City in which Glee is set / THU 5-3-18 / Self-deprecatingly titled instructional book series / European nation since 1993 / Casey at bat autobiographer / Bubble-filled Nestle chocolate bar / Word on magnum

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Constructor: Emily Carroll

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (mostly because rebuses just take longer a. to uncover b. to fill in) (6:06)

THEME: COMPACT CARS (38A: Easy-to-park vehicles ... or what can be found four times in this puzzle) — rebus puzzle with four car-make squares:

Theme answers:
Word of the Day: Roone ARLEDGE (12D: Longtime TV exec Roone)
Roone Pinckney Arledge, Jr. (July 8, 1931 – December 5, 2002) was an American sports and news broadcasting executive who was president of ABC Sports from 1968 until 1986 and ABC News from 1977 until 1998, and a key part of the company's rise to competition with the two other main television networks, NBC and CBS, in the 1960s, '70s, '80s and '90s. He created many programs still airing today, such as Monday Night FootballABC World News TonightPrimetimeNightline and 20/20. (wikipedia)
• • •

There are several things to like about this puzzle, but the theme isn't really one them. Way too straightforward, and I'm almost certainly I've seen this theme before, possibly several times. Just plain, with an obvious revealer. Makes of cars are random. It's just ... find four car squares. OK. Done. Yawn. But I liked much of the longer fill in the puzzle, like DIRT CHEAP and DANCE AROUND and OPEN-AND-SHUT, and especially SMAUG, which you really don't see as much as you should in crossworddom (53A: Tolkien dragon). I'm not too fond of DINGE, though (32A: Griminess). We say things are "dingey," maybe, but DINGE as a noun, in my experience, is a racial slur. Perhaps it's a bit dated, because I think I've mostly seen it in Raymond Chandler novels, but if you google "DINGE" it will appear right up there at the top of the page as the second meaning.

I can think of fairly common words that *can* be used as racial slurs, and I certainly wouldn't to ban those completely NIP is terrible as a racial slur, but it's an ultra-common word referring to what puppies do to your hands or Jack Frost does to your nose. And it means a quick drink. Lots of ordinary uses. When the word in ordinary usage doesn't really evoke the slur, I don't care. But DINGE is just not ordinary enough for me. I see it, I hear slur. There are no other common contexts in which I see / hear DINGE. I'm not really mad at the editor or constructor or anyone. Just talking about the way words can evoke unpleasantness for some people even when they don't for others. Just something to chew on.

I took a while to get the rebus because I thought the [Self-deprecatingly titled instructional book series] was maybe just know as DUMMIES, so I had AFD at 1D: Meet the expense of, and since AFFORD wouldn't have occurred to me even if the answer had been six letters long (odd clue), I just moved on, assuming AFD was part of a theme that would reveal itself in time. But then I plowed down the west side and wanted SLOVENIA (which didn't fit) but then eventually SLOVAKIA, and bang, there's the theme. I thought, "Oh, COMPACT CARS..." And sure enough, that was the revealer.  This is why my reaction was more "Oh" than "Wow!" Had the most trouble parking the AUDI. I could tell there was a themer involved at 54D, but that AUDI square ended up being the very last square I filled in. I had to jump into that SE corner and run the 3-letter Downs after stalling out trying to work my way in through crosses. Luckily, HUG ESE SEL went in bam bam bam. Shoulda got DULLES way earlier (50D: Airport whose main terminal was designed by Eero Saarinen); had the DU- but was thinking city, not airport (dumb) and so could think only of DUNKIRK, which didn't fit (and is, frankly, ridiculous).
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    [Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


    Jyqm 12:06 AM  

    Rex, if you’re attempting to parody yourself with this post, let me just say that you are doing an excellent, downright vicious job of it. It’s rare to see someone willing to take himself to task so brutally. Respect.

    Cory Calhoun 12:09 AM  

    The first, and really only, place I'd ever heard DINGE was in the lyrics to the first song off of They Might Be Giants' "Pink" Album, Everything Right is Wrong Again. The lyric:

    Everything that's right is wrong again
    You're a weasel overcome with dinge
    Weasel overcome but not before the damage done
    The healing doesn't stop the feeling

    pcardout 12:23 AM  

    I am honored to be comment #1... Only 10 pm in Socorro, New Mexico. Enjoyed the theme and FORD is what be there. Now I know ZYZZYVA was a clue not an answer, but it should be word of the day! Since it means "snouted beetle", I will use it in place of the also lovely word "pinicate" when I see one stand on its nose and threaten me as I walk along the Rio Grande tomorrow.

    Trombone Tom 12:44 AM  

    A very pleasant Thursday. The PR(OPEL) popped right up to set the theme, but I had to work harder for the others. I was initially confused with the theme as the makes were not necessarily compacts, but the penny finally dropped and I realized the name of the make was compacted in a rebus.

    Trademark 12:53 AM  

    Had to take a DNF here - LADD crossing ARLEDGE, neither of whom I've heard of, was a pretty hard core natick.

    Graham 12:56 AM  

    An AUDI is a compact? They always look enormous to me — not nearly in the OPEL or KIA range. And FORD? That’s a make that has some small models, but also road boats like Explorers and, I dunno, whatever those tank-like pickup trucks are called. Not what I think about when I think COMPACT CARS.

    Geo 12:59 AM  

    Ironically, tried way too hard to make "sobered" fit for "Got off the bottle" (despite it having the wrong number of letters) due to the bottles I had consumed tonight.

    Larry Gilstrap 1:19 AM  

    Thursday rebus already? My, how the week has flown. Finally, I started looking for small car manufacturers and Match Book wouldn't fit, so OPELs are European so I'm good. I have lived in worked in Orange County for many years; the land of big shiny cars and swear I haven't seen a small AUDI anywhere. Most FORDS are behemoths and KIAs run the gamut. Hi@Nancy.

    I have said it here before, but I loved ABC's Wide World of Sports created by Roone Arledge. I learned that cultural diversity was a thing, even in sports.

    I have spent many summers in Mammoth and it is a hiking mecca. Live at high altitude and park your car at a 9,000 ft. trailhead, perfect. The Tamarack Lodge, where we stay, sits on an series of alpine lakes and people fish them. Since I was there anyway, I might try fishing. I bought Fishing FOR DUMMIES, boned up, hit Dick's Sporting Goods, and checked in with the local resort fishing dealer. Fade to late afternoon lakeside: I'm trying to inject a worm with air while he is impaled on a hook. Fun times! I hooked up with a decent sized trout that I soon lost to a bear. He swam by and fleeced me. Early mornings are for sleeping and late afternoons are for Happy Hour, not fishing. Fishing FOR DUMMIES says it all.

    TomAz 1:30 AM  

    I had the same AFD/DUMMIES cross Rex described. And PR_ at 16A for the longest time. Had most of the puzzle done and didn't catch the theme til PL(AUDI)TS, then I just had to circle back and complete the other three. Finished 15% below average time because the rest of the puzzle fell pretty easily.

    Proper names are a random variable ... sometimes I don't know who on earth they mean, and other days they fall easily. The latter today. SMAUG did not drop in easily, but I knew it, sort of, and it fell easily once I got the cars.

    I liked this puzzle, mostly. The clue for ORE was pretty clever, and the clue for ARM was deceptively simple (it didn't help that I was thinking Aegean when it said Adriatic.. at first I was like, that's not an arm it's more like a stump). TIER, too. All good.

    Only one thing makes me hesitate to give a full positive review. Yesterday Rex complained about NAZI, but I thought that the way it was clued -- a nod to Jewish humor -- made it okay. But not so much ABUSERS, today. The very literal clue seems tone deaf to the present conversation, just days after the Cosby verdict. That word has taken on meaning far beyond 'vituperative'. I dunno, man, but it's not sitting right with me.

    felix fortinbras 1:49 AM  

    I know I've seen this theme at least once before as well....

    Had FORASTEAL in place of DIRTCHEAP but otherwise not too much difficulty. Had to get ARLEDGE on crosses, and R(OPEL)ADDER was the last themer I figured out.

    I used to despise themers like this, with words crammed into a single square, but... well, I wouldn't say they've grown on me, but I no longer want to spit venom.

    Ando 2:31 AM  

    Graham: COMPACT CARS is the clue answer, but for the theme the four cars are only compact in that they are squeezed into a single cell. Even HUMVEE would have been valid in this context.

    chefwen 2:47 AM  

    My kind of a Thursday puzzle. Loved it.

    My idea of a winter vacation would not be a sKIArea, get me to the damn beach. Enough of the snow already. Never want to see that stuff again. Spent too many years driving on it, scraping it from my windshield, sliding on it, etc.

    Really like SLOVA(KIA), a beautiful place and my husbands ancestors hailed from there.

    Loren Muse Smith 3:06 AM  

    Stumbled onto the trick pretty quickly with SKI ARE/SLOVAKIA, but it really didn’t make it any easier. Like Rex, I knew instantly the reveal would be COMPACT CARS and filled it right in. Still didn’t make the solve go any faster.

    Early on, I considered “tycoon” for Warren Buffet.

    I seem to lack the dismaydar for spotting potentially un-pc stuff – the affronts to feminists, ethnic groups, yada yada. I could look at NIP and DINGE all day, and it probably would not occur to me to be upset. Actually, that NIP is a racial slur is news to me. I just googled it, and it’s short for Nippon? Huh. Take a country name, truncate it, refer to the people using the short form, and it’s insulting. This is interesting. I’m assuming Jap is insulting, too? What about Fin? I’ve honestly never thought about it. (Germ obviously would be problematic.) I go at this stuff armed only with my wordplaydar.

    I actually had a dnf ‘cause I misspelled “bawdiest” as “baudiest.” And my dragon’s name was “Smaub.” Pfft. I just wasn’t paying attention, I swear.

    @Larry – two things. One, I’m jealous your week has flown by. My week, now that we’re nearing the end of school and the kids have checked out, is moving as though we’re all underwater and really, really stoned. Everything and I mean everything is in slow motion. Second – we had a Dick’s Sporting Goods store in Charleston, the only game in town for lacrosse equipment. Be very careful if you have to google it to find out the store hours. And make sure your daughter is not standing behind you.

    Remember that keg I was lurching toward in grad school at 2am?. . . “Zyzzva” – last part of my question asking if there are more Solo cups.

    Emily Carroll – clever use of COMPACT CARS. (@Graham – you saw @Trombone Tom’s explanation, right?) Thanks for our Thursday rebus!

    sanfranman59 3:11 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 5:27 4:30 1.21 87.7% Challenging
    Tue 6:39 5:37 1.18 81.8% Challenging
    Wed 8:07 6:07 1.33 89.6% Challenging
    Thu 10:24 10:01 1.04 59.5% Medium

    I really liked this one. Not much junk, imho. I botched the start in the NW with nothing but CRU (2D) and 'et al' (5D), having erased ACCLAIM because I was certain 'et al' was correct. I lost almost an entire minute up there. But I was able to reset in the little 3x3 section in the northern Midwest and the rest was pretty steady progress to the end.

    I had a complete brain cramp entering a second LAne for 28A, but that was remedied pretty quickly. I never watched "Glee" and was unaware that it was based in LIMA OHIO, not too far from where I grew up. For those who don't know it, that's pronounced with a long I by Ohioans. We also pronounce Berlin, OH with the accent on the first syllable. AERO was new to me as a chocolate bar.

    'mericans in Kauai 3:21 AM  

    We liked the puzzle, but thought we were finished and then realized that we needed a fourth car. That AFD looked suspicious, but it took me another 10 minutes to think of doing the rebus on the third letter down, rather than the second for some reason. Took Mrs. 'mericans to figure that one out. By the way, like @chefwen's spouse, mine's ancestors also hail from SLOKA[KIA].

    Agree with the others that FORD and AUDI aren't the first manufactures that come to mind when one thinks of COMPACT CARS. Indeed, FORD just announced that it would stop making any cars, except for the Mustang and a station wagon, if I recall correctly.

    Other hang-ups were OrAcle before OMAHAN (is that what a person from OMAHA calls him- or herself?), which took some time to unravel, and SMO_G before SMAUG. The latter was a welcome variant on the Tolkien theme.


    Kefra 3:31 AM  

    Pretty smooth solve here. Sussed out the rebus early with FOR DUMMIES and worked through the grid until I got to the NE corner. Stared at DIN-E for a while before it became apparent a G had to go there despite the word's racial connotations. Then hunted down a wrong letter (dNA for RNA, held up by the fact that ADM is a legitimate abbreviation) and finished in average Thurs. time.

    Johnny 3:33 AM  

    I'm 56 years old, grew up in Washington DC in the 60's & 70's, was an enlisted main the US Navy, have lived in Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Charleston SC, Idaho, Vancouver BC, Orlando FL and I've been to Texas and not once, not even once, have I ever heard DINGE used in any racial context whatsoever.

    Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett were both well known for inventing colorful language in their stories (see gunsel).

    Thomaso808 3:38 AM  

    @chefwen, I’m with you — you get your rebus on a Thursday and you’re a happy woman (except I’m a man).

    I’m open to all kinds of trickery on Thursday, but it’s nice to every now and then get a straightforward puzzle like this where the rebus works both across and down. PROPEL / ROPELADDER was an easy aha, but AFFORD / DUMMIES was my favorite.

    Rex, I guess you couldn’t restrain yourself, but did you really have to resurrect a racial slur that I think was pretty much dead and forgotten in our society? DINGE for me was nothing more than the root of dingy (yes, you misspelled it as dingey). I get it that you said you’re not mad about it, and I’m also not mad about it, but I think no one even knew about that meaning, especially our young constructor, and it might have been better to have let that go without comment.

    @LMS thanks for making my day yesterday by designating a POLKA as a bucket list item. I’m in Virginia this week for my daughter’s wedding and our plan for the father / daughter dance is a polka. I hope I don’t die. Stay tuned.

    jae 3:56 AM  

    Medium for me. Pretty nice rebus with some nice long downs, liked it

    Charles Flaster 4:27 AM  

    Liked it a lot although I had a DNF at FORD. Could not place it in a square as I cemented DUMMIES into the grid.
    Other themers were no prob.
    ESPOUSE over STENGEL —love the former and idolized the latter. “You could look it up.”
    Thanks EC

    Theodore Stamos 5:52 AM  

    I don't understand this bizarre insistence that any word that might "evoke unpleasantness" should be avoided? What kind of anodyne, milquetoast crossword puzzles would result from that? When did people become so sensitive?

    Lewis 6:21 AM  

    A very enjoyable solve. Before filling in the first letter, as I saw the grid had no set of long acrosses or spaced out long downs, it just looked like a rebus puzzle with the reveal in the center (or maybe the bottom). That put me on alert. But then there was the matter of finding the rebuses (if my suspicion was correct), and even after finding the first -- as others have mentioned -- there was the hunt for the others, and with so many possibilities to go into the rebus squares, it made my love-a-challenge brain say, "Thank you!"

    So there was the thrill of the hunt, along with some sparkling cluing ("Got off the bottle" for WEANED, "Facial spot" for SPA, "Tiny power source" for ATOM), and lovely answers (OPEN AND SHUT, ESPOUSE, DANCE AROUND, DIRT CHEAP) -- all in all, a grand old time. A lovely gem thrown into the day. Thank you for this, Emily!

    And by the way, zyzzyva sounds like an invention by someone with my first name joined with the constructor's last name!

    BarbieBarbie 6:47 AM  

    Sounds like I’m in the minority. Great puzzle, terrible revealer cluing. Too much of a blinking neon arrow. If it had even left out the word “four” I would have been staring at the puzzle until I got the FORD Aha. As it was, no Aha, overall unenjoyably Easy, almost a Thursday record, and that “almost” is only because my app went on the fritz, making letters disappear so that I had to reenter them. I need more with my morning coffee.

    Hey, does @Rex fill in only two rebus letters because his app will count that as complete? If he’s truly tracking his times, he’s cheating.

    John Child 6:56 AM  

    I had a similar experience to some others - believed in DUMMIES and struggled to find the fourth compacted car, even though AFD was clearly wrong.

    @Theodore Stamos, while I cringe occasionally at some words or tone deaf clues, I agree philosophically that all words are fair game. As a novice constructor I would do anything, including starting over, to keep Nazis out of my puzzle, but that’s my choice. The first good puzzle I submitted anywhere used The word slut in a clue for thematic reasons. It was rejected because of the clue, which couldn’t be altered. That’s the editor’s choice and didn’t bother me. (For anyone curious, the puzzle is here.)

    I quite liked this puzzle. I’m a rebus fan as long as they come no more than, say, one in ten puzzles. More would decimate me.

    Curious how much more difficult it is to scan words and phrases that run vertically. The long answers today were hard work even though they are common and perfectly inferable from the clues. Do native speakers of languages written vertically have the equivalent problem?

    Passing Shot 6:59 AM  

    Posting only to say thanks to Rex for linking to a video of Prefab Sprout, my all-time favorite group.

    Glimmerglass 7:07 AM  

    Fun, medium difficulty Thursday puzzle. Coming here, I was thinking @Rex was going to like this puzzle theme. No, but he did like a lot about the puzzle. I liked the occasional misdirection (Get off the bottle, Piece of cake, Facial spot). @LMS: want another insulting, objectionable racial joke? Here’s one from my youth (not long after WWII). I thought it was funny then — now, not so much. On a chilly December morning: “This is real Pearl Harbor weather, isn’t it? There’s a little nip in the air.” Apologies to my Asian-American friends and my PC friends. Words are words. Many are offensive only in context.

    American Liberal Elite 7:16 AM  

    Thanks for ruining a perfectly good word.

    Robert A. Simon 7:22 AM  

    First, you sit there and wonder, "Hey...I'm pretty sure I know what the answer is, but it just won't fit..." And then the same thing happens a couple of other times until finally your brain screams "REBUS!!" and you're happy and re-energized and all is right with the world.

    Yes, it's Crossword Puzzle Rule #1:
    Even a Not-So-Great Rebus Beats a Fantastic Themeless Any Ol' Day.

    kitshef 7:27 AM  

    Hip, hip, hooray! A rebus!

    And I’d even heard of all the cars (though admittedly, OPEL only from crosswords).

    I’ve driven a Prius for the past ten years, and I still have not gotten the hang of parking it. I’m not talking parallel parking here – just regular old, turn into the spot at the grocery store parking. It’s by far the largest car I’ve ever owned, and I thought I would get used to it. But nope. So anyway, when this one gives out, it’ll be compact cars only for me.

    @BarbieBarbie - Rex fills in the whole rebus. His software only displays the first two characters + the '...'.

    Hand up for never knowing DINGE had an offensive meaning.

    Anonymous 7:28 AM  

    Rex, you’re looking too hard for offense. As a 50-something guy, very well read, very well travelled, born abroad, working in an international environment, it never occurred to me. As others have pointed out, and put to music so maddingly by Disney, let it go.

    Decent puzzle. I had the same problem you had with “Dummies”/AFD. That was my only hang up.

    Anonymous 7:31 AM  

    Hey Emily and Will - Mike Sharp isn't mad at you.

    Lol, what a jackass.

    QuasiMojo 7:35 AM  

    I managed to finish this without any assistance EXCEPT when I came here I found that the NYT software program had automatically added OPEL to my grid without my having typed it in!! I am not imagining this. In fact, I had studied the grid before entering the last letter I need to complete it, looking for the final "compact car" since I only had entered in three by myself. I couldn't find where it would go so I thought "oh man, Rex is gonna have a s--t fit over this puzzle because of the unbalanced rebus." But lo and behold, it magically appeared in the top right corner. I had thought "move along" would be "proceed." Well, all I can say is thank you dear NYT bug (or elf). I appreciate the help. As for the puzzle, well, I have nothing to add today. I've seen cleverer puzzles on those GAUDIEST of crossword-covered toilet paper rolls they used to sell at the 5 and Dime.

    Scott McClure 7:35 AM  

    Thanks for the Prefab Sprout video, Rex! Haven’t heard them in a while. I think I still have my “Two Wheels Good” album in the attic somewhere. Oh, and the puzzle today was pretty good.

    Hungry Mother 7:40 AM  

    Thank you, thank you. A wonderful rebus and not much trivia. Beautiful Thursday. Love it!

    Anonymous 7:40 AM  

    Kirshef, rear wheel drive cars have better turning radii than front wheel drive cars. My '96 Buick roadmonster wagon is easy to moor.

    RavTom 7:54 AM  

    @LMS: You’re one of my favorite commenters, but as to “Jap”: yes, it’s incredibly insulting. It was the standard term of derogation against the Japanese up to, and especially including, WWII.

    Anonymous 8:00 AM  

    They are cars “compacted” into the rebus squares.

    Bill Feeney 8:05 AM  

    ESPOUSE-mail order bride in last 10 years?

    Calman Snoffelevich 8:14 AM  

    You are way too sensitive to words that can possibly, remotely, somehow, in some context, be used as a racial slur. Everyone knows certain words can be used disparagingly, and that the same words can mean something totally different in a different setting. We should be mature adults and accept this, and not like children who giggle every time a word with a double meaning is used. Grow up.

    Anonymous 8:23 AM  

    The next time I hear "dinge" used as a racial slur will be the first (in my 75 years).

    Fun fact: 1 Across - ACCLAIM - is a former compact car.

    GHarris 8:26 AM  

    One of those rare occasions when I got the theme early and it actually helped the rest of the solve. Last to fall was the Opel. An enjoyable workout. Still believe Rex stretches to find offenses where none exist.

    Two Ponies 8:26 AM  

    Finally, a rebus. Too bad it's so tame.
    Lively fill like Dirt Cheap kept this interesting but arriving at the blog I find Rex being a complete buzz kill and about half of the comments are confessions of idiocy because this theme is over their heads. Geez, it's the Word that's compact.

    Lima Ohio has a town mascot. Yes, it's a lima bean.

    Aims, puts to sleep, terrorism, magnum. Let's over-analyze these clues/answers and find something to rant about.
    Dinge in that context is completely new to me but, hey, let's have some fun with it. Will an SPF of 50 keep me from looking like a dinge? I would never in a million years ever have thought of such a slur. Maybe Rex invented it.
    How ridiculous to even bring this up Rex. OTOH as a poster child for the left you deserve some sort of award. Keep up the good work.

    Anonymous 8:27 AM  

    Hand up for Dave Barry’s new band, The Baudy Smaubs.

    “Dismaydar” is beautiful.

    wgh 8:35 AM  

    My first rebus get was OPEL followed by the revealer, so I took COMPACT CARS literally and was thrown by not finding MINI.

    mathgent 8:40 AM  

    I love all rebuses and this is an excellent one. Sparkly.

    I was browsing at City Lights bookstore yesterday and saw a copy of Zyzzyva on their stand. It's a literary magazine which seems to be boasting that they are the last word.

    "Last in a math series" is a new clue for NTH and it strikes me as being not quite correct. I would prefer "A typical term in a mathematical series."

    A word can be a racial slur and it can also be a friendly form of address. The guys I went to school with were predominantly Irish and Italian and I was one of the few Hispanics. My buddies would sometimes call me Spic.

    Matthew G. 8:41 AM  

    Cory Calhoun: I was going to say the same thing. That TMBG song (which I listened to endlessly back in high school) is the only context in which I have ever heard "dinge" as a noun.

    I was not aware that it has also been used as a racial slur, so that connotation didn't occur to me. I just thought of it as an obscure noun.

    I largely agree with Rex today: the theme is neither great nor bad, but the fill (which I care about more in most puzzles) is generally excellent, so this one gets a solid thumbs up from me.

    Anonymous 8:47 AM  

    LMS wasn't referring to Jap but to Nip - not that it changes the point.
    Best example: Polak is the Polish word for a Polish man. If he's Polish, in Polish he is Polak. Doesn't keep Polak, however it is spelled, from being derogatory when used that way.
    But I agree with several other posters - I've only ever encountered "dinge" as a derogatory term HERE - and more than once. Other terms have been "Urban Dictionaried" by RP before. In the end, it's silly.
    Just saw the short film "Six Shooter" as a DVD extra to "Three Billboards...", and in the film "ginger" is used as a term of derision for a red-headed man. South Park did a good job investigating that one. I will continue to enjoy my ginger tea, gingerbread, AND ginger men.

    Odd Sock 8:47 AM  

    Wow, I thought Rex was going to jump for joy and wave a flag because we have a female constructor today. He has been harping on that topic for so long but when it happens he hijacks his own review with this silliness. What's next Rex? Ooh, I know, we should change the names of the card suits because spades is a racial slur.
    I liked the puzzle just fine. The answers seemed fresh and modern such as genius and drama as clued.

    Anonymous 9:05 AM  

    Still trying to solve. I have read none of the above. This puzzle sucks at 24D, 29A. If you don't know mogul Carl, then DNF

    Jon 9:09 AM  

    TMBG! Love and respect.

    G. Weissman 9:10 AM  

    Anyone here ever tell a friend you’re going to a SKI AREA for vacation? SKI AREA, anyone? No? As in “Where did you go for winter break?” “We went to a SKI AREA.”

    ColoradoCog 9:11 AM  

    I found this easier (relatively) than Rex did. I would have called this more of a Wednesday than a Thursday puzzle. Finished in roughly half my average Thursday time. I agree that the theme was a bit weak. Only four? But I also agree that the fill was pretty good.

    Big Steve 46 9:12 AM  

    Just curious as to why Rex would consider SMAUG a great entry. It seems like another one of those proper names where if you're familiar with the book, you're fine; if not you're out of luck. Like most proper names, it is not even slightly inferrable. When the proper name is one that Rex is unfamiliar with, he is greatly peeved. I personally hate all references to Star Wars, Harry Potter and a lot of other mass market sci-fi and fantasy stuff; but hey, that's me and I (grudgingly ) accept that it is now become part of our common culture, along with rap stars and Trump stripper girl friends. But straight out proper names,especially made-up fantasy stuff, should be kept to a minimum.

    Reasonablewoman 9:14 AM  

    TERRIBLE! I don't know about OPEL but FORD, KIA, and AUDI are not compact cars. They are brands with many models. This is about the worst themed puzzle ever, certainly the worst rebus ever .

    Anonymous 9:17 AM  

    It’s gaudiest, not bawdiest.

    Anonymous 9:20 AM  

    You need a hobby.

    Suzie Q 9:22 AM  

    Fun little rebus but almost DNF because of Ford. I had to walk away and come back with fresh eyes to find that one.

    The moderators (whoever those mysterious all-powerful beings are) must be very busy this morning. Who are those people?

    Zyzzyva reminds me of a sign I see every time I drive from Vegas to CA. There is a town somewhere near Vegas that looks like that but it is so weird and I'm driving at highway speed so I never get a good look at it.

    puzzlehoarder 9:25 AM  

    This was a good Thursday. It looked and felt like a themeless. I like the crossing of DIRT CHEAP and COMPACTCARS.

    AFD stayed in at 1D until the end of my solve. I'm not too sure of the spelling for AFFORD so even when I got back to it finding the rebus was a little slow.

    The challenge with OPEL was that I didn't have the rebus theme yet and thought there might be some kind of word bending going on. If you read down from the last letter of LADD you get the word LADDER and ROPE would fit perfectly above it. This turned out to be a coincidence but it was distracting.

    AUDI was the most straight forward with no complicating issues and it was where I first got the rebus.

    In the SW I tried to make SLOVAKIA into SLOVENIA and AERO into NERTZ. By that point I knew there was some kind of car rebus worked in. It was as much my own thinking that I had to straighten out.

    For me the reveal was one of those "Fill me in now and understand me later" kind of entries.

    This was a fun solve and I managed to get a late week level of challenge out of it.

    Mohair Sam 9:28 AM  

    Liked the puzzle, awfully easy for a Thursday rebus however. Only hold up was DUMMIES without the FOR, quickly solved when discovered it was a rebus puzzle.
    But our solving experience was ruined by the word KIA (once again). Your TRUMP is my KIA. Long story.

    Speaking of dirty words - @Rex - I've read probably every book Chandler has written and do not remember DINGE. And I usually note that stuff in older books and movies. Now if you want to discuss sexism in Chandler's work we'll talk, Marlowe loved his chicks and babes - and the best way by anyone's secretary was a quick kiss. Ah, the good old days.

    Learned zyzzyva today, and am determined to use it in a sentence sometime soon. Learned SMAUG too, but I'll let that one slide. A favorite nephew married a girl from LIMA, OHIO - good people. Is an ESPOUSE a wife or husband you met online?

    Anonymous 9:33 AM  

    Indeed. This delayed my finding the rebus angle. I was looking for other car names as full answers for awhile.

    Anonymous 9:37 AM  

    PREFAB SPROUT!! Thank you for that.

    Pete 9:39 AM  

    I haven't witnessed such paeans to one's own ignorance outside of DC in a long time. "I didn't know dinge was a racial slur so someone who does is wrong for discussing it".

    I had bIlGE for my first stab at 32A and when that transformed into DINGE my first reaction was Oh No, you dint. I assumed there was a polite root for dingy and digne was it, but the only times I've ever run into that word in the wild it was a racial slur. The first time was Chandler, can't remember the book but Marlowe walks into a "Dinge bar" at the behest of some oaf who just got out of prison and is looking for his girlfriend (Velma?). I don't know the last time, but there were others, different authors, same era, stories with the hoi polloi interacting with black folk and not being too nice about it. So yeah, it's real, Chandler didn't invent it, it was an upper tier racial slur, and it was widespread.

    Nancy 9:43 AM  

    So I imagine you're all laying bets: Will she love it for the rebus or will she hate it because of the cars? I loved it!!!! It helped greatly that the cars were all makes and not models, because there wasn't one I didn't know. It also helped that the easiest rebus was at 1D/17A, because I had the theme from the get-go and that helped. I've actually browsed some of the COMPUTERS FOR DUMMIES books in bookstores, but I was much too dumm to understand them).

    Haven't read the blog yet. Is this a new constructor? She's good!!! It shows that it's not a gender thing at all -- that Will will be delighted to publish a woman's puzzle if it's good. Don't think he would have wanted to turn down this one. A good rebus is hard to find.

    ALIa before ALII (5D) drove me to one dead tree cheat, looking up LIM? in OHIO, I was afraid that -AMED at 20A was another rebus. When I saw that LIMA was a city in OHIO, I changed ALIa to ALII and got AIMED at 20A. If not for that, my LIMA cheat would have been a LIMA check. Fun puzzle.

    CashPo’ 9:48 AM  

    Have none of you heard the expression “dinge queen”? It’s gay slang for a white guy who prefers to sleep with black men.

    Anonymous 9:49 AM  

    I came into the revealer figuring it was a rebus and seeing _O_ _ _C_C_ _ _ and threw in mOtorCyCles. That threw me off for a while. DNF because I got fixated trying to force a fourth car into my Natick at ARLEDGE/LADD and never look around to find the error at AFD.

    Fashionista 9:56 AM  

    Hard for me. Knew there was a rebus involved as I couldn’t make some answers work out but don’t know car names/models so sorta DNF. Knew “dinge” was a slur.

    JC66 10:01 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Debra 10:05 AM  

    Excellent puzzle, enjoyed it!

    ArtO 10:09 AM  

    Enjoyed the puzzle but DNF due to inability to suss out FORD in NW. Also had exCLAIM for some stupid reason which made it totally difficult. Do not see any of the cars as compact other than OPEL. All have some compacts but mostly full size.

    Had to come here to learn that DINGE is a slur. Never heard of it before...but, I guess it's an age thing.

    MetgroGnome 10:12 AM  

    Absolutely, unequivocally never heard of "DINGE" as a racial slur, and I've studied U.S. history from a "Black History" perspective for many, many years.
    Actually, I could name half a dozen commonplace words that HAVE doubled as slurs (start with "shine", the names "Jim" and "Jezebel", "pick" [for "pickaninny"], "goober" [not to be confused with the Andy Griffith character]), and go on from there. . . . NONE of which, in a modern-day context, would be taken as such. (Unless we want to expunge "Andy Griffith" reruns from our TV menus, as well.)

    As for Chandler -- I supposed we should avoid using the adjective "broad," as well, since we all know what THAT meant to tough-talking street guys in those days. And honestly . . . what's an imperfection in a suit of armor if not a "ch-" -- uh, sorry, a "ch__k"? And what's that lively Irish dance, if not a "J-" -- well, a "j_g"? And so on, and so on, and so on . . .

    Personally, I'm with Lauren -- "Wordplaydar" should be the cognitive tool we use to solve puzzles, not "dismaydar" or ideological checklists. (And for the record, Loren, you're right about "Fin" as well -- my parents were from Minnesota, and they often told me how "Fins" were disparaged by Swedes and others of Scandinavian extraction as being somehow second-class citizens -- so I guess we'd better be careful with those five-dollar bills!)

    Z 10:12 AM  

    @Thomas808 - I had the same reaction. But, if the last couple years have taught me anything, it is that the ugliest elements of our society are keeping all the old ugliness alive. There are frequent pieces appearing decoding white supremicist coded language. I don’t recommend looking for them because they lead to some stomach churning places, but it is important to recognize that deep racial animus still is out there.

    Pretty much agree with Rex on the puzzle. The theme and rebus were a little ho-hum but everything else was nicely done. LIMA, OHIO always gets a wry grin from me. It’s nearish to a place I’ve played a fair amount of disc (beautiful Versailles, OHIO) so I’ve stayed there once or twice. Being partial to big cities and woods, these mid-sized towns surrounded by cornfields that dot much of OHIO always strike me as the outermost ring of hell. None of the night life or sports of cities like Detroit or Cincinnati, but none of the natural beauty of Western NC or Michigan’s UP either. At least there is enough open flat land to bring in 60 or 70 ultimate teams for a long weekend of chasing plastic. I’m sure the people who live there love their hometown, but definitely not a place I would choose to live. Yes, I know, they think the same thing about Detroit and bears.

    @pete yesterday - Yep. Whoosh. Thanks for pointing it out.
    @emily yesterday - Good One.
    @Joe Bleaux yesterday - I couldn’t figure out for the life of me how you thought “hunky dory” was racist. Then I saw the O. Yeah, that would do it. I did a little double checking just to make sure and didn’t see anything to suggest my intended phrase was anything other than a synonym for “A-OK.” My iPad just tried to change it again, so I’m blaming Siri, but the vowel sound when I say it out loud is not the sound in “hunk”or “honk,” but sort of in between, so maybe it was me, not Siri.
    @anonymous yesterday - There’s a difference between bullying and telling the bully they’re a bully. Surely you don’t think the two are equal, do you?

    ColoradoCog 10:16 AM  

    @Reasonablewoman, as others have pointed out earlier in the comments, the theme is COMPACTCARS as in cars compacted into one square, not that the cars are compacts.

    GILL I. 10:23 AM  

    Aw jeez @Rex. You found a push pin and bursted a balloon. DINGE isn't commonly understood to convey a slur and you know it. Why don't you go pick on OREO. It seems to appear every other day and it's a slur as well.
    I'm wondering if Emily Carroll is a poet with a name like that and a lovely crossword like this one is. An Adult puzzle with a nice rebus on a Thursday.
    I got COMPACT CARS before discovering all the cars. I usually dislike getting the reveal before the theme but this was fun. Let the hunt begin! Got it at PR[OPEL} R[OPEL] A LADDER. Actually went hunting for the AUDI with its lovely vowels. I knew it had to be somewhere. Voila! There he is. Right under my absolute favorite PL[AUDI]TS/G[AUDI]EST...Went back upstairs to finish up with the FORD.
    Folks....The CARS aren't compact....but they need to be to fit in as a rebus. Go back upstairs and read @Ando.
    @Pcardout. You're in Socorro? Love that small desert town especially the San Miguel Mission. But honestly, what do you do for fun?
    @chefwen. YOU PRACTICALLY LIVE ON A BEACH. A little snow, some skiing and a hot little aperitif now and then is good for the soul.... :-)

    MetgroGnome 10:24 AM  

    p.s. "Laying bets," Nancy? Better watch yourself -- sounds like sexual harassment to me!

    Nancy 10:26 AM  

    Let me echo all the commentators here who are too numerous to name, but whom I fervently applaud. Congratulations, Rex. You have just introduced a derogatory term to the 98% of the blog -- skewing both old and young -- who had never once heard of it. Certainly I hadn't. Happy now, Rex?

    Whatsername 10:34 AM  

    Am I the only one who had Marriott before Radisson? I got FORD/DUMMIES pretty quickly and the other others fell into place without much difficulty. Don’t understand why so many complaints about the definition of compact cars. All of them are car manufacturers and they all make some model of a compact. I thought it was an excellent Thursday. Well done, Emily Caroll! More please.

    LHS 888 10:35 AM  

    I struggled in the NW due to writing in “pay” at 1D. Found the first rebus at R(OPEL)ADDER, and immediately entered COMPACTCARS. Found KIA next. I was helped a ton knowing there were 4 rebuses to be found, but it was still tough to locate them. AUDI came much later. Last was FORD after googling MYSELF & CAM. So... technical DNF but still a sense of satisfaction in getting it done without “check all”.

    LHS 888 10:43 AM  

    Oh! And I spent way too much time looking for Nissan & Smart & VW cars.

    Sarah 10:44 AM  

    Ah!! This penny never dropped for me. Thank you.

    Wm. C. 10:54 AM  

    Like others above, I didn't catch the theme even though the COMPACTCARS was obvious and went in quickly. I finished all except the CAR areas, then figured I was dealing with four rebi when plAUDIts occurred to me.

    In the northeast I had DUMMIES crossing AFD which struck me as odd, and I got only three of the rebi but didn't connect the two issues, so a DNF for me.

    Like many others above I never heard of DINGE as a racial slur, and I suspect that neither Carroll nor Shortz nor any of the test solvers did either. If they did, why the heck would they have left it in? It couldn't be hard to rework the area with something else, otherwise. So I don't get it -- why did Rex turn most of his review into a PC rant? Far, FAR more harm than good in this decision.

    Carola 10:55 AM  

    I loved this two-step theme (at least it was two-step for me): first, getting the 4 rebus squares and then getting the meaning of "COMPACT.". Like some others, with FORD, I'd first thought "No way does that work as a COMPACT." Very cute that it's part of FOR DUMMIES.
    I liked SPA x BATH and the idea of GAUDIEST PLAUDITS.

    @Emily Carroll, thank you. This one was real treat.

    Warren Peace 11:05 AM  

    Well if dinge ever was a slur it was deep down and forgotten. Genius idea to revive it here in troll land.

    BTW on nazi, do a shout out to Jerry Seinfield and Larry David about how much the word offends you. They might want to go back and bleep it from every episode they used it in on their combined and respective shows.

    I'm a fan but you need to get off campus now and again.

    MetroGnome 11:08 AM  

    A parable in two parts (quiz to follow):

    Part 1. Mary, Bill, and their co-workers meet at a pub for a Friday after-work drink. There's a band on the bandstand, and their saxophone player is playing in a loud, abrasive tone. Unfortunately, he happens to be the only white guy in the band. Mary, who happens to be African-American, shakes her head and says (to no one in particular), "Geez! I can't STAND that honky sax player!" Bill, who happens to be white, slams his fist on the table: "That's a RACIST term! I'm insulted, offended, and angry, and first thing Monday morning I'm going to report you to Personnel!" Mary tries to protest that she didn't mean it that way, but because "meaning" now refers only to how someone takes something, not how it was originally meant, Bill isn't having it. He stomps out, and Mary gets in trouble.

    Part 2. Same as Part one, except that this time, Mary turns to Bill and says, "No -- I didn't mean it that way. I was referring to his tone, not his skin color." Bill thinks for a couple of seconds, smiles, and says, "Ah. okay -- I'm sorry I misunderstood you." Mary replies, "Hey, no problem -- it happens." And everyone has another drink and enjoys the show.

    1. Which of the two above scenarios is more likely to occur in today's society?
    2. Which of the two above scenarios most accurately reflects the behavior of mature adults?
    3 (bonus question). Identify the phrase in the second version that used to be an everyday expression, but which has been expunged from our vocabulary? (HINT: It starts with "I'm sorry . . ." and concludes with a term that we never use anymore.)

    Roo Monster 11:12 AM  

    Hey All !
    Seems some have missed the gist of the theme. To @Reasonablewoman 9:14 ET ALII, the theme doesn't mean the Car makers only make COMPACT CARS, it means the Car names are "compacted", that is Rebussed/squished into one square. The name is COMPACTED, not the CARS. Got it?

    @Suzie Q 9:22
    I know that road! It's Zzyzx Rd., just outside of Baker, CA. Which is a tiny little town, basically for stopping for food and/or gas. Although, it does have the World's Largest Thermometer!

    After all that, I did like the puz. I was opposite of a bunch of y'all, got FORD first, and OPEL last. Knew it had to be ROPE LADDER, but couldn't get off the ROPE as a rebus, and knew that wasn't a car. Har. Nice long Downs, not too much dreckness. Misspelled ICAHN as IChaN first, messing up 25D for a bit. Add MYSELF to the list of not knowing DINGE as a slur, and not happy to learn of it. Would've been fine going the rest of my life not knowing that. et al for ALII writeover. Thought about OrpHAN first for OMAHAN. ALC is iffy.

    @Trademark 12:53
    Never heard of either Cheryl LADD or Diane LADD? C'mon man! Both are Babes! Schwing! Cheryl was on Charlie's Angels. Diane was in a bunch of movies, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with Wesley Snipes, for one.


    Roo Monster 11:18 AM  

    Came back to show everyone The Worlds Tallest Thermometer. It's actually digital now.


    Banana Diaquiri 11:26 AM  

    OK. does someone (RP, one might expect) have the number of times these stuffed cells are stuffed with the same "word" versus a different stuffee per cell??? I got stuck for a bit looking for three more FORDs.

    Anonymous 11:29 AM  

    So, can we now safely assume that we will never hear a commenter hear say "I love learning new things from the puzzles"?

    old timer 11:35 AM  

    At first I thought the rebus was an obscure one. I confidently wrote in RLADDER and figured OPE was the rebus, or maybe ROPE, and wondered if the theme would be weapons in Clue. When I finally figured out that these were just the names of cars made compact by putting the name in a single square, I was impressed and having got AUDI had to go back and rework the cars in the N. OPEL was the last to fall, but FORD was the toughest -- I had DUMMIES and it took a while to realize it was FOR DUMMIES.

    Like most of you, I never in my life have heard of DINGE as a racial slur. Now Jap and Nip Is knew. I grew up with Jap, because my uncle and cousins loved to talk about WWII, and the Japs were our enemies. Though in Southern California everyone respected the Japs who had moved there earlier in the century, so Jap was not an insult, just a quick way of referring to those who became our enemies because Pearl Harbor. Our German enemies were Nazis, though, not krauts. Because we had learned the hard way how the vicious hatred of the Germans and cruel retaliation in the Twenties had caused the rise of Hitler and the Second World War.

    newspaperguy 11:43 AM  

    In your country, Rex, there are two extremes in the ridiculous polarization of the masses. You are in the politically correct extreme, and I don't think either one has or will accomplish anything to be proud of.

    Masked and Anonymous 11:51 AM  

    The NE. That's where M&A caught onto the fun rebus mcguffin. 13-D was headed for RLADDER, which made not even a zyzzyva's worth of sense to m&e. Between that and 16-A (PRL), it became obvious that the rebus game was afoot.

    ZYZZYVA has actually been used as fill in 3 prior NYTPuz grids. Two of em by David Quarfoot. It is a cute little snout beetle bug. Destructive lil bugger, tho. Known to chew up Solo cups in kegger settings.

    Superior usages of the longball fill, today … MANDELA. GENIUS. OPENANDSHUT. DANCEAROUND. DIRTCHEAP. E-SPOUSE. Impressive long stacks in all the corners, really (boy). Terrific LEASHES clue. This is good work, Emily darlin.

    staff weeject pick:
    Torn, between DER and ALC. DER is sooo lo-cup-close to NER, M&A's all-time fave weeject. OTOHar, ALC is gorgeously desperate, in its own right.

    I was so obsessively sure there was a rebus pup lurkin around somewhere in that LIMAOHIO answer. Didn't help that I didn't know colluders DIDO and ICAHN (couldn't spell it). Lost precious nanoseconds.

    Thanx, Emily CAR ROLL. yo! CAR rebus!

    Masked & Anonymo6Us


    jberg 11:57 AM  

    I got OPEL first, and once I knew it was a rebus I knew better than to settle for AFD, so I avoided that trap. My first thought about DIDO was that she's been dead for a couple of millenia, but I checked with a web search and that (dead) one was only the fifth to come up, so OK. I loved "Got off the bottle."

    Ideally, all the cars would be 4 letters, although I can't figure out how to fit JEEP into an answer. That's being really picky, though.

    I liked SMAUG, but I agree with the critics that he's a bit obscure -- he's not even in "The Lord of the Rings," after all. And DULLES took awhile for me to accept, since everybody knows Saarinen for the TWA terminal at what is now JFK.

    Math quibble: you define a series by stipulating "for n = 1 to infinity" or "2 to 10" or whatever -- so n is not the last in the series, it's any element in the series. So there!

    @Loren, I've been assuming up to now that you find those avatars in the wild, but today I think you have to have photoshopped it. At least, all I can find on the web is that magazine.

    As for offensive words, that anonymouse (8:47) was right -- it's all in how it's used. There's a scene in Mike Gold's novel "Jews Without Money" where a Jewish dray-driver gets mad because someone calls him a Jew. His young helper (the protagonist) says, "but we are Jews," to which the driver responds something like "Yeah, but I'm not going to let him call me that."

    I didn't mind this one, but those who object to @Rex ought to read what he actually said. It's not that the derogatory use is not obscure -- it is obscure -- it's that any other conceivable meaning is even more obscure than that.

    Banana Diaquiri 12:05 PM  


    1. Which of the two above scenarios is more likely to occur in today's society?
    2. Which of the two above scenarios most accurately reflects the behavior of mature adults?
    3 (bonus question). Identify the phrase in the second version that used to be an everyday expression, but which has been expunged from our vocabulary?

    1 - depends on whether these two are true jazzers. if they are, then the latter; if not the former.
    2 - same as 1.

    the correct conclusion also depends, a lot, on where. NYC or Chicago or LA; any big city, basically, jazz club. if in the Deep Red South, not so much, what with White Paranoia.

    Master Melvin 12:06 PM  

    Well, I learned a new racial slur today, so I guess my time here was not totally wasted.

    JC66 12:08 PM  


    Another great post!

    jb129 12:12 PM  

    I began thinking I will get this... but in the end, it killed me forgetting it was Rebus Thursday

    MetroGnome 12:23 PM  

    Actually, Banana, I'm not sure about your regional assumption. Big-city hipsters in places like Chicago (which is where I live) have gotten pretty damned uptight and defensive. Down South (where I spend a lot of my time, since I do a lot of writing about blues, soul music, contemporary soul-blues, etc.), things are -- believe it or not -- a lot more easy-going in some ways. Any southern white guy who'd even be IN a jazz club with a mixed party would most likely not be your stereotypical "White Paranoiac", and he'd probably be a hell of a lot less irony-impaired -- i.e., able to "get it" -- than his oh-so-earnest white northern counterparts.

    For that matter, southern blues and soul-blues artists (both men and women) can also still be unabashedly sexy -- I mean REALLY sexy! -- on stage without calling down the wrath of the Gender Police. And in most cases, the audiences at those shows are anywhere from 60 - 80% female.

    CDilly52 12:32 PM  

    Hand up for “Wide World...” watched weekly and learned so much about the rest of the world’s games and people!!!

    Geophany 12:33 PM  

    I really enjoyed this—the cluing was just enough to chew on, and the clever answers were satisfying. The simple theme didn’t matter to me that much in context of a nice solve.

    Larry 12:37 PM  

    @Nancy: "It shows that it's not a gender thing at all -- that Will will be delighted to publish a woman's puzzle if it's good. Don't think he would have wanted to turn down this one."

    That's not how bias works. No one ever accused Will of being an active misogynist. He would certainly welcome a puzzle from a woman if he thought it good. Can you not believe that a woman, from time to time, would have a different idea of what constitutes a good puzzle than Will does? Would the average woman editor have as many sports themed (which you're on the record as hating) puzzles as would the average man? How about Star Wars movie themes? You, specifically you, hate them, but they keep coming and coming and coming. Why do you think that is? It's because the guys who choose the puzzles like them.

    So, the next time you think to complain about the types of clues you so frequently complain about, wonder about this: Would a woman editor likely have clued them differently? When there is another baseball themed puzzle, blame the patriarchy.

    Also, the discussion about DINGE that Rex raised is, that while the racially offensive meaning is rare, has anyone ever seen the other definition in the wild? Several here have raised their hands as having heard the racial slur, but no one has raised their hand as having seen DINGE used as a noun for dirt. That was Rex's damned point: If an obscurity is more know for its offensive meaning than for it's non-offensive meaning, why have it.

    Outside The Box 12:38 PM  

    Fun puzzle, but Rex, must we enter the PC realm over every single word that could be used disparagingly?

    Today “dinge” was used as the answer to “griminess;” perhaps not the best answer, but why read anything else into it.

    And if the answer to “a quick drink or sip” is nip, so what. That’s the answer and it has nothing to do with anything else.

    So let’s not politicize puzzles and stop this ridiculous agonizing over every uttered word.

    Anyone with a brain (which should be all of us puzzle solvers) knows the difference between a slur and a simple answer.

    Bob Mills 12:48 PM  

    All Ford cars aren't compacts, so that one didn't work. And the theme answers weren't symmetrical. Bot on the whole, it was a clever puzzle.

    Banana Diaquiri 1:07 PM  

    but no one has raised their hand as having seen DINGE used as a noun for dirt.

    such a softball!! one simple search term, "laundry detergent gets out the dinge"
    yields: "Dinge is dirt the liquid bargain detergent can’t get to, but Tide PODS can"

    I got multiple pages of results. YMMV

    as to the sax player, there's a real difference between the N-word and the H-word. I grew up in a poverty ghetto, and white folk didn't care much about the H-word one way or the other. black folk began to use the N-word amongst themselves. poverty white folk always objected to "white trash", no matter who said it.

    Anonymous 1:07 PM  

    Anybody know when @Z changed his name to Larry?
    Loved the lecture Lar. I hope to be as woke as you some day.

    Also, as noted the automobile brands were not compact cars per se, the puzzle was simply compacting the name.

    Terrific puzzle Ms. Carroll. Thank you.

    Laurel Grotto 1:11 PM  

    I am really tired of having to put up with the offensive content of the NY Times puzzle. Every day there is something that needlessly upsets people.

    In the era of #metoo, why do we have ABUSERS as an entry. Let's take the side of the victims, not the ABUSERS!

    Larry Gilstrap 1:16 PM  

    Let me amend my post from last night: the names of the CARS are COMPACT. I'm so literal sometimes.

    @Roo Monster, the World's Largest Thermometer is in Baker as is the Mad Greek restaurant. Driven to Las Vegas many times over the years. Zzyzx sits at the end of the pass just south of Baker and is the home of the Desert Studies Center. Road trip!

    cwf 1:22 PM  

    @Big Steve 46
    I'm going to guess it's because crosswords are chock full of ORCs and ENTs and ELFs (and OGREs) so it's nice to see the dragons getting some love.

    MetroGnome 1:24 PM  

    For the record, Larry, I know plenty of women sports fans whose in-depth knowledge, command of trivia, and ardor would put most male jocks and jock-wannabes to shame. Gender essentialism is no more valid coming from a self-styled "progressive" than it is from a reactionary.

    Banana, I see your point about the "N" word and the "H" word, although I'm still not sure my scenario wouldn't play out in today's "GOTCHA!" cultural environment. (Maybe #Gotcha! should be the next hashtag movement.) I do remember one time, in a mixed group of friends -- and yes, it was down South -- when a guy was throwing away some old towels, and he proclaimed very loudly: "Okay, I'm gettin' rid of all the white trash around here!" Everyone -- melanin-impaired and otherwise -- had a good laugh.

    The comedian Allen King once had a routine where a guy says to his neighbor, "Hi, Joe -- how're the kids?" Joe replies: "KIDS?! You calling my children GOATS? I'm going to SUE you!" Got a big laugh back in the '60s, or whenever it was -- might reflect real life today.

    Anonymous 1:26 PM  

    Give up. Larry and Rex crave attention not justice. And certainly not facts that don't support their theories. Besides, everyone knows Tide is racist.

    Z 1:28 PM  

    @MetroGnome - #2. It takes lots of inappropriate behavior for someone to report behavior. The more I think about it, neither happens much. The most likely behavior is the dude doesn’t say anything until she goes to the bathroom and then says something along the lines of, “Can you believe she said that!?!” Reverse the roles and have the woman go into HR and the evidence is pretty overwhelming that her concerns would be minimized and she would be flagged as a potentially problematic employee.

    @Larry - Let me put this in bold: Several here have raised their hands as having heard the racial slur, but no one has raised their hand as having seen DINGE used as a noun for dirt. That was Rex's damned point: If an obscurity is more known for its offensive meaning than for it's non-offensive meaning, why have it. As I said earlier, I’m more with @Thomas808, but I haven’t seen anyone say, “Oh, yeah, My favorite Poet uses that word all the time instead of “dingy” because it fits the meter better.” Looking at online resources I found one saying it was chiefly British, another that it was a back-formation from “dingy,” one that said it was Jazz Age slang, derogatory, and out of use since 1930, and one that said its use as a noun was “extremely rare” while citing only non-derogatory usages. My own guess is that whoever edited the puzzle isn’t aware of the derogatory usage, and so didn’t bother to google the term and see that it has a derogatory meaning. Which is also why I agree with Rex when he writes, I'm not really mad at the editor or constructor or anyone. Just talking about the way words can evoke unpleasantness for some people even when they don't for others. I have to wonder if all the “quit being PC” posters even registered that last sentence.

    Teedmn 1:34 PM  

    Hard FOR DUMMIES like me! I got the revealer and then the AUDI, OPEL and KIA but the NW eluded me totally. I had nothing above SLICE or DIDO (and wasn't positive about the latter.) Like M&A, I was convinced the car would be hiding in some OHIO city. Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, etc., etc., nope. Not knowing the Whitman poem or the football player or whether a magnum was a beer, a gun, or a P.I. all added to the suspense. I had lunch while staring at the NW and decided all by MYSELF what 7D was. FORD UMMIES smacked me in the forehead eventually. Loved it!

    And as others have mentioned, great cluing besides. PLAUDITS are due.

    Thanks so very much, Emily Carroll, for a lovely Thursday puzzle.

    Amelia 1:43 PM  

    I have heard and read dinge as a noun. If I can't cite an example, will that offend someone?

    I had the exact same experience as Rex with this puzzle, putting in FORD last. But it was worth it, because that was the best one!

    Liked the puzzle a lot.

    While I am of the school of "sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me" there is one word I believe we can do without and that's niggardly. I know what it means and you know what it means and sure, someone can look it up rather than be offended, but it really would be easier to eliminate it and go for one of the synonyms. In fact, at Urban Dictionary, the top definition is "word that will get u fired even though it doesn't mean anything offensive."

    Z 1:46 PM  

    @Banana Diaquiri - I entered “laundry detergent gets out the dinge” in my search engine (Duck Duck Go - I don’t like Uncle Google tracking me) and got Zero hits. Next I tried “dinge”and “tide” and got lots of news about Tide coming to Dingle Harbor (no idea), then found a hit that looked like Tide using the term, but when I went to the link DINGE was nowhere to be found. I did get more success using “detergent” instead of “Tide,” but I hardly see conclusive evidence that DINGE is common even in cleaning copy. From personal experience, the detergent usage is more common than the pejorative usage (those ads are not completely unfamiliar], but neither are usages I would call common. Thanks for coming up with an at least plausible common usage.

    MetroGnome 2:06 PM  

    Amelia --

    That's not the only one. Try to imagine what the reaction would be if someone were to say, "You never see knickers on a golf course anymore!"

    Whew! Fancy footwork time!

    Anonymous 2:06 PM  

    Sarcasm? I hope?

    Anonymous 2:14 PM  

    Not just plausible. Factual.

    See here:

    Anonymous 2:21 PM  

    Tide Odor Rescue™ with Febreze Odor Defense™

    Rating Stars

    4.41/5 ( 451)

    Here's the copy from the Tide advertisement, lest @Z not acknowledge his error and Banana's being quite correct.

    Tide Odor Rescue™ with Febreze Odor Defense™ helps eliminate odors at the source by cleaning deep into the fibers. The Odor Defense™ technology breaks down built in odors and layers of body soil and dinge, which can lead to odor issues over time. To achieve the best results, add Tide Odor Rescue™ with Febreze Odor Defense™ to your wash along with the Tide PODS® Plus Febreze Odor Defense™ laundry detergent. This product is a part of the Tide + Downy Odor Defense™ Collection.

    SJ Austin 3:02 PM  

    Like QuasiMojo, I had my last rebus filled in automatically by the web app. It was AUDI, and I had already identified the square and was about to figure it out when I realized it was probably RNA, not DNA in 15A. So I fixed that, and then the "You did it!" chime happened, and lo and behold, there was AUDI. Weird.

    If I had taken the extra 15 seconds to do it myself, I'd have hit exactly my Thursday average.

    Larry 3:10 PM  

    @MetroGnome - For Christ's sake, of course there are women who like sports, and like it more than a majority of men do. There are men who like knitting, and like it more than most women like knitting. Rosie Greer was a famously a compulsive knitter when he wasn't trying to kill quarterbacks - that doesn't mean that I'd lose over time on a even money bet that any random knitter was a woman. I never said there was no overlap between the interests of the sexes, that any activity is essentially male, that any other is essentially female. No reasonable in the world ever said that, any time, anywhere. However, take attendance at a pro football, baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey game and count the number of guys who went as a group of males, and how many went as a group of females. Then tell me that women like sports as much as do men, except for when it's the WNBA or Womens' Soccer or Hockey, in which case men apparently have no interest at all in sports.

    @Banana - Of course you can find it on the internet.

    @Both - Deliberately misinterpreting what someone has said and then providing a counter example to that misinterpretation isn't an argument, it's being argumentative.

    And no one has ever called a bad sax player honky.

    QuasiMojo 3:33 PM  

    @SJ Austin, glad to hear it wasn't just me (I)! Weird. Thanks for your post, SJ.

    Anonymous 3:35 PM  

    Not just the internet. In the Supermarket. The word is in Proctor and Gamble's marketing material. Come on. Dinge is not a rare word, no matter how hard yo stamp your feet and say it is.

    ArtO 4:28 PM  

    thanks to all for enlightening me that the cars were "compacted" not "compact cars" as I'd supposed...especially after OPEL was the first to fall.

    Love to erudition of many who come here. Always something to learn.

    Kevin S 5:17 PM  

    as stated above all of these are makes not models i.e. Ford and is compacted into the crossword square

    OISK 6:33 PM  

    Clue: Sir Joseph's cousin, in Pinafore. Answer: Hebe.

    Would anyone care that "Hebe" is a derogatory term for Jewish people? In fact, I would bet that a great many more people know "Hebe" as "Jew" than have ever heard of Sir Joseph Porter, KCB.

    I have probably seen "dinge" used in its racial sense, since I have read anything by Chandler that I could get my hands on, but that did not cross my mind at all when I filled it in.

    Lovely puzzle.

    BarbieBarbie confused 7:05 PM  

    @Banana, what is YMMV?
    Your Mother Manufactures Volvos?
    You Make Me Vibrate?
    Yellow Manes Mean Vapidity?


    BarbieBarbie 7:08 PM  

    Ouch, @OISK, Hebe is the cup-bearer to the Greek gods, and is pronounced HeeBee. Pretty sure that’s Sir Joseph’s cousin’s name. You bin consortin’ with uneducated G&S directors?

    Z 7:22 PM  

    @anonymous - that one detergent uses the word in some of their ad copy doesn’t make the word “common.” But wait, it seems that there is more than one detergent that uses it. Still not “common” in my opinion. I don’t know about you, but before today I’ve never ever ever bothered to read detergent ad copy. If you had asked me before checking I would have guessed the word in the ad copy was “DINGy.” I don’t know about your auto-correct, but mine insists that DINGE is not a word. Add in that even in detergent ad copy DINGy looks to be far more common and I’ll grant “plausible,” but nowhere near “persuasive.”

    @Amelia - I do hope I don’t sound offended. I’m not. Fascinated. Curious. Pedantic. Amused by someone remaining anonymous trying to play “gotcha” with me. But not offended.

    @Larry - way to stick in the dagger and twist. I confess to taking special pleasure in pointing out that elite Women’s Ultimate is generally better ultimate than elite Men’s Ultimate. What’s especially funny to me is that a lot of “highlights” in Men’s Ultimate are actually a result of bad execution, bad throws or bad decisions.* This play is a perfect example. Critical point (whoever scores wins) and the guy just picks up the disc and throws a prayer. Lots of athleticism on display, terrible ultimate. Contrast that play with this breakdown of a beautifully run offense.

    *I believe in the Oxford comma, so that should help you understand that sentence.

    Anonymous 7:35 PM  

    I've long known you weren't particularly observant.


    Frisbee Fan 8:25 PM  

    @ Z : Then why have men’s and women’s divisions? Is it because the women would dominate and men wouldn’t get to play ?

    Justin 8:59 PM  

    Yeah, I didn’t know it either. As I recall, only a “D” or “N” could plausibly fit in that square and the D struck me as a good bit more likely.

    But that was the second to last square for me (before the same one as Rex)

    OISK 10:30 PM  

    @Barbiebarbie, Well aware of the likely pronunciation of Hebe in Pinafore. But that is not at all relevant to my point. In PRINT it's the same as the slur. ( I am trying to recall whether anyone actually SAYS her name in the play. In Yeoman, a central character is named Phoebe, which I am sure Gilbert rhymed with "she be," but I don't think he made similar use of Hebe. )

    Banana Diaquiri 10:35 PM  



    YMMV has been an acronym for, at least, decades. even before the innterTubes.


    Banana Diaquiri 10:37 PM  

    If you had asked me before checking I would have guessed the word in the ad copy was “DINGy.”

    there are a plethora of noun/adverb morphs on ending -e and -y. one might even posit one morph supports the existence of the other. he said edgy.

    DORODesign 8:47 PM  

    I finished it but I have never considered an AUDI to be a compact car. I’ll give you that FORD or KIA have compact models, but AUDI - the 5000, etc - is not what comes to mind when I think compact. This theme was a bit of a stretch.

    Burma Shave 10:01 AM  


    with the DULLES of DIRTCHEAP whores:
    No REALBOY GENIUS would DARE be found
    with a DALI he *can* AFFORD.


    Burma Shave 10:02 AM  


    with the DULLES of DIRTCHEAP whores:
    No REALBOY GENIUS would DARE be found
    with a DALI he *can* AFFORD.


    thefogman 10:16 AM  

    An okay puzzle but the only thing COMPACT about the cars was the fact they were squashed into individual little squares. Fords can be small but usually are not. I was expecting to see Mini, Smart, Fiat etc. in the rebus squares. Not bad, just not great.

    spacecraft 10:52 AM  

    Will there be no end to the Age of Taking Offense? I take it...when it is directed AT ME, personally. NOT when it happens to appear in a crossword. Geez, you people! Anyway, I never even heard of DINGE used in that context. But even if I had, it wouldn't have gotten my knickers in a twist.

    Enough of that. This puzzle is a good one IMO; I'm not as averse to rebusiness as some. It's just another exercise in brain calisthenics. It helps that I found the trick right away; AFD is ridiculous; by the clue should be voila! I popped right down to the revealer clue and laid in COMPACTCARS, and it was, ahem, off to the races. Easy-peasy. (I would add "Japanesey" as Brooks Hatlen did in Shawshank, but am afraid I might *offend* someone; as it is, I've already miffed the pea farmers)

    Agree that the long fill is stellar. Cheryl LADD is an OPENANDSHUT winner of the DOD; no need to DANCEAROUND that. Eagle.

    rondo 12:16 PM  

    I guess that the CARS are COMPACT only because they fit into one square, not because of their actual makes. 1a ACCLAIM was a Plymouth model from the early-mid 1990s, apparently not COMPACT. But the FORD was the last to show, figuring that there was a CAR roughly in each quadrant and AFD made no sense; so more of an add-on than a write-over. Damn rebus-iness. Roone ARLEDGE a gimme as was yeah baby Cheryl LADD.

    OFL just can’t wait to be offended. Somehow. No matter how obscure a reference. DINGE? Nevah, evah heard it used so. Let’s try to be an ADULT. ORE, OAR not?

    Not that bad a puz, but I don’t care much for rebi MYSELF.

    Diana,LIW 2:40 PM  

    At least the revealer helped (kinda, if you stretch it with FORD) with the rebus, but a rebus nonetheless. So I'd rather not park in this lot - I'll take the real bus instead. (Get it? Nudge? and what is this about DINGE? Gotta go back an see.)

    Lady Di

    leftcoastTAM 4:18 PM  

    Much time spent getting a good foothold and, after that, finding and filling the rebuses. Got them, but not easily.

    FORD and KIA came first, later OPEL and AUDI. (Wondered at first if all these makers made "easy-to-park" COMPACTCARS, and I guess they do if you give them a little leeway.)

    DIRTCHEAP took some DIGging out, and SMAUG was unknown and required getting KIA and AUDI in their crossing down rebus words.

    Clever gimmickry, and more or less liked it.

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