Alice's cat in Through Looking Glass / WED 6-20-18 / Small Eurasian songbird / Goes by livery taxi / Firecracker goes in one / Religious leader usually sporting beard / Real dogs eat meat sloganeer

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Constructor: Jeffrey Wechsler

Relative difficulty: Medium (4:59, slowish for me, but I'm getting over a cold and my eyes are dry and the fan was irritating them etc. ...)

THEME: OU -> U — phrases with "ou" words have the "o" removed, creating good old-fashioned wackiness...

Theme answers:
  • PROPER NUN (17A: Well-behaved sister?)
  • FUR ON THE FLOOR (23A: Evidence of a cat fight?)
  • CURSE CORRECTION (37A: TV bleep?)
  • CURT REPORTERS (45A: Impolite press conference attendees?)
  • PALACE CUP (59A: Part of the queen's tea service?)
Word of the Day: Jacques PÉPIN (48D: TV chef Jacques) —
Jacques Pépin (French pronunciation: ​[ʒak pepɛ̃]; born December 18, 1935) is an internationally recognized French chef, television personality, and author working in the United States. Since the late 1980s, he has appeared on French and American television and written an array of cookbooks that have become best sellers.
• • •

I just don't care about this. It's not trying to be anything but a warmed over puzzle from 1982. There's not even a clever revealer. Take out the "O" ... tada? Besides BULLFINCH (9D: Small Eurasian songbird) and GOOD FAIRY (3D: Tinker Bell, e.g.), there's nothing good here. HIRES A CAR made me want to SHUT A COMPUTER, namely my own. Super-choppy grid with infinite 3-to-5-letter words, most of them repeaters. Proper n(o)uns are mostly from the olden days (e.g. GARBO, PÉPIN). Alice's cat??? And any puzzle that contains UEYS is going to get multiple NAYS from me. Puzzles simply must be more colorful, more current, and more ambitious than this. Demand better. Sorry I can't do more for you today, but this puzzle just doesn't warrant it.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:12 AM  

Easy for me. I did this before dinner and after dinner I had problems remembering what the theme was...oh yeah, cheesy puns.

Smooth grid but the “drop the O” theme didn’t do much for me. Didn’t hate it.

Trombone Tom 12:26 AM  

OFL seems extra cranky. I enjoyed the simple theme and funny answer.

My choice for clunker is the horrid clue for ONE.

I worked my way around this counter-clockwise until I was slowed by trying takES A CAR before HIRES. Then I worked off the O and tried plutO before DUMBO.

Fairly straightforward, but some fun, too.

Kendall 12:35 AM  

That was a much softer review than I expected after finishing this puzzle.

This played out really slow for me, and I think that’s because I didn’t know a single proper noun without crosses and the theme took until the third one to make sense. I had a hunch after two, but I guess I just thought there was going to be more to it? Not so much I suppose...

It so often seems like when I comment here I’m only complaining about how stale the puzzles are, and I know that old answers/clues aren’t bad, but seriously this needed to be freshened up. How is it possible that the trendiest answer in this puzzle is OBAMA? The clues at least got something recent with Westworld but if you changed that clue up you could have run this puzzle in 2008 no changes made. I get it, having stuff that’s aged a bit beyond my lifetime (I’m only 30) is a learning experience for me, but can’t new and fresh stuff be the same for the older crowd that otherwise wouldn’t follow along?

Here’s to hoping for a much more lively Thursday puzzle.

Larry Gilstrap 1:34 AM  

Somewhat unusual solve for me. I caught the theme at PROPER NUN and used it to complete the others. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Often I ignore themes, or am just clueless and have to follow up with a post-solve crime scene investigation. Plus, these are symmetrically stacked around that center grid spanner. I liked the experience.

Growing up in tinder dry Southern California, I'm not a big fan of fireworks: noise and air pollution and fire hazard trifecta. I have limited experience with firecrackers and am wondering when they are part of an ARC. I guess people throw them? Anything thrown makes an ARC, if you believe in gravity. I hope I'm missing something here.

In the early 00s, I had some time to kill and a little money to burn, so I went online and bought an airline ticket to a place as far away as I could afford. I flew to Anchorage, rented an ALERO and proceeded to drive 800 miles in 10 days and never left the Kenai Peninsula. Alaska is big.

Hawaii is not so big, but the Big Island is home to South Point, the most southerly point in the US and getting more southerly, according to reports. McCain almost out-southerned OBAMA by being born in Panama, but elections matter. Kenya is way south of both of those places.

My wife was a flight attendant and had Roger EBERT on a particularly turbulent transcon. The pilot successfully found the ground and everyone was giving the movie critic two-thumbs up, undoubtedly inspired by joy and relief.

chefwen 2:45 AM  

One of the easiest Jeffery Wechsler puzzles I’ve done. Got the drop the O dealy right away at PROPER NUN. Only slow down was in the SW, for some obscure reason I can never remember where the U goes in PAPUA, beginning or end, I know, mental block.
Again, puzzle over before I was ready for it to be over.

C’mon Thursday, liven things up with a lovely Rebus.

Unknown 2:56 AM  


Donald 3:06 AM  

Aerial fireworks (eg Roman candles) go in an arc. Firecrackers don’t go in an arc unless thrown. Bad clue.

sanfranman59 3:24 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 3:43 4:30 0.83 6.2% Easy
Tue 4:37 5:26 0.85 18.0% Easy
Wed 6:46 6:39 1.02 58.4% Medium

Not too much trouble with this solve. I didn't bother to read the clue for 9D and finished BULLFI with ght instead of NCH. Not good. It's kinda important to read clues when doing a crossword.

I found the theme to be fun and we get 5 themers. I've heard that's supposed to put pressure on the fill and there are a few groaners (UEYS, DIS, ONES, EER, SSN, TRI, BADAT) but not too egregious I didn't think.

If I have Alice's cat's name somewhere in the gray matter, I couldn't summon DINAH. STRUNK and White was almost biblical when I was in school. Is it still? I think Jacque PEPIN may be only crossword knowledge for me. I don't pay much attention to celeb chefs.

Thumbs up (miss you, Roger EBERT).

Loren Muse Smith 4:37 AM  

No-o! Cool. Seems like years ago that Jeff Chen gently told me that add-a-letter/lose-a-letter themes were kinda falling out of favor, and I was disappointed. I. Love. This. Little. Game.

FUR ON THE FLOOR is funny. (We had a standard dachshund growing up named Corvette, and I liked telling people she was four on the floor. Actually almost five since she liked her food and almost dragged her tummy.)

Too bad the grid had TOUR and FOUL. Might have been more elegant not to have any other OU combo.

What’s dangerous to do at a busy intersection? I’ll tell ya what – farding. Almost as bad as texting. I know, I know. I need to find a new startling word to throw around. Puce is pretty good, but it doesn’t quite have that je ne sais quoi that farding has.

“What teens do that most twentysomethings don’t” – Hmm. Where do you even start? Sit out on the roof of your house? Sleep until 2pm? Hide dirty dishes under the bed? Deliver the car back home with only fumes for gas and I have a three-mile drive to the gas station the next morning and it’s pouring rain? But the entry, in fact, doesn’t really work. I sure as heck was still growing in my twenties. Ok. Maybe not upwards, but certainly outwards.

“Bambi” before DUMBO. Bet I’m not alone there.

Liked it, Jeffrey! Hard to think of others. Maybe Trump’s little cache of hush-money for his tryst partners could be a DUMBFUND?

*I missed all the hoopla yesterday not ‘cause I was outraged or anything; my husband got up early, so my little routine was all messed up. Since maybe not everyone reading this has solved yesterday’s, I posted just a small deal at the end of the comments yesterday. I don’t really have much to add.

Anonymous 4:40 AM  

As a relatively new solver, can someone please let me know what OFL stands for? The only thing I can come up with is Opportunities for Learning.

chefwen 5:02 AM  

@Loren - Hand up for Bambi.

Anonymous 5:16 AM  

@4:40a anonymous: OFL is Our Fearless Leader aka Rex.

Conrad 5:43 AM  

Not having memorized the sequence of Disney films (shame on me), I realized that 11D had to be either DUMBO or bamBi. So I put in the B and checked 22A. LIBRE gave me ALERO (initially spelled ALERa) and TASER, which in turn gave me UVULA and that's what got me to DUMBO. It could also have been clued as "Brooklyn neighborhood" (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass).

Anonymous 5:44 AM  

Only Feels Loathsome.

Lewis 6:16 AM  

Ahh. I like it when a puzzle is just a simple joy, not trying to impress, just being playful in words and clues, like today's offering. It brings a sweet R&R moment to the day and a pleasurable intrigue to the brain. Thank you for this, Jeffrey.

BarbieBarbie 6:21 AM  

My objection to UEYS is that it is verbal slang with multiple possible written spellings, so all you can enter is UxxS, which feels not-right. Like d’oh. But I guess no worse than Russian ruler xxAR, which is legit. Also I keep wanting to spell EDIE Falco with a Y, because somebody famous has that Y. Who is it? The singer?

Jim Lemire 6:25 AM  

I didn’t mind the theme except for the lack of a revealer. I kept looking around the puzzle to see if I somehow missed just seemed like it *should* be there. Actually, it definitely should be there. Maybe I’ll chevk again to see if I missed it.

Otherwise, overall pretty straight forward for a Wednesday. My biggest trip-ups:

baMBi before DUMBO

takES A CAb before ridES A CAb before HIRES A CAb before, finally, HIRED A CAR. I just couldn’t get past “cab” and figured teenagers were doing some new fangled thing called GbOW that I didn’t know about. Plausible, if not probable.

DINAH? Had to get it via the crosses.

Hungry Mother 6:43 AM  

Fastest Wednesday ever for me. I don’t usually pay too much attention to the theme, but today’s was easy and helpful. Otherwise, I did a lot of downs. I struggled more with the mini today.

Robert A. Simon 6:47 AM  

@LMS: I had CINDERELLA. I was thinking maybe rebus...

Nickyboy 6:50 AM  

Came to say what Donald did above me. Firecrackers just sit there and go "bang!". Now, a bottle rocket can go in an arc. But a firecracker? No.

Passing Shot 7:01 AM  

BarbieBarbie — you’re thinking of Eydie Gorme (of “Steve [Lawrence] and Eydie”).

Z 7:11 AM  

Usually these days I’m more Rexian in my take, but today’s puzzle hit just the right spot. FUR ON THE FLOOR reminds me of the worst fight I ever broke up. Quite the pile of hair ended up in the middle of D Hall after it. Two siblings, and the best I could gather about the cause was the one sister had accused the other of having “turkey thighs.” Yes, my teen v 20-something thoughts were all along the lines of pout, emote, SPEW, over-react, etc. Anyway, My only theme complaint is that Shortz et alii are still a little tepid when it comes to wacky.

On a relatively easy theme like today’s I prefer no revealer. It took me a little while to see what was going on, but a revealer would have felt a little condescending. It’s a puzzle. I like that part of the puzzle is figuring out the trick.

@Donald Barclay - I don’t know what kind of duds you played with, but a proper firecracker does a noticeable ARC when it pops.

@LMS - Are you creating your own avatars these days? That’s what I did last night as the grand slam went off the outfielder’s mitt.

kitshef 7:17 AM  

I happen to like 1982, and this puzzle, which I found pretty hard for a Wednesday.

In 1982, I was in college with essentially no responsibilities, my knees never hurt, and no one was inflicting ‘repeater’ on me.

RJ 7:28 AM  

Like @Larry, I actually used the themers this time because PEPIN and STRUNK. Easy puzzle for a Wednesday, although like many (I'm sure we'll see more as the day goes on), I had TAKES A CAB for my 1st run through. The cluing for GROW was no help. And I do not know which shows are on which networks because I Netflix, Prime, and PBS. So maybe PBS.

Thanks @Loren for "farding". Since I'm an old fard who's been living in Hooterville for the past 25 years I've grown used to slow and polite drivers...until about 2 years ago when I noticed a huge uptick in drivers who text. On windy country roads. I was behind a pickup and the guy texted so much that he almost ran off the road - on the opposite side of the road. Granted, there were no oncoming cars and he would've ended up in a field, but did that stop him? For about 30 seconds. There were definitely those drivers 30 years ago with the paperback open in the center of the steering wheel, but very few.

John Crowe 7:29 AM  

At the blogger's suggestion, I did last Sunday's Washington Post puzzle. It was a word ladder. How about that!

Irene 7:34 AM  

This one was pure Wednesday pleasure for me, with lovely puns and a thrill of recognition for Dinah, Alice's cat.

mitchs 7:54 AM  

Laughed out loud at "SHUT A COMPUTER".

pabloinnh 7:56 AM  

If you take the "word with weather or ball" and want a four-letter word that starts with f, "fair" works very nicely, as does "Bambi" given the b from cuba libre, which is a gimme. I for one like these kinds of misdirections and the you-got-me-there moments. Also have no objections to the add a letter/drop a letter approach. Words are fun.

QuasiMojo 8:04 AM  

I was always taught that we stop growing at 27. Loved Loren’s list of things teens do. Hiding half eaten peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in drawers is another.

As someone who can’t bear Disney cartoons I put in Mulan since it shows up regularly in crosswords these days. Someone played tidbits from Frozen the other day at the place I’m vacationing. Treacly one-note insipidness. Which reminds me — listen to Eydie Gorme sing “Johnny One Note.” It’s on a par with what Bette said about Garbo. Frankly I was surprised by that quote as I’ve always thought Garbo was a very hammy actress. So was Davis of course but she at least could deliver a line. And how! Garbo was indeed beautiful. Something Bette even at her youngest and most fetching never really was. Oh and the puzzle? Meh. I agree with Rex. Except I never even noticed there was a theme. Is “palace cup” an actual thing? If not, that one seemed forced. And hardly a laff-riot.

Nampa Idaho 8:06 AM  

Jacques Pepin's method for roasting a chicken yields the perfectly roasted, juicy, beautiful bird and it's ridiculously simple... google the video. It's a couple of minutes well spent. You'll thank me later. Also his carving and presentation.

Hartley70 8:07 AM  

I'll take a little wackiness to start any day of the week.

Tim Aurthur 8:13 AM  

The last one doesn't work because the p in coup isn't pronounced.

Sharon 8:17 AM  

U - yuck. U doesn’t tickle me. Too much daily self-indulgence in this country to enjoy hedonistic wordplay.

Charles Flaster 8:24 AM  

Liked this easy one.
Themers were cute with CURT REPORTERS my fave.
Writeovers: DUMBO for baMBi and FOUL for Fair.
Thanks JW

Suzie Q 8:28 AM  

Yawn except for fur on the floor.
What an odd description of Garbo. I agree with @QuasiMojo 8:04 about both actresses. Garbo was beautiful but always seemed distant from her roles. Bette was striking in her appearance but only seemed real when her part called for some venom. I do love movies from the '40s.
The Obama clue made me chuckle because I knew someone would mention Kenya. Yes, that is certainly south, as in Southern Hemisphere!
I was happy that the dinosaur starting place was an egg and not the terrible Dee.
On to Thursday.

The Hermit Philosopher 8:34 AM  

He’s not “extra cranky,” just typically cranky. The usual Rexish whining: “old,” “warmed over,” “too many 3s,” “I demand better.”

Rex: why don’t you just list your regular gripes and copy/paste them into your post each day. It would save you a lot of time and you could rest your dry, irritated eyes. (Poor baby!)

Anonymous 8:38 AM  

The puzzle was cute. Rex phoned in his critique today but since he is sick, I guess we can give him a break.

oopsydeb 8:39 AM  

7D is a bad clue. Age of adulthood in most countries, including the USA, is 18*. Younger in some, older in some but not many. And the range would be much larger if they were getting at social construction of adulthood. Sloppy cluing. *Except for AL and NE (age 19) and MS and PR (age 21).

UEY or UEYS in a puzzle automatically takes my enjoyment down by 50%.

As I entered FUR ON THE FLOOR my cat was coughing up a fur ball. Amazing how he was able to find a way to perfectly express my level of enjoyment with this puzzle.

(But I do love Pepin and he can be in my puzzle any damn day he wants to be.)

Amelia 9:01 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy 9:20 AM  

I wanted midweek crunch and today I got it. You try to solve the NE when you have baMBi instead of DUMBO! It was FUR ON THE FLOOR (FUR ON THE FLIOR made no sense) that straightened me out...finally. Not that FUR ON THE FLOOR makes much sense either. What, pray tell, is "four on the floor"? A table in a restaurant? A kind of double-partnered square dance? ODD.

And because I HIRED A CAB instead of a CAR, I had GBOW at 66A. Was it some sort of teen video game? Some kind of teen app? Finally I saw it. What a great clue for GROW!!

Only after I finished did I realize that it wasn't a "change in sound" puzzle. It was a "remove the O" puzzle. But why remove the O? Beats me. Still, the puzzle made me think and it made me work. So I liked it a lot. And that's in spite of the not one but two stupid car clues.

Anonymous 9:24 AM  

I'm with Don and Nickyboy,
Firecrackers jump, explode, maybe some bits of paper zig or zag as they flutter back to earth, but the cracker is obliterated. Theres no track. No travel. No arc. At least not in any recognizeable meaning of the term.

Anonymous 9:31 AM  

EMEND-an acceptable variation of amend

E.B. White 9:42 AM  

The two words emend vs. amend cannot be used interchangeably in all contexts, so it's important we know when to use which word. Amend is to change something, usually a document or personal behavior, to make it better. Emend is to correct something, usually in a text, to fix an error.

newspaperguy 9:49 AM  

@anonymous 4:40: Outraged Frightful Lunatic.

Anonymous 9:52 AM  

21+, Someone 21 or older is an adult so what is the clue problem?

Nancy 9:57 AM  

I see that @JimLemire (6:25) and I had almost identical solving experiences. Don't remember seeing your name before, Jim. Welcome. As far as the BAMBI/DUMBO thing -- seems that tons of people made that mistake. It doesn't seem to have thrown other people off as badly as it threw me off, though.

I loved the clue for GARBO (5D). I love it when a clue makes me curious beyond all reason. Who did Bette Davis say that about, I wondered? What "machine" was Bette talking about? I was thinking of Hedy LaMarr because of her various inventions. @Quasi -- I have no idea if GARBO was hammy or not, because I don't watch silent movies. It seems that everyone in silents was pretty hammy. But I agree with you on Bette Davis. I've always thought she was hammy and don't know why she was so lionized in Hollywood. Subtle she never was.

Love your comment on continuing to GROW in your twenties, @Loren (4:37)

howard a. brenner 9:58 AM  

Amen Jeff Chen cares

RooMonster 10:01 AM  

Hey All !
BOING! What an awesome word! BOING BOING BOING. :-)

Nice WedsPuz. Of course the FUR ON THE FLOOR was my fave. Although CURSE CORRECTION is funny also. Lots of U's again today. Three F's.

Spelled PAPUA wrong at first. Switched the U and A after seeing that GETS READY had to be right. STRUNK could've been STRaNK just as plausibly.

@Nancy, you crack me up with your Non-Carness. I'm a car nut myself, unfortunately don't have Jay Leno money, but if I did, I'd have a collection larger than his. (He owns a bunch of cars.) That FOuR IN THE FLOOR is another car related thing. It means a Four Speed Manual Transmission with the shifter coming out of the floor. Feel free to ask me more car stuff if you care to know. :-)

Didn't fall for the CAb, as already had EGG, and so one GB wasn't going to start a word. Liked the open NE/SW corners. ONES clue was ODD (or SLY?) UEYS. Is that preferred spelling? It would make sense, since if you add an H to the front, it's HUEYS.

Another word to add to the put-the-same-letters-in-until-you-get-the-crosses - EbOLa/EcOLi. Also, loA/keA, tAO/mAO, and others that aren't entering the ole brain right now. :-)


Rainbow 10:03 AM  

@Kendall 12:35 AM. A nitpick; Obama wasn't president until January, 2009, so 49D would not have worked in 2008.

PROPERNUN revealed the theme early. SW gave me a problem because I'm BADAT names. I had CAbS like some of you. I compounded my SE woes with "HOard" Jeesh! How dumb is that? I liked the puzzle and BOING made it sparkle.

newspaperguy 10:04 AM  

@Nancy: Why not just Google "Four on the floor"?

oopsydeb 10:06 AM  

Anon 9:52 am:
Because 18 is the age of adulthood in this country (and most countries), 21+ seems inaccurate. Might as well be 20+, 31+...

GILL I. 10:30 AM  

Maybe because we're in Auburn for the next few weeks that my mind kept wandering and I couldn't seem to focus. I found this one HARD..... I FINALLY got PROPER NUN but it took me an almost finish before the dim light bulb finally lit up. O, OK.
I like JW crosswords but this one didn't elicit one single AHA. @Loren did with her Bambi video. I'm glad Fantasia didn't fit because that was my very first Disney movie and I hid under my seat the whole time Mickey was waving his magic wand. Scarred me for life.
Talk about DUMBO, Do you know what teens do that most twenty somethings don't? ...OBEY. Yup, that was my DUMBO answer.
I wonder if JW or even Will meant fireworks instead of firecracker. The cracker is a small explosive device that BOINGs all over the place making lots of noise. I hate those things. Fireworks, on the other hand, go in an arc and they are wonderful to watch. When my mom passed on to heaven and her best friend of 55 years followed in her steps one week later, we had some of their ashes put in a firework and explode in glorious colors over Spofford Lake in New Hampshire. They spent many summers drinking martinis and smoking Winston's on that lake. (Hi @pabloinnh)
Jacques PEPIN is Olden days? He's still very much around and cooking some delicious stuff. I still watch reruns of him with Julia so maybe that's olden....but.
I think I'll go take a hike.

Tim Aurthur 10:37 AM  

We use decades to define the critical periods of our lives, but the ancients divided their lives into climacterics, which were periods of seven years. The grand climacteric was 63. If you attained that age you'd lived a good long life.

I believe that using age 21 as the age of adulthood is a vestige of that ancient system.

Nancy 10:40 AM  

@newspaperguy -- I come here to interact with all of you. (Well, maybe not with you, @newspaperguy.) If I want to sit by myself and have a private googlefest, I don't need to be here at all. What would there be left to say about the puzzle and my reactions to it?

There seem to be an awful lot of people here who have a deep-seated need to impel me to Google -- a need that seems almost cosmic in its fervency. And what I say to each and every one of you is: You Google! Google to your heart's content if that's what makes you happy. I wouldn't dream of stopping you. Live and let live and all that.

Joseph Michael 10:58 AM  

I enjoyed solving this. The answers did not come easily, especially in the NE, and the theme was fun.

It wasn’t just a matter of removing an O. It was switching from OU to O and most of the resulting themers were amusing enough, with CURSE CORRECTION being the best.

Though ODD-looking it may be, UEY is a legit entry since it is in the vernacular, but I’m never sure whether the constructor has gone with UEY or UIE.

Had a good time at 66A thinking about what teens do that older don’t. Use fake IDs to buy a six pack?

Bruce R 11:03 AM  

Firecrackers most certainly do not go in an arc. They just sit there and explode, unless you throw them. If we allow for throwing, then pencils go in an arc, cell phones, etc.

GHarris 11:05 AM  

Incredible, the excuses Rex comes up with for his "slowish " time. Hey, my arm hurts, my stomach aches, my heart rate is slow today. Wtf does any of that have to do with solving a puzzle? Today was fun and quite doable though I agree with the non-arc firecracker comments.

Banana Diaquiri 11:20 AM  

when I was a kid, we went to Blunt Park to see the 4th fireWORKS. some folks referred to any form of pyrotechnics as "firecrackers". there was, at one time, a NASCAR Grand National race called the 'Firecracker 400' and featured some pictures of an airburst. most, of course, were M80-ish.

Anonymous 11:20 AM  

No she’s thinking of Edy’s ice cream

Bertinelli Forever 11:25 AM  

“...a warmed over puzzle from 1982.”

True, Van Halen’s “OU812” wasn’t released until 1988...

Lewis 11:29 AM  

@M&A -- Nine U's! U-topia!

Whatsername 11:32 AM  

A firecracker generally goes in whatever direction you throw it. My dad used to put an entire package of them in a coffee can and they went all over the place. He thought it was hilarious but coffee cans were made of tin in those days. Do not try this at home with today’s plastic containers. Fire WORKS such as Roman candles naturally arc when ignited. Seems like a pretty obvious edit needed there. I thought the clue for 7D was iffy, kept trying to make it about Blackjack. But I loved the punny theme, especially FURONTHEFLOOR which I have occasionally found along with a lamponthefloor upon returning home from errands. Usually with two indifferent cats, both looking equally unconcerned while casting suspicious glances at the dogs.

Rex, sincere wishes for your speedy recovery. There are few things more annoying than a summer cold.

ezra roenfeld 11:42 AM  

What is uey? Asked by an old 65 year old.....

puzzlehoarder 11:51 AM  

I had an average Wednesday time in spite of a slow start. AUDI and EBOLA were the only crosses to go right in so I started working the downs in that middle north section.

That word "machine" in the GARBO clue really threw me off. I couldn't be completely sure I was looking for an actress. I didn't know Alice had a cat. Luckily RUNON and ADULT we're easy. This section was typical of the whole solve.

23A went right in so no misdirect for BAMBI. I had a JUMBO/DUMBO write over as I briefly confused my elephant names.

I never determined that the theme was just the removal of the letter O while solving. Since the puns were easy enough to recognize I never gave it that much thought. Speaking of puns, they are far less controversial than guns.

jb129 11:55 AM  

I enjoyed this a lot - got the theme but had to Google Strunk - I was obsessed with Safire & Styron which wasn't right. Fun puzzle Jeffrey!

relicofthe60s 11:56 AM  

Uey is a U turn. Answered by a 72-year-old.

jb129 12:01 PM  

Ezra - UEY is crosswordese & short for U-TURN.

Whatsername 12:17 PM  

@ezra roenfeld - a UEY is a U-turn.

Masked and Anonymous 12:31 PM  

Hard not to like FURONTHEFLOOR, even if U think this theme type is an oldie. Still a goodie in this case, IM&AO.

Not quite sure what @RP is complainin about here, but hey he sure is entitled to his own likes & DIS likes.
Average word length is 5.05 (longish, for a WedPuz). Gridfill's Freshness Factor (™) is 43.1 (80.4 WedPuz percentile). UEY is a perfectly fine slang word; it also sorta describes this puz, U-count-wise.

Oddest thing in the puz for m&e was HIREACAR. Agree with @RP, that it sounds a bit wonky. But the clue has "livery taxi" in it, a term I'm not familiar with -- sooo .. maybe this is one of them British slang terms, or somesuch? Looks like maybe it is, based on other Comment Gallery info & xwordinfo comment info. Gets points for desperation, anyhoo.

staff weeject pick = SOX. Part of a nice weeject stack, dead grid-center. By the by, puz has 13 weejects in total, which is a fairly low amount of 3-letter nominees.

Not sure these fillins trend all that oldfashion. Not every puz can have a nice, current TRUMP, OMAROSA, or THEMOOCH in it, after all. I'll take an OBAMA. So will all them lil kids now in jail camp, I reckon.

@muse: COCKTAILLUNGE. har. A very nice find; truly a real MUSECLICKER.

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Wechsler.

Masked & Anonymo10Us

OFL possible meanings would make a primo top-ten list, huh?


old timer 12:43 PM  

I wrote in "mad at" given the clue, "having trouble with" and assumed there must be mullfinches somewhere in the world. BADAT is just a terrible answer in that context because you can be BAD AT something and have no trouble at all.

As the parent of former teenagers, I never thought of them as ADULT before age 21 or even 23. Yes, they could vote but so what? They could not legally drink and were way too young to marry and start a family.

GARBO was in plenty of talkies, and not just silents.

I agree "firework" made more sense for ARC than "firecracker".

kitshef 12:47 PM  

Forgot to mention how much I enjoyed Rex's Bowie video.

Also, to @newspaperguy. My answer is if Nancy Googles "Four on the Floor", she and only she learns the answer. By her posting here, many people can see the reply (in this instance by Roo Monster) and learn from it.

Girish 1:11 PM  

@Mr. Showalter 8:34 A’M. may i anoint you Lord Alpo, Stu...? awaiting your Illuminati activity actually concerning the puzzle

JOHN X 1:19 PM  

Greta GARBO is a classic and not "dated" in the least.

She was one of the most photogenic actresses in Hollywood history. In real life she was described as being very plain looking, but when she was under the lights in front of the camera (always photographed by William Daniels, A.S.C.) she turned into a goddess on the screen. Her face just shone, as if every idiosyncrasy of the motion-picture photographic process just complemented her and vice-versa. She wasn't a bombshell or a sex symbol in the Jean Harlow model, she was just - - a screen goddess, no other word for it. Hell, she barely had to speak, which was good because she had such a thick accent.

Aketi 1:22 PM  

I liked that both FUR ON and RUN ON were attached to THE FLOOR. Our cats RUN around ON THE FLOOR every morning chasing each other until one catches the other. Then they engage in a mad scramble of clawing and biting that leaves FUR ON THE FLOOR (and sometimes even gouges in the wood floors). Usually they do this at 5:00 am.

I don’t think of TINKER BELL as particularly GOOD fairy. She was mischievous and jealous of Wendy.

Anonymous 1:46 PM  

Ive always had Garbo as overrated. I never saw the appeal. I cant even think of a single role of hers I enjoy. She almost manages to wreck Ninotchka.
In no partucular order I'd prefer Loy, Dunne, Lombard,O'Hara, Leigh Garson,DeHaviland,Bennett, Fontaine (gotta separate the feuding sisters),
Kelly, Fonda, Tomei, Malone, Lamar, Bardot...

Anonymous 1:52 PM  

Often Found Lying

Banana Diaquiri 1:59 PM  

UEY is crosswordese & short for U-TURN

no it's not. ask any 18 year old at any time since the Model T. not counting exact spelling, of course, but phonetically it's been around since there were streets.

foxaroni 2:09 PM  

FURONTHEFLOOR is especially funny if you have more than one cat. (Although one cat can do fur deposits very nicely on its own.) I kept trying to use HANSOME (something) CAB and got nowhere. Yet another hand up for BAMBI. When that didn't work, briefly wondered if Disney had a SAMBO cartoon. DUMBO was a much better answer.

@Nancy--a little bit more about "four on the floor." In the '50s and, to some extent, the '60s, customizing a car pretty much required that the three-speed gear shifter be removed from the steering column and a four-speed transmission installed (plus a bigger engine). The gear shifter projected from the floor. I think part of the attraction was that four on the floor permitted faster gear shifting in drag races. Other customizations included porting, chopping, Frenching headlights and tail lights, installing tube grills, fancy hubcaps, repainting with glitter in the paint, flames, pinstriping and a lot more. The auto industry figured that HAD to be a lucrative market, so muscle cars were introduced with bigger engines, four-speed transmissions (on the floor, of course), fancy paint, etc. The prime example was the Pontiac GTO. (Finally, check out "Little GTO" by Ronnie and the Daytona and "Little Deuce Coupe" by the Beach Boys for more terminology.) Sorry this is so long and, I hope, not TOO boring. ;-)


Anoa Bob 2:16 PM  

PROPER NUN? Isn't that a given? It would only be noteworthy if said NUN were IMPROPER, eh?

One of the challenges for setting up a themed puzzle is to find theme candidates that have the requisite letter counts. A five-themer requires two pairs of themers, each pair with the same letter-count, 9 and 13 today, and a single themer with an odd number of letters, a grid-spanning 15 today.

I always notice when a short-cut is used to achieve this letter-count balance. One pair today, in their natural state so to speak, don't match up. FUR ON THE FLOOR comes in at 13 letters but CURT REPORTER is only twelve. What to do? Just tack on a gratuitous S and the problem is solved.

How easy is that? Too easy in my book and this kind of POC strikes me as a major demerit for the puzzles overall quality.

Having said that, if I were putting together a puzzle, and after due diligence I could not come up with one of the pairs that had matching letter-counts, and going with an S-inflated themer was my only option, I would probably give in to the temptation. Better a flawed puzzle than no puzzle at all, right? Besides, would anyone else even notice?

Anonymous 2:30 PM  

Here we go again with bad car info. Actually the original GTO had three on the floor standard. It wa a Hurst and it was indeed manual. Yes, there was a 4 speed avaialable too.
But 4 speeds isnt intrinsically better than three...or 8 for that matter. And it doesnt make the car faster. Or slower. What more gears do, both in the transmission and tbe rear differential is help match engine speed with wheel speed. There are lots of desireable reasons for this. But we're already deep in the weeds Foxaroni ix quite rignt that 4 on the floor was a very popular transmission application.
But just as a hemi isnt powerful engine per se, and a v 6 isnt necessarily more
Powerful than an inline 4 or a big single for that matter; Its just an arrangemnt. It has no value in and of itself.

Teedmn 2:34 PM  

I think Jeffrey's puzzle is great fun - oddly enough, I found the themers the easiest to fill in and had trouble in the corners.

I did @Nancy's HIRES A CAb and justified it for pretty much the same reason - oh, it must be some APP that all the young things are doing but the twenty-somethings find passe. Too bad I didn't GROW out of that error and emend my puzzle, so DNF. (I was tired from riding my bicycle 14 miles into the wind and my contacts were troubling me and I was feeling guilty because I was supposed to be working from home instead of doing the puzzle. Enough excuses yet?)

Did not know Alice's cat was named DINAH, good to know. And although MN roadwork season has come on with a vengeance, I needed to see CURSE CORRECTIONS before the CONE came into view even though it was neon orange.

Fun stuff, thanks, Mr. Wechsler.

Anonymous 2:36 PM  

And it shluld go witnout saying it dosant matter wher tne getas are shifted. From a stalk off tbe steering colum or a rod througbt the floor. Those are both mecnanical actio s. Doesnt matter a whit wher tne lever is located.

Anonymous 2:40 PM  

The clue for 7D says nothing about WHEN a person BECOMES an adult. If you become an adult at 18 you are still an adult at 21+. I declare the clue valid by no power invested in me.

Bingbong 2:57 PM  

@Z 7:11am
So today your the expert on firecrackers?
Geez dude....

Anonymous 3:16 PM  

Thanks Peter Fonda for crushing any possibility of a blue wave this Fall. Genius.

Jim Lemire 3:54 PM  

Thanks, Nancy - I’m relatively new here...been lurking for a while I guess. Finally decided to jump in on the fun.

Still looking for that revealer...

john towle 3:59 PM  

You could also save yourself having to say the four words (fouronthefloor) by just saying STICK (donchaknow)



Banana Diaquiri 4:23 PM  

for pity's sake. 3/4 on the floor was a return to the 30s (and before) when all transmissions were driven by a "stick" which, usually, reached to the steering wheel. except the Model T, which had controls nothing like we know today. the moving of the shifter to the steering wheel, as a new feature, happened sometime after 1930. you can look up the exact date, if you care.

as to the number of gears, it all comes down to the torque curve. all long armed chuffers (look it up), only needed 3 gears to get down the road. today, performance sporty cars (and F1 racers) have anywhere from 6 to 9 gears. why? because they have a minuscule power band (both torque and HP), the only way to get down the road is to run in that narrow band, and the only way to go faster down the road is to match ever higher gear ratios to stay in that narrow band. lots of gears isn't a feature, it's a bug. from the point of view of ease of use.

Banana Diaquiri 4:31 PM  

But just as a hemi isnt powerful engine per se, and a v 6 isnt necessarily more
Powerful than an inline 4 or a big single for that matter; Its just an arrangemnt. It has no value in and of itself.

alas, none of that is true. a hemi head is vastly more efficient at producing power, and is the reason Chrysler brands owned NASCAR for years. Ford built a OHC hemi, and NASCAR promptly banned it. Kalitta used the engine to good effect in drag racing. all racing (and expensive sporty cars) use hemi heads. nothing's better.

you can't name a single one lunger that competes with a multi-cylinder engine in any vehicle. there may not even be any left in motorcycling, outside of scooters. I ran a Ducati 350 for a while. not just one lung, but long arm too. torque to beat the band, but not much power. beyond 250cc, one lungers just can't compete. beyond 250cc/cylinder, more cylinders mean more oomph.

Danny 4:39 PM  

I guess the revealer could've been 11D: "What the theme answers are missing." Dumb O.

Anonymous 5:38 PM  

Right on, Sister!

Trombone Tom 6:26 PM  

If you have access to American Value Club Xwords check out the latest by Aimee Lucido. It's a tailtwister.

rosebud 6:58 PM  

I enjoyed the baseball references, almost wrote Fair instead of Foul, since it was beautiful Fair weather for today’s Cubs game against the Dodgers, with lots of Fair balls, plus a few doubles, a triple and a Home Run! And then the Sox reference was a bonus, plus we won, 4-0!

CaliMarie 7:02 PM  

I thought "four on a floor" referred to rugrats!

Anonymous 7:38 PM  

O'Donnell Fonda Letterman

db 8:02 PM  

I struggled with the top right quadrant. I had UVULA, but had SILKS instead of LAMES, which sent me into a classic crossword tailspin. These two responses caused MULAN to fit so nicely as the Disney cross, although I knew there was no way it was old enough to be just their fourth feature film. Still I could not bring myself to erase it.

After a few minutes of huffing and puffing, my wife sat down and helped me solve [Cuba] LIBRE--I guess she's the booze hound in this family. This led me to DUMBO, which helped me correct LAMES and the rest fell into place quickly.

I'm now on a 10-day "gold" streak, which for me is a record. Though I'm slapping an asterisk on this one since I needed some help.

Side note: "Having trouble with" was a pretty lame clue for BAD AT.

DangShan 8:20 PM  

Me too. Bambi.

DangShan 8:21 PM  

Another Bambi here.

Anonymous 8:33 PM  

Hey banana,
My Husky 701 kicks my my BMW R69s ass, yes ansS!!!!,
Thats just one example in my garage. My friends have others.BTW, i love blowing Ducs away. Modern and vintage. Douche.

Firecracker 8:50 PM  

@Mals- No snark on Trump today? Peter Fonda got your lip?

Larry Gilstrap 9:03 PM  

Thanks to 49D, All day I have been thinking about that exasperatingly absurd Birther stunt they tried to pull off a while back. How does such an inane concept ever even get traction in the media? And, it came back every season like a sitcom.

Anonymous 9:28 PM  

Hey banana,
How about my Husky 701 against my BMW R69S?
Thats just my gatage. I cohld go on. But Ive been anoko g guys on Ducs for too long to care. DOUCHE.

pabloinnh 9:31 PM  

Henry Gregor Felsen (Hot Rod, Street Rod) had his teenage car enthusiasts express disappointment when they saw that the car they wanted to customize had a floor shift which was not as cool as a column shifter. This is in the 50's, so, tastes change. I read that HGF was one of Stephen King's favorites. Stuff you learn doing crosswords and reading blogs.

Ebenezer 9:47 PM  

I've heard of uee but not UEY. Neither has Google.

G. Weissman 10:24 PM  

Well, you accept it ...

G. Weissman 10:24 PM  

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz ...

Banana Diaquiri 10:59 PM  

i love blowing Ducs away. Modern and vintage.

yeah, sure:

"this year’s Phillip Island double win went to Marco Melandri on the Racing Ducati."

the Duc dominates where it races. and it's not a one lunger.

G. Weissman 1:39 AM  

I think people are asking you to google answers to factual questions (e.g., what does “four on the floor mean?”). Beyond the answers to such questions there remains much to discuss. You are basically just relying on others to google for you. Fine, live and let live, but get over yourself.

Nancy 9:05 AM  

@G. Weissman. I am not asking anyone to Google for me. I don't want anyone to Google for me. I wanted to riff on what FOUR ON THE FLOOR sounded like to me. I was not consumed with curiosity about what FOUR ON THE FLOOR really means. Now that I know what it means -- it seems to have something to do with car transmissions -- I can tell you that I plain don't care.

I was consumed with curiosity, however, about the Bette Davis quote and who she was talking about. Now that is what interested me. Please allow me to decide for myself, @GW, what I'm interested in and what I'm not interested in. What I am tempted to Google and what I am not tempted to Google. Please don't try to get me to live my life -- on this blog or anywhere else -- the way you think I should live it. That's smug and self-righteous and judgmental and leads me to respond: Get over yourself, yourself, @GW.

TJS 9:54 AM  

@Nancy, you go girl !

Marcie 9:58 AM  

Loved the puzzle. Orange bitters in a martini; never!

Tita 4:16 PM  

Jacques PEPIN is indeed alive and kicking.
No, he's not one of those infernal Celebrity Chefs who need a band and their own line of crap.

He started the gastronomy program and Boston University, and teaches there. I had hte good fortune to attend one of his classes which ended in a dinner that he and his students cooked for us.
He can certainly be in my puzzle any day of the week!
(Hi @GILL)

@oopsydeb - lol to your cat's timing.

I thought this was fun. Solved it while waiting for my FoURONTHEFLOOR to get a new O2 sensor so I could pass emmissions.
$500 later, with a car wash and vacuum thrown in, I put the top down and gave those gears a work out on the 40 miles of twisty roads back home on a spectacular first day of summer in these here parts.

G. Weissman 2:41 PM  

Your notion that anyone cares what you do or don’t google leads me to say “get over yourself, yourself, yourself.”

Burma Shave 10:20 AM  


she HORDE around frisky for ONE SLY result:
When she GETSREADY - she’s not BADAT AMORE -


thefogman 10:40 AM  

DNF. SLY Mr. Wechsler got me at 34D. I had HIRESACAb and I suspect I was not alone. For 66A, I considered GBOy (figuring it was tech slang for Gameboy). But I rejected that idea and went with GbOW (another game or maybe an exercise craze?) because 57D had to be SPEW. Turns out SPEW was right but GbOW was not. Even so, I still think HIRESACAb is the right answer for 34D. Enough bellyaching. Good puzzle. You beat me fair and square JW. Belated Syndieland Get-Well-Soon wishes go out to you Rex.

spacecraft 11:12 AM  

This is one of those "don't read @Rex" days. Medium difficulty, made so by the absence of a revealer, and by a sticky NE. I started in the S/SE, and the long line there, PALACECUP, had me scratching my head. The next one up, though, let the cat (DINAH, I had forgotten) out: we're just missing an O.

Livery is one of those curious era-hopping words, lifted from its original old west meaning of horse rental and now used for the rental of our modern "horses." I had rentSACAR, so a w/o there.

EMEND is one of those absolutely useless extra words; amend takes care of the meaning and is much more common. I vote we excise EMEND entirely form the language. And while we're at it, throw out the UEYS and UIES too.

These nits aside, we have a good, solid puzzle, just right for midweek. If I'm EBERT, I go with the thumbs up. DOD is DINAH Washington: what a difference a day makes! Birdie.

centralscrewtinizer 11:25 AM  

Totally with Rex ans Fogman on HIRESACAR. Sad way to dnf.

rondo 11:44 AM  

Coulda been wackier for my taste. FURONTHEFLOOR gets my vote for top themer. One write-over having trouble with mADAT before BADAT.

Why did the magi wear red suspenders? They came from AFAR.

Yes, I have “whipped some UEYS” in my day. But not since front wheel drive. Can we lose it and its variants?

Looks like I have EDIE Falco circled for yeah baby today.

Serviceable puz, can’t DIS it too much.

Diana,LIW 12:50 PM  

NAILED IT. Briefly considered the MAD/BAD CAB/CAR moments, but saner voices in my head prevailed. After all, a lady hires a car, not a common cab roaming the streets.

And, oh yes, the many ways to spell our beloved U, YOU, YEW, YOO HOO turn. Yew no whadImean.

DINAH won't you blow that horrrrrrn?

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords, and for the heat to subside, altho we don't have it nearly as bad as many places...I mean, it's a dry warmth, like my dry wit

leftcoastTAM 3:02 PM  

Less is more with this minimal, efficient theme, U sans O.

PALACEC[O]UP seemed the trickiest of the themers, in a somewhat resistant SE corner, with its dinosaur EGG, SUMO (not swim) competition, and teens who GROW.

Enjoyed it.

rainforest 3:36 PM  

Cute puzzle; cute themers; definitely no need for a revealer.

Though it wasn't difficult, I was slow on this for some reason. That SE corner was the main culprit - I couldn't see GROW for far too long.

Interesting that the themers drop the 'o' from 'ou' words, whereas many Americanisms have dropped the 'u' from 'ou' words in English. Thanks @rondo for recognizing my concern, especially in solving crossword puzzles, that I must misspell words as I know them. Other than American pronunciation of words like "decal", "semi-", "buoy", "anti-", and others, I'm off my hobby horse

Liked the puzzle.

JimmyBgood 5:29 PM  

Amend means to add something for clarification purposes,such as an amendment to the Constitution.
Emend means to edit, fix, or correct something.

JimmyBgood 5:49 PM  

Eydie Gorme is the only one I can think of offhand.

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