Director Taika / SUN 6-17-18 / Charlize Theron's role in 2015's "Mad Max" reboot

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Constructor: Erik Agard, Amanda Chung and Karl Ni

Relative difficulty: Easyish (for me, your guest blogger, 16:58)



THEME: Tricky Trios — The four across-themers are famous trios, the third and final elements of which are "standing," as in they are standing vertically in the down entries that meet the end of the across entry, as revealed by the final long entry, "LASTONESTANDING."

Word of the Day: Taika WAITITI (98A: Director Taika ___) —

Taika David Waititi (/ˈtaɪkə waɪˈtiːti/; born 16 August 1975), also known as Taika Cohen, is a New Zealand film director, screenwriter, actor, and comedian. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his 2004 short film Two Cars, One Night. His feature films Boy (2010) and Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) have each been the top-grossing New Zealand film, with the latter still holding that title as of 2018. He co-directed the horror comedy film What We Do in the Shadows (2014) with Jemaine Clement, which brought him further critical acclaim and recognition. Waititi later directed the Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero film Thor: Ragnarok (2017), which received critical acclaim. (Wikipedia)
• • •
Dear readers, I shall not bury the lede: Rex Parker is not here. He's off gallivanting beneath the bright lights of Broadway in our fair borough of Manhattan, I believe. Anyway, I'm 100 percent sure about the gallivanting part. So, alas, you're stuck with me for the next few hundred words. And now that Mr. Parker has been so kind (i.e., gullible) as to let me alight in his aerie, I would like to pull back the curtain a hair and shed a sliver of light on a trade secret: Rex does the crossword at night. He does tomorrow morning's crossword the night before! You all probably know this already but you see, folks, I didn't even know it was physically or metaphysically possible to do crossword puzzles at night. I barely knew it was legal. My personal crossword-puzzle-solving fuel is a complex and finely orchestrated cocktail that combusts best in the a.m.: the chill air of morning, the harsh light of day, cheap coffee, a cigarette. Yet here I am, in the middle of the night, solving Sunday's crossword on Saturday. I feel very well through the looking glass. Anyway, onward, through the mists.

Theme answers:
  • SNAPCRACKLEAND[PO]P (23A: Breakfast trio)
  • KUKLAFRANAND[OLLI]E (38A: Puppet show trio)
  • WYNKENBLYNKENAND[NO]D (64A: Sailing trio)
  • PETERPAULAND[MAR]Y (87A: Folk trio)
  • LASTONESTANDING (Survivor of an all-out brawl ... or a hint to 23-, 38-, 64- and 87-Across) 
I haven't written 39,218 of these blogs already like Rex has, so I think I'm well within my wide-eyed rights to say: I really liked this! Not least of which among the reasons for that is that I'm still sort of floating from seeing one of this puzzle's co-authors, Mr. Agard, win the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in no less than miraculous fashion back in March. This puzzle was smooooth—a deluxe $5 decaf on a Saturday night.

Everything went so swimmingly time-wise at first as I eyed a personal best under these borrowed bright lights: From the jump, I knew there was some geometric funny business going on in this grid because SNAPCRACKLEANDPOP didn't fit and I was confidently unaware of other breakfast trios that matched my downs. My first thought was ampersand rebus!, but not to be. My second was, pop rebus! Again, rebus rebuffed.

So I puttered around for a while, leveraging some geography bee knowledge with CANADA and HELSINKI and the like, and then stumbled on what was the key to unlocking this for me and what may be the single most beautiful word in the English language: my first name, "Ollie." As in, Kukla, Fran and Ollie, a theme answer here and the delightfully bizarre-looking midcentury puppet television show. I have never seen it, but know its name from the VCR cassettes that would mysteriously populate my girlfriend's father's house. That's the beautiful thing about crosswords: They grind rare and bizarre and disparate personal experiences into the tidy answer boxes and you and I feel as though we are connected. Don't we?


Anyway, that made the revealer and rest of the themers pieces of cake and I was cruising to a P.B. that I would brag about at length here when all of a sudden ...

TAKETOTHEHILLS (50D: Flee).

I wrote everything you could possibly write in here. RUNFORTHEHILLS. HEADFORTHEHILL-oops.  HEADTOTHEHILLS. RUNFORTHEHILLL. (That last one was a typo.) It turns out that in my addled mind there were many ways to flee, none of which Agard, Chung and Ni were looking for. Let's chalk it up to an overdeveloped "flight" part of my fight-or-flight response. Fight-or-flight-or-flight-or-flight-or-flight.

The short stuff—I know Rex likes to talk about the short stuff—seemed OK: there's TOK but the clue ("TiK ___" (Kesha hit)) saves it in my book. And the old standards ESL, IRASAL, ANIN, but hey, this is a crossword puzzle, and they always seem like old friends to me. Speaking of, my buddy BRIN got his first name in here, too, but clued as the much less famous head of some company called Google? Also there's ASS (___-backwards).

As a journalist in New York, I loved the WYNC shoutout. AFLAC's advertising continues to be highly effective if only for crossword solving. One's liberal arts education does not go to waste with the inclusion of LOCKE. Nor does your misspent youth with KILO, LSD and UNCORK. Or your lamely spent one with LIMESODA.

Anyway, we'll all live to fight (or flight) another day. Thanks, Rex. (And apologies for this blog post in advance.)

Bullets:
  • 78A: Strip pokers? (AWLS) — I had noooo idea what this meant for an embarrassingly long amount of time.
  • 84D: Charlize Theron's role in 2015's "Mad Max" reboot (FURIOSA) — I never saw it but, given the title of the movie, makes sense. OK well I saw 10 or so minutes and got scared and turned it off.
  • 63D: Nursing facility? (MAMMARYGLAND) — I get it.
  • 13D: In view? (POPULAROPINION) — You see, what this is clue is doing is depending on what the definition of "in" is, and according to Merriam... OK, I'll shut up.
Signed, Oliver (Ollie) Roeder, Savant Dunce of CrossWorld

[Follow Oliver on Twitter ... if you dare]

99 comments:

JOHN X 3:21 AM  

Basically I just filled this puzzle in, so it wasn't really a puzzle at all. Even the oddball stuff was pretty gettable with just a cross or two. I was done in under fifteen seconds, which is faster than normal for me.

That SW corner was a little strange. HELICES? Really? Plus that dude's crazy-ass name made the SW the only speed bump in the whole show.

ROLLIE, on the other hand, is stupid. No one has ever said that. Don't quote me some rap song either it's just a stupid stupid word. I own a Rolex; that's right, I'm a Rolex-owning dickhead. I own a cherry 1958 Datejust just like President Eisenhower's. That watch costs more than your car. I also own a Rolleiflex. That camera costs more than your house. And you know what, pal? I've never called either a ROLLIE and if I did I sure as hell wouldn't spell it that way. PUT. THAT COFFEE. DOWN.

Did you know that WYNKEN and BLYNKEN were both spelled with a "Y" and an "E"? I do now. Thanks to this puzzle I now know this information and I'll take it to the grave with me. Remember that.

Erin Hollander 3:27 AM  

Thoroughly enjoyed your review, Ollie! And the puzzle as well, actually, although I admit I had a DNF in the end, as my boyfriend’s parents do NOT have tapes of Kukla, Fran, and Ollie lying around and I had absolutely no idea what that was, and unfortunately also didn’t know Jesús Alou or Taos. I feel confident that I would have at least heard of Jesús had he ever been a Dodger, but alas.

Other than getting hung up on those, I positively flew through most of this puzzle, which was a nice change for this usual Sunday struggler and ended up with a time of ~31 minutes once I finally cheated and googled those last couple things (thanks, Sergey BRIN). Oh well. I’ll get ‘em next time :)

chefwen 4:37 AM  

Pretty easy for me also. Had to set it aside so that I would still have something to do at Wine ‘O Clock. Got the trick right away at 23A. The long ones were so obvious it was easy to fill a lot of real estate without much thought.

Never did care for KUKLA FRAN etc. I was more of a Shari Lewis fan, loved that little Lamb Chop. Had to change my WYNKEN BLYNKEN from I’s to Y’s and DRAT over Darn. Oh and LAST man STANDING, l know MARY is in there, to LAST ONE STANDING.

Cute puzzle, over too quickly.

Andrea Ojeda 5:22 AM  

Love the write up, Ollie!
A couple of those trios really threw me off (not ever in my life having heard of them). Also, I kept trying to fit Niña, Pinta and Santa María in the sailing ones.

Hungry Mother 5:25 AM  

A typo I didn’t see caused a DNF, but it was a moral (hollow) victory. Too many names again, but I loved the theme and it helped me get through the grid. I was hoping for a rebus or a Fathers Day tribute at the Rice Crispies themer. I guess I’ll have to wait until the kids call later.

Anonymous 5:35 AM  

That was a lovely blog, but I was so looking forward to what I assumed would be a second-in-a-row rave from Mr. Parker. I fear the opportunity may never again arise.

MommaJ 5:46 AM  

Someone is claiming to have finished the puzzle in under 15 seconds? Please, give it a rest. That's not enough time to read the ciues, much less come up with the answers.

Lewis 5:50 AM  

A terrific theme, very well executed. I especially liked that the "standing" words were not stand-alone words, but rather parts of words. If the standing words were all male, and the reveal was "LAST MAN STANDING", it would have been extraordinary, but sometimes reality doesn't allow for such possibilities, and with Erik on the team, I'm sure what was decided on was for the betterment of the puzzle.

I was Naticked at CLINE/BRIN (but guessed right), liked the rapper cross (DRE/RIDA), and loved the clue for MAMMARY GLAND ("Nursing facility?").

For those wondering about Pinocchios as a gauge of lies, it's what the Washington Post uses, and for the details, look at the lower part of this article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/about-the-fact-checker/... .

Matthew G. 6:32 AM  

I really loved this puzzle and Ollie's review. Ironically enough (since Ollie is also my son's name) the only stumbling block for me was KUKLA, FRAN, AND OLLIE, which was unfamiliar and, since it was only the second theme entry, slowed me down considerably in sussing the theme. At first I had thought there was a rebus going on.

But once I figured it out, this was great. And I nominate Ollie Roeder to write every Sunday review.

Loren Muse Smith 6:36 AM  

Oliver – thanks for pinch-hitting this morning. I’m with you – to work a puzzle the night it comes out would just discombobulate me to no end. We all have our little routines, I imagine. Mine involves this one certain pillow to hold my clipboard, a cup of dark roast coffee in the same mug, CNN on in the background, Bic mechanical pencil (hi, @jae)… no pen for me. Ok. I’m not a bad-ass solver like most of y’all, but the pencil is more to preserve the pristine-ness of my grid. Any kind of blotty blue smudge mark-out would ruin my experience.

My first thought was some kind of rebus, too, and since it involved POP, I was thinking a Father’s Day rebus.

Loved this idea! But two little issues: 1) do we really say the AND with SNAP, CRACKLE, POP? And 2) “Last man standing” feels more in the language than LAST ONE STANDING. I guess since it seems so many people these days have their dismaydar on full-alert, waiting to pounce on *any* vestige of language that can now be reseen as a slight on women that everyone is tippy-toeing around. It’s not lost on me that my take on this betrays my caveperson mentality as regards the feminist movement. And that lots of you will shake your head and tsk tsk that I just don’t get it. I’ll own that. It just feels like people wake up and already have their dukes up, squinting, scanning the world for the next affront. Before they even get out of bed. Sometimes it exhausts me.

And Amanda, Karl, and Erik – that’s probably not at all why you chose ONE and it’s probably in the language, too, and I have no idea why I just went off like that. I hate the summer and the heat. Maybe it just puts me in a permanent grump.

I had a hard time getting a toe hold this morning. The grid was pretty much a blank slate until Locke led the way in.

Never heard of SHRINKY DINKS, but where do you start with such a gem? Popham Beach in Maine where the water is ice cold? Like, you stand in it for a few moments and your ankles ache. Hey hon – I’m putting together the salad for lunch. Didn’t you have a cucumber? I don’t see it…

BROCADE. Surfer dudes caravanning to the beach to shred some bitchin’ barrels.

POTAGE. Era of brocades. (Message – well, now, actually. Fromage – these days when you get to be seated next to someone at a dinner who’s just sent off for his ancestry and is sporting a kilt and an Indian chief headdress. Hey. At least you probably won’t have to hear all about his thyroid medication.)

There really isn’t a big pool of trios out there whose names are used. Huey, Dewey, and Louie? Emerson, Lake, and Palmer? @Andrea Ojeda - good one with the ships.

@Lewis – I guessed wrong on that cross and had “Bryn/Clyne.” Pfft.

@that guy who dropped the f-bomb on me a while back for my sniggly, cowardly little pot-shots at him whose name even sickens me…. Couldn’t help myself this morning.

@M&A from yesterday - thanks for asking! Rat Poison Tucker is still here, but he's in his dog years 80s. So he pretty much takes the step-saver approach and doesn't hang out at the metal shop too much. He's a bit portly now, too, and walks kinda like a coke can on legs.

chefwen 6:42 AM  

Forgot to say that I loved SHRINKY DINKS, my brother in law took our wedding invitation, shrinky dinked it and made it into a Christmas tree ornament, we hang it on our tree every year, it’s seen many trees over the years.

puzzlehoarder 7:00 AM  

An easy puzzle other than the SW corner. I caught on to the theme early with POP. The puppet show was familiar as I used to watch it. Like others I had to change the Is to Ys and Es for the sailing trio.

POTAGE nearly caused a dnf in the SE. I spent almost as much time recalling that word as I did solving the rest of the puzzle. It was worth it to avoid a repeat of yesterday's dnf.

@lms thanks for the spelling empathy yesterday. PORIGE is an incorrect spelling but that didn't stop me from using it initially today. It turns out HELICES is not considered a spelling variant. To me it looks as odd as WAITITI.

W. Bulger 7:15 AM  

I have had it with the blatant and persistent anti-Catholic bias of the New York Times Crossword puzzle. It's OUTRAGEOUS.

Maybe all you comfortable WASP kids in your nice well-tended suburban classroms spent your elementary school years raising your hands and jumping around in your seats trying to get the attention of the teacher with "OOH-OOH!" But we Boston Irish Catholic kids in our urban parochial schools didn't have that luxury. We weren't the wine and cheese "OOH" crowd. We respected authority, and when we wanted Sister's attention, we pleaded "S...TA-S...TA." We showed respect. We knew NOTHING of "OOH-OOH."

This WASP suburban bias in the crossword has got to stop. I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it any more.

Trombone Tom 7:17 AM  

What a lovely and refreshing theme with a twist. And the pleasant treat of Ollie's blog to boot.

There was not much in the way of outliers, except that WAITITI was a WOE for me and I didn't know WNYC. All readily inferable or gettable from the crosses.

I enjoyed this not-too-challenging puzzle from Messrs. Chung, Ni, and Agard. Now I'll hop in my bull-nosed '50 MERC[S] and take ROUTE 80 to the nearest NASCAR event.

Aketi 7:49 AM  

I got the standing POP right away but wasn’t sure whether it was standing on its feet or it’s tail. OLLIE answered that question for me,

SHRINKY DINKS brought back the down side of my memories of the obligatory arts and crafts projects of early childhood. I love my son but I confess that I found most of the products of his arts and crafts projects to be so ugly that they fell into the unspoken category of “even a mother couldn’t love”. SHRINKY DINKS Christmas ornaments were top of the list of project fails. They always curled and cracked. I looked online for SHRINKY DINK fails and none of them looked anywhere near as ugly as the ornaments my son created. And unlike the plush Ugly dolls that were popular when he was little they never achieved the status of “so ugly they were cute”. I can’t tell you how relieved I was when I started the empty nest purge and to discovered that my son had zero attachment to his craftwork. I kept one set of mugs from a nursery school project that I did love and that was it.

When I finished the puzzle and looked at PETER and PAUL, I noticed how MARY disappeared into the MAMMARY GLAND. It made me think about some of the women I see as a lactation consultant who feel that they’ve been reduced to a mere MAMMARY GLAND phase in that early postpartum phase when all newborns seem to do is eat around the clock. No way around it whether it’s with your own MAMMARY GLAND or a bottle, feeding newborns is time consuming.

pmdm 8:17 AM  

My nephew's school scheduled his grammar school graduation on Father's Day (dumb in ALL CAPS), so I have little time. I usually dislike Eric's puzzles, but I have to praise him for his comment (published in a number of places, including XWordInfo. It's an attitude that should apply universal: people are what matters.

Maruchka 8:23 AM  

Waikiki - High water. var. WAITITI (Tahitian)? ref. J. Michener 'Hawaii'.

Well, struggled to get the point of the puzz. Tricky Trios? Maybe too many tricky cooks, or I'm just not smitten.

Decant/UNCORK, Winkin/WYNKEN, bah/NAH, etc..

Likes: MAMMARY GLAND, LUPE (always thought she was 'loopy'), MERCS (big boys!), HUMPTY, KUKLA and friends.

Anonymous 8:24 AM  

I'm glad the constructors and editor switched "last man standing" to "last ONE ...".
One day we'll finally be rid of all the man-centric words and phrases.
I just wish they could have been a little more thoughtful and remembered
those with Dissociative Identify Disorder (formerly Multiple Personality
Disorder, and before that (shudder) "split personality"). What barbarians
we were. DIDs would want the phrase to be "last oneS standing: of course.
Please, everyone keep trying your best until every word and phrase is
all-inclusive.

As an aside, I quite enjoyed the rather intricate punctuation in my (our) post.

Jim Crotteau 8:26 AM  

For #W. Bulger

We didn’t have New England accents in Milwaukee when I was growing up, so our attempts to get the attention of the good nuns were
“S. . .TER S. . .TER”.

- Jim C. in Maine

Nancy 8:39 AM  

"Good crosswords provide lots of them" (3A), and, yes, constructors, this one provided an AHA that was huge. Unfortunately, the absolute brilliance of the trick leading to the AHA was the constructors' brilliance, not my brilliance. I solved the puzzle not being completely sure why only the last letter of the last name of the trio group was in the answer. Then I saw the PO above the P of SNAP, CRACKLE AND P, and I went to explore the other theme answers. And there they all were! OLLI[E] and MAR[Y] and NO[D]. Fabulous construction. Absolutely fabulous!

Apropos of @Loren was speaking about one of her dreams on yesterday's blog: I did this puzzle last night, and then I dreamed about it. I was the one who had constructed the puzzle -- yes, this exact same puzzle! Only I'd turned it in with three rows on the bottom left unfilled. And I didn't know how to fill them. I'd done all the heavy lifting with POP and OLLIE and MARY and NOD, but I couldn't finish the grid. The dream is not as improbable as you might think. One person -- and one person only --will know exactly why I dreamed it. (If that person is not you, don't bother trying to guess.) At any rate, a phenomenal Sunday.

RJ 8:39 AM  

I think the SW corner took me as long as the rest of the puzzle....I appreciate guest bloggers - thanks Ollie - it's nice to see that it only took me 2x your time as opposed to 10x Rex's time.

The trios - I thought it was a rebus until I didn't get the "you win!" song when I finished solving. I got all the trios easily because they're old like me but didn't look up until the end.

@chefwen I didn't like Kukla, Frank, & Ollie either - I was too old for that stuff if google is correct (premiered 1969) but I wanted to marry Shari Lewis and Lambchop and Hushpuppy when I was 4. I also remember thinking that Fran gave me the creeps - don't know why.

You can still buy SHRINKY DINKS...I got them for my nieces and nephews so I could play with them. Kind of like finger paints and play-doh

https://www.amazon.com/Shrinky-Dinks-Cool-Stuff-Activity/dp/B000P6Q7ME/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1529238387&sr=8-5&keywords=shrinky+dinks

I need to start keeping my xword diary again and add OILED, WAITITI, POTAGE, BRIN, and STIPE. I knew that OILED and POTAGE were words, they just didn't surface in my brain for quite a while. And like @puzzlehoarder, I admit to typing in PORIGE at first which I knew was wrong but didn't come our until AFLAC.


One last thing - did anyone else keep trying to fit in a brand name drink for LIMESODA? I kept think it had to be some hipster drink - no idea why.




Rainbow 8:43 AM  

Thank God for the "?" on 101D. Otherwise I never would have thought hard enough to think that pet peeves might be something that bothers a pet instead of a person's major annoyances. I am so stupid I could never have come up with that on my own.

Calman Snoffelevich 8:46 AM  

Terrible puzzle. Way too many names.

Mary Ambridge 8:48 AM  

CLINE crossing BRIN AND LUPE?? That's a definite natick.

Nora Bensahel 8:48 AM  

Well done, Ollie! A joy to read this morning. I don’t think I could do the puzzle at night; my ritual is a pot of tea and a green pen (with extra bonus points if my cat curls up next to me).

Roo Monster 8:55 AM  

Hey All !
T
R
I
O
Tricky S indeed. After getting POP, thought the third would just turn up. But when the others didn't make sense, I saw they were STANDING, ala the revealer. So, nice.

Fairly easy for a SunPuz. Always like that. Did enjoy it took a Trio to construct this Trio puz.

Got stuck in SW. What the heck is that C doing in HELIXES? HE LICES, an extension of the clue for LICE? (Which I didn't know was a Pet problem, thought it was a Human problem.) Plus POTAGE (had POTash) and an odd clue on OILED spelled Doom for me. A further DNF with CLINE/BRIN area (don't even remember what I had there!). Oh well. You MAO some, you TAO some. (If someone can clue me on that difference, I'd appreciate it.) :-)

Overall, a nice puz. Not too shabby fill, which I guess is what happens with a Tricky Trio of constructors. HEHE.

HUMPTY HURL
RooMonster
DarrinV

Brian 9:01 AM  

Wink blink and nod. Wondered why Nod was left alone. In the poem Noddie rhymes.

Teedmn 9:03 AM  

run for THE HILLS, elm sT. for CRYPT, little Latin LUci Lu, nurses in ERS rather than ICU, SIEGE or SeiGE?, tier at 39D instead of LOGE, having H__P__ and never once thinking of HUMPTY. All of the above added their part to my higher than average random solve time today. Perhaps it was merely seeing Erik Agard's name on the credits because I get SYNCed out by his puzzles.

The first themer I got was SNAP CRACKLE AND POP. I immediately thought this meant it would have "Dad" related rebi for a Father's Day theme. PETER, PAUL AND MARY had me rethink that and when I saw MAMMARY, the gig was up. I did have a small HE HE when, chancing upon the revealer and having OGRE in place, I wondered what was going to end with OG.

So I found this an entertaining Sunday. Thanks, AC, KN and EA, I would definitely not DELETE this puzzle.

Kodak Jenkins 9:06 AM  

Great guest blog, Ollie! Love the happy, appreciative tone for a change.

I think the Grump, er, Rex would say this puzzle "trended old" with the old puppets and some sailing trio i've never heard of. SHRINKYDINKS are a blast from the past, too, but within my lifetime.

Enjoyable puzzle but I wish the clue would allow you to distinguish between WELDS and MELDS.

John McKnight 9:15 AM  

Good puzzle. Fair, broad, clever, educational, fun.

Anonymous 9:19 AM  

The common is phrase is “last man standing “ not “last one standing .” I eventually got it because I know that Mary Travers wasn’t a man but it’s still a weak revealer .

Adam Frank 9:34 AM  

LUPE and CLINE? Really? I guessed correctly, but I had a one-in-five chance (Y didn't really fit, although who knows?). Otherwise this gave me little resistance, although at first I spelled WYNKEN and BLYNKEN with "I"s, until I had CRI_T and realized that the I should be a Y.

Lots of proper nouns with which I am woefully unfamiliar - DIANE from black-ish, WAITITI, the aforementioned CLINE. But otherwise it was quite enjoyable, albeit over far too quickly.

Charles Flaster 9:42 AM  

Loved the puzzle. Loved the review.
After the first themer I was looking for a Father’s Day theme but OLLIE negated that.
MAMMARY GLAND was beautifully clued.
Thanks to the three authors!

QuasiMojo 9:43 AM  

Thank you Ollie for a fun and fitting write-up. I had a similar experience to you almost to the letter. I got the theme which helped solve the shebang, but I question the point of the whole thing. Why are they standing? What is the connection between mostly antiquated trios and brawls or getting drunk, which is how the theme phrase is usually used? I await your replies but only Z seems to respond to my posts nowadays. I did this puzzle last night at an obscure airport which was under construction. They had literally blown out the walls and ceilings with explosives in order to expand it. There was piles of construction materials everywhere and not a bar or restaurant in sight. That was nothing compared to the appearance of one scantily clad waiting passenger who had taken off her shoes and placed her bare feet on a coffee table in front of her. I’m glad I had the NYT puzzle to distract me.

kitshef 9:46 AM  

I very much enjoyed the theme. Trouble is, before I got to the theme, I had already had to put up with:
- OOH OOH and HE HE
- WAITITI and FURIOSA
- WNYC
- HENNAS
- Little Latin ____ Lu.
- The ridiculous notion that someone, somewhere, ever has said ‘ROLLIE’.

Theme trumps fill, so puzzle still gets a plus grade, but it feels like a fourth constructor was needed to clean up the lapses, especially that clue for ROLLIE (Use Massimino or Fingers).

ArtO 9:51 AM  

Fun puzzle and even more entertaining writeup. Thanks, Ollie. Nice to get a critique not filled with crankiness.

As for doing the puzzle at night, I do Sunday's on Saturday. As a print home delivery subscriber (yes, I'm that old fashioned), the magazine section comes on Saturday so the puzzle is my Saturday morning exercise...especially since I rarely complete Saturday's puzzle (which I did in one of those rare moments yesterday).

GILL I. 9:54 AM  

I liked this theme - it was fine and it was easy to figure out but dang, every time I turned a corner there was some friggin name I never heard of. This silly thing called "TOO MANY NAMES IN CRUCIAL PARTS" got the dander firing up. Then I come to the reveal. I have never EVER heard LAST ONES STANDING. NEVER....Doesn't mean it doesn't exist but boy did that theme answer feel made up. For cripes sake, it's LAST MAN STANDING. The phrase goes waaaay back. I think it even may refer to the last of the Wonders of the World. Anyway, why in hell was MAN left out? After all, it is Poppa's Day today.
Had a hell of a time with that BRIN/CLINE/LUPE corner and at this point just left it blank. What really threw me was not seeing CRYPT. Cripes again.
The Good (SHRINKY DINKS) The Bad (ROLLIE) The Ugly (AURAE and TOK).
@mommaJ....You must not read this blog very often. Our friend JOHN X tends to lean on the sarcasm side. He's also funny and no, 15 seconds was as bad as his ROLLIE story..... ;-)
Is Taika WAITITI a real name? Thanks for screwing my up on that one as well.
I love the name Ollie and I'm glad you sat in for @Rex today. Your write-up was fun.

Z 10:03 AM  

In 4 hours or so the family percentage of K College grads will go up to 80% while the missing 20% is flying to Cameroon to put his yoga into practice. Busy day with minimal stress. Har!

Fun puzzle done on iPad instead of my usual dead-tree version in pen.* Being in Kalamazoo means I was also solving post-beer (Texas Corners Brewery, in an upgraded church in what used to be the middle of nowhere - awesome brews). Still managed a 30 minute solve and got the theme early, so probably easy. Did not notice “too many names,” but that could be a wheelhouse thing. No time to count, though, off to pick up my M.I.L. and snag our seat. Temps near 95° so we need to find a spot beneath an oak.







*It’s a vision thing, pencil requires a hard surface to make the mark dark enough to see. It has nothing to do with being a “bad-ass solver.”

David Balaban 10:11 AM  

Finished it but many many inked write overs, not so much fun Furiosa

Mary 10:17 AM  

We always enjoy Rex's Blog and yours left us entertained and laughing as well. Good job!

jackj 10:25 AM  

The puzzle was OK; Ollie's review was pure delight!

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

I thought it was “bass-ackwards”. Does that mean I’ve had bass-ackwards ass-backwards all my life?
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/bass-ackwards

'merican in Paris 10:30 AM  

Nice write-up, Ollie. Very warm and whimsical.

Mrs. 'mericans completed most of this one. I just came in at the end, competing most of the last 1/3. (That's a ratio, not "1 or 3", nor "1 to 3", nor "1 and 3".) So I can't really say much about the overall experience.

Nice to see SNAP, CRACKLE, POP written still using commas rather than slashes.

I agree with @Lewis that a clever variant would be LAST man STANDING, using duos or trios of men's names, such as Smith and Weston, Simon and Garfunkel, Trump, Kim, and Putin ...

The answers to 98A and 63D should have been more formally linked. As one of my old High School buddies would sing, "Thanks for the MAMMARY, ... ." The original version of that song, by the way, continued with "... Of faults that you forgave". Not very Rex-ish that!

Yesterday we had the king late in life, today FAT FURIOSA. These puzzles should come with some sort of FDA warning.

For me, the cringe-worthiest answer was 67A: AMONGST. (It's a word, so I'm not arguing with that.) My British colleagues love to use it, but most of my 'merican colleagues find it highly pretentious-sounding, as do I. The UK's The Independent newspaper once ran a column suggesting that AMONGST and (even worse) WHILST should be used only for figurative speech and writing, but I don't see that distinction really followed, so I just use AMONG and WHILE, always.

Happy Fathers' Day to those who are celebrating it!

Tom 10:44 AM  

This Bellarmine boy supports your rant!

Aketi 10:47 AM  

@Quasi, where the heck are you?

TomAz 10:55 AM  

This theme is good. Very clever. Thumbs up.

But in my book, this puzzle is bad. CLINE crossing BRIN? I had to guess between an I and a Y and I guessed right, but man, that's bad.

WAITITI? if you say so. FURIOSA? some TV character named DIANE? an actor named IRA? ANI? Didn't know any of them. SOSA, LOCKE, STIPE, RADNER, LAO, and RIDA were relatively easy in comparison, but man, that's way too many names.

I have never heard of SHRINKY DINKS. I have never heard of LIME SODA. lemon-lime, sure, but lime on its own? is that really a thing?

I have never heard anyone say ROLLIE.

Not my cup of tea, no.

Man-Centric 10:59 AM  

@Anon 8:24, Will we have to stop saying snowman? Even if it happens to be anatomically male? I guess if you want a snowwoman or snowoman, you'd have to add some snow balls at the chest area, unless it's a snowgirl or a flat-chested snowoman (I went with it). Or you could just move the snowballs around to make sure it's a snowMAN, but that would be extra work if you had to do it every time and possibly offensive to the neighbors. Though I think snowbreasts would be ok.

Any Sunday puzzle that I can so nearly finish must skew old. Did the themers come easily to anyone under the age of 60? If dinero is moolah, does that mean dinero is Spanish slang for money? Such a thought provoking Sunday.

Hartley70 11:16 AM  

I'm driving in @Gill I's lane this morning. The proper names made me crash and burn. WAITITI, CLINE, BRIN, IRA, DIANE, LAO, LUPE and FURIOSA were all unknowns. On the other hand, the theme was such a delight that the puzzle gets my thumbs up.

Litha 11:21 AM  

This puzzle went unusually quickly for me (lodged firmly in the Gen X space between Kukla, Brin, and Waititi, as I imagine OFL would be) — more like a Thursday than a Sunday puzzle. So I’ll chalk it up to next Thursday’s summer solstice.

Suzy 11:30 AM  

Great puzzle, great review! Thanks, Ollie!

@anon 10:28– I immediately wanted bass, too!

Robert A. Simon 11:50 AM  

Highlight of the whole solve the puzzle/read the blog thing was LMS' paragraph that begins,"Love the idea!" I share her opinion to the nth degree. I remain concerned someone will complain about the name of our land-based nuclear ICBM's, but at least the USAF seems to realize no potential foe will ever fear a Minuteperson missile.

TubaDon 11:55 AM  

Even thogh Rex is galivanting (as opposed to GALivanting) in NYC, he might have enjoyed this Sunday puzzle for once. Figured out the theme early at POP. Fell asleep just after figuring out how to spell W-B-AND NOD. Did blow spelling of two W words I never heard of, WYNC and WAITITI, so I went down in flames on this one.

old timer 11:55 AM  

I loved @John X's getting in first, and making me chuckle. And you know, not everything he writes is literally true. As Trump recently said, there is such a thing as sarcasm. And humor which I aways appreciate about this blog (calling out @LMS too).

I was a small child when I watched KUKLA, FRAN, AND OLLIE so surely the show began closer to 1949 than some later year ending in a NINE.

And I too thought the answer was LAST man STANDING and had been corrected to be LAST ONE STANDING out of some misguided, Timesish, political correctness (example, the op-ed or review yesterday which tried so mightily to not use the word "slave" but "enslaved person" -- folks, "slave" was what they called themselves, and rightly so, for their masters were the ones who tried to avoid the blunt word that often made them ashamed of themselves) . But no, LAST ONE STANDING was not only correct -- and I have certainly heard and read it -- but it was by far the better word since one trio included MARY Travers. How many of you were secretly in love with her? I know I was.

Hands up for writing in "Winken" and "Blinken" before the crosses set me straight. And for not getting WAITITI at all. I ended up with Wairiti and Porage which might be, I thought, an old spelling of porridge.

Jamie 12:11 PM  

I knew you had to be a journalist when you spelled 'lede' correctly.

My favorite part was when 'pop' actually popped. Although disappointed by the lack of further kinetic answers, thought this was much better than usual for a Sunday.

Fun write-up.

Masked and Anonymous 12:19 PM  

@Ollie -- Primo subjob. I assume someone has already mentioned, that U sound like a stand-up puz guy/dragon. Outstandinly nice hi-lite bullets, btw.

Holy Moly [or perhaps Whoa Daddy, today] -- now the constructioneers are gangin up on us, in threesomes! Well, yep -- it *is* a "tricky trio" puz, after all. As somesmartbody here already pointed out: About all this theme really lacked was the requisite nod to HUEYDEWEYANDE. With LOUIE imbedded in some longer Down answer, which is surely doable … surely …

staff weeject pick: Gonna go with the tricky trio of DSL, ESL, and SLR.

Lotsa cool longball fillins, but I gotta single out FURIOSA. Debut answer. Luved that there "Fury Road" shlock flick, havin seen it 2.75 times, but couldn't remember her name. Didn't actually remember them road warriors sittin around exchangin name & phonenum introductions, all that much, tho.

@muse: re: yer mornin crossword routine: It is as if M&A has a twin in WV. M&A uses a lap desk instead of clipboard & pillow, but same idea. Otherwise, identical solvequest setup, right down to the auto-pencil.
So relieved to learn that the mighty Tucker still waddles among us. Thanx for easin my angst.

And 3 Thanxes, to Amanda & Karl & E for a fun SunPuz.

Masked & Anonymo10Us

Birchbark 12:37 PM  

Congrats, @Z (10:03) and graduates, and say hi to the Quad at 'K. There used to be a glowing tombstone in the old cemetery in Texas Corners, something of a hijinx rendevous spot back in the day. I guess the progression to craft-brew mecca makes some sense -- SMALL WORLD.

Anonymous 12:48 PM  

@GILL I, First of all the answer is last one standing (singular). Second, Mary was not a man.

Teedmn 12:56 PM  

@M&A, your comment had me thinking "kerblouie" might fit - Google asked me if I wanted to search by "kerbloki" (huh?), Karen Louie or "crab louie" the latter of which would fit but not the pattern that the last one standing is part of another word.

@birchbark, from yesterday - your weather was a tad bit different from mine although there's only the 25 miles between us - Ham Lake had a dull grey sky and gentle pitter-patters of rain - nothing dramatic. I spent most of the day traveling to the southern border, to Blue Earth, and it seems that every county had slightly different weather going on. You don't have to wait 15 minutes to get new weather in MN, just go 15 miles.

Anonymous 1:25 PM  

Is anyone else as pissed off as I am by the use of Dixie in the clue for 100A? I can’t imagine Rex would let that clue go by uncommented.
There are so many ways to clue y’all, but this was definitely the most racist option.
Dixie isn’t some idyllic vision of the American South; it’s decades of blackface minstrelsy, it’s playing ‘Dixie’ at protests to keep CSA monuments, it’s a reminder of the horrors white people have committed in our past and present. Oh, and it’s lazy cluing.

Joseph Michael 1:29 PM  

A Sunday to remember. Great puzzle. Great writeup by Ollie. Took a while to realize that the last member of each trio was literally standing and had a satisfying AHA when I finally saw what was going on.

@John X, congrats on making it to the head of the class, but come on, we all know it took you at least 30 seconds to solve the puzzle.

Suzie Q 1:29 PM  

Wonderful eloquent review. Bravo Ollie.
Pleasant Sunday puzzle with amazing construction. I was expecting the standing answers to spell out from the bottom up but the reverse really impressed me.
Funny that many of the old-ish answers skewed for children. A puzzle for the young at heart?
If I ever heard anyone call his watch a Rollie I would suspect it was a fake being worn by a wannabe show off.
Happy Father's Day if you are one.
All the critters surprised their "dad" with a card this morning.
Good fun.

Anonymous 1:30 PM  

Kodak Jenkins 9:06 AM. Re: WELDS vs mELDS. I think the point of a xword is to figure these things out. If you are unhappy maybe someone could do it for you or maybe you'd be happier with children's puzzles.

Kimberly 1:45 PM  

I’m just thrilled we got a real Sunday for the first time in a long while.

Frank Birthdaycake 2:03 PM  

The SW corner was a more difficult than the rest for me. No problem with helices for me – that’s one I got right away. (It’s in the dictionary, so I don’t quite get the criticism.) The puzzle was fun, and I enjoyed the write-up too.

Anonymous 2:07 PM  

@RJ - Kukla, Fran and Ollie ran from 1947 to 1957, then in reruns (black-and-white only of course) into the early 1960s, which is when I got to know the show. Google lied to you about 1969. It's an oldie.

Anonymous 2:33 PM  

What a lucky person you are that you have nothing really important to worry about.

Anonymous 2:41 PM  

Great write-up. I wonder if you could become our regular blogger? Good puzzle.

Nancy 2:56 PM  

@Quasi -- So yesterday, because of your 10:49 a.m. post, I had chosen you as my ideal travel companion. Someone who, like me, is not enamored of museums. Instead you said: "Spend your time amidst the people on the streets, in the cafes, or city parks. That is where la vita is." Could any two people be more in sync on what constitutes a well-spent vacation experience?

But, oh, Quasi, it all fizzled today with your 9:43 a.m. comment. Seems you spent last night at an "obscure" airport under construction, where, for reasons best known to themselves, they had "blown out all the walls and ceilings with explosives." And, Quasi, in my mind that does not constitute a well-spent vacation! Sigh. Our traveling days seem to be over even before they've begun...

Or as @Aketi says: Where the heck are you?

QuasiMojo 3:30 PM  

No worries @Nancy, I was just picking up a friend whose flight was delayed. We’re back at our vacation destination, relaxing under the soaring evergreens, admiring the reflections of the sky in the deep blue river waters, letting our thoughts focus on more pleasant images than yesterday’s boondock airport in the upper reaches of New York State near the Canadian border. This may not be your idea of heaven, what with mosquitoes and spiders, but we do have a tennis court.

sanfranman59 3:34 PM  

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

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

Mon 4:21 4:30 0.97 38.1% Easy-Medium
Tue 5:38 5:26 1.04 60.0% Medium
Wed 6:11 6:22 0.97 48.1% Medium
Thu 9:37 9:47 0.98 48.7% Medium
Fri 10:48 13:01 0.83 27.7% Easy-Medium
Sat 16:02 15:59 1.00 56.3% Medium
Sun 19:19 20:10 0.96 46.9% Medium

I got through this one pretty well, but there seemed to be more than the usual number of WTFs to the point where I really wasn't sure if I had the correct solution when I submitted. My last entry was the FURIOSA(?)/FAT crossing at 84A/84D. I ran the alphabet a couple of times for that F and it was the only reasonable letter, but I was still worried.

Other complete unknowns for me: DIANE (though guessable), SAL (also guessable), "Little Latin LUPE Lu" (a song that peaked at #49 55 years ago???), Taika WAITITI(???), AMAL Clooney (I have very little interest in Hollywood spouses, though I see that she's a notable lawyer in her own right), SHRINKY DINKS(?!?), TiK-TOK (not in my pop culture universe), the aforementioned FURIOSA, Ernest CLINE. Given this number of head-scratchers, maybe it's a tribute to the construction that I made it through without much fuss.

Other random thoughts:

- I thought that WYNKEN and BLYNKEN were spelled with I's, so that held me up some until CRYPT became clear.
- Do people really text "hehe" in place of "lol"?
- Since I finally seem to know the name, I'm guessing it's bad news for Flo RIDA's career trajectory.

I liked the theme okay, though each of the trios were very easy to get. Perhaps this accounts for why my stumbling blocks didn't do me in. I don't have metrics on this, but this grid seems to have an overabundance of 3-, 4- and 5-letter answers. This might constrain its appeal a bit.

Thanks for the entertaining review, OLLIE!

Sue T. 3:36 PM  

Woo hoo -- I set a Sunday record (10:50)!

Mohair Sam 4:51 PM  

Man, you'd think that Roeder guy did this writing thing for a living. Great stuff.

Joining the thumbs up crowd on the theme here - clever, fun. Managed to fight through a lot of proper names I didn't know. Learned Winken and Blinken misspell their own names. Got a friend who wears a Rolex; trust me this: If I call it a ROLLIE he'll sock me.

RADNER - I may have mentioned this but - My brother owned a small candy store in the Hamptons for 40 years. People came in for newspapers, ice cream, and candy. It being the Hamptons an awful lot of his regular customers were famous actors and politicos. Over dinner one night I asked him and his wife who they considered the best person of all the famous they knew. "Gilda!" they said with one voice. The next half hour was filled with dlightful Gilda stories, but my brother summed her up in one sentence - "Gilda RADNER made your day better, she would not leave the store until she'd put a smile on everyone's face."

Anonymous 5:02 PM  

At anon 1.25,
Are you serious or just whistling Dixie?

Last man standing is the phrase. Too bad the revealer and the last themed answer wrecked things.

GILL I. 5:09 PM  

@Anony 12:48. Yeah that "S" is on me. But I don't know, these days a man can be called Mary if he wants.
LAST ONE STANDING Googles to some singing group I've never heard of called "Girl Thing" back in 2000 who sang a song with that title. At least Tim Allen had a crappy show called "Last MAN Standing."
The theme revealer was sucky and you know it.

Nancy 6:00 PM  

@Mohair -- What a lovely memory of Gilda RADNER. Thanks for sharing it. Although it does make the tragedy of her untimely death seem even sadder.

Pete 6:20 PM  

I heard a well-crafted, heartbreaking story today on NPR. The reporter was Emily Jo Cureton, and wondered if she is that Emily Jo Cureton. Turns out she is, and apparently paying too much attention to crossword puzzles isn't deleterious.

jberg 6:27 PM  

On the revealer, I think @Lewis had the right idea -- i.e., that they tried to make it LAST MAN, but couldn't find a male trio to put in place pf P P & M; the constraints from symmetry are pretty tight. So the choice was to keep the less than perfect revealer or scrap the puzzle. I think they chose wisely.

I had the same problem as @Aketi and a couple of others with the palindromic POP; I got that one right away, but it took me a long time to figure out what was going on with the others.

Sadly, I put in mELD, and then didn't check the cross because it looked like it was done. So DNF.

I don't et all the complaints about HELICES. I bet you people write indexes and apexes, too!

Anonymous 6:51 PM  

Ollie gets props for standing in!

I finished in record time. Thought this puzzle was too easy for a Sunday. I prefer to struggle and this one came and went like a gentle breeze, for me.

Anyone upset with 105A clearly didn't understand the downs. (I had 105A before any of the other titled clues and then 23A was a breeze.)

Clues that didn't come immediately were solved by fill that was not frustrating except 94D. NEVER heard that one before. That hung me up for a while.

Last weeks puzzle sits waiting for a potential return but this weeks is going to be happily recycled.

newspaperguy 7:13 PM  

Terrific review, Ollie. Come back any time!
@loren muse smith: Can I get an order of whatever you were on when you wrote today's wonderful comments? And supersize it, please. ;)

Anonymous 7:17 PM  

“Last man standing” is a common idiom in the American vernacular. “Last one standing” was made up for this puzzle. FAIL.

Aketi 8:02 PM  

@Quasi, I was envisioning some of the terrible airports I landed in such as in Cusco and Kathmandu, and some rINKY DINK place in Costa Rica a bit north of the Osa Penisula after a hurricane. But I gotta admit that those upstate New York airports can be equally scary. We called the planes that flew out of Ithaca flying sewer pipes and in bad weather they were definitely not fun.

Z 9:00 PM  

@Birchbark - The quad is beautiful as ever. The class is far more diverse than even 5 years ago when the oldest graduated. Best part of the ceremony was President Gonzalez showing us his true colors under his academic robes. He was just a little excited about today’s World Cup upset. Best part of my day was two texts from the middle child on his way to Cameroon. With a lengthy layover in Newark, he first asked if the airport had any religious spaces where he might do yoga. I let him know that the only quiet spot I saw on the terminal map was for nursing mothers. A little while later I got, “Found a spot, just had to stop caring if several hundred people saw me.”

RJ 10:21 PM  

Thanks @anonymous 2:07 pm That makes a lot of sense because my memory of that show was in black and white. If it had been 1969 that would have been in color by that time. Fran still creeps me out - in black /white or color.

Unknown 1:39 AM  

Your unwavering modesty and unmistakable humility only add to your greatness. Single?

M. Cheese 9:34 AM  

I see “OFL” referenced in this blog often. I don’t get it! Will someone enlighten me?

Ando 1:48 PM  

Good puzzle but added a couple minutes by finishing in the New York Times app -- it didn't like the rebus answers being filled in (like POP in the P square) so I had to recheck everything. I got why that would have been considered incorrect once I reread the helper answer ('last one standing')

Ray Yuen 6:53 PM  

I'm glad I'm not the only one who's never heard of "shrinkydink." That really held me up as I kept looking at it thinking "this can't be right." Every letter the dropped made me think that something must be wrong. Shrinkydink? WTH.

Bill Feeney 11:15 AM  

LAST MAN STANDING works even better if you read the last trio properly.

Ed H. 10:09 AM  

AWLS? I still don’t get it.

Burma Shave 10:30 AM  

OVERT TIDINGS

It's THE POPULAROPINION AND AMONGST us it SYNCS:
WAITITI AND MAMMARYGLANDs don't cause SHRINKYDINKS.

--- AUNT VANESSA LYON

rondo 11:03 AM  

Easy peasy, though that CLINE/BRIN cross could been another Y as far as I'm concerned, but I figured WYNKEN and BLYNKEN had used 'em up in that area. The one inkfest was the Open era/Mri/MIC spot. So, very isolated. Always check crosses for plurals like ULNAE and AURAE.

@Ed H. - One might poke holes in a strip of leather (belt) with an AWL, thus Strip pokers = AWLS.

ROLLIE might have been better clued as "Fingers closer".


I don't think IMALONE in calling VANESSA Hudgens yeah baby.


Decent enough, though some might say the themers skew OLD(IE).

spacecraft 12:13 PM  

Today's list of NHO's would be exhaustive to print. I despaired of even getting started after the first scan of the clue bank. And yet...though I know nothing of modern "music," and believe me, I mean the quote marks, I can figure out that TOK follows TIK. Whatever. That set up for: SNAPCRACKLE--and I went through the exact same thought progression as out guest blogger. Biggest problem of the whole puzzle was trying to figure out 13-down. Eventually crosses provided POPULAROPINION, but how that squared with "In view" was totally lost on me till coming here. Just a matter of parsing. The "in" view, as in the view held by the "in" crowd. "I'm in with the in crowd, I'm in with the in crowd baby..." That was one mean-ASS clue.

Eventually I got 'er done, finishing up in the SW with 100% crosses for that supreme NHO WAITITI. This guy sounds like a baby's pronunciation of a beach in Hawaii. But known??? By whom? NO ONE!

Unexpectedly finished, so huge triumph points. I'd pick Charlize Theron for DOD if she wasn't gussied up for that role. Guess I'll second the motion for VANESSA. Birdie.

Anonymous 1:52 PM  

OFL is Our Fearless Leader.

rainforest 2:22 PM  

Perfect Sunday puzzle with the general easiness of it compensated by several names I had to grind over. I must have heard of Sergey BRIN, because I "knew" it was an I. That helped.

Reading the comments, I realized there was a guest blogger, so I read his post, and *that* should be the poster boy for this blog going forward. Way to go Ollie!

Nice theme. Once I got the first one, I wondered whether there was a rebus afoot, or whether the last of the trios went up or down, but once again, Ollie to the rescue. Learned that WYNKEN and BLYNKEN have Y's in their names; Y, I don't know.

Why does AUNT cry "Uncle!"? While I'm on that, how do you guys pronounce "aunt"? Growing up among a family of Romanian immigrants I had, like, 15 of them, and they were all pronounced "ants". Lately I've observed people pronouncing "ont". Why the hell is that? It seems very recent and sounds odd to my ear. I'm not going to change, but I'm just wondering about this - maybe too much. A little help here folks.
Was Andy Griffith wrong?

Diana,LIW 4:05 PM  

Yeah yeah easy until you throw a Natick into the middle - BRIN and CLINE did me in, with a few others. Anyone can make an easy puzzle turn hard with a few unknown PPPs.

Ant/ont seems to be a regionalism, @Rainy. Surprised it's not Ontie in Canada. We have a bookstore, Aunties, in Spokane - pronounced, most of the time, as "Onties." All of my aunts were ants, however. Like Bee. And Antie Em, who didn't blow away with the house in Kansas. Along with the rest of the Gale gang.

Diana, LIW

AnonymousPVX 4:54 PM  

I’m with you on the Natick, Diana.

Also, I thought the clueing....what’s the nicest possible word for “very poor”.....hmmmm....how about “strained”?

Always happy to get the solve, but this was minus much satisfaction, kinda like mowing the grass on a hot day....so glad when you’re done...I even feel like taking a shower.

spacecraft 7:36 PM  

To me, "ont" sounds highfalutin', like "coopon" instead of "kyupon" and "car-a-mel" instead of "carmel." People who want to prove they've had higher edge-a-cation and throw it in your face. As for me, I'm down home. My ant gave me a kyupon for carmel candy. Maybe I'm not saying it "right," but you like me better, admit it.

Joe in Newfoundland 7:53 PM  

Coming in a week late. Just read a Travis McGee novel by John MacDonald - Nightmare in Pink. Has the word Rollie in it, unironically.

leftcoastTAM 7:59 PM  

This was a helluva good Sunday puzzle, theme and all, and I stuck with it because of that through most of afternoon.

I was surprised by the HELSINKI clue/answer. I had no idea about the 300 islands, though I should have known better because I have distant, extended family there. Glad to finally have learned that fact!

Otherwise, PPPs were obstacles to a clean finish.

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