theme that even a Rex might like it, but instead - this is embarrassing.

Anonymous 7:36 AM  

You guys can sniff out the ten-letter aspritial cosanguine throttlepate of the differential quotirent of a math-related question but you've read so little poetry that you've never heard the word ENOW?

You gotta broaden your horizons.

TJS 7:37 AM  

How could you have a puzzle with Louisiana and Utah and not the other 48 states??? Rise to it or ditch the theme !!

Trey 7:43 AM  

WYVERN is not a Monday word, especially when crossing with ENOW (I had ENOu, and uYVERN looks as real a word to me as WYVERN). If it is in a Monday grid, tough, niche words (read "known to a small subset of solvers") like WYVERN need to be crossed with unambiguous Monday answers.

I too had ricIN before SARIN, but I am not opposed to using words that have negative connotations, especially if clued in a negative manner (as "Deadly nerve gas" was). I am not sure that it is a Monday word either, but the crosses were all Monday-level.

I did not miss the exclusion of Atlantic, but it is less of a concern to me since Southern Ocean was also excluded. I can see a puzzle where Atlantic was included but not Southern, and @Rex losing his skittles over the fact that the least known ocean was put in the corner because it was not included. Why stop there and go for 4 out of 5 when you could have all 5? I am fine with the 3 chosen today because it put less stress on the grid. Putting in another theme (or two) may have lead to a lot of less-than-stellar 3-letter fill to make it work. I generally appreciate a better puzzle with a less dense theme than a perfect theme and a less good puzzle.

Overall, I enjoyed the puzzle. It was a nice theme. As I usually solve as themeless, I expected to look back and see a word for drop embedded into a word for ocean. This was an unexcepted surprise. Perhaps the WYVERN area could have been altered to keep it a Monday (using tavern or cavern, for example), or other areas toughened a little to make it a later week puzzle.

TJS 7:45 AM  

No one who has done crosswords for more than a year should be unfamiliar with "enow" fer Chrissake.

Trey 7:45 AM  

@Chuckbert 12:16 - think of what the aunt or uncle would call the little girl that they are aunt or uncle to, not thinking of the aunt or uncle as the parent of the little girl

Trey 7:48 AM  

@Z 12:41 - my experience was close to yours. I had only two choices for the second letter on my second guess (knowing that the other 4 were correct) and chose the wrong one....

mathgent 7:50 AM  

Nice puzzle. Lively cluing, some novel fill. Great new word: cryptid.

I've just started to keep track of the number of proper nouns in the grids. Today's had a whopping 25 out of 78. But Nancy probably won't mind too much because they are almost all very familiar. The only two I didn't know were WYVERN and ILHAN.

If you've been on the blog for a while, you may know that I don't like Rex's comments. I scan them so that I can understand the bloggers when they refer to them. But I admire that he pumps out his stuff almost every day during a tight window. That's why I just sent him a check.

Some of the Las Vegas casinos turned WAR into a table game. The house take was fair. But I guess that it didn't catch on -- I haven't seen it on my recent trips.

I can't believe that Lewis caught the week's best clues. I thought that the clues for GUESTS and MOTH were terrible.







Trey 7:53 AM  

@TJS 7:37 - well said. Although, we did not see the rest of his grid. Maybe the other 48 were in there

Son Volt 7:53 AM  

Weird early week puzzle. We’ve seen the lowering theme before and I like it - but it should have been inclusive for the limited data set. Overall fill was fine - some connected sub groups throughout.

Liked the full JOAN OF ARC near SECTS and WICCAN. RETICENT is a fine word. A little left leaning with MADDOW and ILHAN - although the adjacent WACKO was interesting. No doubt Marx and ENGELS were influenced by the KANT/Hegel lineage. Knew WYVERN so it let me back into ENOW.

Enjoyable Monday - or whatever day solve.

TJS 7:58 AM  

"I just loved seeing WYVERN...I think it's adorable, and the crosses are OK". Rex, you mean enoW, that you complained about, oakY, which is garbage, and Niece, which is mis-clued ?

Unknown 8:03 AM  

Just did the 1/11/19 puzz. Just 3 years ago and look who were commenting:

Crimson Devil
Hungry Mother
Quasimojo
Sir Hillary
'merican in Paris
Tuba Don
Cassieopia
Hartley 70.
Old Sock
Joe Beaux

Seems like yesterday that they were here.

By the way, Southside was there, sounding quite familiar - "(puzzles) are much more fun to solve when they are not loaded with esoterica and/or outright deceitfulness..."

Phillyrad1999 8:07 AM  

Don’t need to see Sarin in any puzzle - I also guessed Ricin. I was zipping along fast ENOW until I was slain by a WYVERN.

amyyanni 8:08 AM  

Good MLK Jr Day. Glad to see you @Lewis; hope the weather didn't get in your way. The ENOW/WYVERN cross certainly got in mine. Managed to find the finish line, just barely.

Stephen 8:09 AM  

As a Brit I had no problem at all with Wyvern and Enow, but Superpac? Fortunately the theme filled the end in.

mmorgan 8:12 AM  

Why Vern, what is that D&D thing, anyway? I’ve heard about it for years but I have absolutely no idea what it is. Some sort of game… I guess I could look it up but then I’d probably be even more clueless.

Puzzle was fine but I hate circles and I missed Atlantic, the ocean near and dear to my heart. Actually, it had a lot of nifty words in it, so there’s that.

Zed 8:12 AM  

I’m a little surprised the Aunt and Uncle thing tripped so many people. Simply, if they are an Aunt and Uncle then they are are so because they have a NIECE or nephew. I see how the possessive S in the clue tripped you, but I doubt that was even an intentional misdirect. More like solvers misdirected themselves.

@7:36 & @TJS - ENOW is listed as “archaic” in Merriam-Webster for a reason. Just because they can justify its inclusion by pointing to old Billy of Avon doesn’t make it “poetry” or good Monday fill.

@Trey - If the three had been PACIFIC, INDIAN, and Atlantic, and the two polar OCEANs had been excluded I think the issue of completeness wouldn’t have come up. If you’re doing a partial set it seems like the three biggest ones should be in the set. Also, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if someone pops up to make either the “there is only one OCEAN” or the “the ARCTIC is a sea, not an OCEAN” arguments today.

JD 8:13 AM  

Oh fer cryin' out loud people. Google says that, "Historically, there are four named oceans: the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic. However, most countries - including the United States - now recognize the Southern (Antarctic) as the fifth ocean." Other sites suggest seven or eight.

The wisdom of the ancients* tells us that you can't always get what you want. Today you get three.

And laying relationshipcentricism aside, Aunt and Uncle are their own people and they have a niece.

Pretty fresh for a Monday. Reticent, Ilhan, Engels, Joan Of Arc.

Wacko, Booby.

Wyvern sounds like your friend's cousin who had to stop playing to go inside on Saturdays because it was time for his French horn lesson and when he's done comes outside to plot blowing up a mailbox.

I liked it, though I agree with @Trey on Enow. Howeve, Xword info says it's been in the NYT puzzle 45 times since 1993. When will I ever learn?

*And they'd probably still be touring if it weren't for a pandemic.

bocamp 8:18 AM  

@TJS (7:45 AM)

Thx for the kick in the pants. That's exactly what I told myself. I NOW kNOW ENou-gh about ENOW to hopefully remember it the next time around. lol
___
td p-7 / W=4 (50% chance of 3, but guessed wrong)

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

kitshef 8:23 AM  

With only five oceans, putting three in feels like cheating. I do, however, give bonus points for the revealer doing double-duty with a theme entry, and for DIANA Rigg.

I also acknowledge that putting in all five oceans, plus the revealer, would put too much strain on the grid, so it’s OK to choose three for the sake of grid cleanliness.

But I feel like if you are going to do that, Atlantic has to be one of the three (e.g. meATLess and frANTIC).

Some positives, some negatives … probably ALOES as the tie-breaker.

G. Weissman 8:29 AM  

The ENOW-WYVERN cross is unforgivable and basically ruins this otherwise fair enough puzzle, which contains a lot of extremely tired fill: IKEA, ACAI, ECARD, EKES, NHL, SPAS … I’ll take SARIN any day over the umpteenth appearance of one of those exhausted words that seem to appear in every other NYT crossword.

Laura 8:33 AM  

It's a Monday. I was delighted by a couple fun words like wyvern, don't in my wheelhouse from reading and gaming. Overloading with more oceans would not have left a decent Monday. And insisting on the Atlantic is Western Western centric. I thought it was a great puzzle.

Irving 8:44 AM  
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Anonymous 8:52 AM  

Yes, problems in most of the corners. But I’m always happy to see Immanuel KANT and Patsy CLINE shake hands.

Joe Bohanon 8:56 AM  

Working in the ATLANTIC would also allow ATLATL on one line and MANTICORE on the next. What a wasted opportunity!

Jim Spies 8:56 AM  

Maybe it didn't stop most solvers, but I did end up with a complete Natick at ENOW/WYVERN. Literally came down to on my solve to just sticking letters in until the app showed me I completed the puzzle, and W gave me no more pleasure than any other letter would have. It's ok to have a stuck cross if, when you get it, you're like "oh, of course". This was more "well, I guess, if you say so".

CDilly52 9:12 AM  

‘Your sibling’s daughter is your NIECE. Your aunt’s and uncle’s daughter is your cousin. That bothers me much more than either the inclusion of WYVERN or SARIN (which could easily have been SAtIN) or the exclusion of the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, because the whole D&D lexicon is wholly outside my ken I learned a new word today with WYVERN, so there’s a Monday plus.

Overall, I agree that some polish would have improved this quite a bit. The theme isea is excellent especially for a Monday if the grid were tidied up and made more Monday-like. I agree with @Frantic-incomplete.

Bcraib 9:19 AM  

I’m usually the last person to understand the point of themes so perhaps Im missing this but isn’t the Atlantic the “dropped” ocean…hence the clue? Pretty clever I think but I thought hard for a Monday

puzzlehoarder 9:37 AM  

It ended a one day streak for me.

RooMonster 9:40 AM  

Hey All !
"In other news: The Atlantic Ocean swelled with 25 foot waves, pounding NYC today. Witnesses say they faintly heard something that sounded like a laugh as the waves crashed in. Back to you, Phil."

Or did the Atlantic defiantly say, "AS IF I CARE I'm not invited!"

This was a toughie for a MonPuz. I did like it, however. Didn't figure it out until I had the Revealer, so a "dumb-ass" demerit for me. I was like, "what does an ARC and a TIC have in common?" Har.

ENuf first here too for ENOW, but have heard of both ENOW and WYVERN, so YAY ME. Had SARaN in first for SARIN. Geez, I hope SARAN wrap isn't used that way! Although, I've seen videos of it being stretched across doorways or over toilets with hilarity ensuing. Well, hilarity for the prankster, not the prankee.

I used to like the smell of OLD SPICE cologne when I was younger. Ah, youth. 😁

Fun clue for SMOKE. Wanted an astrological sign there. Aries is a water sign though, no? Like the drop-down pair of MY GOSH, BOOBY. Prudish statement, that.

Where there's SMOKE, there's WYVERNs.
Nobody doesn't like SARA Lee. (I used it think it was Nobody Does It like SARA Lee.) Seems more grammatically correct. Not two negatives, no sir. 😁

So a WACKO MonPuz, but still a fun time. And that's not PHONY.

yd -4, should'ves 2

Two F's
RooMonster
DarrinV

Unknown 9:42 AM  

I'm surprised that rex didn't comment positively on the unusual number of strong independent women in today's puzzle: JOANOFARK, DIANA Riggs, PATSYCLINE, etc. . . . Some of who might be WICCANS. Counterbalanced by the talented but sadly misogynistic DRDRE, who always seems to get a free pass.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zg230U-VTbg&list=OLAK5uy_kpnXtWauesEgVIWmv9So8swX3K1p54kkk&index=5
(Parental discretion is advised ! ! !)

Today's feat of construction was marred only by the unfortunate crossing of the dragon with the archaic term; it just seemed quite out of place for such an easy overall Monday. Perhaps the constructor was a D&D fan back in the day so it was right in his wheelhouse?

pabloinnh 10:00 AM  

ENOW is familiar to me, thank goodness, and WYVERN looked right when it went in, so no real complaints there. More problematical was LEAH, as I always get Jacob's wives mixed up, which is awkward at parties.

I don't see HOLI as a Monday answer either, and since no one has complained about it, I will.

I was unsure about the existence of a single YETI, and now I discover that there can be more than one. How did that happen?

Missing the Atlantic
Did not make me frantic

This played pretty easy for me, a couple of erasures that folks have mentioned, but no real problems. Some Elegant Misdirections, but no Egregious Mistakes. Thanks for the fun, EM.

And congratulations to you Chiefs fans. I think their game with Buffalo should be the Super Bowl--bet it's the most fun to watch.

Wanderlust 10:01 AM  

Just piling on in case anyone at the NYT checks this blog - WYVERN crossing ENOW on a Monday is a travesty. WYVERN is a cool word now that I know it, and I would have appreciated learning it if it had been fairly crossed. But ENOW? Enof (as I wrote) of ENOW.

I agree with Rex on the exclusion of the Atlantic. The fifth ocean is new or disputed so I wouldn’t have missed it. But the Atlantic? Come on, NYT people, take the subway to Rockaway and you can see it.

I’m agnostic on the other dispute of the day. NIECE seemed fine to me, but when I saw the first objection to it, I thought, “Oh, you’re right.” But those defending it make a good case. It’s making my head hurt like trying to remember second cousins and once-removed and all that stuff.

Lots of admirable women in the puzzle today — JOAN OF ARC, Patsy CLINE, ILHAN Omar, Rachel MADDOW, DIANA Rigg, LEAH, my wonderful NIECEs, probably the WICCAN and maybe the WYVERN and the YETIS. Why not?

Oh, and the delectable SARA Lee.

Whatsername 10:13 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
crayonbeam 10:13 AM  

ENOW crossed with WYVERN killed me as I can't recall hearing either word ever before. That seemed a harsh cross for a Monday.

Geneva 10:19 AM  
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Whatsername 10:21 AM  

I had a fleeting hope for an MLK theme today. Dare to dream. While this was a very good theme concept, have to agree with Rex that it floundered with the obvious tidal wave of a snub IN THE omission of the Atlantic. Some clues and that SE corner especially, kind of unfair on a Monday.

So tea is SLANG for gossip? Where did you hear that?

Been doing Times crosswords for over 20 years and WYVERN was a mystery so I appreciated the info Rex provided. After reading the illustrated explanation of the [video game character?], I couldn’t help but think of some of our current political leaders. “They are rather stupid, but very aggressive, and wyverns will always attack.“ And their eyes are orange. Think about it.

Leslie 10:30 AM  

Not jut Shakespeare--this is nice to think about on a cold winter morning:
"A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread–and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness–
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!"
And Wart shoots a wyvern in the Sword in the Stone.

Smith 10:32 AM  

I know WYVERN and I've never come within two towns of D&D. Maybe The Once and Future King? Or some other British children's book (not that TOFK is for kids, I don't think it was, originally).

This played for me like an average Monday, and lo! done in average time. Was bummed about SARIN. Did not miss the Atlantic, although it's near by and a magazine we subscribe to.

Weirdly the aunt and uncle's daughter went right in although upon reflection I see that all of you are correct! I think it's because of a family tree I used for teaching ESL.

More than one YETI? Are there male and female YETIs? Do they have baby YETIs and NIECE and nephew YETIs?

ASIFICARE



GILL I. 10:33 AM  

Well...yeah. I was a tad bothered that Evan left the BO[ATL]OAD/PED[ANTIC] to be snubbed. But why? you ask. Because if you've ever swum at La Concha beach in San Sebastian, you would have memories of Shangri-La reaching near perfection. You'd never forget it. Then you dry yourself off and go eat the best tapas in the world. So I do miss the Atlantic.
Well, my first thought after finishing was "this sure has a [boatload] of names. I got them all but I did think this was difficult for a Monday. Some people are bemoaning WYVERN. I LOVED seeing it. I have some charcoal drawings of dragons and you can't miss the WYVERN...If you ever watched The Hobbit movies, you might remember Smaug? ..."Never laugh at live dragons, Bilbo you fool! You aren't nearly through this adventure yet." Dragons are intelligent and powerful creatures admired by many....
I also liked seeing WICCAN and being reminded of San Francisco. Why? you ask...Because the City By The Bay had many practitioners. People seem to associate them for witchcraft only. They worship nature. They also beautifully celebrate the Solstice and the Equinox. One year I saw them dancing in Mt. Tamalpais (Mt. Tam) and it was quite impressive. Never judge a book by its cover. Or...as they say in Spanish: no juzgues un libro for su portada....Hah!
Last, but not least.....HOLI (lots of religion today).. The festival celebrating the eternal and divine love of Radha Krishna. Who doesn't love him? And...remember you should always celebrate the triumph of good over evil.
Speaking of.....I hope my friends perched on the Atlantic are safe from the awful storm heading their way....I'll have to make some calls.
And....@Unknown 8:03. Our friend @Hartley 70 still pops in now and then. She's been busy with grandkids and re-building her barn that blew over. Such is life.....

puzzlehoarder 10:36 AM  

It's not often that I get a dnf on a Monday but the ENOW/WYVERN cross got me. I was so convinced that it was ENOu that I actually questioned the Y of OAKY as being the incorrect letter. Mostly I spent a few extra minutes desperately looking for a simple typo somewhere that I could fix and it then wouldn't be a dnf. Not finding any I came up with ENOW without running the alphabet but it's still a Monday dnf. That's two so far this year so a bad start.

WYVERN is the final entry of the Ws section in my Webster's. I would imagine that's the same for any dictionary and because of this it's in bold print at the top of the page in my Scrabble dictionary. This is the 45th appearance of ENOW in the Shorts era and I've never had a dnf on it before. All those other puzzles must have corrected this ENOu mistake if I've made it before. WYVERN was not so forgiving.

yd -0, dbyd pg-1

Anonymous 10:42 AM  

Sarin is a REAL thing. . . REAL things belong in puzzles. . . Stop whining, already.

Joseph Michael 10:48 AM  

Okay, the clue for NIECE is WACKO, but I found this otherwise to be an enjoyable solve. I like it when Monday puzzles occasionally break the mold with unexpected words like WYVERN and SARIN. Both were crossed in ways that made them easy to figure out.

Nor do I mind that the Atlantic OCEAN is missing any more than the fact that there is no NEPHEW in sight. However, I do object to the absence of English Leather in a puzzle featuring OLD SPICE.

If an ECARD is a digital greeting, shouldn’t an EVAC be a digital device to clean your carpet or an ENOW be the digital present moment? Even as you read this, you are in the ENOW. Make the most of it.

Beezer 10:51 AM  

Wow. I was stunned by @Rex’s comment (and commenters) that ALL oceans (or at least the Atlantic) HAD to be present for the theme to work. Maybe I’m just small-minded and easily pleased. The themer didn’t say “a drop in ALL oceans” or “a drop in EVERY ocean.”

I do think WYVERN was post-Monday for most non-D & D playing Yankees but it wasn’t hard to choose between ENOU vs. ENOW to complete. Also, sorry, but I think the NIECE clue was fine because as (@Z?) pointed out the clue did not start out with YOUR.

A little hard for NOOBs (maybe) but I thought this was a fine Monday offering!

Whatsername 10:51 AM  

@panloinnh (10:00) I’m with you on HOLI And while we’re at it, I didn’t like ENGLES (Marx collaborator) or KENT (philosopher) either. Then there was ASIA, which is a perfectly good Monday answer but the clue (Hang Seng and Nikkei Indexes) - ludicrous on a Monday. Also agree on your football prediction. Buffalo is going to be tough. I’ll have to start praying to the football gods that the “good” Chiefs team will be back. Took them until the second quarter last night, but they finally showed up.

Lori Harriman 10:54 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
bocamp 10:57 AM  

Learned one of today's tougher words from a Rose Sloan xword yd, so that was one positive for me. Obviously, it was neither ENOW or WYVERN. lol

Rose's 'Double Speak'.puz file can be accessed, here.

@puzzlehoarder 👍 for 0 yd
___
td p-4*

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Nancy 10:57 AM  

A cute theme, nicely executed, and a Monday with some crunch. Liked it a lot.

My expression, when I use it at all, has always been "a drop in the bucket", so I didn't see OCEAN immediately. I did see ARCTIC in the gray squares up top and wondered if the theme would be something about cold weather. (It's been really cold in NYC, so that's how my mind was working.)

I don't know where you find the WYVERN, but somehow I've missed it/him/her. But then I don't read fantasy fiction and I don't watch horror films. Is the WYVERN horrible or is it/he/her sorta cute?

My clowns usually have a red NOSE -- but it didn't fit. Wouldn't have come up with WIG without crosses.

Didn't know HOLI. What on earth is a SPA cucumber? Loved AS IF I CARE. And a most welcome absence of proper names. Very nice Monday.

Beezer 11:01 AM  

Oh, and btw. Congrats @Z on two with Wordle. I just did it and it’s the first day I did not get the word in six (I would’ve HAD to get it in seven)…sob.

Carola 11:03 AM  

I thought this was an excellent puzzle - a truly clever theme and we got a WYVERN, a word I don't recall ever seeing in a puzzle and which I wrote in with unalloyed delight - like @Gill I 10:33, I'm for all things dragons. The fact that we have SMOKE just above its "head," wafting from its nostrils, no doubt, is just too good. I do take the point that it has wandered into a Monday grid by mistake.

@Gill I - You might want to give Naomi Novik's His Majesty's Dragon a try, for an engaging embodiment of intelligence and power.

JC66 11:14 AM  

@Nancy

SPA cucumbers.

Tim Carey 11:18 AM  

That cross was the DNF for me...

Tim Carey 11:27 AM  

The last time it appeared in the NyTimes crossword was 2017. Be more gracious "fer Chrissake".

Joe Dipinto 11:42 AM  

"Now I want the truth and I want it now. Who is she?"

"Alright, I'll tell you. She's my niece. [slap] She's my daughter. [slap] My cousin...[slap] My daughter, my cousin, my niece...

[slap slap slap slap slap] "I said I want the truth!"

"She's my niece AND my daughter AND my cousin AND my grandmother AND my high school gym teacher AND the maid who comes in twice a week AND the goddamn Queen of England! ... [sobbing and sniveling]
Understand? Or is it too tough for you?"


I wonder who these guys are then.

Masked and Anonymous 11:47 AM  

M&A is fine with three oceans for a MonPuz, but for a nice desperate, "meta" touch, woulda maybe gone with ATLANTIC instead of ALLERGIC. Then ATLANTIC sorta "drops" Down into that there OCEAN word. Ker plunk & et viola.

Wow and I thought the fillins were real good, considerin there are five long answers and a DIANA already participatin in that OCEAN of themer meat. WYVERN sounds vaguely familiar and is major cool. I did think @RP's redo of the SW corner to detox the SARIN was a gas, due to his version havin an extra U.
And neat that there were lotsa lady refs, what with: ILHAN. JOANOFARC. CLINE. DIANA. SHE. MADDOW. SARA (non-@RP version). LEAH. NIECE.

And now for the awards portion of the program …
staff weeject pick: ICE. Most likely weeject to turn up in the ARC-TIC OCEAN … ahar! And it did!

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Rachel of MSNBC} = MADDOW. Watch her quite a bit, when not off settin up the coffee or doin the dinner dishes (or occasionally watchin the home team play).
honorable mention to {___ and downs} = UPS, right outta the rodeo chute, tho.

fave sparky stuff: WACKO. BOOBY. WYVERN. WICCAN (Tough clue!). ALLERGIC OCEAN.

Thanx for the fun, and we know U didn't get to pick the puzday slot, Mr. Mahnken dude. No biggie, on that DROP of THE OCEAN, at our house.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


**gruntz**

Zed 11:51 AM  

@Beezer - I used a word from the puzzle for my first guess at it just happened to provide an unusual amount of info for a first guess, including eliminating a highly plausible second letter. Lucky first guess also gave me a high likelihood for the last letter, making my second guess unusually highly likely. Still, lots and lots of luck involved with choosing the first word.

old timer 11:58 AM  

This is by far the hardest and slowest Monday on record. Oh, sure, I knew ENOW. But WYVERN? To me, it's the company that has many Round Table pizza restaurants in Sonoma County and elsewhere in Northern California (plus one in Gig Harbor, Washington for some reason). I know the former owner and knew his partners. Their story is the original founders were two guys called Wy and Vern, hence the name. True or not, they probably never heard of a WYVERN, back in those pre- D&D days, and the WYVERN dragon did not figure in their art work, as all that sort of stuff was controlled by the Round Table corporation, which originally used themes from Arthurian legend.

(Side note: Those of us who went to Stanford in the Sixties were very familiar with the original Round Table Pizza in Menlo Park, whose theme was very much King Arthurish. Their pizza was quite popular, and basically is the same now as it was 60 years ago. And boy did they sell a lot of Coors, though as I recall, the age limit for beer was enforced pretty strictly. The nearby Oasis (R.I.P.) was somewhat looser, and had a better choice of brews.)

I don't miss the Atlantic Ocean. What I miss is the Antarctic Ocean, which no longer exists.

JC66 12:01 PM  

@Joe D

Good one!!!

Beezer 12:07 PM  

Hah…@JC66…good link! My spa connection was sliced cucumbers in the glass water urns often found in spas but on the eyes makes much more sense.

@Z…you are SO right on first word selection. I spent less time on selecting a first word today than I had in the past. My technique so far is to pick a word with two different vowels, then use at least one consonant based on Wheel of Fortune principles. Today I used two Wheel consonants. I shall remember to confine myself to one Wheel consonant AND I’ll also try the puzzle word concept.

Anonymous 12:10 PM  

What happened to the Antarctic? Did it evaporate due to the global warming that is currently bringing the Northeast U.S. to its knees?

The Joker 12:21 PM  

I never realized that oceanism was so rampant. Me? I think BILLY should have been included.

PhysGraf 12:22 PM  

Thought it was ENOF and a FYVERN makes as much sense as a WYVERN.

thfenn 12:27 PM  

Wasn't bothered by the missing ocean or the niece, noticing neither til coming here. The infamous 'W' was tough, but fell in eventually. What messed me up was remembering it's not Patsy kLINE (thanks, Kevin), and not noticing the problem with WIkCAN, and that annoying red WIG. Figured if it wasn't a nose it had to be TOE, so it just took me forever to get out of the west. Challenging Monday, but then that's a good thing, in the end. I still think it's fun when I can breeze through a Saturday and get tripped up on a Monday. And oddly enough, another PPP list that was more enjoy than annoy. Happy MLK day. RE THE NFL, as long as Brady or Rodgers isn't the SB's winning QB I'll be happy.

Anonymous 12:28 PM  

Love this comment on Wyvern!

Anonymous 12:29 PM  

Agreed

egsforbreakfast 12:31 PM  

I’m sure that if Evan Mahnken reads this blog he will be shocked to find that his puzzle is a piece of crap because an east coast academic elite feels snubbed. On the other hand, the west coaster Jeff Chen finds this snub to be yummy.

I would also point out that Rex believes that SARIN is in the SE corner, which it isn’t. Also, why isn’t GIJOE a problem for OFL? It is a gateway toy that often leads to war, famine, pestilence and SARIN.

ASÍFICARE, with the accent on the second syllable, would be a great name for a health insurance company.

This was an excellent Monday, with a bit of crunch. Took a bit longer than my average, but I was also caught up in watching my Niners reap the benefits of the Cowboys implosion. Thanks for a nice puzzle, Evan Mahnken.



mathgent 12:33 PM  

My favorite comments this morning.

JD (8:13)
Joe Dipinto (11:42)
old timer (11:58)

GILL I. 12:36 PM  

@Carola 11:03: YES,YES,YES....and one more for good luck. I have the Temeraire Series Books [4 of them]...and I will now, thanks to you, see about ordering the rest of Naomi's books. I drooled over the dragons - especially "Mortiferus" in Merlin and the Dragons. The watercolors are incredible. My favorite (so far) was "Throne Of Jade." I think the dragons were the Chinese Celestial. I'll have to look it up.
THANK YOU, amiga, for the reminder.....And folks, if you like fantasy and using imagination or even introducing dragons to children or grandchildren or your NIECE...you can probably buy them on Amazon.

Zed 12:42 PM  

@The Joker - And Frank!

@Beezer - of the RSTLNE group my first guess had three.

Anonymoose 12:46 PM  

I liked @Bcraib's(9:19) take on the theme. i.e. The Atlantic was "drop(ped)" from the puzzle.

Anonymous 1:00 PM  

I think a YETI is the offspring of a Sasquatch and an Abominable Snowman. I don't know who would be the NIECE.

Frantic Sloth 1:03 PM  

Appreciate all who have tried to "explain" NIECE, but I'ma go ahead and die on Bad Clue Hill.

@JD 813am If WYVERN is my friend's cousin, what does that make his NIECE?

@pabloinnh 1000am @Whatsername 151pm Add me to the list of infidels who didn't know HOLI.
P.S. Pablo - There is only one Frantic. (Thank Gof) 😉

Knew ENOW because it's one of those words I saw in a crossword [mumble mumble] years ago and it stuck in my head. I wear it as a fascinator. With a bow. It's my ENOW bow bowler.

Brrrrrrr 1:06 PM  

@Anonymous 12:10 pm: I hear you brother. I live in Monroe New York and I just finished shoveling a foot of global from my driveway. Took me two hours !

Frantic Sloth 1:06 PM  

P.P.S.
Pedant vaccination: I know ENOW is not pronounced with a long "O", so just go with the visual. K?

McD 1:11 PM  

@SouthsideJohnny My thoughts exactly. I just Kant.

Trinch 1:17 PM  

Ricin is a powder, not a gas. ;-)

jberg 1:23 PM  

Hi Everyone! We're back from a week on the Big Island of Hawai'i, in the middle of the PACIFIC, home to the crossworld's favorite volcanoes; we even got to experience a tsunami warning, though it didn't come to anything. It took us an extra day to get there, due to a snowstorm in Boston last Friday, but smooth (if lengthy) flying on the way home yesterday.

I'm OK with three oceans, but those of you complaining that the Atlantic is the most important are living in the last century.

And as for NIECE, c'mon -- did the clue keep anyone at all from getting the answer?

As @Leslie pointed out, the iconic ENOW is from Fitzgerald's translation of Omar Khayam, not from Shakespeare. If the clue had been "Ah, wilderness were paradise ______" I bet there'd have been a lot fewer complaints. Anyway, I used to read a lot of fantasy novels, so WYVERN popped into my mind after about 10 seconds of puzzlement. My sons played Dungeons and Dragons obsessively, but they didn't bring their work home with them.

I don't know much about HOLI, but the Indian holidays are catching on here. Boston had a Diwali celebration last year. I think you celebrate Holi by carrying around packets of colored pigment and throwing them at each color. Much less scary to the pets than Independence Day (which now lasts a month).

@Nancy, I've never experienced SPA cucumbers myself, but ads for the pricier ones often feature photos of naked women relaxing with a cucumber slice over each eye. It took all the crosses for me.

You know you've done too many crosswords when you read the clue for 50A, "Sign of fire," and immediately start trying to fit in some part of the Zodiac.

Carola 1:26 PM  

@GILL I. 12:36 - How delightful to hear you're another fan! I'm just two deep into the Temeraire series, so still have many dragon pleasures ahead of me. I think Naomi Novik is incredibly inventive.

JD 1:42 PM  

@Frantic, His sister! His Daughter! His Sister!*

Faye Dunaway, I know you'll know.

Maybe . . . 1:53 PM  

What happens to be in one's wheelhouse is as likely to be a matter of luck and/or just normal life experiences as it is learned expertise. My son's middle school had Wyvern as its mascot, athletic team name, and on its heraldic icon. kingswoodoxford.org/athletics
So WYVERN was my own personal gimme today, for once, unlike all the pop and rap song titles and artists I never know.

Anonymous 2:09 PM  

Hard sell on your knowledge of oceanography Rex. Sure, you can parse to any level of detail you're comfortable with. But changes in patterns of the Southern Ocean have been messing with my own private climate for about 15 years now. I thought all five on a Sunday would have been cool. Enow, I'm off to ride off on my Wyvern and wewease Woderick.

Lyn 2:20 PM  

I wanted to be Mrs. Peel when I grew up. So, thank you Diana Rigg for bringing a nice memory back.

Nancy 2:38 PM  

@JC66, @jberg -- Re SPA cucumbers.

People really pay good cash money for that? I'll chop up my own and save the $200 bucks, thank you.

BurnThis 2:42 PM  

Maddow, Ilhan and Engels. I thought this would be your favorite puzzle ever.

Zed 3:54 PM  

Do we really need a “difference between weather and climate” explainer?

@Frantic Sloth - No No. What I really need to know is whether you mean bow or bow. Do you wear it on you lapel or on your boat at the Rye Marina, as it were. My no. 2 question is whether there is some sort of ENOW bow bowel movement.
🧐

CT2Napa 4:46 PM  


Wow, I thought everyone here was a puzzle pro, or at least more so than I. But even I could come up with ACAI and DRE off the top. So aunt, uncle, little girl and blank/I/blank/blank/E can only be DAUGHTER?

Frantic Sloth 4:57 PM  

@JD 142pm LOL, but @J-Dip 1142am beat you to it. Forget it, J. It's puzzletown.

@Z 354pm Obviously, I meant bow. The ENOW bow bowler bowel is more of a growth than a movement. How? By now, you should know. Wow.

Anonymous 6:17 PM  

It’s funny that during a heat wave when someone chalks the weather up to global warming in all seriousness no one bats an eye but when someone jokes about global warming after a big snowstorm there is always some know-it-all around to explain that weather isn’t climate. No shite Sherlock.

Nancy 6:23 PM  

Completely forgot to do Wordle earlier.

Wordle 212 3/6

🟩⬜⬜⬜🟩
🟩🟩⬜⬜🟩
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

First guess was lucky. There's quite a bit of luck involved as regards making the first guess.

A 6:55 PM  

Yes, OFL, I noticed there were only three OCEANs represented, and yes, it caused a small DROP IN my anticipation of puzzle pleasure. But when DIANA Rigg AND Rachel MADDOW stepped in I forgot all about that watery theme. Yay to all the REAL, not RETICENT, women in the puz today!

I also saw the NIECE clue and thought, “They want NIECE, but it technically should be cousin.” I was more amused than bothered, but it was a weird clue. And why “little” girl?

I have a truly wonderful (not “little girl”) NIECE. Both her grandmother and father (my mother and brother) frequently mixed up her name and mine, though we’re 30 years apart in age and the names are nothing alike. And she’s OAKY with it.

I didn’t remember WYVERN but I sure knew ENOW to get it from crosses. Credit again to reading the All Creatures Great and Small series. A quick Google also turns up “good enow” in, among others, Chaucer, The Secret Garden, and an Amazon review of a truck cover. Really. Anyway, it’s a great phrase and worth learning as more than just crosswordese.

Music to follow.

A 7:02 PM  

Even though I didn’t have time ENOW to post yesterday and Saturday (loved Saturday’s puzzle, btw!), I did prepare birthday composer selections, but first up, today’s birthday composer selection:

La Bella Cubana (Edison recording 1924)
José Silvestre de los Dolores White Lafitte, b. 1/17/18
Joseph White was born in Cuba and went to Paris to study (where he adopted the French version of his name). He was praised as a virtuoso violinist, winning the First Grand Prize at the Paris Conservatory after only one year. White was the first soloist of African ancestry, on any instrument, to perform with the Philharmonic Society of New York. From 1877-1889 he was Director of the Imperial Conservatory in Rio de Janeiro, and was heavily influential in the music scene there.

Concerto VIII in c minor for recorder, strings, continuo
(with Caspar van Wittel’s Vedute di Napoli)

Francesco Mancini, b. 1/16/1672

Mancini wrote an opera, Idaspe fedele, which was the first Italian-only opera experience for London audiences. The scene in which Idaspe (dressed in a flesh-coloured costume to simulate nakedness) strangles a lion caused a sensation and ensured that the opera achieved a tremendous box office success, despite the unusually high price of the tickets.

The Fountain
Miriam Hyde, b. 1/15/1913

One of Hyde’s best-known pieces is the piano solo Valley of Rocks, written in 1975. Lesser known is the mystical Reflected Reeds (1956) with its rippling chords sketching the Sydney landscape on a brooding afternoon.

Reflected Reeds, performed and explained by charming young pianist Amy Stevenson

In addition to composing and performing, Hyde was an active member of the Australian Music Examinations Board from 1945–82. She also wrote educational materials, including one book for adult beginners.

Anonymous 7:06 PM  

I've very much heard of ENOW as meaning enough. But I had zero confidence that it was spelled enow rather than enou.


Villager

albatross shell 7:23 PM  

Little girl: Here's my Aunt Em and Uncle Joe. I'm their niece.

But using Joaquin's Oily Corollary a clue can be incorrect and still get you to the correct answer so who cares.

ENOW in Shakespeare plays:
https://shakespeare.sayit.mysociety.org/search/?q=Enow#

The post below I posted (with some mistakes) on Thursday. I decided to delete it and fix up some things and then I got interrupted and then busy. I probably would have junked the whole thing but it includes a confession having lied to Z and I didn't want to leave anyone with misinformation. Also I just discovered I hadn't copied anything since so it was on my paste function. If anyone can remember anything about Thursday, or cares, I'd be surprised.




SPOILER ALERT FOR THURSDAY PUZZLE
*NO OATS IN THIS POST**
**********ALERT*******

@Z
Apologies to Z and all those who saw my K. Kline post (and especially those who saw that one but not this one, not that does any good). I checked yesterday just in case and when I saw the KK. His middle name is Delaney (Not Kilaney as I clamed). Call it a test of Z's factchecking instincts. Z ya gotta up yer game.

@anon
I obviously didn't get you at all but I loved your reply. Proof that you weren't "that" anon I would think.

@ShirleyF
@Whatsername and (anon138)407pm nailed it.

I thought the attack on Rex because of ACTON was similar. Rex just said it was a small town, smaller than Natick. True (get on it @Z) and not shitting on anything. Nice history if true. Paging Z.

HATERADE is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as a noun US slang as you would expect. Derived from Gatorade. The word not the drink.

Like Haterade [the drink], CLEAN COAL is somewhat imaginary. But some coals are cleaner than others and if you take cleaned coal as your starting point it is cleaner (at least) as well as too expensive. Government and business has tried and failed to do it cheaply. The clue was accurate enow and the apology was BS.

End of Thursday rewrite.

Anonymous 7:44 PM  

oddly, whenever I've heard some science teeVee show mention Southern Ocean, the allusion was clearly the South Pacific, Indian, and South Atlantic since it truly is one continuous body of water, with only that spit of land at the bottom of South America and Antarctica slowing passage and demarking in some sense a boundary.

Anoa Bob 8:14 PM  

Don't know where or when, but I recall seeing a woman with cucumber slices over her eyes, maybe in some long ago movie where she was also wearing lots of face cream and a plush terry cloth robe with an equally plush terry cloth towel stylishly draped around her head. I've always thought of it as one of the many "beauty secrets" of popular folklore. I suppose the slices are supposed to "deeply moisturize and rejuvenate".

A recent TV commercial uses an animated model with the cucumber over the eyes and also clad in terry cloth. The ad is for a constipation medication but in the ad it's "sluggish gut" and "constipated" get's changed to "cranky-pated". Here's a YouTube of the ad. Got to admit, they use both verbal and visual euphemisms adroitly to get their message across. I think she would be better off to add some fiber in her diet.

Anonymous 8:30 PM  

clean coal, per se, doesn't exist.

burning coal a bit cleaner does exist, through scrubbers and such:
"Coal pollution mitigation, sometimes called clean coal, is a series of systems and technologies that seek to mitigate the health and environmental impact of coal;[1] in particular air pollution from coal-fired power stations, and from coal burnt by heavy industry. "
the wiki

Zed 8:45 PM  

@Albatross - Seemed plausible. My bad. As for your Boston suburb question, Natick is smaller in area but Acton has fewer people, so I guess it depends on what you mean by smaller. More importantly, Acton is not on the Boston Marathon route and NC Wyeth never crossed it. Helga maybe, but never NC Wyeth.

Nolaist 9:12 PM  

Agree completely

albatross shell 9:16 PM  

There is only one ocean. History and tradition produces these ocean divisions.

@Z
My sloppy writing. Rex did specify population.


Anonymous 9:23 PM  

@Z:

but we all know the answer really should have been ATHOL, home of Starrett Tools.

Anonymous 9:39 PM  

…mor important.
You want an adjective there. My goodness.

A 10:27 PM  

@albatross shell 9:16 "There is only one ocean." Good point. Anyone who thinks otherwise, try draining one of them.

Anonymous 1:42 AM  

Any puzzle with Diana Rigg is a good puzzle.

Anonymous 2:05 PM  

I hope I am not too late in thanking Joe Dipinto (11:42) for a wonderful laugh — you had me literally SLAPPIN’ my thigh!
And, the link to the video of the song “Little Girl” by the Syndicate of Sound was the icing on the cake — I haven’t heard that fun, fun tune in such a long time.
Thanks again for the laugh and the listen.

Sandra Davis 10:08 AM  

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thefogman 2:14 PM  

Loved this one. Even without the Atlantic it’s still pretty darn good. On a larger Sunday grid it would have been feaiable. There would even be room for the Antarctic and Southern Oceans.Hard to fathom why the editor didn’t make it so.

spacecraft 9:47 AM  

ADROPIN...class, for sure. I mean, ILHAN? On a MONDAY?? And WYVERN? Wait, what day is this? *checks calendar* Yep, it's Monday. Besides the missing ocean--hey, we all forgot Danny!--there's the fill. EKES! MYGOSH! I can't go on.

"Place where cucumbers are not for eating" for me = Earth, plus any other planet I might visit. Oh, and the ship that takes me there.

DOD is the smoldering DIANA Rigg of the Avengers. Special honorable mention to my wife's favorite country singer, Patsy CLINE.

Today's entry was like the USA's performance in these Olympics: disappointing. Bogey.

Burma Shave 12:00 PM  

OLD IDEA

ASIFICARE that SHE's ONE more NOOBy,
HOLI SMOKE, SHE has no REAL effects,
MYGOSH, SARA got that PHONY BOOBY
INTHE hopes SHE'd have MORE WACKO SECTS.

--- JOAN ADAMS

rondo 12:18 PM  

I'm from MN and so is ILHAN Omar; fitting that WACKO is atop ILHAN, SHE does not belong in office. About to start a HOLI WAR.

Only ONE REAL choice for today, our very own @DIANA. Yeah baby.

Seemed awful heavy on the PPP; 4 of the first six across answers. No MORE for me, thanks. ENOW.

Diana, LIW 12:39 PM  

I am but ADROPINTHEOCEAN. An infinitesimal dust mote on the chotchkies of life. But..at least I'm noticed in a puzzle.

And, of course, I would show up on Monday.

Thanks, @Rondo. Makes me feel less WACKO.

Diana, you know, that Diana

Anonymous 1:16 PM  

So Rex has an issue with sarin but but Israel hating Ilhan Omar is fine. His liberalism knows no bounds

thefogman 1:21 PM  

EDIT - Typo. Make that feasible

leftcoaster 4:31 PM  

I like this puzzle, though its theme is a bit thin. Still, it’s pretty good.

There’s some snappy fill, too : WICCAN, HOLI, WYVERN, and Shakespeare’s “sufficient" ENOW.

Atlantic? We don’t need no stinkin’ Atlantic ! (Just kidding, East Coasters.)


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