Horror film director Aster / WED 4-8-20 / Real English county on which Thomas Hardy based fictional Wessex / Eschewers of military service / Clicked the double vertical bar on YouTube video / Fans that jeer home team informally

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Constructor: Sam Buchbinder

Relative difficulty: Medium (untimed)

THEME: BOWLING ALLEY (16D: Where you might roll the starts of 17-, 31-, 43- and 56-Across) — first words are all bowling terms

Theme answers:
  • STRIKE FORCES (17A: Quick attack groups)
  • SPLIT SCREEN (31A: Like many TV news interviews)
  • SPARE CHANGE (43A: Producer of jingle-jangle in the pocket)
  • TURKEY BASTER (56A: Aid for a Thanksgiving chef)
Word of the Day: ARI Aster (47A: Horror director Aster) —
Ari Aster (born July 15, 1986) is an American filmmaker and screenwriter. He wrote the short film The Strange Thing About the Johnsons (2011), then wrote and directed the horror films Hereditary (2018) and Midsommar (2019). (wikipedia)
• • •

This old thing? Are we doing bowling terms again? Whyyyyyyy though? Maybe driving the revealer, BOWLING ALLEY, through all of the themers is supposed to add novelty to the concept, and ... I guess from an architectural standpoint, it's a little impressive, but from a solving standpoint, this theme is still very, very tired. SPLIT SCREEN on its own is a nice answer. If this were a themeless puzzle, I'd be singling it out for praise. But it's a themed puzzle, and this one is not good. Or, maybe it was adequate in the '90s, but it's definitely past its expiration date now. Also, I'm no bowler, but a SPLIT is more of a situation. You "pick up" a split, you don't "roll" one. A strike and spare are effects of the roll itself, whereas a "split" is just ... sitting there in front of you, even before you "roll," and then you, the bowler, have to pick it up (by, ironically, knocking pins down). Here, I'll let wikipedia help:
split is a situation in ten pin bowling in which the first ball of a frame knocks down the headpin ("number 1 bowling pin") but leaves standing two or more non-adjacent groups of one or more pins. (wikipedia)
See. A "split" is a "situation"; it precedes your "roll." It is not, itself, something you roll. It is something, you "pick up." You roll a spare, you roll a strike, but you pick up a split. A "turkey" is three strikes in a row, which I knew, but which it took me two googles to confirm, because the first google led me here:
Turkey bowling is a sport which is based on ordinary bowling: a frozen turkey serves as a bowling ball and 10 plastic bottles of soft drinks or water are the bowling pins. The turkey is bowled down a smooth surface, for example, ice or a soap covered sheet of painters plastic (using a bar of soap). It is commonly associated with Thanksgiving. (wikipedia)

Toughest part of the puzzle for me was the NE, where I had Tom CRUISE over a DRUMKIT instead of Tom CLANCY (7A: Tom who created Jack Ryan) over a DRUMPAD (14A: Something to practice percussion on). Tom Cruise played Jack *Reacher*. John Krasinski played Jack Ryan. Glad I got that sorted, if only for today. BOOBIRDS is probably the best thing in this grid. It's certainly the thing that made me happiest (I'm a sucker for good sports slang) (16A: Fans that jeer the home team, informally). Its symmetrical counterpart, however—PULLAUEY—is probably the worst thing in this grid. First because it continues to inflict the horrible, please-don't-try-to-spell-it UEY on the world—stop normalizing UEY!—and because you flip a uey. You pull a boner. Pull a boner, pull a stunt, pull a fast one, flip a uey. Actually FLIPAU works just fine. Put that in your grid and smoke it.

Five things:
  • 1D: Oodles (GOBS) — the lowest form of clue. Never cute or hard or interesting, but always confusing, because always a crap shoot: LOTS, TONS, A LOT, A TON ... apparently GOBS ... 
  • 2D: Dead space? (OBIT) — I know this is not the first clue to clown around with death, giving OBIT a cutesy "?" clue, but somehow right Now I'm not really feeling the whimsy
  • 3D: Howl : wolf :: bell : ___ (DEER) — wow, what? DEER howl now? I've seen a million of them, never seen one ... bell, is it? I wrote in PEAL here, completely misunderstanding and misreading the analogy
  • 35A: Emmy nomination number for which Susan Lucci finally won for playing Erica Kane on "All My Children" (NINETEEN) — Wow. Timely. This was news back when soap operas still existed and people might be expected to know who acted in them; specifically, this was news in 1999. It is a bizarre and joyless and aggressively bygone way to clue NINETEEN, a wonderful prime number that deserves better.
  • 65A: Cry at a revival ("I'M SAVED!") — do people actually cry this? Do revivals still exist?  Whoa, sorry. Youtube is shouting at me for my stupid questions:

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Steve 6:26 AM  

Never heard of Flip a Uey. We always said Pull a Uey. That being said, I didn't care for it myself, and when I filled it in I yelled to my husband who also does the grid (usually before I get to it), "Rex is going to *hate* that one!!". It's nice to not be disappointed. 😆

Lewis 6:36 AM  

Doesn't happen too often, but we have a grid that's longer than wide. But what is remarkable to me about this construction is how BOWLING ALLEY crosses all four theme answers! Look at that! (You know it's very good because Rex gave it an "... it's a little impressive".) The gods were kind to Sam B (as opposed to Sunday's SAM Bee, incidentally) to make this even possible, but big big props to Sam for seeing it in the first place, then going for it, and nailing it.

Palindrome watch: EYE, PIP, AHA.
Anagram/palindrome watch: TATE and ETAT right next to each other!

Fine feat of construction, fun to solve (thank you, Sam!), and here's looking to the UNDAY -- the day bowling alleys and other enterprises transform from GO DARK to Open For Business!

three of clubs 7:04 AM  

TATE and ETAT right next to each other (reversed). Looked to see if there was another instance of a semordnilap, but alas, no.

CDilly52 7:05 AM  

Well, I agree that a straight forward bowling puzzle is not novel, unless, because bowling seems not to be as popular an amateur or family “fun” activity that once it was, resurrecting a bowling theme becomes novel again. Kind of like fashion, everything comes back as “New” every decade or so. In my youth, bowling was very popular as a date activity, for youth teams , family events and of course the pro circuit. Sunday afternoons a couple time a month, back in the dark ages of vacuum tubes in your TV set and free “tube tester” machines at the local 5 and Dime or drugstore, pro bowling was televised. So I give this puzzle “dated” for sure.

Is “dated” a bad thing? Should there be a place, easily accessible to one and all where something dated, standard, even a bit stale, or predictable rules? Why not? After all, franchise food, brand name anything - all business relies upon branding to stay alive. The very fact that the bedrock consumer base for the business is the bedrock derives from the predictability of the product of the business and that predictability is marketed as “brand.” I dare say hoards of regular solvers, not absolute daily or competitive or even solvers who would look for a crossword blog, just “solvers” look to a newspaper for a crossword with which to pass the time. I would also assume that every daily paper has a puzzle. As, of course does the NYT. So, I suppose then, the question becomes in the continuum of daily puzzles out there with a “brand” (I do not count the dailies with small circulation such as the Norman OK Transcript that just buy a very “McPuzzle” offering purchased by the paper’s ownership for all of its regional local dailies,) should the NYTXW “brand” be “the predictable, mostly solvable but escalating in difficulty but on any day nothing magnificent created by mostly well known constructors” puzzle? I guess for me, that’s exactly what I come here for. That and because it is such a major theme in the fabric of my own life. I go elsewhere for the new, edgy, extremely challenging puzzles to which @Rex often compares the Times and finds it wanting. I have no credentials to justify or lend weight to my opinion on this subject. All I can offer is that I pay for the Times annually because I continue to enjoy it. It is my “morning coffee” brand. Throughout the day, I sample other brands (coffee and crosswords) but the Times is my brand. It is. “All y’all” (as a native Okie would say) experts here can decide whether the Times brand needs updating or not. I will simply come back every day because I continue to enjoy it-whatever “it” is or shall be.

And today, on a random Wednesday, we had a consistent, albeit dated theme in a puzzle that I found easy and enjoyable. I did get stopped in the very SE section. Just couldn’t figure out RAVEL from the clue, wanted “post” Modern (yes, even with the capital M on Modern- my bad.) and RED TAG (speaking if dated concepts) just was pretty far back in my aging brain pan.

Cheers everybody.

Bryan 7:08 AM  

I would definitely say “ugh, just rolled/threw a split with my first ball.”

Z 7:22 AM  

John Prine, Al Kaline, Adam Schlesinger, all the tragic stories in the news, ... What Rex said about the OBIT clue. Crossing GO DARK was just a little too apt today. Comedy is tragedy plus time.* We need more time.

The theme is well done, as Rex and @Lewis pointed out, but I had the same reaction as Rex when I got BOWLING ALLEY, “Bowling terms? Well alrighty then.” Please, no opera slang theme or noir novel slang theme or sailing slang theme or Harry Potter slang theme or...furry fandom** slang theme. Now, build a theme around Ultimate slang and I’m all in. Scoober, flick, stack, break side, hammer, knife, backhand, callahan, huck, handler, cutter, dump, swing, cup, force, disc space, travel, mark, pivot, stall, horizontal, layout, sky, home, away,... it would have to be a Sunday puzzle. I may end up disagreeing with myself in the future, but I’m going to say that area-specific slang is not really great theme material.

BTW - in case you missed it, yesterday’s constructor dropped by late with a claim about his original clue for a certain controversial answer.

*Either Mark Twain, Steve Allen, or Carol Burnett.
**Twice in the past week this group has made its way into independent puzzles.

Hungry Mother 7:24 AM  

Slow, but interesting solve here today. The NW was a mystery for far too long until I remembered BIERCE.

Z 7:26 AM  

@webwinger late yesterday - Thank you.

kitshef 7:31 AM  

Not that I would ever use UEY myself, but if I did, it would be hang a UEY, not PULL.

When the Nationals brought back Jonathan Papelbon after he choked Byrce Harper in the dugout, I lustily booed his every appearance. Other than that, I have never booed the home team.

DRUMkit to DRUMset to DRUMPAD.

Good puzzle. Often when Rex says a puzzle would have been good twenty years ago, I like it. Unless it has too many "of the moment" pop culture clues, a good puzzle will be good in any era.

SouthsideJohnny 7:36 AM  

The fact that you have OBERON sitting on top of BIERCE disqualifies this from being characterized as anything better than mediocre. I agree with OFL that the bowling-related theme is rather stale, but that could be overlooked if the rest of it sparkled, which it does not.

I’ll take it on faith that TATE modern is a real thing, since I don’t care enough to look it up. There is no abbreviation in the clue for SAC fly (slipshod editing, which is an all-to-common occurrence with the NYT) and some real unfortunate cluing choices (see DEER and DORSET) all put a drag on the solving experience.

Joaquin 7:44 AM  

I felt like I rolled a 300 on this one. Right down my *alley* with not one write-over. Either I’ve become an expert-level solver or this was a very easy Wednesday.

(Yeah, I know. The latter.)

diver 7:49 AM  

You don't flip or pull a uey. You HANG a uey. You can also hang a left, hang a right, hang ten, hang paper or hang down your head Tom Dooley. But you can't flip or pull any of them.

pabloinnh 7:53 AM  

Once I had BOWLINGALLEY going down through STRIKEEFORCES I knew what was going on, looked around for split, spare, and possibly turkey, and was not disappointed. Bowling to me was Sundays after church when my brother and I would pile in the car with my parents and drive twenty miles to go bowling. Or taking my sons to the same alleys years later with my parents now the grandparents. And all this now feels like a long time ago in a galaxy far away.

The bowling theme just made this way too easy for a Wednesday for me. Gimmes, besides the kegler (isn't that a good word?) terms, were OBERON and BIERCE and BOOBIRDS and some others. In short, I now have more free time on my hands than I wanted. I'm finding the Spelling Bee to take up as much time as you want it to, so there's that at least.

Thanks for the memories, SB.

And RIP, John Prine. You were one of a kind.

Frantic Sloth 7:58 AM  

I liked this one. I don't care if the theme is old or not. @CDilly52 described my own solving experience best, so I can't improve on that.

And then .there's Rex's insistence on flipping a UEY. @Steve 626am stole my line. You do not flip a UEY. You most definitely pull a UEY. You can flip a bird, flip your wig, flip out, but you just don't flip a stupid UEY.

The worst part of this whole argument is having to type UEY repeatedly because that's where I agree with Rex - trying to spell that word is just an ungodly exercise in futility.

@Z Furry fandom theme? LOL!

Suzie Q 8:00 AM  

Another puzzle that taught me something new. I've heard deer make some unexpected noises but bell is news to me. I have heard elk bark and if I had not seen it as well I would have thought it was a dog.
Never heard of boo bird but I love it.
We have eye again today as well as fable which was a clue yesterday.
I'm not a builder but are I bars a thing? I beams I know.
We had a big discussion recently about turkey so I remembered.
Rex said he was not a bowler so I guess he doesn't know that you do roll a split with your first ball.
Nadal's friends call him Rafa?
Medium feels about right for me because I never felt I was really tuned into Sam's wavelength.

JC66 8:08 AM  

Last night, I received an email from someone (George, think) requesting that I send them the Embedding Cheat Sheet that I sent to @caryinboulder.

Just wanted to let you know that your email mysteriously disappeared, so please email me again so I can forward the cheat sheet to you.

BTW, were you able to find my email @caryinboulder? If not, please email me, too.

Frantic Sloth 8:08 AM  

For more, (perhaps too much more) on that dread pirate UEY: slang phrases for u-turn

Johnny Mic 8:18 AM  

I grew up in Wisconsin, and we definitely pull uies. Hang sounds reasonable too. This is the first I'm hearing of "flipping" and I can't get behind it. Sounds like what happens when one is driving to fast and attempts to pull a key. I thought it was a decent if uninspired puzzle, certainly enjoyable.

Z 8:35 AM  

@diver - How can you mention Tom Dula and include a musical link? Granted, most would have gone Kingston Trio, but I’m much more Neil Youngish.

Hang, PULL, flip(?)... Maybe we should all stop being so indecisive about where we are going. Unless it’s to hell in a hand basket, then by all means let’s UEY away.

@SouthsideJohnny - It is always a good time for OBERON. And now I really want to try their Mango Habanero OBERON Ale.

@kitshef - Juan González. To be fair, The Tigers built a stadium with an incredibly deep left field then traded for a right handed power hitter. No wonder he was frustrated. Biggest favor he did Detroit was to not sign the $140 million dollar offer. He demanded the fences be brought in before he’d sign. The Tigers refused (until two years later when they did). If you ever watch a Tiger game on TV and see a home run into the bullpen- that would have been a loud out under the original configuration. Anyway, I realize now it wasn’t really Juan González at fault, but back in 2000 I was a BOOBIRD.

JamieP 8:36 AM  

It looks like a lot of us had the same experience. I plopped BOWLING ALLEY down the middle and then unenthusiastically went looking for STRIKE, SPARE, and TURKEY. I've also read this blog long enough to know that Rex has visceral reactions to aggressively ugly letter combinations like PULLAUEY. Can't say that I blame him.

Stay to the end of the "I'm Saved" video. The best part is when it's the women's turn to sing. A short guy in a leather jacket stands up and gets pushed back down by a taller women. He looks like he thinks they're doing a bit; she looks like she doesn't.

albatross shell 8:44 AM  

My first thought on getting BOWLING ALLEY from the B was we will be in the gutter again today.
But it was not to be.

You have a strike when you roll the first ball and knock down all the pins.

You have a spare when you roll the second ball and knock down all the pins you missed with the first ball.

You have a split when you roll the first ball and the pins remaining have gap larger than a bowling ball between them.

You pick up a split when you roll the second ball and knock down all the pins in your split.

You have a turkey when you roll a ball that is your third strike in a row, but not your 4th or more.

Flip a U-IE (Always been my preferred spelling, crosswords mostly go with U-EY, its tradition. Tehee)? I flip a bird to that. Never heard it. Pull or make a U-EY.

No word from the GOD ARK.
Be safe. Don't flip any bank jobs.

Unknown 8:51 AM  

I definitely pull a uey. In a vacant parking lot covered in ice you drive, then pull hard on the emergency brake whilst turning the steering wheel. You have to pull the e brake, hence pulling a uey

ghkozen 8:53 AM  

Agree. I’m from less than a hour away from Binghamton, where Rex lives, and I’ve never heard a single person ever say “flip a uey.” It sounds like uncanny robot speak to me. Agree with the puzzle that ueys are pulled, period.

TJS 9:17 AM  

Does anyone else feel that Rex is really losing it with this enforced time off? He seems to be going to idiotic extremes to find things to critcise, and todays' review is a perfect example. Right off the bat he engages in a ridiculous dissection of "split" as something that "precedes your roll" and is something "you 'pick up'". Nope,it's the result of a roll, just as a strike or spare is, and a split is a split whether you pick it up or not.

He then moves on to inform us that "uey" is "horrible" but "FLIPAU" works just fine. Then he misreads the 3 down clue to complain about deer howling. And follows up with questioning whether " revivals still exist?"

I've been trying the "kindlier and gentlier"(?? Sp.) approach toward OFL, but he's losing it.

Anonymous 9:17 AM  

Not gonna wade through the comments to count up which # I am but...

OFL, you ignorant [pick your term] - you ROLL the ball to generate the 'split'!! the pin setting machine doesn't put down the split for you. Gad. you ROLLed that 7-10 by your own self. and try to make that in a candle pin or duck pin alley. you're close enough to NE to try one out.

Anonymous 9:19 AM  

Someone, anyone, please explain what "bell" has to do with DEER?!?!?!

Anonymous 9:23 AM  

@Suzie Q - When they're still in the steel yard, they're all bars. It's only when they get installed that they become definitively bars, beams or rods, depending on what forces they experience: Compression (vertical orientation) forces only and they remain bars, deflection forces (horizontal) and compression only, they're beams. Any introduction of twisting forces and they become rods.

Anonymous 9:24 AM  

See what happens when you speed solve ? You get Tom Cruise creating Jack Ryan.

Karl Grouch 9:29 AM  

17A: What working men and women can become when their rights are in jeopardy

31A: What you can see a dalmatian postcard on

43A: What drivers can do at a red light for persons in need

56A: What can the international community's role be vis-a-vis Erdogan

16D: Where you might shout the phrases in 17-, 31-, 43- and 56-Across.


I'm (not) Saved 9:34 AM  

Two real nits with this puzzle...that I'm surprised Rex didn't mention (although one has to do with how "old" the puzzle skews):

LUBES. New cars don't need to be lubed. You get your oil changed now, and maybe they top off the antifreeze or windshield washer fluid, but your car doesn't need to be lubed anymore.

AMISH. The Amish should be known for a lot more than "Eschewers of military service." There are a lot of people who are pacifist or, especially these days without a draft, "eschew military service." That's just a shitty clue. Is it accurate? Sure. Is it good? No.

I also know way too many people in that "I'm Saved" video. Let me just say that what you are seeing there is people doing a job. They get paid for singing that...whether they truly believe it or not. Many of them are being paid to "publically" believe it. Most of the musicians there do not. This was shot in Nashville and it looks like they used a WWF ring as the stage, LOL. I'm so glad I was "saved" from being a part of this world anymore.

Barbara S. 9:34 AM  

I wondered at first if this was a literary theme with the following all near the top:
CLANCY (OK, pop lit in his case)
DORSET (clued via Hardy)
FABLE (clued via Orwell)

But then, the bowling alley came into view.

It strikes me that this is a PPP-heavy puzzle (popular culture, product names and other proper nouns) with the material listed above plus a number of film, TV, sport and miscellaneous cultural references. I'm never exactly sure with some clues/answers whether they're considered PPP or not. For example, 46A ECO ("Good for the earth" prefix): is that PPP? What about 35A NINETEEN? I'm assuming yes, because it's clued via Susan Lucci, even though NINETEEN isn't a PPP word itself.

Until this morning I guess I never knew my HOCKED from my "hawked," which slowed me down a bit. I also didn't know CLAIRE from "Modern Family," which crossed it. At one point I had _LAI_E, which I was sure was going to be "Elaine," but that messed up HOCKED spelled whichever way.

Quite a menagerie today with TURKEY, SHEEP, DEER, BIRDS, CROC AND AHI. But where's the eel?

Speedweeder 9:34 AM  

CDilly52 7:05 - Thanks for reminding me about tube testers. I had totally forgotten about those things. First option before calling the TV repairman.

AP 9:38 AM  

In Boston, we bang a uey.

Kathy 9:40 AM  

“Wheelhouse City!” I, a former league bowler, exclaimed. Once I grokked the bowling theme I was locked and loaded for the usual suspects: strike, spare, turkey, split. That gave me a plethora of freebies so I thought I had it made and might even set a personal record! But I was done in by two crosses: I correctly guessed on SAC/ARI but I kept my RiCKY guess in and, in a critical lapse, never even thought of ROCKY. Had I stepped away and come back, I probably could have emerged victorious just like our beloved protagonist.

I should have had more patience since it’s not as if I have anything more pressing on my calendar today!

Let the social commentary on the bowler/cruciverbalist demographic Venn diagram begin...

Speedweeder 9:43 AM  

Suzie Q 8:00 - I don't know about Nadal's friends, but nearly all of the tennis world calls him Rafa, except for the Australian announcers, who add an "r" sound to the end so it sounds like Roffer.

B Right There 9:46 AM  

Count me in on the 'hang' a UEY crowd. And agree on the terms for SPLIT, STRIKE, etc. all being in the same category. I miss bowling terribly since a back injury a few years ago. Used to be on 2+ leagues a week back in the day. Funny thing, I misread the clue for 56A as "Aid for a Thanksgiving chIef". Thought, well, I guess the Indian chief would need to present the turkey to the Pilgrams, who might not realize it's such an edible bird, never having seen them in the Old World, so he'd be the one cooking it? Also agree that DRUMPAD seems awkward, but hubby, who still has a drum gathering dust in its case in a closet somewhere from his early drumming days, says it is a valid way to practice. As for the puzzle being dated, I guess I am, too, because this felt totally in my wheelhouse. Did a presentation paper in an econ class at university on "The Import Tariff Impact of Certain I-beams from Canada". To this day, I mentally hear the word "certain" in my brain when I hear the word I-beam because, in legalese it was a phrase that stared at me from every bit of research for over a week! "Certain I-beams". And totally dislike seeing I-BAR in xword puzzles no matter how many times I've come across it!

Birchbark 9:51 AM  

STRIKE FORCES -- there is a short (10-minute episodes) action spoof on Hulu called NTSF: SD: SUV (National Terrorism STRIKE FORCE: San Diego: they drive SUVs). The humor can descend well below customary tolerance levels but with compensating flashes of genius. The cast includes Kate Mulgrew (Captain Janeway of Star Trek: Voyager), sort of paralleling Patrick Stewart's (Captain Picard of Star Trek TNG, various Shakespeare) foray into quasi-crass hilariousness on "American Dad".

@CDilly52 (7:05) -- Point taken, coffee in hand.

@albatross shell (8:44) -- I saw GOD ARK as well, and thought "GOD ARK of Dune." That would be a cool manuscript to discover in Frank Herbert's attic.

Unknown 9:52 AM  

Opera aria discussion warning: Sorry to revive this from yesterday, but the opera diction coach at my conservatory never ceased to find it hilarious that in Mozart’s famous aria “una donna a quindici anni”, you have to make sure to pronounce both “nn”s in anni so that it means “A 15 year old girl” as opposed to “A girl with 15 asses”. Never mind why a 15 year old girl is being coached on how to flirt with and otherwise manage older wealthy men.

I guess I always heard Ambrose “Pierce”, so that set me back a bit.
Wanted Wonka in the Rocky spot for a while also(had the K first)
Thinking of all the theaters that have been forced to GODARK, and wondering when and how they’ll get back. Eventually remembered that is also a term for radio silence.

Teedmn 9:54 AM  

I had GOBS of fun with this. In fact, I was just pondering yesterday the song that goes (this doesn't pass the breakfast test so stop right there if you're an easy-queasy type (can I verb-alize that to "queased"?)) "Great big GOBS of greasy, grimy gopher guts". I realized it was sung to the tune of "The Old Gray Mare". This reminded me of the ABC/Twinkle Twinkle/Baa Baa Black Sheep discussion. It also made me ponder why anyone created a song about gopher guts and why we sang it with such relish, back in the day. "And I forgot my spoooon!"

My brother-in-law got pulled over in Missouri for PULLing A UEY. When the cop (who just gave him a warning), looked at his license, he remarked, "Oh, you're from Minnesota. Those aren't legal here". I'll agree with anyone here who has neither PULLed nor flipped a UEY. It's always hang.

SPARE CHANGE reminded me of this.

Thanks, Sam Buchbinder, I liked it.

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

Am I the only one who doesn't get the Howl : wolf :: bell : DEER? I mean, I get the analogy usage (X is to Y as A is to B) but what do bells have to do with deer?

Nancy 9:58 AM  

Why do I have this feeling that we had a puzzle with this exact theme very recently? I'm probably wrong, but it was TURKEY that stirred (BASTEd?) the memory.

Everyone seems impressed that the revealer is perpendicular to the theme answers and runs through all of them. That supposed "feat" of construction has been praised in other puzzles, but since I don't/can't construct grids, I have no feel for what makes this so much harder than constructing other grids. And anyway it's the solving experience that interests me, not how hard the puzzle was to construct.

There was a great clue for STYE (31D) and a very good one for FAN MAIL (26D) and not much else here that I found sparkling. But I did have to work a bit (who knew that DEER "belled", for example?), so it wasn't a slam-dunk. But I'd describe it as workmanlike.

Crimson Devil 10:03 AM  

Hang UEY, perhaps PULL, but not flip.
DEER over Ambrose person did me in. Still don’t understand DEER....
Rest quite passable.

Anonymous 10:10 AM  

In Brooklyn, where I grew up, we would always HANG a uey.

Robert A. Simon 10:12 AM  

In Chicago, we politely ask the other drivers around us if it’s okay, and then we carefully turn around and drive in the opposite direction.

hansthecat 10:14 AM  

Alex Baldwin originated the role of Jack Ryan in The Hunt For Red October, a movie which holds up very well 30 years later. He was also played on the big screen by Harrison Ford (very good), Ben Affleck (good enough), and Chris Pine (meh) before John Krasinski’s (very good) small screen version.

Z 10:14 AM  

@anonymous 9:19 - DEER bell. Please don’t ask me to explain “rutting.” Although, I do think the article on fur fandom I linked to earlier has a section on rutting....

@Barbara S - I had the same thought about the PPP, but it’s actually fairly low. Something like 20 put of 76, 26%. I think part of it is the OBERON BIERCE stack to start off the puzzle, and also that a fair amount of the PPP is longish for this puzzle. When I count I do include words that are made into PPP by their clues like NINETEEN and COLAS today. I don’t normally count something like ECO unless it’s clued as some sort of brand name.

This “flip a uey” thing seemed wrong and lots of disbelief has been expressed, but there is online support for the phrase. I picked this one because it included the not quite the same thing Michigan Left and “whip a bitch” (making me wonder exactly what is wrong with Oklahoma). There’s not a lot of “flip a uie” to be found, but it is out there on the interwebs.

GILL I. 10:20 AM  

Oh....BOWLING. I think the last time I bowled was also the last time I went to a drive-in movie theater. I had fun at the drive-in. They might be coming back.
I was never much of a bowler and didn't know there is etiquette involved. You can't just pick up that 50 lb thing and swing it down the lane if someone next to you is doing it first. You have to wait your turn. I got the stink eye look and the STRIKE FORCES were after me.
Where to begin. Well for starters 1A. The TOPORB was not to be heard from anymore. I had tons for 1D PEAL for 3D OLE OLE for 4D and BOW TO for 6D. Yay me. Thats spells TOPORB and I'm sure it's slang for something like that never heard of BOO BIRDS.
I knew CLANCY because I've read all his books and I fell in love with Jack Ryan because he knew what he was doing.
Finally cleaned up my act and was able to finish even though I didn't know what I was doing.
I noticed a bit of an International's flair with BLEU ETAT ARRIBA RAFA and DORSET TATE. Cool beans.
Cry at a revival took me back to San Francisco and the first time I went to Glide Memorial. I went for the gospel music. I'm sure the pastor yelled IM SAVED a lot but no one cared; we wanted some good tunes.
@Im (not) saved....my oldy moldy trusty Ford Tauras still gets LUBES. Come to think of it, so do I.
I wish MAYA had been clued with Angelou. HOLD the UNDAY.
@webwinger from late last night. Rarely does anybody seem to apologize anymore. Yours was quite eloquent. @Aketi was justified in being angered and I'm glad you came back to say you were sorry. Classy.
Day 39 of social distancing and counting. I miss hugging my granddaughter. I miss cocktail hour with my friends. It's no fun drinking a good martini without some laughter to share with. I miss being able to find rye flour. (Sigh). I miss a lot of things, but I'm fortunate. The people most likely to utter got any SPARE CHANGE can't get the TURKEY BASTER chef to help them out anymore. Thank you volunteers.
I have to go sew some socks for face masks.....

OffTheGrid 10:25 AM  

@Birchbark. I loved "Voyager" with said Cap'n Janeway at the helm. Kate Mulgrew was in a few episodes of another TV show.

To all: Trivia Quiz: What was the program, her character name, and who was she beyond the name?

puzzlehoarder 10:26 AM  

This came in at a minute and a half longer than my usual Wednesday solve thanks to my complete and deliberate ignorance of there being a theme. With SPLITSCREEN fully in place I thought 16D might be BOILING WATER and the themes had something to do with "eggs." Of course that didn't work so I just kept on with the fill and confidently entered LOOSECHANGE at 43A. When SAC couldn't go in at 43D any other solver would have reread the revealer clue and automatically switched LOOSE for SPARE. I just don't care about themes and will use them to solve as only a last resort.

I didn't know TURKEY wàs a bowling term and I don't care. 56A went in without reading the clue because the term TURKEYBASTER was just so easy to recognize.

The fill was tough enough that I had to resort to filling the SW corner so I could backfill that entire west side.

The NW corner made a brief last stand. I cracked it by coming up with OBERON. Once again the slightest bit of attention to the theme would have made STRIKE and then ROCKY obvious. I just don't care. By pretending this was a themeless I got an extra 90 seconds of good solving so I'm happy.

Smith 10:30 AM  

Did anyone else have trouble getting to the puzzle? I'm a NYT subscriber and have always been able to do the puzzles but today they suddenly seem to be behind a paywall. It isn't much, but it's incredibly annoying, especially now...

TJS 10:40 AM  

Yes, you youngsters out there, there was a time when a malfunctioning TV could be fixed by pulling certain tubes out from the back of the set and taking them into Walgreens, inserting them into a tube testing device, and seeing if any of them were non-functioning. Take the offending item to a "repair shop", buy a replacement tube, plug them all back into the TV and "voila", problem solved. Of course we now have a much advanced method of solving the problem. Throw the thing in the alley and buy a new one..Ah, progress...

Teedmn 10:53 AM  

Do cartoonists get previews of NYTimes crosswords? :-)

Mortimer 11:02 AM  

@Smith - It looks like the NYT Crossword site is having technical issues.

Anonymous 11:02 AM  


Doubt that one could buy/build a TeeVee with valves, but you can do either with nearly any component in an audio system. I have. Some folks insist that any valve component will sound better than the solid state version. I do. Not ready to return to LPs though. And, of course, there are CD players with valve amp circuit. Ah the orange glow. Though I try not to be reminded of the Orange Clown.

ArtO 11:17 AM  

@cDilly52 my sentiments too. Well said.

Surprised Ambrose Bierce was not WOD.

Richardf8 11:19 AM  

I loved the Dorset clue, having read quite a bit of Hardy. I may be a niche audience, but I felt really catered to.

Bax'N'Nex 11:19 AM  

Mike: If you roll a ball and the "situation" you create is a split, why then, when you roll a ball that knocks down all the pins, is a strike not considered a "situation"? What a bizarre rant. Just shows that this puzzle must have been pretty OK, if THAT'S the "Mike's ridiculous rant of day".

And you would have been "singling it out for praise" had it not been a themer? SMH!


QuasiMojo 11:25 AM  

I have heard of people rolling SPLIFFS s but never splits. There are different kinds of splits so it's too vague to say you can roll one. You don't really roll a spare either. You make a spare, or get the spare. You do roll a strike because it is only one roll. I googled "roll a split" in Google Books which gives you GOBS of text examples in published works over the centuries and came up with only one example of its ever being used in print, from a Harlequin romance! Hardly a reliable source.

To Unknown, re Mozart aria. You must know that girls of 15 were married in those days and were often groomed to marry older men. It might seem odd today but it was the norm. It was not uncommon here in the States up until maybe the beginning of the 20th century for 15 year olds to get married. And younger. I'm no expert but didn't Edgar Allan Poe marry his cousin when she was 13?

I loved this puzzle during the first few seconds what with Ambrose Bierce, Tom Clancy and Shakespeare but it went dark very quickly and I became a Boo Bird. I had SECTS for Blind followers (crossing nicely with the AMISH although they are not blind followers and badly misunderstood.) plus "eschewers" is one of those silly $5 words we had last week. Pshaw!

This one was a TURKEY.

kitshef 11:26 AM  

@Karl Grouch - loved your SPLIT SCREEN clue, but shouldn't Dalmatian be capitalized?

Whatsername 11:28 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Newboy 11:31 AM  

Sunshine and BLEU skies and bowling all in one magnificent Idaho morning! My world is complete; I may just PULL A UEY and head back to bed with a Kindle full of Scott Thurow’ s ONEL ( thanks @Nancy). Thanks to Sam for an almost Natick grid—puzzled over 31d & 38a—even though I’ve had a STYE on my EYE removed twice. Once my mind went off the grid looking for saints with two letter names, I was truly headed to perdition and Shay Rudolph couldn’t save me. All in all it took awhile, but as did Susan Lucci I ended up where I wanted to be.

Thanks to to @jc66 for html coaching and @Nancy for reading recommendation above. Read a couple early mysteries by Thurow but never his nonfiction books. Sorta stuck on Louise Penny & Nordic noir in recent years.

Loved the post by @Cdilly52 on NYT crossword: “It is my “morning coffee” brand. Throughout the day, I sample other brands (coffee and crosswords) but the Times is my brand. It is. “All y’all” (as a native Okie would say) experts here can decide whether the Times brand needs updating or not. I will simply come back every day because I continue to enjoy it-whatever “it” is or shall be.” I couldn’t say it any better than that.

Malsdemare 11:33 AM  

I'm way too late to have anything to add to this discussion, other than to say where I'm from originally (Cincinnati) we hang a UEY.

But I want to echo @Gill's appreciation of @webwinger's apology. I actually agree with almost everything (webwinger) said. It takes a lot of integrity and courage to reevaluate one's words. It’s a good reminder of the what giants we can be.

My husband pinned elastic on 40 mask pieces this morning; time for me to finish them.

Smith 11:47 AM  

Problem solved.

egsforbreakfast 11:49 AM  

The bowling theme seemed perfect in light of an article in yesterday’s NYT about how people are flocking back to long abandoned comfort foods like Chef Boyardee and Campbell’s soup. Were it feasible, I’m sure many of us would head for the lanes after our Swanson TV Dinners.

What do you a call a slave ship with a kegling facility aboard? A bowlin’ galley.

Did the puzzle last night while listening to John Prine and bawlin’, not bowling. I can’t believe he’s gone.

Anonymous 11:50 AM  


Anonymous 11:51 AM  

Which reminds me of a rumour (truth?) that Soviet/Russian military gear still runs on some tubes. The theory, how could one accurately test, is that tubes aren't disabled by nucular bomb EMF. It's widely said that only China, Russia, Czech, and Slovakia still make tubes. Might be the reason why.

JC66 11:53 AM  


Your a MENSCH.

Karl Grouch 11:57 AM  

Indeed it should

Smith 11:59 AM  

@Anon 9:19 Sound they make

Parse it as "howl = sound made by a wolf" "bell = sound made by a ?"

Rex read the clue wrong. Been a long time since those SAT analogies...

Whatsername 12:03 PM  

Liked this, made me want to go bowling. But I don’t understand the deer:bell correlation. DEER sniff, snort and grunt but what is bell? I grew up on a farm with herds of them but someone’s gonna have to explain that one to me. (FWIW, In that neck of the woods, you hang a UEY.)

@Z (10:14) I appreciate your effort to provide an explanation to me and others, but the animals in that video are elk. Apparently someone refers to the sound they make as a “bell,” but I’ve always heard it called a bugle.

Animal house is a movie that used a SPLITSCREEN technique. It’s a great film to watch during the downtime, especially if you’re a Boomer. Classic John Belushi in the frat party scene. “Grab a BREW, don’t cost nothin.” https://youtu.be/Zf16YtSOaUQ

@Robert Simon (10:12) I’m still laughing.

It’s been an easy week so far, but I seem to recall someone (@LMS?) saying that Thursday was going to be a bear. Guess I’d better sharpen my pencil.

RooMonster 12:08 PM  

Hey All !
Ok, first, that NW corner absolutely sucked. Spent the same amount of time there as the rest of the puz. Had ole ole for 4D, then got STRIKE, so actually put in sisIsi with a grimace, which got me ghosts for 1A. Yikes. Both OBERON and BIERCE were Huhs? Finally erased everything, looked up the meaning of obeisance, got KNEEL, then BYLAW, then ROCKY, getting me to see GODARK, and filled in the rest.

Second, agree with @TJS about Rex's odd rant on the SPLIT. He says you roll a STRIKE or a SPARE. Yes, but you also roll the ball, and end up with a SPLIT sometimes. You end up with anything after you roll.

Third, I'm from Pennsylvania originally, we always said Flip a Bitch for a U-turn. Never knew where that terminology came from.

Fourth, BOWLING is not 90's or passe, it's still big on the TV circuit, and there's still lots of leagues out there, even here in Las Vegas. Though, now, of course, they're all closed.

Fifth, (am I still counting?) I liked this puz. Cool to get the Revealer to cross the four Across themers. Didn't notice (natch) it was 16 long, thanks for that @Lewis. Got @M&A's "jaws of themlessness" as a bonus. Decent fill, well, except for NW. :-)

Sixth, that's it.

Two F's

What? 12:08 PM  

Theme fills can’t be changed to suit crosses. Having a reveal across 4 theme fills is pretty difficult so kudos for that.
I’ve seen grids where 4 theme fills don’t cross each other, using 2 down and 2 across. Makes construction easier.

Anonymous 12:15 PM  


but, but, but... Sleepy Joe has said it'll be a girl. Bernie in a tutu?? An image I'll never be rid of.

Ernonymous 12:23 PM  

I've only been doing these puzzles since January, and we had a bowling puzzle this year already. It was quite controversial and we all learned there was such a thing as a turkey in bowling. We learned that from about 25 commentators. I did like this puzzle anyway. I had a slow start, it felt almost like a Friday themeless to me at first, but one I filled in ARRIBA instead of OLEOLE the whole thing went very fast.
@tjs no Rex has always criticized ridiculous things. That's why I love him.If anything he's been nicer since the quarantine.

Masked and Anonymous 12:27 PM  

Nicely timed follow-up to MINDINTHEGUTTER.
Good construction job, altho as @RP sorta implied, the re-used theme mcguffin don't exactly bowl U over.

PULLAUEY is somethin I have heard said before … kinda like PULLAFASTONE, etc. Sooo … desperate, but "exceptable". And, nice and U-ey.

Other fillins of note: BOOBIRDS. GUNNEDIT. FANMAIL. GODARK. HOCKED. OBERON [played by Victor Jory, in M&A's fave Shakespearean play adapted to the screen]. Victor Jory also was The Shadow, in its cliffhanger serial adaptation. But, I digress …

staff weeject picks: The rare and precious weeject word ladder: AHA --> AHI --> ARI. Primolicious.
Admirable weeject stacks in the NE & SW, btw.

Bonus Jaws of Themelessness in the puzgrid, altho here they serve more as the Jaws of Bowling Alley.
Often the Jaws will foretell a wide-open, lowish-word-count puzgrid, but not so much, today. 77 words … but then again, a 15x16 puzgrid, so I reckon it comes out semi-wide open?

Thanx for returnin my mind to the gutter, Mr. Buchbinder.

Masked & Anonym007Us


Ernonymous 12:31 PM  

@webwinger I was just over to yesterday's comments and see your apology. You are a good guy. As for the models, predictions and stats being generated, we won't know whose model of total deaths comes the closest until after it's over. At that time, we can all give a round of applause to who made the best prediction. For now these models don't offer any comfort when looking at the many thousands who have already died. Models Schmodels, it's the reality inside these hospitals that is horrifying. I agree you are a Mensch.

jberg 12:31 PM  

I liked the theme, even though I haven't bowled tenpins since I moved to New England in 1964; and I did enjoy having the revealer cross them all.

The TATE Modern is closed, like all art museums (well, most); if not, we'd probably be having a big debate over the politics of the Kara Walker exihibit in the Turbine Hall, which technically ended 3 days ago. I wish I could have seen it.

I don't play drums, I have nieces, nephews, and grandchildren who do. If your kids play and you want them to practice,you're either going to get them a DRUM PAD or wear earplugs all day. So the clue is pretty specific -- of course you can practice on a drum kit, and after you're advanced enough you'll have to, but practicing is not its purpose.

I think I've read too much Hardy (though I'm far from finished); Jude walks to Oxford in a day, which I don't think he could do from DORSET -- but apparently Hardy started out there, and then broadened the definition as he went along.

That Susan Lucci clue is just showing off -- you know it's a number, so once you get a few crosses it has to be NINETEEN, whatever the clueis.

And finally, does RUED mean had second thoughts?

Z 12:39 PM  

@Whatsername - I'm not a deer hunter, but I'm guessing the people at Hunting Video Productions are. Plus, since they film in Hungary, those animals are most definitely not elk. My guess is that the big racks fooled you. Happens to us men all the time, but now the stiletto is on the other foot.

Can we ban all berniebros? Another group that always seems to be rutting. My guess is the VP pick will be a woman from a purple state, probably from west of the Appalachians. That's why Michigan's new governor is subject to so much presidential abuse (well that and being a strong female). Look at senators that are women from purple states as other likely candidates. There's very little evidence that a veep candidate is actually able to swing a state to that party, but that's never stopped anyone from trying.

MR. Cheese 12:43 PM  

@Smith I couldn’t get puz until after noon.
OFL ranted about “split” untilI couldn’t take it any more. There’s got to be a better way to spend your time.
Puzzle almost as boring as bowling is.

Pamela 12:43 PM  

RAVEL? Really? That had me stumped even after the final L finally fell into place. Precipitates just didn’t enter my head as precipitation, so SLEET took a while. Until the very end, I kept looking for an unwelcome event that one could cause. And then I just had to look up RAVEL. The on-line OED listing says the verb means to untangle, but the noun means tangle. Elsewhere the meanings are defined as interchangeable. Who knew?!

Otherwise the puzzle took a little longer than Monday or Tuesday, but wasn’t that difficult. I looked for a rebus at 1A, wanted GOneDARK, but soon realized that wasn’t necessary. Never heard of BOOBIRDS, BOWLING ALLEY came quickly and made the others obvious, except that I didn’t know what TURKEY had to do with bowling.

With all this extra time on my hands, I’m really enjoying lingering over the paper, the daily puzzles and all of you. Thank you!

Z 12:54 PM  

@Giovanni (and @webwinger) - I posted this link late yesterday. It is a good explanation of why we need to listen carefully to the experts' provisos and ignore anything any political figure says. For the number-phobic out there, this is a little heavy on the math, but you can ignore the math and still get a good sense of the general principles. Tl;Dr - Predictions are hard, especially about the future.

Anonymous 1:01 PM  

@Whatsername - Elk are deer, just not Bambis. All members of Cervidae are deer, they include Moose, Elk, Caribou, Reindeer, and Bambis of various species.

@Z - The rut is testosterone run amok. The bucks fight one another, then rape the does. It's that simple.

CT2Napa 1:02 PM  

list of animal sounds

Chip Hilton 1:08 PM  

Surprised to learn that LSU has The Reveille as its daily paper. I immediately thought of Texas A&M since their collie mascot has that name. Ya learn somethin’ new . . .
For me, it’s hang a uey and never be a BOOBIRD for the home team, no matter how inept. Thick and thin, lads.
Enjoyable Wednesday. Thanks, Sam.

Carola 1:13 PM  

For me, there was more post-solve admiration for the construction that fun while solving: the memory of the December BOWLING-themed puzzle made this just too easy. Very nice to have he BOWLING lane running right down the middle, with its ties to all 4 of the results of a roll. Fun to learn BOOBIRD. Advantage to being elderly: learning about Ambrose BIERCE in high school.

@Teedmn, in southern Wisconsin we sang about "Great green GOBS..." :)

@jae, re: your mention of Kenyon a couple of days ago - in the spring of 1965 I was a freshman at Oberlin, and as a favor to a dorm friend, agreed to go with her on blind date at Kenyon, leading to a very ROCKY evening for my poor date and me, two people who could scarcely have been more mis-matched. Anyway, I enjoyed thinking of us being on the same campus, if only for a few hours.

Frantic Sloth 1:13 PM  

@OffTheGrid 1025am The first thing I ever saw Kate Mulgrew in was the soap opera "Ryan's Hope", but I don't recall her character's name. Probably Irish. ;-)

@Z 1014am Great minds think alike. And apparently, so do we!

jae 1:14 PM  

Mostly easy-medium except for the NW corner (hi @Roo) No idea on the DEER clue, or the movie guy (I know the movie but the quote did nothing for me) or the “Dead space?” clue. It was only when OBERON floated up from two layers below @Lewis’s “easy-to-pluck-from brain territory” that I finished that corner.

Not much dreck and some fun non theme entries, but didn’t we just have a bowling puzzle? Liked it.

Like @Malsdemare I grew up in Ohio where we would hang a UEY.

How about a Steely Dan clue for NINETEEN?

Masked and Anonymous 1:15 PM  

The M&A Alley Research Group had to go back quite a ways, to spot a NYTpuz with a bowlin theme. Disclaimer: I kinda doubt it's the only one. Anyhoo ...
Puz I found was splatzed out on 2 March, 1995.

@RP: Not bad, on yer "adequate in the 90's" prediction. Do y'all have the ESP?


Doctor Work 1:18 PM  

It was news to me, but deer do actually bell:

1. a bellowing or baying cry, esp that of a hound or a male deer in rut

Still, it's pretty obscure.

CaryinBoulder 1:21 PM  

We say PULL A UEY here in Colorado. Actually, my wife and I have come up with our own version after being in the same car with my friend, Leland, who pulled a 3/4-uey to grab an angled parking space away from a waiting driver. We have ever since called this Pulling A Leland.

My final fill was the STYE/MAYA crossing. I kept thinking about that spot that pops up on the top of a jar after you’ve banged it with a knife handle, run it under hot water, pulled out one of those rubberized thingies and expended every last amount of energy to get the damn thing open. I wonder if Will Shortz has ever clued Muddy Waters’ lubricious tune, “She’s NINETEEN Years Old”? I still haven’t figured out the embedding business, but you can find the song on YouTube.

The only baseball tangent I could find was a reminder of ROCKY (Rocco) Colavito, the power hitting outfielder for the Cleveland Indians. In 1959 he hit four consecutive home runs in one game against my beloved Orioles. He later got traded to the Tigers, where his strong throwing arm landed him in right field, moving Hall of Famer (and Baltimorean) Al Kaline to center field. (RIP Al Kaline this week.)

Typical Wednesday time for me. I’d forgotten that TURKEYs existed in bowling, but the theme got me STRIKE as some kind of force other than the ridiculous SPACE. BTW, growing up in Baltimore we always bowled duck pins, which used a much smaller ball and pins. I remember from when I was a teenager watching tough kids with their hair greased up and combed back into a DA (short for, coincidentally, duck’s ass) fire that ball down the lane with alarming FORCE. Instead of “greasers,” the local term for these guys was “drapes.” Don’t ask me why.

Birchbark 1:28 PM  

@OffTheGrid (10:25) -- Re Kate Mulgrew trivia: I haven't searched the internet but admit to being stumped. The only post-Voyager I'd seen of her was some years back in a documentary about the "Star Trek" captains then and now. At that time, she was focused on stage acting.

CaryinBoulder 1:37 PM  

Fingers crossed, with the help of @JC66, here is the Muddy Waters tune I mentioned. She’s 19 Years Old

David 2:03 PM  

Let's see; when something's tangled up it a mess right? And when something unravels it's a mess, right? What??
Better clue: composer of Gaspard de la nuit. Or Boléro is more well known, I suppose.

Had BOW and saw the down clue had rolls out of the corner of my eye, so dropped in Bowling Alley. Then I knew what to expect since all the crosses were lit up. Kind of boring but nice construction. FYI, in the center of the Hipster Universe--Greenpoint, Brooklyn--there is very busy bowling alley/bar. So yeah, it's not only on TV.

Where I live we pull uies.

Kate Mulgrew was Kate Ryan on Ryan's Hope. She was only on for 2 years of its run but she's still one of the most remembered cast members. I imagine if she'd been nominated for a Daytime Emmy she would have won the first time. Susan Lucci's old enough, but Ambrose Bierce? Wow.

I see Z is the only other person here who has Google. That's kind of weird.

Rex, if you don't know there are still revival meetings you haven't been paying much attention to 45's base.

Ereader next to eye is pretty good, but nothing's going to beat the Tate next to Etat. Brilliant.

My favorite Jack Ryan is Harrison Ford. I truly hate how Clancy lards up his books by paraphrasing 100s of pages of technical manuals. That really slows the stories down.

Believe it or not, lots of people still drive cars old enough to keep Jiffy Lube in business.

I rate it medium easy and pretty fun.

Anonymous 2:07 PM  

Does anyone know what @Masked's *staff weeject picks* mean?

Marlene M. 2:13 PM  

i have never heard "flip a uie." i originally had "make a uie" but i have heard both "pull" and "take" in that spot too.

Frantic Sloth 2:35 PM  

Recent bowling theme was in the Sunday, September 15, 2019 puzzle, "Get Your Mind Out Of the Gutter." Shades of yesterday...

xyz 3:06 PM  

Tedious at best, NW obscurity, several oddly misdirectional clues. I got better things to do than rag on more

tea73 3:18 PM  

I've seen the bowling theme before so that was a disappointment. Never heard of a turkey before, but no one I've ever played with was good enough to get more than two strikes in a row.

DNF as I had RAFe and ARRIBe. (Which is a Spanish word, just not the right one.)

Whatsername 4:05 PM  

@Z (12:39) My redneck roots are showing. I was thinking purely of Whitetail Deer, Mule Deer, etc. the type that inhabit the U.S. Nor did I realize that elk et al. are considered members of the DEER family. Where I'm from, if someone referred to an elk or moose as a deer they would be laughed out of the pool hall. That's why I love this blog - I improve my intellect just by remotely rubbing shoulders with so many scholars. Thanks for setting me straight but FYI, I've never worn stilettos in my life. That would be the very definition of a "walking disaster."

@Anon (1:01) Thanks for the info, and see above. I had no idea.

@David (2:03) Back when the Red October movie first came out, I read that Alec Baldwin was set to continue as Jack Ryan in subsequent films. But his salary demands became such that the role then went to Harrison Ford. IMO they both did a fine job of portraying the character. I devoured Clancy’s early books but got tired of having to slog through the technical manuals as you said. Too bad because his novels were otherwise so enjoyable.

Barbara S. 4:15 PM  

Because of 27A BLEU and
55D "Get tangled up"
I'd like to request that someone post a link to the relevant Dylan.

JC66 4:21 PM  

for @Barbara S

Anonymous 4:26 PM  

Yiu'd been right to laugh a know it all like that out of the pool hall.
Moose, elk, deer are, yes in the same family. But they're different genuses.
Family in taxonomy is a pretty large group. Not gonna click on anything z provides, but elk are not deer nor are moose. No wildlife biologist ive met or read would ab8de that nonsense for a minute.

OffTheGrid 4:28 PM  

@Birchbark & others. I did not know Kate Mulgrew was on Ryan's Hope.

I had in mind a story line on CHEERS where she played a city councilwoman named Janet Eldridge. She and Sam were an item and Diane thought she was just using Sam, as a former Red Sox pitcher, to help her get reelected.

Kate was also in "Orange is the New Black" on Netflix.

Z 4:46 PM  

@Barbara S - Is Jerry Garcia okay?

@Whatsername - I mostly responded so I could get the “big rack” line in.

@David - Right? Not that I mind going down these various rabbit holes.

@CaryinBoulder - So close. My guess is that you clipped off part of the url when you pasted it.

@Birchbark - Captain Janeway also appears in Orange is the New Black.

@Carola - Are you sure it wasn’t @jae?

@anon1:01 - A careful reading would have clued you in that I know what “rutting” is but was asking not to have to explain it. Also, anthropomorphize much?

@Anon2:07 - Yes.

Barbara S. 5:01 PM  

Wow, @JC66, that was transcendent. Thanks. That's a terrific song. So evocative. That Dylan combination of anger, regret and resignation. I loved the tight focus on his face. The eyes outlined in black were pretty riveting when you could see them under the hat brim. And the white make-up -- did he often perform that way, I wonder.

Anonymous 5:17 PM  

Alec Baldwin was set to continue as Jack Ryan in subsequent films. But his salary demands became such that the role then went to Harrison Ford.

Baldwin worth more than Ford???? That's mind boggling.

1980 to 1990 -
Ford - Han Solo, Indiana Jones, Rick Deckard, John Book
Baldwin - Jimmy Swaggart, and a handful of characters you couldn't name without a filmography

And, to make matters worse, Baldwin's first film (according to the wiki) was in 1987. One of those you can't name.

Barbara S. 5:35 PM  

What a fascinating contrast. I liked Garcia's version but he so lacks the edginess of Dylan. Lots of great instrumental stuff in his and his band's performance, though. I feel the song gains power through the austerity of Dylan. At the end I wanted to give Dylan a good stiff drink or something stronger...and I wanted to give Jerry a hug. (But not in this era of social distancing, of course.)

Anonymous 5:42 PM  

@Z. I LOLed at your answer, still chuckling - not sure whether I deserved it. Care to share? Or shall we leave it to Masked?

Anon - 2;07

Masked and Anonymous 6:17 PM  

@Anon 2:07 - har. OK. I'll try to briefly explain...

1. weeject - is a 3-letter entry in the puz's answer grid. These answers often get no respect from the crossword grideratti, so M&A tries to honor one of them in his commentary. M&A likes to stick up for the little darlins. [weeject word origin = wee + a perversion of "reject"]

2. Since @RP has already got a real neat Word of the Day feature, M&A decided to go with a Staff Weeject Pick, to honor his humbly selected weeject.

3. Best weeject candidates and winners are often based on such attributes as: desperation, U content, creativity, irony, feistiness, or har-larity. It is an exhaustive process, often lastin several nano-seconds.

4. Occasionally, multiple weejects get picked for the same puz, becuz of their interstin interaction, or somesuch.

5. [Extra fact] Runt puzzles usually have lots weejects in em, so they are sorta like a whole pick of the litter dog show, in one wee package. Just sayin.


Thanx for yer interest. Hope that helped, without scarin U too much.

M&A Help Desk

TJS 6:18 PM  

I remember loving Red October when it came out, but got totally turned off by Clancys' writng subsequently. He couldn't write dialogue to save his life. Give me Elmore Leonard any day.

Among all these deaths that are being reported these days, the loss of John Prine has hit me the hardest. Used to catch him in his early performing days all around the small clubs on the Near Northside of Chicago. He was still a mailman at the time, and would sometimes preface a song with "Here's one that came to me on the route." When he would finish "Sam Stone" there would always be a delayed reaction, as if the audience needed a second to absorb what they had heard. Then the applause. A true artist, and still a very down to earth human being. RIP

Xcentric 6:29 PM  

Hi All,
First time leaving a comment here, but long time fan of the NYT puzzle and this blog. Both always teach me something new.

Today I learned that the intransitive verb “bell,” meaning the sound made by a deer in rut, derives from the same root word as “bellow.”
This makes sense if you listen to the sound on any number of YouTube videos. It is truly a bellowing sound, similar to that made by bulls.

bellow (v.)
early 14c., apparently from Old English bylgan "to bellow," from PIE root *bhel- (4) "to sound, roar." Originally of animals, especially cows and bulls; used of human beings since c. 1600.

Whatsername 7:18 PM  

@Z (4:46) Yes I must admit those were pretty big. I’ve seen a lot of racks in my life but none like that. 😄

@Anon (5:17) Yes you’re absolutely right, and I remember thinking that exact thing at the time. Wow, so Baldwin thinks he’s worth more than Harrison Ford? I don’t remember the details and of course there are two sides to the story. He claimed they were trying to push him out to make way for Ford, and they said he was being uncooperative, blah blah blah. Lots of blame on both sides and they parted ways very acrimoniously.

Z 8:48 PM  

@anon2:07 - One has learnt to always tread carefully when essaying to explicate the Mighty Masked One. I deemed brevity safest and funniest. I’m glad you saw the humor. And M&A did a better job than I would have, anyway.

Anonymous 9:15 PM  


Honored by the fUll explanation.

Thank U.

Anon (2-07)

Andrew Heinegg 10:01 PM  

Well, you are clearly not an old-time Yankees fan. As a young un in the early 60's, I would go to Yankee games from time to time. This was during one of their most dominating eras with players like Berra, Skowron, Howard, Maris, Mantle, Ford, etc. W

Mantle was certainly one of the all-time greats with no weaknesses in any part of his game, like all sluggers, he would get more than his fair share of strikeouts.

He would get booed by significant numbers of folks as soon as he was announced and then, if he did strike out, they would go bananas. I never quite understood why they gave him such a bad time beyond the fact that he was immensely talented and baseball, as they say, is a sport where, if batters succeed 3 times out 10, they are Hall Of Fame material. They expected better than that from the Mick.

Anonymous 10:03 PM  

Soap operas do still exist. Four to be exact. Here's to the Marvelous Erica Kane!

albatross shell 10:28 PM  

I inferred most of M&A's explanation but was a joy to get it drt. from the maw end of dat cat's own bod to jam a few wee ones into an ode.

The one thing that took me longest to appreciate was the pick could sometimes be the worst or most desperate or even most overused and other times the funniest or most clever or most original.

My dad always wanted to write a detective story in which the detective's assistant was a foreigner who learned to speak English by learning all the one letter words, then all the two letter words and then all the three letter words. At that point his education was disrupted. M&A might enjoy such a character. My Dad never got a round tuit on that one. He did love words, but was better at numbers.

Whatsername 10:28 PM  

@M&A: Thanks for the explanation; I have wondered what a weeject was myself. And I love love love “grideratti,” going to remember that one. I feel so special.

@Xcentric: Welcome to the grideratti (see above). Hope you’ll come back again.

Anonymous 2:25 AM  

Kate Mulgrew also was in the series Mrs. Columbo. It was an offshoot of Peter Falk’s Columbo. Lasted one season, 1979-1980.

manitou 2:58 AM  

surprised... an entry of NINETEEN and not a single comment about covid???

Ernonymous 10:56 AM  

I thought Elizabeth McGovern was an awful actress in Downton Abbey. If you want to see something hysterical, if you have seen Downtown Abbey, this link will crack you up, I guarantee:


Or go to Youtube and Search:

Uptown Downstairs Abbey Part One | Red Nose Day - BBC

There is also a part 2. I'd say one of the top ten funniest things I have ever seen in my life.

Stars many famous actors, including the ladies from Ab Fab and Kim Cattrall
as Lady Crawley. She really captures the terrible acting!

Alex 11:12 AM  

U-ies are chucked, or banged. Maybe pulled. But never flipped.

They're also spelled Uie.

gizzard 4:38 PM  

I always heard "hang a uey". But maybe that's just in Minnesota.

Anonymous 7:33 PM  

You can "hang a uey" or more often in Philadelphia you can " PULL a uey" but I never heard "flip" a uey. NEVER! what's more, maybe it's just me, but I call it a u-bey, not a u-ey.

Jessica 12:18 AM  

In rural CT, we would hang a louey

spacecraft 10:09 AM  

Of course it's hang. But like OFC, I'd like to hang all UEYs and uies by the neck until dead. Plus we have another RCB (random construction [bar/beam]). Those added letters get no FANMAIL from me!

There is an inaccuracy in the cited definition of a SPLIT: it is possible tp leave the onepin standing and still roll--yes, whatever the result, you rolled it--a split. A split is defined and any pins or pin groups still standing with a space between them greater than the width of a standard bowling ball. So for example, you could roll a 1-10 split. I've done that, in fact.

As to the rest of the puzzle, I found it easy, and for the most part pleasantly crunchy in those wide open corners. These days, every day feels like an UNDAY. I just hope the only fever I get is cabin. Birdie.

Burma Shave 10:19 AM  


about the PEACH RAFA ate
it STRIKEs you as A SUAVE tale:
the FABLE of how UMA TATE.


rondo 1:48 PM  

In my neck of the MN woods you would usually hang one, maybe sometimes PULLAUEY, never flip one. The only things you would flip are BIRDS. And it seems to me you could roll any of those things.

Nobody ever calls them IBARS. Once a rolled bar takes the I shape with those flanges, it is a beam. Bar joists, reinforcing rods (re-rod or re-bar), and dowel bars (often epoxy coated) are the only common “bars” used in construction. Pretty much everything else is a beam, and the statics are computed as a beam with FORCES distributed onto the flanges. Check out the height of the vertical members of those I-beams on many RR or highway overpasses. Statics is a specialized type of physics.

The four corners slangily cheats, or GYPS you.

UMA MAYA, UMA MAYA, UMA MAYA, UMA MAYA, just fun to say.

I figured OFL would say the BOWLING theme was ‘tired’, as sure as death and taxes. Or death in Texas.

Diana, LIW 2:02 PM  

Jeeeze Lou-eazey! Everyone knows its:

yeeeeew - wheeee! The ONLY way to spell it. Which is another reason why it should never show up in a puzzle again. Nor should it show up in the car driven by the idiot driver in front of youze.

Almost got caught up in the NW! Had all the rest done, but Ambrose's name wouldn't come, and I kept trying Porky instead of ROCKY. Adriannnnneee!

Diana, LIW

rainforest 3:48 PM  

OK. A safe, solid BOWLING theme. Fine by me. I once PULLed A UEY (UEY or uie, I don't care) to go back on the other side to a BOWLING ALLEY. Lots of horn honking from other cars, and yelling from my backseat driver ensued. I always wondered why people honk their horns when there is no imminent collision - kind of an auditory comment on the maneuver, maybe. I only honk my horn when it is clear the other person doesn't know I' there, so it's more of a safety thing. The yelling I deal with on the spot.

Yes, you can roll a STRIKE, a SPARE, or a SPLIT. A gutter ball is also possible. I once rolled 4 consecutive STRIKEs. What's that? An Ostrich?

In the NW, OBERON and BIERCE were gimmes so I had time to wonder in my SUAVE way if a DEER bells ARRIBA during rutting season. Later I wondered if there were such a thing as an Ostrich BASTER. Mini ocular theme with EYE, STYE, and CONE. Liked STYE, FANMAIL, EREADER, and GUNNED IT. I always thought Animal Farm was an allegory rather than just a FABLE.

Liked the puzzle, nonetheless.

rondo 4:19 PM  

Should have mentioned that BIERCE was a gimme for me. BIERCE's 'The Devil's Dictionary' is at arm's length in my improvised home office. One of the definitions:
President: The leading figure of a small group of men of whom it is positively known that immense numbers of their countrymen did not want any of them for President.
That observation is from more than 110 years ago

leftcoaster 4:25 PM  

BOWLING ALLEY revealer showed up a bit too early, given a few crosses and a TURKEY, which was followed by the other themers. After that, things toughened up, especially in the North.

Knew Ambrose BIERCE, but ROCKY Balboa didn't show until later despite his title role and trademark brand of grammar. Also took a bit of time to dig out the cleverly clued OBIT. AMISH crossed by BOOBIRDS finally finished it off.

Have seen a lot of Xword UEYs, but PULLAUEY looked odd for some reason.

Had fun wrestling with this one.

Unknown Soldier 3:05 PM  

Matthew 21 [19] And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.

Revelation 22 [2] In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

    http://matthewrevelation.blogspot.com !


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