Flower said to cover plains of Hades / SUN 9-16-18 / Large mobile devices to use modern portmanteau / Ontario city across river from Buffalo for short / Gig for aspiring electronic musician / Popular Belgian brews informally

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative difficulty: Easy (9:43)

THEME: "Uh, What?" — "Uh" sound added to words in familiar phrases, creating new, wacky words / phrases, clued "?"-style:

Theme answers:
  • OREGON TRANSPLANT (as opposed to "organ transplant") (23A: One who's just moved from Portland?)
  • TURN THE CORONER (35A: Convert a morgue worker into a spy?)
  • KING JAMES BUYABLE (48A: LeBron basketball sneaker, e.g.?) (not sure how I feel about "buyable" as a noun, but ok)
  • RIOTING ON THE WALL (69A: Intense blowback against a signature Trump policy proposal?)
  • PROJECT RUNAWAY (82A: Bad person to get paired with for a class assignment?)
  • SENATOR OF GRAVITY (99A: Nickname for a superserious congressman?)
Word of the Day: FT. ERIE (104A: Ontario city across the river from Buffalo, for short) —
Fort Erie is a town on the Niagara River in the Niagara RegionOntario, Canada. It is directly across the river from Buffalo, New York and is the site of Old Fort Erie which played a prominent role in the War of 1812. (wikipedia)
• • •

OK, so I'm liking this modest, scaled-back, super-polished theme puzzle trend I'm seeing, or believe I'm seeing (if I'm wrong, please do not break the spell that I am under). The concept here is super-basic, but executed (mostly) creatively and unpainfully, and with just six (!) themers in the grid, there is plenty of room for the fill to breathe and therefore not, you know, suck. You get a moist delicious grid cake with a light layer of theme icing, as opposed to dry some cakelike gunk troweled with heaps of cloying, granular frosting. The latter probably looks more impressive, or at least more garish, but try eating it. This one, however—OK, not earth-shatteringly great, but delightful. A pleasant 10-minute diversion during which I groaned only, like, three times (I can tell you that is Quite a low number of groans for a Sunday). And the cluing on this one felt elevated. Crisper and cleaner than usual. Clever without being that obnoxious kind of clever where someone has to explain it to you and you're like "Oh ... heh ... great." The other kind of clever. The good kind. I mean, [Workers who are always retiring?] for PIT CREW!? That is good. I don't think art is better when it's fine, though. I get the "fine art" wordplay thing you're trying to do there, but better than what? Street art? Pop art? Gonna say no (or not necessarily) on both counts. And many other counts. Also, PHABLETS is a word that makes me want to phomit (72A: Large mobile devices, to use.a modern portmanteau). But it's original, I'll give it that.

Not many sticking points today. Had trouble dropping CONAGRA (9D: U.S. food giant) and YES MAN (10D: Suck-up) down up top because I had OREGON TRA- and I decided, in a fit of foolhardiness, to fill in the next two letters: "-IL." I think CONAGRA and YES MAN were gonna be tricky *anyway*, but with wrong letters in the way, they were especially so. Also totally stymied by ARES, of whom I have no memory from "Wonder Woman," which is odd, as I teach (Golden Age) Wonder Woman in another couple of weeks. To me, a four-letter foe of Wonder Woman is always, and I mean always, gonna be NAZI. Most significant error today was getting the initial "T" at 63D: Music genre at a rave (TRANCE) and dropping in TECHNO. Luckily, nothing worked after that. I say "luckily" because if *anything* had worked, I would've stuck with my understandable-but-stupid wrong answer a lot longer.


Five Things:
  • 74A: Hair net (SNOOD) — Me: "Oh, it's that horrible-sounding word, the one that sounds like a disease or a vestigial appendage or something ... oh, yeah: SCROD!"
  • 38D: Uncool (LAME) — I would not use this word. Also, even if you *would* use this word, it's so easy, so so easy, to avoid here. NAME / NORA. DAME / DORA. Even if you don't believe LAME is ableist, you know there are disabled people who do, so why go with LAME? So you can get the scintillating LIRA!? 
  • 45D: What "..." may represent (TYPING) — so good. Would be better if the ellipsis did that little bubble dance that the actual TYPING dots do when the person you're texting is, you know, TYPING, but ... maybe someday: animated clues!
  • 77D: Words from a T.S.A. agent before a pat-down ("ARMS OUT") — again, so good, so fresh, so current. 
  • 65A: Flower said to cover the plains of Hades (ASPHODEL) — Yeow! I am currently reading about Hades (actually, Dante's "Inferno," but ... close) and I did not know this. This answer could easily have been the death of me, as I don't think I've ever seen it. Looks vaguely like a bunch of words I know, like "espadrille" and "Astrophil," but ... it's just lucky for me that the crosses were all solid.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Brian B 12:18 AM  

Something something "scrod" something something pluperfect subjunctive.

Chim cham 12:27 AM  

Had PITCHER for PIT CREW at the end and knew that NATURE needed to be a cross but just couldn’t parse the two part word. Kept thinking retiring as referring to batters. Other than that, it was so fluid I cut my average Sunday time in half! Aren’t you proud!

John 12:31 AM  

Cue the music theory debate about unison vs harmony.

Marc 1:04 AM  

Never got the UH sound added to the clues, just saw them as playful clues/answers. Only had trouble with the LeBron clue. Other problem area was the ASPHODEL, SNOOD, SCOW section, and never heard of TRANCE music.

puzzlehoarder 1:06 AM  

Doing this puzzle on paper made me feel like I'm going blind. I'm printing all the puzzles at halftone to save ink and the numbers in these little Sunday squares are virtually illedgible. It doesn't help that I'm staying up and I'm back on the pain meds. I have been for a week.

These inconveniences aside parts of the puzzle just required some straight up work. However being a Sunday there was always easy material to be found that gave things away. TRANCE and PHABLETS we're crossed with HOERS and ONEA.

That was an out there clue for ASPHODEL. Luckily I already had enough letters to just recognize the word.

The Hitchcock clue had me going all SADIST. I remembered the ruffled feathers over the alleged "fat shaming" recently and I wrote in CHIN at 93D thinking "let's make it a triple this time." ISLE fixed that.

The fun thing about the theme was they were legitimate words read separately and you needed the clue to see which one was the pun.

No sloppy mistakes tonight.

chefwen 1:22 AM  

Rex, I thought you hated the word moist.

Fun puzzle, not too hard, not too easy. KING JAMES BUYABLE was my favorite. Screwed up by putting ARNEss before ARNETT in at 62A, close but yet so far, wrong actor, wrong decade. DJ ses made about as much sense as sRANCE so I was finally able to set that straight.

Got my celebrity Chefs mixed up between Oliver Stone and Jamie Curtis and plopped down stone at 60A, guess what, that didn’t work either. Wite out to the rescue.

Love my “Legalize MARINARA” Tee shirt.

egoldfinger 2:32 AM  

Haha - for Hitchcock triple feature, I originally had Chin. Anyone else? ASPHODEL - thank god for crosses...

Harryp 3:38 AM  

DNF on 7Across/Down mACY/mORY. I should maybe have spotted RACY for blue, but couldn't after the other workouts. Played Challenging for me.

JOHN X 4:41 AM  

This was a really great puzzle. I had to work almost every answer and they were all good. Plus, I used the theme clue to solve all the themers.

I enjoyed learning that a hair-net is a SNOOD. Isn't CABALA supposed to have a K?

I was certain 77D was PANTSOFF but it wouldn't fit and then I got it right.

I did the exact same thing of filling out OREGONTRAIL.

Little brown bear 5:50 AM  

Could someone explain the play on words in “Project Runaway” please?

Anonymous 6:06 AM  

an excellent sunday puzzle. if you agree that "wearable" is a thing, then "buyable" is too. gotta get in the game, rex.
loved the theme answers.

in a word, it was


vtspeedy 6:23 AM  

Great fun this morning! Not too hard but kept me working. Enjoyed the themes -always glad to start my day with a chuckle or two. And no, harmonized is most definitely not unison; not in music, trade, law, anything. Unison = same, harmonized begins with NOT the same but brought into pleasing or beneficial alignment.

jberg 6:48 AM  

@Evan me too for wanting pitcher, but the clue is plural, so that saved me. And @John alyeady made the harmony point—so I’ll just add that it took me far too long to see that OREGON = organ, because I too was fixated on the trail. I even considered OTREGON OREGONER (or a goner) as an equivalent of “or bust.). Crosses saved me.

Off to Hyb on Wheels, a 43 mile bike ride. If I’m not back tomorrow, I didn’t make it.

Carola 7:00 AM  

Medium for me, and fun to solve, partly because I was nicely held in suspense about the theme for quite a while - until PROJECT RUNAWAY. Then the rest fell into place fairly quickly. As far as problems go, I knew ASPHODEL (though I don't know how) but had trouble in the ENDASHES x DJSET area: I kept reading END AS ...what? Appreciated all the nice Downs, liked the "accessories of various generations" line: PHABLETS SNOOD BOA.

Dolgo 7:10 AM  

Yeah, my first guess was chin. Ya gotta read the Odyssey to get ASPHODEL, I guess. Just reread it for the umpteenth time. I was again reminded there are plenty of other reasons to do so.

Dolgo 7:14 AM  

PS ASPHODEL in Poe poem and Ginsberg? Seem to recall something.

BarbieBarbie 7:15 AM  

@Rex: Ares was WW foe in the recent movie. And, I forget why, but it made sense given her background.

Good puzzle. The era we’re not only add-a-sound, but homophones, so that I had to whisper to myself to solve. Fun!

Gary Stroh 7:27 AM  

Only two sticking points for me this morning -

Mythbusters proved that a bull in a china shop is actually the opposite of clumsy.

In unison is actually the opposite of harmony

mmorgan 8:03 AM  

Wow... I loved this. I feel like it's been decades since I've seen a Sunday puzzle that was so challenging and fun. Sundays have too often turned into a rapid mindless slog, where I'm done before I know what happened, the theme is mediocre (at best), and five minutes later I can barely remember doing the puzzle. This felt like "the good old days" where the answers emerged very slowly, and with effort, and the themers brought great pleasure. This is what good Sunday themes used to feel like. Terrific, fun puzzle and I feel much better about the world today.

Unknown 8:16 AM  

Williams: ASPHODEL, that green flower

Dr. Haber 8:19 AM  

Cry foul on the spelling of Cabala. I’ve never seen it spelled any other way than Kabbalah.

Unknown 8:21 AM  

Lotta fun; both the puzzle and the write up. I made some of the same mistakes as Rex at triple the time as he (NAZI, techno.) KING JAMES BUYABLE: funny! I hope someone tells him. Phomit? Even phunnier...

Anonymous 8:26 AM  

There is a fashion themed television competition show called Project Runway.

Cassieopia 8:28 AM  

Top-notch word play, especially for 7A, 15A, 20A, 21A ... you get the idea. Lots of great clueing, with 17D as the star. Puzzle took me only 6 Rexes, and it was a happy and enjoyable hour, well spent on this great puzzle. Thank you, Mr Fagliano, for such a delightful Sunday!

charlesr55 8:30 AM  

Project Runway is s Reality TV show

GILL I. 8:46 AM  

Joel produces some fine puzzles...ART and all. Except....I loved all the theme answers but I hd a major head itch with KING JAMES BUYABLE. I know it refers to the Bible ut could someone explain why that answer is BUYABLE? @Z?, Bueller? I don't get it. I also don't understand what PROJECT RUNAWAY is supposed to mean.
Stepping aside...I really enjoyed this tough romp. I'm soooo glad OFL liked it as well. Sometimes I cross my fingers.
My absolute favorite was RIOTING ON THE WALL. I wish Frump would spend that money he expects from our Mexican friends on something worthwhile like getting the United States caught up with the rest of the world in creating better energy, health and educational infrastructure. What an idea, huh? Just look at Japan.
OKAY, OKAY...moving right along. @Rex, you don't like SNOOD? They're kinda NEAT. Holds your hair up on your nape in a nice little net. I think Wonder Woman might have worn one.
When you start your puzzle with CLUMSY CHOO, you know it's gonna be a good one. Add HAVANA and the only thing missing is a mojito.

Eliza 8:51 AM  

Project Runway is a tv show. Add the "uh" and you have someone who`s not likely to be around to help.

Anonymous 8:59 AM  

Do you mean you did the puzzle in half the time of your average? Or did you really set a new average that's half of your old average?

Z 9:13 AM  

@Gill I - Le Bron James is sometimes referred to as KING JAMES. BUYABLE is corporate speak for swag/mementos/merchandise. Shoe companies like Nike and Adidias often brand their shoes after famous athletes. So a Le Bron sneaker would be a KING JAMES BUYABLE.

tb 9:21 AM  

Several years ago I was dining with friends in a seafood restaurant. One of the diners remarked that she "got scrod here last week." Another diner replied, "Interesting use of the past participle."

I'm a former professional musician and the clue for UNISON is just wrong.

ghthree 9:25 AM  

"What time the poet hath hymned
The writhing maid, lithe-limbed,
Quivering on amaranthine asphodel,
How can he paint her woes,
Knowing, as well he knows,
That all can be set right with calomel?"

Bunthorne, Patience, act 1, Gilbert and Sullivan

Anonymous 9:27 AM  

I thought CABALA sold sporting goods :)

Nancy 9:29 AM  

I know there are some of you out there who hate puns, but honestly -- aren't these just about the best puns you ever saw? I think this puzzle is adorable! I love all the theme answers -- every single one!

Some additional thoughts: On 32D: Of course there's NO STEP! Who expects to find a step on an airplane wing?? Do you think I'm an idiot?

On 72A: It must be a combo of phone and tablet. Yes? Another neologism I've never heard of.

On 63A: TRANCE is a dance? In which you don't move even a tiny muscle? Or is my answer wrong? I forgot to check.

On 31A: "Open" by AGASSI is the 2nd best memoir I've ever read. ("Act One" by Moss Hart is the first). But I already told y'all that. Read my blog profile. I can't recommend it highly enough.

A lively, amusing Sunday.

Anonymous 9:29 AM  

....and you don't want your partner to be a RUNAWAY.

Anonymous 9:37 AM  

MURSE was new to me, and I couldn’t find a dip that started with P, so dnf, but otherwise, fun puzzle!

Hungry Mother 9:41 AM  

A hbit of a slog here. Didn’t know the foud giant, went with nAvY at first. Theme trick not so clever.

Elaine 9:47 AM  

7 across- racy/blue?? Not following

QuasiMojo 9:58 AM  

As someone who eschewed comic books as a child and teen, as I PREFERed horror mags, even I find it incomprehensible that Rex did not know ARES as Wonder Woman's nemesis. We just had a godawful movie about him and her that ended in him being blown to smithereens. And me thinking a visit to Smithers would be preferable.

CONAGRA was my first entry.

What exactly is the meaning of Phablet and how is it a portmanteau?

Yes, I have seen other mentions of Asphodel in literature. Wasn’t there a book by that name?

Sorry for all the queries to day, dearies, but Rex’s flaunting of his lack of knowledge always makes me agog and agape if not exactly ABLUSH.

Rainbow 10:07 AM  

"Music" is not mentioned in the clue. In the non-music world the harmony/UNISON connection is valid. Come up with your own examples.

Andrea 10:13 AM  

Harmony is the opposite of unison.

Brookboy 10:17 AM  

Had AfLUSH for 11D and woNT for 13D for too long, until I had my Aha! moment, when I finally thought of ABLUSH, which gave me BEER, and then BENT. Those breakthrough moments are what make crosswords so addictive for me.

Enjoyed the puzzle and Rex’s write-up. Good stuff.

Unknown 10:19 AM  

Kind of interesting to me in that I wound up basically solving this one backwards. I was having trouble with the fill, but after I determined the theme I guessed two or three of the theme answers with zero clue letters. Not sure if that signals a great puzzle, but it was a decent change of pace.

Maruchka 10:21 AM  

Fav of the day - TURN THE CORONER. Smooth and clean. Yez know, how to hide a whack...

Mr. Fagliano is KING of tense and context misdirects.

CONAGRA - medicinal for jailbirds with privileges?

Suzie Q 10:29 AM  

Loved Rex's cake analogy for this nice Sunday outing.
I learned two new words - asphodel and cabala. Always good but who knew Jewish mystics sold sporting goods? Just kidding.
I knew a theme answer with Bible was coming but I really laughed when I finally got it. Best of the bunch.
When the review is written like today it is so much more enjoyable.
I hope the trend continues.

Some day the study of today's civilization will include the cult of Star Wars. What a mystery that will seem in the future. Or maybe not.

Anon 10:37 AM  

Harmony is the opposite of unison.

Anonymous 10:47 AM  

@Elaine - familiar with the expression about a comic who “works blue?”

Norm 10:50 AM  

Liked the puns, but some of the words are of an EH sound than an UH in my dialect, so it came off as less than amazing. Very okay; far from great.

pmdm 10:51 AM  

Joel seems to enjoy using "hip" entries that leave me cold. Especially those that involve PPP. So while the theme entries were well done, the rest of the puzzle was not my cup of tea because the puzzle included too many (for me) entries on that wavelength.

For those who believe Mr. Sharp hates anything that has official connections with the NY Times, save today's date.

If a group like a full orchestra or choir play in unison, all of the players would not be playing the same notes as the music appears on the page. (Disregarding notation that is transposed, the highest not of the contrabassoon is lower than the lowest note of the flute or piccolo.) Three or four different notes can be paying at the same time, but all in octaves. So if, at the end of a Bach fugue, Bach resolves all the voices to the first note of the scale, are the voices "in harmony." One could certainly not say they they are not in harmony. I guess it depends on your definition of harmony.

Anonymous 11:05 AM  


Unknown 11:10 AM  

Feels like, every day, Rex teaches me a new word I’m not allowed to say.

Leah 11:10 AM  

Phablet = phone + tablet. Refers to those devices that are bigger than your typical phone but smaller than a full on tablet. An example is the Galaxy Note.

JC66 11:12 AM  

Is there an unofficial truce between @Rex and the NYTimes xword crew?

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

@Dr. Haber - the way that you’ve seen things is probably not the standard that was employed.

TubaDon 11:16 AM  

      Started by filling in short gimmies, then the SPH suddenly triggered ASPHODEL (I was Bunthorne's understudy in Patience), and I filled in the SE corner and worked my way back up. Liked the theme answers, but the coinings MURSE and PHABLETS grate on the ears. Having sat in with a Jazz band this week, I don't consider playing IN UNISON to be the same thing as harmonizing.

JC66 11:22 AM  

@anon 11:12

When you Google CABALA you get this.

RooMonster 11:27 AM  

Hey All !
A nifty "Uh" puz. SO THERE.

The wordplay was OKAY(OKAY). Agree with Rex on mostly dreck free fill. Tough to do in a 21x21. You know when Rex has to reach far re:LAME to come up with a criticism that it's a good puz.

SNOOD sounds like a SMURF.
Some nice cluing, also. Made for a nice, 100% correct solve! IM HERE to say it didn't cause me to CURL up in a ball and STOW away to hide.

Liked the STOW/SCOW cross.
Writeovers, kiSS/BUSS, asp-BOA, veX-TAX, BEANIEkids-BABY. Nothing too ANNOYing.

@Nancy - NO STEP on a plane's wing means Do Not Step On Wing, not there's not a step. Same as on construction trucks, the back says Don't Push.

Time for me to BEAT IT. Got TO GO.


Anonymous 11:28 AM  

@Rainbow - I wholeheartedly agree. Outside of the literal context of music, those terms can be used synonymously.

Lynx 11:39 AM  

@Gary Stroh - thanks for calling out Mythbusters' bull in a china shop. Watching the video clip made my morning!

Bax'N'Nex 12:12 PM  

Nice to see Joel F. Doing a Sunday puzzle. I always do his “minis” on the app as a warm-up. Easy, but very fun. Thanks Joel!

BTW...did Joel kidnap Mike and write the review today? Who was that really?

Dr. Haber 12:23 PM  

If you Google Cabala it redirects to Kaballah. The former spelling is extremely rare.

Anonymous 12:24 PM  

I agree with Rainbow reply to tb 9:21. Nobody said anything about music. Think of a work crew. They work in unison. They work in harmony. Works for me.

puzzlehoarder 12:25 PM  

I really was in a fog last night. My favorite, vaguest vowel sound in the English language, was the star of the show and I didn't even notice. It's the "uh" sound and here it's represented by the vowels A, E and O. Previously I've mentioned how this is a recurring source of dnfs for myself. I'll know how a word sounds but not which vowel to use. Since it's quite common the cross is often of no use either. This leaves me to play whack-a-vowel and about half the time I get it wrong.

I agree with others that the great cluing for common words kept this puzzle very entertaining. @Nancy, normally I hate puns but these all passed the test. The subtlety of the added syllable made the whole thing much more palatable.

I'm enjoying the musical rants about IN UNISON. Someone already pointed out that the clue makes no mention of music but people still persist.

The debut entry CONAGRA took awhile to come out of my memory. I don't know ASPHODEL from poetry. Recently I ran across it in an old puzzle and added it to my list of unknown A-words. Hoarding pays off.

Z 12:56 PM  

Didn’t we just have a tiresome discussion about transliteration? Anyway, the proper spelling is קַבָּלָה, any other spelling is an inherently flawed approximation, even if the only place one usually finds CABALA is in CrossWorld.

LOL - IN UNISON seems to have fooled lots of music experts. I wonder if Shortz secretly or not so secretly enjoys tricking people in their own expertise? I know I would. Just to be clear, nothing in the clue suggests that either term is being used in their musical sense.

@pmdm - Yep. Sort of ruins all those Rex is a Hater rants doesn’t it. Not that any of them will remember. Never let the evidence stand in the way of your opinion.

See definition number 3 of Blue for today’s usage. As with harmony and unison it is always good to remember that words have multiple meanings and usages, some of which have only the minimum of relationship to each other, and the clue writers often use especially obscure usages in their efforts to puzzle us poor solvers.

TomAz 12:57 PM  

I liked this. It is funny how much my experience mirrored Rex's (except the solve time, I came in at 18-something). I too filled in 'IL' after I had "OREGON TRA". I too remembered SNOOD because I remembered it was an odd, weird word. I had never seen ASPHODEL either. etc etc

PHABLET and MURSE are two portmanteaus we don't really need in the language. They are both ugly and faddish.

Anonymous 1:00 PM  

Someone asked about blue-RACY. Blue can refer to somehting being smut or obscene. Blue movie, blue language etc.

Anonymous 1:11 PM  

At airport, guy gets into cab. ‘Take to get scrod,’ he directs. Cab driver, ‘ ya know, I never heard it in the pluperfect before.’

JC66 1:18 PM  

@pmdm & @Z

"Even a blind dog finds a bone..."

Crimson Devil 1:37 PM  

Snood is the useless piece of skin/flesh hanging off a turkey’s head.

Chim cham 1:41 PM  

The former. Had to read that a couple times. Lol.

Bax'N'Nex 1:49 PM  

@Z 12:56 (on my screen)...Are you saying that ONE positive review from Mike out of hundreds means he’s not a hater?? Really?

I once had a hole-in-one. Must mean I’m ready for the tour...(Senior, of course)

RK Beatrice 2:07 PM  

New best Sunday time for me, which makes three new records for me this week!! What is happening!!!

Anonymous 2:12 PM  

Tour de France - tour de jus

ad astra 2:25 PM  

Of asphodel, that greeny flower,
like a buttercup
upon its branching stem-
save that it’s green and wooden-
I come, my sweet,
to sing to you.
We lived long together
a life filled,
if you will,
with flowers. So that
I was cheered
when I came first to know
that there were flowers also
in hell.

Anonymous 2:43 PM  

I think "hater" is inaccurate.

Anonymous 3:07 PM  

Re: "no step": This refers to the ailerons on the trailing edge of a wing, not the wing itself. One can walk on a wing, but do not step on the aileron. It is hinged and could fold down if you stepped on it, possibly leading to an unpleasant surprise.

Anonymous 3:25 PM  

Really, if you've ever sat in a window seat of a plane, bored out of your mind, you probably have seen "no step". @ Anon 3:07 explained it well. If I, however, find myself outside of the plane, damaging the aileron is probably the least of my worries!

Casarussell 3:33 PM  

Is it me or does "snood" sound like something from a Dr. Seuss book?

A snood is a good that everyone would if they could, etc. etc.

Had to get snood on crosses and even then wasn't convinced it was right.

Banana Diaquiri 3:51 PM  

if memory serves, one hears of/sees a SNOOD in olde movies, esp. from Brits.

Anonymous 3:51 PM  

@David Shinnerer,
You know better than to feed the troll @Z.

Nice puzzzzle Mr. Flagiano.

@susie Q.
The Star Wars cult used to seem benign to me, but I dont think that way anymore. Most of the cult is comprised of overgrown boys. Children. They know Boba Fett(SP?), but cant change a tire. Im rea.ly tired of little boys in mens bodies.

Anonymous 3:56 PM  

I generally don't do Sunday puzzles because in my view the average Sunday is too much work for something that is less enjoyable than the average Th F or Sat. For some reason I did today's. Six straining groaners. Back to puzzle-free Sundays!

GILL I. 3:58 PM  

@Z..Thanks. I knew LeBron's nickname "KING JAMES". just didn't know what BUYABLE meant....learn something new.

chefwen 4:04 PM  

Just heard from@chefbea, they got out of Wilmington safely and are high and dry with no fish in their boots. Expects to return home in a few days after the flooding subsides.

JC66 4:30 PM  


Thanks for @chefbea the update. Good to hear.

David 4:31 PM  

Pretty nice puzzle.

Yeah, it doesn't specify music; but some of us hold higher degrees and make our livings in music, immersed in it every waking hour of every day, so we'll naturally go there. To us, a DJ has nothing to do with electronic music either. I like to be reminded there are other meanings. Personally I've never heard anyone say "murse", not even on Seinfeld.

Ares was the Nazi WW fought in the end. Only she could kill him because Zeus was her father. Note Ares is above Parent in the puzzle, not bad. Is a Cay really a Key? My dictionary says it's a reef or a bank; those things are not isles. Yes, the Cabala spelling brings up Kabbalah when googled.

I'm taxed by the "for short" clues attached to city names such as Ft. Erie, St. Louis (unless it's St. Lou), etc.

Z 4:56 PM  

@David Schinnerer - No. I’m saying the evidence makes it pretty clear that all the “Rex is biased against certain constructors” people are wrong. Going back to 2015 most of Fagliano’s puzzles are neutral or positive, with only a couple strongly negative and one epic rant almost totally unrelated to the puzzle, focusing on constructor pay instead.
BTW - you can check yourself for any constructor. At the end of every post (in the desktop version, not the mobile version) are some “labels,” one of which is always the constructor. Clicking on it takes you to a list like that link, the latest ten or fifteen blogs of a specific constructor’s NYTX. With a single exception, any constructor with multiple puzzles has at least a few positive reviews by Rex.

@Gill I - I thought I might have been over-explaining, but I didn’t know what you didn’t know. I don’t think BUYABLES has escaped into general usage like (too) much corpspeak.

Z 5:03 PM  

@David - re CAY - Oxford has your definition, Merriam-Webster has the “isle”definition. Neither gave the other definition. English versus American? Some other reason? I don’t know, although your definition is new to me.

CashPo' 5:08 PM  

A snood is kind of like a dickie that you wear on your head instead of around your neck.

Mama Karma 5:10 PM  

Why are cees the answer to Hitchcock triple feature (93D)? Enjoyed this puzzle, and this was easy enough to get from the crosses, except for cabala, which is not a usual transliteration. I'm missing something simple here, I'm sure!

Anonymous 5:13 PM  

Anonymous 3:51 PM

I'm glad you didn't make your sexist statements earlier in the day. A ***tstorm might have ensued, though less of a storm than if your comments had been against women.

JC66 5:17 PM  

@Mama Karma

There are 3 "C"s in Hitchcock.

XQQQME 5:23 PM  

Phablet is Perfect.

Never attended a rave, but know Trance music is used primarily as a potentiator of the MDMA (Ectasy) experience. Don’t ask me how I know.

Agree with your opinion of “Open” by Andre. My first cousin was his first love (before Brook) and I know second-hand what it took for him to be so honest and forthcoming.

Fitzy 5:23 PM  

Uh, a Senator is not generally referred to as a congressman. True it is a lowercase "c" but I thought this was a real stretch.

nate 5:33 PM  

As a native northwesterner, I must, politely, protest the schwa addition to OREGONTRANSPLANT. Most people out here, whether they notice it or not, actually say “or-ih-gin.”

I’ve been reading this for years, but have never felt compelled to comment before.

2farfromchi 6:55 PM  

Going with CHIN at first for the Hitchcock clue slowed me up a bit.

Rick S 7:18 PM  

The quotes around "Wonder Woman" and the preposition "in" are clues that it is the 2017 movie "Wonder Woman" that is being referred to, not the comic book. "Nazi" could still have been a legitimate answer, but the main villain of the film was clearly Ares.

Azzurro 7:23 PM  

So here’s BUSS, a sixteenth century synonym for kiss. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/buss

That’s pretty weak fill, especially since BASS/CARL would have been an easy fix.

I didn’t like that or the clue for RACY (blue?) but otherwise enjoyed the puzzle.

thefogman 7:37 PM  

Overall, a pretty decent and challenging Sunday puzzle. I scratched my head over 82A (PROJECTRUNAWAY) and, having read the explanation here, I still find it rather weak. Least favourite entries include CONAGRA and PHABLETS but I enjoyed ENDASHES and ASPHODEL as they are real things, fairly clued - and solveable via the crosses. It contained a lot of sly, devious cluing including RAH (43D Root word). When the three-letter words are tough to solve it can really bog you down. Anyways, I agree with Rex that this was a decent puzzle but with a bit of tweaking it could have been a great one. For that reason I'll give it a C+

john towle 8:16 PM  

Tourist: “Where in Boston can a man have scrod?”

Cabbie: “Mister, I’ve been driving a laxi for forty years in this town and that’s the first time I’ve ever heard it asked for in the pluperfect past tense.”

Anonymous 8:18 PM  

Hey mods,
What about the 3 posts a day rule? Z has exceeded that. Again.
What gives? Do the rules not apply to Rex's most sycphntoic apologist?

Anonymous 8:24 PM  

Anon 5.13
Huh? Aree you saying ost Str Wars cultists arent male? FFS, theres aterm for them: FAN BOYS.
Also, of all the groups in the world, star wars nerds is one i have no fer of offending. Ill just sya hey lok Captain Kirk and watch their heads exploxde.
As for them not having the skilsmen should i hve, I stand by it.

Anonymous 10:44 PM  

Was so hoping you would eviscerate this puzzle. Thought it was just crap.

Anonymous 12:33 AM  

The clue for 28A (NUMBER) and the answer (AMOUNT) do not square. Number has to do with how many, amount with how much.

Joan McIntire 11:53 AM  

Re spelling of "Kabbalah" Since the actual spelling is "kaph-beit-lamed-heh" , it seems to me that anything else in the English alphabet is fair game. Frustrating, I agree, when it comes to crosswords.

Unknown 7:02 AM  

I loved it, but now, thanks to Rex, understand why. Cabala spelling threw me. I knew snood, since it was a fad in the 60's or early 70's, (I think), and I wore one. It was an homage to the Romeo and Juliet film craze.

Irishmaineiac 10:14 AM  

Snood - my most disliked word ever since I learned it in junior year vocabulary. Favorite words were flotsam and jetsam.

rainforest 4:07 PM  

Hard to keep my mind on the puzzle as I watch the Tour Championship wondering if Tiger will hold on. Riveting stuff, if you're a golf and Tiger fan, which I am.

OKAY OKAY, the puzzle. I thought it was a great Sunday puzzle. Clever theme which didn't take up too much space, and some delightful fill. My last entry was RACY because I was only thinking of "blue" as either a colour, or something to do with "sad". Finally clicked, though I've never heard of CONAGRA. Seems like a combination of a corporation and agriculture.

The themers were very good, although the clue for 48A was a bit of a reach. Some nice clues (for PITCREW, PINATA, SOLAR PANEL, eg) and just a solid grid. Good stuff.

Diana,LIW 4:32 PM  

I, too, thot it a great Sun puz. I filled in every square, but not with all the correct letters. PPP the culprit, for the most part. Messed up in the KINGJAMES are too Oop.

But loved the puns and wordplay. Good o9ne, Joel!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Burma Shave 5:04 PM  


She BEATIT when they ARRIVED for a date,
she GAVEUP but would PREFER to COMETO.


Dice 3:20 PM  

I will put Act One on my reading list. Thanks for the tip!

Dude 5:54 AM  

Might those living in farm country have gotten scrod from hoers?

kitshef 5:30 PM  

Boy, was my reaction different from ... everyone else's. Catching up on puzzles from vacation and last Sunday's was a pure joy. This was ... dreck squared.

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