Silently bids adieu / TUES 12-31-19 / Many an adopted pet / Diving gear / Elsa's sister in "Frozen"

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Hi, everyone! It's Clare back for the last Tuesday (and last puzzle) of 2019! Hope you all had happy holidays. I've been spending my holiday break out in sunny California and also got to see my sister's Cal Bears win their Bowl game yesterday. So, going back to DC may be a bit of a rude awakening; the weather will likely be much worse, and I'll also have to start law school classes back up in less than a week... Oh, well! On to the puzzle...

Constructor: Evan Kalish

Relative difficulty: Easy-medium 

THEME: LOSE WEIGHT (61A: Common New Year's resolution -- as hinted by the answers to the four starred clues) — Each theme answers drop a letter (or "weight") from the word "pound":

Theme answers:
  • IRISH POUND (17A: Currency replaced by the Euro)
  • KOI POND (31A: Decorative garden feature with a fish)
  • TWO PEAS IN A POD (37A: Almost-identical pair, figuratively)
  • RIVER PO (43A: It flows through Turin)
Word of the Day: SOUSA (7D: Composer whose work might be appropriate during March Madness?)

John Philip Sousa (November 6, 1854 – March 6, 1932) was an American composer and conductor of the late Romantic era known primarily for American military marches. He is known as "The March King" or the "American March King… Among his best-known marches are "The Stars and Stripes Forever" (National March of the United States of America), "Semper Fidelis" (official march of the United States Marine Corps), "The Liberty Bell", "The Thunderer", and "The Washington Post". (Wiki)
• • •

Overall, I quite enjoyed this puzzle. While I didn't especially love the theme, I thought the strength of the fill — the long downs, especially — was a highlight. First, with the theme, the best word I have to describe it is a favorite of mine: Meh. The dropping a letter has been done before and will be done again. I guess some points do go to the constructor for tying it into a New Year's theme? And, architecturally, each of the "pound" words is its own word, which makes the theme consistent. I did like TWO PEAS IN A POD as an answer. But, IRISH POUND is nothing special — lots of currencies have been replaced, and this definitely was not even the first currency I thought of. RIVER PO is also not a great answer. You should be able to call it just "Po." You don't say "River Thames" or "River Mississippi," necessarily. So, why not just "Po"?

On the whole, I thought the long downs were the best part of the puzzle. The fill were words that you usually don't see in many crosswords, which made the solve quite refreshing. A few particular favorites of mine: MAROONED; TEAM COCO (even if I had no idea Conan O'Brian had such loyal fans that they get their own nickname!); ARIGATO; TRICOLOR; BOOGIE. I also particularly love the words NARY (19A) and SHIRKS (1D). They're just fun words that I'd love to incorporate more into my day-to-day vocab. The award for weirdest but maybe most inventive clue ever goes to 45D: Like some teeth, pork and punches for PULLED.

If I had to nitpick a little, I thought NEAL (16A: Actress Patricia of "Hud") was a tad obscure for a Tuesday, and I didn't love the clue for ERRS (21A: Makes a boo-boo). But, overall, I'd say this was a pretty good final puzzle for the year!

  • Oops. I was even with my dad as I did this crossword puzzle, and I still initially guessed that 68A: Common first word would be "mama" instead of DADA. My bad!
  • "SEE ME after class" (69A)... Words that no student ever wants to hear!
  • 25D: Sentence shortener for PAROLE —It's only a sentence shortener if someone is actually granted parole, which is really, really hard to get!
  • Not gonna lie — I either never knew or just forgot that NESTLE (49D) was also a bottled water company; I only think of it as being all about the chocolate.
  • I particularly love seeing ELENA Kagan (53D) in crossword puzzles. From hearing many people talk about her in law school, it seems like she's incredibly smart. Someone who argues often in front of the Supreme Court told my class that you always have to prepare for her questions in particular because she consistently asks the best, most probing questions that are the hardest to answer.
  • Maybe watching Godfather for the first time over break helped me get 34D: Mafia bosses as CAPOS! I've just gotta watch the second Godfather now (which I hear is even better).
Happy New Year's!!

Signing off for 2019,
Clare Carroll

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 1:39 AM  

Easy and delightful. Liked it a bunch. Having seen the RIVER PO recently helped a lot.

@ Clare - if you liked “The Godfather” you should check out “The Irishman” currently on Netflix.

Pablo 3:02 AM  

I thought this was fun, but not terribly clever. This could have started with anything (e.g. weight, heft, mass), but regardless of theme the fill was actually fun! TEAMCOCO, SLYNODS, PAROLE (originally had period, so this was a good write over). SOUSA and ARIGATO also came in strong. For a Tuesday a little more wordplay in the clues might have been nice, but I'm not complaining when it was free of glaring errors.

The clues were at least well-written. None of these incredibly awkward "bits" and "morsels" of things that aren't ever otherwise described as bits or morsels. It's just making things harder through awkward phrasing. I absolutely hate that style of clue. I can just see ORE being clued as "metallic morsel" and SKEIN as "bit of scarf to be" or something equally horrible. If a clue can't be clever don't make it harder by making it imparcible.

Meanwhile in the world of "Pablo tracks how many broken hips you need to get the pop culture clues" this week is killing it. Who knew you could make generationally neutral puzzles not entirely focused on baseball stars from the 70s and singers who were in the twilight of their careers when shag carpets were unironically fashionable? Maybe they've realized that since 1970 is officially a half a century ago it's time to move on. Such a smooth grid and very little crosswordese.

It was a little dull, but if this is what the new year brings I welcome it.

Kuhan 3:15 AM  

I disagree. People do say "River Thames" or "Mississippi River". I wasn't a fan of the theme, but I thought the answer was okay,considering.

Frog Prince Kisser 3:36 AM  

Fun puzzle! But Claire, I don’t think that the “Lose Weight” theme refers to each theme answer dropping “a letter (or ‘weight’) from the word ‘pound.’” Rather, I think that it refers to slowly losing the pound itself. I know that I would sure like to!!!

Frog Prince Kisser 3:38 AM  

Sorry for misspelling Clare!

Joaquin 5:32 AM  

My guess is this: Evan Kalish and Will Shortz want all their puzzle solvers to end the year with a personal best. This xword was just too easy to be fun.

Happy New Year to all my fellow solvers. May 2020 bring us some enjoyable challenges, new vocabulary, and laugh-out-loud puns, all in puzzle form.

Phil 5:33 AM  

Take heart, adding the weight back in would be DNA.

Rug Crazy 6:16 AM  

If you do crosswords and follow Rex, you should know Patricia Neal., even on a Tuesday. Happy New Year to all

Lewis 6:30 AM  

Maybe it's because it's New Year's Eve and I'm thinking about what I wannabe next year, but I kept seeing wannabes in this puzzle.
* Wannabe church council: SLYNOD.
* Wannabe winter activity: SKEIN.
* Wannabe yesterday's puzzle: PA on a ROLE.
* Two wannabe fish: SHIRKS and SLAMON.

I certainly wannabe surrounded by the clever, crossword-passionate, funny, enriching and heart warming group that all of you are for the next year and beyond. May all of you have a year ahead that is rife with events that become happy memories. Happy New Year!

GILL I. 7:38 AM forgot: * Wannabe Trump supporter: SO USA
Nice little Tuesday - or as @pablito would say...Tuesdecito. Nothing seemed to offend; no dreaded red-headed step child. I think @Frog Prince says it for me about dropping a letter from the word pound so that you ostensibly LOSE WEIGHT. Not something I want to do. If anything, I should probably gain a few pounds for the New Year. My resolution is to clean out my closet.
I like the ICE/ACE COO/BOO and some ROE eating OVA.
Tonight we are having some of @Lewis' SLAMON with some champagne - all around 9 or so because we go to bed early. Happy and safe New Year's to all my friends here on this blog. Eat and be merry.

Suzie Q 7:52 AM  

I liked the theme and thought it was fun. As I was solving I was trying to figure out what those starred clues had in common. It was a nice moment going back after the revealer, just as it should be.
I have never heard of Honus Wagner. Has he been in a puzzle before? If so then I have forgotten his unusual name.
@ Lewis, I love your wannabe list. Great job!
It's going to take another cup of coffee to give me the energy to dig out my driveway.

pabloinnh 8:19 AM  

While I agree that lots of currencies have been replaced, this is the one that works for the theme, so there's that.

Couldn't believe ACE and ACES were in the same puzzle, ICE fixed that.

Otherwise thought this was clever enough and fun, even if it has been done before. I know there are some of us around here who admit to being easily amused; I guess this one was for us.

Happy 2020. There are enough of us of a certain age that my wish for us is a new year that is medically uneventful.

CDilly52 8:31 AM  

Thank you Clare for a delightful review this morning, and thank you Mr. Kalisz for a breezy little Tuesday-end-of-the-year puzzle. Better than average Tuesday fare, with nothing really “awful” (ok, there was the seemingly ubiquitous ERRS).

While I don’t post as often as I would like, I read this every day- often several times a day, depending on the puzzle and the “issues” raised by this perspicacious neighborhood of clever, insightful and intelligent people. Especially over the past two years, you have all enriched my life. I wish each of you a prosperous and happy 2020 and look forward to listening, learning and contributing.

SouthsideJohnny 8:42 AM  

Ah, the RIVER PO rears its controversial head once again. Last time, I recall, enough of our brethren from across the pond indicated that that particular type of phrasing is common practice in europe et al (hence “the River Themes” and “the River Nile”).

My nit for today is the foreign word ARIGATO crossing the Disney cartoon character ALBA (an “e” at the cross is equally as plausible as the A). I would prefer that they don’t flirt with NATICK-land as a matter of best practices.

The NYT crosswords would be much better if Shortz heeded @Pablo’s advice regarding clues like SKEIN as "bit of scarf to be" which are simply cringe-inducing. Don’t know why they feel the need to make clues harder by making them foolish and indecipherable. That kind of nonsense is the Dark Matter of the crossword universe (i.e. we know there are clues and answers there, we just can’t see, discern or describe them - so they effectively become “placeholders” until science and technology (or in this case, crosses) shed some additional light on the situation.

Happy New Year to all fellow cruciverbalists who visit and contribute to this comment forum on a regular basis !

Laura 8:58 AM  

Love those clever clues. How about you do a puzzle...

Doug Garr 9:05 AM  

Good on ya, Clare! I tuned into the blog today thinking, uh oh, Rex is going to whine about the theme, ya da ya da ya da, especially since it's the last one of the year. So it was refreshing to see you give it the B it deserved (a D by Rex standards -- I wonder what his students think? A hard marker? Not an easy A for sure, but fair?). Oh, and when you see Godfather II, know that it was not a sequel but the filming of the second half of the novel. Anyone who read it knows this. Coppola knew that the book was too long for one film. If you ever get a chance to stay home on a rainy weekend, see the entire two films that were blended together with added footage. It's astonishing and you'll only stop for a bathroom break. Happy New Year!

Crimson Devil 9:05 AM  

Ms Q
Honus Wagner’s is arguably the rarest and thus most valuable baseball card.
Pitchers and catchers report first week in February.

Leslie 9:34 AM  

What pabloinnh said; may we have a healthy new year with many challenging and witty puzzles. I love Lewis' wannabe list, and I hope it becomes a regular feature.

Teedmn 9:39 AM  

Silly ERRS today had me eking out a slightly longer than usual Tuesday solve. 32D, with the first PA in place, I went with PAmelo (it's Pomelo besides!) for some reason. This was after I had to adjust my thinking on 9D from "Supplements" being a noun (ADD ons) to a verb (ADDS TO). And while my brain said CAPOS, my hand wanted to go to the CoPa[cabana] which is understandable on NYE but still, stop that, hand!

I laughed to see RIVER PO once again, like the river Kwai.

I've never heard of 14A, Honus.

My nephew and his wife recently adopted a tiny little dog, a RESCUE from the Puerto Rico hurricane disaster. They said his name was originally Brain (his companion, another dog, was named Pinky) but they renamed him Teddy. We speculated whether he had any trouble understanding us in English - it seems that he does just fine.

Happy New Year 2020, all, and Evan Kalish, thanks for the weight-loss program.

RooMonster 9:45 AM  

Hey All !
Fun little TuesPuz. Theme apropos on New Years Eve. It ends up losing UND at the end, too bad it couldn't spell something, like TON, what with the WEIGHT Revealer. But now I'm just being ridiculous.

Two days in a row with some OO's. Three today, with some diagonal if you try hard enough to see! @Lewis was too busy looking for his "Wannabes" today. Good stuff, @Lewis.

Fill nice, nothing to complain about, which ADDS TO the enjoyment of the solve.

Had sermon for GOSPEL holding me up a tad in SW. But easy overall. Nice one, Evan.

Happy New Year to All, take it easy tonight, I know this is the one time of year some will go all out, but be safe, try to do things in moderation!
Here's to a good 2020!
(How the hell is it 2020!?) ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‹


JC66 9:46 AM  

A happy & healthy 2020 to all!

Kathy 9:50 AM  

Extremely easy and fast for me. I think I experienced, for the first time, the phenomenon that others have referred to as being in the constructor’s head. But I prefer a little more tussle and trickery.

Sentence shortened: I had period>pardon>parole
Waxing poetic on the RIVERPO once again. Part of the diminishing pound theme which I didn’t even notice until after I had finished.

@Lewis, love your wannabes!
@Pablo, share your dislike for bits, bowlfuls and the like. Guffawed at your broken hip pop culture scoring system!

I started this past year as a new NYTX solver and have enjoyed my new morning ritual. The experience has been greatly enhanced by Rex’s blog and the commentariat chorus. Thank you for the wit, trivia, insights, poems, songs and pseudo-insults. All in fun! Happy New Year everyone!

xyz 9:53 AM  

RIVER THAMES is probably most common, but RIVER PO as in Scotland - RIVER DEE and RIVER DON are quite commonly said.

PAPA to Mother's dismay is indeed often first "word" even though junior has no idea what it is saying. The DA is easier for the young babbler to say than MA (Try making the D and the M sounds and note how much more effort it takes to make a MA than a DA - one learns this in Medical School, but now you don't have to go!)

It's all babble, the kiddo has zero idea that it is saying a "word". Don't fret ... there, there ...

Super fast today but a tyop caught me I typed ISISHPOUND instead of IRISHPOUND, didn't catch it until checking the downs.

Maybe all this week will be easy at year's end, Mo & Tu sure were.

Birchbark 9:55 AM  

If you search ARAL Sea on Google Maps, you will see a photo of camels in the desert resting in the shade of grounded ships.

I say the RIVER PO, but I also say The Poet Burns.

Z 9:58 AM  

Better than Meh, but not by a lot. Agree that we are losing the POUND. No particular problems, but also nothing that really grabbed my fancy, either. SLAMON does look like a RAYBAN style for skiers.

@Pablo - I don’t mind old or current pop culture clues and answers as long as there is some balance and not too many. The NYTX, unfortunately, has a hard time with anything this century. I appreciate your observations.
As for your plaint, there are different ways to make clues more challenging. Ceci n’est pas une pipe might as well be the motto for this clue type. Or, it’s a feature not a bug. Either way, as a cluing strategy I have not a bit of doubt that it’s not going away any time soon.

@SouthsideJohnny - The Duchess of ALBA is not a Disney work. I think the other go to ALBA clue is the actress Jessica ALBA who probably has something Disney in her filmography, but my clue was definitely the (not particularly Tuesday) Goya work.

@Gill I - I see Covfefe in chief tied President Obama for most respected American man. Apparently not the same people who judged him more dangerous than Kim or Putin. Makes me embarrassed for our country.

TJS 10:07 AM  

@SusieQ, If you happen to come across a Honus Wagner baseball card at a garage or estate sale, scarf it up. The last one sold went for 3.2 mill.

Z 10:13 AM  

Some HONUS Wagner facts. MLB player from 1897-1917. Part of the inaugural Hall of Fame class, tied for second most votes with Babe Ruth behind Ty Cobb. Shortstop. 8 batting titles, the NL record for most batting titles. Played for the Pittsburgh Pirates (mostly). Beat Ty Cobb’s Tigers in the 1909 World Series. And probably still most remembered today for his rare baseball card. Very easy for any of us “serious baseball fans,” but right there with Goya as not particularly Tuesdayish. OTOH, how many HONUS clues are there? And is HOrUS all that more Tuesday friendly? It would probably take a completely different corner to get rid of Pittsburgh all-time best shortstop.

Nancy 10:32 AM  

A delightful Tuesday with some lively and imaginative clues like SOUSA (7D) and PULLED (45D). DADA got his due today, coming in ahead of MAMA -- making this puzzle very EVEN-handed, gender-wise.

Because it occupies such a noticeable space, I was sure that the revealer would be TWO PEAS IN A POD. But other than that one answer, I could only find two Ps at PAPAYA. So that couldn't be it. When I got to LOSE WEIGHT, I saw what had been happening -- though unobservant me hadn't noticed it earlier, of course. It's a cute, quite unmemorable theme, but it served its purpose in providing some very nice fill.

I didn't know there was a TEAM COCO. That's his nickname? He's that popular? Were Johnny Carson fans TEAM JOJO?

I had to actually do some thinking today -- a pleasure after yesterday's snoozer.

Whatsername 10:39 AM  

Seemed very easy, probably because it also seemed familiar. No complaints really other than a bit subdued for a New Year’s Eve theme. But then again, also in keeping with my usual New Year’s Eves which closely resemble SLYNODS, as in nodding off before the celebrations begin.

Oscar-winner Patricia Neal might seem a bit obscure to this generation, but she was a real pro. Just watched her last night in Cookie’s Fortune, one of her later roles. Even though she only appeared in the very beginning, her character was the focal point of the story and she made the most of it.

@Clare: Thanks for guest blogging today. I thought the first Godfather was the better movie but both were very good and the book as well. “Goodfellas” is another classic CAPO film and one of my all-time favorites.

To fellow bloggers, thank you for taking the time to share your wit and wisdom throughout the year. I look forward to your comments each day and almost always learn something from them. May you all enjoy a happy and healthy new year!

Nancy from Chicago 10:54 AM  

@Kathy, this has been my first year of daily solving and reading the blog as well. I always look forward to reading Rex's take on the puzzle and all of your comments. Happy New Year all!

amyyanni 11:20 AM  

@CrimsonDevil, yes! Truck Day (when the equipment leaves Fenway for Fort Myers) is before that! HONUS always welcome in a puzzle.
Hey Clare, solid review, thank you. Share your appreciation for PULLED clue. As for PAROLE, not really a sentence shortener as if you violate the terms of your parole, your sentence is reimposed and back into the hoosegow you go.
Thought POUND CAKE would have been an ironic start for the theme.
Best wishes for the new year, everyone. Looking forward to sharing the xword with you all in 2020. Cheers!

Newboy 11:34 AM  

Ditto to earlier posters thanking the wit & wisdom so readily apparent on a weekly basis.Rex & his good buds like Clare today certainly justify a swing by Paypal as the New Years resolutions are scribbled down. The puzzle solved from NW to SE in an interlocking diagonal without looking for any fill, so pretty easy even for Tuesday.

Hungry Mother 11:36 AM  

A Tuesday Natick, solved nicely with Jessica. Otherwise OK.

Anonymous 11:39 AM  

NESTLE bought Poland Spring (and others: some years ago. PS, even before then, was not a welcome business, in that almost all the water extracted was under either public land or others' private land. Water is the new oil.

Malsdemare 11:50 AM  

I blew it with ARaGATO crossing aCE, which sort of works if you're like me, totally inattentive to the fact that ACES is already in the puzzle. So dang, I ended the year with a fail. On the other hand, for once I caught what the theme was about, so there's that.

@Birchbark, what a cool picture. But terrifying that a sea that large is almost gone.

I share all the kind things folks have been saying about this lovely band of brothers and sisters. I, too, don't always comment, (I sleep in so don't do the puzzle until many of you have come and gone), but I always stop by to see what everyone has to say. You are all a wonderful group of virtual friends. And to whoever said that a good 2020 will be a year without a health event: AMEN!

Anonymous 12:15 PM  

The 1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner set a new world record price for a baseball card, selling for $3.12 million through Goldin Auctions. The price includes the Buyers Premium. This breaks the old record of $2.8 million, which was paid for a different copy of the card in 2007.

Solverinserbia 12:43 PM  

Set a Tuesday PR, nice way to end the year. For the drop a letter theme, I thought it was executed well and timely.

mathgent 1:14 PM  

Continuing to monitor USA TODAY crosswords under the Eric Agard editorship. Today’s was again slightly better than NYT. Clair Rimkus was the constructor and it had a New Year’s Eve theme. A little more crunch, a little more sparkle. Nancy would like the clue to 52D. “On that you can ___” (lyric from “As Time Goes By”).

Anonymous 1:31 PM  

Parole doesn't shorten a sentence. If granted it'll shorten time in the hoosegow, but the sentence remains. Lots of convicts believe parole does shorten their sentence, that's why so many end up back in prison finishing the sentence that's been in place even as they were out on parole. I understand why the incarcerated don;t grasp the idea, but an attorney--even an aspiring attorney-should.

BobL 1:47 PM  

Who cares about an opinion of another crossword on this site? Well, not me.

Klazzic 2:01 PM  

Nice write-up, Clare. I'm glad you enjoyed your visit to the Bay Area. Hearing you talk about law school brings back such ambivalent feelings. Such a grind but tremendously rewarding and exhilarating when you hear you passed the bar. I worked full-time as a 911 dispatcher during law school which added more stress. After 20 years of trial practice (mainly criminal), I just threw in the towel after realizing that justice often represents just-us (the wealthy) or just-ice, cold, numbing and hard. Best of luck in DC. Bring some fresh energy to this profession! I visited DC for the first time last May and plan another week in May 2020 (so much to see!)
Happy New Year to you.

Masked and Anonymous 2:02 PM  

The NYTPuz always has such primo good ideas. M&A's gonna go for it … and try to lose 3/5 of a POUND in 2020. But wanna try to keep the U, in my case.

Neat theme, in that I wasn't too sure what its mcguffin was, until I got in pretty deep. And with lotsa sparkly fillins, such as: well, pretty much what the Claremeister picked out, in her excellent blog writeup.

staff weeject pick = OTS: Result of parin down the old PATOOTS. Plus, the always attractive plural abbreve meat.

Only 74 words today, on account of them gorgeous, wide-open corners, which in turn were no doubt due to that frisky 13-letter themer, in the center gridrow. Looks like a tough grid to fill well … Mr. Kalish no doubt suffered. Which is probably good for U, when learnin ye olde xword constructioneerin trade. And even if U didn't suffer durin the build, readin @RP's write-up on yer puz can often do the trick. Mr. Kalish lucked out today, on the @RP part, drawin the luvly Clare instead.

Thanx for the nifty pound-in, Mr. Kalish

Masked & Anonymo5Us


Joe Dipinto 2:19 PM  

TEAM COCO? I think the puzzle made that up. Anyway, I would have liked something a little more New Year's Eve-festive. Instead we get a puzzle about losing weight. We're not supposed to think about that until tomorrow. Or the day after. Or next week.

I hope everyone here has a spectabulous year ahead. You all deserve it. Now tonight let's heed the immortal words of two-hit wonder A Taste Of Honey, who once sang:

Get on up on the floor
Cause we're gonna boogie oogie oogie
Till we just can't boogie no more

Happy New Year, my friends!

Suzie Q 2:25 PM  

Well, I have decided that my resolution for the new year is to look for a Honus Wagner baseball card. Fat chance, I know, but going to garage sales and estate auctions is a spring and summer pastime for me so who knows?

Z 2:27 PM  

@Anon11:39 - You reminded me that Nestlรฉ is not real popular in Michigan, either. Well, maybe a few people now getting a paycheck like them. Personally, bottled water strikes me as one of the bigger gobsmacking cons ever pulled.

@BobL - Not everything posted here interests me. Somehow I’ve survived.

@Anon1:31 - Golly gosh. When I’m being condescendingly snide I at least make an effort to be absolutely precise. To whit, the successful completion of PAROLE does “shorten the sentence” in effect. So, you are right that the clue leaves a potential misimpression, but you’re wrong on everything else.

Anonymous 2:59 PM  

TEAM COCO? I think the puzzle made that up.

It's real, and for a long time. Haven't found when, or who, created it.

Anonymous 3:06 PM  

It's to wit. Your argument would be stronger if it were correct.

john towle 3:07 PM  

How about this, sports fans…the poet Pound & the poet Poe. Akemashite Omedeto Gozaimasu…Bonne Annรฉe…Feliz Aรฑo Nuevo


Anonymous 3:12 PM  

On the question as to whether it was ALBA or elBA, I thought, well, Napoleon said "Able was I ere I saw Elba," so it probably wasn't a hospitable place with its own Duke and Duchess.

Joe Dipinto 3:22 PM  

@Suzie Q – I remember a story in the news some years back about a convent that inherited a Honus Wagner baseball card via the estate of a relative of one of its sisters. They made a nice piece of change off its subsequent sale.

john towle 3:32 PM  

El alba = dawn


Bourbon Street 4:00 PM  

Hi Clare, You definitely have to see “Godfather II”. Then, you can join the endless debate over what’s the better movie, “Godfather I” or “Godfather II”. I’m in the II camp, but those in the I camp have some excellent points to make. You’ll note that nobody thinks that “Godfather III” is superior to the other two. By the way, watch “Casino”. It’s also a great mob film.

@Z and Anonymous: I believe the answer to the question of whether parole shortens a sentence depends on the state.

Doc John 4:21 PM  

I'm surprised that someone like Claire hasn't heard of all the evils that Nestle has perpetuated upon the world.

Birchbark 4:21 PM  

@John Towle (3:07) -- Nice double PO poet-spotting.

Anonymous 4:51 PM  

PAROLE, by definition, shortens incarceration, which some might interpret as 'sentence'.

Geezer 5:05 PM  

Neither Godfather, I or II, is "better". Some people prefer one or the other.

The sentence/Parole mini argument is silly.

Data Interpreter 5:58 PM  

@Z. - Yes the two are tied at 18% each, pretty much along party lines. The 18% picking the great cheeto is about the same number that thought “W” was doing a fine job at the end of his term, i.e. Kool-Aid drinkers.

Pablo 6:40 PM  

Surprised to hear multiple people say they've never heard of Honus Wagner. I'm the first person on here railing about old baseball clues written by the same 60 year old white guys, but HONUS was well within my wheelhouse.

Crazy how things we think of as universal are entirely foreign to others. I know I've been stumped or outright DNF'd on a few puzzles for clues that others on here seem to regard as gimmes. Goes to show, I complain but finding clues universal enough for everyone is tricky business.

Z 8:34 PM  

@anon3:06 - Play disc with a guy named Whitt - now I always make the typo. Wish I could blame auto-correct, but it’s totally on me.

@Geezer - Yep.
@Bourbon Street - States differ on specifics, but the general idea that the sentence isn’t shortened until after the convicted person completes the terms of PAROLE seems consistent. I tend to get snippish at comments like the original anon, but the point that the sentence isn’t shortened when the individual is released seems valid. Where they erred, other than attributing it to the blogger rather than the cluer, is that the clue is entirely accurate, completing PAROLE shortens the sentence.

@Pablo6:40 - Yep. Hence, my occasional PPP analysis. Below 33% and with enough balance most solvers can work through their areas of ignorance. When 1/3rd of the clue/answers, or more, are pop culture we are almost certain to see the outhouse/wheelhouse effect. That is some people getting close to personal bests while others are posting DNFs.

Happy New Year everyone. Happy New Decade to those celebrating it (I’m team DecadeEndsNextYear but the universe is big enough for both viewpoints).

Anonymous 8:46 PM  

That was the least problematic part of your post.
You apparently don't understand what sentence means in US law.
OF course parole shortens cage time. It doesn't shorten the sentence.
Go to law school. Or be admitted to a bar and get back to me.

Carola 10:16 PM  

@Frog Prince Kisser - Thanks for explicating the theme. I hadn’t quite seen how “weight” was being lost.

@the redanman - I enjoyed your comment. As an infant just learning to talk, my daughter refused to even try to say words that began with “Ma...”, like her Grandma Mary or her Aunt Marilyn (where the Rs and the L were extra killers). Each was referred to as “that one” for a long time.

Happy New Year, fellow commenters!

Unknown 10:51 PM  

I thought curious was the indefinite article used in “a lot” and “a taste.” One doesn’t see these often in xword puzzles.

Unknown 9:27 AM  

Liked it a lot! Got a little tripped up in the SW corner, but eventually pulled it together.
Happy New Year!

kitshef 9:24 PM  

Felt pretty hard, though solved during noisy family holiday celebration so probably not as hard as it felt.

Lisa 10:36 PM  

Ugh.. Nestle who uses child labour for their chocolate and who has hurt SO MANY people with their water practices... and MORE. I boycott them and all the brands associated with them/owned by them.

Burma Shave 10:30 AM  


Those TWO are ALOT the same,
each ONE ADDSTO their BOND.
ANNA EVEN helps RAY aim


rondo 12:08 PM  

Kind of agree that PAROLE does not actually shorten the sentence, just time in prison; that’s why I originally had PARdon, which actually shortens a sentence. Another way to shorten a sentence is to

Mark April 10 on your calendar for the release of the next BOND film. Seen ‘em all; the last 21 soon after release in theaters. The first few on video and/or TV.

Different ALBA today, same result.

All that work to lose 3/5 of a POUND.

spacecraft 12:14 PM  

A fine Tuesday. Trying to figure out the theme on the way down, I saw "PO" repeated and thought maybe it had to do with the post office. Nope, didn't get the trick until filling in the revealer line. That's a plus in my book.

The fill, too, was pretty solid. Not sure about a "SLYNOD," which might be clued as "Latin church body?" but that's about it. Very easy--read "smooth"--solve, so not that many triumph points, but well crafted. We have a bleedover DOD in Jessica ALBA; take a curtain call, sweetie. Birdie.

Anonymous 2:18 PM  

Oh, boy - another lawyer on the way.

leftcoaster 2:35 PM  

Neat weight-loss theme from POUND to PO. Smooth seems to be the word of the day.

SOUSA at "March" madness? Not likely. TEAMCOCO? Don't stay up for Conan.

A LOT of improvement over yesterday's puzzle.

rainforest 3:13 PM  

A bravo Tuesday - somewhat rare, but always welcome.

I really liked the theme and its revealer. Some have said "meh" to the theme, but not I. I also really liked the longer downs as well as some other entries: SHIRKS, SEE ME, NARY, OUSTER. I noticed a few attempts to give nuance to the clues as well.

If more people approached the xword with the intent to discover what they believe is good, rather than what they don't like, this blog would be a better place. It's not like the Presidency where nothing is good, after all.

Anonymous 4:45 PM  

"If more people approached...." The blog might get a bit too dull, don't you think? Each to his or her own.

JimmyBgood 5:03 PM  

You are absolutely 100% correct, but you can argue until you are blue in the face, or the cows come home, people equate the two terms, even though sentence ≠ stay.

JimmyBgood 5:22 PM  

What is a natick for one, can be a gimme for another. I got the first A, and immediately knew the answer was ARIGATO, even though I was unsure of the spelling. I got to the second A, and read the Goya painting across clue, and knew that it was an A, knowing the title of said painting(having seen it numerous times in xword puzzles), plus it's the only Goya painting that I can actually picture in my head.

Domo Arigato,
Mr. Roboto

JimmyBgood 6:01 PM  

Yes, but they own 51 distinct brands of water, and I'm sure there are numerous brands within those distinct brands. I, personally, have never looked into the company's practices, but there does seem to be a very distinct dislike for Nestle

strayling 7:24 PM  

All that arguing about words meaning unpleasant things up-thread. Haven't they heard of the use/mention distinction?

Me, I'm just happy to see a nicely constructed puzzle with a well-executed theme. I see they finally gave the ORCA a day off and brought in a SLAMON for a change.

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