Five-time Olympian Torres / TUE 6-21-16 / Spanish soccer star Sergio / Big part of ship's rigging / Steaming Mexican treat

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Constructor: Julie Bérubé

Relative difficulty: Medium (normal Tuesday)

THEME: SUPER / CALI / FRAGI / LISTIC / EXPI / ALID / OCIOUS — those parts of the "Mary Poppins" song appear in circled squares in the grid

Word of the Day: Saoirse RONAN (7D: "Brooklyn" actress Saoirse) —
Saoirse Una Ronan (/ˈsɜːrʃə ˈnə ˈrnən/ SUR-shə; born April 12, 1994) is an Irish-American actress. She is a two-time Academy Award nominee; receiving Best Supporting Actress nomination for Atonement (2007), and a Best Actress nomination for Brooklyn (2015). She also received three BAFTA Award nominations, two Golden Globe nominations, two Screen Actors Guild nominations and two Satellite Award.
She had her feature film debut in the romantic comedy I Could Never Be Your Woman (2007). Other notable film roles include City of Ember (2008), The Lovely Bones (2009), Hanna (2011), The Way Back (2010), Byzantium (2012), The Host (2013), and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014). // In January 2016, Ronan featured in Forbes '30 Under 30' in both the European and USA editions.  In March 2016, Ronan made her Broadway debut in a revival of The Crucible, playing the role of Abigail Williams. In June 2016, Ronan appeared on the cover of TIME Magazine, one of ten young leaders selected as 'Next Generation Leaders'.
• • •

I'm watching a lot of soccer right now (with both Copa America and the UEFA European Championship happening as we speak) and I still couldn't come up with RAMOS. I didn't see "Brooklyn," but I watched the whole interview Colbert did with Saoirse RONAN and still couldn't come up with her name. Those two names alone accounted for 50% of the difficulty in this puzzle, which was otherwise pretty easy. RONAN was particularly vexing, as I had no idea about the "R" cross (6A: Mate) because I just had --O and all I could think of was "TWO" (?!) and the "B" in BRO wasn't coming because even by the time I got -OOTIE into place at 6D: Baby's footwear, I hesitated. Thought maybe FOOTIE was a thing (though I see now that "foot" is in the clue so that was always impossible). RAMOS I was able to take down through crosses a little more expeditiously. I also had FERMI winning gold medals at the Olympics in the '20s (60% correct), but that worked itself out fairly quickly as well.


As for the theme, it's cute, of course. I mean, who doesn't like that song, Julie Andrews, etc. It's not a theme you want to scrutinize too hard though, because you'll notice that normal thematic symmetry has been completely chucked out the window, and that CALI is a total outlier for not being pronounced in its answer the way it is in the song, and that the real divide, syllabically, should be ALI / DOCIOUS, not ALID / OCIOUS (just listen, or sing it, you'll see), and that ATROCIOUS is a cop-out since that word (unlike all the other theme answers containing song syllables) is actually *in* the song. Prominently. FEROCIOUS might've been nice there. Anyway, as I say, if you just finish the puzzle, hum the tune, put the puzzle away, you're good.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. also, just last year, there was this epic version of this same theme. So, constructors ... maybe save that "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" crossword you're working on 'til, I don't know, 2026, at least. :)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


George Barany 12:31 AM  

Very generous review from @Rex, and congratulations to @Julie Bérubé for her New York Times review. For those who follow this sort of stuff, the classic Disney movie starring @Julie Andrews and @Dick Van Dyke is about to be remade (new story line, twenty years hence) with @Emily Blunt and @Lin-Manuel Miranda inhabiting the two key roles. Maybe the title song will be delivered in hip-hop style?!

With respect to 20-Across, don't you think it's time for the Senate to make a Supreme Effort to fill that vacancy? Although earlier today, they managed to not take action on the distressing subject of A Piece of Our Mind.

From yesterday, I appreciate kind comments and contributions from @Wm. C, @jberg, @beatrice, and @Charles Flaster. This eclectic community goes beyond our common interests in crosswords!

Unknown 12:53 AM  

I have been following football more and more over the past several years. Sergio RAMOS was a cinch—he's a defender for Real Madrid and the Spanish national team—but he's not a name that I would expect American audiences to know. It is a shame that football isn't better known in the States. There are a *lot* of crossword friendly names out there: Xavi, Aguero, Eto, Neuer, Lahm, Ozil, Eusebio, to name a few off the top of my head.

Though I speak little Spanish, I have Argentine family (hence my Spanish name). The United States plays Argentina this Tuesday in the Copa America. I hope that both teams play well, which is my diplomatic way of saying that I'm rooting for Argentina.

jae 1:00 AM  

Tough Tues. for me. MAIN mast before SAIL and AmendS before ADAPTS didn't help.

I keep my eye out for crossword worthy people, so, having seen Brooklyn (I highly recommend it and it is out on Netflix) and watched Saoirse interviewed on @Rex Colbert it occurred to me that Saoirse might work well in a crossword. I completely ignored RONAN which was a WOE for me also today.

Even though I've seen a variation @Rex on this theme before, this one was delightful, liked it a lot.

Anonymous 2:39 AM  

Hey Rex. I thought the theme puzzles were supposed to have a revealer, like yesterday's "club," to tie the clues together. N'est pas?

Since "Ramos" could have been "Ramon," I waited a while before entering his name. I knew Saorise RONAN, but wasn't sure of the spelling.

I followed the link to view last year's puzzle and immediately noticed the number of comments and commenters. Many/most of them absent from this forum. Too bad.

Charles Flaster 6:22 AM  

Rex reviewed it perfectly.
RAMOS was sussable from GRABLE and knew NURMI from Olympic fame.
Only write over was VALID for soLID.
I liked the theme and thought it could be a Monday puzzle.
Thanks JB

Loren Muse Smith 6:39 AM  

Man oh man did I sing this song as a child. With a British accent. Just like Julie Andrews. So after HOLISTIC (that I *always* wanna spell "wholistic") and SCALIA fell, I filled in the rest of the themers.

But I hesitated at the ALID OCIOUS split. Like Rex says, it divides in the song as ALI DOCIOUS. That's ok. I still had fun. I love circles. (And fwiw, I sing it SUPER CALA FRA……., so maybe SCALAR for SCALIA would've fit more the way I pronounce it.)

Anyway, the theme was quick and easy, but some of the sports stuff was tough. NURMI, RAMOS, CITI, I got'em all, but not immediately. I really liked BASTA and always mean to try to add that to my walking-around lexicon. To sound more worldly, capisce?*

Liked the All My Children southwest with ERICA, SASSY, SOAPS… always waiting 'til the NEXT DAY to see what Tad or Phoebe Wallingford would do next. Sigh. I've moved on to even dumber tv now. You could say I hit rock bottom in the '80s with soaps and just started digging 'til I settled on The Real Housewives.

I bet this is a debut. Nice job, Julie. Thanks for the earworm, too.

*How the heck do you spell that word?

Lewis 6:50 AM  

Fun theme (the most memorable LINGUA from Mary Poppins), easily picked up, and it helped the solve. But there was bite for a Tuesday, and some lovely answers -- EXPIATES, GAP (year), SPATOUT, LINGUA, FRAGILE -- and a cute clue for LENT. Ms. Berube also put some SAULT over that PESTO, and we are reminded of a couple of very well known people who recently left us. A smart, enjoyable puzzle.

Most of all, it got Julie Andrew's voice from my childhood echoing in my head again, which awakens many memories and smiles.

johnnymcguirk 6:57 AM  

I'll give puzzle a "7" review a "3" Ger over yourself . Thanks

Anonymous 7:25 AM  

Rex asks, who doesn't like this song. Me.

Ω 7:40 AM  

Pretty much what Rex said, though it played a little crunchy for me. Biggest slow down was no mas before BASTA, making the entire SE a self-induced slog. A nice debut.

Nice MAIN SAIL video, @Rex. See how the MAIN SAIL sets.

@Martin Abresch - I guess there is no need to ask which side you're on in the Messi/Ronaldo debate. Ronaldo is looking a little like Fernando Torres during his Chelsea years this month. As for tonight - USA! USA!

Pop Culture, Product Names, and Proper Nouns are a big part of why this played crunchy for me. The PPP is right at the 33% cut off, 25 of 76 plus the theme. Paavo NURMI is a LFC and I imagine is a WOE for anyone with less than a couple of years of crossword solving experience. Sergio RAMOS is a central defender, so I don't know that "star" applies. Strikers are the stars. RONAN Farrow would have been a gimme, Saoirse RONAN not so much. Toss in LANGE and RENTA and that is five less than common five letter names.

RooMonster 7:58 AM  

Hey All !
Liked it. Don't mind it was done in squishily fashion a year ago. Same general theme, but done differently. Beats YesterPuz's done before in basically the same way.

Speaking of yesterday, I noticed a bunch of commenters kept saying there aren't new themes out there, which is why you see the same themes again. That's not true. It's basically the opinions and likes of Will Shortz. He likes the theme, in it goes. There are many (100's) of puzs that get sent in (I'm positive with original themes) that get rejected. Will seems to like certain themes, hence they get published over and again.

Off my rant, I thought todays puz was a bit on the hard side for Tuesday. Started to put leadsinger in for GUITARIST, but ran out of space. edgeS-ABUTS, eat-SUP after noticing I already had EAT in the puz! That BRO/ODS cross a bit difficult. Overall enjoyable.


chefbea 8:09 AM  

Fun puzzle - love the song. Had pesto sauce last night for dinner that I put over zucchini which I shredded with my veggigetti!!! delish

cwf 8:23 AM  

I remember that Thursday puzzle from a year ago quite fondly. This one I'll have forgotten tomorrow. A pleasant 5 minutes, though.

jberg 8:26 AM  

If Donald Trump had said that the HUNs sacked Rome, we'd all have been making fund of him (well, we do that anyway); but put it in a crossword and nobody says nothin'. Where are the fact checkers at the NYT? Too busy with Trump, I guess. Anyway, they didn't. The people who did were more or less trying to get away from the HUNs when they did it, but not the same.

Aside from that, and wanting Paavo to be NURiI for some reason, and what @Rex said about the theme, it was easy and fun.

Oh -- I also had EddaS before EPICS -- my mind was in ancient-history mode by that time.

Lobster11 8:35 AM  

I prefer a Tuesday puzzle to be slightly harder than a Monday puzzle consistently, across the board. Today's is one of those that seems far more common, though, in which almost everything is like an easy Monday and a handful of obscure or semi-obscure PPPs are scattered around to raise the mean difficulty level. For me the troublemakers were NURMI -- where I had to guess the M because I wasn't completely confident in CAMI -- and the ERICA/DARA cross. It seemed obvious that the missing letter in E-ICA had to be R, but that yielded the odd-looking DARA. On the other hand, DA-A clearly wanted an N, and I was sure I remembered Torre's first name to be DAnA -- but that yielded the odd-looking EnICA (and I had no idea about Jong's first name). So this ended up being a guess. I hate guessing.

I had no trouble with RAMOS, however: Like OFL, I've been watching as much soccer as possible since the two tournaments started. I've enjoyed some of the matches I've watched, but I have to say I much prefer the women's game. I've been a huge fan of the US women's team since the Mia Hamm days.

Dorothy Biggs 9:04 AM  

EXPIATES, propitiates, atones. Seems like we've had all of these very theological words in the last week or so. We had propitiates, right? I've seen it somewhere recently....maybe Sporcle.

Anyway, pretty normal, if not fast, Tuesday for me.

For nylon shades I had (in no particular order): beigE, nAked, even mAUvE. Also pal before BRO. I got BRO off the O, btw.

There are a lot of words here that I was unfamiliar with but got because I could infer them easily or just plain filled them in from the crosses: DARA, RAMOS, NURMI, RONAN, TSE. What makes having so many unknown words so easy today is that none of those cross...they're all pretty isolated and easy to get from the crosses.

my only nit was that SHOO and SCOOT are kinda similar with the double-Os...just a tad inelegant for me.

And two of my most misspelled words were in the grid: ERIkA and SAl. Each time I come across them I promise myself that next time I'll get it right. I don't.

Carola 9:10 AM  

SUPER-CALI-FRAGI-LISTIC-something-something-OCIOUS: I saw where we were going but couldn't recall exactly how to get there, so EXPIATES and VALID were nice mini-reveals. I don't usually remember when themes are repeated, but this time I did...probably because I had trouble with those same syllables in the earlier puzzle @Rex mentioned.

I loved the mirroring of SUPERFOOD and ATROCIOUS, along with EAT followed immediately by SPAT OUT (wheatgrass?).

Unknown 9:19 AM  

To Loren Muse Smith: The correct spelling is capisci and it has three syllables; ka-peesh-ie. Americans usually use
only the first two syllables, but it would still be understood, even in Italy.

kitshef 9:32 AM  

We recently had Paavo clued by some unknown and unknowable .. conductor, was it? And I made a stink about that and said they should have used Paavo NURMI, so I'm happy to see him in the puzzle.

Other than that, thought this was a bit of a stinker and I'm not sure why @Rex is so lenient.

For one thing, look at all those arbitrary plurals: AQUAS, PETITIONS, PSS, AVES, ALIS, EPICS, SOAPS, HOS, ODS, STENOS, OCTETS. Several of are them plural abbreviations, which seems particularly desperate.

And yesterday, we got a rough dismissal of the theme, which was done nine years ago in a different newspaper. Today, we get kudos for a theme done - albeit in a very different execution - in this very paper, less than a year ago.

Also, once you get the SUPERFOOD and SCALIA, huge swaths of the puzzle fill themselves in, taking away some of the fun of the solve.

Now if you'll excuse me, there are some kids on my lawn.

Doug 9:35 AM  

"Enough, Enrico!" grabbed my eye first, checked it with 47D, and SE came together quickly. Guessed theme from "ocious," which made it a quick puzzle for me. Things out of my wheelhouse (Nurmi, Ramos) were taken care of by crosses. Got in a spot of trouble at 34D, where I wanted . . . SPOT. Jessica and actually READING the clue at 38A fixed that.

Thanks, Rex, for the blog!

oldbizmark 9:45 AM  

nURMI/MAnCINI cross = NATICK = DNF on a frickin' Tuesday. And, had no idea what the theme was until i came here. now it makes sense but it does not make it any more interesting.

GILL I. 10:32 AM  

Well, like probably everyone here, I knew what the little circles would contain. I was pretty sure @Rex would mention the pronunciation of SCALIA. Things like that don't normally bug me, but for some reason, this did. I also didn't like the willy nilly placement of the theme. Doesn't really matter, because, in the end, it was cute!
I love soccer and my favorite team (when they play) is Real Madrid and Sergio Ramos is good to look at...My poor sister-in-law is enduring nothing by soccer on the telly and she hates to watch it. Go USA...
L'eggs. I read that clue as "Shape." I was trying to fit in some sort of eggy thing shape. I don't have one single friend that wears pantyhose anymore. It sorta went out along with girdles and pointy tip bras and stenos. Now, just get rid of those god-awful pointy high heels that will eventually just kill you dead as a doornail.

Joseph Michael 10:54 AM  

Since I remember the Timothy Polin puzzle last year, the theme felt familiar. But at least it was presented in a different way.

Had a problem with the clue "denouement" which is not the LAST ACT of a play but rather the final outcome. It is thus a part of the final act. Just as the climax is.

Also couldn't help noticing that about 20% of the answers have an "S" tacked on the end, as in HOS, ALIS, and AVES. Throw in a lot of proper nouns and there's not much room for word play.

So, while this puzzle was by no means ATROCIOUS, it was not SUPER either. Let's just say it left something to be DEEsired.

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

I need to pick a nit here, and it is not the first time I've seen it in crosswords in The Times, or elsewhere. I'm married to a Latina woman, Mexico-born and -raised, and not only that, she teaches Spanish and Latin American Studies, tenure-track, at a major MIdwestern university. So she knows Spanish and the ins and outs of grammar, syntax, and vocabulary in Spanish in various settings (Mexico, Spain, South America, and Central America). It drives her crazy, and me too, to see the singular of the traditional Meso-American cornhusk-wrapped dish rendered as "tamale." Perhaps that word does exist in English, but not in Spanish. The singular of "tamales" is "tamal," no "e," and, to repeat, in Spanish the word "tamale," singular, does not exist.

Ω 11:39 AM  

@Joseph Michael - The denouement always follow the climax, so is always the LAST ACT in the play. It's almost as if the clue writer wanted to fool the solver by using a different meaning for ACT than the solver might normally use with the word "denouement."

@jberg - Wikipedia lists Visigoths, Vandals, Ostrogoths, Normans, and Charles V as sackers. No HUNs.

@oldbizmark - Good catch on the natick. That N was my last letter in, but I did know Henry MANCINI.

Hartley70 11:42 AM  

I have truly devastating news for the @Rexworld community. Our @LudyJynn has passed away after a long and remarkable war waged against cancer. She was the ultimate survivor and miracle patient until the beast raised its head again in the last few weeks and took her quickly. She had the deepest and most heart-felt laugh I have ever heard and her friendship will be missed. Thanks@Rex for creating this space that let me get to know her.

foxaroni 11:52 AM  

Enjoyed the puzzle...thanks, Julie. One stumbling block for me was the 6A clue, "MATE." A "BRO," to me, is NOT a MATE. I had BUD as an answer. That, of course, made the down Uonan. With a first name of Saoirse, Uonan seemed a possibility. But that made 8D DDS. I'm sure not many E.R. cases involve dentistry. A mate is someone you WED. A bud is a PAL, among other things.

One other thing, and it's just my opinion, but this focus on PPPs and POCs does nothing for me. Words can have an "s" at the end. (I just realized "POCs" is a POC.) I think those of you who construct puzzles see those "s" endings as some kind of cheater or of laziness, perhaps. As a solver, to me they are just letters to put in blank squares.

As for PPPs, they are names. You know them or you don't. Today I knew Betty Grable, Jessica Lange, Henry Mancini and Paavo Nurmi (although I wasn't positive of the spelling). I didn't know Saoirse Ronan. So it goes. When the clue is "first name of the 1932 Nobel winner for Chemistry," or the answer is GHOST FACE KILLAH, I get a bit frustrated. But it passes.

Think I'll go help @kitshef with the kids on his lawn.

Anonymous 11:52 AM  

Funny, today's New York Times features exercise as the wonder drug, not SUPERFOOD.

Leapfinger 11:55 AM  

Not sure why EAT was followed by SPAT_OUT, since this was as tasty a bit of LANGEwhich I've seen in a wile. The broke-up title broke me up, as did the neat triumvirate of VALID CALI ALIS. There are PETIT IONS of SUPERFOOD in bleuberries, which I prefer to kale, and I didn't think my unknowns of DARA, RAMOS and RONAN were excessive. I found it all definitely more AGILE than FRAGILE. Helas, [Fast time?] had insufficient spaces for RIDGEMONT HIGH.

Wasn't there a famous Cary Grant line: "Julie, Julie, Julie!"?
Andrews, Christie, London, and now Bérubé.
(I doubt she meant anything by ABUT GAP...)

Enjoyed learning that the new-to-me Saoirse RONAN pronounces her name "Sersha". Wasn't there a play about Six Characters in Sersha Van Author? And Pirandello was Italian, to boot, since Italy was in existence by 1921.

Bienvenue, Mme Bérubé! C'etait un Mardi épatant! Am HUNgry for more.

Anonymous 11:59 AM  


kitshef 1:17 PM  

@Hartley70 - thank you for passing on the sad news. Rest in peace, LudyJynn. I will miss your insights.

chefbea 1:22 PM  

Spoiler alert for the MINI puzzle...pesto was there as well

RIP Ludyjynn

Ω 1:26 PM  

@Hartley70 - Sad news. Thanks for updating everyone.

@foxaroni - "You know them or you don't." Exactly. Having tracked PPP since February or so it is pretty clear that somewhere around 33% PPP is problematic for some subset of solvers. Might be older solvers, or younger solvers, or people who don't know 1920's skiers. If one likes trivia contests this is not a problem. But if one likes crossword puzzles it is a problem. This is not to say I think there is no room for PPP. I think I am seeing that the most liked puzzles usually come in at under 20%, though.

@anon11:11 - While everything you say is true, English does have the word TAMALE in it. If the puzzle were looking for TAMAL there would have been a hint in the clue that a foreign word was wanted.

Teedmn 1:26 PM  

Congrats to Julie Bérubé on her debut. The DARA and RAMOS answers were WOEs for me but crossed well enough. I had to rethink my version of the song when the SW had DoRA crossing soLID a la @Charles Flaster. With New York and Pennsylvania AsES staring at me, I finally had that click.

Someday I may have all of the various sports arenas' names memorized but I doubt it - I was just grateful that today's CITI was one of the few I do know. And I always smile when I see TAUPE, a color my mother thought was absolutely ATROCIOUS in its dullness. Thus far I have avoided buying anything TAUPE, not even a CAMI!

woolf 1:31 PM  

Okay, so RONAN was not a full-blown Natick, but the last letter I filled in was that "r" because of the cluing; I was legitimately trying to decide whether the better answer for "Mate" is BRO or BOO. (I, for one, mate with my boo, not my bro.)

Teedmn 1:35 PM  

@Hartley70, that is indeed terrible news. I always enjoyed @LudyJynn's posts and I can't believe we won't get more of her comments. Thanks for letting us know. Just last year you were sending her a koi purse and now she's gone, hard to believe.

Chronic dnfer 1:46 PM  

Sails are not rigging. There is running rigging which are back stays halyards and sheets. There is standing rigging which are shrouds and such. No sails in the rigging. A sail is a sail. Very bad.

Crash222 2:01 PM  

Obviously you don't watch much football (soccer). Roberto Carlos was star as a full back and maybe you've heard of Davideo Beckham. ..a midfielder?

Anoa Bob 2:48 PM  

If I post some snap shots on the internet, do they become EPICS?

Yes @foxaroni, I never paid any attention to plurals in xwords until I tried my hand at constructing and realized how helpful and convenient (thus POC or plural of convenience) they can be in filling the grid. For me it's not a matter of POC vs no POC. Every puzzle I've ever seen including the handful I managed to sneak past the editors has had plurals in the grid. For me, it's a matter of how and how many are used that determines the overall impact on a puzzle's quality and integrity. More here. (Warning: Pretty nerdy stuff.)

@Chronic dnfer, I agree. For this old salt, rigging refers to the stringy thingys that either hold up the spars (standing rigging) or control the sails (running rigging), although I would include stays as part of the standing rigging. Some refer to the whole shebang---spars, rigging and sails/canvas---as the ship's rigging, but to my ear that sounds landlubberly.

Aketi 3:05 PM  

@Hartley70, I'm so sorry to hear about LudyJynn. I too remember the koi purse and I'll miss her posts.
FYI, is Nancy's phone still functional?

I always loved the way Mary Poppins had the right mix of discipline with fun and ultimately managed to reengage the socialite Mom and banker Dad into the lives of their children. So many Brirish nanny books are of the dominatrix variety.

Hartley70 3:34 PM  

Oh @Teedman, I had to check back because I couldn't believe the "koi kaper" was just a year ago. It was a happy prank that led to a lovely friendship with Judy. She had great stories to tell and she was so very smart and full of beans. She was a UVM grad, lawyer, judge and professor who treated the disease for over 10 years the second time around, and she didn't doubt for a minute that she would win. Neither did I. I will be raising a glass in her honor tonight.

Nancy 3:58 PM  

I'm back to the blog -- no thanks to Verizon, which has, for 9 days, deprived me of ALL phone service and ALL Internet service. (It's not about being hacked; it's about a callously negligent, indifferent and unresponsive company that either can't or won't fix a problem that has totally isolated a very, VERY longtime customer from the outside world.

I never wanted a cell phone, but was forced to buy one this past Friday after having no other way to communicate with anyone. Today I changed my Internet provider to another company, so that, finally, I have the use of my computer back.

I was planning to give you the complete story of my tribulations, but a phone call this morning from Hartley 70 has made me change my mind. I was deeply saddened to learn of @Ludyjynn's untimely death. She is someone I have spoken to on the phone -- someone who has been enormously kind and helpful in helping me plan my Bermuda vacation last year. Someone who, in the few conversations we had, I found to be quite open and easy to know. Someone who has gone through much more than anyone should ever have to go through -- and has faced adversity with remarkable courage, resilience, and humor. I know we will all miss her intelligent, often trenchant observations on the blog.

GILL I. 4:11 PM  

@Hartley70...Oh my gosh. I'm so sorry about this news. When @Ludy didn't post I was about to say that I miss her witty stories.
Thank you for letting us know....:-(

Lewis 4:21 PM  

@hartley -- Thank you for sharing.

Ω 9:08 PM  

@Crash222 - I'm guessing that you're responding to me, but it's hard to tell since you used "you" without an antecedent (I'm guessing you're using the "reply" function on a smart phone - a function that doesn't work in any other format). I'm also uncertain about your football knowledge* - For every Beckham there are a dozen Lewandowski/Ronaldo/Messi/Vardy/Villa/Pelé/.... Heck, even Beckham was an attacking midfielder, essentially another striker. So, yeah, if you want to be a "Star" learn to put the ball in the net. BTW - Given that RAMOS missed a PK today that directly resulted in Spain losing the game and the pool, "star" is definitely wrong. "Goat." "Choker." "OMFG how do you miss that." Those all apply.

*I'm kidding. Okay - no more chain-yanking. If you have websites dedicated to your hair styles and @Gill I says you are "good to look at," you qualify as a "star.' You still have to score that PK, though.

spacecraft 11:15 AM  

I note that @Martin Abresch smugly insists on calling soccer "football." If that is so, why do we need the word "soccer?" Either way, RAMOS was a WOE for me (one of several); still a common enough Hispanic name that it could be inferred with some cross help. Why hasn't it caught on here? Did you ever watch an ENTIRE soccer game? Two or three minutes of actual action and 90-odd minutes of BO-RING.

OFL is being kind today; maybe we should make Ms. Berube the DOD. Nah, I'll stick with the distaff ALI, a knockout in more ways than one.

I agree that RONAN threw a wrench into the north. Is SUPERFOOD a thing? I don't recall coming across the term. I had SUPERFO__ and B__ up there, and thank goodness I uncovered ODS or I might have had a Tuesday DNF. In the south, BASTA went in on crosses.

The fill? Let's say it's closer to 60-across than the shaded word. There are a few nice longer entries, but the price is high: ABAB, PSS, TSE, that "inglourious" word at 52-across, and HOS: I can almost see @BS licking his chops over that one. Actually it somehow seemed worse while doing it than it does now on the look-over. Okay, I'm feeling good: par it is.

Taking tomorrow off (surgery). See you guys Thursday if all goes well.

Burma Shave 1:11 PM  


I’ll SUP on a TAMALE with PESTO sauce, if I OPT to EAT lunch.


for @spacey, be well:


“There’s no NEXTDAY, BRO, it’s FINAL”, said Mr. RAMOS,


Sailor 1:51 PM  

I'll chime in, in support of @Chronic dnfer and @Anoa Bob. A ship's rigging is "the system of ropes, cables, or chains employed to support the masts (standing rigging) and to control or set the yards and sails (running rigging)." It is a common landlubber's mistake to assume that the sails are themselves a part of the rigging. They are not.

leftcoastTAM 2:40 PM  

Impressive that constructor Julie B. was able to get the nonsense word SUPER... nicely (though not symmetrically, which would be quite a feat) spread throughout the puzzle. Nice work.

Puzzle, HOLISTIC-ally, seemed Tuesday level challenging, especially the SE, and scattered fill names like RONAN, RAMOS, NURMI, and DARA. The Italian BASTA and French SAULT weren't cinches either.

RONAN's first name, Saoirse, is a very challenging one to spell and pronounce right, and probably has already appeared in a NYT xword.

I enjoy a challenge like this early in the week. Again, nice work, JB, and should probably add WS.

rain forest 3:14 PM  

Nice, competent, easy Tuesday. It didn't seem to me that the arbitrary "33% threshold" of the so-called PPP was breached. That is a bit of a synthesized label anyway. Cute theme, no matter how the "word" was broken up and placed in the grid. POCs? I say several "pshaws".

Nice to learn that the singular of TAMALEs is "tamal", although I'm pretty sure that most people would never say that. What would that do to the silly joke, "it's cool today, but hot TAMALE"?

Enjoyed it.

Diana,LIW 4:25 PM  

Tho I can't picture you, you'll be in my thoughts tomorrow @Spacey. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Solved like a themeless - didn't get the theme until I was finished, as I completed the NW corner last, and the other syllables didn't make sense. And no revealer clue to help me. But it was easy and straightforward nonetheless, with a few very sussable WOEs.

@Teedmn, I too had solid vs. VALID until staring at ases I finally realized the avenues in DC.

There's a restaurant (or at least, there WAS a restaurant) in San Francisco called Basta Pasta. Now I know what that means.

@Kathy from yesterday - thanks for putting Nancy Drew in my head - one of my favorite childhood pleasures was reading those "scary" books and then looking around for the poisonous tarantula under my bed.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Diana,LIW 4:33 PM  

PS - (But not PSS) Seeing Apollo and his twin in many art works in LA last week, I confidently put in ARTEMIS - for once being certain. Learned a lot of Greek/Roman stories. Great crossword fodder, those art museums.


rondo 5:29 PM  

Got the trick after SCALIA, pretty easy filling after that. In this case I think the gimmick helped the solve rather than vice versa.

From yesteryear to today, yeah babies abound, Pin-up Betty GRABLE, Kong’s Jessica LANGE (the first of many yeah baby Jessicas), multi-medalist DARA Torres – amazing BTW, and Ms. RONAN whose first name I have no chance to pronounce. Even ERICA Jong? PPP all over the place.

Late GUITARIST B.B. King has to be my fave, saw him perform at least a dozen times.

@D,LIW – stopped in that Chi-town grocery, Nova Salmon was there, if you looked. I’ll forward a foto.

Nice to be home from ILLINOIS and a cute little puz to boot.

spacecraft 6:06 PM  

@Ms. Waiting: Thanks for the well-wish, but if you tried to picture me the real thing is bound to disappoint. And by now you know that most tarantulas are not poisonous to humans. They're just hairy and scary; for a little girl, that's quite enough.

Diana,LIW 8:05 PM  

@Spacey - I think you're from the Phila. area? If so, many, many great hospitals/docs in the area. BTW, I now quite like spiders. Once, in the library classroom, I heard some students giggling in a row behind me. Turned to see Madam Spidee sliding down her self-made rope. Did what I always do - scooped her up and brought her outside.

@Rondo - Saw BB many, many times. He and his band put on a PERFORMANCE. I dare anyone to remain seated. However, must say Buddy Guy may be my fav GUITARIST. Mr. W would say Clapton. And of course you saw Nova. From Portland, Maine to San Diego to Seattle to Miami - it's everywhere.

Lady Di

kathy of the tower 1:10 AM  

@spacey; good luck with surgery tomorrow.

@Diana; I've mentioned before that I'm a quilter. Two years ago they came out with Nancy Drew fabric and I made two quilts. I'm now working on a Mary Poppins quilt with cherries on the fabric and tape measures.
About the puzzle, I love the word HOLISTIC, what a concept contained in a great descriptive word.

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My daughter knew this too. Very annoying

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