YSL the often the answer to the crossword clue
[Fashion inits.] or [Fashion monogram]

The [Fashion monogram] YSL are [Designer letters] known to just about everyone. And most will recognize YVES as the [The “Y” in YSL], making is a [Fist name in fashion].

YSL may be a [DKNY rival] at fashion shows, but in crossword puzzles the Yves Saint Laurent is in a class by himself: I don’t believe anyone shows up as much in puzzles by initials alone.

The most common initials of people as answers in The New York Times crossword puzzle over the last five years (excluding REO when it only refers to the car or band and CST when it’s the time setting, but including when instances clearly evoking the person’s name even if not the person, as when JFK refers to the airport). Image by crosswordese

“Yves” is likely etymologically linked to the name of another “Saint,” as “Yves” and “IVES” probably both derive from the name of the yew tree.

Here’s a comparison of the frequency of answers referring to people’s initials, based on the New York Times crossword over the last five years. (I’m probably missing some, please let me know if you see a notable omission.)

Saint Laurent was just 21 when he took over the house of Dior, where his muses have included the [Somali-born supermodel] IMAN.

YSL crossword IMAN clue monoymous model fashion yves answer puzzle
image copyright John Mathew Smith 2001, via Wiki Commons

In a fun coincidence, the mononymous model’s name seems to suggest that she’s also monogamous. Indeed, Iman, who’s sometimes clued as [David Bowie’s widow], has said she would never remarry, and that Bowie “is always going to be my husband,” making the clue [Model married to David Bowie] particularly apt.