Pope who excommunicated Elizabeth I / SUN 3-18-18 / Huck Finn possessive / Judas's question to Lord / Term for whole in Swiss cheese / Metallic S-shaped piece

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Constructor: Daniel Raymon

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: "Taking Your Q" — You don't actually "take" the Q anywhere; You put a "QU-" where a hard "C" sound should be, creating wacky answers, clued "?"-style:

Theme answers:
  • QUERY WASHINGTON  (24A: Interrogate a founding father?)
  • TRENCH QUOTE (39A: "There are no atheists in foxholes"?)
  • BABY QUAKES (46A: Tremors?)
  • "HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU, QUID" (72A: Comment by a Brit down to his last coin?)
  • QUICK BOXER (93A: One knocking out an opponent in the first round?)
  • PEACHY QUEEN (105A: Monarch who's fine and dandy?)
  • ORDER IN THE QUART (122A: Have a little ice cream delivered?)
Word of the Day: Kerry Washington (basis for QUERY WASHINGTON) —
Kerry Marisa Washington (born January 31, 1977) is an American actress. Since 2012, Washington has gained wide public recognition for starring in the ABC drama Scandal, a Shonda Rhimes series in which she plays Olivia Pope, a crisis management expert to politicians and power brokers in Washington DC, and also is a producer. For her role, she has been nominated twice for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama SeriesScreen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series, and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Series. (wikipedia)
• • •

The title doesn't really work. Also, this kind of simple sound-change theme only works if the results are legit funny, and ... I don't know. Seems like the clues could've been a lot more inventive. Again, with Wacky puzzles, go *Wacky* or go home. None of this tepid wackiness. Tepid wackiness is wack. All the "?" clues are actually fairly straightforward. The overall result is a very doable but very dull puzzle. The abundance of "Q"s livens up the grid a little, but not enough (some of those "Q"s are wasted on horrible stuff like ESQS and SEQS (?)). Surprised how easy this played, given how many things I didn't know, or barely knew, beginning with 1A: Big name in computer networking (CISCO). I mean, now that I look at it, yeah, sure, I've seen that. But it didn't come easily to me. Neither did MARACAIBO or MCLAREN or RABE or ROHAN or EAMONN (notice the common thread—all proper nouns). But none of those was anything more than a slight speed bump.

My biggest problems actually came from ticky-tack little bad-fill answers, most notably OSSEO- (!?!) (29A: Bone: Prefix). What the hell? OSTEO-, I know. OSTEO-, I was sure had to be the right answer. I have no doubt that there is some context in which OSSEO- applies, but wow I don't know what it is. I also have no idea about random popes and so when it started with a "P" (63D: Pope who excommunicated Elizabeth I), I wrote in PAUL and then waited for the Roman numeral. Got the "V" and thought, "Sure, why not? PAUL V!" And that's only two letters off, and one of those letters was in the horrid 71A: Suffix in Sussex, where -ASE seemed ... possible? It was finally having TRULTY at 80A: True that made me have to reinterrogate all my crosses. Thus PAUL became PIUS. This is why random Popes are so much fun.

I have so many announcements this week, where to start? First, today was the Finger Lakes Crossword Competition, at which I have been a speaker and judge for several years now. Had a wonderful time, as usual. Congratulations to Jesse Lansner, who won it handily (He's a very fast solver who will be competing at next weekend's ACPT). Lots of people were there because they'd heard me talk about the tournament in the past. One woman—Mickey Schied—was there in part because she heard the episode the "Allusionist" podcast about last year's Lollapuzzoola crossword tournament, then saw that *this* tournament was happening closer to her home, and she recognized my name from that same podcast, so bam, she decides to show up and compete ... and then WIN the Easy Division. Awesome.

 [Jesse and his championship bracelet]

[my wife, Penelope, and Mickey Schied]

So that was fun.

Now for news you can use:

QUEER QROSSWORDS (queerqrosswords.com) — Nate Cardin organized and edited this collection of crosswords made (and edited) entirely by LGBTQ+ folks. 22 puzzles, from established pros as well as newcomers, all yours (in the form of a .PDF) when you make a new donation of at least $10 to the LGBTQ+ charity of your choice and forward the receipt to the editor. Instructions are on the website. I gave to the Southern Tier AIDS Program. Good puzzles, good cause(s), not expensive. What more do you want?


Also, this announcement from Ben Tausig, ed. of the American Values Club Crossword (AVCX):

Good chance to try out the best of what AVCX has to offer. You should already be a subscriber, but if you're not ... here, try these.


What else? Oh, I was interviewed for a podcast called "Teaching in the Arts"—it's mostly about teaching, but there's crossword content in there as well. Here's a link to the podcast page at iTunes; or you can just listen to the episode on the web, here.


Further: in crossword business news, Peter Gordon, ed. of Fireball Crosswords, just announced a 50% pay raise for constructors ($451 / puzzle), meaning that once again his independent outlet pays better than the NYT. The NYT's rates remain shamefully low, given how much profit their puzzles generate. I love that Peter is not afraid to enumerate allllll the ways that making puzzles for him is a superior experience to making them for the NYT.

Also, it goes without saying that if you like good, hard, tricky puzzles (think Thursday themes with Friday/Saturday difficulty), then you should definitely be a Fireball subscriber.


And *lastly*: The Indie 500 crossword tournament (Saturday, June 2, Washington, D.C.) is now open for registration. There is a solve-at-home division if you'd like to solve the puzzles but are unable to make it to the tournament in person. This year's tourney is called "Dressed to Fill," and has a theme: FASHION! Check out the tourney home page for all the information you need. I've been to every Indie 500 so far and always have a really good time. The slate of constructors looks fantastic—lots of young faces, lots of female faces (yay!). So I'm excited. Please come and solve and meet lovely people and have a good time.

Enjoy your Sunday. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 12:15 AM  

Smooth solve. Only hang-up (and it held me up for a good minute or so) was LIsLE at 60A.

Lisle is, in fact, a French town, and it just hadn't occurred to me there was an error. The ASs in the cross seemed plausible on review, as I didn't need those particular downs on the first pass.

Charles Flaster 12:19 AM  

Rex— you just said a mouthful but I enjoyed learning some new stuff.
Puzzle was extremely easy with two writeovers—OSSEO for OSTEO ( who’d a thunk that ?) and URLS for URnS ( think gory),
Favorite themer was ORDER IN THE QUART.
Just had MARACAIBO in a trivia contest this past Tuesday.
Thanks DR

Z 12:45 AM  

US Two will get you from Michigan to North Dakota without the need to take the Ludington-Manitowac Ferry. Being from west Michigan, I had never considered that US TEN might continue west in Wisconsin.

Go Wacky or Go Home. I agree. QUICK BOXER could use a dog clue. HERE’S LOOKING AT YOU QUID screams for Bogie. I like that ORDER IN THE QUART went for ice cream, but why not go ese-referential with an Edy’s clue? Don’t be a wimpy wacker is what I’m saying.

I’m not sure how I feel about MARACAIBO and C’EST LA VIE in the not quite long enough to be themers spots. I guess we couldn’t find any good American trivia for those spots so WS issued some green paint cards.* I know exactly how I feel about a Random Pope RRN combo. Bah Humbug to the II power (Here’s not hoping that someone explains to me how PIUS V wasn’t just any random pope - Sorry, if it ain’t Francis he’s random, less worthy of being remembered than Elaine May).

Decent Sunday, but no crunchy Fireball.

*I know I know - those aren’t green painty but it’s a play on green cards.

Anonymous 12:53 AM  

In my tongue, no way do Kerry and QUERY rhyme, so that makes for an awkward outlier. Surprised that got no mention from @OFL. Finding the themes QU's definitely helped with the solve.

a.corn 12:54 AM  

Same. Exact. Problem.


Not a bad puzzle, but that MARACAIBO / QUOI crossing almost did me in.

Random popes are essential crossword solving skill so quit moaning. Figuring out a PAUL vs a PIUS is pure deduction because they share two letters, and the numeral can only be I, V, or X. Unless the five letter pope is actually LEO. Or JOHN X, whose name I stole because it's awesome.

Jorge The Auto Club Battery Guy 1:27 AM  

Nice to see the delightful IDI Amin back in the puzzle, along with GOTTI and the guy who played Nicky Santoro, who will crack your head open and then when you come out of your coma he'll be coming out of jail and he'll crack your head open again. He's stupid like that. Also GISELE Bundchen seems pretty shady.

Trombone Tom 1:36 AM  

Hand up for trying LIsLE first.

This puzzle was not very exciting for me, in large part due to the lack of a uniform sound translation, which made the theme too sloppy. ORDER IN THE QUART got a chuckle.

Not many bonus points for clever clues.

Mark 1:39 AM  

I just can’t get into Sunday puzzles. During the week I am often more favorably disposed to the puzzles than Rex, but not on Sundays. Today, Rex was pretty kind given that he generally dislikes puns. I actually like puns, but these were not good ones, so the only good thing about the puzzle was the presence of the Q’s, which gave some different than usual answers.

puzzlehoarder 2:01 AM  

That's another very long Sunday puzzle over with. TWINY would have been the worst ANNOYER were it not for the complete lack of relationship between QUERY and Kerry. Speaking of which I'll have to Google to find out who she is. The lack of sound consistency matched the clunky humor on that one not that I care for pun humor anyway.

So Reagan's middle name was Wilson or should I just say HISN initials were RWR. Yeesh.

chefwen 2:25 AM  

@M & A is going to love this one, absolutely RIFE with his favorite letter.

I really liked this one. Caught on with TRENCH QUOTE and just had fun searching for the others. HERES LOOKING AT YOU QUID was a little too easy, all you needed for that was a couple of letters and BAM a huge space was auto fill.

A big slow down around the PEACHY QUEEN, AEOLIAN. EAMONN area, and MARACAIBO was finished only with the downs helping.

A fun Sunday puzzle, thanks Daniel Raymon.

sanfranman59 2:29 AM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 1/2/2018 post for an explanation of my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio & percentage, the higher my solve time was relative to my norm for that day of the week. Your results may vary.

(Day, Solve time, 26-wk Median, Ratio, %, Rating)

Mon 4:32 4:09 1.09 74.8% Medium-Challenging
Tue 5:02 5:12 0.97 42.2% Medium
Wed 5:03 6:00 0.84 21.8% Easy-Medium
Thu 11:23 10:01 1.14 71.9% Medium-Challenging
Fri 7:58 11:42 0.68 13.0% Easy
Sat 15:48 16:08 0.98 49.6% Medium
Sun 23:53 21:22 1.12 70.7% Medium-Challenging

Challenging before getting the theme, Easy-Medium thereafter. I enjoyed this one and don't recall furrowing my brow much during the solve.

I'm pretty sure that OStEO is the more commonly used prefix in the medical field, but apparently, OSSEO is also legit. I don't know the name David RABE or his "Sticks and Bones". I think I've seen HEINE enough in crossword puzzles that I now have a chance with that answer. My years on the East Coast made QUAHOGS a gimme.

I liked: MARACAIBO, ROHAN (Tolkein fan here), C'EST LA VIE, EAMONN (solving at the end of St. Patty's Day), AEOLIAN.

Not so much: ERLE? Argh. QUOI? Oy. ANNOYER? Annoying. SEQS? Eek. ESQS? Tsk-tsk.

Carola 2:40 AM  

I'm with @chefwen, finding it entertaining all the way through. My favorites were the witty TRENCH QUOTE and the adorable BABY QUAKES. Went wrong on SHoshone and David hArE before RABE. Help from previous crosswords: LAYLA and I, TOO. Help from Mrs. Olson, the seventh-grade teacher who struck terror into my heart (and South American geography into my brain): MARACAIBO.

@Rex, thank you for the announcement about Queer Crosswords. With three family members represented in the letters LGBTQ, I've signed up myself and have sent the notice on.

John Hoffman 3:37 AM  

I got in trouble with “Spanish snack.” I wrote TACO and struggled for a long time. The clue was good and clear. Problem was my brain.

jae 3:55 AM  

Easy-medium for me too and a pleasant Sunday solve. Liked it.

'mericans in Paris 5:52 AM  

We enjoyed the puzzle enough to complete it, but weren't bowled over by it. I guess you could say we completed it with a tinge of APATHY.

We caught the theme early on -- I think with QUICK BOXER. (Agree with @Z that a dog clue would have been a bit more zippy there.) HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU QUID then followed after getting HERE'S.

We were pleasantly surprised to uncover TAPIR -- one of our favorite animals. We've never met one in the wild, but we've seen them aplenty in zoos. They are ADORBS in a homely sort of way. My first exposure to them, however, was through a strange book that I had to buy in 1973 for a field natural history class at a college NW of where OFL teaches: E. Laurence Palmer's 700-page illustrated Fieldbook of Natural History (McGraw-Hill, 1949). This QUirky door-stop of a book is full of anthropomorphic entries like the following, taken from the last couple of paragraphs on the Malay TAPIR:

TAPIRs favor a temperature of 70F but do well in
warmer climates. Do not like each other. They are
defenseless, serene, patient, and generally accept
life as fate hands it to them.
Jaguar is chief enemy.

TAPIR flesh is considered to be as good as beef and
is sought by natives. Skins are made into leather for
harness but, being hard when dry and spongy when wet,
are not suitable for shoes.

"Defenseless, serene, patient, and generally accept life as fate hands it to them." If you happen to be wandering at night in a tropical swamp and encounter a TAPIR, please give it a hug for me.

Lewis 6:27 AM  

I second Rex re the zing of AVX and Fireball puzzles.

Cute theme idea -- another possible theme answer: QUALM BEFORE THE STORM. The smattering of quirky answers kept things interesting, and the puzzle gave my brain a good training run. Thank you, Daniel.

There was an er-gasmic sub-theme: TAPIR / AYESIR / QUICK BOXER / ONE UNDER / RARER / UBER / HIPPER / EDGAR / ANNOYER / SANER / and wannabe MENDERS.

How about a quote of arms? -- "We need a SANER approach to gun control."

Loren Muse Smith 6:56 AM  

24D – went against my gut for the ACC powerhouse (UNC) and wrote in “UVA.” Got rid of that one very, very VERY early on. “Retrievers” actually fits for 93A - “one knocking out an opponent in the first round.” Ok. So it’s not plural. Ya gotta work with me here. I realize I’m being a jerk and have now jinxed it so that Texas A&M will handily beat us today.

I also liked ORDER IN THE QUART. Can you imagine if you could just pick up the phone and order in a quart of Ben and Jerry’s? Actually, this kind of business could do pretty well in states that have legalized POT.

I had a dnf ‘cause I never gave up “tva” for WPA. Dumb.


I’ve sat here whispering it to myself, but I swear, I don’t think I’d say STRIVEN. I get that it’s the official past participle. But I think I might be regularising it.

I’ve striven for years to stop eating so fast.
I’ve strived for years to stop eating so fast.

I think I’d go with the latter. Sue me.

Loved, loved, loved TRENCH QUOTE. @Lewis – nice ones! How ‘bout LAB QUOTEYou gonna eat that? Or BASE QUOTEGrab’em by the… TMI.

Daniel chose only words with an initial Q, but imagine the possibilities if the Q doesn’t have to be the first letter:
SQUIRT CHASER (babysitter)
SQUID ROW (cephalopod brawl)…

Wackery is obviously subjective. I’m a cheap date on this one; as long as it has some startlery, I’m good with it. Fun solve, Daniel.

(Man oh man oh man are those excellent terms that Peter Gordon offers. Is there any kind of blog where people comment on the Fireballs?)

'mericans in Paris 7:07 AM  

By the way, a Sunday theme involving the conversion of another consonant to QU was used not long ago: on 12 November 2017 to be precise. That one was constructed by Ed Sessa and involved substituting QU for dubyas, such as in "SQUANDERLUST". Incredibly, that puzzle also included TAPIR! It must go with the territory.

Coniuratos 7:35 AM  

I don't get the cluing on YEO ("Navy petty officer: Abbr."), and not just because I threw NCO in there and that came back to bite me. I assume it's meant as an abbreviation for Yeomen, which is the title for a, well, paper-pushing specialist. It's a particular rate (MOS, basically); most petty officers are not yeomen and not all yeomen are petty officers. Plus, the proper abbreviation for it is YN.

Rob 7:42 AM  

Can anyone explain ISE? I accept that it's right, but I have no idea what it means.

I work in computer networking and am pleased to see CISCO. I know that stuff known only to workers in a specific industry is frowned on, but Cisco is, like, first-order famous, and it annoys me that computers are the one field about which it is socially acceptable to be wholly ignorant. Plus, hey, it's always fun to see stuff in your wheelhouse in the puzzle.

I have music background, so AEOLIAN was inferrable, but I had no idea harps were designed modally. I have to think that's an awfully difficult clue for a not-very-well known word.

Aketi 7:43 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 7:45 AM  

For some, slower eating is a striven.

Aketi 7:51 AM  

Hahaha of course this puzzle had me at the QUICK/kick BOXER.

@LMS, in NYC you can just call up anytime of the day or night and ORDER IN THE QUART or just about anything else you might want to eat. I lost five pounds after my son went away to college because I lost my late night snack ordering buddy, He has all the apps on his phone for places like Insomnia Cookies, which does deliver ice cream by the QUART to go with your cookies. I have so far persevered in not succumbing to the temptation of having that app on my phone, but I’ve come close.

Aketi 8:02 AM  

@LMS, among the non responsive quids in your ANYONE vid link I would have been the ONE with my head on the desk drooling. I actually did once wake up in a microeconomics lecture to discover that I drooled on the book I used as a pillow at which point I decided I was not going to pursue agricultural economics as one of my two required minors. I scraped by with a C merely because I know how to guess well in multiple choice tests.

BarbieBarbie 8:21 AM  

@Z, um... because he excommunicated Elizabeth I? That’s pretty un-random. Not sure why he had to do that if her dad had already invented the Church of England, but my high school had budget cuts the year I should have learned it. (Hi kids: we have California to thank for the taxpayer revolt.)

Easy-medium and anon theme but no real ahas or giggles. The whole puzzle was Easy except for the Middle East, where I got hung up by not being able to come up with ACCRUAL and getting not enough love from the crosses. I had LOaf for LOLL and something or other for C’EST and it was a mess for awhile.

George 8:25 AM  

PEACHYQUEEN made the puzzle for me. That is one awesome answer. Is that like a drag queen with stone fruit in her Carmen Miranda hat? Or maybe it is just QEII with her corgis at her feet enjoying a steaming cup of tea in front of the fire on a cold March morning. The added bonus is Rex includes a PEACHYQUEEN music video in the writeup.

Also loved MCLAREN since I love all things automobile and nautical (including aeronautical.)

Glimmerglass 8:28 AM  

I liked the theme much better than @Rex did. Except for 24A, the other six got a smile from me (not a lol, but a smile). I especially liked TRENCH QUOTE. However, 24A fails for two reasons. First, I pronounce QUERY with a long E, which doesn’t match Kerry Washington (unless she says Keerie). Second, she’s a proper name (not familiar to me), and the others are familiar phrases. I found this “medium,” mostly easy, but it had its moments when I had to scratch my head (C’EST LA VIE). Maybe Wednesday difficulty, normal for a Sunday.

AW 8:38 AM  

DNF on this one for the following reasons:
47D words that can't be heard, for short = ASL What's that? No idea...
126A like rope = TWINY Yech! Godawful.
88A Greek cross = TAU Probably common crossword term but all those Greek letters get me every time.
60A de Gaulle's birthplace = LILLE Like others, I had Lisle, and without knowing ALS (whatever that is), I was stuck.
28 Ending of the Bible = ETH Huh? Can someone elucidate?

QuasiMojo 8:44 AM  

Took me 20 minutes to fill this one in without any corrections! Too easy for a Sunday but then I haven't been doing too many of them lately (of late? -- yesterday's grammar lessons at the end of the thread were certainly bemusing! I suspect Rex's "lastly" at the end of his comments today, which were far more interesting than the puzzle this time, were referring to that odd exchange.)

As for the puzzle, all I can say is "Q the Gong"! (or the hook.) I've never heard of Kerry Washington so I started off shaking my head, "what gives?" Some weird stuff in the grid. "C'est la vie" is hardly a "statement of resignation." It's one of acceptance, usually with an upbeat attitude.

I did chuckle at "Order in the Quart" mostly because I love funny rhymes. @LMS your comment about ordering in Ben & Jerry's reminds me of a recent experience I had a very fancy hotel in Florida. I arrived late at a dinner party and it was too late to order a meal so I glanced at the menu, saw "Ice Cream" listed for $10.00 and thought well okay, I'll just have a nice dessert to top off the evening. I ordered it expecting a gorgeous creation in an elegant parfait glass with whipped cream and perhaps a cherry. What I got was a plate with a doily on it on which sat a pint of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream still in the container! At least they provided a nice big silver spoon to go with it.

Z 8:57 AM  

@John X - Besides being a motley crew of power hungry hoarders there is nothing to recommend most popes appearance in a puzzle other than their occasionally useful letters. They are a construction crutch. They all live with with Ono, Eno, and Yma in crossworld hell watching erns, ernes, and terns flit about to the ESE, hoping to espy the rare pewit while eating Oreo crunch Edy’s with emo blaring from the stereo while the latest escapades of Idi, Mao, and Che are discussed on the crossworld hell cable news channel in the background.

@LMS -I’ve thought about it and can with some certainty that I’d never say STRIVEN. I’d reword the sentence so I could use “strove.”

@Rob - I found this explanation curtesy of @efrex from the 12/28/2010 blog:
“The idea is that American english words that end in "ize" end in "ise" in British spelling (e.g., memorize vs. memorise).

ISE has appeared 45 times previously in the puzzle, but only clued that way twice before today, once on a Monday, and once on a Sunday (as per xwordinfo.com). It does seem a bit out of place in a Tuesday puzzle.“

AW 9:04 AM  

28 Ending of the Bible = ETH

Oh, I get it: commeth, see-eth, smite-eth, etc.

But shouldn't the clue be "ending [used] in the Bible? The ending of the Bible is the last word found in the text, no?

kitshef 9:39 AM  

The complete outlier in the theme is QUERY WASHINGTON, because a) it’s pronounced kweery, so the name would need to be keery Washington 2) it’s the only one that is PPP, rather than a familiar phrase iii) who the devil is KERRY WASHINGTON?

The rest of the puzzle is … okay. The fill is pretty clean with some notable exceptions (RWR, USTEN, PIUSV, ROHAN, and at least half of the many answers ending in ‘O’ -- UP TO, HOPE SO, I SAID SO, ETHNO, I TOO, IDEO, YEO).

The cluing is very straightforward, workmanlike, functional. In some areas, those would be compliments. Furniture building, say, or accounting. But in crossword puzzles one hopes for more.

jackj 9:39 AM  

28D, "Ending of the Bible" for ETH was, for me, a wonderful reminder of a clue that excited me enough to cement my newfound interest in solving crosswords many years ago.

Super constructor Henry Hook, in his then every other week Boston Globe Sunday puzzle, had asked for a simple 5 letter answer to the clue "Leaves in the Bible". My immediate newbie solution was, of course, PALMS.

Not for Henry; his answer was GOETH and I was immediately hooked on this wonderful hobby.

Birchbark 9:42 AM  

@Z of Western Michigan -- I grew up in Kalamazoo (Hackett '82, K-College '86). I know and like the Ludington-Manitowoc ferry. If a tortoise could swim, that would be it.

It is almost Spring, and nearing Aries:

Whan Zephyrus eek with his swete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in THE RAM his halfe cours y-ronne,
And smale fowles maken melodye,
That slepen al the night with open ye

-- Canterbury Tales, General Prologue

Nancy 9:45 AM  

The same experience as Rex. TRULTY as the answer to "True" forced me to change PAUL V to PIUS V. Other than that, no probs. I avoided the OStEO mistake by writing in OS-EO and waiting to see if the blank would be an S or a T. (I tend to be cautious that way.)

The best and cutest answer was ORDER IN THE QUART. The silliest (but it made me laugh) was PEACHY QUEEN. The dullest was BABY QUAKES. The most puzzling to me was QUERY WASHINGTON, since I never heard of Kerry.

Very easy, but a perfectly pleasant solve.

The Wizard of Roz 10:00 AM  

@AW (8:38 a.m.) ASL = American Sign Language

Unknown 10:16 AM  

bleh. i cannot think of anything that i liked in this one. i just looked again; no, there's not anything that i liked, specifically, but i do like walking down and getting my paper on sunday mornings and going through the ritual of unpacking it and pouring a coffee and solving the puzzle, so for that reason i'm grateful. have a great week yall.

Teedmn 10:20 AM  

RoWR, fun puzzle! I think TRENCHQUOTE as clued is brilliant and I loved BABYQUAKES and ORDER IN THE QUART. The last one I appreciated more after I got the base phrase because I originally thought QUART was replacing "caRT" as in etailing; that the QUART and couRT are exact rhymes improved my impression of that one.

US TEN goes straight through Minnesota and I never knew it went all the way to Michigan (though watch out for that QUANTUM leap you need to get over the Great Lake).

This puzzle has little quirks that I loved: C'EST LA VIE and ASL as clued. I knew I needed a Q to make Quart in 122A but it was hard for me to see PLAQUE because I wanted stAtUE. I smiled when I saw the clue and answer for 22A (MADAME), wondering how many people would put in "garçon" (which I had come to understand was derogatory but I don't find my belief to be substantiated on the internet.)

So although this took me a few minutes more than my average random Sunday solve, I did not find it a slog. Nice job on your Sunday debut, Daniel Raymon.

SMH 10:23 AM  

ASL...American Sign Language

GHarris 10:33 AM  

Never occurred to me that the reference was to Kerry the actress. I thought it had more to do with questioning the Father of our Country about his axing of a certain tree.

Anonymous 10:43 AM  

@mericans, Big chuckle!

Anonymous 10:45 AM  

I was curious if you ever considered changing the page layout of
your website? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.

But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with
it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 images.
Maybe you could space it out better?

RooMonster 10:46 AM  

Hey All !
QUITE FLYING - Really high?

A pretty neat Substitute-Letter/Sound-Puz, using scrabbly Q's. Light on the black squares, with light dreck. Not a SNOREr.

Had troubles in NW, had artISTS/rtTEN mucking things up. Couldn't get Sandy Duncan out of the ole brain. QUOI went through QUOd, QUOt, QUOn, what the hell? Also had the LIsLE/ASs fail, thinking "what an odd ASs clue." I SAID SO was parsed as IS A_D SO. Put in an N to get IS AND SO, scratching my head. Also couldn't remember WPA forvFDR's JOB thing. QED. HAR. :-)

Overall a nice SunPuz. Didn't seem slight. Some fun (re)words, QUAHOGS, QANTAS, THE RAM, TWINY, BROAD AX. OK, I'm OUTTA.


GILL I. 10:47 AM  

I had fun...that's all that counts. But...I thought the clues given for the theme answers lacked pizzaz. The themes were cute - I really liked BABY QUAKES and PEACHY QUEEN. I think @Rex is right about its lacking of wacky.
Had some struggles here and there. Yes, @Teedmn, I had garçon. And yes, the French don't like it. It means "boy." But you know the French, unless you ARE French, they don't like us foreigners making derogatory remarks to their "serveur." Same in Spain....Use to be you'd call your waitperson a MOZO. You still sort of can (it means young boy) but if you go to Chile, and use Mozo, the chef might spit in your soup!
Kept PAUL and kept TRULTY. I figure if HSIN is in the crossword followed, I'm sure, by HERN and THEIRN, then anything goes. CEST LA VIE and all that.
MARACAIBO went right in. I was pretty young but I do remember that we'd go there for vacation. Dad like to go fishing at the nearby islands. What I most remember about it were the Catatumbo Lightning strikes. You probably can see a display of them on YouTube.
@'mericans...I'd hug a TAPIR for you if I could get close enough to one. How would I get around the long snout? I once got a trunk hug from an elephant though. Stinky and hairy but cute!

Nancy 10:47 AM  

@Z (12:45 a.m.)-- My fave *non-random Pope* by far is John XXIII. Hope all the Catholics here are OK with that, but he does have the reputation of being most non-Catholics' favorite Pope. And you didn't even mention him, @Z!

@Quasi (8:44) -- When I say C'EST LA VIE, a sense of resignation is usually exactly what I'm feeling. If you're feeling "upbeat" and "accepting", you must be quite the optimistic and happy-go-lucky guy :) And also Quasi, that "very fancy hotel in Florida" where they served you ice cream in its tacky original container wouldn't happen to have been Mar-a-Lago by any chance? Yes?

@Aketi (7:51) -- After you lost those five pounds, I'm wondering if you were even visible to the naked eye anymore.

Austenlover 10:55 AM  

In my part of the country, Kerry rhymes with QUERY just fine.

TubaDon 11:07 AM  

Fell asleep and SNORED in the middle of this...either it was boring or I spent too much time watching basketball the night before. Thought the QUART theme answer great, but had a disappointed QUERY about the Washington one. Ashamed to admit I didn't know Reagan's middle name.

QuasiMojo 11:27 AM  

@Nancy 10:47, haha. No it wasn’t. I think that is members only. But same town!! And yes I try to be optimistic and wear life like a loose shirt.

Hartley70 11:29 AM  

The hardest part of this solve was sounding out the themers to replace the Q with C or K. I loved the answers and since I know "Scandal" I had no problem with Kerry WASHINGTON. I thought this puzzle was a delightful blast!

Wait! Are you telling me Ben & Jerry's comes in Quarts, not just pints? Be still my heart. It's a blessing I live in the burbs where the delivery apps don't work and the grocery store closes at 8pm.

I'm still laughing about @Quasi's third course presentation. There is just something so cool about that carton with a silver spoon. What was the flavor? If it was Chubby Hubby or Half Baked I wouldn't be so amused.

TomAz 11:33 AM  

I had a very sour taste in my mouth after the top third of the puzzle. In my world, Kerry rhymes with 'cherry' and QUERY rhymes with 'cheery'. So that first themer made no sense to me at all. And then the preponderance of pluralized abbreviations: ESQS SEQS EXTS. Ugly.

The puzzle improved considerably after that, but the first impression had already been made.

webwinger 12:05 PM  

What a gem of description!

Wm. C. 12:06 PM  

@jorge12:24am --

Giselle shady? Hey, she's a happily-married lady with two lovely children. Moreover, she lives near me during football season (and now that the kids are in school, through spring), since her hubby, Tom Brady, works here.

Go Pats! Yeah, I know, they're the most-hated team in professional sports. Because they win too much. Or maybe pepole dislike Belichick. ;-)

RJ 12:09 PM  

I have to agree with many that TRUSTY/PIYS/CESTLAVIE corner made it technically a DNF for today. I just could not come up with CESTLAVIE. Not anywhere in my head today. Also initially dropped in LISLE instead of LILLE.

Like several have commented, Kerry does not rhyme with query.

AEOLIAN made me smile because – having little knowledge of music – I remember this from sci-fi writer John Varley’s Gaia series – Titan, Demon, and Wizard. One of the musical beings is an Aeolian solo.

mmespeer 12:21 PM  

@LorenMuse You can find posts and comments about Fireball and other puzzles at Diary of a Crossword Fiend, link is on Rex's home page.

Z 12:37 PM  

@Birchbark - Holland High '79 and K'83. Spouse is K'86, it is entirely plausible that we would have been at Saga at the same time a few times your freshman year. I am familiar with the ferry although I've never taken it. What I didn't realize is that US TEN continues once you get off the boat. If asked I would have guessed it was like I-96, a Michigan only federal highway.

@Nancy - Apologies, but when a constructor is really desperate for a RRN like XXIII we always get a Super Bowl Clue. I'm picturing it now, though, 54A. "Pope John _____"

old timer 12:39 PM  

I think query rhymes more with Kerry than eerie, and the dictionary half confirms it, preferring kwehry to either. But the clue should have been edited out or redone, as all the other themers were amusing, and the substitution of hard c for the qu sound made sense. Query Washington left me wondering if there was some town in Washington State I was not aware of.

I'd rate this a 4 on the scale of 10 for Sunday puzzles, which are often a boring slog.

But @LMS, surely you should prefer striven to strived (or strove) if you are in the habit of making up rhymes, and I bet you are. "How oft I have striven to tell Mr. Bliven to go bore somebody else"" immediately comes to mind and so do many other extempore verses. Can't remember the same of the poetic foot for "striven" but "strived" would not scan in most contexts.

Anonymous 12:44 PM  

@AW 8:38 and followups - "Ending of the Bible" is different from "The ending of the Bible," and that subtle difference is a key to getting it when the clue is a little bit sideways (end-of-week).

Tau cross is a cross shape where the crossbar rests on top of the upright, like a capital T. It distinguishes the Tau cross from the "Latin" cross, which has the crossbar below the top of the upright.

@Rob 7:42 - Aeolian harp has nothing to do with Aeolian mode, beyond obviously having the same Greek name at their roots. Aeolus = God of the Winds; an Aeolian harp is an instrument placed in a window or hung in a tree, the strings being played by the wind passing over them. Aeolian mode is named for the region of Aeolia (a windy place), just as the other modes are named for Doria, Lydia, Ionia, Phrygia, all regions of ancient Greece.

Joe Dipinto 12:46 PM  

May as well pile on regarding the Query/KERRY debacle. And OSSEO seems sorta sketchy...

There's a wonderful actor named EAMONN Walker who's in the show Chicago Fire. Guess he's not famous enough to be used as a crossword clue yet.

Overall this puzzle didn't do much for me. I liked TRENCH QUOTE the best of the themers. According to XWord Info, MAHAL is making its debut as a partial. That seems incredible to me.

Anonymous 12:50 PM  

I liked the puzzle, which went quickly as soon as I saw the gimmick, which didn't take long to find. @Rob 7:42, I too tried to imagine a suffix with the word Sussex (Sussexite? I still don't know). The clue was a suffix *in* Sussex, or a suffix in the UK, thus a British -ise where Americans would have -ize.

The osseo as a prefix for bone is odd and I think not accurate. Greek for bone is osteon, I think, and somehow in Latin the T got lost (odd, since strong consonants like T tend not to disappear). Thus osteo- for prefix, from the Greek, is common. When the English follows the Latin (os, ossis), the prefix is oss- or ossi- (as in ossify), not osseo-, unless I am mistaken. The only common English word beginning osseo, I think, is osseous, meaning something like "composed of bone" or bony. The *eo" is part of the suffix, not the prefix. Here the prefix is oss-. The English words ending in eous, such as aqueous (composed or full of water), have the suffix eous meaning "full of" or "composed of," just as the Latin suffixes with -eus mean the same.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

Unknown 1:21 PM  

Sorry if someone else has already brought this up...but court / quart was a bigger outlier for me than Kerry / query. Am I the only one who doesn't have a W sound in quart?

Masked and Anonymous 1:26 PM  

17 U's. My POTHOOK runneth over. (yo, @chefwen)
[gurgle] [sputter] [other near-speechless, random overwhelmed with ecstasy sounds]

Best SunPuz of 2018 candidate, IM&AO.

Thanx, Mr. Raymon!

Masked & Anonymo17Us


The Émigré 1:30 PM  

I agree: the clue for 20 Across is just plain wrong. US Two takes you from ND to Michigan. US Ten only takes you to Wisconsin from where you have to get on a boat if you want to make it into Michigan.

Kimberly 1:38 PM  

As others have mentioned, I pronounce QUERY quite differently from Kerry and was quite confused about some place I’ve never heard of in Washington called Keery or maybe even Kirry.

I still miss when Thursdays and Sundays were clever. They were what first fascinated me about crosswords way way back (I remember the first time I saw an answer turn a corner when I was a kid, and I was so delighted I became a lifelong fan), and their loss makes me wonder, sometimes, why I still bother. Once in a while they still have appeal, but over-all I assume the really great constructors have gone elsewhere.

old timer 1:46 PM  

I strongly recommend longtime fans of this blog: Listen to that "Teaching in the Arts" interview with OFL. I am not a teacher and it is mostly about teaching, and the influence of teachers on future teachers. Fascinating! Though I have to admit I bailed probably 3/4 of the way through. Early on, there is a discussion of the blog and crosswords, but for me the interesting part is how OFL ended up a college professor, and in Binghampton. So much of life depends on chance. I have one good friend whom I went to prep school with, who went on to Harvard with no idea what he would do with his eventual degree, and it was almost by chance he ended up in his field, and a full (now retired) professor in a little-known field. d

interesting too to hear about the Claremont colleges. I have often thought I would have liked to go to one of them. @Rex did and had a good experience there.

pabloinnh 1:50 PM  

Well I thought this was just fine, but I'm easy.

Enjoyed seeing HISN, as it reminded me of my old friend Burns with whom I shared a boarding house room when I started teaching. He was an old Vermonter and told me a story of two students discussing possessions. One, clearly conscious of a teacher's presence was being very careful with his grammar and explained, "Look, it wasn't my one, it was his one". Fixed that.

Also had the TA of "Spanish snack" and pictured lots of people writing in TACO. Used to ask students to name Spanish food and always got tacos, burritos, etc., which as far as I know are only found in Spain in Mexican restaurants.

Uncle John C 2:02 PM  

Isn't there some rule against using APERY soon followed by ERY (Trick ending)?

Pat's... 2:45 PM  

@Wm. C. 12:06
They're hated because they cheat. And The NFL does nothing about it.

Kath320 3:06 PM  

Is it legal in the world of crossword to have 7D SHUTSUP cross 45A UPTO? Seems like at least a misdemeanor to me.

Cyclist227 3:07 PM  

I thought this one was a bit too easy. I tend to agree with Rex that the LA Times/Washington Post Sunday crossword has supplanted the NY Times. I just think Will Shortz is too into contorted cleverness.

Hungry Mother 3:09 PM  

DNF today. A few problems.

Joe in Newfoundland 3:30 PM  

yes, I think the editor should have done something about QUERY and OSSEO. I also question "sentient ones" as BEINGS. Aren't lots of things BEINGS that aren't sentient? Or am I being too aristotelian about it?

Z 3:44 PM  

Aren’t the complaints about QUERY WASHINGTON backwards? Isn’t it that the more strained the sound the better the pun? By the rules of punnery bad is good, right? What would be the fun of punning, say, here and hear? No No. Get thee to the Punnery and repent your doursome complaints.

Anonymous 3:58 PM  

@Barbie viz KenKen
I quite agree, theres is nothing wrong with liking Ken ken. But Rex has poo pooed KEN Ken and Soduku many times.
When his wife wins a Ken Ken contest, hes as quiet as the grave on the deficits he so gleefully pointed out before.
Thats wny I called him a creep and a hypocrite. You know, cause he is.

Anonymous 4:21 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Missy 4:21 PM  

Do you ever tire of listening to yourself Pontificate ???

Anonymous 5:25 PM  

The country's most wearisome whiners are those people who accuse the Patriots of cheating. Let's face it, people hate them because they win. No amount of ESPN so-called "analysis" or N.Y. Post headlines will ever change the fact that the Patriots in because they are good and they are smart. Do people really thing eight super bowl appearances were based on cheating? Oh please, just grow up. Oh, and I was at the so-called Deflategate game. And what happened after halftime when the footballs were supposedly corrected to a "Proper" inflation?
Brady and the Patriots offense were unstoppable. That's what. Give us a break already.
PS: here's looking at you, quid was just terrific.
PPS: I wonder if Patriots haters use Google. Cheating, perhaps?

Tommy from Quincy 5:47 PM  

I am SO sick of people calling the Patriots cheaters! They only say this because the Pats were caught cheating twice. The lame-stream media tries to make this sound like they're cheaters. Sad!

semioticus (shelbyl) 6:32 PM  

Meh meh meh.

The theme was OK. HERESLOOKINGATYOUQUID and QUERYWASHINGTON were the best, but I agree with the comments: if you're doing a simple sound change theme, go the whole nine yards and be super wacky. These theme answers didn't bring out any loud response from me.

The fill was also meh. Some interesting and fresh stuff, but the NE corner was just bad overall. YEO/EAMONN/AEOLIAN = ANNOYER. Maybe the constructor wanted to get meta there, I don't know. Also not a fan of HISN or RWR or OSSEO or SEQS, despite these being infrequently used crossword answers. The high Scrabble score keeps the fill interesting, but not many answers that make you smile.

The clues were also meh. Nothing quotable.

But hey, it didn't drive me crazy, so there's that.

GRADE: C+, 2.9 stars.

Bob Mills 6:51 PM  

"OSEEO" is dead wrong. Only "OSTEO" works with that clue. Otherwise, a good puzzle. Nice puns.

Anonymous 7:22 PM  

Hey, I knew Mclaren(!), but only because my 6-year-old grandson is obsessed with “cool, fast EUROPEAN (as opposed to boring American) sports cars.” This was my favorite clue.

sixtyni yogini 7:51 PM  

Meh. 🤔😜🤔

Wow 9:44 PM  

Ha-Ha-Ha Only caught cheating twice... You made the point. First, how many other teams have been "caught" cheating? None. Second, how many times have they Not been caught?

Anonymous 10:18 PM  

Came armed with
Carry Washington?

All were forgiven by “Tepid wackiness is wack.”

OFL 2018 Mic Drop Nominee #1

TomAz 1:40 AM  

@Anon 5:25p: "The country's most wearisome whiners are those people who accuse the Patriots of cheating."

You sound like Trump. "There was no collusion!"

The Patriots are hated because they are proven, demonstrated, factual serial cheaters. Sports fans respect success, but not ill-gotten wins.

sf27shirley 6:28 AM  

American Sign Language.

Citizen Dain 11:17 AM  

Can we talk about how bad the last theme answer is? All of the other six change the pronunciation of the word, leading to goofy sounding answers like "kween" for "keen" and "kwoat" for "coat".

The last one changes the spelling, but that's all. Maybe I'm not saying it right, but I pronounce "quart" and "court" in the same away. Maybe I should be saying a "kwart" of milk, but is that how people say it? Isn't it a "court" of ice cream? You say that a basketball game has four "courters", not four "kwarters", right? Am I insane?

Bob Mills 12:09 PM  

For Citizen Dain: I'm sure you're sane, but you're wrong about the pronunciations of "quart" and "quarters."

Unknown 10:25 PM  

I answered hope to instead of hope so on 53 across. *&^%$#@#$%^&*&^^%$#@!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mops 12:14 PM  

I’m amazed that no one commented on ShawneeS. The names of tribal people do not require a final “S.” It’s like saying mices instead of mice. Thus, members of Native American tribes should be — Choctaw (my tribe) Shawnee, Osage, Nez Perce, Navaho, Iroquois (would have been a good choice for this puzzle) etc. So, somebody tell the cluers to leave off that “S” cause it makes me crazy.

Anonymous 11:26 AM  

Kerry Washington is from the tv show scandal. anway the middle of the puzzle really goofed me up- never got the looking at you etc. . 80a stumped me and I was an idiot not to get quantum- would have made things so much easier. Struggled w/ Russian counsel. I thought cest la vie was great and very clever. also trench quote. I got most of this before checking in here. all in all despite some dodgy clues and answers, I really like this puzzle. Best one in recent memory. Here upstate we did not get 4th nor'easter. But where I grew up on LI- they got hammered. There should be a weather themed puzzle!!!! someone do that!

spacecraft 12:09 PM  

A couple things...along with OFL, I cry foul on OS{S?}EO. I have a medical background and I never! ever saw this prefix. It's OStEO. That's an out-of-bounds penalty. Also, despite getting the theme early, I had to enter 24 across painfully, down by down, thinking, who the hell is Kerry (or Cary, or Kyrie?) Washington? So I owe OFL thanks for making her the WOD.

Not the DOD; that title belongs to the lovely GISELE. Several ANNOYERs lurk amongst the fill, the RRN pope, the double-n (MUCH RARER than the single) EAMONN, EXTS, etc. So the puzzle could have been a little HIPPER. HIPPER, really? And then, one theme entry, QUICKBOXER, hardly changes the meaning at all. They're both BOXERs, and both better be QUICK if they're going to be good at it; just one KICKs and the other doesn't. Meh.

Some good stuff here; gotta give props for RATPACK and SHUTSUP. But overall, this one does not make ONEUNDER. Par.

Burma Shave 12:50 PM  


to SEA that PEACHYQUEEN thing that MADAME did?


Burma Shave 12:51 PM  


to SEA that PEACHYQUEEN thing that MADAME did?


rondo 2:03 PM  

1a CISCO went in right off the bat and so did the entire west. For some reason the east and central more slowly. Oh, *Joey* Bishop, so finally RATPACK. Duh. And EAMONN was an ANNOYER.

I look down there in the SW only to see yeah baby GISELE SNORED. Yeah, that woulda kept me up(har), if I was the other ONEUNDER the covers.

Probably the only puz with two words starting in AEO_. But I wouldn't rate it AAA, maybe CEE?

AnonymousPVX 3:30 PM  

Got the solve but didn’t care for the clueing or the gimmick. No love for this puzzle and not much else to add.

leftcoastTAM 5:56 PM  

Not a big fan of bulky Sunday puzzles, but got some enjoyment OUTTA this relatively easy one.

Last entries in were crossed non-themers, MARACAIBO/LAYLA, with the latter being the more resistant.

Rarely do "yeah babies", but GISELE would be my favorite of all--if I were to do that sort of thing, of course.

leftcoastTAM 6:04 PM  

Not sure where my comment went, but the gist was: Yes, easy-medium, and yeah, for sure, for GISELE.

leftcoastTAM 7:49 PM  

@spacecraft -- M-W unabridged: osseo=bone. Look it up.

rondo 8:10 PM  

BTW - OSSEO is a Minneapolis suburb, but not that close to Edina. Check the map.

wcutler 12:24 AM  

@Masked and Anonymous 1:26 PM I liked the puzzle because I thought of you the whole time, wondered if it was a personal gift.

It took me almost all week to almost finish it, didn't get 47D ASL, but now that I see the answer, I really like the clue. I was sure LIsLE had to be right for 59A (the first commenter mentioned that too).

Wilbur Charles 10:48 PM  

I thought perhaps ESTHER was the last book of the Bible. Abbrev would be ESTH now that I think about it .

Patriots got severely punished for a pedestrian offense (deflating).

I'm so late because Tampa gets the xword a week late. Garcon was wrong because the clue asked for the addressee. Garcon doesn't mean "boy" but refers to French waiters coming from Gascony


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