Actor who won Oscar for 1950s Cyrano de Bergerac / TUE 3-10-20 / Radames's love in opera / Milky white mineraloid

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Constructor: David J. Kahn

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (difficulty will vary widely depending on how familiar solvers are with the names) (3:20)

THEME: CALIFORNIA cities that start with "San" (58A: Its "saintly" cities include the starts to 16-, 28-, 37- and 43-Across) — themers are four men's names, where the first name in each case is also (following "San") the name of a California city:

Theme answers:
  • 16A: Actor who won an Oscar for 1950's "Cyrano de Bergerac" (JOSÉ FERRER)
  • 28A: Longtime rival of Roger Federer (RAFAEL NADAL)
  • 37A: Dictator following the Spanish Civil War (FRANCISCO FRANCO)
  • 43A: A founder of Mexican muralism (DIEGO RIVERA)
Word of the Day: FRANCISCO LINDOR (because dictators can get lost) —
Francisco Miguel Lindor (born November 14, 1993), nicknamed "Paquito"[1] and "Mr. Smile", is a Puerto Rican professional baseball shortstop for the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball(MLB). A right-handed thrower and switch hitter, Lindor stands 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m) and weighs 190 pounds (86 kg). 
Lindor batted over .300 in both his first two major league seasons and provided outstanding defense. In 2016, he earned each of his first All-Star selection, Gold Glove Award, becoming the first Puerto Rican shortstop to win the Gold Glove Award. He won his first Silver Slugger Award in 2017. He placed second in the American League Rookie of the Year voting in 2015 and was a selection to the 2017 All-WBC Team.
Born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, Lindor began playing baseball at an early age, and he moved with his family to Florida when he was 12. He became the Indians' first round selection, and eighth overall, in the 2011 MLB draft. In the minor leagues, he participated in the 2012 All-Star Futures Game, and by 2013, was rated by Baseball America as the Indians' top overall prospect. (wikipedia)

• • •

I don't think I've ever had less to say about a puzzle. These men have those saints' names. End of story. The themers skew unnecessarily old and unnecessarily male—you know there are major "saintly" cities in CALIFORNIA that start with "Santa," right? Like, a bunch. They are pretty famous. Way more famous than little San Rafael. Or were there no famous BARBARAs you could fit in the grid? Couldn't think of a famous MONICA? Yeesh. If your theme necessitates an all-male cast, go ahead, have at it. But if you really wanted to do this theme, do two SANs and two SANTAs, and if you keep FRANCISCO, for pete's sake ditch the brutal dictator and get with one of the very best and most entertaining players in baseball, FRANCISCO LINDOR. Also, if you are the Cleveland Indians, Pay Him. He's a generational player. And ... just look at him. He is the personification of baseball. He just *looks* baseball. I'm actually surprised that Kahn (today's constructor) didn't go with Lindor in that center slot, as Kahn (a baseball fan who once wrote an entire book of baseball crosswords) surely knows who Lindor is and how great he is. (Note: I am talking about baseball because it's far more fun (to me) than talking about this puzzle. My half-hearted apologies.)

SARDI FERRER EDSEL FRANCO DAS Rheingold STAN CASS etc. . . the cultural center of gravity on this one is very "of yore." Very little balance. I know that CAMERAMAN is a common word, but something about the clue's not indicating gender is bugging me. A CAMERAMAN is a *male* professional on a film set. You could go with the Buster Keaton film "The CAMERAMAN" and avoid the gender issue in the cluing entirely.

CLOSE / A SALE (!?) is awkward. ASALE is just bad fill, and here you've gone and painted the bad fill NEON colors by enlisting it into this gangly cross-reference gimmick. I don't understand why you'd do this, but clearly I don't understand most things about this puzzle. Whole thing feels like a shrug. Like a placeholder. Last week's Women's Week keeps looking better and better and better ...
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 6:22 AM  

Terrific theme idea, one I've never seen before, consistent from top to bottom, and well executed. The puzzle, IMO, has just the right resistance level for a new-solver-friendly Tuesday, with even a bit of wordplay, such as [Fix a clog?] for RESOLE. I did like CALIFORNIA crossing LEFT, which works in two senses.

Solid. Work of a pro. A puzzle that has no guile, that says HERE I AM and lets its quality do the talking. Thank you for this, David!

GILL I. 6:46 AM  

Ay dios mio, @Rex.....Lindor? a baseball shortstop? Give me the dictator FRANCO any old day. I could tell you LOTS about him and my living under his regime and my vida loca. Baseball, schmaseball.
I like San anything. I also liked this puzzle. I am a female and I am a woman so hear me roar. Yeah, I guess you could get all even stephen and throw in a Santa Monica Seles or even Lewinsky. But we're talking California Lefties here. They don't count.
Loved the clue for ALCOA...Company with a can-do attitude. Why do we have so many names for a bathroom?
I like the visual of HEAD MICE HARE.

Hungry Mother 7:05 AM  

I grew up in California, but this played hard for me. I was late to get the reveal, but my time was quicker than usual.

Anonymous 7:06 AM  

Anyone else? "one may be blind or hot" -> SPOT

webwinger 7:08 AM  

Have to pretty much agree with @Rex today (after finding his rants yesterday very much off target). Seems like mixing Sans and Santas would have been straightforward and made the puzzle livelier. And using Franco for the sole grid-spanning themer is a bit much. (But also have to agree with @Lewis that this was a solidly built Tuesday.)

I personally am not a big baseball fan or eager to see more baseball trivia in puzzles (though I have by now learned quite a bit about Mel Ott). Interesting that OFL yearns for more baseball at the same time he yens for more women constructors. Has there ever been a baseball-themed puzzle made by a woman? (Know I’m asking for it there, so feel free to start slugging.) Can hardly imagine a whole book of baseball puzzles by women. And HOWARTH is there anything wrong with that? Just as some x-words reflect strengths and interests of mainly older vs younger solvers, but don’t imply any form of exclusiveness, some will be in the wheelhouses of more women or men. Why should that not be OK too? (I realize I may be refuting a position that has not yet been explicitly argued here, but I think most will get my drift. And yes, I know there are Oodles of women whose baseball knowledge and interest exceeds mine by LOTS and LOTS.)

albatross shell 7:29 AM  

Lotta LADLin' lately. How LADLE ya play til?

Hardest clue for me and last in was Shell's shell. IRONical I guess. Where ever I've lived Shell has always been priciest. Wonder wonder wonder why da Buddha.

Back to full male domination today. Stan the Man. The Jerry West of baseball. The LOGO. Nadal's the prince of tennis. Rivera. Good one too. And Jose as Cyrano. Probably 10 or 11 when I first saw that one. The tongue and the sword and the heart. Oh my. Forget the nose. And then the rotten apple of the group. Of all the putrid people where do they all come from. Breaking News: Generalasshole-o FRANCISCO FRANCO is still dead.

As a Cleveland fan, I do appreciate Rex's Francisco replacement. Go Tribe!

RESOLE a real chuckle.


pabloinnh 7:42 AM  

Have to agree with OFL on this one. Why isn't this ALL baseball names? We could have had Jose Canseco, who besides hitting all those homers could bounce balls off his head over the fence. RAFAELNADAL is terrific, but what about Rafael Devers? Very fine young player, award-winning smile. And where's Diego Segui? He played for lots of teams. I realize not all of these would have fit in the grid as constructed. OK, new grid then.

(Hey, actually liked this one, DJK. A little easy for a Tuesday, at least for this old hispanophile.)

Joaquin 7:45 AM  

Shame on the constructor for using only male names. Not only does California have lots of "Santa" names (as Rex pointed out), the state is well-known for its many female founders.

For example: Who can ignore Gladys Fresno? She founded a settlement on the western edge of Kansas, then moved it west to get an ocean view. Without her, California would be just another fly-over.

And Mary-Louise Sacramento, who, despite being only a hooker, devised the state's motto: California Here I Come.

Brittney Escondido, who invented the earthquake.

Heather Oceanside, the first female NFL player, who played for the Raiders using her nom-de-gridiron Lyle Alzado .

Todd 7:52 AM  

Ah, the usual diatribe about Franco. I would prefer not to live in a world including puzzles where history is presanitized to Rex's liking. Also the Miriam Webster dictionary defines Cameraman as: a person who operates a camera. So no need to clue gender.

Cornelius 7:55 AM  

No problem seeing brutal dictators in crosswords here. History is important. He’s still dead by the way.

MichGirl 8:17 AM  

As I was doing this testosterone heavy puzzle, my main thought was that the NYT was trying to downplay last week's tepid foray into acknowledging women exist.

three of clubs 8:27 AM  

Far Left --- our preferred name is Progressive or Center-Left. Please use one of those designations in the future. The modification "far" is pejorative in this context.

Frantic Sloth 8:35 AM  

I was going to say that @albatross shell and @Cornelius stole my line, but the running joke there is repetition anyway, so Question?

I'm not prone to ranting about or pouting about or even caring about UN-PC (stupid term, but there it is) grid entries/clues, but I can understand why some people get their knickers all bunched. It just smacks of revisionism to me to ignore certain truths and/or histories. YMMV

Besides, I think more people have heard of the dictator than the baseball player - and it IS Tuesday after all.

Also, not overly concerned about misogynistic overtones because I didn't see them in the first place. Being female and a woman - LOL @GILL I. - I believe I know whereof I speak.

Jim McConnell 8:51 AM  

19A seems clued backwards. If a TV reporter is "on scene," i.e., at the scene of an event or incident, that reporter is typically considered to be reporting remotely, i.e., not in the TV studio.

krismizzi 9:00 AM  

Really, of the millions of JOSEs in the world, they chose a rando actor from the 1950s?

Suzie Q 9:06 AM  

I can see that this fun puzzle is going to take a back seat to the ranting. Too bad because I liked it a lot.
Franco was a person. If @ GILL I. can bear his appearance here then who are any of us to protest?
This other Francisco is a total unknown to me.
Rex is really off the rails today but he certainly has set the mood for some lively comments. I think I'll go make some popcorn and sit back to enjoy the show.

June Cleaver 9:09 AM  

For your entertainment, Google "alcoa aluminum ads"

Geezer 9:13 AM  

Let's not forget to be offended by LEER and APU.

Z 9:15 AM  

Let’s see, dead 28 years. Dead 45 years. And dead 63 years. I think “skews dead” is even worse than “skews old.”

@Anon7:06 - Yep. Then wanted “hate,” although I guess it would have to have been “white hot hate.”

Mildly amused at DIEGO RIVERA’s inclusion. Everywhere I go these days it’s Frida Kahlo. Other than the Detroit Institute of Art it’s almost as if DIEGO never existed.

JOHN X 9:17 AM  

What a great puzzle! After last week this was certainly a breath of fresh air. This puzzle was as manly as a pro baseball team, or a gay bar, or a moon landing. (it’s okay Emily and Aida, you can stay, shhhh . . .)

Instead of having all-male theme answers, I would have liked to have seen all-dictator theme answers. Wouldn’t that be great? I Googled it though: there are no dictators named Diego. No good ones anyway.

Did you know that JOHN X is a CAMERAMAN? In Hollywood no less? Local 600, bucko. As the old saying goes, “real men shoot film.” I’m kidding! We shoot digital too.

“Coffee is for CLOSERS!” Remember that? It’s from Glengarry Glen Ross. Wow, there’s a manly movie, with manly language! They sometimes call it Death of a F***ing Salesman. Golly, Laurence of Arabia had more women in the cast, and you only briefly see a chick’s hand in that one.

Have you ever read about Edsel Ford? Wow, his father broke that kid in half. He died relatively young of cancer, but everyone was convinced that Henry Ford caused him to get cancer. That’s harsh. Then his son, Hank the Deuce, comes out with the EDSEL car in tribute, and it’s a sales fiasco. Poor Edsel just couldn’t catch a break, except for being born enormously wealthy.

There was IRON (the noun not the verb), OFFED, BARGE, LEER, BATCAVE, DERAIL oh my so much good stuff heck I gotta go shave again.

Dig? Dig! Ciao!

burtonkd 9:17 AM

Sorry I haven’t figured out how to paste an image, but this incorporates AIDA and Always Be Closing (a sale, or deal). Remember, coffee is for closers. Having finished puzzle, will now brew a pot!

I saw Francisco and cameraman, and groaned bc I knew michael would waste his talent on that. I enjoy baseball and watch around playoff time, and listen to local games occasionally, but the dictator definitely more familiar than the baseball player.

From the VOIT discussion, this is from Meet the Parents:

What the hell's the matter with you? It's only a game, Focker!

- Oh, honey! I'm coming! - [Deb Crying]

[Jack] Get some ice.

My eye! Oh, my eye! Focker!

[Bob] God! [Deb Crying]

[Jack] Pam, help your sister, please. I'm sorry, Deb.

Deb, you can totally see Voit backwards on your forehead.

Anonymous 9:19 AM  

Rex complains about the puzzle skewing old and male and he suggests a clue using Buster Keaton? Huh?!!!!

Thanks for the puz. Mr. Kahn. St. Joseph is awesome.

JOHN X 9:22 AM  

Holy cow how could I mention Lawrence of Arabia and not point out JOSE Ferrer and the manliest scene in that most manly of manly movies? Yikes! (I think I had a typo there too)

Anonymous 9:40 AM  

As an Indians fan I agree with this post.

Escalator 9:59 AM  

Never never ever heard of OFFED......and I am old 😊

Anonymous 10:00 AM  

I couldn’t fit Rex Parker into 39 down so that was a tough one...

What? 10:01 AM  

SAN means Saint in Spanish. What does SANTA mean?

OKBoomer 10:01 AM  

No problem with the maleness given the revealer tie-in.

You could have found a hotter photo of Barbara Eden, though, given some of your Pulp covers.

Yours Trudy 10:14 AM  

A perfectly fine crossword skewered for the most ridiculous reasons.
It scares me to think that such narrow minds are influencing our young college students.

Sir Hillary 10:23 AM  

Absolutely indisputable that this puzzle skews male and old/dead. In fact, I would guess that it's been sitting in Will's drawer for a while. But the argument that it is therefore objectively bad eludes me. From where I sit, this is an adequate Tuesday.

Then again, Ana Gasteyer, Clara Barton, Barbara Walters and Rosa Parks would have been great theme entries. (Maybe even Teresa Heinz Kerry, if we include Sue Grafton's fictional CALIFORNIA.)

Best element is the ALCOA clue. Worst is ASALE.

While I agree with @Rex's assessment of FRANCISCO Lindor as a baseball player, FRANCISCOFRANCO is way more crossworthy.

My favorite JOSEFERRER scene is when he throws his drink in Fred MacMurray's face at the end of "The Caine Mutiny".

@Joaquin 7:45 -- Awesome. All the more so coming from yet another California "San".

@Cornelius 7:55 -- Nice. Now I'll have Chevy Chase and Garrett Morris in my head all day.

Missy 10:23 AM  

Santa: The word means "holy". It is also Spanish for "saint" and would designate a women or nun who had been canonized by the Catholic church.

RooMonster 10:25 AM  

Hey All !
I'm offended by Rex's continuity into being "The Best Defender of All Things Women". He's making me upset and has me feeling bad for being male. Maybe can get a sex change operation.

Another Rex dig, :-), if two of the themers were SAN and two SANTA, he would've bitched (oops, sexist, sorry) complained about non consistency. "Why aren't they all SANS, or all SANTAS? Dang, keep your themes tight!" or somesuch.

Rex bashing aside, I liked this one. Cities in CALIFORNIA named after Saints. They male-ness is irrelevant.

Big cry today for my one-letter DNF. BooHoo! Of all things, at an F! Didn't know JOSE FERRER, and with the ole brain blanking at FEAR, threw in a B, because BERRER sounds like a name, and seeing a bEAR would definitely give you goose bumps!

Oh well, COOL puz anyway. Especially for a TuesPuz.
Looking forward to CAMERAWOMAN in a future puz.

Five F's (4 in the themers)=1 elsewhere

Take me out, Coach 10:30 AM  

Sorry, Rex. The Astros set the game back years with what they did last season. It's unfathomable and truly unforgivable and the league hasn't done near enough to make up for the lost careers that ensued as a result. This is 100x worse than the juicing scandal and that was pretty bad.

I loved watching the CCR video of "Center Field," but gone are the days of innocence in that sport. I'll watch college baseball and let the MLB continue to make stupid decision after stupid decision on their own.

Yeah, the puzzle here was bad...but baseball, these days any way, is far worse.

b-t-trips 10:40 AM  

Thank you! I was appalled by "cameraman"

Sam 10:45 AM  

OK, boomers! What a display of wit and good humor this morning from the bleachers! Thanks, all, for providing such a charming alternative to Rex, this morning. Almost enough to let me forget the LMS-shaped hole in these parts.

Sgreennyc 10:46 AM  

Save us from PC idiots like Rex.

jberg 10:51 AM  

I certainly never heard of that shortstop, mostly because he is a baseball player, and Franco was clued as a "dictator," rather than 'former leader of Spain' or anything like that, so I was happy with it. But I do agree that "a bunch of guys named after saints who are also cities in California" was not a very sparkly theme.

I always thought of OFFED as more 60s radicals than the mob, as in "Off the pig!" but I guess it could have earlier roots.

David 10:51 AM  

Say What? San is a male saint, Santa also means "holy" or "sacred."

I groaned at Franco because I knew it would trigger Rex. Yes, I believe history should be known and should be fair game in crossword puzzles. Besides that, the Fascist was quickly balanced with a Marxist. Having not just an amazing actor, but the first Puerto Rican actor to win an Oscar sitting up there above Franco--and Rex missed that entirely. If there had been baseball names it would have taken me 10 times longer to finish.

to close a sale is common to people who've sold things, if not to academics

Break before barge; spot before date. Monday easy for me.

What? 10:55 AM  

I get SANTO for holy on a Translation app.

Ellen S 10:59 AM  

@escalator, for me, OFFED was a gimme. But then, I grew up in Chicago.

Similarly, when I saw the clue for 37A, I said, ha!, that’s .... and my mind froze. I had to get a bunch of letters before it thawed. My doctor says my mind is still working, but things like this? FRANCISCO FRANCO had already been Spain’s ruler for, ahem, four years when I was born, and well into my adult life until SNL finally pronounced him dead. I don’t think he should be forgotten. Senility is no excuse. If it takes finding him in a crossword puzzle, so be it. (Although I didn’t actually forget him, just couldn’t remember his name, but still.)

@What?, Santa is a girl saint. You remember women, right? Those things we saw as constructors last week?

We’re all in agreement that there won’t be another woman constructor the rest of this month, right?

Mary McCarty 11:09 AM  

@Missy FYI: nuns are still women. You made my Sister sister’s day.

OffTheGrid 11:17 AM  

@Take me out, Coach 10:30 AM, I agree with your baseball views. The greatest game has been royally F***** up.

Nancy 11:21 AM  

None of these names gave me any trouble; must go back and see if they gave any of you trouble. I can imagine disliking the puzzle if I didn't know any of them, but since I did know them, I found the puzzle pleasant enough-- pleasanter than most puzzles based on proper names. An pretty unusual idea for a puzzle theme -- unusual enough that I'm wondering if Kahn is a CALIFORNIAn. Maybe I'll go check that out, too.

pabloinnh 11:27 AM  

Re san, santo, santa-

santo and santa can both be adjectives or nouns, so they can meqn "holy" or "saint" Santo is usually shortened to san before a masculine name, except for Santo Tomas and Santo Domingo (maybe GILL I. can think of some others).

Newboy 11:28 AM  

Nothing “offensive” here, but liked the RESOLE. Most early week puzzles are meh anyway.

Anonymoose 11:32 AM  

It's lunch time and my soup is ready. I'm going to scoop some into a bowl.

Santa Claus 11:34 AM  

I thought Rex would be doing the happy dance because none of the theme names were white. Nope, still not good enough for Rex.

TJS 11:36 AM  

Found my favorite Rex quote after doing an archive puzzle from July 1,2011 :

"13D: Story from Joyce's "Dubliners" ("EVELINE") — never read Joyce. Not a word. Weird, right?

Not the most contemporary of puzzles, but that's OK. At least it has "DARIA," a great and highly underrated cartoon that was technically a spin-off of "Beavis & Butt-head" but is almost nothing like "Beavis & Butt-head" (27A: Title girl in a 1990s-2000s MTV cartoon). Smart, cynical girl trying to survive a modern Riverdale High School (her school's name = Lawndale). Recommended."

Tells me all I need to know about our beloved OFL.

Barbara S. 11:45 AM  

Antique trivia --

JOSE FERRER and Max von Sydow (from yesterday's discussion) were in two films together as far as I know:

Dune (1984) and
The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)

Dune, as you may be aware, has been newly remade for release later this year with Timothee Chalamet as Paul Atreides.

The Greatest Story -- no revisits on the horizon. That film was, of course, the story of Christ and everybody who was anybody in Hollywood at the time was in it. It suffered a pretty rough reception when released. Brendan Gill of The New Yorker wrote:

"If the subject matter weren't sacred in the original, we would be responding to the picture in the most charitable way possible by laughing at it from start to finish; this Christian mercy being denied us, we can only sit and sullenly marvel at the energy for which, for more than four hours, the note of serene vulgarity is triumphantly sustained." Ouch.

I acknowledge this has strayed awfully far from the puzzle but it's sometimes hard to constrain the inquiring mind.

Masked and Anonymous 11:46 AM  

Mighta been a good puz to publish on All Saints' Day, say. @RP's "Santa" one would be great, around Christmastime.

fave Ow de Speration: ASALE. Was somewhat valiantly defended with a cross-referencin CLOSE.

staff weeject pick: OSE. Also fairly desperate, tho it has been used 324 times before in the NYTPuz [but … never by Patrick Berry].

fave fillins included: FOSSIL. BATCAVE. RASCAL. HEREIAM. LUXE [musta wanted that X pretty bad].
Really liked the RESOLE clue. Gave the TuesPuz a touch of feistiness.

Thanx, Mr. Kahn.

Masked & Anonymo1U


old timer 12:02 PM  

This is an OK puzzle.

And in OK Ladies, here is a puzzle pattern for you to use. I've used some male saints after whom missions were named, from DIEGO in the South, up through JOSE, FRANCISCO, and RAFAEL in the North. Now make one using Ana, Barbara, Ynez, and Clara (Santa Monica is better known, but has no mission).

And OK Boomers, this puzzle skews very old. This one was easier than most Mondays for me, since I well remember JOSE FERRER and everybody else mentioned in the puzzle, including the still dead FRANCISCO FRANCO.

I enjoyed the puzzle a lot.

Whatsername 12:25 PM  

I enjoyed this a lot and loved that the theme actually helped me with the solve. That’s not always the case. I do agree it’s a tad on the macho side though. Poor EMILY and Mama CASS have to be feeling a little lonely nestled in there among all the Saints, the baseball clues and the BATCAVE. But as @GILL said, I am woman hear me roar. I can handle it.

@Joaquin at 7:45 - Thanks for the laughs! You made my day.

CDilly52 12:34 PM  

I am always happy to see a favorite baseball player make a crossword. First of all, it is something I can get easily and second, (and this is something upon which @Rex and I agree) I just love baseball. This time of year I count the days until Opening Day. My husband and I had a whole ritual with which I will not bore you because I am very sensitive to those of you who, like my brother-in-law “would rather watch paint dry” than a baseball game. So, that’s all on the baseball front. Lindor is a young star, mad skills and looks fabulous in the field or at the plate. Made for the uniform.

Super easy for me and in my opinion well crafted for an early week puzzle. I will never forget the first time I solved a NYTXW all by myself, no cheats with Grandmother’s well worn paperback Crossword Dictionary (the 1960 equivalent to Google) truly quite a feat of organization as a free-standing reference tool. On that particular Monday in early July, I didn’t touch it.

First of all, that day I was so touched by Grand’s generosity in saving it for me, and second, to an 8 year old (very nearly 9) bookish, nerdy, library denizen from central Ohio, “The Times” was an icon of intelligence and sophistication. Being trusted to hold it in my lap, to put in each and every answer while Gran watched with a nod and a smile when I sussed out clever word play made me feel “adult” for the first time in my life. It was a coming of age event; made me believe that I was smart and worthy of notice. My Grandmother was such a wise woman. Just by giving me that very singular privilege and her time and attention undoubtedly saved me from being “noticed” for the wrong reasons for sure! I was a mess as a kid, no doubt about it. Except for the times I was gone to camp, or she was on one of her visiting the grandkids junkets, I solved every day with her until I left for college at 18. I missed her more than anyone else when I went off to Chamoagbe-Urbana, but she is with me every day while I solve.

So, good or bad, I will always have a soft spot for the NYTXW, and I can just imagine newer solvers rejoicing today because they cracked an entire puzzle without help. Nothing wrong at all with this one as a Tuesday offering, in my very seriously humble opinion.

Carola 12:37 PM  

I enjoyed this one: complete mystification as to what these four individuals might have in common, followed by the pleasure of a satisfying reveal. Nice Downs, too: FOSSIL, BENGALI, BATCAVE, RASCAL,

Pete 12:54 PM  

Just be thankful this wasn't a FERRER only puzzle: JOSE, MIGUEL, RAFAEL & GABRIEL

Wanderlust 12:57 PM  

SANTO if it’s moderating a masculine noun, SANTA if it’s moderating a feminine noun. As Missy said, SANTA also is the title for a female saint. But SAN is the title for a male saint. SANTA can be confusing in city names because it can mean either Saint or Holy. Santa Monica, Santa Barbara and Santa Clara are named for saints, but Santa Cruz means Holy Cross and Santa Fe means Holy Faith.

Ernonymous 12:58 PM  

@what holy as an adjective would be Santo or Santa depending on the gender of the noun. Because the world is sexist, translations apps only give the male form.

xyz 1:06 PM  


Even the guy who tore down Saddam's statue wants him back.

Let's not sanitize history, we're paying for it enough already.

Z 1:42 PM  

Can we pause to consider something more important? Just how plausible is Batman’s BAT CAVE? That’s a lot of infrastructure, a supercomputer, storage hangars for all kinds of cars and planes and tanks, et cetera, secret entranceways, some sort of major power source... How does all that infrastructure get put into place “secretly?” Sure, Bruce Wayne is rich enough to pay for it all, but it seems like a whole lot of people from engineers to architects to highly skilled trades people to plumbers would have to be employed. With so many people necessarily involved, how long before “Secrets of Batman’s Secret BAT CAVE” is all over the internet?

Anonymous 2:06 PM  

@ Z, Maybe they were all hired by the Clintons.

Sir Hillary 2:16 PM  

@Z 1:42 -- Indeed, one of the great mysteries of the universe -- right up there with the fact that (as observed by Chandler Bing) Donald Duck, who never wears pants, feels compelled to wear a towel around his waist after showering.

Ernonymous 2:32 PM  

@Z don't worry, the secret is safe. Alfred had them all OFFED by FRANCISCOFRANCO, but only after the plumbers fixed all the old leaky faucets that DRIPPED in Wayne Manor. Ol' Al also had the architects build him a purple velvet lined She-Shed (A LUXE SALA with NEON lights) where he goes to enjoy his crosswords in private. The highly skilled tradespeople were able to connect a line for the BatPhone to his She-Shed so all is well.

Anonymous 2:33 PM  

get raised to ASC, then brag. no sooner.

Pete 2:47 PM  

You raise quite the point there @Z - I can't tell you how many of my plans for world domination, or being a heartless dispenser of justice, have been foiled by the necessity of infrastructure and the impossibility of keeping that secret. And the staffing issues, don't get me started there. Try finding people who can keep their traps shit and pass a pee-test these days. Impossible. Then they want full medical. I can build one death ray a month, but I need thousands if not tens of thousands. This isn't something you can outsource to China, pandemic or no pandemic. I need staff!!!! Don't get me started on shipping - UPS wants to be your logistics company? Right. Just ask them to ship some PETN and then let them tell you how much they want to be your logistics company. Wusses.

Richardf8 2:50 PM  

I easily got FRANCO. Your sportsball guy would have had me relying on crosses and then shrugging. Diego Rivera? This is a man I ONLY know through Frida Kahlo. A man defined to me solely in terms of hus relationship to a woman. So that worked for a hiiden female presence.

Disappointed in the revealer. Felt we could’ve don something more interesting with the sans.

Anonymous 2:53 PM  

I'm surprised that no one noted or appreciated that all of the theme names appear in their complete form. I thought that deserved some credit.
The puzzle was solid fare and better than the usual Tuesday.

Unknown 3:01 PM  

Pretty sure Lyon in France spells like I wrote it without an s.
Lyons,KS is a different matter.
Maybe I missed something...

Masked and Anonymous 3:03 PM  

@MB Z: yep. The BATCAVE buildin permits alone would be a killer giveaway. Plus, masked folks get away with so little.

M&A decided to desperately try to rework today's WSW area, in order to:
* Get rid of OSE.
* Get rid of ASALE.
* Score a couple more U's.
* Stop stewin about day-um corona viruses for an hour or so.

My results …
[Note of hero-worship: I tried to use Patrick Berry clues, where available (*-ed ones).]

25. * Onetime Arapaho foe
33. * Writer Ephron
40. * City that hosts the world's biggest annual game fair
47. "___ of Two Cities"
50. * Has a bit of
57. Purplish berry
61. Sch. of the Runnin' Rebels
64. * French noodle?
25. Hungrier than snot [PB1 no doubt wishes he'd got to use this clue]
26. Trunks
27. * Clear the slate
34. Rare blood type
38. 100 bucks
50. * Like a well-written thriller
51. * Teen spots
52. * Cracker coating [har]


RooMonster 3:27 PM  

Maybe they were borrowed from SHIELD, after all, to build those flying aircraft carriers couldn't have been easy. Then you wouldn't have to worry too much about talkers.

Different worlds, I know. DC and Marvel. But hey, why can't we all get along? Plus, it would be awesome sauce if they did a crossover movie! Could you imagine?
Mind blown.

RooMonster Willing To Be The Bad Guy In That Movie Guy

jae 3:41 PM  

Easy-medium. Smooth, plus I’m from San DIEGO so of course I liked it. A fine Tues.!

I’m currently reading Allende’s “A Long Petal of the Sea” which I would recommend to anyone interested in the Spanish Civil War and it’s aftermath.

Anne H 3:55 PM  

@Joaquin 7:45am
Many thanks for the informative list of females
who “named” famous California cities. That was a neat history lesson!

Barbara S. 3:58 PM  

A) Donald Duck uses that towel for drying, not modesty. Cartoon ducks may simply not dry as efficiently as those we see on the pond in the park.
(Sir Hillary, 2:16)

B) Z raises a troubling point, but you do have to put this in the context of Gotham. Inexplicable, even crazy, doings are the norm there. Would anyone have the wits even to notice the eighteen-wheelers going to and fro? Also, I believe Wayne Manor is located outside of Gotham City proper. It's at least on the outskirts, maybe even farther away than that.
(Z, 1:42)

Barbara S. 4:42 PM  

C) Bruce Wayne is rich, ergo NDAs.

JC66 5:05 PM  

You all know that the Bat Cave was built in 1939 and improvements/additions were made gradually over time, right?

Dan 5:09 PM  

Oh my god. Impossible to solve if you don't know Radames because who in their right mind thinks "midi" skirt over "min." Took 20 minutes going insane trying to find an error.

pabloinnh 5:35 PM  

Re BATCAVE stuff-

"A willing suspension of disbelief" is a rather dusty concept, but I still find it useful.

CT2Napa 5:40 PM  

This puzzle and Rex’s rants led to one of the best blogs in recent history (or herstory).

Unknown 5:49 PM  

Rex needs to take up marijuana. It might relax him. #seriously

Anonymous 6:22 PM  

That's your advice? WTF

Unknown 7:05 PM  

Or drinking. Or meditation. Anything to get him out of his tiresome funk.

Anonymous 7:37 PM  

Chevy Chase’s real first name is Cornelius.

BobL 7:53 PM  

What a bunch of crap comments. Sorry

TAB2TAB 8:54 PM  

I'm a liberal gay male and I am outraged that there were only *straight* males represented in this puzzle. The constructor could have very easily had two straight males and two gay males and turned a hetero-heavy-handed puzzle into something absolutely fabulous. Further, why not one straight male, one gay male, one straight female, and one lesbian? C'mon, it's CALIFORNIA.

I'm kidding. It's a puzzle. It's okay that not every category of human is represented in the four themers. I got my word play for the day (not that there's anything wrong with numbers - sorry Sudoku).

The reason I skew liberal is that I care about fellow humans and those least able to ensure their own prosperity are the ones that most often need our help the most. This is a worthy and noble pursuit.

I don't understand the liberal obsession to endeavor that all of our human experience should somehow be identical and represented in precisely measured quantities. Life is rich because of our differences. Celebrate that. But please stop trying to homogenize and sanitize our society in the name of liberalism. It's not noble, it's merely embarrassing.

albatross shell 9:08 PM  

Rex seems to be just fine without our advice. He seems to trigger some bloggers here far more than Shortz triggers him. I do not think he is cranky or unhappy. I often do not agree with him. But his positions are not totally unreasonable. Do not be unkind or insulting to vulnerable groups. Attract new groups to the crossword world. Is he doing it the best way possible? No, but he is trying, and certainly does more than most of us and does have other stuff to offer. Are his standards sillier than the breakfast test? I don't think so. Are bodily fluids being banned worse than fascists, modern dictators, and rapists being banned? So he let's his political viewpoints effects his reactions and pops off about it. Oh the horror. But keep it up, if you think it adds anything to the blog. Sometimes it actually does.

Hacienda room or Lament in reverse?

Voit made the best basketballs available when I was a kid. For outside play anyway. They got taken over and then the jobs got moved out of country.

Many thanks to Joe or whoever linked that My Girl is Red Hot video. I hope you have all seen Knockin' on Dave's Door. Last time I googled it I could only find it with commercial interruptions. Dylan and Billy Ray humor.

SF boy 9:46 PM  


Give 'em hell, boy.

Gil 4:19 AM  

I wonder if the constructor is related to Roger Kahn, who wrote one of the greatest baseball books ever.

kitshef 9:54 PM  

Easier than 90% of Monday puzzles. Why this ran on a Tuesday I've no idea. Maybe it's my imagination but it feels like the quarantines, the number of people dropping by just to be unpleasant has increased.

Burma Shave 10:27 AM  


that there’s LOTS and LOTS to FEAR,
they LET ONE look be called a LEER.


spacecraft 12:15 PM  

Consistent theme with an OK revealer. Noting they were all guys, plus the CAMERAMAN, I knew Mr. Kahn was in for a pasting by OFC. Doesn't bother me much, but I do think in all fairness a companion puzzle should appear with distaff saints.

The fill was pretty solid; of course you'll have your ALOEs and tour OPALs, ASEVER. On the whole, this was rather well crafted. I salute the late great Mama CASS as DOD; honorable mention to Glenn CLOSE. Birdie.

rondo 12:19 PM  

If there was ever any doubt that OFL was FARLEFT, his semi-recent admission that he’s a fan of the movies on the Hallmark Channel confirms it. More estrogen than Lifetime. Who thought that was possible? His comments today further confirm. But it’s his soap box. I thought the idea of going sans the SANs was pretty decent, if not even COOL.

It’s not all men in the puz. There’s Mama CASS and yeah baby EMILY Blunt.

I don't mind walking to work these days (20 feet). But being cooped up for so long with all the Covid talk I've gotten my rules mixed up; I started washing my hands for 2 minutes and brushing my teeth for 20 seconds. Good enough puz for me.

leftcoaster 2:00 PM  

Ah, Rex, I just don't know....

Well made, solid puzzle, and liked it. Since Rex is big into baseball today, will just mention going first for an OUT on the run-down before seeing the TAG.

Hidden SANs are good; a couple of Santas would have been fine, too.

rainforest 3:28 PM  

I liked the puzzle to the point that I decided to read OFA, but as soon as he started to talk about the all-male themers, I bailed. There's lots more to be upset about right now. Yeesh!

I knew all the people in the themers; DIEGO RIVERA.I learned about in the movie Frida which starred Salma Hayek, who could be the DOD in my opinion. But knowing who they all were didn't twig me onto CALIFORNIA until I read the revealer. Good one.

Fine construction throughout, good fill, some nice clues.

Just a note: I always thought the wood for a pipe was BRIeR. Evidently I was wr-, wr-, mistaken.

Anonymous 10:35 PM  

Guessed wrong on AI*A x MI*I (there are clues for midi that aren't ambiguous) and ALCO* x D*S.

Between FARO, JOSEFERRER, an alternative to Yours Truly, and loosey-goosey--I'm guessing this puzzle was written by a FOSSIL.

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