Lion in the heavens / TUES 1-29-2019 / Paragon / Orange Muppet / German mark

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Hi, all! It's Clare — back for another Tuesday. Hope everyone is staying warm and preparing for what very well could be record lows in much of the country this week! In D.C., I think we're supposed to avoid the worst of it, but I'm still hoping for a snow day, even though in law school they make you make up any classes you miss! I'm also prepping for the Super Bowl on Sunday, and, because I know you all to be smart people, I know you all hate the Patriots as much as I do. Go, Rams!

Constructor: Benjamin Kramer

Relative difficulty: On the easier side

THEME: VOLLEYBALL (57A: Sport hinted at by the ends of 17-, 24-, 36- and 47-Across) — Phrases that end in words that all relate to volleyball

Theme answers:

  • LIP SERVICE (17A: Empty talk not backed by action)
  • COLBERT BUMP (24A: Boost after appearing on a certain old Comedy Central show)
  • TELEVISION SET (36A: Product from RGA or LG)
  • GOLDEN SPIKE (47A: Symbol of the completion of the Transcontinental railroad)
Word of the Day: Tatooine (36D: Luke Skywalker's home planet)
Tatooine is a fictional desert planet that appears in the Star Wars space opera franchise. It is beige-coloured and is depicted as a remote, desolate world orbiting a pair of binary stars and inhabited by human settlers and a variety of other life forms. The planet was first seen in the original 1977 film Star Wars and has to date featured in a total of six Star Wars theatrical films. (Wikipedia)
• • •
I thought this puzzle was just meh. While I liked the idea behind the theme, the execution wasn't overly inspiring. VOLLEYBALL wasn't clued very cleverly, and I found it was pretty easy to get the theme description and the ends of the theme answers once I got SPIKE and then SET at the ends of 47A and 36A, respectively. Even just getting the "b" in VOLLEYBALL made me realize the word would most likely end in "ball." It was pretty clever, though, how the themes work in sequence — you have a SERVICE, then the BUMP, SET, and SPIKE. My favorite theme answer was COLBERT BUMP — it's something I haven't seen clued before, and I do always love Stephen Colbert. I would've thought that more of a bump would have come from Jon Stewart's Daily Show, but what do I know?

A lot of the fill was just pretty bland, I thought. Especially the three-letter answers, like: BTW; ITS; BAG; BYE; ODE; BED. Those are all so basic and, frankly, boring. DEER MEAT (12D: Venison) was also dull. And, AS TO (35D: Apropos of) should just be banned from crosswords, in my opinion. (Am I starting to sound like Rex yet?) LEI (55A: Gift for which you might reply "Mahalo") was at least clued a little bit differently this time, which I liked.

There was a bit of international flavor in this puzzle, which was fun. There was QUINOA and OUZO crossing each other in the northwest corner. Then there were COUPE, UMLAUT, and PAELLA all in the southeast corner. Not to mention DEGAULLE (11D: Airport named for a president) and, I suppose TATOOINE, if you count an alien planet as being international.

I found MARLO and ADLER crossing each other to be kind of weird. I've heard of ADLER (15A: Psychologist Alfred), but I've never seen The Wire, so MARLO (5D: Kingpin on "The Wire") took some guessing on my part. The Wire is that show that's always at the top of my "to-watch" list, but I always seem to pass it over for something a little lighter and, more likely than not, for something that I've already seen a million times before. I also struggled in a few random places because I put in the wrong words originally: Had "thin" instead of SLIM for 21A: Slender, which hurt me some at the top; had "blast" instead of BLARE for 22A: Play loudly, as music; and wanted "rew" instead of REC for 8D: DVR button. It took me a bit to get airports like Kennedy and Reagan out of my head for 11D: DEGAULLE and realize that the puzzle wasn't referring to an American airport.

  • MACRO: Please don't remind me of my introduction to economics days from freshman year of college. Those were dark times.
  • I'm not sure I really need slaves in a puzzles with ENSLAVED (37D: Forced into bondage)
  • 54A: Work without __ A NET threw me for a bit of a loop. I kept trying to tie this into current events and really wanted to somehow make this about working without "pay."
  • QUINOA — I've never jumped on this trend and don't really have a taste for it, but other people seem to love it... (like, ahem, my sister, who keeps trying to make me like it)
  • OUZO — Legit never heard of this before — maybe my tastes just aren't refined enough yet. We certainly weren't drinking OUZO in college.
Signed, Clare Carroll, brrrraving the cold in DC

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Carola 12:47 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
puzzlehoarder 1:04 AM  

I printed out both Monday's and today's puzzles and did them in order. Today's was of course much more satisfying. As I'd hoped it had some material to work around. That's the kind of bonus I hope for in the early week puzzles.

MARLO I found out has been used once before (also on a Tuesday) but it slipped through the cracks on me so it was an unknown. This slowed down my recognition of COLBERT more than anything.

DQED is not a term that comes to mind readily for me. It only cost me the time of reading it's clue because when I came back and did the NW last I got QUINOA off the A and it all snapped into place.

I'm not surprised to see that TATOOINE is a debut. Once again reading the clue was the only cost as all the surrounding material was so basic.

Just under average for time but a fun little solve anyway. BLAST before BLARE because it came to mind much more naturally. ROTER before ROTOR because I can't spell.

Carola 1:28 AM  

As a huge fan of Wisconsin volleyball, I had my "Doh!' moment when the reveal went in. Never saw it coming. Of the theme answers, I especially liked GOLDEN SPIKE - could be the shot that wins the championship. Also nice: GOLD over HOARD (I wonder if the consructor smiled at the homophonic GOLDEN Horde).

@Clare, on the puzzle's international flavor - thanks for pointing out COUPE in the SE; I'd only noticed UMLAUT and PAELLA. We could . could perhaps add the neighboring EXILES, who are seemingly on their way out of the grid. Also, hovering up top is an ADLER (German for "eagle").

jae 1:59 AM  

On the tough side. Solid and smooth with some fun theme answers, liked it.

FWIW MARLO shows up in season 3. Avon Barksdale was the kingpin in season 1.

Brookboy 2:12 AM  

Liked it more than Clare did. I thought it was pretty much a perfect Tuesday, with just enough of a challenge to keep it interesting, but not a lot of garbage.

Clare, I do enjoy your comments, and I have enjoyed none more than your comment on hating the Patriots. Of course, hating the Pats is de rigueur here in NYC, land of woeful sports teams. Can’t wait to see how the Yankees do this year.

Thank you, Mr. Kramer, for a very nice diversion.

Larry Gilstrap 2:21 AM  

The theme was consistent and sequential and that is admirable. VOLLEY BALL was always just an insipid party game until I saw the competitive variety, particularly at the Olympic level. Kinda like ping pong; Hi, @Will. Add sand and bikinis and lots of folks are on board.

Tight corners abound, even more than four. Clare and I agree to quibble about three letter fill, but this thing was replete with four letter fill which is almost as annoying.

Santa ANA is the County Seat and used to be the most diverse municipality in the area. This is no longer your father's Orange County. Financial prosperity, education, and gentrification have changed it over the last few decades. Not a bad place to live, not to mention the weather.

Pity, Clare has never tasted OUZO, a liquor so harsh that apparently it is only tolerable with the addition of coffee beans.

Catch-22 is a bizarre novel and an even more bizarre movie, as I remember. Create a crazy world set in war to make war seem stupid. But if you know you're crazy, then you aren't really crazy; that's the Catch!

Loren Muse Smith 2:30 AM  

I had SERVICE and SET first and was thinking a tennis deal. Volleyball is a huge sport in my parts- I love watching my students play. Last year I had the pleasure of watching a kinda difficult (*read – I once had to pry her fingers one-by one off her phone to confiscate it) girl dive under several spikes and save the day. How does anyone launch themself at the floor like that? (Grammar shamers – get over yourselves; I’ve even added themself to my word document dictionary to accommodate my glorious singular they.)

“Please ___” - secretary’s words – I had the H there, so my first thought was “help.” Then “hush,” “hide.”

“Empty talk not backed by action – my go-to classroom management style. (The Phone Finger Pry was an anomaly.) This is why my students cheerfully eat me alive.

I though the clue for 46D was a typo. Sneaky sneaky. EXILES works either way.

The first B in B&B will always be “brandy” for me. Good times. Gargantuan hangovers.

DOLAPS is a dook. Hey – sorry I’m late. I had a couple of worrisome dolaps growing on my back and popped in to an urgent care to get them frozen off.

@Carola – most excellent catch with GOLDEN HOARD.

GOLDEN SPIKE reminded me of this GOLDEN prank.

@puzzlehoarder – me, too for “blast” first.

Here’s a regular guy, Will Novak, who got a Meyers Bump. It cheered me up.

The clue for 1A and the theme is serendipitous because we have this new sub, a woman I met earlier this year at a volleyball tournament; she’s also a volleyball ref. The day I met her, I was, well, ENSLAVED in that she cornered me to tell this long, long story about reffing at some other tourney. Ok. Table that for a minute. She has now subbed for my co-teacher a few times and shared a couple other longish stories. Here’s the thing – each story ended with, so anyway, I’m not welcome back in that building… I swear. Three stories, three removal/banishments. Why would you tell anyone stuff like that? I was thrown out of laundromat once, but I never offer this story up to a relative stranger.

Clare – I’m with you on hoping for a snow day!

@merican in Paris 3:24 AM  

As @Brookboy 2:12 AM already wrote, "I thought it was pretty much a perfect Tuesday, with just enough of a challenge to keep it interesting, but not a lot of garbage."

And my solving experience was very much like @Clare's -- Had "thIn" instead of SLIM for 21A; BLAst" before BLARE for 22A; "REw" until REC. And "It took me a bit to get airports like Kennedy and Reagan out of my head for 11D, DE GAULLE [Paris!], and realize that the puzzle wasn't referring to an American airport."

Also, I had "purrS" before MEOWS. If the cat on your lap MEOWS, you're doing something wrong. Hint: pet that feline from head to tail, not from the other direction.

Much of the rest of the fill was in my wheelhouse, especially the international words. Can't but not notice, however, three of @Anoa Bob's plurals of convenience (POCs) at the crossings of WEDS & DREGS, MEOWS & KEELS, and ETAS & EXILES.

DEER MEAT has played a big role in my family. I spent the first 8 years of my life on a remote farm in Maine, and DEER MEAT was our main protein. The law in Maine at the time -- perhaps still -- was that farmers could shoot DEER any time of the year if the errant ungulates were caught in the act of eating the farmer's crops. Do you think any farmers in their right minds put a fence around their gardens? You're right, and neither did my parents.

As for the revealer, I got it with no crosses after SPIKE. I love playing VOLLEY BALL. One of the young women who worked for me (until I retired) was an avid player and started a club at my place of employ. We bought a portable NET (nice VOLLEYBALL reference there) and would set it up in the park in back of the offices and play during the lunch break on Wednesdays. Players of all ages and levels were welcome, and everybody had a BALL. It is such a great social sport if your goal is long VOLLEYs and you keep it only competitive enough to make it interesting.

Lewis 5:57 AM  

My wife and I never fought over in-laws, back when they were with us -- is such bickering as common as sitcoms suggest, commenters?

The puzzle taught me the volleyball BUMP (which can be like an EZPASS), gave me the lovely word NICETY, reminded me of GOLDEN SPIKE which hasn't crossed my consciousness in decades, and gave me a lovely little battle in the SW, as I'm barely conversant in Star Wars and poker (I've heard of HIGH LOW and TATOOINE but wasn't able to produce them on command). So, all in all, a hearty thumbs up from me. As might be heard in a volleyball game, "Good stuff!"

kitshef 7:16 AM  

Theme is really good, especially having the SPIKE right over the NET.

Once a month I solve Monday and Tuesday using the cycle thru exam on Since I started doing that, this was the easiest Tuesday by a comfortable margin.

QUINOA and DEER MEAT PAELLA with OUZO? No, thank you.

mmorgan 7:34 AM  

Like Monday, a very nice puzzle I enjoyed solving in which the theme played essentially no role for me. I guess it all has to do with volleyball, like yesterday had something to do with kicks of various sorts that I didn’t know. In both cases, I got the revealer before the theme answers, and the former helped me very little with the latter. That’s just an observation, not a critique.

Also had thin and blast at first. I always call that airport CDG but I got it anyway. And I love love love PAELLA.

GHarris 7:53 AM  

Agree, it was on the easy side. Had to work a bit in the SW because I had amass before changing to hoard and never heard of Luke's planet. Also never heard or seen operant used. Every one says operational.

ghthree 8:23 AM  

I found the clue for 23 Across a bit misleading. Most mathematicians consider the natural numbers to be 0,1,2, etc. Wikipedia gives this as a standard, but qualifies it with a "Some say this; other say that" hedge. Sort of like an "alternative spelling" to a word. Some purists insist that alternative spellings should be marked as such in the clues. Others welcome the challenge of figuring it out themselves. There, I've put in my own hedge. ;-)

As to 60 Across, my blood type is OPOS, not ONEG. When I was waiting for a heart transplant, I was considered a universal donor. The distinction between POS and NEG is relevant for blood donors, but not heart donors. For reasons too complicated to include here. I would get "TMI" complaints if I did.

You might alternatively clue "ONEG" as The force one feels while standing still on the surface of the Earth (but not on TATOOINE).

Suzie Q 8:43 AM  

Just right for a Tuesday.
Nice review Clare. It's fun to see your style evolve.
@ 'mericans, Deer-proof fencing around farm fields would be impractical.
Never heard of that planet before.
Where I grew up DQ stood for Dairy Queen. Being DQed was a good thing!

QuasiMojo 8:44 AM  

@Lewis, I can’t imagine you fighting or bickering with anyone.

I found this puzzle tricky for a Tuesday. Half of what I wrote in was wrong: ALEVE before ADVIL; CREST before ORALB; STAT before ODDS; SILVER STAKE; BURNETT BUMP; lol, etc.

I was happy to get Volleyball as a theme because I love it and still play. But I agree with Clare that the clues could have been livelier.

Who would choose TATOOINE for a planet name? Were they smoking QUINOA?

Sir Hillary 8:57 AM  

Nice Tuesday puzzle. Volleyball is probably my favorite Summer Olympic sport. The players are so graceful and athletic, it's like watching a competitive form of ballet or Cirque du Soleil. Absolutely mesmerizing. Every once in a while, I'll stumble on a college game on my TELEVISIONSET, and I'm hooked.

Speaking of television, my viewing habits are much like @Clare's. I have been told by countless people that I must watch "The Wire", "Breaking Bad", "The Sopranos", "The Americans", "Homeland", "The Leftovers", etc. I love great drama as much as anyone, so I'm sure I would enjoy them. I could easily find the time, if only by cutting out my silly sports viewing -- last weekend included 3 hours of third-round PGA Tour golf and 4 hours of the England-West Indies cricket test match. But my tolerance for new (to me) programming has been reduced to sports and documentaries -- last night I watched the one on Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill (I recommend). Absent that, I end up streaming something familiar, like old "West Wing" episodes I have seen so many times I can recite every line. I can't even bring myself to watch the new season of "True Detective" the first season of which I loved. It's a struggle not to have FOMO sometimes

Spent the first 18 years of my life in Santa ANA, CA. Great place to grow up.

Mark Tebeau 9:00 AM  

Oral-B is known as a manufacturer of tooth brushes, although I suppose it makes toothpaste. That was a terrible clue and kept me from a record time as I could not believe that --alb was associated with tooth paste. It spoiled the colbertbump for me which I just loved.

Amie Devero 9:01 AM  

Is there such a thing as Oral B toothpaste? I think not. They make dental stuff, yes, but I don't think they sell toothpaste. Would it have been so hard to clue this with an accurate clue?

GILL I. 9:07 AM  

A Tuesday I had to work for. I don't know my MACRO economics. The only MARLO I know is Thomas. I'm not up on my psychologists, so ADLER took some thinking. I was beginning to REEL. Two of the vilest things to cross my LIPS - OUZO and QUINOA staring at me. I don't take ADVIL nor use ORAL B and EVIAN is utterly over-priced. DEER MEAT sitting on top of PAELLA and my head begins to spin. Can you see where I'm going with this? Of course not, because I actually enjoyed the work-out.
Took me forever to finally get to VOLLEY BALL. Well, that brought on a smile. I love that game. I still play it, but I wear clothes. Those bikini babes we see remind me of the wannabes on "The Bachelor." I was ironing last night and when I do, I have to watch TELEVISION on my LG SET. It was already on and I thought I'd watch just to see what all the fuss was about. Yikes! I'd rather drink OUZO and eat QUINOA on a PALEO diet than EVER show my face on the most vapid, vacuous, vile show that man could create. Phew....
What I enjoyed was the neat sequence: SERVICE BUMP SET and SPIKE. Yup. That's how you do it. Avoid every single food and drink item listed here (except for PAELLA, of course) and you're good to go. If you have long or fake nails, kiss them good-BYE. Think strategy and hope you're on good terms with the spiker.
Now I'm off to go see what this COLBERT BUMP is all about.

JOHN X 9:12 AM  


Not really, I finished just fine, but that's all I could think of writing

God bless us all


Teedmn 9:21 AM  

I'm sitting in a snug camper cabin in a state park enjoying the below zero temps but the forecast always seems to have weather inflation - we were supposed to get 5-9 inches of snow yesterday but it was more like 3 - it still gave us some lovely x-country skiing. And this morning it was supposed to be 14 below; it's only 8 below. Why the fake news, meteorologists?

I thought the theme was tennis also at first and couldn’t figure out why the reveal answer was going to end in BALL. I have a soft spot in my heart for VOLLEYBALL. I've always been an indifferent or even bad team sports player and I despised phy ed in high school especially after they had It factor into our grade point avg that last year. But when we were going through volleyball instruction, I was having fun. For the final exam, they threw half the class out on the floor and first we had to bump to ourselves and then set to ourselves. With no competition to worry about, I just relaxed and concentrated on the ball. When it was over, the teacher said to me, “Why aren’t you on my A team?” It's the only time I've ever felt like I coulda been a contender :-)!

I was held up at 28D, trying to picture under what circumstances a secretary would be saying, “Please HaLt.” Really, when's the last time a real human answered the phone?

Thank you, @jae, for dredging up Avon's name - he didn’t exude the same amount of menace as Marlo did, so he has faded in my memory, unlike Stringer Bell.

Nice job on your puzzle #2, Benjamin Kramer.

Outside The Box 9:22 AM  

Puzzle OK, but regarding the Super Bowl: the Rams? They don’t even belong in the game. I hope Brady buries them.

Roo Monster 10:07 AM  

Hey All !
LOL @Clare! You just moved up a couple of notches in my book with your Patriots hate! I'm not even going to watch the Stupid Bowl this year.

And, don't try OUZO if you haven't yet. Unless you like black licorice, it's some pretty nasty stuff. I can't even imagine (and frankly, don't want to) the hangover from it.

Liked the puz. VOLLEYBALL always a good time. Used to play it in the Army when we had to spend the night in the field where I was stationed. (Well, we didn't play at night, obvs, but during late afternoon when there was still light!)

Natick at the A of ADLER/MARLO, but guessable. Had MeRLe in there for a bit. Other writeovers, thIn-trIM-SLIM, Opos-ONEG.

DQED is quite odd looking. Kept parsing it as D QED. Har. Went looking for the pangram after the NW corner, but no J. Or F! No F's! C'mon man, can't we get a little F respect? :-)


Whirred Whacks 10:09 AM  

I DO LAPS (about 2 miles worth every day as part of a Masters swim team).

I’ve been part of a relay that was DQED (a swimmer had an early takeoff).

I’ve seen the GOLDEN SPIKE at the Stanford Museum.

I’ve used the ORAL B toothbrush (whose offbeat motto is “the second best thing you can put in your mouth).

Fun puzzle. Have a good day!

Nancy 10:17 AM  

DQED at 1A was a mystery to me, and only after I solved did I realize it stands for "disqualified". I've decided to use it in a sentence or two so that I'll never forget it in the future:

The shortstop, son of a well known DE DA, was DQED after being caught on the DL with the backup catcher. Of course, the catcher was DQED too. The shortstop was responsible for the most DPs in the history of the DC franchise. To make it even worse for the team, the catcher had the best average of any DH in the league.

Oh, yes, the puzzle. Crunchier than most Tuesdays and I enjoyed it.

Roo Monster 10:22 AM  

For those ORALB toothpaste non-believers, Here is one type , Here's another.

Go order them now! :-)


Anonymous 10:26 AM  

“Deer meat”? Dull? Eskimos eat whale meat and blubber: you’d blubber too if all you ate was whale meat.

Roo Monster 10:29 AM  

Oh well, at least one link worked!

OISK 10:38 AM  

DNF on a Tuesday! How did this happen? Never heard of Quinoa, and somehow did not think of the obvious "Pos." Quinta and PTS. Boo.

Otherwise, Tatooine on Tuesday? Never heard of that either, and am sure it will remain meaningless to me forever....

@merican in Paris 10:43 AM  

@Amie Devero 9:01 AM and @Roo Monster 10:22 AM -- ORAL-B does still make toothpaste, but only markets it under that name any more in Europe. Your images, @Roo, I believe are of the UK product. I looked on the ORAL-B's US website, and it mentions that they are a member of the P&G group. If you click on the Toothpaste page -- surprise, surprise -- what you'll find is lots of endorsements of Crest.

So, it seems @Amie is right. Perhaps ORAL-B once sold toothpaste in the USA, but it does no longer.

ArtO 10:53 AM  

@LMS I believe the first B in your B&B should be Benedictine as in Benedictine & Brandy. Pardon the correction as I always find your blogs exceptionally perceptive and entertaining. Thanks.

As for the puzzle, DQED did not come to mind easily but the crosses came to the rescue. ADLER and MARLO cross not quite a natick but again workable with the crosses since Adler did come to mind after a few downs.

albatross shell 11:01 AM  

Catch 22 is a crazy novel that knows it's a crazy novel. Therefore a sane novel. Being in an army at war, seeing it from the inside must be crazy. My favorite comic part: read back the last line. Makes me laugh every time.
Played in a summer co-ed league. Was consistently missing spikes fired in my direction. I was a great defensive pingponger. I imagined the volley ball as a pingpong ball and muscle memory kicked in. I could dig most anything. A trick I applied to other situations.

The puzzle: I LIKED THE misdirection. OralB does does make a toothpaste. Good clue for early weekday. Easy to get with crosses, but not a blind fill-in. The trend runs through much of the puzzle. LIKED African Queen and Agee to.

Nancy 11:05 AM  

@GILL (9:07)-- Again, we agree. OUZO and QUINOA are two of the worst things I've ever tasted too. Except for KALE, of course.

@Teedmn (9:21) -- You're in some godforsaken cabin in the middle of what sounds like the Arctic, complaining that it's "only" 8 below zero instead of the 14 below zero they "promised"??? And that you "only" got 3" of snow instead of the 5-9" they "promised"? Such a complaint boggles my mind. I know they breed 'em tough in Minnesota, but even so...

...I'd rather be in CA playing VOLLEYBALL with @GILL. Or in FL playing VOLLEYBALL with @Quasi. Or in CA, DOING LAPS with @Whirred Whacks. For that matter, wouldn't it have been great to grow up in SANTA ANA with @Sir Hillary. These thoughts arise as awful weather, including the dreaded (for me) ice, heads for NYC, and I'm wondering if I can get some outdoor walking in ahead of it. It may be my last outdoor activity for a while. Arctic temps are also coming -- seemingly at any moment.

Speaking of climate change, thanks for the photo of TATOOINE, Clare. It's the first Star Wars clue that I've actually found at all interesting. Is that what Planet Earth will look like one day -- if not a lot sooner? Loved your TATOOINE witticism, @Quasi.

jberg 11:05 AM  

Like @Lewis, I didn't know about the VOLLEYBALL BUMP, but it was inferable.
@Clare, thanks for the writeup! BTW, nothing sophisticated about OUZO.

Gotta run.

albatross shell 11:18 AM  

Zero is not a natural number in history or in math. If zero is to be included it is specified or clear by context. If natural, the Romans woulda had it.

Crimson Devil 11:31 AM  

A few hiccups, most notably POS. Also ONEG, ORA B paste, QUINOA, and TATOOINE. Good puz.
WhoDat Nation wuz had, now sporting t-shirts Blow Whistles Not Calls.

What? 11:56 AM  

Clare, obviously you didnt spend your year before law school touring Greece where ouzo is kind of the National Drink. BTW, to those who don’t like anise-infused drinks, stay away from absinthe. It’s like drinking licorice sticks. ONTOH, it does make one feel like painting.

Banana Diaquiri 12:08 PM  

@albatross shell:
Zero is not a natural number in history or in math.

sure it is. just invented by Muslins. the Romans weren't smart enough. their notion of numbers was stupid.
"Some definitions, including the standard ISO 80000-2,[1] begin the natural numbers with 0, corresponding to the non-negative integers 0, 1, 2, 3, …" see the wiki
"The use of Arabic numerals spread around the world through European trade, books and colonialism." see, also, the wiki

as to VOLLEYBALL, the wimins' beach version is the closest thing to X rated basic cable that exists.

Roo Monster 12:18 PM  

@Crimson 11:31
The NFL should give Head Coaches the opportunity to challenge penalties. Like the Red Flag for challenging catches, Have it two to three penalty challenges a half, either for blatantly missed calls, or for blatantly wrong calls.
Let's all write the NFL and see if Public Opinion can help right this referee nonsense.


OffTheGrid 12:25 PM  

Oral B IS a toothpaste brand, doesn't matter where. Don't whine that it ruined your solve.

Isn't practice swimming...just swimming?

LIPSERVICE sounds naughty.

WebMD has no reference for DOLAP.

Why does 58D clue have a "?"? Seems straight up.

CDilly52 12:38 PM  

One of those days, it seems in which the puzzle was either in or out of one’s wheelhouse. Smack dab in mine-half the usual Tuesday time except MARLO, which hung me out to dry for way too long, and I have seen all of The Wire! Avon didn’t work nor did Bell, thought maybe SBell, nope, because 5A had to be MiCRO or MACRO. Knew ADLER and just had to give up until the end and get all the crosses which took a while because I really liked “thin” for SLIM. If not for that snag, I would have had Monday time (for me under 10:00). Overall, I thought the grid was pretty clean and even the usual crosswordese was clued a bit better than usual so I count this as well above the Tuesday average.

Gerry Kahle 12:52 PM  

Knew neither ADLER nor MARLO so that was a Natick for me. Guessed “A” but still ...

Myuen88 1:02 PM  

Watch The Wire!!!

Hartley70 1:16 PM  

The best moment of the puzzle for me was the clue for HAND. I had forgotten the nursery school turkey drawings for Thanksgiving with finger tracings for feathers. I would never have thought of that clue, but it gave me a smile.

B&B did me in also on one unforgettable night @LMS. Drambuie took care of another but it sure was tasty. After dinner drinks are off the table for me now.

Speaking of INLAW, I’d rather not. I’m just determined to be the kindest one ever.

I liked this theme although I got it quickly off the SPIKE. The NW hung me up for a bit because I didn’t know DQ and the only trendy food that came to mind immediately was açaí. There are enough grains in my life already. I haven’t even dealt with barley yet.

@Teedman, you are so cool!

Anonymous 1:28 PM  

(31A) In effect = OPERANT. That clue was, in effect, a misdirect for me. I relied on crosses to get it, and it still looks and feels a little goofy. Anyone else trip on it?

Gregory Schmidt 1:33 PM  

I liked it. Lots of good words and clueing, and minimal junk fill. Thumbs up, for a change.

Crimson Devil 1:45 PM  

Yup, surely there’ll be changes to NFL rules to ameliorate. Their OT rules also need work. College’s not much better.

Masked and Anonymous 1:54 PM  

A bit spunky, for a TuesPuz. Had only 74 words and the looong corner stacks, mostly thanx to TELEVISIONSET in the middle, with its runty black end squares. Puzgrid had a couple toughish crossins, at the intersections of ADLER/MARLO & QUINOA/DQED. Better DQED clue = {Blizzard tutorials, for short??}.

@Clare: yep. It's gettin kinda darn hard for constructioneers to splatz a lot of fresh, debut words into a MonPuz or TuesPuz. Almost everything non-raised-by-the-wolves got used up, in the first 25,000 or so NYTPuzs. F'instance: There is but *one* NYTPuz debut word in today's puz. Any guesses on which one? *

fave fillin, other than the debut word: ANET. Better clue: {Famous Mouseketeer name, for short??}. Also, OPERANT -- don't hear that one in daily conversation much. Just sittin there without a clue, it looks opera-related, to m&e. A singer of the operant persuasion. D'QED. (yo, @Roo)

staff weeject pick: POS. {Like all natural numbers: Abbr.} really oughta = NUD, tho. Extra U, 2.

COLBERTBUMP themer was news to the M&A. Trump gets pelted with a COLBERTDUMP about every weeknight -- that I'm pretty sure about.

Thanx for all the VOLLEYBALL matches, Mr. Kramer.

Masked & Anonymo4Us



Anonymous 2:07 PM  

Oral B makes toothbrushes-not toothpaste (10D)

Masked and Anonymous 2:19 PM  

@Anonymous 2:07pm:
Do a Google on "ORAL B TOOTHPASTE PIC", one time.
(Surprised me a little bit, too.)

M&A Help Desk

JOHN X 2:34 PM  

Toothpastegate has been solved. Our long national healing process can begin.

Anonymous 2:40 PM  

An easy-ish, fun puzzle. Thanks very much Mr. Kramer for a worthy Tuesday challenge.

Hungry Mother 2:41 PM  

Up early for a 5 mile race and beach party in Costa Maya, Mexico, so didn’t get to this until i herded my drunken friends (and wife) back to the ship. It wass a 3 mile walk in the sun and hear and Margaritaland had kept them too long, so halfway we had to beg $4 from a sober running friend to catch a cab for part of the way. Anyhoo, I sat on our deck and ate Clif bars and drank Poweraid whilst I had a personal worst time on the Mini and a kinda slow time on the regular puzzle. Good fun.

Hungry Mother 2:46 PM  

Zero is NOT a natural number. PhD in mathematics here.

albatross shell 3:09 PM  

The history of zero is subtle and complicated. The first listings of arabic numbers had a space in the place where we now use 0 in numbers larger than 1.Then a dot or a double line indicating no numeral in this place. Then came the use of 0 as a placeholder, and then came 0 as a number in its own right placed before 1. New historical facets of zero are still being discovered. It was not easy for any culture to accept the use of zero. Mayan and Incan stories are of interest too.

pabloinnh 3:22 PM  

Liked the theme as I too like volleyball. I'm one of the few people I know who has broken a toe while playing. If you would like to try it, make a quick move toward a ball that's going out of bounds and kick the standard that holds the net post. Works better if it's screwed into the floor.

Awaiting the arrival of the latest snowstorm here and the cold air shipment from the midwest. No beach volleyball for a while. Instead, we're off to celebrate my baby boy's birthday. Somehow he got to be 32.

Put me in the "just right for a Tuesday" crowd.

Joe Dipinto 3:49 PM  

26.5 / 2.5

There, someone had to do it.

@merican in Paris 4:36 PM  

Aaaaaargh! @M&A (and others): please read my post at 10:43 AM. And click through to the sources of those photos of ORAL-B toothpaste. They's all from UK websites, such as,,! That's the point: ORAL-B toothpaste, if ever it was sold in the USA, is no longer. IMO, American solvers shouldn't be expected to know the names of brands sold outside the country.

Anonymous 4:57 PM  

Hungry Mother,
Come on! Don't get rolled by banana. You know waaaaaay better than that.

Roo Monster 5:35 PM  

I like your posts, and this is not a dig or insult towards you (or Mrs. 'merica), but we have Foreign words and/or products in the NYT puzs all the time. Why the fuss over ORAL B toothpaste?
And, just wondering, do you have it over there in Paris? Or S it just UK?

Fourth Roo of the day, so I'll go slink away now...

Rebel Roo

Rainbow 5:45 PM  

This toothpaste argument is the stupidest thing I've ever seen on this blog.

Also, I love the Patriots. Go Tom!

JC66 5:49 PM  

@Roo et al

All @WS had to do was change the clue for 10D to "toothBRUSH" brand.

Masked and Anonymous 5:54 PM  

@merican: But … I could be wrong, but looks like Target here in the SW USA also sells the Oral-B toothpaste.
I prefer Crest, tho.
At anyhoo rate, I wrote ORALB right into that puzgrid during my solve, just thinkin it seemed logical enough -- and then ran for it, savin on the nanoseconds.

M&Also Help Desk

Banana Diaquiri 6:23 PM  

Zero is NOT a natural number. PhD in mathematics here.

doesn't matter. 0 is, and has always been, a natural number. only the fringe has denied it. :) go argue with the Ph.D.s at ISO.

Sara Dacus 10:23 PM  

Time posted by Arkansas girl who has been solving for a year and a half: 20:43. But did it last night right before going to bed and kept nodding off. So maybe pretend to shave a bit or two off of it?

GHarris 12:00 AM  

@anonymous 1:28PM see my comment @GHarris7:53AM

Mike 12:56 AM  

The thing about the COLBERT BUMP was from his Comedy Central show. In true Colbert, style, Colbert himself would tell guests in the interview that they would be getting the Colbert Bump by appearing on the show. I don’t think it carried over to CBS since he isn’t in character as host now. It was hard enough for me to watch four half hours a week and I hardly watch anything now.

Yam Erez 2:54 AM  

Never heard of quinoa nor ouzo? I reside in the Middle East, which is way further from Latin America than is North America, and see it here daily. And ouzo...a Mediterranean liqueur. Not that exotic. OralB products are sold here, but never seen their toothpaste. Agree the clue on that one was disingenuous. C'mon: "toothbrush" woulda been fairer.

My issue with DQed: First of all, never heard of it nor read it. When I finally did look it up, well, "disqualify" is one word. So it just got split into two via its acronym. Oh well. I can dig it.

Agree with whoever wrote to the effect that "Yeah, yeah. I know I gotta watch The Wire and about a zillion other series, and yeah, FOMO." And Star Wars. Saw the original in 1978, was less than enthused then. Fun puzzle!

CS 10:48 PM  

I know I'm late to the game here but Clare threw down the gauntlet so I just have to point out that Massachusetts regularly ranks as the most educated state in the country and most of the New England states are also ranked high:

You are playing with fire by dissing our teams .... but we are smart enough to know what's what ;-D

Burma Shave 10:13 AM  




fakt chekker 10:37 AM  

@Hungry Mother, so much for your PhD, ask @Rex, they ain’t what they used to be:

Definition of Natural Number:
The whole numbers from 1 upwards: 1, 2, 3, and so on ...

Or from 0 upwards in some fields of mathematics: 0, 1, 2, 3 and so on ...

No negative numbers and no fractions.

spacecraft 10:58 AM  

This puzzle seemed schizophrenic to me: much of it Monday-simple but with a scattering of Thursday-level aberrations, starting off with the "voScrabbulary" in the NW. DQED took a few seconds to aink in, as did the "DO" part of DOLAPS. Luckily I know (but have never tasted because I hate anise flavoring) OUZO.

"In effect" is a sideways clue for the little-used OPERANT. That was a Thursday moment, "in effect." So too was the clue involving a non-American president--ya got me again, guys. For a while. Let me beat this into my skull: CROSSWORS PRESIDENTS NEED NOT BE US PRESIDENTS!

I'm also not familiar with "BUMP--" either COLBERT-wise or VOLLEYBALL-wise. I thought maybe BUMP referred to the forced player rotation, as when a SPIKEr got bumped to the back ROW. The other thing I never heard of; didn't see Stephen till he took over the late show.

ASTO the overall solving experience, I enjoyed it. It had enough teeth (cared for by ORAL-B!) to HOLD my interest. With ONEG coursing through my veins, I used to be a universal donor (now sadly past the age cap of 77: stopped at 8 gallons). MARLO Thomas remains a DOD to this day. Score: birdie.

thefogman 11:24 AM  

HOLD on and let me LEI it on the line. ITS not IDEAL ORE to the MAX, but ITS REEL good - an EZPASS for a Tuesday.
BTW Clare, you compared yourself to OFL. ITS OK. YULE LIVE. :-) Just take two ADVIL and SLEEPON it. BYE for now...

rondo 11:56 AM  

After the GOLDENSPIKE came along I filled in VOLLEYBALL without even checking the clue. H.S. VOLLEYBALL teams often emerge from a timeout huddle with a “BUMP, SET, SPIKE!” chant. At least they used to.

I, too, had MARLO circled. Poor Donald, I don’t think he ever got That Girl to BED. MARLO Thomas is still doing great charity work that she INHERITed from daddy Danny.

I think YULE agree that this was an almost IDEAL Tues-puz.

leftcoastTAM 1:52 PM  

Tough Tuesday, particularly in the serial killer NW. Couldn't come up with QUINOA due to crossing DQED and POS. (Lazily settled on L instead of Q and I instead of O.)

PAUSES at TATOOINE and MARLO (unknowns), UMLAUT and PAELLA (spellings), and COLBERT BUMP (unsure of connection with Comedy Central).

Good, helpful, EZ theme.

leftcoastTAM 2:47 PM  

"Banishees" a misprint? Thought so, but no. Noun, not a verb. Same for EXILES. Cute.

rainforest 2:49 PM  

Nifty Tuesday puzzle and an apt follow-up to Monday's little gem. Bodes well for the week.

My son has played volleyball for most of his life, and he says that BUMP is not the real term, which is "pass". Non-pros like to use BUMP, though.

Nice job on the theme, and in fact on the whole puzzle. Not sure that anyone actually says TELEVISION SET anymore. Liked SPIKE over NET.
On to Wednesday.

Diana, LIW 3:15 PM  

MARLO/COLBERT at the O was my Natick, but I guessed properly. I do believe I had all the rest...must go check.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords, but all set for ACPT on the 22nd

RichardBreedon 6:14 PM  

No one seems to have mentioned BERT crossed with ERNIE at 25D.

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