In relaxed rhythm musically / TUE 2-7-17 / Lets get loud singer affectionately / Asian river whose name is one letter away from Ivy League college / Warning initials above Internet link / Annual Austin festival for short

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Constructor: Finn Vigeland

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (time in the high 3s; I think that's somewhat above average)


THEME: Queens' places — every themer is some differently punctuated variant of [Queen's place], with highly varied results

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Queen's place (CHESSBOARD)
  • 23A: Queens' place (NEW YORK CITY)
  • 36A: Queens' place (RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE)
  • 47A: Queen's place (ROCK AND ROLL / HALL OF FAME) 
Word of the Day: RUBATO (9D: In a relaxed rhythm, musically) —
noun
noun: rubato; plural noun: rubati; plural noun: rubatos; noun: tempo rubato; plural noun: tempo rubatos
  1. 1.
    the temporary disregarding of strict tempo to allow an expressive quickening or slackening, usually without altering the overall pace.
• • •

Far more enjoyable than your typical Tuesday, and, for me, slightly harder. I do not know the term RUBATO, it turns out, and when I don't know a longish answer on a Tuesday, turns out there's a price to pay, time-wise. Even a small delay on M or T can be quite significant time-wise. So I fumbled a bit up there, but then I really fumbled down below, with the two-part themer—clue was known, so added nothing, and with a 2-part themer that's 2 x nothing, and then I couldn't land a couple of crucial Downs: had SIC- but no idea about SICK OF (38D: So done with), had H- but no idea about HOT ONE (44D: Scorcher). So there was a lot of hacking before the themer(s) finally filled in.  This puzzle is much bouncier and more current than most NYT puzzles—pop culture gets a bit heavy at times ("RUDY"!?! Had to reach back for that one), and that is a ridiculous / ostentatious / gratuitous use of modern initialisms in the SE corner (NSFW x/w SXSW) (that's "not suitable for work" and "South by Southwest," in case you're unfamiliar). OK, OK, you listen to contemporary music and use the internet, we get it, Finn, you're young(ish). Dial it back, kid.


Since I don't watch "RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE," I thought that answer was a little anomalous, as I would say "drag queen," not just "Queen."  I would refer to a chess piece as just a queen, the band as just Queen, the urban area as just Queens, but a drag queen I would call a "drag queen." Of course colloquially "queen" can stand alone as meaning "drag queen," but in everyday usage, the "queen" is usually preceded by "drag." Not sure if all contestants on the show are called simply "queens" or maybe just the winner ... anyway, this queen seemed to want a qualifier ("drag"), and none of the others did. There maybe be an in-show reason for the clue that make its apparent anomalousness a non-issue.

Bullets:
  • 7D: Shake one's booty (TWERK) — if ever a clue needed "... in a way," this one did. I was looking for something much more generic (like DANCE).
  • 6D: Hold together (COHERE) — I had ADHERE, as in "Place your AD HERE! ACT NOW! Low AD FEES!"
  • 28A: "Let's Get Loud" singer, affectionately (J-LO) — she is famous. That song, though??? What the heck is that? On a Tuesday, maybe something a little more ... iconic? See also the awful clue for BRUNO MARS (35D: 2014 Super Bowl performer). Who remembers 3-years-ago Super Bowl performers!? I'm gonna forget Lady Gaga performed at the 2017 Super Bowl by next week, and *that* performance was actually memorable. Why not clue BRUNO MARS by something related to him!? His music is fun! 

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

138 comments:

Lewis 6:12 AM  

I'm watching The Crown (highly recommended), so I smiled when putting in my first theme answer (NEW_YORK_CITY), realizing that the answers would be different uses of the traditional (for me) meaning of "queen". Nice clue for EARN ("Make bread").

The theme clues are not exactly the same, as two have the apostrophe before the S, and two have it after. Which reminds me of something I came across this week: There is a group called the Apostrophe Protection Society (you can Google this), whose purpose is to promote and ensure the correct use of that punctuation mark. How did I come across this tidbit? I was researching a clue for "pedant"...

Not only does the puzzle have a specific Trump clue (for TWEET), answers include LIAR, ANTSY, BOOR, and especially NSFW. Is the man not everywhere these days?

Lobster11 6:33 AM  

Something tells me that I won't be the only one who DNF because of the cross at RUPAULSDRAGRACE and YALU.

I liked the theme, but nothing ticks me off more than a Tuesday DNF because of a single unfair cross.

Anonymous 6:43 AM  

I hope Betty DeVos gets confirmed today.

phil phil 6:47 AM  

Kind of guessed it may be U in PAUL and unbeknownst YALU ...but. I think the clue is incorrect. One off letter from YALE would be YALF pr YALD no?
Didn't know _XSW or this BRUNO (bad music) character. So a very sad DNF on a Tuesday. Too mach guessing makes it no fun for me.

Passing Shot 6:51 AM  

Smooth, enjoyable, ultimately unmemorable. In other words, Tuesday.

Anonymous 6:56 AM  

Today's comments are sure to include "I never heard of RuPaul and have never seen the show since I don't have a TV" and "I remember being in my mother's arms in the backyard one night when Sputnik One flew overhead and fearing the Russians, even though I was only two years old but I never heard of the Yalu River or the Korean War."

This was one of the best Tuesday puzzles in a long time. It's starting to look like the NYT puzzles are back. This is what, five days of very good puzzles.

Loved the back and forth yesterday about the camera aficionado. Reminded me of the Apocalypse Now scene between Martin Sheen's character Willard and Chef.

"I was supposed to go to Paris, to the Escoffier School.
But then I got orders for my physical. Hell, I joined the Navy.
Heard they had better food. Cook school. That did it.
They lined us all up in front of a hundred yards of prime rib.
Magnificent meat, beautifully marbled. Then they started throwing it in these big cauldrons. All of it. Boiling.
I looked in, and it was turning gray.
I couldn't f***ing believe that one!
That's when I applied for radioman's school, but..."

Old Lady 6:57 AM  

Rex-the only time I have been aware of BRUNO MARS was his Super Bowl performance, so any other clue would have been lost on me. Also noted Monday and Tuesday both used EPIC(S), although with slightly different meanings.

kitshef 7:23 AM  

Magnificent theme, original and entertaining.

Definitely tough for a Tuesday. I finished, but was convinced I had something wrong with YALU and especially RUBATO in my grid.

BRUNO MARS has performed twice at the Super Bowl twice in the last four years, so in my mind is eternally linked with it. That and having a song called 'Just the Way you Are' - exact same title as the Billy Joel song.

FPBear 7:36 AM  

Thought it was pretty easy. No false starts. Remembered Yalu from Korea. Only question was south east corner, but I figured it out. enjoyed.

Anonymous 7:42 AM  

NO NO NO NO!!!!! You can NOT cross sxsw with nsfw!!!!!

NATIK of the worst sort. Not inferable. Ran the alphabet and still had a problem.

The Rhino 7:54 AM  

I loved this puzzle. Probably my favorite of 2017. I loved that it had a lot of cultural reference points that were not 50 years old. I loved that I kept expecting one of them to Buckingham Palace but it kept going a different direction. Just enjoyed the hell out of it.

chefbea 7:54 AM  

Never heard of Rupauls drag race...and what does NSFW and SXSW stand for??? DNF

Mary Ambridge 7:56 AM  

Never having heard of BRUNOMARS, I went with Bruno Marx. Ran the alphabet at the terminal letter of NSFW and never got my tada music. Not acceptable crossing SXSW with NSFW on a Tuesday. Bah Humbug.

wgh 7:56 AM  

This one Naticked me to DNFville.

TonyR 8:08 AM  

29 Down should be foci (Sing. focus) according to the clue, not loci. Foci are central. Since the "L" was needed, "places" would have been a more correct clue.

Wm. C. 8:13 AM  


@Chefbea --

Not Suitable For Work (Don't be caught with this on your screen at work) and South by Southwest.

I had lots of trouble with several clues. Never heard of Rupaul, Bruno. Had heard of SXSW, and NSFW, but only after running the alphabet did I get the "W". Rupaul blank slowed me on WRAP and HUME.

I finished it, but it was a Thursday puzzle for me.

Exubesq 8:22 AM  

A puzzle that references drag queens,condoms, twerk, and nsfw seems to crush (at least for a day) the "NYT is stodgy" trope.
It does however feed the "trends too young" trope.
Poor constructors trying to thread that needle.

LaurieG in Connecticut 8:24 AM  

likewise!

Anonymous 8:28 AM  

The apostrophe could go in either place for the first and third themers. Review was good-natured but nit-picky.

Anonymous 8:34 AM  

The dress shown features, if I'm not mistaken, a "pussy" bow,...like the one our new First Lady sported to troll the Dems when those infamous tapes caste to light.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) 8:36 AM  

Wow Rex...thought you'd like this clever theme. I had no real trouble with this puzzle at all and it was fun ...actually made me laugh!

I knew both initialisms immediately and I am definitely not youngish. (Quite the the opposite ...without the 'ish'.) Without any crossings I put show instead of race at the end of Rue Paul (I've never seen it but I knew Rue Paul ... and I know the use of Queen in this context and i think it is exactly correct). It only took a second to correct that error with the downs. I didn't have any other scratchovers (yeah, pen and paper solver...told ya I was old). Fun puzzle.

L 8:38 AM  

It's interesting to complain consistently about stale NYT puzzles and then be annoyed with current cluing. I thought this was a great Tuesday. I'm over 50 with older teenage sons, so the incessant Frozen clues simply elude me, but the NSFW SXSW was a gimme. Go figure. I struggled with YALU. Gaga's halftime show rivaled BRUNO MARS', which until now was my all time favorite (unless they bring back Up With People, lol. That's Laugh Out Loud for those who don't get the NSFW references... JK!!).

Numinous 8:40 AM  

DNF but fixable: BRUNO MARt/tXSW. Come on folks, anyone with even a modicum of computer literacy should know NSFW by now. I remember, was it two years ago? That NSFW was a WOE NATICK. South By South West was new to me so I thought TeXas South West sorta made sense. Then I read the down for BRUNO and knew it had to be MARS. I don't know his music but I know his name.

Poor @Rex. He missed growing up in the Gay Bay. I've heard certain members of the LGBT community called Queens since I was old enough (about 14) to hang out in the pool hall across the street from where I lived. DRAG is an adjective describing a certain kind of queen. There are other adjectives too, Drama, and size come to mind.

Turns out this is Jeff Chen's POW. I haven't seen the rest of the week so I'm not sure I agree but I liked this one too. Took me 30,000,000,000 nanoseconds to find MARt so I still came in at about 240,000,000,000 nanoseconds under my Tuesday average.

Speaking of Queens, it seems like Freddy Mercury has come up a bunch recently. I SEE A little silhouetto of a connection here. But only a little one. Still, initially not liking Queen's music, I have to admit the impact they have had is enormous. I'm only a little disappointed that the Falcons didn't get to adopt "We Are The Champions" as their theme song this year. At least nobody accused the Pats of adding helium to the footballs. If you're not from Atlanta, you probably wouldn't know Samuel L. Jackson's "Rise Up" commercials but ever since they began to air, the Falcons began a rise. They were last place not so many years ago.

I'll stick my neck way out here and say that I believe that Finn Vigeland might be the ultimate heir apparent to Patrick Berry for his clean puzzles and careful fill. I learned to like David Steinberg's work but lately it seems like he's hacking a bit for volume. Finn impresses me more and more.

Matt 8:41 AM  

What does "high 3s" translate to?

B. Fabbi 8:45 AM  

I've always wondered how you are able to solve the puzzle so quickly? I can usually do Mondays in 6 or 7 minutes, and I've been doing crosswords for years. I'm not unintelligent, but I read the clues and fill the answers in. Is there some other way?

QuasiMojo 8:51 AM  

I thought this one was pretty weak. We have to go to Goldilocks to get a clue for "Papa"? A half answer, at that? Why not Hemingway or something conciser? Don't tell a Manhattanite that Queens is in NYC. Antsy for "on edge"? Not really. It's more like having your panties in a wad, or your knickers in a twist. "Anchor" for getting your news? That's about as exciting as watching The Crown. Twerk is VERY dated. So is JLO. Teri Garr again? PBS is a membership organization, not a network. Calling someone a queen is derogatory. Rex is right. It's "drag queen." I don't like the idea of putting that in here anyway. It smacks of trying too hard to be clever, get it, wink wink, tee hee... but without any irony. Ere I saw "Elba," I was already "sick of" this puzzle.

Abby Friedman 9:04 AM  

I disagree with you about the twerk clue -- twerking is literally shaking your booty. (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/twerking). Other than that, enjoyed the review and the puzzle!

Autrement 9:06 AM  

Great puzzle, very lively, and a new personal Tuesday record.
I have a feeling there will be a lot of grumbling about this puzzle.
Take a second and imagine that this is something like what it feels like for a younger person to face '70s sitcoms (*cough*SHAZBOT*cough*), ancient comic strips (lil ABNER), random record labels of '60s bands, and various other defunct and dusty things in the NYT puzzle on a day to day basis.
What might be a Natick for you - SXSW through NSFW - are two obvious no-look fill-ins for someone else.
RU PAUL'S DRAG RACE is great in here. Yaass Queen. http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/yaass

Roberto Escobar 9:09 AM  

Thought the puzzle was fun and pretty easy, way under my normal Tuesday time. Felt pretty good that an old guy like me(pushing 70), had no problem the contemporary cluing. Thought Yalu was a gimme for anyone who knows 20 th century history.

And, oh by the way Quasimojo, as a former Manhattanite I never had a problem acknowledging Queens was part of NYC; although, some of my snottier neighbors did.

Lisa Greenfield 9:14 AM  

I have to point out that loci does not mean central points, the word is foci! This tripped me up because I could not remember Joad so JLO was not apparent.

John V 9:15 AM  

SE is a train wreck. Redo, please.

jberg 9:16 AM  

@Lewis, thanks for mentioning the Apostrophe Protection Society! I now feel licensed to insist pedantically that the clue for 23 should use the first person possessive, Queens's. But that would spoil the theme, and the error is idiomatic enough to be acceptable in crosswords, though not in student papers.

I'm 73, and very familiar with NSFW and SXSW, so I kind of liked that crossing. No idea about the snowman, but smiled when I recognized our old friend OLAF, sans Roman numeral.

As for RUPAUL, he's been famous since the early 1990s -- actually, I had not realized that he was still alive, let alone with an Emmy-winning TV show. But he's certainly crossworthy. Nice URBANE puzzle all around.

Z 9:20 AM  

@Matt - more than three minutes to solve, probably more than 3:45 (Sorry if someone answered this while i typed).

Regarding SXSW, SXS- does seem resolvable if you disregard the music part of the clue and focus on the Austin part of the clue. What else is that X going to be but the mathematical "by" and that would lead you to either "south by south east" or "south by south west." Austin would more accurately be described by the latter. Still, that's a lot of cogitation for a Tuesday. No issue here, since NPR's Bob Boilen does extensive podcasts from SXSW every year, but I see how that festival may not be on everyone's radar.

I am a little surprised that anyone who comments on an internet blog would not have run across the NSFW warning. But, hey, what we don't know always far exceeds what we do and if you don't know that initialism I don't see any way of getting the last letter besides divine inspiration.

@TonyR - I agree that fOCI fits the clue, but LOCI fits the clue, too, because English.

@Lewis - Unlike Who/Whom and Lay/Lie, apostrophes are specific to written language and are specific to being understood. Misusing an apostrophe can only be one of two things, fat fingers or you don't really know what you're saying. Okay, a third possibility is you never actually grokked what the apostrophe thing is all about. Still, put me on Team Pedant on this one,

SaraB 9:20 AM  

65 years old, and I didn't have any problems with the "current" references. Loved this puzzle.

Sir Hillary 9:23 AM  

Next time I can't fill a cross because it draws on knowledge I don't have, I'm gonna cry foul and declare it a Natick. Seems only fair.

Pretty easy to rebuild that SE corner, so I must assume the SXSW/NSFW was totally intentional. I loved it and agree with the poster above who called this the best Tuesday in a while. The theme is relatively fresh and the fill relatively clean.

My Whitestone-bred wife would be amused to find that Manhattanites dispute her claim to have grown up in NEWYORKCITY. Must be hard for Manhattanites these days, what with their borough having been usurped as the hippest and most insanely overpriced of the five. Not by Queens obviously.

cate tran 9:23 AM  

I loved this one. It definitely leaned toward a younger crowd (which I guess I am). I thought it was fresh and current. And I've always only called them "queens". Drag queen seems...stodgy.

Nancy 9:25 AM  

Naticked on the crosses of the annual Austin festival with the Internet warning initials. Plus I didn't know the last letter of the 35D 2014 Super Bowl player. It would be an ignominious Tuesday failure if I really cared about any of the above nonsense. But I don't. The rest of the puzzle was boringly easy -- even without knowing anything about RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE or knowing which "Queen" it is who's in the ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME. Not my kind of puzzle.

gruffed 9:31 AM  

Solved the whole puzzle fairly quickly until SXS_ crossing NSF_. Revealed the southeastern-most square and remained puzzled. Most unsatisfying, indeed!

Brian 9:33 AM  

3 minutes 30 seconds to 3:59. Surely not 35 to 39 minutes.

Mr. Benson 9:34 AM  
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Mr. Benson 9:48 AM  

Man, a constructor just can't win with this guy. Day after day after day, he harps on crosswords for lacking contemporary answers (with even stuff from circa 2005 being criticized as "dated"). Today? "OK, OK, you listen to contemporary music and use the internet, we get it, Finn, you're young(ish). Dial it back, kid."

Also: I remember the 2014 Super Bowl halftime performer because I was there and it was incredible. 43-8, Go Hawks. Also, BRUNO MARS's show was excellent in its own right.

GILL I. 9:49 AM  

Let's see: SICK OF PEACE, LIAR, IRONY, EPIC BOOR, TWEET TWERK, ALARM....HOT ONE... and I love RU PAUL - Queen or not. He's gorgeous! Does BRUNO MARS do ROCK AND ROLL?
I was about to feel sorry for Finn because he got the dreaded Tuesday. I'm glad @Rex liked it - I did too!
Misread 49D. I get Condom and Condo mixed up. You get screwed by both of them anyway. I though MINT might be the bread maker and the broadcast part was RADIO. All fixed easily WARTS and all.
Good Tuesday Finn V...



Cassieopia 9:56 AM  

Fast, smooth, and easy for this "definitely north of 55" human. Got a bit hung up at YALU/RUPAULetc but changing abs into PEC (what *was* I thinking?) dropped WRAP and EPIC, and the rest became clear.

Especially enjoyed:
- JOAD (huge Steinbeck fan here)
- BRUNOMARS (he's in my workout music playlist)
- URBANE (initially thought suave? too few letters...perhaps dapper? Ugh, talk about OLD language...)
- PEACE for "See ya", brought back the 70s.
- 49D seemed a bit racy to me, but then, that's my age showing :-D

Got the NE corner strictly from the acrosses, so did not even notice RUBATO and RUDY until I came here. Love RUBATO.

Another great puzzle, lately it seems there has been quite a string of enjoyable and fun puzzles. It's fun to see my solving times get faster, but then I go to the 1995 puzzles and it's a whole new ballgame.

Thank you, Finn Vigeland, for an enjoyable Tuesday puzzle!

AZPETE 9:58 AM  

🖕🏿

beaglelover 10:00 AM  

@quasimojo, you are obviously not a native New Yorker but one of those transplants who is ruining the city with your efforts at transforming my 5 borough city into Main St. U.S.A.!!

Charles Flaster 10:02 AM  

Very cute puzzle even with my Natick on the very last square. Remainder was very easy with one writeover--ENAMOR for ENdeaR.
Although I know nothing of "Frozen", my current paper towels show the characters and OLAF is on the next one.
I know Elsa has appeared recently.
Always liked FV puzzles and this one is no exception.

Anonymous 10:03 AM  

I liked seeing RUBATO in the puzzle, but any musician will tell you that this is not the correct definition. It comes from the Italian for "stolen" and involves both stretching and compressing rhythmic values.

mathgent 10:12 AM  

A regular solver will have seen NSFW four or five times. That's how I know it.

@anon (6:56). Loved your post. Nice parody of some of the comments here.

Don't like LOCI for "Central points." I'll look up the definition later.

Sad to hear that Jeff Chen is saying that the rest of this week's puzzles aren't better than this one.

Surphart 10:13 AM  

Smooth sailing tacking west to east and north to south. When Bruno Mars slid into Florida I was looking at a fast Monday time....until I got to Miami. DNF on the W ....wtf.

Matt Harmon 10:20 AM  

I thought FOCI was better than LOCI for 29 down. I thought that the loci were all of the points on a curve whereas the focus or foci were central points.

Roo Monster 10:21 AM  

Hey All !
Queen was actually playing on the radio as I solved puz! Once I had HALLOFFAME glanced back up to see ROCKANDROLL and let out a "Har".

Nice TuesPuz, except that SE corner like y'all have already said. Definitely needed a rework. Also abbr. ATVS in there. Ouch.

ANTSY TACO HERO
RooMonster
DarrinV

Z 10:29 AM  

@Sir Hillary correctly points out that there is an actual definition for the "Natick Principle" (found in Rex's FAQ page): If you include a proper noun in your grid that you cannot reasonably expect more than 1/4 of the solving public to have heard of, you must cross that noun with reasonably common words and phrases or very common names. While I am not surprised that some don't know NSFW, I think it is reasonable to expect more than 25% of Tuesday solvers to know it, so not a true natick.

@B. Fabbi - I have now broken 5:00. Sub four seems a pipe dream. But you can find examples on youtube. Search for Dan Feyer.

V Horowitz 10:32 AM  

The clue for RUBATO is musical gibberish. It should be tempo, not rhythm. And it's flexible in tempo, not relaxed.

Paul 10:44 AM  

My guy is a Drag Queen, and simply 'queen' is absolutely appropriate in this context.

Moly Shu 10:46 AM  

Agree with @MrBenson's assessment of OFL. There'a just no pleasing some people. Wanted DECKOFCARDS to be somewhere in the grid, but no such luck. My only problem was RUBATO, but that was easily gotten through crosses. NSFW alert ----- F&!@ BRUNOMARS

redrube 10:50 AM  
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redrube 10:58 AM  

Yes, just lie that's what Rex does. Even if you are given all the answers you can't complete a puzzle in under 4 minutes.
Try it, you'll see.

QuasiMojo 11:02 AM  

Jesus Christ guys, I was kidding about Queens. Never heard of sarcasm? I was making fun of snotty Manhattanites (who parody bridge and tunnel types) -- and yes I am a native New Yorker. Save your bees-in-the-bonnet for someone else. :)

mac 11:03 AM  

One of the best Tuesdays in my memory.

The last area to fall was the loci spot. I also thought it should have been foci, but JLo had to be it. Jode instead of Joad slowed me down, and not knowing about RuPaul's race was also a little tough. Over all I had a great time solving.

Anonymous 11:04 AM  

I don't believe Rex and the Honor System have been introduced.

Anonymous 11:05 AM  

I just hope they reconsider Secretary of Education and choose RUPAUL. Seriously, that would be a better choice than what's on the table today.

Malsdemare 11:09 AM  

This was fun. I liked the mix of slightly hard and easy stuff, especially since generally the easy helped me get the hard. Not so with NSFW. I know the acronym, but I didn't realize that it ever actually appeared on your screen! Wow! So there you are at your desk at Miss Mary's Nursery School, you click a link and??! That's gotten stop your heart for a second. Is it obvious? Does it flash on your screen or is it decorously perched above the URL? Inquiring mind wants to know....

I'm going to have to go back and study the puzzle so I can understand the QUEEN discussion better. There seem to be some subtleties I'm not seeing. No surprise there.

If you watch this video https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=M1F0lBnsnkE you will never forget BRUNOMARS. It's 66 old movie dance sequences set to "Uptown Funk," and unless you're (see how I used that apostrophe there!!) almost dead, it will have you bouncing in your chair. I never watch the super bowl, but once BRUN fell, I knew exactly what the answer was. Seriously, if you don't know BRUNO, you should watch this.

i liked this one a lot. Thanks, FV.

Anonymous 11:14 AM  

Because she wants to allow you where you can send your child to school, Betty DeVos is Pro-Choice.

Anonymous 11:18 AM  

Speaking of apostrophes reminds me of several Canadians I know who insist on using "'s" as a plural marker of names (e.g. I just met the Smith's yesterday). It is rather an odd grammar habit whose origins I cannot find. I thought the puzzle today was fun. I kept trying to plug Ono into JLo's spot. I only know Bruno Mars from Superbowl games so clue is fine that way. I had to think hard to remember it was "drag race" and not "drag show". Good job, Finn.

Joseph Michael 11:30 AM  

Fun theme. Liked all of the places that one can find queens, whether they're belting out ROCK AND ROLL or brandishing boas.

Big Bruno Mars fan, so that was a gimme that enabled me to complete SXSW which I had never heard of.

Hated that SE corner of consonants and disappointed to see the likes of OREO in a puzzle of this otherwise excellent quality,

Also have to point out the obvious geographical error. LA is in CAL not TEX.

old timer 11:34 AM  

I put in "foci" which is right and changed it to LOCI which is wrong because JLO had to be right. BRUNOMARS was inferable from crosses I thought, and good thing because I don't even remember who performed two days ago.

Count me among the angry though. DNF on a Tuesday because I didn't remember Mr. PAUL's DRAGRACE. So there was my Natick.

Malsdemare 11:37 AM  

Correction: That's got to stop your heart. And I forgot to mention that I apparently can't spell JOAD even though I've read "Grapes." My error was another slowdown in the east.

Anonymous 11:42 AM  

Revenge of the Millennials! Usually I DNF on some cross on an actress's name that means absolutely nothing to me and hasn't been relevant in 40 years but is standard in crossword-land. I come to the blog/comments and find that no one even mentions the issue I had. So when I was going through this puzzle I was thrilled to see so much relevant, contemporary fill. I thought for sure Rex would be pleased as punch since he's always complaining about stale fill. But noooo...everyone's upset about SXSW, NSFW, RuPaul, J-LO, Bruno Mars - trivia that (for once!) came to me immediately and made this a very enjoyable puzzle.

I mean really - I'd take SXSW crossing NSFW, two abbreviations that are immediately recognizable to me, over ASTA (a dog from the 30s!) and EDNA (clued any one of 5 different ways that are at least half a century old) any day.

And I'm in my 30s - barely a millennial at all.

Dick Swart 12:07 PM  

On the easier starting days of the week, I work l-r starting at the NW corner and ending in the SE final square.

Not this Tues AM! ... didn't have a clue (or at least didn't get the clues as stated) for the Austin Fest and the Warning label.

The price of being old in a fast-moving society.

Z 12:08 PM  

I can't type without looking at my fingers. I can't hit a 100 MPH fastball. I can't run 100 meters in less than 10 seconds. Ergo it can't be done! Now get off of my lawn you damn kids.

@Malsdemare - Usually the NSFW will show up in the subject line of the email, or as part of or near the link (note the links to other comics here. The idea being that you might not want to click on the link if your boss walks past your desk.

Happy Pencil 12:25 PM  

@Anon 11:18 AM, I have to defend the honour of Canadians and say that's not particular to us. I've seen it many times on this very comment board, in fact (for example, people write "Monday's" instead of "Mondays"). Sometimes it's a misunderstanding of how apostrophes should be used, but in fairness, sometimes it's the fault of the dreaded autocorrect.

I thought this was fun little Tuesday puzzle with a clever theme that didn't go the obvious places. Another good one for people who are just starting to do crossword puzzles.

And just a belated note to say that I'm glad so many of you were spurred by my post to try the dastardly July 15, 1995, but I feel I should note that someone else (was it you, @Tita?) pointed me to it in the first place. And in the interests of honesty, I'll admit that I didn't really finish it on my own -- I allow myself to check the grid but not Google on archival puzzles if I get really stuck. After several wrong turns and several sessions over many different days, I did finally finish (happy pencil!), but boy, it was much, much harder than even the hardest of today's puzzles.

Anonymous 12:25 PM  

This anonymous 30 something agrees with the last one! SXSW has been one of the premier music festivals in the US for decades, its like clueing for Woodstock or lollapalooza. NSFW, well, if you're tech savvy enough to be commenting on a blog, I have no idea how you haven't seen that.

It's nice to see more contemporary fill, not that I don't like older fill too, I often learn something interesting. The only thing I don't like is older fill that isn't worth learning except for crosswords... although I did read PNIN because I had to look it up and thought it sounded fun. Haven't gotten around to OMOO yet.

Jack Effin Gladney 12:29 PM  

@the folks calling into question Rex's reported solve time: he solves the puzzles on the computer. I do too, and I hit 3:15 today. Using the computer--along with the Across Lite app--makes it much easier to increase your solving time. The current clue is always right in front of your eyes, so there's no looking back and forth between the clues and the grid. Knowing how to type also helps, but it's not just that--it's also the muscle memory of solving on the computer: right handing bouncing around on the arrow keys, left hand doing most of the typing, right hand zipping up from the arrow keys to help when necessary.

If I ever had to go back to paper solving--like, say, if I ever got up the cojones to attend the ACPT--I'd face a very steep learning curve. My solve times would certainly suffer from some ego-bruising declines.

As for how to get faster in general: solve every puzzle you can get your hands on. NYT, LA Times, WSJ, CHE. Quigley, Agard, Kravis, Jones, Birnholz. American Values Club, Fireball. Keep hoping that Kameron Austin Collins will start doing his twice-a-month puzzles again, because the crossword world badly needs his incredible themelesses. (Also hope that next time Peter Gordon does a Kickstarter to try to resurrect the awesome Washington Post themeless, more people will get on board.) Allow yourself to be destroyed by Croce's ridiculously (and, I think, unfairly, though I'm probably just being whiny) hard themelesses.

When doing these early-week puzzles, try to almost shut your brain off. Barely let the clue register before typing the first answer that comes to mind. The early-week clues are very literal and straightforward, and even if you type the wrong answer, there will probably be easy clues on the crosses to help you fix your mistakes. If the answer doesn't come right to you, don't waste you're time thinking about it. Move on. Start at 1-Across if you want, but again, if it doesn't come right to you, move on. Start your solve somewhere else in the puzzle and build from there.

Anonymous 12:29 PM  

Betty DeVos just got confirmed as Education Secretary.

QuasiMojo 12:31 PM  

@Happy Pencil, I'm glad you mentioned the July 15, 1995 puzzle. I did it yesterday, following your lead, and managed to finish it in about 52 grueling, head-scratching minutes (albeit with one google cheat.) I could not remember the Latin name for "tin" and since it was crossed with some obscure chess champion I had no choice but to look it up even though I was only missing that one letter. Perhaps I could have done the "check" thing but I like reading what I find on google sometimes. Great puzzle, though. I learned a lot from it! Thank you for recommending it!

Andrew Heinegg 12:43 PM  

Just when you think you could not feel any worse about stuff after dnfing on the SXSW and NSFW crossing, you find out Betsy Devos has been confirmed and regulars on the blog tell you there is no excuse for getting naticked in the SE.

Hope if you have kids of school age you have plenty of money to send your kids to private school because Ms. Let's eviscerate the public school system is going to see to it that only wealthy people will get a good education. Okay, wealthy people have always had a problem with getting a good education. Ms. Devos never worried about it since none of her children were ever in the public school system.

Masked and Anonymous 12:53 PM  

MARQUEE NAMES = {Queen's place??}, also.

Admirable symmetric longies: BUREAU/URBANE.

staff weeject pick: MRS. Leadin here to the obvious: {Wife of 2014 Super Bowl performer??} = BRUNO MRS.

TWERK. It's in the north central zone, but most of yer TWERKin seemed to be goin down in the SE corner zone. ATVS. SXSW [been to it!]. NSFW [M&A's official title]. Abbrevitwerkin. Cool concept. I am welcome to Vige Land. Funny reaction commentz, @RP.

@RP: Primo writeup bullets, today. Thanx. fave: Supe Bowl hasbeen halftimers one. But, hey -- if U ain't Left Shark, U ain't really squat, in the Supe Bowl Halftime HALLOFFAME.

Thanx, Mr. Vigeland. Mucho excellent, RUB-A-TOE grid, dude.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


**gruntz**

puzzle hoarder 12:57 PM  

This was a tough but enjoyable Tuesday mainly due to the middle themer (difficulty wise, the enjoyment was overall.) I was waiting for the actual Queen to show up and the drag performer was not on the radar at all. When you have no idea where the clue is going entries can just look like a random string of letters and you can break them down into the wrong words. I was unsure of the second letter of HUME so left it blank. Even though I had WRAP written in the start of 36A kept looking like DEPAUL. On the east end I was seeing the word GRACE and I was wondering if the English monarch was somehow involved with an American university. Very bizarre. Obviously I've never seen the TV show and I'm not complaining. The SE corner was all gimmies so I was able back fill the missing letters of 36A because the entire southern tier was Tuesday material. With everything but the second letter that middle themer was obvious. As for HUME that entry has been clued as the philosopher 14x in the Shortz era alone so I ought to be more confidant of it's spelling. NSFW has appeared 5x previously since it's early '14 debut. Pay attention class.

G. Weissman 1:02 PM  

My vote for best puzzle in a long while.

Nancy 1:03 PM  

Amen, @Andrew Heinegg. Every time I think it's not possible to get any more depressed about the state of the nation, I do. Get more depressed. Are there only two Republicans in the entire Senate capable of putting country over party? It's not as though there's a single argument in favor of this woman. It's not as though she has any real public support whatsoever or that Republicans who oppose her are in danger of being "primaried." If they can't even take a principled stand on this... Sigh. But here's the good news, @AH: This "regular solver" says it's perfectly fine to Natick on the SXSW/NSFW cross. Natick away, Andrew; I did too.

mathgent 1:06 PM  

FOCI not LOCI. I just checked the definitions. "Focus" is defined to be "central point." No mention of "central" in the definition of "locus."

Sloppy editing, Mr. Shortz.

r.alphbunker 1:11 PM  

Solved with the Down clues hidden. Need to reveal 5 letters, use google and onelook.com to finish. Felt like a Friday.

Details are here.

Teedmn 1:17 PM  

A very challenging Tuesday for me, starting out with "buy NOW" at 5A/15A. And I had to DRAG RU PAUL out kicking and screaming - with WHEEL and ARROWHEAD in place, I put in David HUME. Then looked at the R in WRAP and A of HEAD and decided the Queen's place was going to be RoyAl something, for no reason at all. I don't even remember how I dug myself out from AMID that black ink morass, but I did.

And the NE, off PRIMER, went it pretty smoothly until I went with RigATO at 9D. Yes, it has been nearly 4 decades since my last piano lesson but I didn't think I was going to be making words up, rather than just forgetting them.

So with ___SSgOARD in place, I started thinking swiSSguARD, oops, that's the Pope, not the Queen, and IRONY is surely correct. Fixed all of that but this was possibly my slowest Tuesday ever. So, fun!

I'll just TWEET and TWERK my way out of here. Thanks, FV.

Anonymous 1:18 PM  

"Queen" with or without apostrophe is correct. While I didn't learn such in a pool hall, the meaning describes a type of gay person , or any gay person . The latter is rather self-deprecatory within rhe gay community.

Malsdemare 1:20 PM  

I have nature photography friends who spent Superb Owl day tramping around taking pictures of owls. Owls, you say! Be they not nocturnal? Aye, I say, most but not all; the burrowing owl is diurnal, and on grey days the barn owl who hangs out in the woods behind our house can often be seen in the trees at the edge of the forest. I haven't the patience to wait for him/her to appear but said friends had some awesome scores Sunday, and it wasn't of falcons (or patriots).

Anonymous 1:21 PM  

I'm in my 60s, don't consider myself particularly up on things, and had no problem with Mr. Mars, SXSW, or NSFW. Enjoyed the puzzle and that some of the answers were a bit more modern (i.e. couldn't have been in a 20-year-old puzzle.

foxaroni 1:26 PM  

Excellent puzzle, Mr. Vigeland. All answers were very Tuesday-ish for this "oldish"--as opposed to "young-ish"--solver.

A few years ago, one of my tech support co-workers was living with a lady who worked in HR. One day he emailed her a link, with the instruction to "be sure to turn up the volume on your speakers." When she did so and then clicked on the link, a voice went booming through the office: "Hey, guys, come see this porn I found on the internet!"

Shortly after that, they broke up. NSFW, indeed.

Richard Rutherford 1:44 PM  

Rex, if you watch some RPDR you will understand Melania Trump.

Merriam Webster 1:47 PM  

@Mathgent - You need a better dictionary, to learn to read past definition 1a before you decided what a word does or does not mean.

Definition of locus
plural lociplay \ˈlō-ˌsī, -ˌkī, -ˌkē\
1
a : the place where something is situated or occurs : site, location
b : a center of activity, attention, or concentration
2
: the set of all points whose location is determined by stated conditions
3
: the position in a chromosome of a particular gene or allele

tea73 2:02 PM  

This 60 year old didn't think it trended too young. RUBATO was really the only word I don't remember seeing. My piano lesson days are long behind me! I've always thought NSFW was one of the better internet abbreviations, it always gives me a chuckle when I run across it. Since I work at home, it's never a problem.

I really only know BRUNO MARS from the Super Bowl performances. I don't think drag needs to be stuck in front of queen.

I really enjoyed the puzzle and the theme.

Anonymous 2:03 PM  

Speaking of the generation gap, I wonder if anyone besides myself mentally went through "Queen" locations, couldn't think of anything besides chessboard or NYC, and was sure one of the answers would be something like "mystery section." Does anyone still read Ellery Queen? (I never have.) Sometimes he is (really, *was*)in crosswords for the Ellery. Does anyone still go to bookstores? I hear that they are sort of making a comeback.

chefwen 2:06 PM  

BRUNO MARS is a "big deal" here as he was raised in Honolulu, so no problem there. Knew RU PAUL, no problem there. My downfall came at 56D, knew not suitable for, but forgot the last letter. Hey, it was late last night, so I tossed in an E, ya know, not suitable for eyes, right? DNF Tuesday, RATS,

puzzle hoarder 2:15 PM  

@Happy Pencil and @Quasimojo as I mentioned last Saturday if you read the comments from Saturday 1/28/17 you'll notice that the 7/15/95 puzzle was suggested by yours truly. There's an equally difficult one from earlier that year I'll try to dig up.

Anonymous 2:33 PM  

Great puzzle. Breezed through it in about 30 seconds under my normal Tuesday time.

Thank You Vice President Pence! Bringing the teacher's unions under control and returning power to parents and local school boards, will go a long way towards repairing our horribly dysfunctional education system.

All of President Trump's choices will be approved by week's end. Stalling could not delay the inevitable.

Diana,LIW 3:54 PM  

Here's a party we can all join!

Come visit Syndieland and celebrate Burma Shave's 3rd anniversary as our poet laureate. Every day for two years (as of tomorrow) BS, as we call him, has written at least one ode to our oeuvre. He says he hasn't heard of a book deal yet, but can that be long coming?

So on Thursday the 9th, Syndieland will have an open house for all who read Rex. Bring your favorite party snack and libations. I'm hoping someone brings mead, which shows up regularly in the puzzle. Even if you don't have a deLorean (as I do), you can just click on the SYNDICATION button at the top of your screen and stop by in the land of 5 weeks ago. (Of course, you're always welcome to pop by in the past. We often do reply to your Futureland posts.)

Party down or party hearty, comon' by!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords and poetry

Road Side Sam 4:23 PM  

Her Husband's Whiskers


Just Don't Phase her


Because He Uses


An Electric Razor.


F&#K BurmaShave!

Anonymous 4:28 PM  

Absolutely. In queer culture, "queen" has just about one meaning. Nitpicking the cluing there because of your innocent ignorance is silly.

Anonymous 4:35 PM  

I agree!

Doc John 4:46 PM  

Get over it, you old queen! He got RUPAULSDRAGRACE into the puzzle!
You need to change your name to Rex Nitparker.

Anonymous 4:47 PM  

RuPaul spoiled this puzzle for me by tweeting the completed grid on Monday night. Bleh. But I will say that 'queen' is absolutely ordinary nomenclature for a drag queen both in the the world of drag generally and specifically on RuPaul's Drag Race.

jae 4:59 PM  

Medium for me. No problems with SXSW/NSFW for this 70+ year old. I try to pay attention to stuff, although I did not know RUBATO.

A very fine Tues., liked it a lot!

Wednesday's Child 5:14 PM  

Yep, that little w in the corner did it. Dnf'ed. Is that correct apostrophe usage? I'm an American but I live in Canada.

Lovely puzzle.

Wednesday's Child 5:14 PM  

Yep, that little w in the corner did it. Dnf'ed. Is that correct apostrophe usage? I'm an American but I live in Canada.

Lovely puzzle.

Happy Pencil 5:21 PM  

@ puzzle hoarder, so sorry I'd forgotten it was you. But hey, I get points for trying to redirect the credit where it actually belonged, don't I?

Anonymous 6:27 PM  

Took about 16 minutes but got one letter wrong. NFSE was the answer

Chris 6:36 PM  

Boy Rex, there's no making you happy! It's either too fusty or too trendy with you. I'm 65yo and am all over NSFW and SXSW! I thought this puzzle was delightful.

Anonymous 7:04 PM  

"we get it, Finn, you're young(ish). Dial it back, kid."

Would you write "we get it, you're old, dial it back?" for someone using a lot of 70's clues?

People of all ages can write puzzles and include clues from their era.

I'm 57 and enjoyed (and aced) the puzzle. Keep up the good work, Finn.

Wednesday's Child 7:54 PM  

I post once and it appears twice. Why?

Anonymous 7:59 PM  

DNF on JLO-JOAD. Maybe not a natick but it naticked me. Rest of puzzle done in <7 minutes.

Burma Shave 8:18 PM  

@RoadSideSam - that's clever but not original. Try doing that featuring words from the puzzle. Every day for two years. Even on vacation. Including Sundays. Sometimes twice. A few times thrice. Oft times >50% puzzle content. Mine most often more blue than you. Never been done before. You can't touch it. You're already two years behind. I'm only 5 weeks behind.

BS2 8:24 PM  

Not to mention in couplet, haiku, sestet, limerick and others you wouldn't know.

Diana,LIW 8:27 PM  

My dear @BS

I wasn't going to point this out at this time, but this is the exact same post Chaos (the resident asshole of Futureland) posted regarding you on 2/8/16. He is such an obvious AnonyMouse. Or a rat.

BS3 8:34 PM  

@D,LIW - maybe I trolled a troll, maybe I got trolled. In any event, for the upcoming event, others may now have a frame of reference.

You are too good to me.

Teedmn 8:49 PM  

Wow, Burma Shave visited the future! Kudos on your upcoming event and I will be sure to stop in for my share of the bubbly!

Tita A 8:55 PM  

@Anon from Saturday re: Turkey/turkey, Peru/peru... Thanks...you made me look - I googled some more. It seems that almost everyone who had never seen one before believed it to have come from somewhere different, and named it after that place.
I was delighteed to learn that the French thought it came from India, which explains why they call it "Dinde" - short for Poulet d'Inde, or chicken of India.
Another example of why I love this blog.

@mathgent - delighted you'll be in Stamford! I used to travel to SFO alot from CT. Used White Plains whenever budget allowed (it's generally more $$$.) To me, a stop in Detroit was worth it to be able to use that lovely, tiny airport. The Marriott might have a shuttle that would pick you up there.
Having said that, you'll have lots more options going to jfk - you'll just have to pay for the ground transport.

@Happy Pencil - I brought up the May 5 1977(!) Sunday that @r.alph found for me. I have yet to try @ph's suggestion.

Nancy 8:58 PM  

@GILL (9:49 a.m.) -- RuPaul is "gorgeous"?????? Am I missing something????? Having had no idea what he looked like, but always being able to find extra time in my day to look at a "gorgeous" man, I Googled him. Oh, GILL, no!!!!! You of all people -- you who hobnobbed with some of Hollywood's most gorgeous leading men back in the day. You can't be serious! You can't be! Tell me you're not serious!

(I haven't been this shocked since @Hartley70 told me how "adorable" she thought Bernie Sanders was.)

Tita A 9:02 PM  

@Lewis...I'm going to have to join the Apostrophe Protection Society!

At the Westport tournament, I was commiserating with a fellow apostrophile about a story I've told here often...
She was saying how she's surprised at how many people don't know what that mark is between the O and S in her last name.
I told her about when my mom was asked to spell her name to the clerk on the phone...
Mom- "It's d, apostrophe, A, n..."
Clerk- "Hold on - not so fast - how do you spell apostrophe?"

We have the added nit that it's a small d capital A. But when it's your family name, it's not a nit!

Z 9:12 PM  

@Wednesday's Child - Because it is Blogger and Blogger occasionally does weird things. As for your apostrophe use, I don't know any traditional rule for using an apostrophe to separate a past tense from a verbified initialism. DNFed or dnf'ed both convey the separation between the initialism and the past tense construction. In a formal setting I'd avoid using the verbified initialism. For a blog it looks fine to me.

@mathgent - you are mathematically correct but the puzzle is in English, where one might say, "The LOCI of many recent protests have been Trump properties," the clue works.

@Andrew Heinegg - I hope I'm not included in your "regulars on the blog." I don't think it is a true natick, but obviously lots of people DNF'ed there.

Which brings me to @Critics of Rex's Criticism - Ahem, read the comments and it is obvious that Rex's criticism of the SXSW/NSFW crossing was spot on. Either is fine, but that W is not easily inferable.

Joseph Welling 9:55 PM  

One of my favorite Woody Guthrie tunes: the Ballad of Tom Joad.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dimhKln0KBg

jedlevine 10:14 PM  

@jberg - RuPaul is a "she," not a "he".

Anonymous 10:32 PM  

Probably Android phone issue. Go to system settings and check for updates.

Z 10:35 PM  

@jedlevine - According to Ru Paul, He is a "he." I'm guessing he is probably the definitive word.

GHarris 10:55 PM  

NSFW crossing SXSW ? All I can say is a#%!?£€ash !!!

Anonymous 11:36 AM  

Honestly I would be embarrassed to admit that I don't know Bruno Mars.
So many people on this site seem proud of their lack of knowledge about current music. Open your ears people!

Anonymous 11:52 PM  

"You can call me he, you can call me she, you can call me Regis and Kathie Lee." -RuPaul

socdem 4:19 PM  

Being a once-trained musician (RUBATO is lovely to see in a score) with an appreciation for drag culture, this was the easiest puzzle in a long time. Every answer fell immediately into place. And I still finished with a slower time than Rex! Just shy of five minutes. It's become clear I lack strategy. Is there a good resource for time-focused solving tips?

While "drag queen" is generally accurate, both on the show and in real life a performer typically referred to as simply a "queen", and what they do, simply as "drag". So that clue works perfectly.

I also think SXSW is fair game. It's a huge and quite famous festival, and is almost always presented in its acronym form for purposes of promotion and advertising. Definitely fair for a Tuesday in my opinion.

socdem 4:29 PM  

@jberg @jedlevine @Z Individuals have different pronoun preferneces, but generally, RuPaul is "he" while RuPaul in drag is "she". Most drag performers separate themselves from their performance personas, but RuPaul (which is actually his given name) uses the same name for both. But don't worry over it too much; RuPaul's own words: "You can call me he. You can call me she. You can call me Regis & Cathy Lee; I don't care! Just as long as you call me".

centralscrewtinizer 11:51 AM  

Yep, had FOCI and wondered who jfo was.

As to Devos, she might learn something, the twit. Just another crowbar in the wrecking machine.

spacecraft 12:10 PM  

I agree with @TonyR that the clue for LOCI is wrong, but one other clue stands out like a sore thumb today: "Make bread." Now, this is no problem at all for the experienced solver--but the context! Every other clue in this puzzle is, like, first-grade level. No thinking required. So why this single attempt at, say, fourth-grade cluing? It was jarring.

As to the alphabet soup in the (SX)SW, well, that entry was dictated by crosses and I still thought something was amiss. But nothing else would budge, so I left it. Even this septuagenarian has managed to learn what NSFW means, even though I have entered one of my later LIVES as a retiree. How did I know LATEX? Don't ask.

While JLO seems the obvious choice for DOD (she's a HOTONE, all right, and can certainly ENAMOR you with a TWERK of that magnificent boo-tay), I prefer a great sense of humor along with the great bod; hence MY winner Terri GARR.

I was surprised at OFL's rating today; I found this ridiculously easy on top, maybe easy-medium downstairs until I gathered enough letters in the double-liner (about 6), then whoosh to the finish. I wish that last corner could have been reworked, but that's partly my personal aversion to acronymity.

I see a little silhouetto of a man...gotta love it. Birdie.

Burma Shave 12:24 PM  

HARE PEACE

MRS. ROE is an URBANE but ANTSY HOTONE,
so ACT NOW, FEW EVER EARN her EPIC flame.
She LIVES to WRAP your MEAT for ROCKANDROLL fun,
She’ll TWERK her way into the LATEX HALLOFFAME.

--- RUDY RUBATO

Diana,LIW 12:51 PM  

Today's dnf was caused by my inattention, putting in NEWwORKCITY and not noticing the doubled doubleu. (W)

My mind is elsewhere. Mr. W was at a car show this weekend, and he ended up in the ER with a seizure or stroke. He sounds pretty ok, but they are keeping him for a couple of days. Nothing like being a few thousand miles away from your dearest when random emergency strikes. Helpless feeling.

Diana, LIWFC

Sailor 1:47 PM  

@Diana, how very unsettling to be far from one's love when things go wrong. It's good to know that your Mr. sounds OK in the aftermath of his unpleasant surprise. I hope he continues to recover, and that you may be reunited soon.

Sailor 2:04 PM  

While I'm here, I'll just add that I thought this was unusually entertaining for a Tuesday puzzle.

I do agree that the the clues for EARN and LOCI were off. "Make bread" is a slang clue for a decidedly non-slang answer, so it really needed a "?" for it to work.

But the theme was cute, and well-executed, and the cultural trivia in the grid seemed ubiquitous enough to be fair game. You certainly don't have to have watched RUPAULSDRAGRACE, or attended SXSW, to be aware of their existence. Nice work.

rondo 2:16 PM  

Maybe not the best Tues-puz EVER, but best recently. I had adHERE like OFL, but not for long. Clean after that.

BTW, SXSW is happening this week. Stream The Current 89.3 for live reports. SXSW a gimme. Several years ago I labelled my photo folder NXNW for our trip to WA state.

BRUNOMARS – there’s one guy who should never make the ROCKANROLL HALLOFFAME.

I won’t go any further than JLO for yeah baby today. Did you see the season premiere of Shades of Blue? It was a HOTONE. NSFW. But I would “Rrrroll, rrroll, rrroll in ze hay” with Teri GARR.

Really nice Tuesday, IMHO, but do we pass the breakfast test with the clue for LATEX?

rain forest 2:52 PM  

Funky puzzle which starts off dead easy but gets more challenging as you descend the grid. RUPAULSDRAGRACE is a complete unknown for me, but the crosses were straightforward, as was much of the cluing.

Different places for Queens or Queen's. Was actually looking for "beehive" for awhile. Cute to have a two-liner themer. "Central points" seemed inappropriate for LOCI, though maybe that is plant-related. I don't know.

Another WOE for me was SXSW, but all the other answers in that corner were gimmes, so it had to be.

Overall, an entertaining grid, including Teri Garr, after whom I have frequently lusted. A shame that she battles MS now.

@DLIW, my thoughts are with you and Mr. Waiting.

Diana,LIW 3:46 PM  

Thanks to all who wrote here and in email. Just spoke with Mr. w - they would have released him today, but since there isn't a flight until tomorrow, he will stay overnight. Yesterday he sounded a bit groggy and lost. Today he was back to micro-managing our kitchen remodel over the phone. Telling me where each tile is supposed to go. Should be home tomorrow evening. Hooray!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for tomorrow

faktchekker 4:17 PM  

Merriam-Webster
Definition of locus:
plural: LOCI

1b : a center of activity, attention, or concentration

Therefore "Central points" as clued.

leftcoastTAM 4:51 PM  

Earlier posted comment somehow got lost. It dealt with the libidinous sub-theme of this fun puzzle.

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