Liable to snoop / TUES 5-26-20 / In scoring position, say / "Straight Outta Compton" group / Bamboozles

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Hi, everyone! It's Clare, back again for this last Tuesday in May. I hope you're all doing well! I've been mostly just trying to relax these last few weeks since my law school finals ended. Quarantine for me has basically been: 12 million card games, 17 loaves of bread, nine hikes (including a fun 14.5-miler with some rock climbing involved!), and three animals driving me up the wall. I was looking forward to some mental stimulation from this puzzle, but...

Constructor: Neville Fogarty

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: BODIES OF WATER (35A: What the ends of 17-, 21-, 55- and 60-Across end in) — the end word of each of the four theme answers is a body of water.

Theme answers:
  • COLIN FIRTH (17A: Best actor winner for "The King's Speech")
  • ARTHUR LAKE (21A: Actor who played Dagwood Bumstead in film, radio and TV)
  • BILLY OCEAN (55A: Singer with the 1984 #1 hit "Caribbean Queen")
  • MICHAEL BAY (60A: Pearl Harbor director, 2001)

Word of the Day: ARTHUR LAKE 
Arthur Lake (born Arthur Silverlake Jr.) was an American actor known best for bringing Dagwood Bumstead, the bumbling husband of Blondie, to life in film, radio and television. He portrayed the Blondie comic strip character in twenty-eight Blondie films produced by Columbia Pictures from 1938 to 1950. He was also the voice of Dagwood on the radio series, which ran from 1938 to 1950, earning a star for him on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (Wiki)
• • •

I can think of almost nothing to say about this puzzle — the theme was run-of-the-mill, the fill was mostly boring, and there were a lot of obscure names. That's all I need to say, right? Cool.

OK, I guess I can say a bit more. This puzzle felt like it came from someone with quarantine-brain, even though it's probably been in the backlog for a while — it just had no real pizzazz to it. I think my feelings about the puzzle as a whole are best summarized by the way I felt when I saw the clue for 61D: Letter after kay. Seriously? That simple? Give me something more interesting, please, I beg of you!

Anyway... the puzzle as a whole felt quite boring and also fairly hard, mostly because of the names used in the theme. While I knew COLIN FIRTH and MICHAEL BAY, the two other themers just don't feel particularly relevant in today's world. The first thing that slowed me down with the theme was that I didn't know a "firth" was a body of water. Then, I didn't know who ARTHUR LAKE was (he went off the air on radio in 1950...), so I had to piece his name together from the downs; and, I didn't know BILLY OCEAN. So... that was pretty hard. I also feel like we've seen this kind of theme a million times before — and will see it a million times again: A group of celebrities with names that can be grouped into a vague category.

I finished this puzzle and looked back through to find something — anything — that I found remotely interesting. I've concluded that some of the longer downs in the puzzle (BRASILIA; OUTCLASS; NECKWEAR) were just fine. And, I think the best thing about the whole puzzle was 47D: Doll that ran for president for the first time in 1992 as BARBIE. That's at least a fun tidbit. Other than that, the fill was just sort of there and taking up space.

  • KRIS Jenner (20A) in a crossword puzzle? No, thank you!
  • I had no idea that an average HAT SIZE was 7 1/4 (42A) — I'm not sure I ever needed to know this but I suppose it's useful information. Bruce Bochy (former manager of my San Francisco Giants) has a hat size of 8 1/8. Dude has a noggin.
  • Here's BALOO singing "The Bare Necessities" to liven things up a bit:
  • And, because COLIN FIRTH is on the brain, here's an amazing scene of him in the "Pride and Prejudice" miniseries:
(And, if you like that scene, I'd highly recommend the life-changing 2005 movie version of "Pride and Prejudice," as well)

With that, I'm signing off. Hope you all stay safe and happy (and six feet apart!)

Signed, Clare Carroll — Barbie 2020

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 12:39 AM  

It's a Tuesday. It had a theme. It was easy. Couple things though...

That's kind of a weird clue for EXHUME, isn't it? "Bring to light." I hear "bring to light" and I think of presenting something or exposing it, but EXHUME gives me the heebie-jeebies when I ponder its more common application.
A lecture or seminar where new information is shared is an example of bringing something to light.
EXHUME(ing) is done by the homicide division and DA's office working a murder case, or DNA testing for any number of reasons, or ghouls shopping cadavers for a little pocket change.
Please don't make me say that again.

And if EBAY is the only place online where I can "shop by category", how am I able to find things on Amazon, Chewy, or Etsy? I can't imagine a more terrifying undertaking than searching all willy-nilly on Etsy looking for that perfect something for a special someone.

EXHUME. Ghouls. Undertaking. Ugh!
The downward spiral stops now!


GHarris 12:43 AM  

Barbie may have been an unsuccessful presidential candidate but in 2016 a mindless mannequin managed to get elected.

Anonymous 12:48 AM  

an excellent tuepuz. ok, four bodies of water was not scintillating, but Firth made it a little tougher.

I remember seeing the great Scottish comedian Billy Connolly live in the UK. One routine was about a girl. "I'm Fay Firth." What she meant was "I'm from Firth."

If you get Netflix I suggest W1A. It's the sequel series to Twenty Twelve. It starts slowly, then after a while you'll "get it." Right, no, brilliant. And the job titles are hillarious. Director of Better.


jae 1:05 AM  

Tough. Reasonably smooth and solid, liked it more than @Clare did, but then it’s Tuesday and THE BAR is low.

The NW was not very obvious plus I needed crosses to come up COLIN FIRTH. EXpose before EXHUME didn’t, on the tough side.

the chocolate doctor מרת שאקאלאד 2:38 AM  

It was painful for me to have to fill in NOLITA. No one uses this awful name.

chefwen 2:43 AM  

Fell into some difficulty in the upper Midwest area. Had EXposE at 9D, STa at 5D. COLIN FIRTH wasn’t coming to me. Started thinking about a body of water that began with an F, DOH, I lived close to the FIRTH of Clyde for five years when I was a wee bairn. Scrubbed expose, suddenly remembered COLIN and fixed ARTHUR. Boom, I was done.

Fun puzzle with a mixed bag of names, a couple of new ones for me, but I don’t get out much.

goldbug 3:16 AM  

Hmm. It's not like I'm an avid follower of the sport or anything, but I've watched a fair few tennis matches over the year and I've yet to hear the term AD OUT (it's usually just "advantage [player name]"). But okay. I was also stumped by the IRA clue: here in London we have a train station just up the road that was once blown up by the IRA, and the four-letter word beginning with A definitely wasn't ACCT back then.

But at least I knew that a FORTH was a body of water - the catchily named Firth of Forth is a well-known estuary in Scotland. I remember BILLY OCEAN too (he seemed inescapable in the mid-80s) but ARTHUR LAKE was a bridge too far. I was slightly more horrified by the presence of MICHAEL BAY in this puzzle than KRIS Jenner. Couldn't remember her name at first but at least the initial K was a gimme.

Anyway, it was fine, wasn't it? Just. . . fine.

John Child 3:32 AM  

I could have done without Edie, Kris, Fannie, Alan, Barbie, and Baloo in a puzzle whose theme answers were names...

JOHN X 4:36 AM  

First off, I would like to thank everyone for their very nice comments yesterday. It reminded me of when I was in the Belgian Congo several years ago, extremely high on LSD, and the angry natives killed all my coworkers yet let me go. I was always thankful for this great act of kindness, although I later learned that they thought I was retarded and it was bad luck to kill me. Fortunately a gunboat found me, yet I think of each of them every day.

This puzzle: man, I was trying to fit GEOFFREYRUSH into that first themer. I thought the teacher was the star, not the king, right? Apparently not. I was amazed I knew ARTHURLAKE from Saturday afternoon TV way back when. Did you know that Penny Singleton was also the voice of Jane Jetson, mother of x-word mainstay ELROY?

A lot of actors in here. In fact, going back to GEOFFREYRUSH, who also has an Oscar and can act as good as the finest, but if you have a role that requires scenery chewing Geoffrey Rush will chew it and provide an extra set of teeth if needed. One of my favorite movies is Mystery Men, where Geoffrey Rush plays the villain "Casanova Frankenstein" and he has a meeting at his castle lair with all the gangs of the city, including the "Frat Boys" who are beer-swillers straight out of USC and are led in a cameo appearance by MICHAELBAY.


GILL I. 5:09 AM  

Now I know why there is a reason I want to be cremated. The thought of being EXHUMEd also gives me @Frantic's heebie-jeebies....or should I say the whim-whams.
Speaking of screaming meemies, can we possibly fit one more little name in here?
I don't wear hats - they muss my hair. I wish at times my shoe SIZE was 71/4. It's a 10. I have big feet - they were that size when I was about 12. I was captain of our kickball team.
Ah, yes BRASILIA. Biggest worse capital of all of South America. They should've left it in Rio. At least the politicos could take a break and go dip at the Copacabana.
I liked shopping In the North of Little Italy neighborhood but I don't remember calling it NOLITA. How do you pronounce Houston?

Anonymous 5:17 AM  

I can't imagine any woman doing this puzzle not knowing Colin Firth in any disguise, and Firth was the giveaway that it had to be there for some other reason, and water seemed a good possibility. Which helped with the other ones. Never saw Blondie on TV and can't imagine anyone trying to look like Dagwood, but that's ok, it's all done with mirrors. The rest came more with how long the word had to be, and that helped with everything else. Good workout, good puzzle, for the not very good solvers like me. I only really have a chance with Monday and Tuesday, the rest of the week is when I struggle.

Lewis 6:17 AM  

A sound puzzle. I never felt swamped or at sea; answer seemed to spring forth easily, even through a bit of a bight in the NE quadrant. So I brook no ill will, no indeed, that's a loch and you're tarn dootin'.

ChuckD 6:18 AM  

Name game was too much for me. I read Blondie but never saw the movies so that was filled in with crosses. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anyone actually use the term NoLita. It’s always been part of Little Italy to me - simple as that.

Diver 6:29 AM  

I grew up watching Arthur Lake in the Blondie TV series, which ran until 1957. The comic strip is still running after 90 years. Must be something to it. Keep the Kardashians out of my puzzles! Now I've lost my appetite for breakfast.

Z 6:31 AM  

Frank OCEAN was winning Grammy Awards in this decade, so let’s go with the guy whose career peaked in the 1980’s.

I’m sure nobody will be surprised that the Pop Culture, Product Names (BARBIE only counts as 1) and other Proper Nouns came in at 25 of 74 for 34%. There is some attempt at diversity (Dr. Dre of NWA reprising ARTHUR LAKE’s role would be awesome, wouldn’t it? KRIS Jenner as Blondie, BARBIE as Cookie, and EDIE McClurg as JC Dithers. Michael Bay directs. I think it would be huge), but I think the surfeit of names is going to make this play hard for a Tuesday for many people. This strikes me as one of Fogarty’s lesser efforts.

The ONION clue struck me as odd. What do you put in your Denver omelet to make it a Denver omelet? To me it’s more what goes on it than what goes in it that makes it a Denver omelet, but the recipes I found all seem to include onion, bell pepper, and ham. That doesn’t really say “Denver” to me. Any Coloradans care to weigh in? (BTW - I did not include this in my PPP count)

Carola 6:35 AM  

A tough one for me. Of the WATER BOYs, I knew only COLIN FIRTH; and EDIE and ADOUT were unknowns as well, making it hard for me to get a start up top. I wondered if LOIRE was included in order to make us ponder whether a river is itself a BOD[Y] of water or rather a conduit to one.
Favorite entry: GUISE.

Hungry Mother 6:40 AM  

I liked the theme and it helped a lot with some unknown names. Fairly fast solve, but a bit crunchy. Nice to be reminded of a cruise where one of my granddaughters handed me a naked Barbie and said, “Help me dress her, Pop Pop?” I was abashed.

amyyanni 6:42 AM  

Hi Clare. Thanks for stopping by. Agree that EXHUME and the clue for it made me shudder a bit. A serviceable Tuesday. Adout.

Z 7:06 AM  

Hey constructors - Can we make quockerwodger happen?

kitshef 7:13 AM  

Major kudos for using FIRTH as one of your bodies of water.

Between Sunday and today puzzles are relying much too much on celebrities lately. Not the constructor’s fault – they should not have run so close together.

Really hate “neighborhood” clues and we get two of them today.

Inelegant to have e-BAY in the puzzle. No bodies of water should appear outside the theme.

Mickey Bell 7:16 AM  

While I’m no Billy Ocean fan, per se, he was not insignificant in the eighties. Ever heard of Ghostbusters? Who ya gonna call? Arthur Lake, on the other hand, is obscure/irrelevant.

Easy fill with a theme that had me hunting because I have never heard of a firth as anything other than a name.

So, two showstoppers surrounded by Monday-level low-bar simplicity.

pabloinnh 7:28 AM  

As @goldbug points out, once you've heard "Firth of Forth", you don't forget it, if you're interested in words at all. Also, you find out what a firth is.

OK for a Tuesday, but as usual I was disappointed to find the revealer in the middle of the puzzle and not at the end. Your revelation should come last, always and forever.

OK for a Tuesday, Neville, but I think I would rather listen to your brother John.

Suzie Q 7:51 AM  

Name puzzles bore me.
The only fun moment was realizing that darts was the answer after trying to think of a board game with a circular shape.

Amie Devero 7:55 AM  

If you play tennis you say "ad out". That's what "advantage" is abbreviated to. It's very common usage for on-the-court score-keeping, but not for spectatortspectator

webwinger 7:56 AM  

This puzzle was such a bore that I wasn’t planning to post today, but I have to say that Clare’s review was exactly the remedy for my xword blues. Could not have been better—nailed both the puzzle and the zeitgeist.

I will say that the SE corner rose to a bit higher level than the rest. Liked the BARBIE clue tidbit. Good to see Molly Bloom make a brief curtain call at 49D. Happy to be reminded of the beautiful LOIRE valley. And had a near Natick experience at the crossing of BALOO and LOESS—couldn’t remember if the bear’s name ended in OU or OO, and the Maleskan (for me anyhou) crossing helped not at all.

This article in today’s NYT captures the dire economic situation in California, which despite the country’s longest (and mostly continuing) lockdown is now seeing more daily new COVID cases per capita per day (5/100K) than Florida (3.5/100K), which mostly reopened more than 3 weeks ago after one of the briefest statewide stay-home periods. The two states are in a virtual tie (at 33rd/34th place among all states) for cumulative numbers of cases per capita and (at 28th place) for deaths per capita, despite Florida’s considerably older population. It’s been said that the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expect a different outcome…

Anonymous 8:27 AM  

Significant mistake on I.R.A.

The A stands for arrangement, not account, according to the IRS:

Debra 8:38 AM  

Worst. Puzzle. Ever. Obscure names. No redeeming features.

kitshef 8:39 AM  

@Mickey Bell - Ray Parker, Jr. sang the Ghostbusters theme.

Z 8:50 AM  

@webwinger - Florida is almost certainly under-reporting, possibly to the point of outright lying. Even with their interesting data tactics, their urban areas are among the worst hit in the country. Florida’s excessive deaths rate is probably more indicative of what’s really happening there. Always remember that Figures never lie, but figurers do.

Bruce R 8:53 AM  

"Website where you can shop by category" = ALMOSTALLOFTHEM

xyz 9:08 AM  

Nice to see Jai ALAI, I really love watching that game when I go to San Sebastien

Not so for the word Kardashian(So sad this word is in the computer dictionary and doesn't set off autocorrect programs)

I got nothin' either

Petsounds 9:29 AM  

Agree with @kitshef about too many celebrity names. Disagree with @kitshef that it's not the constructors' fault. It is. Enough, already! I saw the Kardashian clue and was going to skip it, on principle, but the K was already filled in, and because that whole crew is inescapable, I grudgingly wrote in KRIS.

An easy puzzle and a quick solve time. Doesn't make me like it, though.

RooMonster 9:31 AM  

Hey All !
Even though I hadn't heard of ARTHUR LAKE, his resumé as being Dagwood Bumstead makes him apt for this theme. How many people 40 years from now will know BILLY OCEAN? (Some don't know it now)

Quirky little TuesPuz. Surprised Rex didn't say, "Why these BODIES OF WATER? Out of the 348 different types of BODIES?" Har.

Kinda disappointed in the BAY dupe. Especially as it was a themer.

Noticed some neat lines in puz:
"The King's Speech" actor's IRA? - COLIN FIRTH ACCT
Wander who might wander? - TSA AND TEMPTED
Hard work? - TRUE TOILS
Army guy running from criminals? - ESC CONS ON BASE
"Caribbean Queen" singer softball pitching? - BILLY OCEAN ARCS
Jump up a France River? - RISE INTO LOIRE
Up close shot of a derrière? - FANNIE ZOOM IN
Throw projectiles independently! Chant? - DARTS NOT SECTS
Dig up dirt on Ryder? - EXHUME WINONA
"No! Not my favorite dall!"? - IT CANT BE BARBIE

I'll leave others for others. ☺️

Nice puz Neville.

Two F's (in themers)

Richard 9:40 AM  

About what you'd expect for a Tuesday: simple theme; smooth, uneventful fill. Nice one for newbies just learning about themed puzzles. My only hiccup was at 54D: with BA in place I confidently dropped in the wrong bear, er, elephant BAbar (easlily corrected corrected with the acrosses).

"ONBASE" does not mean you're in scoring position; gotta be on second or third for that.

I know the Firth of Forth, but wonder, "Are there any other firths?" Inquiring minds....

My wife Anne overheard me playing the scene from P & P posted by Clare and recognized it instantly, saying, "That's where every woman goes, 'aaahhh.'" Anne's more than 3X your age, Clare, so some things have universal appeal. Can't say Firth had the same effect on me, although Jennifer Ehle certainly did.

Kathy 9:41 AM  

What Annabel said, word for word.
I picked my way through the thicket of PPP, managing to decipher the answers, but there was no joy in getting any of them. It’s so much more fun sussing out an answer that turns out to be something you DO know once you open your mind. More early week misdirection, please!

I think NOLITA is one of the many real estate designations foisted onto New Yorkers that never found their way into local usage. FIDI, anyone?

mathgent 9:45 AM  

Some of the brightest memories of my childhood are going to see a Blondie movie with my mother and father and then having an ice cream sundae at the fountain next door afterwards. I loved those movies. The series of 28 films started when I was four and wrapped up when I was sixteen but I can only remember seeing them in my pre-teen years. During that time they made at least two of them every year. I read the comic strip but the movies were much better. Arthur Lake and Penny Singleton also starred in a Blondie radio series, which Wikipedia says was popular, but I don’t remember it.

Complaints about placement of the revealer don’t register with me. I go through all the clues, fill in the gimmies, find a cluster, and then build on it. After entering the gimmies, I try to only work on slots which have at least one letter written in. I usually succeed until Friday.

I had ZEROIN before ZOOMIN but I love them both. So much fun to say.

New York is my second-favorite city so I was happy when I thought that I had learned the name of one of its neighborhoods. But I guess that New Yorkers don’t say NOLITA. Like San Franciscans don’t say Little Italy, which a recent crossword said was one of our neighborhoods.

Nancy 9:55 AM  

Out of all the BODIES OF WATERmen, I only knew one: COLIN FIRTH. Normally I'd complain, but all the others were very fairly crossed, so it wasn't an issue.

Also, I often get my gut reaction to a puzzle's level of difficulty from the NW corner, and today's NW corner had a little crunch for a Tuesday. I had to think about HANGS, HACK IT and GUISE. Nor did I plunk in NOLITA immediately either: all those neighborhoods down around the Bowery are as foreign to UES-situated New Yorker me as they would be to a Minnesotan or a South Dakotan. It's a long, long subway ride down there, or, depending on how far west, sometimes two long subway rides. Then you have to do it all over again going home. When you get down there, the streets are narrow and dark and crowded (and I would say quite ugly; sorry all you Nolitans) and there are no parks. I have a friend who has tried to drag me down to the Angelika movie theater on W. Houston St, but I say: no dice; I don't do destination movies.

Now for the rest of the puzzle. BARBIE ran for president??!! Who knew?

A proper name-laden Tuesday that for some reason I can't quite put my finger on, I found okay.

Kathy 9:59 AM  

I apologize, Clare, for calling you Annabel in my previous post. I guess I‘m suffering from name overload this morning!
Again, spot-on write up!

EdFromHackensack 10:06 AM  

No complaints about NWA? do you know what it stands for?

Tom R 10:11 AM  

My, my, Clare. One might suppose you were bored by this puzzle based on your link to the Colin Firth movie. Actually, that droll bit of write-up make me smile, so thanks for that.

Whatsername 10:16 AM  

A solid Tuesday and, like yesterday’s, a good one for those just getting started and needing experience. The NW corner was tough for me because I had ROCKIT at 1D, couldn’t come up with the NY neighborhood and know very little about tennis scores other than they seem unnecessarily complicated.

Nice to see you back Clare, and thanks for the movie recommendation on P&P. Also enjoyed the clip of COLINFIRTH, one of the best actors of his generation IMO. He was simply magnificent in The King’s Speech, which also very deservedly won Best Picture.

@JOHN X (4:36) I agree Geoffrey Rush and Firth were more like costars in that film. As you pointed out, Rush is one of the most versatile actors out there. One of my favorites was his comedic role in The Banger Sisters as an eccentric writer who unwittingly gets caught up on a road trip with the even more eccentric Goldie Hawn. The movie itself received mediocre ratings, but he was brilliant as always.

Sgreennyc 10:26 AM  

I thought the puzzle was just fine. Rex’s assistants are apparently adopting his rampant negativity.

Barbara S. 10:38 AM  

When I was 16, I was lucky enough to travel in Europe for the month of August with my sister (who was in her twenties) and a group of her friends. Wow, was that fun! One of the things we did was rent a car and follow the LOIRE from Nantes to Orleans. I was gobsmacked by the chateaux -- thought I'd stepped into a book of fairytales. My travelling companions were all university students and interested in history and we devoured everything we could about what we were seeing -- we had long discussions about people like Joan of Arc and Diane de Poitiers. And I remember our daily picnic lunches beside the river with bread, cheese and the local divine (and divinely cheap) vintage. As I recall (fuzzily), I was always just a bit tipsy in the afternoons. During that LOIRE trip, the sun always shone and it really was la vie en rose. Ah, youth.

65A Balaam's ASS actually talked to him. I forget the details of the story but here he is

Balaam's ASS by Rembrandt

10D DUAL, as clued, reminded me of something else I saw for the first time the summer I was 16. This was (of course) in the U.K.

Road Sign

I never stopped hoping for actual carriages.

47D Anybody know if BARBIE is a declared candidate this year?

tea73 10:40 AM  

@Richard yes indeed there are other FIRTHs. FIRTH of Tay and FIRTH of Clyde and at least nine more.

I saw BODIES OF WATER without reading the clue. Agree that whoever played Dagwood was super obscure. I hadn't realized there were two singers with the last name OCEAN, for a while I had Lilly there because I had THE lAw going down.

Some day I am going to remember that the LOIRE is the longest river in France. And I lived in Tours for a year and saw that river every single day!

QuasiMojo 10:40 AM  

BUNNY LAKE is Missing! And so is Ricki Lake, Veronica Lake and the Loch Ness Monster.

Frothy fun.

But should be "DADbodies of Water."

Others it was nice to recall: Peter WEIR; Willow BAY; Clive BROOK; Jeff BECK; Jean MARSH; Ethel WATERS; Peter FIRTH; Dolores del RIO; Martina ARROYO; Eileen FJORD? :)

johnk 10:48 AM  

Apparently, Fogarty couldn't/wouldn't come up with any women with body-of-water surnames. Nor could Shortz suggest any. They needed to be 10 letters, so does Joan Rivers come to mind? Lesser known (but that didn't stop him from using 2 obscure men) are Frances Bay, Linda Marsh and Iria Del Rio.

Joe Dipinto 10:49 AM  

I always picture Neville Fogarty looking like a cross between John Fogarty of CCR and Neville Longbottom (actor Matthew Lewis) in the Harry Potter movies. Judging from his picture at XWord Info, I'm pretty off-base with that.

Underwhelming theme. HAT SIZE and NECKWEAR were my favorite answers, since one can never have too many caps or ties (see avatar). NOLITA came up recently – I don't think anyone really calls the neighborhood that, it just exists on NYC street maps. But @Nancy's chagrin at possibly having to go there is hilarious. No parks? Washington Square Park is right.there.

I was expecting Rex to post this, but he's not here today. I'll throw in this too, to make up for...

Arthur Lake??? wtf?

And some 'Retha for the road.

Lorelei Lee 10:54 AM  

Arthur Lake nee Silverlake, So sorry your puzzle moment wasn't run on April 15, your 110th birthday. Your last episode of Blondie (Beware of Blondie ... things must've taken a dark turn there at the end) was 70 years ago.

Yet I pulled you out of the deep recesses of the many Saturday mornings spent sitting on the floor about 2 feet from our small screen, black and white TV, working on my future myopia and laughing at your foibles.

Didn't know Michael Bay and might have known Billy Ocean but realized I was in water over my head at that point and gave up.

Snark alert! If you erected a hole and exhumed a body at night was it still brought to light or into being?

burtonkd 10:56 AM  

@Nancy - Those tight streets are full of interesting shops and life forms, but agreed that the lack of parks downtown is stunning to this resident of Inwood, another Manhattan neighborhood you've probably never ventured to:) I have a job on the UES and confess it is a pain to get back and forth no matter how you slice it, except for bicycle. Glad I've been riding one for years and don't need to stand in line to try to get whatever is left in bike shops now. Just know you can't use subway difficulties as an excuse for NOLITA since it is on the green numbered line. Cheers!

There are all kinds of annoying neighborhood names that are dreamed up in real estate offices to try to differentiate the more desirable slices of traditional neighborhoods. Local paper article seems to nail the disgust.
And don't get me started on renaming bridges and highways that had useful names that let you know where they go. Triborough Bridge connects 3 boroughs, not 3 initials. Interborough Parkway connects BK and Queens. Nothing against the people these are named for. Tappan Zee bridge renaming is quite a hot topic up in Rockland County.

Oh, and the puzzle had too many proper names...

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

not to mention that DeSantis encouraged those tens of thousands of Spring Break Covidiots to infect nearly the entire Eastern USofA. just go look at the Tectonix graph.

it's here:

then, look at how the Covid map has filled in very nicely where those morons went home to: (you need to run Chrome to see the full map)

so, yeah, Florida is the epitome of rectitude. not to mention those other Right Wing governed states that are refusing to publish Covid data. might hurt bidnezz.

Nancy 11:06 AM  

@Barbara S (10:38) -- I'm gobsmacked by the fact that you have a sister who, when she was in her 20s and you were a mere 16, invited you to travel to Europe for an entire month with her and her friends. Now, I don't know that much about older sisters, having a younger brother and no other siblings, but it does strike me as highly unusual and very generous and loving.

And, Barbara, I, too remember the excellent and remarkably inexpensive French wine that was available back in the day. At age 18, I was in Cannes in a pension located a block behind the Carlton hotel -- a pension with its own garden -- that cost each of us $11/day, including a continental breakfast and a full gourmet dinner!!!!! No choice on the dinner menu, they served what they served, in the garden, and all of it was like a four-star meal. Of course it was. It was France. For lunch we'd have a salad in some outdoor restaurant on the beach. Betty would order a Coke, which cost the equivalent of 20 cents. (Imported, don't you know.) I would order a half carafe of Cote de Province wine, either rose or white = almost two full glasses-worth. The cost was the equivalent of 15 cents.

Those were the days, weren't they???!!!

bauskern 11:20 AM  

@ goldbug
Clearly you watch tennis, but you don't play it. If two people were playing, the server would announce, AD IN, or AD OUT. If you're watching a match on TV, then the umpire will announce to the crowd "Advantage [NAME]."
I would vote for BARBIE over the present incumbent. In a heartbeat.
@ johnk Enough already. It' a crossword, not an ERA campaign.
And I agree with those of you who think that Clare has [sadly] adopted some of her mentor's worst qualities.

*yawn* so much kvetching. it's a F#$%ing Tuesday puzzle, it's not a work of art.

egsforbreakfast 11:25 AM  

A bit on the risqué side, what with FANNIE ZOOMIN crossed by ASS NOSY!!!

Anonymous 11:33 AM  

Definitely one of the better Tuesdays.

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

Just not true.

What? 11:45 AM  

Just saw “The King’s English” (found it on my DVR which is being searched assiduously during lockdown) and Colin Fitrh’s almost stole the film from Geoffrey Rush (but not quite). I remember Arthur Lake as Dagwood Bumstead (what a name) so yes, I am old.
EBAY with MICHAEL BAY? Isn’t this illegal or at least a no no?
A fine Tuesday even though I didn’t know BILLY OCEAN or MICHAEL BAY and I still don’t know them. However, the crosses and theme came to the rescue, giving me sort of ahah moments (the lockdown makes us thankful for almost anything unrelated to viruses).

BobL 11:49 AM  

Hardest Tuesday ever.

Anonymous 12:30 PM  

EXHUME!!!! And I suppose Eyegor brought back Abby Normal's brain??

THE BEE 12:34 PM  

Barbie would probably win, look at our other choices!

Richardf8 12:37 PM  

To be fair, the hint specified an abbreviation. It took me moment thinking “Hey! Army’s not an abbreviation!” to realize that we were talking about a financial instrument.

webwinger 12:48 PM  

@Z 8:50: Your referenced USA Today article updated 5/20 is troubling, but it contains no hint that numbers were underreported prior to May, and no data to substantiate such a claim for the current month. This could just be about an internal personnel matter, and if transparency is truly threatened, figures about minority tolls could easily be the principal target. Falsifying death statistics is a serious matter that should not be alleged without unassailable hard data.

Your Tampa Bay Times report was based on analysis of statistics from March 22 through April 25, and thus should not have reflected any funny business linked to the above concerns. There is also no comparison of Florida with other states, and the authors specifically note that the problem of accurately counting COVID deaths has been present nationwide.

I stand by my comment earlier today. Also, although you did not request it, I am sending you a copy of my extended analysis. We can continue this discussion by email if you like.

Masked and Anonymous 12:50 PM  

Wowzers. Lotsa neat longball fillins in this puppy. BRASILIA, OUTCLASS, NECKWEAR, HACK-IT-CANTBE, HATSIZE, ZOOMIN, EXHUME. FANNIE & BARBIE. TEMPTED. BALOO bears. Unusual & welcome, on a TuesPuz day. A multi-nanosecond investment venture.

The theme was ok, but maybe ain't gonna appeal to folks who don't know who the celebs are. ARTHURLAKE was sure a man of mystery to m&e, and I think maybe I've heard the name MICHAELBAY somewhere but not certain about that. (Maybe its just all them BAE weejects that pop up every once in while anymore.) Hi-lite themer at our house was definitely COLINFIRTH. The Firth of Forth! Now, that worked, bigtime.

What fell with a sorta plop flop was the revealer. First of Forth, it's in the middle, givin away the mcguffin like a blabby Tim Cook. Second of Forth, its 35-A clue gives most of the mcguffin away, even before U solve its answer. Third of Forth, it ain't got no U's in it [this could be a personal problem, tho].

Firth of Forth, it's pretty dull. Somethin slightly snappier and hopefully funnier needs to show up in the revealer slot for a names theme. Talk about "where the bodies are hidden", like Hitchcock & @Nancy would, or somesuch. Even WETONES would have (slightly) more punch. LASTCALLONDRINKS, only better.

staff weeject pick: STN. Always have to flip the STN/STA coin, on this pup. And both of em exhume a lot of desperation.

Thanx, Mr. Fogarty. U 2, Clare darlin.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


Swagomatic 12:52 PM  

This puzzle has a distinct Maleskian tone to it. The Blondie TV show!! Really!? I'm a guy who likes old TV shows, and, while I am aware that it exists, there is not a whisper of a chance that I would know who played Dagwood. Keep in mind, that TV show was produced in 1957 (two years before I was born). The capper is, it ran for ONE SEASON. And you are expecting people born in the 80's & 90's to be aware of it? I think Will Shortz is just messing with us.

Richardf8 12:53 PM  

Arthur Lake was fun for me because we were just discussing that those old Blondie films/TV shows over at Comics Curmudgeon yesterday morning. I love it when my various entertainments have spontaneous intertextuality!

Teedmn 12:55 PM  

Knowing nothing about Los Angeles neighborhoods means my answer of Eastla at 45D caused a momentary hitch in my solve. I suppose, with Los Angeles in the clue, I should have known better.

A bit name heavy today, what with all of the theme answers and then a goodly number in addition. Even FANNIE and BARBIE, which is kind of amusing.

I liked finding out what 7 1/4 could represent at 42A. GUISE was nice to see and HACK IT seems like something you might have said to your STEADY back 60 years ago while wearing an ASCOT.

Are there omelets that don't have ONIONs? I belong to the "onions and garlic in everything but dessert" club.

A fine Tuesday puzzle, thanks Neville.

jberg 1:03 PM  

Me too with spelling the bear BALOu at first; too bad it was wrong, I was all prepared to make jokes about B. ALOu as a baseball player.

Me to for FIRTH of Forth, as well. I think I first encountered the name in a novel I was reading in my early teens, and it certainly stuck with me. No idea where it is (well, Scotland, obviously, but beyond that, no.)

And me too for knowing only COLIN FIRTH (and not being sure of that without a cross or two); I thought I knew BILLY OCEAN, too, but as @Z points out, I was thinking of the wrong guy.

Tennis joke: "You've got to win your next service. Do you think you can do it?"
"Without ADOUT."

@Clare, the clue is "common hat size," not average.

Planners in Boston are trying the cute neighborhood names, too. The only one that has sort of stuck -- because it wasn't known as anything before -- is SOWA for South of Washington Street. They tried DOCRO for Downtown Crossing (itself made up recently when they decided a subway line that ran along Washington Street for a couple of miles shouldn't have a station called "Washington"), but that one was laughed off the stage.

@Roo, as you've probably noticed by now, the reason Rex didn't make that complaint is that he didn't write the blog today. Aside from that, that was a witty parody.

Jeffrey 1:34 PM  

I hated this. As someone who is slowly getting better at crosswords but still a rookie, it’s agonizing to have to deal with a ton of names - ESPECIALLY when they are the long themers so affect the entire board. 14 minutes of painstaking and unenjoyable work.

Anonymous 1:36 PM  

Last summer I vacationed in Scotland. Loved it. After doing Edinburg, got in my rental car and crossed the Firth of Forth. On a bridge closed to the public!!!!! Yep, there are three bridges cheek by jowl. One super duper modern, one for trains and one that was once used for cars and the general public. Half way across the bridge, with no car in sight, I looked over at one of the other bridges and it was packed with cars. I fully expected to meet some police when I got to the other side, but nope. Then I figured, a big fat ticket would arrive from the rental car company in a month or two. Nope.
Anyway, Scotland is sublime. And the Isle of Skye sublimest.

As for Fla. Maybe they’re under reporting maybe not. But the situation is certainly nowhere near what the media was predicting for weeks before Fla reopened. NY on the other hand killed grandmas by the thousands with their botched handling of nursing homes. But at least they flattened the economy too.

pabloinnh 1:38 PM  

@Barbara S-

I can understand your interest in BARBie's presidential aspirations. She dropped out after the South Carolina primary and has since endorsed Joe B. She may be on the short list of VP possibilities, however.

Your France stories remind me of being a university student 50+ years ago in Spain. You could have a lot of fun in an evening for 50 cents, and if you had a dollar you could really live it up. Lucky for me, as I had next to no money. What I did have was a lot of fun.

ghostoflectricity 1:40 PM  

Back before Genesis became a commercial pop band, that is, before vocalist/songwriter Peter Gabriel quit for a solo career and guitarist Steve Hackett quit to join other bands, including Asia, it (Genesis) was one of the top bands in the now much (and often unjustly) ridiculed prog rock genre. They had an extended song called "Firth of Fifth," the title being a pun on the Scottish body of water the Firth of Forth, on their fifth studio album, "Selling England By the Pound," the album title itself a pun on the British monetary currency and a commentary on a capitalism.

Nancy 1:43 PM  

As a 70 yr old, I got the clues that Claire found difficult - and I even knew Billy Ocean! The rest of the clues and answers I will say was rather pedestrian.

Anonymous 1:47 PM  

Me too with spelling the bear BALOu at first; too bad it was wrong, I was all prepared to make jokes about B. ALOu as a baseball player.

does no one remember Wally Ballou, the finest radio reporter in the history of Boston???

kitshef 1:49 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
galegdavis 1:53 PM  

Aren’t you confusing this with the current Democratic contender?

Anonymous 2:06 PM  

Never heard of NOLITA, had to google it after I was done to make sure it was a real thing. The crosses all seemed right. Much harder than a normal Tuesday.

Frantic Sloth 2:15 PM  

@Lewis 617am 👍 (❣️tarn dootin'❣️)

Mini rant:
Why can't there be a "reply" option under every comment??
Other sites do it - why not here?
I'm so exasperated by these un-anchored, fly-about, homeless responses and I know that I can't be alone on this.

KnittyContessa 2:23 PM  

HATSIZE? ARTHURLAKE? What odd choices.

Thanks @RooMonster for making an average puzzle so much more enjoyable!

JC66 2:54 PM  

@Frantic Sloth

If you access this site on your phone, there is.

*****SB ALART*****

Today's non-word is CHINK. It seems the PC Police are winning.

Anonymous 3:00 PM  

Why can't there be a "reply" option under every comment??

Legend has it that Google hasn't updated Blogger in many, many years. It's a loss leader. Kind of like java was for Sun, to sell more of their 'PCs'. Not sure what it is that Google thinks use of Blogger will get folks to buy, however.

CDilly52 3:28 PM  

While this played a tad “old” and very name heavy, I made steady progress downstream, and did not careen over any dangerous falls, nor was I ever totally up a creek. The NE bogged me down a bit, but I managed keep my ship moving across the sea of answers. I’m with @Nancy; Clair and I would have blazed through like shooting the rapids!

I will watch anything with COLIN FIRTH. Period. But “The Kong’s Speech” is truly one of the finest films I have seen In quite a long time.

My dear, dapper and lovable Father-in-law never left the house under any circumstances without a hat of some description. My husband’s family owned and operated a department store in downtown Norman from the late 30s until the late 40s and after that, they scaled down to a men’s and boys’ clothing store. He sold real Stetson beaver hats, and from him I learned the meaning of the “xs” that define a beaver hat’s quality. He taught me how to steam a hat, fit a hat and all about hat sizes. His hat collection was epic. After he passed, so many folks asked about the disposition of his hats. We were able to pass them out to his fishing and card buddies who played a game called Pitch. I’d never heard of it before I moved to OK and have not heard of it anywhere else but am told it is quite a game and can get extremely competitive! I really enjoyed the coffee we had for the Pitch Club. In those two hours I learned more about my father-in-law than I had the ten years I had known him. And I heard such stories about the department store!

The department store’s claim to fame is the wealth of stories about local dignitaries. There are several, but my favorites are the ones about the one and only James Bumgarner, better known to everyone as James Garner. He grew up here and from all accounts was a handful! One such story describes “Jimmy’s” decision to try to ride the wire that carried the cashiers’ containers on pulleys up to the “mezzanine” where the bookkeeper’s office was located. He grabbed hold, and held on for deal life as one fellow described it and the system ground and squeaked as the pulleys strained under the weight of a teenage boy. Well, halfway up to the Mezzanine, it broke and young Jimmy fell and broke his arm. A highlight of my entire life was walking into Max’s store one April, during the city’s “Heritage Festival” and seeing James Garner sharing a joke with my father in law. I couldn’t help myself; when Max introduced me, I asked about the broken arm. Mr. Garner gave me a wry smile, a chuckle and a raised right eyebrow, and said with a twinkle in his eye, “is that old story still out there?” It most certainly is.

Amazing the journey I embarked on from a hat size!!

Frantic Sloth 3:34 PM  

@JC66 254pm Thank you. In the past @Z has pointed out the difference between using a phone vs. any other device. Sadly, those messages have gone unnoticed or ignored; however, the fault is not with the phone users - it's a shortcoming of this site.
Maybe it's Blogger or maybe it's just this blog - I don't know as I am not a techie, but I do know it's possible to fix it so that we don't have to continue beginning every reply with a name and time stamp so everyone knows what the hell everyone else is talking about - or at least to whom they are speaking.
Personal problem? Probably. But my irritation level is rising and I just wish it would take a <a href=" >Susan Powter.</a>
🚨🚨🚨Bee Alert!🚨🚨🚨
How annoying is that CHINK dis?? I swear the UberPC police just shoot themselves in their own quicksand-covered collective foot sometimes. Never heard of a "chink in the armor", Mr. Ezersky??

@Anonymous 300pm Thank you for that insight. Why does this surprise me? Usually, the Googles, Microsofts, and Amazons of the world are so sympathetic and attentive to consumers' needs. 🙄

Anonymous 3:46 PM  

played a game called Pitch. I’d never heard of it before I moved to OK and have not heard of it anywhere else

it was a big thing in Western New England when I was a kid. can't remember any reference to it until just now.

pabloinnh 3:53 PM  

@Anon.-Just thinking of Ballou makes me smile.

@JC66, re ****SB Alert****-yeah, I noticed that one too. I guess the list makers' armor is better than ours.

Frantic Sloth 3:54 PM  

Link correction (forgot to close the stupid quotes!):

Susan Powter.

Note to self: don't combine links and emojis within the same comment. Not previewing = revealed stupidity, which I've done so well to hide until never.

Z 4:02 PM  

@Frantic Sloth and others - The Wikipedia article about Blogger doesn’t mention much post 2010. Compare this to WordPress. Purely conjecture on my part, but Blogger is just a small part of Google and is probably a minor revenue generator relative to their other endeavors, so doesn’t get many, or any, r&d dollars spent on it. Still, it is odd and annoying that the smartphone interface is so different from the “web version.” At least twice that I recall OFL has made little noises about a major site overall that I interpreted as moving away from Blogger, but then nothing. Again, purely conjecture, but I suspect he found the task daunting. Porting 14 years of daily blogs to somewhere else would surely be no easy task. Sure, he could just build something from scratch, but how much confusion would that cause?

QuasiMojo 4:13 PM  

@JC66, I noticed that missing link in SB today too. :) the PC police are winning! Last night I was watching a performance of Bernstein's Mass on PBS (online) and noticed they changed the lyric in one of the songs from "It was goddamn good" to "It was damn damn good." Not quite as good in my opinion. I turned it off after that.

Old Actor 4:18 PM  

@Nancy: Speaking of European travel back in the day...My first trip was in the late 60's and I made the mistake of going to Greece, I loved it so much that my next 3 trips were to Greece. It was several yrs. before I saw the other world capitals. I spent 45 days in Greece and when I returned to NY I added up all I had spent on hotels, transportation, meals and a few gifts and it added up to $20 per day. That included gallons of beer, retsina and ouzo. When I returned 2 yrs. later, every price had doubled. Stayed half as long.

Anonymous 4:32 PM  

Nor was MICK on the list. SB accepts MONO but not HOMO. So yeah, pretty PC.

Frantic Sloth 4:41 PM  

@CDILLY52 328pm Didn't want to comment again, but just had to remark (again!) about how much I enjoy your stories. More so because they can be inspired by something as seemingly inconsequential as hat size! Brava!
Conversely, I am often inspired by typos. 😉

Oh, what the hey - while I'm here, I might as well offer up a synapsis of "The Kong's Speech"
Zoological anomaly abducted from natural habitat by delusional "superior beings" for a wanton display of mega-capitalism gone mad, finds his voice and regales the newly penitent masses from atop a phallic skyscraper with a moving oration about acceptance and peaceful coexistence among the species, mutant or otherwise.

Or for "variety":
Kong's Strong Schlong Song of Wrong Prongs Throngs.

(I hope you are not offended and take this in the playful spirit with which it is intended.)

Frantic Sloth 4:47 PM  

@Z 402pm As usual, you go that extra mile with further research and a thoroughly plausible explanation. Thank you!

Z 5:07 PM  

@FS 4:47 - The orphans have been annoying me for years, so it wasn’t actually anything I looked at for the first time today.

Crimson Devil 5:28 PM  

Too many names, many obscure.
Good to learn of Bruce Boche amazin HATSIZE: musta been calibrated post third WS championship in five years.
Tho lived in Greenwich Vill for two years and traversed much of Manhattan, never heard of NOLITA. Could be recent realtor hype.
EXHUME, THEBAR and ONBASE stretches: man on first is not deemed to be in scoring position.

SB ALERT: ‘nother disappointing day (chink).

Anonymous 5:57 PM  

Barbie became First Lady on January 20th, 2017...

RooMonster 6:10 PM  

Har. That was a "the ole brain deciding to do it's own thing" moment, as I knew Clare did the reviewing! I even commented to myself when (I forget who, sorry) said it was Annabel. They later corrected themselves. But yet I still wrote that. Maybe I was too preoccupied with coming up with my combos.

See previous paragraph, if I get (sorta, not the best ☺️) creative, another part of my thinking gets harmed in the process. But, thanks for the compliment!

RooMonster One Brain Fits All Guy

Barbara S. 6:16 PM  

@Nancy 11:06
Astute. My sister and I have always had a special bond. It's the only sisterly relationship I know close up, but it seems unusual compared with others I've observed. She was always interested in me and liked spending time with me, even though she was social and had scores of other friends. My mother's theory was that our big age difference meant that we were never in direct competition, so were able to like each other. But I credit my mother with a lot of brain-washing about how wonderful it was to have a little sister. I was a colicky baby and apparently cried non-stop for several months. I'm sure there were times when I was 0 and my sister was 8 that she would have cheerfully tipped me out the window. But such was our mother's benign and lasting influence that we really are best friends forever.

Your Cannes recollection is wonderful. Indeed, as Mary Hopkin sang, "those were the days, my friend."

@pabloinnh 1:38
VP...BARBIE? Hmm, does BARBIE have a last name? I should have looked it up. But with or without one, she'd do better than many current high-office incumbents, I feel sure. Hell, even being fictional, she'd leave a lot of 'em in the dust.

Spain in the 60s must have been an interesting place to be. As a student, were you at all negatively affected by the Francoist regime?

@Old Actor 4:18
Your reference to Greece at that same time made me think of footage I've seen of Leonard Cohen on Hydra. I think he was there, drinking deep from the well of inspiration, about the same time. The place looked absolutely beautiful.

Nancy 6:18 PM  

(A reminder: Don't confuse the other Nancy with me. The one without an avatar. I think someone did confuse us earlier. And assumed that I knew celebs that I don't know and never would pretend to know.)

@Old Actor (4:18)-- Those were the days, weren't they!!! It's so sad that only the very rich can have those amazing travel experiences now.

@Quasi (4:13) -- Don't even get me started on "cleaned up" lyrics. I absolutely refuse to listen to any rendition of "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" containing the line: "And long for the day when I'll cling to him" when the line is "And worship the trousers that cling to him." But wait, there's more. Here's the one that no one but me seems to be aware of. (Perhaps you, too, @Quasi???) "He may laugh, but I love it/ Although the laugh's on me" is what they changed this very clever line to: "He's a laugh and I love it/Because the laugh's on me."

As I say, don't get me started...

Monty Boy 6:30 PM  

@Cdilly52: Your memory of your FIL brought back mine of my dad going to the Pastime in Laurel every Saturday and playing pitch. I don't know the details of the game, but I guess it was very competitive. Good memories.

Oh, and I like the puzzle a lot. Some sore spots, but learned a few new things, always a plus.

Unknown 7:34 PM  

What is "not true," that no one uses it or that Nolita is not a real section of Manhattan.
I grew up in Greenwich Village and have never heard NOLITA, but such abomination abbreviations largely came into boogie after I headed west.

Joe Dipinto 8:07 PM  

Are they selling masked Barbies now? They should, it would be a moneymaker. She could come with a tiny ruler and color-coordinated duct-tape strips, to keep the other dolls from getting too close. And a little pizza-delivery boy on a bike.

CaryinBoulder 8:20 PM  

Gorgeous day here in Colorado so mi esposa y yo went for a hike on the Anne U. White Trail. (Maybe she’ll appear in a different PPP-laden puzzle next week.) The trail was totally trashed by our 2013 flood and has only recently been beautifully restored and reopened.

When I finally got around to the puzzle, I thought it was on the hard side for a Tuesday. Huge white space on my first pass through. After finding Colin Firth I thought the theme might have something to do with water and things began to fall into place from there, but still about 5 minutes slower than my usual Tuesday. On my last visit to NYC I stayed on the edge of Little Italy and Chinatown but I have never heard of NOLITA (although I do know how to pronounce How-ston). Plenty of other crappy name-game fill and AD OUT just about did me in.

Anyhoo, what I really wanted to say is that the clue for 63 Across was incomplete. As any Zappa/Mothers of Invention fan will know, it should’ve been, “Suzy Creamcheese, What’s gotten ____ you?” Son of Suzy Creamcheese

CaryinBoulder 8:24 PM  

Oh yeah ... @Z: I’ve lived in Colorado for 47 years and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Denver omelette on any menu. Mostly a lot more exotic ones. But I think you’ve got the ingredients right.

pabloinnh 8:51 PM  

@Wondering WhatPitchIs-

If this is the same card game I played lots of in (way ) Upstate NY, there are four points involved: high (of the trump suit), low, ditto, jack, ditto, and game. "Game" is determined by adding up points on tricks taken --ace=4,kings=3, queens=2, and jacks=1. The big boy in a ten, which is worth ten. You begin by dealing six cards to each player and then bidding, a two bid is as low as you can go, and obviously four is the upper limit. If you're last and no one has bid you're stuck with a two bid. High, low, and game vary on each hand, of course. Like many things, this is harder to explain than it is to actually do it.

A friend and I had a wonderfully clever signalling system for this game and won some money in college. Could have won more but some opponents thought we might have been cheating.

galegdavis 9:33 PM  

I posted a comment comparing Biden to Barbie in response to the Trump bashing comment . Rex’s minions refused to allow my response. Not surprised

Anonymous 9:44 PM  


Let's see... 100,000 dead because the Orange Julius had his thumb up his (and our) butt for 2 months when Covid could have been contained. And he sloughs off all responsibility on states and municipalities. And his minions in the Red states kill mitigation, and, surprise surprise, find their infections running to all time highs. Very 19th century. "I don't take responsibility at all." Kill off the geezers and poor dark people. MAGA!!!

Anonymous 11:10 PM  

"This puzzle felt like it came from someone with quarantine-brain, even though it's probably been in the backlog for a while — it just had no real pizzazz to it."

I vastly prefer the spelling "pizazz" — with only one double-Z.

Anonymous 12:02 AM  

If only he was as harmless as a mannequin

Jessica 2:12 AM  

The EBay clue! True laziness. The definition of an online shopping site is a place where you can shop by category. It's like saying "store where you can go through racks of clothing." This must have been sitting in the backlog since 1996.

Frank Lynch 10:23 AM  

Claire, I hope you can make it to Edinburgh. Yes, there's a firth nearby, but I hope you can get to Edinburgh.

Billy Ocean was the first themer I answered (I was blocked on Colin Firth by having Expose instead of Exhume) and got the reveal before any of the other themers.

Burma Shave 12:25 PM  


AND you're talking OUT OF CLASS
INTHAT you're TEMPTED by THE name,
but a FANNIE's NOT an ASS.


spacecraft 12:32 PM  

NOT much to add here. The HATSIZE clue was printed as 71/4, which to me is 71 over 4. Shouldn't there have been a space in there? (I'm all in favor of anything SPACE) 7 1/4? So that one cost a few nanos. Another one was Ms. Ryder, who I thought spelled her name with a Y. For a while I was wondering how a word that means works hard can start "TOY..."

I do not follow the Jenner/Kardashian clan; don't even try to "keep up," but KRIS would still have to be DOD. As to theme, it's okay, I guess, but the revealer lands with a clunk. Usually there's a common word or phrase that has a clever tie-in, like a DUAL meaning or something...SOMETHING. But this is just...there. BODIESOFWATER. YESYES, they surely are.

If you knew that ARTHUR LAKE played Dagwood (I didn't), then who played Blondie?*

Fill-wise, this offering is not poised to OUTCLASS others. It will provide a word sure to be used by @Burma Shave: SECTS. Still, ITCANTBE bad enough to worsen the score to par.

*Penny Singleton, and I didn't have to look that up! Just one of those names that stick.

Anonymous 12:40 PM  

Puzzle felt very awkward and obscure in all the wrong ways. I've gone this many years without encountering Arthur Lake or knowing what a loess is (spellchecker doesn't even recognize that as a word), the odds are good I'll never run into them again.

The cluing for 8D and 10D was hard to grok. As another reader pointed out, 34A is so vague as to be useless.

Naticked at 13A/3D. Never heard of NOLITA before although it has a wiki page. Readers appear to agree that it may not be real but, to be fair, I grew up in Los Angeles and would have never heard of Encino if not for the Brendan Fraser movie. As for AD OUT... it's irksome to me to be subjected to tennis and opera trivia on a daily basis when both are much more niche than the bougie bubble the NYT writers live in would suggest. For reference, approximately 632,000 people attend The Met each year. The US Open had its highest ratings in years last year with 3.72M watching the women's final and 2.75M watching the men's. In contrast, the average weekly episode of WWE Raw draws between 1.7M and 2M viewers and is at historic lows during a pandemic. Yet the NYT crossword writers aren't continually inundating you with KIMURA LOCKs and KOJI CLUTCHes even though it would probably be a huge step up in puzzle construction.

BS2 12:43 PM  

@spacecraft - I sure thought about it, but sometimes SECTS is over-rated.

Diana, LIW 3:52 PM  

Huh. Easier than Monday for me, even tho I didn't know all the names. And yes - loess was a loss for me (that I guessed correctly) but I figured that was because I'm such an ardent non-gardener. Quickly dispatched.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for a trip to Little Italy, and Nolita!

leftcoaster 4:03 PM  

Tough for a Tuesday, probably IN THAT it has lots of proper nouns in addition to the themers. Gave the puzzle some bite.

Couple of sticky or unusual ones in the fill: NOLITA neighborhood, DARTS' circular board, presidential candidate BARBIE, and a bear named BALOO.

MICHAEL BAY and BILLY OCEAN are most obscure of the themers (to me), while I exhumed ARTHUR LAKE's Dagwood from the depths of memory.

Would be impolite not to mention Best Actor COLIN FIRTH.

leftcoaster 5:49 PM  

This puzzle's theme may have more depth than you think:

The four themers are names of people who have BODIES and, like all of us, their bodies are made mostly of WATER.

YES, YES, you're free to groan, as I did when daring to write this.

Diana, LIW 7:45 PM  

@Lefty - I'll ponder on that. body/water = person, hmmm...

Lady Di

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