Heroine of Bizet's Pearl Fishers / SUN 3-8-20 / Longtime anthropomorphic aardvark on PBS / 1940s vice president who went on to become president / South American cowboys / Moved like Jagr / Fictional exemplar of Christmas spirit

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Constructor: Laura Taylor Kinnel

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (9:48)

THEME: "What's Shaking?" — a salt rebus, where five squares represent the word "SALT" in the Across and the letter string "NACL" (the chemical formula for salt) in the Down

Theme answers:
  • SALT WATER TAFFY / PUTS O(N A CL)INIC (my fav "NACL" answer)
  • SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH / I(N A CL)UMP (my least fav "NACL" answer)
Word of the Day: LLANEROS (15D: South American cowboys) —
llanero (Spanish pronunciation: [ʝaˈneɾo]plainsman) is a South American herder. The name is taken from the Llanos grasslands occupying western-central Venezuela and eastern Colombia. The Llanero were originally part Spanish and Indian and have a strong culture including a distinctive form of music.
During the Latin American wars of independence, Llaneros served in both armies and provided the bulk of the cavalry during the war. In 1819, an army of Llaneros, led by Simón Bolívar and José Antonio Páez, defeated the Spanish with a surprise attack when they crossed over the Orinocoplains and the Andes mountains. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is a one-note puzzle, but it's a pretty good note, and the grid is very well built. You've got a stray OHTO or DEUT here and there, but for the most part, the solving experience was cringe-free. As rebuses go, this one was very easy to uncover, as the missing "SALT" shouts at you pretty early on (at least it did to me), and after that the "NACL" bit is not tough to suss out. The rest of the solving experience is just ... finding those squares, which, again, because they are all inside long theme answers that contain the word "SALT," are very easy to see. And there are only five theme squares in the end, so there's not really a hell of a lot going on, themewise, but it's enough. The "SALT" answers were ho-hum, but the "NACL" ones were occasionally very inventive. This was certainly smoother and more enjoyable than your average Sunday NYTXW puzzle (low bar, yes, but baby steps, as they say).

Despite having to slow down to enter the theme squares properly, and repeatedly entering wrong answers or otherwise feeling stuck, I finished this in very good time. I was legitimately surprised to see that I came in under 10. Even easy rebuses tend to hold me up a little bit as I fuss not only with locating the involved squares, but with entering them correctly. So perhaps this puzzle is actually closer to Easy than Easy-Medium, but the distinction doesn't really matter. Started out poorly, wanting BRAGS for CROWS (1A: Boasts), and then wanting DAN for OBI (3D: Martial artist's belt). I still want DAN for OBI, frankly. I kept wanting the [Repeated part of a pop song] to be CODA (I had the "O") but codas aren't repetitions and anyway they belong to classical music, not pop.

My biggest struggle in the NW was also my biggest beef. Orlando CABRERA!? Orlando!? Sigh. OK, yes, he had a nice career, and I mean no disrespect, but if you're going to put a baseball CABRERA in your grid, Orlando ain't it. Miguel CABRERA ... I mean, where do I begin? One of the two or three greatest right-handed hitters of this century. Two-time AL MVP. Four-time batting champion. 11-time All-Star. Probably gonna go over 500 career homers this year. First player since 1967 to win the dang Triple Crown (batting title, HR leader, RBI leader) (2012). But, but ... Orlando CABRERA!? Orlando? Please. Please. Some respect for greatness is in order. Yes, yes, I am a Tigers fan, and Miggy (i.e. Miguel CABRERA) is a Tiger, and OK yes I do own a Miguel CABRERA jersey, so, fine, bias, whatever. But still, objectively, the only puzzle-worthy CABRERA is Miguel CABRERA. Miguel CABRERA scoffs at your two Gold Gloves. (I'm sorry, Orlando; again, the comparison is unfair; you were a good player)

  • 36D: Climate change, notably (THREAT) — had "TH" and thought for sure it was going to be THEORY, and I was prepared to be So Mad ... but then it was THREAT, which is accurate. Madness averted (for now)
  • 61D: Fabric with sheen (LAMÉ) — this whole section, this seemingly easy little section in the east, was a real pest. Found RAVE IMAX and SEXT all less-than-easy, but the big problem was this stupid fabric. An "É" is a different letter from an "E," so getting this was a groaner. I would avoid the answer LAME entirely if it were at all in my power. There is no good cluing outcome there. 
  • 118A: Moved like Jagr? (DEKED) — this is a valiant attempt at a visual pun (his name is pronounced "YOG-ger"); Jaromir Jagr is a star ice hockey player, and to "deke" is to fake someone out on the ice. Oh, and the clue is a play on the title of this tenacious earworm (do not play; you have been warned):
  • 10D: Sch. with 50+ alums who went on to become astronauts (USNA) — got the "U" and went straight to UCLA. Reflex.
  • 92D: Senator Joni and Dadaist Max (ERNSTS) — Hear me out: What if Joni Ernst is dada? I mean, she's not exactly plausible as a sincere human being. Maybe she is Max Ernst's final, terrible piece of work. Anyway, I would totally watch a sitcom called "The Importance of Being Ernst" if it were about a senator who talked to paintings and spent her public life executing the cruel and inscrutable will of undead Max Ernst. You'd watch too. How could you not?
A few side notes:

First, I don't know if the NYTXW formally gave her credit, but this whole "Woman's Week" event (meant to honor Women's History Month) was the brainchild of constructor and crossword culturista  Rebecca Falcon, who contacted all the major daily crossword editors some time ago and asked them if they were willing to do some kind of showcase of women constructors this month (March, Women's History Month). David Steinberg at Universal Crosswords was the one editor who went all in with a full month's worth of puzzles by women, but credit to Rebecca for getting a week out of the NYTXW. Even the WSJ, with its abysmal record of publishing women constructors, got in on the game—there was a very nice meta crossword on Friday by Joanne Sullivan (I can't remember *ever* seeing a woman's name on the byline of their Friday meta). Rebecca told me that there will be women guest-editing at American Values Crossword Club, that Evan Birnholz will have a woman standing in for him tomorrow for the WaPo Sunday puzzle, and there's an all-women-constructors puzzle pack in the NYTXW app this month too, so look for all those things. Kudos to Rebecca for putting the spotlight on women constructors and for highlighting the fact that allllll the editors of major xword dailies are (still, somehow) men.

Second, an important change at Matt Gaffney's Weekly Crossword Contest (*the* weekly metacrossword for metacrossword enthusiasts)—he has switched the site over to a Patreon account. But, as part of this transition, March is *free*. Here are the specs from Matt himself

  • ***Page link is: https://www.patreon.com/mgwcc
  • ***First free puzzle is this Friday and the last will be on Friday, March 27th.
  • ***Payments are turned off so no one will be charged when they sign up. 
  • ***Cost is $3/month if people choose to keep playing after the free month. If they don't want to, they can cancel anytime up to March 31st and never be charged a dime. They can also get four (additional) free easy contest crosswords right when they sign up by sending me an e-mail with FOUR EASY CONTEST CROSSWORDS in the subject line (those instructions are also at my Patreon page).
Matt has a large and loyal following. If you haven't done meta crosswords before, I highly recommend checking out the free puzzles Matt's offering this month, just to get a taste. 

Thirdly, and lastly, I lost my beautiful chocolate lab Gabby on Friday. Last year at this time I had two dogs, two longtime daily companions, two ridiculous weird creatures with totally different personalities whom I'd carry on full conversations with every day of my life. Then Dutchess died last spring. And now Gabby is gone. I don't even know what to say. We are bereft. Here are some pictures of Gabby with her littermate, her brother, her favorite dog of all time: Baxter. 

gabby baxter
baxter gabby
baxter gabby
baxter gabby

And here's the best picture I've ever been in, ever. 

Blue sky, baseball cap (Tigers!), Binghamton sign, and my big dumb dog with her big dumb tongue. 

I was never worthy of her impossible sweetness.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. hey, Daylight Saving Time started! Fix your non-self-adjusting clocks!

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


mmorgan 12:07 AM  

I got the theme fairly quickly and it was no great “shakes” but the rest of the puzzle put up far more resistance than the usual Sunday and was a very fun and pleasant and enjoyable solving experience. Nice Sunday, much better than most these days!

As to the loss of Gabby.... there are no words.

Anonymous 12:39 AM  

Anyone know how the official NYT app wants the salt/nacl entered? I've got a nice streak I'm trying to maintain. Thanks!

jae 12:46 AM  

Medium. This was fun, liked it a bunch.

@Rex - Thanks for the pictures, sorry for your loss, adorable looking pooch.

Joaquin 12:50 AM  

The problem with dogs is that you have to say goodbye before you are ready; and you're never ready.

Ken Freeland 12:58 AM  

Glad Rex was ok with this one... I liked it too... reasonably low PPP quotient and no serious naticks. Theme well executed. Kudos to its creator - - five stars!

Matthew Miller 1:31 AM  

SALT came quick, but NACL had me stumped for so long that this one ended at double my average Sunday time... Tough nut to crack.

Thanks for throwing the boygenius video in there - - what a fantastic EP that was, and all three of em have been consistently great.

JMS 1:50 AM  

Always tough to lose our pups. Condolences.

RooMonster 5:01 AM  

Roo again -
Well, I erred (there's a surprise) about the time change. You won't be early today if you forgot to set your clocks ahead one hour, you'll be late to something!
Man, this time change is confusing. And ridiculous. Pick one time and stick with it.


mann 5:11 AM  

Really enjoyed thisthis Sunday, thanks!

Jason 5:13 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous 6:09 AM  

Oh Rex, I am so sorry for your loss of Gabby. Thank you for the lovely pictures and your memories.

I enjoyed this puzzle, and thought I'd have a little fun trying to predict what OFL would think. Here are the predictions I wrote down before coming here:
- Difficulty: Easy-medium
- OFL would like this
- Mention "appurtenance" and "nothingburger" (he did not)
- Mention how "salary" was incorporated into the puzzle, as derived from the Latin for "salt" (he didn't)
- Mention about the many child-related clues and answers sprinkled throughout the puzzle by the TEACHER-constructor, including: "Arthur" the aardvark; "Capn" Crunch; "PTA"; "Crayola"; those teen "idols"; and the colleges and schools, in "Ames, Iowa" and the "USNA"; and "Tiny Tim". No mention by OFL, but I will highlight these in appreciation of the fabric of the puzzle.


Dave 6:24 AM  

Sorry about your pup, Rex

Anonymous 6:47 AM  

I'm so sorry about Gabby!

@mericans in Paris 6:56 AM  

Condolences for the los of Gabby, @Rex. She looks as if she was a wonderful companion.

Mrs. 'mericans and I enjoyed this puzzle, which we completed quickly. We really don't like rebuses that work in only one direction, so have great admiration for the constructor managing to use NACL as salt in the crosses and the letters themselves in the downs.

As @Rex points out, the grid was largely clean, too. Only one RED FLAG, and that was an answer. Our (my) only mistake was writing dEMI-SOFT, as "demi-" is the prefix used here for dairy products, such as "demi-écrémé" and, well, one of the cheeses mentioned is French, though spelled here as Munster.

All in all, we'd say that this week of puzzles by female constructors was a success. More, please!

And happy Journée Internationale des Droits de la Femme!

Conrad 6:57 AM  

Rex, very sorry to hear about the loss of Gabby and (belatedly) Duchess. We humans are as close to our pets as we are to family, and loss of a pet is a time for intense sadness. Best of everything to you and your family.

Andrea 6:57 AM  

I’m really sorry for your loss. A dog’s love is irreplaceable.

TokyoRacer 7:30 AM  

I also wanted DAN for OBI, and I speak Japanese! Obi is of course usually used as the sash around a kimono, but it IS the correct word for the belt around a judoka, etc. The problem here is, "obi" is used in English for the kimono sash, but the usual English word for the martial art belt is "belt." Black belt, etc. So "obi" here requires an understanding of Japanese, unless you can get it by inference, which I guess you all did. My point is, I don't believe that using non-common foreign words in an English crossword is fair. Common words like sayonara and adieu are ok, but non-common ones are not, and the NYTXW uses a lot of those! Please stop!

sf27shirley 7:35 AM  

Giants fan here. The clue could have been "Miguel who struck out against Sergio Romo for final out in 2012 World Series"

Anonymous 7:38 AM  

Just “NACL” as a rebus in the squares where “salt” should be worked for me.

Lewis 7:39 AM  

@rex -- As a dog owner/lover myself, my heart goes out to you.

This puzzle was solid and engaging, sans ANNOYANCES, and I left it very glad that I did it. Thank you for your efforts in making this, Laura!

I greatly like the nerdiness of having NACL as a rebus, and I enjoyed cracking what seemed like many fresh clues. My favorite wordplay clue was [Lightly roast] for TEASE. I did notice that RED FLAG was appropriately raised. Finally, I'd love to listen in on the conversation if the following were sitting at the same table: Harper LEE, ERASMUS, Shirley MACLAINE, and GANDHI. Oh, and throw in CAP'N OODLES.

Anonymous 7:50 AM  

Wow. Feel like a big man now that you’ve kicked him around a bit? The lack of compassion expressed by some people is always stunning to me, but this is beyond egregious. FFS, the guys dog just died. You, sir, are a first class ass.

JJ 7:50 AM  

I have a sign that says “I only hope I’m half the man my dog thinks I am”.
So sorry for your loss. Our dogs just want to make us happy, and when we lose them it leaves a hole in our lives that’s very hard to fill.

BobL 8:03 AM  

What a wonderful week of puzzles!

Joe Dipinto 8:24 AM  

I liked this a lot, I was never at sea while solving it. The NaCl downs are particularly inspired. Normally I'd feel it wasn't kosher to have only five theme answers on a Sunday, but really you can view this as having ten.

It would have been excellent if the NaCl answers could have run through *all* the long downs, i.e. at 42, 43 and 60 instead of at 28, 80 and 101. But that would have been a Himalayan peak to pull off.

Way to rock a Sunday puzzle, Ms. Kinnel!

With the change of clocks this weekend can spring be on the horizon?

pabloinnh 8:29 AM  

DIOS mio, LLANEROS on ILES in the PARC! Second languages are indeed handy.

Always like the square that has one fill going across and another fill going down. Must be a bear to construct, and this was well done. A couple of WOEs but the crosses took care of that.

Thanks for a nice breezy Sundecito, LTK. Looking for more from you.

We've been cat people forever, and they've always been gone too soon. Hang on to the memories, they really help.

RooMonster 8:37 AM  

Hey All !
Confession time... When I came here earlier to post my DST correction, I espied in Rex's write-up NACL. Having not done the puz yet, I knew something would be up with SALT, also suggested at by the Title of the puz. I more than likely would have quit the puz, cause I doubt I would've figured out NACL had to be in the Downs. I would've been stuck on SALT, and ended up with stuff like PINSALTE for PINNACLE, and the ole brain would've exploded. So an inadvertent cheat, but a fortuitous one. You might say DNF from the start.

This did end up a good puz. Tough to find good NACL words/phrases. Wondering if Laura Googled "Phrases with NACL" to be able to cross her SALT themers effectively.

Seemed to me to be alot of unnecessary PPP clues. YMMV. @Z?

Only a few writeovers, Spill-SLOSH, mySELF-ITSELF, and writing salt in first four squares of THE(SALT)OFTHEEARTH before grokking theme. Couldn't figure out the SW-middle section of DRIEST/LIEN/ENDDUE. Left 4 empty squares, because I just could not come up with viable answers. DYE deceptively clued, ENDDUE is a new one for me, and LIEN also oddly clued. That's my excuse!

But, a nice SunPuz. OPALS as an Australian team? Holy MOLY! (Awesome clue, I bet 9 out of 10 of us thought of something else first!)

Seven F's!

Z 8:46 AM  

@sf27shirley - Was it really necessary to RUB NACL IN THE WOUND? That whole period (2004ish - 2014ish) was an odd one in Detroit sports. The Tigers winning the Central four consecutive years and getting to two world series, The Pistons having one world championship and 6 consecutive Eastern Conference Finals appearances. The Red Wings still in the midst of their 25 consecutive playoff appearances and winning a Stanley Cup. Heck, even the Lions made it to the playoffs a couple of times. But it was an era where three of the four major sport franchises were so close to legendary greatness and just didn’t get it done. It was a fun ride for sports fans, but we were left with a sense of it could have been a little bit better. Anyway, here’s a better CABRERA World Series memory.

A fine Sunday endeavor. A perfect example of less is more. With just five rebus squares the grid could breathe. The fill wasn’t forced and the grid itself doesn’t suffer from odd tight spaces. Nicely done.

Suzie Q 8:54 AM  

What a relief when a Sunday puzzle feels worth the effort. So many times they disappoint but not today. Salt is so much a part of our language that finding those answers no doubt was very easy but finding NaCl in a string of letters that make sense must have been a bear. I admired the result.
So many bleed-overs and repetitions this week. Yesterday's mother hen was clued like hover was today. And didn't we just have sext as well?
Nice pictures Rex. I'm sure they had happy lives and made yours better by being there with you.
I'm always amazed at how just one hour can mess me up but it certainly does.

Smitty 8:57 AM  

I know it's corny but....(((hugs)))

Small Town Blogger 8:57 AM  

“If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die , I want to go where they went” - Will Rogers. My heartfelt condolences, Rex.

GILL I. 8:59 AM  

Damn, @Rex....Now I can't stop crying. That face! Our pets are the salt of the earth...no doubt.
Oh..the puzzle. Well, you went on about CABRERA about nine times. I'm not mentioning her that many but dang, you clue MAC LAINE between Streep and Field? Why not just go out on a limb and clue her in her best role in Irma la Douce? I think I watched that film about nine times. Then Shirley got all strange on us with her after-life theories. At least she didn't become all Gwyneth Paltrow with her coffee enemas.
I got the salt thing early. It was fun. I did do a little head scratch with that pile up of little foreign clues in the far east section. How many of you thought vaqueros instead of LLANEROS. Hah. So are we talking Eva or Juan PERON.
Two things I didn't understand 21D. Why is HOOK a repeated part of a pop song and I've never heard of PUTS ON A CLINIC. Never. Ever.
Bring on some more of the fair sexes. I'm all fer them. It's been a good fun week of puzzles.
Say hello to Marmalade when you're in dog heaven, Gabby. She'll lick your face as well.

Sangamon Girl 9:06 AM  

My deepest sympathies on your loss of Gabby. I think Ted Kooser expresses it best.

Sandy R 9:23 AM  

So sorry you lost your dog, Rex. :(

As for this puzzle, my only real gripe is that there was no revealer for the rebus, especially when PINCH OF SALT would have worked great (and fit perfectly in the center of the grid, for that matter). Thought the themers were really clever, otherwise.

I also wanted to be mad at OPALS for not being something more obviously Australian, especially since it was crossed with a relatively uncommon French word...but in the end I decided that it was on me, and I could have gotten there if I had been a little more patient. Of course it turns out that the opal is the national gem of Australia. Who knew? (Not me, clearly.)

As it is, I didn't finish. Still enjoyed the puzzle.

And again, condolences on your loss.

Joseph Jakuta 9:44 AM  

Had TAPCREDIT/APE. Apparently Tap Credit is a thing too, never would have seen it.

Also sorry for your loss sir.

Anonymous 9:48 AM  

I’m so sorry for your loss.

BarbieBarbie 9:56 AM  

Ah, Rex, no, not Gabby too... I’m so sorry.

This puzzle was OK. The Downs fell into two repetitive categories, which made the whole thing less fun. I can’t think of other instances, but if they had all been the same type or all different it would have been a much stronger puzzle. Maybe it just seemed a little dull because I got it right away. It was fine.

Rube 9:58 AM  

Good news bad news here. The theme was clever and a fun aha moment when I got it with PINNACLE after being stumped by RANACLOSESECOND. but after that it was like a Monday just no challenge whatsoever.

REX is right about Cabrera and I kept on trying to force Cepeda in there...a truly great player in his day.

RMK 10:00 AM  

Codas and recapitulations are two different things.

In any style of music.

TML 10:05 AM  

Sorry for your loss Rex. Dogs are the best creatures on the planet.

Petsounds 10:05 AM  

What beautiful doggos, Rex. Truly heartfelt condolences.

I so appreciated Rex's rant about Miguel Cabrera, of whom I am such a fan that one of my dachshunds is named...Miggy. So starting off with Orlando put me in a sour mood. Which dissipated quickly as I realized how much fun this puzzle was. I've never heard of either LLANEROS or DEKED but was able to get both with the good fill. Nothing flamboyant or wacko--just an enjoyable smooth sail.

Happy International Women's Day! Sorry to see the week-long women's run in the NYTXW end because there have been some great ones.

albatross shell 10:11 AM  

A dog's final gift to you is keeping your tear ducts functional and lubricated, and a
the a smile on your face. Have a good cry, relive the memories.
I would also recommend the Chet and Bernie Detective Agency series to any dog-lover.

I suspected that NACL would work with the downs but saw no point in checking until I had a down answer I was positive of, since the single S for SALT was a nice convenience and the theme crosses went in so easy. And the trigger for that was the best actress clue at 80 down. I happened to have the MACL and the rest blanks. Aging eyes made me double-take that before realizing it wasn't NACL. But just in case I detoured over and saw MaNACLes worked for handcuffs. Returning to 80 down, my first impression of the clue was the winner should be Sally or Meryl and that wasn't working. Next I remembered weren't they up against each other this year and the winner was sitting between them? Not sure if that was accurate on 2 counts but Rene Zelliger wasn't any help. Then stopped thinking so hard and just looked at the letters. Bingo. Afterwards,I got curious about the movies involved and found,liberally interpreted, the answer could have been Spacek or Hepburn as well.

Good theme. Faster than normAl Sunday for me, and more fun too. A few worthy obstacles. Lots of children stuff and accomplished women.

I was thinking Rex might have a picture of Joni Ernst with THIS IS NOT A US SENATOR printed across it. Maybe a bad day to be insulting a woman, too. Huh Rex?

Steve 10:13 AM  

Deepest sympathies on the loss of Gabby, Rex. As a dog daddy, I've had to say goodbye to some of the sweetest creatures ever created. I will always have at least one pup as long as I'm around, though, because I feel incomplete without them.

Someone was asking about the proper way to enter a rebus, and I have this hint: The times only requires the first letter of the rebus to score a successfully solved puzzle. This was especially good for me today, as I had originally entered "S" into the rebus square for SALT, and when I realized it was actually NACL, I only needed to change the S to an N and be on my way, instead of deleting and re-entering the rebus letters.

pmdm 10:24 AM  

One of my favorite gimmicks is having an entry in a single square reading differently across and down. So I did enjoy this puzzle. Or, in this case, the same "thing" spelled differently. Being thrown for a while but (fairly quickly) getting the trick seemed enjoyable to me.

The problem with dogs and cats is that their owners will outlive them, as they have a relatively short life span. My grandfather and father ran a small local grocery store. I forgot how many cats died (or got lost) as I was growing up. One never gets used to losing a loved one. I envy my friend who always had at least one black lab hunting buddy. When his last surviving dog died, all he could do to relieve the hole was get another puppy (who turned out not to be a great hunting buddy but is a great companion). One hopes Mr.Sharp equal success.

Z 10:28 AM  

Only because @Roo asked I did a quick PPP count. It was higher than I expected, but not quite above the excessive line. 43 of 138, for 31.2%. For those who don’t know, PPP is Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns. When a puzzle hits 33% some subset of solvers will struggle.

To your question about “unnecessary PPP clues,” “Argentina’s leading daily sports newspaper” to clue OLÉ seems to go beyond “unnecessary” and right into “gratuitous.” The opera clue for TSAR as well. I am also personally annoyed with the TSA being the seeming go to clue for WAND lately (or maybe it’s just the existence of the TSA I’m annoyed with). I liked the DEKED clue more than Rex, but also no need to go PPP there. But the rest of the clue answers do seem to require an element of PPP. Taking out those answers gets the puzzle down to 28% PPP. IMO, the PPP level is a tad high, but not excessive, and the unnecessary PPP may be a matter of taste. I’m sure some people found the opera clue for TSAR nifty.

Gio 10:29 AM  

Come on people, it should have been Francisco Cabrera. Player who hit a 3 run homer in bottom of the 9th trailing 9-6 to win the pennant for the Braves In 1991. One of the biggest baseball miracles in the history of the sport.

albatross shell 10:35 AM  

PUT ON A CLINIC is used in sports often. A player by his game performance is showing exactly how his position should be played. A musician might turn a performance into a Master class. but that may include some negative connotations. I'm not sure. Showing off skill as a detriment to interpretation?
A hook in popular song is the catchy little phrase or rhythm that sticks with you and is almost always repeated. Bon Jovi was noted for putting his hooks first. Beethoven had a few hooks of his own.

webwinger 10:39 AM  

Still an effort to type, but healing right hand now can contribute a bit. Have been able to to complete puzzles on the app, and keeping up with the blog since having surgery on Thursday. Women’s Week was quite a success IMO.

What mostly made this puzzle a challenge for me was thinking the Down rebuses would be anagrams of SALT. It quickly became clear that they would differ from Across, but because of the title “What’s Shaking”, I thought first (and second, and third) of shaking up the letters a la Boggle. No dice, it turned out, but didn’t see what was really happening until I got all the way down to MANACLES. Still overall a very enjoyable Sunday. (BTW, SALT in the rebus squares on the NYT app worked fine.)

As I mentioned before signing off on Wednesday night, I’m enduring weeks of partial disability and pain because of a fall that happened as I was chasing our dog Dwight (see avatar), recently adopted from a shelter at age 8 by my daughter, who managed to wriggle out of his collar and leash while we were out on a walk. First time in my life I’ve lived with a pooch, and I’m totally smitten. (He sat by me for hours after the injury, until it was clear I had to go to the ER.) I already feel sad that most of Ike’s life had been lived before he came to us. Way more in sync with today’s outpouring of emotion than I would have been just a few months ago.

Teedmn 10:45 AM  

The PIN[NACL]E of today's solve was when I realized I had to take my rebopodes WITH A GRAIN OF NACL and I went back and changed all of my salts. And of course, finally realizing that 1A was not bRagS. It's always painful when the very first thing you put down in a puzzle is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Most of the cluing was straightforward. I liked 64A's IRON clue, and I smiled in appreciation when I changed 80A from QED to IAM. Just last night, I was CROWing about how good my friend Jamie is at writing HOOKs for songs but he's no SHOWOFF. 86A's CUE getting the ball rolling is nice.

The clue for 53D brought images of a roast pig, so seeing INFANT as the answer was creepy! And I had cOpSES for 119A's "Shaded growths" so the fictional exemplar of the Christmas Spirit was briefly TINY TIc.

Laura Taylor Kinnel, congrats on your second NYTimes puzzle which is also your second Sunday puzzle and so soon after the first. Nice job!

Mo-T 10:49 AM  

What @Joaquin said... 12:50 AM

The problem with dogs is that you have to say goodbye before you are ready; and you're never ready.

So, so sorry.

Michael 10:55 AM  

> SALT came quick, but NACL had me stumped for so long that this one ended at double my average Sunday time... Tough nut to crack.

We were in the same boat, figured out SALT but the crosses just did not come even though it should have been obvious from PIN[NACL]E. I think because we had SPRUCESUP for SPICESUP we didn't get the connection on PUTSO[NACL]INIC, and it was just a bit rickety till we pushed through. Still felt like a good solve. We were under our average but I think we must have had some weird outlier stinkers for Sunday in our past that have kept that higher than my pride is happy with.

> Obi is of course usually used as the sash around a kimono, but it IS the correct word for the belt around a judoka, etc.

We only referred to it as an obi when practicing iaido, in which case we would really buy proper obis from a store in Little Tokyo in downtown LA. Everything else was just a belt, for whatever reason. But then we would use 'gi' or 'dogi' for uniforms. The joys of language.

albatross shell 10:58 AM  

Wrong year wrong score wrong hit?

PapaLeRoux 11:02 AM  

We enjoyed today’s puzzle even though it took us a long time to figure it out.

Sorry about Gabby, Rex. Always tough to lose a loved pet. Think Rainbow Bridge.

amyyanni 11:21 AM  

Maybe we could have a puzzle rating system honoring Gabby, e.g., this is a 5 Gabby puzzle. I'm sorry Rex. Thanks for the wonderful photos. I had a lab/border collie mix, real dog's dog. Always makes me smile to remember him.

RooMonster 11:21 AM  

Thanks for that, and a hearty chuckle out of "and right into "gratuitous"". That OLE one was the one that I think perked the ears up.

Speaking of perking the ears up. Rex, condolences to you and yours.

RooMonster Gratuitous Guy

Newboy 11:21 AM  

Read @mmorgan’s first response & that said it all. Ditto here. Nice to finish a week with a puzzle that hasn’t lost its savor!

TJS 11:28 AM  

Usually puzzles like this are enjoyed by the constructor much more than the solver, but this one is an exception. Loved the cluing and the fill, except for "ernsts" being one of the toughest, ugliest, just wrong-looking abominations I have ever had to enter.
@Lewis no comment on the double-letter fest going on in the East side of this thing?
Didn't Shirley think she was Gandhi in an earlier life?
@Z, Ah yes, the Bad Boys. What a class act. Still remember them walking off the court without shaking hands after the Bulls finally got over the hump against them. I guess they knew that the Jordon Era had officially begun.
I would offer condolences, but Rex doesn't read us.

Martha 11:30 AM  

So sorry Rex- nothing is worse that losing your dog, in my estimation.

Nancy 11:32 AM  

To use such a difficult combo of letters as NACL in a rebus is a remarkable thing and I'm impressed. I also always like it when the Acrosses and Downs work differently in a rebus, so I really liked this aspect as well. The only disappointment is that once I had the rebus, I had it, and the rest of the puzzle became too easy. To have a rebus that is altered in some way throughout the puzzle makes it more challenging.

But so what if I didn't "suffer" enough today. I suffered enough the last three days to make up for it. Two splendid themelesses on Fri and Sat, preceded by that missing letters puzzle on Thursday that I mistakenly thought was a rebus. All I can say is that the women have acquitted themselves well this week. After what was for me a very, very disappointing Mon and Tues, the rest of the week has been really good. Nice work!

Anonymous 11:35 AM  


Seriously? What about losing a spouse...or a child?

Nancy 11:40 AM  

Gabby's sweetness shines through every beautiful photograph that Rex has posted today. What an incredible loss. But, Rex, you were enormously lucky to have enjoyed her love and companionship for all the years that you did. R.I.P, Gabby.

Z 11:44 AM  

@RooMonster - Could have been worse, the clue editor could have gone with the IATA code for the Cattaraugus County-Olean Airport. That clue has Wikipedia written all over it, so I was not surprised to see the Argentine sports paper high up on the disambiguation page.

@webwinger - Good to hear you’re healing. And that your new friend is helping out. I’m doing the reverse. My 4 year-old lab mix is recovering from knee surgery for a torn CCL (doggy equivalent of a torn ACL). 12 weeks of recovery and he should be back to chasing tennis balls with abandon and exploring the hiking trails around here. Our chihuahua is the most upset because he can’t play right now.

Birchbark 11:49 AM  

This is a Dante-like thematic-association ladder: Salt travels by connotative steps along a spiritual path from hell to purgatory to a promise of paradise:

1. Infernal malice -- RUB NACL IN THE WOUND -->
2. Harmless error -- WITH A GRAIN OF NACL -->
3. Pedestrian sweetness -- NACL WATER TAFFY -->
4. A haven for pilgrims on the shore of an inland sea -- NACL LAKE CITY -->
5. Redemptive wisdom -- NACL OF THE EARTH

I'd reverse the supporting corner symmetry, putting IDOLs the northwest hell-camp and CROWS down in paradise corner in the southeast. But that is because I like CROWS. And it would involve a miracle of construction, so STET.

Z 11:53 AM  

@TJS - Different era. {{Serious Detroit v Chicago trash talk deleted. You are welcome}}

Joanne 12:06 PM  

Bereft was the word that came to mind - and heart - when I lost my beloved Irish Wolfhound, Darcy. I literally thought of that word. I know your pain. The only cure is a puppy. You'll know when you're ready. My Grady rescued me. He makes me laugh every day (I think Darcy must have sent him).

JOHN X 12:10 PM  

Well this was just a great puzzle and I’d like to thank all the gals for a wonderful week of puzzles. Like many of you, when I first heard that there would be a week of puzzles by women, a whole week, I thought to myself “well that’s going to be a disaster.” Instead we got a week full of great puzzles! We tend to think of crossword puzzle making as a man’s job, like driving or being president; these ladies have proven without a doubt that, thanks to technology, even women can make crossword puzzles. I was wrong this one time, and I’m man enough to admit it.

P.S. Today’s Captcha was the “crosswalk test.” I always ace that!

CDilly52 12:16 PM  

My heart goes out to you and your family on the loss of dear Gabby. The friendship and unconditional love our furry family members so generously provide us cannot be described in words. And the loss is indescribable.

As for the puzzle, I had such fun solving! The word play was bright and sassy and just plain fun!!

My avatar “Library Cat” has been such a constant source of love as we both mourned the loss of my husband, now almost two years ago. I cannot bear the thought of losing her. Going to go make a donation to the SPCA in Gabby’s name.

Nampa 12:23 PM  

Folks who aren’t “dog people” won’t get this...

jberg 12:24 PM  

@Rube - me too for wanting Cepeda. I seriously thought maybe I remembered his name wrong, since Cespeda would have fit. But I held off, fortunately. I already had finiSh SECOND for 2D, which held me up way too much already. I finally saw the trick with IN A CLUMP, and the rest was easy.

I commented on Facebook yesterday, but once again, @Rex, very sorry about Gabby. We've watched our dog go through a couple of mastectomies (and another one when she was still at the shelter we got her from), and generally struggle her way back to health after 4 years that were clearly traumatic. Every moment while she was in surgery was agony, but she handled it well; I know we're going to be very broken up if we ever lose her.

What? 12:25 PM  

Got the theme with SALTWATER TAFFY and the rest was easy. Pleasant though and nicely done.
One of my daughter’s two golden retrievers, Max, had to be put down recently. He couldn’t eat or get up, you know.
I was his favorite (and he mine). He wasn’t allowed on the furniture so he would come and rest his head on my knee.
My two grandchildren drove in from MSU to be with the family. This brings the family together, so a silver lining.

Carola 12:26 PM  

@Laura Taylor Kinnel, thank you for this most enjoyable Sunday.
@Colin 6:09, thank you for reminding me of the SALARY-SALT connection.
@Rex, I'm sorry you lost Gabby. Thank you for the lovely remembrance.

Gio 12:27 PM  

@albatross Ha! Yes I'm losing it! My brain is shot I'm hoping these puzzles help my recall. Not much hope though. We were expecting my 2nd child in 1992 and he was born shortly after that game. There's a poster in his room that says Miracle in the 9th with 1992 on it!

CDilly52 12:28 PM  

Having lost a husband of 45 years almost 2 years ago, and in the past a spectaculars”family member “ dog, my experience is that grief is grief, and it can be devastating. . Each of us has the relationships and concomitant experiences we have. Sometimes, perhaps, a pet may not not become a “family member” companion. However, when they do, the loss is painful and the grief nearly overwhelming. Our personal experiences are just that, personal. And grief is grief. And I believe it is deserving of our kindness and compassion.

JC66 12:36 PM  


In case you were serious:

Since you're "blue," it's not necessary for you to check the "I'm not a robot" box. Just hit "Publish Your Comment" and you post will appear after clearing the mods.

Anonymoose 12:41 PM  

I think that one year Shirley Maclaine received a previous lifetime achievement award.

Jesse Witt 12:41 PM  

@sf27shirley Yes! Sergio ROMO deserves more crossword love. Tony gets enough already. Go Giants!

I liked this one but thought it had a few too many names. I didn’t remember ERASMUS and struggled with Orlando CABRERA, which kept me stuck in the NE for a while. Didn’t help that I tried to PUT salt in the wound. Fun puzzle overall, though!

Nancy 12:43 PM  

@Birchbark (11:49) -- A delightful observation and truly spoken like the blog's Resident Philosopher.

To @GILL ("Then Shirley got all strange on us") and @TJS ("Didn't Shirley think she was Gandhi in an earlier life?") --

People who make fun of the people who claim to have had past lives always point out that their memories are of being princesses, emperors, world leaders, even saints; and that no one ever remembers being a scullery maid or an accounts payable clerk. I was going to embed a link from some wit who said that, but there are so very many such witticisms to choose from that I wasn't able to make a decision. It does make one question the whole past lives thing, though -- doesn't it?

Lewis 12:44 PM  

@tjs -- Don't know about Shirley and Ghandi, but regarding double letters, I don't look at them on Sunday, with that huge grid. But as I scan today's grid's east side, while double letters have a definite presence, that presence doesn't seem to be unusually high.

sixtyni yogini 1:03 PM  

So sorry about your dog. 💔
Loved this 🧩! Good clues 🔍! Fun theme. And just hard enough to keep me going. 🤸‍♂️🛺🤸‍♂️

Nancy 1:03 PM  

I see on another blog that the constructor originally had the title "On the Table". It's a play on the fact that the themers are to be found on both the dining table and the periodic table. I like the wordplay a lot. Would it have made the puzzle easier than "What's Shaking?" I have no idea. But I do like it a lot.

mjddon 1:05 PM  

Fun puzzle.

Got my first ever dog, a shih tzu, when I was 60! Fell in love. He died at 14. Mourned for a year and then got another at 75. He is four. I have lost many family members and friends. Those griefs were different. The dog grief was harder and I don’t know why. I have heard and read this many times. They are so dependent on us, they love so unconditionally, and in most cases we make the final decision as to the time and place of their death. Maybe that’s why. My deepest sympathy to you and your family, Rex.

Frantic Sloth 1:08 PM  

Oh, for cryin' out loud. How can I comment on anything but those dogs??
Went from laughing at the whole Ernst paragraph to crying about all things DOG - and specifically THOSE dogs.
Just when you might think OFL is 2-dimensional crossword cranky pants (I don't necessarily, but some people on here seem to), he posts THAT PICTURE.


Oh, and I loved the puzzle but why even bother?

Unknown 1:21 PM  

Sorry to hear of your loss. No adequate words to describe a house without our furry family members.

Barbara S. 1:27 PM  

I'm very happy to have that DREAMy Everly Brothers TUNE (and lyrics) wafting through my head.


dale tousley 1:31 PM  

I am so sorry about your loss of your beautiful fur baby,Gabby, we lost our Toby in April and life just isn't the same without him....

CDilly52 1:49 PM  

@Lewis. I agree wit your favorite clue. The wordplay today was the best of the week - sparkly!

JC66 1:54 PM  

@CDilly52 eta

From today's Sunday Review section of the NY Times.

Gio 1:57 PM  

@Mjddon I also got my first dog fairly late in life. My parents wouldn't let us have pets. I had a disabled son who has a good bond with animals and when he was 12 he begged and begged for a dog. I got him a dog and then we got a second dog!
When the second dog died rather suddenly in 2017, it was one of the worst things I'd ever gone through. I was a mess.Now they are both gone and there is a big hole. The one in my avatar pic died only a few months ago. We had him 16 years.
I just wanted to say I related to your post. I'm sorry for Rex to lose 2 so close.

CDilly52 2:00 PM  

My daughter at 8 fell in love with a baby “Rottman-Shepweiler” a breed she created. Our friend who raises Rotties and trains police dogs has an “accidental litter” from a visiting (and enormous) male Shepherd and a very young (her first heat) female Rottweiler. Naturally, the pups couldn’t be registered and so they had to be adopted. Being animal shelter volunteers, and friends of same, we knew our friend, Bill was in a bind so we helped nurse the pups after mom decided she wanted no part of them and the runt (who grew to be 85 pounds of “sister dog”) was Kate’s best friend. The giant, drooling love blanket, too, was banned from furniture and would lean in on my legs with her big, square head on my knee. In this position, one’s legs go to sleep quickly. I had to put her down while my daughter was in her freshman year of college. One of the hardest phone calls I have ever had to make.

bertoray 2:01 PM  

Heartfelt condolences on your loss.

Anonymous 2:02 PM  

I REST MY CASE: Our Dear Leader says, of this puzzle: "a salt rebus". So for all your knuckledraggers who screamed that the NO MAS puzzle was *not* a rebus: shove it where the sun don't shine. Mammy Yokum has spoken.

Carol Drost 2:05 PM  

So, so hard to lose a loyal friend. My condolences. As a former Michigander, am totally with you on Miggy. Sheesh!!

Frantic Sloth 2:07 PM  

@Nampa Pardon me while I go open a vein, but thank you for the link

@JOHN X Thanks for the laugh!

@CDilly52 Thank you for expressing the sentiment so beautifully.

Some people cannot conceive of loving a pet that much. I avoid them like the plague because that's what they are.

xyz 2:13 PM  

More fun than a large format usually is

Anonymous 2:17 PM  

OFL: " I would avoid the answer LAME entirely if it were at all in my power. There is no good cluing outcome there. "

c'mon - Chester Good

OFL: "his name is pronounced "YOG-ger""

c'mon - the TeeVee hockey voices I here always say it as the German-style beer, 'lager'

albatross shell 2:18 PM  

@JohnX 1210 pm
Do you enjoy the tests? Think they keep hour mind sharp? Besieve in equal harassment under the Internet? You name looks blue on my screen. That should mean you can just skip that test.

Anonymous 2:24 PM  

I loved the theme, which was a two-step get. Nice. Tricky. But not overly so. Well done.

GILL I. 2:35 PM  

@Albatross. Muchas gracias on the HOOK and CLINIC explanations. It's gonna be one of those things I will forget...Like that nothing burger being a NON EVENT. Who comes up with these things? Imagine eating a burger with just a plain old bun.
@Nancy...HAH! Would YOU ever admit that in you past life you were a scullery maid? I believe that I was really Isadora Duncan but without a scarf.
Anony 12:41...Good one. lifetime achievement award indeed!

Richardf8 2:45 PM  

It's sad to lose two pups a year apart like that.

As for the puzzle, PINNACLE was the breakthrough moment for me.

Malsdemare 2:47 PM  

I'm not usually this sappy, but I have a plaque that says "As long as there is a space the shape of me in your heart, I am with you." It sits on the shelf with my dogs photos and ashes. My condolences, Rex.

Headslap for my misparsing of AMESIO, WA. And another for being just fine with ApE for AXE, giving me the totally implausible TApCREDIT. Massive case of. the stupids today.

Terrific week of great puzzles. Thanks, Will and NYT. Maybe next year it could be the whole month?

Anonymous 2:54 PM  

Enjoyed this one. Salt came easily, but NACL threw me off at first ... and I liked the AHA moment when I figured it out.

Kathy 2:55 PM  

@Joseph Jakuta. LOL! I had AbE/TAbCREDIT. Man, was Big feller a great clue.

@Albatrossshell, I’ll have to check out that book.

There is nothing like the unconditional love of a dog, and I’m sure the bond of shared grief, whether past or recent, caused many a tear to well up today.

Master Melvin 2:58 PM  

Could have used the best first name of all the baseball playing CABRERAs: ASDRUBAL.

Hungry Mother 3:12 PM  

Very fast. Nice theme which had me doing the themers first.

Gio 3:16 PM  

@anon 2:02 the NO MAS puzzle wasn't a rebus. This puzzle is quite different from that one.

Lindsay 3:31 PM  

This is the second time in three days that Rex's words have made me cry, and they were not regarding the crossword puzzle. So very sorry about beautiful Gabby.

Jason 4:20 PM  

I didn't say a word about Rex, and I have no idea why you thought that I did. YOUR entire comment is a product of YOUR false assumption, so YOUR apology will be accepted if you can manage to hop off of your moral high horse and give it.

Joe Dipinto 4:27 PM  

Looks like we need an axe video.

Masked and Anonymous 6:22 PM  

Salty SunPuz. Ten themers! [Five SALTs, five NACLs]. Fillins were pretty darn smoooth, considerin all that there theme material. Good constructioneerin job, on a tough project.

I somehow had a semisoft spot for the multi-word fillins today, with faves includin: TINYTIM. DRIVEUPAWALL. AMESIOWA. REDFLAG. TAXCREDIT. SPICESUP [nice theme echo]. PADTHAI.

staff weeject pick: MAE. The M+A's endure. Does ma heart good to see it.

@RP: Truly am sorry about your loss of best friend dogs. They were a very sweet-lookin pair. Glad U and they got to enjoy each other so much.

Thanx, and congratz on yer second primo SunPuz, Ms. Kinnel darlin. This 2nd one sorta makes U a "seasoned" veteran.

Masked & Anonymo14Us

a bit on the tough side:

Anoa Bob 6:23 PM  

I rarely have the patience or determination to finish a Sunday-sized puzzle. Usually get about half way through or less and say "¡No mas!". Today's offering kept me in the game to the end. Solid, imaginative theme that didn't overburden the grid and some well-crafted fill did the trick.

I ask this a couple of days ago, but it was late, so I'll try again. When did we first start calling an xword puzzle with multiple letters in some squares a "rebus". By any definitions I've seen, there would have to be pictures or symbols involved to make it a true rebus. And I don't think "close enough for crosswords" is a legitimate justification for calling something that isn't a rebus a rebus.

Margaret 6:57 PM  

Just wanted to tell you how sorry I am that you have lost your dog. Pets are such wonderful companions. I hope that along with all the puzzles, good, bad, and indifferent that come into your life, someday you will have another dog. Not that one dog can ever replace another, but because there are dogs out there needing a family to love and protect, and you seem to be a good person where dogs are concerned. Thans for sharing the pictures with us, and I hope your memories are happy ones. -- Margaret

Anonymous 7:08 PM  

Remember all. "Rex doesnt read the comments."
Ive read that many times fron the big noises here. So you understand ny curiosity when none of you have chimed in to rem9nd well wishers that thrir dympathy is no better than a fart in the wind.

Joe 7:12 PM  

I am sorry to hear about Gabby. Dogs are joys. The baseball photo of the two of you is terrific.

Z 7:14 PM  

@Anoa Bob - I’ve been solving ~15 years and it’s been called a rebus since I started. Wikipedia cites a relatively recent Deb Amlen post. My guess is it was the Games Magazine crowd who coined the term, but that is pure speculation.

Anonymous 7:16 PM  

Frantic sloth,
Pets are wonderful. They are not, however, human. Most ethistists worth their nacl decry the disordered status the West grants animals. Even the pope,everybody's favorite softy, has warned against the temptation to treat animals as the equal of humans.

Barbara S. 8:10 PM  

@Joe Dipinto 4:27

Yikes. I dread the day "wire hangers" appears in the puzzle.

Joaquin 8:23 PM  

@Anon (7:08) - " So you understand ny curiosity when none of you have chimed in to rem9nd well wishers that thrir dympathy is no better than a fart in the wind."

" ... no better than a fart in the wind." Sorta like your spelling.

Christopher Jones 8:45 PM  

Rex, sorry for your loss.

Anonymous 8:53 PM  

My spelling is good;my typing poor.
But you knew that. And you knew you had no materia response to the heart of my post. Well done Joaquin. Well done.

Joe Dipinto 9:46 PM  

Did anyone finish the cryptic? I'm stuck on two answers in the SE. I think I know what one of them is but I'm not really understanding the clue. No spoilers here, please, but you can email me via my profile.

Pablo 10:33 PM  

This skewed old, with language clueing that felt dated. Definitely difficult to follow and it made this one a challenge. That being said, I loved the theme, and it was a tough one. For a Sunday, I figured a "salt" rebus was enough, but a little twist to it kept this original. Without it, I probably would have regarded this as another NYTXW built on language from the 70s.

Clues I felt skewed towards older generations
PERON (although we should all know this)
DEKED (though I'm a hockey fan so I loved this)
SATIRES (though maybe old for everyone)

There were many more that just struck me as... odd. Like, "oh wow, I do remember my mother using expressions like that, but I haven't heard that in a while." Clues that skewed younger generally, as usual, avoided making the solver actually know who/what they are, like ICONS. There weren't really any other young clues per say.

Just in case people think I'm getting NACL-y over the age bias, really it's just a fun way to look at it. It'll be interesting to see how it changes over the years, and how that will shift my solving experience.

Patti S 11:06 PM  

So sorry for your loss, Rex. We definitely do not deserve these precious creatures, but somehow they love us all the same. :(

Kim 11:18 PM  

Losing a furry friend is never easy... they take a piece of us with them every time... very sorry for your loss. Great photos.

Unknown 11:31 PM  

There are no words...

Monty Boy 12:16 AM  

Rex: We have a Baxter also (see avatar, a puppy view) a Sheltie who has a similar personality to your Baxter. Sorry for your loss. Our Baxter is our sixth and all dogs provide such great companionship and love.

Rube 9:19 AM  

I agree 100 pct. A rebus is what you had to solve on the Hugh Downs Concentration game show. Crosswords can't be rebuses unless we are putting symbols or pictures into the grids.
I don't know who coined the term but it's just wrong.

Gio 10:49 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
ChE Dave 9:22 PM  

I grew up using the term “deke” as any evasive move. We weren’t ice skaters.

And sorry about your pooch.

Rug Crazy 4:22 PM  

Best puzzle in quite some time

Lake Ontario Bob 7:28 PM  

Sorry. That’s tough, I know.

strayling 8:15 PM  

Great, another wrong link to the syndi puzzle. Seriously, how hard can it be to edit one link a day?

Jim 10:26 AM  

I liked this puzzle. The down clues with NACL were fun. Not too many groans on this solve.

So sorry to hear abot you loss. I think dogs are the only creatures that love unconditionally, and our lives are so much richer with them in it. RIP Gabby.

Anonymous 1:01 PM  

Odd. Jagr is pronounced yaw-ger, as in lager, and not yo-ger as Rex stated. Like saying Cabrera is really pronounced Cobrera? Wonder how he came up with that?
No biggie...just odd...

Ray - O - Sunshine 1:39 PM  

Not a dog person but those are handsome fellows. Would change my mind...

Only commenting because after much ink....thought I'd finished correctly but had rage for RAVE. I usually stop once I realize it's a rebus but this was more str8forward and fun than the usual.

Burma Shave 1:49 PM  


that EMELIA's body ISN'T INN TUNE,


spacecraft 2:02 PM  

I rail so often against OFC that it's easy to forget that he's human. My deepest condolences on the loss of your loving companions; may you find another soon.

Now to the puzzle. I somehow missed the debut of Ms. Kinney; I'd love to see it, because this may be the best puzzle I've ever done. A clever theme that carried a sweet aha! moment, feisty but fair clues, and almost squeaky-clean fill. I guess I'd have to agree on the CABRERA thing; Miguel seldom flies OUT. No matter: with renaissance woman Shirley MACLAINE as DOD, Laura used her 3-to-9 IRON and scored a rare albatross!

rondo 2:15 PM  

I whole-heartedly agree with OFL about the CABRERA clue. I had enough blanks all around that I didn't catch up to the rebus-iness until NACLLAKECITYUTAH.

The oddly shaped corners give up a bunch of letters. If the recent film 'Bombshell' had been about a different network, we might get CBS SHREDS TEMP.

I've got a bunch of semi-circles, but only one complete circled CLUE for yeah baby EVAN Rachel Wood.

This ISNT the worst ever.

rainforest 4:44 PM  

Nice Sunday puzzle with themers employed at right angles in two different ways. I don't usually like a rebus, but this one was perfect. I actually went looking to see if "pepper" would be in there, but clearly that would've been impossible, especially since it doesn't have a chemical name.

Miguel CABRERA is a future Hall-of-Famer, but I also knew Orlando.

This was one of the more enjoyable and plain fun Sunday offerings, in all the right ways (theme, fill, cluing)

spacecraft 7:56 PM  

Let me add a DOD honorable mention: Ana CABRERA of CNN.

Diana, LIW 8:13 PM  

Bad or sad news seems to be the order of the day. I think our pets are keeping us sane in these crazy days - at least mine are. Couldn't do a puz without Lambo.

Fun puzzle, even tho the rebii tripped me up. As they do. At least it was salty.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Anonymous 9:22 PM  

My best Sunday time ever. It took half a Sunday afternoon while "sheltering", and a small pot of coffee, but worth almost every minute. Started off very slowly and wasn't sure if the solve was going to happen. But once the "with a grain of nacl" dropped in it all fell into place slowly but surely.

Wholeheartedly agree with Rex on the Cabrera thing. Even Melky would have been better than Orlando, although all the Cabreras were at least good players, but of course Miguel was and is great, even with the last off year. He was reportedly bouncing back though until the halt in spring training. Such a smooth powerful bat. Almost looks effortless, like Bonds in his heyday.

Have to politely disagree with Rex though on the clue for climate change. Jury is still out on that. We've had very long ice ages and warming ages that last hundreds of years. The one we are in now could be a relatively short blip of a few hundred years. We won't be around to know. Threat could be clued in much better ways.

But I really liked this Sunday solve. Hope to see more of her puzzles in the future.

kitshef 11:09 PM  

Mostly easy -- too easy for my liking. Great theme that deserved better cluing.

Anonymous 9:10 PM  

Just got around to reading your post today....we always like to go to our comments. We are SO sorry to read about Gabby. What a beautiful dog ! WE are dog lovers and ours are also now gone; Our hearts break for you here in S.C.

Rick J 12:36 PM  

The loss of a dog or cat is so depressing, in the main because animals handle death so much better than humans. You have my condolences.

I tried to find something as petty, mean, cruel, and self-serving left wing propagandistic (? a word) than your slam on Joni Ernst ("I mean, she's not exactly plausible as a sincere human being.") but unfortunately I failed. Do you have to be that way or is it a conscious choice?

Anonymous 2:44 PM  

I don't know if it's because I'm on four hours sleep or I wasn't expecting a rebus on Sunday but I was staring at THE_OFTHEEARTH for minutes. I knew the salt quote but was running through the alphabet and then started wondering if it was wordplay of some kind (The T [tea] of the Earth? Mates could be manacles?) but no, it's Sunday. Finally looked up the quote, realized it was a rebus, and it was pretty smooth sailing afterwards. Enjoyed the cluing overall.

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