Folgers alternative / TUE 7-9-19 / Automated producer of spam / "The Highwayman" poet / Spaced out mentally

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Constructor: Bruce Haight

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: (Somewhat) Commonly Used Redundant Phrases —

Theme answers:
  • PAST HISTORY (17A: Experience, redundantly)
  • RAT FINK (25A: Snitch, redundantly)
  • CASH MONEY (38A: Moolah, redundantly)
  • TAXI CAB (54A: Hack, redundantly)
  • BUNNY RABBIT (64A: Cottontail, redundantly) 

Word of the Day: STEINEM (12D: Feminist Gloria) —
Gloria Marie Steinem (/ˈstnəm/; born March 25, 1934) is an American feminist, journalist, and social political activist who became nationally recognized as a leader and a spokeswoman for the American feminist movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
• • •

This puzzle sets out a modest premise, and fulfills that premise serviceably enough. The five above phrases are indeed redundant. Whether these phrases are tickling to the mind is for the solver to judge. Among these, my favorite clue must be "Cottontail", because 1) It is such a charming, cuddly word for BUNNY RABBIT, and 2) it reminds me of one of my favorite pre-BEBOP standards.

That being said, in our age of conspiracy I cannot help but think that a deeper meaning may be there for us to decipher. Consider this, dear reader: does the juxtaposition of the answers BUNNY RABBIT and FRAME call to mind any particular movies, perhaps one renowned for its combination of live-action and animation! That's right, I believe the puzzle may contain several veiled clues as homage to Robert Zemeckis' 1988 slapstick classic Who Framed Roger Rabbit. After all, it is the 30-year, 16-dayth anniversary of the films release. In the film, detective Eddie Valiant must overcome his PAST HISTORY of discriminating against toons in order to exonerate Roger Rabbit, a film star accused of murdering CASH MONEY millionaire Marvin Acme. While avoiding the RAT FINK weasel henchmen with the help of anthropomorphic TAXI CAB Benny, Roger and Eddie conquer the forces of evil in order to secure a more harmonious future for toons and humans alike. Furthermore, Popeye, created by E.C. SEGAR, was supposed to have a cameo in the film but was scrapped. Just how big is the conspiracy? Well, that depends upon how far down the BUNNY RABBIT hole you want to go.

Overall, Coincidence? I think likely.

The grid is solid, if dull. I was particularly fond of the SW, with its triple threat of BITES AT (41D: Goes for, as when bobbing for apples), ON A LINE (42D: Like laundry being dried outdoors), and TAX SCAM (43D: Subject of an IRS consumer warning). Other highlights include E SHARP: every music student's favorite enharmonic equivalent to F. If you are wondering why composers choose to spell the note this way, just ask any musicologist who would be more than happy to give you a lecture-long response. Or, just watch the following well-produced video:

Finally, I do appreciate how BEBOP (6A: Jazz style) has become somewhat of a ubiquitous answer. For a genre initially intended to render itself impenetrable to the swing-dancing masses, it sure is made up of some crossword-friendly letters.

Thank you for coming along my conspiracy theory journey with me today.

And remember, sometimes a SEGAR is just a SEGAR.

Signed, Alex Tripp, Village Idiot of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:09 AM  

After reading Alex Tripp's review, I don't even care about the puzzle. If he'd do the daily review, all the puzzles could suck and I'd still be glad to read about 'em. What a great change of pace! Thanks, Alex.

puzzlehoarder 12:14 AM  

Just under average Tuesday time inspite of a couple of misreadings. I did not see the comma in the 17A clue at all. To me it read as how you would experience something over again. The 30D clue had me wondering how the number of shows being watched could possibly fit in that entry.
With the exception of SEGAR the fill was so easy I was able to make up for the two brain farts.

jae 12:37 AM  

Easy, cute, pretty smooth, liked it, much like Alex’s write up.

Runs with Scissors 12:52 AM  

Great writeup, Alex.

This fell quickly; must have been in my wheelhouse. The redundancies were fairly obvious with just a few letters in each.

Wanted END to end before ENDWISE, but of course it wouldn't fit.

AIRTIME means something different to me - involves defying gravity on a bicycle.

E SHARP, F, it's not that big a deal. I took 8 years of piano and 5 of guitar; at that time it mattered. Now I just listen to talented other people.

Does anyone still drink YUBAN???

Sorry, no, a ship's galley worker is not a SEA COOK. Mess cook, yes. Dishwasher even more likely. A SKOSH off, there.

BUNNY RABBIT is good eatin' any day of the week.

Enjoyed the solve, as I always do. Perfect Tuesday fare.

Mark, in Mickey's North 40

a.corn 1:38 AM  

I don’t mean to be rude, but would you kindly pass that joint...I’d love a hit :)

I wonder Y there were so many Ys, and Bs. Not sure what about 46D I like so much, but typing in GRABBAG in the order I did was really fun. The proper nouns effed me up pretty bad, but not that I got sent on an impossible journey. It was more like “huh?” And “oh man, nnnnnnofuckingclue.” Despite all that, I thoroughly enjoyed this puz.

chefwen 2:42 AM  

That was a fantastic write up Alex, you need to fill in more often.

Loved the puzzle, love BUNNY RABBITs. Dear Old Dad’s nickname was hase when he was young, which is German for rabbit. When I was growing up he called me BUNNY. I have bunny stuff all over the house, pictures, paintings, ceramics, you name it, I have it. Puzzle partner has just learned to accept it. What a good sport.

Adam M. Donahue 3:03 AM  

I’d never seen SKOSH before.

Anonymous 4:43 AM  

Loved the write-up — thank you!

@mericans in Paris 5:35 AM  

Nice write-up, Alex. What the others said.

This one should have played easy for me, but I struggled with a couple of the themers. I guess I've encountered PAST HISTORY, but thankfully not too often. Reminds me of the redundancy that one hears all the time NOWadays from TV pundits: "going forward". As in,

"My plan, going forward, is to ... ."

"Going forward, what do you think she'll do in response?

"Nobody can predict what the future will bring, going forward."

I was also tricked by the clue for 54A, thinking that the hack in question had to do with computers. Didn't expect a TAX-TAX cross. I can hear the speech from some mayoral candidate promising to make her city more bicycle-friendly: "Read my lips: No. New. TAXIs!"

I spent four years in North Florida, and folks there like to draw out their words, often employing a redundancy for emphasis. So a fly is not just a fly, but a fly-bug (pronounced "flah boog"). And, of course, a DOG becomes, as Elvis sang, a hound DOG.

Perhaps it's been done before, but what I'd like to see as a theme is oxymorons, like military intelligence. I suppose nowadays a more apt one would be presidential discretion.

Have to agree with @Runs with Scissors: I've never heard the term SEA COOK. Mess COOK, YEAH.

@chefwen: My younger brother (the one you know) has a 38-year old daughter who still signs her e-mails and greeting cards with "Love and BUNNies". The rest of us, naturally, respond with "Love and foxes".

Stanley Hudson 5:50 AM  

Love the write up.

Don’t bogart that joint my friend.

Lewis 6:26 AM  

Credit to @rex for bringing in terrific subs!

This was a lovely Tuesday offering, with a bit of bite, a fun theme, and a refreshingly junk-lite®️ grid. I liked the animal sub theme, with the DOG, BUNNY RABBIT, and, within answers, the RAT (25A), RAM (69A), and ASS (32A). Furthermore we have an echo of yesterday's BOOR with today's BOOER.

My reaction to Bruce Haight still remains the same identical sum total of happiness; this is a true fact. My complaints are few in number, and my admiration is completely full, this is a true fact. I possibly might make it a definite decision, without any false pretense or unexpected surprise or unintended mistake, with completely full sanity, profess forever and ever that Bruce is an added bonus to my crossword life.

JJ 6:30 AM  

I enjoyed the write up as much as the puzzle. Love the conspiracy theory, and the impression that you had some fun with the puzzle.
I grew up with Popeye, but sometimes a SEGAR is something you’ve never heard of. Thanks for the write up

pabloinnh 7:13 AM  

So which did we enjoy more today, BH's fine Tuesday offering or Alex's delightful writeup? Discuss.

Hey @chefwen-my Dad's nickname was also Bunny, but in English. His given name was Norman, but no one ever called him that. I have a cousin who was ten years old before she found out his real name, and she couldn't believe it. I can still hear her saying "Norman?!?!". Don't hear either name very much any more.

YESORNO of course made me think of the famous question in "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" (hi Joe D.)--""What's it gonna be? Yes or no?".

Very nice Tuesdecito, and I really like the theme. Kudos all around.

Suzie Q 7:13 AM  

Fun, fun, fun. I'm glad to see so many others feel the same. It looks to be a good day in the comments as everyone joins in with their own examples. Nice ones @ Lewis.
I liked the unusual words and phrases along with the playful theme.
I'd love to join in on the creativeness except I can't remember my
PIN number.
The write up was it's own special kind of craziness. Thanks to Bruce and Alex for a great start to my day.

Hungry Mother 7:18 AM  

Very nice theme, all workplay. Faster than usual by a bit. I’m a big fan of Popeye, but never remember the author; perps saw me through.

amyyanni 7:23 AM  

Another new fan here, Alex. Reminds me that the term for being laid off in the U.K. is to be made redundant. Happily home today after the Mad Marathon in Vermont.

kitshef 7:24 AM  

Call me a BOOER on this one.

Quite a bit of forced fill, which stands out more because yesterday was so clean. BITES AT, SEA COOK, IS OUT, ON A LINE …

ARIE and SEGAR don’t feel like Tuesday to me. YUBAN doesn’t feel like any day, ever, to me. And the only NOYES I know is Ida. All that marginal PPP in a fairly confined area in the southeast.

And just to prove how grumpy I am today, I’ll go against the grain and say I didn’t enjoy today’s write-up, either. A too-long reverie followed by a too-short commentary, and apparent admiration for BITES AT which, well, BITES.

Adam 7:24 AM  

@Runs with Scissors, a SEACOOK is also a brand of stove for use on boats. It's slightly a stretch but an appliance can also be a "worker"

Joe Welling 7:26 AM  

@ Runs with Scissors: That's what any son of a sea cook would say.

kitshef 7:29 AM  

I've mentioned this before, but the redundancy that grates most on my ears is "six a.m. in the morning". "Mutual cooperation" gets me, too.

smalltowndoc 7:33 AM  

I rarely post here anymore, but I feel compelled to join the chorus of those who enjoyed Alex’s write up. It is at least as much fun to read as the puzzle was to solve.

QuasiMojo 7:40 AM  

And sometimes a puzzle is just a puzzle, meaning it's not. This was over far too soon. "Sea Cook" made me think of "Dick and Jane."

I wonder if Cleopatra worried that her ASP was not ECHT enough. Talk about BITES AT!

Thanks for a toonful write-up, Mr. Tripp. Come back anytime.

Unknown 7:43 AM  

I knew the word from LL Bean as for their blue jeans which had a slosh more room

mmorgan 7:57 AM  

Wow. Cute and fun. After reading each clue, I had a half second of “huh?, then a flash of pzzt, oh yeah, and then, slapped it down. The effect was of finishing very, very quickly but enjoying every second. Nothing really special, nothing annoying, just a zippy fun time. I would say bunny rabbit, past history, and rat fink (or in honor of Alan Sherman, Ratt Fink), but cash money?? Never heard of that. No matter, good fun Tuesday puz!

And thank you for that terrific write-up! More, please!

GHarris 8:01 AM  

Fastest Tuesday ever and enjoyed every second. Nice to read a write up that doesn’t quibble or henpeck.

Joe Dipinto 8:13 AM  

Ooh, good catch on Meat Loaf, @pablo. Lemme sleep on it...

Well, I wasn't crayzee about this puzzle. The theme wasn't really interesting -- do I sound like I'm channeling Rex? I find I don't like a surplus of 5-letter answers made up of 2- and 3-letter words. Here we get AS YET, SEE ME, IS OUT, NEW ME. The first two are boring, the last two are kind of bad, especially NEW ME, which really needs "brand" or at least "the" in front of it.

But the puzzle did provide some nostalgic value. YUBAN made me all misty-eyed -- I haven't seen or thought about it in decades. And during the summer of 1971 I worked for a messenger service that operated out of Grand Central. One of its clients was Gloria Steinem, and I was dispatched to her apartment on several occasions. Her packages were usually to be delivered to one Dorothy Pitman Hughes who lived on the Upper West Side and who I learned much later was a co-founder with Gloria of Ms. Magazine.

Alex, I enjoyed the Enharmonic Equivalency video. Stepwise motion in a melodic phrase would be another context for it that the video doesn't mention, but perhaps it could be inferred from what's there.

In fact, your write-up is so cool I brought you a present -- the tail-end of the lyrics to "Cottontail", as performed by Lambert, Hendricks & Ross:

I've heard the old story
One rabbit's foot will bring luck.
But they're much more lucky,
Luckier, natch,
If that rabbit's attached!

Anonymous 8:24 AM  

40,000 votes for Alex to take over the column.

Mike Herlihy 8:28 AM  

Thank you, Alex. Please start your own blog so we can get your input every day!

Loved the "Who framed Roger Rabbit" under-theme speculation. :)

pmdm 8:51 AM  

It certainly seems true that the writups by some very intelligent subs demonstrate how to write reviews that may express criticism while remaining upbeat. Nothing more need be said.

Sometimes Bruce constructs puzzles whose entries can put me off. Not so today. A perfect puzzle to introduce new solvers to the technique of turning difficult PPP into easy-to-infer entries by virtue of the crosses.

A few words about enharmonic notation (e sharp/f natural etc.). On, say, a violin, te notes say different things to the players, so (say) a g flat and f sharp are actually different notes. I can't hear any difference between them, but apparently some can. In any event, composers are taught not to mix these notes when notating an orchestral score.

Some software becomes confused and may print a note using the wrong enharmonic notation (especially when you ask it to transpose between keys), which is one of the reason why it is important to proof read the music before giving it to a musician. One time, I was organist at a memorial service for a policeman who had been killed in a drug war. Just before the srvice, the guest singer handed me a piano arrangement of one of the prayers he would sing during the service (key of C Major). The first problem was that the piano notation included notes that were absent from the organ, whose keyboards include less notes than keyboards of a standard piano. Worse yet, the singer had not proofed the music. Many times, what should have looked like a major triad (A Major or E Major) used f sharp rather than e natural in the chord (or arpeggio). Visually, it looks more like third and fourth intervals, not two intervals of a third. I admit to not being the fastest sight reader in the world, so I had a bit of a nightmare playing the accompaniment.The singer (whose name I won't mention but you probably have heard him singing the national anthem during televised sports events) should have known better, but I don't think many in the congregation actually heard my miscues. At least I hope so.

Very big apologies to those here who couldn't care less and are disinterested in music theory. That sidebar was kind of long.

burtonkd 8:51 AM  

@suzie q, perhaps your PIN number will come to you at the ATM machine...
After a hit off the marijuana joint being circulated around, together we can go to the L.A.S.E.R. light show.
I’m done, over and out.
@lewis, how long did your examples take?

burtonkd 9:07 AM  

Music nerd warning
@pmdm, with you on that one. I’ve had people give me music purchased from online sources that offer transpositions that no one proofs - looking at you This is more and more common as people don’t have sheet music stores to go to, even in NYC. I’m an excellent sight-reader, but things like E#-A-B# just don’t compute when reading at speed. Even Finale, the industry standard notation software doesn’t always get it right. Good to know there is still a place for humans. One other thing to complete mini-rant: you ever get a score someone played into a transcribing software that wasn’t quantized with all the really strange rhythmic notation representing the 32nd note ahead or behind the beat someone performed. Looks like the most complicated music ever, but turns out to be quarter and eighth notes?

xyz 9:10 AM  

@MH I bigly do prefer bits of music theory to knee-jerk ROTE

Brings back my Baritone Saxophone days

I struggled mightily from using software to pen on paper early week, I'm certain this puzzle was much smoother than my on NYT<.>com effort, there was really nothing to complain about.

M. Lamb 9:15 AM  

I am a sea cook on a commercial fishing boat in Alaska, and unfortunately we often drink Yuban coffee in the galley.

jberg 9:16 AM  

So everybody's praising Alex -- who deserves it == but no one is talking about his theory. I think it's probably likely that he's correct.

Anonymous 9:20 AM  

For those who prefer others’ write-ups on the NYTimes puzzle over Rex Parker’s, just don’t look at his “blog” and it will go away.

CDilly52 9:21 AM  

LOL ’mericans! Especially in Chicago and NYC, No new TAXIs. Made me chuckle

Crimson Devil 9:29 AM  

Enjoyed puz and writeup.
Someone oughtta construct entire puz using only redundancies.

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

I was going to join everyone in praising Mr. Tripp's effort. Witty, informative, clever, insightful. A real change of pace. Then I looked at the puzzle's author and my eyes nearly popped out of my head (Roger Rabbit style). Can't wait to see how Rex disparages this fine puzzle on his twitter feed.

Thanks Messr. Haight and Tripp, what a lovely way to start a Tuesday.

CDilly52 9:40 AM  

Thanks @pmdm! I was in the middle of writing my own (undoubtedly to many readers boring) enharmonic equivalent comment and came upon yours. Kudos for a job well done. I would only add that to string players the enharmonic equivalent can also determine fingering and position depending on the difficulty of the piece or passage. A string player will “see” scale, arpeggio or other patterns often with part of the brain deciding how best to finger the passage. Now I am certain everyone who was bored before is snoring now!

Carola 9:41 AM  

A fun one, made even more fun by @Alex's review.
The BUNNY is my life was a little cousin who didn't like going to birthday parties "because it's too long until the cake."
Moment of "Wait, I thought my long-term memory was still functioning": Couldn't remember NOYES.
Help from previous crosswords: SEGAR, ARIE, SKOSH.

@Runs with Scissors and @'mericans - In Treasure Island Long John Silver is hired as the SEA COOK (also the title of Part II of the novel).

CDilly52 9:44 AM  

Great observation @burtonkd. Careless printing as you describe makes for a rocky sight reading experience for sure, especially with completely tonal music where we read and anticipate based on our ears and harmonic structure. And when there is no E# in the key of A-flat, for example, one tends to trip.

Z 10:00 AM  

Through no fault of his own, Haight is the poster child for NYTX’ sexism. We get lots of junky 3-letter fill. We get very tired 5 letter entries (at this point AS YET, SEE ME, and OTOES might as well be cheater squares) and too many technically words that we don’t really see in the wild like PSY, BOOER, and TEHEE. Is this an awful puzzle? No. Is there any doubt that there have been better puzzles constructed by women that have been rejected? Do we need to know the actual mechanisms to recognize that there are barriers to women getting published? No, we don’t.

Not all redundancies are actually just redundancies. RAT FINK is clearly emphasis. TAXI CAB is the original term while taxi and cab are later shortenings. CASH MONEY is a retronym, but between credit cards, direct payment, PayPal, Venmo, and cryptocurrency, paying someone with CASH MONEY is a distinct and separate thing. I also take issue with some of the commentariat’s examples. “Going forward” is different than going backwards or going sidewise. “Mutual cooperation” can be redundant, but it can also be a form of throwing shade. We’ve all been on teams where one or more individuals’ “cooperation” has been staying out of the way. Is this the most common usage? probably not.

pmdm 10:19 AM  

Not interested in the technical aspects of music? Ignore the following responses.

burtonkd: Finale is the software I use when I compose. I can certainly attest that Finale can introduce odd enharmonic notation when it transposes. Sometimes changing some of the transposition options eliminates the aberration, but proofing is still a must. I don't do transcription of live input because of how the software quantifies the notes (yikes, all those weird 64th notes or worse).

CDIilly52: Interesting. When I read music, I actually see the differently depending on the key signature. Kind of like seeing a word with the same sequence of letter but having different meanings in different languages.

Nancy 10:34 AM  

Lively and fun to solve. More thinking was required than is usual on a Tuesday. While the theme wasn't all that exciting in and of itself, the way the theme answers were clued piqued curiosity and definitely made the solving process more interesting.

I do agree with @Z that TAXICAB is the original word and that both TAXI and CAB are shortenings. I also wonder whether anyone has ever uttered the phrase CASH MONEY without facetiousness. FWIW, I've never uttered the phrase at all, even in jest.

But I had a very good time and wish that all Tuesdays could be this good.

David 10:37 AM  

@JD, Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross. Yes.

@pmdm, I wish Finale were the industry standard. Unfortunately much more use is made of that other software whose chromatic scale goes: C/C#/D/Eb/F/F#/G/G#/A/Bb/B, I can't begin to tell you how much time we waste fixing the enharmonics and everything else. Of course, by far the best program for professional publishers is still SCORE, but that's another story. Say your initials quickly, it sounds like a city in Vietnam.

Sort of misread the clue for 2D and plunked in "oarsman". It seems "sea cook" is an actual thing; better than being the Sea Hag I guess. I once toyed with the idea of being a cook on one of the tugs in NY Harbor, but a cook I knew who came from a Minnesotan family which made tugs, and who had cooked on one as it was being taken from dock to its new home in NY, disabused me of the idea it would be great fun.

'round these parts people say "cash money" all the time. Some new stores don't want anything to do with that stuff, they prefer you spend your money without thinking about it. Not for me.

Agree with different bits of the group today: nice write-up, fun theory, some pretty bad fill.

Lori 10:38 AM  

"Is there any doubt that there have been better puzzles constructed by women that have been rejected?"

Wow. This is almost Trump-like in its parallel universe way creating a controversy and dragging an issue into a discussion where it doesn't relate.

You should have ended that statement with, "I don't know. Maybe someone will have to intervene. Maybe I'll have to amend the constitution so the girls can get some action too."

RooMonster 10:43 AM  

Hey All !
Hmm, no one noticed YES OR NO and NO YES?

Lots o' partials today, ASYET SEEME IWIN VEDAY INAFOG ISOUT NEWME BITESAT ONALINE YESORNO BYNOW, plus the Themers, and some two worders I didn't include. Just sayin'.

Lots of redundancy in American English language people say, ATM machine for one. Funny how in these times of everything being shortened that these redundancies are still very prevalent.

SKOSH has been in a puz not too long ago, no? The ole brain seems to always be IN A FOG lately. Used to be (E)SHARP when I was younger, but this older NEW ME can't seem to THINK SO. Har.

Anyway, did like this puz, despite all my nits. Still trying to make the big time, just got two rejections, one for a SunPuz, si apparently I suck ass at making good puzs. FIE!


TJS 10:55 AM  

@Z, Thanks for filling in for your hero. I have kinda missed him too.

Anonymous 11:08 AM  

what a wonderful experience! great write-up! i do love a crossword puz

Malsdemare 11:14 AM  

I love the nerdy music notes. I got the gist of it all, not the nitty-gritty, and that's fine. Experts talking about what they know turns me on.

I like the idea of a puzzle made of oxymorons: jumbo shrimp, Senate intelligence committee, etc. Bring it on.

I liked the puzzle a lot and really enjoyed the write-up. Someone (@Z, perhaps?) got up on the wrong side of the bed.

Newboy 11:18 AM  

Wow, I enjoyed this tripped out response more than the mildly amusing puzzle itself. Maybe OFL may be onto a new gambit to offset his grumpy critics....have a guest commentary on a couple random days each week & keep us guessing? I played French horn in a brass sextet and String Bass in an awful high school BEBOP jazz group, but never got the Esharp=F thingie, so special thanks for that link. And kudos for the riff on WHO FRAMED RR (and don’t forget that the sleigh driver in Frost’s Stopping poem is Santa Claus).

OffTheGrid 11:20 AM  

I will never forget a triple that was spoken by a politician (surprise) many years ago. He referred to "foreign products that are imported from other countries" Get me an Advil!

WhatDoing 11:31 AM  

Excellent write-up and I’m 100% in on the conspiracy theory. I do take issue with Yuban. Folgers alternative would be equally common like Maxwell House or even Chock Full O Nuts.

Joe Dipinto 11:44 AM  

Many times, what should have looked like a major triad (A Major or E Major) used f sharp rather than e natural in the chord (or arpeggio).

@pmdm -- you must mean "f flat rather than e natural", yes?

C'mon, tell us who the singer was. We won't make fun of him, we promise. C'mon. {{snickers out of side of mouth}}

Joseph M 11:57 AM  

At the risk of being redundant, I applaud Alex for his creative take on the puzzle.

And speaking of redundant, the puzzle’s theme seems awfully familiar, as in I’ve seen this at least once before in my crossword PAST HISTORY. The concept is nevertheless cute. Wonder if TAX SCAM might be a bonus themer.

Feels like a conflict may be brewing between YESORNO and NOYES.

Liked IS OUT over NEW ME.

But has any Shakespearean character ever said “Why are you mad?”

Anonymous 11:58 AM  

The only use of SKOSH I've heard is: "I need a SKOSH more room in the crotch" when fitting trousers. Not even sure of the proper spelling. Or, of course, it could just be some bragging.

Anoa Bob 11:59 AM  

@Z beat me to it, but other than PAST HISTORY, none of these sounded truly redundant, for the reasons he noted. And PAST HISTORY is not something I can remember running into before. Seems a tad forced.

Coming out of Navy boot camp and going aboard a ship, you get all the shitty jobs, and I mean all of them. One that I got was mess COOK (hi @Runs). We were basically combination bus boys and janitors for the mess decks (dining hall for you land lubbers). But in the galley (kitchen for you land lubbers) were the actual COOKs, so I didn't have an issue with SEA COOK as it was clued.

Another connection in the grid to those days was SKOSH (33A). Learned that on my first overseas port-of-call, Sasebo, Japan. It's from the Japanese SKOSHi, sko shee, meaning, yep, small or little bit.

If you are taking a PSY course (10D) and Freud is being taught---other than as an historical footnote---drop the course and try to find one that is in this century or at least in the last half of the previous century. Studying Freud in a PSYch course would be like studying alchemy in a chemistry course or astrology in an astronomy course.

And I saw what you did there Alex with "Sometimes a SEGAR is just a SEGAR". Nice tie in. Freud died from cancer that started in the mouth an jaw and spread from there. He was told early on by his doctors that his constant cigar smoking was causing the cancer, but he was never able to quit and continued to smoke until the end.

OffTheGrid 12:02 PM  

Jumbo shrimp is the go to oxy but it isn't really a very good one. Shrimp are, well, shrimp and come in varied sizes including "jumbo". "Shrimp" can mean diminutive but "jumbo shrimp" refers to the sea creature that we eat and that a SEACOOK might prepare for us.

Anonymous 12:39 PM  

A little late to the party.....a/c is measured in tons, not btu

pabloinnh 12:39 PM  

So many comments, and no one has mentioned The Department of Redundancy Department, which clearly approved this puzzle.

Also, when told I have committed a redundancy, I usually reply, "You can say that again." Not many people find this as amusing as I do.

FrankStein 12:51 PM  

@anoabob re your comment about Freud and cigars, the two previous NYT crossword editors died of throat cancer. I know that Will Weng was a heavy cigar smoker; although I do not know about Maleska. It always struck me as an odd if tragic coincidence. I look back fondly on their contributions.

BarbieBarbie 12:56 PM  

Luckily my personal PIN number is forever and always remembered in my brain.

Gotta go now, preparing some beef with Au Jus.

CDilly52 1:06 PM  

Another family tragedy has occupied me for a while and I have missed days of reading and posting and broke my consistent solve string. Good to be back on a day with Alex’s clever observation and delightful analysis! I thought that this puzzle had something for every wheelhouse out there from VE DAY and YUBAN which were gimmies for those of us nearing the top of that proverbial “hill” (you know, the one we do not want to be accused of being “over”). Then we had some newer items like BOT and NEW ME. A wonderful array of creative fill and for me a winner of a puzzle.

My bullets include SIC - something I admit I adore using with my young lawyers whose sloppy writing drives me crazy. Also SKOSH, a phrase often employed in my family. And Opus DEI is always a fave in the “short bordering on dreckish” category. And I can never remember Alfred NOYES, but I loved that juxtaposition following YESORNO in 3D. Would have been a perfect tidbit had the answer at 3D been merely YESNO followed by dear Alfred NOYES. That’s all this warped mind has today. So glad my life has settled down a bit so I have time to engage.

Teedmn 1:12 PM  

With TAX SCAM under my belt, I had trouble parsing TAX ICA_ at 54A. That final B took a moment, especially since 59A was cUBAN and I was scratching my head on how to get rid of _cNOW for 55D. IN A FOG may be the problem.

@Lewis, your write-up is definitely an "added bonus" (nice one), and @kitshef, you're right about "6 AM in the morning", though it seems like something I would rattle off unthinkingly. Sorry in advance!

END-WISE reminds me of when my Swedish friend asked me to explain "edge-WISE" as in "couldn't get a word in edge-wise". I used some analogy of a coin on edge vs. flat, accompanied by a few hand gestures. Please don't ask me to explain my own language.

Bruce Haight, I enjoyed your redundancies, thanks. (@'mericans in Paris, NO YES is your oxymoron of the day, 35A.)

Anonymous 1:17 PM  

For those who suggested that CASH MONEY is not truly redundant, please explain the distinction between paying with cash money and paying with cash.

Anonymous 1:23 PM  

@Frank Stein - There's another, not to be mentioned in mixed company, significant cause of mouth and throat cancer.

Masked and Anonymous 1:26 PM  

har. Better 35-A clue: {Politician's answer to a 3-Down request?}.
Definite x-tra themer potential: GRABBAG. Slight x-tra themer potential: TAXSCAM.

staff weeject pick: BRR. Got yer redundant R.
at least a suspicious side-eye-swipe of desperationness award: SEACOOK. As opposed to LANDCOOK?
Totally unthinkable crossword concept, at least homophonically: YUBAN.

fave fillins included: HAVOC. YOYO (concisely redundant). SKOSH. THINKSO. UNUM.

M&A has heard CASHMONEY uttered in his neck of the woods before. As opposed to funny money, in its context. (Checks or personal IOU's or trade trinkets are no good, f'rinstance.)

Thanx, Mr. Haight. FROSTYCOOL re-do.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


tea73 1:35 PM  

I remember comments about SKOSH the last time it appeared (not long ago). My Dad used the word a lot, as in a SKOSH more vermouth in my martini. He spent time in Okinawa during the Korean War and then three more years in Tokyo and Yokohama as a foreign service officer, so maybe that is why he liked the word so much.

I can never remember India.ARIE's name.

Loved the Roger Rabbit theory!

john towle 1:47 PM  

Sukoshi is the proper rendering in English'…pronounced as some have noted with the elided “u” Smo not sumo…trust me on this; you’re a gaijin if you say these any other way.

This puzzle is a paragon of wonderful excellence (heh heh)…somewhere between outstanding and magnificent.



CT2Napa 2:40 PM  

One redundancy that drives me crazy is the phrase, in Congress-speak, "up or down vote". Isn't your vote, by definition, up (yes) or down (no).

Rob 2:54 PM  

I know people like to make fun of Rex's cantankerous reviews, but it's leading to a lot of praise for a decidedly mediocre puzzle with tons of dreck in the grid. SEA COOK is not a thing. There are a lot of very lazy "fill in the blank" type clues for some very dull 3-letter fill, many of them partials. EST NTH DEI AN A TEM. I actually liked the theme, but I think this puzzle should have gone back to the drawing board for a rework.

albatross shell 2:55 PM  

I filled in 17A: wASTHeSTORY. It worked well til I got eNDY 500. If you were the story, the experience of reading would be redundant. Although the times I have been in a story, they have seldom conformed to to my reality.

I looked up the etymology of redundant, hoping redundant would itsef be redundant, but the closest I could get is that abundant and redundant have about identical meanings in their root translations: to overflow, and both go back to ocean waves. Which are both abundant and redundant.
I would argue that all the theme answers can be considered redundant, despite their disparate histories, and redundancies are not always a negative. No,no and no. Or yes, yes and yes if you want a positive example.

A good Tuesday puzzle and a more entertaining write-up. I did think of Roger Rabbit once while doing the puzzle, but had no idea of why. Sublimal influence?

Anonymous 3:01 PM  

@pablo -- I enjoy your comments, especially those on 5-28-19 (Heath bars, bead curtains in doorways).

Also enjoy so many others -- Gill, Joe, Lewis, Nancy, Quasi, Z -- probably left out some other fun commenters, sorry!


[Syndie solver, 7-9-19]

albatross shell 3:02 PM  

Does that mean a yes or no vote is also redundant? Can you vote present? Are there at times a third choice?

Anonymous 3:07 PM  

Isn't your vote, by definition, up (yes) or down (no).

It's a term of art:

"Republicans set a record for the most number of filibusters during the 111th congress." Those who claim to be True Patriots and such drivel. Wouldn't even allow a Supreme Court vote, if you recall?

Anonymous 3:07 PM  

Actually an up or down vote in Congress is a type of vote, it's also called a clean vote. And not only iss it a real thing, it's a hugely helpful phraase.
It's not describing the yes or no, though it does that, it's to distinguish it from other, often more complicated and or procedural votes.

Anonymous 3:14 PM  

Sea cook is not only a thing but the original title of a little book you may know: Treasure Island.

(signed). L.J. Silver

Anonymous 3:22 PM  

@CT2Napa 2 -- Congress uses specialized vocabulary, as I learned from a friend who worked for one of the publications that covers it, so that isn't just a redundancy for voting [yay or nay].

An up-or-down vote "refers to a direct vote ... on an amendment bill. It is sometimes referred to as a 'clean vote.' Members vote yea or nay on the matter rather than voting on a related procedural maneuver. Depending upon the rules of order for that particular type of amendment or bill, the vote required for passage might be a 2/3 majority, a 3/5 majority, or a simple majority."


A better source for Congressional terms, though it didn't help this time:

Unknown 3:31 PM  

It's a contract of a Japanese word meaning a little bit. GIs in Asia used it all the time after WW II and through the Vietnam era. Maybe they still do. Usage migrated back to the US via them. That's my understanding, anyway.

Escalator 4:02 PM  

A little stretch, but when I see the term BUNNY RABBIT, I think of the movie Fatal Attraction 🐇

Joe 4:24 PM  

Lol at Sega being called a video game "giant." Clearly clued by an old person/editor. Sega hasn't been relevant in years. Certainly nowhere near "giant" status.

Jonathan Tomer 4:26 PM  

Yup, it's 少し (すこし) "sukoshi". Not really a contraction: in typical Japanese dialect, the "u" in す (su) and the "i" in し (shi) are often elided, so "skosh" is pretty close to the proper pronunciation.

pabloinnh 5:18 PM  

Now this "skosh" discssion is on of the reasons I like this blog. It explains wonderfully why former Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka pronounced his first name "Dice-kay". I had my suspicions about the elided "u", today confirmed by those in the know. Around here, in the wilds of NH, the people I've heard using "skosh" the most are carpenters--move it up a skosh, cut off just a skosh, etc. Fascinating how language gets around.

Hey Anon(3:01), thanks a lot. That was really very nice, and I'm a huge fan of nice.

Anonymous 5:29 PM  

It's to the point where I groan if I see Bruce Haight's name. Yuban? Seriously?

Mr. Alarm 5:32 PM  

“RATFINK” did, for some reason, make me smile. It did not cause me to “TEHEE” though.

Unknown 6:28 PM  

Wow! Great write-up. Fantastic video on music accidental notation. This all puts the “puzzle” back in “Crossword Puzzle”, context; in other words it’s FUN, not some daily life or death competition. The puzzle did have a lot of crap fill, in my opinion, but Mr. Tripp’s review -especially his defense of BEBOP - was cordially on the mark. Rex, hope your vacation ticket was one-way.

Anoa Bob 6:46 PM  

SKOSH more on eliding or gliding over syllables in Japanese. As I recall the two syllables that regularly get elided are "shi" and the "su" (I may be forgetting others). Hiroshima, for example, is pronounced here rosh mah, not here roh shee mah.

The funniest example of this mispronunciation by gaijin (foreigners) was when the Japanese Prime Minister was Noboru Takeshita (1987-89). His last name is pronounced tah kaysh tah but in the States we usually heard a four syllable version that sounded kind of like it looks, to wit "take a...". And, yes, it was my inner nine-year old that found that amusing.

Runs with Scissors 9:51 PM  

@Everyonewhocommentedonit in re SEA COOK:

The clue, as written, regards working in a ship's galley. That tends to mean, as Anoa Bob refereced, the indentured servants cleaning up and washing the dishes.

The cooks, on the other hand, don't so much "work" in the galley as direct operations.

Nuance? Sure. But that's what makes it fun!

Mark, again.

Runs with Scissors 10:52 PM  

"Through no fault of his own, Haight is the poster child for NYTX’ sexism. We get lots of junky 3-letter fill. We get very tired 5 letter entries (at this point AS YET, SEE ME, and OTOES might as well be cheater squares) and too many technically words that we don’t really see in the wild like PSY, BOOER, and TEHEE. Is this an awful puzzle? No. Is there any doubt that there have been better puzzles constructed by women that have been rejected? Do we need to know the actual mechanisms to recognize that there are barriers to women getting published? No, we don’t."

This comment relegates you to the irrelevant corner. That sort of statement proves whatever you want it to prove without any actual proof. This kind of sense-free, un-rigorous, feel-good drivel is what has brought these united States to their present station.

Find some actual facts, then get back to me.

Yam Erez 7:46 AM  

1. What's PPP?
2. It's Who Framed Roger Rabbit? With a ?. It's a question.
3. It was Levis who used the word "a skosh more room" in their ad for relaxed-fit jeans.

Burma Shave 8:54 AM  


and USE my YOYO best,


rondo 10:00 AM  

If OFL was writing today you could bet on more Haight hate. Didja notice there’s a SKOSH more threes today as compared to yesterday (20 vs. 6)?

How many people do you know of have (a) started their own magazine, (b) been a CIA agent, and (c) been a Playboy BUNNY? Just the one, Gloria STEINEM. YEAH baby.

I’m absolutely certain that the basic fundamentals of this puzzles theme were meant to symbolize repetitive redundancy as an end result. I’d bet CASHMONEY.

spacecraft 11:17 AM  

Another cute sendup of this fabulously quirky language we call English. The star of the piece is PASTHISTORY: of course redundant but in a way that we tend not to realize until it's pointed out to us. A familiar phrase in application forms, for sure. RATFINK and CASHMONEY are doubled up for emphasis; TAXICAB was the original term, as has been noted. BUNNYRABBIT, on the other hand, seems baby talk to me. So there was a descent of quality among the themers as we go southward.

The fill is typical Haight: stuff just thrown in without a lot of care. Is that why OFC beats him up all the time? THINKSO. Partials all over the place, too many "weejects" to be clean; the RMK. PPP's: not awfully bad, but SEGAR is a SKOSH tough for a Tuesday. (Before I saw the word in print, I always thought it was "scoche." Don't ask me why.)

India and Gloria notwithstanding, I must award the DOD to TONI Morrison, unfortunately posthumously. The world is a poorer place now.

This had potential, only "partial"-ly realized. Par. ISOUT.

leftcoast 3:19 PM  

Good set of redundancies, from bland (PAST HISTORY) to cute (BUNNY RABBIT).

Write-overs in the SW: "Anybody..." here>home>>ELSE? And In the SE: E major or minor>>E SHARP, crossed by SNAFU. The linked TAXes in the SW were a bit of a distraction.

NOYES, SEGAR, and ARIE were unknowns completed by crosses.

Easier than yesterday and more fun.

spacecraft 4:19 PM  

P.S. Anybody who considers YUBAN an "alternative" to Folger's is surely NOT a coffee drinker.

rainforest 4:53 PM  

I thought this was a fine puzzle. I thought the write-up was excellent.

leftcoas 5:51 PM  

Tardy look at Alex Tripp's review. Delightful, including the musical lesson.

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