1993 Economics co-Nobelist Robert / WED 9-30-15 / US women's soccer star Kelley / Trucker's toll factor / Online game annoyance / Libidinous god / Workout attire that became 1980s fad / Cafe specification

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Constructor: Freddie Cheng

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: BREAKABLES (62A: Extra-care items for movers ... or a hint to the starts of 17-, 24-, 28-, 44- and 49-Across) — first words of themers are things that can you can break...

Theme answers:
  • FEVER PITCH (17A: High excitement)
  • RECORD DEAL (24A: Desire of one submitting a demo CD)
  • LEG WARMERS (28A: Workout attire that became a 1980s fad)
  • SWEAT PANTS (44A: Bottom of a gym?)
  • FALL SEASON (49A: Debut time for many TV shows)
Word of the Day: OWLET MOTH (59A: Flying nocturnal insect) —
The Noctuidae or owlet moths are a family of robustly built moths that includes more than 35,000 known species out of possibly 100,000 total, in more than 4,200 genera. They constitute the largest family in the Lepidoptera. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is a bit of a wreck. Let's start with the theme, which is a standard FWC (first words can...) type theme, a very very basic and old type of theme that we don't see so much any more, for a reason. It's a bit played out, unless there is some great concept or revealer or theme-binding element of some kind (today, there decidedly is not). But OK, so the theme type is stale—let's just roll with it, see where it takes us. Well the first problem is that the concept is so broad that the answers all seem ridiculously arbitrary. How broad is the concept? Well, several answer parts that *aren't* first words in theme answers would seem to qualify as BREAKABLES. You can break a DEAL as sure as you can break a RECORD. You can also breakDANCE—true FIRE DANCE is not a themer, but it's sure as hell photo-bombing the themers, so since I can't help but notice it, I'm talking about it. I mean, yesterday's puzzle had ICEBREAKERS *in it*. Where's ICE today? Well, nowhere, just like a seemingly endless number of "BREAKABLES" because "break" creates a rubric so vast that it's virtually meaningless. I thought maybe the category was supposed to be narrower—that perhaps the first word of the theme answers had to be able to complete the phrase "break a ___"; even so, if that were the case, then you'd probably put PROMISE and DATE and other things in there before FEVER and FALL. The category simply isn't tight enough, and cramming lots of answers (6 today) into the grid doesn't make it any tighter.

Also, BREAKABLES is limp as revealers go. The more I think about it, it makes sense only if there is supposed be a kind of wordplay where the "BREAK A" part of BREAKABLES is the thing you put in front of the first words of themers to get phrases. That seems awfully iffy, conceptually. Further, those fake-themers (FIRE DANCE and OWLET MOTH) are annoyingly distracting. Grid seems like it could've used a redesign, if only to help iron out some (occasionally) very rough fill. I wish I could unsee virtually every Down in the northern section. RARES is an abomination (24D: Hardest-to-find items for a collector) (I say this as a serious collector of at least one thing). Ditto EMBAR. Not a huge fan of ARECA. The clue (12D: Betel nut-yielding tree) just reeks of the kind of musty ar(e)cana that crosswords have been and should continue to be drifting away from.

I was gonna rag on OWLET MOTH, which seemed like a real Hail Mary answer to me while I was solving (esp. crossing FOGEL) (?). But finding out that they're the largest family of lepidoptera, with 35K known species, forces me to grudgingly accept the thingness of OWLET MOTHs. Speaking of grudgingly accepting thingness. I railed against ECIG recently and several of my friends called me out on it, claiming that it was very much a real thing. Not EMAIL real, but definitely more real than, say, ECASH. Somehow someone ended up sending me google image search proof from some ECIG place in Temecula, CA, and then my friend and ECIG defender, crossword constructor Finn Vigeland, said he was going to be in Temecula for work, and I told him that if he sent me ocular proof (in the form of a selfie) that he had visited these Temecula ECIG establishments, I would publicly apologize to both him and ECIG for every maligning ECIG. And so of course ...

... and ...

Sadly, even before I'd received the pics, I knew I would have to concede. We took this pic just a few blocks from where we were staying this past weekend in Minneapolis:

So look for EJUICE, I guess, coming soon to a crossword near you. And Finn, ECIG, I'm sorry.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS if you want to see a crossword with a similar theme type, but executed with a much greater degree of technical skill, check on the Livengood/Chen production in today's WSJ ("Au Pair").

PPS The Observer's profile of Buzzfeed Crossword editor Caleb Madison just came out. Read it here. The BZFXword starts verrrry soon...

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:09 AM  

Easy-medium for me too.

WHAMMO, WARE and AU LAIT were the last to go in. 


o-MATIC brought back an early SNL skit involving bass.  Which reminded me of a recent puzzle I did in which I discovered I had no idea how to spell AYKROYD. 

A couple nice long downs, liked it more than Rex did.

Anonymous 12:17 AM  

You left out the fact that you can break a (LEG, FALL, RECORD, SWEAT), but you don't break a FEVER, a FEVER breaks.

Steve J 12:37 AM  

I can only muster up enough care about this one to say two things:

Despite having encountered this clue roughly 150,000 times, I misread the clue for 32D at first as "Bard's proposition". And I decided that would be much, much more interesting than another poetic preposition.

And I can never encounter 7D without thinking of the vastly superior Bass-o-Matic.

woolf 12:47 AM  

So, to be fair, you technically can break a fire (e.g., a "firebreak"), and you could also probably break an owlet (but, um, please get help instead).

Weird feelings about this one. I mean, it was a train wreck, but it was interesting to watch (so, maybe more like a NASCAR wreck? Where everyone is okay?) I mean, OWLETMOTH crossing FOGEL is so, so aggressively weird-bad that it's almost as if the constructor is just really, really into owlet moths and economist Robert Fogel, and is on a mission to raise awareness.

This theme should've been "Sad trajectory of a 1980's one-hit wonder." FEVERPITCH -> RECORDDEAL -> LEGWARMERS -> SWEATPANTS -> FALLSEASON -> BREAKABLES is a short story in and of itself, only missing ADDICTION (also a thing that you can break).

Cameron Swartzell 3:17 AM  

I was confused as well as the at least the first two themers halves both followed the reveal. At first I thought "breaking pitch, clever. This thinking leaves one pondering the nature of "breaking pants"

Loren Muse Smith 4:24 AM  

Hey there, Rex! Glad to have you back.

The themers didn't feel so arbitrary to me in that BREAK A RECORD, BREAK A SWEAT, BREAK A LEG, and BREAK A FALL are all pretty firmly in my language. The outlier for me was the FEVER one. In my speech, those other four use BREAK as a transitive verb, but it feels intransitive with FEVER. I never say BREAK a FEVER but rather "the fever broke." I've sat here forever staring out the window, trying to see if maybe I would say something like, I'm running to CVS to get some Tylenol, dear. Let's break that fever, why don't we?

Ok. So I've overthought it, and sounds feasible now. So I guess I'll retract that. Still, something like PROMISE RING there would have worked better for me.

I felt so smart and satisfied when I filled in "Kaynesian" off the K. Sheesh. Hence a dnf because I forgot to guess at my "Na?o/A?eca" cross.

My go-to hyperbolic GAZILLION pleased me. I always exaggerate everything.

LEG WARMERS - loved those things, was totally convinced their bulk made my legs look slender and shapely. Hah.

FIRE DANCE - the pyro-paroxysm you jump up and perform when the wind shifts and you throw down your marshmallow stick to brush attack embers off your clothes. Closely related to the Spider Web Boogie. Yipe.

I thought the reveal was spot-on, and overall, I liked the puzzle.

John Child 5:47 AM  

Easiest puzzle of the week so far for me. I never saw some of the less fortunate fill, like A LIFE, MATIC, and RARES. For having missed those and noticed the nice long downs, I liked this just fine as a Monday puzzle. I'd have liked a bit more challenge on Wednesday, but that's not Mr Cheng's fault.

@M&A: RARES {Eagerly anticipates departure??} I bet you can do better...

We haven't seen @ R.alph for a while. Anyone know what's up with him?

Music man 6:07 AM  

Yeah I think the theme is aiming at BREAK A _____. Was gonna point it out but you caught yourself :) Doesn't mean it's any better thouhh. Still don't like it.

RAD2626 7:00 AM  

As soon as I got wind of the theme I danced through the puzzle from front to back, in and out, as fast as I could, hoping in time to see some of my favorite BREAK words. Sadly I never heard of a BREAK MOTH or a BREAK OWLET. Actually liked the puzzle just fine. Amazing contrast between Jeff Chen's writeup and this one.

Gubdude 8:11 AM  

This might have been my fastest Wednesday ever. Came in just over 6 minutes, which is insane for me.

There is a band called the LEGWARMERS that performs around the D.C. metro area. They are an 80's cover band. Very popular around these parts.

No real holdups for me. Thought the O was pretty easy to grok in the FOGEL/OWLETMOTH crossing.

Aside from the theme not being as crisp as it could have been I thought this one played ok.

joho 8:19 AM  

@Rex, your writing style or "voice" is so recognizable I knew you were back the moment I started reading ... almost made me want to break into a YODEL.

A horse RARES up. Is that a sentence? I'm not sure.

I liked the concept here and the examples Freddie picked all worked for me. I don't have time to think up more right now but at first glance I don't think it's as easy as it might seem. My first thought was 'wind" but it doesn't fit the "break a " pattern.

Glad you're back, @Rex! Thank you Mr. Cheng!

RooMonster 8:46 AM  

Hey All !
Theme OKAY. I do agree with the wonkiness of the grid. Could have redone to get rid of the 9's above the theme 10's, and cut down on the 3's.

KEYNESIAN a WOE, and amazed when I got the Congratulations message when I finished. YIPE lost it's S, OWLET MOTH a new one on me, EMBAR a real word?, RARES rarely seen in the wild.

Overall, not the greatest, not the worst, coulda been better. AT LEAST it went quickly. But, that's my opinion, and you know the saying that accompanies that...


Tita 9:03 AM  

Well, I gotta agree with Rex. Too arbitrary. I mean, anything can be broken...just ask my husband.
FEVER, FIRE, and WARMER all seem more closely relTed...I was looking for theminess there.
And to pile on to the pile-on of crud, both clue and answer for LEARNER...wow...in fact, maybe the theme was simply arbitrariness.

GAZILLION reminded me of this, which everyone has likely heard, so skip my post even faster than you usually do...

"Giving Bush his daily war briefing, Donald Rumsfeld ended by saying: 'Yesterday, three Brazilian soldiers were killed.' 'Oh no!', exclaimed Bush. 'That's terrible.' His staff were stunned by this display of emotion. Finally Bush raised his head from his hands and asked: 'OK, so how many is a Brazillion?'" (Anon)

Sorry...not one of my favorites.

demit 9:11 AM  

I thought this felt like a Monday, too. Except, why is EST a Guinness suffix? Drawing a blank on that.

jberg 9:39 AM  

Welcome back, @Rex!

Yeah, the theme is definitely words that are BREAK A ble -- but I didn't figure that our until I was done solving, so like apparently half the solvers I was hung up on breaking PITCHes, break DANCEs, and broken DEALs, not to mention the break of the SEASON -- which made it hard to accept the otherwise obvious LEG WARMERS (well, not that obvious -- I tried ankle warmers first).

KEYNESIANism hasn't been mainstream for about 30 years, but I'm glad to see it making a comeback, in only in the puzzle.

Tough clue for FOGEL -- historian of slavery, I'd have got him right away. As it was, it took me half a minute to realize that OWLET MOTH was a lot more likely than aWLET, which would have to be clued as "drilling insect."

I guess MOTHs break out of their pupae when they're ready, so that would have worked, too.

chefbea 9:52 AM  

DNF...too many things I did not know...Gaia, Fogel Keynesian
and I am sure you all are wondering....no - I do not have a vegomatic!!

Mohair Sam 9:57 AM  

Welcome back @Rex. And totally agree today. Thanks for substantiating this non-collectors head-scratching on RARES, just sounded a bit off to me.

Worked from the top down and thought we had some kind of sub-theme going because there is a breaking PITCH in baseball, the oft-mentioned BREAK dance, and many a broken DEAL. But broken WARMERS and PANTS ain't common, so I shelved the idea.

Two economists made the puzzle today (KEYNES and FOGEL) probably a record.

Nifty crow-eating Rex. You took it like a trooper. And what the heck could that ejuice be?

GILL I. 10:12 AM  

RARES??? Really, RARES? Good grief, I couldn't even find a usable sentence with that word in it. @joho, I know a horse REARS when he's raring to go but I suppose if you're a backwoods MAW or paw you could say something like "Hey Yodel, did you see ole WHAMMO over thar RARES his legs?"
Not a fan of this puzzle at all. All I can say is YIPE ITEOID....

cwf 10:20 AM  


Anonymous 10:26 AM  

This was REALLY annoying, cluing-wise.

Andrew Heinegg 10:30 AM  

It is unclear to me why this is a Wednesday puzzle. It was Monday easy except for the SW, which was easily sussable. Unfortunately, there was no joy in the solve. I don't care about a 1993 co-Nobelist for economics or owlet moths. And it was a kinder and gentler Rex who did not give this theme effort a sharper dressing down than he did. As for e-cigs, you cannot be thinking anything other than your life and health have no value to you if you use them.

quilter1 10:31 AM  

Gosh, KEYNE was an answer on Jeopardy this week. So that was easy, like the rest of the puzzle for me. Monday easy.

Bronxdoc 10:47 AM  

Joho 8:19: a horse may be rarin' to go but it actually rears up.
Rares and embar: both awful, but extra credit for Keynesian.

Joseph Michael 10:52 AM  

Wham not WHAMMO. Yipes not YIPE. And RARES as a plural noun? Then there's the ITE and the OID. And the OWLET MOTH in the ARECA. Holy GAIA! This puzzle has some issues.

But I have to say that I liked it anyway.

The BREAKABLES theme was clever and a nice payoff after trying to figure out what the themers had in common. Got thrown off by the long non-themers which kept competing for my attention during the solve.

Liked GAZILLION and KEYNESIAN and thinking about elephant tusks as TEETH and cars running on STEAM. So, thanks, Freddie for a good start to this Wednesday.

Billy C. 10:52 AM  

@Demit --

Re Guinness (Book of World Records) ...

Biggest, oldest, longest, fastest ....

Sandysolver 11:03 AM  

Thanks for a big laugh. Needed it!.

AliasZ 11:14 AM  

Despite the BREAKABLES theme, this puzzle is a perfect example of why sometimes it is not worth it. It was hemorrhaging OIDs and ITEs, ETA, IPO, TAS, HUP, EST, EMS, and so many others, I lost count. And interest. Then there is MATIC, ALIFE, and [Eureka!] ARECA. EMBAR? YIPE!

Taking LEGWARMERS out would have help this one a great deal. "Break a leg" as synonym to "good luck" is fine, but a leg is breakable in other ways too, which anyone visiting a ski lodge will attest to.

Jeff Chen gave this one a POW, but for the first time I strongly disagree with him.

"Break dance" made me think that FIREDANCE was also a theme answer, but OWLETMOTH dashed that because I couldn't find a "break an owlet" phrase. Other BREAKABLES that occurred to me: spell, water, bread, promise, story, habit, C-note, fast (breakfast), etc., and of course, wind. Fast break would also work, but after a night's fasting, you break the fast at breakfast.

I did like GAZILLION, KEYNESIAN (although I am a Hayek kind of guy) and WHAMMO. I also liked the symmetry of YODEL and FOGEL.

@Nancy et.al. from yesterday, my musical post was erroneously tagged as being by Fauré. Of course anyone who clicked through realized it was by Maurice Duruflé. "Lux Aeterna" is the text of the "Communion" portion of the Requiem Mass, which some composers either omit, or in the case of Fauré, attach it to Agnus Dei preceding it. Duruflé makes it a hauntingly beautiful separate movement. Then there is this "Lux Aeterna", an exercise in "micropolyphony" developed by composer György Ligeti -- talk about haunting!

Now I have to go let my cat out -- I embathroomed her earlier by mistake.

old timer 11:16 AM  

Glad to see you back, @Rex.

I thought the puzzle was way easy until I got to the FOGEL/OWLET cross. FOGEL was a guess at best, and then I had an OWLEsMOTH. Could be, discovered by Prof. Owle I suppose. Changing "Ess" to the far better EST gave me the OWLET, which AT LEAST sounded like something real.

I'm with you on the abominable EMBAR. But RARES is a very real term among collectors, or was when I was interested in stamp and coin collecting.

But it seems to me the theme is a good one. You can BREAK a SWEAT, a LEG, and a RECORD. And while a FEVER can BREAK all by itself, you can break a fever very efficiently with aspirin, or if you have a dicey stomach with ibuprofen. Do *not* use Tylenol if you are a regular drinker, because it can kill you.

I think it's kind of irrelevant that things in the back half of an answer can also be broken. Never thought of that until now, and don't care. But I do wish "Windmill" had been a themer.

Anonymous 11:32 AM  

@Demit = The Guinness Book of World records deals with superlatives, the fastEST, largEST, ...

demit 11:41 AM  

ejuice is the liquid you fill your ecig with, and inhale as vapor. It may or may not contain nicotine, but, whatever, the invention has been a godsend to people who have quit or are quitting smoking.

Kurisu 11:41 AM  

I would like to see more indignation at the horror that is EMBAR. That was my only real issue today.

Masked and Anonymous 11:56 AM  

@John Child: I just recently desperately fought off the urge to use RARES in one of my own puz creations, because I couldn't face trying to write a clue for it. You have cleverly adapted the ever-popular "rarin to go" to try to save RARES's bacon.
The most obvious cluin choices are your slant, the NYT slant, plus maybe:
1. {Step down from mediums?}
2. {Not quite rarest??}
3. {Rearranged rears??} .… (fave)
4. {Notes sung by Egyptian sun god?}
5. {Value cut-out from a used Superman outfit?}

Learned some semi-valuable stuff, today. OWLETMOTH (U are sure it ain't clothes OUTLET MOTH, right?). ARECA tree. AULAIT moth. KEYNESIAN theories. FOGEL dude. Varmint goddess GAIA. All this education is the price one pays, for only gettin one U in the whole grid.

fave weeject: OID. Someone really needs to officially name some thing as an "OID". Too good to pass up. How'bout weird-lookin plural adjectives, grammar nazis? So RARES then could be called an example of an OID. Other examples: BIGS, CUTES, NEATS, SHORTZ … oopz, that last one is taken. But I digress.


r.alphbunker 12:01 PM  

@John Child

Comment moderation has silenced me.

For those interested, the puzzle report is now at http://runtpuz.blogspot.com/. Thanks to M&A for hosting it.

Lewis 12:01 PM  

@rex -- Welcome back! You chose terrific replacements, by the way, but it's great to have you back.
@woolf -- Excellent post, all the way through!

Not much fresh in the puzzle, I agree, except maybe GAZILLION, which NYT-debuted today. RARES made me wince, I'm sorry to say. I did like KEYNSIAN, also a NYT debut. The puzzle felt Tuesday easy, but still got the brain rolling. GIZA sounds like a good brand for SWEATPANTS, by the way. Got my Gizas on!

AZPETE 12:03 PM  

How bout spit?

Lewis 1:30 PM  

Also a mini-theme of words ending in A (9).

Anonymous 1:31 PM  

I thought Rex was referencing me in his first sentence of the review! ;( I too found this very easy - roughly half the normal Wednesday time with a lucky guess at the G in FOGEL/GAIA.

Masked and Anonymous 1:34 PM  


Do-overs on RARES alternate clue #5:
5. {Seldom-seen cut-out from an authentic Superman outfit?}

I always think more clearly, after a second cinnamon roll.

EMBAR. um, har

@r.alph: Thanx, but M&A ain't so much a "host" -- more like a persistent parasite. But anyhow, them puz analyzation reports of yers are amazon. [Auto-correct's version of amazin]

Thanx, Mr. Cheng. Welcome back, @009 (a.k.a. "Wreck"x).

Ok, break it up...

Masked & AnonymoUs

Benko 2:14 PM  

Well, now I've learned that "EJuice" is a thing. Apparently it's the liquid you put in your "ECig" that turns into vapor. Expect to see it soon!

Billy C. 2:30 PM  

@cfw --

We're pretty much together on our Guiness "ests:" oldest, fastest, longest. I'll see your "tallest," and raise you a "biggest," though. ;-)

Mr. Benson 2:58 PM  

FOGEL was a gimme, but that's probably because I was majoring in economics at the University of Chicago in 1993 when he won the award. Talk about something in my wheelhouse and nobody else's.

He wasn't much of a KEYNESIAN.

Leapfinger 4:54 PM  

Break, break, break,
On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
The thoughts that arise in me.

Or maybe not.
Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote this poem in 1835, an elegy that describes his feelings of loss after Arthur Hallam died and his feelings of isolation while at Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire. [That's Mablethorpe, not Mapplethorpe.] The poem is minimalistic in terms of detail and style. Would that this theme had followed suit. Trying to sort out if this was a BREAKfront theme or a BREAKboth-ends theme... and just which entries were themes... left me feeling lost and isolated also.

"Forever EMBAR"? Otto Preminger would have refused to direct that.

If I found a MOTH as big as an OWLET, I'd EMBAR it in a cage with a molerat just to see which one came out alive. "OW!" "LET MOTHer kiss that and make it better!"

Like @AliasZ and @Et Alia, I took some time to think of other BREAKABLES. The windBREAKer made me giggle, but remembering BREAK the Bank was fun also:


Get the point?

EYED say the highlight, however, was the Brazilian story. AU LAIT!! Glad you decided to repeat it, @Tita!

Off now for further forays into Lux AEterna.

Leapfinger 5:10 PM  

Need to add:

The puzzle suffered from multiple comminuted fractures in the theme, but still fun to fill in, so no heartBREAK, Freddie C

OK, time for a station BREAK.

Nancy 5:44 PM  

@Alias -- You mention every LUX AETERNA under the sun other than Morton Lauridsen's. Are you familiar with it? Do you like it?

Nancy 5:48 PM  

@R.bunker -- Has Rex "silenced" you (heaven forfend!) or have you stopped commenting because you don't like the new system? Wish you'd come back, either way. (But you may just be the canary in the mineshaft.)

joho 6:07 PM  

@Gill I -- I RAREly laugh as hard as I did at your post today (and my faux pas)! Thank you.

bwalker 6:54 PM  

I flew through the puzzle fast enough to break a personal Wednesday record and enjoyed it overall. I liked how FOGEL, which means "bird," crosses OWLET MOTH.

Leapfinger 8:18 PM  

Seems I wasn't the only one who wanted to see EMBAR go.

@Alias, I hadn't realized till now that Salma had a sideline in Economics and the problems ofpolitical organization. I'm impressed.

If @r.alphbunker has been silenced for any reason, I rue the cause.

Vancouver Nana 3:33 AM  

Couldn't figure the Guiness clue or the answer because I was thinking of the beverage not the book..of records!:-). Didn't get it til I read this discussion. Shows my frame of reference!

Vancouver Nana 3:34 AM  

PS Welcome back Rex.

Burma Shave 9:10 AM  


In only SWEATPANTS and LEGWARMERS she was more than OKAY,
she was AWARE that I EYED her, I thought, “Get ALIFE” , she would say
when at a FEVERPITCH I’d ADLIB, “YIPE, I’m SHY, HOW about an AULAIT?”
but ENDOWed like no OTHER, she’ll AIM to give me ATLEAST ONEADAY.


rondo 10:05 AM  

I, too, was thinking BREAKing pitch, FIRE break, break DANCE and wondering HOW on earth does that relate to PANTS and MOTHs and WARMERS? So something here seems a bit out of whack.

I’d be EMBARrassed to have that as an answer.

Kelley OHARA is one of a number of soccer yeah babies, if you follow that sort of thing. No LEGWARMERS or SWEATPANTS in those photos.

FALLSEASON golf is still on in MN, how much longer is the question.

This puz had its faults, ITE/EST xing for one, but in the end maybe it’s OKAY?

rondo 10:10 AM  

@rain forest - almost forgot that there's another one that ends, "Doctor say you gonna die."

spacecraft 10:33 AM  

My first question is: where is the Wednesday-ish-ness in today's offering? Nothing in the least subtle or "rebusian." Case in point: "Fund, as a foundation." This is a Monday or Tuesday clue. From then on, "Fund" should be sufficient for ENDOW. But other than the who-knew OWLETMOTH and the non-Jared FOGEL (who dis guy? Nobelist you say? So what; I don't think I could name more than 5% of all Nobelists ever), there just aren't any challenges. So, let's have a payoff.

Well...not so much. What OFL said about the theme. OKAY, I was temporarily misdirected toward some kind of a "cooler" reveal, starting with FEVER, FIRE and SWEAT. But LEGWARMERS disagreed. There the theme word appeared at the end instead of the start. But all that was soon corrected.

And now we come to the screamer, the one that pulls the yellow hankie out of the pocket and flings it high into the air: RARES. Believe it or not, I can come up with a scenario where this might be uttered:

"Table of eight, cookie, and they all want Porterhouses. Three RARES, four medium-RARES and one extra-well-done."

Well, every family has a relative from Texas. C-.

rain forest 1:12 PM  

RARE is the time when I will consider the yellow flag thing, but this is probably one. For awhile I was thinking that maybe when philatelists get together they will use the term RARE as a noun. "I scored a great RARE at that last convention, Ralph". But, no. Also the clue on that one is asking for RAREst.

That aside, I didn't consider FIRE DANCE or OWLET MOTH as possible themers because they weren't 10-letter answers. I'm not sure about breaking a FEVER, but I really wish I could break this cough I've had for a week. I think I've torn a chest muscle that I didn't even know I had.

Overall, I liked it OKAY. Btw @Spacey, I have relatives from Alberta, the Canadian equivalent of Texas.

@Rondo--great joke that has that punch line.

leftcoastTAM 5:41 PM  

I knew Rex was back as soon as I read "This is a bit of a wreck." I liked it and thought the theme and answers were fine. It was very much on the easy side, though. The last to go was the OWLETMOTH/OHARA cross.

Oh, welcome back Rex.

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