Seneca Falls orator Lucretia / WED 2-1-17 / Follower of Hosea / Main squeeze in modern lingo / Prayer wheel turner / Hit home run in baseball lingo

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Constructor: Matthew Sewell and Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: Friends, Romans, countrymen... — first words of the theme clues are (in order), "Friends," "Romans," and "Countrymen," which explains what the revealer clue is getting at: 51A: Shakespearean entreaty appropriate for 19-, 25- and 43-Across (LEND ME YOUR EARS) (you know, 'cause the full quote by Mark Antony in Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" is "Friends, Romans, countrymen, LEND ME YOUR EARS)

Theme answers:
  • 19A: Friends who go to White Castle in a 2004 film (HAROLD AND KUMAR)
  • 25A: Romans who protected the emperor (PRAETORIAN GUARD)
  • 43A: Countrymen who met in Philadelphia in 1787 (FOUNDING FATHERS)
Word of the Day: Mosque of OMAR (4D: Mosque of ___ (Jerusalem shrine)) —
The Ayyubid Mosque of Omar (Arabic: مسجد عمر بن الخطاب‎‎) in Jerusalem is located opposite the southern courtyard of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Muristan area of the Christian Quarter. (wikipedia)
• • •

Took me a longish time to understand the theme once I was done. First thought was "... corn?" Which is fitting, as this theme is pretty corny. I kept thinking there was some wordplay in LEND ME YOUR EARS, and kept looking for things related to ears, the word "ears," the letters in ears. But there is no wordplay. You have to look at the clues to see the words you need. Looking at the clues didn't occur to me. In fact, figured out the "friends Romans countrymen" shtick without looking at the clues. It's only after I found the concept really dissatisfying that looked to the clues to see if there might be something there to tie it all together. And there was. This didn't do much to clear the dissatisfaction, but it did tighten up the whole concept somewhat. "Friends" and "countrymen" are recontextualized ridiculously by the theme answers, but "Romans" ... isn't. Not sure how you'd recontextualize "Romans," though. You just get ... Romans. All Romans lead back to Rome. No wacky places to go. Whaddya gonna do? So, there's a theme, it's basically consistent, the implementation is adequate. The punchline didn't really land for me (awkward phrasing in the revealer clue made the aha moment more "oh" then "ooh"), but it'll do.

Grid is very clean and lively, with an unusual couple of 8-blocs in the N and S. WENT YARD is probably the most noteworthy and original answer here (35D: Hit a home run, in baseball lingo). I love baseball terminology, and I don't think I've seen this expression in present *or* past tense in a puzzle before (there was a brief moment where I considered GONE YARD...). I didn't have many snags at all. Was lucky enough to know both of the first two themers (presumably everyone knows the third). Had no idea SPADER voiced Ultron (I know him primarily as the asshole in many '80s movies). Never heard of the Mosque of OMAR. But neither of these ignorances cost me more than a few seconds. I probably lost more time wondering why LIQUIDS wouldn't fit in 46D: What doctors recommend that sick people get a lot of (FLUIDS). Had -UIDS and was Baffled. Why wouldn't LIQUIDS fit!? Of course FLUIDS is the better answer in every way, but somehow that "U" really cried out for a "Q" to rub against. Thus concludes my erotique musings on libidinal letters.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:07 AM  

Easy-medium for me. Like @Rex I needed to stare for a few nanoseconds (@M&A) before I caught the theme. I was looking for something less obvious. I blame late month Gaffney metas.

Cute, smooth, and the SPADER and MARA roles are fresh as is BAE, liked it.

Charles Flaster 12:11 AM  

Easy to finish without quite knowing the theme.
Thought I naticked at ABE and BEA with their respective crosses. No idea about either of them.
Writeover --WENT YARD for WENT deep.
Liked cluing for SLOB and SUN UP.
Thanks MS and JC.

Pete 12:20 AM  

James Spader makes my skin crawl. I don't know that I've seen him in a movie, but just the sight or sound of him distresses me. Glad to find out that he found a niche playing assholes in '80s movies - I can't begrudge a man making a living.

Unknown 12:29 AM  

Nice collaboration from @Mathew Sewell [his fourth puzzle in a month and a day!] and @Jeff Chen, and thanks @Rex for the kind review.

Today's ALT clue much preferred over an alternative that raised rankles back in September 2016. BAE (though fairly crossed) sent me scurrying to Google; I hesitate to investigate the Urban Dictionary definition. FOUNDING_FATHERS was fun to see, since I had looked into that 15-letter grid-spanner for a rather different theme idea, not all that long ago. Favorite clue, SLOB. Most coincidental clue, BIO -- I talked about DNA earlier in the day while teaching chemistry.

@Charles Flaster, I also thought of going deep ahead of YARD. Changing sports, wasn't it interesting to learn the relative HOOP size when shooting hoops?

jerkbeast 12:31 AM  

SMU crossing MOTT will probably trip a few people up. Or maybe I'm uncultured.

Mike in Mountain View 12:51 AM  

Didn't know BAE. Didn't know Campbell of House of Cards. Didn't know OMAR or MARA, and they were side-by-side. Didn't know James who voiced Ultron in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." Still finished in a Monday time, partly because each of the long crosses fell in a couple of seconds and each of the crosses on the above-mentioned WOEs were . . . what's the opposite of a What On Earth? a WHEE (Wonderful Hugely Easy Entry).

Randy Picker 12:57 AM  

For me the problematic crossing was MOTT and ALTAIR. Natick? The rest went quickly.

Crane Poole 1:20 AM  

Easyish Wednesday and liked it fine, though the themers filled in pretty easily for not catching that theme until late. I also liked GOING YARD, a reminder that pitchers and catchers report soon - Won't that be some welcome normality! BAE's debut in a NYT puzzle? And that's some stretch of OMAR we've been having.

Greg 1:30 AM  

Played very easy but completely devoid of fun. This one did absolutely nothing for me. WENTYARD completely on crosses... I like and watch baseball and I've never, ever heard that before.

Unknown 1:32 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown 1:35 AM  

MOTT and ALTAIR nearly got me too. Guessed lucky. Had no idea what the theme was until I read Rex's write-up. Suggests either a weak theme or my denseness...

Altair Crash Mara 1:48 AM  

Thank god for this blog... I had NO clue about the theme!!!

To paraphrase Miss Jean Brodie: For those who like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing they like:
Cats on ROOMBA

WENTYARD was way way way over my head... Going going gone!
FInally went to a baseball game and spent the whole time anagramming
Been wanting to make a puzzle out of that since.

BAE threw me, I've heard that, but thought they were saying BEY as in BEYonce. I thought it was "My Boo" which I thought may have been the new form of BEAU.

Toehold was with Rooney MARA...currently in a throwawayroletoprovetheprotagonoistisnotgayandnotmuchelse in an otherwise wonderful film "Lion".

Thank you, Matt and Jeff for a nice original idea, even tho I never grokked the theme!

chefwen 1:51 AM  

Solved this one from the bottom up, pretty easy until I arrived at 25A. BLT at 25D didn't help at all. HAROLD AND KUMAR finally came to me only after a had quite a few crosses in place and PRAETORIAN GUARD was just a "woe is me". By the time I had all my little squares filled in I was too tired to figure out the damn theme. Thanks for shedding the light, Rex.

Had to grin at OMELET, now that our chickens have become a little more productive, the doggie kids get a three egg cheese OMELET for breakfast instead of only two eggs, they're happy.

Unknown 2:00 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle greatly. It took my partner and I a minute to figure out the theme. She sussed it out, and we had a laugh. Corny, yes, but the good kind of corny. More importantly, the theme is different and inventive.

Placing the longer downs side-by-side in the center of the grid was also different.

I loved BAE and liked WENT YARD. I liked the clues for SLOB [One who's slow to pick things up?] and SUNUP [Bedtime for a vampire]. For some reason I put FRUITS in before FLUIDS (What doctors recommend that sick people get a lot of).

I have often been told (in prior, beard-less days) that I look like James SPADER. I also eat copious amounts of PBJ's.

The most tantalizing clue has to be the clue for ONE [Number of emails sent by Warren Buffett in his entire life]. Some quick Google searching leads me to the following quotation: "I sent one e-mail in my life. I sent it to Jeff Raikes at Microsoft, and it ended up in court in Minneapolis." I can also find some blogs noting that it was used in court as part of the Microsoft antitrust trial. I do not see any details on how it was used in court, but I didn't dig too deep and it's past my bedtime already.

Trombone Tom 2:25 AM  

I enjoy seeing @ACM's comments. Hope she sticks around.

Like many of you I got through this with minimal difficulty, but stared at it for a L-O-O-O-O-N-G time trying to fathom the theme. Until (Ding!)I finally made the connection.

Didn't know SPADER, but the crosses revealed it.

Larry Gilstrap 2:34 AM  

Like OFL, had the whole solve and then look for the theme experience. The clues are ephemera, usually, so using clues for theme material threw me. I guess that is a good thing, to be thrown. I need a distraction about now; catchers and pitchers report to spring training soon. It's been a while since MLB WENT YARD. And that UH HUH onomatopoeia answer was fortunately saved by crosses.

I'm sure those of you who solve have found yourself in something like the STIL__TO dilemma. Those pesky Italians! Are they still our allies?

Remember when folks used to discuss things, even argue at times? You thrust, and I RIPOSTE. Twitter war on doggie downers. Any event with OPEN BARS is part of a recipe for disaster, IMHO.

I like watches, and once I had ownership of a steel ROLEX which I loved. It made me feel all luxurious and confident. Correct time? Your phone is broken? Gold ones are scary.

TrudyJ 6:04 AM  

I had to come here to have the theme explained to me. Found the puzzle easy. I noted there was an ELIZA today, just as there was yesterday, both with musical theatre clues (yesterday's current; today's classic). Both easy if you know and love both shows -- I wonder how you'd clue ELIZA without going to Broadway?

evil doug 6:21 AM  

George, [entering Monk's]: "Oh, hello, Hanke, others."
Hanke [James Spader]: "George."
George: "You know, Jason, I, uh, I couldn't help notice, I... I didn't get my apology."
Hanke: "Apology? For what?"
George: "A drafty apartment? A... sweaterless friend? A ball-game giveaway Metlife windbreaker?"
Hanke: "George, come on, not that neck hole thing."
George: "Yeah, the neck hole thing, and I would appreciate it if you would
say you're sorry."
Hanke: "No way, you would've completely stretched it out."
George: "You're an alcoholic! You have to apologize. Step Nine! Step Nine."
Hanke: "All right, George, all right. I'm sorry. I'm very, very sorry. I'm so
sorry that I didn't want your rather bulbous head struggling to find its way
through the normal-size neck hole of my finely knit sweater."

Lewis 6:26 AM  

@m&a -- See that backward HAR up there?

Didn't see the theme until afterward, and it gave me a quick chuckle. Excellent theme idea! As I was looking for it, I did notice that backward EAR in PRAETORIAN, and thought that might have something to do with it. I liked RIPOSTE and STILETTO. On Wednesdays I hope for at least one or two wow-worthy wordplayish clues, and that didn't happen. But there was resistance due to some of my pop culture brain deficits, and it felt great to overcome them.

Who says crossword puzzles are over when they're over? Picturing a Shakespearean actor orating that line will straighten my posture a few times today, and the line itself will be a non-musical ear worm.

Marcus Antonius 6:37 AM  

ANTONY: Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest--
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men--
Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him?
O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.

Passing Shot 6:38 AM  

Thanks for posting my favorite clip from the Cosby Show, Rex. As for the puzzle, very easy but once again I had trouble in the NW corner. I always want oaf for ASS, which I stayed with for the longest time despite nothing working -- aS AM I convinced me that ass just to be right. Long answers are nice, but other than trying to remember how to spell PRAETORIAN, these were way too easy for a Wednesday. Have heard the phrase WENT YARD.

Anonymous 7:08 AM  

Speaking of erotique, this puzzle was hard for me.

Glimmerglass 7:23 AM  

Medium-easy for me. Never did catch the theme, but solving as a themeless worked fine. I thought the "revealer" in the clues (!) was very clever and unusual, even if I missedit. I liked WENT YARD. It's a favorite expression of Red Sox broadcaster Denis Eckersley, colorful former HOF pitcher.

mathgent 7:30 AM  

Happy to read Marc Antony's speech just above. In the ninth grade, we spent a lot of time studying Julius Caesar, my first taste of Shakespeare.

I guess that Jeff Chen is is the premier puzzle doctor in the NYT factory. But I prefer his solo efforts. These collaborations lack soul.

I would have liked an internal hint to the theme. It wasn't obvious to me and I didn't like the puzzle enough to want to think about it very much.

I love James Spader but Black List is unwatchable. His last scenes with William Shatner on Boston Legal were classic.

Not for nuthin, but I saw a wonderful comic performance last night. Kristin Wiig in Twentieth Century Women. A flawed movie but it provided Wiig and Annette Bening a platform for two delightful performances.

chefbea 7:59 AM  

Found this puzzle pretty tough. Didn't get the theme at all until I came here and had Rex explain

Leapfinger 8:03 AM  

Also took me a PRAETERnaturally long time to catch the theme, though not nearly as long as some, apparently (hem, hem). Still, 'Friends' being HAROLD_AND_KUMAR? It would've been soo-o-o elegant to have that be DAMON_AND_PYTHIoops.

Still, it's extremely timely to have a theme on ALT-Friends, ALT-Romans, and ALT-Countrymen. On the one hand, it reminded me of an ALT-ROLEX I bought on Canal Street years ago for 5 bucks which lasted forever and NEVEr turned my skin green. On the other hand, it's a cautionary tale about any who give you ALT LIP; some would soon have you breathing ALT_AIR.

Liked this much for a number of reasons, not the least of which was ROTH, MARiA at the starting gate. Hi, PAPA's wife!

Must be off, I have HOOPs to jump through today. OLAY, OLAY!!

kitshef 8:27 AM  

Theme is pretty thin, but it's a great excuse to use four interesting long answers.

Definitely less dreck than the past couple of days, though we do get SOAMI BAE EMS OTOE UHHUH.

If I were a constructor (pff!), I might have gone with ardor/suomi/ruth/dora in that NW, but there is a lot of PPP already (it feels like), so maybe not a good idea.

@chefwen hand up for blt before PFJ, making that the last section to fall.

Hartley70 8:28 AM  

From Shakespeare to Smurfs, what more could a puzzler want? I wanted HAROLDANDmaude, that's what! White Castles and Kai Penn are current. I heard him interviewed last night as a former Obama advisor. Whaaa? But the great Ruth Gordon was sublime.

Many thanks to Rex for burning brain cells to suss out the theme. I didn't have enough to spare.

Even as a themeless, this was a super fast solve, but I enjoyed our brief time together. I was introduced to WENTYARD, ALTAIR, BAE, and JOEL's place in the BIBLE, all of which I'll probably forget.

GHarris 8:31 AM  

Somehow got the NE right even though I didn't know Mott, Altair or Roomba. Just well made guesses and applied logic. The long crosses were right up my alley but never sussed the theme. Bae is also totally foreign. Had gone yard before went yard. Finally, guessed wrong on Spader (had Slater) and so L had a one letter natick. Still, I enjoyed the exercise.

Mac 8:40 AM  

Huge problem with 43 down. Mug shots are taken at the time of arrest typically. Many arrestees are not even charged with a felony, much less convicted of one.

cwf 8:42 AM  

I liked this one, as I do most puzzles involving Mr. Chen. But "Mug shot subjects" are, at most, alleged FELONS.

@jerkbeast: I Naticked there too.

cwf 8:44 AM  

@Mac beat me to it.

QuasiMojo 8:46 AM  

I love James Spader. Great actor.

For the Bard's sake, I wish Rex had posted a video of "Marc Anthony," the pop star, rather than some retro Cosby rerun.

My mind is sick sometimes. I had "Hearse" before "Hot Rod."

"Strap" for a gym bag attachment was kinda weak. I was imagining a can of mace.

I only ever see "omelet" spelled that way in crosswords.

The great Jacques Tati, for me, was the "icing" on the cake.

Fine midweek puzzle.

seanm 9:07 AM  

this took me about half the time of yesterdays, felt like an easyish tuesday. couldn't figure out what the theme was getting at even after staring it at it after i finished. figured it had to be something more complicated than what it actually was. no real slowdowns at all, though it clearly helped that i could write in 19A with no letters, similarly the other themers with very few.

bookmark 9:09 AM  

Rolling Stone has a fascinating article on James Spader. April 21, 2014 issue you can read online.

Stanley Hudson 9:20 AM  

This one was fun. Solid Hump Day puzzle.


Autrement 9:30 AM  

Easy enough for a Tuesday and made for a new Wednesday record time here.
Personally, there's a lot of pleasure in finishing without understanding the theme, thinking carefully about it, and getting that ah-ha moment! I found it clever and unique. Agreed with Rex that the second one shouldn't have "Romans" in the clue, but that's my only reproach.

Z 9:38 AM  

@jerkbeast and @cwf - Three letter Texas college will be either TCU or SMU. No need for culture or even really knowing anything about Texas Christian University or Southern Methodist University, like they both had major cheating scandals in the 1980's that even involved (allegedly) the Texas governor involving himself. Still, paying players under the table is far far better than the latest Baylor scandal. And here I thought Michigan had a football problem.*

@Hartley70 - Yep, they had KUMAR's character on House commit suicide so that Kal Penn could go work in the West Wing. My wife and son were really into House at the time (I lost interest after three seasons).

The Cosby clip just makes me sad. About the most positive thing I can say about him now is for once a black man abused his position.

Easy. I grokked the theme when I got to the revealer. I have to wonder how Billy managed to sub-tweet 418 years ago.

*I should point out that Michigan is the first public university with three assistants making seven figures. Private universities aren't subject to FOIA requests, so we don't know about them.

cwf 9:44 AM  

@Z Yeah, it's one crosswordism I somehow have failed to memorize even after 25 years of doing these damn things.

L 9:46 AM  

I never figured out the theme and I got completely tripped up on the TATI WENT YARD Natick. I mean, what the heck is went yard?? Definitely not in my wheelhouse. BLT tripped me up too for a while. I give this puzzle a C.

Anonymous 9:49 AM  

For all those above who do not know who Lucretia Mott is (a pretty important woman btw): from Wikipedia: Lucretia Mott (née Coffin; January 3, 1793 – November 11, 1880) was an American Quaker, abolitionist, a women's rights activist, and a social reformer. She had formed the idea of reforming the position of women in society when she was amongst the women excluded from the World Anti-Slavery Convention in 1840. In 1848 she was invited by Jane Hunt to a meeting that led to the first meeting about women's rights. Mott helped write the Declaration of Sentiments during the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention. Mott and other white and black women founded the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society. Integrated from its founding, the organization opposed both slavery and racism, and developed close ties to Philadelphia's Black community.

Tita 9:57 AM  

Had no idea what the theme was, so a DNF in my book. I like the outside-the-grid action going on here...even if it did escape me.
This played hard...high PPP count?

STRAP is green-paintish as they come.

@acme...thanks for Cats on ROOMBAs. I am an abashed Ceeseburger fan.

mathgent 10:01 AM  

George Barany just sent me a message correcting something I said in my earlier post. The excellent performance in 20th Century Women was by Greta Gerwig, not Kristin Wiig.

puzzle hoarder 10:06 AM  

No problem getting a clean grid. I have no idea of my time as I'm stuck in an ambulance on a side job with some motherfucker who just won't shut up. Any unknowns in this puzzle were well crossed with common material so no complaints there.

r.alphbunker 10:23 AM  

The theme required thinking outside the box (grid) and I didn't.

Details are here.

Mohair Sam 10:25 AM  

Thought this was terrific. Minimal junk and a different and fun theme idea. Played medium/challenging for us. The way those Romans sneak in an extra "A" in words like PRAETORIAN, jeez, can't they speak English?

@mathgent - Yeah, SPADER was great on "Boston Legal" - one of the few TV series I consistently watched. The friendship between his character, an uber-liberal lawyer, and the arch-conservative (and half-mad) senior partner played by William Shatner was fun to watch.

@Marcus Antonius - Thanks for chiming in. I remember Mad Magazine doing a "Cool Guy" version of your Julian Farewell about a half century back. Something like "I come to lay Caesar down, not build him up . . ." You referred to Caesar's ambition as having "big eyes", I still use that term today - I think it says more than just ambition. As in - Guiliani had big eyes for the Attorney General slot.

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

It took me...not it took I

Nancy 10:33 AM  

A zillion complaints today:

I'm very familiar with LEND ME YOUR EARS, but I don't understand the theme. I read Rex. I still don't understand the theme. When I go back and read you all, maybe it'll be clear? Hope so.

I had cAROL-AND KUMAR and couldn't finish the answer. Didn't know the 6D James. Had ROTc and didn't understand it. (Should have known ROTH IRA, but never thought of it.) Don't know the movie.

What in the world is BAE? Will you stop with the text-speak abbreviations already, Will? Enough!

Oh, and if I go back to check this, I'll lose what I've already typed. But I have WENT YARD for 35D. That can't be right, can it? I've watched plenty of baseball and I've never heard of it. Curiosity is gnawing at me; I'm headed back to check right now. If WENT YARD is the answer, then I say Ugh.

Way too full of pop culture and completely out of my wheelhouse in the NW. Didn't finish. And I still don't get the theme.

jberg 10:35 AM  

Did the Romans have wheelhouses? This was definitely in mine -- six years of Latin, a year or so reading through Gibbon for my early-morning recreation,and all well worth it. So anyway, I got the revealer from LEN_____, whih helped a lot because I had no idea about that White Castle thing, nor about MARA, OMAR (could have been OMAn or OMAi, I though) nor SPADER. (Movies are NOT in my wheelhouse). Anyway, I loved it. And you don't really need to read the clues to know that the PRAETORIAN GUARD were Romans and the FOUNDING FATHERS were our countrymen.

Baseball's not in that wheelhouse either, and for a few moments I misremembered the beginning of the speech as "LEND ME an ear," so WENT YARD was tough.

I think there was a BAE a few months ago, that's the only reason I knew it. Go ahead and look at the Urban Dictionary, it's crudely hilarious.

As for ALTAIR's being a Natick, I guess it depends on your definition. Natick MA is a town well known to anyone in our state, but too obscure to be widely familiar elsewhere. ALTAIR, on the other hand, is exactly the same distance (on any scale of measurement available) from everyone of us. To me, that makes it potentially difficult, but not a NATICK.

@ACME, it is a delight to have you back! But I will resist the urge to look at you cute cat video with every fiber of my being.

evil doug 10:37 AM  

I highly recommend you read the comments before you post, Nancy. Save you, and us, a lot of trouble.

Nancy 10:38 AM  

I highly recommend you keep a civil tongue in your head, @evil doug.

evil doug 10:40 AM  

Your questions may be answered before you ask them. Why not try it?

Anonymous 10:41 AM  

Thanks to all the really great commenters here. Most of the regulars are a genuine pleasure. It's been fun. But I don't take kindly to being insulted. "Playing chess with pigeons". Come on, that's lousy. Reasonable people can disagree on all manner of things. But the ad hominem, childish screeds, even the glib anonymouse have become too much for this solver.

Thanks again all, well, almost all.

Z 10:43 AM  

@puzzle hoarder - I sense you're leaving out the best parts of the story.

@Tita - Busy day today. I'll try to get a PPP analysis up at some point.

Malsdemare 10:50 AM  

I have never heard WENTYARD and I live with a guy whose cousins played pro ball so baseball is a second language around here. The A was the last to go in and I just shook my head in disbelief. Seriously, baseball, can't you do better than that's? I've heard of James SPADER but needed lots of crosses before I saw that and for the life of me the Japanese PM took forever; shame on me. I never got the theme, though I should have. It took a while to get PRAETORIANGUARD, even though I just finished Harris' Cicero trilogy. And even after I had the P and GUARD, I had to wrestle with my brain a bit to get the AE. Yeah, pretty long list of stuff I don't know.

I also didn't know KUMAR, so took that on faith. I didn't know Rooney either 'cause I rarely go to movies, though I went with friends to see "Hidden Figures" over the weekend and it was FANTASTIC. I am always amazed when a movie can have me on the edge of my seat when I actually lived through the events being portrayed. It was probably the best performance I've ever seen by Costner and the three leads? Just wow!

Stuff I knew: ARMOR (took a minute), ALTAIR, OLAY, RIPOSTE, ELIZA, HOOP and all the easy things.

So I solve using the NYT app and the clock ticks along nicely until I'm done and then it completely resets itself to some random time. Today it thinks as did this in 7:33 and that's preposterously inaccurate. Anyone else having that problem? I don't really care how long it takes me; I'm happy if I can finish a puzzle without help. But that sudden reset is jarring.

Okay, back to the puzzle. Or rather the mini. We rarely comment on the mini and Joel deserves a little mention once in a while. Today's wasn't a standout but I'm really impressed he turns these out daily and sometimes they are really good. Thanks, Mr. Faglioni, for your dedication.

Nancy 10:54 AM  

Bingo! I had to go to Wordplay blog to find an explanation of the theme that was crystal clear and I was rewarded with a terse, simple, crystal clear explanation. Should there be any of you who are still puzzled about the theme, @evil doug notwithstanding, let me send you over there now:

Jim Finder 10:58 AM  

George B, am I the only one who thinks "Founding Fathers" is archaic and sexist and needs to be retired and replaced by "Founders"?

evil doug 11:00 AM  

Gee--one of us is being uncivil, Nancy, but I don't think it's me. Now, if I had said, "Bite me, Nancy", or "Kiss my ass, Nancy", or "Why don't you save us all a little effin' time before your long, tiresome posts put us to sleep, Nancy?" - - now *that* would have been uncivil.

Ray Yuen 11:01 AM  

Really? The theme lies in the clues and not in the answers. What's the point of filling in the theme answers when they have nothing to do with the theme? The only answer that's relevant is the revealer. This themer is a fail in my books.

GILL I. 11:02 AM  

@Nancy. @George was too polite to say it but BAE is Danish for poop. Or, it can mean "before anyone else." That was a new one for me as was WENT YARD and everything @Mike from Mountain View said about the names he didn't know.
This was not easy for me - even so, I really liked it once I came here to find out what the damn theme was all about Alfie. Once I did, I thought how clever.
JOEL OMAR BIBLE ST PETER sounds like the beginning of a Pearly Gates joke.
One day I'll learn how to spell STILETTO. Maybe I don't want to because I get vertigo just thinking about them.

Malsdemare 11:04 AM  

I forgot to add that I didn't get the theme because I thought it had something to do with REARS (So GUARD sort of fits with that, right?) and for the life of me, couldn't see anything rear-ish in HAROLD AND KUMAR or FOUNDING FATHERS. what a dope!

RooMonster 11:09 AM  

Hey All !
Different theme type. Have to admit I missed it. Didn't think to look back to the clues to see if it was there. Natick alert: MOTT/ALTAIR. In the NW, had SOdoI taunting me and making things unsenseicle* up there. (*That's a word, right? :-) )

Plaued on the eadier side, the NE and NW only trouble spots. BAE was a WOE. How sad is it that we have to shorten an already shortened word? Baby-babe-bae. Lazy-speak. Pretty soon we're all going to revert back to caveman speak and just start grunting at each other! Or just using letters.

40 black squares, but still an open grid. Liked how constructors got two 15's and two 14's themers in there. Too bad SWISS couldn't have been SWISh, since it's in front of HOOP.

Fairly clean grid. Always nice. Got our ASS today. Since ABE gained power, guess old Lincoln is put on hold for a clue. Nice to have an ALT every once in a while.

If I went to college: ROO MBA. Har.

OLAY! (Get it?)

Joseph Michael 11:16 AM  

I guess I'm in the minority, but I found this difficult.

Over one third of the answers are proper nouns so I ended up having to make wild guesses too many times. SMU, ROOMBA, and ALTAIR crossing MOTT and KUMAR??? Come on, what day is this?

Had no idea what the theme was until I came here. Liked it once I finally realized how the constructors manipulated the clues and WENT BARD.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 11:26 AM  

At initial glance I almost recycled this newspaper section without even trying the puzzle. Smurfs? Ultron? White Castle, which I think is some kind of fast-food franchise in some other part of the country than the northeast? But I did the south easily, and then I knew Mott and Altair, started to head west from there. Could not see the front of Praetorian Guard because of having blt for PBJ.

Nancy 11:28 AM  

I have great faith in this community, @evil doug. I leave it to them to decide which of us is the more civil. Today, and indeed every day. I expect they'll find the decision a slam dunk. Now, happily, I see that the sun has just come out. Off to the park.

Anonymous 11:56 AM  

I sense a great sigh of relief from San Francisco today, as Evil Doug has found someone other than ACME to (pointlessly) torment.

Cassieopia 12:01 PM  

@maldesmare yes same problem. App says my fastest Monday is 2:57 (that's Parker Country!) and my fastest Thursday is 1:26 (that's plain ridickle-dockle!) Never caught the app in the act but it's obviously been busy behind my back, happily putting my times into elite ranges.

Puzz- I had the majority experience. WENTYARD (huh?), lots of names, still a fast solve but never did get the clue. I was reduced to wondering if HAROLDANDKUMAR lost their ears in a devastating accident at White Castle (having never seen the movie) and if Roman bodyguards were marked somehow by being made earless. Was relieved to come here and find the themer was much more benign.

Happy Midweek, all.

Andrew Heinegg 12:34 PM  

Naticked at the Ellen/Abe crossing as I never heard of Ellen Page, reason being I don't pay attention to movies much and I could not remember the name of the Japanese P.M. Plus, I kept trying to think of another name section of the Bible to go after Hosea. Stupid is as stupid does.

I thought the theme was uninteresting and thin. A mug shot is a picture taken for anyone arrested for any crime, felony or misdemeanor. I liked seeing Ms. Mott's name in the puzzle. I hated seeing Roomba. I suppose commercial names are inevitable parts of crosswords nowadays but, I don't have to like it and I don't.

I am surprised by Evil Doug today. When someone expresses an opinion on the blog, how is it ever appropriate to make an ad hominem attack on that person? That is the kind of input that leads to irrational discussions. And Evil Doug's response to Nancy's response to him where he makes his ad hominem criticism really nasty and 'softens' it by making it a hypothetical is a new low. Evil Doug usually provides a rational and reasoned response to the majority opinions expressed herein. Not today; he must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed.

Masked and Anonymous 12:35 PM  

M&A proudly nailed the puztheme in a split nanosec (yo, @jae). Only problem was: it was a totally different theme than what M & J had in mind. I saw the backward RAE-ear in PAETORIANGUARD and immediately cooked up "that themer has got an ear (back), and the other two don't, so they (obviously) need a loan." Dropped the mic triumphant-like (on foot) and came hear … er, here ... to get the "Fake News Flash again, M&A breath" verdict. day-um.

staff weeject pick: BAE. Almost EAR, backwards. But, even better … Clue of {Main squeeze, in modern lingo} is intriguinly put. How modern? Constructioneer(s) just made it up modern? Well, now yer talkin rodeo. This could launch a whole Fake Fill Era of NYTPuz crosswords. Epic.

Really admire the ROOMBA entry. Could watch it for hours.

Any puz that has a HAROLDANDKUMAR reference in it is way thUmbsUp with m&e. This was a well-received M&A&bro-in-law FriNite Schlock FlickFest entry, several years back. This movie has somethin in it for everybody:
* Nerds.
* Nerds on pot.
* Neal Patrick Harris as himself, hitchhikin.
* Whole rodeo suddenly goes schlock-o-rama for a while, in the bottom of the seventh or so.
* White Castle promos, throughout. [U ain't lived, til U try one of their holey burgers. And if U live over that one, quit.]
* Pot.
* Name of flick starts with H-A-R.

Let's close with another Alternative Facts theme idea:
"Fiats, Romeros, Country Sedans … Lend Me Yer cars!"

Thanx, Mr. Sewell and Mr. Chen. Fun and slightly feisty.
@RP: Like that the U's are beginnin to cry out to U. Progress (In BAE steps.)
@acme: Always good to hear from U.

Masked & Anonymo6Us

OooOO… How about a mess of puzthemers where all the words in each themer end in U's? Revealer: LEND ME U REARS! Too obscure? thought so. [Ok for a runtpuz, tho?]

I'm told it bites:

Andrea 1:04 PM  

Any puzzle with Shakespeare in it is a good puzzle, in my book, even though I couldn't help but think of The Beatles when I read LEND ME YOUR EARS...... AND I'LL SING YOU A SONG, AND I'LL TRY NOT TO SING OUT OF KEY.
These days is good to remember that we do get by with a little help from our friends.

Teedmn 1:17 PM  

I totally missed the theme until I was over at xwordinfo and saw Matthew's comment on "countrymen" and the dominos fell in my brain. Clever, though while solving I was a bit disgruntled at the male-skewing long answers. But THELMAANDLOUISE is one letter too long.

Texmex before OMELET made a bit of a STY in the SW. And WENTYARD only stayed in because the crosses insisted on it. I circled the M in the MOTT/SMU cross as my most likely source of a DNF but lady luck smiled on me today. I will never have the myriad colleges memorized because I just don't watch sports beyond MLB (or whatever is showing on the screen at the OPEN BAR.)

Thanks, MS and JC for a Wednesday puzzle on which I did not CRASH and burn.

Mohair Sam 1:30 PM  

Great fun, the @Nancy/@Evil spat. I have no idea why it bothered good old Evil that Nancy put her foot in her mouth. It's a typical Nancy day, what's your problem?

My posts to date have been flawless, of course.

Masked and Anonymous 1:35 PM  

Shoulda been "PRAETORIANGUARD", of course -- not the ear-less "PAETORIANGUARD", as typo-ed in the first msg.

While I'm here:
Feisty solvequest trouble spots, at our house:
* BIBLE JOEL Page Shinzo shoulda been CENTURION area.
* EMS NEVE Clairol hog-wild sloganeer area.
* SMU MOTT ALTAIR teaching DNA area.
Lost precious nanoseconds, in each area. Oh, man. … I coulda been a contender …


thfenn 1:47 PM  

Very much enjoyed this one, as I do any Wednesday I can finish without cheating in a little less than half an hour.

@George, yes! - was intrigued learning that the diameter of the hoop is roughly twice that of a basketball - seems like it ought to be a lot easier than it is making a basket.

@Hartley70, I had HAROLDANDmaude there for quite a while, figuring I must have missed a 2004 remake, and reconciled to muGS being as good as KEGS and BAU being some term for my main squeeze I didn't know (the term I mean) - wouldn't undo maude until I finally decided that vehicle in a drag race had to be a HOTROD, and that school in Dallas had to be __U (as Z said) making the NE the last to fall (as I hope it is in general). Struggled a bit with the upper half overall, having FRAME before ARMOR and BARROOMS before OPENBARS.

@mathgent, agree on Spader, but not on Blacklist - very much enjoy watching that show.

Had a fun time with this one.

evil doug 1:50 PM  

I'm a horse's ass.

Z 1:51 PM  

PPP Analysis
Pop culture, Product names, and other Proper nouns as a percentage of the puzzle. Anything over 33% has consistently been shown to cause some subset of solvers a problem

At least 27 of 74 for 36%. So yes, if this isn't in your wheelhouse you may struggle. I say "at least" because BIBLE isn't normally be a PPP, but it gets a Hosea/JOEL cross reference today, WENT YARD seems pretty pop cultural to me, as does using Warren Buffet to clue ONE. If I were to add those in we'd have a PPP of 40/74, 41%. So, yes, a high PPP day.

@Mohair Sam - I, too, am never wrong, make a typo, or misspeak.*

*I just know someone thinks I'm joking, but no, "misspeak" really does have two esses.**

** Also, raised Calvinist, so, yeah, joking about perfection and seriously depressed that I feel the need to point it out,

Unknown 1:57 PM  

I'm embarrassed to ask, but what does PPP mean as it relates to crossword puzzles? Googling didn't help.

Tita 2:09 PM  

@Willy @Z's first paragraph, immediately above your post. I'm guessing you were posting while he was, and didn't see it.
It's his own key performance metric that acts as one way to assess/predict the difficulty of a puzzle.

Thomas Jefferson 2:17 PM  

@Jim Finder:

Were there any founding mothers who signed the Declaration Of Independence? Stop being such a PC twit who reads sexism into everything! You're probably all for multiple gender classifications too, right?

Hungry Mother 2:25 PM  

I've never finished a puzzle so fast with as many unknown answers. No idea what the theme was. I'll take it, but I don't deserve it.

Malsdemare 2:28 PM  

@ Thomas Jefferson The clue doesn't mention Declaration signatories, but it does say "countrymen" so I'm okay with Founding Fathers. However, there are impressive women who were part of the foundation of the United States; there's a very good book called "Founding Mothers" that describes their contributions if you're interested. So the general irk about insisting on Fathers is legitimate, just not in this case.

Anonymous 2:28 PM  

Remind me again why you tolerate evil doug? There is no reason whatsoever he should be tolerated. Is it Stockholm syndrome? Are you all posting from his basement as his captive?

I don't get it. SMH

Unknown 2:39 PM  

@Tita A. Thank you. I probably would have overlooked that if you hadn't brought it to my attention. Nice of you to reply. Thanks again.

Thomas Jefferson 2:52 PM  


Point taken. I'm well aware of the contributions women played in that era. (Abigail Adams undoubtedly play a huge part in her husband's thought processes.) For cripes sake, my mother is a member of the DAR, so no preaching please.

People like Jim Finder who are so Politically Correct that they take issue with every perceived display of sexism, ageism, or any other type of ism, just piss me off. If they post stuff like that on the board, I'm gonna call em out. You won't change my mind on that.

Malsdemare 3:09 PM  

@Thomas Jefferson I'll cede your point as well. But just an aside: As a woman, I'm rather relieved when a man points out language that leaves us out of the discussion. I for one am tired of being told I'm overly sensitive, as you so forcefully told Jim. There's probably a happy medium somewhere, but in today's climate, especially when someone admits his mind is unchangeable, finding that medium may be futile.

Over and out.

GoodDoug 3:12 PM  

Let's not forget folks, especially @Nancy, that there are TWO "evil dougs" on this board. Hence the confusion. Do NOT feed the troll.

Unicorn Slayer 3:32 PM  

I'm with you Doug. Change your avatar as often as necessary!

We all love Nancy, but your criticism was deserved. The gentle reminder you sent was not out of line.

X 3:33 PM  

@Z "raised Calvinist" lol - a guy once broke up with me because I was "too f___g Calvinist" - even though I am now agnostic, at best. Upbringing has a lot to answer for ....

chefwen 3:49 PM  

@Anon 2:28 Because he ia amusing.
@Hungry Mother. Yay, you found your wine again.

Cassieopia 3:50 PM  

@William DiGennaro, sorry someone hasn't answered yet: PPP is something like "percentage of proper names" and it is a ratio of the number of proper names in a puzzle (e.g. ROOMBA, MARA, TATI, etc) to the total number of answers. I think if it's over 30 that's considered bad fill.

Ok, you out there who know a WHOLE lot more about this than I do, quit bickering and please give the accurate answer! :)

Cassieopia 3:58 PM  

@Z et. al., thank you. I looked through the comments but they must be refreshing faster than I can read, or I went to a cached page. Thanks all, was worried a question was being lost, which is uncharacteristic of this erudite community.

Anonymous 3:59 PM  

A scorecard is needed to keep track of genuines and masqueraders. I for one cannot follow.

Unknown 4:08 PM  

@Cassieopia: Thank you. That was very considerate. Tita A had clued me in. Mystery solved. Thanks again.

Z 5:52 PM  

@X - I still think Calvinism is a better than average take on humans and the human condition. I've been known to have some fascinating religious discussions with my Muslim and Catholic friends. I generally stay away from having such discussions with those practicing in a Calvinist tradition, though. Too often I discover this disconnect that's just too deep to even bother to get past.

@William DiGennaro and others wondering - PPP comes out of a Saturday I found particularly easy but some very good solvers struggled with. I then spent a month or so closely tracking it and seeing how the level and the comments related. The 33% level is a pretty clear and consistent. Not that the same group of solvers will struggle, in fact a high PPP can make a puzzle particularly easy for some subgroups. Hence terms like "wheelhouse" and "outhouse." I should also note that I was fairly ambivalent and inconsistent about PPP type answers before I started looking at PPP more systematically. Now I am adamant that wordplay is inherently and always better in a puzzle than trivia.

jae 6:06 PM  

After a very brief bit of research I retract my observation that BAE is fresh. Apparently, it died around 2014 when commercial brands started using it in ads.

@Z - I humbly disagree about trivia. I just finished a 1995 Sat. where I learned about a troubled region in Russia, an Arkansas county, a type of water color painting, a Grand Ole Opry star, and a New Jersey river. I am richer for the experience.

Unknown 6:27 PM  

@Z: Thank you for the background. Maybe someone who is more computer literate than I am will add the crossword meaning of PPP to the list of PPP definitions on Google (35 pages). Every crossword is a learning experience for me and gives me great pleasure, plus the even greater pleasure of reading the comments afterwards. Thank you to all for that, too.

Anonymous 8:46 PM  

It looks like Betsy Devos will be confirmed by a 50-50 vote among senators. Pence will break the tie. They should've confirmed Jeff Sessions first then he wouldn't have had a vote and we wouldn't be saddled with Betsy. Thanks Harry.

Anonymous 8:59 PM  

Anybody ever read Resistance Parker's Twitter feed ? High comedy the dude is losing it. Just another example of the liberal fascists showing contempt for the great unwashed.

Adam 9:38 PM  

I enjoyed the puzzle. ZIP for LIP (50A Freshness), but otherwise found it on the easy side of medium. Anon 8:59pm, I quite enjoy Resistance Parker's twitter feed, although I don't think fascist means what you think it means.

Anonymous 9:45 PM  

Posted on 1/20 after Trump was sworn in:

@Kate (O'Neill). Just a donation? Why not be out there with the other true believers throwing rocks at cops, injuring them, breaking windows of innocent business owners, destroying public as well as private property and just generally making a mess. You must not be that committed. Also, I didn't see this behavior when Obama won twice. Just a bunch of spoiled brats throwing a tantrum that unfortunately cost EVERYONE!!! Costs for cops, equipment, insurance companies, the companies they insure, peoples livelihoods, etc.

Now students and other from Berkley, one of the bastions of free thought and expression of ideas, are doing it again. Now even burning other peoples property. What pathetic hypocrites we have to deal with. BTW-I've made a change from yesterdays post:

I really feel bad for those who are proggie.
They owned all the power, their head got too groggy.
They changed all the rules when their vision was foggy.
Now all they do is complain,
And their pants are real soggy.

Get some Depends on snowflakes.

Anonymous 9:51 PM  

Fascists like to ban things. Rex likes to ban things. There's a reason 1984 is a best seller again. They're probably not getting any royalties, but if they are then Orwell's heirs can thank Donald Trump and the liberal fascists like Rex.

Anonymous 9:59 PM  

It's a metaphor dope.

Anonymous 10:05 PM  

And he is gay just to add to the grand irony. Lucky he doesn't live in country's on the ban list. He would be dead.

Help feed the homeless USA 10:20 PM  

Ha ha ha Berkeley...ha ha ha Resistence Rex...
So typical.

Dont cry BAE BAE

Anonymous 10:24 PM  

The tolerance police are going to make Milo rich and get Trump reelected. Thanks Rex and friends.

Anonymous 10:48 PM  

Why do liberals hate free speech ? What happened to Milo will come back to bite them. Idiots .

Anonymous 11:09 PM  

Hey anonymous. You're talking to yourself.

PS. Doug should be banned.

Anonymous 11:17 PM  

They are shutting down free speech in Berkeley of all places. It's sad.

Anonymous 11:42 PM  

Is anyone else beginning to think that Anonymous angry guy actually is Donald Trump? Sad!

Anonymous 11:52 PM  

Poor Rex. His preferred candidate lost. Now he must resist. It's kind of cute in a way.

Anonymous 12:17 AM  

@Anonymous 11:42

Your attack on Trump being "Anonymous angry guy" on this blog since you are doing so as well is week. I'll take credit for the posts today @ 9:45 & 10:05. GWood

Anonymous 12:22 AM  

Weak. Spellcheck is a u no what.

Charles in Austin 2:22 AM  

Here is a link to a much more exciting Cosby Show take on Julius Caesar:

Inspiring, Well worth the watching!

Unknown 5:45 PM  

Very common phrase. You must not watch that much.

spacecraft 11:46 AM  

Easy with a couple of glitches. Started way down in the SE corner because my eye happened to fall on yesterday's DOD: Lady of "My Fair Lady." Okay, take a curtain call, ELIZA! If we have to have a bleedover, that's a good one. So I end up with a Shakespearean quote ending in -REARS. UHHUH. In school I had to commit that speech to memory; no problemo there.

The glitches were BLT--better for you than PBJ unless you use sugar-free jelly--and SOdoI before SOAMI. I didn't get tripped up by liquids, since with only ...G_AT... in place I had the FOUNDINGFATHERS filled in. In fact, all the theme entries were pretty much gimmes, so I second the easy rating.

The Buffett clue was an interesting bit of trivia; here and elsewhere I SEE the Chen touch in the clues. We don't often see the theme buried in the clues; points for freshness. Birdie.

Diana,LIW 12:13 PM  

When I was about 5, my mom had me memorize the books of the Bible, in order. Still know them. So "follower of Hosea" was, of course, JOEL. You know where this is leading. Yup - JOEL does not begin with T. As in BLT. So the L must be a Jewish book - like the Torah - like those Hebrew letters I don't know. And until I "fact checked" BLT, I was at a loss, after a fairly easy puzzle otherwise. Thus, another dnf due to solver density.

I found the friends, Romans, countrymen theme about half way thru the solve, and thought it a great theme.

ARLO, ELIZA, and the LAMA keep showing up. Wonder if they go out for a drink after the puzzle.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Anonymous 1:12 PM  

Fair and fun. Usually ignore themes as unimportant, but liked and found this one amusing. Good show!

leftcoastTAM 1:30 PM  

This is an oddball puzzle. Theme-revealer links didn't make sense to me until reading Rex's critique. And still think this is an oddball, and sort of a stretch.

Have seen and listened to many baseball games, but can't remember every hearing WENT YARD. And ROOMBA is a new one, too, at least on me. First P in PAPA was the last letter in.

Again, on the theme: clever and fair but odd. I guess that would be how I'd have to rate it.

Burma Shave 1:42 PM  


OLAY me down with ELLEN and NEVE,
or let me CRASH SOLO with OUR ELIZA.
my SIZE won’t FAIL a ONE, but whatev,
I’ll drive my HOTROD at SUNUP to MARA.


leftcoastTAM 2:19 PM  

P.S. After seeing that the Friends, Romans, and Countrymen literally appear in the clues, I'd have to rate this one unusually clever, and withdraw those repeated "odd" and "oddball" words. Sorry, M.S. and J.C.

rondo 2:22 PM  

Didn’t think twice about Friends or Romans, but Countrymen caught my eye and that was that. Only problem is I WENTdeep at first instead of YARD but the revealer helped fix that. To “go YARD” is a common enough phrase, especially among players. I still play ball and as a pitcher I hear it a lot – “Take him YARD!” “Good time to go YARD on him!” etc. Deep is only deep and maybe a sac fly, but YARD is outta here!

When it rains it pours. ELIZA again, and NEVE and ELLEN and Ms. MARA. UHHUH. Yeah BAE BAEs galore, can’t pick just ONE. LENDMEYOURREARS.

Odd place for the theme, kinda ALT-xword, but a good ONE.

BS2 2:43 PM  


FLUIDS in KEGS or by the YARD,
so STRAP those FELONS into their cars,


rain forest 6:01 PM  

Way late, so kinda pointless to comment (another grandson babysitting day. Maybe he'll eventually be able to help his "Papa" when I enter my declining years).

Nevertheless, I did like this puzzle a lot. When I read the "countrymen" clue, I wondered on that choice of words, and looked back at the clues for 19A and 25A, and got the theme. Nice one!


Curious that there seemed to be a number of "baseball people" in the crowd who didn't know WENT YARD, which is a very common baseball phrase.

My next vacuum cleaner will be either a ROOMBA or a Dyson "Animal". Something without a long hose and tank to bash into furniture with.

Diana,LIW 6:45 PM  


Your comments are always read - right Synders? I even know, for a true fact, that some Futurelanders come here, read, and sometimes comment. Lately the Futurelanders have been battling amongst themselves. We Synders are a more temperate bunch, and must be respected. And I always check "yesterday's" blog in the morning to see if I missed any pithy remarks. Gotta have my full measure of pith.

HAROLDANDKUMAR are a pair of raucous American stoner pals who get high and then go places. Often to eat. (See stoner reference.) No one shall ever mistake them for Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. White Castle is a burger chain that sells little burgers by the bagful. I've not seen any H&K movies and never ate at a White Castle, but both are ubiquitous in the 'Merican culture bowels. And, despite what someone in the future thought, they are all over NYC and the NE US. Almost as ubiquitous as Nova Lox and Peroni beer.

I did watch the ROOMBA cat video, and am now considering a purchase - I know someone who would like to ride around on one.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for moving cat toys

rondo 7:15 PM  

@rainy - what D,LIW said, always look for your post

Z 7:32 PM  

Get that blue name and never miss a spellcaster.

Diana,LIW 9:21 PM  

@Z - what the fork is a blue name? Certainly do know the spellcasters - tho they don't bother me much

Lady Di

Z 10:22 PM  

@D, LiW - Do you see how my nom de blog is blue, "Z said..."? That's happens because I have a Google account and I use it to select the first option below instead of Name/URL like you do. That also allows me to have an Avatar and choose whether or not I want later comments emailed to me.

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