Piper's son in nursery rhyme / TUE 4-14-20 / Giant of wrestling moviedom / Netflix crime drama starring Jason Bateman / Loco Motion singer 1962 / Italian fashion giant / Bitter brews for short

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Constructor: Joe Hansen

Relative difficulty: Easy


THEME: digits — themers begin or end with words that can refer to one of the five fingers:

Theme answers:
  • THUMB WAR (41D: Hand-to-hand combat?)
  • BODY MASS INDEX (18D: Calculation using height and weight)
  • MIDDLE OF THE ROAD (7D: Neither left nor right)
  • BOXING RING (32D: Place to duke it out)
  • LITTLE EVA (36D: "The Loco-Motion" singer, 1962)
Word of the Day: ECCO (40D: Danish shoe brand) —
ECCO Sko A/S is a Danish shoe manufacturer and retailer founded in 1963 by Karl Toosbuy, in BredebroDenmark. The company began with only the production of footwear, but has since expanded into leather production, as well as accessories and small leather goods. ECCO opened its first retail store in Denmark in 1982. ECCO’s products are sold in 99 countries from over 2,250 ECCO shops and more than 14,000 sales points. ECCO is family-owned, founded in Denmark in 1963, and employs 21,300 people worldwide. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is an old theme. It has been done, in one form or another, roughly a billion times. I guess running the themers Down gives it ... something. Some kind of angle. But not much of one. So the concept is not novel, but if you've never seen it before, then maybe it holds some charm. But truthfully I wasn't as put off by this puzzle as I might have been normally because I solved this one in a completely and entertaining way: namely, over Zoom, with my daughter, Ella. I made a video of the whole experience, which you can can watch, well, here, now, if you like:

[when I talk in the video about there being no apparent pattern to the "finger" placement, I meant "beyond the very obvious fingers-in-correct-order arrangement," in case that somehow wasn't clear]

The only interesting thing for me, puzzle-wise, was trying to figure out what the theme answers were going to be. Once we got MIDDLE filled in (from crosses) and then INDEX filled in (Ella got BODY MASS INDEX very quickly), I knew instantly that we were gonna be looking at a hand, and so I just went ahead and filled in the circled squares Without Even Looking At The Clues For Those Answers. This was a bad strategy, as you can see if you watch the video, because both of us just assumed that that final themer would start with PINKIE. If I'd looked at the *clue* before writing anything in, I might've realized right away that the answer was LITTLE EVA (a name I know, largely from crosswords), but because I cockily wrote in PINKIE, when the time came to actually look at that clue, I had no idea who the singer of "The Loco-Motion" could be. PINKIE LEE sounded like someone. But I'm sure I was thinking PEGGY LEE. Annnnnyway, if you watch the video of us solving, you can actually hear the moment we realize that it's LITTLE and not PINKIE—audible unrehearsed simultaneous groans. Yes, it's your LITTLE finger, but ugh, come on, it's the PINKIE. Ella surmised that it's more commonly spelled PINKY, which may be true, but still, LITTLE was not a winner with either of us. That was very easily the lowest point of the solve.


No other points were terribly low. Neither of us liked SHIRT as the answer for [Jersey], largely because "Jersey" just has so many other meanings that eclipse the SHIRT meaning. I can't think of a single instance where I would swap "jersey" for SHIRT. Maybe, mayyyybe when talking about a baseball player's jersey??? I dunno. Seemed off. Otherwise, fill seemed pretty typical. Not wonderful (ITGO?) but not any worse than your average NYTXW. I'd never solved a puzzle with my daughter, nor had I ever watched her solve a puzzle, and I was surprised, both at how fast she got some answers (she's clearly developing her solving muscle) and how certain gimmes for me remain totally mysteries to her (see Kim NOVAK, for instance). She also had never heard of the term D.O.A., and since that initialism crosses EGAL (which she also didn't really know), she might've been derailed by that crossing had we not been solving together. She also didn't get OWNS and LIT nearly as fast as I thought she should, given that she is still a card-carrying member of teendom (for another few months) and I figured that stuff was straight out of her lexicon. She knew both terms, of course—just wasn't as quick on the uptake as the old guy she was solving with.


Hope you found something here to like. I think I should co-solve all Tuesdays with people I like. Maybe Sundays too. Having an entertaining solving companion really helps lackluster puzzles go down easy.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    [Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

    109 comments:

    Mike in Mountain View 12:32 AM  

    "We know our buddies won't give us the finger." --Tom Lehrer, "MLF Lullaby

    Mr. Alarm 1:04 AM  

    I couldn’t find “digits" anywhere in the puzzle (would have made a nice reveal), but at least the theme followed a hand (starting with thumb, ending with little). I loved the video of you and your daughter! How can this be the FIRST time you've solved a puzzle together?!

    jae 1:15 AM  

    Like yesterday’s, very easy. Cute theme with fun fill answers (I have no idea why Rex did do a LOWRIDERS video clip) and, according to Jeff at Xwordinfo, symmetry chaos. I didn’t notice it but the black squares do not match up.

    I really liked this one, a fine debut!

    albatross shell 1:29 AM  

    What kind of symmetry or lack thereof is this? Symmetry once removed?

    And what is that middle finger doing up so high? Is that a robot hand giving me the bird? A robot in the shape of a hand flipping me off?

    And those nine letter lines are pretty insulting too.

    ABE OPT ICK
    ZAC DO A DON

    And the long ones not much better.

    GET SAT FLEX IPO
    UMP OSLO LIN
    TOM ICEE EGAL
    NUN SALE EAR
    SSA YORE ABC

    But we do get
    WOWED LOWRIDERS
    MINDBENDING MIA
    CURED ILLS ANTS

    Is THUMB WARS what I use to call THUMB WRESTLING?

    I like the theme. Neat if not colorful. But I do want to stomp it one in the ODE.

    Peace and cornfields

    jae 2:04 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Lee Coller 2:08 AM  

    Neat writeup - and I loved the video. I guess "owns" is now a generation back?

    Joe Dipinto 2:10 AM  

    Oooh, lots of music tie-ins today. Let's kick off the set with the puzzle's marquee entry.

    Aw man, not again. I mean – AW MAN? Not again! This is becoming a go-to phrase in Shortzworld.

    I'm not sure what the hand is doing in this picture. Looks like a left hand, palm inward, with index and ring fingers bent downward and middle finger and pinky extended? Is that like a genteel way to say F.U.?

    Have we ever had a Novak Djokovic clue? I mean, I like Kim and all, but I think Djoko's famous enough by now.

    Anyway, nothing major to complain about here. Congratz to the constructor on a groovy debut.

    Coming up next:
    Bob Dylan,
    War,
    and, of course,
    Litt Leeva trying not to be drowned out by Carole King's guide vocal.

    chefwen 3:01 AM  

    Almost as easy as Mondays, only one write over at 39D, pace before GAIT.

    LIKE @Joe Dipinto, felt like I was getting flipped off.

    A little more of a challenge tomorrow, please.

    An aside to @GILL I, my hair is beginning to look like a skunk, white stripe and all, pretty scary.

    okanaganer 3:19 AM  

    We have seen this theme SO recently, right? But fine for a Tuesday. And AWARE again, so soon, but now clued as English.

    SENTRA... in about 1989 I was without a car, living in downtown Vancouver and working as an intern architect, when my boss had to go out of town for the weekend so he lent me his tiny little SENTRA in exchange for me driving him to the airport. So naturally I called up my younger brother and me and his girlfriend and her girlfriend drove it about 1500 km around British Columbia in 2 days. If he later noticed the mileage, he never said anything. Oh, and later I totalled that same car driving to a job site. Sorry boss!

    I just Loved the video. So unbelievably adorable! And your daughter is pretty cute too.

    clincher 3:38 AM  

    Am I the only who sees a raised middle finger?

    Loren Muse Smith 3:41 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Unknown 3:42 AM  

    Is your daughter Ella or Etta?

    Loren Muse Smith 3:54 AM  

    Pretty cool Tuesday debut, Joe! Congrats! I have to agree with Rex and Ella that “pinky” would have been better. LITTLE isn’t a deal-breaker, though. Enjoy your day in the limelight.

    TOM crosses THUMB. Nice.

    @Mr. Alarm - I had the same thought about "digits" being somewhere.

    I always forget PRAT – “an incompetent, stupid, or foolish person; an idiot.” Hah. Every day we see a prat prating prattle. Makes you revisit POTUS

    @jae – I never would have noticed the spectacular asymmetry of this grid. Thanks for pointing that out. I went and read Joe’s comments and also learned that the total length of the themers kinda matches the lengths of our fingers. And then I googled because my ring finger is quite a bit longer than my forefinger – apparently this can indicate. . . something. Testosterone. Estrogen. . . I lost interest. But I’m really glad I’ve become aware of this and will start noticing people’s hands more.

    I guess aging can make a lot of stuff more mellow, but not everything. Don’t age your onions (or forget about them) in the fridge. Brie gets more and more like ammonia. Potatoes grow tentacles, a decidedly unmellow, yea startling, development.

    I always forget what bogo stands for. Because. Ahem. It should be bogof. Buy-one-get-one-free. Sheesh. ”Bogo” is a NOGO, you dodo.

    The clue for shirt didn’t bother me at all. For me, it’d be like a “leggings” clue for PANTS. No biggie.

    COMICS. Almost as exhausting as my linguistics treatises here are the disdainful comments (usually from anonymice) about Michael teaching COMICS. Who died and made them boss of what genres, what written language, gets to be worthy of study? (From yesterday – I don’t usually read comments from any anonymous, mainly ‘cause they’re more often than not snarky and mean. Since I use my name, include my email, have used my picture, I have nothing but contempt for any nasty coward who hides behind their anonymity to take pot shots. In the cases when I do get into a dust-up with one, I always challenge them to email me privately, and with one exception, they never do. Because. They’re. Cowards.

    Rex – I almost gave up trying to watch the video of you and Ella ‘cause my HughesNet stinks. But bam, there it was, and I was able to watch the entire thing. Ella is a lovely, smart person, and you must be so proud. I loved your comment about the “Venn diagram” of overlapping parent/child knowledge. My kids are both scientists, so our overlap is pretty paltry. I spend a good deal of our time together trying to make sciencey comments aimed only at impressing them and careered a few years back with my son. I forgot what we were discussing – some kind of number – and I ended up saying No, if you can’t repeat numbers, then it’s not four to the fourth; it’s four factorial. The way he whipped his head around to look at me in a new light. . . the memory still has me dizzy with pride. And then there was the time when he (underaged) was nominated by his friends to try to buy the beer. The cashier was wearing a turban and already giving my son the There’s no way you’re 21 look. So Gardiner put the beer on the counter, grinned, put his hands together and said, Namaste. The guy was so delighted that he sold Gardiner beer all weekend. When I asked him how the heck he knew to do that, he said, Mom, I pay attention to you more than you realize. (I’ve since taught him Sat Sri Akaal, so maybe that cashier will just give him the beer for free next time.)

    GILL I. 5:23 AM  

    Well I did find something to like...the puzzle and watching you and your delightful daughter. I know a lot of us sat on our grandmother's laps learning how to do puzzles. It seems the grandpa's were never quite into them. I've gotten both my daughter and my son to do puzzles. I had one constructed for our son for his birthday, thanks to George Barany. He actually had it framed.
    Well if this was a debut, I say en hora buena. I just wish Joe had found a way to sneak in HAND. You have some poco Spanish and Italian and a peu French. Then you gift me with my all time favorite OZARK. I'm anxiously bitting my nails waiting for the next season. My favorite character is Ruth....I just wish she'd smile more often.
    I think my favorite INTRO is BODY MASS INDEX or, if you want to get all technical...BMI. The first time I saw BMI I thought for sure it had to do with ones bum. I got on this scale at my doctor's office and in great big letters it had CHECK OUT YOUR BMI. Because my imagination runs wild, all I could think of was Kim Kardashian.
    I am woman, hear me ROAR...
    @chefwen. Someone told me that you can use shoe polish to get rid of the pesky skunk strips. Can you imagine what that smells like? I don't want no stinking shoe shine in my hair.....I'll take the sea gull shat.


    webwinger 5:32 AM  

    Another very cute theme. I liked especially that the lengths of the long downs are in proportion to the lengths of the digits they name. Except: My 4th fingers are definitely longer than my 2nd fingers. Had never thought about this, so when the question arose I of course went a-googling. Turns out that most men have longer ring fingers and most women have longer index fingers. Who knew? (Definitely not taught in med school anatomy.) Is this something we should fret and argue over? Does it have anything to do with interest in or ability at x-words? FWIW, I’m assuming today’s constructor Joe is male...

    Wrote the paragraph above before reading the comments above. Fascinating that a first-time constructor was allowed such a symmetry violation—and that I hadn’t noticed said violation despite being struck by the effect it made possible. And how cool that this is literally a left-handed puzzle! Maybe there’s a hidden mirror image righty puzzle that contains the missing symmetry? Could end up getting all quantum mechanical.

    @LMS: Please do not fret. I’ll bet we’ll be hearing here today that many of our favorite x-word women have a 2D:4D ratio (that is apparently an actual thing) less than 1.

    Lewis 6:10 AM  

    Aw man, what a glorious group of regular posters we have here. As I read through the comments to this point, I'm struck by how lucky we are to have this bunch to return to so often. It's a tangential joy of crosswords, but a deep joy nonetheless!

    Lewis 6:30 AM  

    My look-back-and-laugh moment was when my eyes read [Blithering fool] as [Blithering tool] and I wondered, "What's blithering? What does a blitherer make?"

    This was, happily, not for me an auto-fill Tuesday, where the puzzle is done and gone before shifting into second gear. No, there were nine answers I hesitated on -- oh, not for long, but enough to make the solve quite interesting (thank you Joe!). To do that, to make a puzzle Tuesday-easy while still requiring effort, well, that's a valued constructing skill that came off as natural, and add to that the courage and audacity required to -- justifiably, for the sake of the theme -- make the grid completely asymmetrical, well, that shows great promise in this debut . More, Joe, please, and soon!

    Hungry Mother 7:18 AM  

    Had PINKIELEE at first also, but had a quick solve anyway. No need for the shaded squares.

    kitshef 7:33 AM  

    Following on the recent discussion for day-appropriateness, that PRAT – Heinie is a Saturday clue, not a Tuesday.

    Hand in Hand – 2nd best song on Making Movies.

    IPO/IPAS/EPA.

    Anybody recall when the last asymmetrical grid was?

    Hand up for ring longer than index finger. Also, my left ring finger is noticeably longer then my right.

    thfenn 7:46 AM  

    My understanding of what makes this version of the hand is that the fingers are in 'correct' lengths as all the answers rise from the bottom. 'correct' because once reading about that I dove into a mindnumbing review of research on 2D:4D ratios. But that's what good puzzle's make you do, right? Spark curiosity, associations, memories etc. And yes, that helped me stop seeing just a raised middle finger. Fun puzzle and an enjoyable Tuesday solve. And Rex, thanks for the video, it's nice seeing you be a person, and a dad.

    Z 7:47 AM  

    Is it really wise to flip off the solver? (I’m with you @clincher)

    @Lewis - But does a blitherer spin?

    Hand up for not noting the asymmetry.

    Hand up for enjoying not one, but two break-up songs titled Hand in Hand. Knopfler is heart-broken, Elvis is, well, flipping her the bird.

    @Gill I and @chefwen - My dad was bald young, but I lucked out and got mom’s hair genes. She didn’t dye it and she never went gray. There was some gray at the end, but just enough to make her hair not jet black. My beard, as is typical for men, has gone gray (my teammate literally wrote the book on beards) but has stopped at the ears. I’m curious to see if the gray invasion moves north or if the pattern will be like my mom’s, a few grays mingled amongst mostly black hair. We will see. If it does go gray and continues to thin out I may just shave it all off.

    I saw this various places.. It really does explain the PRAT’s approval ratings.

    SouthsideJohnny 7:57 AM  

    Very heavy on the PPP, with LIN crossing LITTLE EVA crossing NOVAK, ZAC crossing OZARK, along with ECCO, ARMANI and the requisite foreign words CASA and EGAL. I just couldn’t muster up much enthusiasm for this one since I’m not into trivia - I actually forgot about the theme until I read OFL’s comments. Fine if that’s what you’re into, just not my cup of tea.

    Jofried 8:04 AM  

    I thought the puzzle was cute...but I’m really posting here to thank @Z for the link to the Andy Borowitz titles. It made me laugh out loud and laughter is in short supply these days!

    pabloinnh 8:06 AM  

    Have to say that I wrote in all the answers so fast on this one that I had time to take my pencil, trace through the maze, and help the pirate find his treasure before my burger arrived. Not sure how many Rexes that is, probably three or four.

    "Blithering fool"=ASS=PRAT=pratfall(?) This is why I've always assumed that a "pratfall" means falling on your ass. Of course that old saying about "assume" may apply.

    @LMS-Interesting where our areas of knowledge overlap with our children, isn't it? My older son is a "web architect" and our conversations about his job involve his reactions to other people he interacts with in meetings. He does fix all our computer issues in less time than it takes me to describe them, though.

    Zippy Tuesday. Thanks JH. On to the Spelling Bee.

    TJS 8:07 AM  

    "Yoohoo,it's me. My name is Pinkie Lee." Good God, it's been about 65 years and that is still occupying space in some corner of my shrinking memory.

    Interesting that Rex has never solved a puzzle with his daughter. I started when sitting on my Dads' lap. I think it was because I was so glad to see him, since he was a fireman working a 24 hour shift, then going straight to his "second job" at a steel plant, so he would be gone for about 34 hours straight twice a week. I now have a great-nephew who likes to sit on my lap and press the keys for the letters when I solve on line. Circle of life or something.

    Joaquin 8:08 AM  

    Before I read the first clue I thought the grid, with its shaded areas, was giving me the finger. Well, join the crowd, Joe Hansen.

    Very surprised to see Rex's complaint about "Jersey". He's usually a big fan of all things baseball (and I was anticipating a mini-rant about how much he misses the games).

    And @Lewis (6:10) - A big "Amen!" to that. In the words of Rodney Dangerfield, "What a crowd! What a crowd!"

    OffTheGrid 8:19 AM  

    @GILL I. Isn't "Ozark" fantastic? You can see Ruth's smile if you invert your TV.

    Joe Welling 8:27 AM  

    Loren said: "I always forget what bogo stands for. Because. Ahem. It should be bogof. Buy-one-get-one-free. Sheesh. ”Bogo” is a NOGO, you dodo."

    BOGO encompasses deals other than the second one free. For instance, Buy One Get One 50% off.

    Anonymous 8:49 AM  

    @Z:
    I lucked out and got mom’s hair genes

    Not luck. It's been definitively proven that male pattern baldness is inherited from Momma. Mia! A bit of revenge, I guess.

    Dire Straits - the best 'rock' band ever. Not very long, and not a lot of output, but Knopfler's 3-finger banjo picking on guitar is to die for. Is he still working?

    Petsounds 8:54 AM  

    I love that the charming Ella was wearing a Yankees shirt--not quite a jersey, but close enough. SHIRT for "Jersey" annoyed me at first, for the Rex reasons, and then the baseball angle hit me and made me sad. On last night's local news, there was a clip of a baseball game played in Taiwan in an empty stadium with wildly enthusiastic announcers, and it nearly brought me to tears. I miss baseball so much, and if you know that my teams are the Detroit Tigers and the Phillies, you'll understand just how profound that love is.

    The puzzle was OK. Nothing special, nothing terrible. While I loved Little Eva and "The Locomotion," PINKY would have been a better choice for the digit. But PINKY has only five letters, so there's the rub. (Wash your hands!)

    Enjoyed the video very much, especially the generational gaps, as in Rex's surprise that Ella knew Andre the Giant and in his slight annoyance that she didn't get RENOIR. She's only 19, Rex. She'll get there.

    Anonymous 9:01 AM  

    DOA, imho, is much like lathe almost entirely misused.
    Setting aside its current usage and today's puzzle, DOA doesnt mean the stiff was dead on his arroval. It was a lolice term and the arroval in question wasn't the decedant's bit the copper's.
    Flame away folks. But read pulp or eatch TCM first.

    RAD2626 9:07 AM  

    Cute puzzle. Cuter video. Interesting that many did not notice lack of symmetry, and most don’t seem to care. I would be in both those categories.

    Like @TJS, remember Pinky Lee and his theme song. Pinky could probably be described as a PRAT, or at least he specialized in pratfalls. Pure vaudeville. No puppets like Shari Lewis or Soupy Sales. No character development or morality plays like Howdy Doody or Captain Kangaroo. Just Pinky and the kids. And Unlike Rex I also remember Little Eva from her one hit wonder sing, not from crosswordese [sigh].

    Terrific debut. Fun Tuesday puzzle.

    Anonymous 9:14 AM  

    @Petsounds:
    Andre the giant

    Good News!!! DeSantis says that WWE is 'essential', and back in business!! Yahooooooooooooo!

    Whatsername 9:16 AM  

    One of those puzzles where I got the theme and said oh, okay. Is that all there is? Yes it is. I see the suggestion of a hand image, but the fact that the fingers are not lined up horizontally offends my OCD brain. Like others, I wanted pinkie instead of LITTLE which was a tad disappointing. I did like the long downs and the themers lined up in order with MIDDLE right up there front and center the way well, a middle finger sometimes is.

    PRAT was new to me. Never heard of THUMB WARS but like @albatrossshell, THUMB wrestling is the term I’m familiar with. BOGO stands for buy one get one. It’s not BOGOF because it doesn’t always mean “free.” Sometimes it’s buy one, get one for half price in which case it would be BOGOFHP.

    @Loren: The PRAT prating prattle. Love it. You give new meaning to the definition of PPP. Plus we have blithering fool at 11A which I first read as birthering fool, but in either case the ASS fits so . . . .

    @Z (7:47) But does a blitherer spin? No but a PRAT does, according to LMS. Thanks for the hilarious graphic. I love Andy B. Going to go back and read those columns later.

    @Rex: Ella is lovely. I hope we’ll have the pleasure of her company again sometime.

    Z 9:21 AM  

    @Petsounds - We had a good decade of exciting Tigers baseball. Not sure Al has what it takes to do a rebuild, but here’s hoping for sunnier days.

    @Anon 8:49- Oh my, yes. I’m off soon to get the beast x-rayed, so you’ll have to do some YouTube digging yourself, but still putting out some pretty great stuff.

    I’ve been pondering this shirt/jersey conundrum. In my closet I have some dress shirts, short sleeve shirts (like dress shirts only with short sleeves), some polo shirts (small “p”), then a stack of tee shirts, and a stack of JERSEYs. That last group is reserved for athletic activity. Many of the items in that stack have the number 6 on the back. I might occasionally refer to an item in that stack as a “shirt,” but I would never ever call any of the other shirts in my closet a JERSEY. It’s not quite like the rhombus/square thing (all squares are rhombuses, but not all rhombuses are squares), because there are some JERSEYs that are never a shirt (baseball and football JERSEYs come to mind, where the JERSEY is always worn over other apparel, often including over tee shirts). What, exactly, is the essence of shirtiness?
    On a side note, I really want a JERSEY clue that includes a Bailiwick of Guernsey reference.

    Jen 9:23 AM  

    Loving these Tuesday video-solves - thanks!

    Sluggo 9:26 AM  

    Besides the baseball angle, SHIRT is the common term for the jersey that soccer players wear.

    RooMonster 9:46 AM  

    Hey All !
    Add me to the not noticing the asymmetric grid group. How is that possible? We've all been solving for quite some time, and we all seem to notice when grids are left/right symmetrical, or even diagonally symmetric, so how did no one notice this? And how did Joe convince Will that willy-nilly placed blocks is OK? Strange.

    Anyway, thought puz was OK. Would've like it a tad better had the themers been more in line. They seem to be strewn about up and down. And yes, it does look like we're getting flipped off! Is that a meta? Is Joe a PRAT? Har.

    Neat SW corner, with the three W's and two X's.

    Still WOWing over that asymmetry. If I submitted this, I'd get an email that said, "Oh, Hell No!" 😀

    One F
    FLEX ACHES
    RooMonster
    DarrinV

    Fred the Curmudgeon aka Anonymous 42715 9:48 AM  

    WHAT A PUZZLE!

    The greatest repository of three-letter crosswordese and Will-isms as fill-in-the-blanks can ever be!

    Monumental.

    My only hesitation was ASS. Truly and seriously. Like 3 minutes on the new York times timer and I'm not a speed solver.

    Also - look at your hand, folks, which FINGER is LONGEST?

    No, the puzzle is not giving you the finger, mother nature gives you the finger naturally, if your middle isn't your longest you will die early.

    True Fact.

    John T. Vian 9:54 AM  

    I felt like I was being flipped off by the constructor. They are so friendly in NYC, everyone waves at each other with the middle finger extended. Could be a complement...

    Nancy 10:03 AM  

    Hand up (pun intended) for PRAT being unknown to me too. I always assumed that a PRATFALL meant falling on your face. But I guess it's safer for slapstick comics to fall on their heinies if they want to get up and do it all over again in the next scene.

    I just started watching OZARK on Netflix -- which I've only had for a few months. (I ran out of episodes on The Crown.) Someone yesterday, I think, said they weren't in the mood for all that crime and violence considering what we're all living through right now. Me neither. It's very well-made, but I need something much less dark. I've seen nothing on Netflix other than The Crown. Well, I did try the Lily Tomlin/Jane Fonda thing briefly, but it seemed pretty dumb. Suggestions are very welcome.

    I loved that the MIDDLE finger was raised so high, but I wish it had been crossing our "very stable genius" instead of ARMANI.

    An enjoyable puzzle that required some thinking -- so I'm happy.

    Anonymous 10:16 AM  

    My first thought on seeing this puzzle shape up, with the image shaded, was that Shortz had finally gotten fired, and that he had set this puzzle aside for the occasion. Was actually relieved that I am apparently wrong about this.
    Anon. i.e. Poggius

    jberg 10:24 AM  

    Yes, I found something to like -- 1D, COMICS! A clear foreshadowing that the NYT plans to boost its sales by reversing its long-standing "no comics" policy. They already run an occasional comic in the daily,pretending it's not real, but this is a strong hint that the plan to go all the way and add a Sunday section.

    Also, the IPO/IPA crossing, and the OWEs crossing at the O.

    @Rex, you probably were thinking of Peggy Lee-- you're too young to remember Pinky Lee, who had a kids' TV show in the 50s. I can remember nothing but his theme song, which you can catch at the start of this episode.

    Yeah, I just put in PINKIE too I didn't even have MIDDLE, only INDEX when I wrote in all the other fingers.

    So I'm pretty much with Rex on this one. Now I'll go back and read the comments.

    GILL I. 10:34 AM  

    @Nancy....This is what I've done. I go to Google and type in what to watch on Netflix. You get to read a little synopsis of each trending show. Some of my favorites: Schitts Creek, Anne with an E and Self Made.
    Have fun. I hope the heinie doesn't fall asleep. Mine does when I sit too long!

    Pamela 10:36 AM  

    @Z 7:47. Your PRAT link not only made me howl with delight, I had to forward it immediately to various friends before coming back here. Thank you!

    OffTheGrid 10:40 AM  

    @Nancy, I have enjoyed on Netflix: The Fosters, Kim's Convenience, Schitt's Creek, Lucifer(crime but not gory nor dark), The Good Place, Cheers, Nurse Jackie, Working Moms, Rectify, The Tudors. The Boy in Striped Pajamas (movie).

    tea73 10:42 AM  


    One upside of this whole Corona virus thing is that we are actually talking to our far flung family more often not less often. We've figured out all sorts of ways to play games together (online version of Dominion) and a tabletop simulator at Steam. Even our least social kid was willing to join in a game of Carcassone via his VR headset.

    JERSEY seemed fair enough to me. I could tell cow wasn't going to fit.


    I'm still waiting for the crossword puzzle to have pWNS instead of OWNS.

    jberg 10:51 AM  

    I see I wasn't the first to think of Pinky Lee. Back then, there wasn't much TV, so you pretty much knew all the shows, even if you didn't watch them.

    I had the same question as @Loren about THUMB WAR -- is it the same as thumb wrestling? In any case, I've never heard of it.

    The other thing is that only INDEX is used with a different meaning -- MIDDLE and LITTLE are just descriptive adjectives for fingers, and THUMB is thumb. It could have been THUMB drive; wondering why it wasn't made me look at the symmetry, and I still haven't quite figured it out--some kind of twisting around the diagonal? But those saying there is none are probably right. Then there's RING -- one could argue a BOXING RING is not the same as what you put around your finger (unless they give you a ring for winning a world championship, I have no idea, but think maybe you get a belt instead--if not as a prize, then in your next match); but they are both shapes with holes in the middle. Groups of corrupt politicians used to be called rings, so they could have used that. But I don't know if you can do much with middle or little.

    Nancy 10:56 AM  

    "@Puzzlemucker" on the Wordplay Blog recommended "Last Tango in Halifax." The trailer looked delightful (hope I can understand what everyone's saying; it's British) and it got an 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. So I used my computer to add it to my TV "My List" and I hope it will be there when I get back from my walk. It has six or seven seasons, so it will probably (assuming I like it) keep me busy until 2024.

    Speaking of my walk, I hope Central Park will be there when I go (on the early side for me to avoid the crowds). Yesterday we had about 3 inches of downpour and tornado-level winds, so heaven knows what I'll find when I get there. Certainly all those beautiful blossoms from the cherry trees and pear trees will be gone.

    @Puzzlemucker gave me 4 Netflix suggestions. I'll write down yours as well, @GILL, and thanks!

    Nancy 10:58 AM  

    Just saw your recommendations, @Off the Grid. Thanks. I'll make a note of them too.

    Anonymous 11:02 AM  

    @Nancy:
    tornado-level winds

    mind your head:

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_eye/2014/04/17/the_citicorp_tower_design_flaw_that_could_have_wiped_out_the_skyscraper.html

    Z 11:04 AM  

    @Nancy - The Great British Baking Show

    Re: Mark Knopfler- All the Road Running (with Emmylou Harris) and Missing...Presumed Having a Good Time are great. I’m embarrassed to say that I have only two of his solo albums, but they are great, too. I may be spending some more $ on iTunes today.

    dadnoa 11:06 AM  

    +1 for the Lehrer comment. Hey Rex, how about a themed puzzle on Tom Lehrer songs? So many from which to choose!

    Frantic Sloth 11:11 AM  

    Let's see...

    Hand up for:

    1. Flipping the bird
    2. Asymmetry? Missed it.
    3. Pinkie before LITTLE, but didn't really care

    Hand down (perhaps literally) for:

    1. Seeing the hand as left facing up - did anyone else see right facing down??
    Spinning dancer, anyone?


    @ Lewis 630am Your "blithering tool" made me simultaneously amused and fearful that a "blitherer" might incorporate some sort of lathe.

    And I submit that "blithering tool" can also refer to the PRAT-in-Thief

    The BOGO discussion got me thinking about a new term: "Buy One, Get One For Free" or BOGOFF.

    If the term didn't immediately bring to mind an expanse of cranberries, it might could perhaps maybe be construed as an imperative.

    Anonymous 11:11 AM  

    @Z:
    more $ on iTunes today.

    How about my commission?? Send to:

    Anon666
    13 Avenue of Scratch
    Sodomville, Transylvania

    Barbara S. 11:13 AM  

    Did you see his ad campaign? That Rafael Nadal has a
    CASA ARMANI ASS

    MINDBENDING MIA
    WOWED
    AWARE IAN NOVAK
    (She CURED his ILLS)

    What? 11:21 AM  

    Once I got THUMB, I knew the rest so why bother

    rosebud 11:22 AM  

    Enjoyed solving with you and Ella today, good Tuesday smiles. Congrats also to your recognition in Sunday’s book review of Thinking Inside the Box!

    TJS 11:29 AM  

    @Nancy, a Canadian TV series, Trailer Park Boys, is hysterical if you have beer and a joint handy. Of course, maybe everything is.

    Paranoid Aykroyd 11:45 AM  

    Btw, LIT has meant "drunk" for over a hundred years. So the clue was referring to the olden slang and not the new.

    BobL 11:46 AM  

    @Nancy - you got some good recommendations, but DO NOT watch "Boy in Striped PJS" Sad and depressing. Not even well-acted.
    My two cents.

    Barbara S. 11:47 AM  

    @Nancy
    RE: TV
    "Last Tango in Halifax" is very good. For more eccentric British dramedy try "Doc Martin" (grumpy-but-inadvertently-funny doctor in a seaside village in Cornwall) and "Death in Paradise" (the local constabulary solving odd murders on a fictional Caribbean island).

    Joe Hansen 11:59 AM  

    Hello, constructor here.

    It was a pleasure watching Rex solve with his daughter!

    I always thought that, if I ever get a puzzle in the NYT, I want either a rave review or a scathing review from Rex. Those are the most fun to read. I’m a little bummed that I received a lukewarm review. Oh well, I’ll keep trying. However, I must say, it is an honor to see my name in this blog, since I am a big fan.

    BTW, the asymmetry was intentional. The idea was that the entries would mimic the proportions of a hand. That is why all the theme entries are flush at the bottom, and different lengths. In most puzzles, the symmetrical theme entries are the same length. However, if every theme entry is, by design, different lengths, and flush on one side (the bottom here), the grid is ultimately asymmetrical. I am glad that some solvers did not notice, because I tried to retain a vague “sense” of symmetry. I actually used the asymmetry as a selling point when submitting it. I originally had THE BLING RING instead of BOXING RING, which (being longer) made the visual look less like “giving the bird,” haha. But Will went with the BOXING RING version; maybe THE BLING RING was not a good fit for a Tuesday. So, giving the middle finger was not part of the idea, the middle finger just happens to be the longest of our fingers.

    Z 12:22 PM  

    @Joe Hansen - Well, you certainly picked the right day of the week for a scathing review, so the absence of “scathing” makes this a rave.
    I did wonder how I missed the asymmetry and noted the “vague ‘sense’ of symmetry” you mentioned. This is definitely a “hindsight is 20/20” observation, but I wonder if eschewing any semblance of symmetry might have made the handiness of the puzzle more obvious. I see others have gotten the handiness, but lots of us just saw the bird.

    Now that I know it’s supposed to be a hand I’m #TeamRightHandPalmDown.

    @Paranoid Aykroyd - Yep. LIT in the modern slang sense is closer to “great” or “wonderful” or “awesome.” As in, “this party is LIT” or “Prince is LIT.” What no one ever has said is, ”The LIT Crit prof was LIT again, making the Gerard Manley Hopkins discussion LIT for a change.

    BTW - The beast’s x-ray shows the surgery is healing fine. He got his first, very short, walk in six weeks and now he’s snoring.

    Frantic Sloth 12:45 PM  

    @Z 1222pm I must have missed the original post about "the beast's" ailment, but I'm happy to hear he is healing nicely.

    Just now watched the video - very adorable. My favorite moment was Ella's description of YORE being one of those "poet-y" words. :-D

    Phillybear 12:53 PM  

    JERSEY is a chiefly British version of shirt. I always get confused when a friend asks if it’s jersey or vest weather. I was a fan of MIDDLE OF THE ROAD being, well, middle of the puzzle road. Add to that ATA safe distance being stuck in the middle of the middle of everything made me chuckle. That poor little answer did not get its six feet of space. Cute and fun puzzle and cute and fun video or your family solve!

    Smith 12:57 PM  

    @ Gill (5:23, early riser, you)
    Hand up for Ozark!! And Ruth!! Julia Garner is from the Bronx, wow.

    kitshef 1:08 PM  

    @tea73 - PWNS was used November 5,2017. It caused a lot of outrage as it crossed an unusual proper name.

    Smith 1:12 PM  

    @ Nancy and Gill
    Second the Schitts Creek recommendation! What a marvelous surprise. And many seasons...

    Also, The Stranger, another one from Harlan Coben - never read his books, but his Safe with Michael C. Hall was an incredible piece of storytelling on the screen...in later episodes you see the *exact same footage* as in earlier episodes, but how you understand it is totally changed. Do took a flyer on The Stranger and love it.

    For dark, but, um, timely? try The Plot Against America on HBO.

    Newboy 1:14 PM  

    I’m saving the Tuesday solve video for this afternoon. Nice to have something to look forward to beyond lunch & nap. “I think I should co-solve all Tuesdays with people I like,” says OFL. “Maybe Sundays too. Having an entertaining solving companion really helps.” Mayhaps the best Rex advice since “fire Will Shortz?” That hint as well as solving with only the down clues as a brilliant poster suggested previously may actually make early week puzzles fun again 🙏🏾 “Namaste,” as @Loren teaches.

    Liked the theme on Joe’s grid, especially as a debut though it was so obvious that reading clues became a bit too casual....I tossed in pie before ABC for 31 across, so clearly not a total piece of cake. Hope that Joe can up the ante, discover rebi and kick our ASS on a Thursday soon to come. Nice recommendations for plague evening TV from several commentariat. If you’re enjoying Schitt’s Creek, you might enjoy Episodes, a look into what happens when successful Brit screenwriters meet Hollywood — and closed captioning work’s really well.

    Teedmn 1:19 PM  

    My first run-in with BOGO was actually BOGOHO (buy one, get one half off). But my brain, while I was perusing the wares, kept saying BOGOF so when I got to the cashier, I thought I was being overcharged. I felt quite abashed when I redid the math, oops.

    I'm with Rex and Ella on the PINKIE thing, right down to thinking it should be PINKY. I had to go up to LIN-Manuel Miranda to see my error.

    I can't decide whether my ring fingers are longer or my index fingers are. It sounds insane, but when I look at the backs of my hands, ring fingers look longer and from the palm side, it's the index that's longer. (And yes, I'm taking into account that the fingers switch sides when I flip them, thank you for not considering me a complete ass :-). ) I started feeling queasy after staring at them for a while so I quit that. I'm sure it's some sort of trompe l-oeil effect but I can't figure it out.

    Joe Hansen, congratulations on your debut and thanks for the entertaining puzzle.

    @Lewis, like @Z, I had to wonder, "But does the blitherer turn anything?"

    jae 1:23 PM  

    @Joe D - Thanks for the War (LOWRIDERS) post. I keep failing at creating a successful link on my ipad so I’ve given up trying. I think it has something to do with the quotation marks?

    @GILL I - Julia Garner (Ruth) is part of a delightful anthology series on Amazon Prime TV called Modern Love with all the stories set in NYC. I’m pretty sure she smiles in it.

    @Nancy & Barbara S. - Both Last Tango and Doc Martin are excellent. I’ve seen every episode of both shows and while there are some sad moments there is no violence.

    Red Letter Day 1:34 PM  

    I solved this while waiting in line to get into Costco, where I scored some (ta-da) TP! No, I'm not going to tell you where I live.

    QP 1:46 PM  

    Middle finger is the longest finger in most people. Most primates too.

    JC66 1:58 PM  

    @jae

    If you email me, I'll be happy to send you the Embedding Cheat Sheet.

    pbc 2:10 PM  

    i call foul on 69a XEROX. it 'developed' the mouse only in the sense that it carried the idea from doug englebart, who invented the mouse while at sri, to the point where apple popularized the device. yes, the clue can be construed as correct, but it gives XEROX a much more prominent role than is deserved, and there are just so many other ways to clue the company.

    GILL I. 2:15 PM  

    @jae...I always love your recommendations. I have Amazon Prime so I'm going to try Modern Love. Sounds intriguing......
    I'm off to our open air park to meet up with my daughter, son-in-law and my sweet Hadley Rose. We all will be wearing masks and won't be hugging (sigh) but the dogs needs a long walk; the sun is out and the birds are very happy there is no smog.

    Z 2:16 PM  

    @jae - regarding posting a link, yes, it is the quotation marks messing you up on your iPad. Default is while what you want is ". You get the needed one by holding down the quote mark key, and then selecting the bottom middle option. Holding a key is also the way you get symbols like ‰, ≠, ¡, ¿,§, £, as well as diacritics like é and ö. The quote mark key gives you «, », “, ", ”, and „ as options. No interrobang anywhere that I’ve found, though.

    @Teedmn - Okay, looking at the back of my hands, the ring finger is appreciably longer than the index finger. But when I look at the palm of my hand the ring is barely longer. However, if I cock my hand so that the thumb is pointing up the ring finger is again much longer looking. I’m sure some of the people commenting earlier on the finger length rabbit holes can explain.

    pabloinnh 2:28 PM  

    @Joe Hansen-Thanks for checking in. In fact, thanks for constructing puzzles. Congratulations on your debut, and keep it up.

    @Z-I've been a Knopfler fan for a long time, one of my favorite all time guitarists. Three or four years ago we drove all the way to Albany NY to see him in concert. He had eight or ten other performers with him who did the vast majority of the music, and when he finally played one or two familiar songs he was mostly drowned out by his band. A major disappointment. I'll stick to listening to his older stuff. "Telegraph Road" is high on my list.

    There seems to be a lot of stuff on the teevee of which I am unaware. When someone asks me if I have ever seen such-and-such, I usually say no, there was a game on. Since that's no longer true, I could try some of these shows, which actually sound pretty good. First I have to run out of replays of great games I know I saw but can't remember. That will probably take a while.

    Aketi 3:01 PM  

    Finished this quickly while listening to a continuing ed video and intermittently slicing Brussel sprouts for dinner. The puzzle wasn’t particularly MIND BENDING. Did enjoy the raised MIDDLE finger. Since I’m barely going out to bike and when I do the streets are almost deserted, I haven’t made use of mine much lately. No more cars in the bike lanes. I miss the BOXING RING and the grimy fight club I used to go to on Saturdays. I’m sure it should have been declared a biohazard long before the virus mutated to cross the species barrier. I wonder how many species of microbe that were on that mat have succumbed during the shutdown.

    kitshef 3:21 PM  

    @Teedmn - if you are like most people, you are holding your hand towards the center of your body with fingers pointed up or away from you. This introduces a bend to your wrist, which will physically shorten the finger on the outside of the curve.

    Try it this way. Stick your right elbow way out to the side, and point your forearam and hand to the left, with the hand dead center of your hest. Keep your wrist as straight as you can. That should minimize the shortening.

    Joe Dipinto 3:26 PM  

    @jae - could be the quotemarks. You have to put one immediately before and one immediately after the link address. JC66 showed me how to do it. (Also, beware of Autocorrect trying to change things up.)

    jdonhowe 3:26 PM  

    And nobody else thought of "Thumb Wars: The Phantom Cuticle"? Google it!

    Richardf8 3:28 PM  

    I did notice, and it pleased me because a thumb is shorter than a pinky LITTLE finger.

    Old Actor 3:57 PM  

    Sure, Pinkie is fun, but I recently fell, caught mine somehow and tore it up pretty badly. I did NOT tell my doctor, "I hurt my pinkie."
    Sounds like baby talk.

    Adam 3:58 PM  

    I had PINKIE EVA and figured it was just someone I didn't know. But I did know that it wasn't PIN-MANUEL MIRANDA, so I fixed it - but I had the same reaction as @Rex. Otherwise, I enjoyed it. Wanted MIND ALTERING but it didn't fit. A nice 5 minute diversion on a somewhat sunny Tuesday.

    Z 4:10 PM  

    John Conway passed away. Saw the news via xkcd.

    @pabloinnh - Bummer. I recently went to a Calexico/Iron and Wine concert and the Calexico tunes were great, but the Iron and Wine sings suffered from the venue. I hate when that happens.

    Michiganman 4:13 PM  

    THIS VIDEO is a must see. It is the final authority on finger names. You may also laugh.

    Scarlett 4:38 PM  

    Thumb war? Never heard of it. It’s thumb wrestling in my neck of the woods.

    albatross shell 4:41 PM  

    @whatshername and others
    I googled THUMB WARS. Cartoon Star Wars parody.

    @ baseball fans
    Cleveland and St. Louis here. Obviously if they ever meet its AL all the way. The Cards are 3-0 lifetime against the NYY in WS play. Only one post-WW II. Seems when we get there its Detroit, Minnesota or Baltimore. Or no longer Houston.

    @Mike in the Mountain 1232am
    I almost put another Tom Lehrer song in for my song pick: I Hold Your Hand in Mine.

    @Anonymous 901am
    I may be missing your spin on this because your letter substitutions seem not quite random and I do not divine the porpoise. First. MyK, an ER nurse, tells me DOA in her setting is used in the sense you seem to reject. I suspect the police usage may be older. Then you mention TCM which in combination with DOA must bring to mind the Edmund O'Brien movie. DOA is the punchline of the movie. It is used ironically to describe the definition you argue against. I hear it more often politics today. In that usage it actually means as soon as the bill gets here, l am going to kill it, or I am going to put it in a coma from which it will never awaken.

    I have been watching Lone Wolf and Cub movies via TCM and DVR. Late Sunday night's, 2 per nite. For the Comics inclined crowd. Rapes and spouting blood. Manga violence. But very enjoyable for all of that.

    Also Sense8 on Netflix. Had to get to the 3rd episode to get into it. Much more joyful and less dark than Ozark I guess. The promos for Ozark remind me of Winter's Bone. Maybe still my favorite Jennifer Lawrence movie? That movie had very little violence, but had me holing my breath the whole movie. Saw it at 2 in the morning alone in the house. Very creepy feeling.


    @Joe
    Love having you stop by. Thanks for coming. I hope you enjoyed my comments. I enjoyed your asymmetrical warfare.

    RooMonster 4:46 PM  

    @Teedmn
    When you look at the back of your hand, chances are your fingers are directly out and locked straight, but when you turn your hand around, your fingers relax a bit, and you turn your wrist ever so slightly inward, making the fingers look the same length, or ad you observed, switched in length. Try to keep your fingers locked straight as you rotate your hand and don't change the wrist straightness.
    Or, use a mirror! 😋

    @Aketi
    Brussel sprouts! Yyyyyyuck! They rate right up there with runny kale!

    RooMonster Finger Flinger Guy

    Whatsername 4:50 PM  

    @albatross: Thanks. That explains why I didn’t know it then. I’m not a Star Wars fan.

    Monty Boy 4:51 PM  

    I liked this one a lot. I'm old enough that Little Eva is my favorite answer.

    Along the lines of the baseball banter, I recently watched a 50th anniversary clip of the Pirates/Yankees 1960 game 7 on YouTube. That is a great game with some of baseball's greatest players. One obscure fact is that there were no strikeouts in the game, a rarity for baseball, especially World Series.

    Grandsons start the contest by reciting: One, two, three, four; I declare a THUMB WAR. I guess no one else does it that way?

    JC66 5:04 PM  

    @Teedmn

    Our fingers are webbed (slightly), so when I look at the back of my hand, the fingers appear longer than when I look at my palm.

    Barbara S. 5:07 PM  

    @Michiganman 4:13
    I had a mixed reaction to your video. On the one hand(!), it was a cute educational cartoon for kids. On the other, it kept reminding me of The Pale Man in "Pan's Labyrinth." It's hard to unsee eyeballs in the palms.

    Anonymous 5:18 PM  

    A shel,
    No doubt DOA is used just as you say today.
    But yiuve misviewed the O'Brien movie.
    It's a report. The whole movie. Its a de facto police report. There is no irony. Just sophistication.
    My point is simply that a term once used as argot by a particular group (in this case cops) gets co-opted and changes.
    Yes, both meanings have dead people.But the diffetence is important imo.

    jae 5:20 PM  

    @Z - I think I may have done it? Thanks @Joe D & JC66 for the help, I think @Z hit the nail on the head.

    This is the first song I played on my shiny new component stereo system in 1970.



    test

    Nancy 5:23 PM  

    I am thrilled, absolutely thrilled. My middle finger is the longest finger on my hand -- whether I look at it from the back, the front, sideways or upside down. Since I gather it means I'm going to live forever (something I never in a million years would have guessed before reading today's blog), I am deliriously happy. To all of you who have a middle finger that is vertically challenged, I offer you my deepest and most heartfelt sympathy.

    Joe Dipinto 6:43 PM  

    Yay, @jae!

    egsforbreakfast 6:52 PM  

    I grew up with Thumb Wrestling. However, by the time my two kids were kindergarten age (they’re now in their 30s), I noticed that they were playing Thumb War. The only difference is that at the start of Thumb War, you rhythmically both switch thumbs side to side on your interlocked fingers while chanting, in unison, “1,2,3,4. I declare a Thumb War.” The conclusion of the chant heralds the commencement of combat in the traditional Thumb Wrestling sense.

    As to TV, we loved Ozark, and I am now endeavoring to utilize f**k or some derivative thereof at least twice per sentence in homage to Ruth. The Plot Against America is too creepily similar to today (even before Kovfefe 19) to,provide any of the escapism I seek in my nightly TV and wine pity party.
    Fleabag is absolutely wonderful, witty, self deprecating. The series is great, and you can also watch a professional video of the Broadway production for the next few weeks for free on Netflix.

    JC66 7:13 PM  

    @jae

    Mazel Tov!

    Anoa Bob 9:50 PM  

    I met this beautiful Korean lady at a disco bar in Seoul. She was charming and witty and we seemed to really connect. When she went off on a break, the bartender came over and whispered that she was a he.

    Ever since I have wondered what would be the one thing that would quickly identify someone as male or female. Finger length pattern seems to be the only indicator that can't be altered, even by surgery. For females, the ring finger is typically shorter than the index finger, and for males, the ring finger is typically longer than the index finger. Lots of variability, of course.

    I find that with practice, I can maximize my ring finger length as I subtly withdraw my index finger. Good to know the next time I'm in a disco bar in Seoul.

    albatross shell 2:38 AM  

    @anon518pm
    Not sure if irony and sophistication are in anyway incompatible, but in any case the police report was the testimony of O'Brien's reporting his own murder. He arrived alive. Told the story of his own murder. He was in a hopeless position with no hope of survival. Still looks like the definition you do not like to be. I do appreciate the distinction you are making. But the irony is the man solved and avenged and reported his own murder. DOA Indeed. But it's been a few years since I watched it. Next time I catch it, I'll reassess my viewing.

    Burma Shave 10:31 AM  

    GNAT’S ASS

    MIA says it’s a MINDBENDING SIGHT –
    TOM’s BODYMASSINDEX –
    NOT in the BOXINGRING to fight,
    he just WOWED with a FLEX.

    --- ARIEL NOVAK

    spacecraft 10:47 AM  

    I enjoyed this one. Can't quite put my finger on it...

    Maybe it's THUMBWARS, or the "holitacker," as named in the series Happy Days, which introduced us to the MINDBENDING antics of too-soon-gone Robin Williams.

    Maybe it's DOD Kim Novak--though more for "Picnic" than for "Vertigo." Most honorable mention to LITTLEEVA.

    Maybe it's the *ahem* raised MIDDLE digit, heh. An advanced reaction to OFC's expected pan--that never came.

    Maybe it's the reminder of one of my all-time faves:

    All
    My
    Friends know the LOWRIDER.
    Low
    Ri-
    der goes a LITTLE higher. [Trumpet interlude]

    Great stuff. The percussion is to die for. And while on music, I add to the chorus of Knopfler admirers; his riff at the end of "Sultans of Swing" tells you all you need to know about his skills. Money for a lot more than nothing.

    I noticed the asymmetry but it did not bother me. Joe gets a THUMBs-up, hands down! Birdie.

    Diana, LIW 12:57 PM  

    Gotta hand it to @Spacey for the comments of the day.

    Didn't even notice the fingerlings until I was quite done and came here. There is none so blind...

    Diana, Lady in Waiting for the next presidential tweet

    rondo 2:59 PM  

    Well, for a puz that just stands right up and flips you the bird, it was alright. After the solve I noticed no symmetry.

    I have nearly all of Mark Knopfler’s CDs. Great guitar player, really good songwriter. His concert in Mpls last year was the best concert ever, for me, and I’ve been to many. Even the missus walked out super-impressed.

    4d ANDRE the Giant woulda been 74 today! Kim NOVAK and her facelift are still alive.

    Satisfactory puz. Not MINDBENDING.

    rainforest 3:30 PM  

    It's LITTLE finger, dammit. No-one says pinkie finger. Sheesh, to quote @LMS. So yes, I "saw" the hand but not the asymmetry while solving. Different, but good.

    Noticed EAR next to RING and TOM crossing THUMB, and also pondered the MIND/BODY dilemma. Reminded me of the Flanders and Swann line: "We hope you are AWARE of the motto here at camp, "Clean mind, clean body...take your pick."

    Turns out my RING finger is longer than my INDEX finger on either hand. I'd like to believe that it is associated with superior intelligence. One can hope.

    I have to agree with @Spacey re Kim NOVAK as DOD. I used to have a "thing" for her. Nice PRAT. Sorry for the LOW (rider) humour. Anyway this was a puzzle to like.

    Anonymous 11:08 AM  

    True, nobody says Pinky Finger, but if you aren't drinking tea with your pinky extended you aren't doing it right.

    And speaking of extended fingers...that middle is WAY up there. I took that personally and responded in kind.

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