2000s stage name for rapper Sean Combs / TUE 9-10-19 / Canonized pope of fifth century / Carr best-selling author of historical thrillers

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Constructor: Ethan Cooper

Relative difficulty: Easy (3:11)

THEME: BLT (56D: Sandwich whose initials have been rearranged in five other ways in this puzzle) — BUT WHY?

Theme answers:
  • LOVED TO BITS (18A: Absolutely adored)
  • THIN BLUE LINE (23A: The police, metaphorically)
  • LOWER-BACK TATTOO (37A: Body art that might be revealed by hip-hugger jeans)
  • THIS LOOKS BAD (49A: "Uh-oh")
  • BORN TOO LATE (56A: Like a millennial who's a huge fan of 1960s-'70s music, it's said)
Word of the Day: CALEB Carr (4D: ___ Carr, best-selling author of historical thrillers) —
Caleb Carr (born August 2, 1955) is an American military historian and author. Carr is the second of three sons born to Lucien Carr and Francesca Von Hartz.
He authored The AlienistThe Angel of Darkness, The Lessons of Terror, Killing Time, The Devil Soldier, The Italian Secretary, and The Legend of Broken. He has taught military history at Bard College, and worked extensively in film, television, and the theater. His military and political writings have appeared in numerous magazines and periodicals, among them The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. He lives in upstate New York. (wikipedia)
• • •

This, indeed, looks bad. What even is this? There are six permutations into which one can but any three letters: 3! = 3x2x1 = 6. OK, so ... we're just gonna do this with BLT. For ... no reason. Why would you do that to a BLT? Further, with this theme as precedent, why wouldn't a constructor repeat this theme with *any* three-letter abbreviation!? Why not, let's say, CBS! Let's see... "Better Call Saul," soft-baked cookie ... ugh. Seriously what is this? Why would this theme concept "tickle" anyone? I don't mind the individual theme answers as answers. The past tense on LOVED TO BITS is weird, but the others are OK. It's just ... the theme is not one. And the fill is pretty bad. Ordinary-to-godawful. SUMTO? URI *and* SURI? ISO *and* EXO? TONTO *AND* KATO!?!?! The dreaded STLEO. This is just rufffff. That's rough and also [dog bark sound]. I flattened it (it probably should've swapped places with yesterday's puzzle), but I didn't enjoy flattening it. At least the clue on LOWER BACK TATTOO wasn't [Tramp stamp]. Small blessings.

Sorry, I'm still hung up on this "theme." You absolutely have to have a reason—some kind of hook, a clever revealer, something—to justify trotting out five variations on a three-letter combo. You need to be able to answer the question "Why Are We Doing This?" The revealer clue doesn't even pretend to try to convince us there's a reason. "Look, the sandwich's initials have been rearranged in five ways, they just have. That's just it for today. Deal." And what is up with the clue on BORN TOO LATE? That is a long-winded and awful clue. Awful. A. if you're a huge fan of 1960s-'70s music, you were born just at the right time because you can listen to it whenever you want because the internet exists. B. "it's said"??? What? "It" is not "said"—like, there's no adage about millennials liking the Eagles. Also, what kind of category is "1960s-'70s music"!?!?!? That is not a meaningful category. Yikes on virtually every level to this clue.

[warning: here be profanity]

Other minor struggles: Blanked on CALEB Carr's name at first pass. Thought 34A: Rocket-building company since 2002 was referring to *model* rockets, LOL. Had no idea re: UNISEX because I don't think we call gender neutral bathrooms that (anymore?) (21D: Available to all, as a bathroom). I wanted USEABLE in there. Had HOT for LIT (duh) (57D: Flaming). Anyway, not MAD, just disappointed.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Patrick O'Connor 12:21 AM  

You know, sometimes some of your faithful readership think that you go overboard in criticizing our beloved Grey Old Lady. But not this time: this one was witless and pointless.

Joaquin 12:29 AM  

Ah, the memories. Decades ago there was a kid we knew (my kid's age) who my wife and I referred to as "TLB". That was our shorthand for "That Little Bastard".

And I do enjoy a BLT. This puzzle, not so much (but I did enjoy it more than Rex did).

tbd88 12:42 AM  

I didn't notice there even was a theme until I came here to read the recap. I think I was better off.

jae 12:44 AM  

Easy-medium. Some fun theme answers, liked it more than Rex did.

Spill the beans, sure...TEA...not so much. Might be regional?

Solverinserbia 12:52 AM  

I agree it wasn't much of a theme and the fill had some problems. I spent several minutes hunting one or two letters I knew I had wrong.

Swagomatic 1:22 AM  

After I finished, I was going to try to figure out what the theme was, then I just kind of forgot to do it.

I guess that sums it up pretty well, really.

Elle 1:23 AM  

I also struggled with unisex for the same reason...

Anonymous 2:41 AM  

Rex, why do you keep solving these puzzles if it makes you so unhappy? It is kind of nice with a theme that gives you some help along the way. Cheer up!

chefwen 2:44 AM  

Got royally messed up in the middle. Had LOWER Body TATTOO at 37A, wanted SUM up at 32 A, never heard of ULTA. Other than digging myself out of that mess it went pretty well.

Didn’t love it, but liked it more than OFL. That’s usually the case.

jae 3:06 AM  

...and I recently discovered that my 17 year old Gen Z grandson is into early ‘60s music (I asked him about his play list). I agree with Rex, I don’t think he was BORN TOO LATE, he was born just in time to make his grandfather smile.

Easygirl 5:47 AM  


BarbieBarbie 5:55 AM  

...because, @Rex, like it or not, 60s music actually ended in the 70s.
Near-record time, and lots of new stuff mixed into the kind of pedestrian fill.
We call a BLT a BLT, but is that how it’s stacked? I make an LTB myself, and there are 4 other choices. It’s an OK theme for a Tuesday. Just too easy- should have run on a Monday.
Good morning-coffee puzzle.

Anonymoose 5:58 AM  

I just want to point out that Rex was very critical even though he "flattened it". Please take note.

OffTheGrid 6:09 AM  

I had a slow start. I put DOE in the wrong line and didn't know MOOSHU, SURI, (The U was ultimately my last fill) or AMY. Had LOVEsTOBITS for a while because I forgot to check tense. Theme was so-so, not awful but not that interesting. Nit-I think of Firing up an engine as starting it. You REV it when it is already running. Not a solving problem.

Lewis 6:58 AM  

@rex -- And to top it off, take one letter out of MAOIST, and you have your favorite word!

I thought the theme was cute and the theme answers strong. I liked that CLOUDS is high in the grid, and that SPACE X is on the edge. I'll attribute it to FATE that OLD and AARP reside in the same grid. I expect a predominance of easy/direct clues on Tuesday, but also a handful of thorny clues, and, IMO, this puzzle fell short on that.

This will probably gross some of you out, but my wife makes, as an alternative to BLTs, what she calls DLTs, where instead of bacon the sandwich has pan-fried dulse, and let me tell you, it's a great combination.

Thank you for the ride, Ethan!

mambridge 7:05 AM  

Spill the TEA??

Anonymous 7:05 AM  

Didn’t see the theme because: A. It’s trite and pointless. B. I don’t put lettuce on my BLTs—too, you know, moist—so I was looking for BTs.

Hungry Mother 7:12 AM  

Pleasant and easy solve this morning. I didn’t finish my first cup of coffee with this and the mini combined. BLT’s are not a vegan’s fare. “Stud or houseboy?” A highlight of being in Puerto Vallarta was seeing the connected quarters of Liz and Richard.

Nampa bob 7:16 AM  

Yep, “tramp stamp”.
Weird puzzle, average time

kitshef 7:17 AM  

Having seen Catwoman and Die Another Day, and several X-Men movies, I find it really, really hard to believe that HALLE Berry could have won an Oscar.

Nice KATO/TONTO paring.


kitshef 7:22 AM  

@jae - Spill the TEA is one of those things I know only from crosswords. Like NBAER, UTNE, GESSO and KOTB.

Rex's dismissal of the theme would carry more weight if he had actually come up with a complete set of answers for CBS.

mmorgan 7:29 AM  

Puzzle was fine, theme was meh, but then I don’t really care for BLTs. And that’s weird because I love tomatoes and I love bacon and I enjoy lettuce but I just realized I don’t like them all together. So thank you, puzzle, for giving me this teachable moment.

Nancy 7:42 AM  

One of those too-easy puzzles where I amuse myself by guessing the clue/answer simply by looking at my partially filled-in grid. But not even that could make this puzzle interesting.

I also knew from the first two themers alone that the revealer would be BLT. Then I'm pretty sure I yawned. Some other thoughts:

They really named their daughter SURI?

You want OLD music??? I'll give you OLD music! "It's a Long Way to Tipperary". "Old Folks at Home". "Danny Boy". 1960s-70s music (38D) is well within my lifetime and therefore by definition is not OLD :) I think the person who wrote this clue was simply BORN TOO LATE.

SUM TO???!!! Who on earth says that? A truly hideous, nay illiterate, phrase.

The good news? At least I didn't write in DON HO instead of TONTO today.

WeesaSuzi 7:50 AM  

Tore through this while waiting for a meeting to start. Didn't notice the theme until I got here, but I thought it was pretty easy. Tried a little too hard to be of the moment, though.

GHarris 7:54 AM  

Try watching her in Bulsworth and Monsters Ball

oopsydeb 7:55 AM  

CSB: Christian Standard Bible
BSC: Buffalo State College (or probably several other B* State College options)
BCS: Bowl Championship Series
SCB: Standard Chartered Bank
SBC: Southern Baptist Convention

Stupid theme. I saw the BLT clue, took about 4 seconds to look for btl, tbl, etc in the puzzle and then realized I didn't care. Had to come here to realize they were rearranged in the long answers. And yes the clue for BORN TOO LATE is over the top dumb and wrong.

Easy but not particularly enjoyable Tuesday.

Anonymous 7:56 AM  

Nice try, Rex

Cassieopia 8:04 AM  

Hand up for really, really wanting Tramp Stamp. Talk about a missed opportunity.

albatross shell 8:32 AM  

Ahh,tomato season is BLT season. Celebrate it. But each year I do seem to be eating more tomato sandwiches. Just replace the bacon with salt or salt and pepper. I imagine dulse would work to. You might also try letting a tomato fall into your hand, right off vine, and eat it,sun-warmed, like an apple for a true appreciation of the season.

The theme: serviceable at best.
The crime: SUMTO crossing the unknown ULTA.
The fill: a little drab, but solid minus the crime and a good clue for TEA.

Nothing wrong with UNISEX. When did it go out of style? Five years ago? Although when it was empty space, I was thinking "public" for the answer.

Tramp stamp? Really?
Clever once,
Demeaning twice,
Pathetic thrice.


Sir Francis 8:43 AM  

I love me a BLT sandwich but I love them without the lettuce and tomato: just bacon stacked three deep on toasted rye with lots and lots of mayo slathered on there. One yeah.

Unknown 8:49 AM  

"Spill the tea" is a favored expression of teenage girls at the moment. Ask your 16-year-old. Comes from gay/drag culture, I believe.

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

Bravo Lima Tango? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!

Nancy 9:08 AM  

@Sir Francis (8:43) -- Your preferred "BLT" sandwich reminds me of this classic and priceless scene from "Five Easy Pieces". Remember it, everyone?
Classic diner scene

Glenn Patton 9:09 AM  

If you want to know more about "spill the tea," take a look at this from the Merriam-Webster web site: https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/tea-slang-meaning-origin. Its origins are in the black drag culture. Thanks to the Crossword Fiend for enlightening me!

QuasiMojo 9:23 AM  

Besides the lackluster theme, there are well over a dozen names in this grid. Remember when puzzles were about words? Not celebs, past, present, and in some cases wannabe. I've also never understood the appeal of a B.L.T. I did giggle however when I thought of people petting "lamas."

Z 9:27 AM  

Decent long answers, too much ese, and a big “Huh? Why?” on seeing the revealer, so pretty much what Rex said. Also, these days it’s far more common to see a BLAT on a menu than a BLT, at least where I lunch.

@BarbieBarbie - “because... 60s music actually ended in the 70s.” Har! I wish. Maybe it’s the places I frequent or the place I live but music from the 1960’s and 1970’s is the public soundtrack of my life. We are 20 years into it, can we add some 21st century music to our playlists? I’ve heard the phrase BORN TOO LATE for people, but never in relationship to liking older music.

@Anonymoose - Doesn’t fit their narrative so soon ignored.

@Lewis - I must confess that I have no idea what dulse is, but I assume it is not moist.

I got a chuckle catching up on late posts from yesterday. It may surprise some of you, but most people do not see the Catholic church as either a moral or religious authority. Heck, a sizable number of self-identifying Catholics don’t.

Ethan Taliesin 10:07 AM  

Not very good, IMO.

Another theme that doesn't engage as you go, and looks mediocre-minus after its mindless completion.

Also, the layout of the grid was SAD-crossing-BAD pitiful.

What? 10:14 AM  

Have we at last run out of themes?

Stamp the Tramp 10:17 AM  

Sometimes I click on a Rex link and I spend 30 minutes running down rabbit holes that those links invariably lead me to. I clicked on the Weird Al video and ended up re-watching "Trapped in the Drive-Thru." Great stuff.

Weirdly, the T of BLT was the last letter I entered into the grid and even then I was looking at the clue for TRYON...I only glanced at the clue for BLT and only then, at the very end, did I see that there was a "theme."

I then looked back over the grid and just kinda shrugged. I would have expected the several-combination of those letters to be consecutive in the themers. Seems kinda like cheating to just pick three rather random letters and then even more randomly, rearrange their order and use that to just start random three-word phrases. I think the real feat in good xword construction is to have a strong and somewhat inflexible idea as the theme, then work it out. The whole "theme" today was totally flexible. There is no art in that. You're just making up [random] rules as you go along.

That said, as a themeless puzzle, (the way I ended up solving it), it was within acceptable bounds with just the few quirks that Rex pointed out. Nothing egregious and the puzzle stayed pretty much in its own lane.

jberg 10:19 AM  

OK, I'll accept spill the TEA (thanks, @Glenn Patton and others), and now I've learned something interesting. But the name of some actors' child crossing a Chinese menu item which can be spelled either MOO SHU or MOO SHi, the latter of which leads to a far more common name -- that's a bit unfair. Needless to say, I got it wrong!

Aside from that, it was pretty easy. The theme was kind of "oh, yeah," but it did give @Rex to show off his mathematical skills with factorials, so there's that!

@Nancy, you call that old? "L'homme Arme," "Il Estoit une Fillette" have them beat by several centuries!

Mary McCarty 10:20 AM  

Oopsydeb/kitschef: your CBS options are WAY worse than our BLTs today. They’re just names of things, with only BCS being commonly used.
Unlike all the rest of you, it seems, I LOVED the revealer TO BITS, as it was my final answer and gave me the happy stars. I had thought the theme might be about “to, too, two” but found 2 of the first 2 and none of the last “two”. I was delighted to find BLT, but then I always am, and you folks who change it are messing with a classic!

GILL I. 10:23 AM  

So, have Abby and beans been usurped by AMY and TEA? And then we have Sean Combs who morphed into P.DIDDY to Puff Daddy to Diddy and now I think he wants to be called Diddy Love. KVELL I say.
Well, my good humor following Sunday and Monday has not been really bursted because I loves me some BLT's but I wanted a BIT more of a smile. I know...it's red-headed Tuesday. Like @jae, I liked it a tad more than @Rex. Hah!
The one thing that makes me sad is when you overload your puzzle with names. You got the whole array of AMY CALEB SALMA ALBEE LOIS in that top section. I got them and all that but don't you thinks it's like gilding the lily? At least you have my little favorite ADELE and she sits atop LOVE TO BITS - so that what cute.
Here in the land of left coast ARTY sorts, the bathrooms are generally called "gender-neutral" or maybe "gender-inclusive." We don't want to upset anyone so some of our LOTTO money (but mainly taxes) goes into making sure everyone is happy. Dads with toddlers have to be considered, trans have to have their privacy - especially when applying ULTA cosmetics, so new bathrooms are built to accommodate all. They even make sure no noise escapes the stalls....cool huh?
I'm really more of a Club Sandwich sorta gal, but I hanker for a BLT once in a while. This happen when I go to Denny's which is maybe once in a blue moon. My husband and I used to go to them after watching a musical or late show. Back in the day, Sacramento had no restaurants that stayed open beyond 9 or 10, so we'd stop at Denny's and have Eggs Benedict with their cheese sauce. Pretty good.
I think the names down in the south area that I liked are MOOR, MAOIST and VERDI. Sounds like a lawyerly firm you could go to if you want to sue the artist who put that ugly LOWER BACK TATTOO on in the wrong place.

brandsinger 10:46 AM  

I'm guessing for "the police" Rex is mad that "white supremacist" wasn't the answer, right?

Newboy 10:46 AM  

Brutal Times Loved🤕 so today’s was just a so-so passing grimace for which the theme helped a bit too much? Knew TONTO & LOIS, but SURI? A bit too People Magazine perhaps.

David 10:54 AM  

I worked in restaurants for two decades. Every bathroom I ever saw was called a "bathroom" and nothing else. I wanted to put "locked" at 21D. Really people, we all do that stuff. Stop trying to come up with "names" other than bathroom or rest room. Jeesh.

My last square was the T in "sum to," which is a thing nobody has ever said. I just couldn't believe it.

Tramp stamp? Old and sexist both. Yay.

Speaking of old, "the 60s" which are generally referred to lasted from the Summer of Love in 1967 until 8/9/74; rarely do decades and eras coincide. And back then Chinese politicians were, indeed, Maoists. That lasted for a while after his death in 76 but you'd be hard pressed to find a true Maoist in today's Chinese government, their remnants are mostly in Hong Kong now. Put that clue/answer away with GIs and KP.

Lettuce, tomato, and alga? Why not? But I prefer bacon and now I want one for lunch.

Too many names and weak theme but not horrible. Is there a person on Earth who cares what Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes named their child? I certainly don't know any.

dadnoa 10:59 AM  

+1 for the OLD AND BORN TOO LATE Comments. I was feeling OLD when I nailed it, then felt even older when I realized I was BORN TO LATE. What’s with all the 60’s clues.......TONTO & KATO. This was just about being born at the wrong time and the constructor couldn’t get over it.

Joseph M 11:06 AM  

Bad Lousy Theme

This BLT was scraped off the bottom of the Tuesday barrel. If your theme is BLT, don’t include other L’s and T’s in your themers. Otherwise you end up with, for example, a lettuce-tomato-bacon-tomato sandwich (18A) or a lettuce-bacon-tomato-tomato-tomato sandwich (37A). THIS LOOKS BAD is not only an apt description of the puzzle, but also the only themer with a clean BLT combo in it.

Aside from that, I LOVED TO BITS, the clue for 43A, thinking it referred to George Bush but wishing that the clue had been more appropriately 45.

FWIW, there seems to be a mini O theme going on, with ten O’s in the themers alone. I think I’d rather have an OOO sandwich instead.

RooMonster 11:15 AM  

Hey All !
My awesome streak of 9 TuesPuzs in a row has ended. Woe is me. Never heard of KVELL, but have heard of VERDI, so that letter was the last to go in, then got the Almost There message. Argh! Figured it would be the V, as not operatic by any stretch of the word, thinking maybe there was another _ERDI composer out there.

But, when I came back to puz, it was right. I looked up, had an E in SALMA. SeLMA. Damn. I do that every time her name comes up. Every time. How the ole brain can't comprehend the fact of two A's in her name, I just can't fathom. Even though I never heard of eLBEE, didn't stop the wrongness. Amazingly enough, I have heard of ALBEE, so that mistake never should have happened.

Can you tell I'm a touch mad?

Puz itself was OK. Don't think it deserves the vitriol that Rex and some of y'all are dumping on it. It is a Tuesday, after all. And it's got an F. And an odd word EOOCHAL. So it's not all SCORNable.


Jyqm 11:17 AM  

@jae -- Nah, "spill the tea" is't regional. Ask your grandson. Like most popular American slang over the past fifty years, it comes out of black and/or gay culture (in this case both).

Agree with Rex that this was a very poor effort, even by Tuesday standards. Though I'm not sure what he's on about in his complaining about the word UNISEX...

Bax'N'Nex 11:23 AM  

@kitshef 7:22- But if the constructor had used CBS, Mike would have complained about that too..."CBS? Why not BLT???" Such an unhappy little man.


Anonymous 11:30 AM  

B. "it's said"??? What? "It" is not "said"

c'mon Rex, we all know that Our Dear Leader has made 'many people say' the go-to justification for anything, even hurricane prediction.

Carola 11:32 AM  

I can imagine some folks need their B, L, and T stacked in a certain order, so the theme accommodates all of them. But LOWER BACK TATTOO as your grid-spanning central show-off-what-you-can-do answer? Followed by THIS LOOKS BAD? I thought it did. Nice phrases for the other theme answers, though.

@Lewis, I admire the creativity of those DLTs. I've made it as far as accepting kale, but wakame, dulse, etc., somehow remain a bridge too far.

Anonymous 11:34 AM  

That was our shorthand for "That Little Bastard".

if you'd lived next door to John Cougar, you might be in line for some goodies when he passes on.

Anonymous 11:45 AM  


I would demark 'the 60s' from 65 (the Beetles take off) to 9/73 (OPEC oil embargo) when life got unpleasant. any music (or urban/suburban culture) from 60 or 61 bears no resemblance to 69; the year of 'Easy Rider'.

Unknown 11:51 AM  

Kvell? Really?

Masked and Anonymous 11:54 AM  

Well, the theme mcguffin *was* a bit different, so there was that. Took m&e quite a few extra nanoseconds to latch onto what the theme was up to. Revealer was wee and well-hidden and gets today's valuable staff weeject pick.
fave themer: the Bacon-Tomato-Lettuce one … by the Poni-Tails. 1958 top tenner. Got the 45rpm.

SURI, ULTA, and KVELL kept M&A off the streets, for a while longer.
Long-ball fillins: EPOCHAL. Th-th-that's all, folks.

Not an all-time epochal fave puz at our house, but liked the different theme idea. And, shoot -- @RP should be thankful, that the puztheme didn't run thru all the N-R-A permutations. AINT REALLY NEW, now -- sooo … don't do it again, Shortzmeister. NOT RIGHT, AGAIN.

Thanx, Mr. Cooper.

Masked & Anonymo5Us

tonto spoken here:

Unknown 12:18 PM  

"Tea" has been around for ages and comes from the gay community, and mainly from the members of color.

pabloinnh 12:31 PM  

BLT's indeed with the T's and L coming straight out of the garden, slather the mayo on squishy white bread, and away you go. Rule in this house is a minimum of two each.

But why? Why this theme and not another? Why not PTA or LBJ or IRT or FBI? Why indeed? Why not OFL? And why do random themes cause such existential dread?

Why not?

OK Tuesdecito for me, a little heavy on names, as has been noted. Did not ruin my day, nor fill me with fear and loathing.

Teedmn 12:57 PM  

Sure, I did a bit of eyebrow lifting when I came upon the revealer (BLT, huh?), but I liked the theme phrases enough that it didn't spoil the puzzle for me. I don't care about themes all that much anyway.

I didn't like SUM TO, and the EPP____ I was getting for 26D from "SUM up" was annoying but I had confidence that the correct fill would show up at some point and it did.

My husband has taken to calling MUTTs "MBs" (for mixed breed) so 12D gave me a chuckle.

Judging from the couple of comments I have read so far, I'm guessing disdain or even hate will be the FATE of this puzzle, but, Ethan Cooper, I enjoyed the solve, thanks.

ghostoflectricity 12:59 PM  

@Nancy: I HATE HATE HATE the diner scene in "Five Easy Pieces." I always root for the waitress. I wish someone would punch the sarcastic Jack Nicholson character in his smug, smartass, white male privileged face when he starts abusing her, a working-class woman just trying to do her job.

Doc John 1:18 PM  

Turn up the Eagles, the neighbors are listening. (Rex and '70s music reference)
And yes, this one was a real dud.

albatross shell 1:25 PM  

@ghost 1259pm
When you refuse to give a customer an easily filled request, and the customer follows your rules to make the order comply to your system and at a cash premium much to your benefit, and you still refuse to provide the service, it is you inviting blowback. Also note that in the movie Jack admits it his failure that he could not get what he wanted. And it's a movie, a slapstick comic scene, not a moral directive to act that way.

Masked and Anonymous 1:52 PM  

M&A sorta stands corrected [not all that unusual] …

This theme mcguffin *has* sorta been done before! The revealer on the original was SOS. But in that case, all the themers had words startin with S-O-S, always in that order.
And so, tho … today's puz did at least dare to kinda extend on that idea, by doin some selected revealer permutations.

That S-O-S puppy was constructed by some dude named Michael Sharp in 2010, btw. And it had HOGCALLS, which really elevated it, even tho it didn't dare to per-mute.


4 sets of weeject stacks today! Admirable bonus.

VancouverNana 1:59 PM  

“Five Easy Pieces” huh?!😊😊

Joe Dipinto 2:49 PM  

Less Than Bearable.
The Biggest Loser.
Lead Balloon Thud.

TRAMP STAMP would have livened this up considerably. We've sunk to celebrities' children's names now?

♪ Bring tea for the tillerman, steak for the sun
Wine for the woman who made the rain come ♪

CDilly52 2:51 PM  

“Old music” to me is Renaissance. The 60s is just the 60s. And excellent. I “flattened” this as well and had no idea a theme existed since I filled in BLT from the crosses. It was just a light snack.

CDilly52 2:59 PM  

So right you are @albatross shell! My dad was a prolific master gardner and he taught me that during tomato season you nver leave the house to check the garden without the salt shaker in your pocket. Just a dash of salt brings out the sweetness of that sun-warmed delight. We had a “Rottman-shepweiler dog (half rottie-half Shepherd) who also loved warm, ripe tomatoes and cantaloupe!! She often got to the ‘maters just before the evening harvest when Dad got home from work. Fortunately, Dad grew enough for a small village so sharing with the dog wasn’t too bad.

Joaquin 3:00 PM  

@Nancy - Unlike Ghostofelectricity I LOVE LOVE LOVE the diner scene (to the point where I frequently quote it). Thanks for the link!

Crimson Devil 3:02 PM  

Decent Tues, ‘cept for ULTA ,
SUM TO, KVELL and spilled TEA.

Joe Dipinto 4:00 PM  

That scene from "Five Easy Pieces" got shown ad nauseam, as if it represented some defining counterculture kiss-off to "the man". But really the Nicholson character was just a jerk for the whole movie.

GILL I. 5:57 PM  

@CDilly...your dad's tomato story reminded me of the first time I finally ate a tomato that I actually loved. I thought I never had tasted anything so delicious. I hated tomatoes while living in California. This was in the late 60's and the tomatoes we'd get were hard Romas. Sad....considering we now finally have the good farmer, fresh off the vine, heirlooms. Well, I tasted the fruit of the God's that changed my life... in Sevilla. My girlfriend and I were browsing an outdoor market and spied these red morsels in a basket; they called out my name. The lady who sold them had no teeth but she had salt. She told me to try one. I did. I ate it like an apple with a sprinkling of her salt. I've since never turned my nose down...unless it's a Roma - which is only good for sauce..... Cheers!

Burma Shave 9:34 AM  


her ARREST is the ISSUE one sees:


spacecraft 12:15 PM  

Bloomsburg (PA) State College, my alma mater--but that's not in the puzz. SPACEX is, so there's that. Hand up for Body before BACK as the TATTOO locale. Shoulda looked at 40-down first, half of a nice sidekick mini-theme.

I remember that song; had a crush on an upperclass girl at one point. *sigh* Where has the time gone? I can no longer HITON DOD Halle.

With fill like SUMTO (???) I could say THISLOOKSBAD, but 34 across saves the day for Mr. Cooper. Par.

rainforest 2:02 PM  

About time someone constructed a tribute puzzle to the humble BLT, the anchor of many a diner menu. Next up? The Reuben. (When repeated, person to whom another sings "I've been thinking") Kind of difficult to perform permutations thereon, though.

Yup, sort of a bland theme, but that's maybe what you get with an insistence on having themes in the first place. Nevertheless, there was enough in here to keep up my interest. Now I think I'll go have a PB&J. Har, @Spacey.

Diana, LIW 2:18 PM  

Just a tetch easier than yesterday. Can't say I LOVEDITTOBITS, but I liked it well enough. Now if we could just warm up for a tetch after last week's SNOWSTORM!!! What happened to fall??

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for normal weather

leftcoast 2:47 PM  

Scrambling the BLTs five ways doesn't cut the mustard, but it'll pass.

Providing a little bite were four proper nouns, MOOSHI, CALEB, USTA, and ABRAMS. Could throw in Yiddish verb KVELL("plotz"?) as well.

So-so Tuesday.

rondo 4:22 PM  

For decades every ISSUE of MAD magazine was published without ADS, except for MAD’s own anthologies or T-shirts. And I LOVED it TOBITS. I wonder if LIT prof M. Sharp teaches MAD, and how it could help develop a critical eye.

Oh, there was a puz. Meh. And what’s wrong with ‘tramp stamp’; common lingo. Do either HALLE or SALMA have a LOWERBACKTATTOO?

OLE really misses Sven and Lena. Hope tomorrow’s puz is ACEs.

leftcoast 6:11 PM  

Oops! MUSHU and SURI.

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