Breakfast aisle option for wheat allergy / THU 5-14-20 / Indian tourist mecca / Indian honorific / Pulitzer winning playwright Vogel / Low-maintenance fish

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Constructor: Michael Schlossberg

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (probably actually "Easy" but I solved this while still half-asleep and my timer says Easy-Medium) (5:22)

THEME: BINGO — all the themer clues contain the word "bingo" in some form, and there is a FREE space at the center of the grid:

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Bingo, in Scrabble (FIFTY-POINT BONUS)
  • 27A: "B-I-N-G-O," e.g. (NURSERY RHYME)
  • 37A: Breakfast aisle option for a wheat allergy (GLUTEN-[FREE] CEREAL)
  • 46A: Bingo, for one (GAME OF CHANCE)
  • 61A: "Bingo!" ("ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!")
Word of the Day: PAULA Vogel (12D: Pulitzer-winning playwright Vogel)
Paula Vogel (born November 16, 1951) is an American playwright who received the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play How I Learned to Drive. A longtime teacher, Vogel spent the bulk of her academic career – from 1984 to 2008 – at Brown University, where she served as Adele Kellenberg Seaver Professor in Creative Writing, oversaw its playwriting program, and helped found the Brown/Trinity Rep Consortium. From 2008 to 2012, Vogel was Eugene O'Neill Professor of Playwriting and department chair at the Yale School of Drama, as well as playwright in residence at the Yale Repertory Theatre. (wikipedia)
• • •

This felt like a perfectly adequate puzzle from times of YORE. A solid late 20th-century puzzle. If you are of the bingo-playing age, here is your puzzle. I guess no one was really "gluten-free" in the 20th century, but still. This feels a little ... basic for a Thursday. I see people complaining that it's too easy for a Thursday, and it's definitely on the Easy side, but I don't think that's the main issue. I think there's just ... the one tricky bit (the "FREE" square), and the rest of it plays like an ordinary puzzle. There are "bingos" in all the theme clues, YEAH, but they're all straightforward. And since there are no non-theme answers longer than seven letters (and only two of those), there's no real interest outside the theme ... which isn't that interesting. There is definitely a logic and consistency and the grid does look (in one way) like a bingo card, but with very little trickiness and very little sparkly fill, the whole thing feels a bit flat. I think the grid design is really the problem, from a solver-enjoyment perspective. This is a max (78) word count puzzle, which means (in this case) the grid is loaded with short stuff; if you never really get a reprieve from the short stuff, then your theme has to be Dazzling. Otherwise, the crosswordese starts to come to the fore and dominate the experience. The only thing that sticks with me about this theme is that center square (which was easy to get, and which feels like it's probably been done before, though that's less of a deal). The weak theme meant that more of my attention went toward stale fill and off cluing.

I don't know if the problem was early-morning brain fog or genuine clue toughness, but I had real problems with very ordinary (short) answers today. Writing in ARE instead of AND, OK, anyone could've done that, especially if you had the "A" in place. No big deal (22D: Word often shortened to its middle letter). But I needed every cross to get NAY (26A: Assembly line?). I don't think of the word "assembly" as related to voting, but I guess, uh, the UN General Assembly ... votes ... sometimes? Also had very very scary what-the-hell issues at the HA- / TO-S crossing. The clue on HAS (64D: Orders) obviously is designed to fool you (noun? verb? what meaning of 'orders'?), and this MENU-related meaning of HAS is very narrow (you'd have to be describing someone else eating at a restaurant to use it this way, which is weird), but still, I should not have just blanked completely. Also 71A: Scrap is a notoriously multivalent word. Again, verb or noun? And which meaning? A small piece? A fight? Oh ... it's the verb meaning. You scrap something, you TOSS it, you get rid of it. Brain just could not manage that much ambiguity crossing this early in the morning. This may be another issue with the grid—it has to pick up whatever difficulty it has in the cluing for the short stuff, and that ... is not the way to get the most bang for your buck. No one wants to struggle and have the payoff be, say, SPF (1D: 50 is a high one: Abbr.). See also: cluing "UH-OH" as a "word" (10D: Worrisome word at a nuclear power plant). That is some letter-of-the-law cluing. It's an exclamation, and it's probably not, in many people's minds, *one* word. Also, I'm not really up for te(e)-heeing at lethal disasters these days. This puzzle does not fail to do what it sets out to do, but neither does it bring any real joy, anywhere.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. NEW PUZZLE ALERT: Crossword-constructing phenom Matt Gaffney is now doing a daily crossword for the Daily Beast (daily!). Very easy 10x10s focused on current events. Check them out here.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 5:55 AM  

Since I'm having trouble identifying themes lately...somebody's gonna have to tell me what this one is.
Obviously, it has to do with BINGO and maybe the BINGO CARD because of that lonely FREE in the middle. But....what exactly?

Peggy Lee has a question and we all know what.

If I just ignore the theme, the puzzle was a nice challenge - difficult but very fair. It took me a while, but crosses all eventually helped me finish.
Some of that PPP was beyond my ken and I might have been a tad annoyed if not for the helpful surroundings for each.

So, the puzzle was fun. The theme - such as I "understand" it - was not. And what good is a Thursday without a fun theme?

All I can say is Sunday better be a gargantuan improvement... what are the odds? ��

Coniuratos 6:01 AM  

I don't recall that the term "gluten-free" was used as such, but my grandmother was diagnosed with Celiac's disease in the 90s. Much harder to deal with, back then - making her own bread was about the only option, and good luck expecting a restaurant server to know what "gluten" was.

As for the puzzle, maybe it was morning grogginess, but nothing was going in easily. Threw in "magi" in place of SAGE, so that threw off the west for a bit. Could've sworn there was a cOBHILL neighborhood in San Francisco, and then tried to come up with a palindromic women's name with two Cs in the middle.

Overall, it was fine, but I can't recall having a fun "a-ha" moment at any point.

Lou 6:01 AM  

How does playing BINGO in Scrabble get you a 50 point bonus? How is a car something with a belt and a coat? Seatbelt and coat of wax? Really?

Loren Muse Smith 6:09 AM  

This theme took me back to the days of singing There was a farmer had a dog, and Bingo was its name-o… I got real serious, real fast. Clapping on the letter(s) and not singing them took all my concentration, and I was devastated if I messed up. The theme also made me think of that terrible feeling when I’m in a crowded hall and lack just one square for the BINGO. I get all nervous that I’ll have to yell the word, and among a group of strangers, it scares me. I’m scared I’ll sound dumb, and I’m scared everyone will be mad that I got it first.

I liked the clue for MENU. Another meaning for “drop-down” menu.

Rex - I kept going back and considering HAS as a synonym for “orders.” I dunno. The “order” part gets it delivered in front of you, but the HAS part takes it a step further. I might order the steamed green beans instead of the cheesy chili fries, but I might not *have* them. I disagree that to use HAS to talk about someone else’s meal is weird. Whenever we eat at Mazatlan, Mom HAS the Mexican soup with extra lime.

YON. Hmm. Anyone use that word in a non-ironic way? I would argue that it’s lexical birth control. I’ll just act like I’m listening to your YONs and admiring your cravat while I scan the room for better hook-up options.

Same thought as Rex on the one-word status of UH OH. It definitely feels like two words. Either way, you for sure wouldn’t want to hear someone say that at a nuclear plant. Other people who should avoid an audible UH OH: airplane pilot, surgeon, bank teller, water-in-basement expert, tandem skydiver instructor. I’m reminded of this meme I saw on Facebook.

My avatar is my daughter SAGE who is about to finish her second year in vet school at Colorado State. She’s going into exotics, so anyone out there with an in at a zoo, hit me up. She’s beastly smart.

“Harmful substances to swallow” – LYES. Sure. No question. Also spackling compound, latex paint, bleach, WD-40, and anything found in a shoebox. (Ok to swallow: food-grade flea killer, at least until hair starts sprouting on your temples. True story for the newbies here.)

I didn’t know that BINGO was a NURSERY RHYME. What with an admitted Goosey Goosey Gander in office, it’s not a stretch to repurpose other rhymes to be relevant today.

Big Mr. Muffed-It
Sat on his tuffet
Scorning his journalist prey.
Ms. Jiang asked her question;
His snark stopped the session
And scared Mr. Muffed-It away.

Frantic Sloth 6:20 AM  

Just read Rex's review. So, apparently the answer to Peggy Lee's question is "yes." ๐Ÿ˜•

I was delighted to learn that many people (including OFL) found this puzzle to be easy, especially since I did not. Wouldn't want to feel smart or nuthin'.

And all is right with the ๐ŸŒŽ *

*Trying Anon's suggestion, so this might look like those obnoxious double question marks. It's supposed to be Earth.

webwinger 6:32 AM  

Kinda weird. OK, Bingo is the theme, but what does that have to do with the central cross and solo rebus? AND to me B-I-N-G-O is the refrain of a kid’s song, not a NURSERY RHYME. AND I don’t have enough of a resident Scrabble board in my head to make sense of FIFTY POINT BONUS. Like I said weird, and not exactly good weird. Maybe @Rex will provide enlightenment again.

Cross of 26A/13D was Natick city for me—neither word made sense at all until I got the crossing Y by running 25 of 26 letters to trigger the happy tune.

No idea how easy TETRAS are to maintain, but these critters (official name Anableps tetranopsia—from Greek for four-eyed) have absolutely amazing eyeballs, adapted to see simultaneously through air and water. The kind of thing that really makes it hard to accept that evolution had no divine guidance...

Nice to see ELMo again, and welcome back my old avatar.

Back again without having left. (Seems like the story of life these days.) Well, silly me. Though I guess I’m in the Bingo age category, it’s been ages since I’ve looked at a Bingo card, AND I had forgotten about that center FREE square. Still don’t much like the context. Surprised OFL went as easy on this puzzle as he did.

Lewis 6:34 AM  

@LMS -- Wow. Another terrific post from beginning to end! I love the image of our GGG in office sitting on a tuffet. Perfect!

Re this puzzle... In several areas, it felt like playing Bingo, where you just need one number, and you wait and wait for it to come. In these areas I waited like that for answers to flash in, to Bingo, actually.

The theme is clever and the FREE space a lovely touch. All in all, most enjoyable. Very grateful for what you put into this, Michael S!

Hungry Mother 6:44 AM  

I was a BINGO caller for several years in south Jersey at a smoke-filled parish hall. All of that time I had never played the game. Years later, on a cruise with a couple of granddaughters, I was persuaded to play. This was a very quick solve with a slow start.

GILL I. 6:49 AM  

So we have fannies on Monday and Bingo on Thursday...can't wait to see what we get on Sunday.
So it's BINGO.... reminds me of my grandmother even though she never played it - she was more of a bridge person.
Yeah, NOB HILL is upscale but so it Russian Hill and Pacific Heights and Billionaire's Row and any area that Twitter has taken over. I used to live on Pierce and California streets - a few blocks from the Alta Plaza park. I paid $150 a month for an apartment with a view and I had my own garage. Can you imagine? I didn't even know that Pacific Heights was all hoity toity. Loved that city.
Would it have been too much to clue SLICK with a little bit of Grace?
I mosey on down to Boris Johnson and all I'm thinking is "bad hair right whinger."
@Loren...HAH! Good one. Can you keep your voice down please?

amyyanni 6:52 AM  

Love the rhyme, @LMS. Liked the puzzle.

DSM 6:57 AM  

I completely agree about the theme. The middle themer with the FREE space actually made the theme weaker and less cohesive, in my mind. Without it, there were 4 answers which cohesively set forth the theme “different meanings of the word ‘bingo’”. Not overly exciting, but at least self-consistent. The FREE space picks one of those meanings (i.e. game of chance) and provides content related to it, skewing the puzzle. If all the other answers related to bingo as a game of chance (things about game cards or ping pong balls or whatever), the FREE space would be a cute and charming addition. As it is, it feels like a ploy to add theme content and acknowledge the fact that no one can think of a fifth meaning of “bingo” that fits conveniently.

Lance 7:15 AM  

In scrabble, if you play all 7 of your tiles in a single turn, it is called a bingo. You get your score for your word, plus a 50 point bonus

kitshef 7:20 AM  

How can you have a BINGO-themed puzzle and not reference PG Wodehouse?

Enjoyed it, but that SE corner ate me alive. Took me about three minutes to get the last six squares. Most of that trouble was with the initialisms.

I bow to no one in my ignorance of cars, and GTO could have been GTI or GMC or GTE or GEO, all of which I’m pretty sure we’ve had for car answers.

And TBS could have been TNT or TMC or TNN or TCM. Fun fact about Ted Turner. He has a lifetime winning percentage as a Major League Baseball manager of .000.

OffTheGrid 7:26 AM  

Solid, fun puzzle. Best this week.

Mike G 7:38 AM  

Awesome poem!

pabloinnh 7:44 AM  

No problem with the bingo theme, we used to play it in Spanish class when the kids were learning numbers, and it was pretty popular, except for having to pick up all the markers when class was over. I eventually used dried beans, which worked fine and were cheap.

However. If you want to mess up the NE corner bigly, I suggest you enter FIFTYPOINTWORDS and go from there. Also: PULPs?plural? Really? PAULA who? OHOH works as well as UHOH. Also: LENIN is fine and fits the description, but so do PUTIN and PERON. Imagine my confusion. Untangling that mess was as bad as the time I ran over a coil o wire with the riding mower, and almost as much fun.

The rest of this one went in with no problems, but a one-square rebus on a Thursday is a little disappointing. Thought your manuscript could have used a little more crunch, MS (see what I did there?)

On to today's SB, got to Genius yesterday, but this AM I see that I left out a lot of words I never heard of. Understandable.

Irene 7:44 AM  

Is SRSLY really a thing? And if so, how can Rex complain that this skews old?

CDilly52 7:48 AM  

@LMS Maybe the hard to swallow LYES might be some of the category of things 45 was thinking might cure the COVID-19.

DavidP 7:58 AM  

Rex, you’re a New Yorker. You never heard of the New York State Assembly, one of the two houses of YOUR state legislature?

Anonymous 8:04 AM  

I haven’t posted in weeks, so please forgive this remark–I thought OFL would say something about the 34A, ARMS, the focus, according to the clue, of the 2nd Amendment. Many debates about the second amendment emphasize the “militia” clause. One problem with that clause is that, at least according to most norms of post-18th-century English, it is not written in good English. It is what is called an “absolute” construction, common in Latin (as in the “ablative absolute”) and in Greek (as in the “genitive absolute”). I think most of our founding fathers were comfortable with Latin, and many no doubt knew Greek, and throwing in an “absolute construction” seemed to be perfectly normal. One finds it in English today, but it is not considered to be good English. When I took baby Greek in graduate school, using the popular textbook of Chase and Phillips, the teacher wondered why the Greek absolute constructions were not translated literally in the text (i.e., as English absolute phrases). I pointed out to the teacher that Chase and Phillips were classical instructors at Andover and Exeter, respectively, and neither would have permitted the “bad English” absolute constructions. Thus they had to use some ingenuity in translating.

For those wanting to use the “militia” clause to oppose the right to bear arms, the problem is that both the genitive and ablative absolutes are technically what are sometimes called “ablatives of attendant circumstance.” That is they are “attendant,” and not necessary, clauses. Grammatically, that is, they cannot be used to limit the “right to bear arms,” although many have tried to talk around this issue with long discourses on militias. Thus I think the “militia” clause cannot rightly be used to oppose what are called “gun rights.”

I think that if one want to oppose “guns”–though this may seem to be Quixotic, since in seems that now guns and ammunition are flying off the shelves–and it one feels he or she must adhere to the second amendment, one ought to look more closely at what the clue calls the “focus” of the second amendment, that is, “arms.” Some argue that “arms” should mean only “hunting arms”; others seem to want to “level the playing field” between the individual and the government. The problem is that the “playing field” cannot be really leveled, except in some dream world of Rambo taking on helicopters. A “level playing field” would require private ownership of nuclear weapons–and no sane person could argue for that. It would also require private ownership of weapons that can take down airplanes. No really sane person could argue for that either–otherwise all air traffic would be in danger. What therefore constitutes “arms”? This is a subject that is wide open, even if many think this matter is now settled.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

Anonymous 8:10 AM  

@Lance, THANKS! I did NOT know using all 7 tiles was called a BINGO in Scrabble. The clue makes sense now, but I do wonder how many people know that?

mmorgan 8:10 AM  

Yeah, well, I think it’s really a meta-puzzle about the conflict and incommensurate social realities of those who eat GLUTEN FREE CEREAL (who wear masks in public and shelter-in-place and practice social distancing) and those who CRY FREEDOM (while marching around with rifles because the whole thing is a libtard lame stream hoax attempt to make Trump look bad). BINGO!!!

T. Williams 8:19 AM  

April 14, 1967, Yankee home opener against the Red Sox. Yankee legend Whitey Ford facing Red Sox rookie Billy Rohr, making his very first major league appearance.

Skip to the bottom of the ninth inning, with two outs, Billy Rohr is still in and throwing hard, one out away from a debut no-hitter. Elston Howard is at the plate. With two strikes against him, and Rohr one strike away from baseball immortality, Howard taps a soft single into right-center field.

Rohr retired the next batter, and got the one-hit 3-0 win in what was for all of New England (except for the rogue southwest corner of Connecticut) still a heartbreaker. On Rohr's second outing, he beat the Yankees again, 6-1, but won only one other game in his entire major league career, finally going back down to the minors and retiring young.

As for Elston Howard.... Later that season, he was traded to the Red Sox and was instrumental in the Red Sox' successful capture of their first AL pennant in 21 years. And In New England, all (well, almost all) was forgiven. But, because the pennant race was so close (going down to the very last hours of the very last day of regular season), no one forgot that without Billy Rohr's two wins, the Sox would not have made it.

Oh, and that "doughnut" hitters use to warm up in the on-deck circle that replaced the double bats? Invented by Elston Howard.

You can't make this stuff up.

CDilly52 8:21 AM  

Not terribly difficult and I do have to agree that this might have been quite a “treat” of a clever puzzle back in the late ‘60s-early 70s. GLUTEN FREE might have been tough unless clued as a baking term for unleavened something or other or an oatcake. However, having been solving every day for that long, to me it just felt comfy, like a warm memory. My Borowske troop lives the B-I-N-G-O song and I hadn’t thought of it in decades. My tough spot was always clapping on all but the last O. I was typically the Sufi’s that just couldn’t not still yell “G-O!” Most times. Embarrassing every single time but I still loved singing that song.

Clever clue for NAY, referring to a governmental or religious Assembly (as a few of our state Legislatures are called). Also liked ARF clues as a translated dog quote. Made me smile. And the clue for TEA was the cleverest of the day.

Had Mandela in before CRY FREEDOM. Same topic wrong pick. Small quibble with HAS clues as orders. Same observation as @LMS, and because I had such an aversion to the correct answer, those squares sat empty until the very end when I had to put in HAS. ALAS. Also a bit of a nitpick with the clue for GTO. Yes, got it immediately because it is such a frequent flyer, but that is a classic clue that, IMO should have had a ? That would have made more sense to me, but perhaps diluted the attempted misdirect. Editing choice, certainly within the parameters.

Just fine for Thursday. As always, reading @LMS is the proverbial cherry on the banana split - especially today’s “nursery rhyme!” What an apt description of today’s atmosphere at 1600 Penn. . . A nursery.

Keep up your vigilance, folks. The fat lady isn’t singing for a long while yet.

QuasiMojo 8:25 AM  

The theme, which I found charming, reminded me of the very early Cole Porter football song he wrote while at Yale.

"Bingo! Bingo!
Bingo! Bingo! Bingo! That’s the lingo.
Eli is bound to win,
There’s to be a victory,
So watch the team begin.
Bingo! Bingo!
Harvard’s team cannot prevail.
Fight! Fight!
Fight with all your might
For Bingo,
Bingo, Eli Yale!"

Boola boola (@Rex)

I could not stand playing Bingo as a kid. I never had the patience. Can't imagine doing it now that I'm practically living the movie Cocoon.

An SPF of 50 is pointless. Plus we're now learning (duh) that the stuff in these tubes may be more hazardous to our health than a sunburn. Where more clothes people!

The COACH clue made me think of singing teachers. I had one in days of YORE who "handled" my love handles.

@puzzlehoarder, I had 40 words in SB yesterday too. I would have had 41 if they had accepted RULY which is in the MW dictionary. Grrrr.

@Loren, lovely picture of your daughter!

Nards 8:29 AM  

Seven Letter Word and Fifty Point Bonus both fit in 17A, which is some kind of amazing crossword coincidence. Also slowed me up when I used the wrong one and broke all the downs!

dan 8:35 AM  

This was fine, ish, until I Natick’d the cross of the two sportsball questions. Given that Elston Is just as reasonable a name as Elstom, for someone who’s never heard of it, that makes a different NYC sportsball team on the Across, but one I was just as comfortable with, oh well.

Teedmn 8:37 AM  

A couple of problems in the NE slowed me down today. Boris Johnson is a Brit, so an obi has a belt and a coat? I guess not.

I've never heard the 50-point Scrabble BONUS referred to as a Bingo, though I've had to award the bonus to my friend Sonya far too many times. She can't spell her way out of a paper bag but she can anagram the most amazing things. Seems oxymoronic but I see her do it all the time.

Although the constructor liked his clues for NAY and TEA, I wasn't so excited about them and in fact, NAY took some post-solve cogitating to come up with the aha. Or was it just UH-OH? Speaking of which, I was looking for "leak" or something more specific to a nuclear plant for 10D, and PULPS was eluding me. More trouble in the NE.

Michael Schlossberg, congratulations on your sophomore NYT puzzle. Whether it was a Thursday puzzle or not, I'm not sure, but thanks for the center rebus.

Nancy 8:40 AM  

Warning. An anti-BINGO rant is coming. And you'd hate BINGO too, if you were me.

Back in the day -- on rainy days at Camp Pinecliffe...or maybe at some 2nd-rate resort -- there would be an organized BINGO game and I would take part. I'm sure that the very first time I played, and maybe even the sixth, seventh and eighth, I was really, really excited. A GAME OF CHANCE can be really thrilling.

But not when you don't have any CHANCE at all.

Over and over and over again, some would would yell out "BINGO" and I would not have a single number filled in on my card. Not one. Is it possible for someone to be that unlucky at a GAME OF CHANCE? Evidently it is completely possible.

When you don't have a single number filled in on your card, your experience is entirely excitement-[ ].

So early in my life I switched from GAMEs OF CHANCE to games of skill. Where I actually do have a CHANCE.

Oh, yes, the puzzle. Perfectly nice. But for a Wednesday, not a Thursday.

Z 8:48 AM  

I got nuthin.

@mmorgan - Har. Nobody ever lost a dollar by overestimating the stupidity of the American public. (apologies to PT Barnum) I do just love the term “Ted Nugent cosplay” to describe the “right to die and kill others” protesters.

@poggius - You missed the memo, no arguments about guns, religion, or the musical chops of Yoko Ono allowed.

Suzie Q 8:52 AM  

Disappointing Thursday. All I get is one rebus square? Boo.
I don't know why a tetra is low maintenance. My first thought was guppy.
The clue for oh-oh was a little dark for my morning routine.
Rex is right about the clues for the short answers. I thought the oddest one was for car.
I print my puzzles to solve with pen-and-paper. Today the font was different from normal and extremely small. Annoying to these old eyes.

Anonymous 9:04 AM  

BINGO would be an eight letter word (still fits)

Blue Stater 9:09 AM  

And today's blunder: the clue-answer pair in 47D of the puzzle and the mini (MENU; "dropped in a to-go bag" [crossword] and "things stuffed in takeout bags" [mini]) are virtually identical. Doesn't anyone edit this stuff? Oh wait....

Anonymoose 9:13 AM  

@Quasi. If yesterday's SB had allowed RULY there would have been 42 words and you would still be one short. I point this out with all humility. I am still working on it and have only 30 words. I anticipate some forehead slaps when I eventually stop and see the words I missed.

Mark 9:14 AM  

I, too, immediately and confidently filled in SEVENLETTERWORD for the Scrabble clue, and it took me a long time to relinquish my cleverness after no downs would work. I would like to point out that the "bingo" is the seven-letter word and not the bonus. In fact, the bonus is a reward for the bingo. From the official rules: "BINGO! If you play seven tiles on a turn, it's a Bingo. You score a premium of 50 points after totaling your score for the turn."

Anonymous 9:18 AM  

Can we please stop using "Okie"? It is a very disparaging term with significant negative connotations

bauskern 9:20 AM  

@ Suzie Q, I think tetras are low maintenance since they are a very common fish for kids just starting out w/ an aquarium. I agree with the printed out font, that was weird.
Loved a couple of clues from today: HAS (tricky, but gave me that AHAH moment!), NAY (the same, I was thinking of factories for a long time), ASSIST (probably helps to be a sports fan). I thought this had a nice theme, w/ two 15-letter answers. What's to complain about? SRSLY

Josie 9:23 AM  

BINGO is not a nursery rhyme. It is a children’s song. They are different.

RooMonster 9:26 AM  

Hey All !
Rex days all the themer clues have BINGO in them, but... Not the center one. An argument can be made it's the Revealer clue, ergo, not needing a BINGO, but I cry Shenanigans!

Lots of blocks today, 42, max usually 38, and stands out more on a ThursPuz.

Theme was fun, though. Try to guess the theme using the answers without the clues. What the heck do they all have in common?

Wanted a Y for the FREE square at first! Har, GLUTENY CEREAL.

Three F's, all in themers

mathgent 9:42 AM  

A meal made up of scraps. Twenty-six three-letter entries (a near record number) leaving room for only twelve longer words. And very little to savor among those bigger morsels. FIFTYPOINTBONUS is all.

When I found FREE in the center square, I got a little excited. Would the grid look like a bingo card? Would B, I, N, G, O be strung across the top row perhaps? No. Just that one pitiful rebus square sitting irrelevantly in the middle.

Hard to believe that there wasn’t something better in Will’s Thursday folder.

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

17a. A bingo in Scrabble is also a SEVEN LETTER WORD which fits. Threw me right off.

QuasiMojo 9:43 AM  

@Anonymoose, I know. That's why I didn't say I would have made QB. Good luck with yours! I'm assuming you are doing it on paper. Much better than the app which tends to have glitches.

TJS 9:57 AM  

Hey Poggius, if you want to take a couple more weeks off, it's okay with me.

This puzzle was,for me, just a series of disappointments. I was really hoping to close out the week with 3 good challenges, but I just could not build any sense of enjoyment from this because of the bland, un-imaginitive fill. Hard to believe there is nothing in the Shortz files a little more Thursday level than this. TGFTA...(For The Archive).

xyz 9:57 AM  

FREE rebus, smack in the middle in a BINGO theme a clear gimme.

Pete 10:01 AM  

@Z - Thought of you yesterday - the absence of Scarlet Tanagers in your life. You're missing out, you've never seen* red until you've seen a Scarlet Tanager in bright daylight. They're positively swarming** around here in central Jersey.

*hyperbole for dramatic effect. I know you've seen all types of red, perhaps some particularly vivid.
**by swarming I mean I've seen two in the past week, the more recent yesterday.

Irrelevant 10:04 AM  

B=3, G=2, N=1, I=1, O=1. BINGO is an eight point word.

Jersey John 10:11 AM  

@ T Williams:
Thanks for the Billy Rohr story. A big NYY fan, but had missed this, as was engaged in a little skirmish in SE Asia at the time. Yaz was great that year, his only MVP season.

Sir Hillary 10:20 AM  

This was cute enough, but it felt more like a Tuesday, even with the central rebus square.

If the FIFTYPOINTBONUS in Scrabble is called a bingo, I never knew that. In our house we play a Scrabble-like card game called Quiddler, and any time we get the letter we need, we call it our "bingo letter".

I'm with those not buying "B-I-N-G-O" as a NURSERYRHYME.

Hoping that the clue for TEA makes @Lewis's weekly list. Maybe it's been used before (not sure) but it's terrific.

@LMS -- Love your "Bingo angst" story! My Bingo emotions run opposite. For 20 years, I have played one night a year at a vacation spot with my family. That's probably 200 games in all, in a room with less than 50 players, and never have I won. Just once, please! I also love the picture of your daughter SAGE, and given that I don't know your family's naming convention, I noticed that "SAGE Smith", "SAGE Muse" and "SAGE Muse Smith" all sound beautiful when voiced. Apropos of nothing, one of my best friends lives in Fort Collins.

Hilarious complaint of the week goes to @Blue Stater. Now we're objecting to clue dupes in the regular puzzle and the mini? I know you can't stand the current regime, but really?

puzzlehoarder 10:23 AM  

A mostly easy puzzle. I did hesitate at the end over NAY. The A looked inevitable but I wanted to understand the connection between the clue and the entry before I wrote it in. Do they mean a legislative assembly? Yup.

@Quasi, as for yesterday's SB, at 40 words I was at 163 points. I knew that the QB was 171. I was able to come up with an eight letter word to get the QB. It was a word that appeared on the April Fool's Day list and I missed it back then. That's probably why I remembered it yesterday. RULY never crossed my mind but it reminds me of ROPY that's the word that got me the QB last Sunday.

Birchbark 10:29 AM  

FREE sitting all alone in the middle. The "star" of the show = the absence of gluten.

In the early 1900s, when the old mills in Minneapolis were refining flour toward ever-softer and whiter versions, the gluten in the discarded wheat germ emptied out into the Mississippi. They noticed how big the fish were getting near the mills, so rethought the nutrition of it all. And so whole wheat bread followed.

@Anon/Poggius (8:04) -- I always wondered what a measured and well-reasoned discourse on the Second Amendment would look like, and now I know.

Joaquin 10:41 AM  

Basically I'm Not Going On about this puzzle because I found it too easy for a Thursday. But I do have a question I forgot to post yesterday: Is there any practical application for the FIBONACCI sequence (other than a difficult to spell crossword answer)?

Lorelei Lee 10:48 AM  

@Irrelevant. If you put the B on a double letter score and it continued over to a triple letter score, you could get 33. I think that would be the highest. What combo on the board would turn 8 into 50? From there I was lost as to what was going on.

Jaws and Gabs before Yap killed me in the middle north. Got Cry Freedom early on, which made me think Free had something to do with a rebus, but then why all these Bingo clues? What does Absolutely Right have to Free?

@HungryMother, Your intro sounds like it was ripped from a Phillip Marlow novel. I'm reading The Big Sleep right now.
"She was a Bingo caller in south Jersey at a smoke-filled parish hall, with legs so long and eyes so blue you wanted to grab her and say let's B 1 baby."

BobL 10:54 AM  

Thanks T. Williams for the great baseball story.

No thanks Poggius for your reaction to "arms."

Great poem Loren.

Anonymous 10:55 AM  

Seriously, is SRSLY really something from textworld. Another reason not to text.

Ernonymous 11:09 AM  

I tried both Seven and Eight Letter Word first. I've played a lot of Scrabble and I can't remember. Someone above asked do a lot of people know about Scrabble Bingos? I think it reflects most things in Crosswords- if this is part of your life experience, it seems easy. Words with Friends is a popular mobile game, based on Scrabble, and that game refers to Bingos by flashing out your 50 point bonus and keeping track of your total Bingos. As a kid when I played Scrabble, I was not aware of the Bingo bonus but as an adult I read the rules, or played against someone who did.

Crimson Devil 11:18 AM  

Liked MENU drop-in, and comment reference to exotic animals; reminded of recent news that we all might be saved by Winter, the llama, and of recent “Marco Polo” swim pool commercial featuring hilarious triple jointed cud-chewing llama!

egsforbreakfast 11:18 AM  

I may be one of the few among us who has ever uttered a sincere “uhoh” in a nuclear plant. It was 1977 and I had just gotten a job with the Portland General Electric Company, which is the electric utility in Portland, Oregon. The job entailed taking a lot of measurements at various places around the system, including their Trojan Nuclear Plant. After taking some tests I was given the privilege of entering the plant “unescorted “, by simply showing a badge. The very first time I did so, it happened that a perimeter alarm was triggered somewhere just as I was walking from the entrance guardhouse to the offices. Back then, when a perimeter alarm sounded, an armed guard was required to sprint to the alarm location, although the cause was always an animal or a tree branch or something equally benign. So, as rhe corpulent guard assigned to perimeter duties goes sprinting by me while donning his helmet and buttoning his safety vest, his pistol (subject of the second amendment) falls out of his holster, and he doesn’t even notice. Not really thinking it through, I picked it up and was just standing there, in regular civilian clothes, with a gun, inside the security fence of an operating nuclear plant. It didn’t take long for monitors to pick up on this, which resulted in a contingent of 4/or 5 guards surrounding me with arms brandished. I might have said something strong, but “uhoh” captures my feeling at the time.

As is often the case for me, I enjoyed reading LMS today even more than I enjoyed the puzzle.

Ernonymous 11:21 AM  

Anyone watch Impractical Jokers? Rex should have added this clip. One of the guys has to go to a big resort Bingo game and yell out Bingo when he doesn't have it. I don't know how to imbed links and I'm aware if you don't, no one watches your clip, but I'll try cause it's so funny and yall could use a laugh. OR Google: Sals Bingo Punishment.

Anonymous 11:37 AM  


In olden times, may haps less so now, the side of a (US) car design would have a crease in the sheet metal (pointing outwards, of course) at about the belt level of a 'Standard Male', and was called the 'belt line'. The other bit is obvious.

Joe Dipinto 11:44 AM  

@DSM 6:57 is absolutely right about the awkwardness of the presentation, with: 1) 37a not being a theme answer; and 2) the centerpiece FREE square relating to one of the theme answers but not the others.

I further dislike that two of themers relate to games, and one of those games is actually *called* BINGO.

Pamela 11:53 AM  

I struggled through until eventually getting the themers, including the misfit FREE. But my nemesis was in the NE, where score sat confidently, messing everything up. Finally I gave up and Googled for PAULA, BONUS arrived and all was well. SRSLY, though, I gotta go with OFL again today. In some places I was just dense or impatient- oak before ELM, DNA at 33A, not 32where it belonged, just dumb. The misdirects for the most part weren’t fun- MENU after Meal, olde before YORE, uhuh (meaning uh huh) before YEAH. More uh huh moments than Ahas.

@LMS Muffed-it is my new go-to. Brilliant! Thank you, as always, for a great write up.

Ernonymous 11:54 AM  

I put an X in the free square instead of the word Free so the app showed an error. Does anyone know why my brain thinks there is a X in the center square? Is there an X on the Bingo card? Maybe its a Star? I think I've done too many puzzles lately like the / one (slash sign). Srsly it never occurred to me to put the word FREE in. I think quarantine is giving me brain fog.

Whatsername 11:54 AM  

Is there anything more appealing to a crossword solver than a pristine blank grid? When I looked at mine this morning, for some reason it just had an unusual feel to it and I suspected there was something going on with the grid form. If it’s been done before I’ve never seen it, so it was original to me and a thoroughly enjoyable solve. SRSLY awesome! Thank you, Michael.

The BINGO theme took me waaaay back to Friday nights in the smoke-filled basement of the American Legion Hall where my dad was a proud member. My uncle was usually the one calling the numbers and despite my best efforts, I never found a way to work that to my advantage. He was incorruptible. Mostly my cousin and I would snicker helplessly at the adults, especially the ones who played six boards at a time and still managed to peek at their neighbor’s to make sure no one was cheating. Of course our favorite part was the intermission for snacks and the search for just the right new board that might win the big jackpot, last game of the night which was a total “blackout,” every square filled. It was serious business.

@LMS: Priceless! And “Mr. Muffed-It” is perfect.

jberg 11:58 AM  

Any puzzle with both YORE and YON in it gets my vote; and I really loved thinking, well, it's Thursday but no rebus -- until the very last square. I have to admit, though, that I haven't played BINGO in over half a century, and didn't remember a free square in the middle; I thought it was some kind of allusion to the square in the middle of the Scrabble board.

@kitshef comes up with a fifth BINGO, if you want to go that way; clued "well-known Drone." Of the four senses we get, one is the game of chance, and two are metaphorical allusions to what you cry out (in a refined way, NOT!) when you win. The dog, though, is different, and might appreciate Mr. Little's company.

But let's get to the meat of the matter, whether B-I-N-G-O is a NURSERY RHYME. I mean, it's a rhyme, and is sung in the nursery; but it wasn't written my Mother Goose. Me, I'll go with the looser usage, but purists may quibble.

Gotta go, I'm supposed to be joining a webinar in 2 minutes.

Malsdemare 12:01 PM  

LMS, I love your poem! It really brightened my day, which needs brightening. We have five days of storms/rain ahead of us so smiles are welcome.

Mr. Mals got a ‘69 GTO for his college graduation and he loved that car more than me or the kids. He parted with it in the mid-80s but talked about it ad nauseum. Five years ago, when he could no longer flex well enough to get in his Miata, he went shopping for a restored goat and found a 1969 GTO in Cincinnati. We drove back to my home town and took a look. I'd expected to be transported back to those romantic, passion-filled days of our courtship and marriage only to be hit in the face with how boring it was. Yeah, I'm a Philistine; no A/C, no cruise, no power windows, rudimentary seatbelts, dull-as-dishwater instrument panel, am/fm radio only. I did a thumbs down immediately; Mr. Mal waited until he learned about all the parts that still had a bazillion miles on them. We passed and he bought himself a 2013 Camara SS, a throwback to the muscle cars of YORE. He says it’s the best car he's ever had. I wouldn't know; while I was happy to hotrod around driving the goat, I do NOT want to be the person who puts the first scratch on his baby. So we have a deal: I don't drive his car and he leaves my Prius alone.

Oh, there was a puzzle! Well, I've never played BINGO and Scrabble was a really long time ago but those elements fell right away. It was the NE that got my "goat." I had no idea what the detective magazine thing was, Vogel was a blank and the soda? No idea. That corner took forever until I guessed on LENIN, made a hail Mary pass and threw up UHOH. That took me to NOBHILL, I guessed the A in PAULA, and finished.

My daughter, who has an autoimmune condition, lives in Madison WI. Happily, Dane county immediately imposed its own shelter-in-place order last night right after the state supremes issued their ruling . God bless the county, she'll continue working from home for a while. I hope you are all able to stay safe.

webwinger 12:10 PM  

@LMS: Loved your UH-OH ruminations, particularly the linked meme. I am reminded of a very funny routine by a 20th century comic who must not be named, in which he imagines having an operation while awake and hearing the surgeon say “oops”. I often thought of that during my years of performing surgery. Nearly all of my cases were done with the patient (usually a child) under general anesthesia, but many colleagues used local almost exclusively and had to be very careful with their spoken words, especially when in a teaching situation.

๐Ÿ‘@Frantic! I could only think of the lyrical question, how much is that doggie in the window?—confused Patti Page with Peggy Lee—but, is that all there is? does seem to have nailed it for this puzzle.

@Anon Poggius: Fascinating analysis (not being ironic). Best of all, I can’t tell which side of this hot hot hot button issue you are on. I have to confess that, despite personally deploring the supersaturated concentration of guns in American society and being baffled by opposition to common sense regulatory measures, it does seem to me that the Second Amendment was intended to broadly entitle ownership of firearms, making its consequences an undeniable feature of our flawed republic. I have read that the amendment was demanded by southerners who feared they could not rely on the federal government to protect them in event of a slave rebellion, which if true makes it even more saddening. Chances of repealing or amending #2—Zip to NIL, as are chances of ending the country’s plague of gun violence.

@mmorgan: Right on!

@Coniuratos: Sorry to quibble, but it’s celiac disease, same name as borne by artery that supplies blood to much of the upper GI tract, from Greek and Latin roots meaning belly. Also, you might be thinking of Coit Tower on Telegraph hill in SF.

@T. Williams: Your baseball tale is worthy of Roger Angell—a national treasure now just 4 months shy of his 100th birthday.

@Hungry Mother and @Lorelei Lee: Could a sequel to The Green Paint Mystery be gestating?

@egsforbreakfast: Good story.

Lorelei Lee 12:10 PM  

Wow @Egs! That's just a great story. I was at Penn State in March 1979 when the Three Mile Island thing was happening about 90 miles away. We should've thought uh oh, but decided instead to smoke some stuff, get some tequila, and have an end of the world as we know it party. Aha moment: I need to remember that when I see young people running around without masks in grocery store.

QuasiMojo 12:12 PM  

@Puzzlehoarder, that was the one word I missed. Good for you! As for ROPY last week, I typed it in and it was rejected. I tried it again later. Same thing. When it showed up on the answer list the next day I was teed off. Same thing happened with WROTH and HARRY a few days earlier. I now don't expect to get a QB because of this flaw in the app. I wrote to the Times to point out the error and got a hissyfit reply from a staffer saying that if I wanted to suggest words I had to write to "buzzwords" email. Well I wasn't suggesting anything other than they have a problem with their DARN app. :)

Meeek! 12:14 PM  

I put in “seven letter word” for 17 across so that took some undoing.
I did not like that the clue for 1 down was in the answer for 17 across. And nursery rhyme was a stretch. I kept thinking that BINGO was represented some shorthand way to remember something medical like RICE.

LeaveItToYourGoat 12:18 PM  

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I counted 26 3-letter entries, 24 at 4 letters, and 16 at 5 letters. That's 66 of 78 at less than five letters.

That's not a fun puzzle. It's not even a mildly entertaining brain exercise... it's a chore.

There was zero satisfying fill. NIL. Looking back on it, the FREE space in the middle was like the lipstick that tried so desperately to give this pig some appeal, but ALAS, this one fell flat.

And if the crossword-ese short fill wasn't bad enough, it suffered even more from needlessly difficult cluing. SPF, PIBB, NAY, and CAR were the worst offenders. Even the punny clues for TEA and ARF elicited little more than a "meh."

Finally, I'm disappointed most in Rex. Every time we see an entry in the grid featuring a controversial right-wing figure, however innocuous, we can count on Rex to give a hyperbolic diatribe condemning them as a bigoted something-ist. But today we get lefty LENIN, and not a peep. So the guy who orchestrated the biggest power-grab in history, used the Cheka to brutally oppress dissidents, and sanctioned the barbaric executions of children doesn't rankle your feathers, but on Sunday you had to "endure Ted f***** Cruz?"


longsufferingmetsfan 12:21 PM  

Wow, the only mildly aha moment was filling in FREE in the middle. So much short and abbreviated junk up top, I started to wonder about a third of the way through, Is this a practical joke on the solver, but alas no, just another poor NYT puzzle


webwinger 12:23 PM  

@Giovannni 11:21: Funny video! If you check out my Blogger profile, you will find at the bottom a string of characters you can copy and paste into your post, then link to a URL by replacing LINK with the web address copied from your browser window, and TEXT with the words you want to appear in blue.

CaryinBoulder 12:45 PM  

In response to @Joaquin, I’m more familiar with the FIBONACCI curve (aka Golden Spiral) from photo composition. I did find this interesting disquisition today at
“ The Fibonacci sequence exhibits a certain numerical pattern which originated as the answer to an exercise in the first ever high school algebra text. This pattern turned out to have an interest and importance far beyond what its creator imagined. It can be used to model or describe an amazing variety of phenomena, in mathematics and science, art and nature. The mathematical ideas the Fibonacci sequence leads to, such as the golden ratio, spirals and self- similar curves, have long been appreciated for their charm and beauty, but no one can really explain why they are echoed so clearly in the world of art and nature.”

Muchos thanks to T. Williams for that splendid splinter of baseball trivia. I’m a fan of the right vintage but Billy Rohr must’ve sunk to the bottom of my brain pan. When I was a kid in Baltimore the Orioles would let kids sit for free or next-to-nothing in the right field bleachers during Saturday day games. I remember a doubleheader vs. the Bronx Bombers where the hated Yankees scored in the teens in both games and Ellie Howard hit a couple home runs. BTW, he hit .462 and slugged .923 in the 1960 World Series, but sat on the bench for the memorable loss in Game 7. These are verifiable STATS, not STAGS.

I’m with the too-easy-for-a-Thursday crowd. Finished in just over half my normal Thursday time. Interesting to see that Bingo is in the Scrabble rulebook. We just called them SEVEN LETTER WORDS, which as previously noted would have also fit.

Enjoyed an all-too-brief stay in OSAKA. Its castle is beautiful and you should definitely sample Conveyor belt sushi, which was invented there, and takoyaki, octopus balls, while you’re in town. (Wait, I didn’t know octopi had ...)

FWIW, please don’t be a MAGA-doofus: wear a mask when you’re out in public as a courtesy to your neighbors. No matter what anyone tells you, the virus is still out there and ready to flare up at any outbreak of public stupidity. See my Blogger pic for a Stylized suggestion of what you might want to wear.

Cary (not a ROBOT — I know what cars, crosswalks, bikes, taxis and buses look like)

Smith 12:48 PM  

@anon poggius

Yor post reminds me of public high school Latin. I came from a private school where I had spent 4 years learning Latin via the Nature Method, which meant I could, um, actually read Latin. So as a 9th grader they put me in Virgil, which was the 4th year, which I enjoyed until the first exam which asked us to find the "ablative absolute" in a passage. I didn't know much grammar!

jae 12:50 PM  

Easier than yesterday’s. Reasonably smooth grid with a FREE bonus. Liked it, but it was too easy for a Thurs.

HANNA (without the H) is an Amazon Prime Video series that reunites Mireille Enos (remember her?) and Joel Kinnaman from “The Killing”. It’s based on a movie with the same name. Lots of intrigue and action. Worth a look. The second season should be coming in July.

KnittyContessa 1:02 PM  

I never heard of ELSTON Howard (I just had to google it to see if ELSTON was his first or last name.) Never heard of the name ELSTON. Eliton looked like a name. Tongani looked right. Oh well.

Ernonymous 1:05 PM  

@webwinger Thank you, I will do that!

RooMonster 1:40 PM  

If you keep getting your QBs in the SBs unassisted in any way, I bow to your superior intellect. Before I knew of QB, I was content with Genius. But now I get flustered when miss stuff. Today's, I looked at NYY.BEE to see how many if each length word there was. I'm five short, and doubtful I'll get 'em.

Your story had me literally LOLing. How do we get ourselves in such pickly situations?

RooMonster Locked In A Church Basement Once When I Was A Kid Guy

JC66 1:44 PM  

ELSTON Howard "broke the color barrier" for the NY Yankees in 1948, a year after Jackie Robinson did it for Major League Baseball with the Brooklyn Dodgers.


Since you're Blue, you can skip checking the "I'm not a robot" box and just hit Publish Your Comment.

Masked and Anonymous 1:47 PM  

The FREE space, rebussin it up in the middle, was a nice, humorous touch. Otherwise, this ThursPuz was pretty easy -- altho some of the clues were definitely tryin to put up a fight, to compensate for the easy theme. Kinda wound up seemin like a WedPuz with 'tude, at our house.

Primo weeject stacks, in the NW & SE. The weejects in general trended feisty, clue-wise. SPF, NAY, CAR, RTE, AND, and HAS and TEA all went the extra mile, in messin with M&A's precious nanoseconds of solvequestin.

Staff weeject pick goes to HAS, with its mysterious (until after much post-solve reflection) clue of {Orders}. I reckon it's as in: HAS an executive decree enforced, vs. ORDERS an executive decree enforced, or somesuch. Honrable mention must go to the sadistic {Something with a belt and coat} = CAR clue. Liked. But I suffered.

Thanx for the 15x15 bingo game, Mr. Schlossberg. SRSLY unusual, dude.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


Swagomatic 1:53 PM  

I also thought this was easier than yesterday's - and I liked it.

burtonkd 2:14 PM  

@T Williams - I one day had the realization that using a doughnut or double bat is a pretty stupid thing to do before batting. Sure, swing something heavy around to train and build up strength, but don't weaken your muscles RIGHT before going up to hit.

@ Nancy - games of chance vs skill and chance of winning. You are probably like me in that I only remember the games of chance I lose, which is (statistically of course) most of the time. As for having a chance at games of skill, go try your hand at chess in Washington Square Park - you'll come out begging for a game of chance where you at least have a ....chance to win.

@LMS - One favorite Simpsons moment is when Bart claps at the wrong time in the Bingo song and his teacher Edna Krabapple (reference to the Little Rascals teacher) jots down: "missed clap, definitely not Harvard material".

Unknown 2:16 PM  

Blah! But 17 A? I play scrabble. And why is no one stumped by 13 D. srsly? Seriously? Were people texting in grandma’s days?

Anonymous 2:31 PM  

Is Matt Gaffney a phenom because he likes Obama and hates Trump? I do too, but crosswords are above politics.

Z 2:43 PM  

**Fireball Spoiler Alert**
@Pete - In some other puzzle scarlet tanager was used to clue “red robin.” I kid you not. Anyway, they apparently live here about, but I’m pretty sure the vibrant red birds in my back yard are cardinals. They have the size and shape closer to the blue jays that also like the area behind my backyard. Still, it is possible that there is a dyad sized flock back there and I’ve just always assumed the red flash was a cardinal.

I hate to break to you* but SRSLY goes back to the 18th century. Damn kids and their 300 year-old new fangled text speak.

@poggius and @birchbark - The specific context is the new country’s understandable angst about despots and their standing armies. Wade through Federalist Paper #46 to the end for the underlying thesis, i.e. state militias will serve as a countervailing force to federal over-reach.

As for today’s puzzle, I still got nuthin.

*Does anyone who says “hate to break it to you” ever really hate breaking it to you?๐Ÿ˜‡
And is there such a thing as “old fangled?”

Z 2:49 PM  

@Anon 2:31 - Gaffney has been a phenom for 34 years and has a wikipedia page.

EdFromHackensack 2:54 PM  

Sorry, the NE was horrible . UHOH? is it a "word"? two words? SRSLY??? And for some reason I had PIBs instead of PIBB for too long. And NAY was a real curveball. The rest of the puzzle was on the easy side.

Joaquin 2:54 PM  

@CaryinBoulder - Thanks for your FIBONACCI explanation. I just wish I understood what it all meant! Perhaps I shouldn't have stopped taking math classes after struggling through Trig.

Crimson Devil 2:55 PM  

Burtonkd, enjoyed your reference to Washington Square chess matches. I lived nearby when Bobby Fischer took on Boris Spassky and I moseyed over there to meekly watch/listen to kibitzers consider each move. Fascinating and humbling.

Quasi, I too, have become exasperated with customer “service” when I’ve reached out to Bee handlers.

OffTheGrid 3:10 PM  

Assorted gun people. Your 2nd amendment discussion is beyond fascinating. I'm sure the parents of the dead first graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School would love to chime in.

bertoray 3:15 PM  

If ever there was a corona virus silver lining, it is your more frequent posts than beforehand. "Lexical birth control." Solid gold.

Nancy 3:39 PM  

@Frantic Sloth from yesterday -- Two days of gorgeous weather prevented me from catching up with yesterday's blog; hope my silence didn't worry you.

No, I wasn't telling you to shut up. Far from it. I was rather offering sympathy from one Luddite to another. Sometimes trying to do techie stuff on a computer -- where every procedure seems to be completely different from every other procedure --is so frustrating, complicated and anxiety-provoking that it's better to throw in the towel. Early. Thanks to the wonderful people on this blog, I've been able to get the hang of many procedures -- but not close to all of them. By giving up early, I've retained my sanity. Or at least what passes for my sanity.

jae 3:45 PM  

re: yesterday’s SB - I got 35 and when I checked the list after I tapped out there were 2 I should have gotten and 4 WOEs.

Joe Dipinto 3:59 PM  

Eff the spelling bee – did anybody do the Cryptogram in the print edition? I'm finding it harder than usual.

ghthree 4:00 PM  

My wife Jane and I are both avid Crossworders and Scrabble players. We print out two copies of the NYTIMES crossword every morning and solve it together after breakfast.

The Scrabble reference reminded us of two famous crossword games. One featured a twelve-letter word (which was not even a bingo, but might have been). The other was a genuine bingo, with a total score of over 300 points.

1: In the movie Foul Play (1978) Goldie Hawn is climbing down a fire escape fleeing some would-be killers. Briefly, she peers through a window and glimpses two elderly women playing Scrabble. One of them makes a twelve-letter word which I won't list here, except to say that Oedipus Rex epitomizes it. The other points out that it's a hyphenated word, and it is duly retracted. Goldie continues her escape.

2: The largest score I have seen in print was in a magazine (TIME or LIFE, I think). It consisted of the word CONQUEST running down in the upper left-hand corner. An eight-letter word, it had a letter count of 27 points, producing a total of 297 points because it covered TWO triple word scores. So each point was multiplied by nine. Adding the fifty-point bonus leads to 311 points. Plus a few more for whatever word(s) were created by the link(s) to the rest of the grid.

Not familiar with PIBB soda, we missed 9 both across and Down. Double DNF, but fun anyway.

LenFuego 5:04 PM  

Enjoyed it - not earth-shattering, but pleasant.

Not much to add to prior comments, but since nobody has complimented the "Cellular plan?" clue for DNA, I will. Very clever.

Anoa Bob 5:22 PM  

With five long theme entries and 42 black squares, I knew that the theme was going to be all this puzzle had going for it. As others have detailed, lots of short, perfunctory fill isn't much fun to solve.

Last time I played Bingo was around 1956 or so. No surprise then that I didn't remember a FREE square in the middle of the board. The tie-in of the multiple-letter square in the middle of the grid and the rest of the theme was a bit of a mystery for me until I came to this blog.

I have played mucho Scrabble and like the ways that Crosswords and Scrabble overlap. Never heard the "Bingo" call for playing all seven tiles and getting that FIFTY POINT BONUS. What a thrill that is!

Didn't pursue Scrabble at the tournament level because I didn't want to memorize the seemingly endless list of two-letter words that are acceptable. Don't want to take up valuable brain space with stuff like that. I do have, however, a coffee cup that has all the acceptable words that start with Q.

The FIBONACCI SEQUENCE/SERIES (FS) discussion has been interesting, especially the relationship of the FS to shapes and forms found in nature, like the nautilus shell. My question is how can that be? The FS is on an interval scale while nature is on a continuous scale. The FS numbers jump from one to the next with an interval between. Nature varies continuously with no break or gap on any measure or value. Kinda like trying to go from digital to analog. Can one ever get there?

pabloinnh 5:28 PM  


Finally got to Genius today and I'm giving up. For some reason it feels like I was trying to make words out of these same letters yesterday. Deja vu all over again, sayeth the Yogi.

@webwinger-Totally agree on Roger Angell. Just the best baseball writer ever. I have several of his books and revisit them frequently, just for the writing. As graceful and elegant as the game I love can be.

Nancy 5:29 PM  

@Joe D (3:59) -- I just solved the Cryptogram. Thanks for drawing it to my attention: I fold the paper lengthwise when I do the puzzle, and have missed seeing some of these new daily variety puzzles because my fold blocks them from view. They're fun and it's a shame to miss them.

I did this one in about ten minutes. I see you've listed an email address, Joe, so I'm going to send you a couple of hints off-blog. I think they'll help -- but don't read them unless you're ready for hints.

In a different email, I'll send you the answer. I'll label it. Don't open until/unless, after utilizing the hints, you've given up.

(After which I'll be in a hot tub for the next 30-40 minutes.)

Whatsername 5:42 PM  

@Joe D (3:59) I agree re the SB, very frustrating. Do you - or @Nancy, you - or anyone else know whether the cryptogram is available on line? I had no luck finding it.

Lorelei Lee 5:45 PM  

@webwinger, Ask @Nancy "Could a sequel to The Green Paint Mystery be gestating?" to Hungry Mother's "I was a BINGO caller for several years in south Jersey at a smoke-filled parish hall."

Also, @webwinger, everything I read of Roger Angell in the New Yorker on baseball was pure gold. I almost wish I had resubscribed because I'd run over there right now and look up some of those pieces. I could use that comfort these days.

Crimson Devil 5:52 PM  

Amen to Webwinger & Pabloinnhr re Roger Angell.
I’ve found Tim Kirkjean to be very knowledgeable and entertaining baseball author: Is This a Great Game or What, and Why I Love Sacrifice Flies.

Anonymous 6:02 PM  

TJS and BobL ask me to put a lid on it, and they will probably get what they ask for. My thanks to Birchbark, Webwinger, and Smith for their kind words (sp.?? for all).

I was trying to point out that the second amendment was not written in English--it was written in Latin, even if every word is in English. I think that if the "militia" clause reinforces the guns-rights argument--it is an "ablative of attendant circumstance"--perhaps if we give the right this, they will be able to give something back, perhaps in terms of the definition of "arms." But perhaps, as I said, this is Quixotic.

My *A New Introduction to Greek* 3rd ed., is written by Alston Hurd Chase of Andover and Henry Phillips Jr. of Exeter. I wrote earlier that neither would have permitted an "absolute" expression in English. I knew Chase at Andover, though I did not know him well. He was truly, truly, truly reactionary. If you have too much time on your hands, read his autobiographical memoirs, *Time Remembered*, where you will learn that what would today be called "liberals" have completely taken over academia in 1964!

Anon. i.e. Poggius

egsforbreakfast 6:20 PM  

Webwinger, Pablo & Crimson Devil. Couldn’t agree more about Roger Angell. Best baseball writer ever. I hope everyone also remembers his page-long Christmas poems in the New Yorker. Always a lively rhyming tour of the personalities that shaped that year’s news, culture, sports and arts scenes.

Anonymous 6:40 PM  

I had an eye doctor look into my eye for the first time that he had ever seen me and say "Uh oh" almost right away.

I needed retina surgery but the good news is that 45 years later my eyesight is still fine.

I would definitely asset that he uttered two words and not one.

Anonymous 6:41 PM  

Some folks vote for Red Smith.
"Writing is easy. You just open a vein and bleed."

Who can top that?

gdaddywinz 7:41 PM  

My wife and I regularly attempt and usually do OK (solve in 20-30 minutes) and never comment. This is my first comment. This puzzle seemed relatively easier for us than most of you and I think it was because we are late 70s age. A rare situation!

Birchbark 7:42 PM  

@Z (2:43) -- Never hurts to dust off the Fล“deralist, as Madison would have it. In number 46, the context for the context, if you will, being the primacy of the Federal or State governments. I underlined this passage at some ancient phase in my past, for reasons long forgotten but curious to read:

"The adversaries of the Constitution seem to have lost sight of the people altogether in their reasonings on this subject: and to have viewed these different establishments [State and Federal governments], not only as mutual rivals and enemies, but as uncontrolled by any common superior in their efforts to usurp the authorities of each other. These gentlemen must here be reminded of their error. They must be told that the ultimate authority, wherever the derivative may be found, resides in the people alone ..."

Choosing the interpretive starting point here can drive very different endgames. Both of @Poggius's posts suggest that if we start with Latin and Greek grammar that informed the authors, for specific grammatical reasons, the "militia" context isn't a prerequisite to finding the meaning (because it is couched in an "ablative of attendant circumstance"). If we were to answer that such granularity is too fine and instead start with context to guide us, we might land in a different place. You could look at the latter passages of Federalist 46 and see what was on Madison's mind when he drafted the Bill of Rights. Or not, as the battle might easily shift to the question of which or whose competing context governs among the many that voted to ratify. If one thing is true of the Founders, it is that they disagreed deeply amongst themselves yet still plowed ahead.
I now realize that the reason I don't have a bumper sticker is that I can't find a big enough bumper for all of this.

pabloinnh 7:53 PM  

@Anon 6:41-What can top that is Roger Angell quoting A. E. Housman as he begins his piece on th '75 World Series--"Tarry delight, so seldom met...", and more or less any sentence in his incomparable description of that whole event, complete with his understanding of what happened all over NE when Fisk hit his home run and why caring about sports is frivolous and tremendously important.

Nothing against Red Smith, but Mr. Angell is in a class of his own.


Joe Dipinto 8:29 PM  

@whatsername – I'm pretty sure the Cryptogram is only in the paper edition. It alternates every other day with some kind of anagram or word gimmick thing. Finally cracked today's after taking a late afternoon nap, so, while @Nancy's email suggestions were on the money, I didn't need them as it turned out. (thanks again, Nancy)

webwinger 8:30 PM  

@Anon 6:40: One thing about eye disorders, even very serious ones: They can often be diagnosed accurately in an instant based simply on appearance by a knowledgeable clinician. It sometimes takes considerable restraint to avoid alarming the patient/family and to avoid giving the impression of having done only a superficial assessment. Glad your experience had a happy ending!

Poggius, @Z, and @birchbark: Feel brushed up on the Constitution like I haven’t in years! One thing’s for sure—our founding fathers were quite a bunch of guys. (I’m sure the founding mothers were also terrific, but they didn’t get to leave much of a paper trail.) Makes it all the sadder to look at the federal government today.

For you many Roger Angell fans, here’s a non-baseball essay from the New Yorker a few years ago, in which he takes a hard-focused look at what it’s like to be 90+ years old. It’s both harrowing and comforting to have an unflinchingly honest writer who feels like an old friend act as a guide to what—hopefully!?—lies ahead.

Z 9:06 PM  

@OffTheGrid 3:10 - Do you think we disagree?

@Birchbark - Yah. It’s almost as if they knew they couldn’t solve every problem, or even know what tomorrow’s problems would be.

@webwinger - Yah. Although far more, uh, “interesting” than they’re usually given credit for.

CDilly52 11:04 PM  

@Anon 8:40 am: loved your deep dive into grammar. Raised by my Grandmother who spoke German first, English second, but taught Latin and English in Germany, I thank her for my first grammar lessons. My brother and I jokingly called her “Grammar.” In school, we still diagrammed sentences starting in third grade. Later, Mrs Roenker and Mrs. DeWiesse who taught English and Latin drilled and drilled. So hand up for happy to see a post dedicated to such a wonderful deep dive analysis of the 2nd Amendment clause!

CDilly52 11:07 PM  

@Anon 8:10. The BINGO in Scrabble always was a head scratcher for me too. I remember playing with the family on a camping trip to the U.P. asking why using all 7 letters wasn’t called a “Scrabble”.

spacecraft 1:02 PM  

As an avid player of both bingo and Scrabble, I must take virulent exception to OFC's comment: "If you are of the bingo-playing age, here is your puzzle." Talk about stereotypes! Although my 80th is only a week away, I can tell you that people of all (21+) ages play bingo. Where else in a casino can you make a one-time payment for a whole hour? It's definitely NOT for "little old ladies" any more!

This puzzle triply hit home, as we eat GLUTEN-FREE. Not for Celiac; that stuff is bad for your overall health. Read Dr. William Davis' "Wheat Belly" sometime. Thus, I enjoyed this solve threefold. YEAH, there are an awful lot of threes, a result of making way for long across themers. But I still dug it. Ramped-up clues helped place this in its proper Thursday slot, and Grace SLICK is a fresh face on the DOD roster. Birdie.

Diana, LIW 2:32 PM  

Yes, I got the one and only rebus - w/o any themer clues in the puz, too.

I was quite stumped by the NE, but eventually prevailed. Triumph points abound.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for BONUS POINTS

Diana, LIW 2:36 PM  

and I forgot to say, ARF nay be one of my favorite answers ever (to such a clue)

Lady Di

rainforest 2:42 PM  

Not a BINGO fan, but when I was younger I tried to win a plush bear for my girlfriend throwing softballs at baskets, trying to swing the hammer and ring the bell, etc., and eventually playing BINGO and winning a game...and a plush bear. That might have been my last gakme of BINGO.

I kind of liked this puzzle. Theme was just dandy and tight, nice grid and some tricky off-beat clues. SRSLY was my last entry, SRSLY.

Burma Shave 3:36 PM  


IHEAR AND I see that HANNAH ain’t so PORE;
no LYES, it ain’t FREE for a MANNA see a HOAR.


rondo 4:08 PM  

I wrote over YAkS to get YAPS and entry into the pesky NE. Didn't consider UH-OH as only one word. And SRSLY, SRSLY? IHEAR that from A to Z either PAULA Abdul or PAULA Zahn would make a great YEAH baby. One rebus square too many but it fit the bingo theme, I guess.

leftcoaster 4:38 PM  

Got the Bingo gimmick early because the clues shouted it out, and the FREE square in the middle was a gimme. (The Scrabble clue was a bit of a diversion.)

Overall, I liked the puzzle.

But one word was a kick in the butt: NAY clued as an "Assembly line". Guessed NAs(?) instead, and didn't pick up on the Y in the SRSLY cross. Not really tuned into texty abbreviations.

ALAS! (not seriously)

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP