Black tea variety / TUE 11-5-19 / "The Grapes of Wrath" migrator / Edwards or Ramstein: Abbr.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Constructor: John Guzzetta

Relative difficulty: Easy (3:53)

THEME: Juicy Part (64A: Movie role with range ... or what 17-, 24-, 39- and 51-Across each have?) — the shaded portions of the theme answers are various fruits, which typically bear juice

Word of the Day: PATINA (9D) —

Patina (/ˈpætɪnə/ or /pəˈtiːnə/) is a thin layer that variously forms on the surface of copper, brass, bronze and similar metals (tarnish produced by oxidation or other chemical processes), or certain stones, and wooden furniture (sheen produced by age, wear, and polishing), or any similar acquired change of a surface through age and exposure.

• • •

Theme answers:
  • AUTOMATON (17-A): Robot
  • ANKLE MONITOR (24-A): Object commonly worn by someone under house arrest
  • LANDSCAPE ARTIST (39-A): One making a scene outdoors
  • ROMAN GODDESS (51-A): Venus, for one
Hola, amigos. What's shakin'? Feels good to rap at ya. I'm first-time poster, long-time reader Adam Jacobi. Wish we could have met under better circumstances than "Rex Parker is in Michigan," but so it goes.

On to better news: this was a decent little Tuesday of a puzzle, wasn't it? Sturdy. The theme answers were all recognizable words/phrases on their own, the hidden elements spanned multiple words where possible—and in the first theme answer, it's one word, but the theme element used six of the nine letters, nice—and the fill was just plain clean. ABBA as your 1A isn't the best opening note in crossword history, but it crosses BUTT, so it's good to see the puzzle get a little... cheeky. Even better, the three-letter answers were sparse and common. Yes, there's some Crosswordese sprinkled throughout the puzzle, but 1) it's a Tuesday, and 2) if the furthest a puzzle strays from real words is SRA or BAA, that's not much to complain about, right?

So naturally, here's the part where I complain.

If I had a quibble on the theme, it's that when I think of common fruit juices, pear doesn't crack the top 10. Google tells me it's often for babies. Okay. It's not as flagrant as, say, the notion of banana juice, but apples and grapes are still out there, y'know? Especially considering it's in the one full-length theme answer. Obviously, this could come at the expense of the answer quality as a whole, and I'd probably rather see four quality answers that hide passable theme elements than four passable answers that hide quality theme elements, if that makes sense. Just not digging pear juice.

The puzzle plays pretty old. That's not a complaint, per se—there are people whose pop culture windows are all over the place who do these crosswords, and a Tuesday should be accessible to a very large portion of them. But I counted precisely six clues that would not have been solvable 25 years ago, and every single one of them—PIBB, YELP, STAN, DORA, JAKE, COP—could easily be re-clued back to the '70s without much difficulty. Move the window to "not solvable 30 years ago," and all you're adding is ROMA and OSLO; again, by themselves, still eminently recognizable. To reiterate, populating the grid with plain words is not necessarily a complaint, but it forces the clues to do a lot of heavy lifting to make up for unimaginative fill if the solving experience is going to be truly satisfying.

  • 9A: ____ Xtra (soft drink) (PIBB) — At least the second Pibb shout-out in the last four weeks, and this one's "Pibb Xtra," a name Coca-Cola unleashed on the world to liven up the brand—and which now sounds far more hopelessly out of date than the preceding Mr. Pibb. Pibb Xtra! The soda that rides a skateboard! [guitar riff!] [always wear proper safety equipment when operating a skateboard or opening a soft drink can under parental supervision] 
  • 26D: Bread baked in a tandoor (NAAN) — I once had visions of being a restaurateur, and my first pitch to investors was an Indian restaurant that served this bread before every meal. Unfortunately, it was a naan-starter.
  • 36A: Greek H's (ETAS) — It's technically a word, but why not go with "Airport board listings, for short"? When was the last time you counted Greek letters or had to refer to multiple amounts of them? I feel secure in assuming that "There sure are a lot of etas in this Greek text!" is not a common observation to the majority of crossword solvers. It's okay to join the 20th century in your Tuesday clues. 
  • 13A: Neighborhood neglected by local government (SLUM) — Honestly, I'm about ready for "slum" to be retired as a term—far too loaded, and you don't need me to explain more than that—but at least the clue is surprisingly responsible about its description.
  • 11D: Advice often seen in Cosmopolitan and Seventeen (BEAUTY TIPS) — Got the first two letters on crosses and filled it with "BE YOURSELF" at first. Silly, precious me.
What did you think?

Signed, Adam Jacobi, Clown Prince of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Loren Muse Smith 5:58 AM  

Hey, there Jacob. Thanks for filling in with a well-considered write-up. I myself didn’t take the reveal to mean that the fruits made actual juices – just that they were fruits that were juicy. A pear can be juicy. If you’re lucky. And I’d challenge you to find phrases that embed apple or grape There’s one for grape but it’s so icky, I won’t include it.

I loved your wrong “be yourself” for the Cosmo advice! BEAUTY TIP is completely opposite, right? You do all that stuff specifically so that you present not yourself but rather a fakey enhanced misleading “yourself.” False advertising.

Misread the clue for ROYAL as “word said before we flush.” That’ll flat make you sit up. At the Big Lots in Parkersburg, the women’s restroom is just a little room with no stalls. But there are two commodes sitting there side by side. I swear. TANDEM. Makes you revisit the term double elimination.

Contents of a Facebook feed – whiny sniveling crap. I’m sure it’s bad in other vocations, but the vitriol that is spewed on Facebook regarding schools, principals, teachers, is astonishing. I have been the victim once, when a couple of mothers went on complaining about seniors having to buy their diplomas. (Our school is that poor.) They said the senior class sponsors should have done more fund-raising. As a senior sponsor and one who countless times gave up an entire Saturday to man some concession stand or tag sale with hardly any students there to help I saw red. For the only time in my life, I chimed in. Said I wouldn’t discuss it on Facebook but gave my cell number and invited them to call me so I could describe exactly what this “fund-raising” looked like and ask where their kids had been for the past four years. No call. No more posts. I’m sure they just slithered off to find something else to whine about. Cowards.

Hey, John – nice Tuesday. I liked the AUTOMATON/EMOTE cross. And the BEAUTY TIPS/TEASE cross. And the, well, toothsome DRILL/YELP.

Sheep Launcher 6:01 AM  


Lewis 6:17 AM  

It's a solid Tuesday-level theme with an excellent reveal, an exemplar of what a puzzle theme is for newer solvers. And I have to throw love to any puzzle with PATINA, such a gorgeous word, as an answer. Thank you for that and a lovely solve, John.

I would have liked it better without the gray areas; I think even newer solvers could have figured that out. But I like APE crossing APE smack dab in the middle, the STEP up, and the TAN lines in 29D and 38D. It should be noted that the Nats of the NL East can be found on that edge of the puzzle flipping over backwards over their championship.

Plus a special shout out to 17A, which contains an AUTO part.

Hungry Mother 6:18 AM  

Fun theme and just the right crunch. Close to another PR. Just a couple of sips of coffee.

Mark Bacchus 6:22 AM  

I appreciated the cross of DORA the Explorer with ERIK the Red, the explorer.

Hungry Mother 6:28 AM  

I’ve encountered pear juice at many European hotel breakfasts. It’s really good ice cold.

Brookboy 6:31 AM  

Very nice review, very enjoyable reading. And I agree with pretty much everything you wrote, not often the case with Rex. I enjoyed solving this one.

@LMS: you have me hooked on your anecdotes. Thank you for posting them.

OffTheGrid 6:42 AM  

Solid Tuesday. LMS described the theme better than Adam. The "hidden" fruit is the JUICY PART of the theme answer.

Dave 6:44 AM  

As a father of four, I have noticed that products that say 100% juice often have pear juice as filler.

amyyanni 6:52 AM  

Lively write-up, Adam. Gracias. Exactly what LMS wrote regarding certain women's magazines. Remember "ask him about things he likes to do" and general submissive behavior advice?
Pear juice is used in some cocktails. A Bellini seems to be a way to spoil champagne but the ones with ginger and gin might be palatable. Which is an apt word for the puzzle. Toothsome for a Tuesday!

Curious Okie 6:52 AM  

Honestly, I'm about ready for "slum" to be retired as a term—far too loaded, and you don't need me to explain more than that

Yes, maybe you do need to explain just exactly how SLUM is “far too loaded” for you. What’s so loaded about it?

kitshef 6:55 AM  

@LMS - nothing icky about Integra pens.

Given a choice of cluing ROMA as the capital of Italia, or as an actress that will be a complete mystery to half your solvers, why choose the latter?

John 7:22 AM  

Yes, please explain why “slum” is a loaded word.

CS 7:42 AM  

Fun write-up! Hope to see you again here, Adam!

Agree with others, pear juice is a thing (and yummy!) and also these things are juicy in themselves.

Otherwise just a nice little solve for a Tuesday.

Your Dad 7:43 AM  

viaGRA PEnis

Unknown 7:44 AM  

Fun but easy. Only gripe is a tech bug...the highlights went away I hihlighted the revealer.

Dawn Urban 7:45 AM  

OH JOY? No, pure joy today! Thank you!

Beg to differ with reviewer about pears. As others have mentioned, pears can be so juicy. Last week, I was planning to give a fruit basket for snacks to traveling friends, but knew pears would need wet wipes also. Gave up on whole thoughtful idea.

It's been a good solving week, hoping Wednesday's puzzle will keep it going.

Bill Johnson 7:46 AM  

ROMA could have been clued as “European OKIE”

Elise 7:46 AM  

I just loved seeing ankle monitor in there. Hope that was a cheeky nod toward our current administration.

Suzie Q 8:02 AM  

The words in the grid are fine but several of the clues felt off.
As already mentioned, why that clue for Roma (who?)
The attempt at misdirection for antler seemed overdone.
Ditto for miners. I don't know about the clue for slum either but because it seemed so wordy and opinionated. Why not something like slang for a rental property owner? ____ lord.
Asking someone what they like to do is submissive behavior? I think that is just good manners in conversation no matter who you are speaking with.
Ah, poor Tuesday. Such a tough slot to fill.

GILL I. 8:06 AM  

Yeah, I guess SLUM isn't the happiest of happy words but they exist. Some people would like to retire the word and I ask "why?" Look a them in Mumbai.... In a fair and Utopian world, people should live and eat in decency and @Loren would get a Principal who cares.
I thought this was a sweet little Tuesday. Lots of double letters that should make a few of you here happy.
I see ROMA and I think TOMATOs. I use them when I make my weekly gazpacho.
YELP is fun to read. I do it all the time. I wonder if restaurants pay people to give rave reviews. I prefer word of mouth. I also look at the menu and if it's dirty or it contains a million pages, I'll just order a drink and leave.
I'll also tip 20%.
I use to watch KOJAK all the time. I imagined him sucking on a tootsie roll. And by the way, PEARs are JUICY if you don't let them get too ripe. Steep them in some red wine. Anjous!

Woke Millenial 8:07 AM  

I think we should retire all pejorative words and all bad people from the puzzle.

Anonymous 8:07 AM  

Rap please, Viagra pests!

SouthsideJohnny 8:10 AM  

Notice how Adam voiced his displeasure with SLUM without spending two or three paragraphs ranting and raving like the crazy king in the castle ? Very refreshing !

Petsounds 8:11 AM  

Pear juice is my favorite fruit juice. Just throwing that out there as a tiny validation of the clue. Really liked LANDSCAPE ARTIST.

An enjoyable, fairly easy (time just slightly under average) Tuesday puzzle, and I also enjoyed your discussion of it, Adam, although I disagree with you on ETAs. I'm really sick of the pained, twisted rewording of clues trying to be a new way to say arrivals and departures, and while Greek Hs is not wildly clever, I appreciated the vacation from the terminal info boards.

QuasiMojo 8:45 AM  

I dunno. I did a puzzle somewhere the other day that had hidden fruit in it but they were inverted. Much more interesting than this theme. That said it was well done.

For the lollipop sucker I put in NANCY. But I think she ate ice cream cones more often. Forgot that Kojak liked them. Those shows were really gritty, often taking place in a slum.

Also I always have seen it as EriC the Red. And his son Leif EriCson. Has that changed? I almost had a DNF because of it.

For some reason I wanted Ankle MANACLE before monitor. 50 Shades of Blue?

Loved seeing Landscape Artist. And thank you ADAM for the fun ABBA video. Very timely, no?

@Joe, was just joshing. I went to see Tom Wopat in Bristol TN once. I'm a fan too.

JohnG 8:56 AM  

Great puzzle. KTEL killed me, I couldn't get it. Otherwise, great morning doing this one.

David in Brevard 8:56 AM  

Nice theme, but I assumed that it was just fruits in theme answers, therefore JUICE escaped me (eww) for a while and even when it popped in, I never joined the dots.

I was heading for a record time when I hit the JUICY SE corner and dropped in JOAD instead of OKIE and IDEA instead of DEAL. KOJAK eluded me for too long and I have never heard of JAKE ! So i was doomed for another minute or two and finally ground it out 20 seconds or so over my best time.

Nice Tuesday distraction for today Jon G and nice write up Adam J.

David in Brevard

Anonymous 8:57 AM  

Rob and burgle are two very different things. That's why the law, at least all the laws I'm familiar with, draw the distinction. Burglary is a crime against y property. robbery is a crime against a person, quite a bit more serious. I'm only only going back two and half millennia. It might have been different before Sumer.

And Rex,
Check out the headline above today's Paul Krugman op ed. Then explain again how snowflake is only used by big, bad bully boys on the right and that it's not a useful term.

pmdm 9:00 AM  

Hidden word puzzles are fairly frequent. (The constructor's comments hint too much so for Shortz's taste.) When they appear leter in the week without circles or shaded boxes in the grid, I can have trouble picking them out. But I enjoy hidden word themes, so I would want them to keep on coming.

LMS: Indeed cowards is one of the tamer words to describe what I think of them. (And the likes of them do seem to inhabit this blog.) It's sad that there are many platforms that enable (or even encourage) their behavior.

RAD2626 9:01 AM  

Nice puzzle. Terrific write up. Totally agree with @Mark Bacchus. Loved ERIC the Red crossing DORA the Explorer. They would have been quite a pair. Only glitch for me was the number of K’s in the puzzle (5) and my inability to know if it is a C or K that I am looking for. Only missed two this time: the aforementioned ERIc and good old Ray cROC. .

Doug Garr 9:01 AM  

Look, a slum is a slum is a slum. Despite politicos' loving to call them "inner city struggling neighborhoods." Okay? Ankle monitor is not really used that much. It's ankle bracelet, and that had me slowed to stump for awhile. But at least you made me laugh with the groaner, naan starter.

Nancy 9:11 AM  

Here's one I'd probably give to a newbie solver. Very smooth and junk-free, with long and unusual themers, but fairly easy all the same and with a theme that helps make it even easier. A revealer that can't be seen coming ahead of time, or at least it wasn't by me. I had PART and I'm thinking FRUIT PART????? Didn't see JUICY without some crosses. Also there was the occasional offbeat clue, such as those for AMORAL (4D), ROYAL (32A) and MINERS (18D). Pleasant Tuesday.

GHarris 9:17 AM  

Agree with LMS, those looking for a juice drink are ignoring the clear meaning of the clue. The adjective juicy is probably applied to the description of a pear more often than any other fruit.

Nancy 9:36 AM  

@Loren -- While it surely wouldn't come close to solving all the problems and headaches you face in your tough, demanding and often unappreciated job, GETTING THE BLEEP OFF OF FACEBOOK would eliminate at least the one you talk about today. Why stay on a platform where people are often mean and vicious? This goes for Twitter too. I'm not on any of the social platforms, so I can't be bullied on any of them. One less thing to worry about in a world where there are plenty of other things to worry about, right?

I didn't stay off Facebook because I expected people to be mean and vicious there. I stayed off it because I didn't think I needed Mark Zuckerberg to be the intermediary of my friendships. I've managed to have friendships since before Mark Zuckerberg was born, thank you very much, and I really, really, really want to keep him out of the mix. Along with the ads. And the giving up of privacy. And all the fakery of our new post-truth reality. If everyone could be persuaded to Just Quit Facebook, our world would take a giant leap for the better.

SJ Austin 9:38 AM  

Nice puzzle, close to a Tuesday PR for me, and enjoyable pretty much all the way through. I liked the theme and its execution very much.

Also: great review. Hey Rex, have this guy back sometime.

davidm 9:42 AM  

This puzzle was fine, with a cute revealer, but … why do we need shaded squares? Why make things so obvious? As soon as I got AUTOMATON I saw TOMATO in the shaded squares, and knew right off there would be food names in other shaded squares. Much better, IMO, would be no shaded squares, and then, when one gets the revealer, JUICY PARTS, the hunt is on for the juicy parts in the theme answers — precisely how the CAMOUFLAGE puzzle was done last week, and it was a delight. But of course these shaded squares made the hunt unnecessary, when the hunt would have been the best part.

Anonymous 9:50 AM  

I too can't think of ever drinking pear juice, though there is no reason not too. I thought at once of the liqueur Poire Williams, which I was introduced to in France and thought was French. Wikipedia makes it a Swiss brandy, which I suspect is correct. I haven't had it in years, and I think I'll go buy a bottle today.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

RooMonster 10:07 AM  

Hey All !
The theme has three elements, the Revealer JUICY PARTS referring to each themer with a juice made of the hidden fruit, that's a PART of the answer. So the JUICE fruit is PART of each themer. See?

I thought it a cool puz, especially for a Tuesday. I'm of the "thanks for the shaded squares, or I need would've found the hidden fruits" ilk. If no shaded squares, no Aha, for me. Plus it helped in ANKLE MONITOR, as I wanted bracelet, but it didn't fit.

Agree on the light dreckness factor. Nice to see.

AFB back, but no questions about it yet. Air Force Base, for those who might ask. :-)

Clue for ROYAL got a chuckle. Natick for me at my one-letter DNF spot, the K of JAKE/OKIE. Wanted JAnE, JAdE, JAnE, having it be a woman on the ole brain. An OKIE. From Muskogee?

Mr. PIBB, good stuff, Xtra or not.


Gulliver Foyle 10:31 AM  

Anyone else get stuck for AGES because obviously the answer to "what an aftershave might do" is STINk?

Welcome Jacob

Anonymous 10:35 AM  

@Bill Johnson:
ROMA could have been clued as “European OKIE”

well... no. they're what we call Travelers - if you've ever had a bad driveway or roof done, you know this. they keep moving, often on a large loopy route. OKIEs moved, on the whole, once.

re:SLUM - have you or someone you know said, "How can they live like that?" lack of money has a bit to do with it.

@Doug Garr:
Look, a slum is a slum is a slum.

"To one extent, if you've seen one city slum, you've seen them all."
Spiro Agnew, convicted felon

Gulliver Foyle 10:35 AM  

Jacobi, that is.

Ethan Taliesin 10:42 AM  

Good review, and strong ending with the Cosmo aside.

Regarding the grid's olden feel... you forgot to give a shout out to KOJAK.

AW 10:55 AM  

@Nancy 9:36 a.m. — Yes, indeed! Truer words were never spoken!

Jack McCoy 10:58 AM  

As a practicing ADA, I have to weigh in. The difference between NY's Penal Law definitions of Robbery and Burglary is the use of force. Most burglaries do not have a force element. Many victims of Burglary will state "My house was robbed."

The use of Burglary and Robbery in the vernacular is fluid:

rob verb

Robbed; robbing
Definition of rob

transitive verb
1a(1) : to take something away from by force : steal from
(2) : to take personal property from by violence or threat
b(1) : to remove valuables without right from (a place)
(2) : to take the contents of (a receptacle)
c : to take away as loot : steal rob jewelry
2a : to deprive of something due, expected, or desired
b : to withhold unjustly or injuriously

Anonymous 11:00 AM  

69A = "NEWS"

jberg 11:09 AM  

Hey, a new way to clue ABBA! Or has it been done before when I wasn't looking? But if you have to use it, the variation is nice.

Apparently, the puzzle in the paper has a different clue for 13A,"Target of urban renewal." Both clues are non-judgmental, but as @Adam points out, that word itself is not. Could also have gone with the movie title,____ Dog Millionaire. Having since 1974 lived in, and loved, a part of Boston that people from elsewhere often refuse to enter, I think the problem with the word is that it characterizes every building, and every individual, based on their physical location alone. But enough of that.

I, too, disliked the shaded squares; it's more fund to find the fruit afterward than to fill in the shaded squares from one or two crosses -- although the latter method certainly makes the solve go by faster.

Well, I have to run. I'm off to see the annual Lumberjack Games. I particularly like the log rapelling. You have to come down a cliff with the log on your back, then throw it into the water, jump on, and leap pleasantly into the air. (How's that, @Loren?)

Thanks for the write-up, @Adam, let's see you here again!

David 11:10 AM  

Nice puzzle and thanks @LMS for upholding the value of teachers and the fact of pears being juicy.

I also had Joad before Okie and didn't want both Roma and Roman in the same grid so had "Woman Goddess," which is redundant and weird, I know, before Roman Goddess.

A few asked. I'll try to keep it short, and then just leave it here.

For my entire adult life, I've lived in 3 neighborhoods in 2 different cities some folks here would call slums. In India a slum may be a slum, but in the USA slum is a pejorative term and has been for decades. Its widespread use is tied closely to the 60s and 70s; not coincidentally the years of the civil rights movement and also the years when Hollywood was portraying my wonderful city as the most dangerous hellhole in the country. It wasn't. I believe, in those years, we never cracked the top 15 but maybe we got to number 12 once or twice.

Fun fact! For 3 of the 5 years I lived in Boston it was the number 1 city in per capita felony crime. Also not coincidentally, those were the years during which the court ordered busing of students in Boston triggered race riots (i.e., white people rioting and attacking black people from the, um... slums).

So it's a very loaded word for anybody who actually lives in such an area in cities across the US. The connotation is not only poor and minority, but also inherently violent and/or lazy.

It may not be thought of that way out there in majority white towns, but I've never heard such places in Appalachia referred to as slums. Maybe they are. It's a case of different words having different regional connotations maybe, now you know how it's seen here.

"Inner city" replaced slum in the 80s sometime but was jettisoned long ago. Once again, only used by those who neither live in nor know anybody who does live in those neighborhoods. Neglected works well.

Before we had slums, we had the ghettos (for a time the two were interchangeable); Black, Jewish, and "Spanish." If you're interested in that history look up "redlining" and, for added information, "Woodrow Wilson."

Newboy 11:17 AM  

Enjoyed the @ LMS /@Nancy postings more than today’s offering. I’ve given up on Monday & Tuesday is fading fast as I await Thursday and the interest it so often generates. Appreciate the nice guest write up and think “ populating the grid with plain words is not necessarily a complaint, but it forces the clues to do a lot of heavy lifting to make up for unimaginative fill if the solving experience is going to be truly satisfying “ is spot on as an assessment. Why has OFL been banished to the Midwest?

Unknown 11:25 AM  

Rex is getting lazy leaving us with these amateurs.

Jyqm 11:49 AM  

Count me among those who doesn’t see what’s so “loaded” about SLUM. The word doesn’t actually carry any ethnic or racial connotations (unlike it’s cousin “ghetto,” which I would agree doesn’t really belong in a crossword puzzle unless followed by “blaster”). Nor is there any suggestion that residents of a slum deserve their lot in any way — as the clue states explicitly, the problem is government neglect. The most common compound word featuring “slum” similar puts the onus on the ruling class.

Michiganman 11:54 AM  

So! You think you're better than me??

What? 12:04 PM  

Maybe it’s time to forgo the Monday and Tuesday puzzles. They’re just too easy. Why should we have to forgo the pleasure of challenging puzzles just for the sake of newbies. Let them learn, just like the rest of us.

Masked and Anonymous 12:07 PM  

Furtive fruits and The Circles. Hard to beat. Primo JUICYPART revealer, and my fave themer was definitely the hidden TOMATO one [with a juicy ROMA hoverin just above it].

Nice, smoooth TuesPuz fillins. faves included: TANDEMBIKE. KOJAK. PATINA. INAGES.

staff weeject pick: BAA. With its required almost moo-cow-like TuesPuz clue. Also, BAA sports a mighty fine ABBA-echo.

Great blog write-up, by the first-timer Jacobi dude. Nice attention to all them bullets. Primo debut, that's "what I think".
Have a good time in probably pretty icy-cold Michigan, @RP. Say hi to the wolverines and woolly mammoths. And don't freeze yer snark plumb off.

Thanx for the puzfun, Mr. Guzzetta. Good job. It is kinda hard to do a decent job of hidin most other fruits, I noticed. I could maybe in desperation pass one of em on thru my HELSINKI WIFE, I reckon?

Masked & Anonymo4Us

Anonymous 12:07 PM  

Think of it this way: if every family could afford a McMansion (and the accoutrements thereof), would we still expect that the denizens of certain neighborhoods, populated by certain ethnic/racial/religious/etc. groups, to be rife with crime, drugs, prostitution, and junk cars in the front yard? (How do they live that way?) Or are SLUMs (and synonyms) simply the result of poverty and lack of opportunity? And, if so, is it the Government's duty to repair that problem? And so on. You can look this up: in the late 19th century, New York City tenement owners (aka, slumlords), preferred African-American poor folk over Irish poor folk. It seems the Irish were considered the greater risk to life and property.

Carola 12:13 PM  

An easy puzzle, but elegantly done and with a witty reveal - it kept me guessing all the way to the end.
In defense of the gray squares: after TOMATO and LEMON I enjoyed the challenge of guessing PEAR and MANGO with no crosses - admittedly not all that hard, but still.
Very minor claim to fame: being one degree of separation from the founder of K-TEL.
@QuasiMojo - me, too, for ERIc.

oldactor 12:37 PM  

Although I agree that ripe pears are extremely juicy, I have never seen a bottle of pear juice in a grocery store.

However, Pear Nectar is everywhere.

Joe Dipinto 12:43 PM  

Started my life
In an old, cold, rundown tenement slum (*tenement slum)

– Diana Ross (*& the Supremes, in the distance)

Did anyone complain yet about ROMA and ROMAN GODDESS in the same grid? If not, I will. I don't care if you clue Roma as someone's name, it's still essentially a duplication of one of your themers. There, I complained.

Otherwise, a typical blandly effective Tuesday entry. Ankle Monitor = my late aunt's obnoxious Yorkshire terrier that would follow you around her apartment the entire time you were there, nipping at your heels and yapping.

@Quasi – I knew you were kidding yesterday. But I did almost post Tom Wopat again, you were prescient!

Edison Denisov's solo clarinet sonata.

Teedmn 1:13 PM  

I did not fill this in like an AUTOMATON - it did require some thought. The fact that some of those thoughts were incorrect added to the spiCY PARTs (what I splatzed in at 64D with __ICY PART in place).

Unfortunate how Greek and ROMAN have the same amount of letters, though, even if I didn't think about Venus as Roman, I should have noticed there were no fruits that started with EEK.

My co-worker and I agreed that our favorite clue was for 32A, pairing "we" and "flush".

I rarely look for BEAUTY TIPS but not long ago, I wanted some tips on how to keep my hair from being dry and brittle. Google found me a website with the following suggestions: Groom with big-toothed combs rather than brushes, dry with a micro-fiber towel rather than tousling or using a hair dryer, wash with cool rather than hot water, and use products containing argan oil. I can't say that any of these have improved my hair. I blame the gray - it's just different from the remaining brunette strands, sigh.

Thanks, John Guzzetta, for a fine Thursday puzzle.

Z 1:35 PM  

Just dropping by to mention that I got to do the scorekeeping/timekeeping for @SethC’s team He had a great game (though not as great as #10 on La Séptima out of Bogota. She was an absolute stud).

chasklu 1:41 PM  

Any viewer of Quantum Leap (and knows his Buddy Holly songs) will have OHBOY before changing to OHJOY.

ed 1:42 PM  

It's a simple word puzzle, not intended as an editorial on ethnic pejoratives. A word is just a word, unless you make it into something more.

Anonymous 1:44 PM  

I'm getting tired of these disparaging remarks about the Midwest. I'd like to point out that when New Yorkers get up and go to work in the morning, they put on their dungarees one leg at a time, just as we do.

Anon. i.e. Poggius, somewhere in Indiana

Anonymous 1:51 PM  

Cancel Jake Tapper.

Alexscott 2:03 PM  

Ray KROC wasn’t the founder of McDonald’s. One way you can tell is his name isn’t McDonald. Another way would be from the ironically titled film “The Founder,” with Michael Keaton, in which we learn that Kroc was definitely not the founder, eventually insisted on putting “Founder” as his title on business cards, and was a completely awful human being.

ralex 2:04 PM  

@Joe Dipinto 12:43
Wow. Thanks very much for the clarinet link. I don't have the musical background to parse what is going on there but man oh man that is extraordinary. It moves me (or maybe it “twangs” me). Wallace Stevens wrote a poem called “On Modern Poetry” that explains that “twang”.

Mark H. 2:36 PM  

I don't know who this Adam Jacobi is, but he's my new favorite crossword blogger. Well done, sir.

Anonymous 2:38 PM  

Ray KROC sold milkshake machines.

Joe Dipinto 2:50 PM  

@ralex – pretty cool, huh? I was looking for something by Denisov since EDISON was in the puzzle, and I came across that. I couldn't "analyze" it either, but I like it.

jae 2:58 PM  


jae 3:00 PM  

That should have been @Nancy Amen!

Yam Erez 3:11 PM  

The contents of a Facebook feed Just because 'bots and Zuckerberg want us to think so, doesn't mean the NYT crossword has to corroborate. The contents of my FB feed are decidedly NOT news, nor should anyone's feed contents be construed to be. The contents of a FB feed are entertainment, possibly information, but NOT news.

Yam Erez 3:13 PM  

Excuse me. I had to click through multiple "prove I'm not a robot" "tests" before I could post. Rex, is this blog so very Top Secret Classified? And supposing, just supposing, that I'm a robot. It's a crossword blog, fergodsakes.

JC66 3:18 PM  

@Yam Erez

Since you're "blue," you can skip the "I'm not a robot" box and just hit "Publish Your Comment."

Sgreennyc 3:40 PM  

I am a left-leaning Democrat but I would love to see Rex hand the blog over occasionally to a Conservative or someone not a snowflake who isn't offended by the presence of words like slum. The political correctness here is language-killing.

Anne H 3:46 PM  

My sentiments exactly, Nancy!

OffTheGrid 6:17 PM  

So you want a change in something you find offensive. Hmmmmmm......

jae 9:14 PM  

About the puzzle...Easy. Pretty good Tues. Liked it.

albatross shell 1:38 AM  

I am mostly do not care if Mao or Idi Amin, kill or maim, entrails or excrement, show up in the puzzles on occasion. On the other hand, a theme or a tribute puzzle to such things should not make the cut. And reflecting on @LMS's early post I would also disapprove of GANGRAPE making an appearance. Do any of you proud anti-snowflakes out there disagree and would not mind GANGRAPE in an NYT puzzle?

And if you don't can you just accept that we all have different standards? Because I see very little difference between what I accept in the puzzle and what I reject? I can't say I can explain it. Maybe someone else can.

Burma Shave 10:35 AM  


who will TEASE with BUTT and hips,
IBET her JUICYPARTs are hottest


spacecraft 10:41 AM  

OK, I guess I have to face facts: I'm slow. Here's a NON-OFC who posts a sub-4-minute time. Guys, I wrote down the answers without pause--it was THAT easy--and still took 20 minutes. Is typing THAT much faster? I give up.

Good, simple theme with a little bit of a sideways revealer, minimal dreck, and a first-time DOD in ROMA Downey: now there's an angel I'd like to be touched by! Birdie.

leftcoaster 1:41 PM  

Pretty smooth going out of the NW, picking a number of fruits (is TOMATO a fruit or a vegetable?) on the way down to the SE. There, JUICY PART was a savory revealer, with a WEDGE nearby to taste.

That SE patch wasn't ripe for easy picking, though, with OH JOY, ISOPOD, KOJAK, and KTEL (wanted exEL first) slowing things down a bit.

Enjoyed the harvesting.

rainforest 3:45 PM  

With themers containing obvious JUICY PARTs resulting in a perfect revealer, what's not to like in this puzzle? Certainly the fill did its part, containing no crap, and as a whole the puzzle was enjoyable to solve.

As far as I'm concerned, everything in this puzzle was JAKE.

rondo 3:49 PM  

Of course JUICYfruit would have been the optimum answer and would have required the plural AUTOMATONs and other grid adjustments. Yesterday’s 4 corners spelled BASE. The 6 letters in the corners today spell out alternates, or PLANBS. ROMA (a type of TOMATO) Downey for yeah BABY today. Adequate Tues-puz.

strayling 7:41 PM  

This felt like the Platonic Ideal of a Tuesday puzzle, if there could be such a thing. A nice theme which you can notice, but don't have to to solve the puzzle.

@spacecraft: chew your food

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