Sky hue / TUES 10-1-19 / Fingerprint shape / "Cool" amounts / Travel aimlessly

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Hi, everyone!

I'm here for the first Tuesday of the month instead of writing last week because, well, law school. It's a little bit of work combined with a lot more work all wrapped up in a pretty bow of more work. I'm really enjoying myself at the moment, though, because the Steelers crushed the Bengals — if only we could play the Bungles more than twice a season... Anywho, on to the puzzle!

Constructor: Erik Agard

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: Opposites — The shaded parts of the theme answers are opposites of each other

Theme answers:
  • WELL DRILL (17A: Device for tapping groundwater)
  • UNDER COVER (32A: In disguise for a mission)
  • OFF SEASON (38A: Period after a championship)
  • WET LAUNDRY (50A: What's hung on a clothesline)
Word of the Day: ZENDAYA (43D: One-named star of HBO's "Euphoria")
Zendaya (born September 1, 1996) is an American actress and singer. She began her career as a child model and backup dancer, before gaining prominence for her role as Rocky Blue on the Disney Channel sitcom Shake It  Up. In 2019, she began playing the lead role in the HBO drama series Euphoria. Her film roles include supporting parts in the musical drama The Greatest Showman (2017) and the superhero films Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) and Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019). (Wiki)
• • •

Wow, I loved this puzzle! I can't remember ever enjoying a puzzle more than I did this one. The theme was clever and interesting. The fill felt fresh, and there were so many cool words. The clues with question marks were all laugh-inducing, not groan-inducing. In short, the puzzle felt hip and fun — and I really enjoyed the solve!

The idea for the theme of opposites was clever and almost perfectly executed. The one theme answer I wasn't wild about was WELL DRILL, because "well" and "ill" really aren't strictly opposite — a person feels "good," not "well." But the other words/phrases the constructor chose in the puzzle were close to perfect.

The puzzle was full of words that you don't usually see in a crossword. And, the words were interesting, at that. See: TRYST, FIASCO, AZURE. And: RAW FISH, ONE IOTA, TAUTENS. I really could go on here because I liked so many of the longer answers. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention ZENDAYA (43D) and BEYHIVE (11D: Fans of singer Knowles, collectively). They're current answers, and I love it! Maybe I enjoyed the puzzle as much as I did because it felt geared more toward younger solvers — but, I see you there, Eartha KITT (46A).

I did have a couple mini trouble spots in the puzzle. For one, I had no idea that Belmopan was the capital of BELIZE. Though, is anyone short of a Jeopardy champion supposed to actually know this? Then, I put "oblong" for 63A: Not perfectly round instead of OBLATE, which delayed me for a bit in the southeast section. I put "etas" instead of ETDS for 73A: Airport approximations: Abbr.; I finished with an error and had to look over the puzzle to see that obviously "poa" didn't make any sense as an escape vessel at 68D. I also had "cfo" instead of CPA for 25A: $$$ pro, for short. The only real complaint I had with the whole puzzle was at 69A: Virtually assess as EYE UP. Definitely didn't like that one. But, I'm reaching here, because the rest of the puzzle was so enjoyable.

27A: Hippo campus? as ZOO was clever. My favorite clue/answer in the puzzle was probably 65A: They may protect diamonds as TARPS (and the baseball playoffs start tonight!). Other answers I liked: 64D: Partner for life as LIMB; SKY HOOKS at 41D: Signature shots of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; AFRO PUFF at 5D: Updo styled with an elastic band. I also don't usually like having the same clues in a puzzle, but the way the constructor had STEW and HASH at 30A and 35A, respectively, with the same clue ("This-and-that" dish) right on top of each other really worked. Even with a more "crossword-y" answer like TSO (55A), it was still clued in a unique way — "general whose orders are sometimes carried out."

  • Seeing WHORL in the puzzle (31D: Fingerprint shape) takes me back to my days in my forensics class in high school where I imagined I was working as part of the team on CSI solving crimes.
  • TETHERS also took me back — this time to playing tether ball nonstop in elementary school. Seriously, there was no better recess or lunchtime thing to do than playing tether ball.
  • For 58A: "How you livin'?" I couldn't help but read that clue in the voice of Joey from "Friends" like, "How you doin'?"
  • You'd think that after several years now of doing crossword puzzles, I'd know my Roman numerals very, very well. But... nope!
  • Eartha KITT, among other things, was the voice of Yzma in "Emperor's New Groove," and I'm obsessed. That movie is the most underrated Disney movie, and Yzma is low-key the best villain.
Hope you all have a great week!

Signed, Clare Carroll, an overworked 2L

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


kaoconno 12:37 AM  

The clue for EYE UP is visually assess, not virtually assess.

jae 12:57 AM  

Medium. Cute theme and some fine long downs make up for stuff like TAUTENS, EYEUP, and INSURER. Liked it.

puzzlehoarder 1:09 AM  

One of your more engaging Tuesdays. I print the puzzles out in half tone to save ink. You can see the shaded squares on the screen but since my wife printed out the puzzle for me as a favor I couldn't be sure where the shaded squares were. Obviously I finished with no awareness of the theme which is fine by me.

The solve approached Wednesday time largely due to my entering RAWMEAT at 1D. It was one of those weird things that seem right at the time but afterwards you just wonder what the hell you were thinking. I started putting in MIASMA at 20A but came up with the wrong Roman numeral for 18D. I mopped up the NW to finish but for awhile that corner was a FIASCO.

After solving I could finally see the shaded words since I knew where to look.. It took me a little while to get that FEAT was an abbr for "featuring." That of course went in off the crosses.

--- 1:21 AM  

"Well" certainly is the direct opposite of "ill."

Generally you say "I feel good" instead of "I feel well" EXCEPT in the case of talking about health, in which you say "well."

Jyqm 1:50 AM  

I’m certain that everyone will be as polite as possible in explaining to Clarethat “well” most certainly is the opposite of “ill.”

Lee Coller 2:26 AM  

The clue on "feat" was terrible, why ruin a perfectly good word by turning it into some seldom used abbreviation?

Solverinserbia 2:46 AM  

Must have been really easy because I went golden in 6:26 despite several missteps. cfo for CPA, OBLong for OBLATE, a misspelling in AFROPUFF. I didn't even see AUK or KITT, which I wouldn't have known until just now.

chefwen 3:09 AM  

I had little circles instead of shading and as soon as I uncovered UNDER c OVER the trick was too obvious. Still, it was fun.

I did cringe at 1D, I have eaten Sushi twice in my life and have broken out in horrible hives twice. No more RAW FISH for me. So sad, I really liked it, until...

Cute puzzle that was finished before I wanted it to be

Loren Muse Smith 3:25 AM  

So here’s one of my many deals right now: My computer at home has some kind of virus which makes using it almost impossible. I live out in the middle of nowhere, so I have no idea if there’s some place I can take it to get fixed. I’m too overwhelmed with a crappy schedule, over-crowded classrooms, moving up the hill, and a spectacular invasion of stinkbugs to choose the battle of trying to negotiate my laptop.

That said, I loved this puzzle enough to sit and wait for my laptop to perform so I could ooh and aah over it. I love Erik Agard. I love circles. I love gimmicks like this. I love DC crossing FIASCO.

“Bae” HIVE before BEYHIVE. Misspelling notwithstanding, I felt hip and young guessing it just off a few letters. I’d like to start the Feyhive fan club.

I agree with Clare that the cluing is delightful. The clue for ZOO alone was worth the price of admission.

Other clues:

“kitchen counter crawler” – stinkbug
“Travel aimlessly” – stinkbug
“Mid-month occasion” – stinkbug
“Spring forward” – stinkbug
“Crunches” [kill] them – stinkbug
“Partner for life” – stinkbug

As I write this, there are already two people who’ve pointed out that WELL and ILL can be opposites. Anyone who’s had the flu knows this. I wonder how many more people are gonna pile on. Probably the people who don’t read the comments.

DREAD. Perfect clue. Listen. I’m invariably stunned - Stunned - at how dictionaries nail definitions. But someone dropped the ball on this word. Its first sense (read, most common) always talks about fear and anxiety, and this at least for me is absolutely not the case. I dread staying after school to work on the homecoming float. I neither fear it nor anxietate it. I just don’t want it to happen. This meaning should be the first sense, imo. I dread the faculty meeting where at the end when we all just want to go home, there are 12 questions about stuff that have to do only with the questioner. Ms. Brown’s sub on the day of the assembly? We. Don’t. Care. Stay after the &%$% meeting and ask so that I can get home to my possessed computer. And my stinkbugs.

Lewis 6:25 AM  

@loren -- DC crossing FIASCO, great catch! And SO GOOD to hear your voice! Godspeed on the two types of bugs.

To the puzzle...

Well, Erik, you already had me at hippocampus as a word and clue and then you threw beigeish in for good measure. I was stunned with joy at that point, then you added FIASO, TRYST, AZURE, WHORL and SKYHOOK, and the clues for ZOO, TSO, LIMB, SIP, and TARPS, and to tie it all together you made your theme visual, fun-with-words, and perfectly embodied in a reveal whose clue triggered a wow. This is one to remember, Erik, crackling with wit and skill, an exemplar of the art of puzzle-making, and I'm grateful for it, for the marvelous experience of solving it, and grateful that you reside in Crossworld.

amyyanni 6:42 AM  

What a Tuesday Treat! Another fan of Hippo Campus clue. Also liked Afropuff. A good time all around. Rabbit Rabbit all.

BarbieBarbie 7:04 AM  

OK but I do have to bring up good/well anyway, @LMS, because I was mulling over how we say “she was ill, but she got well” and then my mind substituted “she got better” and I realized that in the good/better pair, better is better, but in the well/better pair, well is better! How about that!

Roberto 7:04 AM  

Agreed. Very poor

Dorothy Biggs 7:09 AM  

I was good with Clare's write up until she linked that fraudulent scene involving characters from Emperor's New Groove. It is indeed a great show...but that clip isn't from the show...that looks like some weird knock-off...a really bad send-up made for Saturday morning cartoons. But yeah, Eartha Kitt was great in that movie.

Also, while I'm here, and speaking of great female performers, Jessye Norman, one of the truly greats, died yesterday. She was remarkable.

Hungry Mother 7:09 AM  

Very fast and lots of fun. The theme was clever and somewhat helpful, but the opposite parts were hidden as I typed.

jsloate 7:11 AM  

Clare, We loved this puzzle too! Erik Agard "hit this one out of the park". Beautifully done.

kitshef 7:16 AM  

An awful puzzle.

Fill unacceptable, cluing unpleasant, two green paint themers, poor theme in the first place.

On to tomorrow.

three of clubs 7:25 AM  

I am doing good, you are doing well.

pabloinnh 7:28 AM  

I thought this was pretty neat stuff, even learned ZENDAYA and BEYHIVE, so I feel younger and hipper than ever. Retirement has limited my exposure to youthspeak. Thought WELLDRILL was the weakest of the themers and smacked of green paint.

Hey LMS (welcome back)--my favorite use of DREAD is in the song lyric "I gotta get drunk and I sure do dread it". My large adult son fixes our computer stuff right now, for free. I recommend this approach.

Knew OBLATE from the definition of a football as "an oblate spheroid filled with crazy bounces".

Another good one, EA. Constructing crosswords for a living seems like a nice gig.

Irene 7:30 AM  

Generally delightful, but as so many have said, the clue-ing for FEAT was ridiculous.

GHarris 7:37 AM  

Love it when an old codger like me can breeze through and thoroughly enjoy a puzzle that a young reviewer describes as tilting younger.

Doug Garr 7:38 AM  

Great puzzle, and I couldn't wait to see the blog because after looking at all the fill (Michael's bete noire), I thought, "He's gonna love this one! Finally!" Then I realized it's the first of the month and that's his day off. Oh, well. Clare liked it, and that's enough for me. I started slowly jumping around the grid for the easy ones, and as soon as I got the theme it went quickly. I really smiled at SKYHOOK. Not too many ways to clue it, and it's a shot that's not only Kareem's signature but one that's never actually been copied by today's players (cue Stephan's fabulous stutter jumper from beyond the arc). Fun all the way through one from an amateur solver.

GHarris 7:41 AM  

Where is the feat people are talking about? It’s not in my puzzle.

mmorgan 8:10 AM  

I do not like circles in my puzzles. Circles make ugly puzzles. Very Ugly. At least on Across Lite. Sometimes lately on Tuesdays I have said something like I hate circles but they didn’t bother me too much today. But they bothered me today. Too many of them. Ugly. The trick became clear early, and that helped me fill in the themers very very quickly. And the rest of the puzzle was very good, with lots of cool clue/answer combos. So it was mostly yet another Very Very good Erik Agard puzzle, and amazingly, they just keep coming. But in the end we still have all those ugly disruptive circles.

Suzie Q 8:11 AM  

Good fun today.
Agree that even though well-ill are indeed opposites a well drill doesn't sound like a real thing. There was enough good stuff to make up for it.

Petsounds 8:14 AM  

Agree with GHarris--I'm an old codger too, and I had only one bit of trouble with the whippersnapper cluing--ZENDAYA. I've heard her name but had no clue about anything called "Euphoria." So I started the day feeling young-ish.
Everything about this puzzle felt fresh and I really enjoyed it. Especially SKYHOOK, AZURE, RAW FISH, and BEYHIVE. Just a total pleasure.

And Clare, one word for you: "wellness."

GILL I. 8:16 AM  

What caught my EYE: SIP SUP, AHA AHAB, POR POD and PUFF DADDY. Anything else? Not really. Well, I did like that Erik always throws a little AFRO PUFF here and an BEY HIVE there. But then we get the dullsville WELL DRILL and, frankly, all the theme reveals were also a bit meh-ish.
I always wondered why OPPOSITES attract. I tried it; it doesn't work. You want wine, he wants beer. You want to go back to Paris, he wants to go gamble in Reno. You like the beach, he wants to go rock climbing. You want to stay in a comfy Inn, he wants to sleep in a tent.....and the list goes on. What do you talk about at night?
Loves me some Eartha KITT but didn't like that she crosses OINKS. Crazy way to clue FEAT. SPY SPY's everywhere. The latest FIASCO (and seemingly quite funny) is the arrest of a Chinese American citizen and charging him of smuggling what he thought were American secrets to China's intelligence agency. Can't wait to see how that story unfolds.
Fall is in the air. Yipeee.

Sir Hillary 8:26 AM  

Gang, I'm totally brain-cramping on MILS being "cool" amounts. Some help please?

Overall, this was a fun Tuesday. I agree with @kitschef on the green-paintiness of WELLDRILL and WETLAUNDRY, but this one is still a winner. The BEYHIVE's been around for awhile, but ZENDAYA's high profile is relatively new, so top marks for bringing some recency to the puzzle. AFROPUFF is totally new to me, but having seen Erik's hair, I'm guessing he knows what he's talking about. SKYHOOKS is a tremendous sop to middle-aged Lakers fans like me -- it really was poetry in motion.


Anonymous 8:37 AM  

WELL and ILL definitely are opposites.

Think of the statements:
"I am well."

"I am ill."

Or maybe as a former history major, Clare, you are familiar with the line from John F. Kennedy's inaugural address: "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend...."

Mike Herlihy 8:40 AM  

@Sir Hillary - I'm thinking it's referring to "a cool million" dollars.

Anonymous 8:53 AM  

If you please, what does “feat” mean in relation to the clue?

Anonymous 8:56 AM  

What does “stink bug” mean in your statement?

Jon in St Paul 9:15 AM  

In popular music (very often in rap and hip hop), a song by one artist featuring another artist will be credited "Drake, feat. Frank Ocean" or sometimes "Travis Scott, f. Kanye West." Note: Pairings hypothetical and probably ridiculous.

RooMonster 9:18 AM  

Hey All !
Dang, @Clare, I'm a Steelers fan, too! Although, before this season started, I told myself I wouldn't get too invested this year, because you root and yell and curse and get anxiety about the Refs' ridiculous calls/non-calls/mis-calls/bad-calls, and what's the point when the cheating Patriots are gonna win it all anyway? I know @pabloinnh is a Pats fan, but only their fans love them. EVERYBODY else hates them. On Sunday, in fear of actually losing a game, they had to head-to-head smack the Bills QB to knock him out of the game. Just sayin'.

Anyway, the puz was fun. Pretty neat to find OPPISITES in common phrases. Agree with others on the fun cluing. A virtual F fest, as we get 5 today! (3 in AFROPUFF itself.)

Dang, maybe a Stinkbug or three climbed into your laptop and messed it up. I don't know how you keep sane with all you have to endure. Stay Strong!


Nancy 9:22 AM  

Oh, if only all early week puzzles could be like this one! A clever, fun theme and some really terrific clues. Just look at "Pop hit?"; "Hippo campus?" and "General whose orders are sometimes carried out?" Worthy of at least a Thursday.

I liked the coinage BEYHIVE, which is new to me. But what on earth is an AFROPUFF? Have I ever seen one? Do I want to? I didn't like -- or understand -- FEAT as clued at 39D, but that's my only complaint. Lively and entertaining.

Anonymous 9:27 AM  

Yes, please explain "feat," as in "featured" as "an abbreviation between two singers' names. How does that work?
Frank Sinatra featuring Dean Martin? Beyoncé featuring Eartha Kitt? I don't get it.

Bruce R 9:29 AM  

I have read the comments yet I still feel compelled to pile on. You got the WELL/ILL bit wrong.

QuasiMojo 9:31 AM  

Best Agard puzzle yet. Hippo Campus is absurd but works in the context of the overall tone of the puzzle. Maybe he's hearing the previous complaints and trying a bit harder to fine tune his clues. Nearly all of these today made sense without tautening credulity to the breaking point. I did not know most of the names today -- the only one star name I know is Cher (and maybe Charo) -- but they were easy to figure out. Except FEAT.? Singers? Is he talking about sewing machines?

@Loren, I once lived in a wooded area that had a stink bug problem. They were everywhere. I would sweep them up or use a vacuum and moments later they were back again. Nothing like stepping out of bed and squishing one in your slippers. Ugh. Hope the problem goes away soon.

Z 9:51 AM  

@GHarris and @Anon and @Nancy - 39D - “Abbr. between two singers’ names” is FEAT. as in “Beyoncé FEAT. Kanye,” the FEAT. being an abbreviation for “featuring.”

DCC? How could you?

Gotta love the WELL FIASCO.

@LMS - Someone senior on staff needs to teach your principal to say “follow up with me after the meeting.” Answering those questions invites more of them. I’m also big on the pre-meeting memo. 75% of staff meeting time can be eliminated by putting stuff in a memo.

jberg 9:53 AM  

But one says “doing well by doing good.”

Z 9:53 AM  

@LMS - “Senior teacher” that is.

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

In case you haven't seen it somewhere else yet, MILS is referring to millions (of dollars). It's used as "a cool mil" or "a cool ___" for other large sums of money.

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

Very amateur solver here...can someone explain to me how LIMB works as a "partner for life?" If that is straight cluing, does that mean one can clue LIVER that way, or EAR? And has an amputee lost their life-partner? Thanks, and apologies in advance if I am missing something here.

Franz 10:01 AM  

Can someone explain MILS at 4 down???

jberg 10:03 AM  

Are people saying they’ve encountered EYE UP in real life? I sure haven’t— but the rest of the puzzle was great. Shading/circling the opposites made it too easy, but it would have been too hard the other way, so I’ll take it.

Those asking about FEAT: it’s already been explained in the comments.

@ Gill— well, there are magnets.

@Loren— welcome back!

Franz 10:03 AM  

Can someone explain MILS at 4 down??

JC66 10:09 AM  

@Anon 9:56 #2

It's an expression: Firefighters risk LIFE and LIMB every day.

William of Ockham 10:17 AM  

BEYHYVE I mean BEYHIVE - AFRO PUFF saved the day

my life is complete

Marna 10:34 AM  

Life and limb

Joaquin 10:40 AM  

Terrific Tuesday puzzle. Well (and not as in "good"), except for 39A which was Erik Agard feat. Irving Obtuse.

jb129 10:46 AM  

I love Erik's puzzles.

thfenn 10:47 AM  

Great puzzle, enjoyed both the theme and the fill. Can't compete with DC crossing FIASCO, but EYEUP crossing ZENDAYA has some appeal, let alone crossing SPUD. The OPPOSITES for ITSATIE would be WIN-LOSE and I keep thinking there might have been a way to include that (March 21? - WINtercLOSE). OFFSEASON crossing SKYHOOKS was good, and SCENE on top of TRYST and UNDERCOVER sparks the imagination. Perfect Tuesday.

TJS 10:56 AM  

"endangering life and limb"...common phrase, atleast at one time.

Nancy 10:58 AM  

@Anon 9:56 -- As in "risking life and limb".

@Z (9:51)-- But wouldn't a Beyonce concert always feature...Beyonce? And would Kanye ever want to be merely "featured" in a Beyonce concert? In any event, I've never seen FEAT used this way, but maybe I don't go to enough concerts.

I would accept "The Philharmonic featuring Yo Yo Ma", though.

Frantic Sloth 11:06 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle, but not as much as Loren Muse Smith’s comments! IMHO, stinkbugs have no place in this world. Not being an entomologist, biologist, or hippocampuslogist, I could be wrong...but I’m not.

Joseph M 11:11 AM  

Great puzzle. Enjoyed the wordplay a lot. With the themers in shaded boxes, however, I didn’t need to be told that they were OPPOSITES (duh). Would rather have had another set of themers at 67A instead.

From AFROPUFF to ZENDAYA to BEYHIVE, the grid is hip as hell. Thank you, Ms. KITT, for adding a little balance to the mix.

“Hippo campus” may be clever wordplay but It’s hardly a “campus” if you’re locked up in a cage or imprisoned in a cement enclosure so people can come and EYE you UP all day.

My least favorite clue was that for FEAT which could have been clued in so many better ways. Overall, though, the clues were excellent, especially for an early week puzzle.

Bax'N'Nex 11:13 AM  

Claire: You are a breath of fresh air in these otherwise dismal, depressing, holier-than-thou critiques from Mike.

As a matter of fact...if you are ever ill, I will send you a "Get Good Soon" card! :)

Keep killing it in school and whenever you guest here.

All the best,


SJ Austin 11:17 AM  

A masterpiece. Well done, Erik.

Ethan Taliesin 11:18 AM  

I did "downs only" today on this one and was golden up until the last word ZENDAYA, when, feeling unsure of my guesses, I had to look at the across clues. It was easy as hell (Zendaya notwithstanding), but I think it had pretty solid fill for an above average gimmick.

Am I crazy or is The Disney Channel responsible for an inordinate number of teenybopper performers turning into adult film and music professionals? It's a real industry it seems.

Anonymous 11:19 AM  

" a person feels "good," not "well." "

among the Effete Eastern Intellectual's grammar teachers, yes you feel 'well'

not that I knew before the CNN show over the weekend (I didn't watch but my ball and chain did), but one might well see on the marquee:

feat. Adam Lambert

IOW, when the frontperson of a singing group is replaced by an interloper, said interloper isn't considered part of said group. same for the Rolling Stones current bassist (I can't think of his name off hand).

Anoa Bob 11:26 AM  

I'm an Erik SATIE fan but, since he lived from 1866 to 1925, I was surprised to see that in addition to being a composer, he was also an IT guy (47 Down).

I thought only two of the four themers, UNDERCOVER & OFFSEASON, were solidly in the language and something I might hear UTTERED in the normal course of events. I agree with others, however, who can't say the same for the other two. WELLDRILL & WETLAUNDRY both have a made-up-just-for-this-puzzle, ad hoc feel to them, and not something I have ever heard or read, nor do I expect to anytime soon.

The reveal OPPOSITES seems unnecessary. That becomes obvious by the second themer. Maybe that slot would have been better used for another themer, although the list of nine letter candidates (has to be symmetrical with WELLDRILL) is probably short to none. Maybe just go with four themers.

I think "Shashimi" is a better clue for 1 Down RAWFISH. Per wiki, "Sushi (すし, 寿司, 鮨, pronounced [sɯ̥ɕiꜜ] or [sɯ̥ꜜɕi]) is a Japanese dish of prepared vinegared rice (鮨飯 sushi-meshi), usually with some sugar and salt, accompanying a variety of ingredients (ネタ neta), such as seafood, vegetables, and occasionally tropical fruits" [emphasis mine].

Anonymous 11:38 AM  

If you're feeling "good", it has to be about something; or you may mean that your sense of touch is in perfect order. Healthwise, one feels well, not good. Good is an adjective. Well is an adverb.

William of Ockham 11:54 AM  

@anon 11.19

I am well.

I am ill.

Works fine. #DeltaHelperVerb

Masked and Anonymous 12:35 PM  

Well drilled puz … except maybe for WELLDRILL.

All the other themers start with a word who's meanin stays the same. UNDER. OFF. WET. Not so much, for WELL, as clued. A slight outlier.

Plus, WETLAUNDRY and WELLDRILL do have a slight aroma of green paint or Ow de Speration or perhaps, oh, say … RAWFISH? Coulda used NOGOODBYES, instead of WETLAUNDRY, I suppose.
What to use instead of 9-long WELLDRILL, tho? All I got is stuff like INKY SPOUT? INDY ROUT? INCA SHOUT? UHUH x 3.

Woulda been even kinda cooler, if *both* opposites were absorbed into the themer. Examples: INQUIREDABOUT. INDIANSCOUT. But, hey -- there probably ain't many such animals.

Anyhoo …
Real snappy theme idea, and fun solve quest. thUmbsUp.
fave fillins: WHORL. FIASCO. UHUH.
staff weeject pick: As wide open as this puzgrid was, it's surprisin to behold 20 of the lil darlins, runnin around in there like stinkbugs. [Good to hear from U, @Muse darlin.] Let's go with the well-drilled Random Roman Numeral DCC.

Thanx, Mr. Agard. This one made my mind wander a country-sized lot.
And thanx to guest writer Clare Carro2L, of course.

Masked & Anonym8Us


JC66 12:48 PM  


Was that a shout out tp @LMS's avatar?

Z 12:51 PM  

@Nancy - @anon11:19 gives a good example of where you might see it related to a concert, but I think it’s more commonly seen on albums where Beyoncé may deign to FEAT. Kanye on one song to give his career/ego a boost.

@Ethan Taliesin - What are you suggesting with the adjective “adult?” Since Disney has lots of shows starring teenyboppers and most teenyboppers eventually become adults it doesn’t seem surprising to me that lots of them continue in the industry where they have experience. Thinking about that adjective some more, I don’t find it surprising that those same actors might want to avoid typecasting by taking on more adult roles. For instance, I started watching Euphoria but soon stopped because if I wanted that much teenagers behaving like teenagers I’d just go back to work. ZENDAYA was too well in her portrayal for me.*

Z 12:53 PM  

*How long until some corrects me? #WELLFIASCO

Mark 1:10 PM  

We must not blame Clare for being so young that she attended schools that never drummed into her head the difference between "good" and "well." Progress marches on.

chasklu 1:12 PM  

Vexation is not ire.

Masked and Anonymous 1:25 PM  

@JC66 - Oh, wow -- yep. NOGOODBYES, tho independently thought up, *definitely* deserved a "[yo, @Muse darlin]". Thanx.
@Muse: Sooo ... are them stinkbugs more prevalent, up on hills? [Like Capitol Hill, f'rinstance?]

While I'm here: Things I didn't know about, pre-puz: ZENDAYA. AFROPUFF. BEYHIVE. Capital of BELIZE. All were gettable without nanosecond carnage, tho.

Is KO sorta the OPPOSITE of OK? I'm just askin for a puz KOOK.

The OPPOSITE revealer coulda been left out, if this was a Wed/ThursPuz. But it was a cute, wonky addition for today, for sure.

M&A Kook Desk

Music Man 1:39 PM  

I loved this puzzle!

Masked and Anonymous 2:50 PM  

Dang. I'm beginnin to see why the Agardmeister went with WELLDRILL, for his first 9-long themer. Once U get past OFFSEASON, the pickins get mighty mighty slim.

"Best" M&A effort: (HOT) N SP(ICY).

M&A Research Dept.

pl8231 3:08 PM  

Well and ill work for me. I never sent a "Get Good" card to a friend in hospital.

Ethan Taliesin 4:22 PM  


"Adult" means the person is no longer a child--I don't really need to be explaining this to you, do I?

You could remove the word altogether and just say "the Disney Channel seems to launch an awful lot of careers."

If you don't see being a Disney Channel alum as affording the person disproportionate advantage as a professional springboard (vis-à-vis child performers working elsewhere), whatever--maybe not. Seems that way to me, though.

Gina 5:03 PM  

Where do you live? (I know this is a late response).
I live in central NJ. Came home yesterday to an onslaught of stink bugs. Screen door. Window screens. Yuck. I feel your pain.

Diana, LIW 10:19 AM  

A sprightly Tuesday offering, wit overtones of Monday for the newb (sic) solver. Not that I'm newb. (Nor am I ole. more of a tweeny baby, baby)

I'm already prepping for ACPT in March. Erik will be there I do believe. Along with many of your fav posters.

Off to enjoy the misty California morning.

Diana, LIW

Burma Shave 10:38 AM  


In the OFFSEASON I DREAD rotten weather,
in BELIZE, OFF and ON, WET then DRY.
that ONE piece of LAUNDRY – IT’SATIE!


spacecraft 11:41 AM  

No love for SEALISLAND? First thing I noticed: the poor South was left with nothing but the revealer. No shade below line 10; makes for a very unbalanced look. Guess I just have to keep my EYEUP (ugh).

I agree about FEAT. I can remember Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, but that's about it. Erik, we are inundated with abbrs. all the time; you don't have to turn a perfectly good word into one. We are also assailed by RRNs, though I have no idea how to fix this one. Sometimes you just gotta.

A lot of the rest of it has the Agard stamp: in other words, WELL done. I guess I must be a member of the BEYHIVE for DOD Knowles: please let me be a drone! Wrote STEW on the wrong line; inkfest there, otherwise about medium for the day. Oh, and I instinctively wrote tIMe as the partner for life--until re-reading the clue and noting the lower-case l. Birdie.

leftcoast 1:48 PM  

Agard is a Tuesday treat pushing into Wednesday territory. Clever with some real zip:


As for EYEUP, where's the down?

rainforest 3:44 PM  

An easy puzzle with a ton of personality - decent theme (though the revealer was redundant), sparkly clues all over the place, great fill, enjoyable from end to end.
All Tuesday puzzles should be like this.

How are you? I'm WELL, or, I'm ILL.

I think Agard is in the vanguard of puzzle constructors. He might well make a cool MIL over time. Definitely not a FIASCO.

rondo 5:07 PM  

FEAT. is very common, lotsa times even reduced to f. Check your radio sometime. But what’s wrong with cluing it as Little FEAT? Jam to this: Get your Dixieland chicken on.
Yes, ZENDAYA is another in a long string of Disney pop tarts.
Liked it WELL enough.

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