Luxury wheels until 2004 / TUE 7-7-15 / First premier of People's Republic of China / Lamar who married a Kardashian / Musical piece whose name is Italian for joke / Transport for Calvin Hobbes / Classic NYC venue for punk rock

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Constructor: Daniel Raymon

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: ILL conceived — theme answers contain two "ILL"s

Theme answers:
  • CADILLAC SEVILLE (3D: Luxury wheels until 2004)
  • HILLBILLY (21A: Hayseed)
  • ILL WILL (37A: Hostility)
  • CHILL PILL (54A: What a stressed-out person may need to take)
  • MILLARD FILLMORE (11D: Last Whig president)
Word of the Day: BIMBO (58A: Dumbbell) —
noun: bimbo; plural noun: bimbos; noun: bimbette; plural noun: bimbettes
  1. an attractive but empty-headed young woman, especially one perceived as a willing sex object. (google)
• • •

I SAY ... no. I BALKed like crazy at this one. I guess this puzzle was deemed worthy because of the two long Downs, themers intersecting other themers. Maybe that's considered ... special? I don't know. I know that "ILL"x2 is mildly weak sauce as a concept, and I Know know that the fill here is not up to standards. At best it just lies there (except in a few instances—SCHERZO, for instance, is nice). At worst it's a heap of decaying, rotting building material—this house won't stand! CMVIHIESALIA ... that is not a load-bearing stack. BAHATA! FOOZHOUODOM! These things are fun to say, but they make poor construction material. I ughed out loud at the VASISL cross. This is NYT at its worst, this attitude: theme = passable, fill = who cares!?

CADILLAC SEVILLE is impressive as a 15, but the answer loses all that bulk impressiveness by being bygone and by not really having two "ILL" sounds. That first "ILL" is on an unstressed syllable, so you kind of eat it. In all the others, you hear the "ILL"s quite distinctly. But as outliers go, it's not a disaster. More of a disaster is BIMBO. Cluing it as if it wasn't gender-specific (58A: Dumbbell) doesn't make it less gender-specific. It's a slur, and it's a slur used almost exclusively against women, and while it's dated, and doesn't really pack the punch of other gendered slurs, it's still creepy. You know the solving base is majority female, right? BIMBO is also totally unnecessary. Every constructor I know could redo that SE corner inside of five minutes without using a slur against women. Guaranteed. Also without STERE and ECONO, but we'll start with the basics.

[strong language, fyi]

This puzzle also had the bad fortune of following Lynn Lempel's lovely Monday puzzle, where there was neither a VAS nor a BIMBO in sight. Might go redo that puzzle now.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Facebook and Twitter]


NYer 7:28 AM  

He's ba-a-a-ck! Puzzlegirl, where are you when we need you?

Whirred Whacks 7:28 AM  

The head of our good buddy @Lewis is going to explode when he solves this puzzle!

Not only does it have his name LEWIS in it, it has 17 double-letters. And he just adores double-letters. Also, on the Lewis Double-Letter Spectrum, 17 is a lot!

And to top it off, 10 of the double-letters are Ls!

Maybe it's because this puzzle is being published on July 7 or 7/7. Turn 77 upside down and you get like LL.

It's your day, Lewis!

Moly Shu 7:38 AM  

Immediately thought of kill bill just like @Rex. Personally, I like the FOO fighters and CBGB in the same puzzle. Learned that the father of baseball was a general in the civil war. SCHERZO was a WOE.

" I send my rhymes out, to all the nations. Like Ma Bell, I got the ill communications"

Lewis 7:39 AM  

Poor MILLARDFILLMORE, having to cross with FLAB, ADHD, TEDIUM, and BIMBO.

Not necessary, but I would have liked TArE instead of TALE, just so all the double Ls would only be in theme answers. I liked the clue for DIE, and I like PACK up. The VAS/SAC/FLAB row says "hello breakfast!". Very nice to find my name next to the beautiful SCHERZO. The theme was decent for a Tuesday, and the solve workmanlike. Yesterday's puzzle was a tough act to follow, and today's did not have the same verve, but I'm grateful for the workout.

As your resident alphadoppeltotter, as can be expected, there was a high double letter count, but not unusually high (17), where above 20 is unusually high (as below five is unusually low). Today's 17, however, is the highest we've had in quite a while.

Aketi 7:39 AM  

I liked PIXEL and SCHERZO. Otherwise it was a lot of TEDIUM.

Perhaps, we can all COEXIST by taking a CHILLPILL to LOSE the ILLWILL from yesterday.

Or not. The BIMBO and the SIREN might bring out the FOO fighters AGAIN

Lewis 7:40 AM  

@WW -- Thank you for the shoutout; I didn't read your post till after I posted mine. There was definitely some double letter ecstasy there in this one!

Aketi 7:46 AM  

@Whirred Whacks, love your enthusiasm!

MDMA 7:49 AM  

Rex didn't say a word about SEX KITTEN last Friday but takes a stand against BIMBO?

If the comments section erupts again today we can all sit back with a bucket of popcorn and watch the fur fly and imagine the Kill Bill background music playing... Battle Without Honor or Humanity

joho 7:51 AM  

Whether you like this theme or not at least you must admit that there's nothing WILLY NILLY about it! Daniel put a lot of thought and effort into coming up with the ILL ILL phrases and working them into the grid.

FOOZHOUODOM is fun! Thanks, @Rex!

Thanks, Daniel!

Rhino 7:53 AM  

I lean left and think word-usage is important, but Rex's rant against BIMBO is political correctness gone wrong. Bimbo is a word. Everyone knows the word. No one could possibly be hurt by simply having that word in a crossword puzzle, or by the NYT acknowledging that the word exists. No one is being called a bimbo, no one is being insulted.

But some (like Rex today) are so desperate to be righteous, so desperate to be seen as one of the good guys - they take aim at a harmless word and tear it to pieces. The word (in this context) is not the problem.

So relax, Rex, we all know you're a sensitive guy, enlightened and all that. You don't have to prove it.

In short, leave the poor BIMBO alone.

Anonymous 7:59 AM  

Rex you're a mIMBO:

Mohair Sam 8:05 AM  

Well I enjoyed this one thoroughly. Sorry @Rex. btw, I assume you were in charge of BIMBO eruptions for the Bill Clinton campaigns.

Anonymous 8:06 AM  

I'm always amazed when people on this board think they can speak for everyone else, like @Rhino above. It's one thing to have an opinion about a word, but to then say "no one could possibly be hurt..." is both arrogant and false. The word is a slur. Period.
Substitute the word "nigger" for BIMBO in your little rant and see if it's still true.

ArtO 8:07 AM  

BIMBO is also a bread company from Mexico which has expanded into the US by buying the classic American brand Wonder. But I guess this is too esoteric, especially for Tuesday.

Anonymous 8:10 AM  

Really @ArtO?! Maybe that's why Rex posted a picture of their logo in his post.

dk 8:10 AM  

πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ• (3 mOOOns)

Where was iller?

2 years of living in Milan saved my bacon. I knew SCHERZO no clue who ODOM is/was.

An entertaining Tuesday.

Thanks Dan!

MDMA 8:14 AM  


Anonymous 8:18 AM  

This lady solver would really prefer to not see BIMBO in the crossword but thank you so much, @Rhino for looking out for our right to free speech or whatever exactly it is you are railing against.

Rex Parker 2016!

NCA President 8:22 AM  

I liked the puzzle...nice Tuesday. I don't really know any more if it is a complaint, nit, or observation, but when themes follow letter patterns like this, it makes the puzzle a lot easier. Once you decide that -ILL is a gimme, then it's just a matter of finding where they go. So, a lot of this puzzle was :ahem: fILLed in for me from the get go.

That said, maybe it was the lack of enough coffee or maybe it was the nationalism "discussion" yesterday, but the CBGB/BRED cross messed me up. For some reason I thought "engendered" = iRED. Maybe because I associate negative emotions with being engendered...and CBGB is utterly meaningless to me. CBGi looked fine...not any worse than CBGB.

Anyway, no other real challenges to be found. I liked TRICE, CULL (as clued), SCHERZO (as clued), and PATHOS. I have no opinion on BIMBO. I haven't heard anyone use that word in a long time. Funny how some pejoratives/epithets can come and go, but others (like the N-word) just linger on and on. Can't someone just say, "OMG! 'N-Word?' Are you serious? That's soooo pre-civil rights era!"

John V 8:24 AM  

Loved SCHERZO and clue. Just say scherzo and you will laugh. Seriously. No joke.

And, hello from Manila. Off to Davao tomorrow. Using Acrosslite for first time in a long time, not by choice, for this paper solver.

Haiku Nerd 8:25 AM  


Glimmerglass 8:25 AM  

I just loved to see the full name of the immortal MILLARD FILLMORE in the puzzle. He's my 20th favorite President. Is that a NYT first?

John Child 8:30 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
MDMA 8:40 AM  


Go to for your answer: MILLARD FILLMORE appeared no less than six times in the pre-Shortz era, last in 1985, but not since then, until today.

Only two answers longer than 9 letters today, and lots of ILL+ILL, makes for slim pickings for anagrams:
clavicles all die
a milder film roll

John Child 8:42 AM  

Fact-ette: Bimbo originally applied to men: "dumb brute" or "big ape." It's a slur either way.

The bakers have trademarked "Say Beembo" to try to skirt the issue. Since they own a lot of other companies, perhaps there's an opportunity for synergy.

Sara Lee: "Nobody doesn't like Beembos!"

Thomas' English muffins: "Beembos have nooks and crannies"

Entenmann's pastries: "Everyone's got a favorite Beembo. What's yours?"

Boboli pizza crust: "Get a creative Beembo tonight"

Freihofer's: "Beembo: Pride of the neighbourhood"

AliasZ 8:43 AM  

Some ill fill notwithstanding, I still enjoyed this puzzle because it had no DEFICIT in PATHOS or CHAI TEA, and the EXALTED Chill Will who PALMED an ACE or two in his life.

VAS-SAC, WEI-ZHOU, BAH-ISL, ADHD-CBGB, ATA-TOATEE and a few others were not ideal, but I'll take them because they COEXIST with two NBAers, Auguste RODIN and RENÉ Magritte -- you know, the guy in the bowler hat with a green apple for a face.

Which is a creepier slur, BIMBO or HILLBILLY? Let the surrogate offendee crowd discuss the matter among themselves, the public at large doesn't need to be involved.

Which brings me to the TOATEE -- you know, the guy who was toated by the toatruck. I wonder if he will dook.

Now I have to go refill my CHILL PILL ℞ -- @Rx, you should too -- and watch "Kill Bill" PART B with Lucy Liu. Will Will still fill the editor's position ten years from now? Hard to say.

@Leapy, I enjoyed your late contribution yesterday. Just for you, let me offer this grotesque joke.

Happy Tuesday!

Z 8:44 AM  

CMVI and STERE, not to mention TOATEE and going Latin and Chinese Dynasty (I remember well learning those dynasties in grade school) for three letter answers. Hence, I thought the theme was fine Tuesday material that was totally unbalanced by ILL FILL.

@MDMA - good question. Sex kitten doesn't strike me as pejorative as BIMBO. I think in part this is because BIMBO insults intelligence as well as objectifies. I'd compare it to the difference between "asshole" and "ass." Neither is exactly a compliment but one is worse than the other.

Charles Flaster 8:48 AM  

Very EZ except for SCHERZO.
Had cHOU for ZHOU.
Liked ADHD referenced by DEFICIT -- not an accident.
CrosswordEASE-- STERE and SLAKE.
Do not agree with Rex today.
Thanks DR.

Lewis 8:49 AM  

Factoid: MILLARD FILLMORE never had a vice president.

Quotoid: "What I find most disturbing about Valentine's Day is, look, I get that you have to have a holiday of love, but in the height of flu season, it makes no sense." -- LEWIS BLACK

Lucy 8:51 AM  

Enjoyed SCHERZO & ZHOU. Knew nothing of CBGB - is that really common knowledge? And BIMBO usually implies something different than 'Dumbbell', so the NYT should at least clue it more accurately if they choose to use a derogatory gendered insult early in the week.

Jefferson Davis 8:58 AM  

The Stars and Bars is just a flag. No one could possibly be hurt by simply having a flag on a pole.

Anonymous 9:03 AM  

The word bimbo refers to a promiscuous woman. Google or no Google, it has nothing to do with intelligence.

Whirred Whacks 9:10 AM  

Not so long ago, the word BIMBO was used often by the national press to describe some of the 42nd president's activities. "White House Staff Sets Out to Squash Another Bimbo Eruption" was not an uncommon headline in the 1990s.

Billy C 9:11 AM  

What's all this outrage about "bimbo?" True, there are pejoratives (a couple mentioned above) that have no place in our polite society here, but this hardly rises to this level.

Your friendly OAF --

Anonymous 9:17 AM  

This solver did not care much for the theme. CADILLAC SEVILLE was the the first entry and yet I did not connect it with the theme. So was MILLARD FILLMORE (bILLMORE OR wILLMORE).
Even this non-constructor could see that BIMBO/BESS could be easily replaced with LIMBO/LESS.

Anonymous 9:19 AM  

Hmm, whom should I believe? Anon@9:03 or the OED? Tough call...

jberg 9:21 AM  

Clearly, this puzzle was accepted because it had ILL WILL right in the center, and Mr. Shortz thought he would look petty and thin-skinned if he turned it down. I shared @Rex's thought about the CADILLAC, but it had some nice touches -- like the twin anatomical clues for VAS and SAC.

What I didn't like was the slightly-off cluing, not only for BIMBO but PATHOS and TEDIUM.

Nice hidden message in the SE though. BIMBO: ECONO SIREN. STERE!

Colby 9:22 AM  

This was on the harder side for a Tuesday. I think completion times will play that out.

Ludyjynn 9:26 AM  

I am disgusted w/ myself because the first word to go in was ODOM. Despite my best efforts to eradicate the K klan from my consciousness, Kloe's sometimes hubby was there, front and center. Speaking of BIMBOs, what an apt word to describe this very wealthy family of Valley girls! Out of curiosity, I Googled the word prior to reading Rex. It comes from the Italian, as a variant of 'bambino', meaning 'child' or 'male baby'. Interesting how it evolved to become a slur against females.

Best word in the puzzle: LEWIS Black. An example of his biting humor was happily provided here by @Lewis; thank you!

Second best word in the puzzle: SLAKE. Don't you just love the sound of it?

Third best word: AGUE. Seriously, Rex, lighten up, it's too early in the week for such a 'feverish fit'. Take a CHILLPILL, man.

Thanks, DR and WS.

Tita 9:29 AM  

I misplace things All. The. Time. I only rarely LOSE them. I can misplace the movie ticket between the clerk handing it to me and getting to the theatre door.
They are not synonyms to me...

@Rex - funny your comment about the unstressed ILL at CADILLAC. Portuguese can be a hard language for foreigners to pick up, partly because "The Portuguese are so poor, they eat half their words..." (I'm sure they're all watching what's happening in Greece, hoping that more austerity measures cause them to have to eat even more - they'll be completely unintelligible!)

So I thought the puzzle was fine. Even though I stumbled at VAl/IlL. My brain wanted 38D to be a sorta revealer, so maybe Francis Scott Key was an ILLinoiser?
So thanks, Mr. Raymon.

Orange 9:32 AM  

Commenter (and constructor) e.a. pointed out at Crossword Fiend (as solver anonymous 9:17 did here) that BIMBO could so easily have been LIMBO crossing LESS. All it takes is looking at BIMBO in a grid and deciding the puzzle would be better off without it.

I appreciate Rex's being a feminist ally and flagging the offensive sexism of the word. Note to commenters: If you are a man, you're not the arbiter of whether a sexist term gives offense. You really aren't.

Roo Monster 9:37 AM  

Hey All !
Theme didn't wow, but the long -ills were nice. In puz as Downs instead of Acrosses, so that was different. A missed opportunity for cross-referenced clues with AMC PACER. Come on! :-) Isn't CBGB also a clothes store? No prob with BIMBO, but then most slurs don't aaffect me. Not sure why. TRICE an odd word, looking for TRaCE, but the Caddy had to be the I.

Haven't seen OMOO in a while, welcome back! Liked the Calvin & Hobbes clue, awesome cartoon. Too bad it's no longer being drawn.


Z 9:47 AM  

@Orange (and other women here) - I'm interested in your take on BIMBO as opposed to Sex Kitten. Is it worse? My sense is that BIMBO is worse, but I'm not a qualified arbiter on this issue.

I just got a bunch of updates in my mailbox from the June 6 puzzle. It looks like a bunch of copy and pastes from earlier comments to make the comment look legit with a suspicious link tossed in. Be wary of links.

Billy C 9:49 AM  

Hey, DB and WS!

I live on an outcropping of the Rockies in Colorado Springs, and I resent the hell out of that sexist derogation term "Hillbilly" being used here!

If you're not a man, you can't even BEGIN to imagine how offensive this term is to all males!

evil doug 9:54 AM  

... and you're not the arbiter of whether the term was intended to be sexist--you only get to choose whether or not to be offended by it.

I like the economy of "bimbo" in its sexist interpretation. It saves one the trouble of saying, "She got a 650 on her SATs, but she very much enjoys sex." Too much work. So don't get your panties in a bunch. Or do, if you want to.

Nancy 9:56 AM  

This strikes me as the perfect introductory puzzle for the novice solver. Easy enough not to be discouraging. But offering enough resistance not to be insulting. A cute theme. ('m a sucker for rhyme.) And smooth, with no junk fill at all. Well, almost none (see 31D).

My favorite comment so far? @Glimmerglass, saying that MILLARD FILLMORE is his 20th favorite president. Great line. Wish I'd thought of it.

Am surprised by the kerfuffle over BIMBO. Just as I was surprised by the kerfuffle last week over the lisping puzzle. I think it's good to live at a time when people are highly sensitive to the feelings of others, but I also think this sensitivity is sometimes being taken to an absurd extreme. Has anyone on this blog ever been called a BIMBO? Is anyone on this blog friendly with anyone who has ever been called a BIMBO? Has anyone on this blog ever even MET someone who has been called a BIMBO? The last person I can think of who was actually hurt by such a label was Monica Lewinsky and that more than 20 years ago.

Ludyjynn 10:17 AM  

@Z, the only person I can think of described as a 'sex kitten' was Bardot, who fit the bill, IMO. 'Bimbo' is used a lot, and refers to women in general; therefore, more offensive, IMO.

'Ass' and 'asshole' are equally derogatory to me.

@Billy, the etymology of HILLBILLY is fascinating, a description of immigrant Scottish folk who lived clannishly in the countryside. It has evolved from describing mainly men to apply to both genders; ergo, no longer sexist, albeit insulting to some folks. Read for a fascinating, detailed history of the word.

Rhino 10:26 AM  

I actually think BIMBO is a sexist term and if it was used for a public figure (even say a Kardashian) it would be offensive. But context is important. There is no reason you cannot use the word in a crossword puzzle, and getting worked up about its inclusion is overly-sensitive to the point of absurdity.

To Jefferson Davis's (the anonymous poster, not the historical figure) point. If the NYT flew the confederate flag outside their headquarters, I would join the outraged protests. However, if the word 'Confederate flag' was included in a crossword puzzle, I wouldn't even blink.

r.alphbunker 10:27 AM  

TLW roundup

ACE 291
AWE 150
ATA 130
SCI 123
DIE 114
LIT 109
SAC 108
BAH 100
WON 54
LEX 44
AMC 43
ISL 40
FOO 18
VAS 14
WEI 11

Average TLW frequency 89.93

VAS and WEI are the clear losers here because they have limited and rather uninteresting cluing options. FOO is saved by the clue {When doubled, Miss Piggy's poodle}. I have put the clues that have been used during the Shortz era for these TLWs here

In general, I think that the clever clues make a TLW respectable.

You are a joLLy good feLLow!

Billy C 10:30 AM  

@Ludy --

"Hillbilly" non-sexist? Hm-m-mph! Right!

What if it were "Hill-Milly," or "Hill-Filly?" What then?

But no-o-o! It's "Hill-BILLY!"

Not only sexist, but also particularly derogatory to all us "Billys" out here!

old timer 10:31 AM  

Bimbo started out as an equal-opportunity word for someone who was thick of head, slow on the uptake, etc. I think it became a term used almost entirely for women (usually blonde women) in the Laugh-In era, when Goldie Hawn became America's favorite bimbo. Though I suppose "blonde bimbo" was used before that. Marilyn Monroe was often cast as a bimbo, wasn't she? Though (like Ms. Hahn) a bimbo who actually was pretty smart.

Also, BIMBOS was the name of a famous nightclub in San Francisco, and is the name of a well-known burrito joint in Seattle. Neither was named after a dumb blonde.

I thought the fill was bad enough to deserve rejection or at least some very extreme editing. The *good* part was that a solver who might not, for instance, get ODOM or ADAM (as clued) would probably get the word on crosses. At least that was my experience. I liked the homage to Pres. Fillmore. But really: TOATEE? Does that me someone who has been toated?

My favorite clue: the one for EXALTED.

OldCarFudd 10:32 AM  

Interesting observation that the "ill" in Cadillac is unstressed. The car was named for the French explorer who founded Detroit. In French it's pronounced (pardon my accent) "kah-di-YOCK". Not only is the middle syllable unstressed, but the double l sounds like a y.

Factoid: Cadillac grew out of the bones of the failed Henry Ford Company, Henry's second effort (his first, the Detroit Automobile Company, had built successful racing cars but had also failed in the marketplace). Henry's disillusioned backers bought him out and promised not to use his name. They brought in a brilliant engineer named Henry Leland, whose car became very successful.

Henry's third company did rather well, too.

Sir Hillary 10:32 AM  

MANSPLAIN, LIB, SEXKITTEN, BIMBO -- ban them from crosswords forever, I say! But make sure NEOCON remains available. Jeez, where's the rolling-eyes emoji when I need it?

Equating BIMBO to the N-word...well, I'm not even sure where to start on that one, so I won't.

Oh right, the puzzle. Yeah, pretty thin theme, with not-so-great fill (ill fill?). Too bad @Rex's disdain led him to short-cut the picture/video posts -- I was imagining we might we see references to Billy Williams, William Hill or Magilla Gorilla.

Andrew Heinegg 10:41 AM  


Lip Syncer of reknowned 10:46 AM  

mILLi vanILLi should have made an appearance.

Z 10:47 AM  

@Nancy - This article is only a month old. I don't hear BIMBO much, either, but it is out there.

The willingness of people to insist on exerting their right to be publicly insulting is always amazing to me. Yes, you can use the term BIMBO and yes, polite company will wonder why you were never taught manners. When I was a school administrator I used to spend a fair amount of time explaining to kids that if they want to be heard how they spoke was as important as what they said. Given how easily that B could be an L or even a J, why go with the insult? Likewise, if I can't disagree with personalities on Fox without resorting to sexist terms then I don't have much of an argument. Is this notion really that hard for people to agree with? It's not as if I'm asking you to be okay with ending sentence with a preposition, after all.

Three and out.

He Man 10:54 AM  

We men all agree: anyone who doesn't approve of the word BIMBO is a BIMBO.

Hartley70 10:54 AM  

I don't find sex kitten particularly pejorative to those of us who remember Bardot, a sex kitten with a touch of class and French je ne sais quoi. Are there men offended by stud muffin? We all should have someone who thinks of us that way. Perhaps there would be a little less rancor in the world.

Bimbo is a whole nother matter. (tmesis, anyone?) @Nancy, who hasn't met a bimbo at some point? Monica is hardly the only lovely young woman who was missing a few tools from the shed when it came to men. The good news is that with time and age, bimbos can recover their senses, so at least it doesn't have to be a permanent state. I only rate it a 5 on the insultometer!

The puzzle was a Tuesday 7 for me. I liked the predictability of the theme, like applesauce when you're sick.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:56 AM  

@Ludyjynn -- If I may be so bold as to offer a bit of counseling re your self respect ("I am disgusted w/ myself because the first word to go in was ODOM."), I would say that that was a gimmee also for me, no Kardashian fan. But with the name Lamar in the clue, what else could it be? A quick Google shows that there is a Lamar University, but the first page shows no other person of that name! Blame the zeitgeist!

Andrew Heinegg 11:05 AM  

Maybe not but, it's usage in past years, at least my take on its usage, was a clear statement that the person was stupid or lacked common sense. What Google or the dictionary stated may not square with that but, that is what I took the word to mean during the time I heard the word used. And that is how I understood the 'intent' of the word by the people using it. Language is an ever evolving matter and the meaning of words can be contextual.

Andrew Heinegg 11:10 AM  

There are many comments on this 'issue' in the blog today but, you're is far and away the most insightful and reasonable. Well stated!

AliasZ 11:11 AM  

I got filled to the gills with moonshine from a hillbilly's still. Who's the villain here, the stiller or the filler?

Once I saw a skilled spoonbill with brilliant frilly quills and a shrill trill on the Bill O'Reilly show. It was scintillating watching it catch a fish with its bill by the gill and put it on the grill. I still get the chills.

To quote Fats Domino:

"I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill,
On Blueberry Hill, when I found you
The moon stood still on Blueberry Hill
And lingered until my dreams came true.
Though we're apart, you're part of me still,
For you were my thrill on Blueberry Hill."

Chill and be happy.

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

Crossword clue: "nasty woman." Answer: BITCH. Acceptable?

To paraphrase @Rhino: "Bitch is a word. Everyone knows the word. No one could possibly be hurt by simply having that word in a crossword puzzle, or by the NYT acknowledging that the word exists."

Terrible, terrible argument, @Rhino.

Billy C 11:13 AM  

Your Gretchen Carlson (pretty blond, former Fox News host, Standord/Oxford grad) reminded me of this old Austin Cunningham classic, "The Girls (sic) on Fox News." Like he says, "the guy who does their hiring really knows how to light my fuse."

Sorry to any of you ladies out there who find this inappropriate. Remember, Billy C is the "King of Inappropriate" here. ;-)

Ludyjynn 11:13 AM  

@BillyC, LOL.

@BobK, thanks, I feel better now!

schmuzz 11:21 AM  

this puzzle is so timely! i get to see SCHERZer pitch tonight
at NATS park

JFC 11:30 AM  

@Rex hates BIMBO but loves SEX KITTEN.

Jeff Chen hates SEX KITTEN and is silent about BIMBO.

But they both calmly accept HILLBILLY without comment.

Amy criticizes BIMBO and HILLBILLY but says nothing about SEX KITTEN

That's the problem with PC.


JTHurst 11:32 AM  

I thought this puzzle was very difficult in the short answers. I DNFed because of AMC and OMOO. I had ABC and could not remember the consonant in the Melville title.

Didn't know Odom, the basketball player, was married to a "K". Didn't know the Boston garden changed their name to TD Garden and had 'meltic' as smherzo made as much sense as scherzo. Didn't know CBGB. Didn't know vas and isl cross. Struggled with Lewis and Wei, had Han first. Couldn't expand ADD to ADHD.

All of these added up to a much longer solve than a normal Tuesday.

How I loathe the 'Toatee' answer.

MDMA 12:17 PM  

@Z, @Hartley70,

A kitten is a cute but immature and mostly helpless creature, an occasional plaything and provider of amusement. Not a very empowering term. Just imagine referring to our colleague Annabel as a "kitten", the ick factor is off the scale. With "sex kitten", substitute "sexy" for "cute". Even worse. I don't see how you can spin it into something positive.

"Bimbo" is more of a putdown than an actual slur. Portrayals of bimbos in fiction, for instance Penny in The Big Bang Theory, rarely produce reactions of outrage. Is anyone picketing that show? And Chrissy in Three's Company is viewed with retro nostalgia rather than as a bad old relic of the past like the stars and bars kerfuffle. By contrast, if you portrayed a sex kitten Γ  la Jane Fonda in Barbarella or Brigitte Bardot in And God Created Woman, there would be a more negative response. Can you name any contemporary actress who you would actually refer to as a "sex kitten"?

For bimbos, there's a corresponding "lunkhead" male stereotype, associating brawny men with simplemindedness. Think of Moose from the Archie comics, Obelix from the Asterix comics, Gregor "the Mountain" Clegane from Game of Thrones. In both cases, there is a tendency to prejudge someone who is gifted with physical attributes as lacking elsewhere. Chalk it up to human nature.

Also, per Wikipedia, HILLBILLY is an "often derogatory" term that "can be offensive to those Americans of Appalachian or Ozark heritage". Frankly I don't think Rex even took notice.

All in all, it's a little odd that Rex passed over the other terms and chose to make a fuss over the mostly harmless BIMBO.

Mohair Sam 12:19 PM  

Nicely said @JFC.

And wow! I thought @Rex was a nutty PC one-off on the BIMBO thing, but I see I'm the lone wolf. I never use the word, so I'm safe. But I'm mightily concerned about the Philadelphia Union Soccer Club of MLS which has BIMBO proudly emblazoned across the front of its uniforms. Thank heaven it's a men's league.

Alex 12:28 PM  

Don't like Bimbo, don't like Hillbilly. Maybe if each had been clued to indicate that they are derrogatory. . .

Lewis 12:39 PM  

@glimmerglass -- you might like this quote I found about Millard Fillmore (from American Heritage Magazine):

"To discuss Millard Fillmore is to overrate him."

Anonymous 12:41 PM  

When I was in the Navy, the Chief Gunner's Mate on my ship used "bimbo" in a way that, from context, I equated with "flunky." E.g., "I need a cup of coffee; where's my bimbo?" He also liked to sing-song, "Bimbo, bimbo, where you gonna golio."

Carola 12:50 PM  

So, a SCHERZO: a HILLBILLY, a BIMBO, and a SIREN walk into.... But the joke was really on me: I only saw the double LLs, completely missing the point of ILL WILL.

Was the puzzle asking us to take a CHILL PILL over the questionable appellations? Or implying that MILLARD FILLMORE was the CADILLAC of presidents? Anyway...I thought it was a fine Tuesday puzzle. I liked EXALTED PATHOS, CHAI TEA, PALMED, SLAKE, and the contrast of TEDIUM and SCHERZO,

old timer 1:08 PM  

I really think "nigger" is the only word you can say on television that you can't put in a crossword puzzle. "Bitch"is a fine word, clued as "female dog" or "complain". In fact, most people accused of bitching about something are men, because you can get in trouble using the word about a woman.

But I would *really* like to see "bitchen" in an xword. It would bring me back to my days as a kid in L.A. and surfing culture. Something "bitchen" was A-One, first-rate, and only William F. Buckley spelled it "bitchin'"

Masked and Anonymous 1:15 PM  

When it comes to yer fun xwordpuzs, generally WILLWILLFILLTHEBILL.

VAS/ISL = fave weeject crashsite. Could they have used VAL/ILL, with that ILL bein the Big Revealer? Too WILLYNILLY? Or maybe a KILLERDILLER idea? ILL could also masquerade as I'LL, in anyhoocase, to avoid repetition accusations.

Like @OrangeGal darlin's LIMBO/LESS suggestion better. Then no names and no name-callin. Peace on Earth, good will toward HILLBILLYs on crack.

@009: Cmon, dude. Admit it. FOOZHOUODOM is just plain har-larious to get to write. Plus, it saved yer crucial ADHD entry, which was a near-debut "word" (yo, @Krozel).

@r.alph: Really groovin on the respect U are mountin for them weejects. U are doin important work here, my son.



Rhino 1:28 PM  

I think 'bimbo' is more interesting than 'limbo' and 'Bess' is certainly more evocative than 'less'. But, for me, being offended by a crossword is like being offended by a dictionary. I don't believe Mr. Shortz or Mr. Raymon were in any way advocating the use of the word. I don't think they are saying it is okay to call people bimbos (or hillbillies or sex kittens).

But enough. Clearly this horse is dead, so I, for one, will stop beating it. (This is a metaphor - I am not advocating animal cruelty).

Warren Howie Hughes 1:43 PM  

ISAY,JFC, I just knew ATA glance that the inclusion of HILLBILLY in today's grid would instantly LIT your ire! I'm not about to AGUE and create any ILLWILL betwixt us, because you are after all, a highly respected member of the Bar and would surely kick my TALE to the curb!

mathguy 1:43 PM  


I didn't notice the theme until coming here. That's my complaint about most early-week themers. The themes are just for show.

Enjoyed the commentary about BIMBO. I actually like the word. It's fun to say. But I understand that many of us find it offensive. The offensiveness of a word is a function of personal taste and the current culture, I believe. I remember when Mr. Roberts opened on Broadway. Many playgoers were outraged because the words hell and damn were used a lot.

Masked and Anonymous 1:49 PM  

@Rhino--har. yep, fer heaven's sake… No beatin the BIMBOs. Or whatever U might be beatin on, while thinking about BIMBOs. While usin up the last of yer horse.

Masked and Anonymo2Us <-- Almost forgot to give today's count.

OISK 2:08 PM  

The Times puzzle has included the word "Schmuck", which given its literal Yiddish meaning, I find far more offensive than "Bimbo." But either way, I don't object to "offensive" terms in puzzles unless they have a particularly odious history. ( The "N" word, kike, wop, etc.) I was actually surprised by the objections to "Bimbo," which I confess I have used; perhaps I should stop.

As to the puzzle, surprised that Nancy wasn't as annoyed as I was about CBGB and ODOM. I had a near DNF (on a TUESDAY!!) deciding between Odom and Odum, vs. Foo fighters or Fou Fighters. Never heard of either. Fitting that "Foo" followed "ill will" in the puzzle as far as I am concerned.

I didn't see the theme of the puzzle while filling it in, and didn't bother to look for one. Also never heard of Adam Scott or Lewis Black, but they were easy enough from the crosses. Wouldn't say I solved this in a "Trice", but there was more interest than "tedium". ( I also took a very long time to realize that "Isl" is an abbreviation of "Isle" or "Island."

Personal note, I live on Fillmore Avenue in Brooklyn, so Millard is always in my thoughts...

Nancy 2:14 PM  

Amidst all the PC today, some absolutely wonderful comments:

@Hartley 70 (10:54 a.m.) About SEX KITTENS and stud muffins: "We should all have someone who thinks of us that way."

@Carola (12:50) "A HILLBILLY, a BIMBO and a SIREN walk into a bar..." Can't wait for the punch line, @Carola!

@Lewis (12:39)-- once again, the best, funniest, most apt quote. (On MILLARD FILLMORE, if you missed it.)

And @Rhino, for understanding the difference between using words in a way that hurts others and using them in a crossword puzzle. Bravo to: "Being offended by a crossword is like being offended by a dictionary."


-Ill conceived
-I say no
-weak sauce
-not up to standards
-just lies there
-at worst
-heap of decaying, rotting building material
-won't stand
-not a load-bearing stack
-poor construction
-ughed out loud
-NYT at its worst
-who cares
-totally unnecessary
-bad fortune

Grumpy Bear count = 20

jae 3:36 PM  

Medium-tough for me. Though the theme was a bit loosey-goosey and Rex has a valid take on the fill, but still liked it. Yesterday Annabel gave us a Ramones clip and today we get CBGB. Nice follow up.

I am among the truly ambivalent on PC stuff @Z 10:47, Rhino 1:28, and JFC all make good points.

Leapfinger 4:12 PM  

'...being offended by a crossword is like being offended by a dictionary.'

Effendi, you get to change your moniker from "Rhino" to "Rhiyes".

Not So Fast 4:28 PM  

Dictionary: A book or electronic resource that lists the words of a language (typically in alphabetical order) and gives their meaning, or gives the equivalent words in a different language, often also providing information about pronunciation, origin, and usage.

Puzzle: A game, toy, or problem designed to test ingenuity or knowledge.

False equivalence: False equivalence is a logical fallacy which describes a situation where there is a logical and apparent equivalence, but when in fact there is none.

Nancy 4:33 PM  

@OISK -- I never heard of CGBG either (a classic NYC punk rock venue?? Where the hell is it??), but wasn't annoyed because the 4 crosses were all so easy. Might have naticked on the FOO/ ODOM cross, too, except on 60 Minutes very, very recently, they were interviewing the founder of the FOO Fighters, and he was saying what a ridiculous name it was for a rock band and how he never would have chosen it if he'd known the band would last more than a few months. Seems he'd earlier been in some other band. I came late to the segment and left immediately, but was there long enough to hear the name FOO Fighters.

Anonymous 4:43 PM  

How ironic that @Nancy, who continually rails against pop culture knowledge and actively seeks to avoid it, was helped by such knowledge in today's puzzle. QED: the more knowledge you have, even if it's about things you don't like, the better. Just sayin'.

Anonymous 4:55 PM  

Some funny generational differences, @Nancy: The 'founder' of Foo Fighters is Dave Grohl, and he was in the band Nirvana in the early 90s. Your story of seeing him on 60 minutes would be for someone my age a bit like saying, "Yeah I saw this guy Paul McCartney talk about founding Wings... But he was in another band before that I think."

Nancy 5:37 PM  

@Anon 4:55: Your comment is a good-natured one; is made with droll humor; is, I'm sure, right on the money; and I find it entirely welcome. If only everyone on this blog could tease other people in a similar vein.

I was offering OISK, one of my favorite people on this blog, commiseration on his Natick today and explaining why I didn't have one too, as he clearly expected. Sometimes people just need your empathy and I was trying to provide it. I also neglected to explain -- and I'm sure I'll be hearing about it -- why I came in late to the FOO segment and left early. I imagine I came home from the park late on a beautiful Sunday, needed a bath, needed to eat dinner, while not wanting to miss 60 Minutes, and was trying to find a segment I didn't mind skipping. FOO would have been it. In the dead of winter, on a dreary Sunday, I'm sure I would have watched the entire segment.

Anyway, I don't doubt for a minute that Dave Grohl is a major musician and that Nirvana was a major band. Thanks for the info and for being nice about the whole thing.

foxaroni 5:41 PM  

From the "For What It's Worth" department, part 1--@Anonymous 12;43, the Chief Gunner's Mate was singing a song recorded in 1954 by country star Jim Reeves, titled (what else?) "Bimbo."

Bimbo, Bimbo, where ya gonna go-e-o
Bimbo, Bimbo, whatcha gonna do-e-o
Bimbo, Bimbo, does your mommy know
That you're goin' down the road to see a little girleo.

Bimbo is a little boy who's got a million friends,
And every time he passes by, they all invite him in.
He'll clap his hands and sing and dance, and talk his baby talk,
With a hole in his pants and his knees a-stickin' out, he's just big enough to walk.

It was the second number one hit for Reeves. His first was called "Mexican Joe." (But that's a different discussion.) "Bimbo" was first recorded in 1954 by Gene Autry and released on a 78.

From the "For What It's Worth" department, part 2: On June 13, the xword puzzle contained the answer "ubangi." In 1958, Jerry Lee Lewis recorded a rockabilly standard called "Ubangi Stomp." It was not released as a single. You can Google it, of course, for lyrics and some performances on YouTube. Sorry I didn't post this on June 13. I knew you would be disappointed if I didn't get this information to you.

From the "For What It's Worth" department, part 3: CBGB was an acronym for "Country, Bluegrass and Blues." It opened in 1973 and closed in 2006. In 2013, CBGB's onetime building, 315 Bowery, was added to the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Bowery Historic District. (All of this is from Wikipedia.)

mathguy 5:50 PM  

Bimbo Coles, an NBA point guard, got his nickname from that country song.

pmdm 6:20 PM  

I couldn't care less about the word BIMBO being in the puzzle, but there's so much talk about it I decided to look it up in the Mirriam-Webster dictionary. The first definition is "an attractive but stupid woman." The dictionary indicates that the slang use of the word to denote stupidity can apply to either a man or a woman although personally I don't think I ever heard it used to refer to a male. Only the second definition of the slang word refers to the sexual connotation of a woman who is a tramp. Most of the times I've heard it used, the person who said it meant to denote stupidity, not promiscuity.

Slang can be very slippery. Meanings of words of living languages do change. I remember growing up when to be polite you didn't call someone Black, you called the person Negro. Usage is now reversed. Older people tend to use words in the same sense that they first learned the words. (My neighbor still calls people Negros rather than Blacks.) Depending on your take on the word, bimbo might be offensive to you or not offensive to you.

BIMBO is hardly a rarely used word, and whenever I've heard it used people didn't take offense at its use. If that's the criterion for determining acceptable words for crossword clues, then Shortz is justified in allowing the word. In a sense, I am reminded of the problem with programming Richard Wagner's compositions in Israel, although that problem involves much more serious issues. Which side do I take? As far as that goes, I think I'm in LIMBO.

LindaPRmaven 6:34 PM  

This puzzle was the smoothest of rides for me. A most enjoyable Tuesday.

BIMBO bothered me not at all. I was disturbed by the recent puzzle whose theme answers were all lisped phrases. THIGHS OF RELIEF and THICK PUPPY were especially tasteless.

I found BIMBO and SIREN in the same corner amusing, though I could have done without yet another BALK and I feel sure ABNER Doubleday would have felt the same. He didn't actually invent baseball by the way; he was fighting in the Civil War at the time he was supposed to have founded America's pastime. The fiction was created by a PR man I believe. However, Doubleday's being from Cooperstown is responsible for the Hall of Fame being in one of the loveliest towns in America.

Roo Monster 7:33 PM  

Waiting at the DMV today, and saw a person with a Bimbo shirt! It was for the company that Rex has the logo on top of this page. Should I tell him it's inappropriate? :-)


Teedmn 7:40 PM  

This one went a bit less smoothly than yesterday's puzzle. I caused a lot of ink to pile up in the SW due to COhabiT which gave me Eastern for EXALTED. After fixing some of that, I had InL crossing VAn (?). I guess when I saw Key in the clue for 47D, I was thinking of a map, so therefore 'inset' which then became 'InLet'. How do these things seem logical, I often wonder? Also aDOM before ODOM and I Say before I SEE.

If I hadn't looked up CULL and PATHOS after solving, I would have said the clues were inaccurate but I'm the inaccurate one. CULL, to me, meant 'separate' as from the herd. And PATHOS in my mind was mixed up with 'bathos', just like the dictionary informs me is commonly done. So I'm not even unique in my errors.

As for the BIMBO discussion, I would just say it isn't very good ETICKET to use it in conversation.

Thanks for the puzzle, Daniel Raymon.

Masked and Anonymous 7:48 PM  

"Every constructor I know could redo that SE corner inside of five minutes without using a slur against women. Guaranteed."

Easy for @009 to say. M&A had to slave away half the day-um day on that corner, before getting something with at least one U in it. (Min. daily requirement) …

51. Tasty dessert favored by illegal alien sex fiends
58. Like a ride on aging infrastructure
61. Using amazing teamwork
64. Top of the Eiffel Tower?
67. Necks of the woods

45. Bomb squad point person
52. Pothole in the road to dreamland
53. What Obama mostly gets from Putin
58. Arabian Nights name

"Bimbo Removal Service"

Teedmn 9:00 PM  

Nice rewrite @M&A. More like 51A than 58A, though 64A is closer to Friday 67A, methinks.

r.alphbunker 9:10 PM  

As a public service has put M&A's rewrite here:

Jim Curran 9:33 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Curran 9:39 PM  

And I'm amazed that somebody (?) can lecture others on political correctness yet go by the moniker of "Anonymous". If you like your opinion put your name on it.

Rhino 9:40 PM  

Though I have been a staunch BIMBO supporter this whole day, I will freely admit to liking your corner a lot better @M&A. But that's because of STERE and ECONO for the answers and ABNER and BOONE for their clues.

Why do illegal alien sex fiends like flan?

Rhino 9:44 PM  


I'd google 'illegal alien sex fiend flan' but I'm afraid of what would come up.

JFC 9:55 PM  

Okay, Boys and Girls. Merely changing the "B" in BIMBO to "L" for LIMBO does it. So, why, if this is so easy, did Will Shortz stick with BIMBO?


Donald Trump 10:31 PM  

Mr. M&A, if you are going to quote me in your clue, you should give me credit, and not pretend that the sentiment is your own.

Leapfinger 12:05 AM  

Not so fast, @Not so fast. The dictionary and the puzzle are completely equivalent in the sense that both present components of language in a format determined by their function. Any interpretation about offensiveness, social acceptability and values in general derives entirely from the end-user population, and that can be taken into consideration if the production staff so desires, but the vehicles in and of themselves are equivalent, as constructs. Muddy the waters though you may.
At the end of the day (which it is), none of this makes a VAS difference.

Doing a fast late scroll, I may have missed reams of good stuff, but what I liked best was @Teedmn's observation about using good ETICKET. Thanks for the laugh, Ms Manners!

The U's have their fan-base; today I liked the burly O's.

OK, no more BALK TALC tonight.

In the words of the poet:
Do you like your TEDIUM
Rare or medium?

kitshef 6:05 PM  

Quite surprised and the number of people who are certain that the way THEY have heard a word used is the only way it is used.

@Rhino has made some ridiculous statements, but one very good one; context counts. Calling someone dumb or loose is rude; having either of them in a crossword puzzle is OK by me.

CaGe before CBGB, cHOU before ZHOU.

Too much bad fill - CMVI, ALIA, ATA, TOATEE. ECONO, OMOO, WEI, ISL, so I think Rex's review is mostly justified. But I did like the themers and certainly have no issue with the CADILLAC SEVILLE.

"And hillbillies want to be called 'Sons of the Soil', but it ain't gonna happen."

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Anonymous 10:07 AM  

I disagree with @Billy C’s 11:13 post in that I believe that I WON that title since my comments are more likely to draw a CULL. @Billy C – you LOSE.

I have no ILLWILL toward that HILLBILLY BIMBO, ISAY she’s EXALTED like a SIREN instead. But she took a CHILLPILL so WEI COEXIST in limbo, Tis TEDIUM until AGAIN we get BRED. DEFICIT by LEWIS SCHERZO, who WIELDS no PATHOS.

Don’t we still love “White Wedding” by HILLBILLY IDOL?

rondo 10:28 AM  

Compared with many Tuesdays, this wasn’t as terrible. Even with the RRN in the top row.

My cousin’s first husband’s middle name was BIMBO, after that silly country song. He fit the BILL.

I once owned an AMC, but it wasn’t a PACER (what an ugly car), it was a Hornet.

Grain BELT Premium a fine beer from MN, has been for 40 years or so. Try it given a chance.

Liked @TeedMN’s re-use of ETICKET. @BS is rubbing off?

Any SIREN must be a yeah baby, except the WI village of that name some 40 miles distant.

Neither TEDIUM nor SCHERZO ISAY. Just a Tuesday puz. What’s the deferens, VAS?

spacecraft 10:54 AM  

Ha ha, the SCHERZO is on me! I so smugly wrote in CADILLACdEVILLE--also a real model but who knows if that one ended in '04--and never double-checked the cross: LOdE looked fine to me! Well, I certainly "misplaced" THAT D! Thus a single-letter DNF.

Now, I am not panning this puzz because of the DNF; that was strictly mea careless culpa. But CMVI? I mean, please, can't we at least have a meaningful year? WTF happened in 903?? Anyone? Then there's CBGB. Talk about your insider fill! If you're out-of-towners you're going "HUH?" ALIA ATA ISL TOATEE...all this crap engenders plenty of ILLWILL.

Sure, the theme answers are nice, and SCHERZO is great. But the price is NOT right. Oh yeah: CULL does NOT mean "gather." And now, after awarding (!) a C-, I'll go take a CHILLPILL. ISAY, a CHILLPILL. Cue Foghorn Leghorn!

Anonymous 11:34 AM  

Forget Bimbo/Schmimbo. The whole subject is a lot of nonsense. Really!

The puzzle was very easy except I DNF because I refused to put in a letter at 31D. I get violently sick whenever I hear or read ANYTHING about that family whose name starts with a K. Why don't the American people pay more attention to Jonas Salk, Louis Pasteur, Tesla, Marie Curie, Tommy Dorsey, Irving Berlin, Dvorak, Wagner, Henry Ford, Thomas Jefferson, Mother Theresa, Clara Barton, Margaret Mitchell, etc. You get the point. My blood boils when the news people cultivate a taste for self-indulgent, self-promoting CELEBRITIES whose only contribution to society is their petty feuds, scandals and tedious lives.

Sorry, had to get that off my chest.

Ron Diego, La Mesa, CA (Home of the pure and brave and sometimes cranky senior citizens).

Burma Shave 11:52 AM  


I have no ILLWILL toward that HILLBILLY BIMBO,
ISAY she’s EXALTED like a SIREN instead.
But she took a CHILLPILL so WEI COEXIST in limbo,
Tis TEDIUM until AGAIN we get BRED.


Cathy 4:47 PM  

Blechh. Didn't care for this puzzle and all the comments on BIMBO.

@Ron Diego- Ditto

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