Quip attributed to British comedian Ken Dodd / WED 6-6-18 / Kind of off-season baseball league / Town in two Dr Seuss books / Jamboree attendee / Locale of many cookie-cutter homes

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Constructor: Richard F. Mausser

Relative difficulty: Medium (4:18)

THEME: Corny quip15A: Start of a quip attributed to British comedian Ken Dodd (I HAVE / KLEPTOMANIA BUT / WHEN IT GETS BAD / I TAKE SOMETHING / FOR IT)

Word of the Day: HOT STOVE (39D: Kind of off-season baseball "league") —
In baseballhot stove league is the sport's off-season. The phrase does not denote an actual league, but instead calls up images of baseball fans gathering around a hot stove during the cold winter months, discussing their favorite baseball teams and players.
The term has also come to refer to the wave of off-season player transactions (contract negotiations, re-signings, trades, free agency, etc.) that occur between seasons. Since most free-agent signings and trades occur during the off-season, this time of significant player transactions (including rumors and speculation about possible trades), is often referred to as the hot stove league or more simply, hot stove. (wikipedia)
• • •

Oh god, the quip, the Quip! Why are these still a thing. It's someone else's cleverness, first of all, so it shouldn't even count. Second of all, "cleverness" is generous. Corny dad humor and groaner one-liners don't usually rise to the level of "clever." This quip is something your boss saw in some joke book and then said at a meeting and everyone force-smiled and half-laughed but actually died inside. That's what this quip is. Here, I'll explain the joke (always funny!). So a kleptomaniac is someone who steals, or "takes," things compulsively, so when the quipper says he "TAKES SOMETHING / FOR IT," normally that phrase is understood to mean "takes a pill to alleviate an ailment," but here the "TAKES" is to be taken (literally), i.e. the quipper alleviates his kleptomania by stealing. There, wasn't that fun? I hope you were able to ENWRAP your head around the complexity of it all.
The quip is lamentable and the fill is likewise, with the longer Downs being a notable exception. YORKER (?) ANS ELL OSIS OSA OTRO ANAL SPYS ... there's a lot that's NOT SO good. I forgot MA BELL was a thing because, as the clue says, it is, in fact, "old" (3D: Old telephone service). ST. JOE is a city in MO? News to me. I wrote in ST. LOU. Then LOO. Also had SET AT for SIC ON (5D: Send to attack). Figured the [Cause of a bee sting's sting] was its ... stinger, actually. Pictured actual cookie cutters "living" in cupboards or drawers, but the hyphen in "cookie-cutter" shoulda tipped me that it was an adjective (11D: Locale of many cookie-cutter homes => SUBURBIA). Had STAY IN for STAY AT despite the fact that "in" is clearly in the clue (47D: Spend the night in). For 49A: Y feature I had the "Y" and thought, "well, yes, Y is a feature of ... Y." But it's Y as in YMCA, and the feature is the GYM.

Then there's 54D: 2018 Super Bowl champs (EAGLES), which ends up being weirdly timely, given ... given ... ugh, I can't even bring myself to describe it, it's so dumb. So dumb. The whole episode. But it did give us, ultimately, this beautiful bit of video, so ... "enjoy"!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Unknown 12:09 AM  

In my Canadian home town, the post-game hockey radio show on CBC is called “The Hot Stove Lounge”, so it’s definitely in the parlance up here, at least in the hockey world. Never heard it used to describe baseball.

sanfranman59 12:41 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 3:17 4:30 0.73 1.3% Very Easy
Tue 6:16 5:26 1.16 79.2% Medium-Challenging
Wed 5:41 6:39 0.86 24.5% Easy-Medium

I don't think quote puzzles are particularly conducive to speed-solving and they're often not my favorite theme, but I got through this one without much trouble. I think this quote is pretty clever word play, so thumbs-up for that.

OttaWA before OJIBWA (nice) and OtIc before OSIS (yuck) held me up some in the NE. SICON and ANS are ugly. The Scrabble-fest in the middle is cool and I like WHOVILLE next to HOT STOVE (baseball!) in the SW and the OJIBWA, SUBURBIA, IDITAROD combo in the NE is great and well worth the narcOSIS.

IMO, this week's Tuesday should have been a Wednesday and vice versa.

mathgent 12:44 AM  

Enjoyed it. Witty quote, some unusual entries, smart cluing.

Larry Gilstrap 1:21 AM  

My contention is that a puzzle is ephemeral, as should be the quip. Think a pencil scrawl in a toilet stall. Every day one summer, I found myself having lunch about the time All in the Family was being rerun. For some reason, Edith was stealing things, I forget. When confronted, she cries, "Archie, I ain't no klepper!" So sweet!

Don't like 66A as clued in any conversation. Overly fussy is sufficient; thank you very much.

Visit Baddeck, Nova Scotia and the Alexander Graham BELL Museum. His life story is amazing. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs rolled into one, and far less obsessive than Edison.

Want a healthy, delicious side dish? Bake some YAMS, the red ones, until they ooze sugar, then smash them up like baby food. Add savory, sweet, or spicy overtones to taste.

I like Moby-Dick. Chapter 53 is The Gam, in which Melville describes the unique tradition of whaling ships stopping to confer on the occasion of random meetings in open ocean. He even offers a dictionary-style definition one won't find in "Noah Webster's Ark." The various GAMS featured in the novel are a delightful insight into the world view of 1850. Find the novel daunting to approach? Just read the GAMS and then give it a year. Of course, whales do it too.

I balked at HOT STOVE until I saw "league." Nice clue.

JOHN X 1:37 AM  

Well I just zipped through this puzzle including STJOE and MABELL and SICON because they were so easy and obvious. I even enjoyed the quip by whoever Ken Dodd is, because, as your little Twitter buddy pointed out, the mental illness aspect of it made it even funnier.


What the hell is a GAM? Huh? Did they mean a "POD" of whales? "GAM" doesn't even come up in a Google search. ????????

Azzurro 1:38 AM  

Surprised Rex didn’t comment on OJIBWA in the NE. That seemed like obscure database fill at its worst, and I found it far more annoying than the dad joke that formed today’s theme.

Aside from that, I liked the puzzle overall, and I loved the whimsical clue for PEN.

NorGal 1:47 AM  

I liked the quip, but had to get it from all downs until it started to fill in. But they are not my most favorite type of theme.

Also had St. Lou for St. Joe, but then I remembered that little town and wrote over to get the happy music.

Had neur-OTIC for awhile before neur-OSIS
Wasn't ROLEX in Tuesday's puzzle?

Thank goodness I realized that wonderful cheese wasn't made from EMU but from EWE. Had no idea a GAM was a whale thing, thought it was POD.

Then I saw WIZ, ZIGged a bit, and finished things off in less than 10 minutes. Not a bad Wednesday outing.

jae 1:58 AM  

Medium for me too and what @Rex said.

Loren Muse Smith 5:03 AM  

We don’t get a lot of quip puzzles anymore, so one every now and then is fine by me. Back before I was teaching full time, back when I had my weekends free, I used to do the acrostic whenever it was the bonus puzzle. They’re all quip puzzles. So in a quip crossword, I find myself using acrostic skills and visualizing the entire sentence, filling in letters here and there that would make sense. I like doing this. I filled in BAD this way with no crosses yet. And the T in TAKE.

But I can see the aversion to quip puzzles, especially for those who don’t enjoy puns. A pun is a little amuse bouche; a quip is a full entrée.

Rex – that video of Trump. Highlight of the morning. I was laughing before it even started. Hey - he started out kinda strong then faded, head bopping presidentially, never relaxing that creepy thousand yard squint. But he rallied strong with the line To the prairies. So there was that. The thing is, the whole premise of the clip has you focusing on his mouth. Problematic. Nothing political about my distaste for this guy; I couldn’t abide him, his mouth, long before he entered politics. I kept wondering what the clever Really Bad Lip Reading guys will do with it.

Here’s a bad lip reading of the royal wedding. If you're so inclined.

I liked SUBURBIA next to IDITAROD. In Gary Paulsen’s Winterdance, he tells of his first Iditarod race when his lead dog Wilson missed a turn and headed out into neighborhoods…

. . .We went through people’s yards, ripped down fences, knocked over garbage cans. At one point I found myself going through a carport and across a backyard with fifteen dogs and a fully loaded Iditarod sled. A woman standing over the kitchen sink looked out with wide eyes as we passed through her yard and I snapped a wave at her before clawing the handlebar again to hang on while we tore down her picket fence when Wilson tried to thread through a hole not much bigger than a house cat.

@Monty Boy from yesterday. Always happy when the word SNOT reminds someone of me. Hah.

Aketi 6:02 AM  

@LMS, I’m not found of puns and even less found of quips, but you still managed to make my slog through this puzzle worthwhile with your links to bad lip reading.

Lewis 6:16 AM  

I like solving quotation puzzles from time to time. They are unique in that you are not simply uncovering words and phrases, but longer entities -- coherent ideas -- an experience you rarely get in crosswords. I like how they slowly reveal themselves, with the rim shot at the end being a little bonus. Yes, space them out, Will, but please keep them coming!

Hungry Mother 6:30 AM  

I flew through this by guessing the quote and doing a lot of downs.Very nice Wednesday offering.

three of clubs 6:32 AM  

I think I would also be disinclined to invite someone to an event (say, a wedding) knowing that not only would they not come but would make a big deal about it on Facebook. I wouldn't go so as to make a big deal about not inviting them, though.

Kimb 7:12 AM  

So I'm sitting here having finished the puzzle relatively easily - old enough to know MABELL immediately and with a friend from STJOE, so that was a gimme - and I'm reading the comments when The Husband suddenly reads me this from the copy of Funny Times that he's reading:

"I'm a kleptomaniac, but when it gets bad I take something for it." - Robert Benchley. NOT KEN DODD!! Ken Dodd - whoever he is - stole it from Robert Benchley. But seriously, how weird is that?

kitshef 7:21 AM  


bookmark 7:27 AM  

Ojibwa was one of my first entries, as I'm a big fan of Louise Erdrich's books, who is part Ojibwe (also known as Chippewa). Her novels are about these Indians, some of my favorites being LaRose, The Roundhouse, The Last Report on the Miracles of Little No Horse, and The Birchbark House (Ojibwes are known for their birchbark canoes, BTW). She also owns a bookstore in Minnesota called Birchbark Books. I was fortunate enough to see her receive the Library of Congress Award for Fiction at the National Book Festival in 2015.

Leslie 7:30 AM  

Started looking forward to the comments when I saw 54-D.

michiganman 7:33 AM  

An ugly blast from the past. I hate "quip" puzzles. The Detroit Free Press ran these years ago. I hope it's a long time (forever) before another appears in the NYT. Fill was so-so. ENWRAP? Yuck. And the horrid ANAL. My turn to cringe. All pretty bland otherwise. Only joy was WHOVILLE.

Normal Norm 7:43 AM  

A bit of a British slant today with the author of the quip, Thames, and BBC One. That's OK. But I've heard this old joke before.
So now we can't joke around about anything anymore? C'mon, kleppers are full of fodder for humor. If you're going to get all virtuous for the sake of someone who didn't ask to be defended why not stand up for the Pygmys!? I'm sure all of the pygmy solvers are offended.

Anonymous 7:51 AM  

I like when the crowd booed Trump at the Anthem event. April Ryan reported on that and got confirmation so it's got to be true.

Lewis 7:59 AM  

Worth-reading hilarious take on today's puzzle by comedian Bill Sheft, who has written most of WordPlay today ( https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/05/crosswords/daily-puzzle-2018-06-06.html ).

Anonymous 8:00 AM  

I guess the dense and SLOW took a hit today, too. I am a slow solver. I don't feel offended. Am I supposed to? I just don't know.

chefbea 8:04 AM  

Fun easy puzzle and I love puns!!! Nice to see BEET greens in the puzzle. I know what a hot stove is...but it has nothing to do with baseball!!!

Anonymous 8:09 AM  

I love these intellectually dishonest people who claim Trump was politicizing the Eagles event. If someone has genuine hatred towards you, are you going to invite them over for dinner? Can you imagine Will Shortz inviting Mike Sharp over for dinner? If you disagree with me then you are a racist.

Z 8:18 AM  

I'm on record as despising quip puzzles. This one did nothing to change my opinion. Not every puzzle has to be to my taste, but if we get a nice ten year gap until the next one I will not object.

@John X and others I'm sure - GAM is most definitely a collective name for a group of whales. Here is one list I found of collective animal names. A Congress of Baboons and a Committee of Vultures both seem too spot on. A Seething of Eels seems like an all too apt description of crosswordese. Anyway, GAM and pod are both fairly common, so they will be in a puzzle near you soon.

54D? How about the shade being thrown at 5-deferement Don with 53D?

Stanley Hudson 8:22 AM  

No problem with the occasional quip puzzle and today’s was mildly amusing. And as a 60 year old dad, I don’t mind dad joke humor but I’m not as hip as OFL.

Love the Trump video—what a buffoon.

Anonymous 8:23 AM  

@Gilstrap - thanks for the Moby-Dick memories.

Anonymous 8:24 AM  

I don't get the clue for 8D (Oven)? And I know I'm on the younger side of solvers, but no idea how PTA was supposed to be inferable...

Anonymous 8:27 AM  

I pray deferement never shows up in a puzzle.

relative newby 8:29 AM  

I just don't understand Rex. His overthinking is just so childish and ridiculous. What does his offensive, belittling over-explaining of the pun accomplish? It's just so mean spirited. We all got the pun. We were not insulted by it--even those of us who don't like quip-themed puzzles.

And his anger when HE doesn't know an answer is just so immature. And he does it several times a week. Just stop it, Rex. It makes you look downright irrational.

I've been reading this column for a year or two now, mostly to read LMS's entries and a those of a few of the other regulars, and I don't think I've EVER read a column in which Rex simply LIKES the puzzle without qualification.

Why does he write this column? Why does he continue to do something that pisses him off so much?

Anonymous 8:31 AM  

@MIman - ...but no joy in JAVA-VILLE.
@Norm - “I am standing up,” a Pygmy.

Michael G. Benoit 8:36 AM  

Where is St. Joseph, Missouri? Does anyone have an ANS to to this question? It might as well be in WHOVILLE.

This is a Tuesday puzzle, for crying out loud. On a Tuesday, if you must have STJOE in your cockamamie fill, use "Jesus's stepfather, informally" as the clue. On a Thursday, you could use "BVM's husband, informally." It would be a gimme to any Catholic, but it would still be universally more accessible.

But dodging a religious reference for a "city" in Missouri with only 76,780 in the 2010 Census? And we're giving it a nickname? On a Tuesday?

Michael G. Benoit 8:37 AM  

ENWRAP makes me enraged!

JJ 8:38 AM  

Unlike our last prez, Trump was able to sing it in Austrian. I was seriously slowed down with STLOO, then smiled at Mud. Also, nice to see a different take on cluing for CAB

Anonymous 8:43 AM  

@Anon 8:24 - think kitchen appliance: “an electric or gas stove with several burners and one or more ovens.”
Re Harper Valley, see @Lewis’ link above.

RooMonster 8:43 AM  

Hey All !
A friend sent me that exact quip/pun just last week. Har. So filled it in quickly. Made the solve easy. 9 minutes for me, which is a NOT SO shabby time!

Liked it, as I like these corny/wordplayey thingamabobs. Pretty cool how Richard was able to see the word counts and implement them into a puz. So I'm FOR IT. :-)

Just a Q from a pangram. Maybe add ON CUE? Har.


I HAVE disdain for the WA Capitals. Dirty players. Always wanting to start fights, which do happen in hockey alot, but the Knights just want to play. Just sayin'. Maybe I'm bitter. :-)


Arthur Wenk 8:50 AM  

A great book for groups is called an exaltation of larks. Have you ever heard of a hush of librarians?

Anonymous 8:55 AM  

@Anonymous 8:24 AM. Range as stove, thus oven is within. PTA is not inferable. Sadly, I knew of the song, which, as said by others, is awful.

Mohair Sam 9:15 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Warren Peace at Last 9:28 AM  

@Kimb, was it Benchley?! That changes everything. It could have been uttered at the Algonquin; it no doubt fell upon Dorothy Parker's ears at some moment.

Bonus, a Benchley quote and The New Yorker answer in the same puzzle! Up another few notches if that was intentional.

pmdm 9:31 AM  

Newby: I know a lot of people who do things just to feed their egos. Perhaps that might be a bit operative here. Seriously, some of his previous comments suggest to me that he believes he is providing a service, and I would agree with him. But his crankiness can sometimes be as wearying as a quip.

I enjoy solving Acrostic puzzles. A Crossword with a quip theme feels to me like a mini-Acrostic, which is perhaps why I enjoy quip crosswords. If I don't laugh at the quip, I simply don't care. It's the deciphering of the quip that I really enjoy. I am happy that most of those commenting here that they dislike quip puzzles allow for occasional publication of such puzzle (which, as I said, I enjoy).

I really don't think the issue with Mr. Sharp is that he complains. After all, Jeff Chen does complain about something or another almost every day. It's the manner of the complaint. Mr. Sharp at times feels like he's hitting you over the head with his complaints (which sometimes over-think things) while Mr. Chen seems a lot more gentle.

I'll give two examples. Even though Mr. Sharp is fairly low-key today (for a Mike Sharp write-up), consider his statement: "Oh god, the quip, the Quip! Why are these still a thing." The answer is obvious: because some people do like them. and while Mr. Shortz can't please everybody all the time, at least he does seems to wnat to please everybody at least some of the time. [And what happened to the question mark? I expect more from an English professor.. Tsk, tsk.]

Then compare these two quotes. "The quip is lamentable and the fill is likewise, with the longer Downs being a notable exception." And the following Jeff Chen quote. "With quip puzzles, it's so important to add in zazz through strong long bonuses. Otherwise, the puzzle can feel thin if the solver doesn't find the one-liner that funny. I loved WHOVILLE, OJIBWA, SUBURBIA, IDITAROD, even COIN-OP, US NAVY. Wow, that's a lot! I didn't love ROBO, ELL, OSIS, OSA, OTRO, ANS, SPYS. Yikes, that's a lot! Usually, I'd heavily lean toward cleaning up the puzzle at the price of taking away some of the good long fill. But 1.) there's not a lot Richard could have done, as he's already at 78 words, 2.) the themer lengths are SO constraining, and 3.) quip puzzles really, really, really need bonuses."

I could continue on, but then it would seem that I'm over-thinking it. Mike often raises very valid issues, but often rubs people the wrong way. Perhaps that's because many of his pronouncement might strike people as being said with a "my way or no way" attitude.

I wonder if someone were to edit his comments before he publishes them - not changing them but merely rephrasing them - his pronouncements would be less grating to those who complain about him. In the end, that might get across his points better. Whatever, I appreciate this blog and very much enjoy most of the comments posted here.

Sorry if I seem overbearing today.

Mohair Sam 9:46 AM  

Well I'm with Bill Scheft (thanks for the tip @Lewis) not Rex and his buddies on the the quip - I liked it. Liked the puzzle too.

Thought all four of the long downs were terrific, especially WHOVILLE and IDIDAROD. Surprised OFL didn't know the existence of STJOE - I learned about its significance in the settling of the American West in fifth grade. Also surprised how many here don't know the HOTSTOVE league - one man's meat I guess.

@LMS - Great excerpt - Ain't "Winterdance" just about the best dog book ever? Any dog lovers (or belly laugh enjoyers) need to read it.

Speaking of reading - @bookmark (7:27) - Yes I've read "LaRose" and "The Roundhouse". But didn't know Erdrich had been given the Award for Fiction. Well deserved.

Whoa! "Harper Valley PTA" a lot of fun. If it had been titled "Mass Bay PTA" and sub-titled "Hester's Revenge" you guys woulda loved it.

E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLES!!!! Odd that our President calls out one of the teams that did not have anyone take a knee. And the guy who used a raised fist stopped when the NFL stepped up to help his cause.

Anonymous 9:50 AM  

@pmdm what you fail to take into account is that RP is an ahole. That is not for editors to change. Maybe some really good doctors?

Nancy 9:50 AM  

I finished it. Don't ask me how, and, even more to the point, don't ask me why. But I did. I'm getting no particular satisfaction out of saying that. I found it a frustrating and joyless experience. I HATE THIS KIND OF PUZZLE. I always have.

OJIBWA???? I was so sure that was wrong, but it's actually right. It's all Greek to me.

Why did the SCOUT go to the jamboree??? I haven't the faintest idea.

You've got your Majors. You've got your Minors. And all those triple A's and double A's. But a HOT STOVE league. WHAT DAT?

And if you're not the Dr. Seuss generation, you might be forgiven for having THE VILLE instead of WHOVILLE, giving you tHEN instead of WHEN to lead off Part 3 of the quip (38A)

Much suffering involved in completing this puzzle. Should I TAKE SOMETHING for the headache?

Anonymous 9:54 AM  

@newby - your comment makes me wonder - how many others besides you and me are here to check out LMS? Should RP pay a stipend to Loren for making his site worth visiting? Because that's why I'm here every day.
He. Is. Annoying. As. All. Hell.

relative newby 10:02 AM  

pmdm: Thanks for the reply. Your comparisons of Chen vs Sharp are brilliant. I think that's the nub: A person can provide constructive criticism without sounding so ever-lovin' affronted and furious.

Yours are some of the comments I look forward to (to which I look forward?) each day.

But I still think Sharp looks like a raging tool when he goes on and on about answers HE doesn't know--so they must be stupid. And Will Shortz's fault.

GILL I. 10:03 AM  

@Loren. I sincerely thank you for making me laugh so loud, I woke myself up. Those bad lip reading clips are worth enduring a quip puzzle.
I'm getting on @ketschef horse and add an extra zzzzz or two. I actually don't mind quips but this one was so easy and fast that I didn't even have time to enjoy it. YEP. this was Tuesday.
I always thought an OPAL was semiprecious. Evidently it has been up-graded to precious. Did someone already land on Mars, collect a few OPALs and I didn't hear about it?
Today in the Washington Post "With no EAGLES around, Trump acts like a turkey." "I like your nail polish."
I did like OVEN and HOT STOVE. I thought GAM was a lady's leg. How did it get shoved over to the whale department?
Now to go back and watch some more of the "Bad Lip Reading" Do yourself a favor and watch the Royals....

Suzie Q 10:06 AM  

I felt sorry for the constructor today even before I printed it out.
After yesterday's delicious (in more ways than one) puzzle, that was going to be a hard act to follow.
More baseball! Snore. However, hot stove might have been fun …
if it meant something to me.
Roethlisberger must be hard to fit across the back of a jersey.

Anonymous 10:37 AM  

@anon 8:27 : Me too because it’s not a word. If they start allowing misspellings then we’re all screwed.😀

Useless Facts 10:38 AM  

Ben Roethlisberger is from Ohio and he attended Miami University of Ohio.

Stanley Hudson 10:40 AM  

Louise Erdrich is a national treasure.

puzzlehoarder 10:40 AM  

Inspite of a few write overs and the initial mystery of where the quip was going this was still an easy Wednesday. I'm unfamiliar with HOTSTOVE as a sports term so I did get something out of this solve.

Barry Frain 10:41 AM  

Your whining gives me a headache.

Barry Frain
East Biggs, CA

Missy 10:51 AM  


Nancy 10:56 AM  

Why is the snarky troll 10:04 comment in there, blog moderators? Just asking.

Banana Diaquiri 10:56 AM  

@Kris in ABCA:
In my Canadian home town, the post-game hockey radio show on CBC is called “The Hot Stove Lounge"

according to Bourdain's episode, ice fishing and other masochistic Northern Sporting Activities, are conducted in shacks with wood or charcoal or propane stoves inside. slightly different meaning.

Banana Diaquiri 11:01 AM  

not to mention that the Jingoist in Chief doesn't even know the words to either song. there's meaning there.

Aketi 11:14 AM  

@Kitchef (when you recover from this morning’s puzzle and wake up) great post!

Actually, I’m warming up to separate pieces of the quip like KLEPTOMANIA BUTt and NIT GETS BAD.

As for PYGMIes, I still chuckle over the Newsweek reporters that we met as 20 something Peace Corps volunteers on summer break from teaching in various high schools in what was then Haut Zaire. We of course were only too delighted to meet Americans with expense accounts who were willing to buy us beer at the fanciest hotel in town where they were staying. They wanted to visit John Hart, an anthropologist, and the Mbuti he lived with in the Ituri Forest. As the beer flowed freely we started embellishing our stories for shock value. Since the reporters seemed terrified of even the food at the hotel, let alone the street food we routinely ate, we couldn’t help taking the bait. Somehow under the influence of way too much beer and probably even some whiskey (the details of that night are kinda hazy in my memory) we talked them into going out to the local night clubs and eating food they would never have touched if they were sober. We even talked them into taking the transportation we used ourselves, which was negotiating a ride on the back of a pick up truck packed in with the locals and sometimes their livestock as well. John Hart told us the outcome at a reunion at Christmas. Apparently rumors had spread that the US President was coming and the whole village turned out to meet the two, by then, quite bedraggled reporters. John didn’t even give them time to rest. He immediately took them on a 20 k hunting trip into the forest with the Mbuti. Apparently the only food they ate the whole time was bananas because they sobered up and were afraid of the food again. We were so disappointed when the Newsweek article was printed. The poor guys suffered through that trip only to have two short paragraphs published.

My son independently (no suggestions from mom) discovered the TWA for a middle school social studies report. He admired their ability to stay under the radar of the Hutu and Tutsi while they were at war with each other.

Anonymous 11:17 AM  

Really surprised OFL didn't go off on Roethlisberger. So shocked I'm guessing he doesn't know his bio. Or alleged bio.

In the spirit of the NFL, the Super Bowl is never referred to by year, rather its number. It's a useful distinction because, like the Academy Awards, The SB is really about the calendar yea. Sure, the Eagles won the Super Bowl in 2018. But it's an obfuscation because they won the Super Bowl in the 2017 season.

Hurrah for Shortz. The puzzle is solved in ink with a pen. Not in pen as so many folks say.

@Z, I think yesterday's Anon was pointing out that you used sesquipedalian as a noun when it is strictly adjectival. Also, I think lux refers to veritas et lux. Yale's motto. Why? My guess is an oblique allusion to What The Fuck Buckley, that famous Eli who used sesquipedalian frequently, usually self deprecatingly.

old timer 11:30 AM  

For a brief, shining moment St Joseph Missouri was where wagon trains started for the West. I too remember that from 5th grade. I also recall that the reason was a railroad called the Hannibal and St Joseph was the first to reach the Missouri River at a point convenient for the Oregon and Santa Fe trails. One of my great-grandfathers crossed the plains to California in 1849 or 1850 with *his* father though I don't know if he started in ST JOE

i was glad to see a quip puzzle today. It has been a while. I agree that WS should have run this puzzle yesterday, and yesterday's today. The only thing difficult about today is the pod/GAM mixup. Yesterday the puzzle was far too obscure for a Tuesday.

I do this blog every day, an @LMS is one of the reasons, for sure.

And I feel confident that OFL reads these comments, because the Safari glitch I mentioned yesterday has been fixed.

Michael G. Benoit 11:32 AM  

Then again, it's Wednesday, but still...

jb129 11:33 AM  

Haven't had a quip in awhile so I enjoyed it.

Lighten up, guys.

Amelia 12:01 PM  
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jberg 12:03 PM  

I guess it's true, nobody learns history anymore. To elaborate on @Mohair Sam, St. Joseph (STJOE) is a port on the Missouri River and a major jumping-off spot for those trains of Conestoga wagons taking settlers to the West. I guess if you've never learned that it is relatively obscure. It's about 77,000 people -- twice as big as Wausau!

I love acrostics, but the quips in quip puzzles are very different because a) they're too short, so more dependent on being actually funny, and b) they're not by Cox and Rathvon (which explains a), perhaps.)

@Loren, thanks for the links! As for your avatar, probably we all thought of him, lucky he doesn't fit.

When whales work out together, is that a GAM GYM? YEP!

Anonymous 12:15 PM  

54D is just plain confusing for us here in Boston, because we think that if the Patriots don't win there is no champ that year. Who are the eagles and why do we care about them? except for the fact that the bald eagle is becoming very common here in our town outside Boston and they eat their prey on the road, so the town had to put up "Bald Eagle in Road" signs. Way cool.

'merican in Paris 12:30 PM  

Did the puzzle early today in almost exactly the same time FOR IT as to complete yesterday's (just over 30 minutes). So I'd say an easy Wednesday, for me at least. Main hang-up was the center, where I had pod before GAM, and just couldn't get 40D.

The quip did make the puzzle feel like a RETRO. The main times that I encounter quips in x-word puzzles are ones from collections from the 1990s.

KLEPTOMANIA BUT sounds like an excellent insult from one 8th-grader to another at an expensive private school in SUBURBIA. "YEP, better make sure you close up your locker real well and hide your ROLEX: that ONE over there is a KLEPTO' BUTt!"

Question of the day: Did "Netflix kill the TV STAR?"

Z 12:52 PM  

@anon8:27 - Well, since I can't spell it, me too.

Warning - Boring recap of yesterday's late night back and forth to follow:
@anon11:27 - If that is what they had said I might have granted a basis for their point, but then immediately ruined the argument with, say, "the meek shall inherit the earth." Using adjectives as nouns is not only permitted but is common. However, they quite specifically said there was a famous (or maybe infamous) use of "sesquipedalian" that was somehow funny or relevant. No idea what that's about, but it was still solid evidence that the whole discussion had gone right past them. I mean, you didn't even have to scroll down the link to realize why I picked that word. I'll let you work out the reason I answered their question with "Horace."

Teedmn 1:13 PM  

For quip puzzles, and I'm on record as hating them, this one was kind of fun. Count me among those who appreciate groaner Dad jokes.

KLEPTOMANIA - the first time I ran into this word was maybe in middle school. It was the trope of a mystery book plot (Bobbsey Twins? Judy Bolton? Nancy Drew? can't remember) where an older woman, possibly a boarder in a boarding house, is suspected of having kleptomania because gewgaws are disappearing from other people's possessions. (Isn't it always the poor spinster living alone who is accused of being crazy?) The denouement is when the sleuth finds a cache of gewgaws in a tree trunk and realizes that a crow (or raven or some such) has been making away with these articles, clearing the old lady's name (though of course we all know that she has forever after been tarred with the "crazy lady" brush.)

And I laugh at @Rex's complaint about MA BELL skewing old. I just saw the term in the NY Times in an article about Facebook and whether it should be split up somehow, like MA BELL was in 1984. So, timely enough in my opinion.

And COIN-OP as clued made me smile. I've been working over 30 years for companies that support the laundry and dry cleaning industry. There are entire trade magazines that cater to the COIN-OP world. Articles about switching from COINs to cards to tokens, how to spruce your store up to make it inviting, etc. etc. Riveting reading to someone.

Thanks, RFM, for this, your third NY Times puzzle.

pabloinnh 1:22 PM  

Today's amusing moments, at least for me:

"STJOE"-There are several colleges and universities named St. Joseph. The one next door in VT is formally St. Joseph the Provider, but everybody calls it "St. Joe the Pro".

DJT trying to sing God Bless America (hi LMS) makes me think he was probably singing "God Bless Vespucciland"-

Ask the postman
Ask the mailman
Ask the milkman
White with foam..

Surprising in that I didn't have him figured for a Firesign Theater fan.

Masked and Anonymous 1:29 PM  

Puzs with KLEPTOMANIA themes always give M&A a lift.

Knew OJIBWA off the ????WA. OJIBWA is just one sample from lotsa mighty nice longball fillins, today. Actually, I can't re-call much of anything puttin up a big fight in this solvequest, other than figurin out the quip. Maybe HOTSTOVE/TVSTAR; that area mighta sucked up a few extra nanoseconds. ST. JOsEph and MABELL were both gimmes, at my PYGMY house.
Speakin of which, there was somethin about PYGMY crossin GYM that I kinda admired.

Primo OVEN clue. OVEN within yer kitchen's range. har

staff weeject pick: OAK. Now there's a tree that ain't hard to find. Certainly eazy-E to find, compared to that there other hidden tree … which I ain't quite located yet.

har. @RP certainly do have his likes and dislikes. Nuthin much wrong with that; he can pardon hisself.

fave all-time @RP "Oh no! It's …" targets:

* " … The Quip!"
* " … not by Patrick Berry!"
* " … a pangram!"
* " … The circles!"
* " … Puns!"
* " … got a theme!"
* " … a Tuesday puzzle!"
* " … Trump!"
* " … wobbly green nat-tick paint!"
* " … by Bruce Haight!"

Thanx, Mr. Mausser. Good job.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


tea73 1:33 PM  

I too dislike quips, but thought this was a better one than average.

As I typed in pod, I just knew it was going to be that other word for groups of whales. It's been in the puzzle before with just as many complaints in this blog.

Like others I thought of St. Louis first, but STJOE has been in puzzles before thankfully.

I learned a new baseball term. Ugh. Took me forever to see what I needed even thought I had _OINOP.

Anonymous 1:42 PM  

@M&A you are a gift to this place
jus sayin

how much did that klepto sub-sub-plot in Breaking Bad help keep the thing together - and complicated -?

Mohair Sam 2:00 PM  

@M&A (1:29) - Huge grin here reading your Rexlist. He should set them up to cut and paste each day - save him a ton of time.

Jamie 2:28 PM  

Was that PTA song really such a big hit that we're supposed to know it 50 years later, way before a lot of us were born?

Tom T Hall 3:07 PM  

@Jamie - Hell yes! The song was from 1968, the movie from 1978, and the TV show from 1981. How many songs can you name which were turned into a movie, and then a TV Series?

john towle 3:18 PM  

Saint Joseph: eastern terminus of the Pony Express, in business for 18 months. You’re welcome.



Anoa Bob 3:27 PM  

EAGLES are the insignia worn by officers in the military who have attained the rank of O-6. In the US NAVY they are Captains. In the Air Force, Army and Marines they are Colonels. The latter three are sometimes informally called "Bird Colonels", to distinguish them from the O-5 Lieutenant Colonels, who wear silver OAK leaf insignia.

Pardon me if I appear rantish, but XWord Info tells me that ANAL has appeared in the NYT puzz 23 times during the Shortz era. Twenty one times it has been clued with the Freudian idea that some personality traits are determined by how much or how little pleasure one experiences from the retention or expulsion of feces during one's toilet training phase.

ANAL appeared 7 times during the Maleska/Weng years. All 7 times it was clued along the lines of "Detailed study: Abbr." or "Kind of Geometry: Abbr.", never along Freudian lines.

I guess I notice this sort of thing because before retiring I taught psychology in college. So I find it disheartening that a theory, Freud's, that has been discredited and jettisoned by psychology and psychiatry for almost a century is still given credence in a publication of the Time's stature.

Plus being reminded of feces in no way passes the breakfast test! Give me "___ Geom." for a clue every time.

End of rant.

Anonymous 3:47 PM  

Trump can sing or not sing. I don't care. Dow's up 300 today.

pmdm 4:25 PM  

Relative Newbie: Thank you for your kind comments. I try to post only when I have something useful to say, and sometimes weeks elapse between posts.

I would forcefully dispute those who characterize Mike as an ahole. A crab? Perhaps. But often he nails a problem on the head. Just, for some, a little too stringently. If you menatlly edit out his poorer points, his reviews are fairly inciteful.

Ebenezer 4:27 PM  

@Anonymous at 11:17am, how many fans refer to a particular Super Bowl by its Roman numeral? Most refer to it by year, or by the matchup. The NFL may refer to it by Roman numeral, but they're paid to waste their time doing that kind of thing.

Anonymous 4:49 PM  

I'm already wondering what day of the week tomorrow's puzzle will be deemed more suited to. Sheesh!

Anonymous 4:57 PM  

@pmdm- That could be Rex’s motto. Sometimes insightful always inciteful.

Churlish Nabob 5:06 PM  

Today would be a good day for Michael Sharp to release his tax info . . .

Mink LaRoule 5:15 PM  

"And I'm sick of the high hat!"

Cassieopia 6:16 PM  

@M&A “Oh no! It’s...” made me laugh and laugh. I *knew* when I saw the quote that we were in for a rant, and @RP did not disappoint. I must be lowbrow ‘cause I really enjoy quote puzzles, something about guessing sentences rather than just words. And they’re always puns. I <3 puns.

G. Weissman 7:44 PM  

This morning I got so caugt up reading articles in section 1 (EU court recognizes same-sex marriage; DeVos folllows the bidding of the NRA; nuts in Colorado feel that using one’s belief in the supernatural to justify homophobia is “a win for freedom”; LeBron goes it largely alone; Kate Spade was it in the 90s and killed herself in 2018; etc.) that I didn’t get to the crossword. No loss, apparently.

Joe Welling 8:20 PM  


Your statement about your fondness for puns is unfounded...or rather, it should be.

retired guy 9:06 PM  

My Mama Done Tol' Me:

From Natchez to Mobile,
From Memphis to St. Joe,
Wherever the four winds blow.
I've been in some big towns
And heard me some big talk,
But there is one thing I know.

Mohair Sam 11:14 PM  

@Retired Guy - Nice catch! Ella's version the best. Rex loses a zillion points for not linking that instead of bitchin' about St. Joe.

NorGal 12:06 AM  

@ Nancy - the Boy Scout annual meeting is called the Jamboree. Thousands come from all over the states.

thefogman 10:52 AM  

Hands up those who got burned by 5A (STJOE) and 7D (JAVA)... I had lAVA and STlOE knowing there was something wrong but could make the connection between mud and coffee then JAVA. St. Joseph is a town of 76,000 - so how is that fair? I went with STlOE thinking it was slang or cool talk for St Louis. Wrong! Rex is right to rant about that one. But besides that I really liked this puzzle and the corny quip. I struggled with the SE corner mostly because I could not remember the team name of Philedelphia's NFLers. I am not a football fan, obviously. But it finally came together via the crosses and voila! Completion - almost except for the nasty JAVA/STJOE trap.

Burma Shave 11:24 AM  

YEP, WHENITGETSBAD enough to STAYAT my in-laws’,
And the SLOW CAB ride to WHOVILLE will perturb ya,
IHAVE to say, as a New YORKER who hems and HAWS,


spacecraft 1:25 PM  

I hate quote puzzles (I said to myself when I started this). But then all these Scrabbly cool answers came in: OJIBWA! and I warmed to it. Then the quote spelled out. A hearty har! Very Stephen Wright. Whatever else you may say about it, it's short. I liked it. In fact, I liked the whole puzzle, except for ENWRAP. This is one of those EN-words that are real words that NOBODY EVER, EVER SAYS.

And then, finishing in the SE, I come upom USNAVY, which I just found out my grandson is planning to join--and beside that my beloved E!A!G!L!E!S! And even CLUED that way!!!! Needless to say, this baby gets an...well, you know.

leftcoastTAM 2:04 PM  

This is what a quip puzzle should look like. An amusing quip that helps the solve and is in turn helped by the fill which, on balance, is pretty good.

Some very good long downs in the NE and SW. IDITAROD stood out for me, having spent quite a few years in Alaska. It can be a pretty brutal race; not all of the strong, beautiful dogs necessarily come out of it alive.

Not a happy note to end on, I'm afraid.

Diana,LIW 2:39 PM  

What @Spacey said, except for the grandson. (I do have a neighbor who just is finishing his first year at the US Coast Guard Acad, tho)

And whilst I originally wanted some St Lou, St Loo city, JOE/JAVA came to me pretty quickly. If I, the 631st best solver in the universe according to the ACPT, can fairly easily suss that out, surely OFL can do so. I mean, it's a puzzle, not a "fill in the blank" test of stuff you've been studying all semester.

And while I don't love me some quotey puzzles, I enjoyed this one - the quote even helped the solve.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rainforest 4:13 PM  

Hey, the World Cup is on. England-Croatia. Go Croatia! Soccer is such a beautiful game.

So the puzzle had to wait, and it was OK. I like the occasional quote puzzle, especially if the punch line is unexpected. This came close, and as @leftcoastTAM said, it was supported by nice downs and good fill.

Can't complain.
@ Burma shave - nice rhyme of perturb ya and SUBURBIA.

rondo 4:44 PM  

I found it pretty easy except for my inkfest in the NE with OtIc before OSIS and OneidA before OJIBWA. I associate Algonquin with tribes out East and not with the OJIBWA here in MN.

There is a HOTSTOVE “league” around the Twin Cities, sponsored in part by a local radio station, usually held at a steakhouse or some such. They usually get a semi-celebrity speaker for their get-togethers.

IHAVE no yeah baby in the puz, but for @spacey’s benefit, I heard it is Sela Ward’s birthday today; his fave as I recall. But EAGLES over Vikes still hurts.

NOTSO bad, kinda funny even, almost hee HAWS.

Anonymous 11:16 PM  

Good to see the underdog Eagles and Nick Foles win the big one. And sad to see Tom Brady run off the field moping instead of congratulating the winners. I guarantee that if the shoe was on the other foot Nock Foles would have shaken hands with the winners before trotting off.
Liked the puzzle. On the easy side for Wednesday. And I'll have to check out "Spys". Somehow It was not on my radar back in my twenties.

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