Sound heard twice in "George" / MON 5-9-22 / Sufi poet thought to have coined the adage found at the starts etc / Once-standard feature not found in most newer vehicles / Empower a successor metaphorically

Monday, May 9, 2022

Constructor: August Miller

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (for a Monday)

THEME: ATTAR (67A: Sufi poet thought to have coined the adage found at the starts of 19-, 27-, 45- and 52-Across) — the adage is: "This / Too / Shall / Pass":

Theme answers:
  • THIS ONE'S ON ME (19A: "Have another round - my treat!")
  • TOO BAD FOR YOU (27A: Gloating words of mock consolation)
  • SHALL WE DANCE (45A: Invitation to a prospective waltz partner)
  • PASS THE TORCH (52A: Empower a successor, metaphorically)
Word of the Day: ATTAR (67A) —
Abū Ḥamīd bin Abū Bakr Ibrāhīm (c. 1145 – c. 1221; Persianابو حامد بن ابوبکر ابراهیم), better known by his pen-names Farīd ud-Dīn (فرید الدین) and ʿAṭṭār of Nishapur (عطار نیشاپوری, Attar means apothecary), was a Persian poet, theoretician of Sufism, and hagiographer from Nishapur who had an immense and lasting influence on Persian poetry and Sufism. He wrote a collection of lyrical poems and number of long poems in the philosophical tradition of Islamic mysticism, as well as a prose work with biographies and sayings of famous Muslim mystics. Manṭiq-uṭ-Ṭayr (The Conference of the Birds) and Ilāhī-Nāma(The Book of Divine) and Memorial of the Saints are among his best known works. (wikipedia)
• • •

Wow, this is pretty grim. The adage ... is so trite, so banal, I can't imagine wanting to build a puzzle around it. I assumed it was from the Bible, so I guess I learned something, but it seems pretty sad to reduce an important Sufi poet's work to this dumb adage. Also, "thought to have coined"? What the hell is that? He coined it or he didn't. And he didn't write in English, so ... it's all so weird. What's really truly weird is that ATTAR (as clued) was not just an answer in a Monday puzzle, but the answer: the revealer itself. I know damn well most of y'all have no damn idea who ATTAR is. Come on now, don't lie. It's OK. I took a Mystical & Erotic Poetry class in college (where ATTAR was on the syllabus) and then I went on to a Ph.D. program in medieval literature, where I read more Sufi poetry, and *I* barely knew who he was. Like, he's a Saturday answer, maybe. I'm happy enough to see him, but yikes, on a Monday, that's nuts. I feel bad for ATTAR that his big puzzle coming out party reduces him to this nothing "adage." It's just a first-words theme. Nothing interesting conceptually, nothing interesting in the revelation, just ... nothing interesting. Well, ATTAR is definitely interesting. Oddly placed, on a Monday, but interesting. Somewhat fun fact: ATTAR has appeared 58 times in the Shortz Era, and this is the very first time it's been clued as the poet (the other times it's always [Fragrant oil] or [Perfume from petals], something like that). The themers themselves are OK as standalone phrases. First two are good, second two are just OK. Longer non-themers also add some life to the grid, with PARTY BUS, ALL THAT, TRASH ART, and "ROBOCOP" being the standouts. 

ATTAR didn't bump this puzzle above average Monday difficulty (for me) but the eastern section definitely did. I wrote in YEP instead of YES because the clue is enthusiastic and slangy, dammit, so the answer should be slang, not the prim proper ordinary YES (30D: "You bet!"). That "P" held up ASHTRAY, which I really needed for that eastern section, which ... sigh, RAPCD? I was trying to make MIXTAPE happen. Really just looking for anything that actually suggests "collection." The "bygone" and the "collection" part of this clue are really misleading. Also I don't think RAPCD is any more a thing than ROCKCD or EMOCD or RANDBCD or whatever. Sounds dumb. Also, no idea who this BRUNO is (33D: Uncle "we don't talk about " in Disney's 2021 film "Encanto") because I don't watch children's films or animated films any more if I can help it, so if this BRUNO character has become Monday-iconic, I missed it. But that's my problem, not the puzzle's.

[Schubert, performed by Giuseppe BRUNO]

The crosswordese in this puzzle was kind of painful: TKO EAU OTOH ULNA TEC REA ELENA ECRU SOFTG ITALO YER PTA ITSY PEET IRA OBIT KARAT CHIA ... in moderation, some of those answers are tolerable, but there was no moderation today. BRB means "be right back," in case that was unclear (
33A: Texter's "Hold that thought"). I will not be right back. Rather, I will see you tomorrow. Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:12 AM  

Tough. This was a medium Tuesday for me. OUTRO, ATTAR, and BRUNO (as clued) we’re WOEs. Liked the theme, the fill not so much.

@bocamp - Croce’s Freestyle #705 was on the easy side again except for the SW corner which I had to come back to more than once. Good luck!

Zed 12:43 AM  

ITALO. ‘Nuff said.

Gary Jugert 12:51 AM  

Fine. Didn't bother to look at the theme so I didn't get into a lather over it. They're all fun phrases. I like medieval poetry, so I guess I'll go look Attar up.

SOFT G: This type of clue gets me every single time. Someday I'll learn.
The long downs were pretty sweet.

REA/PEET was a hold your nose crossing.
RAP CD is just bad.
BRB doesn't mean what the clue says
Crosswordese felt like a puzzle they found in the back of a filing cabinet from the 90s.

Robin 12:56 AM  

No idea why people think this was medium-ish or even challenging. Fastest NYTXW I have posted since Monday Jan 4. And about 25 seconds off my Monday record.

Never even saw the clue for ATTAR, as I filled it all in via crosses.

Harry 1:05 AM  

Having settled in for what I thought would be the typical Monday spree, it wasn't long before I discovered that this wouldn't be another "read the clue and fill the grid" run through.

Like Rex, I tripped myself up on the East: I was confident that the omitted vehicle feature was Antenna, and confirmed the fill via the last letter, when Banks nicely served as "Computer memory units" (i.e. RAM banks).

The fill took 40% longer than my typical Monday. Much more suited to a Tuesday, but I enjoyed the "bump in the road".

btw, "This too shall pass" may be trite, but it served to comfort here. Wife has been struggling with an oppressive illness these last 18 mo and is fortunately seeing recovery, but one that demands tremendous patience. It was a welcome reminder.

Anonymous 1:10 AM  

A most unpleasant solve! Misleading clues (more than average for a Monday), difficult and somewhat obscure fill, and those “crosswordeze”, crossing each other! Should be illegal for a Monday puzzle!

okanaganer 1:15 AM  

I solved by reading only the down clues, so when it was complete I thought... what exactly is the theme? I go through all the across clues... and finally on the very last one, ah! I see! So I actually liked it okay, more than Rex anyway.

10 down... US Supreme Court Justice clues are the worst. Except for Notorious RBG, of course.

The BRUNO thing... there's a song "We don't talk about Bruno". Check it out, if you haven't heard it. Very infectious! It's not just an animation, it's Lin-Manuel Miranda.

[Spelling Bee: Sun 8:30 to pg; currently stalled at -1 (again!), missing a 5.]

chefwen 2:16 AM  

A fine Monday puzzle in my book. Didn’t know ATTAR the poet, didn’t need to, crosses were easy. No mark overs other than flubbing the spelling of SUDOKU, I slapped down SUDuKo. Never played the game.

Every time I’m having a rough time or in bad situation I always say to myself And THIS TOO SHALL PASS, makes me feel better.

Gotta love friends that say THIS ONES ON ME.

Anonymous 3:16 AM  

Really not happy about the knock to animated films, they are as legit as live action. Unexpected from someone who appreciates comics. Please reconsider.

MexGirl 3:49 AM  

My kids are all pretty grownup now but that doesn’t keep me from enjoying animated films, where I can count some of the best overall movies of the ages (wether PG or not).
They’re also as much an important part of pop culture as any rap artist or new social media trend.
That’s my opinion anyway.

Loren Muse Smith 4:11 AM  

Ok, sure. Of course I’ve never heard of ATTAR, let alone whoever the heck a Sufi is. But rather than be annoyed, I’m glad to learn both the guy, the Muslim belief, and that he’s the one who said it first.

I have to agree with @Harry - I, too, see the phrase as comforting in icky times. The opposite of “grim.” Stuff will pass, and I’ve privately intoned this mantra to myself many times. It SOOTHEs.

Pass the “baton” before TORCH. Defensible.

Rex – suspend your rule of not watching animated films and see How to Train Your Dragon. Truly, truly worth watching. (And it should be required viewing for all beginning teachers, especially those in an alternative school.)

Loved ALL THAT, but I always hear it as He thinks he’s ALL THAT and a bag of chips.

Kept going back and looking at the clue “wretched” – I often daydream about words like wicked, naked, crooked, sacred, one-legged. . . I dunno – is their pronunciation a vestige of how we used to say all ed verbs-cum-adjectives? The jury’s still out on blessed. FWIW, I always pronounce striped and checked as two syllables. It’s my hope that as I grow aged and more bent over, no one will ever refer to me as a poor old stoop-ed lady.

ERUPT crosses BRUNO. Ahem. Mom and I have taken to muting the TV when Bruno Tonioli comments on Dancing with the Stars ‘cause his exuberant metaphor schtick got old about five seasons ago.

TRASH crosses its Pig Latin counterpart, ASHTRAY. You’re welcome.

I just have to put this out there: I buy hose all the time, and the choices are basically nude or suntan. And the occasional “black mist” or some such that rarely complements my ensemble the way I had imagined. Never seen ECRU on any package, but I’m overthinking it.

August – I enjoyed this, and I’m HAPPY to add some obscure knowledge to my arsenal of stuff that down the road just may help me present as learned.

ncmathsadist 6:10 AM  

The cross of REA and PEET was irksome.

Conrad 6:21 AM  

Overwrites: “brEw” instead of SEEP for Percolate at 9A. Thought lp or ep for the music collection at 34D because of “Bygone” in the clue. I still have a ton of CDs. Like @Chefwen, didn’t need to know ATTAR, as the crosses were fair.

Anonymous 6:40 AM  

Felt like a Monday. Didn’t realize there would be a theme until the very end. Always leaves me a little lacking when I have no idea of the theme answer without filling in all the downs and having to look it up after the fact. Always happy to learn something though.

Zed 7:04 AM  

REA PEET? I actually like that. Let me say it again: REA PEET. But, yeah, maybe a little naticky, especially to new solvers (REA is not quite Ono/Eno level ese, but he’s getting there).

Hand up for wondering about Rex’s animated film comment. I refuse to watch a second of super hero movies just because the exuberant metaphor schtick got old about twenty years ago. Maybe his reason is along those lines.

My guess is that if anyone knows just one thing about Sufis it is not ATTAR, but rather they have heard the term Whirling Dervish.

OffTheGrid 7:06 AM  

Just one nit.

One Textese clue is plenty. Two are excessive.

Lewis 7:11 AM  

@Loren -- TRASH crossing its pig-latin counterpart ASHTRAY, priceless!

My assessment of this puzzle would be a 60’s lyric: Monday Monday, so good to me.

So much that I liked. More answers than the usual Monday that I couldn’t just slap in, to happify my brain. A theme with a comforting (and true I hope!) message for these times (Hi, @Harry!). Theme answers with verve. And speaking of ATTAR, to build on what @Rex said, that answer has appeared 310 times in the NYT puzzle, and only once before, in 1985, has it referred to the mystic poet. All other times it’s referred to a fragrant oil.

Then there was the antonymic IRATE under HAPPY, which sandwiched the mini-tale of IRATE / ERUPT / ASANA / SOOTHED / HAPPY. Added to that were the column of names (ELENA, BRUO, PAT), the quartet of Last Rounds (TEMPO, OUTRO, BRUNO, ITALO), the neighboring letter closers (MR T, SOFT G), and the lovely pair of Uncle BRUNO and A KIN.

A sparkling week-beginner, August, so good to me. Quality through and through. Thank you for making this!

kitshef 7:17 AM  

Did not know the theme until I came here. On a Monday, there will often be clues that people never see because all the crosses are so easy. Such was the case for me with the clue for ATTAR. Of course, that clue would have meant nothing to me anyway.

KARAT/carat/caret is not a true kealoa, as they have different definitions, but since I never know which one is which it's still a 'wait on the crosses' situation.

Laura 7:29 AM  

Hard? I would have struggled with attar but got the happy music as I filled it in, easily, with crosses. Didn't notice most of the "tough" ones mentioned for the same reason. This was Monday fun, a brief unspectacular bit of filling in words. I misses the "tricky clues" mentioned above.

albatross shell 7:34 AM  

I thought the theme was was solid with a surprise revealer. The puzzle was Monday-easy at first and then the mini screwballs kept showing up, certainly not hard but kept you on your toes .

Really liked TRASH crossing ASHTRAY. Made me notice PASS is asspay and 9x9 puzzle master couuld be ODUKOsei.

From tourbus to PARTYBUS. If trends continue could be pretty wild by the end of the week.

Son Volt 7:49 AM  

Definitely some non early week trivia included here. In the end though - I don’t think it made for a tougher puzzle. Not a huge fan of this type of theme - just too wide open and really not useful to the solve. All the themers were nice phrases.

ITALO, JOSEF, BRUNO, ATTAR - no clue. Other than the TEC cross - they were all easily backed into. Not sure where all the yoga trivia originates from. Liked TRASH ART and LET SLIP.

I tend to agree with Rex on animated films. Had to watch them when the kids were little out of necessity. Recently was excited to hear Richard Linklater had a new film out - Apollo 10 1/2. Bummed when I sat down to watch and it was animated.

Always thought the theme phrase here was in the Tao - Timothy Leary - George line but I guess All things and THIS TOO are different?

Enjoyable enough Monday solve.

SouthsideJohnny 7:53 AM  

Seems like a lot of names and other PPP - see JOSEF, ROBOCOP, REA, PEET all clogging up the north center. Add in BRUNO, ATTAR, MAYA, WOODY, ELENA, ITALO - and bam, instant trivial-laden grid, just add water. Not a lot exciting going on today.

mmorgan 8:07 AM  

This was mostly an enjoyable Monday for me until I got to the “revealer.” Wha…? Hand up for No Damn Idea who he is. What a strange way to end a Monday!

albatross shell 8:11 AM  

When times are good remember THIS TOO SHALL PASS.

Twangster 8:13 AM  

As others have suggested, the themed phrase can be comforting ... and even potentially lifesaving, especially when you're young.

Bruce Hornsby has a gorgeous song with this title – here's a live version:

TJS 8:26 AM  

For every "intro" there's an "outro" ? Who Knew ?

@Z, "..." maybe ?

Anonymous 8:32 AM  

We Don't Talk About Bruno is a song from Encanto that was wildly popular recently. Disney did not submit it to the Oscars for Best Song, however, opting for one more representative of the movie and its themes. The winner is No Time To Die, from the latest Bond film.
Didn't know Attar, but have read a fair amount of Rumi. Found this puzzle a cut above most Mondays.

Nancy 8:37 AM  

There's a playfulness and a chattiness to both the cluing and the fill that's unusual for a Monday and that I liked a lot. I especially enjoyed the sardonic clue, "Gloating words of mock consolation" and the intriguing "Once-standard feature not found in most newer vehicles".

Crunchier than most Mondays too. I had one wrong write-in that I didn't get around to correcting for a while: ALL-TIME instead of ALL THAT for "Something special."

I also liked the four phrases that produced THIS TOO SHALL PASS. Which, btw, is certainly a message that the world needs right now. Only hope it's true.

bocamp 8:54 AM  

Thx August; fine early week puz! :)


Tues. level for me; liked the challenge on a Mon.

Moved from TEMPO to ATTAR.

Always good to see WOODY Guthrie along the way!

Finally know the diff between ASANA and ASAdA. lol


Hazy: MAYA.

Nice workout; enjoyed it! :)

Nancy (3:37 PM yd)

I disagree; I think you'll find the majority of your solves will continue to be Phreagles! :)

Both of yd's were tough for me, too, altho, after a couple of hours, the 2nd one finally popped. :)

Also learned something of a technicality: apparently, contractions are are allowed (as they are in xwords, but not SB).

@okanaganer (5:02 PM yd)

Thx; hadn't thot of trying either Firefox or Safari to get the Saturday Stumper .puz format.

The 'deftness' I alluded to yd, is exactly what I do now with Brave, and as you indicated, quickness is the key! :)

SB: 72/73 is outstanding! :) (every word I missed is on my List; I'm not studying it nearly as much as I used to, nor am I spending much time after my initial 30 mins. Still enjoying it very much, tho, esp wrt the new time limit.

Youngest g.d. was in Kamloops for a ball tournament over the weekend. 🥎


Having lots of fun with Globle; what a great way to enhance knowledge of countries and their positions relative to each other, including nearest border distances. Using crude triangulation to hone in the the target is helpful. Thx for this jewel! :)


Thx, will tackle Croce's 705 later today and/or tomorrow. Your 'easy' is often my 'med'. lol
yd's: pg -1 (missing an 8) / WH: 4 / Phrazles #39: 3/6 & #40: 2/6 / Sed: 19/21 / Duo: 34/37

Peace 🙏 🇺🇦 ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Beezer 8:55 AM  

This puzzle seemed Monday easy for me sans ATTAR but I guess most of the PPP was in my wheelhouse and the grid spanners were very “in the language.” I thought the puzzle was delightful but Rex will be Rex. I guess since ATTAR was VERY gettable with the crosses it makes no never mind to me that I’d never heard of him, although I did know that whirling dervishes were Sufi, yay me.
Also TIL: OUTRO. Who woulda thunk it.

@LMS. You (and others that comment) constantly amaze me in your ability to see things in the puzzle like TRASH/ASHTRAY. I’m thinking there is a part of my brain that is either underdeveloped or lazy…or both.

My older sister had a crush on Yul Brynner (yeah, I never really GOT that) so I saw The King and I several times as a child. SHALLWEDANCE gives me fond memories of Yul dancing barefoot with Deborah Kerr. Tis a puzzlement!

Anonymous 8:56 AM  

Horrible to have the obscure reveal depend on a kealoa—PTA or PTO. Attar or Attor?

pmdm 8:58 AM  

Even though I called the T three times and each time was told I would get a redelivery, I never got yesterday's magazine section. After reading about solvers' problems with the crossword software, I did not bother to try it out. At least they could tell me when they do not intend to deliver the crossword. It's irritating for the magazine section which contains other puzzles. Including one constructed by PB.

So today? My reaction is this: people who complain should complain about themselves, not the puzzle. I though the puzzle passed the Monday test in flying colors. Perhaps it's just me enjoying having the thing delivered again. Now on to other stuff.

Beezer 9:07 AM  

And by the way, whoever said late yesterday that Phrazle is easy is wrong or a genius. I do too many puzzles these days but Ive done it twice. The first was a short phrase and I think I was channeling some ESP. The one yesterday was tough and I barely got it solved. I would call shenanigans on yesterdays “phrase” (or, not really THE phrase most say) but life is too short.

RooMonster 9:08 AM  

Hey All !
TOO BAD FOR YOU, Rex, not liking this puz. The Themers were fun to uncover, regardless if you know who ATTAR is or not. Shouldn't have been tripped up on his name, as the crossers were pretty darn easy.

GRAY HUM seems to summarize OFL's write-up. For me , a HAPPY HUM.

Never had a CDL, so when I was a Limo Driver, couldn't drive a PARTY BUS. Thank Goodness. Driving loud, drinking people around is not my idea of fun.

As I was getting the Themers, thought there'd be a pronoun theme, or somesuch, with ME, YOU, WE. But it was a SHAM. 😁


yd -6, should'ves 3
Duo 36, missed 1-4-8-24 (grrrr on 24)

Two F's

JJK 9:19 AM  

Rex is being cranky today! THIS TOO SHALL PASS is perhaps a bit over-used these days, maybe because the world is going to hell in a handbasket, and we’re all hoping these dreadful events and situations shall pass. But I’ve always liked it and used it to comfort myself and others. And now I know where it came from! The poet ATTAR!

I had lighter before ASHTRAY and was recalling with horror the days when people actually smoked in their cars and tapped ash into the little tray and it would sit there and the whole little space smelled disgusting - ugh. Some people probably still do smoke in their cars.

Pete 9:23 AM  

I rarely regret having my coffee first thing in the morning, but not today. I was going to ask all of you who asserted that the crosses were fair for ATTAR why they didn't consider the kealoa of PTO, but that's been done. I would have defended myself with my one and only Persian Sufi poet as being RUMI but that's been done. All you damned early birds have stolen my thunder.

I considered saying that I only knew ATTAR as Farīd ud-Dīn, but you would all know I was just lying and copying from the Wiki.

I will defend ITALO Calvino, to a degree. I learned of him through xWord puzzles, but he is well worth knowing of and should be added to all reading lists.

No one ever says THIS TOO SHALL PASS when you tell them you're having a good stretch of luck, so yeah it's pointless tripe. In truth I have made more poor decisions when everything was going well and I thought I was invincible, remembering that is helpful when you're feeling invincible, but that's not how it is used.

Whatsername 9:24 AM  

Goodness, Rex seems to have had a side of crab with his breakfast this morning. I thought this was a better than average Monday and would have to think hard to find something to criticize. No I never heard of ATTAR but filling in the blanks for that answer couldn’t have been easier with the straightforward downs. Isn’t that how crosswords are supposed to work? I thought this had some particularly nice cluing especially on the long crosses. And the theme which seemed weak at first was pulled together beautifully with the revealer . . . right there in the very last line as God and @Frantic intended.

Thanks August. This was a very pleasant start to the week.

Lewis 9:25 AM  

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

1. Lines at the cinema? (6)
2. Green dispensers (4)
3. Longhaired star of 1950s TV (6)
4. Pays in the Alps? (6)
5. One of the few places where traffic is appreciated (4)


Pete 9:27 AM  

I rarely regret having my coffee first thing in the morning, but not today. I was going to ask all of you who asserted that the crosses were fair for ATTAR why they didn't consider the kealoa of PTO, but that's been done. I would have defended myself with my one and only Persian Sufi poet as being RUMI but that's been done. All you damned early birds have stolen my thunder.

I considered saying that I only knew ATTAR as Farīd ud-Dīn, but you would all know I was just lying and copying from the Wiki.

I will defend ITALO Calvino, to a degree. I learned of him through xWord puzzles, but he is well worth knowing of and should be added to all reading lists.

No one ever says THIS TOO SHALL PASS when you tell them you're having a good stretch of luck, so yeah it's pointless tripe. In truth I have made more poor decisions when everything was going well and I thought I was invincible, remembering that is helpful when you're feeling invincible, but that's not how it is used.

Lewis 9:28 AM  

This has nothing to do with today’s puzzle, but I think wordplay lovers, which many of you are, will appreciate this.

I looked up “Funk & Wagnalls” the other day in Wikipedia, curious to see if it is still in business. It is not. And in a box in one corner of the article is where I found a word that couldn’t be more perfectly used.

The box gave the vital facts about the company, and under the category “Status”, it said … DEFUNCT.

Anonymous 9:33 AM  

You do realize all you doom and gloom people, are the ones who voted this in? And yet, you still have blinders on. How wonderful.

Anonymous 9:34 AM  

Worked this while listening to the Tony nominations announcement, and it consequently seemed choppy to me. It's true that you can't really multitask.

I almost always learn something new when solving. I never knew the source of the subject phrase.

At least Rex said his animation block is his problem, not the puzzle's. It seems an odd block for someone whose academic field of interest is comic books

pabloinnh 9:42 AM  

I liked this one a lot, mostly because the revealer was exactly where it should be, and, I didn't see it coming. As others have pointed out, there's something double-edged about "This too shall pass", but I find it to be a generally useful outlook.

Have done enough crosswords to recognize Mr. REA and Ms. PEET so no trouble there, but MAYA as clued is still an IDK.

ASHTRAYS was a gimme, especially for those of us who used to ride around in cars with parents that smoked, or smoked ourselves. Often the cigarette lighter was right there too. Sometimes things change for the better.

No problem with OUTRO, as I've seen it often when looking up song lyrics and chords. Made me think of our church choir, where after practicing an introit I used to ask "What's the detroit?", which entered the choir lexicon, along with prelude and exlude.

Well done AM. Made for a very pleasant AM at my house, and thanks for all the fun.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 9:46 AM  

@jae 12:12 AM - What's "WOE"?

Carola 9:47 AM  

I was sure that it was a pronoun progression theme, from ME to YOU to some clever reveal, but instead there was a...TORCH??. So the true reveal was a double surprise, the phrase itself and the unknown-to-me poet. A fine Monday fake-out! I also enjoyed the PARTY BUS, TRASH ART, and ALL THAT + JOSEF and ITALO to go with ATTAR.

@Loren - ASH-TRAY - too good!

Mike in Bed-Stuy 9:52 AM  

@Harry 1:05 AM - Agreed about "This too shall pass." It's also a slogan in 12-Step culture. Knowing its origin sheds light, for me at least, on the connection with the George Harrison classic, "All Things Must Pass."

Peter P 9:54 AM  

This played medium for me (finished slower than average on my phone, but my phone solves are a good bit slower than desktop solves, due to my figuratively fat fingers. I don't understand how people type so fast on that little keyboard -- I've had iPhones since gen 1, and I still am constantly hitting letters to the side of the ones I mean to hit), even though I knew things like ITALO right off the bat. (Italo Calvino is, at least in my opinion, one of the most important writers of the 20th century.)

RAPCD had me audibly groaning for the reasons Rex mentioned: it's just an arbitrary adjective-noun phrase, not one established as a familiar unit in the language. It's no better than "rock CD" or "scifi DVD." It's just an arbitrary genre and an arbitrary medium. Fell completely flat for me.

Thank goodness I vaguely remembered Amanda PEET. I originally had PEEl in there, but then some neurons fired and reminded me of PEET, else I'd be naticked there with the REA cross. From the comments above, it seems like REA should be committed to memory for future 3-letter crosswordese.

@Lews (9:28) - Funk and Wagnalls! I grew up in the 80s, and here in Chicago, our local grocery chain Jewel (now of the Albertson group of supermarkets) would offer up a couple volumes of their encyclopedia every week. I remember eagerly looking forward to our Saturday morning grocery shopping for that week's volume, and watching my bookshelf slowly fill up. I would devour each book each week, reading what caught my interest. It was perhaps one of my parents' best investments for a curious mind like mine. It's amazing to think now that my kids have a huge swath of human knowledge and access to experts under their fingertips, almost anytime, anywhere. But there was something to having the knowledge apportioned to me in individual, discrete chunks that made me appreciate it even more.

CDilly52 9:57 AM  

Well, happy tough Tuesday! Yikes. Why clue ATTAR, a solid crossword answer all by itself when we are talking about rose petal ATTAR, and in fact, for a hot second, I was concerned that the last R was incorrect, but since nothing else worked for the colloquial “YER,” so be it.

OUTRO. The highlight for me because I had never encountered it before. While I had the OUTR_, and before reading the clue, I assumed the answer would be OUTRé, nut checking the down corrected it. I admit I looked the word up before I had completed the puzzle but am not counting it as a cheat simply because I was certain the answer was correct and my curiosity needed to be satisfied immediately. I do enjoy new words.

And that’s the high point. I have been wondering about the dedication of the NYTXW editing crew with early week puzzles, Monday and sometimes Tuesday lately. It seems to me that the goal is simply to have something to publish on Monday rather than devoting time and attention to polishing a Monday puzzle that will excite a solver, especially a new solver and garner a new subscriber for the NYT. It is, after all a business that requires revenue to succeed. Monday is the puzzle that can hook a new solver. Seems to me we have abundant clever and creative constructors hoping to get a first NYT byline. One would hope the editorial staff would want to devote energy to making every puzzle the most appropriate and entertaining for the day. And I freely admit I could be absolutely be full of it.

jberg 9:57 AM  

Just two days ago I was reading a piece in the NY Review of Books about the 20th-century Iranian poet Farrokhzad (I'd like to see her in a crossword), which implied that the only Iranian poets generally know were Rumi and Hafiz. That was twice as many as I knew about, so ATTAR had to come entirely from crosses -- after all, it could have been ATTAk, for example. But they were fair enough. (@Son Volt and others, it's true that New England calls those groups PTOs, but the NY Times never does, so it's safe to go with the A. See also this song.)

OUTRO??? I get that it's a backformation from Intro, but why? If 'coda' had fit, I'd have died on that hill.

Since I don't remember his surname, I wondered while solving if this was the August who used to blog here the first Monday of each month, but I guess somebody would have mentioned it if it were the case.

Tom T 9:58 AM  

Got a chuckle from Pete's "no one ever says THIS TOO SHALL PASS when you're having a run of good luck." Made think of another saying with similar limitations: "If that's the worst thing that happens to us today, we'll be alright." It works ok if the school bus breaks down mid-route, but not well if at if the bus is destroyed by a meteor.

Loved the ASHTRAY/TRASH catch, LMS.

Learned that percolate is synonymous with SEEP, although it makes perfect sense. I went confidently with brEw, which took some untangling.

jberg 10:00 AM  

Who do you call when your chariot breaks down?


That's a grid-spanner; here's another one

Where do you go for a soda in Italy?


Not perfect -- one has 'the,' the other doesn't. But I offer these as potential theme material for one of you constructors.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 10:03 AM  

@ncmathsadist 6:10 AM and others - re: "irksome" - Perhaps, but both are prominent actors, and "The Crying Game" was a groundbreaking film on several levels—trans actor Jaye Davidson playing a trans character long before trans gender had the visibility it does now; iconic turn for Forest Whitaker as a straight man (before the term "cisgender" became as widely used as it is now) in love with a trans woman.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 10:06 AM  

@Zed 7:04 AM - re: "My guess is that if anyone knows just one thing about Sufis it is not ATTAR, but rather they have heard the term Whirling Dervish" - I think the name "Rumi" is common knowledge, even if one knows nothing more about him than that he is an ancient Persian poet.

A 10:18 AM  

Decided to solve with only across clues, so I wouldn’t have any hints for the themers. Glad I did, because I enjoyed this a lot more than @Rex. Perfectly HAPPY to learn, or maybe relearn, ATTAR.

@Harry, I agree that THIS TOO SHALL PASS is comforting. Best wishes for your wife's continued recovery!

@Loren, hand up for trying to PASS THE baton. And love the Pig Latin! My ’98 Saab has an ASHTRAY which I only use for TRASH.

@Lewis, now I want to listen to the Quartet of Last Rounds!

@albatross, maybe a ride on a super yacht?

As I was thinking, “Hey, @Nancy liked a car clue!” I noticed the clue said "vehicle," so it really could also be a train or a plane. I remember when smoking was finally banned on planes. So HAPPY THAT PASSed. says OUTRO is from the 1960s. They also have several colorful examples of use in a sentence. ‘The most impressive moment is the vaudeville-esque outro, fleshed out with seemingly decaying accordions.’

Shall we dance, or keep on moping?
Shall we dance and walk on air?
Shall we give in to despair?
Or shall we dance with never a care?

Canon Chasuble 10:26 AM  

The fill was dead easy. Quickest answer was “Bruno” because my grandson got a Bruno T-shirt for his 7th. Birthday yesterday.
What took longer was wondering why I wasted time on this puzzle in the first place.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 10:32 AM  

@Southside Johnny 7:53 AM - I come back to my longstanding defense of what some in this community call PPP. It's knowledge, like any other kind of knowledge, like the names of tools, for example, which no one seems to question as fair fodder for crossword entries, or sports references, or any other category of knowledge. If you are familiar with it, it's "common knowledge"; if you are not, it's execrable PPP.

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

@Rex - "We Don't Talk About Bruno" hit No. 1 on Billboard's Global 200 Chart, surpassed "Let It Go" in number of weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, and drew over 100 million streams on Spotify. Just saying! ;-)

Mike in Bed-Stuy 10:34 AM  

@Twangster 8:13 AM - Re: songs inspired by "This too shall pass," I'm quite sure George Harrison's classic "All Things Must Pass" ultimately derives from the same source.

mathgent 10:36 AM  

I was sitting with my teen-age grandson at our Mothers' Day lunch yesterday. I complimented him on getting Wordle in four, it took me five. The word was CANNY. It's not common so I asked him how he knew it. He said that he didn't but that he did know "uncanny" and figured that it was its opposite. Not quite. CANNY means shrewd and "uncanny" means beyond shrewd, bordering on the supernatural. "Uncanny" is rare, an un word that is not the opposite of the original. Are there many others?

Joseph Michael 10:38 AM  

THIS TOO SHALL ANNOY seems to be Rex’s mantra today. I couldn’t disagree more like with his conclusions. This was a gem of a Monday. Trickier than usual and fun to solve.

With the first themer ending in ME, the second ending in YOU, and the third with a WE in the middle, I was sure that the theme had something to do with pronouns. So, I was thrown for a loop when PASS THE TORCH fell into place. Had a welcome AHA! when I finally got to the revealer and uncovered the actual theme.

I do know about Sufis but was not familiar with ATTAR the poet. I knew the word only as a fragrant oil and knew that only from crosswords, so I learned something in the process.

Favorite fill: ALL THAT

Whom you might meet on the PARTY BUS in addition to IRA, the financial advisor: AXEL, the bus driver; PAT, the TSA Agent; LILY, the florist; and BOB, the sailor.

JD 10:42 AM  

@jberg, Tower of Babel took a nano sec, but HAR! Another HAR for for @MuseSmith Ashtray, Trashy.

A lot to love here. Had to choose an intro/outro from the music equivalent of clip art last year for a podcast I was producing (painful), read Italo Calvino's The Baron in the Trees (and so should you Rex) a million years ago, able to dig deep for Josef with a couple crosses, and thank you Pres. Kennedy for, "The torch has passed to a new generation of Americans..." (a great speech if ever there was one).

The obvious BRB/Bruno held me back, but I like it.

Right over the plate. Thanks August.

Peter P 10:47 AM  

@ANonymous (10:33) - I forgot to bring that up. "We Don't Talk About Bruno" is definitely a huge cultural phenomenon. During the winter, it seemed I could move a few feet without hearing someone make a reference to it. I haven't seen Encanto yet (and I LOVE animated films, especially anything Pixar puts out; a bit less big on Disney films, I must say.) If you're not at least giving something like Inside Out or Up or Incredibles (particularly 2) or Ratatouille a chance, you are missing out on some wonderful storytelling, humor, and visuals.

SouthsideJohnny 10:50 AM  

@Mike - Your thoughts have merit. My issue is not so much PPP per se, but more so with arcana (while conceding that one person's arcane may be another's wheelhouse). With word play involved you may be able to parse something together that makes sense in light of the clue (like ELUDE or EVADE for "get away") - which is, in my opinion, a more enjoyable solving experience than "you know it or you don't" entries like the smallest moon of Neptune or the Name of Zeus' second cousin twice-removed.

Peter P 10:59 AM  

@mathgent (10:36) Speaking purely of un- words, the pairs "thaw/unthaw" and "ravel/unravel" come to mind.

Anonymous 11:00 AM  

Wow, Rex really hates this pretty innocuous and often apt phrase. The degree of dustaste is more puzzling than the reveal was

Aelurus 11:07 AM  

I purposely solved this as a non-themer, not reading the clue for 67A when the app lit up the grid. When the downs alone (hi, @okanaganer, @chefwen, @A) revealed ATTAR, it just seemed to me to be the perfume oil. When I finished I looked for the theme and figured it was...aha!...pronouns: there’s ME, YOU, WE, and, um, HE, the latter as part of a word? Then read the revealer, LOL, and was enlightened. Like @Nancy 8:37, hope it’s true.

@Loren 4:11 – TRASH crossing its pig latin ASHTRAY; loved it, thanks!

@Lewis 9:28 – DEFUNCT, that's wonderful.

@CDilly 9:57 – me too, OUTRO unknown and was glad to learn it.

JC66 11:18 AM  

WOE = What On Earth (the gentleman's WTF).

Karl Grouch 11:22 AM  

And it won't be remembered.

Aelurus 11:22 AM  

@Loren 4:11 - Forgot to mention how much I smiled at your reflections on "-ed," especially the clever "stoop-ed" wrap-up.

Whatsername 11:30 AM  

@Mike the Bed-Stuy Guy (9:46) Since no one else has answered your question, WOE means “what on earth?” The polite cousin of WTF.

@mathgent (10:36) “an un word that is not the opposite of the original. Are there many others?” Great question and I have not been able to come up with any. But I think your grandson is brilliant. ☺️

Showing my age here but comments today reminded me of the old Laugh-In TV show: “Look that up in your Funk & Wagnalls!”

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:38 AM  

@SouthsideJohnny 10:50 AM - Agreed. I'm a newbie to the nuances of crossword construction. My understanding is that Monday is not the day for wordplay-based clues. Is that correct? If so, then Monday puzzles need to be mostly what one might call "Jeopardy" clues, i.e., 1A clue: Pace set by a metronome - entry: (What is) TEMPO. I see how that does not mean you need to overuse PPP (pop culture, product names and other proper nouns). I see how one could choose to focus on common nouns instead, as well as the other 7 parts of speech (pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections). Does the solver community, or you personally, have a sense of how much PPP is within the bounds, generally speaking? Or as you say, maybe it's a matter of balancing more-common versus less-common knowledge. Rambling here, admittedly, but I'm interested in starting to construct, so I need to think and learn about these things.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:41 AM  

@Whatsername 11:30 AM - Thanks, I needed that WOE explanation. And many a kudo (sic) to you for Laugh-In reference! Here come the judge! Sock it to me!

Anonymous 11:46 AM  

I do the 'Daily News' puzzle on Sunday, since we (sometimes!) get the NYT delivered (not today, of course). So, of course, there was a clue (apprx.) 'what's a beezer?' Never knew the word existed anywhere but as a semi-anon here. Urban dictionary traces to Northern Ireland. Like I would know that.

Greetings, Beezer.

Anonymous 11:54 AM  

Yes! Well said. Just because a pic is animated, that doesn’t reduce its quality. And every Pixar film is worth watching.
If the intro to Up doesn’t bring tears to your eyes, nothing will.

Masked and Anonymous 11:55 AM  

Passable theme. Was this ATTAR dude fragrant and oily?

no-knows: JOSEF. BRUNO. ATTAR. OUTRO. Vaguely knew ITALO from previous desperate xword spots.

staff weeject pick: BRB. Kinda also a know-no, but figured it out, thanx to ?RUNO needin to probably be BRUNO. Primo weeject stacks in the NW & SE.

Interestin choices for the THIS, TOO, SHALL, and PASS themer conclusions. Imagine many are possible. THISONESONATTAR woulda been neat.

sparkly bits: SUDOKU. LETSLIP. The ASHTRAY/TRASHART Pig Latin find by @Muse darlin. ROBOCOP.

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Ewe's mate} = RAM. More baa-sheep eazy-E, in a way.

Thanx for passin on the shiny coinage, Mr. Miller dude.

Masked & Anonymo6Us

The other M&A:

Mark 11:56 AM  

What On Earth

jae 11:57 AM  

@Mike in Bed .. - just got back to the blog and see that your question was answered.

Joe Dipinto 12:00 PM  

Well first of all, the Sufi poet's name is properly rendered as Attar of Nishapur. He had a new world archrival, the famed epigrammist Rose Pettell of Natick. They were known to engage in vicious transoceanic poetry slams.

The puzzle was kind of meh. I also thought the revealer phrase felt depressing, but I guess we can all pile into the PARTY BUS to help make "this" pass quicker.

••••••game talk••••••

I blew my Phrazle streak of 2s this morning. My second and third guesses mean exactly the same thing, I just thought of the wrong one first.

Phrazle 41: 3/6
🟩 ⬜🟩⬜ ⬜⬜⬜

🟩 🟩🟩🟩 ⬜⬜⬜

🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩

@bocamp – agree on the triangulation Globle technique. Like: if your first two guesses are beige countries that are distant from each other but sort of aligned vertically, move your longitude far to the other side, and your latitude to somewhere between them. Or if you get two beiges aligned horizontally, change your latitude to the opposite hemisphere, etc.

The worst is when it's a tiny island somewhere in Oceania or the Caribbean or wherever. Who knows the names of all those and where they are specifically? And you can barely see them on the globe.

You might also like WORLDLE, where you have to recognize a disembodied country shape. I usually get these on the first guess (I was an atlas nerd). On a wrong guess it tells you how many miles away you are, and in what direction the Secret Country is from your guess. It has a list of acceptable names that you can sort of browse. It also gives you the option to have the image randomly rotated, or to have it hidden completely, neither of which I've tried. Here again though, the tiny island countries are ridiculous. Sometimes I cheat with those. :-)

SouthsideJohnny 12:09 PM  

@Mike - @Zed has monitored the PPP levels for some time now and his results reflect a large sample size. If I remember correctly, PPP below 30% (by word count) is infrequently encountered (at least in the NYT), 30-34% would be about average, and 35%+ and we will have a bunch of "wheelhouse" comments (pro and con) here. If he drops by today, hopefully he can add some additional color or correct me if my recollection is fuzzy.

The think that many, if not most who post here frequently would agree, that the more difficult/unknown/obscure the PPP entry is, the more important that the crosses be more straightforward and fairly clued.

JonP 12:31 PM  

100% agree. People saying the crosses are easy. Are they? I assumed it might be Attar, a person I have never heard of, but Attor seems also plausible.

Teedmn 12:52 PM  

That I didn't DNF on this mostly easy Monday puzzle is no thanks to me or the puzzle, just sheer luck.

First was BRB crossing BRUNO; I didn't know the text phrase off the top of my head and guessed at BRUNO with _RUNO in place. Only then did I get Be Right Back = BRB.

Then, after filling in 40D, 59D, 60D and 61D I looked at _TTAR, threw in ATTAR, went up one for IRATE, confirmed with CHIA and finished filling in the SW. Then I took a look at the theme answers and thought, what on earth? Only after I went to xwordinfo did I find that ATTAR was the revealer which would have explained all if I'd read the clue. Har.

August Miller, thanks for the laugh!

bocamp 12:57 PM  

Solved the cARAT vs KARAT kealoa some time ago, thinking of the 'K' in Fort Knox for gold purity.

Enjoyed watching Amanda Peet in the 'The Whole Nine Yards'.

This Land is Your Land ~ WOODY Guthrie

@Joe Dipinto (12:00 PM)

Agreed; lots to learn in Oceania & the Caribbean!

WORLDLE sounds like a perfect complement to Globle; will give it a go! :)

My first thot for Phrazle entry 2 was this but, luckily one of the letters had been eliminated.
td pg: 13:21 / W: 2* / WH: 4

Phrazle 41: 2/6
🟩 ⬜⬜⬜ ⬜⬜🟨
🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩

Peace 🙏 🇺🇦 ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

pabloinnh 1:04 PM  

Hey @Lewis- You know who's DEFUNCT?

Buffalo Bill's DEFUNCT.

So says e e cummings, and you can look it up.

Lewis 1:21 PM  


Buffalo Bill ’s
who used to
ride a watersmooth-silver
and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat

he was a handsome man
and what i want to know is
how do you like your blue-eyed boy
Mister Death

Wanderlust 1:24 PM  

I think you and I are the only two people on this blog who have ever defended PPP.

Beezer 1:28 PM  

@anonymous 11:46…🤣…I am happy to learn that! Actually my blog moniker is a a total bastardization of elements of my name that a few close friends took to calling me (affectionately). And thanks for calling me a “semi-anon.” 🤣

A 1:48 PM  

@Joe D, @bocamp, thanks for the Globle/Worldle plugs. Tried both - my knowledge of geography needs work, but it was fun. The Globle site was overheating my laptop, though. And Worldle didn't recognize my 2nd guess - wrong language. Too bad because it was close. I'd've never guessed the answer anyway.

Looks like we just get the one phrazle today.
Phrazle 41: 2/6
⬜ 🟪⬜⬜ ⬜⬜⬜

🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩

Unlucky first guess. Held my breath and crossed my fingers on guess 2. :-) Glad I didn’t think of yours, @bocamp!

Anonymous 1:49 PM  

Read Invisible Cities!

pabloinnh 1:52 PM  


Big cummings fan here.

okanaganer 2:03 PM  

@bocamp: Kamloops is where I grew up. It was very blue collar / industrial back then; much more urbane now, with a university and downtown condos and everything. Last June it got to 47°C (117°F) there!

[Spelling Bee: yd pg -1, missed this word and HOW COULD I HAVE MISSED THAT?]

okanaganer 3:11 PM  

[Try this again... missed this word.]

Joe Dipinto 3:21 PM  

@A – There's another Phrazle now.

Back on track!

Phrazle 42: 2/6
🟪⬜⬜⬜ 🟪🟪⬜ ⬜⬜⬜⬜🟨⬜⬜

🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

(My first guess is a phrase from the same source as yesterday afternoon's solution. Or more accurately, the second half of a phrase therefrom.)

Anonymous 3:30 PM  

I think the origin is romantic, not trite. The fable retold by FitzGerald can be traced to the first half of the 19th century, appearing in American papers by at least as early as 1839.[3] It usually involved a nameless "Eastern monarch". Its origin has been traced to the works of Persian Sufi poets, such as Rumi, Sanai and Attar of Nishapur.[3] Attar records the fable of a powerful king who asks assembled wise men to create a ring that will make him happy when he is sad. After deliberation the sages hand him a simple ring with the Persian words "This too shall pass" etched on it, which has the desired effect to make him happy when he is sad. It also, however, became a curse for whenever he is happy.[3]

kitshef 4:27 PM  

@Pete 9:23 (and 9:27) - a little knowledge can be a wonderful thing. I have never heard of PTO used in this context, so as far as I was aware PTA was the only option. Now, if only I can forget this discussion so I don't have to consider PTO next time.

Kevin C. 6:24 PM  

I assumed the "thought to have coined" was because we don't know if ATTAR's use of the phrase in his writing was original, or if he was quoting some even older poet/writer whose work has been lost.

Beezer 6:55 PM  

@Pete 9:23 (and @Kitshef response)…yeah, there seemed to be a time when PTO was “in use” and maybe it still is. When it cropped up I thought 🙄…um, organization v. association? I mean, WHY make it difficult to do crossword puzzles!? 🤣 Seriously though, why change a perfectly serviceable and non-offensive term? I always put PTA because, well, I think it has or eventually WILL win out in the end.

And btw…what a beautiful day in my neck of the woods. Watercolor class, garden nursery, and planting lovely flowers. It doesn’t get better!

albatross shell 8:28 PM  

@bo camp
I think that is the recording of Woody's that was lost for 50 years. It has the "private property" verse instead of the "no trespassing" verse. I was looking at an online interview with his daughter about his life in Greystone, NJ's drear asylum. He ended up there when he was arrested hitchhiking on the NJ one night with out ID and apparently drunk (or at least diseased). When he told them he was Woody Guthrie, singer and songwriter and author of Bound for Glory they diagnosed him as delusional and a few other things. Anyway they had a recording of him singing This Land with these verses (the last verse eludes my memory):

saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

I was thinking more along the lines of a movable orgy.

Geoff H 8:35 PM  

Major missed opportunity for 4D not to be clued as "A transport of delight"

FlexFit Hose, LLC 6:33 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mike in Bed-Stuy 9:39 AM  

@Wanderlust 1:24 PM - 😉

Joseph Michael 10:38 AM  

So now we know where the PARTY BUS from Monday’s puzzle was headed.

Fun puzzle with great themers, especially DRUNKEN CHICKEN, but I’m not sure how that OGRE managed to get in. Maybe that’s what the BULL is RAGING about.

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