Violinist Leopold / SUN 3-1-20 / Old Spanish bread / Waterside lodging with portmanteau name / Rowing machine in fitness lingo / 1910s flying star / Overseas landmark located in Elizabeth Tower / Chocolaty post cereal / Literary protagonist named after king of Israel / Noted Chinese-American fashion designer / Payment to a freelancer for unpublished work

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Constructor: Sam Trabucco

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium to Medium (10:15)

THEME: "Letter Dictation" — Phrases that have words that sound like letters in them are clued as if they related to the letter ... so the (all-caps) clue is a literal representation of the answer, if the answer is taken as an auditory pun referring to a letter of the alphabet. Thus:

Theme answers:
  • SPLIT PEA SOUP (20A: GAZACHO) ("gazpacho" is a "soup" from which the "P" has "SPLIT")
  • GIVE THE STINK EYE (29A: SMEILL) ("smell" is a "stink" to which an "I" has been given)
  • LONG TIME NO SEE (47A: ENTURIES) ("centuries" is a "LONG TIME" in which there is no "C")
  • OH BY THE WAY (62A: TECHNIQUEO) ("technique" is a "WAY" that the letter "O" is sitting "by")
  • YEAH WHY NOT (66A: DEFINITEL) ("definitely" is a word meaning "yeah" only here the "Y" is "NOT" (present))
  • BE IN THE MOMENT (82A: INSTBANT) ("instant" is a "moment" and "B" is "IN" it)
  • GREEN TEA EXTRACT (96A: ENVIRONMENAL) ("environmental" means "green" but here the "T" has been "EXTRACT(ed)")
  • ARE YOU WITH ME? (110A: RUMYSELF) ("R" and "U" w/ "myself," i.e. "ME")
Word of the Day: Leopold AUER (72A: Violinist Leopold) —
Leopold von Auer (HungarianAuer Lipót; June 7, 1845 – July 15, 1930) was a Hungarian violinist, academic, conductor and composer, best known as an outstanding violin teacher. [...] Auer is remembered as one of the most important pedagogues of the violin, and was one of the most sought-after teachers for gifted students. "Auer's position in the history of violin playing is based on his teaching." Many notable virtuoso violinists were among his students, including Mischa ElmanKonstanty GorskiJascha HeifetzNathan MilsteinToscha SeidelEfrem ZimbalistGeorges BoulangerBenno RabinofKathleen ParlowJulia KlumpkeThelma GivenSylvia LentKemp Stillings, and Oscar Shumsky. Among these were "some of the greatest violinists" of the twentieth century. (wikipedia)
• • •

I'm going to start by doing something I never do; I'm going to quote another crossword blog. This is from Jeff Chen at xwordinfo: "NO LIKEY … that feels like something okay for me to say [...] Not sure if Sam gets the same pass." I am on a social media fast for Lent, so I cannot do what I normally do when an answer makes me wince, which is go on Twitter and confirm that someone, anyone, heard what I heard. I think I audibly shouted at "NO LIKEY" when I got it. I think what I shouted was "Nooooooo." It is a phrase that reeks of Chinglish, i.e. a kind of mocking fake-Asian speak. The phrase "Me NO LIKEY" would drive that point home a little harder, perhaps, but dropping the "Me" does not in anyway erase the connotations of racial mockery. I get that not everyone will have these associations. But as you can see from Jeff's (very mild) response, NO LIKEY is gonna read as racial caricature to a *bunch* of solvers, and someone, somewhere along the line—for sure, the editor, if no one else—should've said "no" to this, should've recognized that this is potentially problematic language, should've foreseen that it would go down badly-to-very-badly with some subset of solvers. I would be agasp and agog and all the a-words if *none* of test-solvers raised this as a potential issue. Mostly I'm genuinely aghast that the editor is so bad at his job. That his ear is so tin. That he just doesn't care. And that the NYT as an institution just doesn't care. This isn't a one-time thing. He's barely one year off from the whole BEANER incident, for god's sake. He can't keep stumbling into racism and then claiming he didn't know any better. To claim that NO LIKEY is just an [Informal "Ugh!"] ... I dunno, man. I just don't know.

The theme? It's clever. It works. It's fine. Much of the rest of the puzzle, however, feels off (yet again). "HOPE TO GOD!" is not a stand-alone phrase, and therefore absolutely does Not swap out for 2D: "With any luck!" ... [Wish desperately], that would work for HOPE TO GOD. Further, the phrase is "all or nothing." ALL OR NONE is just awkward (3D: Uncompromising). OREOOS is somehow more irksome than just plain OREO. Way way more irksome. Constructors are using it all the time now, trying to seem clever when all they are is desperate for more vowels. As I've said before, GENYERS is not now and will never be a thing. They're "millennials" and that is all that they are. You might be able to get away with just GEN Y, as that had currency for maybe a hot second, but GENYERS is gruesome. No one knows who Leopold AUER is. Just keepin' it real. I mean, I do, because I had to do this whole AUER investigation way back when (circa 2007) when there was massive AUER confusion around which AUER was the violinist and which was the (somewhat better known) actor? Mischa, I think?? Yes, that's it.

BOATEL remains a deeply dumb word (95D: Waterside lodging with a portmanteau name). What the hell is a BLEEP CENSOR?? (64D: Curse remover). I get that curses are bleeped on network TV (say) and that that is a form of censorship, but is BLEEP CENSOR someone's job?? Is it a machine? Bizarre. SMOKE RINGs are not at all hard to blow (40D: Something that's not easy to blow). I blew them all the time when I smoked. For a while, I was convinced that it was the primary reason I smoked. Diverting. Meditative. Then I went to the doctor at age 21 for some unrelated thing and he asked if I smoked and I was like "... yes" and he just looked at me like "you ****ing idiot" and I was like "I know, I know" and I quit the next month. I don't miss it, but I do miss the rings a little. I had DAS before AGS (109D: Chief legal officers: Abbr.) and NBC before BBC (60A: Original airer of "The Office"), which was the closest thing to a pitfall in this whole puzzle. That's because I was certain about NBC, which was the original airer of the *US* version of "The Office." So I didn't change that "N" which meant I couldn't see BEAST and since I couldn't remember YANN I had a real snafu on my hands in the heartland of the grid. Two themers were implicated. But I figured Grendel had to be a BEAST (60D) and finally extricated myself from there. Really liked D-WADE (86D: Nickname of the Miami Heat's all-time leader in points, games, assists and steals) and KILL FEE (51A: Payment to a freelancer for unpublished work) as answers. Nice stuff. But nothing but nothing had any hope of getting the awful taste of NO LIKEY out of my mouth.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 12:58 AM  

The clue at 55-Down is incorrect. Michael Jordan is a current member of the NBA. He owns the Charlotte Hornets.

Anonymous 1:00 AM  


chefwen 1:43 AM  

The first thought that popped into my head with NO LIKEY was a little kids answer to a breakfast or lunch choice. Puzzle partner went down Rex’s road. I like my road better.

Got the gimmick pretty early with SPLIT PEA SOUP and thought this was going to be fun. GIVE THE STINK EYE brought on an audible laugh, but some of them, I thought, were kind of a stretch. Turned into a mini slog for me.

Loren Muse Smith 1:58 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loren Muse Smith 2:00 AM  

Hah! I loved every minute of this one. Got a sense of the trick with ARE YOU WITH ME and settled in to uncover the other themers. I laughed with LONG TIME NO SEE (my favorite). Fun to think of others:

“UNRIPENV” = green with envy
“HBAT” = bee in your bonnet

I agree with Rex that HOPE TO GOD isn’t a good synonym for “With any luck.” HOPE TO GOD feels pretty desperate, like someone hoping their house didn’t burn down. “With any luck” feels much less dire. With any luck I can get to the copier before Mr. Arthur tomorrow morning ‘cause I have a ton of stapling to do ‘cause we can’t afford to buy staples for the copier’s automatic stapling function ‘cause we can’t afford much of anything.

CRIERS – Helloooo ACPT attendees. Remember that Cryer/CRIER flap a few years ago? 20 days and counting! I’ll be there Friday morning. Hit me up.

I had never heard of BOATEL, but I like it. Duh. Any portmanteau pleases me. I checked, and there’s also such a thing as a floatel. We rented a houseboat once with another family and spent a week on some river. The houseboat was not that swank; the bathroom was tiny and nasty. I always held my breath in there and in my haste to get out one morning, started brushing my teeth with Brylcreem. Doesn’t take you long to notice that something is terribly, terribly wrong.

Yo. The 1980s called. They want their BRAN muffin back. Nowadays it’s a gluten-free kale flour muffin with goji berries and chia seeds. Yum.

I did have a NO LIKEY note in my margin, but only because it’s under LONG TIME NO SEE. Those two phrases (along with no can do) are all considered racist now given their Chinese/English pidgin origin.

Can’t say Eskimo, either. INUIT is ok. Wonder if they take vacations in snowtels. (I tell ya, these days I’m so jumpy about appearing racist that I hesitate to write about any non-European culture.)

Sam - bravo. This is one I'll remember for a long time.

(My avatar represents ENERGY LOSS)

Ernonymous 2:52 AM  

@loren I stayed in a Floatel in 1980 in Amsterdam. It was like a youth hostel, but wetter. I think we thought it looked so exciting and charming when we got there, but it was dark, dank and we were completely miserable. It had bunk beds below deck. I have a photo of it still. I think my travelmate was really afraid she was going to get foot rot.

jae 3:14 AM  

Medium. Liked the theme, it was cute and clever. I’m with Rex on some of the fill problems, especially BLEEP CENSOR which really doesn’t make sense to me....I mean BLEEPER GUY maybe...

I also had the nBC/BBC/YANN problem, and ME LIKEY seems a tad tone deaf.

Alan_S. 3:16 AM  

First I came here, before reading Rex, to say how clever, I thought, the themed clues and answers were, beautiful really!, and to voice a “nice job” to the author.

Then I read Rex, only to find him trashing, as per usual, the entire puzzle over a few irksome answers and a super, ultra PC rant over “no likey”. C’mon man!

I think of myself as a left leaning and racially sensitive person that uses a fair amount of caution when speaking or writing in public, but I don’t go off like an alarm clock every time someone “inadvertently” lets a potentially questionable, or maybe even arcane and outdated, word or phrase slip out. Sensitivity is one thing but overreaching sensitivity and charged accusations of racism over something this innocent (“no likey” is more like “baby talk” than it is racist!) is quite another. Rants like this border on the extreme and are likely more inciting than helpful.

And besides, aren’t we all here to talk about crosswords and maybe get a chuckle or two from the comments, sans the PC commentary?

Alan_S. 3:44 AM  

...and then, also, no less, RrrRex mentions the supposedly offensive phrase six more times during the rant. Really?

I’m with chefwen on this one.

Anonymous 3:50 AM  

"Long time no see" and "no can do" also have a Chinese pidgin English origin? I must say that never occurred to me and I've been alive since a time when fake Chinese phrases were pretty heavily used. (But then again I'd never heard of "beaner" being used in any kind of derogatory way.)

Anonymous 4:03 AM  

I get "split" but GAZACHO (taking P out of soup) seems the exact opposite of SPLITPEASOUP. A little ha ha but mostly a slog.

Dave in Florida 5:40 AM  

Rex, if you dislike Will so much and knock the NYT Puzzle so frequently, why do you continue your blog? You always say writing it is not a money thing for you...

I've only been solving puzzles for 5 years now, and it's taken me that long to get relatively good at it, but certainly not great (around 4 min for an average Monday). Anyway, I've genuinely loved the experience, as well as forums like yours where I can see others' reactions and experiences with puzzles I solve . . . which are often very different than my own.

One thing I don't care about at all is the whole "inside baseball" aspect of your blog. The overwhelming majority of us -- I imagine -- are here because we like to solve the daily NYT puzzle as part of our day and then see what others thought of it as well.

In other words, we all have enough drama in our daily lives to have it thrust upon us in our hobbies. And I know it's unavoidable to a certain extent: with groups of people who know each other for long periods of time, drama is unavoidable; it's the human condition. You put a bunch of nuns together for long enough, they'll start talking sh*t about each other.

But just as my own personal observation, it seems your criticism of Will is howling at the moon. Maybe it's all valid, but ultimately it's useless . . . no matter how much noise you make, the moon will still be there tomorrow night.

And, to a certain extent, your blog is almost surely aiding Will and the NYT Puzzle, not hurting it. You're like the sports critic 20 years ago who screamed all the time how much major league baseball and Bud Selig sucked, yet you report without fail on every night's games, on the home run chase between Sosa and McGwire, on the steroid controversy, etc etc. At the end of the day, MLB loved those types of critics, because they helped drive up interest in the sport and direct eyeballs to their broadcasts.

I imagine that's the same way Will feels about your blog . . . it's probably not that he "just doesn't care," but he likes the controversy you stir up because it drives internet traffic to the NYT Puzzle's page on a daily basis, and that is likely the only statistic Will's bosses care about...

Lewis 6:21 AM  

Oh, these theme answers are very very clever, and all revolve around everyday phrases. SPLIT PEA SOUP and LONG TIME NO SEE plopped in boom boom, each drawing a big grin; the others took work, and when they did fill in, they drew not only smiles, but nods of awe.

The cluing fought me hard. Many of the answers, when I finally got them, felt like victories, and I was justly rewarded by being able to build on them.

Grins, awe, and the glow of accomplishment -- this was a puzzle that delivered, one of those special ones. Many thanks, Sam, and very well done!

Anonymous 6:44 AM  

I just skipped the theme and solved it as a themeless.. The clues were clever, the puzzle less so. I’ll probably end my NYT puzzle subscription when it lapses. So Rex was outraged and tomorrow we’re going to see Tired Anabel. In a word-


1. able to be predicted.
"the market is volatile and never predictable"
behaving or occurring in a way that is expected.
"the characters were very stereotyped and extremely predictable"

I leave you with a few quotes from one of the 50 best movies you’ve never seen*:
Next Stop Wonderland

Andre de Silva: You like my country's music, right? I can tell there is a little bit of Brazil in you.
Erin Castleton: Oh yeah?
Andre de Silva: See, you are sad and happy. You don't smile but you are content. You are sad and happy at the same time. In Brazil we have a term for that - it's 'Saudade'. It's like ... melancholic, nostalgic; it's very Bossanova.

Erin Castleton: But wouldn't you say that consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds?
Alan: Well, actually, it’s "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." That's Ralph Waldo Emerson.

*Entertainment Weekly's list of The 50 Best Movies You've Never Seen in the Jul 16, 2012 issue.

Anonymous 6:50 AM  

I enjoyed the theme. Had a few write-overs, and missed "Boatel" entirely (was uncomfortable with "Herd In" but had a brain fart and didn't think of "Held In").

As for "No Likey".... Having just read Frank Wu's book Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White, and being Chinese-American myself, I cringe at phrases such as this. I picked up on it immediately. I'm not particularly PC, but it's along the same cringe-worthy lines as Mr. Yunioshi's character (played by Mickey Rooney) on Breakfast at Tiffany's. But on most matters like this, I move on and forget about it. There are bigger fish to fry.


Joe Dipinto 7:02 AM  

"Dude...Your complaints are all variations on the same theme: Will Shortz Ruined The NYT Puzzle. How about some variety?"
– Rex Parker to blog commenter, 2/17/2007

(thanks to @sanfranman59)


That nice young preacher Brother Taylor dropped by today
Said he'd be pleased to have dinner on Sunday – oh, by the way
He said he saw a girl that looked a lot like you up on Choctaw Ridge
And she and Billy Joe was throwing somethin' off the Tallahatchie Bridge

This puzzle was a little trickier than most Sundays of late; I had several writeovers. I started to put in LEAVES after GREEN TEA, only to realize it was one letter short. And I had SURE, WHY NOT at 66a at first. And I always confuse the names of Progressive's FLO and Toyota's JAN.

But I loved this concept, and how the themers were clued. Really imaginative stuff, I smiled every time I figured one out. The constructor hasn't really made an impression on me one way or the other previously, but I think he did a great job with this. Bravo!

This next song falls under the genre of Yacht Rock:

Croatia, Albania, up to Lithuania
Slovakia, Slovenia, over to Armenia
Moldova, Estonia, down to Macedonia
and to Kosovo
We'll get there fast and then we'll take it slow
That's where we wanna go
Way down in Kosovo
(and Bos-ni-a and Her-ze-go-vi-na)

pabloinnh 7:43 AM  

This kind of thing was my first experience with what we called "rebuses" once upon a time, and I really liked it. Like @JoeD, I had SUREWHYNOT, because I had the R from UAR, because I had changed NIT to UKE, which I liked as a small thing to pick, but which sabotaged that whole area for a while. WWIACE took forever too. The NE corner was last to fall, after which I took a BOW.

Best news for me today was being able to read all the numbers unaided, which makes getting an injection in your eyeball totally worth it.

Welcome back LMS. Your copier tales awaken memories of some stuff I'd rather not think about, so I don't.

Great Sunday. Thanks ST.

Lance 7:58 AM  

When I hear the phrase “no likey” my association is to the movie Tommy Boy. Doesn’t sound racist at all, although I’m sure you would take offense to Chris Farley

pmdm 8:09 AM  

I tend to dislike Sam's puzzles because I tend to dislike his linguistic preferences, if that's the correct way to say it. First time in seven weeks I received the Sunday Magazine selection (yipee) for this (boo). Not that the puzzle is bad, it's just not for me.

Mr. Sharp, swearing off something like Twitter is not much of a sacrifice since the ultimate effect is that it saves times, which is a positive. Just like saving money. Hopefully you take the time you save and volunteer at something that results in good deeds. And if you want to do something truly challenging, swear off attacking Shortz for Lent.

QuasiMojo 8:24 AM  

My first reaction when I saw "No Likey" in the puzzle was that is just how I feel doing this. It's always a crap shoot for me whether to do the Sunday crossword or not (I used to wait all week for it when I was a wee lad) Because once you start it, the damn timer is set (on the app) and you can't not finish it or you lose your BLEEPing unbroken streak (which happens anyway for no reason sometimes so I'm not even sure why I care!) but I went ahead and finished it sans plaisir. And any grid with the non-existent "oo-la-la" always gets a thumbs-down from me and a middle-finger-up to boot!

I don't think I've ever heard someone say "Me No Likey" so I just took "No Likey" as impertinent toddler talk.

I only stopped by today really to say a thank you to Joe DiPinto for the link yesterday to the Hallmark version of The Fantasticks. That John Davidson sure had the cutest dimples ever! "Ooh la la!"

Suzie Q 8:30 AM  

Finally a fun Sunday! The theme answers were amusing and figuring them out made me feel clever. Give the stink eye was my favorite.

Sam Scott 8:33 AM  

Whenever I find myself wondering how Rex so regularly builds up a raging head of steam for his reviews, I imagine what it must be like to wake up each morning and remember I have to write 750 words about a crossword puzzle rain or shine. A decade in, or whatever, I'd be itching for a fight too.

Of course, this doesn't explain how Jeff Chen does the same without screaming himself blue, but I think he gets his puzzles in advance.

Tyler Tillman 8:38 AM  

Never crossed my mind once that NO LIKEY might be racist in the least, even in the midst of cancel culture as we are. Quit searching for things to be offended by, you’re a bit ridiculous sometimes.

Macmillan Dictionary 8:41 AM  

used for emphasizing that you very much hope something will happen

M. 8:49 AM  

The clue for INUIT is factually incorrect. In Canada, where the term “First Nation” comes from, the term is not a synonym for “Indigenous.” It refers to Indigenous people with traditional territories lying within what is now Canada and south of the Arctic Circle, and therefore specifically excludes the INUIT. This is why you will hear people in Canada refer to “First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples” in contexts where they want to make a distinction between those three very different histories. Again, this is something an editor should catch. If you’re using a term specific to another country, you should double-check how it’s used.

FPBear 8:49 AM  

No one has a problem with alumni for Tina?

FPBear 9:19 AM  

Ladies are alumnae. How did this get through Shortz?

Z 9:21 AM  

I really don’t understand why this is so difficult for people. Saying something cringe-worthy, even racist, doesn’t make you a racist or “tin-eared,” or insensitive or whatever. It is what happens next. “It is? I didn’t realize. I’m sorry.” Or, “no it’s not, you’re too sensitive.” As for Shortz, he’s got a staff, he’s been told, and his response is always some version of “no it’s not, you’re too sensitive.” Without knowing specifics, the reason Rex has gone from fan-boy to uber-critic isn’t really hard to understand. What’s saddest to me is the man should be at the stage of life where he hears nothing but praise for all he’s done for puzzles, but instead he keeps insisting publishing puzzles with racist insults.

As for the theme. I can appreciate it, but it didn’t tickle my fancy.

@sanfranman59 yesterday - Leopold AUER is a perfect example. Clearly important to a group of people, but how important is he to most crossword solvers. It looks like he’s most famous not for being a violinist but coaching violinists. To compare, he’s not Mel Ott, he’s Ott’s third base coach. He’s not Andrew Wyeth, he’s Andrew Wyeth’s dad., he’s not FDR, he’s Nance, I cannot imagine trivia getting much more trivial than AUER.

Z 9:24 AM  

@FPBear - Ferrell and Fey, so plural ALUMNI. I guess it defaults to masculine when it’s a man and a woman.

SouthsideJohnny 9:29 AM  

This was sort of a “reverse theme” for me - basically try to parse together the theme entries, then go back to the clue and get an “oh, cute” reaction.

No abbreviation in the clue for WWI ACE? NO LIKEY is just horrendous (even if you forget the racist overtones) - it’s too much of a stretch to believe it means “ugh”.

It was kind of comical reading Rex’s rant today - Chen makes his point in like one sentence, while Rex rants and raves like King Lear left alone in the castle, lol.

Welcome back, LMS.

RooMonster 9:30 AM  

Hey All !
ME NO LIKEY the Coronavirus that the Chinese foisted on the world, so if a small answer offends them, well, too f#$!ng bad.
I see the BLEEP CENSOR is working. 😋

I enjoyed uncovering the NEAT answers to the CAPITAL clues. TRES BON. Fave was LONG TIME, NI SEE, followed by GIVE THE STINK EYE, which was also the toughest to figure out. Went through stench, odor, and lIVE, GIVE, even hIVE. Got a good chuckle when I finally figured it out.

That NE corner was throwsome good resistance at me. Lots of oddness there. BOWSER JR (wowsers, BOWSER), BIG BEN and BARREL OF FUNVwith (to me) odd clues, plus ANNA SUI working her way to not helping out to get a toehold there. Once I got STINK EYE, was able to see ENJOY (wanted revel for a while), and NORSE (where I had welSh lightly penned in).

Writeovers, soy-EEL (yeesh, EEL sauce sounds like I would NO LIKEY [har]), irAN-OMAN, GulpS-GLUGS, rEd___-TEASED.

Put me in the Great Puz group. OH BY THE WAY,cRex it's never ALL OR NONE with the puzs. Man, just enjoy them. ARE YOU WITH ME?


TJS 9:32 AM  

Before reading any comments other than Rex, I just want to say this was maybe the best Sunday puzzle in many years, IMO. I had to really engage the ole brain throughout. Loved the fill and the conceit.

And now to Rex... Didnt the ole perfessor describe himself as "a medeivalist"not too long ago? Yet somehow is unfamiliar with Grendel from some medeival book that nobody ever reads apparently, something called Beowolf. Jeez.

And "Me likey." Happy for ya, Rex. You found something in a puzzle that made you reach for the smelling salts again. All or none is not a phrase? We have Gen-xers but no gen-yers? "No one knows Leopold Auer." It is to laugh.

Nancy 9:42 AM  

QUUCERY. It's all a question of what you see, isn't it?

Like, for example, at 47A, ENTURIES, I didn't see [C]ENTURIES because I thought the pun would be based on ENTRIES. So my mind was going in the absolute wrong direction.

But what makes this puzzle really, really hard is that none of the theme answers can be figured out without a lot of crosses. I mean a lot of crosses! So doing the puzzle with ease (pun intended) means knowing a lot of those crosses. And I didn't. Not even the short ones like ERG (what on earth does that stand for?) and DWADE, for example.

I struggled everywhere. I thought the theme was clever -- with some themers better and fairer than others. BE IN THE MOMENT is fabulous. YEAH WHY NOT not so much. But I prevailed -- and I'm feeling pretty clever myself.

Otto 9:44 AM  

No, racist would be NO RIKEY. See The Onion Movie.

Alexandra M 9:48 AM  

I'm a millenial (not GEN Y ER) and ME LIKEY has never had any racial connotations for me. Believe it or not I actually most associate it with rap music - Kanye West says it in "Stronger" and there's a much more recent song of that title by Soundcloud rapper Trippie Redd, to name a few. If people of Asian descent like Jeff say they are genuinely offended then I fully accept that. Otherwise I'd chalk it up to the ever-evolving nature of language. Sometimes once-innocuous words become tainted, once-offensive phrases are reclaimed or forgotten to the point of innocence. Occasionally, as in the case of "queer", a word can even go all the way from standard dictionary term, to vicious slur, to accepted and preferred terminology! But, it's always easiest just to play it safe, so yes it probably would have been best edited a bit more attentively.

WhatDoing 9:52 AM  

Liked the theme but the experience was ruined by some truly horrible fill. NO LIKEY is offensive. BARREL OF FUN is opinion and a term nobody uses. BOATEL is not a thing. And how the hell am I supposed to infer SOPRANO from a clue that infers flight if the constructor doesn’t include the question mark?

Rube 9:53 AM  

Right on @tjs. This was the best Sunday in recent memory. Clever and well executed theme with clues that weren't obvious throughout the puzzle. This is what we should expect for a Sunday.

TJS 9:59 AM  

@z, so following your argument and examples, the following are not deservedly famous :George Halas, Vince Lombardy, Don Shula, Etc. How about Red Auerbach, John Wooden, Dean Smith ? Important to a certain group of people, just as Leopold Auer is to classical music devotees.

Stix 10:04 AM  

I can see if the answer was “no rikey” it’s be racist but “no likey” is more childish. If your name is Mike you should still be able to say “Mikey no likey” because, well, just because.

John H 10:04 AM  

I'm glad that some of us are getting into the Shortz thing. Rex being so hard on him is like making fun of a handicap. I do don't really believe that Will likes (or understands) crosswords all that much. He is just more into other kinds of word games. I have not enjoyed the Times puzzles as much as I did under previous editors, and I go back to Weng and Maleska.

I get annoyed by some of the things Shortz seems to be really into. Not so much word games as alphabet and vocabulary puzzles, like his radio show contests:

Take a common seven letter word, exchange the third and fifth letters with their preceding letters of the alphabet to come up with a word that means the opposite in French. (I'm being silly, of course, but that's how ludicrous they seem to me.) That's the kind of thing he really likes.

Anonymous 10:10 AM  

Boatel is in the Merriam-Webster and other dictionaries. It is a thing.

Teedmn 10:28 AM  

Horrible performance on my part. I couldn't EXTRACT myself from ENVIRONMENAL equaling Eco something and contorted the answers around it to try to make it work. I FAILed AT that. Eight wrong squares plus a typo from who knows where? WWI ACE crossing DWADE and never knowing college team names (106A) aided in my being worsted. No EASY A here. More like trying to blow SMOKE RINGs.

So while I recognize Sam's genius in making these letter rebopodes, I don't feel good about the puzzle because of my epic fail.

My favorite themers are SPLIT PEA SOUP and LONG TIME NO SEE. YEAH WHY NOT works the least successfully in my opinion.

Thanks, Sam, for keeping me humble.

GILL I. 10:31 AM  

The comments are interesting - what is and isn't racist; what is or isn't PC. I say interesting because I, like @Loren, sometimes want to watch where I step...I don't always like top but I guess it's better than trodding on dog poop.
I well remember the BEANER episode. That one word made me wince mightily . Why? Because I spent the better part of 30 plus wonderful years of my life working for a Mexican airline and spending my time in that country. It was like a second home to me. I'm not Mexican but I certainly felt like I was. BEANER, to me was just horrible. And yet, many on this blog did not even know it was a slur.
I used to call people from Asia, Orientals. I had no idea this was a slur. I love the word Oriental and couldn't understand why it should cause an uproar. I still have to catch myself. I now understand.
NO LIKEY didn't take me aback until I read @Rex. I thought of a child saying this. I now understand.
I will continue to tippy toe through the English Language and worry that some words might cause severe angst. I really don't want to offend.

This puzzle was one of my absolute favorite Sundays in EONs. Very clever, Sam...but you always are. I started with SPLIT PEA SOUP and I knew I was in for a treat. GIVE THE STINK EYE made me laugh out loud. Try imagining what a STINK EYE looks like. Do you wrinkle them like your nose? YEAH WHY NOT.

Anonymous 10:44 AM  

Ha ha,
Rex and z are here to help us racist dopes. Whatever would be do without them.
Sam Trabucco (a part time redident of Hong Kong)
Thanks for the fun puz. Me likey!! Seems plenty of others do too.
Mr. Moto.

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

Not sure if anyone on this blog actually went to today to look at Jeff Chen's comments but if you have not, you should. Rex leads one to believe that Jeff was offended and perhaps outraged at the inclusion of "no likey" in the puzzle. Instead he gave it a "POW" rating and a generally glowing review overall. Just another example at the left's fake outrage over utter nonsense.

Also, one has to think that the attacks on Shortz must come from a deeper place. Perhaps Rex interviewed for a job at the Times or on the Time's puzzles team and was rejected? It seems implausible that there is not some other reason for the nonstop, distasteful bashing.

Nancy 11:00 AM  

@Joe Dipinto (from yesterday) -- Thanks so much for the Hallmark/Fantasticks link. It really transported me back in time. I assume I saw the TV production after I saw the stage production -- Bert Lahr seemed vaguely familiar -- but it's all a bit of a blur. I don't really remember.

Some thoughts for Joe and Quasi (everyone else can tune out if they don't care in the least):

Montalban has sex appeal and charisma, but he's a second-rate singer. Where, oh, where was Jerry?

I thought Stanley sang much better and was much less hammy than Bert.

I thought the best voice in the cast belonged to the Boy. I didn't much like the Girl and found her rather simpering besides. Although I suppose that's the role.

Finally -- Would this be popular today? Such sentimentality in an age of irony and cynicism? And even worse, in an era of "Me Too" -- the paternalism and, maybe, even child abuse practiced by El Gallo. He takes it upon himself to take away the Girl's innocence and introduce her to evil because it's "good for her". I'm not sure that would fly in the current cultural moment.

The score remains great. The musical book, not so much.

Carola 11:00 AM  

I'm among those who thought this was among the best Sunday themes in ages, rising to BARREL OF FUN level. It was one thing to catch on to the idea but another to work out how the principle worked in each phrase, a great anti-slog device on the constructor's part. Anyway - genius idea, with one grand payoff after another.

One do-over: j LO before FLO (no idea, obviously) and a DNF at (play)BOy x BOySERJR. ("doesn't seem quite right" niggled at me, but I failed to follow my "always do an alphabet run" rule).

@Sam Trabucco, terrific puzzle, thank you.

calli 11:02 AM  

Alumni can be male and female or male only. Alumnae is female only.

Anonymous 11:04 AM  

Oriental aint a slur. The Orient is a place. It has a populace. Theyre oriental.
Asian is too broad to be useful. Do Dri Lanka and Hokaido have anything in common besides being islands? To call them both Asia and their inhabitsntd Adians doesn't get you very far.
The Orient, the Levant, the subcontinent are all Asian
Theyre all out of disfavor now, but when they were used (uo until quite recrntly in the US. And still used in Europe) they were far more hrlpful than the ridiculously protean Asian...

Tom R 11:26 AM  

Sundays are big so they take more time but I typically work my way through them faster than a Friday or Saturday. This one, however, in contrast to Res was brutal. Took me forever, partly because I could not get hold of the theme, and partly because a huge chunk of clue/answers were outside my strike zone. Did not enjoy it.

GHarris 11:44 AM  

I've heard of a Swiss chalet and a ski house but never a ski chalet. So I came up with Swichalet and figured a fee paid for an unpublished work could be a will fee, acknowledging that there was a will but no way. All seemed to work for me since I got everything else right.

webwinger 11:47 AM  

I give this puzzle a big thumbs up. Enjoyed wrestling with each of the themers—getting one didn’t help a whole lot with the others. The sheer number of them made for a bit of a Sunday slog, but I think a better term would be trek. (Like Quasi 8:24, I grew up doing Sundays only and loving them, now much prefer T-F-S.)

Comments are great today. I agree with others who have recently praised the wisdom of the crowd. Pretty much the whole gamut of possible responses to NO LIKEY, pretty much all expressed with more grace and precision than OFL could muster. Thanks in particular to Anonymous 6:50. The perspectives we really need to hear on matters like this are from the potential offendees. (Also, please all non-troll Anonymice, consider creating a blogger handle so we know it’s you.) Great to hear from @LMS (what is she doing up at) 2:00 am—literally wanted to give her a hug when I saw her byline, and got the expected chuckles as I read on.

I too reacted negatively to ALUMNI—maybe we need a new approach altogether to this type of situation, like maybe ALUMthey?

On a more serious note, on Tuesday I will have to cast what may be the most consequential vote of my life. Torn among the 5 very decent and capable remaining contenders (6 if you count Bloomberg), each with different strengths and appeals, only one of whom we can send into the arena to fight for the salvation of our country, and maybe the world. HOPE TO GOD the best man or woman wins...

Finally, @Z (Friday 6:07 pm, Saturday 5:41 pm) and others from the past couple of days: The error message I got when trying unsuccessfully to create a “blue link” said it would not accept an “https” URL.

Newboy 11:55 AM  

Nice themers today; crossing filler often suspect. AAllll Sam’s Sunday gave more delight than most recent slogs.

mbr 11:56 AM  

@Nancy 11:00: "I don't remember". Well, try. ;-)
@pmdm 8:09: I truly sympathize with your displeasure over the previously missing Sunday magazine section, and applaud its final appearance at your doorstep, but have to ask if one of your neighbors is out of town this weekend. .;-) ;-)

Anonymous 11:57 AM  

@Alan_S I'd like to second your two points: 1) more like baby talk, and 2) more inciting than helpful. Unfortunately in the current supercharged with political tensions atmosphere in this country rants like this one are unavoidable.

Ernonymous 12:03 PM  

I had a rough time with this puzzle. It was almost twice my Sunday average. I flew through all the puzzles this week and with this one I hit a brick wall. More like 8 brick walls. After a long time of solving, I was only half done.
I didn't have YANN, AUER, DWADE, WWIACE, DONNE and NASL. These were proper names that I didn't know. WWIACE is not a proper name, but I thought it was based on the clue. I thought they wanted someone like the flying Wallenda. I never heard of BOWER either. I thought it was a HIJAB not a NIQAB. I had PRIX fixe not IDEE. That made getting HOPE TO GOD difficult, with that vague clue. I eventually finished but I felt miserable the entire solve, which it is supposed to be entertaining. Then I asked myself- do you hate it because you don't know the answers? Well, yes, but also because how am I supposed to know AUER? I guess people know YANN but I don't. I knew Pele played for the Santos but I didn't know it was NASL.
Onto to tomorrow!

contessa 12:06 PM  

Joe love your lyrics to Kokomo

Anonymous 12:09 PM  

Excellent suggestion...myriad clever clues available

What? 12:16 PM  

Some years ago we had in our State a controversy re the use of Indian names and symbols as team mascots. Most public commentators thought the Indians were being too sensitive. My thinking is that it’s a matter of politeness. If a group says to me what you’re doing is hurtful, I’ll say Ok I’ll stop. To do otherwise is racially insensitive and arrogant. Does this describe Shortz and his group? Seems so.

Ken Freeland 12:27 PM  

have cold water available in the first floor men's showers, increase the heat in the men's sauna

IrishCream 12:40 PM  

Who decides what’s acceptable sensitivity and what’s “overreaching,” though? I wouldn’t say “me likey” because I know it’s hurtful to some people based on entrenched racial stereotypes. That’s not PC, that’s just common courtesy.

It’s cool that you’re insulated enough from racism that you assume that phrase could only be baby talk, but that undermines your characterization of yourself as racially sensitive.

Anonymous 12:41 PM  

just because your fish belly pale and live in fly over empty counties, doesn't mean you get to define what is racist to those at whom, or for whom, some word or phrase has been concocted by other fish belly pale folks in reference to some minority. that's what defines racism. I guess that's too difficult to understand. it's called tyranny of the majority.

JC66 12:45 PM  


I sent you an email re: Formatting. HOPE TO GOD it helps.

Anonymous 12:56 PM  

Oh, and by the way, cryptocurrency 'trading' is yet another example of Ponzi/Madoff scheming. About as ethically challenging a way to make money as exists.

Lori 1:04 PM  

I am not quite done with the puzzle, so have not yet read Rex's analysis or the comments of my fellow puzzle-doers. I was just so excited by the cleverness of the theme, and the wonderful repeated "ahas" of solving them, that I wanted to write my appreciation. Thank you Mr Trabucco, for something that Sunday puzzles have not given me in a long while - a joyful, challenging, interesting, playful solve. Cheers!

Anonymous 1:07 PM  

Claire on Modern Family (a current and very popular show) says “me likey”, which annoys other characters, but has never been seen as racist.

White Rushin 1:12 PM  

Anonymous 1:00 AM suggested to change the Y to an S to get HONES/NOLIKES. NOLIKES almost has to be clued as something to the effect of "Having zero Facebook friends", or similar. Well...
Guess what? You'd have people yelling that that's an insult. "How can you berate this poor soul for having NO LIKES?" Granted, it's not throwing "racism" around, but you get the gist. Everyone at one point in their lives have been made fun of, repressed, talked down to, called a derogatory name. Jeez, people, you're all WAY too sensitive. Stop trying to defend all people, I'm 100% positive there's a type/group of people you don't like, even though you'd never admit it.

ColoradoCog 1:17 PM  

I had the exact same reaction as @Anon 1AM.

54A could have been “What a Facebook post starts with” and 31D could have been “Sharpens”.


QuasiMojo 1:21 PM  

Agree, nice job Joe. Had me chortling.

Anonymous 1:21 PM  

Claire on Modern Family (a current and very popular show) says “me likey”, which annoys other characters, but has never been seen as racist.

Just the point others have made: none of the characters on the show are Eastern, and, according to the wiki (I've never watched, so can't vouch) only two (may be three, no pix) are not pure Caucasian. Of course none of the characters would object. And, one infers, the writers. Any Asians among them??

thefogman 1:35 PM  

The use of NOLIKEY could have been avoided easily by clueing 54A like so: What an unpopular Tweet gets: NOLIKES. And 31D would be HONES (Perfects a skill).

Joe Dipinto 1:38 PM  

@Nancy – I haven't rewatched the entire Hallmark "Fantasticks" yet. But it is problematic today at least for the "It Depends On What You Say" number, which uses the word "rape" throughout. El Gallo does explain that the word is used to mean "abduction", but it's probably still jarring in this present age. I think that song isn't in the Hallmark version? I'll have to watch the whole thing.

thefogman 1:41 PM  

Colorado Cog you beat me to it.

sixtyni yogini 1:59 PM  

Loved theme clues and answers.
No like no likey and the rest of 🧩

CDilly52 2:03 PM  

I am in my 60th consecutive year of solving this puzzle. It starts or finishes or continues throughout my day and I enjoy the experience (if not the specific puzzle) each time I finish. Accordingly, I stand with those for whom the theme was clever, well conceived, well executed and fun. Whether the P “split” the word GAS-P-ACHO but was missing or the typo demonstrated a letter that “left” (i.e. “split”) I care not at all because I thought it was clever if not sparkley. However, some were 24 CARAT sparkley like LONG TIME NO SEE.

This played like a Sunday should you me. I don’t usually try to rate them or pick every NIT, I just solve and enjoy. And today I enjoyed.

Yes, absolutely, I wish the editor demonstrated just a PINCH more social awareness to make that oh so simple fix as recommended by @Anon. 1:00 a.m. and yes, I find it impossible to believe that the editor didn’t at least wince a tad over NO LIKEY. In fact, just the other day, I suggested that one of the interns in my office not use either of the phrases “NO LIKEY” or “ME NO LIKEY.” He was stunned that it had a racial context. Asked if he had ever seen the movie “Christmas Story” and he said he had. And he found nothing offensive today about making fun of the owners/staff singing “far ra ra ra ra. . . “ at the end of the movie. Yes, that would absolutely have happened in the 50s of my childhood, and my father was known for telling his “Chinese laundry” joke when I was small. I cringed them and cringe now at such “humor.” I grew up with an Asian girl, Lily whose family were so wonderful and who all worked so hard in their small businesses and all lived the freedom being American citizens gave them. One of my best life lessons was that friendship.

Here in Norman OK, USA the OU Admin building is experiencing a sit-in of several days by the Black Emergency Response Term (BERT) demanding better training for faculty, staff and students in all areas of human interaction.

If you missed the piece on National News (OK never gets mentioned nationally for excellence, it seems) the last straw was use of the “N word” by a professor after another professor had been disciplined for use of the same work less the. Two weeks before. This prof (the second employer of the word) read from a historic primary source document that contained the word but I guess did not prepare the class for the usage.

Point is, we do notice these missteps and despite the HTIC (Head Toddler in Charge-upcoming book by that title by WAPO writer) assuring his “ralliers” that “this P.C. stuff doesn’t matter anymore,” itI fervently believe that it does.

Liked the puzz, wish the NYT would demand better from Mr. Shortz, and kudos to the OU students for making themselves heard without violence, destruction, threats or foul epithets being written or shouted. Propriety and civil rights do matter. If we are ever to get the nation back on an even keel from whatever direction, we must all row together or the American Dream goes down with the Ship of State, GLUG, GLUG, GLUG.

Frantic Sloth 2:06 PM  

Where is the outrage over BARRELOFFUN???

A term which literally brought tears to some eyes - at least until 1901* and probably beyond that.

* Not for the faint of heart

A warm “welcome back!” to @LMS
Now sit! stay!

webwinger 2:19 PM  

As several bloggers have now mentioned, it would have been easy to get rid of NO LIKEY in the grid, and also easy to find nothing amiss about its presence. I now get that it has potential to offend, but didn’t sense that when I first encountered it. Frankly, I don’t see why we can’t all get along on this: Treat such a small offense like a small offense; calmly and patiently provide some context to support why it can be considered offensive; suggest a more suitable alternative; don’t go ballistic and claim that the often innocent or clueless perpetrator is bigoted and worthless.

In the case of Will Shortz, I have to say that receiving that kind of feedback for years from the likes of Jeff Chen and Anna Shechtman (click here for a very cogent essay by Ms. Shechtman, cited by @pmdm a few days ago) seems not to have had a huge impact. I can’t really see him now as innocent or clueless (especially not the latter!) Maybe at age 67, after more than a quarter century at the helm of the x-word flagship, he should consider at least sharing authority in a meaningful way with a younger person more attuned to current mores.

Frantic Sloth 2:22 PM  

Seriously though...

I enjoyed grinding out the theme answers, some easier than others/others funnier than some, but I agree with Rex on one point: BLEEPINGCENSOR
What the what??

And not for nothin’, but OREOOS looks like a sharp stick in the eye to all who’ve bemoaned the overuse of its all-too-familiar ancestor: “So OREO offends you? How about we draw the word out even looooonger? YOU LIKEY THAT??”

@Z said it best for me. Put me in the camp of “I didn’t know that - I’m sorry” because people are usually idiots and I am SO a person.

If you’re in the group that is the injured party and you say it’s offensive to you, then it’s your call. I can argue with that?? I should shut the BLEEPINGCENSOR up.

oldactor 2:25 PM  

@Joe Dipinto & Nancy: Susan Watson is alive and well in LA. I last saw her in the revival of "Follies" on Bway.
Last year she sent me her CD "Earthly Paradise" (Susan Watson sings Jones & Schmidt) some wonderful, somewhat obscure works. Nancy, you would love them. Her voice is better than ever. Sublime!

As far as PC is concerned, Tom rewrote the lyrics for "The Rape Ballet", because times had changed. He changed rape to abducdtion. It never scanned well.

Susan was the original "girl" when it was a one-act that was first done at a college in NYC. Lore Noto said he would produce it if they would write a second act. They did. When it opened on Sullivan St. Susan was unavailable because she was on B'way. (maybe "No,No Nannette")

I auditioned for the original production before it opened in 1960, but didn't make it. I auditioned every year for 8 years and finally was hired. At the time, I was a waiter at the British Pub next to the Waverley Theatre in the Village. One thing led to another and
I NEVER waited tables again. I owe everything to Tom and Harvey.

webwinger 2:30 PM  

@Z and @JC66: Got it--see link in my 2:19. Turns out the problem was indeed rejection of "curly quotes"; could barely see the difference in the font I used for composing.

Alexandra M 2:52 PM  

Rex wtf is with these fully racist comments being approved? Literally what is the point of comment approval if you're just gonna okay actual racist invective?? Calling out perceived racism in the puzzle while hosting and tacitly endorsing it on your blog (by giving the comments your stamp of approval for publishing) is NOT a good look.

puzzlehoarder 3:06 PM  

This was one of those "so bad it's good" type of puzzles. When I had to switch out SOPRANOS for SOLOIST and then parse out the unknown BOWSERJR just to fill that NE corner I really hoped I'd clinched the puzzles' "tough spot", unfortunately it was just a sign of things to come. I'm really not complaining. Any Sunday that can give me just under an hour's worth of puzzling to get a clean grid is a good puzzle.

Anyway you interpret it NOLIKEY is cringe inducing but far more " in the language than NOLIKES. Still I couldn't help cringing when I wrote it in.

WWIACE and SNLALUMNI just hurt my eyes to look at them. DWADE and WWIACE were particularly hard to parse but like the rest of the puzzles' ese they were plain as day once you actually put them down on paper.

@Teedmn, dnf x8, ouch I feel your pain. This puzzle was tough. I just want to say you're one of my favorite commentors, always a pleasure to read. @Carola that goes for you too. It's nice to have a Midwest faction. I wish @Malsdamare (hope I selled that right) commented more often. @lms, so glad you are here today as today I'm saying goodbye for awhile. I pointed out recently I'll be starting the Pacific Crest Trail this month and I'll have to stop solving from here on out. @Nancy and #Z thank you for your concern about my knees. Yes they're both artificial but I've got the situation under control. I will be seeing my surgeon on the 9th. Whatever he says I doubt it will dissuade me. Lots left to do in a little over two weeks. Good bye to all who comment here I will miss you. When I'm in town along the trail I'll stop in to comment when I can.

Alan_S. 3:11 PM  

@IrishCream: So I’m “insulated enough from racism” is it? And you know this how?

I you read carefully you will find that I did not say “could only be baby talk”, I said “ more like baby talk than racism”, and apparently I’m not the only one who thinks so. And, btw, I certainly am racially sensitive, despite your feeble assessment, and you can get off your high horse anytime now!

webwinger 3:27 PM  

Posting for an unprecedented fourth time to shout Bravo! to all who have evoked memories of The Fantasticks over the past couple of days, especially @oldactor. I saw this wonderful show twice with my daughter late in its long off-Broadway run, and we were both completely captivated. Interesting how the whole discussion was triggered by the name of a vegetable at 1A in yesterday’s puzzle…

BTW @oldactor and others, in addition to gaining newfound skill at inserting links into blog posts, I have now managed to create a meaningful profile in (Appears to require that you have a [free] Google/gmail account.) If you would like to see your name in blue above your words of wisdom (clicking on the blue name takes you to the profile page), display an avatar image, allow others to learn more about you (only what you want to share), and, if you wish, provide an email address, you just have to go to > Settings > Edit User Profile. Welcome to anyone more expert at this who can clarify or elaborate.

Anonymous 3:45 PM  

Funny story as to how "Asian" can mean different things.

I discovered that a Chinese-American colleague of mine had lived 2 doors down from me for a while after college. In trying to identify the exact building, I said the landlord was Asian. And my colleague said, no he was Japanese.

GILL I. 4:35 PM  

@webwinger. Welcome to this world of having an avatar. Love your little four-legged fur ball. I tend to get bored with my avatar and change it frequently. Long hair blowing in the wind.

OffTheGrid 4:47 PM  

The most offensive thing about NOLIKEY is that it sounds STUPID and, as pointed out by others, is babyish.

Teedmn 4:49 PM  

@puzzlehoarder, thanks for the kind words and best of luck on your upcoming trek. I once hiked Kungsleden, a trail north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden, for 7 days, and ever since I've envied those who do the Appalachian or the Pacific Crest trails. I look forward to you giving us some updates when you're in reach of civilization. Take care!

Anonymous 5:06 PM  

Shame on @Rex for using "beaner " in his write up.

James Sie 5:07 PM  

Thank you, Rex. By all that is good and holy, I hope never to see any variant of "No Likey" ever again in a crossword.

Really disliked this puzzle, the slur above notwithstanding. The phrases felt haphazard and there was no joy in the solving of them.

Anonymous 6:33 PM  

My mother was an Auer. I have a number of Auer cousins. I researched my mother's family and the family name 30 years ago or more. I quickly discovered Leopold. No known relationship. I read that the Austrian emperor awarded Leo the honor of being permitted to add "von" to his name. Seems well deserved. Are there any other Auers hanging out in this blog?

CDilly52 7:09 PM  

AMEN @Frantic 2:06 pm. I miss our @LMS and welcome her back. I also m ow that the work and home lives sometimes take all of our time. Balancing is hard. I’ve been in the work jail for a couple months myself.

sanfranman59 7:32 PM  

And, once again, I find myself wondering what horrible thing Will Shortz must have done to Rex and/or his loved ones.

Bibi 7:32 PM  

LOL Tomorrow

Ernonymous 7:45 PM  

@anon no but I'll never forget you or your musical ancestors ever again.

pmdm 8:03 PM  

puzzlehoarder: I was going to hike the AT in section with my friend who had a knee replacement, but apparently something went awry and he now need a second operation. I applaud your determination and goal and pray you complete the trail. I hiked a short section on Mount Laguna a number of times. The scenic view there is perhaps less than inspiring (I'm not a fan of desert rocks) but hiking the entire trail would be wonderful. I hope the weather treats you well. Thunder and lightening one time chased me off the trail to the Brewery (and apple pie bakery) in Julian. If you have the time and energy and like apple pie, I would recommend a side trip to Julian.

Hopefully this message will pass muster with the moderators and you will read it before your departure. Best wishes andgood luck. I envy you.

Nancy 8:19 PM  

@Joe D -- No, the rape song wasn't in the Hallmark production and I didn't realize it wasn't there. It's only now that you mention it... I'd completely forgotten that song, even though I own -- and used to often play --the cast album. I forget most everything nowadays -- especially things from half a century ago. But the Hallmark decision to omit that song seems extremely wise. Or maybe, back then, it was the sponsor's decision.

@Old actor -- Your heartwarming story of persistence, self-belief and eventual success should be an inspiration to struggling young actors everywhere. You'll like this joke, btw, if you haven't already heard it:

A woman waits patiently at the stage door in hope of meeting the actor whose performance she found enthralling. Finally he appears. "I just had to meet you," she gushes. "I think you may be the greatest actor I've ever had the privilege of seeing onstage. In the flesh, as it were."

"I appreciate the compliment, ma'am," he replies. "But I'm actually a waiter. It's so incredibly hard to get work and, sad to say, I'm between jobs right now."

Oldactor 11:57 PM  

@Nancy: Too true to be funny:-(, but thanks anyway. As a fan of Tom and Harvey, you must go on Youtube and find Susan Watson singing "The Room was Filled With You". I think it's the best thing they ever wrote and I doubt you've ever heard it. It's from her CD
Earthly Paradise.

Richardf8 12:50 AM  

Dude. Not cool.

واجهات حجر هاشمي 10:42 AM  

واجهات حجر هاشمى
حجر هاشمى
واجهات حجر هاشمى
اسعار حجر هاشمى
سعر متر الحجر الهاشمى
حجر هاشمى
واجهات حجر هاشمى
اسعار الحجر الهاشمى
حجر فرعوني
واجهات حجر هاشمي
واجهات حجر فرعوني
واجهات حجر هاشمى
اسعار حجر هاشمى
واجهات حجر هاشمى هيصم
حجر هاشمى هيصم
واجهات حجر هاشمى
اسعار حجر فرعوني
واجهات حجر فرعونى فى مصر تتميز بجمال مظهرها الخارجى ويعطى انطباع جيد للماره ويتميز الحجر الفرعونى بالصلابه والمتانه وتحمله للعوامل الجويه

سعر متر الحجر الفرعونى ليس غالى وليس ايضا رخيص لكن اسعار الحجر الفرعونى واسعار تركيب الحجر الفرعونى تتناسب مع جميع فئات المحتمع المصرى عكس الحجر الهاشمي سعر متر الحجر الهاشمى غالي شي ما لكن سعر لا يتناسب مع الجميع

Anonymous 8:03 PM  

I've been coming here for about a month. Do you have any idea how tedious you are?

pdplot 6:01 PM  

It's Tuesday and I'm only about half finished. I'm definitely not on the same wavelength with this young constructor.

Unknown 12:22 AM  

Oreo O's is an actual cereal, hence the extra 'O'

Dragoncat 11:34 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dragoncat 12:25 AM  

Did the puzzle late in the week so maybe no one will answer but could someone please explain 25 Across? John, as to Lennon, answer Loo?
Huh? Reference to Yoko?

Anonymous 2:35 PM  


LOO is British for "bathroom", for which "John" is slang. You will see this one a lot!

Wi-Fi 10:29 AM  

Testing new Blogger account.

Burma Shave 10:46 AM  


OH,BYTHEWAY, you’ll ENJOY IT a lot,


Unknown 11:13 AM  

My take on "ME LIKEY" was ah, I remember Chris Farley...

rondo 11:13 AM  

YEAH, I got it, but not easily. Got the NW and SE to start and filled in the rest from there. Finished somewhere around NOLIKEY and put a square around the clue, which is what I do when expecting a Rex rant. He didn’t FAILAT that.

I drive past a BOATEL every day so I don’t know how “deeply dumb” it is as a word.

Regarding yesterday’s gimme CHILDISHGAMBINO: 2019 Grammys for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Lotsa play time on 89.3 The Current (you can stream it, like I’m doing right now). BTW Donald Glover just released new music overnight (YEAH, in the past few hours) “Donald Glover Presents”.

This puz may not have been a BARRELOFFUN, but the cryptic-ness of the themers was OK.

Unknown 11:14 AM  

To me "MW LIKEY" =s Chris Farley (r.i.p.)

spacecraft 11:47 AM  

Me NOLIKEY, but not for that. Once again, OFC proves that the Age of Taking Offense is here. Get over yourself.

No, my objection is some of the fill that was so awful it very nearly caused a DNF. Not air ACE but WWIACE?? Puh-leeeze. That was the most severe example; I won't cite others. This guy thinks he can just stick anything in there and it'll be OK. And he's one of the NYT's most prolific contributors. Hmmm...

YEAH, bogey.

Anonymous 1:03 PM  

It must be EXHAUSTING to be a leftist word Nazi!

Diana, LIW 3:06 PM  

Oo la la - Sunday PUNishment at its best.

So, of course, I had a good time with this.

@Rondo from earlier this week and today - yes, Lambo has a chair - moi. Especially when I solve puzzles. And I listen to NPR just about 24/7, tho these days it's pretty gloomy.

Diana, LIW

rainforest 3:16 PM  

Quite a creative example of letter/word play, in my opinion, and pretty funny themers, to boot. My favourites were LONG TIME NO SEE, and GIVE THE STINK EYE. So yeah, I liked it, and I thought WWI ACE was good, too.

The fill was tricky in spots, and there was a number of longer non-themers. BLEEP CENSOR may not be a common term but it is accurately descriptive. Things I didn't know (US SENATE, AUER, ABRAM, BOATEL) came from crosses. NO LIKEY is probably best avoided, but I, for one, was not particularly affronted. Nevertheless, this wasn't a slog, and it was fun to figure out those themers.

Anonymous 7:23 PM  

Could someone explain to me why Sunday syndicated puzzles are all over the calendar ? This one for me here in the Sacramento foothills is in my March 15 newspaper.

As for the puzzle agree with OFL for the most part although no likey is not so much imo racist as juvenile. I would guess his intent is to be just cute. And can they quit on the gamer clues ? Another juvenile activity that would be best kept out of crosswords.

And that's my sermon for this rainy - but I likey - Sunday.

rondo 8:10 PM  

@anon 7:23 - The Sundays for years used to be 1 week behind, until about last autumn. At some point there it changed to 2 weeks behind. Fair enough. A few weeks ago there was a puz with oodles of emojis in the clues, which most Syndi papers, or others I suspect, would be able to publish. On-line and in color it was quite the sight. But different local syndi papers published an alternate puz. I'm guessing that whole exercise was a little push to get more folks to subscribe to the on-line version of the puz, which is a revenue generator for the NYT. There you have it.

leftcoaster 9:04 PM  

Theme was brilliant. Otherwise agree with Rex and Jeff.

sutchey 6:46 PM  

Re Will Shortz. I recall pointing out to him in the past the difference between gourmet and gourmand (one is a lover of fine food-the other a glutton) and if you are the editor of what is supposed to be a premier crossword one should know the difference. There are far too many clues allowed that relate to American history and sports for a crossword that is syndicated internationally so perhaps it is time Will thought of hanging them up. Brian Sutch

kitshef 9:25 PM  

Starting the long process of working through the vacation-related backlog. What a joy to have this puzzle as my first one. Yeah, there is some lesser fill (ANNASUI I thought was much more obscure than AUER), but this theme is absolutely one of the greats.

Michael Leddy 9:09 PM  

[Solving in syndication, six weeks after the fact.]

This puzzle has finally convinced me that I’d be happier doing other puzzles. I’m going to look into American Values.

And if there’s any doubt that NOLIKEY is blatantly racist stuff, typing no likey into Google Books will return a trove of evidence. Will Shortz is an unbelievably tone-deaf editor.

Anonymous 1:44 AM  

Solving in syndication. Kept thinking back to your comment from yesterday--this puzzle had way to many "Uh... I guesses" from me.

Ooh la la = a thing. Oh la la = a thing. Oo la la = not a thing.

I didn't catch the racist connotations of "no likey" while solving but it's not something anyone says in real life.

14D is a terrible clue. There's nothing about carnivals or circuses that link them particularly to a barrel of fun. You could replace them with almost any two nouns.

Agree on the "hope to god" thing.

Overall the theme was mostly a huge miss for me. These are cute when you can use the actual word (e.g. SOU for split pea soup). ENTURIES and RUMYSELF were fine, the others felt like reaches.

In all, a disappointing puzzle.

elnagahstone 10:37 AM  
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elnagahstone 10:37 AM  
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