Nickname for Cleveland Browns fans / THU 3-28-19 / Subject of Hemingway's Death in Afternoon / Carla 1960s R&B duo

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Constructor: Damon Gulczynski

Relative difficulty: Medium (would've been Easy if I'd figured out the theme some time before the 80%-done mark...) (6:10) (3:45 am solve, good morning!)

THEME: GIVE ME SOME SPACE (64A: Request needed to understand four clues in this puzzle) — you need to put a space somewhere in the one-word themer clues to make sense of them:

Theme answers:
  • FROM WHERE I STAND (17A: Tome) (i.e. To me)
  • DECIMAL (30A: Often) (i.e. Of ten)
  • POWERLESS (37A: Notable) (i.e. Not able)
  • PERSIST (49A: Goon) (i.e. Go on)
Word of the Day: CORRIDA (2D: Subject of Hemingway's "Death in the Afternoon") —
  1. a bullfight. (google)
• • •

Fell asleep early, woke up Very early (3:30am! Hello!) and then solved this puzzle. If it weren't for the theme answers, I would've killed this puzzle. The only thing that got in the way was the theme, which I didn't understand for waaaaaaay too long, and even after I pieced together the revealer, I still didn't get it, because it says GIVE ME SOME SPACE and there is the letter string "me" in the first theme clue, so I got distracted trying to make that meaningful for a little bit. Went looking at the other theme clues, saw there were no more "me"s, then made a face, then got it (yes, that's a plausible sequence of events). I've definitely seen variations on this theme before, or this kind of wordplay, so my reaction to the revealer was more collapsed shoulders + oof than widened eyes + Oh! Mainly I'm just mad at myself for not figuring out the rather simple theme concept much earlier. Again, really don't like the "ME" in GIVE ME SOME SPACE because it feels superfluous and distractive, from a theme expression point of view. As a stand-alone phrase, GIVE ME SOME SPACE is great, and of course the whole point is that you are repurposing a stand-alone phrase. I get it. It's just weird that nothing happens with "ME," and also weird to imagine that I would "request" something like this. "INNERSPACE" ... now there's a revealer!

Hardest parts for me where the ones that formed the connective tissue in the middle third of the grid. Not understanding the clue on DECIMAL, I really needed the short Downs but couldn't remember which horrific crossword initialism was called for at 25D: Banned pollutants (PCBS) and couldn't decide on which [Childish retort] to use (it was IS SO) (again, I say: worst genre of clue Ever). Also, the clue on B-SIDE was tough (36A: It's generally not played so much) (and people play B-SIDEs all the time, wtf).


Had STIFF for SHAFT, so that caused a real snarl (41A: Give a raw deal). And then there was the ADA / DEW cross, which was my last letter in the grid, and which I just stared at for a few seconds wondering how any letter could make a [Frost relative] (DEW). Ugh. I was like "... NEW ..." Not a fan of the ADA clue (28A: Palindromic girls' name). There are famous ADAs, you know? Come on.

Oh, and then I finished up with a stupid ERROR because of the stupidest reason, i.e. the olde "Which Plural Is It, Latin or English?" dilemma. That is, I had PUPAS at 59D: Cocoon dwellers (PUPAE). Always check your crosses, kids! [Popular bait for catching striped bass] is not SELS, it turns out. Ugh. Anyway, the theme is fine, the puzzle is fine, but there were issues that made my feelings run to tepid. Oh well. Happy Opening Day!
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    [Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


    chefwen 5:10 AM  

    I finished the puzzle and thought “what the hell”? Read the reveal to puzz partner and after some thought he said maybe the space is in the clue not the answer. TA DAH! I always knew I married smart.

    Again, Michael, so sorry for the loss of your sweet pup Duchess. Losing a pet is always heartbreaking.

    Loren, my deepest sympathy for the loss of your Father.

    Anonymous 5:17 AM  

    Somehow I got the theme very early on, which definitely helped!

    Lewis 5:31 AM  

    The clue for 21A could have engendered a grid-spanning LIONSDENFALLACY.

    Aketi 5:39 AM  

    Finished if last night but could not figure out
    the theme. Didn’t have the imagination at that time of the night to realize you could DOOK a clue.

    Lewis 5:50 AM  

    I make brief notes as I'm solving, and after I saw PERSIST (with several letters filled in) and looked at its clue, I wrote down, "IT'S A DOOK PUZZLE!", laughed, and dashed in the other theme answers, which all also had some letters filled in. It's always, to me, a pressure reliever when I figure out the Thursday trick. And that, combined with the fact that this theme, IMO, was funny, made for a great great solving moment.

    Had the passing thought as I looked at the completed grid that OK's could be called YESLETS.

    Nice clues for IPODS and BSIDE, a mini-theme of double E's (5), and a great reveal -- a first-class puzzle, in my estimation. Thank you Damon!

    Loren Muse Smith 5:58 AM  

    Man oh man I’ve missed this place! What a tricky trickster theme to wade back in to. I always miss the part where I’m supposed to pay attention to the clues and not the fill. The aha moment was so satisfying. We need to name this type of theme a dook trick.

    I loved GIVE ME SOME SPACE. Have you ever stood in line at an airport in front of people from a different culture, people who didn’t get the memo that when in the US, you don’t try to force your way past us, who got there first? This happened to me in Frankfurt, and I was surprised at how quickly and firmly my inner basketball box-out beast took over. There was no way in hell these two guys were getting in front of me.

    I got a kick out of the clue for DECIMAL. I had never really thought about the word’s ten-ness. Boy I bet you lunatics who still insist that decimate means to reduce only by ten percent notice the ten connection in DECIMAL. (Seriously, peevers- get with the program; you’re making fools of yourselves.)

    BEEFCAKE CREEP FOP- at the Y in Ridgewood, there was this guy with carefully-styled hair and matching workout clothes who postured and preened. Damn peacock. (Sheesh-now I’m revisiting every word, and, well, if you squint, peacock is at once startling and logical. You’re welcome.)

    Thanks, @chefwen. I lost Dad a couple of days ago and am still in NC learning to navigate these surreal waters. I loved this trick so much, though, that I felt compelled to post, albeit wobblily, on my phone.

    I’ll tell one Dad story and plead with you for no condolences here that would shift the focus from this terrific puzzle. I’ll know that you all send good vibes. Just Vulcan mind-meld me, k?

    In Chattanooga back in the late ‘60s, they started bussing. Most of my good friends were being yanked out of Rivermont Elementary and put in private schools. Dad sat my sisters and me down and said, “You are better than no one, and no one is better than you. Some of my best friends growing up in Charlotte were colored. You WILL go to school with colored children.” RIP, Dad.

    DJG- ya got me for a while on this. Loved it!

    Justus 6:00 AM  

    I had Chafe for 41 across, and I was grinning, thinking, what a brilliant clue…

    Harryp 6:04 AM  

    As has been said earlier, I was able to DOOK on this one. Easy but fun.

    Aketi 6:41 AM  

    I liked the DAWGS GONE BAD cross with the DINGO in the puzzle.

    I feel that today’s theme made me think that I’ve been treating the clues themselves as if they were the BSIDE of a record.

    RAD2626 6:46 AM  

    While I think I have seen deliberate DOOKS in grids before, I do not ever remember seeing it in the clueing. Had no idea what FROM WHERE I STAND meant even though it was all filled in but got it at POWERLESS. Such a fun and clever puzzle with lots of good fill as well.

    Will attempt a mind meld. Lovely and still timely remembrance.

    Horace Clarke 6:52 AM  

    Just to go off topic for a second, today being Opening Day (North American version), if you love baseball dig up the April 27, 1995 puzzle. Play ball!

    Eric NC 7:15 AM  

    @MLS. Mr. Spock says mind meld full on. Loved this puzzle. Fastest Thursday ever, probably because I finished at the revealer and spent no time trying to figure it out. Mind was wondering where the Tricky Thursday was. Great aha moment after the solve.

    kitshef 7:24 AM  

    Took just as long post-solve to figure out the theme as it had to fill in the grid in the first place (albeit with an ERROR at AClS/FROM WHERE ISlAND). Have DOOKs been used as a theme before? It’s a great idea, and well executed. Although having ABES as my entry was not thrilling.

    PUP crossing PUP in the SE made me sad all over again.

    @Lewis – love your YESLETS interpretation.

    amyyanni 7:26 AM  

    Mind-melding in process, LMS. LOVE this one! My mom's name was ADA but everyone called her Tade. Why? When she was little, the other kids called her "Ada Potato," or Potado. Really.
    So happy Opening Day is here. Buy me some peanuts and let's go!

    FLAC 7:42 AM  

    Clever puzzle. I appreciated the Stax/Volt shout-out (SHAFT crossing OTIS) in the southwest. Two of my favorites.

    pabloinnh 7:54 AM  

    What, no complaints about CORRIDA? I hate la corrida, but if you want to know a lot about the subtleties of the spectacle, Death in the Afternoon is a fine reference, but a little TMI for me.

    Got the DOOK thing right away, great trick, and made other answers speedy. Expcept GIVEMEMORESPACE will totally slow down your southern quadrant.

    Vulcan stuff to you, LMS. but you knew that.

    Just short of a Thursdazo, one point off for a little too easy. Thanks DG

    Hungry Mother 7:59 AM  

    I saw that it was about dooks from the getgo and sailed through it. Fishing in the fall in the Cape May rips had me handling EELS. One fun time, I spilled a bucket of EELS all over the floor of my Jeep in the dark and had to gather them up.

    Anonymous 8:00 AM  

    Can someone kindly remind me what DOOK stands for? Thanks!

    Anonymous 8:06 AM  

    What does "DOOK" mean?

    mmorgan 8:08 AM  

    Much to like here, and a real fun solve for me. I got GIVE ME SOME SPACE (which I love) before I got all the themers so the revealer actually helped me finish. So many clues made me think — in a good way. This is one of the more enjoyable puzzles I’ve done lately. Thanks!

    Loren Muse Smith 8:14 AM  

    dook: 1) “do ok”
    2) uppity school full of northerners who deign to live in NC but temper their situation by looking down their noses at us southerners

    Anonymous 8:17 AM  

    63A - How is star pupil?

    GHarris 8:35 AM  

    Every one talking dooks and I had no idea what that meant until LMS explained. Thank you and hats off to your dad. Got the theme early on to my great satisfaction and enjoyed working through this puzzle. Confession. Not being a 30 Rock watcher had to google to get a couple of letters in the Tina character’s last name.

    QuasiMojo 8:39 AM  

    Just popping in to offer condolences to @LMS. Always a difficult and profound transition. Sending good thoughts your way. I got the theme off the first long answer since TOME didn’t fit the solution. Solid puzzle but I ended up with a big fat DNF in the center since I had no idea about this Tina Fey thing or the Book of EELS. I thought PIPS were on dice, not cards. I better go back to my canasta group! Anyway greetings to all. I’m still in hiding working on a project, experimenting with “digital minimalism” having turned off almost all internet and social media, which for me includes blogs. Finally got rid of Fakebook. It’s amazing how productive one can be when one isn’t staring into a “smart” phone all day long. They should be called “dumb” phones! Yesterday a pedestrian walked right into me because he was staring at his phone as he was walking. Look up, everyone. It’s a beautiful world and we only get to enjoy it once.

    Sir Hillary 8:39 AM  

    YESLETS have more good themes like this, please. I figured it out quickly, but the solve was still very enjoyable.

    Love ISSO leading down to Issa RAE.

    For the first time in a while, the DAWGS will have a lot of optimism come fall.

    My ERRORs: nIl for ZIP, and trying for way too long to figure out what "No table" meant. Doh!

    I grimaced at SPFS, but not at anything else.

    ICAN appreciate any puzzle that evokes OTIS Redding. Thanks, Damon!

    Suzie Q 8:43 AM  

    Loved this puzzle within a puzzle! Nice Thursday trick and a great
    dook illustration. Lots of fun.
    When I saw "Down Under predator" I thought "Take your pick, it seems everything that lives there wants to kill you."
    Thanks Damon for a great start to my day.

    Z 9:01 AM  

    Want to know how cynical I can be? My first thought was “are the mods going to have to delete @anon9:31 again?”

    Didn’t get the theme until I got the revealer, and then the puzzle got a lot easier. Lucked out on not over-thinking “ME” (probably because I read and understood the whole clue), so firmly in the Like This A Lot category. I have to vehemently disagree with Rex on The Worst Clue Genre. Shortz has, thankfully, mostly stopped publishing the RDP-RRN clue/answer pairs (that’s Random Dead Pope Random Roman Numeral). If we never again see any of the Leos, I-MDCLXVI, it will be too soon.

    We’re all Vulcans today. A song or two.

    CDilly52 9:08 AM  

    Welcome back! Missed your humor and wisdom. So sorry for your loss.

    albatross shell 9:09 AM  

    After the hard for me Wednesday, this was an easy for me Thursday. The NW put up some resistance, and usually I would have moved on, but I was in a leisurely and stubborn mood, so I persisted. Then straight West.

    Decided not to think about the "tome" answer too much. Headed south and DECIMAL? Thought a few seconds (didn't want a math word to trip me up) and of ten made sense. And to me. Had nIl before ZIP, larva before Pupas before PUPAE. Are EELS for sea bass or all bass? And was the American Bar Assoc. previously the Amer. Barrister Assoc.? I thought it was going to be a tennis clue.

    Not watching 30 rock slowed me up.

    I enjoyed puzzling out the TOAST SKOAL cross. Fine theme and revealer. Lots of good fill. YESLETS the weakest and it's OK.
    DOOKs to all.

    Hello, Goodbye 9:09 AM  

    @Anon 8:17AM If you are an overachiever and your teacher is so proud of you, then you are their "Star PUPIL."

    I love how Northerners and Southerners continue to be a it's 1865 or something. There are now Westerners, Plains States people, Mid-westerners, East Coasters, West Coasters, Farmers, Urbanites, etc. That is, more labels than can aptly describe us all. Ugh.

    Puzzlewise, I'm guessing I haven't caught any striped bass because I've been using the wrong bait. Unless worms are a kind of eel?

    Finally, I could be wrong on this, but when you "get the shaft" isn't that kind of a vulgar way of saying you got screwed...but not in a good way. Hey, I'm willing to admit I'm wrong...and maybe it's a reflection of who I am as a person to think that a "SHAFT" is well, something that is used to screw you.

    @Rex: the clue on 36A is good. The "generally" added to the clue makes it "generally" correct. It used to be a rare thing that the B-side became a hit too. Record companies would make the B-side a throwaway song because they would save their single releases for A-sides to sell more records. Why would anyone include TWO hits on a 45 and sell only one record, when you could put two hits on two separate 45s and sell ostensibly twice as many records. The fact that sometimes B-sides got lots of play was just a bonus and would essentially end up selling the actual LPs. This is all generally true, btw.

    ghthree 9:11 AM  

    I print out two copies of the puzzle, and my wife Jane and I solve together on paper over breakfast. We were lucky today, since the clue for 64 Across caught my eye early (it was at the top of the second column) and steered me to the bottom of the grid early. Also, I knew I was looking for four examples of something, although I wasn't sure what it was. There are advantages to solving on paper. You get a more global overview.

    When I solved 17 Across, I thought it was just a misprint, but when Jane suggested "DECIMAL" for 30 across with only "D_C_M_L" I noted the pattern. I noted it again at 49 Across, and knew there was one more somewhere. The final AHA moment came with 37 Across. Right in the middle!

    I often have trouble with "modern" and "modem" which look identical in Arial/Helvetica. This probably bothers nobody but a computer nerd like me.

    For 41 Across, I had first "SCREW" then "STIFF" before "SHAFT." Amusing to see that @Justin also had "CHAFE."

    I'm surprised that Rex didn't flag the Plural Of Convenience at 66 Down. Nobody refers to hems and haws as "ERS." A clue like "Places for EMTs" might be more appropriate. (Jane's a former Emergency Medical Technician.)

    Nancy 9:13 AM  

    DOOKS!!!! I saw it immediately, just as soon as I first laid eyes on "Tome". Either I've been doing crosswords too long or it's been done before. And once I had the theme from "Tome", all of the DOOKS seemed obvious. Except for "Often". That was the trickiest.

    I knew what the revealer would be based on just about no crosses. I wrote in GIVE ME -O-E SPACE and waited to see if it would be GIVE ME SOME SPACE or GIVE ME MORE SPACE.

    Tome, it's FROM WHERE I SIT, not from WHERE I STAND. But I suppose that goes with my general philosophy of life: "Never stand when you can sit and never sit when you can lie down. Except when you're playing tennis."

    This would have made a delightful Tuesday puzzle and that's where it should have been slotted. It's not the constructor's fault that it appeared on the wrong day and was really too easy for a Thursday. Difficulty level aside, I liked it.

    GILL I. 9:13 AM  

    I was able to get the theme from the git-go. Once I saw FROM WHERE I STAND I could see the dook. The themes were easy for me to get; the LIZ LEMON OTIS ADA's of this world were the head itchers.
    I got to the reveal and GIVE ME SOME SPACE made me smile. Sorry, @Rex, but your inner space doesn't smile me make. I like what DA MON did.
    Do you know what a sexy, muscular female is? She's called a CHEESECAKE! I've seen pictures of these bulgy muscles growing out of eyelids. So much work to eventually look like The Hulk.
    @Lewis I only see DAN DIES at 21A and thought maybe Quayle kicked the bucket.
    Vulcan MM to you, Loren.

    Jay 9:20 AM  

    Despite my decades of crossword solving, I can reliably finish only the Mon-Wed puzzles. Sat/Sun are fun and often I can "almost" finish them. Thursday puzzles are something else. With rare exceptions, the tricks invariably elude me and stump me. But that doesn't prevent me from enjoying some truly standout tricks. This puzzle falls into this category.
    Pure brilliance. Never in a million years, I could figured out the trick. I got POWERLESS and DECIMAL but I remained clueless about the theme until I read Rex's explanation.
    More of these puzzle please.

    jberg 9:27 AM  

    DNF—“mil” seemed so right, LIn LEMON looked OK, so I accepted lIPS. Sad. Sad for you, too, Loren I remember your Dad used to post here occasionally.

    FrankStein 9:30 AM  

    I enjoyed this one although I found it hard for a Thursday. I thought “goose egg” is a bump on the head. But it means Zip? As in zero? Well I was never any good at math. Or maybe I’m just out of it. Sorry to hear your news Loren. Welcome back.

    Nancy 9:32 AM  

    That's the problem with posting first and reading the blog second. I'm so sorry for your loss, Loren. It's a good thing that you're able to find some solace and distraction in Rexworld at what is surely a very difficult time. My thoughts are with you.

    Crimson Devil 9:37 AM  

    Strong Thurs puz. Really enjoyed “un-dooking” clues, especially OFTEN, TOME, NOTABLE, and GOON. Also liked ABA.

    GILL I. 9:53 AM  

    @Quasi. I love my iPhone for one reason only.....I take pictures of my amazing granddaughter. I give the evil-eye to those who cannot deal with human eye contact. I, at first, thought only the young are obsessed with digital fantasy. Not so...My retired friends are just as wrapped up in this phenomenon as everybody else. Glad you popped in.
    SAD TALE and @Loren's story had me reminisce. When my Dad went to join the rest of his family, I gave his eulogy. He passed on a ton of words of wisdom to me, but the one thing I remembered the most was when he asked me to never tell anybody about his sneaking in the kitchen to make an onion, mayonnaise sandwich on white bread. He was a bread snob. He would rather starve (so he said) than ever have any of that "Bimbo" bread pass his lips. Always a baguette, a ciabatta, some good rye or nothing else.
    When my step-mom had to leave for a while, I stayed with Dad to fix him his meals and make sure he stayed out of trouble. I caught him rummaging in the pantry looking for the loaf of "White" bread he hid behind the peanut butter. He almost died when I caught him. He then went on to great lengths to show me how to make his "special" sandwich. He swore me to secrecy. At his eulogy I told his story. No one believed me - except my sisters. To this day, every time any of us has a sandwich with white bread, we raise our glass of IRISH Guinness to dear Dad. Not a SAD STORY.

    crh 9:58 AM  

    Do people still buy IPODS? I was under the impression standalone portable music players had been made just about obsolete by the proliferation of smartphones.

    Weird for a word that didn't exist 20 years ago to feel dated, but that one does for me.

    albatross shell 10:11 AM  

    Am I wrong? Do we get a lot of SIDEA answers, but the flip side is BSIDE? Is that because A-side sounds like "a side"?- as in any old side? Or is it a matter of crossword convenience?

    RooMonster 10:15 AM  

    Hey All !
    What an amazing idea. DOOK the theme clues! I think we've reached the pinnacle of neat themes. Har.

    To those who are still fuzzy on what a DOOK is, it's usually an answer to a clue that looks like one word, but is in fact two words. Forgot who coined DOOK, but it was for the answer DO OK. Look at the theme Clues, Tome (as in book, read as one word) gets SPACEd to TO ME, Often to OF TEN, etc.

    Enjoyed figuring out the conceit. Also enjoyed the open corners, three Down 7's in each. Tough to get a clean fill with all that white SPACE. No ones mentioned the almost dup of ACTS and ENACT. Not sure if I've ever heard SKOAL! as a TOAST. Had TeASeS in first, but the SK___ wasn't making sense. Also had nIl for ZIP, giving me lIPS for the card clue. I thought, "What?" That ALOHA shirt flummoxed me too. Had to Check Puz to find my faults. I blame it on SKOAL and LIZ LEMON, as never having watched 30 Rock.

    Had to get all the way to the Revealer to fully understand what was happening. Thought process went from, "Hmm, put a SPACE in the answers?" to "Hmm, put the actual word SPACE somewhere in the answers?" to "Wait, if I put a SPACE in Often, it becomes Of ten, which is DECIMAL!" Then a SQUEE to find it was a DOOK theme. Good stuff.

    @LMS, sympathies radared out to you. The descriptions of your life through this blog are fascinating, and often make me feel exhausted! You manage to cram in so much stuff, with so much life experience, it amazes me. My life is no where near all that. I will continue to live vicariously through yours! (If that's OK!)


    DJG 10:24 AM  

    As a math lover, my standard submitted clue for ADA always references Ada Lovelace.

    If you would like to see a picture of me flexing and read my account of ACPT weekend, please visit my blog:

    (You'll have to cut and paste though -- for some reason, my link in the comment is being rejected.)

    albatross shell 10:24 AM  

    Goose eggs: zeros on scoreboard in baseball. The large oval shape in white. At least that's where I first found it.

    @gill i
    Great memory. I think the onion sandwich became a favorite for many during the Great Depression.

    Lewis 10:27 AM  

    @GILL I -- You've parsed DANDIES as I did, but my answer referred to a classic Old Testament story.

    Anonymous 10:34 AM  

    Mr. Parker: it is a “cross”word puzzle, is it not? Why would you fill in an answer without checking the cross word first?

    Anonymous 10:35 AM  

    My only real objection is that there were one-word clues that were not related to the theme. If there aren't question marks or some other way to tell me which four clues I need the theme for, I'd rather at least have there not be other one-word clues to complicate matters. They were easily enough eliminated once I got the theme of course, but it would have been more elegant to reserve one-word cluing for the themers. Otherwise a nice enough solve.

    David 10:46 AM  

    @lms, our dad told us very similar things.

    I had problems with this one so I did something I never do and dropped down south to solve the key. I don't know that I've ever done a "dook" puzzle before. If I have, I haven't noticed it. I mean, when one starts off with atheist at 1D there's going to be trouble.

    Once I got that it fell pretty easily; being a geek I liked the "often" clue best. Dropped in skoal/toasts just off of skye, know who Liz Lemon is because, you know, Tina Fey being one of the funniest, smartest comedians out there.

    From where I stand, it seemed pretty fun.

    JustMarci 10:51 AM  

    Today, I learned what a DOOK is.

    Had no clue on the theme until I got here. Finished in average time with a shrug.

    Stanley Hudson 10:57 AM  

    @LMS, welcome back and condolences for the loss of your dad, who it sounds like was a truly fine person.

    jae 11:09 AM  

    Medium-tough. Had to work a bit for this one, clever, liked it.

    @Rex - me too for StiFf before SHAFT which sucked up a passel of (@m&a) nanoseconds.

    Vulcan it is.

    OISK 11:34 AM  

    Liked it a lot. Would have loved it had I not gotten another DNF ( 4 out of 6) after 5 weeks with none! This time, not knowing Tina Fey's role was key. I had "nil" instead of "zip", and "Lin Lemon" seemed possible, if unlikely, so I didn't change it. That also gave me "Lips" instead of "Pips," which I did not understand, but didn't search hard enough for alternatives. And I figured out the theme early on...

    MJT 11:36 AM  

    Pretty much had a DNF after five minutes searching for the single wrong letter in the grid. Turns out "goose egg" is not a bump on your head as in a really gnarly ZIt, but rather a zero for ZIP.

    And I'll admit I couldn't understand how tIPS made sense, but PIPS isn't a word I was familiar with for cards. Dominoes, I've heard that. Cards was a new usage to me.

    Z 11:42 AM  

    @albatross shell- are: ABA - There used to be an American Basketball Association. Also, Safer to assume the constructors use the order of convenience for their record sides.

    @Hello, Goodbye - As a northerner living in North Carolina I can attest to the fact that lots of locals wear UNC gear, a smaller number wear NCSU gear, as well as (here in the mountains) WCU and UNC-A gear. I never see anyone wearing Duke gear. NEVER. I even see Clemson, Ohio State, and Michigan gear. But not Duke.

    @crh - I left the O for the crossing for exactly that reason. Hard to believe that my mom spent her childhood without a TV, while an IPOD is now dated.

    @DJG - Is your device set to smart quotes? Blogger won’t accept “, only ".

    Ethan Taliesin 11:53 AM  

    Nice trick for the theme--would have been even better if I had understood it while I was solving and not after the fact... Ethan is getting angry!

    I at first had PFCS (which is also a legit thing but likely was thinking CFC), which gave me CSIDE for "It's generally not played so much." I thought this was like British understatement till I realized all the other intersecting nonsense it created.

    I learned today that PCBs (Polychlorinated biphenyls), which are used as coolants, cause skin conditions, increased cancer risk, and stunt intelligence and motor ability in children. Terrible regulations are preventing us from currently enjoying these effects, but hopefully Trump will bring PCBs back to America's dinner table.

    Don't forget to vote.

    CDilly52 12:04 PM  

    Started with 1A, dropped everything (A & D) in at breakneck speed until the first theme clue and my old librarian brain sprang to life. When i could think of no great tome that would either describe either a single volume “great work” or a single volume of a set of times, I skipped it and went on. By the time I had finished all the answers that gave me most of the letters in FROM WHERE I STAND, I got it. The clue is “to me” so AHA! And the remainder went just as lickery-split. I did wonder though why the other clues weren’t somehow about “me,” but did not find it off putting.

    So nice to have @LMS back in the ‘hood, right? The aside regarding ‘peacock’ gave me a huge laugh-out-loud moment, and I may have difficulty meeting certain eyes for a while without an observable chuckle!

    old timer 12:12 PM  

    DNF. I was so ensorceled by Wonder Woman I ended up with POWER LaSS. Good theme, though.

    I don't know if Apple still makes iPods. They make iPhones of course, but at least on mine, the music does not play so well. More important, if you constantly use music or video apps, you need to recharge your battery too often. Plus the screen is too small for video chat with a group (i.e., grandchildren plus a parent or two). The iPad is far superior for all those purposes. And for writing posts here.

    Re: CORRIDA. If you ever have wanted to refresh and renew your love of Spanish poetry, Garcia Lorca's "Llanto por Ignacio Sanchez Mejia" (lament for the death of a bullfighter) is one of the most powerful and moving poems ever written in any language.

    RobertM 12:29 PM  

    Caught on to the theme early and was headed to a fast solve. Then got caught in the SE. Don’t know why it was so hard, but I stalled.

    @LMS, you were missed.

    Anoa Bob 12:48 PM  

    What, no hew and cry over HEROINE? I guess BEEFCAKE was a nice counterbalance.

    41 Across reminded me of this Jerry Reed classic, She Got the Goldmine and I Got the SHAFT

    SKOAL and ALOHA to all.

    kitshef 12:49 PM  

    Here it is, our big blank baby
    Yes it is, our B side baby
    Someday we'll write an A side maybe

    - Three Dog Night, Our "B" Side (which is the B side to the single Shambala).

    Teedmn 12:57 PM  

    "The DOOK's in the clues!", said I upon looking at 17A's "Tome". (Sounds like the ad line, "The dip's in the chip".)

    But even though I got the theme right away, I didn't take the time to parse "of ten", "not able" and "go on" while solving so it was fun to check that out after the solve.

    @Justus 6:00, great mistake in "Chafe" for 41A.

    @Roo, I noticed your SAD TALE juxtaposition, nice catch.

    Damon, thanks for the cute Thursday. (I checked over at to read the constructor's notes to see if he used our DOOK coinage but he didn't :-( ).

    albatross shell 1:27 PM  

    Thanks. ABA basketball. Moses Malone, Dr. J, and I loved those balls that you could see the spin on. How did I forget.

    Those onion sandwiches.
    My mate's father's fave was onions with lard and salt and pepper when available. He'd eat them at the movies as a kid. His wife wouldn't make them.

    FrankStein 1:52 PM  

    @Albatross, ah yes, now it comes back to me. Thanks for the explanation.

    Whatsername 1:54 PM  

    This was interesting but extremely easy for a Thursday. IMHO, more fitting for an earlier day. But still, I liked the changeup of having the trick in the clue instead of in the answer. A fun one to solve. Thanks Damon.

    @LMS, good to see you again. Life happens and sadly, loss is part of it. I still miss my dad who’s been gone over 30 years. I love your #2 definition of Dook and will share with my sister’s family in NC. They’re huge Tarheel fans and loathe that school full uppity northerners. Talk about a mind meld. Although I will say they have nothing but praise for the medical facilities available there, truly world class care from their experience.

    Joe Dipinto 2:48 PM  

    Some melding action on the way to LMS.

    Didn't think much of the puzzle, 'twas merely okay. Trivia: "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor, "Maggie May" by Rod Stewart, "Black Water by the Doobie Brothers and "Ruby Tuesday" by the Stones each started out as a B-side until an enterprising deejay somewhere flipped the single over. (To name just a few examples.)

    Carola 3:33 PM  

    Hats off to all of you who saw the dooks right away. I had a scrambled checkerboard of filled-in squares and a scrambled brain to match ("How could DECIMAL possibly mean 'Often'?") until the pattern recognition sector woke up and saw FROM WHERE I STAND. Then a romp through the other theme answers and the super reveal. Like a few others, I had trouble in the LIZ-ELi-PIPS area, but managed to get it right.

    @chefwen, I thought of you when I wrote in a very timely ALOHA....we're off to OGG and the mainland today. Sigh.
    @Loren, I'm sorry.

    Ellen S 3:45 PM  

    I loved it. I feel like having a goat removing the weeds from my yard.

    But my favorite clue/answer was frost/DEW. I never thought of them as relatives (kind of like Pacino and DeNiro never being in the same frame even when in the same movie) but obviously they are. Frost and dew, I mean, not Pacino and deNiro. And I enjoyed the themers so much I wasn’t bothered even by the EELS. (In addition to them being overworked as fill, I know this is speciesist, but I think eels may be able to feel fear, where worms might not realize their fate while wriggling on a hook. It’s just that the eels and rays and skates in the “petting pond” at the Monterey Bay Aquarium seemed to be aware of their surroundings. )

    Anonymous 5:01 PM  

    Sometimes I a liiiiiittle bit feel like Rex complains about New York Times crosswords just to complain. Like, the "me" in "give me some space" is fine. Am I nuts? It's not confusing or misleading at all. Like, the answer, given the clue, works great.

    Suzie 5:56 PM  

    My brain is clearly not working right today. This was a DNF for me and it took me a solid 15 minutes after looking up the answer to "notable" before I understood it. I'd been reading "no table" instead of "not able" and simply couldn't parse it any other way.

    Oh well. Tomorrow's another puzzle.

    Karl Grouch 6:12 PM  

    Nice sign-off!
    But hey, don't go fishing for striped compliments.. You seem like a nice guy and I very decimal agree with your posts, so there you go.

    Another friend of LMS. 6:21 PM  

    Thank you for the song Z .

    Anonymous 6:49 PM  

    I also thought that a goose egg was a bump on the head, though eventually figured out that it means zero.

    TomAz 7:21 PM  

    @LMS: Your dad sounds like a cool dude. Tip o' the cap to you both.

    And yes, this puzzle was cool, sneaky cool. I figured out the trick pretty quickly at "Tome".. but man it did a nice job hiding itself. I got POWERLESS and PERSIST, but man DECIMAL... I mean I was literally completely done, I had DECIMAL filled in, I had the themer, I had everything.. and I still couldn't figure out in what context DECIMAL could be construed to mean "often". DOH! This is the kind of puzzle stumper moment I really enjoy, as opposed to trivia.

    PS: So for a very long time .. months and months, well over a year I think .. I didn't have to do the "click on the street sign" thing to post in here. I just had to verify I wasn't a robot, and it believed me. But now.. now it's started again. I feel like I've been demoted or something.

    albatross shell 8:32 PM  

    Equal rights for robots!

    Unknown 9:11 PM  

    Clue 70 across makes no sense: "It may have a big mouth".
    According to Websters DELTA means "the alluvial deposit at the mouth of a river",
    hence the river has a mouth, and the river can have a delta, but the deposit (the
    delta) obviously has no mouth.

    Adam 9:14 PM  

    CORRISA and EST instead of CORRIDA and EDT. It’s been a long time since I’ve read any Hemingway and didn’t know this offhand. As I solve on paper, I had no unhappy pencil to clue me in. Oh, well. Otherwise I liked it - fun theme, which I got on POWERLESS. Fun - I liked it a lot more than @rex

    Hartley70 9:33 PM  

    @DJG, your blog post on the ACPT was fun to read. Thanks for sharing the link!

    @LMS, Sorry is inadequate, but it is so heartfelt.

    The theme and it’s dook realization moment were a delight. I love a Thursday surprise.

    Unknown 9:45 PM  

    Check out 'Inner Space' by Park Ji Yoon

    chefwen 9:59 PM  

    @Carola. ALOHA, safe travels. See you, kind of, next year.
    @TomAz, go blue and you’ll never have to prove anything again.

    Mike 2:13 AM  

    I don’t know if this is amusing or not, but when I realized “often” was associated with the answer DECIMAL, I wondered if there was an actual mistake in the app version. It wasn’t until I got the long theme that I realized there was a trick. My trouble spot was that I thought “goon” was I INSIST instead of PERSIST, and I couldn’t get the SW to fall for ages.

    Mike 2:18 AM  

    @LMS I’m not as regular here as most, but I can do the Vulcan mind meld. I lost my mom just before Thanksgiving and things still feel wrong. On we must go, down this new path.

    Knitwit 10:30 AM  

    Missed you ❤️

    Anonymous 11:53 AM  

    I enjoyed this puzzle. One of the few that, after finishing the grid, had to go back and study the clues.

    Dave 12:13 PM  

    I haven't read all the comments here, but from what I saw no one seems bothered by the fact that From Where I Stand is the title of a book. I didn't even think it was a theme answer.

    Personal Fan 4:27 AM  

    interesting.. i like the photograph so much :)

    Burma Shave 9:48 AM  


    a SADTALE, WHAT I planned: to get some RADICAL LASS.


    spacecraft 11:55 AM  

    Funny, I latched onto the theme pretty quickly. I could see right off that "tome" was not going to be fifteen squares long. If I break it into "To me," there are a lot more choices. Checking out the reveal clue confirmed that; it was sure to be something like WHEREISTHESPACE. Finding the others was sorta fun; theme and execution get a thumbs-up.

    The fill? That's another story. Right out of the NW gate we have an RTZ and the awful NOMSG. WHOA! EKE makes yet another appearance, as does a complete clue/answer set straight from the Maleska ERA: "Withered" (SERE). Then BSIDE almost caused a meltdown.

    So: theme +, fill - ; par. Tina Fey as LIZLEMON--or as anybody, including herself!--wins DOD.

    rondo 2:43 PM  

    Got it right off from the tome clue/answer. Looked for DOOKs after that.

    @LMS – Sorry, but we are neither lunatics nor fools. Some words, like DECIMAL (hence decimate - 10% goes away, i.e. as a tithe) were meant to be precise. Literally. And I mean literally, not to what Gen X has changed it. Sure, we ‘lunatics’ and ‘fools’ understand what is meant, but incorrect usage, no matter how common it becomes, is still wrong. Pretty soon you’ll be telling me that ‘penultimate’ means last. If one fourth of my troops were killed, or money given, it amounts to quadrimus, not decimus, yet you say my finances (or troops) would be decimated? Devastated maybe. Not decimated. Some of us (like engineers, doctors, etc.) need our language to mean what it says. Literally.

    Only the one circle today, gimme Lorena OCHOA. Si bebé niña.

    I enjoyed this puz, now GIVEMESOMESPACE.

    rainforest 2:50 PM  

    Fun puzzle! Medium for the top half, medium-challenging in the South.

    Got the first themer square by square, and the trick was discovered. I immediately looked for what would be possible other themers and found OFTEN, GOON, and NOTABLE. Still, uncovering the answers wasn't straightforward except for DECIMAL. I knew the revealer would have something to do with SPACE, and so it did. Took awhile to get the actual wording.

    I initially thought the answer to 41 A was "Stiff", and so until I got HEROINE, I almost came to a halt there. PERSIST opened up that section. It took PIPS to complete the SE, and then I was done. Very clever theme, great revealer, and I had no problem with the fill.

    Enjoyable solve.

    leftcoastTAM 3:27 PM  

    This is a first-rate puzzle IMO.

    Gimmick showed up early with "Tome" clue for WHERE I STAND". The other theme clues and answers were more elusive, but PERSISTence paid off. The revealer is great.

    Main hang-ups were in the middle South: LIZ LEMON and the SKOAL/TOASTS combo, the latter in particular. The "Says 56-Across" clue with "See 51-Down" was a brain twister that was fun(?) to untangle.

    Enjoyed it.

    Diana,LIW 3:41 PM  

    DOOKed it out with this puzzle, and got it! Hooray! Even with many unknown (to me, who never remembers names) names, I got it. And no rebus. Did I mention, hooray?!!

    Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords like this one on a Thursday!

    leftcoastTAM 6:29 PM  

    Inre: RP's critique -- Me think he doth protest too much.

    leftcoastTAM 6:49 PM  

    @rondo, regarding @LMS and the decimate issue: Are you serious? or are you just playing around with us? (Inclined to think the latter.)

    Anonymous 7:10 PM  

    Rex is awfully critical

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