Tylenol producer for short / WED 4-15-15 / Mammal with flexible nose / Businesswoman with nickname queen of mean / Auction house eponym / Ode title words / Whimsically odd

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: BILATERAL SYMMETRY (44A: With 46-Across, feature o fthe answers to this puzzle's six starred clues, in a sense) — theme answers are seven-letter words where first three letters are the same as last three letters:

Theme answers:
  • ALL Y'ALL (14A: *Southern pronoun)
  • GIORGIO (16A: *Designer Armani)
  • MADE MAD (15A: *Angered)
  • ILL WILL (59A: *Animus)
  • DINED IN (62A: *Enjoyed home cooking)
  • DO-SI-DOS (63A: *Square dance moves)
Then two other answers round out the symmetry theme:
  • 24A: Landmark that exhibits 44-/46-Across (TAJ MAHAL)
  • 28A: Insect that exhibits 44-/46-Across (BUTTERFLY)

Word of the Day: ODEUM (9D: Concert hall) —
noun: odeum; plural noun: odea; plural noun: odeums; noun: odeon; plural noun: odeons
  1. (especially in ancient Greece or Rome) a building used for musical performances. (google)
• • •

Theme didn't work for me, for one simple reason—the BILATERAL SYMMETRY of the words and the BILATERAL SYMMETRY of a BUTTERFLY and the TAJ MAHAL are different. The puzzle invites you to contemplate the question: "How are these words like a butterfly?" and the answer is: they aren't. The words don't have mirror symmetry, butterflies and taj mahals do. So the puzzle passes on a technicality (that is, BILATERAL SYMMETRY is indeed in play in all cases), but I hate technicalities. Boo. Also, BUTTERFLY and (esp.) TAJ MAHAL are pretty arbitrary examples of symmetry. Also, there's a "MAD" dupe, but don't think I care about that very much. I care much more about the fact that MADE MAD is terribly contrived fill than I care that it dupes the "MAD" in "MAD MEN" (my favorite 21st-century TV show). Now LON Nol (60D: With 60-Down reversed, 1970s dictator), *that* guy had some butterfly symmetry. Get that man in the game!

Fill is fun, mostly, so at least there's that. GIRD UP is weird. Clues seems to indicate GIRD. The "UP" part is mysterious to me. Not sure how you'd use that phrase. TO TERM is kind of weird as a stand-alone phrase. It doesn't have wide (or any?) application beyond the phrase "carry to term," so it really has no business pretending it can fly solo. I feel like "tough spot" is more spot-on than BAD SPOT, but close enough. I don't like Helmsley, but I like HELMSLEY. And right underneath TYRANT! Nice. I also like the colloquial verve of "UM, OKAY…" and even "HIYA" and especially "ALL Y'ALL." I had LENTIL soup yesterday and it was good so yay LENTIL. I am teaching "SAGA" this week (probably the greatest ongoing mainstream comic book series in the U.S. right now), so yay to that as well.

[Listen ALL Y'ALL!]

I had my poissons swimming in the MER, and I had HINDER before HAMPER. That's about it for flat-out screw-ups. Onward.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    [Follow Rex Parker on Facebook and Twitter]


    Moly Shu 12:16 AM  

    Nathan Wind as Cochise again? UM, OKAY. Awesome, of course. The double MAD was the only thing that I disliked, but that's a minor quibble. Mer before EAU and pANDg before JANDJ. Nice workout.

    Whirred Whacks 12:20 AM  

    I enjoyed the solve, but felt that Captain Joel got the concept of "bilateral symmetry" wrong when he applied it to the word-phrases like MADE MAD and ILL WILL. Had he picked palindromes, the gimmick would have worked. Nonetheless, I liked the puzzle.

    @Steve J: six months from now, if I asked you which early spring Tuesday puzzle was the more memorable, would you say the one about "Verbal Gymnastics" (March 31), or the one constructed using only EIGHT letters (April 14)?

    jae 12:23 AM  

    Medium for me.  No WOEs and the same two erasures Rex had: mer and HindER. 

    I'm with Jeff Chen, why not a Jake Blues clue for JOLIET?

    Clever visual word play with a pretty smooth grid, really liked this one.  A fine Wed.!

    Zeke 12:23 AM  

    A recent meta-study was performed, measuring TYLENOL's effectiveness on headaches. The result was only the placebo effect. None of this has anything to do with the fact that it's J&J, not J and J. Their signage outside their buildings says J & J.

    [pedantry]None of the definitions I've found for bilateral symmetry require that the two halves be mirror images of one another, just that they be roughly equivalent. As the term is usually used in an anatomical sense, thus the mirror image is always in play in these cases, there's an overwhelming agreement between the mirror images and bilateral symmetry. However, it doesn't seem to be a requirement, and MAD E MAD does in fact exhibit bilateral symmetry.[/pedantry]

    Steve J 12:29 AM  

    Took me a while to warm to this one, but in the end I liked it. Yeah, TAJ MAHAL and BUTTERFLY don't exhibit BILATERAL SYMMETRY in quite the same way as the other themers do, but they all exhibit it, so it works in my book. And you're inevitably going to have that variance in order to get 8-letter theme answers.

    Would have been nice to see some longer fill - the grid felt a little choppy to me - but there were still some nice answers like LEFT JAB, ALL Y'ALL and UM, OKAY.

    @Whirred: I'll be lucky if I remember either in six months. The number of puzzles I remember after that long could probably be counted on one hand. Two, tops. And even if I do remember yesterday's, it'll be for infamy. After all, Stalin's more memorable than Malenkov.

    Charles in Austin 12:40 AM  

    The two different kinds of bilateral symmetry were charming, IMO, and I'll bet intentional on the part of the constructor.

    John Child 12:42 AM  
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    John Child 12:45 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Anonymous 1:02 AM  

    A nit from me today: even though you can find websites saying that the Taj Mahal has bilateral symmetry (and it does from the front with its elaborate gardens and waterway), the actual building has rotational symmetry.


    AliasZ 1:34 AM  

    I liked this puzzle from beginning to end, just about perfect for a Wednesday. I enjoyed the BILATERAL SYMMETRY theme, the only thing that was missing was a Rorschach test.

    After I was done, I reexamined the theme and found it wanting. A BUTTERFLY, TAJMAHAL, St. Peter's Basilica, the human body, and in fact most other members of the animal kingdom, etc. etc. indeed are characterized by bilateral symmetry. GIORGIO, MADEMAD etc. not so much. DAMEMAD, almost. In other words, palindromic words and phrases do have bilateral symmetry, but others do not. Strictly speaking however, only palindromes made up of bilaterally symmetrical letters are truly symmetrical (A, H, I, M, O, T, U, V, W, X and Y): AMA, AVA, MOM, WOW, OXO, OTTO, TUT-TUT, MAY YAM, TOYOT, ah, I give up. [Isn't this over-analysis silly?]

    The way the clue was written: "...feature of the answers to this puzzle's six starred clues, in a sense." "In a sense" means that the beginning words of the starred answers are repeated at their ends. That's all. I have no problem with that at all. In that sense.

    The rest of the puzzle was, UM, OKAY. JANDJ and its symmetrical TAPIR would have also worked as a theme entry because they both exhibit bilateral symmetry. I love LEOPARDS and LENTIL (both symmetrical) soup, a LEFT JAB (asymmetric) or a TYRANT (way off) not so much. SOTHEBY and BAD SPOT were nice to see, as was Leona HELMSLEY. Well, she and STAYAT were sources of ODEUM. I mean odium. CDS and TDS looked almost like diagonal symmetry, other than that no complaints.

    This was a winner, Joel. Thanks.

    Let's listen to ÉTUDE No. 4 "Fanfares" from Book 1 of Piano ETUDEs by György Ligeti.

    chefwen 2:11 AM  

    ALL Y'ALL may think I'm nuts, but I preferred yesterday's over today's puzzle. This one seemed a little mundane for me. At least Tuesdays had a hook. This one just had me hankering for a CHILUPA. Which, by the way, I spelled incorrectly. That and mer before EAU as a few others had to correct were my only write overs. Kinda HO HUM for moi.

    Rebus tomorrow, please.

    Grammar nazi, go to town, I'm sure I have it coming.

    Anonymous 2:12 AM  

    I'll GIRD UP my loins to join the chorus of those supporting this fine Wednesday puzzle. I think the forking of the theme works quite well.

    - Brennan

    Anoa Bob 2:34 AM  

    Wonder why TAPIR (48D), MORAY (15D), LEOPARDS (10D) & EARWIG (45D) weren't included in the theme. They also have BILATERAL SYMMETRY, right?

    Thomaso808 2:41 AM  

    This was about the most I have ever completely agreed with Rex's comments. From the rating of "medium-challenging" (forgot to say "for a Wednesday" in case it wasn't understood), to the selection of ODEUM as word of the day (I never get it right, always thrown off by the spelling of IDIOM and ODIUM). Then there was his calling out the questionable BILATERAL SYMMETRY - Yes!

    I would have loved to see true B.S. In the form of palindromes. I'm sure that stunt has done before, but not in my memory.

    For a great example of palindrome genius, check out the song by Weird Al, "Bob"...


    with music in the style of Dylan and lyrics entirely made of palindromes. My favorite and most famous is "go hang a salami I'm a lasagna hog" but most profound probably "do nine men interpret, nine men I nod". Now that's bilateral symmetry!

    Sorry for that little diversion. The only real problem I had was UhOKAY. That was crossed with an answer clued with "Te ___" (Pavarotti opera) and opera clues tend to turn my brain off. The cross of AMO should have been obvious, but it took me a while.

    I enjoyed the puzzle. Nice to have a little challenge after a couple of easier days. Good job, Joel!

    Anonymous 2:51 AM  


    It's a good puzzle that was fun, regardless of Haighter comments. ;-)

    - Brennan

    GILL I. 4:57 AM  

    Yikes...This lost me at ALLY ALL and HIYA. @chefwen I want some of your CHILUPA. Does that include chili?
    Now, I've done some SKEET shooting in my life time but dang, I've never said "Hey, I just spent the day doing me some SKEETS."
    Was I the only idiot that had GIRDle instead of the real answer?
    Thursday is going to kill me.....

    Unknown 4:57 AM  

    All the talk of symmetry got me thinking of the William Blake poem.

    Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
    In the forests of the night;
    What immortal hand or eye,
    Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

    In what distant deeps or skies.
    Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
    On what wings dare he aspire?
    What the hand, dare seize the fire?

    And what shoulder, & what art,
    Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
    And when thy heart began to beat,
    What dread hand? & what dread feet?

    What the hammer? what the chain,
    In what furnace was thy brain?
    What the anvil? what dread grasp,
    Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

    When the stars threw down their spears
    And water’d heaven with their tears:
    Did he smile his work to see?
    Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

    Tyger Tyger burning bright,
    In the forests of the night:
    What immortal hand or eye,
    Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

    Loren Muse Smith 6:46 AM  

    I saw the trick very early with ALL Y'ALL. I sat back and looked at that and marveled that I had never noticed how cool that is. So, with a warm swarm of linguistic feelings, I rubbed my hands together in anticipation of seeing the other ones. And I was happy with them all.

    Who knew an EARWIG had pincers? What does one even look like? I’m too much of a softy to smash any bugs, but I tell you, if I ever see one with pincers, I run get my husband to do the dirty work. I just don’t have the kill skill not to shudder, turn tail, and run at that inevitable sickening crunch.

    And who knew that a TAPIR had a flexible nose? I want a flexible nose now.

    Briefly considered "fovea" for AREOLA before counting the letters. ;-)

    I had four J's in the grid until I erased "jal" and put in ANA.

    @Zeke – I switched drug companies midspell to give me "J AND G" first.

    Like Rex, @Moly Shu – "mer" before EAU. And a very early "shark" before MORAY.

    @Thomaso808 – you said, “I would have loved to see true B.S. In the form of palindromes. I'm sure that stunt has done before, but not in my memory.” You should check out this puzzle by Tim Croce over at @George Barany’s site:

    Look Both Ways

    @Billy C – as you take your initial troll stroll through the posts here today, aim your snark at me this time. I love George’s site and puzzles. Ahem. Some good stuff.

    Joel - thanks for shining a light on these interesting phrases. Hmm. I wonder if there’s such a thing as a hoe shoe?

    George Barany 6:58 AM  

    With so many learned comments already today about @Joel Fagliano's puzzle, it's a challenge to offer something original, but let me try anyhow. The clue for NBA had an easily repairable misdirect, since Kings also play in the NHL. The chess clue for ENDGAME was interesting, although perhaps it should have had an "e.g." designation.

    In past New York Times puzzles, the highly useful 3-letter combination LSD has come up nearly 200 times, yet this is the first time it has ever been clued by its molecular formula. The number of isomeric compounds satisfying the rules of valence that have exactly 20 carbons, 25 hydrogens, 3 nitrogens, and an oxygen is astronomical. Restricting ourselves to isomers that have actually been reported in the chemistry literature, as revealed by a search on SciFinder, we come up with well over 2000 possibilities.

    The most common clue for LSD is "acid" -- interestingly, the structure belongs to a class of compounds known as alkaloids, which are technically bases. So I'm waiting for the day that LSD is clued as "Acid that is a base."

    Mohair Sam 7:23 AM  

    Wonderful Wednesday, what's not to like?

    Will someone inform @Rex that the clues for BUTTERFLY and TAJMAHAL were not starred - hence their difference is not meant to invite you to contemplate any question at all only to enhance (not be part of) the theme. Only someone with a SHORTZ bone to pick would "contemplate" any question and not notice that the grid location of TAJMAHAL and BUTTERFLY forms its own bilateral symmetry with, well, BILATERAL and SYMMETRY. Nicely done.

    Again, a wonderful and fresh Wednesday puzzle - medium-challenging for us, and lots of fun. Thanks Joel Fagliano.

    btw - The revealer clue ended in "in a sense", so no problem here with the lack of palindromes.

    Name that tune 7:51 AM  

    This is what I do: I see beautiful things, like today's puzzle, and I must destroy them. I embody Deb Amlen's comments yesterday: "is it possible that those who criticize every word in every puzzle are doing so because they have just fallen into a habit?" Yes, Deb, it is. I am not worried that in spewing the same venom at today's complex and brilliant puzzle as I did yesterday's train wreck, I will lose all credibility as a critic of crosswords. Even if my criticism is petty, and pedantic, and pretty much demonstrates that I failed to understand the theme, I will stick to it. I will insert my usual, sarcastic, mean-spirited, back-handed compliment ("fill is fun, mostly, so at least there's that"). I have a fragile ego. I was bullied in high school. Now I exact my revenge, no matter how foolish it makes me look.

    pfb 8:13 AM  

    I found this a bit more challenging than most Wednesday puzzles. I, too, had MER which made the NE corner a bear. It felt more like a Thursday, but as I am sitting at my desk at work, I hear a voice down the hall saying, "Mike, MIke, Mike".

    chefbea 8:18 AM  

    Too tough for me. Never heard of bilateral symmetry. Still don't understand how butterfly and Taj Mahal have bilateral symmetry???

    Of course I enjoy home cooking but I also enjoy going to Taco bell.

    138 comments yesterday!!! Is that a record??

    Rhino 8:40 AM  

    @chefwen: We have the same dog! My version just came up to me, laid her chew toy at my feet, looked at me like she wanted to be pet, then calmly threw up on my leg.

    Nothing much to add about the puzzle. I enjoyed the solve, thought the theme worked fine, and my dad is from Joliet.

    Bearasgar 8:56 AM  

    Denier cri ?

    mac 8:57 AM  

    I enjoyed the workout too, fun to figure it out. All y'all was the first thing to go in, surprising myself.

    I have to check out that chalupa, never had one before.

    grammar nazi 8:59 AM  

    Yes, @chefwen @2:11, it should have been "Tuesday's..." I am constantly nonplussed at this group's troubles with apostrophes. I mean, people are here because they love language, right?

    @Bark from yesterday: Please find a citation in an accepted English dictionary that defines "criteria" as singular and share it with us.

    Anonymous 9:05 AM  

    I love some of the phrases in these puzzles: Mr. Armani was a crazy outcast, but ALL Y'ALL MADE MAD GIORGIO ONE OF US. And there must be something one could do with SPAYER ENDGAME, but I'm too sleepy to come up with it.

    Z 9:08 AM  

    After yesterday's Eightghazi kerfuffle, today we get to ponder how ALL Y'ALL are like a BUTTERFLY. To say this is a better solving experience risks damning with faint praise.

    One significant demerit for the whac-a-vowel at the CH-LUPA/-NA crossing. I went with a U, it seems some here went with I, Cholula Hot Sauce makes the O a reasonable guess. Apparently, the A is correct. I grew up with lots of Mexican-Americans, including a dozen cousins, and never heard of a "CHALUPA" until Taco Bell started selling them. Wikipedia tells me that it is a south-central Mexican dish, but then the etymology notes that it is a century old "Americanism." Hmmmmm.

    @George Barany - I like your LSD clue.

    @WW - I'm with @Steve J, let's not conflate fame and infamy.

    Bark 9:11 AM  

    Towards the end of yesterday’s comments I was pleased to be called a “butcherer of the English language”. I may have deserved it — first of all, I did in fact commit a typo, and then I also referred someone as a “nazi”, which seemed a little tasteless on my part, but I thought, considering the one I was addressing, that it was okay to do that. I do respectfully object to the way grammar sticklers behave in this section — for these reasons: This “comments section” is nearest to being a form of conversation, where Engllish can be free of the stricter rules of edited prose. Here the language can be looser, it can breaks rules, it can be rude, crude, or even fully proper. Conversation is normally “written on the wind” — here it’s not quite that perishable. Grammar sticklers don’t seem to appreciate the freedom that comes with less formal speech, and so they try to curb the language, often with antiquated ideas and forms. Language sticklers, once upon a time, had their knickers in a twist by the newly invented word “electricity”, for example. The English language has a life of its own, and because of that it has evolved — in spite of those who are a sticklers. Conversational speech is the richest source of the evolution of language. I don’t say that grammar sticklers need to be silent, but I think they should be less like wet blankets, try to have a sense of humor, and appreciate that conversational language enjoys it’s own kind of freedom. I enjoyed today’s puzzle (what do I know — I liked yesterday’s, too) and the comments about symmetry, LSD, William Blake, and all.

    Steve M 9:26 AM  

    Balanced breakfast

    grammar nazi 9:27 AM  

    @Bark, that is an awfully long-winded excuse for your ignorance. To sum up your argument: "Language evolves, therefore I can say whatever I want and argue that it is acceptable English." How convenient. I did, however, notice that you failed to respond to the challenge. I still await your citation showing that "criteria" can be defined as denoting the singular.

    John V 9:29 AM  

    I thought the theme was just fine. NE was way challenging for me, very hard for a Thursday, what with two Js embedded in that sector.

    Loren Muse Smith 9:32 AM  

    Hey, @Bark - I like your take on language and unsolicited grammar corrections! Couldn't have said it better myself!

    Reasonablest thing I've read in a while. I agree whole-heartedly that this place is more of a casual conversation, so the criterions for whats exceptable and whats not are different from those in an English class.

    Amen and hear hear!

    RnRGhost57 9:33 AM  

    "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now gird up your loins like a man, and I will ask you, and you instruct Me! Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding . . . " Job 38

    Z 9:38 AM  

    Merriam-Webster notes, "The plural criteria has been used as a singular for over half a century,...."

    John Child 9:40 AM  

    @chefbea, at 200 comments the blogger software rolls over to a new page. That's happened twice in my memory. I don't know what the record is: Perhaps 220 comments.

    Billy C 9:41 AM  

    @Bark --

    I give you credit yesterday for coming up with several examples of anglicized singular Latin words in which the plurals follow the English convention. However, in my experience I do not recognize "criterion" as one of them.

    @Professor Barany --

    Thank you for your contribution today, in which you did not used this space to promote your puzzle(s)

    @Loren --

    I don't doubt that the Professor's crosswords are quite enjoyable, and don't fault him for promoting them. But why not do this by adding his name as a pointer to them, in the list on the right side of the RexPage -- as do all the other accomplished constructors -- rather than using this space to call special attention to them?

    Dorothy Biggs 9:43 AM  

    I just finished a brush up on my German on DuoLingo. One take away from learning German (and many other languages) is that the English language needs a plural you. Y'all is the closest we have, and as ugly a colloquialism as that might be, it really works. Except that southerners will sometimes refer to a singular you as y'all, and it's usually those people who say "ALLYALL" as their personal plural you. You'ns or You'se (however you spell those) also exist, but Y'all is the most wide spread where I live.

    In the "supposedly/supposably" department...I was torn with HERD v. HERDed. I guess I don't herd cattle enough to know exactly what the past tense is. Heh...must be herd?

    Hand up for mer and hinder.

    At 60d (what a weird clue, btw) I wanted some version of Pol Pot.

    And fwiw, the outlier answers (ONEOFUS and ENDGAME) messed me up because I kept wanting them to be symmetrical too.

    And finally, when I think "Home cooking" I don't think "DINE." Home cooking is usually simple, humble fare, i.e., comfort food. You don't dine on that. You eat it...humbly. Dining In would be, to me and my household, something catered or something prepared by my personal chef and served with some nice sparkling wine(s). But if it's just a roast with some carrots and parsnips, I'll "eat in" rather than "dine in."

    grammar nazi 9:57 AM  

    @Z 9:38: Thank you for supporting my point. It seems you searched, and you could not find a dictionary entry that defines "criteria" as a singular word.

    The word "ain't" has been used for half a century too. That don't make it English. Yins gotta learn ya some talkin'. Now mambo dogface to the banana patch?

    Bob Kerfuffle 9:59 AM  

    Couldn't afford an asterisk for poor little ANA?

    grammar nazi 10:00 AM  

    It's awesome, though, that your entry in Meriam-Webster quotes Nixon as someone who used "criteria" in the singular. If you're using Nixon's command of the English language to support your argument, you're in trouble. If that's not an argument for incorrect usage, I don't know what is.

    Anonymous 10:02 AM  

    I like @grammar nazi's posts and so will leap to his defence with the following usage note from the OED:

    "usage: Strictly speaking, the singular form (following the original Greek) is criterion and the plural form is criteria. It is a common mistake to use criteria as if it were a singular, as in a further criteria needs to be considered."

    I agree that the tone of this thread is and should be conversational, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't all try to communicate a little more clearly.

    And @grammar nazi's post about @Nancy wandering around Central Park with her parentheses open was one of the funniest things I've read on this blog in quite some time.

    Hartley70 10:17 AM  

    I'm very fond of grammar and don't mind correction of errors that clearly aren't typos. I would like to suggest however, that civility trumps grammar every single time. @Nancy in the park with a open parenthesis is amusing. Pointing out someone's "ignorance" is not.

    As to the puzzle, loved it! It's a unique theme to me and adding palindromes would raise it to a Thursday level.

    Nancy 10:17 AM  

    I found it much more challenging than most Wednesdays, meaning I liked it quite a bit. Yes, @GILL, I also had GIRDle, instead of GIRD UP. I might have Naticked at CHALUPA/ANA, but guessed right on the A. I've never heard anyone say ALL Y'ALL, which seems kind of redundant to me, but then I'm not Southern, so what do I know? (Which reminds me of yesterday: I AM disappointed, @Leapfinger, that you're not "a Southern gentleman flirting with me", but I love you anyway.)

    This was a puzzle that I was able to solve without understanding, or paying any attention to, the theme. Which was a good thing, actually: knowing why BUTTERFLY and TAJ MAHAL were there would have only confused me. (The whole letter symmetry vs. physical real-life symmetry thing.) Sometimes ignorance can truly be bliss.

    Anonymous 10:21 AM  

    Ok, I've lived in the south for a long time. Have had 2 long time relationships with very southern women (from GA and ALA). Got to know their mostly rural extended families very well. And I've never, not one time, heard "all y'all." Isn't this really some phrase made up by non-southerners who think that's a real phrase?

    Ben 10:25 AM  

    Well ever since someone pointed out that French, Spanish, Italian et al (etc.? Oh God) are in a sense "incorrect Latin" (is "correct Latin" even more than a mere concept?) I have relaxed about grammar. As long as the one, single most important criteria is met, effective communication, I'll spend energy elsewhere.

    John Child 10:28 AM  

    @Billy C / Fredd Smith
    Look at Rex's sidebar. Half of the links are dead. He hasn't updated it for years. Do you think that Dr Barany hasn't asked Rex to add his page? Or that he hasn't gotten Rex's permission to post links here?

    JayWalker 10:32 AM  

    I'm with Bearasgar - what does "RAGE" have to do with "Denier cre?" Can someone please explain that to me?
    And I must vote with Rex Porker's comment too. The endless sarcasm and obvious anger toward Will Short are making me want to find a new blog.

    Don McBrien 10:35 AM  

    Was just explaining to my kids how in the south they have "y'all" for "you guys" and "all-a-y'all" for "all of you guys." Funny to see it in the puzzle today, albeit in a slightly different form.

    Can't understand the clue or the answer for 60D.

    Anonymous 10:38 AM  

    from Meriam Webster:

    Dernier Cri: the newest fashion

    synonyms:buzz, chic, craze, fad, enthusiasm, fashion, flavor, go, hot ticket, last word, latest, mode, RAGE, sensation, style, ton, trend, vogue

    Carola 10:39 AM  

    Nice puzzle! After finishing it took me a couple of minutes to really understand the theme - first, I tried to make the asterisked entries fit the same meaning of BILATERAL SYMMETRY as BUTTERFLY and TAJ MAHAL. It seemed to work with DOSIDOS, ILL WILL, and MADE MAD as all would involve two parties. But DINED IN and GIORGIO? Then I saw it - how neat!

    MAD MEN x MARAT - comment on the French Revolution? Loved ENDGAME in the last spot.

    @loren - I dread having to move my doormat when sweeping my porch...out run a HERD of EARWIGS. Ugh.

    @NCA President - re: plural "you" - in this part of the Midwest we make do with "you guys" for both sexes.

    Zeke 10:40 AM  

    @Aketi from yesterday. I'm ever so sad that you think you're horrible at tuping. While you may in fact be so, it's more likely that you're judging yourself by an unrealistic criterion, and are perfectly fine in that area of human interaction. If you are in fact horrible at tuping, may I suggest you focus on (legal) teen aged boys, as they tend to be not very discriminating in this area.

    Anonymous 10:40 AM  

    from Wiki: [Lon Nol] led a military coup against Prince Norodom Sihanouk in 1970 and became the self-proclaimed President of the newly created Khmer Republic, ruling until 1975.

    You people aren't very resourceful, are you?

    Z 10:40 AM  

    @Ben Briarst - Exactly right.
    @Hartley70 - Exactly right.
    @grammar nazi - I'm sure you meant "Merriam-Webster." As for "ain't" you might want to consider the implications discussed here. Or better, how about discussing how ALL Y'ALL is like a BUTTERFLY.

    Nancy 10:41 AM  

    @Don McBrian -- The dictator is LON NOL. If LON were reversed, it would be NOL. (The fact that the 2nd word doesn't appear in the puzzle makes it confusing, I admit.)

    grammar nazi 10:46 AM  

    Do you mean that the Meriam, older sister of Moses and Aaron, who later married Daniel (Webster), didn't write the modern English dictionary? My bad.

    wreck 10:49 AM  

    As for the "grammar" debate, I side with @Bark and @LMS. Most forums of this type are meant to be informal conversation and strictly edited prose is not necessary. That said, I agree with what @Hartley70 had to say on the topic - civility should trump grammar always.
    I certainly liked today's puzzle better than yesterday! I have the same question about 60D as @Don McBrien

    Dorothy Biggs 10:49 AM  

    @anon 10:21am: All y'all is definitely a saying that southerners use. I don't know about Georgia, but here in Tennessee people say it. I wouldn't say that it is used frequently, but it is definitely used.

    @Don McBrien: There is no such thing as "all-a-y'all" unless it's an Italian speaker using that phrase. But "you guys" is a good translation for y'all.

    Y'all is better than "you guys" in that it is non-gendered...I know some women who don't care to be called "guys." :D

    As for the plurality of "criteria" debate, while I don't judge others for their use one way or the other, it was hammered into my brain in grad school style class that criteria is the plural of criterion...along the same lines as media being a plural form of medium. Many people call TV a "media," but it is a medium...the press, along with TV, newspapers, and radio, would be "media."

    But who am I to judge? I use ellipses with impunity...

    George Barany 10:51 AM  

    @Billy C: From a couple of days ago, you seem to know quite a bit about the events at the end of World War II. Both of my parents were Holocaust survivors, so these are issues that I care about deeply. However, given that people come to this blog primarily to discuss crosswords rather than world history, I prefer to conduct such conversations off-Rex. Feel free to contact me via e-mail, as have several other Rex regulars already.

    Now onto crosswords: @Tim Croce's puzzle Look Both Ways, already referred to by @Loren Smith, is a tremendously creative effort that is very much "on point" to today's puzzle by @Joel Fagliano, and even to yesterday's puzzle by @Bruce Haight. Try the puzzle yourself, reread several of the comments appearing earlier today and yesterday, and you'll understand why. It certainly ties a record, insofar as every white square in the puzzle has theme material.

    Far be it for me to understand why @Will Shortz elected to not publish @Tim Croce's masterpiece in the New York Times, but I was delighted to be able to give it a home on my website, and to give @Tim the opportunity to tell more of the backstory in his "midrash."

    @Rex has always been gracious about allowing me to mention on his blog relevant puzzles [including some constructed not only by @Tim Croce but also other well-known names in the field, like @Martin Ashwood-Smith, @Charles Deber, @Todd Gross, @Tom Pepper, @Alex Vratsanos, etc.]. Thanks!

    Z 11:00 AM  

    @GN - Did you mean Miriam? I'm sorry, I don't know what you are trying to say.

    @NCA Prez - If I wrote anything academic I'd be sure to use "criteria" as a plural, but I shan't so I won't. I'm still bilingual, "pretentious academese" and "American English," but I try not to use the former much. People tend to think one rude if one uses PA too much in polite company.

    Whirred Whacks 11:04 AM  

    @Steve J @Z
    Heh-heh. I guess in your book, Bruce Haight's gem from yesterday will henceforth be known as the "Stalin of Puzzles."

    Dorothy Biggs 11:05 AM  

    @Z: Which is why I never use the word "whom." No one I know uses that word seriously.

    grammar nazi 11:08 AM  

    Yes, @Z, we call that "a joke." Try to keep up.

    Anonymous 11:10 AM  

    @Barany: I appreciate your bonus crosswords, please keep it up. However, don't act like it's a special favor from rex. Anyone can post anything here.

    grammar nazi 11:12 AM  

    @ nca pres: did you mean "no one WHOM I know...?" :)

    Z 11:12 AM  

    @WW - More the Mussolini of Puzzles IMHO.

    @NCAP - I haven't cured myself of "whom," yet.

    @Zeke yesterday - I'm feeling your pain.

    Way too many for one day. I'm out.

    old timer 11:14 AM  

    It would be nice if ALL Y'ALL liked the puzzle. I did. And I thought Rex's comments were entirely fair, pointing out the good and the bad. His difficulty rating equalled mine, too -- really a Thursdayish level of difficulty.

    My brother-in-law from Charleston, W.Va. says "all y'all". Because if you refer to a single person as y'all, then you need a way to mention multiple people. I've always regretted that "youse" isn't the plural of "you". Of course, "you" is really the plural of "thou" but no one uses "thou" or "thee" or "thine" outside of church now.

    Joseph Michael 11:20 AM  

    Great puzzle with a cool theme and lots of it. Liked thinking about the similarity between the TAJ MAHAL and a BUTTERFLY.

    Lost clue:
    Cobb's complaint - TY RANT

    Don McBrien 11:25 AM  

    Thanks @Nancy. That's what I guessed, but never heard of Lon Nol.

    @NCA, I'm not surprised I got it wrong. I lived in Georgia for one year around age 13 and was otherwise born and raised in the midwest. It's that midwesterner in me that wants / needs to hear that "of" in there.

    mathguy 11:36 AM  

    The constructor admits that bilateral symmetry is not a very good way to describe the pattern of the six starred clues. Even worse, as @Rex pointed out, is comparing that pattern to BUTTERFLY and TAJMAHAL. His justification is that the two three-letter words which are separated by a single letter can be considered an entity without considering the constituent letters.

    I didn't like UMOKAY.

    @Thomas 808: Wonderful salami palindrome. I hadn't seen it before.

    @Kris in ABCA: Thanks for reminding us of the Blake poem.

    The annoyances outweighed the pluses, IMHO.

    Lewis 11:45 AM  

    Hmmm, Joel works alongside Mr. Shortz... is 59A (ILLWILL) a secret message???

    As someone mentioned earlier, ANA could be subsumed in the theme as well. I like the symmetrical placement of CDS and TDS.

    Who would have thought BILATERAL SYMMETRY, a term that makes my eyes begin to cloud over, would have made for an interesting and enjoyable theme and solve?

    Joel, your cluing has improved, IMO. Maybe making those daily minis has sharpened your skill.

    Anonymous 11:50 AM  

    Actually, the mirror part comes from the definition of symmetry. 123123 is a repeated sequence; 123321 is symmetrical. The pedantic part would be pointing out that each number would also be a mirror image for true symmetry.

    Anonymous 12:03 PM  

    Got stuck for the longest time - had Tajmahal and butterfly, which gave me beautiful symmetry, not bilateral. So much for the biology degree.

    chefbea 12:05 PM  

    @Joseph Michael - so what is the similarity between a butterfly and the Taj Mahal??? No one has answered my question

    Masked and Anonymo4Us 12:08 PM  

    First of all, this was a real fun solve. It had my thUmbs flailin Up, at ALLYALL and UMOKAY. Might say the puz spoke my lingo.

    But some of the themers confused the & out of me. First, let's get bilateral symmetry's definition taken care of. Take the subject to be evaluated. Slice er down the middle. One side of what you end up with should be a spittin MIRROR image of the other side. Things with bilateral symmetry include:
    * U
    * You
    * TAJMAHAL (Never been there. Will take their word for it, that there's a doorknob on both sides of the door).
    * Yer perfect cinnamon roll (more of a guideline, of course)

    So let's slice ALLYALL in half, right down the middle. Each resultin portion has a sorta stretched > thingy from slicin the Y, and one side's thingy is the reflected image of the other. Both portions also have an ALL. Now, here is what kinda kept Joel up nights: can one reflect an ALL, all as one thingy, y'all? Answer: Hell yeah,... it's yer day-um puz. It is its own universe. No requirement for ALLYLLA. We're all friends, here.

    But what about MADEMAD? M&A ain't buyin the bilateral symmetry, here. When you cut that E in half, you get different-looking stuff in each portion. Left side looks like an E on a cold mornin. Right side looks like a = with an extra -. buzzzz. Bilateral disagreement!
    Confuses the M&A. QED.

    So, good themers: 4 + TAJMAHAL with 2 doorknobs.
    Bilateral badlaterals: 3.
    Winner: LON NOL.
    Winners in puz: U, U, U and U.

    Still think it was a cool puz.


    ** gruntz **

    Zeke 12:10 PM  

    @Z - Keep up the fight. While all may be lost, it's not lost on all of us. Meanwhile, I'm sitting here in dread awaiting a thrashing for picking on nice Aketi.

    Martel Moopsbane 12:11 PM  

    Whenever I see or hear the phrase ONEOFUS, all I can think of is the movie "Freaks".

    Lewis 12:15 PM  

    Factoid: Concerns for the TAJ MAHAL's structural integrity have recently been raised because of a decline in the groundwater level in the Yamuna river basin. In 2010, cracks appeared in parts of the tomb, and the minarets which surround the monument were showing signs of tilting, as the wooden foundation of the tomb may be rotting due to lack of water. In 2011 it was reported that some predictions indicated that the tomb could collapse within 5 years. (Wikipedia)

    Quotoid: "I think that nerds, if you want to call them that, have only gotten more HIP and assimilated into the culture." -- Al Yankovic

    Hartley70 12:20 PM  

    @chefbea, they are physically symmetrical. The butterfly has identical markings on each wing, and the Taj Mahal is symmetrical when viewed from the front.

    Mohair Sam 12:33 PM  

    @chefbea - When you look at the Taj from in front you're looking at bilateral symmetry. When you look at a butterfly nailed to the board with its wings spread you've got the same.

    Big Fan 12:48 PM  

    @chefbea Taj Mahal == Butterfly, as Taj Mahal is colorful, and likely to be high as a kite.

    Benko 12:57 PM  

    I grew up outside of Greensboro, North Carolina, and I still say "ALL Y'ALL" sometimes. Of course, I also sometimes use the word "ain't".

    M and A Somewhat Helpful Desk 1:08 PM  

    Letters that work Umokay, when vertcally sliced in haf: AHIMOTUVWXY.
    Another way to slice yer puz entry letters up is horizontally.
    If you slice a letter B, say, into an upper and lower half, then you get two little D dudes. Call this horizontal bilateral symmetry (HBS).

    Letters with HBS: BCDEHIKOX. Note that HIOX letters are symmetric, no matter how you slice it. But, I digress.
    Words with HBS: DECK. HIKE. HEXED. BODICE. ICEBOX. So a real bulletproof themer, no matter how you slice it: HIKEHIKE (What the QB snaps at, "on two").

    "bilaterally symmetric, except for only one doorknob"

    chefbea 1:20 PM  

    Thank you all for explaining!!!

    r.alphbunker 2:19 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    r.alphbunker 2:25 PM  

    I liked the use/mention confusion inherent in the puzzle's theme. The answers ALLYALL, GIORGIO, DINEDIN and DOSIDOS did not have to denote anything to get the bilateral symmetry; you just had to look at the arrangement of the letters. Whereas you had to understand what TAJMAHAL and BUTTERFLY denoted to get the bilateral symmetry. This set me up for a nice AHA experience when I realized those two answers were used and not just mentioned.

    I think the world is ready for a distributed pangram. If some constructor could create a puzzle that uses only the 18 letters not used by Monday's puzzle then together the two puzzles would form a pangram.

    This would probably require that Rex Parker reconsider what rock bottom is. Imagine that, two stunt puzzle combining to form a pangram.

    I would be glad to publish such a puzzle at runtpuz.org.

    Name that tune 2:44 PM  

    You know what has bilateral bilateral symmetry? The AREOLA.


    KFC 3:41 PM  

    The discourse here would be improved if everyone respected Rex's "3 comments" limit. You know who you are.

    Anonymous 3:53 PM  

    The discourse here would be improved if self-righteous, self-appointed rex proxies didn't tell others how to behave. You know who you are.

    Ludyjynn 4:37 PM  

    @oldtimer, you should come for a visit to Bawlmer, Murlin, where the natives refer to each other as youze, youze all or youze guys. When I first moved here, it MADE me MAD, but now I find the local dialect oddly charming!

    "What if God was ONEOFUS", a one hit wonder for Joan Osborne in 1995.

    Hand up for CHiLUPA, resulting in a DNF. Never had one. Tasty?

    Overall, a medium hump day solve. Late to the party as I spent the shank of the day w/ an out of town guest oohing and aahing over the most glorious stands of blossoming cherry trees, magnolias and the like all over town. BEAUTIFUL.

    Didn't Samantha on "Bewitched" have a flexible nose? Or do you consider a witch a mammal?!

    Thanks, JF and WS.

    RooMonster 5:30 PM  

    Wow,@LMS, you never cease to amaze. I'm here where my brain is tickled!

    Totally agree with the "Look Both Ways" puz, quite possibly the greatest puz ever.


    Anonymous 5:41 PM  

    AWFUL. Just AWFUL, like yesterday's.

    Rug Crazy 6:10 PM  


    That's it!

    On Borrowed Time 6:25 PM  

    @M&A-Fantastic. Now I will have the sad image of an "E on a cold mornin'" stuck in my mind for the rest of the day. Thanks.

    RooMonster 6:31 PM  

    Hey All !
    Wanted tsetse FLY and TAJtAjAL! Going for the repeated three-three thingamajig. Didn't work!

    If no one caught @Lorens post, you missed her imbedded BS's. It's impressive!

    Confusious say, "One who lugs slugs with a hat that droops, will have earned learned lesson."
    Or was that Confusionous? :-D

    Oh, puz? Eh. On the (symmetrical) fence.

    ADD TO TO A >:)

    Loren Muse Smith 6:32 PM  

    @Roo – Aw, man! "Here where" – that's a great one! I ran SH, TH, and PH words in my head on the way to work but didn't think of exploring WH. Good for you!

    Anoa Bob 7:53 PM  

    r.alphbunker@2:25, please keep us posted on how your distributed pangram puzzle project goes. The second one would have to exclude the letter "S", and I think that would be challenging indeed. Definitely would not be POC-marked.

    kitshef 8:32 PM  

    This was so much worse than yesterday's puzzle, whose worst crime was to be too hard for a Tuesday. Insect with bilateral symmetry? Well, pretty much all of them. Landmark with bilateral symmetry? Too numerous to mention.

    ALL Y'ALL, GIRD UP, IT'LL, and most of all UM OKAY are ... dreck, just dreck. SKEETS is not a thing, even informally ... or anyway not in reference to clay pigeons.

    I did like the (rotational) double-l not-quite symmetry of ALLYALL and ILLWILL. And the cluing for LON NOL was nifty.

    cheetahS before LEOPARDS, lAc before eAu, onA before TOA - which for me counts as a fairly clean solve.

    RooMonster 8:45 PM  

    Hi @Anoa Bob! I had sent in a puz to WS exactly what you described! It was, I guess you can call it, a tribute to you and the dreaded S. I titled it No Double (even though titles aren't on daily 15x's) and it had every letter except S. Was POC free! But of course, got it back as, "didn't excite me enough ".

    Hey, I tried!


    Charles Flaster 9:19 PM  

    George-- just completed the two Lincoln assassination puzzles. Nothing short of sensational and educational.
    Love your LSD clue too

    Nancy 10:46 PM  

    @George Barany -- I went to find LOOK BOTH WAYS and was gratified to find the third "click here" option, "interactive", that let me actually enter letters. (I don't know from pdf and I don't have Across Lite, whatever that is.) Oh, goody, I thought, FINALLY a puzzle that lets me solve online, since none of them ever do. Except I could only scroll down through the "Across" clues; there weren't any "Down" clues to be found. When I scrolled to the last of the Across clues, I could scroll down no further. Help! Thank you! (In case you haven't figured it out already, I am severely tech-challenged. Did I say severely?)

    Nancy 11:06 PM  

    Oops. Hope you've gone to bed, @grammar nazi and won't see this -- not today, not tomorrow either. That "further" should be "farther". Something I'm normally very much aware of. Just blame it on the fact that it's late and I'm tired. And also frustrated by the fact that I couldn't do the above-mentioned puzzle online.

    Uncle Moishy 11:16 PM  

    I think you should try not to be so nasty to people.

    Uncle Moishy 11:27 PM  

    I haven't done the puzzle, but based on comments others have made here I think it's possible that there are no down clues

    Uncle Moishy 11:38 PM  

    Um, forget that. I just followed Prof B's link. There most definitely are down clues. Sorry I can't help.

    Teedmn 12:30 AM  

    @Nancy, this is a case of not quite the blind leading the blind but close. But I think you should try to solving interactively , i.e. the third underlined "here". PDF is good if you are going to print the puzzle. AcrossLite is an app I use on my iPad and it works great but I think you are using a Windows version (assumption based on earlier posts of yours) so I went onto my Windows laptop and the third "here" let me enter answers using my keyboard. I didn't fill it in all the way so I don't know what kind of feedback Y'ALL get but the interactive option is worth a try.

    George Barany 8:06 AM  

    @Nancy, not sure if you'll come back to the previous day, but I am reminded of Groucho's line from "Duck Soup" -- "Clear? Huh. Why a four-year-old child could understand this report. (pause). Run out and find me a four-year-old child, I can't make head or tail of it."

    All kidding aside, ask anyone below a certain age; they're all far more tech-savvy than us old-timers who come to the technology kicking and screaming.

    If you're still stuck, send me an e-mail, and I'll try to help you as much as possible from afar.

    ANON B 2:44 PM  

    Sorry if I missed it, but has
    explained why Rex used "broom" instead of "bottom" in the definition for 33A?

    cliff 9:46 AM  

    a little late to the party ...

    Yes, "Gird up" is Biblical. But it did not, in ancient times, involve "encircling with a belt". Men wore skirts (or other similar loose fitting apparel) and if they were in a hurry, and needed to run, they would "gird up the loins", which involved reaching down to grab the skirt at the back of the hem, and pulling it up to tuck into the top of the skirt, turning the skirt into a sort of a skort.

    So the "gird up" ancient usage had nothing to do with a belt. Is there any more modern usage that does?

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    spacecraft 12:27 PM  

    Lots of problems with this one, not the least of which was another of those damnable [letter]-AND-[letter} things. GRRRRR!

    Rant thus compressed--though that cost me at least 20 minutes--we move on. So, no one else was taken in by the repeating-letter thing and went with tsetseFLY??? For the longest time I could make no sense of 24-across because repeating letter groups just would not go. Yes, TAJMAHAL did want to fit in there, but what the relevance? I mean, so it's the same on one side as it is on the other. Duh. So are most buildings. I just didn't get the point, and now, after it was forced in, I still don't. I did a foam-backed jigsaw of it some years ago. Sure, it's beautiful. But my apartment complex exhibits bilateral symmetry, for cryin' out loud. Maybe I'm just missing something. And having ODEon in place instead of ODEUM didn't help.

    Big groaner: "How a baby may be carried:" TOTERM. UM, OKAY. But UMOKAY per se? Not. That's a real outlier. "Oh, okay" or "I guess, if you say so" are in the language. UMOKAY has to get the flag.

    I didn't know that ETUDEs are supposed to be "challenging." I thought they were more like practice pieces. That was one of several things that threw me off.

    In the ENDGAME, I fixed it all up, and I did appreciate the fourth column, as OFL did, but I have too much ILLWILL to give it more than a C-.

    Burma Shave 12:46 PM  


    MADMEN have ILLWILL and ODEUM and RAGE on their side,
    Easily MADEMAD and put in a BADSPOT, even fit to be tied.
    EAU, UMOKAY, but I’m a lover, ITLL be my ENDGAME you see,
    To kiss all those AREOLA in BILATERAL SYMMETRY.


    BS2 12:57 PM  

    Hi ALLYALL. From ONEOFUS to the rest - I believe this to be 100 consecutive days of posting verse as Burma Shave and sometimes BS2 (for the "bonus") on this BLOG. Summer vacation will no doubt cause an interruption at some point, but in the mean time, thanks for putting up with it.

    LongBeachLee 1:06 PM  

    Spacecraft, thanks. I didn't know where to start, but you saved me the trouble. All I can add is that I finished in Friday time, which makes this a challenging Wednesday for me. I did not enjoy the journey except for the clue for lon nol, which did not turn out to be a misprint. I am a robot

    rain forest 2:07 PM  

    I guess I'm a pushover, because I like all puzzles that engage me in the quest for a correct solve, as this one did. I thought the theme worked for both senses of BILATERAL SYMMETRY, along with the "bonus" entries of LON NOL, and ANA. No dreck to speak of, unless you have the "thing" that @Spacey does about the letter-and-letter stuff.

    @BS and BS2 - Even though I don't say it every day, I'm impressed with your "poetry".

    rondo 2:24 PM  

    Later than usual to this party, but this was an OK solve even though the symmetry wasn’t mirror image. I still got the idea.

    @Spacey – I also got stuck on the JANDJ deal for some time, when it finally fell I wondered what you might say. I don’t particularly like those things either. Still contemplating LBAR . . .

    There was ALI floating like a BUTTERFLY (stinging SOTHEBY?) with a LEFTJAB.For a while I thought the puz might go that direction.

    Not really sure SKEETS is a correct plural. Wanna shoot some SKEET?

    Rather play with cougars instead of LEOPARDS. Think AREOLA.

    UMOKAY puz.

    DMG 3:00 PM  

    Found this one a bit rough, but eventually got there. Along the way I shared the problem spots "mer" and GIRDle. Also, I never quite grasped how things like MADEMAD could be considered to have BILATERAL SYMMETRY, which to me means the mirror image thing. But my confusion was put to rest by M&A's delightfully convoluted explanation. His mind is a wondrous thing!

    32301 !!!!!

    leftcoastTAM 6:41 PM  

    @grammar nazi:

    No one on this blog is likely to use "data" as singular, as in "the data shows...." but it's the bete-noire of my grammatical peeves. You can see and hear this corruption almost everywhere. If people want to avoid the fastidious sounding "datum," they could substitute "information," which is conveniently indefinite.

    Might we start a campaign to outlaw this abuse, perhaps with a penalty of forty lashes?

    Rammarg, a confused grammarian 10:30 PM  

    Is "forty lashes" singular, or are forty lashes plural?

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