Windows precursor / TUE 8-22-17 / Undergraduate law deg / Common churchyard confier / Spritual center in yoga / TV blocking device / Red River Valley city in upper midwest / Calypso influenced genre / here are my thoughts online

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Constructor: Timothy Polin

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: cities that contain their own state codes

Theme answers:
  • OZARK (5A: Southern city just south of a national forest with the same name)
  • ASTORIA (7D: City almost at the end of the Columbia River)
  • TUSCALOOSA (3D: Where the Crimson Tide play)
  • GRAND FORKS (11D: Red River Valley city in the upper Midwest)
  • BLOOMINGTON (25D: State university city in the Midwest)
  • SANTA MONICA (28D: Sunny city with a famous pier)
  • ALBANY (46D: Original eastern terminus of the Erie Canal)
Word of the Day: ASTORIA
Astoria is a port city and the seat of Clatsop County, Oregon, United States. Situated near the mouth of the Columbia River where it meets the Pacific Ocean, the city was named after John Jacob Astor, an investor from New York City whose American Fur Company founded Fort Astoria at the site in 1811, 206 years ago. Astoria was incorporated by the Oregon Legislative Assembly on October 20, 1876. // It holds the distinction of being the first permanent United States settlement on the Pacific coast and for having the first U.S. post office west of the Rocky Mountains. Located on the south shore of the Columbia River, the city is served by the deepwater Port of Astoria. Transportation includes the Astoria Regional Airport with U.S. Route 30 and U.S. Route 101 as the main highways, and the 4.1-mile (6.6 km) Astoria–Megler Bridge connecting to neighboring Washington across the river. The population was 9,477 at the 2010 census. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is filler. The very definition of filler. Cities that contain their own state codes? You wanna know how hard that is? Here, I'll show you: PORTLAND. That is how hard it is. Want more: WALLA WALLA! CARMEL! I haven't even left the Pacific Time Zone. What is clever about this? What is entertaining about this? Precisely nothing. I finished the puzzle very quickly having no idea what the theme was except "longish city names." Cities have nothing in common except including their own state codes. This may be the most forgettable puzzle ever made. There is nothing in the fill to redeem it either. It's not god-awful. It's just borderline non-existent, and fantastically disappointing (if you expect any bang for your considerable NYT dollar). Does anyone outside Oregon know there's an ASTORIA, OR??? Its Population Is Under 10K!!! And who the hell thinks of OZARK as a "city" anyway? Come on, man.

I can never remember LLB or how it differs from LLD or L... TD? LLC? TLC? LST? I guess "B" is for Bachelors and "D" (in LLD) is for Doctorate? Yeah, that's not gonna help, I guarantee you. The fill is so boring, I don't know what to talk about. ZOOM IN ON is coolish, but its coolness is undermined by existence of yet another longer "IN" answer (SWOOP IN). The only two good answers in the grid, and they're fighting with each other. I slightly like CHAKRA, as a word (43A: Spiritual center, in yoga). Is there a CHAKRA, Alaska? No? Too bad. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Whirred Whacks 12:04 AM  

I enjoyed the new Netflix series OZARK (which dropped in late July) starring Jason Bateman playing a narco money-launderer. If you liked "Breaking Bad," you might give this a try.

Anonymous 12:13 AM  

Nice shout-out to the town I now call home...Grand Forks, ND!

As for the questionable fill, all I can say is TUG ORGY OOZE BY MOUTH. Ewww.

Anonymous 12:17 AM  

There's only one singer ____ Bryson, and that's Jeanie Bryson. Take it from me, I know.

mathgent 12:28 AM  

Rex is absolutely right. He expressed my feelings about the puzzle exactly. And with great style.

Like many of us, I read Jeff Chen regularly. Should I send him money? He sells ads.

AP 1:28 AM  

I actually liked the puzzle, but found VCHIP / PEABO to be a total natick. Are either of those things common knowledge?? Definitely not to me.

Hartley70 1:54 AM  

This is so slender a theme that I just regarded it as themeless with a bunch of cities. It should have run yesterday.

I want to say something positive so I'll applaud PEABO who can deliver a great love song.

Unknown 2:01 AM  

We did have a weird mini-Napoleon theme, referring to his quote, Waterloo, and Admiral Nelson. At first I thought that would be the theme, until I saw the cities.

chefwen 2:04 AM  

TUSCALOOSA is almost as much fun to say as Oconomowoc (right @Carola)?

Liked it but not as much as I liked Liz Gorski's weekly puzzle. @ACME you would love that one.

jae 2:12 AM  

Medium for me.

The theme seems vaguely familiar.

OZARK seems out of place given it goes in the wrong direction and puts an extra circle in ASTORIA.

... and @Whirred is right about the OZARK series on Netflix.

I'm with @Rex on this one.

Dolgo 2:28 AM  

Went to summer camp in the OZZARKs, grad school in BLOOMINGTON, got my first job offer in GRAND FORKS, went to my first lit convention in SANTA MONICA,so a lot of nostalgia for me here. Oh. And many years later I went close to ASTORIA on the train. BFD, no?

Dolgo 2:35 AM  

I binge-watched it. Not bad. Having spent a lot of summers in the Ozarks, I was amazed at what I thought was the accuracy of the accents. None of the usual phoney Hollywood hick talk. But the credits said the show was filmed in Georgia! Coulda fooled me!!!

Dolgo 2:50 AM  

PS. As most midwesterners probably know, there are state U's in two Bloomingtons--Indiana and Illinois. The one in IN began as the state U while the IL one began as a state college.

Lewis 5:41 AM  

My four favorite answers are KISMET, PAMPAS, CHERIE, and GLOM, and FWIW, three of them have state postal codes. I also liked OAKY crossing CORK (each of which also have same).

So, the question popped in my head: What is the longest legitimate word made from state postal codes. I'm in a rush and don't have time to play with this, but I did find MEMORIAL and CALAMARI online. I wonder if there are any longer ones out there...

Z 6:19 AM  

I'm with @jae, the theme seems familiar.

Mr. Polin has had 10 puzzles published this year, a couple of them got favorable reviews from Rex. Three of the last five have had bi-lateral symmetry rather than radial symmetry, with one of those three being bi-lateral along the horizontal axis.

@Anon12:13 - Ewww indeed. Maybe ROSIN would help.

QuasiMojo 6:30 AM  

I'm an OAKY from Muskogee. Too many of these faux cheater words with the added "Y" in the puzzle these days. I agree with Rex. This is an exercise, not a challenge. And it is indeed awfully familiar. Wasn't there an Olympic skier named PEABO? Like @Lewis, there were some words I was glad to see. Pampas, Vespa, and good old Albany, but too much junk fill as well. SKA, ABBA, ODOR, FWIW, NIL, MSDOS, etc. And YEW TREE and NAVAL HERO are bordering on GREEN PAINT.

Frayed Knot 7:17 AM  

QM: "Wasn't there an Olympic skier named PEABO?"

PICABO STREET (pronounced: Peek-A-Boo)
Nuthin' like hippie parents.

kitshef 7:27 AM  

@jae, @Z - Agreed on the familiarity. I think there was a Sunday puzzle with a similar (but much better) theme ... maybe a year ago?

@Quasimojo - you may be thinking of Picabo Street.

Agree the theme was forgettable, but I liked a lot of the fill: KISMET/CHAKRA is an awesome row. AGOG/NOGO a nice pair. GLOM, IGLOO, PAMPAS.

Fell in love with ABBA watching them on Don Kirchner's Rock Concert - which was also my introduction to the New York Dolls and The Ohio Players.

clk 7:37 AM  

I had no clue what the theme was, despite the helpful little circles. Meh. For once I agree with Rex's rant.

chefbea 7:43 AM  

I thought this was a great puzzle. Had a little trouble in the southwest but over all loved it. Thought chakra would be word of the day...having never taken a yoga class...never heard that word.

Love to eat chocolate while playing clue!!

Hungry Mother 7:50 AM  

Very quick solve today. The only one of the cities that I've visited in my travels was TUSCALOOSA during a visit to the Bear Bryant Museum. As a guy from a Penn State family, the endless loop of Keith Jackson's "Four pops from the one" was misery, but the museum is very interesting.

Stanley Hudson 8:06 AM  

A bit disappointing, especially after yesterday's exceptional Monday.

Nancy 8:08 AM  

I'm sure I must have done a more boring puzzle in the past, but I don't remember it.

RAD2626 8:09 AM  

Ithkught the puzzle was slight but entertaining and I was not offended by it at all. I agree with those who would have flipped this and yesterday from a difficulty standpoint.

Most law schools used to give the LL.B. until the mid twentieth century when they switched to Juris Doctor or J.D., which of course is too short to be acceptable crossword fill. The LL.B. in the United States is a graduate degreee, not an undergraduate degree.

Oscar Madison 8:11 AM  

BTW, LLB is clued badly. LLB's were conferred by law schools until the 1970s, when they all changed the name of the degree to JD to make clear that it was a graduate level degree. I don't think LLBs were ever undergraduate degrees--at least not for the past 100 years.

Nancy 8:14 AM  

Rex (re yesterday's blog) -- The spellcaster was bad enough, but can you possibly get rid of THE FULL CAP, LONG-WINDED ITALIAN DUDE. GRAZIE (or however you spell it.)

Anonymous 8:38 AM  

Unlike FWIW, there's nothing inherently self-deprecating about "here are my thoughts." IMO's a tighter fit.

George 8:40 AM  

Rex, all these years of reading your blog, and today I'm whizzing through this one, thinking the short fill isn't too bad, the answers are kind of zippy, I bet Rex is gonna like this puzzle. And then I'm crestfallen when I read your blog and realize that I really don't know you at all.

However, thanks to you, i love TUSCALOOSA. My favorite song is 'Waiting Around to Die,' which I discovered via a music video that you posted long ago, and my favorite version of it is by L.Stadt, who is a Polish dude who mispronounces TUSCALOOSA. It makes me smile every time.

Passing Shot 8:50 AM  

... So in other words, Tuesday.

Anonymous 8:52 AM  

I'm surprised the stray circle in ASTORIA got a pass from OFL.

The Hermit Philosopher 8:53 AM  

@rex needs to get over his resentment of Will Shortz and the NYT. If Nelson Mandela can forgive 27 years in prison, perhaps you can forgive too. How about it?!

L 8:56 AM  

Ugh, I hate geography based themes. A bunch of city names...who cares?? I'm with OFL on this one.

Tita 8:57 AM  

More of a "Hmmm...interesting feat" reaction than a "What a fun solve" reaction.

Speaking of feet, yesterday,
@Two Ponies...never saw that episode, but my favorite German word, that illustrates to me their no-nonsense approach to naming things by jamming together relevant words:
Shoe is Shuh (pronounced the same way).
Glove is Handshuh.

Anonymous 9:00 AM  

Lighten up, Francis.

Mohair Sam 9:00 AM  

Constructors are not responsible for the day their puzzle is run. This would have been a nice Monday puzzle - Will should have flip-flopped it with yesterday's.

The only one of these towns I've ever been to is ALBANY, been there at lot. That's unless you count the real ASTORIA (which is in Queens, but you already know that).

Why do elephants take their R&R in Alabama?

G. Weissman 9:04 AM  


Blue Stater 9:18 AM  

As several have already pointed out, the LL.B. never was an undergraduate degree. This kind of elementary, factual, easily checkable error has become endemic to the puzzles and is unworthy of the NYT. I'm very confident that errors of this frequency and magnitude in the paper's news columns would result in some job losses. And should.

Two Ponies 9:33 AM  

This was simply boring until I noticed the crossing of Ozark and Astoria. Any pleasure I might have had was ruined. How did that extra circle slip past Will and Rex?

If glom is in fact a real word it needs to go away. Ugly.

Why are yew trees common in churchyards? Symbolic?

@ Tita A, Hand shoe indeed! Germans have such a great vocabulary. Thanks.

RooMonster 9:34 AM  

Hey All !
Add me to the 'MonPuz should've been today's, and today's should've been Mondays' crowd. Did figure out theme, but agree with Rex that it's real easy to find cities with the state abbr. in them. Would've been more impressed if they were all Capital cities.

Closed off SE and SW corners. Got a reject that said part of the reason for said rejection was there was only one square into the corners.

There is four F's, so there's that.


joshua 9:37 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 9:40 AM  

Guys. "The Goonies" – a touchstone film of my generation – takes places in Astoria, OR. I'm shocked! shocked! at the lack of knowledge here of this very important fact.

Ellen S 9:50 AM  

Help, I've fallen behind and I can't catch up! for the last month, I've started the puzzle, gotten interrupted and never gotten back to the puzzle, let alone the blog. Plus I'm trying to type with three of my 6 foster kittens jumping all over the keyboard. Anyway I managed to finish yesterday's puzzle (liked it, but it went quickly) last night and today's -- well the good thing is, it was so easy I had time for the blog before my day intruded.

Since I was here last, my old dog passed away; he was at least 15 years old, and had a bad back and kidney failure and maybe some other stuff, but was getting along okay. Then one morning in late June we went for a walk, he met two new friends and got petted, and came home and collapsed on the kitchen floor. I called the traveling vet to come and do the honors. I was then dogless until about 2 weeks ago when I got a smaller, younger, wilder unhousebroken, mouthy version of my dear Liam. Don't let appearances fool you!

Anyway, back to the puzzle. The only entry I liked was 19A, "It's a big blow"/GALE. The others were just fill in the blanks. The embedded state postal codes were interesting but did nothing for the solve.

Unknown 9:52 AM  

I second the Goonies comment above.

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

@Blue Stater 9:18 a.m.- An LLB is an undergraduate degree typically taking three to four years to earn and specifically refers to a
"Bachelor of Laws" or Legum Baccalaureus. You are obviously confusing this with an LLD which is Legum Doctor. This kind erroneous , easily checkable comment is unworthy of this blog.

QuasiMojo 10:01 AM  

@kitshef, 7:27am, thx, yes I was!

QuasiMojo 10:02 AM  

And @Frayed Knot. Much obliged.

Joseph MIchael 10:02 AM  

I was hoping that the circled letters were going to spell out a theme that would add an unexpected aha! to this boring puzzle, but all I got in the end were postal codes.

I'm generally a fan of Timothy Polin's puzzles, but this one should be put on a bus and sent back to wherever it came from.

Salemhill 10:03 AM  

For a better understanding of today's puzzle please read on page A2 of the New York Times "A bit of fun at the Foot of page One". There are 24 "O"s in today's puzzle

Salemhill 10:06 AM  

Make that 25 O s

JC66 10:10 AM  

For some reason, the KISMET/IMSET combo amused me. Otherwise, agree with OFL today.

DJG 10:22 AM  

I'm going to defend the crossworthiness of ASTROIA, OR. It doesn't have a large population today, but it is a noteworthy city in US history. It's at the mouth of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean and was one of (if not the) earliest US settlements on the West Coast.

Also, it's inferable since it's named after John Jacob Astor.

Also, also, it's where "The Goonies" was filmed.

jberg 10:42 AM  

OHNO! Blogger just erased by laboriously written and supremely written comment. I don't have the strength to do it again -- but I will point out, @chefwen, that sadly there are no Groucho Marx jokes about Oconomowoc.

@Ellen, welcome back!

Zev W. 10:44 AM  

@AP VCHIP is right at home with MSDOS, in a crossword puzzle circa 1995.

Unfortunately, the 90s is where this puzzle should have stayed. It's a textbook example of blah.

semioticus (shelbyl) 11:16 AM  

I have been doing NYT Crossword on a regular basis for a few months now. I have come to accept that I will never like some constructor's puzzles, simply because we are not on the same wavelength. Timothy Polin is one of them. It just doesn't do it for me. I don't like the way he writes clues. Alas. Maybe that will change one day.

Unknown 11:44 AM  

Question: why, on the filled in Xword on this blog (where I go to educate myself) is there always one letter singled out in red? There must be a rhyme or reason!

Aketi 11:51 AM  

The 24 Os are accompanied by 7 pairs of circles, three Us, and one YEW (which contains a double U).
Only one of the circles covers an O.

Aketi 11:53 AM  

@Barbara, the one letter singled out in red is the last square you clicked on.

Unknown 11:53 AM  

Sorta neat, tho' I only count 23.
Does that count as a baker's dozen plus 10?

Unknown 11:55 AM  

What's really neat is the story Salemhill led us to see. Nice to know what to look for from now on!

SethC 11:57 AM  

Let's have a party, Albany

oliver klozoff 11:57 AM  

weak weak weak puzzle.

oh, and Astoria was a location in "Kindergarten Cop". that's how I remember it.

Unknown 11:57 AM  

Ha! This time I got 24! I'm not counting any more. These donut holes are way too fattening.

Unknown 12:00 PM  

Aha! So that makes it a personal "red letter" day! Thank you, Aketi!

Carola 12:01 PM  

Well, I thought it was kind of neat. I saw what was going on when I got to ASTORIA, and understanding the theme helped me get a couple of the rest more quickly than I would have otherwise (GRAND FORKS, ALBANY).

@chefwen - I've always thought it was a little funny that when my daughter was in first grade, the class was taught the song, "I Went For a Walk in Oconomowoc" - perhaps so that they would know how to pronounce it when later in life the need arose? Apparently the tradition continues.

Salemhill 12:08 PM  

Today's NYTIMES front page pic of the eclipse, the photos in the "reefer" section at the foot of page one and the secondary underlying theme of the crossword puzzle are "CIRCLES" >> see article on page A2

Noam D. Elkies 12:10 PM  

This puzzle was just right for Downs-only solving -- nearly empty grid with lots of mysterious geography clues, then I guessed right what the circles were doing and that was enough to get a toehold (46D:ALBA[NY], fixing the wrong guess CAVALIERS for 49A:NAVAL_HERO) and in the end barely enough to fill in everything correctly. Happily 7D:ASTORIA, which meant nothing to me as clued, is also the name of a NYC neighborhood, so I at least knew of the name's existence and that guess in turn let me fill in the final entry 8D:RITUALLY with which I somehow couldn't get beyond the (very helpful) -LY from just the clue.

NDE (in MA, not ND or DE)

RooMonster 12:10 PM  

To further follow up on the vowel counts (I know you're all waiting for that!), here they are:
Now you know why @M&A sticks up for those poor U's!


Dick Swart 12:17 PM  

Good Lord, Rex! Some of us older folk start our mornings with the xword just to see if we are up to facing the day,

A pleasant puzzle having relevance to geography is a perfectly acceptable test to the little gray cells.

I read many reviews: book reviews, movie and play reviews, art and architectural reviews, and political reviews.

I must say that your diatribe this am is much more akin to a political review in its acerbic and scathing tone.

Have you become the Breitbart of xword reviewers?

Robert A. Simon 12:20 PM  

@Ellen S. So sorry about your dog. But having them makes the days you don't worth it. If you haven't already, do read "The Art of Racing in the Rain." You don't know me, but trust me. It's narrated by a dog and it's wise and beautiful.

Which is totally unlike this puzzle. It reminds me of my favorite, well, blonde joke, and women of all hair colors, please don't be offended. I think and do all the right things, but I still like this joke:

Q: Why was the blonde so proud it only took her two weeks to finish the jigsaw puzzle?
A: Because the box said "2-4 Years."

That's what this puzzle was. Aimed at the solving equivalent of a toddler. I really don't know if it's a better Monday than a Tuesday or anything like that, but to me it's a February 29th. Something this bad should only come around ever four years.

old timer 12:20 PM  

OFL has it exactly right today. Though he should not complain about ASTORIA, because it is mentioned in many schoolbooks since it was founded by John Jacob Astor as a fur depot. Not an obscure town at all. However OZARK is given a ridiculous clue. No one ever heard of OZARK the town unless they are from ARkansas or fans of the old Missouri Pacific Railroad.

And yes, in almost all cases the LLB was awarded to law school graduates and was never an undergraduate degree. Though if a college had a Law major (most did not) you got a BA degree at the end of your first year of law school and your LLB two years later, six years of schooling instead of seven. In fact, my law school class was the first to get JD degrees instead of the LLB.

Aketi 12:25 PM  

@RooMonster, I always thought M&A should include the YOUs, YEWs, and "double u's" in his count. There are two Y's as well.
@Barbara, haha I actually crosschecked the Os in each column and each row and it all checked out to a sum of 24 both directions. I'll spare everyone the row and column counts.

Masked and Anonymous 12:38 PM  

Liked that the theme had no revealer -- had to "de-code" the mcguffin yerself. Primo. Took M&A quite a while to uncover that AR-OR-ND-AL-IN-NY-CA anagrams to CARNAL NONDAIRY, tho.

Some other crossword somewhere had ASTORIA in it lately, which really helped m&e here, today. And M&A really needed the help, in that North-Central section. After zoomin thru the NW section in near-record time, the brakes squealed hard, in that N-central nano-second gobbler.

Always luv the east/west grid symmetry. Opens things up for the grid art possibilities. Kinda like tryin to spot shapes in the clouds. Today the grid art looks like most of em look: a transformer dude. Sooo … not too sure I'm gettin the CARNAL NONDAIRY knowledge connection, on this puppy.

Enjoyed seein @RP go on to discover additional themer possibilities. Imitation = sincere flattery, and all that. Betcha there ain't many TX cities that fit the bill, theme-wise, tho. Like somebody wisely already pointed out, ASTORIA ain't exactly in A-OR, either; does add a nice dash of overall desperation, tho. Like.

staff weeject pick: LLB. [See *]
moo-cow TuesPuz eazy-E clue: {1/60 of a min.} = SEC. I sense CHAKRA/YEWTREE remorse, on behalf of the Polinmeister/Shortzmeister.


Thanx, Mr. Polin. Do U, by the coolest of chances, live in IN? … M and A don't live in MA. Nor ND. Nor A-OR.

Masked & Anonymo3Us
(yo, U-counter @Aketi)


Aketi 1:08 PM  

I know I'm going over the limit, but.. TMI alert

@M&A I keep seeing a phantom i in ZOO MINiON.
Since you had to bring up the CARNAL NONDAIRY option, I was wondering why @Evil hadn't yet commented on the ORGY GOTO BYMOUTH combo in the north.

Nancy 1:11 PM  

@Ellen S. -- Let me add my sympathy on the loss of your beloved dog, Liam. And welcome back to the blog.

@Robert A. Simon (12:20 p.m.) -- I saw your recommendation to Ellen of THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN, looked online for an excerpt -- which is the way I decide whether to read a book or not -- and fell in love with the narrator's "voice". I just ordered a copy from my neighborhood library. Thank you for the recommendation. I also loved your "blonde joke" -- although I suppose that's easy for me to say. I am -- or maybe "was" is a bit more accurate -- a brunette. (And when my hair is completely wet, you'd still think I am.)

@Mohair (9:00 a.m.) -- Don't keep us all in suspense. Why does the elephant take his R&R in Alabama???

Anonymous 1:20 PM  

You have to check out these Trump videos, showcasing his incompetence. Send to your conservative friends, even though it won't change their moronic closed minds.

This is only one interview

Ben 1:22 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ben 1:23 PM  

"The one in IN began as the state U"

Not, however, the land-grant U -- that distinction belongs to Purdue

Anonymous 1:23 PM  

Oh well, Trump is still an incompetent buffoon. Just go to YouTube and search for his idiotic rants.

Cassieopia 1:29 PM  

@Nancy-because his Tuscaloosa. (I've heard the variant, " why did the elephant go to a dentist in Alabama? "

I was born in Tuscaloosa and seeing it in the puzzle was a highlight. The rest - not so much. "Meh" expresses it perfectly. In Rex's camp today.

Teedmn 1:29 PM  

Good grief, I barely know that the Crimson Tide is in AL, NOW I need to know what city? This is what went through my head when I saw 3D. In fact, I needed crosses for all of the cities except GRAND FORKS, ND, as I've actually been there. I camped at a campground there on my way up to Winnipeg. I woke up constantly - if there wasn't a semi WHIRring by on the nearby interstate, there was a train whistling through.

I like the cross of RITUALLY and the churchyard YEW TREES.

I once saw a film in grade school about the Hershey factory. I yearned to swim in the VATS of M&Ms (I don't think they were Peanut M&Ms, @LMS). I suppose I would just asphyxiate rather than swim but it looked as if it would be lovely.

So many people joining Rex today in his "I Hate Tuesdays" usual stance. I am not going to say AMEN.

Salemhill 2:33 PM  


Joe Bleaux 3:25 PM  

I binge-watched it too, and enjoyed it, but would've liked it more if I hadn't already seen "Breaking Bad" and "Justified." I think it owes a little bit to "Bloodline," too.

chefwen 4:03 PM  

@Carola - Thanks for the tune, love it.

Tita 4:10 PM  

@Ellen S - so sorry to hear about Liam. Your description of him, and of the newest dog, sound precious, and I'm sure this one will become a full-fledged family member too.
SIX foster kittens too? BTW, there is an actual app called PawSense that detects cat typing and disables the keyboard, so that your rambunctious kitties can't delete things or respond to Nigerian princes.

@Teed...We took the factory tour at Stollwerck chocolates in Cologne. We were told the founder died when one of the boilers exploded. "What a way to go!", my brother--in-law sighed...

Mohair Sam 4:39 PM  

@Nancy - @Casseopia has it right. Variant of original joke from Groucho Marx in "Animal Crackers".

"The Art of Racing in the Rain" is a wonderful read, btw. Enjoy.

MRGold 4:46 PM  

So did Schwarzenegger 's Kindergarten Cop

Unknown 5:34 PM  

There was talk about the V-chip for half a decade as they implemented television ratings. It was kind of a failed technology since no one used it much, especially as the now ubiquitous cable and satellite boxes replacing broadcast television took up parental controls without mentioning any V-chip.

JohnA401006 5:47 PM

Anonymous 6:20 PM  

@anon. 1:23 pm agreed. President Pence will be much better.

BarbieBarbie 6:58 PM  

@TitaA, make that your second-favorite. Check out Auspuffgasen. Best German Word Ever.

newspaperguy 7:15 PM  

Have any of you commenters complaining about LLB heard about Google? Try it. You will be amazed at what you can learn. Just because Rex whines on ad nauseam doesn't mean everyone else should.

Unknown 7:43 PM  

Correct. Standard for at least 40 is J.D.

Unknown 7:56 PM  

No college in the US offers this degree for undergraduate studies in law; it does nothing to qualify one for the bar. J.D. is an "undergraduate" degree for law school attendees.

Anonymous 9:43 PM  

chakra isn't a "spiritual center". there are 6 chakras on the body, and they are each energy points. a "spiritual center" for yoga is an ashram.

Joe Welling 10:36 PM  

The5th Harp said:

"J.D. is an 'undergraduate' degree for law school attendees."

Not unless your scarequotes around "undergraduate" somehow make it mean "graduate." A J.D. is not an undergraduate degree.

Anonymous 8:24 AM  

I liked the unusual cities. Nice IDEA. I hadn't a CLUE about the two letter state codes, even when I finished. Surprised @Rex didn't comment on the "improved" cluing for IGLOO as he's always going on about that one. Cheers.

Anonymous 9:45 AM  

rex, salem is the capital of oregon

iamjess 4:43 PM  

Goonies! I mean, I thought everyone knew where Astoria is.

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Juanita Melanie 7:48 AM  

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fakt chekker 9:19 AM  

The Bachelor of Laws (Latin: Legum Baccalaureus; LL.B. or B.L.) is an undergraduate degree in law (or a first professional degree in law, depending on jurisdiction) originating in England and offered in most common law jurisdictions—except the United States and Canada—as the degree which allows a person to become a lawyer.[1] It historically served this purpose in the U.S. as well, but was phased out in the mid-1960s in favor of the Juris Doctor degree, and Canada followed suit.

Burma Shave 10:07 AM  


AWAITing a gift from SANTA,MONICA would BOB BYMOUTH for a thrill.
She GOTTO have an ORGY on hanakkuah with that OZARK BOZO named Bill.


thefogman 10:17 AM  

A little tougher than yesterday for me. It took me a while to realize the theme was about state place names. That moment came at about half time, when I solved SANTAMONICA. I had NAVigator before NAVALHERO for 49A. The NW corner was the toughest to crack but then I vaguely recalled the VCHIP and down it went. Surprised Burma Shave didn't use the VCHIP as one of his sly innuendoes. But the night is young...

spacecraft 12:21 PM  

I kind of liked it. I've given up trying to figure out what would NOT bore OFL; maybe at least three rappers and four uber-tech references. Though thankfully free of the former, this grid (V-)CHIPS in with 1-down and 27-across. Gee, those are two that I actually knew!

I didn't realize how easy it was to make a list of state code-containing cities before OFL put his two cents in; maybe that helped my attitude a little. Not even gonna grouse about FWIW and TGIF. Hey, they're in the language.

DOD is CHERIE, the chanteuse so whimsically played by Marilyn in Bus Stop. I always thought she was an underrated actress. As for DOD requirements: no underrating there! Birdie.

Anonymous 1:28 PM  

There are perhaps millions of people outside of Oregon who have heard of Astoria: those who saw Kindergarten Cop with Arnold Schwarzenegger!

leftcoastTAM 2:44 PM  

Rex has a point, but it's not a compelling one. There are some Tuesday challenges here, like PEABO, CHAKRA, ROSIN (as clued) and even a couple of the city names.

Worth some additional credit: The state codes do not pop out at you, and it may take a bit of time to see them within each of the cities. Of course, the circled letters simplify that, and may serve in place of revealer.

Most bothersome, though, is LLB clued as an "undergraduate" degree. Wrong. And it's now generally referred to as a JD, doctor of jurisprudence.

As a pass-fail test, this one gets a pass.

rondo 2:46 PM  

Got the theme right away. Amazingly, the only one of those cities I’ve not been to/through is ASTORIA, OR.

Who could forget Pampero Firpo, Wild Bull of the PAMPAS?

I have no IDEA what an OAKY taste in wine is, though I’ve had wine that I’ve been told is OAKY. Tasted grapy to me.

PEABO is the only Bryson I’ve ever heard of. He and yeah baby Sheena Easton co-hosted a holiday concert I attended here about 15 years ago, maybe longer.

The WSJ theme was better today (real time, not syndie time), but not so with the fill. GOTTO try some of the other stuff when ya get the URGE.

leftcoastTAM 3:14 PM  

@fakt checker--Lot of qualifications in your law degree run down.

thefogman 3:26 PM  

He's relatively unknown, but Jim BRYSON is a talented songwriter and folk/indie-rock performer.

wcutler 3:44 PM  

I was surprised you all had such bad feelings about a puzzle the opened with a vat of chocolate. I was in a good mood the whole time. I even enjoyed using two of the circled pairs to get the city names.

Diana,LIW 4:39 PM  

One letter dnf. You know where. "P"EABOB - right. Don't have a VCHIP - don't keep the cats from watching whatever they wish. I was enjoying the solve until that one letter wouldn't make any sense.

Went to Hershey, PA a couple times on field trips. Next to the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia (medical oddities), best field trip place ever. The whole town smells like chocolate. Mountains of M&Ms hurling down the chutes. Lots of sugared-up kids on the bus on the way home. Good times.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rain forest 5:19 PM  

This is a simple and easy puzzle not worthy of some of the vitriol expressed. It has its moments: CHAKRA, KISMET, GLOM, RITUALLY, as well as the city names. NY and CA, circled, helped me get the cities therein.

For me, ASTORIA is most notable for the bridge crossing the Columbia river. Impressive, and the view towards the mouth of the river as it empties into the Pacific is equally so.

@Rondo, a wine can to too oaky, ie, sort of woody, but the right amount of oak can give a Cab or Merlot some great flavours/bouquets: blackberry, cassis, cigar box (really). I prefer an oaky wine, but not a particularly grapy one.

Silly me! I always thought that a LLB is an undergraduate degree while the graduate one is LLD. Then again, it seems there's some controversy there.

leftcoastTAM 8:46 PM  

@rain forest--Yes, controversy on the blog, but not out there in the real world. ;-)

Unknown 9:05 PM  

Eh, so what if it's easy to find potential theme answers? It was a zippy little Tuesday with a good-enough theme and some nice fill. I'm happy.

I had TUSC in place and filled in TUSCALOOSA before even seeing the clue, spotted the circled letters and, BOB's your uncle, there was the theme -- which made the rest of the themers that much easier.

Lots of hate on this one, but not from me. And two YEWs in a row for M&A!!

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