Squire in Wind in Willows / TUE 11-26-19 / Classic American novel set in France Spain / Anxiety about exclusion per modern acronym

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Constructor: Olivia Mitra Framke

Relative difficulty: Medium (for me; other people seem to be setting personal records, so i dunno)

THEME: TAROT CARD READER (63A: One examining the starts of 17-, 27- and 48-Across) — themers begin with three different tarot cards: THE TOWER, THE DEVIL, and THE SUN:

Theme answers:
  • THE TOWER OF BABEL (17A: It resulted in human language division, per Genesis)
  • THE DEVIL YOU KNOW (27A: It's better than what's not familiar, in a saying)
  • "THE SUN ALSO RISES" (48A: Classic American novel set in France and Spain)
Word of the Day: ENOS Slaughter (37A: Baseball Hall-of-Famer Slaughter) —
Enos Bradsher Slaughter (April 27, 1916 – August 12, 2002), nicknamed "Country", was an American Major League Baseball (MLB) right fielder. He played for 19-seasons on four major league teams from 1938–1942 and 1946–1959. He is noted primarily for his playing for the St. Louis Cardinals and is best known for scoring the winning run in Game Seven of the 1946 World Series. A ten time All-Star, he has been elected to both the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame. (wikipedia)
• • •

If you are reading this, I am fifty. Well, at least fifty. It's possible you are reading this in the distant future, I suppose. Anyway, it's my birthday. Sadly, it's also a Tuesday, which is one of my less hopeful crossword days. Tuesdays are so often dismal that there's even slang for a bad easy puzzle: "it tuezzed!" I think my friend Ben coined this. Anyway, Tuesdays are notoriously iffy. Why they should be such a drop off from Mondays, average quality-wise, I don't know. I think they're in a kind of no man's land, difficulty-wise and theme type-wise, and so often things just go awry. It's like a dumping ground for easy puzzles that were maybe too awkward to be truly easy. Anyway, they clunk more than most other days of the week. Given my very low expectations, I thought today's offering was fine. The tarot card choices are totally arbitrary—there are 22 cards, and these are just the three that you can make good 15-letter themers out of, I guess. So little does the tarot deck mean to me, I actually sincerely wrote in ZENER as the first word in the revealer. ZENER cards are used to test ESP, if I remember correctly. The only time I encounter either TAROT or ZENER is in crosswords. Ooh, except I do own a Red Sonja tarot deck, which I haven't opened. It just sits on a shelf here in my office next to my Saul Goodman action figure, a plush pig, an N*SYNC-themed die cast toy truck (Lance!) and a Duran Duran cassette. It's quite a shelf, to be honest.

Where was I? The theme! Arbitrary choices of cards, and honestly I just have to trust the constructor that those are indeed tarot cards, 'cause what do I know? But they're all 15s, which is nifty, and the theme phrases themselves, just taken on their own, are very good. Lively. There's some cringey fill here and there (for the second day in a row I wanted to quit in the NW, almost as soon as I'd started—ASLOW is rrrrough), and the grid is glutted w/ 3s 4s and 5s, but a handful of 8-letter Downs do sneak in there. So overall I'd call this a Satisfactory Tuesday effort.

Five things:
  • 2D: Adolph ___, creator of the slogan "All the News That's Fit to Print" (OCHS) — forgot this. Went with OTIS. The elevator guy. Terrible. Not as auspicious way to begin age 50. 
  • 12D: ___ out a living (barely gets by) (EKES) — eeks. I can (barely) take EKE, but other variations / tenses are a drag, if only because of the ugly clues they entail.
  • 11D: Bum (HOBO) — yeesh, easy on the "bum" stuff. In fact, here, read this: "Unlike a "tramp", who works only when forced to, and a "bum", who does not work at all, a "hobo" is a travelling worker" (wikipedia)
  • 42A: Duke of ___, title for Prince Andrew (YORK) — yes ... yes ... because what everyone wants to see in their light-hearted Tuesday crossword is a gruesome Jeffrey Epstein associate. What a delightful and timely way to clue YORK. (My kingdom for a conscientious or even half-awake editor!)

  • 64D: First of three? (TEE) — because "t" is the first letter ... of the word "three." 
Thanks for listening! Hope your lead-up to Thanksgiving is going swimmingly. Ciao!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:04 AM  

I am not so well-versed on matters of Tarot. Rather we Tauruses are much more grounded by using the proven science of astrology to guide our lives.

Want proof? Today my Astrology guide told me to take the Rams and 40 points. I was willing to do that but no one would take the bet. I suppose the Vegas oddsmakers also have Astrology guides.

And even though you don't read these comments - Happy birthday, Rex.

Chippah 12:28 AM  

New _____
Sergeant ______
______ University, the 3rd largest in Canada
Maker of Peppermint Pattie
Logan 5 portrayer
English city
Pennsylvania city

dadnoa 12:29 AM  

Didn’t really understand the whole Tarot thing. Liked that Hosp VIPs were RNs! Also enjoyed the lack of usual Tuesday fill. Cracked a smile at the end....and LOVED my Acer guess over all the other choices:)

jae 12:36 AM  

Happy Birthday Rex! Easy and easier than yesterday’s. Smooth with a fun theme, liked it a bunch and Jeff gave it POW.

Cassieopia 1:45 AM  

Happy Milestone Birthday Rex! Fifty is a marvelous age, enjoy every minute of it!

As a tarot dabbler myself, I adored this puzzle and yes The Devil XV, The Tower XVI , and The Sun XIX are indeed three of the 22 major arcana (and there are 78 total cards). Perhaps Ms Framke was sending Rex oblique birthday wishes as the card values add up to (drum roll please) fifty. Coincidence?

The clues for SNOW and TREE were my faves. A very smooth and well-crafted Tuesday with a great theme that also - intentionally or unintentionally - wished Rex a happy fiftieth.

chefwen 1:45 AM  

Happy Birthday, Rex. My cue to send a yearly donation to this blog which is a big part of my daily routine which I enjoy.

Thought this was easier than Monday’s puzzle, which was pretty darn easy. The theme stayed hidden until the end and I did have to go back to find the cards. I don’t think I have seen a deck of Tarot cards, but it was simple to figure out.

Ooh, and there’s my favorite kitty at 57A.

Phil 1:58 AM  

NaNaNaNaNaaah. Boy if you could hear yourselves creating bashes on Shortz. Shortz must be saying I guess I’m not doing too bad if including a very current P.Andrew clue in the puzzle is reprehensible.

common. give us a break. Current news is ok in the puzzle. But maybe I’m jaded. Ho Chi Minh, Pol Pot and I share the same birthdays which is diametrically opposed on the calendar to Rex’s birthday. I’ll take the dead infamouses...Amin etal, in a puzzle

Klazzic 5:07 AM  

I cringed at HOBO, too. My understanding of its genesis is that of a Union soldier getting free passage on a train after the Civil War. They were issued tickets with HOBO prominently displayed: HOmeward BOund.

Elise 5:23 AM  

Happy birthday! I'm 35 today. Also yeeshed at aslow and York. Not a PR (can't PR on my phone anymore anyway; need a real keyboard) but a fast Tuez anyway (~5 minutes)

Music Man 5:44 AM  

Happy birthday, Rex. Do we ever have 20A’s anymore?

Karl Grouch 6:04 AM  

This was smooth and easy in a good way and led to a fast and pleasant albeit unthrilling solve. But in Tuesday terms that's more than fine.

I paste here a passage of a nyt review I found on The Sun Also Rises because I think it also applies, relatively speaking of course, to a good crossword puzzle:

"...Mr. Hemingway knows how not only to make words be specific but how to arrange a collection of words which shall betray a great deal more than is to be found in the individual parts. It is magnificent writing.
—The New York Times review of The Sun Also Rises, 31 October 1926.

A happy birthday to our host and a good day to all.

Homeward Bound https://g.co/kgs/kc59SC

mmorgan 6:25 AM  

Happy Birthday, Rex!

Lewis 6:29 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hungry Mother 6:34 AM  

No record here, but pretty fast. The themers went very quickly. Didn’t know the artist.

GILL I. 6:35 AM  

@Rex...I remember when you barely made it to 40... My how time flies...As they say in Cuba, "Apy Verde."
So my first entry is TOWER OF BABEL and human language and my mind wanders because it always does. I grew up thinking it was true. Then I saw a painting of it by Bruegel and I thought no human could actually build such an ugly thing.
I get to THE DEVIL YOU KNOW and my mind wanders again to a boss I had. Everybody hated him. My close friend and colleague used to say to me "Better the devil you know than the one you don't." So true because after the first was fired, the second one was also a Jeffrey Epstein associate.
THE SUN ALSO RISES brings a smile. Fond memories of Hemingway's portrayal of the Festival of San Fermin in Pamplona and "El Viti" giving me a sweet smile. Hemingway lived a bit of some of my life in Spain and in Cuba...
Then I get to the reveal. TAROT! You know there are many, many different decks available. I love/loved reading them. You have to be careful, though - especially when you get to the death card. I wish Olivia could have snuck in "Death Be Not Proud." This one here is the Major Arcana deck. Another fun one is the Witches Tarot.
I enjoyed this, Olivia even with words like FOMO KLIMT. Too bad you have the lovely GEENA sitting on YORK's head.

Hungry Mother 6:39 AM  

Heading to Key West this morning with family and might show them the Hemingway House.

Lewis 6:46 AM  

Happy birthday, Rex!

I found this to be a lovely offering, with a more-than-normal-for-Tuesday number of clues that blessedly took me out of automatic, and interesting theme answers. Yet I think this was perfectly pitched for the Tuesday solver. I'm amazed that this is the first appearance of KLIMT in a NYT puzzle.

Anyway, TAROT doesn't rhyme with carrot, but I'm pretending it does, because a carrot has the same color as a pumpkin, which puts me in the right mood for the week on top of the good mood this puzzle transported me into. Olivia, thank you, and I'm adding your name to my list of puzzle makers I eagerly await.

Anonymous 6:58 AM  

Hippo birdie two ewes!

Suzie Q 7:10 AM  

Some fun on a Tuesday for a change. Well done Olivia.
Agree that the clues for snow and tree were clever.
Funny to see Open Wide since that was the Sunday puzzle title.
Hunch is a word we don't often see. I am surprised that Klimt is a debut.
This had a very young feeling about it. Dorm, pods, Acer, apps, smart key, and USB point toward the younger solvers.

@ Music Man 5:44, You're right, there are no slow news days anymore. If it seems slow, just make something up!

amyyanni 7:14 AM  

Happy Birthday Rex. To a wonderful decade ahead, and beyond. Hope you receive an equally intriguing tchotchke for that shelf. Didn't cringe at A Slow News Day, but ugh to York. Otherwise, thought this was superior to most early week efforts. When I was in Mississippi with Teach For America in 2011, had the great good fortune to meet Dave "Boo" Ferriss, Delta State Coach and former Red Sox, who recounted exactly how he pitched to Enos Slaughter in the 1946 World Series. Such a treat! Coach Ferriss is also known for advising John Grisham to work on his writing (vs.a baseball career).

Joe Dipinto 7:15 AM  

The Top Ten songs (in New York) on November 26, 1969:












Happy 50th Birthday!

kitshef 7:32 AM  

Happy birthday to Rex and Elise.

Agree with a lot of what Rex said - all the long acrosses are excellent standalone answers, and I'll have to take it on faith that the those are real tarot cards. I know nothing about tarot beyond what was in Live and Let Die.

Quibble with SMART KEY. While you can open a door from afar using one, you can do that with any key fob. My wife can do that with her fob, but she still has to insert and turn the key to start the car.

Debra 7:40 AM  

Happy birthday! Thanks for blogging!

Joe R. 7:47 AM  

Super easy for me, set a PR by almost 30 seconds. But I recognized the tarot theme early, and that helped me get THE SUN ALSO RISES, which I definitely wouldn’t not have gotten quickly without that. I learned the tarot deck playing the incredible puzzle game The Fool’s Errand, a good 20+ years ago on my Mac in my college dorm room, and most of it still sticks around in my head somewhere.

Happy birthday, Rex!

Jake W 8:00 AM  

Couldn't make sense of the theme en route, but still got a PR. Irksome cluing on TREE – you just can't leave out the apostrophe (Leaves'* home). Happy birthday, Rex!

GHarris 8:12 AM  

My natick was the m in fomo crossing gmat. I don’t text much; I assume it stands for fear of something and I never get the test acronyms except psat,lsat and gre.Otherwise no problemo

Petsounds 8:28 AM  

Happy birthday, Rex! It's my birthday too, and I celebrated with a Best Time on this puzzle--well below my previous best. I didn't get the tarot theme until the very end, when I had to fill it in, but the three 15 acrosses were easy-peasy. So a nice way to start my XXth year!

pabloinnh 8:30 AM  

First, Happy B'day to OFL. I like those years when you get one ending in 0, feels a little like resetting the odometer. Had my 50th college reunion earlier this year and discovered my alma mater is twice as now twice as large, five times as beautiful, and eighteen times as expensive..

I thought this one was fun as the long answers went right in but couldn't see what the theme was going to be, no surprise there given my lack of tarot knowledge. No oreos, but at least a variant of eke, so some comfort there.

Thanks to @JoeD for a list full of memories. I would link "Hobo's Lullaby", which is a great song, if I knew how. Working on it.

Thanks for the Tuesday fun, OMF. Y'all come back now, hear?

Anonymous 8:59 AM  

Happy birthday Rex! Welcome to the 50s! Actually a great decade of life! Enjoy.

Nancy 9:03 AM  

What I know about the TAROT wouldn't fill a thimble, but the theme led to a puzzle that was lively and colorful. I was helped in the NW by immediately knowing OCHS --the NYT catchphrase being familiar to all faithful Times readers. Which reminds me of a funny, funny parody...

Back during one of the NYC newspaper strikes, I think it may have been the long one of 1962, some people, I forget who, exactly, got together to publish a satiric newspaper to fill the void. They published a mock NYT with the catchphrase:


And the answer came back...


I tried to pin down the details of who did this and in precisely what format it was done but nothing came up on Google. So I'm not sure of the details, but I am sure of the wording of those two catchphrases.

SouthsideJohnny 9:06 AM  

It seems as though they definitely got Monday and Tuesday mixed up this week. MRTOAD and KLIMT work adequately as today’s iffy trivia, and they are discernible enough from the Monday-easy crosses.

Does anyone consider “RICE” to be the “base” of a good Paella (or Jambalaya) ? Granted they are rice dishes. I would go with Risotto, perhaps - at least rice is the star of the show there. Paella has so many layers - Chicken, chorizo, saffron, seafood. . . One would also build Jambalaya on a base consisting of the Holy Trinity (with or without a roux) along with crawfish, andouille. . . The rice is pretty much the last component in both dishes, which seems to be like saying that the roof is the base of a house, lol.

Crimson Devil 9:11 AM  

Excellent cluing for TREE.

Anonymous 9:16 AM  

where's last Tuesday of the month Clare?

jberg 9:21 AM  

Happy birthday, young fellow! I'll be back later after I read the comments.

QuasiMojo 9:22 AM  

Happy birthday Rex! ...And Michael. And ELSiE, too!

The Sun Also Rises made me think of Robert Evans who recently died. He wrote the memoir "The Kid Stays in the Picture" which was referring to the movie of that novel. He played the matador. Just between you and me, he shouldn't have. He's a total stick in it. Creepy too. But he made some damn good movies of his own later on as a producer.

I also thought of our very own GILL who knows that world of Spain so well. But Gill did you not know Klimt? I noticed KISSED UP nearby and would like to imagine it was a reference to his amazing painting The Kiss. I saw it in person once in Vienna. It is one of the very few paintings that actually took my breath away. But then it doesnt feel like a painting at all when you see it in the flesh. It is a living thing, shimmering with gold and layers of sensual mystery.

There is a funny TAROT scene in Hitchcock's last (and possibly worst) picture, Family Plot. Barbara Harris plays a fake tarot reader. If that isn't redundant. It's the one bright spot in a lackluster flick. But it captured the zany anything goes mood of the 70s at the time. IRENE Cara USHERed in the 80s with Fame in 1980. Look for a young comic in that film who went on to greater success as a fashion designer, Isaac Mizrahi.

The Duke of Yuck is more like it.

Oh, the puzzle. I found it easy and smooth and eminently doable. Two Tuezzie thumbs up!

mathgent 9:26 AM  

I enjoyed it. Smart cluing, some sparkle, only eight Terrible Threes.

I'm a big Hemingway fan and I've read TSAR several times, but I don't consider it an American novel. They are novels like Huckleberry Finn, Gone With the Wind, and Grapes of Wrath. About life in America.

I like Klimt paintings very much. The movie The Woman in Gold is about the legal battle fought by the woman whose family owned one of his best paintings. It was taken by the Nazis. She was able to get it back. It is now in the Neue Gallery in Manhattan. Very good movie with Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds.

Monty Boy 9:32 AM  

Happy birthday! I was OK with 50 until someone said "Happy half century." I'm three-quarter century this year and looking forward to a full century.

There's a nice article in Smithsonian magazine this issue. It gives a short history of crossword puzzles and some background on how the NYT came to have one. Seems like they thought they were above the mundane entertainment until early 40's. Worth the read. I read it in the ink/paper version; don't know if it's available on line. I hesitate to scan because of copyright issue. Maybe OFL can get it with this blog??

TJS 9:37 AM  

Wow,so there is more than one PHD traumatized by seeing York in a crossword puzzle. Wonder if the other guy is a college prof too.

burtonkd 9:38 AM  

Why so hard on "bums" that it is an insult to call a hobo one? There are many theories about the origin of the term HOBO, but the one I like is it refers to itinerant workers hanging around the corner of HOuston and BOwery streets in Manhattan. There is definitely the sense of the word of people hopping on a train to get around, possibly looking for work - in other words BUMming a ride.

Since the NYT Xword is in a newspaper, seems like including clues about current events, however salacious, should be accepted and possibly edited for.

Just finished a rehearsal of Side Show yesterday with the show stopping number "The Devil You Know".

Very fast and easy, how OFL could get tripped up on the 3x/week EKES is more puzzling than the puzzle...

Newboy 9:41 AM  

Does this day mark Rex growing up? Nah! Stay just as cynical as you always are you semi-centurian. Oh, the puzzle? Way too easygoing even for a literal Tuesday. Final TREE did justify a satisfying smirk & giggle. Not even slowed by “the first of Three” clue that often gets my knickers twisted. It’s going to be a dip into the 70s archives for a random Thursday, hopefully with a rebus.

TJS 9:43 AM  

BTE, all you Happy people, he doesn't read his own damn blog comments !

jberg 9:45 AM  

I knew I would need the revealer but disciplined myself not to jump ahead. I tried and failed to see what TOWER, DEVIL, and SUN had in common—so it was nice to learn what it was. I also enjoyed the little APOP, ASLOW, ANEW cluster. Nice smooth puzzle with a clever theme—keep ‘Em coming!

FOMO Duomo 9:50 AM  

I come to read these comments because of my FOMO.

wilsch 9:50 AM  

42A could have been clued as " City/county in south central Pennsylvania, instead of the Prince Andrew clue. Happy birthday, Rex!

Digital Dinosaur 9:52 AM  

What does FOMO stand for, please?

Newboy 9:59 AM  

@Monty thanks for the referral. Here’s a link if you’re interested:

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

Fear Of Missing Out, maybe ? Whatever...

Dorothy Biggs 10:16 AM  

KLIMT might as well have been some a random string of letters. I'd never heard of him and I filled that corner in entirely by the downs. Looking at it now, it actually does look like a random string of letters.

RUM is the main ingredient in my eggnog...in fact, my eggnog is just cloudy rum...and 'tis the season!

REDO and ANEW...a rare time that I think a cross clue is appropriate.

As for Tuesday puzzles, maybe it's because I have been doing these things for a long time, but just looking at this puzzle, setting "KLIMT" aside, these are basically the same words I see over and over in xword puzzles. When I googled "how many words does the average person use in English," one of the first hits said that the average adult English speaker's vocabulary is 20K words and the "passive" vocab is 40K words. I could be wrong here, but the lexicon of the NYT xword puzzle seems significantly lower than that.

I've read that xword puzzles are not very good as a brain exercise because once you get the "tricks" and know the normal lingo, it's just rearranging the same words over and over...not much of an exercise.

I swear to good golly that I do these puzzles only because of FOMO...plus routine. But when it comes down to it, it's not really a lot of brain power to figure these out. If you're new at it, after a while you'll catch on and they'll be easy for you too. I'm not a speed solver, but I'm pretty sure the fact that someone can fill this in in 4 minutes or less is more symptomatic of the fact that the same words are used over and over...once you know them, ::poof:: you just fill in the blank.

So Tuesday struggles with clues, mostly. But even then, you know in spite of how arcane or convoluted a clue is, chances are very good that it's going to be a word you've seen in a puzzle many times before.

FOMO Duomo 10:19 AM  

DIgital Dinosaur: FOMO = Fear Of Missing Out.

You too can discover meanings of acronyms by just typing the acronym into your browser's window and google will do the rest. Or, you might can say, "Hey Siri, what does FOMO mean?" Or "Alexa, define FOMO."

It is a wonderful time we live in when ALL knowledge is just a click or two away.

Z 10:20 AM  

@Monty Boy - This article? The author is the Wordplay Blogger.

@TJS - Shockingly, given the choice between the famous and the infamous people often prefer the famous. With Idi you are pretty limited. But YORK? @Chippah didn’t even include Shakespeare options. Since the news is fairly recent, maybe the clue was set before the scandal. Still, interesting cluing choice for November, 2019.

@GHarris - Fear Of Missing Out. Usually used with a hint of irony, where one’s FOMO results in one actually missing out.

@kitshef - Reminder that a Xword clue only has to be true in a case, not all cases. YORK is a perfect example, the clue doesn’t begin to scratch at the possible true clues for that answer. So a SMART KEY is used to open a lock at a distance. As do a KEY fob and a SMART app.

The “typically” in 32D irked me. No no no. If it AIN’T ON RYE it AIN’T a Reuben. I’ll grant that adjectived Reubens are acceptable because they aren’t claiming to be an actual Reuben, they’re “turkey reubens” and “vegetarian reubens.” But don’t give me something with cole slaw and on wheat and tell me you’re giving me a Reuben. Corned beef. Sauerkraut. Russian dressing (Thousand Island is an okay variant). ON RYE. Otherwise call it something else. Heathens.

Liked the puzzle. A SLOW didn’t bother me and the fill seemed fine enough. I always wonder about the choice of baseball over Bible for cluing ENOS. Slaughter retired before I was born (on my 60th solar circuit) and died 17 years ago. Still, better than going plural electronic musician.

Anonymous 10:22 AM  

@Digital Dinosaur

"FOMO" stands for Fear Of Missing Out, the nightmare of not experiencing some new fad at the moment it breaks. What is OFL's issue with answers relating to unpleasant subjects? Sorry, shall we just remove all bad names, words, etc. from the constructors' dictionaries? I really don't understand...HBD, Rex, in any case. When I turned 50, my mother told me I was now "middle aged." I asked her if that meant I had another fifty years coming...so far, so good!

RooMonster 10:24 AM  

Hey All !
Welcome to 50, Rex! I've got you beat by 3 months and 14 days. AUG 12, 1969 here. If my parents were into hippy-ness, I could've been at Woodstock! (But no, I wasn't there.) :-)

This was super easy for me. Not sure if it's a best time, but dang, flew through with nary a slowdown. The two toughest for me were GMAT and KLIMT. But the crossers were more than fair. I didn't even have any writeovers! That's extremely rare in my little puz-solving world.

Probably said previously, but should've swapped Today's and YesterPuz. This one had no real sticky spots. The MonPuz had some odd entries.

TAROT CARDs is an odd theme, but as themes go, it's good, tight, and 4 15's. Only one F, in the answer where I wrote in just the O's, as in _O_O, because it could've been either FOMO or YOLO.

Overall one of the better TuesPuz's out there.


David 10:49 AM  

Up until ca 2004 Art in Vienna stopped with Klimt. Then they built a new contemporary museum along with studios to make up for the lost time. If you've never heard of him it's not his fault.

As for Mr. Toad, he brings up wonderful childhood memories of my father sitting at my bedside reading The Wind in the Willows out loud.

For me the themers were super-simple with the exception of the reveal, which was the only one I needed more than 3 crosses to plunk in. After "The tower..." and "The devil..." I needed no crosses to think of a great American novel starting with "The something..."

I do tire of acai, Dora, and ekes. At least there's no oreo or oboe. Overall none of the fill bothered me. I also liked the clue for tree.

Nice going Olivia. Happy birthday sir blogger.

Nancy 10:51 AM  

@burtonkd (9:35) -- "So after a rehearsal of Side Show..." Who are you, @Burtonkd? A director? A performer? A musician? An intriguing post, since Side Show went belly up in NY and is rarely performed anymore. I went to your profile and there was no info there. I hate blog profiles with no info. They leave me with FOMO.

@Z (10:20) --Thousand Island is not an "okay variant" for Russian Dressing on a Reuben. Russian Dressing provides the sweetness needed to counterbalance the sauerkraut. I used to eat Grilled Reubens for lunch at Oscar's (in the Waldorf near my office; since closed) where the sandwich was invented. It was a huge splurge; $7 or $8 for a mere sandwich back then was almost unheard of. Oh, and they absolutely must be grilled. If someone simply piles up warm ingredients on a piece of bread or toast and calls it a "Reuben", send the damned thing back.

Bourbon Street 10:51 AM  

Happy Birthday Rex! Don’t fret. There’s a certain amount of freedom that comes with aging. The opinions of others become less important because you have a substantial lifetime of experience to weigh the opinions against.

My personal cringe-moment was THE DEVIL YOU KNOW. When I was in my 20’s and deciding whether to change jobs, I asked a good friend for advice. He quoted that saying, but then added that I had to consider other factors when making such a big decision and then listed some of them. I was inclined to opt for the devil I knew but then considered the rest of his advice so I took the new job. Best decision I ever made. I now consider THE DEVIL YOU KNOW to be some of the worst advice out there.

PHV 10:52 AM  

FOMO caused me to be left with an empty square.

Anonymous 11:00 AM  

I suppose the Vegas oddsmakers also have Astrology guides.

I, on the other hand, have always found it curious that so many consider oddsmakers as actually predicting the outcome of games. They don't. They just keeping adjusting the spread (or, whatever) to ensure that half the money bet goes to each side of the bet. They get a 'commission' on the handle, so they don't care who wins. Horse racing, and the like, where a long-shot can win are a different matter.

@Rex - My first Ex's is tomorrow, thus also a Sag. Loony as a bedbug. Hope your wife had better luck.

Otts 11:01 AM  

First time I rated one easier than Rex.Dunno why. No Rap,no ,new pop "stars" and like that there. Well. I just turned 89. Good luck to all you kids in your fifties. Love all the funny and erudite comments.

Jane 11:13 AM  

Happy Birthday, Rex! Thanks for this blog. I enjoyed today's puzzle.

Z 11:32 AM  

@Nancy - I agree, but in the midwest it’s hard to find a Reuben made with Russian Dressing, so “okay” in that I will grant it is still a Reuben.

Carola 11:39 AM  

Happy Birthday to Rex!

I thought this was a terrific Tuesday, with its three super grid-spanning theme phrases and matching reveal. After BABEL and THE DEVIL, I thought we were dealing with the Bible, so TAROT was a nice surprise. I smiled at the parallel MR. TOAD and I'M LATE (the White Rabbit). Also liked the cross of NECKS and KISSED.

@Joaquin 12:04 am - I loved your first paragraph. Tauruses rule! (Of course.)

albatross shell 11:42 AM  

Yes on clues for SNOW TREE, although the latter clue is missing an apostrophe. But wouldn't that spoil the fun? Is a "?" an adequate substitute? Pretend it's spoken and give it a pass.

I think I've had Reubens on pumpernickel or that swirly pumpernickel-rye combo (or is that just light and dark rye?). Or does that also break the sacred rules of sandwich labeling too?

Despite getting 2 of 3 themers quickly it was a slower than average Tuesday for me. Steady progress but choppy - not completely filling an area but continually circling around.

Death be not proud might be a good a good theme addition, but I like the consistent use of "the" to start the theme answers and I believe the death card is actually the hanged man, but I haven't checked.

Very good theme. Never heard of FOMO. Got the M on my third guess. Maybe I'll remember GMAT next time round. Hasn't sunk in so far. Did not know the last letter for KLIMPT til I got TREE. Was considering flEE and fREE for a bit.

GEENA is always welcome in my puzzles or movies.

Very nice Tuesday.

GILL I. 11:49 AM  

@Quasi...Good catch on "The KISS."
I was (in my past life) an art major. I came upon KLIMPT by accident when browsing a very old book store looking for any art that had black and white prints. My medium was charcoal as well as etching. I absolutely love how he depicts the female body and in his honor I've changed my avatar to show his "The Allegory of Sculptor." My comment was aimed at a Tuesday level clue. KLIMPT isn't exactly a Picasso even though I love him far more than odd Pablo.
@Southside 9:06. RICE is the star in Paella. You can make paella many ways - adding just about anything - but if the rice isn't cooked to perfection, you're dead. You have to use "Bomba" rice, and the bottom has to be crispy. It's hard to do but when done correctly, you can toss out all the shrimp and just eat the RICE.
@Nancy...I knew I could count on you to set @Z straight on Reuben.... :-)

ghostoflectricity 11:56 AM  

Happy half century to a terrific crossword blogger and mensch.

ghostoflectricity 11:57 AM  

Happy birthday!

jb129 12:27 PM  

Happy Birthday Rex!

Gotta stop reading your reviews/descriptions before I even start to tackle the puzzle - they cloud my

Speaking of clouding heads - enjoy your birthday!

Mike F. 12:34 PM  

12:07. I'm on four hours sleep today, so 'APOP' took way longer than it should have.

Odd Sock 1:14 PM  

Acronyms like FOMO give me FOMO.

Anonymous 1:16 PM  

Easy peasy for a Tuesday. Love the four long answers. Not a fan of clues like 64D. I find them more irksome than clever.

Dan 1:18 PM  

Should the leaves home clue have an apostrophe after the s indicating the possessive? I was stuck on that for a while.

Kulakofsky 1:46 PM  

The Reuben was certainly not invented at Oscar's. Here in Omaha we know the truth .

Wistful 1:57 PM  

Ok, I should’ve gotten Fomo since I’ve suffered from that condition ever since I missed the 1960s sexual revolution by 3 days.

Hack mechanic 2:20 PM  

He had ten thousand men?

Hack mechanic 2:29 PM  

Yes poorly clued. What makes a car key smart is not the remote lock function but the anti theft chip. Car will not start unless the ECU sees the correct code embedded in it

QuasiMojo 2:29 PM  

Thanks @GILL. I get it now. True dat. Awesome avatar!

RooMonster 3:32 PM  

@albatross shell
That was @Nancys astute observation on the Reuben.
But thanks for reading my inanity!

RooMonster Doesn't Take Credit For Others Posts Guy

Anonymous 3:50 PM  

What you're describing aint a Reuben, no matter what you allow. It is however another example, as if it were needed, if just how awful the Midwest is. Yuck!
Chicago excepted. Maybe.

albatross shell 4:42 PM  

My apologies. And actually I think maybe it was Z.

puzzlehoarder 4:42 PM  

Tuesday and Monday were definitely switched this week. I was a little fuzzy on GMAT but sure of FOMO.
The latter is more rare than the former but much more memorable. Those academic test acronyms are some of the most boring entries.

Bea 5:01 PM  

I had fun with this puzzle even though I know nothing about Tarot cards.

Frantic Sloth 5:06 PM  

Happy Birthday, Rex! You don't read these comments, but we'll still put it out there!

My favorite part of your review today is learning that you have a Saul Goodman action figure on your shelf.

Also, how is "tuezzed" pronounced?

@JoeD That's a 3-star Michelin birthday greeting - and thanks for the walk down memory lane.

gilly 5:21 PM  

Mostly agreed with Rex today, except I found this pretty easy. (Still considerably longer than Rex's time, though.)

Which is too bad: today of all days, Rex, you deserved a piece of cake. Here's hoping you get a real slice, at least.

And happy birthday. Even when I don't agree with them, your write-ups are gifts. Here's to another fifty years--which I think comes out to a mere 18,000 more blog posts. Piece of cake.

BobL 5:21 PM  

Why all the Happy B-Day Rex? He doesn't read these.

Joe Dipinto 6:33 PM  

Thoughts on the venerable Reuben sandwich:

The bread – the rye bread – is a component of the Reuben sandwich. Therefore, ON RYE cannot be "how Reubens are served", because the rye is part of the Reuben. (Unlike, say, a hot dog bun, which is separate from, and is not required for the consumption of, a hot dog.)

The clue as written is not suitable for the answer the puzzle wants. The answer to the clue as written is ON A PLATE.

Laura Nyro fan 6:35 PM  

Three of the songs in Joe Dipinto's top ten list for this date in 1969 were written by Laura Nyro! (RIP)

Swagomatic 6:54 PM  

I Came here for the crossword review, I left smiling after listening to Steve Forbert - one of the brightest bright spots of my 80's music collection.

Anonymous 7:18 PM  

Rex isn't having a birthday. I don't know when that persona arrived, but I doubt it was on the anniversary of Michael Sharp's birth.

Joe Dipinto 9:56 PM  

@LN fan 6:35 -- Yes indeed. #8, #5, and #1. She was something else.

JC66 10:45 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richardf8 11:41 PM  

52 over here. We had a cabin at Lake Kauneonga, so Woodtock came to us!

jb129 12:41 PM  

Wow. This is the first Wednesday in a long time that I've struggled with. When I got to "Nan" I thought 'maybe a rebus?'

Anyway, I finished but a struggle for me.

Happy Thanksgiving!

CDilly52 2:23 PM  

Every day, I solve to experience solving that specific puzzle. I do t look for speed, or criticisms, or cleverness or lack the rod, so perhaps I do t belong here. I solved this puzzle. Ridiculously quickly, even given its “Tuesday-ness.” During the solve, I hope to find a chuckle and a new word or two, but the main experience I anticipate is “the connect” or lack thereof with the constructor. Excellent solve today despite its lightning quickness. Today was a fun solve. I acquainted myself with ASHANTI and with the art on EMU EGGs. A very successful solve. It ticked my boxes!

CDilly52 2:38 PM  

Every day, I solve to experience solving that specific puzzle. I don’t look for speed, or criticisms, or cleverness or lack thereof, so perhaps I don’t belong here. I solved this puzzle. ridiculously quickly, even given its “Tuesday-ness.” During any solve, I hope to find a chuckle and a new word or two, but the main experience I anticipate is “the connect” or lack thereof with the constructor. Excellent solve today despite its lightning quickness. Today was a fun solve. I acquainted myself with ASHANTI and with the art on EMU EGGs. A very successful solve. It ticked my boxes!

Burma Shave 10:35 AM  


“I’M EVEN DUE in AUGust, or so.”
“When YOU DATA TEASE, I mean,


spacecraft 11:55 AM  

I had a HUNCH OFC would like this one; I was right...sorta. Looks more like damning with faint praise. I will praise more loudly. I liked it, and look forward to OMF's next offering.

Theme and revealer spanning the grid: unusual, but it works. And for the most part, the fill was enjoyable too. It looked "worked on." "Cared about."

I would carp about one clue: "Mock, in a way" = TEASE doesn't really work. Now, "Tease, in a way" = MOCK, that makes sense. EKES is the only other nit. SMORES/ERES isn't any better because of ERES. Either way you're getting trite fill that can only be clued one certain way. But that's it. The rest is lovely--including the DOD contest. I know ARIANA is crazy-good-looking, but GEENA shot an arrow into my heart long ago, so she gets the sash. A solid birdie.

Diana, LIW 1:36 PM  

Teaching that Hemingway course in college pays off. I got an across answer with no squares filled in - just on the clue.

@Spacey - I think MOCK and tease can be interchanged, in a way. Kinda sorta. 'Pends on the style of teasing.

No nits or pickin's for me.

And...my mom was in the grid - goodnight Irene.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Happy New Year!!!

leftcoaster 2:18 PM  

Two fatal errors: SPOrey (!) instead of SPONGY and TAROT CARD DEALER instead of READER. Related damage ensued. Umpf.

leftcoaster 2:22 PM  

Oh, and best wishes for 2020. And politically speaking, It has to be a better year, doesn't it?

rondo 2:54 PM  

A lotta long answers for Tuesday, or any day.

EVEN the HOBO FOMO EKES like the TEE TEASE going ATIT in the SW.

Such a crossword friendly name as ARIANA will undoubtedly be the daily yeah baby many times over the next few decades.

USHER in the new year safely. I’ll probably be shoveling SNOW.

rainforest 3:41 PM  

Nice puzzle, and on a Tuesday too. The theme entries were all great, well-known phrases, if you can call a book title a phrase, and I learned that TOWER, SUN and DEVIL are all TAROT CARDS. Neato.

Though I'M LATE and usually am, far from a FOMO (had to guess at the "M"), I felt in the SWIM during the solve because: my son has and ACER computer, my cat perks up at the word TREAT, I love MR.TOAD and all the characters in The Wind in the Willows, I've read the Hemingway book, and I like to KISS, up or down.

Evidence of CARE was apparent throughout the puzzle, with a smattering of clever clues and some nice longer downs.

Really liked it.

leftcoaster 8:55 PM  

@rainforest -- You may be last (though I am) but not least. Happy New Year!

Anonymous 11:54 PM  

I've heard of the SAT, LSAT, GRE, but until today never of the GMAT. I guess I better get out of my cave.

To Leftcoaster: I really think the only way we serfs will be better off politically is when the politicians are put out of business.

Happy New Year from another Leftcoaster.

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