Sound at the start of gentle and giant / MON 6-27-22 / Animal relative an astonished person may claim to be / PC shortcut for copy / Pageant whose hosts have included Bob Barker, Dick Clark and Steve Harvey

Monday, June 27, 2022

Constructor: Drew Schmenner

Relative difficulty: Slightly harder than the usual Monday (still Easy, relax)

THEME: SETTING SUN (31D: What glows in the west at the day's end ... or a hint to this puzzle's sequence of shaded [i.e. circled] squares) — letter string "SUN" appears in long Downs, near the top of the grid in the EAST and then descending with each subsequent themer, if you read the themers backward (i.e. right to left, or EAST to west).

Theme answers:
  • SUNNI ISLAM (11D: Predominant religion of Indonesia and Pakistan)
  • MISS UNIVERSE (9D: Pageant whose hosts have included Bob Barker, Dick Clark and Steve Harvey)
  • GPS UNIT (26D: Dashboard-mounted navigator)
  • MONKEY'S UNCLE (21D: Animal "relative" an astonished person may claim to be)
Word of the Day: "Perry MASON" (9A: "Perry ___" (classic legal drama)) —

Perry Mason is an American legal drama series originally broadcast on CBS television from September 21, 1957, to May 22, 1966. The title character, portrayed by Raymond Burr, is a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer who originally appeared in detective fiction by Erle Stanley Gardner. Many episodes are based on stories written by Gardner.

Perry Mason was Hollywood's first weekly one-hour series filmed for television, and remains one of the longest-running and most successful legal-themed television series. During its first season, it received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Dramatic Series, and it became one of the five most popular shows on television. Burr received two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, and Barbara Hale received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Seriesfor her portrayal of Mason's confidential secretary Della StreetPerry Mason and Burr were honored as Favorite Series and Favorite Male Performer in the first two TV GuideAward readers' polls. In 1960, the series received the first Silver Gavel Award presented for television drama by the American Bar Association. (wikipedia)

• • •

This was very much not for me, despite a couple of really lovely longer answers (SUNNI ISLAM, MONKEY'S UNCLE). I mentally checked out very quickly, after having a boatload of tired crosswordesey short stuff thrown at me right off the bat. I finished the NW (OLDE DDAY ALPO make it stop!) and by the time I hit SOFT G over NEAP I was like "oh I guess it's like this, then." Tired. I felt tired. Fast. Now, things definitely got better, or at least more interesting, from there, but the theme type is ancient (I swear I've seen this exact theme before), and despite the whole "accuracy" of the EAST to west movement of the SETTING SUN, the whole thing felt bassackwards. Yeah, the direction is OK, but somehow the visual here doesn't convey a *feeling* of accuracy. It doesn't exactly nail the look of a sunset, which means that what it does, mostly, is seem like a puzzle that's been built backwards. And while a few of the themers are sweet, most of the fill is not. And CTRLC made me want to shut everything down. You've got mainly tired fill, and the one bit of "new" short fill ends up being "new" in this wholly unlikeable way. Just a bleecccch of consonants. I don't use PCs, so the "shortcut" didn't register with me at all. CTRL-ALT-DELETE, that is a coherent thing. CTRL + random letter = arbitrary and weird. Plus, doesn't the "C" stand for "copy" ... which is in the clue ... I thought you weren't supposed to do that. Anyway, I fear people will think keyboard shortcuts are Great ideas for "new" short fill, and I'd really like to post- and preemptively register my disagreement with this premise. Also, MISS UNIVERSE, that really killed the vibe. "Which dated objectifying sexist bullshit pageant that no longer has any cultural relevance are we dealing with today!?" How are these shows still real? I would've thought their association with a certain sexual assailant / former president would've put them all safely in the Past Tense, but here we are. A real vibe-killer. I tried "MISS AMERICA" in there but it didn't fit. I do like that the puzzle is *trying* to do something original, though. It's more ambitious than most Mondays, and I'll take that over your typical 3/4-baked chuckle/groanfest. 

"ONEI" was awkward (33A: "That's ___ hadn't heard!"), as was the clue on OUTS (69A: On the ___ (unfriendly)). I guess "we're on the OUTS" = "we're unfriendly (toward one another)"!?!?! but it's not a great substitution. I think of the phrase being longer, i.e. "I'm on the outs with her" or something like that. As usual, I was unsure of ILSA v. ELSA. I was somehow able to teach myself AXLE v. AXEL long ago, but haven't been able to do the same with ILSA v. ELSA, probably because lots of different people (and movie animals) have those names. ELSA is the movie lion and ILSA is the movie love interest, but ILSA just sounds* more lion-y to my ears, so the distinction never takes. I wanted to RUB the lotion ON, not IN (27A: Apply, as lotion). And then the entryway to the SE corner (ELVIS) ended up being unclued, or, rather, ended up being the second part of a cross-reference (so essentially unclued: 52D: See 64-Across) (64A: "___ Las Vegas" (1964 film starring 52-Down) (VIVA)). All these little things, plus CTRLC, made the puzzle move somewhat slower than it usually does. What else? Oh, if MISS UNIVERSE didn't bum you out, then maybe not being able to pay your bills on time will (5D: Charge for an overdue payment = LATE FEE). Somehow it's worse when it's clued in relation to not paying your bills on time than it would be if it were just, like, library fines (which my local library actually did away with during the pandemic and, I assume, in perpetuity, god bless them). 

See you tomorrow.

P.S. please enjoy this crossword kitty photo from reader Jamie. I know I did.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:08 AM  

Medium. SUNNI ISLAM took some crosses and @Rex MISS america wouldn’t fit, hence lost nanoseconds. Nice assortment of SUN setting answers, liked it.

...and me too for RUB oN.

@bocamp - Croce’s Freestyle #720 was a bear. I worked on it of and on for two days. Looking back I’m really sure what made it so tough other than I got fooled more than once by the cluing. Good luck!

Joaquin 12:13 AM  

I thought this was way better than the typical Monday. Fairly easy, straightforward cluing, a few rare (or maybe first-time) entries, and a cool gimmick. Just perfect for a newbie and fun for the old-timers.

Gary Jugert 12:53 AM  

Quite a POSH puzzle. Not really. Too much junk, but thankfully light on stars that aren't stars.

And the Denver Avalanche won the Stanley Cup so we've probably got a bunch of numb skulls trying to burn our city down. It's an iffy city these days, so I guess it's fine.




MISS UNIVERSE. Gah. You might as well use BIG PILE OF HORSE POOP for your marquee answer. They're synonyms ... only one is honest about what it is.

On the OUTS does not mean "unfriendly." It might mean someone is being unfriendly to the person on the OUTS. Disgraced or lonely would've been better.

1 What happens when you leave Eric Idle in charge of the soundtrack.
2 This door brought to you by the good folks at Mega-Financial Corp.
3 A little too honest indexed fund PR slogan.ΔΎ
4 Warning sign at an Asian market when grandma runs the register.
5 Estonian chocolate coins.


jae 2:39 AM  

@bocamp - that should read ..not really sure... and, on further examination, the 3 stack in the center also took a lot of staring.

Tony M 3:50 AM  

Our LAST dog wouldn’t eat canned food but mom would transfer ALPO into MASON jars when he wasn’t looking and serve it NESTed on a few PENNE from dinner or maybe sprinkled with SESAME seeds and he’d lap up every last MORSEL. He’d sometimes dip his paw PADS into his EAU bowl thinking he was at some fancy SPA. That PUP sure thought he was POSH. ARES was his name. Winter nights he’d sit by the FIRE place until he was hot as a MONKEY’S UNCLE! I swear he’d turn to ASH if he didn’t get up once in awhile to cool off. One time ARES got into a hornet’s NEST, INCURring the wrath of a thousand SETTING SUNS. You could hear his cries ECHO through the house as he HAULed in from OUTSide. My brother MIKE and I were playing CHECKERS at the time and dad said it looked like a scene from D-DAY, checkers flying everywhere.

When ARES died, we wrapped him in a TARP and buried him in a makeshift TOMB in the backyard facing EAST while Grandma played the THEME SONG to Lassie on the ORGAN. There he lies, in his little garden of EDEN.


Conrad 5:32 AM  

Just fine for a Monday. About 3/4 of PC users have Windows, so CTRL-C would be known to most of them. It’s not obscure at all, any more than a lot of familiar crossword words are. No objections, your honor.

Lewis 5:44 AM  

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

1. It may get worn out (6)
2. It may be applied to a single digit (4)(4)
3. X, maybe, in Spanish (4)
4. Course pro? (4)
5. "Macbeth", but not "Hamlet" (4)


Zed 5:57 AM  

Not feeling the love for SUNNI ISLAM. Is there a SUNNI Christianity? A SUNNI Buddhism? A SUNNI Wicca? That answer has real GPS UNIT energy.

Helios 6:02 AM  

Odd. Since we had EAST as a down in the southeast corner, I was expecting a WEST as a down in the far west. Instead, we had IM UP and ACME - each a sort of opposite of a sun that has set. Something off about that- to me, anyway.

JD 7:00 AM  

If Elon Musk ever colonizes Mars will one of his denizens gain Entry to the Miss Universe pageant? She’d have to leave real early to get there. Miss Mars ladies and gentlemen! Let’s hear it! Watching pageants would be bad for my self-esteem so I don’t do it. I work out at the YMCA early on weekdays where everyone is my age or older and Checkers is an aerobic exercise.

The British Posh is more fun than the American Posh. Such a hateful word there. Good start for a puzzle (yeah Septa, I’m lookin’ at you).

Do TV shows have catchy TV Theme Songs these days or are they a lost art? On a tour bus in Hawaii about 30 years ago some Germans belted out a folk tune and we Americans responded with the theme from Gilligan’s Island.

South was more fun than north in this puzzle, but the East/West thing was very cool. Liked it.

kitshef 7:10 AM  

This could be exhibit A for those thinking the puzzles are getting easier. This has to be the least challenging puzzle the NYT has ever published.

I have to think with EAST in a prominent corner slot, the original design for this had WEST, too.

Lewis 7:10 AM  

Hah! My mind did a little moonwalk as I looked over this sun-themed puzzle after filling it in. First, I looked at it left-to-right (as I usually approach text) and saw that sun rising up, but then my eyes backtracked to watch it set. Maybe Saturday’s answer ALEPH was a subtle preparatory reminder that there are things in this world (like Hebrew) that move in a right-to-left fashion.

It felt to me as if this puzzle was brought to us by the direction EAST, which balances off the sun’s western movement, is properly placed on the eastern edge, and, as a Steinbeck bonus, is right next to EDEN.

I liked KEY crossing ENTRY and TERSE crossing VERSE. The answers EAU and ENTRY make me think of Watergate. And my favorite answer, MUSIC SCENE, is a NYT puzzle debut.

What a lovely setting to start the day! Thank you for making this, Drew.

kitshef 7:13 AM  

@Zed - well, unlike GPS UNIT, SUNNI ISLAM has it's on Wikipedia page. Also, NGram really likes it

SouthsideJohnny 7:47 AM  

I enjoyed the way that the constructor crossed ELVIS with one of his movies. I wonder if there is a kernel of a theme idea in there somewhere.

Rex, just because no one watches MISS UNIVERSE anymore doesn't mean it needs to be cancelled (culture-wise). Dude, you really should consider giving it a rest. The daily virtue-signaling is beneath you and totally unnecessary. We trust you - we know that you are enlightened and a true man of the people.

I noticed the center section is where ILSA,IGOR,IVAN and MIKE tend to congregate - I'll bet they are quite a crew (well three of them at least, since MIKE is a type of candy).

Nancy 7:47 AM  

An easier puzzle I can't possibly imagine, but despite that, it was quite lively and pleasant to solve. I loved MONKEY'S UNCLE and the way it was clued and I found MUSIC SCENE, MORSELS and NAMESAKE to be colorful and unusual answers. I also liked the fact that the most interesting fill was in the Down answers -- appropriate when your theme is SETTING SUN.

Once I had my first two "SUN"s, I knew that SETTING SUN would be the revealer. I was 100% sure of that, but where was the clue? Oh, there it is! I was looking at the Across clues and didn't see it at first.

I think this is a nice puzzle for a novice solver. Even for jaded old me, it produced a pleasant glow.

albatross shell 8:10 AM  

Nice collection of I-NAMES for whosoever's SAKE: IVAN IGOR (Rudy's Ukranian friends?) ILSA IAN and multiple IRAS.

Something sweet about the far North center. TOMB ASH ASH LAST LATEFEE have a near connectiveness.

I enjoyed the setting SUN. It would have been nice if we could have an silent or invisible SUN below the horizon at 53 D. Maybe clued:
You're down but ___.


Anonymous 8:25 AM  

FYI, ELSA isn't the lion, she's the magical ice queen who notably sings "Let it Go." NALA is the lion. Understandable crosswordese confusion.

Diane Joan 8:34 AM  

@JD Your story about singing the theme for Gilligan’s Island on the tour bus made me chuckle. My family and I had a similar experience on a tour bus in Italy. The South African tourists on the bus broke out into a hearty national song of some sort and then it was our turn. We looked at each other and decided to give a rendition of the only national song we all knew from start to finish that didn’t require any perfect pitch. It was “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”. All the passengers loved it!

Clay 8:43 AM  

I agree completely with Rex about the visual aspect of the setting sun. When you are watching the sun set, you are looking west, right? And if you live in the northern hemisphere, as the sun is setting in the west, it moves from left to right, not the other way around. To make sense (and also fit with 59 down), the answer to 31 down should have been "a rising sun" (with all the other changes in cluing and other answers that would have required).

Ed Rorie 8:54 AM  

Too easy even for a Monday. It belongs in one of those game books for sale in hospital gift shops.

Carola 9:03 AM  

I'm with @Nancy 7:47. Besides the pleasures she mentions, I also enjoyed the nod to the MUSIC SCENE with THEME SONGS, ELVIS, IGOR, and Chubby CHECKER (well, almost). And I really liked the pairing of MONKEY'S UNCLE and MISS UNIVERSE - quite a couple. Very easy Monday but elegantly done and with a nice touch of wit.

Son Volt 9:03 AM  

I see no issue with the path of the SETTING SUN. The grid restrictions due to the theme give us all the short glue - it does make for a disjoint solve. MONKEES UNCLE and the ELVIS cross were nice. ISLAM seemed redundant and there were a lot of plurals as placeholders. Didn’t care for the IM UP - ITS ME combo.

Always my favorite TV THEME SONG

Cute theme - but clunky Monday solve.

RooMonster 9:08 AM  

Hey All !
Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me

Neat little puz. I agree with @Clay 8:43 that Rising SUN would've been better, but 1) it may have been done before, and 2) it wouldn't actually work well, as SUN would still be at the bottom of the puz. Maybe SUN ALSO RISES, clued " with "the""?

Still enjoyable. Agree it was easy, but typical easy here, not record-setting easy. Neat looking Blockers in the middle.

They say the new ELVIS movie is quite good. It should (did?) unseat TOP GUN II as Top Dog. 😁 Surprised Tom Cruise is still so popular. Didn't he do something recently that people didn't like? At least he didn't slap someone...

SELFIE, ITS ME, NAMESAKE - lots of Me stuff in here. Where's EGO?

yd -4, should'ves 2

Two F's

hieutonthat 9:16 AM  

“Year, in Buenos Aires?” AΓ±o without the tilde is a much different word. Take it from someone who’s made that mistake (on a wedding invitation)!

Zed 9:17 AM  

@kitshef - It’s all about the comparison points. Which suggests something about those other answers you picked

Phaedrus 9:18 AM  

Islamic volleyball player; Setting Sunni?

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

@Joaquin Couldn’t agree more!

pabloinnh 9:33 AM  

Easy Monday, solved mostly with acrosses, bang, done. Maybe someone could construct a puzzle with a circled S in the SE corner gradually increasing letter by letter and moving E to W to SUNNY in the center of the top and then decreasing letter by letter until a final S in the SW corner. Probably not though.

Descriptions of people singing on buses always reminds me of "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles when a song is called for, and Steve Martin tries "Three Coins in A Fountain", not well received. Our hero John Candy saves the day with "Flintstones! Meet the Flintstones!". Man of the people.

No chance to comment yesterday (I did like the puzzle), but wanted to give a shout out to whoever it was that emailed me personally to recommend the WSJ crosswords, who use the add-a-letter gimmick quite often. I've enjoyed their puzzles, sorry I don't have a name to go with my thanks.

Solid enough Mondecito, DS. Didn't Strain a brain muscle on the way through, but fun enough, for which thanks.

Nancy 9:36 AM  

@Lewis (5:44) -- So they both appeared less than 3-4 days ago, right, but even so, I didn't remember the answers to either #1 or #2. Boy do I hate when that happens!!!

pmdm 9:49 AM  

Perhaps the shaded squares (at least in the paper) seemed a bit easy, since I understood the concept early on and filled in all the blank squares without reading the clues. Nevertheless I liked the puzzle, even though I did not like flooding it with PPP. Perhaps the make of a new constructor. But at leat one who is original in a good qay.

Comment to Joe from yesterday (which makes no sense without reading my comment from yesterday): I was thinking of 14th Street. Stupid me. By the way, I attended as PDQ Bach contest once in Symphony Space. The program booklet published a seemingly random series of numbers and asked what the next number in the series was. Why, the next uptown station on the #1 line of course.

Beezer 9:55 AM  

Well I’ll be a MONKEYSUNCLE this was a fine offering for a Monday. Also, did anyone mention that Victoria Beckham was POSH Spice?

@Anonymous 8:25, @Rex is referring to the Non-cartoon lion in the movie Born Free.

RDuke 9:55 AM  

Victoria Beckham NÉE Adams, also known as POSH Spice.

K Carson 10:00 AM  

The kitty in the photo appears to be very well behaved. Mine on the other hand, can't resist jumping up on the table and walking across the keyboard as I work the puzzle. This results in an avalanche of qqqqqqqqqq's and a multitude of other letters that have to be hunted down and deleted. This is why (ahem) my solve times are always so high.

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

Apparently no one here does the puzzle, reads the paper, in Dead Trees form. The Page 2 'Inside Baseball' report explains how to solve the puzzle. Why would they do that?

Anonymous 10:09 AM  

I guess the King forgot about the several "Perry Mason" movies that were made back when Raymond Burr was just a wide-eyed teenager. . . Oh, and I guess the King didn't realize that the Miss Universe pageant is STILL one of the most popular programs EVERY year, with OVER 500 MILLION viewers in OVER 190 countries. Good Day.

burtonkd 10:18 AM  

It was nice to have that extra little bite on a Monday. Skipped INURE the first go, thinking "nah, not on Monday". Similarly thought brusque would be "rough": friendly letters outweighed Monday to get TERSE.

For the lotion, I was looking for some kind of daub on. I believe you daub it on, then RUB it IN, so it doesn't wash or sweat off, leaving you with a mottled (not golf) tan.

Clay, Rex et al: Since we read left to right, I agree that without further context, the sun looks like it is rising. With the further context, "west" is on the left side of a map or page, so it works. No further thought or trips to the north pole necessary.

Looks like Rex is back today, after the uncredited pleasant guest blogger last week:)

@anon 8:25, while NALA is good to remember, ELSA is also the name of a lioness featured in the 1966 movie "Born Free", as well as the snow princess. Thanks for prompting me to look up something:)

I sure hope "Tedioussunsets" is ironic. If so, hilarious; if not, really sad.

TV theme songs now? Seems like they are generally instrumental. The Office is recognizable in probably 2 notes, definitely 3. Most prestige TV features slide guitar and dark sonorities. Game of Thrones is very recognizable. I tried singing "Stranger Things" over the phone, and realized all I could do was give a general impression.
Here's hoping Joe DiPinto will weigh in.....

thfenn 10:19 AM  

Hand up for being thrown off by the setting SUN - first reaction was "that doesn't look right" but then I realized that the way I wanted it to look would have it going down to the SE, also obviously wrong.

My first reaction to @Rex's "the C stands for Copy" problem was no, unless we agree that Z stands for Undo, X stands for Cut, and V stands for Paste. Always thought it was just coincidence - at best a convenient way to remember the function, because the function assignment had everything to do with the ZXCV sequence on a QWERTY keyboard. But it turns out that you can make that case: Visually the Z represents "go, back up, go again" (Undo), X is an understood symbol for 'delete', C stands for 'copy', and the V is an inverted caret for 'insert'. Thought this was interesting:

Anonymous 10:47 AM  

Agree that the sun seems to be rising rather than setting.

bocamp 10:49 AM  

Thx, Drew; fine SUNny Mon. puz to start the solving week! :)


Breezed thru this one.

On my wavelength all the way.

All the themers evoked fond memories.

Another enjoyable romp. :)


Thx, on it! Got nothing better to do for next couple of days! lol
yd pg -1 (having a tough time on today's) / 34

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

GILL I. 10:55 AM  

Well, I kinda like THEME SONG and MUSIC SCENE and ELVIS singing VIVA Las Vegas. ILSA, IGOR and IVAN can do an ORGAN number at the opening of the MISS UNIVERSE pageant. Trump will crown the winner and invite her up to his whatever place and after the SUN sets, everyone will clap and sing his THEME: "Kumbaya My Lord....Kumbaya." Speaking of:
I also like MONKEYS UNCLE and then I got to thinking: "Who came up with THAT one?" Evidently the very idea that people descended from apes was horrifying and even blasphemous. This from Darwin. So somewhere in Texas a newspaper started making that sarcastic remark and it caught on. Has anyone ever seen the Three Stooges film "I'm a MONKEY'S UNCLE? There's even a MONKEYS UNCLE SONG sung my Annette Funicello. Isn't this fascinating?
The theme was fine...I'm sure someone who is just starting out would clap and dance after finishing setting the SUN.

Nancy 10:59 AM  

I never watched either "The Jeffersons" or "Friends", so I not only didn't know those songs were THEME SONGS until the answer came in, but I had no idea which shows they were attached to. After waiting in vain for someone here to identify them, I just Googled them.

Yes, I like your favorite THEME SONG choice quite a bit, @Son Volt, but it's not the best one IMHO. This is the best one!!!

Anonymous 11:01 AM  

Miss Universe bums you out? I feel sorry for you Rex.

albatross shell 11:12 AM  

Since we all agree that the SUN sets in the West and we all agree the left side of the puzzle is the West and the right side is labeled EAST, I think we all should be able to agree all is copesetic as far as a SETTINGSUN is concerned.

mathgent 11:18 AM  

Uvalde has a public school enrollment of 1300 and it has a police force. San Francisco has a public school enrollment of 60,000 and it doesn't have a police force. The city police provide service when needed. Is it common in Texas and across the country for school districts to have their own police forces?

Peter P 11:19 AM  

I'm with @kitshef on this one: one of the easiest Mondays, playing almost like a airline magazine crossword. I was on record pace working mindlesslessly until I lost about 20 seconds finding an error: I had Spam for SENT for "Certain email folder." As I look for errors by starting in the top left and this was on the bottom right, it took to the very end to find. The other brief hiccup was trying to remember whether it was CTRL-C or CntL-C. I should know this (hell, I could have looked down on my keyboard -- I use a Mac but a PC keyboard, which uses the abbreviation), but I went for the latter before quickly figuring two of the crosses didn't work.

As usual for early-week puzzles, I didn't even see the theme until I was finished.

Overall, a reasonable Monday and good introduction for new solvers.

Belvy 11:20 AM  

I'm sure you meant Hunter not Rudy

Unknown 11:22 AM  

To TONY M: Loved your entry. Brought me back to elementary school, where every Wednesday's homework was to use at least 10 of the 25 week's spelling words in a story. Too bad you weren't my friend back then.

burtonkd 11:34 AM  

For theme songs, I'm partial to this Quincy Jones classic!

Birchbark 11:40 AM  

Nice as the summer-solstice sunset photo is, this puzzle depicts a Minnesota (or nordic) sunset in the dead of winter when the days are very short. It sinks in the south x southwest. 11D would be due south at noon -- we slept too late to see the sun rise and climb.

For all of this to work, the observer is standing some distance behind the puzzle. Or in front, holding it to a mirror.

Joseph Michael 11:42 AM  

A pleasant Monday morning sunset.

Favorite answer was (Well, I’ll be a) MONKEY’S UNCLE which traces back to many sunsets ago when sarcastic skeptics first responded to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. I wondered why, of all the monkey’s family members, it was the uncle who became the butt of the joke. Then I remembered my own uncle and it all made sense.

If you like SUNNI ISLAM, be sure to read some Sunni poetry. Ancient MISSUNI VERSE offers many stirring insights into modern life.

Anonymous 11:43 AM  


"The indisputable fact is that where there are more guns, there are more gun deaths."

the moral of the story: if you want to avoid gun killings, live in communities without guns. the rest of the First World understands this factual correlation. the Radical Right Wingnuts won't. in most cases, these killings are among community members, ergo gun ownership encourages gun deaths. your neighbors are your enemies. and that, inevitably, leads to want to kill them.

Anonymous 11:47 AM  

Interesting comments about the direction of the sun. Being in the northern hemisphere we watch the sun in the south so west is on our right and east on the left. This puzzle would look better if you are from the southern hemisphere.

Mary McCarty 11:53 AM  

Yeah, this was an easy one (about half my average Monday time), but I think Rex should just stop commenting on Monday puzzles: “ boatload of tired crosswordesey short stuff thrown at me right off the bat. I finished the NW (OLDE DDAY ALPO make it stop!) and by the time I hit SOFT G over NEAP I was like "oh I guess it's like this, then." Yes, it IS like that: Mondays are for new solvers with OLDE-y but goodies like those he mentioned, in addition to ALPO’s partner IAMS, and other vowel-rich short words (EDEN, IGOR, IAN) and common foreign language words like EAU, and abbreviations (ACS, STE) and 2-word phrases (dooks): ITSME, IMUP, RUBIN. OTOH, ONEI looks weird to me too, and keeps me humble. Also happy not to see names of “celebs” I’ve never heard of, with minor exception of IVAN, which came through on the crosses, so no worries there. Lovely morning addendum to an exquisitely beautiful, joyous weekend of the long-postponed wedding of my older son. Great fun, great satisfaction; even the tears are happy!
(Hi Alec in Goleta! Lovely to see you again!)

Anonymous 11:55 AM  

anonymous 11:43
Nice rant. But mathgent asked a question about whether or not it's common for a school district to have its own police force. It's not only a fair question but one that I have too.
No need for your anti-gun rant. And you do know that by far the single biggest cohort within gun deaths is suicide right?

Gary Jugert 11:58 AM  

@Anon 10:09 You're conflating popularity with worthiness -- a common logical fallacy. @OFL said in effect it's morally reprehensible and by extension unworthy, while you said in effect it's popular and by extension worthy. By your argument, religion, fast food, soccer, Olivia Rodrigo, and click-bait websites are wonderful because they attract large crowds. Popularity is an easily manipulated data point. I watched an entire season of "Say Yes to the Dress" with my niece during lock down and while it's a popular show, it was utterly insipid. Every day on Earth is a beauty pageant anyway and it comes automatically without an orange predator if you're the least bit discerning on your media inputs.

Whatsername 12:19 PM  

Have to say I agreed with Rex today on the boring part. I almost didn’t finish because of it and of course Covid brain isn’t helping. However the whole thing was completely saved by the awesome SETTING SUN imagery. Very clever.

LOVE the crossword kitty picture. Thank you for sharing with us, Rex and Jamie.

I’m hearing rave reviews from those who’ve seen the new ELVIS movie.

oldactor 12:23 PM  

@hieutonthat: In Portuguese, year is ANO, no tilde. But do they speak Portuguese in Argentina?

Anonymous 12:28 PM  

Solved on auto-pilot.
It’s a nice one for a Monday.

JD 12:28 PM  

@ Diane Joan, A much better choice! The Germans probably had no idea what we were singing about.

Anonymous 12:35 PM  

Here's your answer regarding Texas school districts that have police forces.

chasklu 12:40 PM  

SunRISEs in the northern hemisphere go up and to the right. Sunsets go down and to the right. The sun reaches its APEX (had before ACME) closest to its zenith, in the south so east is on the left and west on the right.

Beezer 12:52 PM  

@mathgent, you raised an interesting question which led me to look into it a little bit myself. Apparently it is still relatively rare for A school to have a “police force” that includes “armed” individuals. This led me to look up the public high school that my children attended (approx 3,000 students) and found they have what they call “resource officers.” A state statute requires that any resource officer must have, among other things, successfully completed the minimum training requirements established for law enforcement officers under state statute.
So, I suspect that the high school I referred to has a “force” that consists of both armed “resource officers” and unarmed security personnel but the school district website did not say…yes, our resource officers are armed. @Zed could probably weigh in on whether this sounds right.
I’m not surprised that the SF school district would say they don’t have a “police force” but these days I would not be surprised if they have something like what I outlined above because that system very much depends on state/local law enforcement
It is good to hear from you again!

Masked and Anonymous 1:12 PM  

@kitshef: yep. Kinda like a MonPuz with training wheels on it.
M&A snickered audibly, at the moo-cow easy-E MonPuz clue pick: {Ye ___ shoppe} = OLDE.
NO ?-marker clues at all. Bleak, challenge-wise.
And yet, was kinda partial to the GPSUNIT centerpiece entry … has a sweet Ow de Speration fragrance to it.

Subtle theme of CTRLC, ONEI, SOFTG --> CIG, tho.
Also, appreciated the irony of all them shady SUN squares. ergo...
staff weeject pick: SUN in the shade. And welcome to SUNNIISLAM, where it's always Sunni, even inside.

fave stuff: ELVIS/VIVA shtick. MONKEYSUNCLE. NAMESAKE. USUAL. 10 U's [aided a lot by five SUNs].

In other news, fave national chant is now Abort the Court.
Also, yesterday M&A's coffeemaker started up blinkin a red "Clean" light. Sooo … M&A took himself a thorough shower last night … but the day-um light is still blinkin up a storm, this mornin. Not fair, world.

Thanx for the sUnny MonPuz, Mr. Schmenner dude. Schmoooth beyond belief -- with no nano-seconds harmed at all, during our solvequest.

Masked & Anonymo10Us


Sharon AK 1:14 PM  

VERY EASY Surprised at Rex's rating. Agree that visually it didn't look right to me. I never see a sun setting right to left.

@Zed 5:57 What are you on about?

Even though the answers seemed almost too obvious, many are fun. "monkey's uncle" for example.
I had to count the squares to decide if it would be America or Universe. Although I always found pageant shows rather boring I found Rex's rant ridiculous.

@ Birchbark I live north of Minnesota so tried hard to "see" what you were saying. Being farther north is all the more reason to say the sun does not set from right to left. Then you talked about being behind the puzzle. Yes. Then it would be setting Left to right as others have said.

Son Volt 1:40 PM  

@Nancy 10:59a - no question the Maverick theme definitely is one of the greats - unmistakable when you hear the first notes. Written by Paul Francis Webster who was already very successful in Hollywood and later wrote a favorite of mine - The Shadow of Your Smile.

Beezer 1:52 PM  

@mathgent…I see now that indeed SF schools do not have any armed security personnel and that “certain organizations” are demanding that they do. I’m not aware of any tragic school incidents there so they must be doing something right!

Anonymous 1:58 PM  

First time solving a NYT puzzle in under 5 - 4:58, to be exact. (Yes, I know, for Rex that’s a Friday time.) But the app has stopped giving me my score for the day in the stats. It still shows my average and my best. And, to my surprise, it updated my Monday best with today’s score. But it still doesn’t post the “this week” Monday score. Has this happened to anyone and if so, did you fix it, and if so, how?

I liked the puzzle well enough. As to THEME SONGs, my sibs and I (we all grew up in the ‘70s) decided that “The Jeffersons” song (“Movin’ On Up”) was the best theme song of our youth. “Three’s Company” (the one that starts “Come and knock on our door…”) was the worst. We didn’t rate “I’ll Be There For You” because it was not from our childhoods, but I despise it. In combination with all that smarmy mugging in the opening montage, I felt like it was telling us, “you know you want to be one of the FRIENDS, just admit it.” That said, the show was well written and acted.

Masked and Anonymous 2:00 PM  

@RP: Very cute krossword kitty pic. Thanx. And kitty's proudly showin us its solvequest in progress … and it ain't even today's puz! har! Spoiler Kitty!


Mike in Bed-Stuy 2:46 PM  

@Zed 5:57 AM - Surprised no one else has replied to this. The rationale for including ISLAM in the entry is not to distinguish SUNNI ISLAM from any other religions, but to distinguish SUNNI ISLAM from Shia ISLAM.

Anonymous 2:51 PM  

Anonymous 1:58.
I'll Be There for You is in fact the prefect song for Friends-- because it's as nauseating as the show was.

As a child of the 70's I'm a little surprised there was no mention of Welcome Back (from welcome Back Kotter) The Rockford Files theme, or the Theme from S.W.A.T. They all made the Billboard pop charts.

If you're a child of the early 70's Hawaii 5-0 might have put a smile on your face, Mission Impossible and Peter Gunn as well. Maybe the best of the bunch is peter Gunn ( Hope anonymous anti right winger isn't offended)

JC66 3:05 PM  

My favorite THEMESONG is The Lone Ranger.

egsforbreakfast 3:10 PM  

I’m not surprised that @Nancy is pushing the Maverick THEMESONG,as it is well-established (by her) that she had the hots for Brett Maverick. I would seriously like to know if there are specialized sources for the two or three note identifiers that are associated with, for example, streaming apps. Lots of other companies use them too. It’s more or less an electronic signature/logo that you hear each time you open that company’s app. If anyone knows where these come from, I’d like that info.

Somebody should write a book based on this puzzle. I’m pondering what the title would be and perhaps I’ve captured it with this one: The SUN Also Rises.

A MISSUNIVERSE is as good as a mileUNIVERSE.

Fun puzzle. Thanks Drew Schmenner.

burtonkd 3:29 PM  

@JC66 - kind of cheating to use Rossini, don't you think;)

@anon 2:51 - give yourself a name and take a victory lap for the last paragraph suggestions. I just heard WKRP in Cincinnati on Sirius radio - can't say I'm super fond of that or Welcome Back. Cheers has a nice one.

Anonymous 4:17 PM  


Joe Dipinto 4:18 PM  

@Anon 2:51 — Yes. In May/June of 1976 the themes from "Welcome Back Kotter", "Happy Days", and "Laverne & Shirley" ("Making Our Dreams Come True") were simultaneous Top-25-or-higher hits. The "S.W.A.T. Theme" was a couple of months earlier. I mostly hated AM radio that year. "Afternoon Delight", anyone?

I kind of liked this TV theme, at least with its Season 1 lyrics— the vibe was similar to the MTM theme (which also had different lyrics in its first season.)

Joe Dipinto 5:05 PM  

Almost forgot— Too bad the constructor's name isn't Drew Menner because then I could say:

This guy Menner thinks he can make a crossword puzzle? Menner, schmenner.

Anonymous 5:06 PM  

Joe D,
Lavin always felt (feels) like a try hard to me.
The lyrics are great, the song is good, but the coda with her doing what? Some cheap jazz cafe rip off? That’s wannabe city…
There must be an analogue for singers to what you’d call a ham on stage. If there is, surely you know it, and Lavin is it.

dgd 5:12 PM  

There was a (once?) famous movie called Born Free with a lion named Elsa. Generational thing perhaps.

JC66 5:23 PM  

@burtonkd 3:29


Yeah, but I grew up listening to it on the radio (then on TV) and it's still my favorite.

albatross shell 5:26 PM  

Don't forget the Mike Hammer theme song.

Then there is the Jean Shepherd Radio Show theme.

The Shepherd one is not great music, but thrills the heart of every Shpherd fan.

Unknown 5:33 PM  

I agree that the vibe of the puzzle was dated. Maybe that's appropriate now that the powers that be have set us back at least 50 years.

Zed 5:53 PM  

@SharonAK and @Mike in BED-Stuy - I probably should have included “Catholic Christianity” and “Methodist Christianity” in my list of absurd terms. SUNNI is sufficient by itself, you don’t need to add ISLAM because if you are SUNNI you follow ISLAM.

@Beezer has it right. The more common arrangement in my experience is for a large HS to have unarmed security (mall cops) and a liaison with the local police department, a “School Resource Officer.” The SRO may or may not have an office in the school. Personally, I was not in favor of on site police. Google the school to prison pipeline if you want to understand my opposition. Universities often have their own police departments, but I had not heard of a school district having their own police department. And @mathgent had one fact incorrect, the high school has about 1,300 students. The six officer police department is for the entire district. I didn’t see any enrollment numbers for the district, but I’d guess around 4,000 given that sized HS.
As for where school shootings happen, they have occurred in every state and were happening before Columbine.

Regarding @TediousSunsets - The Account’s bio is Sorry, but all of your sunsets leave me unmoved. Will grudgingly rate your submissions. The entire account is retweets of sunsets with “ratings” like “dull,” “tedious,” or “tiresome.”

JC66 5:58 PM  


Email me and I'll send you my Embedding Cheat Sheet.

Anoa Bob 6:20 PM  

A long, long tome ago, Perry Mason was very popular on our black and white low resolution TV. I always knew how each show would end, though. Perry would not only prove his client innocent but would, through devilishly clever cross-examination, expose the real criminal while they were right there on the witness stand. I don't think that D.A. Hamilton Burger ever won a single case against Perry. I'll be a MONKEYS UNCLE if I can figure out how he managed to keep his job after so many uninterrupted failures.

Speaking of THEME SONGS, one of my all time favorites was from that same Perry Mason era. It was the one for "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" and up until only a few years ago, I thought it was original for that show. Nope, turns out it was from the "Funeral March of a Marionette" composed in the late 1800s by Charles Gounod. I guess the "Funeral March" was appropriate as the show often played on dark humor. Here's a 55 second version on YouTube.

GPS UNIT is a real outlier and has an ad hoc, just for this puzzle feel to it. It doesn't even come up when I tried ??SUN?? at UNSUNNY was the closest to a recognizable word that came up. Datsun Z showed up but looks incomplete without that 240 in there. My cousin had a 1970 Datsun 240Z. What a timeless classic look it had.

I guess if I were way south of the equator, maybe in Antarctica, while facing north as the SUN was SETTING I would see a path going from my right to my left as it does in the puzzle grid. It's still kind of confusing, though, because it's a three dimensional phenomena that is being represented on a two dimensional surface.

Anonymous 6:46 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous 7:05 PM  

@Anoa Bob:

the 240Z was, I'm pretty sure, the car that put a stop to the 'Rice Burner' epithet. that was one badass machine. well, that and 4 cylinder Honda street bikes. well... and Yamaha and Kawa 2 cycle 3 cylinder rockets. too bad you can't get one of those these days.

Nancy 7:33 PM  

@Joe Dipinto (4:18) -- I liked the theme song from your "Alice" link -- which I'd never heard, btw, -- and now I know why I liked it. I see that the music is by the composer, David Shire, who also wrote my absolute favorite movie theme song of all time. You know what it is, Joe, right? Anyone? Even if you never saw the film, "Norma Rae", you'll fall in love with this incredibly melodic, sad, sweet, and evocative song.

Anonymous 7:45 PM  

Anon 7:05,
Where to begin? the 240 was brilliant*. Disc brakes, overhead cam, independent suspension ( we’ll let the fact that the exterior styling is a shameless ripoff of the Ferrari 250 GTO).
I’ll confess ignorance regarding the first Z’s relationship to the, wildly ignorant, term rice burner. In my experience it was applied to bikes not cars. But the 240 is ever so slightly before my time.
And though the Kawi H2 was sold well before I could legally ride, I know it well. That’s the bike that prompted the coinage “tank slapper” ( tank slapper is a term for a bike shaking so violently your body is literally bouncing up and down against the gas tank. Terrifying doesn’t begin to describe it). My father took me for an unforgettable ride in the summer of ‘73. That bike was one of the few machines that’s ever scared me.
All very boring of course, but Kawasaki is still pushing the envelope. They resurrected the H2 name a couple of years ago with a bike that’s supercharged. Yep. They make a bike with a blower😳.
It is beyond hyper. I never rode the original H2 Triple, but I can vouch for the spine-tingling, hair-raising, stomache-churning, toe-curling bona fixes of the current H2.

* The ridiculous gearing in the rear end prevented the first Z from being a stop light racer.

albatross shell 7:51 PM  

I believe Burger won one case. Mason apparently had something that could only be brought up on appeal. He took the loss so he could win the appeal. If you watched the HBO Perry Mason both Perry and Della are quite different from their earlier TV series counterparts. The early Mason movies were quite different too.

Anonymous 8:02 PM  

Yay, a new personal best, 4:25! They are getting hard to come by after doing this puzzle daily for a couple years.

LateSolver 8:36 PM  

Contrary to Rex I found this easy for a Monday. I usually work across, then down, then fill in the gaps, but this was the first time in a while that I finished after just going across then down with having any fill left to go back for. My son has an old soul and often watches Perry MASON on MeTV.

Otter 11:15 PM  

I’ve been having the same issue with scores since sometime last week. No idea how to fix it, but glad it’s not just me!

Mike in Bed-Stuy 9:04 AM  

@Zed 5:53 PM - Yes, if you are SUNNI, you follow ISLAM. But SUNNI is an adjective. It's like movements within Judaism. When speaking about Jews, you can say someone is Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, or Reconstructionist; but if you are identifying a Jewish person's religious affiliation in any other context, you need to say "She practices Reform Judaism"—You can't just say, "She practices Reform"; you need to include "Judaism."

jberg 10:20 AM  

I'm writing this Tuesday morning, due to getting back home very late Monday. Hi, Syndicated solvers! I'll only make two comments:

1. Rex's idea of depicting something more like a sunset is intriguing. I guess you could had SUN disappearing off the page with answers ending in SU and then in S. But the only one I can think of for SU is Sununu, not good because it already has sun in it.

2. @anonymous 8:25, Rex is thinking outside the Disney box. ELSA is the lioness in "Born Free."

albatross shell 4:09 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
albatross shell 9:06 PM  

The above was an experiment. I published a comment of nothing which I did not think you could do until I saw one yesterday. Then I deleted my nothing. The deletion of nothing took 8 words more than the original comment.

thefogman 10:22 AM  

Yes it does have a few flaws. But even so I found it to be a most enjoyable solve. No writeovers. It’s a good offering for a Monday by a relatively new constructor. Bravo to Drew Schmenner on his second NYTXW.

spacecraft 10:37 AM  

A Monday's Monday here. The only light that was even amber was waiting to see whether I was going to RUB the lotion IN or oN. Otherwise it was like finding that perfect speed to hit all the greens in the timing sequence. I love when that happens--but more on the street than in this puzzle. The clues were so simple I didn't even have a problem with SOFTG, or GPSUNIT. Is that what they are? Are they actually called UNITs? The UNIT part seemed a superfluous tack-on. It's a GPS, fercryinoutloud.

I like the incongruity of using shaded squares to depict the SETTINGSUN. I also liked the last down answer, reassuring us that yeah, the right-hand edge of the grid is, in fact, the EAST. And one more: the mini-theme of the two long acrosses, THEMESONGS and MUSICSCENE. That about sums up what I liked.

Was it enough for par? Sure. So was my Wordle effort, though I'm glad I wasn't on a timer for that last putt.

Burma Shave 11:30 AM  


LAST I heard, my NAMESAKE went wrong,
he had MONKEYed with the THEMESONG:


rondo 1:01 PM  

Yes, the SUN sets in the west and the EAST is labeled so you don't forget which way is which. Sort of a USUAL Mon-puz. A bunch of ONEI names in IAN, IVAN, ILSA and IGOR.
Had the last three wordle letters on the second try, but took three more attempts to finish. Ouch. Not smart.

Diana, LIW 3:41 PM  

Like that descrip0tion, @Spacey, a Monday's Monday.

BTW - for those SyndieCats who posted yesterday, when the number of posts goes over 200 you have to go to a new page to read them. So you might (lookin at you) think your post didn't pass whatever they call muster these days.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords
Happy Birthday to Me

thefogman 7:37 PM  

D,LIW: What do you mean by “go to a new page”? There is only one place to post comment, no?

rondo 9:33 PM  

@foggy - additional page on this site to read once it exceeds 200 posts

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