Pianist comic Victor of old TV / WED 7-11-18 / Memorable 1995 hurricane / Suddenly stopped communicating with in modern lingo

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Constructor: Michael Hawkins

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (3:52)

THEME: SNOOZE BUTTON (49A: What a late sleeper may use ... resulting in 19-, 31- and 40-Across?) — familiar phrases that, when taken with a different meaning, suggest what happens when you hit the SNOOZE BUTTON:

Theme answers:
  • RADIO SILENCE (19A: Incommunicado period)
  • BUZZKILL (31A: Debbie Downer)
  • SOUND OFF (40A: Express one's opinion in no uncertain terms)
Word of the Day: HOBART (44D: Capital of Tasmania) —
Hobart (/ˈhbɑːrt/ (About this sound listen)) is the capital and most populous city of the Australian island state of Tasmania. With a population of approximately 225,000 (over 40% of Tasmania's population), it is the least populated Australian state capital city. Founded in 1804 as a British penal colony,Hobart, formerly known as Hobart Town or Hobarton, is Australia's second oldest capital city after SydneyNew South Wales. Prior to British settlement, the Hobart area had been occupied for possibly as long as 35,000 years, by the semi-nomadic Mouheneener tribe, a sub-group of the Nuennone, or South-East tribe. The descendants of these Aboriginal Tasmanians often refer to themselves as 'Palawa'. (wikipedia)
• • •

This was a pretty decent themeless puzzle. Or that's how it played, anyway. I worked my way down to SNOOZE BUTTON, saw that it was a revealer, but didn't really bother to try to figure out the gag. The rest of the puzzle was straightforward enough that I didn't need to think about how the revealer worked. It's just a themeless puzzle, and then later on you realize, oh yeah, I guess those three answers do kind of do what the latter part of the revealer clue says. Interesting. The puzzle is very, very light on theme material, which may be another reason it feels like a themeless—the grid has room for more interesting fill than you normally find in MTW theme puzzles. GHOSTED, HOT YOGA, and WORD LENGTH (as clued) were my favorites, but it's all pretty solid. That TATAS EKED DESI block is about the only real weak spot. Everything else holds up. I don't mind a thinnish theme if a. the theme works, and b. the rest of the grid is particularly strong. And so the thinness of the theme didn't matter to me. Better to have a thin theme that works than to choke a grid with theme material and cause the rest of the grid to suffer. Clean fill, interesting fill, very acceptable theme. I'll take it.

Had trouble with NEW TAKE at first, because I know HOT TAKE so much better. Also, because the clue, [Fresh spin on a familiar idea], really should've stopped after [Fresh spin]. That's the equivalency. The rest is just added on. Maybe NEW TAKE can stand alone, whereas "Fresh spin" probably needs the prepositional phrase that follows. It's just that I don't think NEW TAKE does stand alone very well. In fact, when I google ["new take"], the first thing that comes up is the phrase "new take on something" from WordReference Forums. That's the idiom. I know I am overthinking this; what else have I got to do?! It's just ... well, look:

Those are the videos right under the first google hit. New take on new take on new take on. Ergo, NEW TAKE doesn't really stand alone, ergo "on a familiar idea" is unnecessary because NEW TAKE is really parallel only to "Fresh spin." QED, LMNOP, UFO, TTYL. I continue to not like BUSHSR as an answer. he's BUSHI. I know that BUSH SR. is in fairly common usage, but I don't have to like it, and I don't. BUSHI—that is the answer I want to see. And what the heck kind of merry-go-round has a UNICORN on it? And isn't the merry-go-round itself the "ride." Weird to call an individual animal a "ride." I know, you ride it, blah blah blah. I have no idea why anyone would go to merry-go-rounds for their UNICORN clue. It's preposterous. I forgot OPAL was a hurricane. I remember IVAN ... maybe IRENE? But OPAL was, contrary to the clue's assertion, not "Memorable" to me. (It was undoubtedly memorable to others.) Nothing else in the grid presented much of a problem. Pretty easy and uncomplicated overall. Enjoyable, despite the handful of answers / clues that I've spent the last paragraph griping about.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:16 AM  

Medium. Smooth and the reveal gave me a chuckle when I reread the theme answers, liked it. Jeff gave it POW, no argument from me.

Harryp 12:18 AM  

Ideates before CREATES, but the rest was more like Tuesday easy. I only noticed the theme when reading the revealer clue and looking at those numbered answers. Not bad for a theme. Thanks Mr. Hawkins.

Dr. Bunger 1:43 AM  

Used in a sentence: I've noticed that more than a few of the better contributors to this blog have GHOSTED the comment section as of late. Respectful banter is fine, but this is not Twitter.

travis 2:50 AM  

I didn't like BUSH SR either. I usually just call them HW and W so W.'s fatther seemed like it should be HW which wasn't nearly enough letters.

chefwen 3:41 AM  

Too bad @Evil Doug is AWOL, I’m sure he would have something clever (or lewd) to say about 5D, maybe it’s better this way.

For some reason I worked this one from the bottom up and got SNOOZE BUTTON off of ZOLA and that helped with the theme answers.
Messed up seriously in the SW where I spelled HOBART with an E instead of an A, had OLA at 50D, changed it to OLE with STEELER but ended up with HOT LOGE at 54A and thought, what the hell thats probably some new type of sweat lodge. Truly embarrassing as my husband does HOT YOGA three times a week, which I don’t understand either, I HATE to SWEAT. Anyhoo, I’ll take the DNF.

Atlanta before GEORGIA didn’t help my solve but at least I fixed that one as the ending A was the only one that worked.

Anonymous 5:32 AM  

Both TATAS and DESI could be clued in much more lively and fun fashion in their relationship to the Indian subcontinent.

Unknown 5:36 AM  

New take probably works better as fresh take (now I see you said fresh spin, but fresh take is definitely a thing)

Most merry-go-rounds (wow that now sounds like a weird word to me) that I've been to have a few unicorns that people will try to nab first, and I think ride works enough here without being more explicit.

I also have rarely ever heard about hurricane Opal

QuasiMojo 6:25 AM  

Pretty good Wednesday fare. WORD LENGTH was so preposterous I got a chuckle out of it.

Something seemed off to me though about "incommunicado" being clued as a noun, "radio silence" (whatever that is.) I don't use an alarm so I had a hard time coming up with Snooze Button. I was thinking maybe Snooze Control, as in Cruise Control. So that slowed me up today. I didn't notice the theme either until the end.

Odd clue for Victor Borge who died in 2000. He was still on NEW TV for ages, at least in commercials hawking his "hilarious" concert performances.

Unicorns are omnipresent at merrys-go-round, Rex. And as Christmas ornaments. Forgive me one and all, but I've never understood the appeal of a unicorn. Who wants a horse that looks like a goat? And what if you fall forward while riding it? I bet Vlad the Impaler had a unicorn fetish.

A lot more IPHONE GAZING nowadays, sadly. My Stars!

I wonder if any OPELs were washed away during Hurricane OPAL?

'merican in Paris 6:31 AM  

Quicker than usual time for me, for a Wednesday, but almost 10 Rexes! Didn't get the happy pencil jingle at first, because I had "lEs Majesty" instead of HER Majesty. I guess that was a residual effect of France beating Belgium last night. (What a match!) Expectations for tonight are that England will beat Croatia.

Also struggled a bit with TRICIA; I always thought it was spelled 'TRIsh.

I agree pretty much with @Rex's take on the rest of the puzzle. I slotted in SNOOZE BUTTON without any crosses, so that reveal did help me out a bit with 19A and 40A. I've always liked BUZZ-KILL.

Regarding Hurricane OPAL, we all should probably keep that one in our collective memories. It was a Category 4, end-of-season hurricane, and the most powerful of that year, causing severe damage along the northern Gulf Coast and causing 63 fatalities. That is just under last year's Hurricane Harvey's 68 attributed direct fatalities (though less if one counts its 39 indirect fatalities).

three of clubs 6:33 AM  

I do not like broccoli. And I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I'm President of the United States and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli.

- Bush Sr.

Logan 6:54 AM  

I do not understand "six for dinner" and "word length." Would someone help please? Thank you!

Anonymous 7:00 AM  

Using Bush Sr. bugs me because he isn't. They have different names. I always use Bush the Elder.

kitshef 7:26 AM  

kwh before BTU. What kind of wacky utility bills have BTUs on them? Clue for EMU is an example of trying too hard. Rex spends a big chunk of column criticizing the clue for NEW TAKE, but leaves the ones for BTU and EMU alone?

Nice theme though. Solid and clever.

Anonymous 7:32 AM  

There are six letters in dinner. The WORD LENGTH of dinner is six letters long.

Hungry Mother 7:33 AM  

It took me a while to remember GNC and thereby get GHOSTED as a side effect and be done. Overall, my time was less than average, but some individual answefs came slowly.

Anonymous 7:40 AM  

The word dinner has six letters. Thus its word length is six letters. Opal was a mystery. When the big hurricanes get surpassed by bigger hurricanes, we only remember the latter. Good puzzle.

Clueless 7:47 AM  

@ 6:54 & 7:32

Thanks for Q & A

Mohair Sam 8:03 AM  

I thoroughly enjoyed this fine example of a Wednesday puzz. WORDLENGTH awesomely clued, and HOTYOGA earned a chuckle here too.

Agree with Rex's opening but disagree with each and every one of his nits - but have one of my own. I've had a zillion utility bills from several different companies and cannot recall the letters BTU on any of them, I get billed for KWH usage. On the other hand I can't picture my bills from Mildenhall, England where they might have had more respect for the British Thermal Unit.

And this puppy skewed '50s and '60s old, right into my wheelhouse. DESI, BORGE, TRICIA, and good old SULU. Bob SEGER (a favorite here) pulled us into the '70s at least - still, his most famous is "Old Time Rock and Roll".

pmdm 8:07 AM  

QuasiMojo: A Victor Borge mishmash tends to show up during PBS fund raising intervals. Because of that, I would consider him to still be quite current despite the fact that he died a while ago. Each show ends predictably with his phonetic punctuation routine. I've heard it so often, I think I have parts down by memory, perhaps the reason why I wish it would be retired for a while. I find some other of his routines now to be much funnier.

When a puzzle gets a tepid approval in this blog's write-up, I usually rate the puzzle as outstanding. So far, a very good puzzle week.

chefbea 8:10 AM  

of course I knew...the gateway to the west. I grew up there and saw the arch being built!!!

mmorgan 8:12 AM  

KWH and IDEATES, me too. Nice puzzle!

Nancy 8:21 AM  

To me, GHOSTED (1a) means to have written a book for someone else without having received credit for it. "Suddenly stopped communicating with"? That sounds sort of like "Unfriended" -- also a relatively new coinage. Seems to me there are too many ways of expressing the sudden and capricious dropping of friendships. I can remember a time when there were no words for this behavior at all. Maybe it's because we didn't "suddenly stop communicating" with our friends -- unless we were dead, of course.

I don't BOUNCE (11D) when I leave somewhere. I only BOUNCE on a trampoline. And I'm never on a trampoline.

Gee, I learn so much modern-day slang from these puzzles! Heaven knows I never hear any of it in real life.

I have a male friend at the tennis courts who does HOT YOGA. Only he never calls it that. I think it's called Bithra or something like that. The way he describes it, it sounds very unpleasant.

Wonderful clue for WORD LENGTH (30D).

I didn't notice the theme while doing the puzzle. But it's quite cute.

Z 8:49 AM  

Hand up for always going a little cross-eyed at BUSH SR. I get it, it is just an easily understood convenience. It still bugs me. Funny how “Bush Jr.” never became a thing. He is always “W” or “Dubya” or “Shrub.”

Didn’t need the theme to solve, but I liked it when I got to the revealer. Three stand alone terms repurposed for the theme. Tight. Not all that long ago three theme answers was the norm. I much prefer less theme, tight themes, and interesting long fill. I also liked that there was nice cultural balance, DESI and SULU and BORGE but also GHOSTED and HOT YOGA (both not new and a hipster fad), TV, music, art (and ART), movies, US and World Geography, and the self-referential WORD LENGTH clue. Nicely balanced all around.

Since it comes up every day, @LMS is on vacation with *GASP* limited or no internet access. Unless a bear gets her she will return.

pabloinnh 8:59 AM  

I'm with Quasi in that I don't use an alarm clock, so when I got SNOOZEB---- I was wondering if "snoozeburger" was a new slang term, like "nothingburger". Well no, no it isn't.

"Hey" for "oye" is good, it's really the familiar command form for "hear!", a good example of why literal translation is a bad idea, and how you can tell students are using translation programs, which is a problem I solved by retiring.

Good Wednesday puzzle.

Suzie Q 9:04 AM  

I really enjoyed it.
Agree that it could have been themeless and still been good but the theme answers and revealer were icing on the cake.
@ Nancy, Totally understand you on the slang issue.
@ three of clubs, That quote makes it sound like not eating broccoli was the best part of being president!
Debbie Downer was a new take for me but it made me happy because it reminded me of a funny SNL skit from way back involving Doggy Downers and Puppy Uppers.
BTU on your utility bill? Sounds like Will is not the one who takes care of the bills at his house.
Rex picks the oddest things to focus on some days.

Nate 9:09 AM  

Nice puzzle, but I'm a little surprised that I'm the only one that had a problem with the Paul Klee (??) and Victor Borge (????) crossing. At least this 31-year old has no earthly idea who either of those two guys were.

Either one may, in fact, be a perfectly cromulent crossword clue, but crossing each other? Yeesh. I got the "E" just by random chance. It sounded better than the alternatives.

Rita 9:10 AM  

This theme totally made me smile. Can’t ask for more. I’m also with those who vote for less theme material if it means nicer fill, as seen in this puzzle.

RooMonster 9:16 AM  

Hey All !
Consarn it. Had my infamous one- letter DNF today with an S for the M in MAD/MUSSED. sAD. What a BUZZ KILL. :-)

GHOSTED over NEW TAKE which is neat, since GHOSTED is a new take on non-communication. BOUNCE is old slang already, innit? Hey, y'all, let's BOUNCE. Liked all the Z's. Also puz has less F's than Z's.

STEELERs fan here, nice to see in puz. ONE TIME Phillies fan, too, but OUTGREW baseball watching. :-) Liked the WORD LENGTH clue.

Is an A Cup EKED TATAS? Har.


chefbea 9:38 AM  

Forgot to mention that I met Victor Borge when I lived in Ct. I was doing my radio show called "What's cooking?" when he walked by...so we had him on the radio show.

GILL I. 9:47 AM  

This is really a neat puzzle. One, I hoped, everyone would enjoy - especially @Rex.
Cluing was primo and the answers were fun. Got me in a good mood despite the BUZZ KILL. We have some here on this blog and they ain't especially Debbie Downers.
GHOSTED was new for me. I'm not up on modern lingo - just like @Nancy. It does sound like something I could use, though. I've GHOSTED a few in my OLD age. I think I woke up one morning and decided I don't have time for anyone capable of BUZZ KILL. There is a group of us that meet up once a month for lunch. We've been doing this for some time and we manage to always have something new to talk about. And then there is Ms. Debbie Downer herself who yells at the wait person or is loud and obnoxious like @Z's dinner neighbor the other day. We finally "disowned" her. I wasn't the one to tell her, so it wasn't too bad.
@Nate...I think I was about your age when I started collecting KLEE posters. I never really liked abstract but his sense of colors were an attraction. If you have a very white large wall, his colored paintings fill a void and add to interesting conversation.
I'm glad I no longer need a SNOOZE BUTTON in my life. I SNOOZE when and where I like. The phrase "You snooze, you lose" is lost on me.
I'm glad this was a POW.

Unknown 9:56 AM  

Very easy Wednesday. Must have just been on my wavelength. Finished in 1.75 Rexes, which is Monday territory for me. Just had a meeting last night where GHOSTED was used several time so that dropped right in. No real trouble areas, never even attempted 30d, just filed it with the crosses. Wanted a different clue after filling in 5d, though...still a 3rd grader at heart. Fun, easy Wednesday.

mathgent 9:56 AM  

When I visit an art museum, I look for the Van Goghs, the Gaugins, and the Monets. Often, to my delight, some Klees are nearby. His work is mathematically abstract with an imaginitive use of color. It seems that no two of his paintings are alike.

Today's puzzle didn't do much for me. Too many Terrible Threes (20), for one thing. And when "Six for dinner?" is one of the best clues, you know that you are in crossword desert.

Mohair Sam 9:59 AM  

@Chefbea - Victor BORGE story needs a lot more fleshing out - what'd he say? What was he like off stage? Tell it.

Anon 10:10 AM  

Thank you for that. I live where Opal landed. It destroyed the beach I’d known and loved all my life. The dunes along the gulf have yet to recover. After Opal, it felt like everything changed. Felt like developers took advantage of the ruined small towns and swooped in with their hideous high-rises. Even the tourist trade changed. It’s damn sure memorable to me.

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

Debbie Downer was a recurring SNL skit with Rachel Dratch playing Debbie. It was so funny the cast had trouble not laughing. Can probably be found on YouTube.

Doug 10:42 AM  

Uniccorn? What a dumb clue. And I can't stand Bushsr more than rex, if that's possible, mainly because it looks so ugly in a crossword.I'm probably too old to know that bounce is slang for leaving. My generation said, we had to fly or jet or something like that. Or just outahere. And forgive me if I still don't understand the clue for wordlength.

Noam D. Elkies 10:48 AM  

Nice Wednesday puZZle, with three reinterpretations of 49A:snooZe_alarm. The late sleeper did get their extra Z's -- one in that "revealer", two in 31A:buZZkill, and a bonus one in 33:Zoo/Zeus.

Wrong turns: there's a band named EMU? No, the clue says "bird". 18A:_TL____ that city must be ATLANTA but then the clue makes little sense . . .


P.S. Does BUSHI like SUSHI?

Sir Hillary 10:54 AM  

Very nicely executed puzzle -- tight theme, good fill, fun to solve.

Given that Mr. Rooney founded the team, it's safe to say that OLD ART was a ONETIME STEELER OFNOTE.

Joseph Michael 10:54 AM  

Hard not to like a puzzle with entries like GHOSTED and BUZZ KILL, Great theme, too, with a revealer that really wakes you up.

Not familiar with HOT YOGA, but I do know a HOT YOGA TEACHER.

When it comes to BUSHES, it’s either George H or George W for me. One of our current president’s greatest accomplishments is that he has begun to make W look good.

Thank you, Mr. Hawkins. Thou ART quite clever.

An Historian 10:56 AM  

@NDE - I'm pretty sure it was SUSHI that BUSHI ate just before he barfed on the Prime Minister of Japan, so I'm guessing no.

Unknown 11:05 AM  

Explain GOB please.

Nancy 11:11 AM  

@mathgent (9:56) -- Love your very funny last sentence. I'd call it the art of trenchant puzzle criticism in a nutshell.

@GILL -- Re: yesterday's snarky comment about your lack of paragraphing. (Which I was much too tired to comment on yesterday, having had quite a stressful day, tech-wise and otherwise. Don't ask.) Like JC66, I love your comments. You're a better writer without paragraphs than many people are with paragraphs. And it gives you what every writer should have: a Style.

My scrolling control sometimes jumps around a bit on the Rexblog and I'll find myself looking at a comment without immediately seeing the byline. When it happens, I always, always, always try to guess the writer. And I'm right 90% of the time. All of you here have much more of a Style than you may realize. I always know @GILL, @Loren, @Roo; @Larry Gilstrap, @Hartley, @mathgent; @Lewis. I almost always know @Mohair, @Quasi, @Z, @SusieQ. I'm not talking about what they say -- in which case @Z would probably be the most recognizable -- but how they express it. Try it sometime -- you'll find it makes the blog more interesting to read.

Lewis 11:28 AM  

Hmm. Nobody has mentioned RADIO SILENCE, which leads me to believe that everyone knows what it is, and makes me feel extra ignorant for not ever coming across this phrase. I see, after research, that it can be used literally and figuratively. Well, now I know! I did love the theme of this puzzle; it was a bit out of the box in a very nice way.

I do know that there is nothing meditative about a lot of HOT YOGA, where, in many classes you are being shouted at by what sounds like a drill sergeant. There is some meditative hot yoga out there, however. If you've never done hot yoga and you try it, you will either love it or hate it -- polar reactions to this style of yoga are pretty universal.

How about a new euphemisms for someone's passing? -- "Pushed the snooze button".

JC66 11:32 AM  


I certainly didn't mean to be snarky in my suggestion to GILL late yesterday. Sorry if it came across that way.

Bax'N'Nex 11:34 AM  

Gob (but usually gobs) means "a lot" or "a great deal of". Like "I have gobs of money".

Ok, maybe not the best example for me personally...

Lindsay 11:41 AM  

Confidently put ALARMCLOCK in 49A, which turned out to be a BUZZKILL. DNF primarily due to drawing yet another blank on a Star Trek clue and not knowing anything about Tasmania that wasn't in a cartoon.

Anonymous 11:45 AM  

How is it MS isn't mentioning Debbie Downer? Seems solidly in his wheelhouse...

Lindsay 11:49 AM  

@Unknown: GOBS, as in gobs of time or gobs of money. I thought of Great deal as a great value, so was similarly confused.

Lindsay 11:52 AM  

And now that I've 'justified' GOB, it strikes me that it's confusing because it's not used in the singular as often. I have a GOB of what? Gum in my mouth? Mud on my shoe? It's clunky, but I feel like a Debbie Downer for pointing it out.

Nancy 11:53 AM  

No, no, it was the person before you who was snarky to GILL, JC66. I didn't remember, though, that it was you who had mentioned the paragraph thing. Very pleasantly, as it turns out. Sorry about that! As I said, I was immensely stressed out and tired when I read all those late comments -- too tired to write anything -- though if I had done it then, I would have least known who was who and what was what. Again, very sorry, @JC66.

GILL I. 12:02 PM  

@JC66..YOU weren't snarky...It was Mr. "You sound like the Unibomb Manifesto" BUZZ KILLER charming soul.
@Nancy....YOU are a kind soul...! Thank you. I don't care any more about writing "correctness." I had my full share in my past life composing sales reports in English and Spanish. I cared more about my Spanish grammar than I ever did in English because half the people I reported to could hardly understand English! I write the way I speak...without pause or a breath. Paragraphs take too long. :-)

old timer 12:12 PM  

Super super Easy. But it so happened I knew GHOSTED and RADIO SILENCE and most of the rest right off.

I join OFL in thinking BUSHSR is dead wrong because he and his son George W Bush do not share the exact same name. But if they did, there would be an interesting etiquette question. When, exactly, does a man call himself Sr.? Normally only if his son Jr is far more well known than he.

Contrariwise, the wife of a potential Sr adopts the Sr as soon as her eldest son is married. So if the 2 Georges had had the same name, Barbara would have become Mrs George Bush Sr very early on.

(thanks, @Z for letting us know that @LMS has not GHOSTED us).

chefbea 12:12 PM  

@Mohair Sam - I remember that Victor was very nice...I am sure we talked about food - can't remember exactly. I do remember Regis Philbin and his wife joy were in the store once...Joy was very nice..discuseed the food with me - Regis could have cared lass - was very rude. One day Diannah Ross came into the store. She could not find the ice-cream . So I walked her to the freezer section.

GILL I. 12:16 PM  

Before anybody get's their knickers in a twist: "Unabomber Manifesto."
Just to be safe! And @JC66. Anybody I'd share a scotch with is always AOK with me...

Anonymous 12:19 PM  

I'm gob smacked you'd make that claim. In England, gob is in fact used for mouth quite frequently.

QuasiMojo 12:32 PM  

@Lewis, I mentioned it. :)

Banana Diaquiri 12:36 PM  

according to the Wiki (I know, I know) the EnergyGuide (aka, Energy Star) label uses 'therms' as the unit of measure. turns out the 'therm' is 100,000 BTU. so, as a cousin once removed, the clue/ans are correct.

JC66 12:39 PM  


My eyesight isn't the best, so I really have to concentrate when reading your posts (not necessarily a bad thing). Everything's copacetic.

That was probably @Nancy's first mistake this year.😉

jberg 12:51 PM  

OK, here's an idea -- puzzles should have one clue specifying that something is "memorable to @Rex Parker." It would be a fun guessing game for the constructor. Seriously, @Rex's comment reminded me of the great book "1066 and All That," which is a history of Britain consisting only of the memorable parts. The authors state in their introduction that there are only two dates in the book; they thought there should be three, but one of the three proved not memorable upon field testing.

Anyway, the puzzle. I got GHOSTED right off. (@Nancy, don't you read the advice columns in the paper? People are always complaining that someone they had ghosted them after three great dates.) Then I got RADIO SILENCE and thought we were going to have five theme answers about ways to go quiet; but that would have had to include 63A, and the clue didn't seem to fit, so I just soldiered on. Still an excellent puzzle.

Speaking of 63A, LASHOUT, how about "Go Lakers!" for a better clue?

Too bad @Loren's away -- I bet if she were here, she'd come up with a picture of a heavily armed baby for her avatar. (Don't search for it -- you won't enjoy the images you get.)

Anonymous 12:54 PM  

@Nate I'm with you on KLEE and BORGE!! (I'm 30). That E was the last letter I filled and I actually tried a couple other letters (randomly) first.

Masked and Anonymous 12:57 PM  

Primo puz. Had somethin for everybody. M&A especially liked that EMU clue. Eastern Michigan U -- not Emu U. EMU is the Eagles, ironically.

HOTYOGA and several of its crossers was probably the hardest stretch to de-cipher, at my house. Would rate it maybe an average-difficulty WedPuz, overall.

Nice weeject stacks in the NW & SE. staff pick: OYE. Has Santana Usage Immunity. ["Oye Como Va".]

Interestin grid layout, with the rare shady square splatzed right in the middle.

Wonder what the world record is, for snooze alarm pokes in one wake-up session? M&A has done only a meager four or five, as his all-time laziest best. Does the radio/other-wakeup-device give up on U, at some point? Worth testin out, if U tend to be real "pokey".

Thanx, Mr. Hawkins. Great great job. thUmbsUp.

Masked & Anonymo10Us

Banana Diaquiri 12:58 PM  

@Mohair Sam:

since no one has done so, Victor BORGE was the Weird Al of his generation. except, IIRC, he played piano.

Teedmn 1:07 PM  

GHOSTED splatzed right in today - I've seen it in print fairly often though I've never heard it spoken by any of my acquaintances, probably, as @Nancy mentions, because those in my age group don't usually drop people without notice.

RADIO SILENCE helped me clean up the NE. I was so proud of remembering how TRIshA spelled her name but the spook group had me questioning that. And with the O of SOON crossing the "Gone With The Wind" locale, I still couldn't think past Atlanta until everything else filled in.

I circled the clue for OVUM - "Tube traveler" made me smile which is the opposite reaction I had to WORD LENGTH. I was so fixated on the meaning of "dinner" in that clue that as I filled in 30D going north, I was looking at WO_D LENGTH and thought, "Surely that isn't going to refer to a six foot dining room table?" Filling in the R elicited a small groan from me.

Nice one, Michael Hawkins.

Mr. Math and Toast 1:15 PM  

So Victor Borge, Regis Philbin, and Diana Ross walk into a bar...

Even Millard Fillmore looks good now.

And now for paragraph #3: I don't have much to say about this puzzle that hasn't already been said, except that RADIO SILENCE comes up in war movies all the time, maybe as something that gets "broken" by some well-meaning corporal whose platoon is in a tough spot.

Anoa Bob 1:18 PM  

Nice puzz, tho "Six for dinner" for WORD LENGTH didn't stick the landing for me as it seems to have for others. I get the attempt at playful misdirection---hmm, six people? place settings? etc.---but "six" is not the length of a word. Without some unit of measure, here "letters", "six" is not the length of anything. Okay, I'll go stand in the corner by myself on this one.

While standing there, I will climb on my soapbox, though. Cluing LIED at 27D with "Set off a polygraph" was a bit of a BUZZ KILL. One of the courses I used to teach was Biopsychology and the polygraph was one of the topics treated in detail. It is a continuous recording of (1)heart rate, (2)breathing, (3)blood pressure and (4)Galvanic skin response (GSR). The GSR measures how much SWEAT is on the skin surface.

That's it. Nothing will "Set off a polygraph" other than plugging it in and turning on the power. And it doesn't detect anything else beyond the four above. The theory behind the "lie detector" part is that guilt feelings or fear of getting caught when telling a lie will show up as changes in one or more of the four recorded measures and that the examiner will be able to interpret it accurately. In reality, neither of those two is a sure thing.

Some people can tell a lie with no emotional reaction and will be judged by the examiner as telling the truth, while others may be telling the truth but still have an emotional response and be judged by the examiner as telling a lie.

Despite its having been clued as such multiple times in the NYT xword, the polygraph is not a lie detector.

Mohair Sam 1:31 PM  

@chefbea - Thanks!

@Banana - "Victor Borge was the Weird Al of his generation" - Perfect description, wish I'd thought of it.

@Nancy - I cannot believe M&A is not on your list of inferrables. I'd know him if he wrote a cookbook.

Unknown 2:43 PM  

24, was also naticked.

Aketi 3:07 PM  

@Mohair Sam, I agree about M&A.

I only know BOUNCE thanks to my son. He uses an odd mix of the new with the old fashioned when he lets me know he’s leaving, “I’m gonna BOUNCE, Ma”. I always chuckle thinking of Ma and Pa Kettle when he says it.

Aketi 3:10 PM  

@M&A, I think I’ve hit the SNOOZE BUTTON at least 10 times before mustering the energy to find the off button.

JC66 3:19 PM  


Yes, @M&A has one of the most distinctive voices here.

Nancy 4:19 PM  

Just an oversight, I assure you all. M&A hadn't posted today when I made my "distinctive voices" comment, so there was nothing on the blog to jog my memory. And, as you all know by now or should, I have a memory that requires constant jogging. So, yes, M&A is unquestionably one of the most recognizable regulars on the blog. Who could argue with that?

Anonymous 4:30 PM  

Aren't you slicing it a bit thin? You concede the result will be "judged by the examiner as telling a lie." How on earth is that instrument not a de facto lie detector?

Obviously it's not great instrument; courts wont admit their results for good reason, but come on. You're drawing a distinction without a difference, aren't you?

Anonymous 4:49 PM  

It's close, but no cigar. Spike Jones was the Weird Al of Victor Borge's generation. Victor Borge was the Bo Burnham of his generation.

Mohair Sam 8:33 PM  

@Anon (4:45) = Spike Jones, what a memory! - and good call too. Let's say then that BORGE was the Weird Al of classical music. Nothing classic about Spike.

thefogman 9:16 AM  

This MUSSED be the easiest Wednesday in a long time.

Burma Shave 9:32 AM  


"OYE, what a BUZZKILL", he'd SOUNDOFF 'cuz,
"that OLD BABE looks like Victor BORGE."


spacecraft 10:17 AM  

I knew @M&A would lUv this one, with its double-digit U's. I liked it better than I thought I would, with the first clue mentioning "modern lingo." But I got that SOON enough. One of these days the EKE family will disappear; one can only hope. That was the low point. AFAR seems to have gotten a GOB of work lately.

The clue for WORDLENGTH was great; it's the entry itself that leaves one hitting the SNOOZEBUTTON. I'm not a fan of the grid entry BUSHSR either; now all the nits are picked.

Clever, cool theme. As a retiree I no longer bother with alarm-setting. Thank goodness. Never heard of HOTYOGA, so the learn-something-new aspect of doing these is upheld.

As @BS observed, 5-down has a connotation I'm sure the constructor didn't intend. Or wait... At any rate, that brings us to the DOD, as clued even: LISA Kudrow. Birdie.

rondo 2:09 PM  

Yeah, the SNOOZEBUTTON tied up the theme of those otherwise unrelated phrases pretty well, so no SWEAT with that. I think I’m with most everybody else on the BUSHSR biz.

HOTYOGA? If you say so. Must be a NEWTAKE on fitness.

Wade BOGGS was such a good player. Unfortunately most remembered for the “Pine Tar Bat” incident. But a good use of “tar”.

You know HER as one of your Friends – yeah BABE LISA Kudrow. There were lotsa 5d on that show, notably Jen’s.

Hope this puz is not the ONETIME we have a good one this week.

leftcoastTAM 2:42 PM  

An olio of crossword subjects and types here: slang, sports, a quote, some gimmes and obscurities, a bunch of PPPs, and a self-referencing "six for dinner". Yet it all held together as a medium-difficulty, gettable and, most important, enjoyable, Wednesday puzzle.

The "G" of GNC was the last letter in, inferred from GHOSTED, "modern lingo" I've never heard as clued.
Didn't know BOUNCE either, but crosses took care of it. Among the clues, "Debbie Downer" is another new piece of lingo to me.

Just one more thing: BUSHSR doesn't work for most, IMO. It's either Bush 41 or H.W., as distinct from 43 or W. George W. Bush was not referred to as JR, although that diminutive may have been apt.

leftcoastTAM 3:20 PM  

I see that Rex prefers BUSH 1 and, I suppose by inference, BUSH 2. Those are okay with me, too, not that it matters.

rainforest 3:28 PM  

Cute, pert, toot, squirt.

Fun puzzle with a low profile theme that the revealer DID reveal, actually.

I didn't watch Friends often, but without any reference to TATAS, I thought LISA Kudrow was the best character on the show. And a DOD/yeah baby to boot.

BUSHSR works for me, and W isn't referred to as Bush Jr. because, of course, there is another Jr. Bush.

So, I read @Rex's post today, and I just did not understand his going off on NEW TAKE the way he did. I guess he has to find *something* to be wrong-headed about. It's his shtick (schtick?. There is nothing in the clue/answer duo to suggest that NEW TAKE need be a stand-alone phrase.

Anyway, I liked this one.

Diana,LIW 4:00 PM  

My only error was of my own making - "ideate" prior to CREATE - I wasn't 100% certain of the GNC answer. All else was easy peasy as they say. But I loved WORDLENGTH - bring 'em on!

Diana, you know who

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