Cousin of a mallard / TUE 6-16-15 / Blues musician Allison / Brooklyn hoopster / Social reformer Jacob / Paintball cry / Hindu meditative rituals / Multilevel military readiness system / Cousin of catalan / Prankster's weapon

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Constructor: Peter A. Collins

Relative difficulty: Challenging (**for a Tuesday**) (time: a bit over 4)

THEME: toppers — different foods are clued as "offerings" from different venues, and then the answers directly on top of said foods (so … literally topping them) are clued as those foods' "toppers":

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Fast-food offering (BURGER) / 15A: 18-Across topper (CHEESE)
  • 19A: Soda shop offering (ICE CREAM) / 16A: 19-Across topper (HOT FUDGE)
  • 60A: Trattoria offering (RIGATONI) / 58A: 60-Across topper (MARINARA)
  • 61A: Ballpark offering (HOTDOG) / 59A: 61-Across topper (ONIONS)
Word of the Day: SCAUP (8A: Cousin of a mallard) —
The New Zealand scaup (Aythya novaeseelandiae) commonly known as a black teal, is a diving duck species of the genus Aythya. It is endemic to New Zealand. In Maori commonly known as papango, also matapouri, titiporangi, raipo. [there are "greater" and "lesser" SCAUP too. I just picked the NZ one because if I have an opportunity to go kiwi, I'm going kiwi] (wikipedia)
• • •

I quite liked this theme. Simple, neatly executed. It played hard for a Tuesday, but not ridiculously hard, and not hard for the wrong reasons. The not-terribly-specific, cross-referenced theme clues, as well as a few less-than-common answers, simply created speed bumps (or humps, which I'd never heard of until I saw a "SPEED HUMP" sign outside PuzzleGirl's front window in suburban D.C.—our hypothesis is that speed humps are broader and less jarring). The fill here isn't great; there's some fine stuff here and there, but the average is a little on the weak side—grid's a little too crowded with a POSSE of less-than-great answers, from the harmless and banal (ASNER, ERNIE, RIIS, CERA, PSA, ADA) to the somewhat more crosswordesey (SSN, SSE, ALEE, MRES, NOMSG, ONKP, INLA, URALS, ANO, CBSTV) to the aggressively partial (ATAIL) to the oddly arcane (LOGIA) to the how-the-hell-have-I-never-seen-this-duck-before!? (SCAUP—last known NYT sighting: 1998). It's also hard to imagine using REGALER in a sentence, straightfacedly. But the charm of the theme was enough today. Even the horrific image of a SCAUP CHEESE BURGER couldn't ruin the fun for me.


  • 8D: 7-0 baseball victory, e.g. (SHUT OUT) — came at this from below and initially went with BLOW OUT. The clue seems designed to elicit that error. This is yet another reason the puzzle played harder-than-normal for me today.
  • 41D: Cousin of catalán (español) — lack of capitalization threw me, but languages aren't capitalized in Spanish (it seems), so, fine.
  • 2D: Doggie (POOCH) — was sure this was gonna be some kind of non-canine slang. Might've read it initially as "dogie." Whatever happened, I needed multiple crosses to see POOCH.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. 39A: What a surfer catches (WAVE) / 49D: It might accompany a wave in Waikiki (ALOHA) — every one of you can fix this dupe in approximately zero seconds. Editing!

[Follow Rex Parker on Facebook and Twitter]


Brett Chappell 12:10 AM  

Norman Fell in the Crossword. Great. Let's Go Down to the "Regal Beagle"...

jae 12:12 AM  

Dang!  This was a tough Tues.!  Take the NE corner, for example, SCAUP???, crossing CERA, AEGIS, and PER SE.  That has to be brutal for the M-W solver.   Then you have REGALER (not a good word) crossing LOGIA and TANTRA in SE...aargh!  Not to mention MOSE, IN LA, RIIS, ROPER, JODI, GENET, A TAIL...

Skin to SeEd to STEM for 7d.
Clever theme, OK grid, liked it but would have liked it more on a Wed.

Carola 12:18 AM  

The most challenging Tuesday I can remember: not knowing MOSE, SCAUP, JODI, DEFCON, ROPER, LOGIA, or TANTRA (nice religious juxtaposition) slowed me down; I also wanted Angst before AGITA.

Cute idea for a theme. Nice that THROATS are there to swallow the victuals. I also liked the cross of CHEESE + BURGER with PER SE, which (I think) is an ultra-ritzy NYC restaurant. Away from the kitchen, GTO is a nice topper for REV UP, too. Over ONIONS and HOT DOG, LOG JAM seems to want to take on a culinary meaning.

chefwen 12:20 AM  

A tough little Tuesday for me. SCAUP was a newbie and I am really embarrassed to say that MARINARA was a long time coming.

In Nawiliwili there was a SPEED HUMP sign and somebody added a Y to speed and and an ER to hump. Made me laugh every time I saw it. Of course the authorities replaced it. Spoil sports.

Mr. Roper brought a smile, that was a cute show.

Good one Mr. Collins, two thumbs up.

Anonymous 12:30 AM  

I could well be wrong, but I thought it was bad form to have a word (WAVE in this case) appear as both an answer and In a clue?

cpratt 12:46 AM  

I found the lack of a tilde on ANO disturbing.

Unknown 12:49 AM  

The theme was great. The fill was a bit jarring though, especially as someone who is younger than the average crossword crowd (or at least that's my impression). Stuff like GTO, ATAIL, ONKP, ALEE just boggled me.

Also, SCAUP? I don't know if this is an age thing, but to me this is such an absurdly obscure clue. It's like the constructor saw "SCAUP," googled it, and tried to make up a clue for it. For such an obscure word, the clue is awfully vague, too. I only felt confident in SCAUP because in my confidence in the five down clues that I got immediately.

All in all, a pretty good Tuesday. Though I am a sucker for theme, as Rex also seems to be.

Anoa Bob 1:02 AM  

I tried ShAUP and hERA. Looked okay to me.

Pretty cheeky putting HOT in two different themers.

Don't know why I noticed today---it happens all the time---but a year in Uruguay, or wherever it was, isn't ANO, it's AÑO. And similarly with ESPAÑOL. Maybe the two together made it stand out more.

Not having a required tilde, accent mark, umlaut, etc., with foreign words in the grid is like not having required punctuation marks or having run-on words without the necessary spaces between. There's a collective blind eye that gets turned toward such infelicities by all concerned, constructors, editors and solvers. I guess we shouldn't let the uninitiated know about this, lest they think we xworders are a bit strange.

Moly Shu 1:18 AM  

SCAUP, MOSE and GENET ? No thanks. It felt like there was a ton of non-words in this one. INLA, CBSTV, IVS, GTO, SSE, SSN, EDU, PSA, NOMSG, MRES, ONKP. Not to mention IPAD and DEFCON. All that seems like the stuff @Rex complains loudly about. @Mr. Porker, any ideas??

MDMA 3:07 AM  

Nice puzzle and clever idea, but this was a Wednesday, not a Tuesday. SCAUP made me scauff. The SE was the toughest to get a foothold in, and LOGIA didn't help.

Re: Three's Company, Suzanne Somers is worth a reported $100 million these days thanks to her product lines, per Business Insider.

@cpratt, lack of tilde on ANO is just fine... if reclued for Brazil.

Danp 4:45 AM  

It made me laugh. Never heard of SCAUP, and couldn't guess the first letter of _ERSE. No complaints. I just couldn't see PER SE when it looked like any number of letters could make a reasonable one syllable word.

I liked the theme, but next time, give me something that makes my mouth water.

Danp 4:51 AM  

ANO should be a username for someone who constantly leaves ANOnymous comments. In Spanish it refers to a dark crevice from which many non-constructive ideas eminate.

JTHurst 6:00 AM  

Natick, Natick, Natick in scaup and cera. I just don't know celebrities names and if the clue had said New Zealand relative, I might have gotten it (not!).

I always thought it was Simon sez! Says is too genteel for Simon.

I don't remember The five Du-Tones but many is the night in Baton Rouge I got down with Bobbie and Jimmie Lee Purify to 'shake a tail feather' just after 'doing the dog'.

Do asterisks after a record only happen in baseball? And what does that mean anyway? A record is a record. I would guess Pete Gray's statistics should have an asterisk after his name because he was the only one-armed pitcher to make it to the majors (Jim Abbot was one-handed).

GILL I. 6:00 AM  

My bossy boots hummingbirds have red BREASTS - especially a little one we call dinger who flies right up to you and practically takes the food out of your mouth.
Yikes...This was hard for a Tuesday...
Twice HOT gave me Angst over AGITA.
I was so sure that MICROWAVE was the cooking medium that I just shoved it in. Everything crossing it changed my answer to the correct CANOLA OIL but dang, I don't understand that answer...
PSA? Prostrate-specific antigen? Has our little Smokey Bear been up to no good?
I haven't worked this hard for a Tuesday in a long time. Not sure I was happy with all the proper names but hey, we got REGALER!

Garf, Garf 6:32 AM  

Scaup sounds

dk 6:34 AM  

🌕🌕🌕 (3 mOOOns)

Groucho Marx: "What's the secret word?" dk: SCAUP?

Entertaining puzzle with oft mentioned duck as a poser.

Day two with no real paper. I have found (two data points) that I am not as spontaneous in my reading of the NYT when it is online. The paper lays it out in front of you, peaking your interest. Electronically you tend to pursue what you know. It is also harder to tune out/avoid the ads. More to come as I am sure you are fascinated.

Lewis 6:51 AM  


Tough Tuesday for me. I'm weak on pop culture, and so relied on crosses, and couldn't see PERSE even with ERSE. But I loved the theme. I'm a sucker for visual puns, so loved having the topper literally topping. I loved the clue for ALOHA, and NOMSG fit right in the midst of all that food.

It's a risk having LEPEW right in the middle, because if it's a lousy puzzle, that word is a springboard for snark attacks. But it wasn't lousy at all, just a Tuesday with bite. It gave me a smile or two and was a good and unexpected Tuesday tussle.

TaxGuy 7:09 AM  

Complete natick at SCAUP/CERA. If you knew Spanish the lack of a tilde on ANO would bother you even more!

John Child 7:13 AM  

Excellent theme, IMO, and some great longer fill, like ASTERISKS and WATERGUN. But SCAUP: ouch, ouch, ouch. I wonder if STRUT or SHRUB would have worked. And in the opposite corner, ATAIL and AGITA. Yikes. I wish something could have been done there too.

Overlaps like WAVE and Wave and HOTDOG with HOT FUDGE are increasingly OK with WS apparently. Am I wrong or have we seen quite a few instances in recent months of something like that, once thought not allowable?

On paper with no timer, but it seemed pretty hard for Tuesday. The four unclued answers added difficulty, and blowOUT -> wipeOUT -> SHUTOUT made me PERSE my lips while I tried to fill Scaupland.

John Child 7:13 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
'mericans in Paris 7:13 AM  


Yeah, I'm still IN L.A., working at a fast-food joint. So what? One of these days, ... don't laugh! ... I'll get my lucky break. I've already met loads of Hollywood stars, directors, producers, writers. Just takes one to recognize my talent and invite me to a screen test. You don't think I'd nail it?!

I've served a lot of them. Ed ASNER stopped in once and ordered bowls of vanilla ICE CREAM for the whole family. Said they all had sore THROATS. Now that surprised me. I would'a thought that movie stars would be immune from diseases like the common cold.

Another time Paul SIMON showed up in a vintage GTO. It was a sight to behold. He even let me look under its hood. While I was bent over the engine he put the pedal to the METAL and REVved it UP. Every valve was perfectly seated. Like a well-tuned guitar, I told him. Get it? I asked him what he used for lubrication and he said, "CAN 'O L.A. OIL". I've searched high and wide for it, however, and never found it. I wonder if he was pulling my leg.

Took me a while to recognize the imposters, though. One day this old lady comes in with her mangy terrier. Claimed he was the original TOTO from the Wizard of Oz. But I knew that if he was still alive he'd be at least, what, 80 years old. That would be about 500 in dog years, right? No way, José. I humoured the dame, though, for the tips. Used to sneak bits of HOT DOG to the POOCH that I'd recover from kids' plates. But once I accidentally stepped on "TOTO's" PAW and that’s the last time I saw him or his owner.

Why would rich movie stars or directors eat here, I'll bet you're wondering. It's like the old real-estate TANTRA: location, location, location! We got tables outside, with umbrellas, so's customers can people-watch without boiling in the mid-day sun. And fast food don't mean bad food necessarily, know what I'm saying? Like, in addition to macaroni and CHEESE, we serve RIGATONI with MARINARA sauce. Classy, eh? And the food's tasty, owin' to the fresh ingredients. We don't use NO MSG or anything like that.

Of course I get free meals! Comes with the job, y'know? I even get to experiment. The other day, for instance, I spread some HOT FUDGE over the top of a BURGER patty. DO NOT laugh! Try it some time. I mean, if the Mexicans can put mole on chicken, why not steak haché à la fudge chaud?

I'll bet you're surprised at my new command of foreign languages, huh? Yeah you are, admit it. Been studying français and ESPAÑOL in my spare time. I reckon it'll improve my chances with foreign directors. If, for example, that Pedro Almodóvar drops in and orders ONION rings and we're out of them, I'll be able to answer "No MAS, señor!"

I have to admit, though, that lately the job's lost some of its appeal. Seems I'm doing more cleaning up these days than waiterin'. I mean, how am I going to get noticed if I've got a MOP in my hand? Been years since I got a RAISE, too.

I don't think it's the restaurant's fault. We've even put our menu on iPADs. But the changes in the neighbourhood ain't helping business, that's for sure. There's an abandoned building across the street that's become a haven for USERS. The owner's tried to SHUT them OUT, but they keep finding a way in. Police RAIDS don't seem to deter them either. Place stinks so bad it's like Pepé LE PEW uses it for bathroom breaks.

I've thought about quitting this town for VEGAS, but what's the point? Sure, they get lots of performers passing through, but a lot of drunks, too. Naw, I think I'll hold on here unless things get really desperate.

No, no problem, I have to hang up, too. Yeah, great talking with you. Tell ERNIE I'm hangin' in there. Yup, OK, will do. ALOHA, baby!

Steven M. O'Neill 7:38 AM  

@dk If you haven't already try on your desktop. It's the whole paper in the same order as it appeared in print (or so they say). I find it a pleasant way to read online.

Also N and Ñ are different letters in Spanish. It's nonsensical to substitute them for one another.

Glimmerglass 7:44 AM  

The NE has a tough cross (SCAUP/AEGIS), both words I know, but I made it harder for myself by putting a CHErry on top of a sUndae. I'd come across HOT FUDGE on top of ICE CREAM first and thought I'd spotted the pattern (it's Tuesday). Not so much. PER SE, however, straightened me out.

Corey Crawford 7:50 AM  

Is the "baseball" really needed in the "7-0 baseball victory, e.g." clue? Just sayin...

RAD2626 7:50 AM  

Tuesday time on Monday, Wednesday time on Tuesday. I guess I'd better reserve all Saturday morning by the time we get there.

Nice to be reminded of words like LOGIA and TANTRA which I have not used/seen in years. And nice to learn new words like SCAUP and PERSE. Fun theme, well done. Made me hungry.

r.alphbunker 7:52 AM  

For the apple clue, I had to throw away CORE to get STEM
And for 1A {Product with Air and Mini models} I stopped reading at Air and wrote in NIKE, effectively tossing out the entire apple.

chefbea 8:00 AM  

Tough puzzle but did get all the yummy things!!!...including canola oil..and no msg
Wonder if there are any recipes for cooking scaup???

Lewis 8:05 AM  

Factoid: The shrimp consumption in Las VEGAS is over 60,000 pounds per day, higher than the rest of the nation combined.
Quotoid: "DO NOT let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." -- John Wooden

joho 8:11 AM  

Absolutely delightful theme! For a while Peter's pic on the NYT constructor's page showed him in paintball gear so I think IMHIT was his personal stamp on the puzzle.

I carelessly ended up with SCAUt. Obviously tERSE is a word but doesn't correspond to the clue.

This one made me hungry ... think I'll go get something to eat!

Z 8:20 AM  

With all the drecky fill I shouldn't like this one, but I did. I thought Rex might slam it, but he had the same take as me, apparently.

Hey, did you know that N and Ñ aren't the same in ESPAÑOL and that ANO is a naughty word while AÑO means "year?" {I put it in bold so that maybe the next Spanish Language expert will notice it's already been mentioned eleventy million times}

@John Child - re: overlaps - it almost seems like it's gone from forbidden to required. Thou Shalt Have One Word Appearth As Both Clue and Answer.

Xword friendly A-ROD is currently officially second all-time on the career RBI list behind Hank Aaron despite also being 74 behind Cap Anson and 213 behind Babe Ruth. Why? Because RBIs weren't an official stat until 1920. Go to Baseball Reference and see one list, go to the Elias Bureau and see another. If ever ASTERISKS were needed, here is a fine example.

"First their was the feminine 'purse.' Men, being jealous and needing more than just a wallet, created the 'murse.' Today, those of a more metrosexual/lumbersexual persuasion carry a PERSE." -DOOK, née The Duke.

Kinch 8:20 AM  

Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a scaup per se over which a regaler would regale.

Billy C 8:30 AM  

@Corey --

Re: Is the "baseball" really needed in the 7-0 ...

Yes, I think so. The first thing to mind for many, on a 7-0 score, would be football. Granted, "shutout" isn't a commonly-used football term, but still ...

Speaking of football: Tees are used for kickoffs, but the ball is normally positioned by another player's hand for the place-kicker on a PAT or FG attempt.

Hand up for me too on scaup/Cera, and especially on the "hard for a Tuesday" sentiment.

AliasZ 8:30 AM  

I like a SCAUP of ICECREAM on top of my CHEESE BURGER on occasion, so I had no problem with it at all. LOGJAM on my ONION HOT DOG is an entirely different thing, considering that I never put onions on my hot dog (it may burn), and am not likely to do so in the future. Mustard only, please. Or HOT FUDGE.

There were a few unfortunate recurrences today that I was surprised to see: the aforementioned HOT DOG and HOT FUDGE, IN LA and IN DETAIL, A TAIL and IN DE TAIL, IVS and IVY, SSE and SSN (which way is south-by-south-north?), TOTO and POOCH, WAVE and "...a wave in Hawaii." Is there an echo in this grid?

Glad to see our friend MAS OÑ KP. If it's AÑO, it must be OÑ KP, no? Also, the clue for MAS should have been "¡No ____!" ¿No? What did Emerson say about foolish consistency and hobgoblins?

LOGIA was new to me as was REGALER, but it's always fun to learn new words. GALE is a strong wind, GALER is even stronger, and REGALER is when it blows in reverse. In other words, gale blows, regaler sucks.

SIMON LEPEW is a real stinker. MOSÈ on the other hand is a decent Rossini opera.

This is Tuesday? I thought it was Wednesday. Great! An extra day without getting a day older -- a gift from God. When was the last time someone handed you another 24 hours during which you can make more bad decisions? Enjoy it to the fullest. Peter Collins, thank you for that.

Rex Porker 8:32 AM  

This morning I am schizophrenic. (I realize this claim will insult those of your for whom any hint of making light of mental illness is a trigger. Too bad.) I fool you, dear reader, by starting off all "I quite like this theme," then move on to thoroughly bashing the fill with a volley of some of my most varied and colorful critiques to date: "harmless and banal," "crosswordesey," "aggressively partial," "oddly arcane," and, of course, the seldom-used "how-the-hell-have-I-never-seen-this-duck-before?". I fail to mention the failures of this puzzle that usually drive me to drink: the double repeat of HOT and HOT (both in theme answers) and WAVE and "wave" (one in an answer, one in a clue). What's odd is I have complained over and over that Will Shortz chooses puzzles that sacrifice fill for the sake of theme. Today, for some unknowable reason, I thought this pretty banal theme was worth the spectrum of horrendous that was the fill. So this puzzle was awesome. And it sucked.

Corey Crawford 8:37 AM  

Billy C--
So if the clue had been "A 7-0 victory, e.g." without the "baseball," you wouldn't think SHUTOUT? My point was that a 7-0 victory is a SHUTOUT in any sport. The "baseball" is completely superfluous. (My 2-0 victory last night against the Bolts was a SHUTOUT.)

Billy C 8:48 AM  

@Corey --

Apologies for dragging thi out ...

My main point was that 7-0 score first brings football to mind. Second, the term "shutout" is not commonly used in football, as it is in baseball or hockey, for example.

So for a Tuesday (especially an otherwise-difficult one), sharpening the clue with "baseball" made it easier. For me, at least. That's all ...

quilter1 8:51 AM  

mANTRAS before TANTRAS but otherwise a smooth solve. I liked it and learned SCAUP for next time. Thanks, P.C., for a pleasant Tuesday.

Caryl Baron 8:54 AM  

It's not an age thing.This was a fairly easy puzzle for me because there aren't many pop culture references; those always leave me stumped or googling.

I guess there are not many birders in this group! Though the more common Mallard is a dabbler, the SCAUP is a diver—but both are ducks. And our most known hummingbird is the RubyTHROATed.
And if you've ever sailed a boat, ALEE should be a snap. But though HOTDOGs are common fare at ballparks, I've never seen a ballpark offer ONIONS as a topper, though it's common elsewhere.

Z 8:57 AM  

@Corey Crawford - But in some sports one would not consider blowOUT for a 7-0 score and totally mess up one's grid. The purpose of "baseball" is to add the potential misdirect. Since 7-0 is a close game in football, I think the cluing was very intentional.

@MDMA - following up on yesterday - I don't mind a little "historical revisionism" if it adds to our understanding. For example, knowing more about Jefferson's love life and spending proclivities is hardly fodder for fourth grade social studies but I do think grown-ups need a deeper understanding of the inherent humanness of the Founding Fathers and not idolize them like Greek Gods. That's very different from fundamentally misunderstanding, for example, whether or not "due process" exists in a document. The historical significance of certain events are often debatable and that's good, but some things are just facts and not really up for debate. The way I might have said it in a classroom is "just because there is no one right answer does not mean there are no wrong answers."

ArtOo 9:03 AM  

Yes, really tough for a Tuesday for all the reasons cited, especially the NE. Would have been much more appropriate tomorrow.

Casco Kid 9:03 AM  

It came down to SCAU_/__ERSE and the roll of a 20 sided die. 'm' was the winner and, seizing the 95% probability, I lost.

Googling revealed SCAUl and SCAUk. Finally SCAUP. So it's SCAUP/PERSE. Okay. PERSE is PER SE?! Which means 'intrinsically'?!?! Gee, ai've never used it that way. Consider:
1) "She is a good person."
2) "She is an intrinsically goood person."
3) "She is a good person, per se."
1 and 2 are the same. 3 is askance and suggests "good" has a rotated meaning -- at least to my ear and usage. Per se acts as quotes around good. I take per se to mean in-a-manner-of-speaking. Anybody with me? Philologists?

Medium challenging Tuesday, and ultimately unsolvable as my ignorqnce of birds crossed my ignorance of Latin, per se (viz, English.)

Corey Crawford 9:05 AM  

@Billy C-
I can't tell which is worse, your logic or your ignorance. Did you really just claim that the term SHUTOUT "is not commonly used in football?" I've seen some ridiculous claims on this board before, but that lulu is right up there with the best of them. Of course a 7-0 (or a 2-0, or a 5-0, or a 29-0) victory in football, or any other sport, is called a SHUTOUT, and it is commonly and routinely called a SHUTOUT.

Mike D. 9:08 AM  

The constant "wrong day of the week" MEME on this board is tiresome.

L 9:20 AM  

I was also confused by the specificity of "baseball" in the clue. My first response was SHUTOUT but then I kept wondering if the answer should somehow be baseball-specific. For me, this was unnecessarily confusing.

Conceding the accurate point that n and ñ are NOT the same letter, I'm still wondering whether this distinction is maintained in Spanish-language crossword puzzles? Anyone have a clue? Perhaps we can settle this argument once and for all.

Haiku Nerd 9:22 AM  


Billy C 9:23 AM  

@Corey --

" ... Ridiculous ... Ignorance ... Lulu ... "

Well, good day to you as well. You bring new meaning to the term "polite discourse" on this board.

I'll not follow up on this argument (even though I could), out of consideration for others. I'm kinda wondering, though, why this issue is so darned important to you.

3 'n' out.

jberg 9:40 AM  

I'm planning to retire in about a year, and wondering what to do with myself. Now I think I'll become a REGALER. Seems like a nice life.

Anyway, for all you SCAUP haters -- if you read @Rex carefully, he lets us know that he's just pulling our leg with that New Zealand business. The Greater Scaup, aka Bluebill, is a common North American duck. It seems that the overlap of the birder and/or duck hunter population with the crossword population isn't as great as I should have thought, but it's a fair enough word.

I didn't know the R&B song, and was torn between AGITA/o and JODI/y, but fortunately TAIL seemed a more reasonable kind of feather.

Here's MOSE Allison singing "Parchman Farm."

NCA President 9:40 AM  

Hand up for SCAUP, but mainly the crossing with PERSE...which I didn't understand what the hell that was until I came here: PER SE...ah, I get it now.

I really liked the NW...ASTERISKS and DEFCON being my favorite parts. The entire northern part of the country was easy for me...blew through it (except for the damned P in the crossing mentioned above) and then **BAM** hit the south.

Had JODy so the ATAIL/JODI crossing was rough. But the biggest fuss for me was the random pasta (RIGATONI) answer. As a testament to me really poor observation skills, I couldn't tell what color ERNIE is, so an orange muppet could be any of a number of them. And given the obscurity of SCAUP (grrrr...) I figured it would be one of the newer muppets no one's heard of before. ERNIE also was a hesitation because of the double-I it created. MRES (?!) is completely unheard of for the pasta was the thing. With an -ONI ending (still unsure of ERNIE), macArONI was, you know, possible. Along with canAlONI. I think WATERGUN was the linchpin that caused it all to fall into place.

Very challenging for me in the south for a Tuesday puzzle...however, the P in the aforementioned obstructive crossing was the final letter to go in.

Loren Muse Smith 9:41 AM  

Rex – you said "…might've read it initially as "dogie." I did see it that way and was utterly, moodily to headed into bovine territory.

Sometimes I would visit my sister at UGA, and, armed with itty bitty WATER GUNS, we would crash sorority parties. We'd surreptitiously squirt a stream up above a group of girls and watch them scurry inside thinking it was starting to rain. Still, to this day, to even me, a non-sorority person (men, listen up here) for many, many females, It's. All. About. The. Hair.

RUBY THROAT – same WATER GUN sister – when she gets upset, her THROAT gets all red and splotchy. It’s so bad that when she has to testify in court (social worker), she wears a scarf.

@Carola – I noticed the classic combo of ONIONS topping HOT DOGS, a meal Mom and Dad sometimes have for lunch, with LOG JAM right there hovering. Not in that house, buddy. They buy Metamucil in five-gallon buckets.

ONKP looks so much like OINK. Gotta go PIG IT. I'm ON OINK KP.Solipsist and all that.

I was recently called out for being the preeminent show off here. I very often accuse myself of exactly that as I post here. So, well, guilty as charged, for sure. I guess since I'm always yammering about liking People magazine, dumb movies, and Bravo TV, I feel a little intimidated hanging out here with all of you who seem to be more cultured and discriminating. I constantly feel this insecure need to scramble around and try to sound all learned and highbrow. Like I can play here, too.

Anyway, cheerfully undeterred and to this end, I have to brag that I liked SCAUP crossing PER SE. Two rather long High-End Restaurant stories come to mind. I ate at PER SE alone once and the employees were really, really nice to me, probably because I was by myself, and they were startled and uncomfortable; I even got to tour the kitchen. All the counters were covered with white butcher paper. Pristine, white butcher paper. In the middle of the service. The chefs and cooks were all standing there smiling, no knives in sight, no sudden movements. (The more I think about it, the more I realize that everyone must have thought I was some kind of Special Case.)

And the SCAUP – my husband and I had excellent SCAUP at the unexpectedly-friendly Tour d'Argent a few years ago. Probably because we were walk-ins on a slow Saturday night. But still. The place seemed busy enough. James Carville and Mary Matalin were eating there at the same time, but mercifully they left us pretty much alone. Ok. I don't know if the duck we ate was SCAUP, but I have to say, the place was definitely not snobby at all; the staff could not have been nicer. In fact, when a better table opened up, our waiter group, with great flourish, announced they were moving us from our cramped table in the middle of the room to the large table at the window overlooking Notre Dame. It was so cool. (The more I think about it now, the more I realize that move was likely at the behest of our table neighbors, James and Mary, who thought we were Special Cases; I was caught staring a couple of times.) As my husband returned his borrowed tie on the way out, we bought a blue glass duck. Probably a blue SCAUP. That's what I'm going to start telling everyone it is anyway.

I loved the idea of the theme and think Peter did a fine job dealing with some difficult constraints. I also liked it because it had me wondering about personal food topping tastes and enjoy the reverie without the pesky details of matching letter counts and possible crosses. Salt on my grapefruit. But salt doesn't count as a topping. Cream cheese on bagel, but that's so white bread and mayonnaise. I think my vote for favorite food and topping is sticky white rice with dried shiso on top. I could eat my weight in that stuff. Sigh. I'm just so damned worldly.

Peter – I always love your puzzles. You seem like you’d be an ultra-cool guy to hang out with. You don’t like movies with subtitles, do you?

Ludyjynn 9:43 AM  

One hot summer day, many years ago, my smart-ass brother took me to Jacob RIIS Park to swim and sunbathe. After a while, he suggested we go for a nice walk along the beach, and I agreed. As we strolled, I began to notice people wearing nothing but their birthday suits, in all shapes and sizes. I began to feel overdressed in my skimpy white two-piece. My brother cracked up laughing as he watched my reaction to the scenery. My most vivid memory was almost walking into a middle-aged gentleman at the water's edge wearing nothing but a camera, hanging from a strap around his neck. That and the fully-uniformed police officer patrolling the beach on his horse, as if nothing unusual was afoot. As far as I know, this unofficially nude beach still exists.

SCAUP was a gimme as I am an avid collector of decoys and shorebirds. I knew it would give others fits.

Norman Fell, the versatile actor who played Mr. ROPER, did a great job as a nasty landlord in "The Graduate". IMO, much more worthwhile to watch than the trite sitcom clued here.

Saw my first ruby THROATed hummingbird of the season in my garden last weekend. Perfect timing, as the trumpet vine, lantana and bee balm that I grow to attract them are just starting to bloom. These tiny birds never cease to bring me joy.

Thanks, PAC and WS, for a crunchy Tuesday.

Corey Crawford 9:43 AM  

Look @Billy C,
You made a verifiably false statement: "the term "shutout" is not commonly used in football, as it is in baseball or hockey, for example." You got called on it. Rather than do a little research and confirm that your claim is completely incorrect, you don't even address the point. Instead, you pretend to be offended by my language and impoliteness. Sorry if pointing out your falsehood is offensive to you, but it remains a falsehood.

Tita 9:53 AM  

Tough Tuesday dnf! I do like this kind of visual wordplay.

@Caryl...I first learned the term "dabbler" from the pbs Nature series Duckumentary... The starring role was the Wood duck who is one. I don't think the STAUP showed up for the audition, though...

Thanks, Peter, for a rare early week workout.

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

@Corey and @Billy - you are giving me AGITA.

Roo Monster 9:59 AM  

Hey All !
Agree with the passel of dreck fill, but when you constrain yourself with long corner themers, things like that will happen. Hey, it was good enough in Mr. Shortzs eyes to be published.

I liked the puz. Actually was rather fast for me. 12 minutes! Look out ACPT! :-P

Some other toppers: TACIT WAVE (Quiet hello?), ONKP POSSE (Band of soldiers in the kitchen?), TOTO REGALER (Story teller of Dorothys dog?), CHEESE BURGER STAIRS (No idea! :-))


Fred Smith 10:02 AM  

@CC. Shutout may be a term used in football, but it is done so very rarely. In the decade of the 2000s, over 2500 pro games were played, with well under 100 of them. So it's just an uncommonly used term in football, while it's quite common in baseball and hockey. By the way, are there "shutouts" in pro basketball? Inquiring minds need to know.

Tita 10:11 AM  

@L - I ran to my Portuguese crossword book, and in fact, accented letters are always accented in both the across and down fill. (and by *always* I mean in the three puzzles I checked, all 5 instances hold true.)

(Sorry, @Z, my curiosity was piqued! At least I'm not going to chime in on the SHUTOUT kerfuffle...)

Hartley70 10:11 AM  

@Lewis, thanks for that Factoid today. Fascinating and appalling at the same time, and it gave me a little gagging tickle in the back of my throat before breakfast.

I found the puzzle today "worthy" of the NYT. That's the most positive thing I can say after gnashing my teeth over all the villains previously mentioned. My Sibley and I haven't dealt with the birds of New Zealand. We've missed Zanzibar too, unfortunately. ASTERISKS particularly annoyed me. I was thinking that fingerprints might be appropriate and much easier for @'mericans to work with. Thanks for the unexpected vignette this morning, you talented Parisians!

Pete 10:21 AM  

A SCAUP isn't a cousin to a Mallard, it's a second cousin, once removed. One's a diving duck, the other a dabbling duck, and are of different sub-families.

The ICECREAM/BURGER/HOTDOG/RIGATONI progression bothered me, as one stands out like a sore thumb. I thought we had a summer picnic theme going on, then I was sitting down to eat at a trattoria.

re Football shutout - Pick your favorite football team, or your most hated football team, then search [myteam] shutout. See how many headlines you get from that, and reconsider your objection to shutouts in football.

Nancy 10:21 AM  

What a wonderfully tough -- unexpectedly so -- Tuesday puzzle. I found it delightful. I might have Naticked on the SCAUP/CERA cross, but guessed right on the C. (I think I may know Michael CERA from B'way musicals.) But, like Rex (and @jthurst,)I never heard of SCAUP; couldn't come up with POOCH for doggie without the crosses; didn't know LOGIA. Was expecting some sort of rOUT or blowOUT, instead of SHUTOUT at 8D (I think of a SHUTOUT as being more like 2-0 than 7-0, right OISK?) And I wrote in TORSI instead of RAIDS for "Busts". Once again, should have waited for the crosses before writing anything down. Like @Carola and @Gill, I had ANGST before AGITA. And yes, Carola, PER SE is a very ritzy restaurant -- so ritzy and prohibitively expensive, in fact, that neither I, nor anyone I know, has eaten there.

Will, I hope you're paying attention. There's a palpable hunger, perhaps even a craving in the puzzle community for a real challenge EVERY day of the week. Just read all the positive comments here today!

Malsdemare 10:24 AM  

@Gill I am so glad to hear that others have dictatorial hummingbirds. Ours come right up to my office window and waggle for minutes to tell me the feeders need filling. And one sits in a nearby tree in order to chase any other males away from our two feeders. They crack me up. They're such tiny, gorgeous gems and they fight like two female Malamutes!

DNF today: I've never heard of a SCAUP, and so even though I got the P, I'm with the others who haven't a clue about pop culture icons. "Michael" could be anyone, though I wanted Ansera, the dreamy guy who played Cochise on Broken Arrow (Okay, I wasn't always clueless about what was on TV).

@LMS i can see the chef and staff anxiously awaiting a brilliant review in whatever guides they aspire to, wondering which panegyric was yours. In our recent trip to France, we were treated like royalty, despite atrocious language skills and our typical, American, I-can-cram-16-days-of-clothes-in-my-carryon wardrobe. All the warnings about the haughty French -- and, don't worry, everyone speaks English -- were groundless.

Tough Tuesday, but I killed enough time that I can legitimately put off mowing the lawn until late afternoon.

We rarely comment about the mini puzzle, which today was pretty cute. Thanks, Joel, they are fun warmups.

Robert Rettig 10:26 AM  

Per se, not perse

Z 10:31 AM  
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Z 10:40 AM  

@Corey Crawford - When you're still drunk you should say less. Maybe once the victory hangover wears off your manners will return. In case you're not sure, @Billy C and @Fred Smith is how you do it. "Falsehood?" I'd have gone with, "I think you're mistaken...."

@Casco Kid - PER SE is more "inherently" in my mind, but "intrinsically" works, too.

@LMS - I was raised a good Calvinist with the notion that Man is Totally Depraved, doomed to hell for our sins except for the Grace of God. This notion that people are evil PER SE is sort of a "works in an situation not just speeches" imagine everyone is in their underwear. I've long since left most of the Calvinism behind, but find this notion oddly... comforting.

@Tita - Thank you - that's actually moving the discussion forward. I would think it would hold true in Spanish because N and Ñ really are different letters. American-English is just kind of lazy, making our 26 letters do lots of extra work that readers have to just know while other languages add accents for different sounds. It's only the eleventy million repetitions of the same fact that starts to get to me.

Joseph Michael 10:45 AM  

Fun theme, but a really lousy diet.

Fred Smith 10:48 AM  

@Malsdemere --

" ... Warnings about haughty French groundless."

True in general, with one (large) exception: les Parisiens.

Après avoir habite la-bas pendent pluesiers annees, je peut le dire certainement.

Malsdemare 10:51 AM  

I'm fascinated by the "ano/año" discussion. The same challenge arises is many languages, as @Z pointed out. But if the accent marks were required, wouldn't every puzzle with a foreign word automatically become Saturday-tough? Just musing here. Of course, with Google Translate, getting the spelling right wouldn't be that hard but would that be cheating?

And since we're talking about Google translate, may I warn all of you not to rely on it for serious correspondence. This is how it translated a simple line, written in old German, in my great-great-great-grandfather's 1822 will. ""First, it is my will that my lifeless corpse Took ordinary on a Way of the Christian Church in accordance with the cool resting surrender." That clears that up.

Malsdemare 10:54 AM  

@Fred Smith. Yes, I got that qualifier, from the French! But we were in Province and Alsace, not Paris. Nothing but graciousness and hospitality.

Okay, I'm done. First time I've EVER posted three times.

Mohair Sam 10:54 AM  

Busy, busy day so no time to read all the posts - but do agree heartily with @rex. Wicked tough (as they say in Natick), but eventually finishable. Loved it.

eggCREAM for ICE and wAy for MAS cost lots of time in NW. And although we quickly poured MARINARA over our RIGATINI we still had fits with the obscure-to-us LOGIA, clever CANOLAOLI, and new-to-us TANTRA.

Lost time because we thought Pepe was LaPEW too. And SCAUP no less. Tough puzz, cuzz. But a fun one - thanks Peter Collins.

Mohair Sam 10:55 AM  


Nancy 10:57 AM  

The large number of people on this blog who seemingly live amongst the fishies and the birdies and the duckies just blows my mind. I'm a nature and animal lover, so know that I envy all of you. :)

@Z (10:40)-- I NEVER would have pegged you as a Calvinist, lapsed or otherwise. And I mean that as a very sincere compliment.

Masked and Anonymo5Us 10:59 AM  

I dunno. I kinda like my crossword puz served with a little SCAUP on top. And if anyone can do it, that Collins dude can.
Shoot, he's the constructioneer who brought us PEWIT, after all. Funky. Gets solver folks a-buzzin. Like. thUmbsUp.

As I recall, I had a prof in my junior college who liked to finish every other sentence with "PER SE". And start each reply to a student question with "SO". Example...
Student M&A: "Yo, teach. What's that there PER SE meanin, anyhoo?"
Prof: "So, you present an interesting sentence structure there,... per se..." etc.

fave blank filler: "No ___!" = MAS. So, PAS only, per se?

Learned DEFCON a loooong time ago, thanx to a Matthew Broderick flick "War Games". "Thermonuclear war is a very illogical game. How about a nice game of chess?"



old timer 11:07 AM  

I'm with Rex. The puzzle was fun to do, which makes up for some of the trite fill. Also, way tougher than a usual for a Tuesday. No real LOGJAMs, except at the top. SCAUP and CERA was a potential Natick for me. Fortunately, I had vaguely heard of that duck.

I went to the Tour d'Argent once. I was 19 and on a student tour of Europe, and my mother (who had been there twice) paid for me to take 3 other students there. The restaurant was posh, The food was good. I'm thinking I ordered the duck, but maybe I just saw it in front of others at the table. The next time I was in Paris, we ate the equivalent of dormitory food. Later that year, I went back with a friend, and since meals were on our own dime, most of them involved couscous.

I've enjoyed the commentary on this one, and was glad to see an impromptu offering from 'mericans in Paris. Thanks to the decline in the Euro, Americans can now eat there more cheaply than at home, at least at the kind of place Michelin awards no stars to, but recommends anyway,

AZPETE 11:09 AM  

It sucked. Good Rex parody.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:09 AM  

Crunchy, tasty, fun.

Fred Smith 11:11 AM  


Provence is gorgeous, and probably has the best cuisine in France, IMO. BTW, if you haven't already, you should read "A Year in Provence!" by the British author Peter Mayle. It's a real classic, the first in a series about life there.

Alsace has a unique character, heavily influenced by its Germanic encounters. But also charming and well worth visiting.

BTW, [blush] at the misspellings in French above. I keep reminding myself that I should proofread before posting!

MDMA 11:19 AM  

If everyone keeps getting mad over "shutout" terminology, does it mean they are throwing TANTRA?

RnRGhost57 11:31 AM  

@Corey Crawford: Yaaaawwwwnnn, did you say something?

Corey Crawford 11:31 AM  

Billy C said, "shutout" isn't a commonly-used football term..." This statement is either true or false. In fact, it is false. It's not that "you could have put it another way." It is false. It's like saying evolution isn't real, or the world is flat. No matter how you say it, it is wrong. It is not that "I think [he's] mistaken," it's that he is wrong. A simple internet search, or asking someone who knows anything about sports, will verify that he is just flat-out, dead wrong.

I love how people like @Z and Billy C turn the conversation from actual facts to how things are said. What you say matters. When you tell a lie, it doesn't matter how you say it, it's still a lie. Rather than admit you're wrong, you just cry because your feelings were hurt by someone who wasn't tactful enough to say something the way you'd like it to be said. You are oh so sensitive.

Everyone reading this knows that Billy C said something that is wrong, but the people in the little clique that comprises this board stick up for each other regardless of facts. It's like the Fox News of discussion boards.

Tita 11:31 AM  

@Mohair - you must be from Da Bronx...

@Fred R, @Mals...
While living in Heidelberg, we often crossed the Rhine to dine in Alsace - one guy said he dreaded trips to the capital - it's dirty, polluted, traffic stinks, can't park, and he'd likely get mugged.
Having quoted him, I have experienced as many rude obnoxious people in Paris as I have in any other big city. I've also met hundreds of wonderful, bend-over-backwards, helpful, friendly people in Paris.
Though, of that rude population subset, I feel that it is fair to say that a noticeable percentage are, in fact, waiters.

Which brings me at last (I promise) to my "Heaven and Hell in the European Union" tale that my German boss REGALEd me with...

Heaven in the EU:
The British are the police, the French are the cooks, the Germans organize everything, and the Italians are the waiters.

Hell in the EU:
The British are the cooks, the Italians organize everything, the Germans are the police, and the French are the waiters.

Please don't beat me up for being un-pc, since I've used up my 3 posts and can't defend this indefensible post.

PETER 11:34 AM  

Thanks for the comments, folks. As you can imagine, having stacked themed entries can lead to some compromises in the fill. It's always a balance ...

I need to clear up a couple of things:

@ JTHurst (6:00 am:) Pete Gray was a one-armed outfielder -- not pitcher. I remember that from reading "Strange But True Baseball Stories" ( as a boy. I think I still have my copy if anyone wants to borrow it.

@ Loren Muse Smith (9:41 am): I think I'm a cool guy to hang around with, too. That's why I try to do it as much as I can. Movies with subtitles -- not so much. But I enjoy long walks on the beach and watching the sun set.

- Pete Collins

MDMA 11:38 AM  

Fun fact if you've ever visited Croatia including Dubrovnik where Game of Thrones is filmed, in their crossword puzzles not only are accented letters written distinctly, but LJ and NJ each count as a single letter in a single square.

(google translate says križaljka, you can do a google image search for that, Example)

Fred Smith 11:45 AM  

@Corey ...Oh how you do run on! ...

mathguy 11:48 AM  

@'mericans in Paris: Thanks for the description of what you are up to. Good luck. I have a feeling that you are going to make it.

Why is ASNER so popular with constructors? Only 40% vowels.

When I was in college, we used "per se" quite often. I don't hear it anymore. I guess using Latin sounds pretentious.

@Loren Muse Smith: Great line about the celebrities thankfully not bothering you and your husband in the restaurant.

Somehow SCAUP came to me. I wonder from where? Not from puzzles, people seem to be saying.

Plenty of crunch for a Tuesday. I liked it.

M and Also 11:54 AM  

@muse, Collins dude:
May I be the first to recommend to U the following starter subtitles flick...
"The Good, the Bad, the Weird"
Japanese spaghetti eastern western. Just as hilarious, whether U bother to read the subtitles or not.


While I'm here: this TuesPuz was really feisty, up the gut. ROPER. GENET. MEMES. LOGIA. Tricky crossin clue for SIMON.
M&A-friendlier ROPER clue: {Rodeo regular, often times}, or somesuch. Woulda helped, with the LOGIA JAM.

Andrew Heinegg 12:03 PM  

My, we seem to be calling each other out on the blog today. Temper, temper. But, since everyone else is doing it, I can too. Rex Porker, you are continuing to show your green side. How you can attack an evaluation by Rex that is so spot on that I doubt that the constructor would disagree is revealing. This was an interesting puzzle with a few too many crosswordese answers but, you have to have some concessions to easy on a Tuesday and the interesting theme and some tougher answers more than made up for the cliched answers. Well done;

Ludyjynn 12:08 PM  

Since someone snarkily stated this board is Fox News, let me be the first to relay BREAKING NEWS that the most serious and well-respected politician of all time, of any party, Donald Trump, just announced his candidacy for US President.

@Hartley70, you piqued my curiosity last week...what, no follow-up?!

@Nancy, I spent an hour filling bird feeders in the yard this morning; the price one pays to live among them!

Bird 12:10 PM  

@jae - that NE corner was impossible for me to finish. 8A was unknown as was 9D, 10D and 12D

Charles kluepfel 12:24 PM  

SCAUP/CERA prevented completing final letter for this Monday - Tuesday solver.

MDMA 12:28 PM  


Like "Essen", it's not just about vowels. Frequently-occurring consonants are also golden for crosses.

Mohair Sam 1:17 PM  

@Tita - eggCREAM mighta given me away - but no, I'm originally from Long Island, but had a big sister who was a phone operator in Jamaica, Queens - she introduced me to the egg cream.

dk 2:02 PM  

I called Dr Aluta and now I know how piquing (as in interest) is spelled. This would be the correct spelling vs. peaking as I posted earlier.

So I add an item 11 to the above:

11. You want to spell words in your post correctly.

Zeke 2:16 PM  

I agree with Rex. This was a decent theme with some questionable fill. Enuf said.

Caitlyn 2:18 PM  

Kardashian clues NYT click on a date for a surprise.

JTHurst 2:19 PM  

@Corey Crawford - I guess you slept during your logic class. Just because someone makes a false statement does not mean they are lying. Especially when the sentence was qualified with "isn't commonly used" terminology. Lying implies intent and I do not see how you can determine intent while ignorance is rife in many comments on this blog.

For example, @Peter said to me that Gray was not a one-armed pitcher but an outfielder as I had stated earlier in the blog. Well he is absolutely right. It was my ignorance and lack of googling skills which prompted my statement.

My statement was false so, ipso facto was I lying or just showing my ignorance. Enuf Said

As my great aunt used to say, "This is a tempest in a glass of water."

Alicia Stetson 2:59 PM  

So now I'm confused. Do people commonly use the word SHUTOUT when describing a football game that ends with one team scoreless or not? We've established that Corey is kind of a jerk, but nobody except he has addressed whether Billy C's original comment is true or not.

aging soprano 3:04 PM  
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aging soprano 3:05 PM  
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okanaganer 3:09 PM  

@MDMA -- love your screenshot of a Croatian crossword. The double-letter letter reminded me of the "ae" in mediæval and encyclopædia (which is called a ligature, I guess?). That would make a cool Thursday rebus theme!

aging soprano 3:10 PM  

Could also be clued: an Italisn asshole.

aging soprano 3:15 PM  

Haha. A Spanish asshole works, too!

Anonymous 3:16 PM  

@Alicia - As was previously suggested, just google [my home team] shutout and see how many hits you get, usually headlines from some media source or another. Oh hell, maybe you're a Cowboy's fan.

Alicia Stetson 3:35 PM  

Anon @ 3:16
Thanks. There seem to be a lot of SHUTOUTs in the NFL. I wonder what would lead Billy C to make such a claim?

aging soprano 3:41 PM  
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Z 4:43 PM  

@CoreyCrawford11:31 wrote, I love how people like @Z and Billy C turn the conversation from actual facts to how things are said. What you say matters. When you tell a lie, it doesn't matter how you say it, it's still a lie. Rather than admit you're wrong, you just cry because your feelings were hurt by someone who wasn't tactful enough to say something the way you'd like it to be said. You are oh so sensitive. It's hard to tell if all the you's in this tantrum refer to @Billy C or myself, but I had already indirectly addressed the football issue in my 10:40 comment. I can only infer that @CC didn't understand the implied agreement that "shutout" is used in football. I am sorry if I overestimated @CC's reading ability. Having now seen @CC conflate "false" with "falsehood" I see the error was mine.

@Nancy - I take that as a compliment. I am prone to say things amongst friends like, "I stopped going to church because I couldn't find any Christians there," or "They call it 'practicing' religion because they haven't mastered it yet." That, too, is a left over of my Calvinist upbringing.

Aketi 4:52 PM  

I actually set a personal record solving this puzzle, which isn't saying much since I'm a very slow solver. Don't know how tha happened. My real name actually appeared as a theme answer. A name that was the subject of much teasing when I grew up.

@Lewis & @hartley70, I too am fascinated and a little repulsed by today's factoid. The shrimp cocktails often offered in casino restaurants remind me of frozen breaded fishsticks, just not the same as the freshly caught and cooked variety.

@Nancy, when my son was in second grade, his marvelous teacher took his class to Cental Park once a week to study birds during the fall. Each trip involved a carefully planned lesson that involved mutiple disciplines. I went on as many of those trips as my work schedule would allow. I learned that there are an amazing number of bird species in Central Park. So while I did grow in a place where I could wander the forests behind my home, I love the fact that I live only a few avenues away from Central Park. As Ludyjynn pointed put, we don't have to fill bird feeders.

@Lms, One of the dads at my son's elementary school, Mark Alpert, wrote a thriller called Final Theory. At one point, the protagonist repurposed the mother of all WATERGUNs, the Super Soaker, to use as a flame thrower in order to get away from the bad guys. Mark admitted that the idea came to him when watching the kids play with their Supersoakers. Just think of what you and your sister could have done with a Super Soaker (filled with water of course) :)

Football Fan 4:54 PM  

@Alicia The link referred to you by @anon3:16 is googled by "Cowboys Shutout," so of course it would yield headlines dominated with the word "shutout." Particularly since (as someone above pointed out) there were fewer than 25 NFL shutouts out of over 2500 NFL games in a recent 10-year period.

Since they are so rare (on average, each NFL team has played in just a bit more than one shutout in that decade), this aspect of the game gets the headline. BUT, once a decade makes it a word used VERY rarely about football.

Alicia Stetson 5:18 PM  

Thanks @football fan. So if the Cowboys lose 28-0 it isn't a SHUTOUT? That makes sense. Now I understand why the clue specified baseball.

Football Fan 5:32 PM  

Uh-h-huh, Alicia. Yep, it's a shutout, duh. But the point is that you see it VERY rarely, unlike baseball, where you'll typically see it on tens of times per season.

aging soprano 5:38 PM  

Relatives, I.e. COUSINS of ours, once took us out to a restaurant like that. After we left my traumatized daughter remarked that she could have gotten an excellent new guitar for what the meal cost.

aging soprano 5:58 PM  

Relatives, I.e. COUSINS of ours, once took us out to a restaurant like that. After we left my traumatized daughter remarked that she could have gotten an excellent new guitar for what the meal cost.

Nancy 6:11 PM  

@Ludyjynn -- Re your 12:08 p.m. query (2nd paragraph): Just a reminder that: "Everything comes to her who waits." And: "Patience is a virtue."

Ludyjynn 6:38 PM  

@Aketi and @Nancy, Just walked by my bookcase and noticed a book I think you would both enjoy, "Field Guide to the Natural World of New York City" by Leslie Day and beautifully illustrated by Mark Klinger. It's a 2007 sturdy paperback published by Johns Hopkins Press. It includes, of course, a detailed section on Central Park animals and plants. I got my copy on E-Bay very reasonably.

@Nancy, I will heed your reminder, above.

Alicia Stetson 6:44 PM  

Thanks again @football fan. Now I see why the answer SHUTOUT would totally not have made sense if the clue had just said "7-0 victory, e.g." People on this board are the best!

Football Fan 7:08 PM  

@Alicia No problem, ma'am, we're proud to help!

Teedmn 7:51 PM  

Nice Tuesday puzzle, thanks Peter Collins.

Like @Rex, had blowOUT before SHUTOUT because I failed to read as far as "baseball" in the clue. But CERA was a gimme and STAIRS cleared that whole section up. I'll admit to looking at SCAUP several times to check crosses because it was a WOE to me. I've been hearing loons flying overhead but no SCAUP that I know of.

@Nancy, the access to nature right out my back door has its pluses and minuses. The birds at my feeders are great. The nice deposits raccoons leave on our deck while destroying said feeders, not so much. I planted a new cherry tree in the back two weeks ago and one day later, it was nearly defoliated by the deer. And two weeks ago I was very surprised to see a black bear on my morning bicycle commute (we mutually avoided each other with no problem). When I emailed the city to inform them, they said it wasn't that unusual. First time in my 24 years living here! But when I see a pileated woodpecker on our suet, it's a definite treat. And those little ruby-throated gems too.

kitshef 7:59 PM  

No idea why Rex was so lenient on the is big pile o' garbage. Wastes a small number of wonderful things like SCAUP, TANTRA and GENET with SSEs and SSNs and IVS as far as the eye can see.

Objectively, it sure felt hard for a Tuesday, but when I look back I see no overwrites and no areas where I got tied up for too long.AGITA/ADA is really the only unfair cross. I think the answer is it should be hard, but is so packed with NYT crosswordese that you don't go too long before hitting a gimme.

Mike D. 8:22 PM  

Thanks for telling it like it is @kitshef. I can't figure out why Rex and a bunch of his yes men and women seem to think this was such a great theme. I mean, it's fine for a Tuesday theme, but does it really justify this level of crap fill? Seems like, as Porker pointed out, Rex gave this one a pass when he normally would shred such an effort. One can only surmise that this is an "elite" constructor and therefore gets the benefit of the doubt.

Pete 8:30 PM  

I've no idea where @Football Fan got his stats. NFL games end in a shutout 3.2% of the time. In the 2014 season (a record season for shutouts), baseball games ended in a shutout 6.9% of the time, not much more than twice as often. The fact that football only plays 16 games per season vs 162 for baseball is the cause of the rarity, not that shutouts are extremely rare compared to baseball on a per game basis.

If you're willing to ignore the vast discrepancy of number of games played, wins are a rarity in football - they happen only 10% as often as they do in baseball.

Tita 8:45 PM  

@Aketi - what a bombshell to drop! Now it becomes clearer how you came to be as 'tough as nails' as you seem to be - growing up named HOTFUDGE must've been rough indeed!

GILL I. 9:17 PM  

Good one @Tita......! I managed to keep the wine from spewing out of my nose.

FF 9:32 PM  

Hey, Pete. The discussion was not about percentages of games that are shutouts. It was about the absolute number.

MDMA 9:37 PM  


Actually in 2014 there were 353 shutouts in Major League Baseball, out of 2430 games, or 14.5% (be careful you don't count games twice: each game involves two teams but at most only one shutout).

Per Wikipedia, "In the decade of the 2000s there were 89 shutouts in 2,544 NFL regular-season games" (3.5%) or about one every two weeks, while baseball averages about two shutouts per day.

wreck 9:59 PM  

The damn clue for SHUTOUT was just fine. I don't get what the argument is.

I thought it was a decent Tuesday albeit a few tougher entries for the day of the week.

Leapfinger 10:35 PM  

@Ludyjynn, was it at that beach you first noticed your brother's smart ass?

Funny, when we had STAN LEE the other day, I thought of the kaftaned landlord's wife calling her husband on Three's Company, and today up pops Mr. ROPER.

Only reason I didn't DNF with square 9 was that my list of consonants that reasonably come between S_A started with C. Otherwise that totally escauped me.

Till today, I was familiar only with the LOGgIA of the architectural or the theatrical sort (Robert), so LOGIA was a learning opportunity. I discovered that LOGIA is the plural of the Greek LOGIon, as in "My name is LOGIon". I'm pretty sure that Ogden Nash could have built up something quite divine with the one-G LOGIA and the two-G LOGGIA.

Really liked the theme, 'cause it's such a delight and hard to top a really good topping. These pairings were all very good,and it's only in the interests of a more symmetrical placement that I would suggest
a. having the BURGER at the top of the STAIRS, and
b. spreading some LOGJAM ontop of the ONIONS.

There's no reason consistency can't be a HOBgoblin when itcomes to symmetry,is there?

@r.alph, I'm with you. The STEM (if one is there) is discarded with the CORE.
@AliasZ, I couldn't get your MOSE to MOSEy, not sure why. Am eager to hear Ildiko.

You gave us a good Tuesday, Peter C, and cute how you had TOTO raise a PAW. I was not, however, expecting you to PERSE us.

Aketi 12:42 AM  

@Tita, good one. I actuallty would have preferred HOT FUDGE to the name the boys called me when I was the only girl to take drafting and architecture in high school. I gave up on home economics as an elective when the teacher gave me my one and only C because I got into a flour fight with my best friend. The teacher was not amused.

Aketi 12:48 AM  

@ludyjynn, thx, I'll check it out.

Andrew 10:44 AM  

Interesting to see Bill NYE used so close together in Sunday's and Tuesday's.

Burma Shave 10:25 AM  


with NOMSG so the USERS wouldn’t need IVS
when Ed ASNER and his POSSE called me over to CBSTV
to record a PSA INDETAIL to raise awareness of the novelty
of food like HOTDOGs and CHEESE BURGERs in plastics
and if they contain CANOLAOIL, one must label them with ASTERISKS.
So I REVUP my GTO and proceed to the SSE
“HOTFUDGE!”, ICECREAM at the traffic LOGJAM that I see.
It was DEFCON five PERSE, all those VEGAS in the way,
Then IMHIT with the realization that I’ll get SHUTOUT today.


rondo 12:29 PM  

Got hungry in the midst of this puz. Don’t know why. Foodstuffs in all four corners to put down all our THROATS, with a dose of CANOLAOIL as a chaser. If you’re ONKP.

MOSE Allison is a terrific musician. One I wish I’d have seen.

So a cat rubs her back on the rung of a freshly painted ladder and Pepe LEPEW becomes immediately enamored. Whatever those cartoon writers were on, I don’t think you can get it these days.

No MAS! Has become so much a part of the vernacular since Duran just gave up. Legendary.

In the 1880s the St. Croix River was the site of a LOGJAM which was one of the world’s largest ever. If you’re interested in that sort of thing.

Well, with all that food talk in the puz, it must be lunchtime soon. Tougher than usual puzzles all week?

spacecraft 1:44 PM  

Wait, what day is it? Did I just Van Winkle myself into losing two whole days? This can't really be Tuesday, can it? With words like SCAUP and AGITA and LOGIA (wow, ALL THREE not recognized by spellcheck!)?

The theme is an eater's paradise--and yeah, one look will confirm: I'm an eater. Good on ya for topping my HOTDOG with ONIONS, my favorite. As for MARINARA, ooh yeah. Can't get enough. I also appreciate the "presentation," with the topping topping the food.

The fill, however, pays dearly for such presentation. CBSTV and ONKP both? Plus three awkward partials and a good ol' RD (random direction). This junk takes away from the experience. We wind up with a C.

Cathy 2:23 PM  

I'm surprised there wasnt any displeasure at " No Mas". And @Spacecraft "CBSTV". Blah.

I first wrote LAPUE and had EATE_ _ UN. Kept staring at it. Doi!

@Rondo- I think the cat was Pepe's yeah baby... Also, worlds largest LOGJAM? Yes I'm interested in that kind of thing! I googled St. Croix ( auto check changed to Croissant ) Beautiful!

Well my husbands lighting up the BBQ. Hope my rigatoni doesn't fall through the grill:)

Cathy 2:30 PM  

@Rondo- my grandparents use to live near Minnehaha Falls. Visited when I was a kid. Also beautiful:)

DMG 2:53 PM  

Like seemingly the rest of the world, I found this a tricky Tuesday with a lot of potential Naticks. Somehow SCAUP came to mind, and the I in ATAIL seemed the only logical fit. Final guess was the E in MOSE, and it worked! If this is Tuesday, what can Wednesday hold in store!

leftcoastTAM 5:05 PM  

Lots of fat, sodium, and calories here. Got a bit of indigestion just looking through the menu. Considered a CHEESE BURrito or BURGER at first. Decided on HOTDOG and ONIONS. Then an ONION got stuck in my THROAT. I'll have a glass of water and some Tums, please.

Then came the captcha steak!

Rose Maria 10:47 AM  

It made me laugh. Never heard of SCAUP, and couldn't guess the first letter of _ERSE. No complaints. I just couldn't see PER SE when it looked like any number of letters could make a reasonable one syllable word.
jakob rex fotograf

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