Rufous ruminant / SUN 2-18-18 / Simple variant of baseball / Rani's raiment / Suggestion of what to do slangily

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Constructor: Elizabeth A. Long

Relative difficulty: Medium


THEME: "SEE 68-ACROSS" (68A: Supercilious sort ... or the title for this puzzle)  — Across themers are wacky "?"-clued phrases that are really ordinary phrases that have had a common "name" "dropped" from them. The dropped name can be found literally dropped (i.e. hanging, appended) to the Across themer:

Theme answers:
  • SPEAKS FLY / SPEAKS FRANKLY
  • BING ERROR / BILLING ERROR
  • SLUMBER PAY / SLUMBER PARTY
  • PRIM COLORS / PRIMARY COLORS
  • EARLY AMEN / EARLY AMERICAN
  • PHONE MARS / PHONE MANNERS (omg what the hell are "phone manners????")
Word of the Day: TAMMIE Green (37D: Green of the L.P.G.A.) —
Tammie Green (born December 17, 1959) is an American professional golfer. // 
She started her professional career on the Futures Tour, on which she won 11 tournaments and was Player of the Year in 1985 and 1986. In 1986, she qualified for the LPGA Tour by finishing tied for second at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament. She was LPGA Tour Rookie of the Year in 1987. She was named Most Improved Player by Golf Digest in 1989. She won seven times on the LPGA Tour, including one major championship, the 1989 du Maurier Classic. Her best placing on the money list was 5th in 1997, which was one of four top ten seasons. She played for the United States in the Solheim Cup in 1994 and 1998. She was a member of the LPGA Tour Player Executive Committee from 1992–94. In 2004, she was inducted into the Ohio Golf Hall of Fame(wikipedia)
• • •

Puzzle tries to make me hate it from the jump by naming itself after the worst kind of crossword clue: the cross-reference. "SEE 68-ACROSS" is a horrendous title. Horrendous. It's like ... "Uh, I give up, just look at the revealer, here it is, bye." I have no idea why you decide to go with a title so singularly unimaginative, so repulsive in its evocation of the worst that crosswords have to offer. Mind-boggling.* That said, this puzzle, while not terribly enjoyable, was certainly better than most Sunday puzzles have been of late. There's an interesting two-tiered quality to the themers, with both the wackiness and the "name" getting their own clues, and with the "names" literally "dropping" down from the wacky answers. I love the fact that the theme answer with BING in it is clued [Search engine failure?]. So true, so true. I haven't the faintest what "phone manners" are. "Table manners" are a thing. "Phone manners" is from god-knows-when. Before my time, for sure. People don't even talk on the phone much any more, and when they do ... I mean, have you seen people? "Manners"? LOL, no. "Phone manners" is a. not an in-the-language phrase, and b. utterly irrelevant to the times in which we live. But the other themers seems to work just fine. Theme's not too dense, so the grid doesn't get tooooo bogged down in junk, though it could've been a Lot less junky. There's like half a dozen French words alone. DEUX AMIES spent HIER on an ALPE? OUI. This is still a ways from "enjoyable," but by recent standards, it's a definition improvement. So let's just call it even.


I found this one harder than normal because of the way the theme was structured. Was hard for me to get theme footing for a while. But then some of the hardness was of my own making, like when I thought 36D: Left only the exterior of (GUTTED) was PITTED, or when I wrote in the French MES at 70D: Mine, in Milano (MIO). Thank god I grew up in and went to college in California, because TORRANCE?! (25A: City in Los Angeles County) Really, people know that place? People from California barely know that place. URETHANE was not easy for me (21D: Pesticide ingredient). Seems like there's probably a lot of crap in pesticides. AFLERS hurt, as did TAMMIE, and UNLEARN, and ARREAR (just one!?). And there's nothing like that special feeling you get when you discover ONE?CAT in your puzzle and leave that one square blank because who the hell knows if this amazingly bygone game found only in crosswords will be spelled with an "A" or an "O." A special, special feeling.


On the plus side, DEE got a cool and very contemporary clue (101A: "Mudbound" director Rees). Can't believe ["Mudbound" director Rees] made it into the puzzle before ["Mudbound" director Dee]. That's a name that's gonna get good crossword use for some time. My favorite part of Lent is the PIEROGI part (42D: Polish dumpling). Wife picks them up every Friday from St. Michael's. Had our first batch last night. So buttery and oniony and potatoey and glorious. Mmm, Lenten! See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. The WaPo Sunday is the better Sunday puzzle again this week. You can get it easily from their website.

*It occurs to me that perhaps the idea with the puzzle title ("SEE 68-ACROSS") was supposed to be that the NAME of the puzzle was being DROPPED (from its normal place) *into* the grid. There are several problems with this idea: the puzzle hasn't "dropped' its name, but has substituted one name ("SEE 68-ACROSS") for another; further, this new title now simply points to the revealer, which, eliminates the possibility that the solver will have the pleasure of discovering the trick on her own; and lastly, most importantly, cross-reference clues are a joyless void that are never enjoyed, but merely endured, even under the best of circumstances. This is like naming your kid TBD. Actually, no, I take that back. That would at least be interesting.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

146 comments:

Harryp 12:11 AM  

I usually don't get the theme till it is too late to help me. This happened today, but I was so busy filling in the blanks that it didn't matter. Only after the solve was I able to go back and make sense of name dropping. Easiest Sunday in a while, since I couldn't make sense of Y = VI last week.

Rev. Adam Carl 12:23 AM  

I don’t know about “phone manners” but I feel like “phone etiquette” is definitely a thing.

And “Torrance” could’ve been clued as “Nicholson in The Shining” or even “Jack of The Shining” for a little misdirection.

TomAz 12:24 AM  

So I'm working through this thing, and I had no idea what was going on at first. Another long Sunday, trek through it and get 'er done. Keep the streak, etc.

I was trying to figure it out. Rebuses? hmm. I got the 'revealer' NAME DROPPER just on a few crosses... it fit. I still didn't get the puzzle. But then.. but then! I had a real, genuine aha moment at 55A/59D. I saw SLUMBER PARTY and the dam broke, the rains came after a drought, the fields turned green and the birds were chirping.

And it was fun! I went through the rest of the puzzle, energized and engaged. I was getting it and chuckling and just zipping my way along. Then I was done, no errors, hooray me. Much faster than my average Sunday. And much happier too. Finishing a Sunday puzzle with a smile on my face is too infrequent, but this one did the trick.

Two thumbs up!

(That being said, I have a nit to pick on one answer that probably no one else cares about. OSAGES. I googled it and yes the dictionary says that is an acceptable plural. But I will tell you with a small but real amount of authority: It isn't what the OSAGE people say. A good friend (the best man at my wedding) is an OSAGE. I lived with his OSAGE family in Oklahoma one summer between college years working in the oil fields. I worked for his uncle and with his cousins. And I never, ever heard anyone say OSAGES as the plural. It was always OSAGE. So this one grated.)

JOHN X 12:39 AM  

I thought this was a great puzzle and it was no walk in the park. I got the theme at the beginning up top but I had to work for everything. This was the Thursday puzzle we didn't get this week.

Out in the working world phone manners are a real thing.

Robin 12:48 AM  

Oddly enough, never read the title puzzle, so just figured out the theme on my own. I can dig it.

URETHANE and TORRANCE were the last clues I figured out, but I only because I couldn't the I's in Sicilia.

Okay puzzle. Seemed like too many three-letter words, which means a lot of crossword-ese. But generally, it worked out fine.

puzzlehoarder 12:57 AM  

Being fluent in both FLY and superFLY I had no trouble finishing this puzzle.

Seriously the fill was so conducive to solving that the first theme was very easy to figure out. Getting the revealer was almost redundant.

MISSALS is an entry I'm not that familiar with. URETHANE is something I associate with plastic not pesticides. This is the first time it's been clued this way also.


In the south I had a MAJORCA/MINORCA,
write over which was no problem to fix. We had SEALIONS again and this time I tried DOLPHINS first.

Should OSAGE really be pluralized? Not a bad puzzle just rather routine


chefwen 2:18 AM  

My solve was pretty much the same as @TomAz, so I need not repeat. Puzzle partner and I fist bumped upon competition without any outside help. Fun puzzle.

Still missing my rebus, but I’ll live.

Dolgo 3:30 AM  

Many very easy clues with a few hard ones here and there. Yes, Rex, learning ONE O'CAT was also a particular pleasure for this logophile and collector of obscurities. I looked in vain for an etymology on line and could only speculate about it. Even though I've always disliked sports, I think I remember playing baseball this way (or at least being humiliated TRYING to play it) in my youth.I was never able to run or catch without being jeered at by my coevals, who also often remarked that I threw "like a girl."

Dolgo 3:39 AM  

Further checking indicate the name derived form "one old cat," an Americanism from the 1830's or 1850's. Since Abner Doubleday is credited for inventing the game in 1839, I expect there is a more interesting tale to be told.

Lewis 5:33 AM  

@rex -- Loved your ONE?CAT special, special feeling.

NOONE is a DOOK!

What a clever clever theme! The theme answers tickled me so much that halfway through, I couldn't wait to see what the remaining ones would be. Brava, Ms. Long! I loved the clue for ENCORES ("Added numbers"), the idea of speaking fly, and column 6 that had double-o heaven: MOONSET, NOONE, MOOR. It felt too easy for a Sunday, and I think it would have been better with "Namedropper" as the title and no revealer, but I don't care about these nits because the theme was so darn good!

will-iam-ishmael 5:36 AM  

Not only are cell phone manners a ‘thing’ let’s pray they become more of a ‘thing’. http://emilypost.com/advice/top-ten-cell-phone-manners/

Anonymous 6:02 AM  

i thought it was an excellent sunday puz. the themed across clues were good and the hanging proper names were a bonus. just enough foreign words and proper names imho.

cell phone manners? let's just say "thank you" to the powers that be for not allowing cell phone calls on airplanes. if you thought the seat back wars were juvenile, imagine how it would be if that loud mouthed stranger next to you could talk on the phone during your 20 hour flight.

Zippy

Dave 6:14 AM  

My grandma (I think her parents helped found St. Michaels) lived on May St. and would make pierogies when we went over there. She’d stand in the kitchen and make them from scratch. Periodically, we’d wander through and grab a couple; so it took her a while for her to start amassing them. I asked for a box of them when I got married.

Hard to believe they’re allowed during lent! My mouth is watering like Pavlov's dog as I type this.

Anonymous 7:09 AM  

In a perfect world, pierogi is plural, not singular so the clue should have been likewise. Singular Polish dumpling would be a pierog. Just saying.

Thought this was the easiest Sunday in years, finished in personal best.

The5th Harp 7:28 AM  

Correct. And Torrance is no less obscure than Utica. Nice puzzle.

chefbea 7:29 AM  

What a fun easy puzzle that I finished!!! Loved it!!! I have a good friend here and she taught me to make pierogies...of course she is Polish!!! As for phone manners....put your phone down when you are driving and also at meal time!!!

Loren Muse Smith 7:30 AM  

Cool theme! I really smiled when I finally saw it at PRIMARY COLORS. I can’t even begin to think of how to find other themers that could work. But I’ll be staring out the window all day trying. My favorite was SPEAKS FLY. How fun it would be, truly, to speak fly, to just level with the little guy that if he doesn’t vamoose, he’s gonna bite it. I also loved hoping for an EARLY AMEN. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

The thing that ruined the whole experience for me, though, was the fact that the three women were afterthoughts, on the bottom. Can’t we get any respect? Sheesh.

I have an uncle-in-law who’s the most shameless, spectacular, in-your-face name dropper I have ever come across. What’s worse, his tales are at best exaggerated, at worst completely made-up. It’s astonishing. You can’t talk to him five minutes before he heads there.

But I tell ya, if I knew George Clooney or Meryl Streep, I’d head there as soon as I could in any conversation. What is it about being able to say you know a Big Shot that is so bragaboutable?

Fyi - URETHANE has Doug Peterson immunity, and ONE-O-CAT has Brad Wilber immunity. I know them both. We’ve hung out at the ACPT. (Brushing lint off my LAPEL).

From yesterday…
- -@Thomaso808 – typical story. Lunchtime is sacrosanct, right? And if you miss it, ya gotta do what ya gotta do…
- -@M&A – your epic “smell this” possum tease made me laugh out loud. Bet the critter was hangry.
- -@Malsdemare – fascinating dog/possum behavior.

Rex – I’m not sure I follow your argument against PHONE MANNERS, which is totally in my language. I’m 57. When I do the rare etiquette training for kids, the moms/teachers still ask me to talk about phone manners. Mom stressed phone manners a ton when I was growing up. If she ever heard me call a friend and not speak to the parent first, identifying myself, Hi, Mrs. Hamlin. This is Loren. How are you?, I sure caught it when I hung up. But are you saying that language describing by-gone things should be avoided? I swear I’m not being snarky. Just curious. Would you poopoo phone booth, corset, ice box, carbon paper, pole sitting? Asking for @Larry Gilstrap.

Anyway – I guess we all have differing views as to what’s “in the language.” Noam Chomsky could weigh in here. I’ve met him. Twice.

EARLY A'MERICANS 7:49 AM  

I agree with the bulk of the commentariat about PHONE MANNERS or, if you prefer, PHONE etiquette. The bullet trains here in Europe try to get people to move out of sitting areas when they are talking on the telephone. Most respect the social norm, either by whispering and keeping the call short, or going beyond the doors and into the area near the toilets. The exceptions tend to be businessmen who want us all to notice how busy and important they are. Usually DROPING NAMES, of course.

Mrs. 'MERICANs and I did this one separately -- she on paper, and me on the iPad. She had said "this one's easy: Rex is going to hate it." She was right on one part of that prognosis, I guess. But I didn't find it easy. The theme was very gettable, but I struggled in the N.E. and S.W. Actually, "rotenoNE" was my very first entry. URETHANE only came very late, and then only because I knew it to be a thing. I work at times on agricultural policy and never knew that URETHANE was a pesticide ingredient. I would have preferred if the constructor had clued that one as something like "Home foam?"

Can't believe that I made the same mistake twice in a row: entering dolphiNS and then having to change it to SEA LIONS.

Almost Naticked at the crossing of DEE and POEHLER. Not household names to me. The French answers were gimmees, however, and the Spanish answers were easy. Clever misdirect at 17D ("Added numbers").

Finally, I agree with those complaining about the pluralization of OSAGE. I cry fowl ... or foal, ... or however you spell that dagnabit word!

mmorgan 8:03 AM  

Puzzle by LONG, edited by SHORTZ, rated MEDIUM. That seems about right.

Harryp 8:14 AM  

@mmorgan, good catch!

bookmark 8:14 AM  

I live in South Carolina. I knew Torrance. My secret? I read.

Erin 8:27 AM  

Well I'm from UTICA and I've never heard anyone use the phrase steamed hams...

Galileo 8:35 AM  

I don’t think the MOONSET is always at night.

Montreal Xword Diva 8:35 AM  

Torrance was a gimme thanks to Chloe Kim’s breathtaking gold medal performance....you go girl!

Robert A. Simon 8:38 AM  

Rex says, "Seems like there's a lot of crap in pesticides."

Try nicotine.

Yes, nicotine.

What happens is that the bugs quickly become addicted and start hanging out on street corners and stealing Snickers from 7-11's and...

No, wait.That's not true. They just drop dead. So quickly they don't even have time to develop a cough.

Nicotine. Show this to someone who still smokes. Maybe this'll do it.

John McKnight 8:51 AM  

ONEOCAT was tough and I don’t know what a CYL is. Otherwise I kind of liked this puzzle. I had to come at this one from non-traditional angles. I liked the name drop theme. Ok thanks y’all have a great Sunday!

Michael Collins 8:53 AM  

36A is flat wrong. Gin, lime, and soda is a RICKEY. Gin, lime, and sugar syrup (or gin and lime cordial) is a GIMLET: no soda involved.
https://www.liquor.com/recipes/gin-rickey/#gs.qRXEPfg

Nancy 8:53 AM  

Oh, is this ever clever!!!! The problem is I struggled through my entire solve wondering WTF is going on??? WTF is going on??? Long after I had NAME DROPPER, I was still trying to figure it out. And do you know when I figured it out? When I put in the very last letter, the A of PAY at 59D and saw ART. Then went back and saw MARY and BILL and FRANK and ERICA. And said: "Oh now I get it!" Wish I'd enjoyed the process more, but I was "suffering" a little too much. That's completely on me, though. A really well conceived and brilliantly executed puzzle that I admire to death.

QuasiMojo 9:04 AM  

I'm glad so many of you enjoyed this one. It is indeed clever. But I tend to agree more with Rex today, no doubt because I had a big fat DNF because I could not see past PRIM COLLARS or some such outfit for the Puritan dress code. My bad.

@Nancy, I didn't get a chance to say yesterday how much I have always enjoyed Erica Jong's work. She was ahead of her time. Plus I loved Judith Rossner's novel "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" as well. Someone yesterday said the movie stank but let's not forget it featured Richard Gere in a breakout role.

Stanley Hudson 9:12 AM  

Worked on this a bit late last night but did not get the conceit. Up early this morning and it came to me fairly quickly. A clever and amusing Sunday puzzle.

I agree with others that think that OSAGES is a little fishy.

TORRANCE is much better known than Barry Frain’s East Biggs, a hamlet that I will avoid for fear of running into that nasty, unpleasant person.

Early Amen Hotep 9:14 AM  

PHONE MANNERS is certainly a thing.

Nancy 9:19 AM  

So glad you enjoyed both books, @Quasi. And you too, @Malsdemare, from yesterday.

I forgot to point out where my greatest problem occurred in the puzzle. I had hymnALS instead of MISSALS at 5A and was utterly, utterly sure it was right. It was "confirmed" by nAsTY instead of SALTY at 8D. Leaving me with Y-- for the magazine at 6D and no chance to get ONTARIO even though I had --TARIO (!). It took me forever to correct hymnALS. I know what hymnALS are. I've sung from hymnALS. I'm not entirely sure what MISSALS are.

Re: PHONE MANNERS. It used to be that the term referred to how you treated the person you were talking to on the phone. Now the term refers to how you treat all the people you're not talking to on the phone. Don't get me started on how inconsiderate and clueless our society has become in regard to phone behavior. Dont. Get. Me. Started.

Anonymous 9:24 AM  

AS USUAL, COMPARED TO YEARS AGO, IT STINKS!!!

Z 9:34 AM  

@Lewis - No, NOONE is a Herman’s Hermit.

@LMS - What I think Rex is saying, and with which I agree, is that PHONE MANNERS were a thing back in the era of every home having a landline. It’s no longer in the language, although “phone etiquette” is something I still hear. I think @Nancy has described the difference perfectly.

I do think you can make OSAGES work, but agree this clue doesn’t do it. Fingernails on chalkboard.

@Michael Collins - Rose’s Lime Juice and gin (I assume the Rose’s has the simple syrup in it) here, so hand up for the arched eyebrow but I’m no cocktail expert so I just went with it.

I love SPEAKS FLY. The rest didn’t tickle my fancy as much.

Two Ponies 9:38 AM  

Themers were fun to parse but there was a steep price to pay to get them.
Pen up? Pent up or pen in.

Hier is a level up from the "tourist French" we are used to in puzzles.

Please do be polite when you phone Mars. You never know when they will come to visit.

Favorite clue- rufous ruminant.
Sounds like a Groucho movie character.

Z 9:40 AM  

@LMS - I also took “b. utterly irrelevant to the times in which we live” as commentary on society, not the puzzle. PHONE MANNERS is at least as crossworthy as ONE O’CAT, n’est-ce pas?

Teedmn 9:43 AM  

Solving this at random, I came upon 68A rather early on and had enough crosses to see what the revealer would be when I finally landed on it but I didn't use it to help me solve as soon as I should have, which would have kept my time down a bit. I finished under my average Sunday, but this was pretty easy and should have gone a bit faster. Not an issue, just an observation.

So when I was getting closer to the end and was able to parse the theme entries, I fell in love with EARLY AMEN (oh, do I remember praying for church to be over due to sore knees. Is that oxymoronic or what?) SLUMBER PAY was nice, SPEAKS FLY, har, PHONE MARS, PRIM COLORS, all great. BING ERROR, meh, but they can't all be laugh-inducing so, Elizabeth Long, I deem this a very fun Sunday puzzle, a difficult feat that you nailed the landing on, in Olympic-speak.

I had the usual litany of errors: RAN amok, Amy Schumer before POEHLER, Welsh before SCOTS.

Things that might be grabbed in an argument were the "straws" I was clutching. I was actually taken aback a bit at LAPEL grabbing. Is that after the victim is button-holed? Resistance is FUTILE, as you unload your IRE at the LOTUSEATERS for their lack of PROBITY. "But it was just a little piece of baloney, a FIB. Just make my palms a little GREASIER and I'll say YEA to anything you want". Huh, I didn't see this puzzle as an anti-political screed while I was solving but now I get the big picture. :-)

Maruchka 9:47 AM  

AMEN, @TomAz! The 's' is redundant as clued (add members? Um, maybe). I'm with you there, and overall.

Thanks, EAL.

Glimmerglass 9:47 AM  

@TomAz: OSAGES are a kind of “orange,” although they only look like oranges.

Raymond Chandler 9:49 AM  

One recipe does not make an error in describing a Gimlet. Adding a little "spritz" does not make it a rickey. Ask any bartender. Check out the different variations on the internet. From Wiki: A 1928 description of the drink was: "gin, a spot of lime, and soda.".
The gimlet was earliest described as “gin, a spot of lime, and soda;” later as “half gin and half Rose’s lime juice;” and today is usually two parts gin to one part lime and some other non-alcoholic ingredient, like soda water.

The classic does not include soda:

We sat in the corner bar at Victor's and drank gimlets. ‘They don't know how to make them here,’ he said. ‘What they call a gimlet is just some lime or lemon juice and gin with a dash of sugar and bitters. A real gimlet is half gin and half Rose's Lime Juice and nothing else. It beats martinis hollow.’
The Long Goodbye

Birchbark 9:49 AM  

PRIM COLORS. BINGE ERROR. The whole gamut of the human condition.

Having said that, today is the 110th anniversary of the first appearance of rolled stamps, according to the Farmer's Almanac. Sort of a snub not to see a tribute puzzle.

@galileo -- absolutely right on MOONSET day or night. We've all seen the moon in the morning (after its full phase) and afternoon (before its full phase). Turns out the only time the moon isn't around in the daytime is when it's full. Of course, it's often not visible because it is pale in comparison to the sunlit sky.

Mohair Sam 9:51 AM  

Liked it as much as Rex. Actually more, because we thought the 68A thing was fine - dropping the "name" of the puzzle, clever.

Lived in Rome, NY for two years, visited the Erie Canal there. Lived in nearby UTICA for three years, never visited the Canal. Naturally thought 83A was wrong, if I hadn't seen the Canal in UTICA how could it be there? Lady M has heard of TORRANCE, btw, so it exists for sure.

Yes, I too hate the O/A choice in ONEOCAT. GIMLET was the drink of choice for hero Johnny Twennies in the delightful flick "Man of the Century". PHONEMANNERS very much a thing, no need to repeat @Loren. Speaking of whom, LOL when she ripped her Uncle and then dropped a name of her own - good stuff LMS. My mother was a Polak but I never heard of a PIEROGI until I got to Pennsylvania - she made a mean meal featuring kluskis however.

Hand up with the problem with OSAGES as a plural crowd. I've read "Killers of the Flower Moon" (about the murder of many Osage people) and don't recall the usage. How 'bout you @Mals. EGGSON got us to flip a coin for who scrambled a couple for breakfast.

Fun Sunday Elizabeth Long, clever theme. Thanks.

r.alphbunker 10:00 AM  

Phone manners are a thing. They include not having the conversation on speaker phone unless the other person knows that it is.

You might say that the name of the puzzle dropped down into the grid. It reminds me that commands can be interpreted as data and vice versa in a computer.

Details of my solution are here

Mohair Sam 10:01 AM  

@Quasi - It was I who loved the "Goodbar" book and hated the movie. And I remember the Gere appearance, but I don't mention Gere's name in this house because it causes Lady M to space out for a couple of hours.

Aketi 10:04 AM  

@Nancy, haha that’s exactly it. My son’s generation does NOT talk on the PHONE unless it’s to talk to old people like his parents who still prefer to use that archaic means of communicating. I have to admit that texting is certainly is less disruptive in most quiet places except movie theaters. I personally have been happy to use What’s App to text when I’m in between clients grabbing a bite to eat and get an urgent communication from a distraught parent that thinks something horrible will happen to their baby if I don’t respond immediately. Before texting I would always whisper in restaurants with my hand hiding my mouth and my phone, preferably barricading myself into a restaurant bathroom. Some people, however, think nothing of verbally blabbing intimate life stories to their dining companions in voices that would penetrate the largest theaters in NYC, while at the same time complaining about someone tucked away in the farthest corner of a mostly empty restaurant whispering into their phone. Good MANNERs should be reciprocal.

I never read the crossword titles. I got this one at BING because the OCELETS steered me towards the path to the GIMLET which led me to the DROPped BILL.

A. Merriweather 10:04 AM  

“The puzzle tries to make me hate it from the jump.” The puzzle does no such thing. The puzzle doesn’t care about you. Get over yourself.

Barry Frain 10:06 AM  

“P.S. The WaPo Sunday is the better Sunday puzzle again this week. You can get it easily from their website.“

So why don’t you do your damn blog on the Post’s xword? You might actually have some fun and not subject your readers to your misery.

Barry Frain
East Biggs, CA

Dan Steele 10:07 AM  

OMG. "So repulsive in its evocation of the worst that crosswords have to offer." And people thought last week's "death march" was a bit of an overstatement. Seriously, why the hell does Rex even do these things? And why do I keep tuning in? There's gotta be other sites where I can get my Sunday Times discussion fix. Perhaps ones that don't suck the joy out of what is a PASTIME? Suggestions about alternative sites will be gratefully accepted.

FatFlappy 10:13 AM  

Rex, A. Merriweather, and Barry Frain. ROFL.

Have a drink, boys, and chill. It’s what I do every morning, first thing.

FatFlappy 10:16 AM  

Dan Steele,
Rex, Merriweather, Frain and I are headed for the bar. Care to join us?

Birchbark 10:16 AM  

@Harryp (12:11), I wouldn't worry about not making sense of Y = VI. It's a blessing and a curse. Trust me -- if I could turn the dial back a week and skip that one, I would. On the plus side, I totally get how the Ancient Mariner felt a week after he shot the albatross.

Erica Jong 10:18 AM  

I noticed the review saying "discovering the trick on Her own."
If that was said in the hopes of sounding very modern and inclusive it didn't work for me. Instead it sounds forced, overdone, and patronizing. I am mature enough go with the generic Him and not let it ruin my day.

floatingboy 10:28 AM  

I second what MIchael Collins said. That is a rickey recipe.

QuasiMojo 10:31 AM  

@Mohair Sam, lol, well I can’t blame her. Even now. @Nancy, I hope who ever writes the book on Phone Manners will include a chapter on not walking on the sidewalk with your head buried in a smartphone. I have too many bruised ribs already from such encounters. Does the youth of today ever look up anymore to enjoy their surrounds? Not so long ago I took a road trip with a young friend. He said he wanted to see America. I was driving. But he spent the entire trip (over 2000 miles) with his head bent forward reading stuff on Facebook and Instagram and god knows what. I pointed out the Blue Ridge Mountains but barely got a reaction.

Carola 10:31 AM  

What fun to solve!...once I saw how the names were dropping, that is. That was about halfway through, when I was groping in the dark, theme-wise, and decided to just take a break from grid-filling, grab the puzzle by its LAPELS, and force it to reveal its secrets. Eventually, I saw how BILLING ERROR worked and then eagerly went after the rest. A kind of "double your pleasure" - understanding the wacky phrase + figuring out where the n ame was going to drop. SPEAKS FLY - genius.

I liked the title, in its sort of "double dog dare you" attitude - the challenge to come and figure things out, and I like it even more after seeing how the name of the puzzle has dropped down into the grid.

@mmorgan and @Two Ponies, thanks for the laughs.

Z 10:32 AM  

@Dan Steele - WordPlay or Diary of a Crossword Fiend (the second is linked on the blog, the first is the NYTX blog). And, of course, xwordinfo.com.

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

Rex's review today stank, but it was still better than most of his recent Sunday reviews.

DBlock 10:32 AM  

Sincere question for the group:
Yet again made it all the way through without seeing the theme and only when I came here did I realize oh it was names that went down.
Do themes matter??
If they don’t aid in the solve ( and in some cases they do and have) what is the value??
As Linda Richman would say, “Discuss.”

Anonymous 10:37 AM  

Agreed!

Anonymous 10:38 AM  

Agreed again!

Paul Rippey 10:40 AM  

Easy and very enjoyable. My wife understands SPEAKS FLY. I don’t and I’m feeling old.

Anonymous 10:41 AM  

Yeah, as usual hard to imagine what planet Rex lives on...

Wayne Campbell 10:43 AM  

@DBlock I guess everybody’s different. I’ve solved many puzzles only to figure out the theme afterwards. The theme helped me solve the puzzle today. I don’t think I wouldn’t have finished without it. I’m sure there are others who have been helped by themes which I didn’t notice.

Jamie C 10:51 AM  

@dblock, the theme helped me especially on EARLY AMERICAN. I got ERICA from some crosses, then saw the EARLYAMEN.

ghthree 10:52 AM  

@John McKnight: CYL is an abbreviation for cylinder. Any plane figure can be used as the base of a cylinder by introducing a family of parallel lines passing through it. The "tin can" is technically called a "right circular cylinder" because the lines are perpendicular (at right angles to) to the plane, and the base figure is a circle. But any nonzero angle and any base figure is possible. The fundamental idea is to spread copies of the two-dimensional figure into the third dimension.

I have probably left most of you crying "TMI!" But I have had my pedantry fix for the week! Apparently mathgent hasn't yet posted today.

My wife and I both stumbled onto the theme with SLUMBERPARTY. It did help in the rest of the solve.

Got stuck in the southwest b/c I couldn't get the film ET out of my mind. He was trying to communicate with a distant galaxy. Phoning Mars seemed like a local call!

Charley 10:55 AM  

There’s no soda in a Gimlet.

TomAz 11:04 AM  

@Glimmerglass: Yes, OSAGES are a kind of orange (sorta). But the clue was "Plains tribe".

Harry Phipps 11:11 AM  

I’m an award-winning mixologist and have made hundreds of gimlets with soda. If the customer requests they include soda, then by damn you include soda.

Bill L. 11:11 AM  

Got the theme at me. It's kind of a drag having a name synonymous with monthly obligations that most people dread.

These phone booths came up last week as a topic on a fire protection blog I follow. Someone asked if the fire code would require outfitting them with sprinklers. Anyway, @LMS, it looks like phone booths are making a comeback.

Enjoyed the puzzle. Thanks, Ms. Long.

p.s. I can't always trust my memory but I think BEQ clued Utica as "the city that God forgot" a week or two ago.

Uncle Alvarez 11:19 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Georgia 11:19 AM  

It's Bing Error, the Microsoft search engine Bing. Probably a spell check change on your part, but if not I saw it as Binge at first in the puzzle and was confused.

TubaDon 11:22 AM  

Snowstorm last night so no paper delivery this morn. Had to print out the puzzle. Zoomed down the west side and got the theme at PRIMARYCOLORS and the rest "dropped" easily. I agree SEE68A was a poor title.
Best comment by @mmorgan who spotted an amusing trifecta.

Nancy 11:27 AM  

My nominations for today's funniest blog paragraphs:

@Loren's last one (7:30)
@Robert A. Simon's 5th (8:48)
@Two Ponies' 3rd (9:38)
@Birchbank's 2nd (9:49)

Georgia 11:28 AM  

It's a nod to "fly on the wall." Speaks "fly" ie able to translate that "fly on the wall." Even we old folks can get that clever clue!

Peanut gallery 11:32 AM  

Agree

Z 11:33 AM  

@DBlock - In my experience, themes are more likely to hinder a solve rather than aid it, so “aiding a solve” is not a theme’s raison d’être (damn auto-correct almost slipped in a damn ants-on-log ingredient). In fact, some “purists” will argue that if one does not grok the theme one has had a DNF. I’m not that pure, but I see their point. The theme is part of the puzzle to be solved. Solve it early and it may make the rest of the puzzle easier to complete, but mostly it exists as part of the puzzle.

I must say that I am slightly disappointed that others haven’t taken up my (unstated) challenge to include at least one “level up” French word or phrase in every comment. Here I thought you were mes amies and it turns out you’re mes ennemies.

Birchbark 11:35 AM  

@Georgia (11:19) -- you're right. I think I wanted it to be BINGE ERROR as fitting a clue I misread as "Mall surprise."

Nancy 11:37 AM  

Oh, and I forgot @ghthree's last paragraph (10:52), which was what gave me the idea to make up a funniest list in the first place.

Mike E 11:47 AM  

Very clever. Liked it a lot. In fact, even if it's a stretch, I am very much in favor of "a lot." Or in other words, I am very much "for ample." (Insert curmudgeonly puzzle blog name where appropriate, e.g.)

Anonymous 11:52 AM  

Very fun Sunday.

GILL I. 11:54 AM  

This puzzle did not deserve the major UGH I gave it as I began the solving experience. I immediately went to 68-Across to see what goodie theme I could expect. So I did what any puzzle zealot would do, I had to uncover the NAME DROPPER first, in order to continue and figure out the theme. I don't like having to do that. It upsets the AHAS and OOHS cart. Not good.
It grew on me, though. It brought some memories and I like that in a puzzle. I still have the MISSAL[S] my Godmother gave me for my first communion. .It's a little white book with a gold embossed cross on the front and it has gold edges. I bet you were dying to know that..
I think trying to figure out a City name in LA is a bit much. If you can't get FUTILE for 12D and know the city starts with a T, then you're screwed because there are tons of them in LA. I thought of Tarzana.
I really began to warm up to the puzzle when I got to PHONE MARS MANNERS. My husband has difficulty enunciating a lot of words. Even with this slight impediment, he insists on speaking to phone operators when trying to figure out a hospitals billing mistakes. He has to usually go through 23 people before he gets the right department and then he inevitably speaks with a young little thing that talks 30 miles a minute. Of course they don't understand a word he says. There's always a little pause and you just know the person is trying tactfully to say "Can you put someone on the phone that I can actually understand?"
At that point, I'll get on and tell the operator to speak SLOWLY and to be patient. About 99% of the time these people show wonderful PHONE MANNERS.......Etiquette, on the other hand, is gone. I swear I'm going to kill the next person in the grocers who refuses to put down the phone even while squeezing tomatoes. I will run my cart into her/him and beg pardon. You know who you are.
Anyway, I'm glad I continued on with the puzzle. I could sit back after I finished and see lots of good stuff here. I want to be a LOTUS EATER today.

Anonymous 11:56 AM  

Just did the Sunday Post puzzle. It is a fine puzzle with a musical theatre theme if you like that sort of thing (or if you don’t). Here’s the thing though. Zero crunch. Not once did I hesitate and I’m no Dan Feyer. It’s a Monday level difficulty if it were a Times puzzle. I’m sure Herr Birnholz could’ve made it a lot harder had he wanted to but he chose not to put in any resistance at all. The puzzle has to be judged en toto. I’d bet that a large majority of the people in this forum would say that it’s a fail if it had run in the Times today.

Beaglelover 12:08 PM  

A missal is an old time prayer book used by Catholics attending Mass. All the readings for the liturgical year were included along with the Latin Mass on one page and the vernacular on the facing page. There were also tons of prayers: Nicene Creed, Apostles Creed, Memorare, Stations of the Cross, Mass for the Dead. It was just chuck full. I think missals became obsolete after Second Vatican Council Two which ended in 1965.

Anonymous 12:12 PM  

Re: gimlet. I was a bartender in the 90s and early 2000s. I learned a gimlet as gin and Rose's lime, up ina martini glass. I'm sure there's a better 'craft' version these days but no soda!

BarbieBarbie 12:14 PM  

@Z, il fait beau aux pays des elephants.
@Nancy, you forgot mmorgan!
I would expect that MOONSET happens at night about half the time, so that’s fair. Thought question: when it sets at night for us, does it also set at night in Australia? Think so, but it makes my brain fuzz to ponder it. I know waxing for us is waning for them- by which I mean it looks like a “c” when waxing in Australia, and in the US that “c” means “c ya later,” or waning...
Fun puzzle. I really enjoyed the concept and the clues. Thanks EL!

Anonymous 12:22 PM  

Louis Zamperini, the subject of the book "Unbroken" was known as The Torrance Tornado. A great man, a great book.

GILL I. 12:34 PM  

@Beaglelover....I have the Anglican MISSAL which is a supplement to the Book of Common Prayers. Used (still) in Protestant Episcopal church.

RooMonster 12:36 PM  

Hey All !
Dang, had a great write-up that mysteriously went the way of the dodo.
Basically, liked puz. :-)

RooMonster
DarrinV

Suzie Q 12:40 PM  

I second "Unbroken" as a recommended read.
Sometimes if I'm having a tough time I tell myself to stop
with the whining and be thankful I'm not Louis Z.

Funny theme answers and an amusing bunch of comments.

Masked and Anonymous 12:48 PM  

Funny SunPuz. SPEAKSFLY. PHONEMARS. har. thUmbsUp.

Bonus points, for this wonky feature: Some additional "Down" names get "dropped" altogether from theme participation:

* NALA. Coulda had PHONALAEMANNERS. Double dipper!
* ARON. Givin MISSARONLS.
* TAMMIE. For GIMLETAMMIE [my fave no-show].
* Not sure if OMARS or SCOTS or King ANDI oughta count. In either case, NO COLLUSION.

PHONEMANNERS could surely include not sextin in a movie theater, right? That clue has "e.g." immunity, after all.

OK. Now for the big monkey parkerred in the cage, Kerr…
The Puz Title.
I can sorta see @RP's point. Some people ain't gonna find "See 68-Across" as overly invitin.
Some alternate puztitle suggestions, for those folks:

* FALL GUYS. But, half the themed names are gals, sooo … pull the trapdoor.
* DOWNCAST. Get it? A CAST of characters, etc. Title is sorta a downer, tho.
* UNDERLINGS. Too work related to play in the coal mines.
* WE'RE SUNK! Not too bad. Might be a turn-off, if U R about to go on a cruise.
* WHAT A DIVE. A little obscure, altho the puzgrid does have its own revealer…
* HANGERS-ON. In a kinda stalactitey sense, maybe?
* BOTTOMS UP. Makes no day-um sense, but I kinda like it.
* TOO DEEP FOR US. Sounds more like a Fireball puztitle.
* DOWN BUT NOT OUT. Gold medalist.
* DOWN BUT NALA OUT. Silver medalist.

Thanx for the real good fun, Ms. Long darlin.

Masked & Anonymo12Us


**gruntz**

Malsdemare 12:51 PM  

So by the time I read all the commentary, I haven't a clue about my own experience solving. I know I caught the theme early, but can't remember where, maybe at BILLINGERROR? However, I mispelled PIEROGI (PErROGI) which gave me SiRGE, which made me swear a blue streak at the constructor for making such a stupid spelling error. And then I compounded the whole thing by figuring my mistake was at the DEE/ONEOCAT crossing, being basically in the dark about both.

My first communion prayer book had a faux ivory cover with the cross in "gold," very luxe-looking. My later missal was a fat tome with both Latin and English masses, prayers, epistles, gospels, novenas, etc., and stuffed to the gills with the prayer cards we'd collect at funerals. MISSALS caused a serious flash back to Mass at our all-girls Catholic high school where we, the GIRLS, spoke the Latin responses that were usually the role of altar boys. I think I can still recite parts of the Credo. Can't remember what I had for dinner, but I can "Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa" with the best of them.

But I did like the theme a lot and had a pretty good time working my way around the grid. It was a fine Sunday diversion. So, about OSAGES. I haven't gotten back to the book, "Killers of the Flower Moon," so I don't know much about how the tribe's members reference themselves, but the Navajo, when they self-reference in English, say Navajos. My guess is, though I've never asked my friends, that they are following the English convention of adding "s." But to themselves they are the Dinetah (I'm going to skip the accent marks) or Diné. "Navajo" is the name the tribe was given by Whites and means blanket-wearing Apache, If my memory serves (and its service has been piss-poor of late, so who knows). My point being — yeah, I have one — OSAGES may be allowable for a non-tribe person to use, but a tribal member has an entirely different word for the plural.

The only name-dropping I can do is to casually mention I saw Sidney Poitier at Bookbinder's restaurant in Philly years ago. Oh, and I dated a guy from The Arbors, a group absolutely NOONE under 70 will recognize and even the septuagenarians will struggle to recall (They had one huge hit, "Symphony for Susan"). Well, and I stayed in the same hotel as Fleetwood Mac once. Jeez, I'm really dredging the bottom of the barrel here.

@mericans, does using "Diné" fulfill the need for higher level foreign language skills? Je ne sais pas mais Je pense, oui. Non? There! done showing off.

Admin, feel free to delete this.

nyc_lo 12:56 PM  

If a bartender put soda in my Gimlet, he or she would be mixing me a new one pretty darn quick. And to anyone who’s had the misfortune of having to answer phones in an office setting, phone manners are 100% a thing. Enjoyed this one and admired the construction.

Joe in Canada 1:28 PM  

Beaglelover, MISSALS are quite alive and in common use.
Enjoyed this puzzle more than most Sundays. Too much French (I am fluent in French but it seems lazy in an English puzzle).If OIL is concerned about "old-timey" entries and lack of diversity, French might have been studied by our grandmothers at school, but Chinese or Arabic are probably more spoken in the US.
ps I had to click on 12 "roads" and then 15 "cars" to get past the captcha. Can it be changed?

Evan 1:29 PM  

@Anonymous 11:56 am:

I would take that bet against you.

And I mix up my puzzle's difficulty from week to week. Today may have been easy. Next week will be harder. The one I'm working on now will be tougher than both.

semioticus (shelbyl) 1:33 PM  

This is a perfectly fine Sunday puzzle.

The theme has a cool idea, and it is solidly executed. That doesn't mean it is LOL funny or brilliant, but solid execution is usually what's been missing lately from NYT Sundays and this one definitely does a good job. It is actually the best theme of the week imho.

The fill, eh. Too much 3-4 letter junk for my taste. But to its credit, it avoids roadblocks. Except for NE corner, there aren't spots that make you go "I'll never be able to finish this puzzle because I have no idea what the answer to these trivia questions are." Again, crummy fill is mostly a given on Sundays, so this one is definitely passable. That being said, if you don't have an affinity for French you might definitely find this annoying.

Some clues are really cool, so much so that I would have liked more of them. "It goes after go" made me laugh. "What may follow a school period?" is also great.

GRADES: B+, 3.7 stars.

DavidL 1:58 PM  

The clue for MOONSET is just wrong. The moon sets about a little less than an hour later each day, and can occur at any time in a 24-hour period.

Anyway, decent puzzle today but I'm still buzzing from yesterday's puzzle, which I did this morning. Brutally difficult and I was feeling so damn proud of myself for finishing it. I even had to put it down a couple of times and come back to it, in the hope of a fresh perspective and inspiration (it eventually worked.) And then wow, it gets an "easy/medium" rating and all my good feelings...pfft. Gone.

JOHN X 2:23 PM  

ARREAR, OSAGES, and PIEROGIS: a lot of plural controversy today.

Also, I had "rickey" before I had GIMLET

Anonymous 2:34 PM  

@Evan 11:56 thanks for responding. I admit I’ve only done a few of your puzzles and was writing only of today’s. I look forward to doing future Sunday Post puzzles and as I wrote earlier, today’s was a fine puzzle albeit a little easier than I’d prefer.

Bob Mills 2:35 PM  

Just didn't like it. Not that it should matter to anyone else.

Alex Wright 3:01 PM  

Osages is wrong, gimlet is VERY wrong, pierogi is questionable. Puzzle was good though

Red-to-gray 3:02 PM  

Too many posts to check to see if this was already mentioned, but how come Elvis middle name got shorted an "a"?

Evan 3:14 PM  

@Anonymous 2:34:

No worries. Thank you for solving.

J. Lemon 3:15 PM  

Yes. I concur. So sloppy by the editors. Too much gin.

QuasiMojo 3:23 PM  

@Nancy, I will try to be funnier next time. 😂

Kimberly 3:27 PM  

If any part of the solving experience ever becomes “a joyless void“ it’s probably time for a new hobby.

Hyperbole, dude. It’s an ugly place and nobody over the age of twelve should spend much time there.

Joe Bleaux 3:39 PM  

"Lemme school ya, pal: When ya talk about your Indians, ya got your Apaches, ya got your Hopis, ya got your Osages ..." You've heard this guy. When he talks, everything grates, so the plurals don't stand out.

thefogman 3:59 PM  

I loved it. I didn't find it too hard especially after I solved the gimmick, which was early in the game. Of course the men are all on top of the women - as usual. And this when a Dior advertisement in the Style supplement pointedly asks Why Are There No Great Women Artists? Followed by a feature article on Judy Chicago and her battle with sexism and misogyny in the art world.

Not Supercilious 4:05 PM  

I liked this one a lot. One question though. Supercilious means arrogant, haughty etc. What does that have to do with name dropping ? I even looked for secondary and tertiary definitions anc couldn’t find anything. Am I missing something ?

Joe Dipinto 4:53 PM  

Only (Nikki) Six(x) themers was kinda Slim Pickens, imo. I got off on the wrong (Gordon Light)foot with 30A -- I had (Oley) SPEAKS, and when I saw the clue for 31D, I thought the answer was SPEAKS THE (Sojourner) TRUTH, which gave me RUTH (Bader Ginsburg) dropping down, except that it started one box (Rob) Lowe(r) than the across answer, whereas, as I continued to solve, Nunn(ally Johnson) of the others did, so it was like (James) Watt is going on here?

Eventually I realized my error, but I wanted to grab the puzzle by its lapels and give it a good shaking-up. (That was my favorite clu(e Gulager), btw.)

Z 5:04 PM  

So, to recap, MOONSET is an event that sometimes happens at night and always in the western sky so that clue is correct. Most of us have never heard of soda in our gimlets, but there is historical evidence to support the clue, and pierogi is a foreign word adopted into English so PIEROGI can be used for one or more than one in English. Alors, if one insists on calling clues or answers “wrong” one is assuredly wrong. C’est le guerre.

sixtyni yogini 5:08 PM  

The complexity of the theme answers was interesting but it all felt like forced fun.... once I got the name thing.
I was surprised Rex missed so many opportunities to trash this one (other than the title), Osages being the most glaring. ‼️ 😎 ‼️


FrankStein 5:35 PM  

My Mr Boston bar tending guide from 1957 says a gimlet is made with fresh lime juice and a bit of sugar. That’s how I’ve always had them.

thefogman 5:40 PM  

From Wikipedia:

A 1928 description of the drink was: "gin, a spot of lime, and soda"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gimlet_(cocktail)

chefbea 6:25 PM  

Main alcohol: Gin
Ingredients: One part sweetened Lime Juice, Four parts Gin
Preparation: Mix and serve. Garnish with a slice of lime.

chefbea 6:48 PM  

my previous comment is meant to be a gimlet

APsychiatristWrites 7:23 PM  

I sit in awe. Where are the bowlers, the raucous footballers, the torrenceville screamers bolloxing up words showing ignorance when you want to feel good . OK , I found it hard! I hang my head in abject inferiority.

Devon 8:01 PM  

“speaks fly” made me laugh out loud, so this one gets a thumbs up from me.

Anonymous 9:08 PM  

I must say that I am slightly disappointed that others haven’t taken up my (unstated) challenge to include at least one “level up” French word or phrase in every comment. Here I thought you were mes amies and it turns out you’re mes ennemies.

How about you're full of merde?

Anonymous 9:21 PM  

@Z la guerre (f.) svp

Z 10:18 PM  

@anon9:21 - Zut alors! I “fixed” it thinking war had to be masculine.

Anonymous 11:21 PM  

Regarding 74A: (santa/hagia) Sofia refers to "holy wisdom", not "a saint".

R phone 1:10 AM  

Ok nobody's gonna mention Lotus-eaters?? Whaa?

max ebbe 4:41 AM  

From "Burke's Complete Cocktail and Tastybite Recipes" circa 1936--a small, hardback compendium of cocktails of the era.

GIN RICKEY

Gin, Lime juice, carbonated water


Oddly no mention of the Gimlet.

Two of which once left me Gimlet-eyed where upon I proposed to my first wife. Cocktail has given me reflux since...

Anonymous 7:51 AM  

Better..not best

Alex Wright 9:59 AM  

Why would anyone? It's originally from homers Odyssey and is a perfectly understandable literary reference that has been used many times over.

jberg 10:02 AM  

I got so busy I forgot to post yesterday. Loved the theme!

You folks complaining that @Rex exaggerates need to read up on your figures of speech, esp. hyperbole. He's writing a blog, not a scientific paper, and doing his best to make it amusing.

Kimberly 10:47 AM  

@robert a. Simon 8:38

In my 20s my roommates and I ended up with a large ant hill in our back yard. So for weeks we put all of our cigarettes out in jars of water. Then we strained the water and poured it all into the anthill, killing the little bastards.

If we hadn’t, either we and all our neighbors would have been infested, or we would have had to use a more toxic substance which could have leeched into the water system, perhaps poisoning innocent children.

Moral: smoking saves lives. And pantry supplies.

We were givers. That’s how we rolled.

Phyllis Lorenz 1:52 PM  

I do the puzzle on my iPad which does not show the “theme.” So Ive had to work these cold. Ugh. But I did this one, even so!

Ando 2:03 PM  

I never get help from the name of the puzzle because the NYT's own app doesn't show it. Good work, that.

andy 3:34 PM  

I just dont understand the vitriol toward Rex. If you don’t like his damn blog, don’t read it.

Harry Keates 9:11 PM  


Too much foreign language clues. I liked the theme, but if it forces you to use 15 foreign language answers, its too much.

Laurence Katz 12:51 PM  

No bartender anywhere makes a gimlet with sparkling water. Gin and lime cordial. Done

Calman Snoffelevich 4:10 PM  

I don't understand 85D: ELECTRICAL CONNECTION? (ARC)

Anonymous 10:53 PM  


Elvis's middle name was Aaron, not Aron.

Anonymous 10:02 AM  

i thought this puzzle was just dumb. Lotus eaters really? Lions and deer o my!Struggled w/ spelling pierogis and Poehler. Both I should know - my ex husband loved these - being half polish and all. I had oilers for the NLL team . But then sport is not my forte. But father , ex and son are giants fans - so there's that, and so glad Eagles beat the arrogant Patriots.

Anyway - I have yet to really like a puzzle in many weeks. Will Shortz- you need to up your game!!Just speaking frankly as I name drop. I thought slumber pay/party was just awful. And its arrears. too many boring tired clues and answers. Like aone , ural, mete, slat, etc.

spacecraft 12:08 PM  

Well, yes, the title did sorta give away the store. But then what alternative is there? Leave it untitled? There's no good way, so I can't criticize that too harshly.

The puzzle itself, with that start, was easy-medium. Got to be a bit of a slog, but then most 21x21s do that. It was...fine. A little SYNChronicity: just last night I saw an old Columbo: the one with Oskar Werner and DOD GENA Rowlands. I love that guy.

Not LOTS else to say about this one; TAMMIE Green (honorable mention) shoots a par.

Anonymous 12:18 PM  

Elvis's middle name indeed was ARON.

Burma Shave 2:58 PM  

SARI CON JOB

SUITE MARY SPEAKSFRANKLY and so MORAL,
while BILL EGGSON with SALTY SLUMBERPARTY urgin'
that he'll TUTOR her in ARREAR ENDOR oral,
and LOTS MOOR, to UNLEARN what's EXTRAVIRGIN.

--- TAMMIE WEBER

AnonymousPVX 3:45 PM  

Got the solve, but had to come here to figure out what the “theme” was....and then I just rolled my eyes.

Ugh. Better than last Sunday, but that puzzle ended up in the recycling after about 5 minutes, so not exactly a compliment.

rainforest 5:53 PM  

I found this medium-challenging and very enjoyable.

When I got stuck very early with SPEAKS--- and 31D, I jumped to the SW and was faced with the PRI-COLORS themer, I got an AHA and confirmed that I knew what was happening when I then got the revealer.

Title, shmitle. The tact used today was just fine in my book, although I do prefer my book have a title.

I think PHONE MANNERS, ie, not talk loudly on your phone, is an admonition to those who engage in "cell yell", as much as anything.

For me this never felt like a slog. I loved the many clever clues, and the theme, including the apt revealer.

rondo 6:02 PM  

Okay, I'll be a NAMEDROPPER. I played in a band that opened for Johnny Cash. YEA, *that* Johnny Cash, the ICON. My Boy Scoutmaster was Robert Plante. And the band at my H.S. senior prom was Nirvana. The members of that Nirvana are at least as old as Zep's Robert Plant. Add another 25 YRS for Robert Plante. As Meatloaf said, "Two out of Three Ain't Bad." They're just not who they sound like, and we're actually having meatloaf for dinner tonight.

Since GENA's been taken, the yeah baby goes to . . . (envelope opens). . . Amy POEHLER.

Pretty much what OFL said (Ack!!). Guess I can do that ONCE.

Anonymous 7:53 PM  

glad someone helped me understand BING ERROR. While I realized it wasn't BINGE, I was pronouncing it that way. Just don't think of "bing" as a search engine, as I tend to eschew things Microsoft when possible.

Otherwise, this wasn't hard, but it wasn't really entertaining either. I felt it was more a slog than a trip the light fantastic for sure.

strayling 8:37 PM  

Cute and fun. Figuring out the theme gave me the answers to clues I wouldn't have otherwise solved.

kitshef 11:54 AM  

Posting this far too late for anyone to see it, but oh well. Great puzzle. Puzzle of the Year so far. To do this with just plain words would be tough enough. Having them all be names adds the extra level of wow.

Michael Leddy 10:59 PM  

Six weeks later, in syndication, but I want to say something:

The Internets have taught me many things, one being that there are so many things I don’t know. A quick search (I use DuckDuckGo) confirms that “phone manners” are indeed a thing (as I did already know). Virginia Heffernan had a wonderful piece a few years back that began with some of the details of phone manners:

https://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/31/magazine/31fob-medium-t.html

And even if people were no longer speaking of phone manners, “before my time” is not a reasonable complaint. Most things are before our time. To my ear, “before my time” smacks too much of the yearly Beloit list with all the things we can’t expect “the kids” to know about. And it smacks too much of the dismissive attitude that so many people have toward whatever happened before they came on the scene. Citizen Kane?? That’s like sooo before my time.

Anonymous 3:38 PM  

Clue 42 Down is wrong. The answer "pierogi" is plural. The singular is "pierog".
The clue should have read: "Polish dumplings"

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