Orphan girl in Byron's Don Juan / SUN 4-19-20 / Weapon sought by Voldemort / Disintegrate in a way as cells in the body / biblical figure with tomb in Cave of Patriarchs / Japanese soybean appetizer / Like Mona Lisa in 1911

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Constructor: Jack Mowat and Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (9:18)

THEME: "Of Course!" — golf puns (bad-at-golf puns, I guess, to be quite specific, since the main "character" in each theme clue is a "duffer")

Theme answers:
  • MICROCHIPS (23A: Duffer's approach shots that barely go anywhere?)
  • A STROKE OF BAD LUCK (33A: Duffer's putt that just misses?)
  • CAPTAIN HOOK (46A: Nickname for a duffer who can't hit straight?)
  • DISTRACTED DRIVING (66A: Result of spectators heckling a duffer?)
  • WEDGE ISSUES (88A: Duffer's problems with an angled club?)
  • IRON DEFICIENCIES (100A: Duffer's reasons to choose a wood?)
  • NOT UP TO PAR (115A: Like the duffer in this puzzle?)
Word of the Day: BOBSTAY (71A: Rope holding down a bowsprit) —
a stay to hold a ship's bowsprit down 
a large spar projecting forward from the stem of a ship  

a stout pole (merriam-webster.com)
• • •

Take a field, area, topic of some kind. Write down a bunch of words from that area, topic, field that also have meanings outside of that area, topic, field. Find ordinary phrases containing those words. Congratulations, you are a Sunday NYTXW crossword constructor. Last week, coffee. Ooh, GROUNDS is a word from coffee but did you know also it has a different meaning!? Theme time! And today ... wow, DRIVING has a meaning in golf *and* in the automotive world! How far can I take this [six minutes later] wow, pretty far! In short, this theme was death. Well, no, I'd rather do this puzzle again than die, but only barely. This is the kind of puzzle you'd show someone who had never done a puzzle before to explain the concept of "theme" — that is, if you wanted to actively discourage that person from ever wanting to solve another puzzle ever again. "Oh ... yeah, yeah, I get it. I do. 'Cause 'chip' is a golf shot, so ... MICRO... CHIPS, yeah, it's cute. It is. OK, look, I gotta go, I'm late for this thing." End scene. Also, golf is the worst. But that's just opinion. Good opinion, but opinion. Whereas the tiresomeness of this theme type is not opinion. It is stone cold fact. This theme ARFED and you know it.

There's a smattering of likeable stuff in here. SCARJO! ELDERWAND! (I forgot this was a thing) SMURFETTE! SPEEDBAG! BAT SIGNAL! All of that is very nice. But I'm gonna need a lot (LOT) more of that to make up for IRON DEFICIENCIES and every other corny theme pun in this grid. Also, someone needs to come get BOBSTAY (??!) and LYSE (!?!?!?!) (76D: Disintegrate, in a way, as cells in the body) and whoever this LEILA is (62A: Orphan girl in Byron's "Don Juan"). Also, PLONKS?? (18D: Carelessly drops). Is that different from PLUNKS? Answer: it is not. Once again, I direct your attention to the concept of the *variant*!!!!

Not much else to say here, ALAS.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Z 12:09 AM  

My wife thinks golf on TV is great to nap to.

Pete 12:16 AM  

Of it's not Shaw's Don Juan I don't want to hear about it.

Joaquin 12:19 AM  

One thing I will never do is PLONK myself in front of the tv and watch golf while doing the Sunday puzzle. Both are consistently boring and doing them simultaneously may put me in a coma.

Truth be told I have never in my life said, read, heard, or written the word PLONK until today. And I promise to never do it again.

Anonymous 12:40 AM  

Rex, I’m surprised you didn’t catch the racial slur in one of the clues. It’s apparently ok for the NYT to use “cracker”?

Anonymous 1:39 AM  

Can someone explain ADOUT? I can't figure out that one.

Anonymous 2:23 AM  

@Anonymous 1:39. Ad out is a tennis term indicating the non-serving player is one point from winning a game.

Ernonymous 2:37 AM  

@anon it's from the wonderful world of tennis score keeping; AD OUT - 2 words. At duece(tie score) who get the next point has the ADvanatage, if the server wins next point it's AD IN. If the player who is not the server wins it, it's AD OUT. Whoever has the AD, if they win the next point, they win the game.

jae 2:38 AM  

Easy-medium. As a golfer I thought this was cute and amusing, but @Z your wife is right about the nap part. Liked it.

GADSDEN was a WOE but the crosses were fine (except for maybe LEILA). Speaking of which I used to have DENTAL but not anymore...(sigh)...Bernie may have a point?

Re: Binging. As someone mentioned a few days ago (I don’t remember who), Detectorists is streaming free on the ROKU Channel, however, it is a tad tough to find. I recommend going to search mode and typing in Detectorists. Otherwise you need to scroll down quite a while until you hit Comedy and then scroll over 20+ shows to find it. Good luck.

@Anon - ADOUT is a tennis term which means if you lose the next point you lose the game, which is not good because you are the server. (This explanation may be wrong @Nancy?) ...and FWIW tennis can also be nap inducing.

Mike in Mountain View 2:48 AM  

AD OUT is short for ADvantage OUT and is the opposite of AD IN. It's a tennis score that occurs when the non-serving player (OUT) wins the point at deuce.

chefwen 2:49 AM  

Being somewhat of a golf widow I rather liked this. When he aka puzzle partner, and his golfing buddies gather at our house for refreshments after a round all I hear is “golf speak”. How about that chip shot on nine, great putt on the seventh, your drive on the 10th was spectacular, etc. the only one I hadn’t heard was WEDGE ISSUES husband confirmed that it is a thing.

I royally messed myself up at 66A by putting in DISTRACTED DRIVers and never fully recovered from it, made me spell NIELSEN as Nielsen FENGSHUI with two ss’s which I knew wasn’t right, didn’t know EDSEL, that area was such a mess that I finally caved and looked up the correct spelling of FENG SHUI, which I will never have been able to spell, and was able to see the error of my ways. Other than that mess at the end I really did like it. Laughed out loud at CAPTAIN HOOK.

Greg Charles 3:05 AM  

Advantage out (ad out) comes after a deuce when the non-serving player scores a point. If the server loses the next point, he or she loses the game.

TinPT 3:09 AM  

This one was a nice cure for insomnia, like golf. Zzz... Really, I just have a problem with golf. Golf puns? Ick. Nice puzzle and nice way to kill an hour on a Saturday/Sunday. Ty!

Loren Muse Smith 4:14 AM  

I don’t mind themes like this that repurpose an in-the-language phrase. Once I got A STROKE OF BAD LUCK and saw the deal, it was fun teasing out the others. Also fun to do a tertiary repurposing of the themers: A STROKE OF BAD LUCK – that final rub of a cat’s tummy when he’s had enough and just out of the blue bites the crap out of your hand. WEDGE ISSUES – the cheddar chunk is honestly too big to go on the cracker, so how do you eat it politely? IRON DEFICIENCy - you don’t own a Rowenta. And I’m sure there’s some hoops star nicknamed CAPTAIN HOOK. (@chefwen – I had never heard of WEDGE ISSUES, either.)

“Pat” before SAL.

As I post this, I count 5 answers to the ADOUT question. Wonder how many others will post an answer with magnificent disregard to the fact that it’s been well-answered now.

Never knew that DITHER was a verb. If you’re dithering, you’re faltering. If you’re *in* a dither, you’re all upset and stuff. Like George Clooney just walked in the room, and you’re frantically working out a strategy for just how to play it. [This happened to my sister in Charlotte once when Gregory Hines showed up at the Y to exercise. She. Nailed. It. That’s a story for another day.]

SKULK is a great verb. I like that it connotes a sense of guilt or shame. You move stealthily if you’re playing a joke on someone, if you don’t want to wake up someone napping on the couch. But you SKULK off to your room if you’ve just cadged the last bagel in the Maine cottage (that you hid behind the rice and the oatmeal in the pantry). You SKULK out of the teacher’s lounge with not one but six of the mini banana bread loaves Mr. Minney’s wife sent in.

GIFTED. Sigh. I don’t miss those parent orientation meetings when my kids were young. All the parent questions at the end designed to let everyone there know that their kid was especially bright and advanced. Do you have programs for kids who have already read all the Harry Potter books and can complete the square to get the quadratic equation? And are conversant in Italian? Parent then looks around to make sure we all get the deal that his kid is *better* than ours. I know I brag here about my kids, but honestly, it’s a reach; they’re just not that smart. Hah. Just kidding. Seriously, though - they were never bright enough to arm me with any obnoxious questions. They didn’t learn to read any faster than their peers, never exhibited remarkable math skills, never learned Suzuki violin. I’m pleased to report that they’ve gone on to lead perfectly normal, yea successful, lives.

The grid has BAT crossing RABID. Shout-out to @Hartley and her epic caught-under-a-closed-patio-umbrella-with-a-startled-bat story. Glad it wasn’t RABID.

Loved the clue for ON AIR. Don’t we all have our figurative ON AIR personalities? The way I present here is so different from my bitchy, whiny, snarky IRL walking-around personality. It’s not a deliberate thing. I guess since anything language pleases me that I always lead with effusive here. And, yeah, I exhaust even myself with my comments.

@Aelurus from yesterday – I meant to add a little note that Ben Zimmer was a linguist. I’m so glad you looked him up! I wish I could be on speed-dial with Ben, John McWhorter, Ann Curzan… so many questions about so many things linguistic. And welcome to our little commentunity.

I’m with @TinPT – nice way to kill an hour this morning. No complaints.

Diver 6:02 AM  

Golf is a good puzzle spoiled.

Anonymous 6:03 AM  

I actually knew LYSE. It may be jargon, but it's a real thing. It's when a bacterial cell is destroyed by an enzyme called lysozyme. It bursts the cell open by destroying the cell walls, effectively killing it. The stuff is in your tears. So crying kills bacteria.

Lewis 6:38 AM  

After the intensity and shimmer of the past two puzzles, this solve had a welcome sedate feel, like sitting with a cool drink under the sun. When I'd fill in a tough square or plonk in a mass of letters, I could almost hear the polite golf applause in the background. That peaceful feel is always welcome these days, and thank you for that, J&J.

Besides, I got to visit three words I adore (GLISTEN, DITHER, SKULK) and I learned PAPEETE and SPEEDBAG, and flashed on the image of a boxer pounding away at the latter while repeatedly screaming the former.

When I was in single digits, my father would sometimes let me tag along as he played golf. From one hole to the next, he would yell and curse. At times he would fling his club or whack it against a tree. There was growling and kicking and angrily punching the air. When it was all over, he would emerge with a beatific smile on his face. "Man," he would exclaim, "that was the best time ever! What a great game this is!"

CDilly52 6:56 AM  

I agree completely with @LMS that we all have our ON AIR voice, regardless of our line of work. My daughter opined on mine from a very early age when, from the couch in the den just off our kitchen (she was small enough that her head did not rise above the back of the couch so that I could not see she was there from where I stood), I hear, in response to a ”discussion” her father and I were having, the bored-child sigh followed by “Give it up, Daddy, she is using her Lawyer Voice.” There you have it, my ON AIR persona.

Once again, I must disagree with @Rex. While not the most creative, novel or challenging of Sundays, this was most definitely a Sunday puzzle. Sure, soon as I saw the first Duffer clue at 23A, I knew we had a golf theme. And I didn’t hate it, in fact thought MICRO CHIP and IRON DEFICIENCIES added a bit of freshness to the standard Sunday-style theme to which I have been accustomed these past 60 years. This is a Sunday puzzle. In the Times. Again, while not spectacular, and I believe it well meets the usual Sunday solver’s standards. Because I cannot fathom the amount of labor it would take to create a opus of this magnitude worthy of publication, I cannot know whether Mr. Shortz has stacks of “better” Sunday-worthy offerings from which he might choose. I am well satisfied with this one. Excellent clue for APIARY.

I’m with those for whom this was an enjoyable hour spent over coffee and a bagel.

Oh, and just yesterday, I was in fact the victim of a STROKE OF BAD LUCK from my avatar cat, OC, who rolled over on her bed eyeing me lovingly and turning up the purr several decibels to lure me over for a belly rub, whereupon she grabbed my hand, claws out and bit! I swear she sneered as she uttered the cat-equivalent evil “heh-heh-heh” chortle. @LMS, you must also have a cat!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Anonymous 7:37 AM  

BTW, Picasso was was briefly a suspect when the Mona Lisa was 123A.

webwinger 7:40 AM  

Oh, boy, a golf puzzle, I thought (not!) as this came into focus. My low expectations weren’t disappointed, despite a few zingers. Looking forward to Monday’s puzzle. Looking forward to Monday, for that matter. (Does anyone else feel that our crisis stops evolving on weekends, for better or worse? I’m hoping for some more encouraging news soon, but not today.)

@Rex’s review, OTOH, was a beaut, a real gem, a JEWEL! This is the kind of review you’d show someone who had never read Rex Parker to explain why so many of us are addicted to him...

Anonymous 7:57 AM  

A cute Sunday but not a particularly strong one, agreed. But satisfactory overall. I didn't think OFL would like this. At all. I am not into golf, and don't even know what a duffer is.

Sorry, but IRON DEFICIENCIES is not a thing. It is not plural. A patient can have iron deficiency, singular. Several have also mentioned WEDGE ISSUES, which I had issues with. The other themers were fine.

I'm also learning from Rex and this august group about meh clues. MCATS, UMA, OLE, and A LOT (or tons, loads, etc.) get old, although I understand these fit nicely into a construct. OTOH, BAT SIGNAL, SKULK, and RABID were great clues. I got briefly hung up when erring with "slink" and "sneak" instead of SKULK, "shot" instead of SAKE (both in little cups!), and "Hondas" instead of SEDANS. Had to look up UTNE Reader... now I know.

LMS: Captain Hook is in Peter Pan, but Kareem Abdul Jabbar was King of the Skyhook (basketball shot).

I like to joke that I shot a 72 once... Over 9 holes! And with an 8-stroke limit! (I really did!)

Be well, be safe.


Joaquin 7:59 AM  

The mini-rant regarding *gifted* children (@LMS - 4:14) reminded me of an incident that occurred 30+ years ago when my daughter was a high-school senior. The district provided a program for students applying to highly-competitive schools, featuring a speaker from the admissions office of one of those colleges.

The mom of one of the far-above-average students, during the Q&A, was told by the speaker that the fact that her very special kid had attended this particular high school would not help gain admission to one of these schools. The mom protested: "But Education Secretary Bill Bennett recently declared this high-school one of the "Ten Best" in the entire country."

Without missing a beat, the speaker responded: "Madam, most admissions officers at highly-competitive colleges think Secretary Bennett is a PUTTS." [<< Spelling Police please note: I know, I know. Just trying to make the story relate a bit to today's puzzle.]

GILL I. 8:08 AM  

Well, I'd rather watch golf than baseball. Both my parents were golfers. We'd all go to the Rovers Club in Havana to watch what Castro called the bourgeoisie, play some rounds. He hated golf but his commie sidekick, Che, loved it. Castro closed most of the beautiful golf courses and turned them into military barracks. Anyway, Dad always won something or other. One year he won a turkey. The Cubans hadn't quite Mastered the Butterball concept yet and although I've never eaten an old boot, it tasted like one.
This was fine fare for Sunday - as Sundays go. Some things I never heard of or they made me go HUH? ARFED LYSE SCARJO and ANGIE with the well known internet "list." Oh, then there's BOBSTAY. Ok.
I know what a WEDGE is.....Dad always had about 3 of them . I tagged along as he talked about pitching and lobbing and sand traps and all I wanted to do was eat my pirulli. Anyway, again...I've never heard of a WEDGE ISSUE. Is that when someone pulls you panties up through your (ummm) little crack?
Love me some FENG SHUI. I believe in it. When you enter someones room, you want to smile. You want to look all around and go AH. You start with the door entrance and when you go out to the patio, you need a little water fountain. Be sure to keep your bathroom door closed and don't go full DIVA.

Anonymous 8:10 AM  

Has anyone ever heard of a woman whose nickname was SAL?

And I've only ever heard of PLONK from Rumpole, who enjoyed Pomeroy's plonk, Chateau Thames Embankment, which kept him astonishingly regular.

Unknown 8:13 AM  

Oh, crap. I don't like being a party pooper, but this puzzle just put me in a bad mood. Well, perhaps I overstate, but it did let me down.
Haven't read Rex or the commentariat yet, so I'm just gonna do lists.


ARFED??? Barfed.
DISTRACTEDDRIVING takes center stage? Boo!
BOBSTAY? No. Don't.
TAGON. Oh, look! A latecomer to the herbagery puns from the other day. No RRAlly. Besides, isn't it TAckON which, let's be honest, is also kinda lame.
GEENA Davis? I had the A and wanted ViolA, but then again I'm not living in the 80s.
SNARF? (see ARFED) And it's ScARFED.

Why does the clue for HEP need the "in an uncool way" proviso? Not cool, man. Not cool.

RYE is in Westchester, not Long Island.
And CAROB should just be arrested for impersonating chocolate.
SCARJO? I'm a fan. Never say SCARJO. Because I'm not a bozo. Usually.
ORNERY clued as "headstrong" is just a big fat N.O. Grumpy, cranky, grouchy, cantankerous, (this review), crotchety, etc. would be more accurate. Or just plain accurate.
STRUM? I'm not an expert, but I do play one here. Doesn't strumming go in the opposite direction of pulling?

Oh, and the theme itself? With apologies to @Z, ssnnooooore!!




Why does DENTAL insurance even exist?

*Made Up Word
**EW Word
***Idle Question of (the) Day

Schuly 8:20 AM  

But it if you didn't know GADSDEN, the DENTAL cross could have been RENTAL. My fatal error.

Hungry Mother 8:22 AM  

DENTAL or rENTAL, that is the question. I always tell my golfer friends that I’ll take up the game when I get a bit older (I’m 79). Since I regularly run half marathons and ultramarathons, they’re not amused. I found this one very challenging, but I have the time to slog it out.

pabloinnh 8:30 AM  

Well I looked at "Of Course!" and thought, hmm, golf puzzle, and there it was. For some reason I had problems getting started but once in, smooth sailing. Count me in with those who think this is A Sunday Puzzle in the tradition of NYT Sunday Puzzles, felt like something I've been doing for years. I don't find that distressing.

My golf game has gone from mediocre to abysmal due to vision problems, my friends no longer play and my sons are way too good for me. Now minigolf, on the other hand, that's where I tear it up.

The GIFTED discussion reminds me of my good friend who was an admissions officer at the Ivy League college down the road. He gave some of us some applications one night (names removed) and said--here, you guys pick one. Of course, everyone was just outstanding in every way, which explains at least to me how some students are accepted because they play the flute in the marching band.

Nice Sundecito, JM and JC. On to the Spelling Bee, which is by God addictive.

KnittyContessa 8:50 AM  

@schuly @hungry mother, same here. Had Rental and Gadsden looked fine to me. I kept going back to the northwest corner to find the mistake because Adout looked sooooo wrong. Eventually I googled Gadsren and discovered my mistake.

SouthsideJohnny 8:56 AM  

This one had too much of an “alternate universe” feel to it. Just “stuff” that rarely (if ever) comes into play IRL. Nobody I know would ever say PLONKS - I don’t know (or care) who Voldemort was or why he wanted an ELDERWAND (is that one word or two? - same question re FENGSHUI, btw). I suppose LYSE is a real word (so are MCATS - but by this point, who cares?). Throw in the likes of GADSDEN, BOBSTAY, LEILA, ARFED, UTNE (which really only appears in crosswords), etc. and this one strayed, way, way too far off course.

I guess there is going to be a constituency for this type of thing (especially here, since advanced solvers will find it challenging). I struggle to get through Thursday-level difficulties, and enjoy a Sunday when I have a fighting chance. No such luck today.

Anonymous 9:00 AM  

Almost certainly not the first, but a duffer almost never hooks; a duffer slices. Now, it is true that a tyro (aka, not yet do duffer skills) will duck hook a tee shot, but that's different.

considering there's one in the White House, it's now a compliment. :):)

Why does DENTAL insurance even exist?

because dentists want to live like neurosurgeons?

Unknown 9:02 AM  

I like how Anonymous can answer his/her own question.

@Z 1209am Golf and Bob Ross for me!
@jae 238am Recently completed "Detectorists" (from your recommendation) and am about to finish the 3rd (and apparently last available) season of "Last Tango in Halifax" - loving both and thank you!
@LMS Can't wait to read your sister's Gregory Hines encounter. I love a good ghost story! Almost as much as a good skulking video. :-D
Also, "Wonder how many others will post an answer with magnificent disregard to the fact that it’s been well-answered now." I always just ask the question again. Facetiously, of course.

@Diver 602am Winner: Commentariat Mark Twain Award
@CDilly52 656am How could that little sweet-faced avatar do such a thing? (wink wink) OC=ORNERY Cat?
@webwinger 740am Agree with you about Rex's review today!
@Joaquin 759am Great story/pun!

@Unknown 813am - You should be @FranticSloth! WTAF??

Oh. Looks like I was still signed in under the spouse's name from "helping" with her account....SKULKing away.

Anonymous 9:05 AM  

I believe the cleaner Lysol is named as such because is lyses all the germs.

Suzie Q 9:06 AM  

Before we had moderators the comments were published much more quickly than they are now. Because of the time lag we get many replies to a question.
I come from a family of golfers and while I never took up the game I used to tag along. Golf courses are beautiful and great for bird watching.
While this might not have been the most thrilling puzzle I thought it was a fine diversion.
Nice clue for walnut.
The Sound of Music appears again.
I have no idea who ScarJo is. I hate those blended name things.

kitshef 9:07 AM  

I liked the theme, and felt each one was a clever re-thinking of a very common phrase.

But … the choppy nature of the grid made for a non-much-fun solve. Bunch of intersecting three-to-five letter answers means you have to constantly jump back and forth from downs to across, just to fill in a letter or two, then jump back.

“I’m listening” is not even close to DO TELL. The former means “you have my full attention and I want you to continue. DO TELL is more like “wow”, or “I’ll be”

Learned some things. BOBSTAY, which will not stick, and LYSE, which may.

Should it be RSPM, rather than RPMS?

kitshef 9:26 AM  

@Joaquin 12:19 - I'm curious if you know PLONK in the sense of wine. When I threatened GILL I with "cheap, bad wine" the other day, I originally was going to use thw words "cheap plonk", but wasn't sure if that was just a Britishism.

Frantic Sloth 9:29 AM  

@Unknown 813am & 902am
Go home, you're drunk and I'm back. Hoops successfully jumped through. Finally!

@Suzie Q 906am Of course you're correct about the time lag; however, there are still comments made far later in the day which don't enjoy the benefit of that excuse. Today, I believe most of those answers were made within the same hour so the lag was probably the culprit.

As for me and my snark questions, I usually wait until far beyond that point to ask them.

ktmtfl 9:31 AM  

I really enjoyed it but that may because I'm a genuine duffer on the links myself. Its still an accomplishment for me to complete a Sunday puzzle.

StevieO 9:33 AM  

So if I understand Rex-rules correctly: golf:bad comics:good scientific terms:bad black&white movie terms:great

Teedmn 9:37 AM  

Got out of town on a boat goin' to Southern islands
Sailing a reach before a followin' sea
She was makin' for the trades on the outside
And the downhill run to Pape'ete

Too bad I never learned how to spell Pape'ete from Southern Cross, one of my favorite CSN songs. PPP was my savior today (ASSANGE, LESLIE, GEENA, though GADSDEN was a total WOE). The vague cluing made it hard to get enough crosses to enable me to guess the theme answers. What I don't know about golf would fill a water hazard.

Some of the vague cluing was clever but some of it - really? "Place to visit in a suit" = APIARY, ugh. Perhaps I'm only bitter because I had eSt at 6D for "Or so" and that held up both MICRO__IPS and A_eARY. Still, it's a reach for a clue, in my opinion.

On the other hand, I liked the phrases the constructors were able to reinterpret golf-wise. CAPTAIN HOOK made me smile, as did WEDGE ISSUES. Interesting to get both ANEMIA and IRON DEFICIENCIES in the puzzle.

Whoever first TAGged Scarlett Johansson with SCAR-JO should be slapped.

I love EDAMAME. My favorite salad is a quinoa-wild rice-edamame concoction with a sesame-ginger dressing. Yum.

I found this quite challenging, a full five minutes over my Sunday average and only because I knew Jeff Chen would have gettable theme answers was I able to persevere without hitting the check letters button.

Congrats, Jack Mowat, on your sophomore NYT puzzle and thanks to you and JC.

RooMonster 9:37 AM  

Hey All !
@Diver 6:02

I like to pronounce it as FENG-SHOE-E, it's fun to say and gets you to spell it properly.

@Unknown 8:13
The old lady from Princess Bride! Awesome movie. "And that's what she is, the Queen of refuse..." And it's always SNARF in the NYTXW, SCARF is clued as a neck-wear piece. We've exhausted that discussion here before.

@Hungry Mother
You're still running marathons at 79? Holy cow! I got winded just reading that!

I liked this puz. Golf is very popular, lots of people love it. Like others, only one I didn't know was WEDGE ISSUES. It doesn't seem to have an alternate meaning outside of golf like the others do, well, except maybe for @Gill I's observation of an undergarment getting stuck!

Had A STROKE OF mADness for a long time in the NE. Had ELAN and PLO in and out several times. That was a tough little corner. Haven't watched the last two-parter Harry Potter movie, so was able to get WAND, but the ELDER held me up. Also MIDGES was new, but GNATS were too small (har). Add to that ACPLUG and PLONKS, and last section to fill.

rOver before NOMAD, had to sing Mettalica's Wherever I May Roam lyrics to get to it. RECON and DENG toughies up there.

One-letter DNF (story of my life!) at DISSeDENT/AEGeS. Dang it, or is that DENG it?

TEPEE missing it's other E again. LEA, haven't seen you in a while, welcome back! SCARlett JOhansson, in the vernacular of Wayne's World, She's a babe!

Writeovers, beside previously mentioned, tAROm(?)-CAROB, rte-HWY, hondaS-SEDANS (that was Evil!), _sATS-MCATS, WaKEN-WOKEN.

Overall, a good SunPuz. Jeff Chen seems to be the King of the SunPuzCollab lately.

Funny story from when I worked at a golf course in PA when I was young. I was the "Cart Kid", in which I would drive a cart up to the pro shop, so the golfers could jump right in one and start their game. Then I'd walk back to the "cart barn" (a garage) and drive the next one up, etc.
One day, it started snowing right when I got there, I was usually picked up in the morning by my uncle who was a greenskeeper at the same course. So he'd dropped me at the cart barn approx. 15 minutes or so before I would start my day and drive the first cart up. Well, it was snowing at a pretty good clip, so they closed the course (naturally). As I'm waiting for my parents to come get me, at least 3 different people came up to me to ask why they couldn't golf that day!
I was like, "Um, it's snowing!"
One gentleman said, "Yeah, I know, but couldn't you just plow a path from the tee to the green?"
I was like, "No, man, go home..."
Moral - Golfers wanna golf! They don't care about snow!
Also, here in Las Vegas, we get some pretty high winds, but Golfers never come in till their round is over! It seems like you hit the ball into the wind, it'll come back to you!
And their pants are often a riot.

Four F's (Two in themers)

Frantic Sloth 9:37 AM  

@Anonymous 900am Re: Dental insurance

Ha ha! Perhaps. Or, more likely, insurance industry execs want to live like neurosurgeons. Wait....or do neurosurgeons want to live like insurance execs?

@kitshef 907am. If logic dictates, it should be RSPM. Unfortunately, logic rarely wins the day. ;-(

StevieO 9:39 AM  

Great reference!

Lauri del Commune 9:41 AM  

Where has all the wit gone?? Sunday puzzles require it, and I deeply miss it. Snarf? Letups? Pluram? Aires? Easy A? How are these at all interesting. Seriously about to give up on Sundays.

Frantic Sloth 9:43 AM  

Correction: MAW should be MUW. Duh.

RooMonster 9:48 AM  

Oh, in my rambling screed I forgot to mention, I had rENTAL first, too, but that got me GADSrEN, and in English an S is usually not followed by an R. Mostly at the start of a word. There's none in English staring SR. SRI LANKa doesn't count.

I'm sure I'm gonna get a bunch of SR words from y'all now, 1) because y'all are really smart, and 2) to prove me wrong! 😋

RooMonster SR Guy

Leon 9:48 AM  

As a duffer, I enjoyed the puzzle.

My friend, who lives in Florida, plays golf every day. A perfect game for social distance. The COVID-19 rules: One to a cart,which is thoroughly disinfected after each use;No touching the PIN, flag, or the sand trap rake;Extremely tolerant "gimme" rules regarding Putts.

BTW Rye is on Long Island Sound and the clue reads:
122: New York city on Long Island Sound : RYE

Frantic Sloth 9:58 AM  

@Roo 937am "... but couldn't you just plow a path from the tee to the green?" LOL What - 18 times??

TJS 9:59 AM  

Still don't get the STU/VW deal. Studebaker before Volkswagon ? Maybe I'll look it up later. Unless someone wants to save me the trouble.

I can get into the four majors, but golf telecasts really are sleep-inducing. I can feel my lids getting heavy when that guy says "Hello, friends".

Anyone else know what to expect from OFL when Jeff Chen appeared as co-constructor ? If Jeffs' partner had been a woman, how would Rex have handled it?

Yeah, there was alot of less-than-stellar fill, but what the hell, it's a Sunday.

Reno retired 10:03 AM  

So we hate golf. Not too long ago I read that seniors that play golf at least once a month are likely to live longer. Exercise and social aspect are the keys. Better than reading comic books alone.
Overall liked the puzzle but got stuck in the east due to a lifelong inability to spell.

pabloinnh 10:03 AM  

@kitshef-I know PLONK as "cheap wine" and meant to mention it earlier.

@Several people-a WEDGEISSUE used to be a political issue that divided people into groups, like abortion or gun rights. Today is is called "any political issue".

Frantic Sloth 10:03 AM  

@Leon 948am Oops - thank you! You know? Sometimes it helps to read the entire clue. I might even try that one day. ;-)

Anonymous 10:05 AM  

The City of Rye, NY is on Long Island Sound, which is how it was clued. The clue did not say the city had to be on Long Island.

Joe Dipinto 10:15 AM  

This was kind of dull. I'm not a golfer or golf fan, but I got the feeling the puzzle might be boring for those who play/enjoy the sport as well. But I'll defer to their opinion. If most of the golfers/fans here liked it, then I'd say that it did its job.

I've noticed that the puzzle seems to be veering away from connecting answers that could be linked via a clue. Today we have LESLIE and NIELSEN clued unrelated to each other. Granted he's not exactly contemporary, and since both halves *could* be clued independently, maybe they felt it would be more interesting to do so. But I've noticed similar failures to make such connections recently. Anyway, just an observation.

...and the Best Song Oscar for 1950 goes to...

Frantic Sloth 10:16 AM  

@Roo 948am I know you're expecting a lot of SR examples, but SReally not gonna happen. SRorry.

Anonymous 10:18 AM  

Oh goody, a sports puzzle, and a golf one at that—with an arcane tennis term thrown in for good measure. Just shoot me now. After wrestling with this thing for close to an hour I threw in the towel, cheated on a couple of terms (DENG, PAPEETE), and finished in a snit. As tedious a slog as the game itself and not what I need during this endless pandemic. I'm with you, @Unknown 8:13!

Nancy 10:19 AM  

My "big initials for news" were NBC before NPR -- which gave me BRIDE Parade for the June celebration. I was quite pleased with that: after all, most BRIDES get married in June, so why not a celebratory parade? As for those brides who get married in other months? Why that's just A STROKE OF BAD LUCK. Too bad.

That was my only hiccup in a puzzle that I found mildly amusing in parts (e.g. IRON DEFIENCIENCIES) and tortured in others. Among the things I found tortured:

SCARLO????!!!! No. Not "to fans", not to friends, not to family, not to anyone.

If you "pull those strings" too hard while you STRUM, you may end up with a stringless guitar, banjo, lute, lyre, whatever.

WALNUT. You open the damn thing with a cracker. You don't "consume" it with a cracker.

PLONKS????!!!! No. You plunk something down, you don't plonk it down.

I thought this puzzle tried to be too clever for its own good and ended up being a -- wait for it -- MIXED BAG. As in her irons and his woods.

OffTheGrid 10:26 AM  

Without golf we wouldn't have "Caddyshack" ENJOY THIS

Nancy 10:26 AM  

Oops. SCARJO. I don't call her that, but evidently some people do. My bad. Also a DNF. (I was wondering why ELECT was a button on a DVD player. Evidently it's not.)

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

Some folks talking about "rental insurance"... Isn't it actually "renters' insurance"? This is a pretty persnickety group (after all, "Writing maketh an exact man" [Francis Bacon]), and I would've thought someone would've commented.


Joaquin 10:31 AM  

@kitshef (9:26) - Nope. Never heard the word PLONK used to describe a wine. Wiki says it is, in fact, a "Britishism". But then, my knowledge of all things wine begins and ends with Two-Buck Chuck.

Geezer 10:34 AM  

@Nancy. I love the idea of a bRIDE parade. I'm still chuckling.

Z 10:41 AM  

@TJS - Don’t look it up. Go back to kindergarten and learn your ABCs. I wasted at least three precious nanoseconds on that one.

I don’t know about anyone else but I prefer my RYE in my bread or my whiskey.

@Reno retired - No reason we can’t do both. Gotta keep the heart and the mind sharp.

@SouthsideJohnny -Hardly challenging here so your “advanced solver” comment puzzled me. It looks like the PPP was in your outhouse.

@kitshef - DO TELL can also be used as clued. “Did you hear the latest about SCAR JO and the admissions officer?” “DO TELL.”

@Anon 8:10 - My wife. I do tend to think it is more a familial nickname. Co-workers might call a man SAL, but co-workers would probably use SALly for a woman.

Joaquin - Liked you Bennett story. I will add that it was also a nice piece of obfuscation. Going to an elite high school actually makes it harder to get into an elite college. Imagine the kid who is right in the middle of that school’s senior class. Is Stanford, trying to admit a diverse frosh class, going to give that kid a look? But take that same kid and put her in typical HS USA and she is suddenly the valedictorian with an interesting background. The admission officer wants to keep in the elite HS’s good graces so they aren’t actually going to discuss admissions math with parents.

Surprised this august group isn’t more familiar with WEDGE ISSUE. It’s an issue used to drive a WEDGE into an opponents base. Gay marriage was a WEDGE ISSUE earlier in this century. Hint, Obama didn’t “evolve” on the issue, the electorate did. Health insurance looks to be one that might do the same to republicans.

@Suzie Q - It was just two nights ago that @JC66 asked if the mods should not post comments from anons who obviously hadn’t read the comments. The issue precedes moderation, making it a Before Moderation issue, or BM for short.

Nancy 10:47 AM  

From late last night: Kudos to @Quasi for guessing @Joe D's TSOM riddle and to @Joe for knowing that bit of trivia in the first place. I had to cheat to get Jon Voight, and even cheating it wasn't that easy: the answer did not pop right up on Google

Re last night's "Hallelujah" discussion: I adored the "Basquiat" version sung by the previously unknown to me John Cale. Beautiful voice, lyrics clear as a bell, well-chosen key, gorgeous accompaniment, no histrionics. What more can you want in a cover? As for K.D. Lang's (sp?) version, I thought Cohen should be spinning in his grave. If she sang it any slower or milked it any longer or emoted any more emotingly, it would still be going on this morning. (I played it last night.) Just awful. But when it's done well, Joe, I never get tired of it. And now I have an ear worm that won't go away.

Back to today: Thanks, @Geezer.

Z 10:49 AM  

Let me add that, if it isn’t already obvious from the length of my two posts, that the commentariat is far more interesting than this puzzle was. Thank you. All of you.

@Anon Colin - To my ear they are two separate things. Renters’ insurance is what I have on my apartment, rental insurance is what I get from Enterprise or Alamo.

Brian 10:49 AM  

Hey you with the broken nose play the piano!
But I don’t have a broken nose.
...plinkity plonkity plinkity plonk...

Joaquin 10:49 AM  

@TJS - Yes. The Studebaker did predate the Volkswagen. But the clue refers to the English alphabet.

John R 10:52 AM  

As a duffer, I enjoyed the theme. I wanted Captain Kirk for the duffer who can't hit straight, as in he "boldly goes where no man has gone before". I often explore uncharted parts of the course.

Leila crossing Gadsden was a Natick for me, but the A wasn't too hard to guess.

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

Aaah! (also often a puzzle answer!!) - Thanks for the clarification on insurance types, Z!
Obviously, I did not think about this - don't rent cars often and never purchase rental insurance...


Anonymous 11:11 AM  

The Avanti was an out-of-the-box Studebaker: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studebaker_Avanti

Newboy 11:20 AM  

NOT UP not in, a phrase I hear every round, had to be the capstone at 115A. ALAS 🥴. Wanted to like this better than par Sunday puzzle, but in the rough too often for real entertainment today. NOMAD & PRIDE dropped instantly and I raced to 73A where the double boggies began to spoil my card.

MR. Cheese 11:25 AM  

Here’s another vote for “Detectorists”
Aren’t “wedge issues” those which turn “Purple states/people” either red or blue?

Unknown 11:31 AM  

For once I agree with Rex. "Golf is the worst" he wrote. Only a sub species of humans would partake in this bizarre ritual. Also, golf, is NOT A SPORT!

Jeff Anderson 11:32 AM  

I had always thought of arf as onomatopoeia, but now it is used a verb? Huh? Is that really a word? Unfortunately my American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, alas, has no entry for arf, so I guess in the world of crosswords and Will Shortz the word is whatever they need it to be today.

CDilly52 11:33 AM  

@Anon, 8:10: my husband and I watched every Rumpole when each aired on PBS eons ago, and were delighted when they became available first on videocassette and then DVD. Our public library owns a set of the complete DVD collection because each of us bought the other the set one Christmas. He used to ask me every day when he knew I had been in court whether I had risen on my “hind legs” and procured a “famous victory.” Thanks for triggering those sweet memories.

CDilly52 11:45 AM  

@TJS 9:59 (and hoping that fifty or so have not already answered this just down the way) the VW clue is one of those obnoxious “fill in the alphabet” clues: S-T-U comes before V-W.

webwinger 11:46 AM  

Surprised that so many are unfamiliar with WEDGE ISSUE and with LYSE. Agree with @pabloinnh 10:03 about the new truth re the former.

In general, a cell or other biological entity does not LYSE—it is lysed or undergoes lysis caused by some agent, say an enzyme or a drug or another cell. Spontaneous disintegration of cells is more aptly termed apoptosis, or programmed cell death, a fascinating but mysterious process that is essential to the health of the organism. Wonder if we’ll ever see that in the NYTXW?

@LMS: “Our little commentunity” sounds like about the friendliest, coziest place one could imagine being these days, and I guess it mostly comes pretty close...

OffTheGrid 11:46 AM  


What? 11:50 AM  


My Gal Sal 11:52 AM  

Anonymous 12:40 AM: Cracker is a racial slur ? What race ?

retired guy 11:52 AM  

Clue for 26A PLO is rather strange (Gaza grp.) The PLO would like to control Gaza, but it doesn't. Hamas does.

Anonymous 11:56 AM  

I agree with some of your criticism on specific answers like ARFED ... but think you were too hard on the overall puzzle.

Anonymous 11:56 AM  

Rye is a town not a city.

Anonymous 11:59 AM  

@My Gal Sal:

ah, c'mon Sal - it's put-upon old white guys in coveralls with no education or teeth. my peeps, as it happens.

egsforbreakfast 12:00 PM  

@kitshef 9:26. I believe your phrase “cheap plonk” is redundant. Wikipedia: plonk is a non-specific and derogatory term used primarily in British and Australian English for cheap, low-quality wine. It is believed to come from Australian slang in reference to blanc...

@RooMonster 9:37. Your golfin the snow story got me thinking about a day 35 years ago (before I gave up differing and took up pickleball) when I took some clients out to play golf on Guam. We somehow missed the fact that they closed the course mid-way through our round (there was always copious amounts of plonk involved in Guamanian golf). We did remark that it was getting a bit breezy, as evidenced that our drives downwind were averaging around 500 yards, while those into the wind were more in the 30 yard range. We were sure surprised to find the clubhouse boarded up when we finished, and to learn that all commercial airplanes and pregnant women had left the island. It turns out that the rapid pressure drop involved in a typhoon can induce labor, or so we were told.

I found the puzzle to be relaxing, despite some MISSING LINKS.

Carola 12:08 PM  

Hats off to the constructors for taking a lemon - a golf theme - and making some pretty enjoyable lemonade, with their creative repurposing of terms and the scattering of a SMURFETTE, an ELDERWAND, and a BAT SIGNAL throughout the course to offer restorative energies to the solver who might be flagging on the back nine.

MICROCHIPS, aka the last bits of Doritos at the bottom of the bag, which I have always tackled with the moistened tip of an index finger. I was astonished to learn from my daughter the other day that she uses a spoon. What you don't know about your kids.

Do-over: DISSenter. Didn't understand: WALNUT. Favorite surprise answers: PISCES, NANAS. Somehow remembered: GADSDEN. No idea: BOBSTAY. Benefit of being married to a physician: LYSE.

Anonymous 12:09 PM  

Rye is apparently a city:

But also a town:
"Rye is a small, coastal, suburban city in Westchester County, New York, United States. It is separate from the town of Rye, which has more land area than the city.[4] Rye city, formerly the village of Rye, was part of the town until it received its charter as a city in 1942, making it the youngest city in New York State."


ASSANGE 12:14 PM  

Rye is a small, coastal, suburban city in Westchester County, New York, United States. It is separate from the town of Rye, which has more land area than the city. Rye city, formerly the village of Rye, was part of the town until it received its charter as a city in 1942, making it the youngest city in New York State. Wikipedia

Anonymous 12:19 PM  

Rex’s perspective on puzzles often reminds me of fanatic fitness enthusiasts who look askance at those who merely jog because they’re not doing a triathlon. IMO this puzzle was fun and in keeping with many, many enjoyable Sunday puzzles. I’m a golfer and liked the golf theme. And I like bad puns. I say bring on more of these!

Joe Dipinto 12:31 PM  

Them good ole boys were drinkin' whiskey in Rye

Anonymous 12:32 PM  

Some words are only racial or ethnic epithets, and nothing else, and therefore do not belong in a crossword puzzle. Some words can be a racial or ethnic epithet, or not, depending on the context.

"Cracker" is an example of the latter. So, for example, to pick one of the most innocuous ones, is "frog." Surely such words can be used in a crossword puzzle without any trepidation.

Anonymous 12:34 PM  

I was the Anonymous who said Rye is a town not a city. I was wrong. I should’ve known not to question the great Will Shortz, a fellow Westchestarian.

What? 12:37 PM  

A pleasant hours diversion from “All The News That’s Fit to Print”. Those who get the paper know what I mean. Now Covid19 patients develop kidney problems and of course we’re running short of dialysis equipment. Sometimes all news is bad news. So depressing. A stroke of bad luck, deficiencies, not up to par.

JC66 12:38 PM  

Just curious. I'm in the "old" group here and learned about the GADSDEN Purchase when I was in Junior High School. Is this not taught anymore, and, if so, when did teaching it stop?

Z 12:38 PM  

That is not the ELDER WAND that Harry Potter is holding.

GADSDEN Purchase. It finished off today’s contiguous US Territory.

@Nancy10:47 - My theory after sifting through too many examples yesterday is that you can tell from the first verse whether or not the performer is going to sing or emote. The key is “you.” If they sing it as “you” the rest will be good. But if they sing it as “ya” to rhyme it with “hallelujah” watch out. I thought Steven Page singing it at a State Funeral was an interesting choice. He doesn’t force the “you” into the rhyme, he’s just singing the song in the original Canadian, eh.

@retired guy - Me upon having the same thought, “well, I guess it is a group in Gaza.”

@OffTheGrid - This is where I thought your car rental fun link was going to go. Caution - If there are children around you may want to wait to play this.

@Jeff Anderson - Bark, woof, yip, meow, bell,... I think the verbification of onomatopoeic nouns is well established.

@unknown11:31 - It may not look like it, but there is more athletic skill involved in being a top golfer than comes across from watching. This is why HoF athletes in other sports sometimes struggle with golf, and never truly excel. Caution - If there are children in the room do not let them watch this golf swing.

jberg 12:41 PM  

I thought the theme answers were pretty good, actually, especially MICROCHIPS. I can imagine a bunch of golfers using them IRL. And I knew all the esoteric terms except BOBSTAY -- I think there's a foreSTAY too, so I tried it withou the e, then once I got the B from SPEED BAG I decided there must be a jiBSTAY, and momentarily considered taking out OLE. And naturally I expected the shepherd to be a dog, so I wanted 71D to be SIT! Finally the light dawned.

Fun fact: SneaK and SKULK start and end with the same letters!

I think people who write about wine mention PLONK from time to time, as in "well, it's a bit better than PLONK, but ..."

I drove a Civic for 11 years -- if I'd known it would last that long I would have washed it, in which case it would probably have gone for 11 more, but as it was it succumbed to rust. Anyway, it was a hatchback, which I would not have considered a SEDAN -- but I just looked the word up and all you need is back doors and full-width back seats, so OK.

I could answer all kinds of questions, but everybody already has, so that's it for today!

puzzlehoarder 12:56 PM  

A very enjoyable Sunday solve inspite of the golf theme. The theme phrases are all repurposed and relevant to anyone who enjoys language.

It's ironic that I came into the puzzle dreading golf jargon only to run smack dab onto ADOUT. Reading the multiple explanations for it I couldn't help but think of how nice it would be if annual televised tennis consisted of only two players completing three points to determine a winner and then that was it.

The only square in the entire grid I had any doubt on was the A of GADSDEN. LEILA was logical enough that the only other possibility an E and it was a very distant also ran. RENTAL was only briefly considered until the much stronger DENTAL popped up.

Today there was much finding that one reliable piece of crosswordese to backfill the more obscurely clued entries. An excellent hour of honing the solving skills.

ghthree 1:10 PM  

My wife Jane and I had Captain Kirk for a long time, but couldn't cross it. After breaking for lunch, we examined 46A again, and realized "Hook" was better, because it really is a golf term. After that, things fell into place. Never heard of Scarjo, but got it from crosses.

I always associated plonk with cheap wine. Since Covid-19 is causing kidney failure, I've stopped drinking it. Maybe after they get a vaccination.

A wedge issue (in politics) is an issue you can use to drive two groups of opponents apart, hoping to pick up some support from the splinters. Somebody may have already posted this, but I'm running out of time, so I'm not going to read all the late posts. .

G. Weissman 1:17 PM  

I've no problem with the themers, but these clues struck me as bogus:

69D DYED is a green paint answer, literally. Went green, perhaps? Or red, or blue, or yellow, or any color. This is a poor clue.

82D Just how "simple" is a traditional plains TEPEE? Must be real simple, because it's associated with native peoples, right? Go build a teepee capable of keeping you warm in winter and cool in summer, and dry in heavy rains, and in which you can cook food over a fire, and then tell us how simple it is in terms of construction and design.

102D In what world are foods that spoil ever regarded as SPOILERS? This clue would be cute if it worked, but it doesn't and it's a fail.

I thought IRON DEFICIENCIES was clever. The puzzle required less knowledge of golf than I worried it would. Then again, another sports-themed puzzle by two men ... There has to be better stuff in the pool.

bigsteve46 1:19 PM  

Re. JC66 - Its perfectly understandable to have learned about the Gadsden Purchase in Junior High School and by now, totally forgotten it. I don't know about you, but I'm pushing 75, and to quote the McGuire Sisters, "something's gotta give." Given a choice, I would much prefer to remember the lovely McGuire girls (Phyllis, Dorothy & Christine, by the way) than a godforsaken chunk of desert wedged at the southern end of Arizona and New Mexico, anyway.

Crimson Devil 1:31 PM  

Though have spent too much time on golf course, this didn’t do it for me. Chacon a son....
Hand up for SCARF as opposed to SNARF.
Great to see comment re fav counsel, Rumpole, and puz ref to other fav counsel/Vinny’s expert witness Miss MONA LISA Vito.
Agree w/ pablo re addictive spelling bee.

Greg 1:32 PM  

GADSDEN was the last to fall, due to the Natticky LEILA cross, and couldn't see EASYA. Had DIED instead of DYED, figuring that dying "could" be the ultimate way to "go green"?

Barbara S. 1:49 PM  

I'm so late that I'm going to make in snappy(ish).

Well-worn type of Sunday theme, but I've always been a sucker for nostalgia. I have no knowledge of nor interest in golf, but I felt that didn't matter in solving the puzzle. I know some terms like CHIPS and WEDGES by osmosis, I guess, and all the rest were mainstream.

88D I thought WOKEN was pretty awkward for "No longer sleeping." Queen Elizabeth is WOKEN. Queen Elizabeth has been WOKEN. Surely Queen Elizabeth is awake. Or Queen Elizabeth has been WOKEN up.

51A How about this alternative for ARFED?
Clue: Doggy obedience school? Answer: ARF ED.

83D I know very little Spanish so didn't know that "winds" are AIRES. So I guess the city of Buenos Aires is the city of Fair Winds. Possibly everyone else on earth already knows this, but it gave me a little thrill.

@Nancy 10:47
RE: Cohen, Hallelujah and k.d. lang
This is quite a well-known quotation in Canada from Leonard Cohen's musical collaborator and romantic partner, Anjani Thomas:
"After hearing k.d. lang perform [Hallelujah] at the Canadian Songwriters' Hall of Fame in 2006 we [Leonard Cohen and I] looked at each other and said,'Well, I think we can lay that song to rest now! It's really been done to its ultimate blissful state of perfection.'"
I'm not sure if that performance was televised or not, but I have seen lang perform the song for Cohen and he's appeared to be absolutely charmed.
However, in spite of all that, I agree with you that the song can be weakened by being overdone and that lang is one of the singers who's capable of doing that.

Joe Dipinto 2:10 PM  

@G. Weissman – "go green" has a separate meaning of "become eco-conscious in how you live" (more or less). The clue is trying to misdirect with that.

August West 2:18 PM  

Robin Williams on golf

Doc John 2:21 PM  

I'm not quite sure what Rex's problem with LYSE is. It's a perfectly good word, used regularly by medical professionals. And yes, while lysozyme can cause lysis, there are many other things that do, too. Soap, for instance.
What I did have a problem with was the clue. LYSE doesn't mean to disintegrate but to burst open. The cell may then disintegrate after bursting open that that's its prerogative.

Sonja V 2:23 PM  

Scrolls through a sea of comments mentioning golf to see just one other that mentions the the most offensive part of this puzzle, which is where carob is given legitimacy as a substitute for chocolate.
NEVER. EVER. Nevereverever.
I still recall the moment (as a child in the 70’s) when I was shopping with my mom at the co-op and mistook the carob chips for chocolate chips. Some childhood traumas never heal. Thank you so much, NYTXW, for bringing up such a painful subject. While you’re at it, why don’t you give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice on it!
Ok, so maybe a bit dramatic but we could always use more Princess Bride references, right? ;-)

webwinger 2:30 PM  

I’m with the oldsters who learned about the GADSDEN Purchase in school, or maybe from a US map puzzle I took apart and reassembled about a gazillion times as a kid.

@G. Weissman 1:17: I think NANAS refers to grandmothers, not bananas, at 102D (assuming you were serious—or maybe I only imagine I was hearing Emily Litella in the background).

Anonymous 2:33 PM  


John Kruk said, "I ain't an athlete, lady. I'm a ballplayer." Much the same could be said about John Daly (I initially thought he was the source of the quote, second sentence adapted, of course). A golf swing is difficult because it uses muscles in a way that no civilian ever would. Much the same way that a ballet dancer, wimins in particular, does too. Even a duffer can sink a 2 foot putt, even with 6 beers in him. Most can't make a 4 footer, dead sober. It's called a game, not a sport. At least by most folks.

Barbara S. 2:38 PM  

@ G. Weissman 1.17
102D I think spoilers are grandmothers.

Teedmn 2:40 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard 2:45 PM  

I just checked in to see how much Rex hated this puzzle.

Bob Mills 2:56 PM  

I think Rex Parker hates everything. What a sad way to be.

JC66 2:57 PM  



in reading the posts, my sense was that the commenters didn't know it, not that they'd forgotten it. Of course, I could be mistaken.

sixtyni yogini 2:57 PM  

I would agree w Rex more about the theme if I weren’t hung up on the clues. Thought I was getting good at this, but so not today. Many clues were obtuse or just inaccurate and some were just difficult for me. Think I’m going to have to read (ugh) the Harry Potter series... On the other hand, this could have been just a foggy solve day. On another day might 👍🏽🧩👍🏽 It.
Hated it. 👎🏽🧩😎🧩👍🏽

Masked and Anonymous 3:01 PM  

First crucial things first: Be sure 'n' check out the Shortzmeister's NPR Puzzle broadcast, today. Really luved the Puzzle topic.

Liked today's NYTSunPuz ok today, also. Thought the highwater-mark themer came outta the chute real early in the rodeo, with MICROCHIPS. Kinda describes mosta M&A's attempted golf shots, nowadays.

staff weeject pick: IRL. Debut word meat. In Real Life, huh? Learned somethin new, from the little pups, today.

Thanx for gangin up on us, Mowat & Chen dudes. Themers went a little goth, what with BADLUCK, DISTRACTED, ISSUES, DEFICIENCIES, and NOTUP. DENG! … Poor lil duffers.

Masked & Anonymo10Us


p.s. @Joe Dipinto - yep. One of my two candidates came thru … Ol' Jon V. was in the Anaconda flick. Only one to get swallowed up *and* regurgitated. Even cooler than bein Rolfed, maybe?

Vernon'sdad 3:08 PM  

I read this blog for the pleasure of reading your posts, LMS!

T&J 3:09 PM  

I'm a golfer, and like corny puns. So, was fine for me!

Joe Dipinto 3:15 PM  

@M&A – Oh! I never saw "Anaconda" and didn't know JV was in it. Sounds like fun!

My turn to guess: Was George Segal your other candidate?

Masked and Anonymous 3:40 PM  

@Joe Dipinto - yep. Only thing is, M&A had the wrong dude splatzed in the wrong movie, there. I was thinkin Ryan O'Neal … but he wasn't in the "Owl and the Pussycat", so kinda messed up, there.
"Anaconda" is maybe worth seein, just for the Jon V. regurgitation scene. As M&A's clearly misty memory recalls, he got coughed up by the snake, then he winks at us, then the snake re-scarfs him up. Mighty good times. Sorta a call-for-help role, for Jon V.


Nancy 3:58 PM  

For me, the best comment today -- and there's A LOT of competition -- is John R's (10:52) CAPTAIN Kirk bon mot. On those rare occasions where I've played golf, that, ALAS, is the kind of golf I play and that is exactly where my ball ends up.

@Egs (12:00) -- Wonderful golf-in-a-typhoon story. Loved the 500 yards/30 yards dichotomy. As a tennis player, not a golfer, this has always been my definition of happiness: Happiness is a very low net with the wind behind you.

@Z (1:49) -- It's Leonard Cohen's song, so it's his privilege to decide NOT to spin in his grave when K.D. Lang sings it. But if Cohen wanted all that emoting over the singing of "Hallelujah", he could have done it himself.

FWIW, I hate performances that call attention to how deeply, how intensely, the performer is feeling. "Look at me, look at me, look at me" is how Olivier described the love and attention an actor craves . And he was one of acting's worst hams as far as I'm concerned, though that's something that's just not said. (@Old Actor -- do you agree by any chance?) Anyway, that's the reason that, for example, I always thought that George Szell was a much better orchestra conductor than Leonard Bernstein. Sometimes, in close-up, it seemed that Lenny was so moved that he was about to burst into tears. It sure took my mind off the Mahler.

Doctor 3:59 PM  

If you're offended by this, you're a WALNUT

Casey 4:06 PM  

Rex,your scathing Review made it all worthwhile!

old timer 4:06 PM  

Double DNF here. Never heard of LYSE so used lase instead. Plus I had to Google for STARJO because I never remembered EJECT.

When I found SPEEDBAG, my first thought was a baggie of SPEED, i.e., meth. Comes from a career as a criminal defense attorney.

I don't know about a women named SAL. I certainly know about a mule named SAL, who pulled a boat on the Erie Canal. And I suppose if you named a girl SALly. SAL would be a family nickname. We named our eldest Sarah, and left it to her younger sisters to come up with nicknames, as they struggled to pronounce their esses.

Barbara S. 4:10 PM  

@Joe Dipinto et al.
Tee Hee. I posted a comment yesterday at 5:33 in which I said something about the answer to the Rolf question coming home to roost. "Coming Home" is the film for which Voight won his Oscar, so I was trying to alert those in the know that I might have the answer without completely spoiling anything. I guess I managed to be subtle to the point of total obscurity! Voight occurred to me because of your hint about one of the actor's children having also won an Oscar, and I couldn't think of another father-child Oscar duo in the right time period.

Joaquin 4:14 PM  

@ August West (2:18) - Thx for the Robin Williams link. It's "classic" RW.

Anonymous 4:32 PM  

I agree with the comment about CAROB not being a substitute for chocolate.

Just once, the answer to "Substitute for chocolate?" should be NONE.

Rug Crazy 4:47 PM  

I agree, it's PLONKLed up

pabloinnh 4:49 PM  

@John R-The Captain Kirk way of playing golf is a classic.

You may be interested in my brother-in-law's description of his trip from tee to green as "army golf"--left, right, left, right, etc.

emily 5:31 PM  

Scarlet Johansen

emily 5:44 PM  

I’m really late, PDT-zoom with the family this am, but surprised there are no sailors in the group. There is only one rope on a boat, and it is attached to the clanger on the BELL. Boats have LINES. Sedans have 4 doors, coupes have 2 doors. Civics can have either.

Smith 5:46 PM  

@Teedmn 9:37
Hand up for Southern Cross!

Smith 5:58 PM  

@Nancy 10:47

Did you happen to get to the Cohen exhibit at the Jewish Museum last year? They had a cool room with an octagonal marble bench and a lot of microphones and you could sit or lie and listen and hum along... and that was just the one part

I miss doing stuff...

Z 6:07 PM  

@Nancy - That was @Barbara S with the Cohen quote. Cohen himself got a little weary of all the covers, once saying, I was just reading a review of a movie called Watchmen that uses it and the reviewer said – "Can we please have a moratorium on 'Hallelujah' in movies and television shows?" And I kind of feel the same way ... I think it's a good song, but I think too many people sing it. (from the Wikipedia article on the song) As for k.d.lang, it seems to me she keeps getting asked to sing it at auspicious events and tries to respond to the occasion in her performance. They are probably fine in the appropriate setting, but out of context are a bit too too.

@JC66 - If one has forgotten knowing something wouldn’t it appear as if they never knew it? Anyway, to answer your earlier question, I think it is still being taught, but I don’t know how much emphasis is placed on it being learned. The typical pattern is to teach through the Civil War in US History 1 and The Reconstruction and after in US History 2. This means the 1850’s often get elided over, with Fillmore, Pierce, and Buchanan barely getting a mention, because the teacher has to get to the civil war before the end of the year.

JC66 6:15 PM  


"If one has forgotten knowing something wouldn’t it appear as if they never knew it?"

Then there'd be far fewer AHA moments. ;-)

Kathy 6:15 PM  

I just had to sit outside in the sun before I went back in and finished the puzzle. Sunny days have been scarce in these parts!

Slink is one of those exquisitely descriptive verbs in our language but I finally gave it up for the even better SKULK!
Also had Glitter before GLISTEN and Ex-con before RECON
ALAS, done in by PAPEETE/UTNE and a couple of missteps, but overall the puzzle was fun for me—the theme too.

Best misdirects: PLURAL, PISCES
Fave answer: SMURFETTE (took me a while to see it)
Best guess: MIDGES/ELDERWAND (I refuse to read Harry Potter, so forever an outhouse for me)

Here comes another week in quarantine paradise. Be well, bloggers, and keep us laughing!

CDilly52 6:47 PM  

@Sonja V 2:23. I laughed at your carob reference from the 70s. Being a child of “the era” myself, it brought back similar memories. We were all trying to be all co-op, eco, Earth Shoe, politically WOKEN and we all tried the carob. And those of us truly paying attention to our taste buds eschewed it immediately. And now not only do we have wonderful small farm Fair Trade brands, but the Keto diet has brought chocolate back to us!! What goes around truly does come around! Thanks for that comment. I had it in my notes but it was too early in the morning.

And amen to the Princess Bride!!

Nancy 7:50 PM  

@Smith 5:58 -- I live close enough to the Jewish Museum that I can practically pole vault there. So it's hard to imagine I missed the Cohen exhibit, but miss it I did. I'm really sorry about that now that you tell me about it. I'm sure I would have enjoyed it immensely.

jae 8:52 PM  

@Z - I did an extensive review article on how much people remember of what was taugh in school. Unfortunately, that was over 20 years ago so I’ve forgotten a lot of it. I should probably read the article again.

Anoa Bob 9:34 PM  

Students at a small Junior College that I went to out of H.S. got to play golf for free at the local golf course. So I learned early on that it was not my game. I still watch it from time to time on t.v., and respect how much skill and dedication goes into the game at its highest level.

For those who appreciate good golf humor, and I know you are legion, may I suggest the delightful Fore!: The Best of Wodehouse on Golf (P.G.Wodehouse Collection). An earlier edition was The Clicking of Cuthbert. Good stuff.

Aelurus 9:51 PM  

This was a struggle since I know maybe 10 percent of words particular to golf, and all the themers in the puzzle were golf (without even using the word), and the punning, well, not my favorite kind of cluing.

Good misdirection on 73A, course that’s free of obstacles (EASY A) — wondered if there was a word for this on a GOLF course, and knew if there were, I wouldn’t know it.

Two curved-bill thrashers in the backyard this afternoon were SKULKing around, closer and closer to the bird block, while they watched me watching them. Whenever I see or, rarely, hear the word, I think of Andie MacDowell saying to Hugh Grant in Four Weddings and a Funeral, “I don’t usually skulk a lot, but I suppose I could skulk if skulking were required.” A fun word.

Smiled at the clue for 10A, sign of winter’s end, after removing crocus and putting in PISCES.

More fun misdirection in 113A (something consumed with a cracker?), WALNUT.

Also 4A (place to visit in a suit), APIARY. Wow, timely clue, because yesterday I had to call a bee-removal company about a swarm of bees that had just co-opted the screech owl nesting box. The beekeeper tech said there were a few twigs and feathers but no eggs in the box so there’s a good chance the owls are okay. The time from my call to his driving off to put those bees to work making honey on their APIARY outside of town was a stunningly short two hours. That’s good timing.

Didn’t know BOBSTAY (71A) or what the boxing bag was called (43D, SPEED BAG, it’s the little round bag, not the long bag) or WEDGE ISSUE (88A). Had scarf down instead of SNARF down (110A), and then there’s ARFED (51A), yapped like a dog (probably asking politely for something to snarf down).

In college I wrote a term paper for my astronomy class on the possibility of extraterrestrial life on other planets (my thought was, How could there not be?). I wrote to SETI (50D, org. that employs radio telescopes) for their report on the matter, which they obligingly sent me for reference. I got an A.

@Z, @jae, @JC66, @Joe Dipinto – thanks for the welcomes and comments yesterday!

@LMS – When I Googled Ben Zimmer yesterday I also found a Twitter comment of his that showed a screen shot of Tom Hanks on Hanks’s recent SNL opener with what looked like a full set of the OED behind him. Someone else on Zimmer's feed then commented that the shelf was missing volumes 19 and 20. I, like other youngsters in NYC publishing at the time, spent $20 to join a book club to get the condensed OED that came with its own magnifying glass in a cute little pull-out shelf above the boxed two volume set. The type is really really teeny so you need that magnifier. Also agree with you and @CDilly52’s agreement about ON AIR voices. And agree with @webwinger that your portmanteau “commentunity” is a lovely word for this place.

@Old Actor – I lived on 14th and 1st and never saw Kurt Vonnegut. I did once see Chevy Chase crossing 1st Avenue.

@pabloinnh – Those two additional quotes are wonderful. I don’t read a lot of biographies but I think I’ll see if there’s a good one on Vonnegut around.

@Nancy 10:26 am – Good laugh at ELECT as a DVR button. It maybe could be, if you elect to start that DVD.

@Barbara S. – I’m much later, sigh, so I’d better just post this. Loved your doggy obedience school clue for ART ED!

JC66 10:05 PM  


Stuy Town?

BobL 10:10 PM  

Good night, all!

Bkh 11:06 PM  

The S is redundant. The R in rpm already stands for revolutionS. RPMS is not a valid answer in my opinion.

Anonymous 12:03 AM  

The constructors were trying to be cute. Alliteration > real-world accuracy.

Anonymous 12:13 AM  

Rye is in Westchester... on the Long Island Sound.

Anonymous 12:16 AM  

There is both a city and a town named Rye on Long Island Sound

Uncle Mookie 8:35 AM  

Late to the party as usual. Just had to note that I have been carrying knowledge of the Gadsden Purchase in my head for about 50 years, and today it finally paid off.

Unknown 4:54 PM  


Unknown 5:05 PM  


Joe 7:25 PM  

I thought of ewes, changed it to tits. I thought of Feng...wasn’t sure how to spell it. Not familiar with lyrics of Billy Joel, because his songs suck. A disaster.

Burma Shave 11:39 AM  




rondo 12:00 PM  

So, OFL doesn't like golf (it must be elitist?), ergo he doesn't like the puz. That's open-mindedness for you. I golf ALOT and found this at least mildly amusing, especially CAPTAINHOOK. I'm gonna use that one this week.

I guess I'll have to write to Chen and the other constructors individually (and Will) about the USE of TAR. Wrong is wrong.

I have both a Civic and an Accord and they are not SEDANS. They are coupes. I think @D,LIW would agree.

GEENA and UMA and Ms. FALCO get puz recognition all the time, so I say YES to SCARJO, NO?

Rex was too ORNERY re: DEFICIENCIES, this puz was at least UPTOPAR.

rainforest 2:51 PM  

Whether you play/like golf or not, this was a pretty good puzzle with repurposed golf terminology. I do play/like golf though my game is no longer UP TO PAR (I used to be a 6 for a few years), and so I liked the themers, especially IRON DEFICIENCIES and WEDGE ISSUES. Would have liked to see "The duffer didn't wear his favourite golf socks because he had a _____ (hole in one).

Anyhoo, not a bad puzzle at all.

spacecraft 4:20 PM  

OFC and I could NEVER live together! Golf is not only a great sport, getting people out into the fresh air (so important, now!), but it teaches character. In what other sport have you EVER seen a player call a penalty on HIMSELF?? Not only has that happened on the PGA tour, but once (at least) it actually cost the player a victory.

The spacecraft RANTS no more. This was by no means easy, as we had to fight through many Jeff Chen clues. Also there was education meat; DEV, LYSE, AIRES, MCATS...and WOKEN?? I had to start at the bottom with RABID, ISAAC, SALK--and something that somehow stuck in my head since junior high U.S. history: the GADSDEN purchase. Easily as many triumph points as yesterday's. Several choices for DOD are there, but sorry, the rest of you: GEENA has STOLEN my heart. Birdie.

Oh yeah: and it's just about the ONLY sport that allows social distancing. So, in your face, Fearless One!

Diana, LIW 5:17 PM  

Oh so close - but that only counts in horseshoes, right? (Horseshoes, that rarest of crossword sports.)

Where was I when we discussed the GADSEN purchase? tho I got it right

Foiled on the East Coast of the puz. And...stuck in SAm instead of SAL, which led to lots of head scratching, and a scratch up there, too.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Diana, LIW 8:08 PM  

Yes, @Rondo - I hadn't yet read your comment. Our Hondas ARE cou-pays. We even have twin blue ones!

Lady Di

wcutler 2:15 PM  

@Anonymous 10:28 AM (Colin)
I see someone else has mentioned car rental insurance.

Re your earlier sign off, our provincial health officer in British Columbia signs off her daily talks:
“Be kind, be calm, and be safe”

sutchey 1:21 PM  

Golf-A great walk ruined as was my Sunday. (Brian Sutch)

sutchey 1:25 PM  

Someone said they had never heard of plonk. Plonk down means to put an object down, which is what Will Shortz should have done with this one. (It is also a slang word for wine.) Brian

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