Take an Ax to / WED 10-25-17 / Like good farm soil / Eggs on / Source of protein in veggie burgers

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Constructor: Jules P. Markey

Relative difficulty: Easy



THEME: BREAK UP THE BANKS (62A: Wall Street reformer's urging ... or a hint to this puzzle's circled squares) —Two geological banks, RIVER and SNOW, and two storage banks, SPERM and DATA are "broken" across phrases.

Theme answers:
  • D(RIVE R)ECKLESSLY (17A: Weave or tailgate, say)
  • "IT'(S NO W)ONDER" (25A "I'm not at all surprised")
  • GIVE(S PERM)ISSION (41A: Allows)
  • SOL(D AT A) LOSS (52A: Bailed out on some stock, say)
Word of the Day: LOAMY (39D: Like good farm soil) —From Merriam-Webster:



1 a :a mixture (as for plastering) composed chiefly of moistened clay

b :a coarse molding sand used in founding (see 5found)

2 :soil; specifically :a soil consisting of a friable mixture of varying proportions of clay, silt, and sand


(Bonus Word of the Day: FRIABLE)

• • •
Hi, it's Lena. I think I would like this puzzle even if I wasn't eating honey-peanut butter-banana crackers and drinking neat gin like I am now. For a Wednesday, this is fine by me. The theme is solid-- there is a diverse sampling of bank types and they're broken in a pleasingly symmetrical way: once in RIVE R and S PERM and thrice in S NO W and D AT A. Also I like the finger wag at those who DRIVE RECKLESSLY but it would be much more au courant if the clue mentioned behind-the-wheel smart phone usage. Please don't use your phone while driving <-- PSA

The fill is not bad but I was definitely aware of OAS TSA NEA SST and KAN. The longer fill was lively, active, rhythmic with CRIME WAVE (3D: Reason to summon Batman) and FIRE DANCE (38D: Burning Man performance). I don't want to do any research regarding the actuality of a "fire dance" at Burning Man so I'm just going to trust Jules and Will.

The clues were straight-forward. In fact, I don't think I can find a single question mark clue. 

Those teeth! God I love this song. Alright time for bed-- the song is done, the puzzle is done, the gin is done, and the honey-peanut butter-banana crackers are done and one of them had a bird face:



Signed, Lena Webb, Court Jester of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

83 comments:

Hartley70 12:47 AM  

It's always a pleasure to see Lena's puzzle review and the accompanying menu choices tonight add to the fun. The peanut butter bird face will have to serve as the visual interest. I'm a sucker for grid art. I myself went with lemon La Croix and a bit of Hershey's dark chocolate. That little shot of sugar and caffeine helps the aging brain cells after midnight. I have seen Lena solve and she doesn't need any gustatory help at all.

I'm thinking of this as a pleasantly easy, early week solve. I didn't see anything tricky and the theme was pretty straight forward once I saw the revealer. I'm not sure I would have immediately seen BANK as the theme connector without the "hint". Maybe this would have had a little more pizazz if I'd had some gin. It's a perfect solve for a true beginner.

Johnny 12:55 AM  


First, what an awesome review, Lena. I loved this puzzle and then I get this extra-bonus by you! That video is fantastic everyone watch it.

This puzzle was great. It was easy, but I solved it top to bottom and got the four themers but then had to figure out what they meant. The bottom of the grid was blank. The answer clue didn't help. As 62A emerged through crosses I thought it was a really solid payoff. Well done.

Hal ASHBY was in the grid. Most people don't know his name but he was one of the great American film directors of the 1970's, a golden era of filmmaking. His films from 1971 to 1979 were Harold and Maude, The Last Detail, Bound for Glory, Coming Home, and Being There. He was an editor who became a director and all his films have a loving watchful eye and lyrical timing. Being There is a masterpiece. Have yourself a Hal Ashby film festival and you'll be glad you did.

Loren Muse Smith 4:08 AM  

Lena – I wasn’t going to comment ‘cause I’m running late, but I felt compelled to thank you for your take on this. What a great way to start the day.

With themes like this, the idea of “breaking” a word up, you can go the way Jules did and uncover the word as a bridge between words: S NO W or you could literally break up the word (like this March 8, 2012 puzzle – warning: it’s the solution) and have its beginning and end out at the edges: SS MINNOW. I always like the latter when it comes to “breaking” up a word, but this way works, too. I just have to squint my eyes and think about it.

BREAK UP THE BANKS.

BarbieBarbie 5:30 AM  

@LMS, great clip.
Easy-Medium, fun 3-letter words, and a good clue for EMU. Enjoyed this one.

Lewis 6:02 AM  

Zippy, easy end of Wednesday solve, with a rhyming row (ROW/FRO/DUO), mini-theme of double SS (7), and a very tight theme. The only other kind of non-institutional banks that come to mind are PIGGY and WORD, and I can't think of familiar phrases in which these words can be broken into, while the phrases in the puzzle are excellent. Nice clue for ALE. I don't need peanut butter and bananas to enjoy this, but I wouldn't turn them down!

Anonymous 6:15 AM  

Hillary's campaign paid for Trump dossier. Damn, and I thought Mook and Palmieri ran such a smart campaign. How could she have lost?

Pope Gregory XIII 6:42 AM  

Can someone please fix the day and date on the top ?

Anonymous 7:04 AM  

Sorry, I was wasted on Gin bought from the trust fund.

kitshef 7:18 AM  

Super treat to see IAMB in a puzzle!

KAN just seemed so unnecessary. Could have gone with KAL/BELT, or KAT/BEST/SSS, or KAA/BEAN/SSN.

There is a pleasing oppositeness in DRIVING RECKLESSLY and driving wrecklessly.

abalani500 7:31 AM  

Is it Monday already? Where did the weekend go?

FrankStein 7:32 AM  

I guess one would need a great deal of gin to enjoy this seriously dull midweek blahfest.

Hungry Mother 7:32 AM  

DOH moment today when I wrote raW instead of NEW. DNF!

GHarris 7:32 AM  

A romp and almost too easy for a Wednesday.

Anonymous 7:39 AM  

Why all the outrage over Weinstein when Bill Clinton raped Kathleen Willey, and then told her "You better put some ice on that"?

Two Ponies 7:55 AM  

I really enjoyed looking at the words in the circles and wondering what could possibly tie them together. Very fun to find the connection.
Thanks to the commenter above for the education on Ashby. His name crossing the revealer almost spoiled my fun because I had no idea who the person was.
Nice Wednesday puzzle and write up by our guest.

Clue for 73A reads like a tongue twister.

In my experience the word Urban to describe a pigeon is redundant.
They do, or at least did, exist in the wild where they are called a rock dove. When cities came around these birds abandoned the natural world for the easy pickings of life with humans. Here in Montana there are a about four pigeons in this tiny town. More turkeys than pigeons in your yard.

I liked that the answer for "dig deeply" was actually delve and not the usual cutesy "adore."

Better than usual clue for SST.

I'm not touching the clue for Lewd.
I do know that the Dre of Dr. Dre is short for Andre.

chefbea 8:03 AM  

What a fun easy puzzle...yummy latkes!!! Please fix the date at the top of the puzzle.

Great write up Lena!!!

Anonymous 8:14 AM  

A year ago today the NYT said Hillary's chance of winning was 90%. HuffPo same. I don't go to these sources for information, but rather affirmation. Regardless of how wrong they are, it makes me feel good about myself.

Anonymous 8:19 AM  

I was microagressd by Bashir al-Assad. Guy's a mass murderer. It irked me.

Anonymous 8:22 AM  

Give it up, Anon-hole. Nobody cares. Go tickle your zipper in a different stall.

Black Sun 8:23 AM  

You are not allowed to speak badly about Assad. He is a Muslim.

Anonymous 8:30 AM  

@Loren: Wait it’s 4:08 a.m. and you’re running late ? What are you a milkman ? milkperson ?

JHC 8:44 AM  

I had the FIRE at 38D, thought 57A was going to be wax, so I confidently completed 38D as FIREWORKS. I realized a moment later that my 57A was wrong, and corrected the W to a D. This briefly made my Burning Man performance FIRE DORKS.

I maintain that this is accurate.

Anonymous 8:49 AM  

New record, 3:16 for a Wednesday. Sneaking up on Tuesday's best.

Very smooth and almost effortless. Never even saw the theme.

puzzlehoarder 8:50 AM  

This is Wednesday I hope. I kept wondering when that Wednesday heading would show and then I finally spotted the new comment list. As a fireman I'm on what is called a platoon schedule in which I work a 24 shift every third day. This tends to make me a little vague on the day of the week to begin with. Waking up at the firehouse and seeing the Tuesday heading really threw me off.

This was a very easy puzzle. Even doing it on my phone last night I came in with what would be a good time on paper for a Monday.

It may be juvenile of me but I think that as this puzzle has SPERM on it this was a missed opportunity for a celebrity constructor appearance. While this guy Markey would get the main constructing credit David Crosby could be the one who donated the SPERM.

Regardless of what you think of this idea it's another chance to let me express what I think of the whole guest celebrity thing. At least I didn't misidentify anyone as LATINA.

Mohair Sam 8:55 AM  

@Rex gives great reviews when he's corked too.

@Loren - Great link to Senator Warren grilling the regulators. They really are in the pocket of Wall Street Banks - Steal a billion, pay a lawyer million, pay a thousand dollar fine. Nice way to do business.

Stanley Hudson 9:05 AM  

Easy peasy for a Wednesday but kinda fun also.

“Cry cry cry”

Anonymous 9:05 AM  

Shortz needs to include more references to Islam. Clearly 2 per puzzle is not enough.

Sir Hillary 9:07 AM  

So I guess you BREAKUPTHEBANKS by parsing the themers with spaces in the appropriate places? I would have preferred them to have already been broken up, as @LMS showed. Maybe the idea was to remind us that they haven't been broken up on Wall Street either.

Not very memorable.

Suzie Q 9:09 AM  

@ JHC, Great wrong answers. Hilarious mental image of Fire Dorks!

Anonymous 9:14 AM  

I'm a snowflake, you're a snowflake, he's a snowflake, she's a snowflake. Wouldn't you like to be a snowflake too?

mathgent 9:29 AM  

Boring is too kind a way to describe it. Only three red plusses in the margin, the lowest Wednesday since I've been keeping track (almost a year).

@Mohair Sam (8:55): Good line. Lot of truth in it.

Do we have a good definition of crosswordese? Certainly a word that we know exclusively from crosswords qualifies. AGA today meets that test for me. I think that very obscure trivia would qualify. "Bambi's aunt" used to pop up regularly. The names of old time movie stars who haven't been mentioned in the media for years.

Oldflappyfrommississappy 9:31 AM  

Hey @mathgent, this puzzle is almost as boring as your posts.

RooMonster 9:49 AM  

Hey All !
So, no one has a problem with SPERM BANK as a themer? Ick. Sure it doesn't pass the breakfast test, right? I know that they're out there, but I'm not sure I want it in my puz. Was so looking forward to a Rex tirade on that.

Otherwise, it was an OK puz. Typical break-up-words theme. Not too much DREGS. Although, AYE, AVE, AGE, AGA, EYE, EKE. OAS, OAR. IRK in the Center Down. Appropo. OK, maybe there was a lot of dreck. As you see, I'm undecided how I feel about this puz. Weird.

RVTRIP to ASPEN with LSD
RooMonster
DarrinV

Trombone Tom 9:52 AM  

A little gin would perhaps have added something to the experience. Someone already said "easy, peasey" and that's about the size of it.

I didn't tumble to the theme until I had three of the long answers in place, but then it jumped up at me. Maybe seeing "sperm" got my attention?

I would prefer more crunch; it's not Monday after all.

Lena's blog certainly has a different flavor!

Anonymous 9:54 AM  

@ rumple bumple stumple

seems it's YOU who doesn't recognize sarcasm. I won't hold ny breath waiting for your apology. seeing Dipinto correct you is good enough for me. Idiot.

@two ponies
I like your distinction between urban and rural pigeons. In my circle, there's always hard feelings about whether to count rock dove as a species when we're compiling our day's checklist. My father steadfastly refuses to tick that box. I kinda like that about him.
On the other hand, I was at the Cape May morning flight the other day and none other than the official counter called out " rock dove" and I saw it marked, so......different strokes.

Questinia 9:54 AM  

A boiler plate Wednesday puzzle except for its having been impregnated by the word SPERM leading me to perceive Lena's sandwich as a zygote after its first mitotic division.eeee

Anonymous 10:02 AM  

I think, therefor IAMB

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

Please drive wrecklessly

Joseph Michael 10:11 AM  

Lyric poem about space travel -- UFO ODE

Strange occurence in an adobe home -- PUEBLO ODDITY

Someone who never shuts up -- EPIC LOUDMOUTH

Nancy 10:26 AM  

What @mathgent said. A bore, with absolutely no thinking required. Sorry that today the loathsome troll is after you, @mathgent. He always seems to choose the nicest people on the blog. (And, btw, he only attacks, and never, ever, says a word about the puzzle).

Burnt Man 10:31 AM  

Fire dancing maybe not the best idea...

Fire Dancer

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

"A bore, with absolutely no thinking required." Just like @Nancy's comment.

Tita A 10:35 AM  

@kitshef...great observation about driving.

as someone who loves to drive...give me a twisty back road with beautiful vistas over an interstate any day...I used to see the self-driving car revolution barreling down the pike as just another way we are being dumbed down and our skills made irrelevant... like automatic transmissions and electric starters...

But then I realized that it could be a dream... When everybody has a self-driving car.
Everyone but me.

Mwah hah hah... I can toodle down the road, top down and radio on, with those namby-pamby selfie cars scurrying away from me as I approach.
Yes! Bring it on, Detroit and Silicon Alley!

@Barbie from a few days ago. Commentator/Commenter. I mean, nobody commentates!

The puzzle? Once I saw the revealer, I was looking for another layer...like names of financial institutions would be somehow broken up, or be up above the shaded banks. Maybe that could be another theme... ReaCH A SEttlement? Spider WEBS TERify me?
Wow. I am so not a constructor.



I mean, so many people are totally oblivious when behind the wheel. Selfies will definitely improve their experience.

JC66 10:46 AM  

Re: BREAKING UP THE BANKS

Late yesterday Mike Pence broke a 50-50 tie in the Senate to strike down a sweeping new rule that would have allowed millions of ordinary Americans to band together in class-action lawsuits against financial institutions.

JC66 10:56 AM  


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbfMlk1PwGU

RIP Fats

Anonymous 10:59 AM  

Nice to read a positive review for a change.

kitshef 11:01 AM  

@Tita A - The way I heard it, if I make a remark on this board, I'm making a comment, so I'm a commenter. But if I'm doing a baseball broadcast, I'm providing commentary, so I'm a commentator. And if I'm a Yukon gold, I'm a common tater.

Carola 11:15 AM  

RIVER, SNOW, SPERM...wha? I couldn't imagine what idea was going to unite them, and DATA didn't help. I needed almost every cross for the reveal. Liked the surprise. My favorite theme answer was DRIVE RECKLESSLY, as I'd misunderstood the clue: "weave" at a loom, and "tailgate" in a parking lot with a grill and cooler of beer.

Ellen S 11:22 AM  

Lena, like others I want to thank you for your writeup. I solved this morning, in bed, with animals asking to go out, come in, go out, come in — honey-peanut butter-banana crackers and gin sounds much more relaxing.

And Mr. Markey, thank you for the puzzle. I enjoyed the solve and the aha! of figuring out the BANKS.

Masked and Anonymous 11:28 AM  

I'm with @Lewis … was kinda lookin forward to how the puz was gonna manage to break up the PIGGY banks.

A nice snootful of weejects to choose from (27), but nothin in the list really jumped out and excited m&e. Maybe it's possible to make a weeject word ladder out of em?
AGA … AGE … ALE … AVE … AYE … EYE … DYE … DRE …... [buzz]

fave long-ball fillins: RVTRIP. FIREDANCE. CRIMEWAVE.
{Behold the great topsoil, Schumer!} = LOAMY. Almost cries out, as a new puztheme idea candidate.

Thanx, Mr. Markey.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


**gruntz**

Joe Bleaux 11:34 AM  

Hi, Roo! Since "breakfast test" is, I think, morning newspaper jargon, a true story: A few years back, the Atlanta daily included a "community news" squib about an upcoming field trip by a group of third graders. After taking notes over the phone, a reporter had written that the kids' agenda included a "visit to a sperm bank." The next-day correction explained that the children actually would visit the FERNBANK Museum of Natural History.

newspaperguy 11:35 AM  

I love the comments from the dim bulbs who needed the date fixed at the top of the puzzle. You have just finished the actual puzzle, presumably, and know exactly what the puzzle looks like when you get to this site. And an incorrect date at the top of the page threatens to ruin your day. As Herr Trump would say, "sad."

Rumple Bumple Stumple 11:52 AM  

You know, I got a laugh myself with @Joe D correcting that post. Shows the pettiness from me, you, and other Anons. Why can't we all just get along? And stop the name calling?

Chris 11:54 AM  

Nice puzzle. I ended up in the SW and had a horrible time finishing, because I had BAIL OUT THE BANKS as the final themer for the longest time.

Anonymous 12:33 PM  

Fusion GPS. Thank goodness the American people had the good sense to not vote a lying crook into the White House.

Teedmn 1:10 PM  

I solved going down the west side so the first circles I filled in held SPERM. Eyebrows raised, I looked forward to seeing what that tied into and I wasn't disappointed.

BREAK UP THE BANKS - did anyone remember to call Batman when that CRIMEWAVE was revealed in 2008? No? IT'S NO WONDER we still have shenanigans going on like what Wells Fargo has been up to, setting up fake accounts and selling bad insurance. (My company banks at Wells Fargo but I don't - thanks goodness they've quit asking me why I don't do my personal banking there - yeah, right!) And now we can't ENSUE them in a class action suit, how fair is that?

Sorry, one of my personal IRKs.

@Tita, I'll be glad to let you pass my self-driving car. Driving at night or in city traffic has become a real chore. And I'd rather be able to look at the beautiful scenery than just steal a couple of glimpses between winding curves.

Anonymous 1:12 PM  

@rumple,
It was you who strayed out of your lane. Then compounded your error by making an assertion which has shown to be false. I fail to see my pettiness.
It's true that I called you an idiot. Perhaps that was unkind. I'll rephrase: you made an idiotic claim.
As for getting along, I'm an affable guy and get along with most everyone.

Joy2u 1:13 PM  

@Gill I - Hello from (also) Sunny and getting colder (41 this morning) ABQ. Good to see someone in my time zone.

Anonymous 1:15 PM  

I'm guessing lemming leader Colbert steers clear of any Russia talk tonight.

thfenn 1:45 PM  

Breezed through and enjoyed this one. Always pleased to get through a Wednesday on my own, and then always disappointed to read about how easy it was. Thought this one was fun.

Had URGES for GOADS and FRAME for EASEL, which hung me up in the NE, and might explain why I still am challenged by even easy Wednesdays. Also went with KOREA before TOKYO when all I had in the crosses for that clue was LEO.

@Johnny, Shampoo was probably my least favorite Hal ASHBY movie, in fact, didn't like it at all, but Being There, Harold and Maude, and even Coming Home are among my favorites (not just of his, I mean among my favorites).

Everytime I have to enter NEA for some education related answer I think no, that's the National Endowment for the Arts.

With RIVER, SNOW, and SPERM in place, I had no idea where the reveal was headed (things that are white? no. whales? no. things that flow? uhh, not really). Thought BREAKUPTHEBANKS was great (even tho in my mind broken up referred to them being scattered around the grid, not spread across different words in a phrase - again, you see why I start my Wednesdays wondering if I can complete it without cheating...).

Great write up Lena, thanks. I don't drink gin neat, might give it a shot next time I'm snacking on bananas and peanut butter, though really, bourbon (my choice) sounds better than gin with that...

Johnny 2:10 PM  


@thfenn

I agree, and that's why I didn't list it, even though it was 1975 (and named in the clue). Shampoo is really a Warren Beatty film with Ashby's name on it.

Fred Romagnolo 2:33 PM  

@Mathgent: Yes, I was David's teacher: super bright kid.

Fred Romagnolo 2:37 PM  

Anon 12:33: Hilary a lying crook? Where's your gallantry? Shame!

Anonymous 2:49 PM  

She would rather tell a lie even if it were more beneficial for her to tell the truth.

Anonymous 2:56 PM  

Uranium One is pure gold for GOP.

Shelby Glidden 4:35 PM  

air our differences rather than our similarities...?

Shelby Glidden 4:38 PM  

you get my vote for wit for the week 😀

Tita A 4:54 PM  

@Barbie...yes, that does make it seem slightly more legit, I suppose, but your reminding me of that joke makes it all better.

Ooh - here's another - Use / Utilize.

Shelby Glidden 4:58 PM  

surely, there's a better idiom for idiot 🤔
(having a mental age of less than three years old and an intelligence quotient under 25)
...unready to rumple or...?

Joe Dipinto 5:05 PM  

@rumple 11:52-- well I wouldn't call it a correction so much as a clarification. I realized after the fact that the post could be interpreted several different ways. Anyway, I did appreciate your coming to my defense.

Rumple Bumple Stumple 7:22 PM  

@Anon 1:12
Your last line was pretty funny. And that's not sarcasm!

@Shelby 4:58
"Let's get ready to Rumple!"

I may be stupid, but I'm President 7:25 PM  

Trump here. I've expanded from just doing silly Tweets, now I'm gonna invade this blog. Go Republicans! Screw my advisors...

Joe 7:36 PM  

Somehow I never realized that the Mysterians were a Latin band. Thanks for clueing me in!

G. Weissman 7:55 PM  

Banks I see, but how does the “break up the” relate to the shaded-square answers?

Joe Dipinto 8:17 PM  

@G. Weissman -- the types of banks represented in the shaded boxes are being broken up across two or three words in the answer phrases.

Lewis 9:01 PM  

@m&a -- Wow! Remarkable catch on that ladder! Bravo, sir.

Shelby Glidden 9:13 PM  

lol...thanks, Rumple 😀

nick strauss 9:24 PM  

lena, peanut butter and honey rocks! I like it in a sandwich with homemade bread.

Shelby Glidden 11:30 PM  

😀

Ethan Taliesin 10:00 AM  

Firefox Browser was having trouble getting out of "rebus mode" today. Easiest escape was to click on to one of the written clues to the right.

I don't even know what FARM TEAM is... Sports not alcoholics. OK

Warren Howie Hughes 11:07 AM  

It was surely ASSAD Humpday, SARIS to say, when upon immediately espying 1A and instantly realizing this Xword offering was going to be a LOCH!

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