Nonclerical at a church / MON 5-16-22 / Pita sandwiches of deep-fried chickpea balls / Roman garment of old / Big bird in Liberty Mutual ads

Monday, May 16, 2022

Constructor: Lynn Lempel

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: verb like an animal— familiar phrases involving animal similes, all clued [verb adverb]:

Theme answers:
  • DRINK LIKE A FISH (20A: Imbibe copiously)
  • RUN LIKE A DEER (26A: Move speedily)
  • WORK LIKE A DOG (43A: Toil arduously)
  • WATCH LIKE A HAWK (52A: Observe intently)
Word of the Day: SOUR BALLS (33D: Tart hard candies) —
a spherical hard candy having a tart flavor (merriam-webster)
• • •

Very easy, fairly dull. The repeated phrasing made the themers almost ridiculously easy to get, and 4xLIKEA is a lotta LIKEA. The theme is consistent enough, it's just not very playful or interesting. I will also say that RUN LIKE A DEER doesn't seem as strong as the other three. If you said DRINK LIKE, I'd say A FISH. I'd get WORK LIKE and WATCH LIKE pretty quickly as well. But RUN LIKE only makes me think of THE WIND. Further, I only really know the phrase RUN LIKE A DEER from the John Deere ad slogan "Nothing runs like a Deere." Anyway, to get a feel of how unintuitive the DEER answer is compared to the rest of them, consider:

A DEER doesn't even show up on the autocomplete menu, whereas the other options show up first or second in their respective searches. I'm sure RUN LIKE A DEER is a phrase, just not as much of a phrase as the others. Also, zero idea what SOURBALLS are. Had SOUR and no idea what might follow. I know of sour candies (e.g. Sour Patch Kids), but they aren't balls. I know ball candies (e.g. jawbreakers), but they aren't sour. I was just at a loss. SOURBALLS hasn't appeared in the puzzle in twenty years. Maybe they were more of a thing in tymes of yore. (Side note: probably should take "balls" out of the FALAFELS clue if you wanna put BALLS in the grid. It's a conspicuous word. BALLS!) (9D: Pita sandwiches of deep-fried chickpea balls) Everything else in this puzzle was straight over the plate. Very 20th-century familiar, for sure. Skews a little crosswordesey, but not egregiously so.

Wrote in MIATA before MAZDA, which was just stupid (that is, I was stupid) (1D: Japanese carmaker with a CX series). As for the [Noisy scuffle] back-to-backers, once again, as usual, one of the two felt forced and thus tougher than it might've been. ROW was easy, but FRAY ... doesn't really suggest "Noisy" except by inference, so that took multiple crosses to register. The fabric-related meaning of FRAY would've been more welcome today. The same-clue gimmick so rarely works, and I don't really know whom it's supposed to please or impress. But the puzzle was so so easy that no one is likely to complain or even care. Not a lot else to comment on here. We get another long animal answer with GOOSE EGGS, but no simile, alas. Nothing runs like a goose, that's for sure. But GOOSE EGGS is a pretty good answer all on its own. I like LAIT / STAT better than LAIC / SCAT, but I can't say my way's better. LAIC just seems more glaringly crosswordesey, somehow, as does the whole SCAT / SHOO / GIT / SCRAM industrial complex. Also, re: LAIC, what is up with the latter part of the clue? (53D: Nonclerical, at a church). At a church? Where else is something going to be nonclerical? At a 7-11? [Nonclerical] works just fine all on its own. OK, I need to go pet my cat. She really Really didn't want to swallow her pill earlier, and I had to be a little more forceful than I like, and now I feel horrifically guilty (whereas she has probably forgotten). So I'm going to give her a little bonus food and scritch her ears. Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:32 AM  

Easy. A fine beginner puzzle, smooth with mostly familiar phrases. Liked it. first thought was RUN LIKE A Gazelle

...I am yore enough so that SOUR BALLS was a gimme.

@bocamp - Croce’s #709 was a medium for a Croce. The west was a tad easier than the east and I had the most trouble in the NE. Good luck!

Joaquin 12:57 AM  

After several days of questioning the proper day for publishing the puzzles, today's strikes me as the perfect Monday. Easy enough for a novice, free of obscure PPP, and the expected level of fun for an experienced solver.

bocamp 1:16 AM  

Thx, Lynn, good to see you again; perfect Mon. puz! :)


Started with MARES in the NW, down and around, ending with EGOS in the NE.

Loved the animal theme!

Very enjoyable trip. :)
yd pg: 12.21 (0; late in the day) / W: 5* (two wrong guesses) / WH: 3 / Duo: 34/37 / Phrazle 53: 2/6 (lucky stab; just didn't sound quite right, but I'll take it!)

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

egsforbreakfast 1:28 AM  

More themers than Rex caught?:

2D. Be under the care of a court like AWARD
6D. Be a ridged fabric like ATWILL
31D. Be less than a lot like AFEW
41A. Be a potential building site, like ALOT

DRINKLIKEAFISH and WORKLIKEADOG are kind of odd, although totally in the language. But fish don’t really drink and dogs don’t really work. At least not in the same sense that deer really do run and hawks really do watch. Of course, one could point out that logs don’t sleep. If I WORKLIKEADOG today, I’ll sleep like a log tonight. Really?

Im not going to lie lug a rug. This was a pleasant enough 5 minute non-challenge, on the whole. Thank you, Lynn Lempel.

Anonymous 1:32 AM  

"Fairly dull?" Physician, heal thyself.

Gary Jugert 1:50 AM  

Just a lovely way to start the week like a warrior. Plenty of crosswordese, really easy theme answers plus Aesop and Zappa. Who's gonna grumble about that?

I don't think BEETs are vegetables, are they?

chefwen 2:35 AM  

They don’t come any easier than this. A zippity do dah Monday.

We have two DOGs that have never WORKED for a minute. That doesn’t include chasing the kitty upon sighting. Our renter’s dog, Laila is a worker and is very helpful in rounding up the cattle and herding them back into the pasture when they get out. Smartest and sweetest dog I ever met. You didn’t see this Robbie and Mango.

Thanks for the fun puzzle.

okanaganer 2:39 AM  

Solved looking at only the down clues; the themers helped a lot as they filled themselves without having to look at their clues. FALAFELS took a bit of thought; SHE was a complete unknown, I mean SHE-RA?? Okay if you say so... the 1980s were a while ago.

Rex said "Where else is something going to be nonclerical? At a 7-11?" We used to have 7-Elevens all over the place here in western Canada, but they are almost all gone. Like K-Mart, Sears, Radio Shack, Target... American chains that have vanished due to some market or other force. At least we still have Wal-Mart! Well, maybe not the most inspiring flag bearer.

[Spelling Bee: Sun pg in 9 min.; stuck at -1, missing a 7. 6 day QB streak in jeopardy.]

Anonymous 2:40 AM  

I enjoyed this very easy puzzle. I was gonna snark that the clue for 17A was wrong: Frank Zappa wasn’t OF the Mothers of Invention. His records (which I loved fifty years ago) were attributed to “Frank Zappa WITH the Mothers of Invention.“ Alas, Wikipedia didn’t completely back me up. They did it both ways.

Conrad 5:09 AM  

When I saw the byline I knew this would be an easy, elegant solve. My only overwrite was before I read the clue: "bark LIKE A DOG" before "WORK".

smalltowndoc 6:11 AM  

Growing up, in my family, it was always RUN LIKE A mongoose. But, we were an odd family.

Brian in SLC 6:21 AM  

My dog works like hell to be annoying. (But he's much loved)

Somehow in my mind it's always been Frank Zappa AND the Mothers of Invention. (But my mind is deranged like Frank's)

Where else is something going to be nonclerical? Anywhere at all with clerks - offices, stores, militaries. (But I agree the parenthetical was superfluous)

Anonymous 6:48 AM  

A very nice Monday, missing that extra something to make it excellent, but a near perfect example of what a Monday should aim to be.

Anonymous 7:01 AM  

Did you never have a grandmother, Rex? With a glass candy dish? Filled with sourballs? One of my favorite candies of all time. And they're still out there.

o 7:05 AM  

Perfect Monday.

My mother used to implore me to be "Quick like a bunny".

Lewis 7:09 AM  

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

1. Orchestral instrument that doesn't make a sound (5)
2. Summons before congress? (5)(4)
3. Two cents for a paper, perhaps (4)
4. Icy detachment (4)
5. Character seen on a keyboard (9)


Lewis 7:19 AM  

Smooth as silk but not bland, a signature LL Monday. There’s an art to keeping answers well-in-the-language, as is called for on Mondays, but not boring, and Lynn is a master at this, throwing in lovely answers like SHAKEUP, GOOSE EGGS, and SLITHERS, while keeping dull answers minimal. All the while Lynn consistently comes up with zingy themes.

I like how not only do the theme answers follow a specific pattern (VERB “like a” ANIMAL), but so do their clues (VERB _____Y).

I also like the supporting cast of animal and animal-ish answers – MARES, EEL, EMU, GOOSE eggs, sCAT, saMOA, fRAY, iRATe, backward WOLF – all tied together with NOAH.

LL, you are one of the elite MMs (Monday Masters), and you’ve proven it again and again, as almost three-quarters of your 98 NYT puzzles fall on that day. So many Mondays, yet they turn out so interesting and well done that I never tire of them. Thank you, and brava!

pabloinnh 7:31 AM  

After soccer practice one day in college we were running back to the hockey rink, where the showers were, and I zoomed past the team captain (and BMOC) and he called at me, I think admiringly, "Run like a deer!", which at the time I could, so that has always been a very nice memory. Also owned John Deere lawn tractors for quite a while. In short, the clue made perfect sense to me.

Also SOURBALLS, which went in instanter. Boomers rule.

Lots to Like, LL. Smooth as a smelt, and thanks for the ZAPPA, who liked to shock but was a gifted and interesting musician. Thanks for all the fun.

Lewis 7:36 AM  

Administrative note: My wife Susan and I are having our first getaway vacation since covid -- whee! -- so I will be away from here until a week from today. Wishing all a terrific week ahead!

SouthsideJohnny 7:36 AM  

@Joaquin and @Lewis summed this one up perfectly. What a stellar effort by Ms. Lempel. Could you imagine if they could line up constructors of this caliber day-in and day-out ? None of us would have anything to complain about (well, that's maybe not entirely true - this is a very resourceful group when it comes to turning up items about which to disagree).

Holland 7:53 AM  

Poor Alec Guinness. Being remembered for the role he'd least like to be remembered for. Indeed, the role he had often wished was forgotten. But, perhaps the role most apt for Monday level cluing.

Son Volt 7:59 AM  

Pleasant early week puzzle. Cute theme - well filled. Had a friend who always mixed up colloquial expressions - so for him it was “smoke LIKE A FISH” and “DRINK LIKE A stack”. I’ll take RUN LIKE the wind.

My nana’s candy dish consisted of butterscotch and SOURBALLS - it was always perfect. The LAIC x RIME cross could throw some off I would think. Seems like ESPN is in a perpetual SHAKE UP.

ZAPPA was an incredible guitarist - but the quirkiness left him Lost in the OZONE for me

Enjoyable Monday solve.

Nee C.C. 8:03 AM  

Nice easy Monday...

Floated through it like a butterfly, and stung it like a bee.

GAC 8:09 AM  

Rex insists on finding a HUGE problem in every puzzle. Today it's "runs like a deer" which everyone other than Rex was able to fill in quickly. However, Rex is an entertaining blogger and can be forgiven.

Gio 8:27 AM  

When I was a kid, my grandmother would stay with us for a few weeks every summer and she kept a bag of sourballs in her dresser drawer. I spent most of my day stealing them one at a time.
I mentioned my grandmother's sourballs to some kids and they all made fun of me. I got so badly laughed at. At first I didn't know why. I had to start calling them hard balls? Sour candy balls? Hard Candy I think was the term I decided on from then on. I was very traumatized by this.

Anonymous 8:32 AM  

I recognize this is a Monday but as a constructor myself this is the sort of theme idea I’d think of and go “ugh. No. Too boring and there isn’t even a good revealer or clever angle. It’s just a list of animal similes. Next. “

And so apparently I should just go with my most boring, most basic ideas, because who knows anymore. Sigh.

MkB 8:36 AM  

The inclusion of Frank Zappa makes all other sins completely forgivable.

Plus, "rime" is just a good word that really ought to be used more in real life.

JOHN X 8:39 AM  

RUN LIKE A GIRL would have been perfect. We would also have accepted RUN LIKE A FRENCHMAN or PEE LIKE A RUSSIAN RACEHORSE. To celebrate Asian American month I like to DRIVE LIKE AN ASIAN by using my right turn signal during left-hand turns. My favorite Asians are the Lebanese.

Carola 8:42 AM  

Like @Anonymous 6:58, I was hoping for that little something more, an extra touch of Lynn Lempel wit. But then @Lewis pointed out NOAH, after which I also noticed AESOP - two great collectors of animals, in different ways. So, I'm happy now :) Also liked the verbs that gave the grid some movement: SHAKE, FLOW, SWAYS, SLITHERS.

LIke @Lewis, I noticed the non-theme animals and their appearance (or not) in various phrases: slippery as an EEL, silly as a GOOSE, a MARE'S nest...I wonder if Down Under they have a phrase with EMUs. (@Lewis, I think we can also include the BEAST that rounds out the grid.)

MkB 8:43 AM  

Ack! Phrased that terribly. Including Frank Zappa was a good thing! And made me happy. Happy enough not to care about anything else in the rest of the puzzle.

Anonymous 8:45 AM  

Two thumbs up GAC! All the LIKEAs were easy, including like a deer. Rex had a good point that all those LIKEAs made for a lot of autofill. Monday PR for me.

Zed 8:48 AM  

Well, okay… I do Rex’s little predictive fill experiment and I get RUN LIKE A girl, then “rebel” then “diva.” Go one letter further, RUN LIKE A D…, and I get Diva and Dog before finally seeing RUN LIKE A DEER. RUN LIKE A girl is not something I hear anymore, but was common enough of insult when I was young. But the others? They all seem relatively outrΓ© compared to RUN LIKE A DEER. So I don’t know that using predictive search fill is the best metric.

I liked this far more than Rex. It was a breezy and fun Monday solve. πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½

Mike in Bed-Stuy 8:51 AM  

@egsforbreakfast 1:28 AM - Re: "DRINKLIKEAFISH and WORKLIKEADOG are kind of odd" - Really? They are among the most common and prevalent cliche expressions in English. Where would "Hard Day's Night" be without "working like a dog"?

Mike in Bed-Stuy 8:52 AM  

@Gary Jugert 1:50 AM - Uh...yes...beets are indeed vegetables.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 8:56 AM  

@okanaganer 2:39 AM - I don't actually read Rex, I just skim him, so I often learn of his remarks by reading these comments. Re Indeed, most people think of the word "clerical" as pertaining to a type of employment, as in "clerical job" or "clerical position," so I think the clarification "at a church" is perfectly apt, and is an example of precisely the thoughtfulness of expression in cluing that made this puzzle such a simple pleasure to solve.

Anonymous 9:03 AM  

Having trouble using Google account. Didn't have a chance to note cousin in a marquee down yesterday!
When I was in college, the computer science textbook contained a reference to Frank Zappa. The teacher pulled me aside and asked me to explain Frank Zappa. 🀣
Solid Monday. Solves like a Monday.

Nancy 9:04 AM  

This puzzle does us the great good service of showing us how often we compare ourselves to animals. I'm surprised no one's thought of this theme before. Or have they? I'm always amazed by the people here who can ferret out such information (pun intended).

What's also serindipitous is finding theme answers -- ones that are really, really familiar -- that have matching mumbers of letters. Lynn probably levitated out of bed and shouted "Eureka!"

I should really keep a list of the worst and funniest POCs (Plurals of Convenience) that I see in puzzles -- because I always forget what they were afterwards. Today's howler is FALAFELS.

A FISH, A DEER, A DOG, A HAWK, as well as A FEW, A LOT and A WARD. As they say on "Sesame Street", this puzzle was brought to you by the letter "A". And of course by the day "Monday".

Barbara S. 9:07 AM  

Yee-Haw! New Monday record! Is the pair RIME/hoar another kealoa?

Lots of extra-themer animals:

Nothing mates like MARES.
Nothing reverses like an EEL.
Nothing pitches like an EMU.
Nothing woos like "the" BEAST.
Nothing SLITHERS like a snake.
And nothing attacks like a GOOSE defending EGGS.

Fun, breezy puzzle with FLOW.

RooMonster 9:22 AM  

Hey All !
CROW LIKE A RooMonster. 😁

Fun MonPuz. Liked the Scrabbliness in the SE corner. Liked the F count. Simple theme that didn't need a Revealer. Great puz to give to someone new, and encourage them that they'd be able to complete it on their own.

SOURBALLS, har. My inner @JohnX snickers at that.

How did GOOSE EGGS get the "zero" designation? Why not Chicken EGGS? EMU EGGS? FISH EGGS? Asking for a gander.

A FEW hold-ups in NCenter. ASOF/ATWILL took an extra (@M&A) nanosecond.

Is SLITHERS a POC? I know snakes SLITHER, but SLITHERS still seems like one movement. Curiosity, and all that.

yd -3, should'ves 2
Duo (ouch, terrible start) -2, missed 1-2-3-4-5-6-10

Five F's

Anonymous 9:44 AM  

I know the perfect person to settle the RUN LIKE A ____ DEBATE.

Deer Abby.

Yur welcome.

Beezer 9:46 AM  

Perfect Monday type of puzzle. I went to @Rex and comments and realized how many down answers I hadn’t even looked at…ALEC, SHE, SAMOA, TWINS, SKEET, and ELMO.

MiBS…I think @egs wasn’t saying his examples weren’t strongly “in the language”, just that they are odd if you think about them.

When I look at “run like a girl” I think of the Friends episode where Rachel does not want to go jogging with Phoebe (a very exaggerated “run like a girl”)…but to me, the ultimate “female” insult as a kid was “you THROW like a girl.”

More Lempel Mondays please!

Tom T 10:02 AM  

Here's the clue for a 7 letter(!) Hidden Diagonal Word (HDW) in today's grid (only the second HDW that long since I've been tracking them, the other being mermaid). The clue is:


Sweet puzzle, "Easy LIKE Monday morning," to adapt a phrase.

And it was a treasure trove of Hidden Diagonal Words, with at least 7 4 letter HDWs (RAIN, STYE, SEAL (another animal), REEF, FREE, FEAT, & LIES. Also a 5 letter HDW (SEALY--a familiar PPP) and a 6 letter (ALLIES)

Which brings us to the 7 letter HDW gem, with the clue, SORTIES ...


SALLIES (as in SALLIES forth--begins with the S in ESPN, 4D, and moves to the SE) I considered cluing it Field and Forth, but thought perhaps more than one SALLy would be SALLys. Any thoughts on that?

Joe Dipinto 10:17 AM  

Can you say GOOSE EGG without putting "big fat" in front of it? I don't think so. It reminds me of the nuns in grammar school. "Mr. Atwill, you got a BIG...FAT...GOOSE EGG on the test!" they would announce smugly to some hapless student in front of the entire class. Not a memory I needed on Monday morning.

The puzzle also reminded me of this.

Phrazle 55: 2/6
⬜πŸŸͺ🟨⬜ ⬜πŸŸͺ 🟨⬜⬜🟨 🟩🟩🟩 ⬜🟨⬜🟩🟩

🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

Hartley70 10:22 AM  

Lynn Lempel Mondays are always a treat, the sort that are over too fast but leave a sweet taste in your mouth.

GILL I. 10:24 AM  

NOAH asked AESOP to pick a BEAST AT WILL. The MARES, a GOOSE, an EMU, an EEL that SLITHERS through HAZE, as well as the main attraction: Those that were to FLOW with a FISH, a DEER, a DOG and the KEY HAWK.
All that was needed was the ARK with ZAPPA at the helm and IRMA being her usual La Douce.

Peter P 10:25 AM  

@Gary (1:05) Yes, BEETS are vegetables. Why wouldn't they be?'s definition even includes it: "any plant whose fruit, seeds, roots, tubers, bulbs, stems, leaves, or flower parts are used as food, as the tomato, bean, beet, potato, onion, asparagus, spinach, or cauliflower." Note that the tomato is also a fruit, and other culinary vegetables like squash, green peppers, cucumbers are also botanical fruits, but can be called vegetables in context. Why pedants pick on tomatoes in calling them "fruits" but don't jump in with the same comments on cukes or bell peppers, I have no idea.

Easy puzzle, well under average Monday, but LAIC felt a bit out-of-place and jarring. I could only think of "lay people/persons" and "laity" and needed the crosses to get "laic," having completely forgotten that word. Should have seen the obvious symmetry with "cleric"/"laic."

As for "RUN LIKE A DEER", the first two animals that came to mind were "gazelle" and "antelope" (Probably because there's a Phish song called "Run Like An Antelope.") RUN LIKE A DEER feels sufficiently in-language, so I have no issue with it, but the other themers were stronger.

FALAFELS felt clued oddly to me. The pita sandwich isn't called a falafel (to me). The deep fried chickpea balls are. You can have falafel not in sandwich form, as a stand-alone item. But I can accept that perhaps others refer to the sandwich form simply as "falafel." I would call it a "falafel sandwich." I would prefer the clue as "deep-fried chickpea balls." But, then again, I tend to refer to a plate of falafel as "falafel" and not "falafels." The dictionary I checked seems to agree that the plural is "falafel" without the "s." So perhaps that's why they went with the sandwiches part of the clue? I dunno.

JC66 10:30 AM  

Beets are vegetable, but beans are fruit (or so I've heard).

Masked and Anonymous 10:37 AM  


fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Humpty Dumpty's perch} = WALL.

staff weeject pick: STS. Plural abbreve meat,

fave things: all-critters theme. ZAPPA. WOK (LIKEANEGYPTIAN). BEAST, as the final puzgrid word.
sole no-know: FALAFELS. And now that M&A accents the middle syllable, it's startin to sound sorta familiar, after all. Sooo … never mind.

Thanx for the fun, Ms. Lempel darlin. M&ALIKEALOT.

Masked & Anonymo3Us

p.s. Unrelated philosophical question: Would {Huge hunk of land next to IA??} be a valid clue for AS? Just askin, for a runtpuz constructioneer friend.


Anonymous 10:40 AM  

This puzzle was a pleasure to do.
The clues for the theme held together nicely. A pleasure to have an easy puzzle.
My grandparents used to treat me with sourballs so that clue was very nostalgic for me.

CT2Napa 10:42 AM  

Sorry Rex. Try ngram instead of google to find phrases "in the language". ngram puts "run like a deer" in second place

verb like a animal

Anonymous 10:51 AM  

You too! Have a great vacation.

OffTheGrid 11:06 AM  

Two food balls in the puzz today. HERE'S ANOTHER

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

"working like a sicko hat" deserves its own write-up

Anonymous 11:17 AM  

@Sun Volt:

the only reason ESPN(s) are still around is it (when 'it' was only the Mother Ship) coerced, allegedly with regulators' incompetence, to force cable (again, before Sat companies did much) companies into 'must carry' agreements, aka, Basic Cable. adds much dinero to your teeVee bill, if you don't give a crap about obscure sports.

Anonymous 11:21 AM  

"Fire Atwill!!" Thus Lionel was unemployed.

tea73 11:46 AM  

I'm with Rex, RUN LIKE A DEER is not a phrase I've heard very often. You run like THE WIND. You run LIKE HELL. You run INTO TROUBLE. Didn't bother me, too much, but it was the last thing I put in the puzzle, which still filled itself in in record time.

Put me on the list of people who love sour balls.

Anonymous 12:05 PM  

The theme format is _______LIKE A (NOT THE)__________

So please stop with "the wind" whining.

Anonymous 12:16 PM  

It's Run Like an ANTELOPE. Look it up.

jberg 12:34 PM  

Easy and fun. Back in the 1950s there was a pop song in which the female singer exclaimed "I can run like a deer..." and many other things " that I'm in love." At least, that's what I seem to remember. An internet search turns up only the 18th psalm.

@Roo, SLITHERS isn't a plural, it's the 3d person singular form of the verb. You'd never say 'a snake slither.' But you (or at least I) would say "I slither."

Given its placement, I suspect that BEAST was originally meant as a revealer, but that someone decided it wasn't clever enough so clued it differently.

Not only BALLS, but also FISH is both in the grid and in a clue (24A). And on that topic, I appreciate the need to find new ways to clue EEL, but most fish can swim backward.

Which brings us to the main question, LAIC. The way I interpret it is that a layperson is not just someone who isn't a cleric, but a non-clerical member of a religious group, such as a church. The unchurched are not part of the laity, hence the need to put 'in the church' in the clue. Not a real need, we'd all have got it anyway.

Missed opportunity 1:01 PM  

Time flies like an arrow
Fruit flies like a banana

Nancy 1:03 PM  

RUNS LIKE A DEER is a phrase I've heard my entire life. I've never heard "Runs like a girl", but could that be because I was a girl and it would have been the height of tactlessness to say it in front of me?

Nah. I've heard THROWS LIKE A GIRL often enough. That's the real in-the-language phrase. But it's never once been said to me.

I've always thrown sort of like a guy. At Camp Pinecliffe I played third base because I was one of the few girls who could make the throw from third to first. They might have made me a pitcher if you were allowed to pitch overhand in softball, but I didn't have a good underhand pitch. My full body rotation and transfer of weight when I throw a ball is what gave me, inch for inch and pound for pound, a really good tennis serve with completely correct form. It was far and away my best stroke.

Whenever I try to teach a woman how to improve her serve (this is the only shot I would have the unmitigated gall to try to teach), I always make her come out on the lawn with me and throw tennis balls first. "No -- don't push straight out from the shoulder! Rotate to the right, drop your right hip, take your right arm way back behind your ear, pull down your left arm hard. Your body is throwing the ball as much as your arm is."

Only then do we move on to the (very similar) service motion.

My SIL told me that it was the most helpful tennis lesson she'd ever had, btw.

If only, in addition to my serve, I'd also RUN LIKE A DEER. What a tennis marvel I would have been! But, alas, I have the very strong suspicion I RUN LIKE A GIRL:)

Joe Dipinto 1:04 PM  

Noon installment.

Phrazle 56: 2/6
πŸŸͺ⬜πŸŸͺ⬜ πŸŸͺπŸŸͺ🟨πŸŸͺ 🟨πŸŸͺ ⬜🟩⬜⬜⬜⬜

🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

Anonymous 1:13 PM  

Because “goose” has two “zeros” in it. Duh!

Anonymous 2:16 PM  

I've never heard "Runs like a girl"

It's not discrimination, but incidence of knee injuries among female hoopsters is significantly higher than for boys. Given the wider hip girdle, I always assumed that made their stride more stable, not less. Turns out not so. While not often, if ever, is it explicitly said that the injuries are because they 'run like a girl', turns out it is true.

hoopsters, specifically:

Anoa Bob 2:26 PM  

POC was never meant to be a grammatical term, just a crossword puzzle term for inflating letter count and grid fill power by adding a gratuitous -S or -ES or dropping a -Y and adding -IES. So yes Roo @9:22, SLITHERS is a POC, just like MARES, EGOS, GOOSE EGGS, FELAFELS, SWAYS, REFS, GASES, SOURBALLS, STS and TWINS.

Perhaps there is another term with a spiffy acronym that would still capture the essence of the gratuitous, convenient short-cut fill power of the -S, -ES, -IES without the confusion of a strict grammatical definition of "plural".

Speaking of "run like a girl", I heard another "___ like a girl" phrase while watching a TV show about Navy pilots making their first carrier takeoff and landing. Each pilot got a nickname after going through that rite of passage. One pilot said he became known as "Slag" because when the catapult launched his plane from 0 to 170 mph in just two seconds(!), he Screamed Like A Girl.

Teedmn 2:53 PM  

One of my dear friends shops like a sloth. When a bunch of us are on vacation, everyone groans internally when she asks us to go souvenir shopping. In Ireland, she spent hours picking through every sweater shop in the SW part of the country, looking for that perfect sweater to bring home for her cat-sitting brother. Another fellow traveler deemed these trips "sweater SLITHERS" and that's now become our go-to term for these sprees, no matter the object of our friend's search.

Diamond Jim 3:18 PM  

I play in a softball league geared to......well, older guys. Yesterday I pitched, caught, played first base, and had 8 hits with 5 RBI.

The Andrews Sisters 3:24 PM  

(K C Rogan / Rossini)

as recorded by The Andrews Sisters
with Matty Matlock & his Orchestra

also recorded by Patti Page 1957

I can run through the woods like a deer can run,
I can dance on the web the spider's spun,
I'm as warm and as sweet as a hot cross bun,
Now that I'm in love.

I can roll up the side of the steepest hill,
I can stop any star that won't hold still,
I can skip to the moon and I think I will,
Now that I'm in love.

Let the wind and the rain
Hit the window pane,
I don't complain any more!
Let the snow and the sleet
Cover up your street,
My feet will find your door!

Love doesn't need a label
When you're at my side,
Somehow I don't seem able
To pocket my pride.

I can leap down the lane like a kangaroo,
But the one thing I want the most to do
Is to live all the rest of my life with you,
Now that I'm in love.
Bells are chimin',
Words are rhymin',
Now that I'm in love.

I can run through the woods like a deer can run,
I can dance on the web the spider's spun,
I'm as warm and as sweet as a hot cross bun,
Now that I'm in love.

I can roll up the side of the steepest hill,
I can stop any star that won't hold still,
I can skip to the moon and I think I will,
Now that I'm in love.

Let the wind and the rain
Hit the window pane,
I don't complain any more!
Let the snow and the sleet
Cover up your street,
My feet will find your door!

Love doesn't need a label
When you're at my side,
Somehow I don't seem able
To pocket my pride.

I can leap down the lane like a kangaroo,
But the one thing I want the most to do
Is to live all the rest of my life with you,
Now that I'm in love.
Bells are chimin',
Words are rhymin',
Bells a-chimin',
Words a-rhymin',
Now that I'm in love!

Anonymous 3:33 PM  

Yes indeed! Does that mean something I should know about?

Anonymous 3:58 PM  

Anoa Bob,

SLAG is a great handle. Love it. i assume you know but others might not. The Navy doesn't use cats (catapults) to launch aircraft from carriers anymore. They use an electromagnetic system ( EMALS) to do what steam did pretty damn well for a long time.

Anonymous 4:00 PM  

anonymous 2:16,
It's not just hoops where women and girls have a lot more knee injuries. Soccer and skiing are another two sports where female anatomy reallly isn't up to the task.

Anonymous 4:04 PM  

anon 11:17,
Wrong. It's rights fees ESPN pays to the NBA and NFL and NCAA football conferences that drive ESPN's costs. It costs the network virtually nothing to broadcast corn hole, or spike ball or any number of obscure sports.

RooMonster 4:14 PM  

@Anon 4:04
Like the ADAA, American Dodgeball Association of America? 😁

RooMonster Dodge This! Guy

Anonymous 4:23 PM  


which is a non-sequitor. ESPN's *cost* (nobody forced them to grossly overpay for much of that mainstream sports menu) is embedded in the Basic Cable franchise, unlike any other non-mainstream feed; not everyone is a sports freak, but everyone gets to pay for it. it's this preferential treatment that has gotten more attention in the last few years. if memory serves, one or two of the smaller outfits has split the ESPNs out of Basic Cable. it's those one person in the USofA wants to watch that ESPN needs to fill air time, otherwise, at least 3/4 of the clock would be filled with re-runs of those mainstream games each and every day. or re-runs of silly studio epics; just like at the beginning. though, I am thankful it broadcasts the Sky Sports F1 feed without commercials. I thank the rest of the cable/sat audience for their generosity.

CDilly52 5:16 PM  

Another perfect Monday for aspiring solvers and a lovely one for me as well. I always enjoy seeing a Lynn Lempel byline. Certainly easy, but a consistent theme and a very junk-free puzzle. Thanks, Lynn!

albatross shell 6:39 PM  

GOOSEEGGS because of their size (baseball oldschool scoreboards), the double 00 (zeroes) in goose (roulette losers too) and maybe the amusing triple double letters in GOOSEEGGS.

Upon further analysis.
Fish do drink and have concentrated urine. Marine (saltwater) fish anyway. Not alcohol, however which is what is generally meant by the phrase in question.
Run with ease, agility, gracefulness in a leaping loping style. Not however on all 4's.

Watch like a hawk. Pretty much watch like a hawk.
Work like a dog. Pretty much get hooked up to a sled and run to near exhaustion. Paid enough to get food. Other dogs have more fun and less strenuous work. Many do no work and just get pampered.

NOAH and AESOP nice animal pairing. Plus spin (tales) like AE SOP. Obey (the lord) like a NOAH
Or drink like a Noah. Daddy booty call?

Starts with MARES. Ends with BEAST.

Drink like AESOt?

Rex misses the boat on run like a deer.

I guess Isaw all the animals except MOA.

POSE A tells a bunch of stories backwards.

Anonymous 7:00 PM  

@albatross Have you started drinking already?

RooMonster 7:07 PM  

How about PTUI?

Have your people call my people. πŸ€ͺ


Beezer 7:12 PM  

@Teedmn…lol at your term “shops like a sloth.” I’m trying to wrap my head around that and if @Frantic Sloth sees/saw this I wonder how she would weigh in. Shop slowly? Even if this were my dear friend I think an “intervention” might be in order for the good of the rest of the travel group! If not…I get it…some dear friends are SO dear they are given long reins in the road of our life.
This comes from someone who decided a while ago to not actually “shop” on vacays (especially overseas) and to buy only if something just gobsmacks me.

burtonkd 7:19 PM  

Why does Rex think "nothing runs like a Deere" is the slogan if it isn’t because it is a common phrase? His Google auto fill example is basically cluttered with commercial interests that poison the well if one is looking for ordinary phrases.

Anoa Bob 7:39 PM  

albatross, I would bet a cold brewski or two that GOOSE EGGS went into the grid before any clue was chosen. The 11 Down slot needed a nine letter entry and one GOOSE EGG wouldn't quite do it. POC to the rescue. The clue could just as easily been "Big fat zero" but it needed only an S tacked on to "zero" to work for the more than one GOOSE EGG version.

GOOSE EGGS does drop down through two themers and that puts a heavy constraint on what will fit there and at the same time make it possible to fill surrounding squares, so maybe the plural is more than justified and doesn't take away from the puzzle's overall quality. But there are several other POCs, including a couple of two-for-one POCs, where a Down and an Across share a final letter count boosting S. The POC committee is leaning toward a POC assisted rating for the grid fill.

GILL I. 7:46 PM  

For anybody who is here and loves "Like Water For Chocolate" like I do, it's now streaming on HBO. Hope it brings some smiles to you this Monday.

LateSolver 8:12 PM  

Did Monday on Sunday and vice versa, but couldn't post until today. PR for a Monday on this one, and wasn't rushing. That being said, I'm a hunt and peck typer, so my PR is nothing special (high sixes), but still made me happy.

MichiganWoman 8:22 PM  

Watch “Against the Ice” if you want to see dogs work. Wonderful (and heartbreaking movie).

Joe Dipinto 9:45 PM  

@Teedmn – I'm trying to imagine what your friend would consider a "perfect sweater" for her brother – one that would look good covered with cat hair?

kitshef 10:29 PM  

Hand up for RUN LIKE A DEER not really popping the way the others do.

When I make falfafel, I squish 'em down a bit to make them easier to fry in a shallow pan. Not balls so much as think disks.

albatross shell 11:33 PM  

Was my stream of consciousness too tsunami for ya? And why is is 638pm "already"?
Yes the triple double letters were irrelevant. I just wanted to point them out. Also I was answering ROO's question not @anoa's. A case of mistaken identity. The rest seems factual or puns or sound puns or extending the puzzles themes to other words in it in a humorous or ridiculous grab bag way.

I do like GOOSEEGGS because baseball announcers often speak of goose eggs on a scoreboard and will say something like look at all those gooseeggs to avoid jinxing a no hitter or a perfect game in progress

I do not understand your bet offer. I thought writing clues generally came after writing fill but I don't construct. I can see you might think GOOSEEGGS was maybe an early word after the theme elements were written and the grid selected. An early commitment to plurals. As Imagery, GOOSEEGGS and SOURBALLS work beautifully together as a symmetric pairing. One poc could be eliminated by changing the NE corner square to a T. The puzzle would be the worse for it. REFS-GASES is probably the low point of the solid puzzle. 2 double POCs maybe one step over the line for you. I think the puz sings in the selection of the themers. You seem to think so too.

Anonymous 12:09 AM  

I don’t much shoot for time, but fastest time in years.

Anonymous 3:31 PM  

First Monday puzzle I’ve been able to solve in years, solving by looking at the across clues only. I used to be successful about 8 times in 52 attempts each year. Haven’t even gotten close in the past few years. This puzzle made my day, if not my year.

Anonymous 10:42 AM  

The RIME LAIC IRMA bunching stumped me.

thefogman 10:21 AM  

Easy peasy. A perfect beginner-friendly Monday puzzle. Lynn Lempel is a pro.
Somebody out there is showing off how they completed their first NYT crossword. And hopefully they will be doing many more.
That’s why Mondays are the breeding ground for new solvers.

PS - Looks like luck was on my side for the Wordle today….

Wordle 366 2/6*


Skill 99/100
Luck 92/100

thefogman 10:50 AM  

Lewis at 7:19 am noted: I also like the supporting cast of animal and animal-ish answers – MARES, EEL, EMU, GOOSE eggs, sCAT, saMOA, fRAY, iRATe, backward WOLF – all tied together with NOAH.
I would add that NOAH pairs up nicely with AESOP. And there were at least three more hidden animals in the grid: BEE in 47A (BEET). And GOAT - where EGOS crosses OATH. Just borrow the G in EGOS and run it down 12D. Similarly, an ASP appears where AWASH and ESPN meet presumably to SLITHER onto NOAH’s ark.
I liked this one ALOT.

thefogman 10:59 AM  

PPS - Also WASP at the 14A 4D crossing. That ark is getting full!

thefogman 11:09 AM  

Last one. RAM appears (backwards) inside 1A. That’s a lot of BEASTs!

spacecraft 11:45 AM  

Emulate Lynn Lempel (CONSTRUCT LIKE A PRO). See here how few PPPs there are--and what's there is fun! ZAPPA! AESOP! JAMIE! And, DOD Shirley MacLaine as IRMA La Douce!

But...that's another story. Mostly we have just some nice, normal WORDS (remember them? The WORDS of crosswords?). Sure it's easy, but hey: it's MONDAY. Knowing OFF's usual admiration for LL's work, today's blog really surprises me. His curmudgeon-ness is accelerating. He's headed toward Grumpy-old-man status LIKEADEER.

A fine birdie. here's another:


What a week! Par, birdie, eagle, birdie, bogey, birdie, birdie: 5 under.

Burma Shave 1:19 PM  


or ELSE WOK away over WALLs,


rondo 4:55 PM  

This puz was easylikeSundaymornin'.
@foggy and I appear to have used the same starting word, but no wordle eagle for me. I was an idiot before the birdie.

thefogman 5:36 PM  

Cheers Rondo!
Two more. There’s a BAT hanging between 33D and 52A and an ELK horning in off of EEL and DRINKLIKEAFISH.
That’s ALOT of critters!

Diana, LIW 7:01 PM  

and remember, "It's hard to stop a Trane."

I agree with @Spacy - fun with WORDS from Lynn.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords who

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