Nanki-poo's pursuer in Mikado / WED 10-18-17 / Nine-time baseball All-Star nicknamed Cuban Comet / Painting on dry plaster / Lure with phony online persona / Pioneering botanist

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Constructor: John Lithgow and Brendan Emmett Quigley

Relative difficulty: Challenging (those names...)

THEME: theater terms, reimagined — terms familiar from the theater are clued as if they were not ... from the theater:

Theme answers:
  • CURTAIN CALL (17A: Decision to go with drapes instead of blinds?)
  • CAST PARTY (10D: Fly fisherman?)
  • STAGE LEFT (33D: Why one missed the coach?)
  • SUMMER STOCK (55A: Accountant's shares in a company?) 
Word of the Day: SECCO (48D: Painting on dry plaster) —
noun: secco; noun: fresco secco
  1. the technique of painting on dry plaster with pigments mixed in water. (Google)
• • •

Wow, ouch. Theme concept / quality, fine, but the cluing got tough, and the names in this grid, help me Rhonda! Brutal. I'm mad at myself for totally blanking on Minnie MIÑOSO (Manny Mota and Sal Mineo were running around in my brain creating interference), but I'm mad at the *puzzle* for thinking that KATISHA (!?!?!?!!) / KEYES was an acceptable crossing. Textbook Natick. That "Mikado" name is utterly uninferrable. I'm looking at it now and still don't quite believe it's real. And "Flowers for Algernon" is just some book I haven't thought about in 30 years—I'm quite sure I never knew the author's name. Presented with -EYES, well, there are several letters that can go there. "K" makes most sense, but KATISHA is in no way reassuring. LATISHA is an actual human name, but then LEYES really looks wrong. I honestly don't understand how this crossing doesn't send up red flags to constructor and editor alike. You put KATISHA (again, !?!?!!) in a grid, you gotta go through all the crosses and be meticulous about their fairness. You gotta pay special attention to proper nouns. I mean, these are just the basics. Ugh. You see how I cannot even focus on the theme because of this name mishandling stuff? Not the result you want. (Wife just walked up here and discussed her trouble spots—exactly the same as mine: baseball name, Natick crossing, and SECCO, whatever that is).

I like the theme, and I also like the little value-added bonus theater-related answers/clues, like APRON (26D: Area in front of the front row of a theater), FAT (61A: Like Falstaff), and PAL (44A: Broadway's "___ Joey"). I also really love the bizarre scenario conjured up by the clue on "I DON'T" (47D: Surprise declaration at the altar). There's this one weirdly inconsistent thing about the theme, which is bothering me for some reason—the clues on all the themers reimagine the meanings of *both* words in each theme answer (this is why those clues are so hard) ... except in the case of CURTAIN CALL, where the "curtain" remains a "curtain." True, it's a home decor curtain as opposed to a theater curtain, but tomato tomato. I'd call a fly fisherman a "casting party" (i.e. one who is casting). The STAGE LEFT clue (33D: Why one missed the coach?) is brutal, largely because the first thing I think when I see "coach" is not "stagecoach." Anyway, the theme is SOLID, not CORNY. The crosswordese is minimal. But the names, man. The names. Yeesh.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Gregory Nuttle 12:13 AM  

Huh, I'm usually on the same page difficulty-wise, but I actually found this one remarkably easy. Daniel KEYES was a gimme for me so that mitigated Rex's main problem area. Absolutely loved the cluing on I DON'T. In all I found this to be a very fun, albeit way too easy, Wednesday.

Questinia 12:15 AM  

What @jae will say.

Anonymous 12:23 AM  

Um, I think one of the puzzle's composers is kind of relevant. I'm surprised Rex didn't mention the name John Lithgow.

Jeffrey 12:34 AM  

I didn’t like the clue for PENTUP. If a person has pent-up anger (emotions, etc.), the person may indeed be “ready to burst”, but the pent-up anger could only be said to be “ready to burst out”. Ready to burst refers to the container whereas pent-up refers to the contents.

Lash Canino 12:56 AM  

Jeez, Rex, your whole review was devoted to one single square. I didn't know those names either but come on what other letter could it be?

I'm more mystified by the clue for CATFISH, which I've never heard ever. Also, what are COXES? I've heard of cox'ns, short for coxswains, which is someone involved in steering a watercraft; "cable companies" are COXES, or "Mr. Peepers actor and his family" are COXES (would also accept "Marlon Brando's roommate's family" if it's Saturday). And shouldn't 11D be Kenya? I dunno.

Lynn 1:02 AM  

Love reading you, King Rex, but really, show some respect for stuff you don't know! Katisha (KAT-i-sha) is a treasured Mikado memory for some of us. Isn't it cool to learn something new?

puzzlehoarder 1:04 AM  

This was a little harder than your average Wednesday. I actually did not notice the celebrity name. I've been doing the puzzles l just haven't had much to say. Cynthia's funeral was today. I couldn't attend as Im at the firehouse. The media covered it. There was a good article in the Trib. It mentioned some of the other killings near the school. There was one right around the corner that they missed. That's how things are in Chicago. You keep a mental tally of the shootings near your kid's school. Keep in mind that while this isn't the greatest neighborhood it's by no means one of the worst.

Anonymous 1:10 AM  

New FBI disclosures will result in DRAMA about ACTORs SINS. There is AHEAP of NONOS done by people who want to DESTROY or fundamentally change our government. Hillary, Comey and others will just testify, "I DON'T" know but will never have there respect REGAINED. What CORNY and false EGOS. HENCE, AMID all this chaos, instead of doing a WALK ON, they should just exit STAGE LEFT. MIXIN all their AIDEs involved, this should be their CURTAINCALL.

jae 1:19 AM  

Easy-medium for me. Fortunately, I've seen KEYES in Xwords before because KATISHA was a total WOE.

I had the C in CHESS and was disappointed that Crap shoot didn't fit.

SECCO was also a WOE.

Cute and fun to solve, liked it, or what @Questinia said.

Robin 1:20 AM  

KEYES was one I knew. Great book; should make a note to re-read it if I can find a copy.

But KATISHA? Only filled that one in from all the crosses.

IOTAS crossing ATRAS was a real piece of crossword-ese.

Not a fan of AHEAP, but it was good to see something clued as "many" that wasn't ATON or ALOT.

Overall time was slightly better than my average.

Trombone Tom 1:42 AM  

Lots of fun, but very challenging for me and ultimately a DNF because of that SE corner.

I enjoy the Mikado, but just couldn't bring up KATISHA from the deep recesses of memory. Add to that the WOE's of CATFISH and SECCO and I had to go visit Mr. Google.


BEQ is usually a challenge, but ultimately doable. Today he and Mr. Lithgow defeated me.

randis mcgee 1:55 AM  

This is a clunky puzzle that did little to tie into the celebrity constructor. Worse than average across the board and single hideous nexus of cross confusion. I came back to Rex (I'm a rare reader) to get out of the unctuous love fest that are the puzzle comments. Thanks you for not enjoying this puzzle.

chefwen 2:10 AM  

Gotta watch Dr. Phil to know what a CATFISH is. Husband walks through the living room and just rolls his eyes when he sees what I'm watching.

Puzzle started off super easy until I fell into the same proper name fix that Rex tripped up on. I also messed up with pratfall at 28A and yummy at 31A? Neither one of those worked out well for me. DUH!

Finally got it done, but it wasn't pretty.

Larry Gilstrap 3:04 AM  

The short story Flowers for Algernon appeared in an 8th grade literature anthology text I used, back in the day, so KEYES eventually fell into place. The kids seemed to enjoy it. The movie version was "Charly" with a backward "R," a DRAMA that earned a Best ACTOR Oscar for the title character Cliff Robertson.

I assume the themers reflected the insights of the guest constructor; the smell of the crowd and the roar of the grease paint. Very theatrical, indeed. Is a SPIT TAKE, not a themer, a feature of live theater or more a TV thing?

We haven't been to ST. LO in a while where I guess ERNES are more likely to appear than OTOES.

A list of GMOS might include organisms as benign as a poodle, a navel orange, or a black tulip, no problem so far. But, where are we going next and what are the possible consequences? Fear of the unknown has obviously touched a nerve with marketing. I wouldn't begin to speculate.

Loren Muse Smith 3:33 AM  

@Questinia – you get the Best Comment of the Day award.

Gotta agree with Rex et al – I had precisely three empty squares when I threw in the towel because I didn’t know KATISHA, KEYES, and somehow couldn’t see CATFISH. I vote we write a letter to get that changed to CATPHISH.

@Gregory Nuttle – yes! The clue for I DON’T was brilliant. Textbook BEQ.

@Larry – I’d like to commission a few GMOS –

*watermelons with a see-through rind so you don’t cut one open to find that it’s pastel pink inside

*eggs that peel easily every single time when they’re hard boiled. The rage I feel when one won’t peel is instant and magnificent.

*green grapes that taste like they used to when I was a kid. So, well, green grapes that actually have a taste. (The irony of asking for an engineered version here is not lost on me.)

I agree with Rex on the nice addition of the periphery theater clues. And with @Larry on SPIT TAKE. Its symmetrical buddy is REGAINED. Coulda clued that about what Renée Zellweger did for the second and third Bridget Jones movies.

I love John Lithgow in any movie I see him in. Really cool to solve a puzzle he helped make. I’ll just sidle my unctious little self over to stand with @G. Nuttle, @jae, and @Trombone Tom and the others who enjoyed this.

Thomaso808 4:01 AM  

DNF multiple ways in the SE with the KATISHA/KEYES natick, plus WOEs for CATFISH and SECCO. So I kinda gotta agree with Rex. Still, it was fun to do a puz constructed by the team if Lithgow and Quigley, one of my favorite actors and one of my favorite constructors.

teevoz 4:31 AM  


teevoz 4:33 AM  

You do know he's an actor? Theme tied in perfectly.

evil doug 4:44 AM  

"The first Black Cuban in the major leagues and the first black player in White Sox history, as a 1951 rookie he was the one of the first Latin Americans to play in an MLB All-Star Game."

.298 lifetime, 9-time All-star, his number 9 retired by the Chi-Sox, and in the Hall of Fame? I'd say he's a fair crossword entry....

Anonymous 4:44 AM  

@teevoz no one knows what the hell you are responding to unless they are the minority using an iPhone.

Theodore Stamos 4:50 AM  

I was in a college production of the Mikado once, and I still had trouble finishing the KATISHA/KEYES crossing. Just got lucky with the "k" I guess. Lithgow is a great actor - always happy to see him pop up on a screen during a movie or TV show.

Anonymous 6:20 AM  

@LMS - the eggs are already here. (you probably know this) it's fresh eggs that make for difficult peeling.

AlexP 6:52 AM  

Please, let’s not revisit the whole “birther” issue again!

Jonathan Alexander 6:58 AM  

....And breezed through the puzzle until I hit my last square - 41...I'm usually pretty good at inferring the name, but KATISHA (not knowing it), felt very wrong as much as KEYES felt right. Had to run the alphabet unti the app told me I was right.

OTD 7:04 AM  

KATISHA was a new one for me. Took a long time getting around that one. Rest of puzzle was fun.

Hungry Mother 7:08 AM  

DNF on trivia.

kitshef 7:22 AM  

In the past year I have DNF’d more on Wednesday than any other day. Today, it was (no surprise) rEYES/rATISHA. I considered it was a coin flip between that and lEYES/lATISHA.

Subjectively, it feels like at least half those DNFs involved opera. Given a choice between opera and cars, I’d take cars. THAT’s how much I hate opera clues.

Meanwhile, ASA GRAY and (Minnie) MINOSO plopped right in.

Theme density appears light until you add in all the semi-themers: DRAMA, ACTOR, APRON, CHESS, PROP, etc.

Two Ponies 7:34 AM  

Hi, my name is John.
I'm an actor.
Did I mention I am an actor?
This reminds me of me.
Ah yes, those days I was in summer stock.
Did I mention I am an actor?

Hartley70 7:34 AM  

I hung on to "pratfall" and "yummy" way too long, but in the end it was the dreaded K that defeated me. I went for an R.

Diywriter 7:40 AM  

@anon at 6:20: Jacques Pepin says he doesn't see any difference between fresh and older eggs when it comes to peeling. My experience as well.

Aketi 7:41 AM  

When my son was a toddler he must have attempted many NONOs with his babysitters because I finally figured out that when he muttered "noing noing" (rhyming with "boing boing"), he really meant ANNOYING ANNOYING which he must have been with them. Of course once I figured it out, I knew that meant that he was about to deliberately do something to annoy me, like literally climbing the window panes. I do feel a little sad that it took me months to figure out that his cute word "dadu" was not a variant of "dada"; he was actually saying "thank you". At least he was a polite demon child.

@LMS, it's not just green grapes. Up until this my year I could never find a peach that actually had even a remote hint of flavor like those we'd buy from highway fruit stands in California youth. Some miracle happened this year and peaches REGAINED their flavor, especially at the fruit stands in upstate New York. They were actually TASTY. I suspect it was weather related, not GMOs. All that a quick Google search revealed was that the south lost a lot of their peach crop this year.

Doris 7:44 AM  

Never, ever, heard “do me a solid,” but see that it’s in the Urban Dictionary. Speaking of the show “The Crown,” John Lithgow absolutely stole it as Winston Churchill. Won an Emmy too. Loved “stage left” best. Speaking of “corny,” it reminded me of the old vaudeville joke (possibly from Groucho?): “You oughtta be on the stage—and there’s one leaving in five minutes!”

Trey 7:47 AM  

And Lithgow started in a season of Dexter and in The Crown. Love how this puzzle intertwined in so many ways

Hartley70 7:54 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
QuasiMojo 8:04 AM  

Forgive me, I am a fan of John Lithgow. I loved him in "The World According to Garp" and many other roles. But I find this need for the "celebrity" puzzle at the NYT to somehow be about the constructor painful and embarrassing. "Dexter" is mentioned twice in this grid. And some CORNY (I had PUNNY first) and stale jokes about "the Theatre" only underscore the conceit. Surely Mr. Lithgow has other interests he can share with us. Imagine Omar Sharif writing a bridge column in which he inserted his acting credits into every paragraph.

@Loren, please tell me where I can find an egg that has an easily removable shell when hard-boiled! I have been trying for years now. I've watched videos on YouTube in which some person hits an egg with a spoon and then miraculously the entire shell comes off with one sweep of the hand. Recently I bought some "hard-cooked" eggs that were already shelled. (Was wondering why they didn't say "hard-boiled.") They tasted like paste (and when I was a kid I used to eat paste, so I know what it tastes like.) I'm also on the lookout for a tomato that actually has some flavor.

If only the constructors had been kind enough to clue Evelyn KEYES, I would have been done much sooner.

Stuart Showalter 8:11 AM  

Rex didn’t know KATISHA, therefore it’s bad. I guess that’s the standard on this blog. And if he DESTROYs a puz, it’s too easy. Mebbe some day his resentments will exit STAGE LEFT and a well-balanced human being will WALK ON.

Julia 8:16 AM  

I cannot resist the egg mystery.
Poke a tiny hole in the large end of the egg.
Put eggs in cold water to cover.
Bring to a boil.
Remove from heat.
Cover pan.
Go do something else for awhile.
Drain water and replace with cold water.
When cool, peel under running water.
Nothing is absolute but this usually works.

Sir Hillary 8:39 AM  

Very tough for a Wednesday, but ultimately worth it.

After all these years, BEQ's style is still so distinctive. The clues for IDONT and SOLID are so in his "voice".

Congrats to all whose filled in the KEYES / KATISHA cross without guessing. I am not among your ranks. I loved "Flowers for Algernon" but couldn't tell you its author until now. Maybe cluing KEYES with Alan would have made it a little more current. Not a big deal anyway.

By contrast, I have never heard of ASAGRAY, but all those crosses were quite inferable.

I kept reading the WOOF clue as Browser's warning and was frustrated that "popup" didn't fit.

John Lithgow always delivers. First time I ever saw him was as the psycho killer in De Palma's "Blowout"; he was quite creepy. Long way from there to winning an Emmy as Churchill. My kids don't know his face, but all they have to do is hear him talk -- "Of course we know him, Dad, that's Lord Farquaad".

All in all, AHEAP of fun, definitely on the crunchy side.

Joe 8:46 AM  

It's funny to see all these people struggle with CATFISH, which was a total gimme for me. It's nice to have current, relevant clues sometimes, instead of ones that expect to me to remember people, characters, literature, etc., from the 1930s - 1970s, well before I was born.

There is an entire show devoted to catfishing people, called CatFish, and it's a common term for pretending to be someone you're not online and tricking the person you're talking to. I'm surprised so many people haven't heard of it. Then again there are probably plenty of people who would be surprised I don't know of these people, places, and works of art/literature from 30+ years ago.

abalani500 8:55 AM  

Loren @ 3:33am re eggs...we own a bunch of chickens and the fact is that the fresher the eggs, the harder they are to peel when boiled. Store bought eggs are often weeks old (and easy to peel). Try getting an egg holder, soft boil, crack the top off and scoop with a spoon. Delicious.

Nancy 9:00 AM  

Thank heaven for the *lovely* KATISHA, because without her, I would have been in deep trouble in the SE. Although I loved "Flowers for Algernon", I certainly didn't remember Daniel KEYES (41A). Worse, because I had SoLo instead of SELF at 38D, I was looking at KoYES as a possibility -- and that seemed ridiculous.

Then, too, the modern slang nearly defeated me. I thought to lure online was to "Phish", not to CATFISH. That's a term? And not only have I never said "Can you do me a SOLID" to anyone, anytime, but I assure you that no one's ever said it to me either. This is the first I've heard of it, and I fervently hope it will be the last.

My favorite answer? I DON'T at 47D. Yes, I DO think that would be quite a surprise!

This started very easy in the West and got harder in the East. I liked it OK, I guess. There were some nice puns in the theme answers, and happily they weren't gimmes.

Linda Vale 9:00 AM  

“Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth”

Anonymous 9:10 AM  

Please feel free to walk off. And by "walk" I mean "fuck"

Nancy 9:14 AM  

@Quasi, Julia & abalani 500 -- Ah, yes, the vexing "how to peel a hard-boiled egg" problem. I tried it once, couldn't do it, but now I've solved the problem. Take an egg. Crack it. Beat it. Put it in a buttered pan over a not-too-high flame. Scramble the damn thing!

mathgent 9:15 AM  

I learned from his comment on Jeff Chen's blog that John Lithgow does the puzzle every day. I wish that he would join us on this blog. He seems like a charming and witty guy.

I just checked out his bio. He is a big guy, 72 years old. He seems to have been constantly working since he started in the business as a young man. He's performed in every acting medium: radio, stage, film, TV. I saw him play Henry Higgins in a stripped down production of My Fair Lady at Hollywood Bowl in 2003. I've never seen him be anything but outstanding in his work.

I liked the puzzle very much. Happy to have learned AAR, CATFISH, NAT (as part of "Nat Geo"), that TSAR was derived from "Caesar," KATISHA, SECCO.

I also enjoyed the clues for CURTAINCALL and SUMMERSTOCK (although accountants don't do any summing these days),

Anonymous 9:20 AM  

Just to set the record straight: it's Marcus Antonius in "Julius Caesar" and Mark Antony in "Antony and Cleopatra".

I didn't understand SOLID.

DJG 9:24 AM  

@evil doug: Minnie MINOSO is not in the Baseball Hall of Fame, but I still think he is "crossworthy". He is also known for a (somewhat inane) publicity stunt in which he played a few games after he was long retired so that he could be the only MLB player to appear in five different decades (1940s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s).

Count me among those who went RATISHA/REYES. The former obviously didn't look right, but I figured at least I would put in one name I've seen before. I concede that K is a better guess though.

Stanley Hudson 9:28 AM  

Enjoyable puzzle, with enjoyment enhanced by the fact that a superb actor was a co-creator.

On Minnie Minoso, what @evil doug said.

chefbea 9:34 AM  

Late to the party. No time to read all the comments...Did not like the puzzle even though it was yummy and and had pesto and kale mixed in while wearing an apron!!!

Do not get..can you do me a solid? what does it mean??

Lewis 9:40 AM  

Interesting fact -- Tomorrow is John Lithgow's birthday.

Regarding KATISHA, that came from John, according to BEQ, and BEQ said it was his favorite word in any of his puzzles this year.

I greatly liked the Franklin quote, the clue for STAGE LEFT (that got a "bravo!" from me), and the grit-for-Wednesday. My mother was in all the Gilbert and Sullivan plays, and I thought I'd recognize the Mikado character with one or two letters in, but no. And I learned SECCO, which is done on dry plaster as opposed to "fresco", which is done on wet. The K was certainly a Natick for me, but the pluses certainly outweighed the minuses on this one, IMO. Very nice collaboration!

Nancy 9:41 AM  

@mathgent -- ...And John Lithgow also plays tennis, so I imagine you'll like him even more. I saw him once at Central Park. He seemed very nice. Unlike Tony Roberts, who I also saw there once and who seemed like a complete [expletive deleted]. And Katie Couric, who I saw there, but from a distance. She seemed perfectly nice, but my sister-in-law recently told me that she isn't, that she's also a [expletive deleted] who made fun of my sister-in-law's laugh. (Admittedly, my sister-in-law has a pretty funny laugh.)

I've been told there will be an excessive amount of noise today. Luckily the weather is glorious, so off to the park I go...

semioticus (shelbyl) 9:44 AM  

This puzzle started great. I smiled at the first pun I encountered (CURTAINCALL) so that put me in a good mood. And then came the bottom half of the puzzle.

There are some puzzles that are hard but you know that if you think hard or play the alphabet song in your head, you will eventually get the answer. This one was not that kind with all those names. So an enjoyable puzzle turned into something that is not enjoyable at all. 2.5/5.

Mohair Sam 9:44 AM  

Hand up with the throng that guessed the "K" correctly. And tip of the cap to those who knew it cold in either direction.

The theme puns were as hideous as puns get, loved 'em. CORNY perfectly placed. We did the @Nancy thing and had "solo" before SELF, cost us a ton of time because we knew neither CATFISH nor SECCO. Once Lady M yelled "SELF" the area filled.

Good to learn CATFISH, surprised like others that it's not "PH". I'm a Ben Franklin fan, but find that quote a bit depressing. Minnie MINOSO was a joy to watch play the game.

I was gonna love this puzzle no matter what. John Lithgow is our favorite actor here. A lot of folks above have named favorite roles. For me his bad guy in "Cliffhanger" was more fun to hate than any villain ever. And his mad scientist in "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai"? Well . . . . .

Tita A 9:45 AM  

@Lash - it could be "R".

@Lynn...Rex's complaint is more about the Natick then the actual absolute worthiness of either name.

Rex - I was with you until your flippant "...SECCO, whatever that is."
You clearly need to drink more Champagne, so that you will become familiar with the highly inferable "SEC", meaning of course Dry. A relative term when talking about Champagne, but I digress. I think I'll go study the topic a bit more now...)

@lms - Julia Child, going to the spectacular Les Halles market in Paris while she lived there in the '40s, bemoaned how the famous chickens from Bresse no longer have any flavor. Sadly, the tradeoff between Flavor and Production has been going on for a very long time.
@Quasi - grow your own or find a good farmes' market - those tomatoes DO exist, though they;ll set you back about $4/lb.

@questinia, lol
@Aketi - funny story about your son.

The puzzle was fine. The theme didn't really help with the solve, and it STAGELEFT is a real stretch - didn't get it till I read Rex. (Didn't realize it was a "celebrity" offering till after I DNFd with rEYES.)

Read the constructor notes over at xwordinfo.
While I am the opposite of startstruck, I love Mr. Lithgow's analogy to being brought backstage at the Met by Mr. BEQ.

Now please, Will - bring on some historians or teachers or painters or other worthy folks outside of entertainment/sports.
(Though I would love to see a puzzle co-constructed by BEQ and Jon Stuart!!)

oldbizmark 9:46 AM  

[k]EYES/[K]ATISHA cross was a big NATICK and a DNF. Otherwise, not too difficult but also not a lot of fun. Let's keep the CWP making to the professionals.

Tita A 9:59 AM  

@lms and other hard-boiled egg folks...

Listen to @Julia - but substitute "12 minutes" for "awhile".
Also, older eggs do peel easier.

Now here is where the rubber meets the road...
Crack 'em on the counter - sides, top, bottom - then roll them between palm of hand and counter. NOW they will peel beautifully!
(Unless they don't...)

This discussion reminds me of the Big Endians and Little Endians over in Lilliput...their absurd made-up reason to hate each other, and, how that was picked up in the digital age...
From Wiki:
"In the discipline of computer architecture, the terms big-endian and little-endian are used to describe two possible ways of laying out bytes in memory. The terms derive from one of the satirical conflicts in the book, in which two religious sects of Lilliputians are divided between those who crack open their soft-boiled eggs from the little end, and those who use the big end, the "Big-endians"."

(Lots of colleagues thought the coders were talking about Little Indians and Big Indians - I felt so hoity-toity in correcting them. Even though it was my boyfriend-now-husband who had to explain it to me.)

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

11D: Kenya

Aketi 10:08 AM  

@Quasimojo, I finally found that egg. I don't know what it's like where you live, but here in Manhattan it is entirely possible to never set foot in a GROCERy STORe for over a decade and still eat well. All the non take out food for the week arrives in boxes that are delivered to our door. Over the years the options to delude yourself into believing that you are actually engaging in the culinary arts have become more sophisticated. Initially I allowed my husband to cook, which meant microwaving or baking heat and eat dinners. Now they provide meal kits with each ingredient packaged to the exact amount required for the recipe. So you get to slice an already peeled garlic clove or open a mini 2 teaspoon bottle of white wine, for instance. (The teeny bottle of wine also defeats the real purpose of adding wine to a recipe which is so you can drink more of it than what your pour into the dish you are preparing). Anyway, one of the meal kits contains two eggs. The eggs are so well protected in packaging that I'm sure I could climb the Freedom Tower and fling them off and they'd emerge intact even if a bus ran over them while I was climbing back down to retrieve them. I have never ever peeled an egg without losing at least some of the egg in the process. These eggs have peeled beautifully every single time. Sadly the recipe calls for avocados and those mostly arrive either as hard as a watermelon skin or completely rotten. So my perfect track record of not setting foot in a grocery store for over a decade was broken by having to actually walk out the door, across the street, enter the grocery store, pick out an avocado, pull out a credit card and bring it back home again.

Z 10:10 AM  

As communities will do, crossworld has its own argot. Amongst the argot of crossworld is the term natick, a term coined by one Rex Parker, the definition of which can be found on this blog’s FAQ page. To whit:

NATICK PRINCIPLE — "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." Go here for the answers that occasioned my coining this phrase.

KEYES/KATISHA is a classic natick. Yes, both are crossworthy, but does anyone reasonably expect more than ¼th of solvers to know either of them? And Rex is spot on, after an otherwise fine solve the puzzle will be most remembered for that one crossing.

@LMS - catphish makes more sense since the term for spam seeking personal information is phishing. It’s a new term to me but I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the source of the term.

I had punNY before CORNY, which reminded me of the joke running around Twitter, communist puns aren’t funny unless everyone gets them.

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

@Sir Hillary,

Lithgow was the psycho in Dressed to Kill. You know, cause he was a dude who dolled himself up in women's clothing and murdered folks. Of course the world used to agree with you--men who dressed as women were judged to be a bit off, maybe not full blown psychos, but certainly unwell. Now guys who don a wig and wear a brassier have to be called women. Ahh, I do love the world's idea of progress.

Hey Rex, why don't you spend less time with comic books and more with culture? I'm guessing you're not exactly an expert on Gilbert and Sullivan. My God, you are a philistine. And predictable.

evil doug 10:17 AM  


Oops. You're right about the MLB HOF.

But there's this:

"Miñoso was elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame (in exile) in 1983, and to the Mexican Professional Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996."

Anonymous 10:18 AM  

@Sir Hillary,

I am SO SORRY. You are of course correct regarding Blowout!!! Duh!!! and I'm a Philadelphian. Please accept my apology.

Anonymous 10:20 AM  

Piece of crap. Worst puzzle ever. Flush this thing down the toilet and spray some damn Lysol to hide the stench.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 10:20 AM  

Katisha was a gimme. Asa Gray was a gimme after I gave up on Agassiz. But I have no idea what 'do me a SOLID' could mean and I don't want to think about it. Breakfast test, ya know.

Tomatoes: They came up with a gene some years back that made them ripen all the way to the stem without having green cheeks around the stem, and they promptly put it into every single commercial variety. Including most of the ones they sell to home gardeners. They did all that without apparently noticing that it killed the flavor. You have to look hard to find green-cheeked tomatoes to plant. But it's worth it.

kitshef 10:30 AM  

@mathgent 9:15. There is s rumor that Lithgow posts on this board as Fountains of Golden Fluids - a reference to the song At the Fountain from Sweet Smell of Success, for which he won a Tony award.

Anonymous 10:35 AM  

Gee @Nancy, can you please tell us what your second cousin once removed thinks of Kim Kardashian? We're all really interested.

Anonymous 10:39 AM  

To all who have never hear solid used as a synonym for a favor.
Just wait a while, Evil Z will be along to cut & paste the scene from Seinfeld where Kramer asks George to do him a solid.....

GHarris 10:44 AM  

Got it all until I foundered on Keyes, Katisha and having sole prevented me from coming up with catfish, a term wholly unknown to me in this context. Still, enjoyed the exercise.

RooMonster 10:51 AM  

Hey All !
Add me to the "K" Natick list. Full disclosure, I actually hit Reveal Word for KEYES, as I never would've got that. Had dECCO at first, making C__FIDH, which is just silly. Not knowing CATFISH as clued, or SECCO caused that. That little E Central area was a tad toughish.

Regarding SOLID, it seems (to me at least) to be a common enough phrase. Substitutes for Favor. Hey, do me a Favor and loan me $20? - Hey, do me a SOLID and loan me $20? @Greater Fall, no ickiness about it! :-)

Did like puz, appropriate themers for an established actor. Decent fill, not A HEAP of dreck. Noticed the corner Acrosses were theme-like, DRAMA, COP, FAT, ACTOR, a few other snuck in actor-ese.

A fee writeovers, punNY-CORNY, amI-MOI, COn-COP, favor-SOLID (which held up center a bit).

So liked it quite a bit. A good collaboration puz.


QuasiMojo 10:52 AM  

Thanks to all of you and your responses to my egg query (Aketi, Tita and Nancy, GFRCfP&J, et al. I'm glad I am not just imagining the difficulties. Some of the store bananas lately have been oddly chalky and pulpy. I bought some organic ones this morning and hope they will taste much better. @Aketi, I remember when I lived in NYC how well I ate. Back then you could walk up any street and find a pizza joint, a burrito stand, a Korean deli, a diner, a bagel shop, etc. Last time I was there most of them were gone, replaced by high-end boutiques and trendy coffee bars.

jberg 10:53 AM  

In the paper, there's a long note at the top headed CELEBRITY CROSSWORD, so it's hard to miss -- the note even provides an extra clue for 63A.

I didn't know KATISHA either, and mis-remembered rEYES at first -- but that wasn't plausible as a Japanese name, even for G & S, so I switched. I had more trouble with REturNED before REGAINED, and just finding it really hard to fill in SOLID. I gather it's from Seinfeld, so that's OK.

SECCO is pretty inferable, at least with a few crosses, from the comparison with fresco, as @Lewis points out.

DRAMA symmetrical with ACTOR, but PROP symmetrical with WOOF. I wish that could have been rounded out, but I'm probably asking for too much.

Joseph Michael 10:55 AM  

I'm of fan of both John Lithgow and BEQ and I like the theme concept, but this puzzle was a big disappointment given the talent involved.

CURTAIN CALL was the only themer thst didn't feel forced and the KEYES/KATISHA cross was a Knightmare resulting in a DNF.

CATFISH was a gimme. It's not only a common term as clued, but also a TV show. Chicago White Sox hero Minnie MINOSO was another easy one.

Liked SPITTAKE and the clues for ARK, TSAR, APRON, and I DON'T. Wish the whole puzzle, especially the themers, had that sparkle. Hard to imagine that the wit that came up with those little gems would settle for such flat reimaginings of STAGE LEFT and SUMMER STOCK. Somebody get the hook.

@puzzlehoarder, as one Chicagoan to another, my sympathies on the loss of your friend. The gun violence in this town is out of control.

Tim Aurthur 11:11 AM  

Was thinking STAGEfright would be a good reason for missing the coach.

SECCO is easy for anyone who likes Italian wine. ASTI is not SECCO.

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

Can someone explain how "Fly fisherman" leads to "Cast Party?" I understand the "cast-fisherman" relationship but not the relationship between "party" and "fly." If one intends "fly" to connote cool and thus a "party" would the word "party" not indicate plurality and thus require the clue to be "Fly fishermEn" at the very least? I have a similar issue with the clue/answer combination for "Summer Stock." They both seem very weak to me and poorly clued. Very different, IMHO, than the others; 17A-Curtain call and 33D-Stage Left.

Cassieopia 11:27 AM  

@julia 8:16 - yes to everything on your egg directions except I put the eggs in only after the water is boiling. My theory is the sudden shock causes the egg to shrink back from the shell. Anyway, ever since I’ve boiled eggs that way, I’ve rarely had an egg peeling problem even with from-the-nest eggs.

Anonymous 11:28 AM  

@Anon 11:11 - A fisherman is party (as in a participant in) to cast[ing], hence cast party.

Joe Bleaux 11:30 AM  

I suspect a lot more than CATFISH mystifies you. I dunno.

Cassieopia 11:31 AM  

Natick here too on the K.

I work in tech and often with the software security team (all in their 30s) and have only heard “phish” and “phishing”. So I wanted gophISH. I couldn’t even imagine anything else. I was incredulous at CATFISH but TIL, right?

a jazz listener's thoughts 11:31 AM  

Once again am surprised at the complaints on what I felt was a reasonable puzzle, of modest difficulty given that the puzzler is associated with the theater and acting. And Charley was a terrific movie based on Flowers for Algernon by the way. I saw Minnie Minoso play and lately there has been a lot of baseball press about getting him into the hall of fame. Seems that if Rex doesn't know a name or a clue then it's a bad puzzle is a really lousy way to judge one. Ho w about giving credit to the creator instead of complaining about one's lack of knowledge?

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

Thanks @Anon 11:28 from @Anon 11:11

Joe Bleaux 11:35 AM  

Most clever anonymice know the difference between "there" and "their." They're not the same.

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

The proper names were bad enough, but this was the third puzzle in a row in which the liberal agenda was in full display, asking those of us to take opinions and write them in as facts. I saw 11 down, Obama's birthplace, and Kenya didn't fit, and I refused to write in Oahu. Its a no no in one of these puzzles to put contested issues in as facts. This puzzle sucked. Can we stop with the celebrity puzzles now?

Hungry Mother 11:45 AM  

I’m actually viisting friends in Natick on Saturday, so it’s fitting that I should have had my 30 day straak stopped by a Natick. No editor for this puzzle?

Ross T 12:06 PM  

If you don't know the trivia, REYES / RATISHA seems just as plausible as KEYES / KATISHA.

Crosswording is partly about knowing trivia, of course, but good construction (for me, on a Wednesday) means, fine, including KEYES and KATISHA but not crossing them.

teevoz 12:18 PM  

@anonymous 4:44am. Thx so much. And you have special knowledge of how many ppl use the iPhone app and see replies as replies? To answer your question, my "No." was to Lash Canino's unfunny closing "question" about 11D and Kenya. And my reply about the clear connection btwn the theme and the celeb constructor was to @randis mcgee. Happy now? By the way, being anonymous and then making snarky comments is juvenile. Have a nice day.

Fred Romagnolo 12:21 PM  

If you don't like puns, that's all there is to it, but these were good ones. Sure they were all theater oriented, but Lithgow was a given. I'm a G&S fan so no problem with THAT Natick, but CATFISH and SECCO did me in. Can't win 'em all (sigh).

lodsf 12:21 PM  

Hard Boiled Eggs: 1. Bring (lots of) water to a boil in large-ish pot. 2. Add 12 eggs. 3. Set timer for 10 minutes & when it goes off remove pan to sink, drain hot water & rinse in cold water while removing eggs to cool on a towel. 4. After awhile store eggs in frig. I hard boil all kinds of eggs (store bought organic, non-organic, and even ‘back yard’ fresh) this way and only very very rarely do I get a ‘sticky’ shell (and I go through about 10-12 per week).
PS- I like the yolks ‘golden’ (a tiny bit undercooked) so add 1 minute cooking time if you want ‘pale yellow’ yolks (harder & very well cooked).

Masked and Anonymous 12:21 PM  

STAGELEFT clue was epic. The funny names were typical Quigleymeister. SECCO took many nanoseccos to suss out. Also, M&A got messed up havin PUNNY where CORNY went, for way too long.
Overall … Even more fun than a Dexter bingewatch, but a real feisty WedPuz solvequest.

staff weeject pick: AAR. Better clue: {Pirate's answer, when asked about his fave waterway??}.
fave appropriate grid-endin word, ever: ACTOR.
Primo fillins: SPITTAKE. WALKON. COXES. DOLPHINS. IDONT [with exquisite clue]. CATFISH crossin KATISHA.

Thanx, BEQ and JL ACTOR dude. Well done celeb/collab. Near Crosscar nominee.

Masked & Anonymo3Us

Also … what @Q didn't say, but mighta added, after a coupla martinis or somesuch.


teevoz 12:23 PM  

I once had dinner with Daniel Keyes and his wife and an old Mikado-loving friend of mind had Katisha as her screenname so those were gimmes. Liked this celeb puzzle much more than most of the others, especially the cluing like the Dexter/Crown tie-in.

jb129 12:23 PM  

Finished it - WHEW!

Anonymous 12:30 PM  

That comment is baffling to me because the grid was over-Lithgowed in my opinion, from the first across clue to the last across clue - considering Lithgow just won a best supporting ACTOR Emmy for his work in the DRAMA "The Queen."

Masked and Anonymous 12:36 PM  


Mighty pretty weeject stacks, in the NE/SW, btw. Bonus PROPs.

Today's challenge(?): Hide KATISHA and KEYES in a single sentence. Keep it rated-PG13.


Sir Hillary 1:05 PM  

The meerkat is happy to see the hawk eye some other critter as a potential meal.

Teedmn 1:14 PM  

Ouch is right. I haven't crashed and burned this badly (except for a couple of Saturday Stumpers) since Erik Agard's Lollapuzzoola puzzle (which I'm still wondering why I found so difficult). But this puzzle, I know exactly why: The SE corner. Even the things I might have been able to infer (CATFISH, SELF) were made unrecognizable by my guesses on the other stuff. Thinking of gesso, I put in gECCO at 48D. With mosES in at 41A, I had SoLo and SoLe for SELF. mA_ISHA for 41D wouldn't have ever become KATISHA, even if I had KEYES in place. The worst part is, I've never seen the Mikado, nor have I seen the movie about Gilbert & Sullivan but for some reason I have a deadly earworm of "Three Little Maids From School". With all that ignorance on my part, you'd think I'd at least be spared that fate.

Except for the SE and "Can you do me a ____" being the obvious "favor" (never heard the phrase with SOLID") I did fine on this puzzle. It has a nice theme and I appreciate reading the comments by Mr. Lithgow and BEQ on the construction process. I loved John Lithgow in his wacky "Buckaroo Banzai" role and he definitely scared me with his dark depiction of a serial killer in "Dexter".

And BEQ never pulls his punches - I found myself using the check button on his Monday puzzle this week.

So great job, guys, thanks!

Anonymous 1:23 PM  

To me this puzzle had a little bit of a "preppy" aura. I don't mean this as a criticism, as long as this sort of thing does not appear too often.
Anon. i.e. Poggius

Chip Hilton 1:27 PM  

nEYES and nATISHA here. I figured MINOSO would be a killer but I'm old enough to remember him starring for the Pale Hose.

Enjoyable, tough Wednesday. Thanks, BEQ and actor guy.

Anonymous 1:37 PM  

@Joe Bleaux 11:35 AM
"Most clever anonymice know the difference between "there" and "their." They're not the same."
Congratulations on never being bitten by auto-fill nor auto-correct. You've never even made a grammatical error! Spectacular!
Bleaux me!

kitshef 1:47 PM  

@M&A - On Halloween, while munching on a Kit-Kat, I shake eyes in a jar to scare the kids.

Anonymous 2:01 PM  

Current events in America's High Schools:
Voluntarily kneeling to protest is allowed.
Voluntarily kneeling to pray is forbidden.
Thank you proggies.

Mohair Sam 2:18 PM  

@Sir Hillary (1:05) - I'm impressed.

Tita A 2:26 PM  

@Sir Hillary - thanks to @Mohair, I went back to your post. And here I just thought it was some esoteric tangent that went right over my head.
Instead, it's a masterful example of wordsmithing that went right over my head.

Jilmac 2:45 PM  

As a died in the wool Gilbert and Sullivan fan, Katisha was the first word I wrote into the grid!!

phil phil 3:00 PM  

I had the same three squares ala @Loren but unlike her and Rex I had SoLo and kick mySELF for not taking out the o's I knew were iffy.

From there I thought CATFISH was doable and K a good guess.
Can't complain

Bob Mills 3:04 PM  

Was there really no better clue for "THAI" than "PAD SEE EW CUISINE?" Really awful.

kitshef 3:24 PM  

Gaah - missed the double e. Try again., On Halloween, while munching on a Kit-Kat, I shake yesterday’s toenail clippings in a jar to scare the kids.

Carola 3:29 PM  

I thought STAGE LEFT was terrific, enough to ease the pain of a DNF: I found that "Algernon"/ "Mikado" cross so discouraging that I didn't even do an alphabet run for the K square.
New to me as clued: CATFISH and SOLID (I thought there was going to be a note somewhere that the wrong clue for that entry had made it into the paper).
KALE as a salad green...appropriate cross with SPITTAKE.

Sir Hillary 3:41 PM  

@kitshef -- Nice job putting them back-to-back.

Mohair Sam 3:43 PM  

@kitshef - "yesterday's toenail clippings" - Gaah indeed. You've failed the PG13 test.

Anonymous 4:04 PM  

@Carola et al....

(Enter Kramer)

KRAMER: Hey. Hey, would you do me a solid?

JERRY: Well, what kind of solid?

KRAMER: I need you to sit in the car for two minutes while it's double-parked. I gotta pick up some birds.

With no apologies to Evil Doug
JERRY: Birds?

KRAMER: Yeah. A friend of mine, he's a magician. He's going away on vacation. He asked me to take care of his doves.

JERRY: So take a cab.

KRAMER: They won't take a cage full of birds.

JERRY: I can't. I'm on my way out. There's no way I can do it.

KRAMER: George, do me a solid? Two minutes.

GEORGE: Well, I'm going with him. I'd like to, I've never done a solid before.

KRAMER: Alright.. yeah.. alright, have a good one.

Shelby Glidden 4:13 PM  

Reminds me of my brother playing those records
and waving his arm like a baton. Those records will "never be missed...never be missed." But kudos to those who specialize in the Victorian era. Sadly, I read Flowers For Algeron in high school and still missed that crossing. I stumbled in the same places as Rex and Rex's wife which is oddly comforting. ��

KarynLD 4:14 PM  

When I entered CURTAINCALL as my first themer, having seen that John Lithgow was a guest constructor, I thought that the theme was going to be a play on the names of his Third Rock From the Sun co-stars. Having hit Jane Curt(a)in, I was all ready for something like LEAVEITALONE for Joseph Gordon-Le(a)v(e)itt, but alas, the other themers didn't fit the mold.

TCProf 4:15 PM  

Great to see Minnie Minoso's name--I saw him hit a grand slam for the Indians (sob!) many decades ago. And although I am no authority on Gilbert and Sullivan, Katisha was a gimme for me.

One problem with assigning a challenge level to a puzzle is that the level depends to a significant degree on one's idiosyncratic experience. This was an easy puzzle for me, not because I am an ace puzzle solver but because the clues played to my experience.

Where it says "Relative Difficulty," it should read "Relative Difficulty for Me."

Shelby Glidden 4:23 PM  

If we reprise, may i have the role of Lord High Executioner before Anonymous gets it?

Anonymous 4:32 PM  

If you want your hard-boiled eggs to peel consistently perfect, steam them for 12 minutes. Immediately place them in ice water with a slotted spoon. Voila!

Carola 4:38 PM  

@Anonymous 4:04 - Thank you!

Anonymous 5:12 PM  

"teevoz" is less anonymous than "anonymous?"

Jeremy Smith

Missy 5:13 PM  

This is what I do to peel hard boiled eggs: smash the shell all over and cover egg with water for about 5 minutes. Makes for easier shell removal.

Chance 5:27 PM  

I thought this was tough, but not crazy tough. KATISHA was the big bomb in the puzzle, but come on, KEYES is a famous guy. And why does everyone have so much trouble with the STAGE LEFT pun? Stage, stagecoach. It's right there in the name!

I enjoyed CATFISH given with its new sinister meaning.

Missy 5:30 PM  

This is what I do to peel hard boiled eggs: smash the shell all over and cover egg with water for about 5 minutes. Makes for easier shell removal.

Chance 5:32 PM  

There's not just a TV show about catfishing, there's also a movie. You old fogeys need to get your heads out of the past and embrace the future. Just do me a solid and think about it.

Also, you young whippersnappers need to quit whining about stuff in crosswords that happened before you were born. Guess what else happened before you were born? World War II, Beethoven, the Moon landing, I Love Lucy. learn about them, they're called history.

Learn from the past! Embrace the future! Down with racism!

BarbieBarbie 5:38 PM  

Loved this one. Loved it. Lots of theater stuff, all of it gettable for this not-theater type. Nothing hard about Katisha. To do this puzzle you need a bare minimum of theater knowledge, and Katisha is about on a level with Romeo. Which, by the way, was a really cute misdirect. Hey, MISDIRECT...
Even though I grokkedthe theme there were no gimmes here and each one was its own little gem. So. Much. Fun.
More, please.

wgh 5:38 PM  

Awful. Totally agree on the Natick square. OTOES, ATRAS and ERNES, oh blecch. SLEETY is so dumb I held off writing it out, convinced no one would use that. AHEAP? AAR you kidding me?

Nancy 5:39 PM  

@kitshef (10:30 a.m.) -- Now you know how fond of you I am (and if you don't, I'm letting you know now). Nevertheless, I would take every nickel I have in the bank and bet that, despite the rumors (there are rumors of such a thing???? Really???? Who comes up with these rumors?), John Lithgow and @Fountains of Golden Fluids have absolutely nothing to do with one another. Every nickel I have, @kitshef! And if you knew me, you'd know I'm no gambler.

teevoz 5:57 PM  

Anon 11:37 "contested issues" ? You must be kidding

teevoz 6:03 PM  

Anon 5:12pm Jeremy smith. The point of my "anonymous" complaint is not that a person's real name is needed, it's that there's no way to know if the same person is making multiple anonymous comments, agreeing with himself, etc. If a screenname is used, there's some semblance of accountability.

chefwen 6:15 PM  

@Loren — Anon at 4:32 is right. Place eggs in steamer basket, add an inch of water, steam for 12 minutes for hard cooked. The steam permeates the shell causing the whites to pull away from the membrane. Tried and true on the freshest eggs around.

Colum Amory 6:22 PM  

Well, KATISHA was a gimme for this G&S enthusiast. You may not know this, but Mr. Lithgow was part of the Harvard & Radcliffe Gilbert & Sullivan Society in his college days.

rtkelly 7:35 PM  

And was super-creepy on Dexter for a season!

Anonymous 7:42 PM  

Thanks for mansplaining the scourge of anonymity on the interwebs.
By the way,is teevoz capitalized on your driver's license? My friend Tee, goes with a capital T,but as you've probably deduced by his decision to go with a nickname, he's not orthodox like his folks. Or you, I'm guessing.

Anonymous 7:47 PM  

Sorry Jeremy. You have it covered. I was reading the last comment ends first...not yet first, and sadly, probably not my last mistake of the day. But at least I've never been called a teevoz.

Joe Dipinto 7:57 PM  

@Z 10:10 -- Who is Whit?

And who cares about "Natick Principle"? 1/4 of the "solving public"? You do crosswords and sometimes you can't get a box because you don't absolutely know either answer. SFW? You guess, anyway, and then you learn something. This one was Really, people thought an R might go there? Like, Jose Reyes wrote "Flowers For Algernon"? K is the only letter that makes sense. Sheesh!

teevoz 8:14 PM  

Anon 7:42 wow. 1) I was asked about my comment on anonymity 2) why do you think I'm a man? Because I'm not 3) what he fuck is your problem?

Tridacna 8:21 PM  

“Dyed” in the wool. Ahem. This IS the NYTCW blog.

Anonymous 8:26 PM  

@anonymous you are so right

BarbieBarbie 8:40 PM  

@lms, you may need to add steaming time for altitude because your water may boil at lower than 212. But I agree w chefwen, not that my opinion is needed there.
As long as eggs are a topic: yolks turn gray when the free-ranging sulfur compounds in the cooked white migrate inward and react with the outside of the yolk. The yolk’s sulfur is bound up and doesn’t contribute. So don’t overcook your eggs and do plunge into ice water after cooking to discourage that migration. Also helps to loosen the shell. But I have no perfect solution for shelling. The steam helps a lot with cracking.

Joy2u 8:55 PM  

@Masked and Anonymous

Know thAT if wISHes Aren't Kind, EYES may cry.

Anonymous 8:58 PM  

Whoa. Lotsa haters here. I guess crossword puzzles’ll do that to people.

RooMonster 10:17 PM  

@Joy2u 8:55 PM,
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your saying doesn't work for this particular game. The letters need to be kept together in a string over adjoining words. Like @kitshef's "Kit-Kat, I shake yesterday's" Notice the KATISHA and KEYES in there consecutively?

But try again now that you know our (completly arbitrary) rules. :-)


ChicagoMama 10:27 PM  

I'm so sorry. I live on the north side of Chicago too. Just a terrible, senseless loss.

RooMonster 10:59 PM  

Actually, they are @Loren's rules now that the ole brain decided to remember that!


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BrucieK 11:11 AM  

Also needed hyphens; also a mixed modifier. Should have been; "As a dyed-in-the-wool Gilbert and Sullivan fan, I wrote Katisha into the grid..." etc.

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spacecraft 11:26 AM  

I'm with @Doris. Do me a SOLID??? Luckily I had a couple other words already in that section or I surely would have inked in FAVOR and never questioned it. Do me a solid. Doesn't even make an IOTA of sense. I am amazed at what is happening to our language. Soon I will be a foreigner in my own country. Well, just don't do me a gas.

Those who have no theatrical experience will doubtless wind up with a DNF today. Most of the stuff I knew, but SPITTAKE is an outlier. Luckily the crosses there were fair; not so with the infamous #41. I did guess correctly, but sheesh! I can understand Lithgow passing it; he probably thinks the Mikado character is a gimme. But BEQ should have flagged that baby. CATFISH as clued was another WOE and a secondary Natick in the same name, but I guessed that right as well.

I like the finishing touch of ACTOR to the theme. SUMMERSTOCK (including the CORNY pun of "summer" for "one who adds") brings a nice memory. I once played opposite the late great Vivian Blaine in a SS production of "Barefoot in the Park." She, a wonderful and fun lady to work with, played the mother and I was the upstairs neighbor. So in that regard, I'm inclined to score on the high side.

For DOD I could pick Donna SUMMER, or one of the COXES--namely Courtney. Why not co-winners? About par for a Wednesday, maybe a bit on the challenging side of medium. Upgrade to birdie for the memory.

thefogman 11:41 AM  

Rather thin gruel for a Thursday. DNF because of my final entry when I guessed mATISHA. Lots of wonky cluing in my opinion. I still do not understand CATFISH. Maybe someone could explain. I thought it would make sense if it was CATphISH but that didn't fit (and was wrong) so... CASTPARTY doesn't relate to the clue that well either, or maybe I'm missing something. Oh well, on to Friday.

Burma Shave 11:59 AM  


A WALKON and OFF her STAGELEFT him feeling CORNY,
HENCE he said, “IDON’T mind a CASTPARTY at all,
all DEI waiting for that TASTY Jane CURTAINCALL.”


Diana, LIW 12:08 PM  

Ha! Do me a MINERAL. Yes, I goggled KATISHA, but I think she's as fair as the flaming Greek Goddess of nose hairs. Ya know?

@Spacey - the infamous SPIT TAKE is often referred to by commenters, when they "spit out their coffee" in response to a funny comment. (Often by LMS.) &@Foggy, too, CATFISH is in the lingo to lure someone by posing as another. Even AARP warns of same. And CASTPARTY is the party who casts for...whatever. Like fish.

Even if I didn't count the KATISHA area, I honestly dnf'd with STAtELEFT - the State team left, and the coach left, too...that'a my story... REtAINED made as much sense.

BTW, @Foggy, today is Wed and tomorrow, Thurs - Turkey day. Gobble on, all.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rondo 12:31 PM  

Yup. Last in was the #41 square. Last names can be about anything and I didn’t know the character. Ran the alphabet. L sounded too modern for the down, R too Latin across and too wrong for the down. I had a PAL who passed twenty-some years ago whose last name was KEYES, so I went with that. Thank you and RIP, Dave.

Knew CATFISH only from the semi-famous hoax involving former Notre Dame football standout Manti Teo 5 years or so ago.

Minnie MINOSO a gimme, had many of his baseball cars back when.

OLE again with no Sven.

Another one of the COXES is yeah baby Nikki.

Thought maybe @spacey would rate this a PAAR, but IDONT begrudge the birdie reasoning.

thefogman 1:36 PM  

Thank you for the explanation D,LIW. I have no explanation however for thinking today was Thursday. I will just enjoy the feeling of being a day younger! :-)

rainforest 2:00 PM  

Luckily, I saw the movie "Charly" way back when, and when I learned that it was based on the novel "Flowers for Algernon", I read the book. Both book and movie were great, if somewhat different. HENCE, KEYES was a gimme which solved the square 41 dilemma.

Personal experience was no help with CATFISH, though, but again, KEYES to the rescue to reveal SELF instead of SoLe. To quote @Spacey, "nevah hoid of it".

Overall, a very enjoyable puzzle, my joy influenced by the two constructors.
Lithgow is always amazing, and BEQ always impressive.

leftcoastTAM 3:29 PM  

Tuesday's felt like an averge Wednesday, and Wednesday's (today) felt like a combined Thursday-Friday for all the reasons Rex cited.

Most aggravating were KEYES and KATISHA. CATFISH escaped me. Had a hard time reconciling "Individual" with SELF. And "Can you give me a SOLID?" Whaaat? I got it but I don't know what. The others I missed.

Lithgow-Quigley are a formidable duo, god bless them.

BS2 4:57 PM  


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