Bar offering with double triple varieties / WED 5-13-20 / Opposite of legato / High muckety-muck / Family name on Arrested Development

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Constructor: Benjamin Kramer

Relative difficulty: Medium (4:30)

THEME: writing increments — last words of themers run from a mere PASSAGE all the way up to an entire OEUVRE:

Theme answers:
  • SAFE PASSAGE (17A: Protection offered for a traveler in a dangerous area)
  • SORORITY CHAPTER (24A: Group of Greek women)
  • MACBOOK (36A: Member of the Apple family)
  • FIBONACCI SERIES (50A: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, etc.)
  • HORS D'OEUVRE (59A: Canapé, e.g.)
Word of the Day: SYD (65A: Hip-hop artist whose name once ended with "tha Kyd") —
Sydney Loren Bennett (born April 23, 1992), known professionally as Syd (formerly Syd tha Kyd), is an American singer and songwriter from Los Angeles, California. She is a founding member of the band The Internet, and was a member of the alternative hip hop collective Odd Future. Bennett released her 2017 debut solo album Fin, followed by the EP Always Never Home. (wikipedia)
• • •

The theme is wobbly, as no one thinks of those words as a sequence; the units are arbitrary. And most books are not part of a "series." And OEUVRE is a pretty high-falutin' and overly broad place to end up. So it's off, but it's not any more off than a lot of NYTXW themes I've seen. That doesn't make it good, that just means that the theme, here, is not really the problem. Well, unless you're a math person, and then you are probably all knotted up over FIBONACCI SERIES, which several people are telling me is properly a "sequence," not a SERIES. I would not know. I'm just telling you what people are telling me. My main problem there (and a big one) was spelling FIBONACCI. How "B"s? How many "N"s? What is that second vowel?? Awful feeling to know the answer immediately and not know what letters to put where. But anyway, as I say, the theme is not this puzzle's primary problem. It shouldn't have passed muster, but it did.

What really really shouldn't have passed muster is the fill. Let's start there. I hit LLANO (2D: South American plain) in the NW and that is a red flag. A crosswordese red flag. I'm thinking "oh, this isn't going to go well." Sometimes the puzzle surprises you and rights the ship. Today was not one of those times. I quickly thereafter, and in the same small section, hit HAP, and the wheels came off. I didn't even know what to do with HAP. Had the "H" and ... nothing. And then to get hit with INSITU and ADIN and ERG and then ew, ew, ew TOE JAM!!? (10D: Foot gunk). Can't put common body parts in the grid but you can put TOE JAM in there, for ****'s sake!? It's ONAGAIN AONE crosswordese all over the place. It's -CIDE? OPEN-ENDER!!?!??! (12D: Question whose answer can go almost anywhere). -DER? -DER? Don't put "words" in the puzzle that you can't even imagine a plausible context for. Could you really truly not fix that and make it OPEN-ENDED? Were you so wed to, I don't know, VERDURE and AVERY, that you had to inflict OPEN-ENDER on us? Speaking of AVERY ... there are famous people named AVERY. I cannot tell you how laughable and dumb the very clue [Big name in name tags] is. There are no big names in name tags. That is not a thing. Big name in garbage bags, yes, big name in salsa, maybe, but name tags ... is too niche (and too sad, somehow) to qualify for "big name" status in a crossword. Also, Tex AVERY called and said ... well, first he said "What's up, Doc?" then he said "What the hell, man!"

But the worst, the very worst, the king worst thing about this puzzle is 61D: This puzzle's clues have two of them (EGS). Where do I start? Well, let's start with the fact that that is not a thing. Not a thing you can pluralize. Nope. You can't. And how do I know? Well, if it's a three-letter answer, *someone* for sure would've done it before, and, hey guess what?
Yup, EGS is unique (in the Shortz era) to this puzzle. In case you have no idea what EGS even means, it means that there is an "e.g." in one of the clues today (21A: LP, e.g.) ... and then there is another "e.g." in another clue (59A: Canapé, e.g.). Two "e.g."s => EGS. Yeah, I know. How you can't construct your way out of EGS, I have no idea. It's remedial. But what makes this answer the worst, from *my* perspective, was that because it was *so* bad, because it asked me to reflect back on the whole puzzle, and because it was in the *final* clue position, I assumed it was a revealer. It was the last thing I got, and at that point I didn't see the dumb theme sequence, and so I immediately went looking for how EGS contained the solution to ... whatever was going on here. Only it didn't. It did not contain that. So it's EGregiouS fill—really, truly distinguished on that front—and it (to my mind) was posing as a revealer. Bad and fraudulent. Abysmal.

More bad:
  • 42D: Me, myself and I (EGOS) — no, that makes no sense. Sorry. Yeah, I see what you think you're doing, but uh uh
  • 22A: Denim (JEAN) — as with the AVERY clue ... why? So many good JEANs out there. No one uses JEAN in the singular (who is not a ... tailor?) Seriously, Tex AVERY and JEAN Arthur are two of the most amazingly talented people who ever lived and I get name tags and denim!?!?! 
  • 60D: Lennon's lady (ONO) — Oh ... no. Don't do this. Please don't do this. I know you like alliteration, but some things you have to let go. Wouldn't have balked too much at "wife," but "lady," yeesh. Ease up on your sexist '60s lingo, Daddy-O. She's famous in her own right.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. SISTERS and CHAPTER have the same number of letters, which I found out today, the hard way :(

P.P.S. [Phat] ... first, wow, just wow. Second, I really feel like if you're gonna go full-'90s slang here, the answer should be DA BOMB.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 6:33 AM  

Oh, you got me, Benjamin, but I'm still enthusiastically applauding because the was so much fun.

I mean, look at those sparkling answers: WIN AT LIFE! SAFE PASSAGE! FIBONACCI SERIES! HORS DOEUVRE! VERDURE! On top of that, your devious cluing kept me shifting all over the grid and produced aha after aha as things filled in.

Then you got me. "What's the theme?" I wondered, and I figured it had to do with EGS, the only answer that didn't make SENSE to me.

Oh, I eventually saw those two EGs in the clues, but as I was fixated on it being the reveal, and, as a glance at the long answers didn't unearth a theme right away, I figured this was a Wednesday themeless, and those terrific answers sealed this conclusion for me. A Wednesday themeless! "Oh, Benjamin and Will, you went all the way out of the box on this one. Bravo!"

Then, reading a review, I discovered the true theme. Man, I was got so good today, and man, I had such a great time getting got, you get a double standing O, Benjamin. Thank you!

Conrad 6:34 AM  

My main problem there (and a big one) was spelling HORS D'OEUVRE. How many "E"s? How many "U"s? What is that third vowel?? Awful feeling to know the answer immediately and not know what letters to put where.

webwinger 6:57 AM  

Hard Wednesday! Went to Google for the B in ADUBA—recalled that Phat was once common youthy slang but could not remember what it meant, and think I’ve only heard the expression as Da BOMB, not THE. Finished with an error at 16A: Initially had Sec, then after entering WoN AT LIFE b/o not reading the 11D clue carefully enough, stuck with oPA, commonly heard from drinking crowds at Greek hostelries in Chicago, maybe 2 or 3 times?

Got FIBONACCI SERIES immediately. (Had a brief infatuation with it as a high school math nerd.) Same for HORS D’OEUVRE—even spelled it right! SORORITY Sisters before CHAPTER. But no aha for the theme. (EGS can’t be revealer, can it?) Waiting for enlightenment from @Rex by the dawn’s early light...

PSssssss—Ach so! (But not ah so, that could offend.) Well not really. My enlightened reaction was more pffft...

Hungry Mother 7:07 AM  

Wow, just wow, a Saturdayish slog on a Wednesday. I struggle with French spelling and then the names were tough. Anyway, got it done.

puzzlehoarder 7:14 AM  

This is the kind of early week themed puzzle that I actually like. It functions perfectly well as a near Friday level themeless because the theme is damn near invisible. To me it was and that's just the way I want themes to be. I didn't have to pretend the puzzle was themeless, those theme answers blended right in with the fill.

I say a near Friday level because a good portion of my time was spent going over the EGS section to triple check the crosses as the meaning was initially baffling. Putting those letters in capitals without punctuation made them almost as much of a cipher as the theme itself.

While todays' difficulty wasn't quite late week it was close. Names were a good part of it. ADUBA was the star closely followed by KANE and IRVIN. LIN and MISSY were a little vague. The rest of them sped the solve up. I really feel like we're being beaten over the head with AAMILNE.

I was very proud of myself for spelling FIBONACCI correctly just off of the FIB. Of course I followed it with the word NUMBER but that was easy to correct.

Id est has been pounded into my head to a much greater degree than exempli gratia. A letter string like EST is a construction crutch and it just keeps coming up.

Today was an exceptional Wednesday. I wish they could all be like this.

kitshef 7:22 AM  

Somebody is just a little too fond of pop culture, with BLUTH and NED and ADUBA and MISSY and SYD.

Another entry for the Hall of Infamy in cluing – the one for EGS.

Recently I asked if AA MILNE was becoming the new ONO – today we get both.

Shoulda gone with Harlow for the JEAN.

Oh, and it's Fibonacci sequence. It's not like I never hear 'series', but it grates on the ear.

thfenn 7:24 AM  

Every reference to yet more class divide just got me thinking "really?". Now? We had "socially dominant", (alpha), "high muckety muck" (dignitary), and "peerage" (earl), complete with canapes (hordouevres) and sorority chapters, and success in all your endeavours (winatlife). Don't forget standoffish, "top-notch" (aone) and "class act". IMSET indeed. And just when I thought I must be overreacting we got to see 9-5 work as a GRIND. I got so annoyed I never noticed going from a passage to an oeuvre.

QuasiMojo 7:24 AM  

A Satyr might LEER, but OGLE? Pfft. He wouldn't waste his time.

An author doesn't necessarily write a SERIES. In fact I would say other than for mystery or genre writers, it's highly unusual.

Toe Jam?? I can't even dignify it by capitalizing it. WOW. Just WOW.

Is a Chapter a "Group"? It's more of a division. I put in Sisters. Which I admit was redundant.

I put in HARP before HALO because of "Accompaniment". Is a Halo something that accompanies an angel? And isn't it saints who have halos?

How do we know the map is Unlabeled on an Exam? And is the name of a place or country a Label? We are supposed to avoid those nowadays. :)

I DNF thanks to "Open Ender."

I agree with Rex. I only wish I had some of his skill at parsing a puzzle's faults. I just feel IRE. I can't articulate it as well.

Roberta 7:36 AM  

Only got this by ignoring the theme. Last letter was the final r in openended, I mean openender (which my iPad desperately wants to autocorrect) 😂

pabloinnh 7:56 AM  

Looked at 1A and had one of those, well, I sure don't know that one. Yet. Fortunately there were crosses, as this is a crossword, and I became acquainted with the BLUTH family. Also true for other similar pop culture fill. Phew.

Waiting for JoeD to post the TOEJAM football phrase from "Come Together".

AALMILNE Month continues. Expect more reminisces today.

Similar huh? at EGS, which I knew had to be right, so I didn't even bother trying to figure out what that all meant. Also missed the writing theme. I thought the theme might be "Difficult to Spell" (see FIBONACCI, HORSDOEUVRE). I think I'd better get familiar with Uzo ADUBA, couple of very useful names there.

All in all a very serviceable Wednesday, with some smiles. Thanks BK.

John H 8:02 AM  

Junk. Toe Jam? Why. And I agree with Rex that there are many better ways to clue Avery and Jean. Aside from the singularization of Jeans (Pant...ugh) I couldn't get Avery because at 12D I had entered open endeD. So I'm like Avedy? Huh? For the record I have used Avery labels a lot, still couldn't see it.

The worst for mesas eggs. I mis read the clue to mean that ALL the clues had two of...them...whatever they are. So now that I understand, why would you make me wade back through all the clues to verify this.


John Child 8:02 AM  

Too bad Rex couldn’t get Leonard Pinth-Garnell to sub for hm today.

M. Fünke 8:07 AM  

Steve Holt!!!

mmorgan 8:12 AM  

Huh... there was a theme? Tough puzzle for me, but I learned a few things.

Anonymous 8:26 AM  


Anonymous 8:26 AM  

Thanks for the LOL.

Anonymous 8:27 AM  

It is a puzzle. It is meant to be solved.

If someone can come up with a better daily crossword puzzle, I'll be the first paid subscriber.

Tim Aurthur 8:34 AM  

Is there someone remotely famous named IRVeN? Then make 61D EtS.

Irene 8:35 AM  

BLUTH, ADUBA and AVERY and, if I'm honest, FIBONACCI killed this one for me. No fun at all, and I never even saw the EGs.

Frantic Sloth 8:41 AM  

What in the name of all that is holy was that supposed to be? Not even the eternal specter of AAMILNE could wash away the stain of WTF this puzzle left on me.

FIBONACCISERIES?? Okay, here's where some people will say "oh, I've known that term since day care" or "if you've ever had even the lowest level of math instruction you should know that" and where I say "Dude. Really?"
If this term were any more obscure, it would be the common SENSE and empathy in certain White House denizens.
What's the old line about looking up X thing in the dictionary and there's a picture of whatever? Look up "arcane" in the dictionary and, well, you do the math. Pun intended.

EGS?? This "word"" and its clue are utterly ridiculous. (Nothing personal, @egsforbreakfast!) It deserves not one more nanosecond of my time.

If there is a word I hate to spell more than HORSDOEUVRE, I'm sure I don't know what it is. Wait. Eyjafjallajökull is worse, and not by much. But, at least I can pronounce HORSDOEUVRE.

And yeah, HAP is a "quaint" (read: FIBONACCISERIES-ESQUE) term for luck. Maybe if I did more reading, but I've only ever seen it used by Shakespeare.

I could have used a little more HAP while doing the ol' slog shoe through this train wreck.

None of these atrocities belong in a Wednesday, and even Saturday is "whew"ing over there in the corner.

So, I really liked it.*

Now it's time for me to put on my JEAN and go for a walk. Yeah. That's an eye roll.

*just seeing if you're paying attention

Andy S 8:42 AM  

DNF. Had FIBONACCIS tReES. You know, the one's whose branches have spiral shaped leaves and drop in sequence.

Z 8:44 AM  

Does anyone besides AVERY make name tags? Sure, sure, you can buy “Staples” house brand, but we all know those are just lower quality AVERY labels. Hence, a mild D’Oh slap when that finally appeared. I guess AVERY Brooks and AVERY Brown are too niche, so Rex whips out Tex AVERY.

I either forgot or never learned the difference between SERIES and sequence in mathematics. Unfortunately for the math folk, the puzzle is in English, not mathematics, and in English the distinction isn’t as clear.

The only Kershner I know is Don (and he isn’t even a Kershner), So IRVIN was a WOE. He also did a Bond film and I might have seen The Return of a Man Called Horse, otherwise his IMDb page is a long list of movies and TV shows I never heard of or vaguely remember.

I think SERIES are more common than the literati care to admit. Just like in movies, sequels to popular works have a certain guaranteed market. Whether it is Dante or Updike, it’s hard to pass up the guaranteed sales.

Oh, the puzzle. Meh. Maybe Meh minus, EGS being nearly unforgivable. I’d have preferred a more masked, anonymous type clue like “broken breakfast fare.”

Joaquin 8:44 AM  

Never did figure out the theme and even had trouble understanding it after reading the NYT's notes on this one. I can't remember ever being in such agreement with Rex as I am today. This puzzle gets a dozen rotten EGgS from me.

TJS 8:47 AM  

I didn't like this one either, Rex (who I know doesn't read this). But "jean Jacket" has been a thing for a long time. It's, like, a "denim"jacket. Ono is famous for nothing "in her own right" any more than Oswald. And apparently you think that "lady" is a 60s term ? Nice to know you wouldn't have balked "too much" at the pejorative "wife". You're a riot.

GILL I. 8:47 AM  

Yesterday I gave the puzzle a pffft. Today I asked anyone who might listen: "what the hell have you done to my hump day?" Why do you start such a lovely Wednesday morning with BLUTH? And, and all those names? What are ERG EGS? I haven't ever had the pleasure of looking at my name tag maker. I must start doing that. I will go up to someone at a cocktail party that's wearing one of those HI, MY NAME IS AVERY and tell him he has a swell AVERY. That should make me look smart. While I'm at the cocktail party, I'll tell the lovely JEAN that she shouldn't really wear Jimmy Choo Dochas because you can see her TOE JAM. I will mosey on over to grab a bite to eat and pick out some horse duvers . Hey look...FIBONACCI, KANE and ADUBA are eating up all the shrimp.....I will be polite and tell them to save a few for me.
So this is a progression? And EGS is not the reveal? OK.... I guess I lack the WIN AT LIFE medal because this one got me good. EPIC fail. And I will never, ever, call my green vegetable, VERDURE.

feinstee 8:51 AM  

I didn't even realize there was a theme until I read Rex. And egs...eech

Anonymous 8:59 AM  

Isn’t “canapé” singular and “hors doeuvre” plural?

Nancy 9:06 AM  

Let's start with my three errors, which I didn't realize until I got here. Not that what I had was all that pleasing to me, bIG NoTARY not being a familiar term to me for "high muckety-muck". But my strange combo included bIG NoTARY, crossing AbUBA for actress Uzo (!), crossing FoBONACCI SERIES. (Should have picked up my error there, but didn't: wasn't quite familiar enough with FIBONACCI.)

This is the problem with proper names like ADUBA. You have no way of knowing you're wrong.

Moving right along to BLUTH. You're a screenwriter. You can pick any "family name" in the world for your TV show. Would you ever in a million years pick BLUTH???!!! What on earth is wrong with you, screenwriter of "Arrested Development"? But the crosses here were fair, offering me SAFE PASSAGE, so I got BLUTH.

I enjoyed this puzzle a great deal. Yesterday I said I'd forgive a puzzle almost anything if it made me really have to think. This one did that in spades. So that while there was much to forgive, the clever and tricky cluing and overall difficulty level made up for it. Much fun.

Stand-in for Steve Holt 9:06 AM  

"I would kiss before I spoke."

...and then there's a kiss, right?

Anonymous 9:11 AM  

I agree, but use a category: “not real” or simply inaccurate. 11 across-not real. 40 across-not real. 55 across-not real. 5 down-not real. 23 down-not real. 42 down-not real.

smalltowndoc 9:14 AM  

I agree with each and every one of Rex’s criticisms, a first for me. That’s all.

pmdm 9:15 AM  

Even though I got all the theme entries, I did not get the theme. One reason to fail the puzzle.

I have stated before I dislike PPP. Even the constructor is a bit miffed at how name-heavy the puzzle is. Another reason to fail the puzzle.

I prefer technical correctness to sloppy common usage. Yet another reason to fail the puzzle.

But reading the comments posted so far, many are positive. So the puzzle was fine but not my cup of tea. I hope tomorrow will bring a puzzle I enjoy more.

bulgie 9:16 AM  

I try not to hate a puzzle but I'ma hafta make an exception today. THE bomb? EGS? Ooh I better not list all the lame, wrong and stupid or I'll wear out my thumbs.

Struggling to find something to like... Ok "Country music" for ANTHEM was cute, has it been used before? I'll give it one thumb up if it's original.

Did anyone get the 9-letter in SB yesterday? Seemed obvious when I saw it in the solution , and I missed a couple 4-letters -- how does that happen? I need a system. QB still eludes me.

Birchbark 9:18 AM  

There is poetry in an UNLABELED map.

ALPHA NITRO IPA -- I think I saw that on a menu. It's so intense they serve it in a shot glass.

Teedmn 9:22 AM  

Ha, my error was nowhere near where I thought it was going to be (either the cross of 1A and 2D, or 61D). Instead, 33A was sTL instead of ATL because I never read the clue for 33D.

So I get the theme progression from PASSAGE to OEUVRE (got it right away when CHAPTER appeared after PASSAGE, an EGO boost!), and I think it's cool, but I di not understand 61D. I presumed enlightenment awaited at Rex or xwordinfo. Ah yes, E.G.S, man, that's a bad clue. Like Rex and @Lewis, I figured it had a tie-in with the theme; perhaps that is why it flummoxed me. I disliked 1A crossing 2D. BLUTH is not an inferable name so I was counting on my crosswordese memory for LLANO. Yay for crosswordese.

FIBONACCI SERIES is nice to see in a puzzle (SERIES is what popped into my head right off; what is this SEquence of which they speak?). And this is the time of year for VERDURE, great word! Thanks, Benjamin Kramer, this was an interesting Wednesday.

Juliahealy 9:22 AM  

Made up a fun word today because I didn’t know of the actress Uzo—put in ”Abuba” as a guess for 30 A and got “bignitary” for 31 D.

Tom R 9:22 AM  

It is, indeed, a fine e.g. of an awful puzzle. Jam it back where it came from and reboot.

Gentleman Farmer 9:25 AM  

Completely agree with every single criticism Rex had about this dog of a puzzle.

Lewis 9:27 AM  

@bulgie -- I needed a hint in the WordPlay comments to get that 9-letter answer, it was the only word I had left. The hint did the trick, and I don't know if I would have gotten it had I stuck with it. The more you do SB, the more strategies emerge.

Frantic Sloth 9:34 AM  

Just read Rex and the comments.

There was a theme????
Okay, I'm sorry, but as far as themes go, this one wa...zzzzzzzzzzzzz [smack nods on the table, followed by onomatopoeia for a rude awakening.]
Where was I? Oh, that theme. I thought I hated this puzzle before. This theme sends it soaring to new heights of gagging onomatopoeia. Well done!

I agree with every single person's criticism about every single thing. Just not enough time in the day to echo it all myself with appropriate levels of loathing and the relevant onomatopoeia.

But I will subscribe to Rex's rant on EGS to the nth power. He did that so well!

Yes, I would rather spell onomatopoeia a million times before attempting one whore durvs.

And why am I craving dunking AAMILNE in a glass of milk and reading some OREOS?

@GILL I. 847am Hilarious!

xyz 9:37 AM  

So many names
"series" just wrong
no fun
even had ONO

otherwise I loved it

just rubbish

Mrs. John Lennon 9:38 AM  

TJS: Yoko ONO was famous in her own right before she met John's WHY she met John Lennon. He knew her as a performing artist in NYC. He may have made her a "household name," but she is a very respected artist in many areas "in her own right." Just because you only know her for one thing is typical egocentrism.

And "Lennon's Lady" is pretty much just calling her "Mrs. John Lennon." That is very much a sexist and 60s thing. Mrs. Franklin Roosevelt or Mrs Bill Clinton or Mrs Pierre Curie would like a word with you.

Also, I know the FIBONACCISERIES/sequence from my study of Bartok. See also The Golden Ratio.

Also also, this puzzle sucked little putty balls.

Katzzz 9:39 AM  

Wrote in openendeD and went with AveDy for the id tag company because never heard of Avery and openender is not quite a legit word. After doing Spelling Bee puzzles with the letters E and R, you find there are many words that you can transform to new words by adding -er, e.g. (ha ha) "basker," "amazer," "enterer," ad infinitum. but they are not really words, are they? Or at least not worthy of xwords or spelling bee.

RooMonster 9:40 AM  

Hey All !
In the WTF camp today, sad to say. That SE corner is the stuff of nightmares. You wake up sweating, thinking thankfully it was only a dream. Unfortunately, it's not a dream. SERIES? No, I'm no math genius by any stretch, but I know it's a SEQUENCE. OEUVRE, whoever spelt that word originally should be shot. EGS? There are two in the clues? Oof...

Then there's that *@$#! R in OPENENDER. Never in the history of time, from the big bang to the end of the universe was there ever an R. VERDURE? Yeah, I always see lush green vegetation and say, "My, what beautiful VERDURE!" AVERY may be big in the name tag business, but c'mon. Are they the ones who make those "HELLO My Name Is" tags?

So a rare didn't like for me. I did see the Writing Theme, so that's good. ON AGAIN should've Ben clued - Like part of a rocky relationship - or somesuch.

Off to the Bee, hopefully that'll cheer me up. Sorry Benjamin, just not my cuppa today.

Three F's

Nancy 9:44 AM  

I'd much, much rather read you, @Quasi (7:24). You're wittier. And more succinct.

Brit Solves NYT 9:46 AM  

Agree with Rex's critique today. Plonked in Fibonacci Sequence straight off and then when it wouldn't fit tried all sorts such as digits? number? before finally getting series bit by bit; very frustrating when you have to replace the right word with the wrong one. You'd think using the wrong term for something as famous as that should have been a puzzle killer. And there is so much more fill that is not wrong, but pretty bad - egs and all the others highlighted in the blog post. Hope for better tomorrow.

pabloinnh 9:49 AM  

Forgot to mention earlier that I thought there was a poem I read a long time ago (high school?) called "Hap", about dumb luck, or chance that I thought was probably by Thomas Hardy.

So I looked it up, and "Hap" was written by Thomas Hardy, and it was about dumb luck.

I'm off to buy lottery tickets.

Newboy 9:54 AM  

Most often I side with @Lewis, but today’s is a full on agreement with Rex! “ Awful feeling to know the answer immediately and not know what letters to put where,” says he, and that was my experience exactly. Ditto his P. S. And EGS diatribe. Add in a measure of CHAPTER/sister too. I did admire several misdirection clues that brought a flash of pleasure when the penny dropped, but the PASSAGE to OEUVRE got lost in translation. Thanks Mr. Kramer for an appropriate grid to go with this cold, rainy morning. I need more ☕️ now.

Whatsername 10:01 AM  

OK so TOEJAM didn’t pass the breakfast test but that wasn’t a problem because I did this last night before going to bed, then wished I had waited until this morning. Finished but had absolutely no idea what it was supposed to be. Is there a theme? Is this Wednesday or has the quarantine finally gotten to me and I missed three days and it’s really Saturday? What are EGS? What is a FIBONACCI? WT actual F?? Seriously, I woke up during the night with these questions going thru my mind. WOW! This thing haunted me.

AVERY is a big name in office labels, as in I’m gonna start organizing my desk by slapping some labels on these UNLABELED files. The clue for 61D is ambiguous or I would say maybe even just plain inaccurate. The wording implies all the clues have two of them so I am looking through each one to see if every clue contains those two letters, whatever they are. Would have been so much less annoying if it had said “this puzzle has two clues with them.” Proper names, proper places, advanced math terminology, and for me, an indecipherable theme. I would go on, but I’d rather just say . . .

@Frantic Sloth (8:41) THANK YOU for once again so brilliantly stating exactly what I was thinking and saving me the trouble.

Diello 10:01 AM  

In math a series is a summation of a sequence. The terms are not interchangeable. The clue could have been 1+1+2+3+5+8+13+21+...

Joaquin 10:03 AM  

John Lennon: "He wear no shoeshine, he got TOEJAM football, he got monkey finger, he shoot Coca-Cola"

Police Sketch Artist: "Wait ... what?"

Lorelei Lee 10:07 AM  

@Z, Agree on Avery.

If you go to an event that has those peel and stick name tags, and it doesn't fall off your shirt and your name's already typed on it, it was probably made by Avery. Microsoft supports that product by letting you input the Avery code # that corresponds to the Microsoft template so you can put the Avery product in your printer and blah blah blah.

They also make the name tags that hang around your neck (and if you're a woman of petite stature hang to places unmentionable, places that could show up in the NYT puzzle tomorrow), or that slide into a giant plastic sleeve and ruin your blouse with its viciously large pin.

I KNOW THIS worthless piece of stupid information and I still didn't get it. They're big in a really small way.

Here in Furloughville, there is no time except for 6 AM, Noon, and 5 PM (breakfast, lunch, and you can drink now without guilt). There are no days, and doing this puzzle I assumed it was Thursday.

Anonymous 10:14 AM  

For non-math people, if you just have an ordered list of numbers, it's a sequence. If you add them up, it's a series. If you're talking about something not directly math-related, I don't care which term you use. But when describing a famous mathematical sequence, naming it as a series is just wrong.

ss 10:17 AM  

The fill today was puzzle-CIDE. I agree with Rex that EGS was particularly bad, but there were various other ignobilities.

Vic 10:23 AM  

Wow, among the worst NYT crosswords in a year or two. The “series” v. “sequence” issue, as well as countless others Rex identified. I usually think Rex’s criticisms are a bit much, but not this time. I think he undersold how bad this was.

Joe Dipinto 10:28 AM  

He wear no shoeshine
He got toe jam football
He got monkey finger
He shoot Coca-Cola

At @pablo's request. I wonder if that's a series or a sequence. Let's ask Mrs. Avery, while we have her on the phone.

Jett 10:30 AM  

I do NYT puzzles every day from the archive. As many as three or four each day and only the Friday and Saturday puzzles because I want to be challenged. I do the NYT puzzle every day also, and have for 35 years. And BEQ's puzzles on Monday and Thursday. Yes, I'm a puzzlehead.

I'm only mentioning this as a preface to say that today's puzzle absolutely SUCKED!

For once, Rex, I totally agree with you.

Z 10:33 AM  

@TJS - I see an anon beat me to it, but Yoko is significantly under-rated. It isn’t hard to see the sexism and racism underpinning it (Wikipedia mentions an Esquire article titled John Rennon's Excrusive Gloupie) mixed in with a whole lot of blaming her for a bunch of lads not getting along (Late 60’s Beatles were the equivalent of The Bachelor in a time without reality TV, but somehow it’s all Yoko’s fault). “Lennon’s lady” is just as bad as cluing Giselle as “Brady’s lady,” totally ignoring that Bündchen is that couple’s primary wage earner. Andy Warhol often gets lots of the same type of disdain as Yoko Ono, just minus the misogyny and racism. He is more generally recognized as great while an honest assessment of Yoko is practically impossible because “she broke up the Beatles.” In short, the received “wisdom” about Yoko being a “no-talent” is a bunch of bull.

TJS 10:33 AM  

@Mrs. J.L., Ever heard of Joseph Beuys, George Brecht, John Cale, Robert Filliou, Al Hansen, Dick Higgins, Bengt af Klintberg, Alison Knowles, Addi Køpcke, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Ben Patterson, Daniel Spoerri, and Wolf Vostell ? Apparently they are all artists. Are they famous ? They were all associated with the same community of performance artists as was Yoko Ono. Why is she the only one familiar to us ?

EdFromHackensack 10:36 AM  

complaining about "Lennon's lady" as being sexist is ridiculous. Grow a pair. Must we all be so PC these days?
Was tough and I had to ask my son about BLUTH, I watched the show but it didn't come to me. HORSDOEUVRE was hard to spell and I had no idea how it related to the theme. BUT, What took me awhile was UNLABELED, didn't help that I has caST instead of TEST for a spell. FIBONACCISERIES I got with only a few crosses, I was always fascinated how that series appears in nature. Finished no errors. Enjoyed the puzzle. Skewed a little harder than the average Wednesday, but as long as I finished no errors and no Googling so it could not have been that hard..

Pam 10:48 AM  

What Rex said.

Except that I never got the theme, had to find out here. And Classic also fits where CHAPTER goes, but I started out thinking Sapphic. Never heard of Fibonacci, but recognized the sequence as a Thing. Actually knew STACCATO and HORSDOUEVRE at the get go. In general, though, pretty miserable experience.

Now to see what you all say.

bauskern 10:49 AM  

I rarely agree with Rex, but today I do for the most part, although w/o the same level of acrimony. Never watched Arrested Development, and had [ ]LANO, so the second square was a big NATICK for me. And the 61 D, while I got the answer from the crosses, made no sense to me. Once I saw the theme, for which I thank Rex, I actually appreciated the puzzle, and had no issue with SERIES over SEQUENCE. So . . . . not a great puzzle, but I don't feel quite the same level of vitriol/disgust that Rex seems able to muster up on an almost daily basis. Maybe there's other things to worry about.

Havana Man 10:51 AM  

"There is no big name in name tags" is the best thing about today.

Carola 10:54 AM  

Fun to solve, in an "I have no idea what's going on" way. Bright spots: I knew how to spell FIBONACCI and HORSDOEUVRE. Dim-bulb moments: I totally missed the theme; could do nothing with the EGS (which, like others, I took as a reveal and as applying to all of the clues); mixed up "legato" with "largo" and wanted something like "allegro." Other do-overs: double or triple "sec" before IPA, I pass before I'M SET, dial before KNOB, sisters, leer, AIR out. I liked the contrast between SAFE PASSAGE and SOS.

Reminiscence Alert, re VERDURE: Of all things, I knew this because of attending last year's BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition, at which a tenor sang the Berlioz aria "O blonde Ceres," in which the goddess is praised for adorning the world with "fraiche verdure." So, for those of you still with IRE simmering in your breast over the puzzle, I recommend taking a listen to this lovely, soothing melody ("fraiche verdure" at 0:44).

Nancy 10:55 AM  

Because of all the praise and puzzle assessment agreement lavished on Rex today, I went back to read him. And I must say that he has a very droll witticism today that made me laugh out loud:

"There are no big names in name tags."

That's very, very funny and also very true. I, too, looked at the clue/answer for AVERY and went: "You must be kidding!"

Greg 10:57 AM  


mathgent 11:01 AM  

Is that a llama out there on the llano, Lloyd?

Another puzzle with an irrelevant theme.

It is properly the Fibonacci sequence, not series. Each term the sum of the previous two. There was a quarterly journal that published for a few years out of St, Mary’s College here in the Bay Area. It had articles and research exclusively about the Fibonacci sequence.

Unless you took a class in number theory in college, you probably didn’t come across the Fibonacci sequence in school.

Joe Dipinto 11:13 AM  

Yoko Ono is so much more than "Lennon's lady". She is responsible for everything that ever went wrong and anything that will ever go wrong for any of the Beatles. Everybody knows this.

(I think the clue is fine. They are forever entwined in the public consciousness – and who do you think the song "Oh Yoko" was written about? ♪ In the middle of the night I call your name /
Oh Yoko

KnittyContessa 11:24 AM  

I knew FIBONACCI immediately because it is often used in knitting patterns. I had no idea how to spell it though. I never know how to spell HORSDOEUVRE. It's so frustrating when you know the answer yet you're still stumbling.

EGS??? I'm still shaking my head. I don't know how long I spent trying to figure out what EGS meant.

CDilly52 11:28 AM  

Similar struggles as @Rex. I never spell FIBONACCI correctly the first crack. And my loving hubs would have had kittens over the SERIES instead of sequence, Kathmandu that he was. Sorry, love. I really thought there was a theme and I thought it probably was a good example of what I talked about yesterday. Today, the theme points to only word of the two word Theme answers whereas yesterday the theme applied to both. Nice choice of puzzle to follow yesterday’s.

VERDURE is such a luscious word! So poetic, so descriptive! Contrast that with EGS, which I just did not understand until coffee this morning when I tried to suss it out one more time. Very confusing, as I though one of the absolute taboos of constructing was never to have an answer that appears in a clue. Well, ok, I am paid to split hairs for a living, so technically, the two “e.g.” clues are “singular” and the answer “plural,” but I have to agree that pluralizing e.g. is if not actually not a real plural, but it looks like constructor desperation. Maybe an editing “drop dead” date and brain freeze on the constructor’s part?

Not my favorite Wednesday, but seeing A A MILNE once again and harking back to the VERDURE of the 100 Acre Wood and all its denizens was worth the effort.

burtonkd 11:28 AM  

I personally loved the clue for “Avery”. Everyone has seen one of these, so the answer is hiding right there in a temporarily inaccessible part of the brain. I guess it still counts as PPP, but feels more general knowledge.

@TJS, I was going to say “name 2 late ‘60s NYC based performance artists who aren’t named Yoko Ono”, but you named 13. No shame in not being famous in your own right. @Z, her role probably overstated in breaking up Beatles. As for lasting merit of her work, “Cut Piece” seems to have some staying power. Then there is this:

MOMA song

egsforbreakfast 11:28 AM  

You can imagine my shock on finding that most of Rex’s criticism was aimed at me. But he did note that EGS is unique. But then the ad hominem attacks from the commentariat started and just never stopped. “EGS is utterly ridiculous”. “EGS is nearly unforgivable”. And on and on and on in a SERIES, or rather a sequence, that looks to be an OPENENDER.

Speaking of SERIES, googling Fibonacci Series does produce some results from fairly authoritative sources, so it certainly is a fair answer, if not the optimal one.

I was thinking that absolutely no one, including me, would have noticed the theme, but then Roo Monster said he did. Kudos to the Roo.

Ethan Taliesin 11:37 AM  

For anyone questioning ONO's musicianship please watch her rendition of Pink Floyd's GREAT GIG IN THE SKY

QuasiMojo 11:40 AM  

After 20 years of ONO being in every puzzle along with OREO which replaced OLEO once they dropped the no-brand-name preference, now we are debating her? Lol. Leave the LADY alone. She was a smart businesswoman, at least real estate-wise. I read in the paper recently that the home she and John once owned in Palm Beach was just unloaded for $45 million (I think, can't find it now) by its current owner.

To answer Anonymous, "hors d'oeuvre" is singular. Hors means "outside of" or "out," I think.

At @Nancy, thank you for the compliment! I can't think of any witticism at the moment with which to counter it.

And maybe you can help me. I am having a Brain JAM. Wasn't there some awful wine sold in ads on TV in NYC back in the 80s called Fabinacci, or some variant there of?

dadnoa 11:41 AM  

+1 for the question. They are both plural in my world since I can’t eat just one of either!

the chocolate doctor מרת שאקאלאד 11:54 AM  

Late night trying to understand "egs."

What? 11:57 AM  

Let’s put the blame for this dreck where it belongs, on Shortz. A constructor constructs, an editor is supposed to edit, as in edit out garbage.

Anonymous 12:00 PM  

I agree! Great fun. I never read Rex anymore but I've got to believe he had fun hating it. Excellent Wednesday.

jberg 12:01 PM  

I had as much trouble as most people getting the theme, but I have to say I liked it once I read @Rex and found out what it was. I was so afraid that the theme would have been "two clues with EGS in them," which I didn't even have the patience to look for. It might have helped if I'd noticed that MACBOOK in the middle was a theme answer, but I didn't.

No idea about BLUTH or ADUBA, so for awhile I had _HEBOM_ and figured it must start with s, p, or c. I'm not really sure how I got over that, but somehow I did. As for AVERY, I used to do the mailing of a small quarterly journal, and learned all about printing labels -- but even so, I was very slow to see AVERY; it took actually writing in AVEdY to jog my memory.

FIBONACCI was in the puzzle 8 or 10 years ago, and triggered a big blowup between math-friendly and math-hostile solvers. We've apparently grown much more civil since then. Maybe it's the moderators' influence.

@TJS, well, Joseph Beuys is pretty famous among the fat-loving public, and both he and Nam June Paik in the art world.

I do have a problem with the clue for 16A, in that virtually any alcoholic drink in a bar can be a double or triple "Hey bartender, give me a scotch. Better make it a double, it's been a rough day." Fortunately, OPEN ENDEd ruled out the other common three-letter drinks (gin, rye, BLT).

Frantic Sloth 12:22 PM  

I was going to say that it seems like today's controversy is the series/sequence argument; however, Yoko ONO is coming on strong!
Since I have no dog in either race I can safely sit by and watch the fireworks. Thank you!

I do have a question, though: How are some of you people able to add emojis/images to your comment(s)??
The "img" tag keeps being rejected whenever I try, so either I'm using the wrong code or there's another explanation beyond my being a self-described ableist word.

jae 12:38 PM  

- [x] Medium
- [x] Missed the theme
- [x] Got hung up on EGS being theme related
- [x] Meh
- [x] Somewhat annoying fill

burtonkd 12:42 PM  

@ Ethan, the internet at its finest, nicely done!

ols timer 12:50 PM  

Rex is so cute when he gets mad, and he gets mad when he doesn't know stuff.

I thought this puzzle was first-rate, an absolute joy, though if you insist on getting 1A right before moving on, then BLUTH was going to raise your IRE. My reason for loving the puzzle is idiosyhcratic. When I finally figured out DIGNITARY, I thought immediately of Bob and Ray, aka The Two and Only. DIGNITARY is such a Bobandrayish word.

The clue for EGS was perfectly fair. All you had to do was to look back at the clues and realize it was correct. The clue for ANTHEM was super-clever. And so was the use of SERIES instead of sequence. This SERIES is, as you must realize, an OPENENDER, because it goes on forever. And while I realize that "sequence" is the more commonly used word, if a SERIES involves addition, that's exactly what A FIBONACCI SERIES is: To get the next number you ADDUP the two previous numbers.

tea73 12:54 PM  

Interestingly Baby Boomers like me did not meet Mr. FIBONACCI until college number theory if at all, but my kids learned all about him in elementary school. Their math was full of stuff that gave examples of math in the real world. And apparently sunflowers and nautilus shells follow the pattern of the sequence. It's all been long enough, that I did not remember the difference between a sequence and a SERIES.

I don't like puzzles where the them doesn't help with the solve at all and when you finish the puzzle it doesn't even occur to you that therer even was a theme.

Agree with everyone on the horrible clues, and the few sparkly ones.

Masked and Anonymous 12:56 PM  

OK. Hold it right thar. This puz is beyond reproach. It has TOEJAM Immunity. I know this may come as a shock to some, as it is a rarely invoked puz immunity feature. Comes along only once in a blue toenail. Sooo … puz gets a pass, no matter what else is discussed below.

Classy weeject stacks in the NE & SW tried to entice M&A, but staff weeject pick has gotta go to EGS. I definitely need to adopt that there shelter pup, to use in a few runtpuzs. It is EPIC. It is a milestone. It is more desperater than OPENENDER, even. And in honor of MagnificentBeast @Z, a better EGS clue today coulda also been:
{Deflated 42-Down??}.

Didn't know some stuff. Mostly they were: BLUTH. ADUBA. IRVIN. VERDURE. MISSY. Got KANE and AAMILNE offa nuthin, tho.
Lost an ocean of nanoseconds tryin to figure out EGS, I'd grant. U could pull this same nifty scam with 58-Down's HIS, by countin up the number of "hi" occurrences in the clues. Cool. It's, like, nanosecond-CIDE!

ooh ooh -- Another good one: SB'S. Clued up as the number of SB references in yesterday's comments, or somesuch. Liker.

** Math Dept. Alert **
When I taught the dreaded Calculus curriculum to unsuspectin Fightin Illini, this was the lay of the mathland:

* FIBONACCI numbers: Start with 1 added to itself, to get 2. Add 1 and 2 to get 3. Keep addin together the last two numbers you've generated, to get the next number. (2 + 3 = 5, 5 + 3 = 8, and on and on. Don't ever stop.) U are generatin FIBONACCI numbers. Dreamed up originally by Italian dude Leonardo Fibonacci, who clearly had way too much time on his hands. [His famous last words: " … 514229, …"]
* In mathtalk, a "sequence" is stuff like: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, …
* In mathtalk, a "SERIES" is stuff like: 1 + 2 + 3 + 5 + 8 + 13 + 21 + … They often use a Sigma thingy to summarize the series up, generally. Σ[n+(n+1)], etc.

Thanx for the primo Easter EGS search, Mr. Kramer. Book em, Dano.

Masked & Anonymo4Us

p.s. Entertainin blog write-up with bullets, @RP. Especially nice hi-lighted points. [Ahar! One of them HI'S!]

total ode to yesterday's puz:

Old Actor 1:08 PM  

Did anyone else have Tim Cook before Mac book?

Birchbark 1:09 PM  

@TJS (10:33) -- John Cale played cello and other instruments for the Velvet Underground along with Lou Reed, in the circle of Andy Warhol. He did a number of solo projects after that, including a memorable cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" in the movie "Shrek." He also paired up on albums with Lou Reed and puzzle-filler Brian ENO. The ENO/Cale album "Wrong Way Up" is one of my played-over-and-over favorites.

Cale isn't very high on the everyday name-recognition list, but an extraordinary musical artist. I saw him 20-or-so years ago in a small venue in Minneapolis and remember it like yesterday.

Rob 1:15 PM  

I asked my wife if she knew "Cartoonist Bob who co-created Batman." She said "KANE, and he didn't." She's not a comics buff, but apparently saw a documentary that said he claimed credit, but didn't really.

webwinger 1:16 PM  

I generally find it hard to get caught up in the micro-controversies du jour here (hey, there’s important thinking about COVID to be done!) but I found today’s obsession over FIBONACCI SERIES vs sequence particularly inane. As I mentioned, I had a high school crush on the dang thing, and I wrote in SERIES without hesitation based on the number of squares—sure I would have plunked down SEquEnce had there been two more. Yeah, it’s technically a sequence, but WTF! The theme, such as it was, required SERIES. Both words describe a succession of numbers. If the nitpickers had their way, we would not have gotten FIBONACCI at all, and we would all have suffered for it…

AVERY is too a big name in name tags, for reasons already stated by others. I thought that was one of the better clues today.

BSA:* I received my pulse oximeter from Amazon yesterday (see new avatar, also my post from 4/29, or this NYT article). It works great! Please, please everyone: Get yourselves one of these inexpensive and easy to operate little gizmos, and use it frequently if you develop a fever or any respiratory symptoms. It literally could save your life!

webwinger 1:18 PM  

PS—I have no commercial interest in any brand of pulse oximeter, and there are dozens of them listed at Amazon (in which I also have no commercial interest).

Smith 1:21 PM  

@Quasi 7:24

Not an expert, but within a SORORITYCHAPTER you would certainly expect to find a group of women, and they're Greek because that's how sororities and fraternities are referred to...was not my cuppa ehen relevant, tho.

Keep thinking I'll change my avatar and then AAMILNE reappears!

Dan (Formerly) Tan Man 1:23 PM  

I think I’m enjoying Rex’s reviews better than the NYTXW’s now. Avery wasn’t a problem as I’ve worked with labels enough to know them. Aduba, Lin and Fibonacci? Not so much. Agree about sisters. Wish everyone SAFEPASSAGE today.

Anonymous 1:27 PM  

It cracks me up how crosswords drop references to obscure artists, TV actors from the 40s, Radio personalities from the 20s, no-name characters from Shakespeare, Greek mythology, etc, and no one complains.

Throw in a reference to probably the most well-known sequences, and a lot of people complain about how it is impossible to know.

Mathematical fluency in the United States is not valued at all. People say things like "I could barely pass Algebra in high school!" with a tone of pride at parties. In other countries, being bad at mathematics would be about as shameful as being illiterate is in the United States.

Sequence: list of numbers - 1, 2, 3, 4, ...
Series: adding the list of numbers: 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + ....

webwinger 1:27 PM  

*BSA = Blog Service Announcement.

😜 @Frantic 12:22: If to the left you see a goofy face, all you have to do is copy from any document into which you have managed to insert your emoji of choice, then paste (CTRL-V) into the blogger window.

Frantic Sloth 2:04 PM  

Thanks @webwinger 127pm
I'm gonna try now.


I did a copy/paste and got this. �� It's always this, even though the preview window shows the correct image/emoji.

Whatsername 2:17 PM  

@webwinger: Would you mind saying which oximeter you ordered? I looked on Amazon and there were so many to choose from that I then went Internet surfing for reviews and recommendations but just became more confused. Do you have any thoughts about any particular model or how to make a selection? Email me if you prefer and thanks.

Lorelei Lee 2:25 PM  

@Anonymous, I have to disagree with you, love your handle tho that I do. I first encountered the Fibonacci sequence in a display at St. Mary's college in California, where it showed how the sequence plays out in nature (e.g., the shape of a Nautilus shell).

My understanding is that it adds sequentially but doesn't culminate(?). Since then I've only seen it referred to as the sequence or Fibonacci's Number. Those appear to be the preferred terms. There could be times that it functions as a series but if so, they don't get much press.

Your estimation of the value of mathematical fluency in our society might be true in some situations, but economically, I think the steady and often biggest bucks go to the numbers people (my CPA, my investment advisor, my many engineering friends). I write to you from Furloughville, my liberal arts diploma gathering dust on a some shelf around here somewhere.

jae 3:36 PM  

@Frantic - I have no idea what platform you are using to comment. I post from my iPad and use the notes app to compose. It has an emoji face next to the mic key next to the space bar. If I tap it I can do this 😍😚😋😑🙈😎...

Jesse Witt 3:38 PM  

I didn’t hate it as much as Rex, but this one definitely had some problems. That said, I enjoyed the puzzle in spite of its shortcomings.

webwinger 3:55 PM  

@Frantic: We have a saying at our house: Technology!—It sometimes works. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Joe Dipinto 4:08 PM  

@burtonkd 11:28 – your link to MOMA song isn't working, at least not for me. Is it the same "performance" that Ethan Taliesin 11:37 posted?

Unknown 4:49 PM  

Ani-Frid of ABBA is Norwegian,not Swedish. This is not a correct clue.

pabloinnh 4:54 PM  

@JoeD (while you're around)-

Thanks for the Beatles earlier, Mr. Dependable.

You're a brick.

Richardf8 4:55 PM  

Are they in the garden near the towers of Hanoi?

Anonymous 5:02 PM  

Frantic @ 2:04 ~ Try skipping Preview, and going straight to Publish.

burtonkd 5:22 PM  

@Joe Dipinto, yes the same link, but without someone having put the Pink Floyd underneath. My first attempt at HTML link - I thought it worked, will go check it out now...

@Webwinger, I was looking into my Samsung Note 8, and guess what, it has a pulse oximeter built in. Didn't notice it in the worst of my COVID last week, but as I was recovering, I noticed that it was at 94% on a day I still felt pretty weak, then a couple days later, it was up to 100%

The article you linked to did mention a normal range (94-100), but it hasn't been obvious to find good advice on what to do with the device.

Once again, check your smartphone before making a purchase, you may already own a pulse oximeter:)

Nancy 5:28 PM  

@Old timer (12:50) -- EGS was no problem for me either. Like you, I just went back looking for e.g. in the clues, and there they were -- right on cue.

@Frantic Sloth -- Keep trying to master all the arcane and baffling directions for doing various things on a computer -- no two of them ever the same -- and soon your blog handle will be Frantic Frantic Sloth.

@Quasi -- Since I mute commercials and have, happily, little experience of "truly awful wine" ($1 Chianti from the 1960s being the exception: so rough it could have taken your esophagus out), I never heard of Fabinacci or anything remotely like it. But you've given me the opening to mention the wine I opened yesterday.

I had asked a neighborhood wine store to put together a sampler for me composed of $10 wines. (I don't like bad wine, but I love affordable wine.) Out of the 12-bottle case, I liked two enough to order a case of each one -- not at the same time.

This month it's the CA cabernet: Wellsley Farms Cab from Paso Robles 2017. It's not for people interested in idiosyncratic wines with "personality." It's a big, rich, heavy, fruity quintessential CA cabernet and it's unbelievably smooth. Not a subtle wine and not for the heat of the summer -- but it tastes much MUCH more expensive than $10.

The other wine I really liked -- lighter and more versatile and with more individuality than the cab, but not as lushly decadent, is a Portuguese wine called Esteva Douro 2018. This one goes better with fish and salads and is much more thirst quenching than the cab.

Thanks, @Quasi, for giving me the opportunity to maybe save my wine-loving Rexblog pals some money.

webwinger 5:56 PM  

@burtonkd: Interesting—I had no idea. Just ordered a new iPhone SE, will look at it closely when it arrives.

I think the way to use pulse oximetry is just to call your primary care provider and let them know if you get below 94, or whatever is defined as the lower limit on your device. (It's really not that much different than reporting your temperature.) In this time of remote care provision, they will be very happy to receive that information and advise what steps to take next.

And best wishes for your continued recovery!

God dag på dig 6:00 PM  

Anni-Frid Synni Lyngstad was born in Norway, spent two years there, but has then lived 72 years in Sweden. That makes her Norweign?

I'll go with Norwegian-Swedish.

skireel 6:13 PM  

I can't see "hors d'oeuvres" without thinking of Redd Foxx on Sandford and Son coming home from a party and talking about all the "horse divers" he ate, and the exchange that followed ...

Monty Boy 6:56 PM  

I liked this one a lot. I didn't see the theme so it played as themeless for me. The problem answers (see ADUBA) had fair crosses, so I didn't have to look up any of the obscure PPP like I usually do.

I taught math for about 10 years in retirement until the accreditation people decided a master's in engineering wasn't enough to teach algebra. Anyhoo, The kids got a t-shirt for Christmas that had: FIBONACCI - it's as easy as1,1,2,3,5,8 ... With a little research, I read that the ratio of two FIBONACCI numbers approaches the Golden Ratio, and it's true as you get to higher pairs. And it appears to be irrational, as it should.

I tried this in a spreadsheet and after 20 or so numbers the difference with Golden Ratio is small. Another oddity is that you can start with any two "seed" numbers and treat those with the same "add to the last number" procedure and you get a pseudo FIBONACCI sequence and the ratio of two of those numbers also approaches the Golden Ratio. I'm not sure what practical value that has, but it's kinda interesting to me.

And that's your nerd-info for the day.

puzzlehoarder 8:11 PM  

I put in 41 words today for the QB. It's one of your bigger lists with 171 points.

I forgot to mention earlier how much I enjoyed VERDURE. That would be a good word to come up with for the SB or use as a bingo in Scrabble.

rosebud 8:37 PM  

Just tell us more about your backyard birds...and I am always happy to see AAMilne again, and again, and again. Thanks!

Masked and Anonymous 10:20 PM  


Possible EGS antidote, for those very few who (astonishinly) didn't like it …

44. Imitative behavior
57. Kegger ground zero?
64. Striketh down
67. General drift

45. Bouquet
53. Keep an ___ the ground
54. Rodeo wrestling opponent
61. "EGS is the weird___ entry ever!"

Stay safe, masked, and anonymous.
Well, at least the first two.

M&A Help Desk

Charles Emerson Winchester III 10:56 PM  

It didn’t stop me from plunking down SWEDE but I made exactly that point mentally: the clue is incorrect. Can’t say ABBA is my usual fare, but their ditties have a not-unpleasant ring time them, but even I know that the redhead is Norwegian. She is the wartime product of a Norwegian mother and a German soldier father. Horizontal collaboration with the enemy was not well looked upon, hence the need to leave Norway for Sweden.

Frantic Sloth 11:00 PM  

@jae 336pm Most of the time I'm using my iPad, but with an attached keyboard. I'm going to try again tomorrow using the internal keyboard emojis and see what happens. Thank you!

@webwinger 355pm We have a similar saying. It's usually laced with "colorful" language.

@Anonymous 502pm Hmm. That's an interesting suggestion - I'll give it a try. Thank you.

@Nancy 522pm LOL! Question: should I just go ahead and change it now? Or is that a carefully worded comment aimed at politely telling me to STFU and STFD? (Shut TF Up and Sit TF Down)

Susie 10:18 AM  

I so completely agree with Rex today. Every criticism was spot on. And I completed the puzzle, but very annoyed with the clues. VERY!

will hunt 6:49 PM  

I'm epically late!!

Just wanted to jump into say all my complaints from yesterday were answered. So many fun pop culture clues in this puzzle! MISSY Elliott and AD's BLUTH family should absolutely be in the cultural consciousness. My mom (probably the only one reading this comment) will appreciate another reference to her favorite fictional character, NED Flanders :)

Huge fan of seeing HORS DOEUVRE, UNLABELED, WIN AT LIFE, STACCATO, THE BOMB, all super creative fill. A bit of crosswordese here and there is forgiven in my book when there were so many fun answers that made me smile. Great cluing for SOS, I'm sure it's been used before but I haven't seen it, so I enjoyed the aha moment.

Didn't get the theme until I read this blog post, but I didn't even care. I had the same reaction to FIBONACCI...sequence? But SERIES is widely used according to Google so I forgive it. Could NOT figure out A ONE/AIRDRY...just started guessing letters there.

Not going to get to Thursday's puzzle but I'll try for a more timely response for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.


Burma Shave 10:50 AM  


was a DIGNITORY at THE prom.
Was she ALOOF or UPFOR what I’M after?
WOW, just WOW, AONE and just THEBOMB!


Anonymous 1:33 PM  

Not a bit of fun in this one. Three pissers in the NW didn't help...

Diana, LIW 1:59 PM  

Aha. I must admit that I truly do like it when I finish a puzzle, know all the answers must be correct, but still don't get it. Until I walk away and ponder for a bit. This puzzle, e.g.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for the light bulb

PS - thanks to my friend, the math teacher, for giving me an important answer long, long ago

Diana, LIW 2:04 PM  

Ha ha - just read (skimmed) OFL's response - egs is the BEST, as I just noted. Yes you can make it a plural - just as you could pluralize any-THING.

Lady Di

El Dingo 4:15 PM  

Oh, thank you—I just laughed so hard that now I have to clean my keyboard.

spacecraft 4:40 PM  

Gotta call a DNF on myself--and me and I--on this one. A, my question remained OPENENDEd, and I had absolutely no idea what was a big name in name tags, so AVEdY was not rejected; and B, I never got the theme...I thought the two EGS were it. The progression from PASSAGE on just simply did not register.

And yeah, I know that 10-down is just an answer in a crossword grid, but yikes! Awfully glad I was well done with breakfast before seeing THAT. A few near-duplicates--MISSY/MOSSY and HAP/HAL--were noticed. Fill is mostly OK.

DOD is JEAN Simmons, who curiously counts two evangelists among her roles (Elmer Gantry and Guys and Dolls). Can't really grade a DNF, but I'm guessing it would've worked out to a par.

leftcoaster 4:56 PM  

This is a tough Wednesday puzzle. Its too-clever theme is obscured, and the last clue (61D) sets up a ridiculous diversion for clues that have "two of them". Two...what? Just a distracting, would-be mini-theme.


Unknown 7:37 PM  

Even after the explanation I still don’t understand what EG.s means!

leftcoaster 8:58 PM  

@Unknown -- EG or e.g. means "for example". The EGS answer makes it a plural (two examples) for purposes of the clue.

wcutler 1:49 AM  

@Monty Boy 6:56 PM and other accredited, wannabe or reluctant math nerds, re: Fibonacci

If you have not seen Vi Hart's videos, you may find this an entertaining five minutes, except that there are two more in the series, so 15 minutes in all.
First time I've tried using a link; with moderation, I can't check to see if it works.

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