Greek poet who wrote distaff / WED 4-5-17 / 1987-94 Star Trek series briefly / Crypto City at Ft Meade / Devices that prevent fumes from escaping / Pothook shape / Drink made from frozen grapes

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Constructor: Alex Eaton-Salners

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: SPANISH (43D: Language that utilizes the letter "ñ") — DESCRIPTION

Theme answers:
Word of the Day: ERINNA (49D: Greek poet who wrote "The Distaff") —
Erinna (/ˈrɪnə/; Greek: Ἤριννα) was an ancient Greek poet. Biographical details about her life are uncertain: she is generally thought to have lived in the first half of the fourth century BC, though some ancient traditions have her as a contemporary of Sappho; Telos is generally considered to be her most likely birthplace, but Tenos, Teos, Rhodes, and Lesbos are all also mentioned by ancient sources as her home. Erinna is best known for her long poem, the Distaff, a three-hundred line hexameter lament for her childhood friend Baucis, who had died shortly after marriage. A large fragment of this poem was discovered in 1928 at Behnasa in Egypt. Along with the Distaff, three epigrams ascribed to Erinna are known, preserved in the Greek Anthology. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is one of those "Hey I've Got a Great Idea" ideas that probably sounded a lot better in your head than it looks on paper. There's a cute crosswordy premise here—we all know, and many have complained, that ANO and AÑO are *totally* different words, but the NYT crossword happily crosses "N" with "Ñ" like there is no difference, which means that Spanish anuses have been overrunning our puzzles for decades now. So today we have true "Ñ"s in the grid, working in both directions, five times. So first of all, it turns out this is pretty boring. PEÑA NIETO (18A: Mexican president Enrique) is the only interesting themer here (and the only one I totally blanked on). The rest are, like, you know, words. The fill suffers terribly, because (who'dathunk?!) that when you cram *crossing* themers into your corners, those corners don't like it so much. I knew things were gonna be rough at INANET (frowny-face). I did not know, however, that they would get so bad that I would miss INANET. The SE corner is the poster child for Bad Decisions. It's hard enough to fill a corner like that with two themers in there. But three? Three gets you ERINNA (!?!?!??!?!?!) and ERINNA should make *any* constructor worth their salt smash their grid with a sledgehammer and start over. The only one happy with ERINNA (again, I say, !?!?!?!?!?!?!??!) is poor little INAT, who's like "Yay! No one's looking at me!" This concept is much better when you spread the diacritical love around (so, a Ñ cross, a Ø cross, a É cross, etc.—I've seen it done that way, I'm pretty sure). So, to sum up: NONONO.

I knew BASSOS was BASSOS from the "B" but my wife didn't know that you pluralized it that way and went with BASSES and since the vowel cross there is Dikembe MUTOMBO (and since '90s big men are not exactly her specialty), she had BASSES / MUTOMBE. Seems a plausible mistake. I had trouble with MUTOMBO's *second* vowel. Other than that, I had no trouble,  except when it came to remembering PEÑA NIETO's name. I still think of Vincente Fox as the president even though that hasn't been true for 11 (?!) years. Finished in a fast time, which means it was Really easy, since the 16-wide grid should've made even an average-difficulty puzzle run long.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 7:13 AM  

I had a note by my puzzle that Rex was going to use NONONO in his review.

Nice SPITSHINE right on top, and fun PISTON/PINSON cross. The cluing was Tuesday, very direct and Tuesday-easy. I do like the tilde theme. I think SIESTAS should be out of the puzzle, so the theme will be tighter, that is, let all the Spanish words in the grid have tildes. I like seeing WOOT in comments online, but never felt comfortable using it. At least yet, and I fear it may be too late, it getting old, perhaps.

We can learn from Copernicus, who taught us that we are not the center of the universe, a lesson a certain leader of our country would be wise to learn.

Passing Shot 7:13 AM  

Too easy. Only 20 seconds off my record Wednesday time (which is slow as molasses compared to most people here, I'm sure).

hypnagogie 7:18 AM  

I had the same BASSES/MOTOMBE cross, which kept me from finishing this one. Alas.

I blame this, from my high school band days:

evil doug 7:20 AM  

Yep, weakest Wednesday in a while. Qué lástima.


Anonymous 7:24 AM  

How is an end an eligible receiver? Is there a non-football context I'm missing?

Also, "woot" in no way means "wow" ...

kitshef 7:24 AM  


But I did not like the rest. Theme is meh, and the fill is dull when it is not irritating (NO NO NO , ICE WINE, SPARE ME, TNG, LT DAN). LT DAN was the one that pushed me over the edge.

IN A T and IN A NET.

Bits of this felt like a Friday - PENANIETO and OPAH and ERINNA. Indeed, this would have been better with the cluing ramped up and running on a Friday.

Irene 7:25 AM  

Penanieto crossing Mutombo?

Lojman 7:40 AM  

Eligible receivers in football are the 3 guys in the backfield (apart from the QB), and the two guys on the ENDs of the 7-man line of scrimmage.

Learned Spanish in high school and college, have been using to a greater or lesser degree ever since, so barely any resistance here, other than the proper nouns Rex mentioned. Ran as a slow Monday or medium-fast Tuesday for me.


Stan Analsex O'Leer 7:41 AM  

Easy and boring, except for the ridiculous naticks.

Glimmerglass 7:44 AM  

The plural of BASSO is bassi, but since that's one letter too short, I swallowed my snob and wrote BASSOS. MUTOMBO was a gimme for me because I taught Dikembe's brother at Solebury School. I thought our student was rather tall until Dikembe came to his brother's graduation. From across a crowded room, I wondered, "Why is that man standing on a chair?"

Brett Hendrickson 7:48 AM  

Extremely irritating DNF on the cross of BASSOS and MUTOMBO.

chefbea 7:53 AM  

very easy except for all the Naticks!! I don't eat Jalapeños ...too hot, but do like okra and pina coladas!!!

Rob 8:03 AM  

I knew PENA NIETO -- he's been in the news quite a bit this year, after all -- but MUTOMBO/BASSOS threw me also. Seems a bit cruel to cross an unusual plural like that with a non-current proper name, and I say that as a lifelong musician with a theory background.

Peter 8:04 AM  

Done as fast as I could type and then the MUTOMBE/BASSES error took almost twice as long to find as the rest of the puzzle. I guess the tiniest bit fun to enumerate so many Spanish borrowings but not enough surprises for a non-Monday.

Dr. Haber 8:06 AM  

Had no idea who Mutombo was so ended up crossing with E-Bay's "But it new." And "basses" for "Basso's." Spare me!

Unknown 8:12 AM  

Had Banyo until Copernicus (cApernicus until the very last check as the app said something was fishy) was there to SAVEME and I noticed it was a plural clue. Also had mutambE for a round until I spoke it allowed...JK, aloud.

Got but am confused on answers ñoñoño an iñat as per theme ;)

Debra 8:20 AM  


RAD2626 8:20 AM  

Really out of the mainstream. Knew MUTOMBO so BASSOS no problem. But I dnf'd on FLEXaRs/BANaS, which I must say still looks right to me. When I go to the pool I don't rent a Cabano. I guess I never needed a bathroom when I was in Madrid.

Otherwise object only to IN IT. IN A NET much less objectionable to me. Thought concept was clever and execution well done. Liked SPANISH and ESPANOL next to each other a lot.

Anonymous 8:26 AM  

It's Vicente, not Vincente.

John Child 8:27 AM  

Dikembe Mutombo: Hall of Famer and number-two shot blocker, between Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Hakeem Olajuwon. I feel like I shoulda coulda had this instead of a DNF on the last vowel. I'll remember the experience and get one of the other vowels wrong the next time.

If the GAS TRAPS don't work you need either a DETECTOR or a NOSE JOB.

Nate 8:34 AM  

I don't speak a word of Spanish, but I found this puzzle ridiculously easy. The only difficult part was spelling Dikembe Mutombo's name correctly (which was the only reason I got BASSOS instead of the obviously more "right seeming" BASSES), and the FLEXORS/BANOS cross. I had no idea that BANOS was the correct answer, but thankfully know enough anatomy to have gotten FLEXORS.

Overall: eh!

Punctuated equilibrium 8:36 AM  

So many of the Spanish words were just...meh. Liked GEOLOGISTS, ELNINO and COPERNICUS. Couldn't come up with the NIETA part of PENA's name and had never heard of MUTOMBO or ERINNA.

Anonymous 8:38 AM  

Theme went over my head.
Thanks Rex for pointing out that the puzzle was not a Spanish theme but Spanish words with a tilde. Missed that and also that the grid was a 16x15 grid.

The puzzle itself was easy enough save for the ridiculous natik in the NE corner of PENA NIETO crossing MUTOMBO.
I had PENA dIEtO and MUgOMBO.

QuasiMojo 8:39 AM  

First of all it's "Puh-leeze" as someone above said. Not "Puh-lease." And "Woot" does not mean "Wow." It has a completely distinct connotation. As a former chorale member, I entered "basses" because that is what we call them. "Bassos" is an operatic term. At first I thought this puzzle was going to be a record-breaking breeze but there were some real clunkers in there that caused me to have a DNF. I don't mind DNFs at all but only if they're fair. And this one wasn't. And on top of that ("tiptop"???) it was dull, as OFL pointed out. And almost as annoying as that earworm of yore, "Piña Colada." The only good thing was seeing "Copernicus" which reminded me of our @Nancy's poem from a few weeks ago.

Mohair Sam 8:43 AM  

This will be remembered as the puzzle that separated the NBA fans from the riff raff out there. Easy peasy for this fan of the old shot blocker.

@Lewis - Thanks for the memory of SPIT SHINing. Old G.I.'s will tell you that Johnson's Floor Wax provided the best spit shine, and Cat's Paw Shoe Polish (neutral) made barracks floors gleam.

When I learned about COPERNICUS I mentally flip-flopped the ER, still do - cost a minute or two today. Have known the term Persona non-GRATA forever, never seen it without the "non" until today.

Liked the puzzle a lot more than Rex, the tough stuff was fairly crossed.

Tita 9:04 AM  

@Mohair...I also liked the optimistic persona GRATA.

Yes, I naticked twice. Yes, that is some godawful fill.

But I did like the inside joke of ESPAÑOL showing SPANISH who's boss.
Although, I hadn't really noticed beyond thinking...hmmm...there's lots of Spanish words...I wonder if the theme will be about that...

Only when I fixed my two naticks by cheating did Puzzazz change all those Ns to Ñs for me.

L 9:05 AM  

INAT the finish makes absolutely no sense. Ugh. I got tripped up on SHARP, which also makes no sense to me. And count me in the bassEs camp... I can't get too bummed when I see LT DAN though.

TOCraig 9:06 AM  

I was laughing all the way on this one. This blog has complained endlessly about the NYTXW non-use of the tilde with Spanish words. Well, AES and WS have you what you asked for. And still you whine. Cheer up all.

TOCraig 9:06 AM  

..."gave" you... meant.

Unknown 9:14 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
RooMonster 9:21 AM  

Hey All !
Andele! Where's Speedy Gonzales when you need him? Spanish tilde crossing theme. Different. Not sure why 16 across, any theories out there?

Like others, found puz to be quite easy, only had one writeover, INnets-INANET. Liked the long Downs. Funny I've only heard Persona non GRATA. Took a second to realize that a welcome guest would be sans the non. SMIDGE a fun word. True Natick for me at the T in PENANIETO/MUTOMBO. Had a C. I'm lucky if I can remember our presidents name, let alone Mexico's. (Insert random put-down of pres. here.) And the b-baller, well, tough.

Rex made it in at 8D.

Personally think Alex did a good job fill-wise considering the constraints. Although ICE WINE is funky. We got an ASK BASK, and a WOOT LOOT. A NONONO above an OKED. And a PINS ON and a PIST ON. OPAH!


Stanley Hudson 9:28 AM  

INAT doesn't make much sense but liked the puzzle overall.

@evil Doug, thanks for mentioning Vada PINSON, which for this lifelong Reds fan brought back nice memories of a fine ball player.

pmdm 9:38 AM  

Normally, I'm not a fan of foreign words in English crosswords, but, as in today's puzzle, if they point of the theme is foreign words, i'll simply shrug my shoulders and let it pass. But I will support the complaint posted here about the difficulty of some of the crossings.

Glimmerglass, when you talk with others do you says sopranos or soprani, altos or alti? At least with the tenor section of an SATB choir, you don't have to struggle with figuring out how to pluralize the T word. Now about how you pronounce a person who plays the flute ...

Lewis, Amen Amen I say to your concluding comment. Unfortunately, there are so many other politicians (and for that matter voters) that your comments applies to. That's why at present we only have eight Justices on the Supreme Court and why we have the leader we have. And the comment can certainly apply to some people who comment on crossword puzzles.

Hartley70 9:43 AM  

My little bit of SPANISH got me through the theme until I hit the wall on the last bit of PENANIETO's name. I wasn't sure on the T and crossed with a basketball players name, a guess became ridiculous. Luckily I knew BASSOS, so I was a one letter dnf. I am trying to think of another field of human endeavor encountered in puzzledom beside sports where one is expected to know an endless series of unfathomable names. I can't. The President of Mexico I should know. The other fellow, well I just can't.

Is there really such a thing as ICEWINE, besides throwing a few cubes in a glass of white?

The fill today didn't bother me at all. It was a pleasure to see COPERNICUS, who classes a puzzle right up. TNG appealed to my sci-fi side, although I didn't watch it. SIESTA certainly was an outlier. I wonder if that was the constructor's choice or someone else's (ahem).

I would have liked a keyboard that had a tilde. Oh, I see there are three Spanish options in settings. Any one would have been an appropriate choice for a purist.

doorslam 9:44 AM  

I quite enjoyed it, but seeing Count BASIE reminded me to throw on some jazz this morning which helped my mood significantly.

Nancy 9:47 AM  

I have no idea what WOOT means or what it stands for. I've never heard of ICE WINE. I didn't know Forrest Gump's C.O. I didn't know the Mexican president's name (which I feel chagrined about) nor the crossing basketball player's name (which I don't feel chagrined about.) Everything else in this puzzle was so boringly easy that much of the time I could fill it in without bothering to read the clues. That's the worst kind of puzzle as far as I'm concerned -- a mindless enterprise, where you nonetheless Natick because of a few proper names and/or textspeak gobbledy-gook.

John V 9:50 AM  

Hooray, ICEWINE!

cwf 9:52 AM  

Actually, @Craig Percy, while commenters on this blog often complain about tildes, Rex is explicitly on record giving that a pass. I believe the phrase he used recently was something on the order of "get over it."

GILL I. 9:55 AM  

Que boring. I wish Alex had clued PENA Sanchez instead of Mr. plagiarist. Do you think Russia may have had a hand in getting him elected president?
Vehicles with medallions = CABS? Is that a new way to clue a Cabernet?
I'm missing something and it's certainly not a PINA COLADA nor ICE WINE.
I love anything SPANISH in ESPANOL but I felt PIST ON when I finished. Would have preferred something more Madridish like using Z's with a TH sound.
My favorite word for Bathroom is EL LADIES.

Nancy 10:02 AM  

@Lewis (7:13) -- I might have used NONONO in my comment, had your post not warned me that it was already spoken for. And that's always a big NONO.

@Glimmerglass (7:44) -- Funny anecdote!

@Hartley (9:43) -- I see we each feel guilty about the same holes in our knowledge and also not guilty about the same other holes in our knowledge.

@Quasi (8:34) -- Thanks for the shoutout.

evil doug 10:10 AM  

Believe I got reprimanded once at AFROTC summer camp because my commander decided I'd "used a Hershey Bar for a shoe SHINER". Better than my buddy; he heard applying heat after the polish made for the best shine, but he set his shoes on fire with his lighter....

Daniel 10:11 AM  

I don't consider translations to be "clues", as such. If you have even an elementary knowledge of Spanish, learning that the answer is Mister, or Year, or Banos (in Spanish) is not any trickier than the clue: "The answer is MISTER". Felt very Celebrity Jeopardy for a Wednesday.

Larkin 10:13 AM  

Demasiado facile

Whirred Whacks 10:22 AM  

PEÑA NIETO was a piece of cake for me. I talk about him with my Mexican workers who think he is a PENDEJO.

I tell them that Trump is SEÑOR AMOR DURO (tough love) and they think that is a BROMA.

Aketi 10:26 AM  

This was a demitasse cappuccino solve for me. I liked the misspelled BASque in the puzzle.

Charles Flaster 10:27 AM  

Liked this easy one a lot and I marveled at the construction and the intersecting Spanish terms. Favorite clue was for NOSE JOB.
Liked the continuation of the baseball theme:
PINSON (Vada), Al "SENOR" Lopez.
Always liked MUTOMBO--Heard him on a Philadelphia radio station and he was an absolute delight !! Great player too.
Thought Rex would mention his own name being present--SHARP.
Thanks AES

CDilly52 11:01 AM  

Hand up for frustration on the Bassi/BASSOS, and on the elusive vowel Natick set-up should one not know, or suss out either of the crosses. I opted for the incorrect BASSOS despite my brain screaming at me that his name is MutombE, living proof that my old brain doesn't know Jack (or MutombO).

This was just so disappointingly weak and could have been so much more clever as a Spanish language theme rather than just focusing on the tilde. And I am one of "those people" (coming as I do from generations of grammar, usage and spelling snobs) who have complained about BAÑO crossing the non-Spanish ANO (or whatever). Too easy, too sloppy and too mundane. Thank you @John Child for a genuine LOL, though!

As Scarlett says, "Tomorrow is another day."

GeezerJackYale48 11:11 AM  

Been waiting for someone to mention "eiswein": a very sweet Riesling wine made from frozen grapes. The categories progress from Kabinett to Spatlese to Auslese to Eiswein as the growing season passes.

Joseph Michael 11:12 AM  

A party that Lennon's wife dioes not attend would be NON ONO.

Other than that ridiculous thought, this puzzle held only a SMIDGE of interest for me. I guess I don't give a WOOT about tildes.

Numinous 11:13 AM  

I have to give it to Puzzaz. If one has an iOS type keyboard, Puzzaz will accept the diacritical and the letter it goes with. Ñ works just fine. It does not work in the NYT app. I was really pleased to see all the Ñs in the finished puzzle. I had to use Puzzaz this morning because my app froze up on me and wouldn't unfreeze. Too bad Puzzaz didn't disqualify the finish for the lack of tildes.

I copied the coffee cup in my avatar and had one made for me. It sums up my morning perfectly. Right note I'm waiting for it to dry enough outside for me to go out and repair more fence. At 4Am, my chiweenie got through into the neighbor's yard and couldn't get back through. Had to go around to the neighbor's gate to let her out. Then it started to rain torrents.

I practically sleep-walked through this puzzle, found it too easy for a Wednesday but it made very little impression on me.

Now I gotta mend fences.

GeezerJackYale48 11:17 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hungry Mother 11:21 AM  

WAG on the Mexican President, shame on me. Otherwise, easy.

Z 11:27 AM  

I agree with Rex so often that I sometimes have to check that I'm not an English prof in Binghamton. Not so today. I got the theme early on and chuckled my way to the finish. If there was any bad fill I didn't notice because I was busy imagining Shortz flying the middle finger at all the and/año belligerents.

I got to 48A and wondered how Shortz knew the soda company would be in the hot seat today. The serendipity is amaziñg at times.

@Evil and @Stanley Hudson - Hand up for thinking of Vada. The Tigers could hit when he was our batting coach.

@Quasimojo - Thanks for the "Puh-Leeze" correction, but I disagree on WOOT. Or rather, while WOOT connotates to much more than just "wow," "Wow!" is definitely a part of the emotion conveyed in WOOT, so good enough for a crossword clue.

@glimmerglass - "I swallowed my snob" is a great line. I want to use it.

Speaking of which, music experts, aren't BASSOS and basses different? I always thought BASSOS could sing deeper notes than mere basses. Am I wrong about this?

Z 11:29 AM  

That should be "ano/año belligerents." Damn auto-correct.

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

Wednesday? Easiest Puzzle of the week, so far.

QuasiMojo 11:36 AM  

@Z, I guess I'm thinking more of "woot woot" which has a decidedly different meaning. The Urban Dictionary says "woot" derives from "root" for some electronic reason and signifies "excitement." That is also different from "wow". I remember when I went to Europe for the first time in the 70s people in France loved saying "wow" -- it was a word that didn't exist in French which has few "w" words except "wagon-lit" as we were taught in French class.

As for "bassos" the correct term is "bassi" and a definition online says "A bass singer, especially in opera." You may be thinking of "basso profundo" which is a very deep bass. Others might be thinking of Dennis Basso, a NY glitzy fashion designer. :)

jae 11:37 AM  

Easy for me too. Liked it more than @Rex did but he is right about the fill problems. Did not know MOTOMBO but did know the former Mexican pres. and BASSOS.

kitshef 11:41 AM  

@Hartley70 - a resounding YES, and that category is music. We deal (it seems) daily with an endless string of incomprehensible composers, opera singers, hip-hoppers, country musicians, rockers, and the occasional librettist. It's all about having fair crosses.

Masked and Anonymous 11:49 AM  

NOSEJOB! It's like deja vu all over again.

ñ-JOSE-JOB! M&A experienced a mucho weirdo solvequest:

1. Most of this WedPuz was real easy. Sailed thru most of the grid in a matter of naño-seconds.
2. NE: Had no earthly idea about 43-Down bathrooms, Dikem be dude, or how to spell PENANIETO. This hauled the M&A solvequest right back into the real world, and slapped it around a little.
3. SE: Some crosses were more helpful and less desperate than others. Neat {43-Down, in 43-Down} clue, tho. @RP: Hold onto yer sombrero, dude … INAT has the Patrick Berry NYTPuz Usage Immunity.
4. INANET. Profitted a har out of this one [har net]. Not debut desperation meat. First and only other appearance, courtesy of team BEQ-Fagliano.

ERINNA-dis-staff weeject pick: TNG. (The Next Generation. Always enjoyed the Holo-Deck Room; Ensign M&A woulda dialed up a cinnamon roll factory … but I digress.)

fave fillins: GASTRAPS. LTDAN. WOOT. SHARP (It's official… @RP is "tuned too high"?!). SPIT-SHINER.

Thanx, Mr. Eaton-Salners, and congratz on yer sophpuz fiesta. [First puz: 4 U's. Second puz: 2 U's. Just sayin.]

Masked & AnonymoUUs

inspired by yesterday's nosejob and @Lewis …

Mohair Sam 11:49 AM  

@Evil - Yes, setting the wax on fire does yield the best SPIT SHINE. You should actually let it burn for a few seconds (low flame), work the hot polish in with a cotton ball, then repeat. Former Tech School Guidon bearer speaking. Inspected every day for four months, never gigged. You wana learn how to crease a pair of 1505's I'm here for ya too.

Friggin' ROTC boys.

Anoa Bob 11:50 AM  

In the English alphabet, "Q" is not just an "O" with a diacritical mark across the bottom; "Q" & "O" are different letters. Substituting one for the other in a word not only changes the sound, it changes the meaning.

In the Spanish alphabet, "Ñ" is not just an "N" with a diacritical mark across the top; "Ñ" & "N" are different letters. Substituting one for the other in a word not only changes the sound, it changes the meaning.

Nice to see the NYT (which has a Spanish language option) finally acknowledge as much in the crossword puzzle. ¡Por fin!

I have noticed some continuity from one puzz to the next here of late. Today's example is NOSE JOB (39D) and yesterday's was all about a NOSE job. Will there be a tie in from today's in tomorrow's? GEOLOGY maybe?

I noticed LOTSA ESSes in the grid, beginning with ShaverS & PIÑATAS. What's that? NO NO NO? SPARE ME? Well, OK. If the editor OKED it, it must be OK.

Anonymous 11:52 AM  

Would have been nice if NONONO were clued as [What 11D says as he's wagging his finger in your face, as you're lying flat on the ground]

old timer 12:00 PM  

Hands up for putting in "basses", since (1) I didn't know the African player and (2) BASSOS is totally wrong. Or at least seems wrong. It probably is right, since we don't say "soprani" and "alti".

GILL I. 12:06 PM  

@Whirred W. PENDEJO is one of my all-time favorite words. I think your Mexican friends are being too kind, though. Mine call him an H P..A. He and Trump are two GAS TRAPS.

gifcan 12:23 PM  

Exactly, @Craig Percy. I loved this puzzle for that reason. A great idea well executed.

puzzle hoarder 12:33 PM  

I've often thought that you could make a puzzle based on a theme of things which are common knowledge in Mexico and that a US citizen ought to know but don't because even liberals don't think squat of that country. I'm not saying I'm any better but their current president wasn't a problem here. What I dnfed on was NEW for NOW. An old clue for EBAY points out that they use both words in their slogan so if the NBA guy has to go in by crosses you can't tell which is correct.
Is WOOT something geeks say when they see a really hot BAE? Entering that word was like stepping on something the cats coughed up. Other than that dnf a super easy Wednesday.

CDilly52 12:38 PM  

Ja! "Hand in due Luft" für Eiswein!

Crane Poole 12:54 PM  

Roared through it but then got strangely stuck in the north central. Made more sense after more coffee. Should have known MUTOMBO but how could BASSeS be wrong?! Too many years spent watching Louise Lasser in 'Vada Pinson, Vada Pinson'.

Larry Gilstrap 12:57 PM  

It's all pretty much been said. That was a nasty little cross up in the New England area, of course.

But, all in all, I enjoyed the solve. For the last six years, I have had the opportunity to teach English to Mexican men. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and a lot of fun. I have developed close friendships with both my students and their families, a relationship that is being threatened by new immigration enforcement standards. I'm not conversant in Espanol, but having grown up in Southern California and taken Spanish in high school, I am very familiar with much of the vocabulary and the culture. I have learned much from their wisdom and temperament.

Ever hear a story about someone crowing whose name appears in the NYT puzzle, either in a clue or in an answer? We all have seen constructors do it, from time to time. OFL has probably seen SHARP appear numerous times, so no big WOOT! Imagine my glee upon seeing GASTRAPS. That's about as close as I will ever get.

Joe Bleaux 1:23 PM  

"Rex made it IN AT ... " -- Nice one!

Teedmn 1:23 PM  

Sign me up for the double DNF - my bad for not knowing the second half of PEÑA NIETO so dIEgO had to make do. NSA should have been sussable, but I have no PROWESS re: basketball knowledge.

I enjoyed the theme, smiling at the ULTRA inside joke. I wasn't entirely sure what month the NFL season is considered to start these days, with Aug. all scheduled in with that sport but the crosses made it easy to choose SEP.

@Rex, thanks for the write-up - while I liked the puzzle, I still had to giggle at INAT slipping by on ERINNA's coattails.

Thanks AE-S, NiceJOB!

OISK 1:29 PM  

DNF on Wednesday - the last time this happened it was ALSO a problem with an acronym. I had penasieto and SSA, wrong guess. But I also missed Mutombo, writing Mutombe and Basses, and didn't have even a clue that I was wrong until I came here. In English, they are "basses," What is a "WOOT"? As in "acronyms are the woot of all evil"?

I do love ice wine, though. We bring some back from the Finger Lakes each summer.

Joe Bleaux 1:36 PM  

Only the W in ICEWINE kept me from a DNF on such an easy puzzle. I've never seen or heard WOOT, but my subsequent brief research indicates it was used inaccurately.

Charley 1:37 PM  

Never heard of icewine (spellcheck thinks it's two words) nor Lt. Dan. Hence, despite the rest being tan fácil, DNF.

tea73 1:44 PM  

My urban dictionary claims that W00T comes from Wow! Loot. So close enough for me. I usually think of it as more like "Hurrah!"

It was easy except I'm ashamed to admit I couldn't remember the name of Mexico's president. He's almost as cute as the Prime Minister up north.

I'm more familiar with Eiswein, but I've seen the equivalents stuff from American growers translated.

Z 3:03 PM  


Seriously, Merriam-Webster allows either the "S" or "I" as acceptable plurals. Watching The Great British Baking Show the other night my wife and I could not figure out what type of bread they were discussing. It wasn't until Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry sat down to discuss the technical challenge that we realized that what sounded like "pitter" to us was actually "pita." This led us to wonder why the British are so much more likely to just say "frag the country of origin, we're just going to anglicize the pronunciation." Mayhap a relic of colonialism.

BTW - Merriam-Webster has a definition for w00t and an (unsourced) etymology. I do believe the double zeroes are the original way spelling it, and, no, I don't know why double zeroes are correct. I'm too old.

*If you don't know why this is a joke I have some octopi for you.

Anonymous 3:50 PM  

Devin pronounces his last name noo-nez because there's no tilde in Portuguese.

Anonymous 3:53 PM  

On ñ that is

Andrew Heinegg 4:02 PM  

When there is a thread of agreement among the posts of Mr. Parker, Nancy and Evil Doug's posts and that thread is one of distaste for the puzzle, no need to pile on. The verdict is in.

ScreamingEagle 4:25 PM  

I got stuck at BASSeS/MUTOMBe. I was in choir for years, and I never heard anyone say "bassos", and my dictionary says "basses". You can't cross a non-standard spelling with an obscure proper noun like that, especially when the more standard form sounds like it would work. Just felt unfair. Two thumbs down for that.

Graham 5:22 PM  

I was astounded that there were nine reasonably well-known (to angloparlantes) Spanish words with ñs in them. But I had to read the blog to find that out, because I didn't even notice while solving.

Hartley70 5:47 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hartley70 5:50 PM  

Ah @kitshef, you're right. I just never consider it because that category is much easier for me. Music and musicians are ubiquitous and I would have to deliberately seek out the names of sports players. I'm just looking at the world through my own heavily prescriptive lenses, it seems. Thank you for the enlightenment.

Hartley70 5:54 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hartley70 5:57 PM  

Thanks for the explanation, @GeezerJack. Your eiswein sounds delicious. I'm relieved to hear it wasn't a joke!

BarbieBarbie 8:14 PM  

Ah, @evildoug, you've done it again. "Los zapatos fuegos" wins mental image of the day. With @Larry Gastrap close behind. Know what you mean, Larry-- I was excited to see KenKen a week or so ago.
I also sing with basses, but don't object to bassos. This puzzle was too easy, but no real complaints. Looking forward to Thursday.

#brownface 8:43 PM  

@Roo Monster, why not throw the Frito Bandito, Juan Valdez, and Jose Jimenez into the mix as well?

Unknown 9:23 PM  

Ice Wine?? Really?? Also, Woot is not Wow! In internet-speak. Would be OMG.

Leapfinger 12:10 AM  

ÑOSE rings yesterday, A ÑOSEJOB today

ÑO ÑO ÑO, it's LOOT INAT DAN; LTDAN just doesn't have legs.

@JChild, I knew Akeem/Hakeem Olajuwon; it didn't help me with MUTOMBe at all.

Thanks to XWese, I know bireme and trireme; #TIL SPAREME, must be a ship that rows with SPARs? Maybe.

Liked having SPANISH/ ESPAÑOL snugged up sidebyside, and want to thank #Alex E-S for the shoutout to UNC junior Theo PINSON, the cutup who assisted my TarHeels all the way through the Final Four. Anyone who's bothered, guess they'd rather be PISToff than PISTON.

Leapfinger 12:15 AM  

Almost forgot.

The puzzle? Dolce far PEÑA NIEnte.

Greg 9:55 PM  

I sing opera for a living, and no one I know says "bassos". We say "bassi". When I used to do choral singing, the bass section was addressed as "basses". Saying "bassos" is as incorrect as saying "paninis".

Burma Shave 10:20 AM  


NOW, his demeanor? SPAREME. Don’t ASK just listen:
For OPENERS, he dunked his ORBS a SMIDGE INANET,
jangled a SPUR INAT the END, then blew a PISTON.


spacecraft 11:40 AM  

I have to smile. For so long people have been carping on those incongruent crossings that somebody finally said, "Okay, here!" The point never bothered me--not because I figured "what's the difference" but because I just put it down to constructor license--a sort of "everybody" immunity as opposed to only PB1. Perhaps if I were a native it would offend me more, but then again I try to make a point of NOT being offended. More people should try it; it's so peaceful out here.

The concept is new to me, so freshness points. Also new was the way this puzzle was printed in my paper: the bottom two lines weren't there! All the clues were printed, but some copy editor screwed up bigtime. The result was that I thought the grid was asymmetrical, which would deduct some of those points. But then trying to fit in GEOLOGISTS gave me pause. Did we have a rebus--but only at the bottom? All became clear soon enough.

I love the science mini-theme in the center: COPERNICUS, GEOLOGISTS, and my beloved TNG tying them together. Best of all the Star Trek series, IMHO. And I really love @M&A's observation that OFL is indeed "tuned too high." And he's talking about OTHER peoples' anuses??

Two things take eagle off the table: the Natick at sq. 19 (I wound up hoping that Ft. Meade had an airport and went with N: whew!), and no true DOD...well, I guess we could dust off Arlene DAHL for that. The fill, though admittedly rough in that SE, didn't bother me nearly as much as it did OFL. I did have trouble with Dikembe's name; switched the first O and U causing a bit of a writeover, and I always thought of "tiptop" as an adjective, which would not agree with the noun answer, but other than that, I liked the solve. Birdie.

Diana,LIW 1:22 PM  

Welcome to Natickville - guessed an M in MUmOMBO.

And everyone knows the NFL begins in May. NONONO?

Had Aone before APEX.

No cause to BASK in my solve today, I guess. Another 95%.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoastTAM 2:22 PM  

A little Spanish can go a long way.

Took me all the way to the JALOPENOS/WOOT crossing where I clumsily stumbled into WaOT/JALOPENaS.

Otherwise, mucho facil.

rondo 2:27 PM  

Not a write-over yet this week. I scribbled in an arrow pointing to the 8d clue “Tuned too high” after filling in SHARP, as an homage to OFL. Guess I’m not the only one thinking that.
SPANISH SIESTAS as bonus to the crossing Ñs.

I remember Mr. MUTOMBO from back in his Georgetown days. Great player.

They tried to make me go to rehab but I said, “NONONO!” (Amy Winehouse)

Do you like PINACOLADAs and getting caught in the rain, . . . making love at midnight . . . etc. ? Or Escape (The PINACOLADA song)? Maybe those things, but the song itself is so cheesy.

Wow @spacey, Minnesota’s own Arlene DAHL! That’s a blast from the past and game shows in black and white. But she was in real yeah baby company as an Elvgren girl.

Glad someone did a puz with the Ñ thing. Can umlauts be far behind?

rain forest 2:50 PM  

I OKED this puzzle as soon as I saw Vada PINSON in there. As a 12-year old, PINSON and Frank Robinson of the Reds were my heroes. 'Course, that's when baseball was much fun to watch.

I had no Naticks today, and yes, the puzzle was very easy, but it was elevated by the use of all the tilde words and some nice downs. WOOT is new to me, but I plan to use it soon.

Not a nit (I try not to pick them), but is there not a difference between a razor and a SHAVER? I.e. isn't a razor the blade thing and the SHAVER an electric thing? I will not Google that, but that's always been my understanding.

Echoes of Watergate resounding in Washington today. Sad!

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