Common landscaping tree with acorns / SUN 6-9-19 / Graham Oprah's longtime beau / Stinky Le Pew / Anastasia's love in Disney's Anastasia / Surgical removal procedure / Seattle-based insurance giant

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Constructor: Seth A. Abel

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (9:41)

THEME: "Don't Quote Me" — Famous quotes that were never actually said, and the famous characters who didn't actually say them:

Theme answers:
  • WICKED WITCH (58A) / "FLY, MY PRETTIES, FLY!" (23A: Line never said by 58-Across)
  • CAPTAIN KIRK (83A) / "BEAM ME UP, SCOTTY!") (36A: Line never said by 83-Across)
  • EARL OF GREYSTOKE (17D) / "ME TARZAN, YOU JANE!" (44D: Line never said by 17-Down)
  • SERGEANT FRIDAY (99A) / "JUST THE FACTS, MA'AM" (121A: Line never said by 99-Across)
Word of the Day: TTY (122D: Communication syst. for the deaf) —
teleprinter (teletypewriterTeletype or TTY) is an electromechanicaldevice that can be used to send and receive typed messages through various communications channels, in both point-to-point and point-to-multipoint configurations. Initially they were used in telegraphy, which developed in the late 1830s and 1840s as the first use of electrical engineering. The machines were adapted to provide a user interface to early mainframe computers and minicomputers, sending typed data to the computer and printing the response. Some models could also be used to create punched tape for data storage (either from typed input or from data received from a remote source) and to read back such tape for local printing or transmission. [...] Teleprinters have largely been replaced by fully electronic computer terminals which typically have a computer monitor instead of a printer (though the term "TTY" is still occasionally used to refer to them, such as in Unix systems). Teleprinters are still widely used in the aviation industry (see AFTN and airline teletype system), and variations called Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDDs) are used by the hearing impaired for typed communications over ordinary telephone lines. (wikipedia)
• • •

This was hard to watch. Not hard to do, but hard to watch unfold. Why hard? Well, the theme is actually interesting, in my opinion: a fortuitous coming together of concept and answer lengths (i.e. it's amazing that these non-quotes and their non-sayers can be arranged in a neat symmetrical fashion. There's probably a website somewhere that lists "famous quotes that never actually happened," and then the constructor fiddled around with names and quotes until he noticed that he could get symmetry to work out with these four (here's a list of such quotations that has two of today's examples on it) (there are dozens more). So it's a short, random list culled from a website list, but it's cute, and fun, and informative, and a good reminder that even in the internet age, with so much info at your tips, we all go around in various states of delusion and misapprehension all of the time. I enjoyed remembering (or misremebering) the quotes. Fine. No great shakes, but good enough, esp. on a Sunday. But ... wow, the fill on this one is extremely dreadful. Like, regular Dreadful looks at this grid and thinks "Hey, maybe I don't look so bad."

ABLUR AJAM AHUM. ITY TTY. Plural GEDS and SOYS and PSHAWS (!??). OPA! PINOAK (!?!?!?). SOIN! ROXANE IN A CAN!!!!! (actually, the ROXANE part of that is fine, I just wanted to say 'ROXANE IN A CAN'). I finished up this puzzle by doing the Downs along the bottom, roughly from west to east, and it was like being repeatedly punched, with the near-knockout / ragequit / "Uncle!" blow coming at MTST, which I am pronouncing muttsutt! I can't say I haven't seen muttsutt before, because I have, but it is So Bad. Like, a partial *and* an abbr. combining for exponential terribleness growth. All over, everywhere you turn, this thing is ugly in the fill department. IDIGIT / STOPSIT / ATEITUP ...  seriously though, stop "IT."

The puzzle has a couple more big problems on its hands, both of which are causing distraction / annoyance / consternation among solvers, and both of which could've been easily avoided. Let's start with the clue on DIMITRI (18D: Anastasia's love in Disney's "Anastasia"). You might have no idea there's anything problematic or controversial about that clue, but if so, then you are not half the animation nerd that many early solvers of this puzzle appear to be:

It was not a Disney release, but Disney owns it now. The clue is defensible only in a strictly legal sense. When "Anastasia" became a big deal, i.e when it was released, it was decidedly not Disney. You wanna know how this confusion could've been avoided? It's pretty complicated, but try to follow along: drop "Disney" from the clue. The. End. Or just call it "the 1997 animated film 'Anastasia'." No need to bring Disney in and muck up the timeline and get people confused and riled etc. Unless Disney's paying you for product placement, in which case, knock yourselves out, I guess. The next avoidable problem, more serious, and slightly (but not much) harder to work around, is Why Is A Disgraced, Child Sexual Abuse-Enabling Football Coach In My Grid!?!?

PATERNO, yuck (94D: Former Penn State football coach). No. They took down his damn statue on the Penn State campus, you'd think the least the crossword could do is put his name on the No Fly list (the No Fill list?). Here is Washington Post editor Evan Birnholz's quick workaround in that corner:

Got rid of NOES and MRAZ and DEJA too, so it's better in every way. Amazing what a little elbow grease can do when you actually care about the quality and overall vibe of your puzzle product. Okay, I'm done for today. TTY Later.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Harryp 12:06 AM  

I enjoy words like ABLATION and OSMOSIS. This is why I love doing crossword puzzles. The theme, even though it skews old, is good, and not too hard for the younger crowd. Will Shortz say this one has been worked on since 2008! Is that DEVELOPEMENT HELL too? Congrats to Seth Abel.

A Dick 12:19 AM  

NOB = Head!?

Zwhatever 12:43 AM  

21x21 grids are my favorite. As are puzzles with lots of cross-referenced clues. As are quote puzzles. As are scandals that involve the sexual exploitation of children. This puzzle hit the quadfecta of greatness.

@JC66 re that Stumper clue - Yah, I’m used to taking similar clues for places and just translating them into “x-letter Crossworld city.” Edina, Orem, Orono, Tirana, the list is endless. What still strikes me is that Wikipedia clues are pretty common. Chamber of Commerce website clues are a whole new cluing source.

Joe Dipinto 1:00 AM  

You wanna know how this confusion could've been avoided?

Clue it as Oscar-winning composer Tiomkin, that's how.

The Acrostic and the Spelling Bee are easy-ish. I forgot about the KenKen 'cause they keep moving it around. I'll do it later.

puzzlehoarder 1:49 AM  

Solve wise this was a little over average. Probably because it was a bit torturous which is always a good thing. I was surprised when "Play it again Sam" wasn't included but the theme pairs we're all good.

I got my start in the NE so the "Tarzan" pair we're the first two themers to go in. Why I thought MACHOISM (not a word) should be the answer for 1A over the common word MACHISMO I don't know but for what it's worth it is a perfect anagram. 20A had to be ABLATION or EXCISION. I couldn't determine which at first. Between that confusion and not wanting to touch the north central section with a ten foot pole I was pretty much forced to start in the NE.

Of course I had no trouble back filling the rest of the north later on but initially it froze me out. This really had more to do with my own density. A good example of that density was when I remembered that the Shiraz wine of the 111D clue came from Iran and promptly wrote in IRAQI for the entry without noticing my mistake until later when that Q was getting in the way of NASCENCE. In that area I also had to change INACAN to INCANS at 105D.

I've never heard of a Rubin VASE or a croque-monsieur. After solving I checked the xwordinfo clue list for HAM and I couldn't believe we had the latter just back in April. I wondered how that could have slipped through the cracks and then I remembered the two weeks of puzzles I missed getting the house ready for my mother-in-law to move in back in April. Still a clean grid in the end.

chefwen 3:39 AM  

Not exactly a walk in the park for us, but we managed to get it done in a fairly respectable amount of time. Mostly held up on words we were sure were right, but were not. SkYCAM before SPYCAM, tAsES before DAZES, redOAK before PIN OAK, the list goes on.
Fun seeing MACHISMO and OSMOSIS side by side with all those m’s o’s and s’s, I DIG IT.

Enjoyable Sunday puzzle.

Sluggo 3:57 AM  

Ugh. DNF today because of the ABLATION/ITY crossing. I had "pleurisy" (pluralisy... doesn't even make sense now that I"m seeing it typed out) in my mind and couldn't shake it, so "ABLAsION" looked right as well. I must have gone through the grid three times trying to find my error. Just couldn't do it.

But what I really came here to say is the clueing on 79A is horrible. "3:00" as a clock position is relative to how a person is facing. 3:00 only means EAST if you are facing north. 3:00 means to you right side. So if you were facing NE, 3:00 would be SE, etc.

Also, 56A. The companies name is "MOTT's" not "MOTT" so it's not MOTT's applesauce any more than McDonald is a big name in hamburgers.

Lastly, I saw the PATERNO critique coming from Rex, just surprised he also didn't mention the cluing of MIMES using the word "dumb" for non-speaking. I thought that term was verboten these days.

Uncle Alvarez 5:07 AM  

I enjoyed the hell out of this.

Barry Frain 5:11 AM  

An absolute disgrace that PATERNO is in this puzzle. What the hell is Shortz thinking?

Barry Frain
East Biggs, CA

Hungry Mother 6:19 AM  

That was an enjoyable outing. Under an hour on Sunday is pretty good, pretty good. I hope it doesn’t take that long for today’s 5K. All of the quotes were in my Barlett’s faux tome.

Lewis 6:45 AM  

I look back on two clue/answers with smiles:

[Exercise done while sitting] --In hopes of coaxing out the answer, I actually visualized a person sitting in a chair putting his body into every position possible, a sort of macabre dance. Now if I'm down and need some cheering up, I'll repeat that exercise. When the correct answer finally showed up, I let out a big "Hah!".

[Wax holders] -- "Wax", I thought, "Candles? LPs? What do you call a candle holder? Or, could the answer be HIFI?" The correct answer brought another "Hah!", and furthermore, I flashed on using this answer in certain situations, such as, say, I'm getting angry at someone I catch at a restaurant listening in on a heart-to-heart I'm having with someone, and then barking at this person something like, "Keep your friggin' wax holders out of my conversation!"

Brookboy 6:45 AM  

I saw in the news recently that the Chinese government has gone to great pains to make believe the Tiananmen Square uprising never occurred. They have deleted any references to it from any publications. I saw reporters interviewing Chinese citizens, none of whom knew anything about Tiananmen Square. And I seem to remember that photographs of early Communist leaders in Russia were modified, as time went, on to block out certain individuals that Stalin had decided should be erased from history. Yet Tiananmen Square did happen, and those deleted Russian leaders did exist.

To me, the idea that certain people or words should never be included in a crossword because they might be offensive to someone is pretty much the same thing. To use one example, Joe Paterno did exist, and he did some good things and some very bad things. Does that mean we shouldn’t use his name in a crossword? How about in a conversation? How about when trying to make a point (like now, e.g.)? And who becomes the arbiter of what is acceptable and what isn’t? In the case of the New York Times crossword, there is an arbiter, and his name is Will Shortz. We are, of course, free to disagree with his decisions (as so often happens in this blog), and we can choose never look at another New York Times crossword, or to say the hell with it, and keep doing the puzzles.

Oh yeah, the puzzle… I enjoyed it quite a bit. I thought the themes were interesting and fun to suss out. What made the puzzle easier and more interesting was that if you got one part of the theme, the other part fell into place. At least for me.

I started with excision in 1A, but when I thought of MAFIA for 1D and CLYDE for 3D, I had to give it up. Most of my guesses after that were spot on, a rare occurrence for me.

Thank you, Mr. Abel, for a delightful Sunday puzzle.

Anonymous 6:47 AM  

loved the concept, and was impressed by the symmetry. some of the clues were devilish. raise the roof? excellent! osmosis? yes! easy to criticize the editor. try doing this every day. remember-not every book is a best seller.

great to see the twitterati out in force. they do know a lot about a lot. today they're disney experts. smh. just don't wanna invite any of them over for dinner. rex's twitter mates are just like donald's twitter mates. only rex's are better because they are always right. or left. and @jenna's mind boggles from the tweetdeck. it must be lonely there. knowwhatimean?


Jamie C 8:00 AM  

Please don't include PINOAK in your "crappy fill" rant. It is a fine and very common tree. Looking at one in my back yard now.

Anonymous 8:18 AM  

I want to partially agree with @Brookboy about PATERNO. I have no problem with him (or Hitler or Lon Nol or Idi Amin) being included in a crossword. I do find offensive clues which fail to acknowledge the really evil things that he and the others have done. Clueing PATERNO only as a football coach sanitizes his legacy, inviting us to forget the children whose lives he helped to irretrievably damage.

— Jim C. in Maine

Aketi 8:19 AM  

@brookboy, you seem to have missed the point of your own examples of cover ups. The clue is “former Penn State football coach”. That benign clue doesn’t give any indication of the gravity of the situation that led to him becoming a “former coach”. Idi Amin is often clued as a despot so why shouldn’t Paterno be clued as “infamous pervert protecting perjurous Penn State football coach”. I personally think that every monument to controversial historical figures should have additional installations that memorialize those who were harmed by their actions. I don’t like that Marion Sims statue was hacked out of its spot in Central Park. The tiny little plaque that explains the harm he caused to black women is too small for anyone to notice. I think they should have surrounded him with an installation of statues of Lucy, Anarcha, and Betsey who are the few known subjects of his experiments.

Joaquin 8:22 AM  

I agree with @Brookboy. While touring in China a few years ago I found our guide - a brilliant young man who spoke perfect English and knew the history of every rock and tree in China - had "never heard of it" when asked about the Tiananmen Square protest. Does Rex really want to be more like that?

How easily some folks are triggered. Should the constructor been more mindful of the pain suffered by victims of tornados and clued 21A differently? And why does Trent Lott deserve a mention? He's as sleazy as they come.

GILL I. 8:29 AM  

But you never even blinked an eye when Erik called CHE a hero?
@JC66: The very first thing I did (after reading you last night) was look a 94D. I didn't remember PATERNO because I don't follow college football. I remember the Sandusky scandal. You were certainly right about the head explosion.
Didn't Seth start constructing this back in 2008? Yes, I suppose that area could have been changed a la Evan but dang, you could probably sniff around all day and find something. If there's a KURD, there's a Whey.
I rather enjoyed this puzzle. Had to work hard at things like ABLATION just to get started. Got to 7D and thought of the things that start Post: Humous+Master+Partum. Oh, it's the one where you exam dead bodies. My British niece is a pathologist and she can tell stories (Usually at the dinner table) that would make your hair curl - and she's funny as hell, too. My favorite is the one she goes into detail about finding a wedding ring in the lower nethers. I think we were having lasagna that night.
Anyway, I get to my first theme thing (WICKED WITCH) and I had the F from MAFIA and a few other letters so I filled in the FLY MY PRETTIES FLY and let out a whoop. Brilliant, says I.
I have none of the beefs that the twitterati have only because when I finish a puzzle, I'll sit back and look at it. I think how hard it is to construct and at the same time, entertain. This one did - Disney and all.

mmorgan 8:36 AM  

While doing this, I was thinking that if I timed myself, this would have been my fastest Sunday ever. By a factor of 10. I mean, I was flying at Mach 10. FLYMYPR-- alone gave me WICKED WITCH. BEAMM-- alone gave me CAPTAIN KIRK. LORDG-- alone gave me ME TARZAN YOU JANE. So many things I never knew I knew filled themselves in immediately. GRECO, DIMITRI, SAMOAN, YAW, GEER, and more... bam bam bam! I mean, Bring. It. On!

And not just because I was zipping through it mightily, but I was also enjoying it very much.

But then I slowed down a lot at the bottom. A lot. And the SW brought things to an ignominious halt in what felt like a corner full of (to me) Naticks. Oprah has a beau? Jason who? I'm supposed to know some football coach -- from a college?!!?

And then I remembered. Sandusky. Ugh.

I had figured Rex would bash this for only having (essentially) four themers. I haven't read his review yet, but I'm sure he's not at all happy about PATERNO. Neither am I.

Otherwise, I liked the puzzle. But still. Yes he is (was) a name in the news, yes, he (I guess) had an otherwise illustrious career. Yes, it's a tragic story, important to remember and confront. But still.

(Just read blog and comments. @Brookboy has a point but I agree 1000% with @Aketi. Well put.)

QuasiMojo 8:57 AM  

Am surprised "Play It Again," was not included, although I think we had a puzzle about that line earlier this year. But I find it hard to believe that Sgt. Friday didn't utter that immortal line of his about the Facts since his show ran for so long and the writers must have been tempted to slip it in. Then there's "I'm AS Mad as Hell..." from Network. People often misquote that. Apparently, or so I recall reading, the original phrase in the script by Chayefsky did not have the first AS but Peter Finch, who was a classical actor, inserted it. As for the rest of the puzzle, some stellar marquee answers but also some glaring meh moments. PEES anyone? SNOUTS after "Noses out"? IDIGIT at first looked to me like one of those new-fangled etailers, perhaps a place to buy toe rings?

Nancy 9:00 AM  

I love quotes. I've always loved quotes. Even when the people saying them aren't real. Even when the quotes aren't real. This was great fun -- and a brilliant bit of construction.

Of course it would have been better if I'd known all of the fake quotes. Now I'm old enough to remember JUST THE FACTS, MA'AM. (If you remember it, too, I daresay you're really getting up there in years.) And everyone knows ME TARZAN, YOU JANE. Even though I never watched the show, BEAM ME UP SCOTTY is in the zeitgeist. But FLY, ME PRETTIES, FLY? Don't remember ever hearing it. Is it from The Wizard of Oz, The Wiz, or Wicked? I imagine the first, but I'm not really sure. I had trouble with that answer, which is sort of DOOK-y. FLYMEPRETTIESFLY. See?

Had some writeovers: GRES before GEDS (16A); HOWLS before HOOTS (35A); SNIFFS before SNOUTS (67A); ASL before TTY (122D). Thus, my EARL OF GREYSTOKE was originally RARLWFGREYSTOKE. The theme really helped me here. A really fun puzzle, I thought.

webwinger 9:02 AM  

I found this to be an exceptionally enjoyable Sunday, theme-wise. “Almost quotes” were fun and interesting. Liked the use of titles rather than full names for “almost utterers”. Symmetry was awesome. I really wasn’t bothered by the fill lapses. Agree that Disney in the 18D clue should have been omitted, but that’s a trivial objection. MTST for me was “so bad it’s good”. (The MSH blowup occurred on my birthday, and I lived in WA for several years two decades later, so it’s very much on my radar.)

PATERNO was almost my downfall. Having never heard of him until the scandal broke, and perhaps misled by his nickname JoPa, I filled in a final A, making the cross NaES, which still seems better to me than the correct answer, weird looking NOES.

Re his inclusion in the puzzle and the predictable chorus of wails, I must comment that the crimes at Penn State involved ephebophilia (sexual attraction to adolescents), not pedophilia (attraction to prepubescent children). While equally illegal, and similarly if not equally reprehensible, their origins are quite distinct, and insisting on full equivalence just muddies the water in discussions of how to deal with both problems. Anyone who really wants to understand the current situation re these issues would do well to peruse two long reports prepared some years ago by an independent agency on the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church (cut/paste to browser the following links:; You may not agree with their conclusions, but they are very well researched and informative.

kitshef 9:09 AM  

Why are NOES “obstinate responses? “Do you mind if I sit here?” “No”. “How obstinate!”

One of the top six rules of construction is not to cross an initialism with an uncommon proper noun. Like IED crossing GEER, although IED may be common enough to be exempt. But THC crossing ICAHN is definitely a no-no.

Had IMIN at 10D, which led to some confusion when 84D clearly had to be IMIN.

APE XAM also caused some initial befuddlement.

Other than the rule 6 violations, I enjoyed it for its nifty theme.

OffTheGrid 9:14 AM  

It is absurd to equate Chinese governmental censorship with what is included or excluded in the Xword puzzle. The NYT puzzle people can do what they choose. Some will disagree. OTOH, If the government was deciding what was in the puzzle, that would be a huge problem. See the difference?

Liked the puzzle, favorite entry-NASCENCE. The theme was fun.

B1G fan 9:21 AM  

To those who are saying there are kids, tour guides, large numbers of Chinese who say they can't remember Tiananmen Square, I say pshaw. You can bet they remember it, they just aren't allowed to say they do. It's a pretty good example of an actual violation of "free speech." Here in American (and most of the "free" world) you are no only allowed to speak your mind, but you are also free to call for restraint in speaking certain kinds of things (or innocuously cluing a known liar as HC...beloved as he might have once been) and complain openly about it. In China, the government tells you what you can or can't say. There's a huge difference and one we Americans really can't comprehend...many mistake being told to STFU as a violation of their free speech. It's not unless it's the government doing it...

That said, I agree with everyone who responded to brookboy...if you're going to include JoPa in the grid, clue him as he ought to be remembered...someone who not only knew what was going on, and not only did nothing about it, but denied it. at the very worst that makes him complicit. in the view of the most wayward of PSU fans, that means he was a "win at all costs" coach (who didn't even win much at the end of his career) and so casts a pall over the program permanently.

Kinda surprised "Luke, I am your father" didn't somehow make it into the grid.

Grown Up 9:26 AM  

The whole idea that bad people shouldn’t be puzzle answers is silly.

david 9:30 AM  

GIs had C Rations (also A and B rations). There haven't been any GIs in our armed forces since then. MREs are for our professional, paid armed forces. (Often called "volunteer" for some reason.)

The amount of pop culture and sports trivia in this one was awesome. In a bad way. Who knows the name of Oprah's boyfriend? Who cares? Why would anyone? Thanks for reminding me who that Paterno guy was, I had no clue. Lifelong New Yorker and I've never heard of Icahn stadium. "STL"? Shouldn't that be clued as some sports team on a scoreboard? No sentient being would use it as a stand-alone abbreviation for St. Louis.

Started out strong with machismo and ablation, osmosis and tornados, ended strong with nascence and entities. Lots of dreck in between. Fun silly theme in between as well.

I'm off to look for 3 point words now.

Hartley70 9:37 AM  

Given the choice, I too would have clued PATERNO differently, but I have to say I really enjoyed this theme. Each “quote” was a surprise to me and has me wondering how such errors in memory happen. I have the interest but not the patience to rewatch a bajillion episodes of Star Trek and try to prove this wrong.

I wanted NOg sort for noggin instead of NOB. That would have given me gITMAP. I like the idea of a map that used to “git out of town” in a hurry.

WhatDoing 9:41 AM  

Dare I admit t that I actually agree with Rex on this one? Liked the theme and enjoyed remembering the misremembered. Thought the fill was meh. Despised seeing the inclusion of someone complicit in child abuse. The lack of baseball-themed clues is a plus, but not enough to redeem this one.

Anonymous 9:45 AM  

Challenging without being clever or funny, and the theme felt as old as the hills. Joe Paterno could have been clued as “disgraced” former football coach if he absolutely had to rear his ugly head in print, but it sure seemed unnecessary. Another disappointing Sunday puzzle.

BobL 9:50 AM  

The Disney kerfuffle is mind-boggling!

Anonymous 9:53 AM  

I found the whole southwest really weak, even ignoring scandalous behavior by one of the answers.

STEDMAN (obscure) and PATERNO (only less than obscure because he was newsworthy for his crimes) crossing MRAZ (obscure and very much a foreign name), ANNE (the last of the Stuart monarchs; far from the last of the Stuarts) and NOES (where did that E come from; it's not like potatoes).

Teedmn 10:13 AM  

Yup, I was expecting to see Play It Again Sam and Let Them Eat Cake (the latter not being from TV/movies so not eligible for this puzzle) but I liked those that made it into the grid.

This was moderately hard and I see I need to bone up on my Oprah factoids, sheesh. And how to spell de Bergerac's ROXANE (only one N? Weird).

I think the answer to 54D, STOPS IT, has to get some award for the least interesting answer ever. Though 105D's paint being sold IN A CAN is a close rival, har.

Yes, eyebrows raised here when PATERNO showed up. Yuck.

But I loved seeing MTST Helens. Muttsutt indeed.

Mr. Abel, your puzzle held my interest on a Sunday, so thanks.

Steve 10:15 AM  


Do some research,please. Sandusky's crimes didn't involve Penn State athletes,but CHILDREN taking part in a football camp run by Sandusky's charity, The Second Mile. The CHILDREN ranged in age from seven years old up to 11 or 12.
There is no defense for PEDOPHILIA.

Myth Buster 10:28 AM  

Julius Caesar never said Veni Vedi Vici.

Pete Seeger 10:37 AM  

Do you really want a no fill list for puzzles ? Please keep your McCarthyism out of my crosswords.

Anonymous 10:48 AM  

No fill list ? Seriously ? He really wants a list of people and organizations that should be banned from the puzzle ? Wow.

Maddiegail 11:09 AM  

There was a Disney Anastasia? I'm still working with the Ingrid Bergman/Yul Brynner version.

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

PATERNO is all about PRIDE

Anonymous 11:17 AM  

It is one thing when the blogger expresses his opinion, but I don't like when he inserts his friends' Twitter quotes to back him up. This "See, everyone else thinks so too" attitude strikes me as a very junior high-like ganging up on the constructor.

KRMunson 11:18 AM  

This one played hard for me. Am I alone? I finished but it was a slog, even for a Sunday.

Anonymous 11:50 AM  

MRAZ crossing Oprah’s boyfriend. End of comment.

Oh Please 11:54 AM  

Pin Oak is a very common tree.

As usual, Rex criticizes whatever he's unfamiliar with.

Steve 12:02 PM  

"PATERNO is all about PRIDE"

Really? Is that why Penn State took his statue down? Pride in what, aiding and abetting a pedophile?

Anonymous 12:10 PM  

What am I missing? Jack Webb did say the quote,as did the others, I thought. Heard it myself.

Wood 12:25 PM  

I agree with this critique of the PATERNO kerfuffle. Churchill said it best (or did he?)... "Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it."

Malsdemare 12:25 PM  

Oh, this was pretty much fun. Wrinkled my nose at PATERNO, but agree with Brookboy and with those arguing that these guys need to clued as the horrible, criminal, dangerous, vile creatures they are. I really expected to see "Play it again, Sam," and was relieved that that low-hanging fruit was avoided. Some of the clues were devilish, looking at you ETUDE. And I had pluralize for a long time, giving me ABLAzION, which I knew was wrong; took forever to catch ITY. Headslap.

I don't know the EARL OF GREYSTOKE, but figured it out eventually; the rest fell pretty easily. I loved OSMOSIS, but DIMITRI, is just wrong; I keep wanting Demetri. Stupid, I know.

Maybe I'm alone here, but I have no desire to read what Rex's Twitterati have to say (nor anyone's, for that matter). Those are his followers, not mine, though I don't have any as I don't tweet. Ugh!

@Gill. My cousin was an emergency medicine specialist and her stories were infamous in our family. I recall sitting in the lobby of a nursing home with my sister and telling her of one particularly distraught man. He came into the emergency room with the hose of a vacuum cleaner dragging behind him, one end disappearing in the hem of his overcoat. As I related the punchline, "Well, see, I was vacuuming in the nude and, well, the hose was just THERE," I saw the shoulders of the 150 year old woman behind me shaking with laughter. It made shopping for a nursing home for our mom just a little more bearable. True story!

Time to see what the rest of you are saying.

Wood 12:27 PM  

Yes. Clue him as "disgraced" at the very least.

BarbieBarbie 12:58 PM  

@Mals, every med school student has a version of the vacuum story. Sounds like we need a new regulation for the makers of vacuum cleaners.
@Gil et al, if Paterno is just a head coach because it’s 2008, then Disney has nothing to do with Anastasia. Either way, WS was a little sloppy on this one. I loved the concept, though. Because it was stuff people didn’t say, I had to go round and round to get it all, and R&R puzzles are the best kind. Thanks for this one!

jae 1:15 PM  

@Z & JC66 - I started on the Stumper this morning and like JC66, got 26a off the last 3 letters. I too have never been there. The NW corner of the puzzle currently remains blank.

Masked and Anonymous 1:29 PM  

This SunPuz had somethin for everyone …

* Stuff that upsets some people, like PATERNO & Disney.
* Solid desperation, like MTST & ABLUR. Maybe also INACAN?
* Good longball fillins, like AVOCADO & SCRIMPS & OSMOSIS & MERCYME & PINOAK.
* Primo litter of 28 weejects ... staff pick: ITY [Celebrates all the IT-answers in the puz].
* Interestin theme, even tho the humor element was kinda minimal. Like for others, just flat-out amazin to m&e that there was a selection of good symmetric entries available, to do this deed.
* Central grid art was clearly a plus.

PINOAK. Debut word. Got a big pin oak, shadin our back "acreage" -- so a gimme in our neck of the woods.

Outright bannin words seems like an overdo. Can see minimizin use of words that really upset people, since U want folks to have fun with the puzsolve. Gets slippery/tricky, tho … some people probably don't like words like CLINTON, OBAMA, REAGAN, PEWIT, and BUSH, for instance.

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Abel.

Masked & Anonym007Us


Amelia 1:35 PM  


I am on record saying that Rex's twitter followers are of no interest to me and it's quite insulting to this group that he throws them at us as if they're the experts he truly admires. I will say no more. But I thought I would respond to your comment.

Anonymous 1:39 PM  

115D is not just cringeworthy; it's wrong. "In a jam" generally means in trouble or in a difficult situation. It might signify "stuck" if you were in a traffic jam, but I've never heard anyone stuck in traffic say, "I'm in a jam." Maybe in California where they live in them & thus may want to save words?

Wood 1:47 PM  

I'm 53 and I don't remember JUST THE FACTS MA'AM in its original context... Never heard of SERGEANT FRIDAY. But I knew it nonetheless, due to its having entered the language independent of its original context (which is the mark of a good crossword answer).

Anonymous 1:51 PM  

I wonder: never said in what context? Many were first books, then multiple movies, and TV shows. Did the constructor read and watch every one them? What's the penalty if the challenge is wrong?

webwinger 1:56 PM  

@Steve (10:15 AM): I stand corrected. Think I was conflating Sandusky’s crimes with those of Dennis Hastert, in the news for similar reasons a few years later. Hastert’s victims were nearly all high school age, with apparently one disputed allegation regarding a younger boy.

Reading now about these men, both clearly guilty of vile behavior on a large scale, made worse by their having maintained high levels of respect and trust from their communities for many years during and/or after, it is striking how willing knowledgeable bystanders (most notoriously PATERNO) were to tolerate or even defend them. It’s almost impossible to imagine that happening now, less than a decade later. Changes in shared attitudes about what constitutes unacceptable behavior, at least among a very major sector of the public, have occurred with amazing speed over the past few years, mostly for the better. Concurrently the risk of being brought down by unsubstantiated allegations of conduct that goes nowhere near the level of Sandusky’s or Hastert’s, and may involve a person whose level of vulnerability is nowhere near that of their targets, has unfortunately become a growing concern. (And the fact that behavior is unacceptable and needs to stop does not equate to its being criminal and in need of prosecution or punishment.) Finding the right balance (never an easy task for humans) is a growing challenge in our age. Recognizing the difference between pedophilia and ephebophilia should be a part of that reckoning.

Patricia Hughes 2:06 PM  

Got stuck in the SW corner because I thought there was NO WAY Paterno could be the answer and was trying to fit in any other name.

Also looked for "Play it again, Sam"; maybe another time.

orangeblossomspecial 2:06 PM  

Shouldn't the answer to 'Croque-monsieur ingredient' be 'jambon'? If the clue is French shouldn't the response be in the same language? I don't have a problem with Joe Paterno as an answer. We don't have similar qualms about the Marquis de Sade or Jack the Ripper.

Brookboy 2:34 PM  

To all who made a distinction between including someone like Paterno in a crossword and how he might be clued, I have no quarrel with that. My argument was about the inclusion of certain people/words in a crossword. I wasn't trying to imply that the clue itself in this case about Paterno was good or bad or in good or bad taste. I was trying to make the argument that when we begin creating lists of what is even acceptable we are entering upon the platitudinous slippery slope.

pete 2:54 PM  


Jstarrracewalker 2:57 PM  

Well said.

Jstarrracewalker 3:02 PM  

Not did he say “veni , vidi , vici”.

pabloinnh 3:48 PM  

I give up. First this week we had ABLARE, and now we have ABLUR, which is maybe the past tense but should also be deposited in the oubliette. I mean, really.

I knew Lord Greystoke but apparently not his title. LORDOFGREYSTOKE certainly looked odd, because it was, and also wrong. The EARL instead made that corner considerably easier.

Yeah, JoePa. Do people who do awful things continue to have supporters? I'm afraid we don't have to look very far to find the answer to that one. History doesn't necessarily repeat, but it rhymes.

Oh, also don't care what OFL's twitter followers say. Strangely enough they always agree with him. Imagine that.

Thanks Mr. Abel. I had a lot of fun with this one.

Enemy of Food 4:02 PM  

I remember watching a video clip somewhere that had a smug American fellow going through the thoroughly modern streets of Beijing and asking young people if they knew what Tiananmen Square was. Surprise, none of the young people they showed in the clips did. And this got me thinking about something that I haven't seen anyone else mention.
When an American says "Tianamen Square" they (and I) have a tendency to say it as a single word that escapes the mouth sounding something like [teeENNuhminsquare]. However, the Chinese pronunciation is closer to [tee-en, AN-men] and that's it, no "square." And it's like a super-famous place in Beijing. Everyone knows where it is, and so I thought it was strange how nobody knew what the American interviewer was talking about, even though he wasn't asking about the protests (even though he thought he was), but simply a place that is perhaps the most well-known place in the city.

So now that I have your attention, I would like to support the fellow defending the cluing of Joe Paterno. To those whose Sundays have been ruined by having to think about a person who did bad things and didn't get the one line public tongue-wagging that you wanted, I ask this one question: Where the hell is your outrage over the MAFIA clue? Seriously, why is MAFIA okay? Haven't the MAFIA actually murdered, like, hundreds of thousands of people, trafficked millions of tons of drugs, subjugated countless women, and caused countless amounts of actual grief? So for all those who complained about Joe Paterno here, are you simply accepting the pain and suffering caused by this organization? Are you also complicit in this since you failed to call them out?
And while we're at it, why no outrage at having to think of CLYDE Barrow? I mean, "Half of an old crime duo" is a bit of an understatement, right? Didn't they murder a handful of police and several civilians? These were people with families whose lives were ruined, right? SHAME on you.

Okay, maybe I'm going a bit far with this. But I think that is my point (and perhaps the point of BROOKLYN BOY) I'm not arguing that we shouldn't have a reckoning of some sort for people who have caused pain and misery and who also happen to be our heroes or former heroes. But where do you draw the line, and whose job is it to make the decisions about this, and who gets to be the dude in The Giver who has to remember all this stuff for us so we can forget it?
aaand it's like 4 a.m. here in Bali so I better get to bed, but just wanted to get this off my chest. Good night!

Anonymous 4:09 PM  

Croque monsieur can be found on many menus that are nearly entirely in English, so HAM is a fair answer. Akin to quiche lorraine (not as food, but in terms of its appearance on menus).

But of course it's inconsistent with CUATRO being the answer to a clue that was entirely in English.

I agree with all who say the STOPSIT and INACAN are pretty low - they make GREENPAINT sound imaginative.

sixtyni yogini 4:39 PM  

πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ§©πŸ‘πŸ½ 😎🧩😎

Anonymous 5:12 PM  

I agree that MAFIA and CLYDE are even worse people/person than PATERNO.

That well points out that there is inconsistency in the set of answers that get complaints from management here. And it's worse when the malevolent people have inappropriate clues (like CHE and MAO being clued in a very positive way).

I'm with the people who say bad people are fine as answers, as long as the clues somewhat reflect their character.

ginandjuice 5:15 PM  

Mercy me, I always confuse adz and awl. And I think Carl Icahn is a dick, although not to the mafia or Paterno extent.

RooMonster 5:20 PM  

Last comment list to hitting wrong phone button and losing it.

Seems lots of Green and/or Paint related clues lately, no? Heck, we get IN A CAN for a Paint clue today.

Well said @Enemy of Food (although I can't imagine why you'd be an enemy of food). It seems whatever is deemed egregious by ones own brain gets the wrath, while the other stuff is OK to see. Odd. But, no one is either pissed at everything all the time, or happy about everything all the time. (Well, I'm sure there are a few Sons-in-law that would argue that first point!)


Zwhatever 5:28 PM  

People are upset that Rex posts Twitter comments? Seriously? Well, okay then.

Oh, and I see the old slippery slope fallacy being trotted out. First, there are already a whole bunch of words and people we will never see in a NYTX, “Hitler” and “nigger” come to mind. Why? Not to purge the words from human memory, but just because they are deeply offensive. Does PATERNO rise (sink?) to the “Hitler” or “nigger” level of obscenity? I don’t think so. But whitewashing him as just a “former coach” is disrespectful to Sandusky’s victims and incredibly insensitive to people sickened by his silence. Trust me, his absence from the puzzle isn’t going to result in people forgetting his crime. I’d guess that there are several mandatory reporter trainers who feature him when explaining the personal stakes in not reporting suspected child abuse.

Crimson Devil 5:45 PM  

Agree with Z.
If it’s a word, oughtta be eligible for inclusion. I tire of PC.

pabloinnh 6:08 PM  

@Anonymous 4:09-I totally agree about croque monsieur (and its cousin croque madame) but the clue for CUATRO was only totally in English if we now think that "Carlos" has replaced good old "Charles". I thought the clue was fine.

Voice of Reason 6:20 PM  

It’s stupid to make value judgements about a crossword clue or answer. Will Shortz has it right and Rex, Z , and the rest of the crossword scolds have it wrong. I heard Cole Porter has some skeletons let’s demonize him.

Anonymous 7:11 PM  

It’s funny. Mao and Che are clued benignly and nobody squawks. Paterno gets clued benignly and that’s a problem. Meh. Hypocrites. I guess I get it.

Anonymous 7:39 PM  

let me make this clear ;Joe Friday frequently said the line 'never said ' by him.. It was his trademark line!

JC66 7:51 PM  

@Anon 7:39

See this explanation.

Snope Snr 7:54 PM  

@Anon 7:39pm. “All we want are the facts, ma’am” or similar but never as stated in the puzzle. Snope it for the fact.

Anonymous 7:58 PM"just+the+facts+maam"&sourceid=opera&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

Supposedly he only said "All we know are the facts, ma'am" and "All we want are the facts, ma'am."

Similarly, supposedly none of other quotes was said literally.

mmorgan 8:06 PM  

I give up.

Fred Romagnolo 8:36 PM  

@barry frain: Used somebody who is a disgrace in a puzzle! Poor baby.

JC66 9:17 PM  

@Snope Snr (7:54)

Great minds...

RooMonster 9:33 PM  

The famous Mae West line is always misquoted too. She didn't say "Come up and see me sometime."
It was "Come up sometime and see me."
(From memory, and hoo-boy, does my memory suck. So apologies if wrong. [But I'm like 90% sure])


mmorgan 10:41 PM  

@voice um, sure, yeah, what are the cole porter skeletons of which you speak? I know quite a bit about him and I have no idea to what you are alluding.

burtonkd 10:56 PM  

Surprised ICAHN hasn't had more discussion. Wondered myself what stadium is on Manhattan. Live next to Columbia U stadium, known as Wien, but better known to locals as Baker's Field.

ICAHN is on Randall's Island, but technically considered part of Manhattan (like Marble Hill in the Bronx).

Billy 11:04 PM  

Perhaps it's the animation nerd in me, but this puzzle lost me the instant I hit the Anastasia clue! That's not a Disney movie! And no, the fact that Disney *now* owns the company that made it *years ago* does *not* retroactively make it a Disney movie any more than the fact that AT&T currently owning HBO makes The Sporanos an AT&T show... Also, the Anastasia thing is a chronic misconception which is found in many more places than just this crossword, and it kinda drives me nuts.

Also, I actually really enjoyed seeing Jason MRAZ in the puzzle, it was one of the few fresh and modern pieces of fill. And I just really like his music, too.

VOR 11:14 PM  

@mmorgan- here’s one example “ Chinks do it, Japs do it,up in Lapland little Laps do it...”

JC66 11:27 PM  


Per Wikipedia, Cole Porter changed the original lyrics (written in 1928) when he realized those terms had become offensive.

"In Porter's publication from 1928, the opening lines for the chorus carried three derogatory racial references: Chinks, Japs, and Laps.

The original was:

Chinks do it, Japs do it,
up in Lapland little Laps do it...

The original line can be heard in several early recordings of the song, such as a recording made by the Dorsey Brothers & their Orchestra (featuring a vocal by a young Bing Crosby),[11] Rudy VallΓ©e, Paul Whiteman And His Orchestra, all in 1928, and a version of the song by the singer and well-known Broadway star Mary Martin (with Ray Sinatra's orchestra), recorded in 1944. Another example is Billie Holiday, in 1941.[12] Peggy Lee with the Benny Goodman orchestra recorded a version in 1941 with these lyrics.

Porter changed the opening to the refrain: "Birds do it, bees do it" when he realized that the line was offensive."

Do you have other examples?

VOR 11:36 PM  

From the daily Princetonian - Originally written in 1934, “Anything Goes” is wrought with stereotypes and prejudice, from its hyper-sexualization of the female Chinese character, “Plum Blossom,” to its cheap humor based on the poor English of Chinese characters. Renditions of the musical since its debut have sought to remedy this problem, with varying levels of success. In the case of PHS, even though they did the bare minimum by removing “Chinese accents” from the performance, many scenes from the show were still incredibly racist.

JC66 11:45 PM  


Okay. I'm not trying to make excuses, but it was a different world back then and the racist info seems to be a footnote on Cole Porter's career, whereas Joe Paterno's legacy as an enabler of a pedophile is probably what he'll be remembered for. Time will tell.

VOR 11:47 PM  

My point is not to vilify Cole Porter who I love. My point is that no one can stand such scrutiny. I get it that Joe Paterno enabled a rapist and should be rightly scorned. That said, once we start making value judgements of everyone get the message

Anonymous 12:41 AM  

Y'all are way too sensitive. Everything is racist to someone.
Grow a pair. (Ooh, sexist! Racist!)

Enemy of Food 8:27 AM  

It's because of my tendency to eat all of the food.

Bill Feeney 7:31 PM  

Well, I put in Paderno for 94d. With the way the proper answer is being panned, I like my answer better.

MBI 11:34 AM  

Jason Mraz started having big hits in 2002, and has repeatedly had big hits since then, including this decade. My god, the ancientness of crossword solvers, I swear.

William 12:17 PM  

Rex, you might have been better advised to put "Clyde" on your no fly list rather than Paterno, who didn't kill or rob anyone, nor was convicted of anything (yes, by the media and the general public for failing to rise to the occasion), but whose life meant a lot to many people. Good deeds and failures are all part of Paterno's huge legacy for heaven's sake. You go to far on the bandwagon.

Burma Shave 10:37 AM  


his MACHISMO was EROTIC yet plain:


spacecraft 11:00 AM  

I take grave issue with PATERNO-bashing. I remain convinced to this day that he did not know what that monster Sandusky was doing until it was too late. The incident devastated him, and I believe hastened his death. Let's not forget all the positive influences he had on his team members through the years--who BTW had an incredible 98% graduation rate. Let's have a little respect.

For the rest of it: I never knew that the WICKEDWITCH was ever thought to have said 23 across. The others are cutely famous; I missed PLAYITAGAINSAM, but you know...there may have been one too many sets in there as it is. It really corrupted the fill. Still, a moderately fun solve. SELMA for DOD. Par.

rondo 11:20 AM  

I woulda sworn that they all said those things. And so somebody had to look ‘em up on a list. Whaddya gonna do? That’s enough research for me. But I coulda done without ABLUR AHUM AJAM, although those three run together sound like a city in Afghanistan. And it’s Prince Albert INACAN, his refrigerator’s running.

I took a class in Comp SCI – learned FORTRAN and BASIC. SEMINAL years of all that. Back when kitchen appliances were AVOCADO green.

I walked through HYDE Park with my wife-to-be in 2007. Saw the first leg of the TOUR de France, time trials though London streets.

TESS Harper was a yeah baby and SWEETIE when we were both about 30.

Last weekend of OT work, I feel more like a SIESTA. Quite a tolerable puz.

Unknown 11:54 AM  

In 50 years of solving this was the worst, least enjoyable solve to date.

Diana,LIW 1:52 PM  

So here's what happened to me. t first It I'd never finish - or even truly begin - this puzzle. Just a lot of crickets.

Then, bit by bit it ALL came around. I was pleasantly surprised, and I felt, like, smart.

And the famous lines were quite a big help in the long run. You may quote me.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

annied 12:48 PM  

Hated filling in Paterno! And ridiculous that it fed into “noes.” Enjoyed “pinoak” as I am surrounded by them!

BedfordBob 12:26 PM  

Can someone explain MASC as a foreign dictionary?

Joe 10:43 PM  

Messed up: had NOG instead of NOB. Why oh why did this person use Paterno? It’s disgusting. Something that Elliott Spitzer, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, might enjoy. But in The NY Times? How low can The NY Times go? Thanks Rex, for being on the vanguard of dissing the bahstahds!

Joe 11:03 PM  

Paterno is great

CY 10:07 PM  

I can't understand the antipathy for putting the names of unsavoury people in crossword puzzles. Famous or infamous, well-known is well-known. Making reference to a name is hardly a moral endorsement.

I'm almost certain this sensitivity is a rather new thing. Genocidal dictator Idi Amin was a crossword standby for years without raising an eyebrow, which, in my humble opinion, is as it should be.

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