Young otter's home / WED 1-8-20 / Workplace of Jack Bauer on 24 for short / Economic legislative capital of Sri Lanka / Sacred lamb from Latin / Now-discontinued Chili's appetizer with rhyming name / Echoic soup slogan

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Constructor: Amanda Yesnowitz and Joon Pahk

Relative difficulty: Medium (well, very easy and then bizarrely hard around the answer CTU, which I still don't really know the meaning of and I watched "24" for years ... is it "counter-terrorism unit"??? OK)


THEME: AB POSITIVE (60A: What's an uncommon blood type ... or a hint to this puzzle's theme) — theme answers are two-word phrases where first word starts with "A" and second starts with "B"; the POSITIVE makes no real sense unless you know the original context for which the puzzle was constructed, about which, more below...

Theme answers:
  • ALARM BELLS (17A: Early warnings of danger)
  • AURORA BOREALIS (26A: Radiant display also called the Northern Lights)
  • AWESOME BLOSSOM (47A: Now-discontinued Chili's appetizer with a rhyming name)
Word of the Day: CTU (51A: Workplace of Jack Bauer on "24," for short) —
[well, in dictionaries, it stand for the Conference of Trade Unions (NZ), but in the context of the TV show "24," it stands for "Counter-terrorism Unit" ... I can't tell if this abbr. has any real currency outside the TV show]
• • •

Dutchess, 2002-2019
HELLO, READERS AND FELLOW SOLVERS. It's early January and that means it's time for my annual pitch for financial contributions to the blog, during which I ask regular readers to consider what the blog is worth to them on an annual basis and give accordingly. It's kind of a melancholy January this year, what with the world in, let's say, turmoil. Also, on a personal note, 2019 was the year I lost Dutchess, who was officially The Best Dog, and who was with me well before I was "Rex Parker." Somehow the turning of the calendar to 2020 felt like ... I was leaving her behind. It's not a rational sentiment, but love's not rational, especially pet love. Speaking of love—I try hard to bring a passion and enthusiasm to our shared pastime every time I sit down to this here keyboard. I love what I do here, but it is a lot of work, put in at terrible hours—I'm either writing late at night, or very early in the morning, so that I can have the blog up and ready to go by the time your day starts (9am at the very latest, usually much earlier). I have no major expenses, just my time. Well, I do pay Annabel and Claire, respectively, to write for me once a month, but beyond that, it's just my time. This blog is a source of joy and genuine community to me (and I hope to you) but it is also work, and this is the time of year when I acknowledge that! All I want to do is write and make that writing available to everyone, for free, no restrictions. I have heard any number of suggestions over the years about how I might "monetize" (oof, that word) the blog, but honestly, the only one I want anything to do with is the one I already use—once a year, for one week, I just ask readers to contribute directly. And then I let 51 weeks go by before I bring up the subject again. No ads, no gimmicks. It's just me creating this thing and then people who enjoy the thing supporting the work that goes into creating the thing. It's simple. I like simple. Your support means a lot to me. Knowing that I have a loyal readership really is the gas in the tank, the thing that keeps me solving and writing and never missing a day for 13+ years. I will continue to post the solved grid every day, tell you my feelings about the puzzle every day, make you laugh or wince or furrow your brow or shout at your screen every day, bring you news from the Wider World of Crosswords (beyond the NYT) every day. The Word of the Day is: Quotidian. Occurring every day. Daily. Whether you choose to contribute or not, I'm all yours. Daily.

How much should you give? Whatever you think the blog is worth to you on a yearly basis. Whatever that amount is is fantastic. Some people refuse to pay for what they can get for free. Others just don't have money to spare. All are welcome to read the blog—the site will always be open and free. But if you are able to express your appreciation monetarily, here are two options. First, a Paypal button (which you can also find in the blog sidebar):

Second, a mailing address (checks should be made out to "Rex Parker"):

Rex Parker c/o Michael Sharp
54 Matthews St
Binghamton, NY 13905

All Paypal contributions will be gratefully acknowledged by email. All snail mail contributions will be gratefully acknowledged with hand-written postcards. I. Love. Snail Mail. I love seeing your gorgeous handwriting and then sending you my awful handwriting. It's all so wonderful. This year's cards are illustrations from the covers of classic Puffin Books—Penguin's children's book imprint.  Watership Down, Charlotte's Web, The Phantom Tollbooth, A Wrinkle in Time, How to Play Cricket ... you know, the classics. There are a hundred different covers and they are truly gorgeous. Please note: I don't keep a "mailing list" and don't share my contributor info with anyone. And if you give by snail mail and (for some reason) don't want a thank-you card, just say NO CARD.  As ever, I'm so grateful for your readership and support.

Now on to the puzzle!
• • •

I'm going to be very brief today, since this isn't really a puzzle constructed primarily for public consumption. It was constructed for the occasion of the recent wedding of one of the constructors (Ms. Yesnowitz) (read about the wedding-specific details here). The names of the bride and groom are hidden in it (AMAN / DAB / REN / DAN), and there is a touching hidden message spelled out by the first letters of the clues, when read in order, Across then Down). I will say that the "first-letters" message was startling, not because I didn't see it (if you're not looking for it, why would you see it?), but because *usually* puzzles with "first-letters" messages (yes, they've been in NYTXW puzzles before) have a very awkward feel to them, like the clues have been compromised (because, well, they have, for the sake of the message). But this puzzle did not feel as if they clues had anything weird or off about them. In fact, the whole solve was eerily smooth and fast *until* I hit the STYNE / CTU row. At that point, the puzzle jumped from Monday to Thursday level for me.


I can never remember if it's STINE or STYNE (composers, ugh, so many), and even with ARMY I couldn't really get CAMP from [End point of a military march] (I figured they were marching to war ... then I figured the "march" was musical and the end point was an ... ARMY CODA???!). The real killer of this puzzle, though, was CTU, an answer that has never appeared in the NYTXW before. I kept putting in and taking out GSUIT, but the "U" just made no sense. And then I could Not remember the exact spelling of AOC's middle name (49D: Elected congresswoman of 2018, Alexandria ___-Cortez => OCASIO). I always want it to be OCTAVIO. And then there's the very clever but Absolutely Brutal clue on CASTLING (39D: Rookie move?) (because CASTLING in chess involves the ... rook ... so it's more rook-y, but still, that is good). Finally, I had no idea DAN was a [Tribe of Israel]. My bad. Anyway, the net result was somewhat jarring—a very easy puzzle up top, a much rougher thing down below. But as I say, I have no interest in picking this puzzle apart on a technical level. It works OK on its own, but it wasn't meant to be solved on its own. It was written for a joyous occasion. So go read about the joyous occasion, and enjoy the rest of your day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

103 comments:

Lewis 6:20 AM  

After reading the story behind the puzzle, tissues were in order, as the two Great Transitions involved in this story tug tug tug at my emotions. After solving and before reading the backstory, I was, as your resident Alphadoppeltotter, already primed to be greatly moved, by the appearance of column five. Much happiness to the newlyweds and thank you, Amanda and Joon for this overall extraordinary solving experience!

GILL I. 7:14 AM  

Another puzzle thinking I had no idea what I was doing nor the reason why.
AWESOME BLOSSOM? Well, if you say so. Do you eat BLOSSOMs at Chili's? I don't even eat them at the Ritz. TREO ORL? Is that someones name? So Bart pranks MOE and not Apu or Stu? OK.....move along and try to figure this out.
So I get to AB POSITIVE and think...what's positive about this thing? We have SORROW and SAPS and AIL and BAH. But wait!...there's more. Oh....I'm told to read the story behind this crossword over at wordplay so I do as I'm told. Oh...cute. they got married and I watched it all on tape and everything. Congratulations are in order.
I hope you are very happy.... Was Joon the best MAN? AMAN DA?

kitshef 7:19 AM  

That AGNUS/GSUIT/CTU section. A completely uninferrable three-letter initialism, a Latin term unfamiliar to me, and a “?” clue that I still don’t understand – or more precisely I suspect is wrong. For the record, I got everything correct, so no sour grapes here. Just a bit boggled that this was deemed acceptable.

The story behind the puzzle is lovely.

BobL 7:20 AM  

Just wow!

Jake W 7:20 AM  

This is a nice story, but I do not think this should have been published. The theme simply makes no sense to anyone not privy to the backstory. CTU is not a real thing, and I, like Rex, even watched 24! Also didn't appreciate the two fish clues right next to each other.

amyyanni 7:22 AM  

Awww.....

Hungry Mother 7:22 AM  

A couple of hangups on the way to a quick solve: I confused Dollywood and Bollywood for a moment and EDGE seemed a weird answer. Otherwise, no problem.

Joaquin 7:56 AM  

I enjoyed solving this puzzle - enough of a challenge but quite doable. Then I read the backstory. Gobsmack City! Congratulations to everyone involved in making this puzzle and the entire event.

Irene 7:56 AM  

How about HOLT? I googled it, so it is definitely a real thing, but surely beyond esoteric. TREO? News to me: I tried to convince myself that an early cell phone had been called an OREO. And I spent too much time trying to make Jack Bauer work for the CIA.
Not good, no matter how sweet.

Z 8:06 AM  

What Rex said about CTU. I’m just glad the Chess connection finally clicked.

@GILL I - I think it was something similar to Outback’s Blooming Onion.

The puzzle commissioning and the puzzle itself is charming. The choice to publish it internationally borders on TMI. I understand @Lewis’ reaction. I also understand the, “why are you telling me this...I don’t know you,” reaction.

Unknown 8:09 AM  

Gsuit? What's va gsuit?

Less than great puzzle (though i did love rookie move) The puzzle was redeemed by learning the backstory so thank you Rex.

pabloinnh 8:10 AM  

HOLT from the prologue to the Canterbury Tales, of all places, also I really like otters. AGNUS from Agnus Dei, which shows up in a lot of choral music based on the mass. LLANO from Spanish.

TREO, on the other hand, really? News to me.

Thought these were neat examples of AB phrases, even if the POSITIVE part was apropos of nothing.

Congratulations and thanks for the fun.

Suzie Q 8:10 AM  

I disagree with Rex about the clues. I had so many marks in the margin that I finally stopped. I thought the wording of the clues was so odd. It reminded me of the badly translated directions on products from China. I haven't read the back story and might not bother. I resent my puzzle being hijacked for someone else's inside joke.
I guess I sound pretty crabby.

Alexscott68 8:17 AM  

My god, CTU was such a gimme. AGNUS crossing GSUIT and CASTLING, now that was hard.

Z 8:23 AM  

From state of the art to “huh?” in less than 20 years. Palm TREO
Gillette makes a TREO razor, but somehow I doubt we will see that clue for TREO anytime soon.

Hoping the issue with a plane crash has to do with the type of plane you’re getting on in about 24 hours is a weird emotion. Current mood.

Anonymous 8:24 AM  

@kitshef - G Suit is worn by pilots of fighter jets.

Congratulations to the lovely couple. I have followed this story from the engagement to wedding. Very affirming in the age we live.

Klazzic 8:43 AM  

Brilliant! God, so many Debbie-Downers today. Can't you folks appreciate a love story without all the carping and nit-picking? Sheesh. You folks must be a joy to get up with. (Breathe deep). CASTLING was a gimme right off the bat. CTU and STYNE more problematic. Thanks, Rex, for pointing out the cluing message. Again, Brilliant!

Unknown 8:51 AM  

An easy Wednesday for me as AGNUS, LLANO and DAN were gimmes and I once owned a TREO. I think this is the first time I’ve done a non-Monday or Tuesday without any googling. The back story was interesting but only as it explained the POSITIVE aspect which made no sense until I learned about the wedding. Congratulations, I guess...

Clueless 8:54 AM  

🀦‍♂️ to πŸ¦€

πŸ’†‍♀️ πŸ’†‍♂️ & πŸ˜‰

πŸ₯‚ to πŸ‘°

😊

OffTheGrid 9:00 AM  

I enjoyed the solve but there were some clunkers:

AWESOME does not rhyme with BLOSSOM.

Yardstick EDGE? Almost everything has an edge. Crappy clue.

GSUIT is a real thing but clue really should have included "space" as in outer space wear. The "?" does not save this and a straightforward clue would be better.

Same with "Rookie move?" Trying too hard resulting in stupid.

Just curious, does anyone celebrate AGNUS Day?

Hambone 9:05 AM  

Seconding the frustration with CTU. My solve was flying in record time, until I only had "CIA" to cram in there.

It wouldn't have been nearly as bad if the more obvious clue answer hadn't also started with a C. How about "group of Illinois educators"?

Nancy 9:18 AM  

Sort of like a Friday for me, with so much pop culture I didn't know. My nemesis section was the middle of the top, where I didn't know MR TOAD or TREO. I had read "Tuesdays with Morrie", but, being me, I had forgotten his name and, with MO--IE, I had to run the alphabet to get it.

"Chili's appetizer"?? What dat? When AWESOME BLOSSOM came in, I just stared at it blankly. When I go back and read y'all, you'll tell me what it is, yes?

No, you cannot clue G-SUIT with "outerwear", even when you put in a question mark. Outer space wear, yes. Out-of-the-space-capsule-and-on-a-spacewalk, yes. Not "outerwear". A very unfair clue.

I didn't know that Darth Vader and Han SOLO were in the same movie franchise. I thought that Darth was in "Star Wars" and Han was in "Raiders of the Lost Ark". No, I'm not joking. That's really what I thought.

I consider myself a well-educated person, but I never heard of a HOLT.

Many of the clues in this puzzle were MMMM GOOD. The one for AMBIEN was especially clever and tricky. And I never complain when a puzzle seems too hard for its day of the week. So, with a couple of exceptions, basically I enjoyed this a lot.

Petsounds 9:26 AM  

OK, now I understand why my solving experience here was so bizarre. The clues went from unbelievably easy to impossibly hard. All of the themers were easy enough to solve without a single down answer. The answer to OWL OR OSPREY? was BIRD--so simple as to be completely counterintuitive.

And then we have TREO, GSUIT, CTU, DAN, CASTLING...

Agree with previous posters who said this ultra-personal puzzle shouldn't have been published.

SouthsideJohnny 9:40 AM  

Cute concept and they obviously put in a lot of effort. Unfortunately, there is a lot of dreck here.

MR TOAD, MORRIE Schwartz and Jonathan FAVREAU ? Yuk.

The SE is a disaster, with two Dark Matter entries (the Latin AGNUS and the nonsensical CTU), along with the horribly clued GSUIT.

AWESOME BLOSSOM failed as a gimmick at a chain restaurant, was buried and should have been left to rest in peace.

BREA and HOLT are both “meh” at best in an already over-burdened grid. Would like to see an abbreviation in the clue for 63A (EXEC) as well.

The puzzle obviously played nicely for its intended audience at the wedding (with the constructors present and Shortz in attendance to keep things moving). Not sure it should have seen the light of day as an NYT offering though, as some of it is truly cringe-inducing. I guess there is no harm in allowing WS some “editor’s privilege” to indulge the lucky newlyweds, so “congrats” and we’ll move on from there.







Sir Hillary 9:50 AM  

I am a pretty sentimental guy, and my own wife's father passed away less than two months before our wedding, so I love the backstory here. And from a construction standpoint, it is remarkable that the puzzle is so smooth, given all the constraints (four long themers, couple's names in the grid, and the amazing initial letters of the clues). So, both emotionally and objectively, this puzzle is a towering achievement.

BUT...

Despite its admirable attributes (and those of its constructors), it does not belong on the NYT's puzzle page. It belongs on someone's blog, or on the NYT's wedding pages. It's just too insider-y for public consumption, regardless of Will Shortz's relationship with the co-constructor. Five years ago, I enlisted Brendan Emmett Quigley to help me construct a 60th birthday puzzle for a friend, and it came out wonderfully, including multiple theme layers such as we have today. But it didn't warrant broad publication, and neither does this one. I have no idea if the constructors were paid for this puzzle, but if they were, then someone else missed out. Sorry for saying BAH, but that's how I feel.

As to the puzzle itself, here are my highlights/lowlights:
-- Still blown away by the clue trick. By far the most unobtrusive of its kind that I've ever seen.
-- Clues for AMBIEN and SAPS made me chuckle.
-- I had OsorIO as AOC's name for way too long. Bad miss, given that I live maybe 25 miles from her district.
-- Kept reading 58D's clue as Bollywood, so tried asia for a bit. Time wasted.
-- Interpreted "Melancholy" as an adjective, so dropped in SOlemn. Another bad miss.

My views on broad publication aside, this is a great puzzle, and I wish nothing but the best to the married couple, who are obviously talented and creative people.

Cynic Cal 9:55 AM  

This wedding tie-in is just another example of the "Look at Me (Us)" trend of the last several years. Proposals on the jumbotron, underwater weddings, ETCETC. Get over yourselves. No one really cares. BAH!

Pablo 10:06 AM  

This puzzle can be described only as... ugh. Yes, it's sweet. My family is going through some happy and sad times as well, but no one is writing very public XWs about it with indeciferable themes. Also, didn't we already get this couple's "RING" themed puzzle awhile ago? That seems like more than enough. Happy for the couple, but the editor should know better.

The puzzle itself was just awful in the bottom third. Full disclosure, I DNF'd (on a Weds??), because I had two complete "Natick's" as Rex says (3 actually, but one I had correct at the end).

The only trouble at the top was MRTOAD/TREO. MRTOAD is a great entry (although I didn't know it was a Disney ride). TREO rings absolutely no bells, and I would have been a high school student obsessed with getting a smartphone when it came out.

Flew through the top half, but my first difficulty came at BASSO/BREA. Until now, I never knew that "glee" was primarily a musical term and not just a TV show. I was looking for an actor, and La BREA Tar Pits rings absolutely no bells. I still put in BASSO eventually, and I'm not salty about that.

Then there was OTT crossing STYNE. I'm simply too young for either. If you have two old proper nouns crossing, but one is easily fixable (clue OTT as an abbreviation for Ottawa), fix it. That's on the editor.

Now the CTU, AGNUS, GSUIT area, and it's just atrocious. CTU is not a thing. Any reasonable person puts CIA there. AGNUS is a foreign language entry crossing another foreign language entry. No one knows Latin except a particular subset of the country that is very well-educated in a very specific number of fields. It should be used only in common phrases, and not for meaning. Cross that with LLANO (granted not a problem for me, but I have to be consistent in my complaints) and it's already causing problems for most of the US. I've never heard of a GSUIT by that name, but it's a fine entry if you don't clue it as vaguely and imprecisely as possible while it's crossing a Latin definition at the only entirely unguessable letter and a fake acronym. Throw CASTLING into the mix, clued in a way that I think is invalid (rook-y is correct and clever enough), and that section is just unforgivable.

So GSUIT/AGNUS and OTT/STYNE got me today. The theme was of negative help because I kept looking for a theme you literally can't find. So like @SUZIEQ, I resent my puzzle being hijacked. Wednesday is usually my favorite day difficulty-wise. I understand being moved by this, but if I want to be moved by weddings and family messages I've already got apps for that. They're called Facebook and Instagram, and at least I know those people...

Joaquin 10:16 AM  

@OffTheGrid asks, " ... does anyone celebrate AGNUS Day?"

My friend Gomer does. But he's a semi-dyslexic cattle rancher.

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

Didn't bother to read the story behind the puzzle until after solving and, frankly, the puzzle kind of stinks, though the story is nice.

I'm annoyed that I'm paying more than $40 a year for a puzzle that is not really fit for public consumption, esp. with the lunacy in the southeast with CASTLING, CTU and AGNUS, and the terrible clue for GSUIT

I get that Joon Pahk is considered a puzzle god, but this puzzle should not have been published here.

Anonymous 10:17 AM  

Agree 100% with Cynic Cal.

Pete 10:20 AM  

Damned puzzle wouldn't load on my tablet, so had to solve on my phone. Thus, I had 0% chance of seeing the tribute to the father, 0% chance of seeing the AMAN/DAB/REN/DAN gimmick, and 0% chance of seeing what was so damned positive about the AB stuff. Just a well below average puzzle which confused me, I knew Joon wouldn't make a well below average puzzle.

I congratulate Amanda & Brendan on their wedding, wish them decades of marital bliss, exactly as many healthy kids as they want, and envy Amanda's positive memories of her father. I just wish I had a decent puzzle to solve last night.

Newboy 10:28 AM  

It’s a rare but delightful day when I can honestly agree with BOTH Rex & Lewis. Same snags in solving OCASIA/CTU as OFL & awed appreciation as Lewis. Winning in every way possible!

CDilly52 10:30 AM  

I well recall “The Proposal” puzzle, and am so happy to know the whole story now. Sharing the story with all who love the art of crosswords and the wonderful community it attracts made today’s solve of an excellent offering all the more enjoyable.

Oddly enough, my difficulties mirror @Rex today, especially the spelling of Rep. AOC’s “O” name. I rarely Encounter the same snags as OFL. Of course, I experience many more, but my difficult spots are almost always other than his.

For those of you not obsessed as a child with the names for animals’ homes, HOLT is an otter’s abode. I have not discovered the reason why. It can also be called a couch, which makes much more sense to me. Otters look a bit like a sports fan on game day when they lounge on their backs looking for all the world as if they have a bowl of chips on their bellies, cracking and popping clams like popcorn.

This was one of the most enjoyable solves in a very long time. A “feel good” start for the day.

Gerry Kelly 10:36 AM  

Really thought rookie move was great clue but take issue with ULNA! I realize that coming up with a new clue for a gimme is hard but the ulnar and radius are essentially same length. One source has radius as longer while another has them the same until later in life!

Whatsername 10:38 AM  

First of all, best wishes to the happy couple. May they enjoy a lifetime of happiness together. Their private messages and reasons for constructing this “personal” puzzle aside, I thought it was a good crossword and don’t feel it was inappropriate in any way. Had they not chosen to share the background, I would never have known the difference and it would not have affected my solving experience in the least.

I was feeling quite frustrated with a Natick at 51A so I was relieved to learn that others including OFL were also stumped. I don’t know chess or Jack Bauer and never watched 24 so no luck with even a guess there. But I do vaguely remember some TV character who carried a BIRD around on his shoulder. If an AWESOMEBLOSSOM is anything like a Bloomin’ Onion, I’m sure I’d like it. Maybe with some HALIBUT, ETC on the side.

@Nancy at 9:18 - I wouldn’t give two RIALs for Darth Vader or Han SOLO or every Star Wars film ever made. But Indiana Jones played by Harrison Ford? Now there’s an action hero worth watching. Raiders of the Lost Ark is an entertaining movie as is its sequel, The Last Crusade, which has the added bonus of Sean Connery. Not outlandish sci-fi but believable adventure right here on earth.

Suzie Q 10:39 AM  

@ Joaquin, Finally something fun! Thanks for the chuckle.

Also agree that using yardstick as a clue for edge is ridiculous.

the redanman 10:43 AM  

So we want equality in Female Constructors, be careful what you wish for. Now the ratio is better YAY!

CASTLIING is 100%

Terrible mess in the SW, wedding or not. That was not the limit of the problems with this clunker. Not even the great Joon could make it palatable.

UGH

Kathy 10:52 AM  

I solved this fairly quickly (for me) but I encountered the same near-Naticks as many others. I was able to tentatively figure out all but one: tribe of Israel/unit of the eye. I knew the missing letter was a vowel so I started with A and was shocked to get Congratulations! It felt a little like cheating. Had any of my other guesses been wrong, I would have had to have turned on auto-check. So I would call this a lucky win.

As far as the theme, I was underwhelmed during the solve. I could see it had something to do with blood types but I really didn’t care. After I finished, I read the back story and changed my opinion completely. I am amazed that this puzzle was constructed with so many overt and covert layers and I applaud the effort. I don’t mind at all that this was an inside story and that we were all unwitting participants. I recall the RING puzzle last year and I think it’s wonderful that Amanda pulled off this gift to Brendan and memorial for her dad.

@Cynic Cal, I couldn’t agree more about being weary of the proposal arms race, and I would add to that gender reveals. However, I would give this bit of lightheartedness in the cruciverbalist community a pass with the emphatic caution that it shouldn’t become “a thing.”

@OffTheGrid. When I was a youngster attending Catholic school and mandatory daily Mass, it was Agnus Dei every day! @Joaquin’s friend Gomer the cattle rancher was in my class and he was always messing up the song.

Anonymous 11:07 AM  

can't decide which is more bizarre, Rex and others' claim that the puzzle wasn't fit for public consumption or that Agnus Dei is hard or obscure, or except to "a particular subset (sic) of the country that (sic) that is very well-educated (sic) in a specific number of fields."

Agnus Dei is one of the most common phrase in Christianity. Has been for two-thousand years. It's an underpinning of Christianity, the world's most popular religion. The Gospel of St. John, whence Agnus Dei comes, is hardly the purview of high falutin of elites, the educated or any other exclusive class. Rather it is the Good News. Available to all, and of course, eternally true.

Malsdemare 11:09 AM  

I came home late last night from a mission of mercy for my sister so having an interesting puzzle this morning was just what I needed. And this one delivered. I finished it—with one error (TREs)—in average time. I loved the clues for CASTLING, GSUIT, AMBIEN and of course, wondered what was positive about AB. Reading the backstory extended my appreciation for a lovely puzzle immeasurably. Rather than finish it, come here, and then forget it, the MELANCHOLY tale with a happy ending kept my enjoyment going, so I don't mind in the least paying my money for an insider's delight.

I'm going to bore you with my Ansel Adams story, just because I can, even if it is a day late. My parents met Adams during the war when dad was stationed out west and they used what free time they got to hit the national parks. They met Adams when he was selling books of his prints at Yosemite, and they bought one, a gorgeous coffee table outsized book with 30 photo plates. It sat in our library for years, and all of us spent hours paging through the lovely images. Twenty years later, mom mentioned she wished she'd asked Adams to sign the book when they were there so I wrote him, told him about my parents and asked if he'd sign it. "Of course," he replied, so I sent it off to Yosemite. He didn't just sign the fly leaf, he signed EVERY SWINGING PRINT!! Mom was dazzled

Mom died in 1989 and we five sisters were divying up her possessions. Rather than fight over the book, we decided to take it apart. Every sister got six pages. So I have 3 beautifully framed signed prints and each of my 3 children has one. I'm sure we destroyed the value of the book but the emotional value of those pages in incalculable. So often the puzzles, or comments here, gift me with a trip down memory lane and that's what happened yesterday, home from a long drive after an extremely stressful day (and the grim news out of Iran) and reminiscing about Mom, a book, and my gorgeous Ansel Adams photos.

Thanks to puzzle constructors, fellow bloggers, and Rex, who makes it possible.

David 11:16 AM  

DNF for me. I knew, for instance, that Disney had destroyed Winnie the Pooh, I didn't know they got their hooks into Wind in the Willows.

CTU? I never watched the show and figured it had to be CIA, which left me wondering why the clue for 39D wasn't a wonderful clue for Castling.

If you've never heard of Agnus Dei maybe you've heard of the play, Agnus Of God? It was made into a movie in the 80s. Look it up.

Awesome does not rhyme with blossom. At least not in the NE US. Maybe it does somewhere. I've never set foot in a Chili's.

An alternative for tuna might be mackerel, not halibut.

You can see why I DNF. Much too literal and not enough exposure to Disney or TV.

How did I know Favreau? No clue. There are some really nice things here, just outside my wheelhouse.

I'll skip the story, but congratulations and wish you a long, happy marriage.

As for Styne. Yes, there are far too many composers out here, myself included. But Rex, you'll probably never hear our names, and certainly are unlikely to hear our music, because a majority of folks in the USA think "composers, ugh."

Anonymous 11:18 AM  

FWIW, a GSUIT isn't a space suit, nor is it a high altitude suit for non-pressurized (aka, military) aircraft. The clue isn't, even a little bit. And yes, that is what it's called. It's purpose is specifically to maintain blood supply to the brain in high speed maneuvers. Jet fighters, and perhaps, aerobatic planes.

JC66 11:22 AM  

@Nancy

You may have conflated Han Solo (Star Wars) & Indiana Jones (Raiders of the Lost Ark) because, as @Whatsername eluded to, both characters are played by Harrison Ford.

What? 11:26 AM  

Pretty easy and pleasant except for MRTOAD, TREO, and CTU. Well, you can’t get them all, all the time.
To those who grumbled about the backstory, a belated HUMBUG to you.

Anonymoose 11:39 AM  

Colorado Technical University

Nancy 11:42 AM  

My reaction to the very long backstory is a lot closer to @Z's than @Lewis's. "Tissues were in order"? Really, Lewis? I mean, it's a nice story and all, but tissues? Oh, well, it's lovely to know there's someone on the blog who has such a soft heart :)

On a different subject: I finally did it!!!! I just ordered a new laptop from the only place in NYC that seems to carry the Asus brand. It's nowhere near me. It's on 34th Street and Ninth Avenue.The 3 computer stores near me have a zillion HPs and a zillion Macs and some Dells and Lenovos, but nary an Asus. And Asus is the brand that has been a good and faithful servant since December 2008.

Based on talking to experts in stores and checking online reviews, I ordered the Asus Zenbook 13.3" UX331FAL. I gather it's the closest to what I have now: i.e. a PC, no touchscreen function and not a 2-in-1. I know it will be Windows 10 instead of Windows 7 and I'm sure it will be a big adjustment -- though I have no idea what kind of adjustment.

Right now on my 2008 laptop, the left-click has become all but inoperable. I've found a temporary way to get around it: by using two index fingers to depress that side of the bar, whatever it's called. At least I can get around it -- for a while I was completely panicked because it simply wasn't responding at all.

The new Asus will arrive tomorrow. Imagine that! My handyman, who's off on Wed and Thurs, is here on weekends and I hope he will have time then to install it. @GILL -- the place I bought from -- B&H -- doesn't have a geek squad. The places that do don't carry Asus. @Z -- I will run it by my handyman to see if the data from my old computer can be uploaded?/downloaded? into my new one. The tech guy at B&H thought that it might be complicated when you're going from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

Then, of course, there's my provider RCN. Will they need to be brought into the process too in order to make the switch or can I just plug the new one into whatever the old one is plugged into? So many things to worry about.

If I disappear from the blog completely in the near future, you will know that it's not some hideous disease but a website that no longer recognizes me. I would then appear "in black", being blueless for the moment and would await someone's instructions on what to do about it. I might end up phoning either @Hartley or @Teedmn. Hope it won't happen though.

Keep your fingers crossed for me...

Pablo 11:44 AM  

@Anonymous, I appreciate the education on AGNUS Dei. It's good to know it is "one of the most common phrase (sic) in Christianity." I don't share your enthusiasm for Christianity. So while I may have heard the phrase Agnus Dei, I do not know its connection to the "Sacred lamb," which was necessary for the clue. I still think that's a bad choice to cross with GSUIT, LLANO, and CASTLING.

As for your grammar corrections (which aren't even all valid) meant to undermine the credibility of my comment, this is a blog comment section and not a thesis. If I'm typing it on my phone on the toilet, I'm not doing any proofreading.

Anonymous 11:50 AM  

David,
Maybe you're the one who should look up the work titled Agnes of God, hmm?

Bart 12:02 PM  

@David

People think "composers, ugh" for the same reason they think "ugh" about everything else. When you get too specific in a field that isn't built for public exposure, it becomes too obscure.

Personally I'm a scientist. In my opinion, science and technological development is the #1 thing shaping our world today. Without it there is absolutely nothing remotely similar to our current world. However, beyond "BOHR" how many scientists do you see in XW puzzles? People see science and go "science, ugh." People like Kary Mullis, David Baltimore, Shinya Yamanaka, Bob Langer, and countless more probably have a greater impact on current society and the future than most US Presidents, but no one expects you to know them. Instead, puzzles will always focus on those in the limelight. In the course of history it really doesn't matter if Mel Ott was great at baseball, but far more people know who he is.

Amelia 12:32 PM  

I agree with SO many people here. Let's start with Rex. What the hell? I don't play chess, I never watched 24, I still don't get the GSUIT clue, although I can take a guess. That was the first time in forever that I DNF a Wednesday. The one thing I knew was AOC's name. Let us not go there.

I think the story is lovely. I wish them all the best. My mother died a couple of days after my first child was born, so I get it. And I love acrostics. But it really doesn't merit public consumption. Then again, neither does their honeymoon album and I'm sure that's on Instagram.

So complicated. You certainly aren't getting the acrostic without help. And if you don't know them, as most of us don't, it doesn't really register. And speaking of complicated, if you read the story, you'll notice that Will Shortz didn't get it, either.

Keep it simple, Mr. Shortz. Oh, and harder, too.

Swagomatic 12:40 PM  

The Gsuit is what's worn by fighter pilots over their flight suits. It helps maintain blood pressure to the brain during high G maneuvers. It was a perfectly cromulent clue.

Anonymous 12:44 PM  

the problem with praising STEM, these days, is most of what gets made under that rubric is just infotainment. we still burn fossil fuels. we still drive 4+ passenger cars solo. we still watch TeeVee; which is still a 'vast wasteland' of reality shows at 4K. healthcare isn't much better, for most folks, than it was in 1960; USofA lifespan is falling off a cliff. we have a Dictator who defies everything in STEM, since his 'gut' disagrees with folks who actually know stuff. Australia is burning down because their Dictator does the same. if you look at job listing that call for STEM skills, the rest are in marketing of e-tail; figure out ways to extract more moolah from folks on infotainment. and so on. populist Dictators rail against 'elites', but ship ever more moolah to the rich elites to which they belong. the hoi polloi, being uneducated by these populist Dictators, slurp it up like an RC and a MoonPie.

Unknown 12:52 PM  

Bart pranks everyone, but the clue is the target of his prank CALLS, which are famously made to Moe.

Anonymous 1:00 PM  

"Awesome does not rhyme with blossom. At least not in the NE US.".

Seriously? How the heck do you pronounce them in the NE US?

I looked up both on a website for American pronunciation, and it sure sounded like a rhyme to me.






Teedmn 1:09 PM  

This was a really nice puzzle for a very sweet occasion - thanks, Amanda and Brendan, for sharing.

My first hitch came at the top center where I had no idea on the "Wild Ride" character and was wary of how to enter MM MM GOOD. This all became clear eventually.

Then when I started to slap in G SUIT at 46D, I hesitated and eventually left it blank due to everyone's favorite head-scratcher, Jack Bauer's place of employment. When I came back up to that area from the bottom, CASTLING and SUIT were obvious and I put the puzzle to bed so I could run off and Google CTU. Oh.

AWESOME job, Amanda and Joon, on this puzzle, especially with the embedded message.

@Nancy, I finally caved and updated both my work and home computers to Windows 10. While I still occasionally fume as to why some things were changed with no apparent gain in functionality, the learning curve wasn't as bad as some earlier upgrades have been. And I find that if I can't figure out how to do something, I Google it and there's always some helpful person who has discovered the fix and explained it.

mmorgan 1:10 PM  

Wow. I solved this last night and didn't remember anything about but I love the backstory and the "hidden" message in the clues. Fab! Congrats!!

Anonymous 1:13 PM  

@Joaquin, HA! That reminds me of something from the comic Pearls Before Swine. Agnus (still chuckling).

Nancy 1:13 PM  

Anon 1:00 -- They're very different, at least in my neck of the woods.

AWESOME, the AWE pronounced like paw, craw, saw, claw, lawn.

BLOSSOM, the BLOSS pronounced like pond, cod, fond, rod, blah.

I also thought that they didn't rhyme, but because I didn't know what AWESOME BLOSSOM was, I didn't much care. I'm assuming that in your neck of the woods, you pronounce AWEsome AHHsome?? I mean there's no way that you pronounce BLOSsom BLOWsome -- right?

old timer 1:18 PM  

"Whst an absurdly Easy puzzle for a Wednesday!" was my thought. Until I got to CTU, which would have been too obscure even for a Saturday. Fortunately, everyone in the country who pays the slightest attention to politics knows AOC, and I thought until now, everyone has played chess at some time, and certainly knows about CASTLING. GSUIT was inferable. The one thing I didn't know was AWESOME BLOSSOM. I think a fairer clue would have been, "American Beauty?

Except, of course, the clue had to begin with an N. Like probably everyone, I had no idea about the Message to Dad until I read it online. That, I think it is a tour de force. And if you get to have a Proposal Puzzle, you certainly deserve a wedding puzzle, so I shall not whinge about it.

I do think that those of us who (a) grew up in Los Angeles and (b) went from there to Yosemite sometimes had an edge. A&W stores were everywhere along US 99, even before the chain went national, and the La BREA tar pits were visited by every schoolkid, sometimes in conjunction with a visit to the Art Museum next door.

As for AGNUS my first thought was there is nothing sacred about it. Just the ordinary Latin word for lamb. The French word is agneau, which summons up some delicious memories for me. But I can see that for some, AGNUS Dei is brought to mind because they have been Catholic, or musical, or (rarely) both.

JC66 1:27 PM  

Does aweSOME rhyme with blosSOM?

Let's vote.

@old timer

Thanks for "whinge." I learned a new word (knew CTU).

Amelia 1:38 PM  

Awesome DOES NOT rhyme with blossom. What @Nancy said.

NYC (where you can find blossoms on the menu and pay through the nose to eat them.)

Rug Crazy 1:49 PM  

No awesome and blossom don't rhyme, even sum of the time.

Rastaman Vibration 1:51 PM  

@Swag at 12:40 pm - thanks for the clarification. That just points out how bizarrely difficult that clue is, along with the rest of the mess in that whole section. I’m sure a lot of it has to do with the constraints of coding the hidden message into the clues - perfectly acceptable for a captive audience at a wedding reception, but somehow grotesque when fostered upon the public at large.

@Nancy - good luck with the upgrade. My one big disappointment with Windows 10 is that when you open their internet browser, it defaults to Bing as the search engine, and I can not find a way to set the default to Google, which 90% of the free world uses (If I recall correctly, I think Microsoft owns Bing so they are trying to shove it down people’s throats). I gave up and went back to an Apple product - maybe things have changed since then. Note: if you are accessing the internet via wifi, you can run both your old and new machines simultaneously to ease the transition (and you won’t be stuck if you can’t figure out how to do something in the new operating system).

@Anon at 12:44 - your misuse of the term “dictator“ discounts and undermines several potentially salient points - perhaps you are doing it for effect, I would suggest that insulting and alienating the very people you are attempting to communicate with is not an effective strategy.

So far this week we’ve had a couple of good, clean early week puzzles, and today (in my opinion) a noble and valiant effort that just missed the mark. One wonders what may creep up tomorrow - Rebus Thursday, perhaps ?



GILL I. 1:54 PM  

@JC...My AWESOME rhymes with BLOSSOM...I love accents. Compare a Cuban Spanish with a Spanish Castellano. Hah.
@Sir H 9:50....Our friend George Barany (who no longer posts here), offered to help me make a tribute puzzle for our son, Jordan for his 35th birthday. He was still in the Marines and on his 5 deployment. George and I had a blast. The puzzle encompassed lots of trivia that only he and the family knew, but, by gum, it was the coolest, best birthday present EVER. George let people know where it was posted if they wanted to try it out; many did and of course, that made me happy (not sure about anyone else solving it).....
I'm happy for Amanda and her sweet tribute to husband and Dad.

Unknown 1:58 PM  

In my neck of the woods (Midwest US transplanted to southeast US), awesome and blossom rhyme.

When I google "awesome pronunciation", it shows it phonetically as "aa-sm", and blossom as "blaa-sm". So, put "bl" in front of awesome, and you've said blossom.

If you change the site to British pronunciation, it's a different story. Perhaps the NE US is closer to the British version.

Anonymous 2:23 PM  

old timer,

Or Agnus dei could be brought to mind by the clue.

Carola 2:32 PM  

A fine celebratory puzzle and lovely acrostic tribute. I liked the array of guests at the wedding, especially the inclusion of of those from other realms, MR TOAD and Han SOLO, and of ADELE, a BASSO, and Jule STYNE to provide the music. The bride’s bouquet evidently included an AWESOME BLOSSOM, and it seems there were two fish choices for the reception dinner instead of the usual salmon and chicken. I hope the ROBBER didn’t get anywhere near the gifts table.

I thought it was too bad, though, that the reveal was at least a partial non-reveal to most of us, as we hadn’t been invited.

Help from previous crosswords: HOLT, RIALS, LLANO.
Help from being old: STYNE, AGNUS
No idea: FAVREAU, CTU.

kitshef 2:32 PM  

@Anon 8:24 - I know what a stinkin' G SUIT is. But how is "Outerwear?" a clue for it?

Anonymous 2:48 PM  

Pablo,

No way! You made a claim. In my view a risible claim that only a subset of elites could no the phrase Agnus dei. That's demonstrable wrong. And one needn't be a fan of Christianity to be familiar with it. I'm no fan of German, but I know what, say arbeit macht frei, means. all of which is to say. knowing a famous phrase is not tantamount to endorsing it. So my feelings on Christianity--or yours--are a non starter.
It simply beggars belief that a phrase more than two billion people use commonly is reserved for a small subset of swells and Latin aficionados.

Anonymous 2:49 PM  

of course they rime. the final syllables need only be homophones. even in left wing NE. but Harvard doesn't rime with Yard in Boston.

Pablo 3:00 PM  

As someone who works in STEM, I couldn't disagree more with your characterization of advancement. Most of the advances in electronic technology have absolutely revolutionized communication and created a world that is truly becoming a singular, global entity with universal interaction and communication. The only things limiting literally universal communication now is language translation technology, access to computers/internet, and of course censorship.

Healthcare is miles ahead of where it was years ago. HIV is now a manageable disease and even preventable. Many forms of cancer that were death sentences are now at 90% cure rates. Among them is ALL, which is the most common cancer in children. Our vaccines are better (rubella, pneumonia, chicken pox, meningitis, HPV, hepatitis B). We can literally cure hepatitis C now. We can do facial transplants, heart transplants, liver transplants, lung transplants, and even penis transplants (yes, that is correct). I could go on for days with this. The lifespan drop is nearly entirely due to opioid abuse, unfortunately. Even then we have created essentially a cure for overdose in narcan, and I'm hopeful for non-addictive alternatives within 20-30 years (a blink of an eye in the scale of history).

Energy is advancing as well, and we are well-positioned, scientifically, to replace fossil fuels with alternative sources of energy. The hurdles there are administrative and interest-driven.

The statistics say we live in some of the least violent, healthiest, most equal, and happiest times in humanity. We have a long way to go, but to disparage STEM because everything is not perfect is just pessimistic and short-sighted. Be happy about humanity's progress. There's no reason not to be.

Anonymous 3:03 PM  

@kitshef:
@Anon 8:24 - I know what a stinkin' G SUIT is. But how is "Outerwear?" a clue for it?

(not the same mouse) read up the wiki article, and you'll see that a g-suit goes 'over' the flight suit, much like Sam Spade wore a trench coat over his double breasted. but, yeah, a lousy clue.

puzzlehoarder 3:20 PM  

More of a Thursday than a Wednesday puzzle at least time wise. One of my slow downs was misreading the 39D clue as " Rookie movie." I thought the answer would be COP something. At the very end I needed a minute or more to come up with the G of AGNUS. This made GSUIT obvious and CTU was just whatever it was. As someone already indicated here in Chicago it's the Chicago Teacher's Union.

Groucho 3:21 PM  

awesome rhymes with blawssom

ahsome rhymes with blossom

Clear enough yet?

pabloinnh 3:23 PM  

Up heah, AWESOME rhymes with BLAWESSOM.

mkyritsi 3:44 PM  

Don't tell me none of you have ever enjoyed an awesome blossom! It's a fried onion, whole, which has been opened out to make a blossom like a waterlily. It was a shameful glorious indulgence, and I suppose everyone is healthier now that it's been recalled, but to me they were the whole reason to go to Chili's.
Mary in Greece

Photomatte 3:50 PM  

Treo? Gsuit? CTU? Orl?
Just......no. At this point, why not just dump the Scrabble bag upside down and pick out random letters to go together? This puzzle would've made more sense in Japanese (katakana, anyway).

GILL I. 4:05 PM  

@pablo 3:00. Your posts are interesting and I enjoy reading your take on everything. But can you do me a favor? Next time you're sitting on the John playing with your phone and making a blog comment, would you mind terribly to reference who you are talking about....The STEM thing you mentioned really caught my eye but I had to look all over the place to figure out why you even made the comment.
Do you habla espaΓ±ol like our other pablito? If si...gracias.

Andrew 4:25 PM  

About AWESOME and BLOSSOM from this linguistics major (making his first appearance on this blog!) --

The vowel in cot, awesome, Don is /Ι‘/, while the vowel in caught, blossom, Dawn is /Ι”/. In a little over half of the US English-speaking population (including most of the Northeast) and the large majority of English speaking populations outside North America, these vowels are not the same. So "Don" and "Dawn" are not pronounced the same, and AWESOME and BLOSSOM do not rhyme.

However, in large parts of the US (about 40-50% of speakers, including nearly all of the Western US and in Canada) these vowels have merged and are exactly the same. This is called the "cot-caught merger" in linguistics; it's easily Googleable should you be more interested.

I myself grew up in Los Angeles and have this merger -- so for me, all those words that @Nancy mentioned above have the same vowel. Paw and pond have the same vowel, Don and Dawn are perfect homonyms, and AWESOME and BLOSSOME rhyme. Reading a sentence like "awesome rhymes with blawssom, ahsome rhymes with blossom" is nonsensical for me because I would pronounce "blawssom" exactly the same as "blossom."

Anonymous 4:29 PM  

@Pablo:

I'm by training, an econometrician and database designer. While your defense sounds fine, it elides my point: the *actual use* of tech over the last few decades has mostly been in the pursuit of attention destroying and/or capture. Your treatise provided no evidence to contradict that.

"The only things limiting literally universal communication"
It does matter what 'communication' is going on. Tech which mostly supports Candy Crush and the like isn't the Gutenberg printing press. Not even close.

"Healthcare is miles ahead of where it was years ago."
Only if your rich. Or live in a real 1st world country. Even Dear Leader's Damn Gummint documents that lifespan is declining.

"The lifespan drop is nearly entirely due to opioid abuse"
Not even close to true. In some geographies, yes, but not even close.
'For people between the ages of 25 and 34, the rate of alcohol-related disease deaths increased by 157.6% from 1999 to 2017. Suicide rates increased by 38.3% for people ages 25 to 64, and by 55.9% for people ages 55 to 64.'
here: https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/26/health/us-life-expectancy-decline-study/index.html With Dear Leader's successful attempt to restrict access to healthcare, the situation will only get worse. PhARMA has been going after so-called orphan drugs, at $million price tags, for some years.

"The statistics say we live in some of the least violent, healthiest, most equal, and happiest times in humanity. "

violent - most big cities, yes; elsewhere not so much
healthiest - not even close, esp. in rural USofA
most equal - what country are you living in? Dear Leader just gave more that $1 trillion to his rich buddies and himself. equality, racial/economic/sexual/etc. have been in decline for some time.
happiest - much research on the middle-class angst over loss of jobs to automation and the like.


The obesity epidemic is due, largely, to agribusiness' pushing sugar into everything. And PhARMA keeps gouging the type 1 (and some type 2) with insulin costs.

Nancy 4:50 PM  

Thanks for the heads-up, @Rastamon V (1:51)! All I can say is Omigod! I hope you're wrong!!!! For me, this isn't an upgrade, it's a necessity since Windows 7 isn't made anymore. If I could get it, I would -- believe me. I'll call B&H tomorrow and see if they know about a problem of being stuck with Bing as the default browser. I can't believe that the world at large would put up with that. I'll email @Teemn (see her post) right now. And I'll mention it to my handyman before he starts to set it up.

Z 5:18 PM  

@Pablo - Don’t you just love anonymice who post big claims with no citations, especially those with intensely parochial viewpoints? BTW - I have been in Playa del Carmen all week. I’ve had several people whip out their smartphones to use google translate. Damn cursed technology, now my Spanish will never improve. Har. As if I know any Spanish.

Kathy 5:26 PM  

@Nancy, if your handyman can’t help you, you can still take your new computer to the Geek Squad at Best Buy even if you didn’t purchase it there. There will be a charge but it may be worth it. Good luck!

Awesome Blossom controversy: As someone who has lived all over the country, both coasts and middle, and been exposed to and intrigued by the gamut of regional accents, it’s all about where you live. In downstate New York, they definitely don’t rhyme (oolsome!); in the Midwest they generally do. Within the state of Ohio, where I grew up, they would even be pronounced differently in Cleveland and in Cincinnati, but they would still rhyme. So there is no correct answer. Now try marry, merry and Mary!

Rastaman Vibration 5:28 PM  

@Nancy, there is a nomenclature situation as well - there is a difference between a “browser” such as Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge and a “search engine” such as Google or Bing. The browser is the actual software program that you run on your pc to access the internet, the search engine (Google for example) is a website that searches the web for you. I’m not a techie, so I learned first hand that “Progress is Painful”, lol. As best you can, be patient!

RooMonster 5:32 PM  

Hey All !
Late today, we have crazy CES in town, Consumer Electronics Show, brings about 180,000 conventionees to our little burg. Busy busy busy.

I'd hafta say i agree with those who said this puz should've stayed as a private puz amongst those it was made/intended for.

I did like the AB thing, but was looking for two A's in the third themer, as the first two had two A's in the first word. But, not to be. Also agree CTU can take a flying fig. :-)

I'm of the ilk and pronunciationism of AWESOME and BLOSSOM rhyming. For the record. :-)

Had my famous one-letter DNF at COLOMBa/TREa, because I wouldn't know an egg shaped computer if (until?) it was thrown at me. And that A or O Spanish thing is ridiculous to try to figure out.

A AND W. No one's said much about that today.

MM MM GOOD. HH HH HAR.

SOLO HALIBUT
RooMonster
DarrinV

Anonymous 5:33 PM  

Changing default browser in Windows 10 -
Click on "Start" icon lower left corner of screen - looks like a window.
Select the "Settings icon - looks like a cog wheel, just above the "Power Icon".
Select "Apps"
Select "Default Apps"
Click on "Web Browser" then select which browser you want as your default browser. If you want to use Google Chrome you may have to download and install it first on a new machine. I believe you will be given the option to set it as your default once it is installed.

If your new PC only has Bing or Edge installed just type "Google" in the search box and then select Google.com. Google will ask you if you want to install Chrome and if you select yes, Google will do the rest for you.

Speedweeder 5:57 PM  

@Andrew 4:25 - Thanks for the linguistics lesson! Now I know I'm a victim of the cot-caught merger. /a/some!

Teedmn 6:26 PM  

Here in Minnesota, only the some/som parts of the onion rhyme. Aw-sum blah-sum.

tea73 6:47 PM  

I didn't mind the puzzle. It was fine as just A's and B's. Surprised that some thought AGNUS was obscure. Here's a beautiful piece of music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKW9o_5jw6U You run into that little lamb in art too. I think we went from a PalmPilot to the Nexus1, but I remember the TREO. Did not know that Disney had mucked up The Wind in the Willows. I've never watched The Simpsons, but I do know which three letter combos to try out. I've had that AWESOME BLOSSOM under another name at another chain restaurant. The CASTLING clue was evil, but it took me forever to find it. My kids were serious chess players for a while, but I'm not wired that way.

RooMonster 6:59 PM  

Har, just right this minute see that I confused my IMAC clue with the TREO clue. Too many i-somethings. (Not enough EYE-somethings.)

RooMonster Oughta-Correct Myself Guy

Richardf8 7:11 PM  

The Awesome Blossom was Chili’s take on the Blooming Onion. Basically, hit your onion with an apple sectioner, bot don’t go completely through, batter and deep fry.

Anonymous 7:58 PM  

Teedmn 6:26 - In North Dakota, aw and blah rhyme. You easterners talk funny.

Anonymous 8:32 PM  

Redanman, really?

"So we want equality in Female Constructors, be careful what you wish for. Now the ratio is better YAY!"

A single example of a not-great puzzle co-written by a woman means that the promotion of women constructors is bringing down NYT puzzle quality? Really???

Your misogyny must make you a joy to the women you encounter in everyday life. I am sick of encountering casual misogyny all over the web, and I'm going to call it out where I see it.

Wanderlust 9:22 PM  

This is the first time I ever had a DNF on a Wednesday puzzle because I finally gave up in the SE area that Rex mentions as being ridiculously difficult for a Wednesday. Castling, CTU, Agnus and Gsuit in one block would be hard for a Saturday. Was this done just for the cutesy insider BS in the story Rex links to? So a handful of people will get the theme? Almost enough to make me stop doing the NYT puzzle.

Anonymous 9:37 PM  

@Heather - I agree with @Anonymous 8:32. But I don't have a favorite rap artist. Your point is?

Z 9:52 PM  

@anon9:37 - Classic example of the tu quoquefallacy.

Anonymous 10:07 PM  

Z,
What parochial viewpoints?
As for parochial talking about your location is pretty much the definition of parochial.

Anonymous 10:18 PM  

The G suit works by inflating itself to impede the flow of blood to the legs and away from heart and brain, keeping fighter airplane pilots from blacking out when subject to multi-gravity maneuvers. It has nothing to do with space suits for astronauts who leave Earth’s atmosphere.
JimG

Pablo 10:41 PM  

@Gill I,

My apologies! I've just realized that the mobile version of blogger has a "reply" function. The desktop version does not. So while on my phone my comment slots neatly underneath the one I replied to, on the desktop it places my comment randomly at the bottom.

I will be sure to @ whoever I'm talking about from this point forward. Regardless, while I enjoy rambling on here, I'm gonna try to take it easy for a while anyway. Too much time on any message board, especially obvious today, is bad for the psyche and can get toxic very quickly. By that I'm talking about my own behavior. Getting too comfortable can mean you let words fly without really thinking of the consequences.

GILL I. 12:11 AM  

@pablo 10:41...Don't you dare disappear from your ramblings...I think many of us enjoy the fresh meat.....at least I do. I think of you as Gordon Ramsey's filet mignon cooked to perfection.. :-0

Monty Boy 12:50 AM  

I liked this one a lot (again). I must be a simple minded xworder who has a good "wheel house" today. The clues were clever, I've had an AWESOMEBLOSSOM (and they rhyme for me), I liked the CASTLING clue/answer, I got CTU from fair crosses (for me), I knew HOLT from previous crossword puzzles. All of that is part of the charm of crosswords for me. Sometimes I know obscure stuff, sometimes I learn obscure stuff.

And I just don't get all the nit picking. As several have said in previous days and posts: It's a puzzle for goodness sakes, not a doctoral thesis (thank God).

jae 2:02 AM  

Easy-medium. I’m with the mixed feelings contingent...sweet but maybe not the right place for it.

@Pablo - I like your @3:00 pm optimism, but if you are going to keep doing puzzles you need to stick stuff like Mel OTT, Bobby ORR, La BREA Tar Pits, ETUI, BASSO...in long term memory because they are not going away. The more puzzles you do the better you get.

kitshef 10:07 AM  

@Anon 3:03pm - noting that you may never see this. That would make sense if the clue were simply "Outerwear". A G SUIT is an absolute, literal example of outerwear. Why then is there a "?" in the clue?

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