Skull-and-crossbones fraternity for short / MON 11-28-22 / Org. for HIV prevention and study / Pepper measuring over 1 million on the Scoville scale / Like 86% of New York State, contrary to stereotype / Eminem hit that has become slang for a superfan / Wheeled vehicle designed to function in low gravity

Monday, November 28, 2022

Constructor: Chloe Revery

Relative difficulty: Challenging (for a Monday!)

THEME: HOPPING MAD (62A: Really miffed ... or a hint to the circled letters) — words meaning "mad" (appearing inside circled squares) "hop" over a black square, from the end of one Across answer to the beginning of the successive Across answer:

Theme answers:
Word of the Day: AMFAR (5A: Org. for H.I.V. prevention and study) —
amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, known until 2005 as the American Foundation for AIDS Research, is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to the support of AIDS researchHIV prevention, treatment education, and the advocacy of AIDS-related public policy. (wikipedia)
• • •

Loved this nifty, tight, Monday-type theme, but wow this did not play "Monday" for me at all. The theme, yes, the content, yipes. Trouble all over the top of the grid. I'll start with AMFAR, which I remember, vaguely, from a long time ago, when A.I.D.S. was more regularly in the news, but I have not seen that acronym in what feels like forever. Totally valid answer, but not Monday-easy for me. GHOST CHILI, also tough for me. CHILI, OK, but I never think about the GHOST CHILI ... feels almost mythical. "1 million on the Scoville scale"!? Not an everyday thing, by a long shot. Again, fine answer, but I had to struggle for it. FBI FILE, toughish to parse (7D: Certain collection of criminal evidence and documents). Even AT CAMP (one of the weaker answers) felt tough to come up with without a bunch of crosses (5D: Spending time away from parents for the summer, say). I am way more familiar with the MARS ROVER than the MOON ROVER, so that was also tough (3D: Wheeled vehicle designed to function in low gravity). But the toughest, and ugliest, and absolute worst of all non-Mondayness was SIG EP (1D: Skull-and-crossbones fraternity, for short). Ugh. A frat? An abbreviated frat? At 1-Down!? On a Monday!? So yucky. I wrote in SIGMA and figured that had to be it. Good enough. But *nope*. SIG EP? I'm sure I've seen it before, but fraternities and sororities ... maybe it's my particular aversion, but I just can't keep any of them straight or make myself care at all about my inability to keep them straight. The idea that I should know the slang term for some frat ... something about the very idea sets my teeth on edge (is that the expression? "teeth on edge"?). Truly a terrible answer on any day, but especially off-putting at the beginning of a Monday puzzle. 

The thing is ... you can see how the constructor got trapped into SIG EP. You can't start filling your puzzle with --G-P in place and not feel at least a little trapped. If it had been me, I'd've made it DIG UP and started filling From There (I see that DIG appears elsewhere in the current grid, but that's an easy fix). The entire NW would likely have been different, but it would've been worth it just to make the egregious SIG EP disappear. I did a quick teardown and rebuilt with DIG UP in that same place, but with those two themers locked in, and MOON ROVER pretty well stuck in place, your options up there (short of a complete teardown) are very limited. My version has APHRA Behn in it—she's the most important English woman writer / playwright of the 17th century and in a just world, both her first and last names would appear much, much more often in crosswords ... but I freely admit that APHRA is not Monday-worthy either. Still, I much prefer this.

Anyway, it wasn't the tougher-than-usualness that was annoying, it was specifically SIG EP that I wanted to smash into pieces and throw in the garbage. But the theme, mwah, it's very good. So well conceived (as opposed to WELL AIMED, which I don't really believe is a very strong standalone thing (34D: On the mark, as an insult or a dart)). Beyond SIG EP, the fill is at least average in quality. Nothing much to complain about there. This puzzle appears to be a debut, and at least at the level of theme concept and execution, it's impressive. Those. circled words do mean "mad" and those letters do "hop," so what more do you want?

Seemed like the grid was pushing the French a little hard: PARFUM *and* AU REVOIR in themer positions, plus the French-ish INGENUES. I'll allow it, but that's about as much French as you wanna throw at a solver on a Monday with a not-specifically-French theme. I could do without seeing SNAPE or any Potter stuff ever again, but we've been over this. I thought FIONA was MOANA, my bad. Again, I should really read clues all the way to the end (58A: DreamWorks princess who remains an ogress after true love's kiss). You can't tell me the owl says WHOO one week and then turn around a couple weeks later and tell me it's WHO again, come on (34A: Owl's question?). Not much else to say about this one; the theme was great, and though the NW corner showed some grid strain (from the theme) and felt overly tough for a Monday, the rest of the grid played just fine. Promising work, for sure. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:19 AM  

Tough, more like a medium Tuesday. No idea about AMFAR or SIGEP. Then there’s an Israeli city you might get wrong if you don’t know it and also don’t know the slightly different spelling of Poe’s middle name, not to mention a somewhat obscure African city. Throw in three French clues, a Latin clue, and a sheep clue and...tough Monday. @Rex’s take on this on this one is on the money! Nice debut.

@bocamp & pabloinnh - Croce’s Freestyle #764 was pretty easy for a Croce. Toughest section for me was SE, I no idea on the Coleridge clue and the crosses were not particularly helpful. Good luck!

Anonymous 12:37 AM  

I am a little disappointed you didn’t mention Lorena Ochoa today after yesterdays flub.

Anonymous 12:56 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous 1:07 AM  

I feel this puzzle goes to show that difficulty really is in the eye of the beholder. I thought it was easy-medium for a Monday (minus that SIG-EP clue—had to use surrounding context to get that one). GHOST CHILI(s) are pretty common talk in the Southern US, but FBI FILE and AMFAR added some nice complexity to the puzzle.

Love the theme—though I didn't use it to solve. I needed your breakdown to see it clearly.

okanaganer 1:10 AM  

Did this without looking at the across clues, and finished with an excusable error. For golfer Lorena (wha??) I had a dim memory which seemed to be ACHOA which made 1 across SAME (very plausible; remember I can't look at the clue). I agree with everything Rex said, this was crazy for a Monday: SIGEP, GHOST CHILI, and AMFAR, none of which I have heard of, all in the first group of answers.

Also a bone to pick with LODGE... the clue is totally French (a lot of French here!), so I wanted something like CHALET which didn't fit or maybe SALON???

Spent today trying to clear the leaves out of my gutters, which froze solid on November 1, hours after the leaves fell and wet snow fell and immediately froze, and only melted this morning. Every time I would head outside, a mini blizzard would start. As soon as I came back inside, the storm would stop and the sun would come out. Canadian weather! Got it done. I think the official motto of Canada should be "get 'er done".

Anonymous 1:19 AM  

First time posting, but today I felt compelled. I’m a longtime avid NYTXW fan as well as a frequent reader of this blog.

I also happen to work deeply in HIV prevention and research, and as someone in that space I was utterly thrown by the 5 Across clue, “Org for HIV prevention and study.”

At first I thought, well finally a clue relevant to my expertise! I ran through the likely players: PEPFAR, UNAIDS… no. Okay, more esoteric (for a Monday) but still reasonable: US CDC, US NIH, NIAID… still no. More out there? Global Fund (GFATM), AIDS Health Foundation (AHF), Gates Foundation (BMGF)… no.

I finally got AMFAR via the crosses. While it’s a factually accurate clue, it’s not that well known of an organization and a surprising deep dig, even for one in the field!

Anyways, I enjoyed the lively content and the theme and appreciated the greater challenge of this Monday. Though certainly not setting any speed records!

Curious to know how well known AMFAR is to the NYTXW community.

egsforbreakfast 1:36 AM  

Were I still keeping a running ass tally (sorry, I can’t resist pushing the breakfast test envelope), I’d have to point to MOON, REARS, ODOR, NOGO and LOOSE. Butt, who’s counting?

The 17A clue (Pepper measuring over 1 million on the Scoville scale) arguably has it backwards. I’ve always heard of the chili being a Ghost Pepper, rather than the pepper being a Ghost Chili. My view enjoys a 2:1 Google advantage. I just received a ziplock of homemade Ghost Pepper salt from my little brother at Thanksgiving. He recommended that I not attempt making it in my own house, since it made his uninhabitable for a day or so.

This puzzle raises the questions: WHO SHEBANG? SOME ODDLY LOOSE INGENUES?

If IFOLD is how you quit a poker hand, is bifold how you quit the whole game?

I’m not as enamored of the theme as Rex is, but it works exactly right for what it is. SIGEP is crossed completely fairly, so I don’t view it as any worse than the APHRA suggested by Rex. On the whole it was a fun Monday. Congrats and thanks, Chloe Revery.

Gary Jugert 1:38 AM  


Phew... Monday, and a delightful one at that. At least we'll get a day or two reprieve from the "it's not hard enough" crowd.

With a theme like this, I bet the original title of this puzzle was "Rex Parker's Minions." I like the phrase hopping mad, but I am more of a silent stewer.

I think using the word BALD is rude even if it's clued with tires or eagles. We all know what BALD really is and we don't want to talk about it. I am having a "dermatological procedure" on my noggin today and I had to shave my scalp BALD so they can chop out any proof I didn't wear a hat in the 80s. There will be bandages and pain meds apparently. Should be fun. Will probably be horrible. I look nothing like a BALD eagle, but there is a passing resemblance to an old tire. Thankfully I was hard to look at before the razoring, so people are used to aggressively ignoring me.

Sadly never heard of AMFAR, but it seems like I should have.

I like having ADIEU and AU REVOIR in the same grid.

I've added INGENUE as my 9th favorite word edging out BODEGA, but unable to surmount AERIE. SHEBANG is a pretty sweet word too.

REPO MAN was indeed my favorite movie in 1984. I should watch it again to see if collegiate me had any taste.


1 Oprah cut a fart at dinner.
2 One who smells like a normal person without realizing it.
3 Zero's feeling about the guy standing to his left, i.e., your right.
4 Newspaper headline the day after the apple incident.
5 Best vehicle choice when you want to get away.
6 Last sound you heard as you decrescenoed onto the pavement. And your first thought afterward.
7 The joyous moment of kicking a loser to the curb.


Anonymous 2:30 AM  

Not only parfum, au revoir and ingenue, but ADIEU!

Jasper C. 3:11 AM  

The fill felt really weak for a Monday—mostly classic crosswordese, sure, but the north section in particular was a total guess on two of MAHI's crosses.
That said, slamming in Lorena OCHOA after serendipitously learning it yesterday felt amazing. Thanks for that one, Rex.

Anonymous 4:00 AM  

Lucky for me that I read Rex yesterday, when he mentioned Lorena Ochoa…

DrSparks 5:04 AM  

Should 39D have been NOGONE or am I too tense about things?

Lewis 6:42 AM  

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

1. Say what you want? (5)
2. Late assignment (5)(5)
3. Funny bones? (6)(4)
4. Goes from one thing to another (6)
5. They go around at museums (6)


SouthsideJohnny 6:45 AM  

I wish I enjoyed the themes more, and this one was pretty good. Not worth having to sit through SIGEP, AMFAR, HAIFI, PARFUM, and FBIFILE though. Would love to see Shortz dispense with the themes for a week - maybe except for Saturday when the grid can really buckle under the weight of the theme requirement.

kitshef 7:16 AM  

AMFAR crossing FBI should have been immediate and sufficient cause to send this back for a rework. Crossing initialisms are unacceptable.

Similarly, AMFAR crossing REI should have been immediate and sufficient cause to send this back for a rework.

Lucky for me, we just had GRE recently. It was a WoE for me then, but I remembered it today. Thus only two complete unknowns (on a MONDAY!) – SIGEP and AMFAR.

pabloinnh 7:18 AM  

Had the same issues as OFL and @egs on SIGEP and GHOSTCHILIS, respectively, and agree with several that AMFAR is a huh? I am not enamored of RYESEED as an answer as it seems a little desperate, but I am gratified to learn the origin of STAN, since it shows up more and more often these days.

Saw what was going on after LIVID and FUMING and was trying to think of a good revealer before I got there. Splitting mad? Divided mad? Mad apart? Mad here and there? I guess HOPPING works but for me it's a stretch.

Superior Monday in that I learned some stuff. Congratulations Required, CR, for the debut, and thanks for all the fun.

@jae-It's cold and raining here so a good day for a Croce (and a tough NYorker). We'll see how that all goes.

kitshef 7:24 AM  

@jae - My downfall on the Croce puzzle was the cross of 35A, the unknown bike part, with 37D, which even seeing the answer I have no idea what the clue means. SE was the first to fall for me.

Anonymous 7:27 AM  

@SJ Saturday never has a theme. I don't understand your proposal.

Irene 7:29 AM  

Random trivia fact: Aphra Benn was also the first woman to make her living by writing. A good clue/answer but not for a Monday.

Lewis 7:31 AM  

It was clear early on that the circled letters spelled wrath synonyms, and with much forehead wrinkling, I tried to figure out the reveal before uncovering it – to no avail. So, I got some lovely brain exercise there.

The theme, this ODE to ire, is rich with mostly engaging theme answers, and ends with the perfect reveal popping up like a happy surprise. All the vitriol in those circled letters is nicely balanced off by the cross of AT EASE and SANITY.

After solving, I like to say goodbye to the world for a few more moments and dive deep into the grid, looking for treasures – dessert, if you will. Today, I liked the double-E cluster in the mid-east of SEED / KLEE / HEE. I noticed a Boggle-style EVE (beginning with the E of AU REVOIR) to go with EDEN. And, to echo the theme, there were the HOPPING vowels in a quintet of four-letter words: LAVA / NOGO / VIDI / ODOR / EDEN.

A debut with personality and promise, and a sweet launch to the day. Thank you and congratulations, Chloe!

Bob Mills 7:33 AM  

Used trial and error to get the AMFAR/REI cross. Otherwise fairly easy, but more like a Tuesday than a Monday for difficulty.

Anonymous 7:33 AM  

Man, I would have been so much happier to have seen Aphra Behn instead of Sig-whatever.

TJS 7:40 AM  

Better than average Monday, that's for sure.

Pretty interesting Wiki on Aphra Behn. Sounds like my kinda woman.

Barbara S. 7:50 AM  

I thought the theme was clever, elegant and nicely executed. All those words for [Really miffed] HOPPING over black squares. Because I wasn’t focused on the circles, the theme didn’t particularly help my solve, but I gave it an enthusiastic thumbs-up afterwards. And speaking of ire,

I had reason to be HOPPING MAD…at myself. But first – hooray for straightforward 1As! SOME went right in. And so did PARFUM [Chanel No. 5, par exemple] at 23A. Then I made the fatal mistake of looking at the down clues. Just as bad as college team mascots, sororities and fraternities are Greek to me, so no idea on 1D. Rex actually mentioned golfer Lorena OCHOA in his write-up yesterday but like a goof, I mixed her up with tennis champ Naomi OsakA, so that was the 5-letter starting-with-O-ending-with-A sportswoman’s name that went in. Not only that, but like Rex my low-gravity vehicle was a MarsROVER. I’d already filled in ENS for the “Star Trek” officers and THUD for [“Clunk!], so that gave me _saN for the clickable image and _arST as the start of the million-point pepper. What a mess! I abandoned the NW corner as hopeless, and had to come back at the end and mop up. I don’t care all that much about solve times, but Monday is the one puzzle of the week I try to solve as quickly as I can, just as an added challenge on an easy day. Today my time was over my average, so even though I’m not LI/VID, FUM/ING, ANG/RY or IR/ATE, I’m peeved.

AMFAR was a complete unknown – especially tough in the second across position. FBI FILE was also hard to produce. But the spate of French words was right in my wheelhouse. My heart went out to OLD PAL – just the thought of it made me want to hug my best friend of longstanding, Kathleen. And I also liked WELL AIMED, with its suggestion of thoughtful precision.

[SB: yd: 0. Lots of compounds, and I really thought they should have accepted WOODLARK. It can be spelled as one word or two, and it’s a bird native to parts of the world other than North America. But there was another denizen of far-away lands whose name they always take, so phooey. Dang, I’m peeved again.]

mmorgan 8:01 AM  

Nice theme, most of this was a regular smooth Monday, but then — the same issues as Rex had with AMFAR, GHOST CHILI, FBI FILE, and most of lol, SIGEP. Yikes!!! What are these doing in my Monday puzzle?

Anonymous 8:11 AM  

Rex did a nice job explaining why this puzzle is generally fine, but it's not a Monday puzzle.

I only know AMFAR because it was the recipient of the money raised by the 1985 single, "That's What Friends Are For," by Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, and Elton John. It was mentioned on the back cover of the record, which I have. From surfing the internet, it's a charity that fundraises to support AIDS research, and not a particularly large one. I don't think it has a direct scientific arm. Doesn't seem very Monday-ish.

Anonymous 8:20 AM  

Amfar is the foundation begun by Elizabeth Taylor. I’m surprised people don’t know it immediately. The FB down which resulted was tricky.

Son Volt 8:30 AM  

Typically these split word themes can be obtuse - but I thought this was cute. I don’t formally time myself but this was around my normal Monday. Revealer was apt and had some splash.

Knew GHOST CHILI from the show where the large guy tries to eat those huge amounts of food. Although I agree with @egs that pepper is more common. Makes No SENSE at All.

Overall fill was fine for early week. Keep the French stuff to a minimum and the kid lit out. FBI FILE was tough to parse. A little SKEE ball with an OLD PAL sounds pretty good to me.

DAR Williams

Enjoyable Monday solve.

Anonymous 8:36 AM  

AMFAR is forever associated with Elizabeth Taylor who committed early on and thoroughly for AIDS education, treatment, and compassion.

Anonymous 8:41 AM  

It was completely unknown to me and I work in healthcare, though as Rex said it’s reminiscent for an older generation than mine.

pmdm 8:42 AM  

I would agree this puzzle is harder than most Mondays. That would be due to the editors, who assign the puzzle the day of the week, and not the constructor. This placement would suggest some difficult puzzles this week. We shall see.

But did I like the puzzle? Sadly, not a lot. Too much seemed esoteric to me. Not the best of debuts. But I hope to see a second puzzle by this constructor.

By the way, very good and fair write up in my opinion.

Anonymous 8:44 AM  

REPO MAN enjoys a regular rotation during the fall months each year. It’s incredible and has garnered a cult following over the years. Highly recommend revisiting.

Whatsername 8:47 AM  

I generally judge the quality of a Monday crossword not so much by my own enjoyment of it but more with the eye of a new solver. Those of us who do this every day can breeze through most any Monday and this one we could finish effortlessly as a themeless. But just imagine this was your very first NYT crossword and after struggling to get the revealer, you had your first wonderful aha moment upon realizing what goes in those circles. In that case, the theme would’ve been the difference between your first success or your first failure.

That said, I enjoyed this immensely. It conjured images of Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Wile E. Coyote and the Three Stooges literally HOPPING MAD with faces squished and fists pounding, and it made me smile. But had I done it 20 years ago, I would’ve been extremely pleased with my success. Nice job finding that balance today Chloe, and congratulations on your debut. Looking forward to more.

Gary Jugert 8:48 AM  

okanaganer 1:10 AM
I'll defend après-ski as an English idiom with French roots. I don't think of it as any more French than résumé or naïveté. Lose the accents (and the need for an alt-keyboard) and you're in any ski town in the west. In Colorado, the phrase après-ski generally beckons you to the hotel lobby, not a lodge, where they want $14 for a beer brewed by the manager's nephew with "carefully selected quality ingredients." I do like you "chalet" idea -- in Colorado those are the small bed and breakfast hotels where breakfast is really a do-it-yourself cereal station.

Smith 8:53 AM  

@jae, pablo croce you have to print out, right? Can't find an online version...

Pete 8:56 AM  

The AMFAR reactions surprise me, but I guess you had to be an adult 40 years ago (i.e. old like me) for amfAR to be well known to you. It was started in 1983 by the doctors who first studied AIDS as the Aids Medical Foundation (AMF), then merged with another organization in 1985 as amFAR. It was the public face of AIDS research and advocacy and care in the 1980s & 90s, and remains a major player today world wide. I guess it's a good thing that they're not still at the forefront of everyone's consciousness, but amFAR was massively important.

Among a certain class of people, it's quite a status symbol to have gotten a look at your FBIFILE. It's quite the thing to drop at a party - "Well, the FBI started a file on me back in '68 after Chicago, and they kept it up for a decade or so before getting bored with me. As apparently you are now".

Smith 8:56 AM  

@Barb S
moi aussi, woodlark!

Smith 9:05 AM  

Oof on AMFAR and FBIFILE. That cross slowed this Monday down to Wednesday ish. Well, that and the fat thumb typo of MAaI which briefly made me wonder if there was some kind of GHOSTCalLa pepper lily. The fault lies not always in the constructor but in ourselves. OTOH, thx @Rex for Lorena OCHOA. Until yd I knew the astronaut (neat bio for kids I had when teaching) but not this one, a sports person I think? And puh-lease get HP out of my puzzle and off my lawn!!

Otherwise it was pretty smooth although as someone said, it would be a tough Monday for a noob.

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

Maybe it's just me but I think of 'mars rover' and 'moon buggy'

Trina 9:06 AM  

Easy for me, all the “tougher” answers just happened to be in my wheelhouse or easily inferred from the crosses.

Back to yesterday’s puzzle if I may - I was late posting for that. Question - isn’t there some unwritten NYTX “rule” against two of the same words in answers? After filling in SEASAWS I presumed that the answer for wood cutting tool could not contain SAW - but it did. (RIPSAW.). Anyone?

andrew 9:08 AM  

amFAR was known to me because of Harvey Weinstein’s financial chicanery when he diverted $600k in donations to an unrelated project and amFAR execs went along with it.

Maybe that’s what inspired the hopping mad theme. That guy is a pig in every sense - sorry to bring up the scoundrel’s name!

pmdm 9:10 AM  

After posting, I read the NYT thought Deb's comments on page 2 of the first section of the paper was worth reading. Did you know that the editors thought hard about which day to run this puzzle on? Or that ACME mentored the constructor? Usually I find the blurb a throwaway. Not today. For what it's worth.

GAC 9:15 AM  

SIGEP was an easy one for me. My dad was a SigEp at UMass - MassAgie when he graduated in 1927.
I can remember the pin with the skull and crossbones. I'm always pleased when OFL rates as Challenging a puzzle that I find Easy. A rare occurrence.

RooMonster 9:19 AM  

Hey All !
My 10 Mondays In A Row streak has ended. Ugh. If E.A. Poe was still alive, I'd slap him. Had ALLeN in, giving me HAIFe, as both HAIFe and HAIFA are unknowns, but now that I see HAIFA, a faint bell is ringing in the ole brain. But ALLAN? *Smack*

Normally don't agree with Rex when he goes on a screed about an entry, but SIG EP gets an exception. Yeesh.

Did like the concept, tough to get the Themer words split with actual words/phrases, that's why Chloe turned to French. And, the closeness of the Themers adds a wrench into getting clean Downs, hence, SIG EP. There's basically 4 grid-spanning Themers, plus a Revealer. So Brava on the mostly clean fill. A lot of struggles to make a MonPuz.

But, ALLAN! * Shakes fist in the air*

Four F's

Nancy 9:26 AM  

I was having a good time with this tougher-then-usual and refreshingly name-free Monday which I was solving as a themeless. But then I noticed LIVID and FUMING a third of the way down and stopped cold. Could I guess the revealer? That would add an extra layer of fun to an already enjoyable puzzle.

SPLITTING MAD???? Nah, it's "spitting mad".

THE GAPS OF WRATH???? Nah. Just nah.

I actually thought of -- and dismissed -- JUMPING MAD. How did I not then immediately think of HOPPING MAD? I just didn't.

Very cute -- and at least I was on the right (high hurdles) track. What's nice about the puzzle is that the difficult-to-execute theme does not bring about bad fill and crosswordese. The grid is very clean.

PS. I never heard of a GHOST CHILI. Does that mean that everyone who eats one dies of acute intestinal distress and is now a ghost?

Gary Jugert 9:38 AM  

@Nancy 9:26 AM
The Gaps of Wrath! 🤣

bocamp 9:51 AM  

Thx, Chloe, for the Mon. workout! :)


A bit on the tough side, but fairly crossed.

Learned: SIGEP; AMFAR; GHOST CHILI; 'Euphoria airer'.

Fond memories of SKEE Ball at the arcade in Seaside, OR.

Enjoyed the challenge :), but not enamored by the ANGRY theme. :(

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

tea73 10:00 AM  

According to the NYT statistics I did this faster than average, but I think they may be skewed by answering phone calls in the middle of doing a puzzle. Had no clue on SIG whatever, I have the same gut feelings about frats that Rex does. Since neither of my boys like alcohol and they are rather nerdy neither went that route.

I vaguely remembered AMFAR, but that F was the last letter into the puzzle. I was in grad school when AIDS began. Many of my friends lost friends, but somehow my gay friends were all spared.

I would have been stuck on APHRA Benn. I took a women's history class in college, but it concentrated on social history, not so much on literature. Anyway glad to have learned about her!

Clever puzzle, fun to have a Monday that felt a little crunchy even if it went by fairly quickly.

Camilita 10:00 AM  

KIA-LOA ALERT! Mauna Loa is erupting for the first time in 40 years! Grab your pencils or pens (if you're a badass and do them in ink!) and take cover!

SouthsideJohnny 10:02 AM  

@anon 7:27 I was suggesting that the NYT try something as an experiment - suspend the theme requirement for a week and let the grids shine. Would be interesting to see what some of the talented constructors could come up with. Additionally, If they want, they could require a theme on Saturday (on a one-off basis) and see what kind off pressure that would put on what is usually a pretty tough grid from a solver’s perspective.

kitshef 10:04 AM  

@Smith 8:53 - you can a .puz file here and upload to the platform of your choice. I use .

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

Agree that it was tough for a Monday but really fun -- more of this, please!

Joseph Michael 10:18 AM  

SIGEP AMFAR OCHOA SNAPE? What language is this? Oh, I see. It’s French. Now I’ll dab some PARFUM behind my ears and say AU REVOIR.

Anonymous 10:41 AM  

Just here to say your post yesterday saved a lot of headache re: Lorena OCHOA. Prophetic, sir.

lodsf 10:42 AM  

Yesterday we were bent out of shape and today we’re hopping mad. Are the NYT puzzle editors getting cranky?

Very uncharacteristically for me I found this puzzle a breeze vs. not only Rex but also many commenters. IDK … I just read/filled the acrosses then the downs entering what I knew without worrying about final answers. Then went back to fill-in-the-blanks. Have heard of GHOSTCHILLIs. AM*F*AR / *F*BIFILES was a letter run — have no recollection of AMFAR - though it seems I should since I well recall the AIDS epidemic days — & FBI was difficult to see. Never even realized that the fraternity got filled in ‘on its own’ … forgot about the clue and never ever heard of the answer.

So for me, short and sweet!

PS - thanks PMDM @ 9:10 for recommending the NYT blog. I don’t usually read but found today’s interesting.

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

Totally was thinking GMHC and Equity Fights AIDS and I associate AMFAR with a host of other causes.

Beezer 10:57 AM  

Nice debut! I also thought @Rex wrote a pretty well-balanced review although the presence of SIGEP didn’t really faze me…I mean, I never really got into the whole Greek life thing in college but I do know that for some small colleges students are encouraged to go Greek after Freshman year due to a dearth of campus residential housing.

Agree with @egs that GHOSTpepper is what I have heard but CHILI was certainly inferable so no real complaint.

The presence of SHEBANG prompted me to look it up post-solve and it means: a matter, operation, or set of circumstances. Welp, okay, but I guess I’ll have to dig deeper to find out HOW we came up with such a crazy word. Crazy, but I like it.

mbr 10:59 AM  

Since @Anonymous 1:19am asked, I'll chime in with the others of (apparently) my age bracket who remember learning of AMFAR from the person who brought it to the attention of the general public, Elizabeth Taylor. She raised millions of dollars for AIDS research.

sixtyni yogini 11:11 AM  

Well I didn’t love the theme, but I’m not HOPPINGMAD, LIVID, ETC about it.
More difficult than I expect for Mondays. Enjoy the change-up.
Made me think: 😢so many people in the world today means so many ANGRY people.


Diego 11:14 AM  

It amazes me that AMFAR is a wheelhouse issue for so many here. It’s an acronym that will be forever associated with HIV-AIDS, and not the least because Elizabeth Taylor was the zealous national spokesperson for the organization. Her advocacy—and AMFAR’s work—helped forge critical support to fight the scourge.

Masked and Anonymous 11:57 AM  

@RP: Kinda glad the NW corner didn't have an APHRA in it, as I woulda then had no idea. SIGEP was inferable and OCHOA was at least vaguely recognizable. However, U gotta go with UPON instead of IPOD, in yer fill version. Already got a DIG at 46-A. Could maybe even consider LUGUP instead of DUGUP, therefore ... if U can dig it.

The Circles! Always a fun sight on a MonPuzday. Nice, tight, fragmented MonPuz themers.
Played slightly feisty for a MonPuz, which is way fine by m&e.

fave stuff included: MOONROVER. FBIFILE. THUD. SHEBANG.

staff weeject pick: DAR. Sorta a combo of Debut and hAR.
fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {"Veni, ___, vici" (Caesar's boast)} = VIDI.

Thanx for the stormy breakups, Ms. Revery darlin. And congratz on yer wellaimed debut.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


Anonymous 11:58 AM  

@DrSparks; I believe that NOGO is the term that NASA uses to describe the launch status when a mission has been aborted, so I think the answer is correct.

GILL I. 12:00 PM  

Mr. SIGEP was acting ODDLY CHILI. He looked like a LIVID GHOST FUMING at the MOON.....and I'll tell you why:

His OLD PAL, MAHI, was AT CAMP ONE day eating SOME RYE SEED KLEE with a sprinkle of LSD when lo and behold, he saw a BOVINE and her HAIFA roaming LOOSE around the RURAL town of AUREVOIR. Should he call in the FBI or TASSEL them himself? He chose himself.

The SIEGE began. It was an ANGRY fight. The BOVINE was HOPPING MAD and began to DIG its WELL AIMED HEE WHO into the REARS AREA of MAHI. MAHI was IRATE as hell; this TASSLE wasn't going well. He finally got his SANITY restored when the little HAIFA could SENSE that WHO SHE BANG didn't work here. They said ADIEU to the TOWN of AUREVOIR.

Mr. SIGEP was relieved. He was a PAL of MAHI for what seemed like an EON although it was only a DECADE. His CHILI demeanor was gone but the ODOR of a GORY SIEGE still wafted in the air....

They left the CAMP and decided to celebrate at the LODGE INN and check out the INGENUES. The PARFUM wafting from the INN reminded them of BOVINE ODOR and the IDLE INGENUES didn't DIG BALD men. The TABLE they sat at was filled with OLD RYE SEED and their waitress, FIONA, was A TEASE WHO sat on her REARS and wouldn't serve them. Although they were ODDLY happy to still be ALIVE, they took their LOOSE change and BLEATED "AUREVOIR....."

The BOVINE and her HAIFA never returned; SIGEP and MAHI moved FAR away.... A TRUCE had been forged and it was time to END ON a happy READ. The LIVID, FUMING, ANGRY and IRATE BALD men were now in EDEN drinking ARGO RYE under the MOON of an OLD LAVA lamp and they were WHO HEE happy.

I shall BLEAT ADIEU while my SANITY prevails. TRUCE?

Anoa Bob 12:51 PM  

I once thought the Scoville Scale was an objective measure of the amount of capsaicin, the compound responsible for the "heat" of each kind of pepper. Then I learned that, no, it's a subjective measure, based on people's taste experiences, not on a chemical assay.

The GHOST CHILI isn't the hottest CHILI pepper on the Scoville Scale. That would be the Carolina Reaper, coming in at about twice the Scoville Heat Units of the GHOST CHILI pepper. The absolute hottest of the super hot peppers, though, is literally off the Scoville chart. It's the Guatemalan InSANITY Pepper, a.k.a. the Merciless Pepper of Quetzalacatenango.

This mind altering pepper was featured in an episode of "The Simpsons". Homer ate several at a CHILI Cook-Off and began to hallucinate that he was wandering in the desert where he met a coyote who claimed to be his spirit guide. An interesting guest star voiced the coyote. Here is a video of part of his experience: Homer's Spirit Guide. I think the sequence was a bit of a spoof of the 1980 movie "Altered States".

As usual, I noticed, and not in a good way, that one of the theme entries doesn't match the letter count of its slot and needed some convenient help from the letter S. Instead of INGENUES, I would have tried INGENDER. With an identical INGEN___ sequence, it would be easy to work that into the NE corner. That would mean adiós to ADIEU but there is still AUREVOIR for the Francophiles.

Anonymous 1:08 PM  

From New Mexico, the Chile Capital of the World: Yes, that phrase is actually on our current license plates. The answer to the clue "pepper measuring over 1 million on the Scoville scale" should be "ghost CHILE."
CHILE with an 'e' at the end denotes the pepper; CHILI with an 'i' is for the dish made with the peppers. Your spelling lesson for today!

Jeremy 1:19 PM  

In your face, Space Coyote!

Wikipedia tells me that Scoville measurements are now calculated by chromatography. I just need enough of an estimate to know which peppers from the garden are too hot to dehydrate inside the house without getting in trouble.

pabloinnh 1:39 PM  

@smith-It's a good thing @kishef was able to respond to your question--I just print out everything. Good luck with today's if you try it. I'm still wrestling with it.

Anonymous 1:58 PM  

pier2 is not the area of a circle. If square is intended set the type correctly. Also strange to have the word (exam) in both the clue and the answer (63D).

Son Volt 2:18 PM  

@Gill - well done you are on your game today but could you make it more favorable for the BALD guy next time?

GILL I. 3:24 PM  

@Son Volt 2:18....But I did! They ended up in EDEN drinking ARGO RYE under the MOON !...They were WHO HEE happy!.....:-)

bocamp 4:12 PM  

@Smith (8:53 AM)

I use the 'Across Lite' app on my MacBook Air to open Croce's .puz file (as per @kitshef (10:04 AM). Hope you find something that works for you. Good luck! 🤞
Peace 🕊 🇺🇦 ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🙏

Jeff B. 4:26 PM  

SIGEP is horrible, and not just for a Monday. That goes for abbreviations for any fraternity or sorority. It assumes that you've been to college, and a college that has that fraternity. Also that you care about fraternities.

dgd 5:05 PM  

FWIW a few years ago Pope's middle name was a common answer. But still I wasn't sure if the spelling! Fortunately, I knew Haifa....

jberg 7:30 PM  

Back from a wonderful extended post-Thanksgiving in Provincetown, and found that our papers had been delivered this morning, so I solved this delightful puzzle, but now I have to cook dinner, so I don't have time to read the comments.

I was miffed (coulda been a themer!) about SIGMA EP-- I mean, skull and crossbones? Wiki explains that it's on the fraternity badge, but then illustrates it with a badge that doesn't have it. WTF?? But then I remembered the rule I have often proclaimed here: just ignore the extraneous information in the clue. "Short" for a fraternity starting with S and ending in P--that's all you need.

There are so many steps between taking the GRE and becoming a "prof" that the clue for 63A always seems a little strained. Aspiring member of the precariat would be more like it.

Anyway, it's good to be back. See you tomorrow, a bit earlier in the day.

albatross shell 9:45 PM  

LSD TASSEL reminded me of Country Joe and the Fish: Then the one with the Fez, well he turns and he says
We'd like to help you make your trip.

Just me I guess.

Rex asks what more do you want from a theme? Well I checked to see if any of the black squares that were hopped over would make sense with the word MAD put in in the down column as in MAD SENSE or MAHI MAD ARGO or AREA MAD OPAL or FBI FILE MAD STRIPED. So the answer is no, mostly. How sad. To think I wanted more from a theme than Rex.

Was really looking forward to seeing how you would clue SHE BANG RYE SEED.

The butt count. Great cyber-cruciverbalist stat.

One single , one double PoC.

Snuck by two naticks by the skin of my teeth. The A in PARFUM and the M in MAHI. Crosses took care of everything else eventually.

albatross shell 9:55 PM  

My huckleberry friend

I'll let one of our lyricists complete The ODE to a Lunar Vehicle.

thefogman 9:56 AM  

This is a solid debut puzzle so congratulations to Chloe Revery. More challenging than your average Monday. AMFAR crossing MAHI, FBIFILE and REI were more Wednesday or Thursday-ish as were SIGEP and OCHOA. But it’s Will Shortz who decides which puzzles run on which days of the week, not the constructor. So Bravo to Chloe and here’s hoping for more.

spacecraft 11:10 AM  

How'd you like yesterday's time machine trip--from March of 2020?!

Today I see I'm not the only ONE WHO found the puzzle ODDLY snaggy, for a Monday. I did not know AMFAR or GHOSTCHILI, and in the south, my failing eyesight read the clue for 60 across while I was working on 50 across. For the life of me I didn't know what a roadside stopover was that ended in -VO_R. Those damn 5's and 6's...!

Still there were plenty of gimmes, enough to make it medium-challenging. My vote for the "BOVINE" easy answer of the day (yo, @M&A) goes to "Knights of the round---" [TABLE].

Good theme & execution; fair and necessary use of the dreaded circle. Score it a birdie despite SIGEP out of the gate.

Near-eagle with YBGYB, BGGGG, GGGGG. Today's grid gives me the excellent start word for tomorrow: ADIEU. Stay tuned.

Diana, LIW 11:11 AM  

Didn't really P me off, but it was most certainly harder than the usual Monday offering. Skull and crossbones crossing that chili - total Natick for me.

So in the end, a dnf on Monday for me. I BLEAT.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for the real Monday puzzle to appear

Burma Shave 1:39 PM  


URGED STAN, "now GO away please,
I'm MAD at this INGENUE,


From yesterday:


That ISN'T THE PINNACLE, I reckon.
For what A TINY GRAINOF(SALT)'s worth,


rondo 2:06 PM  

Yeah, I didn't bother doing much searching for where yesterday's puz came from. It seems that the ONE we were supposed to get looked, to some folks, like a swastika tipped on its side a bit.
TODAY a couple of outliers for Monday answers, tougher than usual but done. One write-over on GHOSTCHILe; isn't CHILI with an I at the end the dish that you eat? Maybe not.
Unlikely wordle birdie with BBGBB, BBGBB, GGGGG.

Anonymous 4:21 PM  

I won't argue with New Mexico, who obviously, knows a lot more about peppers than I do, but I, personally, have only seen the word chile spelt with an e, when it was the country in South America. Chili ending with an i, was for all other uses.

rondo 11:54 PM  


Chili peppers (also chile, chile pepper, chilli pepper, or chilli ), from Nahuatl chīlli (Nahuatl pronunciation: [ˈt͡ʃiːlːi] (listen)), are varieties of the berry-fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum, which are members of the nightshade family Solanaceae, cultivated for their pungency.

thefogman 5:51 AM  

When the temperature drops to below zero in Santiago you may find… a chilly chili in Chile.

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