Kind of push-up / THU 5-2-19 / Soil additive / One end of an umbilical cord / Lifesaving supply

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Constructor: Julie Bérubé

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: ON/OFF  — The words "on" and "off" are next to each other and rebuses in various answers. In the center, the words "on and off" are written out.

Theme answers:
  • CARBON OFFSETS = (18A: Greenhouse gas mitigators)
  • SON OF FRANKENSTEIN = (28A: Third in a horror series) 
  • ON AND OFF = (39A: Intermittently) 
  • IMMIGRATION OFFICE = (47A: Adminsterer of citizenship tests) 
  • PERSON OF FAITH = (63A: Churchgoer e.g.)
Word of the Day: KARLOFF (14D: Co-star of 28-Across [Son of Frankenstein])

William Henry Pratt (23 November 1887 – 2 February 1969), better known by his stage name Boris Karloff (/ˈkɑːrlɒf/), was an English actor who was primarily known for his roles in horror films. He portrayed Frankenstein's monster in Frankenstein (1931), Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and Son of Frankenstein (1939). He also appeared as Imhotep in The Mummy (1932).
In non-horror roles, he is best known to modern audiences for narrating and as the voice of Grinch in the animated television special of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966). - Wikipedia
• • •

Hello everyone, Rex is unavailable today, which means it’s time for a guest post! Megan and Tristan, competent co-solvers and soon-to-be college graduates, are back to annotate a great puzzle from Julie Bérubé.

Megan: Right off the bat, I had some fun clues. LOIS Lowry (26A: Children’s author Lowry) was one of my favorite authors when I was in junior high. The Giver is, of course, her seminal contribution to YA dystopic fiction, but all of her stuff is great. And I got Alan ALDA (fun cluing btw - 17A: Famous Alan whose last name shares three of the four letters of ALAN) right away from watching the West Wing last year, so then OLAF was a gimme (1D: Frozen character).

Tristan: Can’t forget about Number the Stars, another A-list young adult work from Lois Lowry and my personal favorite. The on/off idea is tried and tested, but this puzzle did a good job of keeping the concept lively, especially since some of the letters were spaced between words. Realizing PERSON OF FAITH (63A) and IMMIGRATION OFFICE (47A) had ON/OFF in them was a nice “aha” moment for me.

Megan: Yeah, we both figured something rebus-y was going on, but couldn’t really hack it for a while (having Dr. Frankenstein as the initial answer for 28A: Third in a horror series did not help). We got the ON/OFF deal once we got ONION (19D: Tearjerker?) and SCOFF (8A: Say “Yeah, right!,” say) and then figured it was SON OF FRANKENSTEIN, and then the rest kind of rolled along.

Tristan: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is great! I think it gets a little underrated in terms of quality because of the pop culture profileration of the monster, but the book is a must-read. However, I’m sure classic horror film buffs were happy to see BELA Lugosi (2D) and Boris KARLOFF (14D) make appearances.

  • 34A: Where you might go for a spell? (BEE) — Fun clue! Tristan won his school spelling bee in middle school, whereas I only made it to my elementary school-wide spelling bee’s third round before getting out on “odyssey.” Still stings.
  • 71A: Uptown, so to speak (TONY) — I can’t really parse this, but I’m sure a commenter can…. Does it have to do with the Tony Awards? If so, that would be topical, as the nominees were announced just yesterday (Wednesday).
  • 23A: Contraction to start a sentence (TWAS) — Lots of contractions can start sentences, but this is a more fun way to clue TWAS than using the Christmas rhyme. I’ll take it!
  • 4A: Pandora and others (APPS) — Who still uses Pandora?
  • 43A: _____ Railway, backdrop of “The Bridge on the River Kwai” (BURMA) — So many movie references!

Signed, Megan and Tristan, Court Chroniclers of CrossWorld

[Follow Tristan's Twitter and Megan's Twitter]

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Tristan Jung 12:13 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
turkeyneck 12:15 AM  

On and off are NOT “written out” in the center, but are also in rebus squares.

Joaquin 12:17 AM  

A relatively easy Thursday rebus. My only nit to pick is 32D (Answer from behind a door). It seems to me that “behind the door” indicates inside; the answer ITSME would be more likely to come from in front of the door in response to someone who is actually behind the door. But that may be regional - you know, like the Earth region.

Thanks, Megan and Tristan for the positive/lively write-up!

Runs with Scissors 12:22 AM  

Fun puzzle!

Got the rebus-ness fairly early on, which pretty much just left where they’d get plugged in (in to where they’d get plugged? Insert eye-roll emoji here).


And a bonus PLACENTA, not a SUBTLE BIBI.

Spelling BEEs. . . I came in at a respectable rank in my 7th grade spelling bee. I was just a tad distracted in round two by the mashed fingernail due to someone closing the gymnasium swinging door (hinge-side) on my middle finger during the break before semi-finals. Ouchie. I will never – ever – again forget how to spell “sacrilegious.” Even circuitous was easier.

For those who don’t know, ENIAC was the Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer. Not to be confused with UNIVAC, the Universal Automatic Computer.

To all the Star Wars JEDI haters, too bad but hey, YODA kicks butt and it’s current and abuzz what with the new movie coming out at the end of the year. Personally, I always thought the movies were about 10 minutes too long but they made tons of money so I’m sure George doesn’t give a rat’s patootie what I think.

How many BTUs did you use last month? I actually had to use a few; it’s been unseasonably cold here in the southern part of the California since about January. But natural gas is cheap these days, so I’m a USER of same with no CARBON OFFSETS.

I didn’t notice one IOTA of dreck. Maybe IT’S ME.

Decent Thursday diversion, a bit of unusualness, a bit of a tussle in a couple spots.

***RANT ALERT – FEEL FREE TO IGNORE*** I get that 1A doesn’t specify English (though it’s a puzzle in English, so. . .), but can we please just accept that English lost the entire idiotic system of grammatical case (and gender, and declension, and excessive tense) roughly 700 years ago? Thanks be to (insert favored deity) that, as a result of the Norman invasion and the resultant 300 years of linguistic incest and fracas, where even eggs (eyren) and cattle (kine) weren’t everywhere the same, it went away. Deal. Latin is not all that, and it does not comport with a West Germanic language. The demise of “whom” is now and not a moment too soon. ***END OF RANT***

Mark, in Mickey’s North 40

Patrick O'Connor 12:33 AM  

"Tony" is another way of saying hifalutin', fancy-schmancy. I suppose it's from tone as in high-toned. The Tony Awards are short for the Antoinette Perry Awards.

I liked the puzzle and liked your write-up, just fine.

american glasser 12:41 AM  

Tony basically means posh.

4n74g0n157 12:48 AM  

This is indeed a somewhat obscure use of the word Tony. It can mean "Marked by an aristocratic or high-toned style", per MW. I am originally from Houston where there is a restaurant called Tony's that is... rather tony. I have always remembered this definition because of that!

chris b 1:20 AM  

I've heard of SLOE gin, but never SLOE eyes.

jae 1:47 AM  

Medium-tough. I caught the ON part of the rebus early (ONION) but it took a while longer to see the OFF. Put in and took out SET a couple of times because (a) KUNST was a WOE and (b) OFF TONE was kinda weird.

Like it. A fine tricky Thurs.! Thanks for the breezy write up Tristan and Megan.

Sluggo 1:48 AM  

tony adjective \ˈtō-nē\
tonier; toniest
: marked by an aristocratic or high-toned manner or style
tony private schools

chefwen 2:22 AM  

Like @jae, I got the ON rebus right away with one and ONly, but the OFF took a little longer, I think SON OF FRANKENSTEIN flipped the ON OFF switch to ON.

I do love a rebus on Thursday and this filled the bill, fun!

Larry Gilstrap 2:23 AM  

This solve reminded me of a tough, but pleasurable Sunday effort, without all the real estate. That's a compliment. Not much fill jumped out at me, so the eraser is a bit shorter. Once the pattern was revealed, the long themers popped out, and after some flailing in the SW, I'm done.

Lots of good cluing, but 7D is terrific. It's almost a synonym, and it's also a mis-direct. Life has taught me that recognition and appreciation of SUBTLE experiences are the rewards of observation and mindfulness. Subtlety is lost on some folks. Thanks for listening to my podcast.

I sometimes speak to my students about their experiences with an IMMIGRATION OFFICE. Sounds to me like a lot of high, tiny hoops to navigate, as well as some significant fees to be paid. Resident status and eventual naturalization results from a long, tedious process.

Lou 2:40 AM  

Rex would have had an issue with 40D ending in “on” in an on and off rebus puzzle.

everette 3:00 AM  

@RUNS WITH SCISSORS: English still retains its case system in its personal pronouns: "I/me/my, we/us/our", etc.

SteveM 3:09 AM  

My initial 1A guess was ACC. Oh well. Regarding Runs with Scissors’ rant, now that you think we’ve killed declensions with the demise of “whom”, what exactly are you planning to do with “me”, “her”, “him”, and all the genitives, oops, I mean possessives?

Loren Muse Smith 3:41 AM  

Thanks for stepping in this morning, Megan and Tristan. I always wonder how much advance notice you people get. Like, does he contact you a couple of days ahead or just hours ahead?

What with the BELA and KARLOFF clues cross-referenced to 28A, I thought we had some kind of tribute puzzle to a director or movie or author. So with this in mind, I feel proud that I saw the trick despite my wrong thinking. I teased it out when I erased “Dr.” to get the S there for SERUM. Satisfying aha moment.

I like the fact that the reveal is not clued as a reveal.

@Runs with Scissors – I’ll pile on with @everette and @SteveM. I agree about English changing and losing a lot of its declensions and inflections, but we absolutely do still have a bit of a case system. To quote a funny meme I saw a few days ago, Are there a lot of first-person singular objective pronouns, or is it just me?

I’m with you, though, on giving up already with whom (objective case of the subjective who, the genitive whose.) Someone pries whom from its to whom it may concern to use out in the wild, and I’ma note that this person is a show-off. Sorry. Some of you probably still use whom. Know that there are hippy linguist people out there like me who notice and remember. One more thing – if you’re gonna dig your heels in and use whom, you better get it right, buddy. Many times, you don’t. Misusing a whom is the linguistic equivalent of going for and flubbing a dunk when you should have dialed it back and gone for the LAY UP. Just putting this out there to whoever might be tempted over to the Dark Side.*

And totally agree that once those Normans invaded, all hell broke loose with regard to our language. Fun, fun, fun.

JEDI and YODA are symmetrical.

“Notoriously hard thing to define” – Hmm. Umami. Bemused. Nonplussed.

@chris b – solve long enough and you’ll get comfortable with SLOE-eyed.

@Larry – I agree on the clue for SUBTLE.

*Admit it – you think it should be whomever there, don’t you. Nope. Whoever is correct. You want whomever, you have to change it to, say, . . .to whomever I might lure over to the Dark Side.

Brookboy 4:54 AM  

Thank you, Megan and Tristan, for a nice write-up of the puzzle. It is unfortunate that those of us addicted to Rex’s perpetual state of outrage are denied our daily fix, but how nice that you both are filling in. I enjoyed the puzzle as much as you did.

It took me a while to come up with the rebus, but it was worth it. Yet another interesting and creative puzzle. I remain ever grateful to all the constructors, who must spend endless hours conceiving such interesting puzzles and working prodigiously to refine them. I think today’s puzzle makes elegant and interesting use of the rebus. Thank you, Ms. Berube.

Have to also give a shoutout to @LMS for her always witty and always enjoyable comments. Not sure what she puts in her coffee each day, but I’d like to try some.

KRMunson 5:08 AM  

I can always count on this blog for a laugh in the middle of the night. But I want to know - are you all insomniacs like me? Your posts come up at the wee hours of the night. Do you do puzzles to help you fall asleep or give you something to do during wakefulness?

Anonymous 5:23 AM  

How is one supposed to enter multiple letters in a box in the online puzzle?

BarbieBarbie 6:07 AM  

Here’s what I like, in addition to a really fun puzzle: yes, KARLOFF was the voice of the Grinch in the 1966 short. But he didn’t sing the song. It was sung by Thurl Ravenscroft, whose voice many of us know as TONY the Tiger. Great Easter egg!!

This was grrrrrrrrreat!!

Lewis 6:10 AM  

Oh yes. More like this please!

Fun theme with a kick butt reveal. Vague and clever cluing. Big aha when the ON/OFF became clear. And KARLOFF crossing SON OF FRANKENSTEIN!

A fist pump and nod of respect at the end. Yes, J.B., more like this. Brava!

Unknown 6:45 AM  

Currently, googling OBJ returns one of those google info-boxes on Odell Beckham, Jr. Could’ve been timely/relevant instead of spoiling the NW with a cheap abbreviation.

Anonymous 6:47 AM  

On iPhone there is a “More” button bottom/left, then hit the “Rebus” button.

Anonymous 7:02 AM  

Why wasn’t the “on” in Deighton a rebus? Am I missing part of the theme?

amyyanni 7:18 AM  

Fun start to Thursday, even though a DNF. @KRMunson, I solve in the am, before work, and I like to work out a bit as well, so some days, like today, I am forced to throw in the towel!

Birchbark 7:20 AM  

@Runs with Scissors (12:22) -- if more rants were like yours, the world would be a better place. But next time, instead of "Rant alert," try "who-so list it nat y-here, Turn over the leef, and chese another tale" (from the Miller's Tale). It just sounds better.

Re Bauhaus/"BELA Lugosi's Dead" -- in the college bohemian phase, that is the song that always ended my friend's mid-week party ("Soirée). We turned out the lights, broke open glow sticks and anointed the revelers, surreal spackled glow-in-the-dark Bauhaus music, then up with the lights and off to the library to atone.

amyyanni 7:20 AM  

Almost forgot: lovely write-up.

kitshef 7:22 AM  

Yes, we’ve been through some bad puzzles this week, but THIS was special (in a good way).

Three levels of “getting it” for me.
First the realization that some answers had ON (CARBON sinks) and others OFF (KARLOFF).
Then the realization that some answers had two rebuses (SONOFFRANKENSTEIN).
And finally, the realization that all the theme acrosses had on and off, consecutively, in that order, except for ONandOFF.

Definitely on the list for puzzle of the year.

SLOE-eyed was new to me.

Very odd clue for NESS. With Loch and Eliot at your disposal, why go with a suffix?

Can't almost any contraction begin a sentence?

Anonymous 7:38 AM  

On the web version there is a Rebus button on the toolbar. You can also hit the Insert key, and the hit Enter when you're done.

70 in nampa 7:41 AM  

Liked it. Good Thursday puzzle.
Thinking about sloe-eyed Liz, the beautiful English prof from Middle Tennessee State, I met at the World Championship Horse Show in Louisville... I was an assistant trainer for a stable out of Woodside, CA, and Liz was rubbing horses for a stable out of Tennessee... 1973...
No horse show anywhere like Louisville, back in the day... when that announcer said "RACK ON!!" and those gaited horses come storming down the straight... their grooms on the rail, pounding the sides, whooping and hollering... the hair's standing up in my arms, just thinking about it. And her.

Klazzic 8:05 AM  

Nice write-up, kids. Refreshing! Fun puzzle. Lots OFFun. Still scratching my head on Val Meat??
Enjoy your day.

Mohair Sam 8:13 AM  

@Scissors and @Lauren - So you're telling me that The Bell has Tolled for Whom?

Anonymous 8:21 AM  

You can “parse” a sentence but it does not mean “I don’t know what that word means.”

Joe 8:29 AM  

People don't use Pandora anymore? I use it literally every day to listen to music. It's amazing. What else would you use?

Nancy 8:46 AM  

A terrific rebus! Having the ON/OFF squares right next to each other and embedded in phrases that are actual and familiar phrases is a real coup. And the cluing was great, too.

I did not, however, start out as a happy camper in the NW. The four Down proper names in a row that I didn't know as clued irritated me mightily. And I was sure that the oft-mentioned "28A" was going to be a horror film I'd never heard of. Why would I? There are so many nowadays, and I avoid horror films like the plague.

But everyone's heard of SON OF FRANKENSTEIN -- even people like me who have never seen it. And it was SON OF FRANKENSTEIN that tipped me off to the rebus. So right now, SON OF FRANKENSTEIN is my favorite film, even though I've never seen it. It also made BELA and KARLOFF easy to suss out. Even though I already had BELA.

I found this crunchy and liked it a lot. Once I got the rebus, that is.

pabloinnh 8:55 AM  

Well I thought this was just great. Caught on with the ONEARM pushup with the Boris KARLOFF cross and had fun finding the other ON/OFFS. Just the right amount of crunch and some fun clues.

In short, a Thursdazo! Muy bien hecho JB!

Carola 8:59 AM  

An elegant demonstration of puzzle KUNST. Seeing the first ON/OFF switch in ONION and SCOFF early helped me get the rest quickly.
Besides KARLOFF crossing his movie, I also liked the parallel JEDI and YODA.
One do-over: nexT STOP.
SMILES AT: The idea that Pandora is passé - before I even figured out what it is.

FearlessKim 9:10 AM  

Sloe-eyed: attractive, dark, usually almond-shaped eyes.

Cheerio 9:16 AM  

Great puzzle! So smooth - Berry-like. More like this !

Z 9:18 AM  

I counted four superfluous, unrebused ONs in the puzzle, with no corresponding OFFs. Not a huge deal, but definitely would have been more elegant if they weren’t there.

Hand up for still using “whom,” especially in formal writing. Code-switching is real and I do it. Don’t @ me.

TONY was no issue here. Hifalutin’ or posh, I’ve heard it both as a compliment and as a snide insult.

@kitshef - That ‘TWAS clue was sly. Note where the contraction occurs, something I only realized after reading your comment.

@KRMunson - The blog goes up at midnight eastern, which is 10 pm the night before in Colorado, 9 the night before in California, and 7 the night before in Hawaii.

@Anonymous8:21 - One can parse a sentence, a word, a theme, whether or not “whom” is still proper English, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. It’s almost as if people take words with specific meanings and then adapt them to new settings and meanings.

@Joe - I think all the kids are listening to Spotify these days. Pandora is so 2009.

Biggest surprise of the day, Bauhaus. Too Tony by half.

JBT 9:26 AM  

I miss @Rex calling out that the common version of the phrase is "Off and On" not the other way round. Also, why all the clues about a not great movie from 1939? I agree with the comment on 40 down. You can't have the two letters non-rebused.

Nancy 9:27 AM  

BTW, I had never realized that Boris KARLOFF and BELA Lugosi ever appeared in the same film. I thought they were rivals -- each the star of his own unique horror enterprise. Not sharing the honors. Sort of like...

Putting Errol Flynn and Douglas Fairbanks in the same movie...
Or Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand...
Or Humphrey Bogart and Dick Powell...
Or the Marx Brothers and The Three Stooges...
Or Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. Oh wait...
Never mind.

Hungry Mother 9:47 AM  

Took me so long, but I got it. It seemed like a Saturday for a while, until I got the theme.

davidm 10:14 AM  

Curiously, the very last thing I wrote in was the revealer, ON AND OFF, so until then this all seemed so … arbitrary. But even with the revealer, I was dissatisfied. I kept wishing that the rebuses ON and OFF were somehow conceptually connected to the words or phrases they were imbedded in, but they aren’t, so far as I can tell … I also wished that the black squares had been enlisted to serve as the homes for the OFF rebuses … I don’t know, something like: Clue: Manipulate an electric light? Answer: USE THE ON OFF SWITCH, with OFF imbedded in a black square … something like that.

GILL I. 10:15 AM  

There's a saying in Spanish: "me cayo mal" (accent on the o) which, if you translate literally, means "it fell on me bad." Translators have fun with these things. I'm betting @pablo knows exactly what I mean. @Mohair....I thought of you on the Bell Tolling For Whom and hoped you might pipe in. In Spanish we don't have to fight for the "whom" word....."Por quien tocan las campanas." Or "for those who touch the bells." Fun...isn't it?
I had a terrible time getting on this puzzles wavelength - that's why it fell on me bad. The cluing just seemed OFF for me and I so wanted it to be ON. Twasn't. I did get the rebus conceit at the S[ON] {OF} {F]RANKESTEIN. I had STEIN in place so I went back to fill in the FRANK.
Once I knew what we were playing with, I went along with the game. My last and least favorite entry was CARBON OFFSETS. It looked awfully green paintish to me.
So KUNST means ART in German? So what....GABON straddles the Ecuador? OK. To me, SUBTLE is difficult to describe. I wish NESS had been clued with its Loch and OLAF as a Saint. ITS ME...that's all.
Sacre BLEU....

jberg 10:42 AM  

I loved this puzzle, not only for the rebus but for the tough cluing. Sometimes impossibly tough, as bith Big ____ (Sky? Six? No, SUR!) Or BLeu/BLUE cheese.

That said, unrebused ONs are a defect. @Z, I only count 3 (meet the TONY MONTE DEIGHTON), what's the other one?

I do occasionally use 'whom' in writing, though I don't think ever in speecch. But it is still around -- although, @quasi, if you say "For whom the bell tolls" you're quoting John Donne from the early 17th century, so that doesn't count.

@Z, I don't get your point about the clue for TWAS, either -- oh wait, because the apostrophe comes first. Hmm, that's a little too much of a misdirection. Oh well.

I'll be seeing you.

David 10:50 AM  

It didn't help me much that I couldn't remember if Karloff spelled his last name "of" or "ov", so I floundered about a bit before getting it. And seeing the themers were all over the place didn't give me any traction. I think I was half way done when I finally got it. I wound up really liking the puzzle.

I don't think Arial is all that popular, it's just a default. We use TimesEuropa, BodoniItalic, and Goudy; all popular in my field. I've yet to see a book publisher or designer use Arial--maybe mass market children's books do?

I was also surprised at the outlier "on" in Len's last name.

Had AR and couldn't come up with ART until I put in KUNST; brain working backwards there.

The only conductor who would call dissonance "off tone" is the one who announced the last stop, I'm afraid.

@lms It's true many Americans don't know the subjective from the objective and use one (usually the objective) incorrectly. However, not all of us do. Oddly, many don't seem to know the difference in their other meanings when it comes to news reportage either.

My rant about what happened so long ago is the introduction of Romance Language diminutives on perfectly good neuter words such as "waiter", "author", "actor" etc. I'm glad to see and hear those things die and am often bemused by people trying to make them "gender neutral" when they already were. It seems the only one hanging on as "masculine" is "waiter"; replaced by "wait staff", which at least is better than the 1970s coinage "waitron".

Peter 10:52 AM  

I may have missed it in someone else's post, but TONY is TO N.Y., as in a train, although you would have to be downtown to be going uptown to New York, I suppose.

Whatsername 10:55 AM  

Loved loved loved! Best Thursday I can remember in a very long time. Thank you Julie. More like this please!

Anonymous 11:02 AM  

Nice to read non-curmudgeon puzzle descriptions.

RooMonster 11:05 AM  

Hey All !
This was an outhouse puz for me. Just couldn't grasp what was going ON. Had OF FRANKENSTEIN thinking the black square in front was hiding BRIDE, and along with the two cross-referenced clues, had the ole brain convinced that was the theme, but none of the long Acrosses had anything to do with that. Bugger.

Also thinking it was some sort of an L thing, as in with KARLOFF, KARL Down with OFF as its base. Finally had to Check Puz to find wrongness, then when even that didn't jar the mind, had to Reveal SCOFF, and then finally I saw what the deal was.

But upon reviewing completed puz, I have to say this was pretty good. Tough to make.

Wanted JEDI for both 3D and 60D. Actually had it in at both to see which one would be correct. Misread 69A as "... bounced off something" and had ECHO at first. Made that SE corner a bit of a toughie.

The fourth is the other ON in ONION.

Speaking of Fourth, May The Fourth is two days away, for all you Star Wars fans. JEDIs rule! Or, as YODA would say, "True, that statement is."


Fred Romagnolo 11:16 AM  

Nancy, actually there were a number of Karloff-Lugosi movies, "the Black Cat" was one of the best. I disagree with downplaying the worth of "The Son of Frankenstein," for scenic design alone it was thrilling, and included Basil Rathbone and Lionel Atwell.

Robert Grady 11:17 AM  

The case system still remains in places. He/him/his are nom/obj/pos cases for third person singular (masc) for example.

Newboy 11:23 AM  

Brookboy Said it perfectly— and before 5 a.m. too. It’s hell living in the wrong time zone on the wrong coast!

Runs with Scissors 11:52 AM  

@KRMunson 5:08 AM

Out here on the left side of the map the puzzle is available by 1900 (Pacific time). So it's an after-dinner, relax with an IPA, wind down thingy for me.

Anonymous 11:54 AM  

Rant notwithstanding, (American) English still has all the elements of conjugation and declension, just not as many (declension in particular) as the pure Latin, et seq, and what's left (particularly in the verbs) is irregular as hell. I know: I suffered through Latin, Russian, German, and Spanish in school. Little of it stuck. I'd wager the main reason English speakers have so much trouble learning a real Romance language, and vice-versa, is that current English is mostly exception to what few rules remain. In school I knew a recent immigrant (when that wasn't a Scarlet Letter) who preferred 'Coalgottay Toothpahstay'. Yeah, pronunciation has no rules, either.

@chris b:
SLOE eyed is kinda like Bette Davis Eyes, only different. There's also a rather racist equivalent. I'll leave it to the curious to satisfy such on their own.

DrBB 1:17 PM  

Just challenging enough for Thursday, even after I got the ON/OFF rebus thing. But OFF TONE isn't a thing. Sorry. Just isn't. One of those fills that you just want to leave blank until you're forced to enter it, all the while hoping somehow someway it won't be what you can see it probably is. Ouch.

Rob Rebus 1:18 PM  

Apple Music > Spotify because while both offer tens of millions of songs neither is comprehensive, especially for those who listen to a lot of off the run music. There are a lot of holes. Apple Music lets the users commingle their own collections with Apple’s.

puzzlehoarder 1:29 PM  

I got the NE corner along with the theme in about Tuesday time, meaning an entire Tuesday. ONION I suspected from the get go but SCOFF took a little work Finishing the puzzle still stretched out to Saturday time. I didn't mind this a bit. It was well made and interesting throughout. I agree with others that this was one of your better Thirsdays.

Teedmn 1:30 PM  

Suuuu...I liked this puzzle a lot. The middle west gave me a micron of fluster when I decided 28D's "Lifesaving supply" would be vEsts. When boating, we always have to have a vest for everyone on board so not out of the realm of probability. This led, even knowing the ON OFF trick, to me deciding FRANKENSTEIN's name started with V[ON] (never thought about the OF I was omitting from my logic). 28D became "vEnin" (thinking antivenin here) but I eventually found a serum that cured that mess and all was well.

Nice that KoNST is art in Swedish, which helped me out there.

I loved the clue for ONION, "Tearjerker?" and chuckled at 34A, going to a BEE for a spell (not hEx, which made no sense). OFFAL as "Variety meat" made me SCOFF - seems a bit of a euphISM there. And 48D, an election after an election would be where I would RUN OFF to Canada, har.

Nice job, Ms. Berube (sorry, no accent marks available without undue toil.)

alexscott68 1:31 PM  

How could MONTE, DEIGHTON, and TONY all get in without rebuses? Wasn’t the theme based on the idea that every ON and OFF was in a single rebus square? Seems like a major flaw in the puzzle that should have been caught by the editor and fixed. While it’s sometimes nice to have a break from Rex’s curmudgeonly commentary, other times, like today, I was really looking forward to him ripping this puzzle a new one. I’m not proud of it, but there it is.

Anonymous 1:41 PM  

Can’t resist weighing in on who/whom. I definitely did not think it should have been “whom” and I don’t understand why it’s so difficult for people to know which one to use. All you have to do is substitute he or him (she or her, they or them) to know whether who or whom is right. In your first example, it would be “he might be tempted over to the dark side” not “him might be tempted.” So it has to be “who” (or “whoever” in this case). In any case, as I’ve said before, LMS, I would like this blog better if you were writing it.

TJS 2:01 PM  

Pretty sure "tony" is an English adaption of Bon Ton, meaning high society in the French usage.

pabloinnh 2:42 PM  

Hola @GILL I.-Pues a mi me cayo bien. I do know what you're saying about translation, which is why good translators are real treasures. Definitely an art, not a science.

The no who/whom problem in Spanish makes me think about trying to teach things like "Who are you talking to?" of "What is this for?" I know in English we're not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition (although try rephrasing "Who was that lady I saw you with?" but in Spanish you just can't do it. All of my examples would START with a preposition, problem avoided.

Now POR and PARA, on the other hand.....

Aketi 3:09 PM  

This [ON] AND [OFF] puzzle was very much a part of the ON part of my day. So was the UPS driver who was the only driver who double parked leaving the 3 feet of bike lane clear along Central Park West I love him to death because he always keeps the bike lane clear and thank him for it every day I ride that stretch. The NYPD were also part of the ON part of my day. They not only tolerated my bike rage filled rant about the 20, yes 20, blocks of school buses that had double parked in the bike lanes south and north of the American. Museum of Natural History, they agreed with me and called for back up and circled around to get them all to move. The LOUT who mistakenly thought that the NYPD hadn’t listened to me because they circled around had his comeuppance. @Nancy, you know how you feel about scooters and bikes? That’s how I now feel about school buses. They so easily could have parked and left the lanes open.

Anonymous 3:23 PM  

That’s how I now feel about school buses. They so easily could have parked and left the lanes open.

Well... when I was in grade school, in a small city mostly with sidewalks, nobody rode a bus before high school and then we had to take city buses on our own (well, Mom and Pop) dime. We walked to school in the morning, home for lunch, back to school, then home when school closed. Rain or snow. Uphill both ways. Kiddies are such snowflakes these days. Same as their parents.

Z 3:26 PM  

@jberg - @Roo found it, the worst of the four, (ON)ION. One rebus and one not seems especially inelegant. I’m sure Rex would have called it a fault, but I am feeling more charitable given that I didn’t notice until TONY. I wonder if the editor noticed and let it slide or if the fixes made the fill worse.

ghostoflectricity 3:39 PM  

Not a fan of Bibi Netanyahu to put it mildly, and the expression "OFFTONE" puts me off, as it were. The expression is "off-key." Never even heard anyone say "off-tone" in my life, and I've been around a lot of musicians and people who just sing or play for fun.

Unknown 3:52 PM  

I liked the on off theme, but too many answers didn't follow the theme. And I think this was created by a female constructor, so so much for Rex's theory or rants. It's not about gender. Give me a clever, consistent puzzle.

Aketi 4:02 PM  

@Anonymous 3:23pm, actually it’s not the buses, it’s the drivers. It would take no extra afford at all for them to park properly. The school kids are coming from schools that are too far from the American Museum of Natural History to walk. The Museum is great for educating children so I’m totally in favor of them visiting the museum. My son had the good fortune to go to a school that was two blocks from the Museum and the teachers would take them to the Museum and Central Park on a regular basis. The teachers at my son’s elementary school made sure the kids were walkers.

Runs with Scissors 4:40 PM  


"Try rephrasing 'who was that lady I saw you with'"

That lady with whom I saw you; who was she?

Yeah, it can be done but for pity's sake why would one do it?

And all others who piled on. . . Yes, I know case is still used to describe pronouns. It's a thing. :-)

Hartley70 4:47 PM  

This was a wonderful classic rebus that gave me no end of confusion until I saw PERSONOFFAITH. When I think horror, Karloff and Lugosi are in the rear view mirror and Freddy Kruger is riding shot gun. I tried Jamie Lee Curtis, Halloween and Scream, even the clearly wrong Jordan Peele’s Get Out, but FRANKENSTEIN was a long time coming. I would have thought the SON OF would be the second film in the series, not the third.
I raise my hand for Spotify. I still open Pandora at times though because I don’t care if I’m cool. Who remembers Snapchat anyway? Here today, gone in no time.

Joe Dipinto 5:17 PM  

The clue for 17a takes up Five.Freaking.Lines in the paper edition. When the first two words alone would have sufficed. And then the clue for 56d: Here are the names of three people; they can be described as what, for example?

It's freakin' Thursday, editors. Stop dumbing everything down.

I leave it to @Nancy to identify this lyric, which I'm sure she'll do within two seconds:

First you're another sloe-eyed vamp,
Then someone's mother, then you're camp

Nancy 5:56 PM  

@Joe Dipinto (5:17) -- Pretzels and beer, anyone? I've run the gamut, A to Z/Three cheers and dammit, c'est la vie...

Of course, I know! :)

T.R.H. 6:36 PM  

Nothin’ like bein’ kind of mean to the guest posters!

Anonymous 7:11 PM  

Not a fan of Bibi Netanyahu to put it mildly, and the expression "OFFTONE" puts me off

I initially figured it had to be a variation of atonal, ATONE. Before groking the rebus, I guess. Guess not.

CDilly52 7:17 PM  

Hand up for being one of the “hippy linguist people,” raised by a family of die-hard strict grammarians (and “gramParians,” my Paternal gramps being the smack the hand with the ruler type). We were an obnoxiously wordy and snootily erudite gang. My brother and I were often required to participate in formal conversation or respond to questions after one of my gramps’s lengthy lectures about how youth is destroying (supply any number of objects). While I truly thank the various deities for my education, satisfying Gramps was never easy. But man, when I was the one who got to go to the “Magic Drawer” and pick a present, I was over the moon for weeks!

Gramps was a gadget guy. The Drawer was full of the cleverest things all of which could fit in the pocket of one’s jeans-puzzles, tiny toys and clever puzzles, little ink pads and stamps, just about anything miniature and the value was beyond money! Being “the one” each week (Sunday afternoons) to get to take the tiny gold key from his watch fob and open “The Drawer” to pick a prize...HooBOY! Sadly, Gramps was a functioning alcoholic and my first childhood introduction to both addiction and death. I mourned him for months (again) when I became a member of the bar And he was not there to celebrate with us. Everyone always assumed my elder brother would follow in Gramps’s footsteps and accordance with his wishes. But it was I who worked at my government badges in Girl Scouts, joined Speech and Debate in school and hopefully have lived up to his lofty expectations.

Loved all of this clever puzzle. Knocked 8 minutes off my Thursday average but spent a good couple minutes trying to get a foothold! Knew it had to be a rebus but couldn’t find it until IMMIGRATION OFFICE. I just had a friend take her citizenship oath. She is a DMA organ graduate from the American Organ InstItute here in Norman at OU and a magnificent organist!! Once I got started it was pretty breezy! I love it when puzzles lead me down memory lane. Apologies to onenan all for whom this is just TMIZ SKIP ME; I shall not take offense.

pabloinnh 7:22 PM  

@Runs with Scisssors-

That's about as close to a rephrase as I ever got. Thanks for playing. Was it Churchill who said, "This is something up with which I will not put?"

The fact that something can be done does not make it a good idea.

Monty Boy 7:50 PM  

I haven't read all the comments in detail, but best I can tell, no one has mentioned Young Frankenstein (Fronk-en-steen). I record it every time it's on and watch and laugh all over again.

Each time I see it, I see another visual pun. Igor's hump changes sides. The inspector's monocle changes sides (and is always over his eyepatch). The inspector's mechanical arm changes sides. "Put the candle back."

I like the puzzle a lot. Took a while to get the rebuses (rebii??) and get them in the right place, but nice aha when it came together.

I kept trying to get a three letter word for a witch to cast a spell, but liked the BEE answer a lot.

Preferred Customer 7:52 PM  

I use whom. I like it.

No idea what a declension or genetive is. Or a singular objective pronoun. So it's not because I'm trying to show off. It just sounds right.

albatross shell 8:02 PM  

Bride before Son.
Nice catch on 'twas having contraction first. I thought 'twas brillig having Lewis Carroll quote nearby.
I enjoyed not having the reveal revealed nor having the rebus answers lit up. All the across rebus answers have both on and off in them. The shorter rebus on and off answers cross these. Ergo, any problem with the nonrebus ons strikes me as extremely minimal, but then crosswords and baseball have some unwritten rules I do not fully grasp.
To be blunt what a fuckin good puzzle.
Solved slowly to start and somewhat less slowly after catching on/off to the Rebus. Wasted time trying to rebus Bride of Frankenstein in until I realized it was the 2nd movie.

bertoray 8:03 PM  

And I would so buy anything LMS would publish.

albatross shell 10:16 PM  

@Preferred customer
Does whom enjoy being used?

Except for the 2nd on in onion.
You are right I stand corrected.

Adam 10:27 PM  

The kids use Spotify. Or possibly some other service I’ve never even heard of. I love Pandora - I’ve been a user for years and have discovered a lot of great music from its suggestions.

Adam 10:31 PM  

I thought I had misremembered the spelling of Bella and they were looking for the third in the Twilight series. *sigh*. GUAM for GABON didn’t help. It took me forever to grok the theme, but once I did I tore through the rest of the puzzle. I liked this one a lot.

Loren Muse Smith 2:55 AM  

@CDilly52 – loved your Gramps story!

@Z – I may code switch, too, from time to time, but I don’t care who I’m talking to, I would never use whom. You little show-off, you.

@David – It’s been my observation that the pronoun case free-for-all involves only conjoined pronouns, pronouns that are in A and B constructions. So while people cheerfully say stuff like

Me and him went to Walmart.

No one would say

*Me went to Walmart.
*Him went to Walmart.

While people will say

He told John and I to zip it.

No one says

*He told I to zip it.

I especially like the brilliant Everyone came to Brittney and I’s house last night. I hear that "___ and I’s" construction all the time. But BUT I’m a low-brow Bravo tv watcher. Color me unwashed.

@preferred customer – fair enough. I don’t get to be the boss of what sounds right to someone else. I’ll stop calling you a show-off. It's just that whom really is disappearing in spoken English, and I can’t imagine that it Ever “sounds right.” For me, hearing someone use whom jerks my attention from listening to what they’re saying to listening to how they’re saying it. You know, if the whom is embedded in the sentence as a relative pronoun, you could just ditch it altogether.

That’s the man whom Dad paid last week to cut our grass. Ick
That’s the man Dad paid to cut our grass. Better.

CDilly52 10:30 AM  

You are my people LMS!

OlyL 2:22 PM  

Hi, Moderator! Oh, you young people! Wish I could be around when you know things young people don’t. Never heard of sloe-eyed! Don’t believe we still have case grammar? Think that Babs and Judy Garland were rivals?! Judy might have played Barbara’s decrepit mother maybe. Who uses Pandora? I would have loved to see Rex’s write-up of this one.

Runs with scissors pinched finger story reminded me of the time my older son broke his hand running into a tree!?!, which required a trip to the dr’s, x-rays, etc, and then the next day, having my younger son back there with a finger tip pinched off by the cafeteria door at school, with the same nurse, doctor and x-ray technician in attendance. I expected a visit from child protective services....

Giskarrrd 11:12 PM  

This puzzle was way over this novice puzzle solver’s head unfortunately. I got stumped on so many theme answers, but the rebus just never occurred to me. I only finish every third Thursday puzzle anyway, and this one had some tough clues.

Did enjoy the write up and conversation here though. Trying to learn from it!

Can someone explain OAL for variety meat? Googling did not get me anywhere...

Yam Erez 7:28 AM  

An "-ism" is a foundational belief? Surprised no one else challenged this. I think of "an -ism" as a tongue-in-cheek way of referring to an ideology. I mean, is "what-about-ism" a foundational belief? Don't think so. A foundational belief would be more like a tenet, or a pillar.

Jon R 3:40 PM  

Oof..this one was too tough for me. Got the theme thanks to Son of Frankenstein and the actors, but the middle (was not expecting another ON OFF combo, especially separate from each other) and the bottom (SLOE/TONY both completely unfamiliar) stumped me.

spacecraft 11:42 AM  

To whoever might care:

For me this was two puzzles: the NE challenging, the rest easy. I got under way in the SW corner--and immediately fell into the rebus with PERSONOFFAITH, ONLY and RUNOFF. Scanned around for a revealer clue, to no avail. Went ON with it.

Did not know OFFTONE, but inferred it. However, 18 across was another story. Had CARBONOFF____ and went huh?? That corner was a bear! 12 down? That can't be just NESS, could it? I mean, that's a suffix for bald and bold--and EVERY OTHER ADJECTIVE YOU WANT TO TURN INTO A NOUN!! Nah, can't be.


Then there was the conductor's announcement. I hardly believe that it would ever be necessary to say "LASTSTOP." The percentage of passengers who know this already must be less than an IOTA away from 100. So that was hard to see. The TWAS clue couldn't have been broader. I tell ya, the NE was one TOUGH nut!

Were I a nitpicking curmudgeon, I'd have pointed to the four non-theme ON's, but though I noticed, I gave it a "So what?" ON is a pretty tough couplet to avoid in English. (BTW, my German helped with 30-down). I thought this was a great IDEA, and neatly enough executed. I have to mention that the most inane thing anybody can say on the other side of the door is "ITSME." That's gonna tell you a lot. At least you know it's not YOU out there.

One writeover: had ScarcE for hard to get instead of SUBTLE. The difference is...well, you know. DOD is PERI Gilpin. Sub-themes abound, with horror film + actors, and the Star Wars guru. Had fun doing it, and found little to carp about fill-wise. Birdie.

BURMA Shave 12:18 PM  


HEY, the IMMIGRATIONOFFICE says it’s lawful
to RUNOFF AND NOSH on that PLACENTA he ate
AND ONANDOFF say, “Sacre BLEU, that’s OFFAL!”


rondo 2:52 PM  

I got the ON part at CARBON__ something and the whole ONANDOFF thing for sure at PERSONOFFAITH. That made the rest go OFF a whole lot better.

An old girlfriend actually had a LEEKy BLEU CANOE as suggested by the second line. That thing sat in my yard for years.

@BURMA is missing a Shave.

@spacey is right on the NOSE with yeah baby PERI Gilpin.

Rebi aren’t my favorites, but this was a pretty good IDEA.

leftcoastTAM 4:00 PM  

Very slow start, then found the ON-OFF rebus gimmick, and finished with something of a flourish. Much enjoyment.

The notoriously hard to define KUNST, linking the revealer with the two long acrosses, can remain undefined. Curious clues and answer, but quite helpful in the solve.

Great Thursday by Julie B.

rainforest 4:01 PM  

Nice shout-out to BURMA, the poetry of whom I am a fan.

Hard to understand that users of correct English get dumped on. I mean, to what is the world coming?

Oh, the puzzle. The thing is, do we say "OFF and ON", or "ON and OFF"? No, that is not the thing. The thing is, what does one get OFF ON? No, actually the thing is that this was a rebus, or, rather, contained some rebi, and of these, I'm not a huge fan. However, I did like this puzzle. 'TWAS fun (sounding like Lady Di there).

Of all the tides you might expect to see in a crossword puzzle, NEAP seems to be the most popular. Nice letters, I guess.

Okay theme, nice revealer, good fill and cluing. Pretty good for a rebus.

Diana,LIW 4:16 PM  

@Rainey - regarding correction of English usage, when so accosted with grammatical offenses of the prepositional variety, Churchill is said to have replied, "that is something up with which I shall not put."

And 'twas (as any fan of Englishosity would note) a glorious and wonderous Thursday, whence I completed the puzzle, rebi and an ampersandwichical response et. alia.

Or tis et. alii? Bring my smelling salts.

All prior to 10 am PST, and without assistance of any kind 'cept my trusty coffee.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

PS - I have never seen a tide in a crossword that 'twasn't NEAP.

spacecraft 6:34 PM  

Here's another one: "**** you and the horse in upon which you rode."

spacecraft 6:35 PM  

P.S. #2: I dunno; I've seen EBB tides at least as often.

Diana,LIW 6:58 PM  

I sit corrected, and now shall EBB any good tidings would

Lady Di

wcutler 1:07 AM  

This comment concerns the May 2 puzzle, which I'm a day late doing even in Syndiland.
Klazzic 8:05 AM asked about VAL for variety meat
Giskarrrd 11:12 PM asked about OAL for variety meat

The answer to 47 across is immigratiON OFFice. OFF are the first three letters of the answer for variety meat, which is OFFal.

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