Co-starring actress on HBO's insecure / TUE 7-3-18 / Decent human being informally / Daughter on Fox's Bob's Burgers

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Constructor: Christopher Adams

Relative difficulty: Easy (2:58!)

THEME: NATIONAL PASTIME (58A: Baseball, colloquially) — theme answers are baseball team names that contain the colors RED, WHITE, and BLUE, respectively:

Theme answers:
  • BOSTON / RED SOX (19A: With 21-Across, A.L. team with a patriotic color)
  • CHICAGO WHITE SOX (32A: A.L. team with a patriotic color)
  • TORONTO BLUE JAYS (45A: A.L. team with a patriotic color) (uh.... so, yeah, about that, see ... Toronto is ... well ...)
Word of the Day: ISSA RAE (50A: Co-starring actress on HBO's "Insecure") —
Jo-Issa "Issa" Rae Diop (born January 12, 1985) is an American actress, writer, director, producer, and web series creator. She first attracted attention for her work on the YouTube web series Awkward Black Girl. She subsequently gained further recognition for creating, co-writing, and starring in the HBO television series Insecure. For her performance in Insecure, she has received two Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy, in 2017 and 2018.
Since 2011, Rae has continued to develop her YouTube channel, which features various short films, web series, and other content created by people of color. (wikipedia)
• • •

Oh, hey, it's a puzzle from Christopher Adams, who filled in for me here on the blog one of the days last week. I had no idea he had a puzzle coming up. I've solved his puzzles for a while now, so I was surprised when I entered his name in the "Labels" for this write-up and his name didn't come up. If I've used a label before, it comes up as soon as I start typing it. But his name ... wasn't there. So I asked and it's somehow his debut, which seems impossible, as he's had a solid, thriving indie crossword site for a while now. But sure, throw the NYT a bone once in a while, I guess, why not? So  the puzzle felt just a *little* off, in a number of ways. Let's start with the fact that it's a *little* bit off of July 4, which I assume is the holiday this puzzle is in some way meant to commemorate or nod to or otherwise in some way acknowledge. Run your holiday puzzles on the holidays they represent! This is puzzle publishing 102. I'm sorry, 101 (see how jarring 102 is; just one off, but ... yeah, you see). Second, what does "National" mean, again? And, follow-up, what is this "Toronto" of which you speak and in what nation is it located? How is the BLUE in BLUE JAYS "patriotic"? Patriotic to whom? Us? It can't be. It's Not A Team From Our Country. Is the Red Sea "patriotic" now? What is even happening? I like how the EXPOS are also hanging out in this puzzle going "man, our colors were red, white, *and* blue, why aren't we a theme answer?" And PEDRO's just there nodding his head (he played for the EXPOS *and* the BOSTON / RED SOX). Annnnnyway, "National"? "Patriotic"? "Toronto"? There's a MINOR problem here.

I thought the rest of the grid was pretty smooth, if highly segmented (40 black squares) and (thus) loaded w/ short (over-familiar) fill, to the exclusion of any non-themer longer than 7 letters. Had only a few little hiccups along the way to a very fast solve. Botched the math course right out of the gate—wanted GEOM? :( Misspelled O'NEAL (went the "I" route). Put in GOOD GUY instead of GOOD EGG (a phrase I know but have never understood or used) (13D: Decent human being, informally). Turned Shimon into a PEREZ. And lastly could not determine what verb tense was called for at 55D: ___ the bench (not get used in the game) and wrote in RODE. The one thing I want to point out is ISSA RAE, whose name parts (ISSA, RAE) and now full name I am seeing more and more regularly (for obv. crossword reasons). Store her name away in your brain right now if it's not already there; you are going to need it.

That's it. See y'all tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


JJ 12:17 AM  

Tatum ONEAL should have been clued in relation to THE BAD NEWS BEARS. I have no problem with a blue team from the AL. I do agree with Rex that this should appear on the fourth-- unless there's a better one in store for us. Great debut

puzzlehoarder 12:20 AM  

A little slower than the usual Tues. puzzle. What took almost as much time was finding my OLEO/OLIO write over. It's easy to overlook checking that cross. Irritating.

@JOHN X, thanks for the 2/28/98 puzzle suggestion. I got it and I can see where some would find it fair. For me it wasn't, so I got my share of puzzling out of it.

jae 12:30 AM  

More like a medium Mon. time for me. A fine smooth lead in to the 4th. Liked it.

Rita Flynn 12:36 AM  

Maybe because this puzzle comes between Canada Day and July 4th, Canada got a couple of shout outs? But blue isn’t a colour in our flag (though it was proposed to be in one of the prototypes, way back when.) Anyway, I was quizzical.

ghkozen 12:56 AM  

Ugh. Minus infinity for jamming the puzzle full of baseball. If there’s one clue? Fine. But I’m sick of it feeling like every single puzzle makes it a point to include obscure baseball nonsense. Throw a bone to interesting sports sometime!

Larry Gilstrap 1:47 AM  

I follow baseball, so fun solve. TORONTO is just across the lake; no harm, no foul. We get a STAR, but no stripe? Kudos to the three teams spanning the grid, or almost.

Today, I heard an interview with Randy Johnson and last week one with PEDRO Martinez. Legendary starting pitchers have been and continue to be Alpha-males: Bob Gibson, Don Drysdale, Justin Verlander, etc. Maybe your thing is watching television fare and so actors and character names are in your wheelhouse. Let's meet at the puzzle!

I see the diacritical mark people have won a victory with the cluing of 41D. Thank goodness ENERO is sans-tilde. Now we can trash the comment section with real problems. I'll go first; 5D is sexist. A ski BUNNY is one confined to the easy slopes because of her girlishness. I hope Lindsey Vonn is not a Rexite. I am no girl and have never made it past the easy slopes, but am more of a buck than a BUNNY. Sorry, Annabel's swagger got me all riled up yesterday.

Fresh out of high school, I attended Cal Poly, Pomona. Great school. That sweet property was the gift of the Kellogg family, the cereal people. The endowment stipulated the continued proliferation of the breeding of the ARAB horse. Shortly after I left, they turned the beautiful old Administration Building into the stables, so there. In the spring we would stroll down to the Horse Unit to admire the gorgeous foals. Were they fast? I know they were elegant and precious.

There is talk of MLB expansion and Montreal is definitely in the mix. They better be the EXPOS, the Alouettes label is already taken.

Jeff Gluck 2:03 AM  

Baseball theme! That helped me to my record time (which I won’t say here because it’s nothing to brag about compared to all of yours). But once I realized it was a red, white and blue theme, those answers came instantly. Then all the other baseball terminology in the side clues helped for a quick fill as well. I liked how he really made the puzzle reflect the whole baseball theme instead of just keeping it to the long answers. Who cares if he had to use some Canada to make it work?

'merican in Paris 2:15 AM  

Exactly what @Rex said! After RED SOX, I knew already what was happening with the themes, and before even getting to 45A was scratching my head to come up with an American -- as opposed to Canadian -- team that contained BLUE in its name. There wasn't.

Yikes! I can imagine that there are quite a few irked, or at least puzzled, Canadian x-word solvers out there today. [GROAN!]

Actually, though Canada's NATIONAL flag is BLUE-less, the provincial Flag of Ontario has a bit of BLUE, though it is dominated by RED. By contrast, the Flag of Toronto, Ontario itself is dominated by BLUE. I can't imagine (m)any of its residents ever referring to BLUE as a "patriotic" colo(u)r, however. That's just not a Canadian thing. In any case, as @Rex asks, "Patriotic to whom?"

Ah, the Guess Who ... . My best friend in High School (a Cuban immigrant) was an early adopter of eight-track cassette tapes, and one of his first albums was American Woman. We played that tape 'til it broke. Here's an interesting anecdote from the Wikipedia entry on the song:

"In an interview with Randy Bachman in Songfacts he elaborated further, calling this 'an anti-war protest song,' explaining that when they came up with it on stage, the band and the audience had a problem with the Vietnam War. Said Bachman: 'We had been touring the States. This was the late '60s, one time at the US-Canada border in North Dakota they tried to draft us and send us to Vietnam." The ICEman commeth?

Ah, those were the days: When the risk of crossing the border into the USA was to be mistaken for a local, and drafted and sent off to kill "Secret Asian Men" (and women).

'Nough about that. The rest of the puzzle was fine. Good fill. I liked, especially the cluing for SORRY ("Word before and after 'not'."). Write-overs slowed me down, giving me an average Tuesday time (25:25). Had "trig" before CALC, and "nice guy" before GOOD EGG. I've never seen OLIO before, though.

SORRY, ATE CROW ASADA last night with RAGU and had a SLEEP IN.

chefwen 2:30 AM  

Hand up for GOOD guy first, ERMINE set me straight.

ISSA RAE? Is that one or two words? Downs filled that in for me.

Pretty easy and fun, liked the RED WHITE and BLUE theme.

Anonymous 4:29 AM  

This puzzle has a good company about Tornoto. IBM's Watson also thought Toronto a US city in 2011 Jeopardy! IBM Challenge or

Lewis 5:01 AM  

My favorite clues from last week:

1. Ones going down the tubes? (3)
2. Middle of a dash? (8)
3. Memorable line (4)
4. Bar food? (7)
5. Nerd's epithet for the president? (7)


Paul S 5:24 AM  

As a Brit who enjoys tackling the NYT crosswords, nothing fills me with dread more than a sports clue*, let alone a sports theme. Your baseball is not, alas, a particularly interNATIONAL PASTIME and remains all GREEK to me. Imagine then my surprise when a stray X FLEXed the synapses and conjured up the SOX teams and the theme colours. Though I confess that they were shorn of their cities until I had enough downs to guess them. Result: surprisingly few GULPS or GROANs.

* Of similar dread level: "Big name in pasta sauce". The mere possibility of a clue being a brand name I've never encountered seems to seed entire corners with doubt and bring them grinding to a halt. RAGU produced a hearty d'oh.

Lewis 5:47 AM  

Tidy theme: RED, WHITE, and BLUE, our national colors, coming from our NATIONAL PASTIME. Clean grid. Coming on Independence Day eve to whet our appetites. Tuesdayish theme. Felt like a grand slam to me as an early week puzzle. Good one, Chris!

michiganman 6:44 AM  

This was a great, though not difficult puzzle, just what I needed today. Great baseball theme with patriotic tint. Other likes; CROW-JAYS, BUNNY-RHINO-EMU-ERMINE-APE(D), enjoyed seeing OLIO again. Overall nice cluing and fun.

OffTheGrid 6:51 AM  

None of the baseball clues is obscure or nonsense. You simply don't know baseball stuff. I don't know Rap or The Hobbitt, but I don't blame a puzzle for my ignorance.

Anonymous 6:54 AM  

A BUNNY slope simply means easy with no reference to gender.

Rainbow 7:01 AM  

The whining about involving Canada in this puzzle makes me think of someone. Let's see, who could it be?
Oh yes, president agent orange, perhaps.

kitshef 7:22 AM  

I definitely would have swapped this for yesterdays. About the only resistance today was being slow to see how TEES were stadium-related (had golf TEES stuck in my head) and americAsPASTIME before NATIONALPASTIME.

To be fair, blue was on the Canadian flag for, oh, a few centuries.

My attempt to rebus “short-tailed weasel” into 25A was unwise.

FLAC 7:23 AM  

Oh, Rex: sometimes foolish consistency really can be the hobgoblin of small minds. Toronto's "Canadian-ness" is a small price to pay for this clever, red-white-and-blue puzzle built around the national pastime for the Fourth of July.

Hungry Mother 7:28 AM  

I don’t follow baseball because of its boring pace, but the puzzle was exceedingly easy. On the other hand, I do enjoy attending any sports event in an arena, but I’ve never been tested with curling. I used to watch golf on TV to have some reason to sit and drink martinis, but when I quit drinking in 1989, I stopped following that sport. Anyhoo, easy day on the grid. I just got back from 10 days in Scotland and Ireland last night and decided again that I never, ever want to be in JFK again. I’m sure I’ll forget this by next year when I take a northern Eupopean cruise. I only did a few puzlled on my recent trip, but managed to do 4 puzzles on the flight back. I missed reading Rex and the comments here.

Anonymous 7:30 AM  


Birchbark 7:44 AM  

When the TORONTO BLUE JAYS play the Minnesota Twins (whose colors are red, white and blue), they play both countries' national anthems before the game. Patriotic courtesies.

In the summer we can SLEEP IN and still wake up at the same time, because the sun is up earlier.

kodak jenkins 7:46 AM  

Sorry, Mr. Adams but I kind of hated this puzzle. Unless the TORONTO thing is a tongue-in-cheek joke.... and extremely baseball-centric, which is fine with me except I didn't find it particularly interesting.

And then there's the editing: this is an extremely easy Tuesday except the ECLAT/LIN cross, neither of which I've ever heard of.

Oh, well.

GHarris 7:47 AM  

Started by writing trig for 1a but immediately changed it to calc as soon as I did 1d. Everything else went in with barely a second thought. I don’t think bunny hill is sexist, it conjures little ones.

Teedmn 7:59 AM  

Congratulations, Chris Adams, on your NYT debut. I've been solving Chris's puzzles for a couple of years now. For a while, he was collaborating with @George Barany on puzzles for the Mpls. StarTribune, but now he's hit the big time (in the USA :-) ).

I noted most of @Rex's nits (today is not the 4th of July, Canadian team, etc.) but it didn't affect my enjoyment of watching the RED, WHITE and BLUE fill in. The revealer brought back once again that old "Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet" commercial to me.

I liked seeing "Slow on the UPTAKE". I couldn't remember seeing that clue before and Jeff Chen's clue list shows it was last seen in '09 and before that in 1998. And the clues for 65A (Result of going bumper to bumper?") and 34D (Fetal position?") were good. And the rho-row wordplay in 61A was nice.

Fun for a Tuesday!

LHS 888 8:05 AM  

I don’t follow baseball, but every theme-related answer was familiar enough to drop in almost instantly. That’s my kind of sports clueing! I liked the RED-WHITE-BLUE theme leading into the Forth of July, and I’m with @JJ in hoping another patriotic themed puzzle will appear tomorrow.

Very enjoyable puzzle. Thanks!

Suzie Q 8:16 AM  

Having Toronto in the theme didn't bother me. Aren't there Canadian teams in the NHL too?
Everything I know about baseball I learned from crosswords.

Anonymous 8:24 AM  

I don't understand the answer for 49 Across. I do the puzzle in the print edition of the NYT. The clue for 49 Across is "T.S.A._"

QuasiMojo 8:27 AM  

Issa Rae was in the New Yorker cartoon yesterday so that helped here.

Judging by all the TV sets tuned to the World Cup in every bar, restaurant and coffee house I've passed by recently, I would say that soccer is the new national pastime.

This felt like one of those puzzles you find in a Mensa crossword puzzle book. Over and done and instantly forgettable.

Anonymous 8:34 AM  

I picked up on the Canadian angle immediately, but as the Jays are an "American" League team, i had no issue with it. My only small gripe was the answer to 2D; I have always heard the breed referred to as Arabian, not "Arab." Still and all, as a baseball fan, I enjoyed this puzzle, even a day early. Happy 4th, all!

Winnipeg Whips 8:43 AM  

heh...guitar player in The Guess Who is wearing a Winnipeg tee-shirt. Rex, you sneaky devil.

Also, today is the Thirth of July, so the puzzle seems appropriate. Tomorrow's puzzle, dedicated to the Fourth, will probably include Orange, Bigly, Wall, and MAGA.

I propose that the Thirth now become the real Fourth in protest.

Debra 8:47 AM  

Online clue for 49A is ___-K (tot's class)
Wanted to like this easy puzzle but found it lifeless, sorry to say

Anonymous 8:51 AM  

I hope that happens whenever and wherever the Jays play.

Anonymous 8:54 AM  

Super smooth Tuesday! New record...SUB 3-MINUTES!!!

No complaints...only clumsy fingers kept me from putting a deeper scare into Monday record territory.

Got nervous looking at 50A as the downs fell, as ISSARAE means nothing to me, but the crosses were a snap.

Anonymous 8:56 AM  

I find soccer boring, almost as boring as hockey. Love baseball.

David 9:02 AM  

As the author of two of the tweets featured in today's commentary, I do not believe the inclusion of Toronto is not minor, it is a major failing of this puzzle. The Philadelphia Phillies played th4 1944 season as the Blue Jays. Perhaps a bit arcane for a Tuesday puzzle, but it would have fit in the blue and Philadelphia, which plays a slightly larger role in the birth of America than does Toronto.

Z 9:06 AM  

@Suzie Q - I realize you probably didn’t realize what you were saying, but way to stick in the knife and twist. “Aren’t there Canadian teams in the NHL, too.” indeed.

If you watch Canadian TV for a week you will soon see the deep antipathy held for the notion of Canada being the US’s sibling country. I imagine all 37+ million of them looking up from their morning Timmies and politely not giving us the finger, although they all thought it. I thought the song choice very appropriate: “American woman, stay away from me / American woman, mama let me be.”

Very easy puzzle for this baseball fan. But I agree that, first, run it on the Fourth, and second, maybe not add the bonus baseball clues. All the bonus baseball cluing turns this too much into a niche puzzle.

Anonymous 9:07 AM  

Honestly, Rex. A crisp theme with good cluing. Red, White, and Blue using all teams who play out NATIONALPASTIME. We are all aware that there is a Canadian team in MLB. Does it ever occur to you that most crucivetbalists don't fill in their grids each day in order to decide upon which soapbox they would like to stand? Does it ever occur to you that the crossword is one of the few places remaining in the "newspaper" where one can be basically free from political nonsense?

RooMonster 9:09 AM  

Hey All !
We need a BLUE SOX team! Maybe when baseball comes here to Las Vegas! (Heck, we had the Golden Knights hockey, a WNBA team-Tge Aces, even an MLS team-Lights FC.) So yeah, BLUE SOX, or even SOCKS, (SOCKIES?) would be fine! Then we wouldn't have to fuss over a Patriotic puz.

Liked this one. Only GROAN was the block count, but willing to let it SLIDE. 41 blocks, Rex missed one somewhere. Just FLEXing the ole brain!

Hardly a dreck to be found. Maybe LIN. (Maybe ISSARAE :-)) Another reason high block count doesn't make me GULPS is when you get a clean grid out of it. So, no CAUSTIC comments, PLEASE. :-)

One F. OLE!


Anonymous 9:15 AM  

SORRY, can't quite buy the sub-3 min. Maybe you are mocking OFL.

fkdiver 9:16 AM  

If you're going to use non-US teams, then the Red, White and Blue may as well represent France, the UK, Russia, Cuba, Liberia, the Netherlands or Luxembourg,to name just a few.

Anonymous 9:17 AM  


Outside The Box 9:19 AM  

Easier than the easiest Monday!! But I am a baseball fan, which probably sped things up quite a bit.

Mohair Sam 9:27 AM  

Clean puzzle, but way too easy for a Tuesday, or a Monday for that matter.

So a guy makes one little mistake like plunking TORONTO in the USA and he takes a bunch of heat from Rex and his buddies. He was close enough for government work - Hell, you can walk from Rogers Center to the Lake in a few minutes, swim for a couple of days and be in Buffalo (good luck with Niagara Falls - maybe they have a fish ladder?). No problem.

@Quasi - Yeah, she's in the New Yorker crossword this week. She's been in the Times more than once too. I'm convinced that young Stanford grad JoISSA Diop - upon wondering how to get her name in front of Hollywood big shots - heard that they loved crossword puzzles. So she went with her nickname and middle name - It worked.

mathgent 9:28 AM  

I do the early-week crosswords as the small admission price to join the fun here in the Rex playground. It was worth it today. Rex did a good job and the early posters were amusing.

Nancy 9:43 AM  

Very easy, but quite pleasant. As I was doing it, I asked myself if @Hartley would find it thus? But she hasn't shown up yet. I think you'd have to be living under a rock not to know these teams, but I could be wrong. I liked that the constructor decided to 55D the baseball theme throughout the puzzle. I did think GROAN, "Ugh, not this again" when I saw OREO and EMU, but you can't have everything. Nice early week puzzle.

GILL I. 9:44 AM  

Baseball...not my favorite sport. I like sports - especially soccer but baseball is boring unless you're watching the World Series and the bases are loaded and there are two outs and some GOOD EGG who always RIDEs the bench gets called up to bat and if he screws up, thats all folks but if he hits a home run and the whole team explodes with jubilations THEN, I can get excited.
I call them ARABs. They ARE fast and so beautiful. I had one I named "Gitano." One day when I went to put the reins on him, he bit off the tip of my right finger. It's a great conversation piece especially when I get to the part of telling everyone how my dad had Gitano's balls cut off. Geldings are gentle creatures.
Even though I don't know baseball, I rather enjoyed this Tuesday romp. I like anything RED WHITE and BLUE. Even if it means TORONTO gets thrown in the batch. I wonder if we will still be friends with Canada after potus practically called the Prime Minister a wuss.
I loved the clue for PLEASE (28A)...Would someone really leave off the PLEASE when asking for a ticket? ONE sounds so rude all by itself.
Nice first NYT puzzle Mr. Adams. Hope to see more of ye.

jberg 9:45 AM  

As soon as I got BOSTON I could see where we were going. Maybe it ran today, rather than tomorrow, to show that it knew TORONTO was a little bit off?

On a related note, the Northeastern Political Science Association has decided to celebrate a significant anniversary by meeting this year in Montreal. I'm going, and I'll enjoy it, but it still seems weird to me.

I'm in a TAD of a rush, so I haven't read the comments yet -- I'll come back and read them this afternoon. But since I don't follow baseball -- aren't there any players named LIN or ARP?

'merican in Paris 10:03 AM  

Thanks, @Z and @fkdiver. At least you guys get it. The point is not whether Americans will be offended by the inclusion of Toronto in a clue linking the team's name to U.S. patriotic colors.

I realize that any prior awareness of other countries' sensitivities that might have previously existed within this country have been deemed irrelevant at best, and more and more treated as something that only pinkos and snowflakes care about. And people who work in an international environment, like yours truly.

My point was how our friends up north, not Americans, might feel about including the BLUE JAYS. A bit tone deaf, in my view.

emily 10:23 AM  


Bob Mills 10:24 AM  

Easy, and fun for baseball aficionados. Using "BLUE JAYS" didn't offend me at all.

emily 10:26 AM  

Basketball, especially college

Unknown 10:36 AM  

Yes, this. No Canadian (or non-American of any stripe) I know would appreciate the misappropriation of THEIR team as an expression of OUR patriotism.

JC66 10:38 AM  

@ANON 8:24 AM

In my NY Times, the clue for 49A reads: TSA ____ ✔️.

old timer 11:04 AM  

If things were as they should be, the national flag in Toronto would have blue in it, as it once did.

Not my place to complain about getting rid of the Union Jack, I know. As someone (was it Cole Porter?) once sang, "Why did Constantinople get the works? It's nobody's business but the Turks'"

Very easy puzzle with a thoroughly Monday time for me.

Kimberly 11:05 AM  

I read the Toronto blue jays clue to mean “Team who’s color is considered patriotic to those in the country this puzzle was printed.” In that way, yes, even Red Sea would work out. Normally I’m what certain simple-minded folks would call a “snowflake” (a.k.a. sensitive to the complexities of a situation and aware of how said situation might affect some people more than others), but this time I fear I let the holiday influence my inner geocentrism and completely missed how off that clue was. The one that did stick out for me was the “National pastime” answer when the Toronto team was so prominently featured.

The lines between patriotism and nationalism have gotten mighty fuzzy of late, sadly. But on the bright side, if we keep dissing Canada maybe they’ll conquer us and then we’ll all have health care and better education.

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

@David 9:02
Your solution has as many problems as what purports to solve. The Phils, including the `43 team which did indeed use blue Jays, plays in the NATIONAL league. This puzzle had AMERICAN league teams. not American teams. American League teams.

The puzzle is lovely Mr. Adams. Thanks. Rex and David et al. can go fly a kite.

Joseph Michael 11:20 AM  

The RED, WHITE, and BLUE theme is kind of a snoozer, though it was nice to see the CHICAGO WHITE SOX in the grid. Add some EMU, OREO, OLIO, OLE, etc. and you get a pretty dull Fourth of July Eve.

And then there’s that Canada thing. Shouldn’t we be including Russia and North Korea instead?

Master Melvin 11:46 AM  

Actually there is, or at least used to be, a minor league team named the Utica Blue Sox. I think they were resurrected a couple of years ago as an entry in the NY-Penn League. I think Roger Kahn, author of The Boys of Summer, was at one time a part-owner.

Unknown 11:50 AM  

Yes. It’s the color not the town. Talk about missing the forest for the twigs.

Anonymous 12:02 PM  

Red Sea would not have worked for a clue since they were all baseball teams. So there had to be consistency there although I agree that including a Canadian team was a bit off the mark. I don't think there are a lot of Canadians who read the NYT or do the crossword so this is another tempest in a teapot. Many Canadians are not too impressed with Justin either, and are waiting for the next election. Too much whining here from those not interested in baseball. I don't follow baseball at all but those are very well known teams and I had no problem coming up with the answers.

Banana Diaquiri 12:02 PM  

why today? likely because dead trees circulation/buying is way down on the 4th.
why Toronto Blue Jays? they're in the AMERICAN league.
why just baseball? because it is the American pastime (until America's Team from Dallas forces the change in sport's pastime. keep kneeling guys!!).
why not the NHL (which, while National, the Original Six was 1/3 Canadian) Columbus BLUE Jackets?
and so on

'merican in Paris 12:15 PM  

One more attempt at explaining:

The clue for 45A is "A.L. [American League] team with a patriotic color". The team in the answer is TORONTO BLUE JAYS. The question then arises, "patriotic for whom?". Certainly not patriotic to the (majority) Canadian fans of the BLUE JAYS.

Talk of their previous flag is silly. The maple leaf replaced the previous flag in 1965. Note that the BLUE JAYS didn't even exist then. They played their first game on April 7, 1977, ironically against the CHICAGO WHITE SOX.

Canadians, too, get very patriotic, perhaps especially in sports. I remember seeing a game in Seattle, during the late 1990s, between a visiting BLUE JAYS team and the Mariners. Whereas the Mariners' fans were waving their team pennants (not the Stars & Stripes), the fans of the BLUE JAYS were waving the Maple Leaf.

Please re-read the above comment by RK Beatrice, posted at 10:36 AM.

That's three for me, over and out.

Masked and Anonymous 12:17 PM  

Toronto. har
Shoulda gone with minor league U.S. teams, maybe:

Really liked the E-W grid symmetry. If they'da gone with the above themers, coulda drawn a pupfish in the gridart. Heckuva missed opportunity.

Really liked the smoooth fillins. 7-long longestballs is ok, by m&e. Especially since there's eight of em. [faves: ATECROW. GOODEGG.]
Not sure why @RP was so surprised that this dude had a NYTPuz today, as Mr. Adams announced it, in his blog write-up, on the day he subbed here.

Any grid with a(n) ARAB-RHINO-SALE puzcolumn gets an honorable thUmbsUp fireworks display from M&A. Also enjoyed the WOMB clue. And the SORRY clue. Only 10 fairly respectable weejects to pick from, sooo … let's go with the avian rUnner down Under.

Thanx for the fun, and congratz on yer debut, Mr. Adams. [Two debuts in a row, so far this week. We're takin on new constructors like a flood of pupfishes! Sweet.]

Masked & Anonymo4Us

JOHN X 12:31 PM  

Why do people complain about American nationalist sentiment or patriotism? Have you been watching the World Cup? Those crowd celebrations look like mini Nuremburg Rallies.

Also, what's with all this "sensitivity" crap directed towards Canada? You're only supposed to be sensitive towards groups with inferiority complexes so that they don't feel bad. Are you saying that Canadians feel inferior, or are you saying that you feel superior to Canadians? Either way you sound insensitive.

I'm a dual citizen of both the U.S. and Canada (both by birth) so my opinion on this matter is correct and unassailable.

pmdm 12:32 PM  

Banana Diaquiri: I don't think the "original six" NHL teams were the first 6 teams to play in the NHL organization, but that's before my time.

I always read Jeff Chen's comments before coming here, since this site takes up more of my time if I comment (as I am currently doing). As ofter happens, his comments made me chuckle, and then I come here to cringe. Maybe I need to do it the the opposite order.

Interesting that my bold comment appeared correctly in yesterday's comments, but my italicized name did not.

My mother-in law was Canadian. Even though she moved to USA after marriage, she never became a US citizen because something in the citizen oath bothered her. That isn't true for some others. Alex Trebek is a citizen of both countries, but I've never read how patriotic he is to the US. Diana Perkovik, once a host on HSN, also took on American citizenship at the first chance she could, and according to one of her posts is quite proud to be a citizen of this country. (I wonder about Glenn Gould.) I guess we shouldn't make generalization about Canadiens' attitude toward USA>

Don Cherry (associated with the NHL) once chided his fellow country-mates for not supporting Americans teams that win the Stanley Cup as much as Americans supported a Canadian team winning the world series. Maybe we should allow for generalizations.

What I really like about today's puzzle is that the colors, from top to bottom, appear in correct order. I didn't realize that until reading Jeff's comments.

Happy holiday to everyone, regardless of whether you are a US citizen or not.

QuasiMojo 12:35 PM  

@Mohair Sam, haha oops. That was some kind of autocorrect, cartoon for crossword, sorry! Maybe my brain got confused because when you finish the New Yorker crossword puzzle a cartoon pops up to let you know you completed it correctly. I love doing their Monday puzzles. I just wish they had more of them.

Banana Diaquiri 1:02 PM  

I don't think the "original six" NHL teams were the first 6 teams to play in the NHL organization, but that's before my time.

the original six is an established description of the NHL pre-expansion. the true "original" teams, at league inception in 1917, were all Canadian. there was expansion in Canada and USofA until the Great Depression, which reduced the league to the "original six" in the 1940s; long before most folks on the planet were born. the wiki has the history, for those that may be interested.

foxaroni 1:03 PM  

Don't the black squares form the face of Uncle Sam? The black squares between 48A & 49A projecting down to between 53A & 54A sure looks like a goatee to me.

Or maybe I should avoid ink blot tests at all costs!

Enjoyed the puzzle--a good one for Fourth of July eve.

Anonymous 1:06 PM  

@jberg: Tzu-Wei LIN is a Taiwanese baseball infielder for the Boston Red Sox organization of Major League Baseball (MLB). He made his MLB debut in 2017.

Anonymous 1:09 PM  

fkdiver9:16 AM:
Which of the countries you list has a city with an MLB team?

Rainbow 1:12 PM  

I can't believe all this BS about Toronto and Canada. You all sound like the hateful tyrant in the white house.

errhode 1:16 PM  

The Blue Sox existed from 1943-1954. They were a women's team out of South Bend, IN who played in the AAGPBL, i.e. the league made famous in A League of Their Own. Along with the more famous Rockford Peaches, they're one of two teams to last the entire duration of the league without moving or folding. Jean Faut pitched for them and threw two perfect games, the only pitcher to throw one after the transition to overhand pitching in 1948.

I know this is some obscure knowledge, but on the other hand, South Bend, unlike Toronto, is actually in the US.

(I did this puzzle faster than Rex, which is rare, and upon dropping Boston Red Sox in, I already knew that the Blue Jays issue was going to be a problem, although the out is to use other sports, i.e. the Columbus Blue Jackets.)

michiganman 1:21 PM  

I am enjoying all the historical baseball trivia. Thanks.

tea73 1:23 PM  

As usual my time is Rex x 3.

I don't follow baseball, but this was gimme territory. My SIL is a BOSTON RED SOX fan and I was pretty sure we were going to have to go to Canada for our BLUE. I was more amused by that fact than irritated.

Only slow down was writing America's PASTIME first.

Anonymous 1:32 PM  

ugh. The American league is a key part of the construction. It's the color coupled with the league that matter not the city. My God, there are scores of baseball teams with blue in their name. but only 1 in the AMERICAN league. Shessh

Mike Rees 1:58 PM  

Do we have to pay a tariff on the export of a patriotic colour?

Mohair Sam 2:02 PM  

@M&A- Let us not forget the Lakewood Blue Claws. Class A Phillies.

@Quasi - Yup, we love the New Yorker puzzle too. They have the benefit of needing only one per week - but what a list of constructors!

I like Toronto - been there a few times. Let's send the military up there and annex the place - good way to beat their tariffs without a trade war. We'd save all that time lost listening to the Canadian anthem at baseball games too. Whataya think?

TomAz 2:08 PM  

average Monday time for me. When solving I sort of did a 'huh?' at the Toronto answer, but in terms of solving experience, it didn't really impact it otherwise.

I like baseball so I liked the puzzle.

Saline Dion 2:40 PM  

Don't get it. If you look at Canada with blue tinted glasses they seem pretty much American to me with the exception of the magnificent Quebecois. Come on USA let's include our friends and help them be freed of the Windsor shackles

sanfranman59 2:41 PM  

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

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

Mon 4:35 4:30 1.02 54.6% Medium
Tue 4:07 5:21 0.77 4.9% Very Easy

Baseball! Right up my alley. At first, I thought the theme might be teams with red, white and blue as their official colors and that my beloved Cleveland Indians might be in there somewhere. But no. It would have needed to be a 16 wide grid to fit that in.

My only complaint is that it was over too fast (this was my 14th fastest solve of 469 NYT Tuesdays). Oh, and whatever the heck ISSARAE (50A) and "Insecure" are. With the exception of that answer, this was basically read clue, enter answer. My only erasure was entering 'trig' at 1A since it was the first math class that sprung to mind that abbreviates to four letters, although I know very well that it has nothing to do with calculating the slope of a line. I never even saw TINA (28D) or that would have been another answer I didn't know from the clue.

Monty Boy 4:21 PM  

I liked this puzzle a lot. I learned a couple things: ECLAT, ISSA RAE. A lot of girl’s names now-a-days are new to me; when I was a boy, most were Susan, Linda, Elizabeth, etc. An unusual girl’s name was Paula. (Aside: I recently turned 74, so I’m allowed to say “when I was a boy…”. "Now-a-days" etc.)

I see a math sub-theme, some with a little [help]:
BUNNY [slope]
MINOR [axis]
SLIDE[rule] for the old timers

No problem with a Canadian help for BLUE. They are allies, right?

Anonymous 4:59 PM  

So far. We'll see.

pabloinnh 5:31 PM  

Liked the puzzle because I love baseball, the best sport ever invented. Anyone who says otherwise is itching for a fight.

It's fine to include Toronto, proud members of the AL East. The only people who can't accept this probably think Canada burned down the White House. Playing their anthem is good too, it's a much better tune than our own.

And while wer'e at it, I'm in favor of changing our national anthem to "America the Beautiful" and playing the Ray Charles version before sporting and other events. Singing along is optional but you have to sound a least a little like Ray.

And that's enough opinions for today. Happy Fourth to everyone, and let's all of us suffering through the heat be careful out there.

David 5:34 PM  

Sure Toronto can be American. Back in 1979 or so, when Lee Iaccoca moved Chrysler production over the river into Ontario and started sourcing his parts from Germany and Japan, he got wicked famous for his "Be American, Buy American" campaign and hailed all around the country as a hero of true Americans.

I wonder if there'll be a 20% tariff on Chrysler vehicles soon? Not the Jeep, that's the one actually made in Detroit...

Nancy 5:36 PM  

As per usual, I skipped right past Rex and his indignant army of tweeters who seemed to be both shocked and insulted today 1) on behalf of Canada? 2) on behalf of the good 'ol US of A? But it all had a happy ending, as it led to marvelous comments today from (in no particular order): @GILL (9:44); @pmdm (12:32); JOHN X (12:31); @RK Beatrice (10:36); @Z (9:06); @Anon (9:70); and @errhode (1:16). By stirring the pot (yet, again, always), Rex and tweeters provoked some colorful blog asides on both baseball and Canada that we probably wouldn't have had otherwise. And I also learned that we have some Canadians on this site, though by tomorrow morning I will have already forgotten which commenters they are. Good comments today, I thought.

Anonymous 6:14 PM  

The operative word here is "patriotic", not "American League". This whole controversy could have been avoided with better editing. Cluing the theme answers as "A.L. team with a color found on the U.S. flag", or something like that, would have done the trick.

Carola 6:48 PM  

Agree with @Rex about the theme. One do-over: america's PASTIME>

Outside The Box 6:49 PM  

Good commentary as usual!

Banana Diaquiri 7:35 PM  

when I had civics or history or some other grade school class, some decades ago, we were told that 80% of Canadians lived within 200 miles of the US border. probably a bit less now, given the petro industry deeper north. but still, they might as well be the 51st state. for those interested, CA has twice the GDP, so Canada need only be a state.

JC66 7:46 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
JC66 7:50 PM  

I'm surprised that none of the baseball fans here have commented on the fact that the NY Mets are playing in Toronto on July 4th.

Anonymous 8:00 PM  

I dont have the figures at hand, but id be very supriaed if Californias gdp IS ONLY TWICE Canadas. Were it an independent country Calis economy would be thw 5th biggest in the world. (Behind US, China, Germany and Japan)

Larry Gilstrap 8:43 PM  

I am very familiar with what is called a BUNNY Hill. I chose to criticize the editor for its questionable appropriateness based on my experience at ski resorts. Calling someone a Ski BUNNY is not a compliment, even if that is the look you're going for. I even Googled it to corroborate my suspicion. NSFW. But, as clued, BUNNY Hill is pretty innocuous, in retrospect. What about Beach Bunny? Or, to be safe, clue Bugs BUNNY.

Nancy 9:29 AM  

@Larry G (8:43)-- You're being facetious, right? There are much worse things than being called a SKI BUNNY. There's falling down the nanosecond you let go of whatever you were holding onto, not being able to get up on your own, freezing your ass off down there, and needing 3 people (at least they were all guys) to get you up. That was my first and last skiing experience (ca 1965, I think). It lasted no more than four minutes -- every minute of which was spent sprawled helplessly at the bottom of the Beginner's Slope at Van Cortland Park -- a public course in the Bronx. (At least I didn't waste any money in going to a fancy ski resort.) You can call me a SKI BUNNY as much as you like. I am a proud SKI BUNNY. Just say lots of nice things about my tennis game. And don't ask me to ever get back on skis again.

BarbieBarbie 11:22 AM  

Um. Why would Beach Bunny be ok if Ski Bunny is offensive? Bugs or Fox Food both work.

Kimberly 11:54 AM  


“Why do people complain about American nationalist sentiment or patriotism? Have you been watching the World Cup? Those crowd celebrations look like mini Nuremburg Rallies.”

Because patriotism and nationalism are two different things, with important distinctions. The inability to separate the two leads to conflict, war, and the slippery slope of fascism (which is a word that gets overused and conflated with naziism but is, in fact, a specific political philosophy employed in many places in the world to the detriment of a significant portion of the population of those countries... even to some of those who wildly support it).

Burma Shave 9:18 AM  


SORRY I was CAUSTIC about your SLEEPIN’ paradigm,


rondo 10:33 AM  

RED, WHITE, and BLUE and baseball for Independence Day Eve. That’s fine. Probably something more “patriotic” tomorrow. SaintLouisBlues woulda fit, but that’s hockey and more like the NATIONALPASTIME in TORONTO. The H.S. teams I played on were the BLUEJAYS, but the H.S. no longer exists and wouldn’t have fit, and nobody knows it.

A coupla days before tis puz originally ran I was in CHICAGO and made my first trip to Wrigley to see the Cubs v. Twins. Fun place to watch the NATIONALPASTIME. Gotta make Fenway to see the BOSTON REDSOX.

OLE says to give the yeah baby to a fully spelled out ISSARAE. It’s all HERS.

Did not GROAN at the Canadian team. Play with what you’re DELT.

thefogman 11:33 AM  

Lacking ECLAT. LETSSEE... No OLES, mostly meh. It fails to PLEASE even just a TAD. SORRY. I've just got to LEI it on the line.

spacecraft 12:37 PM  

Yes, well, it's all "America," eh? Coulda also used the Columbus BLUE Jackets, if you wanted to go the hockey route. We may indeed have this year's world champs in today's grid. All "Betts" are off.

A fun one to work on, if you like baseball. And there's the delightful extra: EJECTED. This happens in baseball more than all other sports combined, I think. When will they learn the rule: Thou Canst Not Argue Balls And Strikes!?

I passed over TINA Fey last time for DOD; can't do that again. This may be a NYT debut, but this GOODEGG is definitely no beginner. Birdie.

leftcoastTAM 1:34 PM  

It's obvious by now that this baseball puzzle is kind of an OLIO, a mishmash of nationalistic and patriotic themes, and apparently provocative of some U.S. and Canadian sensitivities.

Not really too tough to get over, IMO. The game is not just a NATIONAL PASTIME, it has some international scope as well.

An entertaining NYT debut puzzle by Christopher Adams.

Diana,LIW 2:53 PM  

rly quisports Neanderthal, knew the baseball teams. And if you're going to be in the American League...nuff said

OK - up there is what my computer typed, not what I said. What a pain in the rear. All said, easy, even for a sports Neander.....

Puzzle clues managed to mention two entire SHOWS I never even HEARD of: "Insecure" and "Bob's Burgers." Could be Bob's Burglers for all I know, bringing home either their "loot" (my first guess) or HAUL.

My eyesight makes carne look like came at first. Sigh.

Hooray for Monday and Tuesday.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rainforest 3:10 PM  

Someone up there mused about Canada becoming the 51st state. Fuhgeddabout it! We Canadians have our pride.

A sentimental mention of the EXPOS there, the best team in baseball in 1994. Robbed of proving it that year. Conspiracy?

Easy puzzle which yet ticked all the boxes of good puzzledom. Raised many emotions about displays of "patriotism", but at least left out the question of kneeling for the national anthem, a gesture for good that is totally misunderstood and manipulated by DJT.

I love baseball, its rhythms, its lack of a finite time for the playing of a game, the sense that it ain't over till its over. I'm continually losing interest in the NFL while soccer continues to fascinate.

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