Shoe that ties around the ankle / MON 5-7-2018 / Sparkling Italian wine / American Dance Theater founder / Globe: Abbr. / Aboveground trains

Monday, May 7, 2018

Spring has sprung and finals season is in full swing, but it's still Annabel Monday!


Constructor: Julie Béru

Relative difficulty: Medium


THEME: TOOL BOX — Circled letters spell out things you'd find in a toolbox.

Theme answers:
  • GROUNDS CREW (17A: Group preparing a ball field for a game)
  • EAT A PEACH (27A: 1972 platinum album by the Allman Brothers Band) 
  • STAYS AWAY (48A: Doesn't get near)
  • TUNA SASHIMI (61A: Japanese delicacy served in thin slices)
  • ALVIN AILEY (12D: American Dance Theater founder) 
  • ESPADRILLE (27D: Shoe that ties around the ankle)
  • TOOL BOX (38D: Locale of all the circled items in this puzzle)
Word of the Day: ORLON (26A: DuPont fiber) —
Acrylic fibers are synthetic fibers made from a polymer (polyacrylonitrile) with an average molecular weight of ~100,000, about 1900 monomer units. For a fiber to be called "acrylic" in the US, the polymer must contain at least 85% acrylonitrile monomer. Typical comonomers are vinyl acetate or methyl acrylate. DuPont created the first acrylic fibers in 1941 and trademarked them under the name Orlon.[1] It was first developed in the mid-1940s but was not produced in large quantities until the 1950s. Strong and warm, acrylic fiber is often used for sweaters and tracksuits and as linings for boots and gloves, as well as in furnishing fabrics and carpets. It is manufactured as a filament, then cut into short staple lengths similar to wool hairs, and spun into yarn.
(Wikipedia) 
• • •
Honestly I just felt like this was a really solid puzzle. I do have a couple gripes; there's got to be a clue for JEN that doesn't involve Jennifer Aniston for no real reason, if I never see a lazily-clued IRE in a Monday again it'll be too soon, and for goodness' sake we all know not every guy pairs up on dates with a GAL, or vice versa. (GAL is a particularly humorous choice of word there, as "gal pals" has come to mean "women who are girlfriends" in parts of the gay community, due to the phrase being used by online tabloids to refer to, well, women who are girlfriends.)
Image result for gal pals
Spoiler alert: at the time, they weren't actually just gal pals.
Still, though, this one was neither too EASY nor too hard, and was reasonably creative to boot. Had PEPPER for POLLEN, but the latter's certainly more appropriate for the season, and I was seriously half-convinced 69A would be BOPS instead of RAPS, "bop" meaning "good song." Some really good turns of phrases with AWASH IN and IN DEEP, and for once TEE wasn't clued with golf, which I'm convinced is some kind of miracle. But yeah, good fill, good difficulty level, mostly good clues with a couple duds.

I know the concept and execution were pretty simple, but this is actually one of the more fun themes I've reviewed for this blog. Maybe because I actually didn't know several of the answers surrounding the tools? I'd never listened to the Allman Brothers band before, and although I know I own ESPADRILLES I never knew that was what they were called. Also, had no idea what a shim was; apparently it's basically like a spacer that's used for support or adjustment in everything from carpentry to fixing cards. So I basically got an extra word of the day right there! My one complaint is that I'm now craving TUNA SASHIMI. GORGONZOLA and EEL didn't help. I think I'm going to go get a snack.

Bullets:
  • EXPAT (35D: One living abroad, informally) — I have a friend who moved to DC from Texas who calls herself a "Texpat," and I feel like that says a lot about Texas. And/or the rest of the country in comparison to Texas.
  • OWEN (15A: Actor Wilson of "Midnight in Paris") — I'm sure this is a fine movie. I really am. But I still can't think of Owen Wilson in any context without hearing, in my head, a resounding "WOW."
  • OHNO (26D: "Say it ain't so!") — This is how I'm feeling at this point in the semester. Did you know Wellesley College has an event called "primal scream" right before finals period where everyone just goes outside and screams at the top of their lungs? I feel like that's sort of the embodiment of an OH NO.
  • ETTA (53A: James of jazz) — Couldn't think of a nicer song to start the morning with.
Signed, Annabel Thompson, tired college student.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

[Follow Annabel Thompson on Twitter]

71 comments:

Hungry Mother 7:03 AM  

Very quick. Is ULULATE the new “Asta”?

michiganman 7:24 AM  

Did not know ESPADRILLE OR TUNASASHIMI. Crosses did those for me. Also did not know AEGIS or GORGONZOLA so had to google. Otherwise, nice fun puzzle.

Lewis 7:26 AM  

Not only a lovely puzzle for new solvers, but some spark for me who has solved for quite a while, like ESPADRILLE and ULULATE, the neighboring GORGONZOLA and ALVIN AILEY, the cross of EXPAT and STAYS AWAY, and the mini-theme of words ending in A (7).

My toolbox is seldom visited. My ability to repair is in need of repair.

Loren Muse Smith 7:27 AM  

At first I gave this list of tools the side-eye since there’s no hammer, screwdriver, pliers, wrench… but then I thought about it and decided that if you’re talking about bigger toolboxes like those oh-so-sexy red Craftsman ones that are the size of a sideboard with all the drawers and compartments that I could use for my What The Hell Was I Thinking make-up purchases holding area because I can’t throw them away… then I guess you could fit a SAW and a DRILL.

I bet every solver does a little mental inventory of their toolboxes post solve. The household ones we’ve had over the year always manage to amass lots of extra stuff. Rusty washers, piece of sandpaper, loose AAA batteries, tiny little keys, a bajillion plastic wall anchor thingies, and every kind of screwdriver except a flathead or Phillips.

Like Annabel, I didn’t know from SHIMs. So I investigoogled. That’s some tertiary toolbox stuff there, boy. (Says the person with two mystifying screwdrivers that would fit over a star-shaped screw. And one that would fit over a square screw. I just checked.)

Loved the EXPAT/STAYS AWAY cross. There’s also OUST/STAYS AWAY.

And GORONZOLA/STAYS AWAY. As in Mom has just eaten a ton of Gorgonzola and now wants to get all up in my business and tell me she saw a special on Harry Hamlin’s huge haunted Hollywood house.

So many times, like it or not, you lead with the T SHIRT you wear. The Tar Heel insignia, a confederate flag, a pot plant… This is my go-to, but it’s on its last leg.

chefbea 7:32 AM  

Don't know whether my comment got posted...Why did I have to sign into my google account???

kitshef 7:35 AM  

Rare to have a completely unknown word on a Monday, and unheard to have one be a themer (ESPADRILLE). Indeed, I only what TUNA SASHIMI is in a very general way - something that is not sushi that is served in sushi restaurants? Fortunately, the theme helped with both of those.

Does anyone call their super a SUPE?


jessica cohn 8:04 AM  

Love to be able to finish without checking google !
Never heard of ululate however.

Tom Quigley 8:06 AM  

I missed the initial Annabel intro, so spent half this read thinking Rex wore ESPADRILLEs!

Buffalo Gal 8:07 AM  

The clue in my puzzle for gal was “guy’s date” not “every guy’s date.”

chefbea 8:10 AM  

I see my first post did not get posted!!! Just welcoming Anabel and never heard of ululate

Anonymous 8:13 AM  

Why would you have a shim in your tool box?

Two Ponies 8:27 AM  

Pleasant solve if you choose to overlook the weaknesses in the theme answers. As @ LMS pointed out, that's a rather large tool box if you can fit a saw in it. Shim is a bit of an outlier. If you need a shim at my house you might find one but chances are it is not in the tool box.

If you don't know the Allman Bros. they deserve exploring and Eat a Peach is wonderful. Besides, aren't you curious about a band that quotes T.S. Eliot when they name an album?

I like Annabel's Primal Scream Day. That sounds better and more fun than a crying closet.

pabloinnh 8:33 AM  

Shims are handy items and absolutely necessary for installing windows and doors. Surprised they're so unfamiliar. If you folded up a piece of cardboard to stop that table leg from wobbling, you used a shim.

My go-to tee shirt used to be "Otter Power". It's been replaced by "More Otters", printed by my high school whose nickname is The Marauders. You may have to be a New Englander to fully appreciate the pun, it's a pronunciation thing.

Fun puzzle but over before my coffee got cool enough to drink.

mmorgan 8:34 AM  

Nice crisp and lively Monday, but somehow I never really like the look of puzzles with lots of circles in them.

John Child 8:36 AM  

I was a farm kid, so I have a room-sized tool kit. The 90-percent-of-what-you-need selection is a bag in the utility closet, and there’s the junk drawer in the kitchen for Loren’s washers, twisty ties, little nails, etc. Shims, sure: Whatcha need - wood, plastic, or cardboard? Teensy ones or big ones?

Very nice puzzle, I M Humble O.

Anonymous 8:37 AM  

I knew ESPADRILLE was a type of women's shoe, but looked it up anyway to see what the hell it actually was. Turns out, "Tie around the ankle" has absolutely nothing to do with being an ESPADRILLE. Shoes are sold as ESPADRILLEs which tie around the ankle, but that's not what makes them an ESPADRILLE. You might as well say "Shoes that are ecru", as there are a greater proportion of ESPADRILLEs that are ecru than which tie around the ankle.

GILL I. 8:40 AM  

Not only TOOL BOX but we get a little restaurant action with EAT A PEACH EEL EGG GORGONZOLA TUNA SASHIMI ( yum) OATS and wash it down with some ALE. Not to be outdone by OLD OLA OLE.
Nice, very nice Monday. I'm not nor will I ever be an ASH BLONDE but, by gum, I have a closet full of ESPADRILLE's to go with my gauchos (Hi @LMS) except they're not really gauchos they just look like them and I don't know what they're called.
This is Monday sophistication. An ALVIN AILEY choreographed puzzle. Even our staple OH NO or OPT or OUST didn't bother me. And who doesn't have a TOOL BOX?
Really enjoyed this adult puzzle Julie Berube and I love your name....

Nate 8:54 AM  

DNF'd by the SPH and ESPADRILLE cross.

Maybe this is common crosswordese, but is "SPH" really an abbreviation for "globe"? I really couldn't figure out what they were after there. I take it SPH stands for "sphere"... is that a common abbreviation? It's barely shorter than the word. And I've never heard of an ESPADRILLE in my life, so that was a real mess for a Monday.

KemoWasabi 9:00 AM  

Why is “tuna sashimi” clued as a delicacy? It’s fairly standard fare in any sushi bar.

kitshef 9:02 AM  

Runty clue for SPH: Hemisphere??

Marcie Watts 9:07 AM  

When my daughter moved out, she left with a tool box I put together for her. I love Ace Hardware, Lowes, Home Depot.
I loved this puzzle. Thanks Annabelle!

Pete 9:14 AM  

While I rarely agree with @Two Ponies, if you ever get your hands on a functional time-machine you really should use your first trip to go back to the early 1970s to attend an Allman Brothers concert. Take ear-protection and weed. Listening to Eat a Peach, while a worthy passtime, is a pale substitute. Re T.S. Eliot - Rockers quoting The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock or Georgia natives referring to Girls from Georgia ( Georgia Peaches) simply as Peaches? Discuss.

Teedmn 9:16 AM  

Do people have just one toolbox? We have what seems like dozens along with tool pails and tool belts (the tool pail has its own tool belt, which is more likely where you'll find the shims than in our regular tool box. Husband prefers the plastic shims.)

My tool box had tools for working on my car back in the day, whereas my husband's is for working on the house. Now I would no more know how to work on my Prius than I could fly so my tool box lies IDLE in the garage.

@kitshef, a perfect Runt clue, including the ??

Nice sophomore effort, Julie Bérubé.

On an unrelated note - I finally saw Otter Pops in the wild. I'm in Spokane, visiting @Diana, LIW, and someone was giving away Otter Pops at the 12K Walk-Run I participated in yesterday. It was a hot day so they were probably very welcome to some people but I did not indulge.

Mohair Sam 9:35 AM  

Clean puzzle, nicely constructed. Played like a Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning in this household - but that's on us.

I've been watching - third straight lady made puzzle without "Star Wars" or "Game of Thrones" reference(s). I like it. The price was ESPADRILLE, ALVINAILEY, and TUNA SASHIMI - but change is good.

Told Her Ladyship that we'd have few folks here who never heard of SHIM (just like I never heard of "EATAPEACH") - but I always had a small pack in my TOOLBOX, ya never know when you'll need one. Rip off one of your window or frames and you'll find a few. And hang that SAW on the garage wall unless you want to cut your fingers when you reach for a SCREWdriver.

ULULATE is now crosswordese I guess. It always reminds me of the vuvuzela that ruined a World Cup. The sounds made by these @M&A pleasing words are similar.

I was born and raised less than a mile from the Great South Bay, and two blocks from a lake. I have fished, dug for clams, scaffed (you won't find that one in the dictionary) for crabs, and dragged for scallops. I have cleaned and cooked all these beasts. None (with the notable exception of the clam) were meant to be eaten raw. I will never eat sushi, I don't know how you can, and I will forever struggle with sushi clues.

Very clean second NYT puzzle Julie Berube - clever theme, thanks.

ArtO 9:40 AM  

Good writeup, Annabel. Good luck with the usual end of term trials and tribulations.

Thought this was a superb puzzle with some interesting/unusual long Monday answers....ULULATE, GORGONZOLA, ESPADRILLES. Maybe we should have many more women's puzzle submissions!!

Takes a pretty large TOOLBOX to hold a full size saw but small ones would certainly fit. Wouldn't think of finding a SHIM in one but would certainly come in handy at times.

Have a good week one and all.

Philogelos 9:57 AM  

@ Pete 9:14, I think the peach is an inside joke for the people who know both ways to define peach. That might be a small sliver in the Venn diagram but I believe it exists.

Nancy 10:01 AM  

I found today's puzzle more notable for its fibers than for its TOOLS, and it's fibers that I really want to talk about today.

Whatever happened to the absolutely wonderful ORLON of my young adulthood? Why has it been replaced by the absolutely awful POLYESTER of today? Look, I'm normally a *natural fiber* kind of GAL -- my closet is almost entirely comprised of cotton, wool, and the occasional silk. But silk is a very, very fragile fabric. You dare not wear it in a situation where there's even the remotest chance you'll perspire. Silk does not handle perspiration well. In fact silk does not handle perspiration at all. And then, of course, it has to be cleaned. The label may tell you that silk garment can be washed, but they lie. Enter ORLON.

ORLON feels like silk. Unlike POLYESTER, ORLON breathes. Unlike POLYESTER, ORLON keeps you warm in the winter. (It's not all that cool in the summer, but then, neither is silk.) And ORLON is indestructible. Perspire in it to your heart's content. Pack it in your suitcase really, really badly, leave it there for days, and it will pop out without a single wrinkle. Throw it in the washing machine as often as you like. I have two beautiful ORLON print long-sleeved blouses from approx 45 years ago and they're almost as good as new. If I wanted to replace them, I couldn't. Because they don't make ORLON anymore and haven't for decades. (Beautiful soft subtle prints are also extremely hard to find, but that's a rant of a different color.)

Speaking of colors and natural fibers, what proportion of ASH BLONDES do you think are natural? I sort of suspect them of being AWASH IN dye. Or is this just my brunette jealousy coming out?

jberg 10:07 AM  

Whenever I see SHIM I think of Robert Pirsg’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Mainrenance.” He’s advising a neighbor on a repair, and points out that a bolt is loose and needs a shim. Neighbor asks where to get one, and he replies “You’re holding one now” a beer can, made of just the right thickness of metal. Neighbor thereupon loses interest, as he can’t get his mind around a motorcycle made partly of beer cans.

Anyway, there are many kinds of saw—a keyhole saw might well fit in your toolbox.

Thanks, Annabel, good luck with exams!

jberg 10:07 AM  

Pliers to @Loren: Nothing much, ‘sup with you?

JC66 10:08 AM  

My TOOLBOX has a TWISTER.

GILL I. 10:12 AM  

Ay, @Mohair. What shall we do with you?
All SASHIMI is a delicacy. It's so called because of the finesse of the texture. @Mohair, I would take you blindfolded to a Japanese restaurant and ask chef to prepare you their best TUNA (or maybe salmon). That cold, soft, silky piece in your mouth melts on your tongue. The texture is silk. The taste is impossible to explain. After I shoved a piece in your mouth and watch you smack your lips in delight, I'd take your blindfold off and watch you gasp in delight.
I promise!

jb129 10:35 AM  

Enjoyable - and very, very easy.

Z 10:36 AM  

My TOOL BOX has been downsized. No longer having a house with three sons, two dogs, and a cat breaking things in it I can pretty much get by with some screwdrivers and a hammer. I also use a few garden tools. The TOOLBOX still has some sundry items that I haven’t touched in half a decade. As for the puzzle, I thought it was a fine Monday primer puzzle.

@Dede - “All of a sudden?”

Nevertheless, the guy and GAL plaint falls into a common fallacy we see here often. @Buffalo Gal pretty much nailed it. Also, the rule of not using a word in the clue in the answer seems to eliminate having 11A be “guy.” I have to admit, though, I’d love for that rule to be violated just once on some Saturday just to see the fireworks and pearl clutching that would ensue.

@Pete - “I do not think that they will sing to me.” Who knew Eliot traveled into the future to write about Southern guitar rock? Semi-seriously, why couldn’t it be both?

@Gill I 10:12 - “...soft, silky.... The taste is impossible to explain.” Phlegm. You’ve just described phlegm.

JC66 10:47 AM  

@Z

Phlegm...Hilarious!






BTW, I'm a big SASHIMI fan. Great fish without all that rice.

Charles Flaster 10:48 AM  

Easy but very enjoyable.TOOLBOX theme was easy to suss and it’s placement near SUPE was definitely intentional.
My most valuable tool is and always will be a roll of grade A masking TAPE. It is also my only tool!
CrosswordEASE—SKA, ULULATE.
Liked clue for TAILOR.
Midnight in Paris is my favorite Woody Allen movie with a haunting score.
Great review from Annabel and nice puzzle from JB.

KemoWasabi 10:51 AM  

@GILL I don't think Mohair Sam asked why Sashimi should be clued as a delicacy. A delicacy to me is something rare and out of the ordinary, a special delight. Such as ortolans. Yes, tuna sashimi is RARE as in uncooked but it is not hard to find.

JC66 11:00 AM  

@KemoWasabi

I beg to differ. IMHO, compared to a Big Mac (or a BLT) or hundreds of other everyday dishes, SASHIMI is definitely a delicacy.

Nancy 11:01 AM  

You're casting your pearls before swine, @GILL (10:12). Why would you want to treat @Mohair to a mouth-watering meal of TUNA SASHIMI when you could instead take someone who would really appreciate it...like me!!! And you certainly won't be treating @Z any time soon, either, will you?

The only thing that keeps me from having SASHIMI more than I do is the outrageous expense. It's one of the most expensive meals there is and (unless you're spending more money for one meal than for your monthly rent) you often leave hungry. It's just not all that filling. But @GILL is right, as she so often is about food: SASHIMI is one of the world's great delicacies.

And I think I remember that, like me, GILL also loves GORGONZOLA. Dolce, not Mountain. Right, GILL?

Pete 11:03 AM  

@MohairSam - While I will eat clams on the half-shell and will not eat SASHIMI, you cannot possibly defend clams over deep-sea fishes as appropriate foodstuff in any rational way. Clams are the secondary wastewater treatment of the oceans. Half processed sewage flows into the bays and clams complete the process, preventing further pollution of the oceans. Deep sea fishes are the only meat one can safely eat without cooking as their parasite load is minimal. Besides, when they feed us SASHIMI the have the courtesy to remove the intestinal tract, not so much with clams.


That being sad, @Z is right. Phlegm.

@Z - “I do not think that they will sing to me.” - He didn't heed my screed to take the weed. He'd have been playing air guitar with the rest of us had he done so.

Lewis 11:07 AM  

My five favorite clues from last week:

1. Where you might adjust the volume
2. Facial spot
3. Gray area?
4. Target for nails
5. Impressive hole


BOOKCASE
SPA
ANATOMY
ITCH
EAGLE

Roo Monster 11:08 AM  

Hey All !
Even though a couple of the themers were un-Monday, it was still an EASY puz. I have a nit, however, on the cheater squares in NW, SE. SE one easily gone away with a H and M, making SHAM, MIRE. NW would need a redo, but seems easy enough. Then, no cheaters, less threes. This coming from a person who has no published puzs. :-)

Liked clues for TAILOR and EGG. Have to wait on the Actor Wilson clue, as the brothers are Luke and OWEN. Do scissors really make a SNIP sound? Or is it a sound that's indescribable, so we say/hear SNIP?
Is choosing to Boot out an OPT OUST?

INDEEP indeed
RooMonster
DarrinV

bookmark 11:13 AM  

Read Deb Amlen at Wordplay today on her beautiful and inspiring story about a TOOLBOX.

Carola 11:31 AM  

A really nice Monday, with the basic tools dressed up in such lovely theme answers, along with GORGONZOLA and ASH BLONDES. As a sort of shadow theme, I went looking for a constructor's toolbox of standard items used to hold a grid together: els, tee, uma, ire, asti, ole, eel, etta, ale.

GILL I. 11:34 AM  

@Z.....AAACK. That did give me a belly laugh but seriously....you don't like phlegm?
@KemoWasabi: SASHIMI IS a Japanese Delicacy. A good Ahi Tuna Sushi grade will set you back about $200 a lb. That's why @Nancy wants me to take her out to dinner in Japan Town.
I don't really like Sushi. I'll take the fish off the top but will forgo the sticky rice, avocado, peanut butter, candied yams, you name it that Californias will undoubtedly add for looks.
@Pete is right about the deep sea fish that are caught for use as SASHIMI. You would never eat trout rare because they carry parasites. Not so, the gorgeous yellowfin. Alas, they, like everything else that is good, will go extinct and we can rely on red beans, okra and kale for our dietary needs.
@Nancy...If I had to choose between a Kobe filet mignon or AHI SASHIMI...guess which one I'd share with you?

Masked and Anonymous 11:34 AM  

Nice MonPuz, Julie Berube darlin. U had m&e at ULULATE. Congratz, on NYTPuz #2.

7 theme answers, countin the revealer [I always count the revealer]. Would anticipate some ticklish fill opportunities, with all that theme jazz. But … actually, it was the themers themselves, that sometimes tried to eat my lunch. Mystery stuff like ALVINAILEY and ESPADRILLE. Lost valuable nanoseconds.

I did admire the strategic use of weeject stacks in the NW/SE corners. staff weeject pick hasta go to SPH, tho. Mainly becuz of @kitshef's marvelous better clue of {Hemisphere??}. So clever. So shapely. So double-questionable. Shortzmeister and crew wish they'da thought of it. thUmbsUp.

Primo write-up, @Blu'Bel. Very nice selection of bullet points.

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Cheer at a bullfight} = OLE. Would also accept OLA.

Thanx, Ms. Berube. Any incriminatin evidence, on that toolbox TAPE, btw? [Don't make us come down there & subpoena U. har]

Masked & Anonymo4Us


**gruntz**


Banana Diaquiri 11:39 AM  

as to "Texpat": usual chauvinism from those knuckleheads, the Republic of Texas was bankrupt and joining with the Yankees was the only way they could avoid debtors' prison. just like my first wife. unlike the USofA, I didn't know at the time.

QuasiMojo 11:56 AM  

I finished the puzzle very early and didn’t see any comments so I moved on but now I see I am missing out on some invites to dine from @Nancy and @Gill. Yes, please pass the sashimi! I’ll even do a SHIMmy for some. Love that phlegmatic stuff. Nice job Ms Berube. Any relation to Alan?

Lou 12:28 PM  

The Allman Brothers Band entitle the album "Eat a Peach" because duane Allman was killed in an accident involving a peach truck.

Austenlover 12:28 PM  

My husband’s cousin gave our daughter some tools as a gift when she graduated from high school. Not something most people would think of, but very useful. She made lots of friends in her college dorm when people would knock on her door and ask, “Are you the girl with the hammer?”

Mohair Sam 12:30 PM  

@Z - Phlegm! Thanks for the warning. @Gill I - after that comparison I'm sending @Nancy in my place. No offense, but phlegm?

@Pete - Learned to eat raw clams fresh out of the Bay when I was a kid, knew how to shuck those puppies by the time I was seven . Later on I learned the horror of eating them and how they cleaned the Bay. Didn't matter then, doesn't now - I love the things.

@Kitshef - I'll second @M&A on your hemisphere clue for SPH. Perfection.

Masked and Anonymous 12:30 PM  

p.s.
Errata from first msg.: weeject stacks in the NE/SW corners. Musta been too excited to get my directions straight.

@Blu'Bel: Best wishes for yer finals. Break a pencil, or whatever is the luckiest thing to say.

The New Yorker Monday crossword:
Real glad to have it ... but they may need an editor/test solvers. Their 34-Across clue made absolutely no sense, today. No way it could be right. Right?
Won't say anymore, as don't wanna be a spoiler.

M&Also

Myuen88 12:52 PM  

Midnight in Paris is an excellent movie!!!!!

Z 1:01 PM  

Seriously - I prefer freshwater fish. Pretty sure that’s a direct result of growing up in the Great Lake State. That probably also explains my preference for sharp cheddars over any of the blues.

@Lou - Urban legend or morbid sense of humor? You had me for a second, but it was a lumber truck. According to his daughter (via Wikipedia) the title is from a quote by Duane, "You can't help the revolution, because there's just evolution ... Every time I'm in Georgia, I eat a peach for peace ... the two-legged Georgia variety." Georgia Mermaids, who knew?*










*No fair expecting this weird Allman Brother - T.S. Eliot mash-up to make sense. And, no, I don’t have J. Alfred Prufrock at the ready, but it doesn’t take much to rekindle old debate memories.

People, you know the internet's out there, right? That you can't just make shit up and not get called on it? 1:01 PM  

@Lou
a) It was a lumber truck, no peaches involved, and
b) Not according to his daughter: "The album artwork was created by W. David Powell and J. F. Holmes at Wonder Graphics, and depicts the band's name on a peach truck, in addition to a large gatefold mural of mushrooms and fairies. The album's title came from a quote by Duane Allman: "You can't help the revolution, because there's just evolution ... Every time I'm in Georgia, I eat a peach for peace ... the two-legged Georgia variety."[1] [Wikipedia]

JC66 1:02 PM  

@M&A

34A works for me.

Anonymous 1:45 PM  

Sorry @Lou. He crashed into a flatbed truck carrying a lumber crane.

Austenlover 2:19 PM  

The New Yorker crossword is a fine puzzle, but I find the application very difficult to use on my IPad screen. Moving around is not easy, and it’s hard to see the grid and the clues together.

Masked and Anonymous 2:26 PM  

@JC66:
Surely they musta changed that there 34-A clue, then? In my New Yorker puz version, it was a one-word clue that made less sense than snot.
Ahar! Yep. I just checked out the New Yorker puz write-up over at Crossword Fiend. My clue was just the first word of the new, yorkier, 6-word clue version!

M&A
"Not Wrong Again, M&A Breath"

Anoa Bob 3:04 PM  

I was thinking that for the reveal, TOOL BOX, to hit the NAIL on the head, so to speak, all of the themers would need to be, erm, TOOLs. Only two of them, however, the SAW and the DRILL are actually TOOLs. A SCREW or a NAIL would be a fastener. TAPE by itself is too generic and might be the masking, electrical, measuring or recording type, non of which are TOOLs. And a SHIM is a spacer.

Sure, you might find those non-tools in a TOOL BOX, but if you're going to allow non-TOOLs in the TOOL BOX, where do you draw the line for what would or would not qualify as a themer? So for this old gearhead, the themers and the reveal didn't exactly have a mortise-and-tenon close and tight fit.

Hungry Mother 3:07 PM  

I had a major Natick in the New Yorker puzzle today.

chefwen 3:22 PM  

@GILL I. 10:12 if you tried that little experiment on me you would then get to watch me break out in hives. Allergic to raw fish, found out after the first two times I tried it. Sniff... tasted great ‘til that happened.

Dear Old Dad gave me a tool box as a wedding gift. He figured every girl needs one of her own.

Had a great time with ‘mericans on Kauai and family yesterday, the time flew by, lunch almost extended into dinner.

'mericans on Kaua'i 3:28 PM  

Had a great day yesterday. @chefwen and her puzzle partner came over for lunch, bearing a crossword-themed cheese cake! The crust was made from that perennial four-letter word, OREO.

Mrs. 'mericans and I then each did the puzzle, completing it in near record times for us. I played it themeless, just barely noticing the tool references.

I have several tool boxes. My father was a machinist, and among his three sons, I'm the one that ended up most mechanically minded (though it was my younger brother who got a degree in mechanical engineering). When my future wife and I met at graduate school, we were both proud owners of blue 10-speed Raleigh bicycles, which later we brought to Paris. In 1989 I decided to take each of them totally apart, clean every piece, and re-assemble them. That's when I discovered the French manufacturer, VAR. I was like a kid in a candy store. VAR makes and sells a specialty tools for everything -- gizmos to remove the pins from drive trains, to undo the sprocket, to tighten the brake cables -- you name it. I still have a smallish TOOLBOX filled with m acquisitions from that time, but haven't used those tools in years.

Fun fact: several of the manufactured fibres were derived from wood pulp. As documented in the Encyclopædia Britannica, "[R]ayon and acetate, two of the first man-made fibres ever to be produced, are made of the same cellulose polymers that make up cotton, hemp, flax, and the structural fibres of wood. In the case of rayon and acetate, however, the cellulose is acquired in a radically altered state (usually from wood-pulp operations) and is further modified in order to be regenerated into practical cellulose-based fibres."

Off to the southern, sunnier side of the island for a couple of days.

Karl Bradley 3:29 PM  

I would call this easy rather than medium. OK, it was the easiest NYT puzzle I have ever done. One complaint, and not the first time I have seen her clued this way: ETTA James was not a jazz singer. She was a blues and soul singer. I would never call any of her music jazz. I think constructors confuse her with ELLA Fitzgerald, who is definitely jazz. An equally likely explanation is that Will Shortz doesn't know the difference.

Mohair Sam 3:54 PM  

@M&A - Should have read you earlier, had the same problem - I print out the puzzle to solve and got the senseless one word clue. After finishing and discovering it was correct I checked the on-line version. The clue was six words and made total sense. I don't like being whiny, but . . . . .

@Hungry Mother - Ali G?

jimmyboyhowdy 3:58 PM  

Etta James is one of the finest R&B singers of her time...not jazz. Please, NYT, get your history right.

Hungry Mother 4:37 PM  

@Mohair Sam: Doh!

sanfranman59 5:03 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 1/2/2018 post for an explanation of my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio & percentage, the higher my solve time was relative to my norm for that day of the week. Your results may vary.

(Day, Solve time, 26-wk Median, Ratio, %, Rating)

Mon 4:15 4:30 0.95 31.6% Easy-Medium

The constructor had me at EAT A PEACH. That's right up my cultural alley. This was my quickest Monday in two-months. Maybe it will bring me out of my early week speed-solving slump. In 2015 and 2016, I averaged 4:06 and 4:08 on Monday puzzles. I'm now at 4:38 so far in 2018. Since I lost some time with some particularly sloppy typing, this may really be an Easy.

ESPADRILLE is a decidedly un-Mondayish answer, but I didn't really even attempt to get it from the clue. I filled in DRILL based on the theme and all of the other crosses were solid except SPH(!?!). AEGIS and ULULATE might also be tough for a Monday, but both are easily accessible in my brain's crossword solving TOOLBOX. Thumbs up from me.

OffTheGrid 6:25 PM  

The theme revealer is "Locale of all the circled items in this puzzle". So all of the answers fit closely and tightly enough to that criterion. Other items in my toolbox that aren't tools: pencil, whetstone, wire ties, earplugs, WD-40, matches, wall hook, small dowels, vinyl gloves.

Nancy 7:16 PM  

Remember, @Quasi (11.56), it was GILL (11:34) who said she was treating! Such a generous person! Such a mensch! I've always known that I really, really like her!!!

FWIW, I picked up pre-packaged Sushi today on my way home -- for dinner tonight -- from a dependable high-end grocery store with a real Japanese person who smiles at you from behind the counter. That doesn't mean for an instant that it's the $200 SASHIMI that we've just been talking about on the blog. But unlike GILL, I don't mind the rice that's featured in sushi: it goes well with the fish and it helps fill you up, sort of. Nor do I mind avocado. I like avocado, actually. (The other fillers GILL mentions sound truly awful.) Anyway, the blog today inspired me to plan a SASHIMI-like (but much less expensive) dinner. Before I went on the blog, I had been intending something entirely different.

Beth 8:43 PM  

I may have failed the ORLON test, but no one who listens to Drake or Cardi B (or is under 40) uses RAPS as a noun.

Unknown 9:33 AM  

I think it's because in Japan it is a delicacy and as a result one of the more expensive items.

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