French city where D'Artagnan lived in Three Musketeers / SUN 7-15-18 / Worlds external to mind / Musical set in St. Tropez familiarly / Cornbread variety named for where it's baked / Song sung by garth books on Jay leno's last tonight show / Lesley who played Mrs Patmore on Downton Abbey / West coast beer brand informally

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Constructor: Sam Ezersky and Byron Walden

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (12:28)

THEME: "Complimentary" — familiar phrases clued as if they were compliments (by reimagning the meaning of the first word in the answer)

Theme answers:
  • OUTSTANDING BILLS (24A: Compliment to a lawmaker?)
  • RADICAL MOVEMENT (36A: Compliment to a composer?)
  • SWEET TALK (62A: Compliment to a lecturer?)
  • STELLAR CLASSIFICATION (64A: Compliment to a taxonomist?)
  • KILLER BEE (67A: Compliment to a champion speller?)
  • SOLID FOUNDATION (87A: Compliment to a charity organizer?)
  • SMASHING PUMPKINS (103A: Compliment to a vegetable gardener?)
Word of the Day: PASTICCIO (47D: Musical medley) —
  1. another term for pastiche. (google) (grrrrrrrr)
In music, a pasticcio or pastiche is an opera or other musical work composed of works by different composers who may or may not have been working together, or an adaptation or localization of an existing work that is loose, unauthorized, or inauthentic. (wikipedia)
• • •

Really didn't care for this one, which is startling, given that I love almost every puzzle Byron Walden touches. This one, though, had a theme that I found corny and dull, and then fill that was just ... it was like someone got enamored of his deep wordlist and decided to let it explode all over his grid, with very little in the way of restraint or balance. Marginally famous pop culture names all over the place (well, concentrated in the NW, but all over the place). A Garth Brooks THE and then a gratuitous river THE (THE SEINE? Booooo). ASHCAKE *and* ASHE *followed immediately by* ASHEN? TESSES? IMRE? Holy crap, TARBES????!!?! This is the first time in my life I'm even hearing of this place's existence. If it were a crossworthy place, It Would Have Been In The Grid Before (oh, sorry, it *has* appeared in the grid before ... once ... just after the end of WWII (seriously)). I can accept PASTICCIO as something I should know, even though I didn't, but I'm never going to accept "THE DANCE," don't @ me about Garth Brooks' fame and sales etc. (12A: Song sung by Garth Brooks on Jay Leno's last "Tonight Show"). Oh really, wikipedia, it's his "signature song," is it? Look, I didn't spend the entire decade of my 20s assiduously avoiding that guy's music (and Jay Leno) for you to go shoving my face in it in my cranky middle age! OK, so "THE DANCE" is not objectively bad, just bad in my particular ears and nose and throat. If not for THE THE in THE SEINE, I probably would've let Garth go tbh. What the hell kind of non-word is NON-EGOS? See, you should exercise discretion, not just put in Whatever Fits. NON-EGOS is never going to be good fill (80D: Worlds external to the mind). Sometimes it's good not to GO ALL IN with your wordlist. Real words, please. DAREN'T!? Is that how they speak in TARBES (wherever that is)?

And then so many multi-word phrase, it got irksome after a while. TOOK AIM AT, TAP IN TO, ACT AS IF, GO ALL IN, SON OF A, DO ON ... I dunno, it was as if the puzzle knew its theme was pretty standard-issue NYT and so tried to zazz it up, but the zazz knob kind of broke and things ended up a bit of a mess. This is a very different problem from having your grid overrun with crosswordese, but it's a problem nonetheless. I did like the neat stack of three themers in the middle. Very Merl Reagle-esque. And some of the fill was interesting. I am never going to care about "Doctor Who," but I still didn't mind TIME LORDS (41D: Beings on TV's "Doctor Who"). And ONE-PAGER is some very in-the-language slang (IMPO) (in my professiorial opinion). I barely remember JARTS and don't even know what the portmanteau is there (77A: Banned game projectiles). I assume it's a portmanteau of something and darts. JORTS woulda been great. Jeans + shorts. Makes sense. JARTS? Oh ... looked it up. It's "javelin darts." LOL, did you know that? With a name like that, I'm shocked, Shocked that they had to ban them. I weirdly liked the clue on NIGER (95A: Major exporter of uranium). I mean, how would I know that ... except I'm old enough to remember the faulty intelligence that led to the Iraq War, so ... yeah. OK, it's hot and I want a FRAPPE, so bye.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    P.S. I'll repeat my announcement from yesterday, since it's relevant to Sunday-solvers as well:
    Some puzzle suggestions for you Saturday solvers. Peter Broda has a suite of Vowelless Crossword Puzzles available right now (ed. Andy Kravis). Vowelless crosswords are a really entertaining, and tough, variation on your favorite pastime. Seven puzzles, pay what you want. Get them here. Also, be sure to check out this past week's American Values Crossword second puzzle, a "labyrinth-style puzzle" by Francis Heaney, entitled "The Maze Ruiner." If you're not already a subscriber, just pay the $1 and get it a la carte. I promise you, you'll be wowed. It might take you half and hour, or an hour, or a day, or longer, but It Is Worth It. Really impressive work. Very clipboard-worthy. Get it here.
    [Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


    OISK 12:58 AM  

    Jarts??? I knew about the Jedi, but I haven't watched a Star Wars film in decades, so maybe there are also Dedi? Because DARTS makes sense, right? Jarts???

    Got everything else, but after getting completely stymied Saturday, was hoping for a quick comeback. Never heard of a clifbar , or Tarbes, but that was the logical guess. Otherwise, I thought this was a decent, typical Sunday puzzle, that went very quickly.

    But yesterday? I had more incorrect boxes yesterday than the rest of this year added up. (all in the NW)

    Jarts?? I actually knew that they banned "Lawn darts." So I had Dedi. The title of the sequel to HMS Pinafore. "Return of the Dedi..."

    Ellen S 2:12 AM  

    I bet all of us lined up to be moderated have something to say about 4D. Just when we’re all so smart we not only know the plural of octopus is OCTOPodes, we even, or @Z even, extends that to APOCALYPODES. And then Mssrs Ezersky and Walden drag us back to the ignorant old days of OCTOPI. Tsk.

    Also — is MSN an ISP? Well, I’ll be a — (goes with SON OF A), Microsoft is the second largest provider of dial-up internet access in the country. According to Wikipedia, anyway. Well, then, I guess my only real objection is OCTOPI.

    I’m with @Rex regarding THE DANCE and Garth Brooks. I’ve heard of him, but never heard him and will happily go to the next place without ever hearing his “signature song.” If Jay Leno like him, that’s his business.

    Otherwise, pretty easy puzzle, finished with minimal cheating.

    Oh — @Jill, I could have had a piece of PIZZA if I’d wanted. Deb only had one piece. So there.

    Harryp 2:31 AM  

    I misspelled FRAPPE and couldn't find that easy word. Otherwise not a hard puzzle. Got to get better at proof reading.

    Anonymous 3:04 AM  

    Yarts are a thing and Yoda had a light saber.

    chefwen 4:00 AM  

    I guess they had to outlaw JARTS because too many kids were getting stabbed in the foot. Stupid idea from the onset.

    Took me a long time to wade through this one, might have something to do with trying to multi task, not good at that. Finally handed it to puzzle partner, thought that might speed up the process. He had just finished telling me that he gotten stung by a wasp and the first thing he filled in was KILLER BEE off the K. Guess it was pretty fresh in his mind. He also takes a CLIF BAR or something like that when he does HOT YOGA, plus he will cross a street to avoid any store that sells SCENTED candles and potpourri, that section was meant for him.

    Got off to a not so STELLAR beginning with rear at 13D and Romano at 16D, RIDES OUT showed me the error of my ways.

    Cute puzzle that we both enjoyed.

    Lewis 6:00 AM  

    I liked the theme and its crossworthy wordplay. Now I feel like going to the deli and complimenting the proprietor on the SUPER NOVA.

    I don't know how many times I came close to finally getting a theme answer but just didn't have enough letters to crack it. Finally, finally, when SMASHING PUMPKINS emerged, that gave me the ammunition to attack the other themers. There were 14 answers outside my wheelhouse, and yet... and yet... I somehow filled this whole thing in without any aid, and that is a mark of good construction. As I was wiping the sweat on my forehead upon completion, I wore a big non-NONEGO smile.

    It's a smile i love. Excellent one, guys!

    Anonymous 6:12 AM  

    A fine Sunday puzzle. It was a little harder than usual, and it did have some problems that Rex pointed out, but the real problem was it followed an excellent Saturday puzzle by Kameron Austin Collins. IMHO, he's the king.

    mmorgan 6:49 AM  

    Well, there are commercial variants such as the Awful Awful (Newport Creamery) or the Fribble (Friendly's), but in my part of New England a milkshake is a cabinet.


    RJ 7:17 AM  

    Thanks @Ellen S - you said a lot of what I was thinking, especially about MSN as an ISP. One of the things I love about this blog is reading about regional differences when knowing certain words. I grew up camping in MA during the summers - almost every family at the camp grounds had a set of Jarts (late 60s/early 70s). I am still amazed that no one ended up with an unintentional tracheotomy playing with these. This was kind of a slog for me (almost 3x Rex) and when I was finished....not crazy about the fill but I'm amazed at the long theme phrases.

    I've had the octopuses/octopi discussion so here is some info I've seen on a couple of sites:

    Octopuses is correct by English rules.
    Octopodes is correct by strict etymological Greek-origin rules.
    Octopi is correct by English's pseudo-Latin cognate rules.

    I've also read that, from a comparison of grammar sites, the following

    Octopuses is the most used plural in print
    Octopodes is most correct and least used
    Octopi is least correct and often used

    RJ 7:22 AM  

    @mmorgan You made me laugh remembering the Awful Awful and of course everyone knows and loves the Friendly's Fribble. I grew up in central Mass where there were still Woolworths soda fountains. They served milkshakes, frappes, and malteds. I remember that they were all different but not how they were different. I'd go for a raspberry lime rickey any day!

    doctor 7:41 AM  

    Sure, Asiago is an alternative to Parmesan, but in the same way that cheddar is, or exercise.

    Jonathan Brown 7:43 AM  

    Iams/Alpo twice in the same week? I'm going to start another dog food brand with a four-letter name.

    Dolgo 7:43 AM  

    What a mess! I agree with Rex. There are far too many obscure clues. Is it my imagination or are clues getting more and more out there? This puzzle was no funat all!

    Dolgo 8:02 AM  

    Well I DID know one obscure clue--TARBES--since I have been there. Tradionally, French braggart soldiers come from the province of Gascony. Hence our term "gasconnade" which means an extended brag. I like the word as a welcome variant of "braggadocio.". Your pedant in residence thought you'd like to know.

    Teedmn 8:18 AM  

    JARTS brought to mind this LAWN DART song, which always makes me laugh.

    I like this puzzle. RADICAL MOVEMENT, KILLER BEE, SWEET TALK and SMASHING PUMPKINS are my favorites. After reading Rex, I had to Google "zazz" to see if there was new, emerging (please, no!) slang I had heretofore missed but all that came up were hits for Zazzle. Let's not turn up the zazz dial just quite yet.

    I was held up a bit by having "rear" in at 13D for too long, along with "reverse" instead of SIDE TWO at 62D. "Reverse" gave me S___L for "Word with prayer or paddle" which had me wondering if there was such a thing as a paddle shawL.

    Nice job, Sam and Byron.

    QuasiMojo 8:26 AM  

    I lived in New England for nearly eight years and never heard anyone call a milkshake a FRAPPE. Maybe when Mildred, Maud, and Mabel went to the 5 and Dime.

    I did like Smashing Pumpkins though even if someone might hit you with her pocketbook if you said it to her face.

    Sue 8:27 AM  

    I agree with so much that was already written! But the thing that made me LOL was, as Jonathan Brown says earlier-- IAMS last week and ALPO this week. Hah!! Loved that.

    I guess one of the reasons I do the puzzle is to learn about stuff I never knew before. Which I do almost every week. So I wish that instead of being huffy about clues/answers that seem to be too obscure to appear in the puzzle folks could look at it as an opportunity. I don't mind Googling stuff as I go through it because it gives me a "who'd a thunk it?" moment. I don't think of it as cheating at all!! So, JARTS. Interesting. TARBES. Also interesting.

    Sue 8:29 AM  

    Sorry-- also meant to add-- there are always some folks for whom those obscure clues/answers are not that obscure. Live and learn.

    kitshef 8:43 AM  

    As great as yesterday’s puzzle was, today’s is [Meriting only half a star, say]. Actually, 58D is much too generous for this crapfest. All of the following range from terrible to unforgivable:

    Thankfully, it was over fast. Maybe half the time of yesterday’s wonderful puzzle.

    The only pleasure I got out of this was the DOOK of MRS LATE.

    ArtO 8:53 AM  

    Agree with Rex and nominate this for the most obscurities in a Sunday puzzle since "Hector was a pup." (check that one out in your Funk & Wagnalls)

    Nancy 9:01 AM  

    My third 1-letter fail in a row. I had dARTS/DEDI. DEDi made no sense, but then neither did JARTS. JARTS???? What dey? I never thought of JEDI because I walked out of the first Star Wars flick after 40 excruciating minutes and I've never seen any of the others. JEDI is from Star Wars, right? It's not from Star Trek or Harry Potter, right?

    Other than that, a fun solve. I thought the theme was SOLID and SWEET, if not quite OUTSTANDING, SMASHING, KILLER or STELLAR. The puzzle went down smoothly and easily. TASTY FILL, guys.

    My fave theme answer was KILLER BEE. My biggest "Huhs?" were TARBES and CLIFBAR.

    DATA LOSS (117A) and IT HELP (90D) made me nervous. I really don't like thinking about "computer crashes" all you constructors out there. I have enough computer woes even when my computer doesn't crash, thank you very much. Better than yesterday's NTEST, I suppose, but only by a smidgen.

    Anonymous 9:01 AM  

    @Quasi, mmorgan et al., this little article from New England Today sums it up fairly well.

    The usage map for frappe would correspond very closely to the "r" rhotic/non-rhotic map in New England. People who pahk cahs ordah frappes. People who park cars order shakes.

    Maruchka 9:09 AM  

    Lovely/slog we're having, isn't it? 'Nuff said.

    One pleasure - UTA Hagen! A significant American actor (I avoid gendering - so there). I saw her Hedda Gabler as an aspiring 17 year old. Inspiring..

    Better (clue)luck next time, guys.

    N.B. Anyone else love the 'We Shall Overcomb' poster?

    Anonymous 9:20 AM  

    Lewis, "super nova" too funny! That made me laugh. I also didn't get themed until Smashing Pumpkins. Agree that "nonegos" the worst, but what, pray tell, is a prayer wheel? Wheel of prayer?

    Birchbark 9:21 AM  

    They banned JARTS -- what is the point of a lawn? And what now to do on summer evenings, in the long postprandial drift before the fireflies take the stage? The slow wobbling arc of a JART, kids laughing, elders musing or offering advice. From a safety standpoint, just don't toss one if people are in front of you and it'll be okay.

    "Ave Maria" is in OTELLO? That's interesting. It is also the defining aria in "Fantasia," the moment when that great, uneven PASTICCIO stops being about Disney.

    Bam-Bam 9:35 AM  

    Hadn't realized how progressive and "woke" The Flintstones was for its time. Imagine that, Fred Flintstone had a female boss, Mrs. Late.

    mathgent 9:39 AM  

    I had Chicken Asiago at our local diner last night. A chicken cutlet coated with flour, fried, covered with a tomato-based sauce, topped with asiago, and baked until the cheese melted. The owners are Greek and I suppose that this is their response to Chicken Parm in an Italian cafe. It was delicious.

    Anonymous 9:44 AM  

    I rarely agree with Rex but I do on this one in terms of ridiculous fill. I didn't mind the theme answers but lots of the fill he mentions - ugh.

    Have to say in response to QuasiMojo -- yes, it *is* a Frappe in New England! I agree that language is changing, given that people are much more mobile, and that virtual communication happens in real time, so there is more fluidity. But if you don't know/use Frappe, it means you aren't from here :-)

    Since readers here often enjoy thinking about language, you might be interested in this article and language quiz. It can be quite amazing in its accuracy (questions are randomized and the quiz can be different if you try a couple different times; it I recall correctly, "frappe" does come up ....). But of course results may vary .....

    How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk

    --- CS

    FLAC 9:46 AM  

    @Dolgo: Hey, I thought I was the resident pedant, but I will happily cede (or share) the title. I agree with you about the puzzle, though. And welcome back, cranky old Rex.

    Tim Aurthur 9:55 AM  

    For parents who are frustrated that the ban on JARTS will prevent their children from killing each other, there's a simple solution: give the children assault weapons.

    Anonymous 9:56 AM  

    I thought 95 across would be Hillary...

    Susan 10:04 AM  

    How is brig a water cooler? Enlighten me please.

    Cptn Bligh 10:17 AM  

    Susan: the brig is the jail on a ship. A jail cell, especially in the military, are often referred to a the "cooler." The ship is on water. Hence, "water cooler."

    QuasiMojo 10:19 AM  

    Thanks Anonymous for the link!

    Gulliver Foyle 10:20 AM  

    "BRIG" as in jail cell (cooler) in a ship on the water. Yeah, kind of a reach. I had "berg" for the longest time, which made perfect sense.

    Moly Shu 10:21 AM  

    As I was solving, I couldn’t decide if I liked it or not. Then I got to EPICPOEM and figured it was a themer. Looked up to see it’s corresponding answer and saw ADDERALL. Something about that didn’t sit right with me, so I’ll go in the dislike column. Seems to me EPICPOEM clearly fits the theme, but maybe I’m nitpicking.

    @Z, 6 (six) days brother. 6 more days. At the risk of jinxing it, I can almost taste that cinnamon goodness.

    Imfromjersey 10:21 AM  

    @susan the Brig is the jail on a military ship, and the cooler is a slang word for jail. That one made me smile.

    Norm 10:22 AM  

    A brig is the jail [cooler] on a ship [hence, water]. That was far from the worst of the cluing on this very clunky puzzle. I thought Rex's review was spot on.

    Austenlover 10:22 AM  

    A brig is the jail (cooler) on a naval vessel (on the water).

    David 10:26 AM  

    @Susan, it’s because the brig refers to a jail (or cooler) on a ship (meaning on the water).

    In addition to the ASH repetition, I also caught and was surprised by OCT showing up twice for the same meaning.

    Jim Curran 10:27 AM  

    Jail (cooler) on a ship (on the water)

    Maruchka 10:28 AM  

    @Susan: A brig is a ship's onboard jail. A jail is aka a cooler. Hence, water-cooler. Um, ok..

    'mericans in Paris 10:30 AM  

    Well, at least this was a puzzle that Mrs. 'mericans and I were able to finish in a reasonable amount of time (for us). We really liked Saturday's, but then went back to the NW and just cou;dn't break through. Finally gave up and googled a couple of answers. Thursday's and Friday's ... forget it. Just too tough for us.

    As for today's ... meh. I agree with much of @Rex's write-up. We got THE SEINE, of course, but didn't like it. To be consistent, it should be "la SEINE". We got TARB, too, though only after three crosses. Knew NIGER, too, as it is the biggest supplier of uranium to France, which obtains more than 75% of its electricity from fission.

    I was part of a huge marching band in my sophomore and junior years in High School, and the band leader's favorite insult was to compare us to PODUNK High. I assumed that was a made-up name. Not only is it a real place, but one of my fathers' cousins grew up there.

    ASHCAKE sounds like a pet name that Mrs. Lucifer might use when trying to SWEET TALK hubby into doing some domestic drudgery. "ASHCAKE, would you do me a favor and put your TRIDENT away? You LEFT it on the LAMINA, and I'm afraid I might AFIG my HIND on it in the middle of the night."

    The World Cup final is about to start in half an hour. Allez les Blues!

    Wm. C. 10:32 AM  

    @Susan10:04 --

    "How is a brig a water cooler?"

    With moderation, I'm probably one-of-many answering, but ...

    A BRIG is a jail ("COOLER" is slang for jail ) on a ship.

    TubaDon 10:34 AM  

    Have to agree with Rex on this one. So many recondite arcana that I had to peck away on via crosses. Last area to fall was the TARES? ???EGO wasteland when I finally was able to GOLIMP with exhaustion.

    Maruchka 10:36 AM  

    @Susan: A brig is a ship's onboard jail. A jail is aka a cooler. Hence, water-cooler. Um, ok..

    Wm. C. 10:37 AM  

    Well, my BRIG/COOLER reply hasn't posted yet (I guessed I'd not be alone), but I see eight posts already.

    BTW, as I've said before, I'm not a fan of moderation. We can all just ignore the bad posts. Or maybe the day's host (or shared hosts by hour, say) just delete inappropriate posts.

    Susan 10:45 AM  

    Thanks all

    Maruchka 10:47 AM  

    @Nancy - haha! I never intended to see StarWars, but my little nephew did. Have to say, seeing it with him made it mo' fun.

    David 10:56 AM  

    Ah, just remembered I didn’t get the all-clear jingle when I finished. I went with PRImED to sell, which I believe is a valid answer, and since I didn’t know Lesley NICOL’s last name, NImOL seemed fine so long as the crosses were solid. Not quite a Natick, and in retrospect the real name looks a bit better, but seems like good practice to avoid an ambiguity crossing an uncommon proper name—-sharper clue on 3-down would’ve been appreciated.

    Oh, and while I am remembering cluing issues, did anyone else have an issue with “got back at” for AVENGED? To me, the object of the clue is the wrongdoer, but the object of the answer is the person wronged, but is there a sense of usage of them that I’m overlooking that does work?

    Hungry Mother 11:05 AM  

    With all of my Caribbean cruises, I should have gotten BARBADOS much faster than I did. I was too happy with FRIG for the cooler. Anyhoo, I got this one much faster than usual.

    Anonymous 11:07 AM  

    Totally mystified by 66 down — a small thing, but really? Not “go to”? Can anyone explain?

    Banana Diaquiri 11:12 AM  

    FRAPPE isn't New England, it's Boston metro region. only. those of us in the sticks, it's a milkshake

    TAICHI is nothing about meditation, except the washed out version common in the West. it's the first Eastern martial art. viz:
    take 3 identical persons. put one in karate, one in kung fu, one in tai chi. train apart and exclusively. bring them back together three times. after one year the karate person wins. after five years the kung fu person wins. after ten years the tai chi person wins, and always wins forever after.

    JC66 11:12 AM  

    and SO TO bed

    retired guy 11:13 AM  

    34D: dark clouds don't "represent" an omen, they are the omen.

    Carola 11:17 AM  

    Expecting a good bit of theme wit from the these constructors, early on I had that bad feeling you get for people when they're just not doing very well. But they came through for me with SWEET TALK, KILLER BEE, and especially SMASHING PUMPKINS.

    @Bam-Bam, until reading your comment I did read it as MRS. LATE - and the sort of suprise you mention :)

    @M&A, thank you for yesterday's recommendation of the Saturday Stumper. What a workout!

    Suzie Q 11:19 AM  

    This entertained me for many of the same reasons it made Rex mad. I came here prepared to see him rate it easy. Hmmm.
    Lots of proper names that were marked in the margins but they were easy to overlook with plenty of fun to be had.
    As soon as I saw Oly beer I wondered if the egos in CA were offended since they own the West Coast. No non-egos there! Ha!
    Jarts were lots of fun while they lasted but no, they were not for the careless and accident prone. Now the yard game appears to be Corn Holing. A sort of bean bag toss. I guess if you have enough Oly you could hurt yourself but not as badly as in Jarts.

    CDilly52 11:28 AM  

    I, too am old enough to remember JARTS fondly, although as @Suzy Q observes, too much OLY and . . . Oops (or worse). I loved KILLER BEE and found the remainders clever enough to pass Sunday theme muster. Did not like the repeat of ONE in ONE-PAGER and ONES. Careless, but Sunday is a big grid to fill. Overall 7 minutes faster than my normal (and very sluggish) time, so I enjoyed it.

    CDilly52 11:29 AM  
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
    Blue Stater 11:33 AM  

    Irredeemably awful and self-indulgent, with obscurities and non-words galore. I will never understand how any crossword editor, even WS, could let this one see print, but even Homer nodded, I suppose. Homer Simpson.

    CDilly52 11:33 AM  

    And I sincerely appreciate the tutorial since I do crosswords to learn just such fascinating facts with which to augment my gasconnades.

    Mikey from El Prado 11:45 AM  

    I’m usually not so critical of the Sunday slogs as Rex or others, but this one?... Sheesh.
    I circled all the clues for proper names (places and people). Tons. And with them crossing (e,g, Meade and... Malala!?).
    But, my real issues: THE Dance and THE Seine. OCTOPI and OCTA. SOTTO and SOTO.
    Not sure how I finished while also watching Tour de France/Wimbledon/World Cup. Exciting times for Europe

    Jim Lemire 11:50 AM  

    I had JARTS growing up until my grandfather decided they were too dangerous and imposed his own ban. They were fun, but I can completely see how they were unsafe, especially for stereotypical adolescent boys.

    I struggled with this one - just too many things I did not know and had to infer and/or get with the crosses. As Rex mentioned above the THEs also took a while to see.

    Had chaSm before ABYSS and mInER before NIGER. Didn’t help that I thought the saying could have been “not worth a FIn”.

    I liked the theme, especially EPIC POEM, SWEET TALK, and RADICAL MOVEMENT. I can just picture some surfer dude rocking out to some Rossini.

    Didn’t care for 56a “Water cooler?” I get it, but there’s just something about the genericness (gerenicity?) of “water” instead of something more ocean-centric. Are there BRIGs on freshwater vessels? I imagine there probably are, but I associate BRIG with the sea.

    RooMonster 11:53 AM  

    Hey All !
    SON OF A... Got whole puz, but just could not get the 21 letter themer and the immediate words surrounding it in the West side-center part. Had STELLARr___SgIFICATION, because had gOTO for SOTO and parER, then corER for RICER (rotten RICER, never seem to remember that). So the 21 made no sense. Plus not really knowing what a taxonomist is. Other unknowns in that little section, BRIG as clued, OSSICLE, TAICHI as clued, and AGHA somehow not coming into the ole brain. Ugh. So decided to take the DNF, as I was tired of staring at that section.

    Did manage to get rest of puz relatively easy-ish for a SunPuz. Got our DOOK today in GOON. Some fun clues, EPUC POEMS for one. Agree with some iffy words, but I tend to let them slide on a Sunday. Lots of space to fill, really tough to not have a JARTS or a NON THE EGOS SEINE. :-)

    Liked the punniness of the redefined phrases.

    Compliment to a lit orb juggler? GREAT BALLS OF FIRE.


    Veganhater 11:54 AM  

    SOTO bed? Stupid.
    ALSO dumb:

    I owned JARTS as a kid, so that came easily (especially with JEDI), but didn’t get BRIG until reading comments. I was struggling with remembering brita and couldn’t get off that train

    old timer 12:14 PM  

    Hands up for missing the JEDI clue. And for forgetting TARBES though it is a real place in Gascony.

    OFL is right to criticize this one.

    And I also say, "Allez Les Bleus!"

    Oh, FRAPPEs were what you ordered in Exeter, NH circa 1960. Which was and probably still is a non-rhotic part of New England.

    GILL I. 12:23 PM  

    I'm not sure why I enjoyed this puzzle. It was replete with trivia I never heard of. There was no mirth nor gaiety. It started with ALPO and ended with the dog SPOT. And yet..... There was some charm. SWEET TALK my favorite. Remembering how hard I laughed at LA CAGE and thinking TARBES and ASH CAKE and FRAPPE and OLY are all made up-words.
    Have never heard of JARTS. No wonder they are banned. It took a grieving dad and an act of Congress to get them off the store shelves. His little daughter was playing with her dolls in her back yard when one came flying over the fence by boys playing with them. It struck her in the head.
    Why in the world would you call cornbread ASH CAKE? And can someone please explain how is brig a water cooler (just kidding).....
    In my house we say "Why, you little BASTERED." SON OF A never.
    @Ellen S....Deb had meat on her Piece of PIZZA. You wouldn't have eaten it!
    It's almost 9:30 so we're off to see the wizard.
    Go France!

    Masked and Anonymous 12:35 PM  

    Well, yeah … 128-word SunPuz, when most of em ring up around 138 or 140 words. Whaddayah expect? … Luvly ow de speration moments -- that's what! Got em. ECHECK-it-out.

    DARENT was my fave. Honrable mention to scorin both a SOTO & a SOTTO.

    Themers are pretty good -- they took aim at some humor, while re-purposin the meanin of each phrase. Best shot: SMASHINGPUMPKINS. Most raised-by-the-crosswolves: STELLARCLASSIFICATION [Good ol' B-STARs & M-STARs & etc.].

    Thanx for gangin up on us, S. EZ. & B. W. SUPERCOOL. ACEVENTURE. CRACKWISE.

    Masked & Anonymo5Us

    recipe especially for @Mohair Sam:

    The House Whisperer 12:40 PM  

    This was the most unpleasant solving experience I’ve had in a long time. I never complain — LOVE solving almost no matter what - but the fill was schlock and the clueing trying to be way too cute. And the themed answers were just blah. Yuck.

    Joseph Michael 1:03 PM  

    DOON and NOTAR are DOOKs.

    Fun theme. Liked SMASHING PUMPKINS and KILLER BEE the best.

    Didn't like a lot of the fill. Too many proper nouns, obscurities, and nonword words.


    Aketi 1:19 PM  

    Thanks @Anonymous 9:44 am for the link to “How Y’All, Youse, and You Guys Talk”. That survey was more entertaining than today’s puzzle. I made my husband take it too and our language patterns remain firmly rooted in where we grew up, not where we now live.

    Never heard of JARTS before, but the JEDI came to my rescue.

    NIGER should have been much more obvious to me since I spent so much time there.

    @GILL I, including your JK comment I counted 17 comments on the BRIG clueing so far.

    JC66 1:26 PM  


    I'm not sure what your point is, but 11 of the BRIG comments were the result of a "moderation lag" in answer ro @Susan's 10:04 query.

    Knitwit 1:29 PM  

    Too distracted by World Cup to really focus so this took forever. I got a chuckle out of the theme answers. But mostly JARTS-as a Midwest kid in the‘60s this was a big event at family get togethers. All my uncles played while telling us to stay way back!! Good memories! Now I have to deal what to do without the WC😬

    GILL I. 1:40 PM  

    Just taking a poke at our dear moderators.
    Yay France.

    Malsdemare 2:08 PM  

    ALPO as a competitor of Iams is like saying Kroger's ice cream is a competitor of Graeters. Only in ALPO's dreams. I just finished editing a textbook for athletic trainers-to-be; OSSICLE dropped right in. My one-letter DNF was the R in IMRE. I just couldn't see TIME LORDS for what it was, kept wondering what TIMEL O-DS could possibly be. Eventually put in an I, 'cause, sure, TIMELOIDS looks pretty alien.

    Gonna go take that quiz. Where I grew up — Cincinnati — you said "please" if you needed someone to repeat something. At school in Milwaukee That little regionalism got me all sorts of unwanted meals at restaurants because the server misunderstood my question for an affirmation.

    I have never seen a professional soccer game but I may watch the final today, see what all the fuss is about. You know, being the child of immigrants is pretty cool; at any given time, I can happily cheer for Ireland, France, Germany and USA. What a gift! Allez les Bleu, indeed.

    One death and JARTS are gone; thousands are dead and we still have. . . . Well, you know.

    chefwen 2:08 PM  

    @mericans, Congratulations!

    Anonymous 2:46 PM  

    Thanks, JC66,

    AND so, to bed. THAT makes sense.

    Nancy 2:46 PM  

    @GILL's heart-wrenching story of how JARTS got to be banned drove me to Google to see exactly what they are, or at least used to be. Google graciously provided photos of them. And I must say that they look exactly like dARTS to me, only bigger. It seems not to be a matter of what the implement is, but of where and how it is employed. JARTS, which seem to be played on a lawn, are also known as "lawn darts". Which makes a lot more sense.

    But if you're going to elide, why not LARTS? Whence cometh the "J"? If they're played in front of your house or home, they could be HARTS. In your yard, they could be YARTS. Or, even better, YARDTS. In front of a barn -- BARTS or BARNTS. And in the woods behind your house, WARTS.

    Thank God they've been outlawed. I have enough trouble in Central Park dealing with kamikazi bikers, skateboards, scooters, games of hardball catch being played across pedestrian paths, and Frisbee golf.

    On another subject: I took that "How do youse all speak?" quiz. It will come as a surprise to no one that I ended up right where you'd expect -- SPANG in the middle of New York City. I enjoyed the quiz a lot. Thanks for suggesting it, @CS 9:44.

    JC66 2:58 PM  

    @CS 9:44

    Thanks for the suggestion.

    I took the quiz, too. Born and raised in Mt.Vernon, NY and my results showed me in Yonkers (the next town over). Very cool!

    AW 3:02 PM  

    I went to college in MA and a big treat for a trip off campus was to go to Friendly's for a frappe. We always got a kick when an out-of-stater asked for a chocolate shake and was presented with chocolate milk (or a blank stare).

    Malsdemare 3:02 PM  

    Well, I took the quiz and it’s not too sure where I'm from: maybe St. Louis, perhaps Overland Park, on the western border of Missouri, or how about Jackson, Mississippi? Mayhap this reflects growing up in Cincinnati, school in Milwaukee, four years in Atlanta, a year on the Navajo reservation, 25 years in central Illinois, and three languages? Beats me, but 'Enry 'Iggans would be puzzled by me.

    pabloinnh 3:07 PM  

    In my little corner of the world on the NH/VT border, frappe is the dominant way to order what I called a milkshake in upstate NY. The first time I ordered a milkshake someone told me it wouldn't have ice cream in it, which was and still is clearly ridiculous.

    Lawn jarts when I was a teenager. Thankfully they were gone when my kids were old enough to play. Now my kids are old enough to have their own kids and we play "the beanbag game". Yes, we all know its other name, but it will still always be "the beanbag game". Some things I just don't say in front of my kids.

    I missed the Mrs. Late interpretation, which I really like. The woman who sang duets with Meat Loaf for years was Mrs. Loud. Like that one too.

    I liked the theme answers but a lot of the rest of it was contrived enough to lessen the overall enjoyment.

    Congratulations to Les Bleus, who won 2 good goals to 1 good goal.

    GILL I. 3:23 PM  

    I'm a sucker for a quiz. This one said I'm most definitely from San Francisco. Hmmmm, might it have been my answer that when rain falls while the sun is out it's the devil who is beating his wife?
    Horribly hot today in Sacramento but watching the Wimbledon finals at home in our air conditioned abode more that makes up for being outside. My favorite France won so now I'm cheering for Anderson....

    Banana Diaquiri 4:10 PM  

    I went to college in MA and a big treat for a trip off campus was to go to Friendly's for a frappe.

    where? and when? the company's been sold from the founders a number of times. the West is where Friendly's (and I) came from; the Blake brothers in Spfld. they served milkshakes out our way.

    Puzzled Peter 4:48 PM  

    I grew up in Newton, suburb of Boston.
    We all knew, back in the 40's and later, that a milkshake was just flavoring and milk, mixed up in a - wait for it - frappe can. A frappe had ice cream in it as well.
    In the 50's I jerked sodas in a place in Newtonville Square called Hopkins' Ice Cream Parlor, and there, an Awful-Awful was made up of syrup, milk, and three huge scoops of nondescript plain barely-flavored ice cream, mixed up in a frappe can.
    The deal was, if you could consume 3 Awful-Awfuls, you were entitled to a 4th one, free.
    Going to college in Western Mass, my recollection was that the milkshake/frappe distinction was still valid, even that far away from Boston (100 miles "out West").

    Anonymous 4:48 PM  

    Would have been better as "and so to bed"...Google it.

    Anonymous 5:01 PM  

    I lived in Boston/Cambridge for four years and learned about "frappes" there. Then I lived in New Haven for seven years. No such thing as a frappe there. Lesson: Boston is not a synonym for "New England".

    Aketi 6:47 PM  

    @JC66, just find the results of the moderation lag to sometimes be humorous.

    @GILL I, even though I was born in San Francisco, my use of language was deemed closest to Santa Rosa. Crawdads were apparently a factor.

    Monty Boy 6:52 PM  

    I liked most of the puzzle and learned a lot. @Sue 8:27 has the right attitude toward solving. It should be fun, not a drag. Guess it must depend on your outlook and reason for solving. Mine is to learn and enjoy the trip. Thanks @Sue.

    Anonymous 7:03 PM  

    Why are musicians and TV personalities that Rex "assiduously avoided" condemned as crossword material? I avoid rap music which he seems to accept no matter how arcane, but I don't object to its inclusion. Don't mind learning something new even if I don't care for it.

    Aketi 7:04 PM  

    @Nancy, I too glad that there are no P(ark d)ARTS in Central Park, it’s hard enough to navigate the traffic as it is. You left out the dangers of pedestrians texting and talking on smart phones. They may not be quite as dangerous as those on wheels, but they are also a hazard. Tour buses are a special challenge if you are on a bike going up Central Park West because the tour buses always park in the bike lanes forcing you into traffic that includes both tour buses and city buses. I mostly give up and just get off the bike and walk it on the sidewalk past the tour buses. Definitely not worth the risk of getting crushed by a bus or against a bus by a taxi driver.

    Joe Bleaux 7:20 PM  

    Come on over, baby, whole lotta HUSHING goin' on! SONOFA, you little ... Gimme my wedge of ASHCAKE and a CLIFBAR, and I'll leave this slog to someone who gives A FIG about it.

    Unknown 7:44 PM  

    One word: ECHECK??! Pfft. That’s as “modern” as, I dunno, “laserdisc”. SMDH.

    jberg 7:49 PM  

    @gulliver foyle— thanks for the shout-out, and for reminding me of The Demolished Man!

    Anonymous 8:03 PM  

    My only problem was I had go to bed,not so to bed. Which made getting classification kind of a problem. Kind of bias towards parents. I don't know about your kids but "so to bed" ain't getting the job done.

    Larry Gilstrap 8:16 PM  

    Cracked the theme late in the solve with SMASHING PUMPKINS. I've been listening to Rhinoceros from the album Gish. His voice and those guitars sound good.

    OFL nicely characterized the challenging qualities of much of the fill. I know a bit about French geography and was willing to bet that TARBES was in error. I carefully checked those crosses, but it is on the map, literally.

    I don't really play cards, but I used the phrase GO ALL IN when we were building this house. I even acted out shoving a pile of chips to the center of the table, more times than once.

    TerryB 8:22 PM  

    I so desperately wanted 56 across ("water cooler") to be BONG.

    jberg 9:06 PM  

    I liked all the two and three word phrases -- no idea why @Rex didn't. What bothered me was that some of the theme answers changed the meaning of the words -- BILLS MOVEMENT, FOUNDATION, BEE -- but TALKS and CLASSIFICATION and PUMPKINS did not. I'll give you pumpkins,on account of it's so cool,but the others were unfortunate.

    Now that it is long past breakfast time, I'll just add that that I had a colonoscopy Friday, with the usual preceding prep, so RADICAL MOVEMENTS took on a completely different meaning for me.

    Dolgo 10:20 PM  

    You're very welcome!

    Dolgo 10:21 PM  

    We can share. Especially since I stole that title from s colleague in grad school.

    Dolgo 10:29 PM  

    Desdemona sings it just before Otello kills her. A great opera moment!

    Dolgo 10:33 PM  

    "and so to bed." I can't remember all the places I've heard that in my life. But Samuel Pepys often ends a diary entry that way.

    Dolgo 10:37 PM  

    Tsk, tsk, Rex. How many times I gotta tell ya to brush up on your music terminology. Are ya gonna continue to get stumped all your life? I be you could shave a couple of seconds off you crossword solving times.

    Dolgo 11:12 PM  


    Anonymous 11:19 PM  

    Please someone explain SOTO bed!?!?

    thefogman 11:38 PM  

    I liked this one. I thought it was tough but fair. Rex focuses on its flaws (and many of his criticisms are valid) but overall it was a fun solve - in spite of the imperfections.

    JC66 11:46 PM  

    @Anon 11:19P

    See my 11:12AM post.

    thefogman 12:11 AM  

    JARTS were banned mainly because the fear they generated caused sharts.

    Anonymous 12:10 AM  

    @mmorgan: Sounds like you're from Rhode Island. My first thought also was "cabinet", but frappe (Massachusetts) was the one that fit.

    spacecraft 12:57 PM  

    This will be short, as I have to get back to the cavalry charge that is the back nine at Carnoustie. Literally any one of about eight guys could win.

    I took a lo-o-ong time to wade through this, so yeah, pretty challenging. Tons of stuff I didn't know. Got it done; liked it. DOD is Gal GADOT; DON'T "get me out from under Wonder Woman!" Birdie.

    Burma Shave 2:10 PM  


    Go SWEETTALK RACHEL, ITHELPs get under her SKIN,
    then ADDERALL up, ACTASIF you'll GOALLIN.


    rainforest 3:21 PM  

    So, while watching The Open and solving, I cheered when Tiger got the lead, then quickly lost it, and cheered on Francesco Molinari who could not miss a putt. Gutsy perfomance. Then I winced when I hit two Naticks in the puzzle. I guessed correctly at the Jarts/Darts?, but talked myself out of the fRIG/BRIG one because I thought there *is* an island called fARBADOS, even though fRIG should have spelled "fridge". Oy. That's on me totally.

    Anyway, a DNF on a basically easy/medium puzzle, and an immensely entertaining Open.

    AnonymousPVX 5:13 PM  

    And SO TO bed...

    Well, I’m from CT so I knew FRAPPE. Never called it that, even at Friendly’s where it was on the menu....”I’ll have a strawberry shake”.

    I agree with Rex’s rant with Garth Brooks and Leno...laughed out loud.

    This was tough, happy to get the solve, but left me “meh”.

    Jarts were so dangerous really, kind of surprising nobody I know got impaled.

    Diana,LIW 6:48 PM  

    The next time I pull out my own teeth I want an anesthetic.

    I'll admit a bit of a name or two to look up, but amazed that I got the rest. Now I gotta read Rex after reading the last anon comment.

    good Sunday all

    Lady Di

    rondo 6:58 PM  

    Well SONOFA goot. Got it done during golf but still noticed SOTO SOTTO and the togetherness of ASHE and ASHEN with the ASHCAKE to boot.

    JARTS brings back memories. Of course we'd toss 'em as high as possible. Luckily nobody got hurt.

    I wonder about that woman, Gal GADOT. Yeah baby.

    Kind of a disinterested solve with The Open on. I'll put that on myself.

    mganchanmi 10:43 PM  

    thank you

    Phillip Blackerby 12:33 PM  

    Then you must be from Rhode Island! It's the only place that calls a milkshake a "cabinet."

    Joe 1:20 PM  

    Water cooler? I had berg and I knew something was fishy. Brig? A cooler, sure. Not a water cooler! I hated this puzzle more than any other puzzle that I have ever done.

    Anonymous 12:08 PM  

    I think it was a soft J when we said it. And LARTS (Lawn Darts) Just didn’t work. It was an awesome game: imagine tossing one pound darts underhand across the backyard into a hula hoop target. Only don’t land one (mistakenly?) in another BBQer’s noggin. That’s why they were outlawed. Not kids feet, kids (and presumably their parents’) heads. They were deadly. But like many things deadly, a GREATGAME (compliment to an Atari designer?).

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