Obsessive fan in modern slang / TUE 5-16-19 / Mer contents / Belly in babyspeak / Cereal brand wth weight-loss challenge / Mideast royal name / Skill tested by Zener cards for short

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Constructor: Damon Gulczynski

Relative difficulty: Medium (3:50 on oversized 16x15)

THEME: THEME (42A: < — What this is for this puzzle) — the theme is "42" (the clue number for that clue):

Theme answers:
  • THE MEANING OF LIFE (18A: What the computer Deep Thought was programmed to figure out in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy")
  • JACKIE ROBINSON (37A: Hall-of-Fame player whose number has been retired by every team in Major League Baseball)
  • PRESIDENT CLINTON (56A: He served between Bush 41 and Bush 43)
Word of the Day: STAN (54D: Obsessive fan, in modern slang) —
noun: stan; plural noun: stans
  1. 1. 
    an overzealous or obsessive fan of a particular celebrity.

    "he has millions of stans who are obsessed with him and call him a rap god"
verb: stan; 3rd person present: stans; past tense: stanned; past participle: stanned; gerund or present participle: stanning
  1. 1. 
    be an overzealous or obsessive fan of a particular celebrity.

    "y'all know I stan for Katy Perry, so I was excited to see the artwork for her upcoming album"
Origin early 21st century: probably with allusion to the 2000 song ‘Stan’ by the American rapper Eminem, about an obsessed fan. (emph mine) (google)
• • •

I should've had more fun solving this than I did. In retrospect, it's a pretty solidly built Tuesday. The theme is simple but well executed—just three themers, but those were all iconic, no stretches, and the reduced THEME pressure gave the grid room to breathe, which meant (for the most part) the fill was clean, and occasionally even interesting. I think my brain just wasn't fully awake and working at capacity when I solved this, so I didn't really get the theme until very late, even thought the *first* thing I thought of when I got THE MEANING OF LIFE was, of course, "42." Somehow, in continuing to solve, that little moment of thought drifted out of my head. I got JACKIE ROBINSON instantly, off the first word in the clue ("Hall-of-Famer..."), and got PRESIDENT CLINTON off of just the [He served...] part (thank you, crosses!), and so I never had occasion to think specifically about "42" again. This made the clue for THEME read like something ridiculous. That little left-pointing arrow ... I thought was somehow referring to the concept of a "clue" ... I don't know. I got it eventually, but it just didn't snap in. I was annoyed while solving at the grid shape, which seemed excessively fussy (with lots of crannies, ergo lots of short stuff) for a puzzle with just the three themers. And some of the fill I encountered early on was off-putting in a way that stayed with me. And then I got to NOE very late and honestly couldn't remember what the last letter was: NOA, NOH ... NOE is super duper crosswordese. Half mad at the answer itself (for adding to my crosswordese gripes), half mad at myself for not getting it instantly. I knew it. I just forgot it. So it's a good puzzle. But I found it frustrating more than I found it enjoyable.

Here are some bad answers I never want to see again. First, ECOCIDE. I have seen this often in crosswords, and literally no place else. Why in the world does it appear in crosswords with such frequency? Well, it's the alternating vowel-consonant pattern, and the beginning and ending in vowels, that makes it so grid-friendly. But like most ECO-things (see ECOCAR), I don't believe it really truly exists. "Environmental destruction" certainly exists, 24/7/365, all over the world, but ECOCIDE is just a no from me, dawg. Another no: TEHEE. "Laugh syllables" in general are The Worst (you know, your HEEs HAHs HARs etc.), but this lopsided weirdo answer has no place in the puzzle or on this earthly plane of existence. And yet people Love to put it in their grids. Whyheee? It's obviously "TEE HEE" when you say it, so why are you writing it like the first syllable is some short-voweled unstressed accidental sound. It's like you meant to say "TEE" but maybe coughed or choked on something? Anyway, here's the kind of confusion that can result when you use this stupid non-laugh:

I don't think HONED is nearly as good as TONED for 35A: In good shape), but I gotta say you are forgiven for believing HEHEE over TEHEE (despite the former's being also absurd). Then there's OBLADI. It's half a Beatles song. It's always terrible. Not as bad as OBLA (which I've seen a whole bunch!), but still, this is some rough fill. Easy to get, but ugly. Again, the alternating vowel-consonant patter proves too seductive for constructors to resist. But resist you should! JOHN was gross (please don't toilet an answer that does not need toileting) (and the clue should say [Place to solve a crossword, *slangily*]—you can't treat JOHN like it's just a normal word, boo!) (and you see how the visual is terrible, right? Keep your toilet-solving habits to yourself). And ONRUSHES just flummoxed me. Another word I never hear / say.  But that's honestly not the puzzle's fault.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. I'm gonna get very pedantic here and question THE MEANING OF LIFE. What Deep Thought is "programmed" to figure out?? If I search [Deep Thought programmed] the first hits I get are ... crossword answer sites, i.e. references to the clue for this puzzle. If you actually look at the book, "42" is not offered as THE MEANING OF LIFE. Rather, it's the Answer to the Great Question ... well, here. Just read it. Here's the quote from "Hitchhiker's...":
"All right," said the computer, and settled into silence again. The two men fidgeted. The tension was unbearable."You're really not going to like it," observed Deep Thought."Tell us!""All right," said Deep Thought. "The Answer to the Great Question...""Yes..!""Of Life, the Universe and Everything..." said Deep Thought."Yes...!""Is..." said Deep Thought, and paused."Yes...!""Is...""Yes...!!!...?""Forty-two," said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm.” 
So ... "The Answer to the Great Question Of Life, the Universe and Everything. Not THE MEANING OF LIFE. OK bye.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


btgrover 7:17 AM  

Really nice Tuesday, although like Kristi I finished with “Hehee / Honed” and had to fix it.

kitshef 7:18 AM  

Early on I thought we might be looking at a Monty Python puzzle (after the first themer, and with only a few scattered letters in the others).

This would have been a much better puzzle if the themers had just been clued as “42”. That would have made for a great puzzle, instead of a sub-average one.

TONED/TEHEE is a terrible cross. hONED just about works for the across, and hEHEE is better for the down. For the way it's clued, hEHEh is probably better than either of those, but ONRUSHES eliminated that.

amyyanni 7:22 AM  

I'm a sucker for "the meaning of life" references and love baseball. This was great fun and improved my mood on a muggy Tuesday.

Runs with Scissors 7:44 AM  

Okay, look, if you’re gonna get me all excited with 18A that the theme will involve Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters, firing missiles at right angles to reality, Zaphod Beeblebrox with Ford Prefect making Arthur Dent hitch a ride with the Vogons’ Prostetnic Jeltz, and then praise the poetry . . . then dammit you need to deliver. Lurgid bees and all. 42 isn’t just a number; it’s the Ultimate Answer to the Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.

The rest of the puzzle was pretty good, too, even so. ECOCIDE was a stretch. DANTE was just kinda there; no hell to flesh it out as it were. The MAFIA BIO SPLAYING SPECIAL K on ITHACA was fun.

Can we get some love for the other lakes besides ERIE? There are also other cities in Pennsylvania. Let’s see Allentown, or Bethlehem, or something.

For more picoseconds (salute to @M&A) than I would like to admit, I was trying to shoehorn William J or Jefferson into the slot for President. Clinton was a gimme.

I’ve never eaten – or seen – a LATKE but I’ve seen the word often enough in that context that it fell right in.

My wife has a BIRD DOG (I don’t). Cocker spaniel. Flightiest freakin’ animal on the planet. Don’t @ me with how wonderful they are. I do not have the “must have a pet dog” gene others have. They’re fine in your house. Not mine. And get off my lawn. :-0

SONOMA finally puts in an appearance to best Napa. Not a wine drinker so I’ve never visited either valley. The bus tours must be phenomenal.

Got JACKIE ROBINSON off of just a few letters, without ever knowing that his number was 42.

Liked it, even though I had to hold my nose with the slight against H2G2T2.

Mark, in Mickey’s North 40

QuasiMojo 7:52 AM  

I think I understand the meaning of life better than I do this theme. I’ve never read that book and assume that the answer 42 is some kind of cosmic put-on? I would have preferred some reference to the Summer of 42 and the lovely Jennifer O’Neill. Rex must like this constructor. No rant today about how bogus ESP is, unless you are a psychic. DG clued it well. I think of red ink as a loss not a debt. It’s a deficit. You don’t have to necessarily pay it back. It can be ATE UP.

GHarris 7:54 AM  

Never read the book and never heard that 42 was the answer to the meaning of life. Yet, somehow, intuited that “theme” answer. Overall easy and fun.

Hungry Mother 8:01 AM  

A bit on the slow side for me, but any reference to the Hitchhiker’s Guide makes for a great puzzle. I read the book a few times, saw JACKIE play at Ebbets Field, and I didn’t vote for the other kind of dedger.

Ken 8:13 AM  

Loved Michael and Kay from the Godfather along with the Mafia and President Clinton. Thanks for explaining the "Hitchhiker's" reference as I could not figure out the 42 connection there. Nice Tuesday

mmorgan 8:20 AM  

Rex’s genius at picking nits shines here. And TEHEE bugs me too. But for me, this was just a great puzzle. Everything about it felt sparkly. I also got all theme answers very quickly but saw no possible connection between them, until... 42. Nice! Normally, I think I revealer should help you get the theme answers but in this case, it provided the connection and a little light and a little bell went off at the same time. Fun!

I’d never heard of STAN but figured it had to be right, even though I put it in with great trepidation.

GILL I. 8:22 AM  

Huh? Tuesday? 42? THE MEANING OF LIFE? Am I a monkey's uncle?
To be honest, and although I had to look up 42 and all that, I did enjoy the rather difficult workout. I kept asking myself if this was really "easy" Tuesday. Maybe solving at 3 in the morning had something to do with it. Speaking of solving: I don't think I ever did one on the JOHN. I'm an in and out person. No fuss, no muss. Why is it that men can sit on that thing for hours? What's the lure? Doesn't your fanny fall asleep?
Back to the puzzle. When I finally got to 42A and saw THEME, I knew that 42 was involved. I don't know anything about The Hitchhickers Guide nor did I follow JACKIE ROBINSON. When I finished I googled 42 and saw a bit of the light bulb going on. Clever. Cluing was on the difficult side and there were names galore. Wanted PLASTIC for that environmental destruction. I hate that stuff. Every time I open up Facebook they show a river or the mer being clogged up with that caca. So easy to replace. I use a mesh bag for my fruits and veggies. Just wash them in that reusable tote. I read somewhere that weed killer was found in SPECIAL K...Special indeed.
Like SEE YOU LATER next to CROCodile.

albatross shell 8:25 AM  

I paused, put in HEHEE and later on hONED. No happy music at the end. So spent a minute looking to see if STAN or NOE could be errors. Did not know either one, but nope. On the second quick scan of across answers I saw the H turn to a T. Best aha of the puzzle. Definitely would have been an incorrect pair of answers if I was working pencil and paper. With pen and paper would have delayed the H/T choice and probably gotten it right. Not sure of constructor ethics on this. Willing to call it a toss up.

The PRESIDENTCLINTON and JACKIEROBINSON could have gone no crosses, but in real time I had a total of 3 before I looked at the cluing. THEME filled in as soon saw the clue because of the 2 theme answers I had already filled in, and that gave me the last themer, because I knew the answer Deep Thought came up with was a number, but I had no memory of what number.

What was a bit strange was with all the THEME answers quickly in place, the puzzle filled in slowly for a Tuesday. Progress was steady and constant, just not fast. Much like Rex described.

Liked the THEME. Sci-fi, baseball, civil rights, politics, numbers, and a meta-clue. That's a load of high points for me.
Liked SEEYOULATER CROC. That and My Boy Flat Top, Seventeen Hot Rod Queen were in my brothers collection of 78s when I was about 6.
Some how the VAULT VIAL cross appealed. A fondness for words starting with V?

In a while, gators.

Valerie 8:27 AM  

@kitshef is dead on with his observation that the puzzle would be much better with the themers clued as 42. It’s also interesting that 56A gets a free pass from Rex. He is after all a serial womanizer with multiple rape accusations, he was disbarred in the state if Arkansas (where he once served as Attorney General), impeached as President, and his behavior likely had an influence on young feminists as they struggled with Hillary’sp complicity (i.e. “Monica is a predator . . .”) which contributed to her narrow defeat in several states and gave us the current nitwit-in-chief.

Susan 8:31 AM  

I HATED the clue for "JOHN" as well. Just yuck. And I never read Hitchhiker's Guide but even from my limited exposure to it on BBC, "Meaning of Life" is not right.

Brit solves NYT 8:45 AM  

Tough one for me today - first time I've had to use autocheck on a Tuesday for a long time. Just too many US-centric answers to be able to proceed without it: doesn't help that the central answer JACKIE ROBINSON is unknown outside the US. ITHACA (as clued), STAN, SONOMA. LATKE also - (I had LATTE and thought that seemed weird for a long time). Also some rough short fill I had NOE idea of.

So not for me this one, but that's fine.

Sir Hillary 8:58 AM  

THEME fell flat for me; I never read "Hitchhiker's Guide", so THEMEANINGOFLIFE evokes Monty Python.

I did like:
-- ITHACA. Went to college there, and it certainly is gorges.
-- PRESIDENTCLINTON in a puzzle with a Bill clue.
-- THEME appearing on its own and in THEMEANINGOFLIFE.
-- NAH. My initials.

Until tomorrow...SEEYOULATER.

Unknown 8:59 AM  

So happpy to see you enjoying a puzzle
Somebody out there
please please please create sunday puzzle of trump lies

webwinger 9:03 AM  

As a Douglas Adams fan (of both the “increasingly inaccurately named” 5-volume Hitchhiker “trilogy”, and the Dirk Gently detective books), and one who not infrequently solves x-words in the “37-Down”, I couldn’t help but love this puzzle. Accept @Rex’s quibble about the exact context of 42’s appearance in HHGTTG, and the overlap with Monty Python, but the theme nevertheless worked fine for me; really liked the self-referential 42-Across clue and revealer answer.

When I got my first iPhone (was in line on Day 1 in 2007; landed a coveted 312 area code number) I was immediately struck by its resemblance to the Hitchhiker’s Guide. I used the cute gadget-y sound string that heralded the Guide’s awakening in the radio show as my first ringtone, and installed an opening screen with the words “Don’t Panic” in large, friendly letters. Sadly both disappeared in the course of multiple upgrades since then.

The 42% 9:16 AM  

ITHACA is Gorges? I looked up the T-shirt and I've never seen it before. Is it a quote?

Yesterday I posted on a message board about the 42% who continue to support trump...it fluctuates, so my "42" was just a number I came up with arbitrarily. Someone responded (yesterday) that they thought "42" was the meaning of life. That little interaction is no big deal in the grand scheme, a blip on the radar...my comment and his answer were really no big thing...but today we get an entire puzzle created around 42. Huh.

I just heard a podcast on SYSK about the number 23 and how people get all weird about that number in particular. But the fact is, it's just a pattern they search for. Like seeing a little interaction between two people on a message board on the internet and then having the same thing be in the puzzle today. Even though it doesn't really mean anything, it is amusing that our brains are so wired for that.

Also, not sure what part of the clue at 56A (He served between Bush 41 and Bush 43) pointed to using PRESIDENT. Two last names and a number...so CLINTON 42? WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON? That clue seemed off.

Anonymous 9:17 AM  

6 across “red ink” is loss, not debt

Nancy 9:23 AM  

Loved this puzzle. My long comment got lost and I don't have the energy to reproduce it. It's on Wordplay under "Nancy", if anyone cares.

Doug Garr 9:28 AM  

I solved this from the bottom up, and I still didn't get the arrow 42 part of the theme until I read the blog post. Oh well. I kept thinking it had something to do with clues going right to left. Duh.

Leonard Simms 9:32 AM  

4 8 15 16 23 42
4 8 15 16 23 42
4 8 15 16 23 42
4 8 15 16 23 42
4 8 15 16 23 42

"Nancy" 9:36 AM  

THE MEANING OF LIFE = 42????? What's that all about? I don't get it.

Nevertheless, I thought this was an absolutely splendid Tuesday. I couldn't even enter the puzzle in the NW corner and had to come back to it later. How often does that happen on a Tuesday? Answer: Just about never.

It was interesting to find out that JACKIE ROBINSON's #42 has been retired by every team in MLB. I didn't know that. Did any of you?

"ITHACA is Gorges" was certainly interesting. The clue for DANTE (6D) was fun. Re 5D: I don't appreciate a "weight-loss challenge" from my cereal, thank you very much. A cereal should know its place. It should simply sit there and be eaten.

Pete 9:40 AM  

@Runs.... Once upon a time there was as a breed of dogs called Spaniels, which were bird dogs. After a while, the small ones were called Cocker Spaniels, the larger ones Springer Spaniels, both bird dogs, the modifiers referred to the way the dogs were trained to address the birds. If you had two a pair of Cockers which produced a large dog, the larger pup was a Springer. This when on for quite a while, until someone noticed that Cocker Spaniels were cute. They were then bred for maximum cuteness, not hunting prowess. Unfortunately, hunting prowess and sensibility seem to occupy the same general area of the dogs genome, an area antithetical to maximal cuteness. Thus, the modern Cocker Spaniel, while extremely cute, has no sense, and no hunting ability. A modern Cocker bred for for show, or in the parlance, for the table, has less genetic overlap with a hunting Cocker than a hunting Cocker ( bred for the field) has with a hunting Springer , which are recognized as two different breeds.

If you're ever going to buy a dog that was a hunting breed, buy one bred for field work, not as a show dog. And make sure you have free access to a 100 acre farm / woods complete with stream.

Sir Hillary 9:42 AM  

@Nancy -- Is that your letter in today's NYT? Whether it is or not, I love the sentiment!

kitshef 9:42 AM  

@Nancy - yes, #42 was retired by all teams, but players who were already wearing it were permitted to continue to do so. Mariano Rivera thus became the last player to ever wear that number - at least regularly. They will probably continue to have occasional days when all the players wear 42 as a tribute.

Fun fact: The second-to-last player to wear 42 also played in New York - Mo Vaughn for the Mets.

Bonus fun fact: Mo Vaughn moved around a lot, so he is also the last player to wear 42 for the Angels and for the Red Sox.

SouthsideJohnny 9:45 AM  

I agree with @kitshef - simple 42’s would have lent a certain “je ne sais quoi” to the whole endeavor.

@Valerie - I think with Rex we get a bit of “Yes, he’s a slimeball and a thug, but he’s OUR slimeball and thug”, which is not atypical for someone who spends their life in academia (the home of trigger warnings and safe spaces, lest the tender ears of our young adults get irrevocably injured by hearing thoughts with which they disagree). I suspect that’s also why vulgar, N-wording, Glock-worshipping, women-degrading rappers get a pass from OFL as well.

SJ Austin 9:47 AM  

I know NOE not from crosswords but from the early days of the iPhone, when the autocorrection for "noe" was always "Noe" instead of the painfully obvious "now". I blame California-based engineers. ;) Thankfully they got that sorted out, but not before I learned a new region.

Nitpick: I would have preferred the clue for CLINTON to be a bit more subtle, removing the numerical references to the two Bushes. Seems like that would have made the theme a little less transparent and more fun. But hey, I guess it's a Tuesday.

webwinger 9:47 AM  

@kitshef: And, as @RP wordlessly pointed out, Mo (molybdenum) is element 42 in the periodic table. (Cue eerie Twilight Zone music...)

Z 9:58 AM  

Douglas Adams is, like Monty Python, funny in a way that is either deeply loved or leaves people scratching their heads muttering “are you nuts” as we lovers prattle on. If the notion of building the ultimate computer to answer the ultimate question and having the answer being 42 doesn’t amuse you on some deep level there’s really no explaining why we are laughing so deeply.

ECOCIDE - what Rex said, but it still reminded of Bill Nye’s “Grow the fuck up” from Last Week Tonight.

Huh, if you don’t think “loss” is a DEBT please remind me to never do business with you.

pabloinnh 10:03 AM  

Read "Hitchhiker" so long ago that I forgot about that 42. How do you forget the meaning of life, and what are the consequences? Don't ask. The other 42's were obvious, though. Plus I've actually seen an "Ithaca Is Gorges" sweatshirt, which I remembered after I got it from the crosses, duh.

All in all a fun puzzle with a nice theme, agree with the possible "42" clue as superior.

@GILL I. from yesterday--can't say that I remember "lusting after" anyone as an adolescent. Mostly I was trying to figure out how to say something to those mysterious girl creatures. Eventually discovered we shared a home planet and things improved.

RooMonster 10:03 AM  

Hey All !
You get a prime opportunity to use a Monty Python reference, and you swing and miss. THE MEANING OF LIFE! Monty Python movie. Though it doesn't fit the 42 theme. Then again, as Rex and others have noted, 42 is the answer to life, the Universe and everything, not THE MEANING OF LIFE. And, Deep Thought had 1,000,000 years to think about it.

Did notice the 16 wide as soon as I looked at puz, so proof the ole brain isn't dead yet.
Couldn't see PRESIDENT for a bit. Tried WilliamH, one block short. Hmm...

Didn't know Every team retired 42, cool. My NYT online puz had 42A clued as - What this clue's number is for this puzzle. No arrow. Interesting.

Liked the long Downs, each one cutting through two themers. The triple O's in TOOOLD is neat.

Had a funny writeover at LATtE. Said, "why would you have LAtTEs at Hanukkah?" Har.
Finished on the H of NAH. Really wanted a W for NAW, but SwEDS wasn't anything. Could've went with NAE/SEEDS.

Liked it overall, Damon seems to always have good puzs.


albatross shell 10:16 AM  

I've never seen the t-shirt but ITHACA is finger lakes area with gorgeous gorges which is the pun point of the shirt.
I've been there, but get to the the Lehigh gorge at Jim Thorpe more often. Now there was a honed and TONED athlete. He looked more like today's athletes than those of his day.
Had the pleasure of seeing David Lindley at the Mauch Chunk (original name of Jim Thorpe,the town) Opera House. Catch him if you can. His Vatican song ranks up there with Tom Lehrer's and Pat Sky's if you like that stuff. And the Aspic song. Oh my. His musianship is off the charts and he plays any stringed instrument in the world. One EERIE dude.

The 23 stick has to do wth you see what you look for. You look for science, you see science. You look for the hand of god you see the hand of god. And some things you have to believe in order to see: from the tracks of a mouse across a gravel driveway to a well set tripwire to a chick's sex. Make of it what you will.

ghthree 10:18 AM  

When I was in fourth or fifth grade, I decided my lucky number was 42. I have no idea why.
In 1978, I myself turned 42, and I figured it would be my lucky year.
Reading Douglas Adams' book (published in 1978) confirmed it.

Years later, as a computer engineer, I was designing a multiprocessor with a unique parallel architecture (a non-Von-Neumann machine to drop a name).

The project specified a key benchmark task, which was expected to take between 20 and 50 microseconds. This was at least 20 times faster than anything in its price range ($150K) and 7 times faster than anything then available at any price.

When I discovered that it took exactly 42 microseconds (within the expected range) my brain recognized that the *precise* number was a co-incidence. But in my gut, I experienced an adrenaline ONRUSH. My mind harked back to Douglas Adams.

By the time the product was commercially released, the time had increased to about 45 microseconds, due to added monitoring features. No matter! The details have grown fuzzy, but the ONRUSH remains.

BTW, I generally agree with Rex on the details. My wife Jane and I, who solve on paper over breakfast, and never on the JOHN (unnecessarily scatological -- we agree with Rex on this) never get the happy pencil. But we agree that TEHEE looks wrong. In fact, nothing looks right here.

We ran into some problems, but working together, we made lucky guesses. Neither of us had ever heard of "Peace out" or "CGI" (we still don't know what that means), or CERA or NOE or STAN. But with luck and co-operation, we guessed correctly. I still haven't looked up Jackie Robinson's uniform number, but I'm pretty sure what it was.

Joaquin 10:40 AM  

Am I the only person who looked at the clue for 42A and thought "less than a dash"? <- is a kinda funky looking arrow, if ya ask me.

ghostoflectricity 10:47 AM  

Agree 100% with your review; it's a blasphemy on Doug Adams's life and legacy that his question about "Life, the Universe, and Everything" (which was also one of the book titles in the "Hitchhiker's Guide" series) gets conflated with "The Meaning of Life," not only because this is not what Adams wrote or said, but because it creates confusion with another British masterwork of late 20th century satire and parody, "Monty Python's The Meaning of Life," the 1983 movie with a similar, but different, take, on ontological, ethical, and metaphysical questions. The latter movie is particularly meaningful (if I may) for me because it has a section, the infamous "Mr. Creosote" sequence, which is simultaneously fall-on-the-floor hilarious and unwatchably nauseating.

Andrew Heinegg 11:00 AM  

That would require the NYT to make the puzzle the entire paper for the day or maybe a Sunday paper.

Unknown 11:04 AM  

I just noticed that "The Hitchhiker's Guide" was published in 1979 in the UK, and 1980 in the US. This illustrates my main point: That the details grow fuzzy, but the adrenaline ONRUSH remains.
Since multiple Naticks converged in the center, 42 Across was the last part to fall. A beautiful post-solve AHA moment!
Thanks to a search engine, I now know that CGI is computer-generated Imagery. But I'm still mystified by "f/x" in the clue. Both Google and Bing give reference to a Korean film f(x).
Apparently it's the Korean expression for "Flower Girls." Was the clue "f/x" a typo?

Nancy 11:08 AM  

Yes, @Sir Hillary (9:42), it is indeed. Thanks for noticing and for your very nice comment.

For those who don't subscribe to the NYT, here is the online reprint.

(BTW, I notice my original post has been retrieved. Thanks, today's Mod, if it was your doing.)

Nancy 11:14 AM  

Oh, I get it now! My 9:36 comment has my name, but not in blue. Nor my avatar. Nonetheless, it is my lost comment. Someone went to the Wordplay Blog, cut and pasted it, and put it back up here. That was really, really nice of you!!!! Thanks so much!

DJG 11:22 AM  

If anybody is interested in further thoughts on this puzzle, including some short responses to a few of Rex's objections, check out my blog: scrabbledamon.blogspot.com.

old timer 11:35 AM  

I certainly did not grok the theme, though I knew two of the three 42 references. Really I found the puzzle quite boring and disappointing overall, because none of the other long answers were interesting or amusing. Clean fill, though, as OFL noted.

JACKIE ROBINSON first donned his uniform on an April 15, and on that dsy all players bear #42. It is a good reminder of the time when no Negroes were allowed to play, except in the Negro Leagues.

I live in SONOMA County. The hired buses that take the bibulous to our rural wineries are really quite annoying on barrel tasting weekends. But the experience is quite worthwhile. Best to form your own party of five or seven, with one of you a designated driver.

The puzzle also resonated with me because I spent a few happy years living on NOE St in San Francisco. It was a pleasant walk to 24th St, the commercial heart of NOE Valley. On the way, we passed one of those super-steep streets The City is famous for. Some wag crossed out the word "Hill" that warned drivers, and replaced it with "CLIFF".

Malsdemare 11:40 AM  

I'm going to speak out before I read the comments because I really liked this puzzle and I'm a tad irritated with Rex for spoiling it for me (or trying to). I thought the theme was terrific and really well-executed. His gripe about JOHN makes me want to give him the kid book, "Everybody poops." Why can't he just smile and move on, so to speak?

Also, I see THE MEANING OF LIFE" in the same category as "Play it again, Sam," an iconic line that has morphed into its own unique self. I've heard 42 as the Meaning of Life more than as an answer to the great question. And having not read The Guide (a serious flaw in me, I know), it worked just fine.

But the best part was having the lightbulb blink on when I corrected THErE to THEME. Very nice aha moment.

Now I'll see what others have to say.

old timer 11:45 AM  

Oh, I meant to add how much I love the word TEHEE. If you have read Chaucer's The Miller's Tale, this is what Alisoun says when the amorous student kisses her hairy hindquarters thinking it is her lips. I can't be the only young man who learned to read Chaucer's antique English in order to be able to read this tale.

QuasiMojo 11:52 AM  

@Nancy, my free NYT access is used up. Can you cut and paste the letter here? Btw not sure you noticed but I posted abt your dynamite puzzle yesterday. Kudos. For the fella above F/X is short for Effects.

Runs with Scissors 11:57 AM  

@Unknown 11:04 AM

F/X is just a movie/TV industry jargonistic way of writing "effects."

It refers mostly to special effects.

Malsdemare 12:00 PM  

So why is "loo" okay (a crossword staple) and not JOHN? Asking for a friend.

Okay, I'll shut up.

Cathelou 12:02 PM  

The NYT usually doesn't let misquotes slip by, so why now? It's not "The Meaning of Life" - it's "The Ultimate Meaning to Life, the Universe, and Everything." It NEVER appears as "The Meaning of Life" in the the books. I realize it would be tough to fit into a puzzle and not everyone would get it, but surely there would have been a way to work this in without misquoting.

Citizen Dain 12:03 PM  

happy to have "forty-two" as a theme, and all three answers were directly in my wheelhouse, as a baseball-loving Democrat devoted to Douglas Adams. Disappointed to see "42" boiled down to "the meaning of life" when it is clearly and importantly The Answer to the Question of Life, The Universe and Everything", but happy to see that Rex caught it.

Also somewhat surprised by how many people are unfamiliar with "42" referring to Douglas Adams and the 'meaning of life', but maybe I'm in a bubble where I've always worshiped the original novel and most of my friends are familiar with it as well. I hope all those people are intrigued enough to get the original book (the second one, too) to learn why 42 is the answer to The Question.

albatross shell 12:06 PM  

Special effects in movies were sometimes abbreviated SPFX or SFX or FX. see Wikipedia special effects FX. For 2 movies it was F/X. To find those search F/X movie. Otherwise the Korean band f(x) has sucked on the air out of the room.

davidm 12:10 PM  

I agree with someone who wrote that the puzzle would have been much better if the three themers had just been clued “42.” As it stands, they were ridiculously easy to get. In fact, the three long themers were practically the first clues I answered. I’m looking at the puzzle and I’ve got THE MEANING OF LIFE, JACKIE ROBINSON, AND PRESIDENT CLINTON all filled in, and practically nothing else! That was a first for me, to get long themers right off the bat while the rest of the grid is almost entirely answer-free. As it happens, I didn’t fill in the the them — THEME — until almost the very end. Weird!

OffTheGrid 12:14 PM  

@Unknown. I think f/x is effects as in special effects.

jb129 12:19 PM  

Did you forget the King Charles Cavalier Spaniel?

I liked this puzzle but found "John" too tacky so I stayed on "Sofa"

Anonymous 12:30 PM  

Amazing that I should navigated here today when the comment count was precisely 42 - how apropos.


Aketi 12:35 PM  

TEHEE, I actually quoted something from the Hitchhiker’s Guide during my oral exam for my PhD when one of my dissertation committee members started delving into the philosophy behind “naturalistic inquiry”. I can’t remember what I quoted, but she enjoyed while the other members were clueless. And this took place in ITHACA where the gorges are gorgeous and the winters are long and dreary. So I loved the 42 references despite the “blasphemy” of confusing a Monty Python movie with the actual quote from the Hitchhikers Guide. Plus, when I logged into the comments section, guess how many comments had been posted?

oldactor 12:41 PM  

@unknown 11:05

I think f/x is short for "effects" as in special effects.

Masked and Anonymous 12:43 PM  

Yo, @commentors… There are currently **42** comments! Congratz, @DJG. U kinda been a contender.

No offense to all them "42" domino game players out there, but M&A somehow envisions the meaning [sic] of life to be more like a U-shaped cinnamon roll.
Thoroughly enjoyed the pointer to number 42, on the THEME clue. Different species of revealer. Like.

staff weeject pick: NOE. Better clue: {One in an eon neo Eno relative??}. Primo wstacks in the NE & SW, as U'all no doubt noticed.

@RP: ESP just phoned in its relieved thanx to TEHEE & JOHN, for throwin a dandy blog-block for it, today. Any bets on TEHEE's Patrick Berry Usage Immunity status? What's yer ESP tell U? har

fave fillins included: SPECIALK. NEARMISS. BIRDDOG. Didn't quite know: STAN. GMO.
Slightly bigger than usual TuesPuz solvequest.

Thanx for the puzfun, Mr. G. Helluva DANTE clue.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


Nancy 12:52 PM  

@Quasi -- I already did -- in the 2nd paragraph of my 11:08 post. And many thanks for what you said yesterday about Pecking Order.

Teedmn 1:15 PM  

I often find Damon's puzzles on the hard side so I wasn't surprised that today ran over my Tuesday average - glad to see that some of the problem was the larger grid.

sOdA plugged up my central solve. That made PdEB_ hard to turn into PLEBE and hard to get the 42A THEME but I picked away at it until it unraveled correctly.

I loved the TV series, "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" which PBS aired back in the 80s. I loved the theme song. So wasn't I shocked into immobility last winter when I started playing my newly acquired Eagles CD, "One of These Nights" (a Christmas gift) and Journey of the Sorcerer blared out of my speakers. Somehow, the Eagles and a BBC TV series do not mesh in my mind. But cool.

Damon Gulczynski, I like your puzzle.

Nancy 1:16 PM  

@Quasi -- Cutting and pasting the letter: I hope this works:

To the Editor:

Re “Stop. Just Stop. And Learn How to Do Absolutely Nothing” (Smarter Living, May 6):

I mastered the art of doing absolutely nothing decades ago, without any help from how-to manuals, life coaches or support groups. It was an ability that came quite naturally. I’ve never felt remotely apologetic about it; I take profound pleasure in my times of complete idleness.

In fact, you might say that I bring the same passion and commitment to doing nothing that I have always brought to doing something.

Now the rest of the world is catching up with me. Congratulations, world! All I can say is that you are in for a real treat!

Nancy Stark
New York

A version of this article appears in print on May 14, 2019, on Page A22 of the New York edition with the headline: The Art of Doing Nothing. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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RAD2626 1:43 PM  

Liked the puzzle a lot despite some (for me) random fill and cluing. Three themes were plenty.

Jackie Robinson's number was retired as mentioned in a ceremony held April 15, 1997 -the 50th Anniversary of his first game in the Majors. The ceremony was at Shea Stadium and featured -ironically given today's theme - President Clinton, Bud Selig, and Jackie's widow Rachel. The latter and her daughter remain very active with the Jackie Robinson Foundation which has had great success in identifying and helping minority scholars. Last month MLB renamed the old Dodgertown in Vero Beach the Jackie Robinson Training Center. The number 42 is displayed in every ballpark and serves as a reminder to younger fans (and players) of Jackie's accomplishments. MLB integrated a year before President Truman integrated the Armed Forces and seven years before Brown v. Board of Education. Sadly, largely due to the pull of other sports, the percentage of African Americans in MLB is down to 8%, although the Latin presence is over 30%.

puzzlehoarder 1:45 PM  

I did this puzzle on my phone last night. It was a Thursday's worth of time. I had to deal with the ITHACA randomness and know nothing of this "Hitchhiker's" book. Lastly I had to correct three write overs in the center of the puzzle in order to recognize number 42's name.

I'm currently at the hospital with my mother-in-law. She had another medical emergency on Mother's Day. Haven't been able to comment until now. More of the same.

GHarris 1:59 PM  

Witty letter, congratulations. I guess we’ve become friendly competitors for space in the NYT. I recently sent letters I thought were first rate but I think I’m running afoul of the 60 day protocol. Btw, those of us with a passion for baseball are well aware of the sacrosanct status of Jackie’s no. 42.

Anonymous 2:07 PM  

I sympathize with all who are unfamiliar with Douglas Adams. But take heart. You aint missing a thing. He's a terrible bore. Even worse, a one trick pony. And while it's true he has a sizable following, it's also true that cohort is, how shall we say, too pleased with themselves by half. You know the sort, I'm sure. They have bumper stickers that say they're dyslexic so they stay up nights wondering if there's a dog. You see it's all very witty and droll. And ever so clever.
Adams takes the position that life is absurd, hence the 42 gag. What passes for deep thought in his pages and among his fans is just glib tenth-grade pseudo philosophy. It's shallow enough to drown in a teacup.

I wish Rex had taken the time to counter Adams's claim. Had he chosen to do so, he would've done well to counter with a telelogical answer. That in fact life is directed toward an end, and that it is far from meaningless.
If you want to read a funny Englishman, try Wodehouse. All the absurdity with genuine commentary.

Joseph M 2:23 PM  

Loved the theme and the puzzle, but I thought the meaning of life was 39.

Fred Romagnolo 2:25 PM  

As a San Franciscan, I knew Noe Valley, but it hardly seems fair to everybody else; like that Minnesota county seat clue a few days ago. San Francisco has a population of approximately 800,000; subtract that from 130 million and you'll see why is just aint fair. I frequently get annoyed at the New York arrogance of the NYTXword puzzlers, but at least it's the most important city in the country (possibly the world). Also, yeah, it does seem that potty-mouth, mysogynistic, gun-loving rappers, and Me-Too offenders like Clinton get gentler treatment from Rex than the NRA, and conservatives (and even moderates).

davidm 2:37 PM  

I think Rex complained the other day about “telic.” But it’s just the adjective form of “telos.”

I find Adams sophomoric, but you can find plenty of better writers (Camus for one) who explicate the non-telic nature of life.

Life is not dedicated toward an end. Life is a product of evolution, which is a non-telic process if ever there was one. Except for natural selection, which is mindless, life is completely stochastic (see drift, neutral evolution, evolution by accident). There is grandeur in this view, as Darwin so perceptively noted. That fundamentally stochastic processes can produce organisms that seem to be designed but are not was a breathtaking discovery, one of the greatest discoveries. And computer algorithms incorporate it.

I wish the Times would print a biology-themed puzzle. That would make me happy. :-D

By the way, like some others it seems, I was stuck for a long time on “42” listed for the number of replies to this blog post. After a while I assumed Rex had cheekily decided to cut off the responses there. :-D

Nancy 3:12 PM  

Obviously, I am not one of the World's Great Cutters-and-Pasters. Sorry, everyone, for the long, long, long overrun.

@GHarris (1:59)-- Very friendly competitors for sure. In fact, if you were in blue and I could find you, I'd probably try to meet you. And, yes, the Times appears to be quite scrupulous about observing the 60-day protocol.

Crimson Devil 3:38 PM  

Never heard of Douglas Adams or his 42 theory. Still able to complete puz.
Cluing woulda been better if themers had been clued simply as 42, but then this is Tuesday. Liked OOO.

Anonymous 3:48 PM  

I can find plenty of better thinkers than Camus who say life is ordered and ordered toward an end. From Aristotle to Kant, the greatest minds disagree with you. It's the faux region of scienceism that fails to see the transcendent that I find so pitable and you so laudable.

Anoa Bob 3:50 PM  

I thought the PRESIDENT part of 56A was almost an autofill, given the clue "He served between Bush 41 and Bush 42".

@Mals, maybe the issue with how 37D JOHN was clued, whereas a similar clue for LOO might not be an issue, is because JOHN can be clued in other ways, while with LOO, you are pretty much stuck with JOHN Crapper's marvelous device in your clue. By the way, I think there should be an international holiday in his honor. The World Health Organization estimates that in today's world around 1 billion (that's 1 with nine zeros) people live in an "open defecation" situation. I think about that every time I push down on the handle and, like magic, everything disappears. JOHN Crapper, cheers to you, sir.

Never read or heard much about "The hitchhikers...", so I've enjoyed reading the different comments on that today.

Joe Dipinto 4:08 PM  

Well, coo-coo-ca-choo, Mr. Robinson.

I just heard "Bird Dog" by the Everly Brothers yesterday. Never read "Hitchhiker" so that answer meant nothing to me as a themer. I wanted "Place to solve a crossword puzzle, maybe" to be JAIL.

Where the underworld can meet the elite, __nd Street!

Anonymous 4:11 PM  

What is wrong with DEBT? A negative number (i.e., red ink) on an income statement is a LOSS. A negative number on a balance sheet is DEBT.

I had SONORA for the wine county (oops) and thus hadn't a clue what THERE meant as an answer to 42A.

BEAK and its clue reminded me of a restaurateur who, if you signaled him to suggest that maybe you wanted the bill, would make a questioning face and a motion of elongating his nose with his hand. All you then had to do was nod and he'd bring you the bill.

I have heard ITHACA is gorges before, but agree that if you have never been in the Southern Tier you'd never know that one.

I resisted OBLADI for a while because I thought the name of the song was Life Goes On.

No Care Here 4:25 PM  

Life sucks.
Theological, 42ical, or any other ical.
Life sucks.

QuasiMojo 4:43 PM  

@Nancy, thanks! great letter! Perfectly “toned.” I sent a few letters in my day to the NYT. Mostly in the Book Review which got published. And the mags one. Also Arts and Leisure back in the day. But never made the front news section. Congrats again. I am inDEBTed to all of you today who explained why DEBT was not wrong. I’m one of those guys who used to type his term papers in RED INK just to drive his teachers berserk.

jae 5:01 PM  

Medium-tough. I needed to stare for a bit before I grokked the theme. It’s been decades since I’ve read Hitchhiker and Jackie’s # was not on tip of my tongue. Unlike the print version my iPad version had <— instead of “this clue number” ... so I spent a fair number of nanoseconds (M&A) wondering what a left arrow had to do with the theme.

Delightful and mostly smooth, liked it a bunch!

Aketi 5:03 PM  

@Nancy, great letter to the NYTimes.

@Anonymous 2:07 pm, sounds like you took the Hitchhiker’s Guide way too seriously. Of course it wasn’t great literature, but it was light fun in the same way as the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

kitshef 5:49 PM  

@Anoa Bob - I think you are conflating the inventor of the flush toilet, JOHN Harrington, with the man who improved and popularized it, Thomas Crapper.

Joe Dipinto 5:57 PM  

@Nancy -- I would read your letter, but that would involve doing something, so I couldn't possibly. ;-)

Anoa Bob 6:17 PM  

Thanks @kitshef, I sit corrected. On a chair in front of the computer screen. I'm about to go to the fridge and open a brewski, so I'll toast both JOHN Harrington and Thomas Crapper. Too bad it isn't JOHN Crapper, though, as it has more pizzazz and marquee appeal than either of the two alone, right?

davidm 6:20 PM  


There is no such thing as a “religion” called “sciencesim.” I imagine you mean “scientism” (good potential crossword answer!), but I think we’ve been through this before. Scientism is a philosophical, not a religious, idea, which holds that only scientific statements, or claims, are meaningful. As I have already explained to you, I do not subscribe to scientism, because it is self-refuting, for the following reason: the idea that only scientific statements are meaningful is, itself, not a scientific statement. So please, don’t tar me with your brush.

Aristotle was wrong about almost everything. Aristarchus of Samos proposed, more than a thousand years before Copernicus, a heliocentric model of the solar system. He also deduced that the distant stars were other suns, like our own. Aristotle shot down the idea, because of the lack of parallax. He was wrong. Kant was also wrong a lot of the time, though some of his ideas still bear study. His idea about the ideality of space and time remains scientifically and philosophically relevant, particularly with respect to quantum mechanics.

The reason we honor people like Kant and Aristotle is because they were original thinkers who were trying to use reason to figure out how reality was. The fact that they were mostly wrong is only to be expected. They did not have the shoulders of giants to stand on, but in fact were the original giants whose shoulders later greats would stand upon. But they were wrong, just like, much later, Newton proved to be wrong, to everyone’s shock.

Appeals to authority are empty. The world is not telic. That is what the evidence shows, with no evidence to the contrary. Aristotle’s ideas about telos are thoroughly discredited, just as, of course, is his insistence on geocentricism. Of course, it is always possible that some new discovery will restore a telos. If so, science will accommodate that idea. I wouldn't hold my breath, though.

Finally, as I mentioned the other time we butted horns, I do not think this is an appropriate place for this debate. I only posted what I did, and I am only posting this, because you insisted on making a silly claim.

I hope the Times will make a science-themed puzzle. That would please me very much. :-)

Anonymous 7:16 PM  

I could refute each of your points. But instead, I ask only one question. If you actually believe this forum is inappropriate for this debate, why did you outline your argument in some detail before making that claim?
No, your post is disingenuous. I invite you to debate publicly. Name the time and place. I'm sure we can agree on a mutually satisfactory setting.

CDilly52 8:06 PM  

So much for me to love about this puzzle, all of it bringing back sweet and funny memories of my late (but not very “late”-I loathe that term) husband of 45 “legal” years plus the “before legal” years that drove my folks crazy. Baseball, astronomy, all things “Hitchhikers Guide” and “Monty Python” with a dash of Pogo and . . . Music. Always music. All kinds but it was opera that joined our souls-Mozart. But that is another story for another day. Suffice it to say, sometimes it takes more than one try, but the most fortunate beings in the universe actually do meet their soul mate. I’m one of those.

I didn’t get the “42” jokes and Larry and his BFF Tim wouldn’t let me in for a long, long time. “Hitchhikers Guide” was out of my normal reading “lane” despite its best seller status, and they enjoyed keeping me in the dark.

I get it, in his third and last divorce, the poor guy had to be accused of all kinds of nefarious acts because of the outdated laws in Illinois. After the legal beating he took to get a divorce (after his wife ran off with someone else) ,all he wanted was to date every woman he could and he was never EVER going to marry again. Until he “met” me in the pit playing for the opera company at the U if I. We didn’t even actually meet, but our paths crossed. He was off serious relationships as was i at the time.

At a party, months after we met, but before we even had coffee, we kept bumping into each other as the party attendees meandered around the house occupied by the “Brassholes” ‘(as the more “serious” musicians dubbed the trombone, baritone and tuba players).

The place was packed and as we moved around to get to the keg/bar, we kept almost literally bumping into each other. After about the 10th time (at least), I sidled up to him in my cutest, sweetest persona said something stupid along the lines of “we have to quit meeting like this or people will talk.” He responded “42,” and did the 1971 equivalent of a high 5 with his BFF Tim (who goes all the way back to kindergarten in his home town of Norman OK).

So, 1971 was wasaaaay before the Internet, folks, but I was working reference services at the main library and immediately went to the head reference librarian to ask her if “42” meant anything to her. The good news is that we didn’t even have to bury the cost of a search through our data bases for “42” because Diana IMMEDIATELY knew it was a “Hitchhiker’s Guide” reference! So, I read the book and left Larry a note on his music stand in the percussion room (Room 6 Smith Hall) letting him know that I rated the party the last weekend a “42,”
After I reached out, we started having coffee and did crosswords every day at the T-Bird with a group of music students both grad and undergrad, and finally went out on a “date” months later. 42 became a code word for lots of things throughout our wonderful marriage, and I miss him ever single day. This puzzle made me so happy. I don’t care if it was good or bad.

JC66 8:55 PM  



If possible, you should try to comment earlier so more of us can read your wonderful posts.

GILL I. 9:08 PM  

@CDillY....Have you written a book yet? If not, you should. I'd read it.

Runs with Scissors 11:33 PM  

@Pete 9:40 AM

There is absolutely zero chance another animal will inhabit my house once the current one exits this mortal coil.

Doc John 1:11 AM  

It's "life, the universe, and everything" or don't bother.
And the Clinton themer could have been clued better, too.

Monty Boy 1:23 AM  

@Nancy 1:16. About doing nothing:

Sometimes I sit and think and sometimes I jjust sit.
Leroy Satchel Paige

Burma Shave 9:46 AM  


is a TUSSLE like SHE’s hintin’.
“You’re TOOOLD”, COOed the wife,


Diana,LIW 11:47 AM  

As I sat down to do the puzzle and peruse the paper, I thought to myself, (who else?) "Ah, Monday, what a wonderful day." I looked forward to the puzzle. Then I thought, "it seems just like yesterday that it was Monday - they sure do come fast these days." Then I realized what day it was. Shall all day be Deja Vu all over again? We'll see.

Then I got to the puzzle. Not a Monday, not for me at least. "P'raps that's just my brain waking up. And, oddly enough, as I worked my way from the bottom up, THEMEANINGOFLIFE and 42 were quite amusing to me. The "easier" part of the puzzle. (Well, there's ole Bill, of course. Duh.)

I mean, I didn't end up with BONY fingers or anything, just a few areas where I had to think a bit. Can't CITE one right now, tho. So much for Deja Vu.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords and the week to begin

spacecraft 11:57 AM  

I think @kitchef has a good point: just clue 'em all "42." That would then remove this puzzle to about a Thursday slot. As it is, though, I still enjoyed it. Critics are a bit fussy about 18 across; far fussier than Adams would be. You get the idea.

I really balked at TEHEE; it seems forcibly made-up to fit in here. It has the effect of shortening the first syllable sound, so that it sounds like you started to say "Tahiti" but left the last "ti" off.

I have been to ITHACA, and it IS "GORGES"/gorgeous. The old "Little Rascals" film shorts were made there. Carl Sagan taught there. Great town.

CORERS made me think of that iconic "Honeymooners" episode where they go on TV pushing the gadget: "Can it core a apple?" "Oh yes, it can core a apple!" LOL indeed.

One hell of a clue for Dante, and a couple other mischievous clues SPLAYING about to give added enjoyment. Agree about the JOHN clue, however. KAY was played by Diane Keaton, always a DOD in my book, but we could also use KAY Lenz, a genuine hottie in her day.

Lots to like in this one. I don't mind OBLADI because it's one of my favorite Beatle songs, but TEHEE. Shucks, Damon, that made it a NEARMISS for birdie: settle for a par. SEEYOULATER.

rondo 12:00 PM  

42a THEME filled itself in by crosses, so I hadn’t read the clue, therefore head-scratching after the finish. More of an “Oh, yeah” moment than aha at the point of realization. After THEMEANINGOFLIFE I was hoping for a Holy Grail and/or a Life of Brian, but no Monty Python to be found.

I read ALGER’s ‘Ragged Dick’ in college rather than ‘Tattered Tom’. Same pull-yourself-up story, but different, I s’pose.

Not clued as such, but KAY Lenz. Yeah baby.

Interesting THEME for a Tues-puz.

leftcoast 3:44 PM  

Is this Tuesday? Yeah, that's what the calendar says. Okay, but this puzzle was both somewhat challenging and a bit annoying.

Knew 42 for Robinson and Clinton, but not for THE MEANING OF LIFE. Haven't read "The Hitchhiker's Guide" and likely won't,

Then the middle, the challenging area: OBLADI is okay, but TEHEE for a snicker sound? NAH. Went with HeHEE, though uncomfortable with it. That made for hONED, which is not as good as TONED.

I don't solve crosswords sitting in the JOHN; not my style, thank you.

Nonetheless, an Interesting puzzle.

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