Old radio show set in Harlem / TUE 11-22-16 / Rehearsed piece from start to finish in theater lingo / Cousin of cobbler / Dark brown rodents with long tails large eyes / Carolers repertoire / Trick-taking game with 48-card deck

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Constructor: Andrew Zhou

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (*for a Tuesday*)

THEME: NON KOSHER (57A: Like the four things named in the circled squares) — just what it says:

Theme answers:
  • AHA MOMENT (18A: When you get it)
  • POPULAR DEMAND (23A: Something might be brought back by this)
  • SPORK (37A: Versatile eating implement)
  • NBA CONFERENCE (47A: Eastern or Western, for hoopsters)
Word of the Day: MAJESTIC Theater (21D: ___ Theater, venue of "The Phantom of the Opera," the longest-running production in Broadway history) —
The Majestic Theatre is a Broadway theatre located at 245 West 44th Street in midtown Manhattan. It is one of the largest Broadway theatres with 1,645 seats, and traditionally has been used as a venue for major musical theatre productions. Among the notable shows that have premiered at the Majestic are Carousel (1945), South Pacific (1949), The Music Man (1957), Camelot (1960), A Little Night Music (1973), and The Wiz (1975). It was also the second home of 42nd Street and the third home of 1776. The theatre has housed The Phantom of the Opera since it opened on January 26, 1988. With a record-breaking 11,335 performances to date, it is currently the longest-running production in Broadway history. (wikipedia)
• • •

This was a mess for me. I mean, a mess to solve. The theme is OK, if a bit wobbly and uneven, but the clues, in parts, felt Not Tuesday. Fine, but tougher than I expected. Let's start with the theme, which was awkwardly expressed, from my vantage point, for several reasons. First, I didn't really notice it until HALAL (65A: Opposite of 57-Across, to Muslims), which is in the *position* of a potential revealer (final Across answer) but is ultimately not directly related to the theme *at all*. Symmetrical with HALAL is ... CHOPS ... which ... was that clued as somehow PORK-related, in an earlier draft? Seems like an odd coincidence to have CHOPS at 1-A in a clue about NON-KOSHER foods and have it *not* relate to pork. Weird. Further, LARD is not a meat, when the other NON-KOSHER things ... are. BACON and PORK are ... the same meat. PORK is not embedded across two words the way the other themers are, so style points off there. NBA CONFERENCE is a pretty weak stand-alone answer, though I appreciate how hard it must've been to embed "bacon" in any two-word phrase, let alone one of a particular length. The whole thing works, in that it is a functional, defensible puzzle, but as I said, wobble wobble.

The roughness of my solve came largely from the NW (where I always start), which had a passel of late-week, unexpected clues. Accurate, fine, but not Tuesday—not in a bunch like that. 1A: Musical talent, informally I wanted something like ... EAR, not CHOPS. ONE UP is not obvious as a verb (3D: Outdo). CRISP is not not not obvious as a noun (1D: Cousin of a cobbler). And RAN IT? Forget it. No idea what was going on there. I mean, I can see, now, how you might say it in a theater-related sentence, but that is just bad fill. Acceptable to hold something together in a late-week puzzle, maybe, but there's nothing even particularly *theater* about it. The past tense adds another level of ugh-ery. Stumbled over yet another theater clue at MAJESTIC—I had the -AJ- and quickly wrote in TAJ MAHAL. It fit. Lucky me. 56A: Meeting point for tailors? (SEAM) crossing 52D: Kind of client (E-MAIL), also super-Tuesday tricky for me. Throw in my inability to spell PINOCHLE, and my going for GAPED over the icky OOHED at 7D: Expressed amazement, and you get the full effect of my inelegant progress through this grid. I mean, look at this:

I solved this at runtpuz.org, where you can upload any puzzle in .puz format and solve in their applet and then get a bunch of stats afterward. The interface needs a lot of work, and I don't fully understand all the stats, but it's pretty cool nonetheless. The above grid represent first 1/3 (green) second 1/3 (white) and last 1/3 (red) of my solve. If I'm killing a puzzle, those colors are self-contained blocks, usually with green in the N/NW, white in the center/E/S, and red in the S/SW. Not a lot of jumping around when I find a puzzle easy. But the above grid, yikes. That is some flailing. I mean, the green and red hold together OK, but the white shows you how badly I was jumping around. SO many answers have three different colored squares in them. Such inefficiency. Sigh. Anyway, try runtpuz.org for yourself sometimes. Here's all the data for my solve today.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. "There's so many ways to clue BOYS, and you have to go with this stupid [turns on hair dryer so I can no longer hear her totally justifiable complaints]"—my wife. (63A: Word before and after "will be")

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 6:46 AM  

Beauteous Tuesday puzzle! Clean and CRISP. Quick and tasty. Thank you, Andrew. Must have been right in my wheelhouse; none of the stumbles Rex mentioned. Nice to see a RuntPuz plug.

Answers that appealed: AHA-MOMENT, POPULAR_DEMAND, ONE_UP, and PINOCHLE. There's a CHOPS up and a Boggle-style YE connecting with OLDE. We have RATS echoing FIELD_MICE, MALES echoing MANO. To complement the Jewish and Muslim references, we have NOELS. And because it's not yet time to let go of the election, we have a POPULAR_DEMAND crossing LOL.

Loren Muse Smith 6:46 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loren Muse Smith 6:49 AM  

Ok. So I finished, and when HALAL was tied to the theme, I looked up at its counterpart, CHOPS, and like Rex wondered if the clues/concept had been tweaked. Rex's write-up wasn't up yet, and I didn't look at XwordInfo. It seems that CHOPS, HAM, and LARD all are made of PORK and hence NON KOSHER. Hmm. I can't get my mind around how the list works. It'd be like having BREAD in a list with BAGUETTE, BATARD, and PETIT PAIN and saying they're all made with yeast.

I would have understood it better if PORK had not been there – maybe PATE instead? But that's not always PORK.

SAUSAGE? SALSA USAGE? Rules for Salsa Usage – don't double dip. Don't hog all the chunky parts. Don't load your chip so that you can't lift it. Don't leave a trail of salsa from the bowl to your mouth. Get out of the way and let other people have some. Now.

That's the thing –POPULAR DEMAND hides LARD and AHA MOMENT hides HAM - these are terrific. You just can't do that with other PORK stuff. Make me an egg, but don't put any pepper on it. Maw-maw's whipping up some Cheez-its a la milanaise. But I guess those aren't necessarily pork, either.

OMAN right next to AMMAN. In the grid. Not out in the wild.

@JC66 from yesterday – Hah! It's not until I read and read. And read. About zero and whether or not it's even or odd that I realize how truly boring gerund/participle or preposition/particle discussions can be for many. That's the thing, though – this is a community where you can find like-minded people who can argue about a quadruple play in baseball or whether C-sharp is the same as D-flat. This is very, very cool for me since I live out in the boonies. So when the discussion is about something I don't worry about, I just get up and go get me another JalapeƱo POPPA. Wait for an argument where I can run my mouth and let the world know just how very smart I am.

Thanks for the puz, AZ – I'm off to dig up some pork rinds. Yum. I like the dense little ones that are so hard, they could break your teeth. The big pillowy ones make a huge mess.

Hartley70 7:05 AM  

This was a tougher than average Tuesday and that may be due to my inability to spell PINOCHLE on the first or the second try. It was a spelling senior moment. I knew what I wanted to spell, I just couldn't get it out.

I thought the theme was clever. There's nothing tired or hackneyed about a pork prohibition, I'm just relieved I don't live under one. BACON is sublime for man or dog, and I just read that nutritionists are once more giving a thumbs up to LARD. Apparently there are some lovely vitamins involved. Pie crust devotees everywhere are rejoicing! I'm part of the post-LARD generation, so I've yet to experience a white lump of LARD sitting in the fridge. The thought makes me sort of queasy.

I too consider CHOPS part of the theme. If it isn't viewed that way, it's an awkward answer. One could earn one's CHOPS in any endeavor I would think.

I saw "Phantom" at the MAJESTIC from the cheap seats. Talk about altitude sickness!

Rex, CRISP seems obscure to you? You need to bake more often. The fam will appreciate it and so will we.

@Malsdemare from yesterday, this puzzle has given me a solution to your MOBIUS canine nickname problem and it's unfortunate ending. His call name will be "Moe".

Leapfinger 7:19 AM  

BACON -- yummmm...!! And that was quite a PINNUMBERa on the Moon the other night, wasn't it?

Some folks field questions; some field balls or flies (I think). Other FIELD MICE, but that's past yer time.

Having some good OLDE BOYS in every corner, seems like the MALES are kinda hogging the space.

Something CON FERENC today?... Maybe Liszt, Lehar or Farkas?

Drive time today hoping no MIRE or ICES.

Dorothy Biggs 8:01 AM  

CHOPS are what you have and talent determines what they are.

FWIW, I always found that musicians typically have three kinds of chops: Music Store Chops™, which are what you use to impress strangers while you're checking out instruments in a music store, they range from crazy jazz licks to Stairway to Heaven or Jump quotes...and are usually very annoying; Sound Check Chops™, which are what you use to impress anyone within earshot of the venue you're playing in to let them know that you're gonna rock it later...the louder and faster, the better; and Actual Chops™, which are what you actually need to play an actual gig. The three don't necessarily mutually coexist, and as for talent equalling chops, you don't need much talent to play the first two kinds of chops.

I agree with Rex that CHOPS should've been clued as food.

RANIT is awful. You refer to having rehearsed a piece in theater from start to finish a lot of ways, and "ran it" is certainly one of them, but a) it's a partial (you don't say, "RAN IT!"), and b) you can run through sections, a few lines, or anything, i.e., any time you rehearse something you are running it. I thought "dry run," "stumble through," even "cue to cue," but none fit (obvs).

So yeah, wobble, wobble right out of the gate.

The rest of the puzzle was fine. PORK as a NONKOSHER food reminds me of a family friend who ate pork and bacon...but he called it "pink chicken." He also ate shrimp, and I could be wrong here, but there is some catch that you can eat shrimp outside? Anyway, he ate a lot of things and (tongue in cheekly) justified it a lot of ways.

Puzzle gets a B-. I liked it overall, but didn't like the very, very beginning.

mathgent 8:01 AM  

The clue for HALAL must be wrong, "Opposite of (NONKOSHER), to Muslims." The opposite of NONKOSHER would be Kosher. That would imply that HALAL means "Kosher." Food is HALAL if it is prepared according to Muslim law. If the clue means that HALAL is the opposite of Kosher, that probably isn't correct either. Kosher forbids eating pork. I don't think that Halal requires eating pork.

Rex and many of us seem to care whether a puzzle is appropriate for the day of the week it appears. "Too hard (easy) for a Monday (Friday)." I wonder why.

Okay theme, some nice stuff (CHOPS, "Cock and Bull," learning the name of The Phantom of the Opera theater), some junk (OOHED, AFIRST, ...). I'm giving it a C.

chefbea 8:13 AM  

Tough for a Tuesday. Never heard of chops in that context. Never heard of halal. Of course knew crisp!!!

thfenn 8:16 AM  

Enjoyed this one too, a clean pretty easy run. It's not just CHOPS that contribute to my version of the theme, as the ODOR of BACON in my parents home was ever present. And if I ever had anything at a SBARRO's it'd have sausage and pepperoni on it. A little odd having FIELDMICE and RATS in there with other meats, yuck, but hey, they're also NONKOSHER.

A reference to Lake Wobegon, sort of, complete with MINNESOTA following yesterday's SNOWTIRES, plus a tribute to MR. ED, made this puzzle all good. Not to mention it's my second in a row completed hours before this blog was available, with no peeks or googling, in better than my average time.

Anonymous 8:17 AM  

This puzzle was easy for me but it was just odd. I think it's pork as a theme. Would've been more appropriately placed in an issue of Rendered Fat Monthly, a Publication of the Rendered Fat Industry. I'm not kidding, it existed. Maybe it still does. Lotsa fascinating things happening in the world that would make for sparkling themes and don't require use if the word lard.

r.alphbunker 8:19 AM  

{52D Kind of client} ETAIL/{56A Meeting point for tailors?}SEAT looked plausible to me but EMAIL/SEAM is better. This brings back memories of students arguing that they should get some points for their answers. Details are here.

Anonymous 8:26 AM  

Apologies if this gets posted more than once - I'm having trouble posting. And now I have to rewrite ...

So I did not find this particularly difficult. I like food themes on Thanksgiving week but wish it were more about CRISPS and COBBLERS than LARD .....

Happy Thanksgiving all


Unknown 8:43 AM  

I had the complete opposite experience of Rex. I killIed this puzzle -- fastest Tuesday ever for me. Not a single writeover or hesitation and worked too to bottom, left to right, as is preferrable, The circles made NBACONFERENCE a compete gimme as from NBA I immediately put in the bacon and breezed through the bottom. Delightful Tuesday.

kitshef 8:54 AM  

rhumBA CONtest.

Hand up for runtpuz. I've been test driving that interface for a couple of weeks. I really prefer solving on paper, but being able to see you stats (including how the puzzle would be scored in a competition), and comparing your solve to other peoples' is way cool.

I count CHOPS as part of the theme, despite the cluing. Puzzle holds up really well with the theme density. Besides RAN IT, the worst things are some of the forgivable threes - PAH, MAV, MIN.

I figured @Rex would have an issue with SPORK not splitting the pig product between two works, but I give it a pass with SPORK itself being a portmonteau word, so it's kind of split between SPOon and foRK (or SPoon and fORK).

seanm 8:55 AM  

echoing the person above me, i also posted my fastest tuesday ever (5:16). though the theme was fine but a little soft.

dropped CHOPS down right away and was off to the races. couldn't spell PINNOCHLE but all of the crosses were easy. slightly slowed down in the NE, but nothing too bad.

Zwhatever 8:55 AM  

Yesterday we had nothing to talk about, today Meat. Was expecting an Arby's sponsorship somewhere in the puzzle.

KOSHER and HALAL are so close as to be almost literally the same thing.* If you're cooking for Muslim friends you look for the little circled k or circled u on packages, just like you would if cooking for Jewish friends.

Held off on the cobbler clue, wondering if it was going to be shoe or food related. Much prefer a good CRISP to shoe leather. Speaking of which, Cheez-it Genoese is Soooo much better, especially with salami on the side.

*Almost. I said "almost."

QuasiMojo 9:09 AM  

This puzzle was a breeze and a lot of fun. I think of "chops" having more to do with acting than music, unless it's chopsticks. LOL. That would have been a fun answer, especially if you were eating Pork with them. RAN IT fell in immediately. And I used to play PINOCHLE a lot when I was a kid, so no problem there. (It was a good game to play when you couldn't find a full deck.) Would have preferred a reference to Quentin CRISP, at the start. He might easily have quipped "Boys will be Boys." Kudos to the constructor. Terrific Tuesday fare.

Mark Rosenfield 9:10 AM  

I keep kosher and eat lamb chops, so I would not consider chops to be part of the theme. But I thought it was an excellent puzzle, and the link between kosher and halal shows how close Jews and Moslems really are. And with the current spouting of supporters of our president-elect, that may be important in the long run.

Anonymous 9:14 AM  

There should be more protest (civilized of course) aimed at the Halal v. Kosher mistake. That's a very big mistake.

Anonymous 9:18 AM  

How is PINNUMBER redundant? The ATM requires two-step security. If something is required, it's not redundant.
What's an e-mail client?
Never heard CHOPS in a musical context.

jberg 9:23 AM  

CHOPS sure looks like it should be a themer; but the if it was we'd all be complaining that chops can also be lamb or veal. It would probably have been better to redo the whole corner with a different word up there.

@Hartley70, I have a jar of LARD in my refrigerator right now -- my son buys half a pig direct from the farmer, and renders it himself, along with making bacon, etc. (the pig comes cut up, so he doesn't have to do that himself). Great for pie crust, of course, and also for frying potatoes -- but not as good as goose fat for the latter, and I'm out of that until I roast this years Christmas goose in another month.

cheaP ORKney flights, anyone?

Nancy 9:24 AM  

As far as I'm concerned, Andrew Zhou can construct every future Tuesday for me. Way better than most early week puzzles -- with lively imaginative cluing for the most part and more than a little thinking required on the part of the solver. While the revealer is delightful just as it is, I was expecting one I would have liked even better: THINGS THAT ARE BAD FOR YOU. (When you have high cholesterol, all these things are bad for you.) Breezy, playful and fun.

Charles Flaster 9:31 AM  

Enjoyed this easy one especially the old
timeliness of many answers that probably made some younger solvers wince a bit--
Loved the clue for MARKSMEN.
Thanks AZ.

Linda 9:37 AM  

@Anonymous 9:18 AM - Redundant because the "N" in PIN stands for "number" - personal identification number.

Bob C 9:38 AM  

Other non-kosher things:


and cheeseburgers.

Passing Shot 9:41 AM  

@Anonymous 9:18 -- a "PIN" is a "personal identification NUMBER" so saying PINNUMBER is redundant.

r.alphbunker 10:17 AM  
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Malsdemare 10:21 AM  

This was slow for me. I could not get a toehold in the NW despite the presence of CRISP, which we devour in massive quantities in July when the wild blackberries ripen. I was thinking of shoemaker and had to wait for other stuff to fall before I found my way to food. It was definitely harder than the usual Tuesday, but I appreciate that. Once I'm done here, I must return to that horrid manuscript so lingering here is lovely. I really liked the disquisition on three kinds of CHOPS, none of which I possess but would love to have. Is it possible there's a kind of chops one gets by virtue of having exquisite musical instruments in one's home, (Baldwin parlor grand, Buffet clarinet) despite being unable to play them beyond a second grade level?

Turns out I can't spell PINOCCLE; what're those two CCs doing there? Just wrong. Thanks for the explanation of the PINNUMBER redundancy.

I learned (and then forgot) a lot about zeros yesterday; today's lesson on KOSHER vs HALAL was equally fascinating and maybe will stay with me a little past lunch.

@Hartley, enough with the dog names! He's Rock; you're just messin' with my mind.

Teedmn 10:23 AM  

Nice pre-Thanksgiving food puzzle, none of which foods I will be indulging in. @NCA President's story reminds me of a vegetarian I knew; she ate chicken, calling it a 'roaming vegetable'. Whatever excuse you need for justification, I guess.

I wasn't MIREd in dIRt today but I did step in it. And I was enjoying the alpES' scenery before I took a gander at the BIKES. I had a bit of trouble spotting the PORK in SPORK without the handy circles on my version. Here's hoping no one tries to hide it in Thursday's stuffing.

Some nice cluing - I was glad 4D took away any reason to nitpick about PIN NUMBERs and whether they exist if they contain a zero. And I wonder if poor MR. ED was included in the meat products? Horse meat isn't kosher although a Jewish friend tells me giraffe is.

Nice Tuesday, AZ!

Malsdemare 10:25 AM  

Oh, no, wait! There aren't CCs in pinochle, which explains my problem with spelling the game. Sigh! Sure wish I could edit my responses after posting; I could save myself a modicum of embarrassment. Instead I must come back, admit I'm a dope, go find worms to eat . . .

Law enforcement is spraying the protesters at Standing Rock with water. It's currently 27 degrees there. Thought I'd mention that.

r.alphbunker 10:30 AM  

{31D "This doesn't look good"} UHOH. I hope the runtpuz server fares better than the one used by the Canadian immigration server. :-) Runtpuz.org would not exist without this blog. Thanks to Jim Horne for giving me permission to modify his xwordinfo.com app and @Tita A, @Teedmn, @M&A, @George Barany, @kitshef @Bob Kerfuffle, @bodgit1 and @Hartley70 for their participation in the experiment. And of course @RP for providing a forum for the discussion of crossword puzzles.

I hope that Rex uses it in his campaign to improve the NYT puzzles by giving examples of puzzles of equal difficulty that meet his approval. His comments can be in his linked-to solution so someone coming here to read about the NYT won't be confronted with any spoilers for other puzzles.

Masked and Anonymo3Us 10:32 AM  


* To Mr. Zhou, for really hammin it up, in that there CRISP CHOPS corner.

* To the magnificent @r.alph, for his excellent runtpuz sites.

* To @RP, for actually usin the letter string "runtpuz" in a blog write-up. And then goin on to acknowledge all of @r.alph's efforts. Primo.

"On the road, but couldn't resist and the inn had a computer"

3 U's.

RooMonster 10:38 AM  

Hey All!
I feel full from this puz! Actually a different type theme. The concept is similar in the embedded words thing, but the answers of NON KOSHER things is different. You know what I'm trying to say! :-)

Funny-ness with my thinking before getting FIELD MICE. First thought, FIErce MICE, then FIEry MICE. LOL.

ZERO to argue about today. :-P


Greg 10:54 AM  

I found this to be pretty darn good, especially in light of some of the horribly-filled slogs we've had over the last week or so. I really didn't find myself rolling my eyes over much here, and SPORK got a grin.

AliasZ 11:05 AM  

PIN NUMBER -- Personal Identification Number Number
ATM Machine -- Automated Teller Machine Machine
LCD Display -- Liquid Crystal Display Display
VIN Number -- Vehicle Identification Number Number
CES Show -- Consumer Electronics Show Show

The above are some of the better known examples of:

RAS Syndrome -- Redundant Acronym Syndrome Syndrome

It is funny, the first thing I noticed was CHOPS -- surely a missed opportunity for a theme entry, for which CRISP also qualifies.


Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 11:09 AM  

I would like to second NCA Pres's comments on CHOPS and RANIT. CHOPS have little to do with talent, and running it is sort of the opposite of actually rehearsing, though it is necessary now and then. To find out if you have the stamina to perform it, for one thing, says the aging person.

Something record breaking - AFIRST!! Yecch.

dramawritcomp 11:11 AM  

A nice meaty puzzle for a Tuesday (pun intended). Liked how the themers were embedded in larger answers, especially the bacon in the NBA conference and the lard in popular demand. Agree that there's something amiss with chops, especially in its mirror position with Halal. Feels like an unwanted side effect of puzzle revisions.

Very masculine grid with boys, males, poppa, Amos n Andy, Mr. Ed, Harpo, Joe, marksmen and Capra as well as the man in Oman, Amman. and mano, and the men in amen. And, on a somewhat related topic, I once had the pleasure of meeting Quentin Crisp.

No problem with ran it as a rehearsal reference, but I do have to say that is one creepy way to describe field mice.

jae 11:22 AM  

Medium for me. Check Xwordinfo for an interesting discussion of how this puzzle evolved. Nice long downs, not much dreck, informative theme, liked it.

old timer 11:52 AM  

What's the theme today? SPORK! 12 minutes from freezer to SPORK! Easiest Tuesday ever for me even if it took me a little time to remember PINOCHLE. I think the only time I ever saw anyone play that game was in the lounge car if the old City of San Francisco train when I was 18, and delightedly discovered the don't check ID on passenger trains -- though maybe they do on Amtrak these days.

Anonymous 11:56 AM  

@Anonymous PIN stands for Personal Identification Number. So PINNUMBER is Personal Identification Number Number. The NUMBER is in there, like Ragu, and ATM MACHINE. The M of ATM IS Machine. Both are redundant per the Department of Redundancy Department.

And wouldn't it be great if the "act now" promo for Proactive would just go away? That and Prevagen (a scam that just won't go away). But wait maybe that's why I can't remember to "act now".

Bronxdoc 12:06 PM  

PIN is a number.

Numinous 12:14 PM  

A musician will often refer to the instrument of choice as an axe. What does one do with an axe? One CHOPS of course. I prefer lamb CHOPS for dinner.

We've already gone into the RAS Syndrome, thank you @Alias Z.

Refritos require LARD. I avoid the canned ones that say they are made SANS LARD, they just don't taste right.

What could be better for lunch than a BACON, lettuce, and tomato sandwich. At least you don't need a SPORK to eat it. I rather liked the clue for COIN, loonies and toonies are my favorite Canadian COINs. What I also like about them is that they are not notes. I also appreciated seeing a part of my nom de blog since I go by OLDE Farte there. While I'm not that old, I remember when learning to lawn bowl, my teacher at the retirement community in Irvine, Calif., who was 82 or so, called the 60-something guy who had recently moved in and was learning to bowl too, "the kid", I have always wondered what the old guy used to think of me, in my early thirties, learning to bowl. I enjoy being around this group of people here. I never used to be comfortable hanging around with older people but now, with this group, I realize that we have all lived through similar times. It sometimes irks me when OFL says a puzzle skews old when all of the "old" stuff is so familiar to me. I liked seeing MR. ED in this puzzle. I can just hear him chastising, "Wilbur-r-r-r-r-r".

I didn't think puzzle was particularly difficult. It did require more thinking than yesterday. Thanks AZ.

Carola 12:46 PM  

A nicely chewy puzzle. Despite writing in CHOPS x CRISP right off, I wasn't able to chomp straight through the grid in usual Tuesday fashion. Nice to have the various delayed AHA MOMENTS.
When out for breakfast, I always ask for my BACON to be extra-CRISPy please, but I have no idea if that actually avails or if the (unspoken) reaction is "Give me a break, lady."
I think POPULAR DEMAND might be an apt setting for LARD, now that leaf LARD is getting food-blogging attention. There's a purveyor in MINNESOTA that I've considered ordering from. As @jberg noted, it's the sine qua non for pie crust.

foxaroni 1:04 PM  

My only write-over: instantly filled in TIBET for 50D: Himalayan land, instead of NEPAL.

If I don't comment tomorrow, Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all a good night. A special thank-you to Rex for creating and sustaining this blog, and to all of you regulars (you know who you are) for making this such a pleasure to read each day. My knowledge and understanding of many things esoteric, I owe to you. Even the odd zero.

foxaroni 1:10 PM  

P.S. Thanks, @AliasZ, for the list of redundant redundacies. What other redundant TLAs (Three-Letter Acronyms) are out there in the wild?

Tom 1:20 PM  

Liked the inclusion of PINICHLE, which I plated incessantly my first two years in college, much to the detriment of my GPA. Seems like UHOH is appearing a lot lately, but maybe I saw it in a BEQ puz.

Agree with Mark Rosenfield about the common enemy Jews and Muslims now have. Check out

http://americazfuturepostobama.blogspot.com for an ongoing assessment!

Nancy 2:11 PM  

@Alias Z (11:05) -- An entertaining and edifying post today, re redundant acronyms. I enjoyed reading it.

RooMonster 2:14 PM  
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RooMonster 2:14 PM  
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Anonymous 2:19 PM  

@Kitschef -- portmAnteau? ???


Larry Gilstrap 2:40 PM  

I pronounce this to be a tidy Tuesday effort complete with clever cluing and interesting fill. What OFL said about BACON.

Boy, I really wanted to reminisce about the AMOS N' ANDY TV programs, but what could I possibly say? The radio program aired from 1928 until 1960 and was wildly popular for years. Comprehensive, nuanced discussions of the program's place in American culture, the history of entertainment, and racism are readily available in other venues, hopefully not this one.

Young men do dumb things. Check your news feed for corroboration of that statement. I was a young man and attempted to avoid that kind of behavior, but I witnessed plenty of ill-advised actions taken in the spirit of mischief, some of it needlessly destructive, cruel, or abusive. BOYS will be BOYS! Look at those guys horsin' around in the locker room, snappin' towels, and belittling each other. I survived it, probably due to the guidance of my Momma and POPPA.

Bard of Ayrshire 2:51 PM  

Still, thou art blest, compar'd wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects drear!
An' forward tho' I canna see,
I guess and fear!

Zwhatever 3:14 PM  

@dramawritcomp - re:FIELD MICE clue. Agreed.

@Anon9:14 - Kosher means, roughly, in keeping with God's law. Halal means, roughly, in keeping with God's law. Heck, both religions worship the God of Abraham. The two terms are almost literally the same thing.*

In-laws are visiting us in NC this month. F.i.L. is the sort of 80 year-old that still loves dipping white bread in BACON grease (suggesting to me that genes are at least as important as diet when it comes to things like arteriosclerosis), so we of course had to try Lexington Avenue Brewery's BACON in a glass appetizer, served with a peanut butter dipping sauce, when we ate there Saturday. F.i.L. confessed to enjoying peanut butter and BACON sandwiches. And, yes, the appetizer was delicious.

@Alias Z - Nice list.

@Malsdrmare - I saw that. Whoever ordered it belongs in jail. The fools who followed the order should lose their jobs.

*Almost. I said "almost."

old timer 6:52 PM  

When I listened to Amos n Andy as a kid, Andy was kind of a boring character. All the voices were pllayed by white people I believe but when they moved to TV black actors were hired. And Andy was the epitome of the "good Negro" wasn't he? Probably lots of white folk supported Civil Rights in te 1960's because they thought people like Andy deserved fair treatment. But let's face it, people listened because the black female characters were spot-on (they were, you know, as I found out in my days as a law student interviewing the wives and mothers of people arrested and in jail in 1967). And because of that lovable soundrel Calhoun.

jedlevine 9:45 PM  

Surprisingly, I solved this pretty quickly, and I am a real novice. But I couldn't get 19 down (MIdeast's Gulf of ________). I had OTA as the first three letters because instead of MALES on 22A (Cock and bull), I had TALES, as in a "cock-n-bull" story is a tall tale. But I eventually realized it would have been clued as a plural noun ("Cock and bull stories").

Got a giggle out of the "P.S. There's so many ways to clue BOYS, and you have to go with this stupid [turns on hair dryer so I can no longer hear her totally justifiable complaints]"—my wife". I couldn't help but wonder if Mrs. Rex's justifiable complaints are about poorly clued/constructed crossword puzzles. If so, then it seems that you have found a match made in heaven, Mr. Parker.

Unknown 10:47 PM  

Sorry to be so late to the party. I solved @Andrew Zhou's puzzle late last night, was delighted to see the shoutout to MINNESOTA, but then was tied up with teaching chemistry all day so this is my first chance to catch up on @Rex's review and all of the comments.

Regarding the redundancy of PIN: this is a well-known phenomenon that even has a name, i.e., PLEONASM, and has been the subject of several stand-alone puzzles. The earliest example I was able to find was due to @William Johnston (July 12, 2001) and gave these four examples: ABS_SYSTEM, PIN_NUMBER, LCD_DISPLAY, and ATM_MACHINE. Three of those overlap with the list given earlier today by @AliasZ.

Crane Poole 11:06 PM  

Maybe getting CHOPS immediately was the difference? Sailed through (as close as I get to sailing, anyway) and matched my Monday time. Theme was okay. No write-overs. No complaints. Remainder of the week will probably be doomworthy.

Wm Sapphire 8:25 AM  

So the Eat Some Pig Today lobby is already eyeball-to-eyeball with the KOSHER and HALAL groups, and on bad terms with the Trichinella & Toxoplasma supporters. And what do those bright bulbs decide is the BEST catchy slogan? PORK. The other white meat

Great way to draw the AMOS 'N' ANDY crowd into the fray.

Stick a SPORK in me. I'm done.

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

@foxaroni, 'even the odd zero'... Pretty foxy!

Cheezits Genoese are esp good for them as gets malaise from Milanese.

As noted above, a Happy Pre-Thanksgiving, and Happy Hogmanay Day.

Ella Finger

Burma Shave 9:17 AM  


while giving the OLDE BOYS her BEST hand –


rondo 10:33 AM  

I guess those Christmas ribs I grilled would fit right in. Charcoal, never gas. In December, in MINNESOTA, in between rain showers. The BEST. Now I’m hungry again.

Almost tripped on the Phantom theater by not reading the whole (long) clue. I didn’t see it at the MAJESTIC, I saw it in London at Her MAJESTy’s Theatre where it has run even longer by POPULARDEMAND. Even remember the date – 07/07/07. Sat next to the Royal Box which was vacant that night. Insert Kate Middleton joke here.

Fun fact in case you didn’t know: Take a look on your food labels, often on the back, those Us, Ks, Ms, or other symbols, often circled, will let you know if your item is KOSHER and/or HALAL.

I guess the hurricane is more current than one-time frequent flyer and yeah baby IRENE Cara.

Somewhere I have a CD with most, or all of the radio episodes of AMOSNANDY. Remember the TV show in syndication.

Dad's nickname was HARPO. I had to include it in his obit as that's how people knew him. I suppose mine will include "Rondo".

Didn’t need an AHAMOMENT, the puz was so easy I RANIT.

spacecraft 11:10 AM  

At last, OFL begins to see the vagaries of the NW. Bad news again, for me. To clue CHOPS that way is arbitrary, therefore obfuscating. Talent at ANYTHING is slangily called CHOPS. You see a poker player with a couple of WSOP bracelets, you say, he's got CHOPS. In an NBACONFERENCE, it might be amended to "hops," but even there hops refers to how high he can jump, versus all-around basketball skills, which are still called CHOPS. To pick out music to the exclusion of all other talents is grossly misleading. The hankie stirs...

But it comes out on the clue for EMAIL. "Kind of client?" You've got to be kidding. On a TUESDAY?? TWEE! Oh wait--I'm mixing my sports. We're on golf. OK then, stroke and distance for out of bounds.

Other than those weirdos the solve was fine, so, medium. Might need to call an exterminator for all those FIELDMICE and RATS running around there in the NE. Co-DOD's for today will be Tori AMOSNANDY Mcdowell (OK, I know she's "Andie," but I took poetic license. I'll take ANY kind of license with her.)

What's the score? Why, the guy who told SAM to "play it." Bogey.

rondo 11:26 AM  

@spacey - you're killin' me!! Co-DOD, still laughing. A guy two cubes over wanted to know. He broke up to!

rondo 11:27 AM  

And Bogey! Too much! Rare form there!

Anonymous 11:50 AM  

Very enjoyable, fun puzzle. On the same wave length - felt easy.

leftcoastTAM 2:00 PM  

Seemed unremarkable until I read Rex's take on it. There were some unusual entries, and crosses were helpful in several places, particularly for HALAL, but no real AHAMOMENT.

Thought it was fine for Tuesday, maybe Wednesday too.

Diana,LIW 3:39 PM  

Speaking of SAM and bogey, Casablanca is on TCM today. Just a general alert.

Today MINNESOTA gets the shout out, along with little MIN. And my mom, IRENE.

Fun - quick puzzle. Tuesday perfect.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rain forest 4:27 PM  

Wrote in CHOPS and CRISP right off, and so RAN IT appeared 'en passant', but looked funny. Back in the day, when I played in neighbourhood pubs, I don't think my partner and I ever said that when we were rehearsing, and of course we would know.

I think HALAL is a little more involved than KOSHER - something to do with the training and religion of whoever is slaughtering the animal, but again, what do I know.

@Spacey - you're on a roll, man. Questio: does Andie McDowell do anything other than beauty/hair ads. DOD, though.

Liked this one. Would have been nice to get 'tourtiere' in there though.

@Sailor yesterday - loved you Trumpian faux tweet yesterday. Not sad.

spacecraft 5:29 PM  

@Rainy: McDowell co-starred with Bill Murray in the classic "Groundhog Day," also with John Travolta in "Michael." Beautiful in both.

spacecraft 5:31 PM  

P.S. Thanks for the kind comments, @Rondo and @Rainy.

kitshef 5:38 PM  

@rain forest - also Four Weddings and a Funeral with Hugh Grant.

Teedmn 8:02 PM  

What, no mention of "Sex, Lies and Videotape"?

Unknown 9:08 PM  

Amos was the sensible cab driver
Andy was Kingfish's stooge.

Used PC Distributor 3:37 AM  

Nice Blog Post !

Blogger 10:04 PM  

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