Churchill's successor in 1955 / THU 7-18-19 / Churchill's successor in 1945 / Hindu protector of universe / Backstory for TV's Magnum / Bean nharvested by Aztecs / 1986 music memoir / Egyptian protector of tombs / Fall of Troy escapee / Tesfaye real name of singer Weeknd / What ! can mean computer programming

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Constructor: Matthew Sewell

Relative difficulty: Easy (4:24 at 5 in the a.m.)

THEME: two-letter words >>> two-letter initialisms — familiar phrases clued as if one of the two-letter words in that phrase is really two initials:

Theme answers:
  • THE WIZARD OF I.D. (20A: Bouncer who can always spot a fake?)
  • LIFE OF P.I. (30A: Backstory for T.V.'s Magnum?)
  • I.M. A BELIEVER (35A: Advice for how the pope can reach out online?)
  • THIS IS U.S. (42A: Statement before "... and that's Canada!"?)
  • SOME LIKE I.T. HOT (53A: Certain people prefer their computer specialists to be attractive?)
Word of the Day: Julián CASTRO (1D: Democratic politico Julián) —
Julián Castro (/ˌhliˈɑːn/ HOO-lee-AHNSpanish: [xuˈljan]; born September 16, 1974) is an American Democratic politician who was the youngest member of President Obama's Cabinet, serving as the 16th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 2014 to 2017.
Castro served as the mayor of his native San AntonioTexas from 2009 until he joined Obama's cabinet in 2014. He was mentioned as a possible running mate for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign. Castro is the twin brother of Congressman Joaquin Castro.
On January 12, 2019, Castro launched his campaign for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in 2020 in San Antonio. (wikipedia)
• • •

I think the only thing that truly slowed me down today was the stunned, blinking surprise I had on discovering that ... that was it. It's just a two-letter word imagined as a two-letter initialism. The End. Feels like it should've been a Wednesday theme. Certainly my solving time was more Wednesday than Thursday. Pretty basic, pretty old-fashioned, pretty generic, but OK. The themers actually mildly amused me. Well, THE WIZARD OF I.D. did—that one's smashing. And THIS IS U.S. still has me smiling, primarily because of the clue, which is completely absurd. I always say, if you're gonna go wacky, go big or go home, and "big" can include "flat-out ridiculous." Honestly, just trying to imagine the context in which anyone would say this answer and then go "... and that's Canada!" (exclamation point!) is pretty entertaining. Probably not great to have IT in the grid (31D: IS IT?) when "IT" is one of your central themer words. Also, "I'M" is bugging me as a base word. It's a contraction. Feels ... off. Like cheating. I'm not being fair, there, as I'M is clearly a word and clearly has two letters, but somehow the apostrophe's being in there makes it an outlier in my eyes. Biggest actual solving struggle today was APTNO (8A: Metropolitan address abbr.). "Metropolitan" threw me, and also ... isn't the abbr. usu. just APT.? Do you really write out "APT. NO. 2B?" At one point my brain wanted APTWO (it was thinking "apt. 2," to the extent that it was thinking at all). Also, the cross there (NOT) did NOT mean anything to me (11D: What "!" can mean in computer programming).

Five things:
  • 24A: Cinephile's channel (TCM) — I'm so used to the NYTXW's getting this wrong that I actually wrote in the wrong answer, TMC, at first. TCM is in fact the correct answer to this clue. No one even watches The Movie Channel, do they?
  • 5A: Projecting arm of a crane (JIB) — just learned this from some other puzzle I just did. Also wasn't at all sure I remembered it correctly and had to use all the crosses to confirm it.
  • 49D: Half-laugh (TITTER) — I thought "well at least it's too long to be TE(E) or HEE." 
  • 36D: What B and C (but not A) may represent (ELEMENTS) — my god I'm bad at these types of clues. It's a stock clue type, and my only hope is just hacking the crosses until a word appears.
  • 35D: Biometric reading (IRIS SCAN) — I wrote in IRIS SIZE ... I figured it was something like ... measuring pupil dilation? ... maybe? ... anyway, I was looking for a specific measurable, not a reading *type*.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 6:54 AM  

Ahh. I had to climb out of rote mode and think. I got me some chuckles. I filled with admiration for a clever theme that felt new. I saw a mini-theme of double E's (6), and appreciated that the theme answers represented different media (movie, book, comic strip, TV show). I learned about a pitcher who threw a no-hitter... ON LSD!

Lazing for the moment on a couch of joy, and abundant gratitude for that, Matthew!

mmorgan 6:59 AM  

Wow. This was just great! Lots of good, fun crunch. Loved the themers! Got one or two of them without really “getting” them (especially IM A BELIEVER) and when I then “got” them, they were extra sweet. I found this really engaging, really clever, and really satisfying.

oopsydeb 7:14 AM  

Mostly flew through this. Would have liked for the theme to be a bit more cohesive. We have a comic strip, a book/movie, a song, a television show, a movie.

Maybe I just haven't had enough coffee yet, but I don't understand 26D, What's next...APP. Help?

Liked that Harry Potter the ORPHAN crossed THE WIZARD.

Disappointed in Rex for not taking I, TINA as an opportunity to post a Tina Turner video!

kitshef 7:23 AM  

If anyone can explain the clue for APP (Whats next?), I would appreciate it.

Wonderful, playful, delightsome theme and very good fill. Some questionable cluing (e.g. BEAU). A bit easy for a Thursday, though.

I like surrealism as much as the next guy. Probably more than the next guy. If I somehow came into sufficient money to allow me to buy an art or two, I’d be all over a Dali or Magritte. But ERNST leaves me unmoved and unimpressed.

puzzlehoarder 7:37 AM  

A pretty routine Thursday solve. Some of the fill was a little tough. While solving I was at least vaguely aware of the themes being titles.

Ironically it was partially because of the misremembering of a title that I had a dnf. I thought the play about Joseph was "Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Robe. ORPHAN was my first entry so of course I'm sure 2A is ROBE. When _OAT showed up my brilliant conclusion was GOAT. What the heck, it's a Biblical story so of course his brothers gave him a GOAT. I forgot that Jacob wasn't a brother. A very vague recollection of the story of Joseph was another problem.

GASTRO is a pretty unusual looking name but if your last name was PUB it's possible.

If you're going to go stupid on a dnf go big or go home. The rest of the puzzle was as I said, routine.

Suzie Q 7:41 AM  

Finally some fun!
Can you imagine getting an I.M. from the pope?!

Theseus 7:50 AM  

kitshef: WhatsAPP is a messaging app that was supposed to be the next big thing and didn't really become the next big thing. See also Google Hangouts.

Very easy puzzle, not Thursday worthy or Thursday level. What's with all the Churchill successor clues? Definitely in the same time zone as anyone who remembers what THEWIZARDOFID is.

THISISUS...and that's Canada! doesn't work for me. "This is us" is a thing, I guess, but unlike all the other themers, this one doesn't stand alone. You'd have to say, "THIS IS [the] US," as in, THE United States. Unless you're speaking Russian and dropping all your articles, that themer was a pretty big stretch.

This is US, and that's Canada! <--- said no one ever.

Twangster 7:53 AM  

It's a reference to Whatsapp ...

Z 7:56 AM  

APP follows “whats” in the computer/mobile device program name WhatsAPP. Don’t yell at me, I’m just explaining. We all should recognize this clue type. The key here is noting the missing apostrophe in “Whats” in the clue.

SOME LIKE I.T. HOT sounds like a modern remake on the old hot pizza delivery guy porno trope. Was there ever actually such a film? I’d google it but I don’t want the tracking algorithm to start posting Viagra ads.

Had a major blindspot because thought the Pope doing an a.M.A, BELIEVER on Reddit would be more ecumenical than Instant Messaging. I got IRIS SCAN, but couldn’t figure out what an iMA would be. D’Oh.

oopsydeb 8:10 AM  

Now I'm really going to come across as dumb, because I still don't get 26D. I have WhatsApp, use it a lot particularly while traveling (it's huge in a lot of other countries). But...What's next? Just...what letters come after What in an app name?

There's no apostrophe in WhatsApp. So if the clue is just asking you for the letters that come after What in the app name, it would be SAPP. Or the clue would need to be Whats' next.

I actually went searching for another APP where this clue would make sense. Closest I came was an app called TBD with a tag line of What's next.

oopsydeb 8:13 AM I get 26D. Thanks to your comment Z. I had failed to notice the missing apostrophe in the clue. Thanks!

Nancy 8:14 AM  

I found this on the hard side. The theme wasn't apparent to me until SOME LIKE IT HOT -- I hadn't yet gotten to LIFE OF PI, which would have made the theme much clearer -- and I was thrown off by the "bouncer" part of THE WIZARD OF ID clue. Is a bouncer ever a WIZARD? I was so focused on that that I didn't even notice the ID part. Wouldn't a better clue have been "a facial recognition device of uncanny accuracy"? It would have helped me, that's for sure.

If you're running around screaming "That's my CUE!", you've already missed it. Just get your rear end onstage and speak your line like you're supposed to. That's what I say. I wanted "That's my BOY", but it didn't work.

I think the Shakespearean "warning word" is "Beware", not IDES, as in "Beware the IDES of March." A small thing, but IDES didn't immediately come to me even when I had IDE?. Oh well -- no lasting harm done. I struggled a bit with this puzzle, but it put up a fight and I enjoyed it.

Dr. Haber 8:19 AM  

A whole puzzle of dad jokes. Loved it.

Debra 8:30 AM  

Fun puzzle.
TCM is the best channel on tv!

Joe R. 8:32 AM  

Re: 5A, I heard that the editor wanted to change that one, but the author insisted that it absolutely had to stay. He just didn’t like the cut of his JIB.

kitshef 8:33 AM  

If that is the explanation for the APP clue, then we can award the Bad Clue of the Century right now. No need to wait for the millions of clues to come over the next eighty years. I feel silly now for singling out the clue for BEAU as being bad.

Billy Wilder 8:40 AM  

Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon

Charles Flaster 8:47 AM  

Loved it.
ELEMENTS, very creative.
I TINA is a tough read.
Thanks MS

Unknown 9:12 AM  

Fun, if more Tuesday than Thursday. I have a cousin who watches The Movie Channel, but she's weird, so it doesn't count.

Banya 9:20 AM  

Loved the clue for JAZZCLUB

nevercared 9:21 AM  

What a turd of a revealer and some genuinely terrible and hackneyed fill.

Amelia 9:25 AM

The above is Dock Ellis describing the LSD no-hitter in one of the most wonderful animated stories ever created.


Anonymous 9:26 AM  

So OFL is back and the blog reverts to default negativity. Brag about your colossal ignorance of most famous and best paid player in world’s most popular sport. Show your elitism by total dismissal of huge unavoidable movie franchises. Never heard of WhatsApp? Call it the worst clue of the century because you didn’t know it despite the clue being current, knowable, clever, original plus having the non-apostrophe misdirect hiding in plain sight. Read the IDES clue as "word in famous Shakespeare warning" - problem solved. Fix the WIZARD clue with some gibberish that matches my sensibility better.

Bringing up ridiculous, often wrong gripes doesn’t make you look smarter people.

Thanks to Lewis for intelligent positivity with an assist to Z for good behavior and helpfulness today!

Anonymous 9:32 AM  

I Tina has its share of horror stories, but I like to think old Tina smiled at one of the all time great NY Post headline: Ike beats Tina to Death ( upon Ike Turner's demise).

Sir Hillary 9:44 AM  

I love that this one went full-goofy on the themers. Yes, some of them are missing articles, both definite (THISISUS) and indefinite (LIFEOFPI), but that just makes them even wackier. Bravo!

The clue for TAROT is brilliant.

INMOST -- Really? Not INnerMOST?

"Those two spaces are both available for the surgery."*
Jeter who never showers?**
Talk show sidekick who can't rise to the occasion?***


mmorgan 10:00 AM  

@Theseus said WhatsApp "didn't really become the next big thing," but as @oopsydeb noted, it's really big (yuge!) in other countries. Everyone I know in Latin America and Europe uses it extensively, as do I when I'm there. No big deal, just sayin'.

Molasses 10:14 AM  

@Amelia thanks for the link to the hilarious LSD no hitter video. Love it!

This puzzle was pretty easy for a Thursday, but I liked it a lot. I got a kick out of all the theme answers. I.M. A BELIEVER took me a while to parse so that gave me a special little thrill. I also enjoyed the "...and this is Canada" clue after the Woody Guthrie clue the other day. (If anyone's interested, here's a Mother Jones article about the whole is-the-US-the-same-as-America thing. .)

RooMonster 10:23 AM  

Hey All !
After 28 minutes (28:01 precisely) of brain racking, I put in the last letter, and Almost There! popped on the screen. Argh! Hit the Check Puzzle, very first letter was wrong. Had a G for GOAT. Didn't know answer, and as it was a Bible reference, of course Jacob gave Joseph a gOAT! COAT? Dang. gASTRO also could've worked...

Was flailing around at all the themers, couldn't see what was going on. Had PAsI__ for 9D, and TRADEsto for 10D, with _sATS in 19A and try for 34 A, finally decided to take out the end of TRADEsto, plopped in FOR, and all of a sudden the floodgates opened. Bam Bam Bam went OPT! SIT! ABEAS! PACINO! MCATS! ATM FEE! THE WIZARD OF ID! And then the theme clicked in the ole brain, and was able to fill 'em all in off of what letters were already there.

Except IM A BELIEVER. What does the IM stand for? I.M. Pope? Is that a Pope, or a singular person? Fuzzy on that.

So a fun puz. Deserves a better review than Rex's. Maybe kinda sorta would've been better on Wednesday, but that's just a little nit.

Fun clue for JAZZCLUBS, wanted Jungles first. Har. And for "That's my ___!" clue, couldn't get Car out of my mind. Picturing someone's car getting repossessed, and them running out of the house yelling, "That's my car!"


Anonymous 10:23 AM  

The faceless troll with the huge chip on his shoulder is b-a-a-a-a-ck (9:26). Maybe he should go back to his website of origin -- the one where he actually likes and respects the other people on it. Assuming there is such a place.

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

Just this morning I got a Norton notification that there's a security flaw in WhatsApp, apparently if you view a video there's a short interval where malware embedded in the video can take over your Android device. Pretty big boo-boo for a security app, no?

Ethan Taliesin 10:27 AM  

Medium-by-medium-fast time but it felt a little hard.

I was slowed down because I had PUFFS for "Light airs," which started the "TV Magnum backstory" answer with PI, which I was so, so sure must indubitably be correct.

Count me in the crowd who didn't understand APP for "What's next?" --and I use WhatsApp probably a dozen times a day minimum. I wonder how many of you filled it in and then figured out the clue's significance afterwards. I apparently couldn't even do that, despite the missing apostrophe.

Anonymous 10:29 AM  

Albeit a theme buster, I wished it was ‘Some like it BOT’ initially

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

WhatsApp is a texting applet...

TJS 10:44 AM  

WhatsApp is the go-to phone enabler in the Carribbean, for sure. I just can't figure out how they make money off it. I don't remember seeing any ads when I use it all Winter in the D.R., and it's a free download. Can video call with it, too. Didn't help me solving the puzzle, though.

Joe Dipinto 10:53 AM  

Julián CASTRO! That's about as au courant as you can get. Can't wait till BUTTIGIEG makes its grid debut.

This was a little bit of not a romp. I had ZZZS at 18a at first (waves to @Z). EKE *BY*? ...does not google at all. IRIS SCAN = perusal of Van Gogh paintings? TRADE FOR = green paint. It seems to me that BEAU usually means "steady boyfriend", but I guess it could also mean "suitor", in a sort of old-fashioned way, which would work with the clue.

I have a Technicolor Dream Scarf that my mom knitted for me when I was in high school or college. Still looks good as new. @Rex -- APT. NO. ___ frequently appears on pre-printed forms.

So, this mostly had all the elements of a good Thursday. That's IT IN A nutshell.

Now if it would just cool off and get less muggle -- I mean muggy. Not a day to spend on the sun deck.

When I needed sunshine, I got rain

David 10:57 AM  

Anubis, Aeneas, Jazz Club, The Wizard of Id, I'm a Believer, Attlee, Eden, Some Like it Hot, Teri Garr: all up my age alley, so pretty easy for me, but I really wanted a Rebus and ignored the strange theme.

Eke by must be a regionalism, in my neck of the woods we say either "get by" or "eke out."

@roomonster, I.M. stands for "instant message", usually used without the periods and often as a verb, "I'll IM you now."

The only real klunker I recall is the "This is U.S." answer and its clue.

Too easy for a Thursday but what the hey?

Ethan Taliesin 11:08 AM  

@oopsydeb --I nearly completely agree with your 8:10 comment but I think it should have been clued "Whats's next?"

It's still a possessive as far as I understand the clue.

Norman Epstein 11:08 AM  

Rex, I love you, read you every day. But man, you have become such a curmudgeon! I liked this puzzle, thought it had a clever Thursday theme. Cheer up dude!

Newboy 11:09 AM  

Cute & fun. This blog is certainly worthy of that 1960ish chant: “love it or leave it.” And the same for today’s puzzle. I choose to stay, but I can respect those who head for Canada.

QuasiMojo 11:16 AM  

What @Nancy said.

As for WhatsApp being a dud, tell that to its 2 billion users.

Carola 11:22 AM  

Easy, and yet...LIFE OF P.I. and WIZARD OF I.D. (mis)led me to believe that the initials would always come last, adding to the challenge and then to the delight of I.M. A BELIEVER and SOME LIKE I.T. HOT. I'm still laughing at the the image of the Pope with his thumbs on the tiny screen keyboard. Can't kvetch about a non-Thursdayish Thursday that's so much fun.

I liked the eclectic, symmetrically placed array of six-letter notables: AENEAS, ANUNBIS, ATTLEE, and VISHNU, as well as THExORPHANxWIZARD (hi, @oopsydeb).

@Joe Dipinto, your "muggle" will keep me smiling through today's sauna (humidity and dew point both in the 80s).

Joseph M 11:46 AM  

Holy VISHNU! This was anything but easy for me, but I did finally figure it out and had some fun in the process. So thanks, Matthew.

Best themer was SOME LIKE I.T. HOT. Brought to mind the film about extraterrestrial computer repairs I.T. CAME FROM OUTER SPACE.

jberg 12:05 PM  

OK, so I somehow did not notice that every entry had a two-letter word replace by two letters separately. I just noticed that the meaning of something changed. Consequently, I got annoyed when they weren't all either books or comic strips or something. i had to get up early this morning to drive my dog to the place where she boards when we are away, so I'll plead fatigue.

@nevercared, you complain about the revealer, but is there one? I didn't notice if there was.

What I really liked about this puzzle, though, was the new way to clue EEL (34D).

SL 12:22 PM  

"WhatsApp" is a fairly popular messaging app.

thfenn 12:26 PM  

Ditto on EEL, having first gone with ASP. Loved the notions of the pope instant messaging believers and some people liking IT hot. Great puzzle. Have never understood why WhatsApp was so much more popular elsewhere than in the US (and, I guess, China). Like it much more than other messaging options out there.

Mr. Alarm 1:03 PM  

INMOST cases, people would say “an Instant Message from the Pope? That’s NOT real, ISIT?”

jae 1:05 PM  

Easy. I agree that this was more of a Wed. Amusing and pretty smooth, liked it.

@oopsydeb 7:14 - Matthew commented at Xwordinfo that he deliberately went with different genres for the theme answers.

@Joe Dipinto - BEQ had BUTTIGIEG in a fairly recent Mon. puzzle.

Monty Boy 1:09 PM  

I liked this one a lot, although over my average time (med to hard). I tried the NW first and had COAT ok, but I was sure the pet organization was PETA even though part of the answer is in the clue. That took a long time to recover and NW was the last to fall for me. I did all the crosses then all the downs and still had just a few entries. Plugging away, I finally finished having a good feeling that I did a tough puzzle (for me), learned a few new things and had the Aha Moment with the reveal.

I felt good that I only used Google to check answers or spelling (my criteria for Google use). It took a while to get the theme, but saw it at SOMELIKEIT. That's odd for me because I tell folks the two places I don't like to call are the abbreviated departments - HR and IT.

Teedmn 1:19 PM  

My co-worker and I both enjoyed this puzzle, and both found it a tad challenging. He got hung up on PO Box at 8A. I kept staring at _RISS CAN for 35D until I.M. A BELIEVER cleared it up.

Like @Z mentions, you have to be careful what you click on or Google if you don't want to be followed around by ads. And the other day, I got an spam email with the subject line: Teedmn, you are screwed! The text of the email told me that the sender had installed malware on my computer and had taken over my camera and had caught me watching porn sites and had video of what I was doing while watching said porn sites. (And had the nerve to say they didn't enjoy seeing my activities!) The sender pointed out that since they had access to my Facebook and Twitter accounts, they would post this video and the links to the sites I had been visiting if I didn't send them money. Since I have never been on a porn site and do not have either a Facebook or Twitter account and because my work computer doesn't even have a camera, I was amused by this. Though it's rather sad to think that so many people are looking at porn online that this phisher is bound to get a hit with a few people. Go get a BEAU, people!!

Matthew Sewell, thanks for the fun Thursday!

albatross shell 1:50 PM  

THEWIZARDOFID is in my local paper. I have a very non-compulsive personality but have always read all the comics in any paper I've have gotten, until reading Phoebe and her Unicorn for two years. I couldn't take it any more. I skip over it. I am 2 years clean. My life has vastly improved and the liberating feeling is still there. Find something you don't like and just skip it.

Still I put in oz instead of ID because the WIZ was a fake who who could spot other fakes, and it was the first themer I came to and did not yet know there was a theme.

I guess Whats next? is a good clue like After thought? might be OVER or ABOUT, or Alpha follower? might be BETA. It helps to know the app. I did not, but so what. Got the answer anyway thinking there was a whatsnext app and wondered where the ,e.g. was.

The clue for ELEMENTS without any crosses would be as almost impossibly difficult as the clue for FOUR yesterday was impossibly easy. They almost seem to be parallel clues.

Looking back at the puzzle there seem to be a lot of oddly spelled answers, but very few of the usual suspects. I take that as a positive. The theme seems much more interesting than when when I was solving.

I assume it was an easy Thursday because I solved it in just over an hour with only one Google cheat and one spellcheck.

Crimson Devil 2:05 PM  

Fun quest. Struggled for a while with WHATS NEXT? thinking I Dunno was coming, 3rd sacker, but not to be.
Very enjoyable.

Larry 2:06 PM  

@Teedmn - You mean that's a scam!???? Damn, there goes $500 in Bitcoin. And I needed that for the rent!

Hungry Mother 2:22 PM  

Finshed the puzzle in medium time while resting after dinner as our ship sails away from beautiful Saint Petersburg, Russia. I liked the theme and it halped the solve.

thfenn 2:27 PM  

LOL, a little tape over your camera's a cheaper solution...

OffTheGrid 2:31 PM  

I liked the puzzle and was glad the theme was not wonky like so many Thursdays. I did not get IMABELIEVER. I know the song (Monkees) but did not know what I. M. is. That was answered in a blog comment. I hate message as a verb, BTW. THISISUS is the lone themer that does not have "I".

Masked and Anonymous 2:43 PM  

Easy theme, some feisty clues, some feisty fillins … so, it all averaged out to a fun ThursPuz.

Feistiest clue: {Whats next?} = APP. Needed a second ?, after "next?". Plus, this clue made no sense to m&e, as hadn't ever heard of Whatsapp. Whatasap, maybe; but not Whatsapp. OK, tho. Learned somethin new.
Honrable mention to the feisty LSD clue. And them ELEMENTS & BEAU & TAROT clues, too boot. Etc.

Feistiest fillins: ARUBIS. AENEAS. JIB. ITHACA.

fave fillins: JAZZCLUB. VISHNU. ORPHAN [M&A thought its Harry Potter clue was somehow gonna connect to THE crossin WIZARD themer OF ID, at first glance].

staff weeject pick: ARR. Has a real nice, whole pirate-shipload-of-desperation feel to it. Better clue: {Answer to "Belay that iris scan, matey!"}.

Thanx, Mr. Sewell. And extra Thanx for not invokin the dreaded {Inconvenient carnage at the Yanks/Bosox game?} = ? *

Masked & Anonymo4Us



Jeremy 3:01 PM  

I like this a lot, but the life of a PI isn’t Magnum’s backstory, it’s his story story.

And the weird English in “Life of PI” and “This is US” feels a bit strange, too, but I don’t care. I thought “IM a believer” and “Some like I.T. hot” were fantastic.

Aketi 3:50 PM  

Whats APP is my only spam-free form of communication anymore. Everything else has been infiltrated.

Joe Dipinto 4:06 PM  

I need a hot computer specialist, stat.

Anybody know how to get rid of the "random question" on the profile page? If you check the box marked "generate new question", which I sort of accidentally did, it plugs in random text which is then incapable of being edited out -- at least I don't see how to do it. I tried some of the blog management links at the bottom for assistance, to no avail.

Do I have to delete my profile and set it up again? Haaalp!

Joe Dipinto 4:15 PM  

P.S. -- if you check the Generate New Question button, make sure to UNCHECK it before you save your profile, to prevent this from happening.

paperkin 6:30 PM  

Is there some other connection in the theme clues? Wizard of id is a comic strip, this is us is a tv show, I’m a believer is a song, and the other two are movies... it’s stymying me that it’s such a mixed bag of entertainment references. It seems like there’s meant to be more uniting the answers besides just being familiar phrases with a two-letter initial; besides, “wizard of id” is not a familiar phrase, nor is “this is us.” If they were all one category of media, it would have been fine. Maybe even if the constructor swapped out a novel or something else for one of the movies, it would have at least been consistently inconsistent. It just strikes me as sloppy though.

Anonymous 7:25 PM  

Life of Pi is a book.

jae 8:03 PM  

@paperkin - read my comment above to @oopsydeb...and Life of Pi was an award winning novel before it was an Ang Lee movie.

Z 9:33 PM  

I'm crushed. An anonymous poster finally complimented me and a moderator deleted it? Just crushed.

Joe Dipinto 10:03 PM  

@Z -- if you mean the 9:26 am post, it's still there. Also @oopsydeb gave you props at 8:13.

Joe Dipinto 10:17 PM  

@Z -- the 9:26 Anon post is still there, if that's the one you mean.

Austin's mom 10:23 PM  

I thought TCM was Turner Classic Movies, not a garbled The Movie Channel. And didn't he colorize a bunch if them? I don't watch movie channels, so this may be misrembered hearsay.

Z 10:51 PM  

oops. I thought it was posted at 10:30. Well, I feel better now.

@davidm - This picture of a young orangutan’s hand showed up in my Twitter feed today and I thought of you.

Joe Dipinto 11:14 PM  

Sorry about the duplicate post, don't quite know how that happened.

Okoume 6:38 AM  

Where is Loren Muse Smith?? This blog isn't the same without her!

Statguy 6:04 PM  


101LombardSt 3:37 AM  


Burma Shave 9:33 AM  


I would NOT TRADEFOR squat,


spacecraft 10:48 AM  

OK, all of you people who used the word "easy" in connection with this puzzle: WHY ARE YOU LYING?? This was full bore Saturday, no question. It was hard labor, and finishing earned me immeasurable triumph points. I'll award them to myself if no one else will.

Finally broke in (on about the third reading of the clue list) with MTV and (guessing) VISHNU. Then 35 down biometric reading was "obviously" PRESSURE.

So, dead end there. I can't even remember where I picked it up again, but eventually came across EKEBY. Hoo boy, how "refreshing." EKE has divorced OUT, and is now hanging out with BY. Who knew? It gets a pass (one time ONLY) for being *NOT* EKEOUT. Anyway, this led to SOMELIKEITHOT, and at last I thought I might be onto something.

Back up around, eventually getting IMABELIVER, so the P of PRESSURE had to go. More work at last produced IRISSCAN, and the sticky SW--and whole puzzle--was done. Whew! And the crowning achievement was DOD Teri GARR, right at the end! A gray cell workout, and a pleasure to conquer. Eagle!

rondo 12:08 PM  

I didn’t have any write-overs, but I left the 61 square blank, leaving _RALS. IMABELIEVER that there weren’t any Aral Mountains, but still wanted to cross-check. Besides that, I was pretty sure that the URALS didn’t stretch as far as Kazakhstan – correct on both accounts! From a source presumably more accurate than Wiki, that would be Brittanica:
“The north-south spine of the Urals extends about 1,300 miles (2,100 km) from the Arctic coast to the border with Kazakhstan . . .”
So the URALS do not stretch *into* K-stan. A look at any topographic map confirms it. Therefore the clue is incorrect; the URALS are not a Kazakh range. Can’t believe how many brain WIZARDs missed that one.

No write-overs but much crossing needed for AENEAS, ANUBIS, VISHNU, ATTLEE, and even CASTRO and PACINO as clued. PPP galore including yeah baby Teri GARR.

Fun but fairly tough Thurs-puz. Let’s make *all* the cluing (lookin’ at URALS) accurate and fun.

leftcoast 2:46 PM  

This is too clever and has too much going for it both in theme and fill to be called "easy". That seems almost a brush-off of this first-rate, enjoyable puzzle.

Picking up on the movie titles and the abbreviations in them provided a couple of good "aha's" that helped set the the overall fun tone. TCM could have been a designated revealer.

Some cluing provide additional amusement: JAZZCLUB, BEER, PACINO. Tougher fill includes ANUBIS, CACAO, IRISSCAN. Brits ATTLEE and EDEN are bonuses.

Seems as if I like this puzzle a lot.

rainforest 3:26 PM  

@rondo - I asked myself the same question re the Urals, but I'm less bothered than you about it.

Otherwise, this was a fun puzzle which provided me a real "aha" when I almost wrote in "Oz", wondering how that works, and then ID popped into my head. Brilliant, the entry, not I. I liked a ton of clue/answer combos in this beauty. In particular, clues containing "And that's Canada", "The Weeknd" (who is much more than a singer), and Teri GARR, warmed this Canuck's heart.

I struggled a bit, shedding many nanoseconds, in the NW, but once I realized that Harry Potter is an ORPHAN, I found this easy-medium, and so enjoyable.

leftcoast 4:33 PM  

Unabridged Merriam-Webster:

Ural Mountains
mountain system in Russia and Kazakhstan extending from the Kara Sea to the steppes north of the Aral Sea; highest peak Narodnaya (in Russia) at an altitude of 6214 feet (1894 meters) ◆The Ural Mountains are usually considered the dividing line between Europe and Asia.

Diana, LIW 8:34 PM  

Whilst I did get the URALS (what else?), I still dnf'd at some unknown names. Of course.

Diana, LIW

burdavis 9:36 PM  

EKE BY ... Just no. Never heard it. Though I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has.

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