Noted artist on Bad Boy Records / THU 11-15-18 / Catchphrase for Moe Howard / Comic strip reporter Brenda / Cloned machine of old / 1990s game disk / Wash out with solvent

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Constructor: Mary Lou Guizzo and Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Medium (5:45)

THEME: MICROLOANS (60A: Money to start small businesses ... or a hint to five squares in this puzzle) — a rebus puzzle with five "IOU" squares (so, an "IOU" is indicative of a loan and since "IOU" has been shrunk into a single square ... MICROLOANS!)

Word of the Day: ELUTE (2D: Wash out with a solvent) —
Online string instrument ... just kidding. Actually: "verb
  1. remove (an adsorbed substance) by washing with a solvent, especially in chromatography.
    " (google)
• • •

This is an extremely solid rebus puzzle, with a revealer that seems like it's been waiting all its life for someone to come along and make a puzzle based on it. As is typical with rebuses (and, just, most puzzles in general, honestly), I was slow to start, and particularly so given where I started. Hard enough to get DUBIOUS HONOR under any circumstances, but especially when it's hiding a tiny IOU, and especially when it also crosses ELUTE, which is up there on the yuckiest crosswordy words list. The Least Wanted list. ELUTE isn't a word, it's a typo. "Did you mean KLUTE? No? Did you mean ELUDE? No? Did you mean ELATE? No? I give up. Goodbye." I had OU-I at 4D: "Certainement!" and figured I was dealing with some kind of "leave a square blank" puzzle. Like, the answer was obviously OUI, but it just skipped over a square for some reason—what would that reason be!? Well as we know now, it was the "IOU" square. But I didn't figure that out there and then. I drifted down until I got to 44A: Catchphrase for Moe Howard, and after I got WHY, I knew the answer, knew it wouldn't fit, and so got very ... suspicIOUs. Got the gimmick pretty quickly then, as PREC- seemed to really want "IOU" to follow it (27D: Contents of a treasure chest = PRECIOUS GEMS). With this new "IOU" knowledge, I was able to go back to the NW, clean it up, and move on. Close encounters with ELUTE ALOU BIOME ELEA TOAT ESTA and COR had me a little (lot) wary of this one, but honestly I forgot all about that when, off of just -IOUS-, I got NOTORIOUS B.I.G. (10D: Noted artist on Bad Boy Records, with "the"). A great answer, and a themer to boot! The rest of the puzzle could've been a dog's dinner for all I cared. I was set. Then the revealer came in and gave the whole theme gimmick a solid rationale. Fine. Just fine.

Today I learned that the adjective is not SIOUXAN, which ... I mean, looking at it, yeah, that looks bad. Still, though, I balked slightly at SIOUAN, but the crosses checked out, so I was fairly (and rightly) confident.

I don't think of druids often, but when I do, their ROBEDness apparently isn't in the first tier of things I think about, 'cause that answer was slow to come to me. But I did get very lucky with the proper nouns today; in addition to NOTORIOUS B.I.G., I lucked out with the clues on STEINEM (20A: "Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions" author) and STARR (33A: Comic strip reporter Brenda)—feminist icons both. May as well throw PELOSI in there too, as she was also a gimme (46D: House speaker after Hastert). I couldn't figure out what was PRECIOUS at first about the treasure chest. Wanted CARGO, didn't fit. Got the "G" and wanted GOLD (?). I think I've said this before, but PRECIOUS GEMS seems redundant. "Look at these worthless gems!" is not a phrase I can imagine someone saying. But I recognize that PRECIOUS GEMS is a real phrase (I just think it's more a jeweler's phrase than a pirate's). Thought the "con artist" might be a CHEATER, but I like CHARMER better (42D: Many a con artist). And I think I'm finally getting the "Frozen" crosswordese sorted—she's ELSA, and the snowman's OLAF, and the reindeer is SVEN, is that right? Is there more? Ooh, looks like there's a younger sister ANNA and a prince named HANS. That makes five reasonably common four-letter crossword answers that could have "Frozen" clues. You are welcome for this public service.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Harryp 2:32 AM  

Even with the Rebus figured out, this one didn't play easy. Words like ELUTE an BIOME were hard to parse. Great Thursday workout.

Larry Gilstrap 3:00 AM  

I boxed this thing around like a kitten with a bug. That rebus gambit actually helped me solve. Not a big fan of the epilogue solving, a recent puzzle comes to mind. I've signed more than a few IOUs in my time, mostly real estate loans. And how did that work out for you? So far, so good.

OFL claims to have gotten STEINEM early, and boy, that would have helped. EMINEM seems rebellious and outrageous enough to have written a book with attitude. Tried way to hard to make that work up around Portland. I'm a feminist; I just watched my mom and then they came up with a name for her behavior.

The Giants brought up the ALOU brothers. The youngest was named Jesus, which became an issue in the 60s. To most folks, Jesus was not Dominican, but the basis of a religion. So he became "Jay" ALOU.

Wow! The Three Stooges show up today and just a few days ago we got CLOWN CARS. There's only three? How many CLOWN CARS comprise a motorcade? Asking for a friend.

jae 3:20 AM  

Easy-medium. Caught the rebus early with NOTORIOUS BIG and my only erasure was sAil before MAST so...easium? This was fun, liked it. If you’d like to get into the MICROLOAN business Google Kiva.

Anonymous 3:32 AM  

I can't stand rebus puzzles. Nothing sucks the joy out of a puzzle more than rebus hunting. But at least it was pretty easy and it didn't last long. Looking forward to Friday and Saturday for a better experience.

chefwen 3:47 AM  

Got it at NOTOR(iou)SBIG, no idea how, mustn’t have seen his name in some publication. Was then off to hunt down the rest of the IOU’s.
Why (iou) GHTA made me laugh..

I do love me a great rebus Thursday and this one filled the bill. Loved it.

John Child 3:50 AM  

ROFLOL @Larry Gilstrap. Three clown cars jibes with my circus experience. A Clowncade perhaps, if not quite grand enough for a motorcade. Add a few monkeys on bicycles though, and then it’s elevated to motorcade proportions.

I liked this - easy in places but just crunchy enough to come in at almost exactly a Thursday average time. After 10 days of slaying puzzles at near personal best times, this was very welcome.

How long until we see Notorious RBG?

Loren Muse Smith 4:16 AM  

I agree with Rex that MICRO LOANS is a terrific reveal for a rebus. This was a lot of fun, especially the exercise of deciding it’s a rebus and then trying to sniff it out. Added to my delight was that I broke it open with OUI OUI. What a terrific find! Too bad more of the rebodes couldn’t have spanned two words like OUI OUI and WHY I OUGHTA… (See avatar. But it’s not A Thing.)

THEE has a great clue. Sure. Back in its heyday, it truly was what you’d call a "friend." You was the formal pronoun for someone of higher status. (So can someone explain to me why, in The Prince and the Pauper, Twain has Tom Canty (pauper) use the friendly pronoun when, realizing who he’s talking to, says to Henry the VIII, Thou the King? Then am I undone indeed! If there’s ever a time to use a formal pronoun, it’d be then, ammirite?)

I have to amend the clue for AGENDAS to “Well-run meetings have them, and the person running the meeting makes sure everyone sticks to it.” I’ve been in lots of meetings where, despite the agenda, we just sat around complaining about everything and nothing got accomplished and we all left even more bitter.

NOTORIOUS B.I.G. - When I taught in the prison, erik agard was nice enough to write a puzzle for my class that had a rap theme. (These prisoners are obsessed with crosswords.) The trick on this one was that the clue was the real name and the fill was the stage name. They were gobbling this up, tooling along, chatting, working together blah blah when someone got THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G. I said, Yep, The Notorious Big (said like the word). Everyone got quiet and the room deflated. They all looked at me, pretty much in disbelief. Finally one of them said, Uh, it’s not Big. You have to say B.I.G. Oops.

Mary Lou, Jeff – nice job.

@Quasi from yesterday – Let me amend my That Guy example to a line in a tony Whole Foods. (Or A Southern Season in Chapel Hill, where this actually happened to me, but the product was a tin of Moravian Cookies. At Christmas. With a line backing out through the aisles. Less than fifty cents in his huge purchase.)

BarbieBarbie 5:09 AM  

Got it at ODIOUS. Good puzzle, easy-Medium for me. But I disagree with, I guess, everyone about the theme. An IOU isn’t a loan. It’s a debt. It’s the other side of the coin. So, this is one of those themes that feels stretched to me, though that’s definitely fine in Crossword-Land.

Lewis 5:36 AM  

@rex -- Funny and insightful writeup, and let's see if this quiets those who say you have a thing against Jeff Chen.
@LMS -- B.I.G. story made me L.O.L.

Re the puzzle:

"Wha?" I went after my first pass yielded little due to a SEA of vague cluing and six answers outside my wheelhouse, but I had faith that Jeff and Mary Lou, who have teamed up for 10 puzzles before this, would make it fair through the crosses and scattered gimmes, and that persistence would prevail. So I plugged along, catching ahas as I went. Also catching that beautiful END crossing END right in the middle, the fractIOUs cross of PELOSI and a backwards GOP, and eventually, the clever clever theme, as my patience, endurance, and faith paid off.

So, J&ML, THEE HADST me at the ONSET, but as I hoped, rewarded me with a terrific experience. Thank you!

DeeJay 6:47 AM  

Terrific puzzle. To the anonymous who dislikes rebuses, keep solving and be aware that rebuses are a possibility. Or find another hobby (I hope you don't). It's like claiming to like baseball and hating on a no-hitter.

Us crossword fans imagine being tapped by British intelligence in 1941 and being tasked with breaking the German codes. Throw anything at us, we will solve it.

The most exciting puzzles are those that stretch, bend, reverse and contort themselves. Figuring out the deceit is more than half the fun!

Tea Man 7:30 AM  

Like Rex, I, too, learned that it's "Siouan" -- not "Siouxan." Once I was confident about that, the rest of the puzzle was relatively clear sailing. The "dubious honor" answer reminded me of the old Esquire Magazine awards, which I believe were called the "dubious distinction" awards. Enjoyable puzzle for me.

amyyanni 7:31 AM  

Yay! Finally, a comics clue of which I was certainement! Used to follow Brenda Starr even I started reading Ms. Steinem.
Almost always love a Jeff Chen puzzle. And especially when paired with Mary Lou. Great Thursday fun.

kitshef 7:32 AM  

NOTORIOUS B.I.G. finally got me to the theme. I thought that was odd and unlikely, but apparently it makes me one of the gang. Indeed, proper names in general were a huge help today: STARR, PELOSI, NOAM, ALOU …

Tough in a good way. Never got to that point where you’re just filling in letters – had to think all the way through. This one suited me toat.

Tried to fit “mais OUI” in at 4D. That did not work out well.

@rex- PRECIOUS GEMS is as opposed to semi-precious.

JOHN X 7:39 AM  

You know, I kicked the shit out of 95% of this puzzle, I truly did. I filled it in like a shopping list for booze. And then I got to that NW corner and I just died. Mainly because I had BIOTA instead of BIOME. It was 2D and 20A that killed me. I had a DNF.

ELUTE must be a chemistry word and I'm a mere motorman but 2D is flush in my world. And I thought 20A was a Playboy Bunny not someone who wrote books. There was my DNF.

I guess I have to kill myself to preserve my honor. I'll do it later next week because I have a dentist appointment on Monday. Services for me will be held at the cemetery the following day, and you are all invited. I hope to see you there. Ciao.

Kiki 7:40 AM  

@Loren Muse Smith I got "thee" from the Quakers also being called Friends with a capital F.

Mary Jo Kopechne 7:52 AM  

I liked it. It played old. Seems very 20th century, notwithstanding Sven the Reindeer.

mmorgan 7:55 AM  

Great puzzle! My favorites were OUI OUI and WHY I OUGHTA.

Anonymous 7:56 AM  

Speaking of four letter words, looking fwd to MAGA being an answer in some future puzzle. Rexie’s head could explode.
Pretty easy for a Thursday IMO.

Small Town Blogger 8:12 AM  

Precious gems are specifically diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires. All others are semi-precious gems. So, a very valid term.

Joe R. 8:15 AM  

I'm not a fan of rebus puzzles, and often get stymied by them, but this one came easily to me, I started in the NE, and was pretty sure about ODIOUS, but SIOUAN gave me too much pause and I left that square blank. But then I looked to the long down, and it was so clearly NOTORIOUSBIG that I was sure it was a rebus puzzle, and the rest of the grid came relatively easily after that. The NW was the only part that gave me trouble, because sports people will never come easily to me, ELUTE is a ridiculous word, and HERO and HADST just didn't come to mind. Thank goodness for TED Kennedy!

travis 8:16 AM  

For all the ways to clue PELOSI, did they really have to go by way of a pedophile?

pmdm 8:26 AM  

Wow. An enthusiastic review of a puzzle co-authored by Chen, perhaps even more enthusiastic than Chen'sreview of his own puzzle. I heartily agree. Is this a first? Will wonders never cease?

Anonymous 8:46 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Suzie Q 8:50 AM  

Nice rebus with a clever reveal. That's all I ask and today I got it.
Elute? That reminds me of concoct/decoct that we see sometimes.
I love Rex's on-line stringed instrument. Is Elea an on-line meadow?
Lots of names today that almost spoiled this for me. I really resent needing to know characters from kid flicks.
Oui Oui looks so funny. Six letters and not a consonant in sight.
@ jae, I love easium!

Anonymous 8:50 AM  

I really enjoyed this one. As someone who’s taken some chemistry courses I thought ELUTE was easy and got it right away ... much faster than I came up with most of the proper names. I had Pirate GEMS instead of PRECIOUS GEMS before I figured out it was a rebus. Overall a fun solve!

Silasxl 8:50 AM  

I believe Quakers are also known as "Society of Friends." That's why a "Friend" is addressed as "thee"

Z 8:50 AM  

Solid. The puzzle suffered because I did the Fireball last night, an outstanding puzzle by Patrick Berry. There’s a reason the guy is revered, and having a very good puzzle come out the morning after is really unfair to Chen and Guizzo.* ELUTE might have gotten a pass most days, but it’s like the difference between a perfectly adequate but slightly flawed IPA and Two Hearted Ale. You might not notice the flawed beer drinking it by itself, but try it in a taste test and the difference is obvious. Anyway, If you liked this one you should get this week’s Fireball to solve.

*I note that the NYT lists them as Guizzo and Chen. Wondering about the significance of not going alphabetical.

Anonymous 8:54 AM  

Stop it!

Jeff 8:54 AM  

Elute. Did no one take a chemistry lab, well, ever? I know everyone has their pet subjects, but this isn't mine and this came pretty readily. I certainly have my areas of ignorance, but that everyone finds this word obscure speaks to our collective scientific ignorance, I'm afraid.

Crimson Devil 8:56 AM  

Have deveploped love-hate regard for rebus-Thursdays. Learned elute: never heard of.

RavTom 8:57 AM  

Great insight on the THEE clue. As to Twain: by the late 1800s, for most readers, “thee” existed mainly in old-timey texts, especially Shakespeare and the King James Bible. So, it was what people said “back then.” Also, from the KJ to religious language in general, it was how you referred to God. What was written as a term of closeness to God had morphed into a term of awe. Hence, it seemed right to his readers to call a VIP “thee.”

Words Matter 8:58 AM  

@Travis: Hastert’s a pederast not a pedophile.

Nancy 9:03 AM  

What a great puzzle! Such wonderful rebus answers -- OU(IOU)I, being my favorite. Followed closely by the wonderful, and wonderfully clued DUB(IOU)S HONOR (17A). Changed pReCIOUS ME to GRACIOUS ME (28A) just in time to see that there was a PRECIOUS GEMS answer. I've never heard of a MICRO LOAN (you'd think to start a business you'd need a MACRO LOAN), but whatever.

Unfortunately, after so much time and effort, I still couldn't finish this. I could blame the pop culture arcania that I didn't know: WHY I OUGHTA. But it's all on me, despite that. If I'd had...

*CHARMERS, instead of either SCAMMERS or SPAMMERS for the con artists at 42D...
*ZORA, instead of LORA at 53D...
*Or thought of GEE at 45D...
...Then ZINGERS instead of LING-MS (whaaaa????)at 53A would have filled right in.

Oh, well -- a terrific rebus that kept me challenged and engaged throughout. Good job!

Dan P 9:06 AM  

I knew ELUTE from drug-eluting stents, which are reasonably well known if one is at all familiar with heart disease and its potential treatments.

Brookboy 9:10 AM  

Enjoyed the puzzle. I thought it was difficult until I got the rebus. I love rebus puzzles. Most of the time.

Boy, Brenda Starr brings back great comic memories. I loved comics as a kid growing up in Yorkville in Manhattan in the Fifties. I bought many the comic book then. Regular comic books were a dime, and thick ones were a quarter. When you traded comic books, the thick ones usually traded for three regular comic books. I also avidly read the comic strips in the paper. At that time there were about nine dailies, six in the morning and three in the afternoon, IIRC. My father read the Journal-American, a Hearst paper, and my mother liked the Daily News and occasionally The Post or the Daily Mirror. That made for lotsa comics for this kid. Brenda Starr was among the regulars, and I read it as a matter of comic honor even though it wasn’t my favorite kind of strip. I preferred funny (or at least the attempt) to ongoing story lines (like Terry and the Pirates and Brenda Starr). But I read ‘em all.

QuasiMojo 9:13 AM  

I am amazed at Rex’s time today. Mine was as long as a tough Saturday. It’s not that I didn’t catch the rebus early on, it was more that some of the fill was tricky or off. I figured out the gimmick with Siouan btw since I knew that trailer or RV didn’t fit.

But I found much to quibble with in this crossword as I am wont to do when tackling Jeff Chen puzzles. First of all “micro loans” are a special type of loan given to low-income groups or poor populations, as in India where they have helped people start businesses and move into homes when banks refused to offer loans. They have nothing to do with I.O.U.’s in the traditional sense (such as a piece of paper tossed into a poker game) and the “wit” in making this connection “elutes” me. An I.O.U. is basically a promise to repay. It’s a chit, not a micro loan. And very often there isn’t any interest attached to them.

Likewise it seems like a stretch that anyone would fill a treasure chest with “precious gems” as it would be hard to find that many stones to fill a chest. If you google that phrase all you see are ads for commercial products on Etsy or gimmicky come-ons. What one does hear about is a treasure chest filled with “precious jewels” since this can mean any type of jewelry, with bangles and beads and necklaces, and baubles, bracelets, gold chains, and perhaps even a tiara worn by a rap star. Speaking of Notorious BIG, how about Hastert!?

@LMS, thank you, now I understand. We don’t have a Whole Foods where I live. We are forced to pay a fraction of what groceries cost there, making the most of every last 50 Cent. Oh and to answer your very interesting question about “The Prince and the Pauper,” which is a very fine book and one of my favorite movies (one of the few to star an actual pair of twins!) I can only speculate that Twain was trying to underscore the point that the Pauper was uneducated and unsophisticated and would have used the familiar terms with anyone since he had not been instructed yet in the niceties of language and social hierarchies. The opposite happens in a lovely French film I recently saw directed by Robert Bresson and written by Cocteau in which a pair of intimate lovers use “Vous” to describe each other, despite their familiarity, because in traditional French romances it was often customary to use the language of courtly love or perhaps simply to imply respect. Since they were upper class, it came naturally. To “tutoyer” each other would have been “common.” At least in the realm of fiction of which Cocteau was a master.

DevoutAtheist 9:17 AM  

@Retired Guy (yesterday) "I'm surprised no one complained about 19A, FALSE IDOL.... doesn't an idol have to be false? if it weren't false, it wouldn't be an idol... what the Bible prohibits is the worship of idols, or of false gods...

gods are false, too

CDilly52 9:41 AM  

I really wanted “flush” at 2D as well and hung on way too long! I am, however of an age that allowed me to get STEINEM, and yet the NW continued to flummox.

CDilly52 9:46 AM  

I slogged through chem and also got ELUTE, mostly because I love words more than chemistry and recalled the specific lab exercise during which I told the TA how much I like the specificity in science-related words and how DILUTE and ELUTE so clearly define their respective results. Learned something for my effort!

Karl Grouch 9:46 AM  

Another bah experience for me.

Someone please convince me that "microloans" is such a great revealer.
IOU's are debts not loans, right?

Knew it was a rebus the moment I read the revealer clue: "a hint to five squares" can't be anyting but a rebus.

After that I got on track with 4D. When I was a kid, a french boy who stayed with my family for a while, had brought along a stack of Noddy books, translated as Oui-Oui in French, the mind (mine at least) working in mysterious ways, I din't blink for a MICROsecond before filling in the answer. Go figure..

All but one themers have words ending in -ious. Too predictable and not Thursday-worthy IMhO.

And pleaaase stop clueing names after Frozen, I've had it with reindeer and snowmen, basta!

IBMPC is a bit far-fetched in my book.

17D wins today's prize for best clue and answer.

(@Suzie Q: Νο,the pun doesn't work. ELEA is to be pronounced [eh-leh-ah] and is ancient Greek for "olive").

Peter 9:53 AM  

A fully enjoyable puzzle, but does no one else have an issue with SORT as a word processing function?

Maybe it's something you can do word processing, but I think of it more as a database or spreadsheet function, where you have lists of data that can be rearranged in a variety of ways. I can't think of a lot of things to sort when you're writing in a word processor, but maybe I'm just showing my limited experience and being pedantic.

Jamie C 9:55 AM  

This was a good puzzle*

*An IOU is not a loan, micro or otherwise. Huge flaw with this theme, and I'm surprised Rex let it pass.

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

Dondi, Smilin' Jack, Judge Parker (ha), & of course Dick Tracy

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

Nice Replacements reference in the blog! Greatest band that never was.

Airymom 9:59 AM  

@Words Matter--8:58--Hasert is a pedophile, a sex offender and a child abuser. He had sex with children (persons under the age of 18) without their consent, and in a situation where he had power over them. If his actions had been reported to the police when they happened, the police would have charged him with sexual offenses and child abuse (because his victims were in his care and custody when he assaulted them) and child protective services would have been involved.

There is no gray area here. My expertise--31 years as a social worker and supervisor in CPS, 8 of them with a statewide child sexual abuse investigation unit.

If Hasert was 50 and he had sex with a 18 year old young man he met socially, he could be defined as a pederast. Some might find this relationship wonderful or disgusting, but it is legal

So, @Travis--8:16 is 100% correct.

CDilly52 10:01 AM  

Comics (especially the Sunday color pages) were such an important part of my daily routine growing up in Columbus OH (also in the fifties). Never missed Brenda Starr. She brought back some fond memories for sure. Lots to enjoy in this effort, and I was looking for a rebus early on yet couldn’t find it until PRECIOUS GEMS. I was all over this grid like Riccochet Rabbit and filled in much of it easily but the NW stayed blank except for the (for me) gimmes of ALOU and STEINEM, The NW finally fell at the last, right after finishing the dregs in the DUBIOUS HONOR neighborhood. Had so much trouble getting HADST and HERO for some crazy reason, even knowing ELUTE from chem lab. This was everything a Thursday rebus should be. Congrats constructors, and thanks!

Whatsername 10:16 AM  

I’m a big fan of the rebus and can’t think of a more appropriate use of one than today’s. Excellent puzzle, just challenging enough to be fun but not too hard, and a pleasant interesting blog post. What an outstanding start for Thursday! Thank you Jeff, Mary Lou and Rex.

GILL I. 10:26 AM  

Joy....This was like going to the gym (which I usually dread) and then feeling exhilarating after my hour work-out. How in the world did I know NOTOR[IOU]S B.I.G.???? Only because I knew 16A had to be OD[IOU]S. and I had NOTO in place. Dang, I felt smart.
Went back to the beginning where I had lots of trouble. At first I had envIOUS HONOR for that party school. Erased that along with my original MAI OUI. Oooo la, la, tis wrong. It's DUBIOUS HONOR because ENVIOUS belongs downstairs. Is that ACME's malapop?
Man, this was fun. I had the most trouble with the proper names but Mary Lou and Jeff made them all gettable. You just need patience I said to moi.
I think NOSE was my first entry. Then I went and plunked in CARACAS because, well, I actually lived there and learned all about voodoo and why our maid stuck pins in a doll that looked suspic(iou)sly like my mother.
I love anything to do with semantics. Thinks like "Heavens to Betsy" and "For Pete's Sake" and good old GRACIOUS ME. My grandmother who knew everything could not explain why Betsy went to heaven or why Pete has a sake. I think she said something like" In English you can say what ever damn thing you want."
@travis 8:16. I know, right? I mean PELOSI doesn't' have anything to do with pedophile's (I don't think) but "good gravy" why mention Hastert....
THEE from the Quaker Friends was cute. I also liked the ROBED Druids. Heck, I liked everything including ELUTE.
I'll say it again...THIS WAS FUN.
@Quasi...loved your "tutoyer." In Spain, they don't like using the Usted anymore and they will tell you to tutear them.

jberg 10:29 AM  

I got the rebus with the NOTORIOUS B.I.G. -- but I needed quite a few crosses, I'd heard of him but had no idea what label he was associated with. Although I knew of him before, it was this parody that cemented it in my consciousness.

Once I saw that, it all filled itself in except for the GEE/SEA crossing. I just couldn't come up with SEA for plethora, but once I had G_E for the down, there it was.

@Loren, my reaction to "Thou the King?" was the same as @Quasi's. I once dated a woman whose parents were birthright Quakers, and had grown up in a community of the same in Pennsylvania. Her mother used thee and thou as a matter of course; it threw me off every time I heard it.

@John X, loved your STEINEM bunny joke. I'd always heard the rumor, but this inspired me to look it up. According to Wikipedia, she really did work as a bunny, but on assignment from a magazine, and wrote a pretty scathing expose (can't type the accent there -- not sure why, I did it a day or two ago) based on her experience and that of the women she met there.

Oh yeah, MICROLOANS. @Nancy, Mohammed Yunus got the Nobel Peace Prize for inventing them, but that was in Bangladesh -- you'd need a little more to start a business here in the USA. Also, the bloom has gone off the rose a bit subsequently.

Serious question: how do we know what Druids wore?

Whatsername 10:30 AM  

@Peter at 09:53. I agree that “sort” is primarily a spreadsheet function applying to numbers. However especially in the early days of word processing programs, I can remember using the sort function to alphabetize a list.

pabloinnh 11:02 AM  

Like many, got the rebus at the ODIOUS/NOTORIOUS crossing, which is where I started and things went zipping along after that (for a Thursday).

Didn't know ELUTE but I figured that if you can dilute something, you can probably elute it too. Fun with prefixes. In our church choir, and thanks to something I made up a long time ago, we now have an introit and a detroit.

Great Thursday. Many thanks and oles to MLG and JC.

AW 11:02 AM  

I'm puzzled at the assertions that an IOU is not a loan. It's a promise to repay money that someone lent you, just like a bank loan only informally and, usually, for smallish amounts, hence the play on "micro." Seems perfectly legit.

Matt B 11:13 AM  

Some help to remember the Frozen crosswordese, IMDB trivia says several names were inspired by Hans Christian Andersen, namely: Hans, Kristoff, Anna, Sven. Also, Olaf, the snowman serving as comic relief, is used because it's a Scandinavian name with "laugh" in it.

Masked and Anonymous 11:27 AM  

Loan vs. debt thingy: MICROLOANS is just offered up as a "hint" to the five IOUs. I'd hafta say an IOU is neither a loan nor a debt -- more like a document that acknowledges a debt because of a loan. Sooo … sorta ok.

My partially-filled puzgrid had the M&A-typical look of a rebus. Lots of stuff filled in, but with these sorta black holes of white space near the [yet to be figured out] rebus squares. Didn't help, that I wanted GRACIOUS at 28-A, which fit like a charmer. Finally figured out the mcguffin between peekin at the 60-A clue and nailin down OD[IOU]S. Lost many gems of precious nanoseconds, tho.

staff weeject pick: IOU, of course. If U wanna e-lute IOU on a technicality, plan B-RB weeject pick is: COR. Tough COR-clue, too boot. And COR crossed NOTOR[IOU]SBIG, which was not well-known to m&e, either.

Really liked the NOSE clue.

Thanx for the feisty fun, Guizzo/Chen.

Masked & Anonymo8Us*

* includes the five IOU U's. Littler darlins.


Hartley70 11:34 AM  

Aaaaah...a perfectly wonderful rebus Thursday. The little IOUs were cute and the revealer was spot on. DUBIOUSHONOR gave me the trick early even though I had to guess at ELUTE. ELEA was another entry that needed crosses as did the Moe Howard clue. The only Moes I could remember were the Three Stooges fellow and the owner of Moe’s Bar on “The Simpsons”. I’m betting on the Simpsons and used the crosses because I don’t actually watch “The Simpsons”. I’ve just absorbed the characters from the air I breathe.

Ellen S 11:51 AM  

Over at XwordInfo @JeffChen worried that solvers wouldn’t like the puzzle, but I’m with @Rex; I loved it. It was fun getting the rebus, the theme answers were delights, and the revealer was a pleasure. And I barely noticed the little dabs of glue.

old t 11:52 AM  

An IOU is certainly evidence of a microloan. I think we can give the authors a pass there.

I am, thou art, he is, we/you/they are. Standard English. As in most European languguages, the second-person plural (vous in French for instance) became the respectful plural when addressing persons outside the immediate family. The Friends came to believe that using "you" and your" was an unseemly honor that made class distinctions unsuited for the simple life they espoused, so resurrected "thee" (and thy) when addressing all persons regardless of rank.

For some reason never understood, Friends often used "thee" in ungrammatcal ways, saying "thee is" instead of "thou art"

Anoa Bob 11:53 AM  

About the only place I've seen IOU is in a crossword grid. It's often clued in the context of a poker game. I've played a SEA of poker and someone saying I BET or I call and then placing an IOU chit in the pot would be met with OD(IOU)S SNEERS or, more likely, much worse. Not recommended.

Even the top constructors, like today's duo, lean on the POC to aid in filling the grid. This includes four two-for-one POCs, where an Across and a Down share a final S. For those who are earning points toward your POC merit badge, find those and then send in your answers and you will receive an IOU for a sack of PRECIOUS GEMS.

Must run. Lunch is served. Today we're having ODON on TOAT with a side of POG. Aren't you ENV(IOU)S?

RooMonster 12:05 PM  

Hey All !
Seems I'm the only one who doesn't know "Certainement!" Who the what? Even knowing I needed one more Rebus square, had to Reveal Word on that one, as OUI OUI wouldn't have happened if I'd've stared at it for the next millennium. That NW corner was a toughie.

We did get our Rebus fix today. Liked some of the IOUs answers. The fill was wonky in a few places. But overall a good'un.


Ellen S 12:10 PM  

@Jeff, I can’t speak for the others, but I took chemistry in high school and college. In high school I dripped a tiny bit of sulfuric acid on my foot, learned a little biochemistry there. It didn’t hurt, guess it was cauterizing itself on the way down. Flesh turned to ash. I also learned some physics when I grabbed a ring stand after an experiment involving a Bunsen Burner, and discovered that the stand gets hot, not just the ring. Happily I didn’t learn as much in college chem. Oh — and I never heard of ELUTE. Maybe I was too busy injuring myself to listen to lectures.

Carola 12:38 PM  

A fun one, but pretty easy once a single IOU was in place. Like others, I found my way into the theme early at ODIOUS, which made DUBIOUS, PRECIOUS, and NOTORIOUS a whole lot easier to get. For the green-tinged ENVIOUS, I originally was thinking bil-IOUS and considered CHAncER before CHARMER. Very clever reveal.

Z 12:45 PM  

There’s a mortgager, a mortgagee, and a mortgage. The mortgage is the loan. A mortgage is nothing more than a legalese laden version of an IOU. The only problem here is how people are conceptualizing “loan.”

@Airymom - I think @words matter was pointing out that pedophilia differs from ephebophilia and a man who engages in ephebophilia is called a “pederast.” In common parlance “pedophilia” is more encompassing than in its technical meaning.

@ELUTE defenders - Yeah, no. It’s a perfectly cromulent word, but it is still obscure. Ceci n’est pas une E-LUTE.

Words Matter 1:04 PM  

Airymom: Hastert is a child molester, a sexual abuser and a pederast. I’d also add that he’s a rapist by definition for having sex with a minor as an adult. He is rightly in jail. He is not, however, a pedophile (as far as any public information reveals). Here’s the definition: “Pedophilia (alternatively spelled paedophilia) is a psychiatric disorder in which an adult or older adolescent experiences a primary or exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children.” Hastert’s victims were adolescents.

jb129 1:11 PM  

I got the rebus right away - I didn't know ELUTE & BIOME so I had to cheat. But a great Thursday puzzle! Kept me going until now!

Teedmn 1:11 PM  

I grew up 30 miles from the town of Winnebago, MN and my parents' friend made his living delivering Winnebago RVs around the country. (He always joked that the only state he hadn't delivered to was HI, for obvious reason.) So I knew there was a Native American tribe hiding at 12D. After I NOSEd that out, I knew what we were dealing with, rebus-wise, but it still went pretty slowly.

I join @Nancy in having OUI OUI as my favorite of the theme answers.

S__N as the " 'Frozen' reindeer" went in as StaN. It didn't sound right and I really needed to remember it was SVEN before VARIOUS and PELOSI were gettable.

And then there's my splatzing in Pirate___at 27D, with the P from PEP in place. Arrgh! That shivered me timbers for a bit but everything worked out in the end.

Great job, thanks to Jeff Chen and the NOTORIOUS MLG!

Nancy 1:46 PM  

@Loren (4:16 a.m.) and @jberg (10:39) -- Re "Thou the King":

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anointest my head with oil.

I'd say if it's good enough for God, it's good enough for Henry VIII. Right? I read "The Prince and The Pauper" eons ago and don't remember that scene. But I imagine the Pauper probably meant it as a term of great respect.

PM 1:47 PM  

Classic Onion headline: Notorious B.I.G Cremation Enters Second Week.

Hungry Mother 1:52 PM  

For some reason, I thought it was a one-way rebus of “ous” which counted as an “s” in the other direction. This seemed right for a couple of the themers, but then I saw the light and had to unwind several entries. Plus, I’m distracted waiting to see if I’m getting a pacemaker in the next day or so. But, I always enjoy a rebus and liked the puzzle.

Joe Bleaux 2:21 PM  

Yes! They were the "Dubious Achievement Awards" at the end of each year, and discontinuing them hugely disappointed Esky readers (this one, anyway).

Joe Bleaux 2:35 PM  

(There is no 17D, but now I'm curious ... what IS your fave?)

Anonymous 3:00 PM  

Words Matter,

I agree that words matter. So do facts. So allow me to help you out. Hastert is not in jail. He was released last year.
More troubling than his pederasty was the Feds' case. He was not incarcerated for pedophilia, pederasty or ephebophila; he was indicted and convicted on structuring charges. Why the government is interested in bank withdrawals is, in many legal scholars' view, at best problematic.

Big Steve 46 3:05 PM  

@ Jeff, 8:54 A.M. Also had to pause at "elute." Jeff, I took a chemistry class, all right and did petty well, if memory serves. But it was about 55+ years ago! I'll claim a statute of limitations pass on that one.

Anonymous 5:04 PM  

@DeeJay -- So I'm not a crossword fan because I hate rebus puzzles? Good to know. You keep up the gate keeping. I look forward to future edicts from you on all sorts of topics about who is and isn't a real fan of things.

Whodiss 5:49 PM  

Did the puzz in average time (for me) but agree with everyone who pointed out IOUs are not loans. They're promises to re-pay a loan. They are, in face, the opposite of a loan. Completely wrong -- no idea why more people (especially the ultra nitpicky Rex) didn't realize this.

RobertM 5:53 PM  

Loved this puzzle. A personal record for a Thursday. Got the rebus at ODIOUS/SIOUAN cross. Loved Notorious B.I.G. Our Lexus RX 350 is named Biggie Smalls, the Notorious S.U.V.

Words Matter 6:45 PM  

@anon 3PM: Right you are and wrong I was. At least Sandusky is in jail. I know who each guy is but somehow confused them. I am sorry and promise to be more careful in the future, #facts matter, though tomorrow I’ll likely have a different nom de blog.

droog 9:01 PM  

someone explain 64 across please. what is significance of capital F 'Friend'?

TomAz 12:55 AM  

I'm very late to the party here, but..

MICROLOAN is horribly clued. MICROLOAN has a specific meaning relating to finance for impoverished people in underdeveloped countries trying to make a living through their own industriousness. This puzzle winks at the real meaning and appropriates it for First World purposes. I find it in extremely poor taste.

Whether an IOU is a loan or not is beside the point. A less tone deaf clue at 60A would have redeemed the puzzle.

Monty Boy 3:14 PM  

This is way late, so Hi to you Syndies.

I like this one a lot. I got all but the NW and needed the reveal to get ELUTE, then OUIOUI. I would have avoided the French word in the clue (don't like non-English words in an English puzzle). My partial French clue, but gettable for us non-French speakers:

What the little French piggie said all the way home.

Any support??

iamjess 4:51 PM  

Hard to enjoy the puzzle until figuring out the rebus.

But. Then. POG. POG!! Nostalgia abounds and my love of this puzzle ascends.

Anonymous 6:02 PM  

Love the La's IOU video. I was obsessed with that album for several months in 1991.

Burma Shave 9:44 AM  


GRACIOUSME, it’s so PRECIOUS what MADONNA can proffer,


rondo 10:35 AM  

Pretty much the same solve experience as OFL (a DUBIOUSHONOR), except for solve time (+/- 3 Rexes). ODON and TOAT are DOOKs to me.

@TomAz must have a bit too much starch in his briefs. GRACIOUSME!

If someday we can get the whole gang of SVEN and Ole and Lena into the same puz there will be all the makings for any number of “Dumb Swede” jokes.

What happens in a French restroom? OUIOUI.

MADONNA. Yeah baby.

HADST THEE a good solve as well?

spacecraft 11:52 AM  

When I saw the byline I thought: well, this OUGHTA ne an improvement--and Jeff/Mary Lou didn't disappoint. Spotted the revealer during a scan of the clue list. When it says "a hint to [five] squares in this puzzle" I think uh-oh, better work on that line. So it was that I started down south, getting the trick at VARIOUS/ENVIOUS. Is there a law that says you MUST begin your solve in the NW? At any rate, my method made for a solvable NW that might otherwise have been much more difficult, no? OUIOUI.

Never heard of ELEA; crosses forced it. SIOUAN crossing TOAT (ugh, guys, spoiler of an otherwise excellent grid) was rough. That name Winnebago was a major misdirect.

I am not the fan of 10-down that OFL is, but I have heard of him, and by the time I got there it was a gimme. DOD is MADONNA, naturally, and I am pleased to score this one a solid birdie.

thefogman 12:35 PM  

About average solve time for a Thursday. Nicely done Mary Lou and Jeff! This was so much fun, I feel as if IOU one.

Anonymous 12:49 PM  

I find the revealer itself to be neutral with regards to 1st or 3rd World. When I finally deduced 'micro' I realized that it referenced a 3rd World 'small business'.
It seems that when 3rd World was not included in clue, you assumed 1st World. Whose bias is it?
And I am only solver to not know pog or BIG. Natick for me only.

Diana, LIW 2:56 PM  

Pretty much the same solving routine as @Spacey. Except some unknowns led me to a final dnf. But I did know a rebus was going on with the "five square" clue, and I figured out IOU right away.

I remember reading Gloria Steinem when I was in high school in a women's magazine - and I liked her. So guess ho I couldn't guess? Eeeyup.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Diana, LIW 3:02 PM  

PS - Like @Teedmn's friend, Mr. W made his living in college for a while by driving Winnebagos to their new-found homes all over the country. That's how he left Iowa for the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Even delivered one to New York City. The man can drive anything that sports a side mirror.

Lady Di

leftcoastTAM 4:21 PM  

Almost had it at PRECIOUSGEMS/WHYIOUGHTA, but didn't come up with IOU as logically clear enough response to MICROLOAN revealer. END of story.

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