NFL Hall of famed Bronko / TUE 4-21-15 / Voting bloc from Reconstruction to 1960s / Chinese divination book / Slow Spanish dance / Cezanne et 4-verticale / Bettor's comeback / Hwy cut into two parts by Lake Michigan

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Constructor: Gerry Wildenberg

Relative difficulty: Challenging (**for a Tuesday**) (time: over 4 minutes)

THEME: (SA- thru SU-) x 2 — two-word phrases where both words start with "S" and the subsequent letter in each case is a vowel, starting with "A" in the first theme answer and ending with "U" in the last:

Theme answers:
  • SATURDAY SABBATH (17A: Jewish observance)
  • SESAME SEED (22A: Hamburger bun topper)
  • SIMPLE SIMON (33A: Nursery rhyme character "going to the fair")
  • SOLID SOUTH (49A: Voting bloc from Reconstruction to the 1960s)
  • SURGE SUPPRESSOR (55A: Power strip part)
Word of the Day: Bronko NAGURSKI (37D: N.F.L. Hall-of-Famer Bronko ___) —
Bronislau "Bronko" Nagurski (November 3, 1908 – January 7, 1990) was a Canadian-born American football player. He was also a successful professional wrestler, recognized as a multiple-time world heavyweight champion. (wikipedia)
• • •

America: we are all supposed to know who Bronko NAGURSKI is. I know, I know, it's not fair, but this is Obama's America, so love it or leave it or something. I first griped about the obscurity of this guy earlier in the month, in an indie puzzle (I think), but then some kid taunted me by saying it was a gimme, but I wrote that off to the kid's being a show-off (pfft, kids). But now here we are. From never-seen-him to seen-him-twice inside a month. I can see how his name would have a certain allure for odd name fetishists, i.e. most crossword constructors. I still think he's as far from a Tuesday answer as Ceres is from Mercury, and that placing him in that particular place (37D), where his name is the *only* way into the top part of the SE, was particularly cruel (and had an even greater De-Tuesdaying effect). But Bronko NAGURSKI is the new normal. I am learning to live with it.

The theme … I didn't notice until I was done. Well after I was done, actually. Immediately after, I went to google to confirm that SURGE SUPPRESSOR is baloney, or at least not the thing one first thinks of when confronted with the phrase "SURGE ___." And I was right. Tell 'em, google:

I wanted PROTECTOR. Everyone wanted PROTECTOR. Yeah you did. Shut up, you did so. That answer and SATURDAY SABBATH (which I always thought was just SABBATH) both felt forced, especially compared to the others, which were tight—though, full confession, I flat-out Did Not Know SOLID SOUTH. Never heard of it. I took US History. And yet … I had nothing. Run NAGURSKI through SOLID SOUTH and SUPPRESSOR (which this puzzle does) and you can see where I spent most of my time floundering. That SE was like it's own little mud pit. Muddy because difficult and muddy because kinda ODORiferous, fill-wise (USTEN EMOTER OOP … and TOE SIN: The Lowest Sin Of All). The rest of the grid felt pretty clean.
    Lesser: ALTI, EXC, MDI

    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    P.S. To "AT" "SS" and "ME" at the Albert E. Jenner, Jr. Law Library at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign—I'd love to reply to your thoughtful, handwritten letter, but I'll need more than just your initials.

    [Follow Rex Parker on Facebook and Twitter]


    Steve J 12:36 AM  
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    Steve J 12:39 AM  

    Easy here. Didn't pick up on the theme at all while solving. Missed the theme when I looked at the puzzle after (in that I didn't pick up on the vowel progression part). Pretty decent overall, especially for Tuesday standards. Nothing terribly exciting, but nothing terribly disappointing.

    Rex, yes, you are supposed to know who Bronko NAGURSKI is. At least inasmuch as you know who Jim Thorpe, Jesse Owens, Red Grange, George Halas, Mel Ott, Hank Greenberg, Jimmie Fox and the other top-tier athletes of that era. (If you don't know or care about sports history, then, no, you should have no idea who Bronko NAGURSKI is.) It was definitely a gimmee for me, filled uncrossed off the clue.

    Embarrassing error: I for a time had Nokia instead of NIKON at 62A. Never mind that one's a phone and one's a camera. Never mind that one's Finnish and one's Japanese. And never mind that I've shot with a Nikon for many years.

    dmw 12:48 AM  

    Bronco Nagurski was, of course, a gimme. But the ALTI/ICHING cross not so much. Otherwise an average Tuesday. Also could have cared less about the theme, had to read Rex to get the AEIOU bit. Someone tell me about EXC?

    AliasZ 12:49 AM  

    SA-SA, SE-SE, SI-SI, SO-SO, SU-SU. That's EXC(-ellent, -eptional, -iting, -lamatory, -lusive, -remental, -ulpatory)! SAy-SAy, SI-SI, SE-SEñor, you don't like it? SO-SO SU-SU me-me. Well, it's good enough for a Tuesday.

    Nice grid spanners with SATURDAY SABBATH and SURGE SUPPRESSOR. SOLID SOUTH is a new one on me, and in all honesty, while I understand what was meant by SATURDAY SABBATH, I never heard it put quite that way before.


    - Normally when I RAISE, I CHING. As in cha-ching.
    - I was not pleased to see Vladimir Ilyich LEANIN -- who's next, Iosif Vissarionovich STEALIN?
    - Almost unnoticed, we started a modest LEO streak again yesterday. Can we go for three?
    - If I played footsie with a married woman, would that be TOE SIN?
    - I sure hope the Japanese camera sitting atop NIPS was a coincidence.
    - NAGURSKI, shmagurski. Liz Gorski, where are you? We need some grid art.

    To celebrate the BOLERO, let us listen to the first movement, "Tiempo de BOLERO", of "Concierto Andaluz" for four guitars and orchestra by Joaquin Rodrigo (1901-1999). If you have the time and inclination, I highly recommend the complete work played by the Romeros and the same ensemble that performed its world premiere in 1967, as heard on this recording. It is well worth it.

    CASHIER later.

    Unknown 12:54 AM  

    Rex obviously isn't a Bears fan.

    RAD2626 1:16 AM  
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    RAD2626 1:21 AM  

    This has started out as French week. Lots of not often seen words "for a Tuesday" , many of which crossed each other: APU, ICHING,ALTI, ELAND, MOTT ST etc. Fun puzzle with some challenges and a simple but well-executed theme. NAGURSKI only Bronco so pretty much a gimme.

    jae 1:23 AM  

    Tough Tues. for me too. 

    Yes to wanting SURGE protectoR.

    Had  tan before SUN.  

    If I hadn't known LEAN IN the NE might have also been tough with EXC. 

    NAGURSKI was a gimme but MOTT ST,  TOES IN...don't seem very Tuesdayish. 

    Another possible tricky cross if you mix up your French and Spanish: ARTISTES/UNE.

    @Steve J - Didn't catch the vowel progression until I read Xwordinfo.  Very clever with mostly decent fill.  Liked it.

    Anonymous 1:30 AM  

    @DMW: EXC is short for "exception." One doesn't count exceptions. As in, "I'll make an exception and not count EXC as lame fill."

    @Brett Chappell: Thanks for the assist on THIGH for "Mini revealer" the other day. Due to NYT blue rules, I tend to shut down the part of my brain that would even consider that interpretation. Of course, the opposite holds true BEQ puzzles!

    What Steve J said. I will pile on with those who consider Bronko NAGURSKI as a gimme, just I would consider Babe Zaharias clues a gimme as well.

    Very entertaining early comments! Thanks to all!

    chefwen 2:48 AM  

    Did not see the vowel progression, thanks Steve J.

    My brother had a cat that he named NAGURSKI, I never knew why. He lived in Chicago, so now I know. His other two cats were names Ronco and Popiel, He was in the advertising business, so that is self explained.

    Charles Flaster 4:36 AM  

    Loved this easy puzzle with a beautifully constructed theme.There were some forced entries but very little crosswordEASE--rather amazin'.
    Liked cluing--CASHIER, EMOTER, SONAR and MOTT ST( need the abbr.). Mott Street is one of my favorite NYC( could have been in the clue) streets with fab Chinese restaurants.
    Thanks GW.

    GILL I. 4:39 AM  

    GAH (short for God Awful Hokum)...
    I guess I felt like SIMPLE SIMON trying to sell a POM or an APU or some UNH and maybe a SMU at the market. I didn't get any buyers...
    OOPs, I didn't know NAGURSKI but I didn't care, because I got the unheard of SURGE SUPPRESSOR.
    Not a favorite Tuesday. I have this urge to go dance the BOLERO and smoke a CLARO.

    John Child 4:39 AM  

    I am delighted to be challenged a bit on Tuesday. Bronco N was a fill-in, though I wasn't sure about the first vowel.

    APU not clued to The Simpsons and ALTI were a bit tough, but only a bit. SUPRESSOR is fine: that's what we call them here.

    @chefwen, a close friend dated Ron Popiel's daughter in the mid 1970s, so I had an early introduction to products such as the pocket fisherman!

    Thomaso808 4:48 AM  

    I thought this was a pretty good Tuesday. I also liked Rex's write-up, especially the "odd name fetishists, i.e. most crossword constructors".

    I got the S-S part of the theme, but did not notice the aeiou thing, even after reading Rex, until I saw @Steve J and @dmw. Thanks for pointing that out. Not only does the theme progress in order through the vowels, but both words of each theme answer have the same vowel. Pretty cool!

    The S-S theme really helped with SOLIDSOUTH and SURGESUPRESSOR.

    My only real problem was at MOTTST / SEURAT. I did not know SEURAT, and did not see the ST as "street" (there was no abbreviation in the clue). I could not imagine a street name with a TTST in it so I ran all the vowels through MOT_ST. SEURAe, SEURAi, SEURAo, and SEURAu all looked great to me. Finally gave up and googled Georges, so DNF. Still, really good Tuesday!

    Loren Muse Smith 4:50 AM  

    Agreed – lots of foreign language that could trip up early-week solvers. Hey, Dad. (Dad, who bragged a while back, "Well, I was proud of myself that at least I got NO EAR." So I went back to check because I didn’t remember that entry and was wondering how the heck it had been clued. . . and realized he was talking about NOIR.)

    I had a dnf because I just didn't guess the APU/NAGURSKI cross. Any vowel would have worked there for me.

    Yeah, me, too, for SURGE "protector" being more in my language. Wonder if Gerry tried SUGAR SUBSTITUTE there.

    Like, @jae – "tan" before SUN. And lots of colleges: SMU, U MASS, UNH, GA State.

    SNARL right before NIPS. POMs can be just as mean as Maltese.

    Rex – I kept parsing it TOE SIN, too. I commit one every time I where reinforced -toe hose with open toe shoes. Please don't tell me you do the same.

    OUTGUN – just yesterday, I think I finally got a couple of guys interested in writing a short story. I told them I had read that West Virginia has one of the highest guns-per-capita rates in the US and suggested that foreign invaders would be in for a big surprise once they hit our state. Hoo boy, they were already discussing which hills in Calhoun County they'd be setting up shop in. Score.

    I never mind a vowel progression theme, and I especially enjoy/remember the ones wear there are two words. Good job, Gerry!

    Danp 5:26 AM  

    @Steve J - Hands up and face hidden for Nokia. Finnish? Really?

    George Barany 5:45 AM  

    Apologies from the upper Midwest, but I need to stand up for Bronco NAGURSKI. Please click on the link (previous sentence) for an appreciation of arguably the greatest athlete in Gopher history, and here for a photo of the Gibson-NAGURSKI complex on the campus of the University of Minnesota. Moreover, his legend was known to me even when I learned some sports history over 40 years ago while living in New York.

    So obviously, when the S-S motif emerging so quickly, and with NAGURSKI being such a gimme, this puzzle did not put up much of a fight. I was surprised to see EXC, but in the after-the-fact analysis over at, note that this abbreviation was introduced into the Shortz-era lexicon by the incomparable Brendan Emmett Quigley. Twice, in fact, but clued as "First-rate: Abbr." and "Tops: Abbr." (i.e., EXCeptional), rather than "Not counting: Abbr." (i.e., EXCepting).

    Glimmerglass 7:18 AM  

    NAGURSKI was a gimme for me (and most sports fans), but I learned something from Rex's write-up today. When I was a smart-ass young man (as opposed to the smart-ass old man I am now), a familiar trivia question was, "What was Bronko Nagurski's real first name?" The answer was supposed to be "Bronko" (trick question). Today I learned the gag was wrong! There was no Google in those days. No internet. No computers. (But we did have electricity.)

    Anonymous 7:19 AM  

    Yep, Rex got it right, challenging "F.A.T." I don't buy those claiming it's "easy". Even if the odd clues fall in your wheelhouse, you have to admit there's a ton of odd fill that makes this non-Tuesdayish. Loved some of it, but SURGE SUPPRESSOR is nothing I've heard of. Do they call it that in NZ? TOES IN for a wheel needing re-alignment? I could go on but others have said it already. For me it's meh--the good doesn't fully outweigh the bad.

    Aketi 7:23 AM  

    @steve J, like others got the s-s, but not the vowel's.

    I oddly got SURGE SUPPRESSOR and didn't even notice it wasn't surge protector until I came here and realized, that yes, I too refer to it as a protector.

    On one of my trips to Niger, I thought I had brought the right combination of plug's, surge protector's, and transformer's to use my laptop. Unfortunately, I managed to blow the fuses in the entire hotel. Fortunately I had stayed in that hotel so many time's before and they liked me enough that they forgave me. Amazingly the laptop was perfectly fine.

    Mohair Sam 7:26 AM  

    Jeez @rex, those who don't know a thing about Bronko NAGURSKI's career (like me) know that name - greatest football name ever. Also very surprised that Rex's history books never mentioned the Solid South.

    Tough Tuesday puzz in this house. Some foreign words, and who knew MOTT ST would make a musical?

    Nokea is Finnish? Shouldn't it be named Lars or something?

    smalltowndoc 7:27 AM  

    Kind of agree with @Rex on this one. "SATURDAY SABBATH" is a thing? What other kind of Sabbath do Jews observe?

    Oh, and @Steve J, not sure who Jimmy Fox is. Now, Jimmy Foxx, there was a superstar!

    Lewis 7:40 AM  
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    Lewis 7:43 AM  

    @Rex -- Very enjoyable writeup!

    @smalltowndoc -- No. SATURDAY SABBATH is not a thing. SABBATH is the thing. No one says SATURDAY SABBATH. Not in the Jewish community I grew up in (Miami Beach) and in any conversation I ever had in my life. It is redundant, IMO, like saying "paperback softcover".


    I like the upper UPPER, and that the SOLIDSOUTH is in the south. I wouldn't have thought about NIPS as a racial slur, I don't think, had it not been right below NIKON.

    Some answers appeal to me - SURGESUPRESSOR, SNARL, ALLUDE, ARTISTES, and NAGURSKI. And some bite for a Tuesday, yet too easy for a Wednesday. Just right. Thank you Gerry for an enjoyable solve!

    Dorothy Biggs 7:51 AM  

    Wait a tick on this whole "NAGURSKI is a gimme to most sports fans" crap. I'm a big sports fan. I'm a big football fan. I've followed the NFL since before it was the NFL. NAGURSKI does reside in my brain somewhere, but God bless him, he is an outlier to the big names of that era. All of you who thought it was easy have to admit that, while an important player of the time, he isn't exactly a household name...and if he is in your household, then you need to get out more.

    SOLIDSOUTH? I live in the south and I have only heard of yellow dog democrats as a thing from that era. I have never heard of solid south. Here in Tennessee the democratic party is basically nonexistent and the mourners only refer to the death of the yellow dog democrat not solid south democrats (or "a" solid south, or "the" solid south).

    SURGEprotEctOR for me too, but I knew by then that it had to be a SURGE S-something. Right next to Nagurski, in my brain, lives the knowledge that some power strips only suppress surges.

    EMOTER is downright inelegant.

    As you might can tell, I didn't care for this puzzle.

    Anonymous 7:51 AM  

    Tough Tuesday for me. 27 minutes gone and DNF. Double my "average" time for this day of the week.
    Had hiT instead of LET at 32D and that messed me up. I could not see CLAMOR and did not know SIMPLE SIMON.
    I fully agree with Rex today.
    Never heard of SATURDAY SABBATH. ALSO I have several surge protectors but not a single SURGE SUPPRESSOR.
    NAGURSKI - who the hell is he?
    I did not get the theme until I got here. But other than that it was a decent puzzle.

    DShawMaine 8:01 AM  

    Agree with Rex and others that this was a tough Tuesday - also did not notice the SS theme until I came to this blog. Also wanted protectors over Liked SONAR and MUSEE. The SOLIDSOUTH seems to now be REPs instead of DEMs (a WOE to the USA, IMHO).

    DShawMaine 8:03 AM  

    Duh, SUPPRESSORS (omitted in a cut and paste move).

    thursdaysd 8:06 AM  

    I didn't have a problem with SURGE SUPPRESSOR until I came here. But then I looked at the box for the large and heavy gizmo I juat bought to keep my desktop from powering itself off, and aside from "Battery Backup" in big black letters it does indeed talk about surge protection not suppression.

    I had never heard of NAGURSKI, but I didn't grow up in the US and have minimal interest in sports, so dated sports stars are always a problem. Very surprised people had trouble with the SOLID SOUTH, but then, I live there.

    chefbea 8:10 AM  

    Hand up for never heard of Nagurski!! Knew all the French stuff...but DNF

    Got all the S's but never realized the vowel progression until Rex explained.

    Z 8:23 AM  

    Since the Sabbath is on Sunday for most Christians, otherwise known as the majority of Americans, SATURDAY SABBATH is perfectly okay to this Michigander who was raised Dutch Reformed. Speaking of Michigan, this has a definite Great Lakes feel to it. UPPER Peninsula, Bronko NAGURSKI, US TEN being cut in half by Lake Michigan, Georges SEURAT (whose A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte can be seen at the Chicago Art Museum) give this a "written for you" feel to anyone in the region.

    Since I glommed onto the SS part of the theme, SURGE SUPPRESSOR was a gimme (other than where to put the first R in SUPPRESSOR). To me, "power strip" and "surge protector" are synonyms while the SURGE SUPPRESSOR is one of the parts of that thing, so the clue wasn't even a little bit of a misdirect for me.

    I see others think that "Not counting" clues EXCepting. I thought it clued EXCluding.

    On the Tuesday Scale this gets a very low rating. It just isn't odd/off-putting/Gahish enough to run on a Tuesday.

    Rhino 8:29 AM  

    I spend more time on the internet than is healthy or normal for an adult. In my younger days I stayed up late rage-posting against smug atheists and right-wing bigots. I thought I had experienced all the destructive emotions a comment section could provide.

    But this? Hearing some of you describe this puzzle as easy? Half of it was in french! Nagurski played 60 years ago! A SURGE SUPPRESSOR isn't a thing! MOTTST wasn't clued as an abbreviation!

    Easy?! No. And because of you, I am experiencing a mixture of shame, frustration and hatred that is entirely new to me.

    And now, icing on the cake, I have to get to a dentist appointment.

    Z 8:34 AM  

    SURGE SUPPRESSOR explained. I love the parenthetical in the first sentence. Also, not all power strips are SURGE SUPPRESSORs, so I was unfazed for the wrong reason.

    Elaina 8:41 AM  

    Easy for me. Downs 1-4 were gimmes (GAS,PIA ARTISTES, SEURAT)so that gave me SATURDAY and SABBATH was then obvious. (Although I have never heard that phrase used by the Jewish side of my family.)Then SESAME SEED made the SS part of the theme clear.
    Back in my hippie days in Vermont circa 1970, we all gathered yarrow stalks to use to throw the I CHING then spent hours trying to earnestly interpret the enigmatic information concerning our present and future. I still have my copy somewhere.

    AnnieD 8:41 AM  

    Standard Tuesday for me. Nice puzz. I did not notice the vowel progression until Rex pointed it out.

    I have heard of Bronko Nagurski, but only because of the Car Talk guys and their frequent references to Bronko Nagurski long underwear.

    Rug Crazy 8:54 AM  

    I agree with Rex, second day in a row. Gasp!
    Wrong Apu clue for a Tuesday.

    Lewis 9:06 AM  

    Factoid: Before the rain begins, one of the first ODORs people notice as winds pick up and clouds roll in is a sweet, pungent zing: the sharp, fresh aroma of ozone. The scent of ozone heralds stormy weather because a thunderstorm’s downdrafts carry ozone from higher altitudes to nose level.

    Quotoid: "He was like a cock who thought the SUN had risen to hear him crow." -- George Eliot

    Unknown 9:10 AM  

    So, Bronko NAGURSKI and SOLIDSOUTH are obscure, but ICHING skates by with nary a disparaging remark?

    dk 9:20 AM  

    🌕🌕 (2 mOOns)

    Labored over SUPRESSOR along with the rest of you but -- alas that is what it does.

    Big error for me was "knowing" it was Icing instead of the correct spelling (ICHING). I guess I was thinking of cake.

    The rest of the fill was fine. The puzzle itself did not lift the gloom that has descended over The Shire: It is *#^!ing snowing!

    Also in the news: Last week an altercation over fishing led to murder on the Saint Croix. Catch and release apparently does not apply to humans.

    Black bear that has been out and about has seeming moved on to fuller bird feeders.

    Well that is all the news that fits.

    Carola 9:22 AM  

    GAH! Wish I'd seen the vowel progression. I liked this toughish Tuesday a lot - I thought all of the theme phrases were SOLID, and the grid was enlivened by BOLERO, CLAMOR, CASHIER, LEAN IN.

    On the names - as @Z mentioned, SEURAT's painting is an old Chicago friend, and Ray's APU a favorite character; as I was weaned on the NFL, Bronko NAGURSKI was easy to remember.

    @loren - I loved your SNARL + NIPS! Also nice: SESAME over ST.

    Teedmn 9:24 AM  

    This puzzle fell into my average solve time for a Tuesday, so not easy, not hard. NAGURSKI was a gimme for me (though not the spelling) and I'm not a sports fan so I was surprised others hadn't heard of him. Then, from @George Barany's comment, I realized my advantage comes from being a Gopher alum - must have heard of him due to the MN connection. So much for my superior trivia knowledge :-).

    I agree with @Rex on the SE being the toughest. All my write-over ink is from protectors first, and Cheese bItS giving me Alley cat, but I cleaned it all up. SMU crossing MOTT ST was a potential Natick for me but I guessed right.

    Nice theme. Thanks, Gerry Wildenberg!

    John Child 9:27 AM  

    I love this community. I agree with some of you and think the others are out to lunch, but it is so interesting to see the variety of opinion. Bless you all.

    jberg 9:30 AM  

    I'd love to see Gallup poll the American public to discover the relative familiarity of Bronko NAGURSKI versus Satyajit Ray. I knew them both, and was 90% certain of the A in Nagurski, but considered myself lucky not to have to spell Bronko. But for that matter, I would have spelled Mr. Ray's first name as Satjayit. What I didn't remember was APU, even though I have seen at least part of that trilogy -- almost wrote in Ali, though there were clearly better Tuesday clues for that one.

    I got the theme with SESAME SEED, went back and put in SABBATH, and filled in the initial SI, SO, and SU where appropriate, after which this one wasn't too hard -- but then I'm another upper Midwesterner, probably more familiar than most with local football players, the UP, and US TEN. I've been on that last many times -- but I don't agree that it is divided by the Lake. It just takes the car ferry from Ludington to Manitowoc.

    I didn't know whether to laugh or cry at the clue for 35D; and I resisted the idea that an EON was a billion years long, but apparently that's how the term is used in astronomy.

    @Mohair, Lars is good for Sweden, Denmark, and Norway . Finnish names are more like Teivo or Jokiaho. They like their vowels in that country.

    RnRGhost57 9:33 AM  

    What @Z said about SATURDAY SABBATH.

    NAGURSKI a gimme.

    Rex should have taken U.S. history from me, then he would have known about the SOLID SOUTH.

    the chili mac 9:36 AM  

    DNF. Hated it.

    joho 9:49 AM  

    I finished this last night and saw the S S but I didn't see the vowel progression until this morning. Love that extra layer of aha.

    I actually considered NAGasaKI for a bit :)

    TOESIN made me think of TOESup.

    A very respectable Tuesday which I enjoyed very much, thank you, Gerry!

    (I just found out there is a DOOKs Golf Links, Glenbeigh, County Cork, Ireland. DOOKs is gaelic for sandbank)

    RooMonster 9:57 AM  

    Hey All !
    Agree with the TuesPuz challenging rating. Hung up on The Apu Trilogy. Say wha? And SOLID SOUTH was also a new one. Would that be considered a Natick near-miss, as they don't cross, but are close together?

    Seems the double-letter theme is getting a little worn. The vowel progression was neat, though.

    Always want to pronounce SEURAT as sewer-rat! Don't even know how to really pronounce it! (@AliasZ?)

    NAGURSKI not a gimmie, but the name is rumbling around the ole melon. CASHIER cool clue. CLAMOR seems like its missing a U.


    Anonymous 10:02 AM  

    As in EXCept

    jrstocker 10:05 AM  

    If you've never heard the term SOLID SOUTH, I kinda have to challenge how much attention you actually paid in that US History class of yours.

    And if you're worried about what would be common knowledge for most beginning solvers, I can almost promise you that more people would know NAGURSKI than SEURAT.

    wreck 10:06 AM  

    This was challenging for a Tuesday, but still gettable. Agree with many here about clues being somewhat obscure for a Tueday, but Nagurski wasn't one of them. Comedians have referenced Bronko Nagurski for years precisely because of his name! I didn't see the SS theme until after I finished, and didn't see the vowel progression until after I read XWORD INFO last night.

    Kurt 10:17 AM  


    The kid was right. NAGURSKI is a gimme. Maybe the biggest gimme I've seen in some time. A Monday gimme. An "I've got a hangover and my brain doesn't work" gimme.

    He played baseball for the Reds, right?

    Ludyjynn 10:27 AM  

    Me likee. Obviously, this puzz. had a lovely sub-theme of French words/culture, which I enjoyed, esp. Ravel's "BOLERO". Keep envisioning Bo Derek bouncing along the beach wearing cornrows and swimsuit in the movie, "Ten". A career-making moment for her.

    What @Z said (again) regarding SAT.SABBATH. Legit. to differentiate it from those who observe Sun.Sabbath; duh.

    This one fell easy for me as it was so in my wheelhouse, even though I got NAGURSKI solely from crosses. In my football peabrain, the name does not register like Namath or Unitas. Sorry, Bronko.

    Thanks, GW and WS. May I have some more, please?

    Joseph Michael 10:27 AM  

    Tough Tuesday for me. Thought the theme was tired until I discovered the vowel progression. But is it worth 14 abbreviations? I think not. Nor have I ever said I RAISE when playing poker, always I RAISE YOU.

    Liked SESAME SEED, SIMPLE SIMON, and the French sub theme.

    Lost clues:
    The Internet - E LAND
    Chicago transport for mischievous children - IMP EL

    Art Wholeflaffer 10:27 AM  

    I don't wish to nitpick Rex, but back in the '90s when I sold computer supplies, they were called SURGE SUPPRESSORS by the manufacturers. I think the name has evolved.

    old timer 10:38 AM

    Dunno if this is going to work, but you can easily Google for Jack Benny and Mel Blanc's famous SI SY SU routine.

    Rex was right on, today. Never heard of NAGURSKI though I've heard of many of the football greats of his era. My time was very slow (15 minutes on paper). Even though I knew ICHING and SOLIDSOUTH. Like Rex, I immediately wanted surge protector(s) or protection.

    SATURDAYSABBATH is a Thing, though. The question of what day should be the Sabbath (i.e., day of rest) was hotly debated in early Christian times. The settled on Sunday because that is the day Jesus came out of his tomb. But at least one religious group today (7th Day Adventists) insists that celebrating the sabbath on a Sunday flies in the face of God's commandment.

    Z 10:40 AM  

    A good analysis of the SOLID SOUTH. The outlet is pretty liberal, but the analysis and history are spot on.

    TOE SIN explained. Camber and caster also make an appearance.

    Steve J 10:43 AM  

    @George Barany: Growing up in Minnesota certainly made NAGURSKI easier to remember. He was referenced in the sports pages and school periodically as I was growing up. And a name like that is quite memorable.

    @Z: The SEURAT/Midwest connection is a little strained. (@Roo: it's essentially sir-AH.)

    @NCA President: I didn't realize you're nearly a century old (the NFL was founded in 1920). As for the SOLID SOUTH, that's what Nixon was trying to break up with his Southern strategy. The term hasn't really been in use since then. Although, if you flip parties, you could pretty much call the South that again since the GOP has near-monopoly control of the South in the way the Democrats once did.

    @Danp & @Mohair: Yep, Finnish.

    chefbea 11:00 AM  

    I did know Seurat!!
    @RooMonster it's pronounced Sir-rot

    Z 11:05 AM  

    @Steve J - The Art Institute of Chicago will tell you that it has the best collection of Impressionist paintings in the world (Some MUSÉEs in France might argue, but who can understand a word they say anyway). It has been the home of Sunday in the Park since 1923, and the two are associated with each other in much the same way that Rivera's Detroit Industry Murals are associated with the Detroit Institute of Art. I've been known to make a stretch a point here and there, but SEURAT is about as midwestern as a French artist can get.

    You might find the article link I posted on the SOLID SOUTH interesting, too.

    dbud 11:11 AM  

    Can some explain TOESIN as the answer to "Is out of alignment, as a car wheel"

    I have never heard this.

    Bears fan hear, so Nagurski was a gimme but I can definitely see how a lot of people would miss it.

    Did not like SOLIDSOUTH or SURGESUPRESSOR, never heard of either one!

    fiddleneck 11:12 AM  

    I didn't see it, but probably you know: And tell me what street
    Compares to Mott Street
    in July

    Dixiecrats before Solid South.

    Don McBrien 11:16 AM  

    Tough Tuesday for me. DNF because of UNa / ARTISTaS. Also did not know NAGURSKI, but got it from the crossings, with a lucku guess on APU.

    @oldtimer, I thought that the the adoption by Christians of a "Sunday Sabbath" was ordered by Constantine as a way to appeal pagans, which most of the Romans at the time were. They worshiped the sun, so making Sunday the holy day made it easier to convert them.

    Zeke 11:22 AM  

    A hundred years or so ago, back when my faculties were intact, I did a massive study for one of the major networks. The goal was to design the schedule based on the psychometrics of the viewing audience. I, personally, was responsible for "Must Watch Thursday" for NBC - Thursday, for a slew of reasons, was prime comedy night, the stacking was critical (not just for a landing spot for weak shows). As it turned out, there was a huge science dictating what worked and what didn't work based on the day of the week, with one exception - one could put any crap on on a Tuesday, and it didn't matter. Tuesday was just Tuesday. Go figure.

    Rex Parker 11:44 AM  

    +1 for civility and generosity of spirit

    Arlene 11:48 AM  

    Interesting Tuesday experience for me - started harder than usual for a Tuesday, but then everything fell into place and I completed in my own average time. Of course I didn't know NAGURSKI - typical puzzle bias against females who don't enjoy watching males inflicting brain damage on each other. But I got it anyway from the crosses.
    MOTT ST is the main thoroughfare of Chinatown in NYC, for those who were inquiring.

    Trombone Tom 11:50 AM  

    Much enjoyed this puzzle and found it easy. For those who bought PC's in the early 80's no problem with surge suppressor. Failed to note the vowel progression until I came here.

    grammar nazi 11:54 AM  

    Why all of the apostrohes Aketi@7:23? WHY?!

    old timer 12:03 PM  

    Had to come back to thank Z for the link to a great article on the "solid south". It explains why many Southern states are trending more liberal and Democratic.

    The "Solid South" (i.e., the states of the former Confederacy, plus Tennessee) voted *solidly* Democratic in every election from the end of Reconstruction to 1968, with a few exceptions here and there. Although the GOP usually won presidential elections, that was because Northern voters opposed the party of "Rum, Romanism and Rebellion" -- i.e., the party of Irish Catholics in the North and former rebels in the South. Only two Democrats became President from 1860 to 1932: Cleveland (2 separate times) and Wilson (won in 1912 and 1916).

    Southern Democrats were all white but by no means all conservative. Many were more radical in their politics than the most liberal Republican.

    Anonymous 12:08 PM  

    Can some explain TOESIN as the answer to "Is out of alignment, as a car wheel"

    It would be parsed as TOES IN. I'm a racing fan. You hear drivers or commentators use the phrase when talking about setting up the suspension of the car.

    JFC 12:14 PM  

    Bronko NAGURSKI (1908-1990) was a Canadian born pro football Hall of Famer fullback for the Chicago Bears from 1930 to 1937 and in 1943, providing the Bears with the winning TD in their championship game against Washington. He wore two numbers (72 and 3) that were both retired. After his football days he was a successful professional wrestler, recognized as a multiple-time world heavyweight champion.

    He was also the first Chicago Bears linebacker in a list of Hall of Fame linebackers that include Bulldog Turner (1940-1952), my first trading card, George Connor (1948-1955), Bill George (1952-1965), Dick Butkus (1965-1973) and Mike Singletary (1981-1992). That list will soon add Brian Urlacher (2000-2012).

    Go Bears.


    Anonymous 12:21 PM  

    I'm an electrical engineer in the power industry. Engineers tend to say surge suppression, and everyone else surge protection. It's the same thing. You protect equipment from electrical surges by suppressing the surges. A surge, if you're still reading, refers to an increase in the in the line voltage, which is meant to be between 115 and 120V. If it goes much higher, it can damage the equipment.

    Anonymous 12:27 PM  

    Loren Muse Smith, are you intentionally baiting the grammarists now?

    mathguy 12:29 PM  

    I went back a few days to try to find who recommended the WSJ cryptic by Cox and Rathvon. What an intricate piece of work! Sorry I couldn't find your name and thank you. It was a cryptic squared.

    Bob Kerfuffle 12:47 PM  

    Bronko Nagurski's tutu! The sound you hear is me kicking myself for having missed the vowel progression. Without it, the puzzle seemed quite lame; with it, it is a suitable Tuesday.

    (Are @AnnieD and I the only ones here who ever listened to Car Talk?)

    As I sit here at my desk, I see that all of my electronic equipment is plugged into a strip which is labelled "Woods Full Protection Surge Suppressor."

    aging soprano 1:49 PM  

    That was very interesting @Zeke. Another "Jewish" custom has been to hold weddings on Tuesday evenings, which was considered to make the marriage vows twice as strong. Supposedly it was like taking the vows twice, both on Tues. and Wed. I never did understand why Tues. Maybe the real reason is that Tues. was just a bad TV night.
    For this old soprano Seurat was a given. I adore Sondheim and have enjoyed his musical "Sunday in the Park with George" many times. If I were posting musical links as @AliasZ does, I would have undoubtedly have chosen something from there. (Alias, I love your musical choices.)
    Can't say the same for Nagursky.
    Caught on to the SS theme after Sat. Sabbath and Sesame Seed, since it takes at least 2 entries to identify a theme. Solid South was a given thanks to 8th grade American History, but I first put KKKS at 53d, then DARS, before I remembered that the Solid South back then was DEMS, anti Lincoln, who was a Rep. I wonder what Honest Abe would think of his Republican Party today.
    TOESIN could have been clued "pigeon feet". Is there an expression like Pigeon toed for TOESOUT? I've never serviced a car in the U.S. Are misaligned tires referred to as TOESIN over there?
    Finally, I want to join @JohnChild in telling you all how much I enjoy this blog. Your comments are witty and wise and I laugh out loud many times as I read them. Rex, you have made me see xwords in new and original ways. So, thanks.
    I hope that this post doesn't come up twice again. It is out of my control. Apologies.

    Lewis 2:17 PM  

    Thank you @Z and others, as I learned today that SATURDAY SABBATH is actually a thing that makes sense!

    GILL I. 2:30 PM  

    @aging soprano....It did come up twice and I read it both times!
    Please come join us more often. I'd love to hear you sing.

    Carola 3:08 PM  

    @mathguy - Rex mentioned the WSJ cryptic puzzle in his Sunday blog post. A fun work-out, wasn't it?

    Anonymous 3:13 PM  

    Why would anyone want to protect their surge? And from what are we supposed to protect it?

    Gen G S Patton 3:23 PM  

    @Anon 3:13 - You panty-waisted lily-livered draft dodger you. You want to protect your surge from your shock-and-awe, and vice versa. Obviously.

    If you were standing before me, not hiding behind the inter-tubes I'd slap your face.

    Dorothy Biggs 3:35 PM  

    @Steve J: I actually meant the merger of the AFL and become what we now know as the NFL. Century old, indeed.

    And yes, the south is indeed solid. Solid red.

    Anonymous 3:37 PM  

    Decent for a Tuesday. But who tops a hamburger bun with just one sesame seed? And not sure just because there are local highways in Wisconsin and Michigan with the number 10 attached to them that they are "cut in half" by Lake Michigan. Might work if there was/is a ferry between the two points.

    Z 4:07 PM  

    @anon3:37 - See @jberg9:33.

    @NCA Prez - See my first link above at 10:40.

    @grammar nazi - Becaus'e.

    @dbud - See my other link at 10:40.

    Finally got around to solving online ACPT puzzle 6 (after puzzle 5 properly humbled me). Got a 500 point bonus. WooHoo.

    mathguy 5:14 PM  

    @Carola. Thanks for reminding me that it was Rex who recommended the WSJ cryptic. And thanks to you, Rex. It was the most puzzle fun I've had in months.

    Anonymous 6:34 PM  

    Was that really Rex Parker posting at 11:44? I don't recall ever seeing that before. Is this a reward for good behavior?

    Nancy 9:40 PM  

    Have been tied up all day, but couldn't resist dropping by to say that, like Anon 3:37, I found "hamburger bun topping" as a clue for SESAME SEED an absolute hoot. My comment to the restaurant would have been: "Are you sure you can spare it?"

    bwalker 10:50 PM  

    @BobKerfuffle and @AnnieD -- three who listen to Car Talk. Bronco Nagurski was a gimme.

    If you want to see Impressionist art out the "oiseau," I highly recommend the Musée D'Orsay in Paris. France, not Texas. I thought the Louvre was "pretty okay," but the Musée D'Orsay was incredible! I could have spent the rest of my trip to "Yerp" in there.

    I enjoyed the puzzle, but like others, did not catch the vowel progression. Nice trick, well done.

    kitshef 10:56 PM  

    In a puzzle with the relatively obscure MOTT ST and utterly obscure Satyajit Ray's APU trilogy, folks are complaining about NAGURSKI? The mind wobbles.

    Equally mind-wobbling to me is the uproar over SURGE SUPPRESSOR, which what I hear 90% of the time, with the other 10% being power strip (which really is not the same thing at all). I believe Rex's column is the first time I have ever heard SURGE protector.

    I do wonder if the latter is a regional thing, as I assume most comments are coming from the NYC area, while I am down by DC.

    John Child 4:40 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Old Lady 8:06 AM  

    Found it easy. NAGURSKI, SEURAT, SURGE SUPPRESSOR all gimmees. What doez that make me? An old French electrical engineer? Acually, just the old is accurate.

    Old Lady 8:09 AM  

    This old lady had a tougher time proving she's not a robot (picking out all of the images of soup - first time i've seen that) than in doing the crossword.

    Leapfinger 10:54 AM  

    @rhino,hope things went well with your drill SURGEnt!

    @aketi, I see you set out trap's for the GN, lol.

    When LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act, he said this was going to cost the Democrats the SOLID SOUTH for 30 years. He mis-underestimated.

    @JohnChild, hold that thought.

    Thanks for the SYncopated SYntax.
    But TOE SIN sucks.

    Leapfinger 11:41 AM  

    @oldtimer, that BennyBlanc routine is ab-fab! So nice to si it again!!

    @RooMie, re Seurat, it's close enough to have it sound like 'Que Seurat, Seurat'. However, if you want to fancy up, start with what @Steve says: put your mouth in position to say 'sir', then (without moving anything) go ahead and say 'sue'; finish with 'raw', but keep the 'aw' short.
    Then get someone to massage your lips.

    @Bob Kerf, what a cutting remark! I listen to CarTalk all the time; great show, and the credits are the best part.

    @aging soprano, it's 'toes in' vs 'duck walk' for the descriptions of ambulation. Can be due to tibial torsion, internal/external rotation of the hip joint, and is at least partially under conscious control. For some reason, a TOES-IN gait is associated with increased athleticism; maybe for increased ease of changing direction.
    Neither term makes any sense whatsomeever, since both pigeons and ducks have toes that point in, out and straight ahead.

    @kitshef, Hiroshima Nagaruski?
    The mind boggles.

    Anonymous 10:42 AM  

    I thought more like EXCluding

    Burma Shave 10:23 AM  


    On a recent SATURDAYSABBATH when one REPENTS and then gives praise,
    it turned into a salacious (@ rainy) CLAMOR, I ALLUDE it was one of those days.
    I STARED at DEMI next to me, she would LEANIN and return my gaze,
    with her TOESIN my lap not even a SURGESUPPRESSOR can stifle what IRAISE.


    spacecraft 10:48 AM  

    My goodness, fearless one, where did you go to school that they didn't teach you about the SOLIDSOUTH? I learned it in junior high, in civics class. And NAGURSKI is just one of those names that is famous for the name itself. C'mon, don't you love the way it rolls off the tongue? I don't know where I first heard it, or why, but it has become virtually iconic. Like Killer Kowalski. I think we just love saying "-ski." cf. "brewski."

    Yes, I did want surge protector; I won't deny it. So did we all, no doubt. But by that time it was already obvious that we were dealing with a "SU__-SU__ format, so SUPPRESSOR had to be. I didn't find this all that hard. Took WAY more than four minutes, but hey. OFL tells time differently than we mortals do. The theme is best expressed in the central entry. As to the fill, there was the good (ICHING, EXTANT starring superyeahbaby Halle Berry and about to start its second season), the bad (the RRN, RNS, 2--count 'em--coll. abbrs.) and the ugly (MOTTST,EXC). I give this one a C.

    rondo 2:50 PM  

    Wasn’t paying enough attention to catch the AEIOU thing, but that’s not an uncommon gimmick for this type of puz.

    Being from MN, NAGURSKI is soooo much a gimme. A high school friend’s dad played with him at the U of M all those years ago, I saw the yearbook from then.

    PIA Zadora, only remember her from her layout in Penthouse in early 1980’s, yeah baby.Odd that last across answer is NIPS?

    @Spacey – nice catch on EXTANT, briefly crossed my mind, then gone.

    Only one write-over at SNARe, but that didn’t last long. This was OK.

    rain forest 3:39 PM  

    I really don't understand why "early-week solvers", or beginning solvers, would be baffled by proper names. These you know, or you don't. Nothing to do with solving ability. "Bronko NAGURSKI? How can I get that? I'm just a beginning solver!" In a similar vein, how is NAGURSKI not a "Tuesday answer"? What exactly is a Tuesday answer? One with no misdirect? One with alternate spelling? Maybe just something that @Rex doesn't know, I guess.

    I liked this puzzle. I was in the midst of divining what that voting bloc might be when I saw that the previous three themers had the double vowel progression going, and so what I thought might be "South Sider" (hey, I'm a Canadian) had to have the SO-SO to fit the progression, and it had to wait until I got the stuff below. SURGE SUPPRESSOR had to be right for the same reason, and I didn't even consider "protector". Yeah, I'm a genius...Hard to imagine any part of the South voting DEM (restrained further comment).

    Aw, come on, @Spacey, despite the RRN, this deserves better than a C. You are one tough grader, Sir.

    @Burma - Nice one. You're stretching out.

    leftcoastTAM 4:39 PM  

    I'm from MN, too, making NAGURSKI a gimme. Another unforgettable name from the golden days of Golden Gophers football, but a generation later, is Leo Nomellini. He was an All-American lineman at Minnesota in the late 1940's, and then played for the 49er's. And like Nagurski, he became a champion pro-wrestler after his football days. Despite his career and his name, he probably won't turn up in a NYT crossword, though I'd be delighted to see it. Both of these guys are Minnesota legends. (I think Paul Bunyan must have played for the Gophers, too, but I'm not sure when.)

    DMG 5:26 PM  

    A pretty good Tuesday. Did have to relocate the "U" in SEURAT, but I,ve never been known for good spelling. Beyond that I had to accept the sports name and that of the gimmick on my desk. Live and learn.

    @Rondo: Got a kick out of your response last night, but regarding the second suggestion, I was looking for a she/he duo, not an individual!

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