Mythical matchmaker / THU 4-23-20 / Tapered piece of sports equipment / Mexican tequila brand familiarly / Staple of Disney live-action remakes briefly

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Constructor: Yacob Yonas and Erik Agard

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (6:00, moving very very just-woke-up slowly)

THEME: RELOCATIONS (or "RE" LOCATIONS) (53A: Changes made to the answers to 16-, 24-, 33- and 47-Across, whether interpreted as one word or two?)  — relocate the "RE" in familiar words/phrases, so that the answers appear in the grid as different (unclued) words/phrases

Theme answers:
  • BAKING BREAD (16A: Acclaimed TV show concerning a science teacher-turned-drug dealer) (move the "re" in "Breaking Bad")
  • IN THREE D (!?) (24A: Financially behind) (move the "re" in "in the red")
  • CATERED (33A: Brought into existence) (move the "re" in "created")
  • COMPARED (47A: Amigo) (move the "re" in "compadre")
Word of the Day: Mireille ENOS (59A: Emmy- and Tony-nominated actress Mireille) —
Marie Mireille Enos (/mɪəˈr ˈnəs/; born September 22, 1975) is an American actress. Drawn to acting from a young age, she graduated in performing arts from Brigham Young University, where she was awarded the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship. Having made her acting debut in the 1994 television film Without Consent, she has since received nominations for a Tony Award, a Golden Globe Award, and an Emmy Award.
Early in her career, Enos appeared variously as a guest star on such television shows as Sex and the City and The Education of Max Bickford among others. She made her feature film debut with a minor part in the 2001 romantic comedy Someone Like You, but garnered wider attention for her role as Honey in the 2005 Broadway production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. Her performance in the latter earned her a nomination for Best Featured Actress at the Tony Awards. She again ventured into television roles and landed the role of twins Kathy and JoDean Marquart in the HBO drama series Big Love.
Enos' breakout role was on the AMC crime drama series The Killing; she played Sarah Linden, a Seattle-based police officer for the show's four seasons from 2011 to 2014. Her performance garnered her critical acclaim and earned her nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series at the Primetime Emmy Award and the Golden Globe Award. Enos starred as Karin Lane in the 2013 disaster film World War Z and Kathleen Hall in the 2014 romantic drama If I Stay; both of the films were blockbuster productions. She continued to draw praise for her work in independent films like Never Here (2017). Enos starred as the lead character in the short-lived ABC legal thriller The Catch. In 2019, she appeared in the Amazon/BBC co-production of Good Omens as Carmine "Red" Zuigiber, a war correspondent who is actually War, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. (wikipedia)
• • •

Happy Shakespeare's Presumed Birthday!

"Huh ... so they're simple anagrams, then." This was me while solving this puzzle, which I found mostly easy and which I mostly enjoyed, though I mostly enjoyed it as a themeless that contained some random anagrams For Some Reason. The revealer (not only the highlight of the theme, but the only thing enjoyable about the theme) eventually made sense of those anagrams, which ... on their own, are quite limp. Turns out relocating the "RE" doesn't do much for you except get you the preposterously spelled, seriously-no-one-spells-it-like-that "IN THREE D" (in case you're still looking at those letters going "what is it!?," it's "IN 3-D," like a movie). It's always slightly weird to have unclued things in the grid. It's weirder today because they are unmarked (i.e. not asterisked or anything) and short (easy to sort out BAKING BREAD because that answer looked like a themer, but I thrashed around with IN THREE D in part because it was so short-looking, I didn't think it was a themer). The theme is thin, in that only one of the involved answers is over eight letters long, and there are only four themers total. That's 34 squares involved, total (outside the revealer, obviously. Felt scant. Maybe if the same number had been involved over *three* answers, it would have felt more substantial because the answers themselves would've been more substantial overall (and thus possibly more interesting). But in the end the theme works fine, the revealer is clever, and the rest of the grid is quite entertaining. In a bizarre turn of events, the theme has not compromised the fill—rather, the fill has thrived in spite of the theme.


All my trouble came on proper nouns. Well, that and IN THREE D, as I've said. I have circled the trouble words: GILES, TILSIT, DELHI, and ENOS. I'm sure I've heard of St. GILES, but faced with just [St. ___ (district in London)] and having just the "G"—nothing. I have heard of TILSIT, but still had some trouble recalling it (and backing into it from the -SIT) (50A: Mild Swiss cheese). DELHI, LOL, yeah, I've heard of it, it's common, but I think of it as a city, and Uttar Pradesh is a state, so I was stumped (58A: Neighbor of Uttar Pradesh). Turns out DELHI is "a city and a union territory of India containing the city of New DELHI, the capital of India." The real slower-downer answer was ENOS, whom I thought I had never heard of, but I absolutely watched "The Killing," it's just been a while and I totally forgot the main actress's name. No other slow-downs for me. Really liked TAKESIGN (about to go watch some overseas baseball as soon as I post this!). LEMONY WAGNER TACTILE CLOSE ONE YE GODS! CUERVO OOPSIE ... this one had a lot of bounce, I thought. Not the flash of a good themeless, but far far more sparkle than fill tends to have in a themed puzzle. OK it's coffee / Taiwanese baseball time. See you.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Flinque 6:12 AM  

Ye Gods?? What century is it?

Loren Muse Smith 6:19 AM  

What? “Simple anagrams”?? Not at all. Yacob and Erik have taken tweezers, lifted out an RE and carefully placed it, intact, to a word, also intact. I would argue that these are actually elevated anagrams. Oh. My. God. This is brilliant. What’s brilliant is that the pairs with their re-located REs are both viable expressions; the one with the moved RE is not some wacky made-up thing. So no HAREM PANTS to HAM PARENTS, BAD BREATH to BARED BATH, or SPARE TIRE to SPA TIRER.

BREAKING BAD and BAKING BREAD has to be the constructor find of the century! Close second is IN THE RED and IN THREE D. (I’ll take the latter spelled out like this all day.)

“Boo-boo” for OOPSIE and “cel” for CGI messed me up forever.

I wanted “infers” for IMPLIES. Hah.

I have to brag – I got TILSIT off the final IT. Back in the ‘80s I worked at a gourmet food store (A Southern Season) in Chapel Hill, and I weighed out my share of TILSIT for discerning customers wanting a little more oomph than Havarti.

The clues for I’M LATE and ACTING are most excellent.

Took me forever to get DELHI since I just assumed Uttar Pradesh was some Simpsons character. No. Really.

“Bin There Dump That” garbage service. Right next to “Sure Lock Home’s locksmith.

I love that I had to scrutinize my finished grid. And scrutinize. And revisit the wording of the reveal. Scrutinize some more… than bam. I saw it. Spectacular aha moment. This is one for the memory books. Bravo!

(From yesterday: @Whatsername “It’s appalling to me that mispronunciations and malapropisms have not only become accepted usage but are also being added to dictionaries as being right and proper.” Hmm. We’ll just have to agree to Seriously disagree on this!)

BarbieBarbie 6:23 AM  

I don’t understand the second part of the revealer. What’s the deal with one word or two? Is it a nod to “relocation” vs “re location?” Feels a bit off, if so. It would have been cleverer, once again, without that explicit “now I have to explain it to you” part of the clue.

Maybe I’m just grumpy from working at home. It’s funny how endless conference calls make you focus on verbal styles. Has anybody else noticed how much the word “right” is being used as punctuation these days? With a rising inflection. I think it’s taking the place of [upspeak with significant nod and eye contact] as a way to force the listener into agreeing with the speaker without ever getting a chance to express an opinion. See? Grumpy.

Loren Muse Smith 6:47 AM  

@BarbieBarbie - your "relocation" vs "re location" is exactly how I read the reveal. And without the explicit explanation, I might not have even noticed that the REs were being relocated. So I'm a fan of the reveal.

I get what you're saying about noticing someone's verbal habits. Vocal fry is one that hijacks my concentration. But I consider ,... right? as just a form of the more common tag questions like ,... isn't it?, ... shouldn't we?, etc.

CDilly52 6:49 AM  

I was so excited to see these constructor’s teamed up and honestly, given the day expected a tussle! What I got was a romp through an entertaining grid with a theme crafted with surgical precision (to continue the metaphor from @LMS).

The NW just almost filled in itself. I didn’t even stutter step at SEAL instead of the correct BEAN at 12A. I just barely took a hot second to check 1D and I nearly broke my arm patting myself on the back for knowing they wouldn’t use the obvious military connection for Navy. Go me!

As for the theme, when BAKING BREAD went in almost without notice from checking the NW downs, I had to chuckle. Asked myself, “Self, why mix up Breaking Bad with BAKING BREAD?” My pea brain was still trying to predict some sort of convoluted drug theme as I went on solving as a theme-less for the most part. Got to the RE-vealer (if you don’t mind the groan worthy ness of that little bon mot-possibly a mal mot) and experiences a sublime nanosecond of blissful AHA!

Now for my silly dense-ness. I did not pick up 24A as a theme answer ever. Yes, it was highlighted in yellow. As I looked over my completed puzzle, I scratched the head wondering - yes - all the way to this blog, what THREED meant. Some arcane numerical grouping? Congratulatory word for a trio? Of THEEED I sing praise? I can (obviously and willingly) fall down the antiquated language March Hare (and his leveret?) rabbit hole of confusion and mystery. My willing suspension of disbelief has kind of a “hare” trigger, yes? Go away now CDiljy, enough already. Enjoyed it. Over too quickly.

Lewis 7:08 AM  
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Anonymous 7:10 AM  

Um, no. Just no. Was nearly done by the time I got down to the revealer, the non-theme content wasn't very challenging. The "re" placement of RE wasn't surgical, it was a hack job. Come on Erik, you can do better than this.

Anonymous 7:10 AM

Link to a Vice story about the dispute over the NYT Crossword’s lack of constructor diversity, for those interested.

kitshef 7:13 AM  

I thought ENOS was obscure until I hit GILES at 40A. That is beyond obscure, and I have lived in London. Buffy clue is the way to go there.

Puzzle was worth the price of admission just for YE GODS! One of my favorite expressions.

Theme was pretty dull, though.

Lewis 7:22 AM  

Sparkling puzzle. Sparkling with plenty of answers with zing, a bright clean grid, and the mystery of the theme. Regarding the latter, I understood each theme answer and its transformation, but couldn't figure out the mechanism of getting from one to the other until I hit the reveal. But *trying* to figure that part made this, for me, a Puzzler's Paradise.

I relatively flew through the top half, thinking that the cluing should have been tougher, but loving the transmogrification of BAKING BREAD to BREAKING BAD. The bottom half, however, was much tougher, to where I was grateful that the top was already filled in. Persistence paid off, and the revealer solved the mystery of the theme mechanism that was eluding me, and, with a "Whew!" and a "Nice work, fellas", this lovely experience ended, and thank you, EA and YY.

I believe one minor changes would have made this jewel shine even more. In the revealer, inserting "this answer" to make it "... whether this answer is interpreted as one word or two". As it is now, it's not clear whether the "one word or two" refers to the revealer or the theme answers (Hi, Barbie Barbie!).

But this is just a nit. The puzzle was solving magic, only underscored by the addition of WAND and AMULET.

Z 7:39 AM  
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Z 7:45 AM  

Saw what was going on with BAKING BREAD (and assumed this was a misaligned 4/20 theme), which didn’t help me with IN THREE D for exactly the reasons Rex said (short and it’s IN 3-D) so I had to sort out IN THe rED. At this point CUERVO still had me in a 4/20 rager mind set. I got to the SE with all the themers but no revealer because in my head I had redistributed the RE’s. I had to build quite a bit of the SE before I sussed out RELOCATIONS.

You know my feelings about PPP, but because I was forced into building the revealer when I had already sussed out the theme, LEE Daniels, Mirelle ENOS, and St GILES were especially irksome today. These are all perfectly crossworthy, but definitely are also all out of my wheelhouse. So no real Aha Moment and the puzzle ended with a bit of a thud for me. Looking at it post solve there’s a lot to like and the PPP is actually fairly low. Starting with ETTA didn’t help (it’s a Hallelujah thing, greatness wrecked by over-exposure), and I ended up liking this less than it deserves.

pabloinnh 7:45 AM  

Knew something was up with the BAKINGBREAD answer-it is Thursday, after all, but thought it was just the anagram thing going on, and didn't bother to suss out the RE gadget, so the revealer was a nice, well, reveal. Hand up for BOOBOO, which will slow you down, and for some reason stuck in IRS instead of IRA, which I knew, but I stopped noticing what I was doing after the IR, I suppose. That sabotaged the SW corner for way too long.

ENOS should always be clued as "ballplayer Slaughter" or "chimp is space", and yeah, that's the century I'm from.

Fun Thursday, A's and Y's. Always a bit of a let down when you can finish the whole thing without really seeing what's going on, but that's MYBAD, No PILES of ANGER here.

Hungry Mother 7:49 AM  

Jumbled feelings about this one. I got it done without errors in average time, but was left with a “Huh?”

JJ 7:53 AM  

I went to sleep last night thinking “What the hell is IN THREED”. Now I know, which I also had for GET IT NOW.

Van Buren 8:10 AM  

What I don't like: INTHREED is not "one word or two"

Rug Crazy 8:14 AM  


TJS 8:15 AM  

I'm with @hungry Mother on this one. A few slow patches but pretty easy for a Thursday, and kind of a "so what ?" feeling to the whole thing. I should strive for more of a @Lewis reaction, but it's just not in me. On to the archive for a challenge.

Joaquin 8:28 AM  
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MarthaCatherine 8:42 AM  

@LMS: I am a copy editor by trade, mostly of college textbooks, mostly textbooks on education and education methods--feel free to point out any mistakes I make in this note. I look for your comments every day and laugh out loud and read them to my husband and wish you were the actual author of this blog.

Should I look for another line of work? Does it NEVER matter if someone uses a word incorrectly? Should I just leave it alone if one of my authors says "I seen" or misplaces "only" in a sentence? "Only pay for what you need" really bothers me.

Does a formerly unacceptable usage suddenly become acceptable once someone, somewhere, uses it in a sentence and the sentence is still understandable? I get that most dictionaries are descriptive now, but why have rules at all? I mean, what do you actually correct or point out to your students when they make "mistakes" in the papers they submit to you? I'm sincerely asking. I don't mean for that to sound sarcastic or nasty.

I'm truly not a grammar scold. I keep my mouth shut when I hear someone say "John and I" when it should be "John and me" or when someone says something like "I'm feeling badly" (unless, of course, he means he's bad at palpating (and by "he" I mean Trump. Have you noticed how often he says "badly"?)). I will never be able to use "they" as a singular pronoun: "I broke up with a friend because they use bad grammar" just sounds ridiculous--for more than one reason. I am in despair for our language and wonder why I spent so much time learning the difference between "begs the question" and "asks the question."

Nancy 8:49 AM  

Making a decision to cheat is painful for me. Only one thing ever drives me to do so. If the unknown proper name(s) is/are preventing me from continuing to have fun with a lot of yet-unfigured-out wordplay, then I might. In which case my goal is to cheat on as few clues containing as few letters as possible in order to break the puzzle open. (I never know of course, when I embark on the first cheat, if more will be necessary. Choosing the "best" first cheat, then, is important.)

My cheat today was the completely unknown to me Mireille ENOS. And -- yay! -- she broke the puzzle open. Happily, I didn't also have to look up LEE and GILES.

There wasn't a lot of PPP today, but as so often happens with Agard, it was all in the worst possible place. And I didn't know what I didn't know -- which is why I so hate PPP. But I quite enjoyed the wordplay aspect of this: it was crunchy and it was fun. INTHREED flummoxed me for a long, long time -- until I finally saw both IN THE RED and IN THREE D. (INTHREED is a DOOK, btw.)

Joaquin 9:01 AM  

For me, the best thing about this puzzle was learning there is a trash collection company called “Bin There, Dump That”. Never heard of them before today.

Maybe if I hadn’t started out by confidently entering “Breaking Bad” (in ink on paper) I’d have better feelings regarding this puzzle, but as it was I didn’t enjoy it at all. But that’s just me.

If you loved it (or not), well … zie gezunt, mis amigos

Joaquin 9:06 AM  

MarthaCatherine (8:42) - Here's looking at you, kid! Amen and amen.

Rob 9:09 AM  

Thank you @Loren. I finished the puzzle but had absolutely no grasp of the themers until I read your comment.

Frantic Sloth 9:14 AM  

Just prior to reading Rex's review I revisited the theme and tried to grok it one last time.

"Ohhhh!",says I. "YEGODS and little fishes! RELOCATIONS. Well, whadduhya know? Oh, and the 'whether interpreted as one word or two' must refer to the revealer and not the theme answers themselves,so...yippee."
The euphoria that comes from figuring this out on my own was soon followed by *yawn* zzzzzzzzzzzz.

I agree that the fill was the star of this puzzle with such delights as HUMVEE and YEGODS and (as it relates to previous commentary) IMPLIES and of course yesterday's SOISEE cousin: SOIRÉE.

Despite falling into the PPPP* where I flailed around for far too long, I was happy to be reminded of Mireille ENOS (whose name I can never seem to spell without looking it up), though it also made me remember how annoyed I was when The Killing was cancelled.
Overall, now that I pay closer (well, any) attention to constructor names, I find that Erik Agard is rapidly becoming my white whale. He tasks me!
I always seem to come away with an inchoate sense of disquietude, as if I'm about to suffer an attack of the shingles.

But, eventually that goes away and I'm left with a slightly more broadened mind, which is always a good thing.

Pulled an @Roo and counted the REs in my comment. (Is it "an" or "a"??)
There are 19.

*PPP Pit

OffTheGrid 9:18 AM  

This brings to mind an apropos Peggy Lee lyric. "Is that all there is?"

Nancy 9:22 AM  

@MarthaCatherine (8:42) -- You ask: "Should I look for another line of work?" Oh, God, No, @MarthaCatherine!!! I absolutely beg you: No!!!!! You are one of the last people standing up against the Barbarians at the Gate, linguistically speaking. And your line of work makes you especially well-positioned to do so. The English language is in desperate need of people like you. When you go, the world may never see your like again. Continue to fight the good fight. And when you are no longer working in your field, pass the torch. Because the English language, correctly and lovingly used, is eminently worth saving.

What I find truly sad about your post is that you even needed to ask the question.

xyz 9:23 AM  

Thin, uneven and uninteresting

AIR guitar is for losers

OMG, what a great puzzle.

webwinger 9:28 AM  

Clever theme, very satisfying when it finally all made sense. It took me way too long to parse IN THREE D, one of my favorite things: I own two 3D TVs, at least three 3D blu-ray players, and countless 3D discs. Just last night watched Avatar in 3D again. Must have been the odd use of number word rather than numeral that tripped me up. BTW, IMO the best live action 3D movie (at least the most fun) is A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas...

Frantic Sloth 9:37 AM  

@MarthaCatherine 842am
What @Joaquin 906am and @Nancy 922am (and probably many more who'll follow) said!

Z 9:37 AM  

@MarthaCatherine - I know you directed your question at @LMS, but it’s a good question and I have opinions. To me the issue isn’t “there are no rules.” It is that the rules are malleable like gold, not etched into stone. Take the infer/imply thing. They could always be used synonymously or to denote a different meaning until somebody claimed they couldn’t. Then a whole generation or three is miseducated into believing there is The Correct Way To Use Infer And Imply and that it’s okay to scold people actually using the words the way Thomas More did in 1533 and Jane Austen did in 1811 (from Merriam-Webster). My skin crawls when someone uses “literally” when the mean “figuratively,” “can” when they mean “may,” and “who” when the mean “whom.” And if it were a textbook writer with these usages I would expect the copy editor to suggest changes. That’s not being a “scold.” That is doing what you’re paid to do, make sure that the printed text conforms to the accepted standards so that the writer’s meaning is understood by the reader. It seems to me that this last part is oft forgotten. Those other usages aren’t “wrong,” and may actually be better in other contexts because in other contexts those usages convey meaning better.

Anonymoose 9:40 AM  

Technically the RE is moved in each theme but only in BAKINGBREAD and CATERED is it really relocated. In INTHREED, the R & E just swap places. And in COMPARED the RE just moves over a space. This isn't the crispness I expect from Mr. Agard. I agree with others, though, that the fill was good and fun to figure out.

Frantic Sloth 9:42 AM  
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puzzlehoarder 9:49 AM  

I always check the crosses for long answers on a Thursday so BAKINGBREAD went in as soon as I saw that the third letter was going to be a K. This made the whole NW and middle north very easy. I still came out with the equivalent of an easy Friday time as I didn't know exactly how the themes were being altered. I didn't much care either as the fill was early week easy so a continued state of confusion over the themers was about the only source of challenge.

@lms, I'm absolutely not being a grammar Nazi when I say that "an RE" just clunks on my ear. I like Scrabble so when I see RE all by itself I always think of it as the word RE, as in the "drop of golden sun" RE. It's the only two letter R word there is and in Scrabble two letter words are very important.

CREATED at 33A was the one themer I had to write over as it's short and I just thought it was fill. For a brief while I had TEXTILE at 14D. I thought it might be about people touching their phone screens to TEXT and that BREED and THREED were going to be part of some bizarre theme. Once again the puzzles' fill was early week easy and the NE came into focus and all was clear.

A fun solve and average for a Thursday. Now I have to try today's Spelling Bee. Yesterday's was easy at only 23 words.

mathgent 9:49 AM  

I haven’t been here for a month. I wanted to put as much distance as possible between me and Rex’s mean-spirited nonsense. I’ve been reading and occasionally commenting on Wordplay. I came back yesterday and was moved by Gill’s account of being in Cuba when Castro took over. Today I was treated to Loren’s brilliant comment. A lot more stimulation over here.

What a great puzzle. I got the gimmick at COMPADRE. Like Nancy, I got stalled in the SE but I was able to correctly guess ENOS and finish clean. I knew I had to work RE into 53A but sweated trying to put it near the end, not noticing that I already had it in the beginning.

Whatsername 9:53 AM  

It was easy to figure out the themers were anagrams but I knew surely there must be something more so I stared at the revealer and I stared at the answers and finally saw the RE trick. I think it was the “whether interpreted as one word or two” that just left me thinking “what?” As @Lewis pointed out at 7:22, it's not clear whether that refers to the revealer or the theme answers. BREAKING BAD/BAKINGBREAD is two words, INTHERED/INTHREED is three words, CREATED/CATERED is one word, and COMPADRE/COMPARED is one word. So it applies to the revealer? RE is a stand-alone word which is relocated within the answers?

GETITNOW? Yes, ISEE but wish I had liked it better. I’m with @Hungry Mother and @Joaquin - “jumbled” feelings with the best part being the cool name of the trash disposal franchise. Maybe it was MYBAD though because it was a good concept, so to the constructors I give props where props are DUE.

@MarthaCatherine (8:42) What @Nancy said! I’m not a grammar pro but I applaud you. Please keep on fighting the good fight.

amyyanni 9:54 AM  

Hiya, I lived in Chapel Hill for 3 months in the 80s (my law school is a co-op program so after the 1st year, students alternate quarters of full time work with classes). I worked at a legal service program in Raleigh. LOVED a Southern Season! (Sold cheese at Malben's, Boston gourmet stores, in the late 70s to earn $ for school.)

amyyanni 9:59 AM  

Struggled with the theme and eastside of the puzzle for a while, went for a hour long run and voila, everything fell into place. Brilliant (the puzzle, not me)!

RooMonster 10:04 AM  

Hey All !
To all who aren't getting the wording of the Revealer... it means that the Revealer itself can be "interpreted as one word or two." As in, one word=RELOCATIONS, or two words=RE LOCATIONS, which is the mentioned "change" made to the themers. The RE is LOCATED elsewhere in the answers. The RE LOCATIONS are changed, or RELOCATed. GET IT NOW? (I hope I've described it well, often the meaning gets lost twixt my brain and my actual writings!)

IN THREED. Cut into three separate pieces? Har. I just kept asking, "what in the wide wide world of sports is THREED?" (Stolen from @Mel Brooks) 3-D, ah. Spelled out is an Ugh.

But, still a fun puz. 40 blocks, not terrible, 38 is "max", usually. Maybe because of @M&A's "jaws of themelessness" it just seemed more. Had CAT REED for a bit for CATERED. Figured it was a plant I never heard of. Fun figuring out the RE RELOCATIONS. Took a more Down Solve than an Across solve to get the themers. Some nice fill.

But... No F's! Can I get a MY BAD, guys? 😋

OOPSIE IM LATE (for what, lately, I don't know!)

Banya 10:05 AM  

Giles should definitely been clued as "Buffy's Watcher".

Bax'N'Nex 10:10 AM  

As always, See Erik Agard, expect a glowing review from Mike.

I love Thursdays and (usually) love Agard’s puzzles, but this one was “meh”. Not a lot of fun. Was actually surprised when I entered the last letter and my CONGRATULATIONS screen popped. Oh, well, here’s looking forward to next Thursday. (BTW...7th Thursday with no golf)

Oh, and we would call Breaking Bad “Baking Bread” in our house. That’s just how wacky we are.

Sir Hillary 10:10 AM  

Humor me here...I feel like Yacob and Erik were in a BAKINGBREAD type of mood and decided to make a blueberry loaf -- not the crappy, sugary, "cake-disguised-as-something-else" kind, but a minimally sweet, highly savory treat bursting with plump fruit (and just enough zest for a LEMONY accent). And what emerged from the oven was a gorgeous, fluffy delight that was nearly perfect. Except that there was a seriously rotten blueberry that had made its way into to the dough, and while you could eat around it, the fact that it was there at all basically ruined the whole eating experience.

If this tortured analogy is trying your patience, I'll get to the point: INTHREED is the rotten blueberry. It is objectively absurd in a vacuum, but today its rottenness is in such contrast to the quality of the rest of the puzzle that I can scarcely believe the authors allowed it into the "dough". Yes, it's just one of 72 "blueberries", but it sits there like a turd among its brethren. OK, I'm sure you GETITNOW, so I'll stop.

Other impressions:
-- Really like the 8-8-7-7 abutting downs in the NW and SE.
-- MYBAD and OOPSIE. I picture someone spilling their beer on someone else at a packed frat party.
-- Nice misdirection in the clue for 6D. I first went with baBY.
-- Yesterday: SOISEE. Today: SOIREE. Yeah, I know -- who cares?

I'm with @Joaquin in loving that there's a business out there called BIN There Dump That. Too bad we can't BIN INTHREED.

Newboy 10:15 AM  

Saw Rex’s “easy “ and gggaed! GILES ENOS a was a major OOPSIE. I’ll be back like a bad terminator after I read the review & early posts .

Loren Muse Smith 10:15 AM  

@MarthaCatherine – @Z answered your question beautifully.

As for my position as an English teacher, I’m just your basic hypocrite. With my students, I make a distinction between our spoken language and the grammar game we have to play when using written English. So I, too, teach that you don’t feel badly, hire John and I, eat apple’s… I spend hours marking their writing, going over it with them, grammarating…
I assure them, though, that their spoken

We seen that movie.

is in no way linguistically inferior to

We saw that movie.

I do constantly warn them that they will be judged for speaking that way and if they want me to correct their speech, I’m happy to. (Some of my college-bound kids take me up on this.) I tell them that I myself choose to present with all kinds of things that have people judging me as not so smart (blond, southern accent, bravotvphile, BigMac eater. . .)

@Nancy and @Whatsername Just curious – what’s your cut-off date for a form of English for all of us to fight the good fight for?

8th century:
Hwæt, ic swefna cyst secgan wylle, hwæt me gemætte to midre nihte

14th century:
Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote, the droghte of March hath perced to the roote

16th century:
Decline your head; this kiss, if it durst speak, would stretch thy spirits up into the air.

18th century:
. . .that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

early 20th century:
After the usual inquiry of whence and whither, his monkship offers the snuff-box.

just a few decades ago:
We shall never forget the gay luncheon enjoyed in the gymnasium.

An inescapable process of change is responsible for the above progression of our spectacular, malleable, ever-changing language. To insist that the progression halt now during our lifetime is futile. And no fun.

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

St. Giles is relatively obscure as a "district" of London. I have lived in London several times over the past few decades. No one I knew referred to that area as St. Giles, and it really isn't a formally defined area, though the name survives on as street names and a church. It's just on the other side of Charing Cross Rd from Soho, and north of Seven Dials. It's also home to one of London's early skyscrapers.

Even though the intersection of Oxford Street, Charing Cross Road, Tottenham Court Road and New Oxford Street is technically known as St. Giles Circus (despite the lack of a roundabout or even a central median), almost everyone just refers to it as Tottenham Court Road, because that's the name of the Tube station there.

Mikey from El Prado 10:23 AM  

Loved it.
And I agree with LMS that BAKINGBREAD was ingenious. Being a NM resident it came quickly, and for once in a Thursday I figured that that was the deal on the theme throughout: moving ‘RE’ to a new position for a new word(s). But, INTHREED completely threw me off, figuring I’d get an incomplete, that something was wrong. And, didn’t ken the ‘In 3D’ until Rex pointed it out.

But, despite my use of the word ‘position’ above, I erred on the revealer and initially entered RELOCATION, which caused a slowdown until my Error and an epiphany on that entry.

Be safe all, and be grateful (you, too, Michael/Rex) that we have this wonderful pastime to, well, pass the time. And, distract us from the world’s troubles.

Mike B 10:29 AM  

You need steamed hams in your life!

BarbieBarbie 10:33 AM  

@LMS, great distinction (standards for spoken/written language). In addition it seems spoken language carries more regionalisms-- we speak a different English when I visit my in-laws in the Midwest than the English we speak on the factory floor in the mid-Atlantic region, and they are both different from written English.

well, gotta go eat me some shoots and leaves...

Unknown 10:42 AM  

I saw IN THREED and said "Huh?" Now I at least get what it means. I agree, the term is always written IN 3-D. If you want to spell out the "3" then you have to spell out the "D" so it should be IN THREE DIMENSIONS or IN 3-D, but not IN THREE D.

bulgie 10:47 AM  

And we call Bed Bath and Beyond "Bad Breath and Beyond", which started as a slip of the tongue.

GILL I. 10:57 AM  

Ah....what fun discussions today. I'm glad because I found this puzzle to be tedious.
Without so much as a little wink, I put in BREAKING BAD. Yup, that was the right answer. But I also know my TEA LEONI and the gig was up. BAKING BREAD it is and that's the gimmick. I loved that series - but I love "Better Call Saul" even more.
There was stuff I liked but stuff I didn't - especially IN THREED. Lordy, I hated that. Then I couldn't remember if Jose was a CUERVA or CUERVO. I can't stand the taste of tequila unless it's a margarita that my husband makes. YE GODS? Isn't it YE GADS? My English isn't so bueno. Haha. @Loren, we could have fun. My sisters and I (me)? love to speeka de spanglish. We make up words all the time. "Ciera la window que esta reinando. I say change is good.
@Martha 8:42....Interesting post. You notice Trump's "badly," I count the number of times he says millions and billions while clapping his hands like a trained seal.
@Barbie B. I have found that NO ONE these days can start a sentence without starting with "so." Why that bothers me so much, I don't know.
I only remember St GILES as being some sort of leper colony. Did I get that right?
Laundry loads aren't's what my Grandmother called hemorrhoids. My loads are black and white.

Speaking of grandmother's. @CDilly52. I always enjoy reading your posts. I especially like when you include your grandmother. Mine, too, was a big influence in my life. If my parents weren't shipping me off to "Circle F Dude Ranch Camp" in Florida, they'd send me packing to "Nana" in California. She once called me her favorite "little heathen." I asked her what that meant and she lent me her dictionary. There were several definitions and she told me it had nothing to do with religion. I asked her If I was the "uncivilized" one and she smiled and said yes. I had to learn to speak English, wear shoes at the dinner table and put down my fork with my left hand and use the right hand to spear my meat.
@mathgent....don't be a stranger... :-)

Geezer 11:03 AM  

Well I guess re is a word, a preposition, so revealer can be parsed as 2 words. This fact does not save this theme.

JC66 11:09 AM  


Welcome back.

John R 11:12 AM  

Add me to the list of those who did not understand INTHREED until reading this blog.

My big mistake was in the NW. I had an E instead of an I at the end of TEALEONI which gave me Ben instead of BIN for the garbage service franchise. I thought Ben might be the owner.

I have enjoyed the discussion over the last few days about the proper role of dictionaries. I have used a dictionary both ways. I have occasionally looked up a word to see if I was using it correctly in a sentence, when writing a memo. For example, I have always had a problem with mixing up insure and ensure. I have also looked up a word to understand its meaning in the context of something I was reading.

To me this raises the question of when does a change in usage become "official"?

MR. Cheese 11:12 AM  

I spite of OFL’s negativity and nit-picking, I appreciate his efforts and have donated.
His blog is what brought me to this blog..... thank god.
Another chance to visit with all you commenters. You’re all special.

OffTheGrid 11:14 AM  

@puzzlehoarder, RE yesterday's Bee, did you get all 23 words? I got 20 which gave me enough points to be a "Genius". I've yet to get all the words but that's my goal. I'm about to tackle today's.

Nancy 11:15 AM  

@Loren -- I've said it before, so I'm repeating myself, but I guess I should say it again: For an English teacher to tell her class that "I seen the movie" "is in no way linguistically inferior to" "I saw the movie" is to me like a math teacher telling his class that "2 + 2 = 5" "is in no way arithmetically inferior to" "2 + 2 = 4".

Well, maybe not quite as bad. But bad enough.

Newboy 11:16 AM  

As me have serspected, today’s grid discussion was even more interesting than the solve itself. Thanks to all you sincere wordsmiths for the delight your observations bring. @LMS needs a return to the classroom as she clearly has too much time on her hands collecting language timelines! Brilliant as we expect. Still, @MarthaCatherine please keep up the fight, even though it may be a lost war. I can hope that newspapers rehire copyeditors now sadly replaced by software--probably another lost cause.

And the puzzle? Wow, we loved it as much as The Killing but didn't recognize Enos as the principal/principle (your choice?) actress. Thanks Yacob, Eric & Rex for your reminders; you've given us something to look forward to in the days ahead. Quiddler may have to stay in the box this afternoon while we explore ENOS video options.

meepmoop 11:17 AM  

Was quite disappointed after I eagerly rushed to the comments and found that racist Uttar Pradesh/Simpsons remark.

Z 11:25 AM  

Based on the comments from people who lived there, I looked at Wikipedia. So was it the constructors or the editors who lifted the clue from the Wikipedia page? And why didn’t they go with the church in Wales or my personal favorite, Farmer Giles of Ham (yes, I once owned that book)?

Swagomatic 11:29 AM  

I thought it was okay. I could not remember how to spell TEA LEONI, and I've never heard of BIN There, Dump That. That was holding up the happy tones at the end. I give it one and a half pencils up.

I did find out, however, that Bin There, Dump That does exist in my area.

KnittyContessa 11:46 AM  

I got really hung up on InThreeD. The revealer said one or two words. I think I spent 10 minutes trying to figure out what I had wrong. Other than that, an enjoyable Thursday.

Anonymous 11:50 AM  

In re Tilsit: even my German deli meister would cringe when it came time to slice the Tilsit. “Mild” this cheese is not.

Joe Dipinto 11:51 AM  

Then the shutter falls
You see it all in 3-D
It's your favorite foreign movie

If the theme here is "fruit topping" then why is the LEMONY layer *under* the bread? What? Oh. Never mind.

Not a bad concept but it would be better if each answer combination were zingier. Changing CREATED to CATERED or COMPADRE to COMPARED doesn't spark much of a wow factor. BREAKING BAD/BAKING BREAD is the best one, probably because it has some length to work with.

These guys are really good.

MaryCatherine 11:54 AM  

To all of you who commented on my grammar tirade, especially, of course, @LMS, thank you. For the record, I don't believe that the English language is immutable or chiseled in granite. Of course it changes--and I love your list of examples, LMS. I mostly wonder *when* it changes. As I said, the first time anyone, anywhere, uses a word or phrase or mood or tense "incorrectly" does not make it acceptable even in spoken language. Or are you saying it does? As you ask of @Nancy and @Whatsername, how long do you hold out? My question is how soon do we give in?

I agree with everything @Z says, and that is basically my philosophy when I'm copy editing or proofreading. My in-house editor objected when I wanted to fix something like "John likes Mary more than Linda," saying I was being too picky. Really? How do we know whether John likes Mary more than he likes Linda, or whether John likes Mary more than Linda likes Mary. It matters.

I have always been fascinated by usage and regionalisms and pronunciations. Love discussions about grammar. Apologies to people who think it is more boring than an in-depth, two-hour discussion of, say, curtain rods or car tires.

Barbara S. 11:59 AM  

I had a weirdly similar experience to @Gill I.: I was only looking at the Acrosses, so rapidly filled in BreAKING BAD, then thought, "But, it's Thursday!" so immediately took it out again and knew I was justified when I checked the Downs in the area and saw TEA LEONI. And I had the same CUERVa/CUERVO and YEGaDS/YEGODS mixup. In fact that one had me staring stupidly at the "completed" puzzle for a long time, just willing the cheery little music to start. (Enough to give one ANGER PILES.)

For a long time, I thought the cheery little music was eluding me because of the inexplicable INTHREED. I'd sussed out the theme and I knew you could RE locate and get "In the red," but I just couldn't figure out how INTHREED could possibly be a word or even a coherent pair/group of words. (Thanks, Rex.)

I knew GILES and ENOS, so that helped, but I briefly played with REsOluTION before RELOCATION for the revealer. As in, you must re-solve the clue/answer by moving RE. Yeah, it's horribly clunky. The real answer is much better.

I was interested to see in the write-up on Mireille ENOS that she had won an Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship. Irene Ryan played "Granny" on the Beverly Hillbillies, her greatest claim to fame, but she had an enormously long career, 1913-73, starting when she was a child and only ending with her death. It's nice to think that curmudgeonly, irascible Granny was a mentor to young actors.

Like many on this list, I, too, have been an editor. I think the distinction @lms makes between written and spoken language is crucial to both maintaining intelligibility and allowing the language to evolve. One of my ongoing projects was editing the work of a scholar whose first language was Dutch. His spoken English was excellent, but on paper he often fell into stilted, overly formal phraseology. It was an enjoyable challenge to transform his texts into written language that was correct, but that had the spark of life and currency of contemporary speech.

Ernonymous 12:02 PM  

I've only been doing these daily crosswords for 3 months so I'm not letting myself look stuff up anymore and I'm happy when I can finish without any lookups. I was tempted and was sure this would take days to finish. It took me a bit over an hour which probably sounds slow as F to all of you. But I'm so happy like I was last Friday when I got the whole thing with no cheats.
My major problem was SW corner where I had nothing. My mistake was reading the clue: question after explanation as that the explainee not the explainer was asking the question. What question would one ask after hearing a long winded explanation?: Should I start now? Is that it? Anything you'd like to add? Do I use this roll of toilet paper or that one to start the project?
Given that, even after I got it, I read it like that- get it now? Should be Do I get it now? YEGODS!oh ISEE

egsforbreakfast 12:07 PM  

I was hangin’ with GILES, LEE and ENOS, BAKING BREAD (SESAME) and drinking LEMONY CUERVO. GILES passed out, so we just INTHREED the rest of the bottle.

BTW, if the LEMONY answer was a down, rather than across, it would be a FRUIT TOPPING.

albatross shell 12:12 PM  

Well today I was smart as I was dumb yesterday. I did have to look up 2 of 3 of Nancy's PPPs. But discouting those the North was mostly M-T fare. The South average to hard Wednesday. Once I got the theme, I tried REposiTIONS for the reveal. That slowed me up. Works pretty good too.

Speaking of yesterday. Isn't amazing how often something in our discussion yesterday shows up in today's puzzle? The imply/infer to do. Also yours truly used the word SOIREE as a jokey substitute for sorry and because of the soisee we had yesterday.

But as of my starting this post nobody had mentioned the answer that most jumped out at me. I think there might have been something similar in another recent Agard puzzle. I thought we might get some breakfast test comments here too. ABORTED clued as scrubbed, as in mission. It drops down from the innocent looking CRATERED, but that is RELOCATed word. It was originally CREATED and clues as "Brought in to existence", as in gave birth to. Also note that is an early-term abortion (2nd letter, second month?). And yes, I do suspect the constructors were aware.

Count me in mostly with LMS and Z. Poetry, song, creative writing, comedy, bar talk, informal conversation rules are not very important. They are to be used or broken at will. Your audience of course matters. Formal writing can be a different story. Legal writing and agreements another story. Semi-weekly and bi-weekly need precise meanings. I like having an imply-infer distinction, but if after 3 centuries the general public cannot see it, it might not be a distinction worth distinguishing. And apparently history is always even more imprecise than language. And language is organic, not dead, not science, not math.

Loren Muse Smith 12:12 PM  

@MaryCatherine - good question. I guess since it's always evolving under our noses (hah), we just don't notice.

@Nancy -whenever people create a distinction with something that’s “superior” to something else, they’re being oppressive. The “proper” English that you’re touting betrays a bunch of privilege:

*education ("proper" English speakers have a higher education)
*class (middle to upper class)
*race (God forbid you read the likes of John be working at Lowe’s.

People who speak differently from you are unfairly judged, and it sickens me.

The demographic where I teach is not so privileged. Rather than swoop in with a mask and cape to show them how inferior their speech is, I shine a lens on language, on why the way they speak will be frowned upon. How some of their “errors” used to be perfectly acceptable.

Oh. It gets worse. We embrace their dialect. I have them rewrite and perform passages from Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth in their dialect. We have a blast. They’re engaged, interested, validated, appreciated. They leave my room with confidence and dignity. I guarantee you that my students think more about English and the English they use than most high school students. I can’t help myself; I can’t turn it off.

If you cannot see that the two seen/saw sentences communicate *Exactly* the same thought, and I imagine you can’t, then let’s just drop it. Sure - 2+2=5.

Crimson Devil 12:15 PM  

Quite a day !
Much enjoyed puz, from BAKINGBREAD, to TAKESIGN (Lord, I miss baseball), agree with Pablo: ENOS should be only SLAUGHTER. BIN ... great name. As I’ve said before, Spell Check is dangerous crotch.
Cheers for MarthaCatharine, et seq.. I, too, teach and bristle at “heathen” students who say “me and ...”, and “I seen”. Strunk & White is one of my recommended sourcebooks for students, who should not need it by the time they get to me. Agree with puzzlehoarder and offgrid re Bee, pablo too.

Whatsername 12:20 PM  

@LMS (10:15) Point taken and I do understand that language evolves but still, as you say, we are all judged by our peers. When I was a young adult, I was a bit of a potty mouth and sometimes lacked a filter. A friend gently pointed out that using profanity made me look like I was not smart enough to express myself in a more intelligent manner. Or to put it another way, I sounded linguistically inferior. In that same vein, when I hear people say things like “I seen that movie,” or “I been to them places,” I wonder if they truly lack the ability to express themselves more intelligently or if they just don’t bother to make the effort.

I’ve spent most of my life in the Midwest where that manner of speaking is commonplace and completely acceptable. Although I may secretly cringe, I try not to judge and I never, ever correct. In some settings, I may even default to using those same expressions myself. Not only is our language an ever-changing process, it is also widely variable depending on your geographical LOCATION. If everyone says it, it doesn’t sound “wrong” and by repetition becomes right. As you have demonstrated, that is precisely how our spoken vernacular has morphed from the 8th century to the 21st and honestly, I hadn’t thought of it in that way. I appreciate the time you took to provide such a comprehensive illustration and the benefit of your more enlightened insight. As always, you make your case most eloquently.

Nancy 12:26 PM  

Don't want your students to be "oppressed".

Don't want your students to be "judged".

Just want your students to be taught

What? 12:28 PM  

Exactly. The purpose of language is to communicate. If seen/saw is understood by all, then it be ok.

Anoa Bob 12:31 PM  

So, it seemed like something was missing in the theme. We have four words and/or phrases that have RE in their spelling and by moving that RE to another spot, a new word and/or phrase is formed. That's it? There appears to be no connection among the pre-RE LOCATED words or phrases and the RE RELOCATED ones. That's what struck me as missing, some rationale that tied them together, other than just the serendipity of matching letter-counts. Seems arbitrary.

And having the RE RELOCATED words/phrases, the ones actually in the grid, hanging out there slowly twisting in the wind with no direction known, with no clues of their own, gave the puzz an unfinished feel to me. Put me in the theme-is-thin-soup crowd.

Malsdemare 12:34 PM  

@MarthaCatherine. I'm also a copy editor for textbooks—in my case, sport and fitness. Ironically, our house style has just very slowly decided to use singular they when the writing is very informal and using the more formal "one" would be off-putting. Thankfully, I haven't been faced with that yet; there are enough grammatical changes that make my teeth hurt without that one.

I enjoyed the puzzle. I just finished binging "Madame Secretary" so TEA LEONI was still resident in my brain, although I did misspell LEONe. Schade! I needed Rex to parse IN THREE D, and as with others, St. GILES, TILSIT, and ENOS required a few crosses and then guesswork.

Now to finish reading the blog and then back to work.

Joe Dipinto 12:41 PM  

Btw, is anyone doing the new weekday variety puzzles? I couldn't get the author yesterday but I got both of the cryptograms (today and Tuesday), and I got the food on Monday. I don't bother with the Two Not Touch thingies (who came up with that name?).

Wundrin' 12:42 PM  

So do "Us saw that movie" and "Us seen that movie", for that matter. Is that OK?

pmdm 12:45 PM  

Based on my reaction to his earlist puzzles, whenever I see the name of Erik Agard I assume bad news is headed my way. That has changed (perhaps the aging process matures young constructors, but that is a bit nasty to suggest). I still dislike solvling his creations, but not to the extent of hating the puzzles. So I must admit to not hating this puzzle, but hardly adoring it. I usually like wordplay, but found the theme more confusing than entertaining. Perhaps I'm just in a bad mood because of the isolation.

Turning to grammar, I remember debating with my uncle (who taught stenography in Commerce HS in Yonkers) whether grammar rules of a living language change over time. I maintained they did (although not to the extent of validating slang) and he maintained they did not. We never argued whether "to boldly go" was correct or not, but he strenuously argued against splitting an infinitive - which exposed his position. My general attitude is if crossword rules allow bad grammar (you can use "AINT" as an entry), why not allow unchecked boxes etc. Why not?

pabloinnh 12:46 PM  

@:OffTheGrid, puzzlehoarder, crimsondevil (hi), probably RooMonster too-

I've been doing the Spelling Bee for about a month now and have not failed to get the Genius flag (pats self on back), but then I always quit. If you keep at it long enough, does SB notify you somehow that you got all the words? Sirens? Flashing lights? Fireworks? Not sure I'd keep slogging away, just curious. I'm finding SB to be a valuable distraction these days, because it usually takes longer than the puzzle.

Oye @GILL I-if it were CUERVA, I think it would be Josefina, verdad?

jae 12:51 PM  

Sort of easy-medium. I caught the theme at IN THREE D but there was a significant pause involved in the “a ha” experience while my dyslexic brain moved letters around. Only other problem was Nth before NET.

Clever and fun and Jeff gave it POW. Liked it.

@lms 10:15 - Amen

@GIL I - Is it safe to assume you’ve seen TEA LEONI in Spanglish?

jberg 12:55 PM  

Stupidly, I didn't notice that "done that" had become "dump that" in the clue for 32A, and since I didn't know TIA LEONI, I went with LEONi/BeN - figured the company was owned by someone named Ben. Doh!

I once lived in Oxford for 4 months -- St. GILES is a pretty well-known area there, with an eponymous church, an annual fair, and the terminus of many bus routes coming in from the suburbs. In London, not so much. The latter does have a long history,though.

OK, @Loren, @Z, @MaryCatherinne, et al., there's a difference between a change in the language and a plain old error. The singular they, for example, is developing in order to meet a need; actually two needs, one to avoid the awkward "he or she" and more recently to avoid forcible assignation of gender by pronoun. Others are just mistakes. In between are regional variations, etymological misunderstandings, and probably more. I'm just reading a book I have to write a review of, and keep finding "rein in" written as "reign in." I think with the decline of equestrianism in our society, people don't understand what "rein in" means, and reign has something to do with controlling something, so there you go.

Fowler's Modern English Usage is chock full of examples, taken from the press and elsewhere, of unwanted ambiguity created by bad usage. But the publishers felt the need to have it updated a few decades later, due to changes in the language.

I'll never stop correcting "beg the question" though.

Birchbark 12:56 PM  

Precisely what are all of you inferring?

Teedmn 12:59 PM  

It was my misfortune today to stumble upon the first theme answer at 24A, which was the hardest "new" answer to parse, in my opinion. I knew IN THE RED should be the answer but ___HREED was messing with my head. I ended up solving down, seeing the revealer, getting all of the other theme answers and going back to 24A where IN THREED took a few more looks before I GOT IT NOW. I liked all of the theme answers.

Lots of good stuff here, and some crazy clues. I really liked "Spell check?" = AMULET.

Thanks, Yacob and Erik, nice Thursday!

Anonymous 1:00 PM  

All those hours watching Monty Python paid off. The Cheese Shop sketch got me Tilsit.

Malsdemare 1:00 PM  

@LMS. I taught on the Navajo reservation for two semesters. The Navajo educational system is woefully underfunded and by the time my students got to me, in college, their poor spoken English was cemented into their brains. Of course, it wasn't helped by the navajo grammar rules which often were directly opposite English. For instance, to speak of someone may be an invitation to evil spirits to visit that person, so using the wrong pronoun to speak of someone (and avoid using names) is just good manners. (That person [a woman] there is visiting his auntie.) I spent a lot of time doing exactly what you do: correcting written prose and, SOMETIMES, pointing out "misspeakings" in their spoken language. And I'd explain that in the Anglo world, such misspeaking could be interpreted as ignorance and used to confirm a negative stereotype. And then we'd move on to much more interesting topics such as why in all that is holy did the University of Illinois dress up a white frat boy in Sioux chief's regalia and have him do a dance at basketball halftime that made real Sioux chiefs shake the heads in disbelief.

Every style guide I know —well, not Strunk and White—puts out new editions to capture our ever-evolving language usage, always with the goal of making it easy to understand the written word. Editors such as MarthaCatherine and I have to evolve or we're out of work. What's truly sad is that my publisher, one of the huge ones, to save money, has begun outsourcing some of its editing. I will get a packet of tests that accompanies a textbook, along with a copy of the edited textbook to use as a guide, and cringe at some of the errors and convolutions that have escaped the red pencil. Good copy-editing is a dying breed, I fear. And that's unconscionable in textbook publishing.

Okay, off my soapbox.

Wundrin' 1:03 PM  

This was meant to be a reply to the idea that "we seen" and "we saw' convey the same meaning so are OK.

OffTheGrid 1:13 PM  

@pablo. I don't know what happens if you get the entire word list. It may be that we just have to look the next day to find out. I find there are often short obscure (to me) words. I sometimes keep the tab open so I can work on the previous day if I need to.

RooMonster 1:24 PM  

Never got that far! Nine out of ten times I also quit when hitting the "Genius" pop-up box thingie. Occasionally I'll hang around to see if I can get another word or two.

What gets my IRE is when you look at Yesterdays answers and see a word (or more) you don't know how you missed! Like Wednesday, I missed two that got me "D'oh" slapping my head, ARIA and ARRAY. Freakin' ARIA is a crossword staple!

RooMonster Bee Be Tough Sometimes Guy

Lindsay 1:25 PM  

@lms 10:15 - utterly brilliant, and worth the work it took for you to post it. The linguistic equality of 'we seen' and 'we saw' makes sense whether one likes it or not. English speakers will understand the meaning of the sentence in either case.

I'm a member of the grammar police, but ONLY because I was taught to speak and write in a particular way. Language generally comes to us from our parents, and mine spoke what they considered to be 'proper' English. Your method of correcting students who wish to be corrected is a generous way to handle the issue. Not all of your students are college bound, where 'correct' English might be important. To insist that your students speak and write in a certain way insults the intelligence and dignity of the people who raised them. Kudos to you for the respectful way you avoid this.

Masked and Anonymous 1:28 PM  

RERELOCATIONS. Kinda easyish mcguffin, for a ThursPuz. Tougher than snot clues, tho.

That there DUE clue definitely wins it staff weeject pick. Took m&e forever, even post-solvequest, to figure out its {Props,say} clue. That whole WAND/ABOUT/DUE/TACTILE/BAKINGBREAD neighborhood was awful feisty, IM&AO.

fave themer wantabes: SOIREE. SCORED.

Confusin Jaws of Themelessness (yo, @Roo) ker-splatzed into a themed puz. They do help enable some gorgeous weeject stacks, tho. Sooo … plausible constructioneerin compromise.

Nice blog write-up, @RP. Enjoy that T-ball game (and the coffee -- you've urned it).
And thanx for gangin up on us, YY and EG dudes. Movin RE's (Removin) is harder than it looks. M&A couldn't come up with any other neat themers on the fly. But … valiant effort, on @Muse darlin's part.

Masked & Anonymo4Us

p.s. Good news for Georgians. OK now to bowl -- as long as the pins practice safe distancin from one another. Haircuts are also ok, as long as the barber uses sixfoot-long scissors (tree prunin equipment has been Trump-pre-approved for this until he changes his mind tomorrow.) And folks in Georgia are now allowed to take showers, along with just washin their hands. Washin yer hands of the Georgia governor is also on many a wish list. Anyhoo … please everyone stay safe -- I know some real nice folks in Georgia.


OffTheGrid 1:46 PM  

Indeed. My forehead is constantly sore.

bauskern 1:47 PM  

The only nice thing i have to say was that it was nice to see Rex in a rare good mood. This puzzle didn't do it for me. BOOBOO got me hung up for a while. I don't mind a challenge, but the "theme" just didn't sparkle for me. That being said, it gave me a good solid 20 minutes where i was engrossed by the puzzle & didn't have to think about how trump is dragging this country down in so many ways. So thank you, constructors, for that.

Frantic Sloth 1:48 PM  

@jberg You've mentioned correcting "beg the question" more than once. I always thought when something "begs the question" it means there is need for a question to be raised. A thought expressed seems incomplete, an argument made seems improbable, etc. are examples. Is this what you mean? Or do people say things such as "May I beg the question?"?
I don't presume to have knowledge even approaching the expertise of most people here, but I still endeavor to be "correct" in my usage, spelling, etc., so I would appreciate some clarification.
You can just ignore me because this is a blog about crossword fun, not English class. :D

Armchair Editor 1:52 PM  

If meaning is the only criterion, we need no "rules" at all. (I suppose "criteria" is now okay for singular form)

webwinger 1:55 PM  

@Gill 8:18 am yesterday: That was quite a story—truly left me agape! So much to think about: How hard it can be to tell when hoped for change is not going to end well. How easily what begins as idealism can turn into brutality. How great can be the downside that accompanies some desirable progress.

You also help put into perspective some of our present woes: Take the comment made here last week that we “live in a police state”. We are not anywhere close to experiencing atrocities like Gill described. As bad as we may feel about our current national leadership, there is ample evidence that local and state governments are working effectively on our behalf, at times with less than optimal support from above, but at least without much unwanted interference. American institutions seem to be weathering current crises remarkably well so far, even if mistakes are being made.

Frantic Sloth 2:12 PM  

BTW, as a parochial school student, none of these "sensitivity" concerns were an issue. Either the nuns would beat it into you or they would just beat you.

Masked and Anonymous 2:21 PM  

Correction to my first msg: Thanx to YY and EA, not EG. M&A accidentally did a GRELOCATION, there.

How'bout: TAX FREE RENT --> TAX REFERENT? … yeah … didn't think so.
DEEM A DREAM --> REDEEM ADAM? … yeah … real CLOSE ONE, M&A Breath.

Ooh ooh … got it!


SCORED a bonus:

Joe Dipinto 2:23 PM  

@Sunday Spelling Bee solvers – I don't believe there is a finite word list. The paper edition says that if you find words in your dictionary that are not on their list, feel free to include them. I'm typically missing one of two of their words, but have one or two words that they don't have. My list almost never matches theirs exactly.

Unknown 2:47 PM  

On spelling bee, when you get all the words, you get called a Queen Bee, and a picture of a bee comes up. Very exciting.
My first post here after lurking a long time. Favorite mondegreen: Round John Virgin.

Frantic Sloth 2:48 PM  

@Joe Dipinto The online version of Spelling Bee is a completely different animal. Not only does it appear every day of the week, the list of words is finite and inflexible. Words that I know to be correct are rejected. That's the maddening aspect of the game.
I think I'd prefer your experience - if I could get it every day.

Frantic Sloth 2:50 PM  

@Unknown 247pm Thank you for that! I've never achieved "perfection" so it's nice to know that it would include a delicious little cherry on top!

Unknown 2:52 PM  

One other mondegreen for the hymn singers on the list: Gladly, the Cross-eyed Bear.

GILL I. 2:53 PM  

@webwinger.....I don't want you to be agape!!!!!
While some here cringe at seen/saw, I cringe at what so many think is their god given Constitutional right to do just about anything they can get away with within inches of the law. Americans in this decade have no idea how lucky they are. We throw words around like "It's my right as an American citizen" as if it they were born with that right. You ask ANY person who has immigrated to this country from an oppressed regime what they love most about us and they will invariably say that it's the freedom we allow.
My sister lives in Spain. If she goes out without a mask, doesn't have her papers with her, doesn't go to the market to buy food, she will be fined 400 euros. They aren't kidding around. Just today I went to the market for food and maybe half the people were wearing masks. Is it so hard to be sensitive to the needs of others? Is it okay for you to sneeze or cough without covering yourself? Just because you can and no one will arrest you?
I've lived in many regimes. The US ofA is the best of the best. Many, many people who live here have no idea how lucky they are.
@pablito, COMPADRE...Pero claro que si. She would be a Josefina or maybe a Josefa or maybe Juanita?
@jae. HAH! By the way, thanks for the Kims Convenience. I love Appa.....

Joe Dipinto 3:07 PM  

@Frantic Sloth – so do they have the new weekday variety puzzles online? Today there's a Cryptogram and a Two Not Touch (the thing that's been in the upper right corner on Sundays). Besides the KenKens.

What letters are in today's Spelling Bee, and what is their point tally?

Whatsername 3:10 PM  

@GILL (10:57) SO ... that drives me crazy too. It’s right up there with “you know” and “like.”

@Newboy (11:16) RE “copyeditors now sadly replaced by software” - A friend was concerned about her third-grade son developing poorly with his spelling skills. When she brought it up at her parent-teacher conference, the teacher told her not to worry about it because all the computers have spell checkers and he’d probably never need it anyway.

@Crimson Devil (12:15) RE “Spell Check is a dangerous crotch.” It’s also my worst enema.

Mr. McSnooty 3:14 PM  

@Loren - Give it up. We highly educated folk are just so much superior to everyone else that we just have to rub it in every way possible, at every opportunity possible. It validates us in our superiority.

Anonymous 3:19 PM  

Good Thursday. Puzzle

@LMS and others.
The Canterbury Tales and specifically your incantation are partly responsible for my marriage. How? You ask

Late 90s. Public access TV studio.
I was working on audio. "For Coffee Talk with Madge".
Few hours before air time I was plugging in 5-6 mics. In the studio.
Then we had to check levels in control room.

I'm usually in the booth and have someone else check each microphone.
But we were short handed and since I was in the studio, I'd do it
The usual "test test 1 2 3" was too hackneyed.
I guess I could say what I had for breakfast.
There were a lot of microphones and a newbie on the audio board.

So I decided to say something that came to mind. -- the first sixteen lines of the Canterbury Tales in Middle English.
The entire class had to memorize it and recite it in junior year English.
And 18 years later I still remembered it.

They heard it loud and clear over the speakers in the control room.
Where the host, director, technical director, etc were setting up their positions.
The mikes checked out, after a few jiggles and battery swaps.
We did a great show. Local artists, a band, studio audience, sketch. It was an award winning show.

I chatted with "Madge after" the show.
She wanted to know what "that poem" was. I told her.
We went on some dates. Madge told me she liked the way I said the poem and how smart I must be (blush)
And 20 years later that little pumpkin is on her laptop at the kitchen counter as we shelter in place.
BTW she ordered a halo/ring light for her video conference calls.
Pro tip.

So if you ever think that things take funny turns ...

Stay safe all. Wash hands. And be little extra nice to someone today.
And always have a little piece of poetry for mic checks.
Big Steve.

BobL 3:31 PM  

Re Spelling Bee - Within Deb Amiens commentary is a Bee thread, wherein the geniuses will let you know of the final word count and total points. Also there will be hints to the words, charts showing word lengths nad how many may start with certain letters. I have reached Queen status only when using these hints.

Anonymous 3:32 PM  

Because Amulet was demonic. Enos Teal Eony. In the red were three items as were in three D. Baking bread similarly replaced a pair of correct words with another. Finally there were two 1 word substitutions.Numbers don't lie, in Eden 2+2=4. Egad, Why the contrafibularities? I celebrated with Lemony Cuervo & Sesame Tilsit after I seed it

egsforbreakfast 3:45 PM  

@ Joe DiPinto and @ Frantic Sloth.. I hadn’t tried Spelling Bee until today. Reading your comments, I gave it a try and eventually got to the GENIUS level with 21 words and 57 points. In the on-line version, you can only get credit for words in some secret list, so it rejected a couple of mine that I thought were fine. There doesn’t seem to be a way to see what a “perfect” score would be, but there is a leaderboard function that says you can see how long it took your friends to complete the game. From this, I’m inferring, but not implying, that when you reach GENIUS, you have finished. If this is not correct, please let me know.


egsforbreakfast 3:56 PM  

Sorry. @BobL answered my question while I was typing.

Anonymous 4:03 PM  

Why did Martha Catherine become Mary Catherine?

kitshef 4:06 PM  

We got a card on our mailbox today from someone looking for gardening work in the area. The card indicates they do:
- Mowing
- Landscaping
- Paving
- Irritation Systems

Frantic Sloth 4:08 PM  

@JoeDipinto Today's letters were GRIMBLO and like @egsforbreakfast 345pm I believe I also got to 57 points with 21 words, but don't know if there is a perfect score - or just getting all the words in the online list is considered the "perfect" score. I guess checking out that blog would help.
I think I'll make the effort from now on instead of stopping when I reach "genius". (I believe the closest I ever got was all but one word and I've been playing since it came out.)

Frantic Sloth 4:11 PM  

@Joe - forgot to mention the only variety puzzles online seem to be Sundays only. Boo!

Frantic Sloth 4:21 PM  

@BobL 331pm Is that commentary within the Word Play blog? I can't seem to find it.

Anonymous 4:23 PM  

You didn't mention that "I" is the center letter and must appear in every word.

pabloinnh 4:38 PM  


Boy, when you ask a question around here about the Spelling Bee, you get the stone lowdown. Many thanks to all of you for some good information.

My favorite reject from today, as I pointed out to @crimsondevil via email, was "ombligo', which @GILL I and several others could tell you is Spanish for "belly button". I knew it wouldn't be accepted, but it's a great word.

BobL 4:48 PM  

@Frantic - just checked and the thread is there. It is authored by "Doug". At the top of the comment page it will read "recommended" and "all" and "replies". Be sure youve clicked "all".

Anonymous 4:57 PM  

@Spelling Bee
Genius kind of implies you’re done but it is only 70% of the total points for “perfect”. If you get ‘em all, you are Queen Bee. The Bee is under control of Sam Ersky of the NYT. Sam controls the dictionary and occasionally there are inclusions and exclusions that irk those who play. That’s life and it’s only a game. I personally try to get to Genius before calling it a day and concentrate on words 5 letters and up because that’s where you score the points.

The comment section on Deb Amlen’s blog has a daily Bee thread. Go to the “recommended” tab and it should be at the top. The first post is the “Grid” which is kind of an answer key in increasing amounts of detail as you move down the grid. In the commentary that follows the grid there is usually a post that provides verbal hints to some of the words.

Ernonymous 5:32 PM  

People who were born in the USA act like they did something special to have been born here. "Of course I was born her, I'm special so God placed me here" when it was nothing more than pure luck where on the planet that you fell out of the womb. I often wonder why I was not born into a 3rd world country. I understand people can be proud of pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, but 1 billion children live in extreme poverty through no fault of their own. They don't have any bootstraps to pull themselves up from.
Even the poorest of the poor here are not living in shanty towns with no running water and electric cables illegally run into their shacks. Most American poor have toilets. There are organizations to help the homeless, which do not exist in 3rd World countries.
What I hate is the superiority of people who won the jackpot being born here but they act like they deserved it because they are super special. If you had a family who were starving of hunger and sleeping on a dirt floor, you might risk your life to illegally cross a border into another country.

Ando 5:44 PM  

I came here only to find out what IN THREED is.

Joaquin 6:03 PM  

Giovanni (5:32) - Totally agree. My family fled horrible poverty and injustice to come to America, risking all - including their lives - along the way. But it was my dumb luck and good fortune to be born in the US; I didn't earn it but I'm glad to have it! And I will respect and encourage - and help as I am able - those who chase the same dream for themselves and their families.

(Yep. We're a looong way from crosswords, but nothing is normal these days.)

Z 6:13 PM  

A prescriptivist and a descriptivist walked into a bar but nobody could understand the joke.

Speaking of which, the Translator's Note to Edith Wilson's translation of The Odyssey is really on point. Have I mentioned this edition before? It's really really good and not at all like that boring crap they had us reading back in the day.

@Joe DiPinto - Planting an earworm without the video is just cruel.

@Big Steve - Nice Story.

@Whatsername3:10 - Is that how the story ends?

@Giovanni 12:02 - Congratulations. Your accomplishment almost got lost in the mud wrestling.

@Frantic Sloth - Nuns sound nice.

@Gill I - Regarding masks - I'm not wearing a mask but not because I don't care. I just want everyone to keep their distance until we start getting low cost easily accessible testing rolled out. The efficacy of the masks people are wearing is questionable at best and actually contraindicated if they don't know how to remove it properly. That is, most masks don't effectively prevent the virus to begin with and if you wear one then take it off improperly and don't wash your hands - well you might as well have a make-out session with an infected person. The argument against recommending wearing masks is that they can give a false sense of security, and then people might not stay 6' apart or wash their hands well. My practice is to stay 6" away from everyone in the store and 10' away from the people in the masks. And I wash my hands well before touching my face and so should everyone.

@Lindsay and @malsdemare - It was always amazing to me that a basic truth was lost on some teachers. Teachers that respected their students were respected by their students and their students learned. Teachers who didn't respect their students struggled with classroom management and student achievement.

@jberg - Regarding "reign in" - I see the sin there as using a dead metaphor. They mean "gain control" but instead are using a metaphor they don't understand. To me it is as much a bad writing issue as a usage issue. And now I want to see a Rein/Reign/Rain theme that isn't all wet.

@MaryCatherine and @LMS - I balk at the "How long do we hold out?" question. My answer is we don't. I'm sure @LMS could expound at length better than I (what with her fancy degree and all), but it is not that these dialects and regionalisms don't have rules, it is that they have different rules. The question then, isn't how long before we adopt something, it is whether or not that rule is adoptable in another vernacular. My favorite example from where I live now is "Y'all." Since "you" can be either singular or plural the "all" was added to emphasize plurality. But now "Y'all" has evolved so that it can be used as a singular "you." Now I hear "All Y'All." "Thou" and "you" would be simpler, but then what would I do with my "Namaste Y'All" t-shirt?

Midwest referee 6:16 PM  

@Nancy, you really need to stop. Your posts seem to imply (or at least I inferred) that @LMS is not teaching her students proper grammar after she very clearly explained that she is. I think her students are very lucky to have a teacher who can engage her students to care about proper grammar yet still accept the way they speak...due to their background. It is not unusual I think for students like this to be something like “bilingual,” such that they can both speak and write in the professional world in the “proper” way, yet revert to a different manner with friends, family, or whatnot. Your messages were quite insulting today.

JW 6:17 PM  

Got the theme early, and got it all filled in, except for "YEGODS". That completely eluded me. One letter, and I simply could not see it!

A Moderator 6:42 PM  

@Joe Bleaux - Per your request I did not approve your post. If you are a "Blue" commenter you should be able to delete a post by clicking on the trash can icon.

Eniale 6:58 PM  

@FranticSloth: I was taught in English course a hundred years ago that by depending on the terms of the topic we were discussing I was "begging the question" -according to wikipedia now it's a form of circular argument; instead of arguing you're assuming the truth of the conclusion.


puzzlehoarder 7:01 PM  

@ Off the grid, pabloinnh, Bobl, egsforbreakfast and Frantic Sloth, if any of you are still reading the comments today the list for today's Spelling Bee has 24 words on it to get to Queen Bee. Only one of them is a word I'd consider unusual. It's been an unusually easy week as I've now reached Queen Bee Mon- Thur.

Sam Ezersky is the editor for it and it really pisses me off that he doesn't accept words like lidar, adit and just the other day laird. Today he wouldn't take bimbo which I can understand as it's offensive but for a guy who's been constructing puzzles for years not to accept common crosswordese makes no sense.

Unknown 7:12 PM  

Was hoping someone would explain ACTION. Thought about that all day before solving the corner. I guess i'm late isn't absurd but action meaning playing field????

Hoboken Mike 7:31 PM  

Why is action correct?

Charles Emerson Winchester III 7:41 PM  

Indeed! For my sins, I served a total of 15 years in London, often went to offices in the area that apparently is St Giles historically, and yet struggled mightily to recall it. I’d lay good odds that a tiny minority of life-long Londoners would know it. All that said, it’s the sort of obscure clue I tend to like.

GILL I. 8:02 PM here's the thing. If you happened to be a carrier and you sneeze or cough and you're not wearing a mask, my standing 6 feet away won't help me much, especially if I'm also not wearing a mask. I know not everyone has access to the N95's but anything covering your face will most likely capture your viral droplets. Then you go back to your car, use your hand sanitizer to take the mask off and when you get home you wash the mask. I make them out of old socks that I wash every day.
We all need to do our best...n'est pas?
By the way...I hate wearing them because they fog up my sun glasses. However, it's a little inconvenience I will live with because if I bring home the virus and my husband, who has a compromised immune system, gets it, he will most likely die. CAPEESH?

JC66 8:10 PM  


I agree wholeheartedly. Not wearing a mask to SCARE other people away is obscene/ludicrous.

Joe Dipinto 8:21 PM  

@Unknown 7:12 - because it's ACTING. Acting is a field of endeavor in which you play other people.

("Playing Field?" would be a good clue for SALLY.)

Crimson Devil 8:44 PM  

Re: Bee
What about OBLIGOR??
Shoulda been a contendah.

Kathy 9:03 PM  

@BaxNNex. I totally relate to your wacky family!

My arduous solving journey isn’t worth elaborating. I did get within two or three letters, which is a fine achievement for me on what I considered a bear of a puzzle. But that took me over three hours during the course of the day, mostly mired in the SW.

Today’s blog was a most entertaining read. I am in awe of the depth and breadth of this community, especially of late.

Anoa Bob 9:04 PM  

Wow, @Z, can't believe that you somewhat brazenly, if not boastfullly, declared that you don't wear a mask or face covering when you are out in public. As @Gill explains (with diplomatic restraint), one of the main reasons to wear a mask in public is as a courtesy to those around you. It's a shield against releasing your own saliva and mucous droplets that the virus must hitch a ride on in order to survive. This lessens the chances that you might unknowingly spread the virus to others. Not wearing a mask or face covering in public nowadays is irresponsible, no two ways about it.

Debbie 10:14 PM  

I don’t know where @Z lives. In the greater New York area, where I live, he wouldn’t be able to get away with that. There are plenty of inconsiderate people here but I haven’t seen seen that attitude in over a month.

Z 10:19 PM  

@Gill I & @JC66 & @Anoa Bob - So let me put this into bullet points and you can all apologize later:
1. If someone is sneezing or coughing they shouldn’t be out at all.
2. The worry (from epidemiologists and there’s not consensus) about mask wearing is two fold. First, there is not good evidence they work in the general population but second, people wearing masks stop doing what does work because they think they’re protected.
3. Here’s a good primer. Look at what this says and then look at everyone you see wearing a mask. Is it really any surprise that masks are not effective? I don’t think I have seen a single one being worn properly. What percentage know the proper way to remove the mask? What percentage don’t wash their hands after removing the mask? If a person can’t even wear it correctly why would we expect them to do anything else correctly?
4. Let me be very clear, the only people at the grocery to violate my 6’ buffer zone were wearing masks. (yes I’m shouting - yes it pissed me off)
5. Masks don’t prevent the spread of viruses in any meaningful way in the general population. I know I said this already, but all three of you seem to think masks matters, and they do not. My personal experience is that the epidemiologists who think masks are bad have the better understanding of how Americans behave.

In short, it’s not about being “brazen” or “trying to scare others into keeping their distance” or because I’m oblivious to the risk each of us poses to our fellows right now. I don’t wear a mask because a home made mask doesn’t cut it, there are people who need effective masks more than I do, and there are behaviors I can engage in that are effective at protecting myself and others. Are there people not wearing masks for the reasons you suggest? Perhaps. But if they are doing a good job of keeping 6’ between themselves and others I’m satisfied.

Anonymous 10:30 PM  

How do I know I will not sneeze when I am at the the store in an hour ? I last sneezed three days ago. Doesn’t mean I won’t sneeze an hour from now. A mask would prevent me from infecting others. There area lot of asymptomatic carriers out there. Put on a mask you selfish...

GILL I. 10:38 PM  

@Z...Yeah....if you're sneezing or coughing don't go out....(sigh)
"masks don't prevent the spread of viruses in any meaningful way in the general population." sigh. You don't know, nor do I. If I can contain the spread by listening to those that might have an answer, I will. If wearing one helps contain your spittle...then so be it.

JC66 10:44 PM  


In your 6:13 comment you said " I'm not wearing a mask but not because I don't care. I just want everyone to keep their distance until we start getting low cost easily accessible testing rolled out.

To me that meant you were trying to scare people off. One can walk and chew gum at the same time (wear a mask and stay 6 feet away).

If you don't believe masks work, even if you know how to use them properly, you're still doing your friends and neighbors a disservice by not wearing one. You just might be wrong and it sure can't hurt to wear one.

What if everyone followed your example.

We're all in this together. Please rethink your position.

Michael 10:59 PM  

OLE should be banned, so tired of seeing it.

ODES has come up several times recently as well.

Anoa Bob 11:49 PM  

@Z, maybe being pissed off is a good sign you don't understand the basic message. Let me shout this at you. Wearing a mask or face covering is not so much about protecting yourself from the virus as it is a matter of protecting others from the virus that might be coming from you. That shield provides a barrier to the aerosolized stream of saliva and mucous droplets that naturally comes out as we talk, laugh, sneeze, sing, holler, hell, even breathe. And all indicators show this to be the major pathway of the virus spread, by attaching to those droplets.

It's simple. If we all wear face masks or coverings, it will slow the spread of the virus. Capeesh?

albatross shell 2:31 AM  

Another way to get to ACTION:
ACTION as defined in the phrase "where the ACTION is". Sports reporters want to be where the ACTION is. Sports reporters want to where the playing field is. Of course nowadays the ACTION is lacking on the playing fields.

You may be right. There is some chance you are not. The science here is not well-defined. Are you safer if everyone else wears masks? I think so. One sneeze and you could kill someone. You not doing so could also cause others not to do so. Many ways to look at this with many possible repercussions. Think about it. Feeling silly or thinking it's silly may not be the most important determining factor. Think.

Loren Muse Smith 4:50 AM  

@bulgie – “Bad Breath and Beyond” – I know that guy!

@MaryCatherine – I’m adding “immutable” into the rotation. Great word.

@albatross shell – you’re right; audience is everything.

@Crimson Devil – “I, too, teach and bristle at “heathen” students who say “me and ...”, and “I seen”. Strunk & White is one of my recommended sourcebooks for students, who should not need it by the time they get to me.” I understand by this that people who don’t use “proper” grammar (less-educated, non-white, non-middle/upper class) are heathens. This belief is exactly what pushes my buttons.

@Whatsername – “when I hear people say things like “I seen that movie,” or “I been to them places,” I wonder if they truly lack the ability to express themselves more intelligently.” Maybe you don’t realize it, but your more intelligently actually means more like the way I speak as regards education, class, and race. I’m surrounded by people who say I seen that movie, and many of them are way more intelligent than I am! You’re absolutely right, though, (@jberg – take note here) – “mistakes” people make are one of the driving forces of language change.

@jberg – More often than not, your “plain old error” is synonymous with language change. There’s a very good chance that rein spelling will disappear because of the overwhelming number of people who spell it reign. Also, you said, “The singular they, for example, is developing in order to meet a need; actually two needs, one to avoid the awkward "he or she." Nope. The singular they is not developing at all. It’s been around for centuries, since at least 1375. I guarantee you that the people here whose eye I’m sticking my thumb in regularly use the singular they in spoken English. If there is indeed someone who would say, Looks like someone left his or her phone on his or her seat, I sure don’t want to sit next to them at a dinner party. (And give up insisting that beg the question doesn’t mean raise the question That ship has sailed.

@what? – exactly.

@pmdm – the rule not to split an infinitive is a made-up rule. In Old English, an infinitive was one word, so to break it up with an adverb was impossible. Yay. Fine. Latin is the same, and all the early grammar meanies based their stuff on Latin. When English infinitives morphed into two words, pedants dug in and whined. (And sometimes we do have grids with unchecked squares – 46 under Will’s reign. Love’em.)

@Malsedmare– your Navaho experience is exactly like mine!

@Armchair Editor – we have tons of rules (Can’t say *John seems sleeping, *She’s as angry as I’m. or *The boy was said was hungry. We just don’t need to use rules of “proper” English to lord over people whose English follows different rules. And yep, criteria is probably the main singular form now.

@Mr. McSnooty – thank you. You get me. The attitude you parody is what enrages me.

@Midwest referee – thanks, man. I always assure people that I do cover grammar. Every Friday my kids have a vocab quiz that includes ten grammar questions, and the last three are always past participles. If someone chooses I seen that movie, they get it wrong. But they all understand that it’s a quiz for written English, not spoken.

@Z – thanks, man. You know why. ;-)

I’ll post this again.

jberg 12:52 PM  

@frantic -- I don't know if anyone answered you yesterday about "beg the question" -- it USED to be a term in debate, where you tried to get your opponent to accept your assumption without noticing it. E.g., "surely you'll agree that we have to cut government spending or we will never be able to reduce the national debt." You could argue about that, but once you do you have accepted the assumption that the national debt needs to be cut. Wordy example, and there's probably a better way to define it. Anyway, as @Loren said yesterday, that ship has sailed. I just feel a certain ruefulness about it.

Paul Rippey 6:51 PM  

@LMS, and all
This is late, but I just worked the puzzle (I’m way behind, I know). I also got TILSIT quickly, because of listening to the following countless times:

Customer: I thought to myself, "a little fermented curd will do the trick," so, I curtailed my Walpoling activities, sallied forth, and infiltrated your place of purveyance to negotiate the vending of some cheesy comestibles.

Wenslydale: Come again?

Customer: I want to buy some cheese.

Wenslydale: Oh, I thought you were complaining about the bazouki player!

Customer: Oh, heaven forbid: I am one who delights in all manifestations of the Terpsichorean muse!

Wenslydale: Sorry?

Customer: 'Ooo, Ah lahk a nice tuune, 'yer forced too!

Wenslydale: So he can go on playing, can he?

Customer: Most certainly! Now then, some cheese please, my good man.

Wenslydale: (lustily) Certainly, sir. What would you like?

Customer: Well, eh, how about a little red Leicester.

Wenslydale: I'm, afraid we're fresh out of red Leicester, sir.

Customer: Oh, never mind, how are you on Tilsit?

Wenslydale: I'm afraid we never have that at the end of the week, sir, we get it fresh on Monday.

Anonymous 8:47 AM  

spell checker, not spell check

oopsie? yuck... save it for a baby talk theme

got it now... not get it now

om ye g

Burma Shave 10:31 AM  




spacecraft 11:21 AM  

On the saw/seen thing, I'd say, just don't use "I seen" during a job interview. On THREED, this is a variation on the same reason I can't stand ampersandwiches. You expect me to accept a spelled-out THREE next to only a single letter meaning "dimension?" No, that dog just won't hunt. Print "3-D," fine. This, no. RE-jected.

The rest of this is OK, despite kiddie language like OOPSIE. There is some good fill, but then as has been said, the theme is not taxing. OLD DOD standbys such as ETTA and EDEN notwithstanding, Today's title clearly belongs to the full-named TEALEONI. One unfortunate themer knocks this down to a bogey.

rondo 11:48 AM  

Masking up to go to the store is wearisome; REFER me to a FREER lifestyle, if there is any such RELOCATION. Clever concept. Good thing I had some down crosses in or BREAKINGBAD woulda been an inkfest. I’ve drunk enough CUERVO to know better than to start it with a Q write-over. DUH!

OLE, no Sven nor Lena.

Mirielle ENOS is sure enough a new ENOS clue. No more baseball Slaughter? She gets a yeah baby for winning awards. So does TEALEONI.

Good puz as COMPARED to a rebus.

Rick Walker 12:25 PM  

I liked Asia for Java setting since I'm always setting Java in the background because it's a horrible program unless you really need it and still is then. Good misdirection IMO. I love all the ways to clue Asia.

Diana, LIW 2:21 PM  

Oh no - a one letter DNF. Who can guess the letter? won't. It's too dopey of an oopsie. But let me tell you, REdOCATIONS is as dumb as it sounds.

Diana, Waiting for a Brain

thefogman 2:50 PM  

The reveal isn’t accurate or I’m missing something. One word or two does not apply to 24D (INTHREED) which is three words (In three D) and three words again in its anagrammed form (In the red). Coulda BEAN good. Instead it’s an OOPSIE.

leftcoaster 4:05 PM  

Thought my early breakthrough was at the BREAKING BAD/BAKING BREAD combination. "Aha!" said I. Theme/revealer has to be SPOONERISMS! Eleven letters, nice fit.

Trouble ensued.

El Dingo 4:19 PM  

Heh. If you Unser the logical but wrong GoTITNOW instead of GETITNOW, you create the mythical St. GILoS, which ought to be a Greek island.

INTHREED is not now and never will be a word. I knew it had to be the “correct” fill, but I had to come here in order to figure out what the hell it meant.

rainforest 4:57 PM  

OOPSIE. MY BAD. My comment on *this* puzzle was entered on yesterday's blog. I'm not repeating it here, so if you are sufficiently curious, go there. Why do I bother?

strayling 6:32 PM  

@thefogman, I think the clue is referring to its own answer: "RE" LOCATIONS vs. RELOCATIONS.

wcutler 10:25 PM  

@Anonymoose 9:40 AM
"Technically the RE is moved in each theme but only in BAKINGBREAD and CATERED is it really relocated. In INTHREED, the R & E just swap places."
Technically, to form INTHERED, you do remove an "RE" pair and move it down to follow the other E.

@Whatsername 12:20 PM
"I wonder if they truly lack the ability to express themselves more intelligently or if they just don’t bother to make the effort."
A friend told me years ago that people are generally pretty good sociologists. The third possibility here is that they want to fit in with their friends, and they do that by using the same language. Presumably, you are not as close a friend, or that would be your language too.

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