Walled city on coast of France / TUE 10-15-19 / Spouter in Moby-Dick / Old rocket stage / Late 1990s must have toy

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Constructor: Julie Bérubé

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (my time was over average, but it's 16 wide, and I totally misread the second themer clue, both of which inflated my time in ways that had zero to do with pure difficulty) (4:03)

THEME: ARK (13D: Holder of the contents of the circled squares?) — themers all contain an animal name twice, so ... you know, two by two, Noah's ARK, etc. . . .

Theme answers:
  • MAN-TO-MAN TALK (18A: Frank discussion, perhaps)
  • PASS/FAIL CLASSES (24A: Courses without letter grades)
  • BEEP BEEP! (40A: Road Runner's call)
  • CATCH-AS-CATCH-CAN (53A: By whatever means)
  • "TORA! TORA! TORA!" (63A: 1970 W.W. II drama with a repetitive name)
Word of the Day: ST. MALO (49D: Walled city on the coast of France) —
Saint-Malo (UK/sæ̃ ˈmɑːl/US/ˌsæ̃ məˈl/French: [sɛ̃ malo] (About this soundlisten)GalloSaent-MalôBretonSant-Maloù) is a historic French port in Brittany on the Channel coast. 
The walled city had a long history of piracy, earning much wealth from local extortion and overseas adventures. In 1944, the Allies heavily bombarded Saint-Malo, which was garrisoned by German troops. The city changed into a popular tourist centre, with a ferry terminal serving PortsmouthJerseyGuernsey and Poole. (wikipedia)
• • •

The theme idea is not bad but the execution is very rough. I'm going to say that if 80% of your themers use repeat words to get the desired two-animal effect, you haven't tried very hard with your themers. Or, you haven't tried hard enough. Simply repeating words seems a very cheap way to double the animal count. It's fine to do it once, maybe, but four times out of five? You might also have taken care to keep the animal count in the grid down. This things is ostentatiously plastered with animals, but only some of them are plural. Maybe there are two BISON and two SHEEP, but if the NEWT and the COW are trying to pretend to be a true pair over there in the east, they're not fooling anybody. (NEWT: "... moo?"). Also, there are pretty much four cats on this ARK: the two in CATCH-AS-CATCH-CAN, and then the other two clinging desperately to the edge of CATCH-AS-CATCH-CAN (see CATAN, SCATHE). There's also an extra ANT clinging to the underside of MAN-TO-MAN TALK. Ooh, and another, appropriately, in your PANTS (9D). Further, doesn't the Road Runner go MEEP MEEP??

I zoomed Road Runner-like through most of this, but several significant hang-ups (at least one self-inflicted) led me to a higher-than-average time. The oversized grid probably had a little to do with that as well. The non-gendered clue really really kept me from seeing the very-much-gendered MAN-TO-MAN TALK, which means that I couldn't see the last letter in the damne revealer—I thought maybe the grid was filled with ART? I could see that ANT and ASS were already in circled squares at that point, but I thought, "yeah, sure, you could see an ANT in ART ... and you can *definitely* see ASS"

I then misread the clue on PASS/FAIL CLASSES as "Courses *with* letter grades..." So, since that was the Opposite of what the clue actually said, that didn't help. Also, for no good reason, I couldn't figure out GUARANTEE (5D: Something you should get in writing). So despite filling in most answers very quickly, I had to do some grouting patchwork on these longer mysteries, and that slowed me down. The "must-have" in the FURBY clue did zero for me—hadn't thought about those since the '90s (25D: Late 1990s "must-have" toy). ST. MALO is a ridiculously non-Tuesday answer. It was big in Margaret Farrar's day, probably because of its place in W.W. II history, but it's only been in the NYTXW one other time in the past two decades. For a reason. I spell YECCH thusly, so YECH I was not sure about (45A: "Ugh!"). Other than that, pretty easy going. So, to sum up, the theme was a nice idea but cheaply executed; a more elegant version of this theme wouldn't have had any other animals anywhere; the Road Runner says MEEP MEEP. As for the fill, it is a little heavy on the crosswordese. I am going to renominate AGENA (4A: Old rocket stage) for elimination from your wordlist (or at least your early-week grid wordlist) (you can take AKELA too if you want—or at least use it very sparingly) (58D: Wolf in "The Jungle Book"). Good morning.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 6:23 AM  

Yes, many animals waiting for an ESCORT to the party (SHEEP, KOALA, BISON, CAMEL, COW, NEWT, SHREW, FURBY?), plus those waiting to become animals (ROE, NITS, OVI), and even precursors of that (RUT, LAY), not to mention mood enhancers (PASTA, ECLAIR).

I smiled at the clever mixed doubles theme, and was thankful for some TTG (Tuesday True Grit) by way of ST MALO, AGENA, YECH, CENTAURUS, AKELA, CATAN, and SCATHE (as clued). I like TUB symmetrically opposite ARK, and am reminded of Saturday's ARARAT. Lots to enjoy here, and I'm grateful to have come aboard, Julie!

Hungry Mother 6:38 AM  

I liked the theme and enjoyed the rest of the solve as well in below average time.

Hungry Mother 6:46 AM  

I wrote “meep meep” at first also, but I visited ST MALO during my first trip to France in 1985.

amyyanni 6:46 AM  

AGENA somehow never made it to my crosswordese storage shed, causing GUARANTEE to be a big stumbling block. So I vote for its elimination. Otherwise this was fun; the singular/plural/pairs irregularly didn't bother me. The presence of all the critters overcame any shortcomings. Arf (there weren't any dogs, were there?)

andrew 6:53 AM  

I always thought it was Meep Meep

GILL I. 7:06 AM  

I like ANTs crossing PANTS. I could never figure out how they got in there.
This sure had a boatload of names. Then you add a few miscreant animals that left their mates at home.
Oh, then we have the dirty RAT in TORA TORA TORA and fondest memories of our entry in World War II. But look..we have the ASS in the FAIL CLASSES. Joy. The wonderful BEE being BEEped by that dastard Road Runner. Let's see...what else is there to love? We get an EAT in here with some PASTA and ECLAIR and a CLUB sandwich with some NETTLE and ROE. I like OPTIC and wondering what doctors really think when they say "open your UVULAS"... DIO mio.
@Z...Nacho, Nacho man....And at the given hour I yelled out RARE BIT!
I'm going to look up @chefwen's bacon catalog......

SJ Austin 7:07 AM  

I think "Frank" discussion is intended to be a clever way to "genderize" the idiom at 18A.

Adam Cooperman 7:14 AM  

I'm feeling dense, how are their two BISON and two SHEEP? If it's because there are repeated letters in other adjacent clues (SONIC, BEEP), NEWT is over NEWLY? I think I have to be misunderstanding this comment...

kitshef 7:21 AM  

Noah had seven COWs and seven bulls on the ark, so that would be a theme all by itself.

I think having non-themers appear like unicorn, t-rex and YETIS would have been fun, though.

Hand up for mEEP mEEP.

Alex M 7:43 AM  

It's definitely mee-meep. I found this ridiculously, easy-Monday easy. Didn't even come across ST MALO, and I've been solving enough recently to have AGENA and AKELA top-of-mind. Flew through this.

mathgent 7:55 AM  

I'm a member of the San Mateo Elks. We never refer to ourselves as a club, always a lodge. I suspect that it's a policy of the parent organization.

I didn't notice all the non-theme animals until I read Jeff Chen. He couldn't decide whether it was a plus or a minus. Neither for me.

Good sparkle, especially for a Tuesday. But too many Terrible Threes, 24.

Were furbys really popular? My kids were gone by the nineties.

Anonymous 8:13 AM  

It’s definitely MEEP MEEP!

Anonymous 8:14 AM  

Were Ants and Bees supposedly included in the ark? Not according to many biblical experts. Incredibly weak puzzle.

Spanky 8:17 AM  

Oh Rex you sly devil!

You always count how many puzzles are not made by women but when one is you hate it.

I totally get it now! Outstanding!

He-Man Woman Haters Club

Lobster11 8:21 AM  

One thought on the controversy of the day: I seem to recall that in one of the cartoons, the roadrunner holds up a sign saying "Beep Beep" rather than making the sound. I forget the context, but I'm pretty sure it happened at least once and even more sure that the sign didn't say "Meep Meep." FWIW....

Suzie Q 8:29 AM  

No eels?!
I thought this was fun. Part of my enjoyment was spotting all of the animals not in the theme answers. Also, in the clues were elk, horse, kitten, two fish, tiger, and puppy. This animal lover is happy enough for my Tuesday solve.

Sir Hillary 8:39 AM  

What a bizarre puzzle. Judging from the grid, far more animals were left out of the ARK (because they couldn't find mates) than made it in. @Lewis listed most of those; I would add AHI. Not only that, but numerous entries than are not themselves animal types are clued with animal references: MEW, SONIC, CENTAURUS, AKELA and AWS. Then there are all the strays that @Rex found. What in the name of menagerie is going on?

AGENA is crappy and also unnecessary. Just go with General TSO at 8D.

It's 100% mEEPmEEP. I will dismiss any suggestion otherwise, evidenced or not

I like the SPACERACE to CENTAURUS, although I GUARANTEE that even at superSONIC speed, you're DEADTIRED when you get there. ATBEST.

meep x two 8:39 AM  

Its sad how Wile E Coyote is remembered for his violence and not or his artistic talent-----especially of still-life tunnels.

Nancy 9:08 AM  

Lo, the poor SHEEP, KOALA, COW, BISON. I'm even feeling sorry for the poor SHREW and NEWT. They can't get on the ARK because there's only one of each of them. Sob. Meanwhile, it's one really YECH-y ARK, what with RATS, ANTS and BEES. I think I'll stay on shore -- I just love KOALAs.

Clever of the constructor to have puzzled me over that Shakespeare animal, when it was really wasn't an animal at all. It was Kate.

I was worried that the FURBY (nice touch, pun intended) might be on the ARK too, but there's only one of it.

Very cute, well-executed puzzle. It was somewhat marred for me by the squooshed squares in my paper version, but that's not your fault, Julie. You did your job well. It's Will's fault. Will, please, please, please DON'T SQUOOSH THE SQUARES!

SouthsideJohnny 9:13 AM  

Really got an unusual vibe today - it seemed like a lot of Monday-easy fill-ins accompanied by what should be late-in-the-week trivia (STMALO next to CATAN, a foreign word for “now”, AKELA, AGENA, YETIS). I definitely prefer the early in the week puzzles to be a little more straightforward, however more experienced solvers may prefer the inclusion of some esoterica to up the difficulty a bit. I understand that it may be difficult to balance that out. My vote would be for a rule of thumb to the effect that early-week trivia should be recognizable by at least 5% of the general population - Is that too much to ask, really ? Save the rest of the stuff for you Friday and Saturday-level solvers !

JOHN X 9:14 AM  

From yesterday you know FLIGHT DECK and today we learn TORA TORA TORA, which is Japanese for "let's lose this war badly."

I never knew that Noah took so many insects aboard The Ark. Well, they exist today, so I suppose he must have. God bless you all.

Z 9:22 AM  

@Adam Cooperman - SHEEP and BISON can be either singular or plural, so Rex is suggesting that there are two SHEEP and two BISON in the puzzle.

@GILL I - Too true, I’m much more of a Nacho Nacho Man than a Rare Bit fella, but yesterday’s recipes are mouthwatering.

@meep x two - Perhaps the greatest trompe l’oeil artist in all of toondom.

Definitely in the “Tuesday has to tuezz” category. My favorite little easter egg was SKY SUN DIO suggesting ELO’s Mr. Blue Sky.

Gulliver Foyle 9:23 AM  

In the Roadrunner comic books, he went "beep beep." (You can find them in Google Images.)

Cynthia 9:31 AM  

Google "Roadrunner beep beep": 327,000 hits. Gppdgle Roadrunner meep meep": 15,000 hits, and this:

People also ask
Is it MEEP MEEP or beep beep?
Although commonly quoted as "meep meep", Warner Brothers, the current owner of all trademarks relating to the duo, lists "beep, beep" as the Road Runner's sound, along with "meep, meep." According to animation historian Michael Barrier, Julian's preferred spelling of the sound effect was "hmeep hmeep".Aug 15, 2015

Jessica 9:53 AM  

For those who haven’t read it - a beautifully written novel All the Light You Can Not See takes place in St Milo during WW2. The only reason I knew this answer .

Jessica 9:57 AM  

Sorry - misspelled - meant St Malo

jberg 10:04 AM  

When I was raising young children, the kids on our street played a game called "Roadrunner." It was just like "Maro Polo" except that the call and response was "Beep beep" --- "Roadrunner." So that didn't bother me.

I never saw the revealer, as I got ARK from crosses and never looked at the blud (my bad, there). Now that I know about it, I like the puzzle much more.

There weren't any AHI or eels on the Ark because, you know, they didn't mind being under water. Might have been some insects, though.

I liked the puzzle; but why shade in the animal names? Surely we could find them ourselves!

Mohair Sam 10:16 AM  

@Jessica (9:53AM) Same here on St. Malo. "All The Light We Cannot See" is one of the best reads ever.

Newboy 10:16 AM  

Noah way!

Anonymous 10:25 AM  

"The Road Runner vocalizes only with a signature sound, "Beep, Beep", recorded by Paul Julian (although some viewers claim it sounds more like "meep meep"), and an accompanying "popping-cork" tongue noise."
the wiki

and, if you read up the entry, his name is Beep Beep.

Newboy 10:31 AM  

Noah way! And I certainly second @Jessica’s All The Light reading suggestion!

JJK 10:49 AM  

I usually like Rex’s comments but today I think he’s off-base. I found this a fun puzzle, and liked the cluing - it felt fresh and clever most of the time. I think people are over-thinking the theme, isn’t it just that the circled answers are the theme answers? But there are a lot of other animals, and they’re definitely not paired so maybe that criticism is valid. And I want to second Jessica’s shout-out for “All the Light We Cannot See”, such a beautifully written and powerful novel. It’s very well known and a recent book, so I think that makes St. Malo a perfectly ok Tuesday word. It’s also a beautiful city if you ever get the chance to visit it.

And I always thought the Road Runner said BEEP BEEP.

boratboratborat 11:12 AM  

I naticked on the HARPER/HANA crossing. I don't know my Canadian PM's names...nor the first names of my tennis players from Eastern Europe. An L and/or a V might make sense for Mandlikova, but who knows...Larper or Varper might be a name, albeit weird, but hey. HANA is weird to me as a slavic first name, so there.

It is definitely MEEP MEEP. Fight me.

I completely agree with Rex that the repetition of the words makes for a cheap way to get the pair of animals. I even thought as much while I was doing the puzzle (and trying to figure out Trudeau's predecessor). But different than Rex, I didn't have problems with CATCHASCATCHCAN or even MANTOMANTALK...those are actual phrases that happen to repeat. But BEEPBEEP (fail, btw) and the really bad TORATORATORA were cheating. I could have used another one like PASSFAILCLASSES where no words repeat at all.

In the words of many musical theater critics who call out high schools for doing shows like Hairspray or All Shook Up: If you don't have the cast to do a racially diverse show, then don't do the show. It doesn't matter if you have a white girl who can sing "I Know Where I've Been." Don't do it.

So with respect to this puzzle...if you just can't find a way to execute your theme without resorting to mindlessly repeating onomatopoeia or overly ambitious calls to arms, then don't do it. Or maybe at least wait until you've found some other themers.

RooMonster 11:19 AM  

Hey All !

Odd animal choices, but still a pretty fun puz to solve. Actually saw the 16 wide grid right off the bat, so that was good. BEEP BEEP the first one I got, followed by MAN TO MAN TALK. Sorta agree with Rex about the repetitiveness of the themers, has to be more phrases out there with animals twice not repetitive, if that makes sense. Did like the Easter Eggs of the other animals throughout the grid and the clues.

@Anonymous 8:14
If they weren't on the Ark, then how are they on the Earth? Serious question.

FURBYs. Like Cabbage Patch Kids in the 80's. People went out of their minds trying to buy these items. And they were popular for all of 1 year. Although, certain Cabbage Patch Kids (the originals) are worth big money. Not sure about FURBYs...

I like clues like 72A Choice of a coin flip, in that either answer fits. Is there a name for a clue like that? I'll let the more clever than me people here come up with a name. :-)

UMAMI makes your UVULA happy. Har.


What? 11:21 AM  

Of course, many biblical experts consider the Ark as metaphor.

EricStratton 11:25 AM  

Hey Nancy:

Koalas could not be on the Ark as they are marsupials. In the list of creatures that made it onto the Ark, none of them were marsupials. Why? They didn't exist in the mid-east either during the time of Christ or when the Bible was committed to paper a few hundred years later. I think that is the story, anyway. I'm no Bible scholar. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong on this one.

Anonymous 11:46 AM  

If they weren't on the Ark, then how are they on the Earth? Serious question.

well, because, at the time of the Bible myth of the flood (such a myth exists in many non-middle eastern based religions), the scribes didn't know anything about the rest of the Earth, now did they? so the notion of a total planetary flood is propaganda. yeah, I know, it's only 6,000 years old.

not the same anonymouse, BTW

Lewis 11:59 AM  

@sir hillary -- Good catch with AHI!

old timer 12:52 PM  

Unicorns! I know why there were no unicorns on the Ark. It's all in a modern Irish song, "The Unicorn": ...there were green alligators and long necked geese, humpty-backed camels and some CHIMpanzees. Cats and rats and elephants but sure as you're born, you're never going to see a unicorn."

Poor litter unicorn literally missed the boat.

Bike Curious 1:00 PM  

@borat- I assume you would agree then that if you don’t have a cast to do a non racially diverse show then the high school shouldn’t do that show either. Can’t have an Asian American or an African American playing Prof. Harold Hill or Marion in the Music Man. Or does it only go one way ?

Teedmn 1:16 PM  

AGENA: I was struggling to come up with that one, convinced I had seen it very recently and thus should remember it but, at least in the NYT puzzles, it hasn't been in since Feb 2018 so not that recently. I had trouble with GUARANTEE, a la Rex, because of AGENA and not seeing RUT as "same old, same old" and having Yuck before YECH. That GUARANTEEd I'd have a bunch of black ink in the grid.

This took longer than my usual Tuesday. I partially blame my attempt to save toner by printing using the ink saver option. That left my black squares with too little contrast with the gray squares. The biggest surprise I had was when CATCH AS CATCH CAN meant that 36D didn't stop at DEAD but was DEAD TIRED. The T square was hiding as a black square. DEAD TIRED much better than DEAD for pooped.

I took a couple of classes PASS FAIL in college - we called them S-N for Satisfactory-Non-satisfactory. Microeconomics was one of them - I skipped class all the time. One day I arrived and noticed that everyone was looking at their notes - I asked a fellow student if today was the midterm. Yup. I PASSed anyway. I don't recommend that laissez-faire attitude to any current students!

Thanks, @Lewis, for revealing the puzzle's birds and BEEs discussion. And in a flood, I'm thinking the AHI didn't need to be on board the ARK - they were probably in more trouble after the water receded. I'm definitely in the BEEP BEEP Roadrunner CLUB.

Thanks, Ms. Berube, this was fun.

Bo Diddley 1:20 PM  



I'm a road runner, honey
Beep, beep
Beep, beep
Ah, beep, beep
I'm a road runner honey
And you can't keep up with me

Z 1:25 PM  

@Bike Curious - It only goes one way. If you can’t figure out why maybe do some research.

I imagine that the BEEPBEEPers are the same people who pronounce GIF like the peanut butter. Not everyone can be right all the time.

Z 1:42 PM  

Given my last comment, this seemed timely.

pabloinnh 1:49 PM  

Well, OK, pairs of animals and the ark and some other animals. Pleasant enough for a Tuesday, I suppose.

More fun is the Beeps vs. the Meeps controversy. If it's one or the other depends totally on what you hear, obviously, but the Wiki seems to lean towards the beeps, although it seems the meeps are ready to indulge in fisticuffs if challenged. I've always heard it as "beep". Sue me, too old for street fighting.

Interestingly enough we're rehearsing an old (16th C.) German song which is supposed to represent bell sounds. The women are going "kling" and "klang" and then we men come in with a series of "mir maun mur", which is also supposed to represent bells ringing. I think in English we use another bilabial for this, namely "b" (bing bong). So the b's and the m's may be more related than we think, leading to beep/meep confusion and possible warfare, but I hope not. Enough animosity to go around without that.

Anonymous 1:50 PM  

It would have been an easy enough fix to remove AGENA, too... just change it to AGENT, then TUNED -> TUNES, resulting in TSO going down instead of ADO.

Anonymous 1:51 PM  

It’s because those can also be plural nouns.

Laura 1:59 PM  

I, too, would have enjoyed much cleverer themes, which sounds. But I enjoyed the puzzle and would have prefered to read a bit about the positives...I assume everyone coming to this blog enjoys the NYT crossword, so I can't be the only one who sees upsides.

galegdavis 2:40 PM  

Agree on Natnick at 16A 16D . DNF as a result. Also recommend All The Light, very enjoyable read. There is a lovely private coastal community south of Carlsbad CA called St Malo.

Anonymous 2:48 PM  

@Bike Curious-Don’t worry about the imperious Z. He seems to think his opinions are facts. It’s been that way for a long time and shows no signs of changing.

Unknown 3:08 PM  

The 2015 Pullitzer Prize for Fiction winner "All the Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr largely takes place in St. Malo, perhaps making it a Tuesday-worthy answer. It is a fantastic book. In the style the book is written, you'd think the author was British, too. Obviously he is not.

Anonymous 3:13 PM  

@Bike Curious,

Listen to what Anon 2:48 says. @ Z is a terrible blowhard. And terribly predictable. Whatever the left is spouting that day--from using they as a singular pronoun, to the ok sign being a symbol of white nationalists, to the NRA being a terrorist organization--you can be sure @Z will be onboard bloviating away. Nobody with a whit of sense, proportion or humor pays him any mind any more.

Mark 3:46 PM  

Of course it's BEEP BEEP. Anyone who thinks otherwise probably says "For all intensive purposes" in their spare time.

Anonymous 3:53 PM  

They also have low self of steam.

Frantic Sloth 4:14 PM  

ABSOLUTELY Meep Meep! No question. And I DON'T say "for all intensive purposes" or "supposably" or "you've got another THING coming" either. So there. ;)

Joe Bleaux 4:16 PM  

You’re kidding, right? You’re inviting Ol’ White Joe back into the fold?

Doc John 4:19 PM  

Somewhat apropos is this movie:
Akeelah and the Bee (OK, not an exact match but pretty close)

Joe Dipinto 4:31 PM  

Mang Mang

Monty Boy 5:04 PM  

I liked this one a lot. More medium for me with a few PPP's I didn't know.

A huge AMEM for @Jessica 10:53 for All the Light We Cannot See. A book I will reread many times. As she says, beautifully written and a wonderful story set amidst the horror of war. It was on the Denver local best seller list for about 2 years, first in hardback and then paperback. A must read.

Monty Boy 5:05 PM  

Per @Jessica, make that 9:53

Patricia Hughes 5:45 PM  

Easy puzzle so I was just wandering through it while solving. However, the first shaded clue I got was ASS then I got to 13D. Made for a few fun thoughts (no three letter ones though)

Richardf8 6:22 PM  

Now we just need someone to clue “Raspberry” or “Bronx Cheer” with “Bilabial Fricative”

Jason 6:52 PM  

Oh, no.......The non-gendered clue hampered your ability to see the gendered answer??
Well, what did the police say??

Anonymous 7:15 PM  

Anyone who has participated in Cub/Boy Scouts will know Akela!!
ChrisP in AA

Anonymous 7:21 PM  

@pabloinnh -- by any chande are you rehearsing Ludwig Senfl's The Bells At Speyer?
ChrisP in AA (sometime choral singer)

Unknown 7:38 PM  

That makes two of us.

pabloinnh 8:17 PM  


Did you mean a voiced fricative or an unvoiced fricative?

albatross shell 12:36 AM  

If its MEEP MEEP, it must be ST BALO.

Anonymous 5:47 AM  

Man to Man was sorta an extra themer---there were humans on the ark too, right? at least i think there were, i never read the OT. And i think man in this phrase isn't gendered, it's used to represent mankind, just like it would pertaining to the ark denizens.

Diana, LIW 10:24 AM  

Well I'll be n unvoiced fricative! I'm back!

I was really here, but busy hosting out of town guests and scratching my head over a "cryptic" my friend @Teed sent me. (Yes, @Rondo, I've gotten some from you too. The same crickets showed up as I looked at it.)

Anyone else try to do those cryptics? Since I don't get the official NYT very often, I don't see them when they show up. But Will begins the ACPT tourney with one. Arrggghhh! is all I have to say.

This puz was a fine and toothsome Tuesday, with some Naticky names in the SW (for me).

Watching the photos of Venice lately, hope we don't all end up on an ARK.

Diana, LIW, arkless

spacecraft 10:31 AM  

Curious that OFC should see the appearance of exo-themed animals as a fault. My take? Yo, the more the merrier! As we see, though, they are already starting to reproduce: an ANT dropping from its mom's belly; a couple of CATS from the litter crawling down to chase the RATs, etc. Fun stuff. The ARK vis-à-vis its symmetric TUB. A non-Valerie, non-Bryce (!) clue for HARPER. A shout-out to yours truly (11 down)!

But yeah, the last three themers did use repetition to achieve pairing; a definite defect. And the fill is overloaded with PPP's, culminating in a real outlier: STMALO. Doesn't belong in a Tuesday grid. ENNUI is beginning to engender itself, along with UMAMI, an entity I'd have lived my whole life never knowing if not for crosswords.

For DOD, there are many ERINs who'd qualify: Brockovich, Moran, Moriarty; but why not give the award to the clued one, Ms. Burnett? Works for me.

Well, make room for one more animal: birdie!

Burma Shave 10:32 AM  


The CAMEL said she was DEADTIRED,
I GUARANTEE that the BISON balked,
but MALONE found the SHEEP inspired,
AS ewe might by a MANTOMANTALK.


DScheer 11:44 AM  

FYI - ants and bees were not on the Ark of Noah according to the Bible. Insects breathe via skin - no lungs. They most likely survived on large floating log mats and/or other debris. BTW there is much scientific evidence of a worldwide flood. Institute for Creation Research has credible information for those willing to seek it.

HotRodDan 1:54 PM  

The only Road Runners that go beep beep are Plymouths.

leftcoaster 3:31 PM  

The theme was clear enough but the cluing got a little sticky in some areas. Not a routine Tuesday.

Lots of animals didn't get paired up to board the ARK. That's understandable, given limited room in that TUB. But the BISON was troublesome.

That noble beast was blocked by OVI's crossing I (wanted an O), STMALO's crossing O (wanted ?), and CATAN's crossing N (again ?). Not to mention the US at the end of CENTAURUS (wasn't sure of that ending either).

I like a Tuesday challenge, but that BISON got me.

rainforest 5:57 PM  

I think that 4 hours spent this morning taking transit to/from court and time spent waiting, and waiting to make a plea regarding a snow removal bylaw (don't get me started) put me in a negative frame of mind for the puzzle. It took some effort to get into the sense of it. Not seeing the ARK clue didn't help, but at the end I had to find out what was going on. Finally saw the 13D clue (it filled in on acrosses), and then some sense ensued.

Fyi, HARPER, for many Canadians, has the same effect that TRUMP does for many Americans.

Nothing really NETTLED me, but it *is* MEEP MEEP.

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