Neighborhood intersected by Pomona Fwy / THU 3-19-20 / Parsley relative / Jeans that have been summerized / Play area at some fast food restaurants / Ralphie's ammo in 1983's Christmas Story

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Constructor: Wayne Bergman and Gary Otting

Relative difficulty: Easy 

THEME: SHORT CUT (36D: Timesaver ... as a computer user would see in four answers in this puzzle?) — familiar phrases where one word is replaced by its equivalent computer short-cut command:

Theme answers:
  • CTRL-C RIGHT (i.e. copyright) (19A: Protection from piracy)
  • CTRL-X OFFS (i.e. cut-offs) (15D: Jeans that have been summerized)
  • NICE CTRL-F (i.e. "nice find!") (28D: "Way to go!," to an antiques buyer)
  • TOOTH CTRL-V (i.e. toothpaste) (49A: Crest, e.g.)
Word of the Day: MAME (13A: Broadway auntie) —
Mame is a musical with the book by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee and music and lyrics by Jerry Herman. Originally titled My Best Girl, it is based on the 1955 novel Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis and a 1956 Broadway play, by Lawrence and Lee, that starred Rosalind Russell. Set in New York City and spanning the Great Depression and World War II, it focuses on eccentric bohemian Mame Dennis, whose famous motto is "Life is a banquet and most poor sons of bitches are starving to death." Her fabulous life with her wealthy friends is interrupted when the young son of her late brother arrives to live with her. They cope with the Depression in a series of adventures.
In 1958, a film titled Auntie Mame, based on the play, was released by Warner Bros. Pictures, once again starring Rosalind Russell in the title role. Russell was nominated for an Academy Award and won a Golden Globe for her portrayal.
The musical opened on Broadway in 1966, starring Angela Lansbury and Bea Arthur. The production became a hit and spawned a 1974 film with Lucille Ball in the title role and Arthur reprising her supporting role, as well as a London production, a Broadway revival, and a 40th anniversary revival at the Kennedy Center in 2006. (wikipedia)
• • •

Took one look at this grid and thought "uh oh"—something about the dearth of longer answers and preponderance of short fill just did not bode well. By the time I hit the second themer and thus figured out what was even going on with the first themer, I wanted to quit. I would've stopped solving this right then and there if it weren't my job to finish and then write about every damn puzzle. My only thought was "so it's just gonna be a bunch of CTRL-commands ... with CTRL-[some letter] in my grid a couple more times replacing ordinary words? That's it?" And that was it. Do you know how unsatisfying it is to look at CTRLCRIGHT? Or to know that the letter string CTRL is waiting for you in at least two more answers? Or to run into the revealer in some wonky asymmetrical out-of-the-way place (36D??)? I have a feeling the ultra-easiness of this puzzle is going to make people feel powerful, which will lead them to like this puzzle way, way more than it deserves. The fill is less than thrilling (see CFLAT, EASTLA, SRO, SUEY, RHODY, REBOX, V-DAY ... which btw is not a thing: VE-DAY is a thing, VJ-DAY too; V-DAY is baloney). Then there's the fact that many of us work on Macs where none of these commands are appropriate. I use the "command" key for all these functions. And to top it all off, STROM Thurmond? Clued as if he were merely a "longtime senator" and not a virulent racist and prominent segregationist? No. No. Pass.

The only "trouble" I had today was figuring out what the CTRLC letter string meant. Once I got CTRLXOFFS, I realized the command in that case was "cut," which made me realize the command in the first case was "copy." After that, the only issue was trying to figure out the bizarre NICECTRLF clue. "Nice ..." Nice what? That phrase "... to an antique buyer" wasn't helping me at all. I've heard the phrase "nice find" before, but never from an ... antique buyer, was it? Also, copy cut and paste all feel related, and find feels like an outlier ... you aren't doing anything to a text with "find." Whatever, the whole thing was just not interesting to me at all. If the NYT is sitting on a reserve of super-fun puzzles, I call on them to release those puzzles now. I believe it is in the national interest to do so. Take care, everyone.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Dave in Ancaster 5:12 AM  

When I got my Macbook, it helped me that most of the CTRL- shortcuts I knew from PCs worked with COMMAND.

bulgie 5:47 AM  

Funny, I thought for sure Rex was going to hate yesterday's, but he liked it. I never expect him to actually like a puz, but I thought he might kinda tolerate this one. Wrong again!

I liked it. After not quickly getting anything in the NW, I moved on. Wanted Cut-offs but it didn't fit so I moved on. Finally got it at TOOTHCTRLV, and I think I guffawed.

As so often happens, I couldn't figure out what Rex's problem was. I've heard and used V-DAY many times, though I usually shorten it to "Happy VD!" I'm from Seattle though, where we say things like "spendy".

GILL I. 6:17 AM  

So 1D is an IMAC, RIGHT? And I have a MacBook. And I don't use CTRL because it doesn't exist on the IMAC. BUT....I once had a Dell Laptop and it had that CTRL. BUT....I only used it to print. don't even have a P here. DANG. have that disgusting OKRA sitting on top of Chop SUEY that no Chinese would ever make unless they had a deli in New York. that off my chest.
Saw the trick at 19A. Confirmed with the jeans that have been summarized. Is that a new word? I will have to use that word sometime this summer except that I don't do cut OFFS. I'll pay good money for some Bermuda shorts. I like my form fitting jeans just the way they are, thank you.
I think of NICE FIND as something you do on a scavenger hunt. I love scavenger hunts but I also like a good antique find. I've told both my son and my daughter they can have mine as soon as they die and neither wants any of my oldie moldy things - even though I paid through the nose for them.
In summery.....this was different. I actually admired it after I finished trying to figure out the C X F V. Why not try something new? My only difficulty and head scratcher was the clue for NARC at 35A. How is a NARC a snitch? I thought they were the good guys......?

Hungry Mother 6:57 AM  

Nice to have one in my ballpark. As an old WordStar user, I knew all of the shortcuts. I still use copy and paste on my iPad every day. Very nice puzzle.

Anonymous 7:00 AM  

Speaking of shortcuts, here's a time saver:

Z: "Couldn't agree more with Rex."
Lewis: "One of the finest puzzles I have ever encountered."
Nancy: "Oh, Quasi. You slay me. Let's meet."
LMS: "This puzzle reminds me of [712 words]...11 letters short of a pangram!"
M&A: [completely unintelligible to all but nine people on earth]


Unknown 7:09 AM  

I loved the was different. Pomona freeway was pretty obscure. I drove it to see my mom for decades and only know it by number.

And no clever clues! Surely rebox has a good story to make up for example. Etc.

Unknown 7:19 AM  

Ok, show of many of you knew immediately that Strom Thurmond would get the response it did?

Lewis 7:34 AM  

Today's puzzle taught me a shortcut for a process, FIND, that I use often while researching for making clues in my puzzles. I've always gone to the EDIT menu, then moved the cursor down to FIND, then move the curser to the right to the little triangle, which opens another box, one in which I have to move the curser to finally select FIND. Now I see that all I have to do instead is press COMMAND-F. Hah! That time-and-trouble saver will be a godsend.

I had to overcome a couple of gnarly spots with vague-to-me cluing (and I enjoy such overcoming), very much liked the mini-theme of double O's (6), and the clever theme, which was a very good idea that has never been done before. I'm happy to welcome a coupe of CTRL-N constructors to the fold. Thank you, guys for the shortcut and the puzzle!

strommy 7:46 AM  

My last name happens to be Strom. Yes, he was a racist but it’s the only way I ever get in the puzzle.

thfenn 7:58 AM  

Having stumbled out of the gate a bit Monday, I was feeling way more powerful than I have right to after wrestling with this a bit but managing to complete it - in under half an hour! Came here to celebrate and Rex (OFL, whoever actually writes this blog for real) sucked all the wind out of my sails and reminded me I was feeling good about completing an easy, and crappy, puzzle. Experts who make people trying to be feel stupid just piss me off, so Rex can stuff it today. I liked it. Don't use a Mac so thought CTRL-F was SEARCH and tried too hard to think of some phrase some antique hound would use that made sense, but eventually landed this sucker. Enjoyed the theme, enjoyed getting everything 'right' without cheating, enjoyed a little mental workout to do so, and was going to share my enthusiasm and ran into (T-)Rex, so well, I'm off and going back to being by myself working from home all day. It's nicer there than here.

Another Anon 8:00 AM  

@Anonymous 7:00. That's one of the funnier things I've seen on the blog. Laughs are needed.

MarineO6 8:02 AM  

This might have been an OK Weds offering, but to pass this off as a Thursday-level puzzle is a crime.
We’re dumbing down everything else, do we have to dumb down our puzzles as well?

Agree w/unknown re Rex’s response to Strom Thurmond. Rex is so predictable it’s not even a challenge to figure out what will trigger him. So even his tired responses are dumbing me down.

Anonymous 8:12 AM  

Anonymous: [Unfunny meta-comment suggesting long-time but shy blogger]

thfenn 8:14 AM  

I'm going to trust you meant when you die, not your children...agree with you on NARC...thought that should've been 'someone one might snitch to'...

OffTheGrid 8:14 AM  

The puzzle was OK and easy for Thurs. I think my time was longer on Tuesday. I would've changed "wear after an accident to "WORN after......" no biggie, just seems smoother. I have been watching "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" on HULU. It's from the mid 50's and I'm sure many of you recall the program. I think of it as short stories TV style, usually with a twist. Many episodes feature well known actors when they were very young.

Anonymous 8:20 AM  

It is astounding that so many are easily triggered by REX. Own your enjoyment of a puzzle. It is very easy to skip his write up and read only the comments. Just a suggestion.

QuasiMojo 8:25 AM  

@Anonymous, gruntz, no, YOU slay me. That was hilarious.

I thought the puzzle was fun.

BobL 8:29 AM  

What a surprise! PPP again. Parker Pans Puzzle.

Suzie Q 8:33 AM  

I don't use any of these functions long or short so this must have been really easy for those who do.
However, the comments save the day!
@ Mark Bulgier, Happy VD? I'm speechless.
@ GILL I., An informant is also called a narc. It's even a verb as in
"narcing someone out".
@ Anon 7:00, I love some fresh-baked sarcasm with my coffee.
@ Unknown, Hand up.
I got through this easily but did not find it very fun. I always thought ball pits were a germy bad idea but now they are unimaginable and probably be vanishing soon.
Clever clue for tome.
Where's my Thursday challenge?

Unknown 8:33 AM  

I'm usually aligned with Rex in loving or hating a puzzle, but not today. I thought this was clever and fun and I enjoyed it immensely.

TJS 8:37 AM  

I'm with Rex 100 % on this one, well, except for the Strom fit, but we all knew that was coming. I got absolutely no joy out of this thing. Way too easy for a Thursday.
Anon 7:00, pretty funny, although I like reading all those commenters.In these days of keeping our distance from everyone, it's nice to have familiar voices to hear from, even thru the written word.
Had my final restaurant meal last night since all D.R. restaurants and bars are closed for 15 days at least. Have to survive on my own cooking, which could kill me before any virus has the chance.
Hoping y'all stay safe.

LeaveItToYourGoat 8:39 AM  

Man, only 13 minutes for a Thursday. What is this... this sensation of complete dominance I'm feeling all of the sudden? Ya know what? This might be the greatest puzzle in the history of crossword puzzles!

Rex, once again, is in A MOOD.

Yeah, it was easy once you pick up the gimmick, but it's still a fun theme. Rex gets so worked up every day about predictable crossword stuff, then lambasts this puzzle for having an unorthodox location for the theme revealer.

Here's what's really going to set Rex off. The next POTUS is either going to be the guy who's currently in the White House, and we all know how he feels about that, or the guy who delivered Strom Thurmond's eulogy.

God CTRL+S us all.

Sydney 9:03 AM  

I thought this was fun! I use an IPad these days and hadn’t been around a PC for fifteen years, but the concept of CTRL something was still vaguely familiar. As a member of the cohort being advised to hole up or die, I am grateful for small pleasures. One of them is coming here to read the comments. Thank you, puzzle people, my little friends.

pabloinnh 9:10 AM  

I got to the computer game way late in life so two of these were unknowns to me--the only ones I ever use are for copy and paste. I'm not even sure what I would do with "cut" and " find", which reminds me that I have never heard "Nice find!" said by an auctioneer, or anyone else, for that matter. Anyway, another one of those not-a-poor-days when I learned something.

Rest of the fill mostly OK, agree that NARC (on) is just wrong. STROM comes with a lot of baggage, of course. Maybe should be clued as "play a guitar (var.)". OK, maybe not. Answers having anything to do with "A Christmas Story" will always make me smile, even in these dark days.

Speaking of smiles, @Anon (7:00) nailed it. I believe the proper response around here is "har".

Thanks for the diversion, WB and GO. A little too easy for a Thursday, even for an old Luddite like me who was at times shooting in the dark.

Anonymous 9:16 AM  

I thought it was fun. It made me smile and sometimes that enough for me.

tb 9:17 AM  

@Anonymous 7:00 Thank you! You nailed it.

CDilly52 9:20 AM  

when I opened the puzzle and saw the relatively choppy grid, I wondered how in the world is this going to be a Thursday-clever puzzle. Answer: SHORTCUTS! Such a fresh and clever idea. Because I am older solver, I remember the “pre-mouse” days and the very first word processing programs of the early 80s in which all of the CTRL commands were the only way to perform all the things I now do with the mouse. But I remembered that they were once the norm on the NE corner where I got the acrosses immediately and had already finished the NW including the head scratcher moment with CTRLCRIGHT. Much like @Rex, that’s where I figures out the theme answers, but was intrigued to see the reveal. Unlike @Rex, I was not disappointed. The fill was a tad easier than the usual Thursday, but the freshness of the idea. Not surprised OFL wasn’t a fan.

Bernie 9:24 AM  

Easy for a Thursday, but I thought it was cute. Enjoyed it.

burtonkd 9:24 AM  

@Lewis, same here for CTRL-F, can't wait to use it to find responses to future comments by CTRL-Fing (looks dirty) my name.
@LeaveIt: nice sign-off!
@GILL I., NARC EN SITU"I don't think we should get high before our history exam""What are you, some kind of NARC?" end scene

Has it ever been brought up on this blog that C flat isn't the same thing as B natural? Only one of them can appear on a BCHORDKEYBOARD

We got ELUDE as a clue twice, and EVADE wasn't the answer either time. Maybe I'll go write a barber shop quartet about it as a social distancing activity. Come to think of it, performing such would probably also be an involuntary social distancing activity even in normal times.

I liked the clues for ETS and TOME.

Kept looking for a way to fit Bruce into almighty with some kind of rebus, but that was apparently 2003

Could anyone point me toward some instructions on how to comment here with html links, avatars, italics, etc.? Could be a good to figure out while I have some time. Maybe I can up my game enough to make it into the pantheon of Anon 7:00 parody.

Newboy 9:53 AM  

Solving on an iPad made today’s puzzle a cryptic-like morning. With my most recent non-Apple experience 18 years ago, I found the SHORTCUT keys short circuited deep in preretirement brain cells whining for a missing hyperlink. Didn’t hate it as much as Rex, but not a lotta joy in the solve. I’m hoping that @Lewis will find something worthy of praise beyond the frequent OO words & @Nancy is having a really good hair day. Back to see and then bounce to xwordinfo for Wayne & Gary’s constructor notes. Keep smiling y’all ūü§í

Unknown 9:56 AM  

I would've stopped solving this right then and there if it weren't my job to finish and then write about every damn puzzle.

You need a new job.

Nancy 10:03 AM  

A compliment from a computer shortcut Luddite like me should certainly mean more, right? And once I figured out -- finally! -- what the heck was going on, I almost burst into applause. Really clever and imaginative.

Of course, I was completely baffled while solving. I don't know zilch about all these computer maneuvers, and thought that there was a "CTRL RIGHT" function, sort of like "Click Right", that did whatever it did (and maybe there actually is and it does whatever it does). This prevented me from seeing "Copyright" which kept me from seeing "Toothpaste". TOOTH Control? I use Crest toothpaste and I guess it gives me control of my teeth, sort of -- so I didn't see that one, either.

Worse, I had no idea what CTRL F stands for when that one came in. But once I had the trick -- finally, finally -- I looked at the antiques dealer and guessed NICE FIND.

Not exactly aimed between my Luddite eyebrows, but a fine puzzle, nonetheless.

PapaLeRoux 10:04 AM  

We’re Mac users out here in the cold.

Z 10:07 AM  

@Anon7:00 - I’d take offense but I’m too busy chuckling. As @Suzie Q said, nothing better than a good dose of sarcasm with my coffee.

I liked it more than Rex, but not a lot more. First answer in was BBS, so I had ROBE in place as a red flag that Cut-offs wasn’t the answer. Just forged ahead without seeing TOME or REBOX, so ended up with SHORTCUT before having any of the themers. That made CTRL-X OFFS obvious and the rest a breeze. Only two writeovers were a D’Oh moment with TOOTHpaste and the perfectly reasonable conTORT before DISTORT. Shortz is usually pretty good with his placements, so I’m guessing he concluded the CTRL thing would toughen this puzzle. Since I got the conceit early the puzzle played too easy. It will be interesting to see how many people struggled longer before figuring out what was going on.

Interesting thing about these SHORT-CUTs is early on Apple made all software applications use the same set, while Microsoft allowed third-party applications to have their own SHORTCUTs (often using the F-Keys as I recall.) What this meant to end users of a Mac is that “Apple Key”-F worked the same in Appleworks as it did in GroupWise. I remember reading screeds against such Apple edicts because it caused coders problems. The screeds often argued that Apple was limiting user choice or freedom. God save us from the freedom of having to learn new ways to do simple tasks every time an “improved” application becomes the norm.

I agree with Rex about not writing such minimizing clues (“One-time German Chancellor” anybody?), but I don’t know how you capture the nastiness of STROM or the fact that South Carolina re-elected the racist 9 times. “Author of the Southern Manifesto” or “Dixiecrat presidential candidate” are better but fairly obscure in 2020. If you want to point to a single event that exemplifies the fall of the Republican party from the Party of Lincoln to the Party of Incompetence, it was allowing this cretin into the party in 1964.

@webwinger - If you got 20 minutes Reuters published this yesterday.

Anonymous 10:09 AM  

No real criticisms here, but I didn't enjoy it.

Joaquin 10:13 AM  

@Anonymous (7:00 a.m.) - FTW!

Todd 10:18 AM  

As a Mac user who doesn't ever use short cuts to begin with this was an uninteresting chore to solve. As to Strom I look forward to a world where only historical figures pre-approved by Rex with his snow flake sensibilities are allowed to appear. NOT.

Nancy 10:18 AM  

I'm honored to be included in your hilarious, mischievous, and very knowing spoof, @Anonymous 7:00. I'm still laughing.

Bjorn Kristiansen 10:20 AM  

I agree with Rex. This puzzle was far too easy—I woke up from a dead sleep in the middle of the night, nearly got a PR, and fell back asleep again. I thought it was a dream until I opened the puzzle this morning to see I had completed it in the night. Boring fill, boring theme, and the layout was bothersome. For this to be a collaborative effort means two people had to be this boring and lazy. Let’s hope Friday is better.

RooMonster 10:23 AM  

Hey All !
Dang, @Anonymous 7:00, I feel left out!

Never heard of the "find" function, but then I've never grasped the whole concept of cut, copy, paste either. Computer illiteracy, you might say. It's akin to me trying to fix something using tools, only to make it worse than when I started, and end up going to the car repair garage anyway. If I try to cut something on the computer to move it somewhere else, it either doesn't work, or it gets deleted. If I had someone show/tell/teach me it, then I'd probably be able to do it.
That little bit of IDIOcy from me is to give you all something to smile about in these sequestered times, and to realize just how much better at things you are! (@Anon 7:00, Har!)

Does anyone call Winnie the POOH POOHBEAR? Asking for a friend's child.

49A almost works as written. TOOTH CONTROL. Almost.

Couple writeovers, Sign-SEAL (delivered, I'm yours), hole-ODOR, hulU-ROKU, yore_LORE, TENofONE-TENTOONE. We have CRED crossing RED. Just a neat thing to me. :-)

Oh, and the puz is only three letters short of a Pangram, @Anon 7:00, J Q Z. Har (again). (Ah, the fun we have...)

Three F's (all in themers)

b-t-trips 10:29 AM  

I thought it was delightful

Unknown 10:31 AM  

Didn’t enjoy it at all. Too clever by half for 65 year plus puzzle fan.
Phil Curtin

JC66 10:36 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle but, considering the theme, was put off by the appearance of so may other abbreviations.

@Anon (Gruntz) 7:00. Good one! I literally laughed to loud.

@burtonkd. If you email me, I'll send you a Keyboard Shortcut cheat sheet.

Sir Hillary 10:44 AM  

Like always, I did this puzzle on NYT newsCTRLP, and I didn't need to CTRLS it for a rainy day, because that's what this morning was. OK, no more.

Despite working daily on a PC and my fingers knowing the CTRL commands by heart, I somehow messed them up when writing them down. All was fixed with minimal fuss, but for a while I had [copy]OFFS and TOOTH[print] in my grid. Not too much else to say.

@Anonymous 7:00AM -- Very good.

pmdm 10:44 AM  

GILL I: I find your statement curious. I have a [relatively new] iMac and an Apple keyboard that includes a control modifier key. In Mac OSX, (at least the version I have), CTRL-F1 toggles certain function key functions on/off when using the control key with a function key. For example, when on, CTRL-F3 accesses the Dock (useful if you select the hide/show dock function). CTRL-F2 accesses the left side of the menu bar.

Obvious, I use a Mac at home, but I used to use the Windows and Unix operating systems at work. Often I wished someone like Z had designed the interface. What a pain using three word processors each with its own set of shortcut combinations.

While the puzzle slightly annoyed me, I find the strong reaction voiced in the write-up somewhat curious. Or I would find it curious were not the fact that I have read many previous write-ups voicing the same sentiment. I don't consider Senator Strom an example of a nice person. Ditto Moscow Mitch. But ----- it's just a puzzle. I can't be bothered by a puzzle when people are dying from a pandemic.

WhatDoing 10:45 AM  

Thought this was a nice one. Evidently non-Apple computers are to Rex what baseball clues are to me - we can suss it out but we don’t have to like it!

Ethan Taliesin 10:48 AM  

I didn't hate it. Some days I like an easier-than-average puzzle, and today was one of those days.

Haven't seen this in a grid before, so I guess I thought the theme was kind of CTRLRING.

What? 10:48 AM  

Pretty easy for a Thursday. As a Mac user, I have no idea about CTRL keyboard commands but in a kind of switch, instead of the CTRL -letter leading to the fill, often its the other way around. Copyright leads to CTRLC, cutoffs to X, paste to, P? What the heck is VDAY?. The only other non-switch is F in GOOF, so not a great leap to FIND.
Fun, mostly from relief that I didn’t have to search keyboard on Wikipedia.

Kathy 10:53 AM  

Now I know why this seemed so easy for me, a relative newbie—the veterans have deemed it a Thursday poser. OOF!

I enjoyed the play on shortcuts, although I never bothered to memorize or use them back in the day. I have been using computers since the mid 80’s, during the ascendancy of Lotus 123 and WordPerfect. The beloved slash menu! Then there were the clunky WordPerfect key combos—I created my own intuitive keyboard macros instead. In the 90’s, when Windows replaced DOS in the PC world I embraced the mouse and never looked back, although I knew folks who continued to use the shortcuts. Now that I am retired, I live on an iPad and my laptop gathers dust.

@burtonkd. It sounds like C flat and B natural cannot exist together on certain keyboards but they can definitely appear in the same score. My chorus director insists those overlapping notes actually sound slightly different but I guess I don’t have the ear to discern that. Are you out on a balcony singing a cappella these days?

The puzzle and blog are great diversions in these unprecedented times. Being in the vulnerable age group, I am taking all recommended precautions and am cocooning at home. My chorus was scheduled to perform at Carnegie Hall next month, obviously that wonderful adventure is off. Everyone stay safe, sequester as much as you can, hydrate and get some sun every day it comes out. Vitamin D boosts immunity!

Anonymoose 10:54 AM  

Be not concerned that STROM was in the puzzle. Be concerned that his clones are in the senate today. (and one is in the white house)

Anonymous 10:56 AM  

How does one figuratively laugh out loud?

Mike Herlihy 10:59 AM  

@Anon 7:00 AM - made my day!

Z 11:01 AM  

@burtonkd - The easy one first, click on your own name in blue, then update your profile. That’s where you can upload a “Profile Picture” and fill out whatever info you care to share. That’s also where you can add an email, too, if you want people to be able to email you off-blog.

For links, bold, and italics - Rex has a less than helpful link on the FAQ. I think the “Common Tags for Blogs” section here is better. The common problem for linking is the need to not use “smart quotes” - so, use " not “. Also, it’s easy to miss a typo, so always best to hit preview when trying to use html code.

Anonymous 11:01 AM  

For those who don't know ctrl f (find) here's a brief explanation. Say you're on some web page and you want to find whether or not some topic or person or ingredient or whatever is mentioned. Just use ctrl f and type in some key word. Saves reading the entire page. Similarly for pdf's or Word documents.

GILL I. 11:03 AM  

Anony 7:00 Of course it's not really nice to laugh at someone's expense but your post was hilarious. Are you really @evil Doug in disguise ?
@thfenn. Oopsy. I guess they wouldn't want anything old if they were indeed dead.
@Suzie and @burtonkd.....Thanks for the NARC. I got to laugh today and learn something new.
@pmdm. I have a MacBook Air. No CTRL key. The three keys I use are control, option and command.

Ms. Goldberg 11:06 AM  

Couldn't disagree more with Rex! This was a clever and enjoyable puzzle. All hatred for Strom aside, I enjoyed the solve.

Suzie Q 11:06 AM  

I get very annoyed with people who suggest Rex stop doing puzzles "because you always hate them". Where would we go if Rex decided to close our playground?
Rex has said he does not read our comments and there are times when I hope that is true.

albatross shell 11:09 AM  

Rex just made Strom a minor aside. Don't get your knickers up. And he is very unwoke about VDAY. Against violence against women's day? The day Vagina Monologues are read or performed everywhere. Known as VDay. Of course, I have a different take. I call it Bday. Maybe someday I'll get a bidet for my Bday.

Easy Thursday, but still took me longer than the others this week.
Rex most of the world does use Windows. I think. Didn't look it up. I never used shortcuts. By the time I was going to I started on tablets and phones. It certainly did not take expert knowledge of them to finish the puzzle.

Considering the grid and the theme and reveal answers, I say the fill was pretty good. A little more pizzazz with the clues might have been nice. A pretty good Wednesday?

Here's a breakfast test for you


Malsdemare 11:12 AM  

It was easy but I thought it was clever as well. I got slowed down by actual MINUTES—really—because I refused to believe snitch (on) was NARC. I had the N_RC and, not knowing the movie (when do I EVER know movies or Tv shows), dithered about the A. But guessed correctly! Yay, me!

I, too, feel terribly overlooked by @anon 7:00. But she nailed it, nicely. I'm glad no one's taking offense.

I am spending my social isolation reviewing every stinkin' original document in my genealogical binders so that I can organize them into binders and check that the data in my genie tree are accurate. Since there are hundreds of documents from the 17th century on, written in Latin, French, and German, I suspect the virus will be long gone by the time I'm done. At least I hope so. I live in a rural area outside a small city in Illinois where our governor is being pretty proactive, so panic has yet to set in. We're staying put so hearing that Alfred Hitchcock Presents is available on Hulu is terrific news. I'll have blown through the final seasons of Madame Secretary in another week or two. Mr. Mal and I started Cheers last night. We're waiting for better weather so we can get out into the yard. Ya'll really wanted to know all this, didn't you? Sorry . . .

Maybe I should watch more recent stuff; feed my NYTX habit.

Rug Crazy 11:15 AM  

Can here just for the comments. Thank you everyone

Joe Dipinto 11:21 AM  

If you press CTRL-$ on your keyboard, an envelope containing $1,000 from the government will appear instantaneously outside your door. Try it! It only works once though. But make sure to try it again next month!

As for the puzzle, I hated it. I haven't used the control key as a short cut since like 1993, and I'm not sure I ever even used it back then. Ctrl+Alt+Del yes. But of all the stupid themes to build a puzzle around (he said, channeling his inner Rex).

It's my Saint's Day! I know, it doesn't really seem that exciting. My mom always used to call me on March 19th to wish me a happy feast day, to which I would reply "Yeah, yeah, sure, sure, whatever."

But since we can never go out to eat again for the rest of our lives, I thought I'd post a recipe for St. Joseph's Day Pasta. It's really easy, and you can vary it as you like. The only rules are that it must have garlic and breadcrumbs, and it cannot contain meat.

Here's one version. You can also add some peeled tomatoes, anchovies or sardines, which I highly recommend, or fennel early in the sauteéing stage). (You can find variant versions on line.)

St. Joseph's Day Pasta


•8 tablespoons olive oil divided
•6 garlic cloves minced
•2 cups unseasoned coarse breadcrumbs
•2 cups finely chopped walnuts or pine nuts about 200 grams (optional)
•4 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
•3/4 cup of golden raisins plumped (about 100 grams) (optional)
•1 pound spaghetti 454 grams (1 package)
•salt and crushed red pepper flakes to taste
•Orange rind, torn (optional)

•In a large skillet, over medium heat, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
•Saut√© the garlic until fragrant, 1-2 minutes (do not brown).
•Reduce heat to medium low and add the breadcrumbs.
•Add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil and combine. Stir together for about 2 minutes (breadcrumbs will get slightly toasted and should absorb the oil).
•Add the chopped walnuts or pine nuts (if using) and stir fry for another 2 minutes.
•Add raisins (if using) and parsley. Stir to combine for 1-2 minutes. Set aside. Add up to 1 cup of the cooking water (from the pasta) if the mixture appears to dry. OPTIONAL: Add orange rind and combine with the raisins and parley.
•Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
•Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente.
•Drain the pasta and reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water. Drizzle 2 more tablespoons of olive oil.
•In a large serving dish, alternate layers of pasta and bread mixture (top with bread mixture). NOTE: Remove orange rind if used in the mixture.
•Garnish with parsley and drizzle with remaining olive oil

jae 11:25 AM  

Yep, easy. Did not know CTRL F and did like the puzzle.

....and finally: Brockmire

Jim Brockmire (played by Hank Azaria) is a deeply flawed baseball announcer trying to make a come back after a major implosion on the air. It is raunchy and hilarious and there is baseball. The final season has just started broadcasting on IFC (the same folks who brought you “Portlandia”). If you have IFC as part of your cable service, past seasons may be available through the cable’s On Demand feature. If you subscribe to YouTube TV all seasons are available for streaming.

Gio 11:34 AM  

@anon 8:20 one big part of the enjoyment of a puzzle for me is reading what Rex has to say when I'm done. I love his ranting and raving. Sometimes I agree, sometimes I don't, but I'd never skip his blog. It makes it worth it to finish a puzzle to read his take. What does make my blood boil is this comment section, which I skip a lot. That's the opposite of your recommendation. All the petty bickering is the problem, not Rex's opinions. I do like reading some of you, but sometimes by the end of the day the comment section turns to crap and insults.

Anonymous 11:42 AM  

I LOVED this. I struggled with the theme until the stuck point, even after I got the revealer before the long answers, well-calibrated to be easier to get than the themers. Then came the aha moment, and the rest *finally* filled. It played feeling-harder, yet faster than some Thursdays. Perfect in my book.

Whatsername 11:47 AM  

I am primarily a PC user so I got the SHORT cut theme right away and knew we were looking for some kind of keyboard combination. Still the ones used were not familiar to me so it wasn’t all that easy. Auntie MAME was one of the first “adult“ books I can remember reading, probably around 6th or 7th grande. I loved it then and I love it to this day. In fact, our local libraries are closed so I’ll most likely be re-reading it before this is all over. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for some quality entertainment to fill your time during the lockdown.

@Sydney at 9:03 - Ditto. Thank you to all my puzzle peeps. You are the best.

@JC66 at 10:36 - I’m going to email you for a copy of that cheat sheet too if you don’t mind. Thanks for offering to share.

@Joe Dipinto at 11:21- The pasta sounds great other than raisins which are not my favorite. I don’t have any sardines or anchovies though. Do you think canned salmon might work? Heaven forbid I should go to the grocery store although some stores are designating separate shopping hours only for seniors which seems like an excellent idea.

webwinger 11:50 AM  

Audibly groaned when I grokked the theme at 49A. Then pretty straightforward path to the remaining themers. Not much joy from those, as basically the same gag was just repeated. Last to fall was NICE CTRL-F, which had held me up in the mid-west. Knew the shortcut, but left “good” in place above it for too long. Guessed BALLbox and BALLbIn before finally getting 23A and finally unlocking the NE.

I’m somewhat surprised that so many were apparently not familiar with all of these shortcuts. Like others I have used mainly Mac at home but Windows at work. The CRTL combos all function the same with the Mac key usually called Command. Most Mac keyboards do have a Control key as well (in the lower left corner). Pressing Control while clicking a typical 1-button Mac mouse is equivalent to “right clicking” with a 2-button PC mouse—very helpful to know.

I too got a good chuckle from @Anon’s 7:00 post. Glad their targets enjoyed it as well.

@LeaveItToYourGoat 8:39: Good points, especially re the next POTUS.

@Z 10:07: Interesting article. I certainly agree that the US has badly stumbled on the testing front. (I wonder what the situation is in some other countries reporting very low infection rates, like most of Latin America?) A couple observations: Even the nearly 300K tests done in South Korea still represented a small fraction of their more than 50 million population. The article mentions bad experience with much negative attention to faulty government response in Korea from a MERS outbreak in 2015, which made it easier to recognize the need for quick well-coordinated action when the current threat first arose. I’m hopeful that we will learn some valuable lessons now that will help next time, when we may be facing even greater danger. Finally, keep in mind that you really can’t prove a link between any response strategy and the subsequent course of the outbreak. Epidemics are hard to predict and always eventually subside one way or another, without every possible host being attacked.

Happy thought of the day: Remember Y2K?

Blade 11:53 AM  

And the NYTXW's free advertising for AAPL continues yet again (this time, in the prime, 1D real estate parcel). Has anyone tallied the number of Apple products that show up on a weekly basis in these puzzles? The company is richer than God. Let them pay for their own advertising.

Anonymous 12:15 PM  

Now that really WAS a hoax!

Anonymous 12:16 PM  

I think Apple owns OREO, too. Har

Joseph Michael 12:17 PM  

@anonymous (gruntz) 7:00 - As a longtime fan of this blog who has not commented for quite a while, I must break my silence to say that may be the funniest comment I have ever seen here. Thank you for the much needed laugh.

Z 12:23 PM  

@pmdm - Not me. I think it was Jony Ive and Steve Jobs behind most of the design elements and user experience focus that made Apples a superior product from an end user perspective. There’s an old joke that IT Departments preferred Windows because it provided more job security.

@Kathy - Don’t take it personally. We blithely leave off the “for me” part of “easy for me.” “In relation to all the Xday puzzles I have done this puzzle was easier than most of the other Xday puzzles for me” is a bit tedious to write every day. We all solve at our own rate and several here have been known to inveigh against the constant speed discussions, preferring to savor the solve without a clock ticking away judging them.

@Roo - I can’t believe you were missed by @Anon7:00. Every time I see a limo driver in a movie, now, I wonder where the crossword puzzle is.

@Anon10:56 - Like so: LOL

@albatross shell - I wonder if Rex even saw the clue because his mind seem to go to the end of WWII. I’ve heard V-Day both in the way you mention and as clued, a simple shorthand for Valentine’s DAY. It was an odd aside on Rex’s part.

@Joe Dipinto - Careful. I seem to recall @chef wen, @chef bea, and/or @foodie getting in some salted hot water over sharing recipes here. The things people will complain to Rex about will never cease to amaze me.

@jae - I think past seasons are on Hulu, too.

@Blade - We do see ms-dos on occasion, but Apple does have the habit of giving products short names with useful letters.

@webwinger - The Obama Administration had put into place a team directly responsible for coordinating our response to a pandemic as a result of lessons we “learned” from the N1H1 pandemic in 2009. The Trump Administration basically fired the entire chain of command. Note that even with that team in place “experts” were being quoted in 2018 as saying we were under-prepared. We can’t blame a virus on Trump. But the resulting clusterf&*$ is all his.

Anonymous 12:25 PM  

I wrote the Anonymous comment at 7:00. I'm glad it got some chuckles and was taken in the spirit it was offered--as a tribute. I admire those who are willing to put themselves out there. I am more of a lurker on here, as another Anonymous pointed out, but I really enjoy all the back and forth. Depending how long this madness lasts, you may get a sequel. @Roo and @Malsdemare, you're definitely on the list!


puzzlehoarder 12:25 PM  

Even as a complete computer ignoramus I was able to fly through this puzzle until the SE corner. There I had to realize 52D was ROKU not HULU and 60A was OKRA instead of SLAW. That was a minor speed bump followed by convincing myself that Valentine's Day can be referred to as VDAY.

It took me almost as much time as solving to figure out what the point of the whole puzzle was. The missing words "paste" and "cut" were easy to find but I had to give up and go to xwordinfo to find "copy" and "find."

When the first themer filled in at 19A I thought this was going to be some kind of a "sweep right" vs. a "sweep left" kind of theme. Shows what I know about any of this stuff. When they came and took the pay phones out of the firehouses I knew the world as I had known it was coming to an end. Still wish I could crawl back under the rock. Unfortunately the rocks are all gone.

old 12:27 PM  

I found the puzzle quite hard, for I have been a person of Mac since the Apple II days. Also a stockholder from a couple of months after they went public. So thanks for the free advertising, @NYTXW.

Good old STROM Thurmond! I was in nursery school when he ran as a Dixiecrat in 1948. Back then, 15th Amendment be damned, no Negroes could vote in South Carolina, or maybe a handful selected by the local bigwigs: the principal of the "colored" school, maybe a preacher or two and the like. STROM and his people always needed to be able to say there were Negro voters, but for entirely legitimate reasons only a few were registered, and in 1948, those few were always Republicans. Negroes could work in low paid jobs, including as household servants and Mammies, and some owned farms.

By the time STROM was 100, his staff was almost half black, and earning the appropriate pay. And after the Voting Rights Act passed, all of a sudden he was campaigning for the African-American vote (and getting some of those votes too). Fight for change, and sometimes change happens.

Lewis 12:36 PM  

@anonymous 7:00 -- Hit me smack in my funny bone. I did actually laugh out loud. Bravo, sir!

Lewis 12:37 PM  

... or madam!

Bax'N'Nex 12:38 PM  

Anonymous @7:00... now THAT was funny. (Sadly) But I think you were a little short with the 712 words of LMS...

Bax'N'Nex 12:42 PM  

Anonymous @8:12...some of us...ok me... just don't want to take the time to get a screen name. If I out my name in the heading, that makes my comment more valid? Hmmm...

And the comment by anonymous at 7:00 was NOT anonymous...they signed it "gruntz"

Bax'N'Nex (not anonymous, just lazy)

Joe Dipinto 12:52 PM  

@Whatsername – Salmon has a different sort of taste from anchovies and sardines so I'm not sure. But the only essentials are the olive oil, garlic, breadcrumbs – because St. Joe was a carpenter, get it? – and parsley. I guess salmon should work okay with those? And you can skip the raisins.

dadnoa 1:01 PM  

+1 for the command reference....abbreviated in “Mac” world as cmd......just sayin’

burtonkd 1:12 PM  

@Kathy, were you going to perform with DCINY, by any chance? I was scheduled to play Carmina Burana in the orchestra. I am a pianist and choir director, among other things. We had to cancel our spring season, as our membership skews high risk. Spent the morning fingering a Bach Violin Sonata to play with my wife - we have always meant to play more together, so glass half full.

Thanks all for the helpful hints. Now to figure out why my name isn't blue right now.

Anonymous 1:16 PM  

all of these Apple zealots!!! what about us vim users, who've never touched Word or other M$ edit menu, huh???? there are more of us than them.

NARC is both noun form and verb form. just the sort of mindless inconsistency we get from ... well you know who. note toward the bottom, 'snitch' is listed synonym.

I admit, not often seen in the wild anymore

Teedmn 1:19 PM  

I didn't find this easier than an average Thursday. Sure, I figured out the theme answers needed CTRL in them but I don't use any of those functions except CTRL F. I do more DATA entry in my job and the Alt functions are more utile for me. So I had to look up post-solve to see what they were. Should have been able to get them from the clues but I didn't.

Am I imagining that the "pinwheel" of theme answers (as Jeff Chen refers to this grid) used to be very common? I seem to remember a time when the majority of themes were present thusly but maybe I'm remembering crosswords in an alternative universe.

I had a bit of black ink writeover in the bottom of the grid with conTORT and hulU first. My version of 52D would have increased M&A's U count by one, something greatly to be desired. And I count myself as one of the nine who understand M&A's comments AND love to read them.

I'm one of yesterday's sea hags. I had very short hair from age 37 to 55 because I didn't want to have long gray hair and my hair was beginning to change right about then. But I changed my mind five years ago and my hair is past the 50% white mark now. I'm sure there are plenty of people who hate it, TBSS (too bad, so sad.)

Wayne Bergman and Gary Otting, congratulations on your debut, and thanks for the fun and clever puzzle. POOH on Rex's opinion.

DigitalDan 1:21 PM  

I thought it was fun, but unfair to Apple users; not sure about Unix variants.

Well, Ctrl Uparrow I, everybody.

Danny and Rachel 1:29 PM  

CTRL+F (or COMMAND+F for Mac users) is one of the most useful shortcuts ever. I used it every day.

Imagine, for example, opening the comments section of Rex's blog and wanting to see if anyone else complained about BLOOP not being BLOOPER...well, hit CTRL+F, type in BLOOP, and your browser will show you all instances of that word on the page. voilà!

Also works in word processors, PDFs, etc.

webwinger 1:29 PM  

@Z 12:23: I make no excuse for the current administration’s bungling on many fronts, but lessons learned in the light of public humiliation (as was apparently the case in Korea) tend to be heeded more than those that come from quiet deliberation. One thing DJT cares deeply about is making himself look good—he will do and say almost anything he thinks will help in that regard. Maybe it will finally benefit some of the rest of us this time.

Anonymous 1:37 PM  

Maybe it will finally benefit some of the rest of us this time.

not to be catty, but you really ought to adopt a new nickname: Pollyanna. they ain't no way on God's Green Earth that he's ever, ever, ever going to act selflessly. Mamma Yokum has spoken.

Barbara S. 1:44 PM  

@RooMonster 10:23

Hi Roo, I don't think I've talked to you directly before! I'm leaping in to answer your very important dangling question about POOHBEAR. This, and I quote, is the first sentence in the first chapter of "The House at Pooh Corner."

"One day when POOH BEAR had nothing else to do, he thought he would do something, so he went round to Piglet's house to see what Piglet was doing."

So now you can tell your "friend's child."

BTW, I didn't used to be a pedant. The change came upon me when I joined this list. I guess blogging takes people in different ways. Hmm...

QuasiMojo 1:57 PM  

@Albatross Shell in case you didn't see it, I responded to your request for a Graceful Slick clue yesterday in the late afternoon. Plus a few bonus clues.

Smith 2:00 PM  

To narc on (pronounced nark, narks, narked) used to mean "rat out" in ref to drug use [ahem, when I was in hs]."Don't narc on me!"

Masked and Anonymous 2:07 PM  

@Anon 7am: har. Well, hey -- 9 outta 100 ain't too bad. And U oughta see my messages, if I'd let Otto Correct have his way with em. Ruff.
Oh -- And many thanx for the *gruntz* ads (short for "go to runtpuz", btw). Ever try one of mine? [M&A tried to click on one of yers, but it didn't do nuthin.]

I'd give today's ThursPuz a CTRL-thUmbsUp. fave themer: TOOTHCTRLV. Had no earthly idea before that CTRL-V meant "floss" in PC-speak.

TENTOONE just looks so special, sittin right here by itself. In self-quarantine.

staff weeject pick (out of a meagre 6 choices): BBS. Enjoyed its Christmassy clue.

Thanx for the easyish fun, WB & GO. And congratz on yer debuts.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


Joe Dipinto 2:12 PM  

@burtonkd – when I hit a blue name it goes to the person's profile, and when I go back the name isn't blue anymore. I don't know why, but I can see your profile so I'm sure you're fine.

albatross shell 2:16 PM  

The clue. Feb. 14, is also accurate for the VDAY I was speaking of. There is an International Vday in November. I think you knew which I was referring to, but was not quite certain.

@anonymous 7am
Bit too obvious to rate real high on the hilarity scale for me. Nancy-Qasi the best.
LMS the weakest.
Lewis's proclivity to always love a puzzle has oft been noted.
More accurate:
Z: Couldn't disagree more with those that criticize Rex, even if I disagree with what he said too because...

M&A: Weeject...Mrs.M&A... lost nanoseconds...[25% blackhole opacity]...Do my puzzles.

50% for satiric exaggeration.

@Joe and whoever knows
Damn I might need a diagram.
Olive oil garlic breadcrumbs get me to carpenter how? Why not just have a carp entre?

albatross shell 2:29 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frantic Sloth 2:44 PM  

First things first: @anonymous 7:00 Brilliant and hilarious! You might have to make "anonymous700am your name from now on, sort of like a bizarro world James Bond.

And thanks also to the good-humored "victims" who can appreciate the value of a joke - especially on oneself.

This puzzle was all geek to me, which basically means it was in my fun wheelhouse. While it was rather easy for a Thursday, it did take me a while to recall the correct letters to link with CTRL -- added bonus was learning of CTRL+F!! How I ever survived without knowing/using that little tidbit is a mystery and one whose solution I'll employ from now on. Yay!!

@Joe Dipinto - looking forward to trying the recipe - thanks! I hope (as @Z pointed out) that nobody NARCs on you because come ON!

Who are these people who complain about innocuous blog comments??? I only wish that was my biggest concern in life.

Then again, maybe this pandemic will have one bright spot: blog comments will no longer be seen as the biggest threat to civilization.

albatross shell 2:44 PM  

Yes. Good one for Grace. The others were too, but I had to look on google to know why they worked in the non-ful state. They did.

Joe Dipinto 2:56 PM  

@albatross shell – sorry, I should have been clearer: the breadcrumbs represent sawdust, such as one might find on the floor of a carpentry shop. "Authenticity" snobs say you should use real sawdust in the recipe, but I don't recommend it.

I do like the idea of a carp entrée though.

QuasiMojo 3:31 PM  

Thanks @Albatross! -- I tried to make them a tad arcane. :)

Z 3:42 PM  

@albatross shell - I see how I confused you. Even though they both happen on February 14, to me this V-DAY is a very different event than V-DAY in the “send chocolates and roses” sense. Sort of like my birthday and independence of S√£o Tom√© and Pr√≠ncipe happen the same day but we don’t celebrate the same way. Either way, not how Rex seemed to process it.
Also - I see at least person reads my comments the way I intend them. I am the “commenter most likely to agree with Rex,” so I guess I can’t complain too much that people misunderstand most of my plaints.

@Mighty Masked One - CTRL-V indeed.

@anonymous1:37pm - I thought @webwinger meant that His Orangeness will help out people in his attempt to make himself look good. I don’t think there was any implication of altruism.

Hungry Mother 3:53 PM  

For all of you reluctant food shoppers, I've been using InstaCart to keep safe and \support the gig economy.

Anonymous 4:25 PM  


to be specific: selfless assistance would include Blue Cities (where the problem is greatest) as well as Red Rural (where it isn't), aka His Base. he pushed most of the $20+ billion in 'Farm Aid' to His Base, screwing the Blue City states. I expect he'll do the same thing again.

Anonymous 4:32 PM  

C'mon guys, V-Day stands for Valentine's Day, is that so hard? I delighted in this puzzle. It's nice when a Thursday puzzle is so doable. I use CTRL keys constantly, being a retired typist who learned them on early versions. And I don't worry about politician's good or bad points, they are all suspect, but I do appreciate knowing what someone's name is because he was around for so long.

albatross shell 4:39 PM  

I shall assume (both of us being asses in our own way) that you meant "at least one person" and were referring to me and I may take it as a small compliment, and not that I am the "least person" and I should take it as a wee insult. But it is strange for you to make such an error, whereas I embarrass myself all the time. At least 2 times today and more if you you are nitty. I am trying to improve. But Watch out, I may be contagious.

Whatsername 5:12 PM  

@Joe D at 12:52 - Thanks. I may give it a try.

Richardf8 5:35 PM  

I guess it says something about how long I’ve been doing IT that I got 19A and thought “Break Right?!?!” What does that have to do with piracy?

Krytykal 5:36 PM  

Once again, I completely disagree with Rex. I think the two of us should start a movie-review blog together...

SBpianist 5:39 PM  

Yup, saw that coming. Hated this puzzle beginning to end, but tomorrow is another day.

Anonymous 5:50 PM  


Siskel and Ebert did their conflict schtick for the camera. They were both left wing snowflakes.

E.C. 5:54 PM  

Was it a millionaire who said “Imagine no possessions ?”.

Richardf8 6:01 PM  

CEMERS or writing about every damn puzzle? Thats a toughie.

Richardf8 6:04 PM  

Like this:
Most people are just smirking when the type that.

albatross shell 6:10 PM  

Just a po boy from Liverpool

TJS 6:24 PM  

@Anon 5:50, Anyone who dismisses Roger Ebert as a "left wing snowflake" deserves the life they are living.

Frantic Sloth 6:42 PM  

Hear! Hear!

Carola 6:56 PM  

I got the tough Thursday workout that most of the rest of you missed - it took me a very long time to understand what was going on (with Crest), and I almost DNF when I had CTRL L instead of F ("fOOl" around), until I dimly remembered there's a FIND shortcut (I just use the Google search box on my iPad and click on "Find on page.")

@Anonymous 7:00 - Thank you for the affectionate fun.

@Joe Dipinto - Thank you for the recipe - I need new ideas to keep things interesting around here. Is the origin Sicilian?

jberg 6:56 PM  

I'm probably here too late to get moderated, so I'll just say that I basically liked the puzzle, but thought it a shortcoming to put IMAC right at the top with the PC-shortcut theme, and to clue SHORTCUT as known to "computer users." Sure, Macs have a command key, but it doesn't say CTRL on it, which you need to make the theme work.

chefwen 7:07 PM  

@RooMonster - When we lived overseas, my child minder knit me a Winnie the Pooh doll, I always called him Pooh Bear and cherished him for years. Poor little guy finally disintegrated.

Anon 7:00 Funny stuff.

Don’t have a CAST but am still SHOD in a ridiculously large boot. How about GIOVANNI, are we still TWINSIES?

A little too easy for my favorite puzzle day, but I’ll take it

A moderator 7:27 PM  


1. Why would I not let your comment go through?

2. Maybe having IMAC right up tp was trying to even things out.

3. It's never to late to post.

QP 7:29 PM  

Everyone here is wayyyyyy too emotional

Joe Dipinto 8:24 PM  

@Carola – not sure, but definitely southern Italian. Probably different regions have their own versions. The version with sardines seems like it might be Sicilian.

Z 8:50 PM  

@QP - Now you’ve made me cry.

@Everybody - This should be fun.
Here’s the Facebook Event page.

Anonymous 8:57 PM  

Rex is so predictable in his write-ups, a bot could do the work.

JC66 9:49 PM  


Thanks for the heads up. I hope I remember.

Bruce Fieggen 10:17 PM  

Now that’s funny!
How about another?
Rex: Crazed rant at the presence of a non-Democrat in a crossword.

rondo 12:18 PM  

@anon 7:00 way above – SHORTCUTs indeed. Spot on, too funny. I must be one of the nine people though.

I do use the CTRLV function fairly often; ensures an exact copy, otherwise you might get something that doesn’t look quite RIGHT.

TENTOONE that @spacey names Natalie WOOD as DOD.

At least there was only one letter per square.

Unknown 12:22 PM  


spacecraft 12:24 PM  

No. Should have been sent back with a big RED reject slip with a note: Go back to your other job, guys. Crossword construction is not your forte. Having finished it, I can score it: WD (withdrew)

Anonymous 1:02 PM  

Long-time syndication lurker here (long enough to remember and miss posts from, among others, Evil Doug and the gentlemanly U of Minnesota professor – can’t remember his name and not willing right now to look it up). I am thinking about getting in on the direct action, but wondering how that works in syndication-time. Let’s see if someone notices this post in the first place and then is kind enough to respond. This is a bit long, so you get an agenda.

Comments about this puzzle
Questions about real-time v syndicate-time posting
An observation about RP’s seeming negativity
Appreciation for those who contribute to this blog
Some personal info until (if?) I decide to “go blue”

About this puzzle – I got tricked into seeing a potential but wrong theme and wonder if anyone else did as well. I had filled in SHORTCUT and had enough filled in elsewhere to see what looked like nonsense. Obviously I was missing something. Then I got to 15 down and it seemed obvious the summarized jeans were cutoffs, but that didn’t fit. What did fit was denim[cut]offs where the answer was shorted by cutting out CUT, the answer was SHORT a CUT. Now that would be a convoluted theme, but hey, this is a Thursday, so why not?

I solve on an iPad by taking a screen shot of the puzzle and inserting it into an app that allows a paper and pencil experience with unlimited erasures without leaving smudges or making holes. And I can use colored highlights to help suss out the theme. In this case, I yellow highlighted SHORTCUT and inserted a yellow dot where CUT would go between denim and OFFS. Then I was off to look for other places to insert that yellow dot. Moral of the story – I should pay attention to the entire clue for the revealer and believe it means what it says.

Questions about real-time v syndication-time – Is there any way to tell where the split is between contributions posted by real-time solvers and those posted by syndication-time solvers? Or perhaps there is no reason for contributions from syndication users because the main body of contributors has already moved on. I know I could get some idea of the split by reading the comments about a puzzle in real time, but that would spoil that puzzle for me and I’d rather not do that – especially since comparing notes after solving (or co-solving the tough ones) is a morning ritual for my 90+ mom, my husband and me.

An observation – Universities must earn and maintain accreditation and as part of that professors and instructors must maintain various forms of academic qualification. Depending on the accrediting body, maintaining a blog on a topic relevant within a relevant body of knowledge counts toward academic qualification if the blog has sufficient readership and response rates. Is it possible that the predictable RP rants are there for the purpose of encouraging those rates and maintaining his academic qualification?

Appreciation – The anonymous contribution at 7:00 AM spoofing the contributions by Z, Lewis, Nancy, LMS and M&A drew humorous responses from those named and humorous dismay from those who felt they should have been included. In that spirit, to those named and the many others who should have been named I say THANK YOU for the pleasure you offer by sharing your witty, insightful and so-nicely-personalized observations. As others have said, I feel as if I know several of you.

Personal info – retired university professor, owned by a Golden Retriever and a Boston Terror – er, Terrier, and - from 5-weeks forward in the pandemic, glad to be able to count as a happy sea hag because I made the decision many years ago to let my hair go white (mostly there now) and just let it grow, pulling it back into a tail or twisting it up into a chignon when some level of professional appearance seemed wise. All of you in the sea hag group, if you were making these comments 5 weeks ago, I’m wondering how you are doing now?

rondo 3:15 PM  

@anon 1:02 - Time stamps are somewhat helpful to determine where Syndiland starts. Or look for @spacecraft, or @Burma Shave, or me @rondo, sometimes @Fogman, one of which is usually first.
Novel observation. I would hope it's not some kind of reward for OFL.
Welcome aboard, hope to hear more from you.

leftcoaster 3:42 PM  

Don't know if I've ever used CTRL plus an unknown letter to get CUT, PASTE, COPY, FIND. Never had to, because the Edit Menu provides the most efficient SHORTCUTs I need or use.

This theme put me in an irritable MOOD, and I gave up on it.

Burma Shave 3:53 PM  


MAME had to (CUT)OFF some HALLOWED hair,
with a TUGON it to DISTORT;
it was ENMESHED in an ENDTABLE where


BS2 3:58 PM  

that stream of unconsciousness was brought to you by REBOX

rondo 5:21 PM  

@anon 1:02 - Almost forgot, that U of MN professor is George Barany; even nicer guy in person. I've had the pleasure to meet him.

spacecraft 5:24 PM  

Welcome @anon 1:02! Most of us down here get the syndicated version in our real WOOD-pulp newspapers; mine comes in the Sun, which is wrapped inside the LVRJ (Las Vegas Review-Journal). Yes, I solve in pen (!), which often results in a home version of a Rohrshach test. Weekdays the puzzle is a month old (but same weekday), while Sundays are two weeks old. Sometimes, annoyingly, the click on "syndicated" fails to produce the desired date, but a little hunting via the archives, along the right-hand column, gets you there. If you have to go to a different month, OFC's (Our Fearless Curmudgeon) commentary will be there but no guest comments. At the bottom there's a link to "[# of] comments" which will allow you to add yours.

Hope this helps. Once again welcome, and stay safe!

Diana, LIW 6:02 PM  

For a Thursday, this trick wasn't toooooooooooo bad. Still, I guessed at least one "letter" incorrectly. Where is CTRL ALT DEL - everyone's fav?

Hey @Rondo - you forgot to introduce me to Anon 1:02!! Shame!

Anon 1:02. Many folks, even Futurelanders, read the SyndieCats. And I do believe most of us solve in the paper, thus keeping our Syndie status. OFL (RP) suggested once to me that I subscribe to NYTX on line. Never say I. I never "went blue," just gave myself a name and kept it.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

BS3 6:24 PM  

As the Syndicated verse chronicler,
I suggest Anon pick a moniker.

Teedmn 8:39 PM  

@Spacey, there's a shorter way to get to the comments; when you get to the Rex date you want, just click or press on the lead-in answers above the date. (There's a term for them but I can’t remember it now.) For instance, today's begin with:


Anonymous 10:24 PM  

@spacecraft 12:24 PM - I would respectfully disagree by saying it was a decent puzzle - except for VDAY which OFL accurately pegged as baloney, and for the fact that the corners are practically CTRLX from the rest of the puzzle. And maybe it should have been a Monday or Tuesday puzzle. Stay free !

Guessing at Life's Answers 11:44 AM  

Thanks for helpful replies.

@rondo (3:15 PM) Names as sign posts helps. Don't know why I didn't think of it earlier, but the day before any given puzzle shows up in syndication, a quick look at the number of contributions, without actually reading anything, would be a pretty good indication of the split. Right now it is 139 comments for Saturday March 21. And of course! now that you remind me, it is Professor Barany! I should have remembered.

@spacecraft (5:24 PM) We recently canceled our subscription to the paper version of the Des Moines Register, keeping the subscription to the digital version. We can all three read the paper at the same time and two of the three of us actually prefer the digital experience. The third member of the household rebelled at the last price increase and decided that an e-newspaper wasn't THAT bad.

@Diana LIW (6:02 PM) Thanks for the greeting. So those contributing in real time are "Futurelanders" as in their current experience is our future. And we are "SyndiCats" Works for me.

@B53 (6:24 PM) I don't know how this works. I am posting this time using my Google Account and checked for follow up comments to go to my email address. Perhaps the system uses that as my moniker? Guess I'll find out when I click on the publish button.

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