So-called black national anthem / THU 10-18-18 / Nickname of singer of 2007's Umbrella / American dance move illegal in Saudi Arabia / Savory Scottish pudding

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Constructor: Erik Agard

Relative difficulty: Medium (5:46)

THEME: "LIFT EVERY VOICE" (16D: So-called "black national anthem," informally ... or what 4-, 6-, 22- and 34-Down do, in part?) — the voices BASS, TENOR, ALTO and TREBLE (?) can be found, respectively, running backward / up in the theme answers:

Theme answers:
  • DIDN'T MISS A BEAT (4D: Said something in response almost immediately)
  • BARONETCY (6D: Noble domain)
  • HOT LAVA (22D: Volcano's spew)
  • ENGELBERT (34D: German composer Humperdinck)
Word of the Day: THE DAB (1A: American dance move that, for whatever reason, is illegal in Saudi Arabia) —
Dabbing, or the dab, is a simple dance move or gesture in which a person drops the head into the bent crook of a slanted, upwardly angled arm, while raising the opposite arm out straight in a parallel direction. Since 2015, dabbing has been used as a gesture of triumph or playfulness, becoming a youthful American fad and Internet meme. The move looks similar to someone sneezing into the "inside" of their elbow. wikipedia)
• • •

Is there cold lava? Also, what is TREBLE? Actually, I looked it up, and it appears to be a voice only children have, something like "boy soprano." Also, where's SOPRANO? Oh, right, there's Donna ELVIRA, soprano in "Don Giovanni." Hey, Donna, what's up? OK, so this played like a themeless, for sure. Figured that the longer Downs in the east and west were maybe themers, but had no idea I was dealing with themers in the middle. Was 80% done with the puzzle when I got LIFT EVERY VOICE, and didn't bother to go back and figure out how that was gonna work—I mean, I was so close to the end, why would I do that? It's a cute theme with a nice revealer, though, again, the voice set is super duper weird without SOPRANO. Not sure what answer exists that could contain the letter string ONARPOS, though. SONAR POSITION? That's all I got, and that is bad. It does say LIFT EVERY VOICE, though, and without soprano ... the revealer is kind of a lie.

I had a wrestle with this puzzle a couple of times, but the only time that mattered was at the tail end of BARONETCY. I am 100% certain that this will be the roughest part of the puzzle for most people. I knew that word was spelled weird, but my version of the weirdness was BARONETRY. And I was getting no help from the crosses and adjacent words. I figured [Squirt] was TOT, so that was good, but GOO was not intuitive at all (27D: Halloween "blood," e.g.). and the clue on COLON was just a nasty breaking pitch (36A: Middle of time?), especially if you aren't certain of that first letter. I ended up with ROLON for the answer, checked all the crosses, realized BARONETRY was the only one I wasn't sure of, and fixed it. Yeesh. Other mistakes included STONIER for STERNER (40D: More flinty), and DIDN'T HESITATE for DIDN'T MISS A BEAT, though in that case my wrong answer didn't actually fit. I did type it in, though.

Five things:
  • 32A: Nickname of the singer of 2007's "Umbrella" (RIRI) — I did know this, but I want to thank "The Good Place" for reminding me of it very recently (in the sense that I re- and rere- (RIRI!) watched the entire run of the show last month). It's a passing reference, but it's memorable.
  • 18A: Lady Gaga or Judy Garland (LBGT ICON) — Very much helped by being very much certain that both CFL and HAGGIS were right; this gave me an answer that started LG-, which seemed impossible, and then immediately didn't.
  • 61A: Big tech news website (RECODE) — I have no idea what this is
  • 46A: Kufrin of the 2018 season of "The Bachelorette" (BECCA) — I have no idea what this is
  • 41A: 8: Abbr. (AUG.)AUGust is the 8th month. I'm only explaining this because I know there are at least a few people out there who will not have put it together and are slapping themselves in the forehead right now. Hey, what's up, guys? It's cool. Sometimes the trick gets by us. It happens.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Seth 12:07 AM  

So...what does everyone think? Without SOPRANO, do you think this theme was worth doing? It's a really great idea, and Erik gets SO impressively close, but...if it doesn't work, it doesn't work, right? I don't know. I'm torn. Cause let's be honest, TREBLE does not belong here.

jae 12:08 AM  

@Chefwen - Easy week came to an abrupt halt for me. Had to stare for more than a few nanoseconds (@M&A) for NAY to make sense given the clue. Plus BARONEtte and several WOEs e.g. MERIDA, THE DAB...

Liked it, clever and tough in spots, although I agree with @Rex about TREBLE.

Mark 12:14 AM  

Because usurper August squeezed in as 8th month, and July as 7th, therefore poor September, whose name means 7th, got pushed back into being 9th month! (When I saw the clue "8" I immediately wrote in OCT, which means 8, but is now the 10th month.) November and December are also not happy about being pushed back.

Brian 12:24 AM

Joel 12:41 AM  

Irritatingly, a baronetcy is not a noble title, but a hereditary knighthood. Holders of baronetcies aren't entitled to sit in the House of Lords, for example.

Brian 12:55 AM  

Is LGBTICON actually a thing though? Like... yes, it has semantic value. But has anyone actually said that phrase? Seems out of the language to me... and I’m not a stranger to the LGBT community. (Which is a phrase that is definitely in the language.)

John Child 1:07 AM  

Yeah, SToniER and having no idea who RIRI, BECCA, or RORY are made this one tough. Egypt instead of CAIRO didn’t help that section of the puzzle. Hard work without much reward.

Wanderlust 1:11 AM  

BARONETCY was no problem for me since I have one. (In my dreams...) But lots of holdups for me led to a time above my average. LIFELINE instead of FATELINE and FORMAL instead of DRESSY, plus I misread the SANTERIA clue as “region” instead of “religion.” Bachelorette and other reality TV contestants should be forbidden here, but I do know RECODE. I wonder if LGBTICON is quite right. They are definitely G icons and maybe half of T, but I doubt they are icons for L and B. But I liked the theme and forgave the puzzle for not accomplishing the impossible backward soprano.

Pat 1:29 AM  

Bass, tenor, alto, and treble are the four musical clefs still in use. So they are a legitimate musical foursome, they just don't fit this theme. I can hardly hold it against this puzzle, though– it's one of those rare enjoyable Thursdays.

Brookboy 2:00 AM  

This one played tough for me. BARONETCY, OCEANIAN, NAY, RECODE, RIRI, all WOEs for me. Can someone explain how 57D “And More Than That” is NAY? I had etc there and I just couldn’t figure out what else it could be.

Even with all that, I enjoyed the puzzle. Mostly.

One of the answers reminded me of an incident from some years ago. I once was conducting a training class of young banking analysts in in midtown Manhattan, all very recent college graduates, most of whom were not from NYC. I made the casual comment to them that I thought NYC is one of the great cuisine centers of the world, partly because you can find practically any ethnic cuisine somewhere in the city. First question I got was, “Where do I find haggis?” Had to admit that I had no idea.

Robin 2:11 AM  

The crossing of LGBTICON and UNOS messed me up, as I tried an A rather than an O. Took a while to hunt that one down.

Nevertheless my overall was already bad due to a head cold. Temperature in NYC has really dropped and I wasn't prepared for it.

Anonymous 2:13 AM  

Longtime choral singer here. I’m very familiar with TREBLE being used as a synonym for soprano. Lots of historical justification.

puzzlehoarder 2:15 AM  

My comments didn't get through by computer or phone yesterday. There's ATON I'd like to say about this puzzle but since it might be a waste of time I'll just say I had to overcome ATON of difficultys to get a clean grid but it was worth it.

chrisborgia 2:23 AM  

wow. went from wednesday which played like a monday to thursday which played like a saturday.

"and winter gave spring and summer a miss and went straight into autumn..."

Dan 2:35 AM  

Loved the middle of time clue for colon. I think I'm much younger than most of the commenters on this blog because Riri and Rory were the ones I could fill immediately, but this is the first time I've ever heard of elvira.

chefwen 2:36 AM  

@jae, abrupt end for me also. My wine enhanced, GABFEST luncheon with my best friend did not help my solve. I got hung up in almost every corner, oh yeah, the middle to.

After the fact I googled THE DAB, looks like your checking your armpits and missed by several inches.

Judy Garland LGBT ICON? What have I missed?

Larry Gilstrap 3:00 AM  

One of those Thursdays. Solve a dicey puzzle, then start the CSI. There has to be a theme in there somewhere, doesn't there? Finally, I settled on VOICE types and got the LIFT gambit and I was sorta done. I love music, but have no training, so TREBLE seemed an outlier.

I can tolerate as many popular culture references as the next guy, and I know The Bachelorette is trashy enough to be entertaining, at least to some folks I respect, but don't spoil it for me. Does BECCA give the rose to someone worthy? I'm way behind. Still saving Seinfeld and the Simpsons for my last days of lucidity.

On a positive note, cluing for COLON was terrific. More like this, please.

tkincher 3:25 AM  

I work in tech and this was the first time I’d ever heard of RECODE. I’ve never even seen an article from it linked anywhere else.

That and BARONETCY gave me the most fits. Theme was still good without a soprano, because anytime you can work in ENGLEBERT Humperdinck and not have a lot of junk filler is pretty great IMO.

BarbieBarbie 5:36 AM  

Yup, I’m a singer too, and TREBLE is used for soprano (also sometimes for all no-testosterone voices in aggregate).

This puzzle was hard for me, a good 50% longer than my average, and I also really enjoyed all those minutes. Many writeovers and a struggle in the SW, mostly because I confidently inserted MAGICAL thinking into the mix. Got the theme very early but didn’t figure out its meaning until post-solve, which is how I like it. So, great Thursday, big thumbs-up vote! More please!

Lewis 6:33 AM  

I felt like a rock climber trying to find a path through a difficult rise. There were formidable obstacles -- 10 answers out of my wheelhouse and some lovely-yet-torturous oblique cluing -- as well as gifts along the way (DIDN'T MISS A BEAT, GABFEST, cracking the theme before completing the puzzle). In the end, I only had to guess once, at the intersection of RECODE and REY, so overall the puzzle was fair for me. And when I finally pulled myself over the lip of the climb to the summit, I have to tell you, it felt mighty good.

amyyanni 6:42 AM  

Tough one for me as well, and not only because I don't watch The Bachelor and Disney princess movies. Liked the challenges and lack of gimmicks.

QuasiMojo 6:58 AM  

Oddly enough, for me, since I knew so little of the contemporary stuff (BECCA who? RECODE what? THE DAB? RIRI??? although DONNA ELVIRA, ERICA Jong, and ENGELBERT came naturally) I managed to complete this puzzle correctly and without any delays as if it were a Monday or Tuesday offering! I'm a big fan of Eric Agard's mind, but sometimes his puzzles leave me flummoxed because they seem to be all over the map. And often his sense of slang or TRENDY context throws me. Not today. Or maybe I'm just getting used to his unique style.

You have to admire his ingenuity no matter how you feel about the theme. I didn't even notice it until I came here. So whatever pleasure I felt in finishing the puzzle was in no way diminished by the lack of the word "soprano." I've been a singer my whole life and have performed in many choirs, choruses, glee clubs, singing groups etc and TREBLE makes sense to me. It's used often. Sorry, Rex.

Oh, and no one I know has ever said LGBT ICON. I've noticed a tendency in the NYT puzzle lately to be strangely tone-deaf (not politically speaking) about gay stuff. It's the idioms that they screw up (remember all those BOAS the drag queens are supposedly sporting which was so pre-Stonewall...) Besides just because Judy and Gaga were both in A STAR IS BORN is no reason to match them up. In my book, there's no comparison.

My only hold-up today was the first crossing TMS and MERIDA. I have never even heard of that movie so knowing the girl's name was going to be a stretch. And in my early morning fog I couldn't remember what a "super-script" was. But then I had an AHA moment. Trademarks! So I filled it in and got the TREBLE bell sound on my computer.

Does anyone else put in TAD before TOT every time? Maybe I'm imagining this but there was a time when TAD was the preferred term for a SQUIRT. A tot to me implies a slightly older child.

Good ol' Joe 6:58 AM  

TREBLE is so unusual, really only used in the context of boy choirs in my experience (music degree and long time choral experience here). These four words go together better as names of clefs. But I did enjoy the puzzle

Anonymous 7:01 AM  

Southwest corner was inscrutable for me. The rest - flowed okay. Never heard of Santeteria. Lateral thinking? C’mon.

Anonymous 7:01 AM  

@Brookboy - “this puzzle was challenging, NAY, downright difficult.”

JOHN X 7:03 AM  

I thought this was weak, with too many odd answers that were twisted into shape in order to fit.

Plus, there was nothing to solve in the theme, they were just there to be discovered after the fact, and it was an underwhelming discovery at that.

Small Town Blogger 7:06 AM  

“Nay” as in “I find that hard to understand, nay, perhaps incomprehensible”. Very Shakespearean.

Anonymous 7:15 AM  

OK, I’m stumped. Will someone please take pity on me and explain why “Middle of time/COLON” is so terrific? I don’t get it At All and needed all the crosses.

kitshef 7:17 AM  

Between things I've never heard of (RIRI, BECCA, RECODE, RORY, ELVIRA) and clues I had trouble understanding (8: Abbr being the best example) this played brutally hard for me.

Note to Will Shortz. If you expect us to know people who are 'famous' for appearing on a couple of seasons of a reality show and for absolutely nothing else, you are going to lose your audience, and fast. This is one step down from a TV guide clue.

BECCA + absence of SOPRANO = Rex should have absolutely savaged this weak effort.

kitshef 7:25 AM  

@chefwen - Judy Garland is not just a LGBT icon, she is the LGBT icon.

@Gill I from yesterday - did not know that they were different foods. Then again, as I've only heard of one of them from puzzles...

Generic Solver 7:34 AM  

I too was unable to get LGBT ICON due to guessing UNAS as the crossing. So I finished with LGBTICAN, my only error, convincing myself it was some sort of pro-gay political movement, in the style of “Republican”, which in retrospect is kind of an odd juxtaposition, to say the least.

Seth 7:42 AM  

Yeah it's a thing.

Ten Under Fifty 7:42 AM  

This was hard for me. Never heard of Lift Every Voice, Becca, Rey, Riri or The Dab, but that’s cool. I’m still trying to figure out why a fictional example of racism (Aunt Jemima) is objectionable but a fictional example of rape culture (incubus) is unobjectionable.

TeaHag 7:44 AM  

Canadian living in Scotland here: Haggis is definitely not a pudding. No one could consider it a pudding. The clue was flat out wrong.

Anonymous 7:45 AM  

@goodoljoe, @pat et al. - the clefs are all (with the exception of "French violin clef" / "viola clef", non-standard names for G-clef on the first line and C-clef on the middle line) named for the voice parts. Treble, alto, tenor, bass are the VOICE parts that gave their names to the clefs used for writing their music. They were voices first.

Anonymous 7:49 AM  

Anon 7:15 - What’s that between the 7 and the 15?

Anonymous 7:57 AM  

How is this not a non starter for Rex? Baronetcy? No soprano? We’ve all seen Rex apoplectic at much better puzzles. He must have a soft spot for Erik

Meghan 8:00 AM  

It’s all about the bass. No treble.

Bryan 8:15 AM  

Baronetcy was impossible. I got to the last letter and finally resorted to filling in the whole alphabet until the app stopped giving me an error at the letter Y. And I bet most people filled in "oct" for 8: Abbr. This one was tough for me, but deepens my respect for Erik Agard's crossword building mastery. Not having "soprano" was the only misstep. But otherwise, a tough but good Thursday puzzle.

Buddy Cole 8:18 AM  

Judy Garland is just a "G" icon, not an LGBT icon. Although the "Gs" probably run the show so I'm guessing the others have to fall in line and do what "the man" says.

kitshef 8:26 AM  

Closest I could come to a soprano clue, but it would definitely qualify as green paint.

Important role on a submarine: SONAR POST.

Martin 8:36 AM  

I DNFd on OCEANIAn / nAY. Figured I had something wrong in the rest of the puzzle and was tired of staring.

Hungry Mother 8:41 AM  

Glacial speed this morning. Chilly outside, so I’m lingering over my coffee and in no hurry to get running. Everything fell into place, but at such a dreadfully slow pace. No joy in the solve and little pleasure in getting it all.

Unknown 8:46 AM  

This was one of those puzzles where, after you've finished solving it, you don't feel a sense of accomplishment, you're just glad it's over. The "theme" such as it was, wasn't clever (and is why I'm here, because I never did catch it), and the clues were weak, if not outright inappropriate in some cases -- and unnecessarily so.

Recode is hardly a "big" tech website, not even cracking the top 30 list of "best" tech websites, and ... why? There were so many better possible clues without needing to descend to 0.1% esoterica. I had penciled in REDDIT, realizing that it wasn't a tech-only site, but that soon gave way due to surer cross-traffic. To wit, the (superfluously-hyphenated) "super-often" clue resolving as ATON elicited a "ggg" rather than an "aha!" response.

Rex was right, though; the BARONETCY block was the last, and hardest, nut to crack. Especially as I was loath to abandon my initial ABOS answer (from blood-typing) for "traits that clash", along with the unlikely NIT instead of TOT lead to gridlock until my breakthrough discovery that GOO was actually the correct answer for its clue -- another head-shaker.

As for the theme, I guess "lift every clef" just wouldn't have the same cachet.

And UNOS? Really?

All to which I say, bring on Friday...

Jim Lemire 8:52 AM  

Does LGBT ICON skirt “crossword rules” given the clue had no abbreviations to indicate the answer would include abbreviations? Or is LGBT an acronym? Regardless I stumbled here because the clue didn’t indicate that I should be looking to use a shorthand form.

It's SATB not TATB 8:58 AM  

This was Friday or even Saturday-like for me. OCEANIAN? SANTERIA? LATERAL thinking?? GOO as "blood?" RIRI?

And how is "Turn up" ATBAT?

Ugh. I was pissed too much by the end to even care about "Treble." Which, as a musician, I can confirm is not a thing. The only thing that would bring all those things together is if the revealer was LIFTEVERY...CLEF. There is a treble, alto, tenor, and bass clef. ALL vocal music in the universe is SATB or some version of that.

But for me, that was the least of my worries...and frankly I don't give a f*ck.

Hungry Mother 9:07 AM  

@Amy Yanni: after a dismal, but successful solve today, it lifted my spirits to see that we have a Marathon Maniac on board. I’ve only met a couple of your group, but I’m very impressed.

Anonymous 9:08 AM  

Did not enjoy this at all. One of those puzzles that seems to just try too hard, and doesn't pull it off, a relief to finish but no pleasure. Came here fully expecting a Rex Rant, but not to be - this puzzle has got off lightly IMHO!

Anonymous 9:13 AM  

Calling foul on LGBT not being clued to indicate an abbreviation.

Also, once I picked up on the theme, I overanalyzed it by trying to figure out how BARONETCY was modified from baritone. Ugh.

Finally, I've hard DAB used as a verb, and a noun, but NEVER, EVER with "the."

This puzzle is poorly executed and instantly forgettable.

Anonymous 9:16 AM  

ENGELBERT was a gimme for me, and I am familiar enough with the revealer to have only needed a few crosses. Then I spotted ALTO inverted within HOT LAVA. Knowing that the other two voice parts would be imbedded in the remaining theme answers was a great help, particularly with difficult BARONETCY.

Consider “turn up” as a noun, not a verb, phrase.

Rube 9:18 AM  

I don't understand. 5:46 for a medium puzzle with difficulties along the way. I guess this is some sort of computer assisted solve time. What does 546 convert to in Luddite, pen and paper terms?

GILL I. 9:28 AM  

The theme was lost on me. I just slogged thru, then finished it...finito, the end. Really, this felt like a Pub Trivia FEST. MERIDA LE PEW RIRI RORY THE DAB BECCA RICE blah blah blah. Then the what in the world is a COLON NAY ATON.
I guess I made myself laugh and that's ok even though it's a bit weird. I had ICaN in the 18A slot and I thought would Erik clue Gaga and Judy as AMERICAN? Sure, why not. If he can stick in THE DAB, let's make those two Americans. Disgusting HAGGIS gave me the G and AT BAT the B so I had to erase my two Americans and figured out the LGBT ICONS. I would rather see Elizabeth Taylor's name as the ICON.
I've heard LIFT EVERY VOICE but it's missing its AND SING at the end, no? Didn't know it s the black national anthem but now I do so there's that.
My English sister-in-law would sing all of ENGELBERT's song at the top of her lungs. I just remember seeing him in concert and little old ladies would fawn all over him. He hasn't aged very well. Maybe it's because he still has that long really bad hairdo. I still don't understand why some men wear pony tails.
SANTERIA's in Cuba actually have roots in Catholicism. We had a maid who practiced and she was an incredible herbalist. Non believers accused them of witchcraft or attacked them as workers of the devil. This, mainly from the Catholic pulpit. All I can tell you is that Elena gave me herbs for all of my ailments and they seemed to work. She did try to rub my face raw with lime hoping my freckles would go away...They didn't. She thought I had a perpetual case of chicken pox.
I wish I had caught on to the theme, but I didn't. Alas, twas a DUD for me..

WA 9:28 AM  

There seemed to be a lot of clues for 12 year old girls-Disney, Bachelorette, Riri, Gilmore Girls.

I guess the NY Times demographic has changed.

TomAz 9:31 AM  

I'm sorry, but this puzzle was not good, nor was it fun. The Bachelorette? are you #$%^ing kidding me with that @#$%? Get out of my NYT crossword you ultra-low-brow bit of dreck. Scat! Begone!

Yes the puzzle tries to dress itself up in nice clothes with BARONETCY and an opera clue. But it's ersatz class; this puzzle's true heart lies in junk TV.

Is there really such a thing as an LGBT ICON? I mean, I know gay icons, sure. But do lesbians have the same cultural touchstones as gay men? Or did the constructor just make up this phrase thinking no one would notice?

RIRI RORY? BECCA? MERIDA? Who knows? Who gives a $%^&? I don't know anyone named EVIE. I don't think I've ever heard of anyone named EVIE. Maybe it's another junk TV name? Or maybe the constructor just made that one up to.

If every puzzle were like this one, I would stop doing puzzles.

Ted 9:36 AM  

Saturday-hard for me.

I'm a programmer, and I don't think I've heard of RECODE.


Got held up all over the East side of this thing, after struggling to get the West mostly put together. Cluing was hideous. GOO and TOT weren't even gimmes. AUG was a mess. SANTERIA? Never heard of it. Proper nouns all over the place, including hideous reality TV stuff. Ugh.

Colby 9:53 AM  

Good puzzle, but also didn't get the theme until I was done. Erik is going to be on Jeopardy! tomorrow.

Unknown 10:19 AM  

Anonymous asked why colon isnthe middle of time? I was puzzled too. Asked the goog and thankfully, I got this and went, like, duh.

BBC 10:29 AM  

As someone on the younger side of things, I loved getting a couple gimmes on a Thursday with Becca, Riri and Rory! It is so frustrating to get clues like the ones about Odie, Mr. Ed, or any of the many 40s/50s/60s singers that are often used. Not frustrating to get known ones like Sadat, to be clear, but ones that are just so old and no longer famous... yikes. So today was a fun change of pace.

Also, seconding Anonymous @ 7:15am, how is COLON appropriate for Middle of time?

I Get It 10:39 AM  

BARONETCY is where minor aristocrats sell their craft items online. That's what makes it a noble domain.

Music Man 10:46 AM  

Pop music references today:

18A: Lady Gaga or Judy Garland; LGBT ICONs
32A: Nickname of singer of 2007’s “Umbrella”; RIRI (Rihanna)
5D: Singing superstar born in Tottenham, England; ADELE
34D: German composer Humperdinck; ENGELBERT

We had fellow crooner Tom Jones in the puzzle yesterday. Today, Englebert Humperdinck makes an appearance. He had several top 40 hits on the US pop charts from the late 1960s through the mid-1970s. His 2 biggest hits were:
“Release Me” (#4, 1967)
“After The Lovin’” (#8, 1977)

JC66 10:50 AM  

@I Get It
Comment of the day. Actually laughed out loud.

Nancy 10:51 AM  

Aaargh. A pop-culture slog-fest that I couldn't finish and got tired of staring morosely at, as someone else here has already said. I stumbled like so many others at the ridiculous LGBT ICON, where I soon tired of trying to fit in A GAY ICON when GAY ICON proved to be too short.
I hate NAY for "And more than that", so I DNFed there, too. And when Luke's tutee could have been ROY or RAY (who knew the tech website?), I guessed wrong on what ended up being REY.

I hate this kind of puzzle. I just hate it. Must go back to see if @Z has done the PPP breakdown. If you haven't already, @Z, please do. The only thing that interested me at all in this puzzle was waiting to see what the black national anthem would turn out to be. I had wanted WE SHALL OVERCOME. Was wrong on that, too.

Pauline 10:51 AM  

Thank you, Meghan, your comment was my first big laugh of the day. I'm an amateur when it comes to crosswords, but usually enjoy them. I also enjoy Rex's take on the puzzles. However, I learn so much from those of you who add your comments. Thank you, all!

Suzie Q 10:56 AM  

Just when I thought I had seen every Star Wars clue I see I was wrong. Not that I care a whit who Rey is, but c'mon, enough is enough.
I did like the clues for colon and at bat. Tricky.
That Bessie clue for Erie is new to me.
Reality TV clues are lost on me.
Rex can be nice to his friends if he wants to. It's his blog. We all know that if he had not known who made this puzzle he would have ripped it apart. Guess that's our job today.
Of course it might be a little snobbish of me to look down my nose at TV answers when the first Elvira I think of is Mistress of Darkness.
I'm blaming Halloween.

pabloinnh 10:56 AM  

Today I learned that there are LGBTICONS, and that there are at least two of them. This is all news to me. Also that Merida, besides being a city in Spain with some impressive Roman ruins, is the name of another damn Disney princess. Also found out that Riri is an actual, I guess, nickname, and that there is another Rory besides Calhoun. All this after "Lift Every Voice (and Sing)" went in instantly, because I sang it about two weeks ago.

I'm with the SATB crowd, in all my decades of singing I've never seen a piece of music for four parts described any other way. (Not counting SSAA or TTBB or other variations, of course)Figuring out the reveal and then finding TREBLE was disappointing.

Overall, more flinty than fun.

jb129 11:12 AM  

Too hard for me so I had to cheat. And then it's no fun. We have tomorrow ....

Nancy 11:17 AM  

Amen, Amen to @kitshef (7:17) for his Note to Will Shortz and to TomAz (9:31) for a last sentence that sums up exactly the way I felt after struggling with this pop-culture nightmare. So many of us had that reaction today. But is anyone in NYT puzzledom listening?

@GILL (9:28)-- You may not have liked the puzzle either, but your comment sparkles. Thanks for making lemonade out of lemons. I laughed out loud at your freckles anecdote.

Carola 11:33 AM  

A tough one for me. @Rex was right: BARONETCY was the last entry I had to finish up - oops, just re-checked the grid and the last square was actually the W in LEPEW x WATER. My fairy had been a nIXIE, and only an alphabet run for the W got that corrected.


I thought the cross of LIFT EVERY VOICE with Donna ELVIRA was nice, considering her aria railing against the faithless Don Giovanni.

Mary McCarty 11:48 AM  

Rex, you really did MISS A BEAT by posting that Heart song (which didn’t even have the correct wording) instead of one of several beautiful renditions of LIFT EVERY VOICE (and Sing). It’s a shame so many of the commenters are unfamiliar with it. This one includes lyrics so you can sing along:

RooMonster 12:23 PM  

Hey All !
Add me to the tough list. Curious if the VOICEs had circles, would anyone be complaining that it made them too easy to find? As it stands, they were tough to find, and some didn't like that. Curious.

I got to the fill-in-any-letter-to-finish situation, and ended up with a 7 letter DNF. THEDAp, pARINETgY, gOLON(?), OCEANIAl/lAY, STERNac/cORY, RECODa, RaY. Yikes. So I'm SAD AT this puz.

Ang HAGGiS is NOT Savory. Bleach.

Not a GABFEST today for me, gonna HUT AT it and run. Oh, T for the COLON time explanation. Couldn't grasp it, but now that I know it, feel stupid for not grasping it!


thfenn 12:29 PM  

@SATB And how is "Turn up" ATBAT?

As in when Alex Cora says "JBJ, it's your turn up, hit another home run tonite"

Pao 12:29 PM  

This is a TERRIBLE puzzle. The theme is broken -- no soprano -- and some of the entries are among the worst I've ever seen. NETBALL is not a thing, let alone a "let" synonym. BARONETCY is brutal. LGBTICON is also not a thing. FATELINE OCEANIAN?!?!?! RIRI as a nickname for a 2007 song singer? Some idiotic conestant on "The Bachelorette" as a clue??!?!?!

This is a hot pile of garbage. I would expect this as a parody of the love child of a puzzle in USA Today and The New Yorker.

Masked and Anonymous 12:40 PM  

The Trouble with Trebles theme! Like.

This ThursPuz was harder than snot, at our house [but I ain't complainin], due to all them pop culture stuffins. [Not sure how well BECCA clue will hold up, in a 2030 puz compilation book.] And missed every beat at figurin out the theme mcguffin, until after the solvequest was history. But then … THEN ...

… Started, from left to right, to unveil the clever backward singin voices. BASS. Check. TENOR. High price to pay for it, but ok, Check. ALTO. Kinda desperate LAVA species, but ok, Check. And SOPRANO … er … Noooo! What's in there? Ohhhh … TREBLE ... huh. Chuckmate.

M&A Help Desk poop on SOPRANO/TREBLE:

"Soprano" refers mainly to women, but it can also be applied to men; "sopranist" is the term for a male countertenor able to sing in the soprano voice range, while a castrato is the term for a castrated male singer, typical of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, and a treble is a boy soprano who has not reached puberty yet and still able to sing in that range. -- Wikipedia

Sooo … ELBERT is sorta a hint to arrivin at SOPRANO. Kinda like if the 34-D themer had been DULYNOTED*, say.

staff weeject pick: AUG. Killer AUG clue; short and sadistic. Honrable mention to the totally-unknown-to-M&A REY [has YER voice in it, backwards].

Only 72 words and lotsa long themers. Desperation will ensue, as sure as the Crossword Gods poop in the woods. Nice, tasty longball semi-desperation: LGBTICON. MERIDA. THEDAB. ELVIRA. RIRI. OCEANIAN. SANTERIA. RECODE. RORY [woulda known the golfer Rory, tho]. HOTLAVA. NETBALL. BECCA. REY. I sorta lifted every splatzer I didn't know, includin em in that "desperate" mix …

Was sure OK to learn some new stuff, tho -- Might draw the line at BECCA, somehowever.

Thanx for the fun feisty workout, Mr. Agard. Break a leg, on Jep. [Would be extra-interestin, if they asked U a question about a certain singin voice, tho …]

Masked & AnonymoUUs

* DULYNOTED has TONY [Soprano] raised-up in it.


Joseph Michael 12:44 PM  

Got the theme early on and it helped me solve the puzzle, but this amounted to not much more than a BLOATed triviaFEST.

Nice misdirection on the clue for SADAT. Also liked the clues for COLON, AUG, and WATER. So the puzzle was not a complete DUD.

But had a hard time with MERIDA, ELVIRA, RIRI, RORY, and BECCA taking a STERNER look at the HAGGIS they serve in the BARONETCY and skipping lunch to do THE DAB.

TJS 12:48 PM  

where is @Z ? where is our daily PPP analysis ? Maybe it would question the positive review from Rex ? We cant have that !

I have to wonder about some of these solve times. I'm no time solver but I took twice that long before giving up on the goo, tot, colon mess in the middle. Agree with others that this was a tough struggle, which is good, but ultimately not enjoyable.

jberg 12:50 PM  

I was going to complain about the "German" qualifier in the clue for ENGELBERT Humperdinck -- I mean, it's really not needed to distinguish him from the Russian, Japanese, and Bengali composers named Humperdinck; but I think some of those referring to him as a pop singer really meant it -- so take a look here. He wrote the popular opera "Hansel und Gretel," as well as a bunch of other stuff. The singer just appropriated the composers name for effect.

I kind of liked the theme, which actually helped me get HOT LAVA, and TREBLE didn't really bother me -- I mean, it is a voice, and if you really want every voice you'd have to put in contralto, counter-tenor, mezzosoprano, etc. (I know, some of them do overlap). In the recorder-playing world, TREBLE is the English word for ALTO, while the soprano is called "descant," just to confuse things. (Don't ask me to explain crotchets and quavers, though.)

The official title of the song definitely includes "and Sing" -- you can see the author's comments, along with the words, here. Wikipedia says it's really "Ev'ry Voice..." but no one else seems to think so.

All I could come up with for a soprano answer was the same thing @Rex thought of. @Kitshef's is a little better. Can anyone think of anything it could start with other than SONAR? I can't.

jberg 12:53 PM  

@Z from yesterday -- try the Vermont Fancy grade. The stuff they sell now used to be called Grade B; they changed it to "A dark amber" for marketing purposes. It's much heavier tasting, more cloying to me (though many prefer it).

Suzie 1:23 PM  

I got BARONETCY with no trouble--guessed it as soon as I had the BA from the crosses, which were among the first I got--but BECCA screwed up the bottom left for me until the very end. I eventually got the B, but had "Bella" penciled in briefly.

Glad I'm not only one who had "Reddit" as the first guess in RECODE's place. (WTF is Recode?) I even thought, "That's a weird way to describe Reddit." But then I read the Last Jedi clue and knew it was wrong anyway. Oh well.

Despite my knowing all but a couple of the pop culture answers immediately (I agree with all of you who say that gay icons aren't the same thing as LGBT icons. Though maybe Gaga could be the latter?), I still think there were too many. And that combined with some really weird answers caused me to resort to Google a couple of times.

Also: Netball? At bat? Huh? Took me a solid five minutes to realize what they meant by "nay" too.

SJ Austin 1:28 PM  

What a great puzzle. Glad for my recent connection with an AME church that has taught me "Lift Every Voice and Sing".

The C crossing COLON and BARONETCY was my last square. I have never heard of the latter, but the former was one of those great "aha" crossword moments.

I'm not bothered by the DENT in the theme; in fact, I didn't get the point of it at all until I read this blog post. But as Rex said, it played like a themeless. And when the cluing and fill are this good, I am fine with that. In fact I prefer it to a badly-implemented rebus puzzle like we often get on Thursdays.

RooMonster 1:38 PM  

Talk about not proofreading! I barely understood what I was saying. I blame this Android phones keyboard. Every time I go to hit the O, it ends up I hit the I, and then don't go back to check. Ugh. And my fingers aren't that fat!

Don't know all the names and nuances of music pitches. Every time I sing anything, it all sounds the same. Unpitched screechy tones that reverberate your ear drum till you feel like you want to rip them out. :-)


Anonymous 1:42 PM  

I think the only reason Will published this was to troll Rex, daring him to trash Erik's puzzle. Likewise with the Agard/Haight combo a few days ago, which must have been difficult to critique.
I almost never say that a puzzle should not be published, but this one was terrible with the names.

Teedmn 1:49 PM  

I join the "super-hard" club today. What's with OCEANIAN and NAY? Gah.

Thank goodness for the theme. I had the revealer and DIDN'T MISS A BEAT and finally had to ask myself what the theme could be. I saw BASS and then, with _________ETCY in place, wrote TENOR backwards up 6D and saw BARONETCY which saved my NW. But no such savior in the SW.

mAgicAL thinking went in first. Then I came up with the popular SToniER. With the i in SToniER next to the i in CAIRO, the Pacific Islanders became hawAiIAN. That stayed in for a good long time, NAY, forever.

I was about to throw in the towel and write the SW off as a LOSS when I decided hawAiIAN was too specific - ACAI, LOSS and SIT must be right after all. I still biffed on NAY but at least it was better than it might have been.

Erik Agard is super-often my nemesis, my bete noire. He joins Alex Eaton-Salners in that position. Both of those constructors' puzzles tend to be PPP-heavy. Coincidence? I don't think so. But I wish Erik the best on Jeopardy!

Joe Bleaux 1:49 PM  

For a catchy earworm, check out "Elvira" by (I think) the Oak Ridge Boys ... "Hi-yo Silver, away ... My heart's on fire-a for Elvira."

OffTheGrid 1:50 PM  

You all know there are 2 Engelbert Humperdincks and the one in the puzzle is not the pop singer, right? Please answer yes.

Engelbert Humperdinck was a German composer, best known for his opera Hansel and Gretel.
Born: September 1, 1854, Siegburg, Germany
Died: September 27, 1921, Neustrelitz, Germany
Education: Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln
Children: Wolfram Humperdinck
Parents: Gustav Humperdinck, Gertrud Humperdinckv

Unknown 1:53 PM  

You didn’t immediately think of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, in October? How young are you?

Trombone Tom 2:01 PM  

I helped stock sheet music in my uncle's store in SF. In that trade it was always SATB. Had to go to Uncle G for RECODE.

kitshef 2:03 PM  

@jberg: Poem about artist Jean's big birds? ON ARP OSTRICHES

Joe Bleaux 2:16 PM  

As is the case A TON, ditto @Lewis, whose solving experience often mirrors mine (but he always says it first, and much more lyrically than I could anyway.) Agard never has a DUD; he's an excellent, NAY stellar, constructor. (The SW corner was a little rugged, but it's all on me ... a SANTaRIA misspell and an initial mental substitution of Saddam, duh, for Sadat at 43A).

Z 2:24 PM  

Really Really tough here. Having to get halfway through the comments to understand why NAY was right was symbolic of my struggles. Started with NAE NAE and struggled from there. This was probably a Saturday Plus time for me, but I took two breaks. My first break resulted in DICE being suddenly obvious and the NE finally falling. After a 2.5 mile hike with the beasts, SADAT/CAIRO/DRESSY all became obvious. I ended at that A in NAY/SANTERIA. It had to be a vowel and NAY was the only one that looked like a word. So is it a DNF if you don’t know why you’re right? I give myself a technical DNF if I don’t grok the theme, but I’m counting this as a win.

Regarding the BECCA hate, I’m not a fan myself, but both The Bachelor and The Bachelorettette are big enough that the regularly are mentioned on ESPN. I’ve seen “coverage” on both Mike and Mike and Highly Questionable. Hate them all you want, they re obviously late week crossworthy.

PPP Analysis

Yep, it is high. 27 of 72, 37.5%, is well over the line for Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns. Confounding so many solvers is that, with but 3 exceptions, today’s PPP is not dead.

The List

Charlie CHAN
Milk DUD
Lady Gaga and Judy Garland (half dead) clue
MENLO Park, CA (not NJ)
RIRI (Rihanna, that is)
RICE University
Anwar SADAT (dead)
BECCA Kufrin

ENGELBERT Humperdinck (dead as clued)
Chuck TODD

Greg 2:34 PM  

Speaking as a professional classical musician, TREBLE is off the mark here. You really only see this vocal designation in British boy choir music. If we're sticking with American nomenclature (and with the "black national anthem" reference, I assume we are) it's way more correct to use SOPRANO for the top voice in a 4-part choir.

michiganman 2:38 PM  

I wish I were an expert in something so I could jump all over clues that aren't perfect and don't match my high level of knowledge and high standards.

Z 2:38 PM  

Two more things. First, My cursor mysteriously disappeared as I was typing my last comment. All typos are the fault of my iPad. Second, When you look at the list you’ll notice that the PPP is especially heavy in the acrosses. This seems to limit the chances of a natick, but my feeling is that across PPP seems to be noticed and bemoaned more than down PPP. Oh, and a third thing, only 6 1/2 of the 37 actually skews young. Compare this to the dead puzzle earlier this week. This puzzle is heavy on the PPP, but seems pretty balanced overall. It seems to me that most of the most vociferous plaints are very close to “get off of my lawn you kids” type plaints. Careful, or you might start complaining about something stupid like maple syrup being too sweet.

Joe Dipinto 2:40 PM  

Rex, you do know that treble, I mean soprano, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf was at one point a member of the Nazi party? You really should have posted a different album cover. Try to be more vigilant about these things in the future.

Cassieopia 2:48 PM  

Hands up for working in tech and going RECODE? I too wanted REddit. Nice challenging puzzle with my only objection being that an EXIT sign is not a “billboard”. Otherwise very tough puzzle for me and lots of DNF spaces but it was fair.

BTW there is definitely something going on with authentication. The site doesn’t recognize me when I come in via iPhone, and when I come in on web app I have to captcha each time. Not sure what’s going on but something is, as I’ve noticed more and more comments from regular posters that their comments aren’t getting posted. Curious to know what happened and if it will persist.

QuasiMojo 3:00 PM  

@Z, being on ESPN makes something “crossworthy”? Hunh?

TomAz 3:32 PM  

@Music Man 10:46 --

Maybe you did this as a sly joke, but there are actually two different Engelbert Humperdincks. The clue references the 19th century German composer, not the mid-20th-century English crooner. (According to wikipedia, the latter changed his name to the former's to be more "arresting".)

Music Man 3:43 PM  

Update: the Engelbert Humperdinck reference in the puzzle today is to the German composer (1854-1921), not the English pop singer mentioned in my comment posted earlier.

Z 3:53 PM  

@QuasiMojo - Not by itself. But most reality TV gets short shrift on Sports TV. Non-Sports entertainment coverage on ESPN is generally reserved for the big cultural phenomena. Harry Potter. Star Wars, the stuff so huge it is basically unavoidable. There are some testosterone fueled exceptions, but for something not sports to make it through the sports and testosterone firewall means it is pretty big. I’m right with you if it’s M-W. But I think BECCA as clued is at least as Thursday crossworthy as Donna ELVIRA.

@Cassieopia - It seems as though all the complaints are from iPhone users and it seems to have started since the last iOS update came out. It’s certainly not conclusive, but my guess is the latest update somehow broke the mobile version of Blogger. If that’s true Google would need to find and fix the problem. Given the resources they typically don’t throw at Blogger, I’m guessing this may become a permanent issue.

clk 3:56 PM  

Sorry, Rex, BARONETCY was pretty easy for me with a couple crosses. The NE killed me, however. I’ve never heard LIFTEVERYVOICE and agree that LGBTICON seems off. The N in OCEANIAN was the last to go in. Not really a fun puzzle to me, BARONETCY aside.

Cassieopia 3:58 PM  

@Z I do believe you’re correct - I hadn’t linked it to the new iOS but the timing is right. Irritated that I missed that timing connection. Thanks!

Sir Hillary 4:16 PM  

Have not read any comments, so forgive me if I'm covering old ground...

Nice try from the great Erik Agard, but the puzzle fell short for me. LIFTEVERYVOICE is a wonderful entry, but the set of voices seems an odd one, and definitely not EVERY one.

But worse is the first/last/nick name fest. Even though I knew most of them, BECCA, RORY, MERIDA, RIRI, EVIE, ELVIRA, ERICA, ENGELBERT, LEPEW, SADAT and TODD all in the same puzzle is just too much. I recognize that most of them refer to women, which is a welcome change for the NYT, but it's still too much.

Also not a fan of RECODE (as clued) BARONETCY or OCEANIAN.

GILL I. 4:17 PM  

@jberg 12:50 and @OfftheGrid 1:50...I know both the Humperdinck's. The German and his "Hansel and Gretel" and the crooner and his "Please Release Me". Guess which one fits here along with THE DAB, BECCA, RORY, RIRI, ADELE, LE PEW and the LBGT duo..... Right! I'm sticking with the has-been crooner.
I also know what TREBLE is. In my choir days it always was a British referral to a boys signing range. Nowadays both girls and boys can be said to have a TREBLE voice. It's off the mark here. @Eric, perhaps, was desperate for this to work and you can sense it in this puzzle.
Too much BLOAT. It ended up a DUD. My two cents.

Anonymous 4:51 PM  

My only trouble was with the AUG/OUI cross. I didn't see that Non was French or that 8 was a month, so I had to guess at the middle letter and I guessed wrong.

OffTheGrid 5:07 PM  

I had the same reaction to EXIT. Not a good match.

George 5:25 PM  

As a gay man, I feel marginalized that I'm expected to idolize random female singers/actors. I could never figure out why Judy Garland is a big deal, and I don't think I have ever seen or (knowingly) heard Lady Gaga. Maybe I'm more aligned with the L's, B's, or T's when it comes to pop culture.

GHarris 5:45 PM  

Made me feel good to immediately insert lift every voice etc. as a gimme and proud to have worked through such tough clueing and so many drek proper names and nicknames, but was ultimately undone by nay which forced resort to Google to get Rory. Overall a particularly challenging Thursday for me.

Anonymous 5:49 PM  

I thought the puzzle was excellent. Treble is a perfectly good word for upper range voices. My beef was that it seemed more like a Wednesday puzzle. I got Lift Every Voice almost immediately which lead rapidly to the themed answers. Nice job, Erik!

PS: LGTBICON was fabulous!

Doc John 7:12 PM  

Struggled with this one; not on my wavelength at all.
So let me get this straight: really well-known and firmly ensconced in the popular culture '60s TV shows like Mr. Ed and Bewitched (Endora) get a huge shout down but people who are a WTF to anyone but the most avid TV watcher (RIRI and BECCA) get a mild "whatever."
And add me to the "nobody says LGBT ICON" list. It's "gay icon" and that's that. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think that those two (or other gay icons) have the same appeal to lesbians as they do to gay men. (And why don't gay men get a cool euphemism like "lesbian?")
And speaking of gay icons, add Endora to that list!

Missy 7:33 PM  

Please explain 57D NAY???

Anonymous 7:43 PM  

@ Missy, Read the comments.

Anonymous 7:58 PM  




1. or rather; and more than that (used to emphasize a more appropriate word than one just used).

"it will take months, nay years"

Way too much trivia to be a good puzzle

Anonymous 8:29 PM  

@7:33: "I tried to give it to her; NAY, she refused." Think Shakespearean

Everyone who's puzzling over the "middle of time" clue, just look at this thread, where each comment is time-stamped with a COLON separating the hours and minutes!

Elvira was a nice gimme for me, and had the added interest of referencing "Elvira, Mistress of the Dark" in the month of Halloween.

Anonymous 9:38 PM  

@Cassieopia and @OffTheGrid Any billboard advertisement for a store or tourist stop on the freeway always mentions what exit or else says "EXIT NOW!" hoping you will make that sudden impulse decision to swerve off the freeway to see some plastic dinosaurs and buy junk in the gift shop.

Unknown 9:55 PM  

"Was 80% done with the puzzle when I got LIFT EVERY VOICE, and didn't bother to go back and figure out how that was gonna work—I mean, I was so close to the end, why would I do that?" Um, because it's part of the fun of solving the puzzle?! I guess if speed is your only metric you miss out on a lot of of the point...

Unknown 9:59 PM  

I have a Master's Degree in Choral Conducting. I *knew* Rex would hate the TREBLE answer. There is NOTHING wrong with TREBLE. First of all, the most common clefs are Treble, Bass, Alto and Tenor. The top voice is called Treble in many traditions. Sopranos don't read soprano clef any more. What word or phrase would have ONARPOS in it anyhow? "Lift Every Voice [and Sing]" was a gimme, by the way, and helped me get every theme answer after DIDNT MISS A BEAT.

Adam 10:03 PM  

No joy in this at all. MERIDA. LGBT ICON (I immediately thought GAY ICON, but had no idea when that didn’t fit). CFL. BARONETCY. RIRI. OCEANIAN. BECCA. RICE. ELVIRA. RORY. Really didn’t enjoy at all. And the theme didn’t work for me - by the time o got through with it I could not have cared less what the theme was trying to do. Possibly my least favorite puzzle this year.

Anonymous 12:49 AM  

Hijacking top comment: So, *nobody* else had a visceral reaction to a "ha-ha, Saudi Arabia is so durn kooky!" 1A this week of all weeks?

Good ol' Joe 1:05 AM  


Anonymous 6:08 AM  

Thank you for explaining the Middle of time/COLON clue. A day later I was still struggling with trying to understand. As someone who grew up on Army posts and now works in law enforcement (not a cop), I never use colons when I write the time, even though there it is right on my iPad screen even with the 24-hour clock setting. Duh. I kept trying to figure out if “time” was some abdominal body part I’ve never heard of! I can sleep now.

Retired ChE 2:28 PM  

Cross of TMS and Merida got me. Some superscripts are TMs but many are not. And this Disney princess appeared long after my kids were done watching such movies.

I agree with the general sentiment that this was a poorly clued puzzle that was a little too into pop culture.

Unknown 6:25 PM  

The Treble voice is a real thing: it sings in the treble clef. It’s a synonym for Soprano. The use of “Treble” as it refers to a voice part is generally limited to youth choirs.

joebloggs 5:47 AM  

That’s quite a stretch. That sort of thing ought to be edited out.

rondo 11:25 AM  

DNF due to the W and SW. Couldn't make any sense of the acrosses(LATERALs?) in the SW corner. DIDNT know that yeah baby RIRI was called that. But it all started with my "not casual" being "formal" and for a nanosecond, due to that f, I almost considered the May honorees to be milfs. Of course that would never fly, but there you are.

Hope everyone else in Syndi-land fares better, and happy Thanksgiving to all.

rondo 11:28 AM  

Forgot to mention, I wouldn't consider HAGGIS a *pudding*. I had it while in Scotland and it's more like that stuffing you'll have with your turkey. Delicious, IMHO.

Burma Shave 12:06 PM  


with RICE and WATER until swollen.
Now that HOTLAVA BLOAT inside her?
No DICE, it won't EXIT her COLON.


Merry Thanksgiving Day

thefogman 3:46 PM  

I missed many beats and had ATON of mistakes in this one. I feel a bit like a turkey but I'm not sure if the cluing was fair or fowl.

Diana, LIW 6:14 PM  

Utilized my patented plan for a -day feast - just a little meat and a lot of sides. It's THE DAB method. Works perfectly every time. Or thyme. Leaves room for desert(s).

2 or 3 unknowns tripped me up in the puz, which was otherwise fun and completed. COLON - right. Nah.

I'm thankful for Syndielanders!!!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Anonymous 8:26 PM  

"Fair fa your honest sonsie face
Great chieftain of the puddin' race..."

from 'Address to the Haggis' by Robbie Burns

Anonymous 10:22 PM  

LGBTICON ? Big stretch. LGBT wasn't even a term used during Judy Garland's era. It's a modern term used mostly by those wanting to use politics to grant special favors to a certain segment of the population. Judy Garland was anything but a political figure. But Mr Agard and other NYT constructors seem to often take pains to put gay clues/answers into their puzzles. Tiresome and boring.

German Composer ? Engelbert is English with some German ancestry. But then again who else is Humperdinck ? It could have been clued Indian composer Humperdinck and everyone would still have nailed it. So why the wrong clue ? Nonsensical.

But clever theme and some enlightening answers. Very challenging Thursday puzzle.

thefogman 4:57 PM  

Equality and fairness for everyone is not a special favour. It's a human right. The reactionary politics of the far right - which oppose this basic concept - diminish us all.

Michael Leddy 9:30 PM  

[Solving the syndicated puzzle, six weeks later.]

I have to wonder: why “so-called ‘black national anthem’”? “So-called” seems to add a touch of derision or doubt (as when I refer to so-called “distance learning”). Is Superman the so-called “Man of Steel”? Is Bessie Smith the so-called “Empress of the Blues”? Uh-uh.

A better clue: “Informal name for the ‘black national anthem.’” Or “Informal name for song known as the ‘black national anthem.’”

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