Ancient Greek poet sometimes called Tenth Muse / SUN 4-5-20 / Nickname for Ernie Banks / Second-most common Vietnamese surname / Cartomancer's deck / Undergo rapprochement / Ugly ones sometimes come out in December / Canonized fifth-century pope called Great / Coverings on ancient Roman statuary / Gas-relieving brand

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Constructor: Jim Peredo

Relative difficulty: Easy (8:47)

THEME: "Double Talk" — common expressions that are clued via plays on words (i.e. "double talk"), where the second word in the clue is a word meaning (vaguely) "expression" and the first word is a thing that the "expression" is about sorta like if the clue was [Double talk] and the answer was some expression *about* double-ness or two-ness, like IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO or TWO HEADS ARE BETTER THAN ONE or THINK TWICE or, I don't know, something better than those:

Theme answers:
  • GO AHEAD WITHOUT ME (22A: Run-on sentence?) (i.e. a sentence about running on) (the expression is really "run along," not "run on," but no reason we can't give some leeway here)
  • THE AYES HAVE IT (36A: Passing comment?) (i.e. a quote about passing ... a bill)
  • I WANT TO BE ALONE (44A: Single quote?) (i.e. a quote about being single)
  • TURNABOUT IS FAIR PLAY (66A: Just saying?) (i.e. a saying about being just)
  • HOW NOW BROWN COW? (87A: Stock phrase?) (i.e. a phrase about stock)
  • COGITO ERGO SUM (94A: Self expression?) (i.e. an expression about one's self)
  • AGE IS JUST A NUMBER (115A: Old saw?) (i.e. a saw about being old) 
Word of the Day: ANAIS Mitchell (121A: ___ Mitchell, creator of the Tony-winning musical "Hadestown") —
Anaïs Mitchell (/əˈn.ɪs/; born March 26, 1981) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and playwright. Mitchell has released seven albums, including Hadestown (2010), Young Man in America (2012), and Child Ballads (2013).
She developed her album Hadestown into a stage musical (together with director Rachel Chavkin), which received its US debut at New York Theatre Workshop in summer 2016, and its Canadian debut at the Citadel TheatreEdmonton the following year. The show opened at London's National Theatre in November 2018 and then on Broadway on April 17, 2019 at the Walter Kerr Theatre. The Broadway production of Hadestown won the 2019 Tony Award for Best Musical. Mitchell received the Tony Award for Best Original Score; she was also nominated for Best Book of a Musical. (wikipedia)
• • •

You can tell that this whole staying-home thing is starting to get to me because I have gotten uncharacteristically crafty. For instance, today I made a face mask out of an old crossword tournament t-shirt. Here's a picture, in which I look like the world's nerdiest stagecoach robber.

As for the puzzle—Finished this one superfast and sincerely had no idea what the theme was, even after I was done. Had to go back and see the cluing pattern. It's fine. Average. Very tame. Very forgettable. Not genuinely funny, more ... interesting. Like a joke you have to explain to someone and then they "get" it but not really. Not in that aha rush kind of way that you're supposed to get the theme. No click or bang or anything. It's like when the pilot suddenly announces your ETA after you haven't been paying attention for a while—it's interesting information, perhaps slightly surprising (you were really into the third season of "Gilmore Girls" and lost track of time), but, you know, it didn't make you laugh or think or anything. It's just ... information that allows you to orient yourself somewhat. And it's Exactly that dry. I do like the ailments section of the grid, i.e. the far east, where BODY ODOR and SCIATICA are doing a little DOSIDO of sadness. Oh, and I liked the clue on SWEATERS (39D: Ugly ones sometimes come out in December). But most of the grid is pretty much just paint, drying. Nothing horrible, really, just absolutely average fill, as far as the eye can see (oh, except STLEOI, which is, in fact, horrible) (16D: Canonized fifth-century pope called "the Great").

There weren't many trouble spots. I didn't know that NEWTS "scurried," but now I do, I guess (7D: Scurriers near streams). Needed most every cross to get COIL, largely because "spring" has so many different possible meanings (20A: Spring feature). I spelled CUTIE thusly, instead of the way the grid wanted (i.e. CUTEY) (20D: Adorable one). NO SOAP is a SNERD-era expression, but I got it easily because I've been doing crosswords forever and it's a phrase I've come to expect from crosswords (and literally only crosswords) (105A: "Outta luck!"). Not sure how I can be such a big NO DICE! fan and such a non-NO SOAP! fan, but here we are. EAT LUNCH is up there with the dumbest longest answers I've seen. I typically use EAT A SANDWICH as the (made-up, never actually seen) paradigmatic "green paint" phrase (that is, a phrase you might say in conversation but that is not nearly strong enough to stand alone as a crossword answer). EAT LUNCH comes damn close to EAT A SANDWICH perfection. "Perfection." WEAR SHOES ... that is an equivalent phrase. STACK PLATES. PET ONE'S CAT. All of these every bit as "good" as EAT LUNCH. ESAI ESAI had a farm, EIEIO! And on that farm he had an ... EGRET! OK, I clearly have nothing left to say about this puzzle.

My grandmother, Inez Alcorn, died on Friday morning, one month shy of her 100th birthday. She was the first person I ever saw solve a crossword, and I don't know if that had anything to do with my future obsession, but the fact that I remember *that* and can hardly remember any other detail about my life pre- let's say 2012 suggests that the moment made a big impression. She was a formidable woman who led an extraordinary life, which you can read about here (in the colorful obituary written by my aunt Nancy). Anyway, her death was not exactly unexpected, but it's sad nonetheless, especially since social distancing kept her isolated in her final days, and keeps her family from coming together now. Thanks to all of you who saw my Twitter and Facebook posts about her and expressed condolences. I'm very grateful. Here's a picture of me with grandma at her 90th birthday party (May, 2010).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. thanks to Rachel Fabi for filling in for me yesterday
P.P.S. [Busy Bee] is SAM (43A) because (I assume) SAM (as in "Samantha") Bee is a late-night talk show host ("Full Frontal" on TBS), and that keeps her ... busy? It's a well-meaning clue but it's going to confuse a bunch of people.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Brian 12:06 AM  

Wishing you a long and healthy life.

Granny Smith 12:11 AM  

A nosh is definitely NOT a meal. It's a snack. This clue is awful -
like saying Snack in the Evening, and have the answer be Eat Dinner.

Photomatte 12:34 AM  

does anyone, anywhere, think an "adorable one" (20D) is anything but a cutie? Who spells it cutey? It's underlined in red right here in the comment section. Come on...

What's worse than Covid-19?


Z 12:51 AM  

Sorry for your loss.

I hate to be critical of your video choices, but Glen Campbell or Harry Nilsson please.
And I get how Let Them All Talk fits the theme, but this one fits the zeitgeist better.

Anyway, There’s no there there. Gave up looking for something deeper with the theme and checked out (since Rex doesn’t go live until midnight). They were nice about eviscerating the theme and explained it about as well as Rex. I was disappointed that there wasn’t anything more. About the best thing the puzzle conjured here was an image of Orange Julius being STILETTOED. Really, it’s kind of shocking it hasn’t happened already. I also liked the Ninless ANAÏS clue. Nothing troublesome. No Harry Potter crossing obscure music term or pejoratives or “rope” when it should really be “line.” But also nothing that really grabs you and makes you go Ooooh, either. Maybe I’ll make myself a BLT and read some SAPPHO.

Brett Lowell 12:57 AM  

Can someone explain non-commercial: res? Also BLT is holding a lot of consonants too... Why just hold the vowels?

dan 12:59 AM  

I don’t think that crossing IST with SHOAT was very nice; I’ve never heard of a shoat, and ISM was just as good of an answer. I also think that “newcomer, informally” should really byethe four-letter NOOB, not NEO.

Frantic Sloth 1:01 AM  

Why do I think that orchestras don't have TUBAS? Marching bands, yes. Orchestras? Not so much.

This was a pretty good puzzle, but for me, too easy (again!) for a Sunday. That's 2 days in a row now where I had no business flying through
the thing like I knew what the hell I was doing.

And to be clear, by "flying", I do not speak of the kind done by the Rexes and other speed-solvers of the world, who would be fighter pilot types compared to my Snoopy-Sopwith-Camel-riddled-with-Red-Baron-bullets type. Even so, it went by fast.

I agree with Rex about the thuddy theme. Didn't get it until reading his review. Probably still don't, but I seem to recall that we recently had a similar one...someone will know.

Maybe I've watched too many medical dramas over the years, but don't surgeons get SCRUBBEDin, not SCRUBBEDUP?

Rex, your grandmother sounds like a real pistol and I'm so sorry for your loss - especially under these circumstances. How terrible to be separated from all your loved ones during this time.

Z 1:09 AM  

@Brett Lowell -RESidential real estate as opposed to commercial real estate. As for BLT - because you’re holding all the vowels, I guess.

Joe Dipinto 1:20 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe Dipinto 2:14 AM  

(reposted to fix mistake)

This puzzle turned out to be an unusual solving experience. While I was going through, I didn't think much of the theme answers. It just seemed like a mishmash of things you've probably heard someone say sometime or other. And the theme clues had a no-frills plainness bordering on banality.

But when I was finished and looked back over all the themers, I realized...I liked them. And the concept. Each one is a little different from every other one. The fact that it hung together so loosely, almost tentatively, ended up being appealing. The fill wasn't crazy good, but there was SENEGAL and STARDUST and SWEATERS with the funny clue. I like the score stat running down the penultimate column: ST. LEO 1 - BODY ODOR 7. UMBER crossing AGE IS JUST AN UMBER is a little awkward I guess.

It was Aye who chose to start.

For those in NYC who celebrate Palm Sunday, St. Patrick's is streaming Mass live at 11:00 a.m..

And, the church in whose choir I would normally be singing except that we can't for the foreseeable future, St. Malachy's, aka "the Actors' Chapel", has recorded a Mass service which can be viewed here.

Stay safe and sound, all. Oh, and @Frantic Sloth: orchestras have tubas. Yes they do.

jae 2:28 AM  

Easy-medium. Pretty smooth for a Sun. and mildly amusing, liked it.

@Rex - Nice memories.

Loren Muse Smith 2:29 AM  
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Loren Muse Smith 2:31 AM  

I think one of the reasons my reaction is always so different from Rex’s is our focus; I tackle a puzzle like this with one thing in mind: What is the theme? Speed solvers’ goal I guess is that final time. It always surprises me to read that someone says that they finished but didn’t notice the theme. Wha???

When I got my first themer, AGE IS JUST A NUMBER, I looked at the clue again and was very pleased with the conceit. (Rex, I have to say there was definitely a “click. . . a bang.” It *did* make me “laugh or think or anything.”) saw. Hah. So I settled in to uncover the others with great relish. Think about what Jim had to do to pull this off. . .

1. Find seven in-the-language expressions that describe, well, expressions.
2. For each of those, find another in-the-language expression - not a description of an expression as in the clue, but rather the words we actually say - that could work as a pseudo synonym/example. Very clever.

So Jim didn’t have to fashion made-to-order, invented wacky phrases, a feat that may have actually been easier to pull off than today’s.

Other possibilities are fun to think about. . .

“Direct speech” - LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!
“Free speech” - DRINKS ON THE HOUSE
“Baby talk” - THE BIRDS AND THE BEES (This doesn’t really work.)
“Opening statement” - WHO’S NEXT?

Speaking of in-the-language phrases, I could not disagree more with Rex regarding EAT LUNCH. For me, it’s way different from eat a sandwich, more on a par with take a shower or make the bed.

I looked into the origin of HOW HOW BROWN COW. Seems it’s a phrase used to help people enunciate that vowel sound. How now, vowel sound? A wolf would say to a mouse, Say hey, grey prey.

I was checking last night to make sure I had the fixins for chili. Cumin is key. And I had the vague thought I always had about cumin: It is basically BODY ODOR in an impossible-to-open container. Who cares. I love the stuff.

AGE – I always feel kinda bad when I hear people say AGE IS JUST A NUMBER. It feels defensive and almost desperate. I’ll be 60 next year, and I tell my students that I’m not embarrassed, ashamed, whatever, at my age. Just. So. Surprised. (In the spirit of a recent clue, we could argue, Novocaine – it’s just a number.)

Common female middle names – so many are one-syllable like ANN. May, Grace, Lynn. If it’s two-syllable, five’ll get you ten that the stress is not on the first syllable, that it’s an iamb: Nicole, Renee (mine), Marie, Elaine, Diane, Michelle, LaVerne (my sister’s), Louise. . . If it’s four syllables, it’s often a secundus paeon, and the stress still on the second syllable: Olivia, Elizabeth, Cecilia, Victoria, Amelia. My other sister’s middle name is Orella, an amphibrach, stress still on the second syllable. Ok I’ll stop.

Jim – I really enjoyed uncovering each themer. I got a kick out of I WANT TO BE ALONE right next to LETS BE. And I loved the clue for AIRS. Well-done!

PS - @Frantic Sloth - I scoured this clip to look for a TUBA but didn’t see one. Doesn’t matter. It lifted my spirits, as always. If humans are capable of such beauty, we’re capable of coming out at the other end of the horror we’re living through.

Here’s another one that’s so beautiful it hurts.

Anonymous 4:58 AM  

Completely agree with dan above - 32D/56A is a bullshit crossing.

What does the clue for 43A,” Busy Bee, for short”, have to do with the answer SAM?

BarbieBarbie 5:36 AM  

Why is it so hard to come up with “literal descriptions of idiomatic phrases” as a theme descriptor? They couldn’t do it over at Xwordinfo either.

I agree, CUTEY and SCRUBBEDUP messed me up for quite awhile by being, well, just wrong. But I enjoyed this puzzle a lot anyway.

Rex Parker 6:19 AM  

Anon 4:58,

Sam Bee is a late-night talk show host ("Full Frontal" on TBS), so I guess she's ... busy?


mooretep 6:22 AM  

Anon at 4:58
Samantha Bee, methinks.

LMS, you always make my day.
Are you doing distance learning?

Lewis 6:26 AM  

@lms -- Hah! on your cumin definition!
@BarbieBarbie -- Spot-on theme description.

I, like Loren, loved this theme; not black-and-white as so many themes are, but infused with shades of gray, as life is. And finding theme answer pairs that had to have the same number of letters probably wasn't easy. Bravo on this, Jim.

I had a head swirl as I looked at DOSIDO. Seeing the IDO wedding vow at the end, and the DOS, that is, Spanish for a pair, then thinking about a dosido as a square dance move requiring great cooperation, it all had a poetic feel that kept expanding and crescendoing the more I thought about it, until I had to quit and come back to reality. I mean, at one point, I think, there was a Wizard Of Oz tornado scene involving a bride and groom.

I need to get out a little more. Oh, but...

GILL I. 6:39 AM  

I'd rate this as interesting. The theme was a head scratcher at first. Then I looked at the first words of each double talk theme and did the required AAH. Clever says I.
I learned a few things....Wolof is a language and CUTEY isn't spelled correctly. I also looked up the word "Chamorro" because that's what our constructor calls himself. One day I must visit Guam.
Now let's get to BODY ODOR. I really wanted something to do with the arm pits because that's the Secret target I thought. No matter, since it gave me a chance to have my mind wander which I do a lot lately. Anyway, I'm tallish and when I lived in Spain, most of the men and women in those days were rather short. They were still reeling from their Civil War; poor diet and never bathing. I would ride the metro to wherever and I'd be holding on to the overhead strap and there was always someone who came up to my arm pit. I was always scared that I smelled of olive oil, garlic and onions. I can't cook without those ingredients. Someone told me that it seeps through your pores and you will always smell like that. I still ask my husband if I smell like a paella.
I fell asleep in Latin class. My Latin teacher was the most boring person on this earth. I'm pretty sure he explained that COGITO ERGO SUM thing a million times but the only thing that stuck with me was ETTU Brutus. Is that Latin?
I really enjoyed your puzzle Mr. Peredo.
Love the picture of you and your grandmother, @Rex. So sorry for the loss.

Unknown 7:01 AM  


Jtull 7:11 AM  

Of course orchestras have tubas. Marching bands have Sousaphones which are modified tubas.
I didn’t like the number/ umber cross. I thought that this was going to be part of the “Double Talk” theme.
I am a surgeon and we use both “scrub up” and “scrub in.” They have slightly different meanings. I scrub up prior to operating (or use alcohol gel nowadays) but may ask a colleague to scrub in. A medical student will scrub up prior to scrubbing in. Weird use of language I guess.

Mary Kyritsis 7:17 AM  

isolation in Greece now includes no newspapers, in kiosks or delivered, so I have to get my crossword kicks with imagination reading Rex's comments. I thin I'd have done ok with this one!

Anonymous 7:21 AM  

Had a little trouble with this one. Like some others, I also didn't think much of the theme - it became *vaguely* evident after a time (is "vaguely evident" an oxymoron...?).

Dunno about "SCRUBBED UP" as prep for surgery - I agree with @Frantic Sloth. One scrubs in, one scrubs, but I have not really heard (in 30 years in medicine, counting medical school) "scrubbed up." In fact, I wrote "SCRUBBED IN" and then after a time, "OOPS", realized my mistake. (Actually, I knew it was wrong when I got "G SUIT" and then was scratching my head...) for "anger," I initially had "BILE" then realized no, it's the verb "RILE."

Does Ella (Fitzgerald) show up an inordinate number of times in crossword puzzles?

@Gill: The complete phrase is "Et tu, mi fili, Brute?" which means "And you [also], my son, Brutus?" From Julius Caesar, as he discovers the traitors around him.

Rex, we are so sorry to hear about your grandmother. Nancy's obituary is a wonderful account, thank you for sharing.

Be well and stay well, everyone -

Todd 7:21 AM  

Thanks for the final note on Sam,had no idea what that was about. I also think that Anais Mitchell crossing an Italian aria is a little Naticky.

Coniuratos 7:29 AM  

Two crosses that gave me fits - LAIT/TAR and ESAI/ANAIS. Mar fits in place of TAR, and not knowing French, laim makes as much sense as LAIT. The other, well, just uncommon names of people I'm not familiar with.

Deepest condolences, Rex. Your grandmother sounds like an amazing woman, and the obituary is as delightful as an obituary can be.

pmdm 7:34 AM  

After finishing, I had no clue what the theme was about. After reading XWordInfo yesterday, still had no idea. So thanks to Mr. Sharp for getting the idea across to me and for the gentle write-up. Too him I would observe that my father was dying from rheumatoid arthritis for decades, but when he did finally die ... let's just say, you are never prepared. So my condolences.

An observation on the tuba. It wasn't invented until about the 1930s, so if you are a Mozart or Beethoven or Bach fan, you will not find the instrument in their orchestrations. Prior to the electronic era of recording, it was used to double the bass. Bruckner did not use it until his fifth symphony. I'm not sure, but Mahler might be the first mainstream compose to use it for a solo. (It has an interesting one in the scherzo of the 7th symphony.) Perhaps the 1870s was the decade when its use in the symphony orchestra became somewhat common. At least in classical music. If I am wrong, by all means correct me.

And thanks for the Samantha Bee information. Absolutely no clue about that.

MR. Cheese 8:06 AM  

@LMS, the mashup is mesmerizing.
You are my sunshine.

Hungry Mother 8:09 AM  

Very easy and fast here. No idea about the theme, but the themers all came right away. Nice to see Descartes, one of my muses.

James 8:21 AM  

Commercial vs residential—zoning designations. And “holding” vowels means not using them, in diner-speak.

Ernonymous 8:24 AM  

I love Grandma Rex. I have a similar motto that I love by: why look better than you need to?

Len 8:29 AM  

Orchestras do indeed include tubas. Marching bands often include Sousaphones, a much larger instrument. They are often confused.

kitshef 8:38 AM  

I have never heard of Samantha Bee being called "Sam", then again I only know her from commercials, so I may be under-informed. Either way, it's a bad clue.

Will, we’ve had this conversation before. AHH is the sound of relief. AAH is what you say at the doctor’s office.

I think I have to reject CUTEY, IST and ISH in the same grid, and any non-Nin Anais.

Everything else was fine. I appreciate the cleverness of the theme, but it did not add to my solving pleasure.

kitshef 8:40 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Z 8:45 AM  

@pmdm - You have a typo, 1830.

@Giovanni 8:24 - Is that a typo? I really hope not.

@Anon/Colin - ELLA and Etta and Yoko Ono all have great letters and so are destined to appear far more often than Joni Mitchell.

@LMS - Novacaine is just a number. Loved it. I think of AGE IS JUST A NUMBER as more of a response to “act your age” busy bodies. (BTW - This video’s ending is so April 2020)

@Joe DiPinto - It was AYE who chose to start - Wikipedia lists 17 artists covering that song. I guess beautiful songs about one night stands never go out of style.

pabloinnh 8:46 AM  

I was thinking we were going to revisit the relative merits of pigs, based on the SHOATS clue, but thankfully, that did not come to pass. Like @LMS, the theme's the thing for me, and I liked this one. These are fair common phrases, getting part of them led to the rest, and the clues were fun. No, not hard, but diversionary enough for a while, and that's all we need right now.

Oye @GILL I-I know we were in Spain at about the same time. I spent a lot of time on buses, and fondly remember almost always being the tallest person on board. Secret was not in great supply, and the family I lived with was always surprised when I wanted a shower, which was not common practice. We all made it through somehow.

She wanted to be a bubble dancer, but her father said NOSOAP (rim shot). That one is so old that the terms "bubble dancer" and "no soap" have both gone the way of the dodo. Just part of my material that has become useless.

Sorry to hear your news, RP. Sounds like a good long run, which is the best we can hope for. And thanks for a nice Sunday, JP. Somehow made me nostalgic.

kitshef 8:50 AM  

@Rex - sorry about your grandmother. I always think the only good thing about my father's death was the coming together of the family, and I'm sorry you were deprived of even that.

TML 9:05 AM  

I am so sorry for your loss. Grandmothers are special people.

Debra 9:08 AM  

Rex, sorry for your loss. She sounds like a wonderful person.

Frantic Sloth 9:11 AM  

Thanks to all for the various TUBA responses.

@pmdm Your detailed explanation helped me feel like less of an ableist word.

@LMS Thank you for the wonderful links. I could listen to that mashup all day. I think "mashup" is such an ugly word for something so beautiful.

Maybe someone can come up for a better clue for "Busy Bee" from this, but I'm sure someone will have beaten me to the punch by now.

Suzie Q 9:16 AM  

I love puzzles that teach me things and this one was chock full of new stuff.
The meaning of life was sold on Ebay? Wonder what the story is there.
There is another Anais?
Old Town Road holds an impressive record but I don't know the song.
Wolof is a language in Senegal.
Cartomancers use Tarot decks.

Mortimer Snerd was a dummy but was he an idiot or a moron?
I misread 71A as Stem. The font made that tough to see.
Stilettoes have gotten a lot of ink lately.

Grandparents can be such a gift. I was lucky enough to know all four of mine. Warm valuable memories.

OffTheGrid 9:18 AM  

The SE is very elevating with 4 UPs-- UPDO, POPUP, SCRUBEDUP, REUP, and no downs. There is also GLEE (NE).

We have ASEA and an OCEAN.


MRCUB had many RBI(s?)

Be careful when you SNEEZE or DROOL.

TJS 9:20 AM  

Mr, Aoki says "Have you met my wife OOna ? And here's the kids. Esai, Una, Anais, and Eero.

KnittyContessa 9:22 AM  

Sorry for your loss, Rex. Such a sweet photo.

@Joe Dipinto thanks for the links!

@LMS love your themers

I had scrubbed in for the longest time. Scrubbed up just does not sound right for surgery. Cutey also took more time than it should have.

Anonymous 9:27 AM  

I had no idea about the meaning of life, either. Had to look this up:
(See #5)
(See #13)



Cyclist227 9:30 AM  

Condolences. This puzzle felt like a bigger Tuesday. Nothing challenging at all here. Workaday and boring. Disappointing.

Anonymous 9:33 AM  

Little-known fact...STLEOI was so short that he wore stilettos. The altar boys referred to him as "Twinkletoes".

David 9:34 AM  

Didn't get the theme, but found it generally easy and enjoyable. Initially put "no soup" instead of "no soap" thinking there might be a Seinfeld subtheme because of yada.

SouthsideJohnny 9:34 AM  

Since the theme is so convoluted and nearly decipherable (to me at least) this one was just a snooze fest - all of the long theme entries amount to pretty much nothing, so they just play like additional arcane trivia. Booooorrring ! Was hoping for something a little more entertaining to ward off the boredom today.

puzzlehoarder 9:38 AM  

I finished with no idea as to what the theme was about. What passed for an explanation over at xwordinfo was useless. I don't read our host's comments so @lms wound up being the reveal.

The first couple of themers didn't seem to have a pattern. I realized they were common phrases so I stopped reading the clues for them to save time. Once a fraction of the letters went in from the crosses they were easy to recognize.

Most of the fill was pretty straight forward. When I changed ISM to IST I had a feeling this would catch the people who aren't familiar with the word SHOAT. It looks like a term for a small shallot more than anything you'd call a pig.

In spite of not getting the theme this was one of my fastest times ever for a Sunday.

Anonymous 9:39 AM  

Strange puzzle. Seemed easy enough, and I feel like I was constantly typing/filling, yet my time showed squarely easy-medium. Entirely gettable but with just enough spice and misdirection that I didn't come close to scaring my Sunday record.

Hand up for "CUTey" being out of bounds, and for not being sure about -ISm/-IST. And I thought DOSI-DO had a Y. Don't we scrub "IN" for surgery?

I'd give it an A.

Z 9:43 AM  

Old TOWN Road

Nancy 9:44 AM  

Here's how I know I really enjoyed this puzzle. Remember that potato chip commercial from back in the day: "We bet you can't eat just one"?* Well, I started the puzzle last night, vowing I'd only do a little so I'd have something left to look forward to today...and I couldn't stop. "Just one more clue," I kept saying, "just one more." And before I knew it, I'd eaten the whole thing. So nothing left to do, puzzle-wise, today but to tell you that I really enjoyed it.

It was quite easy, but it was lively and full of wordplay. It had humor. It was, in short, my kind of puzzle and I liked it a lot.

(*I'm one of those people who WAS able to eat just one. I don't really like potato chips.)

MassBookworm 9:45 AM  

Who spells it CUTEY? I liked the appearance of Descartes. A few stretches in there. Ok puzzle but lacking the magical, undefinable “cleverness” that I like to be tortured by.

PS- I’ve kept a file for 20+ years of NYT Sunday’s that I never got to (back when I was a productive member of society...) In quarantine I’ve been doing 4 or 5 per day. Wondrous, wide ranging, seemingly bigger grids, deceased puzzle masters. Not sure if an empty file or end to “stay at home” will come first :-/

Teedmn 9:48 AM  

Gah, two DNFs in a row. Today, it was in the far south. I knew neither the creator of "Hadestown", nor the aria. A_AI_ as a name, I assumed to be AlAIn. I got to 89D, saw I needed an S and Ms. Mitchell became AlAIS. I never went back to 117D to see that UlA made no sense. Rats, rats, rats (since we're tripling things today.)

I tried making sense of the theme, post-solve, by looking at the title and reading each theme clue/answer pair. I decided that it's just poorly titled because "Double Talk" isn't conveying to me any sense of the theme answers. But I spent some COGITO time on it and I can't improve on that title so "Double Talk" it is. I'm sure that's a relief to the constructor and editors. :-)

"Over the mountains
Of the moon,
Down the valley of the shadow,
Ride, boldly ride,"
The shade replied,--
"If you seek for Eldorado!"

Jim Peredo, I think your clues for the theme answers are spot on and consistent. This was a very smooth Sunday solve, thanks.

QuasiMojo 9:52 AM  

@Rex, condolences on your grandmother. That's a sweet memory. And she looks like a lovely lady. Kudos on the Xword mask. Very clever.

PS I did not do the puzzle. So no gripes today. Too busy getting in my REM sleep. I had an amazing dream that I was in Italy. Looking for Via Reale! I think that means Royal in Italian but my former Freudian analyst would say I was searching for reality. And how!

@jae I hope you figured out the Monopoly Avenue.

Ernonymous 9:56 AM  

@z not a typo, when it comes to my love life, I was known to be by "some" quite the Casanova, my motto is: no use looking better than you need to!
Bonus points if anyone can identify the source of the Casanova quote.

Teedmn 10:01 AM  

And Rex, condolences on the loss of your grandmother. My heart goes out to you.

Nancy 10:16 AM  

I've seldom, if ever, read an obituary that so captures the spirit and essence of a person. Inez sounds absolutely delightful and I would love to have known her. Condolences -- but take comfort in the fact that she had a very long and it would seem a very rewarding life. Sorry, though, that she failed in her goal of outlasting Trump. Witty, sharp, and iconoclastic to the end, I see.

OomPahPah 10:26 AM  

Mahler's 6th Symphony has a Tuba solo.

RooMonster 10:32 AM  

Hey All !
Confusing theme for me today. After getting the top three themers having ME, I, I, and getting the middle TURNABOUTISFAIRPLAY, I figured the bottom three would be WE, US, OUR, or something to that effect. But then got the BROWN COW and the AGE NUMBER one, and said "Huh?" Even after reading Rex's explanation, it still seems a wonky-ish theme.

Had my famous one-letter DNF today at COGITeERGOSUM. Dang Latin! NEe was perfectly fine as an answer to a newcomer. Who clues NEO like that? Why not clue it as the main dude in "The Matrix"? Or "- classic"?

Spelled STILETTOED wrong first. Had two L's and one T, which got me GLEl for 13D, and had THAMES starting out as eHA. Finally looked it over again, and said, "if I change it to one L and two T's, I can get me GLEE and then THA is way better than eHA." That silly SAM clue throwing me off also. How about "He's everyone's Uncle?" or "___ I Am"?

It may sound as if I didn't like some clues. Well, I didn't. But, there were also some really nice ones in here. The ones for OCEAN, ELLA, and probably one or two others I missed.
Speaking of cool clue, the 3D one in the Mini was quite neat. Go do that puz right now. What else do you have to do?

So a kinda sorta nice/weird/eh type of puz. Appreciate the constructor, as SunPuzs aren't that easy to make. 36 minutes for me, which is fast here.

LEWIS made the puz today!

Only One F (and it was a themer)(Poor F's!)

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

I’ve never heard of a shoat

Ah, to be not old enough to have heard all those 60s folkies:
"the calf and the heifer the kid and goat the fawn and the mare and the pig and shoat"
-- "The Lion and the Lamb" Arkin/Arkin

Like 'Turn, turn, turn' based on Bible verse.

Crimson Devil 10:36 AM  

Fun puz, easy was welcome. Liked runon sentence, puts/things put on, & secret: some comments so far even better: Amen Photomatte 12:34 re Covid19 !! And Nancy claiming Chuck Norris equivalence!

Birchbark 10:37 AM  

@Rex Crossword Mask -- I see this as a new character for Crossworld, an alter-ego nemesis type. Something goes wrong (thunderclap power surge, for example) as @Rex is reviewing a puzzle. A new enemy, forged from his own DNA, is let loose upon the blog. He lives on stale fill and grows more powerful, etc. But with a half-sympathetic backstory TBD that adds a touch of melancholy to the madness.

I'd name this evil twin something like "The Anonymous B.L.T." and give hime a stylized graphic icon similar to @Rex Parker's, using the Crossword-Mask photo as a base. Maybe have him show up as a guest blogger now then on a Tuesday. In any event I liked photo, whatever becomes of it.

@Nancy and @Aketi (yesterday) -- Thanks for your kind wishes. All is well.

JamieP 10:41 AM  

Rex, my condolences on your grandmother. My wife's grandmother died shorty after her 100th birthday. It sounds like they had similar elan, to use a crossword cliche. Regarding the mask: I'm an Elmira native, and you and Adam Perl signed my winning puzzle at that very Finger Lakes crossword competition a few years back. Ergo, you're a good dude. Thanks for bringing us all together every day.

57Stratocaster 10:45 AM  

Jim, thanks for a fun puzzle.

@lms , my wife likes a little cumin, hates any more. I told her your body odor comment and she said "I like her."

Z 10:51 AM  

AVCX posted a free large sized mini by KAC. It’s a .puz file so you will need software to solve it.

tb 10:58 AM  

The first patent for a tuba was from 1835. Berlioz was forced to use one as a replacement for the ophicleide and fell in love with it. It was often used as a replacement for the ophicleide in the works of Mendelssohn, Berlioz, etc.

Joaquin 11:07 AM  

IMO the best part of this Sunday slog was the obit Rex posted of his Grandmother. She sounds extraordinary.

My condolences to you, Rex, and all your family. May her memory be a blessing to all of you.

David Plass 11:18 AM soup a meal?

egsforbreakfast 11:31 AM  

@kitshef 8:38 am. The clue is “Busy Bee, for short”. This tells you to shorten Samantha to Sam.

Rex, I very much liked the obit, and am sure I would have liked Inez as well.

Anonymous 11:32 AM  


Anonymous 11:34 AM  

Not just zoning, but what kind of real estate one is licensed to practice.

Anonymous 11:39 AM  

Ooh, I love everything about your post & agree with all your points! Bonus points as I was just trying to explain iambs (failed, unfortunately) to my husband last night.

Newboy 11:44 AM  

Rex got everything I’d add except for my knowledge gap at the musical crossing of 121A & 117D. Hate to google anytime, but on Sunday it becomes especially painful. Probably should have refilled my coffee and waited for UNA insight to surface I guess.

Sorry to hear of anyone’s passing, especially in this time of enforced family separation. Rex clearly was blessed to have enjoyed moments with a Grandmother who felt that “There’s no use lookin’ worse than you have to.” She would have loved his humanizing picture with crossword mask today. I’ll think of her life goals next November.

dale tousley 11:50 AM  

Michael, what a beautiful obituary, your grandmother sounds like an extraordinary woman who lived life to the fullest, I especially liked that one of her goals was to outlive the trump administration, that made me laugh out loud. One of my closest friend's mom also passed away on Friday, she was 92 and in a nursing home and was not able to be visited by her family, something that they are having a hard time dealing with.....seeing all that your grandmother did makes me want to get up out of chair and start doing stuff!! Sincerely, Dale Tousley.

Carola 11:55 AM  

I thought this was a cut-above Sunday with its very clever theme. I caught on with THE AYES HAVE IT and had fun trying to get the rest with as few crosses as possible I thought the single quote and self-expression were genius.

@Rex, I'm sorry about your grandmother. Your Aunt Nancy wrote a lovely appreciation that captures a wonderful spirit.

pmdm 11:59 AM  

Yes, quite a stupid typo. The tuba developed around the 1830s, not the 1930s.

I am aware of the history of the ophicleide, which came out around the second decade of the eighteenth century. (Good way to avoid another type.) I believe I own a recording of the Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique that uses it instead of the tuba. Because of the timing of its introduction, composers like Beethoven and Schubert did not use the instrument in their symphonies. All of this is a bit technical and perhaps beyond the scope of this blog, but I'm happy some of ou are interested.

In general, the nineteenth century witnessed a good deal of development of the brass instruments. The crook system gave way to the valve system now in use. The newer instruments were perhaps a bit louder and expanded the number of notes the instruments could sound. Even so, some composers (Saint Saens and Brahms come to mind) continued to use the "natural" horn. I believe Britten uses the natural [valveless] French horn in the opening and closing of his Ceremony of Christmas Carols. Those interested in hearing how it sounds should find a performance of this work on You Tube. Wish I had time to include a link, but I don't right now. (It's my very quiet wedding anniversary.) Adios.

thfenn 12:05 PM  

I thought for sure we had a social distancing theme here.GOAHEADWITHOUTME, IWANTTOBEALONE. Even THEAYESHAVEIT, given recent bill passage). NOSOAP and others tie in as well. Clearly no time to RESTEASY.

Whole thing was a bit of a slog for me. Got the long acrosses relatively easily, struggled with lots of the short fill. CUTEY was awful.

Sorry for your loss, Rex.

Lewis 12:07 PM  

@rex -- My heart goes out to you on losing your grandmother, so sorry to hear.

Anonymous 12:19 PM  

the ophicleide, which came out around the second decade of the eighteenth century. (Good way to avoid another type.)

The ophicleide was invented in 1817 and patented in 1821 by French instrument maker Jean Hilaire Asté
[the wiki]

nyah nyah :):)

from the wiki picture, hard to see how it could play as low as today's standard tuba.

Kathy 12:21 PM  

I loved this theme, both the clues and the answers. This is the kind of Sunday puzzle I enjoy, where, if you pick around enough, you will usually get even answers like SAM, which I didn’t understand at all. However I ultimately Naticked at ANAIS/ESAI and SHOAT/IST. Sure, I could have guessed at all the permutations in hopes of hitting pay dirt, but that would have brought me no XW I just turned on autocheck.

I’ve never seen cutie spelled as CUTEY or stiletto as a verb. However, I’m noticing these days that virtually all nouns gradually morph into verbs.

Thanks, @LMS, I will never be able to “unremember” what you said about cumin!
“Say hey, grey prey”—I am dying laughing.

@TJS, better not hold the vowels in that family!

My sympathies to @Rex, who has been having a tough year, and to anyone else out there who is hurting right now. Better days lie ahead.

Pamela 12:27 PM  

First, condolences to Rex on losing his grandmother. Even knowing it’s going to happen soon, we never want it to be today. Particularly sad now, when family can’t be together.

My father, an English teacher and ardent lover of the language, was my puzzle influencer. On Sundays, he would wander into the kitchen in his nightshirt chuckling over some particularly clever clue in the Boston Globe that he just had to share. Before I could even read I itched to do crosswords. My parents supplied me with books of escalating difficulty all through my childhood until eventually I graduated to the Globe. At 25, when I moved to NY, after a few weeks of trekking to Times Sq to get it, I switched allegiance to the Times and have been doing, with gaps, ever since.

I haven’t read any comments yet, but my take isn’t far off from Rex’s, although it did take a little effort to sus out the theme. I did get a kick out of the clue for 62D, EBAY. You can find anything for sale there, at any price! Amazon is in 2nd place.

JC66 12:30 PM  


I lost all of my grandparents when I was a kid. You're lucky to have had Inez in your life for so long. My condolences on your loss.

Aketi 12:30 PM  

@Rex, condolences on your grandmother. What a great example of living a vibrant life.

I went down a path of looking for a TOE theme thanks to the TOED in STILETTOED and imagining a tippyTOED twinkle TOEs. Never was a big fan of STILETTOs, but there is such a thing as STILETTO nails. Now that I’m practicing socially distant BJJ via text, on Facebook, Instagram and Zoom I no longer have to clip my nails so I don’t scratch my partner. I could actually grow out my nails and file them into STILETTOs. Maybe if I grown them long enough, they will prove useful in creating more social distance when people willfully refuse to back off during the brief excursions out to forage for food when the deliveries are missing items. I’m sure it would take a while to grow them out to the recommended distance, though.

Nancy from Chicago 12:34 PM  

I finished the puzzle without ever really getting the theme; I'm not entirely sure I get it now, but oh well. I enjoyed the puzzle anyway. I didn't understand the SAM clue either but at least the crosses were fair.

@LMS thank you for that mashup link.

@Rex I am so sorry for your loss, and for the fact that your family can't mourn (and celebrate her life) together. I read the beautiful obituary and she sounds like a woman I would have loved to have known.

jberg 12:46 PM  

The theme was just OK, IMO. Mostly, they are common enough phrases,but two of them are quotations from actual people: one, from Descartes, is clued as such, but the other, from Greta Garbo, is not. And the old saw actually is an old saw, as well as being a saw about age, so that was less than ideal.

But hey, I learned about the opheiclide today! I guess it's gone the way of the violone, although the latter lives on as the apostrophe in 'cello.

@Lewis, I'm pretty sure DOSIDO comes from the French "dos à dos," i.e. back to back -- which you and your partner are when executing the move. But hey, I like your chain of speculation!

thefogman 12:48 PM  

Went with eNURES at 97D. One square did me in. Not very fair to cross a word that has a variant (enure/inure) with a Latin phrase in my opinion. Overall, this one was pretty meh...

Masked and Anonymous 12:57 PM  

@RP: Real sorry about your sweet grandmother's passing. You had spoken of her on the blog a few times over the years, and she sounded like a true jewel. I especially remember she got U goin on crosswords, and didn't dig U wearin those hats in the house. My sincere condolences to you and your family.

@RP 2: All righty then. U are hereby Masked & Unanonymous. Am jealous, of yer extra U.

The SunPuz had a bit o humor, so that was helpful, in keepin the slog vibes away. At first I thought STILETTOED was a themer [Usin STILETTO & TOED somehow], but I reckon it was just desperate.

fave fillins included: EATLUNCH. RESTEASY. STARDUST. NOSOAP up right over SCRUBBEDUP.

staff weeject pick: UNA. Short for Unanonymous.

What what the heck is this "Old TOWN Road" song? 19 weeks at #1? Wow. Makes m&e feel really all the way out of it. Gonna go find it and listen to it, pronto.

Thanx for my fun and yer hard work, Mr. Peredo.

Masked & Anonymo13Us


Perry 1:08 PM  

I totally Natticked on "SHOAT". I had ISM for 'Surreal finale?' and I had no real way of knowing that SHOAM is not a word - I don't interact with pigs very much and certainly not young weaned pigs. Oh well.

JC66 1:11 PM  


It's a common misunderstanding that Garbo said I WANT TO BE ALONE.

Pamela 1:13 PM  

@LMS Love your comments, as usual. Novacaine, brilliant! And I was fascinated by what you wrote about names. What is the word for 3 syllable names with emphasis on the 1st syllable? In Italy, my name was often pronounced with the stress on the 2nd syllable. Non sono una mela! (I am not an Apple!), I would tell them.

Pmdm et al, thanks for the background on the tuba. I play violin (amateur), and know that they are certainly used in orchestras. It had never occurred to me that band tubas are actually sousaphones, or that tubas didn’t exist in the classical period.

Stilleto nails, there’s a thought!

Ernonymous 1:45 PM  

People like Rex's grandmother, who lived through The Great Depression and WWII were different. That whole generation had some unique traits that you don't see in younger generations.
I've been wondering how living through our current situation will change our younger people. Children and teens, living through this are being greatly affected and I wonder how this will impact that generation. Hopefully, in a positive way. I know they won't ever be caught again with their pants down. The older generation failed to protect its citizens.
I have great hope for our youth. Already they are rebelling against fake hair, fake boobs, high heels, skin tight dresses that are so popular with adults in the 2000s,ie see Billy Eilish fans and VSCO girls. I was a hippie in college and we dressed like animals, it was quite comfortable. What women have been wearing the past 20 years on college campuses, the skin tight dresses and 5 inch heels, manicured nails etc, it looks quite uncomfortable and a lot if work. Bring back the hippies!

Joe Dipinto 1:46 PM  

@pmdm 11:59 – you're thinking of Britten's Serenade for Tenor, Horn & Strings, with valves not used by the horn player in the Prologue and Epilogue sections. Ceremony of Carols is scored for treble voices and harp.

Anonymous 1:47 PM  

"David Silverman (AKA Tubatron ) developed a propane powered flaming sousaphone with a trigger valve to control an array of flame jets across the top of the bell of his horn. "
[the wiki]

now, that's impressive.

Barbara S. 1:59 PM  

I'm late commenting today, so apologies if I retread already flattened ground.

I got on to the theme fairly early with HOW NOW BROWN COW as a "Stock phrase."

I thought there was some unusual cluing:
- GENE Roddenberry with no mention of Star Trek (72A)
- ANAIS with no mention of Nin (121A)
- And Uma Thurman in a clue not for her first name, but for a role she played, MIA (113A)

I liked having both DOSIDO and EIEIO (but I guess they're both terrible crosswordese, so I shouldn't like them).

I really wanted 39D "Ugly ones sometimes come out in December" to be "inflatables," but that may be a very particular pet peeve of mine. SWEATERS was a good answer.

Thenks @Z, for posting a link to "Old TOWN Road." Nice song and amusing video, but not immediately apparent why it's such a record-breaker in Billboard history.

@Roo Monster always mentions when he's in the puzzle, so I'll direct everyone to 111D "Pointed remark": BARB !! Of course this applies equally to @BarbieBarbie.

@JC66 1:11
I hate to quibble with you and I particularly hate to quibble with the Great Greta Garbo, but in the film Grand Hotel (1932), she does indeed say "I want to be alone" and follows it up quite quickly with "I just want to be alone."
I don't know how to embed links, but this clip is quite easy to find if you want to.

RIP Inez Alcorn. She does sound like a wonderful person. My condolences to Rex.

Anonymous 2:07 PM  


For a curmudgeon, you have a remarkable way of opening up and
sharing your feelings, and life's experiences.

More to the point, thank you for sharing your grandmother's
obituary. What a beautiful - and well told - life story.

May we all live as fulfilling life as your blessed grandmother.

With true thanks,


Anonymous 2:09 PM  

"Ailments section of the grid" HA!

Anonymous 2:13 PM  

@LorenMuse The tuba wasn’t invented (patented) until after Beethoven died, which is probably why you couldn’t find one in the flash mob video you linked to. Although Mahler did write a tuba part for that symphony, it is not commonly used.

jae 2:24 PM  

@Quasi - I had to get the Monopoly Ave. from the crosses on my walk this morning. Turns out I could only recreate about 2/3 of the board from memory, which probably isn’t too bad given that the last time I played the game was in the 1950s. For me, this week’s Stumper was a medium.

Anonymous 2:30 PM  

Unlesd you knew Rex's grandmother,how would you know how well,if at all,it caprured her spirit?

Anonymous 2:34 PM  

Why is point8ng out a typo ok? But poibting out a grammar error not?

Frantic Sloth 2:35 PM  

Okay, I'll bite.

@Aketi, (because I guess everybody knows this?) BJJ?

All I find is "Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu" and not really sure what that has to do with social media-ing.

JC66 2:36 PM  

@Barbara S

You're right, Garbo did say "I want to be alone.". (It's about 30 seconds in).

apologies @jberg

Whatsername 2:47 PM  

@Rex: Awfully sorry to hear about your grandmother. What a fascinating lady she must have been. The love between the two of you is evident in the photo, I shared the love of crosswords with my granny too, as well as my dad who had a dictionary exactly like the one in your picture. It’s a treasure I hold dear to this day.

Z 3:29 PM  

@Barbara S - I guess for the same reason this was #1 when I turned 16.

@anon2:34 - One is, “Have you noticed your shoe is untied?” and the other is “{chortle} your fly is undone {chortle}.” Again, unless you are someone’s parent or teacher, correcting their grammar is rude. Always.

Malsdemare 3:38 PM  

I'm late, again, but I did want to join in the condolences for your grandmother, Rex, and for anyone who has family or friends seriously ill right now. How awful to be unable to visit and offer comfort.

@ nancy, i don't know what you did to earn the animosity of our anonymouse 2:30, but please keep doing it. Maybe s/he will explode!

SJ Austin 3:40 PM  

That is not how you spell cutie. This puzzle is disqualified.

Barbara S. 3:49 PM  

Wow, I'm struggling to recover. He had me at the satin bell bottoms. The song was unnecessary.

At least "Old Town Road" is an original, whereas Shaun was reviving something from 14 years earlier. How long did his version of "Da Doo Ron Ron" top the Billboard charts, I wonder.

Anonymous 4:03 PM  

No animosity. Just curiosity.
How could a woman who's never met tge deceased know how acuurate or insightful her obituary is?
Do tell, please. And thank you.

Joe Dipinto 4:08 PM  

@Barbara S. – 1 week. Supplanted by Barry Manilow's "Looks Like We Made It."

Doc John 4:10 PM  

My condolences on your loss, Rex.

I personally can't dislike any puzzle that starts with TUBAS.

Anonymous 4:17 PM  

@anon2:34 - One is, “Have you noticed your shoe is untied?” and the other is “{chortle} your fly is undone {chortle}.” Again, unless you are someone’s parent or teacher, correcting their grammar is rude. Always.

wait, wait, don't tell me! you need to watch more cable teevee:

in the advert, a bewildered genZer types away at his computer, the text he's writing appears in a caption bubble over his head. grammarly comes to his rescue, cleaning up his text. cut to him handing to his (female!) boss, who nods approvingly. cut to him getting promoted.

Malsdemare 4:19 PM  

Anonymous 4:03. I would say the obit gave us a glimpse of who Inez was as a person. That's called insight. I think we all rather assume the writer didn't make the thing up; why even consider that it's inaccurate. From what she wrote, I think I'd like to have known Inez. Your mileage may vary.

For what it’s worth, there have been anonymous posters who've been quite nasty to some of the regulars on this blog, Nancy among them
. Forgive me if I thought you were one of them. I apologize.

Barbara S. 5:17 PM  

@Joe Dipinto

Shaun Cassidy followed by Barry Manilow? That was a rough era in popular music. (Or else it was too satiny smooth.)

Nancy 5:20 PM  

I stumbled on this taping of the entire 1986 production of "Sunday in the Park with George" and was pleased to have a close to actual theater experience in the middle of my coronavirus isolation. Who knew that such a treasure even existed online? I'm aware that not everyone on the blog is a musical theater buff, but for those who are, I think this is something you might enjoy.

(Also, thanks, Mals. I hope the Anon troll doesn't watch the above. I would hate to inadvertently be the source of his entertainment.)

Anonymous 5:21 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Aketi 5:31 PM  

@Frantic Sloth, yes BJJ is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I think of it as body origami. It incorporates judo and is a little like wrestling in that you are in close bodily contact, often rolling around on the floor. BJJ uses a lot more leverage techniques than wrestling. You can’t really do it without a partner, so people who used to train regularly are going bonkers at home watching videos and trying to test techniques on their pets, chairs, pillows etc out of an abundance of boredom. One guy even tried using a vacuum cleaner. Shaolin, who runs our gym, puts up classes three times a day in social media. I made a faux partner out of a long couch pillows that I dressed in one of my Gi jackets. It is but a poor substitute. Because you often grab the Gi jacket or pants during matches, fingernails must be kept short. So STILETTO nails would probably get you disqualified in a match and no one would want to train with you. I was signed up for one of the big international competitions in March that was obviously canceled. It would have most likely spread the virus worse than the students who went to Florida on spring break. I compete as a Master 7 which is the oldest age bracket so the small group of Master 7 women have obviously have adopted AGE IS JUST A NUMBER as a motto.

CaryInBoulder 5:32 PM  

For some reason this didn't go through when I posted it several hours ago.

I’ve given myself a much needed rest from Facebook — exhausted from becoming addicted to outrage at our ongoing Federal Disaster — so this is my community of choice for now. So first off, condolences to Rex/Michael for the loss and inability to commune face-to-face with family. The last time I was in even a small group of people was early March for the memorial of a dear friend. This was only a few weeks ago, yet we quaintly thought that elbow bumps would keep us safe. Even so, there was no way I could not give my late friend’s wife a non-virtual hug.

Speaking of community and loss, I’ve taught at a summer music and art camp every year since 1997. We’ve built some very strong relationships in that time and I consider many of my peers there some of my closest friends even I only see them once a year, at best. Last night I dreamed that I was at a concert there, enjoying things immensely. One of my old musical friends, Sparky Rucker, was standing next to me and starting to move toward the stage. I looked around and there were people everywhere. That’s when it hit me and I said aloud to whomever I was with, “This is not real. This cannot be real.” It was enough to make me sob. [Since I wrote this I found out that one of my best musical friends from this crew has been hospitalized with the virus since Wednesday.]

Anyway, I flew through most of this puzzle thinking that maybe I should slow down since there was still a long day of ??? ahead. The app said I was 17:29 faster than my Sunday average and that included slowly going through the grid looking for a typo that turned out to be eNURE. Actually my solve was quite similar to @RooMonster’s description. We love Japanese cuisine and have been trying to support a very good restaurant (we know the owners) when we want to EATLUNCH by getting DROOL-worthy carry-out sushi from Aoi. The soup they included with yesterday’s meal had ENOKIs floating on top and was very tasty. BTW, in the interest of FAIRPLAY, be sure to tip well anyone who provides a service, food delivery or otherwise. And if you have house cleaners and (understandably) don’t want anyone from outside in your house, please pay them never the less. I think the TURNABOUT will resound well with you when all this is over.

Two baseball references today: POPUP and MR.CUB. Let’s play two!

Z 5:40 PM  

@Barbara S - Imagine the impression made on my poor 16-year old soul! Is it any wonder that I soon turned to Molly Hatchet, The Outlaws, The James Gang, and Deep Purple? Had to get the saccharine off somehow.

Unknown 5:42 PM  

I enjoyed this puzzle. Nothing over the top, but fun. Thank you Mr. Peredo.

Anonymous 6:37 PM  

I find it hard to believe that anything I wrote could be construed as nasty.
I remain skeptical of nancys claim.
Without knowledge of the deceased's life independant of the obituary its imposdible to conclude the obituary captured the esdence of the drcedant's life. Or her esdence. Its prima facie false

Smith 6:48 PM  

@Mary 7:17
Can you get it online? And print it out?

Barbara S. 6:59 PM  

I congratulate you on finding the antidote and on how well you turned out!

That Deep Purple video is quite an epic. One of those music videos that become portraits of an era. This one, I thought, had quite a big dose of...of...[what's that concept? {racking brain, looking it up}] Weltschmerz/world-weariness. But then, it is about Viet Nam, isn't it?

Z 7:37 PM  

@Barbara S - Deep Purple is a British band, so I tend to think of the song as more generally anti-war. But it came out in 1970 so “anti-war” pretty much means Vietnam. I had to look up “weltschmerz,” but is there any better lyric describing “deep sadness about the inadequacy or imperfection of the world“ than You'd better close your eyes / You'd better bow your head / Wait for the ricochet? Seems too apt in the decade that has been 2020 so far. I also found your use of “epic” apt. The lead singer was Jesus on the original recording of Jesus Christ Superstar. A certain amount of epic weltschmerz imbues that work, as well.

Ernonymous 7:54 PM  

@anon I immediately felt you had a very condescending tone. I found your original comment directed at Nancy, as well as thid one to be nasty and uncalled for. Now you are playing all innocent? Your comment was typical of your passive aggressive crap. As if a well written obit, full of anecdotes about the person DOES NOT capture their essence? Go away.(next anon comment boo boo poor me getting picked on)

Paul 8:00 PM  

I agreed with just about everything you wrote about this Sunday puzzle, BUT "scrubbed up" I do not accept. Just watch Gray's Anatomy or any other medical show that there's ever been! They always talk about scrubbing IN and not UP. Scrubbing up is something you tell your kids to do before they eat.
Pamela Schulman

Richardf8 8:02 PM  

Yeah, the Ninless Anaïs clue has caused me to add Cild Ballads to my iTunes library.

Smith 8:40 PM  

Late, as always. Just so glad to see Anaïs Mitchell in the puzzle! She is amazing. We saw her in concert before Hadestown went to NYTW and after Agent Orange was elected and she played The Wall, oh, transcendent experience. We were so, so, so happy to finally see Hadestown when it moved to Broadway. Bravo Anaïs. More than 6 years in the making.

Rex, if you read this, so sorry about your grandmother.

Anonymous 8:53 PM  

How does an obit w annecdites caoture a soul's essence. Wouldnt you have to know the soul to know whether the annecdotes selected are appropos?

Barbara S. 9:09 PM  

You've made me go scurrying to retrieve my copy of the JC Superstar album from an obscure cupboard. So Ian Gillan is the guy you're talking about? I never would have made the connection, although it does say on the front of the box that the performers are from a whole list of bands including Deep Purple. I LOVED the JCS album back in the day. I found the human drama very powerful, very compelling. And I think I had a secret ambition to be cast in the Mary Magdalene role in some hypothetical production (although I was but a choral singer and not a soloist).

Alan_S. 9:17 PM  

It’s late and the commenters are getting punchy.
Btw, horrible puzzle!

ghostoflectricity 10:01 PM  

Sorry foe your loss, Rex.

mediashy 12:11 AM  

It's been a bunch of losses for you, Rex, with dogs and relatives. And during a no-contact time, too. She seemed to have led a wonderful life, right up to the last few moments (relatively speaking). Keep Calm and Carry On, as the Queen would say (and just did).

Carol C. 1:19 AM  

Sorry about your grandma , Rex. After doing the Nyt crosswords for many, many years ( Will Weng days) I’m getting more and more disappointed with the puzzles. Seems like creators are usually trying to fit round peg into square hole and really stretching with clues. Good bye to cleverness most of the time.

Ernonymous 7:24 AM  

@anon How does a well written obit by a close family member with anecdotes not capture someone's essence? Do you think people who did know the soul are saying to the the author: you really missed the boat! We didn't even know WHO you were writing about! You failed to capture her essence!
Those of us who didn't know her make the assumption that this was a good effort of describing the person. We feel like we get the person's essence, even not having known the person. This is what good descriptions do- they describe.
The real question is WHY would someone even argue that we can't know if it does or does not capture the person? Of course it does- that's it's whole purpose. Even though we didn't know her, as readers, we are certain its purpose was carried out. To question that is bizarre and almost seems like you are trying to pick a fight and insult people.

Unknown 7:41 AM  

Sympathies on the loss of your darling grandmother. How lucky we are that she inspired you! And what a model she is for those of us new grannies. Btw can you tell us what you called your grandmother?

pmdm 4:49 PM  

Z: Maybe in's not your age but a basic problem with the quality and incessant beast of Disco. To each his own. I'd have put that in French but was too worried about making a typo.

Joe Dipinto: Thanks for correcting the Britten reference yesterday. As I get older, it seems both my mind and my typing are losing it a bit. Anyway, a few years ago I heard the piece I meant to refer to on a NY Philharmonic concert that also included a Mozart French horn concerto and Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks. Then 1st hornist Meyers did the solos in all three. I met cellist Dyson on the subway platform after the concert and we both thought Meyers was totally amazing.

And thank you ACME. Hope you are doing well in Southern California. When I spoke with my brother who lives in San Diego (AKA Paradise) a few weeks ago, he said the concert he had tickets to was cancelled. Hope all things are OK you you and your relatives. May the devil never cross your threshold.

Burma Shave 11:07 AM  




rondo 12:43 PM  

I have a TUBA for sale if anyone's interested. Didn't mind the puz, but didn't find it all that clever, nor un-clever. It just was.

Unobjectionable use of TAR.

MIA or MEG in the SE cor.

J.P. Sartre walks into a bar.
The bartender asks, "The usual?"
Sarte replies, "I think not." and vanishes.
Existential humor.

Happy Orthodox Easter. Stay well.

spacecraft 1:23 PM  

The passing of a centenarian is always double-edged. On the one hand, the longer she lives the deeper grow the bonds, and the more she will be missed. On the other, we knew the moment would come, if not now, surely soon. It's as if the other shoe finally dropped. There's a peace--a sad one, but a kind of peace nonetheless. A neighbor in our complex was 105 when we met her; she was vibrant and alert. Never wrote down a phone number; she'd remember it. A smile and a hug and a "God bless!" for everybody. She passed in the next year, and the world is poorer. RIP, Hazel!

The title of this puzzle doesn't really resonate for me. I get that it refers to words in the clues, but...I didn't need the title. This for me is just a collection of adages, pure and simple. As such the theme is flat as the pancakes I had for breakfast today. The fill is okay for a Sunday-sized grid, minus the RSRNP (random SAINTED Roman-numeraled Pope) and the vowel list at 112a. The Busy Bee thing had me for a while; I never saw or heard her name sans the -antha. That little clue borders on the unfair.

The rest of it, though, was pretty easy, which is a good thing because I'd hate to slog through a big puzzle like this with so low a payoff. Ms. Bee earns DOD for giving me my only pause. Par.

Re: 94a: Rene, the blind dyslexic carpenter, picked up his hammer and was.

rondo 2:08 PM  

Wrong French guy, was only thinking ---arte-. Good catch @spacey.

rainforest 2:45 PM  

This was an OK Sunday puzzle - basically easy with a theme that wasn't a knee-slapper (but it needn't be) but appealed to me. The fill was also OK, and maybe ST LEO 1 is pushing it a bit, but qui cares.

Speaking of French, @jberg is correct that DO SI DO was originally "dos a dos" (back to back, pronounced "Do Sa DO" ), and in fact is still pronounced that way in Nova Scotia.

I've had Ramen in a restaurant, obviously prior to Covid 19, on two occasions but don't recall ENOKI mushrooms even being available.

@Spacey beat me to the blind carpenter line.

Diana, LIW 4:58 PM  

Sat down to get this started before getting the usual cuppa. And before I knew it, it was 3/4 done! That rarely happens to me.

Funny aside (well, funny to me) I did 2 (two) crosswords yesterday in anthologies that had EIEIO for an answer. And Will had not edited both anthologies! Thought it odd when I came upon the second one. Etui? Et tu?

Ending with putting Descartes before da Latin was a fun note. I took a year (2?) of Latin in HS - not that much of it stuck except for the Doric columns I carved out of soap for a project.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoaster 9:13 PM  

Not into Sunday puzzles because I've usually found them inherently to be slogs. This one is different and much better than most I've looked at.

Theme wordplay is good fun all the way. Favorite themer is COGiTO ERGO SUM, in part because it was one of the first Latin phrases and philosophers I encountered in college. It also helped open the SW, where I had some trouble, where I wanted Oh no instead of OOPS for "head slap".

Liked this one a lot.

Saluki 6:56 AM  

The only answer I could think of for 124A - Deli sandwich, hold the vowels, was RBN. That would be a Reuben sandwich. BLT just doesn't make sense, as it has not only holding no vowels but is also "holding" 8 other consonants - besides the BLT.

Saluki 7:01 AM  

The only possible answer for 124A is RBN. A Reuben sandwich has 3 consonants left when you hold the vowels. A BLT does not. Holding the vowels will still leave you with a c,n,t,t,c,m,t - as well as the BLT.

eli 10:16 AM less DUMBOcrat

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