Popular rapper with feline-sounding name / SUN 6-18-17 / Neutrogena dandruff shampoo / Asian plumlike fruit / Up for paradoxically / Onetime rap moniker / Intoxicating polynesian drink

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Constructor: Sam Trabucco

Relative difficulty: Normal

THEME: "Silent Treatment" — familiar phrases clued as if their silent letters didn't exist. Silent letters (in circles) spell out KNIGHT (so ... per the title ... Silent "(K)Night" ... which has like three silent letters in it, actually ... but ... I don't know; I think that's the theme)

Theme answers:
  • DOUBLE (K)NOTS (23A: Reversals of reversals in sentences?)
  • GIVES A DAM(N) (41A: Donates shelter to some beavers?)
  • RENAISSANCE FA(I)RE (57A: Soup, black bread and, for the wealthy, meat?)
  • REI(G)NING MONARCHS (81A: Kings and queens bringing their steeds to a halt?)
  • AFTER (H)OURS (98A: "Excuse me, but my partner's and my kids go first!")
  • TARO(T) SPREAD (119A: Feast consisting entirely of Hawaiian foodstuffs?)
Word of the Day: TYGA (30D: Popular rapper with a feline-sounding name) —
Micheal Ray Stevenson (born November 19, 1989), known by his stage name Tyga (a backronym for Thank you God always), is an American rapper. In 2011, Tyga signed a recording contract with Young Money Entertainment, Cash Money Records and Republic Records (formerly Universal Republic Records). His major label debut Careless World: Rise of the Last King, includes the singles "Rack City", "Faded" featuring fellow Young Money artist Lil Wayne, "Far Away" featuring Chris Richardson, "Still Got It" featuring Drake, and "Make It Nasty". He released his third album Hotel California, on April 9, 2013, and includes the singles "Dope" featuring Rick Ross, "For The Road" featuring Chris Brown, and "Show You" featuring Future. (wikipedia)
• • •

The basic gimmick here is super duper basic and old. Words have silent letters ... yup, they sure do. So the only "joy" is the wackiness of the clues, which are not very funny, as written. So it's a bit of a dud. Then I thought, well, the circled letters must do something ... and they do. They do spell KNIGHT. Which (I guess?) relates to the title ("Silent Treatment"), in that the puzzle has a silent, if not a holy, KNIGHT in it. OK. It's just ... weird, because the waters are all muddied by the fact that the *word* "KNIGHT" itself has A Bunch of silent letters in it, not just the "K." Also, even though the "k" in "knight" is silent, technically ... in the context of the puzzle ... *every* letter in "knight" is silent. So it's just ... loose and unclear, concept-wise. A puzzle's gimmick / theme / revealer / whatever should *snap* into place. Boom. Pow. There it is. No questions. No loose ends. This theme wasn't that strong to begin with, in its bones, and then the added spelling-"knight" bit, rather than clarifying matters, only raised more questions about what, exactly, the puzzle was trying to do.

Also the puzzle got a little cute in the fill, perhaps because it was trying to make up for a pretty anemic theme, with only six themers in play. Scrabble-f***ing gets you the ludicrous AQUACAR (?) / LOQUAT crossing in the NW and the less explicable DR. OZ / ZETA crossing in the SW. DROP / PETA is better if only because the cluing options for DROP are so much more numerous. You can go thousands of ways with DROP, but only one kinda icky way with the celeb doc. It's patchy, this grid. There's the SNOOP LION / ANTI / TYGA patch in the north, which I kinda like, but which will be very rough for you if you don't follow contemporary R&B/hip-hop music. Then there's the is-this-a-parody-of-bad-crosswords patch in the east, where things break down something awful. TGEL (62A: Neutrogena dandruff shampoo) (what ... is that? whatever it is, it's not good fill), crossing GOT A C (so bad it's almost good but not quite) and the dreaded E-CASH (64D: Digital currency). The puzzle on the whole isn't terrible, but it just never quite found its footing, never quite came together, and was far too ... yeah, patchy, in the end, to be very enjoyable.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. what is a TAROT SPREAD? I have never heard of that? Is that what it's called when the tarot card leader lays out your ... cards? To read? Familiarity-wise, that answer seems like a major outlier.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Eprailick 1:08 AM  

Poor editing with both PICKME and EMAILME as answers. I found this one tedious and subpar.

Todd Gak 1:15 AM  

DNF. Done in by the MOLE trap.

George Barany 1:17 AM  

I'll have to come out a bit more positive than @Rex on @Sam Trabucco's puzzle ... though I surprised myself by sussing out both rappers (neither of whom I had ever heard of) that intersect the SEA SPRAY. I know enough about the Greek alphabet to put in ZETA with a medium level of semi-confidence, but that only made the crossing DR OZ, as clued, a real letdown (I hardly consider this event from last fall to be in any way professional).

It was good to be reminded of GODEL and to see a non-Yale clue for ELI. The genetic material clue required solving the crossing word to get the first letter, and frankly, I would have preferred DTS to be clued for this chemistry. I did appreciate the built-in hint which made it possible to figure out ROOT ROT.

That final O in CREEPO seems kind of arbitrary; the top hit from a Google search is an Urban Dictionary definition. Oy! (without a tailing E, as in 115-Across). PICK ME reminds me of a long ago public lecture on the University of Minnesota campus, when the Amazing Randi selected my son Michael--about ten years old--to join him on stage and bend a spoon for an audience of mostly college students.

Finally, I'm impressed that the circled letters, read in order, spell out KNIGHT. I consider that an asset, not a bug. Well done, @Sam.

Trombone Tom 1:30 AM  

Well, the circled letters are all "silent" so I guess that gives us "Silent KNIGHT." Is that supposed to put us in a Christmas mood? We could use a little winterizing; it's forecast to be 108 here tomorrow!

ROOT ROT is a common problem with walnut trees (abundant where old orchards were subdivided). The surrounding lawns are overwatered, which promotes this.

I thought this was a fairly clever version of this theme, but the puzzle was on the easy side.

Anonymous 1:32 AM  

I don't remember PACMAN following dotted lines. Very confusing clue.

Sot's woe, DTS? Huh?

I looked up VOLE, I hope I don't run across one of those, bleh.

I should have gotten GO BALD quicker, clever clue. That had me stumped for a while.

Anonymous 1:36 AM  

Also wondering what TAROT SPREAD has to do with Hawaiian foodstuffs.

jae 1:44 AM  

Easy-medium for me. A pleasant solve after last week's annoyance. My biggest problem area was north-center. I'd forgotten that SNOOP went by LION briefly, did not know TYGA or the Rihanna tour, and had a hard time with SPRAY.

Interesting and fun with a bonus, liked it much more than @Rex did.

@Anon - TARO is a Hawaiian food staple.

Joe Dipinto 1:50 AM  

@Anonymice 1:32 and 1:36 -- Pacman followed (and munched on) a trail of dots. DTs = delirium tremens, aka the shakes. Taro is a starchy root used in much Hawaiian (and other Pacific island) food preparation; hence TARO SPREAD.

Prancing Fop 2:04 AM  

Does anyone remember collusion?

Larry Gilstrap 2:05 AM  

Hats off to OFL for ferreting out that the little circles spelled KNIGHT. I know enough about the Medieval World to know that a KNIGHT was pretty badass, a super star, certainly not one of those BETAS. If I cared more I would pursue the fact that they might be featured at a RENAISSANCE FAIRE, pledge loyalty to REIGNING MONARCHS, and appear in a TAROT SPREAD. Three out of six is not bad. Help us out here anyone who is clever and GIVES A DAMN about the other themers. I tore through the NW and SW, but eventually ran out of steam in the SE. It was a very hot day in the desert.

Something about "Othello" is reminiscent of the story of O.J. Poor Emilia is victimized by IAGO, who in turn makes a victim of poor Desdemona. Shakespeare challenges productions to be relevant. Can someone be a true hero without the element of tragedy?

Analogy time: ROOT ROT: ROOT ROOT :: ALGREN: ________? Here's a clue for you all: "Love and Happiness."

"Who has ever won a debate over the internet?" Yeah, but Twitter?

Growing up in Southern California, I am very familiar with the LOQUAT. They were these ornamental shrubs that bore fruit that were barely more than insipid in flavor and the perfect size for throwing. Nobody ever used them for any thing useful, as I recollect. I haven't seen one in years.

Joe Dipinto 2:39 AM  

I was puzzled by the KNIGHT gimmick as well. Yes, KNIGHT is NIGHT with a silent K in front but NIGHT already has two silent letters within it, plus three sounded letters. So, it just doesn't work as any kind of theme tie-together.

'mericans in Paris 2:48 AM  

Sorry, but seeing the revealer, all I can think of is that famous scene from Monty Python's Holy Grail, shouted from the ramparts by a French soldier :

"Go and boil your bottoms, you sons of a silly person! I blow my nose at you, so-called 'Arthur King,' ... you and all your silly English KKKKK-N-I-G-H-I-T-s!"

In that scene, of course, it is the "H", not the "K", that is silent.

Also running through my head, like an earworm, is "KNIGHTS in White Satin".

When we saw the title, and the several clues to rappers, we thought, "Oh, this is going to be a tough one." But then Mrs. 'Mericans sussed out GIVE A DAMN, and we were off to the races. Main problem is that I have never heard of SNOOP LION, and so much wanted to shoe-horn in SNOOP Dogg.

The Mrs. just returned from voting in the second round of France's Parliamentary elections. Emmanuel Macron's brand-new new party, La République en Marche! is expected to win at least 400 of the 577 seats being contested -- a phenomenal accomplishment, which is being called "the surge of the radial center". The Economist magazine this week even features a photo-shopped picture of President Macron walking on water, with just the feet and shoes of an upturned and submerged Theresa May visible in the near distance. Ha! "You don't frighten us, English pig dogs. Your mother was a hampster, and your father smelt of elderberries!"

Nice to see a Hawai'ian reference in the puz today. (Hey, Chefwen!)

phil phil 2:53 AM  

ARIE/ALGREN cross was a personal Pronoun guess for me.

I kinda liked it and glad Rex pointed out the KNIGHT silents theme. I guess I would have seen it it ... But like a lot of NYT Sundays I'm usually done when I'm done. Not very often with them do I take time to admire it when finished.

'mericans in Paris 3:36 AM  

Oops, that should have been "radical", not "radial" center.

Deep Mac 4:02 AM  

Rex, thank you for introducing me to the word "backronym." But after learning what a backronym is, I think "Tyga" is actually an acronym, isn't it? It's a word made from a phrase, not a phrase made from an already existing word. Or am I missing something?

Loren Muse Smith 4:34 AM  

I’m with @George and @jae- I thought this was a great puzzle. Rex – you said, “A puzzle's gimmick / theme / revealer / whatever should *snap* into place. Boom. Pow.” This one did just that for me. About half-way through, I saw that the circled letters would spell KNIGHT and with the title, you get SILENT KNIGHT – another themer following the same rules. I loved it. This can’t have been easy to do. Think of what Sam had to do:

1. Find a good word for each of the silent letters - KNIGHT - but make sure they can be bonafide words if you vamoose the silent letter. So the word business, say, for the silent I and foreign for the silent G would be non-starters because busness and forein are not words, too.

2. Find solid phrases using each word with its silent letter and then clue the phrase as though the silent letter is not there. This is possible because the remaining word is a real word – see step #1.

3. Ditch most of your possible phrases because of the &%$# symmetry problem. Remember because you’re putting the letters proper spelling order, these phrases have to match in letter count: K=T, N=H, I=G.

4. As a really nice touch, make sure the down words crossing the silent letters maintain the letter’s silent status. ( KNAVE, SOLEMN, AIDE, SIGNER, HOURS, and DEPOT)

That KNIGHT has other silent letters never occurred to me, but point well taken.

I agree that TAROT SPREAD was the toughest. Something like WHISTLE STOP is more in the language and would fit there, but whisle isn’t a thing. Sam was working with crazy restrictions here, folks.

Had to erase “troll” for the guy who never wins an argument on the internet.

@Larry - ROOT ROT. I noticed that, too (And your ALGREN thought). Same words, just add the same vowel. Good God!

Took me forever to realize it was POINTY. I kept going back to make sure “pointed” didn’t fit. Sheesh. And my own dad says “crowdy” for “crowded.” We’ve worked with him for years, but he just can’t fix this. He can be quite hard-heady.

So… Happy Father’s Day, all you dads out there.

Sam – I really liked this puzzle. Nice job.

Anonymous 6:03 AM  

Daughter: "Happy Father's Day dad, I made you a puzzle."

Michael Sharp: "This puzzle sucks."

Anonymous 6:38 AM  

The point is that removing any of the other silent letters of KNIGHT doesn't yield a new word.

Anonymous 6:48 AM  

Think those cowards in NYC would stage their Shakespeare in the Park play in rural PA, or OH or MI where everyone's not a lame-brained sycophant? Sniveling snowflakes.

Anonymous 7:20 AM  

@Anonymous 6:48 am, the whole moral message in the NYC Shakespeare in the Park is that murdering Caesar/Trump was wrong. I wouldn't expect a cowardly troll like you would ever take the time to investigate the actual source. And of course NO ONE wins when you keep posting your pathetic slurs. NO ONE who reads more than inflammatory slanted media pieces is going to be convinced by someone whose vocabulary is limited to parroting words like snowflake. Similarly NO ONE who reads widely is going to convince you to read anything other than those pieces that puff up you ego by imagining how powerful you are by attacking what you imagine to be the snowflakes that you think are ruining your littke bubble of the world. A better use of your time might be to play video games which at least take a little bit of skill to master. But then of course playing video games might be too difficult for you because you might have to accept that you aren't the all powerful OZ when you lose from time to time.

RAD2626 7:28 AM  

Liked the puzzle. Theme was clever and very well done, including the KNIGHTcap. It would appear I had a dnf however. Wondered who DR OB was ( as Roberto de Vincenzo was known to say on bETA "I made a stupid"). Thought maybe some baby doctor. Learned something about SNOOP Dogg as well. Wrote in CREEPy which eventually yielded to the crosses.

chefbea 7:45 AM  

Great fun puzzle which I actually finished!! Didn't realize that the circled letters spelled knight . Knew they were silent. ...So silent knight!!!! One thing I don't get - and one 98 down?????

BarbieBarbie 7:50 AM  

@Rex may have pointed out the super-themer, but it was @Trombone who explained it; the whole thing is silent here-hence, Silent Knight, a play on words. Fantastic!

Thanks @LMS for deconstructing- I appreciated about half of all that before reading your post.

Enjoyed this solve. A bit fast but not easy, so I agree with Normal.

Anonymous 8:06 AM  

The Alexandria shootings were a logical extension from Berkeley, Middlebury, etc. Punch a Nazi morphs into Assassinate a Congressman. Expect more of the same from the Social Justice Jihadis. Anyway, no one ever wins a debate on the internet.

QuasiMojo 8:43 AM  

@Nancy, I am too busy this morning to tackle the puzzle but I did want to stop by and say that I too value your contributions here. I had reached my three post limit yesterday and had to remain mum. I was a lurker for a year or two and basically just came here to read Rex and see what you had to offer. Keep it coming!! :)

Anonymous 8:44 AM  

KAVA (KAmA) crossing VOLE (mOLE) is about as nasty as it gets.

Otherwise, it was medium trending toward easy for me.

I am really peemed...I mean, peeved, about that crop-damaging cross, though.

Anonymous 8:48 AM  

Laura Loomer didn't wear a mask, wield a bike lock or stab a horse in the neck. Happy Father's day to dads who raise heroes instead of snowflakes.

Poopypants 8:51 AM  

I appreciate the Rex analysis of the last week. It is straightforward, his own authentic take, without the histrionics or accusations. This makes Rex, and not just this third party commentary, worth reading again.

JC66 9:02 AM  


I was sure you'd point out that the circled letters are silent going down, as well.

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

Al Green

Anonymous 9:11 AM  

I'm surprised that Rex does not even discusss the slightly added difficulty of keeping the letters silent in their respective down clues. To my mind this makes the 6 down clues sorta-themers as well, justifying some quantum of fill spillage.

Anonymous 9:21 AM  

Liked Rex' s review more than the puzzle.

Bill Feeney 9:23 AM  

I'm glad DOOK's cousins, IMOK, IDNO,and DROZ were able to make an appearance.

Teedmn 9:30 AM  

ALGRaN/ARIa, rats. I should have known the second one; the first one being the author of a book published ten years before I was born? Good luck with that one, millennials!

I like the "silent [K]NIGHT" theme. Although none of the themers made me laugh out loud, none of them made me wrinkle my nose at it so that's a good SIGN.

With the G in place at 26A, I was hoping mightily that "Making the honor roll, e.g." wasn't going to be "Good" so GOAL was a relief when it appeared.

I can't say AT WORST and "if all else fails..." are equivalent in my world but close enough for crosswords, I guess.

My plea to a stage magician would have a big "DON'T" in front of the "pick me". Those kinds of things never end well, in my opinion.

My first entry was SEMPER. I can remember sitting next to my uncle, staring at the tattoo on his arm of the Marine's symbol and SEMPER FI, a commemoration of his service in WWII. I never heard any war stories from him though.

Random thoughts while solving: Nice clue of "Clear one's head" for GO BALD. I had "nip" at 92A for a while, misreading the clue as "tiny bitE". I was tempted, as always, to put down RIlS for RIAS. AND ONE sounds more like a wedding invitation term than basketball. 39D has me hoping that the next time we need rain, we get more than DATA STORAGE from the cloud. My thought for "some Mardi Gras wear" after BEADS appeared was "and not much else". And something the blog comments prove every day, is 59D - NO ONE ever wins an internet debate.

Nice Sunday offering, thanks Sam Trabucco.

Anonymous 9:32 AM  

@Anonymous 8:06 am, you are using ecologic fallacy and confirmation bias, neither of which are logical. At any one moment in the news cycle one could string together a list of unrelated events to tarnish just about any religious group including Christians or any group including white nationalists, probirthers, gun collectors, video game playing boys, and postal workers. One could even use your illogical extension to tarnish presidents. By definition, vigilantes that use violence are not working towards social justice. Any reasonable human being would not condone it regardless of political party. I seriously doubt a bunch of crossword bloggers are a threat to anyone. I also seriously doubt that the bloggers here are unaware of the cherry picked news that you seem compelled to report every day. They, however, tend to refrain from filling the blog with a long list of many other violent events that occur every single day and carried out by people that don't fit within your skewed view that only "Social Justice Jihadists" are acting unlawfully and violently.

Anonymous 9:41 AM  

Dude you are too easy stop feeding these guys.

BarbieBarbie 9:43 AM  

@Teedmn, thanks for the reminder that I had intended to call out SEMPER too, on this Father's Day. I was so glad to see it. With the Halls of Montezuma as today's earworm... semper Fi, Dad.

John McKnight 9:44 AM  

The following are reasons I am fussy: AQUACAR. CREEPO. ECASH. NEONTUBE. ALGREN/AGEE/ADU. TOOREAL. TAROTSPREAD. thank you for reading my opinion on Rex's website.

Unknown 10:09 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 10:12 AM  

There are some silent letter theme echoes in the non-theme answers, my favorites being APOSTLE, WRITS, ISLA, and GUINEAN.

Aketi 10:17 AM  

@Larry, I don't think I've ever met a plant that I didn't manage to kill either because I overwater it into a state of ROOT ROT or I FORGET to water it until it dries up. Fortunately most pets and children make noise when they are hungry or thirsty so I haven't yet killed a pet or my kid.

DON'T BE CRUEL seems like the kind of sensible guideline for posting on social media that often doesn't work because there always some people don't GIVE A DAMN about others.

Are there KNIGHTs in the ARMY of ANTS? and if so, are they silent? Now I have an ear worm of that silly "The Ants Go Marching" song in my head and an image of them stiomping with their tiny little BOOTS.

alohagirl 10:21 AM  

While it may not be "good fill" I loved the "TGel" reference. When my dad worked in the marketing department at Neutrogena, one of his projects was to come up with a name for their new tar-based dandruff shampoo. (A useful, but not very glamorous product!) I remember him brainstorming at our kitchen table, creating a long list of possible names. Finally, with a big smile on his face he exclaimed "I've got it! The name is "TGel". So imagine my happy surprise when doing today's NYT Crossword Puzzle to come across this clue. A nice Father's Day remembrance of my wonderful Dad!

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

Thanks for sharing that, @alohagal!

Norm 10:33 AM  

Silent Treatment as the title, so Silent night. That's how I read it, at least. Very nice puzzle.

Anonymous 10:35 AM  

Had ePiSTLE before APOSTLE.

Aketi 10:40 AM  

@alohagirl, nice story about the origin of TGEL and nice reminder to add my Happy Father's Day wishes to all the fathers.

The RABID DEER in the puzzle reminded me of my Dad. He was always always an animal watcher, sometimes an animal rescuer, and sometimes an animal hunter. In his waning years, one of the things that kept him occupied was the DEER that ate his roses. Every spring she would also bring a new fawn or two and teach them how to get into his back yard. He had emphysema and it was hard for him to excerise, but the DEER would send him into enough of a RABID rage that he would manage to get up and chase her out of his back yard every day. I think she probably prolonged his life by a few years.

Anonymous 10:45 AM  

I would like to think that silent KNIGHT is a cryptic Fathers Day reference to Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling, his paean to Father Abraham. Authored pseudonymously by Johannes de Silentio (John of the silence), it makes frequent use of the trope the "Knight of Faith."

Just Wonderin' 10:49 AM  

If rap and hip-hop clues disappeared would those people feel excluded? Would they even notice?
Somehow I doubt it.
It always seems to be a PC attempt to placate a demographic population that probably doesn't care about crosswords.
Some of the unusual names and spellings do seem as if they could be convenient for construction purposes.
Some recent entries and further examination of lyrics make me question their redeeming social value.

RooMonster 10:51 AM  

Hey All !
Well, @Loren made me appreciate the puz more than I originally did. My nit is that it's basically a six-letter theme in a SunPuz. Kinda weak. Even for a 15x puz. Did like that the crossing words also employed the silent letter, wasn't just some word thrown in. Spanish N anyone?

Still not convinced ORANG is a word. UNODOS again! Is that the new ACNE? Some nice long Downs also.

So a good puz overall, that's my Final Answer (silent W, Har.)


Lewis 11:07 AM  

@alohagirl -- Great story!

Hungry Mother 11:08 AM  

Didn't choose VOLE.

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

Bravo :-)
So tired of such useless aggressions...

mimo 11:18 AM  

I started the puzzle from the bottom so before I focused on the silent letter clues, I thought the Hawaiian spread should have been poi poi platter.

evil doug 11:18 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dragoncat 11:19 AM  

Did this not bother anyone else? "My partner's and my kids go first"--my partner's what? I hate bad use of punctuation.

evil doug 11:20 AM  

"He's a pilot so probably has terrible aim anyway."

You're right, Z. When I had to qualify (and somehow I did) on a .38 in USAF--the only time I've shot a gun--I scared the hell out of myself.

So, okay, you shouldn't be shot. Maybe just suspended for a few days....

Jill 11:25 AM  

Overall easy for me, which is saying a lot. "M/Vole" got me so it was a dnf.

BUT... I can't believe that no one mentioned (or I missed it) the grievous grammatical error in #98! "Partner's"??? How did that get by the editing? Maybe I'm wrong but can see no way that it should have an apostrophe.

Glimmerglass 11:26 AM  

Posters are over thinking the Silent KNIGHT theme. If you insist n removing all the silent letters from KNIGHT, you're just NIT-picking. For a time, the only word I could thnk to go with cow was fLoP, but I never heard of a pink flop, though it has possibilities. A cowslip s a lovely old name for a flower (or a fairy), and I'm surprised I was so distracted by an ugly cow flop.

Nancy 11:48 AM  

I found this pretty crunchy for a Sunday, and basically liked it. I'm running out now, and don't have time to go into detail. While I'm here, let me thank all the people who posted too late for me to thank yesterday. I love you all.

old timer 11:54 AM  

A struggle as Sundays often are, but finished in the end without consulting Dr. Google. Somehow I remembered that SNOOP Dawg was for a while SNOOP LION.

Coming here, I was delighted with @LMS's detailed explanation of what was so artful in the puzzle's construction.

A comment on earlier ones: ISLA, the Spanish word, has no silent letters. In fact, the whole language has only one letter that is often silent, the U used (1) after a Q as in English and French, and (2) to indicate that the preceding G is pronounced hard, rather than pronounced like our English H. (I think there is one more letter where a U alters the pronunciation, too).

And thanks, @'mericans, for filling us in on the result of the French elections. M. Macron is a miracle worker, and a KNIGHT in the cause of common sense. And speaking of languages, I am always amazed that French is a speak-as-you spell language, like Italian and Spanish, though way harder. If you see a word like Macron, you know exactly how to pronounce it.

Aketi 11:57 AM  

@Glimmerglass, good one.

@Just wondering, I have to admit that even at my age I am one of "Those" people. Between having a son and hanging out with Martial Artists I have discovered that there are some lyrics that I've been recently listening to that do have redeeming value. I'd rather listen to Rap and Hip Hop than listen to "Eye of the Tiger" ever again. Unfortunately I don't pay attention to the names of the songs and the artists I like so I still struggle with some of the clues. I got SNOOP but wanted DAWG, DOG?, DOG gone it! DOGG. LOGG isn't gonna work. Oh, it's not Charlie Brown's pet, it's a LION.

Anonymous 11:58 AM  

If your dad is a snowflake - my condolences. However, it doesn't mean you have to be one. Happy Father's Day.

oldactor 12:06 PM  

"My partner's (kids) and my kids go first"

hankster65 12:11 PM  

Dangit! Second DNF in a row. I know absolutely nothing about rap. At least there was nothing about Star Wars or mythology, two other subjects I know doodly squat about. After yesterday and today I'm ready for a Monday puzzle!

Tarheeled 12:25 PM  

Took a hair over an hour. I wandered all over the grid filling in stuff here and there until all the squares had a letter. Only miss was the Algren/aire cross. What kind of name is Algren? Only three write-overs - not bad. I agree with the "boring puzzle" comments. I didn't think to link all the circled letters to get "knight." Wish I had as that is my middle name! Woulda been a kick!

Unofficial Blog Cop 12:49 PM  

@Nancy, we love you too. But please, in the name of everything holy, don't come back and "go into detail".

Z 12:50 PM  

Liked it well enough for a 21x21.

KNIGHT sounds very different than knit, but varies nary a whit from NIGHT. The silence of the K seems much deeper in kind than the silence of the GH. Linguists and entomologists probably have a long, convoluted, barely understandable by anyone without at least two PhDs explanation for the difference. Whatever that difference is makes all the difference for theme coherence, though.

@Evil Dog - Okay. No more formatting instructions from me for at least a week. I'll even forego my pay for the week.

Not a snowperson 12:53 PM  

OK, it was a snore, but I did the puzzle anyway. Because I'm me, I have to point to 124 D. "Slip" isn't a word with "cow." A cowslip is a whole word. Not "cow slip." Thank you. That is all.

Z 12:53 PM  

Words. Bugs. Autocorrect. Whatever.

More Whit 12:59 PM  

First unblemished Sunday puzzle in a long time. Usually there are a couple of ink blots scattered across the grid. Took a while though. Watching the US Open...weeding the garden...enjoying Father's Day. And thinking of the many thousands resting in Arlington and elsewhere who never got the chance to be a Dad. Heroes to remind us we are all Americans.

Polonius 12:59 PM  

Ah yes @ UBC,

Brevity is the soul of wit.

Lars 1:00 PM  

Got through it OK. Solving experince kind of BLEH, but appreciate the construction effort.

@Tarheeled, Algren is a comon Swedish name, as often made up from two words: "al" means alder tree and "gren" means tree branch.

pcardout 1:28 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 1:35 PM  

Taro is the staple of the Native Hawaiian diet and at the core of the Hawaiian culture. Hawaiians believe the taro plant to be sacred. Taro, called “kalo” in Hawaiian, is central to the Native Hawaiian creation story.

Hence the clue is clever and relevant.

Algren 1:49 PM  

Native culture seems too exclusive.
Perhaps a few thousand Somalians or Syrians could give
Hawaii the diversity is needs to be the socially
enriched place that it certainly should be.
Just look at how much better off we are now in Sweden.

puzzlehoarder 1:57 PM  

Happy Father's Day to all my fellow fathers. Thank you to those who remembered to mention it. Seeing as it's Father's Day I should point out that my father is the source of my crossword obsession. He was the crossword guy my mother preferred acrostics. The strange thing is for the first 33 years of my life I never thought to do a crossword puzzle. Then my wife became pregnant with our first child and I've been doing puzzles ever since. Maybe it's just a coincidence but it does seem as if some kind of sleeper gene kicked in. Perfectly good puzzle today. I found out what Conarky is. I honestly thought it was in some place like Scotland. I thought I should be looking for something along the lines of Glaswegian( a word BTW which isn't in my Webster's.) Now I'm fully aware that the term is IMs not EMs. the fact that EMAILME was in the puzzle alone would have eliminated the E as an option. Another bit of new knowledge is the relationship between the monetary term and the actual country of Guinea.

Mike E 2:02 PM  

Somebody, please: What the hell is gehat? (110 Across)

Lurker Librarian 2:14 PM  

@Mike E gChat is Google's instant messaging (IM) service.

Had a mOLE hiding in my puzzle, too, so annoying DNF.

@Nancy, you and LMS are my favorite posters, always a treat. Never can understand why people can't just skip the posts that bore them and have to come whine about them instead.

Stanley Hudson 2:14 PM  

This was quite an enjoyable Sunday puzzle. Happy Fathers Day to all dads on this blog.

@Trombone Tom, we're headed for 108 also (near Chico).


Keith Brumbaugh 2:36 PM  

Apologies if already noted, the circled letters when connected form a Z, I assume to represent sleeping on a silent night.

RooMonster 2:41 PM  

Oh, how I wish for 108! :-P
Here in Las Vegas, we're gonna hit 111 today, and 114 later on in the week. But no humidity. Which helps this much (fingers close together). Ah, Summer (well, on Jun 20, anyway.)

Thanks for reading my ramblings which have nothing to do with the puz!


Two Ponies 2:47 PM  

Nice touch having the silent letters work both ways. Can't say this puzzle soared but without that touch it never would have gotten off the ground.
If you live in the suburbs or beyond you probably have seen a vole or two. They are easily mistaken for field mice but don't have long tails.

Anonymous 3:11 PM  

Calvin Broadus, aka Snoop Lion shoots Trump in video. Gee, where do alt-lefties get their violent tendencies? Maybe we're somehow missing the true message of the "artist".

Cassieopia 3:32 PM  

Got naticked on the rappers and TYGA did me in. However as a reader myself TAROTSPREAD is a very common term... "Psychic Readings $25, walk-ins welcome", that type of thing. Google it and there are tons of sites. I thought it was more fair than asking me about rappers' names.

GILL I. 3:49 PM  

We just got back from a lovely Father's Day brunch...just in time since it's expected to reach about 108 late today in the Sacramento valley.
I had finished this beauty of a puzzle last night and took it with me to show everyone how a gimmick of this type is just totally amazing. I explained the silent KNIGHT theme and kept oohing and aahing and I got a lot of "Oh yeah, great; cool, and who is this TYGA dude and so who's getting the huevos rancheros."
I'm really surprised (not really) that @Rex didn't see how clever this was. I know he tried to throw in some praise, but I thought it needed a lot more.
CLEVER Mr. Trabucco!
I saw what you were up to with the silent treatment when I put in my first entry - GIVES A DAM[N]. Had to finish her up before seeing "The KNIGHT and The Silent Treatment." I really did say wow.

Mohair Sam 4:22 PM  

Clean Sunday puzzle, clever - must have been a bear to put together. We dnf'd at the ARIE/ALGREN cross, wanted ARIa. Amazingly the hip hop natick trap didn't bother us a bit. Surprised that TAROT SPREAD is a thing, it held us up for a little while in the SE.

Cruciverbia's own Ernie ELS shot a 74 today and is tied for 55th at the U.S. Open.

@alohagirl ( 10:21)- Great story.

Golfers - 23A clued reversals of reversals. Heard Paul Azinger describe yesterday a game that pro Louis Oosthuizen likes to play called "reverse mulligans". You split your foursome into two teams. Each team gets a mulligan that can be used at any time. A team that loses a hole is given an extra mulligan. A mulligan can be used in reverse at any time. What's a reverse mulligan? Let's say your opponent drills a 160 yard shot out of a fairway trap to 6 inches from the hole, shot of his life. You use your mulligan "in reverse" and his shot is erased, he's got to hit it again. Oh what fun. And the pros play this for serious bucks.

Very nice SunPuzz Sam Trabucco - we enjoyed. Thank you.

Anonymous 4:23 PM  

I'm afraid you may be a cad, @UBC.

John 4:23 PM  

I assumed it was Le Pen in the Econimist. Non?

Malsdemare 4:27 PM  

Almost everything I could say, and lots I couldn't, has been said. That doesn't mean I'll be brief here, so click on my name if you oppose verbosity.

BUT! Urbana, Illinois, just 25 miles down the road, a mere hop, skip, and a jump, in super rural parts of the country, is in the puzzle. It's home to the University of Illinois, which in turn is home of the oldest continuously running crop farm in the country, the third largest university library, the CRAY super-computer, cows with large holes in their sides (so you can watch digestive processes should you care to), one of the top engineering schools in the world, one of the top Communication schools (in the world), producer of more Nobels than I can count much less name, and owner of the building the girls are leaving at the beginning of "Where the Boys Are." Oh, and it's gown to Champaign's town, a cooriginator of college football mascots (to the chagrin of many native tribes), and the bestower of my PhD. Also, pretty f$&@ing democratic. Whew! There will be a test.

Puzzle took me a long time. I smiled at most of the themers, missed KNIGHT, as anyone who knows me would expect, and enjoyed most, if not all, the comments here.

My dad died when I was 11, leaving me with an immensely unhappy childhood. He was born staggeringly poor in Cincinnati to an Irish woman who was abandoned by her no-good Irish immigrant of a spouse when her two sons were babies. Somehow he managed to become in his time one of the top cardiologists in the Midwest with an almost magical ability to diagnose heart disease (this is in the 40s and 50s). He served in WWII as the chief of an Army-Air Force hospital on the west coast. He married my mom, the woman who taught him to move in social circles above those of a sneered at Mick, and they managed to have 25 years of a truly terrific marriage before he died at 52. The entire city turned out for his funeral. He's been gone 60 years, and I still miss this man I barely knew. So here's to dads everywhere. If you've still got one, hug him tight.

GILL I. 4:47 PM  

@oldtimer. - "H" as in haber and hecha to name a few. Of course it depends on the Spanish you know. The Cubans drop every DAMN letter they can because they like to mess with you.
@alohagirl. LOVED your story..."Up yours @Rex."
@puzzlehoarder. I loved your as well. In my case it was my grandmother who got me started on puzzles.
@Malsdemare. Add my third love. Family stories such as yours just make my heart sing.
If you were still alive today, Dad, you know I'd be making you a martini around 5:00.

Nancy 4:54 PM  

@Quasi and @Hartley from yesterday: Your remarks were lovely and you deserve to be thanked personally. Thank you!

Amen, Anon 4:23 p.m. You nailed it.

What I loved about the puzzle is that the silent letters of the Downs become the missing letters of the Acrosses. I always like it when the Downs and Acrosses are doing entirely different things in a puzzle. I think it demonstrates greater construction chops for the constructor, while offering greater pleasure to the solver. One of the more enjoyable Sunday puzzles, I thought.

Lewis 5:16 PM  

@mals -- Thank you for sharing that about your father, it was very touching.

Steve Snyder 5:51 PM  

Hoping for some kind of Fathers Day tribute but guess the NYT bar is a little bit too low for that. OK puzzle. Rest of FD will be much more enjoyable.

Cassieopia 6:15 PM  

@mals - I did. Thank you for sharing that very moving story.

Unofficial Blog Cop 7:14 PM  

I may be a cad, true enough. But at least I'm not a self centered know-it-all who refuses to learn new things. And I don't live in NYC so I can't name and place drop. My life certainly sucks.

Aketi 7:44 PM  

@Malsdemare, lovely story about your Dad. I would hug my Dad tight if he were still around.

@Evil Doug, I'm relieved you aren't a good shot, just in case you wanted to take one at me too. I'm only a good shot in virtual reality with a bow and arrow, with a rifle in real life, I never managed to hit the beer can on a post that my Dad wanted me to hit.

@UBC, having met Nancy in person I'm one of her fan girls. So, I don't care how much detail she includes because I'm going to read all of it even if we don't always have the same tastes. Since you clearly don't understand or appreciate her, I heartily advise you to do what I do with posts from the anonymice, click on her name and stop reading her posts. It's actually fun to disappear posts. If you keep up the insults it's no skin off my back because I'll just disappear you too.

CDilly52 7:54 PM  

Been off the grid for a while after some minor surgery that went fine but any time anesthesia is involved, my brain just goes on vacation for at least a week.

Like many others, thanks @mals for the story. Both stories actually. As a U Of I grad, I too did a brief happy dance to see Urbana in the puzzle today. Great memories and a superb education, for which I remain grateful - even having sampled higher ed since then at two additional ports of call. Met and married my wonderful husband of 40+ years, more importantly father of our amazing special educator/school psychologist daughter (who takes after her wonderful Dad) - ah Urbana. Don't forget the Flying Tomato Brothers pizza. First iteration of "by the slice" in the early 70s. OK, I'm done now, apologies to the non-Illini in the 'hood.

Puzzle was theme-weak but content fine for me despite the "crosswordese" because it is Sunday after all and at least for me it was all ultimately gettable. It solved quickly (for me) and I rather enjoyed it because I got and then ignored the theme.

Certainly not as crunchy as yesterday but a fine Sunday workout. Disappointing not to have a tribute to fathers everywhere, but cheers to all dads!

OISK 9:00 PM  

Back from Utah, where the WSJ was more available than the Times. Did not like two rappers and Rihanna in the same area, but got it right. Really hated cross of Arie with Algren. Lucky guess for me.An average Sunday AFAIAC, which isn't bad.

Oh, and add me to the Nancy fan club.

Malsdemare 9:17 PM  

Awww, thanks y'all. It's the Irish storyteller in me, though my dad and uncle were head and shoulders above me. But I think most dads are probably just as amazing as mine,

Anonymous 10:15 PM  

Run to raise awareness for angry, bitter crossword bloggers .

Unofficial Blog Cop 10:50 PM  

@Aketi, fun?? Fun is calling out @Nancy for being a blow hard and then waiting for her loyal sycophants to see who can stick their tongue up her backside the farthest

kitshef 11:37 PM  

My DNF was entirely my own fault, as I know mOLEs are not rodents. But I think by then I had ceased to care about the outcome. Just too much crap in the grid.

I'm not going to claim every Nancy post is a gem - heck, even LMS falls flat on occasion. But she is an every day read.

Anonymous 12:17 AM  

My father's credo was "Live and let live." It's too bad that some of the posters on this blog have never heard of this or are completely blind to the import. If you don't like Nancy's comments, or anyone else's, for that matter, skip over them and read the ones you can tolerate or agree with. I find Nancy's comments spot-on and insightful, as well as other commentators who contribute understanding and personal interpretation.

Unofficial blog cop: your title says it all. Please cease and desist with your attacks.

John 3:21 AM  

A dam isn't a shelter. Beavers live in a lodge.

Hartley70 5:34 AM  

That was a wonderful post, @Malsdemare. @CDilly, my hair starts to fall out. I'd take a week-long brain freeze over that.

I thought this was a terrific Sunday that played a smidge longer than usual. The two-way theme was brilliant!

Anonymous 8:15 AM  

Re: the Hawaiian clue. The solution is the wrong spelling.

Tarot is the card (used in fortune telling)

Taro is the the root.

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

This must be an old complaint, but it drives me nuts to see GODEL instead of GOEDEL, given that the original German vowel carries an umlaut. Same in a semi-recent answer of KOLN instead of KOELN (aka the city of Cologne, Germany).

Dan Steele 2:54 PM  

My partner's kids. My kids. OUR kids.

Dan Steele 3:11 PM  

Unless I'm confused ( quite possible! ), you're missing the point of the puzzle.

Unknown 4:23 PM  

107 across...better than normal...answer is "above par"...not in golf

Mary Fifield 9:46 AM  

Rex, it's Renaissance FAIR, not Renaissance FARE.

Liked your analysis...

Burma Shave 12:43 PM  


and the KNAVE made a TAROTSPREAD AFTERHOURS with their MEADEs.


rondo 1:05 PM  

Probably meh, not BLEH. Biggest mess was SNOOPdogg or possibly the Ucla/UTah/UTES corner. And there's the AAA of PPP on the ALGREN - AGEE - ADU line; not a killer, but a potential hazard ATWORST.

The LURE of yeah baby Catherine ZETA-Jones carries the day.

Not sure if this puz was ABOVEPAR, but since it's rainy and cold and looks like a RESTDAY, IMOK with it.

rondo 1:13 PM  

And that would be ABOVEPAR as in a financial sense, opposite meaning on the golf course.

Donna 2:44 PM  

I enjoyed the LARA/LIPS cross for the nod to Angelina Jolie.

Diana,LIW 3:11 PM  

No, @Mary, it is fare - as in something you eat. Looks like a lot of posters misread clues/answers today. (ie, partner's, above) That includes OFL's nit about KNIGHT, IMHO.

I enjoyed getting the silent-letter words once I got the theme. 'Course, I love puns and wordplay, so right up my alley. And I learned the DOGG used to be the LION.

@Rondo from yesterday - a chance glance at a puzzle answer (poetry there) doesn't count as a "cheat" in my book - just as seeing a name in the newspaper that happens to be in the puzzle (as in on the same page). But it does still "dirty up" the solve. OTOH, what if you happened on an article earlier that day that mentioned an actor, singer, or the stray Greek god? Chance happens. On the third hand, if I pick up my map of the world to look up the name of an island - clear cheating and dnf.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rain forest 3:18 PM  

I quite liked this one, and thought I had a clean solve until I read one of the comments above revealing that I DNF at mOLE. The only reason that is wrong is because of KAVA which to me is the same thing as KAmA. OK, I'll stop pouting, but two DNFs in a row is a blow to my self-esteem.

It had to be amazingly difficult to find the words with the silent letters, have them be silent in the crosses as well, put them in order, and construct phrases that made sense with and without those silent letters. I think some commenters were confused by all that.

Maybe mOLEs don't actually ruin crops. I don't know, but I know they make a mess of the lawn.

I don't usually care if some personality that some find repugnant appears in the puzzle, but calling DR OZ "professional" is flat wrong. He's a quack.

Catherine ZETA-Jones is fine by me. Loved her in Chicago.

Fill was fine, cluing was varied, and the theme stood up well in my opinion.

spacecraft 4:34 PM  

I didn't know the Philippine drink either--but for some reason IFORGET completely about mOLE! Thought VOLE, put it in, and went about my, ahem, bus(I)ness. A stroke of luck...and I needed it. Man, did this play hard! Only one writeover: started to write REIGNINGDYNAST...before realizing that -Y was too short and -IES was too long. Then MEADE led me to MONARCHS--but that's some mighty green paint, no? I mean, by definition, that's what they do. Some well, others poorly, some even in absentia--but they all REIGN. That was a headscratcher.

So too was the SE--practically all of it. Took me an extra hour just to GETOVERIT. GODEL, huh? If you SAYSO. I third the nomination of the super-hot Catherine as DOD: all in favor? The ayes have it. And so do the eyes!

Liked it despite the challenge. The theme is amazing: the key letters silent in BOTH directions SPREAD it out to include an awful lot of squares. Constraints indeed! Sure there is some iffy fill; how could there not be? But kudos to Sam for a job well done. (I didn't even realize the extra layer of K-N-I-G-H-T; that only makes it more impressive. A birdie ATWORST.

AnonymousPVX 4:53 PM  

rain forest has it correct - "Dr" Oz gives quacks a bad name, is there ANY diet fad he hasn't featured and endorsed? To give this....person....any kind of reference is a shame.

leftcoastTAM 5:03 PM  

BUT...BUT...BUT... is one word repeated, not "words".

Also had trouble with the crossing SNOOPLION/ANTI combo.

Got a chuckle out of GIVESADAMN. Thought the other themers would be fun, too, but they weren't.

Have to place this one solidly in the Sunday slog category.

leftcoastTAM 7:44 PM  

@Lady Di and @rondo yesterday: "chance glance" has a nice ring to it, an alert or alarm maybe?

Gretchen Wattula 9:55 PM  

Delirium Tremens, wasn't clued as an abbreviation however.

Unknown 11:35 PM  

If a person gets fouled in basketball while shooting for a basket, she gets an "and one". It's a cute basketball phrase for commentators!

Bill Thom 2:14 AM  

I couldn't wade through all the comments, so if someone saw this before me I apologise. Someone mentioned Monty Python so my feeble brain saw that when the three silents are subtracted from"KNIGHTS", you get NIT. As in the lights that say not. Coincidence?

lodsf 12:19 PM  

No one ever wins a debate over the Internet. (59d ... sorry couldn't resist.)

Christopher Jones 9:15 AM  

What does "fuzzes" and "naps" mean?!
Not a fan of this puzzle. Towards the end I just wanted it to be over.

Unknown 12:15 PM  

We had a loquat tree in Houston (1950's). It grew next to the garage & every summer all the neighborhood kids would climb up the tree to the garage roof, where we would sit & eat loquats til we couldn't hold any more. It was yum fun.

manitoba 12:27 AM  

Thank you. Thats how any normal person would phrase it.

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