Far East unit of weight / THU 8-6-15 / Direct-deposit payment for short / Night Tripper of music / Worshiper of Jah / Beach abutter

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Constructor: Gary Cee

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (except for that one cross ... yeah, you know the one ...)

THEME: By the by — a "literally" puzzle, where phrases structured "___ by ___" are, literally, place "by" (as in "alongside") one another. So the "by" is supplied / inferred by the adjacency of the two phrase parts:

Theme answers:
  • BAPTISM (by) FIRE (3D: With 14-Down, literally, grueling initiation)
  • TRIAL (by) JURY (22D: With 27-Down, literally, a Sixth Amendment right)
  • AS IF (by) MAGIC (35D: With 36-Down, literally, beyond rational explanation)
  • LEAD (by) THE NOSE (52D: With 42-Down, literally, control completely)
Word of the Day: EFT (47A: Direct-deposit payment, for short) —

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is a form of counseling intervention that draws on various theories of alternative medicine including acupuncture, neuro-linguistic programming, energy medicine, and Thought Field Therapy (TFT). It is best known through Gary Craig's EFT Handbook, published in the late 1990s, and related books and workshops by a variety of teachers. EFT and similar techniques are often discussed under the umbrella term "energy psychology". // In physics, an effective field theory is a type of approximation to (or effective theory for) an underlying physical theory, such as a quantum field theory or a statistical mechanics model. An effective field theory includes the appropriate degrees of freedom to describe physical phenomena occurring at a chosen length scale or energy scale, while ignoring substructure and degrees of freedom at shorter distances (or, equivalently, at higher energies). Intuitively, one averages over the behavior of the underlying theory at shorter length scales to derive a hopefully simplified model at longer length scales. Effective field theories typically work best when there is a large separation between length scale of interest and the length scale of the underlying dynamics. Effective field theories have found use in particle physics, statistical mechanics, condensed matter physics, general relativity, and hydrodynamics. They simplify calculations, and allow treatment of Dissipation and Radiation effects . //
n. A newt in its juvenile terrestrial stage, especially the reddish-orange form of the North American species Notophthalmus viridescens. // (actually...) Electronic funds transfer (EFT) is the electronic transfer of money from one bank account to another, either within a single financial institution or across multiple institutions, through computer-based systems and without the direct intervention of bank staff. EFTs are known by a number of names. In the United States, they may be referred to as electronic checks or e-checks.
• • •

If thousands of solvers don't crash on the rocky shores of EFT / TAEL today, I will eat my virtual hat. This is a truly terrible cross for a number of reasons. First, it involves terrible fill. Both parts. No good. EFT you want to avoid if possible, and TAEL you really really really want to avoid, as it is pretty much textbook crosswordese (foreign 4-letter unit of whatever that most US solvers don't know and that no one would ever put n their crossword if they weren't desperate / tired—As a good friend of mine just said: "I knew 48D because I've seen the Crossword Compiler default word list. Thumbs down."). Then there's the fact that EFT has a much more common clue. If you're gonna cross crosswordese (i.e. junk) for god's sake don't get cute. I had no idea what EFT was until I looked it up. Never heard of it. How in the world is that clue better than the salamander clue? It is unusual, which *can* be a plus, and it's harder, which *can* be a plus, but when you are dealing in abbrevs. that not everyone knows—and I can't say this strongly enough—Every Cross Must Be Rock-Solid Fair. And TAEL just isn't. Lastly, there's another fix: just go letter string EFG and GAEL. Or, you know, you could tear out *everything* that isn't theme material and start over, which is probably what should've happened here today, as the fill is weak all over. The lesson: avoidable death crosses will ensure that people don't remember any other damn thing about your puzzle. Why would you shoot yourself in the foot like that?

This theme type is common enough on Thursdays. A "literally" theme, where some word (e.g. "over" "under" "in" "through") in a common phrase is supplied / inferred by the way the phrase's component parts are arranged. Seen it a lot. There are only four examples here. That's not a lot. None of them are scintillating or the good kind of surprising. I waned my trial to be by fire, so BAPTISM took me some time, and AS IF was unexpected in its two-partedness, so that one made me work too. It's a cute enough idea. Not a DOOZIE (25D: Humdinger), but OK. And yet I don't think it really rises to what a Thursday NYT should be. Certainly not as executed here. And the fill pretty much ruins whatever good stuff the theme brought to the table.

["... with their sharpies and their guns"]

  • 1A: Part of a harvest festival decoration (COB) — this took some doing. It's accurate enough, but since normal humans only ever use the phrase "corn cob," it didn't leap to mind. 
  • 45A: Orbital low point (PERIGEE) — to my credit, I remembered this instantly. To my humiliation, I spelled it like nine different ways before I got it right.
  • 5D: Common Halloween costume (HAG) — Again, I think normal humans call them "witches," but I guess HAG is acceptable. I had BAT.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:14 AM  

Too easy for a Thurs.   

Erasures: malt before CONE and Mon before MES.  No WOEs.  

SPIELED is not pretty. 

Cute Thurs. trick with a couple of nice theme answers but not that hard to pick up.  Liked it more than Rex did but maybe it should have been a Wed.  

...oh,  and EFT was a gimme, I see it on my on-line credit unions statements every month.  TAEL on the other hand....

@Casco - good to hear you're keeping busy, please keep checking in when you can.

Anonymous 12:18 AM  

Prepare to eat your hat. That cross was no problem.

Anonymous 12:20 AM  

last week the thursday-friday-saturday run was spectacular. alas, this has eft up that streak.

welcome back rex.


Music man 12:38 AM  

Ahh glad to have someone back who isn't just trying to find the good and ignoring the bad. Liked the clue for ZONE. First 3 answers were RASTA HTTP and STRAD. So many answers seemed just so easy. SPOUSES, HELP OUT, EIFFEL. Too easy. I liked the puzzle a little but not much. Theme was kind of cute, but not enough of it.

Steve J 12:54 AM  

Middle-of-the-road puzzle, with nothing terribly remarkable or terribly bad. Theme was fine, even if this sort of theme - adjacent answers indicating by or over or on - seems to have been done a lot in the last couple years. There are a couple rough bits of fill, but nothing atrocious.

TAEL could be atrocious, but it's fairly crossed (and, anyway, the SHESA partial looks much worse in the grid). Rex's protestations to the contrary, EFT as clued was easy. As @jae mentioned, it's common in banking. I've seen it on statements, in Quicken, on my banks' websites, etc. for many years. The other crosses were easily gettable as well.

chefwen 1:08 AM  

The only EFT I am familiar with is an immature newt, so that crossing TAEL was a Google assist. You don't have to eat your hat on my part. DR. JOHN was also a unknown. NOThing at 10D instead of NOT A ONE didn't help matters at all. So, chalk up one technical DNF for the the wee one.

Thought the theme was cute and pretty easy to suss out once the first one is uncovered.

Roberta 1:12 AM  

Agree. Super easy except for the eft cross.

Anonymous 1:52 AM  

Had to change 10D NOTHING to NOTAONE to finish. Really liked 35A AMAZINGLY. I dont't remember seeing that word in a puzzle.

Yeah, kind of an easy Thursday, but last week overall was pretty good.


MDMA 2:01 AM  

Electronic Funds Transfer is fairly well known.

Any restaurants specializing in hat cuisine? Maybe there's a pilos on the menu, it looks tasty.

Brendan McNamara 2:34 AM  

I originally put ACH instead of EFT. I figured it had to be wrong, but it's no worse than EFT. And both are better clued as words than acronyms, amusingly.

Anoa Bob 3:09 AM  

There were a few bright spots---I liked DRJOHN & CREDEÑZA---but those four sets of side-by-side themers seem to have extracted a heavy toll on much of the rest of the grid. We get some CFCS & DSCS, a NALA & PIAF here, a TAEL & ARETE there. ICH MES ESE? The listicle goes on.

Aren't ASOF, ASIF & ITAR characters in the Dilbert comic strip? They are always good for OLAF or II.

Tax Guy 4:11 AM  

EFT I'm fine with. For anybody that lives in the financial world, it's a gimme. TAEL on the other hand...

Rex you're not qualified to judge what "normal humans" do or think. "normal humans" don't work the entire damned NYT crossword in 4 minutes. I see times posted by you and some of the regular commenters here that to me appear AS IF BY MAGIC. We "normal humans" can't even read through the clues that fast.

Tax Guy 4:12 AM  

EFT I'm fine with. For anybody that lives in the financial world, it's a gimme. TAEL on the other hand...

Rex you're not qualified to judge what "normal humans" do or think. "normal humans" don't work the entire damned NYT crossword in 4 minutes. I see times posted by you and some of the regular commenters here that to me appear AS IF BY MAGIC. We "normal humans" can't even read through the clues that fast.

Tax Guy 4:13 AM  

EFT I'm fine with. For anybody that lives in the financial world, it's a gimme. TAEL on the other hand...

Rex you're not qualified to judge what "normal humans" do or think. "normal humans" don't work the entire damned NYT crossword in 4 minutes. I see times posted by you and some of the regular commenters here that to me appear AS IF BY MAGIC. We "normal humans" can't even read through the clues that fast.

Loren Muse Smith 4:24 AM  

Rex – I went back to see how I crossed EFT/TAEL and saw that the square was still blank. I don't know if I would have chosen T or not. Lots of letters would look plausible there. Also - I'm with you on TRIAL BY FIRE, and my PERIGEE also had several iterations before I landed it. PERIGEE is just a malapropism lying in wait. Our dachshund, Pompey Ducklegs, boasted the finest perigee in all of Chattanooga.But the poor little guy was dumb as dirt.

Oh, and my costume was a "bag" for a while. We've all been there; you have ten minutes to throw together a Halloween costume, so you grab a brown paper grocery bag, cut a couple of eye holes, draw on some ridiculous eyelashes, and you're good to go.

@jae – agree that SPIELED looks funny. Can we say someone shticked, too?

My two favorites were both entries with two parts: AS IF (by) MAGIC and LEAD (by) THE NOSE. This kind of trick appeals to the part of me that loves those little word riddle puzzle pictures. Here is another "literal" manipulation of phrases that took this idea and ratcheted it up several notches.

In-Nuendos by Daniel Finan

Does anyone ever type in the HTTP when going to a site? I don't.

Had "hfcs" for a while, thinking that those things were hydrofluorocarbons. I remember when aerosols were banned for a while, so Mom had to buy our deodorant and hairspray in pump bottles. During the adjustment period, my youngest sister stood at the sink brushing her teeth and watched as my middle sister sprayed her hair liberally with Arrid XX . She didn’t say anything because middle sister had a temper, and, honestly, it was time to go to the bus stop, so there was nothing to be done about it anyway. Good times.

Gary snuck in his last name all around: CeePA, DSCee, CeeFCee, and VACANCEE. Sea? Cool.

Moly Shu 4:32 AM  

Go ahead and get the salt ready @Rex, no problem here with EFT/TAEL. Agree with @Jae, also Mon and malt errors. Liked AMAZINGLY and the ALPINE GO AT.
Thank you @Rex, QOTSA effing rock !!!!!

Aketi 4:50 AM  

Count me in for one who found the EFT/TAEL cross to be a DOOZIE, maybe because my SPOUSE is in charge of looking at the bank statement, while I'm in charge of entering data into Turbotax,

So it's not just any old GOAT today, it's an ALPINE GOAT! And OLAV was swapped out for OLAF.

I didn't have much trouble getting the phrase BAPTISM by FIRE, but I think most people would prefer to be baptized in water.

Charles Flaster 5:08 AM  

Medium as I thought of "Baptism under fire" ; so the NW took longer.
CrosswordEASE--ARÊTE, SRTA, DSCS and TAEL( see Rex).
First entry was Amati then STRAD.
Liked cluing for OIL SPOT, EYE, and always liked apogee vs PERIGEE.
Thanks GC.

Torquemada 5:44 AM  

I'll stake my fortune and my honour on this: for NCA Prez and other like-mindeds, this was a


Z 6:43 AM  

EFT was a gimme, never even noticed TAEL. Direct Deposit is probably the most commonly recognized form of EFT, but the vast majority of transactions are either cash or EFT. Heck, sometimes I see that checks get converted to EFTs on my statement. And then there's PayPal, all EFT all the time. Seems more than fair enough to me. Still, glad I didn't notice TAEL, especially since I did notice OLAF/V II. A coin flip AND a RRN. Bonus!

Finished in a hard Tuesday easy Wednesday time (12:30), so really not a Thursday puzzle in my book. I know my time because my old dog decided he needed a walk at 4:59a.m, well before the paper hit my stoop, so solved on th e iPad.

Unknown 6:57 AM  

No prob with TAEL zackly because it is crosswordese. If you have children of a certain age, and if they suddenly need money for something, you will become faniliar with EFT. Very easy Thurs.

mathgent 7:04 AM  

As @jae said, much too easy. Bill Butler did it in seven minutes while his average for Thursday is 20.

Even so, I should have liked it better. I checked off eleven smart clues (probably thanks to Will), I learned some things (the current name of Tass), not too many threes (19), a lively variety of entries, an OK theme. Maybe because I wanted a rebus.

john 7:05 AM  

EFT went right in. Anyone who uses Quicken for their finances sees that often

elitza 7:11 AM  

EFT was actually one of my more-than-a-usual-Thursday gimmes. I got really hung up, though, in the NE: TRIUNES? Sure. Gimme. (Thanks, Catholic college education, -that's- what stuck?) Everything else? Nope. EXPENSE took far too long for some reason, and I ended by thowing letters at RATCHET/DRJOHN/ARETE until my happy pencil arrived.

Finished way under normal Thursday time. Other gimmes: CHAIR, HTTP, RASTA, PERIGEE, DIALECT, INDO, CFCS. Gave me enough to go on. Theme was fine but I, too, wanted a trial by fire. I tend to solve acrosses first, then downs, then fill from there, so there are days I don't see many/any Down clues. Must've missed the one for TAEL 'cos I don't remember entering that at all.

Hungry Mother 7:13 AM  

Tuesday level for me (no expert).

Susierah 7:27 AM  

I liked the clue for eft just fine. We see it clued as newt or salamander all the time. Eft is a very common abbreviation on bank statements. How could Rex have never heard it. I struggled with the NW because I was convinced 1 down was BBB or FTC. I never got the "by" connection until I came here, just thought it was awkward.

imfromjersey 7:37 AM  

Did not have trouble with EFT, as @jae said i see it on my online credit union bank statement, but agree, the other meaning would have made it fairer. But I had a lot of trouble in the NW with COB, and finally everything fell in place once I got BAPTISM. TAEL I had vaguely remembered but it took a while. Did not enjoy solving this one, found it a slog.

evil doug 7:39 AM  

VW Eos: 2006-2016. RIP, old friend, the end is nigh. I've had one since 2008, and the adventure of watching that hardtop fold into the trunk like a Transformer never gets old.

Not even a test for ESE? "Compass dir."? C'mon, it's Thursday, stick a couple of obscure Iowa burgs in there....

Got lucky on EFT--but I figured it meant electronic financial transaction....

If you're shooting for pangram--don't know, don't care--then "coax" is a satisfactory way to get your x....

"Ratchet" is as good as "spieled" is not.

My spouse is not just the "other half", but the better one....

Psycho Killer 7:43 AM  

I'm a bit taken aback by the hatred of the EFT/TAEL cross. I'd have said EFT was pretty common, even a gimme (I didn't know the bad cross Rex's write-up assumed I knew, though I certainly didn't know TAEL.) I guess that was enough to color the puzzle subpar for some folk. Not me. I thought it was dandy.

GeezerJackYale48 7:45 AM  

Way too easy for Thursday. Couldn't write fast enough in the northeast corner. As for EFT: no idea. If that is how my funds get deposited every month, OK then, thanks very much. I am so excited about it I will immediately forget it for next time - which hopefully will never happen.

Norm 7:47 AM  

TAEL was a gimme. EFT is one of the transaction types in Quicken (and, I imagine, other finance-tracking programs).

Sir Hillary 7:53 AM  

Clever theme -- I especially like ASIF by MAGIC. I found the cluing to be pretty obtuse -- almost Saturday-ish. That actually was a positive. But, yeah, the fill is not great. ove that Stones song, but what an awful partial.

So, all in all, this one is


joho 7:55 AM  

@anon 12:20, very clever.

I also thought that the theme is very clever. It took me while to get and delivered a nice aha moment when I did.

Cute clue for VACANCY.


Loved HELPOUT next to SPOUSES.

I'm up on my crosswordese so TAEL was a gimme, no problem there.

Not as tricky as I like my Thursdays but a lot fun anyway. Thank you, Gary Cee!

evil doug 8:11 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dorothy Biggs 8:14 AM  

The EFT/TAEL crossing was a blip on my radar. The -AEL was present just in the crosses (which were all pretty easy), and EFT was something that I somehow knew. In fact, all of the weird words (PERIGEE, RATCHET..as clued, DOOZIE...as spelled, and TRIUNES...TRInity to start) were easily gettable from the crosses.

I had several nits though: TRIUNES being one of them. Triunes? Isn't that an adjective? OILSPOT seems like green paint to me. OLAF?? Again with the OLAF? ARETE is becoming like epee and Asta...it's everywhere. ESE...ugh. DSCS/CFCS/HTTP/TVS...vowels anyone?

I liked PERIGEE just because it was different and reminded me of apogee, and I also liked FORMULAONE well, just because.

For all of you who like puns and think they are the gold standard of "word play," my favorite kind of word play is in 39D: where the phrase HELPOUT is similar to the phrase Pitch in. I don't know why, but I think that's cool. You help OUT when you pitch IN. Sometimes the English language is just AMAZINGLY fascinating (read: surprising) and "playful."

This puzzle was pretty easy for a Thursday for me. I'm not sure, if this puzzle were in a lineup, I would be able to identify it as a Thursday puzzle. Just not "tricky" enough.

Rex Parker 8:18 AM  

Here's some weird data for you. Per cruciverb database:

135 EFT entries
3 refer to Electronic Funds Transfer

Of the Electronic Funds Transfer clues:

None of them appeared in the NYT
All of them appeared from '99-'01

[It's that last part that surprises me.]


Unknown 8:21 AM  

Not in my wheelhouse. Kind of hated it. Needed to cheat to get the E in the EFT/TAEL cross, so count me as firmly on Rex's side on that one. Like others, thought SPIELED was pretty terrible, but also TRIUNES seems like a forced plural to me.

Leaving for Memphis tomorrow. Going to spend four days there. In Memphis. So I guess I've got that going for me.

Z 8:23 AM  

Speaking of constructor names, was pleased to see the byline on today's LATX.

@Muse - For some reason I'm in the mood for a little Phil Spector produced music now. 😍

AliasZ 8:24 AM  

I liked this on more than yesterday's despite the EFT/TAEL fail, which EFT up the aftertaste AS IF a sewer worker with hip boots traipsed across my tongue. An acronym search of EFT yielded 34 results. Consider yourself lucky that I am EFT (employed full time) so I won't bore you to death with an Engineering Feasibility Test of the Effective Field Theory, External Fuel Tank, etc. etc.

Today we SPIELED through the CREDENZA, we got a HELP-OUT by ERASURE, a RASTA under the CHAIR, a CAN in VACANCY, a RATCHET across DR. JOHN (whoever he is), a DOOZIE by Anaïs NIN, an ALPINE GOAT with Edith PIAF on top (SHE'S A lay-deh, whoa whoa whoa, SHE'S A lay-deh...), a PEN in EXPENSE, and a FORMULA ONE race across THE NOSE. Say, didn't we have this Gogol story on Sunday?

Which is more acceptable, SPIELED or TAEL? CFCS or DSCS? ITAR or ASOF? SHESA or NALA? NOT A ONE, in my book. Good thing I don't have a book.

AMAZINGLY, I still liked it better than yesterday's because of PERIGEE, TRIUNES, RATCHET, DIALECT and an ALPINE GO-AT (a foofaraw in Gstaad). GO FIGURE.

We also have The TAEL of SRTA Saltan as a bunos, by who else but Rimsky, of course-akov.

Is it Thursday already?

Hartley70 8:32 AM  

I couldn't find an entry door until I saw FORMULAONE, hello Watkins Glen of yore. I saw EFT and thought extra fast transfer? I've never heard of DRJOHN or SHE'SARAINBOW, though maybe I could if the clue would obligingly hum the tune. The themers were easy once I got ASIF and MAGIC.

I agree this is a Wednesday puzzle. What garners kudos on Wednesday, gets a meh on Thursday. What a difference a day makes. Now I'm humming!

mac 8:39 AM  

I enjoyed the solve, but no great sparkle.

I got the EFT/Tael crossing right, probably because tael sounded right. I don't like all the acronyms, and I don't like "spieled". Triunes, alpine goats and ratched are good words.

And there was good old arete!

You may want to try the LAT crossword!

Dansah 8:41 AM  

Too easy for a Thursday. EFT a gimme. IMHO knowing the workings of our financial world is at least as reasonable to expect as the key of a random symphony. In E, A etc. As for TAEL, I counter with obscure river tributaries.

Generic Solver 8:41 AM  

I loved seeing TAEL, an answer I hadn't seen in quite some time. It was a throwback to the good old days of pure word-slogging crosswords, and not having to be up on Rap artists, Internet memes, Harry Potter and the like.

Leapfinger 8:46 AM  

COBs, leaves, gourds and acorns. That's pretty much it for harvest decorations, so yes, LEAp to mind it did. @Rex will have more than one virtual hat to eat on account of that TAEL. otoh, I couldn't dredge up the start of PERIGEE without mumbling apoGEE first.

@jae, I was the opposite of you: needed the T to get EFT up, but always remember TAEL (crosswordESE) because I used to have a neighbour named JAEL. Agree it would have been a spectacular Wednesday.

I don't giggle or chuckle much, but did alot of mental chortling and ear-to-ear grinning over this theme, partly from my own enjoyment and partly from imagining the EYE-rolling from the more serious-minded contingent, which might see this as JUTO SULTRY*

Thought the cluing was overly straightforward (for a Thursday), but the fill STRADdled various pitfalls, some with style and some with ESE. It had its UPS (ARETE) and downs (PERIGEE), but from SOUP to STEW generally served up some quite savory fare. An OILSPOT often bodes ill, but I liked having SPOUSES HELP OUT as well as the ALPINE GOAT leaping above the ARETE. The view from up there is usually quite an EIFFEL. For these things, and the lovely CREDENZA, I can forgive the descent to the initialisms in the southern hemisphere.

* Adding in SULT, TO in JURYI first read 3D as a grueling invitation, like "Sit down and have some porridge for breakfast", which I found pretty amuesling. There's just something about cereal humour.

Also enjoyed the two synchronicities of (i) @oldtimer's yestercomment on the Haralds and Haakons, which led me breifly to OLAFIV, since apparently there were V, and (ii) the partial return of @Bob Kerfuffle's Scottish DIALECTical. We may yet end up with a DIALECTicle all our own.

Off now to STRADdle various activities of the day, one of them AUTOmotive. AMAZINGLY, a new set of tyres for my car ( Not a FORMULA_ONE!) will cost well over $500.

Gary Cee gets a Bee. Plus.

Nancy 8:51 AM  

If it weren't for @Norm, I'd be an outlier today. EFT was a WTF, but from somewhere out of my dim memory, I dredged up TAEL. And that prevented the Natick.

@Hartley70, who lives in CT, warns me, btw, that I keep mispronouncing Natick. I've never said the word out loud to anyone but her, had never heard of the term before I came to this blog, and have been hearing it in my head for the better part of 2 years with a short "A" sound. As in "have". She says that the town is pronounced with a long "A" sound, as in "lake". She says I'd better not mispronounce at Lollapuzzoola or I will be drummed unceremoniously out of puzzledom. I think I'd better remember not to pronounce it at all :)

Speaking of Lolla: I liked this puzzle a lot, but was very slow compared to many of you. I slowed down mainly at the LEAD (by) THE NOSE section, temporarily forgetting about the "by" for just that clue. A general question to all you tournament veterans: Is it better to leave out a couple of answers or to slow w-a-a-a-y down in order to complete the puzzle? How is one judged? By number of completed puzzles? By total number of minutes for all puzzles combined? By some combination of factors? All solving strategy from the experts isgreatly appreciated! I'll remember anyone who HELPS me OUT in my victory speech :)

noone 8:52 AM  

EFT was a gimme, TAEL came with the cross. But no child I have ever known has disguised as a HAG at Hallowe'en. HTTP took a few secs to recall; I don't even put in www anymore!

RooMonster 8:54 AM  

Hey All !
Agree with the peeps who said this seemed more of a WedsPuz than a ThursPuz. Got the trick at AS IF (by) MAGIC, even though had loGIC there for a bit. Also wanted trial (by) FIRE, but wouldn't fit, and then found TRIAL (by) JURY. So, OK, I can deal with BAPTISM.

Another one letter DNF, ARGH! On something I always mess up, had STRAt for STRAD. Why do I always think it's T?? CREtENZA sounded alright to me... Dang it.

Writeovers, scat->NALA, TRIUNal-> TRIUNES, NOThiNg->NOTAONE, oCH->ICH, Mon->MES.
All those mistakes in the NE held me up quite a bit.

Nice clue for CHAIR. No trouble with the EFT/TAEL cross. Sorry Rex! Here's some virtual hot sauce for your hat! :-)


evil doug 8:55 AM  

Nice job of editing on the Tax Guy x 3, guys....

Aketi 8:58 AM  

@Rex, don't FRET about eating your hat since EFT was a gimme for Jae and Anonymous at 12:18am. If you google chocolate hats there are a variety of options. If you google chocolate party hats, the options are smaller and should be RATEDR or maybe X.

I just noticed that the EURO ZONE suffered a breach in the puzzle.

When I saw FORMULA ONE and I started to wonder is there a FORMULA two? And found out that A and B preceded 1and 2 and that there was also 3, 4, 2000, 3000, and K. I'm sure someone here already knew that.

@Ludyjynn and Hartley70, you nailed the cause of my mortification moment.

Mortification is one of those words that reminds me of Old Testiment punishments. After binge watching the Hannibal series with my SPOUSE, I concluded that the gratuitous gory repetitive sadism with creepy music (which quickly became boring enough that I'd fall asleep faster than when I watch Forensic Files) was a sure sign of the decline of civilization from the era of series such as HERCULE POIROT. That is, until I started pondering the origins BAPTISM by FIRE and some of the sadistic practices described in the Old Testament. There is also the tedium of the LISTICLES of names that exceed anything you can find in crossword puzzles,

Anonymous 9:00 AM  

I liked it. EFT definitely had me by the tael. But Rex saves the day.

joho 9:16 AM  

Oh, I forgot! Check out today's LAT puzzle constructed by Loren Muse Smith and Mary Lou Guizzo!

Leapfinger 9:24 AM  

Forgot to point out that THE NOSE turned up again. Not broken up by that.

@SteveJ, talk about partials?! SHESA Brick...House?

@MDMA, that pilos/pileus of yours looks like that (Sno?)CONE down there near NOLA.

I have to GO_FIGURE out just why @Taxguy got a threefer.

@Loren, Jews can, Gentiles can't.

Okay. Seems we've officially reached saturation point on Bereft/Not Bereft per EFT.



Blue Stater 9:26 AM  

I had no problem with EFT (electronic funds transfer), but have a big problem with the cluing of another of its crosses, GOFIGURE, clued “How about that?!” Huh? Not in my dialect, not even close. This puzzle, in addition to its many other failings so ably catalogued by Rex, is full of stretchers, of which this one is the worst.

RAD2626 9:27 AM  

Agree with all that this was pretty easy. Had HAt for a minimalist costume. Never heard of an ALPINE GOAT so had some issues in NW until COB and BAPTISM fell. Theme fine. All good phrases. Agree AS IF was jarring.

The moderators should feel free to dump the (presumably accidedental) duplicate or triplicate entries.

Several Republican candidates will have their BAPTISM by FIRE tonight. Hard to get enthused 14 months out.

Ludyjynn 9:29 AM  

Nit pick time: GEENA Davis won her best supporting actress Oscar for "The Accidental Tourist" at the 1989 Academy Awards. Olympia Dukakis won BSA for "Moonstruck" in 1988.

Otherwise, I liked the long answers; the 3 letter answers, not so much. CREDENZA just rolls off the tongue; lovely.

My neighbor's jalopy has created a giant OILSPOT, no, make that oil slick, on the street out front where it spends much of the time parked like a beached whale.

Thanks, GC and WS.

George Barany 9:30 AM  

@Gary Cee's puzzle was easy for me, once I figured out the theme, but oh is @Rex ever right about the EFT/TAEL cross. You won't have to be eating your hat in any restaurant that I frequent.

There were a handful of other iffy crosses, and maybe more abbreviations than would have been ideal. I did enjoy seeing CREDENZA, as it brought to mind a controversial episode in the history of my University. GO_FIGURE!

Mike D. 9:30 AM  

No comment on FORMULA ONE / NOT A ONE? ASIF/ASOF? This, more than EFT/TAEL made this a bad Thursday.

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

Another case of just because rex don't know a word it doesn't mean it's a bad clue or that puzzle is bad.

Rex may not know EFT (electronic funds transfer) but most people do, especially those who get a paycheck or pay a bill, ever.

Very easy Thursday once the theme was figured out.

Billy C 9:36 AM  

OMG Ludy. Read Rex's FAQ's. She won in 1989 for a 1988 movie. She is therefore the 1988 winner. This comes up every single time there is an academy award clue.

generic solver 9:41 AM  

@Nancy: There is no proper noun, so, by definition, you didn't almost Natick.

Horace S. Patoot 9:48 AM  

My harvest festival decorations are EARs. My garbage pail decorations are COBs! Everyone to their own taste, I guess.

Mike D. 9:50 AM  

From Rex's FAQ:

16a. The clue says Marisa Tomei won the 1992 Oscar, when she clearly won it in 1993. I remember because I hosted an Oscar party that year. Why would the NYT make such a stupid error?

You are the one who has made the error. Oscars are handed out for achievements that took place in the preceding year. Thus, 1992 Oscars are handed out in 1993, but they are still 1992 Oscars. If your complaint is about a different awards show, chances are the same system applies.

Leapfinger 9:55 AM  

@Ludy, in case @Martin doesn't turn up: the 1989 Oscar Awards Show gives out the 1988 Oscars.

The Oscar year is for the year the movie comes out, the Award is always the next year, so the entire year's movies are up for consideration.

That discrepancy always catches someone.

Nancy 9:58 AM  

@Ludy (9:29)-- Good pickup on the GEENA clue. But I had completely forgotten about "The Accidental Tourist," a movie I didn't like then and don't remember at all now. I assumed that GEENA had won the Best Actress Oscar for "A League of Their Own." But I was wrong. One, she didn't. And, two, the movie came out in '92, not '88. But GEENA shoulda won! For anyone here who never saw it, it's the best sports film I've ever seen. Even better than "Bull Durham", the 2nd best sports film I've ever seen.

chefbea 10:00 AM  

55 posts already??? Never figured out the theme til I came here. Now have to go to our NARFE meeting so will read the comments later

Bob Kerfuffle 10:15 AM  

Sorry, but, puzzle: Meh.

@Leapfinger - You say, "There's just something about cereal humour." We've recently had a dish of Puffed Oats in the puzzle, but I don't think our Scottish friends were pleased with Samuel Johnson's definition for the word OATS: "a grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people." Neigh, nae!

jberg 10:23 AM  

Really easy.

Obviously, there are some people who are very familiar with EFT for Electronic Funds Transfer, and some who aren't. Similarly, there are some who know that an EFT is an immature salamander, and some who don't. My guess is that the second group is smaller than the first, at least in the USA. But why? GO FIGURE.

Personally, I knew it, and I think I knew TAEL from reading Pearl Buck years ago. Once you know a word like that, it's hard to forget.

My only problem was putting in TRInity before TRIUNES., and NOThiNg before NOT A ONE, both easily corrected by crosses.

@Ludyjynn, @Rex explains the whole Oscar-dating thing in his FAQ.

Carola 10:24 AM  

Agree about it's being easy, but the cute theme and the nice long Downs overcame my disappointment at not being presented with a brain-racker. My favorite was AS IF by MAGIC and its cross with AMAZINGLY. I also liked STRAD next to FRET (previously of the "neck lines" clue that flummoxed me), and the line that seems to say (in some mix of DIALECTs), "She likes television a lot": SHESA INDO TVS.

Tita 10:26 AM  

Is this just another grenade OFL is throwing? I'm not in finance, but EFT = gimme. Direct Deposit of paychecks much?

I LOVE this kind of gimmick...that whole


kinda thing. I even know a French one...
I remember a Sunday that was chockfull - I loved it too.

@LMS - I tried going as a pile of leaves once. Raked up a bunch of leaves, started stapling them to a sheet. Didn't work. I was desperate for change, as every year, for as long as the costume fit, I was a Portuguese fisherwoman. In fact, I believe that will be the title of my memoirs. (My dad SPIELED for Portuguese business development, so some authentic costumes were always around...)

@Rhino - 2 words for you - Bozo's Barbeque. Eschew the "famous" ones in town - have someone take you out of town a few minutes to Bozo's.

@Nancy - my answer to your tourney query - solve like you do at home.
Just do take 10 seconds to review the grid - leave no square blank!
I have no idea how they score at Lolla, because it is irrelevant for me.
I was thrilled to be the 383rd greatest solver at the last ACPT I attended. The pack was just shy of 700, so I was tickled!!
Unless, of course, you genuinely have a chance, in which case, I can offer no helpful advice!

Carry-over malapop from yesterday - GEENA Davis, not OSSIE.

EIFFEL also designed the rr bridge in Porto.

Thanks Mr. C, for a really fun, though mostly easy Thursday!

math gent 10:26 AM  

@Leapfinger: You are in fine form today.

I just checked my bank statement. No EFT. "ELECTRINIC CONV."

@Nancy: I hope you have a great time at the tournament. Please tell us all about it. I've never been to one.

Malsdemare 10:31 AM  

I'll take the threefer over the vitriol spewed over the last few months. Maybe three minions, all working at once?

EFT was easy; if I can do something electronically, I will and I see EFT on my online bank statement. I spent way too much time on the PERIGEE, SHESA, OLAVII TRIUNE. Didn't help that I had tossOUT before HELPOUT. Other than that, I thought it was kind of fun. I'm heading east today and haven't as much time to spend laboring over crosswords or catching up on this blog. So all was good.

Time to go pack.

johnpag 10:33 AM  

A COB is that part of the EAR of corn that the kernels are attached to. I don't know if I've ever seen a COB as part of any harvest festival decoration. EAR, yes; COB no.

Seth 10:33 AM  

Nobody dresses up like a bat for Halloween.

Zeke 10:36 AM  

@Blue Stater: Donald Trump is leading the republican field in all the polls. GO FIGURE!

This seems to me to be pretty common usage. Is it a regional thing?

Tita 10:38 AM  

Oh - and nice shoutout to the Iona gAELS, familiar to any New Rochelle native!

AliasZ 10:42 AM  

On the Wikipedia page "Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress" the following sentence is written right above the list of winners and nominees, by year:

"In the following table, the years are listed as per Academy convention, and generally correspond to the year of film release in Los Angeles County; the ceremonies are always held the following year."

GEENA Davis appears next to 1988, for "The Accidental Tourist" released in 1988.

At the 61st Academy Awards ceremony held on March 29, 1989, honoring the best films of 1988, the announcement was most likely something like this: "The winner for Best Supporting Actress of 1988 is... GEENA Davis!"

This has been the subject of many comments over the years, trying to catch the NYT or at least Will Shortz with an error. There is no error.

Steve J 10:54 AM  

(Apologies if this is repeated many times by now due to the lag in posts appearing) @Ludyjynn: GEENA Davis did not win her Oscar at the 1989 Academy Awards. She won at the 1988 Academy Awards, which were held in early 1989. Each year's Academy Awards ceremony is for the previous year; e.g., the ceremony this year was for the 2014 awards. See also Rex's FAQ on this.

Mac Rebennack 11:11 AM  

I don't believe that DRJOHN, a Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame inductee and a member of the legendary Wrecking Crew, has used "the Nightripper" in several decades.

Joseph Michael 11:11 AM  

EFT, as clued, was a gimme and I was able to remember TAEL from crosswordese. My problem spot centered around SHESA, PERIGEE, and OLAF II, so I had trouble getting the neighboring themer. However, AS IF BY MAGIC, all eventually fell into place.

The "literal" themes have been done a lot lately so, for me, they've lost some of their sparkle, though I still enjoy them.

Not the greatest Thursday and not the worst, but I'm still puzzled about ZONE as a counterpart for man-to-man?

Masked and Anonymous 11:11 AM  

TAEL = not so hard, if you have recently read …

E.F.T. I have heard of …



@Sir Hillary: har! Thanx for the inspiration.

@muse: yo! LA Congrats! Will work, next.

fave near-themers:
1. RASTA under CHAIR with GOAT, while HAG lies on top. (Too much? Thought so. Some of the others aren't so wordy. Or kinky.)
2. EURO in the SOUP-STEW.
3. SIT near TV.
6. OIL SPOT on yer ALPINE GOAT (…told a tale on U…)
7. In the ZONE with a DOOZIE. (Primo stuff.)
8. AMAZINGLY over DO. (…as in: but M&A digressed)

fave weeject: EFT. There, there … U just need to read more, @009. har

fave fillins: CREDENZA. RATCHET. VACANCY. EX-PENSE. DIALECT. {NOTA, FORMULA}ONE. DOOZIE. AMAZINGLY. day-um. Lotta good stuff. Plus, 5 U's.



Masked and Anonymous 11:19 AM  

@Seth: Did it. Darn near poked spouse's eye out, on car ride to party. Also dressed up as a gas station restroom pro-phylactic dispenser, one year. And as a bug with loooong eye stalks, another year.

Did I mention that that there crossword-costume guy at the ACPT is my friggin hero?


@muse: EKTORP!?!

Penna Resident 11:24 AM  

count me among the thousands here for whom EFT was a gimme. never heard of Emotional Freedom Technique. many times there are proper nouns i don't know that are called obvious here, so as has been said before, lack of knowledge by 1 person doesn't imply unfairness. i recall a while back reading here that penna is not a legit abbr for the state just south of binghamtom. fair cross to the unknown TAEL - its not monday.

Anonymous 11:26 AM  

EFT was a gimme. It's on my bank statement every months. In fact, the salamander clue is harder for me to get. I always confuse it with "ent" which I think is a Middle Earth creature. See, I'm already confused! My issue was with TRIUNES. Accessible from the crosses, but completely unknown to me.

nick 11:46 AM  

No fun here. Too many obscure name checks, too much cross referencing, grid too segmented. A grind, and no payoff.

Mohair Sam 11:53 AM  

EFT indeed. Well we can make a pretty good guess as to who balances the checkbook in the Parker household. I just love it when OFL loses it over common things he's never heard of. And his 8:18 defense of his stance is empty - the new NYT cluing of EFT is actually refreshing.

I've never heard of TAEL however, but no prob - all the crosses were eminently fair.

Medium solve for us, TRIUNES new word but sussable after much pain. Fun and clever theme.

Mrs. Mohair and I are house-sitting on the Jersey Shore this week and solving on-line for the first time ever. Slow going, but we're starting to get the feel. I cannot understand how the Rex's of the world buzz through these things so fast on screen, we're used to scanning clues and it just can't be done on-line.

Blue Stater 12:15 PM  

@Zeke: Yeah, I get the example you give, but "How about that?!" [or whatever the punctuation was[ doesn't capture the same semantic territory, for me anyway. To me at least one response to your example is "How mind-bogglingly stupid!" That ain't "How about that," at least in my book. OTOH I"m old enough to remember Mel Allen (it was his utterly consistent response to even the most modest of NY Yankees' accomplishments), so there's that.... I don't think it's regional.

JTHurst 12:32 PM  

Some days you get a 'cob' up yer keester and today was one of those days. I started slowly and slugged to a stop. Picked it up a half hour later and the answers started to fall out. Tael is an 'Old Testament' measure of money and EFT is normal vernacular in banking, easy peasey.

Like Rex I spelled 'perigee' about four different ways. And it is good to see Anais Nin back in the puzzles. I agreed with Steve J. that 'shesa' is much worse than EFT.

I don't know how I am supposed to know the myriad of names car builders attach to their products like 'EOS". Horrible and I do not care how many times they request the lion's or lioness's name from that movie, I will never remember them . I misspelled 'speeled' and no 'Nala' so I did not get 'alpine goat or baptism nor cob and definitely not CPA.

Maybe if I solved alpine goat then CPA would have been evident but the clue was terribly misleading.

Certain fraud protector, for short does not lead one to think of CPA. When a company interviewed accountants to determine who they would hire they ask each one a single question. "What is one plus one?" The first CPA firm said 2. The second said eleven and the third said whatever you want it to be. To name two entities: Enron and Frontier Airlines, they are good examples of the CPA firms not protecting the shareholders from fraud.

Glad to see more automotive clues in the form of formula one but garage stain was weak. I always called it a grease spot or oil slick.

GILL I. 12:50 PM  

I was trying to use TENDED and SPIELED in a sentence without sounding like I had a PERIGEE in English.
VACANCY is my only wow factor today...I still can't figure out how ZONE is a counterpart of man-to-man.
This puzzle had PIAF in it...that's good. I'm trying to think what else I liked... Oh, FORMULA ONE...British Grand Prix - Brands Hatch in Kent. I was dating a bloke named John Brown (I kid you not) and he drove a mini (well, everyone drove one in the late 60's) and he fancied himself as a Jackie Stewart. At least I lived to tell the tale.
On to LMS's and I'm sure a treat....

David L 12:55 PM  

@Rex - My guess is that the three EFT's between '99 and '01 were related to the whole Y2K banking (and also doomsday) scare that never materialized...

ANON B 12:56 PM  

To Rex:

Methinks thou dost protest too much.

ANON B 12:59 PM  


Zone and man-top-man defenses in basketball.

Bob Kerfuffle 1:08 PM  

Those disappointed by today's NYTimes offering might enjoy printing out today's (8/6) Thursday puzzle from BEQ.

Karl 1:30 PM  

Regarding the EFT controversy, thought it was a fresh new clue, as opposed to the "only-ever-seen-in-a-crossword" baby salamander clue. I see this abbreviation on bank statements all the time, which in my mind makes the cluing relevant and current. TAEL, on the other hand...yuck!

Benko 1:30 PM  

@Rex: Sounds like the editor of the LA Times tried to come up with a new clue for EFT that didn't catch on.
@m&a: At last year's ACPT my wife and I got on the elevator and were confronted by that there crossword costume guy dressed as the Pope of Crosswords. Quite a surprise. he gave us a blessing, of course.

RooMonster 1:46 PM  

@Gill I,
It's a football term. You either play man-to-man defense, or ZONE defense. So a tough-un for all the non-sporters.

@LMS, Congrats! And yes, I am jealous!


Mohair Sam 1:54 PM  

@Gill I. - (at risk here of being 50th to post this) There are man-to-man and ZONE defenses in basketball.

Mike D. 2:18 PM  

"TRIUNE to remember the dayunes of September..."

Anonymous 2:23 PM  

@GILL I & others

Think 'zone', as opposed to 'man-to-man' defense, in basketball.


Martel Moopsbane 3:31 PM  

@Mac Rebennack - since Dr. John's official website is nitetripper.com, I do believe he is still actively using that phrase. Feel free to quibble about the spelling.

Tita 3:50 PM  

@LMS - hear me out - you and Mary Lou nearly slayed me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Near-Natick @ 25A/9D, due to incorrect desperate answers hiding the truth from me. I found lots of it quite hard, and the NE brutal.

Clever, and great fill.

Hearty congrats to you and Ms. Guizzo

CFXK 4:07 PM  

EFTs are an integral part of your blog: every time someone clicks the PayPal button and supports your site, you are receiving an EFT -- albeit in funds not valued in Taels but in real American Dollars.

Da Bears 4:10 PM  

I think Rex was as kind to today's puzzle as he was harsh to yesterday's Not sure about yesterdays because it seemed acceptable if not somewhat macabre, but today's was liked watered down Maui pineapple wine, so I agree with rex today.

Anonymous 4:20 PM  

I thought Rex's comments today were as soft as his comments yesterday were harsh, but, while I'm unsure about yesterday despite its somewhat macabre theme, I agree with Rex about today. It was like watered down pineapple wine from Maui.

chefwen 4:54 PM  

@Loren - Great puzzle at the LATimes, loved it!

Da Bears 5:26 PM  

The combo 22D and 27D does not work because literally it can be JURY TRIAL instead oF TRIAL by JURY, whereas the other theme answers do not have that problem. As Rex suggested, TRIAL by FIRE would not have had that problem. This puzzle could have easily fit into a Tuesday or Wednesday slot, depending on the cluing.

Unknown 5:39 PM  

[Beach abutter] SpA
[Volksvagen model starting in 2006] pOS
Down two.

Yes, I went there, and I seem to have been the only one. SpAs can be found seaside, sure, but that Volkswagen pOS *only* dates from 2006?! That was suspect.

I drive a 1991 Honda Civic DX POS, myself. That's the New England ethic at work: "Live in the nicest house you can afford; drive the cheapest car you can stand."

chefbea 5:59 PM  

@chefwen I agree!! Great chefs think alike

Teedmn 6:43 PM  

SHESA, this puzzle didn't play easy for me time-wise, not sure why. EFT, no prob, I do them all the time at work. Had RRATED before RATED R and ShilLED before SPIELED but that's about it for hold-ups.

@Leapfinger, I was looking for something oatmeal-ly at 3D, certainly not expecting the little tongues of FIRE the apostles were BAPTIzed with.

@LMS, I did the bag-as-costume on Halloween once: of course it rained that year. Fun stuff trying to peer out the eyeholes in a wet paper bag. And congrats on the puzz, I will have to check it out tomorrow.

@Nancy, good luck at the Lollapuzzoola (I'm jealous, would love to be there) and just remember there's no crying in cruciverbalism!

Thanks GC.

Leapfinger 7:34 PM  

Hey, @Loren! I guess I can tell A LMS puzzle when I see one! It pure shouted IT'S ME!! Did Mary LEW not have the VALOU to sign in also?
Ure xwp was the Cat's Meow!

Katie 7:46 PM  

Trop facile et pas amusant, MES AMIS !

Da Bears 8:21 PM  

With easier cluing, this could be a Wednesday and even a Tuesday.

Chris 9:05 PM  

That was one bloody EFTing cross.

Burma Shave 12:01 PM  


AMAZINGLY NOTAONE of those films RATEDR sucked,
GOFIGURE, they TENDED to be about SPOUSES who got EFT.


rick 12:12 PM  

Around these parts,(Midwest) the phrase I have heard is baptism OF fire, as in " he underwent a baptism of fire to get that job".

Torb 12:25 PM  

Eft/tael. Ugh!

rondo 12:29 PM  

Didn’t get the joke until I was LEAD by THENOSE, that’s when I went back to the NW to fill in that area. Figured JURY TRIAL was kinda OK, even without the “by” in. Har.

A little dose of Edith PIAF is good for you every now and then. SHESA classic.

ERASURE is one of the SPOUSE’S favorite EURO-pop bands. Saw them in Chicago a few years back. You’d recognize a song or two.

DRJOHN is one of my all-timers, have seen him in the Twin Cities. He had the first concert in St. Paul’s new CHC field this year.

GEENA, a near Olympian yeah baby, in her own league. And my favorite of all the acting Davises.

I still prefer FORMULAONE, where drivers turn both left and right, over Nascar, though there is relatively little coverage of F1.

Also prefer this type of Thurs-puz over jamming multi-letter squares.

spacecraft 1:06 PM  

I always thought it was "baptism OF fire." Wasn't sure how the theme worked, entirely; the rest of them were "by," but that first one threw me. Never heard anyone say "BAPTISM by FIRE." And now I must leap to the defense of my beloved GEENA, who shot an arrow (accomplished archer that she is) straight into my heart the first time I saw her. My quibble with the academy: How in blazes is her role in Accidental Tourist considered SUPPORTING???? What do you have to do to get best actress, be in EVERY SCENE?? Ridiculous. Who loves ya, baby!

The gimme ZONE broke everything open: 4-down had to be CREDENZA--not to be confused with (but I bet inspiring) the good Doctor's "moss-covered, three-handled family gradunza." When "Zero" starts NOT____ I naturally finish with -HING, didn't you? Yeah you did. And hand up, stupidly, for Mon before MES--though I should know better. MON is singular; MES plural. "Amis" is plural, ergo, MES. Duh.

A Stones tune I haven't heard?? Guess so. SHESA Rainbow; must be the antithesis to "Paint it Black." Fortunately, I used crosses to HELPOUT with that one; the natick was a pure guess. I've seen EBT (electronic bank transfer) before, so I took a shot and assumed EFT was the same thing, with "fund." Wondering all the while why Mr. Cee didn't avail himself of the newt clue, especially in light of the obscure cross. For that he should get a yellow hankie.

I can't bring myself to grade any grid containing GEENA lower than B, so with the flag, B it is.

eastsacgirl 1:35 PM  

Actually EFT was pretty much a gimme. Never heard of TAEL but figured it had to be right. For a Thursday, was awfully easy.

Anonymous 3:03 PM  

This was an Easy one, especially for a Thursday. No probs with tael (common crosswordese) and EFT (common in our household). My paper doesn't give theme titles like "by the by" but it soon let itself be known - otherwise I wouldn't have gotten DrJohn whoever he is.

All in all, a good puzzle and I am changing the author's name to Gary Bee.

Ron Diego, La Mesa, CA
(Where the founding fathers have for years hidden the fact that "La Mesa" is actually lower than Death Valley. We just get "High" now and then.

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