Longtime Eagles QB Donovan / SUN 2-16-20 / Whom Harry Potter frees from serving Draco Malfoy's family / Area the Chinese call Xizang / Fictional creature made from slime / Millennial informally / Facetious response to verbal jab / Beginner in modern lingo

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Constructor: Sam Ezersky

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (10:06)


THEME: "NUMBER THEORY" — on four different lines in the puzzle are numbers in foreign languages and also familiar phrases that contain that same number (only as an English word, not a foreign number). The point is that some foreign numbers look identical to English words. Elsewhere in the grid are the four different languages in question, and then there's a revealer: LOST IN / TRANSLATION (90A: With 92-Across, alternative title for this puzzle)

Theme answers:
  • QUINCE JELLY (24A: Relative of marmalade) / QUINCE (which is FIFTEEN (see 26A) in SPANISH (20A))
  • DOBBY THE HOUSE ELF (46A: Whom Harry Potter frees from serving Draco Malfoy's family) / ELF (which is ELEVEN (see 45A) in GERMAN (34A))
  • SEIZE / POWER (59A: With 60-Across, take control after a coup) / SEIZE (which is SIXTEEN (see 61A) in FRENCH (84A)) 
  • DUE TO THE FACT THAT (71A: Because) / DUE (which is TWO (see 75A) in ITALIAN (104A)
Word of the Day: "DR. I.Q." (1D: Title host of radio's first major quiz show) —
Dr. I.Q. (aka Dr. I.Q., the Mental Banker and Doctor I.Q.) is a radio and television quiz program. Remembered as radio's first major quiz show, it popularized the catch phrase "I have a lady in the balcony, Doctor." 
• • •

I'm actually startled at how poor this is. Aside from the stray interesting answer (say, DOBBY THE HOUSE ELF), this one was a bemusing slog from start to finish. Never cared once about the theme. Never really *got* what the theme thought it was doing, why the theme thought it was interesting. I just filled in a bunch of languages pretty easily (without ever having to check the cross-references) and then wrote in repeated words a bunch of times. Because that's what this is—a weirdly elaborate thematic excuse for having words appear twice. All that space wasted on useless stuff like ITALIAN SPANISH FRENCH etc. who cares? We know what language they're in. The revealer was pathetic, in that LOST IN / TRANSLATION is not catchy or kicky or even very accurate. Yes, there are foreign words for numbers that are also (with different pronunciations) English words: whoopty bleepin' doo! And for that I have to endure stuff like MAESTRI (no one says this) and GENYER (fewer than no one says this—seriously, negative people). Gen Xer, definitely a thing, GENYER, ack, no. Reverse-stacking DETOO / ARTOO, awkward. AMUN (with a "U"?) RA, awkward, EXEQUY, what the hexequy is that?! ABAFT? ODIC? SOMNI-? OOOO? ITTY? ACITY? How does this one pass muster? How? EFFS all around.


DOBBY THE HOUSE ELF is a memorable character, but I always felt bad for his brother, DOOBIE the House Elf. Remember when Harry fired DOOBIE just for being late to work a few times and failing that one drug test? Uncool, Harry, you narc. Moving on to other parts of the puzzle ... AKRONOH is a crutch. It's like if ERIEPA and USOFA had a horrid cursed baby. If you do this with Akron, you can do it with any city in the country, and that slope feels slippery and horrible. USE THIS? I guess someone might say that, sure, but it doesn't feel very tight. I do like WAS A BI PEA, but only because I think it's important to represent the full spectrum of legume sexuality in puzzles. Not all peas are either straight or gay, you know.


Nothing more to say about this one. On The Clipboard this week, I don't have too much to rave about. My favorite themed puzzle of the week was probably Patrick Blindauer's "T Time" (for the American Values Club Crossword (AVCX)), which featured five different crossings that formed the shape of "T"s and crossed at the letter "T." Clean grid, lots of fresh fill, neatly done. Favorite themeless of the week was Natan Last's New Yorker puzzle, which was glutted with great long answers: BECHDEL TEST, SPEED READERS, PROM KINGS, SWEATS IT OUT, OF MICE AND MEN, etc. Those New Yorker puzzles are reliably good, but this one was exceptional.

Until tomorrow,

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. I just saw "Parasite" so my mind is still reeling and also my standards for good art are kinda through the roof right now. I feel real bad for the next movie I see.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

125 comments:

kitshef 12:08 AM  

With AKRONOH, the dreaded ERIEPA disease is spreading faster than the coronavirus. Who’s next? TORONTOON? KALAMAZOOMI? BUFFALONY?

OOOO is gutsy or crazy … I’m not sure which.

The theme is thinner than the gruel in Bumble’s workhouse … made worse by not one but two puzzle titles, neither of which makes much sense.

Nobody slims “up”. You slim down.

Despite all that, a fairly pleasant solve. Who could possibly complain about a puzzle that works in Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, AND Star Wars? 😉

Joaquin 12:25 AM  

When I read the clue for 32D (Dreaded musician ...) I already had the "M" and "L" in place. Bingo! Could there be a more "dreaded musician" than ManiLow? Yeah, I know. It doesn't quite fit. Well dang it - if fits the clue.

Joe Dipinto 1:03 AM  

I've come to expect great stuff from Sam Ezersky so this was a little disappointing. I can see how the "English word = foreign language number" premise might appeal to a constructor, but how do you make it grid-suitable? Jeff Chen muses on other possible approaches at XWord Info. Sam E. himself seems to feel uncertain about it.

Outside the theme entries, DIET MENUS and SLIM UP seem a little fishy to me. Most people say "slim down", though I see there is a spa called Slim Up in NYC. And do restaurants really have separate "diet menus"? Not in my experience.

I also did not appreciate seeing DOBBY, by far the most annoying character in the Potter films, in the puzzle. But I forgive these transgressions because I love SCIENCY as an adjective. So I'll let this one slide, Sam, but I know you are capable of much, much better.

Here's the 1974 Eurovision winning song.

dan 1:09 AM  

Can we just stop and note how horrible both 1A and 1D are, too? Like, I’m supposed to keep track of stupid alternatives to minor epithets that no one ever says, and names of radio quiz shows from 2 to 4 decades before my birth!? Ew.

Jason 1:10 AM  

How does "OOOO" make it into this puzzle? They're O's, not zeroes.

Only bright spot for me was the clue for KIA (What will happily sell its Soul). Clever.

The rest is junk.

Tom R 1:10 AM  

Did it bother anyone else that you have quince jelly (proud of myself for getting that) followed in the next across by quince? Yeah, I know one is a fruit and the other a number, but still.....

chefwen 2:01 AM  

Figuring out this theme was so convoluted I finally just said a bad word followed by IT and just went ahead filling in all my little boxes without worrying about a “theme”.

Knowing nothing Harry Potter, my HOUSE ELF was bOBBY which messed me up in that area for quite a while.

I have never seen or heard of a restaurant handing out a DIET MENU, if someone tried to hand one to me I’d be compelled to slap them.

Sad to say that I agree with OFL on this one.

Anonymous 2:12 AM  

Totally agree

jae 3:41 AM  

Medium-tough. Kinda agree with Rex on this one, and I’d like to add SCIENCY to his list.

Casimir 4:50 AM  

I blazed through this one and felt good as I filled in the last letter. Then, no music, but rather the dreaded error message. I won't say how long I stared at this, but long enough to turn a great time for me into a slow one.

Long story short, I had fallen prey to the most cringeworthy sort of crosswordese -- the Star Wars droid names spelled "too" rather than "two" which for some reason I was convinced was correct. Once I saw that a pedometer (never used one) reading of "owwo" made no sense, and "oooo" I guess does (though not a "word," you know, as in "crossword"), it fell.

I dislike the Sunday puzzle as it seems to routinely rely on fill like this, but all's fair in crosswords I guess.

Anonymous 5:49 AM  

Too dang funny to read Rex's comments. I had trouble with this one, took a while to get the NW and W regions - just got stuck and enlisted my wife's help (but not Dr. Google!). Didn't help to start with "orange jelly" instead of "quince jelly", "adieu" instead of "adios", "coif" instead of "pouf" and so on.

"Sciency" medical-journal articles? Yeah, I read sciency articles at work... not! I read scientific articles, clinical articles, data-driven articles, best-evidence review articles, and the occasional essay penned by a humanist or historian.

Did not get the theme until late. Will someone comment on Bill Murray's "Lost in Translation"? Surprised OFL did not. I remembered liking that movie but can't remember much about it.

Colin

Anonymous 6:10 AM  

Ban all Harry Potter clues. Bipea could be the worst answer ever.

Anonymous 6:27 AM  

Defeated by the combination of WASABIPEA, DOBBY, ABBA, ABAFT, and OPIE.

Thought of atAFT, toAFT, WASABIbar, abIE (I knew OBIE as a possibility but just couldn't make it work with anything WASABI-like). Never though of ABBA when all I had was the first A.

A LAND TAX (as opposed to a property tax or real estate tax that also covers development on the the property) seems to be very rare in the United States. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_value_tax_in_the_United_States.

Interesting that HADES has migrated from being a person the other day to a place today.

When I Google SOMNI, the only even halfway common word I get that has that as a prefix is somniferous. Usually the prefix is somno.


Z 7:10 AM  

Well, I got an Elvis Costello video out of it, so there’s that.

Read the DRIQ WOTD writeup (from Wikipedia I would guess - Rex forgot to add the citation) and can’t help but wonder when the popular phrase I have a lady in the balcony, doctor was used.

@Anonymous/Colin - Yep. Science Fiction magazines might contain SCIENCY stories. I really hope medical journals contain actual SCIENCe.

@Casimir - The O has never made sense. Why R2D2 should appear this way is just one of those mysterious features of the written language.

Unknown 7:13 AM  

I liked the puzzle even though I couldn't remember dobby's name. Lots of longer answers that i don't recall in other puzzles. Due to the fact. God is good. Aye aye sir. Leipzig. Doobie ( don't recall ever hearing that one at all.) Still not very hard.

Good job.

Hungry Mother 7:51 AM  

After rejecting PEA, I had to turn on the red letters to come to my senses. Almost a win, but not quite a loss.

Alexander 7:51 AM  

They all did that quince/quince, elf/elf, due/due, seize/seize

fkdiver 7:56 AM  

"Foreign Numbers that are False Cognates of English Words". There's a zippy title, just about as zippy as the puzzle. Let's not have another one like this, okay Sam?

Joaquin 8:28 AM  

I never hesitate to make fun of Rex and his safe-space mentality. But I also like to give credit where it is due. So ...

" I do like WAS A BI PEA, but only because I think it's important to represent the full spectrum of legume sexuality in puzzles. Not all peas are either straight or gay, you know."

Good one!

John H 8:39 AM  

@joaquin, gotta agree. I did the same thing. But Manilow remains dreaded well into the new century, and I ,just admit that I chuckled when I got to Marley. Makes up for AkronOH, IMHO.

Adam Lipkin 8:42 AM  

I'll take NATICK/NCWYETH any day of the week over ABAFT/EFT.

Lewis 8:46 AM  

@rex -- You can be so genuinely funny at times, as you were several times in today's review.

Thank you, Sam, for keeping my solving chops fit, and I liked that QUINCE et al stood as words by themselves in their phrases for this theme, rather than being hidden among several words. i also liked FRENCH being catty-corner to SNOGS, and the DITZY / WASABI / OPIE / DOBBY / SCIENCY / CITY cluster. I especially loved [Dreaded musician of the 1060s - '70s] for MARLEY.

If you could have squeezed in one more theme answer, it could have been SIX in Latin, with endless possibilities for SEX.

I kept trying to see a hidden message in the theme and it took me into a 44 rabbit hole (44 being the sum of the four theme numbers 15, 16, 11, and 2), in which I learned that there are 44 candles in a box of Hanukkah candles, that 1944 was the last eruption of Mount Vesuvius, and for a moment there I reflected on how different things felt under President #44.

Suzie Q 8:59 AM  

I chose to just go with the flow and have a little fun although I understand the critical remarks.
The scent of yesterday's puzzle wafted over to today with doobie.
Dobby was my favorite H.P. character.
A flour filter is a sifter.
Now I have a Journey ear worm from 62A, not a bad thing.
I had no idea about ABBA winning a competition. Good trivia.
Odd clue for batons. My mind was in the gutter I guess.

Z 8:59 AM  

I don’t see any dreads.

Nor here.

This guy could have dreads if he wanted.

I did find a reggae version of Copacabana, but it sounds pretty dread-free too.

Z 9:05 AM  

Oh Suzie Q, I’d forgotten that clue. “South Detroit,” otherwise known as WINDSORON. Almost as bad as the Goldie Hawn/Mel Gibson flick where they take the Detroit/Racine ferry (Racine is in Lake Michigan, Detroit is on the Detroit River between Lake Huron and Lake Erie).

Nancy 9:30 AM  

Is SCIENCY related to Stephen Colbert's "Truthiness"? When I think of SCIENCY (and to tell the truth I've never once thought of it till now) I think of writing that is meant to sound like it's scientific, but isn't -- not to actual scientists. Which may be true of medical journals for all I know. So, reader beware.

Moving right along to the theme. I laughed when I got to LOST IN TRANSLATION because cross-referenced clues and answers always leave me lost in the grid. Where IS that pesky 61A anyway? No, not there. No, not there, either. This is why I generally don't like or do Acrostics. So much searching and seeking. I imagine speed solvers don't have my problem locating stuff; if they did, their solving times would be awful.

But despite the cross-referencing, SCIENCY, and DOBBY THE HOUSE ELF (Who??????), I quite liked this puzzle. It was lively and it kept my brain engaged.

pmdm 9:30 AM  

Some people, like Mr. Sharp, breeze through each and every puzzle. Even when he claims a puzzle gave him trouble, his solving time still suggests he breezed through it. So to the answer "Who cares?" I would answer people like me. I do not breeze through the puzzles and often need help provided by using the theme answers to help me with getting other entries. Were in not for the four languages (which understanding the theme helped me figure out) I might have gotten stuck in a few places. Sometimes people project their own reactions on others.

That said, I did not find this puzzle humorous or particularly clever. It felt more like a puzzle constructed to satisfy the constructor's desires. So many puzzles in this era seem to hover close to being ego trips. At least, that's how I feel at times. Sometimes I respond positively, sometimes negatively. Today I shrugged my shoulders. I much prefer the Acrostic puzzles for their quotes effect on me. Today was a pleasant example.

Jim Stevens 9:33 AM  

Joe Dipinto is brilliant! That was worth the slog of the puzzle! Thanks—

Nancy 9:36 AM  

My mind was also in the gutter -- right along with yours, @Susie Q (8:59). I wanted the answer to be BAbieS.

Gio 9:41 AM  

I am only doing this for about a month, which is my excuse, but quite often I only see half the theme while solving. Like that recent ROLL THE DICE theme, I only knew there was the word DICE in the gray boxes but I didn't realize that the word read up. With this puzzle, I got the foreign numbers and the ITALIAN, FRENCH counterpart clue, but I did not realize the word was repeated in an English phrase. Having a partial theme makes the whole thing much harder. I need to start realizing there must be more to it, when the theme seems incredibly lame.
That would have helped me a lot because I struggled in the corner with QUINCEJELLY AND I had THEFACTTHAT but not the DUE because I had Ciao as LATER and I didn't know AMUNRA and SCIENCY. The top West corner I couldn't remember RENU and I don't know DRIQ so the whole area gave me trouble, DRAT. ACT 1 must be crosswordese.
The biggest problem was I don't know MCNABB and AKRONOH, BATONS and FISHY so that was the last area to go. I finally googled MCNABB.
I knew ABAFT because when I was a kid I saw a cartoon or maybe it was MAD Magazine and someone was speaking pirate and they said: MIZEN ABAFT THE STARBOARD BARNACLES! And I thought it was so funny I memorized that phrase in case I ever had to speak Pirate. It has come in handy quite a few times in my life. I urge every one here to memorize that line.

Dan 9:44 AM  

I kinda feel like OOOO was so awful that it looped all the way around (like an odometer!) and became brilliant...

SouthsideJohnny 9:51 AM  

Good job by the Times in the “Go big or go home” department. Instead of just the usual handful of foreign words, they built an entire theme around them - and then repeated them! Congratulations, you have really outdone yourselves today - and bonus points for further clogging up the grid with the actual names of the languages (Quick Aside - once again, we are limited to only Euro-centric languages which shows just how racist, rigged, tone-deaf and unfair the New York Times and everyone who works for them, is associated with them, or solves their crossword puzzle really is).

Additionally, they did a nice job of sliding in fake(y) words like SCIENCY and an old chestnut (a faux-plural) for MAESTRI - well done indeed.

I believe we also stand on the CUSP of a seminal event today - with AKRONOH as precedent, the floodgates have been opened and we can now expect a virtual cavalcade of this type of nonsense as the Times editorial staff delights in experimenting with their newfound form of Gibberish.

Right about on quota with the Harry Potter and Star Wars trivia, so they checked that box as well.

When it comes to mediocrity - those guys and gals were firing on all eight cylinders today!

Birchbark 9:54 AM  

I would like to eat QUINCE JELLY in a setting where no-one is trying to one-up the other jellies and marmalades. Just taste it, without the implied lifestyle.

SCIENCY -- Oh, those medical journals. Why are they like that?

KAZOO -- Gesundheit.

AMOEBAE -- Amscrae, usterbae.

TJS 9:56 AM  

I was aware of all the questionable fill, as pointed out by Rex and almost everyone else, but somehow I still enjoyed this one more than the usual Sunday. I guess I am an Ezersky fan without knowing it.

There was a time when music could be hugely popular in one part of the country and be unheard of in another. My friends and I were at a beer fest in Southern Illinois when a guy from California started raving about this great band. When he told us their name was the Doobie Brothers, we all cracked up laughing. Of course we were stoned to the Bejeezus at the time.

Patricia Hughes 9:57 AM  

BUFFALONY may be my new favorite "word".

Jstarrracewalker 9:59 AM  

Who could complain? I suppose only a grumpy old fart like me who has never read the books and only grudgingly endured the first Star Wars movie.

Anonymous 10:00 AM  

I'm kinda new to the blog but does the guy just complain about every single crossword?

Big boomer energy.

Ellen S 10:10 AM  

I was stretching through this puzzle, filling in bits here and there and being unimpressed but OK, when I got to SCIENCY. Then I stopped and came here figuring correctly that the blog would be a lot more fun than the puzzle. What @Nancy said. Does that mean medical journal articles are full of truthiness? I think there have been some scandals suggesting that is the case.

webwinger 10:13 AM  

I actually liked this one quite a bit. Was puzzled at first by the repetition of words before realizing that was central to the theme. Believe revealer refers to the fact that the foreign number word in the pair is “LOST IN TRANSLATION” so that it does not actually count (tehee!) as a duplicate of its English language count-erpart. Or something like that…

I’m a symmetry freak, and I really liked the elegant way various theme answers and revealer balanced in this grid.

The only thing I really did not like today was SCIENCY, a word that would be more appropriate as a description of internet sources used by anti-vaxxers to defend their views.

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

I am married to an opera conductor, and let me assure you, we say “maesrtri” all the time around here.

Nancy 10:30 AM  

@Malsdemare from yesterday -- Thanks so much for the explanation. All I can say is "Duh!" Of course it was a typing error for "discovery hell". Of course! Now why didn't I see that?

Teedmn 10:37 AM  

This was on the tough side, a couple of minutes over my average but it felt harder than that because it probably took two minutes post-grid-filling to figure out the second part of the theme with the SEIZE, ELF, QUINCE, DUE dupes.

I had a lot of write-overs DUE to my over-reliance on crosswordese - updo before POUF, laX before PHX, spotS before MOTES, AMeN RA (I think that AMUN has caused controversy here before but I didn't remember in time), and try THIS at 27D.

Who the heck is DRIQ - oh, Dr. IQ, I get it now, DRAT.

This was fun but not much wordplay (105A's BIOLOGY clue was good), though some nice answers like WASABI PEA and SLIPSHOD were fun and DOBBY THE HOUSE ELF was cute though I'm sure that will be a bone of contention for the Potter haters.

Thanks, Sam Ezersky, nice job.

wilmie 10:44 AM  

I assume you know that spicy snack is a wasabi pea? Right??

John 10:50 AM  

I, like others, had so many problems with this puzzle. I lost count of how many "ughs" I uttered in disgust.

Peter P 11:04 AM  

@Casimir - I don't know why, but for whatever reason, when R2D2 is spelled out, it's conventionally spelled out as Artoo-Detoo. (Though when spelled out, it's usually just "Artoo" and the "Detoo" is left off.) I'm not familiar enough with Star Wars lore to know why this is (I didn't even see the original trilogy until 2000, when I was in my mid-20s) but I've come across the Artoo spelling in articles about it.

For the most part, I actually enjoyed this puzzle; I did have to find my ABAFT/EFT miss (I originally had ABAnT/ENT). I know that salamander/newt clue comes up in crosswords all the time, but, for whatever reason, I just can't commit it to memory. ABAFT is a complete new one for me, though.

Finish time was just under 3 Rexes, which, for me, is a little quicker than average for a completed Sunday for me.

Anonymous 11:07 AM  

Gah!!!!!!
Nola has 500 restaurants that serve creole or creole inspired food for every one that does cajun.
Creole and cajun are not interchangeable. Either in culture or cuisne.

Newboy 11:17 AM  

Liked today’s puzzle way more than Rex. DOuBlE befouled DOOBIE on my grid until I recalled Potter’s DOBIE THE in the grid’s center, so my final letter was the O finally not LOST IN TRANSLATION. Usually we slog through Sunday cause it’s there, but today had enough going on that it became amusing. As someone recently posted it would be good if Rex gave links to the suggested clipboard suggestions — then had discussion in a separate graph that would allow potential solvers to avoid those spoilers. OTOH, I’m in complete agreement with OFL’s movie 🎥 rating of Parasite—and today we’re going to Little Women? Oh boy!

JC66 11:22 AM  

@Anon 11:07

re: Creole vs CAJUN

and one is six letters while the other is five (which fits, BTW); and the clue is "like SOME New Orleans cooking.

electronym 11:23 AM  

Am I the only one bothered by 81A? Orcs are most definitely not “made from slime.”

jberg 11:39 AM  

Marmalade has bits of fruit in it. JELLY does not. When you make marmalade from quinces, it’s called QUINCE honey. Boy, did that hold me up!

Not much of a theme, Harry Potter character in a central place. But I love those nautical terms, so ABAFT won my heart.

Carola 11:41 AM  

Well, as we say around here, that was "different"* - and for a Sunday puzzle, I thought that was good. I enjoyed seeing DOBBY appear, as his release from Malfoy bondage is one of the more satisfying moments in the series, not least DUE TO Jason Isaacs. Comments a treat, as usual.

*As in, "Aunt Margaret made her chicken noodle hot dish with chow mein noodles. It was real different,"

Joe in Canada 11:41 AM  

It's good for Mr Shortz to encourage young writers. But he should not expose their callowness. It is not at all curious that a English word looks like a non-English word but doesn't mean the same thing, except for someone who knows nothing about non-English languages.

ps have been involved with funerals for 30 years, never heard or saw the word exequy. Exequises, occasionally, usually in reference to the Pope or someone like that.

oliar 11:43 AM  

From Wikipedia:

"The quince (/ˈkwɪns/; Cydonia oblonga) is the sole member of the genus Cydonia in the family Rosaceae (which also contains apples and pears, among other fruits). It is a deciduous tree that bears a pome fruit, similar in appearance to a pear, and bright golden-yellow when mature."

I had lots of issues with today's slog of a solve, but this might be the worst. In no way can quince jelly be considered a "relative" of marmalade, as they are fruits from completely different genera and families. If this clue passed inspection, be prepared for grape jelly to be a "relative" of vegemite in subsequent crosswords.

Doorboy 11:47 AM  

Nothing to like about this one. I wanted to just quit after MAESTRI (not a word), and I really almost did after DOOBIE. Then you had DOOBIE and DOBBY, those OOOO’s on the bottom corner, and a lot of other junk. I was tripped up by my inability to remember how to spell Willem’s last name (Dafoe) versus Daniel’s last name (Defoe). Has anyone ever slimmed up? No, you slim down. Seriously, What the EFF?

Anonymous 11:51 AM  

It's becoming increasingly clear that the NYT no longer wants to *print* itself. I've twice in the last year subscribed, cancelling both times (hehe) because I never received even one day's paper. To add insult to injury (another comment from the last week or so, too), the newsstand copy was missing the Magazine. Failing New York Times, fur shur.

What? 11:51 AM  

Just started. Four numbers in different languages? That’s it? Hope there’s more.

Petsounds 11:54 AM  

I hated this puzzle, and its ridiculous clues put me 'way above my Sunday average. But along with the many abuses of the crossword genre mentioned by Rex and present in this mess was a clue that made me throw my pencil across the room in disgust: SCIENCY for "like most medical journal articles." First, it's an alternative spelling to the correct SCIENCEY. And second, I don't care what the online dictionaries that will accept any word that falls from the lips of any mouth or pen anywhere say: Articles in medical journals are scientific, not "sciency." In the same way that articles in engineering journals may be mechanical, not mechanicy.

A total flaming bag of dog poo on the steps of the world of puzzles.

nyc_lo 11:56 AM  

This puzzle might have redeemed itself if it had clued NOICE as “Bro-speak for ‘Good Job!’” But otherwise it was a painful slog of bad fill. I had more fun finding all the palm trees in the Captcha grid.

Peter P 12:00 PM  

@electronym - I thought that clue about the orcs was goofy, as well, but it seems that one of Tolkien's origin stories from them has them created from "subterranean heat and slime" by the sorcery of Morgoth. (No, I don't know that off-hand -- I had to do some Googling, as I'm not familiar with Tolkien's work beyond the Hobbit.) So, a rather obscure piece of info, but I guess not incorrect. It looks like the origin stories of orcs kind of changed around a bit. Apparently, the Simarillion says they were of Elvish origin.

Teedmn 12:02 PM  

Gotta love Rex's take on EXEQUY - if I'd thought of that while solving, I would have asked what the hexequy too!

Any one else try BUStlEr instead of BUSY BEE for 98A? Could have been just as unliked as SCIENCY, I'm guessing.

CDilly52 12:06 PM  

@kitshef 12:08. I am going to borrow your metaphor for use in my next argument, as in, “Your Honor, my colleague’s basis for dismissal is thinner than. . . !” (Spoken with appropriate righteous indignation, of course. Good one!

BFP 12:06 PM  

The OOOO is so terrible that it’s actually humorous. Can anyone explain the “Plant holder?” clue for VAT? I keep thinking it has something to do with an industrial plant or winemaking, lol.

I liked yesterday’s porno flick better than counting in different languages.

max 12:07 PM  

Is anyone else bothered by 77 across? I mean it might have been relevant fifty years ago, but please!! Miss in the future? How about Ms? Getting married is no longer a given or even a desire for many women today!! Am I being too sensitive? I am married and I am a MS!

JC66 12:21 PM  

@max

Maybe, you MISSed the "Maybe" in the clue.

GILL I. 12:21 PM  

DOOBY, DOOBY DUE....la la la la la. @Joe D 1:03. Thanks for that ABBA KAZOO.
OK so each of those foreign numbers are pronounced differently, right? I don't know German but isn't ELF pronounced ELF like that DOBBY guy?
GOD is Great, GOD is GOOD, let us thank him for WAS A BI PEA. Loves me a morning chuckle, @Rex.
So this was different. We're running out of ideas, no? I sorta did this as a themeless because I have no time to be flitting around looking at other places to go - so I just tried to fill in the blanks.
Had the same do-overs as @Teedmn. That DRIQ and that EXEQUY gave me the agues.
Yeah, SLIM UP is a bit of a stretch. When you lose a lot of weight everything droops down. I've seen those people who've lost hundreds of pounds and they have enough extra skin to wrap around their body. I think Dr. Oz does free plastic surgery.
Like amiga, @chefwen, if someone offered me a DIET MENU, I'd toss it at the cook. When I go out to eat, I never count calories. Sometimes all I want is a hot fudge sundae.
I'm going to mosey on over to the LA Times and hope for some sunshine.

What? 12:35 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
CDilly52 12:48 PM  

Oof! This was hard (and I kept falling asleep). Probably because I started this after midnight when I finally ran out of steam at work, and came home blazing mad again and just so disgusted at opposing counsel’s ridiculous and overreaching request for documents hoping against hope for any kind of a gun much less a smoking one! @kitshef, this is the case in which I shall employ your apt metaphor. After getting much dismissed on preliminary motion, and much more on partial summary judgment there’s just so little left. But the court said that “plaintiffs are entitled to explore their small remaining claim,” so I am cross-eyed from reading four year old email for nearly 12 hours yesterday (and into today). Thought a clever Sunday puzzle would help me chill. Not so much apparently.

I got what was going on quickly with ELF because I had the downs DEW, GALA and EFFS. That gave me German. Also, I read every Harry Potter because my young niece was all in on anything Potter, and as the “cool aunt,” I had to hold up my end. So DOBBY made me thankful for my GERMAN grandmother, and helped me recognize that our constructor was demonstrating the crossover language conceit. Very clever.

Had to jump around in this grid, and found QUINCE, SPANISH, and I hurried back up to the top to trade my orange for QUINCE JELLY.

Fell asleep on the couch with the app running a couple times so my time shows a ridiculous number of hours. Kind of a slog but it’s probably my fatigue and state of mind. . . definitely not SCIENCY!

Back to discovery hell. . . Should be able to finish by end of a normal day tomorrow and in a better mood because the final thrashing can begin!! Tomorrow, friends; sorry for the rant!

Malsdemare 12:54 PM  

Oh my, it’s really odd for me to feel rather nonplussed by a puzzle. Usually the thrill of the hunt outshines any dullness in theme, clues, or answers. But today I was pretty turned off by the whole thing. I did like DOBBY's appearance along with a DOOBIE (Illinois legalized Mary Jane this year; us boomers have, sadly, foresworn the joints for the edible version. Smoke, ya know . . .). Anyhoo, not a lot of sparkle for me.

@Max, I also winced at MRS but I've noticed that among my friends, neighbors, and relatives, of all ages, women embracing MRSdom is the norm. None of my nieces, former students, or children of friends have kept their birth names. In fact, one niece was a little uppity when I suggested, when she was complaining like mad about the hassle of changing all her ID, that she didn't HAVE to change her name. So be it. I have never regretted keeping the name I was born with.

And having said all that, thank you, Sam. Because DUETOTHEFACT (a usage I detest; where is Lauren, for pete's sake) that you made a puzzle and the Times published it, I get to wander over here and kvetch with folks who feel like friends.

What? 12:54 PM  

Ok, all filled in (except 81A and 62 D). So the translations are repeated in the line. Is that it? Still working.
(SCIENTY ? Ugh)

Anonymous 12:55 PM  

Well, how many times have we seen "Act I/eye" as an answer?

What? 12:57 PM  

DUE reminds me of a great misdirection from the past.
Past Due. TRE.

puzzlehoarder 1:03 PM  

An interesting (INTERESTY?) Sunday puzzle. Are there really words like SCIENCY? If you can SAYSO then I guess there are. That's pretty much the story of my solve.

DRIQ had to be forced on me just like entering ELF twice. I only accepted that after realizing it was part of the damn theme. While solving I kept getting a vague feeling of dejavu. That's what happens when you pay as little attention to the theme as is possible.

I like the word EXEQUY and I'll have to use it in Scrabble someday.

Finished with a clean grid albeit/BEITSO with some FISHY fill.

What? 1:11 PM  

Yes that’s it. If Sam didn’t work for Schortz, would the theme ever gotten ok’ed?

Klazziz 1:16 PM  

Not worthy of a Sunday puzzle. A very lazy effort by the constructor/editor. Random numbers in a foreign language? That's all you've got? Really? Glad you enjoyed "Parasites", Rex. But if I want to read a movie, I'd prefer the book.

Amelia 1:24 PM  

For the umpteenth (!) time, STOP SPOILING THOSE PUZZLES. I know you're doing it because you like the puzzles, but I suspect you're doing it because you dislike us. Either way, please stop doing it. I do all those puzzles and I had already done the New Yorker which was terrific. But you've ruined them for people who haven't done them yet.

Oh, and by the way the Stumper was a Brad Wilber and it wasn't as hard as the usual Stumper, but it was really lovely. I recommend heartily.

I thought this puzzle today was FANTASTIC. It took me forever to get it and then didn't get the side uses for a long time and when I got that, I was really surprised. What a change from last week, which was so awful.

If only all Sunday puzzles were this good. SAM? WILL? Make them all like this. Please?

Cheers!

Amelia 1:26 PM  

@tom R

Look at the puzzle again re: quince. That was the theme. Numbers in another language that are also English words. He did it with all the theme answers. I thought it was brilliant.



pabloinnh 1:31 PM  

Off to a rough start when I wanted a radio station for 1D and had ENTRY for INTRO forever, which did not help, and things when downhill gradually from there. I usually enjoy Sam's puzzles but today, for some reason, was not on his wavelength, or even in his time zone. I don't think this actually took me five times as long as a Sunday usually does, but it certainly felt that way, and what's the difference.

I remember listening to the DOOBIE Brothers for quite some time before I found out what a DOOBIE was. My innocent youth. Today's edibles are far stronger than the weak tea (remember "tea" from earlier this week?) of yesteryear, leading to in one case watching in person a college playoff hockey game in a state of mild paralysis. Like the man who was changed into a newt, I got better, but be careful out there.

Alex M 1:32 PM  

Yes. Settle in. (I believe he just turned 50, so that's that dissatisfied Gen X energy lol)

Frantic Sloth 1:45 PM  

Geez Loueeez I'm all over the map on this thing. Hated some parts and really liked others. AKRONOH has no HONOR - KAck! Well, there's a palindrome in there somewhere...
SCIENCY is good lexical cheese food and I like it!
Rex's review made me LOL in places - especially that LGBTQ-adjacent pea.

And @Joe Dipinto once again has me doing a spit-take (almost literally taking some spit) with that link!

Ragu 1:59 PM  

It takes a really underdeveloped palette (and mind) to complain about Cajun (or Creole) cuisine. They are both outstanding. It’s a very large family with room for Gumbo, Jambalaya, Etouffee and a good old down-home crawfish boil now and then (or maybe a fried shrimp Po’boy - yum yum!).

Today was vintage Garbage-Time at The Old Gray Lady. It’s like they swept everything off of the floor that had previously been discarded and stuffed it into one leftover pot pie of a puzzle. They had quite a potpourri of everything today - another contrived theme, repeated entries, words that don’t seem to be real words, something that is truly rotten to the core (yes, that smell is coming from OOOO), along with breaking new ground in the “how low can we go with insulting our solvers” (AKRONOH, SCIENCY - maybe the worst they have come up with this year so far, and that is telling), AMOBAE and MAESTRI.

I think there is going to be a Robert Frost moment at the NYT in the not too distant future - either they maintain the status quo and allow their loyal solvers to age and die off gracefully, or they have a changing of the guard and see if they can bring some fresh, vibrant energy and new ideas into the fold. It’s kind of sad to see them fall so far so quickly.

RooMonster 2:05 PM  

Hey All !
Dang, @pabloinnh, you just moved up a notch with that NEWT sentence. Didn't know you are a MPFC fan. So friends with you on that, but enemies on the Patriots. Har.

Odd puz today, never cottoned to the repeater words being English-ized pronunciations of the Foreign words. Why? Only the ole brain knows, and it ain't talking. Refused to put in ELF for DOBBY, cause ELF was already there, and right across from it! Also not getting theme hurt me in NW, where, like a bunch of y'all, had oraNgEJELLY, thinking there was no such thing. That NW was a trouble spot, as had RErUn for RECUT first, clue eNTRy for INTRO, giving me DReQ at 1D (dreck, har), and a non-sensicle nygOME at 18D. Two other DNF spots, DATIlE/lAT, LEIPtIG/SEItE (again, cause never grokked the theme).

Writeovers, afro-POUF, WASABInut-WASABIPEA.

Not a bad puz, there has been better SunPuzs out there, but hey, there it is. I SAY SO, regardless if that sentence made any sense!

LOST IN SNOGS
RooMonster
DarrinV

Richardf8 2:08 PM  

Opposite Experience for me. I filled in my last letter knowing I would have to figure out more stuff (1d in particular), got the music, and thought “what the hell is DRIQ?” When I finally parsed it correctly, I cringed.

Alison 2:24 PM  

My beef is with “the fact that.” Estimable literary style gurus Strunk and White say that phrase should be revised out of every sentence in which it appears. I agree.

Masked and Anonymous 2:38 PM  

har … MAES TRI … Metter luck mext time. Wellsir, MAESTRI and other Ow de Speration celebs did make this SunPuz kinda entertainin for weird old M&A, even tho the theme was a bit dry.

fave celebs:
* OOOO. Was necessary, to save DETOO ARTOO and ITTY. And NOOB.
* SCIENCY. Was necessary, to save AMUNRA and ACITY.
* EXEQUY. Was unnecessary, to save the total scrabble twerkfest. Already had the requisite Q & X pups, elsewhere in the puzgrid. Cool new word to learn, tho.
* AKRONOH. Necessary, to save SNOGS.
* SLIMUP. The UP part was crucial, to save PHX and LANDTAX.
* GENYER. Cuz get that DOOBIE in there or bust! Do it for the DOBBYmeister!
* POUF. Variant pelage varmint, but absolutely essential to preserve poster boy celeb MAES TRI.
* WASABIPEA. I thought it was WASABI ROOTs that you ate on. But, again, needed to preserve EFFS and BEITSO.

staff weeject pick: ELF. A desperate eleventh-ower runt-themer. Mais show of weespect.

Thanx for the joltin change of pace, to the Wizard of EZ. This one got lotsa variable press, I see.

Masked & Anonymo12Us


**gruntz**

webwinger 3:05 PM  

As a former Illinoisan recently transplanted to Colorado, I can’t refrain from offering some advice to Prairie Staters and others confronting the prospect of picking up a DOOBIE or consuming some TEA after many years of abstention. By far the best vehicle IMO is the vaping stick. Quick onset of effect allows meaningful titration, much less irritation and odor than traditional smoking. Just a few puffs usually sufficient for desired effect. One stick can last for months. Buying from a reputable shop pretty much eliminates the risk of harmful additives. Edibles very slow to take effect and very inconsistent for nominal dosage.

Joe in Canada 3:27 PM  

I think an effort was made to make orcs from elfs, but that was too difficult, and they were made from slime after.

G. Weissman 3:31 PM  

About a quarter of the way through this puzzle I had the overwhelming feeling that it would prove to be a poorly conceptualized and constructed waste of time. That’s when I decided to bail and read this blog write up instead. Once again, a poor NYT puzzle. I does seem to me that the incidence of sub-par puzzles is on the increase. A new head editor would be a nice change. Now back to reading Jack Finley’s The Body Snatchers, which is a much more pleasing use of my time.

xyz 4:01 PM  

Best Puzzle of its kind.

EVER!

Anonymous 4:02 PM  

A lot of people here (as well as Rex) seem to be complaining about the lack of fresh ideas in the NYT puzzles.

Has everyone considered:

- Shortz has to work with what he gets. Constructing any puzzle that hangs together at all is really hard. He probably doesn't get many new ideas in his In Box.

- Eventually, almost all the really good ideas have been done, and it gets harder and harder to come up with something truly new.

- The Times doesn't pay as well as many white collar employers. $1,000 or $1,500 for what could easily be a week's work isn't that great compared to many other jobs that really bright people (which you have to be to do a good crossword puzzle) can find.

- If your answers are heavily "fresh" words, they are also likely heavy on ephemeral pop culture.

- Themers are hard, because they force you to first fill up a bunch of spaces with little leeway to later change them, and then you have to figure out stuff (hopefully not too crosswordese) to fill out the rest.

Having said all that, I agree that the ERIEPA disease is scary, and we need a SCIENCY vaccine against it ASAP.

sixtyni yogini 4:16 PM  

Agree. For all the reasons stated above. Definitely a few good spots 🌤 but mostly not a particularly fun puz 🌧🧩🌧

BenM 4:39 PM  

Horrendous puzzle

Z 4:46 PM  

@electronym, @Peter P, and @Joe in Canada - According to Tolkien Gateway there are multiple origin stories for orca and Tolkien died before making one story definitive. I was familiar with the “slime” story from the appendices of my mid-70’s paperback edition of the trilogy.

@Anon11:51 - That sounds like more of an issue with whoever is contracted to do delivery for the NYTs where you live.

pmdm 4:59 PM  

To whatever your name is: I was the one to post. As it turns out, my route cannot find a delivery person, so the redelivery person always delivers my paper (until they can find a real delivery person). What Z says may be true, but the actual problem may be that you have no delivery person for your route. The way I look at it, it is a NYT problem, because NYT is where I send my money.

And yes, I received no Magazine section this week. GRR.

David 5:49 PM  

Forgive me if someone has already mentioned this... lots of comments about WASABI PEA, spurred by Rex's clever thought, but on the cross word, does anyone know a man named OPIE outside of Mayberry?

Charles 6:29 PM  

@BFP My only interpretation of that clue is the industrial plant one you mentioned, so a vat is a holder in a plant.

Charles 6:42 PM  

For what it's worth, MAESTRI is the correct pluralization of MAESTRO in Italian, the language of origin of the word. You could perhaps argue they should've stuck an (It.) modifier into the clue to make it fair.

SCIENCY is not a word, but it is slang, and crosswords do have their occasional use of slang (I mean we had TROU on Thursday). So perhaps that one just needed an (in slang) modifier.

OOOO was a stretch though. Any veteran crossword solver knows that the only numbers in crosswords (unless it is explicitly stated otherwise or part of the theme) are Roman numerals, so that one was a bit cheap.

Escalator 6:49 PM  

Almost stopped in the puzzle halfway because it was stupid.

Parasite is a mind-bending movie 👍👍👍👍👍

Charles 6:49 PM  

Oh and I agree, SLIMUP is ridiculous. I guess you can stick the word "up" after any verb these days to construct a new phrase, even if there is an already established phrase with the verb using the word "down"...

kitshef 6:50 PM  

@David - there is another fictional Opie on the TV Show Family Guy. And I've never met one in person, but my recollection is that Opie on the TV show was named after late, great Opie Cates [note: Wikipedia semi-confirms this]. Of course, Opie Cates' real name was Opal, which may be an even rarer name for men.

Anonymous 7:11 PM  

@pmdm/Z:

well, not really. NYT takes my subscription, so I think I have the right to expect they will, in fact, drop off the paper. what's especially annoying is that I can get it from my local grocery store newsrack, which is a 20 minute walk, a couple of minutes by car. the only reason to subscribe is that the store gets only one or two copies each day, so I have to get up (as the wife puts it) at the ass crack of dawn to be sort of sure I'll get my fix. I suppose early to bed early to rise. further, when I was a young whippersnapper delivering the morning paper, folks got a all-time reduction of price over newsstand. NYT, it turns out, charges more for home delivery, modulo 'introductory specials'.

GILL I. 7:13 PM  

@webwiger 3:05. Husband lives for Alpine Premium Canabis oil and its vaping stick. Takes care of all the aches and pains and doesn't smell....Thank you California for following in Colorado's footsteps.
@David 5:49. I once found a little puppy mutt wandering around that I adopted until his owner found him. I named him OPIE....does that count? He had freckles and had a squeaky bark.

Anonymous 7:20 PM  

Slim UP? You slim down, maybe (many try and few succeed) but who the heck has ever slimmed UP?

CaryInBoulder 7:30 PM  

It’s been eons since I left a comment here, but just had to express how much I disliked this one. Per Anonymous at 6:10 am, I am all in for banning Harry Potter clues evermore. Star Wars, as well, for that matter, especially the sTOOpid ARTOO DETOO. I stumbled into WASABIPEA totally unawares, as I was thinking of crunchy WASA bread. Obviously I missed the doubled words aspect of the theme because I was sure that QUINCE and QUINCE on the same line simply could not be right. Especially since I refused to give up ORANGE as my marmalade of choice. Plus GENYER, EXEQUY and all the other crap Rex mentioned. YUK.

albatross shell 1:20 AM  

I am latey getting here but have a few randomy comments.

Science and math clues and answers are often sciency or mathy. This puzzle is more just numbery.

When I got LOST IN TRANSLATION I was just starting to decipher the theme elements so it accurately described my situation. That got a har.

When I put the elements of the theme together, I liked it.

Also liked SLIPSHOD and DOBBY... and as mentioned above his DOOBIE brother. Too much Potter? I understand completely, but personally I am OK with it because darlin' K knows all things Potter and they are clues of convenience for me. Often know the answers anyway. Read them,saw movies. But I do like the subplot about Dobby because it was mostly left out of the movies. It concerned issues of fair treatment and compensation for labor. the whole class system and political organizing.

To those who only saw the first STAR WARS movie, it was not one of the best. My biggest disappointment was the quality of the sword fighting. It took another half dozen films or so before they approached the likes of Stewart Granger.

Hand up for Rez's dooking and comment on Was A BI PEA. Probably involved some genesplicing.

Since the clue had Pa. in it, thus indicating an abbreviation, and since going SW from Erie, it was just about certain to be OH. And that made AKRON a likely guess. So that answer was fine and dandy for me. But BUFFALONY sure was a good one.

Puzzle Maestro 9:11 AM  

Shortz needs to get more serious about his job. The Times puzzle used to be a fun and challenging reward for a lazy Sunday - seems like he is allowing Ezersky and others too many current pop-culture references along with poorly worded clues and puzzle themes. I wish there was a certain amount of life experience one has to have in order to get published. Seems that WS is too busy playing table tennis to care and will publish anything as of late. This puzzle was garbage and an affront to the NYT Crosswords of yesteryear.

Gio 2:09 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 3:50 PM  

Horrendous. Don't the Laws of Crossword prohibit using the same word twice in the grid, even if the two entries have different meanings or pronunciations? So how is it even remotely acceptable to have SEIZE and SEIZE? SEIZEPOWER (as a single, two-word grid entry) with SEIZE would be acceptable given the theme here, but SEIZE with SEIZE, no. How did this get past the associate puzzle editor, who is supposed to find these errors? Oh, wait, yes, I see now.

Vincent Collazo 4:45 AM  

Roman numerals generally used for acts of plays, so a letter for a number is correct. An “I” for an 1(eye).

rainforest 2:30 PM  

I had a totally different puzzle, one by Ed Sessa, and I could not find the solution on the blog. There is one place where I'm not sure my answer is correct so my solve must go unrequited. I won't talk about that area or the puzzle because I don't want to be a "spoiler".

rondo 6:01 PM  

@rainy - I too, had an Ed Sessa puz, but maybe not the same. Mine was from Nov 12, 2017. We all did it. The puz that should have shown today was chock full of emojis as clues which don't translate to the print version. I got it by alternate means, but don't think you missed something. Lotsa thumbs down. I tend to agree.

rondo 6:09 PM  

@rainy - my source did not confirm that the puz in the St. Paul paper was the same Ed Sessa puz that was in the Mpls. paper.

strayling 7:10 PM  

@rondo Thanks for the pointer.

spacecraft 11:41 AM  

I got the Ezersky one. Curious mixture of love & hate for this one, as I read. No problem guessing which side OFC came down on. Me? well, mixed feelings. I don't mind the repetition of words, DUETOTHEFACTTHAT it's the point of the theme. I thought it was medium-challenging, the west/SW being particularly thorny. Never heard of DOOBIE--and I have indulged, in the past. Very nearly stopped in my tracks when I thought DITZY was craZY. (No, I do not know the name of some fictional ELF.) As for the "spicy, crunchy snack tidbit," I can only ask: "Why??" Had to wait for ADI-[OS or EU], and SAYSO didn't come easily for "final authority." Here's my only contact with that one:

RED: Forty years of asking permission, now I can't piss a drop without SAYSO.

Shawshank, of course. But when I finally did GETIT, I felt I was DUE some triumph points. Final impression? The puzzle was like a WASABIPEA. Spicy, crunchy...but I still don't want to eat it. Taylor SWIFT makes a good DOD. Par.

Diana, LIW 12:20 PM  

I had this puzzle in my paper, tho I'd already done it, as a friend sent it to me. Sunday puzzle confusion abounds. Already did the emojis last week. When will they get the Synderland puzzle on the same Sunday date?????

As to this puzzle, I had a curiously bad reaction to it at first, but grew to like(ish) it over the solving time. @Spacey makes a good WASABIEPEA analogy. I remember eating those at a restaurant once, and having an instant disaffinity.

Diana, Lady--in-Waiting for Crosswords

Burma Shave 3:29 PM  

IMAY GETIT

DUETOTHEFACTTHAT 'THO AMISS SWIFT TELLS me what TO DEW,
ONETERM Taylor TAUT was "TOCOME you ARTOO USETHIS KAZOO."

--- ROLO "DOOBIE" MARLEY

rainforest 3:49 PM  

AM I LATE? Sorry.
This is weird. No, not the puzzle, but the fact that my comment above was made last week when I got a different puzzle. Ergo, I'll have two comments here, a week apart.
Bargain!

I dunno. I kinda liked this one. After all it has a DOOBIE in it. First time I heard that term, as a secondary school principal, I was out "on patrol" at lunchtime and I came upon three guys in the bushes lighting up. One of them, a favourite of mine said "Hey Sir, wanna spark a DOOBIE?" I was still laughing as I escorted them back the school to give them my "Just say No" lecture. It still amuses me. Now, the door is open for "blunt" or "spliff". Can't wait.

So, I got the theme as I was trying QUINzE for a FRENCH 15, but at that point I was thinking "hussar" for the cavalry guy, but it had to be LANCER, and thus QUINCE, ie, another language. Aha, SPANISH just above it. Then, of course QUINCE JELLY, and the game was up, and it appealed to me. The rest was pretty easy, even WASABI PEA.

Different sort of theme which tickled me and I appreciated the non-sloggy aspect. It kept me entertained.

rondo 4:01 PM  

DUE DEE DUE DEW DETOO DOOBIE. There's a song in there somewhere.

Michael MacDonald absolutely ruined the DOOBIE Brothers.

DEE Wallace did more acting in "Ten" than Bo Derek did in her career. And looked just as good or better in the buff, IMHO. She gets not a ten but an ELF. Yeah baby.

Not as bad as OFL SAYS.

BS2 4:04 PM  

MYOB

A BUSY bird, a BUSYBEE,
AYEAYESIR, BIOLOGY.

--- MRS. POTUS

strayling 7:22 PM  

Very nearly a personal best. I hit the Syndy link and landed on a Sunday puzzle from the right year, which is always a good start. A quick hop back to the full site and - sweet! - I zoom in to the history and today's puzzle is sitting right there, no need to even go hunting in previous months.

A couple of taps to open it up and switch to mobile view, and that's job done!

Anonymous 8:39 PM  

Reader for some time, first time poster because I’m a syndicat and who will read? But as a college English teacher, have to point out that “due to” means owed to, or scheduled to. It does not show cause and effect. One of my grammar nitpicks. Won’t comment on the puzzle, as my comments have already been made by others. —Dr Dr. Susie

Anonymous 9:36 PM  

@Dr Susie

Really, I say it all the time due to the fact that I've heard it used that way all my life.

rainforest 11:24 PM  

@rondo - right on! With Ron Johnston, the Doobies were brilliant. MacDonald just didn't have it.

rainforest 11:27 PM  

Tom, not Ron.

El Dingo 2:30 PM  

Hrumph. My two consecutive letters forming a man’s name were A and B, as in “Abie’s Irish Rose.” Opie?! Opie is a boy’s name, no doubt resetting to Ophraim or some such when he comes to adulthood and his senses.

Anonymous 10:09 PM  

I refused to believe that they would have the same answer at 59 and 61 and got stuck for a while trying to figure out if I'd misspelled Leipzig.

24a doesn't make sense. Marmalade is made of citrus and has pieces of peel in it whereas quinces are from the rose family and a jelly wouldn't contain peel or any pieces of pulp.

Also, everything Rex said. This was a stinker.

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