Something to believe in / TUES 8-6-19 / Ballet leap / Home of Anne of Green Gables / Bygone kind of tape

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Hi, everyone! It's Clare — and I'm writing on the first Tuesday of the month this time around. Hope everyone managed to stay cool during the record-breaking heat in July. I'm learning that summer in DC is very different from what I'm used to in California — the humidity is ridiculous! Anywho, onto the puzzle...

Constructor: Jon Olsen

Relative difficulty: Quite hard

THEME: BLUE ON BLUE (61A: 1963 Bobby Vinton hit... or a hint to both halves of 18-, 23-, 37- and 54-Across) — Both parts of the theme answers fit with the word "blue" after them.

Theme answers:
  • BABY POWDER (18A: Bottom coat?)
  • ARCTIC OCEAN (23A: Habitat for a walrus)
  • ROYAL NAVY (37A: Its motto, translated from Latin, is "If you wish for peace, prepare for war")
  • COBALT STEEL (54A: Drill bit alloy)
Word of the Day: CASCA (5A: Co-conspirators with Brutus and Cassius) —
Publius Servilius Casca Longus (84 BC – c. 42 BC) was one of the assassins of Julius Caesar. He and several other senators conspired to kill him, a plan which they carried out on 15 March, 44 BC. Afterwards, Casca fought with the liberators during the Liberators' civil war. He is believed to have died by suicide after their defeat at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC. (Wiki)
• • •
Well, I had a hard time with this puzzle. In fact, the solve had me feeling a bit blue (if you'll pardon the cheesy pun — my brain is a bit fried after trying to work this puzzle out). A lot of my trouble may have come from the fact that the puzzle is very much OLD TIME (11D). The longer answers didn't really click with me while I was solving, and a lot of the puzzle is stuff I wasn't expecting to see in a Tuesday puzzle, so I wasn't quite in the right mindset while solving.

The theme was clever enough. It didn't help with the solve, but it was somewhat fun to go back after the fact and see how BLUE ON BLUE worked with the theme answers. My color knowledge from those giant Crayola crayon boxes from elementary school came in handy because I actually knew all these different shades of blue! Probably my favorite of the theme answers was BABY POWDER (18A), which gave me a good laugh when I figured it out. The other theme answers were fine. I just didn't particularly enjoy them because the rest of the puzzle gave me trouble.

Probably my least favorite of the fill was DATSUNS (42D: Old Nissan Autos). Yes, I'm pretty young, but I've never heard of these cars before in my life. Same with Esther ROLLE (52A: Esther of "Good Times"), AEC (50A: Early nuclear org.), SYD (33D: Guitarist Barrett), or AJA (64D: Best-selling Steely Dan album). It's 100 percent fine to put these in a puzzle, but to see all of these (and more) words/phrases on a Tuesday?

The constructor did have clever clues/answers in the puzzle, too. I particularly enjoyed EVE (60A: Good name for a girl born on December 24?) and ALPHA (9D: Leader of Athens?), which were good uses of clues with question marks at the end. Likewise, I found SLEEVED (12D: Like LPs and some dresses) fun; same with CLAUSE (51D: A dependent one might start with "that"). I weirdly didn't find KLEENEX (45D: Something that may be used before a blessing) all that amusing, which I'm going to attribute to the fact that I solved that corner last and was very, very ready to just be done with the puzzle at that point. Also, some of the short fill answers were clued differently than usual, which was nice.

  • Maybe I couldn't come up with CHELSEA (25D: Posh neighborhood of London or New York) because it's not Liverpool. (And we all know that Liverpool has the best men's soccer team, of course. Chelsea is mediocre — at best!)
  • Sorry, OONA Chaplin, you were great in GOT, but your character, Talisa, was done dirty in the show.
  • My sister tells me that TWEED (56D: Jacket material) is going to be very "in" this fall! Who needs Vogue when you've got the Rex Parker crossword blog?
  • I got a kick out of LENS (65A: Focusing aid), because I was literally solving the crossword while my glasses sat on top of my head... unused. Oops!
  • In my opinion, Dennis QUAID (28A) has a much better resume than his brother, Randy (including The Parent Trap and The Rookie, two amazing movies I've seen way too many times), and Randy seems to have turned into a bit of a kook. So I'd give the point in the Battle of the Brothers to Dennis!
Signed, Clare Carroll, a melting DC law clerk

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


WhoisMark 12:28 AM  

Never heard of Esther Rolle?

Joaquin 12:32 AM  

When I hit the revealer and saw it referenced Bobby Vinton, I knew the young folks (i.e., anyone under 70) were in trouble.

jae 1:50 AM  

Tough. Smooth with a fine ‘60s top 40 reveal. Liked it.

@Clare - You’re right, Randy is a bit of a kook.

Engine Ear 2:06 AM  

Do yourself a favor and pick up Aja, find a high quality sound system, pour yourself a cocktail, and let the jazzy blues rock of Steely Dan sweep over you.

“I cried when I wrote this song. Sue me if I play too long...”

Good puzzle and I agree, harder than USUAL for a Tuesday. OHOH and IRST were the worst offenders, but a fun solve overall.

cseft 2:33 AM  

Hi Claire,

It was an average solve for me, but then I’m 2 (OK, maybe 3) decades older than you. So: 1) the second car I ever owned was a Datsun (great car, a “classic” 510), “Good Times” was one of the big sitcoms of the era (I even watched it occasionally), I owned Aja (take a listen sometime, it’s a great album), and the AEC, well, you needed to live in the era (but I also drew a blank with Syd, needed to infer it from the crosses). As for humidity, I was born in Denver and grew up there and in LA. Then I came out to the DC area for grad school (GW). One day, I was at school and needed to get some cash from an ATM. It was raining, but I figured no big deal, I’d be out and back in 5 minutes. So I threw on my jacket but left my umbrella behind. Well, after I got back inside my jacket and I ended up being wet for the rest of the day. Not like the low humidity back west, where you dry of in a few minutes, Long story short, I stayed in the DC area (decades later), but I’m STILL not used to the humidity!

Maraschino 2:44 AM  

I'm with Clare. This was a toughie Tuesday with a lot of names that rang no bells. As true blue as the theme ran, it lacked sparkle. The symmetry of DATSUN and OLD-TIME sums up how dated and textbook it all felt. Yesterday's puzzle barked up the right tree; this one, sad to say, was a pile of bark.

albatross shell 2:46 AM  

Tough for a Tuesday. I agree with a lot of what Clair said, especially her favorite clues. My favorite was for SLEEVED, great clue. ALLA way over my musical knowledge. I know nothing about Anne of Green Gables. I'm sure it was a gimmie for many. ROLLE unknown to me. CCTV? I was looking for Cams or taps. EludE before EVADE, idolizE before ELEVATE, Cubes before CUBIC. CASCA I knew from seeing Old Will's play in the spring. Getting BLUEONBLUE helped a lot for getting the themers.

Real nice fill and theme. Enjoyed it bunches when I Wasn't banging my head against the wall. Of course I have many bruises.

Only thing I did not like was HOHO for I got it, I got it. Things I considered.

mine as in baseball.
ahHa as in eureka.
HaHa as in got the joke.
ohno ohme as in I got the disease.
oboy eeow as in I hit the lottery.
wOof as in I bit the mailman.
ouch as I stubbed my toe on whatever I was looking for
I screamed HOHO as loud as I could a couple times. I guess it works as in joke or eureka.

albatross shell 2:51 AM  

Clare, sorry. I meant to check your name before I sent the post.

chefwen 2:52 AM  

This was one tough Tuesday for me. Now that I’ve finished I really don’t know why, it looks so simple now. Super slow start, but once I got a toe hold (which took forever) I gained some speed. Puzzle partner gave up and used his crumpled up copy to play fetch with the puppy. Strange little guy, he loves chasing things but once he gets them the game changes to “keep away” and you’ll never get the object to throw again.

Liked the puzzle after I was done.

Greg 3:29 AM  

That AJA/JETE cross was rough for me. Otherwise par for the course for a Tuesday. Is Rex just not ever writing reviews any more?

Dan 4:57 AM  

Remember ROLLE and AJA. You’ll see them again. (Well, and AEC and SYD too. You can forget about DATSUNs though.)

Jofried 6:03 AM  

Right there with you Clare...I thought this was unusually hard for a Tuesday. I didn’t know the initials for the atomic energy agency so got stuck trying to figure out the end of BLUEONBLUE as well as CLAUSE, which for some reason my brain just couldn’t process. Too many old proper nouns, no fun!

BarbieBarbie 6:08 AM  

There’s KEY and there’s CAY, and CASCA is spelled CASKA by Shakespeare, so that section was a mess for me.

Enjoyed this puzzle, and I’m happy that Wednesday came early this week.

Lewis 6:12 AM  

Very nice bite for Tuesday, a hint for new solvers of what's to come later in the week. Some observations:
* SUB is up, EAST is south, ELEVATE is down, EDGED describes its location perfectly.
* Cross of CLAUSE and CAUSE, and cross of OHOH backward crossing CHEER UP.
* "December 24" in EVE's clue close to CLAUSE.
* I learned about COBALT STEEL.
* Mini theme of double E's (6), and words ending with ED (8) (No comment).

AZURE maybe gathering, I kinda quite liked this. Thank you for this, your second NYT puzzle, Jon!

BarbieBarbie 6:18 AM  

Long, long ago, when “made in Japan” was another way to say “will break soon,” you could only rent two kinds of car in Hawaii: a “Toyota” or a DATSUN. Neither one would go uphill very well, and they looked identical, like a Yugo (which didn’t exist yet). DATSUN morphed into Nissan sometime in the 80s or early 90s, but by that time they were making much better cars and shipping to the Mainland. Thanks, Mr. Deming.

Loren Muse Smith 6:56 AM  

This reminds me of a puzzle a few years ago whose reveal was “the blues,” but its themers had the headword that was the blue one, not the whole phrase. I am surprised that we have so many words for just blue.

Man, we have the color words, right? And it’s funny how (**sexist alert maybe I guess so sue me but remember I’m 58 not that it really matters**) that women are allowed to use more of the specific ones. My sister can tell me she bought a periwinkle jacket, but if Mr. Johnson tells me, I’ma notice. I mean, if my husband told me he likes the cornflower jacket I bought last year, I’d swallow my teeth. But there again, he calls any ensemble I wear a “suit.” Hard not to think of the whole linguistic relativity deal, where maybe people with 3,456,577 words for color, us, actually perceive a more colorful world than people with only 5 words for color, like the Berninmo tribe.

CHEER UP. What a dumb expression and waste of breath. If anyone ever says that to me, I feel worse since I’m unable to CHEER UP. I’m reminded of the time my thesis director said, You need to be more confident. Oh. Ok. That never occurred to me. Thanks, Randy. All better now. If I have, well, the blues, I don’t want someone to command me to snap out of it. I. Want. Validation.

“Like wedding cakes, typically” – anticlimactic. Ammirite?

Look at the answer to 36A. Little teaser for Jon’s next offering. Bet he’s halfway there. ;-)

QuasiMojo 6:56 AM  

I had no problem with the OLD stuff. Esther ROLLE rolled off my tongue even though I've never seen the show she was in. I recall her as a ROLE model back when.

What actor or actress isn't a kook. Randy Quaid won an Oscar. He was kind of cute in The Last Picture Show.

You don't have to know who Bobby Vinton was to know the theme is BLUE BLUE something.

Chelsea in NY is "posh"? Lol

TWEED is always in fashion.

I still call them Datsuns. I used to have one that leaked carbon monoxide. My mechanic warned me not to drive it without the windows open.

I also had a Compaq. So nifty but useless. I think I was able to store 50 pages of text. Nearly went blind trying to read it though.

Thumbs up (hi CASCA) for this amusing well-constructed puzzle.

amyyanni 7:09 AM  

Hey Clare, I feel you on humidity from down here in SW FL; when I run in the morning, I come home dripping. On the other hand, like @cseft, I owned both a Datsun and "Aja." Now if only Jon had worked in Joni's BLUE album......still, a very fine puzzle.

kitshef 7:21 AM  

Skewed a little old for me - and I'm old. In particular, I am not familiar with BLUE ON BLUE. It was the #42 song of 1963, so popular and in my lifetime, but just have not run across it.

This led me down the rabbit hole of other #42 songs for the year. Remember Whoomp! There it Is!? Mambo No. 5? But the weren't all dreck. I Am a Rock, Stray Cat Strut, I'm Telling You Now (Simon and Garfunkel, Stray Cats, Freddie and the Dreamers).

But here's a freaky coincidence:
#42 song in 1963 - BLUE ON BLUE
#42 song in 1964 - White on White

Hungry Mother 7:24 AM  

Tough Tuesday, but a very nice theme and a fun solve. I would have been happier if ROLLE wasn’t in the grid, but it was gettable with crosses.

Anonymous 7:28 AM  

I got slowed down by the Bobby Vinson clue. I wanted the answer to be Blue Velvet though the crosses said otherwise. I didn’t like the LP and some dresses clue. I would have preferred it to be LPs and some shirts. Why? Most LPs have sleeves as do most shirts. Sleeves aren’t the first thing I think of with dresses. I liked it; but it was a tough Tuesday.

pabloinnh 7:34 AM  

Sometimes being in he 70+ club is a real asset, as I found this one easy enough. Never guess right on EVADE vs. ELUDE, but that was the only small hangup. Also considered "Blue Velvet" before BLUEONBLUE, but not for long.

Getting tired of the "I got it" clue for the kid with his hand up trying to attract attention, so I'm offering my twenty-month old granddaughter's favorite reaction to anything problematical that happens-"Oh oh", said in a worried tone. Clue can be "What Pablo's granddaughter says". You're welcome.

Had a STEEL blue '68 Camaro once upon a time, so good memories there.

Nice job, JO. Just about right for a Tues., IMHO.

Suzie Q 7:41 AM  

Very nice Tuesday which is not what we usually get. It's a shock sometimes to learn what some people have never heard of. Makes me feel older by the second.
I enjoyed the unusual wording of the clues today. I look forward to more from Mr. Olsen.
My favorite Datsun just happened to be powder blue. I loved that car.

Carola 8:01 AM  

For me, the reveal came out of the BLUE - I'd surveyed the themers with no "OH! OH!" of seeing their commonality - and I found it delightful, probably partly because I used to dance to Bobby Vinton at sock hops.. Loved BABY POWDER, kinda liked the column OONA VERSE.

Do-overs: AVONLEe, CUBes. Help from previous puzzles: AJA. Help from having a friend who once owned one: DATSUN. No idea: ROLLE.

Z 8:02 AM  

Seeing @CASCo Kid almost make the puzzle reminds me of the CHELSEA Hotel chorus, “It makes no sense, it makes perfect sense.”

I didn’t time myself but this was a slog. Just two writeovers (Cams -> CCTV and DRafts -> DRY ROT) but very little came easily or quickly. For a Tuesday this felt more Wednesday plus.

AJA definitely holds up well, as does the rest of the Steely Dan catalog. Donald Fagen and the late Walter Becker, not as much. There are certainly worse human beings in the world, but these are not gentlemen I’d want to spend a lot of time socializing with. Or maybe I would, maybe their public and private personas are very different. And maybe the domestic assault charge was an anomaly. Maybe. In my experience, though, by the time the police are involved a whole lot of unreported violence has already happened.

@LMS - Here’s where it gets tricky, what is innate and what is enculturation? There’s nothing innate in Mr. Muse that prevents him from discerning finer distinctions of BLUE. But he, and the vast majority of us hes, have been trained that it’s not a part of what a man needs to, or even should, know. Observing how things (most men don’t know all the different BLUES) are isn’t sexism. Thinking how things are is how things ought to be (it is women’s responsibility to know the finer shades of BLUE) is a little sexist. Thinking the way things are is an essential part of someone’s gender (men can’t learn about color) is sexism writ large.

Anonymous 8:08 AM  

INSITU crossing with IEST (Grassiest?) is a thing of my Nightmares

Z 8:14 AM  


SYD Barrett

And just because if you can make Neko Case cry it’s worth sharing.

Anonymous 8:34 AM  

Am I the only one who plunked down BLUE velvet for the revealer?

I was singing it in my head as I worked my way around before realizing that was wrong. Now I can't get BLUE ON BLUE out of my head.

GILL I. 8:47 AM  

Sacre bleu.....heartache on heartache .....nel blu, dipinto di blu. oh oh oh oh.
This was Tuesday? A bit on the tough nut side.
BABY BLUEs made me a tad sad. What mother didn't have them after the birth of their child? I used a lot of KLEENEX. Have you ever opened a new box only to discover that you can't EVER pull out just one? Your first stab and you pull out 20. My quest in life is to figure out how to yank just one of them. It's a ROYAL pain in the arse.
Well...I GOT everything but it took a while. I have to remember how to spell QUAID. Would you name your child OONA? How about DOSA? Just JOSHing.
POWDER BLUE was the color of every single Mustang parked at Palisades High. I don't think the DATSUNS were around yet but, by gum, if you turned 16 in the Palisades and you were still a virgin, your parents bought you one. I was given a used bike.
Anne of Green Gables was the first "adult" book my mother gave me - or maybe it was my grandmother. I felt special. I can't remember a single thing about it and AVONLEA could have been CHELSEA for all I remember.
I miss Ms. @Leapy AKA JETE. Wish you'd come back......
Will Wednesday be an OH OH? I love blue cheese.

Nancy 8:50 AM  

I've always thought of the ARCTIC as white. But this puzzle is so smooth and well executed that I knew the mistake would be mine. So before coming here, I typed BLUE ARCTIC into Google and it came right up. Also coming up was ARCTIC BLUE, some sort of action flick I never heard of. But I figured there'd also be a movie title involved.

Nice themers, nice revealer (which I also never heard of, FWIW, but it didn't matter), and excellent puzzle density. Not especially challenging, but there were some nice clues: EVE; KLEENEX; LEGIBLE. And I learned that the inch and the OUNCE have the same Latin origin. I'll use it at a party at the first opportunity.

A word about "posh" neighborhoods like CHELSEA. I can't speak for London but I can speak for NYC. Many highly desirable neighborhoods started life as crummy neighborhoods. No one wanted to live there, so the rents were cheap. Twenty-somethings just starting careers moved there because that was all they could afford. Restaurants, bars, nightclubs and art galleries took note. Hip young people!!! That's where the action is!!! Let's follow them!!! And thus did the neighborhoods gentrify. Real estate agents also took note and made up fancy names for them. CHELSEA and Soho and Tribeca and Dumbo were rather UNdesirable neighborhoods when I was growing up. I forget what they were called, but they certainly weren't called that.

Sir Hillary 9:13 AM  

Yeah, good callout by Clare -- this puzzle's gonna party like it's 1977. You know, when AJA came out, when Esther ROLLE and "Good Times" were either still on the air or recently finished (I haven't checked), when SYD Barrett was less than a decade into his insanity, when DATSUNS and Toyotas were the most prevalent Japanese cars in the US (Honda was making inroads), when CCTV was how certain sporting events were televised (heavyweight title fights come to mind), when JAWS was still keeping people out of the water two years after its release, when and OONA referred to Ms. O'Neill and brought to mind Charlie Chaplin's controversial marriage -- oh, and when Chaplin himself died.

Nifty theme though -- who woulda thunk there were so many BLUEONBLUE phrases.

Hands up for BLUEvelvet initially. I must have Laura Dern on the brain after binge-watching "Big Little Lies" this past week.

Anonymous 9:13 AM  

It would have been a nice touch if the puzzle had given some nod to the immensely popular Italian pop song "Volare," which is officially entitled, I think, "Blu dipinto di blu," or Blue on blue or Blue painted in or by blue. It preceded the Blue on Blue by a few years.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

Anonymous 9:24 AM  

There is no “irst” in the puzzle.

Nancy 9:26 AM  

I dunno, @Z (8:02). I think that Picasso (a "he", btw) would have been well able to distinguish all the blues -- one from another -- with no trouble whatsoever. He had a "Blue Period", after all. But he might have distinguished them, one from another, in Spanish. I think that @Loren was making a This-Is-My-Husband statement rather than a political statement about gender roles or anything else.

@GILL (8:47) Re: Your Mustang statement. But how could anyone's parents be sure???

@Carola (8:01) -- I misread your comment and at first thought you said that you danced with Bobby Vinton at sock hops. I don't remember Bobby Vinton so I can't say whether he would have been an attractive and desirable dance partner or not, but I still felt keen disappointment on your behalf when I realized that you had only danced to him.

orangeblossomspecial 9:30 AM  

The puzzle was a walk in the park. Here's the song in question. Bobby Vinton had several hits in that era.

All-hat Texan 10:03 AM  

Ya'know, it's the cobalt alloys in the hardened valve seats that causes all the problems with them nookular power plants.

Anonymous 10:14 AM  

Did this while eating dinner, and so I was super slow. But I never struggled and it felt pretty easy. I'm in my thirties, but I didn't notice that it was so old. I've been doing the NY Times crossword for a few years now, so I'm used to them being musty and exclusionary. I can plop down names of terrible records like AJA without a thought.

Also had CASkA before CASCA. Fixed it when I ended up with kAY. I blame Shakespeare, too.

RooMonster 10:16 AM  

Hey All !
BLUE blast today. As @Loren noted, most women can differentiate subtle shades of colors, while most men just couldn't care less. It's BLUE. It's brown. Ain't nobody got time for color shades!

Lots of scrabbliness today, but no F! Unusual letter list: 5 B's, 10 C's, 3 J's, 6 V's, 3 W's, 2 Y's, a Q, an X, a K. Nary an F. None, nada, zilch, nil. Argh!

My F nit aside, this was a nice puz. Not as easy as a bunch of TuesPuzs. Loved the four corners with three Down 7's in each. Real tough to fill cleanly, but Jon did a great job. Just throw an F in next time. :-)

Original mark was DATSUN. They came out with Nissan as a model, then decided to update their image, and changed the mark to Nissan. Kinda like the mark Genesis. It started as a high end Hyundai. Then it branched into its own mark. Although they still make Hyundais.


jberg 10:24 AM  

Not that hard for me, but then I'm in the right age group. I didn't know Esther ROLLE, but the crosses worked all right; But BABY POWDDER was big for my generation.

@Nancy, I wanted to send you the Pantone code for Arctic Blue, but they don't have one; Benjamin Moore has a paint, though, 2060-60.

Cams before CCTV, EluDE before EVADE -- and I'm a little troubled by REDS sneaking into this blue puzzle (36A).

TJS 10:38 AM  

@GILL.I, had to LOL at your powder blue Mustang story. If a new Mustang signified virginity, what kind of shenanigans were you up to that earned you a used bike?
@Z, maybe your lesson of the day would have been more intelligible if you had rendered it in the original Latin.

CDilly52 10:39 AM  

@GILL I: How about all those dreadful POWDER BLUE tuxes at 1960s era high school proms???? Some great blackmail fodder in those prom pix-ruffled shorts included!!

Ethan Taliesin 10:39 AM  

That was some stale fill.

I don't mind a smattering of [someone's] nostalgia, even the obscure stuff, but this felt dank. Not like a spicy meme, more like my grandfather's basement.

I'm with Clare on this one.

Mara Dona 10:39 AM  

Clare: Be careful what you say about Chelsea when you are out and about in DC now that local favorite (and near neighbor) Christian Pulisic has joined the team....

xyz 10:44 AM  

Puzzle geared too young.
Puzzle geared too old.
Too much sports.
I'm not Jewish.
Too much mythology.
I don't know Science/Medicine/Latin ...

Well, this one was geared a little older but who says you have to just write in the answers and wait another 24 hours, just because it is Tuesday?

Overall it was decent, but the rote and -X-Wordese wasn't too bad (OHOH- ughugh)

I really didn't mind it a bit.
BABY POWDER was really cute, I tried using PRIMER and GESSO, to no avail ...


David 10:44 AM  

Definitely skews to my generation. I prefer Pink Floyd to Steely Dan, but Steely Dan is just fine.

Yes @Nancy, Picasso would have discerned various shades of blue because he learned to. It's the same with my wife, she can see subtle gradations in color and give them different names because she was taught the names. I've learned some from her. I can discern subtle gradations in frequency and know the names of the pitches they represent presuming A is tuned to 440Hz. @Z you're right. That's all learned behavior, not innate. What makes it seem innate to many is the fact that such things were not of interest to many while their brains were first developing, so their brains leaned to filter out what it didn't need to notice and as adults they don't notice the subtleties. At least that's my theory.

There were certainly Datsuns in America when the Powder Blue Mustangs showed up.

Randy Quaid was good in The Last Picture Show and probably his best role was as Lenny in Of Mice and Men opposite Robert Blake's George in a TV movie. Blake is another actor who became something of a kook.

In the days when sit-coms starring folks like Rolles were using humor to portray real-life problems (long before a couple of sub-minimum wage workers and a chef could live in a $5,000/mo apartment in Manhattan) you could actually call news rooms while the news was running to ask questions or correct mis-statements, and you could write letters which made people think. This is preamble to @barbiebarbie:

Datsuns did not look much like Yugos. The Yugo was basically a Fiat 128 produced in Yugoslavia -- Fiat had plants in much of the Soviet Union and its satellite states producing cars. Ours reminded me of a Bug: 4 speed manual, 5 (or 4?) rocker switches on the dash to turn things on and off. It would cruise down the highway at 70mph and got over 40mpg. Not bad.

After the early mid 90s, when they disappeared from the market, Jay Leno would often start a joke by saying, "Whatever happened to the Yugo?"; it was a big yuk which supposedly spoke to the "cheapness" of the car. So one day I sat at my typewriter and wrote Jay something like this, "Hi Jay. Whatever happened to the Yugo? Its factory was destroyed and its workers were slaughtered during the Siege of Sarajevo, that's what happened. I don't think that's really something to joke about. Thanks." He dropped the line as an intro.

Simpler times, eh?

xyz 10:48 AM  


Don't trash #Chelsea which was a nice (If inside) inclusion in a puzzle built on B L U E S

Pulisic, Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi will rule the Premier League in three years.

MOHAMMED SALAH was a flop at Chelsea, now he just flops and scores pens.


dadnoa 10:55 AM  

1977 was indeed a good year.....and when I ran into my first Aja student 20 years later, I asked her parents how they found the name.......Yep! we all reminisced about how good SD was......

Bax'N'Nex 11:18 AM  

You know you are young when the only thing you know about Liverpool is their soccer (football) team.

I seem to remember another distinction about that city...a little flash-in-the-pan pop help me here...

(Clare...Google it)

My Office manager is 32 and I recently asked her if she could name the four Beatles...her response “Who?” If THAT doesn’t make you feel old...

PaulyD 11:25 AM  

Found this plodding to solve, notwithstanding many enjoyable clues/answers and minimal crosswordese. Was surprised to find it took almost 6:00, significantly above a typical Tuesday.

Clare - Appreciate the writeup and understand you aren't in the age sweet spot for this, but your parents really let you down musically if you don't know AJA or SYD Barrett from the original lineup of Pink Floyd. The band's later classic, Wish You Were Here, which I pray you know, was written after a combination of mental illness and LSD abuse led to Barrett's breakdown. Do yourself a huge favor and add Steely Dan and Pink Floyd to your streaming service - they'll bring you joy for a lifetime.

CDilly52 11:25 AM  

I must have wandered aimlessly for five minutes trying to get started on this one and I am most decidedly in the “old” group here! My first certain answer was the ALLA of the musical term ALLA breve or “cut time” and with that, I penciled in JOSH but didn’t trust it. Once I got I’VE, ADMEN and REDS (I loved Mad Men and adore baseball) I was at least making progress.

Then came BLUE velvet and that lasted entirely too long. OUNCE always looks misspelled to me but for some crazy reason my old brain remembered that OUNCE and inch are linguistic family members and that helped me get the remainder of the east side. The west side however was another matter entirely. At least some of the older fill was easier. I remember the DATSUN 240Z and 280Z as “the cars” the guys drooled over along with the classic 1965 ‘stang. Those were some sweet rides.

As for tiered wedding cakes, I couldn’t agree more with @LMS. Always an anti-climax, even when the cake is good. Nobody wants that much left over cake, and actually keeping the top tier for the first anniversary? Year old, anti-climax cake? Really? My daughter was anti cake from the start. Didn’t want the expense, didn’t want to have to go taste a bazillion cakes but absolutely was not going to have the ridiculous “feed each other the cake” scene at her wedding. Instead, she borrowed the idea of the amuse bouche but instead of an appetizer, did three lovely and decadent one bite desserts that were served at the dance following dinner with the champagne. Made the party!

But I digress. Hard for a Tuesday but fair and some clever clues. Liked it.

Simone 11:26 AM  

Clare, I am old enough to know every single reference you cite and still found this puzzle extremely hard for a Tuesday. Thank you for validating that experience!

jrstocker 11:27 AM  

Didn't dislike it, but it felt like a Wednesday difficulty-wise...

Unknown 11:28 AM  

A 510 was the greatest car I ever owned. Split rear suspension, progressive 2 barrel carb. Boy do I miss it.

Anonymous 11:35 AM  

The company name in Japan was Nissan, it was not a later "mark." Exports were mostly sold under the name Datsun until 1984 when all cars were sold as Nissan.

Veloso 11:38 AM  

I also disliked AJA/JETE, which seems okay later in the week but rough on a Tuesday.

I wish the SE corner had something like GPA crossing GNAT and PETE.

Joe Dipinto 11:52 AM  

Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning, and the first thing that I heard
Was a song outside my window, and the traffic wrote the words

@Quasi -- lol at CHELSEA being "posh" as well. Even with three or four crosses I had a hard time figuring out that one out.

Nice BLUE ON BLUE/BLUE VELVET fakeout. I, however, did not fall for it. And I'm wearing a blue shirt today. It's the color of the flying person (or dead body, possibly) in my avatar.

Okay Tuesday puzzle. Not exactly the cat's mews, but not dry rot either. I was expecting to see the blues resting one atop the other. ARCTIC as a blue shade seems kinda iffy, the others are much more commonly used.

Back in August 1958, if you tuned in your radio this verse would have greeted your ear:

Penso che un sogno così non ritorni mai più
Mi dipingevo le mani e la faccia di blu
Poi d'improvviso venivo dal vento rapito
E incominciavo a volare nel cielo infinito

You know the rest...

TJS 12:03 PM  

@Z, after checking out your Neko Case reference to Jesse Winchester, gotta say "Thank you".

Crimson Devil 12:03 PM  

Tough for Tues, but doable.
Enjoyed comments re much-maligned Yugo. Reminds of Johnny Carson (speaking of good old days) line the night after safety car crash test results were published. Johnny read list, and Ed dutifully asked “What about the Yugo, not on your list?”: Johnny replied: “Didn’t make it to the wall.”

jb129 12:06 PM  

Tough for a Tuesday, but enjoyable altho I kept wanting "Blue Velvet." Finally got it. Thanks, Claire for hanging out with us (& of course, your review)

jb129 12:20 PM  

Anonymous @ 12:18... your office manager at 32 doesn't know who the Beatles are???

Well, I don't know what planet she is living on but don't feel old - it's really her loss. And I give you permission not to listen to a thing she says from here on in.

Anonymous 12:41 PM  

@anonymous 11:18

Ironic comment given that Liverpool fans are always telling you about their long-dominant team, only recently revived as winners

Alex M 12:54 PM  

Clare, I think we're just about the same age and the only time I've heard of a DATSUN is in Kanye's "Gold Digger"!! SYD Barrett shows up in the puzzle pretty frequently though, but I can never remember if it's an I or a Y...

Anonymous 12:56 PM  

Well, I don't know. What with all the kerfuffle with talcum suits, and wins, why would any parent use BABYPOWDER? It's BABYlotion, of course. I was thirteen when my sister was born, so got all the diaper duty Mother didn't want. Which was most of it. And this before disposable diapers. Sis got A&D Ointment, which is, sort of, lotion.

Gooner 1:08 PM  

@anon 11:18 a.m: I don’t think the reviewer implied that she doesn’t know the Beatles. The answer was Chelsea and she obviously associates Chelsea with metric football. Apparently, Chelsea and Liverpool are rivals. Not all Liverpool references need be to the Beatles.

Z 1:18 PM  

@Nancy - Introduce a comment with a “**sexist alert...” and the question is raised, “is it actually sexist?”

@David - Yah, though enculturation plays a far bigger role than we generally recognize. Is there any reason other than enculturation for Legos for girls to be pink? Or the only acceptable dolls for boys are GI Joe or super heroes?

@TJS10:38 - Latin probably makes as much sense to lots of people.
@TJS12:03 - You’re welcome. Spectacle was a great show, sadly only two seasons, and that particular episode was the only one with multiple artists.

PaulyD - The mental illness is much disputed, the excessive use of psychedelics is not.

Teedmn 1:18 PM  

Today I felt like I was solving through cement as it HARDENS. Really slow for a Tuesday and I'm not sure why though the NW put up a pretty big fight. There was my almost irresistible urge to slap in aLoHA at 9D when only _L_HA was showing. My "Sid or SYD" moment at 33D. And the biggest mess at 63D with oaf, ass (which worked with nosED for 69A) and finally LUG all making an appearance.

ARCTIC blue - I had to look it up post-solve because I was unable to imagine what it would be, but yeah, makes sense.

Jon Olsen, nice sophomore NYT puzzle.

Jeffrey Adams 1:22 PM  

As a mathematician I have to object to the answer CUBIC. The number 8 is a CUBE,
it is not a CUBIC. CUBIC is mainly used as a noun (a third degree equation),
or less commonly as an adjective (shaped like a cube). As far as I know it cannot refer to an integer which is a perfect cube.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

JC66 1:31 PM  


Your sixteenth birthday story made me laugh out loud, really!

@Quaasi & Joe D

I'm with you on CHELSEA being posh...not.

Unknown 1:59 PM  

CASCA on a Tuesday? Yikes.

Jonathan Tomer 2:04 PM  

Probably a typo of IEST.

Anonymous 2:09 PM  

@Jeffrey Adams:

Kind of a hair split. Clue said 'Like the numbers 8, 27 and 64' which implies adjective, -ic, as in CUBIC zirconium. Or CUBIC foot. etc.

Masked and Anonymous 2:11 PM  

Deja blue! Colorful theme -- and clearly exhausts every. possible. blue. themer. combo. dealie.
… Well, maybe except for some churse desperate ones, of course …

staff weeject pick: VIS. Better clues:
* {Vision impaired??}.
* {Box cars at Caesar's??}.
* {What may well be coming after U??}.

CCTV? Is Ms. Burnikel darlin currently watchin our houses? Heckuva way to start a rodeo, crossin COMPAQS. Lost precious nanoseconds.

Lotsa big corner stacks, for a sweet lil TuesPuz. Can see why those -- and the pop 60s theme revealer -- might give some young Clares a feisty-solvin old time. But she somehow got her nerve back and delivered a superb writeup, without gettin @RP-level snarky.

fave stuff: SKYLIGHT [my stuff]. KLEENEX & JERKED & USUAL [their stuff].

best clue: {Boxcars at Caesar's??} = VIS [my stuff]. {Leader of Athens?} = ALPHA [their stuff].

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Olsen. No need to be any bluer, when U got a CHEERUP. har … very nice hidden extra.

Masked & Anonym007Us


Anonymous 2:21 PM  

The clue "Like the........" does not necessarily imply an adjective.

XQQQME 2:24 PM  

“We want to roll this new car out in two months, and we still don’t have a name for it”
“Two months!? Datsun??”

Anonymous 2:37 PM  


but, of course, it doesn't demand that the word not be an adjective, now does it?

Joe Bleaux 3:07 PM  

Joe Bleaux (not the robot) tries again to post. This, obviously, is a test. (Moderator, please let stand for a couple of minutes.)

puzzlehoarder 3:31 PM  

A pleasant surprise to get a near Wednesday time from a Tuesday puzzle. There were a number of entries I was unfamiliar with and I had a TALC/BABY write over at 18A. All were easily fixed or worked around. Just under Wednesday time so no big deal.

Anoa Bob 4:03 PM  

Having only 32 black squares and triple-stacked sevens in all four corners puts this grid into themeless territory. Adding on four themers and a reveal on top of that and making it all work is quite the constructioneering feat. Well done.

I was living in San Diego when the DATSUNS starting showing up. One of my pals bought a DATSUN pickup, a tiny little thing with about an 1100 CUBIC centimeter engine in it. I thought it looked like a toy and guffawed to my friend "I bet it can't even pull the hat off of your head!" He said he was going up in the mountains, cut a load of firewood and haul it back. My curiosity piqued, I volunteered to go along. Much to my surprise, the little DATSUN did just fine, all the way up and back. Plus good mileage! I became a believer.

I would imagine that ARTIC BLUE would be a very light, pale, almost imperceptible BLUE, kind of like what you might see in an iceberg.

I think NAVY BLUE would be at the other end of the scale and is so dark that the BLUE is difficult to see. I still have my pea coat that was issued to me in NAVY basic training and to me it looks black. I can't see any BLUE in it at all.

Tim Aurthur 4:29 PM  

I agree, for me this was one of the hardest Tuesdays in a long time, especially the SE, where I thought the blessing had to do with kneeling. That logjam stayed jammed for a while.

Anonymous 4:53 PM  

It was a bit harder than the usual Tuesday but it is surprising to hear that was so tough. Never heard about BLUEONBLUE either. Had Blue Velvet first. Still guessed based on the what was there. The two toughest for me were INSITU and AVONLEA. Made one mistake ROLLO instead of ROLLE.


Blue Stater 5:31 PM  

I agree with Clare: way, way, way too hard for a Tuesday. More like a Friday. I can't imagine what motivated WS to use this puzzle on a Tuesday (so what else is new). I finished it, but more like Friday time.

Doug Garr 5:34 PM  

Well, if I didn't insist that BLUEVELVET was correct instead of BLUEONBLUE I would have finished this puzzle. This just flummoxed me. I haven't seen a Tuesday this hard in awhile.

John Hoffman 6:36 PM  

Hard for a Tuesday. AVONLEA is too obscure. I’d like to try re-working that corner.

Doc John 6:58 PM  

When all my dime dancin' is through
I run to you

That album is sublime.

And for another musical reference (and another musician you need to add to your collection, Elvis Costello):
I Don't Want to Go to CHELSEA

mmorgan 7:31 PM  

Very easy for me, but I’m old. Briefly thought it was going to be BLUE VELVET, which wasn’t helping much. Nice write-up, Claire, It’s not a word I use, but are you sure it’s not “Anyhoo”?

mmorgan 7:33 PM  

Oops I mean Clare!

mmorgan 7:45 PM  

Oh and I hate to say this but AVONLEA was a super-gimme, but only because I was in a community theatre production of the show with my kids and my daughter took it to Japan and I loved the ANNE WITH AN E series — and hope it comes back!

Steve Melnick 9:09 PM  

YNWA, Clare.

I'm Blue 9:44 PM  

Yet more BLUE

All this disrespect for poor Bobby Vinton, the Polish Prince actually named Stanley (A good Polish name - Stanisław) - who indeed recorded none other than BLUE Velvet (Nice try folks) - of course David Lynch used it in his really odd Eponymous Motion Picture.

Runs with Scissors 10:52 PM  

DATSUN B-210. Zero to sixty in 5.3 minutes.

Puzzle was fine.

Mark, in Mickey's North 40

oldactor 1:21 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Angry Richard 1:47 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Yam Erez 1:30 PM  

Wait. Nobody else minds that they used "Kleenex" as a generic? Either use the word "tissue", or put it in the clue that it's a brand. Like oralB.

Burma Shave 8:45 AM  




spacecraft 10:53 AM  

Like (3 clues) yesterday VIS a VIS theme: well done and hidden till the last.

Unlike (1 clue) yesterday VIS a VIS the fill.

Like/unlike clues ought to be kept to a minimum, IMHO. But that's just me. Leading off with CCTV, though, that's a lot of us. Not the ideal start.

I thought DATSUNS were their own make, not Nissan models. Oona wins DOD. AJA wins album of the century. Mr. Olsen wins a par; the fill is just too rough for anything better.

rondo 11:05 AM  

Unlike a USUAL Tues-puz, I thought this one was pretty decent. 7 stacks in each corner. Ya gotta love the BLUEs. All flavors.

Besides being a great xword crutch, AJA is a really fine album. But any Steely Dan record fits that description.

I might be crazy, but there's no sanity CLAUSE.

Yeah BABY,POWDER your nose. OONA Chaplin by a land slide.

Who'da thunk that a Bobby Vinton tune would be a theme? OK then.

Diana, LIW 3:05 PM  

Only the skootchiest of skootches more difficult than yesterday. In other words, smooth.

Not yet ready for ARCTIC weather - r u?

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoast 3:06 PM  

Despite some OLD TIME stuff, Tuesday puzzles seem to have livened up recently. Enjoyed (most of) it.

The BLUEs are a good thematic touch, with COBALT STEEL standing out. Didn't know the Bobby Vinton hit, which made it a perfect revealer.

NW corner nicely started it off with the COMPAQS/CCTV cross. Other good fill were CHELSEA and CLAUSE (especially its clue). AVON LEA is idyllically obscure.

Reminder here from the past: Once owned a wood house, not an OLD one) that suffered badly from DRY ROT. A costly nightmare. Wake me up! (Thanks.)

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