Title dance in 1999 #3 hit / WED 5-27-20 / Tree of the custard apple family / U.N. workers grp / Frasier's producer on Frasier / Big-bottomed fruit / Early 2000s sitcom set near Houston / Bikini blasts informally / Natty neckwear

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Constructor: Chris A. McGlothlin

Relative difficulty: Medium (4:00)

THEME: FORGONE (40A: Relinquished ... or a hint to 17-, 23-, 51- and 62-Across) — phrases that normally have "for" in them ... don't. "For"-less phrases are clued wackily ("?"-style):

Theme answers:
  • FISH COMPLIMENTS (17A: "Your fins are nice" and "You're a graceful swimmer"?)
  • THROWN A LOOP (23A: Done some lassoing?)
  • CAN'T SAY SURE (51A: Is unable to pronounce the name of a deodorant brand?)
  • OH CRYING OUT LOUD (62A: Actress Sandra emoting?)
Word of the Day: Sammy CAHN (18D: Lyricist Sammy) —
Sammy Cahn (June 18, 1913 – January 15, 1993) was an American lyricist, songwriter and musician. He is best known for his romantic lyrics to films and Broadway songs, as well as stand-alone songs premiered by recording companies in the Greater Los Angeles Area. He and his collaborators had a series of hit recordings with Frank Sinatra during the singer's tenure at Capitol Records, but also enjoyed hits with Dean MartinDoris Day and many others. He played the piano and violin. He won an Oscar four times for his songs, including the popular song "Three Coins in the Fountain".
Among his most enduring songs is "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!", cowritten with Jule Styne in 1945. (wikipedia)
• • •

I just wanted to write "AWK" all over this thing when I was done with it. There is no joy to be had in this particular bit of word ... I hesitate to call it "play." "Muckery" is maybe better. Look, you take "FOR" out, fine. But before you go ahead with this idea, you need to ask yourself some questions. First, are the results going to yield the requisite fun, joy, pleasure, or are the results going to be largely clunky phrases that are hard to clue in any kind of sane way? That is, is the feeling of the solver going to be "ooh" or "huh?" or "yuck"? Second, is your revealer good? If it's just a boring word like FORGONE, can you do anything interesting with the clue? No? And no? Then no. I didn't even know FORGONE meant "Relinquished," since literally the only time I or you or anyone uses that word is in front of "conclusion," where it means (I think) something like "already arrived at"—"relinquished" doesn't really swap out in that phrase. I'm not sure I even kn— ... oh, damn. Wait. No wonder I want to spell it FOREGONE—that's the word I'm thinking of. Ugh, wow, your revealer is actually the past participle (!?) of the verb "forgo"!?!?!?!? OK, I'm adding yet another AWK to the margins of this puzzle (and docking myself a few points for not realizing more quickly that I had the wrong FOR(E)GONE in mind). I'm looking at these themers and ... yeah, you can do something with FISH COMPLIMENTS, but the others are pretty strained. I didn't even register that something was missing from THROWN A LOOP. I thought it was some weird variation on THROWN A CURVE. Also, what is it with this puzzle and past participles, yeesh. Between the unfun theme an the ye olde fill, this one didn't do much (for) me.

This puzzle played superweird, in that it was very easy for me *except* for the theme. I flew through most of the grid, but when I got toward the end (in that mess of a SW corner), I realized I was 80-90% done but also still had two themers unfinished. And I only got FORGONE because of crosses, the clue having made no sense to me. The front ends of the last two themers were not at all clear to me, and then the fill around that area, yikes. Semi-forgot Colin JOST's name (56D: Che's "Weekend Update" co-host on "S.N.L."), was unsure as always about COHAN's name, had no idea re: BONER (what year is it?) (44D: Slip-up). And not knowing that the "Actress Sandra" was Sandra Oh, I got super stuck in there. Well, not empirically super stuck, just super stuck relative to the rest of the grid. Did I like any fill. Well, there's nothing longer than 6 letters, so the puzzle's making it kinda hard. I do like the emergence of SWOLE as a regular 5-letter answer (55D: Bulging with muscles, in modern lingo). Otherwise, no. The fill isn't even trying to be lovable. It's just there.


There are definitely different branches and styles of yoga, but somehow YOGAS isn't sitting that well with me (54D: Hatha and Bikram, for two). COHAN *and* CAHN? In the same puzzle? You are dating yourself *and* not trying hard enough to diversify your fill. There was a time (let's call it, "the 20th century") when Broadway lyricists and composers were like half the fill of any given puzzle and you just had to learn the names or crash and burn. Then, time passed. Things got better. People from different professions were deemed worthy of inclusion in the grid. These days, you get one of those old Broadway guys per grid, tops. That's the rule. It's unwritten, or I made it up, but it's real. Oh, also, you can have OLIO or you can have OLEO, but you cannot have both OLIO and OLEO, and you *definitely* can't have them crossing (!?). And also oh (oh!), you cannot have "oh" in your grid twice. OH, STOP. Seriously, stop with the OHs. I don't care if one of those is a name. Sorry. Rules are rules. Please do better in the future.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    P.S. fun fact, if you change MIATA to TIARA, you don't have to deal with LAME, which is a downer of a word, however you clue it.

    [Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


    Joaquin 12:03 AM  

    Despite the fact that this puzzle has a BONER, it wasn’t all that hard. However, if it does take you longer than four hours to solve, seek help. Dr. Google’s office is open 24/7.

    jae 12:21 AM  

    Medium. Had many of the same problems in SW as Rex. The theme answers, however, were goofy enough to work for me, so liked it more than he did. That said, I agree with some of his take on the fill.

    ....and speaking of OH, Killing Eve is just wrapping up its third season on BBC America. A strange, violent, and delightful show.

    GHarris 12:23 AM  

    Found it relatively easy though it did take me all of 39 minutes . Certainly had more fun than Rex did.

    the chocolate doctor מרת שאקאלאד 12:50 AM  

    Not ROFL, but I couldn't help smiling for most of this. I have been waiting years for that OLIO OLEO cross. I had to happen sometime.

    Anonymous 1:03 AM  

    nanu crossing ntests was a real annoying one for me. I know the average audience here is much older than I am, but Mork and Mindy hasn't been on the air for almost 40 years - I know Robin Williams was in it but I've never seen a minute of the show, and it certainly has had zero lasting impact on today's pop culture. And "n-tests" could easily be "a-tests" or especially "h-tests." Nahu Nahu is just as much a nonsense phrase as Nanu Nanu, so I only got that by dumb luck. Otherwise was a pretty blah Wednesday, average solve time for me.

    mathgent 2:13 AM  

    I’m trying to think of something good to say about it. (Five minutes goes by.). Nope.

    raabidfun 2:39 AM  

    I used the word boner to comment on the unfortunate leave from my errant shot in a game of pool. That was to my then-girlfriend's dad. It was the first time he and I met. I said this in front of her. She and I are now engaged.

    chefwen 2:48 AM  

    Medium? Thought this was very easy and got the FOR gone at 17A. The rest was child’s play. Much easier than yesterday’s proper name fest.

    Puzzle partner has a doctor named So, I want to hook him up with Sandra OH, it would be OH SO loverly. OK, I’ll go to bed now.

    goldbug 3:24 AM  

    USUALS? YOGAS? Reallys?

    Anonymous 3:25 AM  

    Extraordinarily easy for a Wednesday. Loved the theme, which I noticed immediately with FISH COMPLIMENTS, so the rest fell right into place. Except -- it was a DNF because I have no idea about Mork, or a sitcom near Houston, and I also never heard of an N-TEST so that didn't help. Otherwise I whizzed through it.

    Qosmonaut 4:23 AM  

    I enjoyed the puzzle, mostly. But I got totally naticked with Laalaa crossing ILO. I mean, seriously??? That first letter on the Teletubby could have been practically anything on Earth.

    Joaquin 5:55 AM  

    @Anonymous (1:03 a.m.) - If I have to hear about and learn about Dr. Dre and 50 Cent just to do a daily crossword, then the least you can do is appreciate Robin Williams.

    Now ... Get off my lawn!

    ChuckD 6:21 AM  

    It’s bad enough that NYT puzzles are typically loaded with kid-lit Harry Potter references - but today’s Tele Tubby clue kicks it up a notch. That was terrible. Other than that - I thought the theme was decent and actually enjoyable for a Wed. Fill played easy and straightforward - could have used stronger long ones for a midweek.

    Ben 6:33 AM  

    You “have to hear about and learn about” Drake because he’s the a currently cultural icon. I don’t listen to most his music either, but we can’t just “off my lawn” away the fact that he was the most listened to artist of the decade on the most widely used music streaming platform.

    OP’s critique is of timeliness; Mork and Mindy is many decades old. I’m not quite sure what your critique is, or why you think it’s comparable.

    Lewis 6:36 AM  

    Powerful cross of OLIO and OLEO, which combined, have appeared in the NYT puzzles almost 1,500 times.

    It seems like "_____ GONE" as a theme, used as Chris used it today, would have been done many times before, but my initial search says no, never been done. Props to you, then, Chris, for finding this low hanging fruit first, and putting it out there.

    Here it was, up grabs, and you decided to go it, go broke, once and all, not to take it granted. Good you!

    DSM 6:43 AM  

    Totally agree. Classic Natick. And an abbreviation-also could be anything!

    Hungry Mother 6:52 AM  

    I caught on to the theme right away and it helped 4 certain. I had a few WAGs that all fell the right way. Telly Tubby names? Back when they were current, I thought they were the most mindless TV I’d ever seen, and I used to watch Howdy Doody.

    GILL I. 7:17 AM  

    ANNUS looks like that year in Spanish. Then you've got that SWOLE MEAT BONER. Thanks that image.
    OH...I thought this was cute in a LAA LAA sort of way. I don't remember the Teletubby's being part of our morning repertoire. I think there might've been a Tinky Winky, though. I'll let your imagination run with that one as well.
    Thanks for the laugh, @chefwen...Don't go to bed just yet....It's only just begun!

    kitshef 7:29 AM  

    From the constructor notes:
    I put constructing on the back burner for quite some time to complete my book on antique silver, “Gorham Spoons: Sterling Souvenirs from a Bygone Era,”.

    I’m fairly certain that was not a joke.

    I will repeat my objection to unusual names crossing unusual names. Today we get OH crossing JOST.

    I will add to that an objection to nonsense names crossing initialisms: LAALAA/ILO. Guessed right, but a guess it was.

    I did enjoy the puzzle overall – you could use the same revealer for a puzzle where you forgo “NE”.

    ACTONE was a DOOK. “That cut looks pretty bad – you should put some ACTONE on it.”

    Conrad 7:32 AM  

    My kids are too old to have watched Teletubbies, and I don't know them* by color/name. But at least I knew the pattern. So once I got the "L" from ALL IN, I knew it had to be LAALAA.

    My trouble spot was the 51A themer. I thought I'd always seen Mork's greeting written as NANO NANO so I was thinking "Isn't SoRE an odd name for a deodorant?" Then, instead of remembering SURE, my addled brain went in the opposite direction: "poRE could be a deodorant." Finally I gave up and asked @chefwen's Uncle Google. Typing "nan" led to the suggested search "nanu nanu," which in turn yielded this:

    Nanu nanu (pronounced NAH-noo NAH-noo), also variously spelled Na-nu Na-nu, Na-No Na-No, and Nanoo Nanoo ...

    At least I wasn't totally wrong.

    Anybody want to invest in my new company, poRE Deodorants**?

    * The Teletubbies, that is. I do know my kids' names.

    ** DISCLAIMER: This post does not constitute an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation of any security or any other product or service.

    Z 7:35 AM  

    I almost put this down at OLIOOLEO, but I slogged through.

    @Ben - The “get off of my lawn” last line indicates acknowledgement that one is being crusty and unreasonable. Quit being so serious and smile.

    Teletubbies ended in 2001. I guess they’ve been revived, but Zombie Teletubbies is taking the whole Zombie thing a step too far.

    Speaking of BONER, Twitter was agiggle this morning because some local news show fell for a fake birthday greeting and posted a happy birthday to Dr. Don Keedic. Oops.

    I had ANNUm. Looked at the MImSES Department for many precious nanoseconds before asking, “SRSLY?”

    I get that NANU is dated PPP, but -TESTS with a Bikini (it is an atoll) clue can only be a-TESTS or N-TESTS so it’s not a true natick.

    Off to do a puzzle that knows the new millennium started.

    Z 7:43 AM  

    @kitshef - not according to Amazon

    pabloinnh 7:47 AM  

    So the FOR was gone which is why FOREGONE became FORGONE and there's your revealer right in the middle again. This is one of those battles like "no problemo" or "tamale" that goes into the Lost Cause drawer. First world problems indeed.

    A Wednesday with a gimmick is OK with me. Some fill is definitely -ese and also not remotely worth knowing (looking at you LAALAA). But some fun in here and that's all about this one.

    @chefwen re doctor's names--There is a town in NH named Weare, pronounced "where". I have often urged my friend Dr. Hu to move there, so people could ask him "Dr. Hu? From Weare?". He has far more good sense than to do that, however. Probably the smartest person I know, graduated from med school at 21. Good guy to have on your side on trivia night.

    @Barbara S from last night-Franco was indeed The Man when I was in Spain but the only impact he had was sending the Guardia Civil to the university when there were demonstrations, which happened a few times. We had classes relocated to various parts of the city, otherwise I personally did not get involved in politics, and Americans who were involved in student uprisings were sent home.

    Z 7:48 AM  

    Now I’m shocked that the puzzle isn’t spoonerisms.

    JJK 7:55 AM  

    So many things were wrong with this puzzle.

    When you FISH for COMPLIMENTS, you say something like, “I’m a terrible swimmer”. The other person is then supposed to say, “You’re a very graceful swimmer!” You’ve just fished for that compliment.

    I hate the word BONER and it may mean error but I think it also means something not to be referred to in polite society. And SWOLE is just icky.

    MISSES is a category of sizes in women’s clothing, not a department? Or maybe it used to be a department in some stores...

    I know zero about any of the teletubbies. I did watch Mork and Mindy all the time.

    richarder 8:06 AM  

    In addition to Olio/Oleo it had ILO and OLA

    Suzie Q 8:13 AM  

    No fun at all today.
    Put this in the circular file.

    QuasiMojo 8:14 AM  

    Never heard of LAA LAA and had to guess on ILO. And I have somehow missed Mork & Mindy. I have never understood the point or appeal of TV sitcoms with aliens in them. My Favorite Martian was enough. I totally agree with Anon 1:03.

    Wasn't MAMBO a Peggy Lee hit in the 50s? Never heard of the 90s version.

    SWOLE is "modern"? I remember hearing that word at the Y in the 80s. "Centipede" was playing on my Walkman.

    What's for dinner? Meatloaf singing "FOR Crying out Loud"? (Which reminds me. I went to a diner the other day, since they'd all been closed for a couple months. I asked for a meatloaf sandwich. The waiter had never heard of one. Boy, I am getting old.

    What about the Suspect USUALS?

    @Nancy, I caught your tail end comment last night. Those changes to the Hart lyrics were tragic.

    amyyanni 8:14 AM  

    My issue is that the clue for FISHING (for) COMPLIMENTS is off. The phrases in the clue ARE compliments. If you are fishing, you ask 'Do I look ok?' Or 'Does it taste good?'
    Also did not love the teletubby clue.
    Just cranky today, I guess. 8>(

    Pamela 8:23 AM  

    Natick for me at ILO/LAALAA. I had no clue. I also agree that ACTONE is a DOOK- and I love the theater! Third sticking point for me was the MImSES department, especially having shopped with such ZEST for so many years. My tenth grade Latin didn’t suffice. And in the SW, I overcame resistance to two JOSEs crossing each other (unusual, yes, and probably illegal- but there was OLIO/OLEO!), and ENT was the channel. I’m still in bed, my paper is waiting in the lobby, so I’m using the app. Only the lack of happy music tipped me off that I’d made a BONER.

    But I did enjoy the puzzle. I whizzed through most of it without trying too hard for the themers, so FORGONE didn’t kick in until late in the game, Almost at the same time as FISHCOMPLIMENTS and OH, which was the last part of that one to fall because of JOST. For the longest time I thought there must be a Sandra LOUD. So those were my two faves, emphasis on the latter.

    How could anyone not be watching Sandra OH in Killing Eve?! Very Noir, clever, extremely original, entertaining, and addicting. Jodie Comer as Villanelle steals the show. Please don’t let the season be over- it just started! And we’ll have to wait so long for the next one since no one’s filming now, another loss due to the current plague. Maybe when the world starts up again I’ll stop being that couch potato who dotes on her TV shows, and go back to being the busy, active person I have a dim memory of (if I try hard enough).

    OffTheGrid 8:39 AM  

    @amyyanni 8:14 and @JJK 7:55. Exactly! the phrases in 17A are compliments-FISH COMPLIMENTS, that is compliments to a fish. That's the wacky part. Then you replace the "FOR" and end up with a common phrase. Or you can think of it as taking FOR (FORGONE) out of the phrase to make the wacky phrase.

    Barbara S. 8:39 AM  


    I, too, hope this is only a drill but in the unfortunate event that we ever need to know this again --

    The four Teletubbies:
    Tinky Winky (purple)
    Laa-Laa (yellow)
    Po (red)
    Dipsy (lime green)

    Pamela 8:40 AM  

    An oddity from yesterday’s discussion of the ability to Reply directly to a post: It happens that yesterday I was using my phone, and did see and use that option. Today, on the iPad, I looked back at yesterday’s blog, and none of the replies that I remember seeing then show up here today. So I went to my phone and looked again, and there they were, but none of mine are visible at all. I don’t know what I did wrong, but it really doesn’t matter since the only people who can see the replies are those who are on their phones. I would venture a guess that most of you are using either a tablet or a PC. It’s too bad we can’t post Stickies at the head of the blog so those few people with access, who think they’re making a contribution, don’t waste their efforts.

    Nancy 8:58 AM  

    The FISH COMPLIMENTS clue (17A) was worth the price of admission. It had me ROFL, in fact -- one of the funniest clues I've ever seen.

    Starting a puzzle with something that amusing earns you a lot of leeway. So it was a FOREGONE conclusion that I was going to enjoy this puzzle a lot, even when the other theme clue/answers weren't nearly that strong. Plus the fact that there's an awful lot of crosswordese: OLEO crossing OLIO, for heaven's sake!! LAALAA???!!! OH STOP.

    The unruly hair clue/answer and the bobby pin clue/answer makes me feel this puzzle had to have been written during the coronavirus lockdown. By a woman* whose hair looks a lot like mine right now. *("Chris" is ambiguous and can be either a man or a woman. Of course, a guy can be unhappy about his MOP too, but he'd be a lot less likely to use a bobby pin.)

    A cute, easy puzzle that MISSES in LOTSA ways, but that has one big YUM.

    MHL 9:00 AM  

    Papaw as an answer for 6 Down Tree of the Custard Apple Family is dreadful. Every good Southerner knows that Papaw refers to one's male grandparent. Papaw is the tree that bears a lovely, exotic fruit. Just a medium puzzle,16 minute solution time.

    Tom R 9:05 AM  

    Comment on "fun fact": Tiara's are boring (unless they're the crown jewels), Miatas are not. Don't dis the poor little car.

    RooMonster 9:10 AM  

    Hey All !
    No one's upset at TNT being a Sister channel of HBO or Cinemax? To me, it's not in the same class, unless the clue means they are all owned by the same parent company. Anyone?

    I actually liked the (Rex's Wackiness ensued) themers in this here puz. CANT SAY SURE is just so ridiculously funny as clued

    So if FORGONE is past of FORGO, do you pronounce it with the second O as a long O?

    A K short of a pangram. C'mon, Chris! You managed J, Q, X, Z, and couldn't shove a K in somewhere? Try harder next time. 😂
    Ooh, how about 31A PEAK, 33D AGO, 34D KOS (knocks out, why not with the other iffy plurals here?), 45A ROSA. Boom! Pangram.

    Thanks for the TeleTubbies names @Barbara S 8:39, they will soon (if they ever were in) exit the ole brain. And why not La-La, where'd the extra A's come from?

    My, what wonderful scales you have.
    Does this sand hole make me look fat?

    Three F's (two in themers) In case you care, I add "in themers" to my F count, because it seems that most of the time if it weren't for themers, we'd see even less F's]

    bauskern 9:12 AM  

    A very easy Wednesday that just flew, but I was stumped by the cross of ILO and LAALAA. No idea what ILO stands for. Otherwise, a nice way to enjoy my breakfast.
    Was this the greatest puzzle? No. But did it deserve Rex's unremitting bile? No.
    I think he needs either (a) a vacation; (b) a new hobby; or (c) some serious prescribed pills to take the edge off. Life is short, no need to be so grumpy! :)

    Z 9:28 AM  

    “U.N.worker’s grp.” really should be enough to get the L in ILO I would think. What are four nanoseconds for if not to look at the clue you looked at before for a big old hint?

    Anonymous 9:41 AM  

    “Swole” is pathetic. A non-word.

    Anonymous 9:44 AM  

    I agree. One must learn his name even if one (me) has never heard his music.

    Kelly 9:47 AM  

    The trouble with the "yogas" clue: Bikram yoga and hatha yoga are not two distinct "yogas." Bikram yoga is merely a particularly ordered practice of hatha yoga by a particular teacher - the notorious Bikram Choudhury, who fled the USA in order to avoid multiple lawsuits alleging sexual abuse, racism and homophobia. Lovely person to have in the puzzle.

    Southern Sachet 9:47 AM  

    Annum is Latin for year, not annus. It’s neuter in gender.

    Flinque 9:48 AM  

    2 witticisms in one short comment. Excellent.

    BobL 9:49 AM  

    The theme answers were priceless!

    pmdm 10:01 AM  

    RooMonster: Allegedly the solution was a pangram until the editing team changed one of the entries. Go over the XWordInfo to read about it. And to view Jim Horne's list of all the days olio and oleo both appeared in the gird.

    Some of the complaints I read here I find a bit LAME. They can VEX me. For crying out loud, O for crying out loud, stop whining.

    While the PPP did annoy me, I only needed to research once to complete the grid. Since I liked the theme, I am happy enough with the puzzle. I just wish all the theme entries sparkled to me, which did not happen.

    Mikey from El Prado 10:01 AM  

    The whole south central downs leave much to the imagination of those of us with our minds in the wrong places:

    YUM, ASSisi, ANnUS, YO...GAS, SWOLE...????

    I can’t help but think Chris McGothlin’s mind was in potty mode.

    So sorry for my thoughts here, but couldn’t help it.

    Marcus Aurelius 10:04 AM  

    @Southern Sachet - the noun year is ANNUS. Annum is an adverb meaning for the coming year, for a whole year, as in one makes $100k per Annum

    Joe Dipinto 10:06 AM  

    A little bit of this, a little bit of that:

    Here's the Mambo hit – based on a riff from the Perez Prado tune of the same name. @Quasi – maybe you're thinking of Peggy Lee's Latinized version of "Lover"?

    I like the first and last themers. The rest of it misses, imo. Things seem to be taking a turn the worse in NYT Puzzleville. Oh well, there's always the Food section to peruse.

    Miss Lee would like some compliments now.

    Anonymoose 10:09 AM  

    Anyone else remember when Jerry Falwell had his panties in a wad because one of the Teletubbies was promotimg the "gay lifestyle". It was all a plot to lure 3 year olds into the gay world.

    Emma 10:15 AM  

    I can't believe only one other person has mentioned the abomination of "papaw". It's pawpaw. I GUESS it's a variant spelling that's used.... nowhere, except for an Australian lip balm, and that's made from some variant of a papaya anyway. Papaw is someone's grandfather, pawpaw is the fruit.

    burtonkd 10:17 AM  

    @Z I didn't see "worker's" in that clue until your post. Otherwise, that was just alphabet soup.

    @ Roomonster - TNT, HBO et al are part of WarnerMedia.

    Hands up for the MIMSES department.

    I remember a conservative senator in the 90s railing against the Teletubbies as a plot to turn children gay, and joined in the chorus mocking him. I finally saw the show years later, and must admit that the purse carrying character was extremely flamboyant in a stereotypical way. (I don't believe in the plot or that you can be "turned" gay for the record).

    Anonymous 10:23 AM  

    @Southern Sachet: "Annus" is correct for "year" in Latin, which is the first declension, masculine. Hence, "annus mirabilis" or "annus horribilis". "Annum" would be the accusative case, and could still be a correct answer, depending on the clue. (Confirmed with Cassell's Latin Dictionary)

    Pax vobiscum -
    Collinus Punitor
    (nickname given to me by my Latin teacher... Colin The Punisher)

    CDilly52 10:25 AM  

    @kitshef, 7:29. LOL on the ACTONE! It looks as old to me as ATOZ did the other day. That one looked like a Brit from somewhere like Birmingham telling a mate he couldn’t care lass: “Bruvva, don’t care wot you say, I don’t give atoz!”

    Canon Chasuble 10:31 AM  

    This is the 3rd straight day of just an awful puzzle in the Times, 4th if you count Sunday’s turkey. What in heaven is going on there?
    Oh, and “ANNUS” is right. It is a second declension noun.

    Ellen S 10:34 AM  

    I’d rather have two old Broadway songwriters than the winner of the [insert random year here] Nobel prize for [insert random branch of science]. Or some racehorse that didn’t win the Triple Crown, but did win one of the races, half a century ago, maybe. Yeah, those are gimmes. Make me long for the Maleska days when all I needed to know was the names of all the muses.

    By the way, someone the other day, who had been reading the blog for years and even had sent in money to support it, but never commented (I think that was by their own admission), posted a longish rant about how they could no longer stand Rex’s rants and were going away. Oh ... that had to be a joke. Or a zen thing: if a blog follower falls in a forest without ever posting, will anyone know they are gone?

    Just keep it up, @Rex. Jeff Chen always finds something good to say about a puzzle, no matter how dope it is, and you always find something to carp at no matter how fun others found it. It’s just a matter of style. Who are we to say one is better than the other?

    Anonymous 10:36 AM  

    Sorry, yes - Annus is second declension. Hats off to @Canon Chasuble.


    xyz 10:38 AM  



    Carola 10:38 AM  

    The Crossword Muse must have been smiling when she whispered "FORGONE" to Chris A. McGlothlin. I thought the theme was delightful (FISH COMPLIMENTS!). The rest, though, I found a little sketchy, with the OLIO of AGE-old fill (PSST, EONS, OLEO, N-TESTS, etc.) on the one hand and (IMO) non-Wednesday-level arcana on the other (ILO x LAALAA, JOST x TNT, the need for familiarity with custard apples, etc.) on the other. But then, perhaps OLIO + OLEO + ILO is its own sort of QUIP.

    Newboy 10:39 AM  

    Guess my geriatric sexism caught up today when Bullock mentally displaced OH and couldn’t envision ROZ’s role as I scrolled down the male cast listing mentally—it’s been awhile since Friends. At least REBA was there, so I can’t totally say I don’t understand women. Those corner gals caused my stumbling, but all else flowed smoothly OLEO/OLIO cross was a nice start and putting the reveal in the puzzle bullseye probably made the effort less taxing, but it’s only Wednesday after all. Not everyone will forgive OH STOP as a needless duplication of Sandra; I thought sHuTuP instead at 14D given the ROFL texting modernism. Thanks Chris. Now to Rex, Mr. Chen & y’all.

    Michiganman 10:43 AM  

    @Z. I'll bet you remember Charlie "Paw Paw" Maxwell. For non-Tiger fans, Charlie Maxwell was an all star outfielder for the Detroit Tigers. His hometown was Paw Paw Michigan and he was known for hitting home runs in Sunday games. Back then, late 50's, there were doubleheaders on most Sundays.

    CDilly52 10:44 AM  

    When I got the first themer, FISH COMPLEMENTS, I have to admit I laughed and couldn’t wait to see what the theme actually turned out to be. I could see Charlie Tuna and some of his friends after a full day of eluding fishermen, chatting over a drink and one saying to another, “Dude, nice fins, they make you look so sleek! And Doris, you are such a graceful swimmer. Nice job cavorting around that trawler. You drove them nuts!” Being a child of Disney from the 1950s forward, I have no trouble at all anthropomorphizing almost anything! I was so stuck on my fish scenarios that the rest of the theme kind of blew by me without notice until FOReGONE wouldn’t fit. Then it clicked.

    Since I am old, puzzles that play old don’t offend. I do agree that the terms BONER and SWOLL are pretty high on the “ick-meter” for me.

    Overall, I applaud the constructor’s enthusiasm for something new and different. Some tougher slots but it is Wednesday.

    Seth 10:46 AM  

    Yeah, to tack onto what Kelly said, they don't even call it Bikram yoga anymore because that guy sucks so much. Places are calling it original hot yoga or something similar.

    Anonymous 10:52 AM  

    @Joaquin: "If I have to hear about and learn about CULTURALLY RELEVANT PEOPLE OF COLOR just to do a daily crossword, then the least you can do is appreciate Robin Williams."

    Fixed your comment for you.

    OffTheGrid 10:53 AM  

    ####Spelling Bee Post and Spoiler####

    Glad I took my "Genius" and cashed in. I never would have gotten either "chi" word and did not know nunchuck could also be nunchuk. Now for today's.

    Whatsername 10:57 AM  

    I this was a cute clever theme and a fun Wednesday. I laughed at FISHCOMPLIMENTS and had a nice OH moment. Had trouble in the south central because I don’t know from yoga poses and was clueless on the woke term for muscular. But when I looked at the clue the only thing I could think of was 44D. In Missouri, we grow PAWPAW trees (not PAPAW) and there are folks who predict what kind of winter it’s going to be by the shape of the seed. Supposedly Lewis and Clark were running low on food when they arrived in Missouri and survived on the custardy fruit, also known as a Missouri banana.

    The price of MEAT - specifically beef - will put a dent in your VISA card these days. Last week ground round was almost $10 a pound. There are lots of city dwellers on this blog and just so you know, cattle farmers are not the ones pocketing this money. The price they are getting at market is hovering at around $1 to $1.50 per pound.

    @JJK (7:55) Many stores do have a MISSES department – as opposed to a Juniors department. A Misses size is even numbered 2 thru 16; while Junior sizes are odd, 3-5-7, etc. There are differences in the cut and fit, plus Junior sizes are styled to appeal more to teens and younger women. Then some stores also have a Women’s department which is generally for the big & beautiful. And to confuse you even further . . . these all fall under the general heading of Ladies’ clothing.

    Aketi 10:58 AM  

    @Quasi, I had the same question about SWOLE until I read @GILL’s combo with SWOLE, which I can never unsee again. ROFL.

    @Babara S, I only managed to get through half an episode with my son before I decided it was unfit for watching. Now I know where too look up their names if they ever appear in a puzzle again. I did manage to get LAALAA though.

    egsforbreakfast 11:00 AM  

    I thought the themers were mostly funny, but the fill was meh.

    It seems like we haven’t heard from the divine LMS for some days. I hope all is well.

    SURE deodorant prompts me to bring up something that I just happened to notice yesterday. On the back of my Old Spice Classic deodorant stick is the phrase, all in caps, IF YOUR GRANDFATHER HADN’T WORN IT, YOU WOULDN’T EXIST. Existential questions always pique my curiosity, so I researched the timeline and found that Old Spice was first produced in 1937, which is well after my father was born. Does this imply that I don’t exist? And why do they limit it to grandfather? If Old Spice is, indeed, more or less a prerequisite for inducing a female to procreate with you, shouldn’t the claim include my father?

    Oh, well, back to the serious business of crosswords and spelling bees.

    Adam 11:03 AM  

    Dr. Dre and Robin Williams were famous at the same time... Sure there's not another reason besides current cultural relevance that you don't like learning about those two?

    What? 11:05 AM  

    The fill is FISH COMPLIMENTS, not fish for ...so the clue is correct.

    Ellen S 11:14 AM  

    Hand up here, btw, for MImSES department crossing ANNUM. I just went to Google translate which says “year” in Latin is Annos Singulos. Huh. Who’da thunk it? Going the other direction, Google says ANNUS means “year” and ANNUM means “year.” Helpful, right?

    What? 11:18 AM  

    Got FISH COMPLIMENTS Right away. Wait, something’s missing. FOR? Oh, right, the theme. The rest was downhill but had to rely on the crosses for LAALAA which then lit up. Don’t know why cause I never watched them. And as a fan of Killing Eve, there was Sandra.
    All in all, pretty easy with some mild aha moments.
    As a wannabe constructor, I appreciate the difficulties with 4 theme fills, two of which are 15’mers. Well done.

    mathgent 11:20 AM  

    Saying that today’s puzzle is terrible is not a whine. A whine is a complaint about a problem that can’t be helped. Complaining about all the inconveniences suffered during the pandemic is a whine. Complaining about how hot it is today is a whine. Complaining that the paper wasn’t delivered today (as I just did over the phone) isn’t a whine. Saying that today’s puzzle is terrible is not a whine because Will has hundreds of fine puzzles to choose from.

    QuasiMojo 11:22 AM  

    @Joe DiPinto, sorry, I should have said Rosemary Clooney.

    Grace Finly 11:44 AM  

    People are misunderstanding the theme when they complain that fishing for compliments is not about complimenting others. The clue refers only to the answer. So these examples in 17A are indeed compliments you might make to a fish. The FOR is not part of the clue or its answer even if the phrase makes sense in a different way after you add the FOR. Same with all the other themers.

    Masked and Anonymous 11:48 AM  

    The epic OLEO/OLIO cross first saw daylight in a 1952 NYTPuz. Them was the days…
    I did not no way know LAALAA. Looks like I am not alone, in this solvin-arsenal "shortcomin". This can cost serious nanoseconds. Must become an avid tele-tubber. Will put that on bucket list, right below "trip to Mars".

    Theme was pretty straightforward, and I happened to see thru the mcguffin immediately, on FISH(for gone)COMPLIMENTS. OK rodeo by m&e, but, holy laalaa, that THROWNALOOP clue sure seemed extra awkward. I had a good little laugh at its desperateness. Laughs are good for us, tho.

    staff weeject pick: FOR. M&A's feelin of confidence, on choosin FOR, kinda comes and goes, tho.

    fave longballs: BONER. Actually, LONGBALLGONE, today -- as mentioned by @RP (yo, Sunshine! har)

    Thanx for the fun, Mr. McGlothlin dude. Another goner candidate: LAALAA. Primo central weeject stack, tho.

    Masked & Anonym007Us

    [runtpuz server broke ... runtzgone.]

    Barbara S. 11:51 AM  

    ***SB ALERT***
    I swear I wasn't going to post this, but like Thing in "The Addams Family" my hand made a "beeline" for this tablet all on its own.

    I JUST GOT QUEEN BEE -- First time ever with no hints!

    It's an easy day, SB Folk. You can do it, too. Party at mine!

    CaryinBoulder 12:04 PM  

    First, thanks to Rex for giving props to Donny Hathaway, a megatalent who left the scene way too young. Check out his soulful versions of “We’re Still Friends” “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know” on YouTube.

    I suppose I’m the only person in the Western world who didn’t care for Frasier, so as a starter ROZ was a non-starter for me. I’m used to seeing 1D as ROTfL, so initially put in LMAO, further confusing 1A, which I thought might’ve been Les. Puzzlers who’ve been at it longer than me seem to take OLIO as a given but with the unknown ROZ it consternated that corner for a long time. It’s some kind of stew, yes? Teletubbies was more must-avoid TV para mi and ILO could’ve been anything. But I guessed LAALAA because it seemed stupid enough for that show.

    The theme was ... OK ... for a Wednesday. I, too, thought the clue for 17A was off since the COMPLIMENT was being given, not FISHed for. Surprised nobody complained about the very dated James Dean co-star, Sal MINEO, whom I wrote in without a thought. I remember George M. COHAN from another old movie starring, I believe, James Cagney.

    I asked my naturalist, non-puz wife for help with the custard apple, having only the W. I pooh-poohed when she said PAwPAW, but that turned out to be pretty close. I like papayas and never knew either of those things about them.

    There’s a house in Boulder that was used in the opening credits of that TV show and is still referred to by old-timers as the Mork & Mindy house. NANU NANU.

    Z 12:06 PM  

    No problem here with PAPAW but it's way more complicated than people here seem to think.

    ANNUS - If the answer for "year" is ever "anne" don't blame me, blame Nero.

    @Michiganman - I'm pretty sure our man Ernie Harwell mentioned Charlie Maxwell at least once a week (and what is with the choice of pics in that article?). My fandom began in 1968 (when I was 8), so I mostly know him through Harwell.

    @burtonkd - from all the earlier plaints you surely were not alone. I think many of us do that quick read/not quite processing the whole clue thing on the first pass. ILO is definitely a LFC here, so let me suggest that you make a note of it because it will appear in a puzzle near you soon.
    I see @anonymoose beat you to the Gay Teletubby Story. It was somewhere around there where deep fremdschämen for conservatives took root in my mind and really hasn't stopped since then.

    Slippery Elm 12:08 PM  

    Chang and Eng go into a bar. “We’ll have the USUALS.”

    Greg 12:11 PM  

    Have never heard YOGAS used as a plural. I would say, "There are several different styles of yoga." I would NOT say, "There are several different YOGAS."

    John 12:41 PM  

    I haven't commented here before but felt I had to today re 68A: TNT is not the answer to that clue - SHO is, and is often the answer. Not sure why this clue wasn't edited to say 'Sister channel of TBS' or something like that. HBO and Cinemax are clearly premium movie channels, TNT is not that.

    Havana Man 12:55 PM  

    Let's face it, there's only one actual usage of the word BONER, and "slip-up" is not the clue. How about "A sign of hard times?"

    Teedmn 1:19 PM  

    I have a passing acquaintance with Teletubbies because for some as-yet-unexplained reason, the brother-in-law of one of my friends gave the friend a Tinky-Winky doll for Christmas and it became a conversation piece. But that acquaintance wasn't enough to keep me from the DNF at fAA-LAA. And thanks, @Z, for preemptively pointing out what a BONER that is, to have not inferred the LABOUR part of ILO :-).

    I was going for a rather Jabberwockian department store department at 69A, with a blue-light special in MImSES - "per ANNUm" is the only time I use a Latin "year". I fixed that cross but then fixed it with a steely glance because I agree with @Gill I on what 53D looks like.

    It seems that only @Newboy joins me in enjoying the OLIO-OLEO cross. It didn't leave me ROFL but I smiled. Then there are the clues for BAIL (21A) and AVIS (36D), which are just silly.

    Mr. McGlothlin, I found your theme to be interesting and a tad harder than the average Wednesday, thanks.

    jberg 1:22 PM  

    I see there are two groups of us: those who think crossing OLEO with OLIO is worse than either one alone, and those like me who think it's hilarious, a great riff on crosswordese. The only think that would be better would be a four-stack of ELI, LIE, ILE, & LEI. (Actually, I bet that's been done as a theme with the words in shaded squares.)

    Like almost everyone else, I loved FISH COMPLIMENTS. (Someone said FISH COMPLeMENTS -- that would be lemon slices and tartar sauce.) Unlike everyone else, apparently, I read the clue for 40A, "Relinquished...", and confidently wrote in FORsOok. That worked with the theme, but made it hard to see AGE. I was sure about NANU NANU, though (never watched the show, but people actually say that, and it's been in maybe a million puzzles). So that saved me.

    YOGAS--definitely the worst POC ever (far worse than USUALS). That would be like using Protestant and Orthodox, among others, to clue CHRISTIANITIES.

    @Pamela, if you reply to a comment on your phone, I can see your comment on my laptop--but I have no idea what you are replying to, which is likely to make your comment incomprehensible to me. Easy solution: tag the @name of the commenter in your comment.

    I'm not familiar with Sandra OH, although I have heard her name, but it was pretty clear from crosses (I had an error there -- JOSh for JOST -- but it wasn't Ms. OH's fault.) As it happened, though, the first Sandra I thought of was DEE (who is featured in the clue for 63D, Ijust noticed), so the mental gears started whirring...'OH, DEE--I wonder if there are other uniliteral Sandras.' I turned to Duck Duck Go and found Sandra JAY, a nurse practicioner in Akron, perhaps not crossworthy as a name, and Sandra KAY, an actress who specializes in porn movies. I gave up at that point.

    @Nancy, yeah, that MOP answer was pretty timely. Barber shops and salons here opened Monday, but I'm not ready to go to one yet--and I'm guessing that our stylist isn't either, as we haven't heard from him.

    Lorelei Lee 1:55 PM  

    @Jberg, Count me in the OLEO/OLIO hilarity camp. Does anyone use either word anymore? Regionally perhaps?

    The combo got me thinking about how margarine muscled its way in and pushed oleo out. I remember my grandmother calling it oleo but everyone since has called it margarine.

    In 1886, Congress "set in motion an era of commercial regulation by passing the Oleomargarine Act which defined the very essence of butter and imposed a two-cent per pound tax on oleomargarine..."

    If your interested, check out the wiki page of oleo's long and twisted history, starting with Napoleon basically saying "let them eat beef tallow."

    Enemy of Food 2:17 PM  

    How on earth do you have LAALAA crossing both ILO and TAM? ILO is an acronym that isn't able to be inferred, LAALAA is a madeup character from a 90s kids tv show who has a nonsense combination of letters, and tam is a...hat worn in Scotland, i guess? Jeebus.

    Kathy 2:25 PM  

    As many others, I got FISHCOMPLIMENTS right off the bat before FORGONE even came up. So, from the get-go, I interpreted it as compliments given to a fish, as was the intention. When I later grokked the theme, I thought it was hilarious, far outshining they puzzle itself. Ugh! Those crosses! Those plurals! I did manage to solve without help but it did have me resurrecting my high school Latin when ANNUm didn’t work. us i o um o...second declension singular—nominative it is.

    Teletubbies came onto the scene when my first granddaughter was born in the late 1990s. Word on the street was that the show’s concepts were tested on and designed for babies just learning about their environment. The voices, music, colors, which may have appeared underwhelming to adults, would engage a newborn baby’s rapt attention far more than programs geared to toddlers or older children and many parents swore by them. It is ironic, but not consequential, that these very kids became the first wave of children who lived their lives attached to screens—You Tube and social media were beckoning. And now, even more ironically, these same kids are “virtually” graduating from college after almost a full semester of 100% online coursework.


    So, @Barbara S. Are you saying I should have another go at SB? I haven’t yet gotten QB; congratulations to you! I will take one more look.

    Pamela 2:41 PM  

    @jberg 1:22 Thanks for the tip. On the phone, the reply appears just below and indented from the original post, not separate and miles away. On the iPad, I do as you suggested above. I’ve often wondered at some of the brief, Incomprehensible comments that appear randomly throughout this blog. Now I think they must have been entered from a phone, and the placement must have looked appropriate.

    Anonymous 2:50 PM  

    I’ve read this blog for years and often enjoy the conversational right and left turns executed by many of the frequent commenters. But I’ve now been stirred from my own commenting inertia to make this request: @webwinger - please, please, please stop your COVID musings on this forum. Your particular point of view has swerved from the facts for many weeks now, sometimes in a way so tone-deaf as to be inexcusable.

    Some examples from @webwinger posts:

    …If we have somehow turned a corner it will be real cause for celebration…(March 15th)
    ….Rampant prophesies of gloom and doom are still only prophesies. It remains possible that a seasonal retreat may occur or even is occurring now…we do not appear to be seeing exponential growth at this time in this country…either we don’t have a lot of undiagnosed cases, or severity here (outside of WA) is less than elsewhere. Either way it’s good news…(March 17th)
    …The response may have gone beyond what is truly justified by the facts as they now stand (March 18th)…
    …Happy thought of the day: Remember Y2K…
    …The apparent slowing of the rate at which new cases appear…(March 26th)
    …Economy will come back to life on Easter…entirely within the realm of possibility…

    And then these two:

    …there seems to be no doubt that the virus is now in the retreat in the US overall…I’ve already made a bet with my wife that total deaths in this country will max out at around 20,000…(April 2nd)

    …My recent wager on 20,000 deaths overall in the US no longer seems like it’s ‘from another planet’…(April 6th)

    And now you’re offering to email people your treatise on the pandemic. Holy. Crap. Please just stop, or at least just stop here.

    BTW, re your latest musings on California. I live here. It’s a state of some 40 million people. Many, many flights from China and Europe terminated at SFO and LAX before the influx of people was slowed down. (Too late.) Gov. Newsom, like him or not, had the guts to shut things down in CA much earlier and much more thoroughly than other governors. It’s been hard to deal with, but it’s also probably the reason that CA is just now passing 90k cases. The progress of the virus was slowed down, dramatically, saving many lives.

    Meeeek! 2:53 PM  

    I liked the theme. Really, how many good theme ideas are left? FISH COMPLIMENTS was great.

    OLEO and OLIO was a really? In the same corner? for me.

    SW was my problem. HBO and Cinemax are extra pay channels, TNT is not. Steal,y wanted some abbreviation for Showtime. And not knowing Jost furthered the struggle.

    Crimson Devil 2:55 PM  

    Cannot figure out, for sure, what pic of baseball batter #4, Lou Gehrig maybe?, is doin in Rex’s write-up. Maybe Four/4 —gone ?
    But I don’t recall seein pic of Yanks in striped socks....Duke Snider also #4, but never saw pic of Bums with striped socks either. Both left hand batters.

    Lorelei Lee 3:07 PM  

    @Crimson, It's Mel Ott. Right click on the image. Choose save image is (to your desk top or whatever) and it will reveal the title of the image.

    Barbara S. 3:23 PM  

    @Kathy 2:25 **RE SPELLING BEE**
    Do have another whirl. I think there was only one word that elicited a "huh?" from me. It was a lucky guess and I was surprised they accepted it. But the rest fell pretty easily. I'm rooting for you!

    Z 3:24 PM  

    @Lorelei Lee - Dang. I so wanted it to be Charlie “PawPaw” Maxwell. Mel Ott is very crosswordese appropriate but Paw Paw would have been great for this puzzle.

    Another Anon 3:37 PM  

    @Anon 2:50. I think you would desperately miss Webwinger's posts. You are obviously obsessed.

    Rug Crazy 4:14 PM  

    A lot of bad stuff, but I enjoyed it anyway!

    Lorelei Lee 4:31 PM  

    @Z, True! But after 30 years of Mel Ott, I finally get a look at him.

    Smith 5:22 PM  

    That's almost incredible!

    Smith 5:28 PM  

    Thx, had no clue!

    DigitalDan 5:37 PM  

    I lived not only through Mork and Mindy, but also through the era of above-ground nuclear tests. Never once did I encounter the term N-TEST until NYT crosswords. The early ones were A-Tests, and the later ones were H-Tests. Any reference to the neutron "device" spelled the word out. Like OATER, RAREE, and other faves, these are not words anywhere else, and I more or less object.

    CaryinBoulder 5:42 PM  

    @Z: A little baseball trivia for you. I grew up following the Orioles and Ernie Harwell called their games from their inception in 1954 thru 1959. I was sorry when Ernie left — his style was classic — but in 1962 Hall of Famer Chuck Thompson returned to the booth after defecting to the abysmal Senators for five or six years. Chuck’s voice coincided with the rise of the Orioles as an AL powerhouse. I remember Charlie Maxwell’s Sunday slugging feats, and he actually had an O’s connection, too, getting four at bats with them in 1955. And Ernie’s early broadcasting partner in Detroit was 10-time All-Star George Kell, who finished out his career with two seasons in Baltimore in 1956-57. We thought George was a pretty slick-fielding third baseman until we saw this kid who spelled him a few games in those seasons: Brooks Robinson.

    Richardf8 5:51 PM  

    I haz a sadz

    Anonymous 5:54 PM  

    @joaquin 12:03 AM Got that one off early, no? Bravo.

    Barbara S. 5:58 PM  

    @Smith 5:28 *SB*
    Heya! Does that mean you got QB? I'm chillin' the vino.

    pabloinnh 5:59 PM  

    ***** SB ALERT*****

    @Barabara S- Thanks to your encouragement, I will, con permiso, join you on the QB stand, or in the QB corner, or whatever we call that thing. I was pretty sure my last five letter word was pure invention, as I have only heard it applied slangily to baseball,and that with a different spelling, but hey, I'll take it.

    Unrelated--@CaryinBoulder-Good baseball announcers are a real treat. My favorites will always be Ned Martin and Jim Woods for the Red Sox. Mercy.

    Phil 6:37 PM  

    This was the worst puzzle I've done in a long time.

    Stuffy, old fashioned, with themers that were utterly not worth it and some bizzare clueing that made even normal words confusing and hard to parse.

    Just throw it out.

    Long time reader, first time commenter.

    Barbara S. 6:42 PM  

    Bienvenido! I'm delighted -- we're killing it!

    Crimson Devil 7:22 PM  

    Lorelie and Z
    Many many thanks for Ott clue. Still unable to see description/caption on phone. I, too, have never seen pic.
    Equally famous jock was another #4, Bobby Orr, also lefty.

    QuasiMojo 7:28 PM  

    @Barbara S et al, pour me a Tonic. I don't drink wine. I finished sans hints and con ....!

    Smith 7:34 PM  

    @Barbara 5:58
    Hmm, I love SB but don't have a subscription so get kicked out after pangram (ex early in this sitch when they let me play all the way thru for a week or two, got to genius but did not realize there was more). Anyway, looks like someone else is posting as Smith; I know of one rabid red stater who does. Time for a new name. Happy SB!!

    JC66 7:44 PM  

    Lou Gehrig also wore #4.

    Going to SB now, stay tuned.

    The blog has been captured 7:58 PM  

    I don't mean to be snarky or unpleasant, but really. SB has taken over this entire blog until it's become more about SB than anything else. Can't someone start an exclusively SB blog for those Rexites who are interested, meaning this blog can go on the way it used to be and everyone gets what they want? An occasional comment about other puzzles is fine once in a while, but the frequency of SB posts is really disruptive. Yes we can skip those comments, but there's so much to skip and it's not always clear which puzzle the post is about in the first sentence or two either.

    RooMonster 8:14 PM  

    **Spelling Bee Alert**

    @Barbara S.
    It took me coming back just now (5:10 Pacific Time) to get two (obvious) words (that I shouldn't have been stuck on), and up popped QB! WooHoo!
    Congrats to all of Us Bees!

    RooMonster BROYHILL (wasn't that a furniture company?) Guy

    Barbara S. 8:16 PM  

    **SB ENCORE**

    @Quasi 7:28
    I'm pulling out a chair and grabbing a chilled glass for you even as we speak. Well done!

    @Smith 7:34
    Well, THAT'S not very sporting of them -- booting you out after the triumph of pangram achievement. I hope you can work out a more satisfactory relationship with them, and also good luck with your re-christening. But how will we recognize you?

    Joe Dipinto 8:17 PM  

    ***KIND OF BLUE spoiler***

    I see from the Times today that Jimmy Cobb, the last surviving musician who played on Miles Davis's "Kind Of Blue" album, passed away on Sunday.

    It's the end of an era. R.I.P. all of them.

    John Coltrane tenor sax 1926-1967
    Paul Chambers bass 1935-1969
    Wynton Kelly piano 1931-1971
    Julian "Cannonball" Adderley alto sax 1928-1975
    Bill Evans piano 1929-1980
    Miles Davis trumpet 1926-1991
    Jimmy Cobb drums 1929-2020

    If you don't own this album, get it.

    All Blues

    jae 8:32 PM  

    —SB Alert —

    @Barbara S.Quasi, Pabloinnh, et.al. SBers - I’ve missed it by one word the last couple of days and was about to give up on today’s until I saw your encouraging posts. I got up from my nap took one more look and got the last long word for QB. @Pabloinnh - I already had the word you were referring to (I didn’t believe it either) so it was a no hints QB for me. Thanks everyone.

    An Administrator 8:33 PM  

    @The blog has been captured

    You obviously haven't noticed the the SB's are polite enough to preface their comments with ****SB ALERT****

    All you have to do is not read them.

    JC66 8:40 PM  

    ****SB ALERT****

    Got 18 so far (including BB slang). Usually I'd quit now, but because fo your motivation, I'll keep trying.

    JC66 9:03 PM  

    ****SB ALERT****

    TADA! QB

    Did it. Thanks yo you guys I persevered.

    Barbara S. 9:22 PM  

    @RooMonster and @jae
    Kudos and Congrats to you both!

    Keep the faith, man, we're in your corner.

    @The blog has been captured
    I'm largely responsible for the current Great Blog Hijacking. I completed the Spelling Bee early and I thought it was so doable today that I wanted to encourage my fellow-players to stick with it (to glory!). But I promise this was a one-off (as far as I'm concerned) and tomorrow we'll be back to business as usual with the odd SB comment here and there.

    grampa 9:23 PM  

    This was a terrible puzzle. I've only been doing NYT crosswords for a few years but in that time I feel like constructors have been increasingly desperate and uninteresting in their growing obsession with the "clever theme." What a slog, what a drag. We badly need a paradigm shift, re-prioritizing quality fill over self-satisfied, masturbatory concepts.

    Z 9:48 PM  

    @CaryinBoulder - Brooks Robinson and Paul Blair were always my favorite Orioles as a kid. And we always appreciated that Baltimore gave the world Al Kaline.

    albatross shell 10:29 PM  

    No sense of meta-humor here? Jeez. I would often just enjoy the darkness or enjoy cursing it, rather than get the candles out. Can't ya just enjoy the OLEO OLIO cross? Or are just all agiggle with cursing it? It would be even better with Ott and oreo crossing at the O's.

    WARNING: THIS post does not mention gnilleps eeb. No BS.

    Don't care what century clues are from. Fill in what you can, quit when you feel like it, look up what to do not know cause, ya know, next time.

    LAALAA, no need to waawaa. Simple as 2+2 is. Laid back and chill. Remember what life is.

    The theme was fun for me. Definitely helped with some of the obscure to me stuff. Played a bit harder than the average Wednesday here.

    Barbara S. 10:48 PM  

    @JC66 ****YES, SB****
    Mazel Tov!!

    By my count, six people achieved and declared Queen Beeship today (and, of course, there may have been many more Queens who didn't post). I think this is a record and it makes my heart buzz. But, hey, it's not just the destination, it's the journey, and a tip of the hat to all who fought the good fight.

    JC66 10:58 PM  

    @Barbara S


    Azzurro 1:44 AM  

    I really like that MAMBO was clued as the 90s hit and placed in the grid at NUMBER 5 (down).

    I enjoyed this theme except for the unforgivable ILO/LAALAA cross.

    James 9:09 AM  

    Nothing but the requisite joy, fun and pleasure. Why doesn't Rex understand early week puzzles? Maybe because he favorite constructor's name isn't on this.

    Burma Shave 9:57 AM  


    To ERR is FORGONE and mistakes I'LL endure,
    and ENID will RAILAT me TILL I phone her,

    --- EDDY MINEO

    spacecraft 11:05 AM  

    One-square--the last one--DNF. I do not watch SNL, so had no idea who Che was paired with. As to TV channels, there are so many...including, probably, one called ENT. So I went with Jose. Seems reasonable, with Che.

    Nor, of course, do I watch (are you kidding me?) Teletubbies, so sq. 15 was a flat-out guess. What to put in front of _AALAA? I shrugged and stuck in another L. So, 50% on the guesses.

    LOTSA stuff not to like about this one: PSST, NTESTS, OLIO/OLEO, etc. Did not know that DOD REBA was even in a sitcom--egad!--much less where it was set. I don't care if I did have a DNF, I'm gonna call this a double-bogey anyway.

    rondo 12:20 PM  

    A PEAR of over-writes - I had ZEal for the ZEST and tried to BOtch the BONER, did not ERR elsewhere. I don't know my Teletubby lineup or all of the U.N. groups, but correctly guessed the first L in LAALAA. Kinda funny seeing ASSISI and ANNUS next to each other. REBA will do just FINE - yeah baby. This puz was SUIT-able.

    Diana, LIW 1:43 PM  

    Once, years ago whilst channel surfing, I watched a few moments of the Teletubbies. If you haven't, let me tell you that the intended audience is not yet very verbal - mostly LAALAA etc. Do we really need to know about them in the crossworld? Gee.

    Yet I did successfully complete this puz, and if it weren't FOR the theme, I might still be working on it. Or not.

    Fun for a Wednesday in the rain.

    Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for wordplay, not tubbies

    Anonymous 2:08 PM  

    Wrong. Annus is correct. Latin nouns are listed with the nominative case first, which is annus. Annum is the accusative case.

    Anonymous 2:11 PM  

    Also annus is masculine not neuter.

    Anonymous 3:41 PM  

    They are sister channels, because they are owned by Warner Media. No premiumness implied.

    Anonymous 4:24 PM  

    @grampa: You do realize, that puzzles can languish in the publishing queue for years at times. So, this puzzle could have been constructed last week, or six years ago. Plus the editor and his team, can alter or update clues and/or answers.

    leftcoaster 4:34 PM  

    Four cleverly clued themers with the FOR GONE in each of them. Neat, clean, and to the point.

    Four pausers: PAPAW/LAALAA, AQUI, SWOLE.

    One complaint: Wanted JOSe instead of JOST, leaving eNT (Entertainment?) as the last answer. TNT does not really qualify as a "Sister channel of HBO and Cinemax". TCM, yes; TNT, no.

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