Activist who'd make a good valet? / TUE 10-22-19 / Muppet with a smartphone friend named Smartie / Rapper who'd make good barber / Supermodel who'd make good broker

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Constructor: Saul Pink

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (3:24)

THEME: last name, verb — celebrities reimagined as verb phrases

Theme answers:
  • GEORGE BURNS (17A: Comedian who'd make a good pyrotechnician?) (wait, you said *good* pyrotechnician, right???)
  • TYRA BANKS (24A: Supermodel who'd make a good broker?)
  • ROSA PARKS (35A: Activist who'd make a good valet?)
  • SEAN COMBS (53A: Rapper who'd make a good barber?)
  • JEREMY IRONS (61A: Actor who'd make a good dry cleaner?)
Word of the Day: SEAN COMBS (53A) —
Sean John Combs (born November 4, 1969), also known by the stage names Puff DaddyP. DiddyPuffy, or Diddy, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, record executive, actor, and entrepreneur. Combs was born in New York City but was raised in Mount Vernon, New York. He worked as a talent director at Uptown Records before founding his own record label, Bad Boy Entertainment, in 1993.
Combs' debut album, No Way Out (1997), has been certified seven times platinumNo Way Out was followed by successful albums such as Forever (1999), The Saga Continues... (2001), and Press Play(2006). In 2009, Combs formed the musical group (Dirty Money (duo)) and released the critically well-reviewed and commercially successful album Last Train to Paris (2010).
Combs has won three Grammy Awards and two MTV Video Music Awards, and is the producer of MTV's Making the Band. In 2018, Forbes estimated his net worth at $825 million, making him the second-richest hip-hop recording artist, after Jay-Z. (wikipedia)
• • •

This feels like the oldest theme in the book, though I can't find any specific examples of its having been done before. It's not terribly exciting and could've been made 20+ years ago. It's a good example of what a perfectly adequate puzzle might've looked like at the end of the last century—tight (if not exactly thrilling) theme concept, passable (if not exactly fresh) fill. Lots of short answers, which means a lot of unremarkable to slightly irksome fill (TAI, EHS, IDED, FTC, LES, etc.). And the longer answers (ten different 7-letter Downs!) somehow do very little to bring up the interest level. It's passable. It's just OK. It's about NYT-average right now (with the theme concept being slightly more basic / old-fashioned than usual). But the big negative today, the thing that made me wince mid-solve (exactly mid-solve) was the clue on ROSA PARKS. When I say the editor has a tin ear when it comes to social issues, particularly when it comes to race, *this* is what I mean. Clue writer sees only the whimsy of wordplay, not the idea that maybe you shouldn't ask the civil rights icon whose Whole Thing was defying racial hierarchy in the area of *transportation* to go fetch your Audi. ROSA PARKS ... as a valet ... this sounded ... good? I mean ... wow, OK. OK.

I had some trouble interpreting the clues. Had HOORAY for 15A: Howl of happiness and then thought "EYS??? That's a weird way to write [Responses to mumbles], but .... I guess so!" Not the greatest crossing, is what I'm saying. I still don't quite get what the clue on TADA is going for (24D: "I'm do-o-one!"). Like, I can't find quite the right pitch or intonation or cadence to make the clue mean anything like the answer. I read the clue as expressing something like "I am *through* with this stupid situation" or "I am exceedingly tired." Somehow "do-o-one" conveys precisely nothing to me. Looks like it's pronounced "due oh one." Otherwise, nothing here gave me much trouble. Weirdly took a longish time to see both FOMENTS (11D: Instigates) and ATTAIN (?) (65A: Reach). Also, thought a U.F.O. was DISC-shaped. Oh well. And why in the world is the clue on SHORTIE so weirdly specific. "Someone under five feet?" Totally arbitrary. Bizarrely stigmatizing. SHORTIE (or "shorty" or, in the South, "shawty") is a pretty common term of affection for a young woman. You hear it a bunch in rap lyrics. That's certainly how I most often encounter this term—not as a way to insult the untall.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Hungry Mother 6:10 AM  

Quick one, hastened by a useful theme.

Lewis 6:18 AM  

The constructor Saul is 17, and did this puzzle for a high school project, with the help of his teacher, who is an experienced constructor, according to Saul's notes. This puzzle is a debut.

Three lovely answers -- SEALEGS, FOMENTS, ABSCOND -- perked this up for me, on top of some cluing that involved my brain. The puzzle would have been a touch more elegant if there weren't any third-person-singular verbs outside the theme answers, and there is one -- FOMENTS (CASES and SMARTS were clued as nouns) -- which could have been avoided by cluing FTC as MTG. But that is the nittiest of nits.

Saul Pink (what a great name!), congratulations on joining the Clan of NYT Crossword Constructors, many who are hallowed, and doing so with a worthy offering. I'm hoping for more from you!

Bageleater 6:22 AM  

Well, pretty good for a teen-age! But, Rex, I don’t think “shortie” is complimentary to young women, either.

Anonymous 6:33 AM  

It is a shame that the mention of Rosa Parks, a greatly admired civil rights activist, makes you think of her in a subservient manner. It never crossed my mind. Your hypersensitivity about race makes me wonder who the real racists are.

amyyanni 6:57 AM  

So impressed! Xword construction is so tedious and time-consuming; a 17 year old creator deserves.....well, what? A golden pencil, er, bronzed keyboard? I'm ok with the valet clue because it's what valets do. I believe Ms. Parks wouldn't mind.

kitshef 7:21 AM  

I thought the theme was Tuesday-fun. All the last names have five letters, which adds to the tautness. The cluing has a few warts - since when is a CASE a box of 12? - but is OK overall.

But the real issue here is the fill. Look at that SW corner with its CALS, NEG and DRS.

Gaze in wonder at RANT AT and ROSE TO; MIL, SHORTIE, I TO, EHS and IDED.

ALI and ALA, consecutively. ALA crossing GALA.

zevonfan 7:49 AM  


Enjoyed the cryptic "Jeremy's Iron" reference with the Lisa Simpson picture.

QuasiMojo 7:51 AM  

Get Shortie? Not much makes sense here even when offending. Lots of UFOs are orbs not disks. People have reported a variety of shapes. A broker is making money for his clients. They are the ones "banking" profits, one hopes. My barber spends his time mostly removing hair, not combing it. Adding dry to cleaner is odd since most dry cleaning services use automatic ironing machines. Your maid might do your ironing by hand but as Jeremy is a man the constructor couldn't say that. Perhaps valet would have been better put to use there. Lol. Sorry to hear this is a debut. The kid deserved much better editing.

GILL I. 7:55 AM  

ALA, ALI and ITO walk into a bar...The bartender says "Is this some kind of joke?"
You kinda lost my amusement factor at AMPERE followed by EHS. That's on me.
ERE ADER, SEAL EGS, RAN TAT, ICEC OLD. that's how I read you.
BACK crossing BANKS, ROSA looking down at ROSE get the drift.
Mamma MIA.

Suzie Q 7:59 AM  

I found this just so-so and only mildly amusing but after learning about the constructor I warmed up to it a bit.
Rex, what do you have against valets?

Anonymous 7:59 AM  

What a snob. Why insult valets ? They’re just trying to make a living. Sorry we can’t all be Lecturers.

Doorboy 8:09 AM  

I swear people are looking for anything to offend them.
I loved the words FOMENT and ABSCOND in a puzzle.
Interesting to see GALA lead into ALA, like it's an extra chic affair (GALALA?)
The "G" in SEALEGS was the last box I filled. The cross there of the minus sign with the colon to indicate the abbreviation looked like a weird emoji that just was not clicking. I started going through the alphabet, after staring at it for 30 seconds. SEALErS? SEALEsS? SEALEtS? Quite vexing for a Tuesday.

GHarris 8:18 AM  

I’ m sorry but a youth is a lad not a tot. A tot is an infant or a babe. Totally screwed me up.

Nancy 8:19 AM  

Only Tuesday, but I had a lot of trouble at the top. That's because...

...I thought the shape of a UFO was a DISh.

...I never know my OCHOs from my OTTOs. I only know my EIGHTs and my HUITs.

...I couldn't remember Ohm's Law, much less the units in it.

...I, myself, always say HURRAH and never HOORAH.

Even though I normally don't like puzzles with proper name themes, I loved the crunch of this puzzle. I got the theme at ROSA PARKS -- the only name that came immediately to my mind. For comedian GEORGE I kept thinking Carlin and for SEAN I kept thinking Penn. And is a dry cleaner someone who always IRONS? First and foremost, I hope he CLEANS. Therefore, I would have preferred a golfer clue for JEREMY. But a really nice puzzle in which I learned some stuff. Like the formula for producing an acre (56D). And where OPEC is headquartered (36D). Austria??? Who knew?

Gort 8:21 AM  

What’s wrong with valets? Beats taking the bus.

BobL 8:25 AM  

Curmudgeon who'd make a good valet = Rex PARKER

Nancy 8:30 AM  

To those who are interested -- I have a letter to the editor in today's NYT. I'm not linking to it here, since not everyone will agree with my political position. But anyone who wants to fid it will be able to find it on their own.

Anonymous 8:30 AM  

Rex like most liberals is a bit too sensitive. It’s a puzzle, not an in depth social commentary. Grow up!

JohnG 8:34 AM  

You know what's funny? The second I saw Rosa Parks in this puzzle, I immediately assumed a small percentage of people would be offended. And they were and it's a punny crossword puzzle and everyone ends up a little lessened by the nonsense. I liked this puzzle, great one for a Tuesday. Sean Combs is funny. But why isn't that offensive? He's black. So is Tyra. Just Rosa? Oh, I see, because she's a Civil Rights HERO. Thus, you can't just bring her up in any context but a perfect one. Blah, it's so exhausting.

Bruce R 8:56 AM  

@Anonymous, it appears to me that you are the oversensitive one.

Anyway, this puzzle seemed off to me. Seems like a submission that should have been rejected.

Anonymous 9:17 AM  

The idea that an American icon could be associated with a lowly valet ! Spot the bigot. It ain’t Shortz.

davidm 9:42 AM  

@Nancy, nice letter, and I see you are a New Yorker, like me! :-)

Somehow I forgot to be offended by ROSA PARKS, though I do agree that sometimes the puzzle does have a tin-ear problem. I can see how some might find this at least iffy, however, given that Parks’s activism was in the field of transportation.

I thought the puzzle was fine. FOMENTS, ABSCOND AND SEA LEGS were all winners.

Mikey from El Prado 9:46 AM  

Bob L.,

That was great! Thanks for making our day here in blog city.

Z 9:47 AM  

Took me forever to see AMPERE because even though the word In the clue is clearly “Ohm’s” I kept thinking “Boyle’s.” It’s enough to give one gas.

Lots of rock shows use pyrotechnics and I certainly hope they hire good pyrotechnicians. Seems like people are conflating pyrotechnician with arsonist.

Agree on the SHORTIE clue, oddly specific. At 6’4” I heckle everyone else on the field by calling them SHORTy. What’s weird to me is that every “Tiny” I’ve ever known has been a big man, but somehow the same sort of flip hasn’t occurred to “SHORTy.” Anyway, just can’t parse what calculus went into coming up with “five feet” as the marker. Also, the IE ending irks me for no reasonable reason.

That a 17 year-old would not see the unintended slight of punning on PARKS as a valet, or really any constructor might not, is not surprising. But that neither the teacher-mentor nor the editorial staff saw it? Makes it seem like all they have there are copy-editors instead of actual editors. ”Tin ear” is exactly right. This kind of stuff happens so often that I’m still surprised that a suit from the NYT hasn’t sat Shortz down and said, “you are going to add a woman and a minority to your staff.”

Dorothy Biggs 9:50 AM  

It's weird how different those Spanish numbers are to me when I have to actually add them up. I learned to count to ten in Spanish a million years ago...but, it turns out, they're just random syllables to me. Like singing Tra la la la. Or supercaligragialisticexpialadocious. (sp). When I need to actually use them in the abstract, out of order, I have to think several times to remember what each syllable stands for. That's not really a comment on my ridiculously stereotypical American monolingualism, it's more about how interesting it is to see where those number/syllables live in my brain. I know them as numbers until I have to use them as numbers...then they seem to have be run through a different brain department.

I read texts on my phone, my tablet, and my computer. Oo-o-oh, you were talking about *those* kinds of "book texts..." Aha, I see what you did there.

I also felt like there was a glitch in my enjoyment of the puzzle with ROSAPARKS. I can't put my finger on it...and Rex's take on it isn't quite right for me either. Tone deaf seems too strong...but dismissing it as just another clue seems to ignore the weird tinge I felt when I got the answer to the clue.

I also thought that UFOs were more "oval," since many have been described these days as being shaped like a cigar. I think the old-timey disk shapes (like what cartoon martians use to get around) are no longer in vogue.

I would like very much to see how this puzzle was originally clued before it was edited. Also, is WS the sole editor of the xword puzzles...or does he have a staff that he farms some of that work off to?

Petri 9:51 AM  

Always some CHUDs in the comment who tries to pull the "NO, YOU'RE THE RACIST" when someone brings up a very legitimate instance of a stupidly tone-deaf clue, that is part of an ongoing pattern in the crossword. How are you so obtuse as to not understand that when the person in question is famous for their refusal to be treated as less than, putting them in a clue that implies they'd be a good valet, something that is clearly part of the service economy that is exploitative to EVERYONE in it (no one is talking about if it's something to be ashamed of or not, the reality is that being a valet is a position with limited growth and in most places is not enough money to comfortably survive) is crass as hell. Infuriating when snowflakes think that just because it doesn't offend them, no one else has any right to raise objections.

Giskarrrd 9:54 AM  

*tips hat*

Lewis 9:54 AM  

My five favorite clues from last week
(In order of appearance):

1. What someone might make a stand for? (5)
2. Main lower artery, informally (4)
3. Make a slight correction? (5)
4. C, as in coach? (5)(4)
5. It' s always something (4)


Anonymous 9:59 AM  

I definitely cringed at the Rosa Parks clue.

jberg 10:03 AM  

Hey folks should pay attention to what Rex actually said before slamming him. Specifically he did not say anything about being “offended” by the ROSA PARKS clue. He said he “winced.” Me too. And you know who else? Jeeves, an actual valet who would never have dreamed of parking anyone’s car.

I liked the theme more than most of you seemed to—by a constructor who’d make a good tailor

JC66 10:10 AM  


Good letter.

For those who don't have access, here's the link (it's the 3rd of 4).

Joe B 10:11 AM  

To be offended on someone else's behalf is some really high-level woke stuff. Thank god there was no NRA today; Rex would have had a kitten.

Seriously. I hear you all. You're all very offended. Anyone care to explain why? Is it because Rosa Parks was black? Do you know who Sean Combs is? Imagine a black man in a barber shop! The horror...

Dylan 10:19 AM  

Who the hell is ROSA PARKS? And who the hell is GEORGE BURNS?

Joaquin 10:35 AM  

@Nancy - Hope you saw the standing "O" I gave you after reading your letter to the ed.

Anonymous 10:59 AM  

I don't get offended easily, and when I do I don't make a federal case of it, and I think that wokeness is often overrated. But even so, between the fact that Parks made her mark on a bus and the fact of the servitude she was fighting against, the allusions just seem too on-the-nose to miss. You don't have to be a social justice warrior to see them and wish they weren't there, at least not in this blithe context.

Newboy 11:14 AM  

Seconding posters who are able to enjoy their puzzle without upping their Lisinopril dosage; I too winced at the Parks clueing in part because I knew it would divert attention from a very worthy debut. I’m as happy to see a new face in the constructor lineup as I am to read Nancy’s NYT civic engagement contribution (thanks @JC66 for the link). Since I seldom do puzzles from other sources, I may be too willing to overlook Mr Shortz’s “tin ear” edits. Today’s range from Homer Simpson to Thomas Gray affirms my confidence in more fun to come...and after all, that’s why I enjoy starting the day with a puzzle. That guy on the other blog nailed it: “ Overall, not a memorable theme, but a memorably well-crafted debut.”

Joseph M 11:19 AM  

Congratulations, Saul, on your debut. Good job!

I was surprised to see that the constructor was so young. Do 17-year olds really still know who GEORGE BURNS was? Plus the concept seems like something from a different era. But it was a fun and at times surprisingly challenging solve nevertheless. High point: SEA LEGS. Low point: EHS.

Meanwhile Rex, perennially offended, is so woke that his alarm clock shattered. In venting his offense about the ROSA PARKS punnery, he neglected to purge himself of his classist views about valets. And why is it apparently okay to call a woman SHORTIE if you’re a rapper?

Anonymous 11:21 AM  

“Who am I TO judge?” I thought was quite clever.

Unknown 11:24 AM  

Good one!

RooMonster 11:39 AM  

Hey All !
What in tarhooties is FOMENT? I appreciate throwing an F in there, but golly, what an abstract word. (Well, to me, after reading y'all, it seems you've heard it.) Having an M there and DISc were my two-letter today.

Theme was neat, last names as verbs. Not going to get into the insensitive/racism kerfuffle, I'll let y'all duke it out amongst yourselves.

Congrats to Saul on the debut, still waiting on mine, but I'm sure y'all are sick of me whining about it! I have three in waiting to be reviewed. I'd like to think as I keep making puzs I'm actually getting better, but it seems I'm still bush League. :-)

Anyway, did enjoy the puz. Tuesdays are the black sheep (oops, is that Racist?) of the puz week. This theme was nice. Saul, don't let the b******* get you down! 😋


Malsdemare 11:56 AM  

Well, I guess I'm a snowflake; I, too, winced at ROSA PARKS. Now if the answer had been Bert PARKS, the erstwhile, long ago host of the Miss America Pageant, that would have been funny.

After all, the trick is that you take someone famous and illustrious and give them a less than illustrious job. But Rosa isn't famous for her acting or her comedy. She's famous for being an ordinary woman standing up (or sitting down) for other ordinary people. So the trick falls flat. At least that's how I took it.

@Nancy, great letter! We can wish, right?

QuasiMojo 12:07 PM  

Thanks for the link JC66. @Nancy, I realize it's the point you are making that is of utmost importance when writing a letter to an editor, but I must say you made your point very eloquently.

Rainbow 12:22 PM  

I'm not so sure Bert PARKS would have been a "safer" answer, given the objectification of women that is the pageant.

Nolaist 12:23 PM  


OffTheGrid 12:32 PM  

@Doorboy. I think the colon was just punctuation, with the clue being just - and not an emoji.

@GHarris. The clue for TOT was youngster, not youth.

Nancy 12:42 PM  

My sincere thanks and appreciation to (in order of the comments) @davidm, @JC66, @Joaquin, @Newboy, @Malsdemare and @Quasi. Fingers crossed that the letter will actually do some good.

Dan M. 12:58 PM  

Ah yes the ol' "If you point out indifference to bigotry you're the real racist!" A classic Fox copy/paste.

Teedmn 1:03 PM  

Strangely sticky puzzle for me today. I kept taking left turns when I wanted to go right. In the NE, I ignored the part of the 11A clue that read "Consumer" and threw in "EOE" and my night-flying creature was a bat. Luckily TWINKLE TWINKLE little star still resides handily in my memory.

And at 52A, I plopped AM I rather than I TO. Hilarity did not ensue. However, I did like that "Who am I to judge?" could be answered as Judge ITO.

Congratulations, Saul Pink, on your NYT puzzle debut.

And @Nancy, nice letter in the NYT, as always. The one right below yours in the online version made me laugh, as it quoted directly Trump's recent letter to Erdogan. Funny stuff.

oopsydeb 1:16 PM  

I see the snowflakes are out in full force, complaining that Rex is offended by a clue. Even though Rex didn't say he was offended by the clue. Also apparently unwilling to think about what Rex and others have said about why the clue made them wince. If we don't do something in this country to teach perspective taking, we truly are doomed.

Petri, well said.

SAL (salt) is not a condiment!! (58A)

I like foment and absconds. I could barely remember GEORGEBURNS and have no idea how a 17 year old knew of him.

Congrats on the debut, Saul. May the NYTXW enter an era of much better editing during your constructor career.

Richardf8 1:32 PM  

The constructor is frank that the theme emerged from a parlor game his family was playing at the dinner table. The things that troubled me most were: Disk and Hoorah.
Disks are computer components/consumables exclusively, discs are round flat things generally. When may joyfully howl “hurrah” or “hooray,” but I do not think “hoorah” is a sanctioned spelling of anything.

The Rosa Parks was clued the only way I can imagine. I don’t think not letting her ride on the puzzle because of that clue would serve anyone.

davidm 1:36 PM  

“Ah yes the ol' "If you point out indifference to bigotry you're the real racist!" A classic Fox copy/paste.”

LOL, exactly.

Anyone who needs explained why some may find the PARKS clue problematic is either totally clueless or trolling — I suspect the latter. As I mentioned earlier, it didn’t bother me, but I can see how many will find it tone-deaf.

“I'm not so sure Bert PARKS would have been a "safer" answer, given the objectification of women that is the pageant.”

LOL, again. I think it is BURT, though, not BERT. I could be wrong, but can’t be arsed to looked it up.

john towle 1:54 PM  

I didn’t see the word “polished” in any of the above posts. It describes this puzzle. Respect labor. Please. Valets are important, too. Aren’t sins mortal? I think so, but I could be wrong.



Anonymous 2:16 PM  

Gotta love these guys who post under different names complimenting their earlier posts in order to impress a few dozen strangers. Too funny.

GHarris 2:16 PM  

Brava Nancy. You should forward a copy of your letter to every Republican senator so that even those who choose not to read the Times still get the message.

Miss Congeniality 3:36 PM  

e in Bert is correct.

Anonymoose 3:45 PM  


DISC could have been used in 1A with the clue for 4D being "Jazz man Chick" (COREA).

laura R 3:45 PM  

I found this extremely tricky for a Tuesday. Flying felt off. And lots of esoteric words for a Tuesday. Unfortunately, didn’t get a lot of fun out of this one. Lots of “meh” answers and cluing. Is that the constructor or Shortz who takes the blame?

GILL I. 4:07 PM  

Ten thumbs up, @Nancy....Now let us pray..."Dear Lord, let this sink in." You never know and one can dream.

Solverinserbia 4:12 PM  

Easy puzzle. Your negativity towards the ROSAPARKS clue shows that you think valets are to be looked down upon. That's odd and negative. To me, it's a respectable job.

White Rushin 4:31 PM  

Wow, @Solveriserbia and others -
This is why I hate people. You're all delusional. Rex wasn't saying a Valet is a job "to be looked down on", he was saying associating Ms. Parks with being a Valet is tacky and racist, since her whole point was to be treated as an equal to everyone else, whose refusal to sit in the back of the bus by *gasp* a black woman (*how dare her* in the minds of whites [mostly males] at that time), and then get cutesy by using her to represent a service job such as a Valet for a crossword puzzle answer was the problem. He couldn't care less (or more) about people who are Valets.
The comparison was ick inducing. Read what's written.

PetuniaTomcat 4:41 PM  

Isn't "disk" used for data storage, too. Disc is the shape of a UFO. That one drove me crazy, because well, it's the wrong word.

Masked and Anonymous 4:45 PM  

Wow. Talk about yer tight theme … Each themer has a 5-letter last name, which is also always a third-person-singular verb. Not sure there's a lotta extra material there, among names that most TuesPuz solvers would recognize. BARRYBONDS, maybe? TOMWAITS?

This was a slightly feisty TuesPuz, at our house. OK by m&e, of course. But M&A did let out a little extra Howl of Happiness, when I got thru it all within somewhat reasonable nanosecond limits, for a drunken tortoise.

fave twinkly fillins included: ABSCOND. TWINKLE. MOSTLY. HOORAH. NACHO.
staff weeject pick: EHS. Better clue: {She switch??}

Thanx for the feisty fun, Mr. Pink. And congratz on yer debut. You'll add more U's, with experience, of course.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


Masked and Anonymous 5:21 PM  

Real shame, that the puz couldn't use some easy-to-recognize *nicknames* in them there themers. BONEYSPURS might make a "good rodeo rider?", f'rinstance.
Bit of a stretch? … yeah, thought so.


Unknown 5:45 PM  

So Rex spent 3 minutes and 24 seconds to finish. And yet had trouble interpreting clues, spent time wincing and wasted a longish time on FOMENTS. LOL. I mean Rex must move like a squirrel on meth between clues. One day I'd like to see that in action . Must be absolutely fascinating. I couldn't even write the answers in that short a time if they were dictated to me.
No offense meant Rex, only my admiration. Took me a proud half hour.
I got to ask though. Does the fun go away as the speed increases?

jae 6:18 PM  

Medium-tough. Cute, nice debut, although you may add me to those that winced.

Jeff B. 6:27 PM  

Great letter, Nancy. Thanks for doing it.

Anonymous 6:30 PM  

The Rosa Parks kerfuffle is about the stupidest (non)controversy I've seen on this blog.

Richardf8 7:15 PM  

I actually had that in my fill, and was shocked when I saw that it was clued for KOREA.

Tom Q 8:01 PM  

So, I'm a long-time liberal, who frequently thinks Rex bends himself out of shape to take offense at clues that can be in any way interpreted as offensive to my way of thinking...

...but this time I'm with him. I winced in precisely the same way -- the fact that Rosa Parks refused to take a servile position is why she's famous, and the clue-ing is spectacularly tone-deaf on that score.

Anonymous 9:13 PM  

I thought it was a crossword puzzle and not a treatise on race in America. My bad.

Whatsername 10:32 PM  

@Nancy: Excellent letter! Several other good ones as well. IMO the only thing worse than Trump’s corrupt, inept, venal and infantile behavior is the Republican Party leadership’s continued support and defense of it.

College Professor 10:44 PM  

I heard some valets have to work two jobs. Pond scum.

Josh 11:03 PM  

Why are people whining about us cringing/wincing (read: not being offended) at a tone-deaf clue? We're snowflakes for even mentioning it? Methinks the name-callers are projecting their own snowflakiness.

If you hadn't refuted said valid complaint in the first place, there would've been no kerfuffle to begin with.

Anonymous 12:05 AM  

@Josh- Because it’s a crossword puzzle. Lighten up.

Anonymous 8:09 AM  

Agree with oopseydeb: since when is salt (SAL) a condiment?

Snag 4:20 AM  

- could be abbreviation for nee
Like in a hyphenated last name
Maybe sealees are a thing to describe steadiness on a ship

Burma Shave 9:41 AM  


MOSTLY thanks be to HARASS.


spacecraft 11:31 AM  

ROFL @ Bob L!!!! As to 35a, the constructor (congrats on a good debut, Saul!) was merely making a pun on the name. Why is no one getting offended at the suggestion that 17a might have been an arsonist? Because it's absurd! Just as this is. It's a play on words, people. IT'S NOT SERIOUS!!

And speaking of ROSAPARKS, she is my co-DOD, along with TYRABANKS. Different reasons, but equally worthy in their own spheres. Extra points for DOD's as themers.

A couple of AP's, RANTAT and ROSETO, detract, but all things considered, with a TWINKLE in my eye, I will let Mr. Pink ABSCOND with a birdie.

lodsf 11:43 AM  


rondo 12:26 PM  

If it had been bertPARKS, we woulda heard all about objectification. Some people just can’t wait to be offended, where none is intended. Take it elsewhere.

Mr. Pink’s mentor must be a wine drinker for boxes of 12 to be CASES. For me it’s boxes of 24; usually a product made by the BREWERS at Miller.

Any clue that starts with *supermodel* (shouldn’t we all be offended there?), well . . . TYRABANKS in a landslide.

Compared to a usual Tues-puz I say HOORAH!

leftcoaster 2:21 PM  

Pretty solid debut puzzle, and liked it, but with Rex, winced at the ROSA PARKS clue.

rainforest 3:51 PM  

Lotta "wincing" today. I wince when I graze my thumb with a hammer, but at a clue? Never. The clue about ROSA PARKS in a puzzle that puns on people's names doesn't diminish her status as a genuine social activist hero. I *did* laugh at JEREMY IRONS though. Am I bad?

I rather liked this puzzle, and the theme that played with the last names of famous people. The inclusion of several "sparkly" down answers added to my enjoyment. The fill overall was pretty darn good, too. Or maybe none too shabby.

Good Tuesday following a Monday puzzle that I also liked. Constructor seen blushing? SAUL PINK.

Diana, LIW 4:09 PM  

HOORAH - replacing hooray ;-)

I enjoyed it thoroughly. My grandparents' name was changed to "Park" on Ellis Island (an always misspelled Finnish name was replaced). He was a carpenter. Any good job, well done, is a good job in his book.

Diana, LIW and car parker (even parallel parking in NYC!!)

leftcoaster 6:47 PM  

@Diana -- My maternal grandparents were immigrants from Finland as well. They changed their name to "Hill", probably when arriving on Ellis. He was tough, curt, and proud.

strayling 7:45 PM  

Great debut puzzle, especially 52 across once I noticed the "I TO" judge / judge "ITO" playfulness.

Diana, LIW 9:06 PM  

Yo @Lefty - He had Sisu!!

Lady Di

Unknown 2:00 PM  

Ha! I remember the episode but wouldn't have put that together from the picture! Thanks for the reminder and chuckle!

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