I pulled out 2D Thorny tree: ACACIA because cutting boards are important to me, and acacia cutting boards are inexpensive and in abundance. Even Williams-Sonoma has acacia cutting boards for cheap.
But as you’ll see in tomorrow’s woodworking blog post, I like other woods for cutting boards.
17A Former CNN anchor with a true-crime series on the Investigation Discovery channel: PAULAZAHN. 24A Places where kids can feed goats and sheep: PETTINGZOOS. 40A Classic Nintendo character named after F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife: PRINCESSZELDA. 52A Warsaw currency: POLISHZLOTY. Will they ever join the euro? No.
64A So simple … like 17-, 24-, 40- and 52-Across?: EASYPEASY. Because P Z for all the answers.
I pulled out 22A Like neon gas: NOBLE because I had written INERT because it fit and worked, except that it turned out that it fit but didn’t work.
17A Athlete who rarely gets sacked or has a pass intercepted: STARQUARTERBACK -> S|TAR|QU|ART|ERBACK. 29A Run-down places: RATTRAPS -> |RAT|TRA|PS. 33A Figure to aim for, according to personal trainers: TARGETHEARTRATE -> |TAR|GETHE|ART|RAT|E. 42A Pastry made with an orchard fruit: PEARTART -> PE|ART|ART|. 56A Political group symbolized by a donkey: DEMOCRATICPARTY -> DEMOC|RAT|ICP|ART|Y.
37D Various creative mediums … or a hint to variations found in the shaded squares: ARTFORMS. Because they’re A-R-T in different forms. Yay.
I pulled out 52A Not-quite-in-shape male physiques: DADBODS because neither Calah nor I want that for me. So we’ve been doing both the Hundred Pushups program and the 200 Situps program. When she reads this she’ll find out that once we’re in maintenance mode, we’ll tack on the Two Hundred Squats program.
There is a theme, and I think we can figure out what IT is.
17A “This is my final offer”: TAKEITORLEAVEIT. This is also called Hobson’s choice.
The famous phrase ‘Hobson’s choice’ can be traced back to a Cambridge carrier who operated a livery stable delivering mail and providing transport to and from London in the early 17th century.
Thomas Hobson, who was born in 1545, recognised that his best horses were in most demand and that they were also the most overworked. He therefore devised a strict rotation system, only allowing customers to rent the next horse in line.
This ‘take that one or none’ ultimatum ensured Hobson’s reputation as an astute businessman and city character, and the poet John Milton would later immortalise the expression ‘Hobson’s choice’ in two commemorative epitaphs.
25A Like something that’s polarizing: LOVEITORHATEIT. On top is the underdog. 43A “Get out of the way!”: MOVEITORLOSEIT. OMG every day in LA traffic. 57A Having no middle ground between success and failure: MAKEITORBREAKIT. Looking at you in Game 4 tomorrow night, Dodgers!
I pulled out 30D What screen doors usually don’t do: OPENIN because the thought of a screen door opening in is comical. You know, you walk up to someone’s house and knock on the door. You can’t knock on the screen door because it sounds like nothing. So you try to open the screen door to knock on the real door, and the thing opens in?! 🤦♂️
Theme for Monday!
17A Traditional end of summer: LABORDAYWEEKEND. I had initially tried LABORDAYBARBECUE, but it was too long. Summer doesn’t really end until the fourth week of September, and I tended to have second-week-of-September summer birthday during school while those kids born in June got to celebrate their birthdays during summer break. But UCSB (and most other University of California schools) started at the end of September, so I got to have my summer birthday on summer break and go to school starting in real fall. 27A Dare to exceed normal limits: PUSHTHEENVELOPE. A thing Louis DeJoy kinda does but in the bad way and definitely not in the physical way. #wheresmymail. 46A FedEx or DHL: DELIVERYSERVICE. Why not UPS? The only thing I ever get delivered DHL is my Indochino suits.
56A 1967 hit by the Tremeloes suggested by the starts of 17-, 27- and 46-Across: HERECOMESMYBABY.
I pulled out 15A One of 10 on a ten-speed: GEAR because it’s not true. This is about combinations of gears. A 10sp bike normally has two chainrings (gears near the pedals) and five cogs in the back. Gear 1 in the front can connect to gears 1-5 in the back, and gear 2 in the front can connect to gears 1-5 in the back, so that’s 10 speeds. Another way to do 10 speeds is to have a single gear in the front and then 10 gears in the back. But if you do that, it’s 11 gears total. Now, there are bikes that have fewer than the number of combinations possible. Like a 30sp mountain bike may have a 22-tooth chainring, a 33-tooth chainring, and a 44-tooth chainring. In the back, it could have an 12-tooth cog and a 24-tooth cog, among others. The 44, 24 combination is the same speed as the 22, 12 combination. This may not necessarily matter in practice, but it still means that the clue is garbanzo beans.
A theme for Monday!
17A Olympic event for which the world record stands at a little over 20 feet: POLEVAULT. This is a very impressive sport to watch live. The craziest moments are when the pole snaps.
23A Magic duo with a 20+ year act in Las Vegas: PENNANDTELLER. Amazing magicians. I saw them in London years ago. 37A “Spring forward” and “fall back” plan: DAYLIGHTSAVINGS. Years ago we voted to allow the state legislature to make it always daylight savings for California. I don’t know what’s become of that other than it not happening yet. 50A Added cost of buying soda: BOTTLEDEPOSIT. In California, CRV isn’t a deposit. Normally, you give a deposit with a recyclable container and get it back if you turn it in. In California, it isn’t that way. If you pay 10c, you might get 5c back. Maybe. But you have to go to a recycling center, and those are generally mad sketch. Adnd then they do it by weight instead of by quantity.
61A Guaranteed … or where you can find the ends of 17-, 23-, 37- and 50-Across: INTHEBANK. Vault, teller, savings, deposit. All bank terms.
I pulled out 6A The “S” of L.S.U.: STATE because I found it interesting that LSU specifically was used. So I looked up Pao Roy, and it turns out that they went to LSU. Makes sense. Good tip of the hat to your alma mater, Pao Roy!
A themed Monday!
1A What lava becomes after an eruption: ROCKS. 60A What lava is before an eruption: MAGMA. 27D Volcanic emissions: ASHES. 43D Sweltering: HOT.
I pulled out 65A Baseball officials, for short: UMPS because it reminded me of the old joke of what’s the difference between a catcher’s mask and an umpire’s mask? You can see out of the catcher’s mask. And isn’t the commissioner the umpire of the league? By that standard, Rob Manfred is doing a great job. By human standards, though, garbage. Total garbage.
There was a Monday theme! Two puns!
17A Group of Washington politicians?: HOUSEPARTY. 61A Group of big rig haulers?: SEMICIRCLE.
Finished this one in 4:31. If I hadn’t made that one error, I’d have been at 4:04, which still wouldn’t have been my best.
I pulled out 37A Jewish community center, for short: YMHA because what? The correct answer is JCC. Really. It’s not a secret, either. Though sometimes I wish it were because people keep shootingthem up. So where is Joshua Rosenblatt going to a YMHA? Oh, Wikipedia redirects YMHA to JCC. Hard eyeroll. I know tonight starts Rosh Hashanah, and you even threw in 59A Baked pudding of potatoes or noodles in Jewish cooking: KUGEL (aslo pudding? Really? I mean, kinda but also not?), but you gotta think of better clues, bro. This feels forced.
Despite all its flaws, this puzzle had a stylish theme.
38A Fashionable … or where you might find the starts of the answers to the starred clues: INVOGUE. 17A *Asian American who became only the second woman to win the Oscar for Best Director: CHLOEZHAO. Fashion brand: Chloé. 24A *Runway model famous for her work as a Victoria’s Secret Angel: CHANELIMAN. I wish Chanel had been 5A, though. 50A *Longest resident performer at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace: CELINEDION.
I pulled out 53A Jose _ (tequila brand): CUERVO because I was taught in college that good tequila is 100% agave, and Cuervo just says that it’s made with agave, but there’s no disclosure as to how much agave. And if it were 100%, I imagine they wouldn’t hide that.
This puzzle’s theme was probably sponsored by:
18A Doesn’t have fortitude: LACKSHEART. 23A Home of the University of Kentucky: LEXINGTON. 36A Finishes eating ice cream or soup, say: LICKSTHESPOON. 51A Rescuer for when you’ve lost your key: LOCKSMITH. 56A Tiny neighbor of France: LUXEMBOURG.
Last night I missed my first day in over two months. It was my mother-in-law’s wedding, and we got back close to midnight. The streak was going to end soon anyway because the Jewish holidays come in two-day blocks, but it ended a couple weeks earlier than I’d thought it would.
I pulled out 43A Ave. crossers: STS because I think it’s a bad clue. Streets aren’t always avenue crossers. A better clue would have been Fmr. NASA program.
18A “Siskel & Ebert & the Movies” catchphrase: TWOTHUMBSUP. RIP Gene Siskel. I hadn’t realized he was only 53. 25A “Seinfeld” catchphrase: NOSOUPFORYOU. Am I the only one who isn’t a fan of the soup nazi? I never cared for the character. 39A “Columbo” catchphrase: JUSTONEMORETHING. Peter Falk was amazing. Until recently I didn’t realize that he was the grandpa in The Princess Bride.
49A “The Jackie Gleason Show” catchphrase: HOWSWEETITIS. I have never watched the show. 61A “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” catchphrase: FINALANSWER. Better: “He’s won a million dollas!” RIP Regis.