Celtics player-turned-executive / TUE 2-5-19 / Leg muscle in sports slang / 1960s British PM Douglas-Home / Naan-like Native American food / Beer lemonade drink

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Constructor: Erik Agard

Relative difficulty: Easy (2:59!)

THEME: SOUNDS LIKE A PLAN (58A: "Let's do it!" ... or comment on the last words of 16-, 26- and 47-Across) — those "last words" "sound" like a word meaning "plan," namely: "arrangement" (ARE + AINGE + MINT)

Theme answers:
  • "READY WHEN YOU ARE" (16A: "I'm game —— just give me the signal")
  • DANNY AINGE (26A: Celtics player-turned-executive)
  • BREATH MINT (47A: Something to eat after a garlicky meal)
Word of the Day: FRYBREAD (8D: Naan-like Native American food) —
Frybread (also spelled fry bread) is a flat dough bread, fried or deep-fried in oil, shortening, or lard. Made with simple ingredients, frybread can be eaten alone or with various toppings such as honeyjam, powdered sugar, venison, or beef. Frybread can also be made into tacos, like Navajo tacos. (wikipedia)  
“Fry bread is a simple food but also a difficult symbol…connecting the present to the painful narrative of our history. It originated…when the U.S. government forced our ancestors from the homelands they farmed, foraged, and hunted, and the waters they fished. …They lost control of their food and were made to rely on government-issued commodities…. Fry bread represents perseverance and pain, ingenuity and resilience. … Yet, fry bread contributes to…a recipe for chronic illness and pain.” (Sean Sherman, "The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen")
• • •

Had trouble at 1A: Leg muscle, in sports slang and figured I was in for a tougher-than-usual experience, which is typically the case when I see Erik Agard's byline, but then I got HAMMY (!), which is great slang I know exclusively from sports injury reports, and all of a sudden I shot out of that NW corner and never stopped, breaking the 3-minute barrier on a Tuesday for only the second time since I've been keeping records. Speaking of sports-related answers ... yeah, knowing something about sports was a definite asset today. I can see a lot lot lot of people going "????" at DANNY AINGE, a name I've known well for over thirty years, since he played for the World Champion Boston Celtics of 1986 (I grew up a Celtics fan in Lakers country, so this was a formative moment in my sports-fan life). And he crosses WNBA, so basketball basketball! I think DANNY AINGE is gettable from crosses, but he likely slowed you down if you needed all the crosses (or, conversely, sped you up if he was a total gimme). I was so surprised at how quickly I was moving that I was braced for a horrible speed bump or other kind of comeuppance, but it never came. Had INSTINCTIVE for INSTINCTUAL, and didn't know an IMACPRO was a thing. Also, UP AGAINST IT isn't the most common slang. But I was able to piece all those together, and the grid overall is very very smooth, and (best of all), when I finished I read the revealer, looked at the themers, literally "sound"ed it out, and genuinely laughed at the ridiculousness of the whole premise. I mean "ridiculousness" in the best possible way. This theme is loopy and goofy and I Love It. The revealer is the perfect phrase to indicate what those "last words" do. Fast fun clean solve with a perfect reveal that ends with me cornily sounding out AREAINGEMINT—yes and yes. Best puzzle of the year for me, and best Tuesday of all time (I mean, probably—Tuesdays can be dire)

Five things:
  • 8D: Naan-like Native American food (FRYBREAD) — this would've been much harder for me if I hadn't read the opening of Sean Sherman's "The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen," which has a section entitled "(No) Fry Bread," detailing the troubling and complicated history of that food among Native populations. It's definitely embraced as a cultural marker and emblem of survival, but it's also reviled by those who see it as a non-indigenous food that exists solely because of the straitened conditions imposed on Native Americans by forced migration. It's also a highly caloric and not-very-nutritive food that some (including Sherman) link to high rates of diabetes and other health issues among Native populations. Here are a couple of articles (one two) on the cultural ambivalence surrounding FRYBREAD.
  • 14A: "If I Could Turn Back Time" singer, 1989 (CHER) — I approve this clue for CHER! Iconic video!
  • 30D: Biles of the 2016 Olympics (SIMONE) — I was thinking just yesterday that we're going to be seeing her in grids for a long time to come, both as a clue for SIMONE but also as probably the only viable clue for BILES (pretty sure you can't pluralize "bile" omg please don't try, that was not a challenge)
  • 4D: When the abolition of slavery is commemorated (MIDJUNE) — This is an interesting way to reference JUNETEENTH. Can we just put MID- before any month and call it a viable answer?! I guess we can! 
  • 56A: 1960s British P.M. ___ Douglas-Home (ALEC) — oh wow, there was something in this grid I didn't know—this guy. Throw him on the ALEC pile (ALEC was also Cary Grant's original middle name, which I just learned a couple of days ago while watching "North by Northwest" when I looked him up on wikipedia to see how old he was because he has a shirtless scene where he looks incredible and turns out he was in his damn 50s, that man, my god ... oh, and his name at birth was Archibald ALEC Leach, so now you know)
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Brian Grover 6:58 AM  

Maybe knowing Danny Ainge was a huge BOON here, but I think this is the easiest NYT puzzle I’ve ever solved, including Mondays. Make me engage my brain at least a little bit, please!

Hungry Mother 7:01 AM  

I’ve had a pull, but never heard of a HAMMY. Still very fast today.

Loren Muse Smith 7:02 AM  

Rex – when you do Positive, you do Positive. Terrific write-up.

How do these people come Up with this stuff? What a neat idea! Special thanks to the AINGE family and their weird last name, without which this trick would be clumsier. I mean, you’d have to figure out a phrase that ends in a schwa, like UH UH. That’s it. Too short. Even then, you’d have to go with something like CLOSE RANGE… But the syllabic division isn’t disguised as much, so the aha moment would’ve been like Oh, right. Ok.

This group, though, ARE AINGE MINT really had me scratching my head and saying the words faster and faster until, duh, I heard it. The aha moment was like Wow!

Totally agree with Rex - what a charming, sweet Tuesday puzzle. Wonder if the pronunciation patrol’s gonna cry foul over the “proper” pronunciation of that last syllable. Y’all get over yourselves already. It’s an unstressed syllable, so whatever difference you want to insist on is reduced into schwadom.

NIT – (noun): a small flaw. Wit – (noun): a person of superior intellect. Ergo a person of superior intellect who points out small flaws is, well, a nitwit.

LAUNCH crossing BUNGEE - I like doing adventurous stuff, but anything where the preservation of my life involves equipment that could possibly fail… nah. I’ll just stand over here and watch you.

FRY BREAD was new to me, but sign me up. Grease and carbs – two miracles of gastronomy.(Rex – I had to look up the word straiten. Nice to learn.)

BLU was serendipitous: yesterday another teacher and I were laughing about the time I stood in the hall with a huge piece of lettuce in my teeth, smiling and greeting the kids. It was fascinating; every single student was embarrassed, confused, and ultimately polite. No one said anything. Until Blu (real name Dakota) walked by. Whoa, Mrs. Smith. You got something in your teeth. Don’t be too impressed, though. I’m pretty sure he’s the one the following year who left a crude drawing of a, well, you know, on my desk. What is it with high school boys and all the anatomy pictures?

DAM UP. This is the correspondence between Land and Water Management in Michigan and a man who had a stream on his property. It’s worth a read.

As usual, erik agard comes through big. I especially like the SOUNDS LIKE A PLAN. READY WHEN YOU ARE. Could be a great offering in the Famous Last Words game we used to play as kids.

PS - @BarbieBarbie from yesterday. Oh. My. God. You get Catch of the Year, seeing PUT ALI INN all right there next to each other. That made my day. Bravo!

QuasiMojo 7:08 AM  

I kept getting the DNF signal from the app. I couldn’t find my error. I came here to cheat but Rex’s new post wasn’t up yet. Then it hit me. “HEADY when you are” is not a phrase. Har har... Super Tuesday Mr. Agard.

PS, “Sounds like a plan” is my second least favorite expression ever. Only “It’s all good.” tops it.

fkdiver 7:09 AM  

Quick easy solve. I know nothing about sports, but that wasn't a barrier in this puzzle. Kept reading the theme as "ORANGE MINT" though. Now I want a Popsicle.

Alec Berg 7:10 AM  

Friend of Rex = positive review. Kind of a run of the mill Tuesday IMO.

Amy Yanni 7:15 AM  

Lots of fun, and Smokey too. Humming "Tears of a Clown" before breakfast makes for an upbeat Tuesday. And Rex, you get an "Amen!" to your Cary Grant/Archie Leach sidebar.

Joe R. 7:24 AM  

I’ve never heard of DANNY AINGE, and my brain parsed it as DANNY A INGE, which led me to the theme response “orange mint”, and I really did not understand how that was a plan.

And I have the exact same problem with MIDJUNE, but I’m more worked up about it. The answer is Juneteenth. That’s like clueing “When Americans celebrate independence” to “Early July”. Technically true, but glossing over th fact that there’s a specific date and that date is very meaningful to many people.

Norm 7:32 AM  

11D says all that needs to be said about this one.

@merican in Paris 7:58 AM  

I finished this one in faster time than my average, but not by much. I really got stuck in the JONI-LIU-DANNY AINGE area, and had several write-overs in the east.

One was CREam before CREME. The reason for that spelling, I have subsequently learned, is that there is nothing OBTAINED from a dairy in an OREO's white filling. According to this web page, the filling "is likely made of sugar, palm [or] canola oil, high fructose corn syrup, soy lecithin, and artificial flavor." Oh, and if you think it tastes different from when you were a kid, that is because the original recipe for the filling got its creaminess from pig lard. So now you know.

The grid is correct, by the way in stating that MIT PRECEDE(d) SMU -- by half a century. The former was founded in April 1861, the latter in April 1911. April must be a good month for founding UNIs.

To anybody who felt AT SEA in trying to fill in 44D, you have my sympathies. I own a MacBook Air, which is cheaper than its more sophisticated cousin, the MacBook PRO. I knew there was an Apple MAC PRO (Apple's CRÈME de la CRÈME -- très CHER), but there is indeed also an iMAC PRO. Confusing, especially if you're not a Mac person.

Nice puzzle, Mr. Agard. Many thanks for the work-out.

SJ Austin 7:59 AM  

What a fun puzzle. Erik is really one of the best. The cluing is always so fresh and clever, quirky without making me roll my eyes. You can always count on a few clues to stretch me beyond my white guy bubble. Plus I love that he loves basketball.

Speaking of basketball: thanks to Danny Ainge, I missed a PR by a few seconds, probably attributable to keyboard clumsiness in a couple spots.

tommydif 8:01 AM  

I had TMU for 40A, and transposing the A and I in 10D had me at UP A GIANT TIT. And I thought, "Well, no..."

Crimson Devil 8:15 AM  

Smokey & Tracks of My Tears, and Danny Ainge, all in one. Gonna be a good day.

three of clubs 8:16 AM  

Should be noted that Naan is explicitly not fried. It's quick-baked on the side of a tandoor.

mmorgan 8:30 AM  

Didn’t know DANNY AINGE but had no trouble getting it from crosses. I had FRYBREAD for the first time two weeks ago on a visit to Tucson. I didn’t know any of the story behind it but it’s not surprising. It tasted pretty good, kinda sorta like fried dough, but less sweet. I can’t imagjne that eating it on a regular basis is very good for you.

I somehow missed the entire ARE AINGE MINT conceit. Wow.

OldCarFudd 8:33 AM  

LMS, I heartily agree with you about bungee jumping. I watched an acquaintance do it in New Zealand, where the sport began, and decided there hadn’t yet been enough money printed to tempt me to try it myself.

But wheelhouses are funny. As I wrote in the answer, I didn’t think of bungee jumping, but rather early glider flying. (I, my wife, and three of our joint five kids are licensed glider pilots, though we haven’t done it years.) In the early days, a glider would be put at the top of a hill with its tail tied down and its nose pointed down the hill. The middle of a long bungee cord would be hooked to the glider’s nose, and the ends would be laid down the hill in a shallow vee. Two groups of (mostly) guys would pick up the ends of the bungee and start to walk down the hill. As the resistance grew, they’d begin to run. As the cord got to its maximum stretch, the glider’s tail would be released, the gang on the bungee cord would fall on their faces, and the glider would shoot out into the valley. If there was no wind, the pilot could do a turn or two before landing in the valley. If there was a good breeze blowing up the hill, the pilot could soar along the hill; sometimes he could land back on top of the hill so the glider wouldn’t have to be schlepped back up from the valley.

Modern gliders are heavier, and are usually towed aloft by an airplane and the released. But the magazine of the Vintage Sailplane Association is called Bungee Cord.

Woman Sports Fan 8:41 AM  

Rex did positive because he went fast. Danny Ainge is the only high school athlete to be named All American in baseball, basketball, and football. He was an important contributor in the super Celts Larry Bird team of the 1980s (woo, long time ago). He played pro baseball, and he's been a successful executive in the Celts organization (Magic, from the same era, should hope to do as well for the Lakers).

Patrick Butler 8:42 AM  

Super-fast for the second day in a tow. I had JAMUP at first, so JANNYAINGE. figured that was wrong and then remembered the player/exec’s name. That was the only momentary slowdown. Liked it, but best puzzle of the year? That could only be a Friday or Saturday for me.

pabloinnh 9:01 AM  

Everybody knows DANNYAINGE around here, so no problem there. He also played pro baseball for the Blue Jays. I always thought he looked like a grown up Dennis the Menace during his playing days. He had a wonderfully pissed off look when a call went against him.

Hey LMS-you know very well what's up with high school boys and all the anatomy pictures. It's All They Think About.

Really fun puzzle, but over too fast. Well done, EA.

Irene 9:01 AM  

Serious Natick for this non sports fan with Danny Ainge, WNBA and Joni.
Otherwise an easy puzzle, and I loved seeing frybread. But I thought are/ainge/mint was dumb.

Crimson Devil 9:08 AM  

Saw Ainge go full court, 94 ft, for game winning layup to win c-ship for BYU, in NIT I think, then tried to hit ML curve ball for few yrs with Jays, then to Celtics...and rest is history.

FLAC 9:08 AM  

The Cher video was okay, but the clip of Aretha and Smokey was off-the-chain awesome. The greatest singer and the greatest pop songwriter of my era, collaborating on the songwriter's greatest tune. (It's Ooh, Baby, Baby, BTW, not The Tracks of My Tears.) And as a bonus, the prince of unctuousness himself, Don Cornelius.

(Okay, I'm dating myself. So sue me.)

I liked the puzzle, too.

GILL I. 9:10 AM  

Lots of little three's. LIU BLU SMU is kinda cute. Sounds like a Smurf doll.
I actually said it out loud. I mean Erik told me to, so I did. ARE AINGE MINT. Yeah, it SOUNDS LIKE A PLAN. cool!
This was a quickie....no hang-ups, and no real aha's but it was clever. BREATH MINT caught my eye. If you eat lots of garlic and you sweat, no amount of MINT is going to take away the smell. It's like people who eat lots of kimchi, like my friend Yung Sook. The odor comes through your pores and the only way to get rid of it is to take a long hot bath and soak yourself with Aveeno. I use Opium eau de toilet.
I bet @'mericans will see UP AGAINS TIT. I only mention it after watching that CHER video and thinking GOOD GRAVY. Was she crazy wearing that G-string in front of thousands of our Navy who've probably been out AT SEA for eons....??? She should have been the one performing at Super Bowl half-time along with Lavine. Now THAT would've been worth the price of admission.
Nary a HISS nor a NIT to pick. Glad our friends EPEE OREO LEI were clued cutely and that @Rex liked a Tuesday.

Mark Tebeau 9:11 AM  

Killed it today. And a lovely silly theme. Great write-up Rex. My feelings exactly. Sub 10 for a Tuesday. Yah!

Lewis 9:16 AM  

Combining sounds from three answers to make a word -- that's a fresh theme to me, and I like the literal meaning of "sounds like" in the reveal, not how those words in "That sounds like a plan" are normally used. No PANS on the theme here.

Plus many answers formed a paean to vowel-sounding endings:

(Thanks to supporting players wnba, lga, only, joni, and unscrew. With a postscript that alas, save for "chai", there is no "i" in this team.)

ghthree 9:37 AM  

As my wife and I worked the puzzle on paper over breakfast, the December issue of the AARP magazine was in plain sight. Neither of us had heard of Smokey Robinson, but there he was on the cover! An accidental gimme! We agreed that he was probably a member of some sports team, and I vowed to look it up after solving.

His website refers to him as a "Legendary singer-songwriter,"
thus coming squarely down on the hyphen side of the hyphen versus slash controversy.

Would we have gotten his name from the crosses? We'll never know.

Nancy 9:39 AM  

Oh, please don't be HAMMY, I thought, as I saw the 1A clue. (Not that I wanted it to be HAMST or HAMBO either). I don't have cutesy nicknames for my hamstrings. Frankly, if everything's going well, I shouldn't have to think about them at all. If you have to think about your hamstrings, much less give them a nickname, they're probably causing you Trouble.

And why wouldn't you clue 1A something along the lines of "description of a bad actor"? This cutesiness was so unnecessary.

But once I got past 1A, nothing else bothered me. This was easy for an Agard puzzle, and it didn't have a lot of pop culture either. Which is a good thing. I never heard of a SHANDY, but the mixture sounds revolting. However all 4-letter teas are CHAI, however they're clued. Other than having to change INSTINCTive to INSTINCTUAL, I sailed through this. As far as the theme is concerned? Well, it's a theme.

Jeff Eddings 9:40 AM  

Am I the only one who says a-rrange-ment or does everyone else say arr-ange-ment??

Dorothy Biggs 9:46 AM  

How many of you did a Google search of "shirtless Cary Grant" immediately after reading Rex's blog entry? Oh, come on, we know you did...

TJS 9:51 AM  

Way too easy to justify OFL's over-the-top praise, but with the double whammy of Agard plus record time, I guess he couldn't help himself. I'm wondering if Rex read the cookbook in the original Sioux edition. But the inclusion of the Smokey and Aretha clip overwhelms any negatives.

Sir Hillary 9:52 AM  

So much to like in today's puzzle, write-up and commentary. A good morning all around!

Erik Agard is such a rock star that he makes even a pedestrian Tuesday theme into something fun by (a) going full-on goofy, as noted by @Rex; (b) livening things up with great fill (HAMMY, FRYBREAD, ROBINSON, IMACPRO, UPAGAINSTIT, SHANDY, etc.); and (c) cluing in a fresh, yet non-gimmicky way (any puzzle with cinnamony in a clue works for me).

READYWHENYOUARE and SOUNDSLIKEAPLAN are just screaming to be accompanied by HOLDMYBEER.

Ditto to all those who have been humming "Tracks of My Tears" ever since filling in ROBINSON. Miracles indeed.

Like @Rex, I grew up in Lakers country. Unlike @Rex, I grew up a Lakers fan. Thus, DANNYAINGE as a professional was a villain. But my most enduring memory of him is as a collegian at BYU, when he did this in the 1981 NCAA tournament to beat a very good Notre Dame team.

Jeff Eddings 10:00 AM  

And, if I'm being SUPER picky, the last e is more of a schwa sound and not an herb sound: mənt not mĭnt.

Actually, if I'm being SUPER honest, I just wanted to post a response with the word schwa in it. How is it not everyone's favorite word?!

CDilly52 10:17 AM  

How many ways to love a puzzle and the blog today! First of all, if you are interested in food, especially from an anthropological point of view, read Sean Sherman’s “The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen.” And @Rex, thank you for taking the time to print Chef Sherman’s entire sidebar on FRY BREAD. As an Oklahoman, I have been fortunate to meet and become close friends with many indigenous people from many walks of life, all of whom have enriched my life with stories, art, music, dance, crafts and of course food.

My daughter gave me Chef Sherman’s book for Christmas and I have been “devouring” it and it’s culinary bounty. I’ve also gifted it to several friends and am hoping to work through friends to bring Chef Sherman to Oklahoma with the goal of creating opportunities for the indigenous people now firmly replanted in Oklahoma (learn about the Trail of Tears if you aren’t aware of the evil perpetrated by the US Government on the citizens of the New World who were here first) to expand Chef Sherman’s cadre of farmers now growing the wonderful, healthy and above all scrumptious ingredients used in the Sioux Chef’s recipes.

Such a fun puzzle with a solid, and expertly presented, and clever theme. Easy, yet very “Agardian.” I always enjoy his work and today is no exception.

CDilly52 10:18 AM  

I’m sure you aren’t but c’mon, it was clever and close enough. Just go with the flow - elide.

Roo Monster 10:37 AM  

Hey All !
New OREO out now. Get them while you can! Already had 'em myself. Nirvana.

Very nice and easy TuesPuz. Record time for me (did online today)-6:42. And I wasn't trying for speed. The ole brain chalks it up to getting better at puzs. HAR.

Totally untrue story warning Wonder if DANNY AINGE's original last name was ZAINGE and as sick of sitting way in the back in school? So he changed it. :-)

Liked this puz, great for the "typical" off-day for puzs. Erik strikes again!


Z 10:40 AM  

Track of My Tears.
Sung by Aretha
Cary Grant (scroll down)(and let me suggest that the “reviewer” has no idea what makes a good movie good)(On a side note - Cher was 43 years old when she filmed that video)

@Sir Hillary - Love your HOLD MY BEER suggestion.

@Jeff Eddings10:00 a.m. - Perfectly acceptable reason for a post.

Banana Diaquiri 11:03 AM  

I've popped a HAMMY more times than I can count. takes months to fully recover.

Masked and Anonymous 11:15 AM  

LIU BLU RICA … I want to go to there … M&A would wear airy cay garb, during the whole luvly visit.

@RP: Weren't *that* day-um easy, at my house. HAMMY? APBIO? M&A and his nanosecond cache immediately fled to the safe harbor of CHILI/CHER, to get their nerve back. Did know DANNYAINGE with no probs, tho.

staff weeject picks: LIU. BLU. SMU. UNI. It is easy to see how @GILL I. & @Lewis were irresistibly drawn to them.
Primo weeject stacks in the NW & SE were also nice to see.

Cool theme idea. ARE-AINGE-MINT probably sounds more like the actual plan-word than M&A coulda drawled it up, in his own native tongue. Needed the revealer to figure out the theme mcguffin, of course. Tryin to figure out what Danny Ainge and a breath mint had in common was gettin M&A nowhere fast, during the solvequest.

fave fillins included: All four U-jects. YOYO. UPAGAINSTIT. SHANDY. BUNGEE/LAUNCH.

Thanx for a superb TuesPuz, Mr. Agard. Good & funny.

Masked & Anonym8Us

(demo version):

jberg 11:18 AM  

I had to drive my wife to work -- normally she takes the subway, but she has to change trains downtown, which is overrun with rabid Patriots fans waiting for them to roll by in Duck Boats, and it's not very far by car. So here I am, posting late, long after solving this fun puzzle. I'm with @Rex, @Lewis, @Loren, and many others -- the revealer makes this truly a great theme.

My son once bungee-jumped at Victoria Falls. He says that when he came back, someone told him that his eyes had bulged out of his head at the bottom. I don't think I'll try it. Ziplining, though, any time.

We had one-ALARM chili a couple days ago, I'm glad to see things are getting more serious.

Distress signal, spelled out.

Universal unlocker.

Major Lance lyric.




OK, I'll quit.

Masked and Anonymous 11:19 AM  

HAR APE MBA ain't quite as subliminally pleasin, as yesterday's weeject stack opener. But, it does conjure up a satisfactorily weirdball picture, I'd grant. Sooo … ok.

M&A Sublimation Desk

Anonymous 11:24 AM  

No way was I going to get 4 down for Mid June. never heard of it. My parents anniversary was June 18. my bar mitzvah was June 17. When the abolition of slavery is commemorated seemed like it needed to be Passover. Luckily, this went so fast that everything filled in with crosses so I never saw the down clues or the theme.

Sandy K 11:31 AM  

@Rex and other Cary fans
Fascinating- and shirtless!

PhilM 12:29 PM  

With 26D "Block, as a stream" wouldn't "dam" alone do? Speaking as a Brit, I often wonder about these extra adverbs is US-speak, as in "wait up" and "where are you at?"

Myuen88 12:32 PM  

This write-up was so postive and upbeat that I thought for sure someone was filling in for Rex!

Carola 12:49 PM  

I did a page search for "DNF" and came up only with @QuasiMojo's near miss, so I think I'm the first to declare a full-fledged 2-square failure. Apparently my seeing red at some of Senator Ernst's positions also has obscured her name, as I had JOdI; with the correct N, I might have seen WNBA, but with WdB...and "What could approximate 'arrangement'?" I went with DANNY rINGE. An A never occured to me. Other than that, an enjoyable Tuesday.

@QuasiMojo, I laughed at your fingernails-on-a-blackboard reaction to "Sounds like a plan." That and its cousin "It's a plan" are the confirmatory phrases I often reach for when making arrangements over email. I'm 100% with you, though, on "It's all good."

Teedmn 1:03 PM  

I originally had Women's Dart Board Assn. for 17D because I always want to call Sen. Ernst JOdI. I would rather clue 1A as a "Description of a grilled cheese sandwich with meat" as I have never heard of hamstrings abbreviated thusly. And I instinctively went with Rex's version of 22D first. Nice grid combo of YOLO and BUNGEE, making YOLO into YOLAST (you only live a short time).

Cookie Connoisseur 1:17 PM  

Hydrox superior to Oreo, always has been. Oreo is a copycat.

jae 2:05 PM  

Easy-medium. Smooth grid, quirky amusing theme, liked it.

Carola 2:26 PM  

@Teedmn - Jinx! Gopher and Badger with Hawkeye consonsant confusion.

Anonymous 3:06 PM  

I'm shocked, shocked, that a friend of Rex's received a valentine for a write up.

QuasiMojo 3:09 PM  

@Carola, thanks for noticing my comment. Yours has made me question if perhaps I’m being overly sensitive to the expression. :)

Malsdemare 3:14 PM  

@philM. If as kids, any of us said, …Where's he at?" My mother would say, "Right before the at." Got us every time. None of us dare say that.

Fun puzzle. I liked it.

Joe Dipinto 3:20 PM  

No complaints about LATINA vs. LATINX? I'm shocked -- I expect Rex to be on the cutting edge of what is apoplectic-fit worthy, and surely this qualifies. Oh but it's an Agard puzzle.

Maitre D: And finally, monsieur, a wafer-thin mint.

Mr Creosote: No.

Maitre D: Oh sir! It's only a tiny little thin one.

Mr Creosote: No. Fuck off - I'm full... [Belches]

Maitre D: Oh sir... it's only wafer-thin.

Mr Creosote: Look - I couldn't eat another thing. I'm absolutely stuffed. Bugger off.

Maitre D: Oh sir, just... just one...

Mr Creosote: Oh all right. Just one.

Maitre D: Just the one, sir... voila... bon appetit...

Hungry Mother 3:22 PM  

A couple of my bungee jump videos:

GoPro Video

Official Video

JC66 4:15 PM  

@Joe D

Funny you should ask. I threw in LAwyer off the LA.

David Schinnerer 4:16 PM  

Wonder if that write-up would have been the same if Bruce Haight had been the constructor...

GILL I. 4:54 PM  

@Hungry Mother. YIKES.....and then some. Did you by chance ever watch some of those BUNGEE jump failures before you took the plunge? Well, I HAVE, and they don't look appetizing. I don't want to splat. I am, though, going to go skydiving. YESIREE bob, I am.
Today is the Lunar and Chinese New Year and it's the year of the pig and it's my birthday and my husband promised to buy me a jump when I turn 80. I still have quite a ways to go and if I'm wearing dentures, I will take them out before I take the plunge, but that's what I'm going to do on Feb 5th sometime in the future.
LOVED your video and congratulations on your bravery. Glad you're still alive!

Padraic 5:05 PM  

Fun puzzle, but way too easy for a Tuesday and a lame themer. The (!) SUPER positive (!) voice throughout the review was kinda nauseating.

Have like Eric since he showed up on Jeopardy, but he deserves an objective look like anyone else.

JC66 5:18 PM  



Have a scotch for me.

Jeff B. 5:49 PM  

Thanks for the wonderful clip of Aretha and Smokey together!

Nancy 6:01 PM  

@Quasi and @Carola -- "SOUNDS LIKE A PLAN" vs. "It's all good" as phrases you hate or accept. Of the former, I'd say: Neither good nor bad. It depends on who's saying it. I have a friend who tends to say it a lot -- with a twinkle in her eye and a smile on her face. So that I actually find the phrase rather endearing. Of the latter -- it doesn't matter who's saying it; I find it disingenuous. It's usually said to show equanimity in the face of some sort of awfulness and I can't think of a single instance where I've entirely bought it or failed to question the speaker's sincerity.

@GILL (4:54)-- There's a difference between BUNGEE jumping and skydiving insofar as danger is concerned??? You sure could have fooled me. Look, if you're dead set (pun intended) on skydiving on your 80th birthday, let's make sure we meet up sometime before that date. Okay? @Hungry Mother (3:22) -- I do plan to look at your BUNGEE jumping videos. Just let me take a Dramamine and a Valium first. Okay?

QuasiMojo 6:14 PM  

Happy birthday @Gill I, you foxy WASP you. Or is that Waspy FOX?

pabloinnh 7:14 PM  


Feliz cumpleanos, y que tengas muchos mas! Muy bien hecho.

Tambien, eres loca, pero ojala que alcances numero ochenta.

Anonymous 8:10 PM  

Pistons fan here used to have a T-shirt in the late 1980s that said "I hate Danny Ainge." 26 across was a gimme.

Anonymous 12:18 AM  

Why is the first O in Yolo "only"?

Joe Dipinto 4:24 AM  

@Anon 12:18:
You. Only. Live. Once.

kitshef 11:13 PM  

Of course you can have multiple biles - black bile and yellow bile. Black makes you melancholy and yellow makes you choleric.

Burma Shave 9:26 AM  


GEE, for her it SEAMs INSTINCTUAL to do;
It SOUNDSLIKEAPLAN should SHE commence it,
but Mrs. ROBINSON you can’t UNSCREW.


rondo 10:05 AM  

Hand up for INSTINCTive at first. Yes, it was easy, but I didn’t love it as much as OFL. Maybe I should take into account the all too often Tuesday dreck.

DANNYAINGE a gimme – nothing but NET – but former Celtic (and U of MN star) Kevin McHale also became an exec, though not with the Celtics, but with the MN Timberwolves. One letter too long to fit.

Attn constructors: ‘Miracles’ would’ve been a nice corresponding answer to Smokey ROBINSON.

Before getting the gimmick, the _RE____INT was looking a whole lot like ‘greenpaint’.

Plethora of choices, but from the land of the one-named people we have yeah baby CHER.

Different little STUNT, OK puz.

spacecraft 11:05 AM  

Wow, OFL and Agard must indeed be BFFs! Clean?? Best ever??????? OK, here we go (I wasn't going to list all the garbage but now I will):

SPF APOP BLU RICA MIT SMU UNI WWI FRYBREAD??? IMACPRO AMS. Plus, INSTINCTUAL--a word (though why it exists is a mystery) that is clearly inferior to INSTINCTIVE. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the byline; Erik must have been UPAGAINSTIT (by far the star of this show) and just churned something out. Oh, I forgot the way-overused crutch EPEE.

At least the DOD contest is on. In a multi-way photo-finish, Lucy LIU wins.

To OFL: You may be a Celtics fan and thus a huge supporter of DANNYAINGE, but in his playing days, he was widely considered to be one of the dirtiest players ever to don an NBA UNI. I don't know how he is as an executive--but I'm glad I don't work for him.

The theme is cutesy enough, but not worth its fill surroundings. EA is better than this, so the bogey score is part disappointment.

Oh--and the captcha nonsense is getting my IRE up. Enough already!

rainforest 3:23 PM  

So, apparently @Rex liked this. So did I, especially the odd-ball theme, and the clue for LGA.
Pretty easy with nothing that slowed me (up or down).

Of all the "cool" phrases that are out there, nothing is worse than "it is what it is".

Some people like to specialize in certain letters. Me, I'M A C PRO. (trombone)

leftcoastTAM 4:08 PM  

Nice to agree and make nice with Rex over a first-rate Tuesday puzzle. Also had same feelings about theme and revealer.

Other good things: the long downs in the NE and SW and unknown but easily gettable FRYBREAD and SHANDY. Hadn't heard HAMMY for hamstring before, but it it's apt slang and provided a good start out of the NW.

Great work by Erik Agard, Shortz and company.

Diana, LIW 5:47 PM  

Almost had a Natick at AING/JONI/WNBA, but figured it out. Not into women's sports, either.

The rest was pretty straightforward, so encountering that Natickal area was frustrating for a few moments.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswods

Jon R 3:32 PM  

SIMONE Biles (or Biles Simone?) seems like a stretch for a Tuesday...I got it by chance, since SMU made it a Natick for me. Nina should continue her reign on the early week puzzles imo.

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