Actor Astin of Pitch Perfect / TUE 10-9-18 / Mock Spanish expression of disapproval / Dinosaur in Super Mario World / Passover brisket seasoning

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Constructor: Natan Last, Andy Kravis and the J.A.S.A. Crossword Class

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging to Challenging, largely due to proper nouns and "?" clues (3:51)


THEME: HIDDEN FIGURES (49A: 2016 Best Picture nominee ... or a hint to the circled letters in 20-, 25- and 43-Across) — "figures" can be found spelled out in the circled squares inside of the theme answers:

Theme answers:
  • PLURIBUUNU(20A: Coined phrase?) (prism)
  • SECURITY BLANKET (25A: Something Linus carries in "Peanuts") (cube)
  • NO SURPRISE THERE (43A: "Just as I expected!") (sphere)
Word of the Day: SKYLAR Astin (5D: Actor Astin of "Pitch Perfect") —
Skylar Astin Lipstein (born September 23, 1987), known professionally as Skylar Astin, is an American actor, model and singer. He became known for portraying Jesse Swanson in the musical films Pitch Perfect (2012) and Pitch Perfect 2 (2015). He was also in the original cast of the Broadway musical Spring Awakening, and has since appeared in films such as Hamlet 2 (2008), Taking Woodstock (2009), Cavemen (2013), and 21 & Over (2013). (wikipedia)
• • •

Yeah, that dude is *not* Tuesday-famous. I get trying to be all "Hello, Fellow Youths of America!" with your "What's the DEALIO?" (who says that ... anymore?) and your YOSHI and all, but the SKYLAR guy is a bit much. For Tuesday, as I say. But that's a minor issue. The (very) major issue here is this theme, which is not good. Those "figures" are not "hidden"—they are not there. They don't exist. There's as much as hidden PRISM in E PLURIBUS UNUM as there is a hidden PLUM, as much a hidden CUBE in SECURITY BLANKET as there is a hidden CITY. Is there a hidden SISTER in NO SURPRISE THERE? Simply finding a phrase—any phrase, especially a *15*-letter phrase, with any random four or five  or six letters in it, in non-consecutive order, doesn't strike me as particularly noteworthy. HIDDEN FIGURES is just begging to be a revealer, so I get why you'd go there, but this result is shockingly insufficient. I'm used to JASA puzzles being somewhat more solid, theme-wise.


The grid was way more lively than most Tuesdays, I'll give it that. Probably more Wednesday in difficulty level, again, largely because of SKYLAR (who, I guarantee you, will be the biggest mystery in the puzzle for most) (yeah, yeah, I see you, genius, but you're a single data point, not most) (and again, I'm sure SKYLAR's lovely, but Tuesday material, not yet). Thought the longer Downs were good, for the most part, except, oof, NO BUENO. Allow me to add my non-mock-Spanish expression of disapproval here. Please stow your "Mock Spanish." I just can't. Not in this country, not at this time, no. Tired tired tired of CASUAL racist crap. Such a blot on this otherwise smooth and inclusive grid. The other blot is the plural ETHERS, but that's somehow not as off-putting.


Five things:
  • 23A: Bob who won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature (DYLAN) — totally forgot this happened, so when I went with SKYLER (with an "E") at 5D, well, my guesses for this Nobel guy were all over the map. Bob TYLER? Did Bob TYLER write something? Ugh.
  • 55A: Item cut up for a salad, informally (CUKE) — This is all perfectly true, but somehow I drew a total blank. Something about "item" for an edible object just seemed sterile and weird, and also infinity number of things might go on a "salad," so ... yeah, all from crosses.
  • 4D: Puzzle (NONPLUS) — yeah I totally forgot this is what NONPLUS means. I try not to think about what NONPLUS means. I avoid it. Just like I avoid "begs the question." I'm never going to understand, and I'm just not going to enter the fray.
  • 30D: "Parsley, sage, rosemary and ___" ("Scarborough Fair" lyric) (THYME) — wow this is pretty obscure, who remembers jk this is ridiculous. You may as well just say "the answer is THYME, folks, move along." Too many clue words wasted on something too too obvious. Even for a Tuesday.
  • 49D: It may wind up at the side of a house (HOSE) — really feel like I've seen this clue before, but still love it.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

119 comments:

jae 12:19 AM  

Medium. Clever with some fun long downs (I wonder if anyone’s ever said “CHEERIO what’s the DEALIO”?), liked it.

Brookboy 12:57 AM  

I enjoyed the puzzle, although I did think it was more challenging than the usual Tuesday puzzle. Didn’t know SKYLAR, but the crosses were easy enough. Agree with Rex about DEALIO, don’t think I’ve ever heard that word in use before, either verbally or written.

Nice to see Warren SPAHN’s name in the puzzle. I have the good fortune of being old enough to have seen him pitch. He won more games than any left-handed pitcher in National League history. Late in his career he ended up pitching for the Mets. His nickname was “Hooks”, because his nose had been broken by a baseball, and it mended into a hook shape. In Spahn’s final season, when he was with the Mets, Yogi Berra came out of retirement to catch four games, one of them with Spahn. Yogi told reporters “I don't think we're the oldest battery, but we're certainly the ugliest."

Liked your write-up, Rex. Not as withering as it often is.

puzzlehoarder 12:57 AM  

A little under average time. The fill was so smooth I didn't have a moment to stop and look at the circled letters until I'd finished.

I actually remembered YOSHI. TORRE went in off the T. Not much of an accomplishment but with my mental resistance to baseball trivia I surprised myself. SPAHN will always be that Manson family ranch to me. It mostly went in from the crosses today. DEALIO?
I feel like I've been slimed. Otherwise a fun fast puzzle.

Anonymous 1:07 AM  

I have a question for the posters here... I post very regularly and am wondering, how many of you actually read Loren Muse Smith’s rambling posts? Just wanted a tally for curiosity’s sake. I mean, who has the time to a). Write that much nonsense and b). Read it? Thanks.

Also, @Larry Gilstrap...I am pretty sure that Rex reads these posts. He has mentioned things in his rants that reference posts here. He may even post as different names or “anonymous”. Any thoughts, everyone?

'merican in Paris 1:30 AM  

I like and mostly agree with @Rex's write-up today, except that I slotted in CUKE without any crosses. I liked CUKEs. I still like CUKEs. I often cut them up for a salad, informally.

OFL is absolutely right about the northwest. I had SKYL_R and _YL_N and _EALIO (guessing at ALI and SPAHN), and just didn't see DYLAN. Initially tried SKYLeR and DYLeN but then changed the "e" to an "A" and got the happy pencil. Whew. But figuring out that corner and all its proper names took me several minutes.

Another write-over was "broom" before HIPPO at 39A. I guess, on reflection, the brooms performed more of a sinister march than a ballet. I always wondered if the team who worked on Fantasia was aided by CHEMicals.

Our son as a toddler carried around a precious SECURITY BLANKET for many years that he christened "Dada". Always thought it was CUtE that he named it after an artistic movement based on the rejection of logic, reason, and the aestheticism of modern capitalist society and the embrace of nonsense, irrationality, and anti-bourgeois protest.

Liked the juxtaposition of I SEE over LEAK, and UNITE intersecting E PLURIBUS UNUM. What a concept, eh?

Larry Gilstrap 2:35 AM  

Kind of a mess, and I'm no mathematician. I took Geometry in high school and way back then the themers were shapes, not FIGURES, but STEM folks, feel free to jump in.

When I was a lad, somebody decided it was time to rip out my tonsils and adenoids. They must have felt that one wasn't enough, so they applied multiple ETHERS, I can still conjure up that awful smell after all these years.

Relax Irish folks. The puzzle only dubs your homeland ERIN today.

Simon and Garfunkel and Bob Dylan were a huge factor in the soundtrack of my life. Scarborough Fair had a great herb selection, or so I've heard. Anyway, DYLAN won the Nobel Prize for poetry, and I love his music, but some of his lyrics in some of my favorite songs amount to nonsense. For example, Gotta Serve Somebody is a powerful song which always gives me some attitude. But, he rhymes "silk" with "milk" and "bread" with "bed."

Also, I watched from afar the cruel injustice of the early Civil Rights movement and was appalled. Medgar EVERS was a martyr to that cause. Research his life! We owe him that, at least.

chefwen 2:48 AM  

I have a friend who says DELIO a lot, drives me nutsio.

Didn’t know SKYLAR Astin, but when you have the SKY AR in place, what else could it be?

Only one write over, GEEK over nErd.

EPLURIBUSUNUM made no sense to me until I went back a few minutes later and saw E PLURIBUS UNUM. It’s fun to laugh at oneself. DOH!

Anonymous 3:20 AM  

Once again, you complain about things like SKYLAR yet SPAHN is fine? This is a dude who has been dead for 15 years and played baseball in the 60s is more obscure than a fairly famous actor in a very popular film? At least TORRE is still alive and active. Also YOSHI has been in Mario games for almost 30 years now so it's hardly "youth of America" considering the Mario series is the highest selling video game series of all time. You're just getting old and out of touch.

Anonymous 3:32 AM  

My kids used to say DELIO. That was maybe five years ago. I figure if I’m only five years behind the curve, I’m pretty a cool old guy. My wife doesn’t agree.

Pat Gere 5:33 AM  

Name recognition stats for fellow GEEKs:
There are 5 people in today's puzzle: Mahershala Ali, Skylar Astin, Bob Dylan, Warren Spahn, and Joe Torre.

Google search interest (in the US) over the last year:
Dylan >>> Ali (17) = Astin (17) > Torre (10) > Spahn (4)

Average (English) Wikipedia views per month over the last year:
Dylan (277,680) >> Ali (93,547) > Astin (64,929) > Torre (26,070) > Spahn (an abysmal 8,097)

Notes:
- Since Google Trends' numbers are weighted depending on the most searched term, I had to omit Dylan to get any usable numbers. (None of these folks are "Bob Dylan" famous.)
- Obviously, this data doesn't reflect the knowledge base of older solvers, eg people who remember Spahn's glory days. It is a pretty good relevancy index, though.
- The real news here is that Astin will be replacing Santino Fontana as Greg on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend?? Wild.

BarbieBarbie 5:36 AM  

Clue misfire on ETHERS, I agree. Too bad, because ETHERS is (are?) a thing. Stick an oxygen in where a carbon should go, and voila! Lots of options, so yeah, plural. But as far as I know, only one ether has been used as an anesthetic.
I liked this puzzle and don’t care that the FIGURES are non consecutive.

Hungry Mother 5:53 AM  

I thought it was DYLeN and had no idea who the other dude was. My wife set me straight as usual.

Hungry Mother 5:54 AM  

I read all of LMS’s writing and mostly ignore anonymeese.

Conrad 5:56 AM  

@anon 01:07: I read and enjoy @LMS's posts. In fact, her posts are the primary reason I come to this site. She is to linguistics what Gail Collins is to politics.

Anonymous 6:06 AM  

@Anon 1:07 - I’m finding myself incredulous that anyone who posts regularly wouldn’t be aware of the general affection that @LMS enjoys here. Her contributions are consistently artful, never rambling. I appreciate and admire her output.

Lewis 6:26 AM  

@rex -- Good memory on the clue for HOSE. In the NYT, BEQ came up with it in 2002, and Patrick Merrell reprised it in 2010.

I think Natan's class came up with three terrific phrases -- that had to fit letter count requirements -- that hid 3-D geometric figures. That, I imagine, was the hardest part of making this puzzle. There aren't that many other commonly known solid figures -- pyramid, cone, torus, and what else? The class threw in some wordplay clues (AIRBNB, TV ROOM, HOSE). Plus there are two mini-themes: Double E's (6) and words ending with O (8).

Overall, IMO, this entertaining puzzle was, like the circled words, solid.

Vicky Smith 6:32 AM  

Count me an @LMS fan. It’s always a bummer to do the puzzle & check here before she posts.

PKelly 6:44 AM  

Scarborough Fair is obscure? In what universe? Not in mine!!!

Anonymous 6:50 AM  

I agree with an above poster that the review today was much more rational and not the usual slash-and-burn. JASA puzzles are not usually super cohesive and seem like something that you would get out of a committee. However, they are improving and I think it is great to encourage these young ladies and gentlemen in their efforts. The theme was not so exciting. I also join the chorus of those who appreciate LMS's comments. I don't know how she has the time to write them.

Merle Norman 6:54 AM  

Quick solve -- actually imagined myself "Rex-like" cruising through with looking at nary a cross. Finished in about double Rex-time, which is SUPER fast for me. On the subject of LMS, it's a pleasure to read the posts -- find them a delightful counterbalance to the always interesting, if sometimes overly ornery, Rex. But, what's up with the commenting on commenters?

Amy Yanni 7:08 AM  

Brookboy, Spain and Sain and a day of rain (meaning the Braves' pitching rotation was a tad lacking. As was that pinstriped team's last night.

Anonymous 7:12 AM  

@anon1:07. I think you're a rude person. Other than that, nah.

Kodak Jenkins 7:14 AM  

Puzzle was ok except for ETHERS and obscure (to me) recent pop culture personalities.

Why is NOBUENO a "mock Spanish expression of disapproval"? I speak spanish and have been around native speakers who use it non-mockingly. Why is this casual racism? Am I the only one tired tired tired of the casual way "racism" gets thrown around? Please save it for people who are actively and deliberately doing harmful things of consequence- there are plenty to choose from.

Dawn Urban 7:16 AM  

I thought this was a fun puzzle. I liked finding the shapes HIDDEN in the long acrosses.

CUKES were my first idea, because it clued as "informally". Lettuce, tomato, carrots, and radish, have no catchy nickname that I know of.

Mostly, just wondered if SKYLAR ASTIN is a relative to Sean or his father, John, from the Addams Family TV show. Might google it later.

To google, or to not google, that is modern society's question...

RavTom 7:16 AM  

Precisely. (a) I too love LMS’s posts and am disappointed when they’re not there. (b) People comment for fun. Dissing commenters? We’re better than that.

kitshef 7:18 AM  

When I see one of these class puzzles, I know there will be an answer or two that are new to me, and I just hope the crosses will be fair. Today we got SKYLAR and YOSHI, and that weird clue for NO BUENO - I have no idea what prompted that.

But the thing that gave me the most trouble was plopping DEALy-O, which was the only way I even considered spelling that and rUn DOWN for 'insult' (as a ver), making 39A HyPrO. Still, if that's your worst setback I think it's still a Tuesday puzzle.

kitshef 7:29 AM  

@Anon 6:50 - unless you are old enough to remember Warren SPAHN's birth, calling the JASA class 'young ladies and gentlemen' is off a little. JASA = Jewish Association Serving the Aging.

JOHN X 7:40 AM  

This was pretty good for a Tuesday.

The biggest surprise to me was that SKYLAR turns out to be a guy's name. It makes sense I guess. He was born in 1987 and that's around when women started naming their children like house cats.

23A could have been John TYLER, one of our best presidents. Also there's nothing wrong with NOBUENO Rex, so put a sock in it.

OILER is interesting in that it really isn't a term used for "crude carrier" anymore but it's still in use for a lot of other petroleum related things and a hockey team also. US Navy oilers carry bunker fuel or jet fuel but not crude oil.

CUKE could have been NUKE and SPAHN should have been the ranch. Zing!

@kitshef raises an interesting point. Was this made by young people or old people?

Bob in Nampa 7:46 AM  

No, I skip over the essays, too.
I'm just looking at how difficult or easy posters find the puzzle. Today's I found Monday easy.
Whatever floats your boat, though.
That's my dealio...

Paco 7:49 AM  

No problema.

Z 7:53 AM  

Har! (You know of which anonymouse I laugh)

27/72 - so high PPP as noted by Rex.

@Pat Gere - Wow - wouldn’t a higher number of Google searches mean more people DON’T know who a person is? Oh, wait, that doesn’t work either. So, yeah, Google Search data is only really is useful in determining a current trend, not someone’s actual fame. Nor are “hits” useful for anyone whose trendiness was pre-internet (so anything more than 25 years old).

The “Mock” in “Mock Spanish” is the adjectival use, not the first verb or noun usages.

@Betsy Ross late yesterday - Thanks. I was going to write something similar but thought I’d be repeating myself. I did sort of like thinking of knitting, though.

QuasiMojo 7:53 AM  

What’s the dealio with “no bueno”? It may be mock-Spanish as in faux Spanish, not unlike mock turtle soup, rather than being derogatory, but how on earth is it racist? There are plenty of other examples to bolster that charge elsewhere Rex. Tomato, por ejemplo. And Spanish people or Hispanics are not a race.

As for Skylar so easy to suss out, so no need to go bonkers over such a minor quibble. I’ve never heard of him but I never heard of Hidden Figures either.

I wonder if “eithers” would be allowed in the NYT “nonplus” — “ethers” as clued is ludicrous. Do we say a bottle of “aspirins”?

Getting back to Skylar. Has anyone ever written a book about how names become popular? When I was younger Schuyler was not a popular name but we knew how to spell it. Then after Dylan and Woodstock, there were suddenly a lot of Skylers running around and now it’s Skylar with an A. Cue the music for “Skylark” one of my favorite songs. SMH.

LMS is a great addition to this blog. I for one don’t understand how she has time to write those pithy comments with her extremely busy schedule as a teacher and mom. But some people are just smarter than others. And organize their time better. Perhaps it’s because she doesn’t waste any reading anonymously posted comments or thinking of ways to put down people for no reason.

Anonymous 7:56 AM  

I’m a daily lurker. When it comes to comments, I always look forward to reading LMS has to say. Her posts are actually the primary reason I read the comments. I’m always disappointed when she hasn’t written one.
BFC

Kavanaugh Sux 7:56 AM  

I'm pretty sure Rex and I would be friends.

And also FWIW, there are several posters here, when I see their names, I skip over them. I also skip over the ones that are huge walls of text...it takes a certain personality to imagine that anyone cares quite that much about what you think about a puzzle.

OffTheGrid 8:01 AM  

What the H! Well, H is my DNF. Did not know YOSHI and couldn't parse HRH.

Dana 8:01 AM  

Well, I for one, always read and enjoy Loren's posts. Don't enjoy however, the posts snarking at other people --just for the information of your survey.

I found this super easy, although I ignored the circles as I usually do, because it's just too hard to see where they are once the letters get filled in on my phone. If only the app could boldface them or something, it would be a bit easier.

Didn't know SPAHN or SKYLAR but the crosses made those happen quite easily. Scarborough Fair is a gimme for people of my generation, Rex, so that's just an age/culture thing. Huge Simon & Garfunkel hit. Linus's blanket probably hits the same demographic, come to think of it.

Loved the movie and story of HIDDEN FIGURES, which has nothing to do with geometric shapes. A nod in the direction of groundbreaking female NASA mathmeticians & scientists would have been welcome, especially since Katherine Johnson just had her 100th birthday. Check her out: https://www.nasa.gov/content/katherine-johnson-biography

Alas, that is not where the puzzle went. The theme piffled instead of popping for me.

Anonymous 8:07 AM  

SPAHN and TORRE are hardly trivia.

RAD2626 8:22 AM  

Very cute puzzle with good cluing and fill. Thought theme was Tuesday fine. Did not know SKYLAR either but once you get SKY not too many options.

@Brookboy and @ Amy Yanni. As you watch the current playoffs with the never ending stream of relievers, in July 1963, Warren SPAHN, then 42, and Juan Marichal each pitched a complete game, which the Giants won 1-0 IN THE 16th INNING. The game lasted just over 4 hours or the length of an average current Yankee/Red Sox game.

Amie Devero 8:25 AM  

Spahn, Ali, Torre.... For me, those made Skylar a gimme thanks to crosses. Without knowing any of the 3 I mention--and could not recollect Hippo until it was all be complete from its Ps, that Western block was tortuous.

Shafty 8:32 AM  

@anon3:20 Until Randy Johnson came along, Warren SPAHN was widely regarded as the greatest left-handed pitcher of all time. He’s eminently crossworthy.

Anonymous 8:33 AM  

I come here for the purpose of reading Loren’s posts, which I find interesting and amusing.

Rainbow 8:35 AM  

I know. Simon and Garfunkle? "pretty obscure"? JEESH!

QuasiMojo 8:36 AM  

Lol, re my comment above. That was supposed to be “Tonto” from the Lone Ranger not “tomato.” Gotta love autocorrect!

Eliza 8:36 AM  

Moved to San Antonio from NYC 35 years ago. When I saw OFL's comment on No bueno I took a moment to evaluate the clue and whether or not it has racist undertones. Conclusion...nope.
I, too, have never heard it used mockingly and here in SA it's as common as "That's not good."
Loved the fill in today's puzzle...didn't groan once!

michiganman 8:39 AM  

I agree. There are so many varied views on puzzles, Rex, and all the issues that come up. Let's not get into bashing one another. Disagreements, yes, but not personal.

Music Man 8:39 AM  

30D: “Scarborough Fair” is derived from an old English folk tune popularized by Simon and Garfunkel in the 1960s. S&G’s version first appeared on their 1966 album “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme” but a longer version of the tune was included on “The Graduate” movie soundtrack in 1968. Due to the popularity of the film, the song was released as a single in 1968, peaking at #11 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Bruce R 8:49 AM  

Add me to the list that sees nothing racist about NO BUENO. Rex should form a support group of Latinos offended by NO BUENO and handicapped people that are offended by the use of the word LAME (as in a LAME joke). Rex would be the only one there, but it might be a soothing SECURITY BLANKET.

pabloinnh 8:51 AM  

Grew up a Braves fan in the 50's and I could still name the whole starting lineup so Mr. Spahn was a gimme. I have never heard anyone say "dealio", ever, but that may be regional. SKYLAR was just coming into vogue as a name a few years before I retired, also had a Sage, who could have been in today's puzzle.

LMS's posts are essential. As a former teacher, I always enjoy her classroom adventures and the obvious deep interest she has in her students. (Full disclosure: we've corresponded privately over a misunderstanding here in the comments section, and she is unfailing gracious and charming, as you might expect.)

Thought this was an easy Tuesday, wheelhouse syndrome.

GILL I. 8:55 AM  

Do't even know where to begin.
First impression: Why is there such a pile-up of proper names? SKYLAR SPAHN TORE YOSHI - all in crucial places. Call it Natick or whatever you want. Left a bad taste in my mouth. NO BUENO. It shouldn't have because there was some darn tootin good stuff here.
If you're going to fill my puzzle full of names and your theme is HIDDEN FIGURES, then why did you only include ALI Mahershala and not the wonderful Octavia Spencer. Had you hidden her name somewhere in this puzzle, I would have jumped for joy. She was the only reason I watched the movie.
I guess PRISM CUBE and SPHERE could be incorporated in a NASA film. I'm trying to think how.
@Rex: Don't know whether to laugh or not at your racism remark on NO BUENO. My least favorite is NO PROBLEMO. My Latina friends and I have fun with El Cheapo and my favorite Cinco de Drinko. I suppose some people would be offended because we're offended just to be offended. So far, your offended meter is 7 for 7. @Anony's...I don't need any of your reasons for why these are offensive words because you would be preaching to the choir. I'm going to skip on over to @Kodak 7:14 and @Quasi's corner.
I don't think I've heard DEALIO. I've said DEALIE (I think). Yeah, ETHERS looks kinda funny. I haven't had the pleasure of having two of them used on my. My first operation was having my appendix removed at the age of 18 and it was one of those count to ten thingies. Loved it. My other favorite is laughing gas. I've been told I do naughty things when I'm under its influence.
Thank you JASA et al for this Tuesday. No head exploding so that was good. And now to piss off some people, I bid you an hasta la bye bye.

Anonymous 9:00 AM  

Well, I read through everything so far, with the question about LMS early in the mix. Now it almost feels like I must be a Russian bot, since I post as an Anon here, and, like so many others have already said, the main reason I visit here is to read what LMS has to say. Entertaining, thought-provoking, light-hearted. I don't agree with everything she writes, but I always enjoy it.

dan 9:01 AM  

I failed in the middle because YOPHI isn't a monster, people don't get triaged in ORs, and I suppose people need full TEASETS, not just TEAPOTS. All told, that kind of frustrated me, since the only one of those I feel I should have gotten right is ORs, and even that's not obvious.

rorosen 9:01 AM  

I always scan through the comments especially to find Loren's posts,.. one of her posts can often undo a score of bitter anonymous posts

Carola 9:10 AM  

I always like to see what the J.A.S.A class comes up with. I thought the theme phrases were top-notch - it was a treat to write in E PLURIBUS UNUM (if only, these day!). But I didn't think the reveal quite worked: the FIGURES aren't HIDDEN if the letters are circled and they jump out at you.

Me, too, for finding it more challenging than the usual Tuesday. SKYLAR had to come completely from crosses, as did the dad-blasted YOSHI, which (who?) I knew had appeared in an earlier puzzle. NONPLUS was a nice SURPRISE, and KOSHER SALT and a lone CHEERIO made an interesting ORAL pair.

BobL 9:11 AM  

Count me in as a LMS fan.

Amazes me anonymous posters cannot use a moniker
to differentiate from each other.

Matt Dorsey 9:11 AM  

I set my best Tuesday time with this puzzle today. Guess it was in my wheelhouse?

Johnny Whirlwind 9:46 AM  

They put a good revealer on a big ol' pile a garbage. Not only is there is no rhyme or reason to the ordering of the circled letters, but the "figures" chosen.. CUBE, SPHERE.. PRISM? The whole thing falls flat.

jessica cohn 9:48 AM  

Not hard for me and I often can’t finish Tuesdays without help. Simon and Garfunkel song Scarborough Fair is a classic and any baby boomer would know it. No more obscure than clues given about current cultural subjects like rap songs , or current songs and performers

Z 9:49 AM  

Lots of interesting (to me) stuff in the comments today.

@Anon3:20am - I don't think it is SKYLAR per se, but rather SKYLAR Astin in a Tuesday puzzle that is the core of Rex's plaint. Implied in Rex's plaint is that SKYLAR Astin would be fine on a Friday or Saturday and may one day be widely enough known for a Tuesday. As for SPAHN, I agree with you. Easy here but for anyone born after, say, 1965 who is not a baseball fan he's probably a WOE.

@Many - While I think Rex misinterpreted the clue, your being tired of racism being pointed out or not being personally offended is not exactly a counter argument. It's sort of like saying, "I'm tired of my doctor pointing out that I'm overweight and it's going to cause me to die early." Also - my mother would have been far to polite to correct anyone, but use NO BUENO in front of her and she would have known you were not a "true"* Spanish-speaker and would have thought you were joking/trying too hard/condescending/a fool depending on the context.

@Kavanaugh Sux - IRL I have been complimented for my posts and, when I took a vacay from posting, asked to return by multiple people. I know, right? Candidly, I post for my own amusement and because I genuinely like the Commentariat (and ex officio Commentariat) even when we disagree. Have no fear, I realize that some are irked by my opinions. But you gotta love this marketplace of ideas.

@pabloinnh - Yep.

@RAD2626 - I keep reading that all these pitching changes are supported by the data. My Response: 1968, Mayo Smith, Mickey Lolich, 7th inning, Game 5. Also, get outta here with your** Madison Baumgarner.




























*My mother would have been a prescriptivist and I wouldn't retell her rants about the "Mexican" language in polite company.
**"Your" as in all those people who thought his WS performance was unprecedented. 3 Complete Game victories, the last on 2 days rest, is far more impressive than what MadBum did.

Nancy 9:49 AM  

If you ignore the annoying tiny little circles and the silly theme, which I found just as arbitrary as Rex did, this is a pretty crunchy puzzle for a Tuesday and has some very nice fill. E PLURIBUS UNUM is nice, NONPLUS is nice, KOSHER SALT is nice. Cute clues for AIR BNB and TV ROOM. On the other hand, I hated DEALIO (people actually say that???), SKYLAR and YOSHI. Fewer pop culture clues next time, Crossword Class, OK?

I liked the two references to DYLAN, one of my all-time faves and I liked the SECURITY BLANKET Linus reference. "Peanuts" being another of my faves. The puzzle would have been better as an easy-ish themeless with no tiny little circles, but not a bad Tuesday all in all.

Walter White 9:52 AM  

Hey, you spelled Skyler's name wrong.

jessica cohn 9:53 AM  

Dan
The answer was tea sets and ers. You were right!

RooMonster 10:03 AM  

Hey All !
CUKE. No, nope, not ever. That is very discriminatory against vegetables. You should never have that in your puzzle, especially not in these times. No way. Totally insensitive.

That mock rant brought to you because of the silly rant Rex had on NO BUENO. C'mon Rex, really? I really enjoy your site, your analyses of puzzles, and the commentors. But this way high offensive meter you seem to have is getting old. NO BUENO is not offensive, not discriminatory, nothing. It's just slang in Spanish. It's like saying Buck for Dollar shouldn't be said as slang because it demeans Deer.
/rant

Anyway, I liked this puz. As we know, TuesPuzs are often meh-ish, but this one was quite lively. Some nice words in here. Light on the -ese. Rex railed at SKYLAR Astin (Astin SKYLAR?), but what about Warren SPAHN? He seems pretty obscure. Liked the different OREO clue. N central GAIA crossing AIRBNB is kinda neat. THEEU is a cool DOOK. Even liked DEALIO. "What's the DEALIO, BRO?" is something I can see a BRO saying.

One F, but plenty of the no respect vowel that a certain commentor likes. Makes up for yesterday, I guess. The long Downs where nice, too. A tad startling at 1A to start, seems like a rantable subject there. But NO BUENO gets it instead. I'm NONPLUSsed, verklempt, and all that. BRO.


I SEE CHEERIO
RooMonster
DarrinV

Rita 10:28 AM  

@Anon 1:07
An anonymous criticism of a well-known contributor is the perfect example of a post not worth reading.

puzzlehoarder 10:32 AM  

@anonymous 8:07 not to a person who really cares about baseball. That person is not me.

jberg 10:42 AM  

Hey Bro,
What's the DEALIO?
Want an OREO?
Well, CHEERIO!

Very disappointed I didn't get here fast enough to be the first to say "SPAHN and Sain and a day of rain." Thanks, @Amy.

@LMS needs no defense. I mean, c'mon -- Every once in a while some nut goes after her, or @Nancy, or one of the other commenters I come here to read. I mean, why read the comments at all if you don't want them to be interesting?

I didn't know SKYLAR, but it filled itself in from the crosses. I do agree this puzzle was weaker than previous JASA efforts. (And thanks, @Kitshef, for letting me us know that they are fellow geezers, not kids. I never thought.)

I could stand most of the ESE, but EEW to THEEU.

What's really puzzling me is 42A -- chemistry as a prerequisite to physics. In my experience, it's the other way around, but my experience is limited, I admit.

I didn't know about the IKEA manuals -- one more reason I don't shop there, now that I do know.

CHEERIO!

Nancy 10:44 AM  

My comment, written 45 minutes ago and still not posted, contains an error. I referred to "two" DYLAN clues because I was confusing the Paul Simon lyric at 30D with Bob Dylan. My very, very Bad. Sorry, Paul.

@Quasi (8:36)-- Ah, Tonto! I was really, really baffled about "Tomato", I really was.

What I remember about Warren SPAHN: As I remember it, the then-Boston Braves had two terrific pitchers and a lot of mediocrities in the rest of the pitching staff. So that when they were in either the World Series or the National League Pennant Playoffs, I forget which, the Boston fans would pray for:

Spahn and Sain
And two days of rain.

Anonymous 10:45 AM  

I don't know if I've ever disagreed with one of these write-ups more. Other than not liking NO BUENO (because that's just crap) we had a very different solve. I thought the theme was clean and executed well, I'd argue SKYLAR Astin is Tuesday famous to the younger generations (and even if he wasn't it's not the end of the world to have to get it from crosses). Whats the DEALIO, while not used much in real life is definitely a common enough phrase that I dropped it in off of just a D. To me this puzzle just seemed to flip the script a little bit, where the older solvers had a tougher time in some sections than the younger ones.

Dan P 10:49 AM  

In my mind, PRISM, CUBE, and SPHERE are solids, not FIGURES. Examples of the latter would be planar shapes, like a square, circle, or triangle. Or in a different sense, cardinal numbers could work. But to me it is a big stretch to call 3-d solids FIGURES, and we have a glaring case of an imprecise theme.

David Schinnerer 10:55 AM  

Fastest Tuesday ever. Even though it was extremely easy for me. I still appreciate that there are folks willing to do this for my entertainment here each morning. And that people are still learning and practicing this art.

With regards to Lauren...her posts are too long for me (maybe when I retire??). I can't (and wouldn't) comment on the content, as I've never read them, but certainly defend her right to post whatever she likes. Anon @1:07 you just need to skip over them and move on with your life.

GILL I. 11:03 AM  

@Z...Amigo...You want to defend @Rex's constant bickering and tossing out the Racism card every time a clue or word offends his sensitive ears, then go ahead. You're free to roam. Me thinks he sometimes does it to get the commentator's feathers to ruffle.
My youngest sister was born in Buenos Aires and the middle one in Havana. Spanish was our first language. If I was speaking to your Mom in conversation, I would never say NO BUENO to her. If I was having lunch with my sisters, we'd be having a ball with mock Spanish and mock English. My favorite mock English / Cuban is "Cierra la window que eta rainando." It's in jest. Its mock. No one gets offended. Everybody laughs. No one sounds eschubeedow. .
If you are of Spanish speaking descent and you are offended, so be it. I'm not offended and I've explained why. Mispronunciation and bad use of grammar in foreign languages has been fodder for comedians for ever. Do we now label it as racism?

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

I live in Southern California. Any self confident Latino would never consider "NO BUENO" a racial slur. My office manager is Latina and she just laughed at that when I asked her, assuring me that she would not be offended, except if someone were saying with intent to intentionally demean. Relax Rex...Not EVERYTHING is non-PC. Take a breath, dude. Knee-jerk reactions are not always a sign of social consciousness.

Malsdemare 11:22 AM  

I loved the movie HIDDEN FIGURES, enough that I bought the book and it’s even better. So this was a fun romp this lovely morn. I am well-accustomed to there being people in the puzzle I don't know, slang I've never used, game characters I've never heard of so Rex's complaints are not mine. I thought this was just dandy, even with NONPLUS and DEALIO in the grid. We use butchered and non-butchered foreign language phrases all the time, at least I do. If the phrase itself isn't offensive, I'm not sure what the problem is. In our household, dumkopf, c'est la vie, mas cervesa, danke, vamoose, pop up with regularity, which should tell you something about my world. I'm thinking of learning Italian just so I can add to the eclectic mix of languages here.

Some wonderful bloggers recommended The Newsroom as a series I might enjoy. Binge-watched three hours last night. OMG! We've decided to avoid watching the news, deciding that reading the NYt and Wapo is less likely to cause an aneurism, so the show particularly resonated. To whoever the recommender was, Vielen Dank!

Nhart1954 11:31 AM  

@anonymous re LMS. She’s the reason I read the blog. Are you asking just to start stuff up? Life’s surely too short for that,

jmirk 11:35 AM  

Loren Muse Smith is the primary reason I read the comments. Thoughtful, amusing and always interesting.

Malsdemare 11:43 AM  

@LMS needs no more defenders, but both my hands are waving, "Me! Me! I read Every. Single. Word."

David Schinnerer 11:44 AM  

One last comment...just re-read Mike's review and found it laughable when he states, regarding NONPLUS, "I'm just not going to enter the fray". This from a man who seemingly "enters the fray" on EVERYTHING!

Peter P 11:56 AM  

Pretty smooth solve here, in under my usual Tuesday time. Seems to be a pattern when I think a puzzle is easy, Rex thinks it's challenging, and vice versa. (So many times I've been just stumped on a puzzle, only to see Rex think it a breeze.)

S. Green 12:02 PM  

No bueno is racist? Rex is the kind of PC liberal who makes level-headed liberals cringe. No wonder the right wing continually wins.

Masked and Anonymous 12:03 PM  

@muse = thUmbsUp. QED.

Not too bad a TuesPuz, for one built by committee. At least U gotta admit ... its themers have lotsa "solid" content.

Had MONEYBELTS before MONEYCLIPS. Lost valuable nanoseconds. Wasn't familiar with SKYLAR & YOSHI, producin several sorta uncheckable squares, and grunts of "doh!", at my house.

Liked AIRBNB and TVROOM most. Agree with @RP: primo clue for HOSE.

staff weeject pick: ERS. Goes nicely with ETHERS. Like CHEERIO with DEALIO [shudder].

Thanx, all U JSA folks. [Superb U-count, btw!] Was there a Skylar, Yoshi, Ali, and Bill in yer class?

Masked & Anonymo10Us

Banana Diaquiri 12:08 PM  

"Spahn and Sain and pray for rain" and he pitched, mostly in the 50s. for the "Boston" Braves.

Joseph Michael 12:17 PM  

The class gets an A-. The minus is for SKYLAR SPAHN TORRE, who should get out of town on the next OILER.

Gregory Schmidt 12:19 PM  

SKYLAR/DYLAN proper name vowel Nattick.

Anonymous 12:34 PM  

Glad to see others questioning “DEALIO”
Here’s my two cents: The clue reads ....slangy “how’s it going.”. To me slang refers more to current usage than, say, the 1950s. And i think the current use is more street, as in “What’s the DEAL, YO?”. Two words, not one, same sound though. Which of course would cause a problem crossing HIPPO...

Anyone else see it that way?

ArtO 12:56 PM  

Guess @anon 1:07am frightened away our favorite blogger. Come back LMS. You are missed.

Certainly tougher than the usual Tuesday offering. Am always amazed by those who claim to whiz through the tougher rated puzzles in "record time." Especially when there is as much assorted trivia as in today's.

Suzie Q 1:01 PM  

Grouping prism with the other shapes got me curious because pyramid seemed to make more sense to me. So I looked it up and learned a few new things. That redeems this puzzle for me.
Wasn't Gaia the name of Salvador Dali's wife?

Teedmn 1:04 PM  

I will certainly go along with @Rex's rating of ~Challenging - I took more than two minutes over my Tuesday average, with @M&A's MONEY belt which then became MONEY CLasp (? NO BUENO), the SKYLeR before SKYLAR error though in my case, DYLAN was the answer that fixed that, and a couple of additional errors at GAeA and NO SURPRISEs HERE. (TV ROOM was the obvious cross so NO problemo.)

The clue for TEA SETS had me picturing passing the Sunday collection basket to pay for the tea leaves and pastries for the upcoming social. Yes, a SET can be called a collection but not in my mind on this day!

An excellent DOOK of THEEU (rhymes with SKEW?). And while I've never seen "Fantasia", I had fun picturing HIPPO ballet dancers. I liked the clue for AIR BNB. I love CUKEs, as my Dad always called them. Over all, I had fun with this. Thanks to the JASA gang and Natan and Andy.

Anoa Bob 1:19 PM  

I'm a long-time Tex-Mex Land resident and hear Spanish/Tejano/English all the time and would not consider NO BUENO a PUTDOWN, let alone racist. I say it sometimes when I lose a hand of poker.

THEEU looks weird in the grid.

I would add Sandy Koufax to the list of great left-handers.

Couple things caught my attention in the Anonymous @1:07 comment. The first is the "I post regularly and am wondering..." part and the second is the suggestion that Rex might make comments here under "different names or as 'anonymous'". Plus, the writing style seems a tad familiar. Could a regular poster be discreetly looking for feedback on how others feel about said posts? There certainly would be nothing wrong with that. Just curious.

Crash222 1:24 PM  

One of the main reasons I read this blog. If you don't want to read her posts, don't. Why waste time with anonymous put downs?

Masked and Anonymous 1:24 PM  

p.s.
"JAS folks" in my first msg. shoulda been "JASA folks".

How on earth do all those folks collude to build one puzgrid? Good result, but gotta wonder what the process would be.

M&Also

Charley 1:51 PM  

Got Spahn’s autograph when he was pitching coach of the Mets in 1962.

Peter P 2:14 PM  

@ArtO - I think it's just a matter of what trivia is in your interest range. Like, I suck at all the ones involved New York landmarks, musicals, actors from the 30s-50s, and crosswordese I haven't quite learned yet. I don't see anything particularly esoteric in this puzzle -- to me. SKYLAR I got through the crosses, but I got that without even getting to the clue. That one I truly didn't know, but the other names, TORRE, SPAHN, YOSHI, EVERS -- those were all "gimmes." It was faster for me than a regular Tuesday because it was pretty much free of all the types of clues I'm not good at.

So it's not at all unusual that a puzzle you found difficult others found easy. As I said in my earlier comment, it seems to be exactly like that for me -- the ones Rex finds easy, I often find challenging, and vice versa. It's a matter of what trivia you're into. A lot of times I read commenters say "how would anyone know that?" I think "how is anyone unaware of that?" And, of course, vice versa.



Banana Diaquiri 2:25 PM  

given SPAHN, EVERS could have been clued thus:
Tinker and Chance buddy

would have been cool.

Anonymous 2:44 PM  

@Anon 1:07,

LMS is surely a favorite. But others before you have noted here posts can feel too confessional, and they're most always too long. Criticizing a darling won't win you many friends, but many share your feelings on that subject.

@Banana,
No. Spahn is most associated with the Milwaukee Braves. The Braves left Boston early in the decade--`52 I think. And while Spahn was the clearly the dominant pitcher of the 1950's he played for so long that he had as many seasons outside the 1950s as inside.( 10 in the 1950s, 11 in the `40's and `60s)

@Z.
You es no Bueno.

Banana Diaquiri 3:04 PM  

@anon/2:44

according to the wiki, the phrase was coined in 48. Spahn played from 42, with time off for WWII. but the 50s were the most of any one decade.

Anonymous 3:08 PM  

I think the "Pitch Perfect" series is way more popular than Rex realizes. Certainly more famous than Warren Spahn for anyone under 50 (60?). I've noticed a mildly annoying tendency (here and elsewhere) that every crossword solver is a middle-aged man, so any clues outside their wheelhouse are too obscure.

Hell, at this point YOSHI's first appearance was 28 years ago, so even by that standard there's little to complain about here.

More objectionable, to me, is that SKYLER vs. SKYLAR is an easy mistake to make, but crossing with the eminently famous Bob DYLAN helped cancel that out.

Anonymous 3:17 PM  

banana,

I know. Re-read my post. I'm more than familiar with Mr. Spahn's career. In fact, I've written on him for several publications. Please refrain from explaining to me things I know far better than you.

Also, I never mentioned the phrase. I can, however, provide you with a primer on that as well.

Irenewatercolor 3:23 PM  

I'm a many year lurker. I look for LMS everyday and very much enjoy her insights and tales. I don't enjoy negativity about other commenters. Sometimes I even skip over Rex's rants when especially bitter. But always like LMS.

laura Giles 3:40 PM  

Anonymous 1:07am. Maybe you don’t understand wit. I hope you have not hurt LMS’ feeling. What is your motive for insulting someone on a blog?

Cassieopia 4:14 PM  

My phone now refers to me as "Google Account" instead of "Cassieopia" so the last two days of my comments have either been ignored or never made it to the moderators. No great loss to anyone except me, as I must now resort to using a PC. Blech.

I sincerely admire @LMS's posts, especially the wordplay. And her story about eating vanilla yogurt out of a mayonnaise jar in front of her students is one of my favorite. I've been tempted to try the trick myself in front of a room of co-workers, but lack the je ne sais quoi to pull it off successfully.

Love days when Rex says "Challenging!" and I breeze by with a near-record time. Great cluing, especially fond of "website with a lot of home pages?" and the reference to the HIPPO ballerinas, one of the funniest shorts in Fantasia. If you haven't seen the original, you absolutely must. All hand-drawn animation, coordinated beautifully with classical music - it's gorgeous and extremely creative art.

Only puzzle blemish was the SPAHN/DEALIO side-by-side. Double Blech. Otherwise, a super great Tuesday, definitely above par. Thanks, puzz makers!

Cassieopia 4:19 PM  

p.s. was I the only person really disappointed not to find a prism, a cube, or a sphere as hidden figures in the grid art?

Anonymous 4:27 PM  

@Gill I - my favorite post of the day: "Cierra la window que eta rainando." - mostly because of that "eta", which is exactly how Cubans say "esta"! and that gerund "rainando"! !Cl√°jico!

iamjess 4:41 PM  

I love CUKEs. Love them. My husband, not so much. He calls them pukey cukeys and can barely exist in the same room. Can't account for taste!

Add me to the swarm of people clamoring about the awsomeness of LMS posts. Some days, she and @Lewis are all I read.

OffTheGrid 5:26 PM  

I don't know, but how would you do that?

The5th Harp 5:55 PM  

Spahn pitched first for the horrific Boston Braves and last with the hapless Mets, each managed by the same guy. He famously said that he pitched for Casey Stengel before and after Stengel was a genius. Almost as funny as Oscar Levant saying he knew Doris Day before she was a virgin.

kitshef 6:52 PM  

The original poem:

First we’ll use Spahn, then we’ll use Sain,
Then an off day, followed by rain.
Back will come Spahn, followed by Sain,
And followed, we hope, by two days of rain.

Lynda 6:59 PM  

Loren's replies are the highlight of this blog.

mooretep 7:09 PM  

After I grimace through Rex's plaints, I ctrl-f Loren, just to see what she posts.

As a fellow (I would guess that Rex would hate that sexist nomenclature) teacher, I find her commentary to be relevant, humorous, and inspiring.

I haz a sad when she does not post here.

Ian Newbould 8:15 PM  

When the Boston Braves had only two really good pitchers, the slogan for the 1948 World Series was “Spahn and Sain then pray for rain”. The Indians beat the Braves in a non-PC series.

Ian Newbould 8:21 PM  

Spahn and Sain, then pray for rain”. 1948 Boston Braves in the World Series.

Anonymous 8:30 PM  

5th,
Yes, a good one. But check out Yogi Berra's quote upon coming out of retirement and catching Spahn in that awful 65 campaign.
Not as good as Levant, but what is....

Kitshef,
Yes. Hern had skills.

Z,
You're stil no es bueno.

Anonymous 8:57 PM  

Ian Newbould,
Well... Actually, the 48 Braves had a third pitcher who was quite good.
Johnny Antonelli.
I'll grant that Antonelli didnt do a thing to make Southworth believe he had a stud at his disposal, but that 18 year old rookie went on to win 20 games at least twice. Might have more wins had he had more starts....weather permitting banana.

4 and out

FiredatFifty! 10:51 PM  

Isn’t Hidden Figues a 2017 Best Picture Nominee?

Z 11:08 PM  

@Gill I - I didn’t actually defend Rex’s position today because the clue is spot on that NO BUENO is “Mock Spanish,” i.e “imitation Spanish.” I just also pointed out that “I’m tired of hearing about racism” and “some people aren’t offended” aren’t actually rebuttals. If you had spoken to my mom I’m sure you’d have gotten on famously. You remind me a lot of my aunt Olga. That’s a compliment.

Randy 11:14 PM  

The coins with Yoshi's face on them in Super Mario World are called "Dragon Coins", so Yoshi is clearly a dragon and not a dinosaur.

JJ 11:33 PM  

What I look forward to when I read this blog are the @LMS musings. It amazes me what she comes up with so early in the morning. Always cheerful, and upbeat- unlike the moronic troll from 1:07

Anonymous 1:08 AM  

Afraid that all the @LMS love will shy her away for weeks!




Kona810 2:09 AM  

Longtime lurker, first time commenter. Yet another huge fan of LMS, both as a poster and as a person. Her anecdotes are wonderful, and I think any student would be extremely lucky to have her as a teacher. Similarly, I think we're really lucky to have her witty, insightful comments most every day. It's too bad we've lost some other great commenters (Acme, Evil Doug, Foodie). Fortunately, we still have Rex and a lot of other wonderful folks. But of all the great commenters, past and present, LMS is clearly my favorite. I hope she never leaves.

Jocelyn B 2:24 PM  

I don't know LMS, I've never met LMS, but like so many others here, I too am a big fan of LMS. Always entertaining, refreshingly upbeat. If you are reading this Loren, thank you! and keep it up.

david 6:47 PM  

Yes it is sol, but at least "so" is better than "sew" in that stupid song where the scale is rendered as: doe, ray, me, far, sew, la, tea

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