Garden plant also called stonecrop / TUE 7-23-19 / Facial hair for Sam Elliott Wilford Brimley / Nonsense word in Stephen Foster's Camptown Races./ 1981 hit with lyric we can make it if we try / Compound with fruity scent

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Constructor: Kyle Dolan

Relative difficulty: Medium (slightly faster than usual, but it's a narrow (14-wide) grid)


THEME: "JUST THE TWO OF US" (54A: 1981 hit with the lyric "We can make it if we try" ... or a possible title for this puzzle) —the letter pair "US" appears twice in each themer:

Theme answers:
  • "EXCUSES, EXCUSES!" (16A: "Spare me your lame reasons!")
  • MARCUS AURELIUS (26A: Roman emperor who wrote "Meditations")
  • WALRUS MUSTACHE (42A: Facial hair for Sam Elliott and Wilford Brimley)
Word of the Day: SEDUM (41A: Garden plant also called stonecrop) —
Sedum is a large genus of flowering plants in the family Crassulaceae, members of which are commonly known as stonecrops. The genus has been described as containing up to 600 species updated to 470. They are leaf succulents found primarily in the Northern Hemisphere, but extending into the southern hemisphere in Africa and South America. The plants vary from annual and creeping herbs to shrubs. The plants have water-storing leaves. The flowers usually have five petals, seldom four or six. There are typically twice as many stamens as petals. (wikipedia)
• • •

first themer I got
The theme works. The phrasing on the revealer is a *bit* of a stretch, in that it's hard to imagine someone using the "two of ___" phrasing (where the blank is just one word). The "of" wants a "the" to follow it. If I were ordering two plain bagels, I might say "two plain" but almost certainly not "two of plain" (or "two of bagel(s)"). There are two items *in* US, not two USes. Anyway, the idea that "two of us" could mean "two appearances of the letter pairing US" is grammatically a stretch, but we're in puzzleland, where wordplay magic is in effect, so sure, whatever, two USes, grammar be damned. Not super thrilling that one of the themers was just the same word twice—seems a cheap way to get your two USes in there, but "EXCUSES, EXCUSES!" is certainly a legitimate stand-alone phrase, so, as with the somewhat awkward grammar implied by the revealer, I'll allow it. Theme: acceptable. Less acceptable is the grid, which is chock-a-block with crosswordese and a few really unfortunate answers. The best place to see what I'm talking about is the mid-Atlantic section of this grid—everything in the east between the central two themers. That is a hellhole of junk, with the noises UHHUH (tolerable) crossing HEHE (completely intolerable, what is that?), abutted by SEEME, all lost in a field of something called SEDUM (!?). How bad is SEDUM? How completely out of place is that little bit of desperation fill? This is only the *second* time it's appeared in the Shortz era. It hasn't been in the puzzle for *sixteen* years. Thus, though it's possibly I've run into it in some other puzzle, I have never encountered, not once, in the 13 years I've been blogging the NYT. And ... it's Tuesday?? I'll give you SEDUM if you really, really need it. But in this morass of crosswordese, in a not-hard-to-fill grid, on a Tuesday? No. No, I will not give you SEDUM.


Clue on "EXCUSES, EXCUSES!" is bad (stop using "lame" this way, please) (it's especially bad here, as the phrase "lame reasons" makes absolutely no sense—the phrase is "lame excuses," which, again, I wouldn't use at all, but if you can't use "excuses" in your clue, then jeez, change the adjective you use in the grid; don't use the adjective that goes *only* with "excuses") ("terrible reasons?" "terrible justifications?") (be creative, just lose "lame"). LOL at the idea that most "book clubs" really get down to THEMES, like it's a college course or something (6D: Topics for book clubs). I teach English *and* have been in book clubs, and was baffled by this clue/answer pairing. Clue on SOCCER BALL was pretty bad, in that you can score "goals" in a lot of sports, so there's nothing very soccery about the clue (3D: Necessity for achieving one's goals?) (ACHIEVEONESGOAL (15)) (please don't put that in your crossword, thanks). Also, the fact that SOCCER BALL had a "?" clue made me think it was a themer. Confusing. I forgot YODELS existed (haven't thought about them since middle school). I forgot Bizet was a GEORGES (thought the only GEORGES I knew was Seurat). My favorite part of the puzzle was when I looked at what turned out to be the revealer and saw that what I had in place was —WOOFUS. My first thought was "what kind of nonsense phrase is this going to be? DOOFUS WOOFUS?" Alas, no. Even more embarrassingly, I didn't write in the last letter of 14A: Nonsense word repeated in Stephen Foster's "Camptown Races" because I thought the answer might be DOODAW (Like GEWGAW? ... which is *not* a nonsense word, somehow!).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

72 comments:

Lewis 5:55 AM  

I liked that it didn't feel like I could do this Tuesday offering ASLEEP. I liked [Nile biters] for ASPS. (I used to be a fingernile chewer.)

I liked how Kyle managed to embed SKED / MED / RED in the NE.

I wanna say how I liked how Kyle can spawn a fauna nirvana: BAA / PIG / MACAW / RAM / OSO / ASPS.

I liked most of all the Seussian title: JUST THE TWOOFUS!

Kyle, you made me smile with your worthwhile style -- thank you, sir!



The Joker 6:41 AM  

I once lived in an apartment building where the manager was a tyrant. We called him the SUPE nazi.

Aketi 6:44 AM  

11 U’s for M&A!

Dave 6:45 AM  

It must be hard to write a blog (almost) every day and have something valuable to say

OffTheGrid 6:53 AM  

I had never heard of YODELS but I found this 1965 ad

Suzie Q 6:58 AM  

Acceptable theme with vey questionable execution.
Hehe? How in the world did that make it through editing? C'mon Will.

kitshef 7:17 AM  

A couple of tough nuts for a Tuesday – never heard of Chicago MED nor Michael CHE (or possibly CHE Michael)? But overall, easy – so those two really felt like outliers. (SEDUM was, of course, a gimme).

Funnily enough, I just learned who Sam Elliott is a week ago today.

Very impressive that the revealer is also a themer.

Fun fact: “SOCCER” is a British word, later adopted by the US (and others).

@Lewis – in your fauna nirvana, add SWALLOW, RAPTOR, WALRUS and the partials WOOF, BAT.

oopsydeb 7:18 AM  

I don't really get the critique of the two of us phrasing. First because it seems to be too much a nitpick for me. Second because the phrasing doesn't seem that uncommon to me. Imagine you're looking at all the bagel options. You point to the plain and say, "I'll take two of the plain," then point to the sesame and say, "and two of the sesame..." This would not sound odd to me at all. Maybe it's a regional thing? Maybe I just need my coffee.

EXCUSES EXCUSES was definitely a lame themer.

I didn't know SEDUM from it's clue, but as soon as I had S---M I was able to fill it in easily. I think of it as a pretty well known plant. (I don't garden--barely maintain my yard--but I know sedum).

Overall this puzzle offered very little to delight.

Anonymous 7:33 AM  

“I’ll allow it.” LOL Thanks

Lewis 7:37 AM  

@kitshef -- Great eyes!

Loren Muse Smith 7:38 AM  

I enjoyed avoiding the reveal and figuring out that the themers all had two occurrences of US. So the reveal made me smile. That JUST THE TWO OF US contains two US’s ups the elegance.

My favorite was WALRUS MUSTACHE. I had a gynecologist once who sported one, a screamingly proud and unapologetic one. I found that I was talking only to his mustache and decided to change doctors.

“Tropes” before THEMES. Yesterday I was listening to some NPR show on the show Are You the One, and one of the guests kept using the word trope. I was reminded that it sounds so much smarter than THEME, but after about four times, it just sounded like he was trying too hard to sound erudite.

On KARAOKE. I never knew that that KARA (empty) is the same kara in karate. What’s cool is that the OKE is a truncated version of our orchestra (オーケストラ/ookesutora). So the Japanese borrowed it, and now we’ve borrowed it back. Group hug.

“Waiting for a pitch” – basically, being awake. I mean, how long do we go without having an advertisement crop up somewhere, having the phone ring with a robo call, waiting for the “ad starting soon” deal while you’re watching the clip of the dolphin asking scuba divers for help. If I were the first lady, that would be my cause – to eradicate uninvited pitches. (Speaking of pitches (spam), if you haven’t seen this guy, you should. This one is good, too.)

I couldn’t decide what the un-pc offense of the day would be – the “lame” in the clue for EXCUSES, EXCUSES or that fact that “Camptown Races” was a minstrel song. That DOO DAH feels like the La, a note to follow so desperate I-got-nuttin’ punt of a lyricist.

@Dave - I manage to do so on a regular basis.

@Lewis – love your Dr. Seuss TWOOFUS.

GHarris 7:50 AM  

No problems here. An easy and enjoyable Tuesday romp. Didn’t even think about the theme until I came here. Don’t get Rex’ hang up with the two of us.

GILL I. 7:57 AM  

WALRUS. What an unfortunate looking animal. Then it's followed by its MUSTACHE. I'm asking those of you who sport one: How do you eat a hamburger? Do you lick the mustard off with your tongue? When you go out on a date, does she/he wipe the detritus off your upper lip? I'm not much of a facial hair lover unless you look like Tom Selleck...dimples are a plus.
I like this puzzle. I had to actually think. The three letter clues were a bit hard for me - especially wondering what Icarus' wings were made of. I drew him once - in flight - he was made of ink.
So glad CHE was clued with Michael of SNL. I would've changed my name, though.
I thought I was a PIG...turns out I'm a RAT.

pabloinnh 7:59 AM  

Speeding along crossword highway and had no idea where I was going, got to the revealer and had to look back to see where I'd been, which makes for a fun puzzle. A little desperation in the Mid Atlantic, but I knew Michael Che, and while I am no gardener, my wife sure is and I had heard SEDUM enough to know where to plant it.

Still see ads for YODELS around here, maybe it's a NE thing.

Nice to see LMS chiming in again, as her take on DOODAH is spot on and fun. Maybe JoeD will come up with some other examples. I have sung enough nonsense syllables in do-wop to consider it just another not bad filler, sh-bop sh-bop.

Overall, a very nice Tuesdecito. Thanks to KD.

Joe Dipinto 8:12 AM  

Corporation T-shirt, stupid bloody Tuesday

It's Tuesday and Rex is babbling something about how the "of" wants a "the" and nobody would order two bagels in the mid-Atlantic. For once I completely agree with Rex.

I thought this was an original theme idea, and for me at least the revealer works just fine. SEDUM is a regrettable entry, but not only did I learn of its existence, I learned that it's also called "stonecrop". So I feel the whole thing was worth it just for that.

See how they run like pigs from a gun

Hey, I just mentioned Georges Bizet in my post yesterday. Coinkidinky. Lil NAS X is a cool of-the-moment reference. I thought for sure Rex would post the video of his mega-hit "Old Town Road".

I am the egg man, they are the egg men, I am the walrus

Putting NAP and ASLEEP in the same puzzle was a bad idea. Now if you'll EXCUSE me, I hope everyone has a terrific Tueszzzzzzz...

BobL 8:14 AM  

I have seven varieties of sedum in my garden. Wonderful versatile plant.

Joe R. 8:14 AM  

I very confidently dropped in “truant” at 1A, and then spent a bit looking at the downs and getting nothing. When I got to 4D, I realized it had to be wrong, erased it, and then it was smooth sailing from there on. I was only 11 seconds off my personal best, so if I hadn’t made that misstep, I probably would’ve set a new best. Very easy puzzle for me.

ncmathsadist 8:22 AM  

Anyone who gardens will know what a Sedum is.

Z 8:42 AM  

I’m fine with puzzles breaking the rules for a good reason. I’m not sure “my revealer is only 14 letters” is a good reason.

@oopsydeb - Reread what you wrote after your coffee and you’ll notice “the” in your examples. “Two of the plain bagels.” JUST THE TWO OF US works when US mean “you and me.” But when pointing at something else it needs to be JUST THE TWO “USes” or JUST TWO OF the US. Anyway, that’s Rex’s plaint. All of them are stretches to me so it bothered me less than the missing 15th.

@kitshef - We’ve had CHE clued this way before. He’s one of the “anchors” on SNL’s Weekend Update.

“Lame” is a hard one for me to eliminate as an adjective. The vast majority of the time nobody around me cares. I work to eliminate it from my language anyway because sometimes somebody does care and cares deeply. Life is too short to go around insulting people unintentionally.

@OffTheGrid - Thanks for the ad. I don’t remember YODELS, They look an awful lot like a Ho Ho (not a HE HE), which I do remember.

@LMS - Glad you came back before the “Where’s LMS?” cries hit a fever pitch. Your comment on the erudition of the guy on NPR made me nervous. I use “trope” a lot, and wonder if people think it is just a fancy word for “cliché” (an overused trope) or “motif” (when a trope is used to create a mood). Hopefully Mr. Erudite was using it to distinguish a fine shade of meaning and not to just sound smart.

Dr. Haber 8:46 AM  

Anyone else try to spell mustache and run out of runway?

Nancy 8:52 AM  

I've never heard of the title JUST THE TWO OF US, but the lyric was extremely familiar. Wasn't that the Mary Tyler Moore Show theme song?

This was the second day in a row where I couldn't figure out the theme of the puzzle without the revealer. But so often in early week puzzles, the theme is merely the scaffolding on which you hang your puzzle. With any luck that scaffolding leads to nice fill -- and it did today, just as it did yesterday.

I liked the fact that I had to struggle a bit on a Tuesday. SEDUM, which I've never heard of, was one such struggle. Also, the clue for KARAOKE (15A) was the most interesting thing I've learned in a puzzle this month and maybe this whole year.

One small nit: Why the exclamation point in 54D? Put a cork in that JUG! What a critical, dire thing to do!!! As important as making sure to lock that door! Pay that rent bill! Check those storm windows! Turn off that burner! Let's be a little more stingy with our exclamation points -- OK, Kyle? But a very nice puzzle anyway.

Birchbark 9:02 AM  

I believe we have a SEDUM or two on the windowsill over the sink.

I liked @Rex's "we're in puzzleland, where wordplay magic is in the effect." It pairs well with the bird sounds off of the meadow this morning.

A blue jay is doing something very tentative and questioning, not the usual swagger.

gregg 9:18 AM  

Anyone else ponder the pronunciation of "sedum"? We pronounce it 'seedum' (long e), but some of the Youtube videos pronounced it 'sedum' (short e). Any tropes here?

Z 9:22 AM  

@Joe DiPinto - ♪Sitting on a cornflake♪

jberg 9:27 AM  

Yeah, Rex, you need to get outside more -- you'd see SEDUM all over the place.

We're just back from a long weekend in Wisconsin, where my brother and his wife threw a party to celebrate their 50th anniversary -- got home at 2 AM today -- so the day feels kind of like Monday, which made the puzzle seem kind of hard. And then, with a crisis going on in the Gulf of OmaN, 1D was harder than it might have been. Plus, did I mention getting home at 2 AM? So all I could think of for 1A was truaNT -- had to get the AB before ABSENT even occurred to me.

@Loren, do you use trope to mean THEME? I think of it as something that has connotations beyond its literal meaning, like "go back where you came from" or "international bankers." (Wonderful avatar, btw).

I had tEHE before HEHE -- that one was touch! And got confused about gender and put in ATRIi, which added to the impression that this was a difficult puzzle.

Z 9:43 AM  

Reading the recent comments sparked a flicker that maybe I was confusing sedge and SEDUM. Yep, not the same thing. Also just realized I knew what SEDUM was because two of the guys who worked on design and implementation of Ford’s green roof at the Rouge complex had kids at my middle school. Anyway, SEDUM seems pretty crossworthy to me. And I wish the Ingles warehouse had a SEDUM roof.

RooMonster 10:11 AM  

Hey All !
Puz was OKED. Rex Revealer - JUST THE TWO OF THE US - Har. Funny how when he actually likes a puz, he still has to find an EXCUSE to find a small nit. HEHE.

JUST TWO OF US seems better for this particular theme. Uh-Oh, Rex is getting in my brain! GASP!

I actually got the Revealer first, then got EXCUSES EXCUSES, and thought the other two themers would just be repeaters. Thankfully not.

Always check the grid anymore to see if it's odd sized. Did today, but the ole brain must've still been ASLEEP, as I saw the 13 in the last square across and said, "Oh, OK, it's 15 wide." Need to AMP up the NEURO with some ICED COFFEE.

@Lewis, we have a HEHE on top of the HEHE.

SWALLOW AT BAT - Nervous about getting hit with a pitch?

So a pretty good THEME for the BUM of the puzweek. With 2 F's.

WAX UP TO NOW
RooMonster
DarrinV

Lewis 10:24 AM  

@LMS -- Welcome back! OMG, you were missed.

JC66 10:32 AM  

I've lived in NYC my whole life, so I'm with @Rex on SEDUM.

Yes, @LMS. Glad you're back.

Alexander 10:45 AM  

I thought [3D: Necessity for achieving one's goals?] might have been a play on scoring an “own goal”, which is, while not exclusive to, generally associated with soccer.

Aketi 10:55 AM  

@LMS, glad you’re back. I love James Vetch.

albatross shell 11:01 AM  

@dr haber 8:46
Yes. Spent time deciding which letter had to go.

mmorgan 11:11 AM  

Okay, one can pick some nits here, but this was fun!

Malsdemare 11:17 AM  

Loren's back and she just mad my day with the Jim Vietch videos! My day has been completely turned around.

I enjoyed the puzzle a lot, even EXCUSES EXCUSES; it’s so "in the language" as Rex likes to say. Yeah, TEHE and UHHUH are pretty ugly but how can you not love a puzzle with a WALRUS MUSTACHE? So I'm happy. Especially because LOREN'S BACK!!

jae 11:20 AM  

On the tough side of medium especially with 14 x 15 grid. Not one of my favorite Tuesdays.

Anonymous 11:29 AM  

How bad is SEDUM? How completely out of place is that little bit of desperation fill? This is only the *second* time it's appeared in the Shortz era. It hasn't been in the puzzle for *sixteen* years. Thus, though it's possibly I've run into it in some other puzzle, I have never encountered, not once, in the 13 years I've been blogging the NYT. And ... it's Tuesday?? I'll give you SEDUM if you really, really need it. But in this morass of crosswordese, in a not-hard-to-fill grid, on a Tuesday? No. No, I will not give you SEDUM.

And yet... It's the Word of the Day. How does that work?

Yay for having LMS back!

jb129 11:47 AM  

What is Segway? (45 down)

relicofthe60s 11:49 AM  

Easy puzzle, but Rex’s complaint about wanting a “the” after “two of” makes no sense. How about “lI’ll take two of those” or “It was the two of them” or “just the two of you” or “I wish there were two of her”? Plus “just the two of us” is not just a pretty well-known song, it’s a commonly used phrase.

the redanman 12:00 PM  

Oh, I just LOVED this one!!

No, I did not.

HEHE
UHHUH

JUST THET WOOFUS (Trying to avoid the worm …)

Actually I object to snippets of songs used as clues as they create earworms. That plus a pair of really ugly fillers is enough to send the puzzle back. I expect better.

- of the Knights who say NIT.

Carola 12:08 PM  

A tough Tuesday for me. Like some others, I (mis)started right off with truanT, then "corrected" it to At home. Sigh. I thought a bird ending in OW would be some sort of crOW (related to a lark? UH-HUH). But then the theme answers started coming, and the skies brightened; each a treat to write in. I liked learning the alternate name for SEDUM, as my neighbor has a variety of them planted in his rock garden.

albatross shell 12:11 PM  

I'm sure there are many sedums in NYC. Central Park, gardens, the el walk, and many apartments. They are common house plants. And once you have seen one sedum, you can usually ID others because of their distinctive fleshy leaves. I am a plant person, but I put no blame on those who are not. Sedums are probably less esoteric than slippery elm.

I was amused by 3D necessity for achieving one's goals, because of yesterday's clue for GOAL with the 4 extra words in it (objective for a soccer player). Will's carry-over joke?

@Nancy. I think you missed the import of the clue: Put a cork in it! It means shut up!. Exlamation point needed. The joke was that the answer was JUG, not mouth or trap. But maybe I'm reading it wrong. Purists might demand that a ? be put after the !. When I was filling it in, I was wondering what do you call this type of clue. How do you know that the "it" is the answer? My first instinct was to put in SHH, but that seem a little weak for the forcefulness of the clue, but I have heard some emphatic SHHes in my day.

YODELS ASLEEP, SWALLOW KAROKE, ABSENT DOODAH EXCUSES, ICEDCOFFEE UHHUH SEE ME

LAMEbrained explanation, lame explanation.
Crippled the ability of the EPA to collect data.
Had the retarder failed many more lives would been endangered.
I am seriously asking, not trying to be a wiseass. Are these all uses that you think should be avoided? Are they insulting? Is avoiding them insulting?

Anonymous 1:03 PM  



Albatross: what's "lamebrain" mean? What does a retarded person look like? How does a cripple walk?

seriously, don't you get it? Whatever you are, you're not wise, but you are an ass.

Teedmn 1:06 PM  

Missing school at 1A was truaNT - it worked for a while with those last TWO letters. I had to change 25D's YuP when MARCUS AURuLIUS wasn't going to work. And I thought Oh.My.God. was going to be a GuSh for 36D (looks like I was trying to add even more U'S for M&A) but I've never called BuA to a lamb.

At 57D, I entered OS_, leaving open the possibility of a mama bear today, and also because I was unacquainted with YODELS. I'm so surprised I don't know all brands of snack cakes Little Debbie, Little Debbie but it has been a long time since they made up a portion of my dietary regimen.

I thought the theme was cute, and like @LMS (welcome back!), found the inclUSion of TWO USes in the revealer was very nice, so I liked this better than both Rex and Jeff Chen.

SEDUM was a gimme - my husband planted some in the gaps in our brick retaining wall and they have sweet little yellow flowers at the moment. So it is literally a "stone crop" at our house.

Thanks, Kyle Dolan, and nice job.

Masked and Anonymous 1:16 PM  

Yay, U'S! Superb theme. MARCUSAURELIUS actually has *three* U'S, but that's definitely forgivable.

Some real nice longball fillins, includin: SOCCERBALL [with great clue]. KARAOKE. SWALLOW. SEGWAY. UPTONOW. RAPTOR. UHHUH [bonus two of U'S].

Best turds in the party punchbowl: HEHE & SEDUM. harhar

staff weeject pick: Wowzer, 28 choices, here. Gonna go with YEP, mainly cuz it had the exact same clue as UHHUH.

Thanx a dozen, Mr. Dolan. fUn solvequest.

Masked & Anonymo12U'S

p.s. 12 U'S *and* the @Musemeister came home! It's almost like we're swimmin in cinnamon rolls or somesuch.


**gruntz**

Joe Dipinto 1:33 PM  

@Nancy -- you were...nowhere near close, actually. The MTM Show theme was called "Love Is All Around". "Just The Two Of Us" was sung by Bill Withers on a recording by saxophonist Grover Washington Jr. I'm sure you must have heard it somewhere along the way.

I googled images of SEDUM and I have seen it after all. I just never knew what it was called.

Nancy 1:45 PM  

The only reason I knew "sedum" was because of the novel Revolutionary Road - there is this whole ongoing thing about the Wheelers' busybody realtor dropping off some sedum as a gift for them to plant, but they don't know what to do with it and at the end all the dead plants are discovered in their cellar.

Anonymous 1:54 PM  

Very fun puzzle! @Nancy, I have to say that sometimes you crack me up and just about spit out some lemonade when I saw your remark on Just the Two of Us being the MTM Show theme song!

Carola 1:58 PM  

@Nancy, @albatross shell, re: "Put a cork in it!" - I wonder if there's a term for this sort of trick clue, where instead of needing to find a synonym for the entire phrase, you need to come up with an appropriate noun for just the "it." The first clue of this type that I remember was several puzzle-years ago: "Beat it!" Four letters. The answer wasn't "Shoo!" but "drum." So, the trick (I guess) lies in the exclamation point.

albatross shell 2:09 PM  

@anon1:03
Yes, I get it. But I'm a little confused about the standards. If some who is lame let me know I'd apologize. If I knew it was a common feeling I would not use it in the first place. I am not really sure that all metaphorical uses or alternative meanings should be cut out. LAME never seemed to me to be insulting when describing someone with a limp. Chants of lame were never yelled at me when I was on crutches for 3 months in first grade. I agree calling someone a cripple is not something I would do. Calling someone a lamebrain is vicious if he has a mental irregularity, but telling somebody of normal or above intelligence that he made a lame-brain remark or a lame joke would not strike me as offensive to a person with a limp. Less so than you calling me unwise and an ass. If I am wrong. I would like to know. Using crippled as above seems OK to me, but I could change my mind. Getting a new name for retarder brakes strikes me as absurd, but I would use it if it was well-known. Avoiding using the term when you normally would because a "challenged" person is present strikes me as insulting if you can't do it smoothly. Can we call a horse lame? Can we sing blinded by the light in front of a blind person? Say the word dumb in it's normal usage if mute is present or even say mute the TV? I have no objection to being polite and I try to be. I am not sure who is making the decisions and what the general standards are. I was just looking for an opinion on my examples.

Alysia 2:17 PM  

@Teedmn - I had the same problem with AURuLIUS and YuP. It's nice to see I've got company.

bagelboy 2:44 PM  

Am i the only one who wrote in SPARROW before SWALLOW? Breezed through the rest of the puzzle in a Monday time, them fixed it when i needed WAX to clean up the Northeast.

albatross shell 2:53 PM  

@carola 1:58 I guess naming rights are available. All I got is EP clue if it's always at the end or IT clue if it is always at the end. Not very good, if I do say so myself.

Anonymous 3:14 PM  

@ albatross shell, I agree with you completely. Going out of your way to avoid a common phrase seems to point at a possible insult where none would have been intended and be embarrassing to the "victim".

Anonymous 3:24 PM  

Themes in a book club is still more plausible than "theses," which I got stuck on. ("I just did not buy Karen's thesis that 'axes' were a major theme in the book!"). Which got me into a real pickle of "Chicago Set? Chicago Sew? ... Chicago Sex???"

Left Wing Louie 4:06 PM  

Speaking of lame, go to YouTube and watch any flight deck video of an Airbus aircraft landing (and there are dozens of them).

As the plane approaches the runway, a computer voice (that sounds like James Earl Jones but isn't) calls out the altitude:

"Fifty . . . forty . . . thirty . . . twenty . . . RETARD . . . RETARD . . . RETARD . . . five . . ."

That's harsh, when even the freakin' airplane is calling you names.

Nancy 4:46 PM  

@Carola (1:58) -- I was joshing, of course. I think all those "!" clues to indicate you're looking for the "it" -- whether it's a drum or a JUG -- are ridiculous. I knew what the constructor was doing, just as you did, but it's the worst kind of cluing, as far as I'm concerned and I was making a wee joke.

OTOH, @Joe Dipinto (1:33) and @Anon (1:54), I was dead serious about Mary Tyler Moore. I guess I confused "We can make it if we try" with "You're gonna make it after all." Bear with me -- it's been a very long time since the MTM show. Also, I'm pretty sure I never heard the Bill Withers song. But I'm glad I inadvertently provided you both with such amusement. Amusement is always good.

Anonymous 6:29 PM  

I just wonder why Sharp and the rest of the PC mob weren’t traumatized by the inclusion of a quote from Camptown Races, a minstrel song. Lol whatever.

JC66 6:39 PM  

@Anon 6:29

You obviously missed @LMS' 7:38 AM comment.

Anonymous 6:45 PM  

@JC - I did miss it. Good for her for front running the mob.

Hal Medrano 6:54 PM  

The song, "Just the Two of Us" was a huge jazz-pop crossover hit for Grover Washington Jr in the 1980s. Catchy song, if you like the genre.

Mike Mac 7:55 PM  

Me three! And a quick google search for MARCUS AURuLIUS shows it’s a pretty common misspelling - crossing with YEP/YuP is pretty unfriendly to the Tuesday solver.

Runs with Scissors 9:39 PM  

Noemal, mostly easy Tuesday. Not much jumped out at me, little to get hung up on. Liked it.

@albatross shell 2:09 pm

Unsurprisingly, your examples were perfectly acceptable. I don't go out of my way to be offensive, but neither do I go far out of my way to ensure I never offend anyone. That wouldn't be possible anyway.

Berkeley.

ABSENT DOODAHS
Mark, in Mickey's North 40

Anonymous 9:56 PM  

Why “Siesta, e.g.” instead of just Siesta? I could understand if the answer was CAR...

Rita 11:53 PM  

I’m a Mon to Wed solver. Sedum was a rare gimme for me. If we saw more plants and fewer celebrities maybe I could get further into the week.

albatross shell 2:57 AM  

@anon9:56
I do not know Spanish, but doesn't Siesta only refer to an afternoon nap?

Burma Shave 8:59 AM  

BUM DRAW

GEORGE'S girl LAUREL sings 'DOODAH' OSO hokey,
say UNO THE moral: Don'tYODEL KARAOKE.

--- WES MACAW

spacecraft 11:03 AM  

A bit feisty for a Tuesday here, thanks to my not running the alphabet deep enough on 2-down. "Squarish" = BO_Y. So, I got to N, and thought, well, I guess a BONY person could look squarish... But what started ENCU---? went around by Funston's and eventually got the aha: BOXY, doh!

Anyway, I agree somewhat with OFC, except I liked it better. The mid-east, though--yikes! UHHUH/HEHE is a few too many H's too close together for me. Theme is fine--even cute, and the fill (ABSENT the "mid-Atlantic") is good and clued to a Thursday level. I add my voice to those crying "Stop already with the taking offense at LAME!" That's a slope at the bottom of which nobody will be allowed to say ANYTHING.

DOD is LAUREL Coppock; her dazzling smile won me over. I want to write a Seussian story featuring that lovable TWOOFUS. (I'm guessing they always travel in pairs.) This puzzle must have been made with a nod to @M&A, with its dozen U's! Good one; birdie.

rondo 11:57 AM  

Nice to see a decent puz on Tuesday. Also nice to see my daughter's name in my B-day puz; I wouldn't want to do her job for what she makes, so HEAR, HEAR, yeah baby to her.

@Z, it's not just the revealer, all the THEME(r)S are 14 wide. Sheesh.

Good puz. Will ya still need me, will ya still feed me . . .

Diana, LIW 2:49 PM  

A one-letter dnf. Would like to claim a "typo" (writo?), but just plain ole error was the case. Chicago ??? SED? Yeah - that's me.

Happy B-day @Rondo. So, even tho you were a musical genius at age 14, I'm sure you've aged into a maestro of words. It only gets better from here on out! (Stretching the truth as much as a typo would be ;-) )

@Lefty - hope you didn't think I was being mean to you yesterday. It's just that I love Mondays and Monday solvers. EXCUSESEXCUSES

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoast 3:09 PM  

Some tricky and tough stuff (for a Tuesday), and some odd clues/answers

Themers and revealer (also a themer) are fine, but the two imbedded US's in each didn't pop out until coming here.

Had truaNT before ABSENT, and in re and attn before AS TO. Got the S from STU in the crossing SEDUM, which I "knew". GEORGES Bizet needed almost all crosses, and YODELS got the Y from SEGWAY.

Who knew that KARAOKE aptly translated as "empty orchestra"?

SOCCERBALL is the bonus long-word of the day.

Enjoyed the variety and pizzazz here.

Diana, LIW 3:16 PM  

Oh, one other thought. I'm not a gardener. NOT But I know we have a SEDUM or two in our gardens. I could point one out at 20 paces.

Lady Di, the Waiter

BS2 10:05 PM  

HOE THEMES

JUSTTHETWOOFUS HEAR doin' it,
UPTONOW; ASTO follow?
She RAPTOR hands 'round my UNIT
ABSENT EXCUSES to SWALLOW.

--- STU SEDUM

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