Trio in Plato's Republic / THU 4-5-18 / Bass part in Beethoven's choral symphony / 1982 loretta lynn song with lyric it's not easy to deceive you / Strike with pickax / Dweller on Mekong / African capital lake gulf / Bypass arteries

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Constructor: David J. Kahn

Relative difficulty: Medium, maybe a little easier (time normal, but grid was oversized, so ...)

THEME: GRAND SLAM HOMERUN (62A: What will cause a walk-off win in the situation described by the answers to the starred clues) — answers to the starred clues are baseball phrases each of which has been clued super-wackily:

Theme answers:
  • BOTTOM OF THE NINTH (17A: *Bass part in Beethoven's "Choral" Symphony?)
  • BASES LOADED (22A: *Result of a lot of drinking in the army?)
  • TWO MEN OUT (37A: *A couple of prisoners after an escape from Leavenworth?)
  • FULL COUNT (43A: *Dracula, after stuffing himself?)
  • DOWN BY THREE (51A: *Plan for a midafternoon nap?)
Word of the Day: COTTER (34A: Fastening pin) —
noun: cotter
  1. a metal pin used to fasten two parts of a mechanism together.
    • a split pin that is opened out after being passed through a hole.
noun: cotter (in Scotland and Ireland) a farm laborer or tenant occupying a cottage in return for labor. (google)
• • •

I love baseball crosswords. I have made several myself. And the theme idea here is clever (as wacky themes go), but the theme feels botched—or at least the revealer does. Yes, a GRAND SLAM HOME RUN will cause a walk-off home run in the "situation described" by the themers, but two of the theme answers have absolutely nothing to do with with a walk-off GRAND SLAM HOME RUN. There could be zero men out, one man out, or TWO MEN OUT—absolutely doesn't matter. And the count? The bleeping count? That has even less relevance to the revealer. You can hit a walk-off grand slam with any number of outs, from any count. All the other theme answers are necessary* preconditions of the walk-off GRAND SLAM HOME RUN. The other two have been included, but they are just window dressing. No direct relationship. Cool to have extra baseball content, not at all cool to try to make the number of outs or the count relevant to the walk-off GRAND SLAM HOME RUN. It's just not baseball (which is a phrase I just invented that means roughly what "it's just not cricket" is supposed to mean ... I think; I know very little about cricket or idioms derived therefrom). I guess this is supposed to be an nth-degree situation, maximum suspense and all that, but ... I don't know, once you get down the ball/strike count, you've lost the thread a little. I realize that I am overthinking this, but that's kind of what I do. Also, I'm on spring break and the last few days have been, almost literally, half baseball and half crosswords, so I'm awash in the details right now.

[warning: probably NSFW language]

I actually don't mind the turning of basic baseball phrases into punny answers to wacky clues. The theme clues are actually pretty clever. I do have a Go Big Or Go Home policy toward wackiness, and this puzzle certainly swings for the wacky fences. I generally enjoyed the bonus baseball content, but NY MET is not among my favorite answers. "He's an NY MET!" Yeah, no, not a thing you'd say or write, especially in the singular like that. Plural BAHS for NY MET! Baseball bats are typically made from ASH, so I have nooooo idea why that answer wasn't roped into the baseballiness of this puzzle, especially when you stretched wildly to get Yogi Berra into the clue for TEN. But you do have the great LOU Brock and Nolan RYAN, and the STL Cardinals (a legit abbr.). I have never in my life heard of a COTTER, and the connection between blackboards and CAFES was not immediately apparent to me (34D: Places that may have blackboards), so even at -AFES / -OTTER I had no idea what was happening until I started to run the alphabet. Which spelling of 1D: Food cart offering did you go with at first today? I just wrote in K-B-B and let the crosses do the rest because I've given up on trying to guess what version the crossword's going to go with on any given day.

Lastly, GRAND SLAM HOME RUN just sounds redundant and awful to me. A grand slam is, by definition a home run. There are no grand slam doubles, e.g. But I can kind of hear Vin Scully saying GRAND SLAM HOME RUN in my head, so it's definitely a phrase that gets used. Ha, look, I was right:

Well if Vin said it, then I take it all back. It's fine.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    *OK, not strictly "necessary." I should probably also have said that a team needn't be DOWN BY THREE for a walk-off GRAND SLAM HOME RUN to happen. I mean, you could hit a walk-off grand slam with the score tied. Also it could come in the bottom of any inning numbered 9 or higher. But at least with DOWN BY THREE, you have a paradigmatic, minimum-necessary (i.e. win-by-one) situation, and with BOTTOM OF THE NINTH, well, the 9th *is* the end of regulation, so it also feels solidly related to the theme; whereas, to reiterate, the number of outs and the ball/strike count seem totally irrelevant.

    [Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


    Harry Keates 12:06 AM  

    Rex is in a curmudgeonly mood tonight. I thought this was fun. To get all of the baseball terms: bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, two men out, full count, down by three into the puzzle, and in clever ways, was great. And the fill was good too.

    Robin 12:12 AM  

    Jason Giambi went being from the schmo who replaced Tino to a fan hero a couple weeks into his first season with the Yankees when the team was DOWN BY THREE in the bottom of 13th and he hit a GRAND SLAM HOME RUN.

    Sorry, stuff like that just sticks with me.

    Have to agree about KABOB. Wasn't it KEBAB just a couple days ago?

    Brian 12:24 AM  

    Easy. The two non necessary for a grand slam are still part of the situation.

    Harryp 12:25 AM  

    I don't know much about baseball, but did manage to get enough of it to figure out the Theme of how to win in the clutch. Liked 34A COTTER, 41A ANT, 10D ARIAS. My take is Easy Thursday.

    David Stone 12:25 AM  

    SERT crossing TUNIS made this a DNF for me. I only figured out the Parlement clue after the fact.

    Robin Ventura 12:31 AM  

    If you were only down by two, someone could hit a grand slam single. That would have made for a puzzle that actually interesting.

    MIEinMA 12:36 AM  

    I rarely comment but I loved this puzzle. Just in time for the home opener at Fenway. @Rex is right about the conditions for a walk off home run but I don't care. It was fun one of my fastest Thursdays.
    I have to comment on the "me and my friend" discussion.. @LMS is right on about being too critical in comments. That usage always sounds grating to my ear. Especially when i hear my son, the English major, use it. He lives in Natick, BTW.
    Go Red Sox.


    Mike in Mountain View 1:05 AM  

    Thanks, Rex. It's hard to imagine anything better than Vin Scully describing the Dodgers beating the Giants with a walk off Grand Slam Home Run.

    I liked the puzzle just fine.

    By the way, I interviewed Lou Brock once, in-person, one on one, when I was 23 or 24 and writing for The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss. It was just me and Lou, sitting in a dugout at the stadium of the Double-A Jackson Mets. I can't remember why he was in town. I can remember that he was classy, and I managed to stay professional, and the story worked out OK.

    When Lou Brock was the age that I was when I interviewed him, he was traded from the Cubs to the Cardinals (STL), for a pitcher with a bad elbow (Ernie Broglio). It is considered one of the worst trades ever made.

    Moly Shu 1:15 AM  

    BAH, baseball. Yuck. Can’t believe I’m saying this, but give me back ZEROTH. This was way to easy for a Thursday and and and baseball?? #Boring. Did like the clue for SANANDREAS, and somehow I knew COTTER. HOLEY Moly, this was bad.

    Melrose 1:21 AM  

    This was great fun, even after allowing Rex's objections.

    JOHN X 1:25 AM  

    This mostly just filled itself in automatically, with little to no effort by me. Mostly. Is it just me or does TWOMENOUT sound wrong? There's "two outs" but I never heard Vin Sculley say "There's two men out and here's Paul Lo Duca at the plate." You just never hear that phrase. Also, whenever you do a Vin Sculley impression, even written, all the players gotta have Latin names and lots of vowels; it'll sound better. And throw in a Farmer John's reference too. Where was I? Oh yeah TWOMENOUT held me up because I thought it would be wrong. Also I think it might be sexist and objectifying, whatever that means.

    Elle54 1:52 AM  

    Loved the puzzle! Welcome back baseball! Go CUBS!

    Jim H 2:08 AM  

    Regarding the redundancy of “GRAND SLAM HOME RUN”, I will just leave this here:

    Anonymous 2:09 AM  

    So just recast the theme as how victory might be snatched from the jaws of defeat when....

    chefwen 2:16 AM  

    Mom was a lover of baseball and boyfriend, now husband has been a baseball nut his whole life, just gave our great nephew, also a base ball lover, his baseball card collection which had been in the making since the late 50’s, the kid almost swooned, we also gave him the letter that Hank Aaron sent to my father which I had framed. He was a very happy young man. Spent a lot of time at Milwaukee County Stadium cheering on the Braves (mom cried when they moved) and later the Brewers. Needless to say, this rated easy for me, but I still enjoyed it.
    Not my beloved Thursday rebus, I can live with that, but I want a REBUS next Thursday, damn it!

    Thomas 2:19 AM  

    I interpreted the revealer clue to mean that the most likely play that would result in a walkoff in the situation described would be a GRAND SLAM HOME RUN. In fact, a single and three errors might win the game in little league, but probably not in the majors. A triple with the batter scoring the winning run by going home on an error might be more likely, in the big leagues, but those plays wouldn’t in fit the grid. Fun puzzle but too easy for a Thursday.

    chefwen 2:41 AM  

    All you Cheese lovers of today’s puzzle should check out todays 4/4/18 Pearls Before Swine comic strip. I’d embed it if I knew how to, but alas...

    Casimir 3:20 AM  

    I liked Rex's review! I always say "cotter pin" which I must have picked up in my misspent youth. I think the revealer would have been improved by the addition of the phrase " highly dramatic " before "walk off." And, I'm with Rex – in my 57 years of sometimes heartbreaking fidelity to my favorite baseball team, I have never referred to a player as a NY Met. There is only one type of Met in baseball, opera, and art museums .

    jae 3:44 AM  

    A bit tough for me mostly because I held on to tAcOs way too long (which I blame on living in San Diego). I fixed it only after I got the theme.

    Clever and fun, liked it...and yes, @Rex, you may be over thinking it.

    Cary Williams 3:48 AM  

    Just need some word/phrase before walk-off win in the themer to relay intensity or urgency.

    Exciting, nail-biting, heart-stopping, Etc.

    sanfranman59 4:12 AM  

    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. Your results may vary.

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

    Mon 4:21 4:18 1.01 53.3% Medium
    Tue 6:17 5:37 1.12 72.0% Medium-Challenging
    Wed 5:29 6:00 0.91 36.0% Easy-Medium
    Thu 7:59 10:01 0.80 22.1% Easy-Medium

    But since it's extra-wide and I couldn't get started (38 second stare-time at a blank grid), I think it's actually an Easy. I'm not sure why Will didn't run this on Opening Day last Thursday, but hey, I'll take a baseball themed puzzle any day of the year. I did it in just a little more than half the time of six previous DJK Thursdays and closer to a normal Wednesday time than a Thursday.

    A MEH to go with yesterday's FEH (heh). I had the same thought as Rex: TWO MEN OUT and FULL COUNT are not necessary conditions for the walk-off. But I don't care.

    Loren Muse Smith 4:21 AM  

    What a puzzle! This not-really-a-baseball fan loved the buildup of the most exciting diamond scenario. I did not wonder if all the pieces were necessary for a strict interpretation of the reveal. All the pieces were there, and they made for some terrific excitement.

    I agree with Rex that the cluing for the themers was really good. I think my favorite was the one for BOTTOM OF THE NINTH. How else could you clue that? Gorsuch’s fanny? Rudolph’s butt? NAH.

    Loved the clue for ANO. I could propose a different one – “What makes a man moan?”

    I think my biggest take-away today was that KAFKA had the original Murphy’s Law. In a fight between you and the sink drain stopper thingy and whether it will 1) hold tight ‘cause you’re blanching beans or 2) strain ‘cause you’re trying to catch the grapefruit pulp from the juicer, put your money on its doing exactly what you don’t want it to do. Back the world, buddy – it’s out to get you.

    David Kahn – this puzzle kept my attention, and I don’t watch baseball. Nice one.

    Loren Muse Smith 4:23 AM  

    @chefwen – spot on cartoon!
    Pearls Before Swine

    Someone asked yesterday to embed this Weird Al clip…
    Do Geese See God?

    chefwen 4:35 AM  

    Thanks @ Loren for filling in my ineptitude. I knew someone would come to my rescue.

    Anonymous 5:15 AM  

    Weird Al’s Word Crimes” video was next in the queue after the link @lms embedded. This is not irony.

    Charles Flaster 5:57 AM  

    Liked this theme but puzzle was Wednesday easy — not a Thursday type.
    Liked cluing for SAN ANDREAS, HEM, and ARIAS.
    Liked that MET was used in two different contexts.
    BTW— NY MET is perfectly acceptable.
    Saw LOU Brock hit a home run into center field bleachers at the Polo Grounds —not done very often.
    Thanks DJK

    Lewis 6:13 AM  

    I didn't see the puzzle as being about the definition of a walk off grand slam home run; rather, it was about an exciting baseball situation, actually about as exciting as it gets, and its moment of glory.

    David squeezed a lot of fun out of this with great clues for the first five theme answers. I solved from the top to bottom and felt this baseball game's drama build as I went. Terrific catch by David that BOTTOM OF THE NINTH and GRAND SLAM HOME RUN have the same number of letters, and with so much theme (72 letters!), he was quite skilled to keep the grid so clean.

    Nice little extras as well. HEM and MEH. Terrific new clue for ANO. ANT crossing ANT. And rah rah to BAH/NAH/MEH.

    You can walk off with a good feeling about this one, Sir David. Now make a puzzle about a topic that I believe would generate at least 300 comments here: A grand slam in bridge.

    Jonathan Alexander 6:37 AM  

    To nitpick @Rex, the clue says "a situation" not "the situation" implying there could be a number of situations for the walk off, so I don't have a problem with the non-required parts. Besides, when your playing as a kid those are the situations you ALWAYS think you are. I do agree that GRANDSLAMHOMERUN is somewhat redundant. Better clued "exciting way to win in the situation described by the starred clues" with WALKOFFGRANDSLAM

    Dave 6:41 AM  

    Well it's baseball season, I guess, but baseball is the most gawd-awful boring sport ever invented, so I didn't really enjoy this.

    Although the Orioles had a "walk-off" win in their opener so I had to look up what that meant. Tied at zero in the 7th and at two in the 11th. I rest my case about it being boring!!!

    Yale Baseball '99 6:42 AM  

    Great puzzle. And kudos to the constructor for the pretty tight baseball theme and mercifully leaving out the all-time favorite baseball player for constructors (AROD).

    BarbieBarbie 6:54 AM  

    @Casimir, whatever the dictionary says, “cotter pin” is what everyone I know who has to use it in sentences professionally calls it.

    Easy, entertaining puzzle. Almost a speed record, and now that I know it’s plus-sized, I feel pretty stoked about that. Loved the Kafka and JCaesar quotes. The WAR one belongs in a Senate speech. Oh wait.....

    michiganman 7:00 AM  

    I enjoy the puzzles and the comments. I don't care about time, grid size, or whether on not a puzzle is day appropriate. Today's was fun and relatively easy for me: no googles, no square reveals or even a confirmation reveal. Very satisfying.

    kitshef 7:14 AM  

    Theme helped a lot, as I was struggling in the East until TWO MEN OUT opened it up.

    Rex has underthought the theme. It does not claim that the conditions are necessary to for a walk-off win, but that they are sufficient. Also, he is right you would never say “an NY MET”, but you would, and do, say “a NY MET”.

    Alternative clue for 17A – Sight before the tenth moon?

    ILIE was a CAD, alright. Great player, but quite the womanizer.

    mathgent 7:16 AM  

    I agree with Rex. The theme should have been tighter. But it was lively and had some cute clues, like the one for BOTTOMOFTHENINTH. So a tepid thumbs up.

    Some marginally valid clues, like "Caste member" for ANT. Even worse, "Not as" for LESS. Is that a mistake? Should it have been "Not as much"?

    Let me withdraw my thumbs-up rating. I just counted the Terrible Threes. 28 of them.

    kitshef 7:20 AM  

    @Robin Ventura - the game was tied when you hit your walk-off grand slam single.

    JHC 7:33 AM  

    There's a very old joke on this theme: According to the joke, the double basses don't play for about 30 minutes during Beethoven's Choral, so they make a plan to sneak out to the bar in the lobby and have a drink. Once there, they meet a European nobleman who proceeds to buy them round after round, until two of the bass players are asleep on the bar. Their cue was coming up, and the remaining basses started to panic. The first bass said, not to worry - he had anticipated this might happen, so he tied the pages of the conductor's music together, forcing the conductor to slow down and buying them more time. But still, they knew they were in trouble, because...

    It was the bottom of the Ninth, the basses were loaded, the Count was full, there were two men out, and the score was tied.

    FLAC 7:40 AM  

    Wes Westrum once said: “Baseball is like church. Many attend, but few understand.” Was he right?

    Two Ponies 7:47 AM  

    It's pointless to complain about this one considering how many baseball fans are in this crowd. These terms must be very much a part of our language if even I found this incredibly easy. It might be hard for some to imagine but I have never watched an entire baseball game.

    Including Meh in the grid is just asking for trouble.

    Z 7:52 AM  

    How much do I love baseball? My Tigers hired a manager I don't like, traded away most of its talent to start rebuilding, has a bunch of the worst kind of Christians on the team (no - God did not make you super rich because you are special and yes, I can cite scripture about public prayer and it doesn't make you look good), the bullpen still looks to be atrocious, our Hall of Fame first baseman is on the down side of his career and has been dealing with a paternity suit with his ex-mistress, the team has been shut out twice, postponed three times, and has won one game (two really, but Effing MLB managed to blow a video review), and I've watched every inning, not to mention a couple of other games involving other teams (Go 'Stros).

    How much did I love this puzzle? Er, not as much. First - Last Thursday was Opening Day. Why wasn't this published then? Second - I agree with Rex, Go Big or Go Home. None of the wacky clues even got a wry smile from me. BOTTOM OF THE NINTH? Seriously? That's supposed to be funny? FULL COUNT and no blood sucking reference? A nap joke? Maybe I'm getting a little jaded by the freedom to be more adult and more juvenile that the indie puzzles have, but this just fell flat in a staid, school marm sort of way. Heck, @LMS even improved the AN O clue.

    Heading out of town for an Ultimate Tournament this week. Don't have any exciting presalting discussions without me and remember if you criticize someone's grammar you have to do it in the subjunctive.

    Calman Snoffelevich 7:53 AM  

    Leavenworth houses only male prisoners.

    Passing Shot 7:56 AM  

    Puns yesterday, puns today. Hate baseball. MEH, FEH.

    Anonymous 7:58 AM  

    OK, fun for all you baseball fans, not for me. I don't follow baseball, have no interest whatever. To have a puzzle so dependent on it is a real drag. Easy enough to finish via the non-themers, but no joy in this at all. A depressing, Kafka-worthy puzzle.

    Glimmerglass 7:59 AM  

    COTTER is an adjective or at least a noun adjunct, like “fastening.” I learned about them as a child assembling or repairing toys of vatious kinds. Typically, a wheel was held on an axle with a COTTER pin. It was a low-tech design, but if I broke or lost one, I could get a new one from any hardware store for a few cents. They come in lots of sizes.

    Wm. C. 8:06 AM  

    Yep, OFL certainly is over-thinking this one.

    The 62a clue ("What will cause ...") is literally correct. True, other baserunner/out/score situations will also cause a walk-off win, but the clues happen to describe this particular maximally tension-filled situation, making the homer a particularly exciting one. Which makes sense for a colorful crossword puzzle, IMO.

    Jenskis70 8:07 AM  

    Wow! That was great!

    QuasiMojo 8:09 AM  

    Another lost Thursday.

    The theme clues were tortured to say the least. Why invoke Dracula, for instance, to get to Full Count? He is hardly known for eating or overeating, as in getting stuffed. One could have just as easily made it Count Basie, or Count Dooku for all you Star Wars fans.

    Is a bass the bottom voice? Deepest, or lowest, perhaps. But I don't think one calls them the bottom, unless it's on a call sheet. A basso profundo is the deepest.

    Even the cute clue about the drunk soldiers is forced. The drinking would be done off base. They may be hungover on base, but the "loaded" part would happen elsewhere. Unless the SARGE encouraged them to drink in the barracks which seems unlikely.

    GHarris 8:16 AM  

    This was the first time I can remember getting into a puzzle by going to the revealer and figuring out the theme which then broke open the entire grid which,at first glance, had seemed rather daunting. Nevertheless, had to google to get the t in the Sert/Tunis crossing. Still much enjoyed the solve and appreciated the drama built into the walk off situation.

    TomAz 8:29 AM  

    Rex is correct in all his criticisms but way, way, overplays them. I mean it's just playing up the maximum tension. I thought puzzle was fun, though really easy .. by the time I was halfway through I jumped down to 62A and filled in the 16-wide revealer with no crosses at all.

    You know what else is fun? The Dbacks sweeping the Dodgers. Go suck an egg LA.

    Anonymous 8:30 AM  

    Word Crimes

    Sir Hillary 8:31 AM  

    This puzzle is silly. After all, you could accomplish the same thing by intentionally walking the first four batters, then balking three times in succession. Four runs, no hits, no pitches, game over. :-)

    But seriously folks...the theme answers are a blast as plays on words. Never mind that TWOMENOUT is usually said as "two outs" and DOWNBYTHREE as "down three" -- those are quibbles, and debatable at that.

    Good clue for AUTOS; I was thinking treaties all the way.

    @Robin 12:12AM -- I was reminded of the Giambi homer as well. Against the Twins if I recall. I can't recall offhand another walk-off grand slam hit when down three runs, but I imagine there have been others since then.

    @Z -- I understand your pain. I'm not a diehard Tigers fan, but to me MLB is better when Detroit is good. An original franchise, old-school uniforms, iconic history. The 1984 team is one of my all-time favorites ever in MLB -- I doubt there is any team that far back that I could tell you the starting lineup, as I can for that one. Then to come all the way back from hitting rock-bottom in 2003 was amazing. Those Verlander playoff games against Oakland were ridiculously clutch. Sadly, they missed their window, erroring their way against an inferior STL club in 2006, then looking overmatched in 2012 against the Giants. Not telling you anything you don't know, but as I get older, I appreciate the need to capitalize on these windows, because unless you are the New England Patriots, they are very short these days. As a fan of both Southern California MLB teams, I am currently stressing over this regarding the Dodgers. The Angels did it right -- their window was short, but they took full advantage in 2002.

    abalani500 8:37 AM  

    @kitshef - a single will most often score men on 2nd and 3rd so you can hit a walk-off grand slam single with one run down. But its only a "single" if the player doesn't finish rounding the bases (as is his prerogative). I remember well the 1999 Mets/Braves game when Robin Ventura hit one over the fence with the score tied and the bases loaded in extended extra innings. He was mobbed by teammates after touching first, so never finished his home-run trot.

    Greg Miller 8:41 AM  

    As kid growing up in the sixties, playing in the backyard with a few friends, the classic scenario that played out over and over (imagine Jack Buck, Vin Scully, or Harry Carey announcing the big game):

    Bottom of the ninth, down by three, based loaded, two out, full count. He swings, he hits, its a grand slam home run!!!!! He's a hero!!! (might have even been pretending to be Lou Brock at bat - a family hero)

    Sorry Rex - thew themers really worked for me.

    Anonymous 8:46 AM  

    Would have been a really fun Wednesday offering.
    Thursday puzzles have been way too easy the past few months.

    Wm. C. 8:47 AM  

    @MIEinMA12:36am --

    Do you know where the short street adjacent to the Natick Mall got the name "Flutie Pass?"

    Greg Miller 8:48 AM  

    @abalani500 A grand slam, by definition, is a bases loaded home run. A single cannot be grand slam. In your scenario it would juts be a walk-off single.

    ArtO 8:55 AM  

    Much too much carping for a truly wonderful timely baseball puzzle beautifully constructed. Loved it.

    I Wanna Be Jimmy's Girl 9:05 AM  

    @Mike, you traitor! Here's a 2015 video to run in your head: Posey's Grand Slam Pummels Dodgers, Giants Win 9-5.

    Great fun puzzle for the wife of a man who owned a Jag and loved baseball, at one point was a "Looie" (a word he'd never use), and crosswords (we did 'em together).


    SethC 9:08 AM  


    Epstein’s mother 9:10 AM  

    Thanks for the Welcome Back Kotter song.

    egharrel 9:10 AM  

    You think the puzzle included too many conditions. I think it left out two critical conditions. Game seven, World Series.
    Then it would be every Little Leaguer’s fantasy.

    Anonymous 9:15 AM  

    @Quasi - I’m okay with “bottom” being used metaphorically to mean deepest, but the clue might also refer to the bass voice part's position on the staff or in the system. (I think I’m using those terms correctly.)

    Bob Mills 9:19 AM  

    As a long-time baseball fan and baseball author, this puzzle was easy for me. But I thought it was very well done. Rex is right that a walk-off home run doesn't require two outs or any particular ball-strike count, but that's a petty criticism, I think.

    'merican in Paris 9:20 AM  

    What @ArtO said. This puzzle took me a long time to complete (before breakfast, after breakfast, on the bus, and AGAIN during lunch), thanks to a large number of (for me) misdirects. But I kept plugging along, and eventually triumphed, with the happy jingle ringing as I entered the LaST letter.

    I wish that people would stop complaining about answers related to tools and other things mechanical. I, too, grew up hearing about COTTER pins, which were used to fix various things around our house. Some of you know your U.S. TV sitcom stars; we each have our specialties.

    Final request to WS: could you retire ASEA for a spell?

    P.S., Thanks for the link to "Do Geese See God?" My favorite from that video: "May a moody baby doom a yam?" Just rolls off the tongue, that one!

    jberg 9:26 AM  

    @mathgent, think “that one’s not as red” / “that one’s less red”

    Stuart Showalter 9:29 AM  

    “Rex is in a curmudgeonly mood tonight.” When is he not?

    His whining is more inane today than ever. Given the situation—bottom of the 9th, bases loaded, two out, and 3 runs down—a grand slam home run WILL cause a walk-off win. That’s not to say that there aren’t other situations that will do so, but there’s nothing wrong with the logic or the puzzle. Great fun! Go suck an egg, Rex.

    Hartley70 9:30 AM  

    I appreciate theme density, but soon after I began this puzzle, I heard myself scream, "Noooo!"

    Thomaso808 9:33 AM  

    Awesome baseball puzzle one day after an awesome Weird Al puzzle.

    jberg 9:38 AM  

    I don’t know about NYC, but today’s the home opener in Boston, so the timing of this puzzle is fine by me.

    LESS fine- I started with KeBaB, later changed the E but forgot to change the A, so ended up using my pickax to hit “are.”

    The Times seems to have moved on from imagining inner-city dialect to imagining that country people say GAL. I’m not saying it’s not true, just that it’s a stereotype.

    Could one of you classical scholars please enlighten as to what role the FATES play in Plato’s Republic? I don’t recall seeing them there, but it’s been a long time.

    hankster65 9:43 AM  

    Best, most enjoyable puzzle in a long time. Loved it.

    Anonymous 9:46 AM  

    CONGO is ambiguous since there are two, neither officially called "Congo".

    Mr. Benson 9:48 AM  

    Rex's criticism of the theme seems petty. I get what he's saying and sort of had the same thought myself, but it wouldn't even be an issue with a slightly different clue for the revealer -- e.g., "Dramatic finish under the circumstances described in the answers to the starred clues." Two outs and a full count absolutely do ramp up the drama. But was that the difference between a good puzzle and a bad puzzle? I think not.

    Gretchen 9:53 AM  

    Loved the theme! Made me want to go to a baseball game.

    DJG 9:56 AM  

    The situation described in the puzzle is quite rare, but it has happened at least twice -- by
    Alan Trammell in 1988 and Chris Hoiles in 1996.

    Stanley Hudson 9:58 AM  

    What @ArtO said.

    mathgent 9:59 AM  

    @jberg (9:26): Thanks for explaining the "Not as" clue.

    Mohair Sam 10:14 AM  

    @Loren - That was my Weird Al request. Thanks for linking. And don't feel bad about forgetting my name, Lady M does that all the time.

    Fun Monday puzzle for us. Saw the asterisks, went to the revealer, counted to 16 and this baseball fan wrote in GRANDSLAMHOMERUN. Went to the first asterisk and wrote in BOTTOMOFTHENINTH. With that start we flew through the rest.

    @Barbiebarbie - Yup, it's a COTTER pin in my world too - not just a COTTER. Might as well be one word - COTTERpin. And where have they gone? Why aren't the wheels falling off toys?

    @Z - This Phillies fan will out suffer you this season. And I don't even care if the guys pray. Our new manager set an all-time Major League record in his first three games - most pitchers used in the first three games of a season (21). And our rookie sensation second baseman (batted .400 in the Spring) has started only three of five games so far - two at third, one at short. Manager says he likes to rest people for a late season playoff run (the kid is 23). Beat that.

    GILL I. 10:16 AM  

    I Kinda did a @Hartley "Noooo." UH! But then as I moved along I began to enjoy it. I especially liked David's clueing. LOVED 5D. Finally we get something clever instead of a Spanish ass.
    Both my parents loved baseball. Mom was a Dodger's fan and dad was the Yankee's. We had a huge black and white tv that someone gave us and we could get American Baseball and I Love Lucy. The Cubans love baseball and are pretty good at it. Anyway, I'm pretty sure there had to be a World Series playing with both those teams and you could hear shouts all over our little finca. The whole neighborhood would come over to watch and there would e much drinking and shouting and afterwards eating of pig and black beans with rice.
    Nothin in this puzzle gave me any trouble. As a matter of fact, I thought it was too easy for a Thursday. I'm going to go over and pull up a chair next koto @chefwen and wait for a rebus....We can eat cheese together!
    When I finished this puzzle, I wondered what @Rex might think since I know he's a big fan. I suspect he's an expert on these things. Even so, all the theme answers made sense to me. I don't know squat but I do know the GRAD SLAM HOME RUN has to be one of the most exciting things to watch in baseball. Reminds me of when I lost my voice screaming while watching Joe Montana throw "The Catch" to Dwight Clark for that vital touchdown in the NFC Championship Game.
    I do love some sports and maybe I'll grow to love America's favorite - BASEBALL!
    touchdown and

    Silkid 10:27 AM  

    The theme clue was walk off win, not walk off grand slam, so it would have to be the bottom of the ninth. And I have heard of a grand slam triple as described by an announcer, although I don't recall whether he was speaking of an actual event or something that almost happened as it was many years ago.

    pabloinnh 10:35 AM  

    I'm with @jberg in thinking that today's puzzle is in honor of the home opener at Fenway. I really enjoyed it as it combines two of my favorite things, baseball and crosswords.

    Fun fact-"walk off" was coined by Dennis Eckersly, terrific pitcher for the Sox and others. If you haven't heard him doing color commentary, you have my deepest sympathy. If you're new to his work, you may need an Eckersly glossary.

    emily 10:42 AM  

    Yep, Kebab... I wrote in Tacos, but i’m In the west....

    emily 10:44 AM  

    That’s news to me!

    pmdm 10:46 AM  

    Others, including Mr. Sharp himself, have commented on overthinking the theme. No need to add my thoughts on this subject.

    JHC: The joke is clever and very funny. I never heard it before. By the way, Beethoven uses the contrabassoon in the last movement when writing in the Turkish style. That instrument can a few notes below the range of a doublebass so actually the contrabassoon would be the "bottom" of the orchestra in the symphony, albeit only occasionally. Someone correct me if I am wrong.

    I was amased at the ease of finished this puzzle. The first fun through ACROSS clues had me thinking that there was so many proper names and esoterica (for me) in the puzzle I would hate solving it. Not so! Great job, Mr. Kahn.

    I would have loved if FULL COUNT had been included in the sequence of themed entries.

    emily 10:46 AM  

    They use cotter pins in rigging for boats.

    johnny stocker 10:52 AM  

    I'm pretty sure Kahn is one of the people Rex has a burning hatred for one reason or another...there was really no reason to get so prickly over this (other than the KABOB KEBOB KYBOB stuff that I could do without as well).

    Nancy 10:57 AM  

    Easy as pie for those of us who know baseball. As soon as I come here, I looked for @Hartley's comment, knowing she'd be traumatized. I was not disappointed. Poor thing! I know how I'd feel if the theme were cars. Meanwhile, please, please give us back our rebus.

    Two Ponies 10:58 AM  

    Looking back over my margin notes I see a star next to the clue for San Andreas. Fault of California? Everything!

    QuasiMojo 10:59 AM  

    Thank you anon at 9:15, I see your point. Appreciate it. I also get the “not as” and “less” business but not as is followed up with another “as” and less usually has a “than” tagged on. Just seems sloppy today. Glad the baseball team is happy though.

    Roo Monster 11:01 AM  

    Hey All !
    Well, apparently no one reads my posts, as I embedded both "Bob" and "Word Crimes" yesterday. And a bonus "Silly Walks" clip.

    Anyway, nice baseball puz. AUTOS got me good. Couldn't get pact out of the ole brain for Accords. Agree should have been run last Thursday.


    Mikey From El Prado 11:06 AM  

    Rex, I’ve never seen a better example of someone stretching to disavow something good. You’re absolutely wrong about this puzzle. The final clue and answer DO match the scenario provided in the starred items. Yes, it doesnt have to be two out, full count. But, having that situation still meets the final revealer.
    And, I get that you want to show your love and knowledge of baseball. But, I’m sure I’ve played more games, been to more games, watched more games and listened to more games than you during my 51 year love affair with the game (born in ‘61). I would never be so pedantic about this puzzle.
    I think your just bitter that someone other than you came up with such a beautiful puzzle about our beautiful game.

    Anonymous 11:17 AM  

    "Ha, look, I was right" tell us all we need to know about Rex.

    old timer 11:20 AM  

    All of the themers were necessary to convey the excitement of that situation. We each have our own imaginary audio to go with it. Being a Giants fan, I heard Jon Miller on my imaginary radio or Kruk or Kuyp on the TV.

    Brilliant puzzle and entirely satisfying.

    MIEinMA 11:41 AM  

    @Wm.C. Certainly. Doug Flutie grew up in Natick.

    Masked and Anonymous 11:46 AM  

    8 U's. That there is what they call a "snowman", if a team posts that number of runs on the scoreboard for one inning, I believe.

    28 weejects. That's what some call a "Whoa, man!", on the RexWorld Comment Gallery scoreboard. (yo, @mathgent)
    staff weeject pick: ANO. Luvly clue. [Sorry, MEH -- but U just ain't as desperate as FEH.]

    Puz seemed to set the scene about as dramatically as it could, missin only a tear-jerkin BATBOYINHOSPITAL, or somesuch. Good use of baseball terms with non-BB clues. thUmbsUp and thanx, Mr. Kahn. Kinda straightforward for a ThursPuz, I'd hafta grant.

    Masked & Anonym8Us

    sorry, @chefwen, not a rebus:

    Canon Chasuble 12:02 PM  

    Chefwen -- my dad cried when the Braves left BOSTON! My first pro games were all seen at Braves Field.

    Absolutely loved today's theme and the puzzle itself. Can we give David Khan a standing O?

    Bree140 12:03 PM  

    In her poem, "Baseball and Writing", Marianne Moore wrote:

    Fanaticism? No. Writing is exciting
    and baseball is like writing.
    You can never tell with either
    how it will go
    or what you will do.

    Fifty years ago this month, I was at Yankee Stadium
    for the opening day game at which Marianne Moore
    threw out the first pitch. If only she could have been
    worked into this puzzle, it would have been perfect.

    Nancy 12:06 PM  

    Came here.

    Hungry Mother 12:19 PM  

    Played very easy for me today, but I had racER (very week) in for MILER originally and aLIE instead of ILIE. It took me forever and a day to simply notice that I had MaLER in the grid. I have to learn to proof-read my work better. That was one of my big failings in school, which I apparently never got over. Me and my wife were both teachers, so you would think I would know better.

    GILL I. 12:32 PM  

    @Nancy...Ha Ha. Almost got ya!

    Robin Ventura 12:50 PM  

    @Kitshef - Aw shucks (dragging a toe in the dust), I wasn't referring to anything I'd done. That would have been vanity, bringing that heroic act up in a totally unrelated context. I was just saying that something like that could happen, not that it had been done before, and by me specifically. While a NYMET I might add. Nope, I wouldn't do that.

    Greg Miller 12:50 PM  

    @Stuart Showalter - don't forget up your noise with a rubber hose.

    Anoa Bob 12:54 PM  

    Hey @Roo, I read your comment yesterday and clicked on the links you provided. A belated thanks. I'd seen the palindromic Bob Dylan takeoff, but the grammar one was new and it was especially enjoyable. Loved it when an email, I believe, was dragged to the Trash Bin icon and then dragged further to the Biohazard icon. We all could use one of those, right?

    So I was surprised when people started linking them up again today.

    @Quasi, I've been on many and lived on a few military bases, both as a serviceman and later as a teacher and they all had at least one and usually several places that served alcohol on base. So the clue for BASES LOADED worked for me, crosswordingly speaking.

    semioticus (shelbyl) 12:57 PM  

    I don't give two flying fraks about baseball, so this was an overwhelming puzzle. That I didn't tear it up (well, I couldn't even if I wanted because I'm solving it online) means that it was nicely executed.

    Mr. Kahn always tries to do a lot with his puzzles. That deserves utmost respect. You know that he's not gonna slack off, especially with his clues. But sometimes it becomes too much. Especially when the theme is not of great interest to the solver, and the grid is claustrophobic.

    So for me, another meh puzzle this week. But I can see some people loving this, so this is the best one so far.

    GRADE: B, 3.35 stars.

    Teedmn 1:20 PM  

    I had a bit of self-generated excitement trying to back out of some missteps, along with the build-up of the theme answers to the denouement of the GRAND SLAM HOME RUN. Very nice. The "wackiness" of the theme clues is what I was missing in yesterday's puzzle. Loved 17A and 22A, and FULL COUNT's clue was fun also.

    For 3D, I was recalling something I (thought I) read recently that mentioned there were 3 main Muses so Plato's trio of Muses led me to think cAmus at 1A. Think AGAIN!

    40A's "On the move" was Astir. And CAFES was hard to see when I misread the clue as "Places with ma[n]y blackboards." And the cross-referenced 15D clue had me thinking of currency words. 9D Single = ONE was a one dollar bill in my mind so a word on a ONE dollar bill meaning "One" must be unum. Except there's no reason to believe either clue and answer pair referred currency and there is no "unum" on a one dollar bill (I looked.) The theme answers and a logical guess of the Loretta Lynn title and, of course, the very clever SAN ANDREAS clue cleared that all up but it's just an example of the obstacles my own brain throws in my way.

    I groaned (with @Nancy, I'm sure) at the 30A Jaguar clue. All I was sure of was the X - the rest was sketchy in my memory. And @kitshef, the east central section was my last to fill in - misinterpreting Looies as Canada's Loonies made SARGES hard to see - I seem to have money on my mind today.

    Thanks, David Kahn, for fine baseball puzzle.

    OISK 1:31 PM  

    Love baseball, love puns, so I loved the puzzle. Easy for me, finishing was a "*dead Sert ". ( Sert was the only unfamiliar answer...) My own feelings about "themed" puzzles... this one had 6 themed answers. It also had NY Mets, Nolan Ryan, StL, Yogi's 10 rings, and Lou Brock. Great fun for me, but if there was a puzzle with 11 "hip-hop" clues I'd want to tear it up. I think it better, once there is a theme on a particular topic, not to overuse that topic on the other clues. (different rules on Sunday)

    I remember ( not at all fondly!!) a puzzle several years ago, where the entire perimeter consisted of three letter names, or acronyms, of rock and roll groups, clued by a particular performance. Since I was even remotely familiar with only two or three of those groups, this was an awful slog for me, but I actually got them all right!! Unfortunately, somewhere in the body of the puzzle was the first name of some rocker, Sara, Tara, Lara, Kara? And I DNF.

    *horserace lingo. A dead cert is a favorite who theoretically can't lose. (and the name of a Dick Francis novel) Also known as "a lock."

    Anonymous 1:33 PM  

    Vin Scully said it. All broadcasters and baseball afficianados say it. Hell, my 11 yr. old phenom says it because it is every batter’s dream.
    “A grand slam is a home run hit with all three bases occupied by baserunners, thereby scoring four runs—the most possible in one play...”

    Anonymous 1:43 PM  

    Sorry, Robin. You won’t find “grand slam single” in any official baseball scoring or Statcast. It’s a made-up term to describe the fact that because your blast didn’t count as a homerun when your teammate picked you up before you could even reach second base, remember? You won’t find “grand slam single“ in any official baseball scoring or Statcast. Officially, it’s counted as a walk-off single. Don’t believe me? Ask the Vegas sports books…

    Joe Bleaux 1:46 PM  

    I love nitpickery: The clue (in my paper, anyway) does indeed say "the situation" (after "a" walk-off win).

    Anonymous 1:52 PM  

    JHC (7:33a.m.)--loved the joke! How could anyone come up with that??

    By the way, thought this puzzle much above average.
    Anon. i.e. Poggius

    Robin Ventura 2:06 PM  

    @Anon 1:43 Yes, I know it's a made up term. So is Grand Slam Homer. But, you know what is an actual, real fact about Grand Slam Single? When you Google "Grand Slam Single" you get over 89K hits. You know what you get when you Google "anonymous poster actually added to the conversation in a positive manner"? Zero hits. 'Cause it never happened, hasn't happened today.

    phil phil 2:12 PM  

    I think the themers were almost perfect. Just needed a 'little league' clue for a THREEANDTWO stuck in there.
    But I think Rex missed the fault of the puzzle that it should of had a better theme clue. Maybe 'Classic Climax'

    barryevans 2:12 PM  

    I'm a Brit, know as much about baseball (I think it's called) as RP knows about cricket. So I aced this puzzle, no trouble at all with the theme clues. Go figure!

    phil phil 2:14 PM  

    Oops sorry forgot about the FULL COUNTRY entry

    Ralph 2:19 PM  

    Somehow forgotten is that the person doing the "walking off" is the pitcher.

    Kimberly 2:31 PM  

    Love the theme, and the revealer would have made more sense if reworded to something that meant “the only way to win if these things are all true” (only in a more clever way than my poor brain can invent in this moment).

    But it’s a Wednesday puzzle. Not a Thursday.

    I miss Thursday.

    Banana Diaquiri 2:32 PM  

    Rex's complaint about COTTER pin just proves he grew up an Effete Eastern Intellectual, since every other teenage male in God's Country got his hands greasy on some sort of machinery, all of which would have at least one cotter pin holding it together. :)

    Thomaso808 2:44 PM  

    @pabloinnh 10:35 thanks for that fun fact about Dennis Eckersly coining the term “walk off”. It was Dennis Eckersly who gave up one of the most famous walk-off home runs ever, to Bob Gibson of the Dodgers in the 1988 World Series, so I guess he was an expert in the subject of walk-offs!

    @Roo, thanks for the clips yesterday. I did not click on “Bob” because I had seen it many times, but I did click on “Word Crimes” because I had not yet seen that video. Weird Al doesn’t put as much production into his videos as he used to, but I think that’s because music videos don’t make any money anymore. But that “Word Crimes” video definitely is worth watching as it really enhances the lyrics. Silly Walks — yeah, watched it, loved it. I forgot how high Cleese raised his leg! Thanks again!

    @Mikey from El Prado did you see the baseball crossword that Rex constructed at the end of last year’s season? It was pretty good. He embedded a link in a couple of his blogs back then. Check it out.

    As a lifetime die-hard Giants fan, I painfully remember the Steve Finley GRANDSLAMHOMERUN that Rex included as a video with the Vin Scully call. So many Dodger highlights are at the expense of the Giants, and vice versa. Earlier that year at Dodger Stadium I had caught a Steve Finley foul ball in the stands and I still have it.

    Joe Bleaux 2:55 PM  

    Thanks to Mr. Kahn for a satisfyingly fun baseball puzzle. I'm wondering if, among the hardcore fans here, there's a collector of esoteric memorabilia who can appreciate my treasuring a little emery board nail file signed by Joe Niekro.

    Wm. C. 3:27 PM  

    @MIEinMA --

    Not only did he grow up in Natick, but he lives there now. And his son is (or was) a QB for the local HS.

    pabloinnh 3:50 PM  

    Hey @Thomaso808-not to nitpick, but Bob Gibson pitched for St.Louis, I'm sure you mean Kirk. Eck probably would have had better luck with Bob.

    One of my favorite stories about Eck is that after the walk off, he stayed in the locker room after the game answering every last reporter's question with grace and patience. Says he lost track of how many times he had to say "It was a slider I left up in the zone". An example of the kind of class we never have too much of.

    mmorgan 4:22 PM  

    Rex is correct that the number of outs and the count are not prerequisites for a walkoff, but as he gently acknowledged, that would certainly add a lot of drama to the situation -- down to their last strike and all that. But while he does document that the phrase GRANDSLAMHOMERUN *has* been used, I would argue that it is very, very rarely used. Once you've said GRANDSLAM, the HOMERUN part is of course utterly redundant and unnecessary -- and not something that people really say.

    Still, fun puzzle!

    Andy 4:28 PM  

    Rex, Rex, Rex - - - -yes you're overthinking this one. It was FUN! Go with the flow, man. Take a chill pill, etc. This was a great puzzle - one of the best in a long time. Should have been a Sunday themer IMHO.

    Carola 4:37 PM  

    Baseball being largely beyond my ken, this one was tough for me. I eeded a 7th inning stretch away for errands, then came back to finish. I liked the Beethoven and Dracula clues.

    David in CA 5:02 PM  

    I seldom agree with Rex, but I had the same feeling about the unnecessary aspects of the "situation". Yes, everyone is correct that it is all logically consistent, but still felt wrong.

    A shame this could have been made just a little more challenging for a Thursday - get rid of the "*"s on the theme clues and let people discover them, and clue the revealer something like "Event to make you really wish you hadn't left early to avoid the rush."

    DNF for me because PRESS FIT is a phrase I've heard often, and KAFfA is a perfectly good random name, which is all the 1A clue was for me.

    Honeysmom 5:14 PM  

    Practically perfect puzzle! Clever and fun! Did better than most Thursdays once I got the baseball theme. And the scenario absolutely mattered, building up to the GRANDSLAMHOMERUN! Sad that Rex finds flaws even when none exist.

    Gorelick 5:21 PM  

    They haven’t won since.

    The5th Harp 6:00 PM  

    Correct re 37A and 43A; wrong about the rest. Clue to 62A could have cured the first two.

    Chip Hilton 6:21 PM  

    @mmorgan - I hear it a lot. You and Rex are downers. Great puzzle.

    Joe Dipinto 6:25 PM  

    @Quasi -- the vocal scoring for the "Ode To Joy" consists of four soloists -- soprano, alto, tenor, and bass -- and an SATB (same voice designations) chorus. So yes, the bass part is the lowest part. It could be sung by a singer with a basso profondo voice, but it is still the bass part.

    Not a huge fan of sports-themed puzzles in general, but I did like this one. I don't understand Rex's b!tching, when the revealer clearly states that *if* those conditions are in place, a grand slam will result in a win. It doesn't imply that all of those conditions *must* be in place for the same result, it's presenting the most suspenseful nailbiter finale. Or that's what I thought the point was.

    Sunnyvale Solver 6:27 PM  

    This puzzle won my heart immediately, with a great KAFKA quote - metaphysical, nihilistic, and funny all at once.

    Then follow it with a pretty fresh theme, and overall nice fill, and the result is my favorite puzzle in quite a while.

    Thomaso808 7:03 PM  

    @pabloinnh, of course you are correct and that was not a nitpick! Apologies to Kirk.

    Joe Dipinto 7:07 PM  

    @Quasi -- sorry, I actually meant to say, as a choral bass singer, that the bass part is often called the bottom, the soprano the top, and the alto and tenor parts the inner or middle voices.

    Amelia 7:10 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Winnie 7:47 PM  

    I love baseball so this one was really fun for me. And btw the Red Sox had a walk off with bases loaded in the bottom of the 11th. A grand slam wasn’t needed however. Opening day at Fenway. Cool

    PS @Amelia I adored Joe DiMaggio, passed him on the street in NY and couldn’t breath. I just stared.

    QuasiMojo 9:49 PM  

    Very late but thanks also to @Anoa Bob. From now on I will restrict my comments to things I actually know. Haha. Wish me luck.

    a jazz listener's thoughts 10:29 PM  

    Ah I remember it well! Well played.

    Christophe 11:02 PM  

    The clue "alternative to paninis" hurts my Italian soul.
    The plural of panino is panini. Only barbarians write
    paninis - I know it is in the dictionary, yet it stinks.

    Barbara D 12:14 AM  

    I detest sport themed puzzles and know absolutely nothing about baseball. That being said, even I was able to finish the puzzle in a respectable time (especially for a Thursday) and enjoyed the clever themer clues. Also learned a new word -- "cotter."

    Anonymous 2:53 AM  

    Rex, the clues aren’t important for a GRAND SLAM HOME RUN, but they are important for the “win” portion of the clue, right? I think you missed something, but I also know literally nothing about baseball so maybe I’m wrong ����‍♀️

    pcardout 5:59 PM  

    My first serious job was bicycle mechanic. In those days, cranks ("pedals" to you non bike afficionados) were held on by cotter pins. Too bad Rex hasn't gotten his hands dirtier (I'm a professor too Rex, and maybe you do build things, but stop whining when you don't know something).

    A good thEme helps you when you get it,
    And this was great! I already had Grand Slam, Full Count, Two Men Out and I thought, "what will make this more exciting?", then I looked at the Beethoven clue and, having only about three letters already filled in, just wrote it down. Very Satisfying!

    Anonymous 4:46 PM  

    The Reverend Shill Warts the guzzle pastor.

    Burma Shave 9:17 AM  


    EGADS, ORE HOLEY cow! Something is AFOOT,
    IDO believe there are TWOMENOUT with my daughter.
    It’s LOST on that GAL if I SENDALONG input,
    but once AGAIN not to RUE, I’m DAM glad I COTTER.

    --- RYAN KAFKA

    BS2 10:26 AM  



    --- KIT EWOK

    thefogman 10:36 AM  

    DNF. I got Naticked at the crossing of 20A (ILIE) and 18D (MILER). I guessed aLIE (a reasonable guess if you don't know the song) and MaLER - thinking it was the surname of a track star. The alphabet run would have gotten me safely on base. Alas, I am prone to making errors like this that end up costing me the game.

    rondo 11:11 AM  

    @Barbie and @Mohair, the clue for COTTER *does* say “pin”, whaddaya want? @ Banana Daiquiri – Right on re: OFL; and TEN to ONE he has SKETCHy knowledge of anything OFUSE past a crescent wrench. And poor Rex misses so much of the theme in the need for speed. The theme is so obviously *not* about the *definition* of a GRANDSLAMHOMERUN, it’s about the ultimate time for one. Slow down and enjoy life. Or take the time to look back and reflect, and most importantly, understand.

    Another alt spelling for KABOB, there’ll probably be ONE starting with C soon.

    I know it’s a baseball puz, but sorry Nolan, you shoulda been clued as yeah baby Meg RYAN.

    Better than any rebus-iness and kinda timely when it ran. Now can we get a DAM golf puz?

    spacecraft 11:25 AM  

    Methinks OFL is picking nits. All true enough, what he said, but the picture being drawn is the quintessential height of baseball drama. I think that was the whole point. I too had trouble with "COTTER," which I have never heard without "pin." The whole thing is a cotter pin, not just COTTER by itself. Perhaps if the clue had been "Kind of pin," it might've slid by. The clue as written is just dumb. Pins by definition fasten--even a wrestling pin "fastens" the opponent's shoulders to the mat. The clue is green paint.

    Yes, the main theme has several extras amid the fill, which is always nice. That fill is mot too messy, with few EENSY exceptions. DOD is without doubt the amazing Jeri RYAN, in at least seven of nine polls. Birdie, or as we might convert to the sport of the day, a base hit.

    rondo 1:28 PM  

    @spacey - good call and a hardy har on the polls.

    Diana,LIW 3:03 PM  

    Haven't yet read comments so no feedback here. I was about to give up in the Midwest, but took a walk and finished up just fine. Finally! Had the themers and the tough stuff - just stumbled in that corner. Happy Thursday.

    Diana, LIW

    sdcheezhd 6:36 PM  

    It's been noted above but the point of the theme isn't that all these things are necessary but that it is describing the most dramatic walkoff circumstance you can have. I think Rex has managed to miss the point while being a bit churlish about it.

    leftcoastTAM 7:00 PM  

    Yes, Rex is right: he is overthinking it.

    What's described here is not just any any GRANDSLAMHOMERUN, but a super-dramatic grand slam that would make any real baseball fan's heart jump out of its sternum.

    EGADS, what a game!

    leftcoastTAM 7:17 PM  


    Great baseball brains think alike.

    Anonymous 1:25 AM  

    You can't be down by 4 or 5 or 6 etc and still have a walk off grand slam, so why not be down by 3 ? How would you clue or fit "down by one or two or three" , Rex ??
    Good thing I played baseball for 35 years of my life. Otherwise I wouldn't have finished this puzzle. Thank you Mr Kahn.

    wcutler 1:36 PM  

    This seems to be an easy puzzle, according to everyone else, but I found it HARD, until I finally got the gimmick, and then it was fun and do-able. And I'm with @LMS, I don't even like sports, though baseball is one of the few games I understand, and sort-of like. Nothing happens? That's what I like.

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