Here’s hoping / WED 7-3-19 / Matthew English poet who wrote Dover Beach / Color of most Solo cups

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Constructor: Evan Mahnken

Relative difficulty: Easy (5:47)

THEME: FINGERS CROSSED (54A: "Here's hoping" ... or a hint to 16-Across/10-Down and 37-Across/14-Down) — two sets of entries cross "fingers" -- the words MIDDLE and INDEX intersect, and LITTLE and RING intersect.

Theme answers:
  • LET FREEDOM RING (16A: Verse ender in "My Country, 'Tis of Thee")
  • MIDDLE MAN (37A: Go-between)
  • A LITTLE BIT (10D: Somewhat)
  • PRICE INDEX (14D: Bureau of Labor Statistics statistic)
Word of the Day: MATTHEW ARNOLD (22D: Matthew _____, English poet who wrote "Dover Beach")
Matthew Arnold (24 December 1822 – 15 April 1888) was an English poet and cultural critic who worked as an inspector of schools...Matthew Arnold has been characterised as a sage writer, a type of writer who chastises and instructs the reader on contemporary social issues. (wikipedia)
• • •

Hello! Long time reader, first time blogger. My name is Zach and I'm honored to sub for the day while Rex is on vacation! Coincidentally I am also on vacation with my family at the moment, so I got to do this puzzle with my mom, which has been a long standing tradition between us ("I may not go to gay bars with you, but I sure love doing puzzles with you!" - my mom). I was prepared to self-deprecatingly compare my sluggish Wednesday time to Rex's typically brisk one, but either this puzzle was on the easy side or having two brains working through this really made a difference, because we managed 5:43 (!!!). Regardless of the reason, it felt pretty breezy overall.

This was one of those themed puzzles that you're nearly finished with by the time you get to the revealer, so it elicits more of an "I'm impressed they pulled that off" reaction, rather than provide an additional layer for you to crack open and solve. But I still enjoyed it nonetheless. I was going to include a snarky comment about thumbs being shafted in this puzzle, until I looked it up and learned THUMBS. ARE. NOT. TECHNICALLY. FINGERS?! Who knew.

One of the advantages of solving puzzles with someone of *ahem* a different generation, is your slightly offset Venn Diagram circles of culture knowledge can make a big difference on a crossword. My mom was quick on the draw on LEM and ROUEN, two entries I would likely have had to leave until the end and hope I could get with acrosses. There were a few names -- EVA and ARNOLD -- that we didn't know based on the clues but could infer once we had a few of the letters filled in. At the end I asked "are there any clues I got that you wouldn't have?" I needn't embarrass myself by telling you her answer...

I thought the fill was a nice mix of phrases (GOT AN A; IN A CORNER), trivia, and common words,  though overall the cluing felt very straightforward to me. Would have loved to see some more playful and clever cluing for a Wednesday puzzle!

Some other thoughts:
  • I thought the clue 16A: Verse ender in "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" was a cute nod to the Fourth. Also if you're anything like me you instantly started humming, sat there for a second, then awkwardly yelled "LET FREEDOM RING!!!!"
  • AROD being clued by his more famous (in my universe) female partner?? Love to see it!
  • Since MY EXES didn't fit for 24A: Things to keep tabs on, FOLDERS was a good answer lol
  • 11D: Cab alternative as a clue for PINOT is great wordplay, especially when that is a very common clue for UBER and LYFT.
  • I didn't even notice the clue for RED (19A: Color of most Solo cups) until I had completed it with downs, so I didn't get a chance to make use of all those beer pong games from college (oops sorry, Mom!)  
  • I adore clues and answers like LID (15A: Part of the eye that a fish doesn't have)— I don't know the answer off the top of my head but it's fair game because it's totally guessable. Plus it's fun trivia! 
  • Putting WRIT and ESQS side by side was a nice touch. 
  • 61A: The "m" in the equation "F=ma"got me thinking about the recent Radiolab episode I listened to about intelligence and Albert Einstein. Give it a listen!
  • TOILE is one of those words that looks so intensely familiar that I'm sure I know what it is. But after looking it up I think perhaps I didn't know it and instead just lucked out by combining "tulle" and "doily" in my head. Thank you crossword gods.
Your fun substitute teacher Zach D'Angelo 
Follow me on Twitter

P.S. My mom clarified that she would LOVE to go to gay bars with me she just hasn't had the opportunity! Hahaha noted.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 3:49 AM  

Easy-medium. It would have been easy except I had to run the alphabet to get the W in WRIT (Certiorari didn’t really ring any bells and early Chinese dynasties definitely require crosses).

PARENTHOOD harkens back to yesterday’s puzzle. At Xwordinfo Peter said his inspiration was Loren Graham’s character Lorelei Gilmore on Gilmore Girls. Loren was also a main character (Sarah Braverman) on PARENTHOOD.

Cute Wed., liked it.

Delightful write up Zach!

Loren Muse Smith 5:26 AM  

Thank you thank you thank you, Zach, for a terrific write-up. I hope Rex turns to you again as a sub. Your comment about wanting your exes to be the things you keep tabs on made me laugh. And relate.

I, too, thought this’d be a Fourth of July theme what with 16A. And, Zach, I, too, sat there and quietly sang it until I hit the end.

So when I saw what was going on, I loved it! Zach – who knew a thumb wasn’t a finger. Interesting. But BUT, Evan got “thumb” in the clue for NO VOTE. Sneaky sneaky. Evan also gave us two kinds of FINGERS crossing MIDDLE: INDEX and LADIES. Hah. And it looks like Evan toyed with the idea of crossing “pinky” up there with LITTLE and RING but had to settle on PINOT.

First thought on the part of an eye that a fish doesn’t have – meibomian glands. Too long. (Just a little aqueous humor.)

I appreciated the clue for MURAL with its sole “Leonardo.” Apparently, that’s his name, just Leonardo. The DaVinci part is just where he’s from. So he was a Cher-Madonna-Prince-one-name-kind-of guy.

I kept thinking about how LIQUIDATE can’t be, you know, literal. If you liquidate your assets, you’re putting cash in your wallet and spending it. If you liquify your assets, you’re a lunatic with a kick-ass food processor.

Even with a dnf (“Brit/Bei”) I enjoyed this very clever concept.


SJ Austin 5:39 AM  

I was reminded of this on Sunday when I was lucky enough to be in London Stadium for the MLB game: my favorite thing about "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" is that it is set to the tune of "God Save the Queen". Ha!

Nice write-up, Zach. I do puzzles with my mom sometimes too. :)

Lewis 6:11 AM  
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Lewis 6:19 AM  

Aside from a fun solve, I noted the subliminal message: Next year, if you decide to cast NO VOTE, BOO to you; you are a DUD. If you do go to the polls, OLE to you; you are a HERO. Let's keep our FINGERS CROSSED, and LET FREEDOM RING.

Hungry Mother 6:24 AM  

Very fast, but that “W” was a WAG. Heading to Williamsburg for a few days to run a 5 miler in the Yorktown Battlefield on the 4th.

QuasiMojo 6:28 AM  

Hello Zach. Try saying "toile de Jouy" ten times in a row. Gosh, I wish my Mom were here to help me. I had a "true" DNF. I guess the "My Country 'Tis" thing started me off okay but I then opted for TIS SO rather than ITS SO (something I would never say), and PEI sounded possible. The late I. M. PEI might have had a long family tree. And having never been to law school, I did not know Certorari. I actually thought it might be a Roman soldier. Well, what's easy for someone else is hard for me. I can take it. Really I can. 'TIS SO.

@Joe DiPinto, I loved your ASA and ONA story.

Richard 6:39 AM  

Really wanted 37D to be “SOSE.” 49D is not correct. Only unstable patients go to ICU after surgery. Most patients go to PACU (Post Anesthesia Care Unit), usually called simply “Recovery Room’ or “Post Op”.

amyyanni 6:41 AM  

Hi Zach, lively post. After finishing and then seeing the theme, found it amusing. Indeed: let freedom ring!

jsloate 6:51 AM  

Zach, nice debut reviewing the puzzle and bringing lite and humor to it.

John H 7:08 AM  

Even though the thumb is not technically a finger it wold have been great to put a thumb in there somewhere, away from the fingers.

Z 7:14 AM  

Something about the image of our HERO with UV overEXPOSURE doing the HULA put me in a good mood. LET FREEDOM RING, indeed.

GOTANA looks like the name of a lovely, out of the way, small town in southern Spain or Portugal. Which reminds me, we got one wrong in the speed round last night, anagrams of European cities and countries. Somehow we got latvia bars but not hasten.

Anyone else ponder DiCaprio’s painting career? It seems like he’s the go to Leonardo these days. DiCaprio, DaVinci, and DaTurtle, The Three Leonardos.

Seeing the theme got a smile. The NYTX giving solvers a MIDDLE FINGER seems pretty boss. Not quite Alex Morgan sipping tea level boss, but close.

suǝɥʇɐ puɐ ɐʌɐlsᴉʇɐɹq

RavTom 7:33 AM  

Need help with slang: Why are thousands of dollars GEES?

Klazzic 7:40 AM  

Great review, Zach. A breath of fresh air. Enjoyed your take. Fun puzzle but felt like a Tuesday.

kitshef 7:44 AM  

Never heard of Ms. La Gallienne, but I really enjoyed reading about her post-solve.

BOO, BOO, a million times BOO for that ter-r-rible clue for 35A.

Z 7:53 AM  

@RavTom - $1,000 is known as one grand. “Grand” gets shortened to “G” or “GEE,” so multiple $1,000 can be considered GEES.

Anonymous 8:16 AM  

@John H: How many fingers do you have ? I have ten.

mmorgan 8:18 AM  

42 years ago, in 1977, we were watching Eva Le Gallienne playing a character named Fanny Cavendish in Kaufman and Ferber’s “The Royal Family” (about the Barrymore’s, more or less), and my wife decided to take on the nickname Fanny. She’s used it ever since, and most people now don’t even know it’s a nickname. So happy to see EVA in this puzzle!

I really liked the puzzle even though I totally misread the theme — I thought we were crossing our fingers to LET FREEDOM RING A LITTLE BIT and couldn’t figure out how the other theme answers related to the revealer. Duh!


Anonymous 8:18 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Carola 8:31 AM  

Easy...until I had to work at it to get--as in "see the words" and "understand the wordplay"--the reveal. Without the crosses from AS FAR, ELI, ICUS and PARENTHOOD, and with the incorrect attS (for ESQS), it took me a minute to see FINGERS CROSSED and another to find the nicely crossed digits. AHA was an entirely apt entry. Nicely done! I also liked the thematic misdirect of LET FREEDOM RING.

@Zach, thanks for the cheery write-up.

Nancy 8:41 AM  

Thumbs up for a puzzle with a sophisticated grid and no junk. There were many nice long answers and few gimmes. It felt sort of like a themeless and that's how I solved it. Because, without the revealer, I could have stared at the finished grid for days and never noticed the theme at all.

But a theme -- even one you don't notice -- should never be given the middle finger if it leads to a grid that's interesting and fun to solve. The cleverness of the construction is just the icing on the cake. A very professional job and a very nice Wednesday.

Nancy 8:50 AM  

From yesterday -- You've probably said that you live in Brooklyn many times, @Joe Dipinto, but how could you forget that I have no memory? However, I won't forget again, now that it's been etched upon my brain. If you're ever in Manhattan, maybe you'd like to meet up sometime?

Speaking of meeting up sometime, where are you @Quasi? I thought you were going to be in NYC over the summer. (News bulletin: It's summer.) And where are you, @Lewis? Your picked Barcelona over NY? The nerve! :) But I know where you are, @puzzlehoarder. You're recovering from knee replacement. Do hope you'll be well enough to make it here in the not-too-distant future.

So many Rexites I still hope to meet.

Stanley Hudson 9:00 AM  

Fine write-up and an easy, fun puzzle.

I hope it pours rain all day in D.C. tomorrow.

Crimson Devil 9:12 AM  

Nice write-up.
Re MURAL: have never understood why all diners are sitting on same side of table.
GO USA !!!

FLAC 9:18 AM  

Nice write-up for a fun puzzle.

It occurred to me that the final line of Arnold's "Dover Beach" is "Where ignorant armies clash by night."

Do you think the constructor was tweaking this blog?

jberg 9:27 AM  

The last line of Arnold's "Dover Beach" is "Where ignorant armies clash by night," so I was expecting the theme to be an ironic comment on the ceremony in DC tomorrow. The acutal theme really took my by surprise, which only increase my appreciation.

Only, dinner AT SIX? And a couple of days ago we were having lunch at NOON? I think the Times is trying to develop its Midwestern audience. (I grew up in Wisconsin, and the hardest thing about visiting home is adjusting to the mealtimes.)

JC66 10:09 AM  

Hey @Roo et al

The grid's only 14 wide.

Peter P 10:14 AM  

Fun puzzle, new Wednesday record for me, just a hair under my Monday average time. Yay! The "cab" misdirection ("cab alternative") has shown up in the NY Times puzzles at least a few times in the past year or so, so I caught that one right away. That said, the R-UEN/-TOE cross forced me to guess (and I guessed right), even though I think OTOE is a very common sight in crosswords. For whatever reason, I just can't commit that clue/answer combination to memory. Maybe the nth time is a charm.

But it is nice to get a crossword spanning answer like 16A right off the bat (which almost never happens to me.) Guess all those years of singing "America" in grammar school finally came to use. (BTW, isn't "America" it's actual name, not "My Country 'Tis of Thee" as in the clue? Looks like the latter is a subtitle or a following parenthetical title--whatever they call those things. So "America (My Country, 'Tis of Thee)"). With Independence Day coming up, this was a little theme misdirect for me, as it primed me to expect some fourth of July theme, but I just totally forgot about the theme as I raced through the puzzle, feeling this might be a good Wednesday to set a new personal best.

Chris 10:19 AM  

Nice puzzle. Seemed hard while I was doing it, but time was actually pretty good (partly it seemed hard because I thought today was Tuesday!)

Nice write-up too, but I'm not sure why the age difference was relevant on ROUEN (LEM, I get.) I mean, it's not like your mom was alive then :-)

David 10:25 AM  

Nice write up Zach. I forgot Rex would be away so I was waiting for his triggers (as do I, It's so) to be triggered.

@Lewis, thanks for finding the Easter Egg.

There're a lot of fun cross connections is this: My fingers writ it's so dated to say "hood."

Arnold's the middleman who will put you in a corner where you'll have no vote.

"Give a right to" is entitle? Wait a minute, does that mean something I have a right to is called an "entitlement?" I thought that was a swear word.

And yes, very clever mis-direct at 16A.

I found this one to be really easy as it has almost none of the answers (movies, sports stars, pop culture has-beens, etc) which always slow me down. Those it had were pretty easy to get off a few crosses.

RavTom 10:33 AM  

Thank you.

Robyn S 10:34 AM  

Great write up! Have a happy 4th!

Newboy 10:40 AM  

As Jae & Loren got my reactions perfectly in the first two comments, I’ll just second their mutual chagrin with 47 (both down and across). English is hard enough for me usually, but fingers crossed for a Chinese/Latin? Great first write up!

Z 10:47 AM  

I think the question of a thumb’s fingerness depends on whether we are considering similarities or differences. Wikipedia has a nice synopsis that gives support to both sides of the argument. I was taught long ago that people have 8 fingers and 2 thumbs. And we have the phrase “all thumbs” to indicate clumsiness, not “all fingers,” so clearly the distinction is in the language. OTOH, the hallux has some of the same differences from the other toes as a thumb has from fingers, but I’ve never heard anyone claim the big toe isn’t a toe. And we also have the term “five finger discount,” which clearly includes the thumb as a finger. So....
I also found sites trying to group thumbs and fingers as “digits,” which struck me as a little too “well, actually.”

TL;DR? Is the thumb a finger or not? Yes.

Park Service 10:48 AM  

@Stanley Hudson: PLEASE!!! we are only praying for rain (as well as thunder, lightning, plague and pestilence) over the Lincoln Memorial and a third of the way down the reflecting pool. For the rest of DC, give us clear skies and temps in the low 80's, Lord. And please don't forget to fill in all the potholes caused by those ridiculous tanks before our Monday commute.

@Evan: Did you think to invite any of the rest of us to go with you to gay bars? But, hurt as I am, I'm grateful for the fine and fun write-up. Thanks

Malsdemare 10:49 AM  

Gosh this was nice, as was the write-up. Thanks, Zach! I’d be happy to join you and your mom at a gay bar.

I noticed the missing thumb and then remembered that that digit isn’t considered a finger, and I wondered why. I could look it up but too lazy. I managed to guess WRIT correctly but that was just luck. I haven’t seen PARENTHOOD but with the crosses I had, was pretty sure it wasn’t PARENTfOOD. I also didn’t know IAMSAM, but got it nonetheless. I liked learning what certiori was though I’m not sure I’ll remember that. PUTTS reminded me of playing mini-golf with the family in Emerald Isle last week; now I want to go back.

My mother gave me her Baldwin parlor grand piano (circa 1935) as a wedding gift and I will admit it’s been a challenging gift. My husband was moved a lot in our early years and finding places that were piano-accessible was always a adventure (one landlord who was trying to get us to rent his third floor apartment said we could just have the piano lifted by crane and swung in through the terrace sliders. I kid you not.). But we’ve hauled it all over the country, and in the process, it’s been dropped, left overnight in subzero weather, banged on by more kids than you can count, and almost lost by an untrained mover who let it roll off the truck onto our sloping driveway. However it’s signed by Walter Giesking (he used it as a practice piano in Cincinnati, home of Baldwin, in 1935 or so), my mother played it beautifully, my daughter learned jazz improv on it, I still play occasionally, my dogs sleep under it, my gifted brother-in-law has given impromptu concerts on it, and so it’s as much family as the kids. Today it left home for a complete interior rebuild and a very large part of our very large great room (and my heart) is empty. Schade!

Apologies for the digression—it’s where my brain is this am.

@merican in Paris 10:54 AM  

Finished this one on the train to Neuchâtel, Switzerland. Tomorrow Mrs. 'mericans and I head to Como, Italy, to meet up with some old friends from Washington, DC. We'll ALL be there to watch the BIG GAME on Sunday. So glad Team USA managed to beat England last night; what a thrilling match! The goalie is a HERO.

I found the NW half much easier than the SE for some reason. But managed to finish it after correcting "atts" to ESQS, and then I saw FINGERS CROSSED.

Nothing much else to say about today's puzzle except that it was tight, with LITTLE dreck. Nice that EDGE is on the right EDGE, and that OVUM is snuggled up to LADIES. We also get both [the] FED and PRICE INDEX. It's rare these days to see anything to do with economics in an x-word.

Have a great Independence Day, and if you're near the Mall in Washington, don't get run over by one of the "new" Sherman tanks.

dadnoa 10:57 AM  

Zach! Terrific write up. It read much like my solving experience. Started slowly to allow us to meet you, then sped up until we were cruising like old friends at the end. Rex, Zach’s a keeper!

Lewis 11:01 AM  

@nancy -- Asheville, NC.

Anonymous 11:20 AM  

@Park Service:
And please don't forget to fill in all the potholes caused by those ridiculous tanks before our Monday commute.

Hardly the major issue. Those Abrams are heavy, and compact, enough to rip through the streets into the Metro tunnels. Carrot Top will then blame the Dems for having a Socialist Transportation System. :)

Malsdemare 11:22 AM  

50% chance of storms in DC tomorrow. Gosh, what a shame that would be!

So proud of our soccer team, and the goalie is a goddess. Go USA!!

RooMonster 11:28 AM  

Hey All !
@JC66 - Har, I noticed it today! I seem to miss when the grid is either 16 Across or Down, but it seems the boxes are just a tad bigger when it's only 14. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Couple writeovers making things not want to jibe. ASamI-ASDOI, acedit-GOTANA, attS-ESQS, _ao-WEI. I cry Natick! at the W of 47. Once I had _EI/_RIT, figured 47D was either a B, C, G, or W. Went with W, as seemed the most logical. Winner!

So a pretty good puz. Seemed more TuesPuz than a WedsPuz, but that's fine. Still fun to do. ITS SO.


McArdle 11:51 AM  

Was pleased to get WRIT right away - I'm usually terrible on the legal ones, which is embarrassing as a lawyer (E.g. ATYS rather than ESQS right next door). Places I stumbled were ROI for REY and OEUF for OVUM (thanks for nothing, middle school French) and PASSED crossed with PICT for GOTANA and GAEL (my expectations in middle school French were low, I guess).

Fun puzzle overall.

Anonymous 12:05 PM  

16A was a mis-direct?

David H 12:05 PM  

Me too!! We wrote it in too. But ill made it obvious it wasn't...sad

puzzlehoarder 12:12 PM  

A flat Tuesday time for a Wednesday puzzle that actually didn't feel easy. I'm not familiar with ARNOLD or PARENTHOOD so I had to keep turning to the easy fill in that middle section.

Then there was that final " huh" moment when I read the word "certiorari" in 47Ds' clue. Luckily it looks so much like "certificate" and WEI looks way Chinese so that made the W a forgone conclusion.

If I hadn't annotated certiorari in my Webster's back in 2012 (it's second NYT appearance) I'd have sworn I'd never seen it before. The same is true for WEI. Today marks the fourth time I've annotated it but on average that's how many times it takes before something is committed to my memory. Hence the name " puzzlehoarder". It's really the entries I hoard not the puzzles themselves.

@JC66, thanks for pointing out the 14 wide grid. That's another reason this one went by so fast.

OffTheGrid 12:29 PM  

I thought "PARENTHOOD" was a terrific program. Peter Krause was one of the middle generation. I was already a fan of Peter, having watched "Six Feet Under", and "Sports Night". I watched the first episode of "9-1-1" in which he starred. It wasn't his fault but the show was awful.

PhilM 12:29 PM  

36D - Shout after a score, maybe. Or then again, maybe not. I gather that several of you watched the USA v ENG game last night, and I didn't hear any OLEs after any of the goals. OLE is usually chanted as a team successfully strings a bunch of completed passes together, or in the cliched Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole, Ooolleee, Ooolleee chant - but not for goals.

zephyr 12:43 PM  

Good puzzle- love it when I know the abstruse ones ( Rouen, mural, writ, Gael, wei, Eva, Oxford, mass) and never the tv or social media (moe, arod). But ovum was a surprise usually it’s ova. And I thought it’d be over for plural. Now I see it is the singular : “The egg cell, or ovum (plural ova), is the female reproductive cell (gamete) in oogamous organisms. “. And in response to ‘is it alive?’ Comes: The egg cell is typically not capable of active movement. “.inert. Sounds like without life. Pertinent to today’s issues. (Pun endorsed) in another way. Let freedom ring.

Joe Dipinto 12:47 PM  

This was a terrific idea for a theme. I had 16a and 10d and couldn't imagine what they had in common in terms of the expression "here's hoping." The next themer I got was the revealer (aha!), which put me on the lookout for other crossed digits. I was sad to see that thumb didn't make it, until -- wait, there it is! That bit of legerdemain was brilliant.

Bonus points for MIDDLEMAN -- "The Middleman", a superhero send-up, was one of my favorite TV shows.

Fun write-up, Zach. @mmorgan, I saw that production of "The Royal Family", in Boston. Rosemary Harris was in it too, I don't remember who else. @Nancy, I'm in Manhattan quite a lot so we should get a group meet together sometime.

Now I want to know how @Z did the upside-down thing.

It's a little bit me (oh-oh, it's a little bit me)
It's a little bit you (oh-oh, it's a little bit you)
Girl, don't go, no, no, no, no, no (oh-oh, it's a little bit me)...

JC66 1:04 PM  

@Joe D, @Nancy et al

Please count me in for the Manhattan get-together (I can bring some green paint).

Teedmn 1:05 PM  

This was a breezy little Wednesday - faster than either Monday or Tuesday for me.

___DE__ at 24A had me thinking "Things to keep tabs on" might be "bar DEbt".

Certiorari - a star in the Alpha Centauri system? I had to WEI the W on that cross for a bit before deciding WRIT was it.

Fun puzzle, Evan. Thanks for the Independence Day tie-in of 16A.

RooMonster 1:06 PM  

Oh, meant to say, don't blow off any FINGERS today or tomorrow with your fireworks! That includes the Thumb.


kitshef 1:28 PM  

For anyone with access to the puzzle archives, take a look at July 3, 2002. It has a type of answer that we often criticize on this blog, but taken so far that you have to admire it.

QuasiMojo 1:30 PM  

@Nancy --still on the road, visiting old friends and family. Would love to meet you and @Joe and @JC66 and @Gill et alii let's all meet up in Asheville and kidnap Lewis by taking him to Biltmore. We can have a crossword klaatsch.

Teedmn 1:49 PM  

@Crimson Devil, it's for the photo op, of course. :-)

Joe Dipinto 2:10 PM  

@Malsdemare -- Walter Gieseking! I'm jealous. Fingers crossed the piano sounds even better after the rebuild.

Jeff Chen at XWord Info doesn't seem to have noticed that "Thumb" is in the puzzle.

Anonymous 2:20 PM  

LMS, love the “aqueous humor” reference!

Myuen88 2:35 PM  

Certiorari is not a writ. It is a TYPE of writ. It is a review process. A writ of certiorari is an order granting certiorari.

JC66 2:48 PM  


In the same vein, try today's Peter Gordon Firebird offering.

Anonymous 3:32 PM  

Regarding the "finger debate:"

I think you guys are focusing on the wrong thing. Regardless of whether the thumb is a finger or not, when you "cross all your fingers," you (generally) don't cross your thumbs. Instead you cross your little and ring fingers, and your index and middle fingers. That's also the the pattern the puzzle builds.

Wyatt Earp 3:45 PM  

The clue reads "Certiorari, e.g." (for example). So if it's a TYPE of writ then it's an example of a writ, just what the clue says.

Z 3:48 PM  

@Joe Dipinto -
I copy and paste the html. I don’t remember if just copying and pasting the upside down text itself works.

Joe Dipinto 4:13 PM  

@Z -- It seems to work either way. Though it messes up the height elements of some letters (see the "t" below).


Anonymous 4:22 PM  

Hi all, especially daily readers,
I had to write. Recently there was a kerfuffle about whether the puzzle had done a good enough job representing bats.I have a bit of evidence that says they did.
I hope to, folks will be able to see it, but the July 2019 issue of Pennsylvania Game News (it arrived in the mail today)features a flying bat. For all the world its eaxactly the shape/profile of the black squares designed to represent a bat the puzzle used. Its even the same orientation, flyinf from SW to NE.
Anyway, i cant prove the cover exists @z, but kudos to Shortz, and the author of that very fine puzzle.

Malsdemare 5:08 PM  

@Joe D, well, it IS a Baldwin so it will still be "bright." But the pins and pinblock are at their max. The tuner has been supergluing the pins so it will hold a tune. Felts and hammers are completely worn and the stringing is 60 years old. So, yeah, I'm expecting a new piano. The only thing they're not redoing is the case finish; it will stay its slightly scarred mahogany. I'm impressed you know Gieseking; he's really a blast from the deep past. Fun fact: he signed the piano and the restorers have promised to spare the signature.

Anonymous 5:12 PM  

Sorry all,
The bats, looking for all the world like the ones in the puzzle, are on the cover of the preiodical (Pennsylvania Game News).

Anonymous 5:22 PM  

If the thumb isn’t a finger then the hallux, aka big toe, isn’t a toe.

Monty Boy 5:39 PM  

Great write-up and puzzle. One of the rare times when I put in the last letter and got the happy tune. I usually spend as much time looking for the one square that's wrong as I do solving.

Regarding the mural: The caption I remember is Jesus saying "OK, everyone on this side of the table for the group portrait!"

BobL 5:46 PM  

I miss Gill

Anonymous 5:57 PM  

If the thumb isn’t a finger then the hallux, aka big toe, isn’t a toe.

As I was taught in grade school, the main characteristic that made man different from the other apes was the opposable thumb. It's not the same as a finger, while the Big Toe is just like all the other ones, just bigger and not, at least on me, opposable.

Lefty 6:05 PM  

Never heard of the four finger and one thumb discount.

Joe Dipinto 6:45 PM  

@Mals -- When I was in school I had (still have, in fact) the Gieseking Debussy preludes on LP. There are newer versions I like better now, but his were the benchmarks for a long time. Yeah, make sure the restorers save the autograph.

C. Darwin 7:05 PM  

@anon 5:57- Dude, Homo Sapiens have ten fingers and ten toes, two eyes and one nose. Deal.

Anonymous 7:51 PM  

We have ten digits. Some are fingers, some are toes, and some are thumbs, and the knuckleheads amongst us have ten thumbs.

Anonymous 8:01 PM  

@anon 7:51- I know you’re probably not a math major but accounting for fingers and toes that would amount to twenty digits, not ten. LOL,

addisondewitt 8:30 PM  

Nice commentary guest blogger! But if Rex’s puzzle time is to have any meaning at all, I don’t think you should have included the time it took to complete the puzzle because you solved with assistance. (Ok, I guess you can list it, but just not at the top where that time is used to assess the puzzle’s difficulty level.). I believe Rex always does these alone. Nothing against your mother—she sounds very sweet!

spacecraft 11:39 AM  

Cool one, and fairly easy. Nice theme with juicy long intersecting entries, along with a perfect revealer. Nor does the fill suffer much, SAVE for ALITTLEBIT in the south central. Fun to parse GOTANA as one word: maybe a new country? I liked it. Lots of EVA's to choose from for DOD. Solid birdie.

Burma Shave 12:43 PM  


Feel ALITTLEBIT lonely? GEES, ALL is not lost –


leftcoast 2:17 PM  

Pretty easy, yet impressive.

Good CROSSED themers and specific FINGERS revealer, all nicely named and displayed. Also, some bonus long downs and acrosses, including LADIES ONLY (lady fingers?), UV EXPOSURE, and LIQUIDATED.

ESQS crossing the unknown WEI came after trying the inapt attS.

Enjoyed the solve.

Diana, LIW 3:09 PM  

Like @Lefty, I had the ept atts before ESQS. However, the WEI/WRIT cross was my near Natick - good guess, that W. Of course, you know what I'm going to say, I had my FINGERSCROSSED. At least it wasn't my eyes.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

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