Loose collarless shirt popular in India / MON 5-2-22 / Indigenous reclamation movement / Utah national monument called Shash Jaa' in Navajo

Monday, May 2, 2022

Constructor: Erik Agard

Relative difficulty: Medium (normal Monday difficulty)

THEME: "HANDY ANDY" — not really, but that is the actual name of an old movie (among other things) that would fit the theme, which is just two-word phrases composed of a 5-letter word + a 4-letter word, where the 5-letter word is identical but for a single letter up front:

Theme answers:
  • NEVER EVER (17A: Not in a million billion years)
  • BEAR'S EARS (31A: Utah national monument called Shash Jaa' in Navajo)
  • HOVER OVER (41A: Be protective of, as a mother hen might)
  • THIGH HIGH (58A: Like some fashion boots)

Word of the Day:
KURTA (43A: Loose, collarless shirt popular in India) —
kurta (or sometimes kurti, for women) is a loose collarless shirt worn in many regions of South Asia, and now also worn around the world. Tracing its roots to Central Asian nomadic tunics, or upper body garments, of the late-ancient- or early-medieval era, the kurta has evolved stylistically over the centuries, especially in South Asia, as a garment for everyday wear as well as for formal occasions. (wikipedia)

• • •

Simple concept, reasonably well executed. For a concept this simple, I'd've expected a bit more consistency among the themers. That is, I'm half-distracted by the fact that two of them rhyme, but the other two don't. It's low-key jarring, or maybe "discordant" is the better word. The themers themselves are also on the plain side, except for BEARS EARS, which is interesting and new to me. Actually, I like THIGH-HIGH as well. Hard to say THIGH-HIGH boots don't have enough sizzle. But overall, the theme doesn't have much pep. Simple themes can often pack a big wallop, entertainment-wise, and this one was just OK for me. I also really really wanted there to be something going on with the first letters of the themers (i.e. the one letter in the first word that is not in the second word). Yesterday's puzzle had a hidden message in it, and I think that primed me to look for a similar thing in today's grid, but all I got was NBHT, which I'm pretty sure is nothing. Ah well. Better to have a simple, unassuming theme with a tight, clean grid than some punny stretch of a theme with a wobbly grid. 

There were more words I'd never heard of before than I usually encounter in a Monday, but the crosses were all fair and the cluing easy, so I didn't feel like the puzzle was misslotted, i.e. despite containing unfamiliar terms, the puzzle still felt very much like a typical Monday in terms of difficulty. KURTA is a debut, so maybe it was unfamiliar to you, as it was to me. I know I've seen the term before, probably in some indie crossword (or maybe in one of the crossword's Erik himself edits over at USA Today), but it didn't stick. Hopefully by making it the Word of the Day today, I've increased its stickiness a little more. I already mentioned I didn't know BEARS EARS, and as for LAND BACK, I can't say I've never heard of the movement, I just don't think I knew its exact name (11D: Indigenous reclamation movement). I certainly needed help with the BACK part. Aside from that, the only difficulty was the difficulty I created for myself by twice (twice!) writing in answers that were Actually In Their Own Clues. That is, I wrote in ELGIN (!?) at 39A: Man's name that's an anagram of ELGIN (NIGEL) and then APWIRE (!?!) for 1D: Source of some wire stories. My brain just took in the letters of ELGIN as a chunk and didn't really process it as a name, so out of ELGIN I made ... ELGIN. And I wanted APNEWS but then thought, "wait, couldn't it be WIRE?" (by that point, I clearly wasn't looking back at the clue any more). Sigh. I also wrote in SEXTS before TEXTS (48A: Messages that might come with emojis), but that's totally understandable. Don't feel bad about that at all. Oh, and once again I was (briefly) undone by laugh syllables, ugh. Wrote in HARHAR instead of all the Has (see yesterday's puzzle for more on "Has" as a laugh-syllable plural) (41D: "You crack me up!" => HAHAHA). Ironically, my favorite answer in the puzzle was NOT A FAN (39D: Opposite of "I love it!"), though clue should read [Opposite of "Love it!"] for truly obvious reasons. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:08 AM  

Medium. I got slightly bogged down in the SE. KURTA was a WOE and ATTHAT didn’t immediately leap to mind. Jeff at Xwordinfo praised the tight theme and gave it POW. A solid Monday, liked it.

@bocamp - Croce’s Freestyle #704 was surprisingly easy except for the NE corner which took me longer than the rest of it combined. I knew the Sally Bowles song but it didn’t help much. Good luck!

@Carola - glad you enjoyed the movie. If you’re a fan of Wallace and have yet to read his 2005 Kenyon College commencement address I highly recommend it. Words I try to live by.

@amyyanni - thanks again for the nudge on “Cloud Cuckoo Land”. I’m about 2/3 of the way through it and it’s a wonderful read!

Joaquin 12:15 AM  

I enjoyed solving this crossword, but this puzzle seemed a bit schizophrenic to me. There were several clues so painfully obvious that they were too easy even for a Monday. And then there were a couple of extremely non-Mondayish answers - KURTA, HALFASS.

okanaganer 12:58 AM  

Normal Monday? Not for me.. I have been doing Mondays by only looking at the down clues, which I actually look forward to just for the change of pace. Tonight that Did Not Work big time. Just too many possible answers for so many clues.

And even after looking at the across clues, it wasn't easy. Seriously, EBT? WTF? Dunno why Erik didn't just make it EMT/HMO.

Agree with Rex that the NOT A FAN clue should have been "Opposite of love it!" At least they both omit the subject, making them less like a sentence (though the answer also omits the verb, making it Not A Sentence At All.)

[Spelling Bee: Sun pg in 3:20 then QB. Record low number of words?]

egsforbreakfast 1:11 AM  

It seems like my phone NEVEREVER RINGS since I changed my pronouns to ME/SHES. Yes, I’ve been to a few BEAR SEARS with WINE FLASK and LADLE in hand. SURE, I wear my ATT HAT (with the old Ma Bell logo), but no ONE TEXTS even after my SWEET HAVA NAgila performances. Remember, REAL MENRAGE.

Nice smooth Monday. Thanks, Erik Agard.

chefwen 2:01 AM  

KURTA was new as was LAND BACK. I bet THIGH HIGH boots are uncomfortably hot, I’ll take a big pass on those and I’ve always heard HALF ASSed effort.

Fun Monday that I didn’t have to HOVER OVER for too long.

webwinger 2:03 AM  

“To whom Alfalfa wrote ‘You’re scum between my toes!’”

WTF? Alfalfa was, of course, the member of the old old time Our Gang comedy cast who fancied himself a (10-year-old) “lady’s man”, and DARLA was the similarly aged girl who was most often the object of his affection. It’s hard to imagine this line passing between them, or anyone remembering that it did, but I can’t believe Erik and Will would get it wrong. Seems like some kind of little inside joke.

Loren Muse Smith 3:52 AM  

I have to brag that I figured out the theme as soon as NEVER EVER landed. Well, at least I hoped it would be phrases like this. I was delighted to be right. This is a very tightly-comprised list: As REX explained, it’s common two-word phrases where you drop the first letter of the first word to form the second word. Impressive that REX thought of HANDY ANDY. I couldn’t come up with anything else that matched the pattern: swatch watch, ground round – too long. Pale ale, scat cat – too short. USAGE sage, ledge edge, my avatar – not in-the-language.

Unlike Rex, I was not bothered one whit that two rhyme and two don’t.

Speaking of USAGE sages, the pedants here will grasp their pearls to hear that we’ve been considering the suffix -ASS in class for a few weeks now. I overhead K.B. talk about a fat ae(short a) blunt and asked her if she was saying fat-ass blunt.. She was. I said I’ve been noticing this suffix for a while: I ate a big-ass hamburger. They gave us a nasty-ass lunch. I had their attention - cool. I suggested exploring this suffix. What sematic work did it do? We decided it just made the adjective stronger, so it was an intensifier. Then we played around with the kind of adjectives that could take -ASS as a suffix. Did it have to be negative? Nope. They liked stuff like a pretty-ass car and nice-ass house. So can we add it to longer adjectives? Yep. They okayed phrases like beautiful-ass girl and horrible-ass teacher.

So I saw HALF-ASS as kind of the same construction. But google tells me that it’s probably some kind of mispronunciation of haphazard. I’m not sure I’m buying that.

“Sound of a sneeze” – my daughter has an ENVIABLE sneeze; it’s small and quiet, and she’s not suppressing it where no air blows out, you know what I mean? It’s a full-on sneeze, but it’s so dainty. My sneeze, on the other hand, is monstrous.

I’ve never heard of an EGG TART, but I think someone should rename that. Some words just don’t belong with TART. Apple TART, yes. Chocolate TART, ok. But I’ll eat EGG custard, so go figure.

“End a career” – where do you even start with that? Accidentally “reply all” with a scathing email about your boss? Put a homophobic anonymous note in a gay teacher’s mailbox? (This actually happened at my old school in WV, and though the two culprits were caught on camera, they were just written up.) I guess you could end your career by having phrases like fat-ass bluntt and nasty-ass lunch on your board when your principal pops in for a visit.

Erik – always a pleasure. This was a meritorious-ass Monday, man.

*one more -ASS suffix observation. . . I overheard the same girl, K.B., say This food is ass as she dumped her lunch in the garbage. I said, Wait. ASS can be an adjective meaning bad? They said yes. So something like That party was ass is okay in their speech. I jokingly asked if you could say something like Man, that was an ass-ass lunch and was stunned when they said that absolutely sounded fine.

Zed 4:31 AM  

Played challenging (for a Monday) here.

@chefwen - πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚ - THIGH HIGH boots are certainly “uncomfortably hot.” They have a slang name, two words, starts with F and ends with “me.” Yesterday’s Carrie Underwood comment got me thinking about the term because of her propensity for wearing them in her videos.

@LMS - So you saw all the late pearl clutching about WAP? Me, I was wondering if Nick Bottom, the original HALF ASS, gives ASS Shakespearean Immunity. Probably not. As for that song and video, ASS definitely serves as an intensifier. I also couldn’t help but notice HALF ASS has a WAP apt symmetrical partner. πŸ‘πŸ‘

A fine Monday nosh. πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½

Anonymous 6:00 AM  


bocamp 6:25 AM  

Thx Erik, for a fine start to the week! :)


Loved the 'double doses' theme.

Smooth solve until running into the HBO / EBT cross. The saving grace was knowing that HBO is a thing, so correctly guessed the 'B'. :)


Fun puz; liked it! :)


Looking forward to Croce's 704 later today (and maybe into tomorrow). lol

@okanaganer πŸ‘ for QB yd! :)

Yes, I think that may have been a 'low word #' record.
td pg: 6:40 / W: 5*

yd's: Sed: 18/21 / Duo: 34/37

WordHurdle 205 2/6 #wordhurdle

Peace πŸ™ πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Anonymous 6:59 AM  

This line is from the remake in the 90s so geared toward us youngins

Lewis 7:15 AM  

Quality, thy name is Agard. So much to praise here. The junk-free grid, of course, a given with Erik. Lovely answers: REALM, VESTED, TANGLE, AFOUL. A rash of NYT answer debuts (9), including ENVIABLE, which, being so vowel-rich and in-the-language, you’d think would have appeared in the puzzle since 1942.

Then there was the learning, with terms new to me: BEARS EARS, LAND BACK, and KURTA. I read up on all them and will remember them, as they’re worth remembering. Interesting and unsurprising fact about the Bears Ears National Monument – the 1.3-million-acre site was established by President Obama in 2016, then reduced by his successor to 202,000 acres, and re-established to its original size by President Biden.

The crossnerd in me likes the longer answers that alternate vowels and consonants: NOTAFAN, NEVEREVER, HOVEROVER, HAHAHA and HAVANA. I love the similarity of the last two. I also like the British-y cross of ROYCE and FORTNITE.

Quality through and through from Erik, who I consider to be one of the best out there, and this puzzle gives a good example why. Thank you for your work, and for this most pleasurable puzzle, sir!

amyyanni 7:53 AM  

So glad you're enjoying the book.

Son Volt 7:56 AM  

Wonderful early week puzzle. Tight theme - neat fill. Hand up for not caring about rhyming themers. The trick fell early and clearly with BEARS EARS.

Love LIVE LONG and LAND BACK. Usually hear HALF ASSed. We measure length and width - BREADTH is typically a metaphoric value referring to large scale things.

We’re only making plans for NIGEL

Enjoyable Monday solve.

SouthsideJohnny 7:56 AM  

Wow, did not expect to see Alfalfa and DARLA in a Monday puz - I’m older than dirt and barely remember that whole sub-plot.

It is starting to appear as though BAE is in danger of overstaying its welcome here in CrossWorld.

Nice comeback today from an experienced, competent constructor to help Will right the ship after last week’s stormy seas. It’s backwards though - the new constructors could be given an opportunity to hone their craft early in the week, and save the talents of the Agard’s of the world for Sundays which could then truly be stellar as well. It just seems like the grid suffers too much collateral damage from the constraints imposed by ambitious themes with new constructors.

pabloinnh 7:58 AM  

Always like me some Agard, and today is no exception. Nice theme and well done, although I do find HAHAHA to be a little lazy.

ACHOO in English, in Spain if you sneeze you say ACHIS, with the I getting the stress and having a long E sound. I used to point this out to kids and add that if you accidentally hurt yourself you'd say ay! and not ow, note the students who found this interesting, and find extra points for them at the end of a quarter.

Hand up for always hearing HALFASSed, although LMS makes a great point, especially with bad ass, which is everywhere. Have seen signs saying "please work fast, lately your work has only been half fast". Slight har there.

Curiosity got the better of me after all the comments yesterday and I found the lyrics to WAP, which did not cause me to clutch my pearls, but did make The Beatles "Why Don't We Do It in the Road" seem quant and subtle.

Cool Monday with some crunch, EA. Emphatic A+ from me and thanks for all the fun.

kitshef 8:10 AM  

95% an easy Monday, 5% ‘what the hell?’. Those clues/answers for KURDA, DARLA, and EBT may has well have been in Greek. Also not familiar with an EGG TART.

With mANGLE being a reasonable guess at 45D, KURmA/mANGLE may end up on a few grids today

amyyanni 8:10 AM  

Great Monday. Bears Ears is a national monument Obama protected in 2016. In 2017, 45 reduced the protection 85%. Litigation continues.

Zed 8:11 AM  

@Pabloinnh - If you want quaint and subtle check out the video. How far we’ve come from hiding Elvis’ hips.

JD 8:44 AM  

The Alfalfa quote clue is wrong and would have been easy to verify. It's from a 1994 Rascals movie. Alfalfa is writing a note to Darla that will say, "Dear Darla, I can't live without you ... Really ... I'm not kidding. Your Romeo, Alfalfa.

Buckwheat and another boy are waiting for the note to deliver it to Darla, and as he's writing, Alfalfa says the "scum" remark out loud to hide the fact that he's writing a love letter.


Is doing something full ass worse than doing it Half Ass, or better?

Anonymous 8:54 AM  

You decide: 45D Get into a snarl

twist together into a confused mass.


severely mutilate, disfigure, or damage by cutting, tearing, or crushing.

Anonymous 9:05 AM  

It takes' weeks to plumb the depths of ass as an intensifier? I'm not clutching my pearls, I'm shaking head that should an easy concept needs weeks of consideration. I'm guessing gerunds takes several semesters.

Carola 9:11 AM  

About the non-rhyming theme answers - my thought was "Come on, you're Eric Agard!". Not saying that it moved the effort into HALFASS territory, but having them all rhyme would have been the icing on the cake. Many other "ingredients" to give pleasure, though. I especially liked AFOUL, CLERIC, VESTED, AT THAT, FLASK.

@jae - My husband is a Wallace fan, but I've found the prospect of reading one of his novels too daunting. So, I appreciate this recommendation and will read it.

Anonymous 9:15 AM  

Like Rex, I also would have liked the theme answers to all rhyme or all not rhyme. The theme answers seemed a bit random to me.

I thought the puzzle was completely fine, but not a whole lot more than that. This is Jeff Chen's POW, so I'm a bit nervous about what's to come...

Anonymous 9:21 AM  

Why can Z bash people as pearl clutchers but Im not permitted to prove his position is bankrupt. I used no profanities, and unlike Z I used no smear or condescension. I used argument to support my position. He uses smears. Why is that allowed anyway? People who object to vulgar terms are pearl clutchers? That's a lousy thing say. At least let people who object to the coarseness of the word and the accusation of being some sort of prig have their say too.

Gary Jugert 9:22 AM  

Aw rats. Had KURMA/MANGLE and DNF. You know, if it's Indian, and it's a shirt, it should sorta sound like KHARMA. Sheesk, I'm dumb.

LAND BACK sounds like the laziest PR firm named the movement. Same guys wrote the, "I'm a map" song in Dora the Explorer.

For those of you disparaging us pearl-clutchers, I told our Sunday night decaf latte clatch about the GRAWLIX storm over WAP on this blog, so we listened to it. I was the only one who didn't know the tune. We laughed and laughed.

Still don't need it or HALF ASS in a puzzle. The editors of the NYTXW have demonstrated they're the wrong ones to be leading this activity into the future, and they're fussing with childish edginess over quality word play way too often. I'll be happy to hold the pearls if you'll put your third-grade tee-hees into the independent puzzles where they belong.

Yays: A solid puzzle

The clue for NOT A FAN isn't right.

jberg 9:27 AM  

I really wanted a snappy revealer, not that I can think of one. Bury the lede? Duck your head? Neither quite works.

OK, so I'm a political science professor (retired, but not career-ended), but still I'm surprised everyone doesn't know BEARS EARS. The events @Lewis and @amyyanni refer to were all over the news, as well as the courts. But yeah, news, I know. Speaking of which, I resisted AP NEWS-- thought it was just AP -- but I was wrong. Live and learn.

I missed the last several days, due to a weekend trip to New Hampshire (partly an academic conference, mostly R&R). We arrived (Bretton Woods) Thursday evening with sub-freezing temperatures and everything covered with snow. We left Sunday with temps in the 60s, green grass and blooming flowers, and snow only on the high mountains. Quite an experience.

Beezer 9:28 AM  

I guess if Rex says this was medium for a Monday, then it must be, but it’s one of the few times I just powered through most of the acrosses (correctly) and cleaned up BEARSEARS and KURTA for the downs. Hmmm. I may not even know most of the downs because when the Congrats popped up I glanced at the puzzle, thought “what a good girl am I” and came to this blog. Fun while it lasted!

@LMS I just love hearing about how you keep your students engaged! Even as I write this I know I say (depending on my audience) kick-ass, nasty-ass, and half-ass. Also…SAME sneeze dynamic with my daughter and I and it’s probably a good thing for her because she gets “hay fever.” I’m lucky my volcanic eruptions are few and far between.

As for HAHAHA being lazy. Maybe not, because I THINK it is a texting thing these days that I’ve seen with GenX and Milennials to show more appreciation of one’s funniness than lol. It’s obviously longer than lol…so…anyway, folks can feel free to weigh in on that, or not.

RooMonster 9:31 AM  

Hey All !
@JD, Har! I say the same thing. If it's HALF ASSed, would a good job be FULL ASSED, or NO ASSED? "Great job, people! You did a FULL ASS effort!"

Thanks @Zed for reminding me of that disgusting WAP video. Do they think that is actually sexy? Vulgar and 🀒- inducing are the adjectives I'd use.

Rather rudimentary theme for Eric Agard, IMO of course. He probably constructed this in five minutes! Not saying it isn't good, it is, but Eric usually had more complex puzs. He has a great BREADTH of puzzleness.

Add another O to HOVEROVER, you get "vacuum running sitting idle?" - HOOVER OVER. Yeah, that's terrible!

REX wiggles into the puz. Got a HOO, but no ROO. KURTA/ATTHAT was a swest-inducing moment, even though I really doubted it would be an I.

So that's my HALF ASS post. RARELY are they SWEET.

yd -1, unfair variant! I missed - Har. Duo 36 (missed 1-2-8-22)(Another bone head miss on 22)

Whatsername 9:32 AM  

This came across as a better-than-average Monday but with occasional oddball cluing which seemed designed to make things more difficult. Fairly typical of my reaction to this constructor’s past creations. But that’s just me, and I’m already OVER it.

I disliked seeing 51A in an early week puzzle because of the impression such things may have on young solvers/beginners. But I understand that yesterday was far worse and included a reference to pure filth. Apparently some even think this sort of thing is edgy and current. Sorry, not sorry - NOT A FAN of this trend.

With thanks to @Late Solver from last night who so eloquently stated the case for me . . . “Does every genre have to push at the edge of decency, or aren't we allowed one haven of intellectual civility?”

Snicker and call me a pearl clutcher if you must but this is how decay happens. It seeps in a little at a time while most ignore it and some even defend it. But where does it end?

 Do better New York Times. Do better.

creosote 9:51 AM  

Normal Monday? Not for me. Fastest time ever. The western influence helped -- am quite familiar with Bears Ears and the Land Back movement.

Anonymous 9:52 AM  

"What about chocolate ice cream?" "I love it!"

"And brussel sprouts?" "NOT A FAN"

pmdm 10:00 AM  

I solve the Sunday puzzle on Saturday. Did not haave enough time to solve the meta puzzle and forgot to comment yesterday, which would have been mostly complaining about PPP.

I tend to hate Eric's late week puzzles but don't mind so much his easier puzzles. I usually look at the constructor's name before solving but for some reason did not today. I was somewhat surprised when I did (after the solve). I might not give it a POW like Jeff did, but I certainly give a thumb's up.

Nancy 10:04 AM  

I have no idea who DARLA (63A) is, but there has to be a less nauseating way of cluing her. This absolutely did not pass my Breakfast Test.

(Compared to that, HALF ASS seemed benign.)

But let me echo @Whatsername from today and @Late Solver from yesterday. Tastelessness is not "cool". Tastelessness is simply tasteless. It doesn't enhance the puzzle -- it cheapens it. I think the NYT should NEVER EVER do this sort of thing -- not in a million billion years.

One un-Mondayish curve was thrown with KURTA and I have no idea what EBT stands for. But mostly this was much easier than what we have come to expect from Agard. And with many fewer proper names, for which I'm very grateful. I also liked the theme a lot.

Nancy 10:08 AM  

Finally got a hole-in-one!* YEE HAW!!!!!

Phrazle 29: 1/6
🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩

*But on a really easy puzzle.

Johnny 2 Times 10:19 AM  

Similar to creosote above, one of my faster times and those western influences helped. I got hung up a bit in the se corner, like many others. I didn’t know Kurt’a, Darla, or so had “Fangie” for get into a snarl.

Shirley F 10:19 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lewis 10:28 AM  

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

1. Filling station? (5)
2. Intro to America's pastime (5)
3. People may never get over it (6)(4)(5)
4. It's just you and me, baby (4)(9)
5. Has online? (3)


Lewis 10:30 AM  

Bravo to Joel F., maker of the mini, for what may be a record: Almost 2/3 of today’s mini is theme! Joel pushes the boundaries, even in such a tiny space.

Bad Mouse 10:41 AM  

THIGH HIGH stockings, with garter belt to hold 'em up, conjures a Sharon Stone moment. who needs boots for walking?

Joseph Michael 10:42 AM  

This seems to be the Year of the Ass with BAD ASS and HARD ASS in recent months and now HALF ASS.

NOT A FAN of themes with repeated letter patterns mainly because it makes the solve too easy, but this puzzle was enjoyable enough for a Monday. Favorite answer: BEARS EARS.

@egs beat me to the punch on the ATT HAT. but forgot to mention that if you eat too much turkey at dinnertime, the overdose of tryptophan could result in a THIGH HIGH.

mathgent 10:48 AM  

Assuming Lewis's list is on the mark, it's been a bad week for wordplay (except for #4).

As a young man, I was in the service briefly and learned a valuable life lesson from the TI in basic training. "If you're going to do a job, do it right. Don't do it half-assed."

Joe Dipinto 10:53 AM  

That's not actually what Alfalfa wrote to Darla.

Remember the "ugly-ass" Bruno Magli shoes that O.J. Simpson didn't wear when he didn't kill Nicole Brown?

@Nancy -- I used today's Phrazle answer as my first guess two weeks ago. I should have remembered. Cngrtz!

Phrazle 29: 2/6
⬜���� ��⬜⬜ ⬜��⬜

������ ������ ������

GILL I. 10:56 AM  

We have pearl graspers here? And then I thought...what in the world did DARLA do to Alfalfa? I want to know when he looked at her toes. Did he really see some bad ASS scum there? I'm absolutely flabbergasted and dismayed. The things children say. I think I'll go fan myself....AND...speaking of hot and uncomfortable....@chefwen: Yes indeedy...they are. In my pearls of wisdom days, I wore those THIGH HIGH boots in a cage and did the Watusi until my brains blew out. Mine were white. Try to pick something up from the floor while wearing your mini skirt and those torture boot. You didn't want your ASS showing because it wasn't pretty. I did it because it was fun.
@pablito....My little sister does the ACHIS. I do the "que conyo ruido escapo de tu cabeza."
Brought to you by none other than......EGG TART.

Joaquin 11:03 AM  

@Whatsername (9:32) - Very well put. I am neither a prude nor am I at all PC (though I do try to be polite). I am also NOT A FAN of rap so I had no idea regarding yesterday's WAP reference. I took a look at the lyrics today and ... OMG! This passes for music today?

You nailed it: "Do better New York Times. Do better."

Anonymous 11:04 AM  

alas, my support of @9:21 appears to have been spiked, never to be seen. absolute power, and all that.

Joe Dipinto 11:04 AM  


Phrazle 29: 2/6
⬜🟩🟩 πŸŸͺ⬜⬜ ⬜🟩⬜

🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩

Masked and Anonymous 11:05 AM  

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue came right outta the chute: {Sound of a sneeze} = ACHOO.

Nice Jaws of Themedness in this MonPuzgrid. Opens things up a half-ass bit. [Yo & primo -ass anal-ysis, @Muse darlin].

Theme mcguffin seemed fine as is, at our house. Didn't know BEARSEARS, so learned somethin neat there, without losin too many precious nanoseconds. Really need a U-ass themer to round things out, tho. I reckon SHOUTOUT, TROUTROUT, and TRUMPRUMP (har) wouldn't quite work, sooo … M&A has. got. to. think…

staff weeject pick: EBT. Better clue: {Off-track wager??}.

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Agard dude. Always good to see U land back here in the NYTPuz.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


Malsdemare 11:10 AM  

I’ve been AWOL for a bit so I missed the foofooraw over WAP; I had to look up the lyrics. I’m pretty sure I won’t dance and sing to the lyrics in my house and I cringe to think my sweet innocent grandchildren (not!!) are listening to that. But I’m NOT A FAN of censorship so I’m at peace with the initialism appearing anywhere.

Bears Ears is called Sleeping Ute by the Navajo; it’s a MUCH better description of the rock. And for what it’s worth, Shiprock is Dragon’s Rock (or maybe Tail, I forget). Take a look at some pictures and tell me the Navajo haven’t nailed it.

Now I have to go find out what in the world all the fuss was yesterday.

Anonymoose 11:21 AM  

I bailed on yesterday's so I missed the kerfuffle until I saw today's spillover. My melting point is pretty high and I'm certainly no snowflake but the WAP thing made my pearls explode and my knickers fall off. The modern pervasion of trash makes it no more acceptable.

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

Finally! Someone mentioned the sad dilemma regarding Bears Ears. I cried over what 45 did.

relicofthe60s 11:49 AM  

Surprising that people haven’t heard of BEARS EARS. There was a huge flap a few years ago when the Former Guy decided to reduce the size of the monument and let his friends in the fossil fuel industry exploit the land.

Masked and Anonymous 11:50 AM  

BLOUSELOUSE would be almost-ass acceptable, I'd think. [Hey -- better than KURTASKURTA.]

@Zed from yesterday -- yep but M&A always rises up, to defend the Carl Barks Ducks, no matter what the source, trollville or otherwise. (Unlike defendin BLOUSELOUSE, which ain't quite as crucial.)

Almost forgot … there were some M&A fave fillins up at today's puzstation: BREADTH. HALFASS. NOTAFAN. LIVELONG.


Anonymous 11:52 AM  

@Mathgent. @Lewis's favorite clues are just that, his favorites. It's not authoritative. Any one of us can make a list.

The Cleaver 11:55 AM  


Hell. I cry over the fact that 45 exists.

Perry 11:58 AM  

To the people who lost their streak in yesterday's debacle, the NYT may be able to restore your streak. I contacted the NYT at nytcrossword@nytimes.com to complain about yesterday's hot mess of a puzzle and I noted that a lot of people lost their streaks due to the glitchy software. I received the reply below:


To get this resolved, please follow the steps below and I will be happy to restore your streak.

Open up the Crossword website. If you're trying to access the website on a mobile device, you may need to copy and paste the URL into your web browser. Here is the Crossword website's URL: https://www.nytimes.com/crosswords
Log in with Crossword account
Open the puzzle/puzzles that are not showing a gold star
Clear the grid by tapping the Clear button atop the puzzle on the solving toolbar
Tap the Reveal button on the solving toolbar and reveal the whole puzzle
Refresh the puzzle page to ensure that the puzzle remains fully revealed and appears solved with a blue star and be sure not to log out.
Once you complete those steps, please let me know (at nytcrossword@nytimes.com) and I'll be happy to mark the puzzle with a gold star.

Mark B
Customer Experience Specialist
The New York Times

Grouch 12:12 PM  

I think it's just sad that a solving "streak" is so important to some people. I can't imagine anything less trivial.

Anonymous 12:19 PM  


Well, I cry every time I accidentally hit 'reset' when I mean 'close' on my Solitaire statistics window. Important is important.

Anonymous 12:26 PM  

There goes @The Cleaver again, allowed to spit his vitriol because it's what everyone here agrees on. But yet you can't say anything to dispute it, lo you get spiked. Shameful.

Nancy 12:53 PM  

Having no interest whatsoever in the WAP rap song or any curiosity about what WAP stands for, yesterday's misbegotten entry sailed right over my head. Alas, I made the huge mistake of looking up the lyrics today. Beyond appalling is all I can say.

I have to believe that Will Shortz is as incurious a person as I am and simply never saw the lyrics or asked himself what WAP stood for. If he'd known, it would have been such an easy "fix":

WAP: World Animal Protection/ https://www.worldanimalprotection.org

The clue could have been: "Org. of which PETA is a part."

Anonymous 12:59 PM  

Loved the puzzle. Thanks Eric. @Cleaver 11:55- Yes, everyone who reads these comments know that you cry about the fact that 45 exists. You do so on a regular basis. It’s getting tiresome.

Tom T 1:01 PM  

Have been out of pocket for over a week, packing up our place in Florida and making a long-ass (hello, LMS) move to the NW tip of the NW state of Washington (hello, Pt. Angeles). Drove 6 days to get here, unloaded the truck the next day, flew back to Florida the next day, flew back to WA the next day! ("And boy, are my arms tired ...")

Along the way, picked up a pizza and a big-ass beer (which is how my wife and I have referred to 20 ounce cans for years).

Good Monday puzzle--perhaps a bit crunchier than usual, although that night also be me "shaking off the rust."

old timer 1:15 PM  

I have no problem with HALFASS. No pearls to clutch, anyhow. Long time residents of Sonoma County have fond memories of the Santa Rosa Brass Ass pizza place. So popular they opened another Brass Ass pizza in Cotati, and then launched an annual ASS TO ASS run, with one option being to only run a HALF ASS race.

With either run you would end up hungry for their pizzas, which had more melted cheese than any pizza I've ever had. And of course they also had beer and wine.

BTW, in order to forestall problems with the liquor license folks, they were careful to explain on the menu that the Brass ASS referred to the old Roman coin, the As.

CDilly52 1:15 PM  

@eggs; your comment made my morning! Thanks.

TJS 1:20 PM  

Anon, 11:52. Yes, but @Lewis' favorite list is usually close to what I would have chosen had I taken the time, but I agree with @Mathgent that todays list is indicative of what we endured this past week. And now we are confronted with another Monday POW.
This emphasis on giving so many new puzzle creators a shot may be good for The NYTX going forward, but it not doing long-time solvers any favors. The quality is wildly inconsistent, IMO. I am there, as a subscriber, really because I am addicted to this collection of commenters.

And I was shocked, SHOCKED !, at Alfalfas" treatment of the lovely Darla. And if
this is the mis-guided result of an Our Gang update, is nothing sacred ?

Gio 1:24 PM  

I raced cyclocross for many years. It is a bicycle sport that consists of off-road and some on road and there are obstacles. Every race has barriers that you have to jump over. After you get off the bike you have to get back on fast. One of the skills the rider needs is called a REMOUNT. In a remount you jump onto your saddle without looking or losing any momentum.

When I was learning, I was nervous about this and I realized if you do it HALF ASSED you wind up landing on HALF your ASS. I was teaching some of the juniors how to do it and I said you need to commit or and not do it HALF ASSED or you will wind up landing on HALF your ASS!

The Remount

TJS 1:25 PM  

Forgot,,,@LMS, You are a treasure. I hope those kids are experiencing looking forward every day to attending your class. It can be a life-changing experience. I'm rooting for all of you.

And @Johnny 2 times, shouldn't you have posted twice ?javascript:void(0)

Anonymous 1:30 PM  

Beyond appalling is too mild for WAP. Or maybe I mean off the mark in that nothing regarding pop culture is too disgusting for so many performers so noting can shock.
WAP is offensive. On its face. It is an obscenity. It has no place in society. At all. It doesn't even pretend to be art; it's simply provocation in pursuit of lucre.

Anonymous 1:32 PM  

anonymous 12:59?
Getting? I'd say we passed tiresome and tedious years ago.

CDilly52 1:34 PM  

First of all, let me confess that I’m something of an Agard fangirl. OK, full on Agard fangirl. His work always teaches me something, typically runs the gamut of topics, eras, clever clues, arts and just plain XW trivia (or just plain trivia AT THAT). I also find some humor in his work every time, and I can't ever fault that.

Today, while the puzzle definitely felt “Agar,” it also felt a bit jerkier. Could be that, as @okanaganer observed the clues failed to allow the solver to get a good Monday “flow” going (whether solving just downs or not). Thankfully, Mr. A was careful to construct fair crosses throughout, and yet this one seemed a bit less smooth than his usual. Liked it just fine, and found some humor as I pictured the ursine picnic where we watch chef Papa with his FLASK, HOVER OVER the BBQ where BEAR SEARS steaks for the family. And now I have the ear worm of “Teddy Bears Picnic” on replay for who knows how long.

Thanks Mr. Agard. I liked it and learned what a KURTA is.

Nancy 1:43 PM  

@Grouch (12:12) -- While maintaining a solving streak isn't important to me either, I think one has to respect what's important to other people-- just as they should respect what's important to you.

But here's what I'm gobsmacked by in regard to people who are upset that their streak was "spoiled" or "broken" by a faulty app. I say to each of them:

"You're going to let a machine tell you that your streak has ended when you know perfectly well that you solved yesterday's puzzle???!!! Why on earth would you let some dumb, clueless machine do that to you? Let's say that your streak was at "86" and now the app tells you you're back at "1". Just mentally add "86" to everything the dumb app tells you from now on. Or use a calculator if you don't add so well:) You know what your streak is!!!!! Don't let yourself be bullied by a gadget. Ever!!! Sheesh.

sharonAK 1:51 PM  

Read through the comments until I ran out of time
Was hoping for an explanation of EBT and SNAP cards.
I found this difficult for Monday. Some was quite easy and theme was fun. But I didn't even find
BEAR EARS googling Utah Nat. Mon.s, I can't remember ever seeing KURTA , I question AT THAT as an answer for the clue "to boot'

The Cleaver 2:09 PM  


Actually, I've been more or less silent the last few months. Given how much shit has been revealed about him and his acolytes over these last few months, you should be thanking me that I've held my fingers off the keyboard. But just revel in the 'fact' that Elon will let your precious Orange Sh!tgibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave) back on Twitter, fully engaged in spewing right wing propaganda again; we all know he won the election were it not for Chinese smart thermometers and Italian satellites. What more could you want?

Anonymous 2:15 PM  

I mean, c’mon - 40 Down should have been “King of Cross World” Parker ….

The Cleaver 2:25 PM  


Remember: I didn't create the term, just find it so, so accurate. And the original author did so no more than a couple of years ago. Near as I can recall s/he (nor anyone purporting to be they) has never returned. Just like Charley on the MTA. Doesn't have a nickel.

Lewis 2:43 PM  

@mathgent -- There were some clues that I liked better than those on the list, but it turns out they had been used before, which, by my "rules", disqualified them.

alicat 2:49 PM  

@Tom T,
Not quite the Northwest corner, Neah Bay is, but close enough! I was surprised to find someone on the blog moving to Port Angeles, my town.



egsforbreakfast 3:07 PM  

@alicat & @Tom T - I’m in Port Townsend. We may need an Olympic Penninsula chapter of the CCCC (Commenters who like to Comment about the Commentariat Club).

alicat 4:01 PM  

@egsfor breakfast and @Tom T — hope the 4Cs can meet to discuss the puzz over a stout at Port Townsend Brewery!

Whatsername 4:26 PM  

@Joaquin: Thank you for your words of support.

@Nancy: Thank you as well. And wow!! A great big atta girl on that hole in one. You even convinced me to try it today and I managed to solve one for the very first time. It took me four tries though, so I guess that makes me a par Phrazler. I’ll keep trying.

The Joker 4:29 PM  

Warning: This blog is Snark Infested. Comment at your own risk.

Anonymous 5:19 PM  

“I've seen the term before, probably in some indie crossword (or maybe in one of the crossword's Erik himself edits over at USA Today), but it didn't stick.”

Apostrophe abuse!

Miss Crabtree 5:46 PM  

Clueing DARLA with a line from the 1994 film rather than referencing the short films made from 1922 to 1944 (Darla from late 1935 to 1941) is not forgivable.

Anonymous 6:23 PM  

Do please come back more often!!
I learn a lot AND I laugh a lot with your posts, so…Thank you!

Linguistics student 6:27 PM  

@LMS: That is one productive-ass morpheme.

Anoa Bob 6:32 PM  

Another alternative for WAP: "Acronym for one who can't claim the Saxon part". I had a friend years back who said he was a WAP. He had researched his genealogy and found he had no Saxon ancestry, so he was just a White Anglo Protestant. Of note, ANGLO is in today's grid.

Anonymous 7:27 PM  

Alfalfa popped up in “It’s a Wonderful Life” where he opened the swimming pool cover causing George and Mary to fall in. Maybe he noticed they had scum between their toes and needed a good washing.

Anonymous 10:42 PM  

Please explain how you can be soooooooo hateful of all things Republican, when prices of everything were much less then they are now. Serious question, by the way.

Anonymous 10:48 PM  

I'm all in!

J. Biden 11:07 PM  

@Anon 10:42

Yeah, the pandemic and the war in Ukraine are the Democrats fault.

Gio 11:14 PM  

@anon 10:42 what's interesting is that Republicans are running on "inflation is bad" but not one of them has a plan to deal with it. The GQP is going to solve global inflation? How? Policies are not really their thing.

Anonymous 11:17 PM  

Love that idea!

Mike in Bed-Stuy 8:43 AM  

@Loren Muse Smith 3:52 AM @Carola 9:11 AM - They all rhyme, inasmuch as "slant rhyme" is a thing (particularly in poetry).

Mike in Bed-Stuy 8:51 AM  

As you may know, I'm an "old," and therefore of the "half-assed" (versus "half-ass") generation...but I *love* half-ass. Are y'all aware of the zoomer expression, popular on mugs, tee shirts, and so forth, "Never half-ass anything. Always use your full ass." The yunguns do nail it from time to time.

Anonymous 10:36 PM  

Setting aside your analysis Gio
Is inflation bad?

jedlevine 4:29 AM  

Strip trip (vacation to Las Vegas)? Share hare (generous Rabbit)?

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