Decorative sewing case / THU 6-27-19 / Famous symbol of Cold War / Monopoly token replaced in 2013 by cat

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Constructor: Hoang-Kim Vu

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (5:26)

THEME: CHECK ALL / THE BOXES (9D: With 39-Down, fulfill requirements ... or how to fill four of this puzzle's squares?) — a rebus puzzle with four √'d boxes:

Theme answers:
  • 2D: MIC √ / 20A: √S AND BALANCES
  • 30A: BLANK √ /33D: √ MATE
  • 55A: √POINT CHARLIE / 55D: √ OUT
  • 63A: COAT √ / 64D: √ER
Word of the Day: √POINT CHARLIE (55A) —
Checkpoint Charlie (or "Checkpoint C") was the name given by the Western Allies to the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War (1947–1991).
East German leader Walter Ulbricht agitated and maneuvered to get the Soviet Union's permission to construct the Berlin Wall in 1961 to stop Eastern Bloc emigration and defection westward through the Soviet border system, preventing escape across the city sector border from communist East Berlin into West Berlin. Checkpoint Charlie became a symbol of the Cold War, representing the separation of East and West. Soviet and American tanks briefly faced each other at the location during the Berlin Crisis of 1961.
After the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc and the reunification of Germany, the building at Checkpoint Charlie became a tourist attraction. It is now located in the Allied Museum in the Dahlem neighborhood of Berlin. (wikipedia) (emph mine) (don't lift your clues from wikipedia) ([Cold War crossing] see that was easy)
• • •

While you all were watching the 1st Democratic debate, I was doing this puzzle. Let's start with the objection people are most likely to have to this puzzle, which is that the solver does not, in fact, CHECK ALL / THE BOXES. Obviously you don't check *all* the boxes—what the hell kind of grid would that even be?—but it is a pretty grand claim to put as your revealer when the number of checks your grid actually provides is far more modest. I don't find objections to the revealer that compelling, though, as the revealer clue is pretty specific ("how to fill *four* of this puzzle's squares" (*emphasis mine* obvs)). So CHECK ALL (four of) THE BOXES (in question). It's a common colloquial phrase, which is why it's being used as a revealer, and I like this repurposing of the phrase just fine. Certainly CHECK *ALL* / THE BOXES is superficially misleading, but it's technical inaccuracy is not bugging me nearly as much as the idea that *any* diet can be NO CARB. That is garbage. Carbohydrates are in virtually everything, so stop. Stop. Even the Keto-est diet has carbs. Ugh. I demand that you delete NO CARB from your word lists. It is guilty of deep fraudulence and needs to be punished, thank you. But back to the theme—it's simple and spare, but it works OK. Really didn't like that last √ in the SE, just tucked in there like an afterthought, with the highly unimpressive √ER as one of the answers. But the longer ones are nice phrases in and of themselves. Grid is very tame, with most non-theme stuff being short and familiar. But kudos for opting for simple and clean over complicated and blecch. Also, kudos for FULL OF IT.

As usual, NW was my roughest section, despite the fact that I got the theme *immediately*. AMPS to MIC √. Seriously, took me 3 seconds. Now, I wasn't sure that the √ went there, and even when I knew it did, I didn't know why, or what the revealer would be (I wanted something along the lines of THE CHECK IS IN THE MAIL), but yeah, I've never spied a rebus faster than I did today. But still had trouble in the NW, as I said, because I thought a "sidebar" was legal and wanted AGS (?!) at 1D: Contents of some sidebars (ADS). Also had babies eating puréed PEAR (3D), and honestly no idea what capital was on the Mississippi that followed the pattern S-P---, despite the fact that my daughter practically lives there (she's in Minneapolis at UMN) (well, she's currently in NZ, but that's a whole other story). Had DEBUG before DEFOG, and man that hurt (21D: Clear, in a way). When I locked down that "G," I thought I was good. Other problem area was the SW—zero idea about the "√" at that point (√POINT CHARLIE had a very non-specific clue and took me a while to uncover). Without √, couldn't get 55D, and then 56D: Summon ... well, yeah, no, I don't think of PAGE as a verb much anymore, though of course the concept still exists (in hotel lobbies? airports?). Weird how two little corners can really slow things down. But since I got the theme quickly and the grid was generally easy, the slowness occasioned by those corners was not devastating.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:02 AM  

Figured out the gimmick early and the puzzle basically filled itself in. But … as is the case so often, I did learn something new: I had no idea that SCAPE could be a stand-alone word; cannot recall ever seeing it used in either of its forms (noun or verb). Yes. You can teach this old dog new words!

Runs with Scissors 12:28 AM  

We got us a rebus Thursday!!!

I know some of you don't care for them, but I like sussing them out even when they're pretty simple as this was.

I enjoyed the solve. It went quickly, and it felt like it went quickly, which was its only downside. I prefer more of a tussle but it was still worthwhile.

Some random stream of consciousness (which is all I ever write here - you may notice I don't put a lot of thought into my blog entries):

FULL OF IT. Gotta love an in-yer-face get over it.

All 4 of the CHECKS. Even CHECKer. (I hit the "rebus" thingy in the upper right and typed in "CHECK." I solved on the website.)

Did you notice the backward ACDC TO DO AMPS? It fits!!

DIETS - the secret to losing weight is very simple. Expend more calories than you take in. Permanently change your eating habits and exercise routine, not just for 30 days, et voila!! Pounds go away.

GOPRO LOCA - I've seen some crazy stuff from people using GoPros (action camera brand) mounted to bicycles, cars, motorcycles, skis, et cetera. That should have been the clue.

Anyway, I liked the puzzle and I wished it could have taken longer.

Mark, in Mickey's North 40

Anonymous 1:01 AM  

I passed through [CHECK]POINT CHARLIE in 1987. A surreal experience, going from the traffic choked, haptic, uber-modern West Berlin to the frozen-in-1950s East Berlin of empty streets, crumbling abandoned buildings, and sputtering 2-cylinder Trabant cars which sounded so much like dirt bikes (Rinn-ninn-ninn-ninn-nin). The closest thing to time travel I will likely experience. And a mere 2 years later, everything changed.

I liked the CHECK rebus, but really didn't like the uberNatick at HODA crossing YAS. Of course I, never having heard of either, had HODE / YES.

-- Okanaganer

puzzlehoarder 1:06 AM  

Good Thursday. I really spun my wheels on the upper third of this puzzle. I couldn't get a single section going. Too many clues we're going right over my head.

IGOR, TEPEE and GOPRO gave me my start and going south from there things began falling into place. The SE corner was where I got the theme. The bottom two thirds were no problem but I still had to clear some cobwebs to back fill that top third. I felt really dumb when STPAUL finally went in.

A Saturday time for this Thursday. The puzzle started tough but it may just have been a bad outing on my part.

Will 1:45 AM  

This definitely played quickly for me as a rebus (I had the debate and a baseball game on while I was solving, yet I still got a pretty fast time). However, there was a lot in the fill and the cluing that I found really enjoyable.

Harryp 1:56 AM  

I saw the theme fairly early, but misspelled CHECK in one of the rebus squares, so when I filled in the last entries, (the YAS and HODA), there was no Happy tone. Another 10 minutes of fill checking before I caught that mistake. This wasn't a satisfying Thursday because it was way too easy, more like a Tuesday or Wednesday.

jae 2:03 AM  

Easy-medium. Fun rebus, liked it. Nice debut.

DF 2:27 AM  

This is probably my fastest rebus-recognition time as well. I thought the themers were just OK. CHEK-ER is super weak, though. My major gripe: the phrase is "checks and balances," not "check and balances." Certainly in the context of the Constitution both are plural, and the fact that they're not in this puzzle is really regrettable.

I don't think people ever stand EYETOEYE--face to face, sure, but not eye to eye. No idea why the clue even needed the reference to standing when "One way of seeing" would have been just fine. And maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think NOIR is an "informal" way to refer some detective fiction. Isn't NOIR a subgenre of detective fiction? What's informal about it? Also thought it might be KELLY Musgraves.

At least I Liked FULLOFIT.

chefwen 2:41 AM  

Another winner this week. Caught the trick fairly early when I had MIC at 2D and thought there had to be something to finish that off, but what? Had most of the letters in place for AND BALANCES and Woo Hoo, I know what you’re doing here. Fun stuff. Had a good time finding the other check marks.

jae 3:09 AM  

@DF - Go back and look at the completed grid, there is an S before AND and after the rebus CHECK square.

Loren Muse Smith 4:28 AM  

I had a terrible time figuring this out since I was thinking today’s Wednesday. Once I checked the day, things got a lot easier. Went right back to fill in CHECKS AND BALANCES and was off and running.

When someone is FULL OF IT, what is the IT? Is it hot air, gas, egotism? Or am I overthinking this, and it just rhymes with IT. Hah. Our Leviathan of perfidy accidentally grabbed the bottle of lemon magnesium citrate instead of the bottle of lemon seltzer, and the next day, he was small enough to fit in a matchbox.

Back in the day, I crossed through CHECKPOINT CHARLIE with my studies abroad group, and Frank L and I wandered off beyond the touristy part we were supposed to stay in. As we were coming out of a grocery store with almost nothing on the shelves, we were treated to a small parade of East German soldiers goose-stepping it down the street. Chilling. This rendering of goose-stepping is easier to take.

Took me forever to see the dook NOONE. I always fall for that kind of semantic mind-bender clue.

Rex – as regards your NO CARB RANT: When Dad and I did the Atkins diet back in the ‘70s, that first couple of weeks we ate *only* meat, cheese, and eggs. No fruit, no veggies. Isn’t that NO CARB? I’m too lazy to look it up. I did appreciate NO CARB DIETS sharing the grid with STARCH.

“Last step of a purchase” – agree to add a donation to St. Jude’s. I always agree to donate and marvel at the brilliance and simplicity of this fund-raising technique. (Hey, @Brucie K – please tell your good friend that I always donate. Always. And I eavesdrop to confirm that the person in front of me almost always donates, too.)

IRON. Ok. So recently I made the mistake of telling my husband that some people used both pronunciations of the word nuclear depending on the meaning. They use /noo kyoo lar/ in nuclear weapons but /noo klee ar/ in nuclear family. He immediately said that to say /noo kyoo lar/ was ridiculous because of the spelling. No one switches letters like that. I shoulda just left it, but I was in a mood. I told him that flip-flopping sounds was A Thing. It’s called metathesis. He dismissed this and asked for just one example where people regularly do this. I asked him to say the word for the electric appliance we use to press wrinkled clothes. He said IRON. I said, Oh. /AYE urn/, not /AYE ron/? Bam. MIC drop.

Hoang-Kim – congrats on your NYT debut! Enjoy the limelight today!

Suzie Q 5:46 AM  

OK, I have to ask Who says "Yas queen?" Is this a parody of something that I am unaware of? What circumstance prompts this reply?

I am embarrassed to have known so little of Check Point Charlie. I knew there was something military involved but I was thinking of Viet Nam where Charlie had a different meaning. Now I know. I guess in 1961 I was busy riding my bike or just being a kid.

Peter Noone was nominated for an Oscar?

Carola 6:16 AM  

Nicely done! Like some others, I saw the rebus right away with MIC[CHECK] and its Constitutional cross, which made the reveal very easy to get. That didn't diminish at all the fun of writing in [CHECK]POINT CHARLIE (visited in 1963) and ferreting out the remaining CHECKS. Also liked RANT over SIGH and the theatrical IAGO -IGOR pair.

Lewis 6:34 AM  

@suzie Q -- For the briefest of moments I thought the same thing at NOONE.

I was thinking, after the solve, that there was another level to the theme, something to do with BOX, and when I saw the bottom two rebuses I thought maybe the rebus worked as CHECK across and BOX down, as the downs would have worked as BOXER and BOX OUT, but the top two rebuses didn't work that way. Not that I'm disappointed with an elegant no-extra-layer rebus theme. The cluing was colorful -- not many standard clues -- and tricky enough to pass the the tussle test (the bar of difficulty beyond which a solve becomes fun to crack). I liked the clues for ROGET, COAT CHECK, TENNIS, GO PRO, and especially NO ONE. I also liked the intersection of TENNIS with SETS.

So 'twas a lovely puzzle to solve, and no doubt a very exciting debut day for Hoang-Kim Vu. Way to go, sir, and please keep 'em coming!

Alec Leamas 6:35 AM  

The movie version of John Le Carré’s “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold” begins at night at Checkpoint Charlie and ends at the Wall dividing East and West.

Waiting on the other side is George Smiley.

mbr 7:03 AM  

@DF : the correct term is FILM NOIR, which is why just using the 2nd word is apparently considered "informal".

QuasiMojo 7:12 AM  

I made most of the same missteps as OFL, including PEAR, yuk, but added a few of my own: OTOS before UTES. I can never guess right on those tribes. The rebus had me guessing too. I wanted MIKE TEST and began to envision lofty phrases beginning with TEST, maybe TESTAMENT. Finally got the CHECK (I spelled it out.) As these things go, I thought this was better than average. Good to have a new perspective on a tired old trick.

Back in 1972, I went through Checkpoint Charlie. I had the same experience as the poster above. We traveled from a world of color into a stark NOIR city of grays and shadows. Even minor things such as window boxes of flowers seemed to vanish as we passed into East Germany. It felt like a dystopian sci-fi flick. The Wizard of Oz à l'envers. I would love to go back and see the once-divided Berlin with new eyes.

kitshef 7:28 AM  

Not much slowed me down today. CHECKS AND BALANCES gave the theme away early, so other than DEice and earnS before DEFOG and REAPS, mostly a matter of read-and-fill-in.

YAS, queen???!?! Srsly?? I was just thinking yesterday about words that have been used in crosswords recently either out of desperation to fill a grid or attempts to be hip. On fleek, bae, bruh, stan. Things that will make no sense to a solver in 2024 hitting the archives. Just stop. And get a haircut while you’re at it.

Anonymous 7:29 AM  

Furthering the theme, are the black spaces meant to look like check marks around the edge, or are those just normal puzzle shapes?

Irene 7:31 AM  

Love rebuses, so loved this. But what is USAIN?

Tom Taylor 7:32 AM  

Shout out to Twin Cities in the puzzle AND the blog! Woohoo!!

FPBear 7:37 AM  

Thursday rebus is my favorite time of the week!

pabloinnh 7:46 AM  

Check it out--a Thursday rebus! Hot damn!

Got started in the bottom for some reason and before you know it, there was CHECKPOINTCHARLIE and CHECKOUT and the vertical explainers became clear and Bob's your uncle, it was all done and I wished it wasn't, because fun factor.

LMS's IRON discussion reminded me of an interchange between myself and my department chairman a while ago concerning the word "scone", which he pronounced "scun", which I found silly, so I said since when does that spelling produce that pronunciation, and he said, ONE, two, three, and I said oh, and slunk away.

Thanks for a very nice Thursdecito, H-KV, and congratulations. May many more submissions be accepted.

RooMonster 7:47 AM  

Hey All !
LOL at @LMS's Goose Stepping video! Check it out. Those Communist countries making their soldiers walk like that are stupid. Why do you even think that looks good? It looks like they're bouncing, and is totally dumb. Kim Jong Un and his ilk are FULL OF shIT.

Liked this puz. Put in Check Marks as Rex did, it was easier than trying to cram "CHECK" in the squares. Neat idea. As others, figured it out at MIC√, then went looking for the other three. That last √ I the SE corner was tricky. An odd clue on COAT√ not helping.

Surprised some of y'all are still not knowing HODA Kotb. She's been in many a puz now. File it away for future use.

Couple writeovers, EYElevel-EYETOEYE, erase-DEFOG, crime-DIETS. But, did get 100% today!

Two F's, both in same answer. Definitely not FULL OF IT! (Or is FULL OF IT, depending on your (THE)POINT of view.)


Steve 7:50 AM  

"I told him that flip-flopping sounds was A Thing. It’s called metathesis".

It's called *wrong*, and makes people sound like uneducated idiots.

OK, that may have come out a bit more harsh than necessary, but I'm kind of a jerk, so...

I *love* your commentary, and honestly I usually hit this blog mostly to read what you've got to say! Thank you, @LMS! :)

Charles Flaster 7:54 AM  

Same as Rex.
Love rebuses and this one is spot on.
Thanks HK

Mr. cheese 8:10 AM  

I now use the Times app but after years of paper solving (and being basically lazy) I put CK in the rebus squares. After 15 minutes of reviewing all my answers I gave up and “revealed” the solution. Blah!

Dr. Haber 8:20 AM  

Loved the puzzle and the rebus. But got seriously knackered by no carb. Had locarb and never recovered as scan did not materialize. So have to agree with Rex on the no carb ban.

Lorelei 8:25 AM  

@Anon 1:01, Thank you for that recollection of crossing into East Berlin. And @Alec, thank you for bringing up the name of my old fictional friend George Smiley. Think I might go back and re-read the novels. Immerse in Cold War shenanigans for a bit and hide from the ongoing stupidity of the current twitty political zeitgeist.

I like any rebus I can get (which is just about none). Nice clean puzzle.

And yes, there have been strict no carb diets.Tough and kinda stupid, but doable.

Elvis Costello 8:31 AM  

“There was a CHECKPOINT CHARLIE, He didn’t crack a smile”

ghthree 8:35 AM  

@DF and @JAE:
There is an "S" in the grid after (but not before) the CHECK box.
@Loren Muse Smith:
You are right about the rhyme.

I'm surprised nobody pointed out two of Rex's errors:
1: The possessive pronoun "its" spelled with an apostrophe. TSK!
(Not a biggie. Just my inner proofreader speaking.)
2: Misreading of the clue in 8 Down. The clue says "many," not "any"
It's true that many diets are NO CARB. Rex seems to think a single exception invalidates the clue.

I remember walking freely back and forth through the Brandenburg Gate shortly after reunification. No more Checkpoint Charlie. Wonderful!

Mr. Cheese 8:35 AM  

I use the Times app but for many years I was a paper solver. Being basically lazy I entered CK into the rebus square. When I finished I spent 15 minutes trying to find my error. I gave up and “revealed” the solution..... blah!

clk 8:46 AM  

Yep, that was exactly my problem with the puzzle. Otherwise, it was great but I couldn’t get past that.

Crimson Devil 8:52 AM  

Irene, USAIN BOLT is current footrace champ.
Like Rex, this was my fastest rebus recognition.
I, too, passed through CHECKPOINT CHARLIE, in 60s. Stark.
Much enjoyed puz: I’m sure to get flummoxed t’row.

Unknown 8:52 AM  

So how do you put in check marks if you have the app? It’s not even one of the options. I’ve tried the full word, then a letter v, then the /

Sir Hillary 8:56 AM  

What a great debut puzzle from Hoang-Kim Vu. Fun to solve, doesn't try too hard to impress, just a solid piece of work.

FULLOFIT is just awesome.

The cluing today seemed especially inspired. The clues for ASU, ROGET, GOPRO, COAT√, DEFOG, NIL, USAIN, LUNGS, NOONE and TENNIS all were clever and/or obtuse. Great fun.

"YAS queen"? No clue. Big KASEY Musgraves fan though.

I think @Rex's point is that a truly NOCARB diet is basically impossible, which I agree with.

@"Elvis" -- I was hoping someone would post that lyric; glad it was "you"! "Oliver's Army" has some of the cleverest wordplay in a songbook chock full of brilliantly clever wordplay. You, sir, are one of my favorite poets.

Nancy 9:07 AM  

I'm not quite sure how the result of digitization is SCAN. I also didn't know COCA as a treatment for altitude sickness or, as a matter of fact, for anything else. And I toyed back and forth between LO-CAL and NO-CAL. When NO-CAL was in, I saw SCAN and put it in -- though I wasn't very happy about it.

But I really liked the rebus. Easy -- I saw it immediately the first time I came to it (at BLANK CHECK crossing CHECKMATE. But still much fun. CHECKS AND BALANCES and CHECKPOINT CHARLIE are great long answers. Always happy to have a rebus on a Thursday. Or on any other day for that matter.

Ethan Taliesin 9:20 AM  

MANSCAPE. Very good.

Still waiting to see MERKIN appear in an NYT though.

OffTheGrid 9:22 AM  

OK puzzle for a rebus. Easy rebus, easy puzzle for Thursday. I enjoyed seeing ETUI, seems like a long time. The solve was pleasurable with some clever and at times difficult cluing. I congratulate the constructor. I hope it's a few more weeks before we see another rebus.

Anonymous 9:41 AM  

NYT Times readers were disadvantaged by DIETS. These books have a separate best seller category - not nonfiction - on NYT lists.

Anonymous 9:54 AM  

@Nancy, to digitize a sheet of paper, you scan it in a scanner. The result is called a scan.

Ethan Taliesin 9:58 AM  

Nancy's right.

The result of a SCAN is digitization, not the other way 'round. Should have been "Means to digitization," or some such phrasing, imo.

jberg 10:03 AM  

(Haven't read the comments--I have to evacuate my home office for some electrical work, so I'm rushing). Loved the rebus, loved getting to put big check marks in the grid, and loved some of the tricksy cluing. I'm showing my limited view of the world, but I had TENure before TENNIS; more defensibly, LUllS before LUNGS for breathers. And any puzzle with ADDLE in it gets a smile from me.

CHECKPOINT CHARLIE is pretty famous, plus I've been there -- but hard to see because of cAll before PAG. I needed HUG help to sort that one out.

@Rex, in GOOD OMENS, one of the horsemen of the Apocalypse develops and markets a NO-CARB diet, so you could clue it that way. (Haven't seen the TV series, but I suppose it's in there.)

And it's nice to see the return of the speedy Mr. Bolt -- I've missed him!

Malsdemare 10:33 AM  

@jberg. Thanks for correcting my mental error. I've been trying to remember the deadly sins from Good Omena, and of course, it's the four horsemen. Funniest book I've read in ages.

I liked this puzzle but I, too, DNFd on oTES. Dang! Otherwise, I moved through this pretty quickly. Loved FULL OF IT, ADDLE, NOCARB, lots of fun clues. No way I'll ever get the team names and HODA and I misspelled USAIN at first (thinking Usaih which is just silly). But I enjoyed the rebus, remember CHECKPOINT CHARLIE though I've not yet been to Berlin.

Nope, @lms, If the word is spelled Nuclear, it’s NOO CLEE YAR. At least here in the midwest, someone with the other pronunciation (say, Jimmy Carter, who was a nuclear engineer), will be thought unedumicated.

Hand up for wondering what person named NOONE won more nimimations than Streep. Head slap.

My pooch and I do agility, a wild and crazy dog sport. I would love to pt a GOPRO on her as she runs tunnels, A-frame, dogwalk, jumps, weaves, but I think it would drive her bonkers to have it on her withers. So I have reluctantly decided no.

Super debut! Thanks!

Hungry Mother 10:35 AM  

One Natick and two perplexors led to my DNF. I was thinking of running the alphabet on LO*A/KA*EY, but went for “reveal square”. I didn’t understand COCA and refused to fill-in NOCARB, due to my dietary beliefs as a long time runner, kayaker, and triathlete. I am definitely in a slump.

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

W is hardly the first uneducated right wingnut to mispronounce and dissemble words. Let us never forget the need to find the oranges of the Mueller investigation. Note: it started long before Mueller and was a counter-espionage case. Still is.

David 10:45 AM  

@lms, I'm pretty sure when one is "full of it" there are two leading letters missing from the last word.

Finally a rebus Thursday! Hooray, even if it was very easy for me. I got it at the wonderful thing we used to have which, over the past 40 years, have been slowly eroded while the polity slept and didn't vote. All I had was the two "n"s in 14 and 22 down. I well remember when checks and balances were a real thing that worked. Back then, we could claim greatness. We won't be returning there any time soon.

I never went through Checkpoint Charlie, but I did go to the Czech Republic while their soldiers still got on the train at the Austrian boarder and poked their AKs into the compartment as one handed over their passport. That was a bit after Vaclav Havel wrote his seminal essay, "The Power of the Powerless", which every American should read and think seriously about.

I digress, as always.

I say aye-urn, I say new-cle-ur, there ya go. Why did they replace the iron? Yeah, carbs are pretty much everywhere, even in some cheese, but one can probably figure that out if they want to have none.

The prospect of some folks being taken to The Hague is uplifting to me, but it won't happen.

Fourth very decent puzzle this week, no?

CT2Napa 10:46 AM  


Stanley Hudson 10:58 AM  

@Sir Hillary, 100% agree with your comment to @Elvis Costello re: “Oliver’s Army.” The whole LP is brilliant.

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

Can someone please tell me how to type a check mark in an online crossword box? I'm new to solving online, and I can't figure this out.


Joe Dipinto 11:11 AM  

I'd have sworn this theme was done before: the idea seems so obvious, as rebuses go. But Jeff Chen doesn't mention any previous incarnation of it. And I'm too lazy to ✓.

Quite good all in all, especially for a debut. Intersecting themers is always impressive. FULL OF IT gets the best answer trophy. HANS Sachs was a 16th century Meistersinger, and a character in "Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg", another minor Wagner OPERA. (✓ out a production sometime when you have nothing TO DO for five hours.)

Other treats: non-Satie ERIK, non-Imogene COCA, non-Peter NOONE, non-i Girl ST. PAUL. Now if they could just have done something about HUGE. LUGE crossing CLU (Gulager), say.

That's all I got. In the words of Rosemary Clooney backed by Duke Ellington:
Nice to have known you,
You were my big kick,
But I'm checkin' out, goombye!

Newboy 11:24 AM  

My kinda puzzle😉 Roget alone would have satisfied, but kick in those Iago/Igor pairings and my craving for cheap thrills is sated. If you have a minute, check out for why Mr. Bolt is worthy of adding to any cruciverbalist lexicon.

burtonkd 11:27 AM  

My mind knows that nukular is a regional variant. Many people who say it are correctly imitating what they have heard, just as with LMS’s IRON example. Nonetheless it does make my skin crawl. I don’t remember pres Carter saying it that way, but definitely Bush 2.

Lightning bolt was a great clue

Yas queen is big now in pop culture (my 19 yr old informs me). Comes from drag queen culture in the 80s. Article was from 2015, I’m old...

Hodakotb learned about here. Haven’t watched morning tv in years, so major WOE first time. Put it in your COVEY of terms to remember

Anonymous 11:32 AM  

For what it's worth, Trabant was an early adopter of lots of things that became automtotive standards: unibody construction, front wheel drive, transverse engine layout.
You're right about the Trabants you saw in '87 being two cylinder, but wrong about why they sounded like dirt bikes. That distinctive sound was the result of their two stroke engines (all dirt bikes were two stroke then) not their number of cylinders. By '89 or 90 Trabant made a 4 cylinder version, but of course, the Wall was down and there was no market for that p.o.s.

oldactor 11:47 AM  

I just put a C in the square for check and got the tune.

@pabloinnh: If your friend is thinking SCUN for Scone because ONE is pronounced WUN shouldn't it be pronounced SCWUN?

By the way, you are one of several people on this blog that I would love to have a beer with, or better, a martini.

Whatsername 12:17 PM  

I found this to be a very pleasant not too hard, not too easy Thursday with the bonus of a rebus. The clue for 31 down was brilliant. Even though I knew NOONE had more nominations than the dazzling Ms. Streep, I still tried to make Tom HANKS fit and could not see the obvious answer to save my life. I see from the comments this is a debut for the constructor. Well done!

Speaking of Mr. Hanks and CHECKPOINTCHARLIE, the movie Bridge of Spies is definitely worth the time if you have not seen it. It is based on a true story of attorney James Donovan who was hired by the government to represent Russian spy Rudolph Abel. Even though Abel was convicted of the spying, Donovan successfully argued to spare him from execution in order to use him as a bargaining chip in some future Cold War standoff. His foresight proved to be well advised as then in 1960, U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers was shot down and captured by Russia. Donovan not only successfully arranged the prisoner swap, he also negotiated the release of an American student being held prisoner by East Germans. The post movie credits also mentioned that he was also instrumental in the release of thousands of Cubans in later years. Quite the unsung hero.

@LMS: A couple of other examples of metathesis that I find horrendous: jewlary/jewelry and relator/realtor.

@Malsdemare: I love watching those agility trials on TV. Those dogs are unbelievable. I can see where you the handler would have to be equally up to the task. An amazing accomplishment for both animal and human.

Frog Prince Kisser 12:28 PM  

@Unknown 8:52 AM

Press “More,” press “Rebus,” type the word “CHECK” and then press “Enter/Return,” or click anywhere outside the field to close and save your rebus.

Fred Romagnolo 12:33 PM  

I believe you can say NOIR without"film," besides the clue says fiction. I think the use of MIC should indicate an abbreviation. I hope everyone remembers that IGOR pronounced it "eye-gore." As to pronouncing words like they're spelled, how come in crosswords it's always TEPEE, and not TEePEE? I'm not sure STAB is informal for attempt, unlike MIC.

Joe Dipinto 12:53 PM  

@ghthree 8:35 -- @jae's 3:09 post is correct as he wrote it.

Anonymous 12:56 PM  

Nah. The Czech's didn't use AKs. Maybe it was a Heckler and Koch, maybe a Bren, or PDW. Heck, they even used good old Remingtons. But they never used Kalashnakovs. Or maybe you made up your story.

JC66 12:57 PM  

The only way 6D COCA (traditional treatment for altitude sickness) works for me is if it refers to the fact that people living high up in the Andes chew the COCA leaf.

Is that it, or am I missing something?

Masked and Anonymous 1:12 PM  

Check it out. Nice debutpuz.

Not much in the way of longball fillins, other than themers. fave of what there was = FULLOFIT. Not much in the way of CHU-ey desperation fill, either; solider than snot puzgrid work.

Always a crowd-pleaser, to have a rebus ThursPuz. Caught onto the theme mcguffin while still in the openin NW corner part of our solvequest. M&A just stubbornly slugged & slogged it out with AMPS/ADS/DIETS & STPAUL/SENSOR/SCAPE, until rebusANDsomethin finally made some sense, at 20-A. A daring nano-second sacrifice, by the mandameister. Fun full-of-*it stuff.

staff weeject pick: YAS. Puzclue was sooo hip, it was tooo hip for m&e. Twas an interestin set of choices, for that NE corner fill, actually. [CLAW/WAS oughta work fine too, f'rinstance.]
Methinks the young constructioneer just yearned to be hipper than M&A. Nuthin at all wrong with that -- happens a lot, around here.
But but better YAS clue: {Say another way??}.

honrable s.weej.p. mention to: [check]ER. Themer-level respect for the runty weejecta of the world. Admirable.

Thanx and congratz, Mr. Vu. Lookin forward to checkin out yer sequel.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


TJS 1:31 PM  

Okay, just checked with the Google re. coca for altitude sickness, and apparently when you land in Peru you are greeted with bags of coca leaves from street vendors to combat the effects of the thin air. Fun fact : the centuries-old paintings of Saints in the Cuzco church all show the tell-tale bulge in the cheek that indicates the wad of coca leaf. Still legal.

@kitchef, Thanks for reminding me of "And get a haircut". Used to throw that at my 4 boys all the time years ago. Now my hair is longer than theirs'. Think I'll bring it back for the grandkids.

Control 1:42 PM  

@ Alex Leamas @ 6:35 am I was present for the ceremonial closing and removal (by crane)of Checkpoint Charlie (along with the foeirgn ministers/secretary-of-state of the four occupying powers). Since the East German border guards decided to make themselves scarce during and in the aftermath of the ceremony, I just wandered unchecked into East Berlin - marveling at the fact that attempting to do so just months earlier might have gotten me shot. After spending a lovely afternoon exploring East Berlin, by which time order at the border crossings had been restored, I had trouble getting back to the West since my passport had no record of lawful admittance to the East. Though I had no George Smiley beckoning me back, I, fortunately, did not finally meet the fate of Alec Leamas when he attempted to do the same.

Anonymous 1:48 PM  

Thank you @David & @LMS for pointing out that the IT in FULLOFIT could be SHIT. I didn't think of that and I'm sure no one else did.

TJS 1:52 PM  

Hey, @Z, just checked yesterdays' comments and saw you got back to me re. the Cobb discussion.I was originally referring to how definitive you always seem to sound in your comments. Anyway, thanks for the Al Stump reference. I was trying to remember the author of that article, which I read about 60 years ago, I believe. Pretty sure it was in Sport magazine, which I was a faithful reader of.( Oops, prepositional ending.)

JC66 1:54 PM  


Thanks for Googling COCA for altitude sickness.

Anonymous 2:06 PM  

USAIN Bolt - fastest man on the planet. Liked that clue.

Zwhatever 2:27 PM  

Rex pretty much said what I would have said about the puzzle except it took me longer to grok the rebus. The commentariat, on the other hand, raised lots of interesting issues.

I think some are misunderstanding Rex’s NO CARB plaint. Basically what Rex is saying is there ain’t no such thing. For example, lots of websites claim “natural meat” is carb free, except, of course, animals store carbohydrates in their muscles. In short, anyone claiming a diet is NO CARB is lying to you.

@DF - EYE TO EYE makes sense to me. Very few people can stand EYE TO EYE with me because I’m 6’4”. I’ve definitely heard it in both clued senses. As for NOIR, “crime fiction” would be the more formal description.

Rebus Thursday - I’m pretty sure a rebus has appeared on every day of the week. Thursday is just the most common day because Friday and Saturday are not themed and a rebus is a little challenging for M-W.

@LMS - I agree with others that it is just the politer version of FULL OF **IT. I also like “nothing wrong with him that a good laxative can’t fix.”

The best USAIN Bolt photo ever.

@Ethan Taliesan - Yep, sorry. The result of scanning is a SCAN. Just another annoying result of peoples’ habit of turning verbs into nouns and nouns into verbs.

@JC66 - Yep, just the traditional Incan for altitude sickness I think. WebMD says there isn’t enough evidence to support the efficacy of COCA for this purpose, but maybe people just feel good enough not to care.

@Sir Hilary - Are you in the DeClan MacManus’ lyrics > Robert Zimmerman’s lyrics camp? I know I am but there are heretics in the commentariat.

Zwhatever 2:32 PM  

Oops, forgot to mention that HODA Kotb has a very useful to constructors name, so you might want to make a mental note of the Today co-host. I feel like she appears about once a week these days so was a bit surprised that any puzzle solver hasn’t seen her in puzzles before.

Sir Hillary 3:08 PM  

@Z -- Yes, I like Declan's art more than Robert's. Lyrically, musically, the lot.

ItoI 3:22 PM  

For years, when one said, "We see eye to eye things," it meant you agreed.

jae 3:43 PM  

@Joe Dipinto - Thanks.

Molasses 4:03 PM  

I got stuck on HODA/YAS. Trying to cram them into memory for next time they show up.

ASU sent me to Google. I live a couple of miles from the main ASU campus in Tempe, so I schedule things around Sun Devils traffic. Opened my mind. Yep, there are other A states, and they have universities too.

Nucular makes me cringe, every time. Never heard it till GW Bush. Maybe it's a Southern thing?

pabloinnh 4:23 PM  

@oldactor-Thought the "scwun" take was brilliant and it made me snicker. As someone said to the person who said "wish I'd said that", "you wil, you will". Of course the you here is me.
Perhaps I should have said, ah, one and done, eh?

The beer idea is a very good one as I have found your posts fun too. No martinis for me, but if you're in NH, shoot me an email. I know lots of places with craft IPA's on draft. Round up suitable other blogsters and we'll make an evening of it.

Alexander 5:11 PM  

I’m offended by your constant use of the square root symbol for a check mark

Monty Boy 5:17 PM  

Related to the FULLOFIT discussion: The funniest line in Forrest Gump for me is IT HAPPENS, reminding me of the bumper sticker lacking the SH as well.

Unknown 6:59 PM  

Check your grid. Correct is (check)sandbalances.

SBpianist 7:20 PM  

Where is the check mark on the keyboard? The iPhone does not appear to offer one.

Mary 7:26 PM  

Best line in Forrest Gump was after the hippie beat his girlfriend he said “I’d never hit you Jenny, It’s just this war and that sonovabitch Johnson.” Classic description of the progressive movement.

Stanley Hudson 9:37 PM  

@Sir Hillary and@Z, as much as I love Declan, still think Zimmy is superior. Just my opinion. Much respect.

Unknown 10:16 PM  

I can't get the checkmark to work, so this puzzle ruins my streak. FML.

Joe Dipinto 11:28 PM  

New word learned tonight:


crazyloon 11:41 AM  

Rex, you DO realize that your derisive comments about whites are racist. You being white does not absolve you of that reality.

jb129 12:39 PM  

Can someone explain Anodyne?

Fun puzzle for me, except for that.

WilsonCPU 8:23 AM  

Isn’t anyone else unhappy that the theme answers are not symmetrical???? I thought that was a huge flaw.
The two long ACROSS answers are balanced, but not the two short ACROSS answers (one is in the adjacent line, one is two lines away).
I wouldn’t mind if the checkmarks themselves weren’t symmetrically-placed, but the answers should be. IMHO.
Of course, I’ve never had a puzzle published, much less in the NYT, so take my sniping with several grains of salt.

spacecraft 10:49 AM  

Toughest--and last filled--spot for me was 5a. I had no idea about _OCA, but EOCA seemed impossible, yet SEAL is the only thing I could see going across. Naturally, like OFC et al, I "knew" sq. 8 "couldn't" be N, as there is no such thing as a NOCARB diet. Without fuel you die. However, a LO-carb diet is the way to go for weight loss. (I dropped 70 lbs. on one.) So, with the utmost reluctance, and because I know that many diets are so misnamed, I wrote in SCAN. But OFC is 100% right on this one: please don't put NOCARB in your puzzles.

Outside of that, this was a fun puzzle to do, with mischievous clues to spice up my Thursday. In particular, "In which good service is important" for TENNIS. Har! Had to go way down to the SE corner with IAGO and ETUI to get in, then (having been unable to fit in CHECKS&BALANCES at 20a) saw what was up with /er, and thus knew right away what to do with 20.

Impressive debut; he did indeed CHECKALLTHEBOXES. DOD KACEY Musgraves makes her debut too. Hey, a new way to clue VU besides "Deja__!" More like this: you have a BLANKCHECK. Birdie.

Diana, LIW 1:31 PM  

I haven't yet read the comments, so I may not be the first to say:

The CHECKs in the mail - or Happy Birthday to me.

Not a lover of rebii, but I got this one fair and boxed.

See what happens when you get older - you get wiser!. I see wonderful ST.PAUL is in the puz - wish they'd restart the Minnesota Puzzle Tourney so I could go to it and visit with @Teedmn and @Rondo again.

Checked the BLANK check with the CHECKALL answer, and was on my way. Now, where to have birthday cake...gotta "C" that box

Diana, Let'Em Eat Cake, not waiting

Burma Shave 1:34 PM  


then SENSOR SCAN your woodpecker, and SIGH of birds and BEES.


Wooody2004 2:08 PM  

What’s new Syndicats?

Primo ThurzPuz!

Rebus ✅

No RANT RexRevue ✅

Etui. ✅

Nice mini-theme of COCA HODA LOCA NOLA

Isn’t there a famous phrase “TENNIS, NOONE?”

rondo 3:41 PM  

Yup. A nod to ST.PAUL in this puz, but who are ST.ARCH, ST.ORE and ST.AB? Kind of a dirty puz with CLAY, LOAM and _SAND_.

KACEY Musgraves is one of those country musicians (sometimes played on 89.3 The Current, stream it, CHECK it OUT) you can actually listen to and a yeah baby to boot.

Nice puz. Don’t forget to CHECK your partner for ticks.

leftcoast 5:05 PM  

Got the four CHECK squares, or BOXES, with the two long acrosses helping with the short ones to complete the theme. Together with the long down, two-part revealer, much of the puzzle nicely came together.

Not so nice was getting stuck on HINDI instead of summoning up FARSI, which would have led directly to a clean finish. [Things seemed to be going so well] until that point. [SIGH]

Liked this puzzle a lot.

rainforest 5:14 PM  

Way late. #$IT happens. Nice puzzle. Good theme, excellent cluing and fill. I'd tell y'all a funny tick story, but I gotta go. Maybe next time.

Claire 11:33 AM  

Yas Queen was a gimmie for me, even if I usually see it as "yaas"

Claire 11:37 AM  

Origin of Yas Queen here:

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