Bard of Gaelic legend / WED 1-18-17 / Boyfriend after breakup perhaps / Inept boxers in slang

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Constructor: Matthew Sewell

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: FAST BREAK (57A: Dynamic basketball sequence represented by the starts of 17-, 23-, 30-, 40- and 49-Across) —just what it says:

Theme answers:
  • BLOCK HEEL (17A: Platform sandal feature)
  • REBOUND GUY (23A: Boyfriend after a breakup, perhaps)
  • PASS JUDGMENT (30A: Render a verdict)
  • DRIBBLE GLASS (40A: Novelty shop buy)
  • SHOOT 'EM UPS (49A: Space Invaders and Asteroids, for two)
Word of the Day: SHOOT 'EM UPS (49A) —
Shoot 'em up (also known as shmup or STG) is a subgenre of the shooter genre of video games. In a shoot 'em up, the player character engages in a lone assault, often in a spacecraft or aircraft, shooting large numbers of enemies while dodging their attacks. There is no consensus as to which design elements compose a shoot 'em up. Some restrict the definition to games featuring spacecraft and certain types of character movement; others allow a broader definition including characters on foot and a variety of perspectives. Shoot 'em ups call for fast reactions and for the player to memorize levels and enemy attack patterns. "Bullet hell" games feature overwhelming numbers of enemy projectiles. (wikipedia)
• • •
I had to look up whether recovered BLOCKs were actually scored as REBOUNDs, and they are, so play on, I guess. As first-words-sequence themes go, I like this one fine. The theme answers themselves are also lively / unusual. I'd never heard of a BLOCK HEEL, though the HEEL part was easy enough to infer. The concept of the "rebound" in dating is familiar enough to me, but the phrase REBOUND GUY felt slightly off, like there was another "rebound" phrase more commonly used ... and yet I can't come up with it. I think of SHOOT 'EM UPS as westerns, and I played Space Invaders and Asteroids as a kid and literally never heard anyone call 'em SHOOT 'EM UPS. Love the phrase, but to this Gen X'er's ears, the '70s/'80s video game clue seemed INAPT. But again, basic theme concept here is sound and the answers generally pleasing. The fill on this one is a mixed bag. Excellent pair of Downs in the NW corner (I'm partial to olde-timey sports slang, and PALOOKAS definitely fits the bill) (2D: Inept boxers, in slang). Most of the rest is just OK, but there are several pretty awful parts. I consider SECADA (21A: Jon with the 1992 hit "Just Another Day") and OSSIAN (35A: Bard of Gaelic legend) desperation fill, and there shouldn't have been any need for desperation today. And I consider SURETÉ beyond desperation (21D: ___ du Québec (police force)). You've fallen into the foreign word vat and can't get out. Not at all a commonly known word, even for someone like me who had many years of French in school. It *is* crossed fairly, but that SURETÉ / TEACUP cross held me up more than anything by far (36A: ___ Chihuahua (tiny dog)) . SECADA could easily have tripped me (his brief period of fame quite behind us now) but as I said: Gen X'er. Still listened to radio / watched MTV a lot in 1992. I know SECADA. Guiltily.

So, yeah, OK puzzle. If there hadn't been all this dumb Scrabble-f***ing around the margins of the puzzle, maybe the fill could've been stronger, but maybe not. Except SURETÉ, none of it was particularly egregious. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 7:12 AM  

Bob Creamer visited the White House 342 times over the last seven years. 42 times he met directly with the Prez. This is the guy who admitted paying protesters to incite violence at Trump rallies. Drain the swamp baby.

Wilt Chamberlain 7:21 AM  

How about "on the rebound" or "Mound Round of Rebound."

Tim Pierce 7:27 AM  

Don't be shy, man. SURETE/SECADA is a straight-up Natick. I ran the alphabet on that one and only entered S because it was only moderately more plausible than P. At least the TEACUP crossing is inferrable.

Anonymous 7:32 AM  

Obama's economy:

Labor participation rate dropped 4%.

Only President in history not to preside a single year with 3% growth.

Number of Americans living below poverty line up 3%.

Americans on Food Stamps - 46 million. Up 40%.

Americans owning their own home - down 6%.

National debt - 19.5 trillion. Up 80%.

Mel Torme 7:32 AM  

Inspector Jacques Clouseau from the Pink Panther movies was part of the surete, so it was not a problem here.

Hartley70 7:32 AM  

As a notoriously unsporty solver, I would be expected to have trouble with this puzzle. Not so. I thought it was the perfect basketball theme because I wasn't expected to know any professional players or their respective teams. I was transported right back to high school where basketball games were the best excuse to get out of the house on a winter Friday night, and I knew more than just the names of all the players. Providence College was also at the height of its basketball prowess during my early years, and my family would listen to the announcer call those exciting games on the radio. Those times were the the heyday of my interest in team sports (although I cannot ever forget the Beanpot in Boston in the 60's!) Other than those narrow categories, my answer to most sports queries is either YAO or OTT. Thankfully I didn't have to dust other off today.

This was a nice Wednesday puzzle that gave me a fast time and I'm over the hump with a holler out to the constructor for his good job.

Anonymous 7:34 AM  

You have problems.

Glimmerglass 7:35 AM  

SURETE [du Quebc] is a gimme for any fan of Kathy Reichs' wondeful mystery novels. Like her main character, she is a forensic anthropologist working both in the US and Canada. I think I've read all her books. BTW, her books are the basis of the tv series Bones, which is sadly inferior to Reichs' novels. The tv show (I suppose with her cooperation) has made a completely different (sanitized and simplified) character out of her heroine. I'm glad Reichs has been able to monetize her books, but I quit watching the tv show.

Wayne 7:39 AM  

What Tim said. SURETE/SECADA Natick was a deal-breaker for me.

Lojman 7:39 AM  

Absolutely agree this is a Natick. Otherwise good puzzle I thought, even with the Jaguar random 3-letter entry.

kitshef 7:40 AM  

Surprised @Rex didn't note the pangram.

Liked it, despite some oddities (SECADA, OSSIAN, ASHER).

To be added to list of permanently banned words: Jaguar models (also old Ford models and their kin).

But the theme is very tight, there are some lovely long words, and all those weird words were cross-gettable.

Irene 7:40 AM  

I loved Palookas, got Surete on the basis of Maigret mysteries, am one of those for whom Ossian was a gimmee, but he killed me at the start with USB/UPC.
Age, I guess, but add XKE and it's too much.

Anonymous 7:41 AM  

Annoying crosses in this puzzle for me-
SURETE/SECADA as @TimPierce mentioned - never heard of neither.
Also PALOOKAS/XKE. I don't believe XKE can even be considered desperation fill.

Anonymous 7:49 AM  

I think the scrabble crack acknowledged the pangram

Leapfinger 7:53 AM  

Wqw. A Ton of 3s, that's a FAQ, and I never heard of this OSS IAN AGT.

UPC and SAO seemed an inauspicious start, but remembering Joe PALOOKA in the OLDIE comics perked things up something considerable. Anyone else remember getting their tonsils out as a kid? Me ETHER.

Not trying to start anything, but I was pretty sure it's inept and UNAPT, though six ways to Sunday I couldn't justify RUSEN.

Remembered Cesar CHAVEZ and his grape boycott; thought him well-positioned today next to sidekick MORALEs.

and Yay, we finally got the full spelled-out U-TURN. OHMy Gosh

It's the right time to prep for March Madness, and considering how much basketball is watched in this household (with sound effects loud enough to cause LAHRingitis, may I add), I was shocked I didn't catch the theme till the reveal. I remembered those leaky GLASSes you could buy in the joke store, but couldn't get the DRIBBLE off the tip of my tongue, just knew it wasn't a WHOOPIE GLASS. I know it's ANECDOTAL, but I heard there was a High Noon-style confrontation between competing delivery drivers, with a bystander urging SHOOT EM, UPS! I don't approve.

Not sure how my favorite themer relates to a breakup, but my feelings RE BOUND GUY is that's okay if there's something reasonable to TIE TO, a safe word and no handcuffs. Maybe that's TMI SEX for Wednasday.

Time to go and earn an honest buck.

Anonymous 7:58 AM  

I think the Women's March on Washington should be able to ban anti-abortion women's groups. After all, it's their march. This should be remembered when the Hibernian Society wants to ban gay Irish groups from the St. Patrick's Day Parade. We wouldn't want to be hypocritical.

Anonymous 8:00 AM  

Two terrible crossings here: SECADA/SURETE and PALOOKAS/XKE.

chefbea 8:03 AM  

Knew Surete came easily. Glad to have U turn instead of uie!!!
Any puzzle with me in it is fine =Bea

John Child 8:04 AM  

Easiest puzzle of the week so far for me, and I liked it quite a bit. For my taste I would have preferred a SCORE... to end the BLOCK... REBOUND... PASS... DRIBBLE... SHOOT... sequence instead of the reveal, but the reveal was good, and no way was there room for a seventh theme entry.

An alley-OOPS and RAHS from the crowd. Happy hump day all.

Hartley70 8:04 AM  

@Tita, I wish I could look forward to another charming Laura chapter in today's comments. "Little Nell" has nothing on "Lonely Laura" and Nell's story is still selling. I have a soft spot for parrots. I was having an al fresco birthday dinner in "Little Italy" one year, which means a table on the sidewalk. It was a very warm night, which is in itself a miracle in November, when a parrot came from behind and suddenly landed on my shoulder. Luckily we had a camera. It remains my favorite birthday memory. So much better than the year my house caught fire.

Charles Flaster 8:05 AM  

Liked the basketball continuity. This promises to be another surprising year for both college and pro basketball. I prefer the former.
Thanks MS

John Child 8:06 AM  

And remember, Pleas Do Not Feed The Anony-Trolls.

Leapfinger 8:06 AM  

Would have been pure COOLNESS to have ALLEE OOPS today.

r.alphbunker 8:06 AM  

For a while, I had SIDEDISHs for {Fries or slaw, usually} SIDEORDER but it looked misspelled. Otherwise an uneventful solve. Details are here.

Lennie Wilkins, Vinnie Ernst, Ray Flynn, Jim Hadnot. You might enjoy this.

Anonymous 8:11 AM  

Gonna miss Obama I hope the new guy does a good job. God bless the USA.

thfenn 8:12 AM  

SECADA/SURETE didn't throw me off nearly as badly as UPC/PALOOKAS - I had UBC/BALOOKAS and gave up trying to figure out why I couldn't complete this. Had to come here to see the problem. But got to that point in a little over 20 minutes with no cheating, so it went from a Woohoo Wednesday to a DNF, unfortunately. Some trouble with UNFIT before UNAPT before INAPT and ABO before NEG. Also kept insisting it had to be JUDGEMENT not JUDGMENT so as is my wont I figured something much more difficult to figure out was going on before I simply conceded JUDGMENT was fine. HAT before JAR for a bit. Wanted SKIRT before EVADE for 'Dance around, as an issue' and don't think EVADE is particularly elegant or correct as an answer there. As in, when I don't reply to anonymice jabs at my favorite commander in chief I'm skirting the issue of whether to dignify the pokes with a response, as well as the issue of whether politics belong here, but am definitely not evading it.

Thought TMI over SEX was kind of fun. Enjoyed completing this one, even though I didn't complete it, smiles, to SKIRT a different issue.

Z 8:14 AM  

I always mix up Peter Cetera and Jon SECADA.

@Kitshef - Rex did, "If there hadn't been all this dumb Scrabble-f***ing around the margins of the puzzle...."*

SURETÉ didn't strike me as particularly obscure, and I haven't read any of the authors mentioned. I have, though, spent some time skiing in Tremblant, so maybe I picked it up there. Not that it mattered, I knew CETERA.

I have heard of "first person shooters," but I've never heard any video game called a SHOOT 'EM UP. New one here. I see** there is a new SHOOT 'EM UP in development set in schools in Wyoming. Students have to kill bears.

*An ellipse has three dots. The fourth dot is a period. Is this how everyone does it?

CFXK 8:18 AM  

Sûreté "not at all a commonly known word?" Hmmm, we'll have to get Inspector Jacque Clouseau on this one at once!

Anonymous 8:19 AM  

If you are a Louise Penny fan, Surete is a gimme.

AWS 8:22 AM  

Think this might have been the fastest Wednesday I've ever solved, and I managed to avoid the _URETE / _ECADA Natick by having spent the last few weeks plowing through the first five of Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache series. If anyone needs a further bump in their Canada Jealousy Level I highly recommend them.

Autrement 8:23 AM  

Most of the puzzle was fun and breezy.
But not knowing PALOOKAS, the random Jaguar model letters stick in my craw.
To my mind, it's all the more unforgivable because a top-of-my-head change of EXPO to DEPO (the birth control shot) gives us dons/eke. And hey, "eke" is an actual word!

Anonymous 8:25 AM  

Now they're saying O.J..'s son may have done it I don't know what to believe.

Eric 8:31 AM  

No natick for anyone who remembers French for police

Passing Shot 8:34 AM  

@Leapfinger -- as the great Marv Albert would SAY, "YES!"

Easy puzzle, record time for a Wed. Have never heard of a TEACUP chihuahua (and I know and love dogs). Everyone's carping about XKE, but this car is just too beautiful to ban from the puzzle:

Lobster11 8:36 AM  

Count me in the group that thought the SURETE/SECADA cross was a "straight-up Natick," as @Tim so eloquently put it. For me SURETE/TEACUP was just as bad, but I have to take much of the blame for that because I had the wrong version of the SAT -- with an L, instead of a P -- so couldn't make heads or tails of _EACUL. I don't recall ever having heard of a TEACUP chihuahua, but I have to admit that the T would have been inferable if I'd had the rest right.

There are probably lots of names of toy-dog breeds that I don't know. I love dogs, but I just don't consider any of those tiny things "dogs." Don't get me wrong: I'm sure they make wonderful pets for lots of people: I just think we ought to find another word for them. (Kinda like that deep-dish tomato/cheese thing they make in Chicago, which should be called something other than "pizza" -- but that's another matter.) To me, a "dog" is something that you can wrestle with and lose two falls out of three.

Anonymous 8:38 AM  

Clue for ANECDOTAL seems off. Anecdotes may be isolated or irrelevant, but they are commonly factual.

AliasZ 8:42 AM  

I always confuse Jon SECADA with the cicada -- I can't quite decide which is less annoying. Although this shouldn't be considered an attempt to PASS JUDGMENT.

I so wanted 17A to be BLOCKHEAD -- more colorful than BLOCK HEEL, whatever that is.

My favorite CHAVEZ is Mexican composer Carlos CHÁVEZ (1899–1978), and his perhaps best known compositions Sinfonía india.


L 8:44 AM  

Late night tv was filled with nonstop ads for this Jon SECADA single...which slowly found its way into my heart. I'll admit to that.

I actually blew it on tbe P in TEACUP/PSAT. Considering my son just took the lousy PSAT, you'd think I was paying attention to his score.

Despite that flub, easy puzzle even if I never heard of SURETE.

Anonymous 8:51 AM  

Still can't believe Trump's going to be President in two days. You can't make this stuff up.

Cassieopia 8:54 AM  

Wow, a full 13 minutes off my Wednesday average! I was entering solutions as fast as I could read them, the only hold up was SECADA/SURETE. Next time I watch the Pink Panther series, I'll pay more attention.

Nice puzzle, I liked the number of themers and how they plugged into the revealer. All the three letter abbreviations were a bit annoying including the usual suspects: USB, UPC, SNL, AKA, FAQ, ESE, ***UGH***.

However that was redeemed by ANECDOTAL and DRIBBLEGLASS (which I'd never heard of but was easy to get from the crosses and the theme). Was hoping for "annoying" for "Hipster's quality" which would have been funnier than COOLNESS.

All in all, no BLOCKs for me, despite DRIBBLing through the alphabet to get PASSt SECADA/SURETE, I REBOUNDed quickly to SHOOT through the puzzle and get one of my FASTest times ever.

Enjoyed it, Mr. Sewell!

Wm. C. 8:55 AM  

Never heard of Secada, but (having lived in Paris and visited Quebec) vaguely remembered Surete.

One of my fraternity brothers in the mid-sixties had an XKE, gift from Dad. Needless to say, everyone envied hin. To me, the most beautiful car made.

@Hartley -- Speaking of the Boston Beanpot, you must remember that it was absolutely impossible to get Bruins tix for ANY game circa 1970. But the day of the final Stanley Cup game -- the one with the famous Bobby Orr photo in midair in front of the St. Louis goal after the game-winning shot -- I was in the frame of that photo (albeit out-of-focus), twelve rows behind the Bruins' bench. My room-mate's dad was a US Steel exec, and his Boston sales manager had two company tix he couldn't use, so roomie got a call two hours before game time telling him to pick up the tix at will-call. Amazing luck. One memory is how hot it was in the old Boston Garden sans A/C in late March -- probably ninety degrees, but what a game!

Mohair Sam 9:09 AM  

Hey you Louise Penny fans - I've only read three of those books, but doesn't the murder rate in that tiny village of Three Pines call for maybe nuclear obliteration of the place? Talk about something in the water. (yeah, she's a delight)

Not naticked at all with SURETE/SECADA because of the Penny readings and remember hearing the singer's name and having assumed he'd taken the name of the world's most irritating insect, then being happy to see the spelling.

Fun Wednesday, played a bit tough until we got to the revealer and this old hoopster put together the FASTBREAK he often screwed up in college. Never heard of a TEACUP Chihuahua before, and this big dog person doesn't care to meet one either.

Anybody else remember the old comic strip "Joe PALOOKA"? - one of the few I read as a kid. Used to be on the same page as "Smoke Stover" every Sunday - Scram gravy ain't wavy.

Anonymous 9:12 AM  

I'll take Betsy DeVos over Randi Weingarten any day.

George 9:15 AM  

Just Another Day will always be OingoBoingo for me. I couldn't get past the first 30 seconds of that Jon Secada video, and I just realized that I was conflating Jon Secada with Neil Sedaka, two musicians who will never grace my playlists.

razerx 9:17 AM  

We have had a long run of easy puzzles. Please let there be something interesting tomorrow.

Unknown 9:18 AM  

Good fun today and really easy. I had close to a Monday time for the puzzle. Having spent a fair amount of time in both Quebec and France, surete was a gimme, but the foreign language clues are hit and miss, so I was lucky. Especially lucky since I had no clue on Secada

Hungry Mother 9:20 AM  

My favorite PALOOKA is Bruce Willis in "Pulp fiction." Slight stutter at SURETE. I always think there should be a "C" in there somewhere when in France.

kitshef 9:22 AM  

@thfenn hand up for trying to squeeze in JUDGeMENT.

Also limo before CART, pEstS befoe WaspS before WEEDS.

Scrabble f&^$%ing and pangrams overlap, but are not the same. @Rex often accuses constructors of the former, even when the puzzle is not the latter.

Nice U factor for M&A today, including

Anonymous 9:23 AM  

Anon. 8:38's comment about ANECDOTAL seems right to me. Anecdotal evidence can be based on facts and research, but it is non-statistical or lacking scientific rigor.

As for SURETE/SECADA being a NATICK. Only other word that sounded to me French for 21D was CURETE (a kindler, gentler surete, emphasizing more help, *cure*, than security)?, though I see now curete not a word. But curete would require cecada, which sounds to me like an ugly surname, sounding like a locust, or worse, something like cacca or human excrement.

John V 9:24 AM  

Not liking Surete/Secada esp as a cross. Could not get the S.

Nancy 9:40 AM  

I can never figure out this blog. It's 9:26 a.m. as I start to type and there are 50 comments so far. Sometimes, at this time of morning, there are as few as 15. I don't see a pattern..

Nor did I see a pattern in this puzzle, in which the theme went right over my head -- sort of like a sky hook from Kareem. I found solving this a joyless task, as I coped with ugly 3-letter abbreviations (Hi, @mathgent) and what seemed like a lot of trivial pop arcana. My biggest stumbling block was HAT instead of JAR at 32D, giving me DtIBBLE----- at 40A, which left me confused. (I was so sure of HAT.) Once I corrected that, I finished the puzzle, despite the tribe and the bard (no, not that one and "Comic-Con", whatever that is. But not fun at all.

Vincent Lima 9:47 AM  

Maybe if I didn't know SURETE, I would object to it. But I find it inferable because, you know, providing "surety" means providing some form of security for a debt. So security. So police.

PALOOKAS/XKE on the other hand, was ugh. I had PALOOzAS, as in lollapaloozas, because why not? With all the Scrabble nonsense, XZE was a definite possibility.

Anonymous 10:00 AM  

You're on the wrong site!

Hartley70 10:01 AM  

@r.alphbunker, Thank you for that wonderful link! My grandmother lived across the street from that Newport Creamery on Smith Street. Vinnie Ernst was my favorite player. What an era that was, and it's a delight to be reminded of that sweet time in Providence.

Anonymous 10:02 AM  

Please go away.

Phil 10:08 AM  

What the hell is a SECADA. ok ok so I'll listen to the clip... about 10 seconds and no more please.

He had a hit in '92 so what then maybe he had another in 2009 and will again in 2026. Hope he isn't in the Puzzle before then.

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

To add to my anon. 9:38. No civilized society would allow a surname "Cecada." One would have to think of Catullus 38, which begins and ends "Annales Volusi, cacata charta" ("annals or chronicle of Volusius, parchment [charta] smeared in dung [cacata]"). I did google "cecada" and got a restaurant in Australia, probably based on a surname. But, as I said, no civilized society would allow such a name.

QuasiMojo 10:15 AM  

Jon Cicada has a hit every 17 years.

astroman 10:17 AM  

Rex, you're a professor of literature. It doesn't bother you to see OSSIAN presented as a real thing and not a fraud?

Anonymous 10:26 AM  

I had my "cup" in the wrong place as I kept wanting dribble cup. However, I think that is something toddlers use and is not a novelty shop item. I like the scrabbliness but there were some strange answers in there like "ossian". I knew surete but agree that this is a Natick.

Nancy 10:28 AM  

@Quasi (10:15) -- So funny! I nominate your comment for Quip of the Week.

1820 Stone Colonial House 10:28 AM  

@r.alphbunker and Hartley 70: great to see the late Vinnie Ernst's name crop up in the feed. I was a freshman at St. Aloysius High in Jersey City when he led the school to the state Catholic School championship. He went on to lead Providence to the NIT title, back when it was the one that counted, and earned MVP honors to much hoopla in his home town. I bought my first life insurance policy from him. Fun and easy puzzle the TEACUP chihuahua bright back memories of the ad in the back of the comics of a puppy in a teacup.

Joseph Michael 10:29 AM  


Foul! Foul! Foul!

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

Look at Reagan's numbers.

QuasiMojo 10:34 AM  

Thank you @Nancy, but I'm sure someone will come along with a better one! :)

Virginia 10:38 AM  

@Rex, once I asked what you meant by your vulgar equivalent of "Scrabbly". Got no response.

Today we see XKE, FAQ, QATAR, KIX, and CHAVEZ, none of which is an acceptable Scrabble word. Of course, ZERO SEX EXPO are.

Do you just mean "uncommon letters"?

Tita 10:39 AM  

@Hartley - now you must post that that parrot had plenty of shoulders from which to choose. Very cool that it stayed there long enough for someone to take a picture.

@Passing Shot, WmC - amen to your defense of the beautiful XKE.

Rex - you have selective old-timiness love. When it's something that you value, it's great fill. It's your blog, you're solving experience - but would make your writeups more educational if you had less random hatred for eye-of-the-beholder stuff.
PALOOKA is a fun word to say, and it conjurs up an image of some bygone comic strip I might have seen.

Puzzle was fine. Sports theme was not a plus to me, but some fun fill, like DRIBBLEGLASS.
DIdn't think BLOCKHEEL was a thing. And ELD?
Is there a weight limit on being a CUR, or can a TEACUP dog aspire to be one?

Lots of Twitter handle clues lately.
And shoutout to @ACME!
What happened to JUDG[e]MENT to make it lose its E?

Hartley70 10:40 AM  

@Wm.C. I agree with you that the XKE is the most beautiful car I've ever seen and surprised that it is unknown to so many today. There was a downside, however. In my first job in NYC, my office window gave me a view of the 57th Street Jaguar dealership, and it seemed there was always someone marching in front with a placard about "lemons". I take it their repair record was not the best.

I didn't follow professional hockey, so I never attended Bruins games, although I remember the Bobby Orr photo. I just pulled it up and I hope you have a framed copy. Congrats on your brush with history! I was probably protesting up and down Comm. Ave while you were on your way to the game. BTW, my favorite hockey moment of those years was watching Ken Dryden of Cornell play goalie against any team at all.

GILL I. 10:50 AM  

UPC/USB...Biggest UGH of the year. Damn and right off the bat. I always want my first entry to shine...but then PALOOKA Joe just made me smile.
I used to wear platform shoes and yet I've never heard of a BLOCK HEEL. Wanted wedge something badly. Oh - that DRIBBLE GLASSS...Fun. There is a wonderful novelty shop in Old Sacramento that is always filled with tourists buying things like Moon rings and Poo Dough and my favorite inflatable floating bathtub.
My first love affair with a car was a British Racing Green XKE. It was also the first time I drove a right-sided steering wheel. It was a long time ago but I remember exactly where I was and with whom. I might have married him because of his car but he had ZERO COOLNESS.
Poor TEA CUP animals. They now have TEA CUP pigs. Most tend to grow up and weigh about 500 lbs and end up homeless or used for bacon. The Chihuahua one we can thank Paris Hilton for. Poor little things don't live long because of all the inbreeding done to these critters.
Knew SECADA because my sister-in-law used to sing
Just Another Day" ALL the time. She should be on Britain's Got Talent. SURETE and Pink Panther go hand in hand. Oh, and another damn...I still confuse INAPT with inept and I really wish I could remember that Bert doesn't spell his name LArR.
Getting pass the UPC/USB morass was my only UGH though because the rest was pretty fun.
@Tita from yesterday. I'm in love with Laura....

RooMonster 10:55 AM  

Hey All !
Nice Basketbally theme. Agree with whoever said should've had SCOREsomething in the end. 24 threes, with 16 of em in the Downs Center. Yowza.

Liked it overall, fairly easy for a WedsPuz. ITSON seems like it could've been part of the theme.


Howard B 11:02 AM  

My 2 cents - at least in the video game sphere, "Shoot 'em ups" is common parlance for the genre, and the clue is spot-on. Some sites that rate, review, and/or offer games for download will list this as its own category.
However, that does mean it's a niche usage, so your mileage may vary.

Malsdemare 11:04 AM  

I have no quips, but I've read Penny (and yes, Three Pines would seem to be the murder capital of the world) and Reichs so SURETE dropped in easily. I was practically a Zamboni as I worked this puzzle, left to right, making a UTURN and moving down a row with random moments checking downs to be sure I was on the right path. For once, I saw the theme before I got to the reveal and for that alone, I shall love this puzzle forever. Basketball is the one sport I can sit through, probably because it doesn't last four hours, isn't filled with smug people making inane comments to fill the time while players huddle, or scratch their crotches, or the screen is filled with ad after ad after ad . . . And as a Marquette grad from the Al McGuire era, I had the joy of learning the sport with a fun, young, brash, winning team. In fact, one of the lowlights of my college career occurred the day I asked out George Thompson (one of the team super stars and in one of my media classes) (on Sadie Hawkins day) and he turned me down. So, yeah, lots to like about this one, even with SECADA (????) and OSSIAN.

I stand with whoever that XKEs are too gorgeous to ever be banned from a puzzle, and while I don't dislike drop-kick dogs, you'd have to pay me a lot of money to take on any kind of Chihuahua-- they can be nasty little ankle biters. @Lobster11, Whatever you decide to call Chicago style pizza is fine with me as long as you call me when you order one. Uno's pizza is the best in the world.

Time to pay attention to my 80 lb PALOOKA.

Z 11:12 AM  

@Quasimojo - I was thinking that Peter Cicada is the lead singer of Chicago every 17 years.

@Virginia - Scrabblefucking refers to trying to force in high scrabble value letters. Look at the last three rows of the puzzle, V, Z, Q, K, X (not counting the F or K in the reveler); that is a lot of high value letters in a small area, two of which may only be there to get the pangram. It has nothing to do with creating legal scrabble words when used in the context of crosswords.

@kitshef - Rex doesn't care about pangrams - if he had bothered to check I suspect he would have suggested that the scrabblefucking was only there to get the pangram. He has loudly ignored the last several instances of pangrams.

I am not a robot 11:16 AM  

Perfect for me, and easy. Guessed right on Secada. Don't think I've ever heard anyone say, "The souffle has risen" but maybe I haven't been around enough souffles. Can you ever be?

Easy because I've been obsessed with old Larry Bird videos lately. Last night after I finished the puzzle (California time, ahem, Northern for those in the know), I watched Larry Bird et al demonstrate how to do a pick and roll

Started life on the east coast. It's tough being a Celtics fan around here, even today, even with the Warriors.

Rita Flynn 11:34 AM  

A great puzzle if you live in Ottawa, ON, CA. We're very familiar with le Sureté du Québec, and the inventor of basketball, Dr. James Naismith, was from Almonte, ON, 50 km away.

Anonymous 11:42 AM  

We all say it, but if you want the real lingo, always refer to it as an E type. Go ahead and flame me, cite all sorts of places, but if you're showing or judging that car in even podunk competition, you know full well it is always and only an E type. For good reason too.
As for beauty, none other than Il Commendatore himself said it was the most beautiful car ever made. I wont correct Enzo F., Will Shortz on the other hand...

old timer 12:08 PM  

SURETE was easy for those who read Poe's stories. Dupin, modeled on the actual head detective of the SURETE, is one of Poe's most interesting characters.

In the era Simenon wrote of in his Maigret novels, there were two rival organzations: The SURETE which had nationwide jurisdiction, known, after its address, as Rue des Saussaies, and the Police Judiciare, on the Quai des Orfevres, which was the principal investigative agency for crimes in Paris and some close suburbs. Maigret was head of the "Criminelle", the branch of the PJ that investigated murders and other serious crimes.

GILL I. 12:11 PM  

@Anony 11:42. XKE is what the Americans call this beauty. E-Type is what the Brits call it.

Rococo Salmon 12:14 PM  

SHOOT EM UP—often truncated to SHMUP— is in common parlance among today's gamers, but it's been retroactively applied to classics like Asteroids or Galaga; I don't believe the term was in use when those games were at the height of their popularity which is why you weren't familiar with it. Seems very niche to me but then again so is SUERTE...

Noam D. Elkies 12:21 PM  

Nice theme. Easy enough to *almost* solve from the Down clues only. Recognized 35A:OSSIAN, even though the clue would have given me little help. Had no idea about 21A:SECADA, but guessed correctly (once I had enough other letters to remind me of 21D:SÛRETÉ) that it would be a YAWN (Yet Another Wretched Name) entry. But still tripped up on the middle top of all things because I thought 17A:BLOCKHE?? must be BLOCKHEAD. That must be much better than BLOCK HEEL, and since the 57A clue mentions "starts", not "first words", it wouldn't ruin the theme. Can the rest of that corner be filled well? The best I can do by hand is TEBOW/ITSME crossing TIKI, BSE (mad cow disease), -OMA (another disease suffix), WED; or KERFS/ITALY (KIKI, NAE, FLA., SYD. But there are probably better solutions. I did recover from another wrong turn: FAST TRACK instead of the revealer 57A:FAST_BREAK (curiously the K, and thus also 60D:KIX, was right).

relicofthe60s 12:28 PM  

The French Surete is one of the most famous police forces in the world, immortalized in countless mystery novels and movies, from Poe to Simenon to the Pink Panther, as others have noted. An educated person should know the word. The only thing that made it hard was clung it as Quebec's police force. Secada, I'll agree, is pretty obscure, but I thought Rex liked obscure pop references. Or does that just apply to rappers?

Numinous 12:32 PM  

I'm with everyone else here who admires the E-Type Jaguar. It was my very favorite car until the AC Cobra came along. Having owned a Jaguar XK 150 for a while, I know that Jags tended to be lemons. That was an opinion held about a lot of English cars in those days. Hell, I owned a Mini Moke in Australia and it unaccountably would eat left front wheel bearings. It also ate its own idler gear so I wound up rebuilding the transmission,

Easy-medium? It took me 38% of my average Wednesday time to solve this. I was stumped for a valuable "nanosecond" at SECADA/SURETE over the S but there are still elements of the fill that I didn't even look at. I barely had to check the downs to make sure I was on the right track.

Years ago, my step-son bought a little hand held Pomeranian puppy. He was advertised as a TEA CUP pom. I have photos of him in the hand of a neighbor kid when he was new. Of course he grew to be 13 or 14 pounds which is big for a miniature pom. We called him Tribble because he looked like a little black ball and reminded me of the Star Trek episode. He decided to loose almost all of his hair and we spent a ton of money at the vet trying to discover why. I did some reading and found that a food allergy could easily cause that so we switched him, and all our dogs to a salmon based food and his hair grew back luxuriantly.

@Tita, I've enjoyed your parrot stories and wish there were more. One day, maybe I'll relate some of the bird stories we have. Mrs. N is not only a dog lover and a cat lover, she's a bird lover too. We've had a mess of birds over the years. I won't mention the turtle and fish experiments.

ScreamingEagle 12:33 PM  

SECADA/SURETE is definitely a full-blown Natick.

Also got tripped up in the NW corner, not knowing PALOOKAS or XKE (I don't know anything about sports or cars). I had UPC right away, but with the "_ALOO_AS" I second-guessed myself thinking maybe it was "bALOOnAS" (like a Brooklyn-ese reference to balloons, like punching bags... I dunno.)

If it weren't for those two areas this would have gone super well for me, though.

Carola 12:33 PM  

Not INAPTly, I solved the puzzle while watching the Badgers manage to not lose to the Wolverines - SHOOT being one thing they couldn't seem to do for quite a stretch. Anyway, nice puzzle! Such a creative array of non-basketball uses of the theme words, my favorite being the awesome DRIBBLE GLASS.

Me, too, for Louise Penny-->SURETE; I'm happy to learn about the other authors, too.

In the olden days, undergrad German majors had to know about OSSIAN, so yay for long-term memory, when the retrieval rate on the short-term side is approaching ZERO.

So there's a Neil Sedaka and a Jon SECADA?

bookmark 12:40 PM  

Count me as another Louise Penny fan. SURETE was a gimme.

Nancy 12:42 PM  

If I had never found this blog, I could have done crosswords my entire life and never once noticed a pangram. Moreover, I gather that constructing one compromises the fill. And I ask myself: For what? Yet I see that many of my favorite posters seem surprisingly charmed by their use. On this one, I'm with Rex: it seems like a pretty pointless accomplishment in anything that's not actually Scrabble.

I just went to take a look at the XKE. As you all know, my car ignorance is legendary. But I have to admit: That is one gorgeous automobile.

Andrew Heinegg 12:48 PM  

Amen. Thanks for reminding us all. The sooner this person is ignored, the sooner he/she will go away.

Numinous 12:55 PM  

Before the E-Type Jaguar there were a bunch of XK types. Most notably the 120, the 140 and the 150. They all had one or another letter designations too. The 140 was the C-Type and the 150 was the D-Type. The XKE may have had a number designation but it's never mentioned. The letters seemed to have to do with Jaguar's evolution in racing.

The car I had had a plaque mounted on the dash saying it was the same model that won the 1957 Le Mans race. Those cars, first and second places, were private entries. The bodies were not the same as the roadster I had. The racing version looked more like the E-Type.

Masked and Anonymous 1:04 PM  

Veeery impressive, especially once U catch on to all the extra-extended puzthemers:
IT'S ON...
(mental) BLOCK…
REBOUND after takin one of them lil blue booster pills...
(make yer) PASS…
DRIBBLE and...
SEX. [revealer] Primo SE corner weeject placement.

There's yer rodeo, sports fans. Still scratchin the OLDIE M&A head, about how symmetric themers UPC and AKIRA fit in. Workin on it.

@RP: See what U miss, when U speed-solve? In, and out, dude. Still and all, pretty darn good write-up -- coulda used some bullets, but U was no doubt shook up by the pangrammar.

M&A did not anywaytoSunday know the answer to ?ECADA/?URETE. Saved the lives of numerous nanoseconds by quickly, instinctively havin went with "?=J". Lost precious A+ all-o-correct bonus points. Was a little down, but then noticed the veritable Golden Shower of weejects and U-respect in this beautiful sexgrid, and everything was all better, once more.

staff weeject picks: UPC/USB. Start with U. End with SEX. Pangram in between. No one goes home empty-handed. thUmbsUp. Hands down.

Thanx, Mr. Sewell. COOLNESS abides.

Masked & Anonym8Us


Chip Hilton 1:04 PM  

What an entertaining day on here! I loved the XKE above all others (the MGB/GT ran second). SURETE a gimme thanks to Louise Penny although I don't hold her in the high regard my wife and several friends do. Characters just a bit too adorable for my taste. The Providence College basketball article was wonderful. I loved those teams! I remember Johnny Egan being assessed a technical in The Garden for repeatedly pretending to tie his shoelaces when the Friars needed a breather. So, thanks, one and all, for the great entries.

As for the puzzle, SECADA fell in sections - I knew it ended in -A - and everything else was breezy. Thank you, thank you, for an acceptable spelling on UTURN instead of that which shall not be named.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 1:09 PM  

I knew SURETE, ASHER, TEACUP and OSSIAN. If I didn't know some of the crosses, it was fun guessing. I am glad someone already pointed out that OSSIAN was a hoax. Fake news, as they say now.I did not like RAHS, the phenomenon is rah rah, which is a single thing.

I will admit to have disgusted myself by filling in first, after glancing through the clues, Neil Patrick ___. I've never watched the show, but knew the name.

Puffing gun'? Wasn't there some cereal they used to explode out of cannons, after an ancient Hawaiian ritual? Not, I think, KIX. Never eaten either of them.

Teedmn 1:14 PM  

This was a nice puzzle - too bad I really can't stand basketball, of all sports; I don't know why. Back in the late 60s, my hometown high school team went to state several times and I have fond memories of listening to the games on the radio with my family. And I played basketball in 7th and 8th grade, poorly. (Like @Z's wife, per his note yesterday, I am only of average height and I was the shortest kid in my class when I was 13). So I don't know when basketball became, not just "meh' but actually "ick". This did not affect my enjoyment of the puzzle, however.

Pretty easy - with the exception of expecting 35A to be OSSric (OSSIAN who?) and briefly misspelling CABeRETS and hoping the cross at square 21 was going to lead to SECADA and SURETE, there were no hang-ups. Thanks, Matthew Sewell.

@Z, thanks for the David Brin link yesterday, that was an interesting take on Star Wars. And Brin's Uplift series is one I've read more than once, good stuff. I don't like his more recent books as much as his earlier work.

Stanley Hudson 1:18 PM  

@Malsdemare, George Thompson must have been a damn fool . . .

jberg 1:21 PM  

I thought the theme was "a pangram for ACME," with 7 Us thrown in for M&A. And, unlike @Gill and apparently everyone else I loved starting with two digital-age acronyms crossing at the U. (I also loved getting your KIX from SEX in the opposite corner).

Judging from the comments, this is a great example of the 'one person's wheelhouse is another person's Natick' principle. Detective novel readers all know the SURETE (the French one, but Quebec is an easy inference from that), and old folks probably read Joe PALOOKA in the comics and had some idea about that.

@Nancy came here at 9 and found 50 comments already; I came here at 7:30 AM and found Rex hadn't posted yet. Now my car is fixed, I'm back home, and there are 88.

Jim in Chicago 1:26 PM  

Add me to the Natick group. Filled out the whole thing in record time and just needed that darn S to finish

I am not a robot 1:28 PM  

@old timer, thank you for the Poe reference. That's the kind of info that makes the blog fun.

Masked and Anonymous 1:33 PM  

Ok, soo… U up on top is gotta be yer lead-off themer…

But … AKIRA? What wanken-obi-weird fantasy are U hailin from?!?

… M&A has got to think …

OSSIAN. har [sorry... was distracted. won't happen again.]


Anonymous 1:44 PM  

Let's all toast the middle class Friday. No longer forgotten.

Andrew Heinegg 1:49 PM  

This was a weird one, for me. I thought the difficulty level was a tad schizophrenic in that it seemed to rotate between Monday easy and Thursday tough. It was one of those things where I would try to figure out a clue like 9a, cries from the bleachers. The words cries and bleachers together could only be referring to boos, right?

I remember going to Yankee games as a kid in the early 60's when the Yankees had one of the great teams of all time, including Mantle, Maris, Berra, and on and on. And they had a number of great players including Ryne Duren, who were characters. Duren was a relief pitcher who wore what used to be called bottleneck glasses, so called because the lens were so thick. His pitches were thrown with high velocity and batters could not help but look at the glasses and wonder if Duren could see where he was throwing the ball towards, which concern Duren would encourage in interviews by claiming he couldn't really see very well and wasn't sure where the ball was going much of the time. Many hitters looked very worried at the plate, shall we say.

But, what I was getting to was the Yankee Stadium crowd, particularly the bleacher section, was very tough on all the players, especially Mickey Mantle. Every time he would come to bat, a cascade of boos from the bleachers for one of the greats of the game (because he struck out so much as most sluggers do). It is NY. But, I have a hard time thinking of rahs emanating from the bleachers because of those experiences.

I finished in a reasonable amount of time for me on a Wednesday but, I did not derive much enjoyment from the solve.

The Xke business should be removed from crosswords. The car may have had a tremendous aesthetic appeal but, as others have noted, it was a mechanical nightmare. My first and last and everywhere in the middle want for a car is for it to start and drive where I direct it to every time. But, I digress. Who cares if it is a beautiful car or not? If it has been used ad nauseum in crossword puzzles and thus become crosswordese, send it packing. Hated 64a with zero for abysmal score. There has to be a better/more interesting way to clue this.

Never heard or read the term blockheel (is that two words or one?) but, I have heard the word blockhead many times, usually as a description of moi.

Anonymous 1:50 PM  

There's no such thing as the middle class. And if you think rich white people give even one shit about you or your money or your health, then you are truly delusional.

Andrew Heinegg 2:01 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 2:02 PM  

Despair not. America's true potential will be unleashed very shortly.

tea73 2:04 PM  

Not much of a mystery reader (or watcher) and for the life of me I could not see SURETE - all I could think of was gendarme. But I do think it was fair.

I wanted the Gaelic bard to be Taliesen, but sadly it didn't fit. I agree that they should have had some reference to the fact that OSSIAN was a fake.

That Jaguar XKE appears often enough in puzzles that I eventually remember which order the letters appear in.

Malsdemare 2:04 PM  

Totally non-puzzle-related. For those who love the XKE, dogs, and Louise Penny, pick up "The Art of Racing in the Rain." It's got a dog, (he's the narrator), a lot of schmatlz, good guys, bad guys, some sex, and some of the absolute best flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants racing descriptions you'll find in a popular novel.

@Stanley Hudson. I certainly thought so:)

jae 2:10 PM  

Easy for me, but I knew SECADA and SURETE. Liked the theme entries, liked the long downs, liked it.

OSSIAN was a total WOE. I would have guessed somethings to with bones or an Ossie Davis fan.

Nancy 2:11 PM  

@Mohair (3:09) -- Don't forget St Mary Mead and Cabot Cove. They both could easily give Three Pines a run for the money, murder/per capita-wise.

Andrew Heinegg 2:13 PM  

Actually, your car ignorance is known of (I keep mine a secret). Your entertaining and fun contributions to the blog are legendary.

Larry Gilstrap 2:17 PM  

It's almost all been said, but to add that the theme is solid. Anybody who has watched basketball highlights has seen this graceful sequence many times. Hats off to the constructor for that. The themers, as clued, were not as smooth. My fashionista questioned REBOUND GUY, but really balked at something about a BLOCK HEEL as part of a platform sandal. Remind me to stop by the mall and pick up a DRIBBLE GLASS. What a hoot!

Word of the day: ANECDOTAL. How often do folks use one limited personal experience as evidence? Remember the Senator with the snowball?

Mark Twain 2:20 PM  

We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it and stop there lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove again and that is well but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.

ANON B 2:39 PM  

The sequence is wrong. A block doesn't precede a rebound, it
follows a shot.

Tita 2:40 PM  

Let me jump in with those who say "beautiful to look at, lemon to drive." XKE is the most beautiful car - thanks for the Enzo quote - but it was still British automotive engineering. In particular, Lucas, Prince of Darkness, provided the electricals.

(No disrespect intended to my British friends - honest!)

Oh - and I've ridden in one, never driven one.
Owned or drove TVRs, MGAs, and Minis, and was raced around Lime Rock in an XK140 by a lady racer once.

And I do admit that were I not a car nut, and if the E-Type was not one of my faves, that I would definitely throw it into the Lazy Constructor bin of desperation along with Scoreboard abbvs and TV channels.
(I don't mind RRNs as much cause at least they narrow down the choices to a mere six letters.)

@Numinous - we'll have to be sure to get a seat together at @Hartley's dinner party!

@Mal - the dog is the narrator?? Got to try that one out.

@Andrew H - wonderful memories of Yankee Stadium - one of my earliest memories is seeing the field, all bright green and impossibly enormous, having only seen baseball on a tiny B&W screen.

evil doug 2:57 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mohair Sam 3:18 PM  

@Malsdemare - I'll second that motion. Not an auto racing fan here, but will say that "The Art of Racing in the Rain" is a wonderful book. Thank you for the reminder, I will be rereading it.

Anonymous 3:23 PM  

When will some folks realize that people don't sit down and consider:' what would be the most enjoyable/advantageous sexual preference to have? Okay, I will take door number two.

Their genetic makeup reveals itself, assuming it doesn't get repressed by the society as a whole. Excluding them from the parade is repressive as to who they are as people. It reminds me of the time when the President of Iran, Ahmadinejad, came to this country and explained that they don't have any homosexuals or problems with them in Iran. Did anyone with an i.q. over 80 believe that to be true? Do you think that preventing gay segments from society marching in a parade will make homosexuality go away?

The anti-abortion women's groups have every right to vigorously pursue their beliefs. But, those beliefs have nothing to do with the parade protesting the inauguration. It is a deflection from the one and only purpose of the parade, to protest Trump. Period, end of story; thus, the protest parade organizers have every right to exclude them unlike the organizers of the St. Patrick's day parade who are celebrating a heritage. Should gay groups with an Irish heritage be barred from celebrating that heritage because of their sexual orientation? The answer is clear to me but, I guess not for you.

Andrew Heinegg 3:30 PM  
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Ted Cole 3:35 PM  

The check is in the mail.

ese 4:22 PM  

As a younger solver with very little French, there was no way I was getting the SURETE / LAHR, SURETE / SECADA, and PALOOKAS / XKE crosses. Just none. Never heard of Lahr, Secada, or an XKE Jaguar, or heard the word surete. The rest was pretty fun, but to be left with just those 3 blank squares was very frustrating.

Anoa Bob 4:45 PM  

If the XKE had more of a rake or back tilt to the windshield, something along the lines of the early Datsun 240Z, it would have been the most beautiful car in the world. I had a 1962 Austin Healey 3000 that I thought had better lines than the Jag. Drove it across the country a couple of times. It was no lemon. The only trouble I ever had was when it overheated as I SPED UP Mt. Palomar, near San Diego. It was definitely a Southern California chick magnet. The muffler note alone would get stares and smiles.

Unknown 4:49 PM  

Think the term is coke bottle, not bottle neck glasses

Eric 5:00 PM  

I refuse to be called OLD. I am not getting OLD I'm just getting OLDER.

Anonymous 5:53 PM  

Classy Fakahontas refuses to shake DeVos's hand. Ah, the tolerant and unifying left.

Youve always had the power to march 6:31 PM  

@Anon3:23 No one has ever prohibited anyone from marching in the St. Patrick's Day Parade.
The organizers objected to a group formed entirely around a rather arbitrary (for this event) and frankly irrelevant reason.

Most of the groups that do march are part of a school, a County, police, firefighters... That is what unifies them and forms a "group" that can march under a banner.

Gays can join any group that they like. Grandparents from County Clare? March with them. You can do so officially or unofficially. Did you go to Cardinal Spellman High School? March with them.
Thousands just step in behind their group. No pre-arrangements needed.

If you have a sense of belonging to the Irish community, use whatever has created that tie. If you are Italian, but your spouse is Irish, march with his/her group.

Marching as LGBTQs in a St. Patrick's Day parade makes as much sense as bringing a Greek flag to the Labor Day Parade.

Andrew Heinegg 7:14 PM  

Thanks for reminding me of the correct slang. They were called coke bottle glasses. Ah, old age!

Cassieopia 7:32 PM  

@anoabob - the Datsun Z series - now that takes me back. I think it might be an east coast-west coast thing as my small hometown harbored no Jags at all (Brit born) but Datsun (from Japan) made its way to the far north and the 280Z was The Bomb when I was in high school. Never did get to drive or ride in one; my adoration was always from afar but no less sincere for that.

Anonymous 8:03 PM  

Having lived in Montreal for a time, no Anglo can ever forget the fear of running into the Surete on the long walk home from the bar at 3am.

Z 8:16 PM  

It seems like every year at the NAIAS there are a handful of cars more beautiful than the XKE, so I don't know what all this fawning is about. I missed last year's show, so the 2015 Ford GT is still my fave.

As for all this back and forth about "banned" marchers, everyone is welcome and can carry any signs they like. An anti-choice group was dropped as a partner, which, regardless of what you think of maintaining the broadest possible anti-Trump tent, is not the same as banning the group. Reading past the headline will help you not look like a low-information ass. Of course, not being a low-information ass would help, too.

Adam 8:19 PM  


GHarris 10:08 PM  

@anonymous 7:32 either your name is Sean Hannity or you are his complete sycophant, you've got his tired talking points down to a t. Too much Fox watching.

Anonymous 10:18 PM  

@you've always: well said, sadly in 2016 the Hibernians caved and DeBlasio and the terrorists won. Daniel Patrick Moynihan is spinning in his grave.

Anonymous 12:15 AM  

It's sad when people advocate choice to terminate a life but no choice to educate a life

Unknown 1:26 AM  

The French word for police is police. Surete means safety.

ACME 2:31 AM  

I swear to god, I thought the theme might be three letter abbreviations
(Now THAT would be an interesting exercise, an entire puzzle filled with only things like UPC, USB, XKE, TMI, FAQ, AKA, BTU, SNL) bec of the way it started.

Felt very sportsy and male throughout, but with ACME and colorful fill like CHAVEZ, PALOOKA and KIX, plus a pangram, what's not to like? ;)

Re: charm of pangram... (Blue in the face time!) As a constructor and a solver and a semi-serious Scrabble player, I find it fun to use all the letters as there are only 26. The word REX, eg, feels more fun than RED or REM...Never have understood the misplaced hatred, I attribute it to lacking a certain whimsy gene. ;)

Odd to be gone so long and to have this urge to check in intermittently (to escape the pending doom) only to find the blog's been taken over by it :(

Unknown 6:38 AM  

What's a NA Tick?

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BS1 9:48 AM  




Burma Shave 10:37 AM  


that PALOOKA’S her REBOUNDGUY from her FASTBREAK up with @Rex.
ETHER her COOLNESS or MORALE SPEDUP when she HADAGO at the text
of the Kama SUTRA, then ITSON to the CABARETS for a SIDEORDER of SEX.
OHM . . . OHM


spacecraft 11:40 AM  

Letters, we get letters, we get lots and lots of letters...OK, now I'm really showing my age with that old Perry Como bit. But yikes! UPC USB SNL CDS XKE PSAT BTU FAQ AKA, plus UTURN and TBAR! To say nothing of ACME, as relates to this blog! Okay, that one's not really fair. But could we maybe, oxymoronically, have fewer letters and more words?

Other pet peeves annoy me today: INAPT, e.g. Perfectly good word--except no one SAYS it. We all say INePT. ONLY in crosswords will you find INAPT. TIETO is also unlovely. I knew SURETE, which luckily filled in WOE SECADA. I think somebody got him confused with Peter Cetera--or perhaps his brother Et.

Theme-wise, I also didn't know that a BLOCK constitutes a REBOUND on the stat sheet; though often a PARTIALLY-blocked shot will result in the given sequence. There's usually not much DRIBBLing nowadays to a FB. These guys can take their flying step-and-a-half from mid-court and be at the rim. Most of the break is the PASS.

What to do for a DOD? Well, I already mentioned her, so let's salute our very own ACME. Some great longer fill, but not enough to save par. Bogey.

Anonymous 12:44 PM  

"Easiest puzzle of the week" - I'll second that. Even unknowns were easily filled in eventually.

Uh folks, a lot of you are off task here - this is supposed to be about crossword puzzles, not your politics. If this continues maybe these posts should not be printed...

Diana,LIW 12:57 PM  

Yup - Natick you know where. Also, when I took the PSAT a million years ago you could get a max score of 160, so guessing LSAT put up another obstacle.

When I took French in college, the prof used the slang "les flic" (probably spelled incorrectly) for the police/fuzz.

The rest of the puzzle was pretty easy, making the Natick a disappointment for a Tuesday.

Glad to see how often the mice were ignored today in Futureland.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rondo 1:07 PM  

Another day without a write-over, but that’s ANECDOTAL to you all. And I’m not going to try to stretch for you know what.

@Z – it’s an “ellipsis” and the correct format is dot – space – dot – space – dot, and that’s the end of it . . .

Nice to see USERNAME @ACME in the puz and also chiming in.

Baader-Meinhoff syndrome today – the cartoon “Brevity” has a bug singing and the punchline “Jon Cicada” not SECADA.

Wasn’t Joe PALOOKA the mini comic in your bubble gum? or was that bAzOOKA Joe? Punchdrunk or sumpin'?

Love BEA-ball, so the theme is OK by me. Too many commenters above need a boost in MORALE, let’s just see how bad it gets before we PASSJUDGMENT.

leftcoastTAM 1:48 PM  

What Rex said.

DNF'd at SURETE/SECADA cross; guessed T instead of S.


rain forest 2:20 PM  

Whoever that Anon is, somehow he missed the turn to another blog and got here. How else to explain his presence on a crossword blog? Strange. Sad.

Pretty good puzzle today with the sequence of the FAST BREAK. Easy to see the pangram, and I have no problem with that. No Natick for me re SURETY/SECADA, and the XKE remains iconic ever since my PE teacher had one in high school. Absolute babe AND guy magnet.

Back in the day, Joe PALOOKA was a great comic, almost up there with Pogo and Lil Abner.

BS2 5:52 PM  

The first post was one of my rare "comments" on the puzzle.

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