Pale pink vineyard offerings / MON 8-8-22 / Boater or bowler / Wipe out big-time / Rap's Lil __ X

Monday, August 8, 2022

Hello, everyone! It’s Clare filling in for Rex. Hope everyone had a great month of July and found ways to stay nice and cool. D.C. has been 90-plus degrees and humid basically every day, which is… fun…. I played in a charity kickball tournament yesterday and felt like I was going to die of heat stroke (that’s only a slight exaggeration), and on top of that, I’m super sore today! Still, it wasn’t all doom and gloom around here because the Premier League was back this weekend! And because my cousins and I had a “Lord of the Rings” movie marathon yesterday (extended-cut versions), which took about 14 hours and went until the wee hours of the morning. 

Anywho, on to the puzzle!

 Kathy Lowden

Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: MAKEUP (50D: Reconcile after a quarrel … … or a hint to the starts of 17-, 25-, 52- and 61-Across) — The first word of each theme answer is an item of makeup.

Theme answers:
  • BLUSH WINES (17A: Pale pink vineyard offerings) 
  • SHADOW BOX (25A Practice punches with an imaginary opponent) 
  • POWDER KEG (52A: Barrel of explosive stuff, or a situation that's ready to blow) 
  • LINER NOTES (61A: Writings on an album sleeve or jewel case insert)
Word of the Day: SALK (40D: Vaccine pioneer Jonas)) —
Jonas Edward Salk (October 28, 1914 – June 23, 1995) was an American virologist and medical researcher who developed one of the first successful polio vaccines. He was born in New York City and attended the City College of New York and New York University School of Medicine. In 1947, Salk accepted a professorship in the School of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. It was there that he undertook a project to determine the number of different types of poliovirus, starting in 1948. For the next seven years, Salk devoted himself toward developing a vaccine against polio. (Wiki)
• • •

This was one of the easier Mondays I’ve done in a while. The MAKEUP theme was nice, and I felt I had a slight leg up as someone who does indeed wear MAKEUP. Now, the theme doesn’t entirely work because, well, I’ve only ever referred to it (or heard it referred to) as “eye shadow,” not just SHADOW, or LINER — it would be “lip liner” or “eyeliner” or something like that. I also thought the revealer was in a slightly weird place at 50D. Usually, if the theme is just a single word, it’ll be the last across or maybe the last down; but the second-to-last down? 

In all, I felt the puzzle was pleasant. The fill was a bit uninspired, but it also wasn’t bad. The solve went so quickly that I felt like I didn’t even have time to process some of the clues/answers, and it’s only when I went back that I developed both an appreciation for some answers and a meh feeling for others. On that note, I didn’t like ART I (26D) or IF I (62D). A SEC (21A) is also pretty ugly. 38D: "The way I see it," to texters could’ve been IMHO or just “imo.” There were both ODE (63D: Poem of praise) and ODD (44A: Quirky) in the puzzle. A lot of it felt crosswordese-y (crossword-easy?). There was also a strong religious current, with PRIEST (6D: One officiating at communion or hearing confession), DEACON (27D: Subordinate of a 6-Down), VESPER (34D: Evening prayer), and LOT (61D: Biblical fellow with a salty wife?) all in the puzzle. 

From a tweet, I was clued into the fact that LAPP (37D: Reindeer herder of Scandinavia) is considered a slur by some people. A Wikipedia entry says, “The Sámi have historically been known in English as Lapps or Laplanders, but these terms are regarded as offensive by the Sámi, who prefer the area's name in their own languages, e.g. Northern Sámi Sápmi. Their traditional languages are the Sámi languages, which are classified as a branch of the Uralic language family.” I couldn’t find a ton of information about this issue, but because the people seem to not want to be referred to in this way, I wish this hadn’t been in the puzzle. 

I liked SNOW SUIT (39D), POWDER KEG (52A), and AMNESIAC (42A), in particular, which just felt off the beaten path for a crossword. For 9D: Atlanta-based TV channel, I originally put TNT, which is also based in Atlanta, but when I got to 13D: Explosive stuff, in brief and knew the answer for that one was TNT, I realized I must’ve made an error at 9D. I do know TNT and TBS are related, because NBA analysts move between the sets. (And, yes, Ernie Johnson is the MVP of both.) 

Got nothing much else to say about the puzzle! I’ll be back again tomorrow, and I hope everyone has a great Monday.

  • The only thing I could think of when I saw POWDER KEG was the line in Hamilton in the song “Right Hand Man”: “We are a powder keg about to explode.” So that song will be stuck in my head for a while now. 
  • I liked seeing STIR (30A) quite close to VESPER (34D). They’re seemingly unrelated, but in “Casino Royale” Ian Fleming invented the Vesper martini, named after the main female character in the novel. So it felt fitting to have this drink right next to the Bond clue/answer about martinis at 30A, even if the placement wasn’t intentional. 
  • 48A: Metrical foot in poetry as IAMB takes me back to 12th grade English class where I had to learn about poetry and rhyme schemes and write my own poems — and ugh. I did not enjoy that segment of class. 
  • I wish I could’ve eaten the NAAN (16A) from our Indian food order last night, but I’m newly gluten-free because it seems I have a gluten allergy that’s been affecting my breathing😞😞😞 Oh, well.
Signed, Clare Carroll, someone who knows Liverpool is going to finish at the top of the table this season

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Loren Muse Smith 1:37 AM  

Hey, Clare! I, too, had a MAKE-UP leg up; I love farding, man. And I pore over all the helpful TikTok tutorials, believe everything I see, and dutifully order the tubing mascara, miracle concealers, primers, bronzers, blah blah, all to create the façade of a glamorous movie-star. You can imagine how that’s working out for me.

I have to agree about the ODDness of its just being LINER and not eye-liner.

Love your “crossword-easy” – perfect!

BRASSY shares the grid with GREY. Continuing with the appearance ruse, I color my hair ‘cause I’m not mentally ready to own my grey. Maybe when I hit 70, I dunno. So I also buy purple shampoo to beat back the brassiness. Honestly, I can’t see much of a difference, but I’m willing to hedge my bets.

I’ve been in dustups here before about my preferred ice tea instead of ICED TEA. All I can say is that you ICED TEA sayers never order iced water or iced cream. Mic drop.

I can never see the word EGRESS and not vaguely imagine it’s the female version of an egret.

Poignant cross of AMNESIA/SENIOR. We just took Mom to the doctor to undergo a memory test, and she was pronounced normal – just experiencing regular, expected cognitive decline. Still. It’s an adjustment and takes Herculean effort not to be like, Mom, we just talked about this, don’t you remember?, even though this takes more effort and syllables than just answering the same question for the third time. Yesterday we were discussing the upcoming season of her beloved Panthers and reminiscing about last year’s Super Bowl. I had made a huge batch of copy-cat Cracker Jacks, and Mom got a little uncomfortable after dispatching like the entire bowl. I even texted my kids Bigmama just ate about 10 cups of caramel corn and has gone very quiet. The next morning she was peaked, and we joked all day about her Cracker Jack hangover. It was A Thing. When I reminded her and laughed about this yesterday, she was blank. Absolutely no memory of the Great Cracker Jack Binge. I downplayed it, said maybe I was mixing the story up with someone else, but it stung.

Anyhoo. . . on a brighter note, considering today’s theme, I have to share this video, which makes me belly-laugh. Be sure to unminimize the screen so the words don’t block the view.

And absolutely unrelated to anything, this is another one that makes me laugh.

okanaganer 1:44 AM  

Hi Clare!

As is my habit I solved this without looking at any of the across clues. It went zip-zip in the top half, no blank columns, but hit a couple of snags down below.

Well you hit the nail right on the head as far as LAPP goes. I had put in SAMI with no hesitation, cuz it's just so obvious. When I realized that area was in a serious mess, I finally had to admit SAMI wasn't working. I was quite disappointed when I realized it was LAPP. (Note: when I was in the Swedish arctic, we had a dinner of reindeer from Sami herders. Our Swedish hosts always referred to them as SAMI ("sah, MEE"), although Lappland is the name of the Swedish province.)

Typeover: WAY OUT before EGRESS. (In most building codes "exit" and "egress" have similar but different meanings... exit is usually a door, while egress is a whole escape route. But unless you're, say, a building inspector, who cares?)

[Spelling Bee: Sun 0, pretty straightforward although for some reason it took me ages to see the pangram.]

Anonymous 1:46 AM  

LAPP may be an issue, but your continued references to the Premier League in your comments are so much more disturbing. Supporting an entire league that has been virtually silent on racism through 2021 is disgusting. I know from reading about 50 articles that little is being done to turn the tide of hatred within Britain’s soccer league. And what is being done is likely for show and not meaningful at all. No American major sport even comes close to the amount of religious, racist and sexist crap that goes on across the pond. It’s time to move on and support a different league. Any of the American professional sports leagues would be a step in the right direction.

jae 4:11 AM  

Very easy. Pretty smooth and newbie friendly, liked it.

@lms - I hear you on “cognitive decline”. I left my debt card at a sushi restaurant near where my daughter lives (she’s around your age plus or minus 8). She was going to be in that neighborhood today to pick up wings that I was paying for (she has my credit card) for our family dinner tonight. So, I asked her to retrieve my card from the sushi place. Medium story short, she picked up the card and I forgot ask her for it when we went over there for dinner and she forgot to to give it to me. The wings were delicious!

@bocamp - Croce’s Freestyle #733 was on the tough side of medium for a Croce. Lotsa WOEs and some very devious cluing especially in the SW. Good luck!

...and speaking of tough puzzles it took me over 4 days of going back to it to successfully finish the Fri. July 29 AVXW themeless by Adam Aaronson and Christopher Adams. I have yet to encounter a Croce that is as tough. hi

Conrad 4:55 AM  

Thank you, @okanaganer, @Clare and @Clare's unnamed Tweeter. I knew that LAPP and Sami were closely linked, but I had no idea that the former is considered pejorative. Live and learn.

RJ 5:23 AM  

Nice review Clare - and yeah, this weekend was perfect for a LOTR marathon. I took the dog out at 4:30 this a.m. and experienced STAILAIR and POLLEN two of my not favorite things.

I'm with @Loren on the gray hair, the baby eyebrows, and the iced tea - although you have to make it yourself because everything store-bought is too sweet. I also want those eyebrows.

Have a good day everyone

Lewis 6:06 AM  

I find filling in the grid extra satisfying on Sunday through Thursday if I can figure out the theme before uncovering the reveal. It’s not my strong suit, but today, after seeing three of the theme answers, I paused, then thought that the theme had something to do with MAKEUP, so bells of delight rang in my head when that answer showed.

Happiness was underscored as I ran across four palindromes (NAAN, AKA, TNT, IFI), the most lovely PuzzPair© of LIST and TIPSY, not to mention the zing in three of the theme answers (BLUSH WINES, SHADOWBOX, and POWDERKEG). Adding to the mood was how smooth it felt to fill this in, meaning, IMHO, that this would be a pat-on-the-back puzzle for newer solvers, a taste of the ambrosia that crosswords can bring.

Thus, a most worthy Monday grid, a pat-on-the-back for yourself, Kathy, on this your first NYT solo outing (after your debut co-authored with your daughter). Thank you for the pings of delight, and brava!

Anonymous 6:14 AM  

@RJ. I buy Pure Leaf brand brewed tea, unsweetened. It is quite good and costs $2-3 for a half-gallon. There are other brands but I prefer Pure Leaf.

Lewis 6:14 AM  

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

1. A bird, food, or person (4)
2. Make a lead balloon (4)(5)
3. Style points? (9)
4. It's bound to run in the third quarter (4)(5)
5. Dead ringers? (7)


Grouch 6:28 AM  

Monday Natick. I'm not significantly upset but why cross LAPP & PHO on a Monday, especially when everything else in the grid is so straightforward? (BTW, I don't have room on my list of "offensive" terms for 'LAPP'.)

JD 6:36 AM  

A short story in this puzzle on my retirement, Iced Tea, Pooled (what I am every day at 2:00, in the Pool), Blush Wines, Tipsy, Amnesiac.

And this is the closest I've gotten to Makeup since 2019's working-from-home edict. Goodbye Makeup my old friend, I might never use you again. Hair color, slacks with zippers, and shoes that make me taller aren't happening either. How. Freaking. Liberating. Can't begin to tell ya.

Constructor Kathy Lowden said there was "a small controversy" about about her "clue for the entry Pad" at the NYT. TMI?

@jae, After twice forgetting to take the $20 cash I asked for at the grocery self check and only remembering to run back and retrieve it once, I've stopped using that option. ATM only.

Anonymous 6:44 AM  

Lovely write-up, Claire. For a few weeks now I’ve been following @okanaganer’s excellent suggestion to use only Down clues on Monday and Tuesday. Today went swimmingly except for typing in EDDIE’s kid brother, ErnIE Bauer. Oof.

OffTheGrid 6:45 AM  


Anonymous 6:52 AM  

I don’t understand how “Practice Boxing” as a clue for SHADOWBOX gets through any puzzle editor. Inexcusable.

Eric NC 6:54 AM  

@anonymous 1:46
No racism in U.S. sport give me a break. Go support the LIV.

Anonymous 7:05 AM  

Of course the problem with ICEDTEA/ICETEA is they sound so similar when spoken. Unless one pretentiously pauses after ICED so it comes out ICET TEA.

Barry 7:09 AM  

Hi Clare,
Glad to read your review. We have one question.
The clue 25A: Practice Boxing
Answer: ShadowBox
Is it allowed that “Box” appears in the clue and answer.

B Right There 7:11 AM  

Played super easy here. Couldn't type in fast enough. Only paused for a nanosec at LINERNOTES, but a few crosses quickly brought that down. Also a slight head tilt at the clue for SNOWSUIT. Why 'Toddlers'? I own a snowsuit. Used it for a decade in New England winters. I am not a toddler. Other than that, I liked the food theme of BLUSHWINE or ICEDTRA to go with my NAAN and PHO (we have two very good Vietnamese restaurants near me. Absolutely delicious! Especially for someone like me who can't be all hip and trendy and enjoy Thai and Indian food. Too spicy by far for my taste buds). Then a nice XTRA serving of Tutti-FRUTTI iced cream (wink, @LMS).

Anonymous 7:30 AM  

In the print edition, the clue for 25A was “practice boxing”. A clue with the answer! Even easier than the online version.

Laura 7:30 AM  

What is the point of a puzzle this easy, even on Monday. We pay for this puzzle, so it should take a little longer than typing time.

The words weren't bad...never heard Lapp was offensive, so I learned something. And stereo might be tricky for the younger crowd. Themers we're better than ho hum for Monday. But I deserve more than typing time from a puzzle, even on Monday.

Anonymous 7:31 AM  

Everyone is leaving the “box as clue and answer” issue unmentioned. Is that okay to do?

SouthsideJohnny 7:31 AM  

DEUS ex machina seems a bit challenging - but of course with Monday-level crosses it's no big deal. I don't know what language that is (looks like Latin or Greek) - nor do I understand what it means, lol. It's apparently some type of plot-twist mechanism?

Son Volt 7:37 AM  

Cute theme - nice early week flow. Liked how the revealer crossed LINER NOTES. Tutti FRUTTI, POLLEN, SNOW SUIT are all solid. The LAPP, IMHO, PHO block was a little off as was the TIPSY - ESPY adjacency.

The Byrds covering Carole King - Now there’s more to do than watch my SAILBOAT glide

Enjoyable Monday solve.

JonB3 7:39 AM  

I thought repetition was frowned upon in xwords. 25A clue and solution contain box. Cleanup and makeup.

Anonymous 8:13 AM  

The 50s: all black performers, all white audience…

This 'n' That 8:21 AM  

NYT online version 25A clue was "Practice punches with an imaginary opponent"

I don't think having 2 UP's is a problem when they have different meanings.

IMHO a MAKEUP theme is not exactly a woman/feminist thing. Being a woman gives no advantage in knowing the terms used. And wasn't part of the movement to trash MAKEUP and burn brassieres?

Anonymous 8:22 AM  

Box is part of clue as well as answer. Don’t think that’s okay.

OffTheGrid 8:23 AM  

@Anon 8:13. Yeah, I noticed that when I found it. Glad to see it didn't escape notice.

Nancy 8:38 AM  

I used the F3 key to search for BOX in the comments before coming here to write my own comment. I was sure that everyone would mention the SHADOW BOX clue/answer duplication, but only some did. Now I see that the dupe was in the paper edition, where I solved, but not in the online edition. What an dumb oversight.

Someone's sure to say that Will Shortz was asleep at the switch, but I think it shows that he was nowhere near the switch. Maybe he was on vacation? Anyway, he's a pro and he would never make such a mistake. I'd also guess that the NYT puzzle editor who let this slip through has never, ever, used pen and paper to solve a puzzle. Bet he's a total techie through and through.

Oh, yes, the rest of the puzzle. I could almost fill everything in without even reading the clues. Time to do something now that actually requires some thinking.

Joaquin 8:45 AM  

To those commenting on the "BOXing" clue: The online version of the 25A clue reads, "Practice punches with an imaginary opponent".

Jarrett Marquis 8:46 AM  

Hi Loren! So glad to see you back here again lately! Your comments always brighten my day!

Anonymous 8:52 AM  

Anon @ 1.46am
Just curious:
Are you the kind of person who thinks that because the NFL or NBA athletes are mostly African American, that racism isn’t an issue in American sports? Sexism??? Islamophobia? Homophobia?


bocamp 8:57 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Whatsername 9:06 AM  

Well this was fun, an especial Monday geared toward the chicas, and unusually easy. IF Mondays in general are considered Crosswords 101, then this must be for the prep class. Quite a bit of rote crosswordese with OPIE, NAAN, IMHO, AFRO, PTA, ORALB. Still it was entertaining and great for a beginner. Nothing wrong with that, nothing at all.

Glad to see Clare today but surprised she did not mention the huge (IMHO) editorial faux pas at 25A. Boxing as a clue for BOX? Well alrighty then. Appears someone was asleep at the switch there.

I guzzle ICED TEA in the summer and seldom drink coffee, even in the crossword-solving hour. Today I sipped my cold brew while choking on the POWDER of late summer/pre-fall POLLEN already AFLOAT in the atmosphere. Bleh! And yet the coolness of the wee small hours of the morning are worth the sacrifice.

Anonymous 9:07 AM  

Amy: hi Clare, good to hear from you. Hope you sort out the gluten issue. Fun Monday, great one for newbs and decent theme.

Gary Jugert 9:08 AM  

Eddie's the new Liesl.

A delightful puzzle written by someone caring about using real words and real clues a normal person would understand when attempting a puzzle. And now we turn it over to "us" and decades of puzzle wisdom. Hold your breath. Maybe read with your eyes closed.

After two days with 42 instances of PPP (42!) it was a relief to be reminded puzzles don't have to be a stunt or a How to Use Google seminar. Sometimes they can be like a friend offering you a cup of coffee. Black please.

I was in Scotland a few years ago and stayed in a fancy place with a falconry and we flew a hawk and an OWL. I remarked how smart the birds seemed and the young woman who'd been a falconer her entire life laughed. "They're idiots, but they'll do anything for food."

we thought her sassy BRASSY
cuz her attitude warn't classy
jetting off on airlines
she'd bring on all her BLUSH WINES
a TIPSY gypsy in the STALE AIR
above Delaware
she di'n't care

like an AMNESIAC reading a paperback
she only needed one page
like a POWDER KEG assassin
her mind was a wee unfastened
she only read the LINER NOTES
to her SAILBOAT manual
she thought herself a Daniel
'gainst Goliath and those guidelines
so she drifted to the depths
to be POOLED
then schooled
with fishes and wishes
now she SHADOW BOXes
with Goldilockses
(who beat the wolf but not the foxes)


1 Unlikely need for your cousin from Boston.
2 Anemic barroom taunt.
3 What one who skis in jeans thinks of Aspenite's attire.
4 Crush old cars from around the county.
5 Pushed Harry Potter's friend in.
6 Model Nicole Mitchell's mom celebrates daughter's husband in verse.


pabloinnh 9:09 AM  

Boy, did I not see the theme coming. Probably because in my/our little world around here, BLUSH means you're embarrassed, SHADOW is what scaredycats are afraid of, POWDER means good skiing, and a LINER is what you put in a trash can, so not a lot of help there. My GREY (or gray, or silver, actually, ahem) hair bothers me not at all and my wife, who is a year my junior, has only the occasional strand, revealing an excellent choice of parents.

I think PT Barnum made a lot of money by posting "This way to the EGRESS! Only a dollar!", signs or words to that effect.

Nice to see old friend EOS again, and AFLOAT is at least one of those A__ words that makes sense.

Nice write up, Clare. Happy to say you share a name with my delightful granddaughter, Emma Clare.

Nice easy breezy Mondecito, KL. Kept Looking for a theme that wouldn't appear (see above). Thanks for all the fun.

Anonymous 9:09 AM  

Anon 1.46am
Just curious:
Is it your opinion that because the NBA and NFL are mostly played by black athletes, that racism is not an issue in American sports, or society? How about sexism? Islamophobia? Homophobia?
Asking for friends…


kitshef 9:13 AM  

This really should have been a Wednesday puzzle. The theme is good – good enough to deserve a day where we need to think about it and wonder about it. But on a Monday, when the whole puzzle is done it a flash, there isn’t enough time to properly appreciate it.

Anonymous 9:16 AM  

I concur! That said, based on this write up , I wonder if the clue is different in the online version. My paper copy has the box/box clue & answer.

Wanderlust 9:21 AM  

So many people noting the repetition of BOX in clue and answer. I solve on the app, and it wasn’t the case there. It was “Practice punches with an imaginary opponent.” They could’ve also just subbed “sparring” for “boxing.”

I liked the juxtaposition of POLLEN and POWDER KEG. As someone who suffers those allergies, I feel like my head is a pollen keg all spring ready to explode like TNT into a scary string of sneezes.

Clare, I share your love of the the LOTR movies - though the Hobbit movies were a travesty. I don’t think I could watch them one after another though, so I admire your stamina. Knowing how many commenters here despise references to LOTR creatures, I wish you a future full of crossword gimmes like ELF, ENT and ORC.

Anonymous 9:22 AM  

Things that are offensive to me, LAPP, racism, Biden

bocamp 9:22 AM  

Thx, Kathy; perfect puz to start the week off with! :)


No AMNESIA on this; breezed right thru it.

Speaking of 'breeze', no STALE AIR in my suite. Having no AC, I keep all the windows open during the warm weather months, and use fans when it gets too hot.


Mother's Evening Prayer (O Gentle Presence) ~ Susan Mack & Ellen Hanna

O gentle presence, peace and joy and power;
O Life divine, that owns each waiting hour,
Thou Love that guards the nestling’s faltering flight!
Keep Thou my child on upward wing tonight.

Enjoyed this Mon. offering very much! :)

Thx @jae, on it! :)
Peace 🙏 🇺🇦 ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Carola 9:32 AM  

BLUSH and SHADOW told me "MAKE-UP," and it was fun to anticipate what other beauty aids were going to show up. Nice job of repurposing them into new phrases, especially SHADOW BOX and POWDER KEG, their violent connotations notwithstanding. Elsewhere, I liked the parallel winter-summer "accessories" SNOWSUIT and SAILBOAT. Add me to those surprised that LAPP made it into the puzzle.

@JD 6:36, Your "Goodbye to all that" made me laugh (unconstricted by waistband with button).

@Clare, nice to see you. I wish you well on your new diet.

Anonymous 9:36 AM  

Small nit to pick with 27D: as an Episcopal deacon, priests and deacon are full and equal orders, not one subordinate to the other.

RooMonster 9:41 AM  

Hey All !
Have a movie scene in my mind, but since my memory sucks, unsure what it's from. Someone yelling "MAKEUP!", and slapping someone in the face with a large pad full of powder. Anyone?

I thought it was DEUX ex machina. Or is DEUS an acceptable variant? Luckily, BRASXY didn't make sense.

Nice puz, simple theme without too much dreck. MAKEUP items. As a male, I'm actually upset that MAKEUP for men isn't a thing, we're forced to look like how we look, which in my case, could use a dab or two of something. Har

Got a new perspective from @LMS's iced water and iced cream. Also agree with @Anon 7:05 that even when one says ICE TEA quickly it sounds like the T gets duplicated, making ICE turn into ICED. Then again, we can all just accept that ICED TEA is here to stay, and enjoy the drink stress free. 😁

I like using the words ingress and EGRESS. I always try to park facing out of the parking spot, as in backing in instead of pulling in nose first. Makes EGRESS easier. I have a friend who insists that's wrong or show-offy. Says it costs people time to wait for you to back into a spot. But, 1) not true, as I'll wait until there's no one coming to back in, and 2) you Always hold up traffic when backing out of a spot you pulled straight into, because you need to go super slow, as you can't see anyone coming until you're about half way out. If you backed in, you just have to creep out a tiny bit, lean forward and see if anyone's coming. So there, friend.

I got the un "box" clue for 25A today. Maybe the eds were TIPSY when they let that clue pass.

Three F's

Tom T 9:42 AM  

So glad the guest blog assignment fell to a regular like Clare and that she gets another shot tomorrow because, as she pretty much noted, there is very little to say about a puzzle with such little resistance.

Fastest Monday (or any day) solve time for me.

Whatsername 9:46 AM  

@LMS (01:37) Enjoyed both videos you linked, especially the dogs. I can definitely relate. 😂

@Nancy (08:38) I did the same thing you did by searching for the word BOX in the comments. Then no sooner had you posted the phrase “asleep at the switch” than I was composing those exact words a few minutes later. We’re seemingly on the same wave length this morning.

Regarding the 25A clue, I do mine by going to the NYT web site and printing a paper copy which has “practice boxing,” like the newspaper version. It appears only the Games App has the other one.

pmdm 9:47 AM  

Another Monday puzzle, another shrug of the shoulder from me. Good enough.

By the way, I thought the box duplication referred to above was quite jarring. Quite surprised it sneaked into the paper version. And thanks very much to those who noted the clue in the online version corrected the error. used the edited clue, if that interests anyone.

Anonymous 9:50 AM  

Just chiming in to say that this is at least the third time I've seen the NYT use "Lapp" this way. I used to live in Sweden, and know the term is offensive to the people it is meant to describe. I wrote to the NYTimes about this before, but they seem not to care. Would they use derogatory terms for American minority groups? Of course not. But the same courtesy seems not to apply to groups elsewhere. Appalling, really.

Whatsername 9:56 AM  

@JD (06:36) I’m right there with you on the liberation movement. I’m still clinging to the hair color because like LMS, I’m not yet ready to embrace the gray but the zippers, the heels, and the foundation garments - all delightfully gathering dust. And make up? Only when I absolutely must to avoid frightening small children, but thank God for facemasks which I’m still wearing in public.

James Stevens 10:04 AM  

LAPP in the Norse languages means “scrap” as in bits of cloth they’d sew together to make clothing back in the “good old days” (det gode gamle dager.) You can see it is blatantly offensive. I’ve written WS numerous times on this, but there ya’ go.
Now you know!

The Joker 10:05 AM  

I had to spank my grandson today for asking to sit in my LAPp.

x 10:13 AM  

I did the puzzle faster than any of you because I'm smarter than any of you, and I don't mind completely wasting my time like the rest of you by posting this site to say so.

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

I have a conundrum. I don't know whether to be more offended by Box Box or LAPP.

JC66 10:30 AM  


You were close on P.T. Barnum.

bocamp 10:33 AM  

@jae (4:11 AM)

Do you by any chance have a link to the Adam Aaronson/Christopher Adams puz you refer to?
Peace 🙏 🇺🇦 ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Anonymous 10:47 AM  


4 thumbs up (includes my prehensile ones). soccer (or, football) hooligans has been in Brit English for a century or better.

Anonymous 10:50 AM  

@8:52 !!!

NASCAR ??? a bunch of Red state Rednecks.

let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

beverly c 10:51 AM  

@OFFTHEGRID Thanks for the great link to Tutti Frutti! and
@Loren Thanks for the laughs.

I thought the theme was done nicely and I like MAKEUP going vertically.

I understand new solvers need easier puzzles, but folks I know who think the NYTXW is too hard just never work it.
Even after I explain, they don’t track down Monday or Tuesday puzzles. They buy easy puzzles and are content.
I've gotten better at solving late week NYTXW from learning the idiosyncrasies of cluing, and that has been rewarding.
But - how low is the bar for Monday difficulty? This nice puzzle needed a bit more oomph in the clues. IMHO

GILL I. 10:53 AM  

SPRAT and his wife LAPP were an ODD couple. They lived on a POLLEN filled SALE BOAT which they named ARGO. It barely stood AFLOAT. Their PAL OPIE would always come by and in his BRASSY FRUTTI voice yell "This a POWDER KEG..IMHO all it will take is XTRA TNT and you'll EGRESS through the SHADOW of ROT." The LIST goes on.
LAPP, who was an AMNESIAC, would try to remember saying the VESPERS her PRIEST taught her. The PRIEST sometimes smelled of ALE and BLUSH WINES and he never used his ORAL B. She would pray to DEUS that he wouldn't act like a TIPSY TWIT and could help her CLEAN UP the mess she was in. He told her to just EAT IT. And so, she did.
The moral of the story? Jack SPRAT could EAT no fat.

Anonymous 11:07 AM  

It is from ancient Greek plays that were resolved by having a god descend from the ceiling

Joe Dipinto 11:08 AM  

These girls can give us some (eye)liner notes.

Anonymous 11:21 AM  

Same here. Read the clue several times to be sure I hadn’t misread.

pabloinnh 11:28 AM  

@JC66-Whoop, there it is! Thanks for doing the research, and happy to know my memory still works, sort of.

John Coniglio 11:40 AM  

Surprised by the answer to 25 across since it contains part of a clue word (BOX/BOXING). Isn't that a violation of one of the cardinal rules of crossword construction?

egsforbreakfast 11:41 AM  

Yesterday we got the ALBUMCOVER. Today the LINERNOTES. The trend tells me to watch for RECORDLABEL tomorrow.


We lived for two decades in a small town where the locals called Friday night happy hour at one particular bar VESPERs. If you saw someone during the week and needed to talk to them, you’d just say, “See you at VESPERs.”

Very nice easy Monday. Thanks, Kathy Lowden.

Anonymous 11:44 AM  

I’m glad I’m not the only one to find 25A a basic mistake. Is that a Shortz error?

Whatsername 12:13 PM  

@JD (06:36) I’m right there with you on the liberation movement. I’m still clinging to the hair color because like LMS, I’m not yet ready to embrace the gray but the belts, zippers, heels, and foundation garments - all delightfully gathering dust. And make up? Only when I absolutely must to avoid frightening animals and small children.

old timer 12:14 PM  

This was too easy, even for a Monday.

Nice clip of Little Richard doing Tutti FRUTTI. However, I would not assume that the audience was all white. In those days, Negroes were expected to sit or dance on one side, whites on the other. The phenomenon was crystal-clear when you watched American Bandstand, which was notoriously segregated, but had a substantial and visible Black audience, there in Philadelphia.

I was wondering when someone would mention Barnum's "This way to the EGRESS." That sign goes back to his original Museum on Park Row in Manhattan. It was his solution to the overcrowding problem, when the Museum was so popular that he had to stop allowing new entrants because the early customers were so slow to leave the exhibit floor. I imagine word got around that you needed to see everything else before visiting the EGRESS.

But then, the whole story may have been invented by Mark Twain.

Adam S 12:19 PM  

Nice write up, Clare. As a Fulham fan, we can share a hope that Saturday was a sign that Fulham will be better than expected, not Liverpool worse.

With that said, Haaland's debut was a bit ominous for anyone looking to wrest the crown from Man City.

Anonymous 12:27 PM  

The clue for shadowBOX was “practice BOXing.” Isn’t that a no-no?

Anonymous 12:46 PM  

As a born and bred Scouser (everyone else can look it up), yes I think we will win the league this year. And no racism in American sports: what happens when a Black man takes a knee during the National Anthem!!

Anonymous 1:17 PM  

clue for shadow box is different on line than in print!

Anonymous 2:31 PM  

Actually in the print version, the clue for 25A is Practice Boxing and the answer is shadowbox, which I thought was........ odd, unusual?

CDilly52 2:37 PM  

The NYT app corrected it to “practice punches with an imaginary opponent.”

Anonymous 2:53 PM  

I remember being in England in the 70's seeing all the signs,
"Way out". I didn't see "Exit" at all.
On the other hand, I never saw "way out" on a sign in the US. Way out wouldn't have occurred to me at all. Just wondering if this English usage occurs in Canada, since the expression popped into yourmind.

CDilly52 2:56 PM  

I started seeing comments/tweets etc about “boxing” in the clue for 25A and am glad the app corrected it at some point before I solved today, however, I cry foul on the both CLEANUP and MAKEUP being in the same puzzle. Even though both are compound words, I find it incredibly sloppy and/or lazy of the editing team to leave them both in. Oh well.

Super job today @Clare. I always enjoy your guest appearances. As a footy fan who spent enough time working in London from ‘90-‘95 to be absolutely hooked, I am always happy to see Premier League back myself.

My big error was sami instead of LAPP. Again, editors, please please please be more socially aware before you gloss over something having to do with any person or people or groups thereof. LAPP used to be a regular in the NYTXW but is no longer acceptable. I really disliked having to include it.

Again, a very enjoyable Monday puzzle with weaknesses the fault of lazy editing rather than the constructor.

@LMS, I adore the word farding! Now that I am fully retired, I so enjoy not being required to fard every day!

Fun Monday😊

dgd 3:11 PM  

XGood catch. Anonymous.
But a great song. Interesting side point. The original version of the song he wrote was more clearly gay but it was of course toned down for the public. But the ambiguous name was left the same!

Anonymous 3:48 PM  

Too many commenters are trying to channel @Rex with their snark and indignation. A mistake was made in the print version. So what! You don't even know who made it. All the fuss about 2 UP's is a nothing burger. And Lapp? Seriously? Apparently this kerfuffle was triggered by a tweet from........whom? I don't know why Clare included this. Like Clare, I could find next to nothing about this. The woke will sign on to anything.

Anonymous 4:57 PM  

THANK YOU, Clare, for highlighting the issue with the peoples and culture referenced in 37D. I have periodically commented on this for at least a decade but Will Short and assorted constructors seem to - at best - willfully ignore the offensiveness of the term used. They’re Sami. The “L” word has the same offensive force as the “N” word or the “C” word (for Asians) in American English. It’s long past time to retire this from crosswords.

Anoa Bob 6:27 PM  

It's easy to tell who hasn't read the comments before posting. What are the ODDs that more "'Box' in both clue and answer" comments will show up?

That whole imbroglio could have been avoided by cluing SHADOWBOX as a small display case. Or SHADOW BOX as solo sparring or some such. The duplication error in the print edition defies comprehension. Maybe in a crossword puzzle by a 12 year old's first attempt but surely not in what is considered to be one if not the top puzzles published in the entire solar system.

I think that gaffe calls for a contrite mea culpa from Mr. Shortz. Whether he made the mistake himself or one of the assistant editors did, he has his name prominently emblazoned as the editor on every puzzle so the buck stops at his desk.

I haven't done a print edition puzzle in quiet a while but I remember his name being in much larger print than the constructor's name. I always gave that the side-eye. Seems to imply that the editor deserves more credit for the puzzle than the constructor. Is that still the case?

Although the cluing was super easy like most Mondays, the fill had some nice stuff. My favorite was DEUS for 66A "___ex machina". More of that caliber fill in the Monday puzzles, please.

Peter P 6:48 PM  

Has anyone mentioned 25A yet? j/k

TIL that LAPP is offensive, which I had no idea. I've never heard the term Sami before, just Laplanders and LAPP, but I'm grateful for the information. I was similarly surprised when many years ago I learned "kaffir" in "kaffir lime leaves" is considered extremely offensive, with "makrut lime leaves" being preferred nomenclature today. (The etymology of "kaffir" in "kaffir lime leaves" is not definitive and muddled.)

Fast solve--only a few seconds slower than my fastest Monday. (Still have yet to break four minutes. I really don't know how people do it, as I felt I was going at 95% of full tilt.) Not else much to say about the puzzle other than learning about Sami.

jae 7:16 PM  

@bocamp - The AVXW is a subscription site. They are currently creating several puzzles a week. You can sign up at

bocamp 8:46 PM  

@jae (7:16 PM)

Thx; will have look. :)
Peace 🙏 🇺🇦 ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

maicon tevares 7:14 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
thefogman 9:22 AM  

This is one of the finest Monday offering in a long time, and IAMB not just putting lipstick on a pig.

spacecraft 10:59 AM  

A nice puzzle to introduce newbies to the crossword solving experience. Simple theme, straightforward revealer, and clean fill. Although, I can imagine even the most naive student asking "Can they use boxing if BOX is in the answer?" To which I would reply, "Ahem. That's what the 'editor' is for. I guess he took a nap on that one."

Obviously not my wheelhouse (even my wife hasn't worn MAKEUP for sixty years), the puzzle finished very easy and did its Monday job. Par.

I did comment on yesterday's but it was probably too late for anybody to see. Game Day during football season is problematical at best. Wordle par.

Burma Shave 11:05 AM  




Diana, LIW 2:05 PM  

I thought it was pretty easy, even by Monday standards. But I agree with @Spacey - and went back to read his comments.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

sdcheezhd 3:37 PM  

Also came bc of BOX, at least they fixed it online but the duplication is still in print in syndication.

thefogman 7:15 PM  

I agree with sdcheezhd. The editor should have fixed the BOX issue (word appearing in both the clue and the answer). And the editor should also have fixed the duplication of UP in both CLEANUP and MAKEUP. Besides that, it’s an excellent puzzle.

rondo 9:41 PM  

And it had RON. Thumbs UP.
Wordle par

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