Eastern mystic / TUES 10-29-19 / Section of a record store / Stealthy fighter / Mythical city of gold

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Hello! It's Clare, back for another Tuesday. I hope everyone has had a great October; it's always one of my favorite months of the year! The leaves' colors are a-changing here in D.C., which is quite nice. You don't really get too much of fall back in Northern California, where I'm from. Anywho, I've had quite the day with school, work, and a somewhat hard-to-watch Steelers game all piling on, so I'll just get right to the recap!

Constructor: Evan Mahnken

Relative difficulty: Average

THEME: JAY-Z (57D: Rapper whose name hints at the extremities of the answers to the five starred clues)

Theme answers:

  • JON LOVITZ (20A: "Saturday Night Live" cast member of the late 1980s)
  • JC CHASEZ (12D: Onetime member of 'N Sync)
  • JENNIFER LOPEZ (37A: Singer starring in 2019's "Hustlers")
  • JOAN BAEZ (37D: Singer on the first day of Woodstock)
  • JASON MRAZ (57A: Grammy winner for "Make It Mine," 2010)
Word of the Day: EL DORADO (38D: Mythical city of gold)
El Dorado (Spanish for "the golden one"), originally El Hombre Dorado ("The Golden Man") or El Rey Dorado ("The Golden King"), was the term used by the Spanish Empire to describe a mythical tribal chief (zipa) of the Muisca people, an indigenous people of the Altiplano Cundiboyacense of Colombia, who, as an initiation rite, covered himself with gold dust and submerged in Lake Guatavita. The legends surrounding El Dorado changed over time, as it went from being a man, to a city, to a kingdom, and then finally to an empire. (Wikipedia)
• • •

Coming off the day I'd had, I was really hoping for a nice, fresh, clever crossword puzzle to solve to counterbalance everything and give me a pleasant break before diving in to prepare for another long day tomorrow, but this... wasn't it!

I appreciate the attempt by the constructor at relative ingenuity with the theme (J—Z), but I thought it fell flat. My main issue with the theme is that is just doesn't make sense to have four of the theme answers — plus the theme revealer — be singers and then have the fifth theme answer... not be one? It seems like it would have been relatively easy to get uniformity in the puzzle just by switching JON LOVITZ out for someone who, like the others in the puzzle, was known for being a singer. Or, switch things up more and do a wide variety celebrities from all areas.

The "J" and "Z" gimmick is just so limiting as far as fill goes that I thought the rest of the puzzle suffered as a result, and the fill was pretty blasé. I thought the "Zs" had the potential to lead to some clever fill, but there wasn't much I hadn't seen before with OZONE, KATZ, and SUZIE Q. And, it also feels like the constructor cheated a little bit by having two theme answers cross each other to get a "Z" in there with JENNIFER LOPEZ and JC CHASEZ. It was all just lacking in zest and zeal and pizzazz (see what I did there?).

In general, there wasn't much about the fill that jumped out at me and had me saying, "Aha!" Or, "Ooh." There was a *lot* of fill that was just very boring, like: LEA, HAL, LAMA, AKA, ORC, NSA, NCO, CDS, EEK, ASA, AUDI, REMO. (I might have missed some because, like I said, there was a lot of it!) And, there were two crosswordese-y French terms — AMOI and MAIS — that were clued right next to each other at 58D and 59D. Then, there was more thematic repetition with 15A: Tibetan spiritual guide (LAMA) and 64A: Eastern mystic (YOGI). The only thing I somewhat enjoyed were the question mark clues that led to SPCA (36D: Watchdog org.?) and IMACS (16A: Ones not part of PC culture?), which I got a small chuckle out of it.

My first "Huh" moment came at 3D, because I've never heard of AMANAS before. I gather the singular form, at least, is known crosswordese, but a Google search shows Amana is a not-that-popular kitchen brand. I had another moment of confusion at 55A: Christian school in Tulsa, Okla. with ORU. Again, huh? Maybe this, too, is just crosswordese, but Google tells me this private evangelical liberal arts school has 4,000 students, has some pretty futuristic architecture on campus, and has a basketball team that reached three-straight NCAA tournaments from 2006-08.

  • So, HAL (35A: Movie villain who says "I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that") is always popping up in crossword fill, and, for the longest time, I had no idea who he (well, it) was. But, I recently watched "2001: A Space Odyssey," and HAL is legitimately one of the creepiest villains I've ever seen in a movie. I had nightmares of his voice (and potential!) for a week. So it's fun to see something Halloween-related, as it is indeed *spooky season*!
  • I am guilty of saying "NO RUSH" way too much. It's my go-to move when waitressing; I'll drop off someone's check and tell them that there's absolutely "NO RUSH."
  • One last note (I promise!) on the fill: Why was JASON MRAZ clued with his song "Make It Mine?" Sure, it won for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the Grammys, but I feel like a much more obvious (and better) clue would have been for his very successful song, "I'm Yours." Or his duet, "Lucky."
As I was writing this, my Steelers came back from down 14-0 to win. So, that has improved my mood considerably! Maybe Pittsburgh winning is a sign of good things ahead for me this week. I hope you all have a great week yourselves!

Just about to catch some ZZZ(s), Clare Carroll

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 1:33 AM  

One error, one debatable error:

1) Trojans aren’t viruses.
2) Grade A is the lowest quality of eggs in the market. I guess they’re still high quality though.

Anonymous 2:38 AM  

Clare - AMANA (or AMANAS) is partly an age thing. I'm 61, and when I was a kid there were TV commercials for Amana appliances ALL. THE. TIME. Game shows were constantly giving away Amana ovens and microwaves.

jae 3:14 AM  

Medium. Pretty good Tues., liked it more than Clare did, but I totally agree about the MRAZ clue.

Bea 4:33 AM  

I don’t think “blasé” means what you think it means.

QuasiMojo 6:19 AM  

Any puZZle with Katz's Deli and Joan Baez is fine with me.

I didn't know any of those other actors or singers but all easily gettable. And forgettable.

Clare, Amana is still a very popular brand of kitchen appliances and machines. They are owned by Whirlpool. Home Depot carries them.

So my penny loafers are actually filled with ZINC?

Lewis 6:34 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hungry Mother 6:35 AM  

I needed the theme to get the final letter of JONLOVITZ; I thought it was a “t”. Otherwise, the puzzle kinda filled itself. Very nice for a Tuesday.

Lewis 6:37 AM  

Clever idea to base a theme on JAYZ's name, and I agree, Clare, about the theme answer outlier. I did think the puzzle was just the right difficulty level for a Tuesday, clearly a step up from yesterday's. I enjoyed the solve and thank you for making this, Evan.

Interesting that this puzzle had the same sort of grid-spanning interlock that Rex praised in yesterday's puzzle (JCCHASEZ to JENNIFER LOPEZ to JOAN BAEZ).

I liked the inclusion of the related MAW and TRAP, and I especially liked the indirect animal references in the answers. So, yes, there was a SHEEP and POUCH (with "kangaroo" in the clue), and NESTS (with "hornets" in the clue), which were direct, but then we had the one-L LAMA (which reminded me of Nash's 2-L llama), NINJA (turtle), TROJAN (horse), KICKS (donkey), and SONIC (hedgehog).

Man, I guess HAL's voice is deeply lodged in my subconscious. As soon as I read the clue, I could actually hear the voice, at once calming and creepy. Truly, just for a moment, my entire being deeply soothed down, while at the same time, there was an edge of "Uh-oh...".

HAL 6:40 AM  

Look, Clare, I can see you're really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill and think things over. ;)

Anonymous 6:55 AM  

Agreed. She likely meant “blah.” Blase is an attitude—weary indifference (though sometimes affected or, as some might now say, performative).

Dorothy Biggs 7:03 AM  

IIRC, and I could be wrong, JAYZ got his name from the Brooklyn subway stop...if true, that would have been a nice "theme" that would have tied a lot things together (including JAYZ) and maybe would have taken the heat off of the names all being "singers." Equating a rapper with the theme directly kind of plays into Clare's point...but equating a subway stop means it's just names that start with J and end with Z. You could have used the city Juarez or the French name Jacquez or whatever...because J/Z.

I don't think CEEs are "average" grades anymore. I could be wrong again, but I think for many students/parents, CEEs are the new Dees. Bees are average now. Letter grades are stupid anyway and GRADEA eggs are a good example of that. I've never seen a grade B or C egg before. I did see an egg that would get an F (it had no shell)...but an egg is an egg is an egg to me. I have friends who have chickens and I get eggs from them (including goose eggs!). They do not judge their eggs with grades...they use a pass/fail system. Even then, the "failed" eggs get fed to other animals...so even a failed egg doesn't fail. So yeah, letter grades = dumb...or misleading at best.

Nice to see another shoutout to our friend Idi AMIN again! Also, this puzzle had way too much short fill. It felt very choppy.

JohnG 7:04 AM  

I don't understand why every review has to be negative. Is that just the bit? No matter what, we must rage against the machine? This theme was fantastic, it's hard to argue otherwise, because it was pretty clever. Is it because it's a Tuesday and it's easy, so it's frustrating in its simplicity? I don't know. But this was a great puzzle. Amanas got me badly, too, I had to look it up.

Anonymoose 7:08 AM  

The clue for AMANAS is "Some kitchen appliances". Nothing to do with popularity.

Oral Roberts University. Founded by TV preacher (read con man) Oral Roberts and his son Anal.

Heuristically Programmed ALgorithmic Computer 7:09 AM  

Martin Balsam was my original voice and was replaced by Douglas Rain.

amyyanni 7:18 AM  

Hi Clare, good review, although I liked it more than you did. Spot on about the French words together. Probably one of the rare times JAYZ and JASON MRAZ might intersect!

kitshef 7:18 AM  

This probably should not have run on a Tuesday. JCCHASEZ is not Tuesday material. I think the other themers are. Usually if I’ve heard of someone it means they are pretty darn famous. And then there’s SEMPRE.

That said, it’s a well-done puzzle. No Zs or Js other than in the themers. That kind of attention to detail has been missing in a few recent puzzles.

I also liked the little “ends in Q” flourish in the bottom right.

Count me in the “2001 was unbearably dull” camp.

Solverinserbia 7:32 AM  

Why should I care that several themers sre singers and one isn't? They're all j-z's and they're all famous. Puzzle was ok. Solved it quite quickly.

Karl Grouch 7:44 AM  

Yep, Clare is right all the way, from J to Z.

Why this gimmick?

Just because Js and Zs are "difficult" letters?
Is today JazzDay or something? (Even if it were, the trick would hardly work considering the musical style of the theme singers. And the odd actor..)
Any way you see it, this puzzle is quite a disaster.

- another chance to clue the monster Idi Amin differently, gone..
- please please stop cluing "à moi" like that, "mine" is not the first meaninng of this expression. ("My turn" would be nice)
- did THE Shaq and Kobe play ON the Lakers? I thought they played FOR them..

Ray Theon 8:00 AM  

Amana introduced the first commercially viable home microwave in the 1960's (about $500). It was called the "Radarange" - which is what everyone called them before they called them microwave ovens. But actually, Amana was a bit of a marketing front. The actual developer of the home model was defense contractor Raytheon. But Raytheon needed a consumer products appliance division to market and distribute it (since Raytheon did not have one), so it bought the already existing Amana Refrigeration, inc., to brand, market and distribute the Radarange.

mmorgan 8:02 AM  

AMANAS is very familiar to me but I’ve never heard of JASON MRAZ, so there. Puzzle was fine, okay, pretty much what Clare said, certainly without the sparkle of yesterday. I appreciate Claire’s write-up, but I was kinda looking forward to a Rex Rant.

GILL I. 8:15 AM  

OK puzzle...nothing to really write home about. Like Clare, I wasn't feeling the pizzaz.
So we have a ton of glue holding the JZ names and, well, proper name themes don't do much for me. As a matter of fact, it's the one thing that makes me grrr all the time. Didn't know many of them but they were easy to get. After all, it's our little red-headed orphan, Tuesday.
Let's see...what made me smile? I guess my recollection of KATZ Deli and promising myself I would never ever go back and stand in line for an hour to get a pastrami on rye that costs about $40 when I can get just as good at the 2nd Ave. Deli. I guess it's a must when visiting NYC....so is waiting in another hour line to get to the top of the Empire State Building. When in Rome.....
Do people still use SKYPE? Man I hated those things. My sister would always SKYPE me just as I got out of bed. Not a pretty sight.
I've never, ever, said Rah, Rah GO TEAM. Maybe I'll shout yay. I shout lots of things when my favorite 49ers are playing. Talk about the comeback kids.
No wind today but it will return tomorrow wreaking havoc again. [SIGH}
The fill was blasé...It was boring. Makes sense to me......

Petsounds 8:24 AM  

About the eggs: Highest grade is AA. Lowest grade is B. Grade A is smack in the middle.

About that Trojan: Anonymous is right--a Trojan is not a virus; it can't replicate itself, and that's the defining characteristic of all viruses, computer or biologic.

Just two more examples--in one puzzle!--of why I so dislike Will Shortz. Unforgivable sloppiness. You're supposed to be an editor, man. Edit!

Suzie Q 8:30 AM  

Geez, the one day I make it into the grid and it has to be this one?
Who is this Jason guy? Mr. Arizona?
I guess I don't know much about wooden canoes because I would not have guessed cedar.
The clue for Jon Lovitz has two ** before his clue and the others only one. Typo or am I missing something?
My first thought after reading "Guess it's time to fold" was laundry related!

Irene 8:34 AM  

Way too many proper names about whom I knew nothing except that they started with a J and finished with a Z. For once I was looking forward to a Rex-style put-down.

Nancy 8:51 AM  

What Irene (8:34) just said.

JonB3 8:51 AM  

HAL. Next higher letters in the alphabet = IBM. Coincidence?

mathgent 9:09 AM  

"Gettable and forgettable," Quasi said. Love it.

CDilly52 9:14 AM  

Sending constant good Karma to all of you in Cali!!! May the winds calm down and all be safe!!

Z 9:15 AM  

Man, the commentariat is really doing a bang up job with their reading skills today. First, the clue said kind of virus. A TROJAN (from TROJAN Horse) is most certainly a kind of virus. And, yes, OFSL used blasé correctly. Funny thing about words, people are constantly repurposing them in new ways.

Beyond the “one of these things is not like the others” fail (@Solverinserbia - it’s that they are all singers except one which annoys our pattern seeking brains) this is excessive on the PPP. I counted 30 answers that were Pop Culture, Product Names, or other Proper Nouns, bringing this in at a hefty 38.5%. Clare’s AMANAS comment points out exactly why so much PPP is a fault, either you are part of the in group who were inundated with Barbara Hale or you’re not. This much trivia is fine for a Bar Trivia Night, not so much for a crossword puzzle.

CDilly52 9:17 AM  

@SuzieQ: hand up for the laundry!! Two things I loathe in the weekly chores: folding/hanging/putting away the laundry; putting away the groceries after spending all that time going to three local places to avoid the dreaded big box! If only the household genie could make those chores do themselves!!

Kelly 9:34 AM  

Clare, as I once was also a law student, I can well understand how you might find yourself in a bad mood with some frequency, especially at this point in the term. But please don’t take it out on the puzzle. Today’s crossword was a clever and breezy TUESDAY puzzle. And about autumn in Northern California - these days it has a flavor all its own: smoky. As in the smoke from monstrous, ravaging forest fires that chase hundreds of thousands out of their homes. Definitely not our favorite time of the year.

CDilly52 9:37 AM  

Good news: I am old and remember Amana as the primary brand of kitchen appliances (ovens, cooktops, microwaves). @Anonymous 2:38 nailed it. I know the Katz deli well although until it’s close, I was more likely to frequent the Carnegie, and Joan Baez is my all time favorite solo folk, blues, pop, jazz artist. Bad news: no earthly idea who JCCHASEZ might be, and it hung up my finish because I just could t believe it might be correct. No real excitement but a worthy Tuesday.

jberg 10:27 AM  

I had no idea about Mr.CHASEZ either (apparently he was on Mickey Mouse Club, but about 25 years after the time I watched it every day) so I was absolutely sure his name had to be CHAvEZ. Pretty AS A picture forced me to change, but I doubted myself. Pretty AVA picture? Could be clued as "attractive photo of Ms. Gardner" (or, for you youngsters, Ms. Duvernay).

@Lewis, I noticed the LAMA YOGI thing too -- I wished they had had parallel clues. Interesting point about the grid-spanning theme interlock; it would be really hard to do that without crossing on the Z (as well as the J), so what Clare sees as a bug may actually be a feature.

But what's all this about a subway stop; is there really one named JZ? I'm trying to guess what it might be short for, but I'm coming up blank.

The Kaspersky website has a page named "What is a Trojan Virus?" -- but on that page they point out that Trojans cannot replicate themselves, "unlike computer viruses and worms." So you can argue either way; close enough for crosswords, I guess, though it would have been better to clue it as malware.

I'm with Clare (and Z) on the theme -- once four of them are singers, if the fifth one isn't it looks like you were trying to get five but failed -- if you can't get them all it's better to either go 2 and 3, or even better to find examples from five different categories. Jeez, that would be hard!

RooMonster 10:39 AM  

Hey All !
This puz had lots of JAZZ. Har.

But why is the revealer symmetrical answer KATZ, and not J-Z something? Inquiring minds.

I know lots of youse (New Yorkers will get what youse is) don't like puzs with @Z's PPP as the theme. I heard of everyone except JC CHASEZ. Who the who? And why did he drop out? (Or did he? I don't know the names of the guys.)

@Suzie Q 8:30
The start is actually an asterisk following by a quote (") symbol.

@JonB3 8:51
That was awesome! *Dun Dun Dun!*

Liked the puz overall. Dreck complaints again from people, har.


Linda Vale 10:47 AM  

Josip BroZ

relicofthe60s 10:54 AM  

Never heard of two of the themers, MRAZ and CHASEZ, which sure looked like a typo for Chavez, but I have heard of AMANA. Amana was originally started in the Amana Colonies, a German religious community in Iowa that was quite famous in its day and is now a National Historic Site.

David 11:03 AM  

As I often do, I started with As, so I had "ayz" at 57D and brain said, "oh, j to z". Now, nobody can escape JayZ or shut him up; but I've never heard of 12D or 57A, probably because I'm old enough to have been inundated with RadarRange ads and dropped in the first singer at Woodstock without even seeing she was part of the theme. And who doesn't know Jenny from the block?

@Suzie Q I'm also old enough to remember when most Old Town canoes were made from Red Cedar.

Jon Lovitz was great on SNL and even better in his animated series, "The Critic." You might look that up Claire.

Gangs from West Side Story. The ads for the revival in NYC start with the very weird claim, "Like nothing America has seen before." (I think that's exact.) Huh?

Even with all the fill, I thought it was pretty fun; and some of that fill helped with those folks I still have never heard of.

Interestingly, I've never thought of HAL as being "evil." I was first introduced to computers in 1973, so I see HAL as just being a computer doing what computers almost always do; making things which should be easy more difficult for the humans who aren't intimately familiar with how they work.

Ethan Taliesin 11:06 AM  

Never heard of AMANAS? It's like never coming across TARA (from a black and white film) or a MOA bird (extinct by the 1400's) in a grid.

These words also remain annoyingly persistent in current crosswords.

Joe 11:11 AM  

Uh, ORCs were not the servants of Saruman. His servants were the Uruk'hai. The orcs served Sauron.

Joseph M 11:18 AM  

My least favorite kind of puzzle. Worse than quips. Worse than anagrams. Worse than word ladders.

What we got here is a buncha names. Thirty of ‘em. Thirty-eight percent of the grid. So either you know the name or you don’t. No fun, no wordplay, no guessing required.

How do you make a trivia contest even worse? Make one of your names a dictator responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. That always gets a chuckle over the morning coffee.

Sorry, but this puzzle is GRADE Z.

Anonymous 11:18 AM  

Not al all —deliberate.

Anonymous 11:20 AM  

"55A: Christian school in Tulsa, Okla. with ORU. Again, huh? Maybe this, too, is just crosswordese"

right up there with Liberty 'University' of Falwell Fame.

"In January 1987, during a fundraising drive, Roberts announced to a television audience that unless he raised $8 million by that March, God would "call him home." However, the year before on Easter he had told a gathering at the Dallas Convention Center that God had instructed him to raise the money "by the end of the year" or he would die."
the wiki

Among the highest level Barnum of hokum religion. my Mother sent most of our money to this creep.

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

Interestingly, I've never thought of HAL as being "evil."

Well... I don't know. HAL became 'sentient' and, being so, concluded that his human overlords were out to get him; paranoia being the next step up from sentience, so he tried to kill all of them. Succeeded to some extent. Think of HAL as Idi Amin in space.

Leslie 11:31 AM  

Joan Baez at Woodstock and Katz made me smile.
@Nancy 8:51 yes. Thank you for your response yesterday. I am trying but having trouble with the email. Thank you all the same.

Z 11:53 AM  

@Joe - Careful or you’ll let loose a horde of Tolkiens. Uruk’hai literally (if one can use such a term about a fictional creature and a fictional language in a fictional universe) means “ORC-folk.”

HAL was sentient? Hmm, interesting. Is that based on something in the movie or novel? I don’t recall if they actually made that a part of the character. As I recall, in the movie there was no reason given for his behavior, but in the sequel it was discovered that he had been given conflicting directives and his inability to resolve the conflict led to his murderous behavior. My memory of the details are a little hazy from all the smoke, so feel free to light one up and explain if I’m misremembering.

diana 11:54 AM  

Made me smile:)

Jyqm 11:57 AM  

@Dorothy Biggs — Close: Jay Z took his moniker not from the name of a subway stop, but from the two subways lines (J, Z) that stopped near his home in the Marcy Projects.

Agree with others that JCCHASEZ is not Tuesday material, if he’s even crossworthy at all these days. Given my age and having lots of female friends in high school, I dropped it right in, but immediately felt pity for anyone not in my specific demographic.

Otherwise, I thought this was a fun, light theme. Maybe a bit self-consciously Scrabbly, but I enjoyed realizing just how many celebrities there are with J—Z names.

Congrats to your Steelers, Clare! The opening minutes of the game had me worried...

Masked and Anonymous 12:03 PM  

Scrabbly lil dickens. Buncha J's & Z's, and a Q bringin up the rear. Different. Like.

Has only 2 real nonthemer longball answers; NAUSEATE & ELDORADO. Kinda hard to pick NAUSEATE as a fave, tho. Best 6-long answer, of the 12-some: SUSIEQ.

staff weeject pick: ASA. Has one of them nine fill-in-the-blanks clues. Blankety-blank lil darlins.

Didn't know JASONMRAZ or JCCHASEZ. Crosses were pretty fair tho, except maybe for that there French MAIS meat. And I even guessed that "MAIS oui" correctly -- think I've heard it said in a [non-schlock] movie or somesuch.

Thanx for the feisty J-TuesPuZ, Mr. Mahnken.
Cool write-up, Clare. J-CongratZ to yer Steelers.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


William of Ockham 12:05 PM  

WOW! that was special

Odd Sock 12:09 PM  

I can't think of the CCR song without remembering a very memorable scene from Apocalypse Now.
Rex isn't here today to give us his rants but would Idi Amin have gotten a pass? Is there a statute of limitations on historic figures?
Just wondering how far back the PC versions of world history will go.

Unknown 12:27 PM  

I liked it. I mean, just how many J - Z celebrities are there? I l I'll d of grokked the theme early on.

Cassieopia 12:43 PM  

JASON MRAs and SUsIEQ. ‘Nuff said.

Masked and Anonymous 1:02 PM  

Correction: SUZIEQ, not SUsIEQ, in my first msg. Got 'er right, in the solvequest, but not in relivin the experience. Thanx, @Cassieopia for the heads-up.

While I'm Here Dept. ...
Better ASA clue: {NASA, imaginational??}.


Nancy 1:17 PM  

@Leslie -- Yes, I couldn't access emails on the profiles either until either @Hartley or @Teedmn, I forget which, explained the process. Because I have no memory, I wrote it down:

1)RIGHT-click on their blog profile email, holding the click for a moment, until...

2) A menu appears on your screen...

3) Click on 2nd down menu choice: "Open New Link in Window"...

4) Look up at your screen in the top left corner. THEIR EMAIL WILL APPEAR THERE. It will be writ small, but it will be there.

Why not respond to @Malsdemare's offer from yesterday, since she volunteered.

Hope this works for you. Who would ever think of such a procedure on their own, without instructions? Not me. Evidently, not you, either. Good luck.

Teedmn 1:19 PM  

Yeah, names, not so fun. LOVITZ, CHASEZ, MRAZ unknown to me but pretty easy to get with crosses - except for my DNF with LeVITZ. I know, I know, Jimmy eLSEN makes no sense but I didn't go back and look so...

I seem to be the only one who, after getting JON LeVITZ and JENNIFER LOPEZ, decided the theme was J-L. Jail? How is this going to tie all together? Hmmm. So the revealer did set my mind at ease on that front.

Reading the clue for 30D, I had an inner chuckle at being able to "count on" SHEEP. Seems to me they're only reliable at being SHEEPish, har.

Evan Mahnken, it's a dyed-in-the-wool Tuesday puzzle, thanks for the effort.

sanfranman59 2:22 PM  

I've only done a quick search of the comments, but was no one else Naticked by the JASON MRAZ/MAIS cross? That M was totally uninferable for me. I know a few French phrases, but not that one. I see that it's been in a few puzzles I've solved over the years. I thought I'd left my DNF Tuesdays behind many years ago. It was a good thing for me that JC CHASEZ was get-able from the theme and crosses or I'd have had a double-DNF. I feel old.

albatross shell 2:57 PM  

JON LOVITZ was not clued as a singer and never performed much as a singer, but he did do some work singing. YOUTUBE has some performances on the show Sing your Face off. He also performanced at Royal Albert Hall and Carnegie hall. FWIW.

JC66 3:49 PM  

@albatross shell

Also, JENNIFER LOPEZ has done a lot of acting (if you can call it that).

Anonymous 3:52 PM  

The problem, Z, is you think “sentient” means what you think it used to mean, but as you’ve pointed out, “people are constantly repurposing [words] in new ways.”

Z 4:38 PM  

@sanfranman59 - That does seem pretty naticky. If you’re a John Mayer/Dave Matthews Band sort of music fan JASON MRAZ probably went right in, but crossing him with a French partial should have gotten a MAIS non instead of a MAIS oui.

@albatross shell - Sttrrreeeeetttcch.

@Anon3:52 - What are you going on about? Seems fairly clear to me that my question is whether or not HAL being sentient was something in the movie or novel. I didn’t agree or disagree with the notion, just asked where it came from. Sentient computers is a pretty common science fiction trope but that the computer is sentient is usually made clear (as in Ancillary Justice where the main character (spoiler alert) is a ship). So is HAL supposedly sentient or just really advanced? And BTW, Ancillary Justice is light years better than 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Anonymous 5:09 PM  

It's not a subway stop, it is a subway line.

Richardf8 5:34 PM  

Every time I come across Idi Amin in a puzzle, I have warm, fuzzy memories of my parents referring to him as "idiot man."

chuck w 5:43 PM  

JonB3: The makers of the movie denied that HAL was based at all on the next letters: IBM. Not sure I believe them.

Jeff B. 5:44 PM  

Enjoyed the puzzle but had no idea who the member of NSync was (except Justin Timberlake).

Inclusion of JASONMRAZ here was a great fit, even if the wrong song was selected. He's played with his name being Mr. A-Z.

Anoa Bob 5:45 PM  

I thought the construction was, uh, unusual, in that two of the themers shared a final Z, resulting in five themers for four Zs. Is that expeditious or expedient?

Enjoyed seeing pico de GALLO (rooster beak) in the grid. Hereabouts they make it with diced tomatoes, onions and serrano peppers. Serrano peppers are a notch or two up from jalapeño peppers on the Scoville scale and give the condiment its sharp bite, kinda like your tongue has been pecked by a rooster beak. It takes some getting used to but freshly made pico de GALLO will take your average taco to the next level.

GALLO, pronounced guy yo, is also the name of a beer that I was introduced to (and got to know very well) in Guatemala while we were down there exploring ruins along La Ruta Maya (The Mayan Route). Here's an image.

RooMonster 6:53 PM  

Two of the themers also share the J. No one's mentioned that.

RooMonster Pointing Out Stuff Guy

Anonymous 12:16 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous 5:39 AM  

In grad school in NY I had a friend from Tulsa who called ORU, because of its oddball architecture (and giant hands), "Six Flags Over Jesus."

Burma Shave 10:05 AM  


JONLOVITZ is no GRADEA brainiac,
and TENDs to run AMOK with emotion.
ISEE your ORGAN needs a TROJAN.”


rondo 10:32 AM  

A bunch of answers here from JAY to Z. Didn’t know the ‘N Sync guy, but the rest were pretty much gimmes. Seems like a week for complete names, like yeah baby JENNIFERLOPEZ right there dead center. Even with lotsa abbr.s I’d give this puz a CEE.

spacecraft 11:33 AM  

For a Tuesday: challenging. Is there really someone named JCCHASEZ?? This puzzle is full of niche facts: a tiny amount of all solvers will know the answer; the vast majority will go "Huh?" Not being a New Yorker (and probably not a frequenter of delis even if I was), I had no idea about KATZ. More stuff was forced in on crosses in one puzzle than I've dealt with all year so far.

Then we get to the revealer: a rapper! [Snarkily indicates one's boredom] Thank goodness for square 37, from which emanate the two theme people I recognize. JENNIFERLOPEZ has a closetful of DOD sashes, so today I pick the other one: JOANBAEZ. They helped me get through this maze of PPPs and stick the landing, but I had to have a ton of faith on that CHASEZ guy. The score is in the puzzle: PAR.

Diana, LIW 2:21 PM  

I agree with @Spacey that it was challenging for a Tuesday. I would not have given 3% of a penny to bet on my finishing, but I did. Good feeling of persistence. But I didn't love the puz as much as CC's yesterday, which I did really like and didn't post about. Don't know why.

Me too in the "tired of rappers" club. Is WS just pandering to the @Rex crowd?

Diana, Old Lady of Crosswords

leftcoaster 2:43 PM  

A couple of obscure theme names, but the JZs and the friendly crosses to go with them were very helpful. Crosses also took care of any of the more elusive fill, e.g., GALLO. So, a good, gettable, and fair Tuesday challenge.

Diana, LIW 3:37 PM  

second time recently my post didn't come thru. just testing here

Diana, LIW

rainforest 4:51 PM  

Sure, there were maybe more PPP entries than is acceptable, and it would have been better if there had been more entries involving word play, but I liked it nonetheless. I especially liked that the revealer helped me with two instances of crossing themers (Z and not t; Z and not s). That's kind of neat.

Nothing here to NAUSEATE anyone, but maybe no ELDORADO either. However, it was all fine pour moi.

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