Warp drive power source on Star Trek / MON 11-14-22 / Many a TikTok user informally / Italian mojito garnish / Sidekick of Mario and Luigi / What choosy moms choose according to ads / Playback option in brief

Monday, November 14, 2022

Constructor: Taylor Johnson

Relative difficulty: Medium (i.e. normal Monday)

THEME: PIZZA PARTY (62A: Social event hinted at by the ends of 18-, 28- and 48-Across) — theme answers end in CRUST, SAUCE, and CHEESE, respectively:

Theme answers:
  • UPPER CRUST (18A: High-society, metaphorically)
  • WEAK SAUCE (28A: Something unimpressive, slangily)
  • "SAY CHEESE!" (48A: "Smi-i-i-i-le!")
Word of the Day: Joan JETT (39A: Rock's Joan ___ & the Blackhearts) —
Joan Jett (born Joan Marie Larkin, September 22, 1958) is an American singer, guitarist, record producer, and actress. Jett is best known for her work as the frontwoman of her band Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, and for earlier founding and performing with the Runaways, which recorded and released the hit song "Cherry Bomb". With The Blackhearts, Jett is known for her rendition of the song "I Love Rock 'n Roll" which was number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks in 1982. Jett's other notable songs include "Bad Reputation", "Light of Day", "I Hate Myself for Loving You" and her covers of "Crimson and Clover", "Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)" and "Dirty Deeds". [...] Joan Jett & the Blackhearts were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (wikipedia)
• • •

This felt a little WEAK SAUCE, a little thin ... crust, a little weak TEA. Let's stick with the "thin crust" metaphor for now ... actually, no, scrap that, thin crust can be delicious. The theme seemed thin. Just three answers. And not all of them really hid / repurposed the pizza ingredients adequately. UPPER CRUST did a great job (that "crust" has nothing to do with pizza), but WEAK SAUCE is a little ... weaker, in that sauce is sauce is sauce, and ditto the "cheese" in "SAY CHEESE!" I think BIG CHEESE or something more obviously metaphorical like that might've been better. But even if the theme answers had been perfect, the puzzle remains fairly thin—just a three-part, last-words-type puzzle. From a structural perspective, the grid feels very poorly built, in that TIME BOMBS and DON'T LEAVE are exactly as long as the theme answers they abut, so they really really look like / feel like / wanna be theme answers ... but aren't. Major distraction. Makes the theme look denser than it is. I actually thought DON'T LEAVE was a theme answer for a bit ... but then I realized I was thinking LEAF, as in BASIL leaf. Which leads me to the next problem: am I supposed to buy BASIL as some kind of bonus theme answer? It does sit dead center, and you do find BASIL on pizzas from time to time. So let's just say that I formally reject BASIL as theme-related. I also reject that an "Italian mojito" (!?!?!) is a thing (41A: Italian mojito). That is, I'm sure it's a thing to someone, somewhere, but what a completely ridiculous way to clue BASIL. Mojitos are Cuban. Conceptually and execution-wise, this one feels a bit of a mess, which seems very strange for a puzzle with a theme that is really very straightforward and basic. I don't even really get the "PARTY" angle. Is it a "PARTY" just because you've "invited" three ingredients into the grid?

As for the fill, it's fine, if you enjoy shooting SLO-MO TAE BO on your GOPRO. I kid, it's fine. Except for WHAP, what is that? This is like when the puzzle tried to convince me that OWLS say WHOO! Remember that? Of course you do, it was two days ago. I spell BLECH with two "C"s (at least), so that was weird (37D: "Disgusting!"). GEN Z'ER, ugh, no (47D: Many a TikTok user, informally). XERs have the "-ER" but ZER!? Oof, doesn't work. The wikipedia page for "Generation Z" begins, "Generation Z, colloquially known as zoomers..." So there you go. That is what they are called, if they are called anything. GENZER is just a desperate attempt to debut a new term [checks database ...] Yep, it's a debut. Not sure what else to say here. I wanted CLAROS for 26D: Some quality cigars. I knew that some fancy cigars came from Cuba, but I was looking for a cigar type, not a cigar place of origin, is the problem. I learned "claro" from crosswords. A "claro" is a "light-colored usually mild cigar" (merriam-webster.com). That's your cigar lesson for the day. 

A STROBE light figured prominently in a (beautiful) movie I just saw in the theater today called "Aftersun" (d. Charlotte Wells, 2022). The STROBE appears to be part of some kind of dance party but that "party" seems also maybe to be the afterlife or else some point of emotional connection between the father and daughter in the story. You should see the movie and explain it all to me. I understood all the non-STROBE parts perfectly, and as I say: beautiful.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. who says "Attitude check!"??? So weird ... (14A: "Watch you ___!" ("Attitude check!") (TONE))

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:06 AM  

Medium. Pretty smooth with some fine long downs. The theme was a tad meh and @Rex a bit sparse but this was a reasonably solid Monday. Liked it. Nice debut.

@bocamp & pabloinnh - Croce’s Freestyle #761 was interesting. I started, as always, in the NW and got nowhere for a long time. I almost gave up but decided to try it from the bottom up. This worked out surprisingly well and it ended up being easy-medium for a Croce. Some of my problems in the NW were a couple of wrong entries. Good luck!

NYDenizen 12:37 AM  

Wordle 512 2/6*

⬜R🟨A🟨 I ⬜S 🟩E
🟩 I 🟩N🟩A🟩N🟩E


egsforbreakfast 1:43 AM  

I’ll definitely take BASIL on my PIZZA. But please, no (4D) BEAN or (51A) EGG. Actually, though, I was looking at BASIL and comparing it to “basic”. It seems funny that the ultimate letter affects the pronunciation of the antepenultimate one, while having no effect on the penultimate.

Interesting juxtaposition of ATE RAW and ROT ATE at 1D and 2D.

Very Monday appropriate puzzle. Congrats on the debut, Taylor Johnson.

okanaganer 2:01 AM  

Mondays I solve without looking at the across clues (speak up if you are tired of hearing me say this). So mostly I cared about the theme helping me guess the gaps in the long acrosses, and it did. CRUST, SAUCE, CHEESE => PIZZA. Good enough to solve without cheating!

For 3 down "Warp drive power source" the answer was obviously DILITHIUM CRYSTALS which didn't fit. ANTIMATTER?... oh okay. "Antimatter warp drive" sounds like something Scotty would have said.

[Spelling Bee: nothing to report; out of town this weekend until Sun evening. Sun. got to pg-6 and quit.]

Robin 2:02 AM  

This is why detest themers. Three answers and a revealer. That's just weak. I'll begrudgingly say 4 themers and a reveal is okay. So, yes, I hate, Mondays. Also, I yell at clouds a lot.

And, Rex, could you just block all the people who come here to post their Wordle scores, but nothing else? I do Wordle daily, but I gave on up on bragging about it on social media, and never in unassociated blog comments.

Joe Dipinto 3:42 AM  

I think trying to pass off BASIL as a mojito garnish is a feeble attempt to yank it out of the jurisdiction of the pizza theme. So, no, it's not a bonus.

Don't leave me the sway.

Lizard Breath 5:41 AM  

I would have thought the plural of Emily is Emilies, though given that it is a proper name, EMILYS makes sense.

Anonymous 5:52 AM  

@Robin/ I don't disagree with you but we may see even more today, people being what they are.

Woodsy 6:01 AM  

I found this to be a typical solid Monday puzzle. I have a nit, though. The word "almost" is far from precise but OWLS cannot twist their heads "almost" 360 degrees. My sources say 270. That's 3/4 of 360. I don't think of 3/4 as being almost. Owl head movement is remarkable but the clue is bad.

Lewis 6:05 AM  

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

1. Wraps that might have sauce on them (6)
2. Noun phrase that's present perfect indicative? (4)(4)
3. Big ___ ("the moon and the stars," e.g.) (3)
4. It resurfaces after 20 minutes (7)
5. What might prompt a run for congress? (6)


Jack 6:08 AM  

Fantastic puzzle. RP's peccadilloes sound like the result of a bad day. Fill was consistently sparkly, for some reason RP listed the count-'em-on-one-hand weaker entries as though they could add up to an indictment of the flavourful THAI, TIMEBOMBS, BASIL (clued for those who like to guess into the unknown rather than blame others for our limited experiences--//of course// an Italian mojito is garnished with basil), YOSHI, SPINMOVE, TLDR, STAN... just a few of the answers I liked here. And yes, people say Gen Z'er, sad as that may be. The themers are few but all strong clues and entries on their own -- I don't care if a theme is slight if it improves the puzzle. Only real issue I had was the natick at LARAM/LSU, though both might've been inferable if I'd thought for a second about the geography.

GAC 6:19 AM  

69A: TLDR. I didn't know what these letters stand for. But a search showed that they mean "Too long didn't read". In case someone else is wondering.

TTrimble 6:33 AM  

I've always thought that you say CHEESE when you SAY CHEESE because the pronunciation causes you to stretch your lips and bare your teeth in what is supposed to be a smile, and not because cheese itself is so delicious that you can't help smiling at the thought of it. So, nothing to do with the semantics of cheese. Cheese here is not cheese. It's all in the phonetics.

Somewhat to my surprise, Italian mojitos are apparently a thing. Except that you swap out the mint for BASIL, and -- get this -- you swap out the rum for vodka! Huh. Seems like a Ship of Theseus thing. I mean, how many ingredients can you swap out in your drink and still get to call it a mojito?

(I've read about four different theories about the etymology of "mojito", but I guess I like the "little magic spell" theory. A little mojo risin', if you will. Another theory is that it's a diminutive of mojo = SAUCE, but somehow that seems comparatively WEAK.)

I'd missed WHAP, on account of trying to whoosh through the Monday puzzle. But I can't see or hear that word without remembering a play date I was hosting for my son. The other boy was a handful. At some point I served up some slices of PIZZA as a snack, and the boy proceeded to WHAP his slice on his plate -- there is no other verb for what he was doing. PIZZA SAUCE in all directions. It may have been a PARTY to them, but the whole thing left me WEAK and exhausted. I remember when the mom came to pick him up, and asked me anxiously whether he had behaved himself. It was all I could do to reassure her. But boy howdy was I glad to see him LEAVE.

SB: yd 0, today pg -2 so far.

taylorevan 6:39 AM  

For what it's worth, I was just happy they left in my clue for MORPH - The Power Rangers will always be near and dear to my heart!

SouthsideJohnny 6:44 AM  

Definitely some unusual clues - especially down in that tiny, limited access SW section where the revealer is. Two good gets on the clues for DOGMA and SPIN MOVE, add in the very CrossWorldy ERSE, the cryptic TLDR and finish off with a New York Times signature move (making something up) in GENZER and Voila - we have our Monday revealer section.

bocamp 6:59 AM  

Thx, Taylor, for a refreshing Mon. workout! :)


Breezed thru this one until arriving at the SW corner.

I know I've seen IZOD & TL;DR before, but just couldn't grok either today. Finally went with the 'D', so lucked out. Was fully prepared for a dnf, tho.

Otherwise, very much on my wavelength.

Enjoyed the challenge! :)

Thx @jae; on it! :)
Peace πŸ•Š πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all πŸ™

KateA 7:28 AM  

TLDR to mean a brief summary and GENZERS were hard for me but didn’t mind thoughts of pizza—with basil.

Stevie 7:30 AM  

RE 36A "they get defused..."

Not, famously, in Hitchcock's "Sabotage" - and a rare instance where Hitchcock expressed regret about the choices he made in in filming a sequence, specifically because a child was so prominently featured and victimized, and wished he had done the sequence differently.

pabloinnh 7:49 AM  

Enjoyable Monday here with a little more crunch than usual, possibly due to a couple of self-inflicted misdirections, notably LAKER for LARAM which was clearly impossible, given the NFL, and GEEZER for GENZER. I know more than a few GEEZERS, and none of them are TIK TOK users. This includes yours truly.

SAYCHEESE variations I have heard--"Say whiskey and Say potatao". They both work, surprisingly enough.

Congrats on a fine debut, TJ. Took Just the right amount of time, and thanks for all the fun.

@jae-Will be after it, but later today as it's eyeball injection day and it takes a while to regain vision and ambition.

Also, it's Tough Monday in the New Yorker, y'all. Consistently rewarding.

Son Volt 8:00 AM  

Big guy going all in on a decent Monday is awkward. Thought the theme was fine - simple but well thought out. Overall fill was up and down - I’m not a fan of the “slangily” or “modern lingo” qualifiers - just seems unnecessary.

Like DON’T LEAVE and ANTIMATTER and TIME BOMBS is cool GEN ZER especially crossing TLDR will take most of the ire today and rightfully so. LA RAM is a close second.

EMILY smiles

Enjoyable Monday solve.

Anonymous 8:04 AM  

I'm pretty unhappy about the 69A/47D cross. GENZER?? This is a word? Crossed with an abbreviation I've never heard of, and found, when I looked it up, that it means something so stupid that I can't believe there's an abbreviation for it! "Too Long Didn't Read??????" Take your 2.6-second attention span and get out of here!

Sorry to go all @Nancy on all of you, but this kind of dreck is totally unacceptable.

J.W. 8:06 AM  

I might have considered dropping a PIZZA PARTY-themed puzzle after a week of subpar offerings a mordantly funny piece of dark comedy if there had been any chance that it was done like that on purpose. Pizza parties now of course have a skunked reputation as shorthand for a distraction your corporate overlords throw at you in the hopes that you won't pay attention to the man behind the curtain. But even without any sort of social commentary angle, I thought it was cute anyway. I don't expect much from Mondays except to put a little smile on my face, and this one did that, so I call it a success.

WHAP is 100 percent acceptable flyswatter onomatopoeia. Far more so than WHOO, which was about as mean a swerve as you can get for a clue like that. That clue was easy and fun.

Anonymous 8:12 AM  

I agree. Fantastic puzzle!

Anonymous 8:14 AM  

Yes'm was a term of subservience from black slaves or servants to their white masters or employers. It has no place in a NYT crossword.

Lewis 8:19 AM  

This felt to me like a merry bunch of fun piled into a grid. We had the PIZZA PARTY, yes, but also allusions to comic strips (WHAP and THUD), video games (YOSHI), rap music (STAN), smile moments (SAY CHEESE), break dancing (SPIN MOVE), high-energy people (JETT and ONEAL), special effects (STROBE, MORPH), card playing (CLUBS), fun exercise (TAE BO), pro sports (LARAM), sci-fi (ANTIMATTER), and peanut butter (JIF).

To add to the party, there were abutting palindromes (TOT and SOS), a backward WETS to complement RAINY, and the PuzzPair© of ROTATE and SPIN MOVE.

A high energy launch to springboard me into the day. Caffeinated crosswords! Congratulations on your NYT debut, Taylor, and thank you. This was popping good!

Twangster 8:22 AM  

I'm with you Robin. Posting how you did on Wordle (or Yahtzee, or Jeopardy) on a crossword blog is stupid, selfish, or both.

kitshef 8:32 AM  

Memory is a funny thing. I felt certain the answer to 3D had to be ‘dilithium crystals’, which came nowhere near fitting. Then I thought maybe ‘deuterium’, which also would not fit.

Now I see that dilithium crystals were more of a means to control the reaction, rather than a power source. And yes, deuterium was a needed fuel, just not the only one.

Also, that print screen command for 33D is another argument to avoid Macs.

I have still not learned if it is TAEBO or TAiBO, but I’ve learned enough to leave that middle letter blank until the cross comes in.

Anonymous 9:02 AM  

Other than the SW corner I thought it was a straight forward, easy Monday.

But… that corner. TLDR stands for “too long, didn’t read.” I still don’t get how “Here’s a brief summary…” fits as a clue. IF the clue had been “Response to TLDR,” then it would work.

Whatsername 9:14 AM  

PIZZA components? Must admit that was a theme I didn’t see coming and would never have thought of. Easy as pIe which on a Monday is a good thing. It would be a fun puzzle give to a novice solver who’s never done the NYT before and they’d have an excellent chance of finishing with a big smile at the theme.

Overall a nice slice of clever wordplay and a pretty tasty debut. Thanks Taylor - oh and thanks for paying us a visit us this morning. I’m not a Power Rangers fan but I do really like the word MORPH. 😊

RooMonster 9:27 AM  

Hey All !
PIZZA PARTY! Never a bad thing ...

Center of puz surprisingly clean. That's a big blob of white to fill, usually resulting in some desperation. -Ese-est thing there is YESM, and that's technically the outskirt of the center. No WEAK SAUCE, that. Is AWESOME SAUCE the opposite of WEAK SAUCE? Asking for a PIZZA maker.

Really would've liked to see EXPLODES cross-referenced with TIME BOMBS. Something like, "When the hope of 28 Across doesn't pan out", or somesuch.

In theory (warning, might not pass the Breakfast Test), if you eat too much of the PIZZA at the PARTY, it may make your stomach into a TIME BOMB, and you DONT LEAVE the bathroom for a while.

One F

pmdm 9:28 AM  

Started doing the NYT crossword at work, then had to subscribe when my co-worker was promoted and moved to another worksite. Irrelevant, but considering the time of the promotion, I've been doing the puzzle for decodes. So it is obvious to me that a new mind set at the NYT resulted in expanding the universe of crossword constructors quite a bit. And with that comes a noticeable change in the puzzles that are published. For the better? Not so sure. Seems that my ultimate reaction to the puzzles is that I like the same percentage of them, but maybe less so. And that was exactly my reaction to today's puzzle. I'd go on, but I don't want to beat a dead horse.

Anonymous 9:31 AM  

Amy: 100% agree with your last paragraph. Tx.

Anonymous 9:33 AM  

What is “informal” about LARAM? That is simply what you call an L.A. Rams player, formally or otherwise. The clue should say “briefly” if it’s pointing to LA as an abbreviation. “Niner” would have worked a lot better for this clue, being the actual informal nickname for a Fortyniner…

Anonymous 9:40 AM  

Amy: congrats on your debut. Found this to be several slices above the usual Monday. Would it have been confusing to have worked BASIL into the theme? (We add fresh basil to our Saturday Pizza .)

Trina 10:05 AM  

Robin, you are just feeding the trolls. Rent free living.

Beezer 10:05 AM  

Man, I FINALLY finished up all my crosswords over the last several days and I’m back on track “time wise” with getting it done in the morning with no “life” interruptions. I’m always fascinated how many folks can squeeze it in every day!

Thank you Taylor for the very nice Monday puzzle! I like MORPH too and, for me, Power Rangers gives me fond memories of watching Saturday morning programming with my son. I also liked WEAKSAUCE, ANTIMATTER (also had thoughts of “dilithium crystals”), and clue for DOGMA.

Well, I checked out whether CUBAN cigars are still illegal in the US and got mixed results with the answer. My GUESS is if you are found with a few in your suitcase you won’t get arrested or fined but let’s just say I’m glad I’m not inclined to test it out.

I wonder just when we started assigning generation monikers? Did Gertrude Stein start the idea? Did we assign some of the names “after the fact”? Now that we’ve run out the alphabet, what next?

Ex-Navy 10:06 AM  

"Attitude check" was part of a ritual call-and-response on my ship. The appropriate response started with an F.

jberg 10:07 AM  

My favorite PIZZA is the Margherita, so I definitely wanted that BASIL at my PARTY. And it's sitting there right in the center -- but clued as itself, which is no good. And without an accompanying word, although you could argue that if there is only one word in an answer it is the "end." Alternatively, you could expand it to 12 letters and clue it as "9th century Byzantine ruler," i.e., EMPEROR BASIL. Yes, I did have to look that up.

Me too for ClaroS before CUBANS. And I got half way through writing in EXPLODES when I realized it could equally well be inflatES. Fortune was on my side with that one.

Fun fact: you can get the same effect by saying CHEESE in French.

Nancy 10:11 AM  

I thought this puzzle was pretty lively and showed personality in its clues. The theme was not the high point for me, though I did like UPPER CRUST and how it was clued. I also really liked the clue for TIME BOMBS.

Putting BASIL in the middle of the pizza puzzle was pretty cute.

I don't know what a PILL in a sweater is, but I do know what a PuLL is. The handle of that cabinet sticks out too far or one of your fingernails needs filing and rip -- there goes your sweater.

JIF's a peanut butter, right? I could have done without the JIF/JETT cross. And is ATE RAW a common expression? It was easy enough to guess, but no one has ever said to me: "Please don't cook anything tonight: I eat raw." (Of course such a person would be an ideal dinner guest for me.)

A Monday that I quite enjoyed.

Joseph Michael 10:37 AM  

I liked this puzzle except for the theme which, even on a Monday, was a letdown. But since the theme is so thin, it didn’t get in the way of enjoying most of the solve.

However, I am befuddled by how TLDR (too long, didn’t read”) could mean “Here’s a brief summary.”

Now I need to go get those GEEZERS off of TicTok to make room for some GEN ZERS.

Beezer 10:39 AM  

@Nancy…sweater PILLs are the tiny “balls” of wool fibers that can appear on certain wool sweater weaves that tend to be in “friction” areas, lower arms, under arms, etc. There are actually little battery operated devices that will lightly shave it off the wool.

Tom T 10:42 AM  

Confidently entered "niner" at 5A, West coast N.F.L. player, casually. When I saw it was in fact LARAM, I was ALARMed.

Definitely a "rant for rant's sake" morning from @Rex, which is a fun and necessary component of the OFL experience. You might say he made a FAR GO with his criticisms--and obviously you might not say that.

Agree that saying CHEESE is not related to the dairy product (and "Say CHEESE is something that might be said often by friends with phones at your PIZZA PARTY). And in the context of the phrase, WEAK SAUCE, the reference is metaphoric. Is there some other SAUCE phrase that would work?

I got ahead of myself on the clue for 56D and tried to change it to a late week misdirect: "Little clump on a sweater?" Bead (as in "bead of sweat).

Could you call the Vegas strip a CLUB HUB?

I'll show myself out.

Jim mcdougall 10:42 AM  

Agree on wordle! Nothing to brag about it is just bsluk!! Very little skill!

sixtyni yogini 10:59 AM  

Who doesn’t love a PIZZAPARTY?
well I do ❤️, (but I don’t eat CHEESEπŸ§€)
Again I liked the 🧩, but see πŸ¦–’s points. (He has high standards - consistency, no junk, ETC. but FRANKENFOOD is ok.) So I am learning 🀸🏽‍♀️ about 🧩SAUCE,

sixtyni yogini 11:05 AM  

@ Robin I think most of us who do Wordle realized early on it was mostly luck and simple deduction. No big deal, just a very quick hit of fun for the brain. πŸ€— ( haha and nothing to brag about)

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

Could someone explain DOGMA to me?

GILL I. 11:16 AM  

The town of YESM lies on the UPPER CRUST of the ARAB SAHARAN COSTA. It is nestled on the edge of the ERSE ALP and you need a ROPE and a SPAN MOVER to safely enter.

It was a RAINY day one Monday. Two ticking TIME BOMBS, YOSHI an AZOD, were hungry. They just woke up from a NAP and YOSHI's head EXPLODES if he can't find a RAW EGG TO EAT.

The two would JETT over to EMILYS for some THAI STEW. That day, there was a PIZZA PARTY and the place was filled with CUBANS. The CUBANS would only EAT BEAN STEW that looked like BLEACH MATTER floating in some GOPRO. It sets the TONE for BOMBS going off. The IRE in the air would MORPH like a SLOMO movie that RISES to the celling STROBE.

DOGMA was the chef de jour. He was always yelling "DON"T LEAVE...the STEW I made today will make you COO with the BESTS!" The SAUCE was a tad WEAK but it had lots of CHEESE, a THAI EGG and a PILE of BASIL that EXPLODES in your EPI TEDR. The CUBANS were happy. They would ROTATE between the BEAN STEW and the PIZZA STEW. Both contained a WEAK SAUCE but with a SIP of ALOE TEA you could SAY it deserved a SCREEN SHOT.

YOSHI was VAIN and would be at his WITS end. He didn't like the STEW, it tasted like a PILE of GENZER with a soggy CRUST. All he wanted was his RAW EGG and then a NAP. AZOD was enjoying his meal with the CUBANS and wouldn't LEAVE. A SPAT would ensue between the two and SHO enough, YOSHI would leave in a JIF.

The TONE was set and the PARTY began. People would start to dance the GENZER outside on HUB CLUBS AVE...STROBE lights galore would WHAP like an EPI THUD and the BEAN and PIZZA PARTY STEW were da BOMBS.

It was fun on this RAINY Monday, but just like YOSHI, it is time to take a NAP. The ARAB SAHARAN COSTA In YESM bids you farewell and hopes you enjoyed your stay.

My Name 11:31 AM  

The ZAMBONI clue is cute but incorrect. See my late post at that day's blog entry for details.

Lewis 11:49 AM  

@My Name -- I think the ZAMBONI clue can be interpreted two ways, either that the machine has completed resurfacing after 20 minutes, or that it goes about resurfacing after 20 minutes of hockey play, which would work with the clue.

lodsf 12:00 PM  

Heard an interesting factoid about SOS just yesterday. Not only is it a palindrome it’s also an ambigram — being readable upside down as well as right side up. Handy when seeking help from that lone airplane flying over the deserted desert island. New term to me.

Masked and Anonymous 12:01 PM  

Kinda a bare-bones MonPuz pizza: Just the crust, cheese, & sauce. Probably hard to sneak pepperoni or sausage or mushrooms into a themer, I'd hafta grant.

Nice puzword debut for BLECH, today. Actually, I thought the fillins were pretty darn lively, in general. Other faves: ANITMATTER. SCREENSHOT. DONTLEAVE. GENZ-ER [another debut-er]. TIMEBOMBS + EXPLODES.

staff weeject pick: JIF. Its uppercrust letters brought this rodeo to within a mere Q of a pangram-er.
fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: { ___ Rica} = COSTA.

Thanx for the deep, dishy delivery, Mr. Johnson dude. And congratz on yer fine debut. Definitely need some shrooms, tho.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


Carola 12:02 PM  

I didn't get @Rex's complaint about the "thin" theme: with CRUST, SAUCE, and CHEESE you have everything you need for a PIZZA, and adding the PARTY made for a happy reveal. I liked the image of some of the partiers doing SPIN MOVEs under the STROBE and the sound effects of THUD and WHAP. Or maybe it's just that any puzzle with the phrase WEAK SAUCE would make me happy.

Do-over: niner before LA RAM. Help from previous puzzles: YOSHI. Glad the crosses took care of it: GENZER. Never noticed: the flourish of the BASIL leaf in the center - nice!

CDilly52 12:07 PM  

My favorite answer today was the onomatopoeic WHAP. Just such a perfect word for the sound of the fly swatter as it puts an end to the battle that wages between me, my cat and the always large fly that sneaks into my house this time of year as the weather cools. My husband used to be able to wait for a landing and sweep the fly into his hand to be released back outside. I’m not that quick.

As soon as I got the UPPER CRUST, I guessed that we would be baking something and at WEAK SAUCE, knew it would be pizza and sure enough, not merely a pie but the whole PIZZA PARTY.

At the end, I had a typo to find and when looking for it was momentarily confused by the dook LARAM. I solved almost entirely by downs today and hadn’t read that clue. I thought maybe LARAM was a type of Middle Eastern or Indian food I needed to tuck into my crossword lexicon. Got a good chuckle when I did read the clue. Over thinking has often been a bit of a stumbling block for me.

A typical Monday type puzzle but not as robust or clever as some. Still fine, and there’s the remainder of the week to anticipate and hope there’s plenty to COO about..

Anonymous 12:11 PM  

I had stare for yesterday’s Wordle, but put faked before inane.

Anonymous 12:25 PM  

Thanks for that. First FW (finished wrong) Monday in a long time due to tilt crossing genzer…not fair from my POV.

JonP 12:34 PM  

Always fascinated to see the clues differ in the newspaper vs online. The dead tree version of 14A has only "Watch your ___!"

Anyway, this Gen Xer appreciated the modern lingo.

And while WHOO was terrible, WHAP is fine by me. What other 4-letter sound does a flyswatter make?

Anonymous 1:12 PM  

@lodsf 12:00. That explains why we don’t use HELP. You can imagine how many pilots engaged in searches would come back and say “No sign of the lost guy. Just someone who had spelled out bLEH.

Beezer 1:29 PM  

@JonP…I agree that WHAP was perfect but I admit I first put WHAM. Now I realize that would just be Batman’s flyswatter…

Anonymous 2:05 PM  

We haven’t run out of alphabet. Alphabet generation names started with X. So they are going to the beginning for the current generation (2010 or 2013, depending on source, to 2025) is Gen A.

bookmark 2:07 PM  

Very interesting interview with our friend Brian Eno in today's NYT. There's more to him than just "ambient music."

Gary Jugert 2:07 PM  

Yay Monday. Fridays through Sundays are such, uh, so, uh, well, I prefer Monday through Thursday. I used to do the LA Times puzzle and skipped Fridays and Saturdays and life seemed better back then, but now I have this goofy "streak" counter on this app and today is 366 (a full leap year) and what I've learned is weekend puzzles are a never-ending list of c-list personalities. I'd think good puzzles could be made without them, right?

The nice part about this blog software is it writes the name of the author on top so you can quickly scan to your favorite commentator or past your enemies (like me), but my favorite part of the program is you can mentally debate a post's merit based on a quick visual scan of its length and TLDR can apply to anything you feel is inferior based solely on its appearance. I once worked for a firm where one of the accountants would sign correspondence with "dictated but not read," and boy did I have fun writing him back saying, "Let me know when you've read this and I will take action on it then. Until then I'm putting it in my pending file." Shortly afterward, that goofy signature line disappeared (especially since he didn't have anyone on staff to take dictation). Accountants are a unique breed.

Today we have GENZER. I haven't read the blog yet, but I am sure from here that was the runaway favorite moment of the puzzle.


1 Legendary jazz personality also known for making a heckuva pie.
2 Google Earth satellite to god forsaken wasteland.
3 Skippy fan's report of running recon on the competitors.
4 The fastest shirt on Cape Cod.
5 A mistaken belief by many that addressing others in a dignified manner will lead everyone to be more civil.
6 Phrase uttered by party animals in the dance hall district, often followed by "lock up your daughters."


cd102058 2:14 PM  

Thanks. I was wondering that too.

Anonymous 2:32 PM  

Thank you! Can some kind soul please explain 56(D), “Little clump on a sweater”?

My Name 2:44 PM  

I think that the first of those two interpretations doesn't work as the break between periods is hard limited to 15 minutes. As for the second one, yes you can make it work, but it is not what the clue is saying. It clearly refers to elasped time. Yes, we can make allowances for not willing to be explicit by mentioning play time as that would have given away the trick, but as is it's just incorrect.

egsforbreakfast 2:55 PM  

@lodsf 12:00. You’re suggestion about SOS being handy because it reads the same upside down has a ring of plausibility to it. Before SOS was adopted, search pilots would often come back to base saying things like, “No sign of the lost boy. The only unusual thing I saw was a stick formation in the snow that spelled bLEH.”

Anonymous 3:11 PM  

I use arise to start.

BlueStater 4:26 PM  

*Very* hard for a Monday, I thought. Bad Natick at 39D/A. Never heard of either answer.

RooMonster 5:46 PM  

SHO enough...
Classic @Gill! πŸ˜‚

RooMonster Succinct Guy

TAB2TAB 6:56 PM  

Is 71A "Big fan..." an appropriate clue for STAN, i.e. stalker/fan? It seems that using half of a portmanteau as a clue for the portmanteau itself is a bit naughty, like "Serious comedy" would be for DRAMEDY.

bocamp 7:06 PM  

Learning lots about TL;DR today; here's M.W. with case examples of how the def has evolved (jibing with today's clueing), including one by The NYT's Deb Amlen.

@Beezer (10:39 AM)

I've got one of those 'battery operated devices' you mentioned. Use it to de-Pill my sweaters.

@jae / pablo

Got all but the 57D / 64A cross in just under 1 hr. (making it one of the easiest Croce's yet); haven't decided on the final letter yet, so even with a lucky guess, it'd be a technical dnf. Nevertheless, a fun solve. :) See you next Mon.! :)

On to Elizabeth Gorski's New Yorker. 🀞
Peace πŸ•Š πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all πŸ™

LyraJ 7:08 PM  

Example of TL:DR in use (thanks, Willy):

The postman delivered a past due bill notice. The alarm clock rang two hours late. The garbage man left all the trash on the sidewalk and the hinges fell off of the gate. And this morning at breakfast, I spilled all the coffee and opened the door on my knees. So the last thing I needed, first thing this morning, was to have you walk out on me.

TL:DR This morning sucked.

It's a summary often provided with a lengthy explanation. Hope that helps the confused, and I'll go back to my years and years of lurking. 😁

OISK 7:20 PM  

DNF! On a Monday. Happy to read that others objected to the clues I missed. TLDR ??? That doesn't fit the clue at all! And the down "Genzer"? I put "Gen Zed." And TLDD. Boo from Brooklyn!

okanaganer 8:18 PM  

@tab2tab 6:56pm: But STAN isn't a portmanteau... its origin is the Eminem song "Stan", right?

ghostoflectricity 8:29 PM  

Glad to see RP referenced the great Toni Basil. Singer, writer, dancer, actor, now in her late 70s, she is a Renaissance woman. I first became familiar with who she was from the film "Easy Rider" from 1969 (she was 24 when her scenes were filmed in early '68). She plays "Mary," one of two New Orleans prostitutes (along with the late, lamented Karen Black as "Karen") who agree to go walking through New Orleans during Mardi Gras along with the film's two protagonists, Wyatt, a.k.a. "Captain America" (Peter Fonda) and Billy (Dennis Hopper). Later, the foursome drop acid in the middle of a cemetery (the trip doesn't go well, unsurprisingly), and Mary strips naked while tripping. Basil along with Jack Nicholson is one of only two major featured actors in the film still living.

Made in Japan 8:40 PM  

I'm surprised that Rex called this one medium for a Monday. There were several near-Natick spots - I was actually taken aback when I entered my last square and wasn't told to check again. TLDR is easy if you know it, but completely un-inferable if you don't, and GENZER was hard to parse. I usually can get most Monday entries without looking at the crosses, but not on this one. If I didn't know, I'd guess it was a Wednesday. I'm not complaining, though. The puzzle didn't have much going for it, so it at least kept my interest by putting up a fight.

Wiki re: STAM 1:11 AM  

The song tells the story of a person named Stanley "Stan" Mitchell (voiced by Eminem) who claims to be Eminem's biggest fan. It has been suggested the name "Stan" is a combination of the words stalker and fan, though it is unknown if the name was chosen with that intention.

thefogman 10:24 AM  

Not bad. A little rough in spots but that’s mostly the editor’s fault. TLDR is just bad. Not only is this an outdated text term it isn’t clued in a way you might understand it. I had to look it up to get it after solving. YESM, SHO, JIF, LSU, YSL, ERSE are also BLECH. The theme was good with BASIL being a bonus ingredient. Bravo to Taylor Johnson on his debut.

spacecraft 12:40 PM  

Some bizarre fill for a Monday. Theme is OK, and if you're throwing a PIZZAPARTY I'll be happy to attend--and eat (but not RAW). But yikes, I finished at a natick! GENZE_/TLD_ meant nothing to me in either direction. Guessed R correctly, but this really shouldn't happen on a Monday. Bogey.

Wordle par.

Burma Shave 1:32 PM  


DON'TLEAVE me here to STEW,
you ROTATE with such EASE.
every TIME in SLOMO you do


Anonymous 3:39 PM  

As usual on a Monday, I did not move in SLOMO. Now - who wants a PIZZAPARTY?

Lady Di

f world w 9:19 AM  


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