Silo filler, in brief / THU 7-4-19 / Figure skater Midori / Olympic champion Ohno / Squaresville

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Constructor: Jim Hilger

Relative difficulty: Easyish (5:51 for me)

THEME: CONCISELY — Theme answers are three-word phrases where the last letter of one word is the same as the first letter of the next, but the repeated letter is only written once and shared by the two words.

Theme answers:
  • AIR (R)AID (D)RILL (17A: Civil defense measure, concisely?)
  • SHORT (T)ERM (M)EMORY (23A: Recollection of something that just happened, concisely?)
  • PAY (Y)OUR (R)ESPECTS (50A: Make a polite visit, concisely?)
  • BEST (T)IME (E)VER (59A: "That. Was. A. Blast!," concisely?)

Word of the Day: Al CAPP (38D: Cartoonist who created Fearless Fosdick) —
Alfred Gerald Caplin (September 28, 1909 – November 5, 1979), better known as Al Capp, was an American cartoonist and humorist best known for the satirical comic strip Li'l Abner. ... Li'l Abner also features a comic strip-within-the-strip: Fearless Fosdick is a parody of Chester Gould's Dick Tracy. It first appeared in 1942, and proved so popular that it ran intermittently over the next 35 years. Gould was personally parodied in the series as cartoonist "Lester Gooch"—the diminutive, much-harassed and occasionally deranged "creator" of Fosdick. The style of the Fosdick sequences closely mimicks Tracy, including the urban setting, the outrageous villains, the galloping mortality rate, the crosshatched shadows, and even the lettering style. In 1952, Fosdick was the star of his own short-lived puppet show on NBC, featuring the Mary Chase marionettes. (Wikipedia)
• • •
Hi all, it's Matt Levine substituting for Rex today. Normally I write a daily financial column for Bloomberg Opinion, and I am honored and nervous to be spending my day off writing for Rex. I was particularly nervous when I signed up to do today's puzzle because I wasn't sure if I was in for more of a Thursday puzzle (harder, rebus-y) or more of a Fourth of July puzzle (easier, fireworks-related).

And the answer was kind of ... neither? The puzzle is Fourth-free, and the theme and overall difficulty didn't feel that Thursday-like. I barely even noticed the theme; I filled in "AIRAID__" from crosses, thought "huh that looks like AIR RAID but isn't," and then just sort of accepted it being AIR RAID and went from there.

It is one of those themes that you probably appreciate more as a constructor than as a solver. (I am not a constructor.) From a construction perspective, it is a challenge to find workable phrases in which each word after the first starts with the last letter of the previous word. My own unscientific efforts to come up with examples to throw into this review suggest that that's harder than it sounds, as does the randomness of this puzzle's theme answers. (Was the AIR RAID DRILL the BEST TIME EVER?) You'd have a tough time doing this theme with phrases that are linked by anything else, making the theme about meaning as well as structure. INDEPENDENCE EVE EXCITEMENT. GLIB BARBECUE EVENT. KNOCKOFF FIREWORKS SHOW. None of those fit a grid obviously.

But when you're solving, the theme just feels like "oh you leave out a couple of letters, okay." It's not that concise. I do appreciate a theme that ends on its own positive review. BESTIMEVER, you're supposed to say when you finish. The puzzle is easy enough that a lot of people probably will.

There is some perfectly pleasant longish fill, more SOLEMN and SERENE than anything that EXCITES too much, but SPECTRAL and HOROSCOPE and ONAWHIM and DUSTMOP and MARACAS are nice. The pop-culture references never get any more current than AGUILERA. I am not convinced PRICERS are a thing. The shorter fill is pretty crosswordy, ONTO and ITO and EYETO and SEATO. Do you enjoy reading E.A.P. of of E'EN? That's a good clue for PASSÉ (50D), "No longer either hot or cool?," the only ? clue in the puzzle; otherwise the cluing is pretty straight-ahead.

  • 22D Whale constellation - CETUS — Latin for whale. "Any large sea animal, a sea-monster; particularly a species of whale, a shark, dog-fish, seal, dolphin, etc.," says Lewis & Short, and it is pleasant to think of a more enchanted and less precise world in which, when you saw a big animal, you'd be like "ooh look it's a monster." The constellation does not look much like a whale? Apparently it's supposed to look like a monster.
  • 34D Old Roman course - ITER — Latin for way, journey or road. Beowulf uses "whale-road" as a kenning to describe the sea, but that is Anglo-Saxon, not Latin, never mind.
  • 46D Southernmost active volcano on earth - EREBUS — It's in Antarctica. In what might possibly be overkill, after my 2-year-old daughter asked me a few times "why is it raining," I went out and bought an earth science textbook and read it straight through, so I learned a lot about volcanoes before getting to the part about rain. "Because warm saturated air rises, expands and cools until the water condenses," I tell her now, unhelpfully. 
  • 49D Silo filler, in brief - ICBM — I was briefly misdirected. I wanted CORN or something. I don't know why that would be "in brief," but in my defense the theme here is Very Slight Abbreviation. ICBM is a regular old abbreviation though, intercontinental ballistic missile, the other kind of silo.
  • 54A Christina on Rolling Stone's list of "100 Greatest Singers of All Time" - AGUILERA — I like when the clue goes out of its way to say something nice about the person. "Singer Christina" would have been a perfectly adequate clue. I do the New Yorker's crossword and notice it editorializing in the clues a lot more than the Times does. "Trump administration official," the Times might say, but the New Yorker will say something like "Trump administration official, who is bad." 
  • 58A Fifth Avenue concern - SAKS — "Concern" is a good old-timey way to say "business," and a little bit of misdirection.
  • 61D Wall St. news - IPO — As a financial writer, I sometimes get annoyed at Rex for getting annoyed at the puzzle for including financial jargon. An IPO is a real thing, an initial public offering, and IPOs are in the news all the time these days, much more so than ITOs or ITERs. It's not amazing fill or anything but it's fine, it's fine. 
Signed, Matt Levine, hanging out in Crossworld for a day
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Hungry Mother 6:19 AM  

DNF on a Natick. The theme was fun. Happy 4th. Off to run a 5 mile race in the Yorktown Battlefield.

Loren Muse Smith 6:20 AM  

Yo, Matt. Thanks for filling in! Good write-up.

When I finished, I noticed only one pair of repeating letters in each themer, so I kept looking at the phrase – PAY YOUR RESPECTS or BEST TIME EVER and saying use and tease/teas/tees out loud, trying to make sense of it. But it just didn’t work with RR, so I abandoned that and finally saw that there were two repeats. Cool. Of course like Matt, I tried to think of others. College entrance exam. Real life experiences. Boy, those are lively. Not.

Then I wondered if you could get phrases that had three repeating letters in between: shameless slimball lout (and his) show-off foo-foo offspring.

Funny how sometimes one of the shared letters is dropped (wherever, eighteen) and sometimes it’s not (dumbbell, filmmaker). FWIW, it’s pastime, and don’t be tempted to add a T because it hails from “pass (the) time.”

Loved loved loved the clue for PASSÉ.

“As a whim” before ON A WHIM just kidding.

I kept going back and seeing “horrorscope” and was reminded of the genius of The Onion horoscopes. Here are some example:

Taurus - It’s going to be hectic and stressful for the next few days, but it’ll all be worth it by Friday when the pope excommunicates you for the coolest reason ever.

Sagittarius - Due to your optimism, your death next week with come as a big surprise; however, due to your devout Christianity, what comes after will be a terrible shock.

Scorpio - For centuries, fire was a sacred symbol of vitality and strength. Keep this in mind as you roll around frantically on your kitchen floor this Thursday.

Jim - I disagree with Matt - this was plenty hard for me for a Thursday.

Lewis 6:38 AM  

Lovely from start to finish, with deflective cluing that, when solved, brought mini-"Aha!"s, to downright witty cluing (as for SAKS, ACTRESS, ICBMS), to a clever and original theme that, when discovered, brought a "Hah!" and a smile, to a junk-lite set of answers from varied fields, and finally, to that ineffable stamp of quality that the best puzzles have.

Thank you, sir, for this CHOICEPICREATION, and I say "Gimme Jimmy anytime!"

QuasiMojo 6:42 AM  

This is a theme? I still don't get what it means or why it was conceived. "Pastime" is a word that does something similar. This didn't feel like a good way to pass time. The NYT app kindly told me I had SHORN ten minutes off my average time with this one. That is not a plus. And putting in SHORN instead of FLOWN is why I didn't best our guest host today. PRICERS are real jobs, Matt. Supermarkets employ them. I know because I am often pointing out to the cashier that a product is mispriced. Yeah, LMS, I am that guy. Happy Independence Day, fellow bloggerati. Make sure you cook those burgers thoroughly and don't put the canapé with the mini-EPEE in your mouth until you've removed it.

Dave 6:46 AM  

Very nice write-up! Better than Rex!

I'm still not sure what concisely means in this context.

Anonymous 6:53 AM  

i read money stuff (Matt's column for the confused) every day (well sadly not today, tomorrow, or on weekends) and am convinced it's the best thing on the internet. though i hope Matt doesn't read this as he knows the first rule of the internet is NEVER read the comments.

had the same 'CORN' desire on silo despite it being a terrible answer for the clue.

@matt: your education/work pedigree trumps mine by a country mile but i beat your time today! 4:20.

Anonymous 7:15 AM  

ha ha "Trump administration official who is bad" really really narrows down that list of possibilities doesn't it

Suzie Q 7:26 AM  

Fun easy puzzle and nice write up.
Interesting trivia re: tsar.
I always thought Apolo Ohno and Midori Ito were cool names. Here they are in the same grid.
As a kid I learned a lot from Lil Abner and felt very smart and grown up when I understood the satire.
I'm enjoying the guest hosts so far.
Thanks for sitting in Matt.

Anonymous 7:48 AM  

Thank you for subbing. Nice write up. Quite easy for Thursday. I didn’t have to google anything. Not even Fearless Fosdick. Ha.

Joe Dipinto 7:55 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown 7:56 AM  

What a crummy 4th of July puzzle. At least the WSJ had something nice for Independence Day yesterday since they don't publish today.
Let Freedom Ring!

Joe Dipinto 8:01 AM  

I don't think I can improve on what @QuasiMojo said, so let's just pretend I thought of it at the same time:

"This is a theme? I still don't get what it means or why it was conceived. "Pastime" is a word that does something similar. This didn't feel like a good way to pass time."

Amen brother. Did I like anything in this puzzle? Well, there's that new and exciting clue for OLAF. VERA was my mom's name. An Obama daughter always adds welcome suspense -- omigod, which _A__A will it be this time? If I had to pick a favorite word in this puzzle, I guess it would be EREBUS, which I knew from youthful days spent atlas-perusing. And I do like Matt's critique.

Don't watch our national "celebration" today. Listen to this instead, and sing along:

♪ Saturday in the park
I think it was the Fourth of July
Funny days in the park
Every day's the Fourth of July
People reaching, people touching
A real celebration, waiting for us all
If we want it, really want it
Can you dig it? Yes I can
And I've been waiting such a long time
For the day... ♪

Anonymous 8:10 AM  

Would appreciate some wife and I have been doing the NYT XW every day for at least the past 25 years. Today’s puzzle, although not intrinsically bad, was a final slap in the face as it had zero Independence Day references. When politics enter the crossword world, either by omission or commission, (and the two Spanish clues were another slap on the 4th) it’s time to move on.
So we’re going to say goodbye to the NYT after all these years and would appreciate any suggestions as to sites that publish a daily crossword on the difficulty level of Th-Sat. The bonus would be the throwaway Mon-Tue puzzles will no longer be a factor!
Rod and Michelle

DavidL 8:14 AM  

Matt, I receive your Bloomberg column in my inbox every day, and I'm a big fan. So cool that you filled in for Rex today. Interesting and thorough write-up, without the usual angst -- I'm impressed but not surprised.

When I saw your completion time -- and before I realized you weren't Rex -- I was excited because my "Rex ratio" (my time compared to Rex's) was so low. But alas, you're not Rex and presumably slower than the ninth greatest solver in the universe.

Anyway, I did find this very easy for a Thursday - figured out the theme early, and the rest of the puzzle was on my wavelength. If AGUILERA is the hardest pop culture reference, then I'm good.

Carola 8:14 AM  

Kvetcher's Korner - I wanted fireworks, thought this theme fell more into the damp squib category.
But...nice job on the double overlap in each phrase and on the clues for PASSE and SAKS.

Matt, thanks for the write-up. I liked learning about Fearless Fosdick :)

Anonymous 8:20 AM  

You're right: PRICERS are not a thing. Department store employees who put price tags on clothes are called MARKERS.

RavTom 8:31 AM  

You’d have a great time in MA. If an item is mispriced, the supermarket has to give it to you for free.

Uncle Alvarez 8:33 AM  

@Rod and Michelle, don’t let the door hit you on on the way out. Adios.

QuasiMojo 8:35 AM  

Hello Rod and Michelle, I feel the same way sometimes but then I wouldn't have anything apropos to add to this always entertaining blog. I can recommend the WSJ puzzle which is free online (for now) and the Saturday Stumper at Newsday, which always is challenging. The New Yorker now has two online puzzles each week. Monday is tougher than the Friday one. A bit too au courant for my taste but I enjoy learning new things occasionally. I think CrosswordFiend blog has links to the Universal puzles. And then there is the LA Times puzzle which gets harder each day as the week progresses, and usually offers up a challenging Friday and Saturday puzzle. You can find those online for free at the Washington Post website. Good luck!

P.S. Thanks @Joe DiPinto for the nice comment. But I'm sure much better ones will be forthcoming.

Hatcher 8:36 AM  

@Anon 8:10 (assuming you're real and not Rex spicing up the blog). Did you get VIP tickets to the Capitol 4th celebration? As a taxpayer who paid for the politicized version of the rally, I mean event, let me say, "You're welcome." Ever so slightly annoyed that money was diverted from the already thin national parks budget, but when we get to the point where the little people can't fund the best 4th ever for the VIPs of this world, then I don't want to be an American anymore.

Can anyone suggest a new country in case that happens? One where someone with at least a little intelligence has a hand on the wheel?

Fun puzzle, great write-up! I like an easyish Thursday. It keeps me off the streets.

Leon 8:40 AM  

Alyssa Naeher , USWNT Goalie, does crosswords on game day to relax.

Great last name for crossword constructors.

Happy Fourth!

J. Adams 8:40 AM  

Of course its a 4th of July theme....

Today you might be heading out the National Mall in DC to PAYOURESPECTS to America. Instead, you will discover that the occupant of the White House has turned this BESTIMEVER into an AIRAIDRILL, and find yourself praying that this debacle will soon be erased from your SHORTERMEMORY.

Happy Independence Day.

WayneS 8:46 AM  


Joe Dipinto 8:48 AM  

Querido @Rod y Michelle 8:10 --

Nosotros comprendemos. Ahí está la puerta.

(Damn you, Uncle Alvarez!)

Lobster11 8:49 AM  

Rod and Michelle: There are lots of good reasons to say goodbye to the NYT daily puzzle -- Rex reminds us every day -- but the absence of an Independence-Day theme on July 4 seems like a pretty weak one to me. And if you thnk that two Spanish clues "were another slap on the 4th," then you are the ones making this political, not the NYT.

Birchbark 8:59 AM  

SHORTERMEMORY is also SHORTER MEMORY. My favorite of the theme answers.

There is something hypnotic about the theme today. It has me staring impossibly at AGUILERA and MARACAS and APOLO, wanting them to be part of the game as well.

@Matt Levine -- Really tracking with your rain-explanation frustration. If you stay with it long enough though, the cycle of rising, condensing, and falling is a very powerful key. Add the friction of upward and downward drafts and you have thunder and lightning.

Now to run a two-mile race, having not run in about a year. Tradition trumps common sense today.

kitshef 9:00 AM  

Shockingly easy for a Thursday. Nice timing for a World Cup clue, but it always irks me when they don’t specify the sport. Just add FIBA to the clue and I’ll be unirked.

Speaking of sporting bodies, it's always odd to me that Midori's figure skating and Apolo's short track speed skating are regulated by the same body, the ISU. Why not throw ice hockey in there while we're at it?

Spanish right the way across the top - OCHO - TAPAS - DESI.

FLAC 9:02 AM  

Right on, J. Adams @8:40! My sentiments exactly.

Anonymous 9:05 AM  

Quasimojo, appreciate the sincere response...for the rest of y’all, Happy Independence Day troll!

Teedmn 9:06 AM  

A straightforward Thursday theme - once it was observed, the only thing left was to find out what other phrases qualified. But I found myself looking forward to that reveal so I enjoyed the puzzle.

I started out by listing the countries between the US and Colombia but came up short by one and had to get it from the downs. Somehow I had forgotten Nicaragua, sheesh. And 1D didn't help - first I had Otto, then changed it to Ivan and needed the gimme, Minnesota LOON, to remember Count OLAF!

ON A lark (yes, I did splatz that in first before I realized this bird has FLOWN was the answer to 20A), I had TAcos for Cantina snacks. After I fought my way out of the NW, this puzzle FLOWed much more smoothly.

Thanks, Jim Hilger. And thanks, @J Adams 8:40, for the 4th of July tie-ins.

Nancy 9:08 AM  

People don't mispel enough already?

People don't take enough txtspk shrtcts now?


Z 9:23 AM  

Felt like a tough Monday or easy Tuesday here. The plethora of ese was certainly a factor. It makes me wonder if APOLO Ohno and Yoko Ono ever had an EPEE duel if they’d end up in Lance ITO’s court with aloe VERA on their scars. Sounds like a whole new chapter in The Green Paint Mystery, doesn’t it.

1A gets the arched eyebrow not because of the Spanish, but because it ignores that Caribbean Island Nations are also between los Estados Unidos y Colombia.

Pennsylvania Game News Covers. I dunno.

The most patriotic thing I’ve read lately. Reminds me that we still have a lot of work to do to form a moore perfect union.

Klazzic 9:30 AM  

Excellent review, Matt. A pleasant read. Great job pitch hitting for OFL.

Exubesq 9:40 AM  

The fact that you think Spanish related clues are a “slap on the 4th” tells me a lot about you. Don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya.

Anonymous 9:42 AM  

Disappointing. Pointless theme. Aguilera crossing Erebus? C’mon, we can do better than that on Juky 4.

RooMonster 9:50 AM  

Hey All !
Lots of O enders today, OCHO APOLO ONTO ITO EYETO BRAVO SEATO ALLPRO IPO ENERO. Thought for sure @Lewis would pick that up. C'mon, @Lewis, you're slipping. :-)

Anyway, didn't think puz was UNHIP, but did seem kind of an odd theme for a ThursPuz. Would've been better on a Wednesday, IMveryH(umble)O. Of course, with my notoriously bad SHOTERMEMORY, will have forgotten about it forthwith.

Would've liked a Fourth themed puz, seems it's FLOWN the coop.

Got a big laugh from @J. Adams 8:40 post about the theme. Awesome! BRAVO sir/ma'am.

Enjoy USA's Independence from England Day today! Raise a glass to all those brave rebels who wanted a life free of British rule. Watch those FINGERS.


puzzlehoarder 9:51 AM  

BESTIMEVER pretty much describes how difficult this was to solve. A minute under Wednesday time continues this week's sub par level of challenge.

Given my reading and spelling skills if the theme clues did not have question marks there's a good chance I'd have written them in as is and then not have noticed anything being different.

Speaking of my reading skills, thanks @lms for getting me to reread the 50D clue. Originally I read "cool" as being no longer hot. I knew there was something I wasn't getting.

Anonymous 10:25 AM  

Nicely put; very witty!

amyyanni 10:32 AM  

Enjoyed your write-up, Matt. Like you, I so wanted corn in that silo that once I got the B in the 3rd spot, I threw down COBS. Managed to clear that, and like @SuzieQ, also appreciated Apolo and Midori together. I love the 4th but am fine with no reference to it in the puzzle. As is tradition, NPR newscasters read the Declaration this morning. One of the ways I like to observe this revolutionary day is to listen to that.

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

If you've been doing the NY Times puzzle for 25 years, I can't imagine why this one would send you over the edge. Maybe Will just didn't have any July 4th themed submissions that he felt were of sufficient quality. I doubt it was some kind of political statement.

And what's wrong with (actually 7) Spanish answers? I don't recall us winning independence from Spain. There were also Norwegian, French (2), Serbian, Iranian, Arabic (2, including ALOE VERA), Latin, Chinese, Japanese, Indian (2), Filipino, Russian (2 including SASHA), Greek (2), Inuit, and Italian (2 including BRAVO)-related answers. Looks like 27 answers that have a clear foreign origin; maybe there was a deliberate international flavor, but there is no evidence it was political.

Molasses 10:48 AM  

Nice writeup!

I started this puzzle before realizing I was mistakenly taking canine anti-seizure meds instead of the antibiotic I was supposed to be taking after oral surgery the other day. Wondered why I was feeling so loopy. Luckily my former wonderdog Cleo, may she rest in peace, was 1/7th my size, so no harm done. I assume. At any rate, I found the puzzle very difficult last night, but pretty easy to finish this morning.

@Quasimojo, thanks for the list of alternate puzzle sources! If R&M are real I don't think they'd appreciate the New Yorker or Washington Post any more than the NYT (I'll never forget the disclaimer the Post put at the bottom of every Trump-related article during the campaign making their disgust for him clear). Copying the list for future reference.

Happy 4th, everyone!

Adam 10:57 AM  

Nice write-up, Matt!

My first thought on seeing 58A (Fifth Avenue concern) was "Trump shooting someone and not losing any votes". But it was only 4 letters, so I got one or two of the crosses and filled in SAKS (which I often pass on my way to or from work).

No holiday theme, no rebus, kind of blah - but not terrible. An enjoyable 15-minute diversion.

Whatsername 11:03 AM  

Enjoyed Matt’s writeup, thought it was very fair and basically agree with it. Once I got the theme, my thought was exactly the same; this is one of those that was probably fun to construct but not anything special to solve. There was no aha moment or surprise, no challenge, just fill in the blanks. As others have lamented, an Independence Day theme would have been nice.

@Joe Dipinito: Thanks in advance for the ear worm I’m going to have all day. LOL. But seriously, I love that song, quite apropos. If I couldn’t get my 4th of July theme in the puzzle, I’ll take it in the comments.

@Rod and Michelle at 08:10 - I also prefer not to mix politics with my crossword experience; however I fail to see anything bi-partisan about this one. You’re slapped in the face by the Spanish clues? Ever hear of the Spanish Expedition? King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella? An explorer named deSoto? No, they didn’t establish democracy, but without them our founding fathers might have stayed in Europe drinking tea across the pond.

@Lobster11 - Exactly!

@Nancy at 9:08 - Priceless!!! I know I’m a grammar fanatic, but I loathe the growing tendency toward shortcuts and textspeak. In a way, it seems symbolic of the general lowering of standards throughout society.

dadnoa 11:07 AM  

Great insight! Lovely summary. Pricers are not a thing. I checked with my wife, the expert in these matters. Happy 4th!

Newboy 11:08 AM  

Hand up for COBS before ICBM, but today’s real glitch came when TSAR and Bering redirection mentally took me to Siberia for a long morning sojourn. Only my wife could rescue me with a spelling correction of SAXS where I have never shopped. Thanks for sharing the political commentary that reflects what the 4th surely celebrates; let us remember that unanimity has never been the theme of true Americans. Good puzzle, nice commentary, and BESTIMEVER. And thanks especially to @Z for the Sue Bird link.

QuasiMojo 11:11 AM  


"If U Cn Rd Ths
u cn gt a gd jb w hi pa!
So thinks a sign in the subway.
Think twice when letters disappear
Into Commodity’s black hole—
No turning back from that career.
This counterspell may save your soul."

James Merrill

xyz 11:13 AM  

Not a fan of lame-o holiday themed puzzles this was more a gimme Thursday to get us out the door. I like that.

ANON 8:10 - Did you notice just how badly TAPAS was clued? I guess not, having left us the lamest criticism evah.

Happy 4th, Y'all. Keep it under a fifth on the fourth or just keep off the road. Better yet, celebrate at home.

Mañana, todos

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

Really? Lauding Spanish monarchs on the 4th of July.
Count me out.

Fred Romagnolo 11:39 AM  

No one mentioned MOGUL next to the Shah (REVA) next to the TSAR; three forms of government the day celebrates the riddance of (preposition ender).

gregg 11:42 AM  

Sorry you feel that way. You sound about the same age as we are. Beauty and politics are in the eye of the beholder. Sorry to lose you but it's your choice. Long time moderate Republicans.

OffTheGrid 11:43 AM  

Not a thing? Guess again.

Pricer | Definition of Pricer at

(especially in retail stores) an employee who establishes prices at which articles will be sold, or one who affixes price tags to merchandise. a person who inquires prices, as from a competitor.

Does that help? Probably not.

Z 11:58 AM  

@OffTheGrid - So actually three separate jobs. The person who decides what to charge and the person with the label gun and the person from the competition who comes in to see what the other guy is up to. That’s a whole lot of usage for a word that’s “not a thing.”

Joe Dipinto 12:06 PM  

My first thought on seeing 58A (Fifth Avenue concern) was "Trump shooting someone and not losing any votes".

@Adam -- hah, good one!

Now I must expunge all orange thoughts for the rest of the day.

jberg 12:28 PM  

Thursday is supposed to be the day for tricks, so this fits right in in that regard; and I did like the misdirect "concisely?" But my experience was like Matt's -- I didn't always notice the missing letters. It wasn't until I came here did I realize they were all three word answers with two shared letters.

So OCHO SRAS walk into a TAPAS bar, but one of them can't find a SEATO.

Joseph M 12:28 PM  

Nice write up, Matt.

Enjoyed the theme a lot.


Happy Tanks Giving, everyone.

EdTech@mjbha 12:34 PM  

DESI Arnaz was, for the most part, the straight man. Had a tough believing that was the answer.

Whatsername 12:37 PM  

@Anonymous at 11:31 - Really? There is no praise in merely pointing out the role they played in history. From what I recall, Christopher Columbus would not have gotten as far as he did without them.

Annette 1:16 PM  

Great write-up; meh puzzle.

jb129 1:34 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 1:35 PM  

Dont play coy. Ascribing the very existence of the country to the Spanish Monarchs is what you're doing. And it's not only insulting but wrong.
None of the founders of the country was Spanish or of Spanish descent.
This country was founded by the English, its laws and customs of English descent.

john towle 2:50 PM  

Ever heard of Manifest Destiny? Most of the Far West was Spanish, then Mexican. Don’t get me started on the Trail of Tears. To quote Chief Joseph: “I will fight no more forever.” Before I lose my Aplomb, I’ll sign off,



Exubesq 2:52 PM  

I see what you did there. ;-)

Anonymous 3:33 PM  

OK, everyone agrees that the biggest influence to the American colonies was the Brits.

But the Dutch, French, Spanish, etc. all had their little parts.

So what? None of that is a reason to find this puzzle offensive or antipatriotic just because it has a bunch of clues with Spanish words.

Whatsername 3:55 PM  

@Anonymous: I said nothing of the kind. You are accusing me of that which I did not state or even insinuate and doing so under the cover of an anonymous identity. I cannot argue what you choose to infer and therefore have no interest in any further debate. Let’s just be thankful the events of history occurred as they did and transpired to produce a great nation built upon the principles of democracy. I wish you a pleasant holiday.

RooMonster 4:49 PM  

So I'm sitting in our Limo parking area at the airport, when my car starts shaking likesomeone is deliberately pushing on the bumper. Turns out, it was a Shock from the 6.4 earthquake outside of Bakersfield. Yep, felt it here in Las Vegas.
Tres bizarre.


Sunnyvale Solver 5:28 PM  

Cute little theme. I like themes that don’t need revealers.

63A clue/answer pair Squaresville/UNHIP seemed wrong at first: a noun clueing an adjective. But on further thought, it might be ok. Is squaresville an adjective?

Runs with Scissors 5:34 PM  

Weird puzzle, but fun to solve. Went fairly fast. No real hiccups (or hiccoughs if you prefer the old spelling).

Late to the party because I had to pre-emptively burn off holiday calories this morning. Now to chomp on some pork flesh and corn. Other stuff too, but I don't know what yet.

Happy 4th all y'all. May we always remember why liberty is important.

Runs with Scissors 5:42 PM  

@RooMoster 4:49 PM

I'm in Anaheim, about 200 miles from the epicenter. All we got was a gentle roll - enough to remind us we're in earthquake country. Nothing like Northridge in 1994.

Joe Dipinto 9:01 PM  

Sittin' on the dock of the bay in Red Hook, waitin' for the fireworks to start...

Burma Shave 10:16 AM  


This ACTRESS named VERA would never
have the POISE to be SOLEMNly clever.
What EXCITES her is sex,


spacecraft 10:36 AM  

A really tough battle for DOD today, what with Suzanne Somers (although appearing only in the clue) and winner Christina AGUILERA--because she IS in the grid; in fact was my way in. So my first themer was PAYOURESPECTS. I just did, Christina.

The south went pretty quickly; the north less so. Took a while to parse ALLPRO and ONAWHIM, to say nothing of INOT. Did INOT make myself clear? All in all, I'd say easy-medium.

Spanish, anyone? With OCHO, TAPAS and DESI the whole first line dips south of the border. Plus SRAS at the end. A maxi-mini-theme. YUKON sits perilously close to EREBUS. I wouldn't call this solve the BESTIMEVER, but I'll give it a BRAVO! And a birdie.

rondo 12:15 PM  

It was concise. And I’d better do these puzzles now because I’m the BEST I’M EVER gonna be as I develop a SHORTER MEMORY.

CETUS EREBUS was an ancient emperor, right? Modern translation would be SASHA BRAVO.

Christina AGUILERA’s song ‘Beautiful’ is, and so is she. Yeah baby.

Anytime you can walk away from a Thurs-puz without a rebus (not EREBUS) . . .

Diana, LIW 2:51 PM  

Very, very close. Got all the themers, with their shortcuts. The NW was a bit of a Natick for me. But, as I said, got most of it - Give myself an A-.

Bonus Points - I learned that Caesar was the root of the TSAR/czars. Love it when I learn something new.

I keep doing those puzzle anthologies and catching up...

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Diana, LIW 3:01 PM  

Ummm...about that NW Natick. Isn't the state bird of the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes the MOSQUITO? When it didn't fit, I was flummoxed.

Diana, LIW

leftcoast 3:25 PM  

Tricky theme to flush out initially.

First to appear was PAYOURESPECTS, which I parsed as PAY OUR RESPECTS. That caused some distraction with the others. But ALL the overlaps were there as I unconsciously elided them. (Does that count?)

Naticked at the AGUILaRA/ARaBUS cross, but not an earth-shaking mistake.

Haven't seem this gimmick before, and enjoyed it.

rainforest 3:48 PM  

I found I couldn't dislike this puzzle. Amid a dollop of crosswordese I appreciated some very fine entries (on both sides): SPECTRAL, AGUILERA, ACTRESS, ON A WHIM, etc.
The theme was different, always a good thing, and this one isn't that easy to do although fun to solve. Good one.

Although not commenting on previous puzzles due to a variety of errands attended to, I liked all this week's puzzles and write-ups.

rondo 10:23 PM  

@D,LIW - Yes, sometimes we will call the mosquito the state bird, all too often actually. But, they did name the pro soccer team the LOONs and they're apparently doing well. Commie sport, IMHO.

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