Big sender of CDs in 1990s / THU 5-30-19 / Outed covert CIA officer Valerie / Knight renowned for heroism chivalry / System used in hematology / Enchilada topper / Arya's father on Game of Thrones / Sport competed in barefoot in brief

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Constructor: Brandon Koppy

Relative difficulty: Medium (6:02)

THEME: words that can follow ... words that can follow ...  — sigh ... OK, so ... familiar two-word phrase is the clue, only it's presented as [First word ... / second word ...], the idea being that the answer in the grid will have Zero to do with the clue phrase, but will instead be a New two-word phrase (or compound word) made up of a Word That Can Follow The First Word (in a familiar word or phrase) + Word That Can Follow The Second Word (in a familiar word or phrase) ... so essentially four different phrases are involved in every themer, somehow ...

Theme answers:
  • JACKSON HOLE (17A: Peter ... / Rabbit ...) (Peter Jackson / Rabbit hole)
  • TIME FLIES (24A: Space ... / Bar ...) (Spacetime / Bar flies)
  • BEAT BOX (30A: Dead ... / Drop ...) (Deadbeat / Dropbox)
  • POTHEAD (42A: Jack ... / Cheese ...) (Jackpot / Cheesehead)
  • POWER PLAY (49A: Fire ... / Screen ...) (Fire power / Screenplay)
  • PADDLEBOARD (59A: Dog ... / Star ...) (Dogpaddle / Starboard)
Word of the Day: cheesehead (see 42A) —
  1. 1. 
    a resident of Wisconsin, especially a fan of the Green Bay Packers football team.
  2. 2. 
    a blockhead; an idiot. (google)
• • •

I find fill in the blank clues, i.e. [Word ___] exasperating, so solving this was double the "fun." I should've spent less time with the themers themselves, and just kept hacking at the crosses until something legible appeared as a themer. This is essentially a 2x "words that can follow" theme, with no actual clues anywhere, and so it's just a lot of rolling possibilities through your mind until one of them "worked." I found it really unpleasant to solve. I can't say that the concept is bad, and I don't think the puzzle is poorly made. I'd just rather never solve this type of theme again. Its cleverness is the kind you have to draw diagrams, or at least slow way down, to appreciate. And even then, I don't know exactly how clever it is. Seems like an awfully boring theme to conceive of, actually. I came up with [Knock ... / Out ...] (DOWNSIDE) pretty quickly, but I wouldn't want to have to do that a bunch more times. Since you can make clues / answers like this forever and ever (theoretically anyway), the themer group feels arbitrary. Solving this felt more like solving a two-star quiz in Games magazine than solving a crossword puzzle. Like one kind of puzzle shoved into crossword form. Not my thing. Though, as I say, not bad. Fill is actually nice in places, AMIRITE!?

You can shove KEN STARR, though. Shove him all the way back through his ill-fated Baylor presidency (mishandling sexual assaults) through the Clinton era back to oblivion. I'm gonna tolerate PACK HEAT only because it's a colorful and slightly old-fashioned phrase I might find in the hardboiled / noir fiction I enjoy. Love PALADIN because it reminded me of being a nerdy D&D-playing middle schooler. "Good" times!

Small words were the most vexing today. Most of the grid, outside the themers, was pretty easy. Cleaned up the NE and SW corners in lightning-fast time. All of my non-theme trouble came from very short answers. First TAX (24D: Duty). Ugh, that one-word clue. Ask me to define "duty" and it's gonna be a while before I remember it has anything to do with taxing. And then PAY, which I had as AGE, and then, even when I had -AY, I couldn't understand. I finished up the grid the first time with HAY / HOTHEAD (!?!?). I clearly had given up on even looking at the words in the theme clue (as "jackhot" is not a word" and HAY is not a [Sensitive figure to ask someone about], I don't think. No idea about HAAS. Misspelled PLAME the first time (PLANE). No idea about WEBER (well, only the dimmest of ideas, from the last time I took Physics, i.e. 28 years ago). No idea about VESTED (?) either. I know the word, but not the technicalities of the stock meaning. So the themers and a few choice small answers slowed me way down, resulting in a slightly above-average, but still pretty average, time. Decent, considering how much I disliked solving the themers, and considering I solved it first thing in the morning.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 6:39 AM  

I love puzzles where every theme answer is like a little riddle that you try to crack with as little letters filled in as possible, and where every theme answer yields a genuinely joyful "Aha!"

I love puzzles rife with clever wordplay in the cluing.

I love puzzles that present a theme done in a way never done before.

I love puzzles that throw in flack to disturb a smooth solve, the overcoming of which makes me feel like a conquerer.

And for the above reasons, I am most enamored with today's offering by the Koppy cat. Well done, sir, and thank you!

Harryp 6:43 AM  

I got the theme at 17Across, but some of the others didn't come very easily. It took all the downs and crosses to make sense of some of them. I would say it is of Average time, but challenging. At 41Down I had Galahad, then Saladin before PALADIN. Googling later, I found out that Saladin was Kurdish. Very good puzzle by Brandon Koppy. Keep them coming.

Lewis 6:44 AM  

"Its cleverness is the kind you have to draw diagrams, or at least slow way down, to appreciate." And so it would naturally be anathema to a speed solver, but to a sipper (like me), it's more like ambrosia.

Hungry Mother 6:50 AM  

Right up my alley today. Getting ready to head for Ann Arbor to run a half marathon with family on Sunday, so didn’t have much time for the solve. Turns out that I had plenty of time. Nice theme, on the easy side for a Thursday, but still a fun activity. Now what do I do while I drink my second cup of coffee?

amyloowoo 6:59 AM  

Anyone else have a problem with f flat? Cause it doesn't really exist. Also having Jackson as part of the answer to 17A and then reappearing as Jack in part of the clue to 42A...hmmmm.

amyyanni 7:00 AM  

Bee Line! Very cool. Fast solve, until I hit the NE. Had the EEC of Home Ec and was convinced that was wrong. Funny about fill in the blank clues: when I started xwords as a kid, snuggled next to my mom, those are the clues I read first.

70 in Nampa 7:26 AM  

Man, this was a great time. This is what a NYT crossword should be.

kitshef 7:30 AM  

Really like the fill, and the theme is pretty darn clever, but the cluing is depressingly routine.

So the only wit, and the only challenge, were in the theme.

DDS above DDAY looks neat.

Anyone else try to cram Maxwell into 51D? No? Just me, then.

Loren Muse Smith 7:33 AM  

I had a lot of fun trying to bend my mind around the conceit. As Rex noted, there are four (4!) in-the-language phrases involved with each themer. I think it’s easier to start with your ultimate two-word phrase #4: BEAT BOX

Find a phrase #2 that ends in BEAT: dead BEAT
Find a phrase #3 that ends in BOX: drop BOX

In considering your phrases, you have to also make sure that the first words of phrases 2 and 3 themselves form an in-the-language phrase #1: dead drop. .

dead(a). . . .BEAT(b). . . . drop(c). . . . BOX(d)


Phrase #1 ac
Phrase #2 ab
Phrase #3 cd
Phrase #4 bd

To treat IRON MAN thus, you could have clued it “Pump…/Milk” (pump iron and milk man)

And to clue PACK HEAT, you could have gone with “Back…/In” (back pack and in heat)

First word – MAMA. Baby’s there lying around and taking things in. All he can see moving on cooer’s face is the lips. So he gives it a go and moves his lips. MAMA, baba, papa, meemaw, mommy, bobby, poppy, pop-pop… The harder-to-see sounds (k, g, l, r) come later. We all know a kid who says stuff like Det off my trampoline and doh stand in de torner.

I chaperoned the senior trip to Cedar Point amusement park and happened upon a sweet little petting zoo. This one EWE and I made a deep spiritual connection. Seriously. She was beyond sweet. If you go there, stop by that petting zoo. Its ewes are friendly.

Brandon – I’m with @Lewis on this. A charming mind-boggler of a puzzle.

pabloinnh 7:38 AM  

Lots of fun for me, just the right amount of crunch.

No offense to OFL, but Paladin will always be Richard Boone in "Have Gun Will Travel", and that's that.

Great Thursday, thanks BK.

Joe Welling 7:50 AM  

I thought TIME FLIES didn't fit with the other themers. The other theme answers had two clue parts that formed a compound noun of some sort. To make TIME FLIES fit, you'd have to imagine a time-travelling insect.

J.Q. Smith 7:50 AM  

Need to get over this aversion to seeing historical figures you don’t like in the puzzle. I don’t like Ken Starr either. Or Che for that matter, but they both belong in the puzzle. Curiously, Rex doesn’t object to Che.

VictorS 7:55 AM  

Walter Haas (Haas school of business at UC Berkeley) was the chairman and CEO of Levi Strauss and a major philanthropist in the Bay Area

Logan 8:06 AM  

I really enjoyed the puzzle today, as I too am a (newly re-christened) “Sipper”. Thanks @Lewis!

I really find the demographics of solvers interesting, as evaluated from a ‘playability’ and ‘enjoyability’ perspective. If it weren’t so Big Brother, I’d love to see the old AIM chat intro with blog posts (a/s/l). As a 35 year old male in DC, I love puzzles with knowledge from different generations and/or locales... but on this puzzle my impulse ‘gut-reaction’ answer was often correct. AMIRITE?

@LMS I definitely read your clue as ‘man milk’ at first. *facepalm*

Runs with Scissors 8:10 AM  

I know we’re all primed to see a rebus on Thursday, but I’m okay with if there isn’t one. And this was just fine without it.

So much good stuff.

4A – Apian way for BEELINE was great.

17A - Peter Rabbit becoming JACKSON HOLE – yeah, good. Might have been better to somehow work in Yellowstone NP clues, but I don’t know what would work. Digging a deep HOLE here.

24A Space…./Bar… shoulda been The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. But TIME FLIES like the wind. Fruit flies like a banana. Har. I’ll see myself out now.

30A Dead…/Drop… for BEAT BOX. I know what is meant, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard a boom box referred to as a BEAT BOX. But the dead drop is a mainstay of every spy story ever written, so there’s that. Mebbe shoulda gone with HORSE KICK.

42A Jack…/Cheese… - Put some jalapeños in it and I’m with ya.

I (vaguely) remember high school hijinks. Going to school barefoot (flared jeans hid the feet). The usual POTHEADS out on the athletic field, because it bordered a park and had some bleachers to loll upon. No HOME EC going on out there. It’s early June, school is almost out for the summer, and this is in SoCal during an average drought year. Grass is tinder-dry. Roach hits grass, grass flames up, potheads make a BEELINE for the safety of anonymity in the crowd. NO LIE, this was before the interwebs so you found your fun where you could; this usually involved the beach except when it didn’t. They got away with it because it was the one year the school district allowed smoking on campus. By students as well as staff. 1976 – 1977. I have yearbook proof. Amazing how things change in 40 years, AMIRITE?

PADDLEBOARD was a crutch; I was more of a body surfer so it didn’t impress me.

I’ve always wanted to do an IRONMAN. A 26.2-mile run, followed by a 112-mile bike ride, followed by a 2-mile swim. (This is what the 140.2 sticker refers to). All in the same day. It’s lookin’ more and more like I’ll have to settle for the 130-mile bike ride I’ve already done. Sigh.

If you’re into quibbling, we can note that some of the themers were standalone words, some were not. Peter JACKSON. Rabbit HOLE. But DEADbeat and starBOARD. And some were hyphenates: Space-TIME, drop-BOX (not the software). Didn’t bother me in the slightest, but someone will flip out over it.

Great to see L’CHAIM so soon after Prost the other day. Which wasn’t long after the previous L’CHAIM, come to think of it. Pattern?

Had fun with this puzz, enjoyed the solve. I want more like this. (thumb up emoji here)

I’ll leave you with this: 75th anniversary of D-DAY is next week, June 6. Take a moment that day and reflect.

Mark, in Mickey’s North 40

Anonymous 8:12 AM  

Agree with Rex: tedious theme which would’ve been MUCH better if there had been a connection of some sort among all the theme answers.

mmorgan 8:15 AM  

90% what @Lewis said and 10% what @Rex said. And double-yes to @pabloinnh — “Wire Paladin San Francisco.”

QuasiMojo 8:25 AM  

I had more trouble with this one than I imagined while doing it. I thought Apian line might be Bonobos. lol. And I had a did not finish at beatbox because I had HEAT for deadheat. I have never heard of a beatbox. Otherwise I really enjoyed doing this puzzle. There was a lot of interesting crunchy stuff that kept me involved and amused.

Anonymous 8:31 AM  

Jack...does that really bother anyone? Probably thrown in to see who finger wags first....hmmmm.

GILL I. 8:34 AM  

Seemed awfully easy for a Thursday. People are running out of ideas for fun whacky Thursday. This was interesting and probably hard to conceive.
What did I like? I liked seeing Bansky. Has he been unmasked yet? Best graffiti artist alive. Remember his Balloon Girl? ...Too bad he seems to glorify CHE in his stencil. He makes him look handsome and daring. He was neither. Just a wannabe coward who liked to PACK HEAT.
What else? Along with CHE we have KEN STARR and PLAMEgate. Such fond memories of politics as usual. PADDLE BOARD looks too much like water board. Is anyone called a POT HEAD anymore? Are there any BarFLIES left around? Here in the State Capital, many of the State workers would take their lunch break in a little bar here called Pre-flite. It was called that because it was located at airline row. We all had our reservation offices in the same place. Pre-Flite was popular and many of the ladies would go for an hour and drink beer. Nobody bothered them and nobody paid for the beers either. Such a life.
I kinda like the BEE and the CROW and we have a little shout-out to @Joe at 1A. ;-)

webwinger 8:44 AM  

Theme seemed overly fussy, did not provide any real satisfaction when it finally revealed itself. I was completely with @Rex when I read his review. But then @Lewis, @LMS and others made a great case for the puzzle, so I’m now firmly in the ambivalent camp.

I’m also 100% with @pabloinnh and @mmorgan re PALADIN. For anyone above age 65 this word registers first as the name of the iconic lead character played by Richard Boone in the 1950s-60s “adult” TV western series Have Gun Will Travel (whom I now for the first time realize was named after the said group of knights). Like @Harryp I first entered gALAhad without hesitation for 41D, which led to no end of problems in the south.

Always interesting to see how OFL reacts or does not to charged answers. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Bill Clinton’s troubles spearheaded by KEN STARR, particularly his impeachment, in which accusations of obstruction of justice figured prominently. It’s such a subjective concept—when does what begins as normal and legitimate self-defense become criminal? The failed effort to take down 42 was a huge national embarrassment the likes of which I hope we won’t be subjected to again, though the ill winds seem to be blowing stronger by the day. PACK HEAT clued as Carry was great word play; fortunately @RP found a way to salvage it for his enjoyment. CHE (nice clue today!) has often appeared before, at least once provoking an intense and well-argued negative reaction from a blog poster, yet never a frown from our host.

Bubbabythebay 8:47 AM  

I'm with @pabloinnh on Paladin

I had ATECROW at 15A, so my Avengers character was MrSPEEL.

TV was way more interesting back then...sigh

RMK 8:52 AM  

F-flat definitely does exist. For example, it's the second note in an E-flat Phrygian scale.

The Russian composer Ewald wrote a brass quintet in D-flat minor, where the third note of the scale is F-flat.

Mike Herlihy 8:55 AM  

F flat is perfectly legitimate, though rarely seen. It's not a black key, but used in the keys of C flat major and A flat minor, for example.

RooMonster 9:09 AM  

Hey All !
A lot of one-letter changes for me today. VEt-VEX, e.g. Plus putting in once for MAMA throwing a wrench in the works. (Once upon a time... First words.) But still managed to hit my 3x Rexes time.

I think @Lewis' double-counting is rubbing off, as I keep seeing them. Today we get 3 DDs, 4 EEs, 2RRs, a MM, an AA, and my favorite, an FF. So thanks @Lewis, for that! :-)

This theme idea was pretty good. Two known words that make a phrase, separated to make an answer of two known words that make a phrase. I do agree that the possibilities are numerous, but that doesn't bother my enjoyment. These are fine. A tad high on the threes, 28. And this puz has one less black square than YesterPuz, 37 today, 38 yesterday. Still flummoxed by Rex's plaint of "black square heavy" for yesterday. Odd.

Wasn't DEJA in the same spot in YesterPuz? VEXing.


Anonymous 9:13 AM  

Have no idea what MMA means. Please help.

Steve 9:21 AM  

MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts, where participants are barefoot, most likely because kicking is a part of it (one of the martial arts in the mix, kick boxing) and it would probably hurt a lot with shoes...

Steve B 9:23 AM  

MMA = Mixed Martial Arts, I think (although very much not-my-thing!)

Nancy 9:30 AM  

I find myself more in the @kitshef/GILL/webwinger camp today than in the @Lewis/Quasi/Loren one. Yes, the puzzle features wordplay of a sort, and yet it didn't give me any "Aha" moments. The most I was able to say for any of the themers was "Oh, okay then". There were an awful lot of what @mathgent likes to call "terrible threes" and the cluing was pretty bland -- though I really did like the BEELINE clue/answer (4A). I don't know what in the world a BEAT BOX is -- is it anything like a boom box?

Of the last three puzzles, this was my least favorite -- even though it's Thursday. Wonder what Jeff Chen will give his POW to this week? I doubt it will be this one, though you never know. As today's blog proves: TASTES vary.

Anonymous 9:31 AM  

Don't ever change Rex. Because you're not conversant with equities, "vested" is a technicality? Hmm. OK. And at least be consistent; if references to guns are bad then so too is pack heat. No matter what kind of crush you have on Chandler.

Anonymous 9:39 AM  

TIME FLIES like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

Sir Hillary 9:49 AM  

Liked it, but this played brutally hard for me. The themers weren't that tough -- and I enjoyed them all -- but the overall cluing felt like Saturday. Clues for FENCE, PACKHEAT, STEP, ELAPSE (gets me every time), SENATOR, TAX and PAY seemed really difficult. Add to that several errors -- liSTED/VESTED, lentIL/OXTAIL, gALAhad/PALADIN -- with just enough correct letters to fool me into thinking they were right. And finally, just enough awkward fill (borderline junk) to slow me down -- ANI, EDS, PAS, CAMEIN. Worst of all was lockBOX, which fits the clue just as well as BEATBOX. All in all, I was kept at bay for quite a while, not that I minded.

Fun to see POWERPLAY above ORR; thank goodness the Blues made it a series last night. Nice clues for IPHONE, HOMEEC and VETO.

Roger K 9:50 AM  

@Anon 9:31 - Perhaps @Rex was confused be VESTED has nothing to do with equities, stocks or otherwise, but is a technicality regarding ownership. Your company can give you stock with the proviso that you don't actually own them until after a period of continuous employment with them. An example might be that your annual bonus is 1000 shares, but you're not actually yours for another two years. You are not VESTED in them for two years. Vesting has nothing to do with equities, stocks, they have to do with ownership. When you start work, you may get 2 weeks vacation, but you're not vested in that for a period of 6 months. The company may start contributing to your 401k immediately, but you're not vested in it for a period of 5 years.

But, the fact that the clue was so tangential to the subject that it bordered upon wrong wasn't your point, was it? You just wanted to call @Rex out because it amuses you.

ERISA 9:53 AM  

@Rex, Haas avocados! You grew up in California. They're soo good. That's where the family got all that money to throw at Cal.

As for the vesting. If you work for an entity that has a retirement plan like a 401(k), the employer can make contributions to employee accounts and the employee "vests" over a certain time period (5 - 7 years?) in a portion of those contributions til jackpot time. You have a $100k in your 401(k), you worked til you were 70 while all millennials harped on you for hanging on, and you get to keep all of the employer contributions. Now you can retire and live happily ever after (not!)

puzzlehoarder 9:53 AM  

There's a "chicken or the egg?" aspect to this puzzle. After solving I thought about how the clues and entries mirror each other so you can't be sure if the constructor came up with them working from entry to clue or vice versa.

Like @lms I tried to come up with theme clues for the two word phrases at 3D and 8D. I didn't get as close as she did. All I got was if 3D had been HEATPACK you could pair it up with DRYICE.

The solve went faster than the average Thursday. I got the theme with BEATBOX first probably because I was a little slow coming up with BEELINE and LCHAIM. Another issue slowing down 17A was the strong association between JACK in the first part of the entry and "Rabbit" in the second half of the clue. In my print out the second ellipsis in the 17A clue is well below the rest of the clue and I didn't notice it. That muddied things a little more. If I hadn't wasted time trying to crack the theme at 17A this would have solved in near Wednesday time.

Easy fill and a logical theme kept the solve moving smoothly. I enjoyed it even though there wasn't all that much puzzling.

Amelia 9:58 AM  

Well. The first three puzzles of this week were so dumb and easy (Something you SEE is SIGHT. Cmon.) I thought what fresh hell will Thursday bring. And it looked like it would be quite fresh because there was "deja" and "IRAS" and "ETON" and and and....

....then I stared at whole sections of the puzzle. I even had some trouble with the themers, which I agree were a little silly. If you can get me to consider for any length of time to google or just take a peek here, then you got yourself a good puzzle.

I loved the Big Apple clue, a misdirect that wasn't. 1% of the body I didn't see for an embarrassing length of time, and I shouldn't be telling how long it took me to get lchaim. I, Jew, who (used to) complain about the annoying number of Jewish clues. I figure the entire crossword world knows from seders and tref by now. If Rex worked in a corporation that offered a benefit like stock, he'd know about vesting. Otherwise, I guess he wouldn't. Because he doesn't read the business section of the newspaper.

I wanted placed or showed before came in. I wanted Galahad before Paladin. I wanted tagged before tacked. I wanted a gun range in some form so that Rex would go nuts. Home ec? Do they still have that?

Nice, crunchy Thursday for me, Mr. Koppy. (He's probably 12.) Thanks!

By the way, I let my old junior high school buddy G. Barany know that you were asking after him, but he doesn't seem to have responded. Unless I missed it.

Whatsername 10:02 AM  

I am somewhat in agreement with Rex today but also, like @webwinger, decidedly ambivalent. Yes it’s a theme but it wasn’t a very satisfying one. Yes clever clues but all just dangling alone, nothing tying them together. Zero AHA moments but several WTF ones. If I was going to assign a grade it would be a something like EFLAT.

I am a sipper who solves on paper but would’ve had an electronic DNF with MEATBOX for BEATBOX, not that it mattered because I never heard of either one. This was a Natick for me because who knows about hematology systems other than medical personnel? I don’t, despite the fact that I once had pneumonia. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

I lived in Wisconsin during the 1980s and some of my fondest memories are of crisp fall Saturdays in Madison, cheering the Badgers and tailgating with friends at Camp Randall stadium. But if you should happen to arrive there without friends - not to worry - you’ll have lots of them by the time you leave. What a beautiful place, great community and some of the nicest people anywhere. A part of my heart will always be in the land of the CHEESEHEADS.

Z 10:03 AM  

I lean more Rex (shocker, I know). Intellectually I recognize this is a fine theme, it just didn’t do it for me. But I really feel as if this is just purely taste. The puzzle is well constructed, just not my cuppa.

Reading @LMS, I’m wondering if it would be possible to do a circular theme of this type. The first themer clues the second themer that clues the third themer that clues the fourth themer that clues the first themer. I nominate @LMS and @Lewis to construct it.

@Runs with Scissors - You know what’s better than a Font discussion? A musical notation discussion.

@Hungary Mother - I think you would love Black Mountain NC. We have two major races. The February race starts in downtown (elevation 2,450’) and turns around at the summit of Mt. Mitchell (elevation 6,684’) back to Lake Tomahawk. 40 miles mostly on trails. The June race is a 24 hour Monster. A relatively flat 5K loop on trails that you can run for 6, 12, or 24 hours, depending on the depth of your running addiction.

@anon9:31 - Guns = dangerous and should be regulated like other dangerous things like cars and drugs. NRA = now essentially a domestic terrorist organization that supports white supremacist hate groups. One is far more problematic in puzzles than the other.

Vanda 10:14 AM  

(I'm posting my thanks here as well as in yesterday's comments, because I only just saw Anon5's comment from yesterday.)

@Anon5 9:36 PM -- Thank you very much for helping to solve the mystery of DOD. I didn't think to do a Google search of the site -- thank you for doing that, and for being patient with me (for not doing that!).

For those of you who missed it but want to know, Anon5 wrote: "I was hoping for Diva of the Day, but a Google search of this site suggests that the term "Damsel of the Day" originated in comments by someone named spacecraft in March 2016."

Thanks again.

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

Very easy Thursday puzzle. Monday easy.
I’m surprised that Rex had a ‘medium’ difficulty.

Brandon 10:26 AM  

FWIW, my original clue for PALADIN did mention D&D.

I agree that a little more cohesion around the theme answers could've been interesting, but then you would probably need some sort of revealer that justifies BOTH the wordplay and the rest of the theme. So if, say, all the theme answers were locations, then why even do the wordplay for the clues? Having the themers be related in another way might feel like you have two separate themes fighting over the puzzle.

Also, I came up with my theme list the old fashioned way, by just pondering the gimmick over the course of a week or so. Had I written some code to run against a word list I might've come up with the surfeit of options needed to go a little further with it.

David 10:33 AM  

Of course F flat exists. Yet in no way is it "equivalent" to E except on a keyboard instruments with tempered tuning. It's not equivalent in theory or in reality with just intonation.

Ignored the theme, as usual, and am glad I didn't have to try and think about those answers. Filled them in on crosses. Had no real problems, it seemed too easy a Thursday to me.

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

Come now. No serious person or agency actually believes the NRA is a terrorist organization. Neither the FBI, Homeland Security, any state's A.G. has ever investigate them.
The seriousness of gun violence in this country is undercut when otherwise sober and earnest people, like yourself, make fantastic accusations.
It's a disservice precisely because it reduces your position to the ludicrous. There are fine argument to be made countering many of the NRA's positions. And those arguments should be made forcefully. But to smear an organization because it's been gummed up in politics you dislike is not a winning bet. Better to me more measured. Make good arguments. Not hysterical pronouncements. Sure, lots of loathsome charterers are NRA members. On the other hand, my sister, a dyed-in-the-wool liberal from one of the very counties that ever political pundit will be watching on Election night 2020 is a member. She's never had a gun. Doesn't want a gun. But she finds the rhetoric about the NRA to be a form of bullying elitism. I can't say she's wrong. She's an attorney from a fancy school. Not some nut. Not a fascist, but she recognizes what you don't seem to: gun ownership is guaranteed by the Constitution. Want to repeal the amendment? Ok. Sign me up. I'll help where I can. But don't expect me use calumny simply because I don't like something or someone.

jberg 11:02 AM  

Oh goody, an argument about musical temperaments! That's always fun.

So I looked at 17A and thought it was a new kind of word ladder -- that is, Peter Jackson, Jackson ----, ---- Rabbit. Despite not being able to think of a word that worked that way, I stuck with it until the crosses made me accept JACKSON HOLE -- and event then I was wondering what a HOLE RABBIT was. Then finally I looked at the clue again, noted the placement of the ellipses, and it all fell into view. This experience made the puzzle for me. I needed a lot of crosses for most of them, anyway, but enjoyed trying to guess them.

I lived in Wisconsin from the ages of 2-21, went to UW, and saw many Packer games -- but the cheesehead thing didn't come along until after I had moved to Massachusetts -- so I'm not sure which came first, the name 'cheesehead' or the big foam wedges of Swiss cheese that you wear like a hat.

One big quibble: I'm an old man now, but I was a PA (59D, POC) when I was 28.

And speaking of rabbitholes, whatever happened to @Casco Kid?

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

The Haas family founded and still owns Levi Strauss with work pants during the Gold Rush. It is still privately held and supports charities in the Bay area, including Stanford. Many of you may be sitting on your Levis. It was one clue I knew...

jae 11:27 AM  

Easy-medium. No real problems. The theme seemed a little loose or to quote Jeff Chen “ the lack of tightness bugged me.” Reasonably smooth, liked it.

Me too for immediately thinking of “Have Gun Will Travel” .

webwinger 11:38 AM  

One more thing (as Lt. Columbo was wont to say)--Richard Boone's PALADIN character was known for handing out paper business cards that read in part (as someone noted above) "Wire Paladin". I remember hearing people question whether Wire was Paladin's first name. (Suppose that could have been true had it said CABLE/Cabel.) If the show were remounted today, we might see @Paladin or #Paladin, but probably not Wireless Paladin.

Runs with Scissors 11:52 AM  

@Z 10:03 AM

Font and musical notation discussions pale in comparison to a good ol'grammar brawl.

DBlock 11:57 AM  

Me too
Took me a long time to get into this century for that clue
Definitely prefer Diana Rigg to Robert Downey

QuasiMojo 11:57 AM  

@Nancy, from yesterday, I'd love to help with the story but I've been on the road for the last week and traveling next. internet is spotty. plus I am better at charades or madlibs and the occasional poetry slam than group novel writing. :)

Fred Romagnolo 12:30 PM  

"Every little child born alIVE, is either a little Liberal, or a little ConservatIVE," W.S.Gilbert, Iolanthe. They call each other unflattering names, and in modern times, even scurrilously unfair ones; and should be castigated for it. Rex's vitriol about names of people he doesn't like being in puzzles is silly on the face of it. His hypocritical refusal to object to Lefty professional murderers like Che, while balefully excoriating Starr is nothing new to anyone reading his blog. Home Ec & Shop were pretty much dealt a death blow in the 70's when it was decided they were sexist studies enforcing role-playing attitudes.

old timer 12:37 PM  

The Haas family did not found Levi Strauss, which was founded by its eponym. Old man Haas got involved a few decades later. The Haas family is part of a much-intermarried group of Jews in San Francisco who have been incredibly generous with their millions. They came from Germany, and some made their first fortune in Los Angeles before moving North. I know this well because my great-grandfather, though a Protestant, had the good sense to often have I.W. Hellman as his partner. Hellman moved to San Francisco to become president of Wells, Fargo. What my ancestor had in common with Levi Strauss was the ability to make money off the Gold Rush -- in his case by making pans for the miners.

I loved the reminiscence about kids smoking on the junior high playing fields. Our local Jr high was much like that, and many of us parents in the neighborhood worried about eventually sending our kids there (fortunately the school ended up being a good place for kids who excelled in academics, and was not defined by the occasional smokers).

Put me in the tough but lovable camp for today's puzzle. And in the "never again" camp for KEN STARR.

Among the themers, I thought JACKSON HOLE was the best, because I associate the place with beauty and good times. I appreciate themes, too, that help the solve, and PADDLEBOARD really did help me get through the SE.

Joe Dipinto 12:47 PM  

Not much to say about this puzzle. Solved it.

I once prepared a lead sheet for a co-worker who had written a song that began in B-flat Major and later modulated up a half step. So I put a key signature change to B Major in front of the last part. When I gave him the finished sheet he looked crestfallen. "No, the last section should be in C-Flat Major, not B Major. Can you do it over?" I think I tore it up and threw it in the garbage.

The 8d answer should have been MRS. PEEL.

Teedmn 1:08 PM  

Brain was making unwanted pattern connections today, which made the early themers a bit trickier. Peter/Rabbit had me in a rabbit hole when I got to 30A's BEAT__X (Beatrix Potter?, hey look there's a POT HEAD in at 42A?). How brain was planning on connecting the Space-Time continuum of 24A to my rabbit story, I have no idea because I told brain to stop it and the rest of the puzzle settled down for the solve. (Okay, so with _AAS in at 53A, I did think of the Easter egg dye pAAS!)

I really enjoyed this. I don't agree with @kitshef's pronouncement of boring clues; we get 19A's barefoot factoid, the adorable wordplay of BEELINE, the SENATOR making up 1% of the Senate body, 59D's "Old men" = PAS, not geezers, 42D's PAY as the figure no one asks about (nice avatar, @LMS) and 55D's Kill bill? = VETO.

I love your sophomore NYT puzzle, thanks Brandon Koppy.

Andrew 1:16 PM  

Cal alum here so HAAS was a gimme.

@amyloowoo F Flat is a valid note. Any note can be flatted or sharped and it's even diatonic in the key of Cb major.

Missed opportunity with DOG... /STAR ... The STAR part should have been WARS because it was crossed by (KEN)STARR. Wasted a lot of time hoping that was true.

My never heard of moment is PALADIN. But then I never played DnD.

Nancy 1:34 PM  


My name is Brian Gorp. That's Inspector Brian Gorp. But my friends -- and my enemies too -- know me better as "The Real Herring". How did I come by my nickname? It's because never once in my many decades of solving crimes have I ever been misled by a red herring. Not once. I only pay attention to real herrings. You might say I have a nose for them.

Now in this case, there are already more red herrings than you can possibly count. Prosecco. Claudine Longet. Red Hook. The noodles in the noodle maker. Even the dislocation of Dad's arms and legs. Don't ask me how I know that. I just know.

But there are still a lot of possible real herrings. Some are yet to be eliminated and some will be central to the accuracy and brilliance of my deductions. Shalimar. The blue-eyed woman's green bike, but not her Citibike. (Remember, too, that in certain light, the blue-eyed woman's eyes can actually look green.) Keep absinthe and chartreuse in the forefront of your thoughts, my friends. The Dead Space version of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" sounds like a total outlier, but it may not be. And perhaps most intriguing of all: Never forget Tartaruga Pintado de Verde. There's an odor emanating from him that's sort of like green paint. Approach him, if you dare, and you might smell it too...

Brian P 1:37 PM  

My First Ever Thursday solve!!

I'm a new solver and so far, proper names have been the end of me, but in this case, knowing KENSTARR, SANDRA, PLAME, ORR, and (just vaguely) HAAS, got me the bottom half and I was able to work up from there.

The fact that fill in the blank clues seem to be my bread and butter helped a lot too :)

52 minutes but I'll take it! Doo dooo do do do do, do doo!

Masked and Anonymous 1:39 PM  

Real… Odd… *

When M&A first saw JACK in an answer and a clue, he cleverly thought it was part of some ripple-effect theme mcguffin. Wrong again, M&A breath.

Theme was kinda different, which is always a breath of fresher-than-snot air. Puzgrid had a cute "+" sign in the middle, which is kinda subtly apt for the puztheme. Clues were crafty at times, as in: {Apian way?} = BEELINE, or {1% of the body?} = SENATOR. PALADIN + PACKHEAT were some of the all-starr fill. Pretty much yer primo ThursPuz rodeo, IM&AO.

staff weeject pick, of a hefty 28 choices: MMA. Nice imitation of MAMA. Luvly weeject stacks in the NE & SW, too boot.

Thanx for the feisty fun, Mr. Koppy. Congratz on yer soph (#2) NYTPuz.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


chefwen 1:41 PM  

@Carola, how hard did you laugh at 42A, I let out a big whoop. I have a T-shirt with the state flag of Hawaii in the shape of the state of Wisconsin on it, when people ask me about it I tell them that I’m just Cheesehead in paradise. Poor thing is just about ready for the rag bin, I’ve worn it to death. And yes, POT HEADS galore on this here rock.

4A Apian way was another laugh out loud moment.

Loved this one.

Z 2:00 PM  

Ooh Ooh @Runs with Scissors - How about a nice blog brawl about which Font to use in discussing the opera in D FLAT about the impenetrable grammar of the Second Amendment. I’d pay good money for that.

@Anon10:52 - Well, actually... ever hear of money laundering?

Ralex 2:07 PM  

The avocados are Hass, not Haas. I just read an article about them. Hass was a postal carrier who bought a tiny 1.5 acre avocado farm near Pasadena, CA in the 1920's. He purchased a bunch of seeds and planted them, intending to graft Fuerte cultivars onto them. One graft failed and he let the seed grow anyway. That turned out to be the Hass. The article said he only made about $5,000 over the 17-year life of his patent. Why? Because farmers ignored the patent and just grafted Hass branches onto their own trees. (Today, the evil Monsanto is a lot smarter.)

albatross shell 2:21 PM  

I agree ABO BEATBOX is natick territory. B, M, H?
CHE, a wannabe coward? You may hate his ideology, his ruthless pursuit of his goals, but he was a successful revolutionary and left the comfort of being an adored hero at home to go and fight with another ragtag group of revolutionaries. Neither a wannabe or a coward, I would think.
Rex did put the Paladin theme in his review, so no way was he slighting Boone or the show.
It was recommended to newbies to read the FAQs. I finally got around to it and discovered that in one of the older puzzles he directs you to in his glossary of terms he mentions the answer MAO with the comment " yes but let's not forget how many people he starved to death." I know people here criticize him for not doing so. At least once he did.
Put me in the thoroughly enjoyable Thursday. The fill seems very good to me. Once I got the theme I liked trying to puzzle them out. JACKSONHOLE and POTHEAD were the best. BEATBOX the only soso one. Clues for ORR BEELINE SENATOR TAX PAS PAY all fun. Enjoyed the OXTAIL soup and getting VEXed instead of irked or ired. And nice to see the oft ignored NU.

GILL I. 3:06 PM  

@albatross shell... your are wrong. Che was never a hero in his hometown - Buenos Aires. Not a single street is named after him.
Che's ideology, inspired by marxism and communism as well as Hollywood-like movies have romanticized him beyond the ridiculous. He was a brutal murderer. You know what he stood for? Mass murder, hatred, and intolerance. Heaven forbid if you were a known homosexual in Cuba. Even Fidel had his doubts about his sanity. Read some history that does not involve Hollywood. Too bad his death didn't involve the firing squad he was so proud of using on many, many innocent people.
I lived under his regime. He was no hero.

ERISA 3:16 PM  

@Ralex, Thanks! Wow, been carrying that load of misinformation around for years.

Anonymous 3:51 PM  

Yes I know about New York state's prosecutorial overreach. Financial crimes are of course different that terrorism. Hence the term white collar. Also, those chargers are apparently going nowhere. You know, because it was just political grandstanding.

GILL I. 3:56 PM  

The Green Paint Mystery, part 9:

Even though Jonathan was stirring, I decided to leave quickly. I kept thinking about the young woman peddling away in her green bike. She looked ominous. Did I know her? I had to be careful when I left, I didn't want to trip over the glass of Prosecco lying next to Jonathan along with another bottle of Martini & Rossi. Why where these bottles on the floor? Before I snuck out, I went to check on his noodles - just in case he got hungry when he woke up.
I crept to my apartment next door. Carefully closing the door, I began assessing the situation. Something was up. I dated Jonathan a few times only because he was a good cook - even though he always left the cleaning up to me. He'd get drunk and talk about a daughter and something called Tartaruga Pintado de Verde. He always hated anything green - even that pesto he flung on the ceiling one time while making something fancy. He was a strange man.
Hush...I hear something. I get my trusty glass and put it up to the wall to see if I can hear anything. YES! I can make out something about inspector Gorp. Oh Lord. Did I leave any fingerprints? Did Jonathan die? Why are they talking about red herrings? What should I do?

For God's sake, Enough! 4:29 PM  

The Green Paint Mystery, part 10: Jonathan shot himself in the fucking head. He wasn't a good shot, but the barrel of a .45 in your mouth, slight upward trajectory always works. He'd been meaning to do it for years, ever since he realized that he called himself, and made everyone call him, Jonathan when it could have been simply Jon, and he wouldn't have seemed such a prat. But, as always, better late than never. Claudine found him there in a pool of blood, took the gun and shot herself in the fucking head also. It just seemed a good idea at the time. Inspector Gorp found the bodies, picked up the gun and followed suit. He's such a wanna-be that he'll do anything the cool kids so, even if one is a prat who makes people call him Jonathan rather than Jon. Speaking of which, what's up with Jon vs John anyway? The Dad someone mentioned some time back came in to see what the ruckus in 3 letters, a.k.a. ADO was all about saw the three bodies there, reveling in the sweet release of death, and joined them with a .45 running ear to ear, contrary to the front to back of the preceding 3. Be wanted sweet peace. We all do.

The End.

Anonymous 4:31 PM  

So grotesque has NY State's persecution of the NRA, that none other than the ACLU has filed an amicus brief on their behalf.

albatross shell 4:31 PM  

I think you are being a little to clever. Surely you knew I meant his home in Cuba since I mentioned comfort and adored hero and leaving to join ANOTHER ragtag band.
I did mention ruthless pursuit of goals. My objections were to wannabe coward. Feel free to defend either of those words. Is Cuba better off as a country today than it would be under strong mafia and US domination? I would say yes but it's certain my debatable. Was the difference worth the deaths on either side? Probably no, no matter what side you are on. Can the US do much to help the situation? Yes. Are we? No.

albatross shell 4:48 PM  

So ENDS the Green Paint Misery. It was ALOT of fun INITs ERA. A tasty OREO. Too many product names. Look forward to the sequel:

The Death of Ma Natick

GILL I. 4:49 PM  

@albatross...Fidel was the hero. Che was not. Ask any Cuban who fled his tyranny. Don't get me started with the "Is Cuba better off as a country today." I'd need a bottle of JC66's Martini & Rossi coupled with a good shot of Talisker.

@For God's sake, Enough!...Killjoy. There is always one of you.

Hungry Mother 5:02 PM  

@Z: thx for the recommendation. I regularly do a 12 hour event called Labor Pain on Labor Day in PA and signed up for my first 24 hour in MD in the fall.

albatross shell 5:18 PM  

Definitely agree with that last sentence #metoo. Of the two, Fidels the better. Or less bad if you prefer. I truly meant no offence. Hope you have one on me, not because of me.

Unknown 6:05 PM  

Jeez, will someone please stick a fork in this guy’s high horse? Not only do I “remember” stuff that happened years and years before I was born (and don’t penalize constructors for including such material) but I also remember when Rex was actually fun, engaging, even witty.

Chesky 7:20 PM  

Had thought I was being clever with RABBIT HOLE and JACK RABBIT. It wasn't deemed to be that way though DROP BEAT(s) was a near miss.

Aketi 7:30 PM  

@For God’s Sake enough, just go dracarys yourself.

Joe Dipinto 9:57 PM  

Well, I showed the work-in-progress to our editor at the publishing house and she says Part 10 has simply got to go, no ifs, ands or buts. The writing is just not up to the fine quality of the rest of it, and the public would never buy that ending.

I trust her opinion, and must say I did not think that it really worked either. So a new Part 10 will be forthcoming by a different, more experienced contributor.

Joe Dipinto 10:18 PM  

Oh, btw: A more experienced contributor = me.

GILL I. 10:46 PM  

Yay @Joe D.
On a serious note: A new poster ( I think it was @Vanda) asked what "Green Paint" meant. Many of us regular posters use it to most likely describe a ho hum clue or answer. @Rex uses it a lot; we either agree or disagree with him. Natick is another wonderful word coined by OFL as well.
Clever @Nancy came up with this "novel" idea to construct a little novelette in honor of this blogs' "Green Paint" syndrome.
Everybody is invited; nobody should be turned away unless you want to be the grinch. It's a little innocuous exercise in fun fantasy. It's done at the end of the blog day and nobody gets hurt.
All of us that are regulars have our own little style of writing. Take a few moments and add your spice to the fun
Monitors.....Your take?
PS. @albatross....I'm never a little too clever.... Fdiel is finally dead! I bet we'd have fun over a glass?

Joe Dipinto 11:41 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Z 12:01 AM  

Funny how the FBI became The State of New York. Don’t like the facts? Change the subject.

I thought only huge artistic entities like Harry Potter and Star Wars had “Canon” and “non-Canon” works, but apparently The Green Paint Mystery is already in the big time. Impressive {Darth Vader voice}.

Joe Dipinto 12:20 AM  

(Reposted with minor edits)


(For Part 9 see GILL I.'s 3:56 pm post)


Part 10

"Wake up! Wake up, my friend. What has happened here? What happened to you?"

The voice was one Jonathan recognized. He slowly opened his eyes and pulled himself upward. "Rudy?"

"Yes, yes, it's me Rudy. I was turning the corner onto your block -- what a neighborhood you picked to live in! -- and I see someone go into your building and then I hear a lot of banging around. I ran to your front door but someone was coming out and shoved me out of the way. She takes off on a bike and meanwhile I see your hotsy-totsy neighbor lady slinking around so I figure I better wait till she left. Ach! Are you okay? What do these people want with you? No, no wait -- wait -- don't try to get up yet."

Jonathan's head felt like a cartoon Acme anvil had been dropped on it fifty times. "Oh, well, you know..." he tittered ruefully "'s a long story, as they say."

"Well you tell me about it later. While you were in dreamyland I figured I better call the police. There's an Inspector Gorp, I think is his name, on his way over here. Here, I'll help you stand up."

Jonathan slowly managed to get to his feet leaning on Rudy for balance. "I don't know how much I want to say to the police right now."

Rudy eased Jonathan into a farmhouse-style kitchen chair and fixed him with a quizzical look. "So maybe I shouldn't have called them? I don't like this, what's going on with you?"

"Not now, Rudy. I'll deal with -- what was his name? Gorp? and get rid of him. I'm gonna go change my shirt." He disappeared into the bedroom. "Hey, what was that you said before?"

"What'd I say, what?"

"You said 'while I was in someplace'--"

"--Dreamyland. You were out cold."

"Yeah, dreamyland. You just reminded me, it's Wednesday. What say when I'm done with Inspector World According to Garp, we head over to the Clover Club? It's not far from here, they have good cocktails, and Michael Arenella's Dreamland Orchestra plays on Wednesday nights. Good traditional-style jazz."

Rudolf eyed the bedroom door dubiously. "More cocktails, you sure? With your head like this? I see the bottle of vermouth. And the prosecco over there."

Jonathan returned, laughing. "Always looking out for me." He had changed into a sea green pullover. "Let's do it, come on, my friend, you'll enjoy it. And I'll tell you all about everything--"

"Okay, okay, the Clover Club," Rudolf humored him. "After Inspector Glop leaves. Oh, this must be him."

"Good evening, gentlemen," said a voice in the doorway.

chefwen 12:41 AM  

@Joe Dipinto- Much better.

Nancy 8:54 AM  

Terrific, Joe! And we're lucky to have such an alert and discerning editor over at the publishing house.

rondo 11:55 PM  

I'll guess that a 'yeah baby' is as obvious as a flagrant foul in basketball. Everyone knows what it is when they see it. Wait a sec . . . isn't that what they say about porn????

spacecraft 11:29 AM  

I too found it "unpleasant to solve--" but for the opposite reason than OFC did. Figuring out the theme, which took a little work, was fine. It's the fill that bothered the hell out of me. We have yet another RMK--and the worst kind. This isn't a _major or minor, but a made-up key by "adding" or "subtracting" from the neighboring letter. Bah to FFLAT and all its cousins!

But the thing that almost scuttled my butt was the "gimme" (Sir) GALAhad. Why of course! Who else would you put down for "Knight renowned for heroism and chivalry?" This is not just a knight--it is the king of all misdirects, all-time. I could not BELIEVE that Galahad was wrong. It amazes me that only one other person (@Sir Hilary) even mentioned this.

Much of the other fill is awkward, and awkwardly clued too. The theme was a joy by comparison. Do we even have to mention the DOD? SANDRA, take a bow. I was kinda hoping OFC would favor us with a clip of Stephen Tobolesky as Ned Ryerson going "AMIRITE or AMIRITE or AMIRITE?!" Par.

Burma Shave 1:24 PM  


On a BEELINE he CAMEIN from the cold
on his IPHONE, "EWE know I'm in JACKSONHOLE


Diana,LIW 1:29 PM  

Got DNF'd in the NE, and I bow to the puzzle's fairness in that corner. Hey puzzle - you win!!

And I agree with @Spacey on the Galahad misdirect, tho it didn't fool me in the long run.

Diana, As Ever, Happy Fourth!!

rainforest 3:58 PM  

Two things to talk about today: the puzzle, and recognition of @spacecraft! If you didn't notice, @Vanda (10:14 AM) sleuthed out that @Spacey coined the term Damsel Of the Day in 2016. I thought it was earlier than that, but as I said yesterday, you are now officially famous, @Spacey. Way to go. And as you said, SANDRA Bullock definitely qualifies today.

Quite a different theme in this puzzle, sort of a combined double 2-word thingy that I took some time to work out until I accepted JACKSON HOLE as the answer for the first one. It was fun to unravel. I accept that E in one key is equivalent to FFlat in another. I've run into this playing the guitar. They are the same note, but are parsed differently/musically.

Some nice clues in here, as well as PALADIN. Have Gun Will Travel was a favourite show from way back. I very briefly considered Galahad, but I was certain of the P as the first letter.

I liked TAX and PAY sitting kitty corner across the central + sign.
Maybe one day Rocket Richard will have his name and number (9) recognized in the NYTX.

leftcoastTAM 4:02 PM  

Yes, Diana, NE CAMEIN last, but eventually got that corner. CHE as a "revolutionary subject for Banksy"? What's Banksy? And not into Mixed Martial Arts. Arts? C'mon.

"Carry" for PACK HEAT and the non-Galahad "Knight" for PALADIN, were great misdirects.

Favorite themer was TIME FLIES, with "Space...Bar...".

Clever, fun, enjoyed it a lot.

Waxy in Montreal 5:25 PM  

@rainforest, or Jean Beliveau as #4 on the Habs? Trouble with the Rocket's #9 is that it was also worn by Howe and Hull who are much easier to fit into the grid.

Count me in the MRSPEEL club before IRONMAN at 8D. And GAUSS before WEBER at 51D. Not a fan of PACKHEAT as an answer for carry or the ABO/BEATBOX cross which was a personal Nattick leading to a DNF. My Broadway Queen was LATIFAH but she sadly couldn't compress into 33A. And trust MOLE sauce isn't made of them.

An excellent Thursday challenge IMHO.

Anonymous 1:57 AM  

To : Leftcoast. From a Left Coast resident. Banksy is a famous vandal/graffiti artist who is quite gifted and who has attracted a huge following. His vandalism does not appeal to me, but his artwork for me is stunning and quite thoughtful. I just wish he would confine it to his own canvas and not deface others' property.

I thought this puzzle was fun and a tad challenging.

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