Asian yogurt drink / MON 1-29-18 / Students simulation of global diplomacy / Dessert topper from can / Contest for areawide seat

Monday, January 29, 2018

Constructor: Lynn Lempel

Relative difficulty: Normal Monday


THEME: DOWNSIZE (62A: Diminish the work force ... or a literal hint to the answers to the four starred clues) — starred clues are long DOWN answers that contain "sizes" ... that actually *increase* as you move across the grid, but that sink lower *in* the grid, so ... yeah OK.

Theme answers:
  • SMALL WORLD (3D: *"Crazy to run into you here!")
  • PRINT MEDIUM (6D: *Newspapers or magazines)
  • AT LARGE RACE (27D: *Contest for an areawide seat)
  • MUMBO JUMBO (31D: *Nonsense)
Word of the Day: BPA (29D: Controversial chemical in plastics, for short) —
Bisphenol A (BPA) is an organic synthetic compound with the chemical formula(CH3)2C(C6H4OH)2 belonging to the group of diphenylmethane derivatives and bisphenols, with two hydroxyphenyl groups. It is a colorless solid that is soluble in organic solvents, but poorly soluble in water. It has been in commercial use since 1957. [...] The FDA states "BPA is safe at the current levels occurring in foods" based on extensive research, including two more studies issued by the agency in early 2014. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reviewed new scientific information on BPA in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2015: EFSA's experts concluded on each occasion that they could not identify any new evidence which would lead them to revise their opinion that the known level of exposure to BPA is safe; however, the EFSA does recognize some uncertainties, and will continue to investigate them.
In February 2016, France announced that it intends to propose BPA as a REACH Regulationcandidate substance of very high concern (SVHC). The European Chemicals Agencyagreed to the proposal in June 2017. (wikipedia)
• • •

Enjoyed this puzzle despite the fact that it works on only two out of the three possible levels (i.e. the sizes appear in DOWN answers, and the sizes (small, medium, large, jumbo) literally move DOWN (i.e. lower in the grid) with each successive themer, but the sizes do *not* go DOWN (size-wise) as you move across the grid). Also JUMBO isn't anyone's idea of the fourth term in this sequence. If I said "finish this sequence: small, medium, large, ___" you'd probably say "extra large"; you might say a bunch of things, but JUMBO probably isn't one of them. And *still* I was entertained by this grid, mostly because the basic quality of the grid, overall, is just so dang good. MODEL UN! LASSI! Even BPA, which I can't really call "good," but which is at least current. Since Mondays are high-speed affairs anyway, all I want is a moderately coherent theme and then cleanness and bounce, cleanness and bounce! This thing's got only a small handful of answers I'd chuck overboard, and only a couple I really dislike: IDI (old school crosswordese + murderous tyrant = booo), and ET ALII, which is an answer I'd retire right now if I could, along with ET ALIA. No one likes having to guess at the ETALI(?) mystery letter, and no one says or even writes it out like that anyway. We all know that ET AL is the only legit abbr. here, so let's ditch the ET ALI(?) twins for good, OK? Oh, and TGI? Come on, that's horrible. But let's focus on the positive, which is virtually everything else about this grid.


I had only one hiccup: ACRE for SITE (12D: Building lot). I had the "E" in place and ACRE was the first thing that popped in my head. I also struggled a bit to come up with PRINT MEDIUM, since the plural "print media" is by *far* the more common phrase. I saw a giant window display of REDDI-WIP just last night up in Ithaca (15A: Dessert topper from a can). The store had fashioned a giant bottle, and then used some kind of batting or cotton to simulate the "wip"ped cream, but if you looked at it up close it was kind of dingy and had dead bugs in it, so maybe not the greatest way to hock your Valentine's Day wares. I think maybe it was a lingerie store, so, yeah, dead bugs in a fake giant REDDI-WIP display don't really put me in the underwear-buying mood, but maybe ladies are different. Luckily the rest of our Ithaca jaunt ("Lady Bird," the pan-Asian restaurant Mia) was quite nice and dead bug-free. On that note, goodbye.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

88 comments:

phil phil 12:13 AM  

As first responder all I can say is Rex misused the word virtually.

But since we all do the same thing and thus set a precedent, he becomes virtually correct in using it as such

Carola 12:22 AM  

Nicely done! I liked how MEDIUM, LARGE, and JUMBO were used in phrases not referring to SIZE. The best I could come up with for something similar for SMALL + having 5 letters was "hours." Also liked GOSSIP + TELL ALL, with the possible result ALIENATE. Two do-overs: REDiwhIP, even though I often have a can in the refrigerator, and. stab at MOck before MODEL.

Pete 12:29 AM  

My name really is Phil, I go by Pete because virtually every Phil I've met is a total jackass. I expect most people's experience is the same, so I try to avoid that initial aversion I always feel when meeting yet another Phil, or God forbid a @phil phil. See a @philphik wull correct your usage of "virtually" when it's literally in accordance with the first definition in every damned dictionary known to man.

phil phil 12:36 AM  

Haaha virtual phil I give

Margaret Mary 12:50 AM  

Oh that Idi Amin.

You know, he only did all those wacky things because of the syphillis. Plus, if you lived in Uganda you'd probably kill everybody too. I think we all would, especially if we also had syphillis and a private army and loads and loads of prostitutes. He had a lot of cut-throats on the payroll and face it you've got to keep those guys busy. If you ever find yourself in that situation things are bound to happen so don't be so quick to judge.

a.corn 12:53 AM  

Lots of double letters...DD, LL, SS, RR, II, OO, PP...probably coincidental? Maybe it’s just what was circulating at the party I was at earlier. Can we start calling joints minglers now?

John Hoffman 1:14 AM  

What an excellent puzzle! Lots of good words, timely.

Harryp 1:15 AM  

lassi, reddiwip, and bpa were only hang-ups easily figured out by crosses. Agree with average rating.

chefwen 2:11 AM  

Had to change rAtS to CADS at 61D and the L in LASSI MODELUN was up for grabs. Guessed at T bzzzt wrong, so a DNF on Monday, can’t remember the last time that happened. Sniff...

Loren Muse Smith 4:13 AM  

Rex – I couldn’t agree more on preferring to have the themers start out with JUMBO and end with SMALL. Since we’re a left-to-right language, the reveal would be doubly meaningful.

But that it was JUMBO and not “extra large” didn’t bother me a bit. I guess, though, with these size words, virtually all minds (ok, mine) would go straight to clothes sizes, so JUMBO becomes problematic. Can you imagine if that were actually the word on a clothes label? Or on the department store sign instead of Today’s Woman? But these sizes could describe other stuff. Cups of coffee. Purses. French fry orders. Egos. I’ve said here recently that the JUMBO equivalent of a soft drink from a gas station is Big Gulp, and its size is astonishing.

Some things are allowed to be sized as JUMBO, but some aren’t. Condoms, yes. Women’s underwear, no.

@Carola – good catch on the GOSSIP and TELL ALL.

WEB MD, I’m sure, is responsible for a lot of very bad moments for the layman. My daughter got a small stye a few days before prom. For those uninformed, prom is all about Facebook and Instagram pictures. She got online, on some kind of diagnosis site, and saw horrific pictures of When Run-of-the-Mill Styes Go Bad. She was hysterical. I bet doctors hate having patients who come in throwing around words like dysphoric disorder and rochalimaea quintana. I have to admit I say SSRI instead of antidepressant because I want doctors to be impressed with me and know they’re talking to one of their people.

Terrific write-up, Rex, terrific puzzle, Lynn.

Anonymous 5:22 AM  

But can we talk about Lady Bird??

Lewis 5:52 AM  

@ rex -- Your "let's focus on the positive" was a holy moly moment for me.
@ a.corn -- 15 double letters overall which is fairly high but not unusually high.

I don't know why, but when I looked at the grid post-solve, my brain went on an animal TEAR. When I saw SNOW my brain said leopard. It saw a backward RAT. LASSI and TIN (as in Rin Tin) evoked dogs. Then there was the vaMOOSE, and the rooster's COMB, and the ARMY ant. The LAIR, of course, had a lion in it, and right after JUMBO my brain barked "shrimp!". Finally, when my brain saw MINGLER, thought "party animal", and said "Lewis, you are having an animal party," I decided it was time to take a walk, and perhaps fight the urge to spray.

Anonymous 6:10 AM  

I'm a lemming.

Hungry Mother 6:43 AM  

Quick one, but mini was harder for me this morning.

John Hnedak 6:48 AM  

Sorry the store in Ithaca had to hock their wares. I guess they didn't hawk them successfully and couldn't afford a Valentine's Day gift for their sweetie.

Beaglelover 7:19 AM  

@MargaretMary, NOT AMUSING,NOT SATIRICAL, just bad taste!!!!

Glimmerglass 7:23 AM  

When I taught HS in the 60’s, the man who passed out sports equipment in the gym used to chide the younger boys who didn’t understand that jock strap sizes are based on waist measurement. When a kid showed embarrassment and asked for a “small,” he’d say, “Oh, don’t be so modest — take a medium.” A little locker-room jocularity.

Birchbark 7:36 AM  

EXTOLS MUMBOJUMBO. VAMOOSE, LASSI.

I shook the SNOW off of a brush pile yesterday afternoon and made a nice fire. Later, I worked on a few archived puzzles from January 2010. We lived in the village then. I looked out the office window over the meadow, and the brush pile was gone.


Two Ponies 7:53 AM  

Puzzle was fine but oh my the comments!

Battle of the Phils.

Rex and his dead bugs.

Lewis' zoo.

MM's Uganda rant.

Even Birchbark is going existential while the brush pile burns.

I guess Mondays can bring out the best in some people.
I'll have to check back later to see where this all leads.

Teedmn 8:08 AM  

LASSI was new to me today. I see from xwordinfo that it has appeared once before, last March, but It didn’t come home to me. Is learning new crossword answers similar to getting a kid to like broccoli - you have to introduce it up to fifteen times to get it stuck in my brain? (They definitely aren’t absorbed through mother's milk a la @Aketi’s suggestion of the other day).

Otherwise, only REDiwhIP gave me any trouble. Nice Monday, Ms. Lempel.

Two Ponies 8:23 AM  

Almost forgot, anyone else immediately think
"This is a test" - Hawaii?

I wondered about that broccoli transfer as well @ Teedmn.

Anonymous 8:23 AM  

"I think, maybe it was a lingerie store."

Michael Sharp/Rex Parker - LOL.

Nancy 8:41 AM  

Another hand up, @Carola and @Teedmn, for REDIWHIP first. Otherwise an easy and pleasant solve. I missed the theme entirely, but now that I see it, I agree with Carola that having most of the theme answers not being size-related is clever.

Re: WEBMD. I've always wondered: Who are these people? Do they exist outside of cyberspace? When I have medical questions I want answered online -- probably not such a great idea in the first place -- I go TRAWLing for places like the Mayo Clinic and JAMA. I want doctors who exist in real space. But WEBMD seems to have cornered the market on medical info. Just as Yelp and TripAdvisor have cornered the market on restaurant reviews. When I'd rather have recommendations from the NYT food critic, New York Magazine, and Zagat. But there it's only your stomach at risk, not your life and limb.

Roo Monster 8:57 AM  

Hey All !
AT LARGE RACE. Hmm, new one on me.

FELL into the acrE trap for SITE also. SWaM-SWUM (who put in SWUM first? Nobody? C'mon, TELL ALL), and spelled SPeiL wrong.

Always like VAMOOSE. And MUMBO JUMBO is cool, too.

Easy to get rid of Rex's TGI/IDI complaint. 8D-EEL, 9D-CDI, but that leaves TEC and a RRN. Potayto-Potahto.

MODE LUN. :-)

"That's Headly..." (14A)

KNOX UPS
RooMonster
DarrinV

QuasiMojo 9:02 AM  

Not so "easy" for me today. Perhaps I woke up in a fog. But I misread the "areawide seat" to be a joke about people with LARGE behinds. So I was thinking of planes and jockeying for seats. I need more coffee.

Fun Monday. I did stumble a bit over the "Print Medium" thing because the newspapers and magazines were pluralized and I was thinking of Media, but then groaned when I surmised (incorrectly) that the answer was going to be Print Medias. I wonder if that was a deliberate attempt at making it harder or am I just dumb? Don't answer!

By now I am sure it's no secret that Hedy Lamarr was more than a pretty face; she was also a brilliant inventor of anti-jamming and frequency hopping devices that helped out enormously during WWII.

I typed in REDI WHIP too and was absolutely sure it was right. I haven't even seen the stuff since I was a wee tot in elementary school. Is it possible they changed the spelling??

Has anyone ever seen an OPEL recently? Maybe I need to get out more.

Trey 9:04 AM  

For “deficiency in red blood cells” I first had “nuclei” (RBCs lack a nucleus), and immediately thought that it was a tough clue for a Monday. Alas, I later found out that my instinct was correct.

probably cray 9:12 AM  

as someone who suffers from health anxiety (aka being "psychosomatic"), i can confirm that WEBMD is a truly terrible place.

as a crossword solver, i can confirm that crossing MODELUN and LASSI was a horrible idea.

as someone who struggles with "media" as the plural of medium, i have to say the clue for 6D, "Newspapers or magazines," being plural, made me think that PRINTMEDIUM was wrong. i still think it's wrong.

TL;DR: kids, don't go to WEBMD unless you're curious to know what it's like to have health anxiety.

Jim in Chicago 9:24 AM  

I confidently put in Periodicals where Print Medium was meant to go. My morning did not get off to the best start!

'merican in Paris 9:33 AM  

Liked the puzzle OK, but like QuasiMojo, it did not play so easily for me today.

Like @chefwen I did not finish. Remembered the Scottish actor as EuAN, but clearly the "u" didn't fit with the across word, do entered a "d". It never occurred to me that some company would abbreviate WhIP to just WIP. (Yes, I've been out of the USA too long.)

Like @Hungry Mother I struggled with today's mini.

Like Two Ponies I, too, thought immediately about Hawai'i after reading "This is a test". (Hey @chefwen!)

Did anybody else think "come" before SPEW in response to 13D ("Spurt forcefully")?

Nancy 9:36 AM  

@Quasi (9:02) -- I like your take on "contest for an areawide seat" much better than the constructor's. So funny!

@Loren (4:13)-- Yes, the word JUMBO on women's underwear would be very...unwelcome.

Zilla 9:43 AM  

TIL is not a word, but until and till are.

GILL I. 9:44 AM  

I get all excited when I see a Lempel crossword. I usually discover a new word. @chefwen, I got a bzzzzt as well. My yogurt was GASSI and simulation of global diplomacy was MODE GUN. I guessed wrong.
My doctor is originally from Pakistan. I've had her for years and even if we moved to another State, I'd probably commute just to keep her. Anyway, she gets really mad at me when I tell her I've looked up my symptoms on the WEB. She tells me there are a bunch of quacks lurking and wanting you to buy their products so I should always come to her for any advice. Then we get into a discussion of why she always sends me to Indian specialists. She assures me that neither she nor the specialists are from Kashmir.
REDDIWIP is some nasty stuff. My son loved to squirt it in his mouth and his hair. I like that it crosses SPEW.
I miss GLEN Like a Rhinestone Cowboy.

mathgent 9:46 AM  

@Margaret Mary (12:50): Hilarious.! You've got to keep your cut-throats busy.

I loved the Grammies last night. The only award show I've seen which virtually eliminated the litany of thank yous from recipients. The numbers were staged with great inagination. Not too many rappers. Patti Lupone knocked me out with Don't Cry For Me Argentina.

Z 9:49 AM  

Seriously. If you’re going to spell your brand name like a new drug (non-word that sort of sounds like a real word) you should have to list all the possible side effects. “Side effects may include needing JUMBO pants and dead bugs in your lingerie.”

Never saw LASSI as I solved so now I’m going to have to pull the puzzle from the recycling bin to check out the clue. Definitely a Monday problem.

EXaltS before EXTOLS and the misspelt product name, so two more write-overs than a typical Monday.

As a guy who wears JUMBO clothes (6’4”, 260, or 6’6”, 225 when the president’s physician does the measuring) can I rant about the lack of tall sizes? All those extra X’s on shirt sizes means the shirt is wider, not longer. Most XLTs fit me just fine, but I generally have to go XXL or even XXXL to find shirts long enough. This means I’m stuck with baggy clothes most of the time. Granted, jeans and tees suffice most days but some days one wants a Fitted Shirt

chefbea 9:53 AM  

Couldn't figure out the theme...had to have rex explain it. Hand up for today's mini...too tough!!!

Michael Fisher 9:54 AM  

The GLEN Campbell / LAMARR Hedy cross in the NW was tough for me because I'm not, like, 60 years old.

Z 10:00 AM  

@QuasiMojo - If Wikipedia is to be believed an OPEL branded car hasn’t been sold in the US since 1975.

@Probably Cray - “And” in the clue means a plural answer, “or” in the clue signifies the answer will be singular. Also, all foreign plurals should now take the -opodes ending, so PRINT MEDIOPODES obviously would have been correcter than PRINT MEDIA.

Anonymous 10:02 AM  

President Trump is living in Z's brain 24/7 - rent free.

Doug 10:03 AM  

I'm with the band on this one. I knew Reddiwhip but spelled it Rediwhip first so I had to deal with a couple of strike overs. But I haven't seen vamoose around in a long time, and it's a great x-word. And Spiro showing up was kind of a treat. God did I hate that guy. As Robert Klein once said, he demeaned the office of the vice-presidency by taking bribes that were unbecomingly too small for someone in such high office.

Anoa Bob 10:21 AM  

VAMOOSE (51A) joins SAVVY as another NYT xword grid example of Spanish coming into the English vernacular, most likely via Southwestern Mexican-American interactions. It's an alteration in pronunciation of the first person plural vamos (vah mos) meaning "we go".

By the way, the third person singular is va, meaning he, she or it goes. No va means it doesn't go. And that's why most Spanish speakers were bemused when GM came out with the Chevy Nova!

When looking for medical info, I always try to find a dot gov or dot org site, and am skeptical, if not downright cynical, when encountering dot com sites like WEB MD (28A).

Instant Karma 10:29 AM  

MODEL UN is stupid (even the real U.N. is a complete waste of time and money).

Good job by MM. Didn't Idi Amin cannibalize some of his enemies as well ? Too bad he never had a chance to batter-dip and deep fry the walking anus phil phil.

Oldfatbasterd 10:34 AM  

Poor @Michael Fisher, another millennial/Gen Xer snowflake. Now go drink your afternoon milk, bub, and Mommy will have your favorite food for supper.

Mother Pence 10:37 AM  

I enjoy the playfulness that phil phil brings to this blog.

Stanley Hudson 10:42 AM  

@Rex, thanks for the TMBG video. One of the great bands of the 80s-90s.

Here's an interesting piece on WebMD's credibility: http://futurevoices.mph.ufl.edu/2017/02/09/webmd-debunked-evaluating-the-credibility-behind-online-health-information/

Crotch Crickets 10:47 AM  

One year when I was in my late teens or early 20s I took some skank out for Valantine's Day because I was hoping to get laid. I got laid, and in fact the sex included both whiped cream and Wesson oil, but the skank gave me the crabs. so maybe the lingerie store's Reddi-Wip display was truth in advertising.

Joseph Michael 11:26 AM  

I wonder if older people in the 40s-50s thought of BOP the way older people today think of rap.

REDDIWIP, SPEW, and MESS form a funny cluster in the NE.

I have to admit to being totally stumped by PRNDL even after I filled in PARK. Now that I see what it is, I think I'll go for a drive and figure out how students set up a MOD ELUN.

Aketi 11:45 AM  

@Quasi, I read the LARGE clue exactly the same way as you did because one of the few benefits of being SIZE extra SMALL or zero and in some cases SIZE extra extra small or double zero is that you aren’t as uncomfortable as other people in airline seats. I just looked up the average seat SIZES and at 5 ft 0 inches and 107 lb I have a mere 1.5 inches of clearance for my derrière in the 17 inch wide seats that google says is the lowest end of the range for a standard SIZE coach seat. Apparently Dr Google claims that the average bottom size for Americans is 20.6 inches which doesn’t strike me as all that wide. If it’s not all that comfortable for me, I can’t imagine what it’s like for average SIZE people let along those who are LARGEr.

I too wanted the sizes to go down. JUMBO would have been better had it shrank its way DOWN to petite. At least then the two extremes of the SIZEs would have been a little more comparable.

I thought coffee cup SIZES were like bra cup sizes where is assumed to be better, because they start at tall and go up from there. I just looked at my app for mobile orders, however, and discovered they do have a short size. Google claims there is a trenta size but I haven’t seen that in the wild. It’s one ounce shy of a quart. I can’t imagine drinking that much of anything in one go, nor would I want to deal with the consequences.

@z, the same rule applies at the other end of the SIZE spectrum. All the extra Xs mean that the clothes are narrower not shorter. Hemming doesn’t always solve the problem of fitted pants. If your waist is shorter than average then you can end up with pants that go up almost to your armpits..

TZ 11:47 AM  

Your day-after-day nastiness to just about everyone, @oldfatbasterd, is appalling. You must be one very very lonely, friendless & miserably unhappy OFB.

Oldfatbasterd 11:56 AM  

@TZ, as long as I have my daily quart of vodka and my pot and my benzos, I do just fine, thank you.

Aketi 11:57 AM  

@Rex, there are bigger pest problems than a few dead bugs in a musty olde SHOPPE in Ithaca. Apparently skunks have decided that the freshman townhouses on the north campus of Cornell is a great habitat and have proliferated there. They seem to like the laundry room area. The campus tour guides never mention that when prospective students visit. Of course I think my son might have scared the young women in the adjoining townhouse even more than the skunks when he arrived unwashed and unshaven after an 8-day camping trip in the wilderness for incoming freshman.

Kimberly 11:59 AM  

While everyone is quibbling over semantics, are we failing to notice the little miracle? Rex liked a Monday puzzle. This is history-making and should be marked in a calendar as a day of celebration. The constructor should get some sort of award.

I’m a happy solver AND a happy reader and that’s the start to a good day.

puzzlehoarder 12:01 PM  

Like a number of people I wasted time checking the crosses to make double sure that there was no H in REDDIWIP. It's one of those odd commercial spellings that hides in plain sight.

I was pleasantly surprised by the dual crossings of WEBMD/BPA and MODELUN/LASSI. Matching up the out and out debut entry with one that's barely been used, twice on a Monday is a bonus.
@ Gill I, if you eat any of that GASSI stay out of my elevator.

semioticus (shelbyl) 12:06 PM  

Despite all its shortcomings (way too much crossword glue, really constraining grid, one not-so-OK themer) this one managed to be entertaining. For that, I congratulate the constructor. Also, she admits that she could have improved it, so extra credit for honesty and self-reflection.

57.7% short word ratio usually throws me off. When I started solving at NW, ETALII LAMARR and IDI told me that this was not gonna be fun. But it got better. To compensate for all that 3- and 4- letter gluey stuff we got ALIENATE, REDDIWIP, MODELUN, NAUTICAL, TELLALL etc. So yeah, not the best grid (ELLS and ESSES in the same puzzle!) but a solid attempt to save it.

The theme is great for a Monday, but I had a problem with ATLARGERACE in that I hadn't ever heard of the phrase. But other than that, cute.

GRADE: B, 3.45 stars just like yesterday's.

Lewis 12:09 PM  

My favorite clues from last week:

1. "Spot from a pot" (3)
2. "Act without originality" (9)
3. "Sloppy planting job?" (7)
4. "Side with?" (4)
5. "Appropriate" (5)


TEA
COVER BAND
WET KISS
ABUT
USURP

old timer 12:10 PM  

VAMOOSE in the sense of scat or get out of here is a strange twist in meaning, isn't it? Vamos means we go" or "we are going" more often. "vamos al parque" ="we are going to the park'. "vamonos" (the "nos" part meaning "us" is the usual and intensified form, and means "lets go" or "let's get out of here." How it ever got to be used in the Southwest to mean "You! Get outta here" is a mystery to me.

BarbieBarbie 12:20 PM  

@Nancy, cray and AnoaBob: your instincts are good w.r.t. WebMD. It's a perfectly good comliation-of-available-wisdome-you-could-look-up-yourself site, like HowStuffWorks. It's not a site where all articles (maybe any) are written by medical professionals. I know of at least one person who graduated with an English BA, went off to find herself touring the world, and supported herself by writing articles for... you guessed it. So, the information is probably as valid as anythng you'd find in Wikipedia, but isn't anything close to "medical advice." And I'm sure there's a disclaimer somewhere that says so.

BarbieBarbie 12:22 PM  

whoo! bad typing, sorry. "compilation," "wisdom," and who knows what else.

Andrew Heinegg 12:25 PM  

WebMd, as near as I can tell, has a Google-like group of writers who comb through all the known research on a particular topic. Then said writers compose articles about the topic, which articles are reviewed by an expert, usually a physician.

I have never read an article by WebMD endorsing or leading towards use of a brand. For example, when talking about food and nutrition, the writers often posit that the you not try to fulfill daily nutritional needs via supplements unless they cite research showing the contrary. E.g., there is significant research showing that turmeric has value as a supplement so they recommend it and tell you what they think it is good and not good for as shown by the research.

If I have a criticism of them, it is that they very cautious in their reporting. For example, they are adamant that the research shows that men should not have more than 2 drinks a day and women but one and it is good for your health in that case. Then, they show some research that says don't drink alcohol at all. I don't like either of those recommendations but, they are just reporting the results of valid research. I don't like some of those results like the no drinking at all so, I don't follow it.

And, if there is contrary legitimate research to the one they are writing about, they tell you. In short, it appears they are smart, alert, engaged and in the up and up. Hard to beat that.

Joy2u 12:33 PM  

@ rex - while everyone seems focused on how 'nice' you were today and going on about the semantics of todays (small) challenge, I found a couple of jarring things in your review. Not sure if it shows an appalling lack of basic education or just sloppy work, but:
"... maybe not the greatest way to hock [hawk?] your Valentine's Day wares."
and
"... display don't [doesn't?] really put me in the ..."
Good grief, sir, how do you manage to solve at ALL with such a slippery grasp of language?

QuasiMojo 12:40 PM  

Thanks @Aketi, @Z, and @Nancy, et alii!

Odd Sock 12:57 PM  

@ Poo2u 12:33, Aren't we here to review the puzzle not the host?

Lord Buckethead 1:01 PM  

I damn you thoroughly, sir, damn you sir, just damn you. Damn you and damn all your issue, to the 7th generation.

And after damning you thoroughly I shall go take lunch with whiskey and tea.

'merican in Paris 1:05 PM  

Comments here are getting weirder and weirder. Just sayin'.

Linda 1:14 PM  

@joy2u - Right about Rex's hock/hawk error but Rex was right with "display don't" because the subject of "don't" is "dead bugs": "dead bugs in a fake giant REDDI-WIP display don't really put me in the underwear-buying mood"

Joe Bleaux 1:20 PM  

@John Hnedak, your nickname should be hockeye 😉.

Joy2u 1:43 PM  

@Linda 1:14 PM
Oops . . yup . . I did not read it that way, but it is certainly about the 'bugs' and not the 'display'. The bugs 'don't' and the display 'doesn't'
What a beautiful language . . LOL
. . and thanks

CashPo’ 1:45 PM  

All Rex said was that he thinks it was a lingerie store. Perhaps it was actually a pawn shop. In that case “hock” would be correct. 😉

Oldflappyfrommississappy 1:56 PM  

Perhaps it was a sex toys shop.

Candy Darling 2:01 PM  

@Oldfatbasterd 11:56 AM says, "as long as I have my daily quart of vodka and my pot and my benzos, I do just fine, thank you"

ROFL. I feel the same way, cept I'd throw in fentanyl. When I need my fentanyl, then by damn, I need my fentanyl.

jberg 2:04 PM  

I, too, had to check the crosses for REDDIWIP. I think they spell it wrong because they don't want to be sued for being neither cream nor whipped; also, you can't trademark plan language.

I don't mind virtually, it's the folks who use "literally" to mean "not actually" that get to me.

Re: 42A, "Farrow in films -- solving in the paper, the puzzle is in the Arts section; the first page of said section has a story about how Woody Allen is being shunned by actors because of Dylan Farrow's charges that he molested her when she was a child. Eerie cross-reference.

The other day my first and last names were in the puzzle; today it's my age group, at 44D. This is my week!

chucolo 2:14 PM  

Me, too. Felt so smug, too.

Nancy 2:56 PM  

So I've met @Aketi and I can tell you that she doesn't exaggerate in the slightest when she discusses (11:05 a.m.) the teensiness of her size. If she can't fit comfortably in an airline seat, if she has only "1.5 inches of clearance for her derriere", all I can say is God help the rest of us!!

@jberg (2:04) -- Very funny comment on REDDIWIP. Possibly very true, too.

sanfranman59 3:03 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 1/2/2018 post for an explanation of my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio & percentage, the higher my solve time was relative to my norm for that day of the week.

(Day, Solve time, 26-wk Median, Ratio, %, Rating)

Mon 4:50 4:13 1.15 80.9% Challenging

Yikes! I don't think I've had a DNF Monday in the 8-1/2 years I've been tracking my solve times. But I needed to cheat to get the MODELUN/LASSI crossing. I probably should have come up with the former (though don't recall coming across it before), but the latter is unknown to me. Even apart from that, this one felt a little more Tuesday-ish to me.

Anonymous 3:08 PM  

Every day I thank God for Bill and Hillary Clinton.

John the Revelator 3:11 PM  

would you allow me a few minutes to share with you my personal relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?

Anonymous 3:12 PM  

Wtf?

GILL I. 3:27 PM  

"hock" spelled just like @Rex did means to pawn or sell your wares. I'm pretty sure he meant that exact spelling when referring to the Valentine goodies on display. I also had no trouble with entirely.......For the most part....Adverb.
FYI. I got a MacBook Air from Santa. He thinks he knows me. He doesn't and he wants to change a lot of things I type. I'd like to get rid of this flaw of his because otherwise he's quite handsome and I enjoy his company.

sanfranman59 3:39 PM  

@Z ... amen, brother. You're whistling my tune! 6'3", 220 here with a bunch of shirts that either resemble parachutes or that I'm forever tucking back into my pants. And don't get me started on airline seats and people who don't realize that by reclining their seats, they risk crippling a long-legged person behind them. Please, please, please ... those of you who recline airline seats, at least look back and give the person behind you a heads-up that you're about to give them even less space than they already have.

Re medical information, I usually look to Mayo, NIH, CDC and other dot gov or dot org sites. Years ago, I worked for a company that was affiliated with WebMD. While they were well-meaning, but as is true of much of the health care system in this country, it was all about the money.

jb129 3:45 PM  

Disappointing - what is "model un" - 48 across?

Anonymous 4:50 PM  

@jb129: MODEL UN is short for Model United Nations.See:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Model_United_Nations

GILL I. 5:09 PM  

@Z and @sanfranman. My heart bleeds. I had to have most of my shoes made for me when I lived in Spain. I'm 5'7 and some change, and I wear a size 10 shoe. NOT ONE SINGLE WOMAN in Spain looked like me in the 60's. NO ONE! And NOT ONE shoe store would ever think to carry that size.
I found a sweet dear man in the old section of Madrid who made my shoes for me. He'd look at my feet and call his son in to gawk at the size. I know he didn't know that I could speak Spanish because he'd say "has visto pies tan feo como estas?" But.....he made me the finest, sweetest leather boots you could ever find. Every pair smelled of eau de leather and lasted for years.

Anonymous 5:21 PM  

Small, medium, large and jumbo describe egg sizes.

Two Ponies 6:41 PM  

I hadn't thought of that but @Anon 5:21 is right.

Aketi 8:15 PM  

@Gill I, what he said was so rude that he clearly could not have known that you spoke Spanish. If I had grown to your height, my feet might be your size. I have big feet and hands for my size. I figure that they make me more stable on my feet.

Rush Limbaugh 11:11 PM  

I'm a big fat hog who needs two seats in first class to sit comfortably.

Anonymous 11:44 PM  

@Joy2u: I think you mean “...everyone seems focused... and IS going on about...”. Otherwise, you have a faulty parallelism... You should also give people the benefit of the doubt when you see homonyms and likely typos.

nick strauss 1:06 AM  

"The medium is the message" -- Marshall McLuhan

Anonymous 2:18 AM  

I think I keep coming back here for the occasional positive write-ups. It's so refreshing to hear something nice about the puzzle. Truth is, I enjoy the heck out of the NYT puzzle, so Mr. Shortz must be doing something right. Of course, there are the naticks and the junk fill, but for the most part, it's something I look forward to every day. (I do fume when a puzzle has more than a few bible references, though. I don't like being preached at.)

-cz

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