Parthenon dedicatee / TUE 4-21-20 / Big French daily / Ottawa chief who shares his name with automobile / Someone hell-bent on writing

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Constructor: Andrew Kingsley

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (4:14, an average-ish *Wednesday* time for me)

THEME: FRUIT TOPPING (26D: Dessert add-on ... or what the answer to each starred clue has) — hidden (sound-wise) at the "top" (i.e. beginning) of each themer (all of them Downs) is a fruit:

Theme answers:
  • PEARLY WHITES (3D: *Teeth, slangily)
  • FIGHTER JETS (30D: *Air Force aircraft)
  • PLUMAGE (7D: *Peacock's pride)
  • LE MONDE (46D: *Big French daily)
  • QUINCENERA (9D: *Rite of passage celebrating a 15th birthday)
Word of the Day: PONTIAC (40A: Ottawa chief who shares his name with an automobile) —
Pontiac or Obwandiyag (c. 1714/20 – April 20, 1769) was an Odawa war chief known for his role in the war named for him, from 1763 to 1766 leading Native Americans in a struggle against British military occupation of the Great Lakes region. It followed the British victory in the French and Indian War, the North American front of the Seven Years' War. Pontiac's importance in the war that bears his name has been debated. Nineteenth-century accounts portrayed him as the mastermind and leader of the revolt, but some subsequent scholars argued that his role had been exaggerated. Historians today generally view him as an important local leader who influenced a wider movement that he did not command.
The war began in May 1763 when Pontiac and 300 followers attempted to take Fort Detroitby surprise. His plan foiled, Pontiac laid siege to the fort, where he was eventually joined by more than 900 warriors from a half-dozen tribes. Meanwhile, messengers spread the word of Pontiac's actions, and the war expanded far beyond Detroit. In July 1763, Pontiac defeated a British detachment at the Battle of Bloody Run, but he was unable to capture the fort. In October, he lifted the siege and withdrew to the Illinois Country. Pontiac's actions contributed to the British Crown's issuance of the Proclamation of 1763, which prohibited British settlers west of the Appalachian Mountains to preserve an area for Native Americans. (wikipedia)
• • •

Never ever got a rhythm with this one. Never built of steam. Maybe it's the high-word-count choppiness of the grid (it really is more pockmarked than usual—this has to do with the placement, not with the total number, of black squares). Maybe it was the cluing, which seemed straightforward but also routinely slightly ambiguous. Maybe it's the slightly oversized grid (15x16). And maybe it's because I was trying to solve quickly at 4:45 a.m. Anyway, I "struggled" (I can't bring myself to use that word here without quotation marks, since I was only about 45 seconds off my average, but 45 seconds is a Lot on Tuesday). The upside, though, is that I liked the puzzle. It is good. I wish it had appeared on Wednesday, but you can't have everything you want. I struggled not because the grid was filled with awkward or obscure garbage, or the clues were bad, but because ... well, I just did. So even though I don't particularly enjoy the feeling of struggling (however slightly) on a Tuesday, I was still able to appreciate this puzzle when I was done. And I had no idea what the theme was until I was done. I guess if I were going very slowly and deliberately and really looking at the asterisked clues as I went along, then I might've noticed, but nope, I hit the revealer and then had a pretty genuine aha moment. It was maybe slightly under an aha. But it was at least a curious and pleasantly surprised "oh." The theme is good because it's simple and consistent and yet still inventive-seeming. If any of those fruits had actually sounded like fruits *in their respective answers*, the whole thing would've been a bust. But every one gets the re-pronunciation treatment, hurrah. Specifically, the vowel sound changes each time. Good. And since the themers themselves are interesting answers, you've got about as polished a Tuesday effort as you're gonna get. Better than Monday, shoulda been a Wednesday, but I'll take it on a Tuesday.

So many things I just couldn't get quickly. Like TAPES (1A: Some preserved conversations). Seems straightforward, but in the digital age, this could've been anything. Nothing seemed obvious. Parsing TAPSON took time, as did BESURE (short two-worders can really throw me). HORMONE needed crosses (21D: Subject of interest to an endocrinologist). ALE comes in a bottle but is not itself a "bottle" :( so that clue was weird to me (15D: Bottle that might be labeled "XXX") (and ... really? outside of cartoons you see that "labeling"? and even in cartoons, it's usually moonshine, not ALE) (when I google [xxx on bottle], I get moonshine rum vodka ... spirits) (anyway, moving on). Not at all sure how to spell CURLICUES (thought maybe there was a "Q" in there or that there was some whimsical spelling that put the first part as "CURLY"). I wrote in EBBTIDE before LOWTIDE (those are the same, right?) (36D: Prime time for beachcombing). Could not see SUPPLE easily from its (oddly wordy) clue (49D: Capable of being folded without creasing or breaking). Had COG for CAM (62D: Engine part) and CAN and then JAR for EAR (65D: Makeshift pencil holder). Quotation-holding words are never ever easy for me to get, so ANGER took work (72A: "He that is slow to ___ is better than the mighty": Proverbs). ROTATE would've been easier with a spin-clue, but we get 53D: Take turns. SPOT could've been ESPY (58A: Catch sight of). SYNC and "connect" feel like very different words to me (28D: Connect, as a smartphone to a computer). Needed several crosses to see PONTIAC. I wasn't even sure of the FRUIT part of FRUIT TOPPING for a while (came at it from below). This was more machete-hacking than solving. But I got by.

I know it's too much to expect Ñs to have Ñ crosses, but I really notice the Ñ/N clash every time now. But at least when you leave the tilde off the (second) "N" in QUINCEANERA, you ... well, you aren't faced with an AÑO/ANO situation. That is, omitting the tilde doesn't get you a different Spanish word with a *completely* different meaning.

See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 6:21 AM  

A lovely Tuesday with much going on. I love how well the fruits are masked in their words and phrases, I was amazed to find that COMPETENT and THE GOP -- (no, I'm not going to make a political statement here) -- are appearing in the NYT puzzle for the first time ever. And then some glorious entries: PEARLY WHITES! SERAPHIM! CURLICUES! PLUMAGE!

There's also a trove of 3's (26), a palindrome pair (PER, REP), and a backward BONK to complement Sunday's PLONKs. The cluing is just a tad off-direct to bring interest to the solve. Thank you for all you put into this, Andrew!

God bless saunas (clue for 43A), which I take twice a week, and in which I pleasure-read as I sweat, and while I'm at it, God bless this TRIBE of RP and commenters, which has always been a source of nourishment, learning, and giggles, but even more so now.

Anonymous 6:33 AM  

Ebb tide and low tide are not the same, at least not strictly speaking. Low tide is when the tide is fully out. High tide is the opposite. Ebb tide is the period between a high tide and a low tide, when the water is lowering, or ebbing. Flood tide is the opposite.

PSmith857 6:49 AM  

I stared at _RUITTEPPING for a while, getting it only when I realized that Places For RNs is ORS not ERS. Good puzzle!

GILL I. 6:58 AM  

Ah, yes. FRUIT TOPPING...and all of them my favorites. I just ate a PEAR for breakfast. At least I can find fruit in the flour or yeast...but the fruit is ripe for the pickings.
Best Tuesday of the year award. You had me smiling at QUINCEANERA. I've been to many. I remember my first in Havana. It was Betina's day and her parents probably borrowed a million dollars to put it on. I always thought I was tall for my age but she was an Amazon compared to me. I remember her dress to this day. It was pink and purple. She wore one of those hoop things underneath and all she did was complain that she couldn't go to the bathroom.
Love me some Hare KRISHNA and remembering how they proselytized to complete strangers at the SFO airport. They are no longer white hippies.
Give me a six winged SERAPHIM angel any old day. Might you also include cherubs?
I don't think I've ever put a pencil behind my ear. I use to chew them. Is there something in lead pencil that is addictive? I probably have lead poisoning.
OBESE crossing SUPPLE is probably an oxymoron but I like PJS.
This was SPOT on.

Unknown 7:01 AM  

Loved it and found it to be a perfect Tuesday. Got TAPES and TAPSON immediately so the northwest fell quickly. Got QUERY and UNDUE so I knew QUINCEANERA but couldn't remember the spelling. Wrote in SCOLDS at first but ELROY fixed that so the revealer fell and we were off. Very enjoyable solve.

My parents are retired in the villages but most definitely do not sit around in their PJS. They live an "active senior lifestyle". My dad solves too so I'll have to get his take on that clue. Happy Tuesday all, stay safe!

Joaquin 7:05 AM  

I cannot recall a previous Tuesday puzzle where I needed the reveal to get the theme. Very clever and quite the "aha" for me.

kitshef 7:15 AM  

Theme did not affect my solve, but after the fact I think it is super.

Much much much harder than an average Tuesday. Just not on the clue wavelength at all today. Agree with Rex on ALE not working (had 'jug' for a long time).

Please do not put FRUIT TOPPING on my dessert. Many a lovely cheesecake or slice of chocolate cake has been ruined that way.

THE GOP crossing a TRIBE of WHITE HES. I guess it fits the stereotype.

Hungry Mother 7:25 AM  

A bit crunchy, but fun and quite doable. This retiree doesn’t wear PJS, but TMI, I guess.

kitshef 7:26 AM  

@Unknown 7:01 - 'retire' can also mean 'go to bed'. I'm going to retire for the night.

@Gill I 6:58 - no actual lead in 'lead' pencils - never has been. We would have gotten our lead from house paint or what was in the air thanks to leaded gasoline.

pabloinnh 7:29 AM  

I got FRUITTOPPING early in the game, and while the fruits in the puzzle are definitely on top of the rest of the word/phrase, none of these fruits are something I would top anything with if I was going to eat it, but maybe that's just me. We have a flowering QUINCE which produces piles of fruit, and even the deer mostly ignore it.

Some good stuff here. I've been to one QUINCEANERA (hola GILL I) which was put on by the parents of a student. They booked the fanciest place in town and went all out. Not the crowd I usually run with, but it was a lot of fun and I was grateful to be included. Liked the PPP, beautiful PLUMAGE, like the Norwegian Blue, RIP.

Fun Tuesday, for which thanks AK. Back to Spelling Bee, which looks like a bear.

SouthsideJohnny 7:57 AM  

Wow, I pretty much butchered this one. I never heard of a QUINCEANERA, so I was fighting from behind the curve through that whole section. I also wanted CURLyCUES which didn’t help (and there are three proper names crossing - ELROY,ELLA and PONTIAC). Additionally I had PAIR instead of SYNC which really made a mess of things. Rex’s comparison to “ machete-hacking” is certainly appropriate for me as well.

No clue what PPP means as it relates to music, and the clue for ALE just seems off a bit. Just not in my wheelhouse at all today - but at least I was able to keep working at it.

Suzie Q 7:57 AM  

Best Tuesday in ages. Thanks Andrew.
I was slow to see the R so I was wondering how pea fit the theme. Duh.
I wonder how many of us will find we have become obese while sitting around in our PJs.
Growing up in the Midwest we learned about people like Pontiac and Tecumseh and Little Turtle. Cowboy westerns placed so much focus on the tribes out there that a lot of fascinating history gets overlooked. There was a real reason for Indiana getting that name.

Petri 8:04 AM  

Definitely played more like a Wednesday but very nice overall. Frankly one of the best themers in a long time from a construction standpoint, since it never uses the word lazily as itself. Especially enjoyed LEMONDE

Anonymous 8:23 AM  

I'm with Rex...solid Wednesday time. On a Tuesday. Hard to appreciate a puzzle when it's completely out of place.

Johnny Whirlwind 8:24 AM  

Guys, NO ONE PUTS ANY OF THOSE THINGS ON ICE CREAM. Therefore, the theme is DOA. I'm surprised Rex didn't jump on that.

QuasiMojo 8:30 AM  

The theme sailed right by me. I beat my usual time so I can't say it was a challenge. But putting in CUNEIFORM slowed me down a bit. I had a vision of overly zealous scribes getting all fancy with their styluses.

@Lewis, so now even fruits are going "masked"? :)

Regarding QUINCE. Some puzzle recently had a clue asking for the fruit used in marmalade. The answer was ORANGE. But marmalade is traditionally made from "Marmelo" or Quince. Orange marmalade is a more modern variation.

These fruits are ripe with possibilities as toppings:

MEL ON FIRST (For you baseball fans)

DATE LINE (Let me read your palm)

MAN GO POOF (Spontaneous Combustion)


Rita 8:38 AM  

I had more fun with this than any puzzle in ages. So many unusual words and such a clever theme. It was not at all hard for this M-W solver. Felt more like a Monday to me. The clues were clever and most of the answers didn’t rely on having a large mental database of people and places.

NatCommSteve 8:39 AM  

What ever happened to the rule that you couldn't clue with a word that appears in the answer? I thought that was SUCH A THING. 60A: Begin TO confide in results in Open up TO.

Golfballman 8:43 AM  

Chief Pontiac it is believed was buried on Apple island in the middle of Orchard Lake in Oakland county Mi. about 5 miles from where I grew up.

Kathy 8:46 AM  

Rex’s solving journey and reactions mirrored mine. Except for one big difference, I doubt that I will EVER solve a puzzle in 4 minutes! But that’s just fine with me, I’m the tortoise that just wants to finish the race.

I like the theme now, although I didn’t notice what was going on until close to the end. Overall, it was an easy solve for me.

I like FRUIT TOPPING on ice cream, but I agree with @kitchef, leave it off my cheesecake! Brooklyn’s famous Junior’s Cheesecake comes with and without fruit topping. The toppings completely cover up the creamy deliciousness of the NO!

@Gill I, that was graphite in our lead pencils so they weren’t instruments of death. But something I must have eaten at a Hare KRISHNA ceremony in Southern California DID nearly kill me. It was the late Sixties, I was there out of curiosity and I’m sure most of the people in attendance were posers and not at all religious. As you said, white hippies. I love hearing your Havana tales!

pwoodfin 8:53 AM  

Retire as in retire for the day. Go to sleep.

Anonymoose 9:00 AM  

@Johnny W.
The clue is Dessert, no mention of ice cream.

The Joker 9:05 AM  

A record low "PPP"! just one.

Nancy 9:07 AM  

Wish we could have Tuesdays like this all the time! An ADULT puzzle, not in the XXX sense, but in the sense of we are grown-up solvers with something vaguely resembling a brain, so don't give us pablum and insult our intelligence as yesterday's offering did. Loved such colorful fill as PEARLY WHITES; PLUMAGE; SERAPHIM; QUINCEANERA; CURLICUES. Just saying those words is fun. And look at the playful way PJS and FROG are clued.

One thought: There's a KNOB on Etch A Sketch now? It must have gone digital. Back in the day there was no KNOB: You drew something on a transparent piece of something-or-other, you pulled the piece of something-or-other from its backing, your sketch disappeared, and you drew something else. Very low tech. My kind of entertainment.

And this is my kind of puzzle. Nice job, Andrew.

Joe Dipinto 9:16 AM  

...Where a two-timin' Jaybird
Met the divine Miss O –
I'd like to ruffle his plumage!

I think not too long ago there was a similarly constructed puzzle with the theme "low-hanging fruit," which put the fruit names at the bottom.

Anyway, this was excellent, except for Yoko showing up early for Earth Day. She always has to ruin everything. Plenty of delights to be seen in COMPETENT, SUPPLE CURLICUES, to BE SURE.

Newsflash, @Rex: There are no more "days of the week". So don't be expecting things to be of "Tuesday" difficulty. Henceforth puzzles will be as easy or as difficult as they feel like, whenever they feel like it.


7700 ident 9:19 AM  

@nancy....etch-a-sketch's always had knobs. Two of them. One controlled vertical lines, the other was horizontal. Turning both at the same time could produce curves.

Crimson Devil 9:20 AM  

STONER reminded of Mick an’ em, and recent virus “benefit concert” at which Stones and Sir Paul played. Have Stones and Fab Four (or one) ever appeared in same program/concert before?
Never heard of QUINCEANERA, but sure sounds like I’ve missed somethin.

Anonymous 9:21 AM  

@ Nancy, I'm sure many will rush to refresh your memory but EtchASketch had two knobs for drawing. You turned it over and shook it to erase it.

Anonymous 9:25 AM  

You’re thinking of Magic Slate, not Etch-a-Sketch, which had two knobs, not one.

Z 9:25 AM  

Just a little shocked at the PPP clue. Why use some obscure music clue when a perfectly cromulent crossword related clue is available. Just shocking*

My first thought at 1A was memos. Following up a meeting with a memo to preserve the conversation is right after the “See Me” note for fear-inducing management behaviors. Far too many work-related memories their, so I didn’t write it in, but just skipped over to 6A and worked down the right side of the puzzle.

I was wondering why we needed asterisks to highlight the themers. HORMONE and LOW TIDE are as long as PLUMAGE and LE MONDE. Okay, asterisks needed for clarification on those. Also clarifying that none of the long acrosses are themers. That later should be clear from the TOPPING part of the reveal, but still it helps to highlight what is not a themer.

@Johnny Whirlwind - Perhaps because the clue makes no mention of ice cream. Or cheesecake for that matter. And it really sounds like too many of you live in a dessert desert if what first comes to mind is cheesecake and ice cream. Perhaps it is because I live in an area dependent on tourism, but the Asheville area dessert game is top notch.

*@JC66 - I’m fully expecting the score to go to 458-1

Kathy 9:28 AM  

@Nancy, I think what you are recalling was a Magic Slate. A stylus and a tablet with a wax backing and a transparent cover sheet that you pulled up to erase. Etch A Sketch had two knobs, vertical and horizontal. I always had fun maneuvering both knobs at once to write my name in cursive. It was also fun to meticulously scrape every bit of the silver stuff from the glass and have a look at the mechanical workings inside!

Barbara S. 9:28 AM  

I thought this was an elegant puzzle with the precise symmetry of the graceful vertical themers and revealer. Banners suspended from a vaulted ceiling.

A couple of things here that I've learned over the years only from Xword puzzles: QUINCEANERA (don't know if it's two words or one) and ELROY, the Jetsons' son. I feel like we had QUINCEANERA quite recently and it was great to have it again to cement the learning process.

54D I was so hoping that "One living the high life?" was not going to be "SoarER" and I was so much much happier with STONER. (Peace, man.)

This puzzle demonstrates a minor bug-bear that I've long had with Xword clues: the whole "uh-huh"/"uh-uh"/"uh-unh" thing. I never know which spelling is meant to signal affirmative and which negative. In this puzzle
UH-HUH was YES and
UH-UH was NAY.
Is there any rule/standard about this that anyone knows?

@Southside Johnny 7:57
I'll undoubtedly be the 13th person to say this (I always am), but PPP (actually. ppp) in music means "pianissimo," an instruction in the score to play that section as quietly as you can.

And speaking of music:


I sang that in choir once, and I put it all in caps because we totally belted it out -- fff: Fortissimo on steroids! BTW, it's from Handel's Samson Oratorio, but yeah, I know, we pretty much did old Delilah to death the other day.

pabloinnh 9:29 AM  

@Nancy-Lots of people are going to tell you there are TWO knobs on an Etch-a-Sketch,one moves your drawing cursor thingie vertically and one moves it horizontally. You use them both at the same time to get a diagonal or a curve. I know exactly the kind of pad you're thinking of, but it ain't no Etch-a-Sketch.

Jean 9:30 AM  

Didn't say Ice Cream. It said dessert. Think pie or cake. Fine with me.

Kathy 9:33 AM  

@Z And lately, yet another PPP

Katzzz 9:38 AM  

At least as far back as 1968’s Rolling Stones Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus with John Lennon.

xyz 9:38 AM  

Ooooh, I loved this puzzle but not as much as yesterday's guest snowflake.

Retiree wear = NIL. Day or night. I was offended by this not being my chosen answer.

I agree with Rex this was rocky, but I thought because it was an uneven mess, not because it was any good.

Those are fruits, but a fruit in and of itself does not a topping make.

"Oh darling, please pass me more quince for my TORTE." Nowhere does it even imply ICE CREAM.

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

Ballantine Ale has “XXX” prominently displayed on its label.

Crimson Devil 9:46 AM  

Ms Barbara
UH-UH: not I.

BobL 9:52 AM  

PPP alert! Parker Praises Puzzle!

kitshef 10:00 AM  

The Great Pop Prom, 1963, at the Royal Albert Hall. And no, I was not there. Found this site:

And that article says there were three other occasions, but does not list them.

RooMonster 10:01 AM  

Hey All !
PPP, har. But, is PPP PPP?

I thought this was an appropriate TuesPuz. A bit on the Crunchy side, but didn't seem Wednesdayish to me. Opinions, you know what they say...

Did notice grid was 16 long today, so the ole brain still seems to be working well.

Once I figured out the Revealer, I at first thought it was a First-Word-Themer type theme, and was perplexed at how PEARLY and FIGHTER were FRUITs. 😊 But, finally saw the PEAR and FIG.

KNOB is a good insult word.

Fun clue on FROG. StEAmY first for SWEATY, although technically true, SWEATY a way better answer! Wrote in ELI_ for ELIA and waited for the cross. Hah! Didn't get me today, Mr. Kazan. 38A, ASSHATS fits. 😂

Three F's

Anonymous 10:05 AM  

Films labeled xxx are pornographic.
Films labeled A are adult.
Also, pornography doesn't pass the brrakfast test. It's dosordered and pernicious. No place for it in society.
And certainly not the Times's puzzle.

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

Scale of dynamic markings
Name Letters Level
fortississimo fff very very loud
fortissimo ff very loud
forte f loud
mezzo-forte mf average
mezzo-piano mp
piano p soft
pianissimo pp very soft
pianississimo ppp very very soft

amyyanni 10:23 AM  

Top notcb! Much more fun than the usual Tuesday. As Rex pointed out, every fruit changes pronounciation in its respective themer, and that is marvelous. Delightful. And that's rare these days.

Joe Dipinto 10:23 AM  

@Barbara S – I would have sworn quinceañera has been in the puzzle before, but according to XWord Info it's never appeared as either an answer or a clue before today. Weird...

Frantic Sloth 10:26 AM  

So this Wednesday puzzle walks into a Tuesday bar...gets soused drinking mass quantities of XXX with The Coneheads,who then reconstruct it until it works for them.

Oddly, my experience was very much like OFL's so nothing to add, except maybe that I wanted 38A to be "soulless primordial ooze" but too many letters.

Whatsername 10:28 AM  

Good fun and no one could possibly complain that this did not pass the breakfast test. In fact now I’m going to be thinking about yummy desserts all day. There was a lot to like: CURLICUES, SERAPHIM, a STONER, a SWEATY KRISHNA, THEGOP and an OBESE MAD SPOT. In my younger days I drove a PONTIAC Firebird and it was the bomb.

Great fun and cleverly done. Thanks Andrew, this was peachy keen.

@NatCommSteve (8:39) Nice catch. I’ve always thought that was an implied rule too.

@Nancy (9:07) I was one lucky kid who had both a Magic Slate and an Etch-A-Sketch, but never mastered those knobs well enough to actually write at the skill level of @Kathy. Pretty much everything I drew looked like a NYC street map. I think both are still made, but I doubt either one is too popular with kids today who have their own personal electronic devices.

John R 10:29 AM  

I also had a Q in curlicues at first, but unqool was uncool. My favorite answer today was DANTE for someone hell bent on writing.

Tom 10:30 AM  

I agree with the ALE answer wholeheartedly. Even though it became obvious from crosses, I really resisted, but there's not way moonshine could work, unless a ridiculous rebus was used.

One thing I like about crosswords - it really illustrates how differently we all think. I'm certainly not a competitive solver by any stretch, but this Tuesday was right in my wheelhouse. Apart from not knowing how to spell Quinceanera (got it on crosses), everything else fell right into place. Even the hell-bent scrivener.

On the other hand, Monday's puzzle this week killed my time by a few minutes because I didn't notice the plurality of the oasis clue.


Joe Dipinto 10:37 AM  

@Anonymous 10:12 – If you've never been to Fort Ississimo, it's well worth a visit. Just make sure to bring earplugs.

The Quietestest 10:43 AM  

@Barbara S: P = Piano (quiet), PP = Pianissimo (the quietest), PPP = Pianississimo (literally, the "quietestest").

Romantic composers invented that idea...and it is a very romantic idea. Everything is exaggerated. Later there would be PPPPs and FFFFs used by composers. At a certain point these exaggerated dynamic markings are not literally true, they are attitudes. There really is no such thing as a quantifiable PPP. In Beethoven (or even Mozart who only had P and F), you still get PPPs even though they aren't actually written there. In all music, from pre-baroque to present, some PP moments are quieter than others. It's just that the late romantics were more anal about being sure to point it them out to you.

xyz 10:47 AM  

XXX and XXX are why Will Shortz is tired, but thinking he's cute.

XX - Dos Eqis (Mexico)
XXX - Ballantines Ale Pabst(?) USA
XXXX - Castlemaine from OZ Four-x
FOREX - Currency trading

Frantic Sloth 10:51 AM  

@Barbara S. If you ignore the creepy Stepford smile of this woman, here is a good example of the difference between uh-huh and uh-uh.

Apologies if someone has already posted this in the meantime.

Karl Grouch 10:59 AM  

Well done constructor!
As Rex pointed out the fruits are perfectly disguised inside the long downs thanks to their phonetic alteration.
@Quasi 8:30 enjoyed your list, may I add
ORAN GELDING (Castrated Algerian horse?)

JC66 11:13 AM  



egsforbreakfast 11:14 AM  

I’m kinda surprised that there have been so many comments about the fruits as if the clue suggests that they would be used as toppings for desserts. The way it works is this
1. Dessert add-on. The 26D answer to this is FRUIT TOPPING because a fruit topping is an add-on to a dessert.

2. Or

3. What the answer to each starred clue has, The answer to each starred clue has a fruit at the top of the answer, hence a “fruit topping”. The clue in no way implies that the fruit is a dessert topping.

Whatsername 11:18 AM  

@Z (9:25) Years ago I bought some sourwood honey at a little roadside stand at Bat Cave southeast of Asheville. I recall it was light, not overly sweet and almost buttery in texture. It was and still is the best honey I ever tasted. Not too long ago, I ordered some online from an Asheville supplier and paid dearly for it thinking it would be worth it. Unfortunately it turned out to be a huge disappointment, so sickeningly sweet and syrupy I could hardly eat it. Still IMO you live in one of the most beautiful places on earth, and I never think of Asheville without recalling that delicious taste of honey.

@Frantic (10:26) I had the same problem with nothing fitting in 38A but everything I tried started with an A and ended with an S.

Crimson Devil 11:18 AM  

Excellent tutorial.

Newboy 11:18 AM  

A fruitful endeavor this morning though only Tuesday. Top to bottom, left to right doesn’t happen often by so it went today. Only real giggle came with 54D as the final entry. Thanks Andrew. Off to see what Rex and y’all are saying; just saw that OFL hadn’t pegged it as “blindingly easy,” so I skipped to comment. Apologies if I have a basket of repeat obviousness.

Carola 11:24 AM  

Add me to the Fan Club. One pleasure after another in filling the grid, topped off by the presto-change-o reveal.
@kitshef 7:15 and @Kathy 8:46 - It's not too bad when there are discrete pieces of fruit that you can pick off, but when they gussy up the plate with frou-frou squiggles of fruit goo, sorry, "coulis," it's ruination.
@Barbara S 9:28 - Me, too, for getting a lift thinking of Handel's "bright SERAPHIM."

jae 11:24 AM  

Tough. Delightful Tues. Pretty smooth with some interesting long across answers and a nicely hidden theme. Liked it a bunch.

@Smith from yesterday, I think it was me who recently recommend Kim’s Convenience, glad you enjoyed it.

Masked and Anonymous 11:25 AM  

Feisty and fun TuesPuz. M&A noticed the two central vertical black squares, and realized early on that we were dealin with an even-numbered vertical dimension for the puzgrid. A design that makes it much easier to fit the 12-long outside themers in, while also enablin the primo weeject stacks in the NE & SW. All good stuff.

Didn't know QUINCEANERA, so the precious nanoseconds took a big hit, while M&A sculpted it out from the 11 crossers. Enjoyed discoverin the two shorty fruiters after the solvequest [PLUMAGE & LEMONDE].

staff weeject pppick: PPP. The Official M&A Help Desk Dictionary explained PPP, usin three distinct choices, as follows:
1. Pakistan People's Party. Known for their soft music playin.
2. Point to Point Protocol. Known for its soft Internet data requirements.
3. Purchasing Power Parity. Sort akin to Price Per Peso, perhaps?
Confuses the M&A.

Thanx a fruity bunch, Mr. Kingsley. So sorry that Crabby Appleton (of Tom Terrific fame) couldn't squeeze into the dessert tray. But … great job, otherwise! Hard TuesPuz! Bring it, Shortzmeister! snort

Masked & Anonymo9Us

slight bite, for dessert:

Alvin 11:33 AM  

Another pathetic comment. Who cares how long it took? Was it fun? Entertaining?

webwinger 11:36 AM  

Well, well. Two surprises from reading @Rex this morning: This played quite easy for me, slightly better than average Monday time (but still more than 2 “Rexes”). Also, I actually liked and appreciated the theme better after reading OFL’s comments about the vowel sound changes in the themed fruit components. (Am I the only one who enjoys prunes as a topping?)

@Barbara S 3:14 pm yesterday: I can totally relate to your story about the serendipitous perfect experience—so much sweeter when completely unexpected. One of mine came back from memory recently: Caught in a sudden downpour, almost 50 years ago, my first wife and I ducked into an old movie theater (just off Newbury Street in Boston) that had only recently been beautifully restored and reopened. A matinee double feature was about to start, with two of the Margaret Rutherford Miss Marple movies. We’d never even heard of these (made in England in the early 60s) but figured we might as well stay dry and watch them. An absolutely delightful afternoon ensued. Just last week we streamed all four of the films in the series, now perfect distractions for more dreary stay-home days.

@NatCommSteve 8:39: Good point, but I’d counter that “to” in the clue is part of an infinitive, so it doesn’t really count as a word, or at least is a completely different word from the prepositional TO in the answer.

QuasiMojo 11:51 AM  

@Karl Grouch, thanks for the comment. I liked your ORAN GELDING. And very timely, Camus-wise

Pamela 11:57 AM  

@Johnnywhirlwind 8:24- I put fruit toppings on ice cream, with a generous splash of Kirsch (my favorite) or some other eau de vie on top. I like cut-up fresh figs when I can get them, or a mix of berries-whatever I have on hand or is easy to find. It’s my favorite company dessert.

I loved doing this puzzle- just enough crunch to keep it from being no more than fill-in-the-blanks. I thought I understood the theme after the revealer and QUINCEANERA (which I had heard of but needed crosses to spell correctly), but the FIG in FIGHTERPILOT had me stumped until I’d finished the puzzle and really studied it.

My favorite clue was for 69A, DANTE- someone hell-bent on writing. I’m not so sure that the clue is grammatically correct, but it did give me a chuckle.

jberg 12:08 PM  

I was about to make a fool of myself by correction the "only one PPP observation," but then I suddenly got the joke. Whew, that was close!

I always look for the theme as I go along, so with PEARLY WHITES and FIGHTER JETS I thought it must be "second word is a pluralized color." But then I got LE MONDE, puzzled a bit, then noticed it had a fruit in it -- and wondered why the first two had been fruitless. Must be something more to it? I eventually saw the PEAR, but only when the fruitiness had been confirmed by the revealer did I look hard enough to see that cleverly disguised (silent G!) FIG.

Other than that, my only problem was Cog (but realized while writing that you get cogs in machines, but CAMs in engines), and not knowing how to spell QUINCEAÑERA -- Actually had quinciana at first, though I know very well what one is.

I had lots of other things to say, but they've all been said.

David Seville 12:10 PM  

@Alvin 11:33


Z 12:20 PM  

I really wanted to find a VW etch-a-sketch drawing but this is the closest I could find.

@egs 11:14 - I’m not following your argument. “Dessert add-on” -> FRUIT TOPPING, ergo the “add-on” is the dessert TOPPING.

@Whatsername 11:18 - Shhh. We’re trying not to let too many people know. As far as I know The Sourwood Festival is still happening this year.

@webwinger - I don’t know, but your prune question reminded me that Worf (From ST:TNG) considers prune juice “a warriors drink.”
Also, just a little confused by your “first wife” and you streaming films together...

@10:05 - Just guessing you haven’t seen any of the actual research. Turns out it’s suppression that is pernicious. There is actually lots of scholarship on the issue. Here’s an interesting place to start. Be warned though, lots of rabbit holes on that site and your boss/spouse/mother might not understand.

egsforbreakfast 12:31 PM  

@Z 12:20. The key to understanding the clue is the word “or”.

The answer to the clue is either a dessert add-on, which is a FRUIT TOPPING


What each starred clue has, which is a top sequence that is the name of a fruit. It only works because the top of each answer is a fruit. For example, JOHNNYAPPLESEED wouldn’t work because the fruit is not at the top. The starred clue answers have nothing to do with dessert, only with FRUIT at the TOP of the answer.

albatross shell 12:31 PM  

@egsforbreakfast 1114am
You nailed it. It seems the 'or' in revealers is often ignored. Please, people: one part is for the answer, the other part is for the theme.

@anon 1005am
M or MA mature or mature adult?
Use to be R or X?
XXX Hard core? Porno? Maybe they should be rated IA for immature adult.
The business of making XXX films is called the adult film business. The Times does do stories on occasion on the business or news worthy events or people in the business. Anyway ADULT is a proper answer. Your breakfast is your own affair, of course.

There are 4 consecutive O's in the grid so with X's in the ALE and ADULT clues you can play some Tic-tac-toe.

Very good fill today. FORAY for 'em all.

turkmurphy 12:32 PM  

Love the Lucinda Williams video

webwinger 12:34 PM  

@Z 12:20: Those pesky pronoun/antecedent pairs! By we in the last sentence I meant of course me and second, current, much better wife, plus my adult daughter (from first marriage), now living with me and step-mom.

albatross shell 12:44 PM  

@Alvin 1133am
Personally, outside of fast medium or slow compared to your general performance for that weekday, do not really care. And even that just marginally. But the host here and many who comment enjoy speed solving. I certainly see how that can be fun and even exhilarating. A competitive thrill. You do not need to agree. Just be tolerant.

Insults, despite appearances, are frowned upon.

Smith 12:48 PM  

@jae 11:24

Thank you for raising your hand so I know who to thank! Yes, totally enjoying Kim's Convenience (also hoping for another season of Schitt's Creek...)

Anonymous 12:49 PM  

Just flowed like Tuesday River. Ignored the theme.

Nancy 12:49 PM  

So I took my entire park walk, hours earlier than usual (to avoid the Tstorms that were predicted for noon and arrived right on schedule), without yet knowing that I had confused Etch-A-Sketch with Magic Slate. But the bliss of my ignorance wasn't to last beyond my arrival home, alas :) Twelve people on Wordplay and about six people here have already set me straight. Mea culpa. Never mind that Magic Slate should have been called Etch-A-Sketch, because that's sort of what it was -- but it appears that it wasn't called that. Off to Google to request an illustration of Etch-A-Sketch, whatever it is, replete with its KNOBS.

I might return to tell you what I've discovered, but I probably won't.

Smith 12:53 PM  

Ok, another puzzle finished in record time, that OFL found med-challenging. Hmm. Everything clicked and saw the fruit at PLUM___ because already had 3D.

Liked many wanted something else for 38A but, you know, it didn't fit and probably would get axed by the mods if mentioned here.

But I kinda that all?

Still, it's impressive to be able to construct any xword, so no judging from me...basically, thx, AK.

Smith 12:55 PM  

@Joe this am

Love your avatar today. I got 15A from the downs, ie, never read the clue, and sure would not have known that.

Z 12:57 PM  

@egs - That is not how I read the revealer. A FRUIT TOPPING is a dessert topping, “add-on” being the generic term for a variety of things added to a base dessert (others being powdered sugar or caramel sauce or chocolate sauce or a sprig of mint or et cetera), but FRUIT TOPPING very specifically being a “dessert topping.” The “or” in the clue then indicates that FRUIT TOPPING is also being repurposed to indicate that the theme answers are “topped” by “fruit” where the fruit isn’t actually pronounced like the fruit.

@Nancy 12:49 - We have all been there.

Anoa Bob 1:14 PM  

Thought this one had some very nice fill. The theme, however, did not work for me. Maybe I need to get out more, but the reveal phrase "Desert add-on..." sounds odd, as in something I have never heard or seen before. Gives the theme an AD HOC feel. Anybody ever have any of those fruits as a "Dessert add-on"?

There's another example of how you can get away with one of the theme entries not having the same number of letters as its symmetrical counterpart theme entry, to wit, FIGHTERJET & QUINCEAÑERA. POC to the rescue!

FORAY looks like it needs another R. Maybe an ARRAY bleed-over.

I'm missing getting SWEATY in the sauna (Hi @Lewis). The gym I've been going to for the past 15 or so years has an excellent one, but its closed because of the virus. Some give me the side-eye when I tell them I like the sauna, even in the summer time. I say that if I've been sitting in a room that's 180 degrees, it doesn't feel so bad when I go outside and it's only 90 degrees!

Frantic Sloth 1:22 PM  

@Z 1220pm No VW, but perhaps you can find an STU?
Also, thanks for the new browser bookmark. :)

@David Seville 1210pm LOL!

@Nancy 1249pm You inspired me to do a Google myself and I found this amazing (in my view) Etch-A-Sketch à la Bob Ross YT video.
It's about 5 1/2 minutes, but I was fascinated with the artist's mastery of what I always found to be a maddeningly frustrating experience in my youth.

Sir Hillary 1:25 PM  

Only one thought today: "Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue. Beautiful PLUMAGE."

Joe Dipinto 1:27 PM  

@egs 11:14 & 12:31 and @albatross shell 12:31.

I don't see what makes you think people are not understanding the clue, or somehow missing part of it. We get this kind of clue all the time. I think everyone's clear about how it works.

Old Actor 1:31 PM  

@JohnnyWhirlwind: Where did you see "ice cream" mentioned in the clue?

There all kinds of pastries topped with fruit.

Anonymous 1:32 PM  

@egsforbreakfast Thanks so much for the clarifying breakdown of the revealer clue! I’m not a huge stickler for these things, but that elegance, coupled with the sneaky alternate fruity vowel sounds in the theme answers that OFL and others have pointed out, made for a truly impressive puzzle today.

Also, I was super confused by PPP until I (somewhat incorrectly) sussed out that it must mean “piano piano piano”. After which I giggled to myself because I used to work with a bunch of Italians and that was basically their equivalent of saying “whoa, easy there!”

Teedmn 1:36 PM  

Wow, what a great Tuesday puzzle. I circled the clue for PJS and enjoyed the after-solve aha of finding the fruity toppings. Sweet! (or tart, aren't quinces tart? And the lemon, of course.)

The first time I had a fresh fig, I fell in love. I had planted a fig tree in an indoor pot (too cold for outside figs around here) and when it was only a couple of feet tall, I got my first figs. I never got more than a couple a year, then no figs at all, then after re-potting, it died after over 15 years with me. So I bought two more, different types, and no fruit yet in their 2nd year but they're growing taller and I'm enjoying the anticipation.

Thanks, Andrew Kingsley, for the nice theme and fresh fill.

pabloinnh 1:43 PM  

@JoeD-Tangentially related to Ft. Issimo, whenever we have mp in our scores in one of my choral groups, I always remind folks that it means either "more Pablo" or "mostly Pablo".

Kevin 1:54 PM  

I’m using the quarantine to learn Spanish, but I’m nowhere near good enough to try Spanish crosswords. Perhaps someone here can say: In Spanish speaking countries, do the crosswords insist on correct usage of n’ (I can’t type the n with the accent on this interface)? That is, would a crossword in Madrid or Mexico City insist that only n’ and n’ words cross at that point? Or do they also permit n and n’ words to cross?

I know Rex loves finding cultural fault with answers and clue and authors and publishers and ... but if actual Spanish speakers don’t expect that, then is it really fair to call out The NY Times every damn time?

(And I’m honestly asking. I have no idea what the answer is but would like to know.)

Barbara S. 2:04 PM  

@Anonymous 10:12
@The Quietestest 10:43
Thanks for being so much more accurate than I was in outlining dynamics in music and the relevant markings. With my love of long words, I can't believe I missed the opportunity to be the first to type pianississimo -- a truly wonderful word in any language or context.

@Crimson Devil 9:46
@Frantic Sloth 10:51
So I take it that the spellings used in today's puzzle are the generally accepted ones:
UH-UH for NO
I swear I've also seen a variation with an "N" in it somewhere, but I'm happy to have achieved this much certainty thanks to you and to the woman in the video. I couldn't decide whether she was scary or dottily charming, but either way I got the message.

@Joe Dipinto 10:23
Crikey, @Joe, we're both losing it. Me too, I could have sworn. But, hey -- maybe we'll end up in the same home and we can spend our days talking film and music!

@Carola 11:24
I'm glad you're a fan, too! There are lots of good versions of "Let the Bright Seraphim," but I'm partial to the Kathleen Battle/Wynton Marsalis duet. I'm linkly challenged but if anyone wants to listen, just Google Battle Marsalis.

@webwinger 11:36
Enjoyed your Miss Marple story. Nothing can ever replace that perfect afternoon: it was itself. Have you ever been tempted to watch some of the more recent incarnations of Miss Marple on Masterpiece Mystery (PBS)?

tea73 2:15 PM  

@GILL I. while the lead in a lead pencil is graphite I've always wondered if there might have been a time when the paint on the wood might have been lead based. I think of that every time some tells me "There's no lead in a lead pencil."

I have been to a couple of birthday parties for 25 year olds, but had no idea how to spell the word. I wish I'd taken Spanish instead of French and German pretty regularly in the real world, though in the crossworld world the latter have been quite useful.

Interestingly, or perhaps not so interestingly, I am definitely getting more exercise these days, not less.

I don't get the XXX for ale either. Did think of Dos Equis beer though! Some brew pub in MN has made a Tres Equis.Now that's it's been pointed out I have seen Ballentine's.

I have also cleared an Etch-a-Sketch to see the innards and have made some pretty elaborate pictures with it. Even now, if I see one, it's hard for me not to try to make something difficult with it.

egsforbreakfast 2:16 PM  

@ Joe Dipinto 1:27. Not everyone is misreading the clue, but a good number are. It started with @Johnny Whirlwind 8:24 who said “Guys, NOBODY PUTS ANY OF THESE THINGS ON ICE CREAM, therefore the theme is DOA.”

A number of people pointed out that the clue says “dessert”, not “ice cream”, but in a way that still failed to grasp the “or” aspect of the revealer. For example, @Jean 9:30 said “Didn’t say ice cream. It said dessert. Think pie or cake. Fine with me.”

Both of these comments show that the commenter thought the starred clues were looking for dessert toppings. In fact, they were looking for words or phrases that start with (disguised) fruits.

I now officially concede my inability to communicate the concept, and am going to the kitchen for some pie topped with quince ice cream.

Joe Dipinto 2:19 PM  

@Kevin – you piqued my curiosity so I googled Spanish Crossword, and looked at a site with very easy puzzles. The keyboard has separate options for á,é,í,ó,ú,ñ, and ü. For the clue "Aunt" I tried to entered "TIA" and it was marked incorrect until I changed it to "TÍA". So it looks like yes, diacritical marks matter, and it would matter which words cross each other. At least online. (I don't know when "ü" would be used in Spanish.)

@pablo – tee-hee.

Anonymous 2:27 PM  

The graphite pencils are called lead for a reason: they actually started as such loooong time ago. You can actually write with a piece of lead wire that you keep for soldering.

Z 2:32 PM  

Finally got around to reading the rest of the paper and discovered this book review on page C4. Yes, the author is the person who runs the website I linked to earlier.

Anonymous 2:37 PM  

Nonsense. Pornography is an ill in and of itself. It is a distortion of desire. Disordered. And of course, error has no rights.
Pornography is a societal ill. It abets human trafficking. It has poisoned a generation of men. It degrades all who come in contacr with it.
It is an enemy of the common good.

Z 2:44 PM  

@egs - Huh. Your 2:16 comment makes sense to me, and now I think I get what you were saying. Here’s the phrase that threw me, “so many comments about the fruits as if the clue suggests that they would be used as toppings for desserts.” I think what you meant was, “so many comments about the fruits as if the clue suggests that they would be used as toppings for desserts in the theme answers.“ Sorry about being so dense. At least I didn’t have you streaming movies with your first wife on an etch-a-sketch while driving a VW around a baggage carousel.

egsforbreakfast 2:45 PM  

Sorry to beat this long-dead caballo to death, but another way to look at the fruit topping occurred to me.

Suppose a similar puzzle had a revealer clued “Home of the hobbits or a hint to the starred clues” and the answer was MIDDLEEARTH. Now suppose that one of the starred clues was “Male denizen of Hawaii’s second highest peak”. The answer is MAUNALOAMAN, because LOAM is a type of earth and it is in the middle of the answer. Would anyone be saying “I don’t think loam was ever mentioned in The Hobbit or LOTR?

Anonymous 2:49 PM  

@Joe Dipinto No need to be ashamed because it’s not super common and few are fully bilingual (myself included), but vergüenza and bilingüe are two examples of the ü in Spanish. It signifies a “weh” sound for the üe rather than just an “eh” as in guerra. I’m not certain, but I think it might only every follow a g.

emily 3:01 PM  

Me too! Liked the puzzle

emily 3:02 PM  

Ah, thanks!

Jason 3:08 PM  

Had S_RAP___ for 20A (Heavenly Beings). STRAP-ONS was incorrect.

Carola 3:25 PM  

@Barbara S 2:04 - I became acquainted with the SERAPHIM in 1985 when the Lyric Opera of Chicago staged the oratorio as a full opera. Jon Vickers was Samson, and a young June Anderson, in her Lyric debut, brought the evening to an electrifying close. One of my dearest musical possessions is a Memorex cassette of the performance, taped from the subsequent radio broadcast. In a behind-the-scenes anecdote I read much later, I learned that Vickers vehemently objected to singers' adding ornamentation - if Handel hadn't written it, it shouldn't be sung - and he refused to sing in productions that didn't stick to the score. However, Anderson's contract with the Lyric stipulated that she was free to ornament as she liked. Somehow, the Lyric's (legendary, formidable) general manager, Ardis Kranik, persuaded Vickers to yield. Thank goodness.

jae 3:42 PM  

@Smith - Schitt’s Creek just wrapped up it’s final season on Pop TV. If you get Pop as part of your cable/streaming package you may be able to watch it using an “on demand” feature. Otherwise it should show up on Netflix in a few months.

...and BTW they did a great job on the ending.

PPP trivia: Chris Elliot, who plays the title character, is the son of Bob Elliott of Bob and Ray fame. Chris’s daughter Abby was a cast member on SNL for a while. She is currently on the new NBC series Indebted which was created by Dan Levy who also created Schitt’s Creek (you knew I was going somewhere with this, right?)

Anoa Bob 3:43 PM  

Just rechecked the wording of the reveal and it begins with "Dessert add-on..." as the first part of the clue for the answer, 26D FRUIT TOPPING. When I google "Dessert add-on", the first hit is for today's NYT puzzle! Eight out of the first ten relate to today's NYT puzzle. The other two are about Minecraft PE Mods and Addons, of which "Dessert!" is one. I take that to mean it's a phrase rarely if ever seen or heard in the wild and that's what gives the theme an AD HOC, made-just-for-this-puzzle feel to me.

I'm more of a fan of fill than of theme quality anyway, so this was a minor (but real) glitch and the fill was good, so overall I enjoyed the solve.

albatross shell 3:56 PM  

I believe the "or" in the revealer has needed to be pointed out to many people several times. I think Rex has made this error at least once. I remember one Sunday where it was prompted quite a controversy in the few months ago range. It has been a recurring issue.

On other topics why didn't Z mention SERAPHIPODES?

ATEST was a very good use of an initial A.
THEGOP was a very good use of the article THE.

kitshef 4:26 PM  

@egsforbreakfast - Sorry, I'm still not getting you. More specifically, I cannot figure out what the error is that you think some folks are making and are trying to correct. Ignore the ice cream thing, that was clearly someone who had forgotten what the clue was.

Frantic Sloth 4:34 PM  

Never imagined the need to say this, but please stop saying "fruit topping". ;-)

Then again, I am reminded of the The Great Shimmer Floor Wax Controversy of the 70s, so there's that.

JC66 4:41 PM  


I think the error is that some complained that QUINCE isn't a dessert topping.

It is, however, a fruit on top of ANERA, as is PLUM on top of AGE, etc.

Joe Dipinto 4:45 PM  

@anon 2:49 – Oh right, I forgot about the üe diaeresis words. There are so few of them I feel like I never see them in writing. Üe can follow a "q" also, but again it seems random as to when. You just have to know which words use it and which don't.

Z 4:48 PM  

@albatross shell 3:56 - Clearly an egregious oversight on my part. Between plurals being a recent Jeopardy category and the sly “E” as a plural of convenience in two recent puzzles I have clearly lost my -opodes mojo. Mojopodes, as it were. I blame pornography.

pabloinnh 5:28 PM  

@JoeD-(How ya been?)-I've never seen a u with a dieresis after a q, because that sound is represented by cu--cua, cue, cui, cuo=kwa, kway, kwi, kwo. Have made many corrections of kids spelling cuandp as quando and telling them that the qua combination doesn't exist in good old Spanish.

@Anon-2;49-Very nice description of the gu +e with a dieresis use. I can't type the word properly, but if there were ever the sine qua non of a sinverguenza, he's in the White House.

See also, caradura.

Frantic Sloth 5:28 PM  

@Z 448pm. Blaming pornography. Now that's funny!

Barbara S. 5:47 PM  

@Carola 3:25
Fascinating story. Thanks a lot for sharing it.

Nancy 5:53 PM  

@Frantic Sloth (1:22) -- Earlier, I actually found the same Bob Ross Etch-a-Sketch video that you did. It left me completely winded -- as though I'd run a marathon -- and all I could say was Why? I used to adore watching Bob Ross paint on public television: he's a hack, of course, but he's a very talented hack and his techniques are very instructive. And he certainly doesn't need this extremely peculiar gadget that makes it 73 times as hard to draw, say, a mountain peak than it would be to do it freehand.

Look, no one has ever confused me with Michelangelo, but I would find it 73 times as easy to draw that mountain by hand as to do all that endless turning of the KNOBS to make -- and then shade in -- one stupid mountain ridge. I didn't only get short of breath, I could also feel the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands. I stopped watching before there was permanent injury.

Magic Slate was a great toy. This Etch-a-Sketch thingie seems to have been invented by the Marquis de Sade. Or maybe by a greedy hand surgeon.

@webwinger -- Love your nostalgic Miss Marple story. You might want to see if you can get your hands on the BBC/PBS series starring Joan Hickson. I'm a huge Christie fan and Joan's portrayal of the character is much closer to what's in the novels than Margaret's. Although Maggie, miscast as she is, is delightfully droll.

kitshef 7:25 PM  

Thank you, @JC66. All that focus on the "or" made me think it was something else. Like if the clue was "A small mammal or a large reptile", and the answer was "KOMODO DRAGON", and that works because it says "or".

Also, Qunice as a topping:

Joe Dipinto 7:35 PM  

@pablo – yeah, that's true. So where did I just see that it could follow a "q" also? I can't find it now. Probably because it wasn't there to begin with.

I wonder if a diéresis would taste good on ice cream.

Z 7:55 PM  

BTW - Sir Patrick Stewart is posting a video of a Sonnet a day over on Twitter.

@Joe D - Ice Creäm looks like a German Death Metal band name. Although I guess it would be Ich Screäm.

Joe Dipinto 9:15 PM  

@Z – yes it does. Speaking of which: someone once told me that in German there is a verb meaning "to walk down the street eating an ice cream cone". I believe the person was serious, but I've never been able to ascertain if this is true.

Anonymous 10:00 PM  

Es is nichts.

Teedmn 10:11 PM  

I just noticed that LEMONDE is one A away from LEMONaDE, nice.

Z 11:36 PM  

Dan Feyer posted a video of him solving last week’s NYTX puzzles.

Vidiot 4:11 AM  

I write about spirits as an avocation, and I've only ever seen 'XXX' on a bottle label once, on Graves pure grain (190 proof) alcohol from Lewiston, ME.

Unknown 7:11 AM  

Ooh duh

Burma Shave 9:50 AM  


an UNDUE STEP TO get me prone;
ATEST TO BESURE that I might


spacecraft 10:42 AM  

No one says FIGHTERJETS, it's jet fighters. C'mon, man. We didn't OPENUPTO a good start when yet another ATEST is detonated in the first box. Again, these should be banned--in real life AND in crosswords! UNCOOL.

That being said, the rest of this is OK. I didn't realize until coming here about the changed pronunciation of ALL the themers; that, I agree, is a big plus. I'm not the fan of it as most others are; yesterday's was one tough act to follow. As to difficulty, I found it easy-medium for a Tuesday; didn't give me much trouble at all. Noticed that LAPTOP backwards is POTPAL--which might be the clue for 54d. For DOD, who deserves it more than SUSAN B. Anthony? Par.

rondo 11:15 AM  

Had no idea about the FRUIT until reveal time. I might have left it as CURLyCUES if not for the FRUIT. Pretty good for Tuesday.

As mentioned above, low PPP count – ONLY one. Har.

I had a baby blue 1963 PONTIAC Bonneville 2-door as a senior in H.S. 389 4-bbl. What a boat; coulda rented the trunk as an apartment to a small family. Thought the high beam indicator light was a cracked or somehow broken dot. Turns out it was supposed to be Chief PONTIAC’s likeness with a headdress. Who knew?

First time in memory I finished a puz with a STONER.

rainforest 3:17 PM  

Yes, @Spacey - people do say FIGHTER JETS, but let's not argue.

This was one of the better Tuesday puzzles in memory. Nice themers/starred clues and a revealer that evoked an "aha". No dreck, nice construction, good cluing. Rarely seen on a Tuesday to this degree.

Liked it a lot, even though I mostly eschew desserts except for maybe a sorbet.

Diana, LIW 5:13 PM  

LEMON really sneaks in there, doesn't it? Didn't notice the fruits until I came here, either. And I love diced fruit for dessert in the summer - have a great "no cal" sweet topping, too.

Two very fine puzzles in a row. Keep them coming like this - we virus-shelt4ered in place types need them!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for the 21st Century Jonas Salk

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