U-shaped bone above larynx / SUN 4-26-15 / Racoonlike animal / Worrier's farewell / Mother of Levi Judah / Relative of Cerulean / Viola's love in Twelfth night / WWII Dambusters for short / Franz's partner in old SNL sketches

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Easy



THEME: "Which is Wish" — Wacky "ch"-to-"sh" sound changes:

Theme answers:
  • LAST DISH EFFORT (23A: Valiant attempt to finish off a seven-course meal?)
  • LAWN SHARES (30A: What an investor in golf courses might buy?)
  • SHEEP THRILLS (36A: Grazing in a meadow and jumping fences, for two?)
  • YOU BETTER WASH OUT (48A: "Be sure to lose!"?)
  • MIX AND MASH (64A: Two blender settings?)
  • KARATE SHOP (68A: Dojo Mart, e.g.?)
  • MUSH TO MY SURPRISE (82A: What I unexpectedly  had for breakfast?)
  • MARSH MADNESS (92A: Swamp fever?)
  • POKER SHIPS (100A: Floating casinos?)
  • SHEAF INSPECTOR (112A: Reviewer of the paperwork?)
Word of the Day: HYOID (57A: ___ bone (U-shaped bone above the larynx)) —
The hyoid bone (lingual bone) (/ˈhɔɪd/; Latin os hyoideum) is a horseshoe-shaped bonesituated in the anterior midline of the neck between the chin and the thyroid cartilage. At rest, it lies at the level of the base of the mandible in the front and the third cervical vertebra (C3) behind.
Unlike other bones, the hyoid is only distantly articulated to other bones by muscles or ligaments. The hyoid is anchored by muscles from the anterior, posterior and inferior directions, and aids in tongue movement and swallowing. The hyoid bone provides attachment to the muscles of the floor of the mouth and the tongue above, the larynx below, and the epiglottis and pharynx behind.
Its name is derived from Greek hyoeides, meaning "shaped like the letter upsilon (υ)". (wikipedia)
• • •



After my last two less-than-stellar outings, I came into this one itching for a fight, but … this thing is a pussycat. It's cute and has no fight in it at all. While this was probably simpler and more easily solvable than I like my Sundays to be, sometimes I think you gotta lower the bar and give up-and-comers and neophytes a taste of Sunday success. This puzzle seems designed for just that purpose. Theme couldn't be much simpler, conceptually, and the fill is virtually without obscurity—smooth in a way that is completely characteristic of Patrick Berry grids. Would've been nice if the theme answers / and clues had been funnier, or at least zanier, on the whole. The whole set got just two mid-solve smiles out of me—a little one for SHEEP THRILLS (the incongruity here is great … if you've ever been around sheep, the idea that anything "thrills" them is pretty hilarious), and a big one for the big winner of the day: MUSH, TO MY SURPRISE. That's the kind of bizarre, nutso answer that can make an easy, straightforward puzzle tolerable and even enjoyable to solvers who generally like their puzzles tougher. In general, I kept wanting the theme clues to Go Bigger, Bolder, Weirder. You could've done more gruesome stuff with MARSH MADNESS than simply 92A: Swamp fever? (though as two-word clues go, that's a good one).


Only struggle for me today was in and around HYOID, which I either didn't know or forgot. Vague cluing on KEYCASES (45D: Ring alternatives), as well as my not really knowing what KEYCASES are (except, you know, by retrospective inference), made that center area rocky, at least for a bit. I misspelled SAGAL, as per usual, and I took some time to solve the KEA / LOA issue (side note: the KEA / LOA issue is my least favorite cluing conundrum of all time … write in "A" in third position and check crosses … zzzz). Oh, also had to work a bit for 49D: Worrier's farewell (BE SAFE), both because I couldn't understand the connection between the two words in the clue, and because I had UTEP for UTES (61A: Pac-12 team) (not a fun hole to fall into), and therefore had BEPA-- sitting there. Note: UTEP is in Conference USA … maybe I'll remember that next time. I put in ILSA for INGA (76D: "Young Frankenstein" character) and MASS (?) for MENU (67D: Preprandial reading), but otherwise, no trouble. I burned the whole SE half of the puzzle to the ground  so fast I thought I might've beat my Sunday record. No. Not close. But still easy.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    P.S. What is up with the title? Is that … what is that? Usually there's some play on words or joke or something. I see the CH-to-SH change, but that phrase is meaningless and without clear referent. [Note: yes, of course, the base phrase is "which is which," and it's changed to "which is wish," but that is not clever. That is simply an arrow pointing right at the theme—not suggesting or hinting at the theme. Pointing. Directly. It's also nonsense. Grammatically impossible. Gibberish. But maybe the title is part of the puzzle's overall orientation toward easiness.]

    P.P.S. SHE'S DANISH … missed opportunity right there.

    [Follow Rex Parker on Facebook and Twitter]

    112 comments:

    John Child 12:03 AM  

    Thanks to all for your concern and well wishes. It's very touching. Family and friends here are all OK. Considering the magnitude and ongoing aftershocks, the toll is remarkably low. Many bits of cultural heritage are piles of bricks, but few modern buildings were destroyed.

    Bless you all.

    Masked and AnonymoUs 12:07 AM  

    @63: Ain't the title a play on "Which Is Which?"

    M&A
    on the road in Mississippi

    Z 12:08 AM  

    @John Child - Good to hear you're safe.

    HYOID:bones=lutrine:animal adjectives

    Close enough for most constructors, but some are ch --> sh and others are tch --> sh so it feels like PB had an off day.

    Carola 12:15 AM  

    With @Rex all the way - I'm still laughing at MUSH, TO MY SURPRISE and smiling at the SHEEP THRILLS. But they're all good. I also liked GULPED in front of LAST DISH EFFORT and FINE TUNE following HI-FI.

    One do-over: my dead man walking started out as a Golem.

    @John Child - It's good to hear from you!

    Moly Shu 12:26 AM  

    HYOID and METIER were both unknown to me so those sections took the most time. That and Ucla to UTah to finally UTES. Also think I confused cerise with cerulean, because I kept wanting a shade of red before AZURE became apparent. Agree 100% with @Rex on the mauna thing. Also gonna agree with @Z on the not quite PB standard vibe. Liked it well enough, just wasn't awed by it when I finished, as I usually am by PB efforts. I guess @BabeRuth hit triples sometimes.

    @JohnChild, glad to hear all y'all are safe.

    Whirred Whacks 12:42 AM  

    I needed an easy Sunday puzzle, and PB delivered! Many of the theme answers practically filled themselves in.

    I loved loved loved the clues in this puppy. Many brought a smile to my face.

    @Casco
    I've enjoyed your thoughts on this blog over the past year (I think we started commenting at about the same time). I find it refreshing to read about your mental processes as you wage war (or make love) to the various puzzles. My hat is also off to you for participating in the the ACPT -- it was fun to read your writeup. Here's my question for you (and I mean this in all sincerity, i.e., no snark): how do you justify to yourself spending sometimes as much as 120-150 minutes on a puzzle? You gotta have other demands on your time (professional, family, reading, etc). You certainly seem have a lot of patience. Best wishes!

    GD ROM 1:11 AM  

    I've been a reader here for over two years, and though it feels as though I know who all of you are, you don't know me at all.

    I just wanted to chime in and say that I'm thrilled to hear that @John child is okay!

    And maybe one of these days I'll become a regular commenter like so ,any of you that I enjoy reading! Thanks again to all of you for your unknowing company. :)

    RAD2626 1:24 AM  

    Share best wishes to @John Child with everyone else. Terrifying and tragic stuff. .

    Puzzle was great. Nothing unfair. Theme answers all clever. Liked MARSH MADNESS a lot along with MUSH. Cluing typical Patrick Berry brilliance: GHOST, PURSES, SLAP all wonderful. Nice way to spend an hour on Saturday night. Had GHOul first for GHOST and the ubiquitous Eel for EMU, but otherwise pretty smooth sailing.

    jae 2:18 AM  

    Easy  for me too.

    @John - Good to know you're OK.

    HYOID - Comes up all the time on cop/lawyer procedurals.  "The HYOID was broken, must of been strangled."

    Breezy and smooth,  liked it.

    chefwen 2:54 AM  

    @John Chilld - I was so relieved to read George Baranys post yesterday that you were O.K. What a horrific ordeal you and thousands went through.

    Thought the puzzle was cute, easy and fun. Of course my favorite was LAST DISH EFFORT.,,which is what I hope my guests tomorrow will think of my Mango Cheesecake which will be my LAST DISH served.

    paulsfo 3:37 AM  

    I liked it except for the theme answers, which pretty much sucked.

    Clues were above-average clever.

    Anonymous 4:15 AM  


    Thoughts to Mr. Child and all the earthquake victims.

    Sheep Thrills is hilarious and the others Berry, Berry good as well.

    GILL I. 5:09 AM  

    Oooh...this was like a gourmet brunch for 10 catered by Ina Garten. All the VITTLES you like right there for the pickings and the garnishes are yummy as well.
    I can't decide which theme answer I like the best because every one made me smile. Probably the MUSH one or maybe the LAST DISH one. Then again, MIX AND MASH was pretty good as well.
    Fun Sunday puzzle with just the right salt and pepper.

    @John Child....Glad you, your family and friends are safe...So sad for beautiful Nepal.

    Charles Flaster 5:34 AM  

    Great to hear from @John Child!!!!
    EZ puzzle but enjoyable.
    Two writeovers-- Igor>Inga and Ucal> Ucla> Utep>UTES.(whew).
    Thought cluing for Floating casinos could have been Floating card games and Swamp fever could be Swamp danger. But PB is my PB ( Personal Best )
    so who cares.
    Liked cluing for PURSES, BCC, LAST DISH EFFORT and SHEAF INSPECTOR.
    The fill was superb.
    Thanks PB and thanks for your Sunday stuff in Variety.

    Lewis 6:32 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Bob Kerfuffle 6:33 AM  

    Very nice puzzle!

    Two write-overs: 76 D, IGOR >> INGA; 90 A, TRAP >> TREE.

    @John Child, hope you will post an update, since as I read your post I am hearing news of a major aftershock!

    Also nice of @M&A to check in from the road, but M, if I may call you that, you didn't say,

    "*gruntz*"

    Lewis 6:34 AM  

    @johnchild -- SO glad to hear you are well.
    @z -- Your hyoid/lutrine analogy is my first big laugh of the day
    @GDROM -- Thank you for piping in and come join in the conversation!

    The hyoid is the only bone in the body that doesn't connect directly to any other bone, by the way.

    My take on PB is that the fill will be remarkably clean (check); the answers will be ordinary words that most people have heard of, with few exceptions like HYOID and maybe METIER (check), and that there will be a good number of clues that are like riddles, that are figured out with an terrific aha, leaving many solvers who like that sort of thing with a growing sense of joy as they solve (check).

    While the theme will be consistent and sometimes very clever, Berry is mostly about the clues, IMO. In this puzzle: SETS, SLAP, HEADS, ULNA, CURLER, RAINY, AGAIN, REARENDS, and PURSES.

    This is why I adore PB.

    chefbea 7:31 AM  

    Easy puzzle which I did last night.

    @Gill liked your Ina Garten dinner

    @John glad you are OK

    Trombone Tom 7:38 AM  

    An enjoyable romp courtesy of PB. Pretty much agree with OFL. Something for all ages; from Katey SAGAL to Vic DAMONE. Had Togas for TUNIC for a while. Knew HYOID from "Bones."

    r.alphbunker 7:42 AM  

    The image in the NE corner indicates that the right side went in first. At the halfway point progress on the left side was blocked by ATBAT for 3D {Not on deck, say} and LETSGO for 4D {Releases}

    Thanks to LMS for the idea of changing your picture to smuggle an image into your post.

    And thanks to the Nepalese gods for keeping @John Child out of harm's way. BE SAFE.

    Anonymous 7:51 AM  

    The Missouri, not the Ohio, is the largest tributary of the Mississippi. Victuals is misspelled as VITTLES.

    joho 8:42 AM  

    What a wonderful SWISHEROO of sounds Patrick Berry pulled on us today! Too easy? Maybe, but I'll take a delightful romp through the grid like this anytime.

    @John Child, so happy to hear you are safe. People will be praying for Nepal in churches all the around the country today.

    Thank you, Mr. Berry, for yet another entertaining puzzle!

    NCA President 8:51 AM  

    @John Child: Today, we are all Nepalis...life on this earth is fragile indeed. Glad you're safe.

    This puzzle was easy for me, as well. My experience was similar to Rex's in two places: the Kea/Loa issue (I did exactly what Rex did, put that A in there and look for the cross that has a K in it), and I had IlsA for INGA (actually, I had Igor first...that's eyegore, btw).

    Otherwise, a rare first-time-jingle-with-the-final-letter finish for me.

    BTW, with all the todo about the FSU mascot being a Seminole and the NFL Washington team's redskin mascot, I'm surprised no one has mentioned OLEMISS yet. It does not at all refer to Mississippi (as you might think), but it is the name that used for the Missus of the plantation by the slaves of the plantation. It appears the university has addressed by doing a national poll and many people don't seem to care or at least realize where the name came from...so they're keeping it.

    'mericans in Paris 8:52 AM  

    @johnchild -- Also glad to hear that you and your family survived the quake.

    Speaking of disasters, Charlie Hebdo's cover page this week features a cartoon by Luz depicting Celine DIOn belting out a song at the bow of a sinking ship as its African passengers tell her to shut the #@$& up. The headline: "Un Titanic par semaine" ("A Titanic each week"). Ouch! Kind of puts the current wretched situation for the boat people in the southern Mediterranean into perspective.

    @Carola -- nice catches!

    @jae -- thanks for the additional info on HYOID. I'll use it in my Matt Esquare installment later today.

    @chefwen -- Wish I could be there to taste your mango cheescake. Yum! (I love anything made with mango.)

    @Charles Flaster -- Really like your innovative use of the "grater than" symbol (>) to denote a write-over. I'll use that myself from now on.

    @Lewis -- We got METIER quickly, but were surprised that it wasn't clued as a French word.

    @Anonymous 7:51 AM -- The Ohio is the largest tributary in terms of water flow, supplying nearly half of the Mississippi's water. The Missouri is merely the longest tributary.

    Almost fully agree with @Rex's write-up this time. Glad to see he understands the need to go easy on newbies from time to time. Liked his take on SHEEP THRILLS, but shrugged at most of the other ones he liked. Was confused by MUSH. Perhaps it is a regional term? According to Merriam Webster's on-line dictionary, it is "a thick porridge made with cornmeal boiled in water or milk". I've eaten breakfast in a lot of places, but never, ever, have I seen that served for a morning meal.

    Thought some of PB's clues were clever, but some (13A, 21A, 44A, 72A) left me gawking because of their straightforwardness.

    My biggest chuckle was @Rex's comment, "Would've been nice if the theme answers / and clues had been funnier ... ." My guess (and hope) was that OFL started out with the slash, thought the better of it and used a real conjunction, but then forgot to delete the original slash. Once the slash-happy habit becomes ingrained, it must be hard to kick!

    Loren Muse Smith 8:54 AM  

    Hey, GD ROM!!!!! C'mon in and join us! You won't regret it, I promise!

    Two things from yesterday - @John Child. So glad to know you're ok. Keep us posted.

    Also – I don't think anyone noted that John Tesh has the same number of letters as SKRILLEX. How could we miss that?

    @Joho – "swisheroo" – good one! PB's puzzles are nothing but net, man.

    Southern food – OKRA is a delicacy? I have some fond and some not-so-fond memories of my childhood victuals. That ghastly slimy boiled okra (that our dachshund, Pompey Ducklegs, would mercifully eat out of my hand under the table – thanks, buddy) doesn’t bring to mind the word "delicacy." That was definitely at the bottom of the Mom, Can We Have Food list for my sisters and me. The top nosh for us was the mesmerizing Jiffy Pop popcorn. I was instantly frozen in my tracks, powerless to do anything but stand there and watch that aluminum bubble grow. And grow.

    @r.alph bunker - I had "at bat" before BELOW, too, remembering my difficult times playing organized softball with some mothers in NJ, mothers who had played either college or semi-pro ball, and here I was not even knowing what "infield fly rule" and "tag up" meant. Hey – at least I almost always got a single since I wasn't swinging for the fence. Abigail S. could hit homers now and then, but most of the time she just stuck out in a spectacular fashion - more of just a swish hitter.

    Agree – SHEEP THRILLS was the best of the bunch! We had a sheep that showed up mysteriously a while back and hung out with the cows for a couple of years. Kinda like a pasture volunteer. Two friends tried to shear him once - Greg A. took position as shear leader and Gail H. was his wing man, but it didn't go well. Ended up sending the poor misshapen guy off to some other place where he could be properly cared for. For the record, what Gail H. lacks in bovine skills, he more than compensates for in his equine skills; he keeps their manes in fine shape, brushes their coats regularly, and shoes wisely. (And though he's not one for a lot of bad habits, his barn spittoon is always near at hand for his shoeing tobacco. Says it helps him concentrate.) Jury's still out on his lutrine skills. Here, otter, otter, otter!

    Perfect Sunday if you ask me and yes, nobody did. But still.

    jburgs 9:09 AM  

    I limit myself to one dumb question or so a month. so much of the discussion goes over my head. Sooo...
    Can anyone explain Rex's
    P.P.S. "SHE'S DANISH … missed opportunity right there."?

    Victor Borge 9:16 AM  

    @jburgs - "Cheese Danish"

    Anonymous 9:23 AM  

    Liked this one. The one that gave me the biggest chuckle for some reason is the Karate Shop answer. For the most part, I at least smiled at the theme answers.

    jburgs 9:24 AM  

    Vic: Aha. I was trying "She's Danitch"

    F.O.G. 9:29 AM  

    The Missouri River wasn't clued, but PB did pay tribute to the SHOW ME state.

    Is Walmart greeter a METIER?

    Loved "Dancer in a pit" for MOSHER. My favorite theme answer was SHEAF INSPECTOR.

    Thanks to PB for an enjoyable Sunday.

    Conrad 9:41 AM  

    @John Child - Also glad to hear that you and your friends and family are well. One question, if you don't mind: What organization is doing the most to help victims? Where should we send donations? Red Cross? Doctors Without Borders? Salvation Army?

    steveo 9:45 AM  

    @loren Boiled okra? There's your problem. Should have breaded and fried it!

    Matt 9:46 AM  

    @paris

    So.... You're saying that if you were served mush... You'd be... Surprised?

    Maruchka 9:50 AM  

    PB hits my sweet PIP every time. MUSH tanks.

    Fav of the day - SHEEP THRILLS. Too true, @Rex, and LOL, @LMS.

    @John Child - So scary, quakes. Glad you and yours are OK, hopeful for survivors.

    @'mericans - METIER is a favorite, m'excuse if I wrote why already. Gertrude Stein's reluctant response to Picasso's enthusiastic playwriting: 'Ce n'est pas ton metier.' They didn't speak again for two years. Just love that story!

    Aketi 9:55 AM  

    What a nice morning too wake up to.First Facebook alerted me to the fact that my Friends in Nepal are safe.

    Then I got through the puzzle only checking once at the end when I couldn't find my error at the ETAIL/INFORIT cross.

    Next, Rex acknowledged that someimes is OK to lower the bar for solvers like me to experience some Sunday Success (although I have my doubts as the how much I will ever improve so I would not classify myself as an "up and comer").

    Of course I also had to smile at the fact that one of my first solves was HYOiD. The only reason I remember that little bone is that I have to study all the bones and muscles invoked in swallowing for my board certification exam every 10 years as a lactation consultant. I never ever remember all the orosphyngomastoidlayrngeotracheopharyngeal maze of muscle names.

    Moving on to the comment section here,, I was happy to read the first post.

    @ John Child, glad to hear that your family, and friends are safe too. I am saddened by the loss of others and by the loss of cultural heritage predicted bty the USAID officer I talked with many years ago in Kathmandu.

    Finally, I finished the puzzle fast enough thst Charlie the cat didn't try to attack the BEDSHEETS until I had finished the puzzle,. So I was able the get up and distract him from his destructive behavior by making my second latte while he watched friends me the top of the fridge, swiping at the magnets and dropping them on the floor.

    Now off to my dojo, where only the kids get to KARATE CHOP the boards.


    Maruchka 9:55 AM  

    BTW @LMS - Pickled OKRA also makes a nice Bloody Mary or Martini CONDIMENT. Totally agree on the slime.

    Aketi 9:59 AM  

    I hate autocorrect. I have no idea how it inserted friends randomly into my post.

    Anonymous 10:02 AM  

    John Child (and Rex)

    Please forgive me for sending a private (now public!) message to John Child;

    John, I'm enormously relieved that you're Ok, and the death toll in your area is relatively low considering the magnitude of the quake.

    I have received the puzzle you sent me just before the quake. I'll send my comments your way whenever you're ready. Just give me the heads/-up!

    Sincerely,

    -MAS/ Martin Ashwood-Smith

    Z 10:03 AM  

    @'Mericans in Paris - I can't help but wonder if it is a sexual preference thing to interpret "largest" as length versus "volume."

    @NCA President - I did not know about the origin of Ole Miss. One big difference (to me) between "Ole Miss" and "Redskin" is that "Ole Miss" was never a pejorative for the marginalized. Add in that it is easily understood to relate to "Mississippi" and it's easy to understand the collective shrug. I noticed that they've gone from "Col. Rebel" to "Rebel, the Black Bear" for their mascot. I think we call this "baby steps."

    @steveo - I'm not sure anything that's breaded and fried can be described as a "delicacy." "Yummy," "tasty," or "Oh so good" sure, but not "delicacy."

    Aketi 10:09 AM  

    @LMS and Marucka, I am a fairly adventurous eater having dared termites fried in palm oil and caterpillars smothered in peanut sauce. I thought there was only one food I won't eat: fresh green peas. I just realized that OKRA is a second find that I can't eat due to the texture. I can still manage t eat snails.

    Z 10:09 AM  

    @conrad and others - Oxfam is active in Nepal. You can get puzzles and donate through the American Red Crosswords link on the blog page. Doctors Without Borders has teams on the way. All of these are always worthy of a few dollars, but certainly a few extra right now wouldn't hurt.

    Hartley70 10:19 AM  

    I always misheard the HYOID bone as hyloid in forensic television shows. It seems to snap very easily and snap you're dead. Gotta get those ears checked.

    Nice, clean, smooth Sunday puzzle. Who wouldn't like this? It's the Cleavers in grid format! As has become a habit, I exhaust my synapses just as I arrive at the SW, where I always seem to finish up. Is that just me, because I'm thinking there are always more SW complaints? I've started to think of the SW as the Bermuda Triangle of Puzzledom! After I put my phone down for a bit and returned, I saw MÉTIER and victuals became VITTLES. Done in time to enjoy the sunshine!

    @John Child, the Nepalese earthquake has a face for all of us because we've learned where you live. It's made it all the more compelling that we see aid reaching Katmandu.

    @Casco, as to @WW's remarks. We were newbies here together, and I have come to figure out that you are not an "ordinary" brainiac! You see the clues in unique ways and they are designed so the majority of solvers will have the same idea. Revel in your uniqueness and become a constructor. You'll drive the rest of us lesser mortals mad!

    Teedmn 10:21 AM  

    Mmmmm, MUSH, TO MY SURPRISE, was always my favorite of the several types of morning porridge my Grandpa would serve up when I stayed over. He would simmer the oatmeal, or Cream of Wheat, or Malt-O-Meal on the back of the stove overnight (no instant, just add water stuff in the early sixties) and we'd have a warm breakfast with lots of butter and milk. But the cornmeal mush was the best!

    Thanks, @jburgs, for asking my question - I gave up at She's Danitch also!

    Loved the puzzle, with only LAWN SHARES as a less than sparkling themer, in my opinion. I got deked into a TRap, with TREE being correct, and PowdEr for PURSES, but it was all corrected in good time. Thanks, PB, as always.

    Leapfinger 10:21 AM  

    @Loren, I read your SHEEP THRILLS paragraph slack-jawed in breathless anticipation. Could not wait to see where you were going with it, yet didn't want to rush and have it be over. (You know what I mean?) Will say there was no trace of disappointment in your backy story. Too bad though that it wouldn't be appsite to work in some George Bernard Chaw.

    Did you have a chance to check out @Teedmn's late link yesterday? If you like lutrine, you really otter.

    Loved SHEEP THRILLS the best, and wondered if we have any country boys in our ranks. Noticed two themers seemed linked to Christmas:
    YOU BETTER WASH OUT: Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
    MUSH TO MY SURPRISE: Twas the Night Before Christmas
    but MARSH MADNESS is still pretty timely.

    Lotsa subtle cleverness in the clues (Flip response, Face value; They make up everything, etc), All very Berryesque. Also liked the alimentary slant: I GULPED my VITTLES BY GUM and UVULA, past the HYOID and bronchial TREE. It may have been KURDS and whey or ROAST EMU, for sure no OKRA crossed these lips.

    Am awaiting @'mericans' oeuvre, plenty fodder today! Must estop now because ISOLATE.

    Thanks, PB, Enjoy!

    Roo Monster 10:25 AM  

    Hey All !
    Stay safe @John Child!

    Nice SunPuz. Fave was SHEEP THRILLS, followed by MUSH TO MY SURPRISE. Groaner, a bit: YOU BETTER WASH OUT.

    Agree with the easyishness, just a few writeovers, EmAIL-> ETAIL, Act-> AIM, Igor-> INGA. Some pretty neat clues smattered about. Oregon area pretty unusual, with BYGUM, COATI, CUTEX. Haven't gone through the alphabet, but looks like a Q short of a pangram.

    One (very minor, very specific, kinda odd) nit, if PB could've gotten rid of the one black square twixt 28/29A, 106/109A, it would've been that much cooler. But that's just me...

    Looking forward to @'mericans IMPENDing story!

    ROAST WITH CATS >:)
    RooMonster
    DarrinV

    Anonymous 10:31 AM  

    Thought I was in trouble right off the bat at 1a because I assumed the answer would be an abbreviation because the clue had 2 abbreviations. After that, smooth sailing. Only write-overs were igor/INGE ans sass/SLAP.
    Fastest and easiest Sunday in a long time--enjoyed it. Thanks, PB!

    Leapfinger 10:31 AM  

    Forgot to add:

    @John Child is so thoughtful, he posted his comment on late yesterday's as well as on the early today's blog, so both night0wls and early birds would see it.
    Big relief to hear the immediate news; here's strength for the long road and hard work ahead.

    PS, Cheese Danish is really funny.

    Nancy 10:44 AM  

    @John Child -- It was good to hear directly from you -- and right at the top of the blog --that you and your family are safe. But it's tragic that a part of the world with such beauty and historical significance has been so devastated. The best of luck to everyone in the days ahead.

    I found the puzzle MUSH too easy for a Sunday and the cutesy puns didn't MUSH compensate. But if my intention is to get to Central Park as soon as possible on this crisp but beautiful day, then today's puzzle did nothing to slow me down. Like @Moly Shu, I'd never heard of HYOID and like @Bob K, I had TRap before TREE. Even so, the easy crosses straightened everything out quickly.

    For those who solve in the Times Mag and who are looking for a REAL challenge, don't miss today's Variety puzzle, OPPOSABLE SUMS. I'm still struggling with it (from yesterday) and don't know whether I'll be able to finish it.

    RnRGhost57 10:57 AM  

    @john Child, good to hear from you.

    AnnieD 10:58 AM  

    Went easy for me as well for a Sunday. Though I did cringe at VITTLES which I was taught is spelled victuals, not like it sounds.

    Knew HYOID because I watch so much Law & Order. Classic signs of strangulation... a broken hyoid bone and petechiae in the eyes.

    Glad to hear John Child is OK. Such a tragedy for so many.

    Maruchka 11:06 AM  

    @Aketi - Don't give up yet - try the pickled kind. Talk 'O Texas is a good brand, and I like it hot. No es slimy-o!

    'mericans in Paris 11:20 AM  

    Time for another episode of Matt "Deadeyes" Esquare, Private Eye

    I awoke with a head like a brick and an urgent bladder. It was already 11:30 -- too late for breakfast -- so I decided to scrounge up some lunch instead. I GULPED down some reheated coffee and looked in the fridge.

    It was not a sight for the squeamish. Remnants of my LAST DISH EFFORT -- a concoction of boiled OKRA and mashed ROAST potatoes -- was staring up at me through a dozen mouldy eyes. My Dutch grandmother had taught me the wonders of stamppot, which involves nothing more complicated than mixing whatever left-overs are at hand with potato. (MIX AND MASH: I can do that!) But she hadn't taught me MUSH about use-by dates. I had left the food uncovered in a bowl for a WEEK.

    I pulled out my phone to call the nearest take-out, but saw a text message from an old friend, HANS SAGAL, inviting me to lunch at ONE. I texted him back and accepted with enthusiasm. Anybody's VITTLES would be better than what I could DRUM up.

    HANS had gained fame as an OP ARTIST in the 1960s and early 1970s. His best known oeuvre was the design for an album cover for FLU Season, a tribute band to Big Brother and the Holding Company. The music had been universally panned, but the original LP jacket for SHEEP THRILLS had since become a collector's item.

    HANS had invested his earlier art income wisely, starting with POKER SHIPS and then moving on to LAWN SHARES. He cashed out the latter just before the drought of 2012: couldn't abide the turf wars. He now lived in a sprawling RANCHO in a GATED community called ORSINO Hills, in the northern Detroit SUBURBs. PLASMA TV, top-END HIFI, DIOR TIES in the wardrobe, the works.

    It was now TEN after twelve and it would take me a half hour to reach there. To STAVE off hunger in the meantime, I opened a jar of aioli sauce and SLAPped it on a stale Kaiser ROLL. It tasted like garlicky PLASTER and left my BREATH smelling like the REAR END of a COATI. I grabbed a pack of BY GUM ("Say by-by to bad breath!") and HEADed out the door.

    HANS lived in what was sometimes called the O-ZONE of his community, near the intersection of OHIO AVENUE and OAK Street. As I approached the intersection, however, I felt an inexplicable sense of IMPEND. The RUE in front of SAGAL's house was crawling with black and whites.

    Nancy 11:24 AM  

    Once more, I had more fun with this blog than with the puzzle. Among the things I learned:

    @Marushka -- Your Gertrude Stein/Picasso/METIER story -- which I've never heard -- was worth the price of admission.

    @lms et al. -- OKRA is not a delicacy, Southern or otherwise. Yes, that's what I would have said too. Nor, @Marushka, your wonderful METIER anecdote notwithstanding, do I EVER intend to put it, pickled or otherwise, into my Bloody Mary. Heaven forfend!

    @Aketi -- You may consider yourself a novice at puzzle-solving, but my word, you DO know an awful lot of muscles. An awful, awful. awful lot! Now is it good or bad news that Charlie the cat has moved on from shredding your pajamas to shredding your bedsheets. Let us know soonest.

    @Hartley et al. -- Re: HYOID. I guess I don't watch enough forensic TV shows. But all that blood and gore -- yuck!

    Anonymous 11:26 AM  

    C'mon, did nobody else try 'groom' for 21D?? Must not be any confirmed bachelors among the group...

    Ludyjynn 11:29 AM  

    It took me a bit to FINETUNE some answers. Hand up, @NCAPres., for 'Igor' before INGA.

    MUSHTOMYSURPRISE was my least favorite themer, as I think of MUSH as an equivalent to slop, reserved for the farm animals' meals, NOT for me!

    @LMS and @Aketi, AMEN: OKRA (and green peas) suck, IMO; certainly do not qualify as delacacies in the South or elsewhere.

    On a SCALE of ONE to TEN, overall I'd rate this PB a solid eight. Thanks, PB and WS.

    Joining everyone in sending best wishes to John Child and the Nepalese people. BESAFE! Thanks, @Z for the donation info.

    I'm off to brunch. No MUSH or OKRA on the MENU!

    Joseph Michael 11:33 AM  

    Really enjoyed this one. Thanks, PB, for the SHEEP THRILLS.

    Lewis 11:38 AM  

    Factoid: The Guinness record for the most expensive of all PURSES is the Mouawad 1001 Nights Diamond Purse, at $3.8 million.

    Quotoid: "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over AGAIN and expecting different results." -- Albert Einstein

    old timer 11:41 AM  

    Always glad when the 'mericans post.

    My favorite: KARATESHOP. My WOE: REARENDS. I had "rebounds" for the longest time. I also had "togas" for TUNIC but CURLER pointed me in the right direction

    I spent some time looking up the origin of OLEMISS. One professor thinks there was a train of that name that ran through Oxford on its way from Memphis to New Orleans. It should be easy to prove (or disprove) that theory as the Official Guide for the relevant years would most likely have the name of all the IC trains. But it seems to me that students probably called the university "Miss", and the "ole" simply refers to the age of the institution.

    Nit to pick: A RANCHO is not necessarily a *modiest* hacienda. A hacienda means "a place where things are made" and in California and Mexico came to mean "a place where cattle are raised." In California at least, the land was given to settlers in the form of a "rancho" (ranch). Some were modest, others were quite large, such as Rancho Palos Verdes in L.A., or the rancho that comprised what later became the entire city of Beverly Hills.

    Arlene 11:51 AM  

    @John Child - thanks so much for posting on this blog that you are well. I share others' expressions of concern.

    Regarding the puzzle - I love this type. Just one area slowed me down, as I had MARSH ILLNESS before changing it to MARSH MADNESS. That made things much better!

    Anonymous 11:56 AM  

    Isn't the UVULA _up_ in the mouth, not down?

    mathguy 12:07 PM  

    Perfect Sunday for me. All ten of the themers were fun to discover. And I didn't have to work too hard to uncover them. (Don't like to do hard 21x21s -- they take too much time.)

    @John Child. Happy to hear you're safe.

    NCA President 12:09 PM  

    @old timer re: OLEMISS's origin. Check out the internets. The university itself admits that the phrase is a throwback to plantation slave-holding days.

    As Z mentioned above, it is ambiguous enough that it flies under the radar for the most part. But there are enough who know what it means...both at Ole Miss and at Mississippi State...that the original meaning is not completely obscured by the coincidence of it being at a Mississippi school or that it could just be a quaint little reference to Dear Ole Mississippi U.

    Money to Bern 12:12 PM  

    Hey, Lewis, whoever owns that diamond purse probably never said "He who steals my purse, steals trash". I think there was a diamond bra worn in one Victoria's Secret special, and diamond shoes for the BRIDE in that wedding The Bachelor aired.

    Has the world gone mad?

    'mericans in Paris 12:22 PM  



    I parked my car and hastened to the open door, just as a stocky, GRANITE-faced suit was exiting for a smoke. He LIT his cigarillo and then stared at me in disbelief. "Well, speaking of the Devil. We've been SEEKing you, Esquare. Returning to the scene of the crime, eh?"

    Great, it was KLUM DAMONE, one of Wayne County's toughest detectives. Nick-named SHEAF INSPECTOR by the rank-in-file for being a stickler for grammar in police reports. Couldn't see the FOREST for the TREEs, was a common complaint.

    DAMONE tapped his cigar ash into his hand. "We checked SEGAL's phone, and his last message had been to you. That makes you suspect numero uno."

    I couldn't tell if he was serious. "I don't know what you're talking about," I stammered. "Has something happened to HANS?"

    "Something happened? I'll say. Strangled to death while still dressed in his morning TUNIC. His broken HYOID just about severed his UVULA. We managed to get here pretty quickly -- an OLE MISS called 911 to say SHE heard a loud DIN. We administered CPR as soon as we arrived, of course, but he was IN FOR IT."

    I couldn't help thinking, "Well, there goes lunch." I steeled myself. "SHOW ME."

    "That's just what I was about to do," DAMONE said, stubbing out his smoke on his upturned shoe. He motioned for me to follow.

    The coroner was kneeling next to HAN's PRONE body. Specs of FOAM could still be seen on the stiff's cheeks. "YOU BETTER WASH OUT his mouth carefully when you get him back to the morgue," DAMONE instructed. "See if you can ISOLATE any DNA from the killer. Perhaps SAGAL bit him -- or her -- during the struggle."

    Even I was shocked by the violence. "What kind of CRAVEn person would do this?!"

    "You tell me," he said, eyeing me WITH a steely gaze. "You knew him better than we do."

    "DO I?", I thought to myself. I had a feeling that a long afternoon lay ahead.

    Carola 12:26 PM  

    @'mericans in Paris - I'm holding my BREATH for the next episode. Thanks for the WEEKly fun.

    Questinia 12:31 PM  

    That @ John Child is
    A) In Nepal (who knew?)
    B) Endured a horrific cataclysm
    C) Is reportedly well with his loved ones.

    Is the only thing that matters. Puzzle? Pffft, even if it's a Berry.

    mac 12:40 PM  

    Very nice Sunday puzzle, with the theme clear pretty quickly. I agree, sheep thrillers is hilarious. Casita for rancho held me up in the 63A area, but the rest was smooth.

    Good write-up, good comments, John Child is safe and new people joined the blog. Nice puzzle day!

    OISK 12:48 PM  

    Just lovely, clever, amusing puzzle, solved in my yard on a beautiful morning, serenaded by a mockingbird. Am I the only one who doesn't know what "BCC" means? Laughed out loud at some of the theme clues. Wonderful.

    ParaDocs 12:52 PM  

    @'mericans, that bit about the HYOID almost severing the UVULA...If nothing else, that wouldrequire an upward displacement (cephalad) of about 2-3 inches. While that may not seem like much, sometimes it makes all the difference, as even @Z might attest.

    Should you need some consulting assistance as you proceed, I could help with how the ULNA twists the forearm, and with the 17 muscles that attach to the SCAPULAR bone. Human anatomy, c'est mon METIER, from C1 to REAREND to toe-tip.

    I'm not SHEEP, but I never SHEET a client.

    Anonymous 1:04 PM  

    I hope you and yours stay safe John!

    'mericans in Paris 1:04 PM  

    @ParaDocs -- thanks for the correction. I reckoned I might get that wrong. Looked at some cross-sections on Google images but couldn't make HEAD or (E)TAILS of them. So took a risk.

    By the way, in case anybody missed the first installment, it was posted at 11:20.

    Rug Crazy 1:07 PM  

    I HAD UTEP AS WELL -
    didn't even see my error untilI read Rex.

    Norm 1:09 PM  

    Lovely puzzle. I think Rex needs to grow a new funny bone if these theme answers weren't good enough for him.

    Dansah 1:10 PM  

    True, but it does hang down. PB "misdirection" (my pun intended)

    beatrice 1:58 PM  

    One Col. Henry Heveningham (1651-1700) took the opening phrase of Duke ORSINO's famous expression of pique and wrote a poem that went in a somewhat different direction. One of Henry Purcell's more well-known songs is a setting of this poem.

    Song:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqcPTSNU-sk

    Poem:

    http://www.recmusic.org/lieder/get_text.html?TextId=7987

    Ludyjynn 2:11 PM  

    @oisk: a blind carbon copy is when you make a copy of correspondence, but don't tell the original recipient of it that you have done so. Abbreviation for same is BCC.

    Rhino 3:45 PM  

    Busy day and enjoyed a liquid lunch with the mother-in-law. Finished it kind of drunk on my couch trying to ignore my children.

    So, yeah, pretty easy.

    (Remember yesterday when I told you 'I love you'? I was drunk then too. And just being funny. I didn't mean it for real, so we're cool. No reason for this to get weird.)

    Z 3:54 PM  

    Hand up for despising green peas. Put 'em in your shepards pie and if you're lucky you will find a little pile of them afterwards. If you're not lucky you better be ready to duck. Okra, though, is fine by me.

    wreck 4:23 PM  

    Canned peas - inedible. Frozen peas - actually pretty good!
    This may have been my fastest Sunday in a long time, but very enjoyable! I would like to add to the relief to hear that @ John Child and loved ones are ok!

    Ludyjynn 4:28 PM  

    @Lewis, the coolest PURSE I have seen in forever is the Judith Leiber koi fish crystal minaudiere, orange/silver w/ Swarovski crystals (instead of diamonds) sported by actress Blake Lively at the NY premiere of her film, "the Age of Adaline". (It is pictured in this week's "People" mag.). It's available at Neiman's or Saks for a mere $4,995.00. I can't believe I am sorely tempted because it is sooo fab. Ladies, someone, anyone, please save me from myself!

    Ludyjynn 4:36 PM  

    Oops, make that $5,995.00. I guess it may be too much, after all, BYGUM!

    dick swart 4:39 PM  

    A sunny AM in the NW.

    On the deck watching the Roll on, Columbia … and with the hand of Rex involved somehow … the x-word, a cuppa, and a she's Danish!

    An easy and enjoyable Sunday.

    Lewis 4:45 PM  

    @ludyjynn -- follow your heart!
    @'mericans -- don't you dare take out that priceless HYOID/UVULA line. I believe! I believe!

    AliasZ 5:34 PM  


    After yesterday's ugly, non-existent word SKRILLEX, it was fun to see beautiful entries like BED SHEET, NOW NOW, METIER, POSEUR, STAVE and SPATES, SAWED and SEWED, FINE TUNE and REAR ENDS, TAKETH, IN FOR IT, etc. etc. See, it is possible to use common English words, or French ones that had made it permanently into the English language, and make the puzzle still fresh and interesting with ingenious cluing, like "They make up everything" and "It's down in the mouth" among many others.

    Loved the theme also for its simplicity, and the many sparkling, quirky phrases, like LAWN SHARES, SHEAF INSPECTOR, MUSH TO MY SURPRISE, etc. that sprang from it. LAWN SHARES reminds me of a true event that took place many years ago while we were visiting a dear friend's family for her daughter's first birthday celebration. Her Cuban family was of course also present. After dinner we sat around and chatted for hours, during which time her father started telling us about the number of Xerox and IBM chairs he has bought and sold. It didn't hit me until much later at home that he was talking about SHARES.

    The one mistake I made in the puzzle was bLASTEd instead of PLASTER. Nice misdirection there in the clue making me think that "beat" had to be past tense. That kept me from sussing out IN FOR IT for a while. But I eventually discovered the errors of my ways.

    Lovely, lovely puzzle by His Eminence, Sir Patrick Berry.

    Let's listen to the impressions the FOREST made on Alexander Glazunov, in his Fantasy for Orchestra in C-sharp minor, Op. 19.

    @John Child, extremely pleased to learn you, your family and friends had escaped the quake and the aftermath. We should remember however the now over 2100 people who were killed, among them Marisa Eve Girawong, a 28-year-old doctor from Edison, N.J.

    Hugh 5:43 PM  

    For the first time in a very long time for me, the NE fell first!

    Yes, quite easy for a Sunday but also fun - who could complain about that? While the theme was pretty straight forward, most theme answers made me smile and none made me groan.

    Favorites in the fill:

    Matchmakers?: SETS
    Unfair?: RAINY
    Another time: AGAIN
    Include surreeptitiously in a way? BCC

    All the theme answers gave me a little chuckle - SHEAFINSPECTOR being the last to fall. A couple I got with just having one or two letters - KARATESHOP and POKERSHIPS, but still fun.

    Had TRAP for the longest time for Obstacle for a golfer, so a lot of trouble with REARENDS before I finally put in TREE. Other than that, no major write-overs.

    A DNF as I just blanked on some downs in the SE: Just could not get SPATES, OZONE and KURDS, but still enjoyed the ride - again, who could complain??

    As usual, I learned so much from being part of this blog. THANKS to all of you who regularly contribute!

    Glad that John Child is safe, thoughts go out to everyone in that part of the world.

    Went college hunting again with my oldest - he's decided on University of Vermont - anyone have any experience/thoughts on the school? Even though I don't personally know the folks here, I would highly respect your opinions (as I highly respect all your comments)!

    Have a great week all!

    Mette 5:54 PM  

    @John Child
    Thank you for letting us know you are OK.

    aging soprano 6:03 PM  

    So now you can be MAS instead of just another anonymous?

    sandy 6:25 PM  

    I'm one of those up and comers Rex mentioned. And yes, it did my ego wonders to be able to finish this puzzle in an hour without looking up anything!

    egoldfinger 6:34 PM  

    I found it pretty straightforward for the most part and I finished in good time but am I the only one calling foul on LAWNSHARES? I have been a golfer all my life and I have never heard anything on a golf course called a lawn. I understand the similarity of a fairway to the well manicured grass in the front of a house but sorry, there is no lawn on a golf course. Anyone?

    Ludyjynn 6:40 PM  

    Hi,@Hugh, I am a UVM alumna. It is a wonderful school for so many reasons. But it is VERY expensive for out-of-staters. Have you visited the campus? Student guides would be glad to give you the inside scoop on every aspect of campus life and take you all over the place. Many different living environments to choose from. Nice off-campus housing available nearby, as well, for junior and senior years.

    I liked the size of the undergrad. population; not too big, not too small. I studied in the College of Education which has an excellent program and reputation. Pre-med, nursing and sciences are also highly regarded. Drama program is first-rate. Some sports like hockey and skiing (naturally) are major-league; others like b-ball(s), not so much.

    Burlington is a beautiful town, most populous in the state, w/ many cultural venues (and fine dining estabs. for visiting parents). Also, the airport is conveniently located a few miles out of town in S. Burlington, or he can get a ride by posting on the ride needed/offered board (or probably online, nowadays).

    I hope your son likes Winter because although the weather is tempered by Lake Champlain, and gets less snowfall than the rest of the state, climate change notwithstanding, it's a long season. I took a semester abroad my junior year to get away from the cold! There is an active Greek system, but I only knew those folks from representing my coed dorm in the Student Senate; everyone got along.

    Students are much more diverse than when I attended, as a major outreach program was established to attract a more cross-cultural crowd; professors are generally accessible and from my experience, class sizes were small, w/ only an occasional large lecture scenario. That may depend on your son's major course of study, as well.

    I have remained friends w/ the core group of students who I met along the way, despite the fact we are now scattered all over the country. We agree that UVM was one of the best decisions we ever made. Good luck!

    F.O.G. 6:43 PM  

    To quote [loosely] John Lennon:

    "All we are saying, is give peas a chance."

    http://www.peas.org/

    aging soprano 6:48 PM  

    It takes me so long to read all of these delicious comments...so now it's finally my turn.
    Loved this easy Sunday which I could actually finish! HYOID and UVULA were easy. We sopranos are well versed on that part of the anatomy, if not quite as knowledgeable as @Aketi. Was that word you used longer than "supercallifra...etc?
    @GDROM, I also read this blog for a long time before I dared to write. But you should jump in. Then you can make astute observations like: I definitely prefer TUNIC Dressing to TOGAS on my Caesar salad.
    The name of the puzzle rarely appears in the print version I get in the International N.Y.Times. Sometimes the name is a clue to the theme. They also don't give us the constructor's name. Before I discovered Rex I thought Will Shortz wrote them all. RAINY!

    aging soprano 6:50 PM  

    It takes me so long to read all of these delicious comments...so now it's finally my turn.
    Loved this easy Sunday which I could actually finish! HYOID and UVULA were easy. We sopranos are well versed on that part of the anatomy, if not quite as knowledgeable as @Aketi. Was that word you used longer than "supercallifra...etc?
    @GDROM, I also read this blog for a long time before I dared to write. But you should jump in. Then you can make astute observations like: I definitely prefer TUNIC Dressing to TOGAS on my Caesar salad.
    The name of the puzzle rarely appears in the print version I get in the International N.Y.Times. Sometimes the name is a clue to the theme. They also don't give us the constructor's name. Before I discovered Rex I thought Will Shortz wrote them all. RAINY!

    aging soprano 6:50 PM  

    So now you can be MAS instead of just another anonymous?

    aging soprano 7:08 PM  

    Almost forgot. @John Child, I join all in wishing you and yours safety and a warm haven in which you can sleep at night, and, of course, keep up puzzling and posting. We are glued to the news from your stricken country.

    aging soprano 7:08 PM  

    Almost forgot. @John Child, I join all in wishing you and yours safety and a warm haven in which you can sleep at night, and, of course, keep up puzzling and posting. We are glued to the news from your stricken country.

    alan 7:17 PM  

    Since my first Agatha Christie murder (read in the mid-fifties) the hyoid bone is often the clue that finally surfaces to indicate murder most grisly. Fun puzzle and not completed as easily by some of you.Onward to next week.

    Fred Romagnolo 8:14 PM  

    @John Child: Glad you and yours made it; I'm sorry for all who didn't. My people survived the San Francisco Quake; had to live in U.S.ARMY tent in the Presidio for 9 months afterward. I loved this puzzle; not his eminence Patrick Berry - HIS HOLINESS. My animals are always curious when I'm doing a puzzle and laugh out loud. On the "largest" tributary bit you guys are both correct, but the sly sexual innuendo was a panic. I'm with the oatmeal or cream of wheat people on MUSH. I don't see okra as any slimier than raw oysters, which many do see as a delicacy. I love pickled tomatoes in my martinis; have to try pickled okra. (also like pickled onions - a Gibson)

    Anonymous 9:17 PM  

    I may have missed the comments but the title also leads one to substitute the 'ch' for 'sh' in the long clues/answers. So, 'lawnshares' puns to 'lawn chairs'; 'mix & mash' puns to 'mix & match'; 'poker ship' to 'pokerchip'; 'karate shop' to 'karate chop' etc. Works for all of them. I cannot believe that I was the only one to see this. Or was it too obvious? Or am I just a newbie?

    Anonymous 9:56 PM  

    Wow anon @ 9:17. Just wow.

    Hugh 10:31 PM  

    Hi Ludyjyn!!

    Thanks so much for your insights on UVM! We did visit the campus and we were impressed with the town and the make-up of the school - great to hear that your experience was great.

    Best,

    Hugh

    Z 10:33 PM  

    @anon9:17 - Rex is pretty good at summing this kind of thing up. From today's post, " THEME: "Which is Wish" — Wacky "ch"-to-"sh" sound changes." Many commented about this indirectly, but didn't lay it out since Rex had done it already.

    Dan Reichert 10:47 PM  

    Hey Rex, I wrote a puzzle for the Times 8 years ago with the same theme. One of the entries was, you guessed it, "SHE'S DANISH". :).

    Dan 10:47 PM  

    http://rexwordpuzzle.blogspot.com/2007/02/thursday-feb-8-2007-dan-reichert.html

    mathguy 11:28 PM  

    @Nancy: I'm still fighting Opposable Sums. I can't get #20 even though I know the extra letter.

    Nancy 11:44 PM  

    @mathguy -- I'm not doing so well either on Opposable Sums. I've got the word(s) formed by the extra letters, but so far have only solved 20 of the 25 antonyms. And that's over 2 days. But like you, I'll continue to fight!

    @ludyjynn -- Who will save you from yourself, purse-wise? I'LL save you, ludyjynn! Almost $5000 for a purse that looks like a small orange fish? Why do you want to carry a small orange fish? Why would anyone want to carry a small orange fish, even if it DIDN'T cost almost $5000? Nor will it hold many of your items, ludyjynn. You'll have room for one lipstick and a Kleenex if you're lucky. You are not thinking clearly, ludyjynn. Too many long icy winters at UVM have frozen your brain, perhaps?
    There! I've saved you from yourself. I feel really noble!

    mathguy 12:00 AM  

    @Nancy. Are you writing out the letters on paper (as I am) or just eyeballing them?

    Leapfinger 7:08 AM  

    @Nancy, @mathguy, not sure whether you have access to the WordPlay blog and comments on the variety puzzles. You might take a peek to get some hints here, if you don't consider it cheating, or reach the point where you Just Don't Care.

    wordplay.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/04/25/variety-opposable-sums/?module=BlogPost-Title&version=Blog%20Main&contentCollection=Crosswords/Games&action=Click&pgtype=Blogs&region=Body

    When I solved on paper, I'd tear out the page for tough ones I couldn't complete, relook at them evey so often to see if I could get any further. Some remained denizens of that folder for alooong time. Then came the advent of computers.

    tom cho 3:33 PM  

    Aloe gel? Really?

    spacecraft 12:18 PM  

    I GULPED when I saw PB's name on a 21x21. It's nearly impossible to come out of one of these with 100% clean fill, DOI make myself clear? And what, pray tell, is BCC? Techspeak? However, those, along with the obscurely (to me)-clued LANA are my only complaints.

    Hey, there's the CURLER I misplaced yesterday! That corrected Togas to TUNIC. I didn't have the Hawaiian volcano problem this time, because it was crossed by another two-way item: is it GHOst or GHOul? I had to wait for that ending, but the O fixed my mountain as LOA.

    Wanted MLESCHER for the illusionist, but I guess he drew rather than painted. Oh, and I agree with @lms: OKRA a delicacy? NOT.

    The theme today was simple; just quickly I can think of "Argument at Starbuck's?" = COFFEECLASH. But in the hands of the master, it yields more than one chuckle. POKERSHIPS is my favorite. And the fill? those few nits I picked were the only ones, barely enough to take the + off A+. Once AGAIN, well done, sir.

    Burma Shave 2:39 PM  

    OFUSE BELOW

    I METUP with an OLEMISS PRONE on the BEDSHEET,
    SHE said, ”BYGUM, SHOWME AGAIN how you HITIT,
    I’m NOT here FOREST, and I CRAVE some HEAT,
    LETS ROLL!” I GULPED ‘cause IKNOW I’m INFORIT.

    --- HANS HYOID

    rondo 3:01 PM  

    I’m writing this “cold” since the Internet is down; cut and paste later.

    Well this one went along just fine until it got all French-y down in the SW. Had “deceit” instead of POSEUR, so quite a bit of spilled ink there, METIER only from crosses, no idea. The only themer I got right off was MARSHMADNESS from only the M; the others took more crosses to suss out.
    Fell into a TRap before I ran into a TREE.

    Hey @Spacey – there’s our CURLER from yesterday.

    Heidi KLUM, ultimate yeah baby.

    The SUBURBs are a local band who made a pretty good name for themselves in the Twin Cities and beyond.

    Not much in the way of longish fill words and I’m not a big fan of this type of gimmick, but this was not offensive and quite doable, a degree of fun.

    171 = 9 can't be beat, oho

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