Long-stemmed mushroom / Universal recipient's category / Cheese whose name comes from Italian for sheep / Statue that might offend a bluenose / Sculling implement / Popular Belgian beers for short / One man army of silver screen / DIre appraisal of situation

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Constructor: Evan Kalish

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (3:55)

THEME: LATE BLOOMER (61A: One who catches up eventually ... or a hint to the ends of 17-, 30- and 46-Across) — themers end with letters that spell the name of a flower:

Theme answers:
  • PURPLE PROSE (17A: Excessively ornate writing)
  • BANANA DAIQUIRIS (30A: Some sweet cocktails)
  • COURTED DISASTER (46A: Did something hugely risky)
Word of the Day: ALI Wong (23D: Funny Wong) —
Alexandra Wong (born April 19, 1982) is an American actress, stand-up comedian, and writer. She is noted for her Netflix stand-up specials Baby Cobra and Hard Knock Wife, as well as her television appearances in American HousewifeAre You There, Chelsea?Inside Amy Schumer, and Black Box. She also wrote for the first three seasons of the sitcom Fresh Off the Boat. In 2019, she had her first leading film role in Always Be My Maybe, which she produced and wrote with her co-star Randall Park. (wikipedia)
• • •

There's nothing really wrong with this puzzle. It just feels a little ... wilted? Discovering the theme (after I was finished) delivered more of a "oh ... huh, yeah, I guess those are flowers" reaction than an "aha" or "woo-hoo" or "wow" or whatever target response you're likely going for when you make a themed puzzle. The themers themselves are fine enough answers, but nothing tricky is going on, and there are only three themers, so I feel like the fill should've been better (instead of just bigger—see the NW and SE corners). It was largely uninspiring, overall. What put me in a bad mood, though, was the cluing on a couple of longer answers. First, BANANA DAIQUIRIS—[Some sweet cocktails]!? That's it? That's what you've got for me? So many ways to go with this exotic drink and you just go [Some sweet cocktails]? Some? How many? Four? Twelve? The percentage of "sweet cocktails" that are specifically BANANA DAIQUIRIS must be in the hundredths of a percentile. Yeesh, liven it up a little. Give me something. Some color, some flavor, some *specifics*. And then there's the clue on BUCKAROO (11D: Cowboy), which also needed more specifics, specifically the phrase [Cutesy term for ...]. The difference, tonally, between mere "Cowboy" and BUCKAROO cannot be measured. It is infinite. I cannot believe that [Cowboy] was the cluing PLAN A (or B or C). Getting that answer (finally!) was a major eye-rolling moment.

For a grid with a lot of longer fill, it somehow managed also to have a lot of shorter fill, much of it overly common (ENOKI, ERR, ELI, IPA, etc.). Not bad, mind you. Just ... there. ENAMOR UNO IDO APSE ERE NOS ORG EGRESS EMO ADELE. That sort of stuff. Almost all of my slowness came in that NE corner, where BUCKAROO and GOT NASTY just took a long time to emerge, and PLAN A took some time to see (29A: Preferred option for proceeding), and BANANA DAIQUIRIS didn't come together for reasons I cover above.

Five things:
  • 28D: Unusual sexual preference (KINK) — this is a good clue. I might go with "niche" or ... some other adjective, over "unusual," but "unusual" is probably reasonable; good to see the NYTXW embrace this meaning, I think
  • 41A: Word that can precede water or war (HOLY— I am the worst at these kinds of clues. Just awful. Me today: "H... let's see ... HIGH! High water and high ... war? ... no ... OK that's it, I'm out of four-letter H-words"
  • 25D: The ___ (gang for a ladies' night out) (GALS)— I kept misreading this clue as [The ___ gang] and since the clue used "ladies" I went ahead and wrote in GIRL—the GIRL gang, why not?
  • 19A: Summer setting in K.C. (CDT) — I am somehow both good (unerring) and slow at these. My brain is like a computer, only it's one of those Coleco jobs from the '80s—it's *gonna* get you the right answer, but it feels like you can actually *see* the processing happening. In my mind, I can feel a little pixelated cursor moving around a map, alighting on the city, scanning the broader map for the time zones, double-checking the clue for what season we're in, and then ding! the screen goes green and Mario does a little dance or something.
  • 11A: Great (BIG) — Ugh. This clue is only [Great] because the previous Across clue is [Great]. This type of sequential duplication cluing is not and has never been Great. It's supposed to be cute or clever, but mainly what it ends up doing is giving you at least one clue that's off or a stretch. Boo, I say.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:07 AM  

Liked this a lot more than Rex did. I thought the flowers at the end/LATE BLOOMERS was clever enough, plus I just like flowers. Not as much as I like dogs, but still …

And just when you think you know somebody - I really thought Rex would get his boys in an uproar over GALS.

puzzlehoarder 12:44 AM  

This came in right on average Tuesday time.

Unrelated to solving, I have a nephew who works on that diving boat that burned in California yesterday. My brother and his wife spent two hours yesterday morning thinking he was dead until they found out on this trip he was assigned to a different boat. Normally he would have been on that one and below deck. He knew the people who died and is traumatized.

jae 1:05 AM  

Tough. Subtle theme, some fine long downs, smooth grid, liked it.

Anyone else have war before UNO?

Alex M 1:32 AM  

Amazing to see ALI Wong show up in the puzzle, my favourite comedian! She's incredible, everything Amy Shumer wishes she could be. And on a Tuesday, too - she's arrived!

Robin 1:57 AM  

Wait, what, there was a theme? (Only three themers? Seriously, WGAF?)

Slowed a bit because I thought the word preceding water and war might be COLD rather than HOLY.

Anonymous 2:03 AM  

Played easy for me. I'm in the same boat as Rex. It was fine. Nothing special. A reasonable installment. The theme checks out after you finish the puzzle but it plays like a themeless until you're done. I had BREWery before BREWPUB. That slowed me down a bit. But I still finished in below average Tuesday time.

Loren Muse Smith 2:23 AM  

Any puzzle that nods to Rocky and Rambo is ok by me. Throw in Remember the Titans, and my cup runneth over.

BANANA DAIQUIRIS was my favorite ‘cause the flower is really, really disguised. But I’m trying to understand what a great clue for BANANA DAIQUIRIS would look like. Before my Taoist phase, I was a preprandial libation snob. I’d sit there pretending to enjoy my Dewar’s on the rocks while others actually did enjoy their White Russians and Banana Daiquiris. I was only 19.

So could a redneck yellowbelly bluenose with a green thumb be awarded a purple heart?

BLOOMERS reminded me of elementary school, when Mom sewed all my dresses and made matching bloomers for each one. I could climb the monkey bars and do cartwheels with impunity. Memories like that tug at a part of me that wants to be an artist - to express a longing, an ache, for the carefree innocence that was my childhood.

@Nancy from yesterday– I wish I could take credit for that palindrome. For the life of me I don’t understand how people create them. I got it from this song, that I’ve shared here several times. I’m so stunned by all the palindromes that I made little poster slips of every single one and festooned my classroom walls with them.

@puzzlehoarder – whew. Happy to hear your nephew is safe.

@jae – yup. I didn’t hesitate to write in “war.”

Who knew that PECORINO was Italian for sheep? I know I’m way in the minority, but I don’t eat a lot of Italian ‘cause I’m not a big garlic lover.

chefwen 2:45 AM  

Almost took me longer to figure out what WGAF means, Hi @Robin than the whole puzzle took.

I also had BREWery in at first, got fixed in due time. Biggest BOO-BOO was at 46A where I plonked down skiRTED DISASTER. PECORINO set me straight, but that took a little longer.

Cute puzzle that could have sported a few more flowers.

Solverinserbia 4:36 AM  

How is BIG a stretch for Great? Great isn't used so often to mean BIG but it is definitely a possible meaning of Great. Did you think the Great War was so called because it was fantastic? If I say there is a "great distance between us", do you misunderstand?

I think the puzzle was fine. I agree that BANANADAQUIRIS was just a random daiquiri chosen for its length and letters and that since that's true could have had a cooler clue.

Phil 5:31 AM  

I enjoyed the puzzle but hard to argue with Rex about NYT cluing. I am always complaining about them too. The corporation can’t handcuff them to the point of not having some kind of fun in the clues.

Rex was waiting to get his blurb about time zones. I think he should have waited for a tougher one. I mean, how much of his geographical computing mind has to churn to see K.C. the central city of the 48 and come up with C(entral)DT.

Lewis 5:54 AM  

I spelled DAIQUIRIS as "dacquiris" and wondered what unusual sexual practice KCNK stood for, for a while. Lovely to see UNO and ONE in the same grid. KINK could have been clued in conjunction with HOSE. It would have been cool if, in the grid, the FRUCTOSE was high.

Pitched perfectly for a Tuesday puzzle. The theme itself was okay, utilitarian, but the theme answers were lively, and the cluing just the right level more difficult than Monday Direct. Touches of spark spread throughout made my solve most enjoyable, not just a get-through, and thank you for this, Evan!

Hungry Mother 6:23 AM  

Is it really Tuesday? Long weekends throw me off, so my perception of day of the week gets fuzzy. This was a real slog.

Music Man 6:44 AM  


Joe R. 7:05 AM  

@Robin, I also had COLD instead of HOLY to start there, which threw me off for a bit.

My real problem came in the SW corner, though. I started off with skiRTEDDISASTER, and that just messed up all the things. And when I finally realized I needed to change it, my sleep-deprived brain went to fliRTEDDISASTER at first, which it took me a moment to figure out what was wrong with. Once I finally got to COURTED..., I was able to fill in the corner quickly.

OffTheGrid 7:21 AM  

BUCKAROO made the puzzle. Say it out loud 3 times and smile.

kitshef 7:29 AM  

Hand up for @jae’s war before UNO. And @Robin’s cOLd before HOLY, and also sOda before HOLY. And my own slowlearnER before LATEBLOOMER. And pretty much any other error you can think of, most notably ShUn before SNUB.


EGRESS always sounds like it should be a female egret.

OffTheGrid 7:33 AM  

Watch This

Rug Crazy 7:45 AM  

I had COLD at first as the Water/War lead in. Iris is not typically a late bloomer. Just Meh

mathgent 7:58 AM  

Like Nancy and some others, I loved Loren's palindrome:" Nurse! I spy gypsies! Run!" I did some exploring on the web for lists of palindromes and didn't find it. It must be rather new. Along the way, I found a few other cute ones.

Dammit, I'm mad!

Sex at noon taxes

Go hang a salami, I'm a lasagna hog.

GHarris 8:00 AM  

Harder than usual but just fine. Rex seems to distain any clue that slows him up. And yes, Rex, an unusual sexual preference is kinky. I also had cold before holy and brewery before brew pub and had to change deny to snub. Overall quite enjoyable.

Suzie Q 8:01 AM  

I love a tough Tuesday. Some Tuesdays are barely worth the printer ink. I liked that I to go back and find the flowers since I was wondering what would tie those answers together as I was solving. I intentionally avoided the revealer until the very end.
Nice picture of Ray Davies. The Kinks made some great music besides their radio hits. The lyrics to Ape Man are a very funny comment on society.
But why is it good to embrace this sexual clue for kink? Normalizing the abnormal is not always a good thing.
Thanks Evan, it was fun.

Betteb 8:07 AM  

rex, I love your description of how you arrived at CDT (KC time zone). My brain does the same! Love it!

GILL I. 8:24 AM  

Kinda beer boozy. Then throw in a DAIQUIRI. Although I liked the puzzle, it wasn't a very happy one - and I love flowers. You have the GOT NASTY SAP IN DENIAL SLUR ILLS SNUB RAMBO HOSE AMORAL DRONED ON . ALI saved the day.
I'm agreeing with @Rex on the clues. They just sort of sit there. Needed a little oomph. KINK is unusual sexual preference? Doesn't it have a Y at the end?
@puzzlehoarder. Wow. I couldn't even watch the news. What little I saw of the fire it certainly was awful. Glad your nephew was spared that disaster.

Bronxvillian 8:33 AM  

There’s a brew pub I’m my town. It sells only IPAs. You can’t find me at Pete’s Tavern down the block drinking a Stella. To each his own.

Joe Dipinto 8:37 AM  

This was nifty for a Tuesday. I very much like the theme answers, and the rest of the fill is relentlessly imaginative. Superb job by Evan Kalish.

In keeping with the festivities, I'd planned a little performance of the Buckaroo Holiday section from "Rodeo" by Aaron Copland, but the link refuses to cooperate, although I followed the embedding instructions I got from JC66 to the letter. Must be something with YouTube. Anyway, you can google it if you choose, it will definitely awaken you.

pabloinnh 8:56 AM  

I thought this was a nice breezy Tuesday, needed the revealer to see what the connection was, and I always like it when that happens.

EGRESS always makes me think of P.T. Barnum charging a fee and having people following signs, "This way to the EGRESS!", only to find themselves outside (and poorer).

BUCKAROO is one of those cowboy words from Spanish (vaquero). Not surprisingly, there are tons of these.

My favorite palindrome is the vaguely French-Canadian "He goddam mad dog, eh?".

And any xword with BREWPUB and IPA is more than fine with me.

Good news about your nephew, @puzzlehoarder. Whew.

Thanks for the fun, EK. Always like your stuff.

Joaquin 9:14 AM  

@ puzzlehoarder - Sorry to read your report of the dive boat tragedy. What an awful experience for your family. Wishing them strength.

davidm 9:14 AM  

This was much easier than yesterday’s slog. The two puzzles should have switched days, IMO.

I’m pretty much in agreement with what Rex wrote. There was nothing scintillating here. I got the revealer early on, saw the flower names at the ends of the designated clues, and mostly shrugged, though they were indeed “late” bloomers, so that was clever.

Like Rex, my main trouble came, but for slightly different reasons, in the northeast, where I finished the puzzle. I nailed BUCKAROO AND GOT NASTY just fine, but for the life of me couldn’t recall how to spell DAIQUIRIS. I also didn’t yet have KINK and, like others, I had written BREWERY for BREW PUB, so it took a bit to unknot all that.

Nancy 9:38 AM  

Fun, lively puzzle, with or without the theme. I solved it without even noticing the theme.
Though it's Tuesday, it tripped me up in places.

I had BREWery before BREW PUB -- which made it really, really hard to spell DAIQUIRIS because I had an R where the Q should have been. And spelling DAIQUIRIS is already hard enough -- right?

I also wanted PULP something-or-other at 17A, before coming up with PURPLE PROSE.

Then there was the "dire appraisal of a situation". IT'S BAD didn't come to me immediately because it didn't seem nearly dire enough. I wanted answers for which I didn't have enough letters. IT'S OVER. I'M DOOMED. WE'RE TOAST. Think I might be a bit of a pessimist?

After the Sunday and Monday puzzles this week, both of which I disliked for entirely different reasons, this one was a rare Tuesday treat. Nice job, Evan.

Anonymous 9:38 AM  

How about “____Banzai” for 11 Down?

xyz 9:41 AM  

I have none of Rex's complaints today. If uninteresting, the puzzle was inoffensive and easy-medium. The theme would have been no help in solving as the flowers were all partials, if that is a legitimate nit.

IPAS make me thirsty, not what beer is supposed to do. That offends me and keeps me drinking gin.

Nancy 9:52 AM  

Oh, yes, another hand up for COLD before HOLY. That makes three places where I was tripped up today.

@puzzlehoarder -- I'm glad your nephew is safe, but what a horrible story. I send him every good wish on full recovery from the trauma and my heart goes out to all the victims and their families.

Klazzic 10:11 AM  

I love you, Rex. Your snarkiness and biting wit forever puts a smile on my mug.
Welcome to my curmudgeonly world!

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

Ah Rex, you never fail me. I love your love for kink. Concupiscence masquerading as sophistication. Bravo. That attitude has done the world so much good.

Anonymous 10:19 AM  

Anon 9:38,

Still not good enough for Rex. No matter where you go, there you are. That's just too reductive for the good lecturer at the bastion of learning is the State University of New York at Binghamtom.

your pal,

John Bigbootee

David 10:23 AM  

Anon beat me to it; I always think of Buckaroo Banzai [and Ellen Barkin]. "Wherever you go, there you are." Words to live by.

My geek brain can't accept PDFs as "alternative" to .docx. I'd go with .ODTs or .RTFs myself. I guess, if you print them out, they may be alternatives, but at that point the source file doesn't matter.

Took me a while today, longer than a normal Tuesday, but I had no write-overs. With everything else filled in, I sat forever trying to parse "p_ana" as I've never heard of Ali Wong, and my brain just wouldn't go there until it finally did.

Love the Trompe answer; fakery, illusion, and built off disaster.

I guess Evan is not a gardener, Iris come quite early in the Spring. Agree about the meh cluing as well.

Zygotic 10:25 AM  

My response on seeing the theme was a “that’s kind of neat.” I think @Lewis’ “perfectly pitched for a Tuesday} is about right.

I always hear BUCKAROO in Sean Connery’s “Russian Accent” voice from The Hunt For Red October.

Did all you online solvers get a little picture of a MERGE road sign like we did in the paper?

@Suzie Q - Perhaps. But there is a wider range of normal than too many people acknowledge.

Zygotic 10:30 AM  

@David - I had the same initial reaction, but then thought about emailing an attachment.

Anonymous 10:35 AM  

BUCKAROO may not be the perfect synonym for cowboy, but site another word of that length that is? how many can there be?

as do K.C. time, I'll guess (those interested can look it up) that the Central Time Zone has the greatest East-West length, and therefore the most confusion as to where its boundaries are.

Amazing PCX Tech, Dallas Network Support 10:43 AM  

its a very challenging puzzle, but overall i love it.

Newboy 10:52 AM  

Like many others I love a palindrome, so thanks for all who shared. My personal favorite remains the sign I spotted in the rear view mirror coming back from a ski trip to Mount Shasta: Yreka Bakery. Puzzle was 👌🏽, but not really exciting. Isn’t an IRIS an early bloomer?

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

People don't have any control over their sexual preferences just like they don't get to choose if they're gay or straight. What business of yours is it what two consenting adults do in their bedrooms?

Mr. Greenjeans 10:55 AM  

A few people are taking the "late" part of the revealer too literally. The flowers do not bloom late in the year, they appear late in the answer.

Joseph M 11:06 AM  

I beg to disagree, Rex, but TWAS a SUPERB Tuesday puzzle. I liked the fact that the themers were hidden inside larger words and that I had no idea what the theme was until I got to the revealer.

Had to read the YODA clue twice, thinking there was a typo, and wanted “pulp fiction” before PURPLE PROSE.

My inner teenager also enjoyed the X-rated subtheme: AMORAL, ITS BAD, KINK, NUDE, GOT NASTY, FRUCTOSE.

RooMonster 11:08 AM  

Hey All !
This BUCKA-ROO enjoyed this puz. Had the same writeovers that seems like a bunch of y'all had, cOLd-HOLY, BREWery-BREWPUB, fliRTEDDISASTER-skiRTED-COURTED, plus some of my own, Amy-ALI, ego-LSD (thinking how I was oh so clever), and struggling to spell DAIQUIRI (Hi @Nancy.) The poster here (what happened to him/her?) who misspells it purposely didn't help.

For me, this was more difficult than a normal TuesPuz. The SW was fighting back but good. PECORINO is not a cheese you run across daily. I know alot of cheeses, used to work at an in-store deli, but that one (to me) in unusual. Last letter in was the F of FRUCTOSE/PDFS. Har. Nice F moment. Let out a smirk, and got the Happy Music. 9 Tuesdays in a row correct!

Only 32 blocks, that's quite low. Normally 38. So nice job on that. Plus got @M&A's weeject stacks, too boot. (😋)

So nice one, Evan. ENOKIan makes me think of the TV show "Supernatural". If you've never seen it, you're missing our. Next season will be its last. 15th season.


jb129 11:13 AM  

Dunno - I found it very easy.

jberg 11:16 AM  

So much depends on one's personal solving experience. Here, I got 44A, "One who's mastered the ropes" = PRO, and started wondering what "one who ropes the masters" might be. Some kind of cowboy, but maybe a cowboy at a golf tournament, or in an art museum? But I couldn't figure out any answer short enough to fit in a puzzle. Then, having had that thought, I came upon 11D, BUCKAROO. Even though it wouldn't work for my clue, it still made me irrationally happy.

Seconding @solverinserbia's defense of great = big, here's a photo of a great tit. (Don't get upset, it's a bird -- but searching for the image had some interesting sidelines).

Perhaps primed by having already encountered BREW PUT and IPA, my first thought for 43D was "lambics." Fortunately, I had a few crosses already, so I was saved from that.

@Loren, a lot of Italian food does not contain garlic-- you're usually safe just leaving it out! You do need a little onion, though.

Carola 11:53 AM  

I'll go with the first two entries in row one: 'TWAS SUPERB. I thought the theme was clever and the theme phrases lively, with much more to ENAMOR one of the puzzle in the longer Downs. It was tough as well as a treat: with lots of white space up top and in the center, I got the reveal before any of the other theme answers so enjoyed working my way back up to discover the ASTER, IRIS, and ROSE, that last one getting me the PURPLE PROSE I couldn't come up with otherwise. I liked how nicely hidden the BLOOMs were and the play on "LATE" - allowing both the spring IRIS and fall ASTER to be late, gridwise.

@jae, et. al., my first thought was "war," too, but I didn't trust the "w" so decided to wait.

Masked and Anonymous 11:58 AM  

End-of-answers theme, for second day in a row?
Well-built puz on its own, but sheesh maybe need a little more intra-week variety, here. Almost need a WedPuz rebus to really shake things up enough, now. Or some other over-the-top-raised by-wolves brilliantly *different* theme idea. har. No pressure or anything, Wednesday constructioneer-to-be.

Best of both worlds dept.: Nice, wide-open puzgrid, with average word size over 5, and yet, peppered with 24 weejects [lil darlins]. Bolstered by the luvly weeject stacks in the NE & SW, no doubt. staff weeject pick = NOS. Better clue: {Return of the non-prodigal son??}.

Some fave fillins: GOTNASTY. FRUCTOSE. BUCKAROO. INDENIAL. BREWPUB. Shoot, that whole NE corner had amazin fill. Rates some applause.

Just to keep things real, best Ow de Speration: PDFS. TYPEAB. STELLAS. Nuthin real flagrant, tho.

@RP: "Only three themers" … If you got an 11-long revealer, synched up with another themer, M&A contends that U got *four* total themers goin on here, technically. I mean, it's not like Kalish dude could just splatz any old thing in, at 61-A. He definitely had a LATEBLOOMER theme-related constraint, there. Just sayin.

Thanx, Mr. Kalish. Good job; too bad about you happenin to be swooped up into an end-of-answer-theme week.

Masked & Anonym8Us

Anonymous 12:24 PM  

One who masters the ropes has KINK, or is that offensive?

Pete 12:33 PM  

@Suzie Q - Just because something is uncommon doesn't mean that it's abnormal in the context you're using. If you flip a coin 5 times and you get 5 heads that's uncommon, but is perfectly normal. It will happen one every 1/32 times you flip a coin five times. It's not a common occurrence, 1/32, but it is perfectly normal. In fact, it would be abnormal were it not to happen with repeated testing.

On a human level, it something is not abnormal when it happens to a multitude of people over broad period of time. Having naturally red hair is unusual, less than 2% of the population has it. It certainly isn't abnormal.

Banana Diaquiri 12:52 PM  

The poster here (what happened to him/her?) who misspells it purposely didn't help.

Only The Shadow Knows. And it wasn't on purpose, only a typo not worth fixing.

old timer 1:03 PM  

I finished the puzzle and was not slowed down at all by HOLY, etc. Almost Monday-fast for me. But when I did, I felt quite disappointed. The themers were boring and too few. The fill was MEH, except for TROMPE and PECORINO (permit me to question how you could work in a deli and not sell lots of PECORINO Romano, so often a piquant substitute for Parmigiano).

I would have admired the puzzle more had there been plain old DAIQUIRIS instead of a reference to a single, not so popular, variety.

I went to Catholic kindergarten so there was lots of HOLY water. And it was surprising the nuns let girls climb the monkey bars without wearing BLOOMERS. I was fascinated by being able to see under their skirts, myself. I suppose if you had a younger sister, you were thoroughly familiar with what girls looked like, but I was an only child. Any girl knew what boys looked like, of course, if only from trips to art museums -- those Victorians were big fans of the male NUDE, while their Venuses were not exactly graphic.

A KINKy aside: San Francisco, when I lived there, had places where you could indulge in every possible KINK. Many such establishments were on Folsom St. South of Market. You probably wouldn't want to know what went on at some of them.

My favorite palindrome: A MAN A PLAN A CANAL, PANAMA.

Teedmn 1:04 PM  

Yep, I was thinking 41A's "cOLd water" was the most green paintish phrase in a puzzle I'd seen in a while. I suppose "throwing cold water" on something elevates it a tad more than just a random adjective-noun combo but still. Thus, it was a relief to see it was HOLY war and water. Much more interesting.

BIG mess-up in the MERGE lane down SE when I decided there would be a sign for a Motel near a highway entrance. More likely at a highway exit, methinks but Motel went it and it HOS[o]Ed me up a bit.

I had to search a moment to find the BLOOMERS and when I saw ROSE and circled all the flowers, I had a smile on my face. Cute, I thought. Thanks, Evan Kalish.

Monty Boy 1:47 PM  

I liked this one a lot. I made most of the mistakes cited above, and like the challenge of deciding which (Across or down) is wrong. Usually opens up the whole area when corrected.

Greeting card I saw years ago related to 28/D: It's only kinky the first time.

Laughed out loud. As you might expect, not a Hallmark Store.

Anonymous 3:04 PM  

I don't live there, but I understand that CA is the only state where a MERGE point requires the travel lane to YIELD to the entering traffic. thus YIELD was the proper answer.

Yam Erez 3:12 PM  

I call incorrect on "amoral". Wouldn't lacking in principles be "immoral"? "Amoral" simply means ...neither good nor evil. Correct?

RooMonster 3:16 PM  

@Banana Diaquiri
Nice to see you and your shadow again. :-) Typos, can't live with them, can't seem to change them.

@old timer
Ah, now the ole brain remembers. Without the Romano part, I just couldn't quite picture it. As a defense, it's been about 20 years since I worked in that deli. :-)


john towle 3:21 PM  

Listen to Buck Owens…doot doot lookin’ out my back door, from Creedence Clearwater Revival. Also check out The Big Lebowski. Some kink in that one, along with the song. The dude abides.

Happy trails Buckaroos,


Anonymous 3:39 PM  

Also yes!

Anonymous 3:40 PM  

Wow, glad your nephew is okay

DrDeb 3:57 PM  

Didn't like BIG for "great"

But my main issue, as an avid gardener, is that the plants cited are not all late-in-the-season bloomers, at least not where I live (CT). Irises are early-mid-summer, roses are mid-summer, asters are the only late bloomers. So when I was having trouble with one of the theme answers I tried to think of actual LATE bloomers, such as chrysanthemums. Some word/answer that ends in MUM? I don't know but surely some xword creator should.

Buckaroo Banzai 4:13 PM  

Loved BUCKAROO of course. Never heard of PECORINO and had POS for NOS (post offices). Played tough for Tuesday (and Ms. Weld aka Thalia Menninger turned 76 last week for what it's worth. Last Tuesday, of course).

Mr. Greenjeans 4:16 PM  

@ DrDeb, Please see my earlier post. You are missing the joke.

Zygotic 4:19 PM  

@Yam Erez - No. Immoral means acting against accepted moral principles, while AMORAL means, “having or showing no concern about whether behavior is morally right or wrong.*” So, AMORAL is specifically “lacking in principles.”


RooMonster 4:22 PM  

See Mr. Greenjeans at 10:55 for the explanation. Or, if you're not want to do that, the themers are late in the answers, as in the flower is part of the second word, not coming in the word immediately. See it? Nothing to do with late or early season bloomers.

And see @Loren Muse Smith's 2:23AM avatar to find your MUm.


Joe Dipinto 6:25 PM  

I'm sure glad daffodils, crocuses and tulips weren't in the puzzle. That would just be wrong because they are early bloomers.

Also, why aren't ragweed and sneezeweed in the puzzle? They are both luh...luh...laaAAACHOOO! {crash}

Sorry about the mess. I'll replace the vase.

albatross shell 7:07 PM  

I have a particular appreciation for that nurse palindrome because my K was a nurse at Muhlenberg hospital in Plainfield NJ when the King of the Gypsies was admitted shortly before his death, and the Gypsies set up camp in the hospital waiting room and parking lot. Gives the palindrome (for me, anyway) the historical reference or aphoristic feel that the better palindrome often project.

Anonymous 9:47 PM  

IPA’s are a hoax. They taste terrible. Fare for millennial posers. They’re soon to be left in the dustbin of history along with Krispy Kreme donuts.

Zygotic 10:48 PM  

"Speed Round" in trivia tonight was Anagrams - could be a president, could be a famous movie. I. Hate. Anagrams.

@Anon9:47 - LOL - IPA has already been around for 180 years or so, so hardly the beer of "millennial posers." The hops in an IPA will usually give the beer a strong floral aroma and a bitter finish. The bitter finish is what lots of people don't like in IPAs. Which hops are used will also have a significant effect on the taste of the beer. Centennial or Fuggle hops are going to give you a much different IPA than mosaic or simcoe hops. Hazy "New England Style" IPAs, which have a cloudy look and fruit flavors, and their opposites, Brut IPAs, are the latest trend, with seemingly every craft brewer trying their hand at both styles. But, hey, no worries. There will be 107 main styles of beer judged at the Great American Beer Festival, many with sub-categories, with only 11 of them being IPA styles. I'm sure that somewhere in the other 96 styles of beer there is something you might like.

BTW - I'm technically a baby boomer. Been drinking craft beers since the 1980's.

Sam Buggeln 11:45 PM  

Let me get this ‘straight’- a fan of the Kinks who opines that “normalizing the abnormal [sexuality] is not always a good thing.” Sheesh, what did you think the band was named for? Bent pipe?

Jeremy 1:01 AM  

@Yam, “amoral” means “without moral,” which is pretty much a straight synonym for “lacking morals.” Morals don’t make someone good or kind—they make someone principled. Moral people live by a code. Someone who is amoral doesn’t have a morality—or a set of principles—to live by.

Phil 3:30 AM  

i have to back off my complaint about clueing. Maybe on Friday or Saturday. But how clever can you be on the early in the week puzzles. They have to be straight forward at the risk of being tricky.

Robyn S 10:51 AM  

For the life of me, I could not get CDT.

Trew 2:33 AM  

Yes, in spades! I always have a problem with Uno, as I think of it first as a game, a commercial product (with cards,) more than as a card game, which I infer to be a game played with a deck of playing cards. It feels like a cheap trick.

doghairstew 7:16 PM  

Ooohh! Thanks for the explanation. I thought all those flowers were early (spring)bloomers. Now I feel better.

Burma Shave 10:05 AM  


ONCUE she’d RETELL that BIG rumor,


spacecraft 11:10 AM  

Yesterday I GOTNASTY; today OFC returns from a day off to resume that duty (?). I thought this was a ton better. A very well disguised theme--now what do these things have in common? Could we be doing a Tuesday themeless??--neatly explained by the revealer. Not an earth-shaking aha, but nice.

But really it's the fill that makes the difference. Yeah you've got your RTZ (random time zone), but that's small potatoes. Well done, Mr. K., and pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Talia Shire as the beloved ADRIAN (could we say RAMBO begets a mini-theme?) takes DOD honors. Birdie.

Anonymous 11:42 AM  

Got in trouble with Holy water. I wanted cold water; cold war.

leftcoast 2:43 PM  

Has Will Shortz and company decided on a policy of tightening up the early week puzzles? Maybe so, if this one and yesterday's is any indication. Would be good thing.

Got hung up in the DAIQUIRIS/QUIPS/BREWPUB/SNUB/ALI/KINK cluster, but eventually hacked my way out of it, as RAMBO might have done.

As for the theme, which was pretty well hidden, I assume the ROSE, IRIS, and ASTER are all LATEBLOOMERS, or so the revealer says.

Back to that cluster: PLANA was part of it, but I ERRed. Changed the "A" in BUCKAROO to an "E' it to get PLeNA, clued as a "proceeding" or assembly of some kind. Bad choice.

Enjoyed working on this tricky puzzle.

rainforest 4:33 PM  

I don't know much about flowers, but I do have a species of rose in the garden that blooms both in the Spring and the Fall. Nevertheless, the revealer is referring to BLOOMERs that appear LATE in the themers. Was explained above, so just reiterating, late.

Solid puzzle, lively theme answers, perfect revealer. Add to that nice cluing and sparkly non-theme answers (BUCKAROO indeed) and you've got yourself a winner.

I didn't read @Rex (rarely do), but it seems there were things he didn't like. However, sadly, that's how he sees his "job".
I loved it.

Diana, LIW 4:44 PM  

Speaking of late bloomers, I just got back from my 50th high school reunion and a few days in Philadelphia. Lot of fun - now I'm tired and catching up.

Found this to be fun and not so hard. Guess 'twas a wheelhouse thing. Now I'll go read the comments. (I skim Rex - I usually know the "gist" of his comments w/o even seeing the puzzle.)

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rondo 4:54 PM  

@Z – IPAs, no matter how long they’ve been around, are indeed the choice of millennial posers. There’s one featured in the Pioneer Press today! Every craft brewer makes at least one IPA with their own combo of hops and other flavors. Every one of them bitter, but IPAs take less time and attention to brew than lagers or pilsners so that’s what you get - ITSBAD. And that’s what the posers chat about – hoppiness and a fruity finish. B.S. Gimme a pilsner or lager any day, preferably a Staropramen.

There was a puz, with a flowery finish to it. OK, fine just not in my beer, thank you.
Gotta admit, ADELE has the pipes. Yeah baby.
Three themers must be the mini-MUM.

strayling 7:44 PM  

Moment of silence for the old BUCKAROO in Fremont, famous in movies as the go-to biker bar for a fight scene. Remembering its animated neon cowboy sign solved the clue for me.

leftcoast 8:46 PM  

Late, but gotta get this in:

So, LATE literally means only that the flowers' names show up at the ends of the theme answers? Pretty flimsy wordplay IMO, if that's really what's intended.


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