Indian crepes / TUE 11-12-19 / 1960s activist Hoffman / Scottish funeral accompanist / Item with dollar sign on it in cartoons

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Constructor: Gabrielle Friedman and Jakob Weisblat

Relative difficulty: Challenging-ish (I just woke up, but still, mid 4's is slow)

THEME: "BYE BYE BYE" (58A: 2000 'N Sync hit ... or a hint to 17-, 26- and 45-Across) — all themers start with "bye" homophone:

Theme answers:
  • BI-CURIOUS (17A: Interested in experimenting sexually, maybe)
  • BUY AMERICAN (26A: Stick with U.S.-made products)
  • BY A LONG SHOT (45A: Easily)
Word of the Day: TEST BED (23A: Experimental setting, as for a new initiative) —
a vehicle (such as an airplane) used for testing new equipment (such as engines or weapons systems)broadly any device, facility, or means for testing something in development (merriam-webster)
• • •

So there are issues. Let's start with themer 1, which is gonna rub some solvers the wrong way, for a variety of reasons. Now, I'm slightly outside my area of expertise here, but my understanding is that BI-CURIOUS is kind of a dated term, with the term "Questioning" being preferred in cases of not-conventionally-fixed sexual identities. Defining BI-CURIOUS solely in terms of *sexual* experimentation kind of makes "bi" seem like a. just a sex thing, and b. not a real identity. I don't think bisexual people like it. Again, I absolutely do not speak for all or even some bisexual people. I'm just already seeing pushback online. So there's that. It's definitely a term that people use, and it's in the dictionary in a non-pejorative sense, so fair game. But you gotta be concerned about how words are gonna land, not just whether the Dictionary gives you the thumbs-up. The next major issue for me today is ... WHY make a Tuesday puzzle with a themeless grid? 70 words is Absurdly low for an early-week themed puzzle. It's the word count you'd expect to see on Fri or Sat. When you have just four themers, you should think of that as an opportunity to make the grid sparkly *and* clean. Clean, I say. This grid, ugh. Yes, there are lots of longer answers, but they are not all good, and the shorter stuff starts to come apart. Could've done without NO TAR, NOT PASS (yuck), a single TONG, DII, ARTE, LINEA, XYLO (!?), INHD, etc. ROBING is patently not a thing. HOODING takes place at Ph.D. ceremonies. ROBING ... is what I did ... I guess ... to myself ... before I walked at H.S. and college graduation? And then the activity would be ... self-robing? Do graduating people have servants who robe them? Genuinely bizarre. Wheels came off for me at LOOT BAG (43D: Item with a dollar sign on it, in cartoons). Just, no. I'd sooner accept LUTE BAG, as in, "Where did I leave my lute...?"

Never heard of TEST BED, so that was rough. Clue on YES I AM was inscrutable to me (8D: Personal affirmation). Kept wanting "Yes, Ma'am" to fit. "Personal" ... made me think ... well, not of the self. Had PHONE CHAT before VIDEO CHAT (11D: Skype call, say). ROAMS before ROVES, of course (9A: Travels here and there). Forgot what DOSAS were (my bad) (63A: Indian crepes). Totally forgot the 2013 film for which Judi Dench received a Best Actress nomination  ("PHILOMENA"). Like, completely forgot. I could see the poster, and maybe Judi's ... son? On that poster? But that's it. Put in PHILOMELA, which is a poetic word for "nightingale" (w/ a gruesome back story). Thought [Stick with U.S.-made products] was referring to an actual stick. Like a selfie stick or deodorant stick. Sigh. Very dumbly wrote in STATE TAX before STAMP TAX (53A: Colonial grievance that was a cause of the Revolutionary War). Did not (at all) expect 45A: Easily (BY A LONG SHOT) to be BY phrase. Maybe a WITH phrase? Not sure. There were likely other hiccups, but I don't care to rehearse them. The theme was an old type, but fine on its face

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


WeesaSuzi 5:16 AM  

Easy solve for me except in NE where I also had ROAMS before ROVES. Fairly cute puzzle, but I’ll admit brain isn’t totally engaged. Took about 1.5 Rexes to finish.

Hungry Mother 5:44 AM  

Just got up and three sips of coffee later was done. I liked the theme and it helped.

Andrew 6:08 AM  

Doesn't BY A LONG SHOT mean the exact opposite of the clue (45A) Easily?

Abby Friedman 6:23 AM  

As a bi individual I absolutely hated it, so thank you for highlighting.

Anonymoose 6:42 AM  

Yes, if preceded by NOT. But I agree. This clue/answer is wonky.

amyyanni 6:49 AM  

Noticed fun pairs today: ENLISTEE/DOGTAGS, STAMP TAX/ALAMO, BAGPIPER/SHIRE (or are Shires strictly English, not Scottish?). While I had fun, I do appreciate this might be tough for beginners. Hope they'll post with their opinions. Had a great long weekend, 10K Sat. and a 5K last night-local race honoring Veterans, shutting down a major bridge so we can run it.

Lewis 6:52 AM  

I had more hesitations in my solve than usual for a Tuesday puzzle -- which made the solve all the more enjoyable for me -- but I'm guessing that the solve might be a bit frustrating for a newer solver. Yet the theme seems more Tuesday than Wednesday appropriate. Still, I would like to have seen this puzzle published on a Wednesday with the cluing toughened up a bit.

That's not on Gabrielle and Jakob, who are first cousins, by the way, and this is their debut. Congrats, you two! Speaking of debuts, this puzzle features seven lovely ones: BUY AMERICAN, BY A LONG SHOT, BYE BYE BYE, LOOTBAG (which is a thing, Rex, that Googles well, though mostly as a synonym for a party treat bag), PHILOMENA, TEST BED (which I enjoyed learning), and VIDEO CHAT.

This puzzle had personality -- that unique feel that comes from the choice of answers, cluing, and that mysterious x-factor that defines a particular personality. I loved it and want to experience it more up the road. Keep it going, GaJa!

Anonymous 7:01 AM  

I agree with Rex: Got diverted when I wrote in "go bonkers" instead of "go bananas." And I think "by a long shot" means that the desired outcome is unlikely -- not easy. Overall, not one of my favorite puzzles.

kitshef 7:32 AM  

@amyyanni - shires are all over Scotland (and Wales), so your pairing works.

Add me to the group that can't get BY A LONG SHOT to equal "easily". "At all" would be better. Or just scrap that themer. There is no shortage of phrases that begin with "by".

Also, RABBI should have been excised, as it repeats the "bye" sound but in a non-themer. If I have a complaint about Will Shortz, it is that he often lets these little inelegancies stand.

Z 7:39 AM  

BY A LONG SHOT means by a wide margin. I’ve only ever heard it used with “not.” Yes, I had to look it up because I thought it meant the opposite of the clue, too.

DII - maybe go with a college sports clue instead of a RRN.

Did not know people didn’t like BI-CURIOUS. Beyond the socio-political ramifications we struggle with as a society, I don’t give a damn what consenting adults do to get your jollies. That we disadvantage people because of how they get their jollies, though, fascinates me. But then, religious and political hypocrisy has always fascinated me. Anyway, noted.

Suzie Q 7:41 AM  

I enjoyed the unexpected challenge. Thank you @ Lewis for the debut answer tally. While solving this I wondered about what felt like new entries. Then to find that the grid itself is a debut made me quite happy for the constructors. Well done.

Re: loot bag. I could vividly recall this image from the clue and loved it. When I think of party treats I call them swag bags.

Todd 7:43 AM  

"But you gotta be concerned about how words are gonna land?" Since we currently live in a world where being aggrieved in practically a job description that seems an absurdly high bar. Maybe instead of looking reasons to be annoyed first thing in the morning people, especially Rex should try and remember it's just a puzzle.

GILL I. 7:48 AM  

I liked this. It felt oddly different and Wednesday tough. The cluing was the "odd" part for me. 4D was my first HUH? I kept think that calling a jackass segment a STUNT was strange. Same with 23A and thinking what is a TEST BED..... Mind wanders there and I remember my husband and I going to Sears many moon ago and lying on all the beds on display. We never bought one but I bet we looked strange.
I've heard BI CURIOUS....My favorite label was "Lesbo curious." One of my best accounts was the director of a Spanish television company here in Sacramento. She was a lesbian and very open about it. Not "in your face" sorta way, but she didn't hide it like so man others did back in the day. Anyway, she and I would "do" lunch a lot and she took me to the gay "Hamburger Mary's" and made sure no one would hit on me. She referred to me as her "straight but lesbo curious" friend.
Had the same STAMP act...XYLO to the rescue to give me the TAX. By the way, thunking your watermelon doesn't always assure RIPENESS. I watch in amusement as people hold up a 30 lb watermelon and thunk away. They inevitably hold it to their ear and I guess hope it talks back to them.
This was enjoyable for me, Gabrielle and Jakob. Please come back and visit more often.

TJS 7:56 AM  

This puzzle was annoying as hell. How many times did I guess what an answer was and thought please dont let it be:testbed,robing notar tong inhd xylo... Jeez.

Odd Sock 7:58 AM  

I really thought Rex would applaud bi-curious. If the offended comments are actual it seems that the wider your sexuality, the thinner your skin becomes.
I also expected some critical remark about buy American.
All of that aside, this was much better than the usual Tues. fare.

GHarris 8:02 AM  

No problems once I changed saw in to led in. Philomena was a gimme. Got it done by a long shot. Nah that doesn’t look right.

burtonkd 8:04 AM  

BY A LONG SHOT - Also only heard in the negative, but I find it a feature and not a bug to make me think about it differently. There was a great bit in the New Yorker once where someone wrote a story using as many phrases as possible in the positive that are usually only heard in the negative. I felt very PLUSSED about it.

@amyyanni - Shire does work for Scotland, although "county" is the more common term now, shire being a more poetic archaic variant. I thought it was just something from The Hobbit until recently, doh!

ROBING ceremony is absolutely a thing which a quick google confirms. A pre-graduation ritual or ceremony that takes different forms and can be part of a dinner the night before, for instance. Again, I find it a feature rather than a flaw that OFL goes on a rant about something like this just because it isn't part of his experience - it reminds me to take that pause and remember that some of the times I've been most upset about something were the times when I was dead wrong:)

I picked the wrong morning to pull out a laptop and see what racing through an easy Tuesday would feel like. Nothing to keep me from finishing, but plenty that didn't just want to go in as fast as I could type (which is pretty fast, being a concert pianist:)

Anonymous 8:34 AM  

When you go on Twitter and read comments from the outrage mob you get a skewed view of how the vast majority of people who solve the puzzle feel about it.

QuasiMojo 8:38 AM  

I learned a few things today. I was typing in BICU and thinking Bicuspid? Slang? Glad to know bicurious is dated. Back in my day we didn't bother with labels for states of mind. We were more into the doing, not the cogitating.

Sailed through this otherwise until the SW where I put in TAPE (the same clue arose recently in another puzzle and that was the answer.) I have no idea what a Tivo is. So that slowed me down a bit.

ROVE seems to trump ROAM these days even though it sounds archaic to my ear.

Adequate puzzle but I couldn't help thinking all that work just for three variants of BYE? Wish there had been another. I'm gonna go grab me some BAI.

@Nancy, late yesterday, funny story about Sherman Billingsley, even if fuzzy.

SouthsideJohnny 8:46 AM  

Not a bad effort today. Very light on arcana, which is always a positive in my book. Could do without the weirdly spelled movie title crossing a restaurant chain, but that’s a nit. Never heard of the song in the revealer, but it is easily discernible. I disagree with OFL’s critique on this one - the “lightness” of the theme is less burdensome on the fill, which is a good thing. Yes, there is some gunky crosswordese, but much of the rest is breezy wordplay, etc instead of a lot of trivia. Maybe a B- grade today ?

Wm. C. 8:50 AM  

@Z 9:46am yesterday --

Re: OFL's comment on "Police brutality" with tear gas yesterday, then my comment about him showing generally anti-police attitudes, then your comment to me that there are many documented cases of such police misbehavior using tear gas on peaceful assemblies, I guess.

You're correct on this point, of course. But no large-scale police or military group is going to be without any examples of misbehavior in such cases. The point, however, is this the exception, or is it typical behavior? OFL's commentary makes no qualification on his negative views on police misbehavior, leaving the impression that it is typical, not exceptional. And therefore I stick to my view that he us generally anti-police.

My apologies to readers who view this comment as a boring rehash of a stale issue. ;-)

Unknown 8:51 AM  

I was turned off by the bicuriuos clue and didn’t bother to do the rest of the puzzle. Many youngsters do these puzzles so sex issues such as this should be avoided.

xyz 8:51 AM  

Being sleepy was my only slowdown

Rainbow Warrior 8:56 AM  

BICURIOUS may be out of vogue, but it is not viewed as pejorative (unhip, yes - insulting, no). Bi-curious does indeed refer to sexual experimentation, which is different than gender identity. Thus, someone born as a man who identifies as female may prefer sexual partners who are male, female or both. Obviously this is an oversimplification, as it assumes that gender is binary when we all know that there are many hues and colors in the rainbow !

davidm 9:02 AM  

I don’t know, bi-curious is potentially offensive to some? What isn’t offensive? It may be dated — I don’t know — it was certainly very much a thing in the 80s when I lived in San Francisco, the descriptor of choice for those who, were, well … bi-curious! Also, I tend to agree with Gore Vidal, who was gay of course, that sexuality is a behavior, and not really an “identity.” I know many will disagree with this, but whatever. I don’t think of blue eyes as an identity, either, but as a descriptor. Since sexual preference is probably about as inborn as eye color, maybe we would be better off in not tying who a person is, by what he/she does in bed.

Anyhoo, the puzzle was mostly easy. Figured out the theme very early. My only real speed bumps were writing INDUCTEE for ENLISTEE, and TEA PARTY (oof!) for STAMP TAX. (Not to self: The Tea Party was a response to a grievance, not the grievance itself.)

Some nice crosses: DEER/SNEER for the rhyme, DOGTAGS/LOOTBAG for the near-rhyme and pleasant sounds, PLEA and BUY AMERICAN (cuz “buy American” is an oft-made plea) and best of all, STUNT and TESTBED, because a TESTBED is just where you’d expect an experimental stunt.

Nancy 9:05 AM  

Who says a Tuesday has to be dull? What a pleasure to have at least some thinking required on almost every clue. Many clues made me quite CURIOUS (though not BICURIOUS) to know what the answer would be -- and that's unusual early in the week. I'd call this the "Unyesterday".

I also found the theme interesting, with my favorite themer being BUY AMERICAN. And I thought the best clue was for OVEN MITTS (10D). Liked this a lot.

Anonymous 9:09 AM  

STAMP TAX? What the heck was that? I learned about a STAMP ACT when I went to school.

RooMonster 9:15 AM  

Hey All !
UHOH, I said in the SW. PHILOMENA being a movie I'd never seen previews for, ergo, never heard of it, crossing DOSAS?? Yikes. Plus really wanting STAteTAX, but that P of NOT PASS pretty definite had me scratching the head. Ran the alphabet for the M, and threw a hail Mary on the A. Then got the Happy Music! RAISEdUP my arms in victory!

I was a huge advocate of BUY AMERICAN when I was younger. Nowadays, it's really tough to find anything Made in USA. They exist, but China now makes everything. It used to be Japan in the 80's, remember?

I enjoyed the open grid. Theme was OK. 12 minutes for me. That SW was the minute sucking area. SNEER.


Anonymous 9:17 AM  

Put in STAMP ACT, that crossed nicely with TELE, a prefix for -phone. But no, it was STAMP TAX (?) and XYLO

pabloinnh 9:19 AM  

Unfamiliar with the N'Sync song, as my BYES stop at two (--Miss American Pie, --Blackbird, In the Sweet --and--). I did enjoy all the debuts (thanks Lewis) including the debut of the constructors.

Singing "he Ballad of Davey Crockett" for a class later today so ALAMO was a gimme. Some interesting history there.

Primo work by GF and JW.

Buh-Bi 9:32 AM  

LOL at "BUYAMERICAN." Like there's any big ticket items fully made in America these days. Appliances, Automobiles, Electronics, even clothes...some of those may be assembled in the US, but gone are the days when things are actually manufactured/made/sewn here.

The twisting around of BYALONGSHOT hurts my brain this morning. I can't say if it's right or not, but it is definitely wonky.

One thing I do know, DOSAS are delicious.

I'm BI and truth is, I was never curious about it. I find both genders attractive. I have always been this way and I doubt very much anyone was ever "straight curious" or even "gay curious." Sure, there's experimentation...which usually happens pretty early on in one's life, but if you're "experimenting" later in life, it just means you're probably coming to terms with a preference you've long since repressed because of some arbitrary social construct.

Sexuality is on a continuum...and there is a well known saying in the gay community, "The difference between a straight guy and a gay guy is a six-pack." There are probably very few people who are fully one way or the other...most are both but to varying degrees..but fully 100% anything is not really a human thing.

Clover 9:52 AM  

Trickier for me than the average Tuesday, but still enjoyable. The SW slowed me down a bit. Seems to me that NOTAR is more of a non-feature than a feature. Oh well! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

CDilly52 9:54 AM  

This was just not even in the same hemisphere or oceanic realm of my wheelhouse. One of the very few gimmies though was ROBING, because it absolutely is a “thing.” It is what academics do before a graduation procession and is what judges do before taking the bench. In fact, all appellate judges typically have a “Robing Room” just off the area where the bench is located. The IS Supreme Court’s Robing Room is quite comfy, and has a door that leads directly to the bench. It is the room from which they all walk through the curtains to their chairs. And that’s it for me today. 12 degrees down here. I’m too cold to think!

Kathy 10:24 AM  

Newbie here...started in January and I am hooked! I do the mini, the puzzle of the day, and I do archived puzzles when I’m sitting around just for fun and practice. I have enjoyed reading the comments after every solve, guessing what Rex will rant about, who will be triggered and whether the regulars will like the puzzle or Rex’s comments. This forum has a life of its own and I laugh out loud almost every day. Everyone plays their role and it makes for a lively show! Being new, I consider any solve under an hour an accomplishment! It boggles my mind that anyone can even type fast enough to finish a puzzle in under five minutes or measure their time in coffee sips! A few of you speculated as to how this puzzle might have seemed to newer solvers. My time of 28 minutes made today’s puzzle easy from my perspective. So...I finally took the leap and signed in to the forum! Loot bag: Who can’t chuckle at the cartoon thieves with their sacks clearly labeled with one big dollar sign! Stamp tax: Discordant note to me—it was a tax on tea...or a Stamp Act, but a tax on stamps? I do feel that only three themers is pretty thin, but it’s only Tuesday.

jberg 10:26 AM  

Nah, LONGSHOT doesn't work; you can twist it out of not BY A LONGSHOT, but still a long shot is one that it's hard to make, whether we're talking basketball or riflery. And I don't think anyone really says BAGPIPERS, either -- they're pipers, tout court. And, as many have said, it wasn't a STAMP TAX. The Stamp Act did not impose a tax on stamps; it was a tax on legal documents, which had to have a stamp to show that you had paid it, sort of like putting a duck stamp on your hunting license. So the puzzle left kind of a bad taste in my mouth, despite having many interesting parts.

The TONG question is not so much a fault as a Zen koan. Sure, tongs have two parts, but if you separate them, they don't work. Sort of like scissors or pants.

Getting on to the main point, I think @Rex has been derelict in his professorial duties, one of which is to take part in the ceremonial procession at Commencement, which at small-to-medium schools leads to your sitting on the stage as the graduates walk by. Had he gone, he would have been directed to a ROBING room where he could put on his robe. Hooding, OTOH, is done to the graduates (or probably just grad degree recipients) on stage.
Nose to the grindstone, Rex, hope to see you there this spring!

I was going to close by suggesting the NYT vary the pace by sometimes cluing ASP with reference to Daddy Warbucks; but apparently it has been done many times, so I'll just close.

mathgent 10:27 AM  

As I often do, I agree with Nancy on this one. Quite enjoyable. Happy to have learned BICURIOUS and TESTBED. I looked up the definition of BICURIOUS -- it seems to mean something different from what some of the commenters take it to mean. The only truly junky entry is DII. Also delighted to see that this new generation of constructors seems to avoid Terrible Threes, only three of the vermin here.

Liked the post by @davidm (9:02). Gore Vidal is one of my top-five writers. I hadn't seen that quote before, that sexuality is a behavior not an identity. Which prompts me to think about what truly is an identity. Perhaps it is a characteristic that is so distinctive that it makes all other characteristics unimportant. That can't be right, though. Then no one would have an identity.

jberg 10:28 AM  

And belated thanks to the anonymoux commenter yesterday who set me straight about the nationality of the author of "How the Other Half Lives."

Suzie Q 10:33 AM  

@ pabloinnh, One more double Bye for your list. Bye Bye Birdie.

@ Buh-Bi, You may count me as one of the "very few".

David 10:34 AM  

Well Anon at 9:17, the Stamp Act imposed a tax, or "stamp duty" on newspapers and legal documents in the colonies. The Act happened in London, the tax was being protested in the colonies.

Bi, Buy, Bag? That was a clunker for me.

Thanks for using "enlistee" rather than "GI." Very different things.

I am truly perplexed that so many have never heard of a test bed.

Had GOB so I confidently ended with "erserk," that slowed me down by otherwise I kind of flew through this puzzle. Thanks Gabrielle and Jakob, nice debut.


Buy American. I love that phrase. It was first widely promoted by a guy who took a government bailout to move production of his cars from Detroit to Canada and start sourcing his drive trains from Japan and Germany. He got very famous for "being American." This was some 6 years before US Steel broke a strike by shuttering 3 plants and moving offshore. It was also some 15 years before Bill Clinton signed NAFTA which, according to the mythologies of 2016, was apparently thought up by HRC, and was the cause of all our offshoring. We folks in the USA do love our mythologies. Old folks with clear memories can only look on in bemusement as they change (well, except for the one that will never change, the Stoic American Cowboy).

Masked and Anonymous 10:44 AM  

Duo debut. [Bi-debut?] Congratz and congratz!

Pretty fast solvequest, at our house. Weirdest part seemed to be the SW zone. Down there, I really liked GOBANANAS. NOTPASS/LINEA smacks slightly of desperation. Was pretty foggy on rememberin either of PHILOMENA/DOSAS, and lost some precious nanoseconds, thereabouts.

LOOTBAG is flat-out fabulous. Altho I thought of LOOTBAG mostly as a handout to kids at a party. Sooo ... as clued it really has a primo Ow de Speration feel. But still -- it is oh-so preferable to a NOTLOOTBAG entry.

staff weeject pick: DII. Only 3 weeject candidates for a TuesPuz?; in-con-ceivable.

Thanx for gangin up on us, Gabrielle and Jakob. I do get it, that it's safer to travel in pairs, when havin a debut puz graded by the @RP, tho. Anywho … good job and keep it up. BYE, golly.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


Newboy 10:57 AM  

YES I AM ROSY and not BY A LONG SHOT seeing this as Rex did. Went first to the SE corner for Tuesday variety and discovered the reveal early which LED INto a blazingly fast solve. Only an attempt for zYLO caused a GO BANANAS head scratching moment before 53A clue brought me to my senses. Hardly as taxing as LINE A, but still fun to fill with hardly a pause, so thanks to Gabrielle & Jakob. Now BYE BYE BYE to see what et ALIA make of today’s effort.

jae 11:03 AM  

Easy-medium. Biggest problem was ALII before ALIA, but LOOT BiG made no sense. According to my relatively brief research Et.ALII means “and others” and ALIA means “and other things”. So the clue threw me off?

Not bad for a Tues., liked it, nice debut.

Ethan Taliesin 11:08 AM  

It was uneven, but ultimately a fast solve.

Had GOBERZERK at first, and was disappointed to correct it. I didn't know PHILOMENA, but it sounds like a movie I might like.

Speaking of movies... Some days ago, I saw a Swedish movie called "Border." Very, very, weird in a good way. I keep thinking about it and how much I liked it.

Border. Watch it.

Ethan Taliesin 11:25 AM  

@Unknown 8:51

That sounds like something Larry Craig or Ted Haggard might have said. Do you work for the Family Research Council?

Anonymous 11:29 AM  

To my ear a "stamp tax" is redundant, since a stamp in the 18th century was a tax, as in revenue stamps, which the US once issued and some countries still do. In my youth a cigarette tax had a revenue stamp draped across the top. Hard liquor also, I think, and things such as duck-hunting stamps (these may still be around). Revenue stamps have been very common in Italy and I think still are. For some things you have to buy a stamp and they are "cancelled" on the spot. I still remember some poor bloke going into a "tobacco" shop, which sold also things like bus-fare cards, postage stamps, and revenue stamps, and ordering some revenue stamps. He then put them on a sheet of paper on which was written, "Chiuso per lutto," closed for mourning, which he then posted on the front of his store (the person selling the stamps, I believe, canceled them for him). The store was required by law to be open on set hours. To close it, he had to post an offical notice which required revenue stamps.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

Anonymous 11:56 AM  

I guess there aren't any CBers wheeling 18s today. A 'semi' doesn't have "One of three on a semi". Ever. The 18-wheeler has 3 *trucks* (as wheel sets are called with multi-axle. on airplanes, too), but 5 axles in 2 sets of 2 - the rear of the tractor and the rear of the trailer, and one on the front of the tractor. Geez.

And, a LONG SHOT is synonymous with LONG odds. Always has been. You don't want LONG odds, unless your betting against.

teevoz 11:59 AM  

No, that's NOT by a long shot.

LE 12:15 PM  

Do people outside of Ohio have a broad knowledge of Bob Evans?

Bea 12:23 PM  

Having grown up practically steeped in Merrie Melodies/Looney Tunes fare, I can't believe I didn't get LOOTBAG a bit sooner.

Joe Dipinto 12:26 PM  

Bleh. Passing off 58a as a "revealer" is clumsy and unnecessary – BYE is a fourth homophone so it's really just a fourth theme answer. Newsperson Kaity should have been used to clue TONG instead of the ridiculous clue that's there.

"She's favored to win by a long shot." There you go. But the expression is typically used in the negative, as everyone already noted. So that's another poorly judged clue. I'll stop there. Did not like this puzzle at all.

GILL I. 12:40 PM  

@Kathy 10:24...Welcome to the blog....get yourself a nifty little avatar so we can spot you coming....
I always look forward to new here....

Ethan Taliesin 1:00 PM  

For those of you discussing BYALONGSHOT... This is a classic Shouts and Murmurs piece titled "How I Met My Wife."

It had been a rough day, so when I walked into the party I was very chalant, despite my efforts to appear gruntled and consolate.
I was furling my wieldy umbrella for the coat check when I saw her standing alone in a corner. She was a descript person, a woman in a state of total array. Her hair was kempt, her clothing shevelled, and she moved in a gainly way. I wanted desperately to meet her, but I knew I'd have to make bones about it, since I was travelling cognito. Beknownst to me, the hostess, whom I could see both hide and hair of, was very proper, so it would be skin off my nose if anything bad happened. And even though I had only swerving loyalty to her, my manners couldn't be peccable. Only toward and heard-of behavior would do. Fortunately, the embarrassment that my maculate appearance might cause was evitable. There were two ways about it, but the chances that someone as flappable as I would be ept enough to become persona grata or sung hero were slim. I was, after all, something to sneeze at, someone you could easily hold a candle to, someone who usually aroused bridled passion. So I decided not to rush it. But then, all at once, for some apparent reason, she looked in my direction and smiled in a way that I could make heads or tails of. So, after a terminable delay, I acted with mitigated gall and made my way through the ruly crowd with strong givings. Nevertheless, since this was all new hat to me and I had no time to prepare a promptu speech, I was petuous. She responded well, and I was mayed that she considered me a savory char- acter who was up to some good. She told me who she was. "What a perfect nomer," I said, advertently. The conversation became more and more choate, and we spoke at length to much avail. But I was defatigable, so I had to leave at a godly hour. I asked if she wanted to come with me. To my delight, she was committal. We left the party together and have been together ever since. I have given her my love, and she has requited it.

Teedmn 1:11 PM  

I was looking for some form of money eyes for 43D. I can't recall any $$-festooned loot bags in my many years of watching cartoons. I'm sure it's a thing, but money eyes is definitely a thing in toons so...

39A, I agree with Rex that ROBING seemed a bit formal and weird. I thought to myself, "the clue makes it sound ritualistic." Little did I know that it is! Now I do, thanks to @burtonkd and @CDilly52.

This was a Wednesday-paced solve for me but I can't pinpoint why. Not that I mind, but there's nothing here that seems so hard. Maybe TEST BED, RE-LEARN, YES I AM, were the culprits. I did have to write over "saw IN" at 19A but it didn't take that long.

Congrats, Gabrielle Friedman and Jakob Weisblat, on your debut.

Unknown 1:43 PM  

@burtonkd Do you know when that New Yorker article appeared? It sounds fascinating. Thanks!

Crimson Devil 1:57 PM  

N/H/O BICURIOUS, TESTBED or BOB EVANS, but was somehow able to schlep through via crosses.
Nice Tues puz.

Carola 2:19 PM  

I've been so entertained by the comments that I seem to have forgotten the puzzle. Let's see....enjoyed the BI-BUY-BY variation, didn't know the reveal; me, too, for Berserk before BANANAS and a brain scramble at BY A LONG SHOT.
Thanks to all above who contributed to the enlightening STAMP discussion.
@Kathy, nice to meet you!

Kathy 2:58 PM  

@GILL I. 12:40, I’m not that tech. But I appreciate the welcome!

QuasiMojo 3:09 PM  

@Kathy, welcome to the forum! I enjoyed your post.

Bill L. 3:09 PM  

Re: Buy American

Every state has a State Revolving Fund to provide low-cost financing to communities for water and wastewater projects. The use of these funds comes with a requirement to use American iron and steel. This includes all ductile iron pipe, valves, fire hydrants, manhole frames & covers, rebar, structural steel, etc.

Google American iron and steel to learn more.

As @GILL I. (7:48 AM) said “I liked this. It felt oddly different and Wednesday tough.” I agree.

Nancy 3:10 PM  

@Ethan (1:00) -- Clever and very funny riff on the peculiarities of the English language. Do you know who wrote it?

@mathgent and @Mohair are commenting on the blog again, at least some of the time. Life is good.

davidm 3:15 PM  

@mathgent, Interesting article from Out magazine about Vidal and sexuality:

From the article:

“Vidal, who died in 2012, famously believed in gay sexual acts (which, with hustlers, he certainly enjoyed), but not gay people.”

Vidal points out, quite correctly, that the words “homosexual” and “heterosexual” are of relatively recent vintage, dating to the late 19th century, and were unrecognized as identifiers or valid distinctions in ancient Greece, or Rome, for that matter. Nobody cared! But then along came right-wing reinterpretations of Christianity, along with what seems to be distinctly American inclination to categorize and classify people — O, irony, in a nation allegedly dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal! — and we got to the place, in 20th century America, of demonizing people who have sex with members of their own gender. Just insane. Today, of course, it is increasingly scientifically recognized not just that sexual preference and behavior is fluid, but so is gender itself.

I’m still trying to pin down Vidal’s exact writing on this, which I read many years ago in one of his books of collected essays. He is also one of my favorite writers. If only he (and Hunter Thompson and Molly Ivins!) were alive today, to comment on Donald Trump!

pabloinnh 3:19 PM  

@Suzie Q- Bye Bye Birdie is a really fun musical, but, alas, there is no song in Bye Bye Birdie called Bye Bye Birdie.

Nancy 3:40 PM  

@Kathy (10:24)says this about the blog: "Everyone plays their role and it makes for a lively show." I've been scratching my head ever since, wondering what "my role" is, exactly? Did I play it today? Yes? No? I certainly wouldn't want to let anyone down:)

To be serious, Kathy, let me join @GILL and @Quasi in welcoming you to Rexworld. I, too, enjoyed your comment and look forward to hearing more from you in the future.

Anonymous 3:41 PM  

If only he (and Hunter Thompson and Molly Ivins!) were alive today, to comment on Donald Trump!

Yikes!!!! That would be a hair-pulling cat fight if ever there were one.

Joe Dipinto 4:07 PM  

Hey, @pablo, I'm sure you know Bye Bye Love. Then there's Bye Bye Blues. And Bye Bye Baby...

Lewis 4:08 PM  

@kathy -- Welcome! Looking forward to having another voice in our choir.

JC66 4:25 PM  


Welcome. @GILL I's right, go blue.

Geezer 4:31 PM  

Sometimes a choir, sometimes a cacophony. but always fun.

Monty Boy 5:01 PM  

@Ethan (1:00) makes today's blog worth the reading. I had the same problems and successes already noted, so the deniable serious contribution is appreciated.

Karl 5:34 PM  

If using BICURIOUS to make the grid work was absolutely necessary, perhaps a better clue would have been "Adventurous".

Crimson Devil 5:45 PM  

Amen Monty Boy.
Attaboy Ethan.

Jofried 6:01 PM  

I read this blog every day but almost never comment. I have to jump in today, though, because constructor Gabrielle (Gabi) is my daughter and her co-constructor (Jakob) is my nephew. So I’m a proud mom and aunt today! I told Gabi not to read the blog because Rex is so harsh but she read it anyway and then read the thanks for all the nice things that people said! She told me that the editor changed many of the clues, including the one for “bicurious”, by the way.

Malsdemare 6:04 PM  

@pabloinnh. Oh dear, How could you forget Ann-Margaret’s singing “Bye Bye Birdie”? Maybe the best part of the movie.

@Ethan, I loved that. Please keep contributing.

@Kathy, welcome. We all love fresh voices.

I made many of the same errors as others: GOBerserk and ALIi being two, and only the fact that I got GNAT early kept me from STAMPact. DOSAS and PHILOMENA were guesses but I completed this in good time. I think Rex is an adjunct? And thus not required to attend commencement; otherwise, yeah, he’d know ROBING. It’s kind of like the dressing room that models use; lots of preening and sneaky looks to see what the new faculty are sporting. Northwestern’s distinctive purple? Oxford’s red? Masters’ hoods vs. full on PhD contraptions? Vanity run amok. Gosh, I don’t miss it at all.

And debut constructors! Takes the brutal chill out of the weather here in central Illinois.

JC66 6:14 PM  


Mazel Tov!

albatross shell 8:01 PM  

Thanks for your comments here. Always good to get info and perspective from those on inside and maybe it will help some to be more polite. Congrats to your family. BYALONGSHOT is good answer by a long shot - that is easily.

Was that clue one of Gabi's? What was her clue for BICURIOUS? Do not feel obligated to answer. Again thank you.

kitshef 8:43 PM  

@Kathy - thank you for sharing. I'm far from a newbie at this point, and Rex's solve times still amaze me.

Anonymous 8:47 PM  

Your apology is worthless. I don't believe you're the least bit sorry.I believe you thought your opinion was valuable and worth stating. Maybe it is. But you have a long history of indulgence hereabouts. And just what penalty do you incur? None that I can see. I think your apology was merely a banal rhetorical device to spout off that much more.

As for your bankrupt theories on human sexuality, man, you are one soul.
Surely we can all agree the sexual revolution has been an abject failure and caused untold, and as yet, unremitting pain.

Anonymous 9:26 PM  

Sad soul

Anonymous 9:32 PM  

Surely we can all agree the sexual revolution has been an abject failure and caused untold, and as yet, unremitting pain.

no, we all don't agree. wimins should be pregnant and shut up in the kitchen.

Anonymous 9:32 PM  

@Anon 8:47. No. We can't all agree on that. Now if you don't want to sexually revolute, no one will make you. But you're really not qualified to speak for everyone else.

Unknown 10:18 PM  

Thought the same

Jofried 10:23 PM  

@albatross shell

Her clue for BYALONGSHOT was “a good way to win” and for BICURIOUS was “first step in an identity crisis?”. They were aiming for Wednesday, apparently.

Jose 1:19 AM  

I had TOWELS at first for 56A.

xyz 12:27 PM  

I was fine with all of it.

Not my nits.

davidm 3:17 PM  

"Surely we can all agree the sexual revolution has been an abject failure and caused untold, and as yet, unremitting pain."

LOL no, we do not *all* agree with your stupid statement, so sorry!

Charles Louis 1:07 AM  

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doghairstew 12:17 PM  

A long shot means it is unlikely to happen. It does not mean easily done! "Not by a long shot" means EVEN MORE unlikely. You don't even have that small chance of a long shot. This clue is just wrong!

doghairstew 12:20 PM  

Google defines long shot as a venture that has only the slightest chance of succeeding

Burma Shave 9:37 AM  


“YESIAM, DEER”, she said,
but nearly DYED while disROBING when


spacecraft 11:42 AM  

I think some are confused about BYALONGSHOT. Without the "not," it means going well beyond the goal, or, "Easily." Picture a shot-put competition. All the contestants have thrown to, at most, 60 feet--except for one stout fellow, who tossed it 75 feet. He won BYALONGSHOT. Get it?

I have other issues. Trying to figure out 43 down, I had LOOT___ and wondered what could go in there? It *can't* be BAG, as there was already a BAG in the puzzle, playing "Amazing Grace." But turns out, it was BAG. Just how many BAGs are we allowed now?

The term BICURIOUS is new to me, but the clue implies it directly; no problem there. NOTAR crossing NOTPASS is a double negative too close for comfort. Put them in separate areas, OK, but the cross just hits you over the head with it. And, it's a shame that the centerpiece has to be a RRN, but I don't know how you get around that. INHD isn't exactly lovely, either.

I like the ambition evident in this grid, and believe there is a constructing future for these two. Let's call it a work in progress. Par.

P.S. @Ethan, I loved your story! It was landish!

P.P.S. DOD to GAYLE King.

Anonymous 12:09 PM  

Answer for 32D "go" was obviously batshit.

rondo 12:31 PM  

I laughed controllably at @Ethan’s probable tale of deeds.

As noted above, a SEMI tractor will almost always have three AXLEs and there are usually two more AXLEs on the trailer. The whole rig makes a SEMI, and (4 AXLEs X 4 wheels) + (2 wheels up front) = 18 wheels. 2 AXLE tractors with one AXLE trailers are uncommon at best.

I had a copy of ABBIE Hoffman’s famous book. Appropriately, someone stole it.

Yesterday’s 4 corners spelled WARS. Measure today’s RADS with a Geiger counter.


leftcoaster 2:11 PM  

BI, BUY, BY, and BYE -- each with a different meaning. Nice set of homonyms.

PHILOMENA, a very good movie with a great star.

EVANS DOSAS, an international treat?

Enjoyed it.

Diana, LIW 2:43 PM  

How heartwarming - a holiday theme of buy, buy, buy.

By Jove, I got it.

Only one "write-over" area that held me up for a moment.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoaster 2:52 PM  

Oh, and a first-class debut by Gabrielle and Jakob.

strayling 7:51 PM  

That one answer did get me thinking, which exceeded my Tuesday expectations BY A LONG SHOT.

If this was a debut it was a good one. The local paper even TIVO-ed one of the answers and replayed it in their puzzle.

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