Happy Monday to everybody. Monday can be a great day, if you let it. It's the start of a new week, when hopes can run high, and faith in the world (unfounded though it may be) is alive and well. Let us remember this moment in days to come, and trust that good spirits and care for our neighbors will remain alive and well.
Meanwhile, we can always turn to the NYT crossword as a way to escape from reality. And why not? It's a simple enough pleasure, especially on a Monday. Today, Mr. Vaughn offers up four phrases, seemingly unrelated, only to find when comparing the four that each ends with a term related to artistic endeavors. I am fond of a GOLDENDOODLE, having had an Australian Labradoodle as a companion for eleven years. I will also highly recommend the movie LEAVENOTRACE from 2018. It was a beautiful and thought provoking film.
I like that there is no revealer here, leaving the solver to come up with the connection on her own. No CODDLED puzzlers here! Not even on a Monday.
There are some nice answers in the fill, including 9D: Made a bust? (SCULPTED) - cute clue; also CYCLONES and REEFER. Sure does seem like there's a lot of marijuana in the puzzle recently. Is it a reflection of the times, or simply that the words fit into English language grids well?
I'm ambivalent about the staying power of OGLE. It's an ugly word, and it implies objectifying behavior. The editors and constructors try to find ways of recognizing the nastiness of it, which helps, but does not remove it. Once again, the ease of fitting into a grid will keep it around for some time, I imagine. At least EYED was clued with "Green-____ monster."
ANYhoo, best to end on a light-hearted note. Let's recall LESLIE Nielsen:
"We need to get these people to a hospital."
"A hospital? What is it?"
"It's a big building with patients, but that's not important right now."